typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

GDP – a Growing Destructive Problem

with 5 comments

 Here’s an excerpt from a piece by George Monbiot which I just read at Celsias. Celsias, by the way, is one of the best global warming-focussed websites I know of and I’d welcome suggestions for any that you think are as useful. It’s certainly an excellent resource for following Bali-related developments as efforts mount to create Kyoto+.

Point being – remember that riddle from when you were little about how a frog is in the middle of a pond. On the first jump, the frog gets halfway to the edge, and on each successive jump the frog goes half as far as the jump before. How many jumps until the frog reaches the edge of the pond?

Well guess who’s the frog now?

Underlying the immediate problem is a much greater one. In a lecture to the Royal Academy of Engineering in May, Professor Rod Smith of Imperial College explained that a growth rate of 3% means economic activity doubles in 23 years(24). At 10% it takes just 7 years. This we knew. But Smith takes it further. With a series of equations he shows that “each successive doubling period consumes as much resource as all the previous doubling periods combined.” In other words, if our economy grows at 3% between now and 2030, we will consume in that period economic resources equivalent to all those we have consumed since humans first stood on two legs. Then, between 2030 and 2053, we must double our total consumption again. Reading that paper I realised for the first time what we are up against.

 – read the article in full


Written by typingisnotactivism

December 5, 2007 at 2:35 am

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. http://globalpublicmedia.com/lectures/461

    The retired Professor of Physics from the University of Colorado in Boulder examines the arithmetic of steady growth, continued over modest periods of time, in a finite environment. These concepts are applied to populations and to fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal.


    December 6, 2007 at 10:28 am

  2. Hi, thanks for that downright scary article. Once I get this degree finished I’ll be off to fight the legions of doom 🙂

    On the subject of good GW/Environmental websites I recommend Mongabay.com, which is extremely readable and informative.


    December 6, 2007 at 3:57 pm

  3. Good call on the Monga Bay site. Heaps of good current stuff, and yes – on the face of the mathematics alone, we are in the mouth of the same exponential hell where we have placed all species and ecosystems. Good on us, hey?!


    December 6, 2007 at 11:47 pm

  4. Yep, just like rabbits, most of us can’t recognise how our breeding is going to ultimately put us in a position where our environment is unable to sustain us (of course it’s not just our breeding, but if we don’t curb that at some point, it really doesn’t matter what else we do, and i don’t think we will curb our breeding somehow)


    December 11, 2007 at 4:05 am

  5. more breeding, less reproducing!


    December 11, 2007 at 3:40 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: