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豆知识 2011-04-03&04-09 物品的故事 (1/5)

时间:2011-09-09 02:15来源:互联网 提供网友:gmeng   字体: [ ]
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 Do you have one of these? I get a little obsessed1 with mine. In fact, I get a little obsessed with all my stuff. Have you ever wondered where all the stuff we buy comes from where it goes when we throw it out? I couldn't stop wondering about that. So I looked it up. And what the textbook said is that stuff moves through a system, from extraction, to production, to distribution, to consumption, to disposal. All together, it's called the materials economy. 

Well, I looked into it a little bit more. In fact, I spent 10 years traveling the world, tracking where our stuff comes from and where it goes. And you know what I found out? That is not the whole story. 
There is a lot missing from this explanation. For one thing, this system looks like it's fine, no problem. But the truth is it's a system in crisis. And the reason it's a system in crisis is it's a linear system, and we live on a finite planet, and you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely. Every step along the way, this system is interacting with the real world. In real life, it's not happening on a blank white page. It's interacting with societies, cultures, economies, the environment. And all along the way it's bumping up against limits. Limits we don't see here, because the diagram is incomplete.
So let's go back through. Let's fill in some of the blanks and see what's missing. Well, one of the most important things it's missing is people. Yes, people. People live and work all along this system. And some people in this system matter a little more than others. Some have a little more say. Who are they?
Well, let's start with the government. Now, my friends tell me I should use a tank to symbolize2 the government and that's true in many countries and increasingly in our own. After all, more than 50% of our federal tax money is now going to the military. But I'm using a person to symbolize the government, because I hold true to the vision and values that government should be of the people, by the people, for the people. It's the government's job to watch out for us, to take care of us. That's their job.
Then, along came the corporation. Now, the reason the corporation looks bigger than the government is that the corporation is bigger than the government. Of the 100 largest economies on earth now, 51 are corporations. And as the corporation has grown in size and power, we’ve seen a little change in the government. Well, they’re a little more concerned in making sure everything is working out for those guys than for us.
Ok. So let's see what else is missing from this picture. We start with extraction, which is a fancy word for natural resource exploitation, which is a fancy word for trashing the planet. What this looks like is we chop down the trees, we blow up mountains to get the metals inside, we use up all the water and we wipe out the animals.
So here, we are running up against our first limit. We are running out of resources. We are using too much stuff. Now I know this can be hard to hear, but it's the truth what've got to deal with it. In the past three decades alone, one third of the planet's natural resource spaces have been consumed. Gone. We are cutting, and mining, and hauling and trashing the place so fast that we’re undermining the planet's very ability for people to live here. 
Where I live in the United States, we have less than 4% of our original forests left. 40% of the waterways have become undrinkable. And our problem is not just that we're using too much stuff, but we're using more than our share. We have 5% of the world's population, but we are using 30% of the world's resources, and creating 30% of the world's waste. If everybody consumed at U.S. rates, we would need 3 to 5 planets. And you know what? We've only got one.
So my country's response to this limitation is simply to go take somebody else's. This is the Third World, which some would say is another word for our stuff that somehow got on somebody else's land. So what does that look like? The same thing, trashing the place. 75% of global fisheries now are fished at or beyond capacity. 80% of the planet's original forests are gone. In the Amazon alone, we're losing 2,000 trees a minute. That is seven football fields a minute. And what about the people who live here? Well, according to these guys, they don't own these resources even if they've been living there for generations. They don't own the means of production and they are not buying a lot of stuff. And in this system, if you don't own or buy a lot of stuff, you don't have value.

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1 obsessed 66a4be1417f7cf074208a6d81c8f3384     
adj.心神不宁的,鬼迷心窍的,沉迷的
参考例句:
  • He's obsessed by computers. 他迷上了电脑。
  • The fear of death obsessed him throughout his old life. 他晚年一直受着死亡恐惧的困扰。
2 symbolize YrvwU     
vt.作为...的象征,用符号代表
参考例句:
  • Easter eggs symbolize the renewal of life.复活蛋象征新生。
  • Dolphins symbolize the breath of life.海豚象征着生命的气息。
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TAG标签:   豆知识  物品的故事
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