MIT researchers offer grim assessment

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As I write I am thinking of one of my first in-depth population studies -- I chose to study lemmings -- when I was studying ecology in one of the state universities responsible for instigating the Green Revolution (a big ten Michigan school) around 1972 when Limits to Growth came out, and, given what I was discovering, and given that some of the big names responsible then for the Green Revolution were coming to our classes, giving guest lectures, telling us the Green Revolution had already been wiped out then, I took the lessons to heart. The various computer modeled predictions then were somewhat grim, but among the warnings was one scenario suggesting that if civilization started then, it could save itself the worst of the collapse calamities, even create a decent and sustainably stable human world on this planet before the worst case scenario came inevitably about.

It appeared, for a few years at least, and nearly all the way through the Carter Administration, that the rest of the nation was heeding the warnings as well. Public schools were quickly instituting environmental education programs to begin developing a crop of aware citizens who could pitch in intelligently to deal with the real threat the Limits to Growth computer modelings projected.

Then along came the corporate backlash to big bad government regulations along with a coordinated backlash against the feared to be too influential bad seed of liberal public education programs, and we the people got their front man, the now "heroic" presidential figure, Ronald Reagan, and with his smiling face came a systematic propaganda program instigated through corporate owned media (otherwise known with true Orwellian flair as "liberal" media) that puts Wilson's Creel Committee, perhaps even Goebbel's work in bringing frenzy to Nazi Germany, at the primary school level of propaganda.

Shrink government -- as a regulating force at least, maybe not the military, no not that -- take the chains off those Sampsons, our free market entrepreneurial business heroes, and let them make America wealthy (again, as if America hadn't just gone through its most extensive height of overall wealth achievement in its history following WWII). That was the corporate cry to renewed patriotic glory that their front man espoused. And enough of the masses loved it.

So we are suffering its legacy today, though everyone is so confused we can no longer explain in simple terms what lies at the source of that suffering. Hoards of conservative minions, once middle class workers, many once union workers and democrats, are now programmed to despise anything liberal, which, it turns out, includes anything democratic, which most now think of as socialism. And, of course, environmentalism was carefully crafted early on -- thanks to the threat of the newly devised and signed into law by Nixon EPA -- to be a liberal, even democratic idea. So if you are a conservative minion, you've been programmed through Rush Limbaugh, et al, to automatically reject anything environmental.

It might have just been another round of relatively harmless and humorous human folly that historians could look back upon with some laughs, except for the actual devastating effect it's had and continues to exponentially have on the very basis of life on our mutually shared and fragile layer of living biosphere of this lonely living planet floating in an otherwise starkly cold and biologically uninviting universe.

Since then, both Democrat and Republican politicians, spear headed by either party's Chief Executive in the Oval Office, have gone back to the economic addiction of human progress as an infinite growth global economy model, along with a general attitude of screw the environment as anything other than merely humanity's God given resource gift and handy garbage dump. No one can hope to be elected to the presidency in 2012 without having some plan to grow the economy, to mine more resources (and, ahem, destroy more of the environment through fracking, tapping oil under the Arctic Ocean as the ice recedes, and squeezing oil from shale) whether it's by the Keynesian style or the Austrian free market theories.

Unfortunately that forty-some year old computer program that predicted a collapse of socioeconomic order and massive drop in human population in the 21st Century appears to be dead on target. Not so much theory, like economics, but fact. Researchers at MIT have again revisited the program, updated the data, guaged the tragectory predicted, and now they think we may already be running in midair air, just like Wiley E. Coyote when he runs off a cliff chasing the Road Runner. We are about to drop.

No, the following article does not come from one of those supermarket check out stand rags that tell you about the latest UFO findings, nor is it one of the latest conspiracy theories from prisonplanet.com. It comes from Scientific American.

Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed the Environmental Point of No Return? May 23, 2012

Dennis Meadows, professor emeritus of systems policy at the University of New Hampshire who headed the original M.I.T. team and revisited World3 in 1994 and 2004, has an even darker view. The 1970s program had yielded a variety of scenarios, in some of which humanity manages to control production and population to live within planetary limits (described as Limits to Growth). Meadows contends that the model's sustainable pathways are no longer within reach because humanity has failed to act accordingly.

Instead, the latest global data are tracking one of the most alarming scenarios, in which these variables increase steadily to reach a peak and then suddenly drop in a process called collapse. In fact, "I see collapse happening already," he says. "Food per capita is going down, energy is becoming more scarce, groundwater is being depleted." Most worrisome, Randers notes, greenhouse gases are being emitted twice as fast as oceans and forests can absorb them. Whereas in 1972 humans were using 85 percent of the regenerative capacity of the biosphere to support economic activities such as growing food, producing goods and assimilating pollutants, the figure is now at 150 percent—and growing.

(my bold - .ren)

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Wow .ren that is depressing. How can we have hope to save this planet with news like that. So, now what? Just give up?

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Limits-Growth-30-Year-Update-ebook The original version was required reading for one of my classes at the university in 1973.

The End of Growth is a related tome.

earth-policy.org is a good site to bookmark. You can sign up for their e-mail letter, and an action link is in their toolbar.

What You Can Do

The United States completely restructured its economy within months once it decided to enter World War II, changing the course of the war. We, too, can change the world, but we need to start now. The choice is ours—yours and mine—to either adopt Plan B and move the world onto a path of sustainability or go along with business as usual and allow further destruction of our natural support systems. The choice will be made by our generation, but it will affect life on earth for all generations to come.

The overriding Plan B goals are to:

- stabilize climate

- stabilize population

- eradicate poverty

- restore the earth’s damaged ecosystems

The following is a short list of political and personal actions that you can take to help move us in a sustainable direction. For more ideas, visit our People in Action page.

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.ren, thank you for the post. this is the issue that we need to be focusing on above all else.We have built our global economy on this very fragile foundation.

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douglaslee, thank you for the post and the link. this is the issue that we need to be focusing on above all else.

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Quote Recovering conservative2:

.ren, thank you for the post. this is the issue that we need to be focusing on above all else.We have built our global economy on this very fragile foundation.

I agree. Let's try to keep this going. We need to include discussions for dealing with the feeling of being overwhelmed while we imagine the coming chaos. The first reaction most will have is to deny. But people are already feeling frightened and we need to help people face that, articulate it, and look at what they can actually begin to do. I recommend this Carolyn Baker audio interview as an introduction to mental preparation: Navigating the Coming Chaos Audio Interview

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Thanks, doug. There's also a forty year update. All updates continue to be consistent with the original dire predictions.

Heinberg is probably one of the foremost and steadfastly deep analysts of our situation. He and others who combine to apply the best of our science to the situation can be found at the Post Carbon Institute.

leading the transition

Founded in 2003, Post Carbon Institute is leading the transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world.

learn more

Mrs. Lee,

Facing what I call reality is a daunting exercise, and my heart goes out to those who go into shock.

I don't give up. It's not in my nature, apparently.

If we wait for society as a whole to act, well... I've been waiting for the larger society to get on board with the rest of us who are concerned since 1972. In the process I've also learned a lot about what keeps it from happening. I've come to grips with the futility of hoping for a mass awakening. It's out of my hands.

Helpless as the big picture can make me feel, I still try to figure out a way to act. Acting is also part of my own way of staying psychologically healthy. I grew up on a farm and I'm big on doing things for myself. I have had about three different businesses, only one had to do with writing, but it's part of my conceptual doing to write.

I was a general contractor in California for fifteen years, which means you have to take a nearly day-long test on all areas of building to get your license. I can build many types of houses complete from scratch -- electrical, plumbing, the whole thing. I can do it with the codes and I can do it better than code to fit with future needs.

My father was an advocate of organic farming before it was organic farming, and I grew up with those principles of growing food, which are the opposite philosophy of industrial agriculture, and by extension the opposite of industrial society. All those skills are going to die with me if I don't pass them on, so I've joined with others who are working at developing local community sustainability skills and trying to create some sort of local community resiliency in hopes of passing on some of what I've learned in life. That's a vision of rebuilding the culture we've had stolen from us by industrialization I hold consciously in my mind every day.

I moved to this part of the world (the Willapa Watershed in SW Washington State) for several reasons, but mostly because it seems, best I can figure, to offer some potential locational and environmental advantages in what I perceive to be a very unpredictable future. A bonus turns out to be that I am not alone in my assessment. I am happy to have connected with a new and growing community of people here who are hip to the global situation and who are trying to make a community of sorts. We have a long-practicing permaculture expert in our midst.

I know of a many who are on the leading edge of the cultural transition movement, here are just a few:

David Holmgrem and Bill Mollison coined permaculture as a term, and now they have many spin-offs, among which include centralized purveyers of information like The Permaculture Institute and the Permaculture Activist magazine.

A spinoff of permaculture is the transition town movement.

David Korten, an economist and once a USAID advisor to the globalist movement and consultant for the World Bank, woke up. In 1995 he published: When Corporations Rule the World (see Wiki for an overview) and has gone on to do lots of work related to sharing and educating in preparation for an alternative future in a positive way, see Positive Futures Network and his Yes! magazine.

For the schooling mind and spirit -- an extremely important but a commodified society's relentlessly trivialized feature of our humanity -- and developing a personal psychology of change I turn to people in the ecopsychology movement.

Carolyn Baker: Website, Sacred Demise, Navigating the Coming Chaos Audio Interview (this is worth a few minutes of your time to get where Carolyn is coming from, where she's going)

Pine Mountain Institute

Paul & Sarah Anne Edwards

Once you get into it you'll find plenty more like minds. There's a groundswell of awakening. We are not alone.

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That we are not alone is comforting but I feel that way living in the middle of a city. I don't want to be here. I hate it here and wish I could just afford to retire and move to the country where my heart is. I will check out the links you posted. Thanks very much.

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Another book to add to .ren's extensive library

World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

Lester R. Brown

We are facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Our challenge is to think globally and develop policies to counteract environmental decline and economic collapse. The question is: Can we change direction before we go over the edge?

Table of Contents (Chapters available in PDF and html.)
Includes Podcasts of Preface and chapter introductions. (Forthcoming.)

Free Download of Book, PDF

Complete Data Sets

World on the Edge Slideshow Presentation

Food Situation Highlights Presentation

World on the Edge Team
(People who have purchased five or more copies.)

Time for Plan B: Cutting Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2020

International Publishers

Unsolicited Comments from Readers

Fact Sheet (PDF)

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Thanks for that, doug. While it's not bringing anything startlingly new to the narrative, what I find helpful is to hear how many concerned, cogent thinkers keep coming out to add their voice.

And then there's the praise, and who praises it, combined with what they do to enhance change. I find that somewhat puzzling and even troubling, because some of them are continuing to support the problem itself, which is business as usual. The good news, I guess, is they are reading it:

Praise for Plan B

“Lester Brown tells us how to build a more just world and save the planet . . . in a practical, straightforward way. We should all heed his advice.” —President Bill Clinton

“. . . a far-reaching thinker.” —U.S. News & World Report

“The best book on the environment I’ve ever read.” —Chris Swan, Financial Times

“It’s exciting . . . a masterpiece!” —Ted Turner

“[Brown’s] ability to make a complicated subject accessible to the general reader is remarkable. . . ” —Katherine Salant, Washington Post

“In tackling a host of pressing issues in a single book, Plan B 2.0 makes for an eye-opening read.” —Times Higher Education Supplement

“A great blueprint for combating climate change.” —Bryan Walsh, Time

"[Brown] lays out one of the most comprehensive set of solutions you can find in one place.” —Joseph Romm, Climate Progress

“. . . a highly readable and authoritative account of the problems we face from global warming to shrinking water resources, fisheries, forests, etc. The picture is very frightening. But the book also provides a way forward.” —Clare Short, British Member of Parliament

The thing I keep thinking is, when people realize they are in a crisis, amazing things can happen. The biggest problem we have is the refusal to face the facts. And they are facts. Actual facts gathered by actual, concerned scientific minds who are not set on making millions, even billions of dollars, but are dedicated to understanding the way the world works so we can live in it. They are very different facts from the theoretical self congratulating B.S. that comes out of the advisory panel of economists who are driving corporatist policy. And corporatist policy is driving politics at the moment. That's Plan A.

So you have this contradiction of President Clinton lauding the book while he stands with President Obama in his campaign to be re-elected by assuring everyone things are fine and we are going to find ways to "grow" the economy, make JOBS, provide plenty of energy through fracking, drilling in the Arctic Ocean, and so forth.

We need a national conversation about this. Yet there remains a huge propaganda-created blockage to prevent that. And it's supported with mass advertising related to every type of product sold to a commodifed public in our commodified economy. That giant sales pitch is designed to divert the public's attention from the very dire circumstances we appear, from every scientific reading we have, to be hurtling ever faster towards.

I call those involved with diverting the needed national conversation "block heads". Most of them are Republicans and free market libertarians, unfortunately.

When I scan the Republican punditry supporting Romney, I find not even a brief mention of a transpiring environmental and energy crisis that considers a need for a dramatic shift to a Plan B approach. It's always, grow, grow, grow, and typical GDP-related measurments of that growth.

When libertarians tell me I should think about Ron Paul for president because of his attitudes about shrinking the U.S. military empire that are parallel to mine, I point out that Ron Paul's stated solutions for solving any environmental crisis, which he doesn't seem to have much notion of, thus not much curiosity to investigate, is the free market. In other words, stick our collective heads in the sand and do nothing. Let the crisis happen and it will take care of itself. That's going to be the reality of a free market approach. The suffering that will ensue from that is imaginable but incomprehensibly inhumane to me.

I put the impending problems I see way above what has proven to be delusional ideology. And I don't see that people have another 150 years to keep playing around trying to find a way to work a delusional theory.

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Thank you ren for the sobering reminder of the futility of Plan "A" and thank you douglas for the optimistic hope of a viable Plan "B".

There are two parts to this solution (which has already beed alluded to):

1. A macro-awakening on a grand scale (all 7 billion of us).

2. A micro-awakening on the left side of the American political spectrum.

Far too many "Lefty" Americans who fight against the powers responsible for the evils of Plan "A", do so very selectively. Somehow they accept Democrats colluding w/ Plan "A" as a reasonable option as compared to all out embracing Plan "A" as the GOP does. When Plan"B" to becomes a true populist movement, then there can be serious movement in that direction. American can help lead if quit wasting our time bickering about who takes responsibility and blame for the various versions of Plan "A" which are leading to the same place. I have hope.

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And thank you for bringing up the more complex "lefty" problem, laborisgood.

I believe the "lefty" problem is directly related to the block head problem. We are so punchy from being kicked around by the block heads of Plan A for the last thirty years that we find it difficult to organize ourselves coherently around this very basic principle of environmental destruction, which is, without any quibbling, our own eventual destruction as well. Pretending that somehow trivial modifications to Plan A won't take us there is delusional, given all the evidence that keeps piling in on us. The truth of that should stand for itself, we don't need to duck and dodge when the block heads try to punch and kick us to undermine it. And they will, that's a given. They have thirty years of practice along with our own abused conditioning to work with. We are like spousal abuse victims. We need to come to grips with that. And we can.

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We really need to get the public engaged in this debate. I am not sure why this issue hasn't been a larger part of the debate. The issue is that we live on a finite planet with finite resources the way we are currently using them and yet policy makers and planners on both sides continue do their planning with the concept of infinite growth that we can grow our way out of the problem either through tax cuts or spending increases.

All this data indicates that will not work.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1989028

The Two Limits Debates: 'Limits to Growth' and Climate Change

Reiner Grundmann
Aston University

Joshua Eastin
affiliation not provided to SSRN

Aseem Prakash
University of Washington - Department of Political Science

Futures, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. 16-26, 2011

Abstract:
In this article we compare the current debate about global warming with the earlier discourse of Limits to Growth (LtG) of the 1970's. We are especially interested in the similarities of and differences between the two cases and therefore compare the policy challenges and lessons to be drawn. While the two debates differ on important issues, they share a technocratic orientation to public policy, and susceptibility to similar pitfalls. In both debates alarming scenarios about future catastrophes play an important role. We suggest that climate change policy discourse needs to focus more closely on the social, economic, and political dimensions of climate change, as opposed to its excessive emphasis on emission reduction targets. We also argue that an excessive faith in the market mechanisms to supply global warming mitigation technologies is problematic. In this respect, we provide a reality check regarding the political implications of emission targets and timetables and suggest how policy issues can be moved forward.

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I've been struggling for years to understand why people don't take this problem more seriously.

That data seems real enough.

I think many people consider it real enough, but in an abstract way. They don't see it in their everyday lives. It always seems possible to put it on the shelf and continue on with their very real every day problems, which are myriad enough to keep them distracted.

Then there's very little coherent efforts by public media to keep this alive on a daily basis. People can be much more easily attracted to spectacle and entertainment, and the corporate media is about selling products woven around that. Many of those products are contradictory to what's needed as actual action to change the very things we are doing as a society to cause these problems, the truth of that cannot be revealed alongside the efforts to sell products. That effort is necessary to grow the economy. Growing the economy means jobs, and jobs are what people need to survive.

By the time all this destruction is actually real enough to be in enough people's faces on a daily basis, the means to do something effective to prevent the worst will be unavailable on a societal level.

I keep coming to that circular self destructive conclusion. I wish somebody could prove that wrong.

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I think a lot of it has to do with generations. A child born today will never know the true beauty that was once America. If you never walk through a virgin forest that has no roads or mines or electrical high lines criss crossing through it, you can't know what you missed. True, hands on knowledge of what America is will die with our generation. The next generation can't experience the world that we experience now any more than we can experience the true beauty of America in the 1800's. We accept what we are born into. Everything else is just a fantasy.

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.ren, I think issue is that it will take more than a sound byte answer to address it. It will require the acceptance of radical change in our planning. For over 100 years, all our planning has been based on the concept that the economy and everything related to it will keep expanding. I don't see that changing on any side.

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What predictions made in the 70's about this proved to be correct?

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plan_b_updates/2012/update103 is related to the Fukashima catastrophe. I was going to post it on the Fuki thread, but it fits here, too.

I don't trust the US to do anything. The international community is more aware, and has more freedom, so far. I can't believe the devastation of 800+ tornados just last year cannot raise an alarm. I would think the insurance business would be pressing. They might if premiums were capped and their profits were in danger. Then I guess, like flood insurance, tornado alley will become uninsurable, with coverage only provided by govt. [In the mean time, concrete bunkers ought to be an option, maybe beside the local churches, or basements made for the churches....naah, let 'em die, they're just leaches on the public purse, if more of them die, a tax cut may be forthcoming]

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The US probably throws away enough food daily to feed many countries. We also overeat and don't need as much protein and fats as we consume. Restaurants put too much on the plate often because that is the cheapest part of the meal with rent and help making up more of the cost of business. But people like to see a lot of the plate even if they can't eat it all. It's all about money and commercialism. You start telling people they don't need to eat as much and food lobbies will start howling. Capitalism be damned!

What needed to happen and didn't would be for leaders to sit down and on TV have a talk with the populace of what needed to be done. Carter came close to that with energy speech. But, oh no, we can't have that. It might hurt profits. So it didn't happen.

Democracies are cumbersome things and slow to react but oligarchies are much worse.

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Read pages 4 through 6 of the article, it discusses the issue there. You may want to review the FAO landing reports after that.

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CaptBebops, restaurants try to keep food costs under 10% of total expenses, and labor under 12%. Rent, utlilities, and marketing are the big three costs. In franchises, marketing gets wrapped intot he franchise fee.

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Quote WorkerBee:

What predictions made in the 70's about this proved to be correct?

Thanks for confirming my observation that the reason this issue, is it can't be reduced to a sound bite or you can't make it a bumper sticker.

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I went looking on the internet for survival food to put together a new earthquake kit and was shocked at a video that was on one of the sites where they were selling the food. I'm going to look for it again to share with you all. WHAT PROPAGANDA FOR THE OTHER SIDE! I COULDN'T BELIEVE WHAT I WAS WATCHING! I'll be back with the link if I can find it again as it seems to fit into this thread.

OK....I FOUND IT AGAIN......"If I wanted America to Fail" is the title of their video. It's near the middle of their page.

http://alpinesurvival.com/

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Quote Recovering conservative2:
Quote WorkerBee:

What predictions made in the 70's about this proved to be correct?

Thanks for confirming my observation that the reason this issue, is it can't be reduced to a sound bite or you can't make it a bumper sticker.

I will not feed trolls on this thread.

That's my bumper sticker for the thread.

As you suggested, the information is there for the grasping -- for anyone interested. But, to confirm your own observation, it's too complex to grasp from reading a few sound bites. Anyone not interested in understanding this problem can be expected to show that by doing typical sound bite questions, which would put us in charge of the proof so they can run us around in circles to make us waste our limited energy. That's trollism 101. We don't need to hold anyone's hand. As far as I'm concerned this is a thread only for people who want to take the personal responsibility to find out about their own world.

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Quote MrsBJLee:

I went looking on the internet for survival food to put together a new earthquake kit and was shocked at a video that was on one of the sites where they were selling the food. I'm going to look for it again to share with you all. WHAT PROPAGANDA FOR THE OTHER SIDE! I COULDN'T BELIEVE WHAT I WAS WATCHING! I'll be back with the link if I can find it again as it seems to fit into this thread.

OK....I FOUND IT AGAIN......"If I wanted America to Fail" is the title of their video. It's near the middle of their page.

http://alpinesurvival.com/

Straight forward propaganda, Mrs. Lee. I have a fair number of people around me who believe patriotic tautological gibberish presented just like that, without question, and who show all evidence of lacking the intellectual curiousity to understand why it's just the same old propaganda that gets them to follow their leaders. I had to shut it off after a few minutes, but I recognize the production values involved. It's basically the genre of "American Exceptionalism" used to drum people to war, complete with the emotically charged music.

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I am glad to hear it. I was at seminar in December when group of eningeers and economists who presented on this topic of the limits of growth and the facilies in all our planning of continued growth. It is funny when they presented it made sense and I wondered why I hadn't realized it. No other system has continued uninterrupted growth why should we expect this one to be different. The premise was interesting that the cycle has been started by cheap abundant resources which we have used up the easily attainable ones and now growth is being maintained by cheap credit which will be exhausted in the near future as well unless changes are made.

The sad part of it is that no one is talking about it or making policy or plans to deal with it. Unless we can educate and alert enough people there will be problems.

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Quote Captbebops:

What needed to happen and didn't would be for leaders to sit down and on TV have a talk with the populace of what needed to be done. Carter came close to that with energy speech. But, oh no, we can't have that. It might hurt profits. So it didn't happen.

Yes, that's what we need right now. Carter happened to be president as the corporate anti-environmental propaganda program was kicking into high gear in the late seventies. Which is what I'd say it took to get Reagan in office. They went after the farmers and ranchers to turn them against the EPA regulations, and a slew of other targets. Then when Reagan took office they gave us all the finger by putting James G. Watt at the head of the EPA just to show us how much control they can have.

During a March 1991 dinner event organized by the Green River Cattlemen's Association in Wyoming, Watt said, "If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box, perhaps the cartridge box should be used."[26][27]

During a 2001 interview, Watt applauded the Bush administration energy strategy and said its prioritization of oil drilling and coal mining above conservation is just what he recommended during the early 1980s.[28] "Everything Cheney's saying, everything the president's saying – they're saying exactly what we were saying 20 years ago, precisely ... Twenty years later, it sounds like they've just dusted off the old work."[28]

(source)

I know the information that shows full extent of what was done during that period is accessible if I want to dig it up. It's all in my head somewhere at the moment.

Maybe if Obama had an Eleanor, as FDR did, things might have turned out differently. He might have been giving fireside chats with us, maybe even with all our tremendous technology, now far beyond the AM radio of the thirties to go with it. A lot of the more human things FDR did can be traced back to his conscience, Eleanor, but that's another story. In many ways I value Eleanor more than Franklin.

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Quote recovering_cons:

The sad part of it is that no one is talking about it or making policy or plans to deal with it. Unless we can educate and alert enough people there will be problems.

That's one of those dry understatements.

And this is not an easy subject to teach. Ecology is about complexity, feedback loops, and systems of intricate dependencies. Those are not easy understandings to translate to people who think in atomistic terms. And our media is as atomistic as it gets, so that's pretty much how people are trained to hear things. You have only a few minutes to get something complex across between commercials. Everything must be carefully scripted, no room for exploration or thoughtful pauses to reflect on the meaning of something just said.

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I will NOT be buying survival food from that website! That video blew my mind! I hope you got to the part about the environmentalists! I can't tell you how angry it made me! How DARE THESE PEOPLE! & I know you are RIGHT that a fair number of people will believe that garbage!

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Keep in mind it's not garbage to them. They are living within a narrative that for them is reality, the American Exceptionalist narrative, and what that propaganda is designed to do is consciously and cynically support that narrative, but it doesn't really need facts to do it. Goebbels didn't use facts to whip up the German population, he played their emotions (and he cited Eddie Bernays here in the U.S. as one of his mentors). Eddie Bernays, who was a member of Wilson's Creel Committee that successfully whipped an anti war population into a fighting mood, and into WWI, didn't use facts to sell women on smoking cigarettes in the late Twenties, he called them "torches of freedom" and in the process opened up the other half of the population as a lucrative market for the tobacco companies.

Torches of Freedom

March 31, 1929. It was a big day in New York City, the day of the Easter Parade. A woman by the name of Bertha Hunt and several other women stepped into a crowd of people all wearing their Sunday best and lit cigarettes, at that time not only completely socially unacceptable.

It just so happened that the press was there as Hunt and her friends were lighting up. Miss Hunt began explaining to the press how she had been told to extinguish her cigarette the other day, and how she had devised the idea of lighting up with her friends at the parade as a protest. The cigarettes were "torches of freedom," a new step in the march towards equality of the sexes.

News of the event spread like wildfire, and it was not long before women everywhere were lighting up in the street.

The event, of course, was not a spontaneous reaction to discrimination against women smokers in public, it was a carefully crafted piece of theater designed by Eddie Bernays to fulfill his promise to American Tobacco to increase sales of Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Bertha Hunt was Bernays's secretary. The press had been alerted to the event by Benays himself, although of course anonymously. The entire affair had been planned completely as a marketing campaign, but that did not make it any less impactful. It succeeded in breaking down the walls of women smoking in public, and of course made American Tobacco a lot of money.

The "Torches of Freedom" campaign is now one of the most famous episodes in the history of marketing and public relations. For many Bernays is considered the founder of the entire field of public relations, noted for his ability to take the pulse of the times and turn it into a public relations coup for whatever business he happened to be representing at the time.

That's what we are up against in just trying to bring actual facts about our world to people. The corporate world now understands how to manipulate mass consciousness better than any force in the history of mankind.

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.ren
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Well we had better get good at that too if we are going to make any headway! We need the mass's to understand what drilling for oil in pristine waters and wilderness, killing wolves for cows, leveling forests for tar sands, and more is going to KILL US!

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MrsBJLee
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another group that is trying to influence policy was co founded by Hannes Kunz from the University of Zurich one of his presentations " Energy and Globalization A Fairy Tale – no Happy" from 2009 can be found at
http://web.mac.com/biophysicalecon/iWeb/Site/BPE%20Conference_files/Down...
the organization that he co founded is IIER - the Institute for Integrated Economic Research.
http://www.iier.ch/content/how-it-all-began.
The group is dedicated to educating the public and governments about the situation and the need to change

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Recovering cons...
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Quote MrsBJLee:

Well we had better get good at that too if we are going to make any headway! We need the mass's to understand what drilling for oil in pristine waters and wilderness, killing wolves for cows, leveling forests for tar sands, and more is going to KILL US!

We need to talk about this. And I don't see a pretty answer to that dilemma.

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.ren
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Quote Recovering conservative2:

another group that is trying to influence policy was co founded by Hannes Kunz from the University of Zurich one of his presentations " Energy and Globalization A Fairy Tale – no Happy" from 2009 can be found at http://web.mac.com/biophysicalecon/iWeb/Site/BPE%20Conference_files/Down... the organization that he co founded is IIER - the Institute for Integrated Economic Research. http://www.iier.ch/content/how-it-all-began. The group is dedicated to educating the public and governments about the situation and the need to change

Thank you for that connection. I downloaded that presentation and I'll look through it as soon as I can get to it. A quick overview tells me Kunz has caught on to the macro economics aspect of the problem. His process is much different than mine so I'll be very interested to see how he comes to his conclusions. Detail-oriented people are a kick. It takes me a few seconds to come up with the following conclusion, but they'll happily and methodically work through all the data I ought to work through and show all the connections, so I love having them around. Here's a paragraph from The challenges of voluntary de-growth:

IIER research suggests that all those de-growth approaches will not be successful at an aggregate societal level, at least not before reality enforces de-growth when economic expansion is no longer possible. Although small groups of people actually might sign up, societies as a whole likely won't. We see three key reasons for our skepticism: evolution, substitution effects and financial markets locked into a growth model.

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Substitution effects, here is one why_you_should_eat_yak_instead_of_beef_

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Quote douglaslee:

Substitution effects, here is one why_you_should_eat_yak_instead_of_beef_

That's part of the supporting data bouncing around in my head that helps explain how the ranchers (and their cadre of country-western supporters) were recruited against the evil environmentalists threatening their way of life by imposing rules to control their ranching entrepreneurialism in the late seventies.

Then and now, any attempted description of the environmental destruction caused by cattle ranching pastoralists (using public lands of course), has to go up against the American West's unique corner on Exceptionalism in our mythological narrative, with something like the still prevalent heroic patriotic American male John Wayne imagery as a back drop. And it was John Wayne himself who felt personally affronted by certain Westerns that bent the genre mythology in questioning ways, like High Noon, a mythological depiction of those who went up against McCarthyism in Hollywood, where those attacked as Pinko Stinkos were left, often standing alone like Gary Cooper, without support.

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I keep returning to an idea that an organization needs to be created to support and nurture the lefties with the courage to face the truth and spread the gospel. It seems like the blockheads will always out-number the progressives. I used to think that it was mainly a matter of development as roughly modeled in Spiral Dynamics, but now I find that some people are simply born with The Republican Brain. I do have a good friend that seems to have a republican brain, but was indoctrinated well enough to have a firmly established liberal worldview...so there is that hope.

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MEJ
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Quote MEJ:

I keep returning to an idea that an organization needs to be created to support and nurture the lefties with the courage to face the truth and spread the gospel. It seems like the blockheads will always out-number the progressives. I used to think that it was mainly a matter of development as roughly modeled in Spiral Dynamics, but now I find that some people are simply born with The Republican Brain. I do have a good friend that seems to have a republican brain, but was indoctrinated well enough to have a firmly established liberal worldview...so there is that hope.

I wish. But it concerns me that the self adulating American Exceptionalist culture seems to contain a memetic-based innoculation against the long-term success of any such potential group. The McCarthyite embedded meme transforms itself over and over into any anit-lefty organizational force by the simple act of rote labeling, which triggers predictable reactions that fill just about any Republican Brain immediately with fog.

This I'd say presents one of the most daunting of the many challenges in what Recovering_Con's linked IIER calls the challenges of voluntary de-growth. And why they conclude:

Our approach - expect no change unless mandated by reality

The ultimate consequence IIER derives from these findings is that we humans - for well established reasons - will not adjust our behavior at a societal aggregate level before we are forced to do so. We may find this tragic or regrettable, but ignoring this reality might drive us to incorrect conclusions. While we wish it would be different, we have come to the understanding that we should look at a future where largely unchanged societies run into resource constraints, because this is far more likely than any other more benign scenario involving deliberate changes before resource or financial market limits inhibit further expansion. This is why we focus our research on understanding those limits and what can be done to mitigate the consequences once they will be reached, and on the question of how to address the resulting problems when they become apparent to most people.

And that reality too will be reinterpreted by the Republican Brain in its own mitigational way acting on those future limits. Which will of course most likely result in responses like the one in Mrs. Lee's linked video, reminiscent of those religio-cultist militia groups: Alpine Survival

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I would like to offer one more arrow in the quiver to coerce sustainability, civil law. Any responsible steward of a land mass, whether leased, subleased, owned outright but effecting ajoining acreage should be held liable for an amount determined by the loss of productivity for the years ascertained to achieve original status. In addition to the loss, an equal damage award to the community surrounding the strip miners, the frackers, the commercial pig farms, chicken gulags, cowboy welfare queens of beef with a claw back provision. With the current machiavellan scotus, there is not much hope. But, if a seat or two switched, a liabilty clause could be entered into our Dept of Interior charter.

Public lands grazing in fact imposes a direct cost to taxpayers of more than $120 million a year, and estimates of annual hidden costs reach much higher, to between $500 million and $1 billion. The U.S. government, at the beck of ranchers, clears forests; builds roads, cattle guards and fences; diverts streams; blows up beaver dams; “improves” habitat; monitors the health of livestock; and, through the aegis of the Orwellian-monikered Wildlife Services, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, excises “undesirables” from the wilderness. These undesirables, poisoned, shot and trapped, include some 80,000 coyotes, 70,000 prairie dogs and 33,000 beavers annually. The result is continued enclosure, monoculturing and the effective privatization of the American commons—all funded by the taxpayer.

Democratic and Republican Congresses alike have defended these subsidies as the cowboy’s divine right, though in fact federal grazing provides just $1 out of every $2,500 of taxable income in the West, and just 1 out of every 1,400 jobs. Ranching on public lands in the West contributes minimally—less than 3 percent—to national beef production, as most American beef is husbanded in the temperate East. Meanwhile, the industry in the last 20 years has consolidated into fewer and fewer hands, those rich operators who can survive the exigencies of the globalization of the beef trade and the rampant land value speculation that has overtaken much of the scenic West. Today, 10 percent of the cattle operators in Montana, to take just one example, own 50 percent of the cattle in the state. These new cattle oligarchs, lobbying government to maintain their power, are the modern incarnations of the legendary barons who helped win the West in the 19th century via coercion of whole cities, corruption of officialdom, collusion with railroads and Eastern banks, rampant violence, the ecocide of buffalo and the genocide of Native Americans. The power of political cowboyism today extends even to cowing the big green conservation groups—the Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council—that have refused to tackle head-on the environmental damage from ranching.

Technically I think the corporations that abandon communities should be held liable for damages. Bain committed flinticide in Marion IN, DHL committed finticide in Wilmington OH, and of course GM started the whole destructive mess with Fint Michigan.

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I've been trying to think of how to respond to your post #39 doug. Everything I come up with is just too complex.

We are trying to fix a system that's evolved in the favor of corporate, privately owned production forces, and those forces are geared to objectifying everything on our living planet, including us, perceiving those objects as resources, and using those then redefined resources in an objective, rational production capacity. Our attempts at fixes are generally attempts at trying to head off one disaster or another, and are generally not systemic, but atomistic in nature. The system as a whole can solve most of our atomistic impediments that come up, like the regulations we've devised through the EPA. And when the only problem it has is organizing the less than 1 percent of the upper management of its functioning system to accomplish those problem solving efforts, the system as a whole is in a much better position to solve problems than the rest of us put together acting as government.

What we have to look at are the underlying features of the system itself, and how those features also keep us trapped by the system so that we can't effectively organize on a systemic level ourselves.

Some of those features include things like "growth" and the connection between "growth" and the majority of people's livelihoods through their jobs. It's through those connections that the system can effectively blackmail us to act against what are obviously long term things not in our favor.

Heinberg, in your above reference The End of Growth: Adapting to our New Economic Future, offers some ideas in that direction. And, of course, relevant to this thread, he's pointing out that whether to wealthy managers of the system like it or not, growth is not going to continue much longer. He goes into much greater depth through the book, but here's his big picture of how he thinks we need to approach the problem now, before the crisis is so huge there's no options available but what will undoubtedly be the most horrendous conditions for the majority of us:

Quote Richard Heinberg:

What Comes After Growth?

The realization that we have reached the point where growth cannot continue is undeniably depressing. But once we have passed that psychological hurdle, there is some moderately good news. The end of economic growth does not necessarily mean we’ve reached the end of qualitative improvements in human life.

Not all economists have fallen for the notion that growth will go on forever. There are schools of economic thought that recognize nature’s limits; and, while these schools have been largely ignored in policy circles, they have developed potentially useful plans that could help society adapt.

The basic factors that will inevitably shape whatever replaces the growth economy are knowable. To survive and thrive for long, societies have to operate within the planet’s budget of sustainably extractable resources. This means that even if we don’t know in detail what a desirable post-growth economy and lifestyle will look like, we know enough to begin working toward them.

We must discover how life in a non-growing economy can actually be fulfilling, interesting, and secure. The absence of growth does not necessarily imply a lack of change or improvement. Within a non-growing or equilibrium economy there can still be continuous development of practical skills, artistic expression, and certain kinds of technology. In fact, some historians and social scientists argue that life in an equilibrium economy can be superior to life in a fast-growing economy: while growth creates opportunities for some, it also typically intensifies competition — there are big winners and big losers, and (as in most boom towns) the quality of relations within the community can suffer as a result. Within a non-growing economy it is possible to maximize benefits and reduce factors leading to decay, but doing so will require pursuing appropriate goals: instead of more, we must strive for better; rather than promoting increased economic activity for its own sake, we must emphasize that which increases quality of life without stoking consumption. One way to do this is to reinvent and redefine growth itself.

The transition to a no-growth economy (or one in which growth is defined in a fundamentally different way) is inevitable, but it will go much better if we plan for it rather than simply watch in dismay as institutions we have come to rely upon fail, and then try to improvise a survival strategy in their absence.

In effect, we have to create a desirable “new normal” that fits the constraints imposed by depleting natural resources. Maintaining the “old normal” is not an option; if we do not find new goals for ourselves and plan our transition from a growth-based economy to a healthy equilibrium economy, we will end up with a much less desirable “new normal.” Indeed, we are already beginning to see this in the forms of persistent high unemployment, a widening gap between rich and poor, and ever more frequent and worsening environmental crises — all of which translate to profound distress across society.

Heinberg, Richard (2011-08-09). The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (Kindle Locations 503-527). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

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After reading what you posted I wonder to myself......how can that be accomplished considering the current way things are going? How are we who understand what he is saying supposed to prepare? Did he ever get to that in his book?

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MrsBJLee
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Quote MrsBJLee:

After reading what you posted I wonder to myself......how can that be accomplished considering the current way things are going? How are we who understand what he is saying supposed to prepare? Did he ever get to that in his book?

He talks about life after growth in Chapter 7.

One of his suggestions for preparing is along the lines of what I'm attempting in many of my discussions on this board:

Quote Richard Heinberg:

Our collective global conversation about the economy needs to change. We need to be thinking and talking about how to adapt to the end of growth. I don’t know how to help catalyze that conversation without first pointing out some inconvenient facts — starting with the fact that our economy currently is set up to fail under the kinds of circumstances that are unfolding around us (resource depletion and catastrophic environmental decline). If political leaders and voices in the major media are unwilling to consider the possibility that growth is ending, then at least this information should be available to receptive individuals and communities so they can prepare themselves for what is coming.

Heinberg, Richard (2011-08-09). The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (Kindle Locations 4689-4694). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

In other words, we have to change the conversation on many levels. One of those levels is this debate between the cons and the libs over the preference of free market or Keynesian controlled growth. That's the current conversation in short form. That's the basic key to resolving all the environmental problem issues. Neither form of growth will save the environment, and in the long run, will save us.

One of the impediments to changing the conversation is this:

Quote Richard Heinberg:

The strategies that individuals should be pursuing to prepare for the end of growth (disengaging from consumerism, getting out of debt, becoming more self-sufficient) are things that — if everyone did them — would keep the economy from recovering and would push us further into recession.

When the short-term interests of the economy conflict with the long-term interests of communities, a majority of individuals, and the natural world, we have a dilemma on our hands. In some respects, it is not an entirely new one (this conflict was implicit in Marx’s critique of capitalism), but it is becoming acute and more difficult to hide. Resolving the conflict entirely in favor of individuals is no solution if this results in a substantial reduction in the integrity of the social bonds the economy knits together: that is, if we are reduced to a random collection of seven billion humans, each scrambling for survival in the absence of functioning currencies and governments. In that case, the result would be universal chaos, confusion, and suffering.

Somehow we have to prepare individually for the ending of growth (a process likely to be accompanied by economic and political upheavals) while at the same time preserving and building social cohesion and laying the groundwork for a new economy that can function in a post-growth, post-fossil fuel environment. It’s a tall order, but nothing less will do.

Heinberg, Richard (2011-08-09). The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (Kindle Locations 4702-4707). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition. .

And the problem of voluntarily looking at what we must do in the long run brings us back to one of the salient points I posted above regarding The challenges of voluntary de-growth:

Our approach - expect no change unless mandated by reality

The ultimate consequence IIER derives from these findings is that we humans - for well established reasons - will not adjust our behavior at a societal aggregate level before we are forced to do so. We may find this tragic or regrettable, but ignoring this reality might drive us to incorrect conclusions. While we wish it would be different, we have come to the understanding that we should look at a future where largely unchanged societies run into resource constraints, because this is far more likely than any other more benign scenario involving deliberate changes before resource or financial market limits inhibit further expansion. This is why we focus our research on understanding those limits and what can be done to mitigate the consequences once they will be reached, and on the question of how to address the resulting problems when they become apparent to most people.

Heinberg and many others now, like David Korten, are advising going local and developing community networks for survival. Of course still think globally. I've already posted links to some of those who are providing advice as well as active experiments as prototypes along those lines. There are many potential variations. I'm doing something like that myself. I agree with Heinberg that the loner survivalist solution is completely insufficient, nor does it actually comply with our innate humanity. We have survived successfully as social beings for most of the evolution of our species. I think it's hard to imagine a perfect plan for what's coming.

If you are looking for something more specific, he's put this in the book:

Quote Richard Heinberg:

After long consideration, I’ve decided to put that advice for individual adaptation to the end of growth on a website (TheEndofGrowth.com) rather than include it in this book. That way it can be frequently updated as I hear from readers.

Heinberg, Richard (2011-08-09). The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (Kindle Locations 4713-4715). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

Here's a direct link to the supplemental materials he's referring to: TheEndofGrowth.com_supplemental_materials

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Recovering Conservative said:

We really need to get the public engaged in this debate. I am not sure why this issue hasn't been a larger part of the debate. The issue is that we live on a finite planet with finite resources the way we are currently using them and yet policy makers and planners on both sides continue do their planning with the concept of infinite growth that we can grow our way out of the problem either through tax cuts or spending increases.

Quote .ren:

In other words, we have to change the conversation on many levels. One of those levels is this debate between the cons and the libs over the preference of free market or Keynesian controlled growth. That's the current conversation in short form. That's the basic key to resolving all the environmental problem issues. Neither form of growth will save the environment, and in the long run, will save us.

One of the impediments to changing the conversation is this:

Quote Richard Heinberg:

The strategies that individuals should be pursuing to prepare for the end of growth (disengaging from consumerism, getting out of debt, becoming more self-sufficient) are things that — if everyone did them — would keep the economy from recovering and would push us further into recession.

When the short-term interests of the economy conflict with the long-term interests of communities, a majority of individuals, and the natural world, we have a dilemma on our hands. In some respects, it is not an entirely new one (this conflict was implicit in Marx’s critique of capitalism), but it is becoming acute and more difficult to hide. Resolving the conflict entirely in favor of individuals is no solution if this results in a substantial reduction in the integrity of the social bonds the economy knits together: that is, if we are reduced to a random collection of seven billion humans, each scrambling for survival in the absence of functioning currencies and governments. In that case, the result would be universal chaos, confusion, and suffering.

Somehow we have to prepare individually for the ending of growth (a process likely to be accompanied by economic and political upheavals) while at the same time preserving and building social cohesion and laying the groundwork for a new economy that can function in a post-growth, post-fossil fuel environment. It’s a tall order, but nothing less will do.

Heinberg, Richard (2011-08-09). The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (Kindle Locations 4702-4707). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition. .

The concept of "end of growth" was completely foreign to me until .ren brought it to my attention. It makes perfect sense and it really is difficult to refute in simple common sense terms. The only contrary argument to be made is ..... when will we reach "end growth" if you think we are not there yet. It's a given that growth cannot continue ad infinitum.

Unfortunately, blissful ignorance is preferable to willingly entering into the sobering reality of acceptance. The sooner this reality is brought to light en masse, the better chance we have to minimize the painful repercussions that are associated with it. It's like a root canal that we know we need, but it's just not absolutely necessary today.

Growth via tax cuts or spending increases is the sum total of the entire discussion, but it's time to transcend that skip in that broken record. Once we accept that growth is not endless, it frees us from the burden of arguing which path to the same place is the best path. There is a different place that doesn't rely on growth.

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Laborisgood
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Thank you for all of that. I am going to check out the website and supplemental materials. I guess we had the right idea when we were trying to live in communes back in the 60's & early 70's.

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MrsBJLee
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This is my number one concern. I think everything, the economy, our very future, comes back to these environmental issues. This is why I find most of the arguments taking place right now to be irrelevant if they are simply tinkering with keeping the infinite growth mode of our way of life going. It takes a lot of education and understanding to sort out what it tinkering from what can be important in making this transition. That's why this needs to be the priority conversation at all levels of society. A president who understands this would be doing so very many different things than either of the two who are most likely to be the one elected in November.

There should be no more debate about this than if we were preparing to defend ourselves from an society ending external enemy. As Pogo said, we have met the enemy... and he is us.

We have learned so much in the past two hundred years. We do not have to throw it all out, if only we can come to grips with this basic notion of balance and sustainability.

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.ren
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Last night was hard for me. Tears rolled as I mulled over all that we are doing to our earth and wildlife. During an animal planet show I watched a group of people live in harmony with nature. They stood at the edge of the ocean, called out for the dolphins to come, the dolphins chased in the fish and the villagers tossed in the net for the catch. The first thing the villagers did was let out any dolphins that got caught in the nets then they tossed some fish to the dolphins. That was beautiful to behold. I have also seen, (and I am sure I posted the link on another subject) a video of how cute and playful the dolphin can be as they nosed up to a cat on a boat. It was so cute to watch as both animals were so curious about each other. But last night I watched on my computer as the Japanese turned the ocean blood red from killing these intelligent creatures. It was a blood bath and more than I could take. It was a massacre of these highly intelligent creatures.

We are killing everything and we're sucking the life out of our planet. Sustainability? Balance? Harmony? We better pray for it and do what you can to make it happen. Sorry...hope I didn't get too far off topic.

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I too have suffered through the documentary on the Japanese slaughter of dolphins. I can only take so much.

I think I'm in a constant state of a sort of subliminal, droning PTSD these days as I try to keep track of all that's taking place

However, I like to think I've worked through the worst cases of it, which I think occurred for me on three significant occasions in my life, the first when I was about five going on six years of age. Maybe it's because of those that I now emphasize ecopsychology and the importance of paying attention to our own mental health as we concern ourselves with what we as a species are up to on this planet. Ecopsychology cannot occur without immersing ourselves in the real planet we live on. I am convinced it will not occur adequately in the make-believe denial of nature that is our mechanical/concrete invention as cities. Those are the epitome of a denial of our connection to nature and the belief in the infallibility of infinite growth, sometimes mis-termed human progress. If we don't reconnect with the living aspect of our planet, we are going to lose our sanity, and maybe that isn't important for me individually, but I keep in mind at all times my concern for the next ten generations and beyond and that helps me keep working at staying sane.

Thankfully we have a few wise souls involved in this whole new awareness of what this latest crop of sociopathic versions of our species is doing to the planet who are also taking the trouble to find ways to school the spirit for those who recognize they need it. And that is always the first step to any recovery the worst our minds can do to us. This is not the new age touchy feely stuff that I suppose is a well-intentioned offshoot of that hippie commune era, this is some very serious work.

Limitless Wisdom In The Age of Limits by Carolyn Baker

Quote Carolyn Baker:

I was invited with great skepticism by conference director and Four Quarters founder, Oren Whiddon, to present two workshops on emotional and spiritual preparation for collapse. Despite my attempts to reassure him of my disdain for “New Age nausea,” he remained cautious until he heard my presentations and the overwhelmingly receptive response to them which once again revealed the insatiable hunger that I have been witnessing all over the nation and the world for support in finding meaning and purpose in the experience of industrial civilization’s demise.

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We are not going to be able to "terra form" our own planet's atmosphere with Bush's plan for carbon sequestration.

We are just simply going to go down in geologic history as an exceedingly foolish and arrogant race with our leaders being the worst of the worst. And that goes especially for Obama who is drilling in the Arctic and legislating loopholes for even more pollution given the information that civilization, if not the very human race itself, is in serious SERIOUS peril. Obama and Bush will burn in history as the lastet of the greatest fools that ever lived (i don't call that "success")

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telliottmbamsc
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Quote telliottmbamsc:

We are not going to be able to "terra form" our own planet's atmosphere with Bush's plan for carbon sequestration.

We are just simply going to go down in geologic history as an exceedingly foolish and arrogant race with our leaders being the worst of the worst. And that goes especially for Obama who is drilling in the Arctic and legislating loopholes for even more pollution given the information that civilization, if not the very human race itself, is in serious SERIOUS peril. Obama and Bush will burn in history as the lastet of the greatest fools that ever lived (i don't call that "success")

Sounds like you feel helpless about it. You write as if it's a done deal.

Do you believe that we cannot have a national conversation about where we are headed? You would not be alone.

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.ren
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We can (and will) have this national conversation, but it will likely be much further past the point of no return than it should be. Survival instinct is very powerful.

Once this conversation is taken seriously, what are the results? I can envision a vast majority of the world population biting the bullet and accepting maintaining and sustaining at the expense of growth because survival depends on it, but what about the small minority of the population whose power and wealth evaporates without growth. Can survival create a change of heart for them? Is there a mutual agreement between the two sides that can avoid serious bloodshed?

How about labor unions for the masses that do not fight for their piece of the growth pie, but instead fight against growth and push for mutual non-growth that places a premium on survival of the species and planet. What if people refused to work for growth oriented companies? It sounds crazy, but if the choice was made for survival purposes and an overwhelming majority of the population was on the same page, it would be hard to stop from happening.

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Laborisgood
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Unfortunately, I had hoped that conversation would be active here at the Hartmann web site. But I still prisonplanet posts, etc. and other issues that are distractions.

If we don't come to grips with this issue as a society most likely there will not be a society in 20 years.

But no discussion that signs that the planet has gone beyond its carrying capacity. For over 5 years, the weight of landing of seafood from the ocean has been declining, more the coral reefs are dying, dead zones in the oceans are increasing in size and number. As with the documentary about the dolphins or whales, everything seems to be swept under the rug as MSM carries information about the latest celebrity debacle, etc.

.ren, and others for the posts but I guess we need come up with the bumper sticker like recycle to live, or live so your children can live

Recovering conservative2's picture
Recovering cons...
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You don't know what 'Libertarian' means...

If you want to know what libertarianism is all about, don’t ask a libertarian, because most of them don’t know.

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