To the Editor,
Re: Industrialization’s positive influence witnessed every day, Letters, July 12.
The Earth is a finite, materially bound, closed physical system that provides resources to an open economic subsystem requiring continuous growth and by the very nature of that interrelationship, economic growth must reach the 100-per cent threshold of ecological resource capacity.
This makes the concept of “sustainable growth” a fallacy because “growth”, by definition, is continuous but confined by the constraints of Earth’s closed systems.
Ecosystems evolve but they do not grow and economies may develop but they cannot grow indefinitely. This fact has led to the recognition that we must manage to “sustainable development”, which really means development without growth because to develop sustainably economies must develop within the regenerative capacity of the ecosystems.
My concern with our current industrialized economic model is that the short-term benefits it provides blinds us to the fact that it is a perfect example of scientific impossibility because its growth plan is currently predicated on extracting non-renewable resources at a rate greater than the creation rate of renewable substitutes and faster than the regenerative capacities of ecosystems.
I do not want to return to the time of the Luddites, but I do not want history to remember our generation as one void of the light of wisdom, fearful of the reality of examining the evidence of our own deluded stories and incapable of understanding something as simple as the quantitative limits of earth.
We are coming to a population milestone of seven billion people and we must reconsider this impossible economic growth model.
If we do not restrain our consumptive appetite, use energy more efficiently, aggressively pursue renewable energies, treat every resource as precious and demand our governments start to implement real environmental sustainability, then our days of perceived entitlement are ending and the only question becomes when?