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Growth is Not a Bad Word

highlighting the struggle in achieving healthy balance between capitalism and sustainability

Below is an article about Growth. It really does a good job of highlighting the struggle in achieving healthy balance between capitalism and sustainability. At Paul Davis Restoration we deal with this when looking at building materials and pricing for thos products.

Sustainable products often cost more and are often not covered by insurance companies after damage has occured. More importantly highlighted in this article are the parallels to our own personal growth as human beings! Read on!   

The knives are still out and dissection of Rio+20, the UN Conference in June of 2012 on Sustainable Development, isn’t over yet. Several questions are being raised in the course of post-event analysis and one such on ‘sustained growth’ has caught wide attention.

George Monbiot points out in an article published in The Guardian that the term ‘sustained growth’ crops up 16 times in the document –the Rio+20 Declaration on ‘The Future We Want’ — where it is used interchangeably with ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’.  “But if sustainability means anything, it is surely the opposite of sustained growth. Sustained growth on a finite planet is the essence of unsustainability,” writes Monbiot. 

Forty years ago when the Club of Rome published ‘Limits To Growth’, cautioning against unfettered development that would ultimately exhaust the world’s resources and therefore threaten our very existence, it triggered a range of discussions on whether economic development considerations ought to override the need for conservation. Subsequently, at least three follow-up books on the same subject have been published, updating content with more contemporary perspectives. The same theme runs through all of these: any growth that overshoots ecological resources and exploits them to the point of destruction is tantamount to zero or even negative growth. 

A similar theme can be found in almost all philosophical interpretations of ancient religious scriptures of most religions and faiths across the world. It all begins with the kind of relationship you forge with your environment. As in human relationships, the pivotal ingredient is respect followed by others like gratitude and compassion. And no relationship can thrive if it is one-sided. Taking has to be complemented by giving and this is crucial to maintain the balance to protect the sensitive web of life that is designed by Nature to be self-sustaining and productive. 

However, as experts point out, any kind of catastrophe that may lead to an ‘end-of-the-world’ scenario this time would be due entirely to anthropomorphic or human intervention in the form of unbridled economic activity. Previous meltdowns and freeze-overs were the result of natural cycles, happening at intervals of millions of years in the form of deluges and ice ages. But this time, the tipping point is drawing closer because of all the human activity that is being directed towards higher economic growth that is taken to mean more production and consumption of material goods — with greater resource exploitation and disparate distribution and little or no restitution framework that could help natural systems recoup and restore themselves. 

Economic development is important to create food and other life-sustaining products that will ensure removal of poverty and hunger, as well as create the necessary conditions to ensure a fairly healthy lifestyle for all. But a holistic lifestyle is not only about material growth; more importantly, it is about the invisible growth that happens within each one of us; growth that helps one progress in another dimension, towards contentment and well being; towards overcoming greed. 

When we speak of growth in the context of a country or nation, we would mean an inclusive or holistic growth that would take into account economic, social and environmental achievements as well as factor in damage control and conservation measures that go to ensure sustainable development (not ‘sustained’ growth, as Monbiot points out). 

Growth is a bad word only when it refers to sustained, exploitative growth that gives nothing back; growth that encourages a use-and-throw disparate lifestyle which feeds on greed and wastage. However, when 'growth’ refers to holistic growth, poverty would become part of history and there would be enough to satisfy everyone’s needs.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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