Andrew Simms in the Guardian on Tuesday illustrated the need to address the question of environmental limits. He pointed out that:
Two contradictory ideas shape UK politics. First, the argument for austerity, that the nation cannot and should not live beyond its financial means. Second, the notion that we can and must, in effect, live beyond our environmental means. That is why any increase in our spending and consumption is hailed as economic success.
Tuesday was also the day when the earth went
into ecological debt, or “overshoot” – an estimate of the moment in the year when humanity has consumed more natural resources and created more waste than our biosphere can replace and safely absorb over a 12-month period.
And what about the UK?
here in the UK we’re using the equivalent of three and a half times the natural resources we have as a nation. For a country like Japan the figure is seven times.
The Earth’s ecosystems can be more or less productive depending on how well we care for them, but they are ultimately finite. So, we have chosen to ignore the idea of living within our means in the one arena, the ecological, where it is critical for our survival. Conversely, politicians obsess about the idea of living within our means in the economic arena, where it is debilitating to society in practical terms, and theoretically flawed. Obliviousness to ecological debt is characteristic of an economic system in which the interests of finance come first and which fails to recognise the environmental foundations of prosperity.
Comment This is not exactly news but it is a reminder that in the real world there are limits. When developers, planners, politicians etc blandly state that we need to build even more houses, accommodate even more people and carry on growing ad infinitum, we all need to realise –ITS NOT POSSIBLE!
We need to adopt alternative policies now, not next year, or after the next election or at some undefined point in the future, now means NOW!