New NPG Paper Finds Current U.S. Economic and Ecological Practices Unsustainable
Expert warns if fiscal imprudence and resource depletion continue, we face a grim future.
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Alexandria, VA (September 23, 2015) – For more than two centuries, the United States and the rest of the industrialized world have taken for granted the abundance and affordability of the high quality non-renewable natural resources (NNRs) – minerals, metals, and fossil fuels – vital to maintaining and expanding their high-consumption industrial societies.
Those days are now vanishing according to ecologist and resource economist Chris Clugston, who since 2006 has meticulously researched the sources, costs, and availability of NNRs. In his new NPG Forum paper Geonomics 101, which will be released on September 29th, Clugston names a new field to analyze U.S. economic and ecological practices. He explains: “At present, no branch of science focuses specifically on our industrial lifestyle paradigm and how it is enabled. …Regrettably… we develop flawed perceptions, which lead to flawed conclusions, prescriptions, and actions. Geonomics fills the void.”
An insightful follow-up to his book Scarcity – Humanity’s Final Chapter?, Clugston’s new NPG Forum paper finds: “We are pulling out all the stops – engaging in both unsustainable economic behavior and unsustainable ecological behavior – to perpetuate our industrial lifestyle paradigm. …We have been able to buy a temporary reprieve from generally diminishing global prosperity.” However, he warns: “Unfortunately, a stay of execution is not the same as a pardon; and Nature doesn’t grant pardons.”
While world leaders seek economic or technological remedies for faltering growth, Clugston stresses: “As a species, we will live increasingly beyond our means economically in order to live increasingly beyond our means ecologically, until we can no longer do so. …The probability that we will exploit sufficient high-quality/low-cost NNRs to reverse our declining global prosperity trajectory is infinitesimal – given that we have been unable to do so during the past 50 years, despite our extraordinary ingenuity, and given that our global NNR requirements remain enormous and increasing in almost all cases.”
NPG President Don Mann has strong praise for the new work, stating: “Clugston expertly highlights our present reality – NNRs are scattered throughout the earth’s crust, but concentrated deposits that are economically viable for extraction are rare. Most of the low-hanging fruit has been picked. Those known NNR deposits remaining require increasingly difficult and costly extraction methods.” Mann added: “NPG has long held that as the U.S. population continues to grow, we are only increasing our demand of these precious resources.”
Clugston’s paper closes by stating: “…Regrettably, the more vigorously we strive to perpetuate our unsustainable industrialized way of life through ever-increasing NNR utilization, the more quickly and thoroughly we will deplete Earth’s remaining… reserves – thereby hastening and exacerbating our global societal collapse.” NPG President Don Mann added: “Clugston’s grim conclusion will become fact soon enough, if we remain on our present course. We must act now to reduce U.S. population to a much smaller, truly sustainable size – so that we may preserve both our environment and economy for future generations.”
World population, now over 7.3 billion, is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, an increase of almost two billion, or 23%, in the short space of only 34 years from now.In the highly unlikely event that per capita greenhouse gas emissions could possibly be decreased by an equal percentage in such a short space of time (a blink of an eye) the total amount of worldwide emission would remain the same!
From this simple illustration it would appear that without drastically reducing the size of world population, there is no solution to the problem.None at all.So then why do our world leaders pretend that there is one?What is to be gained by pretending rather than by proposing a solution that would solve the problem – a reduction in the size of world population to not more than 1- 2 billion?
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