Environment

Standing like a Sioux

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Published on Peak Surfer on September 24, 2016

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"“There is a bottleneck right here … and today I am directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority.”— Barack Obama, March 22, 2012."
 

 

 

  On April 1, in the last phase of istawicayazan wi, the moon of sore eyes, acting with love and fierce determination, the youth of the Standing Rock reservation stood together in prayer at the place called Sacred Stone. At the close of their prayer, they remained. Figuratively, they drove stakes into the ground and tied their legs to them. They might be killed there, but they would not leave.

Facing them were the arrayed forces of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the White House, four state governments, and the corporations and banks that form Energy Transfer Partners. ETP (NYSE:ETP) owns and operates Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, successor to Southern Union Company, and Lone Star NGL. ETP also owns 67.1 million common units of Sunoco Logistics Partners (NYSE:SXL) a company that hopes to see the United States become an oil-exporting nation once more.

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter steel pipe that will connect the million-barrel-per-day Bakken and Three Forks fracked oilfields of North Dakota to a bigger pipeline in Illinois for transportation to Louisiana and Texas SXL crude oil terminal facilities and there to be loaded onto ocean-going tankers.

DAPL will carry 570,000 barrels per day. Unless one of those supertankers sinks, one hundred percent of that will go to the atmosphere as deadly, human-extinction-intending, greenhouse gases. So will the oil and gas flowing through the other 71,000 miles of pipelines owned by ETP.

It will cost more to build capacity, produce, refine and burn that oil than to provide the same energy from clean, solar power sources.

 
 

On March 12, 2012, two years and three months after successfully derailing the Copenhagen climate agreement, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum ordering federal agencies to expedite the licensing of new oil and gas projects.

Two months before the Standing Rock youth assembled, the US Army Corps of Engineers, acting for the Obama Administration, gave DAPL an allotment of NWP “fast track” permits. These permits are usually reserved for powerlines or other utility right-of-ways that do not threaten water supplies. NWP approval meant that ETP could legally bypass public notice and regulatory review under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.

 


Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, several 350.org local chapters, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, Corporate Ethics International, and others used the comment process on the KXL/Transcanada pipeline to detail the flow of abuses to environmental and native sovereign rights that issued from the White House “all of the above” policy.

Both the Clinton and Trump campaigns count ETP and its allies as major funders. Harold Hamm, founder and CEO of fracking giant Continental Resources, is an energy aide to the Trump campaign and potential future U.S. Secretary of Energy. Hillary Clinton has remained studiously silent on the Dakota pipeline protests but openly supports the Obama fast track policy.

 


On September 3, only a day after the Standing Rock Sioux filed action in court identifying their sacred sites, ETP brought in bulldozers to raze the land named in that complaint and affidavits and render the issue moot. To prevent that, entire families left their homes on the reservation and went onto the sacred sites in an attempt to block the bulldozers. Pipeline security workers responded by letting loose dogs and pepper spray.

It recalls Christopher Columbus feeding Taino babies to his armored war dogs for the sport of his officers.

There have been at least 58 arrests thus far at the #NoDAPL protests, with arrest warrants pending against both journalist Amy Goodman, who filmed the dog attacks and was charged with trespass, and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who spray-painted a bulldozer blade and was charged with vandalism.

When a federal judge denied a tribal motion to halt pipeline construction, the Obama administration stepped in to ask that ETP voluntarily cease other construction than in the area in controversy. Most news media, including ourselves, mistook this for meaning the White House was coming to the aid of the Sioux. In fact, it was exactly the opposite, and anyway the ETP voluntarily chose not to stop.

Construction continues. ETP just purchased the ranch where the Sacred Stone Camp is located and where additional native burial grounds and sacred sites have just been identified.

The tactics chosen by the Standing Rock Sioux could have come straight from the rules for satyagraha by Mohandas Gandhi. The Nation followed the letter of the law in making its timely public comments and administrative interventions, in filing for an injunction, and in opposing this assault on its safety and sovereignty by physically standing in the way. Its protests are peaceful and nonviolent. It invited the whole world to watch as military blockades re-routed traffic and kept away the press, the National Guard was brought up to support the corporate goons and then praying children were uprooted with attack dogs, their mouths filmed dripping with the blood of those children.

When individuals are betrayed by a government, they can sue or protest. When the treaty protections of an occupied nation are betrayed by their occupier, their recourse must be to the international legal system. This week, Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II addressed the 49-member United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Switzerland. He invoked the memory of Sitting Bull:
 

Sitting Bull came from Standing Rock and one the most famous quotes that he has is, “Let’s put our minds together and see what we can build for our children.” So today as this is the topic, something that guides us in our decision-making as leaders: We are putting our minds together so that the kids, the ones not yet born, have something better than what we have today.

 


Were you born too late to be a suffragette or freedom rider? To march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma? To encircle the Pentagon with the Yippies and try to levitate it? To sail with Albert Bigelow on Golden Rule and later Earle Reynolds aboard Phoenix, and still later Peter Willcox on Rainbow Warrior or David McTaggert on Vega, into the Pacific test zone to block the H-bombs?

Climate change is coming to the plains. Mother Nature doesn’t care how many dogs the oil barons have.

This is our moment. We are this season’s people. Its a good day to die.

RIP Bruce Charles “Bill” Mollison: 1928-2016

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Published on The Daily Impact on September 27, 2016

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I never knew Bill Mollison. I have known of him for only a few years. But his vision has touched — in fact, transformed — the core of my being. As long as I live I will honor him for a vision that has vastly improved the way I understand and react to the world, a vision that could have vastly improved the world itself, had we listened to him in time.

Mollison, along with Boll Holmgren and others, was a principal founder of the  Permaculture movement, a way of looking at agriculture with emphasis on symbiosis among plants, including trees and other perennials; the soil, with its myriad components and organisms; and the climate with its gifts of rain, wind and sunshine. This contemplative way of farming — permanent agriculture — has since its advent in Australia in 1968 morphed into a way of looking at life itself — permanent culture.

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Bill Mollison, father of Permaculture


The most important thing about the way Bill Mollison thought about the world, in my view, was this: he was not an expert. In his life he was a baker, a trapper, a fisherman, a forester, a cattleman, a bouncer and a mill worker. Sure, he got an academic degree, and spent time in academia, but not, as experts do, learning more and more about less and less. He was a generalist, who when he looked at life saw a marvelous web of relationships, not a simplified, straight-line diagram of causes and effects.  

What Bill Mollison saw when he looked at the world was what the native American Lakota called “Wakan Tanka” — the Great Mystery. Permaculture teaches us to study the processes of nature at great length, but not, as modern humanity supposes, thinking we can understand it completely and take over its management, but in the hope we can learn enough to get out of its way, avoid destroying it, maybe even one day make a contribution to its well being.

The practice of Permaculture as codified by Mollison requires us to shed like old snakeskins many of the attitudes and assumptions that are so basic to modern life we seldom think about them, let alone question them. Before we can even begin the practice, for example, we and our family have to make a multi-generational commitment to live on and work with a piece of land, because much of the abundance to be had from Permaculture may not appear in our lifetimes. In a country where people move every three years, on average, this is a strange concept.  

The practice of Permaculture, Mollison taught us, requires less and less work over time. One puts things in place, and then lets them be. One gradually returns to the life most familiar to the human race over hundreds of thousands of years, that of the hunter-gatherer. And instead of the life of grueling labor and frequent famine, described by the apologists for chemical-industrial agriculture, it turns out to be a life of ease and plenty. Sort of like the Garden of Eden, before we brought in Monsanto.

The prospect of surviving the crash of the industrial age is more than daunting when we think about growing our own food (and defending it) in the ways that have become familiar to us in the past two centuries. But those who have a mature food forest with which to face the days after tomorrow have much less to fear from either deprivation or depredation. (It’s what made the potato the staple food of Ireland; hay and corn and livestock and preserved food were easy for the omnipresent British soldiers to steal or destroy, but it was just too much damn work to dig all those potatoes.)

So thank you, Bill Mollison, for opening my eyes to the Great Mystery, for relieving my mind of the lust to comprehend nature in order to control it, freeing me to simply sit in the midst of the Great Orchestra and hum along with delight. You came to me too late, as you came to the world too late, to save us from the consequences of our arrogance and greed, but not too late to give us, in what would otherwise have been an unbearably Dark Age at the closing of our lives, a lustrous hope for renewal.

Accept the thanks of a grateful world, Bill Mollison, and rest in peace.

Who will speak for the voiceless?

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Published on Rivera Sun on July 30, 2016The Rim Fire in California’s Sierra Nevada burned over a quarter million acres in 2013. Seemed amazing then, now it’s just another day in the woods (and on the tundra). (US Forest Service photo)The Rim Fire in California’s Sierra Nevada burned over a quarter million acres in 2013. Seemed amazing then, now it’s just another day in the woods (and on the tundra). (US Forest Service photo)

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The forest sways in ripples of green. Wind sends the dappled sunlight sparkling through the branches. These are the things we forget in the heat of the political season. There are few politicians who will speak on behalf of all people . . . and even fewer who will speak for the beings that comprise the other 99 percent of the planet and are essential for human existence.

Sitting in the forests of rural Maine last week, I stared for hours at the swaying walls of green. Having lived too long in dry places, in landscapes of dust and drought, on concrete and asphalt flatlands, in the stench of exhaust, I had nearly forgotten the beauty of a forest deep in the verdant sigh of summer. As I sit here in a tucked-away section of woods between small farms and fishing coves, the forests return to prominence in my thoughts, replenishing . . . yet troubling.

More than half of the population of the United States has become urbanized. We live under the canopy of skyscrapers. Asphalt is the new green. Climate change is measured by increased air conditioning bills. For many citizens and public officials, nature is an abstract idea hanging like a wall calendar in our minds.

Even among the rural populace, many live in mono-cropped landscapes amidst thousands of acres of genetically modified soy and corn. How many rural voters believe the misinformation on screens rather than their eyes and lifetimes of experiences? Climate denialism still spouts from the mouths of many. The disconnection is severe and dangerous.

For most Americans, the holocaust of mass species extinction has already occurred within their neighborhood. Within our human-dominated landscapes, most of the native and wild species have long since been crowded out. The death of our fellow species is abstract because they died to our “world” decades ago. Why would an inner-city child mourn the death of a butterfly she’s never seen? Who in the suburbs realizes how sterile and deathly still their yards have already become?

How many more election cycles do we get?

The answer is not many. In November, millions of Americans will go to the polls, line up on concrete, wait in office buildings, and then tap screens of choices for political candidates. They will vote for the lesser evil, to make America great again, to put a woman in the White House, or in vain hopes of ousting corporatocracy, oligarchy, or big government out of power. They will vote on slogans, circuses, email scandals and celebrity hat tricks. They will vote on what the pundits tell them.

And all the while, the clock is ticking. Another day passes. The sun is touching the tips of the green trees across the meadow. The planet is heating. Where I live, the mountains are burning. The twisted pines of the desert forests are yellowing with disease and bug infestations. The rivers are shrinking. We normalize these things, attuning to the increasing heat levels, compensating for the lack of rain and humidity by drawing up more water from underground aquifers. A few years ago, a catastrophic forest fire nearly burned Los Alamos National Laboratory – and tons of radioactive waste and stored plutonium – into ash. That record-breaking fire was turned aside just miles from Los Alamos. It raged so hotly that the earth literally melted. Sections of the burn area still look like black moonscapes, even years later.

Who mourns these forests? Who remembers them? Who invokes these swaying giants of trees as they ride the subway? Who consults these leafy communities of being as they make public policies that affect our world? We have largely forgotten these things and our responsibility to them. Humans gather in windowless rooms illuminated by burning kilowatts of fossil fuels or deadly nuclear fission, amplifying a few voices to crowds of other human beings, declaring why this candidate or that should become the next president.

Outside, the trees outnumber humans. Voiceless, unable to travel to conventions or vote, without any hope of political representation, the forests, the Earth, and our fragile, interdependent existence have been left out of democracy. The forests transform the exhaust of our words, breath, cars, and factories into the oxygen we require for existence. And yet, who speaks for them from the podium? Who honors the gift of life the forests bring? Who acknowledges the heavy burden of responsibility we are faced with now?

I am sitting in Maine, in the forest, remembering the things that we seem to have forgotten as we traverse concrete and drought-cracked landscapes, dusty and grimy. My breath is slow and saddened as I watch the tidal sway of the trees rippling in the wind. The sun sets over the branches, shadows lengthen. No easy answers come. Election Day draws closer.

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ARivera New Hatuthor/Activist Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, Billionaire Buddha and Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, the cohost of Love (and Revolution) Radio, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network. She is a trainer and social media coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence and Pace e Bene. Sun attended the James Lawson Institute on Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in 2014 and her essays on social justice movements appear in Truthout and Popular Resistance. www.riverasun.com

 

A Conversation with Deb Ozarko

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 1, 2016

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Unplug front cover With this podcast, the Diner welcomes Deb Ozarko to the pantheon of Diner Cross Posting Bloggers.  Deb has her own blog debozarko.com and is author of the book Unplug.  She works as a graphic designer and lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.

I ran into Deb's most recent blog Letting go in a World of Collapse: A conversation we're too afraid to have a couple of weeks ago in a link on the Reddit Sub r/collapse, and themes in that blog are similar to ones that have been explored for quite some time on Guy McPherson's blog Nature Bats Last.  As regular Diners know, I take issue with both Guy's timeline to extinction as well as his philosophy on how to deal with ongoing collapse psychologically.  I also did not find it true that "this is a conversation we are too afraid to have", since we discuss this topic all the time on the Diner. lol.  So I invited Deb in for a podcast to further discuss these issues in depth, to get a better handle on her current thought process.  She is relatively new to the world of Collapse and these concepts, so it appeared to me a great opportunity to explore how a recently awakening mind is processing the information.  Also valuable was the opportunity to get a female perspective on these issues, since they tend to be few and far between across the blogosphere, particularly in the commentariat.

I hope you enjoy the podcast, and below you will find the blog which inspired the conversation that we're NOT too afraid to have on the Doomstead Diner. 🙂  -RE

Letting Go of a World in Collapse: The Conversation We’re Too Afraid to Have

  • May 10, 2016
  • by Deb Ozarko

“Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency ask the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

NOTE: This post/essay is filled with considerable depth. As such, it is my most important post to date. The content is raw and lengthy. It is the voice of my heart … my stark naked soul. This is part one of a 3-part series. For those who courageously venture through it all, I honor and thank you from the depth of my soul. For those who prefer reading in pdf format, I’ve created a downloadable pdf file of the essay in its entirety that can be read in multi-page format.

******

A few weeks ago an email from a podcast listener arrived in my in box. It read as follows:

Deb,

I’ve recently discovered you and your work. Your work is amazing, however it’s filled with too much hope in today’s world (Hopium). We are already in the 6th mass extinction with tipping points long passed. There is NO saving the ocean, saving endangered species, saving the forests, saving humans. It’s too late. THIS is the message that needs to be shared…how we live and die at the end of human civilization.

Love, AV

My initial read through triggered a wave of irritation peppered with self-righteous indignation. How dare anyone tell me that my message is filled with “too much Hopium”.

When the wave passed however, what remained was a feeling of deep sadness. I realized that the initial irritation emerged from a part of me that didn’t want to be called out on my denial. In my heart and in every cell of my being, I knew that she was right.

In recent monthly posts, I’ve alluded to the rapidly imploding, pressurized global energies I’ve been feeling with heightened intensity. For the record, I don’t profess to be psychic. I don’t channel non-physical entities, swing pendulums, or commune with guides, angels, ET’s, or fairies. I have no crystal ball, magic wand, tarot cards, or ouija board. I’m fully embodied and plugged into my heart and the energies of the Earth—deeply grounded in my profound love for Gaia.

After numerous conversations with others who are intuitively connected, including local indigenous wisdom, I know that I’m far from alone in feeling the alarming Earth energies that are playing out. Although my heart knows how dire the planetary situation is, I’ve sidestepped the deep inner truth that I carry. With receipt of AV’s recent email however, I know that I’ve been called out. I feel that it’s incumbent upon me to now step in to where I’ve been too fearful to go.

I confess that I’ve mastered the art of procrastination with the paralytic inertia I’ve been feeling while writing this post. I’ve been grieving, feeling, and processing my own denial as I navigate the collapsing energies that have descended on my heart. This is why an April post wasn’t written. I’ve been struggling for the proper words for this month’s blog post/essay, figuring out a way to give voice to a tough conversation that scares me. But the thing about tough conversations is that, well, they’re tough conversations. The only way to say what needs to be said is to just tell it like it is. I’ve finally reached a place of acceptance where I’m able to write this post from a place of transparent authenticity.

It’s Over

Over the past few months I’ve been feeling a greater sense of grief over the state of the world with the accelerating breakdown that is playing out in every aspect of life on Earth. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to navigate this Gaia Grief as I call it, knowing that everything I love so dearly—animals and nature—are being mindlessly consumed, commoditized and destroyed with reckless abandon. Joanna Macy calls this breakdown The Great Unraveling. The word that resonates most with me is collapse.

I’m blessed to live in a stunning location that is energetically charged by rainforests, mountains and ocean. I live in a state of perpetual awe for the beauty that still remains in this part of the world. As such, I’m aware of the “thinness” of this magnificent place, where the veil between the physical and non-physical world is virtually non-existent. Unlike a city with its denuded, unnatural landscape and the incessant noise from honking cars, blaring music, car alarms, machines, construction, techno-distraction, and the mental static of worry, busyness, fatigue, anxiety, and irritation, Earth energy is much easier to feel here—especially for the energetically sensitive like myself. I feel what is unseen and unheard by the collective, and which is subsequently ignored and denied by our culture. The Sunshine Coast is a true barometer for what’s really occurring in the world on a non-physical level. For me, this is truth.

The internal guidance I’ve been receiving is arriving with a clarity that is beyond what I’m used to. The message is clear: get out of the system. Collapse is upon us. It’s no longer some distant event. It’s happening now and it’s happening faster than anyone can predict.

Along with the clear message to extricate myself from the system, I’ve been having repetitive premonitions that won’t let up.

These premonitions have a persistent ocean theme that come with two words, “It’s over.”

My intellect is grasping, trying to understand what the “it” is that’s over. Is it literal: the collapse of our oceans? Is it our dominant patriarchal worldview of separation? Is it our consumptive culture of infinite growth, ignorance, distraction, and relentless destruction? Is it our biosphere? Is it humanity? Is it life on Earth? There’s no doubt that we’re collectively committing ecocide, is it more?

As my mind struggles for answers, my heart doesn’t care. Content is irrelevant. To my heart it makes no difference if the “it” is cultural, economic, ecological, or human collapse. Rather than allow my mind to exhaust me with possible future scenarios, my heart has chosen to be fully present with what is. In this acceptance, I’ve unleashed a force from within that knows that no matter how it all plays out, it’s ok, because the love in my heart remains steadfast through it all.

In Praise of Mortality

Despite our widespread willful ignorance, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that a consumptive way of living that devours non-renewable “resources” with reckless abandon cannot last.

If “it’s over” means the end of life on Earth, there are worse things than the end of Earth’s surface humanity—such as continuing in a way that systemic tyranny and desecrating consumption reigns, while free-will, freedom and awakening to inclusive consciousness is forsaken.

As Peter Russell says, “There’s no blame for the crisis we are in. Any intelligent technological species has the potential to become a magnificent flowering of consciousness, but the side effects of its rapid evolution mean that it only has a short window of time to complete it’s evolutionary journey. Facing the end of our species could in itself be the wake-up call we need.”

One manifestation of our collective insanity is that we’ll do anything to deny our own mortality. We’ve all known since early on that we’re going to die and that our mortality is ensured, but ironically, we have a death-phobic mindset in a culture that is driven by a death urge to compulsively destroy life.

This is insanity.

Most people exist as if they’re never going to die—invincible … immortal. Yet they don’t really live either. The level of anxiety and depression is profound. The world is filled with hopeless, unhappy, self-loathing people. By avoiding all conversations about pain and death, slavery is ensured and the masses never break free from their own misery.

Facing our own mortality can be, in many cases, a radical awakening into a more sacred connection with all life. In my own life, the most liberating, expansive and transformative experience was the untimely death of my mother. As painful as it was, it altered my perception of reality and connected me to a deeper love for life.

I believe that if we faced the fact that we may be coming to the end of our incredible evolutionary journey as a species, we can live with more love in our hearts than we’ve ever known. To me, this is a beautiful thing.

As Joanna Macy says, “There is absolutely no excuse for making our passionate love for the world dependent on what we believe the outcome will be: whether life continues on or not. In this uncertainty, we come alive.”

Collapse

I realize that warnings of ‘collapse’ and the end of civilization are often viewed as fringe or controversial, but I believe that on some level, we’re all feeling it. To the naked eye, things may look “ok”, but lurking below the surface, we know something quite different.

Collapse is not a new concept. Civilizations have risen and fallen repeatedly throughout history. The difference this time however, is that collapse is not isolated to a particular civilization, it extends to all life on earth. It is the sixth mass extinction event that gets little airtime in our truth suppressed world.

We’ve had endless opportunities to wake up and alter our course throughout history. Instead, we’ve chosen a deeper coma of separation by remaining slaves to our cultural conditioning. We now have more babies, more consumption, more violence, more ignorance, more denial, more entitlement, more arrogance, more selfishness, more depression, more anxiety, more addiction, and more distracting and destructive technology to drive us farther from our souls. The increase in human population is directly related to the escalating violence and destruction in our world.

As Derrick Jenson writes in his book, Endgame, “The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life. From birth on, we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate and fear animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we would not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.”

If we could only stop the war on our souls, we would stop the war on the Earth and everything else.

Our dominant culture is built on the foundation of separation and violence. Rape of the Earth is rewarded, peace on Earth is punished. Lies are honored, truth is vilified. Ignorance is coveted, wisdom is ridiculed. Even the so called ‘awakened’ remain trapped in the conditioned entitlement that perpetuates the slavery, oppression and slaughter of animals for their flesh (meat), ovulations (eggs), and maternal secretions (dairy). Everything that represents the feminine/life—particularly animals and nature—is fair game for obliteration in our anthropocentric patriarchal culture. Sadly, with women influencing more than 85% of household purchasing decisions, and unconscious decisions as the norm, the destructive forces of patriarchy infect us all.

With a rapidly growing critical mass in a coma, our ecocide is rendering planet Earth uninhabitable. The planet cannot regenerate itself as quickly as industrial culture is destroying it. Even the antiquated notion of linear Newtonian science brings with it alarming predictions. What Newtonian science fails to recognize however, is the organic, non-linear nature of Gaia. Gaia is a living organism and linear scientific predictions just don’t work for the rapid acceleration we’re now experiencing. We’ve set off so many positive feedback loops that we’re officially on a runaway train to a greater hell than we’ve already created. When the web of life breaks down, collapse accelerates and there is no certainty … no predictability.

Newtonian science speaks from a linear cause and effect worldview. If “x” continues to happen, then “y” will happen in 10 years they tell us. It always seems like a distant event that may or may not happen should we decide to curb our consumptive ways. We tend to face problems with facts, figures, statistics, extrapolations and rationale. We think that we can master the world with a three pound hunk of watery flab—our almighty brains—but this only serves to distance us from the source of our greatest potential and the place where we most need to go: our hearts.

We’re not only living through startling ecological, economic, system and cultural collapse, but most frightening of all, we’re living in a state of collapsed consciousness, where fear, denial and ignorance reign supreme. Our cultural story of separation/patriarchy has been fundamentally contradicting truth, love and life for several thousand years. It is therefore, contrary to the essence of who we are. As such, we’re confused about who and what we are as a species, especially within our modern, narcissistic technological civilization. Because we’re so unsure of our identity as a species, we’ve lost our sense of belonging in Nature. This disconnect from the web of life has sadly brought us to where we now stand today.

Lately, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what the purpose of homo sapien is—and always has been for that matter. I keep coming up empty. Biologist Jonas Salk said, “If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.” Such a tragic statement about how far we’ve strayed from the web of life.

While every other form of life on this planet intimately knows its place in the web of life, what the hell happened to us? Surely we were not created with the sole purpose of forgetting who we are so we could gobble up everything in our path leaving a trail of toxic trash in our wake while destroying the biosphere in the process. Despite everything pointing in that direction, I have a hard time believing this could be so. Despite my own imperfections, I know that it’s not so for me, but do I confess that I’m confused. According to Eknath Easwaran’s translation of the Bhagavad Gita, “Since the Self is the core of every personality, no one needs to acquire goodness or compassion; they are already there. All that is necessary is to remove the selfish habits that hide them.”

So the problem is not a lack of goodness and compassion, the problem is a lack of interest in expressing goodness and compassion—especially in ways that are not conditional or fragmented.

For most of my life, I’ve felt like I’ve been shouting love and compassion for animals, the Earth, and the human soul into a hurricane hoping for someone … anyone to hear me. But sadly, love and compassion are not big sellers in the paradigm of separation. Six pack abs? For sure! Sixth mass extinction event? Meh. Scarf down another bacon cheeseburger, chase it with a beer and Prozac and all is well.

On a deep visceral level, I know that the world I now live in is nothing like the world I grew up in. The degradation of human consciousness that has accompanied the population explosion is significant. Despite my lifelong work for a kinder, more compassionate world, I now wonder if it’s worth the effort anymore. I feel the bittersweet pain when I sit by the ocean with my partner and dogs admiring a beautiful sunset knowing that the oceans are plasticized beyond repair and are now nearly devoid of life. Spring comes earlier every year, flooding is more intense every year, heatwaves last longer every year, larger algae blooms choke the ocean every year, drought descends earlier every year, fire burns more aggressively every year. And yet we still do nothing to change our ways.

As comedian Jimmy Kimmel says, “2014 was the warmest year on record. Until 2015 was the warmest year ever. Now 2016 is already turning out to be warmer than either of the previous two years. You know how you can determine if climate change is real? When the hottest year on record is whatever year it currently is. That’s how you know. We’ve had 15 of the 16 hottest years ever since 2001.”

If we’re really honest with ourselves, as was written in the email from AV, tipping points are well behind us and there’s no hope for salvaging our broken world anymore. Quite frankly, why would we want to continue on with what is so blatantly cruel and destructive toward life anyways? Because it’s familiar? I don’t think so.

We’ve had ample opportunities for transformation. So many wide open doors to walk through, and each time we’ve chosen to slam the doors shut, throw on the deadbolts, toss the keys, and relocate every piece of furniture to ensure our containment. With our refusal to walk through however, we’re now locked from the outside as well. In his book Endgame, Derrick Jensen asks, “Do you believe that this culture is going to undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living?” Most of us know that the answer is a resounding NO. With our collective indifference and denial, we’ve thrown away all opportunities for a global transformation in consciousness.

We’ve had all of the knowledge, technology, creativity, ancient wisdom, and inspiration to create a beautiful new world for several decades, if not much longer. Instead, we’ve chosen the familiar coma of our antiquated separation-based worldview. The only changes we’ve experienced are those that clearly show how far we’ve strayed. The explosion of humans on the planet—all indoctrinated into the paradigm of separation—is the perfect recipe for biosphere collapse.

We’re rigid in our worldview and refuse to look outside of our mechanistic conditioning. We persist in having having the same old conversations that we did hundreds of years ago. Sexism, speciesism, racism, and many other ‘isms are as prolific as ever. Climate change deny-osaurs abound. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were many who still believed the world was flat.

As I write this post, Fort McMurray Alberta, the infamous oil and tar sand hell, is burning up. How tragically ironic. And while desperate conversations about anthropogenic climate change spring to life, the denial-infected masses angrily pounce on the harbingers of truth, denouncing their message as “preying on tragedy to further their climate change ‘agenda’”. WTF?

While this armageddon unfolds in my neighbouring province, red tides are choking out life in the ocean, coral reefs are dying, and the ever so eloquent Sarah Palin (sarcasm intended), in the full-on glory of her ignorant arrogance, bloviates about the great climate change hoax. Yes folks, 97% of scientists are wrong because Lady Palin said so. If that’s not enough, her bloviating partner in ignorant arrogance, Donald J. Trump is a few steps away from accepting the keys to the white house.

Methinks we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Cool Buildings

surfer-girl-1gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Albert Bates

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Publishes on the Peak Surfer on November 22, 2015

PeakSurfer

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"Never live with a TV, never have keys or locks, never have debt, never own anything costing more than $1000.– Ianto Evans"

 
 

Twenty years ago many of the North American pioneers of strawbale, cob, timber frame, round pole and other forms of “natural building” came together up a remote mountain canyon in New Mexico at a lovely old log mansion called Black Range Lodge. The Lodge and the small hamlet of Kingston, populated with many lovely homes of strawbale and cob, are nestled in the foothills of the 3 million acre Gila Wilderness, a taste of the Old West halfway between Truth or Consequences and Silver City. The hostess was Catherine Wanek, author of The New Strawbale Home and several other great books, whose family owned the Lodge, and who with her partner, Pete Fust, the king of "tractor cob," tried to build interest in these new versions of ancient practices. 

We first met Catherine when she came to videotape our strawbale construction course at The Farm in 1996, with Jon and Mitzi Ruiz who had been sent to help us by Matts Myhrmann and Judy Knox at Out-On-Bale in Tucson. At that Black Range meeting the year before, Catherine had coined the term “natural building” to distinguish these emerging styles and philosophy from “green buildings,” “smart buildings” or other styles just coming into popular use. 

Natural buildings don't require gadgets or energy systems. They can be built with tools your grandparents would have recognized, or sometimes with no tools at all. They can be built without a mortgage. They can endure long past the lifetime of many building products and styles today, and when they are no longer safe or useful to live in, they compost back into the ground leaving no toxic residues.

 

What are Natural Buildings? 
 
Marcos Grossman, who sponsors the private Facebook group, Natural Builders (with 16,845 members), defines them this way:

"A natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality. Natural building tends to rely on human labor, more than technology. As Michael G. Smith observes, it depends on 'local ecology, geology and climate; on the character of the particular building site, and on the needs and personalities of the builders and users.'

“The basis of natural building is the need to lessen the environmental impact of buildings and other supporting systems, without sacrificing comfort or health. To be more sustainable, natural building uses primarily abundantly available, renewable, reused or recycled materials. The use of rapidly renewable materials is increasingly a focus. In addition to relying on natural building materials, the emphasis on the architectural design is heightened. The orientation of a building, the utilization of local climate and site conditions, the emphasis on natural ventilation through design, fundamentally lessen operational costs and positively impact the environmental. Building compactly and minimizing the ecological footprint is common, as are on-site handling of energy acquisition, on-site water capture, alternate sewage treatment and water reuse."


California bambusero Kevin Rowell says,

“Natural Builders collaborate with artists, building professionals, and individuals in a range of fields, from the creation of ecological spaces, to the development of new materials, to the understanding and improvement of vernacular building techniques.”


Last month some of the world's most accomplished natural builders returned to Black Range Lodge for a 20th anniversary celebration and colloquium. Their names are too many to recite here, but many are pictured or mentioned in posts by Ziggy Liloia and Eva Edelson. There are photos of ourselves and Ziggy on Eva's site, making corn tortillas on the Rocket-Fired Griddle Oven designed and built by Flemming Abrahamson of Fornyet Energi and Max Edleson of Firespeaking.

The breadth of creative building styles was amazing. Hands-on workshops, powerpoint presentations, films and discussion groups showed us the latest in strawbale, cob, adobe, earthbag, cordwood, timber frame, greywater systems, rainwater harvesting, pallet truss and wallboard construction, papercrete moldings, treehouses, bendy-board, round pole, stone, bamboo, ovens, tamped earthen floors, mixed and troweled earth and lime plasters, tadalac waterproof finish coats, painted aliz, Japanese, Nepalese, Ecuadoran, Taiwanese techniques, old English tudor restorations, living roofs and integrated food systems. Even many of the songs sung around the campfire were informative as well as hilarious.

A sampling of our notes:

“Above all, less.” — Ianto Evans

Ianto's rules about houses: Never live with a TV, never have keys or locks, never have debt, never own anything costing more than $1000.

“The finer the edge, the clearer the transmission of your body and your craft.” — Robert LaPorte on sharpening tools.

Before applying clay to waddle, cob or plaster, Japanese master craftsmen ferment the clay with chopped straw for one month to one year. It makes for better drying without cracking, good adhesion, and ability to absorb shock.

Lime is active when it is wet. Keep everything dry and tools clean and you won't get hurt. Someone just coming to a site to volunteer should start by going around and cleaning everything they can find. Keep the site and the tools clean at each stage of the process.

SunRay Kelley on his famous Yoga Studio door: “I don't think there is any door in the world that compares to it. It is the door we all come into the world through.”

“Wind swirls, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes — the last buildings standing are the round ones. Every time you build with parallel lines you are just setting up dominoes.” – SunRay Kelley

“Proprietary Refractory Mix” — How Keiko Denzer describes cob on construction permit applications.


Our small contribution to the colloquium consisted of a couple of “soapbox” sessions on using biochar in natural buildings to sequester carbon, clean indoor air, and provide other useful functions. Part of our process is helping others to understand the key difference between labile and recalcitrant carbon.

Labile carbon

 Soil organic matter is made up of different pools which vary in their turnover time or rate of decomposition. The labile pool, which turns over relatively rapidly (< 5 years), results from the cycling of fresh residues such as plant material (leaf litter, dead roots and branches) and living organisms (earthworms, beetles, animal scat, bacteria and fungi). This is normal organic decomposition. The byproducts are gases such as carbon dioxide and methane – which waft up into the atmosphere adding to the greenhouse effect for a few years before raining back down on land and sea – and organic soil carbon, which cycles to feed microbiota, plants and animals such as ourselves

More resistant labile residues are physically or chemically protected and are slower to turn over (5-40 years). Protected humus, peat, and decay-resistant woody biomass falls into this category. Much of this labile carbon pool is necessary to provide free carbon for the formation of new growth. So, for instance, if the stalks of corn are consistently removed or burned in the field after harvesting the grain, after some time the soil in the field will be too low in carbon to produce tall corn, even with chemical fertilizer. The traditional method would be to graze cattle, who are woody-biomass ruminants by nature (not grain or grass feeders) on the corn stover, and the manures they deposit would contain all of that carbon, processed into a form that will be most easily used by the soil microbes and available to next season's plants.

The labile carbon pool has been to shown to be influenced by the retention of stubble residues, with a decline in nitrogen supply of up to 4 kg/ha/day on removal of these residues. Green manure crops and phase pastures are an ideal way of providing soil with a ‘pulse’ of labile carbon that can have benefits over several years, but in most Australian farming systems crop roots, stubble and animal by-products are the usual carbon sources. In tropical soils, increasing amounts of labile carbon have been associated with higher grain yields.

– Fran Hoyle (Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia), Daniel Murphy (The University of Western Australia) and Jessica Sheppard (Avon Catchment Council), soilquality.org.au

Recalcitrant carbon

There is a form of carbon that makes up the stable soil organic matter pool which can take hundreds to millions of years to turn over. Recalcitrant carbon in the form of man-made biochar can be found dating back 8000 years in the Central Amazon and was a key component of the Terra Preta soils that enabled the rise of great civilizations in the Americas before European contact. The oldest known forms of recalcitrant carbon trace back long before the ascent of man, to the earliest forests on Earth, 500 million years ago. For a form of carbon to remain that long undigested by microbes, it must really be recalcitrant!

Infilling straw foundation with pumice
– could as easily be biochar

This form of carbon is key to understanding the importance of biochar and its potential to reverse catastrophic climate change and get us back within a safe operating boundary on the carbon cycle. We can transform a fraction of the labile carbon, made available to us in abundance by photosynthesis, into recalcitrant carbon. We can even do that while co-generating electricity, cooking, or otherwise tapping the heat of the pyrolytic process. Using these permaculture techniques, we can intercept the flow of carbon from earth to sky (and thence, in part, to ocean as rain) and instead hold that carbon in the topsoil for thousands of years, where it works to help plants grow by storing water, nutrients and beneficial biological allies, rather than as building blocks for cellular development of the plants.

To change the direction we are headed, we need to take concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere (and other trace gases that also trap heat) back to pre-industrial levels. We are now one degree warmer and the atmosphere contains 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Paleoclimatology tells us that 440 parts per million should translate to 7 to 10 degrees of warming, so we know that is baked into the cake at this point, we just haven't allowed time for equilibrium to be achieved. We'll speak more to this in forthcoming posts from the Paris climate talks. How do we get from 400 or 440 ppm back to 350 or 260 ppm? Recalcitrant carbon.

 
Changing agriculture may or may not be enough to reverse climate change. That is a big claim, and while we respect many of those who make it, we question whether labile carbon sequestration is enough to do the trick. We think recalcitrant carbon is more than enough, but why limit our pallet to agricultural operations? Biochar applied to living roofs makes them more drought and flood resistant; applied to plasters allows them to absorb pollen and pollutants while moderating humidity of indoor spaces; applied to stains provides color while preserving woods and reducing mold and mildew in closets; and applied anywhere locks up carbon for the life of the building and then beyond, for thousands of years.

 
In a recent post to our Facebook page, Michael Tobis commented:

I haven't hear the words "labile" and "recalcitrant" in this context before, but that seems about right. Restoring preindustrial soil works out to be woefully inadequate to getting CO2 back under control. 

If we could contrive to have ten or twenty times the natural soil that would be another matter. I would love to have an idea whether this is possible. But I am finding it hard to engage soil experts in the question of whether and how that would be possible. …

A lot of people think agriculture is the key carbon problem. It all comes down to food in the end of course, but as someone who is now happily meat and dairy free except on rare occasions, I am not worried about the food supply as such. People are starving due to concentration of wealth, which leads to excess production of luxury goods at the expense of basic foods for all. It is not due to a physical incapacity to produce enough food. 

But the carbon problem is about new (OK, well, ancient but long-buried) fossil carbon suddenly injected into the biosphere. If there's a solution to rolling the problem back (rather than just slowing the ratcheting up) it has two parts 1) pulling the extra carbon out of the air (or ocean) and 2) putting it somewhere. No matter how good we get at part 1, it's no help without part 2.

We agree with what was said by Michael, and we would add this: human civilization is already in massive “overshoot” of CO2 emissions to the tune of some 1380 GtCO2 added to the atmosphere after we passed the critical point at around 330 ppm where we guaranteed eventual warming of 2 degrees.  This carbon debt is currently increasing at a rate of about 40 GtCO2 per year pushing us further into climate debt and higher up the thermometer. The UN targets for Paris propose an emissions allowance of a further 950 GtCO2 by the end of the century (about 1 trillion tons), which could push temperatures to 5 degrees by then, and much higher later when equilibrium is reached. It would be game over for mammals such as ourselves on this planet.

We need to reduce concentrations, not merely slow emissions. We have to go to zero and then beyond. By 2050 at the earliest and 2070 at the latest, concentrations need to have come back to 330 parts per million. We have only a few decades to get that much into the ground.

The suite of carbon farming tools can, taken to scale, account for 50 GtC/yr removal annually. Biochar (which could be coming from ethically managed biomass energy systems) is 10 to 20 percent of that and it is recalcitrant; integrated grasslands, agroforestry and land management practices make up the rest, and although made of labile, they are capable of pushing the cycle longer than 5 years — out to several decades, which is what we need right now. A universal overnight change of agriculture and energy systems alone could remove 1400 GtC from the atmosphere in 28 years, although it will not scale that quickly, but 50 years is certainly within the realm of possibility. One way to make it go faster, and last longer, is to find more applications for biochar.
Biochar is the latest tool in the natural builders' toolbox. Returning after a week at the Colloquium, we got this message from someone who had also attended:

Tonight I snuggled with my boys and said prayers as usual. Tonight my 4th grader Alex said, "If I was running for President I would make sure that everybody supported the biochar solution. And that everybody also supported natural building solutions." Yeah! Maybe you should focus on speaking to the younger generations! Their time is NOW!

 

Human Population Growth: How Human Activity Threatens Our Survival

gc2smOff the keyboard of A. G. Gelbert

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 9, 2015
 

Klamath_river_estuary
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“Human Population Growth: The Truth About How Human Activity Threatens
The Condicio Sine Qua Non For Our Survival.”

 


What Is the Greatest Number of Children Born to One Woman?

As of 2014, the greatest number of children born to one woman was 69. Birth records from the 1700s show that the wife of a Russian peasant named Feodor Vassilyev gave birth 27 times — to four sets of quadruplets, seven sets of triplets and 16 pairs of twins. It was reported that 67 of the 69 children survived past infancy. Vassilyev’s second wife reportedly gave birth to 18 children, which would make him the father of 87 children, with all but three surviving infancy. It has not been proved that the records are true, and some people believe that the numbers might be inaccurate. 

More about child birth rates:

Niger is the country with the most births per woman, at an average of 6.16, with more than half of all Nigerian mothers giving birth before age 18.

The greatest number of surviving children born to one woman at one time was eight in 2009 in the United States.

The United Kingdom has the highest rate of childless women older than 45, at more than 20%.

Why Sterilizing the Poorest 50% of Homo Sapdom Won't Solve ANYTHING! 
The "Human Population Must Be Reduced" Propaganda Myth. Why it is a divide and conquer tactic and why it has absolutely no basis in scientific fact. 

The total biomass of all the ants on Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all the people on Earth.

"How can this be?! Ants are so tiny, and we are so big! But scientists estimate there are at least 1.5 million ants on the planet for every human being. Over 12,000 species of ants are known to exist, on every continent except Antarctica. Most live in tropical regions. A single acre of Amazon rainforest may house 3.5 million ants."

The Human biomass is tiny compared with thousands of species from insects to spiders to rodents, along with many marine creatures. 

See for yourself the Evidence:

I will provide for you a couple of links for you to research but let me give you a brief introduction to earth's biomass pyramid. 

You have different trophic levels (life forms that eat other life forms to survive). 

The lower you are on the pyramid, the more collective mass you have as a segment of the biosphere. 

Here's a quote so you can see where I'm going with this: 

"An ecological pyramid is a graphical representation that shows, for a given ecosystem, the relationship between biomass or biological productivity and trophic levels.

A biomass pyramid shows the amount of biomass at each trophic level.

A productivity pyramid shows the production or turn-over in biomass at each trophic level.

An ecological pyramid provides a snapshot in time of an ecological community.

The bottom of the pyramid represents the primary producers (autotrophs). The primary producers take energy from the environment in the form of sunlight or inorganic chemicals and use it to create energy-rich molecules such as carbohydrates. This mechanism is called primary production. The pyramid then proceeds through the various trophic levels to the apex predators at the top.

When energy is transferred from one trophic level to the next, typically only ten percent is used to build new biomass. ]The remaining ninety percent goes to metabolic processes or is dissipated as heat. This energy loss means that productivity pyramids are never inverted, and generally limits food chains to about six levels. However, in oceans, biomass pyramids can be wholly or partially inverted, with more biomass at higher levels."

 

Take insects as one example of the Laws of Thermodynamics as applied to life forms in the Biosphere trophic (food chain) pyramids. 

In order for insects to BE food for spiders as well as many other creatures, the biomass of insects has to be much, much greater because of the heat energy losses in transferring energy from the insect to the spider (about 90% is lost in heat). The predators (that's what we are, by the way) are at the top of the pyramid and have the least total biomass of all the life forms. 

Lions, tigers, sharks, whales, bears, wolves, etc. have a tiny planetary biosphere biomass in comparison with ants, earthworms, rodents, and krill (those tiny shrimp like creatures that whales eat). And the krill eat tiny nearly microscopic phytoplankton (that have more biomass than the ubiquitous krill). 

Mollusks, as well as ants and several thousand other species have a larger biomass than humans. I bring up the mollusks because they have a HUGE biomass. I studied them in depth in college Zoology. 

The phylum Mollusca: 

"The phylum Mollusca is the second most diverse phylum after Arthropoda with over 110,000 described species. Mollusks may be primitively segmented, but all but the monoplacophorans characteristically lack segmentation and have bodies that are to some degree spirally twisted (e.g. torsion). 

The Phylum Mollusca consist of 8 classes: 
1. the Monoplacophora discovered in 1977; 
2. the worm-like Aplacophora or solenogasters of the deep sea;  
3. the also worm-like Caudofoveata;  
4. the Polyplacophora, or chitons;  
5. the Pelecypoda or bivalves; 
6. the Gastropoda or snails; 
7. the Scaphopoda, or tusk shells; and 
8. the Cephalopoda that include among others squid and the octopus." 

Agelbert Note:  The biomass pyramid in the oceans in regard to mollusks and fish is NOT inverted. The oceanic "confusion" is due to the fact that some mollusks are apex predators like giant squid and the smaller mollusk predators like Octopodes that eat fish. Most mollusks are small to very small and are food for fish. They are the ones (bivalves near Fukushima) that concentrate radionuclides in their tissues that then get in the fish that eat them.  

The smaller mollusks (most of them are less than a foot long) are FOOD for fish. That means there HAS TO BE much more of them than there are fish. And I'm sure you don't believe the human biomass is greater than that of all the fish species, right?  If you do believe that, you have trophic pyramid understanding difficulties.

Now for some biomass weights:

"Human population = 335,000,000,000 kg. This figure is based on an average human weight of more than 100lbs, though (50kg, to be exact).  I don't know how accurate this estimate is, especially considering that about 1/3 of us are children. There are supposedly around 1.3 billion cattle in the world, and, put together, they may weigh almost twice as much as our species.

Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba =  379,000,000,000 kg.

There are more ants than krill. Also, metabolism plays a role along with biomass. A million ruby-throated hummingbirds will consume much more food than one African Elephant, even though both have about the same biomass (3,000kg, or 3.3 US tons).

Thus, ants, as a group, may actually consume more resources per year than Antarctic krill, even though both may have roughly the same biomass, because ants tend to be smaller, and live in warmer environments. Although there may be about 10-15 times the biomass of termites than cows in the world, studies have suggested that termites might produce almost 30,000 times as much methane per year because of their faster metabolism." 

http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2010/10/do-ants-really-have-the-largest-biomass-of-all-species-on-earth-laurie-usa.html

So how come nobody is hollering about reducing the termite population?  

As the article in the quotes above points out, humans are a huge problem, not because of our biomass, but because of our carbon footprint (I.E. the use of fossil fuels!).
And guess what portion of our population does over 80% of the Fossil Fuel consumption? You guessed it! The upper 20%! 

Who Done it? The Global Compact: 20% using 80% of the Resources
http://www.unep.fr/shared/publications/other/DTIx0601xPA/docs/en/Module2%20-%20Session1.ppt

To ACTUALLY address, confront and STOP the biosphere damage that Homo Sapdom is doing, we must face the scientifically confirmed REALITY that,  if you get rid of the bottom 50% of the human population (the most poor among us), you will, I'm sorry to say, not even dent the pollution and biosphere destruction. 

AS pointed out in the biomass numbers, the amount of people eating and defecating is not the problem, CARBON FOOTPRINT is the threat to a viable biosphere. We must attack that problem by reducing the carbon footprint of the most powerful people on this planet. 

NOTHING ELSE WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM. The solution, in addition to a 100% transition to Renewable energy, involves eliminating corporate energy welfare queen subsidies for both fossil fuels and nuclear poison. 

Democracy and our responsibility to preserve and protect a viable biosphere requires it from all of us.

The "let's reduce the human population"  baloney is a divide and conquer tactic to avoid billing the top human pigs  for the damage they do, while attempting to give the rest of us a totally unwarranted, with ZERO empirical basis ( but VERY clever), guilt trip. 

It's a lie. Don't buy it. 

What we need to do is transition to 100% renewable energy as within YEARS, not decades. That will give our future generations a chance to live in a viable biosphere. 

If you agree please pass it on. Also, feel free to visit my forum and post on any subject you wish. Thank you. 

Renewable Revolution
http://renewablerevolution.createaforum.com/index.php?action=forum


A. G. Gelbert (agelbert) is a contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He writes peppy posts about Renewable Energy when he is in a good mood. Because of his numerous efforts in that area, he is quite sure that Elon Musk should give him a Tesla. The problem is that Elon Musk remains unconvinced. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site (he copies text from Surly too!), never stops barking about profit over people and planet polluters and dirty energy, but refuses to engage in violence to stop the insane greed driving our human civilization to collapse and possible species extinction. He will be judged by many for not taking up arms in this struggle. But he firmly believes God will support his decision. He shares a manufactured (i.e. he's trailer treasure – be nice) home in Colchester, Vermont with his bride of 23 years, and is grateful that his spirit still finds his body's biochemistry to be a suitable habitat.

Stewards of the earth: a role for humankind

Gaia_Mother_Earthgc2Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

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Published on Resource Crisis on September 28, 2015

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This post was inspired by a meeting held last week in Florence on the subject of the Pope's climate encyclical, and, in particular, by the presentation given there by Father Bernardo. prior of the San Miniato church. I had been thinking about the relation of religion and the environment for some time and, as a comment, I reproduce below a text that I wrote on the interpretation of an ancient Sumerian myth that, in my opinion, describes an ancient ecological catastrophe, not unlike the one we are facing nowadays. Many elements of the ancient Sumerian religion have survived through the millennia and are still with us; in particular the concept that humans have both power and responsibility: they are there to serve the creation, not to use it for their purposes. (h/t Antonella Giachetti)

When I started my career in scientific research, I could hardly have imagined that the Catholic Pope would, one day, teach to scientists (and not just to them) how to do their job. And yet, it seems that we have arrived exactly to this point.

The attempts performed so far to settle the debate on the various disasters befalling on us (and that we ourselves created) have led to nothing. For how many decades have we been trying to get an agreement to avoid the climate change disaster? Now we are putting our residual hopes on the Paris conference of this year, but do you really think that a group of politicians and bureaucrats dressed in dark suits will be able to save the planet?

What we are seeing, instead, is the utter failure of a way of thinking that we call sometimes "positivism" that has its origins in the 19th century with thinkers such as Condorcet, Saint Simon, Comte, and others. At that time, it seemed to be a good idea to use the reason and science to settle all questions. Maybe a good idea, but, in practice, it doesn't work. We know everything about what's happening and why. It is all scientific method and logic. And, yet, the message doesn't pass; we keep destroying everything, including ourselves.

Pure reason doesn't tell us that we should do something to keep alive the other species sharing the earth with us. Pure reason has led us to such absurdity as believing that individual egoism is the best way to manage the earth's commons (this idea is a kind of religion, but an evil one). Pure reason turns the ecosystem into a giant supermarket where you don't even have to pay for what you get (as long as there remains something to get).

We need to take a different view. A view that doesn't see humans as the owners (or perhaps parasites) of the planet, but as stewards of the earth. A view that tells us that humans have a responsibility toward the planet. Without such a view, we'll keep behaving like bacteria in a Petri dish; unworthy of creatures said to have been created "in the image and the likeness of God". I think you don't have to be Christian to take this attitude, and, likely, not even religious or a believer in a transcendent God. But I think you have to have at least a feeling that there exists something, out there, that goes beyond the mere satisfaction of personal desires. It is not even a question of survival, more a question of dignity for humankind.

This is an old idea, the idea that humans are not here to be the masters, but as stewards of the planet on which they live. It goes back to the ancient Sumerians, and, below, I report a paper that I wrote about an ancient Sumerian myth that may describe a plight similar to the one we are facing now.

Hot Holiday in Italy

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

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Published on Resource Crisis on August 15, 2015

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An image of the "new normal" in Italy. In Florence, a downtown shop tries to fight the heat wave of this summer by installing an air conditioner, without worrying too much about spewing hot air right onto the hot and sweating tourists.

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Happy August 15th (and a little rant from UB)

Happy Aug 15th, everybody! Here, in Florence, the worst seems to be over and the forecasts tell of rain today and tomorrow. This July has been the hottest ever recorded in Italy, but we suffered, on the whole, only limited damage. We had more than a month of brutal heat, but also some rain that eased the problem of the forest fires. Now, we can hope to arrive to September without big troubles, at least in terms of sheer heat. 

It is sure, anyway, that this Summer we got a taste of what the "new normal" is going to be. Apart from the horrible heat, we saw a number of spectacular disasters created by bad weather. I can tell you that I had never seen the roof of a house blown away by the wind. I had seen something like that only on TV, and mainly in the US, where the wooden homes always have that look as if they were coming from the tale of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. But seeing the roofs of concrete buildings in Florence being ripped off and deposited in the courtyards, below, well, it has been a shock.

So much the shock caused by these events, that on TV someone mentioned the term "climate change". Fortunately, they immediately found an "expert" who appeared on screen and said that everything was fine and that it had been just a normal summer thunderstorm. 

Apart from the shy, and immediately removed, intrusion of the real world on the TV screen, Italy continues to operate in conditions that I would call "political Alzheimer." That is, conditions in which the patient continues to repeat the same things over and over, without reacting to external stimuli. So, we vaguely remember that, in the past, there was a good time in which the economy was growing and there follows that there is nothing else and nothing more than pursuing growth to fix all the problems.

This catatonic form of politics is not a fault of any specific political force. The faces we see on TV are a little like what people saw in one of those old "houses of mirrors" in amusement parks. Distorted mirrors would return your image as taller or shorter, fatter or thinner, crooked or straight; but it was always the same person. So, the politicians ruling Italy today are just slightly deformed reflections of the society that has produced them. It is us: we are aggressive, disoriented, angry, and without ideas. 

On this point, there is a very interesting post by John Michael Greer (the "archdruid") titled "the war against change."  Greer maintains that the traditional distinction between "progressives" and "conservatives" has been replaced by a situation in which the progressives became conservatives in the sense they oppose any and all change, whereas the conservatives still favor changes, provided that they will worsen things considerably.

This view can be perfectly applied to the Italian situation, with the so called "left" that shows a deep hate for renewable energy and for everything sustainable, whereas the right continues to push for drilling more and drilling deeper in order to get more energy from the sea of oil on which, notoriously, Italy floats. This idea of the right is being applied with great enthusiasm by the left, presently in power.   

But I would also say that Greer is somewhat optimistic, in the sense that the ongoing mental paralysis is affecting all political forces, both on the right and on the left. And it is not just a problem of the political parties: it is the entire Italian society that can't find anything better to do than to blame the bugaboo of the moment, be it Putin's Russia, Merkel's Germany, or whatever. And a good fraction of the public seems to find refuge in the most extreme forms of conspiracy theories, those which are unseemly for the dignity of the human condition, such as chemtrails and the upcoming new ice age. 

All right, sorry for this little rant from me. But, really, it is impressive to note how nothing moves in the debate, while we are facing gigantic changes in the ecosystem and in the economy. Do we have any hope to see something moving in the future? Hard to say. Surely, 2016 will be hotter than 2015, and 2017 will be even worse. But, on TV, there will always be some "expert" telling people that everything is normal. 

_______________________________

Note: to be sure, this 2015 has seen one big change in terms of new ideas. The "Laudato Si" Papal encyclical. It is impressive how this set of  ideas comes from the Church of Rome, the bugaboo of the old and rigid "left," who once were priding themselves of the definition of "progressives." It reminds me of Tonybee, when he placed himself in the position of an ancient Roman and asked: "what good can ever come out of Bethlehem?" And yet….

Kondratiev Goes Surfing

Off the keyboard of Albert Bates

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Published on Peak Surfer on May 17, 2015

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"Excursions from the comfort of the normal to the uncertainty of the new typically happen brutally and violently."
 

 

 

  We read recently in a Southern California newspaper that climate change may wreck the shape and direction of waves that make for some of the world's best surfing beaches. We wondered if it might have a similar effect on Kondratiev cycles.

Our species now has to focus on three overarching tasks:

  • switching away from fossil energy and onto renewables;
  • degrowing industrial dependencies and shedding our profligate ways in a very resource-constrained new environment; and
  • mending the damage we've done by undertaking massive works of ecological restoration – returning us to a garden planet and restoring Gaia to her full health.
 

Among collapsologists, the surfing analogy works at several levels. Instead of passively observing tsunami-size Kondratiev and Elliott waves pound civilization to rubble, we can get out and ride those waves. We are not destroying anything to have our fun. Its renewable energy. We are degrowing our footprint, which is growing hope in inverse proportion. Surfing hits our dopamine receptors. With newfound friends, in ecovillages and organic farming collectives, this big wave surfing can be a lot of fun.

"Surfing is a very experiential or 'now' activity," a surfer recently told the San Jose Mercury News.  "When waves die in one spot and pick up in another, you move to that spot." This is the phenomenon Kevin Kelly described as "scenius," observing that throughout history certain geographical areas attract creative human energies, often passing into and out of their heyday with unexpected suddenness. As Benoit Mandelbrot says, "Wave prediction is a very uncertain business."

Most demographic moves of populations around the planet are reactive. Typically people are fleeing political, social and environmental crises, not rushing somewhere to find a nexus of like-minded individuals. Witness the nomadic invasion of Europe. Many of these waves of refugees reflect, in the mirror, a desperate and very brutal grab of Western countries for control of dwindling oil. Tent cities of refugees extend from Jordan across to North Africa. As they seep into the old stone cities of Europe, they raise their tents under bridges or bargain with farmers to camp in exchange for work. Soon enough, climate refugees will follow. They will be looking for places to escape the heat.

Excursions from the comfort of the normal to the uncertainty of the new typically happen brutally and violently. A rare event  invasion, terror bombing, freak storm – forces a lurch for equilibrium.

In these movements there is an asymmetrical agency issue, which is the problem that those who make decisions bringing about such horrendous consequences suffer disproportionately less because they have insulated themselves from the downside. Think of how well endowed a Senator's health care plan is in comparison to the average citizen's. There is also the issue of asymmetrical informational opacity, in which not only the decisions themselves and how they are made, but the qualitative value of the information predicating them is kept secret from outside scrutiny.

Take for example the book tour of discredited New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Miller, we may recall, was Dick Cheney's handmaiden for stovepiped and fabricated intel on Iraqi WMD,  and her planted NYT stories went on to be cited by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Dubya as proof that the rape of Iraq was justified to prevent more 9-11s "in the shape of a mushroom cloud." Interviewers with the attention span of an Alzheimer's patient now toss softballs at Miller, letting her rewrite history to her advantage, in much the same way Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Dubya are given a pass on the Middle East and thus Jeb Bush is taken seriously as a presidential candidate for 2016. This is asymmetrical informational opacity.

For those causing the problems there are no consequences. There is only a large upside for them and the greater downside is confined to distant and powerless victims. The same can be applied to the average US citizen, who bears ultimate responsibility for silently assenting to the outrage in unleashing high-tech weaponry on pastoral societies like Vietnam, Grenada, Afghanistan or Yemen for the sake of cheap fuel for their Hummers and retirement communities with golf courses. Many USAnians, goaded by asymmetrical and captive information diets, are more than willing to wreak havoc on a third of the world, mindless of consequences.

Of course there are no consequence-free zones, ultimately. Refugees are only the first wave of consequence for Fortress America. Asymmetrical warfare, as the pentagon has so aptly called it, invariably returns from the powerless to be directed at the would-be insulated. Wield asymmetric technologies at your peril.

In the near term, when large, national or transnational companies abuse, everybody except the culprit ends up paying the cost. Between 2000 and 2010, the US stock market lost two trillion dollars for investors but made scores of new billionaires among the top fund managers. Or take nuclear energy (please!), whereby the bulk of the costs – cancers, expensive cleanups, diverted weaponry  are foisted off on future generations while the current generation of electric ratepayers enjoys all the benefits of "cheap" electricity.

But this asymmetry is a function of scale. Opacity is seldom possible at local scale, and feedback is quick. In a less isolated system, such as a city mayor's office, abuse by authority is more likely to be kept in check by the proximity of the victims and the likelihood their voices will be heard when the next election rolls around. A small retailer who sells a product that harms one of his customers is likely to destroy his business. Retribution is quick.

Degrowing industrial dependencies and shedding profligate ways in our resource-constrained new world returns the scale of practical work from global to local and cuts straight through opacity and insularity.

Surfing is not a team sport requiring large stadiums. It is performed by semi-autonomous actors observing the patterns of nature and blending with them. Done well, it accomplishes nothing, and a great deal. 

China: Falling Faster

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis
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Sunset in Shanghai. Except that’s not the horizon the sun is sinking behind, it’s the pollution layer. (Photo By Suicup via Wikimedia Commons)

Sunset in Shanghai. Except that’s not the horizon the sun is sinking behind, it’s the pollution layer. (Photo By Suicup via Wikimedia Commons)

First published at The Daily Impact  August 28, 2014

 

It is increasingly likely that our ailing Western industrialized economy will be preceded in collapse by that of China, whose degradation of the natural web of life has been far faster and more profound than ours. Every six months or so I check on China’s disintegration, plowing through metric tons of punditry on its Miracle-Grow GDP, its rising military power, its imperial ambitions — to come upon a patient in ICU, nearly comatose. If America is Dead Man Walking with respect to food, water, air and soil quality, China is The Walking Dead. [Really? I have to explain that? One is about a man about to die, the other about a zombie, already dead.]

China’s warp-speed industrialization, which blasted off in the 1990s, has destroyed its natural infrastructure “on a scale and speed the world has never known,” says director Jennifer Turner of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The intention was to follow our American model of progress to prosperity; the unintended consequence has been to become a model for us of how quickly the industrial age can crash.  

Life is still tenable in China, but only if the following rules are strenuously obeyed;

1. Don’t Breathe the Air. Air pollution in China has become legendary. Half the coal burned in the world is consumed by China’s generating plants and factories, and the resulting pollution regularly brings major cities to a standstill, making it impossible to drive or go outside, thus to open schools or businesses. A recent study by its own Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences ranked Beijing’s air as the second worst among the world’s major cities and labelled the city as barely habitable. Since then the government has begun a war on coal, vowing to shutter hundreds of coal-burning power plants. Turns out, though, it’s building bigger ones to replace them, and coal burning is expected to increase for the foreseeable future.

2. Don’t Touch the Water. Over half of China’s lakes and reservoirs are too polluted for human use; over half of China’s groundwater is too polluted for human use; and over half of China’s rural residents do not have safe drinking water. According to an editor of The Economist,which did a report on China’s water, “There are large parts of the urban water supply which are not only too dangerous to drink—they are too dangerous to touch.” 400 major cities are short of water, 110 of them seriously. More than half of the 50,000 rivers that existed 20 years ago are simply gone — used up.

3. Don’t Eat the Food. What may be the worst environmental threat of all — soil contamination — has just recently emerged from the fog of official denial and secrecy (or maybe it was just the air pollution). It has only recently come to light that the toxic emissions of thousands of hastily-built, unregulated chemical, ceramic and similar factories have so saturated their surrounding soils with carcinogens that China has an estimated 450 “cancer villages,” whose entire populations have been sickened by food grown in the toxic soil and laced with heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium.

But the problem of soil contamination is hardly limited to nearby villages. A recent government survey, dribbled into public view by a frightened and reticent government, indicates that nearly 20 per cent of China’s farmland is contaminated with heavy metals. As a result, the food supply is riddled with contaminated rice and other grains. According to one Greenpeace researcher in-country,”Every consumer in China is exposed to this kind of pollution.”

To review, then: a country whose capital city is barely habitable, half of whose water is unusable, 20 per cent of whose farmland is unusable, whose demand for ever more coal and oil to burn is insatiable, is being discussed as a rising global power and a threat to the American Empire.

Right up there with Bangladesh.

 

***

Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

 

 

Black Friday Melee

Off the keyboard of Mr. Roboto

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Published on Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto on November 30, 2013

black-friday-survival

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pXSNVVVQz6Q/T2ZIV0gH9JI/AAAAAAAAWms/kxjEWjagJ3A/s1600/thereturnofthearchonshd330.jpgThere have been reports of inappropriate behavior at stores and shopping centers on Black Friday in the past, but this is the first time there has been a nationwide wave of consumer-driven violence on the day after Thanksgiving reminiscent of the Festival from the old “Star Trek” episode “The Return Of The Archons”. And if you think I’m exaggerating, keep in mind that there have been reports of shootings and stabbings attending this madness.

Now, everybody who isn’t being an ostrich with their head in the sand (and in the USA, that isn’t very many folks at all, really) knows that we’re heading toward a collapse of some kind. Exactly what form it will take and when it will happen is not for me to say. But some kind of mass-reversal of American society’s fortunes is on the horizon from environmental degradation, resource depletion, and financial over-exploitation. The form and severity of any such event will always and inevitably be shaped by the moral condition of the society in question. This Black Friday 2013 ugliness has really driven home for me that there is no hope whatsoever for our society. If anything good emerges on the other side of collapse, it will be because what’s left of society in the aftermath will renounce everything that we are as of this writing as a consequence. But before that? The big meltdown will be massively ugly. Thinking about that made it hard for me to remain asleep last night.

The new pope seems to be in agreement with me, as he recently penned an apostolic exhortation warning that the “tyranny of capitalism” is propelling all towards “disintegration and death”. Right-wing know-it-all blowhards such as Rush Limbaugh have predictably slammed Pope Francis’s critique as “pure Marxism”, but one doesn’t need the ideological shackles of Marxist doctrine to realize what is becoming increasingly apparent.

For instance, there’s the financial crisis of 2008 from which we never really recovered, and the consequences of which are merely being held at bay with unsustainable financial gimmickry such as the Zero Interest Rate Policy and everlasting Quantitative Easing. What brought this about was an orgy of greed and corruption driven both by shady financiers and consumers eager to use their houses as an ATM for fueling their out-of-control consumption. There’s the fact that the ability of the planet to sustain life is being dealt body-blow after body-blow. Everybody knows about global warming, even if they’re in denial about it. But how many people know that the oceans are dying? For pity’s sake, the oceans are where life on this planet began!

But this Black Friday ugliness really draws a big red circle around the fact that it isn’t just the big capitalists and corrupt politicians who are to blame for the mess we’re facing. It’s ordinary people who don’t know any better who are a big reason why nothing has changed despite how obvious it has been for so long that something must change if we are to avoid a very nasty collision with some very severe consequences. This Black Friday ugliness is a good example of why our collective foot is going to remain on the proverbial gas-pedal right up until this collision occurs. There’s no point in being bitter about it because being bitter has never helped anything. But I must confess to being more than a little alarmed, dismayed, and yes, downright afraid.

Chained to the Cross

Off the keyboard of Ray Jason

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Published on The Sea Gypsy Philosopher on November 8, 2013

http://cdn.supadupa.me/shop/3360/images/1189676/161_original_grande.gif?1379273849

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AVENTURA at anchorThere is no calendar aboard AVENTURA, and I often lose track of what day it is. Actually, down here – south of many borders – the seasons are so similar to each other, that I often lose track of what month it is! But I always know when it is Sunday. That’s because a veritable armada of cayucos will stream by my boat on their way to church.

A few weeks ago one passed very close, and as always, I waved with neighborly enthusiasm. Seven or eight of the kids waved back just as vigorously. But there was one young, teen-aged girl who responded differently. Apparently she had never been so close to one of these sailing boats, and she studied it carefully. I watched her gaze drift from bow to stern and then from the waterline to the top of the mast. Then she noticed my boat’s name which is the Spanish word for “adventure.”

With the cayuco only 10 feet away, I delighted in seeing her happy smile as visions of travel, freedom and exotic elsewhere’s danced in her head. But swiftly her face changed, and I witnessed something that a man in his Middle Years never wishes to see in the eyes of someone so young. As she looked directly up at me, I watched as her youthful joy was suffocated by despair. There was surrender in that look – the realization that her dreams for a life that could cross over the borders of her birth, might never be achieved.

This experience touched me so deeply that I created this little story, which tries to depict what she is experiencing at this threshold moment in her life. And even if this tale is not accurate in the case of this young woman, it surely is for someone else her age – and probably for many, many others out there who also feel caged by the circumstances of their birth.

 

*******

 

I will name her Dolores, which is the Spanish word for “sadness.” She was the second born of 8 children. As is often the case, in an effort to keep up with her older brother, she tended to be tomboyish. If he could row the cayuco across the bay in 20 minutes, she would try to do it in 18 minutes. If he caught 4 fish she would strive for 6. But one thing that they did not compete in was sea turtles. They both loved the big creatures, and would drift for hours amongst them in their little native canoe.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_B12ademvvek/THbbjHJ4FPI/AAAAAAAAARE/OnD_U2rAtyo/s1600/Turtle2BabiesReturning.jpgFor her 10th birthday, her father took her on a turtle-watching trip at a remote beach. As the female labored most of the night laying her eggs and covering them in the sandy nest, the volunteers quietly explained to Dolores the entire process including how the tiny hatchlings will have to race down the beach to the safety of the sea as predator birds and animals attack them.

It was a momentous night in her young life. Besides being inquisitive about the mother turtle, Dolores asked the volunteers many questions about their lives and their dedication to these animals. She learned that a person had to be at least 18 years old and very carefully trained before they could qualify to be turtle beach monitors. She also discovered that some of them were studying marine biology with a specialty in sea turtles. Dolores felt a bit like her beloved turtles that night. She sensed that she had stuck her head out of her own shell and glimpsed her future.

At school she found a helpful teacher who encouraged her and brought her books and magazine articles about the turtles of the sea. The more she learned, the more she wanted to know. Could it be that one day she could go to university and become a marine biologist and then travel the world studying and helping these gentle animals?

 

*******

 

And now at 13 years old, her family cayuco is passing beside AVENTURA. My sweet, little boat is the perfect symbol for all that she seeks in life. But it is not just a fairy tale illusion. It is a real thing – tangible evidence that people can voyage to strange new lands, see unusual creatures and savor exotic adventures. And it lives where the turtles live – in the sea.

As her cayuco heads across the bay to the chapel, the young girl pivots and looks back at the lovely AVENTURA once more. Even from 30 yards away I can sense her longing and her sad resignation. She is headed to church, which is supposed to be a joyous and liberating experience. But Dolores is wise beyond her years, and she understands that it does not emancipate her – it enslaves and crushes her.

Yet, even though she intuitively recognizes this, she cannot possibly imagine how masterfully the church orchestrates this. For over 20 centuries they have perfected their subtle incarceration methods so brilliantly that the prisoners barely realize that they are captives. Allow me to explain how profoundly and malevolently they dominate so many lives around the world.

Here in Latin America, when a baby is born, it is extremely likely that it will be designated as a Catholic child. A few weeks later a baptismal ceremony further reinforces this status. As the little one finds its way in the world it receives loving guidance from its parents. It learns that fire and snakes and lightning are dangerous. And it is also taught that mangoes ripe from the tree and fish fresh from the sea are delicious. A bond of sublime trust is formed between parent and child. So when these adults, who have provided so much helpful knowledge about how the world works, also teach it that religion is a good thing, why would the youngster not believe the parents?

And this is further reinforced by the pageantry of the religious services. Things are different inside the church. It is quieter and solemn and reverent. The kids aren’t running around wildly, and the person at the front wears very unusual clothes. He gives some sort of fancy speech that the adults all follow carefully. Afterwards the grown-ups behave as if something important has happened.

So if the child’s parents say that religion is a good thing and if the ceremony at the church is so extraordinary, then it is natural for the kids to accept their place in the flock. And the term “flock” is appropriate here – for the church controls them as thoroughly as a shepherd dominates his sheep.

http://what-buddha-said.net/Pics/hell.n4.jpgThe keystone of the church’s indoctrination is the concept of hell. The young people are relentlessly warned that if they do certain things they will suffer grotesque agony for all of eternity. Most of the “sins” that will condemn a person to this horrible fate are irrelevant to typical kids. After all, they are not going to murder someone or worship false idols or rob the local bank. But as soon as they reach puberty, they get hammered by a Catholic edict that they barely knew even existed. Thou shalt not use birth control.

After the epiphany that Dolores experienced on the beach with the mother turtle, she realized that her desired path in life was different from most of her peers. Although there was much charm in her Indio village life, her dreams swept towards the far horizon. She wanted to venture beyond the boundaries of her birthplace, and embrace the wider world. To achieve this she would need to succeed in both high school and university.

Just when Dolores was recognizing this, she noticed that many of the girls just a few years older than her were suddenly dropping out of high school and having babies. When she asked them why they didn’t wait a little longer until they finished school, they confessed that the pleasure of sex was so extraordinary that they couldn’t restrain themselves. And since the almighty church insisted that if they used birth control they would burn in hell for a million years, they had risked unwanted pregnancies because sexual passion can be so overpowering.

Because Dolores had not yet reached puberty, she convinced herself that she could forego sexual desire in order to fulfill her dreams. But when those potent universal yearnings started to pulse through her young body, she too felt herself being swept along. She went to her mother seeking guidance. Why can’t a person enjoy the wonders of sex without having to risk bringing an unwanted child into the world? Since her mom had never questioned such things herself, her only response was, “…because the church says so, and they know what’s best.”

But with the exquisite vision of her future blurring and darkening before her eyes, that answer was not good enough for Dolores. So she asked the teacher who had been so helpful to her, if there wasn’t some other way, some other option? As an instructor in a Catholic school, the sympathetic teacher hesitated, but then decided to answer truthfully. She told her bright young student – so overflowing with curiosity about life and the world – that there was another way. She explained that there are reliable and affordable methods of birth control as close as the nearest drug store. And she added that millions and millions of people around the world use them without fear or guilt, because they have not been told that by doing so they will burn forever in hell.

And then the confused young student said, “But if the church cares about us so much, why would it destroy my dreams for the future – my simple dreams that harm no one and can help the turtles?”

The good teacher paused and looked Dolores in the eyes, “Your question is a just and sensible one, but the answer is very complicated. Anything I say will probably confuse you even more. But in only a few more years you will discover the answer for yourself. And it will be much more powerful and valuable to you because you found it on your own!”

 

*******

 

It was only a few days after that conversation with her beloved teacher that Dolores passed by AVENTURA in the family cayuco headed for church. Had I known the source of the anguish that was so clearly visible in her eyes, I might have shouted out something like this:

The church does not care about you, Dolores. It seeks only to further its own power and interests. Witness how its birth control rules crush your dreams and force you down a life path that you do not desire. Ignore the church. It is a dictatorship that wants to dominate your heart and your mind and your body. Cast it off like a scorpion on a shoe, and race out into that wide world that beckons to you so powerfully. Listen to the murmurings within you. They are the voices of our race and the echoes of the centuries. They will serve you well.”

Chinese Toast

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 27, 2013

toast2

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One of the longest running contrarian opinions I have spent ungodly hours debating on the net is the concept that the "Chinese Economic Miracle" is a sham, and that rather than ending up as Successors to the Great Amerikan Empire of the 20th Century, in fact they will likely end up with the most brutal problems of the Collapse of Industrial Civilization.  It seems obvious enough to me that the path they have taken over the last 20 years to play "catch up" to the FSoA and Krautland as a Mercantile Powerhouse is unsustainable, but somehow the folks in charge of issuing mega-bucks of debt at the TBTF Banks have not had the same opionion.  China has been the "Big Sink" for all the debt issued here, Hot Money off the Printing Press of Helicopter Ben Bernanke flowing over to China to Invest in new Factories for Widget Production, Ghost Cities, Bridges to Nowhere, High Speed Rail and all the rest, creating a Bubble of such outrageous proportions it makes Sub-Prime here in the FSoA look like GOOD INVESTMENT with SOLID FUNDAMENTALS.  LOL.

Over on Zero Hedge this week, it was reported that China has now surpassed the FSoA as Oil Importer and chief Konsumer of Fossil Fuels, @ 6.3 mpbd to the 6.26 mbpd of the FSoA.  The subtext here is that since China is using MORE Imported Oil now than the FSoA does, they are doing BETTER than we are!  Their Industrial Paradigm is WORKING, while ours is FAILING!

Submitted by Rory Johnson via OilPrice.com,

Last month the world witnessed a paradigm shift: China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest consumer of foreign oil, importing 6.3 million barrels per day compared to the United States’ 6.24 million. This trend is likely to continue and this gap is likely to grow, according to the EIA’s October short-term energy outlook. Wood Mackenzie, a leading global energy consultancy, echoed this prediction, estimating Chinese oil imports will rise to 9.2 million barrels per day (70% of total demand) by 2020.

World Liquid Fuels Consumption

This trend has been driven by a combination of factors. Booming American oil production, slow post-recovery growth, and increasing vehicle efficiency have all served to reduce crude imports. In China, however, continued economic growth has brought with it a growing middle class eager to take to the road. While the automobile market had cooled earlier this year, September saw sales rise by 21%—a trend that is putting increasing strain on China’s infrastructure and air quality in addition to oil demand.

Some of the world’s largest traffic jams are now commonplace in major Chinese cities, and air quality issues have pushed authorities to pursue synthetic natural gas technology to offset the need for coal-fired electricity. Increasing oil consumption will only serve to exacerbate these issues.

Furthermore, the per capita consumption differential between the two countries is still vast, with an average Chinese citizen consuming a mere 2.9 barrels of oil per year compared to an average American who consumes 21.5. This indicates that China’s growing thirst for oil isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

So what does this shift in oil imports mean?

More than anything else, it is a sign that China will increasingly depend on global markets to satisfy its ever-growing oil demand. This necessitates further engagement with the international system to protect its interests, encouraging a fuller integration with the current liberal order. This will have effects on both China’s approach to its currency and its diplomatic demeanour.

Derek Scissors wrote last week that this shift might usher in a world where oil is priced in RMB as opposed to solely in USD. This transition could only occur, however, if the RMB was made fully convertible and Beijing steps back from its current policy of exchange rate manipulation. Earlier this year, HSBC predicted that the RMB would be fully convertible by 2017, a reality that is surely hastened by its position as the single largest purchaser of foreign oil. A fully convertible RMB would be a “key step in pushing it as a reserve currency and enhancing its use in global trade, said Sacha Tihanyi, a strategist at Scotia Capital.

On the diplomatic side, while the United States is unlikely to withdraw from its role as defender of global oil production or guarantor of shipping routes, an increasing reliance on foreign oil will push Beijing toward a more engaged role within the international community. It is likely that we will see a change in Beijing’s approach to international intervention and future participation in multilateral counterterrorism initiatives—anything to ensure global stability. In the future, anything that destabilizes the oil market will increasingly harm China more than the United States. While Beijing views this increased import reliance as a strategic weakness, it a boon for those hoping to see Beijing grow into its role as a global leader.

Bottom line: as Chinese oil imports grow, Beijing will become increasingly reliant on the current market-oriented global system—this is nothing but good news for those that enjoy the status quo.

Why is increasing consumption of a non-renewable resource viewed as a GOOD THING?  In all reality, this is a BAD THING, because obviously when the resource you depend on RUNS OUT or gets TOO EXPENSIVE, your whole paradigm is shot to hell.  In the mind of the Economista though, Increasing Consumption is GOOD!  It means Increasing GDP!  In the pathway from Production (really Extraction) of Resource to its consumption, the Intermediaries along the way sieve off their "Profits".  This is how people get RICH!  They insert themselves somewhere in the chain which goes from the Extraction of the Resource to its Consumption and production of Waste and take a piece of the downhill energy flow.  The more WASTED at the bottom of the Pyramid, the RICHER the folks at the top of the Pyramid get.

To the people who run this show, China looked just GREAT!  1.3B potential Konsumers of Energy they could leverage on to still GREATER heights of Unimaginable Wealth!  Long as those Chinamen are continuing to Increase in their Energy Konsumption, somebodies in the Middle of the flow are getting very, VERY rich!  If you are in there as a BENEFICIARY of this waste based system, the LAST thing you want is for it to STOP!  So China Bulls promote the Asian Economies as the Next Great Place to GET RICH, investing in the further build out of the energy intensive economy in this locale.

What is the PROBLEM here?  The problem is the ENERGY increasing Production out of the Chinese Economy is becoming increasingly scarce and increasingly EXPENSIVE to extract with each passing day.  On the Graphs produced of EXPECTATIONS, it looks like those Industrious Chinamen are gonna continue to BUY & BURN more energy than we can, so THIS is the place to Invest your Money!  Can they REALLY continue on this Up Slope all that much longer though?  When you peruse the latest RESULTS of this last ditch effort into Industrial Manufacturing on the Grand Scale, you see the small problem of ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE!  Every day now another entire Chinese CITY gets shut down due to overwhelming SMOG!  This is not bombast coming from the Blogosphere, it is straight off the pages of CNN and the rest of the MSM:

A woman wearing a mask walks along a road as smog engulfs Harbin, China, on Tuesday, October 22. Expressways, schools and an airport were closed after smog disrupted one of northeast China's most heavily populated areas.

(CNN) — Schools, major roads and an airport remained closed Tuesday, as a thick cloud of filthy smog smothered the northeastern city of Harbin.

Meteorologists in the city, which is famous for its annual ice festival, issued a red alert for fog at 5 a.m. Tuesday, with visibility in some central areas of the city down to less than 20 meters (65 feet), the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Video from China's state-run CCTV showed some people — obscured by smog even just steps away — wearing masks over their mouths as they walked in the province. Some drivers who braved the roads flashed hazard lights.

Kindergartens, primary and junior middle schools were ordered to suspend classes for a second day, while Harbin Taiping International Airport remained closed — with 250 flights canceled on Monday alone, according to Chinese state media.

China needs smog-free air in a can

Hazardous levels

China's toxic smog problem

Thick smog blankets city, closes schools

On China: China's role in climate change

Pollution levels remained far above international standards, as the city's monitoring stations on Tuesday showed that concentrations of PM2.5 — the tiny airborne particles considered most harmful to health — were more than 30 times the World Health Organization's recommended standard, the state-run China Daily reported.

Could smog choke China's sporting ambitions?

Government officials blamed the smog on a lack of wind and farmers burning crop stalk after their autumn harvest, though the city's coal-burning heating system, which was recently started, is also a likely factor. Harbin's environmental bureau has also conducted checks on factories known to discharge pollutants, the China Daily report added.

Extreme conditions

Fang Lijuan, the city's chief meteorologist, said it was very rare for the city to suffer such extreme conditions.

"There has been no strong wind and the level of humidity is high," she said, in quotes carried by China Daily.

Residents of this city of 10 million people were also surprised by the thick smog.

Living with an 'air-pocalypse'

"The pollution is indeed very bad, we can only see things within 100 meters, and yesterday it was 20-30 meters. We can smell the smoke in the air," one man, who identified himself as Mr. Ren, told CNN.

"The smog started about four days ago … I heard all face masks in Harbin are sold out. People are very angry about this and there is a lot of discussion over the Internet.

"The main reason is Harbin started its heating and the main resource is coal. Every year at this time, the air quality is bad — but this year is especially polluted."

Can social media clear air over China?

Naming and shaming

Last month China announced plans to start listing its top ten most air-polluted cities every month in the hopes that national humiliation will push positive environmental action.

"We must put air quality control as an ecological red line for economic management and social development," China's Vice Premier Zhang Gao Li said in a statement as he announced the new policy at the 18th Air Pollution Control Conference in Beijing.

Chinese officials did not say when the first list would be announced, but the northern megacities of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as the surrounding provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Shandong have signed onto an official plan to speed up air pollution control measures.

China's capital often suffers with hazardous pollution levels and smog. An explosion in the number of cars on the roads, as well as industrial pollution are seen as the main contributors.

What Beijing looks like on a gloriously clear day

A policeman directs Harbin traffic on Monday, October 21. In some central areas of the city, visibility was less than 20 meters (65 feet).

This is a sustainable paradigm?  GIMMEE A BREAK!  These folks got an Overshoot problem in Population non-pareil in absolute numbers, virtually ZERO Energy Resources of their own to mine up, depleted land for farming AND internal debt on Ghost Cities and Bridges to Nowhere too!  The main ASSET the Chinese hold is a ton of IRREDEEMABLE DEBT issued over here by our Treasury Department.

Now, here is the REAL question to ask yourself.  HTF is it that the "Richest" country in the world in say 1990 (ostensibly the FSoA) was able to borrow $Trillions$ from an impoverished COMMUNIST nation that at the time had pretty much ZIPPO in the way of Industrial Infrastructure?  Where were the Chinese getting money to LOAN to the FSoA?  Answer:  They didn't HAVE it until we BORROWED it.  Then they created the money to loan out!  This is just a bigger version of the same scam your local Bank does when it Loans you money on a Mortgage to buy a McMansion.  AFTER you borrow the money at the current Interest rate charged for retail loans, the Bank then uses this asset to Borrow the money at a lower interest rate (nowadays ZERO) from Da Federal Reserve, who creates the money based on this new "Asset" on the Loan Book of the Bank who issued the loan out.

Of course it is a good deal more complicated than this with Securitization of Mortgages, Rehypothecation etc, but this is the essence of how this Money Creation Game works.  So the Chinese become this ENORMOUS Lender, based on nothing really other than the fact it is a big country with lots of people in it.  Investment money flows toward China from the Private Sector to build up the Industrial Infrastructure that will produce toys that Amerikans will buy on…yes still MORE Credit!  This time a lot of it UNSECURED credit in terms of Credit Cards, but also HELOC loans based on a perceived Asset Value of McMansions that itself was all based on the further issuance of Credit.

The Finance and Economics industry has all sorts of neat names for this, "Animal Spirits", "Bull Markets" etc, but basically it's self-replicating FRENZY that develops when there are lots of Resources to exploit around, and the people in charge of Credit Creation set up the game to get outrageously RICH on the Spreads and Management Fees involved in pushing out all this Credit.  All the laws are written to favor the Creditors, so even in a Bust situation they usually figure to come out OK.  They just Repo the Assets for Pennies on the dollar, leave the Debtors completely Impoverished and then Reboot.

At least that it how it worked up to this iteration of the cycle, but this time really IS DIFFERENT.  On this occassion, the Frenzy of Animal Spirits in the Bull Market basically exhausted the supplies of Cheap, EZ to Access Fossil Fuels that run the Industrial Economy, and most if not all of the Physical Assets created using this energy source such as Carz, McMansions and Factories are basically WORTHLESS in the absence of MORE Cheap Energy.  You CAN repo them, but their Liabilities are greater than their TRUE Value, which is ZERO.  You cannot repo at ALL the Oil burned up in the production of these now worthless assets, it is all floating around in the atmosphere now as molecules of CO2.

Which brings us back to Chinese Toast.

First, the idea that China's energy consumption and importation of Oil will continue to Increase here for any great length of time is preposterous.  Total Oil production has plateaued here, and all the major fields providing relatively Cheap Oil are declining in productivity.  More and more countries who were net Oil Exporters are flipping over to being Oil Importers, if they can get Credit for that of course.

http://dlb8685.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/world-oil-production-2002-2008.gif

Second, all the countries which BUY Chinese products have hit a Debt Saturation point, and demand is falling across the board for just about everything except food, which is relatively inelastic.  The Chinese environment overall these days for doing food production is deteriorating, so it is unlikely they can become Food Exporters.

Third, EVERYBODY KNOWS China has a massive Bubble in Real Estate, with Hong Kong PARKING SPOTS retailing out at like $200K.  Ghost Cities, Bridges to Nowhere and a Pollution Problem so bad they have to shut down a City a Week these days as the Smog rolls in.

In their own way the Chinese appear to see the problem, and are Prepping Up by trying to buy up tons of Gold, Farmland in Africa and Coal Mines in Oz.  It remains to be seen whether they can keep shipping food OUT of Africa to China when local Africans are STARVING.  Whether the tons of Gold they are importing NOW will buy what is left of MENA Oil in 5 years is also an open question.  Do Saudi Sheiks really need any more Gold?  If the Saudi PEOPLE are starving, how long do the Sheiks maintain enough control to ship out any remaining Oil?

If the Chinese do go ahead and try to wholesale dump USTs, it will send the whole House of Cards down.  They'll never really be able to back Renminby with Gold, because anybody holding Renminby will want to convert it to Gold.  If they don't allow the conversion to Gold, then RMBY is NOT really "backed" by Gold.  So the Chinese will play along here as long as they can, and the charade continues a while longer until there is some real hard stop in actual supply chains.  Most likely to occur resultant from escalating War in MENA, but other possibilities exist as well.

On an economic level, when the price of production exceeds the price the customers can pay, this is what will  force the shut-down of high priced "tight oil" production facilities, which is what keeps us plateaued here rather than seeing a large drop in total world Oil production.  Steve on Economic Undertow refers to this as the "Triangle of Doom", and the trend lines appear to converge around the end of 2014.

http://www.economic-undertow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Triangle-of-Doom-080113.png

Rock, Meet Hard Place here.  Far as the Chinese are concerned, this is the point at which they could not continue to Increase Consumption of Energy even if they wanted to.  The customers  won't have money to buy it in greater quantities, and the Oil Extractors won't be pulling so much out of the ground.  Even a forced Credit Expansion by the PBoC won't work, since Gold or no Gold in the basement safe of the PBoC, issuing out credit to buy what is not there to buy just devalues the credit.

It remains to be seen how real contraction of available energy affects the various Nations currently dependent on increasing consumption for nominal Growth in their respective GDPs.  There will no doubt be demand destruction across the board here, which will make the Pricing extremely volatile.  Forced conservation efforts may be undertaken also, and more peripheral countries triaged off the Credit Bandwagon also, leaving those countries still with access to credit to comepte with each other for the remaining supplies.  However, you cannot get round the fact that less energy will be available here, because there simply are no sources of CHEAP energy, and that is what the Waste Based system has as its underpinning.

If Energy had been priced correctly from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in terms of the Work it was capable of doing and the Finite Limitations of its availability, the structures we created in the intervening time would never have been built.  The Eisenhower Interstate, the vast and spread out living arrangements of McMansions dependent on Automobiles, the long Supply Chains moving products 1000s of miles every day around the Globe…all of this was based on Mispricing Energy.

http://www.scdigest.com/images/Historical_Oil_Prices.jpg

The above chart updates the one I posted in my last couple of articles by showing pricing through history in 2010 dollars, which gives you a better idea of the volatility during periods when Oil supply is not a sure thing.  In those early years while Standard Oil was being consolidated as a Monopoly by John D. Rockefeller, the price of Oil was even more volatile than it is now.  You can see the spikes which occurred through the period when various political events put a crimp in the supply chain of delivery from Well to Refinery,  but overall until the Yom Kippur War the price of Oil and the availability of credit to buy it stayed LOW, and building out the system based on ever more extraction was possible.  The volatility we see in the aftermath of that shows that the perpetual increasing production could not be maintained, and ever more expensive Oil has had to be sourced since then.  If credit gets issued on FUTURE production, it gets defaulted on, because the price increases faster than the customers ability to purchase it does.  On a gross level, the system is no longer GROWING, it is CONTRACTING.  The numbers get masked by wacky accounting fraud gimmicks, but the results are quite obvious. More Biz goes BK, more homes foreclosed on, more Nation States unable to collect sufficient Taxes to support their systems.

The Chinese are really at the Leading Edge of this problem, regardless of what current economic indicators purport to show.  They have one of the worst problems in Population Overshoot, real Resource Depletion issues with Water and Arable Land, dependence on Energy and Food Imports, horrible Pollution issues and a mercantilist economy quickly running OUT of customers to sell to.  Heaps of UST paper and Mountains of Gold cannot save the Chinese.  They are TOAST.

RE

Too Smart for our Own Good…and too dumb to change?

Off the Keyboard of EndIsNigh

Discuss this article around the Kitchen Sink of the Diner

I’ve always felt the many attempts to paint a picture in which we are not all responsible for our situation, whether in the form of the OWS 99% vs 1%, Illuminati (or Oligarchy, or Elite, etc) vs sheople, or even an epic battle of good vs evil, to be unsatisfactory in their effort to explain our predicament.  In my opinion there has to be some element common to humankind that keeps us on the path to destruction.  In other words, we’re all part of the problem and in order to correct course there must be a significant change worldwide at the level of the individual.

Is it possible that a fundamental aspect of what it means to be homo sapiens is at the root of our problem, and if so, what are the implications for finding a way out? Or whether it’s even probable that we will find it, and then act on it?  If the VCP holds true, is our involvement in the predicament really something to be ashamed of since what we’ve done is in our very nature?  William Catton has expressed the same sentiment in arguing that no one group is responsible for our predicament.  Catton says, “the conversion of a marvelous carrying capacity surplus into a competition-aggravating and crash-inflicting deficit was a matter of fate.”  And while I don’t suggest we absolve the criminal banksters and corrupt politicians of their crimes, or that we discard efforts to affect change, I find a lot of the blaming others and ourselves that’s going on is really detrimental, if not to our collective health, at least to our individual well-being.

This question, and the conclusions that may be drawn by answering it, is exhaustively researched by Craig Dilworth in his timely and important book (which I’m still reading) Too Smart for our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind.”  The book is described as follows:

Quote

We are destroying our natural environment at a constantly increasing pace, and in so doing undermining the preconditions of our own existence. Why is this so? This book reveals that our ecologically disruptive behavior is in fact rooted in our very nature as a species. Drawing on evolution theory, biology, anthropology, archaeology, economics, environmental science and history, this book explains the ecological predicament of humankind by placing it in the context of the first scientific theory of our species’ development, taking over where Darwin left off. The theory presented is applied in detail to the whole of our seven-million-year history. Due to its comprehensiveness, and in part thanks to its extensive glossary and index, this book can function as a compact encyclopedia covering the whole development of Homo sapiens. It would also suit a variety of courses in the life and social sciences. Most importantly, Too Smart makes evident the very core of the paradigm to which our species must shift if it is to survive. Anyone concerned about the future of humankind should read this ground-breaking work.
This book: • Provides the first and only theory of humankind’s development • Explains that economic and political (military) power have their respective biological bases in individual vs. group territoriality • Provides the first classification of human instincts: into the survival, sexual and social instincts • Provides the most inclusive characterization of different kinds of population check yet presented • Explains the importance of the anthropological, archaeological and economic findings of the past 50 years to understanding humankind’s development • Clarifies the preconditions for human life on earth • Predicts what will happen to us in the near future

Dilworth goes into excruciating detail to answer the question “why,” through analysis of the biological and evolutionary underpinnings of our species, and is therefore, beyond the scope of this post.  However, Dilworth’s basic premise is based on a principle he calls the “Vicious Circle Principle” (or VCP for short), which can be expressed as the following:

Quote

The vicious circle principle (VCP) is both easy to understand and in keeping not only with modern science but also with common sense. Briefly put, it says that in the case of humans the experience of need, resulting e.g. from changed environmental conditions, sometimes leads to technological innovation, which becomes widely employed, allowing more to be taken from the environment, thereby promoting population growth, which leads back to a situation of need. Or, seeing as it is a matter of a circle, it could for example be expressed as: increasing population size leads to technological innovation, which allows more to be taken from the environment, thereby promoting further population growth; or as: technological innovation allows more to be taken from the environment, the increase promoting population growth, which in turn creates a demand for further technological innovation.

My intention in starting this thread is twofold.  First, to introduce the book to those unfamiliar with it, as I believe it to be mandatory reading for collapseniks. Second, to discuss the ideas Dilworth presents given the relevance to recent discussions on the Diner.  Unfortunately Dilworth comes to the depressing conclusion that humankind is headed straight for the evolutionary dustbin, despite the efforts of the few who are attempting to avert such a result, because we’re dealing with a fundamental trait of humanity unlikely to change any time soon.  My opinion has been that we must evolve or perish, an opinion that appears to be supported by Dilworth’s theory.  The middle section of the book is very academic and far from light reading which serves as a scientific basis for the conclusions drawn, but the first and final chapter (too dumb to change) is where most of the ideas are presented that will interest the Diners.

What I find most fascinating about the VCP is that it provides an explanation that goes beyond Nationalism, cultural values, religions and the rise and fall of empires, because the theory is overarching in it’s scope.  Even if the US Empire collapses and doesn’t manage to take the rest of the world down with it, the VCP will still remain as the root cause of our problem.

Dilworth gives a brief explanation of his work.

Some quotes to get things started:

Quote

According to Daly, the appeals of growth are that it is the basis of national power and that it is an excuse for not sharing as a means of combating poverty.  It offers – in conflict with the entropy principle – the prospect of more for all with sacrifice by none.

Quote

…goods and services that cannot be bought or sold are valueless from the point of view of neoclassical economics.

Quote

An attitude to life which seeks fulfilment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth – in short, materialism – does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.

Quote

All that is needed, they say, are larger research and development budgets, greater offerings to the Technological Priesthood who gave us the Green Revolution, Nuclear Power, and Space Travel.  That these technological saviors have created more problems than they have solved is conveniently overlooked.  The mythology of technological omnipotence is by itself very strong, but when backed by class interests in avoiding the radical policies required by the steady state, it becomes a full-fledged idolatry.  As long as we remain trapped by the ideology of competitive growth, there is no solution. … The value of growth is rigidly held in first place, and we are trapped into a system of increasing environmental disruption and gross injustices by our inability to reorder values.

Quote

Economic growth, so long as it is based on a non-renewable surplus, erodes that surplus at a faster rate than would occur otherwise, shortening the time to its eventual disappearance.  And if the surplus is of renewables, economic growth will tend to convert them into non-renewables: their being drawn into the economic system to a constantly increasing degree will mean their being used at a successively higher rate until that rate exceeds their ability to reproduce themselves.

Quote

As Schumacher also says, the economic growth of the industrial era could just as well be seen as a measure of the rate at which we are consuming geological capital, while counting it as income.

Quote

So the fact that our situation is terribly threatening has been known to decision makers for more than 30 years, and this quite independently of an awareness of the operation of the vicious circle principle.  What an understanding of the VCP adds is a realisation both of how we have come to this pass, as well as why we in fact have made no serious attempt to remedy the situation despite our being aware of it. … According to the VCP the individual territorial instincts of the powerful override whatever other instincts they may have as support the well-being of the species, and it is they who determine the course taken.  And, it seems to me, there’s not much we can do about it.  The revealing of the nature of the situation, such as is attempted in this book, is not going to make any noticeable difference.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

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