For hundreds of years, we have lived as if the Earth were infinite. We exploited new frontiers, exhausted their resources, then moved on. It's a pattern repeated in forestry, fisheries, mining and agriculture. Now we are transferring this destructive approach to technology, imagining there is an infinite capacity for renewable materials. Bioethanol and biodiesel can replace the transport fuels we use. Biokerosene can take the guilt out of flying. Heating oil and coal can be replaced with wood. But by doing this, food and fuel and industrial materials are in competition with each other. In reality, there is no substitute for consuming less and living within this planet's means. What are the ethical and economic shifts required to accept the finite nature of our world?
George Monbiot is an author, journalist and environmental activist. He is in conversation with the co-director of Green New Deal UK and Winner of the Global Citizen Prize UK’s Hero Award, 2020.