Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sustainability and addiction to comfort

Evaluating the symptoms of a disease enable an accurate diagnosis. Carbon emissions, melting ice caps, endangered or extinct species, food and water shortages are all causes of a larger conflict, that we have agreed to call Climate Change. Unfortunately, suppressing the symptoms may not cure the disease necessarily.

Humanity is self-destructive, unlike other living organisms with far limited intellectual capabilities. It could be a quantitative problem. Demographics show an exponential increase from one to six billion in last century's turn. Is there a way of knowing how many people can this planet accommodate living peacefully, happily, and sustainably? Perhaps many more as we already are.

Civilization came to a turning point several millennia ago when the Law became the governing institution of most societies. In present times, the most developed nations in the world are the ones that have better integrated the understanding of a legal system with the pragmatic enforcement of such set of codes and rules.

Even when history has proven that nuclear weapons lead in no constructive direction and military armament does not make a country richer, safer or more developed, the world dared to spend over one trillion dollars in armament in 2007. That is one million millions. Definitely, expenditure that is far from sustainable because it does not feed the hungry or heal the sick or train them to overcome their chronic states of misery.

The time has arrived for the human race to transform to sustainable development in order to survive, like it transformed to the Law for peaceful coexistence.

We have managed to stay afloat without happiness and peace, other inherently human values we have been distracted from in recent times. But we cannot live that long without sustainability.

It is fallacious to say that the world is addicted to oil. It is certainly addicted to energy. Modern comfort is highly energy-intense. Therefore, humanity is challenged to find comfortable living conditions that are not so energy-intense. And we must do so creatively, empathically and non-violently, to ensure our permanence on planet earth as the wonderful species humankind has been.

The symptoms are all clear. Let's just agree in unison that transformation is civilization's top priority and that political leadership is not standing to the challenge just yet.

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