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In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco.
Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less."
There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope. Werner termed it “resistance” – movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture”.
This is laudable, but what Werner is doing with his modelling is different. He isn’t saying that his research drove him to take action to stop a particular policy; he is saying that his research shows that our entire economic paradigm is a threat to ecological stability. And indeed that challenging this economic paradigm – through mass-movement counter-pressure – is humanity’s best shot at avoiding catastrophe.
. . . in developing emission scenarios scientists repeatedly and severely underplay the implications of their analyses. When it comes to avoiding a 2°C rise, “impossible” is translated into “difficult but doable”, whereas “urgent and radical” emerge as “challenging” – all to appease the god of economics (or, more precisely, finance). For example, to avoid exceeding the maximum rate of emission reduction dictated by economists, “impossibly” early peaks in emissions are assumed, together with naive notions about “big” engineering and the deployment rates of low-carbon infrastructure. More disturbingly, as emissions budgets dwindle, so geoengineering is increasingly proposed to ensure that the diktat of economists remains unquestioned.
reply to post by FyreByrd
Mixing politics with every facet of life now, even science.
All it does is breed division and disharmony.
What a shame.
reply to post by RP2SticksOfDynamite
Make that a .005% of the population and you got it. The others who share in the depletion of resources are only there as cogs to extract the wealth for the upper crust. Enticement if you will. The elite rely on those below them to defend the status quo they created, each layer getting less and less the farther removed you are from them.
Capitalism I don't think is the problem per se, it's unfettered crony capitalism that parades itself as "the free market" when in reality it is skewed heavily in favor of the wealthy. Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics are the intellectual underpinning to this current system of rape and pillage.
Perhaps it's time the scientists figured out what we need to do to prevent killing the planet and ourselves in the process and we reverse engineer our societies and economics to fit their model. I see no other way to change the current paradigm without massive bloodshed and attendant carnage. Technology is not going to save us, nor will policies coming from the right of left as we know them in America.
On our collective tombstone we should put:
A victim of it's own success.
Eta: The brunt of the article implicates climate change and C02 emissions as the source of our future destruction. I still don't buy it myself and even if it were true it needs to be handled differently than by making C02 another source of revenues. I believe that nuclear, chemical and biological waste will cause enough harm to destroy essential links in the ecosystem to endanger human life on a massive scale like the decline in honeybees for instance.
Even if there were no sea level rise we're facing danger from a thousand fronts - all of our own making. If we fail to address these other areas by only concentrating on carbon emissions I think we'll still end up going extinct. If not extinct then those surviving will be living in the new bronze age.edit on 29-10-2013 by Asktheanimals because: added comment
Also, your so called "Unfettered Crony Capitalism" is Capitalism. Period. ...and unfettered meaning UNREGULATED.
Well in order to get to what you suggest, a large portion of the humans currently on the planet will need to be given their pink slips from this life.Which ones are you advocating receive them? Because the sustainable practices you advocate will not support anything near to the population you currently have.
Of course, you understand that the global elites all have their tickets punched. They're many of the same scientists urging this revolution on you, so they have to administer things "for your own good" of course.
So out of the remaining tickets (they do need laborers after all), how do you propose we:
1. Decide which of us get to stay alive and which don't.
2. Decide how to off the rest of the population and who gets to carry that one out.
Oh, and somehow I doubt you've placed yourself in the #2 category. People who advocate this sort of thing rarely do.
Well, look at China to see how well pseudo socialism works. You can see what a mess they are making of their environment. And don't tell me they don't have a top down centralized socialist/communist system. They do.
Gandi also implemented a system where every man was supposed to be an agrarian self-supporting person in a socialist state. You can also see how well that turned out environmentally for India.
Russia also made an all-fired mess of itself during its communist years, too.
It's a myth that socialist/communist systems are better for the environment.
Now, I'm not claiming that capitalist societies are pure either, but we aren't swimming in the smog of China or the open sewer rivers of India.edit on 29-10-2013 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)
...one really wonders if we should even bother with labels that in practice almost never fully apply.