Thursday, August 30, 2007


Like it or not, our population has global dominion, and our actions today are having a profound influence on the survival of our species and that of many others. We are assuring our mutual destruction by continuing to function as small, independent groups struggling with each other for more power; such behavior works well to promote growth, but growth is what is killing us.

In a closed system, growth can only break the system, which means we effectively have three choices. We can continue trying to grow in population, consumption, and destruction of the natural systems that replenish the resources we need for survival, leading to a catastrophic increase in stress that will ultimately crash our population. We can cooperate to repair the damage we have done and reduce our consumption and waste to sustainable levels. Or we can find a new supply of resources and reduce the pressure on the Earth by moving people to where the new supply is.

As I’ve already described, the first choice is unacceptable and the third is impractical given our time constraints. I’ve explored the issues involved in implementing the second choice; proposing a set of requirements for an “ideal society” and using them to evaluate existing social structures, which history proves are insufficient to deal with the crisis facing us. Given that significant changes to people’s human environments are typically perceived as threats, leading to often violent resistance (ironically as the result of the kind of increased stress we are trying to avoid), our best hope may be to increase everyone’s awareness of the problems facing us, making the cases as personal as necessary so they will work within their existing social structures to take appropriate action.

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