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Chelsea Green Blog

Making the Shift to Sustainability

Matthew Stein, author of When Technology Fails: Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency, just posted a new article on The Huffington Post.

From the article:

These days, most people sense that our world is off balance and that we are sliding steadily towards some dark abyss. It can be hard to keep a cheerful positive outlook when you consider just these three signs of trouble:

1. Recent record high oil prices may be just the beginning of never-ending price escalations as increasing demand for oil (China and India are growing at about 10% per year) collides with global oil production that has been pretty much flat for the past three years, and shows all the warning signs of impending decline (Peak Oil).

2. Even the best-case projections from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) indicate that escalating natural disasters exacerbated by global climate changes may be enough to bankrupt many nations over the course of the next few decades.

3. Roughly 90 percent of the large commercial fish (swordfish, marlin, tuna, shark, etc.) have disappeared from the oceans over the last fifty years and it is projected that current trends will result in the collapse of all commercial seafood species in the oceans by the year 2048.

I hate to break it to you, but simple steps, like changing your light bulbs and driving a hybrid car, though they are good steps in the right direction, will not be enough to save our world from collapse. If we consider “Plan A” to be business as usual, which is currently consuming, depleting, and poisoning the natural systems that maintain life on Earth, then we might call a sustainable alternative “Plan B”. It has been estimated that a viable Plan B could be implemented by diverting just 1/6th of the world’s current military expenditures to supporting and implementing the sweeping changes needed to shift our world’s course from collapse to sustainability. Are we that stupid, short sighted, or selfish that we can’t devote this much to saving our planet?

Read the whole article here.


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