Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

How Inevitable is the Brick Wall?

NOT: We still have time to reform, retool, rethink and turn this situation around through reason and commonsense-- so let's get to work!   3 votes - 11 %
DOOM: Human nature isn't geared to solve this kind of problem; we're sunk by our short attention span and primate behaviours   3 votes - 11 %
DOOM: Boom and Crash is a natural biological/evolutionary pattern and we are just following our programming, dumb as yeast; in geologic terms it doesn't really matter   5 votes - 18 %
NOT: Things always look worst right before a paradigm shift, I'm optimistic about a radical shift in theory and consciousness   3 votes - 11 %
DOOM: We'll have Venus-formed Earth within my lifetime. I am writing this from a laptop in bed because I'm too depressed to get up.   0 votes - 0 %
NOT: Friendly aliens are coming to rescue us. They told me so.   2 votes - 7 %
SORTA: Industrial civ is not gonna crash and burn totally, but the GWOT is gonna look like the good old days... kiss democracy g'bye.   1 vote - 3 %
SORTA: We'll wake up and smell the coffee after a billion or so more preventable deaths -- or a few tens of thousands of Anglo preventable deaths. The price tag just hasn't got scary enough yet.   10 votes - 37 %
27 Total Votes
Keep your chin up amigo and look for the good news!  All 10-12K NYC taxis must switch to hybrid vehicles by 2012. This should inspire other cities to follow along.  The price of gasoline may hit $4/gal this summer. At some point the US population has to become acquainted with the bad news - disappearing oil.  The US is considering banning incandescent light bulbs (along with other countries) in favor of more energy efficient ones.  New LED technology may be the energy winner.

Lets see, new wind farms in Calif, West Va, etc etc.

And, more tropical storms (this summer/fall) along with the Western droughts you mentioned  (not good things for the persons affected) but certainly warnings to those who resist the less obvious signs of GW.

Makes me feel a little better already.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 09:23:42 PM EST
We are now feeling the effects of the CO2 raise from 280 ppm to 380 ppm. The goal for the Kyoto protocolls are just 170 ppm more. And that is not mentioning that we are in general using 1.25 times the output of this planet, each year. We are so far beyond sustainability that some crash is inevitable.

I think humanity will survive and even civilization as we know it, though most of the industrial part will go.It probably always was more efficient in moving resources to the rich part of the world then anything else. Spinning Jenny as a way of controlling the most value-added part of production while smashing the Indian industry, rather then more efficient means of production.

Smaller footprints will become a matter of survival so back to the farms and growing vegetables it is. And I see stopping the intellectual enclosure as vital in getting a softer landing. Human ingenuity and this wonderful mechanism of easily accesible thoughts that is Internet are among the few things in the plus column. Plus I can download Battlestar Galactica or Stargate SG-1 and dream away in a story were resources are unlimited, except for when the storyline demands otherwise.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 09:44:35 PM EST
For the moment, humanity is a terrifying part of the Nature. But we ought to survive this predicament.

Memos for the future:
A primer on remaining human
Not the end of the world
The Coming of Deindustrial Society: A Practical Response
Good luck!

by das monde on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 09:45:09 PM EST

Something will survive. It may even be approximately human, but probably only in a Mad Max kind of a way. After a few generations things may pick up again, depending on how much damage has been done. Or not - it depends on how bad the crash is, and how much warming happens.

I don't think we can go back to a happy hippy agrarian existence of vegetables and spliffs with a bit of Internet for distraction. You can't expect a city of millions to survive on a few square miles of allotments. It's not physically possible. Those of us out in the wilds stand a chance. But LA, London, Tokyo and the rest - not going to happen.

And the Internet won't work without a city infrastructure to support it.

I wish I had an answer. These days it's pretty much down to prayer (always interesting when you're not a theist), and hoping that either aliens or some kind of technological Deus Ex will appear and solve the problem.

But that's like expecting to win the lottery just because you've maxed out your plastic and have no other way to pay.

So I am not, at the moment, feeling very optimistic.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 09:57:49 PM EST
I am more optimistic.

The collapse appears to be a transcendental phenomenon in the biological or social sense - human civilisation did not experience anything like that before, probably. Or do those Apocalyptic Rapture myths communicate us some bits of the picture how civilisations like ours - descendants of Babylonian and Roman "progress" cultures - tend to collapse?

Anyway, to break through the empirical transcendence, we can use logic - our brains are big, after all. Not everyone will be able or willing to use it - but hey, not everyone would adapt to any big change. If human population drops just sixfold to 1 billion, it will not even be a collapse of this civilization probably - but that would be quite an episode of real "natural selection".

Most importantly, Mad Maxs of the future have little chance. Even the ones outsmarting all others in their locality will have hard time surviving in a deserted world. To survive and live, cooperation will be a necessity. The sensible survival unit will be a community, not an individual. There lies (inevitable) opportunity for revival of morality and all nice things. In particular, the best chance for you individually to survive extreme times is to live in a moral community, and be useful there. Some people will realize this. The Holywood myth of "survival of meanest" will make little sense - some (even really smart) Newtons of survival will meet bad luck, some idiots will live through against all odds. In extreme times, you won't really think of grabbing, eating and fucking as much as possible - that would help very little. You will be just glad to find a sense of your struggle and risks while alive.

by das monde on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 01:51:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about this prediction, from Graham Greene, "The Quiet American":

If I believed in your God and another life, I'd bet my future harp against your golden crown that in five hundred years there may be no New York or London, but they'll be growing paddy in these fields, they'll be carrying their produce to market on long poles wearing their pointed hats. The small boys will be sitting on the buffaloes.
by das monde on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 01:55:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Count me in the:

DOOM: Boom and Crash is a natural biological/evolutionary pattern and we are just following our programming, dumb as yeast; in geologic terms it doesn't really matter

group.  Question the "DOOM", tho', it's the way things are.

Species increase their population until they destroy the natural resource(s) required to support them.  Homo Sapians Sapians (sic) as  semi-capable, semi-cognitive, pack hunting, omnivores have a large range of natural resources available for exploitation.  Thus, we have pushed the planet to the situation it's in.  

The bills we've been running up: political, sociological, moral, financial, ecological, & etc. will be presented and they will be paid.  That's the way things work.  How many deaths will be tendered remains to be experienced.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 11:12:56 PM EST
But why now?

Why those political, sociological, moral, financial, ecological things work out this way now, and together?

Is it because of the population of 6 billion people? Is it because of the economic ideology that puts no stops on nature exploitation and polution? Is it because of "survival" competition to be most selfish, despite most ample total wealth? Is it because things change so fast that ethics and social concerns cannot adopt? Is it because small scale community relations are being destroyed in favour of state-wide economic pumps?  

Or to put in other way: How would you predict the moment of a next collapse? By the moment the total population reaches a certain bound? By the scale or tempo of technological progress? Or by the moment when greed gets widely accepted not as a vice but an admirable and decisive virtue?

by das monde on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 12:11:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Postive feedback systems destroy themselves.  Either they explode (think of hooking the emitter to the base of a transistor) or implode (stock market melt-downs.)  

Last month the price of a dozen eggs in my local grocery store went from 79¢s;/dozen to $1.69/dozen.  The answer is H5N1 - Bird Flu.  Poultry provided the main source of dietary protein in SE Asia.  The destruction of the poultry flocks there, and in China, removed them.  The other previously used source of protein was fish but the world fish stocks have plummeted.  Thus, SE Asia is turning to American egg factories for a source of protein, greater demand for a limited product drives up the price of eggs in New Mexico.

There is a secondary aspect of this, 50% of the US production of soybeans (soya) went to SE Asia as poultry feed. The previously used duo-crop rotation: corn (zea mays) and soybean, in the MidWestern US has been discontinued and a corn monoculture is being established.  Soybeans are a nitrogen fixing plant which reduced fertilizer requirements for the corn and it helped - a little - in breaking the pest and disease cycles.  

By going monocrop these farmers are increasing their reliance on oil.  As a fuel and as a source of necessarily required agricultural inputs: fertilizers, pesticides, fungacides, & so on from the petro-chemical industry.  

Running them, and their customers, into Peak Oil intimating increasing input costs for farmers.  At a time when the Supply of corn is growing.  The purchase price (Demand) for that corn is dropping.  US Midwest farmers are getting less money for growing more corn at a time when their input costs are increasing.  Sounds like bankruptcy, don't it?

This could go on, to pick one, with a discussion of how corn is used throughout the food chain which would get into cheap corn being used to feed cattle in huge numbers in limited space, the requirement of feeding antibiotics in their food, drug resistent transfer, and the reduced usefulness of antibiotics for treating human disease.  

The only thing I have run across that is more incomprehensible than the US Agricultural policy is water policy in the Southwest.  The Agricultural policy does, after hitting yourself over the head with a hammer a couple of times, does have a certain rationality.  For a loose definition of "rational."  The Southwestern water policy is just insane.  It makes no sense.  New Mexico ships water to Texas down the Pecos River and the water when it reaches the border of Texas is too salt to use for anything.  It's worthless.  Yet, every year, we ship water - of which we don't have a lot in New Mexico - to Texas.  Who can't use it and won't give it up.  The water is shipped due to an agreement signed back in the 1920s - IIRC - based on water flow measurements of, what we now know, was a 500 year flood.  

The US Agriculture policy is specifically designed to deliver the maximum amount of beef to the US consumer at the lowest possible cost.  

Southwest water policy is a crazy patchwork of Spanish Land grant law, territorial law, greed, Native American treaties, theft, bi-and-multi-state contracts, fraud, self-dealing, idiocy, the US Army Corp (Build We Must) Engineers, various federal goverment projects during the Depression, and a complete inability to cognize the Southwest is a freaking desert.  (Desert = Ain't Got No Water.)    

Things are only simple if you ignore the complexity and the inter-relationships of how the planet works.  Or doesn't.  Certainly the baser human emotions such as greed play a role - and so do the nobler emotions.  More important is the fact a lot of systems, e.g., Climate, is Chaotic.  An itsy-bitsy little tweak in a system can reverberate into a disasterous, from a human POV, shift in how that system does what it does.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 02:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More important is the fact a lot of systems, e.g., Climate, is Chaotic.  An itsy-bitsy little tweak in a system can reverberate into a disasterous, from a human POV, shift in how that system does what it does.

The Climate (and other Earth systems) are not "itsy-bitsy" sensitive this way - it was stable and conservative through very long times. Even now, with the antropogentic forcing that is anything but "itsy bitsy", the climate is not more chaotic. In fact, the entropy of expectable extreme weather events (both warm and cold, dry and wet, windy and still) is lower (less choetic) rather than higher (more chaotic). I do not really recongize determenistic chaos - rather I see a cybernetic systems which is set out of normal course and now trying to react.

Anyway, we still have to explain why people got this crazy now.

by das monde on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 03:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Postive feedback systems destroy themselves.  (think of hooking the emitter to the base of a transistor)

Huh? That will simply give you an switched-off transistor... For forward biased operation a positive potential difference between base and emitter is required. One could of course achieve a reverse bias with that configuration, by keeping the collector at a lower potential. That would just give you a diode, though... As would hooking the collector to the base... In short, more than one transistor is needed for a positive feedback loop.

Let it be noted as well that some form of positive feedback can be very useful, and is used often in electronic circuits. The circuits don't usually blow up at all. Examples include astable multivibrators and circuits with input hysteresis, such as comparators and Schmitt triggers. These positive feedback arrangements provide useful benefits, such as voltage controlled frequencies for oscillators and noise immunity.

Positive feedback is only 'bad' when one does not want its effects.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 03:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The positive feedback circuits don't blow up because first they drive themselves out of the linear regime.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 04:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, they saturate, as do many other physical systems... We can't get a real 'population explosion' either... It will saturate. The problem is that 'saturation' for a population might look rather nasty, if undamped. Very ugly oscillations.

In electronics most people are not stupid enough to propose an unlimited growth model. Or rather, the basic model is, sure, for many things, like amplifiers... And it is very, very useful, this model. However, anyone who has ever built a circuit knows that it is indeed bounded, and the region of constant gain/growth is limited... The constant gain model is only useful for a range of inputs... Unfortunately most economists seems to disagree that their discipline, as it is based in the physical world, will have very similar bounds to the constant gain/growth model. They come off a bit like first year electrical engineering students. Confusing the model with the system, and failing to properly take into account how it is premised on limiting the input to a certain range...

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 05:05:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Populations don't saturate, they overshoot and collapse. See Wikipedia: Lotka-Volterra equation [interpret us as the predator and the Earth's carrying capacity as the prey]

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 05:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, nasty oscillations. Under damped system.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 05:20:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is when each generation lives through many reproduction cycles and takes a long time to mature to adulthood. That gives the system huge delayed feedback.

In the case of magicicadas, as we learnt the other night, each generation reproduces at the end of its life cycle, and so in that case 1) you can have saturation; 2) you could potentially see chaotic logistic mapping behaviour.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 05:30:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That oscillation is why I support hunting of deer (as state departments of natural resources take it into account when deciding how many hunting permits to issue during any given year).

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 01:01:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So so I, but mostly because deer is tasty.

On the subject, all will be well, and if it doesn't at least it'll be interesting.

Most likely something like this: a bit bad-> pretty bad for us, very bad for the global poor-> very interesting-> good for us, as bad as usual for them.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 05:16:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Economists are idiots. If they spent at least a year studying some kind of engineering, they'd have much more of a clue. But most of what they do now is just campfire story telling.

As for transistor feedback - the easiest way to destroy certain kinds of transistor is thermal runaway. (Oh, the irony.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 06:39:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're young, can do math, and have a penchant for systems thinking, you're not likely to choose Economics as your field of study, are you?

And so we get the Mathematical Economics that we get.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 06:46:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that coupled systems of positive and negative feedbacks "naturally" become cybernetic systems. Any part X of the system that "learns" to react to neighbouring inputs in ways that increases stability of X, logically leads to increaed autonomy of X. Subsystems may "learn" to control their own growths and ocsillations as well. "Learning" may mean just stumbling upon a functional configuration of feedabcks (that then tends to preserve itself), or it may mean development of a cybernetic-mechanical mechanism to copy past reactions in certain distinguishable situations. Once a perception-reaction network is established, the system has a "mind" of its own.

Subsytems with expressive functionality put more structure to the whole system - positive feedbacks will be controlled or exploited by "someone", cooperative and competative feedbacks between functional subsystems will gradually occur. Self-preserving functionality of the whole system may emerge.

In the light of this, we should not assume that our destructive growth can physically continue until it crosses boundaries of its own validity - the boundaries may "come" forward themselves. The positive feedback of our run-away civilization should provoke a reaction of the Earth system. Do we see it? Is the explosion of our civilization so unique that the Earth system, even if existing as a smart self-preserving Gaia, "would not know" what to do with it? Or is human impact already so great that an unmistakable stress signal is already received by a core network of geological/atmospheric processes, but the reaction will take some time (a decade or so)?

by das monde on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 06:34:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're ascribing some intentionality to physical processes. The Earth doesn't care about carbon dioxide or about feedback loops.

It's more of a textbook die-off scenario, that - unfortunately for us - is going to be the biggest in history.

Maybe if we're lucky we'll be hit by an asteroid, and we'll be able to blame that instead.

The real problem is that evolution has bred humans to be smart enough to deal with small-scale survivability issues - like 'Whose brain do I eat today?' - but not smart enough to think globally. The predictive horizon of the average human ends at his or her front door. If they're lucky. Thinking far beyond that is too much of a stretch.

And among the humans who are - possibly - smart enough, there's a persistent brain-eating predator class which has no interest in anything except their own immediate pleasure.

We still cannibalise each other economically. And now we've cannibalised most of the planet too.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 09:42:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's functionality, not intentionality. I do not prescribe any intention formation, comprehension, and realisation planning. Just a copied perception-reaction cycle.

People can do big scale things, if they have to. But the modern "progress" and conveninece makes things like long-term planning, resourse conservation, child rearing in families unnnecessary. Ideology speeds up the process of unraveling of "obsolete" habits. The canibalism of this scale started recently, and will not last long.

by das monde on Thu May 24th, 2007 at 11:08:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You inspire me to dig up a post from last year:  

Committed to oil, we are committed to increasing climate change.  If you are sentimental, there is something you should do.  Record the biosphere in your area.  Write about it, photograph it, paint it, video-tape it--no don't do that, that's pointless--make a record that is durable.  The unsentimental fact is that the biosphere in your region is likely to simplify:  Plant species will die under the stress of weather they are not meant for, but they will not be replaced by more suited species, for there will not be time:  Climate zones will be shifting too quickly.  The short word for this is desertification.  In geological terms, a lot of new niches are about to be created to be filled (in geological, not human, time) by new, not-yet-existing species.  This is an exciting time for geologists of a million years hence.  

The excitement for us, of course, is somewhat different, as we procede, willingly, to wreck everything we have known and loved.  


The link is here.

The fact that survival is about to become very local (not to say problematic) presses on me daily.  But for the last couple of months I have been finding it very hard to write.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 03:09:16 AM EST
At least the Climate change will save us from peak oil.
by das monde on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 03:34:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
these guys think it just might.
by wu ming on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 04:26:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So far it is not clear to me whether their question rather is: will peak oil save us from Climate change? Their title is

Implications of "peak oil" for atmospheric CO2 and climate

Regarding this reverse question, I think that putting into atmosphere most of the carbon that was naturally sequenced in millions of years so fast should result in dramatic climate changes.

by das monde on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 05:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very good laying out of reasons to be pounding heads against the wall.

Pessimistic optimist (some say term is skeptical optimist):

  • Pessimist -- because the situation is so dire, news getting worse, with seemingly a determination to ignore the implications

  • Optimist -- because one doesn't have a choice but to work for, hope that we find a path forward that averts this disaster (or, let us say, averts the disaster becoming a total global catastrophe).

Thank you ... I think.

Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart. NOW!!!
by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 06:26:26 AM EST
staying in bed is about the most ecological thing you can do, anyway.

exhaustion as indicator of morale....

i'm knackered from overextending myself for days now, really needed a 'duvet day', then my partner called me to rescue her from a viper that was literally coiled outside her front door...

soooo, i hauled ass down there with a pitchfork and an air rifle, took a shot at it and scared it into the house!

where it hid under some boxes.

in no mood to try to follow and kill it, i settled for getting s.o. out to safety....

now i have to drive to meet an environmentalist recently moved here from england, and together we're going to check out a demo project near lake trasimeno where they have a fully eco house, grey water, windmill, the works, no-one lives there (!!!), but they have education sessions.

it's called panta rei, and is in passignano.

it's really hot, a bit overcast, and certainly will be a muggy experience.

got my snake boots on, and after we'll go hike a piece of land my brother is into buying.

as he does reconstructions of old houses, i want him to meet the environmentalist, to maybe get him some consulting work, seeing as it's getting 'di moda' to get all eeko-like, network, network, it's the last, only, and greatest hope.

and watch whom you're pissing off who could be lurking in the bushes...lol...the whole damn family of predators and sneaky movers.

de, sounds like you bit off a bigger bite of the apple of knowledge than you can digest right now....

retire and ruminate, when all else fails, BLOG!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 08:01:45 AM EST
Such as DailyKos???

If not, mind if I do a variant with linking back to / quoting you?

Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart. NOW!!!

by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 09:53:42 AM EST
When driving towards a big wall, what do you do? Accelerate! That's the ticket!
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 10:36:07 AM EST
does anyone really find something tragically noble about human folly?

are we more romantic to ourselves, during a grand thelma-and-louise finale over the olduvai cliff?

would we despise ourselves for wanting a simple, contented life, when a mad rush for a chimera of glory obviously has such a strong attraction?

are we so angry at the conditions imposed on us for survival, that we would rather crash'n'burn than power down?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 05:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the way our cultures glorify heroic burnout is unhealthy.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 05:47:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i think it's our revenge at god...

creating us so contradictory, and ever hungry for fulfillment....we'll show ya!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 24th, 2007 at 05:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I voted "DOOM: (evolutionary)", but my second option would have been "SORTA" in the sense that I think a dieoff is inevitable, even if we woke up and smelled the coffee now. It is possible that had we woken up back in the 1970's (see The Limits to Growth) a dieoff could have been prevented, but I think we're past the tipping point now.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 23rd, 2007 at 05:53:36 PM EST
I was gone for a coupla days... up to SF and back [by public transport of course].  so this was kind of a post-n-run.

gonna xref the Doom Inventory above with this (which some may find a bit woowoo, but is anything more woowoo than BAI?)

Despair and Empowerment:

We realized that people would have to deal with climate change emotionally and we wanted to support people as they move from denial to the possibility that they might feel despair and the shield of apathy that might arise after that. There's a line in Al Gore's film where he says too often people are moving straight from denial to despair without stopping in between and the problem with that is that is it lets you off the hook. With denial you don't have to do anything and with despair you don't have to do anything.[...]

One thing that is always left out of the mainstream conversation is deforestation. Forests are always left out. People don't know that deforestation is causing 20 plus percent of greenhouse emissions. So they aren't thinking in their solutions that we also have to protect forests and so I always have to point out that Tazzie's [Tasmania's] forests are being woodchipped at 10 dollars a ton and exported to Japan where they become toilet paper and you can almost hear a gasp in the audience. Previously if I'd been giving a presentation on forests and said that kind of thing I'd have either been preaching to the choir or talking to people who would just dismiss it as a concern of tree huggers and instead you can see people taking it in and realizing we have to protect our forests because of climate change. The other solution they don't know about is the fact we are pumping subsidies into the fossil fuel industry. There's between 6.5 and 9 billion dollars every year.[...]

Q: So it's not just about reducing your personal carbon footprint.

A: No not at all. It's more about what we can do as a community. First, how can we support each other in personal changes like shifting to green power in our homes, and next how can we work in our community to shift our community. At a recent meeting here in Nimbin, we talked about how can we get our own decentralized power plant here that's grid interactive so we can pull our own power off of a suite of green power sources like solar and wind before getting it from the main grid and then feed into that grid as a community. Some are working at the council level to get councils to ratify the Kyoto protocol, and some are working with an international project called ICLEI where the councils assess the emissions of the different sectors of the community and set forth a strategic plan to lower those. And they're also working on the state and federal level. If you look at what climate action groups are doing it is amazing. Ordinary people getting together. Some are trying to get every business in their town to turn to green power and every citizen to turn to green power. The last group I did was sponsored by the city council and that's what their climate action group is doing. That's their sole mission.

and the opposition...

It Won't Be Easy Being Green with comments from typical USian wingnuts below -- warning, this is a link to "Free Republic", not exactly a charter member of the reality-based community.  As the comments will demonstrate.

Is this page a spoof?  hard to tell these days...

more later...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 24th, 2007 at 07:01:54 PM EST

Occasional Series