China's water and soil too far gone to support growing economy

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China's water and soil too far gone to support growing economy

In yet another harrowing example of how inextricably intertwined energy, resources and economy are, two recent reports by the Chinese government and the United Nations suggest that China's ecosystems will not be able to support their projected economic growth.  Article follows:

http://energytechstocks.com.previewmysite.com/wp/?p=2015

The underlying question raised by these reports is this: How can a
nation’s economy grow when its soil is rapidly eroding and its water is
rapidly becoming so polluted that it isn’t just unsafe to drink. It’s
even unsafe for fishing, farming and factory use.

In short, how can a nation’s economy grow when its ecosystems appear on the verge of collapse?

As reported late last month by Xinhua, the official Chinese news
agency, “A three-year investigation reveals almost 40% of China’s
territory, or 3,569,200 square kilometers of land, suffers from soil
erosion.” Reuters news agency put it this way: “Over a third of China’s
land is being scoured by serious erosion that is putting crops and
water supply at risk, a nationwide three-year survey has found.” The
survey reportedly was carried out by China’s bio-environment security
research team.

Separately, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper ran a story late last
month headlined, “Yellow River too polluted to drink.” Datelined
Shanghai, the story began: “The Yellow River, which provides drinking
water to millions of people in northern China, is now so badly polluted
that 85% of it is unsafe for drinking. China’s heavy industries have
tipped so much waste into the river that enormous stretches of it,
amounting to over a third of its entire length, cannot be used at all
anymore, either for drinking, fishing, farming or even factory use,
according to criteria used by the United Nations Environmental Program.”

These are stunning statistics that literally stab at the heart of
the world’s biggest, most populous country and the nation whose economy
is desperately being counted on by a recession-savaged world.

But as much as the credit crisis has undermined economic growth
elsewhere, an environmental crisis looks increasingly likely to do the
same to China’s economy. Everything you need to know about Beijing’s
continuing failure to come to grips with its eco-crisis can be found in
a quote deep in the Telegraph story from a spokesman for the Yellow
River Conservation Committee. “I wish that a harmony could be achieved
between development, utilization and protection of the river someday.”

China’s water and soil woes appear to have now reached the point at
which food and water shortages leading to a health crisis could be
possible at any moment, leading in turn to a reduction in GDP at the
exact wrong time.

 

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

What sets Chris M. apart is his understanding of how all of these issues interact and influence each other.  That's why I respect his work so much.

When folks like Peter Schiff (who I agree with on many things) start talking about the bright future of China, I find myself wondering if they really understand the environmental and resource challenges China faces and how those challenges will limit economic growth.  

Sure, China may be positioned better than the U.S. and Europe from an economic perspective (manufacturing, production, savings, debt, etc.), but without an understanding of the very real resource and environmental factors any predictions for growth will be shortsighted.

 

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Schiff is far from an environmentalist

Bright future for a select group maybe. He is just looking at it from an investment standpoint, not an environmental one.

 

Schiff is far from an environmentalist

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

Krogoth,

Actually, my point is that you can't look at anything from an investment and economic perspective without looking at environment and resources.  All of the projections for how much development is going to happen in China, and thus how much money investors will make, is based on the availability of energy, water and food.  Even if you don't give a damn about your employees, like many Chinese companies, they still have to eat and drink water or they can't work.  No matter how little you care about the environment, you can't make products and ship them around without natural resources and energy.  This is what is so often overlooked.  They are not separate issues!

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Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE seperate

Hey your preaching to the Choir. I hate what they are doing, and I hate people capitalizing on it, Chinese or American as well as a number of other countries. If China can't eat and drink, they can't produce. This is irrelevant to the major problem, because China is also being threatened by a number of other countries, Vietnam for one, already starting this cycle in another place. If China dries up, other countries are ready to take up the slack. A lot of people don't know Vietnam is closing in on 100 million people. That's a sizable Asian country. Let's not forget the massive India, who has a lot of environmental issues as well.

As for looking at investment or economic issues without looking at environmental issues, I don't think capitalists consider environmental issues or depletion eventually for the most part, regardless of what country it is. Maybe they WILL when resources are depleted, people can't eat or water is bad, but they simply will move on to Greener pastures and do it all over again.

Here in Taiwan, all the rice used to be grown here, but then Vietnam and Thailand did it cheaper, so they bought it from them instead. People will eat the rice as long as they can save money, and don't realize they are damaging themselves in the long run with lost jobs here in TW, and possibly damaging another countries environment. And if you say rice is a simple crop, its not. The pesticides alone (used much more in Asian countries in general) cause a tremendous amount of damage.

A huge geese farming company here was collecting vegetable waste from different companies for feed purposes. They started using 3 new companies, and all the geese died (I think like 100,000) because the vegetable waste had so much pesticide residue.  Taiwan is way more protective and proactive compared to China with environmental issues and things like this still happen all the time.

As long as we have ultra greedy capitalists from multiple nations going unchecked or unregulated, you can kiss the environmental issues goodbye.

Capitalizing and/or environmental or resource issues ARE separate, always have been in general as long as they have another place to capitalize on in the world.

 

 

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Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE ...

As long as we have ultra greedy capitalists from multiple nations going unchecked or unregulated, you can kiss the environmental issues goodbye.

Asian politicians learmed from the west that political power comes with economic power. The genie is out of the bottle. You can't stop capital growth. I'll be standing on the sidelines watching the greens agonize over it.

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The world learns from what they think is the best example
hewittr wrote:

Asian politicians learmed from the west that political power comes with economic power. The genie is out of the bottle. You can't stop capital growth. I'll be standing on the sidelines watching the greens agonize over it.

Sadly people who think like this are the minority. To spread the word and do our best to educate, reduce our footprint, and keep the communication lines open are our only weapons in this madness. I know it's stupid to think I can make a major difference in the world, but I can make a difference in my family and the way we think about what we do, what is important to us on a consumer lever, and how we treat our earth.

A lot of people think living differently is living below standards, and some have even commented here we should bring the world to our standards of American life. Well the standards of American life are the worst standards in general to follow or aspire to. I will teach my children to respect the world, respect the environment, do what you can as an individual and as a group if possible, not to consume needlessy and not to leave anything behind but hopelessness for future generations.

Also, if you read up on a lot of the major Asian corporate CEO's and executives, people in political power and people in the rich circles, you will see that the majority were educated in the United States, including our current President in TW, a Harvard Law graduate.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — China wants to loan Brazil's state oil company $10
billion to help develop massive new oil fields in deep water off the coast of
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's top energy official said in comments published Monday.

Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao also told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper
that the United Arab Emirates has offered to finance field development, but he
did not specify a price tag.

Lobao said Chinese officials contacted his ministry to propose a loan and
Petrobras then negotiated directly with the Chinese. He gave no details on the
status of talks, and any deal would have to be approved by his ministry.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hDm_YtYt_O0ImdigEJujyJyj1RMwD9\
4UPIHO0

China, U.A.E. Offer to Fund Brazil's Petrobras
China wants to start with $10 billion

The energy minister said development of the pre-salt layer was not profitable if
oil fell below $30 per barrel, but he said he doubted the price of crude would
drop to that level. [I've seen somewhere that this deepwater stuff was unviable below $130/barrel..!  Matrix]
"But I don't share that theory. It's practically impossible. All you need is for
producers to reduce output, which is easy," Lobao said.
"A drop to less than $30 a barrel makes it negative (the viability of developing
the pre-salt layer). How much does it cost to produce oil in Brazil today?
Something along the lines of $20 a barrel. If it falls below that, it would
produce losses. Since no one wants to lose (money), producers just have to
reduce production," the energy minister said.

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=322539&CategoryId=14090

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Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE ...
hewittr wrote:

As long as we have ultra greedy capitalists from multiple nations going unchecked or unregulated, you can kiss the environmental issues goodbye.

Asian politicians learmed from the west that political power comes with economic power. The genie is out of the bottle. You can't stop capital growth. I'll be standing on the sidelines watching the greens agonize over it.

You're missing the point entirely.  You can't have economic growth without energy and natural resources.  Period. 

During the large majority of the Industrial Revolution, energy and resources were so abundant that they might as well have been infinite.  Now, however, we are bumping up against very real limits in both areas.

Even the "greedy capitalists" will soon realize that the environment and natural resources they have scorned for so long is the foundation of their livelihood.  Without soil, water, minerals, metals, clean air and a lot of energy their businesses will not be able to grown.

Forget about your political bias for a moment and consider the inextricable connection between economy, energy and resources.

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Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE ...

sidelines?

just where is it on the planet the sidelines are?

or are you living on mars? i hear there is water up there.

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Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE ...

Switters

You're the one who claims we're running out of energy and natural resources. Every time I try to explain why you are wrong and I get trashed for it. So there is no sense wasting any more time on it. You and the other neo-Malthusians can do the worrying. I'll be looking for right time to invest in energy and resource stocks.

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Re: Time is a finite resource too
hewittr wrote:

Switters

You're the one who claims we're running out of energy and natural resources. Every time I try to explain why you are wrong and I get trashed for it.

That's because your arguments are speculative, illogical and completely unsupported by evidence. 

I agree that it's a waste of your time to try to explain why I'm wrong. 

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

Well Switters, now that we have that settled. I'm wondering what you think you can accomplish?

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...
Quote:

Well Switters, now that we have that settled. I'm wondering what you think you can accomplish?

I've spoken about that at length in many other posts.

I'm very active in my local community helping to bring folks up to speed on the challenges we're facing, exploring strategies for increased energy independence, reducing consumption and waste, growing and storing food, raising animals, getting to know my neighbors, studying acupuncture and herbal medicine to be able to provide low-cost health care to my friends, family and community, facilitating a monthly meeting of 15 friends committed to exploring solutions on a local level, and investigating involvement with Oil Independent Oakland, Bay Area
Relocalize and the local Transition Town movement.  Also doing everything I can to raise awareness on these issues beyond my local community via this forum and other outlets.

What are you up to, hewittr (aside from "waiting on the sidelines")?

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Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE ...
hewittr wrote:

Switters

You're the one who claims we're running out of energy and natural resources. Every time I try to explain why you are wrong and I get trashed for it. So there is no sense wasting any more time on it. You and the other neo-Malthusians can do the worrying. I'll be looking for right time to invest in energy and resource stocks.

You know Hewittr, I can see a slight possibility you might be learning something. Thanks for chilling out on the explanations.

What about the Crash Course CD's. Have you decided to purchase any?  Could be a great time to get off the sidelines and into the Game .........and .......it's a lot more fun.  Ya know....no standing around worring with the neo-M's!

Cheers

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China growth and Greener pastures

Who are you addressing Switters, me or hewittr?

 

 

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

We all need to be thinking about how we can make a difference.  There are a few ways to start a trend which, unfortunately, happens to be the most effective way of changing peoples' habits.  Here are a couple of things we can do, almost, on a daily level.

1.  Bring your own cloth bag for shopping purposes.  If the cashier gives you one, refuse it nicely.  There is no law that states your merchandise must be contained in a bag (other than liquor--in some states).

2.  If you get a coffee/latte then bring your own travel mug.  Many times there is a discount for those who bring in their own drink containers.  Do not get drinks at those places that do not allow you to bring in reusable cups (e.g. fast food restaurants).  When dining in a sit-down restaurant, with children, the restaurant usually brings out a plastic cup and lid for the child's drink (which gets tossed out afterwards).  Take this cup home with you to use, or while ordering ask the waitress to bring the child's drink contained in their regular glasses.

3.  Recycle your garbage.  Many districts/cities offer recycling at a minimal charge and/or a have central location for collecting.

4.  If you print something, such as maps and etc. (non-formal info.), use the backsides of other paper, i.e., if you must print on paper.  If retailers offer coupons, many coupons can be transmitted to a cell phone; bar-codes and all.  If you print things at work or school, feed in "recyclable paper" from the recycle bin.  If you need to send out "fliers" try to get as many notices on one page as possible rather than using the entire page for one flier.  Get a paper cutter.

5.  Save all of your organic material for compost.  If you don't have/wish a garden, then see if a friend or neighbor wants it.  You might also get a few veggies later.

6.  Use less toilet paper!  Many kids use an extreme amounts of toilet paper.  Teach them the proper amounts to use.

7.  Don't run unnecessary amounts of water.  Running water for the sake of running water wont do anything productive.  Turn the water off when: you brush your teeth, lather your dishes, lather in the shower.  If you must water your lawn then get a timer for your sprinkler system.  If you water a garden; get a timer for your sprinkler system.

8.  Turn down your heat in the winter.  Dropping your thermostat in the winter from 75 to 70 degrees will not "freeze people to death".  They should dress in warmer attire-- It's winter.

9.  Turn the lights off when not in use.  Some of the newer "energy reduction" light bulbs use less energy if you leave them on during a certain length of time.  E.g. if you toggling yourself between two rooms, it's better to leave them on if you're going back into those room within a short period of time.  If you're away longer than 45 min. then you should leave them off.  With regular incandescent bulbs-- just turn them off when not in use!

All of these things should reduce your cost of living.  It also reduces your carbon footprint.  After some practice and conditioning, it becomes effortless. 

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Re: China growth and Greener pastures
krogoth wrote:

Who are you addressing Switters, me or hewittr?

I was resopnding to hewittr.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

Switters

That's fine. But as far as the Asians go, all you can do is howl from the sidelines.

What are you up to, hewittr (aside from "waiting on the sidelines")?

Visit my website usbible.com. I don't come here to promote it, but since you asked.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

Thanks for chilling out on the explanations. 

It would take a lot more time and effort to pick your logic apart than I am willing to spend. I know from experience too that even then, I would get nowere.

What about the Crash Course CD's. Have you decided to purchase any?  Could be a great time to get off the sidelines and into the Game .........and .......it's a lot more fun.  Ya know....no standing around worring with the neo-M's!

It's not my cause. The Crash Course only reinforced my convictions of the opportunities ahead.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...
hewittr wrote:

Switters

That's fine. But as far as the Asians go, all you can do is howl from the sidelines.

What are you up to, hewittr (aside from "waiting on the sidelines")?

Visit my website usbible.com. I don't come here to promote it, but since you asked.

This explains a lot.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

Before anyone gets started looking up and commenting on hewittr's site, I'd like to ask that we not talk about it here...it has huge potential for inciting reckless, emotional debate. I'd ask that anyone who wants to talk to him about take that conversation to a private medium. Naturally these aren't my boards, and I'm in no position to declare what is allowed and what isn't...this is simply a request. If people do insist on bringing it up, let's keep the conversation constructive, and in line with all of the forum rules. I'm confident that I speak for others aside from myself in saying that I don't want this to blow up, while at the same time, recognizing that things could get messy, fast.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

I totally agree Futuo.....  let's stick to the REAL issues....

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

There is no point in debating with close-minded people.  Jaded, dogmatic, close-minded-- however anyone calls it, I will suffice it to say that there comes I time when compromises, amongst these types of thinkers, are almost impossible.  I may be speaking about myself too, but sometimes it's best not to sweep this stuff under the rug esp. when the problems arise from the minds of people who have been indoctrinated-- correctly or incorrectly.  If these mental and emotional battles erupt, it must be for a reason.  So when and if someone wants to instigate an argument then it is also dependent upon the ones receiving it.  They too have the free will to choose their path of debating, for the sake of debating, or debating to find a civil medium.  It may take a few more prods to find out which it is.  I am not so convinced it is the latter.

Line of reasoning is crucial in understanding how compromises or agreements will be met.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...
Damnthematrix wrote:

I totally agree Futuo.....  let's stick to the REAL issues....

Every issue is the "real" issue.  They are all interconnected, are they not?  I think when you stifle anything, that brings about tension, this only makes the issue that much more relevant.  My previous post contained a crude remark but it is because I think dewittr has something he has been dying to say.  Let him say it.  Much of what he posts comes from his "beliefs" and no one should be restrained from spilling the beans so to speak.  I'd like to actually hear what he has to say.  I think he is leery but maybe it's time we actually listened (read).

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

Right, and i'm generally the first to argue that religion plays a huge role in everything. I've spent countless hours researching all that stuff he talks about on his site, videos like zeitgeist, etc... and have come to the conclusion it's all b.s. (but that's my opinion!). I don't want to spend a ton of time just throwing statements and links about biblical accuracy, interpretation, etc... I think there's very little potential for a religious-type debate to "convert" anyone via a web forum, and a very high potential of pissing people off and distracting from the common ground we should be constructively building from. Unfortunately he doesn't have a forum for us to go to to "duke it out". In terms of you wanting to listen, it's probably just because you feel like you'll agree with him for once :P every other time hewittr talks everyone just tries to shut him up...(Those were both meant as humourous overexaggerations. Please take them with a grain of salt, no harm intended.)

I'm not one to shy from a debate, especially concerning something I believe about rather passionately. However, these types of debates end up being stubborn exchanges of page-long posts that no one except for those originally involved has the patience to follow. Eventually, rebuttals take 20-60 minutes to write, with references to "reputable" sources backing up each claim, as well as supporting responses made to the opponent's argument. And then we get to the point where we have sources attacking sources, and it just ends up frustrating those involved with nothing resolved, and naught but a typical inclusive post-debate "gee...what now?" feeling to show for it. You want to go down that road, fine, I'm in no position to tell you what to do or not to do on the boards. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...
caroline_culbert wrote:
Damnthematrix wrote:

I totally agree Futuo..... let's stick to the REAL issues....

Every issue is the "real" issue. They are all interconnected, are they not?

If you re-read my post, you will see I wrote real issueS

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...
Futuo wrote:

Right, and i'm generally the first to argue that religion plays a huge role in everything. I've spent countless hours researching all that stuff he talks about on his site, videos like zeitgeist, etc... and have come to the conclusion it's all b.s. (but that's my opinion!). I don't want to spend a ton of time just throwing statements and links about biblical accuracy, interpretation, etc... I think there's very little potential for a religious-type debate to "convert" anyone via a web forum, and a very high potential of pissing people off and distracting from the common ground we should be constructively building from. Unfortunately he doesn't have a forum for us to go to to "duke it out". In terms of you wanting to listen, it's probably just because you feel like you'll agree with him for once :P every other time hewittr talks everyone just tries to shut him up...(Those were both meant as humourous overexaggerations. Please take them with a grain of salt, no harm intended.)

I'm not one to shy from a debate, especially concerning something I believe about rather passionately. However, these types of debates end up being stubborn exchanges of page-long posts that no one except for those originally involved has the patience to follow. Eventually, rebuttals take 20-60 minutes to write, with references to "reputable" sources backing up each claim, as well as supporting responses made to the opponent's argument. And then we get to the point where we have sources attacking sources, and it just ends up frustrating those involved with nothing resolved, and naught but a typical inclusive post-debate "gee...what now?" feeling to show for it. You want to go down that road, fine, I'm in no position to tell you what to do or not to do on the boards. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Point taken.  I agree.  Although it may come up somewhere else down the line.  In this forum I'll concede.  I think I'm ready, though, to really listen to what he has to say.  It might not even be an argument he wants to propose, but something that he really finds important that relates to all of the relevant issues.  Most of us speak from personal experiences and he may find that it will help him to explain his position a little bit more... instead of always taking the defensive position.  I'd like to give him the opportunity... but not here.  Thanks for your remarks.  I see your points.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...
Damnthematrix wrote:
caroline_culbert wrote:
Damnthematrix wrote:

I totally agree Futuo..... let's stick to the REAL issues....

Every issue is the "real" issue. They are all interconnected, are they not?

If you re-read my post, you will see I wrote real issueS

I wasn't referring to your postS.  I was referring to all issues, including the one I brought up; not yours specifically.  I will stick to the "real" issues, whatever those are, to keep the peace.  I assume that is what you're getting at.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

At this point this may not be relevant (as the discussion has gone way off thread . . .) but:

Most people here in the U.S. take water completely for granted & consider it "free", much like the air we breathe. In reality, of course, it costs great amounts of money to purify & deliver this commodity to our taps.

Water is one of the few commodities with inelastic demand--no matter how much it costs, you've got to buy it. Someone above posted how the billions & billions of people in 2nd & 3rd world countries want what we in 1st world countries already have. I imagine they were referring to TVs, cars, McDonalds, etc., but at the very top of that list is clean & easily accessible water. As such, water will turn out to be one of the great investments of the next few decades.

The USA has a huge problem of leaking water mains, and any well-run International company involved in the purification or delivery of H20 should be a great investment going forward.

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Re: China's water and soil too far gone to support growing ...

I think that the psychology - how people respond emotionally and process information - of peak oil, climate change and economic instability is paramount. 

Perhaps the greatest challenge of all is how to facilitate people's progression through the 6 Stages of Awareness that they almost inevitably go through upon learning of these issues.

Even on this forum, which is attracting people who already have some interest and awareness of these issues, we see that denial, anger, bargaining, fear and depression are significant obstacles to be overcome.  This is crucial because acceptance must be reached before meaningful action can be started and sustained.

It is not enough, I believe, to simply inform people about these issues.  We must also find a way to help them move through those stages of awareness.  If we do not, so many will never get past denial.

On a collective level, our society has not even reached denial yet.  While many are aware of the threats posed by climate change on some level, and everyone has at least some understanding that we are in an economic crisis, few people know about peak oil and even fewer understand the depth and scope of the challenges posed by the Three Es when taken together.  In short, most people haven't got the memo that human civilization is facing the equivalent of a life-threatening illness.

Once a larger percentage of people do get this message, history and our own experience tells us that they aren't all going to snap to it and burst into action.  They're going to go through the same process that almost all of us have gone through.  And the tricky thing is, that process can last a long time for some folks - and we simply don't have that kind of time.

Deborah Rhode, a behavioral psychologist at Stanford, has done some interesting research on how people respond to massive threats like climate change and peak oil.  Not surprisingly, she found that people completely shut down if they are not presented with any possibility for a better future.  If the only thing they hear is how screwed we all are, they will not respond in any meaningful way.  They feel hopeless and disempowered and are likely to take the attitude of "if we're doomed, what's the point of me doing anything?"

Yes, we're headed for a lot of pain and suffering collectively and perhaps individually, depending on how prepared we are.  But there are also many potentially positive outcomes: more meaningful work, richer relationships to community, family and friends, a deeper connection with the land, more satisfying leisure activities, better health from more physical activity, etc.  I've written about these elsewhere, but the point is that including a vision of the positive changes that are possible in this transition is essential to getting people on board.  I'm not talking about sugar coating the reality; just making sure to include the whole picture, which is often left out in the "gloom & doom" discussions.

 

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