One of the most insidious paradigms of our modern era is that “There’s always more where that came from” which implies that nature is there to serve us; that disposability and planned obsolescence equal profitability; that constant growth and demand are positive forces and that environmentally damaging activities are justifiable in order to drive a world economy that needs to spiral ever upwards. With this patently erroneous mindset it is easy to rationalise away the plunder of the Earth’s resources on a scale never before equalled. It is also all too easy to enable practices such as discounting over distance, whereby nations in some parts of the world expropriate resources from other parts of the world, to proliferate.
Unless it is halted, over time discounting over distance could contribute to wholesale deforestation of enormous swathes of the Earth’s surface with the resultant loss of parts of the planet’s green lungs. Overfishing would mean the emptying of the global ocean with consequent food insecurity and loss of income for millions of people, while the expropriation of water resources would mean not only water stress in some parts of the world but water wars.
In a world of increasing interdependence there should be no place for the self-centred, isolationist, island mentality that enables practices such as discounting over distance to exist, let alone increase. Because the stark reality of the 21st Century is that there is no longer more where that came from. And ecological ransacking by some nations of the world means serious declines of resources in other parts of the world which could lead to a net global deficit with all its dreadful ecological implications. Competitiveness for these last remaining resources could also spill over into deadly conflict and with the arsenal of frightening weapons at our disposal this is a possibility that we dare not entertain.