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The Steady-State Initiative

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We are too clever for our own good

2009 Aug 12

We are too clever for our own good. We pat ourselves on the back for being so ingenious and clever. And still our own cleverness will be our demise. The sad part is that we fail to see and recognize this when it is happening all around us.

We produce substances in our environment, benefiting from their short term usage and financial gain they bring us, without investigating the long term consequences. Time and time again we spew copious quantities of harmful substances such as lead, mercury, DDT, CFC and plastics into our environment only to find out later the terrible effects on the planet and its inhabitants.

We continue daily to do the same with our CO2 emissions, conducting business as usual as if our current practices can continue forever.

At the same time, we put all our faith into a failed monetary economic system and worship it incessantly. We have created and have embraced this social institution as if it were the only way for society to function.

We have created a social institution called the free market system that fails to acknowledge and include the limitations of the planet.

Is humanity mightier than nature?

Because we have failed to include the real cost of the planet in our pricing mechanism, we are living in a false financial bubble that will one day burst, resulting in economic, political and social chaos.

It is as if all the lead accumulated in our bodies is finally taking its toll on our ability to collectively function cognitively and intelligently.

Let's face it. The planet will survive despite all the abuse. But Gaia will fight back and there will be a lot of human suffering in the process.

What can the individual do about this?

We can reduce, reuse and recycle. We can change to energy efficient light bulbs, park the car and stop using plastic shopping bags. These are all honourable actions but they don't go far enough.

What is needed is fundamental change in society in the way we think and act. We have to recognize and accept that it is not business as usual. We must simplify and localize our activities. We must actively engage curtailment and build community and do this by acting it out and living as if we really mean it, by living on earth as if we want to stay.


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