Letters to opinion-leaders
9 January 2008 - Financial Times

Letters sent to Mr André Schneider, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum:

Geneva, 28 February 2007 Subject: Anniversaries and Global Growth Companies

Dear Mr Schneider,

Attached you find my ecostory 5/2007 on anniversaries and 36/2006 containing your press release of 29.9.06 on Global Growth Companies.

At that time I also listened to your web-mounted video on the WEF's annual meeting.

Now - after the meeting - you may have time to relax a bit and look at other matters.

The issue is extremely simple. But its consequences are desperately difficult.

The earth and its resources are finite. Humanity is overloading the planet's carrying capacity by a manifold. Economic growth always increases resource use, depletion and pollution. Economic expansion is actually speeding up the processes of resource depletion and many other environ-mental consequences of human activities. Sustainable growth and the like are myths.

Therefore the omnipresent policies of promoting economic growth are in conflict with what the world and its people, i.e. you and me, actually need.

Virtually all people want to get back to a situation of sustainability, meaning societal structures and ways of living that can be maintained for many centuries.

Presently, extrapolating environmental trends, we must count with societal collapse in two, three or four generations. The exact moment in time does not really matter but one must assume that it's imminent. The effects of climate change, the end of oil/gas, the lack of water and food and other resources will combine and lead to a situation that humanity is no longer sustained by the planet.

So instead of growth we need a contraction of our activities. That is the stark scientific message which, if thought through, is so threatening that most people deny its validity and seek refuge in all sorts of hypothetical and hoped-for solutions.

Would you, Mr Schneider, be willing to sit together and discuss the implications of these undeniable arguments for public policy? Would you have suggestions on how to get the message across to opinion leaders, i.e. academia, business and politics? Musicians and IT people have another, sometimes more creative approach to handle realities.

I thank you for your kind attention and look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,
Helmut Lubbers
ecological psychologist

Geneva, 18 June 2007 Subject: Follow-up (Anniversaries and Global Growth Companies)

Dear Mr Schneider,

Hopefully you have well received my letter of 28.2.2007 on the subject of economic growth.

I would be very interested to receive your reaction.

The facts are extremely simple:

1 the earth is finite,

2 humanity is already overloading the planet manifold and non-renewable resources are being depleted at high rates,

3 economic growth increases the depletion rates since each dollar of GDP corresponds with a equivalent amount of resources used,

4 from points 1 to 3 must logically be followed that we can no longer promote economic growth but on the contrary we need to contract our economic activities.

Would you, Mr Schneider, be willing to use your position in your influential organisation to promote a way towards sustainability?

Of course it requires extraordinary courage to make a U-turn and recognise that previous policies can no longer be pursued.

But in view of the increasing depletion and degradation of the world's environments, do we have any other choice than to be courageous?

If we are answerable to our children we must stop growth and start reducing.

It is the only realistic way to leave some resources and life to our children.

I thank you in advance for your kind attention and reaction.

Yours faithfully,

Helmut E Lubbers ecological psychologist

- copy of letter of 28.2.2007
- web page ecoglobe.ch/sustain/e/eday7605.htm
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