Wealth Is No Protection Against Future Dangers - Part 1
By Lionel Anet
15 December, 2010
What the dominant people must face to survive
Only a few people are willing to examine the future in a comprehensive way, nevertheless we are going to experience a wide range of increasing threats if we ignore them. World societies must start tackling them simultaneously for our children sake. One reason there's little demands to effectively deal with those threats is that many people perceive that societies are incapable of solving problems of such magnitude. They also feel personally powerless to do much about it. This is far from the real situation we have now. Conditions have deteriorated over the past 40 years as far as fairness is concern, but people are tough and can withstand adverse situations. All species are mortal, interdependent and are as we are succumbing to our onslaughts. At present, we have a wide range of conflicting interest, which society resolve by compromise or more accurately by sacrificing most of the world people to satisfy the dominant wealthy people. The dominant ones are highly focused and determent on increasing their wealth and power in a very competitive setting. They have had no reason to become aware or concerns about any other mater than what's going to affect their self-interest, which at present, is amassing wealth and power. This precludes most of the powerful individuals from being aware of a multitude of dangers their collective enterprise are creating. Worst of all there's no one or group in place to change course it's the unseen hand in charge, which today is competition that controls what business and we do and the direction we take. As long as the dominant ones feel they can keep on dominating by accreting wealth the world will stay on that course, until resources runout and the effect of pollution will end in chaos and immeasurably vast number of deaths from all countries and classes. However, from the end of the 20 th century, it became possible to have an overriding common interest, which is a strong instinct of survival that all people must have to be alive. Capitalism has managed to assure our lives by largely replacing faith in god to intervene on our side, to technological solutions for all major problems, raging from conflicts to energy, food, and water. The dominant capitalist need to break free from that faith and check what technology is doing to the world in a competitive system.
In the last forty years the struggle for fairness has failed, the poor people are still poor and the rich are richer, therefore we must change our main drive, because we now have the opportunity to have a common interest, which is survival. However, the biggest obstacle to human survival is the ignorance of the dominant ones; they are the one we need to target. They need to see the world as it is instead of focusing on balance sheets of accounts and economic theories. The only way dominant people can survive is to be responsive to nature's grim situation instead of the idealistic world made up by economist. They can only survive if they manage to get the help of all people especially the poor ones and to do that it requires mutual concerns.
Threats all people must face to survive. Each of the primary items has many consequences and effects.
As the planet warms, more positive-feedbacks are turn on such as the thawing of permafrost, releasing the trapped carbon. In addition, the melting snow and ice exposes the water or soils absorbing more radiation that was reflected into space, raising the temperature still further. We will experience more uncontrollable intense bush fires increasing the carbon emissions and reduces its absorption.
The loss of many glaciers will mean the end of dependable and vital water for agriculture, stressing further food supply to the ones that only just managing now.
The ultimate catastrophe is the possible release of the huge quantity of methane that cold water keeps at the bottom of oceans as methane-hydrate. That methane is 20 to 80 times more effective than CO 2 , depending on the time duration it's calculated; that methane in air could raise temperatures beyond our ability to survive.
Rising sea levels will inundate many agricultural land and cities resulting in starvation and unmanageable number of refugees.
Increase severity of storms (cyclones etc), and with wide variation of temperature, will result in extreme floods and droughts.
Loss of artic ice will weaken ocean currents, which may bring on a multitude of detrimental effects including less oxygen in deep waters, heating up surface oceans much faster thereby reducing its ability to absorb the CO 2 .
To keep the economy growing we must turnout more products that must be replace at an ever-increasing rate. As well, modern global capitalism can only function with greater amount of oil to manufacture and power the transport of products from low waged to high waged countries. What is the most profitable for corporation is what sells the most stuff. With those essential aspects of this system, we can't reduce our carbon emissions.
The acidification of the oceans from CO 2 emissions
Increasing the stress on coral reefs destroying habitats for multitude of species, this will reduce tropical ocean biodiversity effecting fish catch.
Baleen whale feed on krill and like all crustaceans, lowering pH in oceans will badly affect them, as crustaceans are a primary food for many sea animals nearly all sea life will suffer.
Unfair interaction between people and between nations. (Unresolvable conflicts).
The competitive nature of the economy distributes unfairly nature's resources, which results in more conflicts, less security and increase pollution.
The fluctuating conflicts between the state and dissident over distribution of profit, policies, and portioning contributions to the state. Clashes due to the state reducing or not fulfilling new needs to keep society functioning as one has become to expect.
Dominant nation must increase their military force to subdue people in submissive nations when members of those nation resist, using guerrilla, and terrorist activities.
Already conflicts are overstressing military forces that are financially crippling nations. Military conflicts are the most effective way to waste non-renewable resources and produce the most pollution and destruction than any other activities.
The increasing intensity of competition decreases honesty, openness, compassion, cooperation, and fairness all the qualities we cherish and need to survive. We only could manage societies controlled by competition with in a continually increasing use of energy, non-renewable and renewable resources but not in a world of diminishing resources. We are just starting to experience a world of decreasing resources particularly oil; competition in that setting will lead to more wars, chaos, and mass starvation.
The expected conflicts and fear of war, is an opportunity, for the military industrial complex to manufacture costly equipment to update and strengthen military force to preserve dominance. Competition will make a difficult situation impossible.
To justify the unfair distribution of the planet's assets the information media will use diversions tactics leaving little space for important matters and introduce doubts and confusion when there are well-established facts.
Loss of biodiversity (Where will it end?)
Australia is a world leader in that field.
There's mounting concerned at the loss of diversity of crop plants and farm animals. The large genetics-engineering corporations have accelerated the situation to an alarming state.
Because of life interdependence, there's a liable domino effect when one species dies others may also die or be severely stressed.
Forests are an important carbon sink as they store it as wood, can keep the carbon for centuries and is a valuable product.
Trees are a vital element in maintaining soil stability in hilly areas to decrease the danger of landslide. They are an effective windbreak that maintains a more moderate local climate and they play a large part in retaining water as well they maybe a factor in producing rain.
Trees are an indispensable habitat for numerous animals and plants (maintains biodiversity)
The competitive economic system wastes trees to make throwaway furniture and create advertisements in newspapers and leaflets.
Trees have psychological worth; they're a thing of joy and beauty.
Shortages of clean water and the exhaustion of ground water
One in eight people in the world don't have clean water. There's not enough potable water to satisfy most people needs from natural sources. We now have to depend on desalination plants that require lots of energy that may soon be too expensive to operate.
Large broad acre farms use huge amount of water depriving smaller farms of it. In addition, cities at present waste much of their used water that family farms could use if they were nearby to use the wastewater.
With electric and oil powered pumps we are draining the aquifers of the planet. In most cases, those aquifers took centuries to fill.
Because people assumed that, there's unlimited water in those aquifers population has grown banking on them to last forever.
The loss of top soil for agriculture
Cities, suburbs, and mining are covering and destroying irreplaceable agricultural soil.
Microorganisms can't thrive on synthetic fertilisers, as they are an important element for a quality soil. Synthetic fertilisers therefore reduce the quality of the soil's texture that decreases its ability to absorb water.
Overgrazing tends to produce dustbowls in times of drought. The financial bases of broad acre farming are due to cheap oil and high cost of labour but are wasteful in its use of fertile lands therefore becoming even less economical.
We are presently destroying top soils twenty times faster than nature can create it.
Peak oil now and peak coal in two to three decades (we are still striving for growth but with less energy?)
The year 2006 was the maximum out put of oil while at the same time demand kept going up,which triggered the financial collapse.
There's not enough oil left in the ground to fuel a steady state economy let alone a growing one. However, there's enough to do irreparable and severe damage to the planet.
Coal at the present rate of increasing extraction will run out in forty years.
Natural gas is still relatively new as a major power source but to increase production to meet the shortfall in oil the extra gas may cause unacceptable damage to the environment.
We are still building nearly all infrastructures that we must power by oil-based energy. They will be useless and even a liability within a few decades.
The collapse of many fisheries.
Energy from oil has allowed fishing anywhere in any oceans, this has produced a peak in fish production that can't be sustained and the collapse many fisheries.
Both the number of fishing boat and technology has increased, sadly it only enable to maintain tonnage but of lower quality even with that lower quality fish, the number of fish caught will diminish.
As fuel cost goes up there will be even less fish in the markets. Fish are a stable diet for many people further reducing world food supplies.
Peak of many minerals extraction (extraction can now only be carried out with cheap oil to be cost-effective).
Today the mineral and oil extraction is either of poorer quality, take more energy to produce and they are in more difficult areas that can be dangerous to people and the biosphere to extract.
Many minerals, such as the rare earth that we need for electronic equipments are in short supply or will not be able to meet demands.
There will be less energy to extract minerals and they will need more energy to extract and process, which will escalate their price.
We will have all of the above with an expected population of 9 billions. How can we manage?
Already we're facing some of the above and will be facing most of them soon and all of them by the middle of this century. The big question is how can we avoid those threats and survive this century. It's obvious to me that we must have a common interest to be able to counteract those threats to survive. Competitive self-interest produces growth but can only function effectively with growth; alas, flogging our planet anymore, can't grow the economy. We need to change the way we live, because we want to give our children the best chance to live with what we have left them. With that in mind, continuing competition and growth will severely jeopardise our children future and destroy all that is beautiful and necessary to support life.