The cloud of ash that has crippled air travel over much of Europe has intrigued me for several days. It is a great example of a misnomer that all of us in the western world have been raised to believe. That our economic system is at the top and that the earth serves it. In reality, our economic system is the giant tail, and the dog is the earth and its atmosphere.
Eventually, the dog always wins at the expense of the tail. Sometimes it just takes a long time for it to play out.
Over the last several hundred years we have looked at our economic systems as paramount, with the earths systems (and resources) as a subset of the economy. We take from the earth via extraction and pollution, and feed our economic systems. In essence we have used the earth and people to serve the economic system.
In reality we have it exactly backwards. The earth and atmosphere are the primary resource, and the economy serves under it. Without a healthy earth, there is no economy.
Any farmer that needs to keep his land producing for more than a few years knows that his or her farm can only yield so much. Sure, technical advancements can help, but over time, if the farmer overuses the fields, the farmers personal economy goes under. Our earth is one giant farm.
The cloud of ash is the great reminder that mother nature is bigger than us. As the planes have been grounded people are now screaming that the economy is getting hurt. We are the tail and she is the dog.
And I think she is getting tired of being pushed around.
The ash is not man made, but it is a reminder that she is boss and we can only work in a mutually beneficial partnership with her.
Recognition and adjustment to this paradigm would go a long way in creating sustainable economics. So that’s my rant for today.