Goodbye Strange World?

Out of sight, out of mind? You may be fortunate to live in a beautiful, unpolluted place, but your actions have global consequences and, if you've traveled abroad, you've likely seen the widespread pollution caused by the West's (and now Asia's as well) growing consumption problem, like this lake in Northern China.

An MIT study conducted in 1972 predicted that the world’s economy (and with it industrial output, services, pollution, and the global population) would hit a disastrous peak in 2030 (read: economic distress of irreversible global proportions) and then recoil in the decades to follow. Physicist Graham Turner recently revisited the then-controversial report, noting that the trends actually do match the facts:

“There is a very clear warning bell being rung here,” he says. “We are not on a sustainable trajectory.”

So what’s the solution? Turner and others agree, as a Popular Science article notes, that there’s only one way:

“If governments enact stricter policies and technologies can be improved to reduce our environmental footprint, economic growth doesn’t have to become a market white dwarf, marching toward inevitable implosion. But just how to do that is another thing entirely.”

But I would argue that resting simply on government intervention (especially without the coercing of its citizens) is a dangerous game to play. There must be matched individual involvement and we all are equally responsible for making conscious, ecological decisions in our daily lives—whether it’s giving up eating meat during week days, driving less and walking more, or not buying that _____ (insert object name) we don’t really need. If not, we may end up looking like this:

Happy Friday folks…

***

An update:

As if we needed more evidence of the destruction caused by human activity, here’s news of some of the worst drought-like conditions ever to hit China’s Northeast, also known as the nation’s ‘bread basket’. One resident is quoted as saying, “I can’t remember when I last saw a situation like this, where we had too little snow during winter and spring.”

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About Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine was raised in New Hampshire but has considered China a second home for the past two decades. She is the author of the award-winning forthcoming novel Empire of Glass and co-founder of Hippo Reads, a media start-up connecting academic insights with real world issues. She lives in Singapore.
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