Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Limits to Growth, Final Version

Increasing urban density is a false solution to human habitation and the resulting climate change we're experiencing. It's not just the traffic and crowding, it's the expanding footprint of human activity that is creating the heat, pollution and carbon buildup, as well as the consumption of resources beyond what this planet can provide. The destruction of common assets and planetary resources are driven by human population growth; there isn't another species on earth that consumes as much as humanity does.

"Solutions" that involve packing people together and reducing transit aren't addressing the real issue of resource depletion and carbonization of the biosphere, it's just ducking the problem and denying a decent future to our descendants. It's time to face the realities of slowing population growth by all intelligent means, before nature takes care of that situation in her own fashion. With global population expected to surpass 7 billion people this year, the staggering impact on an overtaxed planet is becoming more and more evident.

It's been a relief to see this population limit being discussed recently in the popular press, particularly since the climate change projection numbers are driven by expanding human population and its impacts. As we approach our limits, and the limits of life, food and water, we've got to understand our responsibilities with respect to natural systems. Our intelligence has allowed us to appear to escape the natural limits for awhile, but now it must be engaged in bringing our impact back in line with the resources that can sustain us. Surely we should be able to make those decisions in a way that pulls us back from the brink.

Limits to growth can be a creative challenge that sees opportunity in a problem that has not faced any other human generation in history.

Time to make it happen.