Yesterday, for the purposes of provoking conversation, I posed the question of whether the earth would be better off without people. I, of course, don't believe this at all. But I do think dealing with the question causes interesting conversation.
I was particularly intrigued by the response of Ruchi, who writes the blog Arduous. She wrote, with a couple of insertions in square brackets by me:
The point is not that all of humanity should lessen our impact, therefore it might be better if we all committed suicide. The point is that right now the distribution of resources is wholly inequitable.
A month ago, I went to the villages of India. We drove to villages far away, and as we came back to the village where I was staying it was dark. And almost none of the homes had electricity. The only light most of them had was that of a fire.
"How do the children study?" I asked. "They have to study in the day, or they can't study."
So, basically, what I'm saying is, we in the developed world need to limit our consumption [of limited planetary resources] so that a) people in the developing world can have access to some of these resources b) people in the future can have access to some of these resources.
This isn't about committing mass suicide, this is about redistribution of limited resources over time and space.
Now hopefully, we'll also develop new [renewable, less limted] resources, and I do believe in that. But I think that living lighter now allows us the luxury of more time to properly develop those resources.
So anyway, no, this is not about whether humanity is good or bad for the planet. We don't need to prove ourselves to the PLANET. We need to prove ourselves to each OTHER.
[I can't help from adding one comment. As Ruchi so elegantly frames it, in other words, limiting resource use is not life denying, but in so many ways, it is life affirming.]
Picture of two kids sharing an ice cream courtesy of Ayo's Web Design.