The Human Economy is a Subset of the Biosphere
Cairns, John Jr.
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For decades, deniers of the need to protect the environment have used the tactic of pitting the environment against the economy. However, the disingenuous tactic ignores the dependence of the human economy on the biosphere for raw materials (i.e., natural resources) and also that the present biospheric life support system has maintained conditions favorable (e.g., atmospheric gas balance) to the genus Homo for approximately 2 million years and for Homo sapiens for about 160,000 to 200,000 years. If this dependence were not significant, humans would become extinct and the human economy would disappear with them. Since the human economy is totally dependent upon the biosphere and humans are depenent on the biospheric life support system, why are they tolerant of the type of economic growth that damages the biosphere? The only reason that has some dubious validity is the assumption that, when a resource disappears, human ingenuity and creativity will be able to find a substitute for it. In short, deniers speculate that growth has no limits. However, in the latter part of the 20th century, ample evidence became available that this speculation was simply not true. In addition, persuasive evidence also substantiates that non-carbon alternative energy sources (e.g., solar, wind) would be less damaging to the environment and also be an economic stimulus. Humankind should only engage in activities that nurture the biosphere.