Friday, July 2, 2010

Thanks Mike : G-20 on the wrong path.

Mike Nickerson has been one of those friends/acquaintances I've known for a long time, having met fairly early on when I moved to Ottawa in the 1980's. Among other things he runs something called the Sustainability Project - 7th Generation Initiative. While much of my personal policy focus over recent years has been on exclusive rights run amok, something I consider linked to sustainability, I have been a supporter of his project for some time.

It's nice to see some actual policy commentary about the G20, which I read in a message he sent out to his contacts. He suggested sending letters to the editor, but I am just going to reproduce his letter here to what may be a totally different audience in the hopes it will spark others to think about these issues too.

To the Editor:

When the G20 met, there was talk about the need for structural change in the global economy. While this is true, there is little evidence that the world's leaders acknowledge the fundamental change that has rendered the old system obsolete.

Human activity has expanded to the point where the overall size of the global economy is a problem. Supplies of energy, fresh water, soil fertility and rare earth metals, among other resource issues and pollution issues including greenhouse gases, accumulating garbage and toxins trespassing within our bodies are increasingly in the news. These issues are all warnings that humankind is filling our planets capacity to support us.

As economics is presently structured, a 3% growth rate, world wide, is considered healthy, tho not robust. At 3%, human activity would double in 24 years. This means that in the time it takes for a baby to grow up, we could fill another planet, as abundant as Earth, to the point where we were also stretching its limits. This much growth cannot happen on the single planet that we occupy. Is it a wonder that growth falters?

The necessary structural change is like the change that happens when an adolescent reaches physical maturity. Physical growth is replaced by a sense of justice and responsibility. Only when our leaders start talking about structural change that would be fair to all, while respecting our planet's size, can we expect significant improvements in the world's economic outlook and the long-term future of the grandchildren.

Sincerely, Mike Nickerson
Lanark, Ontario

- 30 -

I kinda giggle when I hear someone talking about maturity. I've said for years that our advancement of natural sciences and technology have greatly outstripped our advancement of social sciences, and we are all feeling the costs of this. We have such smart individuals, but as societies we are currently so immature -- and in the social sciences I feel the self-called "developed" nations are the least developed.

Something to think about, the day after the 143'rd Canada Day. We are so young, and have such a long way to go....

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