Every now and then this quote will show up, usually being employed by an actor, rock star, talk show host, or politician, and they will attribute it to some wise old Indian.
As best as can be detected, it isn’t an old saying at all, most likely it was first written in 1972 by a Canadian: Alanis Obomsawin.
. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, “Forest growth nationally has exceeded harvest since the 1940s… and the volume of forest growth was 380 percent greater than it had been in 1920.”
According to Worldwatch: The global population of cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep increased 23 percent between 1980 and 2010, from 3.5 billion to 4.3 billion. Naturally this increase is viewed as a “disaster,” just as a decrease would also be viewed as a “disaster.” To the anti-human movement, everything is a disaster.
The biggest gains have been made in developing countries that have adopted the ‘pursuit of money,’ as people from rural areas move to cities with modern plumbing and clean water.
The most polluted air belongs to economically backward countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Mongolia, and Afghanistan.
And now the really weird part: the vast majority of these improvements have come from individuals pursuing their own selfish interests.
The people who profit from cutting down trees have an incentive to grow more trees, the people who profit from animals have an incentive to raise animals, the people who sell water have an incentive to ensure their product is clean – not because they are swell people, but because their selfishness is only served by serving others.
Air quality is the odd-man-out in this bunch, as it is a public unowned resource.
In any case, the “old Indian” was just about completely wrong, the pursuit of money has done more to improve the average persons welfare and health than perhaps any other force. Look at the modern world and behold the the virtue of selfishness.
The old indian’s world maintained natural purity only at the cost of living in the Stone Age. No one but the most ecologically insane wants to go back there.
The author makes at least one good point. Industries that rely on renewable resources have an incentive to RENEW the RESOURCES. However, history is full of examples of narrow-minded people that exploited mother earth in the pursuit of money without regard for the consequences.
The wisdom of the saying (regardless of it’s source) serves as a catalyst for some of the positive things in the world. We can’t harvest living things in huge numbers without eventually destroying those living things. We can’t dump massive amounts of toxic pollutants into the air and water and expect to breathe fresh air downtown and drink clean water from a nearby stream.
The quote is not “bullshit”, it’s a slightly dramatic expression that reminds us of our place on earth. Of course you can buy food with money (and eat your money), but if ALL trees were gone, and ALL fish were dead, and ALL rivers poisoned, you too would certainly be dead.
You write “There are more trees in the world now than 100 years ago”
and then back it up with:
” According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, “Forest growth NATIONALLY has exceeded harvest since the 1940s… and the volume of forest growth was 380 percent greater than it had been in 1920.”
“The United States, which contains 8 percent of the world’s forests, there are more trees than there were 100 years ago.” is what your link starts with.
Once again, the United States is used as an example to mean “the entire world”. You make up 8%. Take your tiny hands and get a grip on your ego. 8% is 92% away from representing the entire world. I live in Costa Rica, which holds 5% of the biodiversity of the entire planet in a country the size of the state of West Virginia. Get over yourself.
The SAME FAO data used to back up your statement, shows that Global Forests were 3.9 billion hectares in 2015, which is down from the pre-industrial area of 5.9 billion hectares, for a net LOSS OF 34%. Thats ONE THIRD OF GLOBAL FORESTS GONE.
Of course DOMESTIC animals are up, most of the forests being cut down are deforested for livestock agriculture, mostly to feed the American (and by American, I mean the United States, who have egotistically appropriated the term, regardless of the fact that Canada, Mexico, ALL of Central America and ALL of South America are also “Americans”) insatiable appetites for cheap McBurgers.
However, according to the UN, Stanford, and Chivian, E. and A. Bernstein (eds.) 2008 Center for Health and the Global Environment. “Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals — the sixth wave of extinctions in the past half-billion years. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century. Unlike past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused by us — humans”
But I’m sure you don’t care about a MAN MADE GLOBAL MASS EXTINCTION OF LIFE, the likes of which has not been seen since the extinction of the Dinosaurs. Look it up.
I noticed that you didn’t touch “when the last fish is caught”, probably because it is well known and well documented that world fisheries are down. The FAO fisheries report (SOFIA) for 2009 reported that in 1900 our oceans contained at least SIX times more fish than in 2009 and that worldwide, 90% of large predatory fish stocks are GONE.
The UN report Water Scarcity, International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ 2005–2015″ from un.org tells us that “Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet water needs within a region. It affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.” 1.2 billion. Billion with a B.
The World Health Organization estimates more than 2 million people die every year from breathing in air pollution. They tell us that “In many cities air pollution is reaching levels that threaten people’s health according to an unprecedented compilation of air quality data released today by WHO. The information includes data from nearly 1100 cities across 91 countries, including capital cities and cities with more than 100 000 residents.” WHO.int 2011
YOU SIR are the bullshit artist that needs his facts checked and his ridiculous, small minded, destructive viewpoint DEBUNKED. You and your tiny handed “president” are SCREWING IT ALL UP FOR THE REST OF US.