When someone goes too far into debt, creditors typically refuse to loan more money and enforce payment of the outstanding balance. The biosphere has little left to give humanity, and is in the process of demanding payment because it has no option. Like a cancer, we are killing the source of our growth; and now we are beginning to feel the effects of the illness we caused. But unlike a cancer, we can recognize and stop, slow down, and possibly reverse the damage we are causing. The alternative, continued growth at the rates we have recently achieved is impossible to sustain even if we somehow survive the demise of our planet.
In my opinion, the best of all responses to our present situation would be the development of an economy based on reuse. Daily living would be driven by so-called “clean” energy (from solar collectors and wind for electricity, and a renewable super fuel for transportation and materials). To improve our chances of surviving into the distant future, we could responsibly (minimizing natural impact) utilize more exotic sources of energy and materials as necessary to settle space and prepare for or mitigate natural disasters.
What will humanity’s legacy be: a vibrant living planet possibly spreading the seeds of life to other planets, a terminally ill biosphere, or a grotesque field of artificial waste cluttering a limited sphere of interstellar space? The decisions all of us make today are determining that legacy.
[For more information, see my Web site.]