Have you seen some of the Star Trek shows? Then you probably know that kind of statement. In dire battle situations, when the starship Enterprise is almost torn to pieces, the captain calls out to transfer
energy from other systems to weapons and shields. As a very last resort, energy supply from the life support systems is used to fire laser beams and maintain the protective bubble around the ship.
Recently, I read that not only have civilized humans deforested humongous parts of the landscape for lumber, agriculture or livestock since the dawn of civilization (picking up speed with the advent of the industrial revolution), but also 40% of the phytoplankton in the oceans have gone since the 1960ies as a result of anthropogenic effects. Industrial fishery destroyed seaweed forests larger in size than all terrestrial deforestation. Forests (terrestrial and marine) and phytoplankton are the prime ecosystems that convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, they are the life support system of the planet and important control mechanisms against atmospheric change (phytoplankton alone accounts for half of earthwide photosynthesis). By destroying natural landscapes and ocean floors in order to produce food, fuel, fibers or other resources for human consumption, civilized people literally transfer energy and resources (nutrients, solar energy, land) from the life support systems of spaceship Earth to the use of one single species. Recently I read also, that the US military now is proud to present biofuel driven aircraft for bombing their enemies. So what battle is the dominant culture loosing that it has to divert the last available resources to fend off defeat and power shields and weapons? The enemy is the breakdown of consumerism, perpetual growth and unsustainable importation of resources. The looming defeat is due to overshoot and limited resources. And the shiny bubble that is built up to shield people is the illusion that everything is fine and will be fine in the future – that growth can continue as it does. The last energy and resources are spent to keep that shield up, to provide civilized people with fish, veggies, meat and gadgets in abundance – more and more every year in an effort to prevent anyone from glimpsing at the looming defeat by hitting the ceiling.
But the battle is about to be lost. Resources are running out and the day will come that even the energy of the life support systems cannot be diverted any longer as even that runs out. We should not let this happen – sometimes it is better to look the superior opponent in the eye and accept his terms than to go out in a blaze of flames. And looking at that “opponent” – it is not even an enemy at all – it is just the laws of nature – and it is also a chance. The terms are clear: the myth of perpetual growth has to end, resources have to be used wisely and sustainability has to be achieved. We don’t need weapons or shields anymore if we accept these simple truths that have been declared as the enemy by economists. And then, we can divert the energy back to the life support systems, that keep us and all others alive, hoping that they can recover from being drained for so long. Only then can the journey go on – on spaceship EARTH.
UPDATE: Today another study came out in “Nature” about the essential importance on biodiversity for the life support system of our planet