How to slow down the destruction of the planet

Today is the nine anniversary of Sustainability Dharma and me blogging. This post is in part a celebration of this event. I am not sure how many original followers I have left but thank you for reading. Let’s hope we can save our demise.

You have heard it before that we are comsuming more than the earth is renewing the resources. Industrialization is one reason for this. The efficiency with which a small number of individuals can produce a large amount of products is staggering. Think logging. Cutting down a tree took a lot more effort than it did a hundred ago. So when we say economical we don’t just mean efficiency by the end-user but also the producer. Now multply that by the staggering population we have now and you will understand nothing in this world is going to slow consumption except reduction per person and a reduction of the population.

Ecosystems does this naturally by supply and demand. If there are not enough prey the predators simply die off. The reduction in predators then mean the prey replenish due to fewer enemies. Thus the system keeps things in balance thus.

The human’s consumption is a little different it consumes something called “non-renewables”, which is a bit of a misnomer. Nothing disappears in reality but only changes in form. The amount of carbon has been fairly steady on our planet Earth because it is a relatively closed system. But most of that carbon had been trapped securely in fossil fuels and other carbon sinks for most of Earth’s history. The sudden release of all this carbon into the atmosphere has a dire consequences for all life. In this sense the balance has been interrupted. Thus the only way for us to return to balance is to slow down the carbon release and let the system reabsorb the carbon into the carbon sinks and other carbon cycles.

This is easier said than done since to return carbon into the form of fossil fuels takes thousands if not millions of years. So that the release of carbon from fossil fuels in last two to three hundred years by us cannot really be put back as easily as it was released. This is not the only case. Our destruction of forests another carbon sink also means it will take time to regenerate.

In short, only stopping fossil fuel use and deforestation is the only way to reverse this trend.

But the only way it seems is if humans disappear from this planet in great quantities. This is not as far fetched as it sounds. Any kind of great war or mass famine ought to do a good job. But also those who do survive will probably be those who created the imbalance in the first place. Such is the irony of it. And will we start pillaging all over again, never to learn from our past mistakes?