Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What do you think?

The times they are achangin’!

An article by Australia’s New South Wales Ex Premier, Bob Carr, in his recently published book, ‘Thoughtlines’, on the future of our planet is quite alarming. He details many worrying facts illustrating that the world is heading for serious trouble.

The populations of many countries are on the rise, not just a little, but a lot, and many are pursuing higher and higher standards of living.

Our planet will be quite unable to sustain the resulting pressure on its resources - especially of fuel (for heating, power, agriculture and manufacture) and water. Developed nations have been for some time consuming much more than their share, on a population basis, while demand from poorer nations is accelerating. Moreover, there is no sign of any wealthy country restraining its demand for more and more, much less intending to cut its consumption to world sustainable levels for all – if that were a realistic possibility, even with drastic, across-the-board change.

It cannot be merely alarmist to warn of the future political and international confrontations and conflicts that are likely to occur as world stocks of vital supplies dwindle at an accelerating rate.

For a start, a drastic change in the manner of living of developed countries is clearly necessary, without delay. While the inhabitants of the wealthy countries must face that challenge now, it is debatable whether the rising industrial giants of Asia (and South America?) will be able to accept the challenge to hold back when their standards of living are already far behind. Need we mention as well the poverty of Africa?

Are we planning for the future? Are we aware of the future danger? Perhaps it is already far too late to see an outcome that could be acceptable to future generations. We may not see these outcomes but, even if our children don’t, our grand children certainly will.

Have we the nous and structures to seriously tackle this political tsunami, or is the battle already lost?