Is ecocide a good idea?
Most people would say that eliminating our environment is not in our interests. But, in an incremental and unplanned way, that is exactly what is happening.
The United Nation’s Environmental Programme’s Global Environmental Outlook says that, of 90 important environmental issues, only four are being successfully addressed.
Meanwhile, Anthony Barnofsky from the University of California, Berkeley and others, in a report published in Nature, has combined information on major transformations in the Earth’s past (such as mass extinctions) with models incorporating the present and the immediate future. More than 40% of the Earth’s land is used for human needs, including cities and farms; and with the population set to grow by a further two billion by 2050, that figure could soon exceed 50%. Rising demand for resource-expensive foods such as beef could mean it happens by 2025, Prof Barnofsky’s modelling suggests. “It really will be a new world, biologically, at that point,” he said. “I think that if we want to avoid the most unpleasant surprises, we want to stay away from the 50% mark.”
Finally, a study by M. Lenzen and others, also in Nature, find that demand for commodities by developed countries account for one third of threats to species. This confirms that both developed and developing countries contribute to environmental destruction. We all have a role to play in reducing our consumption and populations to sustainable levels.