Home | About | Donate

Humanity Risking 'Global Disaster' as Material Consumption Passes 100 Billion Tons Annually

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/22/humanity-risking-global-disaster-material-consumption-passes-100-billion-tons

My Lord and my God! We are an insatiable virus that is destroying this planet! Our way of living is not sustainable. Circling the drain…

7 Likes

This report should be in the dictionary as the definition for gaslighting.
Of course, it’s put out by the WEF, the Davos crew, who view the entire biosphere and all life as mere commodities to be used up by humans.
You can see they’re planning for 10 billion humans, and they’re advocating converting more and more intact ecosystems and native flora and fauna for use by the human mass extinction machine.
They’re ignoring that we already are a mass extinction event, acting like it would only be in the future, and only if we do the wrong things, that we could break the biosphere.
Truth is, we’ve already broken it, and going to 10 billion humans is certain to create a nightmare scenario.
The saddest thing is, all the whales, dolphins, manatees, butterflies, birds, bees coral reefs, etc.–the organisms that never did anything wrong–will be eradicated first.

2 Likes

TOO MANY DAMN PEOPLE!!!
Stop adding more!!!

8 Likes

And…cue the pro-fetus, pro-population growth trolls to viciously attack you in 3…2…1

2 Likes

I live in the desert city of Phoenix. My local community is battling over an abandoned golf course that they want to force into restoration. Whenever myself or another enlightened soul even mentions the word sustainability, typically in regards to water over-consumption in our dry climate (more than 60% of water used in the state of AZ goes to external landscaping!), we’re met with retorts that range from ridicule to violence.

The human species is very deserving of the Anthropocene event we’ve kicked off. It’s just too bad that these abhorrent people’s progeny will be the ones to suffer the most from current and past generations’ selfishness and ignorance.

5 Likes

Beyond helping to mitigate the climate and ecological crises, adopting circular economies would help to make countries more competitive, the report notes.

Why must the framing always be one of competition? If nothing else, this ecological crisis should make clear we need to cooperate with one another.

A good book to read to get an idea of this and how a society can recycle absolutely everything is Ancient Futures , Helena Norberg-Hodge.

5 Likes

Astonishing mindlessness! I was there decades ago and lawns I saw were just attractive red rocks. I had heard rumors on how things have changed.

1 Like

Don’t agree that the First Nations deserve this also, in Arizona’s case that would be the Hopi and Dine’.

5 Likes

You are absolutely correct in that distinction for the most part.

1 Like

We already have a circular economy

Watch it swirl down the drain

3 Likes

When I looked at the figures I noticed a glaring omission.

No figure for resources devoted to the military and its hand-maiden, the armaments industry. No figures for the wasted resources expended in the destruction of wars and then the necessity of reconstruction.

Instead it seems these are all placed upon the average individual when they say that every person on Earth uses more than 13 tonnes of materials per year. For example, it make you personally responsible for the F-15.

There is indeed an over-consumption of the planets resources, but much of it is in socially unnecessary production with its built-in obsolescence and duplication of products, and the displays of ostentation urged on by a vast advertising industry to compensate for our sad lonely lives.

Isn’t it time for calculating just what the capitalist system is costing the Earth.

9 Likes

Funny, that’s how agent Smith, the evil AI construct in the movie “Matrix” described humanity and its seemingly thoughtless inherent ability to destroy everything it touches.
We are on our way out. We are just choosing whether we use the winding country road or a freeway to get there.

4 Likes

Ah, yes…when a contrary view based on some informed data is presented, then comes the invective, eh?

I don’t intend to disappoint you but first a quote from Herbert Spencer

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

See my other comment on this thread to why such “research” can be misleading and only partially addresses the issue but to repeat it, nations needlessly expend labor, resources, and materials to support their militaries and are locked into a wasteful system of production and distribution and the motive is to accumulate capital by making profits.

Fertility and population-growth rates are declining worldwide.

Population density nowhere explains today’s widespread hunger.

Rapid population growth is not the root cause of hunger but is - like hunger - a consequence of social inequities that deprive the poor majority, especially poor women, of the security and economic opportunity necessary for them to choose fewer children.

To bring the human population into balance with economic resources and the environment, societies must address the extreme maldistribution of access to resources - land, jobs, food, education, and health care. That is our real challenge.

Family planning cannot by itself reduce population growth, though it can speed a decline. Family planning can best contribute to the transition when it is but one part of comprehensive changes in health care that expand human freedom and opportunity rather than control behavior.

To attack high birth rates without attacking the causes of poverty and the disproportionate powerlessness of people is fruitless. It is a tragic diversion.

. The carrying capacity , also known as the ecological footprint is frequently cited by environmentalists. The problem about the theory of carrying capacity is that our capacity for culture and thought enables us constantly to alter our diets and the way we exploit the environment for food. Human beings are capable of constantly changing the rules of subsistence by altering their resource base. In fact, estimates on the Earth’s carrying capacity vary widely. It is consequently difficult if not impossible to predict when our ability to provide for additional people will end, if ever.

Socialists declare that how we organize ourselves to make use of resources — i.e. our political and economic choices — is the important aspect. What reason we make use of resources is the vital issue. How we interact with each other in all facets of human activities are often not factored in by over-populationists. By making this assumption that only population levels are the root cause, rather than a symptom it results in the promotion of ineffective policies, and blaming the victims leaving unaddressed the underlying causes. More people will be poor. More people will go hungry.

That is the big difference between simplistic solutions offered by over-populationists and the socialists. One side can only offer eugenic social engineering, and the other presents the economic basis for a sustainable eco-friendly society

4 Likes

Take a look at your lengthy comment. Notice that all you care about are human needs and welfare. You view the biosphere and all the other species as our “resources.”
Not one word about the undeniable fact that we are right now creating the sixth mass extinction.
Not one word about the undeniable fact that every human born in any form of industrial society that exists today is fed, sheltered, clothed, and otherwise supported by materials that come from raping the biosphere, the destruction of intact native ecoystems, flora and fauna, the slaughter of innocent animals.
Your entire focus is rife with human-worshiping, idolatrous speciesism, and just like the greedy, heartless capitalists you claim to oppose, you would gladly terraform, bulldoze, farm, clearcut, dam, mine, and otherwise use up the entire living planet if it would make more humans and happier humans.
Obviously, there are subsidiary causes for anthropogenic mass extinction, but the main driver is human overpopulation and population growth.
Regardless of fertility rates, population is projected to grow to 10 billion within a few years!
You portray yourself as having so much compassion for humans; it’s weird that your comments reveal no compassion at all for the billions of innocent animals we’re displacing, murdering, and extinguishing.
Idolatry, worship of your own species. That’s your core ideology.
It’s nothing new. It’s nothing intelligent or ethical.
It’s just selfish hubris, and will be the death of the only living biosphere we’re sure exists.

4 Likes

So you make the assumption I have never given a thought to that topic.

But for now, I’m addressing the claim that over-population is the cause of our environmental problems and it is not the type of economy we run our society upon that is the cause. I note you never ever deal with that wider question.

I’m fairly sure that you did not know that Marx quotes approvingly a comment in a 1524 pamphlet by Thomas Müntzer

“…The view of nature attained under the domination of private property and money is a real contempt for, and practical debasement of, nature; in the Jewish religion, nature exists, it is true, but it exists only in imagination. It is in this sense that Thomas Münzer declares it intolerable “that all creatures have been turned into property, the fishes in the water, the birds in the air, the plants on the earth; the creatures, too, must become free.”…”

Certainly not an expression of speciesism, is it?

George Orwell stated: “Men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat”

You never seem to accept that comparison, supporting what is effectively a cull of humanity.

I’m also pretty sure you have not come across this book (but you may surprise me) on the relationship between the socialist idea and animals. It is worth a read.

(h)ttp://www.tierrechtsgruppe-zh.ch/wp-content/files/beasts_of_burden_capitalism_animals_communism.pdf

But I do intend to protect the interests of people against those who view us as a disease or parasitical, particularly the indigenous peoples, when it comes to making them suffer in the name of “conservation”

A short article by myself:

(h)ttps://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2015/2010s/no-1334-october-2015/material-world-exiled-gardens-eden/

‘First we were dispossessed in the name of kings and emperors, later in the name of state development, and now in the name of conservation.’ ( A statement from the Indigenous peoples’ Forum at an international conference in 2004).

People are important. We are very much a species too. You overlook that important fact.

3 Likes

I’m afraid we’re on the “car pool” on-ramp lane to the great abyss. It will shave off some time…in this case to the commute to the “big sleep.” Most of us will be dead in the very near term. I don’t expect to be alive to see 2030…and I am only 52 …and very healthy. Unfortunately, I’m sure I’ll either starve or be cannibalised before then. Sorry…but my outlook is pretty bleak. I just see reality and connect the dots.

2 Likes

I think this is a serious issue but wasn’t that keen on the math. There is no usefulness in adding up all materials by weight going into the consumption path. For example there is no comparison between a food crop grown from the ground going into the human system and an ounce of gold mined which leaves behind perhaps a ton of earth in a tailings pond likely making a mess of the ecosystem downstream. That displaced earth isn’t going to be counted. And the energy it takes to get aluminum from bauxite is tremendous compared to the energy to recycle aluminum - it is one of the most important materials to be shooting for 95+% recycling, but we don’t need to have 95% of cardboard recycled in anywhere near the same importance. So this issue is a huge spreadsheet issue - it can’t be boiled down to a single figure (at least not this figure).

I do wish the general topic of improved regulations to greatly increase both the reuse and the recycling in our economy. There are a lot of possibilities here and very little discussion that I’ve come across. @Trog - are you interested in this issue? Have you come across better articles?

3 Likes

The caption for the photograph at top of the article reads
“Deforestation is one factor contributing to unprecedented consumption of materials in recent years.”
That is assbackwards and should read. Unprecedented consumption of material results in deforestation, soil erosion during heavy rainfalls.

Anyway why would anyone believe the stuff from the mouths of “The Elite” groupies at DAVOS. Creating jargon like Circular Economy is worthless when there is no action to curtail “planned obsolescence” that business magnates invented and have followed since the 50s. Decades ago schools and local communities were talking about excess production and the creation of massive landfill from the refuse and garbage. But not much was done to Re-use, Re-purpose and Re-cycle products over the past decades.

Quote “The study points out some countries that have improved their rates of recycling and recovery of waste, including Sweden, Luxembourg, and Austria.”
So the smallest countries are credited with improvement but in the oosa only 9% of the plastic bottles that are collected for recycling are actually recycled according to THE STORY OF STUFF.
Once again this great nation is failing to use it’s wealth to do great things and is becoming just a big landfill of trash.

6 Likes

And we are placated by thinking we are doing good when we separate our garbage. It is going to get worse (the USA landfill part) now that the places we ship our trash to are starting to say "No more!"

3 Likes