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Sustainability 2009, 1(3), 516-536; doi:10.3390/su1030516
The Growth Delusion
Received: 2 July 2009; Accepted: 19 August 2009 / Published: 24 August 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energy and Sustainability)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Concern for the environment and a move towards “sustainable development” has assisted progress in a wide range of renewable energy technologies in recent years. The science suggests that a transition from fossil fuels to sustainable sources of energy in a time frame commensurate with the demise of the fossil fuels and prevention of runaway climate change is needed. However, while the movement towards sustainable energy technologies is underway, the World does not want to give up the idea of continuing economic growth. In recent times the financial collapse of October 2008 has given rise to yet another set of pleas from corporations and politicians alike to restart the growth machine. The transition to renewable energy technologies will be difficult to achieve as nowhere within existing economic and political frameworks are the limits to when growth will be curtailed being set. It is possible that the irrational insistence on endless growth as a non negotiable axiom, by a large proportion of the world’s population, may in fact be akin to the similarly irrational belief, by a similarly large proportion of the world’s population, that a supernatural being controls our existence and destiny. The irrationality of religion has recently been examined by Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion”. Dawkins’ book is used as a starting point to investigate similarities between a belief in God and a belief in continuous growth.
Keywords: growth; peak oil; climate change; religion