Letters to the Editor | Northwest Herald

Letter: Our watchword - ‘downsize’


July 28 was Earth Overshoot Day for 2022. This is the day when we have used up this entire year’s supply of Earth’s ecosystem services and renewable resources. We are only a few years away from using two Earth’s worth of annual ecosystem services each year which, inevitably, will prove fatal to more than half of us and our civilized infrastructure. Nature is keeping track and she will have the last word — guaranteed.

The press is leading a lament over the recent reduction in Gross National Product as if it were a bad thing. It should, instead, be cause for cautious celebration, rather like giving up smoking for a day or skipping a meal. Similarly, the public is clamoring for lower oil and gas prices so we can afford to continue burning through our once-in-a-planet’s lifetime energy surplus as rapidly as possible. That, of course, is precisely the wrong policy for combatting climate change or, for that matter, for any policy intended to make our human ecosystem more sustainable.

Growth in population and economic activity, the underlying cause of these dangerous trends, is not our friend. Pursued and celebrated indefinitely, it will prove humanity’s ultimate downfall. Our watchword henceforth should be “downsize,” at least until we put ourselves back in balance with the only planet we will ever have to sustain us.

Donovan C. Wilkin