Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. May we all come to understand the predicament we live under in the developed world (East and West): an unsustainable way of living that destroys life itself, including our own.
The joy in this realization is that there is a new way of living at our fingertips. We just have to create to our liking what our lives would be like in the future and then let the power of our imaginations take over.
Rejoice, oh ye faithful!
Via: Energy Bulletin:
In a general sense, “societal overextension” is a condition in which a society is living beyond its means ecologically and economically. The significant consequence associated with societal overextension is that the society’s population level and material living standards exceed sustainable levels.
Societal overextension (overextension) occurs when a society’s lifestyle paradigm, its “way of life”, is enabled by the persistent overexploitation of ecological resources and economic resources.
In industrialized societies, ecological resources are the raw materials (natural resources) and waste repositories (natural habitats) that enable people to produce, provision, and utilize goods and services. Ecological resource overexploitation occurs when a society:
* Persistently utilizes renewable natural resources that are critical to its existence, such as water, croplands, pasturelands, fisheries, and forests, at levels greater than those at which Nature can replenish them;
* Persistently utilizes nonrenewable natural resources that are critical to its existence, such as oil, natural gas, coal, minerals, and metals, which Nature does not replenish; and/or
* Persistently degrades atmospheric, aquatic, and terrestrial natural habitats that are critical to its existence, at levels greater than those at which Nature can regenerate them.
Economic resources provide the “purchasing power” that enables people to procure goods and services. Economic resource overexploitation occurs when a society:
* Persistently depletes its previously accumulated economic asset reserves;
* Persistently incurs intergenerational debt, which it has neither the capacity nor the intention to repay; and/or
* Persistently defers indefinitely investments critical to its future wellbeing.
An overextended society and its lifestyle paradigm are unsustainable, and will inevitably collapse.
The prevailing American perception is that “our system is broken” and must therefore be “fixed”, or “rescued”, or “bailed out”… This perception is fundamentally inaccurate; as a result, the proposed prescription is fatally flawed.
As the preceding analysis clearly demonstrates, we are irreparably overextended—living hopelessly beyond our means, ecologically and economically. Our resource utilization behavior, which enables our “system”—our American way of life—is detritovoric; that is, we are systematically eliminating the very ecological resources and economic resources upon which our ever-increasing population and our historically unprecedented living standards depend.
The inescapable conclusion is that our American way of life is not sustainable—it cannot, therefore, be “fixed”; it must be displaced. Desperate and futile attempts to perpetuate our existing lifestyle paradigm simply waste remaining, and increasingly scarce, time and resources.
Our only recourse is to transition voluntarily, beginning immediately, to a sustainable lifestyle paradigm, one in which we live within our means ecologically and economically—forever. Should we fail to do so, quickly, the consequences associated with our predicament will be horrific.