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The latest look at a classic global ecological analysis from MIT:

Next Great Depression? MIT researchers predict ‘global economic collapse’ by 2030:

A new study from researchers at Jay W. Forrester's institute at MIT says that the world could suffer from "global economic collapse" and "precipitous population decline" if people continue to consume the world's resources at the current pace.

Smithsonian Magazine writes that Australian physicist Graham Turner says "the world is on track for disaster" and that current evidence coincides with a famous, and in some quarters, infamous, academic report from 1972 entitled, "The Limits to Growth."

Now the new study here isn't the Limits to Growth study, but rather a re-examination of it that finds that we have been tracking what they called the "business-as-usual" scenario.  The original work from 1972 presented a number of possibilities, not all of which ended in societal decline.  However, the business-as-usual scenario, which projected what would happen if all policies remained the same, did end in decline, and as it turns out, that's the trajectory we're on.  (I should note that the authors of the Limits to Growth were painfully careful not to predict or forecast anything, but rather just to model scenarios.  However, as it has turned out that we've been following their business-as-usual scenario for 40 years, others have treated that model as an approximate forecast of where we're headed.)

The Historical Context

Let's look at the Limits to Growth.  This classic ecological study was a warning, one yet to be heeded, along with the many other more recent warnings (World Scientists' Warning to Humanity, Footprint Study, Overshoot, etc.).  The science is telling us that progress as we've known it cannot continue: it's running into the physical, ecological limits of the planet we live on.  

To quote the footprint study:

Since the 1970s, humanity has been in ecological overshoot with annual demand on resources exceeding what Earth can regenerate each year.

How have we adapted over the past couple of decades to this scientific consensus?  It has ignored the science, or taken the science piecemeal and applied it to political causes when convenient and ignored it when it was inconvenient.  Our approach has tended to want to address environmental issues (say, climate change) but at the same time insist that we should still pursue growth (maybe with some euphemisms like "green growth" or "smart growth").  That's better, maybe, than the modern conservative approach of ignoring the science entirely.  But not much better.  In fact one of the few things you'll find agreement upon between progressives and conservatives is that growth is what we want.

We have yet to successfully reframe the notion of progress within the limits of the Earth---the ecological limits that cannot be circumvented.  Or maybe ditch the notion of progress and find something that fits better.

This last part often gets ignored: "ecological limits that cannot be circumvented."  That doesn't mean "it would be nice to pay attention to the environment."  Unlike many environmental causes of the past few decades (i.e. saving specific species, avoiding specific types of pollution, etc.), ecological limits have to do with the entire ecosystem we live in and depend upon.  That includes our economy, which is a subset of the global ecosystem and derives 3/4 of its value from natural processes over which we have no control or input (a fact that almost nobody knows).

We're in overshoot.  And any system can stay in overshoot for some amount of time---you can overspend for a little while by drawing down savings in your bank account, but it's easy to forecast that the bank account will go empty at some point and that spending can't continue.  And ecologists have been forecasting that our global bank account---the resources we could extract and the wastes we could produce---would start to run dry sometime around now.  And we're starting to see it all around us.

Dennis Meadows, 40 years later

Dennis Meadows, one of the lead authors of the MIT study, recently gave a 40th anniversary talk of the Limits to Growth at the Smithsonian Institution:

I highly recommend watching this talk, even though it's a bit dry.  Here we have an eminent ecologist and systems researcher reflecting on what he's seen over the last 40 years, and the responses people have had to his studies.

What's next?

So should we just throw up our hands?  No.  I think we need to ground ourselves in the "present conditions."  In other words, what are these limits we're facing?  I've been a bit vague about them, but they're actually quite concrete.  As an example (a limited one), here's a figure from the Footprint studies:

Essentially we need to look at the resources we extract and the damage we do / wastes we produce.  On the matter of resources, I've written a number of diaries discussing how we've basically maxed out on oil production, and soon on other fossil fuels as well.  (I figure it's best to not repeat that information here.)

On the latter question of damage / wastes, the Planetary Boundaries study produced this helpful diagram:

Anything within the green zone is "within limits".  Note that two of the pieces haven't been quantified yet.

This brings us back to the limits to growth.  That landmark study discussed how growth, which has been intimately tied into our notion of progress, must end.  And we're seeing now that it is ending---we're at the point (plus or minus a few years) where growth as we have known it for centuries will end.

We need a new way forward, one that doesn't depend upon now defunct ideas like progress or growth or advancement or other similar ideas.  Instead, as Bill McKibben put it in his excellent book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, we need a new vocabulary, one with words like durable that convey what we really need: to weather the storm of the reversal of growth as our bills from our overshoot come due.

This is a conversation that we need to start having. The growth durability of our nation depends upon it.

Originally posted to barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Systems Thinking.

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  •  Tip Jar (234+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, MKinTN, camlbacker, beach babe in fl, too many people, jfromga, wide eyed lib, One Pissed Off Liberal, boophus, majcmb1, FutureNow, Burned, mightymouse, chimpy, roses, Habitat Vic, Robobagpiper, blue aardvark, maggiejean, citisven, bubbanomics, eyesoars, temptxan, 2thanks, oortdust, kamarvt, LaughingPlanet, Danno11, blue jersey mom, wxorknot, cassandracarolina, dirtfarmer, wu ming, barkingcat, hepshiba, lostinamerica, dejavu, Ginny in CO, opinionated, porchdog1961, Catte Nappe, marleycat, Chun Yang, elengul, WheninRome, Sychotic1, Milly Watt, mimi, Gowrie Gal, Cronesense, old wobbly, mconvente, bibble, Fiona West, ratzo, mithra, highacidity, leeleedee, jrooth, Cassandra Waites, madhaus, DEMonrat ankle biter, petulans, sailmaker, zerelda, Leftcandid, FogCityJohn, TheGreatLeapForward, Andrew C White, Ignacio Magaloni, Oaktown Girl, Paul Ferguson, rantsposition, Alfred E Newman, hester, chipmo, Statusquomustgo, Wendy Slammo, joe wobblie, pgm 01, basquebob, la urracca, semiot, nirbama, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, ask, uciguy30, GreyHawk, flitedocnm, Sun Tzu, wayoutinthestix, JTinDC, Mr Robert, sdf, banjolele, gulfgal98, AoT, G2geek, parsonsbeach, MidwestTreeHugger, damfino, maryabein, sydneyluv, SteelerGrrl, pimutant, IreGyre, ogre, ladelfina, pfiore8, devis1, PapaChach, billlaurelMD, gloriana, mamamedusa, asym, reflectionsv37, markthshark, jhop7, aaraujo, SeaTurtle, oceanview, cai, monkeybrainpolitics, SD Goat, zmom, dotsright, wonmug, Shelley99, Cedwyn, Lily O Lady, elziax, Born in NOLA, clinging to hope, tardis10, Ms Citizen, Moderation, lastlegslaststand, beltane, seefleur, Shockwave, jfdunphy, Cal4Clark, RubDMC, Reformed and trying to be reasonable, Teiresias70, BigVegan, dle2GA, DRo, lcrp, Alumbrados, buckstop, profh, JayDean, Joieau, BlueDragon, neele, DIYer, Debs2, Chaddiwicker, where4art, xynz, bnasley, joanil, ilex, CA Nana, FishOutofWater, sfarkash, millwood, DamselleFly, windwardguy46, AnnieR, Cofcos, martinjedlicka, passionateprotagonist, PeterHug, truong son traveler, ozsea1, the1sage, gizmo59, bkamr, dradams, Bule Betawi, juca, Cobbler, science nerd, Flying Goat, alabamaliberal, suspiciousmind, geordie, bloomer 101, sc kitty, offgrid, vigilant meerkat, YucatanMan, ranger995, raines, Sandino, side pocket, fumie, rmonroe, congenitalefty, LaFeminista, tacet, Noor B, linkage, chickeee, ivote2004, James Wells, peachcreek, sawgrass727, GAS, northsylvania, Lawrence, HeartlandLiberal, Carol in San Antonio, The Raven, caryltoo, AppleP, Mosquito Pilot, sodalis, Diana in NoVa, Matt Z, Deward Hastings, greenbastard, Margfh, jam, No one gets out alive, Temmoku, dwahzon, kaliope, SolarMom, Zydekos, muddy boots, Trendar

    contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

    by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:42:50 AM PDT

      •  That's little people doing sane things. (19+ / 0-)

        Therefore, not something that politicians or corporate America highlights.  Building and selling more cars as we've done for the past hundred years is what the masses cheer.

        •  To the extent that our economic survival depends (16+ / 0-)

          on jobs -- and I think most progressive economists would agree that it does -- I don't have a problem, for now, with Detroit "being back". As long as cars are gong to be made somewhere, given Detroit's near demise as a city, and given Detroit's highly unionized work force, I'd much rather see those jobs (and all of the secondary jobs that depend on a healthy auto industry) come back to Detroit.

          That doesn't mean of course that we shouldn't be working hard to shift the paradigm. GM is already taking a big step in that direction with more fuel efficient models, especially the Chevy Volt.

          Not to mention: Detroit's resurgence will make it much more difficult for the egregious Romney to win. And if we care about economic sanity and durability, the very last thing we want is for Romney to win.

          Yes, I agree 100%, we need to replace unlimited growth with sustainability and durability. We have to change the very notion of a healthy economy, and what it means to be a successful society. We need new models. But that will be a huge shift, and it's going to be extremely hard. The entrenched oligarchy is going to fight that change till their dying breaths.

          In the meantime -- three cheers for Detroit!

          "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

          by flitedocnm on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:15:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (11+ / 0-)
            The entrenched oligarchy is going to fight that change till their dying breaths.
            That may be what it will take, and it will be a multigenerational shift (unless of course, that 2030 meltdown takes them with it ... which is unlikely for the wealthy).

            "Mitt Romney has more positions than the Kama Sutra." -- me "Social justice is love, made public." -- Cornel West

            by billlaurelMD on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:20:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Planned Obsolescence" MUST BE ADDRESSED! (22+ / 0-)

            That is a major part of the waste of our resources on our planet from every level.  Not to mention creating mountains of waste itself.

            from Wiki:

            Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence[1] in industrial design is a policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time.[1] Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because to obtain continuing use of the product the consumer is under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from a competitor which might also rely on planned obsolescence.[1]

            In some cases, deliberate deprecation of earlier versions of a technology is used to reduce ongoing support costs, especially in the software industry. Though this could be considered planned obsolescence, it differs from the classic form in that the consumer is typically made aware of the limited support lifetime of the product as part of their licensing agreement.

            For an industry, planned obsolescence stimulates demand by encouraging purchasers to buy sooner if they still want a functioning product. Built-in obsolescence is used in many different products. There is, however, the potential backlash of consumers who learn that the manufacturer invested money to make the product obsolete faster; such consumers might turn to a producer (if any exists) that offers a more durable alternative.

            I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

            by SeaTurtle on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:53:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Couldn't agree more. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SeaTurtle, CA Nana, ivote2004, Matt Z

              Have thought that for decades.

              Dear Republicans, the United States is a Representative Democracy, not your church.

              by Onomastic on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:23:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  In the medical products industry (11+ / 0-)

              The real money is made on the "disposables" - whether those are special solutions to hold cell samples (for example, I worked for a company that bottled a small amount of diluted methanol in a vial to go with its device - you could use regular methanol mixed with distilled water to get the same result, but then there would be no disposables to sell); gel pads for electrodes (one set can be reused on the same patient, but generally, they aren't), little plastic sleeves for thermometers (without which the thermometer will give an incorrect temp), etc.

              Disposables are often planned into a product, whether or not they're truly necessary for health or efficacy. If a product has no disposables, you can bet someone in marketing is looking for a way to create a perceived "need' for a disposable of some kind.

            •  Did you ever try to get an appliance repaired? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SeaTurtle, Marie, flitedocnm

              It's almost not possible anymore. The same thing goes for computers and other things we use every day -- it's basically a wash, cost-wise,  between buying  a new one and repairing the old one, and since the new one will be more up-to-date that decision is almost automatic.

              Is it better to repair that toaster than toss it in a landfill? Yes. Is it practical. No.

              No idea what the answer here is, but I get your point that the route we're traveling is just wrong.

              •  imo, the solution is to encourage manufacturers (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Marie, flitedocnm

                to make items of quality, that last and that can be repaired.  Simple.

                That used to be the standard.  Its the drive for greedy profit, profit, profit that changed that mode.

                Now we are stuck with mountains of cheap, made to break crap.  Longevity used to be a pride in manufacture.  Now we are asked to buy 'warranties' for products for one or two years!!!!!!  WTF?  Just another rip off.

                However, this will require a restructuring on the economic system.  Or some bright entrepreneur can start promoting his/her products as durable, repairable, made from non-toxic substances and green because it respects the limitations of the resources of this planet.

                I would gladly pay a couple of more dollars for this type of product.

                I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

                by SeaTurtle on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 06:40:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This is one reason why a healthy middle class is (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SeaTurtle

                  absolutely essential: you would gladly pay a couple of more dollars for a quality product that won't fall apart quickly and is easily reparable, non-toxic, etc. -- but unfortunately, the great majority of people won't.

                  Partly, of course, that's a matter of ignorance and misinformation. But to a very great extent, it's because for far too many people in this "wealthy" country of ours, every nickel counts, and those small decisions add up. When you have trouble paying the rent and the gas bill, you're not going to pay those few extra dollars for quality and sustainability.

                  And that's another reason why the corporate oligarchs do NOT want a strong middle class. They DON'T want people buying quality, because the profit margin on quality, over time, is less.

                  "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

                  by flitedocnm on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 10:34:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  gazillions of recs if I could: this is the most... (12+ / 0-)

        .... important issue facing our species, bar none.  Indefinite growth on a finite planet isn't possible, and we are going to end up with a dieoff that'll be the equivalent of a global nuclear war if we keep trying.  

        Someone needs to offer a "skeptic prize" of a million bucks or more, for a mathematical proof that you can map an infinite plane to the surface of a Euclidean solid (that being another way of describing indefinite growth on a finite planet).  

        This could be a useful way to get publicity on this issue and keep it in public awareness.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:45:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Urban farming (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie, Marie

        leads to people growing on soil contaminated with arsenic and lead.  There are science-illiterate progressives; as somebody who's lived in rural hippiedom and urban progressive ghettoes, I'd know.

        Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

        by Nulwee on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:22:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Can you expound? Is this actually happening and (0+ / 0-)

          can the soil be repaired? Or should we just throw up our hands? Seriously, I'm really interested in your answer,  not dismissing your point.

          •  Rototilling old lawn will reveal all sort of (4+ / 0-)

            things. An urban farm in Portland did that and found old lead toys, tin, plastic of course and other things. Considering how widely present lead was until recent times, it's hard to consider that industrial cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh and even Portland would have have a good chance of having lead in the yard.  

            Soil conservation is one of the main problems with urban sprawl. Because the topsoil is immediately lost forever, and because the concrete (toxic) and the pollution from the city will also get into the soil. Remediation? I grew sunflowers to absorb heavy metals but I don't know of any realistic, truly safe big picture.

            Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

            by Nulwee on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:57:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  And the band played on. n/t (14+ / 0-)

      Barack Obama: So morally bankrupt that he thinks people who tortured other people to death should get a pass. Likes to prosecute whistleblowers and pot smokers, though.

      by expatjourno on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:24:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem isn't "Detroit." (14+ / 0-)

      It's population growth beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. Too much irresponsible fucking.

      I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

      by itsjim on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:28:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Malthus was right! (20+ / 0-)

        Overpopulation will soon surpass agricultural and oil production, even the supply of water will be fought over!
        But cheer up!  The untold millions starving to death, wars, disease and disasters all over the world will soon limit human population growth!  

        ! The swinistic greed and racial hatred of the American ruling elite is abysmal !

        by joe wobblie on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:56:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And... (7+ / 0-)

          Gravedigging will become a growth industry!

          I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

          by itsjim on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:00:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  He hasn't been right yet (6+ / 0-)

          And it's been a long fricking time since he predicted.

          We may outstrip our ability to innovate our way out of the situation we're in, but it's been long enough to say that Malthus distinctly was wrong.

          We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

          by nightsweat on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:11:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Huh? (21+ / 0-)

            How can you say that?

            Without the industrial and green revolutions the collapse would already have happened.

            But we still haven't addressed the underlying issue, far too many people on this planet sucking it dry.

            Politicians aren't worried about it because they're either fundamentalists thinking jesus will be back soon, dominionists who think that we god gave us permission to rape the planet, short-sighters only worrying about the next election, or free-market Randians who think anything that stifles business is evil, no matter the consequences.

            And this ain't just American politicians. It applies globally.

            And now that China and India are aspiring to western levels of affluence it going to happen faster and faster.

            We are screwed.

            "Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom. " - Death (Terry Pratchett character)

            by Thorby Baslim on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:24:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  a rare opportunity... (8+ / 0-)

              ..... to figure out what it takes to convince "growthers" that it ain't gonna work out that way.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:03:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Malthus was wrong. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens, congenitalefty, Matt Z

              I remember reading that humans, like other mammals, tend to naturally keep their numbers well below their environment's carrying capacities.  (I would have to go back and dig for a citation.)  This is why we are not seeing mass famines in India or China.

              The problem here is decidedly NOT that poor people are screwing too much.  Rather, the problem is that people like US -- Americans and people living American lifestyles -- are hoovering up enormous amounts of resources and throwing them out in the garbage every week.

              •  Malthus was a pessimist (14+ / 0-)

                but his basic principles were sound. He just drastically underestimated human ingenuity and ruthlessness - its ability to come up with new and innovative answers to problems, even though the answers required robbing the future to prop up the present; and its willingness to commit robbery on that scale because it would only matter to "future generations".

                There is no scenario that allows even an East European lifestyle to continue at the current population levels. But we won't take any sane measures to limit, let alone reduce, our population - so Nature will do it for us and we won't like it (if the human species survives to like or dislike anything, that is).

                If it's
                Not your body,
                Then it's
                Not your choice
                And it's
                None of your damn business!

                by TheOtherMaven on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 07:40:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He was actually an optimist... (9+ / 0-)

                  ...considering that if he had been right, a few hundred million people would have died in the 1800s and that would have been the end of it.

                  He didn't foresee fossil fuels and the green revolution, which is going to cause a far more massive collapse than he could ever imagine (perhaps billions dead)!

                  It doesn't have to end this way, but of course it will.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:22:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I like this quote: (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Nulwee, Lily O Lady, Sparhawk, Marie
                    No man can say that he has seen the largest ear of wheat, or the largest oak that could ever grow; but he might easily, and with perfect certainty, name a point of magnitude, at which they would not arrive. In all these cases therefore, a careful distinction should be made, between an unlimited progress, and a progress where the limit is merely undefined.
                    I would argue that Malthus wasn't wrong, it's just that the limits so far have been undefined.

                    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

                    by northsylvania on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 02:24:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  The important distinction we aren't making (0+ / 0-)

                  is the difference between these two problems:

                  1)  The Earth has too many people.
                  2)  The people on the Earth are consuming too much.

                  The problem that Malthus was afraid of was #1.  That's why he focused on the poor and how they were having too much sex, not on the rich and the massive amounts of goods that they were consuming.

                  The real problem that we have to deal with is #2.  It's not biologically possible for people to multiply far beyond their environment's ability to feed them.  But it is possible for people to come up with ways to vacuum up enormous amounts of energy and non-renewable resources because they must have flatscreen TVs with OnDemand movie selections and microwaveable pork-and-bokchoy dumplings, which come in disposable packaging.

                  Our consumption is what we must put constraints on, not our numbers.

                •  The important distinction we aren't making (0+ / 0-)

                  is between these two different problems:

                  1) There are too many people on the Earth.
                  2) The people on the Earth are consuming too much.

                  The problem that Malthus was worried about was #1.  That's why he harped so much on the poor and how they were having too much sex, but did not mention the rich and all the goods that they consumed.

                  Malthus' fears never came true, because people cannot multiply far beyond their environment's ability to feed them.

                  The real problem we have to deal with is #2.  People in the first world suck up too many resources -- not because they reproduce too much, but because they must have flatscreen TVs with 24-hour OnDemand movie selections and microwaveale pork and bockchoy dumplings in disposable packaging.  The problem is us, not some Indian peasansts living on rice.

              •  The reason we are not seeing famines in India or (9+ / 0-)

                China is that petroleum and natural gas have temporarily allowed the mass production of food through artificial fertilizers and irrigation on a scale not previously achievable.

                That will not continue.

                There are many examples from history which show Malthus was correct.  The first coming to mind are the former Mayan civilizations, but there are many others.  Easter Island ring a bell?

                There are far too many people for the globe to sustain without burning ancient sunlight --- petroleum and natural gas --- which will be running out soon and then what?  

                Malthus will be shown to be correct: the earth cannot sustain an infinite number of people.  The earth will soon limit the overgrowth in horrible ways.

                What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

                by YucatanMan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:17:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm too old to expect to see 2050 when (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Marie

                  the population is projected to reach 9 billion, but I am very curious as to the outcome.

                  Would one of our young whippersnappers (who will then be old, like me) please whisper the result on the wind?

                  Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                  by Just Bob on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 04:18:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  So esclusive of the things that happened (0+ / 0-)

              Something else might have happened?

              We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

              by nightsweat on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 06:34:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I'll nominate you for a Nobel Prize if you can... (11+ / 0-)

            .... demonstrate how to sustain indefinite growth of population and consumption on a finite planet.

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:58:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Jesus will beam up a good portion of em... (10+ / 0-)

              So that solves the problem.  I understand that's going to happen any day now.

              /snark

              I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

              by detroitmechworks on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:01:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  OTOH go read the comment by Barath... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ivote2004, northsylvania, Matt Z

                .... where he quotes Jimmy Carter's energy speech.

                Carter is a lifelong Evangelical Christian.  That's what Christian activism used to sound like (and Martin Luther King, and and and...), before the obnoxious theocrats captured the field for themselves.  

                The left would do well to reach out to religious progressives, as the natural alliance for progressive values more than overcomes the differences between theists, nontheists and agnostics.  

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:56:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Indefinite - no (0+ / 0-)

              Greatly extended - yes.  

              You reduce the per person impact by switching technologies to increase efficiency, by recycling waste so you're losing the minimum amount of non-renewables and by exploiting the external inputs into the system like using solar energy.

              If you were coming onto this planet de novo with sufficient technology, you'd have no problem figuring out how to settle 15 billion people in a sustainable way.  You'd use more of the land, farm more of the ocean instead of harvesting wild resources indiscriminantly, and live in denser ecologically sustainable cities.

              Can you do it the way we're doing things now? No.  But we're better now than we used to be.  Thing of the levels of pollution back per person in the cities just 50 years ago.

              We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

              by nightsweat on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 06:42:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Well... "irresponsible?" (9+ / 0-)

        "Responsibility" implies a degree of control and agency that women in many overpopulated parts of the world don't always enjoy. While that is changing, there are many places that continue to struggle for lack of access to proper education on family planning, and lack of access to modern health services.

        Now, there is irresponsibility in the decision of American clerics, politicians, and assorted wingnuts to call for a rolling back of women's reproductive freedoms. But even here, it's difficult to accuse families themselves of being "irresponsible" when access to the full range of women's health services is becoming increasingly difficult, due to budget cuts and regressive, anti-woman legislation.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:49:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "reckless reproduction." (6+ / 0-)

        Goes along with "conspicuous consumption" as the top two causes of overshoot & collapse.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:56:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  like when your parents fucked and produced you? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        old possum, Cofcos, Nulwee, Matt Z

        who exactly are the 'irresponsible fuckers'?  

        i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

        by Anton Bursch on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:08:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. Exactly like that. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FutureNow, Marie

          My parents are devout Catholics who produced six children. While I love all of my siblings, that sort of exponential reproductive model can not be sustained. I am number 4 of six. Had my parents been aware of the population crisis back in the late 50s, and had they not been indoctrinated with a bunch of silly church dogma, I would not be here to torment you.

          But those facts do not diminish my argument that every single crisis of resource has overpopulation as its root cause. (I can produce an Ishikawa diagram if you like.) Anyone who has ever taken a 100 level environmental science class understands the fundamental concept of carrying capacity. There are simply more people consuming resources than the planet can sustain. Since the resources are finite, the dependent variable in the equation is population. You can choose to cloud this up with a lot of Maslowian self-actualized concepts, but as a species, we are way further down the hierarchy than you or I may be as individuals.

          I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

          by itsjim on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 05:27:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  not sure that's entirely it. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, old possum, congenitalefty, Nulwee, Matt Z

        it's more this:

        A billion cars on the world's roads
        ...China (has) the world's second largest car population, with 78 million vehicles. But the United States still constitutes by far the largest vehicle population in the world, with 239.8 million cars, the Ward's study reported.
        it's not the cars themselves, but i think that's about right: most of the resources are being used by 1/7 of the world's HUMAN population (7 billion and counting). that doesn't count the needs of animals and plants et al...

        it's the top of the food chain that's the problem... not the rest (so much anyway).

        •  Manufacturing cars consume a huge (7+ / 0-)

          amount of natural resources.  So, even if built in the same numbers today and parked forever, that hurt the planet.  But that's not what's done with them.  Once built, someone will be filling them with fuel and driving them around.  So, yes, cars are a problem.  

          As long as the population of "the rest" continues to increase, they are part of the problem.  And they, rightly, do aspire to move up the food chain.  

          •  yup, cars are a problem. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Marie

            my point is beyond the cars, but total use of resources, including cars shown in the number of cars.

            it is in the numbers: how many people does it take to bring us to the tipping point? not all 7 billion. it only takes hundreds of millions to misuse, abuse, and pollute this globe.

            as for more consumers, i'd say that at the rate the 1% is gobbling up everything not nailed down, that it simply isn't possible to create consumers for these big ticket items beyond the Chinese owning 2 or 3 cars per family.

            they'll create consumers with just enough to buy the plastic junk in the dollar stores. just as bad as cars.

          •  Actually, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Marie

            The auto manufacturing process utilizes a tremendous amount of recycled material, particularly steel and precious metals such as platinum, which is used in catalytic converters.

            I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

            by itsjim on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 08:37:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  We First Worlders like to think that. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, joanil, Cobbler, congenitalefty, Matt Z

        When in reality, the people who are reproducing beyond replacement level are also the people using a tiny percentage of the resources that a British or European person does, and an even tinier fraction of what an American does.

        So, sure, blame it all on people who don't have electricity or access to birth control.  But it's us who's doing it.

        (And I say this as a non-reproducing American.)

      •  Itsjim, I am a fierce proponent of zero (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie, itsjim

        population. Unfortunately, this site is full of neoliberals like thereisnospoon who are flat wrong on population.

        The earth can support maybe 2 billion people. So guessed at least one scientist in the last decade. (His video's in my diary that I think is entitled "Population Growth Ensuring a World of Solitude.")

        Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

        by Nulwee on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:26:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Politely applauding the band (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, G2geek, Nulwee, Matt Z

      ..on the Titanic.

    •  So (0+ / 0-)

      You'd rather have us starve. How compassionate.

      Don't come crying to me when the wolves are at your door.

      Murdered While Black: If George Zimmerman is not arrested, there is no justice in Florida.

      by Rustbelt Dem on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:06:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Build more cars or starve? That has (0+ / 0-)

        to be the most simplistic and visionless comment I've seen in a long time.

        Are you unaware of what happened in "Detriot" shortly after Pearl Harbor?  FDR admin ordered military vehicles -- "Detroit" responded with, "No can do -- only have capacity to build consumer cars and trucks."  FDR -- "excuse me, but you won't be building consumer vehicles."

        •  You weren't around here in 2008-2009 (0+ / 0-)

          And your callous nature just proves to me that I shouldn't care what you have to say. And I won't.

          End of conversation.

          Murdered While Black: If George Zimmerman is not arrested, there is no justice in Florida.

          by Rustbelt Dem on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 12:23:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Been here since 2002. Callous? Because (0+ / 0-)

            I think that building more cars that are contributing to the destruction of earth for human habitation is a really bad idea?  That there was no other options for putting Americans to work to build for today and tomorrow?

            Sort of thought that it might be a good idea to plow straight ahead in building the modern, energy efficient, and sustainable economy that we and the world need when the old way had proven to be so deeply flawed.  Then again that's how liberals think; whereas, regressives prefer to recreate imagined days of glory.

            •  ... (0+ / 0-)

              ...

              Murdered While Black: If George Zimmerman is not arrested, there is no justice in Florida.

              by Rustbelt Dem on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 02:49:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oh (0+ / 0-)

              and by around here I meant Southeastern Michigan.  It's easy to tsk tsk from whatever green friendly left wing upper middle class haven and stab people that are fighting for their very lives in the back.  Too bad that we decide elections, right?

              Oh, and to reiterate: whenever whatever limousine liberal place that you inhabit has a tragedy, don't come looking for us to help.

              Murdered While Black: If George Zimmerman is not arrested, there is no justice in Florida.

              by Rustbelt Dem on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:25:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How dare you! How dare you blame liberals (0+ / 0-)

                for the corporate decimation and destruction of your patch over the past forty years.  It was the fucking midwest Reagan Democrats that set the course in this country in 1980.  That sat back while private sector unions were decimated.  All the while thinking that Republicans would take care of white workers.  If not for the "whiny liberals" that you apparently detest pointing out like forever that gas guzzling private passenger vehicles aren't sustainable, your life would now be hunky dory and secure for the next hundred years.

                Enjoy your last hurrah.  And don't come whining to me when it's over and that extra couple of trillion spent buying that hurrah means nothing is left to retool.

                •  Enjoy your political irrelevance (0+ / 0-)

                  I laugh at your indignation.  If you like, you can come to detroit and explain how we are racists that do not deserve to earn a living.  

                  But you won't, since it's easy to sit behind a computer in a safe left wing haven and condemn people to die.  Aren't we just surplus population to you, limousine liberal?

                  Murdered While Black: If George Zimmerman is not arrested, there is no justice in Florida.

                  by Rustbelt Dem on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 05:19:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  In fact, please don't respond (0+ / 0-)

                  It's not worth my time to read

                  Enjoy your evening.

                  Murdered While Black: If George Zimmerman is not arrested, there is no justice in Florida.

                  by Rustbelt Dem on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 05:24:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Definitely (36+ / 0-)

      Jimmy Carter said it well:

      In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.
      So not only is increasing consumption no longer possible on a finite planet nearing the limits to growth, but it's not even something that brings individual happiness (as numerous psychological and economic studies have found over the past decade).

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:06:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dude! I've quoted that speech since... (7+ / 0-)

        ... the day I heard Carter make it, live on the radio, at which point I thought that the proverbial revolution had been won when a US president could say something like that.

        The key line to me at the time was, "Owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning."  

        You & I are on the same page.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:05:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that's what Evangelical Christianity in politics.. (7+ / 0-)

        .... looked like (Carter being Evangelical) before the theocrats took over.

        And after his presidency, he took up Jesus' original profession as a carpenter, in a manner of speaking, with Habitat for Humanity.

        There is still a large community of religious progressives, and somehow we need to reach them and encourage them to become more assertive in the proverbial village square.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:47:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  ***DURABLE Consumption*** (15+ / 0-)

      A mindset that we lost indulging in consumption of throw away appliances, technology, etc.  

      Buying the latest, coolest, most expensive stuff we can afford.  Thanks to Madison Ave, Wall Street and corporate America, we turned away from well made products; ensuring more money will be spent on replacements sooner than the durable items. And the repair market dwindled with it.

      In rebuilding America to be more durable, I'm hoping we can also rename everything that is now Reagan.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:18:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we had it and we threw it away. (20+ / 0-)

        Key example from my own industry (telephony):

        The Bell Telephone System was the world-leading example of eco-industrial design, with all of its components designed for long lifespans.  

        For example the "outside plant" (cable along the streets from you to the telco central office) is designed to last anywhere from 25 years (cable strung on telephone poles) to 125 years (cable in ducts under the street), and then be recycled indefinitely for its raw materials.  

        Your home telephone back in the day (up through the 1990s), was designed to last 40 years, and then be reconditioned at a telco workshop, and last another 40 years and then be recycled for raw materials.  In contrast the average cellphone has a lifespan of 18 months and ends up in the landfill.  

        We know how to do this.  We can do it again if we choose, and replicate the model to all sectors of the consumer goods economy, to reduce our ecological footprint to 1950s levels without a substantial decline in standard of living.  

        There is nothing stopping us but the ill will of plutocrats and theocrats who are trying to suck the life blood out of the ecosystems and out of humanity, for their own self-aggrandizement and delusions.  The existence of those plutocrats and theocrats is optional.  The existence of civilization and even that of the human race is what's at stake.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 03:16:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly! Ten recs for you! We know how. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ivote2004

          What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

          by YucatanMan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:20:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, a lot has been thrown away.. (2+ / 0-)

          Some of us have resisted. I held on to a Kirby vac for over 20 years. Still have the Elna sewing machine that came from my parents in '75, the Kitchenaid mixer from '77. Just had the stereo system from ~'90 cleaned and checked out. Working just fine except for the CD unit. Which only played one CD at a time. So I'm ok with replacing it.

          My maternal grandfather worked for Ma Bell. Before he lost his mind to Alzhiemer's mid 70's he was complaining about how cheap the new stuff was. I think he disparaged lighter models that would hold up as well as the older heavier ones. But it was more than just the phones.

          The bummer is that we had people telling us about The Limits to Growth 40 years ago, we had a president that understood it all very well, and the plutocrats and theocrats shoved Ronnie into the oval office.

          Whether we can get the human race to accept and fight for a lower standard of living is going to be interesting.
          Diamond's Collapse is a fascinating read on the past and gives some insight into the problems that have to be over come. This time it is not local. The whole globe is at risk.

          I can't decide if I want to know how many will survive and whether they will learn the lessons well enough.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:57:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The only question remaining in my mind: How (23+ / 0-)

    quickly will we crash? We are accelerating towards a cliff and most people just don't want to accept the inevitable.  Even my brightest and best informed friends are betting on a technological fix.
    Thanks for the great diary on this most important topic.

    There is only one planet suitable for human habitation in our solar system.

    by too many people on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:02:58 AM PDT

    •  The Limits to Growth on techno-fixes (39+ / 0-)

      They had a great section towards the end of the book (the 30-year update edition) discussing how to view their findings:

      Not: Technology will solve all problems.
      Nor: Technology does nothing but cause problems.
      But: We need to encourage technologies that will reduce the ecological footprint, increase efficiency, enhance resources, improve signals, and end material deprivation.
      And: We must approach our problems as human beings and bring more to bear on them than just technology.

      Not: The environment is a luxury or a competing demand or a commodity that people will buy when they can afford it.
      But: The environment is the source of all life and every economy.

      Not: Everyone should be brought up to the material level of the richest countries.
      But: There is no possibility of raising material consumption levels for everyone to the levels now enjoyed by the rich.  Everyone should have their fundamental material needs satisfied.  Material needs beyond this level should be satisfied only if it is possible, for all, within a sustainable ecological footprint.

      Not: Industry is the cause of all problems.
      Nor: Government is the cure of all problems.
      Nor: Economists are the cause of all problems.
      But: All people and institutions play their role within the large system structure. In a system that is structured for overshoot, all players deliberately or inadvertently contribute to that overshoot.  In a system that is structured for sustainability, industries, governments, environmentalists, and economists will play essential roles in contributing to sustainability.

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:09:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  1000 recs. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania

        If that one quotation could make it to the eyeballs of everyone here at Daily Kos, and the nuances and wisdom be absorbed, then our activism and effectiveness as a community would be uplevelled immensely.

        #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

        by ivote2004 on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 12:01:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Look at the chart again (7+ / 0-)

      All of the inflection points are in the future, with existing trends essentially still upwards, with the crashes yet to happen.  I'm not sure that the fact that hte linear trends have mostly continued really gives us a clear picture as to whether the dynamics that would cause the crashes have been accurately modeled.

      That said, I'm inclined to go with "better safe than sorry" especially since it'd be reasonably straightforward to do.

    •  Civilizations have crashed before leaving (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfdunphy

      few or cryptic traces of what they once were. This time it will be global--and really ugly I expect. I feel guilty for having brought kids into a world which seems to be heading for such horror.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:46:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tacet, ivote2004, Lily O Lady

        ...certainly interesting to think of what later generations of survivors are going to think when looking at our big cities, or stumbling into airports filled with planes that will never fly again (maybe infested with wildlife), etc.

        If civilization eventually survives, we are going to be the biggest object lesson in the history of the world. Future people are going to look at all of this with kind of a horrified wonder. "How could they have been so stupid?" will be the common refrain.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:26:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  OK, this just underscores many of my thoughts (22+ / 0-)

    for years. The problem is that there are many responses to this knowledge...

     there are many who will see this as a mill that will grind out a superior human race (which is the dumbest idea mankind ever put forth as truth)

     there are those who will say "let's party hard" since it is going to burst

     there are those who will deny it

     there are those who will fall back on prayer for big daddy to save them since he told us to have lots of babies and that everything belongs to us. And we do love our own babies so for a subset of this group they will cling to the belief that it will be thier genes that will survive cause they are so godly in thier greed  and willful ignorance.

    There are those who will fight to the end. I include myself in this group even though I think it is too late to stop a huge die back... All we can do is ameliorate it and to NOT allow the architects apologists who fueled  this tragedy  to survive and thrive.

    There will be those who argue that the timetable is wrong but the end of the Oil Age is coming... MIT is probably closer buit does it matter if it is 2070? Only if the only creature that matters to you in the entire universe is you.

    Can we prevent a sinking back to a dark age where human predators and ignorance makes life a misery? Can we  stop being mass consumers? Can we learn to live more simply? Can we learn to share instead of hoard? Can we begin to value that which is not us just because it is not us? Can we stop lying to ourselves, denying and creating stories to twist truth to fit our wants? Can we do any of this with a free society? How do we make people change so rapidly with out major societal upheavals?

    Someone mentioned Detroit as maybe being bad... But HOW do we employ people in the interim while change is made without driving many into the opposition because they know thier children will not survive without work, without fuel, without the very things that lie at the center of the mess we are in? This is such an immense problem we have wrought and far more complex than any side acknowledges.

    Personally I think we should be looking at ways to preserve advances in science and the growing body of data that shows where we went wrong... so that the religious loons "waiting for the Apocalypse" don't set us back on the same path?

    I think I am gonna go be depressed for a while.

    Proud Slut...Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:29:18 AM PDT

    •  Please don't stay depressed for too long (3+ / 0-)

      Please bounce back quickly. We need you.

      You made so many good points, as have most of the commenters on this supremely important diary.

      But when it comes to the "what to do about it" parts, there's too much flailing about, too much despair and depression, too much grasping or giving up, too much .... unclarity.

      And I'm not picking on you... it's just that your comment was the one that pushed me over the edge. (I was reading all the comments, and recommending all the ones that I could get behind, because I want to give supportive feedback, because writing my own comments is difficult for me, and mainly because I'd love to see this diary make it to the top of the rec list -- this is #1 topic that I feel deserves to be on the rec list every day, because it is the necessary and ultimate context for all meaningful political action, IMHO.)

      I don't want to come off as "being right" about this. But I first encountered Limits to Growth in 1973-74, and actually dedicated the rest of my life to solving these problems (got a couple of press clippings with me saying that, so I'm "on the record")... so I've have had quite a bit of time to digest the issues, get beyond the emotions, and sink my teeth into it. (I wrote my first college paper refuting 60 critiques of Limits to Growth; I personally hosted Jay Forrester when he came to speak on our campus; ++) I could write a whole book here and not say everything I've got to say on the subject.... plus I'm a speaker not a writer, and I experience too much writer's block when subjects like this arise that are so near and dear to my heart.

      With that out of the way, I ask you (and others feeling depression, resignation, fear, or angst) to consider these questions:

      * Could it be that your diagnosis of the blockages preventing us from solving these problems is not quite accurate?

      * Could it be that there are ways of bypassing what blockages there indeed are, and become effective in shifting the dynamics?

      * Are there undiscovered points of high leverage for shifting the dynamics?

      * What shifting of dynamics would be necessary and sufficient to constitute a "soft landing" onto a sustainable curve for civilization, humanity, life, and the entire ecosystem?

      * What is the critical path for getting onto such a sustainable curve?

      * As a unique individual on planet earth, what could be your unique contribution to initiatives towards that critical path?

      * Is there really anything more exciting and meaningful than contributing your life to solving these problems and averting these disasters?

      * After you outgrow and throw away all the illusions about how life was "supposed" to be... isn't it exhilarating to be alive at the time of the biggest shift in human history, with the biggest opportunity to contribute to civilization, humanity, all living beings, and the entire ecosystem?

      ~~~~~

      #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

      by ivote2004 on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 12:55:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Food can be a strategic new industry (11+ / 0-)

    A comprehensively nutritious natural product, safe to produce organically and to consume, portable, cheap and easily distributed, fully  re-imagined food products and supply chain is one way our developed economy can innovate and expand to meet health and sustainability challenges in the next century and bring the entire world along with a true global product.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:29:38 AM PDT

  •  Anything based even remotely on 1970s thinking (7+ / 0-)

    ...about resource limits to growth doesn't deserve a hearing, because that thinking was remarkably linear and uncreative.

    I don't know if the new report is based on that 1970s thinking, but just the mention of it in the same diary leads me to put the burden of proof squarely on the people claiming imminent collapse.  Global warming is the only meta-mega thing out there of any big consequence vs. the impressive adaptability and inventiveness of humanity and its current overall setup, which (like it or not) is global capitalism.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:31:06 AM PDT

  •  Global economic collapse within 18years? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cofcos, Nulwee

    I doubt it. The US hasn't even begun doing all the things we can do to slow down the unwinding.
      I think that the big weakness is food scarcity caused by climate change. It will take a while for that to cause population decline.

  •  Unfortunately the powers to be won't take this (22+ / 0-)

    seriously until 2031.

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

    by temptxan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:32:17 AM PDT

    •  Physics prof. Tom Murphy had a great post on this (29+ / 0-)

      He called it the Energy Trap:

      In brief, the idea is that once we enter a decline phase in fossil fuel availability—first in petroleum—our growth-based economic system will struggle to cope with a contraction of its very lifeblood. Fuel prices will skyrocket, some individuals and exporting nations will react by hoarding, and energy scarcity will quickly become the new norm. The invisible hand of the market will slap us silly demanding a new energy infrastructure based on non-fossil solutions. But here’s the rub. The construction of that shiny new infrastructure requires not just money, but…energy. And that’s the very commodity in short supply. Will we really be willing to sacrifice additional energy in the short term—effectively steepening the decline—for a long-term energy plan?

      ...

      Many of us have great hopes for our energy future that involve a transition to a gleaming renewable energy infrastructure, but we need to realize that we face a serious bottleneck in its implementation. The up-front energy investment in renewable energy infrastructures has not been visible as a hurdle thus far, as we have had surplus energy to invest (and smartly, at that; if only we had started in earnest earlier!). Against a backdrop of energy decline—which I feel will be the only motivator strong enough to make us serious about a replacement path—we may find ourselves paralyzed by the Trap.

      In the parallel world of economics, an energy decline likely spells deep recession. The substantial financial investment needed to carry out an energy replacement crash program will be hard to scrape together in tough times, especially given that we are unlikely to converge on the “right” solution into which we sink our bucks.

      Politically, the Energy Trap is a killer. In my lifetime, I have not witnessed in our political system the adult behavior that would be needed to buckle down for a long-term goal involving short-term sacrifice.  Or at least any brief bouts of such maturity have not been politically rewarded.  I’m not blaming the politicians. We all scream for ice cream. Politicians simply cater to our demands. We tend to vote for the candidate who promises a bigger, better tomorrow—even if such a path is untenable.

      The only way out of the political trap is for a substantial fraction of our population to understand the dimensions of the problem: to understand that we’ve been spoiled by the surplus energy available through fossil fuels, and that we will have to make decade-level sacrifices to put ourselves on a new track.

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:36:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not a prediction. It's reality. (9+ / 0-)
        Fuel prices will skyrocket, some individuals and exporting nations will react by hoarding, and energy scarcity will quickly become the new norm.
        Thus the deregulation of commodity futures.

        It doesn't take a PhD in Economics to understand the implications of a rapidly rising price of oil juxtaposed against a stagnant supply.

        Many people get upset about the impact that commodity trading has on raising the price of oil.  I agree with that anger, but it doesn't take the implications far enough.  Not only does buying futures increase the price of oil now through speculation, it also decreases the future supply of oil available to everyone else on the future market.  One day, that oil will be PRICELESS, and as long as a society that recognizes the contract and the dollar as being legitimate is still in effect, those who can claim ownership of the future's oil will not be mere market manipulators but the true masters of the fucking universe.

        The bourgeoisie had better watch out for me, all throughout this so called nation. We don't want your filthy money, we don't need your innocent bloodshed, we just want to end your world. ~H.R.

        by chipmo on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:29:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is plenty of energy... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Frank Knarf, Nulwee

          The total energy usage by the entire planet is less than 1% of the total solar energy hitting the planet.  Not even counting the mix of nuclear and gravitational energy available underground (geothernal), or the energy from leftover angular momentum from the formation of the moon (tidal).

          Declining fossil fuels are a problem because we should be using the fossils fuels that are left to put in place the initial renewable energy infrastructure to supply the energy for tomorrow.

          Conversion of all that energy to useful forms will be the particular challenge.  Food being particularly challenging.  Food energy has limitations other than the amount of energy hitting the planet.  Arable land, water, photosynthetic conversion efficiency, phosphorous, etc...

          So I would expect the ability to convert energy to food is the real limit, not the total available energy.

          •  How long will it take to manufacture sufficient (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nulwee

            solar panels and wind generators, install them, connect them and manage the power fluctuations caused by changing conditions?  

            The issues is that we cannot currently foresee being able to manufacture enough solar panels to supply all our needs and fuels are rapidly running low.

            That is the energy trap:  not that there is not enough energy reaching the earth, but that we cannot put the infrastructure into place in time to avoid great disaster.

            What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

            by YucatanMan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:41:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Solving that challenge ought be high priority (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nulwee

              Time is running out, the risks are huge, but there are still viable paths forward.

              See Amory Lovins Reinventing Fire

              Radical energy efficiency must be part of the mix.

              Do more with less, as Bucky taught us.

              Supply side: Global PV installed base is doubling approx every 2 years, and has been for decades. But that portion of the exponential has seemed flat because it's made up for a tiny slice of global energy demand.

              + PV is rapidly getting more efficient, less energy and material intensive to make, and cheaper. Moore's Law has kicked in and PV prices have fallen in half twice in the past 4 years. ($4.50/Wp summer 2008, less than $1/Wp now in spring 2012). This is a case when good exponentials can come to our aid ;)

              #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

              by ivote2004 on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 02:28:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  And when they do, they'll deregulate. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee
  •  the problem is that we've divorced economy (23+ / 0-)

    from ecology and built an entire infrastructure based on that divorce. So even with all the best intentions of things like recycling, bike lanes, etc, we keep running up against a fundamentally unsustainable infrastructure of automobile-based urban sprawl and the fact that most people don't like change and wouldn't voluntarily relocate to support a more sustainable settlement pattern based on access by proximity. Also, most western countries have come to depend on systems that extract massive amounts of resources from other parts of the globe, way more than our fair share and what's sustainable. For example, residents of the City of Vancouver who has done a lot to be more sustainable still have at least 4 times the ecological footprint of what the planet can support. So I don't see how all the "green" tinkering around the edges is going to avoid the current collision course with reality we're on, but I'm always hoping that our collective consciousness will shift and our imagination will expand to open us up to the bigger, systemic changes we need to make in how we live together.

    Thanks for this diary, great stuff!

    •  There you go, making sense. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie, Matt Z
      For example, residents of the City of Vancouver who has done a lot to be more sustainable still have at least 4 times the ecological footprint of what the planet can support. So I don't see how all the "green" tinkering around the edges is going to avoid the current collision course with reality we're on
      It's the same problem everywhere. Most people are too stupid to realize where they get their water from, and how. It comes from the ground. Keep building, and you are creating runoff and pollution in your groundwater.  Keep fracking, and you will permanently ruin your groundwater. Insanity.

      Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

      by Nulwee on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:39:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Predicting decades into the (7+ / 0-)

    future, in an era of rapid (and accelerating) technology change, is basically impossible. Which explains why the many books that present a vision of the future all have predicted very different futures. In 20 years children may push a button to travel through a wormhole into another galaxy, where they attend school but are still able to be home before supper.  Artificially grown replacement organs may mean the end to natural death. One tiny, hyper-efficient solar panel may be able to power the planet (which may be trivial since we may live on multiple planets by then). If these ideas are too crazy for 20 years from now, they are probably not crazy enough for 50 years from now.  

  •  Do you think the neoliberals/neocons (5+ / 0-)

    understand this and seek to impoverish (while continuing to enrich themselves!) the 99% to avoid it?

    "A Republic, if you can keep it."

    by Publius2008 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:47:36 AM PDT

    •  Not exactly, but I do think that many (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerard w

      people are keen to profit on this trend, especially if their life span isn't expected to extend much further than the doomsday date.

      This in turn will only exacerbate the situation, as the "haves" and "have nots" will be driven even further apart.

      Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

      by cassandracarolina on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:52:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, but I'm afraid others don't either (9+ / 0-)

      This, sadly is the one thing that's been largely lost in the 99% vs. 1% discussion.  Both groups want growth, but they want it for different people.  The 1% wants growth to enrich them and the 99% wants the spoils of growth to be more evenly distributed among the population.  I'm in the latter camp, but the point here is we're not going to get growth whether want it or not, so we need to reformulate what it is we want.

      I'd love to see a renewed focus on the ideas of Herman Daly, which I've blogged about a bit (here and interviewed Daly here).  He provides a great path forward for the 99%, if only we're willing to start discussing his ideas, which represent an economic model that takes into account ecological reality.

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:54:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which engages the radical way of looking at (8+ / 0-)

        things as people like Graeber and Eisenstein do.  A paradigm change is needed.  And it needs to be global.

        "A Republic, if you can keep it."

        by Publius2008 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:56:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've been meaning to read both (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thorby Baslim

          I've been a little wary of the latter because his work comes across a bit new-agey and isn't quite as hard-nosed as I like, but maybe it's good from a cultural perspective?

          contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

          by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:58:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  True: global, but if we can get the U.S.A. ship (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barath, joe wobblie, mightymouse

          steered in the right direction, we would not only tackle  a very large fraction of the problem, but also model for other urbanized economies a sustainable future, facilitating the appearance of that new paradigm: earth island.

          I'm in mixed-metaphor-mixed-with-worn-out-phrasing writing mode today, apparently. That's what I get for starting with a ship metaphor.

          Anyway, ecological action has to be comprehensive--urban design, agriculture, demilitarization, etc.

          Think, then act joyfully (both globally and locally) has been the only way forward for quite a while.

          Enjoyed this diary.

          The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

          by Ignacio Magaloni on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:57:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  darkly humorous upside (14+ / 0-)

    I looked at that and thought, "Oh, so the Duggar family will have to eat each other." Take that, Mrs."19 kids and I don't believe in a population crisis."

    Otherwise, I feel very concerned that my son turns 13 in a few days, and in 2030 I will be 78 and this is the best I could do for him. Who will lead us out of our blind stupidity on this?

    George W. Bush: the worst Republican president SO FAR.

    by Chun Yang on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:58:21 AM PDT

    •  Hopefully we will. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WheninRome, Chun Yang, Matt Z

      Hopefully we will adapt.  While there are many things baked into the cake at this point---economic decline, climate change, etc.---it's possible for individuals, families, communities, cities, states, and maybe even nations to build themselves some level of resilience.  As the Tom Murphy post I mention above indicates, it's unlikely this will be solved top down, at least at first.

      It's up to us.

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:01:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How hard is it (8+ / 0-)

    to understand that us folks in developed countries are going to have to learn right now to live on and with a lot less if human civilization is going to bearable for any of us in the long term?  We can't afford an upper class anymore. Period. We can't afford consumer choice without limits. Period. And we really can't afford to pretend that we're always going to be able to afford it.

    When I read things like this, I'm really glad I'm probably going to be dead in 50 years because I don't want to explain why we screwed it all up to the children who are facing a world we made unlivable because we were too greedy and short-sighted to do anything about it.

    Sheesh.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." -- Edward Abbey

    "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

    by hepshiba on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:02:48 PM PDT

    •  we've been here before.... (5+ / 0-)

      2250BC
      1200BC
      500AD
      20XXAD

      all major system collapses with centuries of decline, followed by great renewal.

      the collapse of 2250 BC was followed by the Hittite and Egyptian and Sargon empires, though there was a dark age between 2250 and about 1800 BC

      the collapse in 1200 BC lead to the formation of Israel, the Babylonian and Persian Empires i the Near East, and to the creation of Greek and Roman Democracy/Republic and Empire.  Again, the Empires and the greeks didn't realy get rolling until the 700s BC

      The collapse around 500 gave the world modern western civilization an dthe rise of Europe after about 300 years of falling back.

      the Collapse of 20XX?  will lead to a painful, slow decline of probably 200-500 years again, but it will be replaced by something new and dynamic for another 800-1000 years again.

      We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

      by ScrewySquirrel on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:24:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that was because.. (8+ / 0-)

        there still was a mother earth full of bountiful and plentiful resources.  Big difference this time.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:49:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  + Nuclear weapons make this time quite different. (0+ / 0-)

          This time, the whole enchilada (the whole ecosystem) is on the line.

          #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

          by ivote2004 on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 02:32:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  do you know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Thorby Baslim

        that 1 out of every 8 humans that EVER LIVED is alive right now.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:50:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What truly led to the rise of Europe after the (0+ / 0-)

        plagues and the dark ages was the discovery of two utterly exploitable continents.

        The silver stripped from Mexico alone caused price inflation throughout the world - Europe as well as Asia.

        Civilization previously recovered because there were always new resources to exploit.

        Or vastly reduced numbers:  after the plagues had reduced the population of Europe by 1/3 or more, those who were left had more possessions, more property, more crops at hand. They were "enriched" by the disappearance of huge numbers of people.  Within a generation or two, progress began to be made.

        Are we saying it's OK for 1/3 to 1/2 the world's population to die off in order to "recover" something new and dynamic?  

        Hmmm....

        What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

        by YucatanMan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 10:46:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not sure this is the right way to frame it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      itsjim, Thorby Baslim, ladelfina

      Population control is also an alternative. If we can bring the pop down to 1 billion it increases our flexibility. I would have worldwide mandatory sterilization after the second child, for starters.

      •  You got it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Thorby Baslim

        This is all about population.

        I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

        by itsjim on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:38:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sterilization? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Thorby Baslim

        I sure hope that's not a serious suggestion, because it's deeply creepy.

        "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

        by hepshiba on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:42:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's pretty obvious that... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thorby Baslim

          ...nothing else will work. There are just too damn many people. We need to stop making so many of us. For whatever reasons, people don't seem capable of controlling the numbers of their progeny so utimately, it will have to be done for them.

          Creepy? maybe it is, but I'd rather avoid having more children than have them and watch them starve.

          I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

          by itsjim on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:53:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And who is going to administer this program? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Thorby Baslim

            Because what you're saying is certainly not pro-choice. Who do you want to give that power? Because there's not an authority in the world I'd trust with it.

            It's not like we have a single example of a sterilization program that wasn't deeply discriminatory in nature and deeply flawed in execution.  

            As "solutions" go, I'd have to say it's bizarrely dystopian.

            "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

            by hepshiba on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:02:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's a tactical objection. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Thorby Baslim, FutureNow

              And it represents the kind of thinking that prevents a strategic solution to the problem. Survival of the species is going to require some really significant social change, and it won't all be pleasant. My point is that "pro-choice" doesn't work. This is a choice that will have to be imposed on a global scale. Sorry, but given the choice between extinction and a "bizarrely dystopian" alternative, I'll pick the latter. Unfortunately, contention of parochial interests will probably prevent any effective solution from being implemented.

              I'm open to better alternatives.

              I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

              by itsjim on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:33:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't have an objection to extinction, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wonmug

                because I see us as an accident of evolution. Species come and go. We may not be the first intelligent life on earth and, if we disappear, we will possibly not be the last.

                What I have is an objection to twisting what it means to be human into inhumane and immoral forms in order to ensure survival at any cost, as if "survival" had value beyond what we actually do when we're alive.

                Everybody dies. It's how we live that matters. My objection is not "tactical," it's foundational. I wouldn't want to live in a world where humans resorted to "tactics" such as you describe, and I wouldn't advocate or support the making of such a world. In fact, I would fight it to my last breath. The ends do not justify the means, either on an individual or a global scale.  If we can't figure out how to survive with dignity and to build an equitable world, then I don't think survival is worth much. YMMV.

                "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

                by hepshiba on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:58:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  then I think it's time to rethink (0+ / 0-)

                  'what it means to be human' 'cuz 'it' hasn't always been what it is today. Why couldn't self-sacrifice for the benefit of the species be part of humanity's 'meaning'?

                  •  Because it's not (0+ / 0-)

                    "self-sacrifice" if it's externally enforced.

                    And really, listen to yourself.  Your language is uncomfortably close to the folks who dictated "sacrifices" for citizens "for the benefit of the master race" or for the "Fatherland," or for "the Great Soviet Republic," or for "the Great Leap Forward," "[insert your favorite totalitarian movement here]".  It's indistinguishable from the rhetoric of the proponents of the historical eugenics movements.  In all those folks' minds, it was always about "survival" of one flavor or another.

                    Humans are capable of doing some pretty terrible things in the name of humanity, and often use the rubric of "survival" as a justification. The older I get, the less I buy it.  

                    Another path to survival would be a more equitable distribution of wealth across the world's population.  Raise living standards and educational levels, provide access to birth control and health care, and reproductive rates tend to drop.  As I said, I think we can no longer afford the rich. I think we should take their money away and nationalize (globalize?) their resources. It's as good a pipe dream as any, and far less disturbing to me than the idea of mandated sterilization (which still wouldn't address basic inequities, which I believe are at the heart of our problems).

                    "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

                    by hepshiba on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:02:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  both may be necessary (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sparhawk, itsjim

                      the better usage of wealth (but the same question arises: who controls it) and mandatory family planning.

                      By the way, I don't think I said a word about mandatory sterilization but rather self sacrifice.

                      Personally, I don't think that more equitable spreading of wealth will make a lick of difference if we're talking about 9-10 billion people with even less resources we have today. Either we work out some way to reduce births or we have a mass die off. I think I'd prefer the former.

                      •  Right (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        itsjim

                        This is the point I try to make a lot.

                        There is probably no possible equitable distribution of wealth for 7 billion people. At the end of the day, population is the problem.

                        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                        by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:32:39 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  You might want to re-read Maslow. (0+ / 0-)

                  You are raising objections from a point of self-actualization, while the problem is one of basic human needs.

                  I don't like it any more than you, but from an emprical point of view, there are just too many people contending for finite resources.

                  I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

                  by itsjim on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 05:34:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  it was a serious suggestion (0+ / 0-)

          It seems more humane than executing parents if they give birth to a third child, which is another workable method.

          It sounds like you prefer dying free to world socialism, which I understand. I am not sure it is more humane though if we die free in a world of 20 billion cannibalizing each other for scraps of Big Macs left behind in the world's garbage dumps. The UN sterilizing people against their will seems relatively humane by comparison, but I guess the slide from that into 1984 could eventually make it worse, if that's how things go.  And likewise if we were very lucky we might go from the destroyed world to a post-apocalyptic neo-Medieval order that might let us start over, sort of Canticles of Leibowitz style. Hard to know for sure which is worse in the long run.

      •  how soon will this program bring pop down? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        have you a projection compared with our current path?

        As I understand, fertility rates are dropping almost everywhere around the world. This drop means eventually pop growth slows, stops, & reverses. Even without out forced limits on fertility. Of course it takes longer.

        But to get to 1 billion people from where we are now you are talking about either a) 200 years from now, or b) a lot of people dying.

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:08:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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

          Well, it's option (b) in either case, we're just quibbling about the timeframe and whether they die of resource depletion or old age.

          /I need a drink
          //A big one

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:34:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Of course the Republicans (7+ / 0-)

    won't give a shit about this.  It's their world, to plunder as they please.  God says so in the Good Book, somewhere.

    In the sea, Biscayne, there prinks
    The young emerald evening star,
    Good light for drunkards, poets, widows,
    And ladies soon to be married.

    by looty on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:09:33 PM PDT

    •  We asked Herman Daly about this (6+ / 0-)

      Recently my co-blogger and I interviewed Herman Daly and asked him about this (he's religious, but of the Jimmy Carter variety rather than the modern conservative type):

      To my fellow Christians, and others, I recommend Richard Baukham’s book, Bible and Ecology (Rediscovering the Community of Creation) as a much-needed correction to the "drill-baby-drill" exercise of dominion. Christians have a lot to repent of regarding care of creation, and many, in addition to Bauckham, are certainly doing so. But at the same time Christians have a theology of creation that supports environmental policy much better than does a metaphysics of purposeless random materialism. Without strong support from a reawakened Christian faith I doubt that environmental destruction and economic collapse can be avoided, at least in the US. Will other faiths in other cultures be able to arrest the collapse? I don’t know. The dominant belief that modern science and technology (which also have a lot to repent of but unfortunately lack the concept) are sufficient, is in my view a replay of the Gnostic heresy.
      (As non-religious individuals ourselves, we weren't sure that religion is needed to provide such a correction as he believes, but it's good to see someone directly address how religious folks can rethink things.)

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:15:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe we need to create a new "religion" (0+ / 0-)

        based on survival.

        •  I know little about religion (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leftcandid, ivote2004

          But might it be accurate to say that many Earth-centric religions contain many traditions that in effect are about survival?  That is, since the notion is that there isn't going to be some judgment day but rather a continual churning of cycles on Earth, such religions help their followers live on the planet for the long haul.

          Toby Hemenway discusses this (at around 43m30s):

          http://www.youtube.com/...

          contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

          by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:27:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not specifically Christian, but a transreligious, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ivote2004

        global, spiritual valuing of the entirety of life as an expression of God, that is accessible/understandable to the world's religions in the context of their core beliefs, seems more than important; it seems critical.  

        Without a Love for All Life, Here and Now--whether that love is killed by purposeless materialism, or by an insistence that this world is an evil to be transcended--without that, we cannot save what we have left.

        Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

        by Leftcandid on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:16:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Re (5+ / 0-)

      The Dems won't either. No evidence they understand this diary any more than the Repubs.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:45:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I knew Malthus was right! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Rick Perry is George Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:11:49 PM PDT

  •  Information question: the Planetary Boundaries (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, jfdunphy

    graphic: I can't read the labels on the two sections where the red is way way past the green limit, out beyond the blue circle of the Earth.  Can anyone else?  If so, what do they say?

    Barath, thanks for this diary.  I think it's useful (though grim) to have this target date.  I've been aware that we (humanity) are headed straight into a wall, but not knowing where/when that wall would be hit.  It's sobering, but useful, to see it laid out so clearly.  I hope, actaully, that they aren't totally accurate -- that we have a little more time than this.  I know we don't have a lot more time.

    Here's to strength and perseverance to do what we still can...

    --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

    by Fiona West on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:26:58 PM PDT

  •  Energy is the limiting factor and we will not .... (10+ / 0-)

    accept that as a culture in the US or anywhere else. Striving for "mastery" and being rewarded with "wealth" is so deeply ingrained in the cultural consciousness of most humans as a defense against uncertainty and catastrophe, that the counter-intuitve nature of the solution to the current growth models, which is to consent to communal solutions and rely on our natural interdependence, is anathema.

    The culture of consumption and dominance is a culture of violence, scapegoating and death. As energy is depleted, as resources become scarcer, as the climate warms and  fish stocks collapse, as farm land desertifies and potable water becomes a luxury, the violence and scapegosating will increase. The rumblings of Vesuvius are upon us, but just like the people of Pompeii, we pray that the Gods (technological or supernatural) will spare us any calamity, ignore the signs of imminent catastrophe, or shrug our shoulders, do nothing or very little, and hope to survive the impending collapse, thus making it inevitable.

    I do everything in my power to keep these issues in the forefront of discussion  and action in  my community; however, these efforts are received with little enthusiasm. People want more, not less, and generally dismiss those who advocate for "durability" over "consumption" as doom sayers and  cranks. It is now my view that only "collapse" will cause any change, and even that change, will not be in the direction of community and cooperation for sustainability, but chaos and violence aimed toward self preservation and dominance.  

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:32:19 PM PDT

  •  You can debate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, chipmo, Thorby Baslim, IreGyre

    Limits to Growth, or hope humanity has a massive consciousness inducing moment, or hope, or pray, but the fact of overshoot is real, it's as real as any science out there, it's a well established fact of biology. Overshoot has only one known outcome, and that is a massive and unplanned reduction in the population of the organism in overshoot, whether it's yeast in a wine bottle, Lemmings or people. Facts is facts people. Of course just such a die off would be the mass consciousness expanding event humanity has needed so, bright side to everything.

    •  The question is what to do... (7+ / 0-)

      While we can't stop the decline, we can probably make things more livable on the way down by smart preparation.

      The thing that baffles me is that in large measure progressives don't want to discuss this, despite it being perhaps the largest single challenge we as a nation and planet face.  It'll affect virtually everything in our lives, and yet it's relegated to second class status as an issue, as something that Jimmy Carter tried to address once but now should never be spoken about.

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:39:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Thorby Baslim, nickrud

        there are certain things that just ask too much of people, and change at every level of our lives, down to our very hopes and expectations for what life means, is probably asking too much. We are after all only human. Not to mention that the powers that be and vested interests simply mock the whole notion and promise that market solutions will find new resources etc., Denial is a whole lot easier than dealing with the reality, that's for sure.

        •  When we reframe it from "asking people to do" (0+ / 0-)

          to personally choosing and committing, there is a whole different flavor.

          I saw those Limits to Growth graphs in 1973-74. I thought about what it would be like for 6 billion people to die unnatural death in a 2 decade period.

          I realized I'd be one of the 6 billion dying, or one of the "lucky" ones still alive trying to bury the dead.

          So anything else I might aspire too paled into triviality in comparison to throwing my life into helping my species pilot itself toward a different future.

          For example, I chose to not to have kids. I committed myself. I've kept my promise.

          I also chose to organize my life around doing what I could to averting that 6 billion dying in 2 decades scenario, and committed my life to that. Still working on it.

          It's not asking too much.

          It's just putting our lives where our mouths are.

          #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

          by ivote2004 on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 02:48:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is NOT okay. My son needs to have a chance (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, Seeds, Thorby Baslim, chimene, Matt Z

    at making some kind of adult life for himself.

    Screw me-- in 2030 I'll be 70.  But my son's future is a whole different story.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:36:50 PM PDT

    •  I highly recommend Eaarth by McKibben (4+ / 0-)

      It's the one book which really helps look at the big picture, but not only that, at how to hunker down into a positive but realistic path forward.  It's one of the best books out there, and is something I find myself flipping through again and again.

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:42:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  same thought here (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thorby Baslim, Mr SeeMore, Matt Z

      and it is how I have this conversation with the skeptics in my family. when they scoff, I simply ask them what about the weather weirdness we're experiencing makes them so sure, and then ask them to imagine the world our kids will experience when they are our age.

      every skeptic in my extended family is given pause by that question. they know something weird is going on, and doubts are starting to creep into the world of manufactured doubt. and when they try to imagine the world our kids and grandkids will inherit after another 40-50 years of this they start to get it.

  •  Our system of valuation is a death trap. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  The delusion... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipmo

    ...on both sides of the aisle on this issue is breathtaking.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 12:52:40 PM PDT

  •  Dmitri Orlov (0+ / 0-)

    Had a great post on this a while back

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/...

    We already have death panels. They're called insurance companies.

    by aztecraingod on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:11:17 PM PDT

  •  The Good News Is... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsjim, Seeds, Thorby Baslim, ladelfina, Matt Z

    the planet is by any objective measure massively overpopulated by humans.  The bad news is we don't have the collective will to consciously fix that so it will be fixed for us by famine, pestilence and war.

    We had our chance to voluntarily limit our fecundity and rapacious gluttony and collectively chose not to avail ourselves of it.  

    "The government has no right to limit my reproductive options or consumptive habits" equals "My children and grandchildren will live in the hell we selfishly made for them so we could breed and consume unchecked".

    We so deserve what is coming.

    Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

    by Kurt Sperry on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:30:45 PM PDT

  •  When humanity passes as a species (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thorby Baslim

    our epitath will be "Should've gotten off that rock while you could, jackasses."

    The effective ending of our space program is one of the dumbest moves made by any politician, ever.

    This report highlights why.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:34:29 PM PDT

    •  Completely disagree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, Lily O Lady

      We have no right to spread our disfunction into the universe. We would just poison everything we touch out there, as we have down here.

      How many divisions does OWS have?

      by Diebold Hacker on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:34:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention, I remember reading about one (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lily O Lady

        woman's reaction, as a girl, to a NASA person asked if women would go into space.

        "Of course," he said.

        Imagine her joy.  Of course.  Of course Space would not be denied to her entire gender.  Of course space exploration was a non-gendered dream.  Of course.

        Until he went on to say, "men have needs."

        So, in other words, he envisioned sending women into space to serve men's sexual needs -- prostitutes?  Or scientists and pilots who'd be turned into prostitutes, because they were in a small tin can with their assailants, or because they were were not allowed to say no?

        This is a culture that should be spread across the galaxy?  This is the "meritocracy" we'd trust to send our representatives into space?

        No.  The species will survive, if only in small numbers.  And we can damn well de-foul our own nest before we work on fucking up space.

        •  Nice Cherry picking (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk

          One comment by one misogynistic asshole, and suddenly you're willing to doom the whole human race?

          Screw that.  The presence of the occasional asshole is insufficent to deny humankind expansion across the galaxy.  In fact, I'd argue it mandates it, or else the assholes will rule what's left here.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:19:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is nothing humanity can do to Earth, short (0+ / 0-)

            of global thermonuclear war, that will render it less hospitable than Mars or the Moon.

            Some of us will survive.

            And meanwhile, color me not-sorry that that head of NASA wasn't the guy "saving our species" by sending smart males with shaky ethics and breeding females into space.

            •  Global thermonuclear war is always an option (0+ / 0-)

              And there's a lot more to making a place hospitable then merely being able to stay there without dying.

              "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

              by Whimsical on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 07:19:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Who are you to decide (0+ / 0-)

        we have no right to something?

        I just don't have the same pessism about the human race that you do- we'd learn our lesson eventually.

        As compared to your course which leads to extinction and us never learning at all.

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:17:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Humanity--the locusts of the Universe. nt (0+ / 0-)

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:04:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Locusts are incapable of learning (0+ / 0-)

        We learn slowly. There's a difference.

        And given the number of planets in the universe, if it takes another 10 or 15 Earths before we learn, I would still consider that an investment well worth making.

        The good about the human race far outweighs the bad.

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:25:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Or it could be: (0+ / 0-)

      "You should have taken better care of that rock."

      It might be a better approach than metastasizing bad behavior throughout the galaxy.

      I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

      by itsjim on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 10:03:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a given. (0+ / 0-)

        But there is simply no way not to go extinct as a species without getting off this rock.

        Given the infinite number of unihabited planets in the Universe, I'm not prepared to doom the human race because we fucked up ONE.

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 05:47:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sustainability is the word you're looking for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, Lily O Lady, ivote2004, IreGyre

    Durable refers to tires or goods. Sustainability is about that which is possible and prudent over the long term which allows for adaptation and even growth without excess or waste let alone parasitic or predatory behavior. It requires the setting of reasonable limits and goals and a continual reevaluation of them and the means of attaining them, according to the best data and know-how available at the time. And these have to be negotiated and determined from the top down, bottom up and across the board, at the global, federal, state and local level.

    Good luck with that. But we don't have a choice.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:35:43 PM PDT

  •  What are the odds? (4+ / 0-)

    Out of all the people ever born through the ages - I get to see much of the rise and maybe the downfall of civilization too?

    Just lucky, I guess..

  •  Look at the bright side (pun intended). (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai

    In about 600 billion years or so, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will have dropped below what is needed to sustain C3 photosynthesis. This is a function of increased luminosity of the sun as it evolves through the main sequence stage. Kind of takes care of all our problems.

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

    by itsjim on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:14:53 PM PDT

  •  I took a stab at this (ok, lots of them) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai

    The Ecological Restoration is one of the less completely gloomy of the bunch. :)

  •  Does anyone know about (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, mightymouse, cai, ivote2004, Matt Z

    Transition Towns?  Is this one piece of the puzzle in which we can create sustainability on a local level?

    I would like to know more about this particular movement and if it is a viable part of solving the problem, or are we simply too late?

    Occupy Tallahassee has taken an interest in the Transition Initiative and hosted a presentation by some local people who are trying to develop a program for our community.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:39:03 PM PDT

  •  Just pulled my 1982, 2nd edition off the shelf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, ivote2004

    Guess it's time to dust it off and give it another read. Thanks for the reminder, but damn I'm getting old !

    "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Matthew 5:11

    by parsonsbeach on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 02:45:50 PM PDT

  •  The US could eke out another several generations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barath, cai

    by converting lawns into gardens, or higher density housing. Downsize houses to 1970s sizes. Quit flushing shit with potable water. Quit pouring potable water on lawns.
      Insulate houses, use solar panels for power when feasible.
      Electric, cng, hubrid cars, build mass transit. Build facilities for bicycles, pony carts, electric bikes.
      The US has a lot of room to move before it collapses. It would take a really stupid political systema nd a really stupid electorate to let that happen.
      Of course...

  •  Those guys are just pulling that out of their... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dhshoops

    ...asses because I suppose they have to justify their existence somehow.  The actual variables are infinite because - just for starters - no one can precdict government action and human psychology.

  •  A lot of people saying the same thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, tacet

    Paul Gilding, former ex director of Green Peace: The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World

    Jeremy Grantham, Chairman of GMO with $100 billion assets under manangment: Jeremy Grantham Says Capitalism May Destroy Us All

  •  population is influenced on economics (0+ / 0-)

    in wealthier countries where children are a financial burden rather than a financial asset, people have fewer children.

    as resources get depleted, prices go up, children start being financial burdens in all countries, population growth slows down.

    now, add to that actual concentrated efforts at family planning and renewable resources, and we can probably get by.

  •  Unpossible! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Matt Z
    "The Limits to Growth."
    THIS CONVERSATION IS OVER!!!

    >:-(

    Signed, The GOP

    Paternity rules, fraternity drools. - Rick Santorum (paraphrased)

    by VictorLaszlo on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:50:43 PM PDT

  •  I'm Up To About 15 Fruit Trees In My Yard (0+ / 0-)

    ....and as we head into year 5, we will have hundreds of pieces of fruit this year.  By year 7 we could be canning significant amounts.

    it's not even a partial answer, but it's massively more productive than our previous gardening efforts.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 05:03:01 PM PDT

  •  A great time to be alive to witness a possible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fourthcornerman, ivote2004

    "boundary."

    You know, like geological time boundaries that public school kids used to learn about as non-controversial facts? Well I didn't learn about them until my own kids did because I went to a Baptist private school. Each of them had a chain of events so epic (and mostly long duration) that the mind struggles to grasp it. Now we get a fast one!

    Anyway, yeah, we are witness to the Anthropocene! And many of us will witness the boundary events!

    Any anyone who is left can teach about the great geological timeline with the eye-blink of man's self-imagined dominance.

    Maybe they'll be rational and manage the remnants of humanity at a more-sustainable level through education and reason!

  •  If we truly believed this and global warming (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, Blicero

    more of us would be out proselytizing like Evangelicals who truly believe our eternal souls are at risk and the end is nigh.

    I've had several man at my door trying to convert me to a hard core christianity in the past year.

    I've never....NEVER....had a man at my door telling me about global warming.

  •  Don't worry, Magical Thinking will Save us. (0+ / 0-)

    Either the Holy Free Market will fix things or superstition (God, Jesus, Allah, LRonHoover, etc) will save us.

    While I don't hold Obama in high esteem, that doesn't mean I would say he's the Devil Incarnate and the lessor of evils. He is merely the lessee of evils.

    by xynz on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 07:23:32 PM PDT

  •  essential to re-write economic conventional wisdom (0+ / 0-)

    economic growth is the core assumption underpinning everything: loans at interest, every company must make a profit, every investor demands a return.  Everyone everywhere must make a profit, i.e. money from money.  Banks increase the money supply by the creation of debt, so all money in existence must be paid back with interest, a feat only possible if MORE money is created by lending even more into existence.  The system is set up so that "rent" must be paid by the majority in tribute to the wealthy elite who control the capital deployed in the economy.  This Ponzi racket is only sustainable so long as the economy keeps expanding.  

    If the economy doesn't grow, however, the system is completely unstable.  If the pie doesn't grow, the endless profits demanded by the rich can come only by eating the lunch of the poor.  Widespread suffering, instability and eventual revolution will be certain.  

    We must start changing institutions, economic systems and our culture toward a more egalitarian steady state system.  A steady population, full recycling of resources, and use of sustainable nuclear power (100 times more efficient than today's light-water reactors with once-through fuel cycles, turning current nuclear waste into a 500 year resource) to provide all energy needs of a modern wealthy civilization without placing demands on natural resources... IT CAN BE DONE.  But, we have to fight hard for a positive vision of a sustainable economy that will meet the needs of the majority for the foreseeable future without destroying planetary systems critical to our collective survival.

    It all must begin by challenging the basic assumptions of our current economic order.  Free market capitalism, where the only imperative is to make a PROFIT, by exploiting other people and by pillaging the environment if necessary, must be replaced by something else.

    The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

    by mojo workin on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 07:39:46 PM PDT

  •  Paging... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy

    Dr. Malthus.... Dr. Malthus, line 1.

    GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

    by Attorney at Arms on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 07:53:24 PM PDT

  •  Paradigm Shift Ahead (0+ / 0-)

    and it Looks Absolutely HUGE.
    This is NOT Good News.
    The Guys from MIT do NOT Fudge their Numbers.
    Never.   Never Ever.

    There is One Absolute Certainty:

    There will be an Army of IDIOTS Claiming that
    the Entire MIT Report is a Fraud.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:53:50 PM PDT

  •  Thank You .... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ivote2004

    Republished to the Systems Thinking group.

    JON

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:24:07 PM PDT

  •  I think that most of you are saying "If people (0+ / 0-)

    acted intelligently and logically, we'd have no problems".
    Ah. However my experience is that the definition of "people" is beings that act neither intelligently nor logically, merely selfishly --- thinking only of themselves, their families, and/or their countries... and NOT of the overall scheme of earth life of ALL kinds.

    The people demand the fall of this regime ...

    by fourthcornerman on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 02:59:19 AM PDT

  •  This is a spiritual problem (0+ / 0-)

    The drive to acquire things will have to be replaced with a desire to be content within oneself.

    Not sure how to make a buck on that...

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 04:13:31 AM PDT

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