It’s a well known fact that our irresponsible way of life its taking a terrible toll with every passing day. In their book “Enough is Enough – Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources” (Berrett-Koehler Publishing, San Francisco, CA.), authors Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill lay the numbers on the table:
- 7 billion people on earth, with 2.7 billion scraping by on less than $2 per day.
- 394 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, threatening to destabilize the global climate.
- $15 trillion of public debt in the United States, an unfathomable sum of money to be paid back by the next generation.
- 2 percent of adults owning more than half of all household wealth in the world.
- 400 ocean zones devoid of life, with the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico estimated to cover almost as much area as the U.S. state of New Jersey.
The authors complete these unsettling statistics reminding that the most dire part of these numbers remains unseen: reality. Behind the veil of the lifeless statistical figures lingers the pain of poverty and hunger, the increasing toxicity hidden in the air we inhale, the endless slavery to debt in households all around the world and the extinction of animal species that our sons and daughters will never see.
Must we behave like children and bang our head against the wall before we understand that we cannot live independently of the planet and all that lies within? That the health of the Earth is symbiotically and intrinsically connect to ours? That the happiness of our neighbors is reflected in our own happiness. So when is enough really enough? Close to one billion people starving when there is enough abundance for everyone if the resources were well-distributed. Earlier this year the air pollution reached unbelievable levels (Beijing’s PM2.5 value reached 600, which is more than 24 times acceptable for human health, Shanghai reached 300) and the forecast is for worse. Globally the world owes 49,819,277,626,442 US dollars and all of the world’s governments owe money, a good question would be to whom do they owe it to? Is the power now in the hands of these lenders? Finally, science holds us responsible for the 6th massive extinction crisis in the history of the world. The one we seem to be solely responsible for.
And yet, there seems to be so little action from the holders of the power of decision.
Lets hope that one day we will be wise enough, as a race, to rise above the smog of greed and competition and understand the simple fact, as the authors so sagaciously point out, that
[…] perhaps the most important number of all is one—one single blue-green planet with finite resources that we all must share.