What kind of “growth” is viable on a finite planet?

Fujairah oil industry zone

Image: www.planet.com. Fujairah oil industry zone

If you want to know what’s been flying under the MSM radar, check out Pepe Escobar’s wide-ranging perspective on Putin’s inspired Eurasian economic integration, now well underway.

How China and Russia Are Running Rings Around Washington

While I applaud especially Putin’s savvy bet that economic integration is an effective non-military counter to the Pentagon bully’s Full Spectrum Dominance, his strategy makes me pause.

What I cannot help but see here is a thickening scrim of industry — robotic and human-made “stuff” — encircling the globe, further ensuring and cementing the separation between human nature and the larger Nature in which we are embedded and which gives us our very life. How does all this “growth” jive with “limits to growth”? Or is our planet expanding at the same rate as the stuff that we needlessly make, use and toss upon it?

I don’t get it. I honestly don’t get it, this disconnect between what we now know to be true, the long-term deleterious climatic effects of industrial and other human-caused pollution and extraction upon and within Mother Earth’s biosystem, and our species’ need to continue to “grow.” Is it just because we can’t imagine a viable economic alternative to capitalism? Or is it because we can’t imagine that growth can be anything other than material. I think the latter.

What would happen if we switched focus, and asked ourselves — each of us individually, then scaling up, each family, neighborhood, town, city, bioregion, etc. — how can I grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, rather than just materially.

Material growth is for children, whose bodies are undeniably, becoming larger over time.

Mental, emotional and spiritual growth is for those humans and those societies who wish to continue to evolve.

Do we?

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4 Responses to What kind of “growth” is viable on a finite planet?

  1. laurabruno says:

    Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:
    I agree with Ann on this one and would also add, “What about thinking of unlimited growth of food, fruit trees, integrated permaculture systems, edible landscaping, and shifting policies so that any growth of factories also includes corresponding growth of local food in parks, in gardens, on rooftops of the factories? What about recognizing real, natural growth, instead of this silly economic ‘growth’ model that’s poisoning our planet and devouring our wild spaces?”

  2. Bill Chisholm says:

    In 1970, shortly after having graduated with a degree in business administration, I was helping fight a large forest fire. During the mop up stage I found myself in an intact eco-system with seedlings growing out of decaying snags, through all stages of growth to mature trees, standing and fallen snags. I learned more real eco-nomics in the few minutes observing that process than in all my linear economic classes. So it seems to me the only viable growth is that which cycles back in a natural process as nutrient for future generations. The linear system mines, mills, manufactures, sells and creates mountains of non or at least very long term garbage.

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