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Power and Knowledge.

Written By: - Date published: 12:36 pm, October 25th, 2018 - 54 comments
Categories: Economy, Environment, International, science - Tags: , ,

There are no neonicotinoids in the jungle of Puerto Rico.

There are no fertilisers in the jungle of Puerto Rico.

There are no swathes of cleared land.

As the Washington Post writes – (here’s a non-Washington Post link for the same article)

If Puerto Rico is the island of enchantment – “la isla del encanto” – then its rain forest is “the enchanted forest on the enchanted isle”, [Bradford Lister – biologist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute] said.

Birds and coqui frogs trill beneath a 50-foot-tall (15 metre tall) emerald canopy. The forest, named El Yunque, is well-protected. Spanish King Alfonso XII claimed the jungle as a 19th-century royal preserve. Decades later, Theodore Roosevelt made it a national reserve, and El Yunque remains the only tropical rain forest in the National Forest system.

Except that, nice as it looks, it’s dying.

2 trillion tonnes of CO2 dumped into the atmosphere over the course of the Industrial Revolution, that we’re adding to every day, is causing a radical change in the chemical composition of plants. The studies have been done. The results are in. The effects are known.

The carbohydrate to protein content of plants is all ‘up the wop’ due to an increased rate in growth caused by higher CO2 levels. And life depending on plants for sustenance…well, there’s been a 60 fold drop in general bug and insect numbers recorded/trapped in “the enchanted forest on the enchanted isle” between the years 1977 and 2013. What numbers were like prior to 1977 is anyone’s guess.

Precipitous drops in insect numbers, and of anything that subsists on those insects are being catalogued in study after study all over the world. And it’s all down to emissions of carbon dioxide. So, there you go.

Now, what are you going to do with this knowledge?

54 comments on “Power and Knowledge.”

  1. RedLogix 1

    For the first time Australian company directors have nominated climate change as the number one issue they want the federal government to address in the long term, according to a survey of more than 1,200 company directors.

    The Australian Institute of Company Directors’ (AICD) biannual Director Sentiment Index — based on a survey of 1,252 public and private company directors undertaken between September 13 and 27 — shows directors are heeding warnings from regulators about the risks of climate change and the fact that they may, in future, be held liable for failing to act.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-25/why-company-directors-have-started-caring-about-climate-change/10423658

    • AB 1.1

      Odds on of course that those company directors want the issue ‘addressed’ in a way that leaves both their companies, and their directorships of them, still intact.

    • Bill 1.2

      So company directors want the Federal Govt to address climate change in the long term?

      That’s nice.

      You get that the post is highlighting the fact that the current 2 trillion tonnes of CO2 that’s swilling around the atmosphere is killing shit at an alarming rate, yes? And you also get that we are adding to the total of CO2 with every passing day, yes?

      Meaning that some company director (or who-ever) talking about the long term serves as much purpose as looking up the arse of dead horse.

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        It signals a change of attitude that might not mean much today, but could easily become more significant soon enough.

        Or we could just shit on it.

        • Bill 1.2.1.1

          It signals something much worse than “might not mean much today“.

          It signals full blown adherence to a “pretend and extend” mentality that… given they’re talking about “long term” just doesn’t stack up with your suggestion that their attitude “could easily” become significant “soon enough

          Today is (maybe) soon enough – though, given what is being observed and what is known about why those things are being observed, certainly isn’t “soon enough” with regards population drops and extinctions.

          I mean, it’s not as though we get to reverse out of this and set everything back to what it was before. Further, I’d suggest that much of what we’re seeing is not unlike a car smashing through a china shop – a lot of stuff is in the air. Being in the air, it’s still in one piece.

          • RedLogix 1.2.1.1.1

            Ultimately it will be the directors of these companies who will make decisions that will have more beneficial impact on AGW than anyone else.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    The Washington Post piece refers to this Science article:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264247848_Defaunation_in_the_Anthropocene

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    The subsequent article on reversing defaunation might be worth a look also.

    • Bill 3.1

      You got a link, or a run down on the thinking?

      Because once it’s acknowledged that the elevated level of CO2 in the atmosphere is the underlying cause of mass die off – and that other phenomena like pesticides or land clearance, though important, are secondary – then the only possibility for any kind of ‘reversal’ comes with a drop in atmospheric concentration of CO2.

      There is little point to (say) reafforestation as a solution if the forest can’t sustain the essential forms of life that form the base of the food chain because of elevated CO2 levels.

      Banning pesticides might slow declines, insofar as malnutrition means various populations/species are perhaps more susceptible to levels of pesticide toxins. But again, and like land reclamation, banning pesticides won’t halt this in its tracks.

      And we don’t know how to suck CO2 from the atmosphere in anything like the quantity that would be required to bring CO2 levels down.

      The best we can do right now, is to stop making the situation worse – which means not adding any more CO2 to the 2 trillion tonnes already there.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264196235_Reversing_defaunation_Restoring_species_in_a_changing_world

        Not sure that their take is ideal – they’re not the authors of the previous piece so they define the problem somewhat differently.

        Robert Guyton’s diversity and regreening efforts are probably a better approach than single species based approaches in any case – the loss of insect populations is an indicator of broader systemic health problems at the micro level – protists and all that, which are even harder to assay in bulk.

        And of course it’s not coincidental I’ve been beating the algal drum – as a fast CO2 soak not much can beat it, though kudzu might come close, and restoring our coastal macrocystis ‘forest’ would soak up quite a bit.

        These issues don’t interest our politicians much however – I recall trying to interest Pete Hodgson in solar back 2002 – fund a few masters projects I suggested – he sneered at me. And then he blew most of a million on a vanity solar roof for a primary school.

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          Algae. Well, how much of 5 – 10 billion tonnes of CO2 every year can they absorb? (5 – 10 Gt being a kind of yearly minimum required for decreasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations in a scenario where we weren’t adding anything by way of further emissions).

          And what happens to the CO2 in the algae when it dies?

          Same questions for trees or any other biological ‘sink’.

          We can’t stay at 2 trillion tonnes – it’s quite literally killing life on this planet. We can kill things faster if we emit more I guess (though who knows, there may be an upper limit on any plant growth/CO2 concentration relationship).

          All things being equal, that 2 trillion tonnes will take hundreds upon hundreds of years to begin falling back. Can we do anything beyond stop, and try to deal with what we’ve already created? And (rhetorical) why aren’t we taking even that minimum course of action?

          • Stuart Munro 3.1.1.1.1

            Algae grows faster than any other CO2 soak. And it depends on how much you grow – but the wet area of the globe is greater than the dry, so it starts ahead of some options.

            Stopping isn’t really an option – all we can do is divert to more sustainable models reasonably quickly. Of course governments aren’t doing that for the same reason we can’t get a CGT passed. They’re not as dedicated to public welfare as they like to pretend.

          • Incognito 3.1.1.1.2

            And what happens to the CO2 in the algae when it dies?

            Same questions for trees or any other biological ‘sink’.

            Do you think all CO2 will be released back into the atmosphere? Surely, this would depend on how and where they decay, the decay process? And there will be a time lag?

            • patricia bremner 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Apparently bamboo is great for carbon sequestering, and is useful and non toxic.

              • Incognito

                I believe the thinking is that the sequestering of carbon by plants, etc., is only temporary till they decay or get burnt and release all the CO2 back into the atmosphere. The other part seems to be that the CO2 output is and has been exceeding the natural sequestration process with the resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.

                • KJT

                  Not correct as plants are always growing, multiplying and renewing in nature. True for individual plants, but not for a forest

                  For example. If we had left the Amazon rain forests in their natural State they would be absorbing a magnitude more carbon.

                  If we grew trees, and burn them without replanting, then the carbon is re released.

                  If the timber is used for housing, then the carbon is not released for decades.

                  • Bill

                    For example. If we had left the Amazon rain forests in their natural State they would be absorbing a magnitude more carbon.

                    There is currently 2 trillion tonnes of excess CO2 in our atmosphere and we’re stacking about 40 billion tonnes on top of that every year. (About 20x what the amazon absorbs every year)

                    Which, to offer some perspective –

                    Asner surveyed the Amazon rainforest of southern Peru – an area about the size of Switzerland – to figure out the exact amount of carbon locked up in its trees. Asner used lasers from above and also ground observations to create a 3-D map. He discovered this particular area of the Amazon stored 395 million metric tonnes of carbon. That’s a lot – but about 20-25% less carbon than scientists previously estimated.

                    https://earthsky.org/earth/greg-asner-on-carbon-in-the-amazon-rainforest

  4. WeTheBleeple 4

    No Bill. What are YOU going to do with this knowledge.

    You are the one sharing it. What is your point?

    Do you think we don’t know of climate change and mass extinction and, and, and….

    What are YOU hoping to achieve?

    Gee, thanks for dropping the knowledge bombs on us ignorant peasants.

    • Bill 4.1

      I think I might follow your lead and shoot the messenger or messengers, as I retreat into some kind of hopeless angry denial.

      • patricia bremner 4.1.1

        Don’t do that BILL. Your posts are always thought provoking and require more personal research. Thanks.

  5. Yep that jungle is fucked.

    I assume equatorial regions will suffer the most but I’m not sure why I think that? Probably irrelevant in the larger picture.

    I already miss those squashed bugs on the windscreen. We’ve really stuffed so much up.

  6. WeTheBleeple 6

    Same shit different day. What are you going to do Bill?

    Is it not OK for us to challenge you but you can guilt trip your readers and regurgitate whatever climate cause of the day you’ve been reading.

    You’re the one who threw out the challenge.

    So put up or shut up.

    What are you doing?

    • Bill 6.1

      Be more precise.

      Because if you simply mean not driving, not flying and being conscious of the carbon consequences of my actions, habits and decisions, then quite a lot – but in the full knowledge those things all amount to nothing because the problem is structural.

      If you mean bailing up politicians and/or policy makers when they spout bullshit, then I do that as the opportunity arises.

      If you mean constantly seeking to inform myself and then trying to disseminate useful information, or exploring better ways to make things more understandable, then I do that.

      If you mean exploring ideas and/or scenarios that would kill our use of fossil, and talking about those things, then I do that.

      If you mean giving a flying fuck about your feelings (and let’s face it, that’s what your comments here are about) then you got me. I don’t care.

      What you do with the knowledge you have is your affair. If you’d rather wrap yourself in a blanket of ignorant bliss…well, sorry, (no I’m not) but you can’t unknow stuff.

  7. WeTheBleeple 7

    But ‘wrapping myself in a blanket of ignorance’ is so cosy.

    I’m not calling you on imaginary shit mate, I’m calling you on pumping out consternation with no regards to offering solutions in any form.

    And when people try to offer ideas, you and your ‘burn it all down’ mates leap on them. Because you don’t want solutions do you. You want to ‘bring down the system’ like some anarchic teen.

    Or have you moved on from that now.

    But I am the man with a problem, cos I think it’s posturing BS.

    Scare mongering, and climbing on your high horse.

  8. WeTheBleeple 8

    OK I cede my approach is a bit shit.

    I dont think this article is helping anyone. Let alone the insects.

    You tell people their efforts are pointless e.g. planting trees, why do you bother watching how you travel etc then?

    We all need to do these little bits. Waiting for the governments to do big bits is folly. We can pressure, we can hope…

    All the small things are what killed the insects. Cutting down the trees. Depleting the top soils. Introducing the cides. Knocking the biodiversity…

    All the small things need to be addressed.

    You throw hope out with your attitude to others contributions. Nihilistic almost.

    Like you are the only guy who knows whats up.

    It’s a bit off. If you’re the ex-notley st Bill, for you, it seems a lot off.

    • Bill 8.1

      So, we agree that pressuring government might be worthwhile?

      Okay. But to pressure them into replanting trees (say), even if successful, isn’t going to stop or alleviate global warming or its effects.

      And yes, we should ban the insecticides and build up diversity and all the rest of it. But again, it’s not going to stop or alleviate global warming or its effects.

      There is one thing we can do. We can stop putting CO2 from fossil fuels and bio fuels into the atmosphere. That won’t reverse the damage that’s been done. I doubt it would halt the decline across species or in species numbers, or halt any number of other negative things immediately.

      But unless we do that one thing, then everything from extinction rates to sea level rise to utterly devastating weather events and broader climatic conditions will continue to worsen.

      Unfortunately, right now we have politicians and policy makers who have a greater concern for the impacts of different carbon scenarios on economics than they have for the impacts on any non-economic front.

      When that last IPCC report revised carbon budgets upwards in line with empirical measurements, the clock essentially got wound back. A little. So now we are back to the situation that scientists and their prescriptions from unrevised IPCC carbon budgets were at 10 years ago – we cut emissions by 11% per year until we get to zero emissions from energy, or we create an environment that much now crawling, running or flying on this planet won’t survive.

      Thankfully, it seems as though growing numbers of scientists are now being vocal in calling out the IPCC and the effect that economists have been allowed to wield on reports.

      And it seems, also thankfully, that we also have growing numbers of scientists doing the studies and calling bullshit on idiot notions like Green Growth and economic driven fixes like carbon taxes/prices.

      That and more can lead to pressure on government.

      But it also means that people like you and me are going to have to give it up, where ‘it’ is the personal and intergenerational expectations that have flowed from doing things in a particular way.

      Will anyone ‘give it up’ if we kid ourselves that a solution lies in some accumulation of planting trees, going vegan, or changing a light bulb or shower head?

      Or will we only ‘give it up’ when we acknowledge that it’s not really a choice; that no matter how many of those “small things” we address (and they should be addressed) that unless we dump fossil and all other carbon emitting sources and forms of energy as fast as we can regardless of mere economic consequences, then we’re done for?

      All those “small things” , no matter how numerous or widespread, will be undone or neutralised by rising CO2 levels. That’s the deal we”re dealing in. And yes, it’s kind of shite, but hey.

  9. WeTheBleeple 9

    I guess I’m one of those scientists calling BS. Economists are a bunch of self important tea leavers inconsequential to helping in any real way.

    I apologise for getting antsy with you, it’s more I was antsy about the message being vital yet ineffective. You’d share a similar frustration, 100’s of comments for JLR… Nobody knows what to say here, bar a few die-hard faithful.

    You have a platform. I thank you for having a go. Go harder. 😀

    To help the insects plant some damn trees, and shrubs, and grass, and smoke the grass and meditate on nature, and make some wild spots, and stop spraying shit, and don’t drive over the trees in your damn SUV, and stop sniffing petrol, and, and, and…

    I can’t comment well on Puerto Rico I have not studied that environment. I’d hazard a guess the areas surrounding the rainforest are disturbed. Biodiversity is correlated with area (Species area relationship) so as the rainforest area entire diminishes so does the diversity. The area is now a source surrounded by sinks (Source sink theory). Insects fly out, but they are no longer flying in. This exacerbates already declining rates from other factors e.g. climate change. Being an island I’d hazard a guess it relies on imported propagules for genetic continuation (Theory of Island Biogeography).

    In addition to this, smaller populations have slower rates of micro-evolution. So as with many other things, there is likely an unknown tipping point at which a population might decline – they no longer have enough genetic material to adapt – Environmental change (biotic) is constant and in a community very dynamic. One doesn’t even need a catalyst like climate change, insofar as evolution goes, we’re all running on the spot just to keep up (Red Queen Effect). So you get the area decline, surrounded by sinks, as populations dwindle to ecological and genetic insignificance forcing more pressure on themselves, and adjacent organisms – then add the CO2 altering plant physiology…

    A giant clusterfuck. To put it scientifically.

    Again, I had a point but was a bit blunt. We can’t throw our hands up in despair. We can’t treat tree planting like a futile affair. I was mirroring your attitude to other folks efforts/suggestions when I lambasted yours.

    It all counts. And in a world of disinformation, hammer that home. Every little bit you can, let’s do this. HA!

    Today I’ve been converting dumb-ass lawn to awesome permaculture. Go team!

    I’m an Aspie, that excuses everything.

    • Bill 9.1

      Just going to say that El Yunque is the same size now as it was in the 70s (it was designated as a Royal Preserve in the 1800s) and sure, it’s not the largest at just under 30 000 acres.

      On the pesticide front, it’s use throughout Puerto Rico has fallen by more than 80% since 1969.

      And to repeat, in article after study, biologists are fairly up front on the fact they are clutching at straws and casting around to explain decline – whether in N Europe, Puerto Rico, Africa….

      And the one condition that applies to every single location of study is elevated CO2 levels. The studies have been done on the effects of boosting growth rates in plants (through CO2) and in phytoplankton (extra light).

      The consequences are known. They have been measured and are the same in both scenarios (there’s a crash in nutritional value). The knock on effects have been scientifically evaluated and measured in the instance of phytoplankton and zoo plankton (easily isolated and gathered for analysis) – the zoo plankton struggles and dies because of the nutrient crash within the phytoplankton.

      Meanwhile, apart from the goldenrod study that measured nutrient levels going all the way back to 1845(?) (they dropped in line with rising CO2), the intro to that paper begins – As has been observed in nearly a 100 individual studies and several meta-analyses, as atmospheric carbon dioxide (Ca) increases, nitrogen (protein) concentration declines in a wide range of plant species

      I’m not throwing my hands up in despair. I want that politicians and policy makers get real and get in behind getting rid of carbon. And the easier it is to smack a succinct and effective 2×4 across their mealy chops when they splab nonsense, the better. And the more other people around who are aware of precisely what’s what, the better too 😉

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        And they way they will get rid of carbon is a step change of our systems from a carbon basis to a whole raft of new non-carbon technologies.

        Certainly there is the opportunity for the developed world to step back from the excessive consumption that an unconstrained, untrammeled materialism has evoked in the decades since the end of WW2. We probably could scale back our energy consumption to say 1950’s levels without much impact on our modern lives … and we’d likely be personally better off for it.

        But that only works for the golden billion or so who live in the developed world. It still leaves the other 6 billion hovering uncertainly just out of absolute poverty, but still not yet past that U$10k pa level which gets them over the threshold of scarcity, and participating in the modern world. And if they all come online as it where, at the current energy and resource intensity of the rest of the world … we know it’s entirely impossible.

        The only way this can work, the only path out of mass inequality, is this technological transition. And we stand on the cusp of it. The Oil Age was a stepping stone, oil gave us cheap easy access to enough energy to develop a high enough tech to move past it. And it is happening even if it is going to be a close run thing. The outcome is not clear at all; we do stand a real chance of hitting the wall badly; but what other bet do we have?

      • WeTheBleeple 9.1.2

        Absolutely. I agree. CO2 is the Elephant in the room.

        Some of your reply there was more succinct than the article. You have a pertinent message.

        I appreciate any efforts by any to talk to politicians. I guess in that regard I have largely given up. The last lot could turn a thinking person into a wrecker and hater.

        Rolling our sleeves up is the obvious (only real) choice. It would be great to have governments of the world on board, someone’s gotta bludgeon em. I’m not holding my breath they’ll do so much but every bit counts there too.

        Building sustainability and resilience into systems where we can. That’s my cup of tea. Adaptation. Where I can pitch in. I had a conversation tonight as we surveyed adjoining sections and what varieties of trees and this years veg would go in across the area entire to service both households. And what a mate was growing round the corner. Imagine streets like that… Actual planned urban agriculture creating beautiful edible landscapes en masse. A whole industry springs up with ecologist/permie gardeners taking our food to the next level. Nice.

        Food miles mostly gone in a few short years. But you know how well things could be done, I bet. Can’t take food security off the chemists job description though, what would they do with nitrate then, back to bombs?

        All this oil to divest from, who’re the biggest players.

        1. Agriculture. 2. Alcohol and Tobacco. 3. Pharmaceuticals.

        Right there you can see huge changes could be wrought by cleaning up agriculture, and the agriculture supporting alcohol and tobacco…

        And we could grow a shit ton of weed to reduce all the damn pills and poisons and concrete and artificial cloth and…

        These three culprits. They’re prime for picking on.

        But after all that. Who doesn’t need a drink and an aspirin?

  10. SPC 10

    This sort of refutes the claim of some that global warming is good for growth … but not all growth is good …

    Its like people eating more food but getting less nutrition.

  11. Ed 11

    What are YOU going to do with this knowledge.

    I stopped eating meat.
    And get pilloried on this site for trying to encourage other people to follow suit.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth

    However, the main thing that has to happen is the ending of capitalism.
    It is the system that is killing the planet.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

    • RedLogix 11.1

      The ‘end of capitalism’ … is a murderous fantasy. For better or worse it’s the foundation of our economic system, upon which most of 7 billion lives depend. Kicking it over, without any sense of some proven system that might replace it would result in mass chaos, starvation and death on an unthinkable scale.

      Actually it’s probably not all that unthinkable … I suspect it’s quite a common dark fantasy.

      • adam 11.1.1

        And your option, is to let everyone and everything die, because you can’t think of a system other than Liberalism – is that called right thinking is it?

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.1

          Why reduce this to two choices? Why do we have to choose between the ‘end of capitalism’ and ‘business as usual’?

          Of course there are alternatives to Liberalism, but all of them are either historic failures we’ve tried and been burnt by, or untested ideologies with even bleaker prospects of success. But neither does this mean that we are stuck with unconstrained neo-liberal capitalism forever, it too will evolve and change.

          Progress is incremental, you take what works now and you improve on it. Centuries of painstaking, painfully slow progress, with many brutal mistakes along the way. This is life; there are no easy shortcuts.

          And then every now and then something emerges, some an idea, technology or shift in consciousness changes everything within decades, the new arising, subjugating and replacing the old with remarkable energy and speed.

          • Bill 11.1.1.1.1

            Couple of points here Red.

            Liberal capitalism has sent billions into poverty, not raised billions out as commonly accepted myth would have us believe.

            BAU is growth. Capitalism depends on growth. But we don’t need growth to satisfy our needs – we just need to share what we have in a better fashion and everyone will be fine.

            And I’d argue to your supposedly “common dark fantasy” … growth and a finite planet is what will inevitably lead to a murderous end game.

            Following on from that, any economy not based on chrematistic notions of wealth would be a huge leap in the right direction.

            Progress isn’t locked or chained to the past in the way you suggest. The most obvious and widely known counter to that is the Copernican Revolution that was a wholesale break from past thought/ideas…although you do seem to signal that in your final para that essentially contradicts what you said in the penultimate para.

            • RedLogix 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Liberal capitalism has sent billions into poverty, not raised billions out as commonly accepted myth would have us believe.

              Compared to when? Are you suggesting we’re worse off than 200 years ago? For most of human history most people (like > 98%) lived in absolute, grinding, brute poverty. Most ordinary people (the kind history doesn’t say much about) lived short, tough lives as slaves, serfs or in some form of collective servitude.

              For most of human history, life was very difficult for most people. People lacked basic medicines and died relatively young. They had no painkillers, and people with ailments spent much of their lives in agonizing pain. Entire families lived in bug-infested dwellings that offered neither comfort nor privacy. They worked in the fields from sunrise to sunset, yet hunger and famines were commonplace. Transportation was primitive, and most people never traveled beyond their native villages or nearest towns. Ignorance and illiteracy were rife. The “good old days” were, by and large, very bad for the great majority of humankind.

              Average global life expectancy at birth hovered around 30 years from the Upper Paleolithic to 1900. Even in the richest countries, such as those of Western Europe, life expectancy at the start of the 20th century rarely exceeded 50 years. Incomes were quite stagnant, too. At the beginning of the Common Era (CE), annual GDP per person around the world ranged from $600 to $800. As late as 1820, it was only $712 (measured in 1990 international dollars).

              Humanity has made enormous progress—especially over the course of the past two centuries. For example, average life expectancy in the world today is almost 72 years. In 2010, global GDP per person stood at $7,814—over 10 times more than two centuries ago (measured in 1990 international dollars).

              https://humanprogress.org/about#sec3

              In very rough terms about one billion people live in the developed world, at a standard their great-grandparents could scarcely dream of. Absolute poverty is now constrained mainly to the bottom billion or so, many in just two countries, India and Nigeria. The five or so billion in between are making remarkable progress; they’re accessing electricity, water and the modern world at a staggering pace.

              My experience tells me this; if you want to solve a big problem, you start by competently solving the little ones immediately in front of you.

              • KJT

                It wasn’t capitalism that has made so many better off.

                It has been human co-operation and sharing of knowledge.

                For example. The USA’s, formerly, excellent public education system which produced scientists, engineers and technicians by the millions.

                Their return to unbridled capitalism is producing financiers, speculators and experts on blowing people up, while their infrastructure, environment and society, decay. It is very obvious in the USA, that the States with the most regulation and redistribution are propping up the right wing States.

                I am not anti capitalist. I am a capitalist businessman, myself.

                Capitalism however, only works at the level of many small competing businesses. It falls over very quickly at a larger scale, without a healthy dose of regulation and redistribution. Socialism!

                One is unworkable without the other.

                Note; we do not fight wars with private armies anymore. They are too inefficient. AGW requires the same sort of mass social effort, as a world war.

                Investment Capitalism’s requirement for infinite growth, in a finite world, is such an obvious contradiction it is surprising people still believe it.

                The “magic of compound interest” is just that. A sleight of hand that can only exist if inflation makes the real interest rate zero. Otherwise it is depending on an, impossible, continual growth. Addressing money and credit so we can have a viable, steady state, economy, is essential.

                • RedLogix

                  It falls over very quickly at a larger scale, without a healthy dose of regulation and redistribution. Socialism!

                  Yes; my beef here is with the ‘all private owership is theft’ marxists here who keep blithering on about the ‘end of capitalism’. It’s a dangerous distraction and weakens the left.

                  Private ownership is a core feature of economic systems, alongside the notion of public good. The two ideas function in tension with each other, yet both degenerate into the tyranny of libetarianism on one hand, or communism on the other, in the absence of it’s counterpoised force.

                  For much of my adult life it’s plain that NZ has allowed the balance to tilt too far towards private property rights and allowed the public good to be discounted. We need to shift, but the left cannot do this intelligently if hecklers from the far left keep insisting we have to burn the barn down to save it.

          • adam 11.1.1.1.2

            ‘This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.’

      • Drowsy M. Kram 11.1.2

        1. Sustainable human population growth. [Go forth…]
        2. Sustainable capitalism. [It’s been towed beyond the environment.]
        3. Anthropogenic global warming.
        4. The Rapture.

        All dark fantasies, or results thereof.

        https://cleantechnica.com/2018/04/05/why-white-evangelicals-dont-care-about-climate-change/

        • RedLogix 11.1.2.1

          Yeah; it’s like we’re only allowed two responses; head up the arse denialism or headless chook catastrophism.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 11.1.2.1.1

            Don’t know many headless chooks, but think our ‘goose’ is cooked.

            Humankind is all sorts of fearful, too afraid to collectively pursue the percentage (albeit still risky) options (big leaps). And current capitalism, for all its benefits, is also a sinister threat.

            Despite (or maybe because of) our ‘smarts’, civilisation will go the way of the ‘boiling frog’, as depicted 12 years ago in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. So no Internet! No blogs!

            Too bleak? Then please keep calm and carry on leapfrogging one another.

          • adam 11.1.2.1.2

            What a load of crap – people here have offended solutions, many actually. Would you like a list?

            The block is, and always will be corporations. If you have not worked that out yet, you have not been paying attention.

  12. WeTheBleeple 12

    Well. It’s the law demanding the CEO’s make profit for shareholders.

    It’s the multi millions (how many?) of shareholders who invest in exploitative industries.

    It’s the lawmakers who fail to address corporate structure for fear of losing influence with corporate players.

    It is the sociopaths who hire (shit) scientists to lie to us, to keep the controversy alive aka tobacco, aka GE, aka global warming. The losers who use false claims to keep the argument alive, they are very seriously guilty. It is the citizens and journalists with no science training or even understanding in many cases, who bla bla bla repeat shit just to hear themselves.

    It is the losers who point out others doing little to justify why we shouldn’t bother trying (Cameron Slater).

    It is the growth model for a finite ecosystem.

    It is all your dollars spent on their products to keep them rich. All my dollars. It is a monopolistic film of filth enveloping the planet.

    It is the idolisation of these sociopaths.

    It is the naive belief technology will step in and save the day.

    It is the naive belief technology will save BAU.

    It is Kardashian gossip over Kermit’s plight.

    It is the digital division of views so those with important messages only preach to the choir.

    It is the shitty mainstream media feeding out corporate lines.

    It is the universities pithy ‘applied science’ approach stifling creativity and discovery in preference for hard profits. It is the corporate partnerships they’re all signing up for.

    It is corporate influence in politics and education.

    It is churches, and their Armageddon mythology.

    It is the entitled public that prefer to whinge and moan than act.

    It is the talk talk talk talker with no action plan that simply turns people away.

    It is the Joe average who knows all this and does nothing.

    It is most all of us in the rat race.

    Washing your hands of it all to go bush is not a solution either. the States has plenty of preppers hiding in the hills with guns. What are those losers going to fix?

    I’ve lived in the bush here. Fact. You would starve.

    I (and many others) know where the maps are to all the bunkers rich people have made all over Auckland. Fact, not safe. Fact, you are fucking dreaming. Half these idiots built them below the water line.

    Mega rich or meat.

    The middle class and small business mean nothing to these people.

    It is your delusions of grandeur.

    It is waiting for God.

    • corodale 12.1

      Join with God, by living in harmony with spiritual ideals of Kindness.
      Show the leadership of Ecological Wisdom in your own surroundings.
      By positively dying a good-death, we create the foundations for new life.

    • cleangreen 12.2

      1000% Bill.

      WeTheBleeple 12 has nailed it here too!!!!!

      This is the problem;

      When I was a Green Party member in 1999 we had a hardcore ecological group in the GP but not now sadly.

      No where since 2005 did I ever see during the 13 years since then did I see the Green Party clearly place ‘the blowtorch on the former Government these serious toxic issues’ facing us all that was clearly depicted in Rachel Carson’s “gold standard book “The Silent Spring”.

      http://www.environmentandsociety.org/exhibitions/silent-spring/overview

      I left the Party in 2003.

      I would return to GP if the Party got back to the basics of what Rachel Carson woke the world up to then.

  13. WeTheBleeple 13

    ^^ It is answers so difficult and issues so large people throw in the towel and turn to spiritualist or religious nonsense.

    Many of those yankee preppers are waiting for Jesus and voting for Trump.

    It is Idiocracy the movie morphed into a reality show.

  14. cleangreen 15

    WeTheBleeple

    Here is the truth of the way corporations have made rail pay for their infrastructure bur roads are subsidised in the US so we need to level the playing field to “encourage rail use again and move away from a ‘high carbon freight transport mode’.

    quote;
    “In the U.S., railroads own their own tracks, so they have to build their own infrastructure,” says Vaishnav, an assistant research professor in EPP. “Trucking uses public infrastructure, but does not bear the full cost of the damage heavy trucks do to roads and other infrastructure and indeed to the environment.”

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-shipping-freight-rail-environment.html#jCp

    https://phys.org/news/2018-10-shipping-freight-rail-environment.html

  15. Brutus Iscariot 16

    “Now, what are you going to do with this knowledge?”

    Tweet.

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