This is a bit off an odd way to start, with a graph and my beloved camera sharing centre stage at the top of the post. However, the graph is a significant one.
We are at 7 billion people today, and we expect that the world’s population will reach 14 billion by the turn of the century.
Now, look at the graph carefully. For the first 1800 years, the world population was somewhat stable. Then, it started to grow, and grow. We started to reproduce like the proverbial rabbit.
The population of India and China combined, today, is two times the global population in the 1800’s.
Now, go back to Bill Bryson, and his comment on the privileged fractions. You may notice from my comment, that the rabbits seem to live almost exclusively in the so called third world countries. I believe that this term is no longer politically acceptable, and I agree, but let’s use it.
The Western countries, as per some people, are no longer growing population wise. Yet, this is where the wealth creation has been the greatest, and this is where carbon emissions have been high.
And so, the chaps in many of these first world countries are suddenly obsessed with sustainability, and rightfully so. So, there is thrust towards second generation biofuels, recyclable materials and all that stuff.
Digitization is more green, they say. True? I used my first film camera for 20 years. I bought two digital cameras in two years, and then cried ‘halt”. It is now 8 years since I bought one, and now I feel the need to upgrade. After 8 years. What has happened to the other cameras? Landfills?
Air travel has increased.
Marketers, and CEOs say – sell more! Consumers, buy more. Buy us, because we are green. But, buy.
The fact is, with a growing population, we will strain the resources of the earth.
A fellow Indian from Hong Kong told me that the internet is to blame for the current problems with respect to sustainability. As our awareness grows, so does our desire for goods and services. Yet, without the internet, I would not have been able to communicate with so many people across the globe! You see the dilemma?
CEOs say that the growth will now come from India. From China. 2.5 billion people waiting to lap usp goods and services. And, we wants them. Oh yes, we wants them goods and services. We does, my Precioussss!!!
The goods and services, like Sauron’s Ring, enslave more than they liberate.
But, can you deny 2.5 billion (more, if you include all of Asia and Africa) the right to demand high quality goods and services? You cannot.
And, this is where the dilemma lies.
Financial Institutions demand that corporations make more money every quarter. There is pressure, despite all the talk on sustainability.
An Aussie chap I met in Beijing 8 years back had given up his car. He maintained one bank account. One credit card. He told me that these things had become his masters, and now he felt lighter.
The question: will we create a circle, and return to a simpler lifestyle? Or, are we on an repeating loop, to create a lifeless world as envisaged by so many science fiction writers?