demolition of cornucopianism

William R. Catton Jr., Professor Emeritus, Washington State:

Denial of Chanfe, William R. Catton Jr.Abundant evidence suggests industrial civilization must be “downsized” to curb damage to the ecosphere by the “technosphere.”

Trends behind this prospect include prodigious population growth, urbanization, cultural dependence upon ravenous use of fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources, consequent air pollution, and global climate change.

Despite prolonged Cold War distraction and entrenched faith that technology could always enlarge carrying capacity, these trends were well publicized. But there remain eminent writers who persist in denying that human carrying capacity (Earth’s maximum sustainable human load) has now been or ever will be exceeded.

Denials of ecological limits resemble anosognosia (inability of stroke patients to recognize their paralysis).

Some denial literature resembles their confabulations (elaborately unreal stories concocted as rationalizations).

Denial by opponents of human ecology seems to be a way of coping with an insufferable contradiction between past convictions and present circumstances, a defense against intolerable anomalous information.