This phrase is typically used to indemnify Western Civilization for the current state of environmental affairs. Especially by poorer countries throughout the world.
The idea being that because Europe and America have polluted longer, those countries should foot most of the costs to clean up our planet. It’s nothing more than a filibuster.
Basically it’s a code for CBAU: Continuing Business As Usual.
It immediately brings up ideas of socialism, punishing the haves, eliminating the rich and redistributing wealth. And that is accurate. The problem is this: 100 years ago when the Industrial Revolution started, no one knew any better!
Now we do. If we buy into this idea of retroactive consequences: then we should punish every doctor alive who proscribed drugs and treatments now found to be unnecessary or ineffective, and we should overturn every conviction ever made that didn’t involve DNA testing and on and on and on into ridiculousness and triviality.
If the EU or North America, or any single country: were to foot the bill for cleaning up the planet; it would bankrupt them.
With the oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, ecological debt is a moot point. We need to come together and fix these serious issues.
Is oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico a global issue? It’s quickly becoming one.
Is oil use a global issue? Yes, we use it inefficiently and irresponsible.
Is pollution directly responsible for global warming? I don’t know. Some say yes, some say no; both sides have research.
Is pollution harmful? Yes. Just ask any town that lives near a power plant, factory or waste site.
Is our current form of consumption a serious problem? Yes, it is.
But the arguments of ecological debt do nothing to address serious issues. What needs to happen is this:
We all admit implicit guilt. Take stock of our resources and start fixing things!
If every country starts implementing sustainability and conservation initiatives then we won’t see a global break down. Prices AND wages will rise.
Unions lament outsourcing saying it undercuts American workers. Of course, if they were to unionize every factor and plant in the world, and implement standard wages across the planet, then there wouldn’t be an issue.
Think about that: Every country in the world comes together and implements the same conservation laws. The costs would no longer matter, because everyone’s cost would rise, and so would wages, and profits. We wouldn’t see or feel a long term net difference, because there wouldn’t be one.
So step one: Prove that sustainability works
Step two: immediate global adoption.
Make it happen people! Start with your home and community, then grow from there