Humanity's Land-Grab Disaster: https://youtu.be/D9rSeKFcx18
We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is the same as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy - and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers' graves and his children's birthright is forgotten.
Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught - only then will you realise that money cannot be eaten.
Cree Indian prophesy.
What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.
Veteran natural history broadcaster David Attenborough describes ‘A Life on Our Planet’ as his “Witness Testament and vision for the future”. It goes further than his BBC program “Extinction – The Facts”, broadcast in September 2020 and his collaboration with WWF in “Our Planet”, released on Netflix in April 2019. Most of these stunningly photographed documentaries were overseen by executive producer/director, Alastair Fothergill.
Attenborough narrates a powerful script as he reflects on his remarkable broadcasting journey over decades, observing the natural world and the growing human assault that is reshaping it. “We have broken apart from the natural world that has sustained us. We need to reconnect”, he warns. It needs to be viewed in schools and homes around the world. .
The dialog offers rich educational content, from food production and plundering of the oceans to destruction of climate-stabilizing forests and the dangerous assumption of ever more growth being economically sustainable.
He reflects that wide coverage of whale slaughter, exposed and challenged by Greenpeace activists, began to wake people up to the damage we were doing to the natural world.
With population growing dramatically, humans have overrun the planet. We have now destroyed half of the world’s rainforests. Ninety percent of large fish in the sea have gone, impacting the ocean’s ecological balance.
Summer sea ice in the Arctic has reduced by 40% in 40 years and warming permafrost is releasing methane gas into the atmosphere. Oceans absorb much excess heat, but Earth is losing its balance. Our blind assault on the planet has seen over 15 billion trees cut each year. Half of fertile land on Earth is now farmland to feed growing human populations. Soils are becoming exhausted under intense overuse. Wild animal populations have more than halved. If we continue on this track, our planet is on course to be 4C degrees warmer, making large parts of the Earth uninhabitable.
He catalogues the change in global wilderness from 1960 with 62% remaining wilderness, to 2020 with wilderness declining to 35%.
What can we do to restore stability? “We must urgently start to rewild the world. Forests are fundamental and we must immediately stop forest destruction”, says Attenborough. “We must stop simply ‘growing’.” Attenborough offers a vision of hope towards the end.
Work with nature rather than against it. Nature is our biggest ally and our greatest inspiration.
· Japan’s falling birth-rate, stability and prosperity.
· With government intervention, Costa Rica has increased its forest coverage to 50%.
· If we all move to a largely vegetarian diet, we would need half the farmland we do now.
· If we protected a third of our richest ocean ecology into no fishing zones, it is estimated this would be enough to restore fishing stocks to sustainable levels.
· We must raise standards of living for the poor without increasing our impact on the planet.
· We must move to a renewable energy infrastructure as soon as possible. Morocco now produces 40% of its energy from solar power.
· By developing a high-tech food production infrastructure, a small country like the Netherlands has become the second biggest food producer in the world.
Attenborough paints a rosy picture of hope, though some of the claims lack contextual reference. Unlike many developed countries Japan has a very low level of immigration. He picks evidence of reducing population growth as clear evidence that our population will stabilise in about 20 years, without looking at very high fertility levels in many parts of Africa. Nor the mass unemployment and social problems this will exacerbate. Assumptions about a rapid transition to a genuinely renewable energy infrastructure fail to discuss the huge logistical and energy challenges in replacing and maintaining it, nor the energy employed in mining and refining many rare minerals.
Attenborough’s five-part ‘Perfect Planet’ series was broadcast on the BBC through January 2021 and is now streaming on BBC I player. Programme five 'Humans' is the most engaged in terms of discussing the challenges linked to human domination of the planet and goes further than anything he has said before.
'Humans' gives a further fascinating and honest picture of how Humans are degrading our planet through climate destabilization, pollution, plundering our oceans and degrading forests. He warns that if we don't wake up we could see catastrophic tipping points within 20 years that could destroy our children's future along with other species that share our world. Climate changes we are driving could result in some parts of the world become uninhabitable through excessive heat, driving millions of climate refugees into Europe.
So no punches pulled. It is the sort of message we needed in mainstream media at least 20 years ago. While he mentions several hopeful solutions, including the solar thermal energy project in Morocco - 'Desertec' that uses molten salt to power generators, once again they are all 'sticking plaster' solutions and remedies, important though they are.
Human beings have overrun the world,' says Sir David Attenborough
Population is mentioned in terms of our current 7.8 billion people, set to rise to over 9 billion by 2050, with the world already in overshoot by over 1.5 planets every year. But disappointingly, nowhere does he mention that our population momentum is such, that we don’t have time to await a potential gradual fall in numbers. We need to do much more to cut the fundamental drivers of overpopulation and overconsumption to have any chance of transitioning to a sustainable future before critical resources collapse, in a way that is both life-affirming and equitable.
A Life on Our Planet was premiered in April 2020 at the Royal Albert Hall in London and broadcast in the UK, the Netherlands, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Australia and New Zealand, before release on Netflix.
"Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children"
Chief Sitting Bull
If you are interested in achieving a Sustainable Economy,
we strongly recommend starting from these websites:
and watching this video:
Humanity's Land-Grab Disaster: https://youtu.be/D9rSeKFcx18
and this film:
Endgame 2050: https://youtu.be/o8YomEOExkc
"We will apparently strain every muscle and make any sacrifice to try to deal with the consequences of human population growth - but at the same time we are strongly averse to dealing with population growth itself." Eric Rimmer
Human Consumption of Natural Resources Exceeds an Annual 100 Billion Tonnes
By Professor Chris Rhodes, SWE Trustee, 9thFebruary 2020
In 1969, the late Professor Albert Bartlett famously delivered a lecture, entitled "Arithmetic, Population and Energy", which begins with the observation that, "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." The truth of this is profound and irrefutable, as is further compounded by Bartlett’s averment, as the first law of sustainability, that "You cannot sustain population growth and/or growth in the rates of consumption of resources”. Nonetheless, exponential growth has continued, unabated, over the past half century, as is attested by an increase in the consumption of natural resources from 27 billion tonnes in 1970, to 92 billion tonnes in 2017, which corresponds to around 12 tonnes/year for every person on Earth. If recycled material is also included, the total rises to 100.6 billion tonnes, and hence 13 tonnes for every breathing human on the planet. Significantly, however, the proportion being recycled has fallen from 9.1% to 8.6% in the past two years. On the basis of a BAU, “take-make-waste” economic model, this rate of material consumption is expected to rise to between 170 and 184 billion tonnes by 2050, which equates to more than 18 tonnes per person, given an expected population of 9.8 billion by then.
Over the entire 1970-2017 period, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for resource consumption of 2.6% may be deduced, and hence we may infer that, by 2021, total annual demand for virgin natural resources will have exceeded 100 billion tonnes. The breakdown of this tally into individual components is interesting, and for 2017 amounts to: 24.06 billion tonnes [Gigatonnes (Gt)] of biomass, 43.83 Gt of non-metallic minerals, 15.05 Gt of fossil fuels, and 9.12 Gt of metallic ores; when these figures are compared with those for 1970 (9.00 Gt biomass, 9.20 Gt of non-metallic minerals, 6.21 Gt of fossil fuels, 2.58 Gt of metallic minerals), some patterns begin to emerge. Thus, the corresponding (2017/1970) ratios are: 2.67 (biomass), 4.76 (non-metallic minerals), 2.42 (fossil fuels), 3.53 (metallic ores). It is notable that all the other ratios are larger than that for the fossil fuels, which signifies that while use of energy is often taken as a proxy for overall economic growth, the latter does not depend only on energy, but all resources that are consumed in its wake, and which require increasing amounts of energy to place them into human hands.
Thus, the increased extraction and use of non-metallic minerals (4.76) is very striking, and represents mainly the mining and processing of sand and gravel, used to furnish concrete, glass and asphalt, but also silicone polymers, and electronic devices. An explosion in the use of these materials is being driven by urbanization and global population growth, especially in China, India and Africa, and according to one estimate, by 2060, annual demand will have risen to 82 Gt. In many parts of the world, sand mining is not regulated, and is the province of "sand mafias"; sand has also been described as a "conflict mineral". The growth in metallic ore consumption represents, primarily, an increasing demand for iron and steel, aluminium, copper, zinc, lead and nickel, as are used for construction purposes, and to make an enlarging variety and number of consumer goods.
Perhaps the baseline metric for overall consumption is the increase in population, over a given time period, which was 3.70 billion (1970) and 7.55 billion (2017), thus giving a ratio of 2.04; hence, it is clear that the increased rate of consumption for all resource types has advanced greatly beyond this, demonstrating that the enlargement in resource use is not simply in step with the increasing number of feet on the planet, but reflects the expansion of industrialisation and development of a global consumer culture. The ratio for the consumption of biomass (2.67) is larger than that for fossil fuels (2.42), although, the additional fossil fuel ratio (use) drives all other production/consumption increases.
The term biomass includes crops, crop residues, grazed biomass, timber, and wild-caught fish, and in 1970, one third of all extracted materials could thus be accounted for. However, by 2017, the proportion of total natural resources being used in the form of biomass had fallen to around one quarter, even though the total biomass being consumed increased from 9.0 Gt to 24.1 Gt over the same period. In many ways this is little surprise, since countries depend more on biomass-based materials and energy systems in the earlier phases of their economic development, while the increasing industrialization of the global population during the 1970-2017 period has meant a rising demand for materials and energy systems that are based on mineral resources.
Nonetheless, despite its falling share of the total, the total amount of biomass used per capita has continued to grow since 1970, averaging at a global CAGR of 2.1%, to be compared with the global population CAGR of 1.5%. In 2017, Some 40% of the total biomass extracted (9.5 Gt) was from crop harvesting, which showed a similar average growth rate since 1970 as for grazed biomass to feed livestock animals, in reflection of the increased adoption of animal and dairy based food products by an expanding middle class in many parts of the world. The growth is shallowest for those kinds of biomass - such as wood, used to provide both fuel and building materials - which are most easily substituted by alternatives, and where yields cannot be readily enhanced through technological improvements - such as for wild-caught fish.
The expected, relentless increase in resource use is due to a prevailing reliance on extracting virgin materials to fuel growth, rather than using those resources, already recovered, more effectively. For every tonne of resources that is reused, more than 10 tonnes are extracted, and no country is living within its own limits Nearly half the materials that enter the economy are used in long-term products such as housing, infrastructure and heavy machinery. However, through better design of products, so they can be reused, and an expansion of end-of-life reprocessing facilities, the consumption of virgin materials might be curbed, acting within the framework of a circular economy. Indeed, such circular design follows the example of nature, in which there is no waste: for example, in a forest, where the leaf litter from the previous season becomes nourishment for the soil from which new life is put forth in the next, and nutrients and water are cycled as an intrinsic part of its living mechanism. To recast the "take-make-waste" model to provide a system that is not only sustainable but regenerative is undeniably a sobering challenge, but really is the only viable course of action, since to even maintain, let alone grow, present levels of resource extraction is a patently untenable exercise.