“Graphic violence in the media. Does it glamorize violence? Sure. Does it desensitize us to violence? Of course. Does it help us tolerate violence? You bet. Does it stunt our empathy for our fellow beings? Heck yes.
Does it CAUSE violence?… Well, that’s hard to prove. The trick is to ask the right question.” Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes-Bill Watterson (Watterson, 1996) (Strip found here)
How would we know if the world is on an unsustainable path?
This is not a question with an answer. It specifically does not have an answer because of the two large, vague concepts in the question of “the world” and “sustainable.” We could know if the world is on a un/sustainable path if the timeframe we measure by is between now and entropy.
But that isn’t the question you are driving at. You are driving at the question of “How and why is society messing up our world and how can we fix it?” or “How and why is society being poor stewards of our natural resources and how can we fix it?”
Are we ruining our fisheries? Sure. Are we losing our our soils? Of course. Have we put unprecedented-in-human-history amounts of carbon into our atmosphere? You bet. Are we draining our water supplies? Heck yes.
Are we unsustainable? Well… that’s hard to say. The trick is to ask the right question.
Watterson, Bill. There’s Treasure Everywhere: A Calvin And Hobbes Collection. Kansas City : Andrews And McMeel, 1996. Print.