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Growth discussion on the BBC
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Mail to the BBC dated 18.4.2008:


I would like to make one suggestion.

The BBC could take the initiative to try and put the "economic growth" on the agenda, albeit in a different way.

The reason is as simple as 1, 2, and 3.

1. The earth and its resources are finite and humanity's pressure on the earth has overshot its carrying capacity by far.

2. Growth (economic expansion and population growth) is always material. Growth is therefore putting more pressure on the environment, increasing the depletion rates of non-renewable resources as well as the emissions of climate gases.

3. This means that humanity must no longer grow but halt growth and then start contracting the material thoughput and population size.

After the onset of peak oil the globalisation of society will necessarily stop and be rolled-back anyway. New airport runways and terminals will lay idle, as will motorways and car factories, for instance.

Instead of investing in those no-future projects, the money and effort must be used for restructuring of society. We must re-localise production and consumption, slow down and eliminate many wasteful and harmful activities. This will generate much of the required climate gas emissions reductions.

On the ecoglobe website I have explained the probable catastrophic effects of the combination of climate change weather extremes with a decline of oil extraction rates and the depletion of vital resources like water and fertile soils, whilst the population continues to grow.

You will understand that the above assessment is based on hard physical facts.

Unfortunately society's leaders are living in a sphere of thought patterns that contains numerous escape mechanisms and irrealistic solutions and hope and expectations.

I have met no leader who was willing to look at the overall situation of resource depletion and population growth. Most have no idea of the immediacy of these developments. Most of them look at sectorial problems and suggest part solutions only.

But Peak oil is immanent, climate change is unstoppable and population would almost certainly achieve a size of 8.5 billion by 2050, if the immanent era of resource scarcities does not produce die-offs in the coming decades.

Unfortunately, even people like Al Gore believe we can carry on Business As Usual, when we exchange some light bulbs and start investing in so-called sustainability funds.

I will be pleased to furnish more details.

What do you say?

With thanks for your time and kind regards ... Helmut Lubbers
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