Selected Quotations from “Quantifying Overextension-America’s Predicament”
According to the GFN global footprint analysis, should we choose to maintain our current population level of 304 million people, our average material living standard would fall to about half of our current level—approximating the living standards in Saudi Arabia and Israel today.
Alternatively, if we choose to maintain our current living standard, America could support a sustainable population of only 150 million people.
Should we choose to maintain our current population level of 304 million people, the RP global footprint analysis indicates that our sustainable average living standard would be less than 20% of our current level—approximating that of Azerbaijan and Chile today.
If we choose to maintain our current living standard instead, America could sustainably support only 57 million people.
According to the Societal Overextension Analysis, should we choose to maintain our current population level of 304 million people, our sustainable average living standard would be approximately 3.5% of its current level—essentially that of Cambodia and Kyrgyzstan today.
If we choose instead to maintain our current living standard, America could support a sustainable population of only 10.7 million people.
The prevailing American perception is that “our system is broken” and must therefore be “fixed”, or “rescued”, or “bailed out”… This perception is fundamentally inaccurate; as a result, the proposed prescription is fatally flawed.
As the preceding analysis clearly demonstrates, we are irreparably overextended—living hopelessly beyond our means, ecologically and economically. Our resource utilization behavior, which enables our “system”—our American way of life—is detritovoric; that is, we are systematically eliminating the very ecological resources and economic resources upon which our ever-increasing population and our historically unprecedented living standards depend.
The inescapable conclusion is that our American way of life is not sustainable—it cannot, therefore, be “fixed”; it must be displaced. Desperate and futile attempts to perpetuate our existing lifestyle paradigm simply waste remaining, and increasingly scarce, time and resources.
Our only recourse is to transition voluntarily, beginning immediately, to a sustainable lifestyle paradigm, one in which we live within our means ecologically and economically—forever. Should we fail to do so, quickly, the consequences associated with our predicament will be horrific.
2050 will be “the new 1850”—if we are lucky!
Finally, Chris Clugston concludes with an inconvenient truth taken from Richard Duncan’s “The Olduvai Theory: Sliding Towards a Post-Industrial Stone Age”:"Industrial Civilization doesn't evolve. Rather, it rapidly consumes 'the necessary physical prerequisites for its own existence. It's short-term, unsustainable."
Questions. What are Canada’s “Inconvenient Truths” (or Australia’s, or Britain’s, or New Zealand’s etc.) Using Duncan’s description of industrial civilization, is Canada like a cannibal who consumes his own legs and will no longer walk much further? What would a Societal Overextension Analysis (SOA) reveal our carrying capacity to be (at given living standards) as opposed to the more limited Ecological Footprint analysis?