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September 15, 2008

RELEASE: Urgent Environmental Action Must Be Maintained in Bad Economic Times

PRESS/SOCIAL MEDIA RELEASE

Ecological Internet warns converging economic, climate, food and fuel crises are symptoms of a massive global ecological bubble, and that without ecosystems there can be no economy

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet

No ecosystems -- no economy, or life(Earth) -- Current economic difficulties are largely caused by failing global ecosystems and resource scarcity, and are not an excuse to reduce environmental commitments, warns Ecological Internet. The bursting of the mortgage and financial bubbles, and food and energy price increases, are the logical and inevitable economic consequences of over-population, inequitable and unreasonable consumption, and unsustainable economic growth. Environmentalism is the solution to economic hardship, not the cause.

"The global growth machine is seizing up because it is hitting ecological limits and because of its own greed. Current global economic difficulties must not stop urgent ecological measures -- like dramatic emission reductions and natural habitat protection and restoration -- necessary to maintain a habitable Earth. Without ecosystems there can be no economic recovery," warns Dr. Glen Barry.

It is difficult to achieve political support for sufficient environmental policies even in times of rapid economic growth, yet this growth is the primary factor driving greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental ills. Human needs for water, air, food and housing are no less in hard times; in fact, ecosystem services are needed more then to meet basic needs.

More than ever ecological sustainability depends critically upon establishing a steady state economy, whereby production is right-sized to not diminish natural capital. Whole industries like coal and ancient forest logging will be eliminated even as new economic opportunities emerge in solar energy and ecological restoration.

This economic cooling may offer a welcome respite to reconsider the growth at any cost madness devouring the Earth’s life giving ecosystems. Growth and livelihoods based upon over resource use from dwindling ecosystems, that mostly benefit the elites, are a dangerous, unprecedented "ecological bubble" that threatens not only widespread economic hardship, but the future of civilization and terrible human suffering.

"In the mortgage bubble's bursting, we see signs of ecological bubbles to come. The world is not only at peak oil, but at or near peak water, land, climate, oceans, food and usable energy. The human enterprise and each global citizen's family size and consumption aspirations must be downsized to a scale appropriate to ecosystem limits. Or the Earth herself, with the assistance of the human created economic system, will do so brutally. Even the best high-yield financial instrument is ultimately only paper and cannot be eaten," observes Dr. Barry.

###ENDS###

Dr. Glen Barry is a leading global spokesperson on global environmental sustainability policy. Ecological Internet provides the world's leading climate and environment portals at http://www.climateark.org/ and http://www.ecoearth.info/. Dr. Barry frequently conducts interviews on the latest climate, forest and water policy developments and can be reached at: glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org .

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Comments

True. But, of course, it is waayyy too late. If, sadly, you're in America, load up on seeds and good soil and study the second amendment.

Urgent environmental action must be maintained in bad economic times !

The eight per cent of the worlds population that are the most well off(Us). Who consume the most and sadly are in a state of denial about this, are sending planet earth in to a nose dive . So lets all tell our friends "Earth First not last or go the way of the dinosaur ".

Dr Barry has hit the nail on the head,we need to stop this madness of ever expanding economies,and ecoloigical destruction before its too late.

Protecting Nature you are protecting yourself too!

I reccomend the new book by Thomas Friedman " Hot,Flat and Crowded" that vividly pictures the coming human catastrophe from too many people consuming too much of the earth's resources.

I agree with your opinion. All development programme now, always don't care good environment management for along time.

Right size(not to diminish Capital) Ecosystems, where thought goes into not to have over resource use, but a steady support system according to population size of states is a smart environment plan. If downsizing ou consumption of commodities helps troubled areas(cities) and there is a collective understanding of this. People will come together and farm & produce more efficienly which would free us to spend more time traveling to see folks and places.

What do economists see as the size, shape and make-up of Earth?

It appears as if the family of humanity lives in a relatively small, evidently finite and noticeably frangible planetary home. If Earth is bounded in space-time; if Earth's limited resources are being recklessly dissipated; and if Earth's environs are being irreversibly degraded by relentless pollution, can an adequate, reality-oriented case be made by economists for the sustainability of the colossal scale and fully expected, seemingly endless growth of the artificially designed, manmade global economy that is rampantly overspreading our planetary home?

Do economists still believe that the Earth is flat, that Earth is like a mother's teat at which the human species can perpetually suckle, or that the planet we inhabit is a cornucopia?

If so, please explain.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001
http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/index.php

Somehow we have got to find more effective ways to communicate about global threats and impending dangers. People are not saying loudly, clearly and often enough what they know to be true….not speaking truth to power.

Politicians are posing for the public and pandering to those with great wealth; business investment brokers are devising pyramid schemes, stealing billions and “breaking” the bank; and the mass media is turning a blind eye to the entire mess.

Such woefully inadequate leadership needs to be identified and replaced.

The family of humanity could soon, very soon, be confronted with an economic and/or ecological wreckage of an unimaginable kind; but, because people are not reasonably and sensibly communicating with one another, the chances for taking the measure of certain ominously looming global challenges and finding reality-oriented solutions to them are diminishing day by day.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001
http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/index.php

I get the feeling that the human race is driven by a fear of death? though at the rate we are breeding, death of our species will be the inevitable end.
In the time scale of this planet, species have come and gone. So what is so important about us?
Currently the human race uses money to validate them selves, very abstract way of avoiding being responsible for our actions.
Improving efficiency of our systems, may slow down the inevitable end, though to arrest this process, requires an increase in self-esteem of the human population, such that people no longer are driven to find a partner (sexual partner) to secure (trigger) a state of happiness, rather find a person/s who can show then how to experience silence, ie let go of their fears & expectations.
This may seem a little off with the fairies, though all the suggestions so far on this page are only band aid measures for the long term, to me. Just felt like adding something. allan

What are we thinking and doing? What is to become of our children?

Our children’s future is being mortgaged and put at risk by leaders in my not-so-great generation of elders. Is there no end to arrogance and adamant avarice of the greedy kings of wealth concentration, their bought-and-paid-for politicians, their many minions in the mass media?

Somehow we and our children have got to find more effective ways of communicating about threats to human wellbeing that are being perpetrated before our eyes by self-proclaimed “Masters of the Universe” among us.

Good and able people are not saying loudly, clearly and often enough what they know to be true.........not speaking truth to power.

Many too many politicians are posing for the public and pandering to those with great wealth; too many investment brokers are devising economic bubbles and pyramid schemes, skimming millions for themselves.......”breaking” the financial system and threatening the real economy; and the mass media has been turning a blind eye to the entire mess.

Such woefully inadequate leadership needs to be named, shamed and replaced.

Perhaps more people will stand up, remain standing, and speak out loudly, clearly and often about what they see and know to be happening.

Our children could soon be confronted with an economic and/or ecological wreckage of an unimaginable kind; but, because so many people are not reasonably, sensibly and responsibly communicating with one another now, the chances for taking the measure of certain ominously looming economic and ecological challenges and finding adequate solutions to them appear to be diminishing day by day.

Perhaps there are at least three questions worthy of consideration by young people and their elders today.

Is it possible that the wondrous planetary home we inhabit was given unto the stewardship of humankind simply for the purpose of allowing the greediest people on the planet to fulfill their unending wishes and insatiable desires, come what may for a good enough future for their own children, coming generations, billions of less fortunate people in the family of humanity, global biodiversity, Earth’s body and environment? Are the greedy kings of wealth concentration and power politics, who consume, possess and hoard a lion’s share of the world’s wealth, the only people who matter? Are the selfish among us, the ones who are about to be “bailed out” this week despite their unbridled avarice and obscene behavior, supposed to be source of our primary concern?

At least to me, it is crystal clear how so few have stolen so much from so many.

Not ever in the course of human history have so few people been so greedy by having taken surreptitiously and then hoarded so much wealth that rightfully belonged to so many less fortunate people.

Clearly and evidently, the colossal global economy is an ever-expanding, artificially designed, manmade construction. For whom does the world’s human economy exist? To fulfill the wishes and insatiable desires of those with ill-gotten gains? Only to provide security for the greediest among us?

And, of all things, for many too many leaders of my not-so-great generation of elders to extoll the virtues of their unbridled avariciousness and applaud each other by passing out ‘awards’ to each other for the triumph of their greed, all of this is plainly outrageous.

In light of what has occurred in the both the financial system and the real economy in recent years, can someone please explain what the terms “fairness” and “equity” mean? Can anyone find examples of these phenomena in the distribution of wealth by the organizers and managers of the world’s human economy today?

Who knows, perhaps change toward common sense, fair play and sustainable behavior is in the offing.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001
http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/index.php

The global growth machine is sizing up because it is hitting ecological limits and increase pollution day by day. It is difficult to achieve over environment and also a very big issue to achieve political support for sufficient environmental policies.
Frank Riched
http://www.gardenbirdsblog.com/garden-birds/bird-fair-2008#comment-5

Please stop your crazy consuming of everything. Consuming is the origin of the world's actual disaster.
As long as people think that they always need more tnan the year, the month and the day before, the ecology of this world will be getting worth each day.
Do never forget, there is just one world where we can live...

Dear Glen,

"...Or the Earth herself, with
the assistance of the human created economic system, will do
so brutally. Even the best high-yield financial instrument is
ultimately only paper and cannot be eaten," observes Dr.
Barry.

Well said!

PS This looks like a mini essay! Are you getting itchy writing fingers again?

Regards, Eric.

"What are we thinking and doing? What is to become of our children?" They will possibly end up as food?
I hear lots of fear and desperation, though not many answers?
What I here is not answers to the current earth dilemma, only a want for others to change their ways, rather than hearing how we are going to change our selves, so that we do not contribute to the dilemma?
I am not Buddhist, though use buddhist philosophy to take my head out of the panic and look for possible ways of being, that have a meaningful out come to me?
The notion of Karma (in my mind) will be the out come of all, who do to others, that which they would not have done to themselves. So I feel that there is no need to worry about others irresponsibility (maybe in their next life they will be one of us? & have to experience what it means to face your fears).
To me life is a quest for internal peace and acceptance, for this to exist I have to let go of my fears (including death, as one day I will go through that door way regardless) as well as expectations in order to see what is happening rather than what I think will happen?
My way of contributing to world change is to break my addiction to wanting to be accepted by others i.e. accepting my self in areas of identity eg it is taboo for men to wear fancy dress in public, so I intentionally wear costumes on a regular basis until I feel totally at ease with my self in any situation. You may see this as trivial though most of you do not realize that you are trapped into limited behaviors that, triggers stress & hence you look for distractions like consumerism to hide your discontent.
Some taboos are the actual door way to reversing the world dilemma. Identity is only one way of challenging the system.
Just some food for thought?? regards allan

Certainly economic hardship is not an excuse to reduce environmental commitments. However Ecological Internet's assertion that the financial difficulties are caused by a failing global ecosystem and resource scarcity seems a bit stretched to me.

Resource scarcity is not the cause of consumers and bankers making bad decisions backed by their governments. Resource abundance seems more likely to blame. The G20 stated "During a period of strong global growth, growing capital flows, and prolonged stability earlier this decade, market participants sought higher yields without an adequate appreciation of the risks and failed to exercise proper due diligence." Granted the G20 is probably not likely to push a green agenda at the moment, but it seems we treated the economy the same way we have been treating the environment.

Environmentalism can definitely help, but is not the total solution. Studies have shown greening to be very beneficial to economies. However, the initial startup is a large economic burden to an already taxed economy. Developing countries depend on cheap energy to grow. A "just do it" attitude is neccessary in my opinion, but may be economically unfeasible for many countries.

Although I agree with Dr. Glen Barry in that a sustainable economy is neccessary to a sustainable environment, but I wonder if the "whole" picture is presented here. The author quotes himself and Ecological Internet, the source of this blog.

"It seems she's still part of the group but wanting a solo career."