(Un)sustainable Growth

“The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, ‘billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse’.”

In this article in Commondreams: “The Planet's Future,” Jonathan Owen clearly states the inevitability of the collapse of what we optimistically call “civilization.”

Since “sustainable growth” is an oxymoron, collapse is the only possible outcome of the present course of many human societies. Whether or not this equates with a Mad Max “collapse of civilization” remains to be seen.

The State of the Future report, backed by Unesco, the World Bank, the US Army and the Rockefeller Foundation, comes to the obviously ingrown conclusion that in order for human society to continue on its present course, technologies must be developed to overcome limitations of Peak Oil and climate change so that 10 billion people can continue to live on this planet in a state of continued economic growth and consumption.

This, of course, is impossible.

The only sustainable forms of human economic activity are shrinkage followed by steady state. There are already far too many humans consuming far too much to be sustainable even on the short term of human life spans. Continued growth in a finite system is impossible and any scenario that ignores this reality is fantasy at best and destructive in the long term.

Human numbers will decline. Human economic production will decline. These declines can either be gradual and manageable, or they will be precipitous and catastrophic, for humans and many other species.

Governments and corporations have proven themselves incapable of perceiving and acting on necessary changes to forestall the destructive collapse of human economies. It remains for individual humans, acting within local communities, to lead the way to steady state economies based on local production for local consumption within natural resource limitations.

Step into the future! Grow your food at home, support your local farmers markets, turn your backs on corporations and distant central governments. Build the future right here at home where we can all keep an eye on it.

Your grandchildren will thank you for your wisdom and foresight.

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