Bare Bones Biology 098-Climate Change-What Can We Do?

The ecosystem is not a democracy. Neither is it a matter of opinion, nor can we match its power. Not in our wildest dreams. The ecosystem – whatever it is – it is a factual reality. Just look at the veins in your hand. Then look out the window. Then remember where your food, water and air are created – no, not in the supermarket – the ecosystem. It’s a fact that the ecosystem is constantly changing in response to its interactions among all the factors that make up its existence. My critics and their grandchildren will not be at all happy about our choice to continue destroying the climate that the ecosystem created, that has been our cornucopia of life.

So to round out this series on climate change, I want to play some quotes. Here is a short one from an activist at the climate talks that recently took place in Durban, South Africa. Amy Goodman is interviewing Kumi Naidoo on Democracy Now (the only good coverage of the talks that I know about, see dates 12/05/2011 and 12/06/2011 as part of the series).

“the problem is that the level of ambition and the level of urgency in these talks do not match what the science is telling us to do.” He means the science tells us the problem is urgent.

Climate change is just as real as overpopulation, and if you know a few facts (facts are realities that aren’t about people and people can’t change them, like gravity for example) if you know a few facts, then climate change will be as common-sense as my story about overpopulation. The one about putting a cow and a bull in a pasture with plenty of water, and never feeding them any hay and see if they eventually have a population problem. Or a resource problem, which is nearly the same thing. Common sense.

“The greatest challenge for Burma and the countries of the Arab Spring, as well as all peoples who hope to enjoy the flowers and fruits of their endeavors in 2012, will be to bring wisdom to bear on passion and power, and to create a blend of the two that is both effective and wholesome.” Aung San Suu Kyi

This is Harvard Professor E. O. Wilson on Earth/Sky

“Biology is going to be crucial also in feeding the world. We’re about to run out of water, and we’re running low on arable land. And we’re just now reaching 7 billion people on earth, and we’re not going to slow down or peak until somewhere in the vicinity of 10 billion, the most recent projections indicate. We don’t have enough water in enough countries to feed all those people and to restore soil to arable condition. And then there comes the matter of saving the rest of life, which is a major concern of mine. We’ll have to do a better job of exploring the natural world and figuring out how to carry it through what I like to call the bottleneck of the 21st century, when we go through the population crunch and use every bit of information – science based — that we can get, to make that journey through with the least amount of damage to the world.”

So what can we do to help? Number one, find a way to provide birth control for every person who wants it on earth. Number two, work to provide a reasonable standard of living for those who are living. This will require dethroning the corposystem and the growth ethic in favor of a sustainable economic system. Number three, join together with other countries of the world and let them help us do these things. How do we do those things? In any way we can, so long as what we do does not cause more long-term harm than help. That’s practical, self-serving compassion.

Bare Bones Biology 098 – Climate Change-What Can We Do?
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week
here and at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Trackbacks and Recommended References:
Bare Bones Biology Ecology Handbook downloadable on lower right of this blog.
http://www.DemocracyNow.org
http://www.earthsky.org

Bare Bones Biology 064 – Corposystem Power

When I opened my mailbox to the January issue of National Geographic with the word population plastered across a picture of seething humanity, I knew this would be the year when we humans, as a society, will choose the future for our home on earth. Finally, I said, someone in authority is telling us the truth about our ecosystem.

Not surprisingly, the corposystem responded with a barrage of self-serving lies. Most of these center around the root lie that we can live in a world where infinite growth is possible.

From my point of view, the good thing about their lies is that they make no sense at all, and anyone can do the math. Anyone can understand that the corposystem power will fail unless the corposystem changes its world view. Because the world view that it has built (James Hillman calls it a religion) is not based in physical, factual reality, and as time goes by the corposystem must tweak this and lie about that to make their little world seem as though it makes sense. But, as someone has said, physics will not wait around for us to catch on to reality. The factual reality of physics is what it is, without regard for anyone’s opinion or metaphor or ideology.

The fatal flaw of the corposystem ideology is its myth of infinite growth. In fact, infinite growth is physically impossible anywhere in our solar system. Unless it changes its ideology, therefore, the corposystem will fail. It is not showing any signs of ideological change, and instead seems to be trying ever harder to grow ever faster, and in the process is destroying the ecosystem that feeds it. Growth in the absence of resources is the defining characteristic of a Ponzi scheme. The corposystem is reaching the end of its Ponzi run, because the earth no longer has the resources to support further growth of the corposystem.

People do see this, but when you mention that we are at the point where we must choose between the corposystem and a healthy ecosystem, it seems that most people don’t want to do the math and would rather believe the lies. Then they pour out a bunch of reasons why we can’t or they can’t, or they simply deny the fact and claim that “all statistics lie.” That’s a pretty feeble excuse. Statistics tell us whatever we ask. If you want to know whether or not we are at the point of making this decision, you yourself can get the data and ask the question. In the meantime, as Al Gore said in An Inconvenient Truth: “It’s just human nature to take time to connect the dots, I know that, but I also know there can come a time of reckoning when we wish we had connected the dots sooner.”

The corposystem is now on the verge of crashing permanently because its growth requires more resources than the earth has to offer. Survival of the corposystem in its present form is not one of our options, so there is no point continuing to support it with our greed, our anger or our fear.

The crash of the corposystem will be very unpleasant, because we (not you, but previous generations) let it run on to this point. It will indeed be a disaster, but we shouldn’t forget, while we are dealing with the fallout, that the event will open more opportunities than it closes. Those of us who do not enjoy living in a culture that is based in negative human values, we will have the option to pitch out greed as the defining value of our social structure, and build our communities around our positive human values – some of which are glorious.

And the greatest of these is kindness.

Nothing but the propaganda in our heads can stop us from beginning now to build our better lifestyles.

Bare Bones Biology 064 – Corposystem Power
KEOS FM, 89.1, Bryan, TX
Download audio later this week from http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Hillman, James. 1995. Kinds of Power, Its Intelligent Uses. Doubleday