Thursday, March 31, 2005

Learned scientists: We're screwed

I have spent a good deal of space on this blog worrying about peak oil and alternative energy issues. Let's say for the sake of argument that the world makes a successful transition to a new energy economy without a lot of trouble. What's next? Unfortunately, what's next is that we continue to destroy the soil, the water, the land, the sea, and the climate that all creatures including us humans depend on. We inevitably bump up against other limits of resource use beyond energy.

That's the verdict of 1,300 scientist from 95 countries examining the global ecosphere for a report due out today. Here's what the lead author had to say:

"The bottom line of this assessment is that we are spending earth's natural capital, putting such strain on the natural functions of earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted."
Can we reverse course and change the fate of our children and grandchildren? Yes, say the authors, but nobody is seriously thinking about implementing the major changes we need in order to make the planet a better instead of worse place for future generations.

To give you an example of the kind of largely hidden dependency we have on natural systems, take a look at this article on Wikipedia on the destruction of pollinators, that is, insects and animals that pollinate over 90 foods crops for us. Our food supply would be in big trouble without them.

(Via Flying Talking Donkey and Cryptogon.)

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