Grotesque Global Inequity Threatens Ecological Collapse and Horrific Death for All

Live more simply so others may simply live

Live more simply so others may simply live

Hundreds of millions of global elites feast upon the finest delicacies a diminished Earth has to offer, as billions struggle to meet basic needs, and oligarchs amass unheard of wealth and entire governments. Each in their own way destroys our one shared biosphere that makes Earth habitable.

“May you live your life as if the maxim of your actions were to become universal law.” – Immanuel Kant, the “Categorical Imperative” from Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)

“Consume only your fair share of nature or being ends.” – Dr. Glen Barry

By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet

The disparity of wealth and well-being which currently exists globally is grotesque and threatens us all with a horrific death as demands upon nature for consumption overwhelm the biosphere.

The stupid among us will wrongly call such concerns communism, while the intent is simply to ask how much is enough? And how much can we each have if we value fairness, the well-being of all humans and species, and seek global ecological sustainability forever?

It is evil incarnate that some have so much as many have so little. Systematic racism and other injustices provide a gilded legacy of plenty to entire families over generations, as some human beings through no fault of their own have few if any opportunities for advancement. Basic human-needs of food, water, shelter, clothing – to say nothing of higher level needs for community, love, and security – are systematically unmet for billions. Some of the disparity is certainly due to intelligence and hard-work, yet the majority of inequity is due to the random location of your birth and the circumstances therein. And much inequity is due to the rich impeding advancement by the poor if it even minutely diminishes the growth of their own wealth.

It is not a coincidence that record global economic inequity comes as abrupt climate change and ecosystem loss threatens to end being. Inequitable over-population and disparities in consumption are the primary forces destroying our ecological heritage and ushering in an era of resource-scarcity.

Earth is dying

Earth is dying

Natural ecosystems are collapsing as our very climate fails. Racism, chauvinism, and even slavery are resurgent. The human family is poised upon the precipice of biosphere collapse and the end of being. Solutions are impeded by the rise once again of authoritarian fascism based upon anti-science and anti-intellectualism.

Science informs all equipped to listen that soils, wetlands, oceans, forests, water, and the air– the foundations of biological life – are all being liquidated for human consumption and as a result nature, wildlife, and humans are dying. Our immediate future is one of ghastly extreme weather events, a state of escalating perma-war scrambling to access reduced natural resources, and large-scale famine as ecosystems collapse and water and food sources fail.

As I have earlier asked in How Much Is Enough, how have we allowed a band of a couple hundred selfish oligarchs to amass half of Earth’s wealth as over a billion human beings struggle to exist in abject poverty? How do we justify owners of capital making 600 times the wage of their average worker? Wouldn’t their job creation prowess and hard work be sufficiently, even opulently, rewarded with 25 times pay disparity, as was once the case?

It is difficult for the  bourgeoisie to imagine the horrors of abject poverty. Putting your children to bed hungry, in a cardboard box, as they cry out in pain before death. Selling your body and soul for your next meal, as your whole being aches with yearning for basic human comforts you see others possess and to which all aspire and deserve. The horrors include untreated disease, open defecation, human trafficking, continual violence, and a joyless miserable existence.

Dogs and cats for the well-off are treated much better than billions of poor people, many of whose labor supports the rich.

The Earth is a finite place (however much the siren call of techno-optimists wails). Humanity has gone from a population of one to over seven billion in only 135 years. Demands for consumption of all sorts of items including meat, iPhones, cars, air travel, large homes, and appliances have surged.

Quite simply not enough ecosystems remain to be liquidated for resources to provide all poverty stricken peoples the level of consumption enjoyed by a typical middle-class American. The nearly global embrace of democratic consumption as the meaning of life means that the rich scour the Earth for luxuries, as the poor do what is necessary to survive (including mass migration), each diminishing Earth’s natural capital and productive capacities.

It is not suggested here that everyone should live equally; just fairly, with all basic needs met, as the sum of global consumption remains within Earth’s limits for regeneration.

Kant’s categorical imperative emphasized that ethics are founded upon universality. Now more so than ever, the measure of a person’s character is whether they are living in a way that does not diminish the ability of others to achieve a similar standard of well-being.

The ecological and ethical conundrum is this: the comforts associated with consumption are being realized at a greater rate than nature can provide, even as many suffer from want. Either the rich will accept less in order that all can attain some basic measure of human well-being, even as sum consumption shrinks; or we face the final liquidation of nature and an appalling era of ecological collapse before the end of being.

We need to learn once again to share as we renounce usury, avarice, and greed. We must seek a higher degree of enlightenment that values equity, justice, and ecology more than gorging ourselves upon ill-gotten fruits. It is time to evolve together to a higher consciousness that values universal truths and well-being.

We Are All In This Together, One Human Family

We Are One Human Family

We are one human family, and are all in this together. Believe that the world can be a better place and come together with others to make it so. Think big and out of the box for solutions. A basic human income for all, just by virtue of your birth and existence, could largely eliminate abject poverty while shrinking big government.

At one time humanity sought increased awareness of the nature of being, and to maximize our well-being through continual self-improvement. Thus liberal democracy, personal freedom, and greater political participation for non-white men became established. Yet these advancements have been shown in recent years to be vacuous and weak as even a slight decline in household consumption leads many to embrace all sorts of charlatan demagoguery.

As Earth and her humanity fall into nothingness, I implore you to resist such a fate.

Consume only your fair share of nature or being ends.

The ethical measure of a person is the degree to which they are regenerating nature, and that their sum impact upon ecology is positive. Only widespread embrace of such an ecology ethic can now save Earth and humanity.

What does this mean in practice? Sell your car. Return to the land to produce food and restore ecosystems. Have 1 or if you must at most 2 children. Eat less or no meat, and local organic foods. Travel via air infrequently if at all. And reject over-consumption as the meaning of life, instead valuing fairness and truth.

Favor deep experience, community, nature, and learning over more stuff. Consume only as much as is available universally for all. Know how much is enough and how to share. Such an ecology ethic is the new categorical imperative if together we are to avoid abrupt climate change and global ecological collapse.


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19 Responses

  1. Tim says:

    As I understand it, the atmosphere cannot cope with us travelling by air infrequently.

    • Marc Sommer says:

      I was calculated in the Netherlands by the not longer existing “”Kleine Aarde” (Small earth) that it is sustainable to not more than once in 7 years to travel by air, intercontinental

  2. We need a new culture. We need a new language. We need to redefine the world. Tracy Chapman published that in “New Beginning” in 1995. I wrote about that in 1969. If you wish, I will send you my writings on this topic. It takes a most fundamental change in our perception of what is in order to fundamentally change our course. See some of my writings by Google-searching for Joseph Gilbert on sound symbolism .

    • Marc Sommer says:

      We need to learn the human children to respect matter, nature and eacht other.To value the intrinsic beauty of it all .And not to link it to money.Money corrupts.

  3. Marc Gillet says:

    Individual attitudes like leaving the city and selling your car are very respectable and should be encouraged, but will not change the civilization. I did it myself leave the city four years ago, but the local garage is happy that I bought a new (small) car and to repair it, and the local butcher makes his leaving selling me local beef and sheep meat from Limousin. The Khmer Rouges in Cambodia have endeavoured sending people back to the country on a larger scale, with very criticable humanitarian results…
    Overpopulation is indeed “beneficial” to international finance to lower workers wages, and to some religions to expand their influence. I am pessimistic on how this will turn out overall. My feeling is that individual behaviour can turn into mass behaviour only by the onset of a new religion, which is hardly controllable. We will see how it goes.
    By the way, I would avoid quoting Emmanuel Kant as a reference on morals, this is quite simplistic and outdated.

    • Dr. Glen Barry says:

      Kant is quoted appropriately as a source of the idea the one should seek to live in a manner that can be universalized.

  4. michelle says:

    man turned away from nature centuries ago….until man returns in peace and humility and receptiveness, earth is doomed

  5. Des Morris says:

    This reads like Marxist Utopianism to me. How about turning your focus back the other way and seeing how far humanity has come in a hundred years. Life expectancy doubled, diseases cured, mass starvation confined to the least developed areas of the world, women (outside the Islamic world) freer than ever.
    We have never had it so good. Technology will evolve through capitalism and competition as it always has done to deliver outcomes that the majority of the population find desirable.

    The Utopian vision of life on a vegan collective farm of the future sounds rather like the Amish to me. My idea of hell, and most others’ too, probably!

    And worshipping ‘nature’ as if it is a benign force that has your individual best interests at heart is completely bizarre. Nature could not care less about you. There is no ‘balance’ in nature, only perpetual struggle for survival and competition for resources. If you really want to worship nature, you’ve got to stop thinking that you or anyone you love matters except as a source of energy for another life form keen to exploit you!

    • Cathy Taibbi says:

      Yet we are losing crucial biological diversity at a heart-stopping rate (and this includes plants, fishes, fungi and soil microbes). Biodiversity is our safety-net, our hedge against future calamity, our savings account, our safe-deposit box and insurance policy. Nature IS the underpinning of the world and we rely on it more than you understand, for even our air, water and crops. Do not be blinded by the bubble you’re living in. Maybe YOU are living better than ever but billions are worse off, even in rich white America (where the poor get poorer and the former ‘middle class’ has fallen into poverty). Fisheries are collapsing, the ocean choked by plastic, vital coral reefs breaching and dying, and agricultural poisons deeply embedded now in our food web and ourselves. Clean water is becoming a resource worth going to war over. No, what you are seeing is the bright flame before the burnout. Besides – This is not all about ‘us’. The planet and her wildlife was here for their own sake, not to serve us – And certainly not to be sacrificed wholesale for a few opulent years for the handful of elite. Yes we’re in a real pickle.

  6. Good article. It is an echo of Laudato Si’, the 2015 ecology encyclical by Pope Francis. We should stop blaming climate change, even though there may be some connection between human activity and extreme weather events. It is humans who are trashing the planet and each other.

  7. Craig says:

    Excellent Dr. Barry, but I believe that “being” will not end ever, regardless of what happens to the Earth! But your message otherwise is excellent. Craig

  8. Brian says:

    Thanks Glen

  9. Joe says:

    Query!; and Thanks Glen,
    Could You PLEASE Define :” charlatan demagoguery” for Me?, ….much appreciated, in hopeful expectation of Your further fine/incisive and ‘ Deep- Thinking’ ( mate!)
    ALL CHEERS NOW,
    Joe

  10. Grace says:

    This is not something that will happen in the future, it is happening right now.

  11. rajendra gupta says:

    We,ll have to adopt the Jain(Indian Buddhist like religion) which belevies & practices bonafide “aparigrah”: sort of voluntary socialsm/renuncitian within ” enlightenedcapitalsm”

  12. Marc Gillet says:

    Jainism looks fine, but like all the other old religions it does not discourage overpopulation, which was not really a problem until recently. India is indeed one of the fastest growing countries as concerns population! But who knows, perhaps some of the old religions may evolve to slow down population growth on Earth.

  13. Our Present world’s civil and moral imbalance needs Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity, “Equality”, to counter the racism, sexism, and the unfair hoarding of profits, those profits created by the workers including managers, and consumers, better used for all people’s needs, not just for the greed of a few, or power bullies of inequality who edge us closer to more war, even now nuclear destruction.
    The Prophecy of “Equality”, given to many, like the Golden Rule, and Words of Jesus to “Love One Another” are meant to treat All, with Equal Respect and Concern! Seek The Holy Spirit within, to confirm, best guidance in this life, and hope for the world to come!

    Vatican II, the last World Council of Christian Bishops, in article 29 + of their Pastoral Constitution, declared there be no more discrimination of race or sex, as not the Will of God. Pope Francis could set a needed good example by ending discrimination for the female half.
    Please share, especially with our Holy Father Pope Francis. Vatican City State, Rome, Italy 00120. Takes International or three forever stamps.

  14. caleb says:

    no chance of stopping global warming fully because of all the buildings technollogy and man made things.

  15. The problems we face today are our own doing and it is down to us to fix this. Inequality arises due to selfish human behaviors.

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