Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Our World - but for how long?
The world, as we know it, at risk!
The recent Millennium Report pointed out dramatically that we are robbing the present to sacrifice the future.
It seems we have relied on progress and technology to solve all problems but technology and progress often have disastrous and unforeseen effects. It didn’t matter in the early days when the technology was such that the ‘after effects’ were limited to a small part of the world. Cultures that used up all their tree resources disappeared – all to be seen of the once impressive culture in Easter Island of are lonely stone statues. Similar deforestation was the cause of other cultures to collapse. Irrigation, used to keep cultures viable, worked until the water table was affected and they also failed. This still happens today.
It seems from history that societies reach their maximum growth they become at risk as resources get stretched and they begin to look beyond their borders to remain viable. Europe was lucky when the ‘New World’ was discovered and the new resources (including gold and silver) kept Europe a powerful force. Today wealthy countries gain necessary resources such as oil from anywhere in the world. And as for oil, production will peak in a decade or so as a result of a greater use of oil in China and India, as their middle classes acquire cars.
The trouble is today is that worldwide resources are stretched and environmental degradation is now an international concern.
We don’t seem to have listened to the past where cultures sacrificed their future for short term survival.
We have no real excuses except national,business and individual greed. We now know that the whole world is interconnected in often surprising ways and that many problems can only be solved at a global level. ‘Think global act local’ is still an important catch cry.
And, it seems, now the world population itself is reaching its maximum worsened by an imbalance of use of resources by a few wealthy countries.
The Report writes, that as a world we do have the chance to reflect on what has happened and begin to use 'our' resources wisely. Sustainability is not just to protect the environment; the territory of ‘greenies’ – it about ensuring the world is a viable environment for the diversity of human cultures.
We all need to develop a new ‘mindset’ or life on the planet as we know it is, at best, limited. We are heading to what may be called a ‘tipping point’ and human life could well be at risk. Our concept of progress is 'killing' us. Inaction itself will be a problem. We have proved ourselves clever but now we need some collective wisdom.
With a new mindset, and the positive use of technology we, the Report says, can survive.
Education should play an important role in the development of this new mindset.
Now is the chance, the Report says, to get the future right.