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Saving the Earth is not an ego trip.  Saving the Earth is not something you do so that you can say you planted more trees or created more hybrids or wrote more academic papers or bombed more SUVs or fed more hungry people or arranged more peace deals or wrote more grants or have a purer method or better ethics than the next guy.  Saving the Earth is not something you do so that you can stand in judgment of the human race and ask it, "so what have YOU done?"  

No, saving the Earth is actually saving the Earth, and understanding it requires a degree of humility that seems at some point to be beyond the current reach of mainstream environmentalism, which wishes to simplify the act of saving the Earth to that which is politically and economically expedient.  Saving the Earth, however, must be something that actually saves the Earth, not something which makes us feel like we're doing it when we're not.

(crossposted at Docudharma)

Saving the Earth requires humility, but humility is not sufficient to save the Earth.  What does humility offer?  Humility offers you the ability to distinguish what we do for ourselves from what we do for the Earth.

Humility is also essential to the collectivist attitude which will be necessary to saving the Earth.  Saving the Earth will not be any sort of competition: either the Earth will be saved, or it won't, and I will never be able to save the Earth before you do, nor you before me.  If I claim more resources than you, moreover, allowing you fewer resources will not make it easier for me to save the Earth.  Working together, and sharing fairly, will provide us all with the energy we need to save the Earth.

Let me suggest a division of activities, which will make my point about saving the Earth clear.  We drive hybrids for ourselves.  We conserve, we recycle, we bicycle, we plant French Intensive gardens for ourselves.  Those are all good things which we do for ourselves.  We must do them -- even if they just make us happy, we have a need to be happy, like everyone else, and so satisfying that need is a prerequisite to anything else we may wish to do.  But doing "green" things for ourselves does not make us any better than anyone who is not doing "green" things for themselves.  

Anyone who is human should be able to understand, empathetically, that people have to take care of themselves.  The confusion arises, however, when those things we do to take care of ourselves are promoted as "saving the Earth."  Recycling is not "saving the Earth" -- recycling may be better for the Earth than an indiscriminate accumulation of trash, to be sure, but recycling can also serve as an apology for general corporate creation of trash, both industrial and consumer.  Recycling, to be sure, uses energy, and in our phase most energy comes from burning fossil fuels.  And then, invariably, there arises the mountain of newspaper etc. which cannot be recycled (even though we may put it all in a recycling center) simply because it costs too much (under capitalist economic conditions) to do so.  Newspaper, last I checked, costs $2 per ton.  Nobody is going to get rich recycling newspaper.  I put my parents' paper in the bin, to be sure, but I don't make a business of recycling newspaper.

Saving the Earth is a social thing as much as it is a matter of defending nature directly (through tree-sitting and so on).  Saving the Earth will require deep and committed collectivism.  Saving the Earth is about an outcome if it is about anything, and this outcome must be that of a human society living harmoniously (in an ecosystem state of equilibrium) with planet Earth.  We must take great care as co-creators of that human society.  Saving the Earth is about that great care.

*****

That having been said, there stands much confusion in today's world society, my society, about what it really takes to save the Earth from abrupt climate change, aka "global warming."  Part of this has to do with a political flaw in the literature -- predigested discussions on abrupt climate change tend to play down the actual risk to humankind and to ecosystems of planet Earth, because the scientists do not want to scare everyone silly.  The fact of the matter is that all that is really shielding us from some rather persistently hot temperatures is that the feedback from yesterday's carbon emissions has not yet come true today.  But, never to worry; feedback will arrive, and we will cook.

So how to save the Earth from abrupt climate change?  Merely adapting to the circumstances created by the human burning of fossil fuels is at present an underrated option.  The human race has given planet Earth a shroud of 387 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide -- the odds are high that we will have to live with all of that CO2.

(from Wikimedia Commons)

Here is a graph illustrating carbon dioxide levels and average temperatures, from research on the Vostok ice cores in Antarctica.  Note a rather strong correlation between the green line and the blue line -- they follow each other.  As CO2 goes up, temperature goes up.  The current position of the green line, indicating CO2 levels, is, however, not on this chart.  We are currently at 387 parts per million, according to NOAA, and increasing by 2 parts per million per year.  So the green line is currently up an inch or more from where it is on this chart.  It is only a matter of time before the blue line does the same.

The first question that might come to mind is one of whether we can or can't stop the increase, and what can we do?  

One obvious answer which comes to mind is that of not burning fossil fuels any more.  "Cap-and-trade" schemes, such as those promoted by the Obama administration, are really motivated by the need to save capitalism for the rich while falsely appearing to do something.  The failure of Kyoto shows this as well as anything else.  Higher fossil fuel taxes, given the existing system, will only stop a little bit of optional consumption, and then motivate people to find ways of avoiding the tax, like, say, moving their businesses to low-tax countries.

Seriously, if you want to avoid burning fossil fuels, you have to keep them in the ground, and make sure everyone else does so too.  Once they're extracted and refined, they're going to be burned.  A moratorium on new coal plants, such as that promoted by 1sky.org , would therefore not save the Earth, and if we are promoting such a thing as saving the Earth, well, that is an indicator of how little we are actually willing to do to compromise the capitalist system in order to save the Earth.  (This was a website recommended to me by one of my fellow conference organizers.)

Only doing things that will preserve capitalism will not save the Earth.  Capital accumulation, the driving force of capitalism, is the main force bringing the Earth to ruination.  See Paul Prew's analysis in "The 21st Century World Ecosystem" for an understanding of why this is so.   Capitalism divides the world into resource extraction zones and centers of accumulations, and forces the former to serve the latter.  When the extraction zones are fully depleted, the game is up.

Capitalism is only "something we do for ourselves" for a few of us.  And by "a few of us," here, I mean the RICHEST few, especially those 794 billionaires (and a few of their slightly less fortunate multimillionaire hangers-on, maybe incl. that top 1% of America which owns half of its non-home capital assets) who exist amidst a bottom half of the human race who earn less than $2.50/day.

Thus if we were to pass a moratorium on coal-fired plants, it would be something we do for ourselves, not something which would save the Earth.  Passing a moratorium on coal-fired plants would make them feel good, while the Chinese (whose growth, according to Minqi Li, is fueled by coal to the tune of about 70%) would continue to bring Earth to ruination, possibly using coal mined in the US.  Remember, doing things for ourselves is not a bad thing.  I am not "calling out" 1sky.org .

If the human race (as a WHOLE) were actually to give up a whole grade of fossil fuel, such as, say, coal, that would be doing something meaningful and important to save the Earth.  The coal mines would then be abandoned and the coal would stay in the ground, providing real protection for the atmosphere (as opposed to the Kyoto Protocol, which provides no protection at all.)  

Most importantly, doing this would require public control over the production of energy, which would be a major step forward toward actually saving the Earth because it would place saving the Earth as a priority more important than capitalism.  Public control over the production of energy would also save a lot of people's lives.  Here's how it works:

About half of America's electricity comes from coal.  The government institutes energy rationing, so that that half of America which needs to survive cold winters through internal heating is allowed to do so.  Other sources of energy are made to substitute for coal, while America rushes to make up for the deficit caused by no coal-burning through a crash program in energy conservation and permaculture-based energy engineering.

When saving the Earth, we need to recognize that people will do what's necessary for themselves.  Everyone needs to survive.  More capital accumulation, however, is not strictly necessary for survival.

*****

Saving the Earth, of course, would make us better than those who act to bring the ecosystems upon the Earth, and the human societies which enjoy them, to ruination.  But "making us better" will require that we actually DO save the Earth.  If we don't save the Earth, forget it.  This is not likely, however.  We should be under no illusions that we can save the Earth all by ourselves.  We will need help, no matter how big our egos are.

Saving the Earth would be an achievement to hold to a MUCH higher standard than ANY of the standards we hold for doing "green" things for ourselves.  Saving the Earth will require major social change.  It will require changes at the deepest level of our mode of production -- production will have to be redirected from its present-day aim, "production for production's sake" (or "production for the money economy," take your pick), toward a different activity -- production as stabilizing ecosystems.

Toward this goal, it is important to note that people, in their current modes of production, are willfully NOT saving the Earth.  (This is, importantly, not something they do for themselves.)  Species are dying off at catastrophic rates.  Coral reefs are disappearing, taking whole ecosystems with them.  Our fisheries have wiped out 90% of the major fish species.  And then there's abrupt climate change.  Saving the Earth means stopping the momentum of this destruction.  It doesn't mean any of the "50 simple things you can do to save the Earth" -- conserving energy, for instance, will just allow someone else to burn more energy at cheaper rates, and under an economic system which demands compulsive energy use from "competitive businesses," conservation is, well, it's something we do for ourselves.  Saving the Earth, then, means NOT destroying the Earth, and if it is to work then there must be a "critical mass" of people on board.  I am not sure how big that "critical mass" must be -- but one thing IS for sure -- it is a LOT bigger than the "critical mass" which exists today.

I went to a conference all day last Saturday; it was one I helped to arrange myself.  This was a conference of environmentalists, more or less; at the opening, keynote speaker Minqi Li laid out the hard facts -- continued attempts to resuscitate the capitalist system will lead to ecological catastrophe, eventually bringing about the death of most of the human race.  

One rather compelling aspect of Professor Li's speech was when he discussed the Chinese and the Indians, and their continued refusal to abide by any "greenhouse gas emission targets."  The Third World's argument along these lines is airtight -- "you in the rich countries had economic development through fossil-fuel burning, so who are you to deny us what you have already accomplished?"  This third-world audience is only to be swayed if critical sectors of the economy (beginning with energy) are to be placed out of reach of the capitalist system, out of the whole rat race of hoarding and competition.  The rat race of hoarding and competition, of course, is what guides the behavior of the Chinese and Indian elites.  It is our fault as the First World for having started this unsavory game, so it is our responsibility to be the first to stop.

I also went to an anarchist conference, on Tuesday.  There we met Keith McHenry, the founder of Food Not Bombs, and the creative writer Derrick Jensen, who was available through videoconference.  McHenry was about direct action to feed hungry people, regardless of who they are, and about nonviolence as a positive tool in struggles for social justice.  Both direct action and nonviolence are important in the necessary struggle to meet basic human needs.  People need what they need -- and so once you meet basic needs, then and only then can people start to think about other things which they might need -- like a planet which will support human life.

Jensen, for his part, laid out the same message which is evident in his books -- you have to "do what it takes" to save the Earth.  For Jensen, this means an antipathy to "civilization," by which he means industrial capitalism.

Unfortunately, the anarchist conference, like the conference I arranged, went into "big ego moments," moments of publicly aired argument about who was doing more than whom to save the Earth.  These arguments are, in substance, not important.  However, as long as we depend upon these moments, and their corresponding bickering sessions, for our energy, nobody will really save the Earth.  We must, then, stop believing in saving the Earth as a form of competition, and develop the necessary humility and collectivist attitude.

Originally posted to Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 09:26 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips for humility (nmi) (15+ / 0-)

    Please share your tips among all commenters.

    "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

    by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 09:27:59 AM PDT

  •  One caveat. (4+ / 0-)

    Long time passed in my misspent youth, specifically 2nd grade, I read a scientific treatise concerning the live cycle of stars, to wit:  one Sol, Earth's personal star and the source of live on the planet.

    At some point in the future, our friendly Sun, just 93,000,000 miles away, will begin to run out of fuel for its fusion furnace . . . and it will expand rapidly to the present orbit of Mars.

    Regrettably, Earth will be incinerated.  With the passage of time, the panic I experienced as a 7 year old reading our future has passed.

    As Stephen Hawking (hope you're feeling better, Doc) has pointed out: we gotta leave the planet or perish.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 09:40:53 AM PDT

  •  Why does there appear to be... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    an inverse correlation between dust ppm and CO2 ppm?  When less sunlight gets through, organic matter does not decompose as quickly?  Something else?

    It's a very striking graph.  Very interesting diary.  
    Tipped & Rec'd.

  •  I'm not so concerned with the planet earth (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, dirkster42, Cassiodorus, DBunn

    It will adapt to whatever circumstances it finds itself facing, even if it chooses to be a barren rock.

    The point is whether or not we humans will be able to thrive here. I don't think earth really cares if we do or not.

  •  So Socialism will save the environment? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, FerrisValyn, Cassiodorus

    There are so many things wrong here.

    I've yet to see any evidence that any "collectivist" entities have done any better on the environment, and have probably done worse. See China and Soviet Union for details.

    Your dismissiveness towards Cap and Trade schemes is unfounded, and your reliance upon Kyoto as an example of cap and trade failing is a complete non-sequiter.  Kyoto failed because LDCs were not made signatories, and the US refused to join.  That's not a failure of Cap and Trade (which would lower emissions, and has where it has been tried), but rather a failue of diplomacy.  

    And you're also incorrect about the "air-tightness" of the LDC argument that they should get to pollute too (therefore, you posit, we should separate them from the capitalist system.  In other words, socialism will save them!).  The simple and direct response to that is that there is no reason for LDCs to spend any time in a fossil-fuel heavy economy at all.  We can jump them up to a 21st century energy grid, and it will benefit both our business and labor interests and the global environment.  Too argue otherwise is to argue that all nations should go through a horse-powered economic stage as well.

    But I do see where you're coming from: if Cap and Trade were implemented, it would be capitalism being used to improve the environment, and that destroys your facile "capitalism iz teh bad" world-view.

    I could go on like this, but I'll take a pass on the rest since it's all grounded in the same faulty assumptions.

    "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    by Maimonides on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 10:17:23 AM PDT

    •  So... (0+ / 0-)

      There are so many things wrong here.

      Will having a big ego and supporting regimes of profit save the Earth?

      I've yet to see any evidence that any "collectivist" entities have done any better on the environment, and have probably done worse. See China and Soviet Union for details.

      The Chinese regime under Mao was far more environmentally friendly (although not intentionally so) than the PRC is at present.  Please see Minqi Li's book "The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist System."

      Both the Chinese and the Soviet regimes were "mercantilist semi-retreats" from the world system, for the sake of authoritarian forced-march "catch-ups" with the capitalist world.  Please see Kees van der Pijl's history Global Rivalries from the Cold War to Iraq for the details.

      Moreover, the PRC and the USSR do not by any stretch of the imagination exhaust the possibilities for socialism.

      Kyoto failed because LDCs were not made signatories, and the US refused to join.

      That's not the case.  GHG emissions among the signatories have themselves increased.  Please read Raupach et al. in '07's PNAS.

      The simple and direct response to that is that there is no reason for LDCs to spend any time in a fossil-fuel heavy economy at all.  We can jump them up to a 21st century energy grid, and it will benefit both our business and labor interests and the global environment.

      It will still be FAR cheaper for them to use fossil fuels, and cheap matters when only 0.1% of India's public is in the "middle classes."

      I could go on like this, but I'll take a pass on the rest since it's all grounded in the same faulty assumptions.

      It is your assumption that is faulty.  Let's see your disproof of Prew.

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 11:04:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Point by Point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FerrisValyn, Cassiodorus

        The Chinese regime under Mao was far more environmentally friendly (although not intentionally so) than the PRC is at present

        This is like arguing that the US was more environmentally friendly in 1850.  And regarding that, and your second point, if you can only argue from the POV of collectivist systems that do not exist, you aren't proving anything.

        That's not the case.  GHG emissions among the signatories have themselves increased.

        This is still not a failure of cap and trade.  That's a failure of diplomacy and enforcement.  From the game theory perspective, if everyone else is cheating (not participating) why should I?

        It will still be FAR cheaper for them to use fossil fuels, and cheap matters when only 0.1% of India's public is in the "middle classes."

        There's an embedded assumption in there--a false one--that the total extraction and plant building for them would be cheaper than the renewable generation.  Simply not true any more.

        As for Prew, that's easy to refute.  He uses the "economics violates thermodynamics" fallacy, which, as any physicist will tell you is an application of physical laws to another subject, and invalid.

        The moral of that story: never send a sociologist (especially one who's a closet socialist) to an economic summit. We'll eat his lunch, and then explain to him why it wasn't free.

        BTW, my ego received quite a boost from the tip I received from A Siegal, local energy expert.  He apparently agreed with me, which makes me happy.

        "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

        by Maimonides on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 11:25:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I may not be A Siegal, but (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus, Maimonides

          I hope my tip builds your ego as well :D

        •  All to no avail (0+ / 0-)

          This is like arguing that the US was more environmentally friendly in 1850.

          So the US was a "socialist" regime in 1850?  Either you must give up the "socialist" bogeyman at this point, or admit that capitalist "growth" is not good for the environment.

          This is still not a failure of cap and trade.  That's a failure of diplomacy and enforcement.  From the game theory perspective, if everyone else is cheating (not participating) why should I?

          Oh, I see.  So from some "ideal" cap and trade reality ("if you can only argue from the POV of cap-and-trade systems that do not exist, you aren't proving anything," to paraphrase what you just said)...

          There's an embedded assumption in there--a false one--that the total extraction and plant building for them would be cheaper than the renewable generation.  Simply not true any more.

          Reality says otherwise.  And this assumption itself needs to be proven, rather than merely asserted.

          As for Prew, that's easy to refute.  He uses the "economics violates thermodynamics" fallacy, which, as any physicist will tell you is an application of physical laws to another subject, and invalid.

          So one reality for thermodynamic phenomena, and another for economic phenomena?

          "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

          by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 11:42:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you often feel quixotic? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassiodorus

            So the US was a "socialist" regime in 1850?  Either you must give up the "socialist" bogeyman at this point, or admit that capitalist "growth" is not good for the environment.

            You're conflating capitalism with the industrial revolution, which are related but not the same.  I chose the point in history because industrialization in the US was just getting started, a parallel to Mao's China.  Find me a real example of how socialism is more environmentally conscious.

            Oh, I see.  So from some "ideal" cap and trade reality ("if you can only argue from the POV of cap-and-trade systems that do not exist, you aren't proving anything," to paraphrase what you just said)...

            Huh?  You must not be aware of the working cap and trade systems.  Again, you've yet to point to a failure of cap and trade, preferring to point to a treaty that is universally considered flawed and a failure.

            Reality says otherwise.  And this assumption itself needs to be proven, rather than merely asserted

            So you're saying that it's more expensive to purchase wind and solar panels with zero need for fuels than it is to build coal-fired generation and proceed with expensive extraction.  I think that point makes itself, and current fuel and extraction costs bear this out.

            So one reality for thermodynamic phenomena, and another for economic phenomena

            By jove I think you've got it!  I don't expect economics to follow ANY physical laws.  It has no inertia, no magnetism, and no friction.  To apply thermodynamics, which appliles to closed physical systems, not open economic markets, is just wrong-headed.  It would be the same as applying chemistry to anthropology and then wondering why culture doesn't follow physical laws.

            "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

            by Maimonides on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 11:56:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just silliness (0+ / 0-)

              Find me a real example of how socialism is more environmentally conscious.

              Uh, Cuba?

              You must not be aware of the working cap and trade systems.

              Show, don't tell.

              So you're saying that it's more expensive to purchase wind and solar panels with zero need for fuels

              You can make wind and solar panels with zero need for fuels?

              I think that point makes itself

              Tell the Chinese -- I await the spectacular results!

              To apply thermodynamics, which appliles to closed physical systems

              No laws of thermodynamics apply to open physical systems?

              "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

              by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 12:04:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Got to jump in here (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Maimonides

                No laws of thermodynamics apply to open physical systems?

                You have to appriciate the level at which various sciences act.  From a purely theorectical stand point, all of science should be able to be merged, into 1 giant equation, which means that at some point, the open economic theories could be merged into the closed physical theories of thermodynamics.  HOWEVER, to see that happen would require much deeper and greater understandings than we currently have.  We are just beginning to probe how to merge the sciences of sociology, economics, and neurological bio-chemistry, but we are at VERY early stages.  To move that to include things like physics, and thermodynamics, is a scale that we can't even approach.  

                In short, unless there is a very specific reason (like the thermo energy released from the sun going supernova, thus ending all human economics) applying physics principles to economics is a mistake.

                •  I can't seem to get him to accept this. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Cassiodorus

                  But I think his belief in this Prew person has something to do with it. God save me from hippie sociology professors and those that read them.

                  "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                  by Maimonides on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 01:06:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah -- (0+ / 0-)

                    But I think his belief in this Prew person has something to do with it. God save me from hippie sociology professors and those that read them.

                    You don't need God for that -- you've discovered the easy way out, which is to avoid examining Prew's arguments.  Good sweeping dismissals help preserve the ideology in your head against the possibility of alternative ways of thinking.

                    "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                    by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 01:39:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  start with: (0+ / 0-)

                  Joan Martinez-Alier, Ecological Eocnomics
                  John Peet, Energy and the Ecological Eocnomics of Sustainability
                  Robert H. Edgerton, Available Energy and Environmental Economics
                  Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, The Entropy Law and the Economic Process

                  "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                  by Cassiodorus on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 11:21:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Still tilting at my windmills? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassiodorus

                Cuba’s progress obviously has a LOT to do with having no other choices (once the trade embargo with the US, and the collapse of the Soviet Union cut off most its external trade).

                -- From the report YOU cited.  Reading is fundamental.

                California SOx & NOx for starters, Europe is trading C02, look them up, it's only a google away!  

                You can make wind and solar panels with zero need for fuels?

                At a lower cost than the plant.  Apples to apples, generator to generator, fuel to fuel.

                Tell the Chinese -- I await the spectacular results!

                So do I!  The contracts that resulted in their current spate of coal-fired build-out were signed in the 90s.  Welcome to the world of long time horizons.

                No laws of thermodynamics apply to open physical systems?

                The universe is a closed system.  You're going to have to show how thermodynamics applies to economics to make this work.  And you can't, but I'll give you the opening and let you try.

                "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                by Maimonides on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 12:15:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Now you're just babbling (0+ / 0-)

                  At a lower cost than the plant.

                  Last I checked, it still took fuel to make solar panels.

                  -- From the report YOU cited.  Reading is fundamental.

                  I'm sure that invalidates the idea of ecological socialism tout court.

                  The contracts that resulted in their current spate of coal-fired build-out were signed in the 90s.

                  How many degrees of global warming in the long run?

                  You're going to have to show how thermodynamics applies to economics to make this work.

                  Go back and read Prew.

                  "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                  by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 12:42:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I see you've given up. So goes socialism. nt (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cassiodorus

                    "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                    by Maimonides on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 12:56:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So please declare victory (0+ / 0-)

                      and go home.  After all, it was relatively cheap -- you didn't need to deploy any evidence.

                      "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                      by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 01:00:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You've insisted on misunderstanding things I've (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Cassiodorus

                        explained to you twice (the difference between fuels and generators), and you continue to rely on thermodynamics and this sad "prew" character's mischaracterization of it's relation to economics to support your wn misconceptions.  

                        I can't help you if you won't admit you have a problem.

                        And a rhetorical victory it is.

                        "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                        by Maimonides on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 01:05:23 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  So if I were problem-free (0+ / 0-)

                          I can't help you if you won't admit you have a problem.

                          I would accept your conclusions without the least hint of evidence supporting them?

                          "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                          by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 01:33:07 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You ignore them entirely. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            You've yet to address the problem of using thermodynamics, and you keep not understanding the difference between fuels and generators.  I can spell it out for you again "It takes fuel to make all generation, but once a generator is built then there is a distinct difference between those that require extraction (fossil and nuclear) and those which are, by definition, renewable."

                            And really, citing some socialist thinkers who don't know that economics isn't a physical science is no way to convince me.

                            "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                            by Maimonides on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 01:51:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This is a problem only in your head (0+ / 0-)

                            which continues to tell you that we shouldn't "go there."

                            "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                            by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 01:57:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  A Siegel also rec'd and tipped this diary (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Maimonides

          go figure.

          "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

          by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 11:45:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  is it saving the Earth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    or . . .

    is it saving ourselves and those other earthlings that are most vulnerable to the changes bearing down on us . . .

    sometimes i think we insist it's ALL man-made because if that's true, then we must be able to undo it and "save" the earth.

    those insisting it's cyclic seem to think that's an excuse to shrug shoulders. we had no impact on these changes, which happen every 10,000 years or 1 million years, so we can continue to rape and pillage the limited resources amid exploding populations and leave the toxic mess for the little people to endure.

    in the end, things will change. no matter how nature got us here . . . through her terrible human children or some cosmic cause. or a bit of both.

    what we need to understand is this: we will not undo it.

    we will have to learn to live in new environments. or perish.

    at least that's what i think.

    "Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop" Gus McCrae

    by pfiore8 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 10:18:28 AM PDT

    •  Unless we save the Earth... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pfiore8

      is it saving ourselves and those other earthlings that are most vulnerable to the changes bearing down on us . . .

      They cannot be saved if there is no ecosystem for them.

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 11:05:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Outstanding diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    One of your best, Cassiodorus.

  •  If I may jump in with a few minor thoughts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    I was originally going to post this in the thread with Maimonides, but I feel it makes more sense outside of it

    1.  Part of the problem is a question of truly how collectivist/socialist we have evolved to be vs how much our society can/has influenced us?  It is, in essence, a nature vs nurture argument.  
    1.  Furthermore, if you assume that you must sacrifice the individuals right to wealth collection, one must question why we should only stop there?  This may seem harsh, but resource utilization is the main point, and human activities.  In essence, if you decide that we must give up the acquisition of wealth, then we must be prepared to reconsider many other actions, ranging from property rights to religious worship.  
    1.  That said, the assumption that goes into a lot of modern social-economic theories have tended to be an unlimited resource system, although access to those resources are limited.  This is part of the reason I mention nature vs nurture in point 1.  We are, at least to a degree, programed to look on a much smaller scale, and not on a planetary scale.  And obviously, the earth does not have unlimited resources.  
    1.  Which brings me to a point a friend of my father used to make "Never sell the client an electric chair - he may sit down."  If socialism is more of a nurture choice, rather than an evolutionary development, then your suggestion about moving towards collectivism is a valid suggestion.  However, I am not convinced that is practical.  There was a science fiction book, called the currents of space.  Short version, this one scientist loses his memory, and is forced to relearn it.  It turns out he lost his memory because of a mental probe, which was designed to lower some apprehension he had, but instead attacked a deep psychological issue he had, which went to the core of his being.  The point of me citing this is that if human beings are more selfish, not by choice, but by natural programing, then relying on collectivism, and assuming that we can save the earth with it, is a false choice.  After all, it would be the equivalent of telling someone to learn to live without Oxygen.  

    I'd like to believe that we can move towards a collectivist society, but the history of civilization would argue, at least IMHO, against it.  

    1.  Therefore, if our choices are between hoping for a collectivist society that moves towards preserving the earth, or continued environmental destruction, I suspect that later is more likely than the former.  Therefore, I would submit that we need to find a 3rd alternative.  
    •  If you say so (0+ / 0-)

      Part of the problem is a question of truly how collectivist/socialist we have evolved

      Evolution did not produce socialism, nor, for that matter, did it produce gunpowder, the spinning jenny, or the French language.  Cultural development did.

      Furthermore, if you assume that you must sacrifice the individuals right to wealth collection

      1. None of this is "my" decision to make, but then again I understand that saving the Earth is not an ego-trip.
      1. An economic system which has existed for the past three centuries (at least) to fortify the ownership of the global means of production (and its supporting rate of exploitation) on the part of a tiny minority of owners as opposed to the vast majority of working people requires a vast lobotomization of its historical richness if it is to be conceptually reduced to being "the individuals (sic) right to wealth collection."  First off, you have the conflation of the concrete idea of the means of production with the generality of "wealth," secondly you have an effacement of the history of the capitalist state, and so on...

      The point of me citing this is that if human beings are more selfish, not by choice, but by natural programing

      Which fully justifies why only a tiny minority of the human race actually gets to take advantage of its "selfishness" in terms of having been granted membership in an investor class or a landowning gentry, whereas the rest of us must work for a living (if we are indeed so lucky as to be granted a job!).

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 12:57:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        Evolution did not produce socialism, nor, for that matter, did it produce gunpowder, the spinning jenny, or the French language.  Cultural development did.

        But cultural development is dependent upon the mental workings of the human brain and human body.  Without the existence of the human brain and human body, human cultural development would not exist.  Therefore, if a social system, regardless of its goals or beliefs, is to be successful in maintaining its existence and expanding, it must take into account the biological needs of Homo Sapiens, whether those needs are physical (like food) or psychological (such as positive interaction).  Cultural development has its roots in evolutionary development.  There is actually a science that is trying to merge these points, of evolution and culture, but I can't remember what its called.  

        None of this is "my" decision to make, but then again I understand that saving the Earth is not an ego-trip.

        I really don't understand the point of that comment.  My intention was necessarily the you specifically, but rather the you in general ie - if the proposed argument accepts this point, then it MUST consider this additional point.  

        An economic system which has existed for the past three centuries (at least) to fortify the ownership of the global means of production (and its supporting rate of exploitation) on the part of a tiny minority of owners as opposed to the vast majority of working people requires a vast lobotomization of its historical richness if it is to be conceptually reduced to being "the individuals (sic) right to wealth collection."  First off, you have the conflation of the concrete idea of the means of production with the generality of "wealth," secondly you have an effacement of the history of the capitalist state, and so on...

        What you are discussing is some of the results of capitalism.  However, what I am talking about is the base assumption of capitalism, that is private ownership and control of methods to prouce wealth, which is very close to my point about "the individual's right to wealth collection."  Yes, this has a multitude of resulting consequences, some of which you highlighted, but my point was the basic tenets of capitalism, rather than its consequenes.  

        Which fully justifies why only a tiny minority of the human race actually gets to take advantage of its "selfishness" in terms of having been granted membership in an investor class or a landowning gentry, whereas the rest of us must work for a living (if we are indeed so lucky as to be granted a job!).

        I admit to being lost by what your point is here.  

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