"...When business as usual resumes, so does the air pollution that kills more people every year than Covid-19 has yet done, and exacerbates the impacts of the virus. Climate breakdown and air pollution are two aspects of a wider dysbiosis. Dysbiosis means the unravelling of ecosystems. The term is used by doctors to describe the collapse of our gut biomes, but it is equally applicable to all living systems: rainforests, coral reefs, rivers, soil. They are unspooling at shocking speed due to the cumulative effect of “normality”, which entails a perpetual expansion of consumption.
This month we learned that $10bn-worth of precious metals, such as gold and platinum, are dumped in landfill every year, embedded in tens of millions of tonnes of lesser materials, in the form of electronic waste. The world’s production of e-waste is rising by 4% a year. It is driven by another outlandish norm: planned obsolescence. Our appliances are designed to break down, they are deliberately engineered not to be repaired. This is one of the reasons why the average smartphone, containing precious materials extracted at great environmental cost, lasts for between two and three years, while the average desktop printer prints for a total of five hours and four minutes before it is discarded.
The living world, and the people it supports, cannot sustain this level of consumption, but normal [capitalist] life depends on it. The compound, cascading effects of dysbiosis push us towards what some scientists warn could be global systemic collapse..."