My first law of sustainability appears on the ‘One Planet Equation’ page and is reflected in a short essay on ‘The Oil Drum’, together with links to other articles by the author, at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4770
Note – the author foresees a need to reinvent the economic system to one where growth does not exist – I prefer to view it more positively – that even in a resource constrained environment, monetary and consumption growth is possible to the extent we can continually reduce the resource intensity of goods and services. This does not solve the global inequity in consumption, but this exists anyway and focusing on symptoms, is obscuring our view of the underlying addiction and possible cure, to the extent our ingenuity and continuing research and action enables.
The Essay begins
An Overlooked Detail – Finite Resources Explain the Financial Crisis
Posted by Gail the Actuary on November 21, 2008 – 8:43am
Recently, two major actuarial organizations asked members to submit essays on the financial crisis. The only limitation was that the papers had to be very short–they should fit on two typewritten sheets of paper.
Since I have written in the past on the financial crisis, I took the opportunity to respond. This was my summary of the current financial situation, its connection to our limited resources, and what we need to do to solve the crisis. I never actually use the words “peak oil” and, in fact, the precise timing of peak oil is irrelevant. The issue is really the financial squeeze that occurs when resources starts to become expensive to deliver, and that doesn’t really require peak oil.
Our World Is Finite
We all know the world isn’t flat. Any of us would be laughed out of the room if we built a model with a flat earth as one of its major assumptions.
We also know that the world isn’t infinite. There are a finite number of atoms in the earth and its atmosphere. The ability of our atmosphere to absorb pollutants is limited. The ability of our soil to withstand repeated mistreatment is limited. The amount of our non-renewable resources is limited………………………….cont.