Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How babies trump economic growth


Less than an hour old.

Babies are wonderful. They start out tiny, then they grow and grow and grow.
They keep putting on weight as they grow into full size adults. Then they stop growing.
We don't want to grow forever. That's pretty clear. The weight loss industry is proof of that. We want to have healthy, fit bodies that can support our pursuit of happiness.
The Federal Government last week downgraded it's projections for economic growth for the next few years. As far as the economy is concerned, it's heresy to question the wisdom of continuous exponential growth.
Consider it questioned. Why is growth so sacred?
Growth is the only way to pay interest on debt, which is spiralling out of control. Growth involves increasing our use of natural resources. Those resources are being used faster than they are being replenished.
Taken to its logical conclusion, we will use up the limited resources, collapsing the web of life on which we rely, and doom ourselves to a global crash that will live forever in the geological record.
Why? Because we've become slaves to the system we created. The majority of your mortgage payments are interest. Most of your energy decisions are already made far into the future. 
Options: Create a scenario in which we remove our limits. This involves massive space exploration, terraforming Mars at the very least, and escaping our cradle planet for the planets around neighbouring stars. Yes, farfetched.
Or we learn to live within our limits, accept that we can't grow forever, and instead strive to create the equivalent of a stable climax ecosystem. A planetary economy that does not grow, but rather endures forever. Allowing us to live within our limits as the global conscience and consciousness of the earth.
The system is our system. The crises are our crises. We can change the system. We can fix this, or we can stay the course. Not both.
We don't need growth to realize our potential as a species. We need to exist symbiotically with the geography of our prosperity, taking and giving back as we balance the needs of all life. We'll get our happiness back.
If your baby's leg was broken or it had a fever, you would do what you could to get it fixed. The same thing goes for our wetlands, our atmosphere and our ecosystems. They're all extensions of ourselves. The baby's going to need her ecosystems just like she's going to need her legs and her lungs. Let's do what we can to fix them.
Originally published October 29, 2011
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