THE  LIMITS  TO  GROWTH

29.10.2011

Worldwatch claims that world food production would only be sufficient for 480 million people if water was not being over used; i.e., if sources were not being depleted.

Worldwatch News Release, 20.1.2000, p. 10.

Water pollution, poor sanitation and water shortages will kill more than 12 million people this year, i.e., 33,000 every day.

            UN Environment Program Executive Director, K. Toepfer, 2002.

"There simply isn't sufficient natural capital to support the present world population at northern material standards."

W. Rees, "Ecological footprints and appropriated carrying capacity; what urban economics leaves out," Environment and Urbanisation, 4.2. Oct 1992, p. 128.

A FOOTPRINT ANALYSIS:

The researchers assessed the total area globally available for growing crops, grazing animals, harvesting timber, accommodation infrastructure, marine fishing, and absorbing carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels. They then calculated how much area would be required to sustainably meet human demand for these various activities

According to this analysis, human demand (or Ecological Footprint) in 1961 was about 70 percent of the Earth's regenerative capacity. By the 1980s demand had risen to match total global supply, and by 1999 demand exceeded supply by at least twenty percent. It takes the biosphere, therefore, at least a year and three months to renew what humanity uses in a single year.

OAKLAND, Calif.-Humanity's use of natural resources, or Ecological Footprint, has exceeded the regenerative capacity of the Earth since the 1980s. The finding is outlined in a paper to be published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Control, a UN body), as well as the Enquiry Commission of the German Bundestag, have calculated that if global warming is to be prevented they must not exceed about 11 billion tonnes per year.

If we accept that long term sustainable development is possible only on a basis of fair distribution of wealth then, with a global population of six billion, our 11 billion tonne budget would allow two tonnes of CO2 per person per year. The current per capita emissions of carbon dioxide in industrial countries stands at 11 to 13 tonnes.

  I. Mayer, “Designing an economy with built-in sustainability”, Feasta Review, 1, p. 152.

Four fifths of the people in Japan are going to die when the fossil fuel is gone.  Japan has an ecological footprint of 2,029,000 square miles but only 337,000 square miles of productive land;

            Energyresources@ egroups.com, 2.6.2000

There is no prospect at all that ownership of most of the mechanical appurtenances common to the households of 'rich nations, and on the mass production of which the economic fortunes of such nations depend, can ever be part of the life-style of the swarming millions of the world's poor and undernourished. The production of these and other items, especially of automobiles, is already at a level of consumption of finite resources which cannot possibly be sustained.

J. Papworth, “The general declaration of the Fourth World, Fourth World Review, 100, 2001.

Willy says the productive land available is only 5.5 billion ha, if 1/8 is preserved.  This is .92 ha per person.  The Australian use of productive land per person is 7.33, and the US footprint is 7.44.

            D. Willy, Population Ethics,  2000. Optimum Population Trust.

“Severe, prolonged hardship”…is inevitable, at least in the US.

J. Tainter, Complexity, Problem Solving and Sustainable Societies, 1996.

If all countries followed the industrial example, five or six planets would be needed to serve as ‘sources’ for the inputs and ‘sinks’ for the waste of economic progress.”30

“…both ecology and poverty call for limits to development.” 33

           W. Sachs, Planet Dialectics, Zed, 1999

“Reaching and passing the peak of world oil production will be the most important happening in human history to date, affecting  more people in more ways than any other event.”

W. Youngquist, “The Post Petroleum Paradigm and Population, Population and Environment; Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 20the April, 1999, p. 311.

“By any stretch of the imagination it will not be possible that all citizens of the world will share in the fossil fuel-based, money driven development model…

           W. Sachs, Planet Dialectics, Zed, 1999, ix.

There is one basic cause; the major problems are connected:

“As we humans have begun to think globally, it has become  clear that we do not have just a poverty problem, or a hunger          problem, or a habitat problem, or an energy problem, or a trade problem, or a population problem, or an atmospheric problem, or a waste problem, or a resource problem. On a planetary scale, these problems are all interconnected. What we really have is a poverty-hunger-habitat-energy-trade-population-atmospheric waste-resource problem. This mega problem is so new that we did not even have a name for it until 1970 when the late Dr. Aurelio Peccei described it and named it the "global problematique."

G. Barney, Global 2000 Revisited, 1993, p. 7.

American women have on averaged 15-20 pairs of shoes.

            A.Durning, Stuff, 1997, p. 26.

A team of researchers at the University of British Columbia recently estimated that the typical North American consumes resources each year equivalent to the renewable yield from 12 acres of farmland forestland. For ai! the world's people to consume at that rate is a mathematical impossibility It would-require four Earths' worth of productive land. In other words, we're three planets short We're at least nine planets—or atmospheres—short of safely absorbing the greenhouse gases that would result if all the world's people pumped pollution aloft at the North American rate.

            Source unknown.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the conclusion that the continuation of present patterns of economic growth will take us toward greater ecological instability, and sooner or later, into a period of chaos followed by the establishment of a balance at some lower level of population and productivity.”

W. Johnston, Muddling Towards Frugalityshambala, Boulder, 1978.

Worldwaltch claims that world food production would only be sufficient for 480 million people if water was not being over used; i.e., if sources were not being depleted.

Worldwatch News Release, 20.1.2000, p. 10.

"The global economy is ecologically unsustainable, and a collapse of civilization is inevitable."

            J. W. Smith and G. Lyons, Global Anarchy in the Third Millenium, St.           Martins Press, 2000.

Smith et al refer to "...the impending collapse of industrial civilization."

            J. W. Smith, G. Lyons, G. Sauer-Thompson, The Bankruptcy of        Economics, St. Martins, 1999.

"The key to future sustainability is a dramatic reduction in our levels of consumption.  According to Friends of the Earth, "There is growing consensus that within the first half of the 21st Century we need to have achieved (a reduced) consumption of environmental resources to one-tenth of the current level."

            C. Harris, "Healthy houses", Lightly Living, 8, Summer ,1999, p. 9.

“In fact, if people all over the world were  to consume at the levels that many in the North do already, we would need at least eight planets to provide us with the resources we need by the year 2050.”

Towards Sustainable Economics; Challenging Neo-Liberal Economic Globalisation, Friends of the Earth, 2000  http://www.foei.org/whatsnew/1_
Dec_Summ.htm

In 1992 a document entitled World Scientists' waning to Humanity was issued, signed by more than 1600 senior scientists from 71 countries, including more than half the Nobel Prize winners.  It began,

"Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources.  If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and my so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.  Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about...No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we no confront will be lost..."

            D. SuzukiThe Sacred Balance, Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 1997, p. 4.

"It is clear that we may not be able to sustain the present world system for much longer.  The world is rapidly becoming fragmented and disorganised, more dehumanised and impersonal...there is a very real possibility that the entire global eco-system will collapse as a result of the colossal demands and expectations being placed on it."

            D. P. Schafer, Culture; Beacon of the Future, Westport CT, Preger, 1998.

“The average item of food sold in the US has travelled 2800 km.”  (Schwarz and Schwarz, 1998, p. 150.)

"Eternal progress is a nonsensical myth.    What must be implemented is not a 'steadily expanding economy" but a zero growth economy.  Economic growth is not only unnecessary but ruinous."

            Alexander Solzhenitsyn, quoted by A. Rankin, "League of Real         Nations," Fourth World Review, 101-102, 2000, p. 12.

"Liberal ideology and liberal society will be swept away in the deluge that is to come."  p. 5.

Important in their argument is that globalisation is weakening the cohesion of the nation.  The unit of social organisation will be the tribe, racial group, locality.  (See p. 15.)  The world is retribalising.

            J.W. Smith and G. Lyons, Global Anarchy in the Third Millenium?  Race,   Place and Power at the End of the Modern Age,  New York, St. Martins       Press, 2000.

            J. Leslie, (1996), The End of the World; The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction.

 "...the direction of the global economy is precisely the opposite direction to one necessary for ecological sustainability.  Human hubris --insolent pride about our technical prowess -- will ensure that a remorseless fall, an ecological nemesis will occur.......we believe that a collapse of civiizaton...is inevitable." (p. 22.)                       

            J.W. Smith and G. Lyons, Global Anarchy in the Third Millenium?  Race,   Place and Power at the End of the Modern Age,  New York, St. Martins       Press, 2000.

"Eternal progress is a nonsensical myth.    What must be implemented is not a 'steadily expanding economy" but a zero growth economy.  Economic growth is not only unnecessary but ruinous."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, quoted by A. Rankin, "League of Real Nations," Fourth World Review, 101-102, 2000, p. 12.

Key themes in Crutwell’s book:

Theme two is that there has now erupted from immediate origins somewhere in the last half of the nineteenth century, an exponentially exploding and intertwined virus of mindlessly-used technology, industrialisation, and population growth which will 'go critical' in the early part of the new millennium.

Theme Three is that the dominance of the economic motive the world over, insupportable levels of consumption, rising and quite unsatisfiable  “consumer” expectations, and the manifest inability and unwillingness of all governments to face these issues now collude to pose a unique and immediate threat to the planet and our occupation of it; and that there are not available yet, at any rate, or in prospect—any tried, tested and democratically acceptable means of responding with any confidence to these defiant challenges.

P. Crutwell, History Out of Control, Dartington, Green Books, I995.

"...it is physically impossible...for the world to consume at levels even approximating those in North America, Europe and Japan." 35

D. Korten, When Corporations Rule the World, Kumarian Press, 1995.

There are several things deeply wrong with this view of growth as progress. It is, at the global level, ecologically unsustainable and grossly inequitable. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that global consumption pressure, a measure of the impact of people on natural ecosystems based on resource consumption and     pollution data, is increasing by about 5%/an, so will double in about 15 years.

Living  Planet Report, 1998, World Wildlife Fund.

Everywhere that we live we're using        up the resources that we depend on faster than they are being replenished. The reason is that there are too many of us. In simple biological terms, we have exceeded the carrying capacity of our environment.

How will the situation be rectified? Like any other species, most of us will die. That death will not be pleasant for many. But consider the alternative. If most of us don’t die in the next few decades, if we somehow manage to hang on long enough to gradually reduce our numbers by some other method than starvation or disease, we will use up that much more of our resource base, leaving our descendants that much poorer.

            The logic of despair, Runningonempty@onelist.com, 6.1.2000

The report, to be released in September, is published by WRI, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Envronment Program (UNEP) and the World Bank. More than 175 scientists contributed to the report, which took more than two years to produce.

Portions of the report are now available online at: http://www.wri.org/wri/wrr2000.

Half of the world's wetlands were lost in the last century.

Logging and conversion have shrunk the world’s forests by as much as half.

Some nine percent of the world's tree species are at risk of extinction.

Tropical deforestation probably exceeds 130,000 square kilometers per year.

Fishing fleets are 40 percent larger than the ocean can sustain.

Almost 70 percent of the world's major marine fish stocks are overfished or are being fished at their biological limit.

Twenty percent of the world’s freshwater species are extinct, threatened or endangered. At least 10,000 freshwater fish species are threatened globally.

-----------------

Our relentless pursuit of economic growth is accelerating the breakdown of the planet's life support systems, intensifying resource competition, widening the gap between rich and poor, and undermining the values and relationships of family and community.

            D. Korten, The Post Corporate World, p. 6.

The earth's natural resources simply do not suffice for the standards of living enjoyed today by the privileged in the North to be universalized. In other words, there is an : absolute natural barrier that places impossible the globalization of the North's capitalist type of growth economy.

            D. Korten, The Post Corporate World, p. 142.

"The cities of West Africa at night are some of the unsafest places

in the world. Streets are unlit; the police often lack gasoline for their vehicles; armed burglars, carjackers, and muggers proliferate.      The government in Sierra Leone has no writ after dark,' says a foreign resident, shrugging. When I was in the capital, Freetown, last September, eight men armed with AK-47s broke into the house of an American man. They tied him up and stole everything of value. Forget Miami: direct flights between the United States and the Murtala Muhammed Airport, in neighboring Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, have been suspended by order of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation because of ineffective security at the terminal and its environs. A State Department report cited the airport for extortion by law-enforcement and immigration officials.  This is one of the few times that the U.S. government has embargoed a foreign airport for reasons that are linked purely to crime. In Abidjan, effectively the capital of the Cote d'lvoire, or Ivory Coast, restaurants have stick-and-gun-wielding guards who walk you the fifteen feet or so between your car and the entrance, giving you an eerie taste of what American cities might be like in the future. An   Italian ambassador was killed by gunfire when robbers invaded an Abidjan restaurant. The family of the Nigerian ambassador was tied up and robbed at gunpoint in the ambassador's residence. After university students in the Ivory Coast caught bandits who had been plaguing their dorms, they executed them by hanging tires around their necks and setting the tires on fire. In one instance Ivorian     

policemen stood by and watched the 'necklacings,' afraid to intervene. Each time I went to the Abidjan bus terminal, groups of young men with restless, scanning eyes surrounded my taxi, putting their hands all over the windows, demanding 'tips' for carrying my luggage even though I had only a rucksack. In cities in six West African countries I saw similar young men everywhere -- hordes of them. They were like loose molecules in a very unstable social fluid, a fluid that was clearly on the verge of igniting."

A PREMONITION OF THE FUTURE: "West Africa is becoming THE symbol of worldwide demographic, environmental, and societal stress, in which criminal anarchy emerges as the real strategic' danger. Disease, overpopulation, unprovoked crime, scarcity of resources, refugee migrations, the increasing erosion of nation-states and international borders, and the empowerment of private armies, security firms, and international drug cartels are now most tellingly demonstrated through a West African prism. West Africa provides an appropriate introduction to the issues, often extremely unpleasant to discuss, that will soon confront our civilization...."     http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/foreign/anarcf.htm

“Livestock consume 90% of soy, 80% of corn and 70% of grain grown in the US...  64% of US  cropland produces livestock feed, only 2% produces fruit and vegetables.”  (USDept. of Agriculture, quoted in Schwarz and Schwarz, 1998, p. 83.)

_____________________________________ 

OUR EXPENSIVE WAYS

Right now, Britain exports as much butter as it imports from the continent - 47m kg is exported, and 43m kg imported, each year.        ~A whole airport has been built in  Arkansas, USA, just to export pigs  abroad in 747s.

“From global to local”, International Permaculture Journal, March, 2000, p. 74.

Modern agriculture gets 1/3 energy units from 1 input unit.  Peasant food production can get 20…ie.., it is 60 times as efficient.  13

            V. Shiva, Stolen Harvest, South End Press,

Golf courses, constructed partly for tourists, are expanding rapidly in Asian developing countries, putting severe strains on water supplies, and also on land and forests. In the early 1980s the region had few courses outside Japan. Now there are 'about 160 in Thailand, 155 in Malaysia, 90 in Indonesia, 80 in the Philippines and many more are planned', points out Chee Yoke Ling of the Asia Pacific Peoples' Environment Network, which started the Global Anti-Golf Movement (based in Malaysia) to draw attention to the problems. Some of these courses have been funded with Japanese aid money.

The world's biggest golf course operator is the US-based TNC, the American Golf Corporation. A standard 18-hole golf course uses 6,500 cubic metres of water a day - an amount that could meet the needs of 60,000 villagers. Building golf courses in tropical areas can mean that forests have to be cleared, coastal areas bulldozed, mountain tops lopped off and swamps are drained. Course maintenance usually requires large amounts of chemicals such as fertiliser and fungicides which can pollute water and cause health hazards. Like tourism as a whole, golf courses can affect local food supply, sometimes by taking over land which once grew food. In May 1998, farmers in the Philippines planted rice on a golf course in Manila, in a protest about the way the land was being used.

J. Madley, Big Business Poor People, London,Zed Books, 1999, p. 141.

RICH WORLD LIVING STANDARDS ARE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ALL

“In fact, if people all over the world were  to consume at the levels that many in the North do already, we would need at least eight planets to provide us with the resources we need by the year 2050.”

Towards Sustainable Economics; Challenging Neo-Liberal Economic Globalisation, Friends of the Earth, 2000  http://www.foei.org/whatsnew/1_
Dec_Summ.htm

"...a US style high resource consumption standard for a world of four billion people is impossible."

            H. Daly, Economics, Ecology, Ethics, San Fran cisco, Freeman, 1989, p. 361.

"The North's patterns of resource consumption are not environmentally sustainable...either for the region itself or as a model for the world."

            J. Leonard, Modernity, 1996, p 49.

"...the development celebrated in ultra-solemn declarations will never exist, because it presupposes infinite growth that is in reality impossible."  (236)

            G. Rist, The History of Development, London, Zed, 1999.

"But at the heart of the development system is a claim to be extended to the whole planet through endless growth  above all for the countries already most developed.  The fact is however that this is not an achievable objective."  (44)

"...hope that all the world's inhabitants will enjoy material affluence has now vanished..." (220)

            G. Rist, The History of Development, London, Zed, 1999.

A team of researchers at the University of British Colombia recently estimated that the typical North American consumes resources each year equivalent to the renewable yield from 12 acres of farmland and forestland.  For all the world’s people to consume at that rate is a mathematical impossibility.  It would require four earth’s worth of productive land.  In other words, we’re three planets short.  We’re at least nine planets – or atmospheres- short of safely absorbing the greenhouse gases that would result if all the world’s people pumped pollution aloft at the North American rate.

J. Ryan and H. Durning, Stuff, 1997, Seattle, Northwest Environmental Watch, p. 67.

Percentage of US residents in 1999 that walked or biked to work: 4

Percentage that rode in a vehicle to work: 87

Amount spent on exercise treadmills in 1999: $1.6 billion

         Yes!, Summer, 2001, p. 11.

Golf courses, constructed partly for tourists, are expanding rapidly in Asian developing countries, putting severe strains on water supplies, and also on land and forests. In the early 1980s the region had few courses outside Japan. Now there are about 160 in Thailand, 155 in Malaysia, 90 in Indonesia, 80 in the Philippines and many more are planned', points out Chee Yoke Ling of the Asia Pacific Peoples' Environment Network, which started the Global Anti-Golf Movement (based in Malaysia) to draw attention to the problems. Some of these courses have been funded with Japanese aid money.

The world's biggest golf course operator is the US-based TNC, the American Golf Corporation. A standard 18-hole golf course uses 6,500 cubic metres of water a day - an amount that could meet the needs of 60,000 villagers. Building golf courses in tropical areas can mean that forests have to be cleared, coastal areas bulldozed, mountain tops lopped off and swamps are drained. Course maintenance usually requires large amounts of chemicals such as fertiliser and fungicides which can pollute water and cause health hazards. Like tourism as a whole, golf courses can affect local food supply, sometimes by taking over land which once grew food. In May 1998, farmers in the Philippines planted rice on a golf course in Manila, in a protest about the way the land was being used.

            J. Madley, Big Business, Poor People, p. 141.

Shoppers in UK use 8 billion plastic bags shopping p.a.

The Ecologist,, 30, 9, Dec.Jan 200-2001, p.

THE  CHANGES ARE TOO BIG FOR THIS SOCIETY TO MAKE.

In other words, if we leave the market to govern our politics, we are finished. Only if we take control of our economic lives, and demand and create the means by which we may cut our energy use to 10 or 20% of current levels will we prevent the catastrophe which our rational selves can comprehend. This requires draconian regulation, rationing and prohibition: all the measures which our existing politics, informed by our dreaming, forbid.

George  Monbiot ,   “Sleepwalking To Extinction “, The Guardian.