"If you really think the environment is less important than economy try holding your breath while counting your money."
- Dr. Guy McPherson
I tracked down the source of the quote, and it's from this blog post that he wrote back in May 2009, titled Time for a Revolution.
The exact quote is:
"If you think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath while counting your money."
About Guy McPherson:
Dr. Guy McPherson was Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, where he taught and conducted research for twenty years.
His scholarly work, which has for many years focused on conservation of biological diversity, has produced 10 books and more than 100 articles. He is the author or co-author of such books as "Living with Fire: Fire Ecology and Policy for the Twenty-first Century," "Letters to a Young Academic: Seeking Teachable Moments," and "Ecology and Management of North American Savannas."
McPherson speaks about the two primary consequences of our fossil-fuel addiction: global climate change and energy decline; and strategies he's employed to prepare for an uncertain future.
He lives in an off-grid, straw-bale house where he organic gardens, raises small animals for eggs and milk, and works with members of his rural community. Guy developed a comprehensive set of durable living arrangements in response to the ongoing collapse of the industrial economy and global climate change. He shares property in a rural area developed specifically to provide abundant supplies of food and water as well as maintaining comfortable body temperature in the absence of fossil fuels.
I haven't really read many of his writings, nor do I know much about him at the moment, but this one quote echoes a lot of my thoughts about the importance of conservation, and why we need to focus a lot more attention on ecological health. Many serious environmental problems are the direct result of exploitation of resources for economic growth, while many of the solutions are stymied or waylaid by those who insist that the cost to economic growth would be too great. While I believe that a balance can be struck between development and environmental protection, I do sometimes wonder if it's really possible to have constant economic growth on a planet with finite resources. Is GDP really the only benchmark to gauge whether a society is doing well?
I'd like to end this quick post by sharing two articles by Paul Kingsnorth that I've read recently, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist, and Dark Ecology. These aren't your typical superficial "Save the Earth" platitudes, but for reasons that I can't really articulate, the messages they bear are much deeper and even more profound, with suggestions on what we can do in the face of what appears to be an inevitable march towards continued environmental deterioration. Grim, no doubt, but truthful.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to go out walking.
(Cross-posted to SBA Plus. Do support me in the Singapore Blog Awards!)