Earth vs. People

Reading the article by C. Folke on Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for socio-ecological systems analysis, and thinking over my previous learning log entry with the comment that Gary posted, I keep coming back to the same thoughts. The author of the article talks about the disturbance of systems, and their capacity to continue running despite of this. I keep thinking of how this would apply to us humans living on this planet, for which we only half try to make an effort into sustaining it.
A little later in the resilience part he discusses the desirability of a certain system. The implications a certain system has on either the economy, the ecology or the social aspect of the world, might create a different output. Therefore it might happen that what is desirable for one is highly undesirable for another. Comparing this to the current movement towards ‘sustainability’ it is quite obvious that it has apparent undesirable effects on certain people, while others feel quite the opposite. However, thinking of what we want to sustain, either our habitat, or ourselves, the importance of sustaining our habitat should be desired by all of us. The planet has shown to be very resilient to our actions. While we are draining the life out of it, it still gives us all these beautiful natural miracles. But it is affected by what we do. The long term effects of what influence our actions have on the long run are largely researched, and the results aren’t positive. Not positive for us, that is. Because no matter how resilient the planet is, we will always come second. When the planet’s climate changes so drastically that we either get cooked, or as the historical climatic curves show that the planet will go into a second ice age, we are quite certainly not able to live here. And is that the worst? I guess not; there are plenty of other planets in the universe. The problem we face is however not solved by moving to another planet, if that would ever be possible. We are using natural resources that are running out faster than they can ever be regenerated. Thinking about it this black and white, stopping our exploitation of the earth or continuing until we are forced to desert the earth, comes back to the same conclusion; terminating the use of natural resources. Either now, or by the time we created such a mess that we are forced to. We need to be wiser than that. We can be wiser than that. The technologies are already there to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels, but the use of these innovations is slowed down by the oil companies. There is simply too much short term profit in these outdated energy sources, and too much effort into developing cleaner ones that the most influential people on this earth aren’t cooperating.

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