Postscript: our fragile home
DOI link for Postscript: our fragile home
Postscript: our fragile home book
Another chief problem is that resource extraction and refinement is generally a pollution-ridden affair. From harvest to manufacture, the processes of economic production frequently transforms relatively benign substances into toxic mixtures, poisonous to both plants and animals. Visitors to the Canadian tar sands, a Brazilian clear-cut forest, or an Australian strip mine well know how dirty the whole process can be. Forests have been felled, waters dirtied, and landscapes scoured for their precious metals, all to ugly consequence. Meanwhile, industrialized agricultural techniques feed billions, yet provide grave challengers to future farmers. The application of too much fertilizer, for example, leads to algal blooms that kill fish, while excessive irrigation leaves the land saline and unable to grow further crops. At sea, factory ships and other advanced gear have collapsed worldwide stocks of large ocean fish by an estimated 90 percent.1 Modern manufacturing and consumption are similarly harmful. CO2 produced during the burning of fossil fuels gets trapped in the atmosphere, raising both global temperatures and the wrath of climatic instability. Discarded electronics leach heavy metals into the ground, while disposable plastics are anything but – as evidenced by the debris floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Economic growth, all signs indicate, comes at a very steep cost.