Being environmentalists we are highly aware of the fragile state our environment is in and the possible tragedies that we could face. After looking over other blogs (including my own) I have realized that even though our readings are laying out plans to save us and directly stating the reasons for our problems, we have not become any more optimistic for our future. So through this blog post I hope to take the time provide some statistics and facts that may give us hope as we continue our endeavors.
One primary thing to note for the basis of this is that Brown released his “Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization” in 2009. Since then, many things have changed and some things have not. As environmentalists, we usually focus on those things that have not (or the negative things that have changed), such as global warming (to name one of a few thousand others). However, let’s take a moment and look at the things that have positively changed. Brown proposed four main interdependent components to his plan B: stabilize the world population below or at 8 billion, eradicate poverty, restoring earth’s natural systems and cut CO2 emissions by 80 percent. In the 1960’s our population growth rate was at its peak of 2% growth. Since then we have seen a steady decrease in the population growth rate to where we are today at 1.13%. Brown suggests we cap our population at 8 billion and as of now (10 am on February 13, 2016) our world is holding 7, 401, 628, 700 people. This number is not the best when we think about the limit we want for our world population, but it is better than what I personally thought: we were already past the cap. If you look at the graph I attached, it shows the world population of the past, present and future. The hopeful message to take away from it is that little curve right where we are at. That curve should scream to us that we are doing it: we are slowing our population growth.
In regards to all of the statistics I have found in relation to eradicating poverty, it shows a steep decreasing trend. Granted there are some countries who are increasing and decreasing, but that is all economics. The overall trend is decreasing. In 1990 we went from 37% of our world in poverty to 12.7% in 2012 (World Bank). This alone is a huge achievement and should be no reason for us to stop pursuing a better future.
In class we covered the enormous increase in renewable energy and their decreasing costs. We have also covered other companies that are looking to intertwine more sustainable processes such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). Yet as Brown pointed out, technology is going to be our saving grace. He envisioned a future driven by hybrids and all electric cars. However he envisioned this right when the new Toyota Camry Hybrid was being released. Now Tesla is about reveal their Model 3 on March 31. This car is going to be able to go 200 miles on a single charge and that is not even the best part. The best part is this car will be about $35,000 dollars. Whether it is solar roads, an increase in wind power or an affordable, all-electric car, sustainable technology is taking this world by storm and Brown’s plan is looking more and more like a future and not just a dream.
All of this is not to say we should slow down our endeavors. In fact it is the exact opposite. We need to continue studying, inventing, developing, working, planting, saving, reducing, recycling and everything else, but at a war time speed. I feel that that is the major aspect of Brown’s Plan B that will hinder us. We are making our way towards every component Brown recommends but at a slower pace. Based upon Humanity’s report card that we covered in class, what components could we add to Brown’s plan B to make up for this lack of speed or what about humanity’s report card will we have to change? Also, for any of you who took statistics, you know that there are a lot of components that the straight percentage or trends presented may not reflect what is actually happening. I have provided the links below on everything that I have presented. If you find any loopholes or factors not considered, please comment on them!
Stay hopeful my fellow environmentalists.
^ Population Growth