Is the Economy Sustainable?

How will climate change influence economic sustainability?

With record heat waves and extreme weather conditions ravaging much of the U.S., here’s a timely and important exploration of the economics of our changing climate from Bloomberg Sustainability Editor Eric Roston.

“It’s no longer accurate to call extreme meteorological events natural disasters,” Roston writes, “because our atmosphere is no longer entirely natural.”

In his poignant July 4th piece, Roston questions whether we can continue on our current economic path without destroying our environment. And he points to the mounds of research and evidence that back up his argument.

For example, using a historical analogy, Roston notes the impact of our extreme rate of consumption today as compared to the rate during the time of our Founding Fathers – and much earlier.

“The land and water of the United States, and other nations, are increasingly subject to conditions absent in 1776,” Roston writes. “In fact, they’ve been largely absent from the 12,000-year epoch in which humans blossomed across the globe.”

After fighting through an economic disaster triggered by the overleveraging of our homes and lifestyles, we now face the damage wrought by the overleveraging of our environment. Roston’s Independence Day call to action reminds us that even after we clean up from our latest economic crisis, we still will have a global mess on our hands.

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