Eco-Living Magazine

David Suzuki: “Don’t Say It is Too Late.”

Posted on the 12 December 2012 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

The Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF;日本語はこちら。) in Tokyo recently hosted David Suzuki, Canadian geneticist, ecologist, and environmentalist to hear his thoughts on the state of the shift to sustainability.

Much of his talk was taken from his recent book, The Legacy (reviewed by Eric), and focused on how we got to this tipping point in our relationship with our natural environment and what we should do to leave future generations with a chance of survival.

There were several sobering moments in the talk, such as when Dr. Suzuki quoted James Lovelock saying that it is likely that 90% of humans will be gone by 2100. In the “anthropocene epoch” humans have become a force of nature and are able to change the very physical, structural, chemical makeup of the earth (leveling mountains for minerals, pumping the air full of CO2, acidifying the oceans).

Regarding our fascination and insistence on measuring growth with GDP, he remarked “you can’t grow anything forever.” This is so simple and basic that we overlook it. How are we supposed to grow an economy forever with resources that are limited? Technology will take us very far and surprise us when we thought we were reaching our limits of production, yet at some point we will run up against the wall of limited resources unless we start consuming those few truly renewable energy sources.

As Suzuki reminds us, we forget that economics is from the word economy which has the “ecos” at its root, meaning home or domain. Economics, therefore, is the “management of our domain.” How can we think about correctly managing our domain here on earth if we don’t take into account the cost of the externalities that affect the very building blocks of our economies? Air, water, earth, fire. Not only are these elements necessary for us to live, but they form the basic components and inputs into all our of the “stuff” we make, use, and discard. They are the economy. Why are they not thought of as such?

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