The problem with Consumerism….

5 07 2021

Very watchable 10 minute video. I particularly like the beginning which describes how a post GFC South Korea went into green growth mode, only for its emissions to rise by 11% in a decade…



5 responses

5 07 2021

Erm, it started well, then the video did reference a paper that claims the planet can support three times the current population (24 billion people by 2050) living like 1960s Switzerland! See 6.43 mins in, the paper being “Providing decent living with minimum energy” by Joel Millward-Hopkins et al.

Comedy moment. Pfft! Why would you even want to, I mean, 24 billion people! Where you gonna put all the poop, never mind anything else?

6 07 2021

I missed that…. I thought he meant we’d need to go back to living like that at our current numbers. Overshoot looks like it’s going away…

10 07 2021

Heh, that’s what you get when you let economists discuss something. Yes, the birth rate is going down, below replacement rate, but the population is still currently going up 81 million a year. Looks like they don’t understand the exponential function. The population got so big when we were at replacement rate or higher that even a declining birth rate is still leading to a net gain in planet nibblers. We have a billion more people than a decade ago. The birth rate has declined 25% (2.1 to 1.6 per woman) in that time and yet the actual numbers of net people produced per year has still gone up. A smaller percentage of a bigger number can still be higher output.

I mean, eventually, they are right, the total population will go down, but not because women are choosing to have less or because of urbanisation, but because of ecological overshoot.

That 2019 video is already out of date, as recent research shows we are sterilising ourselves to extinction as well.
But as any student of Limits to Growth knows, it is pollution and resource depletion that will crash the population numbers.

6 07 2021
Jon Wood

Interesting. I am increasingly frightened at the possible future scenarios available to us as a society. I just don’t think the majority of developed world people will willingly accepting reduced consumerism and degrowth unless and until it is forced upon them,

14 07 2021

Pollution and resource depletion could crash the population numbers, but the necessity of sufficient food and water certainly will if not met.
The ‘Our Changing Climate’ video is good at pointing out some of the problems we face.

There is no quick and easy solution which would be acceptable to many of our current global population : whether it was’guided’/manipulated or coerced or ‘it just evolved itself that way’, the expectations and presumed entitlements – whether inculcated or just part of the human condition – the civilizational structure is so large that totally dismantling and replacing it voluntarily is a pipe dream.

One obvious attempt at a solution would be to keep the fossil fuel enabling existence of 7.8 billion humans possible, while only allowing those fossil fuel products
to be used for food, water, medical and nececessary electrical use for basic survival, and of course its use in research and manufacturing of renewable energy alternatives.
Discretionary consumption by some humans would possibly be reduced by a huge percentage -the 95% consumption drop in countries with today’s highest per-capita consumers sounds plausible.

Sadly, parts of the already built current civilizational structure would call such ideas a pipe dream.
“Equality” ? yes, easy to mouth, “but do you really think that I would give him/her/them the same share as me !”

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