Capitalism successes are based on economic growth, attain and sustained by burning fossil fuels. The key one for nearly a century is oil, it’s involved in all our activities, and it’s what sustains world societies, also its gradually changing our benign planet to an unliveable one. Its due to two factors one been the emission of carbon dioxide, which keeps the heat on the planet and it also acidifies the oceans, the other is the loss and the shrinking numbers of species except for an unsupportable explosion of humans population. To make matters even worse, present economic system must grow to be vital, but economic growth is dependent on more energy and more people to buy more stuff. Renewables can’t fulfil that growing demand considering that within renewable energy there are parts of it that is non-renewable so we are a long way to a sustainable way of life, furthermore, that way of life has distorted our view of nature and of ourselves. Our present social Psychology is founded on the murky and callous experience of civilisation at the same time staying somewhat aloof from the worst of civilised activities. This’s achieved by blaming the brutality, dishonesty and destructiveness in civilisation as the result of our supposedly faulty human nature, so it’s blamed on human nature, yet the root and foundation of civilisation is living on, instead of living with nature. That reckless life style devastates nature the more able and knowledgeable we become. This’s because no one in power is looking after our planet their too involved outdoing their competitors and therefore need ever more power from nature.
Industrial capitalism was created and is maintained with fossil fuels, it’s its means and demise. However, if continued much longer it will be not only the end of that system, but the end of life on our planet. The predicament we are in and need to deal with is that there’s already too many of us and there will be even more by the middle of this century. This will increase the difficulty of living on a depleting resourced and a heating up planet that is insolvable within the gross dishonesty of civilisation. The difficulty we don’t see is the carbon we have already emitted so far will give over a decade of warming before the biosphere’s temperature equalize with present insulation. even if we could stop emitting now we would still have a hard time. However, the present economy must grow to be viable and that growth can only be achieved by burning fossil fuels, but that will end life on earth.
So how can we survive? We only have a few options and they have many difficulties for us now and for all this century. However, any options can’t include civilisation or any forms of competition or growth in economic activities, it must introduce a rapid decline in our population without causing hardships to any groups of people. This requires an openness that’s only possible in cooperative societies; however, the small numbers who control world societies, have an emotional thinking that’s incompatible with helping others just to get the satisfaction of doing it. But in civilisation that minority has the power. So they must be convinced that it’s in their interest to relinquish that domination, and cooperate to save themselves and their offspring. We all have either a good chance of surviving if we live the simple life until we have undone most of the damage we did to our planet, or we keep with civilisation and end up with a probable lifeless planet.
One of our many illusions is we equated our standard of living and its continual growth to our ingenuity; the reality is it’s due to socioeconomics state of affairs of the time as humans intelligence hasn’t changed a great deal for at least a hundred thousand years. Changing social or environmental conditions have motivated imaginative people to think of new ways to extract more from our planet and increase the toil of workers. Nevertheless, one can’t keep on using non-renewables, any longer to maintain civilised societies at the expense our children’s life, which will progress to a lifeless planet.
Our planet is finite and renewables must be shared with other life forms to maximise its biodiversity enabling it to give us the best and securest life. While non renewables must be recycle or not used, that means we must stop burning fossil fuels as soon as possible. But that’s not achievable in a civilised world as they’re all competitive creating gross inequalities within, between other societies, and other life forms. That’s very wasteful and is not survivable. We need to live in small groups of people in association with other small groups of less than a hundred or so people. Fortunately today we can use an MRI machine to test the socialness of people who could have power over people or have moved to new area where their character is unknown to new groups that may need a large number of people to function effectively.
The consequences of our indifference of using fossil fuels energy by ignoring its likely outcome of ending life on earth is overshadowed by capitalism’s need to grow its economy. By now we should have already wean ourselves of fossil fuels, if we had started when we realised its consequence by the 70’s as it would have been much easier then than now, as in 1970 world population was only 3.7 Billion, today it’s 7.7 billion, while our consumption per capita is till increasing and that on a much depleted and polluted planet. Present economic culture of growth makes our exigencies to reduce global warming gases even more hopeless as our system prefers highly specialised people who in their reductionism leave societies holistic functions to chance.
Lionel Anet is a member of Sydney U3A University of the Third Age, of 20 years standing and now a life member