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GBlist: Re: Harry's post on strawbale rant - population, third world
In a message dated 5/17/97 2:55:03 AM, email@example.com (Harry Rector)
<<I was taken with the notion of "booming population"... seems to me that the
underlying difficulty stems from the "looming population." What happens
when the largely underenergized areas of this planet get serious about
acquiring air conditioning, dishwashers, and personal-care appliances?
It was less than a lifetime ago that rural electrification forever changed
cultural perspectives and redefined inconveniences into problems. I've
talked with people who went through that "paradigm shift"... it's easier to
see how some households would keep every appliance that they've ever owned
in the backyard. With all that potential energy stored up, it's probably
not safe to take it back down the hill.
Two things are needed in the quest for sustainability (1) the elegance free
market physics (make it pay), and (2) education (make it believeable).
Education is the most important (and elusive) quantity. What should be
This post triggered a few memories for me.
One, I went to graduate school believing that I was riding a runaway economy
headed for a cliff that would destroy life on the planet. I left believing
that life on the planet is a lot more resiliant than I thought, and it's more
a matter of how many species will we take with us.
Two, I've heard that about 35,000 people die from malnutrition each day. For
them the world economy was not sustainable today.
Three, this months Scientific American has a little article on the the
movement of nitrogen through the environment. Looks as if the widespread use
of nitrogen fertilizer may be having global impacts that are on a par with,
but more imediate than, global warming.
Four, I agree with John Brunner's observation in "The Sheep Look Up" (a
frighteningly prophetic book from '70 or so) that my culture's greatest crime
was not dreaming up our economy, it was exporting it.
Five, Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastr
-- H. G. Wells
History repeats itself, and that's one of the things that's wrong with
-- Clarence Darrow
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