This week it was reported that the world population was pushed over the 7- billion mark by the theoretical birth of a child somewhere on the planet.
More than the product of an algorithm, we know this person is a boy or a girl. We know they are living, breathing and in need of a safe, nurturing home. We know they will need food, water, shelter… but also education and opportunity if they are to grow into their astonishing potential and contribute to the astonishing potential of a global community.
We also know our planet cannot continue to provide security, shelter, opportunities – even basic life sustaining resources for everyone in perpetuity – especially when we adhere to unsustainable production and consumption models in our agriculture, transportation, communication – all manner of productivity.
Here’s the other piece of converging news. Exxon Mobil’s third quarter profits just tipped 10-billion. We know the fossil fuel industry is advances a wholly unsustainable business model of production and consumption. We know that energy underlies everything we do, which enables the fossil fuel industry to wield incredible influence over our patterns of consumer consumption.
We know that in 2010, the fossil fuel industry poured hundreds of millions of lobby dollars into the US Congress in order to influence federal economic policy and actual federal laws which force American dependence on oil, coal and natural gas.
These laws help assure future demand, which encourages investors to feel more comfortable ahead of critical investment in things like operational, delivery and refinement infrastructure.
We know that hydrocarbons are a main component of synthetic plastics. We know that microparticles of plastic have been found on every beach in the world. We know there is a massive vortex of plastics drawn into the ocean conveyor somewhere up near the North Sea. What else do we know? We know the production of carbon is wreaking havoc with planetary weather systems and food production in kind, creating floods, drought, fire and famine.
We know the oceans are acidifying and reefs are dying. We know our planet is in the throws of another mass extinction – insects and amphibians the first to take a nose dive.
Many of us also recognize the telling convergence of these two events: Without a transition to renewable energy neither the baby born this month, nor any of us will have the future we all deserve and have an obligation to help ensure.
Are we to adhere to the low standards of the fossil fuel industry and perish as a part of the mass extinction, or are we to evolve as we can and should into a more equitable, peaceful and productive world population?
This is the telling convergence I see. What do you see?