Sustainability. That’s the popular word today in discussions of food production and the environment. Sustainability is about meeting the requirement of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and all about achieving an overall balance. But for farmers, ‘sustainability’ means not only those practices that are good for managing soil, water, and land, it also means a few things practical to the business side of the farm, such as having enough land and feed to sustain the cattle, or managing the farm to stay profitable and in business, or managing the land in a way that brings opportunities to future generations. At its basic level, sustainability can mean maximising the land’s potential to produce more forage per acre and more milk per cow. Profitability. Whatever the specific definition of ‘sustainable,’ one thing is for certain: economics drive solutions within capitalism.
Scientific and technological advances have been enormous and thanks to breakthroughs in communications, millions of people globally routinely conduct live, visual conversations with one another. In medicine, replacing damaged or diseased parts of the human body has become commonplace. In biology, scientists have mapped the human genome and are well on their way to understanding the structure of the brain. When it comes to transport, it is relatively easy to travel the world, while spacecraft are now being designed to take tourists into orbit. Computers have dramatically improved the acquisition of knowledge, the storage of information, and dissemination of it at incredible high speed.
Yet there is a glaring discrepancy between these kinds of advances and the social institutions that can ensure that they are used for the benefit of humanity. Despite very substantial progress in modern medicine, vast numbers of people receive no medical treatment or, at best, inferior medical care. The internet's ability to transmit knowledge, culture, and understanding around the world is employed primarily to distribute mindless, shallow entertainment and peddle commercial products. The ravages of climate change are ignored and instead, corporations roll out plans to further destroy the environment through additional extraction and use of fossil fuel. Stimulating consumer demand through the latest advertising techniques, capitalist corporations churn out a vast number of quickly-discarded throw-away gadgets whose manufacture fills the air, the water, and the soil with dangerous contaminants. Drawing upon the science of robotics, business is beginning the displacement of millions of workers, condemning them to unemployment and poverty rather than extend leisure and reduce working hours. While governments press into service the latest scientific and technological knowledge to spy on the public, as well as to produce new weapons and other high-tech means of destroying millions of lives in war.
Capitalist greed has stunted social impulses. The real question is whether people can muster the political will to reshape society to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. Overpopulation is blamed for the destruction of the planet, yet have we ever thought of pointing fingers at the unsustainable practices WE continue to perform in the name of “profit” despite the many existing alternatives? It is not a question of the number of people inhabiting our planet, it is a question of the laws of capitalism. When researchers started looking at whether we could increase our population numbers and economies without using up more of the Earth's limited natural resources, they expected the answer to be “no”. But their findings suggest it can be done. What if we used all of our manpower, creativity and intelligence for the betterment of all life instead of using it solely to empower the few at the top? What if we united forces not for war and destruction, but for peace and creation? What if we instead used this same potential to create sustainable technologies, beneficial products and harmonious systems that would allow humanity and the earth to thrive? Imagine if we united as a people, stopped complying and created a more beautiful world—not because of some piece of paper we would get in return but, because it only makes sense.The truth is, if we all shifted towards an earth-friendly lifestyle and designed sustainable cities that would allow for self-sufficiency and collaboration for the good of all, we would no longer be considered a threat to the planet. We would work with nature and not against it. We are a part of nature after all and it is about time we stop feeling guilty for existing. What we should be critical of are our actions and destructive system we continue to uphold – not our species itself – which can all be changed if we stop pretending we are separate from nature and each other. The world is abundant of resources and could provide for everyone’s needs. The world isn’t overpopulated at all. It’s just very badly managed. We humans face a choice. As populations grow and earth resources come under near-intolerable pressure, we have to decide how to feed ourselves.
Our fight is to show that for our current and future needs we have enough already. Abundance already exists. If faced by a shortage of one material we have alternative sources which does not involve the intensification of the extraction process for the original source to the detriment of the environment. Report after report explains that more conservation and less waste is a better solution than constant growth. Our case against capitalism is a "holistic" one yet many still wage all their individual battles and wars as isolated individual campaigns. We are not anti-GM or anti-fracking and we are not pro-organic and pro-local food. We are anti-capitalist because commercial vested interests is the fundamental problem of the science, not the particular technologies.