"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Human Civilisation Will Collapse Unless Culture Of Greed & Excessive Consumerism Is Stopped, Report Warns

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Oldspeak:“Infinite ‘Growth’ and unfettered consumption is unsustainable on a finite planet. Despite this obvious and basic fact, many civilizations before ours have tried and failed with this toxic economic model as will ours if we don’t make fundamental changes to our cultures now. The stakes are incalculably higher now as our seemingly incurable strain of virulent capitalism has spread across the globe to most all dominant cultures, even those that have thrived for thousands of years like China & India have adopted a view of greed as success. We are exhausting our planet’s resources much faster than it can replenish them, and its finite resources disappearing ever faster.  This can only go on for so long before supplies are unable to support our careless and voracious demands. We must free ourselves from the crushing yoke of our transnational corporate overseers, driving us relentlessly via their ubiquitous and insidious consumption propaganda networks to work ever harder and longer for ever more fiat currency to consume ever more things we don’t need, creating ever more waste and pollution we’re running out of places to dump. We need Barefoot Economics. Now.

Related Video:

Chilean Economist Manfred Max-Neef on Barefoot Economics, Poverty and Why The U.S. is Becoming an “Underdeveloping Nation”

By Andrew Hough @ The U.K. Guardian:

The world’s population is burning through the planet’s resources at such a reckless rate – about 28 per cent more last year – it will eventually cause environmental havoc, said the Worldwatch Institute, a US think-tank.

In its annual State of the World 2010 report, it warned any gains from government action on climate change could be wiped out by the cult of consumption and greed unless changes in our lifestyle were made.

Consumerism had become a “powerful driver” for increasing demand for resources and consequent production of waste, with governments, including the British, too readily wanting to promoted it as necessary for job creation and economic well-being.

More than £2.8 trillion of stimulus packages had been poured into economies to pull the world out of the global recession, it found, with only a small amount into green measures.

But the think tank warned that without a “wholesale transformation” of cultural patterns the world would not be able to “prevent the collapse of human civilisation”.

The think tank found that over the past decade consumption of goods and services had risen by 28 per cent to $30.5 trillion (£19bn) – with the world digging up the equivalent of 112 Empire State Buildings of material every day.

The average American consumes more than his or her weight in products each day, many US two year-olds can recognise the McDonald’s “Golden Archers” sign, although they cannot read the letter, and an average western family spends more on their pet than by someone trying to live in Bangladesh.

A cultural shift from consumption to valuing sustainable living was needed because government targets and new technology were not enough to rescue humanity from ecological and social threats.

Without action, humans faced problems including changing climates, obesity epidemics, declines in wildlife, loss of agricultural land and more production of hazardous waste.

Consumerism it said had “taken root in culture upon culture over the past half-century … (and) become a powerful driver of the inexorable increase in demand for resources and production of waste that marks our age”.

Erik Assadourian, the institute’s project director, said it was “no longer enough to change our light bulbs, we must change our very cultures”.

At current consumption rates, 200 square metres of solar panels a second and 24 wind turbines every hour were needed to be built to satisfy energy levels.

The think tank said it was not just the United States that was guilty of a culture of excess with other developing countries such as Brazil, India and China adopting greed as a success symbol.

China, one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emissions producers, recently overtook the US as the world’s top car market.

“More than 6.8 billion human beings are now demanding ever greater quantities of material resources, decimating the world’s richest ecosystems, and dumping billions of tons of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere each year,” the report said.

This number will only increase as people in the developing world aspire towards a Western-styled consumer lifestyle.

Mr Assadourian added: “Until we recognise that our environmental problems, from climate change to deforestation to species loss, are driven by unsustainable habits, we will not be able to solve the ecological crises that threaten to wash over civilisation.

“We’ve seen some encouraging efforts to combat the world’s climate crisis in the past few years.

“But making policy and technology changes while keeping cultures centered on consumerism and growth can only go so far.”

He said such measures such as banning incandescent light bulbs and steering children away from consumerism through toy libraries would help.

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  1. Really interesting post and article. I think the difficulty is that we need to be what could be termed ‘alarmist’ in order to raise awareness of the very real issues facing the planet. But, at the same time, there has to be a positive vision for a more sustainable future if people are to be truly convinced.

    • Thx Sir! Yeah that is the difficulty, but the reality is alarms are going off everywhere. Droughts, freakish weather, famine, mass species extinctions, etc etc etc, and people are acting like it doesn’t matter. Acting like we’re not rapidly running out of the the dead dinosaurs and plants we run our civilization with. At the rate we’re going there is no positive vision, people have to begin to come to terms with that fact, if we choose to continue on this path of ecocidal destruction for the sake of insatiable greed for “more” There’s only so much “more” to be had, before we plunge into a highly undesirable era of “less”. That era is already upon many of us in the form of “Austerity Measures” “Budget Cuts” and “Structural Adjustment Programs” People are working harder and longer for less compensation and benefits. The health and well-being of the poor and middle class is being sacrificed for benefit of rich. Neofeudalism has taken hold in many 1st through 3rd world countries. We cannot ignore these facts and imagine a positive future. We have to deal with the reality of our culture and change it fundamentally to even conceive of a positive future. Given the reality we’re living in, people should already be truly convinced.

  2. I agree with everything you say and people should already be convinced. However, despite the wealth of literature, journalism and cinematography produced on the issues, humanity is continuing along the same course. The true challenge is making people aware of the issues to an extent at which they are ready to change their ways. Otherwise, all those people (like us) who can see the impending problems are just whispers in a bustling crowd.

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