Eight global crises – human economy, climate change, exponential human population growth, ecological overshoot, biotic impoverishment and the reduction of biodiversity, renewable resource depletion, energy allocation, and environmental refugees – affect each other and affect and are affected by the biosphere. Some, perhaps all, are close to tipping points that, if tipped, will result in irreversible change. And yet, no sense of urgency is apparent. If any one of the eight interactive crises passes a tipping point, it will probably act as a threat multiplier for the remaining crises. Both politicians and the average citizen believe that priorities can be established for these interactive crises, but such an option is not viable for…show more content…
natural capital, made up of resources, living systems, and ecosystem services The industrial system uses the first three forms of capital to transform natural capital into the stuff of our daily lives: cars, highways, cities, bridges, houses, food, medicine, hospitals, and schools." Natural systems (fisheries, forests) are usually regarded as subsets of the human economy. However, in fact, the human economy is a subset of the biosphere (aggregate, global, natural systems).
The human economy is substantially different from the economy of natural systems. The genus Homo was spread thinly over the planet in small tribal groups for most of 4 million years. Upon the emergence of H. erectus and with the transition to H. sapiens, when an animal was killed, it was eaten and the hide was used for clothing or other purposes. Hides and human wastes nurtured the biosphere. The rate of growth of the human population was trivial. After the Industrial Revolution, wastes were often harmful to the biosphere because they could not be assimilated into the environment or they exceeded the biosphere’s assimilative capacity for them. The human economy is in crisis because it wants "more" of everything for ever more people. Practices to increase material goods in one area of the world by using natural resources often has effects on other parts of the planet. China’s impressive economic growth is fueled by coal: "In Shanxi, filthy coal is a part of