In their single-minded pursuit of economic growth and wealth, human beings could be collectively working themselves out of a home. Human activities systematically degrade the water, air and other surroundings that sustain life. The problem is not with pending shortages of resources, argues systems analyst and philanthropist Bo Ekman, but a rapidly growing population and new generations that expect ever higher standards of living, with more products and space.
Climate change alone will impose severe weather patterns, shortages of freshwater and displacement of entire communities. Humans complicate the problems of nature by dumping chemicals and manipulating the genetics of plants and animals. Many leaders recognize the crisis that awaits our grandchildren – but hesitate to restrain the growth. One reason is the widespread desire for the status quo in comfort, and another is a lack of trust in global institutions.
Adding to the hesitation is an overwhelming confidence in new technology that might eliminate disease, shortages or an over-heated planet. Yet Ekman warns that new technologies might cause more problems than the old ones. The only sure solution is pursuing balance through sustainability. Survival of the human race may depend on ecological visions replacing growth as humanity’s driving force. – YaleGlobal.
YaleGlobal Online is the flagship publication of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. The magazine explores the implications of the growing interconnectedness of the world by drawing on the rich intellectual resources of the Yale University community, scholars from other universities, and public- and private-sector experts from around the world. Nayan Chanda is the Editor of YaleGlobal Online and Director of Publications.