Pretty digital snowflakes adorned my desktop at wordpress.com today as I sat and browsed a few ideas for a blog entry. Outside, the sun was shining. It was cold, but a nice day and all was well with the world.
All, that is, until I read this article on Business Insider which depressed the hell out of me.
I’ve blogged before on the subject of Growth vs Sustainability and I have long felt that politicians like to rev us up by talking about “returning to growth” without really explaining how exactly everlasting growth is either a feasible or a desirable thing…
So on the basis of a trouble shared is a trouble halved check THIS out.
“Genius Investor” Jeremy Grantham of GMO thinks the planet can sustain around 1.5bn people and not the 7bn that are currently eating it. I say “eating it” because it’s the food that is running out. Not just starving pockets of equatorial Africa or other places where distribution or war is stopping food getting round. He’s talking about everywhere; our ability to grow enough food to feed ourselves and our livestock as a planet is running out.
We are getting cleverer at extracting raw materials, using them faster and therefore depleting them faster. Demand is outstripping supply for oil, iron ore and less known but more scary, phosphates – the principle (and irreplaceable) ingredient of fertilizer, and the only way we’ve been able to increase yields on an ever-decreasing amounts of arable land.
Sure, you can use organic phosphates in manure but there isn’t enough and by 2030 rock phosphate will become rarer, more expensive and in more demand due to the ongoing surge in population in places like China and India.
Sorry, but I had to share this. Not all news is good news and if it prompts you to think differently or act in some way then so much the better. Besides, usually when we hit these kinds of “walls” we come up with an answer but as yet no-one has got a snowflake of an idea about how to sort this one out.