Isn't it Time to Cry "Uncle"? If Not Now, Then When?
I don't believe there's a snowball's chance in hell of something of this enormity happening any time soon. That doesn't mean it shouldn't.
Covid-19 has brought us face first into a brick wall and we're on course to visit that wall over and over again. Some of these encounters are already happening and go unnoticed. Some may eclipse the coronavirus pandemic in lives and treasure lost.
The brick wall represents the finite limits of nature, the biosphere that supports all life on the planet, Spaceship Earth. Covid-19 demonstrates that, when you go beyond those finite limits, bad things are bound to happen.
Covid 19 is a public health emergency. Just one of several that we are creating in our role as Masters of the Universe. Here's another looming emergency - food insecurity, i.e. famine, caused by the degradation of our stocks of farmland through excessively intensive farming, heavy applications of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and excessive exploitation of groundwater for irrigation. We are stripping essential carbon out of the soil in a process called "desertification."
Then there's climate change, a cornucopia of existential emergencies that, while varying by region, will trigger impacts that will spread everywhere. Then there's the collapse of biodiversity, mass extinction... I could go on and on and on.
The thing with existential emergencies is that you either resolve all of them or you'll fail on all of them. You might be fighting a kitchen fire but what does that matter if the rest of the house is consumed by the flames.
But, really, how bad is it? For us, as I like to call us 'the latitudinally advantaged,' it's not too bad at all. We can still get to the grocery store. The shelves are well stocked. We can afford to get what we need to comfortably stave off hunger. For close to three out of four human beings, however, that's not the case.
A study just published in the journal, Nature Sustainability, is an eye-opener. The authors, scientists and researchers from the Global Footprint Network, reveal that 72 per cent of us live in countries that have both biological resource deficits and lower than average incomes.As humanity’s demand on natural resources is increasingly exceeding Earth’s biological rate of regeneration, environmental deterioration such as greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere, ocean acidification and groundwater depletion is accelerating. ...We analysed the unequal exposure of national economies to biocapacity constraints. We found that a growing number of people live in countries with both biocapacity deficits and below-average income. Low income thwarts these economies’ ability to compete for needed resources on the global market. By 2017, 72% of humanity lived in such countries. This trend not only erodes their possibilities for maintaining progress but also eliminates their chances for eradicating poverty, a situation we call an ‘ecological poverty trap’.