LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Growth coming at Earth’s expense

Humankind is consuming more quickly than the pace of replenishment, says letter writer

Summer weather conditions near Mount Klitsa in the Alberni Valley. (News Bulletin file photo)

Summer weather conditions near Mount Klitsa in the Alberni Valley. (News Bulletin file photo)

To the editor,

Is it possible, as in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes,’ for entire populations to believe an obvious untruth because experts repeatedly extol its virtues? Can society continue to accept the false claim that a growing economy has removed humankind from the consequences of depleting the planet? It is easy to be fooled by the benefits society has realized during the last 250 years of economic growth; longevity, decreased infant mortality, education, increased living standards.

But growth does not materialize from a magical economy, detached from nature, it comes from the drawdown of the planet. Economic growth is doubling the impact of that drawdown every 25 to 28 years such that the carrying capacity of the planet was exceeded in the 1970s and we now consume the planet at 1.7 times the rate of replenishment. This has resulted in the loss of insect and plant species and ecosystems, acidifying oceans, a warming climate and forests unable to exchange air or transport moisture inland.

Growth cannot continue without further degradation of the planet that sustains our life, yet growth remains the unchallenged cornerstone of economics and governance. An end to growth must become part of the political debate. We must declare that the emperor has no clothes.

Jim Mason, Nanaimo Riding Association, B.C. Green Party

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