BuddhaSoup wrote:I'm willing to take the chance that food redistribution programs, programs that help poor villages develop water supplies so that they can grow basic food crops, and other programs to eradicate hunger, for example, are on balance positive things to do.
In the long-term though, those villagers, motivated by desire and other afflictions, will reproduce and multiply, leading to resource strain, competition and decreasing standards of living, which can turn into conflict over dwindling finite resources. Even if they secure external resources through the economy or something, then they'll increase their consumption inevitably even if it just means getting a scooter or building a bigger house. If enough villages develop like this, the state might provide infrastructure, which only amplifies the level of pollution the people can and inevitably will produce.
The suggestion that eradicating hunger and disease will only promote more lives and cause fewer deaths seems to me the chance I'm willing to take...the developed world can in turn work on lessening its carbon consumption and develop alternative energy strategies (which already exist, by the way).
This is naive. Countries don't work like that. Idealism doesn't dictate real policy in the world.
Decreasing your carbon consumption would entail economic contraction. This is not politically feasible because economic contraction entails decreasing military power. As Cicero said, war is not so much about weapons as it is about money.
Alternative energies strategies clearly don't work. Most electricity is generated through fossil fuels. Nuclear, wind and solar are all subsidized by fossil fuels (the transport network alone required to build and maintain such power resources depends on oil). Wind and solar degrade the infrastructure faster because of unstable currents.
The reality is societies very seldom voluntarily reduce their complexity. Our complexity depends on fossil fuels, both for food production and industrialization, both of which enable high levels of social complexity needed to build and reproduce technologies which a lot of people believe will save us from our collective sins. I don't have any faith that the first world will voluntarily sacrifice some of its complexity and well-being for third world residents. It isn't in their interests.
So, elevating more and more rural dwellers into industrialized lifestyles does more damage than good. Once they get hooked on industrialized living, they'll become another energy guzzling polluting community on the planet. Meanwhile they can pray technology will somehow absolve them of their ecological sins.
Saving others from starving might increase populations, but we have the technology available to deal with increasing populations and we need only to will and the desire as a developed world to do so.
So where is this technology and how many years would it take to implement on a sufficient level to halt the effects of economically debilitating high energy costs?
That is the Buddhist way....renunciation by those who have, and food and clean water to those who have not.
Most human beings are not capable of voluntary renunciation.
Most of the educated world knows that carbon emissions are increasing on a monthly basis despite it being clear that they need to halt, yet people just keep consuming, demanding economic growth and living decadent lifestyles while maybe recycling their pop bottles while thinking they're "doing their part".