The Tragedy of the Commons
Whilst we will successfully thrust and parry technology against nature to counter many of the challenges we face, our limiting factor is ultimately population. Our growth and expectation of quality of life is unsustainable.
As we will eventually be forced to limit population, it would be reasonable to ask why a global strategic approach has not been developed before now.
As we look to the future, government scientific and economic policy should reflect an appreciation of both human and environmental resources in a holistic way.
When appreciation for care of the planet first took major root during the 1960s and 1970s a number of prominent people publicised their ideas on the future of human-ecosystem relationships. One vocal proponent of these concepts was E.F. Schumacher (author of
‘Small is beautiful: Economics as if people mattered’ and ‘Schumacher on Energy’) and when asked if he thought his ‘Buddhist economics’ would work in the west, he replied, “Why not? The west is just as much capable of common-sense as anybody else!” (E F Schumacher was known for his sense of humour and optimism as well as his intellect and vision).
If we are, as E F Schumacher put forward as capable of common-sense, our focus needs to be concurrently slowing our rate of expansion and implementing sustainable, clean technologies to diffuse our impact.