The planet, Spaceship Earth, our one and only biosphere, is in real trouble and it's mainly our doing. The question is do we keep doing what got us to this cliff edge and discover what lies just past it? That is the course we're on.
The Guardian enviro-scribe, George Monbiot, writes that, if we continue our insane pursuit of perpetual, exponential growth - what Justin Trudeau considers his top priority - we're screwed.
...how come oil production, for the first time in history, is about to hit 100m barrels a day? How come the oil industry expects demand to climb until the 2030s? How is it that in Germany, whose energy transition (Energiewende) was supposed to be a model for the world, protesters are being beaten up by police as they try to defend the 12,000-year-old Hambacher forest from an opencast mine extracting lignite – the dirtiest form of coal? Why have investments in Canadian tar sands – the dirtiest source of oil – doubled in a year?
The answer is, growth. There may be more electric vehicles on the world’s roads, but there are also more internal combustion engines. There be more bicycles, but there are also more planes. It doesn’t matter how many good things we do: preventing climate breakdown means ceasing to do bad things. Given that economic growth, in nations that are already rich enough to meet the needs of all, requires an increase in pointless consumption, it is hard to see how it can ever be decoupled from the assault on the living planet.
...I recognise that challenging our least contested ideologies – growth and consumerism – is a tough call. But in New Zealand, it is beginning to happen. Jacinda Ardern, the Labour prime minister, says: “It will no longer be good enough to say a policy is successful because it increases GDP if it also degrades the physical environment.” How this translates into policy, and whether her party will resolve its own contradictions, remains to be determined.Canada is committed to growth. Even the Green Party deftly skirts the issue. Worse, as a genuine petro-state, we're committed to growth in the extraction, transmission and ultimate consumption of the filthiest, highest-carbon ersatz petroleum on this planet of ours and to hell with how it degrades the physical environment.