Cause of the Global Problem
Currently. In 2020. there is much discussion about global warming, the resulting destruction of the Earth - and how this is caused by the carbon dioxide emissions of burning fossil fuels and acerbated by plastic production and de-forestation.
Why is this happening ? and what is the engine that is driving it ?
To understand this, we have to look beyond the detail and observe the historic global pattern.
in 1750 the world had a population of some 700 million souls and was a largely agricultural society. The needs of society were met by small-scale local manufacture and small-scale farming. Humanity was broadly in balance with the Earth and a huge diversity of life was thriving. But hunger, poverty, disease and early death could be found everywhere.
There was a degree of balance in population numbers in that large families were balanced by deaths in infancy and in adults from normal causes, wars and diseases.
Then modern science comes upon the scene - the development of the steam engine, the industrial revolution, and an explosion of entrepreneurial and creative energy. . Factories sprang up, able to produce articles in quantity and there came a steady drift from the countryside to the growing manufacturing towns. Accommodation for workers in these towns was basic - with no sanitation or running water - and diseases such as cholera were rampant. It continued to be necessary to have large families in order thar some would survive whilst many died in childhood.
But modern science was also developing cures for many diseases and medical conditions. Science learned how to delay death, particularly with children. The overall health of the population was not improving, but there were fewer early deaths. This was not immediately apparent to the general population who continued to have large families as had been the norm for generations. With the rate of birth continuing and the rate of death declining there started to be a rapid expansion of population.
By 1800 there were 1 billion people on the Earth - by 1900 there were 1.6 billion.
In the next 100 years there was an explosion in population. The population was no longer stable but was increasing rapidly.
By 2000 there were 6.0 billion people on our planet - by 2020 7 billion - and it is forecast that there will be 10 billion by 2080.
This growth in people has been brought about by better living conditions and improved health care - but in the developing countries, only a modest reduction in the birth-rate.
An interesting emerging fact is that as the standard of living and education improves, particularly for young women, and they have a knowledge of contraception and the likely lifespan of their children, the size of families quite rapidly decreases. It is this fact that leads forecast of population stability by the mid 21st century.
All these people need food, clothes, housing, furniture, and transport. These are no longer basic needs but perceived necessities such as cars, dishwashers, washing machines, televisions, computers and iPhones. This growing need has been acerbated by modern industry pushing hard to sell its products, leading to a wide selection in every field, which in turn has led to the idea that many manufactured products are disposable - cheap clothes can be worn once or twice and thrown away.
The result of these developments has been an accelerating demand for the resources of the earth - these basic resources are being turned into disposable products that are soon buried in landfill sites or dumped in the ocean. In addition to the damage caused by creating a sea of rubbish, there is the added complication that the manufacturing process itself is creating pollution in the form of carbon dioxide and toxic chemicals.
So, we have a chronic attack on the sustainable ecology of the Earth
and one that increasingly needs to be addressed.
In addressing this situation, we have the fundamental problem that the entire world economy is based on the idea of ever-increasing manufacture and consumption - and politicians continue to press for ever increasing growth as the only way of satisfying the demands of their people.
It looks as if we need a fundamental reappraisal of how people live. This may involve fundamental changes such as the reduction of air travel - reduction in the movement of goods around the world in ships – and reducing the impact of food production on the rainforests. This would lead to significant changes in lifestyles that had become to be perceived as the norm – at least before the coronavirus.
There is a considerable amount of contemporary comment on what this new lifestyle might be - but little thought on how the transition will be managed.
If such changes are made, they will have a huge impact on jobs, and how people earn their living. As one example, fewer airline pilots will be needed - so what will these redundant pilots do ? These are confident people who will find some other useful activity - but there will be thousands of others who are less confident in their skills, who will be displaced from their jobs and may find it difficult to find others.
Looking at the changes that appear to be needed, what these changes might be and how society moves from the present situation to the new, and
how is the transition managed ?
These are the questions that we will explore in this website