Headline, January 17 2019/ '' ' MOTHER! EARTH METEOR? ' ''


HOW DOES ONE INCREASE HUMAN WELL BEING without increasing the terrible harm caused to our planet?

What can allow us to get ''more from less'' and better navigate a world of dwindling natural resources?

THE STEAM ENGINE AND ITS SUCCESSORS changed the world. Now, thankfully, the computer and its kin are changing it back.

WHY do I say ''thankfully''? Because the industrial age - ushered in by steam power and sustained by internal combustion, electricity and other technologies - was hard on our planet.

Year after year, we took more fossil fuels from the earth to power our growing economies.

We also dug out more metals and minerals, chopped down more trees, cleared more cropland, used more water and fertilizer and exploited our world in countless other ways.

During the industrial era our population and prosperity increased exponentially, but so did our consumption of natural resources.
By the first Earth Day, in 1970, it was clear to many that the planet couldn't keep up with all that expansion.

Eventually, it seemed earth's finite carrying capacity would be overwhelmed by our unchecked, exponentially increasing appetites.

The only apparent solution was to curb those appetites; either voluntarily, by embracing a philosophy of ''de growth'' [which is the same as signing up for a permanent, ever-deepening recession], or via central planning and rationing.

So what happened after 1970? Except that a few temporary restrictions like gas rationing, most countries didn't try to force a slowdown in consumption of natural resources or mandate that companies produce fewer material goods for the sake of the planet. The United States certainly didn't.

Similarly, most Americans didn't embrace voluntary de-growth. Economic and population growth may have slowed since 1970, but they certainly haven't started shrinking. Instead, they've kept increasing at pretty steady exponential rates.

The American economy is more than three and a half times as big as it was in 1970, and the population has increased by about 60 percent since then.

The American nation must have also kept consuming natural resources at an exponential rate, right?  Wrong.

Instead, something completely unanticipated happened. In America, the total use of many critical materials leveled off and then started to decline, even as the population and the economy kept growing.

The magnitude of these reversals is stunning.

According to the United States Geological Survey, in 2015, America consumed 15 percent less steel than it did in 2000, 40 percent less copper and 41 percent less gold. Total use of timber was down a third, and paper down 20 percent from their peaks.

If we zoom in on industries like agriculture, we see the same thing. The total tonnage of American crops has increased more than 20 percent since 1992, but overall fertilizer use is down almost 20 percent, and 13 percent less water is used for irrigation.

Finally, America, in the world's biggest and greatest economy, the total use of energy has plateaued, even as growth continues.. The American economy is about 20 percent bigger than it was before the Great Recession started, but in 2018, the country consumed only 0.26 percent more energy than it did in 2017.

How did America accomplish all this? How did they decouple economic growth from resource consumption for the first time in human history?

By putting the digital revolution to work.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Earth, Resources and Mankind, continues. The World Students Society thanks the author, Research Scientist Andrew Mcafee, M.I.T., Sloan School of Management.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.
See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Plastic & Waste '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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