Even conservative players in the global warming debate, like the US, are finding ample evidence of the pressure put on Earth’s resources by an expanding human population. As the US’ Global Change Research Program has pointed out, some kinds of weather events have become more common, and more intense, in recent years. “In 2012 alone, Arctic sea-ice dipped to a new low, as an area larger than the US melted; unprecedented heat waves struck Australia, and other areas; record floods hit China and Japan; and the United Kingdom had its wettest year on record.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The global response to global warming, however, remains inadequate. This is mostly due to countries asking the wrong question, says David Griggs, director of the Monash Sustainability Institute in Australia. To allow society to prosper without sapping the planet of life, a new approach is needed. The economy must be seen as servicing society, which will only function properly with a thriving ecosystem. “Viewed this way, sustainable development should be redefined as development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding the Earth’s life-support system, on which the welfare of current and future generations depends.”