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.”
The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei 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.
NOVEMBER 13, 2013 BY DEEPGREENRESISTANCENEWYORK
The Future Must Be Green, Red, Black and Female
By Robert Jensen / Truth-Out
The human species must acknowledge that any future that allows us to retain our humanity will jettison capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy – and be based on an ecological worldview, says Jensen.
(These remarks were prepared for a private conference on sustainability, where the participants critiqued corporate farming, “big ag,” and “big pharma” and industrialized medicine. There was agreement about the need for fundamental change in economic/political/social systems, but no consensus on the appropriate analysis of those systems and their interaction.)
The future of the human species – if there is to be a future – must be radically green, red, black and female.
If we take this seriously – a human future, that is, if we really care about whether there will be a human future – each one of us who claims to care has to be willing to be challenged, radically. How we think, feel, and act – it’s all open to critique, and no one gets off easy, because everyone has failed. Individually and collectively, we have failed to create just societies or a sustainable human presence on the planet. That failure may have been inevitable – the human with the big brain may be an evolutionary dead-end – but still it remains our failure. So, let’s deal with it, individually and collectively.
Even amid seemingly thoughtful discussions about climate change, economic inequality, water scarcity and other key global issues, whats important to remember, says Alex Jensen, an expert on globalization and development at the International Society for Ecology and Culture ISEC, is that a critical look at any of these crises shows \”the complicity of the very corporations that the WEF represents.\”Beyond its glossy \”veneer,\” Jensen says, the Davos summit acts as a stage \”for multinational corporations, among them human rights abusers, political racketeers, property thieves and international environmental criminals.\”
Here’s an alternative view…
” ….The secret sauce – Morgan’s concentrated solar module
Morgan Solar is developing a concentrated solar photovoltaic module that should be ready for market by the summer of 2014. Instead of a solid panel of silicon like a typical solar module, concentrated solar uses a device to focus the light onto a tiny, ultra-efficient photovoltaic cell.
There are other concentrated solar PV companies and products out there, but the secret sauce for Morgan is in their optics. To gather and focus the light they use a lens made of cheap, everyday plastic called poly methyl methacrylate or PMMA.
“It’s used to make automotive headlamps, it’s used to make paints and it’s extremely cheap. So we’re replacing expensive semiconductor materials with really inexpensive polymer materials and that’s kind of key to reducing the cost of the raw materials that go into the solar panel,” says John Paul Morgan.
The solar cell that the light is focused on is the same stuff that’s shot into space and used to power satellites.
“One wafer would cost 400 times, 500 times more than a silicone solar cell, but it’s much, much, more efficient. And when you dice that up and when you use a tiny sliver in the middle of a concentrator, you can get superior economics,” says John Paul Morgan.
Morgan is an engineer, a physicist and is an expert in fibre optics. It’s this experience that inspired him to make a lens that redirects the incoming light 90 degrees sideways to the middle of the lens where the tiny solar cell is waiting. This means the lens used to focus the light is cheap and much thinner than its competitors….”
“I write this as an open letter to environmentalists, but to be honest, it isn’t truly an open letter. Many of you (probably most) will continue to call for these unsustainable forms of energy, despite knowing that to do so is to beg murder upon the migratory birds, the (very few remaining) unpolluted streams, rural Chinese farmers, and ultimately upon what remains of the living world. Many of you don’t want a truly sustainable way of life, but to sustain a functionally unsustainable civilization. Many of your salaries and personal identities depend on “clean energy,” and you won’t dare challenge it. And for me, this is incredibly saddening and disheartening, as I know many such people. So this letter is not written to you.”
Here is a wakeup call. One that insists we strip off the blinders and face our own delusions in order to survive.
I had heard some of these statistics, some of these uncomfortable truths, yet allowed myself to cling to the fantasy (is it? really?) of solar cells painted onto rooftops, of wind power made small scale and affordable and powering local homes in local grids .. while worrying underneath about rare minerals (yes, I own a cellphone) and migratory birds and hoping technological advances would quickly resolve these anomalies. The kicker, though, is that the same argument is used by the industrial giants against whom I want to (and often do) rail… the Enridges, the BPs, the Shells, of this world. They, too, rely on technology to ‘solve the problem’ of carbon emissions and climate change and those billions of gallons of spilled and leaked oil contaminating our world. and so for now they continue, comfortable in their conviction that one day, some day, technology will clean it up and resolve it all.
Yes, there’s food for thought here and more research to be done. Here may be a very good starting place. But I warn you, it may make you deeply, even frighteningly, uncomfortable.
n August 2007, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index was beginning to decline, after being stuck at a plateau for most of the preceding year. In France, BNP Paribas was about to close two investment vehicles that were heavily exposed to the US housing market. And Northern Rock Bank was days away from the first British bank run in more than a century. The world was on the edge of the largest economic crisis in a generation. From the pages of Governance, here is a reading list on the crisis so far.
So simple. But it requires the will to let go – of fear, of greed, and of false and limiting beliefs.
Totally wrong approach…
Market-driven ideology got us into this, market-driven ideology will not get us out.
What is needed is a major change of thinking on our part. That’s you and that’s me, folks! and the time actually is right now.