Hurry up. We're late!
Everybody is talking about climate change.
Dépêche-toi ! Sinon, nous arriverons en retard !
But who sees the conflict between the need to reduce climate gas emissions and the goals of economic development and growth?
The links between economic expansion and environmental degradation, however, are obvious. Every dollar of economic growth leads to an additional impact on the environment.
We are already overburdening the earth by our present levels of production and consumption. Non-renewable resourses are being depleted. Old-growth forests are being irretrievably destroyed. Potable water is overexploited. Overfishing, land erosion, pollution, reduction of biodiversity - all are the result of overpopulation and exorbitant consumption per capita.
Growth means an increase of resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions.
How can we expect the earth to sustain humanity at present consumption levels?
Is it clever to expand our activities by economic growth although our present impact upon the earth is already far too high?
Logically, we need to restructure and redesign our economic activities in such a way that material consumption is reduced.
This means that we must denounce the ideology of economic growth and replace it by policies of steady state and reduced GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
Relocalisation and speed reduction are some key words towards that goal.
Presently our planet is becoming relatively smaller and smaller.
If we carry on like this, the day will come that nothing is left for our own living grandchildren.
We can safely forget the distant so-called "future generations".
It is happening here and now and we must understand that
in a finite world our present consumption level and economic growth are suicidal.
Therefore we cannot reasonably want to combat climate change and simultaneously carry on business as usual, even promoting economic expansion and growth.
Helmut Lubbers ... 5 June 2007 - E D F
stop growth letters