Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Folly of Folly

A recent issue of New Scientist had a special section on The folly of growth - how to stop the economy from killing the planet. This report is so far away from the "scientist" part of the journal that I was almost speechless. Politics, pure politics...

Several carefully chosen experts, all representing almost the same point of view, postulate that the western civilisation is killing the planet. That western civilisation - and it alone - is to balme for all the sins: unwarranted greed and exploitation of natural resources, the fact that green values have no chances against market capitalism, short term thinking, all of that and more.

Well, let me aks some questions:
What are the effects of population growth, especially in non-western world? The journal prints one comprehensive graph showing all our exponential explosion.

Everything is exploding: exploited fisheries, paper consumption, extinct species, motor vehicles ... and ... human population.
The last one, especially outside the western world. But stating obvious truth, that overpopulation, especially in poor regions may be one of the causes of the poverty, is, hum, politically uncorrect. So, no, we do not touch this subject.

Secondly, I'd like to see an analysis of the impact on the planet from various populations, projected into the future: India, China, Africa... The people living there have every right to hope for, to aim for and to work for the same level of living and citizens of EU and USA. The question is: are there enough resources to achieve this, and at the same time to keep the population explosion going?

Lastly, a very uncorrect suggestion. The cover of the magazine shows a white male, dressed in western-type clothes (suggesting a banker?), pushing the Earth into an abyss.

Isn't this racism? Sexism?

(If you think it is obviously not, then please consider would it bee racist if the picture would show a bunch of African children pushing the same world into the same abyss?)

Thus, instead of a much needed discussion I was served with several pages of political propaganda. If this is the level of professionalism one can get from a popular science publication, what could we expect from less informed participants in the public debate?

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