“It’s no longer possible to delve into our relationship with the global environment without drawing conclusions that make you seem like a raving fanatic to those who have yet to delve.”


07 Nov 2009

I’ll quote Stephan Faris in full, from his blog post on Global Post, because his comments really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the state of the environment and how many people are uninformed or in denial about it:

In his New York Times column earlier this week, Thomas Friedman asks some disturbing questions about our current economic woes:

“What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: ‘No more.'”

Friedman is careful to frame his column — which has been getting a lot of web traffic and comments — as ultimately optimistic. But he relies on a premise that I think most readers will find rather surprising and Casssandra-ish: that we’re overdrawing on the Earth’s resources, much in the way we’ve overdrawn on our economic assets.

Friedman is evolving as a pundit from a free-market flat-earther to somebody who is obviously becoming increasingly alarmed by the state of the world. His column this week is very much an illustration of how it’s no longer possible to delve into our relationship with the global environment without drawing conclusions that make you seem like a raving fanatic to those who have yet to delve.

As a culture, there is something dysfunctional about our attention span on this issue. The information is all there. But I guess denial is so much easier.

Link to Friedman’s column, “The Great Disruption.”

bookshelf

books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
Zeitoun
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World


Mason's favorite books »

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