|I think the Fat Lady’s going to sing...|
I prefer to write humorous articles, but I’ve found it very difficult lately because there’s so much that needs to be done to mitigate for the future of our kids, yet almost no-one seems to really want to do anything.
On the 22nd August, according to the Global Footprint Network (www.footprintnetwork.org), humanity overshot its annual renewable resources. In other words, we are living in natural resource overdraft and have been steadily doing so since the GFN started measuring things. In 1987 the overshoot date was the 19th December. This year it was August. By the middle of this century we will need the equivalent of another planet to make up the shortfall. Another. Whole. Planet.
I have 200+ Facebook friends, some of whom are very “green” individuals, as well as a few public figures who are purportedly “environmentally aware”. I posted this article on Facebook the following day...and had exactly two comments and not one “share”. I thought that the post would go viral. It didn’t even generate a sneeze.
Also on the 23rd, I presented to a group of municipal officials and councillors. As a motivation for the particular proposition, I had a slide containing this information, anticipating at least some sort of shocked reaction. But not one single person in that whole council chamber so much as gasped, jumping instead straight to municipal procedures and statutory requirements as if I had said nothing.
That a virtual cross-section of active society, mostly with some learning and/or influence, chose not to react to this information leads me to believe that we have a problem far larger than merely a global environmental and resource rape-and-pillage – we think it is someone else’s problem. That it is too much trouble, too large a responsibility for one person or even one municipality to make a difference, so it is not our problem.
We have a five-year old son, and the question that runs through my mind almost every day is how we help him become properly equipped for the radically different world he will be facing when we are gone. There will be no petroleum-based economy. Wars will be fought over water, energy and food sources (one of these is already true), so which skills will benefit him the most? Would he realistically be capable of surviving and adapting in such a future if we guide him down the conventional education and career paths? I look at nieces and nephews, his much-older cousins, and however capable they are in their jobs and environment, they are still wholly unprepared for the collapse of their familiar but unsustainable urban and suburban lifestyles. What happens when peak oil inevitably impacts us, when aquifers dry up and when food miles begin to count?
I don’t want to be seen as a doomsayer, but unless we ALL stop excusing ourselves from responsibility for environmental sustainability, I honestly think we’ll start to hear Mother Earth warming up her vocal chords.