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Keep the faith, deep greenies

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, July 22nd, 2021 - 75 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster - Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s Kate Raworth, of Doughnut Economics fame,

People can follow the link to look at the report, but the point of the post here is to note how change happens, and that it is happening. It looks too slow, and it is too slow, but we have tipping points on our side, and we want to be be in the best position to intervene so we tip in a good way. Raworth is saying that when a right wing, populist, UK tabloid runs a piece talking about how the Limits of Growth report was right, then we’re making headway in the general population.

What we need now are a multitude of degrowth stories, so we change the narrative from TINA, green BAU, brown tech, mars will save us to we can live within the limit of nature and still have good lives.

For those that understand the cyclical, interconnected nature of reality and why growth is inherently limited in the physical world and that our best hope in the face of the impending catastrophe is shifts in consciousness to remembering the earth is our mother, here’s a post of kia kaha and keep up the good work, because while there are no certainties, we are making a difference.

I’ve written about the Powerdown as a way of fast reducing GHG emissions while also transitioning to the most resilient society we can be for the already locked in changes.

For those looking for a more mainstream approach to degrowth or steady state, here’s an intro to Doughnut Economics,

 

Feel free to share the pro-active, narrative changing, this is the world we want stories below.

75 comments on “Keep the faith, deep greenies ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    When Limits to Growth was making headline news in 1972 I was thinking `yeah, got that already' but the chorus of mainstreamers in denial resulting proved yet again that the political left & right were equally part of the problem. That's why the Green movement emerged equidistant between the two to triangulate them.

    Trouble is, fast learners are a perpetual minority. Collective progress becomes real to the extent that others get the message & get on board. Denial is a mass psychological condition amongst mainstreamers – that's why leading-edge politics has faced the challenge of using psychology creatively to snowball consensus. Fair to say that most activists failed to even grasp that intellectual challenge!

    So now we're getting progress via mainstreamers doing the Green thing: AOC for example, providing a progressive edge to liberals in the USA within the party that represented slave-owners in the 19th century and organised crime in the 20th. AOC doesn't lead the US Green Party because she wants to be a winner, I guess. When the system is stacked against the third alternative by design, join the establishment instead…

    • weka 1.1

      sure, but we need people in the mainstream with power to be pulling the Overton Window greenward, so I don't see that as a problem per se any more than the NZ Greens choosing mainstream over radical in order to have some parliamentary power.

      What we need is most people to believe climate change is a) incredibly serious and b) here now. Then the issue becomes what to do. Atm, too many people are focused on EVs or riparian plantings, rather than the whole systems. But it's still change in the right direction and we need to present narratives of what other options there are, because you might be feeling ahead of the crowd, but most people don't get it. Yet.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        or people do get it and then the EVs and the riparian planting is just a greenwash to make the masses feel that they a. can still consume, and b. be green.

        Never mind the floods in Europe – which in many ways has started that 'green' wash already in the 80s with high standards for cars, insulation, double glazing, solar energy, public transport, organic farming etc.

        But as long as we make people believe that they don't have to sacrifice a few of their comforts, we continue to a. build cars, pave more green over to black tar, and be obese over consumer for the most part nothing much will change.

        The next interesting election to come is Germany as The Greens could well end up in a coalition with the centre rights Party CDU/CSU. But all three parties are still afraid to tell people that the end of blind consumerism has arrived. Because at the end they too want to get elected.

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/21/german-election-poll-tracker-who-will-be-the-next-chancellor

        Grosse Koalition = term for the 'big parties' – but i guess this will change as the Social Democrats (Labour equivalent) in Germany could not find their shoes if you point them too it.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          "or people do get it and then the EVs and the riparian planting is just a greenwash to make the masses feel that they a. can still consume, and b. be green."

          In which case, they don't get it. Getting it being the cyclical, closed loop nature of physical reality.

          Did you read and understand the post? I'm asking for new narratives here, new stories that help people understand the ways out of the situation. It's easy enough to point to what's wrong, I want pointers to solutions.

          • Sabine 1.1.1.1.1

            Massive investment into public transport would be one of my solutions if only to provide an option to re-green places that have been paved over.

            Imagine all the amount of land world wide that is given to parking cars being ripped up to either build housing, or replant.
            Single serve cars must be the about most unproductive thing on this planet. Yet we insist on having them, and build them even bigger, despite all the use of fossil fuel, rare earth minerals and the lack of ideas of how to dispose of them.

            Maybe have a toll on cars that only carry one passenger?

            I have read the post. I have understood the post. But unless we are happy to finally start sacrificing items/status symbols that we consider almost a birth right, i expect us to end up like the world in blade runner, grubs as proteins, dead wasteland every where else, flying cars and hologram ads to consume.

            I am looking at the destruction in Europe, Americas, China, NZ etc, and our dislike of being honest with our own choices, is what keeps us back. So as long as we think we can keep our current standard of life, with all the gadgets in it, we can not change a single thing. As it is our behaviour that caused and causes global warming, weather weirding and the coming collapse in our natural world. We are part of it, and i think that is what we forget most of the time.

            I shall leave you with that. I like your posts Weka, i do read them and i do read the comments underneath, but i personally think that the time for radical change has arrived, and that feel good incentives are actually an impediment to the change that is needed.

          • Dennis Frank 1.1.1.1.2

            pointers to solutions

            For me, the notion of paradigm shift that emerged during the '80s always seemed to promise a potential trigger for shifting mass consciousness.

            A paradigm shift in politics was actually provided here by MMP – but it wasn't sufficient. To defeat consumerism as prevalent social ethos, one must replace it with a collective survival focus, and that incorporates economics.

            To get a paradigm shift in economics, you need the Green movement to keep explaining the various strands of sustainability & resilience design, and how to implement them in practice. Instead parliament requires the Greens to be subservient to the system, so they end up playing politics as usual most of the time. To get a solution to that problem, the Green movement ought to abandon their blind faith in parliamentary politics, and create leaders outside parliament to spearhead the necessary change.

            There was actually a working model for this in the 1970s. Still operational, but the mystery is that it was often in the news back then & hasn't been since. Leadership failure??

            "ECO was founded in 1971 as CoEnCo to meet the needs of the conservation community. We became ECO in 1976. We are a non-profit network of 50+ organisations with a concern for conservation and the environment."

            "Our membership includes large international groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, national groups including National Council of Women, as well as small local groups such as Kapiti Environmental Action and Save the Otago Peninsula, and issue oriented groups like the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust. ECO has been centrally involved in campaigns to protect native forests, lakes and rivers, the reform of the Mining Act and defeat of the National Development Act, and in supporting the Resource Management Act and the establishment of the Department of Conservation and Ministry for the Environment. ECO continues to be at the forefront of environmental campaigns on fisheries, transport and environmental management."

            "ECO's work is carried out largely by volunteers, supported by a small office and resource centre in Wellington. There are around 500 "Friends of ECO," individual subscribers and others who support our work."

            "As well as working within New Zealand ECO maintains links with international networks, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Environment Liaison Center International (ELCI), Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, and Climate Action Network (CAN)." http://www.eco.org.nz/about.html

  2. Ad 2

    Every time we rebuild a city or town we get that chance.

    Christchurch has had the most substantial managed retreat yet seen in New Zealand, and is likely in for more. In 2006, there were more than 10,000 people living along the Avon corridor. Now, there are fewer than 100.

    You can see its absolutely startling natural evolution from "Red" to "Green" in this Stuff interactive:

    https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/2019/09/christchurch-red-zone-to-green/

    Same now goes for Westport, but too early for the new RMA's replacement Act to have a fund attached that will enable managed retreats.

    The ban on human habitation in the Bay of Plenty's Matata (highly flood prone) was a very difficult but important precedent. Some are keen to go, but there are always a few that hold out since it is so difficult to sell a damaged or Notified place then re-buy elsewhere.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/bay-of-plenty/124342377/ban-on-human-habitation-in-an-area-of-flood-devastated-matata-given-final-tick-of-approval

    I think this is the first case of full abandonment of a settlement due to flooding since Kelso in the early 1980s.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/102139488/kelsos-continual-flooding-issues-prompt-discussion-in-west-otago

    The threat of getting sued for that climate change response is pretty high and is what happened in Matata as well.

    https://www.minnesotalawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Osofsky_4fmt_PDF.pdf

    Managed coastal retreat is one of the most important climate change responses over which local, regional and central government have strong powers to direct that change.

    The question will have to be raised about the viability of some parts of Westport once this winter is finished. Hundreds of houses Red Stickered, in a town already depopulating but still desperately in need of fresh housing.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/447238/westport-houses-red-stickered-one-stop-shop-set-up-for-flood-hit-residents

    Unwillingly, the era of managed retreat is upon us.

    • weka 2.1

      nice one. I'd add, to close the loops, that for each person or family that has to shift because their house becomes uninhabitable and where it's not wise to rebuild onsite, we should now be insisting on resilient and sustainable design for each new build. Not much point in building a whole new house down the road that still has multiple new vulnerabilities.

      Passive solar and cooling, solar hot water, grid tied solar where possible. We need major shifts in the building industry to relocatable homes. Somewhere like Westport is prime for tiny houses as a way to get people back living in their communities asap, without rebuilding permanent in flood zones. Tiny houses as interim housing until the area can come up with new plans that take climate, ecology and quakes into account. And right there are jobs as well, building tiny or relocatable houses. Bet there's a big potential there for relocalised food growing too.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        Several hundred families are devastated in Greymouth already.

        There are no tradies around to build replacement houses, and the house buildiers in the South Island are still flat out in Queenstown, Wanaka, and Christchurch.

        So the affected families will have to move, if they can. It is a massive and likely permanent downward shock for each of those families and their futures.

        I do not wish 'managed retreat' on anyone.

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.1

          Then you might want to contemplate the 80% likelihood of a massive Alpine fault movement (magnitude > 8) in the next 50 years.

          One way or another the whole of NZ is a giant geotechnical hazard. Maybe we should all manage a 'retreat to Australia' and turn these remote islands into one giant World Heritage Park. devil

          • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.1.1

            Sooner, is my expectation. Much sooner…

            • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Sooner on the park I take it? As a keen tramper I have to declare a competing interest. wink

          • lprent 2.1.1.1.2

            Yeah. You know that there are severe geotechnical hazards in a country when a earth sciences grad like myself thinks that the safest place in NZ is in a field of more than 50 basaltic volcanic cones and calderas.

            Between the volcanic plateau and the tropical cyclones, far enough (I hope) from the great faulted slip and subduction zones. All I have worry about is living up high enough and watching for the long warnings of a basalt cone arising.

            • greywarshark 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Dunno if NZ Geographic will let you read Journey into the Interior but it is fascinating story of man and woman going back to Simple in NZ.

              Journey into the Interior – Lessons from 10 years in the wild.

              Great magazine support it if you can.

              • RedLogix

                Some years back I spent a weekend on a group tramp, one of whom was the woman of that couple. And I'm also very close to the couple who have lived in relative isolation at Gorge River in South Westland for decades. And in earlier decades I spent a lot of time in wilderness areas one way or another. It's a way of life I'm very familiar with.

                But it's definitely not a way of life that's disconnected from the larger society around us. You can only sustain 'simple' for so long before you need to go back into civilisation for something you really need. Whether it be food, clothing, equipment, medical supplies or dental treatment, etc.

                And frankly most people simply would not tolerate the hardships and loneliness involved.

        • weka 2.1.1.2

          See this is where government intervention matters. We know that this is going to be an ongoing issue, so put in place the structures that will enable people to build in their own communities. The West Coast is a really good place to trial this, because it's normal there for people to do stuff.

          People building holiday houses should take a step back.

          • Ad 2.1.1.2.1

            Yes agree. The state build capacity through Kainga Ora is taking a long time to build up in the South Island.

            There are multiple constraints to new replacement house builds that are getting worse for the West Coast and the South Island generally.

            – Duopoly of building supplies – the recent North and South edition details some of this

            – Foreign worker constraints – note we are about to go into full shutdown of access from Australia for everyone

            – Local worker undersupply – they are too busy elsewhere, and the West Coast jobs are nowhere near as lucrative as the big architectural houses in Otago area

            – Materials shortage constraints due to shipping and global supply chain problems that are going to take at least a year to work through now

            Then there's the fact that local council and regional council planning has failed to keep up with the growing risks that the floods demonstrated.

            The time of course to be prepared for all of this was prior to it happening. We are already now in a disaggregated and disorganised public sector state, and the effects are happening now.

            Possibly the most active agency in the South Island is Waka Kotahi/NZTA. But they don't build houses.

  3. pat 3

    Degrowth is already occurring….thats what the Limits to Growth models predicted and unfortunately we havnt adopted the SW (stabilised world) approach in time…..we are about 20 years too late (see graphs)

    https://www.interest.co.nz/sites/default/files/embedded_images/Update%20to%20limits%20of%20growth.pdf

    • RedLogix 3.1

      While that paper is interesting and I'm not going to throw rocks at it, at first scanning it doesn't appear to take into account the demographic dividend.

      Countries with the greatest demographic opportunity for development are those entering a period in which the working-age population has good health, quality education, decent employment and a lower proportion of young dependents. Smaller numbers of children per household generally lead to larger investments per child, more freedom for women to enter the formal workforce and more household savings for old age. When this happens, the national economic payoff can be substantial. This is a "demographic dividend."

      The original ideas on the 'Limits to Growth' (LtG) were formulated by people living in the early phases of the Industrial transformations. They observed the rapidly reducing infant mortality rates, and the expansion of economic activity from a base of absolute poverty, projected them forward and loudly proclaimed that "infinite growth is impossible on a finite planet".

      Two things have undermined this line of catastrophic thinking. One is that after the initial phase of dramatic population growth once people attained a certain level of human welfare, they stopped having huge families. Now in all but Africa, population growth rates are either close to, or even below, replacement almost everywhere. The peak rate of human population growth actually happened back in 1968 – infinite growth was never going to happen.

      Secondly humans have been evolving in the presence of resource constraints for millions of years. We're really good at adapting to them and the idea that at the peak of our development, that this capacity will somehow vanish is not supported by the evidence. For instance the amount of land needed to feed each person has more than halved since 1960, and continues to drop. Yes the planet is finite in one sense, but our ability to use those resources intelligently isn't.

      To some extent this paper nods towards these two ideas, but my impression is that the author hasn't really understood how they should imply a substantial shift in their starting assumptions.

      • pat 3.1.1

        Limits to growth has been regularly updated and critiqued.

        There is no demographic dividend available in a collapsed civilisation.

        Human beings have evolved in a resource constrained world, and often failing in the attempt. they havnt been tested in a resource depleted world.

        https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/37364868/BRANDERHORST-DOCUMENT-2020.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.1

          Collapse can never be ruled out. Planning for it seems however counterproductive.

          Yet it's true that if we look to history we can find plenty of societies and whole civilisations that have come and gone. The root causes of their demise often come down to some critical lapses or shortfalls in technological progress.

          For instance it's now fairly clear that the Classical Greeks had developed almost modern mechanical computing technology. They were but a few short steps away from a full blown Industrial Revolution in the time of Archimedes.

          Or others had access to ideas and technologies that might well have been the solution to their environmental problems, but for what can only be described as ideological failures, they refused to use them. This is what we've done with nuclear fission for 4 decades now, and as a result we're still debating climate change.
          I'm more than happy to concede this, that collapse could happen is a point I've made here many times. But neither is it inevitable.

          And yes I can well understand that LtG thinking has necessarily been updated since the time of Malthus. It had to shift in order to retain any credibility whatsoever. But what if it's entire underlying premise was actually wrong?

          Pessimists often claim that human progress is about to come to a screeching halt. They say that the resources that make progress possible are about to run out, dooming us to a reversal in living standards. The Club of Rome, along with nearly every environmentalist, tells us that incessantly, usually pointing to a supposed mineral shortage that will end civilization. The pessimists insist that everything must be recycled and that we must have a completely circular economy. Alas, they fail to understand how the mineral industry actually works. On a deeper level, they fail to understand that humans have agency. We are not merely buffeted by the natural world but can solve problems ourselves.

          The entire LtG model of thinking strips humanity of it's agency; it treats us as if we were nothing more than bacteria in a petri dish.

          • pat 3.1.1.1.1

            The planning they recommend was designed to avoid collapse, not plan for it…sadly they were shouted down.

            What if they were wrong? Firstly, theyre not and secondly what if they are right…precautionary principle.

            The mineral industry are the worst example to give for sustainability….eat, root and leave .

            As to agency and petri dishes…we have behaved as bacteria rather than using our supposed agency

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1.1

              The mineral industry are the worst example to give for sustainability….eat, root and leave .

              Yet here we are decades after the Club of Rome assured us the world would have collapsed back to Mad Max by now, mineral resources are by and large as available as ever at unchanged or even lower real prices.

              What actually happens is that most minerals are widely present, but high concentrations of them are relatively rare. Humans have been extracting gold, silver, copper, tin and iron for thousands of years. The original methods were so primitive that only the most concentrated ores could be used economically.

              Fast forward and we now have far more sophisticated methods (I know because I work with them hands on) that allow economic extraction at head grades that would have been considered absurdly low even just a few decades ago. Gold for instance is now regularly extracted at close to 1gm/tonne, which just 20 yrs ago would never have been touched. And there is a hell of a lot of it around at that concentration.

              In the long run I disagree on one point with the article I linked to. It's my view that with abundant, cheap and clean energy it really does open up the door to increased closed loop resource recycling, and that at some point this will become economically more attractive than extracting ever decreasing ore grades. Eventually I see some kind of long-term stable balance between extraction and recycling – but this depends on the energy source.

              • pat

                . "Yet here we are decades after the Club of Rome assured us the world would have collapsed back to Mad Max by now, mineral resources are by and large as available as ever at unchanged or even lower real prices."

                If that's your take then you obviously havnt read what they said

              • Robert Guyton

                These "sophisticated methods", RedLogix – got a EROI on those?

                • RedLogix

                  Literally I spent last night working to gain an improvement on exactly that measure for the process I'm currently commissioning. As an industry we do this all the time, each gain individually small and marginal, but collectively significant over time. As I pointed out, we now profitably extract gold at grades considered useless just two decades ago. There is no reason to think this process will stop.

                  And in the bigger picture, once we transition away from fossil fuels, and in my view we implement Gen 4 nuclear (or any other cheap, clean and abundant power source if that's your preference), the EROI question will more or less reframe itself into another whole realm altogether.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    once we transition away from fossil fuels… the EROI question will more or less reframe itself into another whole realm altogether.

                    Grim CO2 forecast by International Energy Agency puts Paris Agreement targets almost out of reach
                    Forecasts newly released by the IEA on Tuesday predict carbon emissions will rise again this year and next, with the level in 2023 expected to surpass the record set in 2018.

                    Clarke & Dawe (TV Series)
                    The Front Fell Off (1991)
                    John Clarke: Bob Collins – Australian Senator

                    "Interviewer: So what do you do to protect the environment in cases like this?

                    Bob Collins – Australian Senator: Well the ship was towed outside the environment.

                    Interviewer: Into another environment…?

                    Bob Collins – Australian Senator: No, no it's been towed beyond the environment, it's not in the environment.

                    Interviewer: No but from one environment to another environment…?

                    Bob Collins – Australian Senator: No it's been towed beyond the environment, it's not in an environment."

                    It's all coming together rather nicely – just don't upset the apple cart for a few more decades, and for gawd sake don't mention 'emergency'.

                    Interviewer: But Senator Collins why did the front of the ship fall off?

                    Bob Collins – Australian Senator: Well a wave hit it.

                    Interviewer: A wave hit it?

                    Bob Collins – Australian Senator: A wave hit the ship!

                    Interviewer: Is that unusual?

                    Bob Collins – Australian Senator: Oh yeah! At sea? Chance in a million!

              • powerdownkiwi

                Abundant, cheap and clean energy?

                There is only real-time solar energy; think of it as sunlit acreage (via Catton, Overshoot). We tapped into stored acreage (fossilised sunlight) and irrupted; we are now grossly overshot, vis-a-vis real-time solar energy.

                But you miss it with 'abundant'; we already commandeer a large portion of those sunlit acres, and other acres have to be left alone.

                Cheap? Given that it takes energy to do work, and without work not one dollar is underwritten, there is no such thing. As easily-gotten fossil energy is used up, the harder-to-obtain is all that remains. Don't get confused by 'costly', think of it as 'taking more energy to acquire'.

                And given that money is keystroked into existence as debt (which is merely a forward bet on future energy and resources) and that it currently takes more than $1 of debt to 'produce' $1 of GDP (3.5:1 in the US, debt which cannot ever be repaid) why relate ANYTHING to the $?

                As for 'clean'; that's greenwash. Hydro is dirty, PV is dirty, you cannáe break an omelette without making an egg – or something along those lines. All you can be is 'least dirty'.

                But we will be doing orders-of-magnitude less than we do now, and triaging infrastructure as we descend the ladder.

      • Robert Guyton 3.1.2

        "For instance the amount of land needed to feed each person has more than halved since 1960, and continues to drop."

        The amount of land available for growing food also continues to drop (see California or anywhere else drought lives, or flooding washes soil to the sea).

        • RedLogix 3.1.2.1

          On that point I was hoping people with your skills and passions would step up to show us the way.

          Contrary to what everyone imagines, just because I defend the progress we have made, does not imply I'm also claiming the status quo is any kind of ideal. We have to keep evolving and improving our methods – and preserving agricultural soils absolutely deserves all the attention we can give it.

          • Robert Guyton 3.1.2.1.1

            I wonder at the motivation for preserving agricultural soils. If we frame the protection (and proliferation) of soils that can sustain food crops for humans, primarily in "we humans want" terms, we will continue to degrade, in my view. Feeling differently about soil ( and all other live medium, entities and such elements) is the only long-term, effective, responsible, acceptable path to take, imo. I also feel that this will come/ is coming; I constantly look for signs of it, in the language used; it won't come till the language changes; in the beginning was the word, or the cry, the sound, the sneeze 🙂

            • RedLogix 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Well yes, One attainable option is the kind of intensive, closed loop food system like aquaculture. It's not hard to see this driving 'agricultural' land use per capita even lower – and in turn freeing up more and more land for wilderness, rangelands and managed forests.

              In some parts of the world (New England is apparently a good example) this process has been going on for some time.

  4. Gosman 4

    The idea that growth is somehow limited ignores how economic growth works. Economic growth is all about value. Some of that may involve increased resource use but often times it does not. Hence if I can improve the efficiency of producing something by using less resources for the same or greater value I am actually getting growth. To give you a more practical example a phone uses far less resources than a computer did 20 years ago but it is far more powerful and therefore valuable.

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      Phones, eh! More efficient….and vastly more numerous, and more quickly cycled through to landfill. That's progress for ya!

    • Dennis Frank 4.2

      I think that was the framing Russel Norman was using back when he was advocating `Green growth'. Your point about value is correct but doesn't address the destruction of natural systems which is the global problem.

    • weka 4.3

      but we have more people wanting devices now, and multiple devices, and the phones being made are still disposable rather than repairable and high recyclable, so phones are still reliant on extractive, resource depleting industries.

      it's not hard to see how your argument fails in multiple ways.

      • Gosman 4.3.1

        What makes phones disposable is not really the production quality of the phone. Indeed I still have workable phones from 8 plus years ago. It is technological redundancy that leads to people getting new phones. What you are essentially arguing is to stop further advancement in this area.

        • Robert Guyton 4.3.1.1

          Advancement = proliferation – that is, more, more, more!!

        • weka 4.3.1.2

          No, what makes phones disposable and not repairable and high recyclable is free market capitalism. There's no good reason we can't have better tech over time other than the ideology that says making money is more important than life.

          • Robert Guyton 4.3.1.2.1

            The wood-wide-web uses 100% recyclable materials and is awesomely efficient. Plus, self-laying cables 🙂 Also, solar-powered.
            Wouldn’t it be something if we aligned ourselves with root-systems for our communication networks! It would mean a tree in every backyard, avenues of trees along every street, hedgerows between villages, towns and cities! Sure, we’d have to accord trees more respect than we presently do, but we could swallow our pride enough to do that, yes?

    • pat 4.4

      If you take the time to peruse 'the limits of growth' you will note 'industrial output'

      • Gosman 4.4.1

        And what is your point?

        • pat 4.4.1.1

          "The idea that growth is somehow limited ignores how economic growth works. Economic growth is all about value. Some of that may involve increased resource use but often times it does not. Hence if I can improve the efficiency of producing something by using less resources for the same or greater value I am actually getting growth. "

          You are conflating monetary value with growth….much like the NZ housing market.

          • Gosman 4.4.1.1.1

            Not at all. Value is not related to inflation

            • pat 4.4.1.1.1.1

              And output is not related to value

              • Gosman

                Indeed but growth is.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Devil's in the detail of that. Depends how the relation is defined, eh? As pat suggested, conflating value & growth – while being traditional and part of neoliberalism – seems problematic nowadays. Survival value is escalating while consumerism loses its prior hegemony over behaviour.

                  • pat

                    There is no 'it depends'

                    If all labour were 'free' what is the value of anything?

                    And if all labour were free would all industrial output cease?

                    Monetary value is simply a construct to ration resources within and between populations…the resources remain or disappear irrespective.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      My point was that value transcends the economics paradigm: it's what drives the economic choices in the first place. When enough folks value survival, their consumerism will reduce accordingly. So value happens in the psyche before it enters the social arena.

                    • pat

                      I dont share your optimism…..resource use while currently (especially in the west) may be largely based on 'wants' will even at the level of 'needs' hit hard limits, or rather it already has…..and the previous depletion cannot be undone, nor can the population explosion created by the over exploitation….at least not in a timely or humane manner.

                      and all the ‘money’ creation in the world wont change that fact

                • pat

                  Economic activity is measured in monetary value as is its 'growth'….a human construct that has no limit.

                  Industrial output is a quantitive measure of the use of limited real resources.

                  The two have no relationship except for political expediency

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    " I'm asking for new narratives here, new stories that help people understand the ways out of the situation. "

    Here's what we discussed in our "meeting in the cafe" this morning:

    "Three of the most likely indicators of a new emerging human paradigm are as follows, features found in neither the contemporary Western human (yet) nor the traditional indigenous human.

    

    • Universal awareness of an evolutionary arc to the unfolding of the world. This is the time-developmental perspective inherent in the science-informed universe story. Not only will the world change, but we will be transformed as a species when we collectively grasp and learn to live from the knowledge that (a) the universe is continuing to evolve, (b) we humans are both a part of and an essential mode of this evolution, and (c) relative to Earth, at least, we humans now have a determining role in this evolution. Humanity as a whole has never before confronted such a psyche-shifting idea or such an awesome, Earth-shaping responsibility.

    • Universal visionary capacity. For most of human history, the highest development of visionary skill was limited to a few exceptional individuals in each community (shamans, prophets, visionaries, and so on). Now this capacity of deep imagination must be cultivated by all adults if we are to create sustainable cultures.

    • Healthy modern adolescence. As I’ve suggested, we’ve not yet understood the potential and benefits of this new developmental period, which encompasses not one but two distinct stages with different, even divergent, tasks. Modern adolescence makes possible the more complete and destined development of the deep human imagination, our visionary capacity. This possibility is a central feature of the character of the fourth of the eight life stages on the Wheel (the Cocoon stage). Imagination might very well be the single most important faculty to cultivate in adolescence. Without this cultivation, true adulthood might never be reached."

    • Dennis Frank 5.1

      Imagination might very well be the single most important faculty to cultivate in adolescence.

      I plead guilty. I spent most of my waking life imagining alternatives to the shit that the ambient culture was surrounding me with…

    • Gosman 5.2

      What you are suggesting there may very well be the future of humanity but I suggest it far too intellectually complex for the average person to pick up. Outside a rather tiny section of society it will struggle to gain traction unless you can reframe it in such a way that is relevant to more people.

      • Robert Guyton 5.2.1

        All of us will pick it up, sooner or later (sooner is the only option) and I take it, you've already taken the step.

    • WeTheBleeple 5.3

      I quit the wacky backy and other indulgences as I need a clear head for the monumental task/s at hand. If I need to escape reality temporarily there's always the news.

      I still have no idea what to do, how to get through. The more I try help others understand the seriousness of their predicament the more I find myself isolated by people who'd prefer denial to reality. And I can soft-foot it or be brutal, it doesn't seem to matter. Most people don't want to know, or want comforting lies.

      Distraction is the order of the day. Last night the news was recycling relatively trivial local matters, meanwhile in China people were drowning in subway cars. If we want to change awareness these clown-circus media outlets need to grow the fuck up and tell it like it is.

      • Robert Guyton 5.3.1

        Well, WTB, somebody famous famously said something pithy about the value of results gained by using methods that reliably and repeatedly fail 🙂 I feel it comes down to the individual; focus your powerful mind on your own consciousness expansion and the world will follow. Sounds trite when I say it, but some quite clever people before me have said something similar (only said it more elegantly).

  6. Patricia Bremner 6

    I think we need to keep hope and generosity of spirit, and a belief in humanity.

    Teaching life cycles, and valuing them actively in our lives.

    Learning to have a personal lens to examine wants against needs, and an ability to apply this knowledge honestly.

    To fund and support groups trying to be a catalyst for green economics and change.

    Thanks Weka.

  7. shane 7

    Its no wonder that the future looks so bleak when those that can achieve are pushed back by those with heads in the trough. Support needs to be directed to those that actually generate the value not to those that exploit it.

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