Listen live, download to your iPod or read this Marketplace series on America’s (and now the rest of the world’s) gluttony for STUFF. I especially appreciated Jared Diamond’s interview in Part 3, and he’s right.
The war has to be waged on all fronts. Let’s not pretend that if we just recycle or have a kitchen garden the planet will thank us and get back to its regularly scheduled program. First in the series is here.
RYSSDAL: Is the rate of use (of trees, fish, topsoil, fossil fuels) increasing? Are things getting worse more quickly than they did 20 years ago?
Diamond: Yes, things are getting worse more quickly, for obvious reasons — namely, the human population is increasing, and worse yet, average consumption rates are increasing. That’s to say, out of the world’s six-and-a-half-billion people, the majority are in the so-called Third World, but they are working hard to catch up.
RYSSDAL: The same way that I would imagine there’s no one thing you can point to where you’d say that’s the tipping point of decline, is there one thing that can be done to reverse that decline?
Diamond: Yes, and that is to stop looking for the one thing that we could do to reverse the decline. The reason is that there are about a dozen major problems and we got to solve them all. If we solve 11 of those problems, but we don’t solve the water problem, we’re finished. Or if we solve 11 of those problems but we don’t solve the problem of topsoil and agriculture, we’re finished. So we’ve got to solve all 12 problems and not look for that one problem that’s most important.