Is the Planet Doomed

So on the post of a couple of days ago I asked What does it mean to be a minimalist?

If you read that post and read the comments you will see that I also ask if a minimalist is also by proxy an environmentalist?

Some people said not necessarily and others said yes.

Certainly living a minimalist lifestyle lends itself to also being more environmentally friendly(whatever that means) but I am now wondering if we are doing enough to help this poor planet of ours from certain environmental disaster.

So the question of the day is this: Is The Planet Fucked?

Are we doing enough to help turn the tables on the poor environmental choices and poor decisions we have made over the past number of years?

I am finding myself fearful of the answer.

Politicians and governments do not want to face the facts that are slapping us in the face about climate change and pollution and the state of the planet.

Government and politicians pander to the big corporations that support them. Not much is being discussed about the environment in the current presidential campaigns is it?

And don’t get wrong. I am not much better. I go on about living a minimalist lifestyle and living with less, and that is all well and good. But make no mistake I contribute my fair share to the pollution and garbage problem.

I do a great job of condemning others and I think that is enough. Hell at least I do something which is more than most is what I think, so I must be superior.

I drive a Honda Civic so that makes be better than that SUV driving, planet wrecking, polar bear killing SOB in the lane next to me. Right? RIGHT?

Yeah right.

The average North American produces 5 pounds of trash every day.

That’s right, 5 pounds.

But I recycle, you say. Yes maybe you do. But here is a test. Keep all of your trash for a few days. ALL OF IT. From work, from home, from your time at the gym. And ten go through it and see whet you find.

It may open your eyes.

The average North American uses(WASTES) between 50 and 70 gallons of water per day. Flushing, water running when brushing our teeth, doing dishes, etc.

Our global reserves of drinkable water are a fraction of 1%.

How many species of animals and plants go extinct every day? Dozens.

The average North American produces 5 pounds of trash every day.

Food packaging accounts for 20 percent of all waste. Instead of buying real food that we can cook, we are all to happy to buy pre-package foods that are shrink-wrapped, in a plastic container AND in a cardboard box.

The city of New York produces 9 billion pounds of garbage every year.
That’s just one city. Where does it all go?

And then think of all the driving that we do. My goodness. A typical passenger car produces 5.1 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year. And that is only from about 12000 miles or 19500 kilometers. Have two cars? How about a truck or SUV?

Have a kid? By two years of age a child will have gone through 4000 plastic diapers. Diapers alone are 4% of all waste. And they are plastic. Made from petrochemicals.

35 milion acres of forest is cleared every year. For toilet paper alone!

2000 trees every minute.

A new coal fired generating plant comes online EVERY DAY. So much for renewable energy.

The average North American uses(WASTES) between 50 and 70 gallons of water per day.

China gets lots of grief for being a huge polluter. But get this. The state of California is worse all by itself!

So is the planet doomed beyond repair?

I don’t know.

What I do know is this. If we do not get our individual and collective asses in gear, then yes, we are done. We might as well press the reset button and start over.

It doesn’t have to be like this, does it?

I want to have hope. I want to believe that we are smarter than this. Better than this.

Hell I want to believe that I am better than this. But when I look in the mirror I do not like what I see. I can do better.

I certainly do not have all the answers. I have more questions than answers, that’s for sure.

But I know it has to start somewhere. I can walk to work. I can use my reusable shopping bags. I can buy local. I can actually cook a meal from real food. Take shorter showers. I can be conscious of the amount of garbage I produce. There are so many small changes I can make.

Is the world doomed? Man, I want to have hope.

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I really want to hear what others have to say about this.

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Live Simply


9 thoughts on “Question of The Day: Is The Planet F*&ked?

  1. Well, I have no doubt that humanity will live on for many more centuries, but I also have no doubt that circumstances will force us to reduce our consumption and perhaps also our numbers substantially.

    The fact that environmental activists must understand is that everything works through the economy. People like consuming and living beyond their means and the economy we have created definitely reflects that. Within this economy, over-consumption really is as natural as breathing (which is why I harp on so much about building a micro-environment within which sustainability is more natural than consumerism).

    Also, modern economists see increases in consumption (GDP growth) as the primary measure of the health of an economy (which is complete BS of course). Combine that with the fact that the implementation of the green technologies necessary to mitigate climate change will really hurt the economic competitiveness of any country that implements them and you should understand exactly why we will not change our way of life before it is forced upon us by circumstances.

    The good thing is that those “circumstances” have now arrived in the form of the EU debt crisis and the US fiscal cliff. These things are nothing other than our exchange economy striving for balance by forcing westerners to start curbing their rampant consumerism to start living within their means again.

    The way in which we react to these self-imposed crises will determine whether we have a future of controlled slowdown or economic collapse. It is hard to say which of these futures will prevail, but one thing is sure: the option of perpetual economic growth (perpetual increases in consumption) is not even on the table.

    1. I find all of this quite fascinating. The who “designed obsolescence” thing, for example in regards to the buying of goods. And the fact that 80% of all products we use are designed to be used once.

      I love your insight on this.


  2. I don’t consider myself to be very green – having said that looking at your list of starting somewhere . . .I have already done all those things for many years, so I guess I am at least heading in the right direction.
    As for the world. I don’t see it can be anything else but doomed. Those countries that do the most damage won’t slow down, and many third world countries strive to grow to be like us. . . things are only going to get worse.
    Maybe its time we re-worded ‘natural disaters,’ caused by climate change etc to, disaters created by humanity.’

  3. Is the planet doomed? No. Nature has a funny way of compensating. Are we potentially screwed? Yes. I think its in our best interest to accept that environmentalism isn’t hippy liberal stupidity, that the Kyoto Accords are an important move forward, and get with the program. I also think we need to move beyond the doom and gloom that the environmental movement has been basing its rhetoric on for forever. Its pretty clearly not working, so time to try something else.

    1. People want to see a positive vision of the future. Living in a more environmental way would actually be good for us, and greenies could do a lot mroe to counter accusation that they want to take people back to the stone age.

  4. The planet isn’t doomed, but it may carry on without human beings on it! Your statement of the question reveals the very human-centric view (understandable) of nature. The idea that we couldn’t become extinct ourselves just isn’t realistic. If you take an intelligent look at the direction we are heading it is a very real possibility as far as I’m concerned. Why are we exempt if we change the climate we are adapted to, over populate the planet, allow soil erosion, pollute the oceans, kill all the bees, and most of all refuse to modify our North American lifestyle? Nature is adaptive, other species may thrive even if we are gone. Where are the dinosaurs today?

    That said, I have a hard time making any significant changes myself. I take public transit, live in half my house 800 sq ft. and rent out half, have solar panels on my roof, recycle what I can and try to not shop for unnecessary items, but I realize I’m part of the problem too. These feeble efforts won’t be enough to save humanity.

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