It may be a slow death, like a frog in water that is being heated up slowly, but it will kill us.
By Scott Phelps
A recent article in The Guardian described the findings of scientists studying the problem of “overshoot,” which is a term that “refers to how many Earths human society is using up to sustain – or grow – itself.”
The article states that “Humanity would currently need 1.7 Earths to maintain consumption of resources at a level the planet’s biocapacity can regenerate,” and “The team [of scientists involved in the study] calls for more interdisciplinary research into what they have dubbed the ‘human behavioral crisis’ and concerted efforts to redefine our social norms and desires that are driving overconsumption.” We are all aware of what the unrestricted consumption of fossil fuels has caused in terms of climate change and all of the negative effects of that.
Big companies exploit us and materialism ruins everything
Big companies’ dominant market power has allowed these companies to get away with their record price increases in recent years. Another recent article reported that “excess profits at big energy and consumer companies pushed up inflation,” and that “The author’s analysis of financial reports from 1,350 companies listed in the U.K., U.S., Germany, Brazil, and South Africa found nominal profits were on average 30% higher at the end of 2022 than at the end of 2019.” I wrote about this “greedflation” phenomenon last year and how it affects us in Southern California and Pasadena. The cascading desire for more money by everyone in the system wreaks havoc on everything, from rising public utility and insurance rates to huge increases in public construction projects like the California bullet train and school modernizations, to drug companies causing the opioid crisis to reap excessive profits and raising the prices of insulin for diabetics to unaffordable levels so that they ration it, to colleges destroying athletic conferences in search of more money, to professional golf imploding via golfers chasing huge payouts from the Saudis, and now the PGA giving out billions to the top players to huge athletic contracts and ultimately larger ticket prices and concession prices, to increased salary demands and strikes amongst public and private sector unions, to rent increases that drive people out of their homes, to bitcoin factories causing environmental damage and human suffering. . .
It all appears to be related to energy and consumer companies’ desire for more and more money and their market power which enables them to raise prices excessively to earn record profits, and our corresponding need to catch up with those price increases, and both of these are related to our underlying behavior of overconsumption and lack of moderation. With regards to the latter, I was amazed to read about the huge piles of used clothing in the desert of Chile that went up in flames in 2022, the results of “fast fashion’s” overconsumption-based model.
I read recently that despite us all being upset by the level of prices after our recent very high inflation, prices going down, broad deflation, would be bad for the economy, as consumer spending would slow as folks awaited even lower prices. This would negatively impact hiring and wages. With overconsumption now the norm, a decrease in consumption may be in order. We may have to sacrifice some of our wants and live more moderately in order for our planet to survive.
We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)