The statistics on wild vertebrates is telling. 52% of them, by total weight, disappeared between 1970 and 2010. That number was 58% by 2012. At that rate, all of them would be wiped out by 2026, in just 8 short years from now. There is no question that a Great Transition is looming in our immediate future.
In his magnum opus, “Why the West Rules For Now,” Prof. Ian Morris of Stanford University agrees that we are facing a stark choice today: between evolving towards Utopia or careening into oblivion. Whether we evolve towards Utopia or we careen into oblivion, the predictions indicated in the prescient 1972 book, Limits to Growth, would still be valid. Limits to Growth is the largest selling environmental book in history, having sold more than 30 million copies over the years. In 2010, Dr. Graham Turner, a scientist working at the University of Melbourne in Australia, compared the 1972 predictions in Limits to Growth with the actual data from 1970 through 2000 and found an almost exact match for one of the World3 model runs (please see above figure). That simulation predicted that human systems will transition from a growth-oriented paradigm to a non-growth oriented paradigm in the third decade of the 21st century, within the next few years. This change can occur voluntarily if we evolve into a Utopian society or it will be forced upon us if we continue on our present course of ecological self-destruction - into oblivion.
Take, for example, the question of human population. At present, approximately 130 million human beings are born each year, while just 50 million human beings die. In the World3 model run, the predicted peak in human population occurs around the year 2030 and then declines. This can occur in one of two ways:
1) We evolve toward Utopia with guaranteed, lived equality for all, especially women, and thereby cause a decrease in the human birth rate, OR
2) We continue on our present course of ecological self-destruction and cause an inevitable increase in the human death rate.
Our only ethical choice is to evolve towards a Vegan Utopia, where we genuinely transition our relationship with each other and with other life-forms from domination/control relating to partnership/respect relating. Imagine a Utopia where we actually solve climate change and restore the biodiversity of the planet by sequestering all the excess carbon in the atmosphere in recovering forests. We can do this on the 37% of the ice-free land area of the planet that is currently being used for grazing animals by the Global Animal Agriculture (GAAg) industry. Imagine a Utopia where we cause a decrease in the birth rate of humanity by guaranteeing lived equality for all, especially women. Imagine a Utopia where each of us contribute to the well-being of the Earth community in our unique ways without having to worry about where our next meal comes from.
Or we can continue to consume and invest in our present course of ecological self-destruction, where we are knowingly pouring 250 billion metric tons of toxins into the environment each year, while persuading people to consume animal foods which have bio-concentrated doses of these toxins. We, through our governments, promote the consumption of such unhealthy toxic foods, including known Group 1 Carcinogens, even to our school children. We institute global economic policies that are guaranteed to increase inequality. We engage in endless wars, drop bombs on marriage parties in “s**thole” countries and build walls to contain the migration of desperately hungry people from “failed” states. We let climate change run amok so that it becomes a tool to cause such “failed” states. The consequences of our actions, whether intended or not, is to deliberately increase the death rate until it exceeds the birth rate. It is a testament to the resilience of the human body that this shameful, attempted genocide of an additional 80 million people each year has not yet taken hold. But we, as consumers and investors, get to choose which of these two futures we want with every one of our actions.
How do you choose?