Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What price progress?

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not."
— Dr. Seuss (The Lorax)
I came across this interesting photo on BoingBoing.com with this caption:
These pillars—located outside a rest area off Highway 80 in Adair County, Iowa—represent the topsoil Iowa has lost since large-scale farming began 150 years ago. In the 19th century, Iowa had 14-16 inches of topsoil. Today, it has just 6-8 inches of the stuff, and more is being lost all the time.

Bottom Line

The "West" achieved incredible progress during the Industrial Revolution and up to the present. But we did it by consuming vast quantities of resources such as topsoil. Think back on the extinction of the passenger pigeon which once darkened the skies or the near extinction of the American Bison. Look at the depleted fishing grounds around the world. Is "peak oil" in the near future or already in our past?

Will we find different resources to exploit in the future or will there be a day when we "run out"? What do you think?

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