It’s been raining where I live for the past few days. My neighbours even had their woodburner going yesterday . . . but it was cold!
That aside, we have hit the season of peak growth. The natural world’s peak growth, that is. The month between the middle of May and Middle of June is when plant growth peaks (in the northern hemisphere) due to the long and growing hours of sunlight up until the summer equinox on 21st of this month.
Once we pass this peak, we gradually have less growth because of a reducing number of hours of daylight. There’s nothing we can do to change that. July and August might be hot months (might being the operative word, especially if you live in Britain), but it is daylight hours that enable peak plant growth more than warmth.
So, that’s natural energy descent then, but at least we know that once we’ve passed the peak and have six months of declining light, it will all start increasing again next year. It doesn’t work like that with fossil fuels! Nature is the best teacher . . .
What about economic growth? When does that peak, or has it already happened? As I’m currently reading The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg, these sorts of questions are floating around. What comes after growth? How do we make the transition to a post-growth society? Conventional thinking would persuade us that once we get to grips with debt and deficits, we can return to (economic) growth, but so many factors seem to suggest otherwise, not least of which is the Eurozone’s virtual meltdown in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and now potentially Spain. Uncertain times indeed.
Big re-think needed. Economic growth has only occurred in the context of cheap, abundant and increasingly available energy (fossil fuels). We’re moving into new territory here.
The world economic system is insanely complex. Probably just insane is more precise, assuming ever-continuing growth in a system with limits (the Earth). So, whilst we mull that particular predicament over, why not go and enjoy the more simple and satisfying peak growth now happening in your garden/park/window box/other?