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A model based study is full of gloom and doom:  Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?  It makes our book Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the World seem even more on the mark.

A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common."

 For some of us, this is not even news.  Read on below for more.

The study is very revealing:

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

"The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent."

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

Once more for some of us this is not news, but it it is but one more case of seeing the obvious.  That such a study can come from the very science that is largely behind the anticipated collapse is somewhat reassuring.

More important is thew ray of hope the model suggests:

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth:

"Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."

Nice to know that there is a solution.  Simple it is not.  The missing part here is how to get it done and in time.

Once again, we don't really need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.  Every voice helps though.

4:38 PM PT: Thanks for getting this to the rec list.  It needs to be seen and heeded.

6:35 PM PT: I found this link to an original paper:

A Minimal Model for Human and Nature

Originally posted to don mikulecky on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.


the future

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    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:27:14 AM PDT

  •  I suppose the Republicans will propose a bill (127+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joedemocrat, terrybuck, basquebob, don mikulecky, penguins4peace, Born in NOLA, Louisiana 1976, karmsy, J M F, Joieau, Azazello, owlbear1, roberb7, rbaillie, OleHippieChick, mahakali overdrive, YucatanMan, samanthab, HoundDog, Cofcos, blueoasis, SneakySnu, DSC on the Plateau, camlbacker, side pocket, bythesea, 1toughlady, yoduuuh do or do not, greengemini, Tool, CroneWit, lotlizard, Vetwife, elwior, 3goldens, dewtx, mookins, NM Ray, Onomastic, pickandshovel, Josiah Bartlett, StrayCat, Habitat Vic, angry marmot, Yosef 52, ChemBob, tmservo433, FarWestGirl, where4art, batchick, skybluewater, Miss Jones, Munchkn, Shippo1776, Cassandra Waites, hawkertempest, BYw, bnasley, Lily O Lady, skod, mamamorgaine, LI Mike, AZGoob, kayak58, linkage, myrmecia gulosa, Alumbrados, TomFromNJ, native, Geenius at Wrok, SteveLCo, barleystraw, Gary in NY, Laurel in CA, terabytes, WarrenS, jayden, Glen The Plumber, Sunspots, susakinovember, tacet, maybeeso in michigan, SuWho, eyeswideopen, One Pissed Off Liberal, CanyonWren, Angie in WA State, Lujane, RUNDOWN, eztempo, fumie, flitedocnm, Larsstephens, mr crabby, Jeffersonian Democrat, reflectionsv37, Shelley99, waterstreet2013, mightymouse, dradams, tomephil, a2nite, Marihilda, glitterscale, jazzizbest, bookwoman, scott jones, Demeter Rising, freesia, Caddis Fly, Zyphex, Ginny in CO, Just Bob, ichibon, gizmo59, sostos, political mutt, Hohenzollern, Risen Tree, blackhand, ModerateJosh, ColoTim, renbear, jilikins, autopolitica, LillithMc, kenwards

    to cut NASA funding.

    FYI-- I am an archaeologist and my research focusses on Collapse and Resilience in ancient complex societies.

    I recently published a book on the subject, and I have an edited volume from a conference I organized on thee subject coming out soon.

    Keep up the work.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:32:41 AM PDT

      •  Depends on Who "We" Are. (16+ / 0-)

        It's possibly a transformational opportunity for creating humanity's destiny civilization.

        Remember "we" humans and most other mammals of today needed a helluvan extinction event 65 million years ago.

        Ownership is going into this bottleneck with assets humanity never had before. Huge among them are automated labor and problem-solving, and an astronomical knowledge base protected with vast redundancy. The civilization that steps out of the other end of the bottleneck could be complex, vibrant, more technologically advanced and far more adaptable than ours.

        Now I'm not saying humanity won't get its hair mussed, but it seems arguable that ownership is behaving consistently with having done its homework and seeking the consequences of its present leadership.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:47:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  dream are not listening (12+ / 0-)

          it is precisely our "knowledge" that got us here

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:52:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The idea that technology is going to save us (40+ / 0-)

            all is part of the problem. Rather than reconsidering our value system, we just assume someone will invent something that will prevent disaster. Except, rarely do "we" realize that usually those solutions create even more complex problems that we will face going down the road. In this way, Joseph Tainter's ideas are very useful.

            "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

            by ranger995 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:56:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Technology will be (18+ / 0-)

              an integral part of any solution to global warming.  Ludditry will not help us here.

              •  I beg to differ, if I may. Ludditry will help us, (11+ / 0-)

                because it is Nature's way of hedging its' bets. If "Luddites" help move the Overton window back towards rationality we might all benefit. I would like to see a move back away from industrial agriculture to decentralization in the Victory Garden model. Maybe we could start a new effort and call it Neo-Ludditism [ha]. I have used the google and internet to help me shift away from an energy intensive and dependent lifestyle, to one that might help offer a path for my youngers. Neo-luddites don't automatically reject the value of the internet encyclopedia of all accumulated wisdom.

                There is no they, We will sink or swim together.... We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness

                by GDbot on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:15:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There's no possible (11+ / 0-)

                  way we can address the damage we've done to the environment nor the demands of current populations without good sconce and technology.  Hell, we wouldn't even be aware of this problem without science and technology.  Ludditism is every bit as destructive as religious fundamentalism and is a huge blight on the environmental movement.  Moreover, it's unethical and elitist as it's premised on billions dying and the survival of an elite few...  Presumably yourself and the person I was responding to.

                  •  I am no luddite, but who is more like the religiou (10+ / 0-)

                    s fundamentals here? Who is the one preaching a faith in a technological solution?

                    I don't like the way you mischaracterized what I said as being a luddite. But I definitely will say it is the "technology will save us" crowd that are much more like the faithful fundamentalists, than people who are calling for a more complex solution.

                    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                    by ranger995 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:23:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What exactly are you (11+ / 0-)

                      proposing then?  Where will energy come from?  How will food be grown?  How will we clean up this mess?  All these things require good science and technology.  That said, I'm pretty pessimistic about our ability to do much at all at this point.

                      •  Nobody needs to propose (5+ / 0-)

                        solutions in order to simply discuss the concept.

                        You know that.

                        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                        by lunachickie on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 08:52:39 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes. (10+ / 0-)

                          We too often hear--following a statement of some problem--a complaint that the bringer-upper (!) of the problem has no solution to offer, so s/he should just STFU.

                          No. Bringing up the problem is the beginning of working toward a solution - not the solution itself.

                          Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

                          by Miniaussiefan on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:42:42 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  We absolutely need to (5+ / 0-)

                          discuss the way we're going to resolve these issues.  We know the problems and we know the solutions.  What we don't know is how to implement them or bring them about.  That's the whole problem.

                          •  Understood (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lady Libertine, GDbot

                            All too often, demands are made for "solutions" in discussion, often framed as an implied dismissal of a respondent who doesn't provide any, ie. "if you don't have solutions, then you shouldn't 'complain'--as if to discuss it at all even makes it complaining to begin with.

                            I think where it got confusing was when it was followed by such a negative conclusion. Essentially, readers were left to conclude that unless only "technology" was thought of as the solution, there was no point in discussing anything else. That seemed more 'silly' than 'dismissive', but taken as a whole, is what prompted my initial response. Thanks for the clarity!

                            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                            by lunachickie on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 09:05:41 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We must inform & galvanize as many people (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            as possible about this, especially the young.
                            We need to focus everybody's attention on who is behind this (the so-called "elites") & how they are manipulating our government, the media & the public to sacrifice the world's future for their own unbounded greed.  They have been attacking and destroying our democracy, the public good, and the world environment.  The only way to stop them is to attack & destroy them.  And we should go full force and take them down one by one, or better, if possible, 10 by 10, starting with some of the most egregious transgressors like Koch Industries, Monsanto, the Murdoch empire, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, Exxon, Bayer.... unless & until these entities reverse course in a major way.
                            You will find that their short-term interests are directly opposed to the interests of the rest of us, so we should advocate policies that are against their interests & for ours.

                            We need separation of corporation & state, same as separation of church & state, with no corporate money going to elections or any government official.

                            We need a much more progressive income tax system whereby the first $40K of income is tax exempt, the next $30K is taxed at 10%, the following $30K up to $100K is taxed at 20%, and so on, until all income above $1M is taxed at 90%.  This will reduce both our national debt and wealth inequality, and is easy for anybody with basic math skills to calculate.  Add to that a $1 per gallon gasoline tax, a carbon fee + dividend, a greenhouse tax, and/or a meat tax.  Close all tax loopholes and prohibit offshore tax havens.  Eliminate subsidies for Big Oil & Big Ag, maybe replacing them with subsidies for energy efficiency, renewable energy R&D, and organic farming.  

                            Create a truly universal healthcare system like in many European countries.  

                            Ban coal & shale & tar sands oil and many other poisons.

                            Fund and man our government agencies so they can do their job: the FDA, IRS, EPA, Immigration, etc.  have been purposefully underfunded & understaffed so that they can't do their job adequately, and the wrongdoings of corporations don't get caught.  

                            I have many more ideas that I'll present to you when I find enough time: I'm hoping this weekend.

                          •  One thing that kinda frosts my cookies is the (0+ / 0-)

                            constant "Americanism". FYI America is not the only country in the world. The collapse will be other words, Italian people, Irish people, Nigerian people, get my point...will also be affected. Our solutions and caring must likewise be global.
                             Although other civilizations have collapsed before, this collapse will be a first in that everybody in the world will be affected in some way. Many will starve, many will get sick, many will have to go back to subsistance living. This Earth will become hell.
                            There are some bright notes: solar and wind energy are doing well and more people are investing in it ( either by installing it or buying stock) EVs are finally hitting the auto market, and there is a great deal of research being done on renewable tech. This gives me hope that we may be able to change the direction the PTB have been steering us and their stranglehold over our respective governments and industries will be sufficiently weakened we can finally overthrow them.

                      •  Unfortunately science has been captured by the (15+ / 0-)

                        corporate growth-machine.  What we call technology is often just fancy consumerism.  We need science for the future and also technology, but not i-Crap or much of the rest of the big-footprint garbage we're sold as tech.

                        •  No argument (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          don mikulecky


                        •  there are many different sciences (0+ / 0-)

                          corporations and religious circles have simply created their own sciences, maths, and redefinitions. if corporations and religious entities discover we can learn that they are wrong they try to bury or redefine the facts, then finally they offer the books they write as proof of their information. bernie madoff wrote his books, he currently lives in jail. william tyndale translated the bible into old english, coined a few phrases such as "let there be light", "my brothers keeper", and for that effort he was excommunicated, hung, and set on fire by the holy christian hierarchy in 1536.
                          there are many people who find ways to make money off a good idea. and like the character in true detective (hbo series) said about a possible religious beginning, "one monkey looked at the sun said to the other monkey, he (the sun) said give me your share"
                          in both cases, it's up to you to buy something or pay tithes.

                      •  Uh... (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        don mikulecky, laffmyao, itsjim, DSPS owl

                        The energy will come from the sun and food will be grown the way it always has been.

                        In this case less is more.

                        What will happen is that a lot of people will die.  The PTB have arranged for that to happen.  When they finally realize that that smell is their own bacon burning there will be martial law.  Luddites and the Amish will thrive.

                        I'm old and won't have to deal with it.
                        Have a nice day.

                        "Our problem is not that the glass is half empty or half full, but that the 1% claims that it is their glass." ---Stolen from a post on Daily Kos

                        by jestbill on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:39:16 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •   That said, I'm pretty pessimistic about our (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        DSPS owl

                        ability to do much at all at this point,probably more like we lack the will to do much at this point.

                        "We can contend with the evil men do in the in the name of evil,but heaven protect us from the evil men do in the name of good"Herrodias.

                        by slinkie on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:54:03 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  It's not so black and white (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      a gilas girl

                      Putting people only in two boxes of those who think technology should end and those who think it's the end-all is just as bad as saying everyone is either Democratic or Republican.  We need to stop thinking in such binary ways.

                      Ditching technology entirely is a horrible idea and like a previous post said, will kill billions and push the wealth to the elite few.  We can NOT just move backwards to fix things.

                      Just the same, we can't rely on some technological sky-hook to come down and scoop us out of our problems.  We have to rely on what we have, not something we have not invented yet.

                      Plus, everyone needs to get over this stigma that technology is inherently bad.  Even the most liberal tree hugging hippies can't argue with the wonders of certain technologies such as aquaponics.

                      •  True dat (0+ / 0-)

                        But putting people in one of only two boxes is kind of what people arguing tend to do. At least, that's what I've observed.

                        Not so much because that's where people are, but because when people argue they like to win and that one of two boxes helps with the winning.  

                        Not so much with the problem solving, however, as you rightly point out.

                        Thanks for joining the conversation, though if you're wondering why there's not so much action, note that this one is a couple of days old and the conversation does tend to die down after that period of time.

                        Here's hoping you find more conversations (and in a more timely fashion) to engage you.

                        Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

                        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                        by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:10:44 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Presume little. I still hope we can thread (8+ / 0-)

                    the needle at the choke point of the bottleneck. I was not trying to be mean, like a republicant. I am hoping a fast discussion of our challenges can help point us in a winning direction. I am not mad, I am scared.

                    My Dad said to me once Communication [internet] is cheaper than Transportation. Let's get smart about allocation of resources. Let's build a modern transportation infrastructure with trains as the backbone in this country before the mindless concentration of wealth makes that possibility moot.

                    There is no they, We will sink or swim together.... We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness

                    by GDbot on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:48:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's a nice idea, (7+ / 0-)
                      Let's build a modern transportation infrastructure with trains as the backbone in this country before the mindless concentration of wealth makes that possibility moot.
                      but resistance by industry to a widespread and efficient American train system is not something that's developed just in the last decade or few. It is very deep-rooted in the business world and has been for nearly a century now. Alas.

                      Great Questions of Western Philosophy: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

                      by Mnemosyne on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 06:10:37 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And this is a puzzle is it not? (4+ / 0-)

                        I would have thought that captains of industry would have wanted good infrastructure to move goods. But alas, our major "industry" is information and monies.

                        ALL of our institutions have been hollowed out by the greed ethos. There are none left with heart intact or souls for that matter. So the zombie is all around us - me

                        by glitterscale on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:20:18 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  most of what is still manufactured (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          the good witch, GDbot

                          in this country can move now by road and air to meet the demands of just-in-time inventory management. The bigger or messier things, like oil sludge, can go by rail, where speed isn't necessary in delivery. Public safety is not, as we all know, a factor in the calculations.

                          Until probably the late 1940s or even early '50s, many US cities had decent, even very good, public transportation, including inter-urban light rail. But post WW2, it was in the interests of the auto and oil lobbies to work for their demolition and to promote road-building. Hence, the Eisenhower interstate highway system.

                          Great Questions of Western Philosophy: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

                          by Mnemosyne on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:20:50 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  infrastructure (0+ / 0-)

                          Since you mention infrastructure, I thought it would be a good place to ask for your support for my campaign (petition) "cut military spending and re-invest in America's infrastructure" attached is the link for the petition. The money we cut from our defense budget would be redirected into infrastructure renewal, repair, and modernization. We would create tens of thousands of good jobs, stimulate our economy, and secure our national security economically, for decades to come. This would also provide job opportunities for our returning veterans. I hope you will support this campaign and share it with all of your friends. Thanks for your support.

                          Subject: Cut military spending and re-invest in America's Infrastructure


                          Our elected officials have neglected our infrastructure far to long. Continuing to do nothing will lead to a catastrophic economic failure in the near future. We spend more on our military than the next five biggest military nations combined. We can maintain our military superiority and still cut spending, all we need is leaders to recognize that this "corporate welfare" needs to end.

                          That's why I created a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:

                          "America's infrastructure is vital to our economic growth and future. The current state of our infrastructure has been graded a "D" by engineering groups around the country.  Cut military spending and re-invest in our aging infrastructure, creating tens of thousands of jobs and preserving our future. "

                          Will you sign this petition? Click here:



                      •  Hear hear (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        don mikulecky, Mnemosyne, rkief

                        We are fucked but the richest nation in the world can't discuss any kind of necessary mass transit.  I witness a traffic jam in Atlanta or Birmingham, and if there is an HOV lane it is wide open.

                        Seems to me most people don't want their DNA to survive.  They don't care.

                        •  Well, you could be in LA, (0+ / 0-)

                          where the HOV lanes were converted into toll lanes. Carpooler? Tough luck.

                          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                          by bryduck on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 12:36:20 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  They didn't keep them free for carpools? (0+ / 0-)

                            In all cases I'm aware of, they've continued to allow carpools to use the newly-tolled lanes for free. Sometimes they require a transponder device or other registration hoops, which eliminates occasional HOVs from elsewhere (such as families on vacation), but still allows daily usage by commuters.

                            warning: snark probably above

                            by NE2 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:48:04 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Kinda. (0+ / 0-)

                            You don't get charged if you have a carpool, but you have to buy the Fastpass (or whatever it's called) card for the non-refundable fee. And then you have to charge it with, iIrc, a minimum of $25 (or maybe $50, I forgot which.) And if you don't use any of the $ for a specified time, that $ dissolves.
                            So, no, they really don't.

                            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                            by bryduck on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:40:43 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ouch. (0+ / 0-)

                            In other places I think they waive the fee if you only use it in carpool mode. Thanks, neoliberals!

                            warning: snark probably above

                            by NE2 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:40:47 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  if you can keep people focused... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          laffmyao, enufenuf

                          on their survival, they are easier to control.  If you can keep people afraid, they are easier to control.  The Republican/TBaggers are good at trying to keep people afraid.  But there are also a lot of ignorant and willing victims.

                          There is a major national delusion in this country, that we are an "independent" people.  For most people, nothing could be further from the truth.  Unfortunately, it's this myth of "independence" that keeps many people isolated.

                          I think people stay in denial because it would first scare them to see how dependent they really are.  It might also anger them.  In any case, once a person starts to become aware of what is going on, they are faced with the choice of doing something about it, or giving in to it.  

                          For those who have learned to be passive all of their lives, giving in is their only choice, unless they come into contact with others who will not give in or give up.  

                          But I'm probably preaching to the choir here.  It's the people that don't have the time, or the resources, or the training, or the impetus to change, that need this kind of information, and never get it, or never know what to do with it, if they do get it.

                      •  Not just the business world (0+ / 0-)

                        automobiles became embedded in American culture in the mid twentieth century, something people identified with as part of their national and individual identity--one bright spot I see is younger people who do not view a first car as a rite of passage as it has been for the last four or five generations. The real challenge is getting ordinary people who can afford a car to choose alternatives, including choosing to elect those who will build railroads and improved public transit.

                        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                        by Alice in Florida on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:31:16 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  true, but the viewing of a car (0+ / 0-)

                          as a rite of passage didn't happen in a vacuum. It was created by political pressure, marketing plans, and a lot of arm-twisting to produce the infrastructure that would support the cars -- not just roads, but gas stations, service centers, parking garages, and so on.

                          Great Questions of Western Philosophy: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

                          by Mnemosyne on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:42:29 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  Exactly. The Luddites think they'll luck out. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    And they might -- if by "lucking out" they mean dying right away instead of taking a few hellish months or years, each one worse than the previous, to do so.

                    Visit for Minnesota news as it happens.

                    by Phoenix Woman on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 01:16:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Where did you get this bullshit? (0+ / 0-)

                    "Moreover, it's unethical and elitist as it's premised on billions dying and the survival of an elite few."

                    Billions will die because of fossil fuel driven climate change.

                    Billions will die naturally, and if only hundreds of millions are born to replace them, population will go down comfortably.

                    This shit ain't rocket science.

                    "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

                    by Pescadero Bill on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:42:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Silly debate--obviously we need both (3+ / 0-)

                  Phonics or sight words.
                  Science or religion.
                  Luddite or technology.


                  To fix this, we will need to apply technology.  Here's some examples of technologies we will need to apply:

                  The self-composting toilet.
                  Drought resistant strains of grain.
                  Self-repairing electrical infrastructure.

                  Here are some examples of--if we must use the term--Luddite stuff we better be ready to apply:

                  Knowing how to grow our own food garden, where ever we live.
                  Being able to survive off the grid for an extended period of time.
                  Walk or ride a bike instead of drive when possible.

                  You know, BOTH.  "Technology" like "Chemistry" is not a bad word.  "Energy independent" is not necessarily Luddite.

                  Everything is part of a system. Some people believe that system is science, some believe it is G-d. I believe science is part of G-d's system.

                  by Anna Wise on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 04:46:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  A religious fervor-like approach to technology (12+ / 0-)

                is not going to save us. No matter how much you evangelically preach that all can be saved by technology (See I can mischaracterize what you say too).

                We have to reconsider things like consumerism and capitalism.

                "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                by ranger995 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:20:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree on the consumerism (9+ / 0-)

                  and capitalism point.  Capitalism is the root cause of all these problems.  What I'm objecting to is the anti-science attitude, so typical in America, and so much at the heart of so many of our problems.  All that aside, there's so far no serious attempt to overcome capitalism.  How do you propose to do this?  Certainly the democratic party has shown itself to have full throated support of neoliberalism since 92.

                  •  Everywhere else science is an epistemology, here (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Demeter Rising, don mikulecky

                    it is a religion. You either believe in it faithfully, or you adamantly reject it. Neither is healthy. Both stem from the idea that people don't want to change their habits at all. If they have faith in science, then they can trust that all of their wasteful consumption will just be powered by solar and wind -- all better. If they reject it, they just put their faith in god and continue to drive their SUVs--he will provide.

                    Either way, it is an unhealthy relationship with science. Science isn't the omega and the alfa, it is simply a way of knowing things. Technology is different from science, certainly not all technology is good. Sometimes following the scientific method can suggest that certain technologies cause more harm than good (see DDT). Of course to a "believer" saying that means I am a blasphemer luddite.  

                    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                    by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:47:49 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm a big advocate (5+ / 0-)

                      of critical attitudes towards both science and technology (my scholarship is largely in ecotheory and science and technology studies).  However, you made a much larger claim:  you said that the idea that technology is going to save us is a part of the problem.  This is far too broad.  Technology will be a part of the solution no matter how you cut it.

                      Now, if you rephrase your position, there are grounds on which I'd agree with your "critique".  Sometimes I hear people suggest we'll solve this problem through the colonization of other planets.  Anyone who knows anything about space travel knows that the Wall-E solution is pure nonsense.  Others seem to think that we'll come up with some new friendly energy source like wind or electric/hydrogen cars that will allow us to live exactly as we have before.  This is just wishful thinking.  Any solution will require serious changes regarding how we live, how we consume, and how we distribute goods.

                      That said, science and technology will be a big part of these changes and we need good science and technology more than ever.  We need it both to understand what is happening and why it is happening, but also to devise new technologies for production and consumption that will allow for a more sustainable existence.

                      •  What if the science tells you that technology (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        freesia, amyzex, chickenfarmerwood

                        isn't the answer, what then? Think about what you are saying.


                        Technology will be a part of the solution no matter how you cut it.

                        is an unsubstatiated faith in the power of technology.

                        You are not being critical at all. You accept that as fact before ever addressing the problem. I am asking you, is there any room in you for understanding that may not be true. The science may prove the technology approach is not the answer. Would you accept that finding? Because it seems the answer is no. That doesn't mean I don't want you to continue to look for possible technological solutions, it just means you are working under the assumption from the get go that technology is the answer.

                        Several of the countries you speak about that still consider science what it is, have also reconsidered their practices.

                        Let's take the Netherlands for example. They have implemented all types of technological advances to deal with living with water. At the same time, they also ride bikes and it is considered cultural taboo almost to drive a car. They also frown upon buying the latest gadgets, and to have a new smart phone is looked down upon. Are they luddites? Even their way of dealing with the water is less based on technologically fighting the water, but more about learning how to live in that environment. There is an element of technology, but it is tempered with a critical approach to it. That's science.


                        "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                        by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:13:01 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The problem here is that (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          amyzex, Pixie5, Mad Season

                          there's a broader argument that's not being stated.  That doesn't entail that I'm taking this point "uncritically", but that we're on a blog and I'm not here writing a peer reviewed essay or a lengthy post.  Let's take a simple example to illustrate why I believe science is a necessary component.  One of the results of our pollution is air, rivers, and soil that is filthy.  Technology of some sort will be required to assist in cleaning up this mess, as in the case of the BP oil spill.  Do you grant that simple point?

                          Let's take another example.  The planet currently has a population of around 7 billion people.  Any solution to the problem of climate change will require population reduction.  Presumably population reduction will involve effective contraceptives.  Are those technologies or no?

                          What's required for contraceptives?  Well first they must be produced.  We will need clean or cleaner ways to produce those contraceptives.  Is that technology or no?  However, those contraceptives will have to be distributed across populations as well.  That means transportation and presumably clean transportation.  Is that technology or no?

                          Returning to that 7 billion people, they also need to be fed, clothed, and sheltered.  That requires again, distribution, and the production of all sorts of tools.  Is that technology or no?  Alternatively, perhaps you just advocate letting a massive portion of that world population die.  If that's the case, then I'll sadly take my leave of discussion with you as you advocate a morally reprehensible position.

                          Someone is not thinking about what they're saying here, but I don't think it's me.

                          •  As long as you grant the point that the BP oil (0+ / 0-)

                            spill would not have happened if it weren't for technological developments. It is pretty sophisticated technology to dig so deep is it not? That's why we need to invent more sophisticated technology even to clean it up? In essence the development of technology created that disaster, and then the answer is even more technology. If we had rejected the deep drilling in the first place, there would be no major problem to solve using ever more sophisticated technology.

                            Pointing that out, makes me a blasphemer.

                            "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                            by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:04:26 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course it wouldn't (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pixie5, Mad Season

                            have happened.  You weren't merely pointing out examples such as this.  You were making the claim that our reliance on technology tout court is something we need to overcome.  Obviously anyone would agree with the more modest thesis that we need to use technology more wisely, and that we need to combat unbridled production and consumption.  That doesn't change the fact that various technologies will figure heavily in responding to climate change.

                          •  I just want to point out that nearly every single (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            problem you have pointed out a need for solving with technology is one that was caused by technology in the first place. Overpopulation, climate change, oil spills ... are all the products of technology. Those technologies were also once seen as the answers to our problems. The problems become more and more difficult to solve.

                            We need to get off of that spiral at some point. One does not need to reject technology outright to do that, one just needs to re-evaluate the general goodness of concepts like technological advancement and "progress"

                            Perhaps we should reconsider how we define and address the problems that we face too.

                            Whatever technology we invent to deal with climate change, if it simply feeds into the current system, it will create even larger problems for us in the future, which will require even more advanced technology to deal with. I am just saying that model is no good.

                            OK, on that note I have to get back to work.  

                            "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                            by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:40:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This is just a bizarre argument. (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pixie5, jqb, Mad Season

                            Let me reformulate it using different terms so you'll perhaps see why:

                            I just want to point out that nearly every single problem you have pointed out a need for solving with humans is one that was caused by humans in the first place. Overpopulation, climate change, oil spills ... are all the products of humans. Those humans were also once seen as the answers to our problems. The problems become more and more difficult to solve.

                            We need to get off of that spiral at some point.

                            Countless examples of arguments with this form could be given and we would see again and again why they're problematic.  Yes, there are wise and unwise uses of technology.  Whoever said otherwise?  Whoever denied this?  The problem is that you're treating technology as intrinsically being the problem.  But that's just too broad and baggy to be a reasonable position.  First, it's some technologies that are the problems; not technology tout court.  Second, as I've endlessly pointed out, there's just no way to address this problem at all without technology.  That's not a dogmatic claim as you suggested upthread, but is just a basic reality.  Third, core to the problem is not technology per se but technology attached to a particular economic system:  capitalism.

                            Yes, we need to change how we live, produce, distribute, and consume.  Yes, there are a number of technologies we need to abandon because they have been incredibly destructive.  That, however, doesn't entail that we need to abandon technology altogether, nor that technology isn't a central part of the solution.

                          •  You make my point perfectly. You equate technology (2+ / 0-)

                            with being human. As though the modern concepts of "progress" are inevitable outcomes for human nature. This is the evangelism that I was talking about.

                            I am not treating technology itself as the problem, I am treating the evangelical belief in technological advancement as the problem.  

                            "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                            by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:39:12 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

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

                            "You equate technology with being human."

                            No such thing was done ... it was an analogy, not a comparison. The analogy validly illustrated a logic error you made. Unfortunately, being logic-challenged makes it difficult to understand logic-based demonstrations of logic errors.

                          •  It was an analogy (0+ / 0-)

                            not an equation.  That's why I referred to the form of your argument, not its content.  The point was to show why it's an invalid argument.  You need to get more precise in what you're articulating as you're overstating things.

                          •  Moving into the hyperbole, eh? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            "Alternatively, perhaps you just advocate letting a massive portion of that world population die."

                            That's a clear indication that somebody needs to think a little deeper about their evangelical position on technology.

                            I'll be happy to end this conversation.

                            "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                            by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:07:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's not hyperbole (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pixie5, jqb

                            at all.  If you truly mean what you originally claimed and what I originally responded to, this is what you're logically committed to.  It's clear that you're not thinking through what you're saying as you're not addressing these very concrete and basic issues of how to deal with the needs of world population while also responding to the challenges of climate change.  There's just no way of doing that without technology being a substantial part of the equation.  It's nice to harbor romantic deep ecological and neo-Heideggerian anti-technology positions-- or perhaps you're a primitivist of some sort --but they don't respond to these concrete issues in any meaningful way.

                        •  I have been to the Netherlands many times (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Pixie5, jqb

                          My employer is based in Amsterdam.  I can tell you that the Dutch are not luddites and have no problem with technology.  It certainly isn't looked down upon to own the latest cell phone.

                          Technology is going to be a part of any solution to a projected collapse.  It is already being used to help warn us of the consequences of doing nothing.  It will be used to measure any progress going forward.  I am sure technology will be used to mitigate overpopulation, unsustainable agriculture, and climate change.  It already is with hybrid cars, complete electric cars, solar energy, wind energy, smart homes, new urbanism, electric bicycles, etc...

                          Even using the Dutch as an example, do you think it is simple to figure out how to create a livable community that can used bicycles as the primary source of transportation?  Do you believe that actually happened by accident?  

                          •  We just cannot have a critical assessment of (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            technology here can we? It does not fit the belief system.

                            Just at least try to think about technological solutions as at the very best partial. Hybrid and even electric cars are not going to save us.

                            "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                            by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:13:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course we can have a critical assessment (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DonMahoney, Pixie5, jqb

                            of technology.  Saying that technology has no part in any solution is dismissive and limiting.

                            If there is to be any real discussion of possible solutions, then all cards need to be on the table, including technology.

                            I do find it funny that you bring up bikes, but don't include them as "technology".  If bikes are going to be part of a solution, then we will have to figure out how to build them more sustainably, and cheaper.

                          •  *We* can, you can't. (0+ / 0-)

                            You lack the capacity of critical assessment.

                            It does not fit the belief system.


                        •  Flawed Assumption (0+ / 0-)

                          The Nation States are symptomatic of the lack of Global Moral sovereignty.

                          Thinking that proceeds from the Nation State misses the mark because one's morals are inadequate to the Global Setting. The world is not America and America is not the world. Nor has America estalished any moral standard that suits the global matrix. Other nation State examples are naive as well.

                          Every soul on Earth can learn to 'own' the world the way we were taught to own our nations and then we are within a single social paradigm, not within our local and parochial communities.

                          Then each person has a stake in controlling the size and growth of population and we can balance our gross consumption with the capacity of the Planet to support civilization at a high standard that is equitable and self-driven.

                          The model is receptive to the promised and anticipated moral actions of Jesus Christ.

                      •  I want to challenge you on the claim (0+ / 0-)

                        that space settlement can't be part of the solution.  

                        Defend that

                        •  Seriously? (4+ / 0-)

                          Mars is the closest thing to a habitable planet as we have, but it still isn't good enough. The climate is too cold, the atmosphere thin and has little water. Massive dust storms would make it difficult for even a contructed bio-dome because dust would get inside and clog up equipment. Outside people would have to wear space suits. It is a dead planet, it does not even have much of a magnetisphere.

                          On top of all that it would take 6 months just to get there. And the planet is much SMALLER than earth so how would we fit a large number of people on it?

                          It is wishful thinking that we could terraform such a planet.

                          I have an idea..why not take care of the PLANET WE HAVE, instead of daydreaming that we can do anything with Mars. Mars is great for exploration and maybe at some point a small colony of scientists to study it more.

                          Is it easier to make conditions here on earth better than trying to terraform a DEAD PLANET? HELL YES!

                          Go watch your sci-fi shows.

                          •  Why assume that living on a planet (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            METAL TREK

                            is the best place for an advanced society?  

                            This isn't about picking up from one planet, and moving to another, or just adding another planet to the mix.  

                            Space is much more broad, and has a lot of resources to offer.  Yes, Mars will be a part of.  But there is also other parts, such as the moon, such as space stations, and so on.  Things like space solar power, things like large scale persistence space data, and so on.  

                            They aren't going to be sci-fi shows for long

                          •  Thanks for clarifying that (0+ / 0-)

                            However I think we need to focus on how to solve our problems here. If you have paid attention to many of the scientists over the years making predictions you will see that it takes a whole lot longer than they give for many advancements and some don't happen at all (at least not yet) I am certainly for the space program but I am not hanging my hat on that to solve our problems here.

                            I again do not see that that any of those things you mention are viable solutions with the exception that maybe there might be resources in space to take advantage of, like mining on the moon.

                            The biggest problem with Mars that I see is that it has a very weak magnetic field due to the fact that its core has cooled down faster than on earth. The magnetic field is what keeps the atmosphere in place and also ensures that water does not evaporate into space. This is why scientists say that Mars is a "failed earth" With the exception of the poles, all of the water has evaporated into space. There is no viable way of reviving this planet without restoring the magnetic field which I doubt is possible. For instance you could possibly divert some water from the poles but it would still evaporate into space. So would any oxygen atmosphere that we might try to instill. Without these things it is unlikely that anyone could grow anything there, except indoors.

                            Space is facinating and I do hope that we can do manned missions and explore but I do not see it as saving us from our problems here.

                          •  I have no interest in "the Space program" (0+ / 0-)

                            I have interest in broad space development.  Space Development isn't just NASA.  And I've paid a lot closer attention to the predictions of how space technology advances (since I work in the space field).  

                            As for the things I mentioned not being viable, some are already happening.  Large scale persistence space data is happening, as we speak (and its potential is quite large).  The next big item will be utilization of microgravity, which has some very interesting possibilities.  And then, of course, there are things like space mining and space based solar power.  

                            And, as has been stated, part of the problem is a resource problem, not a land space problem.  If we can get the resources we need, from space, in a way that doesn't destroy the environment, then how is that not a good thing for us?  I don't say it can solve all of our problems, but I am willing to make the effort and attempt.

                            As for Mars - there actually is water that is frozen in the dirt itself, although how much is open for debate.  But again, my point isn't to suggest we all pull up stakes and move to another planet.  

                            Its to propose that we utilize the resources of space to benefit the people of earth, and take some of the resource load off of the earth.  

                            After all, if we need multiple earths to support humanity, why not get the resources needed to have multiple earths, using the resources of the solar system?

                        •  There is no such thing as a wolf in a zoo. (0+ / 0-)

                          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                          by UntimelyRippd on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:47:40 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I am sorry, but huh?? nt (0+ / 0-)

                            no text worth mentioning

                          •  You and I have danced this dance before. (0+ / 0-)

                            The bottom line is that there are soon going to be 9 billion people on this planet, and no matter how marginally close "we" ever come to realizing your space fantasy, 8.999 billion of those people, and their descendants, are never getting off this planet. A "solution" that manages to ship a fraction of humanity into space and leaves billions behind in misery isn't a solution to anything that matters.

                            Not to mention the fact that there is no such thing as a wolf in a zoo.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:07:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Probably (0+ / 0-)

                            its sometimes hard to keep track of who I am debating with.  

                            However... (And I accept that if we've had this debate, I've stated this before)
                            1)  Its not about moving everyone off planet, but about moving the resources of the solar system and space to the people of the planet
                            2)  Whose to say we can't figure out the required technology to make space travel the same price as car travel?

                          •  who's to say the aliens won't come and (0+ / 0-)

                            share their totally awesome warp drive technology with us?

                            anyway, the comment you were challenging was pretty clearly talking about a get-off-the-planet strategy ("the Wall-E solution").

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:39:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I find most people (0+ / 0-)

                            have limited how space may play a role in helping to solve the problems of the earth.  

                            And when it is a report from NASA, saying we are all doomed, I think it might be worthwhile to ensure everyone is actually looking at all of the options.  

                            I am funny like that.  

                  •  Capitalism not the culprit (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Not capitalism - but unregulated capitalism, will be our downfall.   As a natural organism must have certain regulatory systems and restraints (and sense its limits) to assure its sustainability, so must it's man-made counterpart.

                •  We need both (14+ / 0-)

                  R&D of highly technical systems and greater awareness of, and respect for the ecosphere. Technology alone, without regard for the ends to which it is used, will not save us. Properly directed, technology would be be an essential tool, absolutely necessary to restoring the earth. But in the hands of profit-driven oligarchs, it has not been well-employed.

              •  Technology is secondary to energy (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Take away the fossil fuel, and our technology quickly dissipates.   Guess what's happening right now?  

                As an added bonus, the high "technology" of our 400+ nuclear reactors will soon be 1) impossible to cool without a functional electrical grid, and 2) impossible to clean up.   Guess where that leads us?  

                Germany, one of the only seemingly sane countries on the globe, isn't planning to dismantle their reactors for another 60 years (to give them time to "cool off").   Even the investment clamoring oil majors don't claim to have enough oil to supply us for 60 years (they claim a 50 year supply).  

                Guess where this leads?   The whole planet will soon resemble a Chernobyl & Fukushima exclusion zone.

                •  Take away the fossil fuel (0+ / 0-)

                  and there will be a quick and rather messy end to a lot of the world's problems, by way of the death of two thirds or so of the world's population via either starvation, or fighting to keep from starving.  Yes, there ARE a few hydro power systems and wind power systems, and even solar electric systems, but those are not going to heat and light more than  a very small part of our homes, and the way I see it, most of that power will be diverted to power the homes and businesses of the rich and famous.  I know, I left nuclear power out of that equation, and simply so, as it requires so much expenditure of fossil fuel to acquire the material to fuel those reactors that they would soon be forced to shut down.

            •  humans have had no choice (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              congenitalefty, AmericanAnt, jqb

              but to follow along the path of technology ever since the first human picked up a stick, bone or rock and used it as a tool.

              To be human is to be a tool user; this is why humans have dominated and survived so well.  

              The solutions are philosophical.  

              don't always believe what you think

              by claude on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:59:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's assuming things are deterministic. (0+ / 0-)

                What's to say the way our society has evolved is the only way one could evolve? As far as I know, evolution is not deterministic, there are probably alternatives.

                "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:38:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Human choice (0+ / 0-)

                One may be good or evil and their impact on the world will reflect their choice. Tools merely multiply one's ability to impact the world with their moral decisions, they do not increase the wealth available in the universe and tools don't make a good person any better.

            •  Hope everyone here will read Tainter (0+ / 0-)

              The Collapse of Complex Societies. Please, please read it. ranger995 is correct. We are WELL down the road on this and it would be good if more of us were paying attention to this particular issue. The majority of "solutions" make the problem worse.

            •  Marti Gras sign. (0+ / 0-)

              It pays to advertise.  However, mythology solves nothing.  Nor does your invisible imaginary friend.

            •  is finding solutions to problems, the problem? (0+ / 0-)

              what do you do for headaches? bills? dead batteries? news? clothing? travel? warmth? food?

              science and technology is nothing more than "god helps those who help themselves" or do you think praying will feed you. everyone who is religious prays.... christians, jews, muslims, buddhists, and so on. even christ used the carpentry technology of his day. he didn't pray the furniture got built.
              inventions don't prevent disasters, they provide a solution to a particular problem. see where you get without a car, electricity, refrigeration, plumbing, etc.
              i thank god for giving us the brains to develop technology and to not use this gift from god is a sin.

          •  It's our greed that got us here (17+ / 0-)

            Or rather, the greed of the 1%.

            Science is about the only thing that can save us. Abandon science and technology--our "knowledge"--and we descend back to the middle ages.

            With drought.

            Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! And support Bat World Sanctuary

            by Fonsia on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:18:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no..we all are involved, not just the 1% (24+ / 0-)

              we are addicts of the worst kind

              An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

              by don mikulecky on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:21:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fonsia is mostly right (35+ / 0-)

                If we are to break down the problem of fossil fuel consumption into its constituent components, we can see (through an analysis provided by Foster, Clark, and York) that the preponderance of consumption activity is in productive consumption -- consumption in the acts of production and distribution.  The behaviors of "individual consumers," in this regard, are exclamation marks imposed at the end of a long chain of prior consumptive activities which themselves establish resource-costly global networks of exploitation, manufacturing, distribution, advertising, and police power.  The consumer consumption itself amounts to a rather small percentage of the whole consumption pie.

                Moreover, we can say definitively that the idea that the consumers are going to resolve the problem of capitalism by themselves is a misreading of the nature of (capitalist) markets.  "Demand" is actually effective demand -- demand backed by money -- and if a small group of people decided that they were going to stop consuming fossil fuels, the market result would be a cheaper price for the fossil fuels, dragging a larger segment of the world's population into the orbit of effective demand.

                The solution to the problem of fossil fuel consumption, then, needs to be placed upon the producers, whose activities must be phased out.

                "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

                by Cassiodorus on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:38:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yet, how do you get those people to act while (5+ / 0-)

                  we all continue to enrich them on a daily basis? The only agency the 99% has today is with their pocket books, political action is worthless on this score. People have to stop their buying practices.

                  "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                  by ranger995 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:39:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  United States overdoes Capitalism: 1) energy, (0+ / 0-)

                  2) healthcare, 3) extremes of wealth and poverty, 4) weapons of mass destruction and Military Industrial Complex.   We need an excise tax first on emissions, later on energy as emissions peter out--for both prohibitive tariff effect and revenue.  Revenue will have to buy both means to harness renewable energy to replace fossil fuel and fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights as fossil fuel is displaced.  Some funds can be diverted from weapons to means for harnessing renewable energy to be MADE by SAME MIC firms as lose contracts for pork our military no longer wants.  Tax will have to be phased in--10% of pretax price on average first year, 20% of pretax price 2nd year, 30% 3rd year, etc. to 85% of pretax price in 9th year--which results in maximum total consumer spending on energy, assuming US Bureau of Labor Statistics was right in 1968 that coefficient of demand for energy is -0.37.  $100 billion/year for 30 years should buy smart grid needed to integrate renewable energy plus wind and solar enough for about 25% of electric each all made by MIC firms losing military pork contracts.   We should also spend $100 billion/year on enhanced geothermal systems to keep drilling and fracking rigs and crews busy doing something less offensive to neighbors than drilling and fracking for oil and gas, and producing dispatchable base load electric power (utilities' favorite kind).  When algal bio-fuels by Algae Systems funded by US Navy get close enough to cost-competitive with petroleum products, federal government should have extra made and barter it to fossil fuel firms for fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights to get fossil fuel firms to test market them--maybe 5, most likely 10, at most I hope 15 years from now.
                  For healthcare we would be better off grandfathering too big to fail drug firms--guaranteeing their profit as both floor and ceiling in exchange for them giving up both research and marketing, and sticking to manufacturing, quality control, and distributing to pharmacies--both hospital and retail.  Research should be done by healthcare school faculty funded by NIH and marketing should be left undone.
                  All I can see doing about poverty is to get the cost/benefit analysis people at Office of Management and Budget to figure out just what is the lowest cost means of dealing with the fact that "the poor you have always with you" as the Bible says.  There seems to be some evidence that it would be cheaper within 10 years to spend somewhat more treating the poor decently than we do now on being mean to the poor.  

                  •  Your ideas (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    SOUND good, from an upper middle class viewpoint, but for those of us on the bottom of the chain, they sound much like hell on earth. Can you imagine living more than a few blocks from the only grocery store for twenty miles and no fuel to even be able to get that far because you simply can't afford it?  How about not being able to get to the doctor's office because you can't afford to live within fifteen or twenty miles of any of them.  That is the situation a lot of the poorer people are already looking at, and you are proposing to raise not only the cost of the power to heat and light their homes, but the fuel they need to get anywhere at all.  There isn't enough affordable, respectable housing close in to most cities for the lower income people to even want to live there, let alone afford it, yet you want to make life even harder for them.  In many ways, this sounds almost like a Republican dream come true.  No poor and underprivileged to demonize or vote against them, and all the access they need to the power switches to convince a lot of middle class to vote for them as well.

              •  A fair point (9+ / 0-)

                Our consumer consumption (those of us who can still afford it), indeed, is the largest root of the problem.

                I'm not letting the 1%, well, really the .01%, off the hook. They're the ones driving the extraction industries and cutting down the Amazon forest, for example.

                If only we could turn them into Tim Cooks, who actually give a shit about the planet. Most of the rest remain focused on their offshore bank accounts, and their support of politicians and the corrupt establishment media who protect them.

                Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! And support Bat World Sanctuary

                by Fonsia on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:38:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Who's clamoring for cheap oil and cheap just (9+ / 0-)

                  about everything else? The 99% is responsible, too, for the actions of the 1%. Until we start taking responsibility for our own behaviors, nothing will change. I'm not saying the 1% isn't toxic, just that they're being propped up, in many ways, by the rest of us.

                  •  Um, no. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    WarrenS, lunachickie, Salo

                    That's like blaming the slaves for slavery.

                    Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

                    by BenFranklin99 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 02:14:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Um, yes, we are the consumers of the plastics, (7+ / 0-)

                      food like substances and inefficient methods that the 1 percent manufacture and ship to the big box stores that we frequent.  We have chosen convenience and mediocrity over sanity and responsibility.

                      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                      by StrayCat on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:00:46 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  That's ridiculous. No one forced anyone to (4+ / 0-)

                      buy the cheap plastic stuff. Walmart got popular because people wanted to shop there, not because they were forced to. Maybe they have no choice now, but they are part to blame for that.

                      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

                      by ranger995 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:30:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  This misunderstands consumerism, imo. Those (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        claude, JerryNA

                        competitive buying urges are implanted & cultivated.  They're not "human nature", only one piece of it out of many possibilities.

                        •  You WANT that cellphone. (0+ / 0-)

                          The fact that some people seriously wanna paint this macro picture of a handful of Bad People tainting otherwise-kind-and-prudent humanity is laughable and disturbing. Newsflash: I, given the chance, would gladly live in the damn mansion with Mercedes supercars in the garage. So would the vast majority of people in this diary. Why wouldn't you? I've flirted with homelessness before. I've been in mansions before. I'll take the latter.

                          I know there's people that would wrap themselves in this martyr cloak of righteousness and loudly proclaim that they would never EVER want cool consumer gadgets etc.

                          These people have a much better cell phone than me, I'm sure. (Alcatel candybar, $6 off ebay. $10 a month. Enjoy your "smart" phones you rich spoiled bastards lol)

                          So can we please stop acting like the real ROOT problem here isn't HUMAN NATURE? The report practically screamed that. Lord of the Flies.....its thesis is that all human civilizations are doomed because of human nature, regardless of how smart or "good" they may be designed.

                          We have way too many people anyway. But we can't talk about overpopulation because the solutions to that are........unpleasant at best.

                          "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

                          by TheHalfrican on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:01:27 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  well, kinda (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Diana in NoVa, JerryNA

                        The middle class has been so thoroughly decimated with stagnant wages that without all the cheap crap made in China, a lot of people wouldn't be able to afford much of anything. I mean, I agree at a base level, there are always choices people can make, but they have also been railroaded in to this position, as well as fed copious amounts of propaganda. I dunno, I put more of the blame on the "ruling" class, as they have really led us down this path, and continue to block any alternative path even as this one has seemed obviously destined for failure for some time.

                •  Tim Cook may "care", but his business is selling (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  the consumerist frenzy to as many as possible as quickly as possible.  And then hiding the profits overseas to avoid taxes, so we can't pay teachers, researchers, etc.

                  That's the problem with consumer tech right there.  And while you're at it make the batteries non-replaceable.

                  Apple is no hero.

            •  No one said abandon science. Just abandon your (11+ / 0-)

              absolute faith that science is the only answer. We can't just keep living the way we're living and expect technology to just fix everything.

              "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

              by ranger995 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:36:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sadly, plenty of people are abandoning science (0+ / 0-)

                Mostly on the right, but increasingly on the left. It's why we call New Age pseudoscience "woo woo."

                But it's interesting that you couple the word "faith" with "science." Science has nothing to do with faith. It's just numbers. The scientific method is merely the best way we've learned as a species to access reality.

                I do admit to having "faith" in reality. And as the scientific method has moved us out of the middle ages and into the modern world where we have eradicated numerous deadly diseases (unless the anti-vaxxers get their way, as they are doing), created ways of moving so that people no longer spend their entire lives in their home villages, invented refrigeration so we can have fresh food continually, etc etc etc, I wonder how so many people can flirt on the edge of abandoning all that. The take it all for granted, and forget how we got it.

                Carl Sagan said it best:

                We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
                And that's the problem right there: most of us are almost completely uneducated about science. It's now so advanced that the average person cannot grasp what it is, how the scientific method works, what we have achieved with it.

                And because they don't understand it, they become suspicious of it.

                And then they abandon it.


                Watch Cosmos.

                Enjoy the San Diego Zoo's panda cam! And support Bat World Sanctuary

                by Fonsia on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:18:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Science is method not a belief (0+ / 0-)

                The term Science has become Religious.

                Science is a method of analysis that should identify the right way and the correct truth and the model of Human life; aka Jesus Christ.  

          •  And that is both... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hooper, claude

            ...the paradox and the evolutionary challenge / mandate of our time.  Evolve or die as another failed branch of the ongoing tree.  

            "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

            by dharmasyd on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:56:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Technology didn't get us into this mess (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, Bluehawk, dconrad

            Capitalism did.

            Want to accelerate turning Earth's atmosphere into that of Venus?  Do the Pol Pot thing:  Burn the cities, send everyone into the countryside, and have a million wood- or coal-fired furnaces instead of one or two modern power plants that burn energy more efficiently and with far less pollution.

            Visit for Minnesota news as it happens.

            by Phoenix Woman on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 01:14:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  close but no cigar (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          don mikulecky, WarrenS, Oh Mary Oh

          or more accurately, no food, no water no energy.

          We have accumulated a vast amount of raw data, mostly crap like Micheal Jackson record sales.

          To crunch all that data requires a full stomach, an electrical outlet with juice and a lot of time.

    •  Cut funding. My first thought. (6+ / 0-)

      Cynical but true.

      "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
      Teh Twitterz, I'z awn dem.
      Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

      by OleHippieChick on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 12:18:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Plugs for books are OK here. I'm interested to (10+ / 0-)

      know what yours is. I've read a lot of collapse of the great Maya civilizations. Is yours on another topic?

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 12:23:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or to build an Ark ... Limited seating of course. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

      by RUNDOWN on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 12:35:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  when? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that CAI conference last year looked interesting.
      I'm looking forward to the volume.

    •  Equality (0+ / 0-)

      Equality and evolution are at odds. Anti-Imperialism and survival are at odds.

      Nobody bothers to think through the implications of the big ideas.

      Europe and North America have slightly too many people. Yet every correct thinking politically orthodox want's mass migration. Africa and Asia have far too many people to sustain and the math suggests a fridge in every house and a car in every garage will be unsustainable.

      Meanwhile conscientious Danes, Swedes, Portlanders,  Seattlites and go green and cripple their own income.

      It's a pickle.

      A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

      by Salo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:41:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Equality and evolution are not at odds. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA, davidincleveland

        In fact, social organization and things like cooperation are a product of evolution.

        As for the rest of your comment, I think it is equally unfounded.

        Human beings (Homo sapiens) survived on this planet for at least 180,000 years without the slightest hint of imperialism.

        "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

        by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:51:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Imperialism is an idea. (0+ / 0-)

          An empire is held together by its root ideation. There is a present empire but it is evil by not following the teaching of Jesus.

          Christ's empire is forming within the margins of the Nation state system and only lacks its opportunity to be chosen by the people of the whole world.

          The Nation States block this process.

          (As for your quote about Jesus, we Muslims deny that Jesus died on that cross. That story is forensically unsupportable. We also question the accusation that we all live in sin. Paul was a murderer so he did not like anyone who presumed to be pure.)

    •  Ranger, why the sad-sounding "I suppose (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the Republicans will propose a bill to cut NASA funding"?

      Isn't that the idea?  Save THIS planet, instead of using the resources from HERE to go off colonizing other planets (maybe) and hunting rare earth minerals out THERE?

      •  Well, if NASA funding is about colonizing or (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA, davidincleveland, dconrad

        exploiting other planets then you have a point. Lots of NASA research is related to learning about our universe and our planet. NASA funds a lot of projects on the Earth. Things like LIDAR are employed to examine agricultural practices and their impact on the environment--both ancient and modern. I think these studies are good.  

        "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

        by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:50:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Goddard Space Center Produced Jim Hansen (0+ / 0-)

          who I admire greatly and have been following and corresponding with for years.  People like him have changed my entire way of living and thinking.  Even though I am 70 and on a very limited income I grow as much of my own food (organically of course) as possible in community gardens and rely almost completely on home made compost for fertilizer.  I have learned to save seed and preserve food like my mother and grandmother.  At the same time I know how to make electricity with a solar panel and a power inverter and store it in marine batteries.  I can do without daily showers and live with one light on at night.  I moved to California in 1999 because it is easier to survive here with little heat and few winter clothes and food can be grown almost all year long.  People need to change their attitudes and then change their lives.  

    •  Poppycock! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, ranger995, dconrad

      It means that republicans will cut NASA and US National Science Foundation funding.

      After all, Gawd will provide for his chosen somethingorother.

    •  The story pointed out that a major need is more (0+ / 0-)

      equitable distribution of wealth.  Was that true in ancient societies?  Also, weapons systems are such that high population numbers are far less of an advantage for the barbarians than in the past.
      I think it is great that NASA is focusing science and technology on defining the problem, but the solution probably will include a lot of redistribution of wealth - how do we manage that?

    •  I guess the crucial question is, what kind of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      complexity leads to resilience, and which leads to instability? Are we about to find out??

      •  Now we're talking. Our current model is not the (0+ / 0-)

        only way for societies to exist. Thanks for pointing that out. It seems lots of people have trouble with that concept. I suppose because it is the only one we know. Evolution is random, there are many other possibilities. Let's explore them.

        "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

        by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 04:47:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'd like to read your book (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm particularly interested in the resilience part.  What's your book title and is it available on Amazon?

      Love the "sin" comment.  Funny!

    •  I am a Paleo-Archiologist, (0+ / 0-)

      I am also a climatologist, and studied evolutionary ecology, far from stable, our planet has had violent changes that brought ecosystem collapse. Large animals pay a steep price during the first years, favoring smaller body size, low reproduction rates rewarding a savings in burned calories and animals that took in fewer calories from sugars actually lived longer, healthier lives. Animals that gave birth to fully-formed young only needed a few young so they wasted fewer resourses. Animals that had fur could live in a larger range of temperatures. Plants that had seeds with hard cases that required some animal to eat the seeds were going to survive long periods without water, weak light, cold, even going years without germinating if no animals were around to eat them. We are surrounded by the result of millions of years of evolution, until very recently we were able to recognize most plant and animal species and make use of them. Of course now, with the rise of modern technology we have lost almost all of that knowledge. Instead of hunting and gathering skills and a rucksack full of tools, spices and seeds, without electricity, most of us will come out of our house with the TV remote, our X-Box and a (deservedly) dumb look on our faces. No, that's in fact wrong, with the knowledge that there will be no electricity for the foreseeable future, most of us will just commit suicide...

      •  But you contradict Jesus (0+ / 0-)

        Power is a matter of the unification of populations around their land and resouce base. So the future will converge the world into a single culture based on the Way and the Truth and the Life (eternal) of Jesus.

        Being as Humans are composed of our eternal souls and our temporary bodies we will always smile at adversity and willendure forever.

    •  Shoot the messenger... (0+ / 0-)

      ...It's the American way!

      Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you...Elsie de Wolfe

      by Hilltop Mama on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:06:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  selfish (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, StrayCat, WarrenS, bobdevo

    One definition of being selfish is--not being capable of seeing cause and effect--what benefits you harms others--which eventually harms you.  I can't ever remember one political party so controlled by selfish people.  This egoism is the result of super wealth--enabled by lowered tax rates on top earners and the internationalization of banking--off shoring wealth.  Put another way--welcome to Reaganism.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:59:02 AM PDT

    •  This isn't just (10+ / 0-)

      about one political party, but is a global, society-wide problem.  Democrats haven't exactly been stellar on the economic and environmental front and have contributed tremendously to producing the huge wealth gap this study talks about.  One of the most crucial things needed for resolving this issue lies in understanding that the relevant conflict isn't democrat/republican but .01%/99%.  It also lies in understanding that issues of economic justice are the central issues of our day.

      •  sort of agree (5+ / 0-)

        Dems are middling, Rs are batshit crazy.  Dems have been middle of the road since McGovern, misreading the tea leaves and ignoring the power of inferior media.  Clinton should have tried to make cable accountable to the FCC for licensing--didn't--and partisan lies now rule the "air."
        As far as economic justice, bigotry seems to trump equality.

        Actions speak louder than petitions.

        by melvynny on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 02:03:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Neoliberal economic (7+ / 0-)

          policy inflames racism, sexism, homophobia, and religious fundamentalism by making people economically strapped, putting them in precarious positions, and by rendering jobs scarce.  They then look about for scapegoats and higher powers.  Want to fight social injustice, fight economic injustice.  Sadly most of our dems are not doing the latter.  Our dems are a huge part of the problem and many of us are a big part of the problem by enthusiastically supporting neoliberal corporate shills like Clinton.  So it goes.  So long as we don't recognize this we'll continue to circle the drain.

    •  The typical über-rich American (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnB47, claude, Lily O Lady, chmood, JerryNA

      has more in common with Saudi oil sheiks, Russian klepto-oligarchs, and South American drug cartel kingpins than any middle class or poor American. And this is a major problem.

      The 1% don't consider themselves Americans and don't give a damn about America. They are concerned only with accumulation of wealth and not with the nation in which they do so.

      But they are masters at exploiting the stupid jingoism of the Fox News audience and the equally stupid selfishness, racism, classism, and religious bigotry of the same group.

      Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain as you indulge in your 24-hour hate session while he picks your pocket down to the lint and gets you to blame it on the man standing next to you.

      •  Its almost like a Star Trek episode (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        something like a pulsing mass that threatens the Enterprise by turning the crew against each other while the mass grows stronger off the projected anger.
        As always, that works up to a point. In this case a tipping point that time keeps bringing closer. What remains to be seen is exactly who responds most earnestly. One thing I feel is that depending on the 1% to do what's right only comes only works when they depend on us. The way things are going that won't be too much longer, unless they start more wars.

      •  at this point... (0+ / 0-)

        ...doesn't the rise of the third world population worry you more than the creature comforts of your neighbours?

        A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

        by Salo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:46:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure does (4+ / 0-)

          But the birthrates of third-world nations are not going to decrease until/unless significant cultural/religious values change in those places, until women are allowed to have a semblance of control over their own reproductive systems, have access to contraceptive resources, actually use them and use them properly.

          For every 20s-30s, middle class, educated, liberal couple I know who have decided to not have children so as to not contribute to overpopulation, there are several 22-year-old wives in Africa who each have 5 children already and will likely have another 5 before they even reach 30 years old, because they are not allowed to say no to their husbands, are not allowed to have and/or have no access to effective contraception, and/or have been taught that it's wrong to limit their number of pregnancies. And that's just one portion of the third-world population.

        •  PS- (4+ / 0-)

          The population growth among the LDS/Mormon community terrifies me too. Think of the interconnected, well-resourced clans they'll have in a post-industrial collapse world. I shudder to think.

    •  selfish is the core of American culture now (7+ / 0-)

      As others have noted, this isn't an R vs. D thing. The neoliberal metanarrative that tells us that we should only value things that make us money as individuals is at the heart of it.
      Look at public higher education. Over the past few decades our whole cultural narrative has shifted from "education as a social good" to "education as a good for the individual student." This shift in our belief system gives us license to say that the student should shoulder most of the cost of an education, and the public should pay less.
      This misses the whole point of a university. The "product" of a university is not "an education" - it is an educated citizen.

      •  The moods and attitudes of the ruling class (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        have been adopted by all of us. They hate social welfare? So do I. They disdain the lower classes? Well, me, too! Education is good for their families, but irrelevant to you, so they pull up the ladder and a plurality of Americans help them. You are on your own, but they are very much cooperating and networking with each other.

        I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

        by CFAmick on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 09:28:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  religion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Methinks religion was created to make people (men?) more socially conscious.  Most religions lost their way and became power venues--too bad.  We still have those same needs--selfishness  makes sense if you are not taught compassion.  When I argue with right wing neighbors, I always say, maybe I'm wrong--maybe I want to help too much, but the right wing can only be wrong by helping too little.  I have enough to share, too bad you don't.  Better to care too much than too little.  
        To religious nuts, I add, I'm building my resume for heaven.

        Actions speak louder than petitions.

        by melvynny on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 09:45:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Religion identifies the Moral Imperitive. (0+ / 0-)

          You are right about the purpose of Religion but it was not 'created' by Men. The belief in Heaven, higher powers, and Christ derives from the nuclear structure of reality which can be observed in the shadows cast by the Sunlight. A clock reveals the presence of the cross within the 24 hour model.

          If Heaven had not impressed the existence of God on Humans we would not have any moral marker to follow.

          This is why evil powers attack Christ and are said to have killed HIM on a cross.

          We deny that Heaven did not grant Jesus the prayer He made in the garden. Barabbus was convinced by the Centurion to trade places with Jesus so HE could continue to teach. Having preached so voluminously would HE suddenly lose HIS tongue in front of Pilate. NO. That was Barabbus the murderer and Jesus was let go by Centurion after He agreed to preach no more in public.

          The myth that He rose from the dead is not forensic and inconsistent with HIS Father's teaching. Furthermore this idea that God would kill someone in order to pardon others is too weak.

          Our point is that Humans have access to the Moral sovereignty of Heaven and we will prevail by following Jesus (but not the church).

  •  Purchases by consumers represents... (22+ / 0-)

    ...70% of the GNP in the US and in most nations.

    Until consumers are put in the driver's seat by allowing them to make purchase decisions based on sustainability and given transparent information about the environmental and social footprint of what they buy it will be very difficult.

    Studies (that I have the source for but for reasons that are long to explain I will only disclose to interested parties) have concluded that 15% of consumers would be willing to pay more for sustainable products and another 15% would buy more sustainable products if they trusted the information provided.

    Today there are over 400 "ecolabels" around the world and over 230 in the US.  It is a starting point although many represent "greenwashing" by corporations.

    If all the sustainability direction comes from the top down and while sociopathic corporations can influence politics as they can now, we are doomed indeed.

    The TPP and the Keystone pipeline are just two data points.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:04:35 AM PDT

    •  Disposable and non reparable stuff has to go (22+ / 0-)

      Stuff has to be made to last and reused.  We need to buy only what we really need and that has to be severely redefined.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:12:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Until consumers drastically cut back on spending (10+ / 0-)

      on virtually everything, civilization is in big trouble.

      We'd better cut back on reproduction, too.

      •  Wouldn't we be in just as much trouble (6+ / 0-)

        if not more... if consumers "drastically cut back on spending"?  That would decimate our tax base, kill retail jobs, and kill manufacturing jobs.

        I agree that over consumption at a nonsustainable rate is something that has to change. Changing what we produce and how we produce it is more of the answer. I think.

      •  "We'd better cut back on reproduction, too." (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gulfgal98, Salo, cyni

        That is the only move we humans could make which could possibly save some form of civilization, and no moves short of that one will save it. We would have to go well below a 'one child per couple' rate, worldwide and rigidly enforced. Sol will rise in the West before we humans do such a thing, and even a planetary government would be unable to impose or enforce the necessary edict. Ask any Cultural Anthropologist.

        If civilization is doomed, is there any chance our species can stop its descent at the barbarism level by consuming less? Perhaps, with worldwide cooperation, one-offspring-per-two-adults for the next four generations, ruthless planning, perfect timing and a great deal of luck barbarism would be a reachable goal, but needing all of those five elements makes such an outcome very extremely unlikely.

        If we continue our present course, the surviving humans will be savages culturally by 2130. This is the most likely outcome of our current over-population problem.

        Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

        by davidincleveland on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:38:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  precisely ONE country has done something (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to address overpopulation.  That country has been vilified for so doing.

          don't always believe what you think

          by claude on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:29:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  look at South Africa (0+ / 0-)

          it used to be low density.

          A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

          by Salo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:48:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Overpopulation is a common meme. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          freesia, JerryNA

          But it may be incorrect:

          And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.

          And then it will fall.

          While 'ONE country has done something' to address overpopulation (i.e. China) there are many industrialized countries with a low birthrate and declining population.

          It's not clear that unsustainable overpopulation is a certainty, even without policies like China's.

          •  It is crystal clear; our overpopulation is already (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:


            It's not clear that unsustainable overpopulation is a certainty, even without policies like China's.
            A population of 9 billion (by 2050) would be unsustainable even if the planet wasn't warming. Moreover, our current 7 billion is manifestly unsustainable at today's temperatures. That is what the thirty-years-long attempted genocide in Darfur was about. The population increased 600% in five years (1973-1978). The available WATER remained unchanged.

            The article you linked to accurately describes birth ratios, and birth ratio trends, and only discusses them in terms of industrialization and educational levels. Since it doesn't address how one feeds a population whose water supply is declining faster than its birth rate, one would be justified in stating that the article "doesn't hold water" for the purposes of this diary's discussion.

            Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

            by davidincleveland on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:24:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is by no means 'crystal clear' (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JerryNA, dconrad

              Want water? desalinate, or use RO.

              Need energy to desalinate/RO? use solar/wind.

              Saying that something 'can't be done' just because it isn't being done, or you yourself don't know how to do it isn't 'crystal clear' by any means.

              But if you have some actual evidence to support a specific carrying capacity for the earth, by all means...

              But primarily the comment was a response to the many people in this thread who appear to be unaware about declining birth rates in many countries as they apparently only know about China.

              •  Since you posted your comment as a reply to my (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                comment, this excuse for posting it

                ..the comment was a response to the many people in this thread who appear to be unaware about declining birth rates in many countries..
                is bogus. I see no evidence of "many people in this thread" being "unaware about declining birth rates in many countries" and if you have such evidence, by all means post it, but appropriately. You continue your discourtesy toward me by stating
                Saying that something 'can't be done' just because it isn't being done, or you yourself don't know how to do it isn't 'crystal clear' by any means.
                in support of
                Want water? desalinate, or use RO. Need energy to desalinate/RO? use solar/wind.
                "But if you have some actual evidence to support" a real-world capacity to feasibly desalinate ocean water and pipe it to Darfur, "by all means.." It is certainly clear that "it isn't being done" and I infer that none of us who have been concerned about Darfur (and additional parts of the Sahara, Gobi, Mojave and other deserts know how to do this.

                Your comment implies that either you do know how to accomplish this or you're bloviating. Please enlighten us.

                Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

                by davidincleveland on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 02:45:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Real-world capacity? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I'm unclear what you're asking for. Surely you realize that we ship millions of gallons of oil across much longer distances. And that places, such as the UAE and Dubai, have large desalination plants supplying their freshwater.

                  In fact, Australia has a North-South water pipeline that carries desalinated water to Melbourne.


                  Or, you could take 5 seconds for a Google search and find:


                  So, of course such a real-world capability exists.

                  Additionally, putting the ethnic conflict at the feet of competition for water resources is rather simplistic, as is equating what's happening in Darfur with the carrying capacity of the earth.

                  Speaking of which, can you once again provide a cite for where you actually get your information on the carrying capacity of the earth? Elsewhere in the thread you've mentioned that even cutting the population in half wouldn't be enough, so I'm curious as to whether your opinions are supported by actual facts, or whether you're just, to borrow a phrase, bloviating.

                  •  Facts. You've listed 3, to prove real-world (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    capability. Let's examine them for relevance to discussion of Darfur. Your first fact references desalination plants in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Not relevant because neither country is hundreds of miles from their salt water sources, and both countries own the land and ocean front where their desalination plants are located.

                    Your second fact references Melbourne's pipeline. Not relevant because it is only 70 Km long and cost $10 million per kilometer. It was also built in an industrialized nation. You might as well have referenced the Los Angeles water supply, or New York City's.

                    Your third fact references a donation page where persons can contribute to the building of an actual pipeline. I'll leave it to any readers of this exchange to draw their own conclusions about the relevance of something which hasn't happened and hasn't as yet been shown to be economically (or politically --see fact #1) possible.

                    Speaking of relevance, you began your comment with a reference to an oil pipeline. Darfur can't afford to pay $3 per gallon for water. Neither can any other non-industrialized population.

                    You claim that boiling the Darfur genocidal attempts down to a shortage of water is simplistic. I've been following the Darfur conflict since it began, but the opinion that Darfur and every other Sahel-area conflict of the last thirty years began or is exacerbated by increasing desertification is quite widely held by actual anthropologists who have published peer-reviewed studies of the subject. You could try searching, if you really are unsure of this.

                    Lastly, you infer or suggest that I am expressing only my own opinion about our planet's carrying capacity per degree of temperature rise. Again, a search would reveal to you that this opinion is widely held by scientists who have published on the subject. It is not an easy thing to find, both because it is a complex series of 'what-ifs' and because (like any predictions of future events) it is opinion, not already-happened fact. Scientists don't like to expose themselves that way.

                    If I decide to write a climate-change diary I'll post links about carrying-capacity-per-degree-of-rise, and 'show my worksheet' on the subject. Until I do that, you can either remain curious or do your own homework. Hint: Start with "James Hansen." For any further discussion prior to my diary on this subject, please kosmail me because I won't reply here; we are already on the edge of threadjacking this excellent diary.

                    Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

                    by davidincleveland on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:46:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You scoff at my links (0+ / 0-)

                      and provide none of your own to support your claim that the carrying capacity of the Earth is less than half the current population.

                      Enough said.

                    •  Water is becoming an issue right here in the ole (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      USA. Aquifers are being drained. Florida, water rich Florida, is heading for crisis (from a quick search, a press article) and our sucking farm belts are as or more quickly draining their fossil water reserves which, unlike Florida's are not getting much or any recharge.

                      Oh, don't worry. Vast solar and wind farms will somehow get Pacific or Atlantic or maybe Arctic or Gulf salt water desalinated and piped into the corn and soy and wheat fields so things will work out. Now, if I can just catch that damn unicorn . . .

                      Lots of people have faith in science and technology, not an engineering or scientific view. Faith is hard to shake, particularly when deeply based on wishful and self interested thinking (my soul will go to a better place when my body gives out, things will be all right even if we continue to breed like fruit flies, etc.) and leads to some pretty weird choices.

                      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                      by pelagicray on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:47:39 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Bingo davidincleveland (0+ / 0-)

          You hit the jackpot with your comment. The way that we will gain control of population growth is to first, begin to function as global persons rather than as Nationals. The Nation has used up its Moral Sovereignty and we must now take personal ownership of the entire Planet.

          We must then establish personal ownership of all the land and resources on the Earth as Common Property. When we have done this then our personal interest will be to defend against population increases.

          The internet facilitates this and allows us to act directly instead of through elected agents.


    •  All true. BUT... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, Back In Blue also have to educate the people about why sustainability matters, have them actually care, and have those people not feel affection toward politicians and other public figures who come from the climate change deniers, etc set.

      Because at the end of the day, you have the single mom who goes shopping at Walmart to find some new pants for her quickly-growing six year old, finds pants that look and fit well on the child, and hey, they're $8/pair, and buys several pairs.....nevermind that those pants were sewn by someone else's six year old in Indonesia with crappy materials, hence the cheapness. All she probably considers in that moment (coming from, say, a life context in which she makes less than 2k a month as the only wage earner, and has maybe $50 left after bills each month for miscellaneous expenses) is "Hmm, well, I have $25 to spend today, and I need my kid to have several pairs of serviceable pants to wear to kindergarten, so I guess this is what we can afford."  Even if the next rack over of kids pants were organic cotton, ethically sourced and constructed, transported to the store via lower-emissions vehicles, etc etc, she probably wouldn't spring for the $25/pair pricetag, because she doesn't want her kid to have to wear the same pair of pants seven days a week. Or, if we're more realistic and recognize that Walmart wouldn't bother to carry such a prodcut, now she has to seek out a different store to buy kid pants other than where she was already present to grocery shop and pick up new windshield wiper inserts for the car (or whatever).

  •  It's easy to say what the solution isn't. (18+ / 0-)

    The solution isn't the society of money, and in my longer quote of the young Karl Marx is contained the real solution: human relationships that are relationships between human beings, and not relationships between human beings and money.

    "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:17:41 AM PDT

  •  How and when we crash is all that's left to figure (22+ / 0-)

    If it's climate driven, that is 5° rise in mean temp wipes out agriculture or something along those lines, who owns what matters none. This would be far larger than a social collapse, more like an extinction of most of the terrestrial species and a great number of aquatic ones. In many ways, a climate collapse would be worse than worldwide thermonuclear war.
    The best case crash would be economic.
    The reason that we are able to exploit/deplete resources at the rate we are is that we are rich (comparatively). We can afford to buy a hundred million cell phones that use up rare earths and minerals. We can afford to import food from the other end of the globe by ship and plane and then waste a huge proportion of it. We can afford to pump chemicals into the ground in such quantities that it disturbs the tectonics, causing earthquakes in places that have never experienced them in human history.
    If we, as a race, became so impoverished that we could no longer afford imported food, no longer afford fuel for transportation, no longer afford to have children, no longer afford to waste ANYTHING, then some small percentage of our kind might prevail into the next century.
    Otherwise, all bets are off.
    Have a nice day.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:32:24 AM PDT

  •  It would be nice if they would get the nuclear (5+ / 0-)

    power plants turned off and cleaned up before the sea levels rise and civilization collapses.

  •  "Headed"? (16+ / 0-)

    I have a different take, that has nothing to do with NASA research.

    Any culture, in which a single power is dominant, in which that single power allows its agents and representatives to torture others without consequence, to walk away from those tortures unscathed into whatever public or private employment they choose, wrapped in the flag as heroes; where to criticize these torturers is to be denounced as "hating the troops"--that is a society in which any civilization, in any literal sense, is already dead.

    If a physical manifestation of that comes back to bite us in the ass, that's just karma.

    Pay no attention to the upward redistribution of wealth!

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 01:09:06 PM PDT

  •  Nice find! I'll try to read it, (8+ / 0-)

    do my usual "OMG, there's a new study predicting the end of life as we know it!" freak out.

    I'll learn what I can from it, both in terms of risks and possible actions to take.

    Then, I'll put it on my Environmental Collapse reference shelf, beside Thomas Malthus, Paul and Ann Ehrlich, Jay Forrester, E.O. Wilson, Jared Diamond, etc.

    Slight suggested correction: add the "?" back into the diary title, as it was in the title of the article abstracting the NASA study. Gives a different meaning.

    Also noting that the study is loaded with contingencies, such as:

    However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.
    I think "appropriate policy and structural changes" is where I'll put my focus.

    I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

    by rsmpdx on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 01:58:52 PM PDT

    •  you saw what those changes were, right? (15+ / 0-)

      in the last quoted paragraph;

      "Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."
      now there's a project. just reduce the per capita rate of consumption to the same amount our environment can provide without collapsing, and stop having kids, and get the money back from the Kochs and their ilk. Easy peasy.

      FWIW, and with all the meta this week around here, that is why I am here. to get the human race to stop abusing its home, and to be a boatload more fair to each other. I guess it's good to know NASA agrees. At a much earlier time in my life, before I understood we need to shrink our footprint as a species (in many ways, not just numbers), I wanted to be part of the great outward expansion the Space Age promised.

      Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

      by kamarvt on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 02:58:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup, I saw the needed changes. No surprise. (5+ / 0-)

        It's good reinforcement for what most of us here have known about for many years. Also suggests that we're on the right track if we're working so that

        per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.
        No, it's not "easy".

        But I'm done freaking out.

        I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

        by rsmpdx on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:32:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No matter what, the earths needs to shed about (5+ / 0-)

          …three to four billion people -- and it will.

          •  Am I correct in interpreting this to mean (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            don mikulecky, WarrenS, JerryNA

            The best you think can happen is the death of roughly half the worlds human population?

            •  This grotesque overpopulation of the species (5+ / 0-)

              …is the root cause of ALL environment crisis we face --- yes.

              •  measured against resources (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                claude, freesia, Pluto, JerryNA, don mikulecky

                I find the 'number of humans' metric to be flawed because it is not the caloric needs of "X" number of humans that is what is discussed when we talk about population pressure. It's resource depletion. One SUV owning carnivore with a McMansion full of gewgaws puts hundreds of times more strain on nonrenewable resources than a hardscrabble farmer with a few sheep and goats. If every human lived like that, we would be looking at the End Times right now. Conversely, if we all existed like the human batteries in the Matrix movies, the planet could probably sustain ten times the current population with less negative consequences than we see today.
                What it comes down to is the mark, the scar on the earth each of us makes by dint of living on it. It's not our breathing, eating, and pooping that is degrading our environment, it is our machines breathing, what we are eating, and society's poop (everything from DDT to BP's oil spill to the Pacific Garbage Gyre) that is doing it. I leave a much bigger scar than the majority of the human race simply because I live in a society that nearly forces me to be that consumptive. I didn't reproduce, I've gone to growing as much of my food as I can, shrunk my carbon footprint by well over half in the last decade, but I am still more of an irritant to the planet than most humans.
                The ability of humans to create force multipliers like machines is certainly  a big part of the root cause, and directly related to population; We couldn't overfish the seas without big fishing trawlers, and we couldn't feed as many people without them, for example.
                To me, the existence of money, really any system that uses tokens to denote wealth in property, is what is fundamentally inconsistent with living sustainably as a species. Amassing wealth will always lead to overuse of finite resources, as the Tragedy of the Commons so clearly illustrates. As a species, we need to get past this adolescent fixation and grow up before the consequences of our current behavior are fully realized.

                I am not hopeful.

                Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

                by kamarvt on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 04:24:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wish I could give you 100 recs. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  don mikulecky, kamarvt

                  Well said. Terrifying, sad, but well said. A ghastly reality that causes hordes of people to plug their ears and yell "LALLALALALALAA", other hordes to participate in mass delusion over the state of things, and still other hordes to walk around every day feeling the dread-stone of it in the pit of their stomachs combined with the static electricity of mostly futile rage. I'm always glad to see that DKos is mostly populated by horde #3, as depressing as the topic is.

                •  Yes, the West has to go. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  don mikulecky, kamarvt

                  But we won't.  When the resource wars come the West will destroy the planet in order to maintain their way of life.  

                  America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

                  by Back In Blue on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:14:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You are close to Christ (0+ / 0-)

                  In your thought.

                  The neglected idea in these comments is our ability to legislate ownership of all the land in the world and to control population by enforcing trespass laws as individual owners of that land.

                  The only remaining step is to believe in our right to own the Planet.  

                  •  This part sounds off the wall (0+ / 0-)

                    A belief that man can and should dominate the planet is what got us into this mess.  Shifting to dominating other people and nations isn't a good next step.

                    We need to find solutions that work for everyone.

                    Real progress comes when there is broad recognition of the problem and leaders come together to solve it.

                    Some organizations have been actively working for many years to protect critical resources and find sustainable methods to support our human population.  For example, The Nature Conservancy has been working in fragile environments with local land owners (e.g., ranchers) to find ways to reduce the human impact and restore damaged lands.

                    These efforts have been small in comparison to what is needed now.  Hopefully as more people become aware, progress will come quickly enough to minimize the pain.

                    Sometimes reality sucks, but it's really all we have.

                    by CindyV on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 05:56:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, that's a best-case right there, I'm afraid.. (3+ / 0-)

              ...the worst-case scenario is losing everyone.

              Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

              by WarrenS on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 08:40:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Half would not be enough. (0+ / 0-)

              Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

              by davidincleveland on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:49:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  No it won't. (0+ / 0-)

            It may level off but it's not going down, nor is there any reason for it to go down.

            It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

            by Rich in PA on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:55:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is a reason for it to go down (0+ / 0-)

              As conditions have improved in the developed world, countries have had their birth rates decrease below the replacement level. If that trend continued throughout the rest of the world, an overall population decline would be the expected outcome.

              However, even if that were to happen, it would take a long time (at least several more generations) to see the effect, and, since the effect depends on conditions improving, it might not come about at all, especially if some of the more dire predictions discussed here begin to take effect.

              La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

              by dconrad on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:08:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Uh, there is one worst-case scenario that IS (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      inevitable. As the Sun runs out of hydrogen to power it's nuclear fusion furnace, it will expand to the present orbit of Mars.

      If humans are still alive, and still on the planet, both of which are unlikely, they won't be for long.

      Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

      by bobdevo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:40:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL! So true! But consider the time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        Earth is maybe 5B years old now.  Homo sapiens sapiens have been around for maybe 100K years, to be generous, or about 1/20,000 of the age of the earth.

        So, estimates are that the sun should go through the phase you describe about 5B years from now (very roughly). We have many more threatening and immediate problems, as the diarist correctly points out.

        Everything has a life-span: human individuals, all living things, species, even planets, stars and galaxies. No escaping that.

        Best to focus on problems within a time-span that's meaningful to us as a species, and as a part of our ecosystem.

        I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

        by rsmpdx on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:17:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The oceans will be gone in a billion years (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Ocean-free era:

        By one billion years from now, about 27% of the modern ocean will have been subducted into the mantle. If this process were allowed to continue uninterrupted, it would reach an equilibrium state where 65% of the current surface reservoir would remain at the surface. Once the solar luminosity is 10% higher than its current value, the average global surface temperature will rise to 320 K (47 °C). The atmosphere will become a "moist greenhouse" leading to a runaway evaporation of the oceans. At this point, models of the Earth's future environment demonstrate that the stratosphere would contain increasing levels of water. These water molecules will be broken down through photodissociation by solar ultraviolet radiation, allowing hydrogen to escape the atmosphere. The net result would be a loss of the world's sea water by about 1.1 billion years from the present.
        The Earth will be uninhabitable by humans long before the sun becomes a red giant.

        Also, in about 3 billion years the Andromeda Galaxy is going to collide with us. For the most part, our galaxies will pass through one another (galaxies are almost entirely empty space), but there is a possibility that it may disturb comets in the Oort Cloud causing something like a repeat of the Late Heavy Bombardment.

        La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

        by dconrad on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:00:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just STFU and vote for the not Republicans. (14+ / 0-)

    Yep, keep doing what we've always done because it has worked so well.

    I will not vote for Hillary. What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 02:07:25 PM PDT

  •  Well, the fundies all across the world want (11+ / 0-)

    a collapse due to the rapture and be ever so sure there are
    people willing to spread that message and have from here to the deepest darkest spot on the globe.  

    They preach death panels and do not believe in science and yet blame the way the climate is on the evil men do to their beliefs not the evil people do by not being good stewards of the earth.  I honestly believe many want a catarostophic event.  

    People want cheaper priced everything because the inequality is so great.  You will never hear  1 percenter gripe about the rising cost of milk or groceries.  They don't know the price... They are that out of touch.   They only know effect when it hits THEIR bottom line.  They don't live in our world of economics.  

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 02:21:32 PM PDT

  •  Additional reading (10+ / 0-)

    The article cites two other studies.


    The combined pressures of population growth, economic growth and climate change will place increased stress on essential natural resources (including water, food, arable land and energy). These issues will place sustainable resource management at the center of government agendas.

    By 2030, significant changes in global production and consumption, along with the cumulative effects of climate change, are expected to create further stress on already limited global resources. Stress on the supply of these resources directly impacts the ability of governments to deliver on their core policy pillars of economic prosperity, security, social cohesion and environmental sustainability.

    UK Government Office of Science

    There is an intrinsic link between the challenge we face to ensure food security
    through the 21st century and other global issues, most notably climate change,
    population growth and the need to sustainably manage the world’s rapidly growing
    demand for energy and water. It is predicted that by 2030 the world will need to
    produce 50 per cent more food and energy, together with 30 per cent more available
    fresh water, whilst mitigating and adapting to climate change. This threatens to
    create a ‘perfect storm’ of global events.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 02:42:45 PM PDT

  •  fuck this report (12+ / 0-)

    If it only speaks to reducing per capita resource use and never mentions the possibilityoif reducing the "capita". Our problems are growing exponentially because we, as a species, are growing exponentially. It's not a big fucking mystery. We must educate the people to make them understand that small families are a vital change they need to make voluntarily.

    Put a raincoat on little Willie.

    •  we're NOT growing exponentially! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In almost all of the world's countries, fertility rates are FALLING. Current projections (absent collapse) show human population topping out in the 9 billions and then declining.

      We've been growing exponentially in the past, and the human population is far too large. You're right about that.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:32:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, a little less fucking might be in order. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you...Elsie de Wolfe

      by Hilltop Mama on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:07:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A continuation of Jared Diamond's Collapse (14+ / 0-)

    If you haven't read this book, your education is incomplete. We are an astonishingly stupid species. We collapse on a regular basis and it's almost always based on social hubris. Heh, let's cut down the last tree! It's our right to drive a 4500 lb SUV! It's my right to burn incandescent bulbs because I prefer the light! It's my right to have as many offspring as I can produce!

    I'm not optimistic. Frankly, I think that a wake-up event is our best hope. Based on recent climate weirdness I wouldn't be surprised if we get it. Then again, the people of New Jersey and New York are busy proving that climate change (Superstorm Sandy) will not defeat them and they will rebuild.

    •  Interesting coincidence that Jared and I are both (12+ / 0-)

      physiologists/biophysicists who taught at the Biophysical Lab at Harvard Med School.  Now we both have written books on this subject.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 04:43:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  unfortunately (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocGonzo, JerryNA

      whether or not you believe in Diamond's conclusions, his use of the data is pretty much all wrong.
      If you ask archaeologists who work in the areas he wrote about (in both of his best-selling books) you'll find that they can all point out the massive errors in his representation of the archaeological data.
      As Don pointed out, Diamond is not an archaeologist, and he tends to cherry-pick the data he presents in order to support his colonial apologist narratives.

    •  A 4500 lb SUV isn't very big (0+ / 0-)

      The big ones are over 3 tons (6000 lb). When I worked at Chrysler, they were redesigning some of their vehicles to get them over 3 tons because there was a big tax break the Bush administration had put in place for businesses that bought 3 ton+ vehicles (which could include vehicles for doctors, lawyers, and other professionals if they could claim them as a business expense).

      La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

      by dconrad on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:12:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, to over simplify... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, WarrenS

    ... it looks as if the super rich have discovered that if they can convince the religious crazies to vote against their own self preservation, civilization is doomed. It reminds me of the deforestation of Easter Island. When they cut down the last tree, what did they think would happen?

    Every time my iPhone battery gets down to 47%, I think of Mitt Romney.

    by bobinson on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:28:06 PM PDT

    •  That's a false characterization of what happened (10+ / 0-)

      on Easter Island. Jared Diamond did not have all the facts on that one. Although Easter Island was related to environmental degradation, the characterization of people purposely cutting the last trees seems a bit overly judgmental. Turns out invasive species are the more likely culprit for deforestation.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:46:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ranger995, JerryNA

        I've been pointing out the errors in Diamond's work (which is cited way too often on this site) for a while now.

        There was a great SAA session a few years back that debunked "Collapse" chapter by chapter.

        Were you there?

        •  It was actually an AAA session, right? Chaired by (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Patricia McAnany and Norman Yoffee. They produced an edited volume on it. "Questioning Collapse"--I used it and Diamond's book in a course I taught last year.

          To be honest, I don't think it is a good book either. There are fine points in it, but it is at times petty and too snarky. That's not a good way to interact with one another on the public stage.

          I think we should engage Diamond in a different way. He did bring the topic to the public consciousness and is probably responsible for lots of funding that came our way. Environmental archaeology is a huge buzzword these days. He had a lot to do with that.

          "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

          by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:24:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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

            environmental archaeology came out of processualism pretty early on.
            Certainly Diamond brought a lot of public eyes onto archaeology, but so did Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I don't give Spielberg credit for advancing the discipline.

            Unfortunately I think Diamond set up some unworkable expectations for archaeology. The problem is that, since we can't come up with simplistic story lines and still work with the data, our work always will pale in comparison to his.

            Certainly some of the snarkiness in the "Questioning" book comes from jealousy, but some of it also came from Diamond's refusal to take part in the session unless he was paid an exorbitant speaker's fee.
            I've always thought that Wilcox's article in that book was powerful, and some of the others are good too. In general though, they ran in to the same problems that academic archaeologists always do, which is that they have to be honest about what we can't say, and that's makes what we can say a lot less fulfilling.

            •  Yes the Wilcox paper is one of the better papers (0+ / 0-)

              in it. Although, much of the evidence from the area does seem to support various environmental issues and responses to them. I am thinking of Timothy Kohler et al.'s work as well as Hegmon et al.'s work. They have a butt load of data, including timing to within a few years that abandonments happened. I love dendrochronology--wish it were available to me.

              In any case, I am not saying Jared Diamond is responsible for creating environmental archaeology--it's pretty safe to say it was around even before the Processualists (Braidwood, Willey, even Gordon Childe). I am only saying he has a part in its recent resurgence and popularity. Even some of the post modern thinkers are talking about cultural ecology these days.  It's a hot button topic. Write a grant proposal about human environment interaction and you are likely to get funded.

              I think one of the problems with the questioning collapse book is that they try to characterize even the most dramatic sociopolitical changes as resilience. Almost rendering the word meaningless.

              "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

              by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:18:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Also, I am chairing a symposium at the SAA (0+ / 0-)

              in Austin this year, if you are there, drop by and maybe we can get a beer.

              "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

              by ranger995 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:04:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Has anyone found a LINK to this study? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rduran, don mikulecky, WarrenS

    Until then, I feel like I am in a better researched-than-usual game of 'Telephone'.

    •  Prepare to be underwhelmed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS, Rich in PA

      Originally posted here:

      And some slides:

      Not sure what woke Ahmed to this two year old piece, or why this paper hasn't been referenced, and I have no idea where the source code for HANDY is.  

    •  see the second update above....n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS, davidincleveland

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 06:36:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nope. I do not think that it was published. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I do not see here or there
      Search for authors produces no study. This is a red flag. We better use REAL peer-review papers in our discussions. This seems to be seminar presentation/unpublished online writing.

      •  I found something that may be related (0+ / 0-)

        Ruth, M., Kalnay, E., Zeng, N., Franklin, R. S., Rivas, J., & Miralles-Wilhelm, F. (2011). Sustainable prosperity and societal transitions: Long-term modeling for anticipatory management. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 1(1), 160-165. doi:http‌://

        Two of the authors, Eugenia Kalnay and Jorge Rivas, are the same, but Motesharrei isn't an author of it. The abstract sounds like it is related:

        The coupled nature of human and earth system dynamics has become increasingly apparent as humanity's environmental footprint has increased. Yet, the methods and processes used to understand and guide those dynamics remain deficient in their treatment of that coupling. Lack of bi-directional coupling of human system dynamics with the dynamics of the larger environment within which humanity operates stymies the ability of researchers and policymakers to anticipate and limit the unintended consequences of technological change and help guide associated societal transitions. This paper lays out elements of a research agenda to ameliorate those deficiencies.
        But it doesn't sound like it has anything to do with collapse. I wasn't able to find any papers by Motesharrei in any of the resources I have available to me.

        Interesting. After searching a bit more, I found that there are also some papers by Eugenia Kalnay-Rivas. From what I can gather, Jorge Rivas is her son. It's amazing the kind of information you can find on the internet.

        La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

        by dconrad on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:37:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A ridiculous amount of the biomass (9+ / 0-)

    is tied up in human flesh.  That has got to change.  Either by choice, or that choice will be made for us.  The Earth doesn't really give a shit.  A few generations of self control is all it would take but asking that of primates is a pretty tall order.  Instead this is far more likely to be accomplished by disease.  But it will be accomplished.  Those who say that technology will not save us are only partly correct.  It will not save all of us.  It could help to make a very pleasant lifestyle for a sustainable population of this species.  But that population is probably less than 10% of the current population and getting there is going to be rather unpleasant.

    •  The human proportion... (4+ / 0-)

      ...of vertebrate biomass is startlingly similar to the figures on income inequality here in the USA.

      Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

      by WarrenS on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 08:41:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ALL the human biomass would fit in a box one mile (0+ / 0-)

      on a side.

      Figure a human at 1.5 ft x 2 ft x 6 ft = 18 cubic feet and do the math...(yes, that is a large human)

      A cubic mile contains 147,197,952,000 cubic feet.

      don't always believe what you think

      by claude on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:07:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup, we're majorly outmassed by ants (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        claude, DocGonzo

        not to mention bacteria:

        fish, krill, plants, even termites.

        Where do people get such weird ideas, and why do they present them with such certainty? Our biomass has next to zilch to do with our impact on the environment.

        The carrying capacity of the earth (for humans) is so dependent on a swath of assumptions and variables that any specific number is likely to be uncertain by several factors if not an outright order of magnitude.

        •  Yes, life is basically bacteria + plants + insects (0+ / 0-)

          Everything else, including us, and all the animals you see at the zoo, are just a footnote.

          La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

          by dconrad on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:41:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with Capitalism (5+ / 0-)

    is that the market gets saturated. If the market gets saturated then nobody needs to buy products and those that produce and sell it will become unemployed.

    This is somewhat alleviated by "planned obsolescence" but that, of course, is unsustainable.

    The proverbial elephant in the room that nobody notices is the Landlord/Banking class that redistributes wealth to itself through mortgage and rent. They cost us 25 to 50 percent of our income for land that is innately free (Houses are another issue). It is by eliminating such a class that we can survive with a reduced income.

    A sustainable society/economy will have to be based on:

    1. Land redistribution (2 acres per person).

    2. Self reliance in food (permaculture - food forests).

    3. Village communitarian societies. Self reliant villages of 300-500 in over a square mile of land.

    Land is free - food grows on trees.

    A million Arcosantis.

    by Villabolo on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 04:20:52 PM PDT

    •  This is covered well in Wendell Berry's book (9+ / 0-)

      The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture

      Since its publication by Sierra Club Books in 1977, The Unsettling of America has been recognized as a classic of American letters. In it, Wendell Berry argues that good farming is a cultural development and spiritual discipline. Today’s agribusiness, however, takes farming out of its cultural context and away from families. As a result, we as a nation are more estranged from the land—from the intimate knowledge, love, and care of it.
      Sadly, as Berry notes in his Afterword to this third edition, his arguments and observations are more relevant than ever. We continue to suffer loss of community, the devaluation of human work, and the destruction of nature under an economic system dedicated to the mechanistic pursuit of products and profits. Although “this book has not had the happy fate of being proved wrong,” Berry writes, there are good people working “to make something comely and enduring of our life on this earth.” Wendell Berry is one of those people, writing and working, as ever, with passion, eloquence, and conviction.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 04:47:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Except the coming collapse will be global (4+ / 0-)

    If we really think that global warming will not effect all of the world then we are just kidding ourselved

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 05:27:39 PM PDT

  •  Don, thank you for this diary - N/T (4+ / 0-)

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

    by linkage on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 06:39:23 PM PDT

  •  Your poll says 8% are solidly in denial. (6+ / 0-)

    Much less than I would have thought. Perhaps the deniers have deselected themselves by simply not reading and/or voting, because it does not seem to me that too many people around here are truly concerned.

    I mean, if your core if not entire strategy for addressing this crisis is trying to increase D's margin in the Senate and regaining the House, you can't be serious. And that's the main message I see around here.

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

    by Words In Action on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 06:47:27 PM PDT

    •  I think the future looks good. (0+ / 0-)

      I can't think of any past historical moment when it's looked any better, by progressive/utilitarian metrics.  

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:03:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's because (0+ / 0-)

        you're not poor and lack the basic empathy other D's have and have absolutely no idea where we are on the climate change clock.

        Trust, but verify. - Reagan
        Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

        When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

        by Words In Action on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:53:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone should read (6+ / 0-)

    "The Collapse of Complex Societies" by Joseph A. Tainter
    Cambridge University Press, 1988
    ISBN 0-521-38673-X

    I  highly recommend it.

  •  thanks...I guess... (4+ / 0-)

    no real surprises...too many people...consuming too much stuff.

    Nice to know that there is a solution.  Simple it is not.  The missing part here is how to get it done and in time.
    ...we won't do crap...but no need to worry about that...nature has ways of dealing...just don't expect it to be pleasing to our senses.

    We are not broke, we are being robbed. ~Shop Kos Katalogue~

    by Glen The Plumber on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 08:55:12 PM PDT

  •  The New Dark Ages have already begun(with an *) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We here in the shiny, comfortable, cheap carbon-powered center of the empire haven't felt it yet.
    But out on the peripheries of the co-empires (the US/USSR) -- out in the faraway lands that once were dominated and supported by the co-empires' might -- things have fallen apart. The withdrawal of their money and military might (end of the Cold War) that held things stable in such places as Somalia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, the Crimea, Syria and many parts of Africa has been gone for decades now. Now these areas have suffered collapse, dissolution, civil war, and a struggle for the people just to stay alive. This was the same thing that happened as the Roman Empire started to fade -- crumbling away at the farthest edges first.
    Internally, we can see the possibilities of a better life slipping away for ourselves and our children, in what seems like an unstoppable ebb. Yes, there's all kinds of radical suggestions on how to fix it (see previous posts above) but the truth is the massive inertia of having done things a certain way for over 200 years is going to dampen out any shocks to provoke change, unless they are truly massive shocks (like our military turns against the government). So, in an inertia-laden system, the only massive shock possible must come from  the outside. And that ain't gonna happen for at least another hundred years or more.
    And that's the * -- climate change is going to twist this version of the Dark Ages in ways no one can predict or maybe even thought possible.  Even if by some miracle in the next 6 years we replace all the Republicans and Teabaggers in office with sane people, climate change is still an unstoppable force of unknown power that is going to change our environment, no matter what mankind has to say about it.  We don't even know how it will change the environment, which makes it impossible to prepare any remedies beforehand. Unlike the relatively known process of empire weakening and collapse, which humans have seen over and over, climate change will bring results we can only try to cope with after they happen (much like Hurricane Sandy). And that will be a hopeless case of forever playing catch-up.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:29:19 PM PDT

  •  I found this the crux of our current problem.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady
    It is important to note that in both of these scenarios, the Elites —due to their wealth— do not suffer the detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners. We could posit that this buffer of wealth, as well as the initial apparently sustainable trajectory, allows Elites to continue “business as usual” despite the impending catastrophe. It is likely that this is an important mechanism that would help explain how historical collapses were allowed to occur by seemingly oblivious elites (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).
    The Elites think they are immune to the harm they do so they continue their worship of money to the end.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 09:29:55 PM PDT

  •  "Collapse" by Jared Diamond (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is a great treatment of this subject.  It describes in detail how each of several civilizations bit the dust.  By the end of the book, it's not hard to imagine we could be heading in a similar direction.

  •  jeez, and we haven't even tried switching hands... (0+ / 0-)

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 11:00:44 PM PDT

  •  Republicans like "Game of Thrones." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Apart from the Season Four dragons, they want to play.

    "Bring me his head!"

    But really it's all about money. Amd the hypocrisy opportunities make a Heaven for sociopaths.

    Go over to a GoT model and for example there's no tax-wasting school lunch programs: "What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul" -- a real hyper-hypocrisy quote from Paul Ryan. And an equally compelling fantasy equivalent:

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Paul Ryan

    by waterstreet2013 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 04:10:50 AM PDT

  •  Past civilizations were so rudimentary... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...compared to ours that I don't think we're really in that kind of cycle anymore.  It's the error of induction, which we sometimes forget about because it's fashionable to focus on the error of exceptionalism.  We're like past eras except when we're not, and I suspect that in this regard we're not.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:01:59 AM PDT

  •  Per Capita depletion of nature (0+ / 0-)

    Saying this as a non-vegetarian, Meatless Mondays (or in my family's case, at least 1 week / month of vegetarian meals), is a great place to start in this country.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:06:11 AM PDT

  •  Collapse can be avoided if..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.
    So, we're doomed then.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:01:06 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, feels like we'd need major revamping (0+ / 0-)

      What'd be funny is trying to encourage, for example, the population to ease up with the breeding, and then having people screech about eugenics and/or reproductive control. Like I think everyone has a right to plan their own families, but at what point do we worry about overpopulation?

      "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

      by MarthaPeregrine on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 12:34:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And end of life (people screech "death panels") (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Population growth is influenced by birth as well as longevity.  My stepfather lived 15 years after experiencing a massive brain aneurism and stroke at the age of 54.  His quality of life was extremely poor during those years and the cost of his care enormous (all covered by Medicaid/Medicare).

        As a society we need to look at both sides - birth and death.  Maybe because I'm older (retired), it is safer for me to bring this up.  But we need to start letting people end their own lives rather than suffering through a prolonged, inevitable decline and death.  The financial cost of sustaining a person at the end of life implies an environmental cost as well (assuming the equipment, people, chemicals, etc. involved add to the environmental burden we're placing on the planet).

        We've typically placed ourselves (humanity) too far above everything else on this planet.  What we really need to do is adjust our thinking on where we fit.

        Hopefully the trends that allowed birth control to become common, abortion legal, and vegetarian options widely available will continue.  The more rational view of our place in the world must also include allowing people to choose how/when their life ends.

        Sometimes reality sucks, but it's really all we have.

        by CindyV on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:15:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What civilization? (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:13:48 AM PDT

  •  Limits to Growth, Anyone? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In this era of peak oil, all studies like NASA's, with an increasing body of evidence behind them, do is put the Q.E.D. to the 1971 book predicting exactly this.

  •   I know you have been maing these (0+ / 0-)

    same points for a long time without getting much attention.  Congrats on the rec list and a wider audience for some important truths.

  •  Capitalism will need to change.. (0+ / 0-)

    An economist is someone who thinks the world can grow to infinity while standing on a small speck of finite mass in an empty void of space. I think man is doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes and the remedies are all variants of the same solution. Technology can only provide a respite from the cure for a short while. Let's all agree, if 7 billion people all suddenly became as driven by consumerism as the West, the world would be a total hell hole. I mentioned to a friend that this century will be about how well mankind deals with two issues, the environment and our limited resources and how to create an economic model and system that protects it while providing a way of life for as many as we can sustain. That is going to be the theme of this century.

    Do facts matter anymore?

    by Sinan on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:30:58 AM PDT

  •  William Ophuls has written a short (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    book on a variation of this subject titled Immoderate Greatness. His central point is that humans are hardwired for failure when they form civilizations.

    The subject of global collapse, the collapse of the U.S., the collapse of the oceans, the collapse of most of the arable land in the world, the collapse of drinking and irrigation water supplies.....the collapse of nearly every damn thing that sustains modern civilization has become a very popular topic over the last years.

    If you're on the web more than a few minutes each day, or just get a local newspaper, it's pretty unlikely you have missed the headlines portending the world's end due to human activity. Many people surely observe the changing environment from their offices and porches. The evidence is everywhere in other words.

    The panic has begun. What we are seeing in the markets, the concentration of wealth and resources into a few hands, which we call the 1%, reveals just how seriously the impending collapse is taken. They know what's coming; in fact, they are in an excellent position to know. They believe their wealth will save them. They believe they will be the fortunate ones who make it through to the other side.

    I see that belief  expressed here, but instead of wealth, it is technology that will float the life raft to the new, post- collapse world. Could that be a dream and nothing more? This seems wrong to me: a sack full of electronic devices loaded with all the formulas and algorithms and technology man currently possesses will be available to set things aright after the Big Ugly. Technology won't survive, neither will wealth.

    The cities will not survive. The future for humans is diaspora. The likely survivors will be the tribes who today still live herding yaks or reindeer or burrowing for insect larvae. Money will be useless. So will technology.

  •  for a decent read checkout... (0+ / 0-)

    "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. He paints a pretty accurate picture of what our civilization could look like by revealing an interesting look at past civilizations that have collapsed. History is repeating itself

  •  As Stehen Hawking, a pretty smart guy, (0+ / 0-)

    noted recently, the clock is ticking and we have 100-200 years to get off the planet or its all over for humans.

    I think the number is closer to 50 years; Stephen's being optimistic.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:37:51 AM PDT

  •  Jarod Diamond hit this a few years ago ... (0+ / 0-)

    in his book, Collapse.

  •  That's an interesting paper (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, GeauxGeauxGirl

    but I think what is getting lost in the comments is that the paper is proposing a fromework with models for thinking about collapse.  It is not taking measurement of any current reality and predicting collapse.  In fact they don't really define the  term "collapse" in the paper and it is used in several different historical contexts that make it a bit muddied.

    That resource scarcity or social unrest can lead to the weakening of an empire is hardly a new discovery.  They just have a model, which is built upon a number of assumptions, that can be used to also show that.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 09:04:24 AM PDT

  •  Clearly this means they'll defund NASA.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, Toprow

    By the party of Perky Optimistic Surrender..

  •  Well that's a headline to make you grab a beer (0+ / 0-)

    if St. Patrick's Day is not reason enough.  Make that several beers.

    One of the advantages of being a senior citizen like me - avoiding the zombie apocalypse to come.

  •  Yet population control remains verboten. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

    by Inspector Javert on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:25:43 AM PDT

  •  Which is why I'm an overprotective mother (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm so overprotective, I won't allow my children to be born.

  •  Glad we decided to not have kids (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's going to be a mess.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:42:43 AM PDT

  •  Technology (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will have to be part of the solution, but it can't be all of the solution.

    It does annoy me greatly when people put a religious faith in technology itself, but I'm not sure I see anyone doing that here.

    by Edward L Cote on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:50:20 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this. (0+ / 0-)

    I will have to study this when I have more time.

    * * * DONATE/VOLUNTEER: Marianne Williamson for CA-33 * * * #CampaignFinanceReform is the lynchpin of our democracy. #AIKIDOPROVERBMoveSoonerNotFaster ~

    by ArthurPoet on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:10:11 AM PDT

  •  NASA Study (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We (humans) are a very tiny speck of nothing important, except to ourselves. We will die out either by our own devises or a great big thing that crashes into us from somewhere out there. God has already forsaken us. Thank god it will happen before we spread to other planets, like a cancer. Let us pray.

    •  YES. (0+ / 0-)

      It's sad, but yes. The universe doesn't give a crap whether we as a species survive or perish, nor will it take any notice if we do the latter. I wonder sometimes what will be the next species to evolve to humanlike traits once we're gone. Perhaps some of the lizards will make it, and eventually grow larger, start walking and talking, cooking roasted giant damselfly with housefly tabbouleh for supper, and creating their own eventually-f***ed society? At least the imagining is fun!

  •  re: article about collapse of civilization (0+ / 0-)

    This reminds me of a computer game back in the day (something about Hammurabi). You are the King and have to decide year-to-year how to divide up the resources and have the population survive. Usually took less than 10 years to destroy the kingdom... plagues, vermin eating the grain, etc

  •  Civilization Headed for Collapse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is why the top one percent is pulling out ALL
    stops when it comes to them to take as much as
    they can before it happens.  
    The elected officials are digging to receive as much
    as they can too.  
    There is no way , they do not know what is coming
    and they certainly are not fight for you or me.  
    They are building their nest egg for them and their
    family and to h... with others.  
    Their are very few which really are concerned about
    the middle class , seniors or poor , unless it is their
    family members.

  •  Does anybody else feel crowded? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In 1958 the world population was 2,916,030,167. Today it was 7,229,207,000 and counting. Exponentially.

    •  CT (0+ / 0-)

      But I rode my bike to work yesterday.

    •  I definitely do (0+ / 0-)

      Overpopulation has been a huge issue for years.  But technology has allowed us to push beyond comfortable without feeling too much of the pain.  When there wasn't space for all of us to live by a good river, we started transporting the water to wherever it was needed.

      I'm nearly 60, and my Dad used to complain about how crowded it was getting when I was only 10.  So, you know this has been going on a long time.

      We're still pretty well insulated by the infrastructure technology built.  (And we're much happier this way.)

      Sometimes reality sucks, but it's really all we have.

      by CindyV on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:26:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The growth rate is declining though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And will continue to do so.

      However, with climate change, we will lower the Earth's carrying capacity. Therein lies the rub.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:00:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  glenn beck says this crap all the time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Maybe not for the same reasons

  •  I took a quiz that said if everyone on earth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    consumed as I did, we'd need 2 earths. But I don't really know how to reduce my consumption much further. I take public transportation to work every day, I follow a vegetarian diet, I don't buy many new things, I don't have AC and I rarely use the heat in my apartment. Any tips?

    "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

    by MarthaPeregrine on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 12:32:40 PM PDT

    •  How (0+ / 0-)

      Live like the Amish... but even they might not live sustainably in some regions.

      Don't forget that "your" footprint includes part of all the infrastructure and logistics that support you. Does your food come to the market on a horse and the market's refrigerators powered by photovoltaics (which were fabricated with greenpower)?

      The atmosphere doesn't care about individuals' consumption.  It only cares about total net flows.

      Does anything you have done ensure that oil/coal currently underground will never be burned in the atmosphere? China, India, and Africa will be happy to burn your Venezuelan oil or Canadian gas.  

      We don't need "better". We need "good enough" and good enough is orders of magnitude beyond what makes us feel good.

      •  I think we won't save the planet in time (0+ / 0-)

        We should probably get cracking on those space colonies.
        Noah's ark... in spaaaaaace.

        "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

        by MarthaPeregrine on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:10:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ideas (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Well done on the steps you've already taken, but if you're serious about your "any tips" question:

      - Move to a rural area into a house that already supports several other adults (and their children if they have any), is off the public water and electrical grid, and participates in a barter and trade culture for food, goods and services with surrounding households.

      - Learn to live in probably half the square footage you do now, and spend most of your time outdoors (you'll be doing so anyway between about March and October if you and your housemates are growing, harvesting, collecting, processing etc all of your own food.)

      - Plan to own no more than 3-4 complete outfits, most being purchased from thrift stores and only replaced when they can no longer be patched, mended, etc.

      - Come to a place of acceptance that our varied diets are a product of modern, excessive society. Your vegetarianism already solves much of this, i.e. if you set up home in Colorado you won't be pining for shrimp anyway, but identify and focus your diet on a smaller number of foods that can be grown and harvested realistically with your own hands or those of neighbors, and are nutritionally amazing. We probably ALL could use some lessons on growing quinoa, and on harvesting and drying storable beans, for example. Sorry, pineapple and mango might be off the menu unless you or your neighbors have the plants already and have a sun- heated hothouse that can stand the test of time.

      There are, of course, so many more things one can do, many of which feel totally feasible to some and hilariously unrealistic to others, but you asked and I answered :)

      •  The diet thing is a good point (0+ / 0-)

        I feel weird about eating bananas anymore, knowing the resources it takes to get them to the PacNW.

        And having rural property is a dream of mine for someday, but alas, not for many years yet :< Maybe I can get a bunch of other hippies to live in a commune with me, lol. We can make rain barrels and gardens and smoke a bunch of reefer. Yo ho yo ho, a hippie's life for me.

        "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

        by MarthaPeregrine on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:09:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  critical thinking (0+ / 0-)

    Since when does the atmosphere care about the distribution of wealth or per capita anything? It only cares about TOTALS.

  •  There's nothing new in NASA's prediction. And true (0+ / 0-)

    to the American spirit, it will go completely unheeded until it's way too late to do anything about it. And yes, I agree that the Repubs/(Dirt)Baggers will find a way to draft new legislation to sabotage NASA even further. That may be a good thing, though, at least temporarily. It will divert their attention for a few minutes at least, from voting yet again to rescind the Affordable Health Care Act.

  •  If only (0+ / 0-)

    Congress had the sense enough to see what this article and the science (or whatever you would call it) it describes says we might have a chance. I think we could do it if we got serious and started soon. That is why we need very educated people in Congress, not businessmen and lawyers. We should demand drug screens and mental abilities, education requirements of those we elect to our Congress. After all it is they alone making America the mess it is now. They have the power to make it better and change it so it would seem this mess is to their liking.

  •  All the more reason (0+ / 0-)

    we have to make NASA a settlement enabling organization

  •  Captialism is just another stepping stone (0+ / 0-)

    and not a final destination. How soon this is widely accepted may well be the determination between human suffering on a colossal scale and a better world.

    I had already seen the Guardian article, but appreciated the update with the link to the study. The poll was missing an option: "The future is uncertain, but the end is always near."

  •  Nothing is forever. Lessons learned? None. (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe history repeats itself because in each era, we think (or are brainwashed into believing) it will be "different" this time.

    Technology doesn't inoculate from power, politics or greed. Also stupidity.

    Reality is relative.  Institutions can put out studies until the cows come home. Nations, their rulers and their citizens still go to war, foul the environment and vote against their best interests. Because this era is "different".

    Religion will spin this assertion as Armageddon/The Rapture/You Name it.

    Based on history it looks like the nature of mankind to self-destruct every so often.

    What the people want is very simple - they want an America as good as its promise. —Barbara Jordan

    by Bendra on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 01:32:44 PM PDT

  •  NASA Study (0+ / 0-)

    I will, of course, have to read this study, but anyone with even a small bit of sense must recoil at sweeping and highly subjective conclusions such as:

    "Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."

    Really, NASA?  All we have to do to avoid collapse is
    (a) Reach population equilibrium (presumably on a global basis);
    (b) reduce to a "sustainable level" natural resource depletion - whatever in the world that might mean; and,
    (c) distribute all resources in "a reasonably equitable fashion."

    What could be easier?  Just a couple of simple questions:
    (a) Who will be in charge of distributing resources?
    (b) Who gets to define the term "equitable?"
    (c) What happens to me and my family if we use too many natural resources or spend too much money?

    Looking forward to everyone's answers.

  •  NASA study (0+ / 0-)

    There is nothing to worry about if we believe the GOP. Civilization may be going to hell in a hand-basket, what with uppity women, gays and minorities demanding to be treated like real people and income inequality. ( The last isn't really a Republican issue, unless it deals with further tax breaks for the rich and reducing the social safety net relied on by the "takers.") However, when it to climate change, over-population, water and other natural resources as well as energy production, the science is flawed or doesn't mean what it says because of corrupt, elitist scientists massaging the data to make their point.  Really, climate change is a hoax; there is no such thing as over-population when the term is applied to white folks; all the rain and snow on the East Coast proves there is no water shortage, even if the Southwest is experiencing the worst drought ever; factory farmers meet all our agricultural needs, even if they use more water, so if we just genetically modify all food stuffs, every thing will be fine; and, last but not least, there is no energy shortage, we can't frack our way out of.  See no problem, why worry?

  •  Population and economics (0+ / 0-)

    Population reduction is a solution that will work for everybody but will never happen.  Why?  Because, regardless of automation providing increased production without having to throw more bodies at the process, we need new workers to pay for old worker's entitlements.  I'm 68 and feel guilty taking social security and medicare even though I worked for almost 60 years and paid in for at least 50 of them.  Still, if what I and everybody else paid in were available to us today, we wouldn't have to worry about upcoming generations having to fund our entitlement programs.  But, no, our various administrations loaned that money to other government agencies and now can't get it back.  It's gone.  Imagine the revolt if our entitlements were stopped - or even seriously curtailed.  Talk about legitimately having a "sense" of entitlement!  Moreover, I just recently availed myself of medical assistance and I'm aghast at the prices charged by doctors and medical facilities.  Even though Medicare won't agree with the docs about the numbers, and therefore won't pay the full amount, the numbers are still big.  I consider it fraud, and little is being done about it.

    •  Not a problem if it happens slowly (0+ / 0-)

      I feel you... I'm recently retired.  And I was already aware of sky high medical costs.

      There's definitely no quick fix.  We need the next generation, and they need the next.  But that would be true even without Social Security and Medicare (who would make the stuff, keep things running?).

      Those of us in the older generation have a responsibility to the younger ones, though.  We need to rethink the end of our lives.  Oregon started it.  We need to keep that moving.  We need to plan well for the end, be ready to let go when it gets to that point, and become activists pushing for end of life options in all states.

      Sometimes reality sucks, but it's really all we have.

      by CindyV on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:37:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not really. What we need is enough resources (0+ / 0-)

      allocated to each need, including manufacturing, health care, and elder services. If we get away from the capitalistic mindset that profits must always increase, we could massively lower the cost of and/or reduce the labor to provide all of the needed services. That would allow a much higher percentage of the population to provide value-added services such as raising children, caring for elders (and these are not mutually exclusive!), cultivating public gardens, etc.

  •  How to get it done (0+ / 0-)

    "Nice to know that there is a solution.  Simple it is not.  The missing part here is how to get it done and in time."

    Do like Crimea, by referendum.

  •  If there were a civilization advancment movement.. (0+ / 0-)

    If there were a civilization advancement movement which made sense to you, would you like to see it and be part of it?

    This thing we currently call civilization is far from the last rung in the latter of civilization changes. The automobile and airplane changed civilization--they were technological advancements that changed economy, speed, value et al which caused most everyone in the countries that led in the regards of embracing those technologies to think and behave differently that they did before. People could make the case that the personal computer and Internet were civilization changers as well. But from what to what?

    Automating away clerical jobs and replacing assembly line workers with robotics have done nothing to raise the entire civilization to a new and clear norm where people generally agree on what has changed, how it has made their lives better or created new economy where things that weren't valued before suddenly came to have value. The so-called "Information Technology Revolution" and Digital Revolutions" have been nothing but evolutions--not revolutions.

    Take FaceBook. During the so-called "Arab Spring" we heard a lot from the media that FaceBook was being used to give people ways to network and sustain activism toward change. But was FaceBook or Twitter or any so-called "social media" actually designed to help change and "establishment"? No. They ARE the new establishment.
    The Internet and these "social media" are arguably a giant pacifier that stops revolutions rather than facilitates them.

    Digital technologies (as opposed to mechanical) have eroded value, killed or blurred economic subsets that used to make for opportunity and brought billions of people to the false impression that posting on the net or writing a blog is actually doing something when it is not. As many times as I as an activist have written and Tweeted and even volunteered my services, the less I even see the polite courtesy of a rejection or a "thanks but no thanks". It was if society has lost it's value for people--as if, if we don't have utility to them, we don't exist.

    There most definitely are grounds for a civilization upgrade--but it takes a new literacy. No one studies literacy--it is something that results from what they do. And there is a tremendous need for the definition of a new literacy that will establish the norms, customs and values of a more advanced civilization. This can not be effective if simply published as a theory in a book. It has to be completely idealized in a digital art work that leads people to the understanding it takes to choose between an older way of thinking and a newer and better one that has incentives in it for them.

    I have the soberly developed vision of what that literacy should consist of and what the theme should be to revive the middle class without predictable free market ideology assertions or their antithesis--the artificial manipulation by authorities. The literacy is socio-technological literacy, the specific graduation to conventionalize the mean of this as a "revolution" is the graduation from that which we have called utilitarianism to a next level up concept called facilitarianism. And the one imperative I would insist on if I were the change agent to not reform anything until we as a movement agree to start anew with what we've learned about how the human mind really develops and works (neuroplasticity) rather than assume we're already qualified to design a civilization. Crucify me now. It's what I've learned to expect after being frank about having that kind of vision, Like Jesus I didn't fly out of the sky on a golden chariot--I come from poverty but my brain is no less than anyone else's and a lot more than many because of what I've put it to for the nearly 30 years since I started hearing that a world-changing convergence of television and computers was coming. It is not as so many thought, the Internet browser. It's something far more advanced.

    "Education Is Not the Filling of a Pail, But the Lighting of a Fire" W.B. Yeats

    by RareBird0 on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 02:52:00 PM PDT

  •  The question is about consciousness (0+ / 0-)

    What is going on is nothing less than a survival test.  

    Will we, as a species, become conscious because we realize we must because the crisis intensifies to a pitch that we as a species cannot ignore?

    Or will we become conscious when we really get hit with all of the pigeons coming home to roost, all the consequences of not being conscious as a species?

    Really, no one can answer such a question, but that is really the essence of it.  

    Being optimistic, I tend to lean towards somewhere in between.  

    The pessimists currently are having a field day with scenarios from Mad Max to the Hunger Games.  It really is harder to imagine a world that is more like medieval Europe without gasoline than it is to imagine a 22nd century where solutions to our various problems have been met with practical solutions.  

    But there are people working on the problem.  I find it interesting how few people seem to have any interest in the work of people like Lester Brown.

    Evidently, pessimism is just more fun.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:14:25 PM PDT

  •  No, this isn't news. Anyone who seriously studies (0+ / 0-)

    world history could see the signs.

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:16:01 PM PDT

    •  and also--HANDY model--you mean (sputter-gasp!) (0+ / 0-)

      that a Humanity's Degree is actually useful in creating a cross disciplinary approach to data correlations and model building and proactive planning?

      Wonders never cease.

      Are there any Humanities Majors left in N. America? Or have they all been given the hatchet in favor of the lucrative but soulless MBA?

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:22:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Never, ever, ever ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    ... would I have guessed that choosing to characterize the future as "unpredictable" would make me an outlier.

  •  Signs of demise... (0+ / 0-)

     It's a small sign of something askew...but it doesn't help civilization and communication when, distractingly, some spell acronyms as if they were proper or common nouns.

    No one calls JFK "Jfk" or "jfk", or the USA "Usa".  

    "NASA", with or without periods, is an acronym for the space agency.   "Nasa" is Spanish for "lobster pot".

    Similarly, the NY Times (some kind of leader in style and all), spells NAFTA, "Nafta".   Maybe it's to save ink...but, oddly, again the non-capitalized version is a Spanish word.   "Nafta" translates as "naptha", "gasoline" or "petrol".

    Wtf ?

    PS:  "usa" is Spanish too...present tense, 3rd person of verb "usar" use.

  •  NASA has its' telescopes pointed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    right at us.  The answer is not out there it is inside of us.  

  •  On reducing population growth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    There is what I believe a persistent fallacy among policymakers and economists that countries need to grow in population to sustain economic growth. They cite Japan's quiescent economy as evidence that societies will decline if they cannot continue to expand physically, both vertically and horizontally (urbanizing and cannibalizing the countryside with sprawling development).

    I am thrilled to see this counter-argument that civilization will suffer a marked decline/fall if we do not get a handle on population growth. That's the argument to avoid a sudden, precipitous decline, but I think economists often measure the wrong things in assessing a country's economic health. We are stressing our local environments in so many ways that is very wasteful, and our built environment would be much more efficient and productive if we had fewer folks. If we measured our economy in ways other than volume of production, we might create a different culture that would incentivize smaller families...and society would benefit immensely. So, yeah --according to NASA, society would even be saved from impending doom -- but, even if you didn't buy that, you might see benefit in a societal downsizing.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 03:53:48 PM PDT

    •  Population will fall. No one needs to do (0+ / 0-)

      anything.  Again a case where predicting the future is easy.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 04:01:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why would that happen? (0+ / 0-)

        Growth will slow, but a decline in the human population? I don't see it just happening without a conscious effort. Most people will reproduce, probably on average more than one child per person.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 07:58:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A chance to turn things around (3+ / 0-)

    I've have seen a fair amount of TV shows and movies that deal with the collapse of human society. I would say that those who live in small tribal communities off the land will probably get by the best if something tragic happened. America has become an empire whether anyone wants to admit it or not and all empires eventually fade into history and I mean ALL. For the most part history shows us that a more equal and sustainable outcome comes from the collapse of an empire.
     As far as the economic inequality, what we call or know as Capitalism was created by a small fraction of the population for personal gain and nothing more. We were intentionally lied to when we were told that everyone can participate. So everyone can be a millionaire? Not realistic. For 99% of the world's people, we are workers and consumers. The Capitalist set is a good old boys club (and I mean that literally and more specifically a white good old boys club) and the rest of us are not invited and never will be. I'm talking about multi billionaires and their heirs over generations that we never hear about in the media (which they control), who own politicians, not the well paid athletes and entertainers. In order to have a just and equal society we need to eliminate the mechanism that allow people of this ilk to gain power. Does it make sense for a maybe a dozen or couple dozen CEOs to lord over hundreds, thousand or tens of thousands of employees and make 300 or more times their pay? Think about what  I just said for a couple of minutes. Wouldn't employee owned and run businesses where each employee had a say over his or her working conditions and pay and the top managers (assuming these people are really needed in every circumstance) only made at most 10 times what the rest of the workers are paid? And wouldn't it make more sense to have businesses where the workers lived in open and not gated communities mixing with their neighbors and making sure that their businesses weren't responsible for polluting said communities because that's where their homes were?

    When you live in an isolated setting, send you kids to private schools that separate them from 99% of the population, jack the economic system so you and your financial class benefit while ruining the lives of the masses, your businesses wantonly destroys the environment and food chain because you get your food and drink from a more pure supply and probably have filtered air running through your over sized mansion then you create the ingredients of your own demise. We don't need a ruling class. Never did. The masses can do fine on their own thank you very much. The financial elite as a group have become obsolete and the best thing that can happen to the human race is for it to become extinct once and for all and as soon as possible.

  •  Nature's built in priorities for the planet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, wordwraith

    start with the planet, with the flora a poor second and fauna not making the list at all.
    And the corrections nature is making are directly in response - and in opposition to - human behavior.
    So the notion that we can make an about turn at this point when we can't even find a stable way to resource a functioning leadership, never mind providing for the bulk of citizens and subjects, in our dysfunctional yet treasured nation-states and realms is laughable. Or should that be "cryable"?
    Those without guns will be the first to go and the remainder will whittle themselves down to a scattering of sparse savages shortly after.

    "Call on God but row away from the rocks."

  •  THE CRASH OF 2016 BY THOM HARTMANN (0+ / 0-)

    This book spells out in detail the past that brought us to this political time.  Its up to us what we do about it.  There is time but not much.  This next election will go a long way to set the stage; its up to us.

  •  Industry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    Oh yes that could happen faster then you think.

  •  Only reason we're ultimately worried about this (0+ / 0-)

    is because we have come to equate the term "civilization" with the term "human society"--which simply ain't so;  we had human society long before we had any sort of civilization, and we can still have it long afterward, if we don't die out in the collapse.

    And of course there is no universal "we" who happens to have civilization.  There are still uncivilized people in the world, and living quite happily too, if we would just leave them alone.  So when it collapses it will collapse for us, not them.

    And yes, I said "when."  We are all adults here and we all know we're never going to do the things NASA claims we need to do to avert said collapse.  I'd go one step further and posit that NASA may be wrong about us being able to avert it at all.

    There is some wisdom in the actions of the "doomsday preppers" insofar as they are getting ready for an event like this.  But wiser still is recognizing that food and water and medicine stores are only temporary measures and that in the long run we need skills and an entirely different social organization if any of us are going to come out of this with any capacity left to try to live as well as possible.

    Tangentially:  Rather than get offended at my labeling some people "uncivilized," may I remind everyone here that most of us equate the term "civilization" with the term "human society," and to those with said mental habit, using the term "uncivilized" means "not knowing how to behave, not having manners, not being well-socialized," which of course is completely untrue when we're talking about non-agricultural foragers who don't build cities.  Actually a truer definition of terms would be:

    Uncivilized = wild human (but a social animal, so still quite capable of forming societies, thank you)

    Civilized = domesticated human

    It's like the difference between wolves and dogs.  Civilized people are like simian Moon Moons who have forgotten how to human.  That's all.

    For more information, google the term "Anthropik Network thirty theses".

  •  I've been blogging about this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    for a while now.

    This kind of language
    truly pisses me off,
    since it's not clear:


    Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from "increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput," despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.


    We use diesel fuel,
    in farm equipment,
    to plow,
    to plant,
    to harvest,
    and diesel fuel
    in trucks and trains,
    to transport by truck and train,
    nearly all food eaten in America.

    Less diesel fuel
    means less food.

    The worldwide supply of oil
    peaked in 2004,
    and will drop like a stone
    sometime around the year 2050.

    Famine in America by 2050.

    My sig line.

    All the other words
    are a distraction.

    Ninety percent of Americans will die.

    The survivors will feed themselves,
    using chickens and ducks,
    goats and cows,
    hunting and fishing,
    plus gardening of course.

    I've been writing about this
    for a while now.

    Thanks for the links.

    Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:14:31 PM PDT

  •  This discussion is a measure (3+ / 0-)

    Looking through these responses is interesting.  Think about them as a record you pulled up in studying the issue a hundred years from now.  Surely this will be possible.

    There have been serious efforts by people who made careers out of serious problem solving underway since the early 1970s when long lines at the gas stations woke a lot of people up.  However, most of those careers are unknown to politically interested people.

    Certainly this is due in no small part to the media, which has vested interests in the old paradigm, especially in consumerism.  What else are newspapers and TV stations but creatures of the consumer paradigm?

    I have over the years found that most people involved in politics are more interested in personalities and immediate stuff that one can address by talking back to one's TV set or arguing with folks about.    

    Long range thinking and the challenge of it seems to set off hand wringing pessimism.  

    Perhaps even progressives are unable to transcend the media bubble and think beyond it, and to figure out where the connecting points are between where we are now and how to find the path to a better world we could actually do something to promote.  

    Conservatives of course, are lost in denialism totally and completely because they are just fucking freaked out that there is anything in the future not in the Book of Revelations.  They flat don't understand what they are not permitted to even think about.  Man causing a large scale set of problems that Man has to deal with one way or another?  This is as unthinkable as airplanes flying between continents was to people in the middle ages.  

    But there will be a future 1,000 years from now.  There will be a future 50 years from now and those who are now 10 years old will wonder WTF were their parents and grandparents thinking?

    Or more appropriately, How come they weren't?

    This space where these little text exchanges are taking place, this is, for better or worse, a collection of the best minds in the population at this hour of the day and this time of the year and in this year.  

    The connection that needs to be made is between our own efforts to figure out what can be done to use what resources we have access to at this time, and to think deeply and clearly about what others are doing that we might at least become aware of.  

    The clock is ticking.  What else do we have to do?

    As human beings, where else can we go?  This is more than just an interesting set of questions.  This is the future of our civilization and our own flesh and blood.  This is not an academic proposition.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:17:07 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, my dear Stuart. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky

      You said it well.

      This is not an academic discussion.

      This is a discussion about reality.

      One of my biggest points is that
      ninety percent of Americans
      will die
      in the coming famine,
      around the year 2050.

      Not maybe.

      Not unless we do such and such.

      It's way too late for anyone to do
      any kind of such and such
      that will dramatically reduce the number of dead.

      Wish I could persuade more folks about that.

      Start raising livestock,
      chickens and ducks,
      or get emotionally prepared to die.

      No other options I can see.

      Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

      by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:27:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Spreading fear is going to be popular (2+ / 0-)

        I think we are already seeing fear as a commodity with a rising stock value, if we take what is going on with the Tea Party as an indicator.  

        The problem with attempting to create progressive and rational solutions to any problems is that fear and panic may become harder to overcome.  

        The Mad Max scenario could become a self fulfilling prophecy if enough people decided that there is a certain seductive quality to anticipating catastrophe and that they actually desire it.

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:35:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A lucid thinker on this subject (2+ / 0-)

      Would recommend George Mobus:

      Humanity as a whole has not attained the sapience, roughly defined as "wisdom," to perceive our situation nor to act globally with the speed required to halt collapse.  

      A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

      by wordwraith on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 07:32:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks! Good stuff....n/t (0+ / 0-)

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 08:06:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thus do we pass judgement (0+ / 0-)

        and excuse our own and everyone else's inaction.

        It is simply hopeless.  hopeless.  hopeless...

        Repeat that and be hypnotized into calm apathy.

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 09:23:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you refer to my paltry one-sentence summary (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          don mikulecky

          of George Mobus's ideas, you could be left with that impression. However, it would be a great disservice to his large and serious body of work--years of essays on his blog, leading to his conclusions--to make this assumption.  Sorry for the copypasta, but it's late:

          From his essay:  "Refocusing the Purpose of QE" (Question Everything, his blog)

          "If our collective mind were capable of the same kind of anticipatory learning that individual brains demonstrate then we would have heeded the early warnings. From the Wikipedia article on global warming:

          "The greenhouse effect is the process by which absorption and emission of infrared radiation by gases in a planet's atmosphere warm its lower atmosphere and surface. It was proposed by Joseph Fourier in 1824, discovered in 1860 by John Tyndall, was first investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896, and was developed in the 1930s through 1960s by Guy Stewart Callendar."

          "We knew, in the sense that some individual minds had seen the causal relation and had even worked out what the cue signal would tell us. Had we acted anticipatorily to that signal we would not be in the current situation. We, as a species, would have taken preemptive action to avoid the current crisis. But, of course, we didn't.

          "The reason is that the vast majority of human beings are at best minimally wise. They don't learn from their experiences. They do not have the scope of thinking to take in the whole world and for long time scales. For them such phenomenon are basically incomprehensible. And since they are in the majority and occupy the so-called leadership positions in society, the collective mind is the most inert component of all.

          "Real control requires feedforward, causal associative learning, and the power to overcome inertia. The governance systems of societies have none of these in any meaningful way. Governance should steer our societies away from danger. Instead they seem to be willing participants in steering us right into the maw of destruction.

          "The small fraction of people on this planet who actually do have feedforward and have learned causal models of how the world works collectively have no power. Because of the inertia in the collective consciousness, not even the power of words seems to have any effect. This mighty ship of civilization will crash into the reef of collapse without even a hint of starting to turn."

          Read him, but do not expect to be comforted.

          A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

          by wordwraith on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:25:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's Inevitable (2+ / 0-)

    Anyone with the least amount of intelligence or common sense saw this coming long ago.

  •  It's too damned bad (2+ / 0-)

    ...what happened here on the planet.  

    We only have ourselves to blame.

    That's the irony of it all.

    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," Allen Ginsberg

    by Hermenutic on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:31:22 PM PDT

  •  I'd put "unpredictable" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova

    above all of the above.  It's not as counter-intuitive as it may look.  Consider that I'm a meteorologist, and you will understand what I mean.

    The 1% are becoming sociopaths. PERIOD. That wealth is making them sick. Entitled and unanswerable to anyone.Personal responsibility is for the suckers, er, the middle class and poor.. -- cagernaut, 30 October 2013

    by billlaurelMD on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 05:38:11 PM PDT

    •  Economists wish they could forecast as (0+ / 0-)

      accurately as meteorologists . . .

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 06:58:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  but ... we are acutely aware (0+ / 0-)

        .... of the chaotic nature of the atmosphere (unpredictable at least beyond a week for specific events, though we can get the general character of the weather correct out to maybe a couple weeks to a month.

        The 1% are becoming sociopaths. PERIOD. That wealth is making them sick. Entitled and unanswerable to anyone.Personal responsibility is for the suckers, er, the middle class and poor.. -- cagernaut, 30 October 2013

        by billlaurelMD on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:51:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Future (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe NASA could shift it's attention from Mars and rovers to the planet that really matters. Or if you want to believe NASA is one of the largest deniers civilizations is nearing a tipping point.

  •  Post-industrial Collapse of Civilization (2+ / 0-)

    The conclusion (solutions-sets) of the article leaves out one of the most important possibilities and potentials.  

    It was described by Salhins and Service (students of Leslie White) in the 60's in their book "Evolution and Culture".  It Studied the collapse of a number of civilizations (Egyptian, Roman, Plains Indians, et. al.) and traced the common denominator of those collapses to a natural decline and fall life-cycle of civilizations and cultures that are primarily driven by the natural evolutionary mechanisms of adaption. After a time, they assert, that adaption becomes overly invested in its own baggage and the growing cumbersome technology it employa -- it occupies an adaptive niche (no matter how successful it may have once been) from which it cannot back out.  At that point, the author's note, cultural revolutionary processes take place.

    While the old dominant civilization declines of its own unsustainable weight, some new outlying culture on the margins of the dominant civilization begins to rise -- uses the best technologies that the old has to offer and leaves the rest behind. It is free to rapidly improve and expand on what it has acquired and uses it to become the new dominant civilization.  The authors suggest there remains important choices that the dying
    civilization can make. One is to be generous and supportive to its successor, in which case it will be treated graciously in return--as a benefactor and elder statesman perhaps. If, however, it opts to be mean, stingy and aggressively resist the change,  it will simply be ripped off of what is valuable and left with the rest of its obsolete techne to die its own slow painful death.

    This stands in stark contrast to the article's or KOS point of view of avoiding collapse or  "solutions"  to prevent it.  According to them, it is a natural process and cannot be avoided.

    I'm inclined to agree with Sahlin's and Service.  We are simply too over-invested in old technologies (fossil fuels, land & habitat practices, political and economic systems...) that not only drag us down, but are so large that even undoing them would be to costly for us to survive the massive restructuring required.  Our replacement will have no such obstacles and can move ahead rapidly and without undo cost.  


  •  More trains - (3+ / 0-)

    less planes, Much more solar, less oil
    more contraceptives, high energy efficiency everything, jobs that support sustainability, We may not be able to stop overpopulation and climate change, but maybe we can buy some time.

    Seems the economy demands people work in jobs that are the opposite of sustainable - in order to survive,  and many do those jobs very well. They become "company people"  living a breathing their work producing things that, at their heart are damaging the ecosystem that supports us all..  How do you change that?

    Somehow the gross domestic product imperative must change to a planetary wellness imperative.. It sounds kind of nutty, but there are far too many people working, not to contribute to  the betterment of the world, but for the only objective of having enough money to survive - or making far too much money in the case of the 1%.  

    In the meantime we are all distracted by threats of war and propoganda that makes many question things that should be seen as simple truths.

  •  The largest problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Getting people who think education is a four letter word will not accept this study. Neither will anybody who works in petroleum or coal. The GOP can be counted on to poo-poo it until it is much too late.

    Where does this leave us?

  •  Signed up to post this so listen up :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    It is the corrupting influence of greed that drives us to this ledge.  Of that there can be no doubt.  It is greed that permits 40,000 veterans to go homeless this year. It is greed that creates the ghetto, that drives men to kill, to steal, to amass huge armies and hordes of wealth alike.
     Greed is our enemy. Now we can strike against it. The ability of the wealthy to influence policy through super-pacs and cronyism should be our greatest concern. Our government exists at OUR discretion. When we chose a government of representatives it was out of necessity, the only form of long distance communication was the postal service. It is my belief that we are fully capable of governing ourselves in this day and age via direct votes of the citizens over the internet.
     Imagine this: A government by the people, for the people. We could replace the three branches of Gov. with the incorruptible majority vote of the American people. You would receive several votes a day in the form of a yes/no question. For example: Do you want to want to go to war with____? or Would you like to increase minimum wage? or Would you like to give Congress yet another "cost of living adjustment"?
     We must realize the men who put this government in place rode horses to work down dirt streets and owned slaves! Times have changed! It's high time our form of governance evolved as well.
     Who can We The People trust to make decisions in our best interest? Only ourselves.

    •  This is a terrible idea (0+ / 0-)
      We could replace the [government] with the incorruptible majority vote of the American people. You would receive several votes a day in the form of a yes/no question. For example: Do you want to want to go to war with__? or Would you like to increase minimum wage?
      Yes, imagine that. Take some time, and really imagine that. I can't see anything good coming from it.

      La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

      by dconrad on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:04:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you might want to consider (0+ / 0-)

      what "voting" now means to people and the public, especially within a context of mass commerce and social media.

      One of the changes I believe we haven't yet focused upon is how these contexts change the meaning of "a vote" and how voting now has more than one meaning to folks across the spectrum of the body politic.  So, we need to get used to the fact that the act of voting may note mean what we here on the site sometimes believe it should.  I think about that often when the oft-asked question around here "how can these fools vote against their own interests?" gets posed time and again.

      Given that so many people appear to do just that, i.e. vote against their own interests, you might want to re-think your post.

      But, thanks for joining the conversation and giving me the opportunity to seriously ponder why this is not an idea I would support.

      Hope you find more conversations to engage you here.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:47:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Preparation for the 3rd generation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    must begin with all of you who write here. I will be gone soon, but your understanding and intelligence hearten me.  Please begin now to learn all you can about fulfilling the basic needs for growing food, making clothing, finding potable water; teach your children and others, let them put their hands to the earth and their minds to printed books.  The third generation must bear the full brunt, so provide them with simple physics. The large cities of the coasts and deserts will fail first, with great displacement of peoples.  Watch the trucks crossing the bridges into the cities and foresee the first week they don't arrive. Millions in NYC alone will face that death. All who learn and teach can ensure the survival of our species.  We have been few before, we may be few again, but you will preserve the necessary tools and knowledge, and with cleaner spirit. Creator blesses you in that very different world.

    •  True (0+ / 0-)

      I keep telling people that, by the end of the century, people are going to be living how my grandparents did--off the land, with few possessions, in rougher conditions than most of us are used to.  But they'll get by, and that'll be that.

      Col. Brandt: "What do you think we'll do when we lose the war?" Capt. Kiesel: "Prepare for the next one." --from "Cross of Iron"

      by ConservatismSuxx on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:45:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is good to know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    that the departure of James Hansen has not left the NASA clueless about the huge environmental challenges we face. Many of us have been warning about this for a long time.  Bill McKibben has been saying this for years, and has even stressed the wealth disparity part of the equation, saying that we need to, and we can, eliminate world poverty, as one of the main strategies for confronting climate change.  His 350 Organization has been making waves around the world, and I urge those of you not already part of this dedicated organization, to please join.

    If we all work together to confront these pervasive problems: wealth inequality, resource extraction, deforestation, mass extinction, unrestrained energy use (especially of fossil fuels), corporate takeovers of media & government, etc.; as well as the perpetrators of these destructive acts & policies; we can save our civilization (by drastically changing it to be sustainable) & our planet.

  •  all this talk of overpopulation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    and of the Earth needing to find an equilibrium got me thinking, the planet is seeing its share of climate change and pandemics. I believe this is nature's way of thinning the herd. While I applaud the efforts of scientists around the world to eradicate diseases like cancer and AIDS, I also believe that doing so will only prolong the inevitable and become a further drain on the world's natural resources. It's like trying to discover alternatives to natural gas and oil. If someone were to discover how to fuel cars with water tomorrow, imagine how much more destructive this would be to the environmental landscape. We would build more roads and destroy more forests because our fancy new fuel efficient cars can travel further than ever before.

    Perhaps we're long overdue for a mass extinction even. Yellowstone should pop like a cork in the near future and the Apophis asteroid is on a near collision course with Earth.

    puts on tinfoil hat

  •  I've read some of the comments. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    If humanity would collapse, those that currently don't depend on technology will have the greatest chance for survival.  Tribes of the Amazon, the Inuit, the Amish,  and primitive tribes in Africa come to mind.  

    The rest of us would have to learn there ways or perish.  Of course nature can't provide enough food for 7 billion+ people on the planet.  I think maybe a billion might survive such a collapse.  

    Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them. Dalai Lama

    by prettymeadow on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:10:34 AM PDT

    •  Tribes of the Amazon, the Inuit, the Amish (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk, serendipityisabitch

      all rely on technology. Agriculture is the first technology man mastered. Plows are technology. Buildings are technology.

      People have gotten some strange idea that technology only means electrical and electronic devices.

      Technology (from Greek τέχνη, techne, "art, skill, cunning of hand") is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, achieve a goal, etc.
      Also, the collection of such tools, machines, etc.

      So unless those primitive tribes are just hunting and gathering without the use of a single crude tool, they're using technology. The minute you plant one seed, you've just applied a technological skill.

      La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

      by dconrad on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:00:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have come to the same conclusions (0+ / 0-)

    The power structures we create all become unsustainable. Until humanity can learn from its history and create not just greater economic equality but greater power equality we will never maintain our civilization. It's the corruption of the power structure that brings about the demise in various ways. Unfortunately man though having made great strides and many times invariably makes the same mistakes of abuse of power. In its many forms.

  •  poll results (0+ / 0-)

    notice that 1% of respondents thought the future looks good.

    Be afraid.  This is not a joke.

  •  How to Control the Future (0+ / 0-)

    We agree with this article and believe there are two main solutions which allow Mankind to achieve control of the future.

    The problem is over population without adequate social discipline within the Nation State model of order. In order to maintain Human civilization its necessary to bring the entire human species within a single political model worldwide. It is ironic that reactions by the masses to the inequities they experience are aimed at replacing the status quo with less, not more species unity. They used to say that war can't be eliminated by force because that only perpetuates it and now the same principle applies to 'democracy' and you cannot simply oust those who manage the States with others who have no better chance to rule peacefully.
    The key to improving human conditions is to identify a form of Moral Sovereignty which is acceptable to all individuals. By moral we mean consistent with the highest interests of all life, not merely what is economical and popular.

    Once we identify a Moral Standard that regulates personal behaviour then the World State can be established.

    Consider this, that your Nation States are no better than your mafia and Criminal Gangs and not only do they spawn more gangs within each Nation but act like mere gangs to each other. In the current Crimean incident pundits want America to use threats and consider force because the Russian Gang is seizing property against the wishes of the Western Gang.  

    So how might the World State be built? In fact it is underway in all of these revolts, but without advancing a clearcut Moral Position. Be encouraged however, that the World Consciousness is evolving toward the promised Global Realm described by the Scriptures. We might recommend that people review the words of Jesus, except that the Churches have not interpreted HIM correctly and modern assumptions about Christ are in error. HE does not say the world will be governed by any minority, by this or that gang, but by Love.

    Not too much Love in the present system.

    The second step toward controlling the future is to control the size and the rate of growth of the population. While this is already underway in some countries, like China and Japan, it needs to be a World Law before it can be effective for generations to come.

    The portent for readers of Daily Kos is that we must graduate our thinking from the presently operating parochial immature beliefs of people in the Nation State system to thinking of the world as our own personal property and we must draft a just and practical Constitution that is inclusive of the entire Planet and of its entire population.

    The Internet permits such a process and allows people to vote for laws that apply to the entire model.  

  •  Another moment (0+ / 0-)

    when AGAIN, the "experts" make me feel intelligently superior as a self-taught, analytical, keep the past as a reference to the future, kind of person. Indeed it is OBVIOUS and nothing is factual until sealed with the approval of the "experts" via research that wastes precious time and resources that could go to better use. Like trying to remove the morons and sociopaths from societies control systems would be a really good place to start. After being told today by my State Health and Human services department after informing them that my failing health and the death of a newborn baby was due to environmental poisoning ... their answer. Stop caring about others, just care about yourself. Not too difficult to see why we are where we are today. The trickle down effect of self-preservation and greed from the richest to the poorest has created such a separation in humanity that most have turned their humanity switches off. Selfishness and individuality prevails. And what the morons don't know (because it's just too damn obvious) is that everything and everybody will collapse. The snake feeds on it's own tail (Ouroboros). Although the symbol has different meanings, one can see where it relates to this.

  •  It's Not News to Me (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone who is a minimal student of history can see that our current course is unsustainable and leading to collapse sooner rather than later.  The difference between us and the more ancient civilizations is that now we have the technology to completely destroy the earth.  We also have the technology to save it.  The question is do enough of us have the will and the moral fortitude? About that I have increasingly grave doubts.  

  •  The guy who was on Bill Maher (0+ / 0-)

    Whose name I have to look up, and who wrote the book on Overpopulation, was really scary the other night.  No one on CNN, Fox or MSNBC talks about this.  It gives us nightmares.

  •  Are humans really so stupid... (0+ / 0-)

    That it takes a NASA study and a passel of rocket scientists to tell us that our future is well and truly fucked?

  •  Ah, yes, once again... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Overpopulation is the elephant in the living room. We must ask ourselves, how can we stabilize population without resorting to an oppressive model like that implemented in China? The best hope, as discussed yesterday on the Thom Hartmann Show: Educate more women. Countries with a high education rate for women tend to have lower birth rates.

    btw, it also doesn't hurt to permit same-sex marriage. Not only do same-sex couples tend not to reproduce, but many adopt and educate unwanted children who are already here.

    Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you...Elsie de Wolfe

    by Hilltop Mama on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:04:33 AM PDT

  •  If you can find it, (0+ / 0-)

    I highly recommend Connections by James Burke.
    Aired in 1978 on BBC and PBS, it focused on how change comes about but also showed us how it could all collapse.

    The series opened with a profile of the NY blackout and demonstrated how removing just one pillar of our house of cards caused the entire system to collapse.  Fortunately for us, that instance was localized and short-lived but it was, to my mind, a harbinger of things to come.

    Here's a link to the DVD series.
    Unfortunately, it costs $70.00 so few will pick it up.  It needs to be watched and heeded but I rather doubt either will happen on a scale large enough to make a difference.

    The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men - - Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must be the change we wish to see in the world - - Mohandas Gandhi

    by twocrows1023 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:41:07 AM PDT

  •  how republicans will react to nasa's bad news? (0+ / 0-)

    defund nasa if they get the chance

  •  Note how much airtime corporate media gave this (0+ / 0-)

    compared to the disappearance of some 200 people on an airplane.

  •  How 'bout starting with ending meat eating? (0+ / 0-)

    The ways in which this is destroying the earth are so manifold that it would take several books, which have already been written and are readily available, to cover them.  You can start with the recent article in the NY Times about how much water is wasted through the raising and consuming of (soon-to-be) dead animals.

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