04/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"Mother Nature Doesn't Do Bailouts"

"We created a way of raising standards of living that we can't possibly pass on to our children," said Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert who writes the indispensable blog We have been getting rich by depleting all our natural stocks -- water, hydrocarbons, forests, rivers, fish and arable land -- and not by generating renewable flows.

"Just as a few lonely economists warned us we were living beyond our financial means and overdrawing our financial assets, scientists are warning us that we're living beyond our ecological means and overdrawing our natural assets," argues Glenn Prickett, senior vice president at Conservation International. But, he cautioned, as environmentalists have pointed out: "Mother Nature doesn't do bailouts."

One of those who has been warning me of this for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment -- when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once -- "The Great Disruption."

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