By Ryan McGreal
Published October 24, 2006
Reuters reports today that humans are living beyond our means.
Issues like this are just too big to get one's head around. People encountering statements like, "Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends," generally react in one of two ways: passive whateverism or kneejerk denial. The threat is so colossal that it becomes easy to assume it's hyperbolic and exaggerated.
Assuming they make it halfway through the article, people encounter sentences like this: "Everyone would have to change lifestyles - cutting use of fossil fuels and improving management of everything from farming to fisheries." At this point, the issue becomes academic and easily dismissed.
Without political leadership from somewhere, it's simply not possible for individuals to make enough personal changes to transform the aggregate structure of energy and materials consumption, which is mainly a function of land use and goods production.
The Bush Administration has taught us that huge outrages are easier to ride our than small ones, and no outrage is huger than the accelerating obliteration of the biological foundation on which complex organisms live.