HPJC Seminar, Slides 09, 10, 11

Feel free to download the whole set of notes from the PDF section of this blog and use them and share them or, if you find fault with any facts or can recommend improvements, please let me know.

Slide 09 – Biological Balance

The ecosystem is a living thing. Like all living things it must be able to maintain balance among all its parts in order to stay alive.

Life, by one definition, is the internal ability to maintain balance among all its parts. Think of your life. If it goes out of balance, for example, if your kidneys are not able to excrete all the wastes of your food, or if you have not enough food to supply your energy needs, your life is lost. That is true of all life.

Similarly, our actions can not succeed if the results of our efforts push the ecosystem farther out of balance instead of helping it to gain its balance.

We can not stop the evolution of new viruses over time or defeat epidemics by building more hospitals.

We can not stop starvation by working to increase the population (even if that is not what we believe ourselves to be doing).

We can not permanently stop a war over resources, and grow a path toward peace, by petitioning anyone when the energy needs of our societies exceed the ability of the planet to provide for them. People need food. They will fight for it.

We can not resolve these problems with energy technologies, because technology is not a resource — it is not energy. It is not food. And even if we could make food, more food would not restore the balance of the ecosystem, which at the moment seems to be having trouble disposing of the waste products of energy we are using (carbon dioxide). Making more energy, if it were possible, would only throw the earth ecosystem more out of balance.

We can not resolve any of these problems using any method of growth because our growth, and our growth ethic, are root causes of all these problems. It’s not possible to solve a problem by doing more of what caused the problem.

We can not change the laws of nature; the only thing that we do have the power to accomplish is to change our own behaviors.

Slide 10 – Economic Balance

Money is not so difficult to understand if we recognize that good money (money that is worth something) represents resources and energy that are part of the earth ecosystem — resources that were taken out of the earth.

There is no difference in our balance diagram if we are talking about the ecology or the economy. The diagram is the same if we are talking about the balance of energy consumption or of greenbacks. We can use the same diagram for gold, and lumber and horses and my life and money. All have been taken from the earth using energy; all must be rebalanced as we try to rebalance the ecosystem. If we can not live within a balanced economy, then we are living within a Ponzi Scheme.


Slide 11 – Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh

With that thought in mind, let’s watch the movie “Ancient Futures” ISEC.org where we will see a perfect example of the social problems that are caused by unbalancing the ecosystem in an effort to keep a Ponzi economy growing within an ecosystem that can not grow any bigger. Particularly note: when the economy and the ecology of Ladakh were in balance:

“Cultural traditions . . . limited population growth and helped to ensure that the natural carrying capacity of the land is not exceeded.”

Then please notice the parallels between the social problems, the unbalancing of the economy and the unbalancing of the ecology. Make a list of the parallels and realize that all of them relate to growth.

Growth is not balance. Whatever is your “action” the root cause of the problem is an unbalanced ecosystem. Please make sure that your “action” is not making the problem worse by unbalancing the ecosystem even more than it already is.

Elm Tree Down

Remember a few days ago I was rejoicing that the elm was burnishing up with little maroon flowers? Well, the little flowers are still there and now are within reach, but they have little future to look forward to. Good job, though, she missed the road. Only about three people use this road, but someone probably would have complained if we blocked it.