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Mother Nature and Her Dedicated Sweethearts vs. the Problem Children

The following essay was written by Nicole Levy, a 7th grade student at Hunter College High School in New York City, for a class assignment. Her piece is a response to Donella Meadows' column "Just so much, and no more" published in YES! magazine.

Read "Just so much and no more" by Dana Meadows

The last few seconds of Mother Nature's life have been a never-ceasing nightmare for her. She has gotten a numerous amount of wrinkles during these seconds to her dislike, but she has no wrinkle-free cream to hide the depressions caused by her latest batch of children: the human race.

They are rebellious children who have developed their own infuriating principles and rules to live. They intend to take advantage of her, deplete her of her resources, and then whine about the fact that there is nothing left to use. A few dedicated children, such as Donella Meadows, stand by their mother and beg others to slow down. They disagree with the proposition of scarcity that economics created and believe that if we, as a smaller group, use the resources we depend on at slower pace, we have plenty of resources to go around.

While one party (those who wrote the commandments of economics) believes in scarcity, the other, which includes Mother Nature and environmentalists, does not. Economics for Everybody, a textbook that explains the authors' of commandments of economics' opinions, begins its argument with the idea, presented as fact, that consumers want more goods and services than can be supplied. Economists and the rest of world know that there are a limited amount of natural, human, and capital resources. Mother Nature makes a comeback with handy suggestion: control your numbers and there will be enough for everyone.

Mother Earth, represented by Meadows, says that economics believes in using everything up quickly and not bothering with repairs. As soon as something wears out, it can be replaced. Just buy another and help the economy keep turning. Take any materials or energy you desire and multiply it by any number. Mother Nature wonders why people who have recognized the fact that there are limited supplies would waste them in such a fashion. She backs recycling on a higher scale than environmentalists who educate citizens simply on how to reuse our paper, plastic and cans. Meadow believes that if you take the heavy load off of your back and relax you will realize what your true needs are.

Choices are required by both very different philosophies. Both ask the undecided part of the population to choose which philosophy they will live by (this choice can create environmentalists who recycle and think of things in a long-term sense or competitive freaks who crave money and concentrate on themselves). The philosophy that endorses the idea of “scarcity” wants those who follow it to make exclusive choices. They must pick one thing over another. Those who follow Meadow's (more specifically, Mother Nature's) ideas must make choices on how to conserve all the precious resources they have. They believe that they can have anything that they want, just in small amounts.

The basis of the need for both of these choices is the same: there are a limited amount of resources. People who follow the commandments of economics must also choose whether they believe in their morals and equality because if they do become successful, they will have the power to trample the little poor people and only utter a “too bad.”

We have been the problem children. We have broken every rule in the book. This current arrangement does not have to be permanent, but it will probably stay this way for quite some time. There cannot be a compromise. The human race will either act as good children or watch themselves and their loving parent crumble under the pile of “used” resources. The last person who exists (before following his siblings' examples and crumbling) will point to the pile and scream “SCARCITY!!!” in a sarcastic tone.


Nicole Levy is a 7th grade student at Hunter College High School in New York City.

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