The significance of the word "growth", depends to quite
an extent on the context: something growths taller,
expands in volume, ramifies, deepens; it materializes the
inherent and extrenal possibilities given to it. To increase
the complexity of something might constitute some of the
essence of life itself; to utilize the potential advantages a
continual interacion with the surrounding environment
Within the sphere of National eonomy, growth has usually
referred to a steady increase in the production of goods and
services. A continuous rise of the Gross National Product
(GNP), in the indusrialised countries, was under the 50ies
and the 60ies, the so-called "record-years", seen as
something obvious; a curve bent by coordinates set and
and defined by what appeared to be almost a natural law.
Though, as the negative effects on the climate became
all the more apparent, the perspective on industrial growth
turned more complex and problematic.
"The Limits to Growth",the report published 1972 by the
research-group, The Club of Rome, saw this traditional
view on growth as the main reason for the disturbances on
the environment. Also, the seemingly insatiable use of
limited natural resources would lead to a severe scarcity
of raw materials, eroding the economic and social base of
society, ulimately causing its collapse.
The seriousness of the climate changes and the threats it
poses to the eco-systems and our own survival, becomes
all the more apparent. If and when our room for manoeuvre
shrinks, or implodes, and we are drawn into fields of power
beyond our control, the art and character of "growth" will
aquire a new depth and awareness; a lighthouse for
individual and collective decision-making.
Paradoxically though, as I see it, our hope and possibilities
to avoid a climate-collapse, lays in that fact that, "growth",
constitutes a deep, integrated and essential part of our
character; reflecions, richness of ideas and creativity might
constitute some of its most prominent manifestations.
Innovative improvemens of existing economic and technical production-and energy-systems, ought to gradually be synonymous with increasingly sustainable methods of production; a social fabric with new patterns and schuttles, demands, as I and many others see it, new ways to approach an essentially positive force, "growth".
The Club of Rome´s report "The Limits to Growth",
visualized at the end of its drawn lines, threats to the
environment and our own survival. Rachel Carsson´s
book, "Silent Spring", from (1962), comes to me as a
parallel, both in time and aim, as it highlighted an
imminent threat to the environment, visualizing eco-
systems already on the brink of collapse.
As human beings we have the capacity to receive and
integrate negative and relevant information, even in a
late stage of a destructive and dangerous development.
A very good example is the depletion of the ozone layer
in the Earth´s atmosphere, first observed in the 1970ies.
The layer protects us from most of the harmful UVB
wavelengths of ultraviolet light, and the depletion was
found to be caused by manufactured chemicals,
The World Community took constructive and forceful
actions leading up to the adaption of the Montreal
Protocol in 1987, adapting a ban on ozone-depleting
chemicals. In the mid 1990ies the ozone-layer had
stabilized and in 2000s, it has begun to recover; it´s
expected to reach pre-1980 levels by around 2075.
That strongly indicates that "growth", in the sense of
our inherent and seemingly inexhaustible human capacity
for scientific progress, innovative technology and our
potential to, in times of hardship and severe threats to
our communities, come together in constructive and
determined efforts aimed at handling problems.
Despite certain social, economic and political paradigms
that still restrain a whole-hearted effort to counter these
existential threats to the climate, fortunately, there are a global mobilization among citizens, organizations, companies and politicians on its way, to release our inherent, inexhaustible capacity to act together in times of challange.
The drawing is my own and is inspired by two persons in the French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir´s painting, "La Déjeuner des Canotiers" (1881).