Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Paul Chefurka November 10, 2012
We are now well into a global crisis that may mark the end of this cycle of human civilization. In this note I present a summary of what’s going on as far as I can tell, as well as a scenario for how things might develop over the next 75 years or so.
The issue is enormous, so an overview like this is inevitably going to be skimpy on details. This is, after all, not an academic journal. However, like every other fact in the known universe, those details are just a Google away…
Because the global predicament manifests itself in some way in virtually every area of human endeavour, any useful approach to it must be massively cross-disciplinary. Fruitful areas for investigation include:Comments (12)
Consumerism, Economics, GMOs, Health & Disease, Society — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 8, 2012
I awoke this morning eager to find out the results of November 6th’s voting in the U.S. of A. And no, I’m not talking about the tiresome presidential election….Comments (7)
Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear — by Zaia Kendall November 6, 2012
Pondering whether this type of weather will be the new normal, and how we can prepare ourselves.
by Zaia Kendall
A freak storm, never before seen. After the end of the normal hurricane season, this ’superstorm’ developed and severely affected the Caribbean and northern US, killing people and causing devastation everywhere. But are we really that surprised? Is nature trying to point out the error in our ways?
How can New Yorkers possibly think that they are innocent in creating this storm? How is it possible that we are so far removed from our environment, that we cannot comprehend that large cities, made from concrete, steel and glass (all highly reflective surfaces), create their own micro climate and subsequently affect the world around them? The amount of heat that is created in a city the size of New York must be astronomical. Start taking responsibility for your actions people – we are all guilty in creating this damage!Comments (14)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Food Shortages, People Systems, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Anthea Hudson October 23, 2012
Our local areas and community are likely to play a much bigger role in our future resilience, so it makes sense to begin to include active community participation in our children’s lives. Children often enjoy having a sense of being an important part of something that matters and even young children can develop a feeling of ‘ownership’ in their particular part of a project. When children feel vitally involved they will take much more of an interest and be open to taking on board new ideas and skills that will be invaluable to them in the future.
There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Community is a really great educational vehicle — after all, it’s the way young people learned their life skills in past times. We can once again make it a part of the way we prepare our children for times to come.
Below are some ideas for ways children can begin to get involved with developing greater community spirit in their neighbourhood.Comments (5)
Biodiversity, Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Education, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Anthea Hudson October 18, 2012
Water — without it life on earth could not exist and yet it is often treated with little care or respect, especially by more affluent communities. Clean drinking water is actually a valuable and diminishing resource, due to all the toxins that are carelessly allowed to make their way into our water systems.
These statistics about water may surprise you and give you a greater understanding about just how important it is that we protect water, especially our potable water.
75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water — however 97% of that water is the salt water of our oceans. That only leaves 3%, but 2% of that is frozen and only 0.5% is actually usable fresh water! Just 0.5% of all the water on Earth. Kinda brings the point home, doesn’t it?
As you can probably see, it is therefore vital that we help our children understand the value of water, the importance of protecting it and ways in which they can use it more sustainably.
Below are some ideas for introducing these concepts to your children… some of them quite a bit of fun, but with very important messages behind them.Comments (4)
Consumerism, Economics, Health & Disease, Society, peak oil — by New Economics Foundation October 16, 2012
The case for a new, voluntary scheme to introduce a shorter working week, and for the rapid expansion of productive and pleasurable gardening in Britain’s towns and cities.
Click to download (1.34mb PDF)
The Proposal – National Gardening Leave: for a stronger, healthier and happier Britain.
This pamphlet argues that Britain will be better off if we all spent less time at the office. It makes the case for a new, voluntary scheme to introduce a shorter working week referred to as National Gardening Leave. And it calls for adapting a wide range of available spaces for the rapid expansion of gardening, both productive and aesthetic, in Britain’s towns and cities.
We argue that this will leave people happier, healthier and better equipped for our challenging times. It will make the economy more resilient, better positioned for the modern world, and more protected from external food and energy price shocks. It will also make communities stronger and more convivial places to live.
Giving people entering new jobs (and, where possible, those in existing jobs) the option of working a four day week – something which is standard practice in the Netherlands, for example – brings potential multiple benefits to individuals, workplaces, communities, the environment and the economy.
It is time to reap the benefits in taking the next logical step in the historical trend toward a shorter, conventional working week. In the new time made available, gardening wouldn’t be compulsory or the only choice of what to do, but it is already incredibly popular and we believe, an important and attractive option.Comments (4)
Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear, Society, peak oil — by George Monbiot October 12, 2012
Editor’s Note: I’m sure a few of you will be tempted, at first glance, to pounce on me due to this piece — since it has the name ‘George Monbiot’ and the word ‘nuclear’ in the same post. But, I would ask you to read it through first…. I put this up, not because of George’s present stand, but solely due to the very articulate and lucid response from Theo Simon in this fascinating email conversation. Indeed, having George’s name and ‘nuclear’ in the same post will likely cause a flurry of reading by those eager to find fault, and in this case I’m happy about that, as it will ensure that Theo’s message gets read. Theo ably challenges George’s position, and does so from a position worthy of respect — that being that he’s been occupying the site of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power plant in the UK, and thus has an on-the-ground view of the machinations that are resulting from the marriage of Big Government and Big Nuclear. This is a long but very interesting read, and one worthy of our attention and consideration. In my own post on nuclear, in March last year, I raised, in a more concise fashion, many of the main points that Theo makes — notably in regards to the ability of future generations to contain and maintain in a safe state the resulting nuclear waste, and the danger of assuming they will live in a society with enough excess energy, water, time, money and knowhow to do so, and the ethically bankrupt, diabolical selfishness of lumbering them with this ongoing burden — on top of the many great challenges they will surely face — when they will have absolutely no benefits from that obligation (since the power plant will have long since ended its useful life). I’d like to congratulate Theo for his reasoned response, and thank him deeply for his commitment to values that permaculturists enshrine as essential. It’s clear that rather than merely surrendering to grass roots apathy in the face of the present economic and political momentum in madness (a tempting thing to do, I admit), he clings to the hope that we can build a social movement which connects all the dots in our present dilemma (i.e. that seeks to find a successful marriage between economics and biological/ecological reality) and that works to address them all — adjusting our lifestyles as necessary to facilitate that. Where George seems to be trying to choose between the lesser of two evils, Theo, as permaculturists seek to do, is trying to eliminate the evils, whilst asking society to deal with their problems holistically, today, rather than kick them down the road.
Aerial photograph of Hinkley Point.
Photo – Hinkley Point C: Initial Proposals and Options Summary Document.
This is by far the most interesting and challenging debate about nuclear power I have had to date.
By George Monbiot and Theo Simon, over the course of eight months.
George’s note: This debate began with an email I sent to Theo, which I did not intend to publish. Theo wrote a powerful response and posted the correspondence on his site. I then replied, and Theo has now answered my second letter. Here is the whole debate.Comments (6)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Consumerism, Markets & Outlets, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 11, 2012
If you want a little inspiration today, the following video about the excellent work going on in Todmorden, UK, should do the trick.
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, People Systems, Society — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 8, 2012
With the presidential race in full swing in the U.S., I thought this graphic would make a good ‘cartoon of the week’, highlighting the futility of thinking that changing from one corporate-run government to another corporate run government will make much of a difference.
Oh, and for those who are thinking to do their posterior a favour, by switching from the left boot to try out the impact of the right boot, this article is also rather illuminating….
A poem from Wendell Berry, the farmer, poet, writer and philosopher, is appropriate in this context, I think:Comments (1)
The justifications for airport expansion turn out to be bogus.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
When politicians say that we need more runways and more airports, they invariably claim that “the economy” depends on them. They seldom specify what they mean by this, but in most cases they seem to have business flights in mind.Comments (1)
Compost, Conservation, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Economics, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 4, 2012
The yard in winter, before work begins…
A great many people today are living in fear. The future looks uncertain, but bleak. Many cannot see a future at all. The post-WWII baby boomer generation, with their short-lived cheap energy era, have been largely calling the shots, shaping the world we have today. After the miseries of two world wars, they set a course for excess. They and their descendants have been spending profligately, borrowing resources and finances from their children and grandchildren — and the deficit has increased so rapidly that the present generation is already having to foot the bill. We’ve been living the dream, and living in a dream — seeking to live lifestyles without limits — and now it’s time to pay the piper, as it were. We’re discovering that we were the children and grandchildren that society was borrowing from.
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 3, 2012
From May 30 — June 1, 2012, the 10th ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas) meeting took place. This year it was held in Vienna, Austria. I haven’t had time to check out all of these presentations yet, but want to ensure you’re all aware they’re available to watch as you have time. Not having watched them all, I put the videos below up in no particular order, except for a little influence from intuition perhaps. If you’re not familiar with the Peak Oil topic (is there anyone left in this camp?), you might want to read some previous posts I’ve done on the topic: here, here, here and here for example.
Nate Hagens – Navigating through a Room full of Elephants
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Earth Policy Institute
Editor’s Note: Some permies may wish to download the slideshow files at bottom to use, or modify to use, for "It’s time to wake up" type presentations in your local schools and community halls, etc.
Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold.Comments (0)
Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class – Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a ‘Great Disruption’
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Society, peak oil — by Samuel Alexander September 28, 2012
by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne.
One of many ‘Hoovervilles’ during the Great Depression
How would the ordinary middle-class consumer – I should say middle-class citizen – deal with a lifestyle of radical simplicity? By radical simplicity I essentially mean a very low but biophysically sufficient material standard of living, a form of life that will be described in more detail below. In this essay I want to suggest that radical simplicity would not be as bad as it might first seem, provided we were ready for it and wisely negotiated its arrival, both as individuals and as communities. Indeed, I am tempted to suggest that radical simplicity is exactly what consumer cultures need to shake themselves awake from their comfortable slumber; that radical simplicity would be in our own, immediate, self-interests. In this essay, however, I will only defend the more modest thesis that radical simplicity simply would not be that bad. Establishing that thesis should be challenging enough.Comments (10)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Society — by Alex Martin September 26, 2012
Some time back, in the 1960s, someone had the brilliant idea to introduce Nile Perch into Lake Victoria. The voracious predator soon went to work eating everything, until there was not much left in the entire lake but Nile Perch and crocodiles.
But there’s always an upside to these things, isn’t there? According to Wikipedia, "The fish’s introduction to Lake Victoria, while ecologically negative, has stimulated the establishment of large fishing companies there. In 2003, Nile perch earned 169 million euro in sales to the EU. Another income is the sport fishing tourism in the region of Uganda and Tanzania which aim to catch this fish." Funny how ecological negatives can be so economically positive, eh?
This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World Bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots. — DarwinsNightmare.com