Life in the Lap of Luxury as Ecosystems Collapse More and more people are beginning to take notice of the problems that are plaguing the environment at the present.
There is more media attention that is being given on the ecological issues and at the same time even governments all over the world are starting to provide more funding. While this is not necessarily a new issue the press coverage that it has been given has resurrected it, placing it within the view of the general public.
The arguments coming from the general public are more or less the same but the faces are different. One of these different faces in the ecological camp is that of William E.
Rees who argues in his book entitled, “Life in the Lap of Luxury as Ecosystems Collapse,” that a different view must be taken of this age old argument.As more eco-warriors rise up to take on the challenge, there are still the remaining few who remain content where they are.
Despite all the media coverage global warming has been given, there are still a number of people who are could simply not care. The challenge therefore lies in showing these apathetic individuals that there really is much to be concerned about.
While they enjoy the comfortable life, simply turning a blind eye will not solve the problem and soon enough it may come knocking on their doors soon enough. In the article entitled, Life in the Lap of Luxury as Ecosystems Collapse, William E. Rees presents the argument that because of the “unsustainable and wasteful lifestyles of human beings, entire ecosystems are on the verge of collapse (Rees 373) ”. This short discourse will attempt to shed light on this ecological collapse in light of the dangerous lifestyles that most human beings have today.
As mentioned previously, the lifestyles that human beings have become accustomed to have been exceedingly wasteful and ecologically damaging. Even without the movie of Al Gore, one would still be able to see just how much damage human beings are upsetting the ecological balance. As more forests are cut down to make way for human cities, ecologies are relocated if not totally obliterated. According to William E.
Rees, “Increased urbanization is evidence of man’s technological hubris (Rees 381)”. Furthermore, the author adds that “separating billions of people from the land that sustains them is a giddy leap of faith with serious implications for ecological security.”As the world continues to develop and more and more technological advancements are introduced, life has indeed become easier. A trip to the grocers has now been replaced by online ordering.
While the environment has already begun to send wake up calls, the rest of the world still seems oblivious to all of these changes. Hurricane Katrina’s devastating wake on New Orleans should have made people more aware of the damage that is being caused to the environment but instead the reconstruction projects in that area have even added to the already large carbon footprint that is left there.Global warming has been challenged as a myth. As the weather patterns all over the world continue to change, man has decided that with enough technology these changes can be overlooked or maybe even ignored.
A heat wave is remedied by altering the AC. Strong rains are offset by stronger building materials that are even more damaging to the environment to create than before. It is exactly this type of lifestyle that William E. Rees argues against.
Instead of heeding the call of the environment, man has instead taken refuge in his technological prowess, preferring instead to find innovative methods to deal with the inconveniences as opposed to tackling the problem head on. It is indeed inconvenient to have to care about the environment when so many people are dying every day from hunger and civil unrest but no matter how inconvenient it is, it is a problem that must be dealt with.According to Rees, the problem lies in the fact that people have been separated from the land. Instead of having the sources of food and sustenance near the urban areas, these food sources capable of sustaining urban areas are located separately.
This creates a problem of sustaining the need of these highly urbanized areas. What results is that because of this detachment from the resources the highly urbanized areas become susceptible to adverse environmental changes and political instability in rural areas.Another dangerous effect that William E. Rees forebodes is the precarious decrease of renewable resources.
Because of the destruction of ecosystems in order to support urban areas, “renewable resource scarcities of the next 50 years will probably occur with a speed, complexity, and magnitude unprecedented in history (Rees 383)”. The danger, therefore, lies not only in the fact that these urban areas are highly unsustainable on their own but they also threaten the renewability of the very resources that they are dependent on for survival.If man is unwilling to change these destructive patterns, it will not be long before the damage that has been done to the surrounding ecosystems becomes irreversible. The effects, as predicted by a number of scientists could be disastrous.
There is not enough time to reverse these effects already as some have predicted. Man can only weather the coming storm and hope that by implementing change now, no larger storms will arrive.While there are still those who argue that there is still no urgent need to alter human behavioral patterns, the repairing of the environment needs to start somewhere. One way of starting is by doing the simple things, reducing carbon footprint to reduce greenhouse gas contribution, taking an active role in recycling and even just consuming less.
Life in the lap of luxury is indeed a very convenient life but as it is it will be a lifestyle that will be nearly impossible to sustain. It is wonderful to take advantage of all of the technological advancements that are available today but one must always ask whether or not the tradeoff is worth, a moment of pleasure that could be disastrous for this generation and the next.References:Rees, William E. (1999).
Life in the Lap of Luxury as Ecosystems Collapse. The Chronicle of Higher Education, XLV (47), B4–B5
Cite this Life in the Lap of Luxury as Ecosystems Collapse
Life in the Lap of Luxury as Ecosystems Collapse. (2017, Mar 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/life-in-the-lap-of-luxury-as-ecosystems-collapse/