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In the recent past, the need of developing a sustainable path of development has become a crucial element to people, organizations and countries in different parts of the world. As it stands now, the conflict between the man and nature has continued to become deplorable in the last two decades. As witnessed in various parts of the world, this conflict has led to the deaths and diseases of human beings, animals and plants in different part of the world. For instance, the levels of greenhouse emissions have almost tripled since the 1980’s and this results to severe effects to the global environment. As witnessed in the developed and developing countries, such as United States, European and Asian countries among other notable countries, the problems and challenges associated with climate change and other forms of unsustainable development has rendered life to be unbearable in these countries. For instance, countries like Philippines, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, and Russia have all faced extreme levels of extreme weather patterns ranging from the flood to wildfires, which have left many people dead, disabled or displaced, thus reducing the overall potentiality of the affected areas. In addition, to be on the global tectonic plates, the effects of greenhouse emission leading to climate change have resulted to frequent earthquakes in Japan.
This has resulted to the closure of major firms, such as the Toyota among other notable firms, as well as loss of billions of dollars in reconstruction activities. In the last one year, the Eastern part of Africa, which includes countries such as Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia among others, has faced major challenges associated with the drought. Currently, more than 60 million peoples in this region face the danger of starvation, mainly due to political instability, destruction of their respective economies, and unequal distribution of energy among other aspects, which are important for the sustainable development. Sustainability is a long-term preservation of the wellbeing that mostly deals with the energy, environment and social-economy dimensions, which encompasses the ideas of stewardship and responsible management of the available resources. In the field of ecology, the aspect of sustainability entails on the way biological systems remains productive and diverse in a given period of time that is necessarily precondition for the well being of all human beings. Healthy and long-lived forests and the wetlands are some of the examples of the sustainable biological system. Healthy environments and the ecosystems offer vital services and goods to human beings as well as other organisms. Two of the notable way of managing the impact of human beings is the ecosystem service to the environmental management, while the other is effective management of consumption of the resources based on the information obtained from the field of economics. Sustainability of human beings interfaces with the economics through ecological and social consequences of the economic activities. Moving toward sustainability is a social change, which involves, among other factors, national and international law, transport, urban planning, individual and the local lifestyles as well as the ethical consumerism.
The ways of living sustainably may take the form of reorganisation of living conditions to reappraising of work places or even development of the new technologies, which reduces the level of consumption of the resources. It is worth noting that increased extraction of the natural resources concentration of pollutants and accumulation of waste will largely overwhelm on the carrying capacities of biosphere and results in the human welfares despite the rising income levels across various parts of the world. Further, degradation of the available resources will highly put the economic activities, which is it self a risk. In order to save the environment and economic activity, the economic growth should stop and make a transition aimed at steady state economies. Generally, lack of sustainable development in economic, environmental and energy factors has led to catastrophic events, such as the U.S. housing crash witnessed in 2008. Further, it has led to the current global financial crises that have highly affected European countries such as Greece, Spain, and Portugal among other notable countries in the western part of the world. It is based on the above arguments that this paper will critically review the book titled “The crash course: the unsustainable future of our economy, energy, and environment”
Section 1: Summary
About the author
The author of the book titled “The crash course: the unsustainable future of our economy, energy, and environment” is known as Chris Martenson. Chris Martenson is a trained scientist, who possesses a PhD as well as a program in post-doctorate from the Duke University, where he specialized in neurotoxicology. He is a father to three young children, a keen financial observer, and experienced businessperson, who have profound changes as far as his lifestyle is concerned, due to what he always view to be coming in the near future. In contrary to his keen interest in financial interests, Chris Martenson does not regard himself as an economist, as regarded by many people across the globe. He indicates that in the field of science, he has received an extensive training, which guides and informs him on the way he thinks. He gathers data, develop hypotheses, and continuously seek to rejection or accept hypothesis based on evidences at hand, as this helps him to make informed decisions based on data collected. He entered the field of science with the sole intension of teaching at college level. He loves teaching, especially in challenging of explanation to complicated or difficult subjects to the people who have no background or limited knowledge in the area of his interest. He strongly agrees that by doing this, he has not only improved the well-being of the students whom he has taught, but also furthered his knowledge in the area of science.
It is also worth noting that Chris Martenson posses MBA studies (finance option) from the Cornel University, that enabled him to spend approximately ten years working for various positions, such as strategic consulting and corporate finance. This way, he has been able to gather a lot of comfort in the area of finance as well with all other areas dealing with numbers. At the age of 40 years, where he was least known by people across the globe, he was a professional working his way up to the vice president of one of the largest, an international Fortune 300 firms and was living in a five bathroom house that was mostly paid off. His three children were about to enter public school and his investment portfolios were being managed by brokerage firm at one of the largest institution. In the recent past, Chris Martenson has fully stepped away from the biological science as well as management in order to develop education video seminar series known as The Crash course base on the neo-malthusian. The course investigates on the ways in which economy, energy and environment interact as and the way they interact.
The Crash Course presented by Chris Martenson is approximately 3.5 hours, though it is broken into various chapters, which are between 4 and 21 minutes in length. Most people who have watched the course strongly agree that Chris is a talented presenter, who is easy to listen because the content of this particular course is easy to follow. Chris has broad goals aimed at introducing and describing many of the challenging sustainability problems faced by humankind in the recent years. The problems are extremely serious, thus it is worth to contemplate about. Generally, it is worth noting that many decision makers regularly seek Chris across the globe. For instance, he has been invited to speak during major forums organized by the United Nations, United States legislatures, United Kingdom Houses of Parliament, large capital management firms and multinational corporations, mostly operating in Asia, U.S., and Europe among other notable continents. In order to lead by example, Martenson as well as his family and friends have remodeled their lifestyles in order to live sustainably. This includes the use of green energy, conservation of water, proper use of the available financial and material resources and the general conservation of environment. Other people who follow Martenson ideologies have adopted his way of living.
This can be attributed to Martenson ability to predict major occurrences, which are taking place across the globe. For example, he predicted major developments like the economic contraction, financial market correction, and energy supply breakdown, housing market collapse prior to their occurrences. He also provided recommendation strategies to these occurrences, such as investing in gold and silver and the home energy efficiencies, which have since demonstrate to be wise. From his work, great work, it is clear that Martenson has adequately used an agnostic data driven approach. This is because his focus is mainly distilling accurate truth from the data rather than using any belief-oriented or dogmatic association. He also have a positive focus, where the core message is urging people to take the appropriate actions now, thus being able to create a world worth of inheriting in the near future.
About the book
For all those people who would wish to understand the interconnection of the prevailing national debts in various countries across the world, raising food and oil prices, the unrest-taking place in Middle East, The Crash Course is an important area to study, as well see in different parts of the world, the aspect of economic, environmental and energy sector is rapidly changing. The book clearly indicates that the future is currently unfolding in the real-time. It has appropriate “lens”, which enables us to interpret the developing issues in their suitable contexts, thus offering the reader with invaluable advantages. In this book, Chris indentifies the fast approaching crises as defined by the accelerating decline in the supplies of the energy and the main natural resources, which are important inputs for the economic growth. The fewer inputs suggests that the future of “less” in almost everything, that is, fewer services and goods, reduced portfolio values, reduced support of government, which clearly indicates highly unsustainable future. Due to the way our future operates, all the sustained contractions are highly disruptive, yet most of them are not aware of the nearness and magnitude of the risks faced by human kind. It is worth noting that the book is not a “gloom and doom “but it presents an extremely honest assessment of the predicament, as well as illuminates on the path ahead.
The goal of the book is to assist communities, individuals, and firms to understand the possibilities of disruptions in future, thus positioning themselves effectively. This way, they will be able to thrive in the future, hence more profitability. It is important to indicate the main aim of writing this book was to motivate societies and individuals to reshape their lifestyles to become resilient and balance. Further, their lives should become sustainable in the light of raised challenges to our energy systems, economy as well as the environment. All people having positive visions for all families, business or wealth interests should aim to nurture and protect the available resources for sustainable growth. The book also offers enhanced accurate insights as compared to the traditional financial pundits and economists on the true factors, which are at play to impact on our wealth and the standard of life. Intuitive explanations that are easy to understand with regard to what the future holds are well elaborated in this book, with a sole aim of helping and guiding societies and individuals. Generally, the book offers actionable guidance on steps that individuals and societies can embrace in the current times concerning lifestyle and wealth to position themselves for upcoming “the future of less”. In addition to this, the book aims to sensitize the individuals and the society about the importance conserving the environment. The author arguments all much original, as most of his findings comes from primary research.
The Purpose of the Book
From the information given above, one can see that the book is written, with a sole purpose of motivating the individuals and societies to recognize and mitigate the root causes of their predicaments, protecting themselves as well as their families against possible risks. The Crash course gives a positive vision for the ways we reshape our livelihoods to be more resilient, balanced and sustainable. Due to the prevailing conditions, which threaten sustainable living in the current times, this book comes in handy to offer the long-lasting recommendation. For instance, the housing crash witnessed in U.S. continues to affect the U.S. economy in a great way. Employment level has reduced by approximately 9.1%, social inequalities; there have been reduced taxation levels to the high earning groups in the U.S. among other developed countries. This has resulted to massive protests across Wall Street among other notable areas, such as London, as people struggle to restore fairness and equality in their countries. It is worth noting that the world has fully recognized the great importance of sustainable development both in the short and long run. For instance, Germany, the most developed country in the Euro Zone, has adopted green energy as the next frontier in the energy sector. Because of this, the country has invested heavily in green energy, which includes solar, wind, tidal among other notable areas of energy.
The awarding of the prestigious Nobel Prize to famous personalities, such as Professor Wangari Maathai from Africa in 2004, among other crusaders of environmental management across the globe is a clear indication of the importance attached to sustainable living. From the book, the author offers some warning signs that face our planet. In the energy and mineral supply, it is estimated that the discoveries for new oil have been outpaced by the oil consumption by nearly 400% on annual basis. Therefore, the known deposits of numerous critical minerals shall be exhausted in two decades time, if the supply of energy will be steady. In the current time, getting new oil deposit has become hard to get, deeper down, more dilute and more remote. In the area of water and food supply, Chris indicates that the world population will climb up to 9.6 billion people by 2050. Despite, nearly all the high arable land being under production, the world continues to face severe food and water problems.
This is an indicator that the problem may greatly escalate, owing to the fact that the population will have increased by almost 50% from the current 6.8 billion people. Food yields are dependent on the fertilizers that are energy intensive during the manufacturing process or easily depleted. The reason for applying the fertilizers is the fact that, the soils being mined through the removal of important nutrients, without any foreseeable chances of replacing these nutrients. In the sector of the environment, there has been over 40% reduction in the oceanic phytoplankton in the last half century, leading to reduced number of the wildlife, such as bees, bats and birds. Mercury levels both in the soil and water has significantly increased, thus making carcasses from marine mammals to be treated as toxic. The globe is in deep economic crises and there are no easy fixes of predicaments faced. The unsustainable trends in the economy, environment and energy have ultimately caught up with every one of us and they are conveying an extremely slim window of time. The Crash Course indicates the predicaments we face and illuminates on the path ahead, so that the readers can face upcoming disruptions without fear or retreating to denials. The book offers solid facts and is grounded on reasoning that is presented in a positive, calm and a non-partisan ways. Our money systems have placed impracticable demands upon finite world. The exponentially increasing levels of debts, which are based on the assumptions of the economic growth to finance repayment, will largely shudder to stop and then, reverse in the near future. Unfortunately, the financial institutions do not operate in reverse, thus the consequences of massive deleveraging shall be severe. The reality of dwindling oil reserves is evident to most organizations and countries, yet less than 5% of them have come up with Plan B, to face the challenges.
Section 2: Critical Analysis
No one is responsible for nearly all of the use, damage and loss of the environment, which is getting into disaster proportions in the way of pollution and the loss of fertile soils, freshwater, and fisheries. The author of this book argues that the earth’s natural ecology and rejuvenating bio-capacity are being sternly degraded and this lessens the earth’s capacity to sustain life. Air water and land are being increasingly polluted; species are dying greater than their natural pace of extinction, there is desertification and global warming is well on the move. These arguments are much credible, because the globe climate keeps on changing day after day and its consequences, continues to be more ferocious.
For instance, forestland is lost at the rate of 375 kilometers square every day and this is greater than the entire area of Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New Jersey among others. The planet has by now lost 80 percent of its real forests cover. Between the years 1960 and 1990, the worlds’ 1.1 billion acres of tropical forests were cut down. At the global currents rates, about five to ten percent of tropical forests habitants will become extinct each decade. Deforestation also comes because of clearing forests in search of energy sources and this is a great threat to extreme weather conditions and global warming. Urban growth and heavy industrial needs large amounts of energy. In some countries, such as China, approximately 100 percent of industrial work uses the most dangerous forms of energy, coal, like cement manufacturing. Currently, the global becomes lesser to everyone as scientists reveal meteorological findings in universal air movement. Nitrogen oxides and Sulfur dioxide are discharged by China’s coal power-driven plants fall as acid rain in South Korea, Seoul, and Tokyo, to mention some affected parts. Actually, most of Los Angeles particulate pollution instigates in China.
Man’s quest for energy has also led to increased air, water and land pollution because until lately, pretty lot of all our activities for energy creation has resulted to hurting the environment. Energy used is almost totally produced from fossils fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Together with hurting the environment and polluting it in the course of mining the fossil fuels, their burning to produce electricity also harms the environment in that they produces ridiculous amounts of gases, such as carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide and other forms of toxic compounds. These substances are dangerous to the lives of human beings and animals and can result to global warming. As a result, private and public sectors should take desirable measures, like using alternative sources of energy, such as the wind and solar energy, which are renewable and don’t harm the environment through pollution.
Oil spill is another example caused by man’s quest for energy. Oil spill refers to discharge of liquid petroleum hydrocarbon in to the atmosphere as a result of mans activity and is a kind of pollution. Marine oil spill is where oil is discharged to the coastal or ocean waters and this posses a great threat to marine mammals and sea birds. Spills take months or years to clean up. David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that necessary measures are required, as the spill had started spreading to the Mississippi river. He said that, the oil spill could result to be the states most horrible environmental adversity in decades, thus threatening many species, such as birds, fish and other wildlife alongside the Gulf Coast.
Global warming exists and is a serious problem that requires to be addressed. Every individual can assist to lessen the demand for fossil fuels, which in turn decreases global warming, by utilizing energy more intelligently. The Americans electricity system menaces the health of our societies by polluting the air and leading to global warming. Heat trapping emissions, for instance, carbon dioxide can cause irreversible harm to societies throughout the United States of America and the globe at large. The damage comprises of augmented air pollution, and infectious diseases, such as West Nile Virus, flooding and erosion in the coastal communities as a result of sea level rising, extreme weather conditions, declined productivity, and loss of species.
Global warming is expected to reduce Chinas annual grain harvest by 10 percent by the year 2030, as a result of increased pests and insects (due to warmer weather conditions) that usually consume crops as a source of food. Although US among other developed countries have not adopted any of the Kyoto Protocol, the countries have still made significant progress, with regard to developing workable policies of having workable models. This will meet the needs of market driven caps and the trade system aimed at valuating and accounting for carbon credits. They includes establishment of standardized accounting practices, which can be constituently used in verifiable manners. The table below briefly indicates the measures being taken by US Federal Agencies to reduce on emission
Efforts to Mitigate Environmental Destruction
The landmark report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, entitled "Our Common Future", cautioned that unless we modify most of our lifestyle patterns, the globe would face undesirable levels of environmental harm and human suffering. The Commission said, "Humanity has the capacity to make growth sustainable and to guarantee that it meets the wishes of the current necessities without compromising the capacity of the outlook generations to meet their requirements.
"Energy effect to environmental destruction is a global threat and this requires to be addressed so as to save the planet. Various efforts have been put forward to deal with the predicaments that result from energy consumption. For instance, in China, change is mandatory and although market based incentives does not exist; the Communist Party Leaders have mandated a decline in emissions. This year, China has set an objective of 20 percent less energy use and 10 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide, mercury amid other pollutants. It is true that such countries as Japan, Britain and United States polluted their way to riches and got troubled about the consequences after the maturity of their economies and better living conditions for their middle class population. China would also like to employ this as a gratis bypass to pollution, although the New York Times states “China is like an adolescent smoker with emphysema”. The state has not attained economic stability and has attained environmental crisis.
In order to reduce global warming, individuals and states need to lower their energy use and use cleaner or alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar or geothermal energy. The most significant element in fighting global warming is reducing the amount of hazardous green house emissions that are discharged into the environment as a result of burning fossil fuels and natural gas. Every year, each state should reduce about 17500 to 20000 kwh per capital of energy consumption without affecting the quality of life. In the United States, more than half of the states have acknowledged a renewable electricity set -a policy that entails suppliers of electricity to raise the usage of renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal. These states have expressed that these renewable resources have lessened CO2 and the effects of fossil fuels extraction on the water and land resources.
Deforestation can also result from energy use. Deforestation threatens the lives of wild animals, leads to extreme weather conditions and can also result to global warming. States should encourage individuals to plant trees and use alternative renewable sources of energy, as this will also reduce global warming, since trees will give off oxygen and utilize carbon dioxide.
The environmental ethics field concerns the ethical relationship between human being with natural environment. Several philosophers have written on environmental philosophy, although this topic developed well in the 1970s. The emergence of study in this area has increased the awareness on the effects of industry, technology, rapid population growth, economic expansion on environment. Environmental ethics is a component of environmental philosophy that considers extension of the traditional boundaries in ethics from human beings to include the non-human world. This area influences on large number of disciplines such as sociology, law, geography, economics, and theology among others. The fundamental questions addressed by environmental ethics include the duties of human beings to the environment and the reasons as to why human beings have an obligation to the environment they live in. It is clear that development of environmental ethics have been enormous in the last decade as compared to the past years as human beings are becoming aware on the importance of participation in environmental conservation among other aspects.
It is evident that environmentalist tries to come up with solutions which have a commensurate benefit to the environment, thus making it an important aspect to many environmental regulation bodies across the world. The principle of the commensurate burdens and benefits indicates those who derive benefits should be the ones who sustain the commensurate burdens mainly refereed to as unacceptable interruptions. The idea of this philosophy is that one should suffer the consequences of their actions.
The idea of some philosophers were that burdens and benefits comes and goes from social spot which we can not be able to tease out of the specific effects of every one actions. The principle of commensurate between burdens and benefits is not just a moral principle, which governs distribution of justice, but it is essential. It is worth noting that there had been shortcoming resulting from libertarian and free-market approaches in seeking to restore and maintain the environment. This is due to the fact free market, tort of law as well as property rights I most of the countries have not been able to address the issue of environmental conservation properly as compared to modern approaches of legislations set by the states. Free market has been unable to address some of the pertinent issues such as negative externalities of the industrial production as well as excessive depletions of non-renewable resources among other issues.
By reviewing the above book, one can clearly see the urgent need of ensuring steady growth in economical, energy and environmental sector. This is because these sectors are the backbone of sustainable development, both in the short and long run. For countries, such as China, Europe, and the U.S., lack or delay in coming up with workable policies to cater for the three sectors has led to massive looses in revenues, both at state and federal levels. Consequently, the livelihood of people continues to decreases, despite the numerous efforts undertaken by the government to upgrade their standards of living. On the other hand, a country like Germany, which has embraced numerous policies aimed at sustainable living, remains one of the best performing economy in the European continent. As a result, it has played a vital role in giving loans and grants to poor performing economies in the Euro zone like Greece, Portugal, and Spain among others. In conclusion, individual and societies should continue to adopt more proactive methods of sustainable living as advocated by Chris Martenson. This way, we will be able to avert most of the foreseeable failures that greatly threatens human race in some years to come.