The real debt crisis
As the human race continues to consume resources at a rate faster than replacement, it casts a growing shadow over the sustainability of society in the future.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 04:01
QUICK TO TOSS: The outcome of a consumption-obsessed lifestyle. (Photo: purplepix/Flickr)
In recent weeks, the news has been consumed with debt debates, whether in Europe or in the United States as it loses its AAA debt rating from Standard & Poors for the first time in history. Many factors brought us to this point but the American public is now beginning to see real effects from our fiscal debts. With all eyes on these debt woes, it may be useful to approach the environment through this intellectual prism.
Another, less discussed deficit is one of infrastructure, which has been growing without much notice. Repairs to infrastructure, upon which the modern U.S. economy is based, will have to be completed at some point and the earlier we address the problem the cheaper it will be.
Along similar lines, environmental degradation often goes unnoticed by the larger public but every facet of modern economic life is dependent on stable and healthy environmental conditions. Just as spending more money than you take in racks up debts, pursuing anti-environmental practices without adequate offsets creates an environmental deficit. As the human race continues to consume resources at a rate faster than replacement, it casts a growing shadow over the sustainability of society in the future. Just as entitlement programs are set to jump in costs due to demographic changes, the world's growing population and rising per capita consumption will greatly burden the resource gap.
Furthermore, poor air and water quality along with rapidly changing climatic conditions and warmer temperatures pose many challenges to the debts at the forefront of everyone's mind at the moment. These problems lead to higher healthcare costs, infrastructure needs and lower overall GDP. These effects will become more and more noticeable as the world slowly comes to terms with the consequences of actions past.
I often hear politicians and lawmakers talking about not leaving my generation with the burdens of expenses past, but I rarely hear those same people fighting to leave me a sustainable planet upon which to live. It is time to focus on the core problems of society and bring true balance to the world ecosystem.