The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See
Economic Collapse and Global Ecology. Given failure to pursue policies to reverse deterioration of the biosphere and avoid ecological collapse, the best we can hope for may be that the growth-based economic system crashes. The Earth is faced with a conundrum, climate policies enjoy support only in times of rapid economic growth. Yet this growth is the primary factor driving environmental ills. The growth machine has pushed the planet well beyond its ecological carrying capacity. With every economic downturn, it becomes less likely that policies to ensure global sustainability will be embraced. This explores the possibility that it would be better for the economic collapse to come now rather than later. Economic growth is a deadly disease with capitalism as its most virulent strain. Throw-away consumption and explosive population growth are made possible by using up fossil fuels and destroying ecosystems. Humanity has proved unwilling to address environmental threats with haste and ambition. Action could be taken now at net benefit to the economy. Yet, the losers primarily fossil fuel industries resist futures not dependent upon their deadly products. Perpetual economic growth, and necessary climate and other ecological policies, are incompatible. Global ecological sustainability depends critically upon establishing a steady state economy. Industries like coal and natural forest logging will be eliminated even as new opportunities emerge in solar energy and environmental restoration. This transition to economic and ecological sustainability is not happening. The challenge is how to carry out environmental policies even as economic growth ends and consumption plunges. The response is going to be liquidation of even more life-giving ecosystems, and jettisoning of climate policies, to vainly try to maintain high growth and personal consumption. If efforts to reduce emissions and move to a steady state economy fail; the collapse of ecological, economic and social systems is assured. Greens take the continued existence of a habitable Earth with viable, sustainable populations of all species including humans as the ultimate truth and the meaning of life. Whether this is possible in a time of economic collapse is crucially dependent upon whether enough ecosystems and resources remain post collapse to allow humanity to recover and reconstitute sustainable, relocalized societies. It may be better for humanity’s future that economic collapse comes sooner rather than later, while more ecosystems and opportunities to return to nature’s fold exist. Economic collapse will be deeply wrenching part Great Depression, part African famine. There will be starvation and civil strife, and a long period of suffering and turmoil. Many will be killed as balance returns to the Earth. Most people have forgotten how to grow food and that their identity is more than what they own. Yet those who have lived most lightly upon the land will have an easier time of it, even as those super-consumers living in massive cities finally learn where their food comes from and that ecology is the meaning of life. Economic collapse now means humanity and the Earth ultimately survive to prosper again. Human suffering is inevitable given the degree to which the planet’s carrying capacity has been exceeded. Humanity can take the bitter medicine now, and recover while emerging better for it; or our total collapse can be a final, fatal death swoon. A successful response would focus upon bringing down the Earth’s industrial economy now. Maybe the best strategy to achieve global ecological sustainability is economic sabotage to hasten the day. It is more fragile than it looks. It is not yet known whether humanity is able to adapt, to ensure survival. If she can, all futures of economic, social and ecological collapse can be avoided. If not it is better that the economic growth machine collapse now, offering hope for a planetary and human revival. I wish no harm to anyone, and want desperately to avoid these prophesies. I speak for the Earth, for despite being the giver of life, her natural voice remains largely unheard over the tumult of the end of being. Ralph says: Another piece of compulsory reading!! January 15, 2008 CounterCurrents.org
Immigration, Populations, Climate Change, and Perverse Ideologies. Absent from every article on climate change is any discussion of what a sustainable population might be. Immigration legislation frames the issue primarily as a law and order matter. Another view is that it is a distortion of economic justice. A third views illegal immigration as an outlet for a surplus population that cannot be sustained in the immigrants’ native country. These issues are all part of an ideological crisis that has brought civilization to the brink. Missing from published material is any discussion of other species that will face extinction as global warming alters their habitat. Environmentalists are under assault by those who would not want to consider habitat preservation as part of the saving of species. Climate change may well be the coup de grace after human-caused habitat destruction and the careless introduction of invasive species, the catalyst for change might be a catastrophe that will move whole societies to accept the kind of lifestyle changes needed to avert the consequences of our rapid climate changes. More dangerous are those who recognize human-generated pollution as a major culprit and continue to have faith that mankind is capable of making changes at a profit without triggering a global depression. The entire focus is on human survival, and prosperity, as presently defined. We view trees as simply a partly renewable product. Many countries were denuded of trees in the past centuries as populations grew, trees quickly disappeared. In America, the deforestation was never completed because coal and oil had replaced wood as a fuel. If we reduce biodiversity through human indifference, we may begin to see consequences some of which are apparent already. Things will get worse because they are getting worse. Our formerly self-regulating climate has been challenged by anthropomorphic forcings, and we have to be responsible for abating the human causes. The idea that there are limits to the human use of nature strikes most of the political leadership as un-American. There is dispute about what sustainable limits are. People in the Southwest see the strain of carving out an existence in an arid land. Most experts do not see a human population in excess of 2 billion to be sustainable. We are already at 6.3 billion and that may have something to do with our inability to eradicate hunger and poverty in the world. The marginalized populations continue to expand every year, even as the political leaders give a myriad of other reasons. Some so-called experts claim that only through growth can inequality be eradicated. In other words, the world needs more money to pay for the fixes. All of the social problems of the world would be a lot easier to solve with a declining population, and better to accomplish this through enlightened policy than through plagues and war. As food resources are increased, populations expand to overwhelm the increased productivity. We have placed our faith in chemistry as we leave an agricultural society behind. We need healthy ecosystems, but in our pursuit of â€œprogress,’ we have zoned out agriculture from a good part of our rural landscapes. Positive change is within our power. The lobster fishermen of Maine have a better crop of than they have had for hundreds of years as a result of mutual coercion. They stick to size limits and a defined territory. They don’t need cops to police it; they police it themselves. Our whole experience suggests that we cannot outlive our resources and, therefore, it will be every man for himself. We, the children of the modern world, have always been able to invent ourselves out of problems. We tend to see only the good side of science and the purveyors of consumer goods strive to keep it that way. There is already a growing population of refugees, not displaced by not displaced by conflict per se, but an ecological breakdown that causes aggressive behaviors. Darfur is a prime example. We are but a few decades from major population centers being abandoned for a lack of potable water. It is not just Africa that is experiencing the expansion of deserts. The Asian Bank estimated that desertification in China threatens to cover 4,000 villages with sand and render them uninhabitable. The World Bank estimates that by 2010 the aquifer that underlies the capital of Yemen, with a population of 2 million, will be pumped dry and drilling up to a mile and a half deep has found no new source of water. There are cities now in New Mexico and Arizona and California that would not exist without the diversion of water from other states that have an arguable surplus on an annual basis. Desalinization plants may be a partial solution for some coastal cities, but not for inland cities. Unfortunately, the water wars are going to follow and some conflicts already have water as at least one underlying issue. When we can bring the world population down to about 2 billion, the earth will be able to support all humans, as well as the animal and plant kingdoms, with room to spare for the slow changes of evolution. The quality of life would be raised for all. With a stabilized population we could begin to solve the vexing problems that population increases only serve to exacerbate. All the world must embrace a one (or no) child policy until populations come down to the sustainable number. This would take several generations, but the pressures on natural systems will decrease. The nature of commerce will have to change radically. There will be very few giant corporations owned privately. Essential businesses that require scale will be controlled by the public. Farming will be more labor-intensive, groups of small farmers will be encouraged to combine in local cooperatives. Humans is the only species that is unable to keep itself in balance by natural processes and will therefore have to use their brain power to achieve a proper balance. When world population approaches 2 billion, then a two-child policy can be implemented, and if that does not stabilize the population at 2 billion, then there can be a year or two of a three-child policy. I know it seems impossible that all nations could agree on this, but to not be able to imagine this is throwing in the towel. It will take some doing to convince people that they do not have free rein in deciding the size of their family. It may seem like an abridgement of a fundamental human right, but upon closer examination it is not much different than requiring a driver’s license, and much more important to group survival. Karen Gaia says: a rather long-winded article with old-fashioned notions about ‘population control’. What the world does need is access to health education and contraception. Still the author is right-on about sustainability. May 31, 2007 Baltimore Chronicle
I was being ironic?
Just trying to get back on the subject of population was all I was doing.
Population is a "third rail" issue. It’s instant death for any politician or public figure to touch it. Not even the mainstream environmentalists will touch it. Why?
First off is the eugenics taint. Any talk of controlling the population smells of some government agency deciding who will and who won’t have offspring. The assumption is that if we collectively decide to limit our numbers some heinous program of weeding out the undesirables will inevitalbly arise. If a program of selective breeding of humans did come about, I have no doubt that the system would be corrupt or at least tainted. People with piles of cash will cheat the system one way or another. People with political connections would also have a leg up, so to speak. And there could evolve an ideological qualification to get permission to make babies. Imagine a state sliding toward fascism or religious totalitarianism. One way to defeat the infidels is to limit their numbers.
Unlike property rights, there seems to be an assumption that having as many tricycle motors as you want is an absolute right. As sacred as they are, property rights come with limits. How one improves ones land is checked by its effects on ones neighbors. Roosters aren’t allowed in the suburbs. Damming a stream that runs through one’s property is subject to certain restrictions. In fact, in the American southwest there are places where catching rainwater off your own roof is illegal.
Procreation is also tied up with the major religions. Start limiting the number of souls brought into the world and you’re sure to arouse the ire of every religious leader. For some reason, only the gods are supposed to decide how this is supposed to work. Parenthetically, atheist and Buddhists seem to get the job done without any divine permission. If one raises the argument that religious doctrine concerning procreation and marriage grew out of ancient concerns over the inheritance of property and by extension the control of women, be prepared to be accused of wanting to kill God or at least seriously hurt His feelings.
So why does this one human activity remain untouchable? Arguably, too many people is either the root cause or a significant factor in several enourmous problems we face. Can you think of a resource issue that is made better by more people? All in all, we can dismiss religious doctrine as it is usually in the service of the political class. This is the 1% or so that owns and/or controls most of the wealth. Their interest is mainly in more consumers and cannon fodder. Then there’s the large segment of the population that identifies with the political class. They are trapped by the false conciousness that proclaims their interest and those of the political class are one in the same. This only makes the problem worse.
For these reasons, I believe the population problem won’t be solved by humans. Starvation, disease, warfare will likely be the check on human numbers. This isn’t something where a good idea will spring up and everyone will want to be a part of it. The good ideas are already here and they are ignored.
For the sake of argument, I’ll offer some suggestions for controlling our population.
1. Ban all fertility therapies. If the gods have decided you’re not to have kids, deal. No heroics to have babies.
2. Distribute fertility licenses by lottery. If you get a lucky number you get to try. If not, you get a one time cash payment to be sterilized. If you get a lucky number you could elect to be sterilized and that fertility license would be voided. Of course, both options are voluntary. Since the selection process is random, there would be no selection pressure on the gene pool.
3. Adoption is a bit of a problem in one sense. If an American adopts a child from an impoverished country, that child will consume resources like an American. Arguably, poor children should be left in poor countries. Not a very cheritable idea, but consider the alternative in greenhouse gasses, solid waste, hydrocarbon consumption, to name but a few. Then consider how the American imperium oppresses people in other countries to support our level of consumption. Adoption seems like a generous thing to do, but is it really generous to the environment? Ban adoption from foreign countries? Tough call.
4. Removing tax incentives for children is another harsh solution. But consider where those incentives come from. The political class? You better believe it. It’s consistent with their desire for more consumers and cannon fodder.
5. Ban religious groups from seeking converts. More religious people is probably more of a problem than a solution. We need a rational approach to this. Faith is not a rational process.
Okay, time to get flamed. I shut up now and take my lumps.
I noticed your post here nearly 24 hours ago and tried my best to write back with this old devil computer and its now crashed twice whilst returning this piece – third time lucky for perserverance???
I knew you would gain some insite from the Dimitri Orlov transcript. There was a section that moved me where he put into the frame exactly what the government and the Fed’ are trying to achieve with the economy, that could have just as well been an insight as to what is happening with this global experiment on population :-
"…The ship is on the rocks, water is rising, and the captain is shouting Full steam ahead! We are sailing to Afghanistan! Do you listen to Ahab up on the bridge, or do you desert your post in the engine room and go help deploy the lifeboats? If you thought that the previous episode of uncontrolled debt expansion, globalized Ponzi schemes, and economic hollowing-out was silly, then I predict that you will find this next episode of feckless grasping at macroeconomic straws even sillier. Except that it wont be funny: what is crashing now is our life support system: all the systems and institutions that are keeping us alive. And so I dont recommend passively standing around and watching the show unless you happen to have a death wish.
Right now the Washington economic stimulus team is putting on their Scuba gear and diving down to the engine room to try to invent a way to get a diesel engine to run on seawater. They spoke of change, but in reality they are terrified of change and want to cling with all their might to the status quo. But this game will soon be over, and they dont have any idea what to do next. "
…I think the value of this experiment of global population exponential growth is explained really well with a video I’ve used in the past, explaining to people who aren’t initiated into the realities we face :-
…I’m a huge fan of Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. Proper news without flailing ego’s that passes for news in the mainstream media. I was pleased to see John Holdren being interviewed so skillfully. The fact that he was there gives me hope that he is at least more approachable on population than many that have come before him :-
…Another tool in supporting knowledge to people I’m educating away from CM.Com is this film :-
Numbers USA – Immigration By the Numbers
…which goes along well with your equation :-
" P=B – D + I – E, where I is incoming number and E is outgoing number "
…To me it smacks of 3% growth economy and not environment worries for these four year term beurocrats. But, getting back on track – It doesn’t seem to matter who or what is against the government on issues such as the third runway at Heathrow, it’ll still be built, even though it’ll be a pointless task with airlines grounded within 7 years with my own equation. This is thousands of tons of material, the destruction of a well established villiage complete with the hostility of many people yelling loud enough to deafen. Common sense again points out that over population is the cause for an extra runway.
What can we do here. There isn’t anywhere to run. Global climate change is set to turn my farm into yet another dry dustbowl this year where I don’t use expensive nitrite (natural gas produced) fertilizer to sustain the crop. The noose is most definately tightening. Maybe, hopefully, this economic crisis will push back the population growth more casually than I project, but I don’t think so. Maybe global climate change hasn’t quite switched over into irretrevable, yet, when I read recently that in 2005 the gulf stream partially closed down for ten days and that it took almost 4 years for me to find out that fact, what else am I missing? I simply want a future for my offspring just like you.
A film that deeply deeply hurt me yet moved me to action was this film :-
…I’ve yet to find anything more provokative. Yet, this has been out there for a few years now, so at which point will Obama and his team watch and learn from it and begin to stop the in-fighting with China over tit-for-tat. The Kyoto Treaty batten will be taken up again by American leaders as a model to show the rest of the world how to truly lead?
More questions than answers…
The issues of the world seem to be balanced more and more on the narrow shoulders of politicians that talk too much and don’t want there pristine hands dirtied fighting a battle that in the long term will keep them within the lifestyle they chose for themselves.
you won’t get a single lump from any post that I write back to you simply because you’re in a very select group of people here that evaluate and articulate rationally. In other words, you’ve ticked every box correctly. However, in just a few short years, you and I are going to become a statistic of this horror that no government is going to run the numbers on because history is most likely going to stop dead for the human race in about 60 years if we don’t stop "Going Forth and Multiplying" with the false ideal that we have a miriad of ‘Milk and Honey’ to spare.
We’re already getting bitten year on year since 2001 with shortfalls of grain production globally. We’re manufacturing ethanol when we should be considering food not fuel and, we’re creating more idealisers of western societies with a penchant for meat, which is the equivalent of throwing ourselves at the mercy of our climate and sustainability.
I think a religious war on this hot potato is going to become such a reality soon. We’re already on the presepice(spelling!) of energy war and our free market trading is slipping its grasp. What positive steps are there than swallowing eight paracetomol and laying down to die?
Even the list of responsible points you’ve made seem to need another 6 generations for them to sink in as totally necessary, yet, how many of us would have died from starvation by then? At that stage in the development, maybe our collective Gods will have been silenced permanently (doubt it) or there’ll be none left to worship.
Hey, we’re in paradox country!!!
Where to go from here??