Is Sustainability Foolish?

I believe that modern post-industrial societies will run out of the natural resources that they depend on – especially fossil fuels – unless some drastic changes are made. In short, I feel that we are on an unsustainable trajectory.

Apparently I'm in a minority in the United States, where many of my friends feel that we can find a way (e.g., technology, invasions, government intervention, self-medication) to overcome the shortfalls caused our ever-growing consumption. Of course, many folks are oblivious to such concerns and are content as long as cheap fast food and cheap gasoline can be purchased close to home. I have some foolish beliefs is the eyes of these people.

John Micheal Greer communicates his views in essays that combine an understanding of ecology and a knowledge of history.  His grasp of the rise and fall of civilizations provides an objectivity and humility rarely found in the debates in the media today. His blog that has become essential reading for me when I want some insight into the cloudy future that is rapidly unfolding before us. Below is an excerpt from an essay on his blog addressing sustainability.

As a student of ecology, I’ve learned that environmental limits play a dominant role in shaping the destiny of every species, ours included; as a student of history, I’ve reviewed the fate of any number of civilizations that believed themselves to be destiny’s darlings, and proceeded to pave the road to collapse with their own ecological mistakes. From my perspective, the insistence that limits don’t apply to us is as good a case study as one might wish of that useful Greek word hubris, otherwise defined as the overweening pride of the doomed. Still, the fact that these things seem so self-evident to me makes it all the more intriguing that they are anything but self-evident to most people in the industrial world today.(John Michael Greer: A Struggle of Paradigms)

If Mr. Greer had been my history teacher, I would have learned a lot more in school!