When do we hit the limits of the earth?

Dan Bloom had commented:

” I SEE NO WAY OUT FROM THIS MESS. but it won’t hit the fan until 200, 400 more years…. until then, maybe until 2100 at least, we will muddle along….and the climate tsunami, when it hits, it won’t hit all at once, like in Thailand, it will hit the beach here slowly, over a period of maybe 10 to 100 years… “

Dan,

Hi, I hate to be the one to tell you, but the point of vanishing returns for multiplying our use of the earth has been crossed. I think we’ll be very lucky to stabilize for decades. There seem to be several environmental collapses underway, as majestically developmental but irreversible as they are.

Our bets on what we could accomplish have completely fallen apart. The ’snag’ the economies ran into does not seem to be some mysterious malfunction brought about by everyone doing their expert jobs suddenly screwing up all at once, or even greed…!!

The whole purpose of the system both when it does and doesn’t work is greed.   So that’s not the event now occurring.

No, we ran into the earth with a bang!

… given the main design principle for building our system as expanding as fast as humanly possible till we run into something to stop it.

We’ve been expanding it by a means of making everyone’s decisions more and more complex and far reaching over time (called “productivity growth”) and have now found ourselves running into unexpected complications. One big one was food resources suddenly colliding with fuel resources, so both were abruptly prevented from expanding.

That reversed so many basic plans and assumptions for growth without limits it confused the whole system of expectations for limitless growth. I think that’s the much more direct and fundamental reason why it all went haywire…

The decisions being blamed for that look foolish only on hindsight, as from foresight everyone was seen as expertly doing their jobs. Those are like the ‘pin pricks’ or the ‘weak spots’ on the balloon. The real cause, I think, was the pump of multiplying consumption and complexity.

It stumbled on the big complication of natural limits.
Our plan didn’t work.

So, I don’t think it’s either “off in the future” or “in our biology”, it’s our cognition. Lots of things in life are highly responsive to their approaches to limits. You can probably list lots and lots. That we don’t acknowledge the connection between multiplying money and a shrinking earth, nor speculate about where that might end, seems to be the main problem.

Best, Phil Henshaw

 

 

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