Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Stuff and more Stuff (or Doom and Gloom)

Early in October I wrote about the futility of switching off the odd light and TV to save energy. It becomes more and more apparent to me that the whole issue of consumerism is being blatantly ignored by politicians paying lip-service to environmental concerns. It is perfectly obvious, that all these measures are doing is redistributing our spending. And almost everything we spend on has a huge resource implication. However, watching a TV programme on modern art made me think: Perhaps if millions of dollars/pounds/euros are spent on a piece of modern art (however that is defined) that at least does not have massive implications for the environment. After all a $5million painting only requires very few resources compared with a $5million ocean going boat. Trouble is, that the artist or dealer getting the $5million may well spend it on cars, intercontinental travel etc etc.

Which brings me full circle. While we have a free market, where commodities have to be as cheap as possible, there is little hope. Energy will be wasted, goods will continue to become increasingly disposable, and we will all make more and more unnecessary journeys, and commute longer and longer distances. And if at the same time the population continues to increase, there is only one possible result.

However, I was interested to read a geologist pointing out that this does not mean the planet will be destroyed -- it's not a case of saving planet earth -- it simply means that humans and a few hundred (or perhaps thousands) other species will go. The planet will survive, and so will enough of the other species to start the whole process over again. Over the millennia, catastrophes have wiped out large percentages of life. More recently human civilizations have regularly collapsed. The current 'civilization' has not been around very long, and probably won't be around much longer. But the planet shouldn't worry. But any person under 50 probably should worry. A lot.

1 comment:

  1. Following on from your last two sentences, I am rather glad I am 66!