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a theory about sustainability

i am not an expert in history, but i think that studying it we can observe various models of societies, usually a model being in time changed with another, and exception the usual despotic regimes (that never had a long life), the models used improved in time. there were all sorts of experiments, from old Greek democracies to feudal empires, primitive capitalist societies and communism.

one thing communism tried to do is to solve the people problem by solving equally the basic needs of all society members. it was an interesting model in theory, but a very bad one in practice. even it took quite a while, it was obvious in the end that it was an utopia, that people were not generally happier than in other models currently available, and of course people changed it.

now in Romania we are fast adapting to a consumer society, making the change fast forward. it has some curious effects this transition from one extreme to another, change being many times faster than in western world. the perspective is different. but people embrace gladly that rat race of consumerist society, working, spending, watching tv, working, again spending, again watching tv. some people are happy, having the freedom they did not have before, some people start wandering what is the purpose of all that effort, if you never get satisfied and truly happy. but the model is good, there are countries that for hundred of years live in a consumer society, and up to know to my knowledge there were no revolutions that changed this model.

so what’s up next? hoping that one day all inhabitants of this earth will live in a democratic society, will have a house, a car, washing machine and vacuum cleaner and go at least twice a year on holiday?

i think that a simple calculus based on the resources available gives shortly the answer that this is impossible. this idea may have been a bit strange a few years back, but lately, with the world financial crisis, people are putting to themselves a lot of questions. it is easier to accept now that we are depleting earth resources at a rate higher than ever.

the way i see it is like we are all on a trip, in a fast train going forward. the view is nice on the window, the people are nice in the compartment, everything is going well, we are all in fashion every day and we never get bored. but here is a big wall in front of us. it is not yet in the line of site. but we are going towards it and the train is going faster and faster. this train having everybody on board, is a huge mass with a huge inertia.

one day we will be able to see clearly the great obstacle in front of us. and we will push the breaks. but the train is so heavy, it is quite possible that if we wait until then, there will be not enough time to stop before hitting the wall.

i wander then what can we do, so that we don’t get there. and one thing that came to my mind is sustainability, achieving a point where our actions do not change the the balance of the environment, so that our way of living can be extended and perpetuated indefinitely.

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