The extraction of minerals from the Earth today—the most dangerous change in our environmental crisis—is also essential to life as we know it. In a 2017 interview, ecological historian Gregory Cushman explains his work on humanity’s relationship with the lithosphere and provides valuable insights into this issue.
Plastic, cardboard, and methane are being produced, used, and thrown away in growing quantities. This threatens to destroy the social fabric of life on Earth—not to mention life itself. For decades, economic growth has been billed as the only path forward: With a booming economy, there will finally be enough to go around for everyone, and social welfare can then be improved. But there is already enough to go around. To improve social welfare, what we need now is to share more of what is currently being produced.