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Time To Choose

Will you be an agent of depletion or regeneration?
Friday, May 11, 2018, 10:13 PM

There’s a vast revolution underway. And it’s time to pick sides.

Your choice couldn't be more critically important. Quite possibly, the entire fate of the human species hangs in the balance.

It's time to decide: Will you be an agent of depletion or regeneration?

Bad Choices = Bad Outcomes

For many centuries, humans have consumed the natural resources around them at a rate far faster than the planet can replenish. Until recently this didn't pose an existential problem, as fresh deposits could be tapped through the discovery of new continents or development of new technologies.

But those days of living beyond our means are now over. No sizeable unexplored territories remain on the globe. Technology is only helping us burn faster through the increasingly dilute deposits that are left. The planet's population and its demand on key resources is ballooning, causing the natural systems we depend on for life to falter.

Yes, the situation is dire. But it doesn't have to be this way.

A better future is possible. It's up to us to make it happen.

There's plenty of evidence of working real-world models that show exactly how we can improve the planet for future generations. I'll focus on a few in a moment.

But first, it's critical to understand that working against adoption of these better practices is our society's entrenched system of extraction, otherwise known as the Business As Usual (BAU) crowd. This includes every person and entity busy protecting or promoting (usually from a position of profound ignorance) the concept of exponential economic growth as a necessary and good thing.

Complicit are all major parties of our political systems, the mainstream media (MSM), and of course the entire financial system -- especially all the world’s central banks and their main clients.

This isn’t even a David vs. Goliath story; it's more like a krill vs. blue whale story. Trillions of dollars are spent advancing BAU while small, usually independent operations lean against that hurricane-force headwind.

The good news? We have data and logic on our side. As well as something more important: The chance to create a life worth living and a world worth inheriting.

Ideas are very powerful things indeed. They are force maximizers, and we have the ideas on our side – mainly because the ‘ideas’ of the BAU crowd are not ideas at all, but relics of a bygone era rooted in a sloppy mix of false beliefs.

For ten years now, I’ve been busy sharing with anybody who will listen the stark data that shows our current approaches are utterly, completely, provably unsustainable.

By “approaches” I mean:

  • Depending on an economic system that requires permanent exponential growth -- forever
  • Growing our national debts at a far faster pace than our income
  • Depleting our fresh water aquifers at rates 1,000x to 10,000x faster than they are recharging
  • Using farming practices that are turning our fertile soils into sterile dirt
  • Mismanaging/underfunding our pension & entitlement programs, dooming them to insolvency
  • Neglecting the role of net energy in shaping the world we see today, and squandering precious BTUs today
  • Risking destructive wars we can't rebuild from, both due to our debts and a lack sufficient net energy

These are very odd choices for a supposedly "rational" species to make.

However, humans are rationalizers, not rational, especially when organized in large, political groupings. Which is how we've ended up with the above list.

Now, onto the main point of this piece: The questionis not Will the system collapse?, but When will it?

“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

~ Herbert Stein

Wherever I look in the data -- be that with the Economy, Energy or the Environment -- all I can find are clear examples of practices that will someday stop. Once the water is drained from an aquifer, that’s that. Full stop. It's not going to re-fill again on any timeline that matters to us or our progeny.

Once the fossil fuel-derived fertilizers we're using are no longer available to spread on our exhausted soils (now dirt), food production will plummet. And that will be that.

Once our currency system collapses under its debt burden, only one thing will matter at that point: Who’s going to eat the losses?

Once our ecosystems collapse, they will not come back in any meaningful way for a very, very long time -- a time frame that will likely outlive our species.

And so on through a very long list of current practices that will have to change.

Our choice then is whether we want to change on our terms, or reality's. Voluntary simplicity is manageable. Involuntary simplicity is brutal, at best.

Creating Abundance Through Regeneration

We already have the two things we need to change this story for the better:

  • we have the data to understand why changing our behavior is necessary
  • we have working models for how to do things better 

We just haven't decided to discard our BAU ways yet.

Said differently: we can either be agents of regeneration and abundance, or we can be agents of extraction and depletion. We are choosing to be the latter.

Which is a tragedy.

We know how to build structures that can last hundreds, even thousands, of years which require almost no energy to operate.

We know how to farm in ways that build soil to incredible depths and richness -- far faster than nature could ever accomplish alone -- and grow high nutrient density food for ourselves. Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol CA is a leading example of this, and I'm a huge fan of theirs.

From their website:

We've shown that no-till vegetable production is not only possible, but can be highly productive and profitable. We've quadrupled our soil organic matter, without nutrient leaching, while nearly tripling the total microbial life in our soils. We've increased bird and native bee populations and diversity. We've increased native perennial plant diversity and density. We've dramatically reduced water usage per crop, and we're producing roughly $100,000 in vegetable sales per crop acre per year with over half of that revenue paying our year-round employees' salaries.

There’s nothing but incredibly positive outcomes offered by following Singing Frogs' farming practices, which a dozen or more small farms have done with similarly positive results.

Singing Frog's founding farmer Paul Kaiser presented at our recent (sold-out) Peak Prosperity seminar, and his co-founder and wife Elizabeth led folks on an extensive tour of their farm afterwards. Such tours are highly encouraging because they show what’s not only possible but proven to work. They're also disturbing, though, because these provably better practices are still very uncommon. 

A big surprise to those who study Singing Frog's "no-till" farming practices is learning that even so-called ‘organic farming’ is quite often still extractive in nature because it mines the soil rather than building it up.

The main culprit? Tilling. Disturbing the soil is, as Paul told us, “like an earthquake, a hurricane, a tornado and a fire” for the soil organisms. Yes, tilled organic farming is still better for the planet than conventional agriculture, but it’s a far cry from the no-till methods employed at Signing Frogs Farm.

I grew up thinking freshly tilled soil was a normal part of healthy farming, but that could not be further from the truth. The data is in. Tilling is a practice that turns soil into sterile dirt. Do it long enough, and all you have is lifeless dirt with very low organic matter, low macro and micro nutrients, and vastly reduced soil biological activity.

But as the Kaisers show us, we can farm regeneratively. They show us a better model from a lifestyle, ecological and economic perspective.

The operative question is: Why aren’t we doing this in a more wide-spread fashion already? The answer is because we’re humans, and we tend to change our ways slowly, often resisting change altogether.

Like the ahead-of-the-curve health researchers telling us 20 years ago that the “low fat” approach to dieting was junk science (which it has now been proven to be), Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser are similarly armed with irrefutable data and are a few decades ahead of the curve. That’s a sad thing because we desperately need to be adopting regenerative practices as rapidly as possible.

Fiction vs Reality

In many cases, our choice is between embracing fiction or reality. In Orwellian fashion, the mainstream media (MSM) often promotes fake data even as it decries the rise of fake news. Seemingly the MSM can no longer distinguish fake from real.

Bluntly, the old system is broken beyond repair. Anybody with a semi-intact ability to reason, a strong stomach for wading through disturbing ecological and/or economic data, and access to the internet can determine that.

The paradigm of endless growth on a finite planet is old and busted. It’s just a dumb idea that isn't going to work for much longer, and we can either end it on our terms or let Mother Nature end it on hers. If we wait much longer, we risk collapsing our ecosystems -- and then it becomes "game over", perhaps for our entire species.

The utterly ridiculous idea of constantly compounding our debts at twice the rate of our underlying economic growth will also end, probably in with a lot of widespread losses and pain. Economically, just as ecologically, we face a choice between either voluntary austerity or involuntary austerity.

The former is doable but tough, while the latter is rough and brutal. Just ask the people of Greece. Or Venezuela.

Hopefully, one thing we can look forward to is the long era of central planning to finally come to an ignominious end. The world's central banks have done their best to defend a system of infinite exponential growth in debt, which never should have been put in place to begin with.

As Tom Luongo succinctly puts it:

[Our institutions] aren’t failing all at once. A pension system here, a small country’s hyperinflation there. But they are failing.

Why? Because central planning in all its forms is beset with what Hayek called, “The Knowledge Problem.”

In short it is that the most important knowledge, that of time and place most relevant to individual actions, is unknowable to the central planner. And that propagates errors in policy which ultimately is capital destructive.

~ F. Hayek

It is why global debt is out of control. It is why the central planners made the Faustian bargain with the banking cartel to create debt-based money to fund their Utopia. The Marxists get wealth redistribution but at the cost of the banks’ vig.

And everyone else suffers.

As we approach the moment where we finally reach the end of the societal road paved with debt these institutions will fail more rapidly.

Cultural Marxism is, like all collectivist ideologies, Utopian. By divorcing intentions from consequences it not only insulates itself from criticism but sells itself as a path to higher plane of spirituality which it can’t deliver.

It justifies ends with means that are abhorrent and, like all psychopaths, blames its victims.

(Source – Kanye West And the Utopia Trap)

A system rooted in a bad idea, compounded by the conceit of central planning, is not just destined to fail, but fail spectacularly.

The worry many of us have is that the failure won’t come soon enough. It will only come after the last whale has died, the 10th billion person is born into a world of plummeting farm yields, and Venezuela-style social anarchy visits every country.

I am one those hoping and praying that the eventual correction comes sooner than later. I fervently hope the lesson is painful enough that we can finally admit that central planning is a terrible idea. And that we start pursuing better models.

It's Time To Choose

I'm an avid outdoorsman and spent an enormous amount of my time outside as a child. I could catch or find practically any critter that lived nearby. I observed, and with my own eyes I can tell you that the insects are nearly gone, with the larger beetles and moths now almost entirely missing from the porch lights at night. No insects hit my windshield anymore, even on long drives though the country during the height of summer.

Life on Earth is being killed.

Nearly every large species of animal is in danger of going extinct -- that’s not just something you can frown at, shrug, and continue on. Our ecosystem depends on all of these species playing their role -- without them, the systems we depend on to live collapse.

So the race is on. This is for all the marbles.

The Powers That Be would like you to be amazed and entranced by the higher stock and housing prices their thin-air money printing have created over the past decade. All so you'll borrow and spend more. They're trying to get you to maintain your faith in two broken ideas; (1) the world is infinite and (2) being a debt serf enhances your life, rather than detracts from it.

Young people are rejecting these lies in droves. But older folks, which much more money to lose when the status quo falters, are busy frantically pretending the system is fine and defending it with every diversionary trick in the book.

But these new models of regeneration continue to spring up, however small they are right now. And, in the long run, they will win out. Why? Because we will need to embrace them -- sooner or later -- to stay alive.

So, what can you do to become an agent of regeneration?

  • Buy less. The less "stuff" you require to be happy, the richer you are.
  • Eat better. Preferably from organic local sources, even more preferably from small-scale farmers that nurture their soil. Even better, grow some of your food on your own.
  • Be prepared for crisis. Be it a natural or economic disasters.
  • Cultivate sustainability. Bring respect for nature back into your life.

But the key element is to get started now. Time is short in this story. Only those actions taken in advance will offer any protection from the inevitable pain when society's unsustainable systems start collapsing in earnest.

In Part 2: The 4 Essential Practices To Adopt Right Now we offer specific guidance in the most important steps you can and should start implementing in your life today.

Each increases your regenerative impact while simulateneously enhancing your quality of life and offering substantial protection should crises ensue from the failure of our BAU complex.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

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40 Comments

Mark_BC's picture
Mark_BC
Status: Gold Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 30 2010
Posts: 472
I fully agree with everything

I fully agree with everything here but I have some questions; I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it skepticism. I'm curious about the numbers and through a combination of lack of time and laziness on my part I haven't investigated it.

I still can't get past the fact that micronutrients are being continually harvested from the land when people buy the produce and eat it -- those nutrients go down the sewer into the river and cause other problems there. Unless they are replenished back to that land at an equal rate due to new mineralization from mineral soil particles (not organic matter), or through rain or bird droppings, it cannot be sustainable.

I have a hard time believing that pulling the same amount of material from the site as with intensive industrial agriculture is sustainable. It would be interesting to calculate how much micronutrients are taken from these soils through food sales, in terms of grams per m2 per yr. And how does this compare to new micronutrient capture.

What is the sustainable productive capacity of these farms, in kg/m2/yr? Intensive industrial agriculture in North America is 2 kg/m2/yr (this is mostly carbohydrates, which is not a micronutrient -- it is carbon, hydrogen and oxygen - but micronutrients go along with it). In the tropics it is 4 kg/m/yr (because the growing season is twice as long).

Nitrogen can be brought into the soil via atmospheric N2 fixers (legumes -- which is the origin of the 7 year Jewish shemitah cycle. Every 7 years let the land go fallow to clover which fixes nitrogen and replanishes for a new round of crops the next year. Interesting how this corelates with a 7 year economic cycle... Hmm, is that merely by chance? What significance does the number 7 have? But, I digress...). But phosphorus has no way of being replenished.

I'm not asking these questions to criticize, but instead to reconcile 7 billion people needing 2500 Calories of food per day, which correlates directly with multiplying average agricultural productive capacity by land area. If hypothetically this organic agriculture can only provide average 0.5 kg/m2/yr then we will need four times the land area to support the population- which won't bode well for the remaining wildlife.

This then raises the question: can those micronutrients be brought back onto the site through collection and safe re-application of sewage, instead of sending it down the river? Will we ever get to that level of social organization and re-work of the infrastructure?

And again, I'm not defending industrial agriculture; just questioning if it's even possible to support 7 billion people this way, or is it better at providing berries, vegetables and other high value foods, but in terms of providing raw Caloric brute force to support people (i.e. starch), it might just not be up to the task? I don't understand it -- natural grasslands in the Midwest produce 1-2 kg/m2/yr but their harvest remains on the site. It is not removed other than through periodic fire.

Of course the other issue is that if we all reduced consumption of meat then the demand for raw Calories would go down dramatically due to meat being one step up the food chain. But any suggestion to reduce meat consumption, or public education campaigns to explain the virtues of eating less meat (never mind eliminating it, just reducing it) would be seen as an evil plot by the central planners to turn us against our own countries, as these things always seem to get twisted into by the right wing crowd.

On that topic, I am starting to lump the term "central planners" in with "productive workers" as concepts that don't have much relevance in the discourse because, 1) they are never really defined, 2) everyone understands them differently, and 3) they lack any clear link to real underlying biophysical processes.

While I agree that central planning by banks that operate above the sovereign level and are answerable to no one; yes, those guys provide no benefit to humanity in any way. But there is lots of other "central planning" that is not only beneficial to society, but also essential.

What about central government planners who are accountable to voters in a democracy, and put there by those voters, to do a necessary task? Like study and manage dengue fever throughout a country? Or would private pharma do a better job of that? (LOL)

What about central planners who manage traffic lights through a whole city? Central planners who ensure your sewage doesn't back up your toilet? Central planners who enact and enforce pollution limits on stacks from industry to keep our air clean? Central planners who add carbon taxes to try to internalize the externalized costs of fossil fuel extraction and use?

I studied forestry and I can say with conviction that there is no way grizzly bears would be able to survive in any meaningful form on private land, other than in private game reserves which only exist through the patronage of hunters who come to shoot them. Are the central planners who manage public use of public land in order to maintain the proper balance between conservation (including grizzlies), industrial use, and recreational use; are they doing a disservice to society? Would opening up public lands to everyone in a free-for-all Tragedy-of-the-Commons situation be in the best interests of grizzly bears and 90% of the human users in there who don't want to see it trashed?

Compared to laissez-faire privatization of those things above, I'd choose central planning every time. In other sectors of the economy / society, private market forces work better.

Why? Because central planning in all its forms is beset with what Hayek called, “The Knowledge Problem.”

In short it is that the most important knowledge, that of time and place most relevant to individual actions, is unknowable to the central planner. And that propagates errors in policy which ultimately is capital destructive

I ask: who, other than a wildlife manager who has spent at least 4 years in university studying wildlife management plus several years of field experience, now working for the government in a central planning role, would be in a better and more knowledgeable position to manage grizzlies? That quote above says "central planning in all its forms". Does that include grizzly bear central planning?

Instead of using the term "central planners" I think the more accurate term to describe what is being criticized here is "central bankers".

Rodster's picture
Rodster
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 22 2016
Posts: 17
I Fear The Worst

While I agree with Chris he has stated many times as well as Dane Wigington that humans have been awful stewards of Planet Earth. The human tendency is to continue until we are faced with choices that are too late to reverse course. I am not an economist nor do I have a background but what I have learned just from watching the crash courses is that our money system is driving our bad choices. Our money system requires exponential growth of debt and the economy or the system quickly goes in reverse and if left uncorrected, it will collapse.

We now have 8.5 billion humans and all are competing for the same resources and each day we add more mouths to feed. As Gail Tverberg like to say our global economic system is an interlinked and networked system and just like Leonardo’s stick toy, if you remove one stick you are likely to watch the toy collapse. No Govt wants to see their people suffer so it’s business as usual or as the saying goes, “that which can’t continue won’t”.

Just yesterday I came across an article that shows that in 2016 global oil consumption was 25.1 billion barrels and there was only 2.4billion barrels of oil discovery. The rest was made up of shale oil. That’s an alarmingnumber for a global civilization that was built around fossil fuels.

Not a pretty picture for future generations as our biosphere is imploding.

climber99's picture
climber99
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 12 2013
Posts: 179
Voluntary degrowth.

We need to voluntarily degrow our economy and population size to our long term carrying capacity of the Earth that will be dependent on real time collection of energy from the sun sometime within the next 100 years.

Who can I vote for ?

Check out the thoughts of Jack Alpert. Search "the unwinding of the human predicament"

HarryFlashman's picture
HarryFlashman
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 1 2008
Posts: 54
Cull

Simple(and terrible and frightening). We need fewer people.

I know this is an unpopular and offensive topic, but SOMEBODY has to go. There is no alternative.

I personally would put something in the vaccines, I don't believe it has been done, but it would make sense.

I also realise that it is a trite statement, and it offers no real mechanism. I'm not here to suggest a solution, I'm just stating the glaringly obvious. Too many humans, all wanting more, forever and ever and ever and ever. Amen.

It can't continue for much longer and it won't. I'm not volunteering for it, so any smartarse who suggests suicide, save it. It's not big and it's not clever. Billions have to go and I will fight tooth and claw to prevent it happening to me and mine, I presume you will all be doing the same.

A one or 2 child policy(China) would have been sensible, but it's way too late, religious people and their votes and leaders would never have allowed it, anyway.

I expect that antibiotic resistance will play a part, along with the other 3 horsemen. I would predict that it has already started in Syria. Good luck everyone.

robshepler's picture
robshepler
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 16 2010
Posts: 108
Overshoot

Paul and Elizabeth are our heroes!

We are small growers in New Mexico and there is a surprising amount of buzz regarding regenerative agriculture in this area, even at the state level. There are lots of small farms doing the right thing as they have for 300 years.

We still compete with globalization. We earn a premium for our quality and freshness and still folks expect us to be in the ball park with Walmart prices. Less than 20% of our “Organic” produce is grown domestically, the rest is imported from third world countries. Soil science has come a long way, take home from the New Mexico Organic Growers convention this year, “We are not going back to the old ways, we are entering the new biologic era”.

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 25 2014
Posts: 807
Here's the problem with cull

As far as I can tell, culling basically ensures that those of good will will die, while the psychopathic survive; they in turn, in their great grandiosity, will continue the path towards extinguishment.

More than that, the one who controls the cull to ensure its effegtiveness will have to be a pschopath-in-charge. Which means the same problem at the very top.

That solution is of the nature "we had to destroy the village to save it". it makes the process everything, and forgets the goal.

And then there is the whol thing about righteousness and morality.

I think the answer might simply be "to tend your own garden", and let the rest take care of itself.

But to accept that, you'll have to give up grandiose thinking, which --judging by the people here extends from those in full power of both their faculties and others°, all the way to the oldest, most decrepit, about-to-die.

 

 

 

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3145
one strategy

Although I have mentioned it here several times over the years when this subject comes up, no one ever responds.  There is one solution to high birth rates that is proven and time tested.  Educate women.  Birth rates drop whenever and whereever women are allowed to take control of their own lives and careers.

That's why birth rates are negative in much of Europe and the US with the notable exception of Utah.

http://www.businessinsider.com/cdc-states-with-highest-birth-rates-2014-5

cdc birth rates map updated

Yoxa's picture
Yoxa
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 21 2011
Posts: 278
Sub-replacement fertility, not cull

Population decline could be much more graceful than some of you folks are envisioning.

Just figure out ways to encourage and enable sub-replacement fertility.

That's already happening in some countries. It brings some new challenges as the demographic balance shifts between young and old, but there's no inherent reason that population decline needs to be an ugly thing.

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 25 2014
Posts: 807
As far as I can tell, educating women

has benefits towards that goal that are not due to the education, but due to the misdirected resources (misdirected from the main biological goal, that is.)  The problem with that is that you are introducing extra path for procreation, but some who are thought dumb by the rest of society, but in fact are simply differently directed, find that they can simply take shortcuts to biological success. Worse, the most successful men, having not invested in relationships, are likely to be fairly ... shallow (as shallow as Trump, Bill Clinton, and the Kennedys, and many others.) Thus they will assist, and society learns that the "proper" path was simply a big lie.

So I'm not so sure how long that path can last -- but by all means, it isn't as horrible as a cull.  I don't seea problem trying.  The biggest problem is less efficient use of resources; but it should be obvious to anyone that all our "efficient control" has been disasterous.

 

Maybe you haven't gotten replies because nobody greatly disagrees with you.

 

 

Tude's picture
Tude
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 1 2017
Posts: 16
People's footprint
Doug wrote:

Although I have mentioned it here several times over the years when this subject comes up, no one ever responds.  There is one solution to high birth rates that is proven and time tested.  Educate women.  Birth rates drop whenever and whereever women are allowed to take control of their own lives and careers.

That's why birth rates are negative in much of Europe and the US with the notable exception of Utah.

I know we all like to trot out this "fact" a lot, but I don't know if it's really that simple. Those women you are talking about that are educated, career women are also moving into the "middle class" and higher, and as far as their effect on the earth, they are typically consuming more than several families worth in countries with higher birth rates. The "careers" they (we) have are also in support of empire and industrial society. So in the end we end up with less humans consuming more and more effectively destroying the earth. I'm not certain that's the answer when the "education" the women are being given is how to join a sick society.

I say this as an "educated" woman working at one of the top Universities in the country, who is child-free by choice (a choice I made in the 70s when my age was in single digits), and who is absolutely disgusted by my own contribution to ecological destruction and collapse.

 

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 1164
Nature will cull

Since nature is party to all our behavior, and since nature has a longer memory and sterner code of justice, trust her, keep your mare settled and be prepared. I find it simple.

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3145
2 responses
Quote:

Those women you are talking about that are educated, career women are also moving into the "middle class" and higher, and as far as their effect on the earth, they are typically consuming more than several families worth in countries with higher birth rates. The "careers" they (we) have are also in support of empire and industrial society. So in the end we end up with less humans consuming more and more effectively destroying the earth.

1.  I would like to think education encompasses coming to understand the effects we are having on the earth and working toward ameliorating those effects.  That is much of what this site is about.

2.  If the goal is to reduce birth rates, and thereby population, then one woman may consume more than her fair share.  But if she is producing fewer children there will be fewer adults in the next generation consuming more than their fair share.  That seems like a positive.

MKI's picture
MKI
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 12 2009
Posts: 75
Reality check

1) I know quite a few women who are both highly educated yet have 6-8+ children (my wife is one of them). Must the the crowd I hang with.

2) The future belongs to those who show up for it. Choose not to breed or not, just be aware somebody else in the world will grow the human population to full capacity without you, and never even notice you and your tribe were (not) there. This is mere Darwinian logic, written in our DNA.

3) Humans aren't even close to world carrying-capacity yet due to technology. Sheese, just imagine if we all had gardens in our front yards, used our manure for fertilizer? We aren't short of anything, which is why we are so wasteful.

4) Humans have never lived better and healthier than today. This is simply a fact. It's not about "resources". It's not about "population". It's about intelligent living, maintaining peace, and building prosperity via work. This is why Japan is wealthy, yet Venezuela is in collapse.

5) Looking over the fossil record, of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct. Plus we've had monuntous climate change, much larger than today. Humans are merely a flash in the pan on this third rock from the sun, and can't really change much in the overall scheme of things. We flatter ourselves to think otherwise. Fear about the three "E's" is more a religious belief than a logical one.

This is just a fact-based reality check. I'm making no predictions, merely looking over present and the past. But here's a prediction I'll make based on past data: humans will get richer and richer, with more and more technology, and create even more wealth and prosperity to be shared by those who invest wisely. Just a humble prediction based on past data, like the idea the sun will probably rise tomorrow. Probably, nothing is for sure, just the most likely option based on past data.

Mohammed Mast's picture
Mohammed Mast
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 17 2017
Posts: 147
Fate

WOW simply WOW.

Very good article. And the comments are pretty amazing.

Personally i think it is far too late. As  evidenced by the comments not even many here are willing to change. Certainly normalcy bias is almost impossible to overcome. I just had this conversation with my wife last night about people having more kids. Biology 101 tells us that bacteria on a petri dish will multiply till the food is all gone or the contamination from their own waste kills them. Somehow we have we are immune to fundamentals of biology.

The fate of the planet and humanity was sealed when agriculture developed. Their were limits placed on humans that dissolved with the advent of agriculture. It took all of human history to reach 1 billion people by 1850. we are now around 7.5 billion. We have become fruit flies and are multiplying. 

My prediction is 3/4 of us and maybe other species of flora and fauna along with us will of necessity will disappear.. In a few million years the earth will have healed itself  and life will go on. Of course it is dubious humans will be around.

One question abut the regenerative farm is its reliance on fossil fuels. I noticed a John Deere tractor and hoop houses in the picture. What happens to the old plastic which needs to be replaced in about 4 or 5 years. In my opinion to be truly regenerative there would be no hoop houses and no tractor. Farm animals would do the work of a tractor. They eat grass and the nutrients go back to the soil.Their is one such commercial farm near me,

In the meantime I suggest people keep their pants on

Mohammed Mast's picture
Mohammed Mast
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Doug

BTW I agree completely with Doug

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Tude
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Doug wrote: 1.  I would like
Doug wrote:

1.  I would like to think education encompasses coming to understand the effects we are having on the earth and working toward ameliorating those effects.  That is much of what this site is about.

"You would like to think" but you would be wrong. As people become more "educated" and "prosperous" they become more greedy and wasteful. And absolutely NO ONE is teaching anything but consume, consume, consume. I live in the Bay Area, my husband is the son of immigrants and the majority of the people I know and many of my friends are first generation immigrants from developing countries. 95% of them want more money, bigger houses, bigger cars, and monthly trips to Las Vegas and Hawaii. The majority of people I know from India and China out consume and are more "American" than most long term, multi-generational Americans I know (I am 4th generation Californian, raised by grandparents who suffered greatly during the depression and taught me the value of simplicity and conservation, that knowledge is gone). Just look at the consumption and pollution in most developing countries. 

We have marketed an "American Dream" to the world that most Americans do not enjoy. A completely unsustainable lifestyle that billions now strive for.

I work at UC Berkeley, I have yet to meet a single person there that can talk intelligently about climate change, economics, or that truly knows or cares about the ecological destruction going on in the world.

We are educating people how best to destroy this planet and our society. And have convinced the majority that some technology will appear out of nowhere to save us all at the 11th hour.

The people reading this site are for the most part extreme outliers.

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Mark_BC
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Tude wrote: Doug wrote: 1. 
Tude wrote:
Doug wrote:

1.  I would like to think education encompasses coming to understand the effects we are having on the earth and working toward ameliorating those effects.  That is much of what this site is about.

"You would like to think" but you would be wrong. As people become more "educated" and "prosperous" they become more greedy and wasteful. And absolutely NO ONE is teaching anything but consume, consume, consume. I live in the Bay Area, my husband is the son of immigrants and the majority of the people I know and many of my friends are first generation immigrants from developing countries. 95% of them want more money, bigger houses, bigger cars, and monthly trips to Las Vegas and Hawaii. The majority of people I know from India and China out consume and are more "American" than most long term, multi-generational Americans I know (I am 4th generation Californian, raised by grandparents who suffered greatly during the depression and taught me the value of simplicity and conservation, that knowledge is gone). Just look at the consumption and pollution in most developing countries. 

We have marketed an "American Dream" to the world that most Americans do not enjoy. A completely unsustainable lifestyle that billions now strive for.

I work at UC Berkeley, I have yet to meet a single person there that can talk intelligently about climate change, economics, or that truly knows or cares about the ecological destruction going on in the world.

We are educating people how best to destroy this planet and our society. And have convinced the majority that some technology will appear out of nowhere to save us all at the 11th hour.

The people reading this site are for the most part extreme outliers.

I think part of that is because the media has been captured by the central banking cabal and they shape what we think about. Decades ago there was much better conversation about frugality and environmental issues, at least in Canada. The last couple decades of unbridled hedonism and consumption have coincided with the rise of central bank manipulation of markets; in other words, the theft from our future via an artificially discounted interest rate. Everyone is told that central banks are magicians and bring good things to life, and that to consume more is to help the economy. So everyone aspires to it. But of course that's only in the central bankers' exponential empire. When oil prices inevitably rise to what they should be, when central bank market intervention ends, then people will for sure start valuing frugality again....

Oust the central bankers and things might change.

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agitating prop
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Modern Slavery?

I have a friend who met a journalist who is investigating labor practices on some of the more successful organic farm/compounds.  I learned that they are reliant, to a large degree, on free labour. They provide food and shelter in return for work.

These farm labor programs are designed around the idea that workers are apprenticing and learning new skills that will benefit them in the future. Often the workers are tourists from across the country or across the globe and it's a cheap way to subsidize their travel costs.  So beautiful --  seems like a win, win.  

I can think of numerous ways this model of farming isn't sustainable.  It's tourist dependent, for one.  People burn tremendous amounts of fuel to fly or drive, as tourists, to work these farms.

The idea that labor is 'apprenticing' is often manipulative.  They will never be able to afford their own land to farm.  What they end up doing is going from farm to farm working for nothing.  And this might be one of the few ways they can afford to have a roof over their heads and three square meals a day.  But it leads nowhere, at least not currently.

As far as creating an intentional community around sustainable farming where workers are stakeholders in the land and profits?  In most jurisdictions it represents a zoning violation.  It isn't allowed.  Temporary housing for workers is allowed, but not permanent housing.  

Sustainabile farming practices, to be fair to ALL involved, require laws around zoning to be relaxed.  At least, this appears to be the case in Canada.

 

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Uncletommy
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Love your rosy outlook, MK1!

Couldn't agree with you more. . . except for a few issues. As Noah once told the skeptical masses, (as per Bill Cosby), "How long can you tread water?". While your optimism is laudable:

Humans have never lived better and healthier than today

it is predicated on a rather relevant fact:

This has been argued and debated often on TOD, mainly in response to some of my own quotes in media about 1 barrel equating to 25,000 hours of human labour (12.5 years at 40 hours per week). Ultimately the answer to this question depends highly on assumptions - but we can arrive at a good approximation. 1 barrel equates to 6.1 Gigajoules (5.8 million BTUs). Depending on the 'job', humans use roughly 100-700 Kilocalories per hour (Computer work requires an estimated 119.3 Kcals/hr). 1 kilocalorie (Kcal) = 4,184 joules. So 1 barrel of oil has 6.1 billion/4,184 = 1,454,459 kcals. Using a range of 100-700 kcals per human hour of work then results in a range 2078 and 14544 hours per barrel of oil. At 2000 hours per year (40*50), this is would then be 1.0-7.25 years per barrel. This was discussed in the comment thread here.

However, we aren't robots - we need to eat, sleep, breathe (we exhale energy), maintain, etc. So a wide boundary analysis would require other calories not devoted to doing work - thereby increasing the disparity between human work and a barrel of oil - there is a good discussion of human thermal efficiency here.

Lastly, there is the quality issue. Though one could expend enough calories to chop down a tree or carry a cord of firewood by hand, there are many activities which would be physically impossible for humans to directly accomplish -e.g there wouldn't be room for the required number of humans to stand behind a semi-truck and push it down the highway at 100 kph. Or fly a jet, etc.

The average american uses 60+ barrels of oil equivalent(oil, gas and coal) per year (360 billion joules), which implies a fossil fuel 'slave' subsidy of around 60-450 'human years' per person. Depending on assumptions another way to look at it is to take a midpoint of 10,000 hours per barrel. At $20 per hour average payroll compensation, that is $200,000 per barrel, not even quality adjusted....(Nat Hagen - The Oil Drum)

So, enjoy the fact that you showed up for the main event in human history. However, there are some facts we all face;

 

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robie robinson
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MM

Farm animals would do the work of a tractor. They eat grass and the nutrients go back to the soil.Their is one such commercial farm near me,

 

you da man! get your mare,oxen trained and settled!

we have ours, pregnant again.

man I love you all. There is no sarcasm intended. It is rewarding to watch communities come to the realization that hydrocarbons are to beautiful of molecules to be oxidizing them out our tail pipes!

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agitating prop wrote: I have
agitating prop wrote:

I have a friend who met a journalist who is investigating labor practices on some of the more successful organic farm/compounds.  I learned that they are reliant, to a large degree, on free labour. They provide food and shelter in return for work.

These farm labor programs are designed around the idea that workers are apprenticing and learning new skills that will benefit them in the future. Often the workers are tourists from across the country or across the globe and it's a cheap way to subsidize their travel costs.  So beautiful --  seems like a win, win.  

I can think of numerous ways this model of farming isn't sustainable.  It's tourist dependent, for one.  People burn tremendous amounts of fuel to fly or drive, as tourists, to work these farms.

The idea that labor is 'apprenticing' is often manipulative.  They will never be able to afford their own land to farm.  What they end up doing is going from farm to farm working for nothing.  And this might be one of the few ways they can afford to have a roof over their heads and three square meals a day.  But it leads nowhere, at least not currently.

As far as creating an intentional community around sustainable farming where workers are stakeholders in the land and profits?  In most jurisdictions it represents a zoning violation.  It isn't allowed.  Temporary housing for workers is allowed, but not permanent housing.  

Sustainabile farming practices, to be fair to ALL involved, require laws around zoning to be relaxed.  At least, this appears to be the case in Canada.

 

Not necessarily true. Does a person get paid or do they pay for a college education?

I currently employ, at my farm, a person from one of these apprentice programs. In fact, one of the main reasons they were hired WAS BECAUSE OF THE APPRENTICE PROGRAM.

This is a young man with minimal experience. He makes 29k a year, 3 bedroom/2 bath house, utilities, all the beef he and his wife can eat, A  much better opportunity than MANY college degrees. Why don't you rag on the criminal enterprise of higher education. Apprenticeships can be an education and a stepping stone to better things. On the other hand, I guess it is ok to come out of college 100k in debt for a degree in acting.

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agitating prop
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MKI wrote: 1) I know quite a
MKI wrote:

1) I know quite a few women who are both highly educated yet have 6-8+ children (my wife is one of them). Must the the crowd I hang with.

2) The future belongs to those who show up for it. Choose not to breed or not, just be aware somebody else in the world will grow the human population to full capacity without you, and never even notice you and your tribe were (not) there. This is mere Darwinian logic, written in our DNA.

3) Humans aren't even close to world carrying-capacity yet due to technology. Sheese, just imagine if we all had gardens in our front yards, used our manure for fertilizer? We aren't short of anything, which is why we are so wasteful.

4) Humans have never lived better and healthier than today. This is simply a fact. It's not about "resources". It's not about "population". It's about intelligent living, maintaining peace, and building prosperity via work. This is why Japan is wealthy, yet Venezuela is in collapse.

5) Looking over the fossil record, of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct. Plus we've had monuntous climate change, much larger than today. Humans are merely a flash in the pan on this third rock from the sun, and can't really change much in the overall scheme of things. We flatter ourselves to think otherwise. Fear about the three "E's" is more a religious belief than a logical one.

This is just a fact-based reality check. I'm making no predictions, merely looking over present and the past. But here's a prediction I'll make based on past data: humans will get richer and richer, with more and more technology, and create even more wealth and prosperity to be shared by those who invest wisely. Just a humble prediction based on past data, like the idea the sun will probably rise tomorrow. Probably, nothing is for sure, just the most likely option based on past data.

Women who are well educated but have between six or eight kids are usually fighting a battle of the cradle for religious purposes. And religious extremism as well as wrong headed ideas based on pseudo-scientific ideas will likely die out.

The idea that we have never been healthier is just plain wrong. 

 

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agitating prop
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MarkM wrote: agitating prop
MarkM wrote:
agitating prop wrote:

I have a friend who met a journalist who is investigating labor practices on some of the more successful organic farm/compounds.  I learned that they are reliant, to a large degree, on free labour. They provide food and shelter in return for work.

These farm labor programs are designed around the idea that workers are apprenticing and learning new skills that will benefit them in the future. Often the workers are tourists from across the country or across the globe and it's a cheap way to subsidize their travel costs.  So beautiful --  seems like a win, win.  

I can think of numerous ways this model of farming isn't sustainable.  It's tourist dependent, for one.  People burn tremendous amounts of fuel to fly or drive, as tourists, to work these farms.

The idea that labor is 'apprenticing' is often manipulative.  They will never be able to afford their own land to farm.  What they end up doing is going from farm to farm working for nothing.  And this might be one of the few ways they can afford to have a roof over their heads and three square meals a day.  But it leads nowhere, at least not currently.

As far as creating an intentional community around sustainable farming where workers are stakeholders in the land and profits?  In most jurisdictions it represents a zoning violation.  It isn't allowed.  Temporary housing for workers is allowed, but not permanent housing.  

Sustainabile farming practices, to be fair to ALL involved, require laws around zoning to be relaxed.  At least, this appears to be the case in Canada.

 

Not necessarily true. Does a person get paid or do they pay for a college education?

I currently employ, at my farm, a person from one of these apprentice programs. In fact, one of the main reasons they were hired WAS BECAUSE OF THE APPRENTICE PROGRAM.

This is a young man with minimal experience. He makes 29k a year, 3 bedroom/2 bath house, utilities, all the beef he and his wife can eat, A  much better opportunity than MANY college degrees. Why don't you rag on the criminal enterprise of higher education. Apprenticeships can be an education and a stepping stone to better things. On the other hand, I guess it is ok to come out of college 100k in debt for a degree in acting.

Hold your horses there! I am referring to farmers who provide no pay, just lousy accommodations and food for their workers and gift wrap the experience as a 'chance' to have a 'great adventure' In the 'great outdoors'

It's basically old creepy hippies preying on neo-hipsters.  Not cool at all. 

 

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agitating prop
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Hasn't it been determined

Hasn't it been determined that horses and oxen require so much in the way of food that it works out to be cheaper and more effective to use human powered ploughs?  

And for fertilizer, chickens are really great.  They can supplement their diet with bugs.  

 

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Response to, "Tude"

Tude said,

The people reading this site are for the most part extreme outliers.

Sadly.. I find this to be true.  At least we have each other. 

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MarkM
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No doubt that those are out

No doubt that those are out there. However, there are some fine apprentice programs around. All we need now is a bigger local food movement so that local farms can thrive to provide the opportunity for these young folks.

As with all things, I hope that budding young farmers will chose their educators wisely.

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Nothing will change if you can't talk abou it

Great article and as usual tactfully written.  However nothing will ever change unless as a species we are able to talk about the really difficult issues.  The most abhorrent of which appears to be population control.  If you think the world is difficult now, imagine what it will be like after an "apocalypse" of economic self destruction or oil shortage, as 8 billion people vie for a slice of the depleted remains.

The root of the problem, the nub that drives the policies that give us the 3E's problem, is a culture of "go forth and prosper".  Whether that has biblical roots or is formed from a hard wired instinct to exploit, it is the one obstacle that can only be overcome by intelligence and awareness.

The tactful approach is to convince people to change their attitudes, beliefs and cultural expectations through well written presentations or energetic conferences.  That's a process otherwise known as politicking.  Its slow, doesn't work particularly well, because not everyone will listen or understand, and usually involves conflict as sides war for disparate ideals and beliefs.

However like all revolutions the outcome is only as successful as the winners maintain their integrity.  In other words, as long as the changes fought for are subsequently enforced. 

Ultimately a policy of discipline, sacrifice and population control in the face of depletion is going to be a hard sell.  Not to the highly educated perhaps but certainly to the majority of ordinary people who are easily suckered into following the latest political or humanitarian fashion.  Maybe environmental or resource exhaustion will automatically stop people from "prospering" but maybe it will need to be a change in the law. 

The point therefore is that the time of bleeding heart humanitarianism has to end.  People have to realize that freedom of choice, freedom of religion or unbridled freedom in general is a dangerous luxury that no longer fits.  The smart might choose conservation and frugality but the ignorant will need to be forced to do the right thing.  And such realization has to be achieved globally, not just by isolated groups.  A million purists living isolated lives on a planet surrounded by billions of plundering fools isn't a long term solution.

The only thing that can move humanity into a better future is a better culture, a better science based belief system and way better political institutions based on (audited) integrity and discipline not profligacy and profit. 

 

 

 

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Population growth

The future belongs to the families with the highest birth rates. To me the demographic changes coming are disheartening because the high birth rates will be mostly from families practicing fundamentalist religions and having uneducated women. It may be difficult for these groups to accept the concepts we are talking about.

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Pol pot comes to mind

Pol pot comes to mind as someone who changed agriculture policy. Let’s hope we don’t go that route.

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Does it take all kinds and if so, how many of each?
robie robinson wrote:

Since nature is party to all our behavior, and since nature has a longer memory and sterner code of justice, trust her, keep your mare settled and be prepared. I find it simple.

Yes, nature will cull, but only because we refuse to make that choice.

Dr. Bartlett wrote:

We must educate people to recognize the fact that growth in rates of population and growth in rates of consumption of resources can not be sustained.

Neither T. Robert Malthus or Dr. Bartlett described a sustainable level of growth, because any level of growth, in the long run, is unsustainable, in a fixed environment.

Twice now, I have projected human growth out into the galaxy, at 2012s global growth rate of 1.2%.  In essence, I assumed that humanity had unlimited energy resources and unlimited travel.  

I approached the other assumptions, such as number of habitable planets in the galaxy differntly, in the two calculations.

Anyway, at 1.2% population growth, homo sapiens will overpopulate the galaxy in somewhere between 1,900 and 2,500 years.

Our overriding problem is overpopulation and population growth.  We cannot achieve sustainability without addressing population, no matter how we grow food, or how small we build our houses.

 

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Big Stick
pgp wrote:

Great article and as usual tactfully written.  However nothing will ever change unless as a species we are able to talk about the really difficult issues.  The most abhorrent of which appears to be population control.  If you think the world is difficult now, imagine what it will be like after an "apocalypse" of economic self destruction or oil shortage, as 8 billion people vie for a slice of the depleted remains.

The root of the problem, the nub that drives the policies that give us the 3E's problem, is a culture of "go forth and prosper".  Whether that has biblical roots or is formed from a hard wired instinct to exploit, it is the one obstacle that can only be overcome by intelligence and awareness.

The tactful approach is to convince people to change their attitudes, beliefs and cultural expectations through well written presentations or energetic conferences.  That's a process otherwise known as politicking.  Its slow, doesn't work particularly well, because not everyone will listen or understand, and usually involves conflict as sides war for disparate ideals and beliefs.

However like all revolutions the outcome is only as successful as the winners maintain their integrity.  In other words, as long as the changes fought for are subsequently enforced. 

Ultimately a policy of discipline, sacrifice and population control in the face of depletion is going to be a hard sell.  Not to the highly educated perhaps but certainly to the majority of ordinary people who are easily suckered into following the latest political or humanitarian fashion.  Maybe environmental or resource exhaustion will automatically stop people from "prospering" but maybe it will need to be a change in the law. 

The point therefore is that the time of bleeding heart humanitarianism has to end.  People have to realize that freedom of choice, freedom of religion or unbridled freedom in general is a dangerous luxury that no longer fits.  The smart might choose conservation and frugality but the ignorant will need to be forced to do the right thing.  And such realization has to be achieved globally, not just by isolated groups.  A million purists living isolated lives on a planet surrounded by billions of plundering fools isn't a long term solution.

The only thing that can move humanity into a better future is a better culture, a better science based belief system and way better political institutions based on (audited) integrity and discipline not profligacy and profit. 

 

 

 

And just who gets to swing that big stick? Sounds like China to me and I have no interest in a living in a totalitarian state.

These are complex issues that will not only take a long time to resolve (not optimistic about that) but to dialog about all the consequences intended and otherwise. There are religious convictions which will be difficult if not impossible to deal with. There is also cultural considerations. Large families are the norm in many cultures. Also in many cases the reason large families are so prevalent is that the children serve as social security. Many of these cultures do not have government programs for health care, retirement, etc. Then the question is how much will it cost to provide that for people in a world that is 225 trillion in debt? That will be a tough sell. 

Then of course is the overpowering need (desire) to self replicate. Biology is the trump card which I think in the end determine the outcome. AS Robie has so eloquently stated many times.

 

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Hope your move is a good thing

This view of the world is a hard one to live, while keeping domestic bliss at home.  I've had to find a way to cloak what we are doing on our rural property as a "normal" thing.  Maybe with several eccentric "hobbies" thrown in.  But, it is not easy to keep a spouse from either thinking I am off the deep end about this stuff, or someone who can't be trusted as a partner any more.  So far, so good.   I'm hoping your recent move is a good thing for you and that you are doing ok.  We all rely on you and Adam, in an amazing way.  Wish you the best.  

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And our refusal to die
Mohammed Mast wrote:

Then of course is the overpowering need (desire) to self replicate. Biology is the trump card which I think in the end determine the outcome. AS Robie has so eloquently stated many times.

Self replicating wouldn't be such a bad thing if we weren't simultaneously attempting to cure death. How about that one? No one wants to talk about our obsession with keeping people alive no matter what, and our attempt to eradicate all disease as well. Nature has it's way of balancing things out, it seems to me there are many reasons we are in this mess.

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optimism???

PP should interview this guy.  I consider him an optimist.

http://kunstler.com/podcast/kunstlercast-303-jack-albert-unwinding-human...

If Dunbar's number for a healthy community size (150) is accurate, there will be 2 million "healthy" communities in the US alone that will be at war with each other for resources.  Just think of a city of 2 million people when the trucks stop rolling in.  For self preservation these communities will combine and we will magically have cities again.  Of course that assumes that the trucks continue to roll.

Back in the 80s I said to the people I worked with that planet earth (not "our" planet) was grossly overpopulated.  Their reaction was explosive.  I bet they would react the same way today, even when that fact is even more blatantly obvious.

The only reason our population got so large was the industrial revolution and the explosive growth of technology it produced.  Without fossil fuels that would never have happened.  When there''s no more fuel there will be a lot fewer humans.  Unfortunately we will drag the rest of life on this planet down with us.  We are 90% there already.

If Mars was capable of supporting life, the wealthiest would fly there and destroy it next since it would maximize short term profits.  It's a natural consequence of looking at everything as various forms of capital.  Abstractions become reality and reality becomes abstractions.  Hmm, sounds like an epilogue for Orwell's 1984.

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World Population Graph

The idea of sub-replacement growth rate sounds like the least painful way to bring the population under control.

But many will not see the need until massive die-off is well under way.  The population-overload-resource-crunch can be ignored a bit longer.

And our love of babies is immense.  We are designed to huger for sex, want to be pregnant, adore babies, and defend the next generation of children even to the point of giving up our lives for their sake.  It will take tremendous insight from a huge amount of people to shift this understanding.  Even a small ethnic pocket of people who unconsciously reproduce prolifically could prevent getting sub-replacement population de-growth.

What if our familys' (us and our offspring) were prohibited from emmigrating when things got crowded?  Would this help us "get it?"  Perhaps by enforcing borders, we could hasten realization?

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How Should Illinois Pay for its Unfunded Pension Liability

I just saw this on Zero Hedge.

In our view, Illinois’s best option is to impose a statewide residential property tax that expires when its unfunded pension liability is paid off. In our baseline scenario, we estimate that the tax rate required to pay off the pension debt over 30 years would be about 1%. This means that homeowners with homes worth $250,000 would pay an additional $2,500 per year in property taxes, those with homes worth $500,000 would pay an additional $5,000, and those with homes worth $1 million would pay an additional $10,000.

 

If implemented, I wonder if this would wake another group of people up as to the reality of what's happening.  I just shake my head at the absurdity of wanting to extract more money from homeowners in order to continue BAU.

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MKI
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Anmial decline

CM: I'm an avid outdoorsman and spent an enormous amount of my time outside as a child. I could catch or find practically any critter that lived nearby. I observed, and with my own eyes I can tell you that the insects are nearly gone, with the larger beetles and moths now almost entirely missing from the porch lights at night. No insects hit my windshield anymore, even on long drives though the country during the height of summer. Life on Earth is being killed.

I'm an avid outdoorsman as well, and I'm not just saying so (my family eats it's own weight in wild fish and game yearly). And I've seen no decline in wild game for 50 years (and measured fish-and-game numbers agree with me, good game managment over my life). And certainly no deline in bugs - if only! But I'm sure this area-dependent; more people, less animals. I don't doubt your experience I would just be aware it this is area-dependent, and the moment the population of humans delines, the animals will be back.

CM Once the fossil fuel-derived fertilizers we're using are no longer available to spread on our exhausted soils (now dirt), food production will plummet. And that will be that.

A good way to build personal ferilizer is compost with human urine, wood chips, and whole food waste. But be aware we will be long dead before we run out of NG to make fertilizer. We aren't even close yet.

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Beautiful Essay By Charles Eisenstein at Tikkun

I would like to recommend a wonderful essay, pointed out in the above post by Mohammed Mast, written by Charles Eisenstein and posted at Tikkun Magazine.  Its title is taken from a political slogan used in George Orwell's 1984.

"Our New Happy Life"

Those words, “our new, happy life,” came to me as I read two recent articles, one by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times and the other by Stephen Pinker in the Wall Street Journal, both of which asserted, with ample statistics, that the overall state of humanity is better now than at any time in history. Fewer people die in wars, car crashes, airplane crashes, even from gun violence. Poverty rates are lower than ever recorded, life expectancy is higher, and more people than ever are literate, have access to electricity and running water, and live in democracies.

Like in 1984, these articles affirm and celebrate the basic direction of society. We are headed in the right direction. With smug assurance they tell us that thanks to reason, science, and enlightened Western political thinking, we are making strides toward a better world.

Like in 1984, there is something deceptive in these arguments that so baldly serve the established order.

But there are problems with this rosey assessment.

...[W]e need to come to grips with precisely the things that Stephen Pinker’s statistics leave out. Generally speaking, metrics-based evaluations, while seemingly objective, bear the covert biases of those who decide what to measure, how to measure it, and what not to measure. They also devalue those things which we cannot measure or that are intrinsically unmeasurable.

Nicholas Kristof celebrates a decline in the number of people living on less than two dollars a day. What might that statistic hide? Well, every time an indigenous hunter-gatherer or traditional villager is forced off the land and goes to work on a plantation or sweatshop, his or her cash income increases from zero to several dollars a day. The numbers look good. GDP goes up. And the accompanying degradation is invisible.

For the last several decades, multitudes have fled the countryside for burgeoning cities in the global South. Most had lived largely outside the money economy. In a small village in India or Africa, most people procured food, built dwellings, made clothes, and created entertainment in a subsistence or gift economy, without much need for money. When development policies and the global economy push entire nations to generate foreign exchange to meet debt obligations, urbanization invariably results. In a slum in Lagos or Kolkata, two dollars a day is misery, where in the traditional village it might be affluence. Taking for granted the trend of development and urbanization, yes, it is a good thing when those slum dwellers rise from two dollars a day to, say, five. But the focus on that metric obscures deeper processes.

Thanks for finding this gem, MM.

 

chipshot's picture
chipshot
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 15 2010
Posts: 50
An Act of Regeneration

A very large oak tree needed to come down after two huge limbs fell off unannounced over a 12 month period, barely missing the house.  The 1st limb actually grazed a corner of the house  (it was big enough to easily turn the house into a duplex), but I hated the idea of losing the tree so much I put it off until limb #2 fell a year later.  Instead of taking out the whole tree and root ball, had the crew leave about 20 ft of the trunk standing in place as a refuge for wildlife, and all of the limbs/branches cut from the tree left in the yard.  Made several piles and after 3 yrs it has mostly decomposed into humus.

The tree has come back  (like a gigantic bonsai in that it's a small version of its original self, with a tight compact canopy), sprouting an ever-widening crown w growing shade cover and more habitat for birds, squirrels, raccoons, bugs, etc, without being a threat to the house.  The soil will be much richer from the mountains of humus, and it saved over $1000 by not removing the trunk and roots.

So even though I think we are toast--for example, love the idea of permaculture and what Singing Frogs is doing, but how will it work in the face of climate disruption?--it's worth doing whatever possible to minimize depletion and maximize regeneration.  If for no other reason than a clean conscious and a good night's sleep.  And in this case, saving $$ to boot!

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