Field of Science

cutting the environmental deficit

The GnOPe "conservatives" of the USA embrace two diametrically opposing ideas: governments must live within their means, and only in this way can deficits be cut and eliminated, and under no means should the USA ever try to live within its environmental means, i.e., sustainably.  Today is Earth Overshoot Day (EOD), the day on which we have consumed as much material as can be sustainably replaced by the Earth in a year.  "Live without limits" is the slogan of Jeep, makers of archetypal, gas guzzling off-road vehicles. However, if you tried to, you wouldn't live very long. By accumulating too much ecological debt, we are losing the climate to which we are adapted [my emphasis]. Historically speaking, the public debt is at relatively low levels, while our ecological debt is larger than ever and growing. That is the issue that should be at the top of the political agenda."  So it's EOD, and we've got September, October, November, and December to go.  This is like running out of salary money on the 20th of each month and then borrowing for the rest of the month.  How can you ever catch up?  Living within our environmental means would seem an important conservative concept, but you see so many industries and companies make their gobs of money by pretending there is not an environmental cost, by deferring the environmental cost, by claiming they have the rights to exploit the Earth's resource for profit at what ever the environmental cost.  The more we overshoot the more we are living beyond our means.  When TPP asked his students to study and discuss the idea of human carrying capacity, the population level that can be sustained without degrading the environment, one woman in explaining her conclusion that we were all "doomed" broke into tears and cried, "I'm never having children!"  It was not intended to be that dramatic of a discussion, but her research and reasoning were sound.  For our GnOPe the environment is simply something to be exploited for the purposes of making money, and that they like, so screw the environment.  We buy things and its disposal, its recycling, its junking, its end-of-life handling is not included in the price.  So start asking your GnOPe representatives and candidates about cutting our environmental deficit.  It should make for some good babbling.

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