Bare Bones Biology 122 – Human Hands

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A podcast can be downloaded later this week at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/BBB122-Human_HandsFinal4.mp3

Hold up your hand flat open with your palm facing me. As though you were a policeman trying to stop an onrushing disaster.

Your four fingers and your thumb are all pointing in different directions.

Now let’s think of your four fingers and your thumb as problems or “actions” that you and other socially conscious people are promoting — spending your time, energy and money, using your life to benefit your family, the community and humankind in general. Every person using his/her best skills to address one or other of the major actions, trying to relieve the problems faced by humankind today.

Let’s say your first finger represents hunger, and all the people trying to reduce world hunger. The second finger can represent global warming. The third finger can represent conflict, for example war, politics, genocide, modern economics. And the fourth finger represents religion and spirituality. Your thumb represents overpopulation.

What I notice about this hand is that all five of the digits are pointing off toward different and separate goals. If you added together the five different problems, and the people who are working to address these problems. Well, they are not working together for a common goal – they are going off in five different directions. Often they fight or argue with each other or they simply ignore each other, rather than discussing common goals. For this reason the work of one group often cancels out the gains of one or more of the other groups.

For example, one group is working for compassion in the belief that a compassionate community will not fight. Another group tries to win because they believe that will solve all our problems. The climate change group, after a few hundred years of evidence, is finally beginning to recognize its problem is real and is trying to decide whether to adapt or deal with the root cause of climate change. The hunger group can’t possibly accomplish its goal in the face of climate change and excessive population growth. And the overpopulation group believes that no positive goals can be achieved by continuing the destructive path that caused these problems in the first place.

We imagine if all the groups accomplished their goals they would all add up to a successful community. The reality, however, looks more like a mish-mash of confusing goals and conflicting interests.

Efficient and effective problem solving does not jump out into the world in five different directions at once, with the different parts of itself fighting among themselves. Modern business practice has made many serious mistakes, but at least one good concept has come out of it, and that is goal setting. Good business defines its goals, sets its guidelines, and informs all parties involved.

Our basic human goal is to live in a community that is sustainable into the future. Surely it must be, and if it’s not we should ask each other why not, because we aren’t acting as though it were. We have all these five problems, and more, dashing off in all directions at the same time. Don’t you agree that we could organize ourselves in some way that would at least have a chance of growing a positive future? I think such a future is possible.

If our primary goal really is the common welfare, then we can align our four fingers to represent of our commitment to the common goal of human sustainability on this earth, in good health, at least through the lifetimes of our grandchildren. If my genuine stated goal is the same as the stated goals of people working in different disciplines – then we will cease to be all working for different outcomes.

Next, we can recognize the physical facts: (1) that nobody can accomplish anything if there is not enough food for them to eat, (2) that all our food comes from the earth, and (3) the earth now has more people than it can feed. If you don’t believe these are real facts, then you have an obligation to the hungry humans in the world to fact-check your belief system.

So we then fold our thumb under at the roots of the four fingers, to represent represent the facts: (1) that overpopulation is at the root of all of the other problems. Yes we have had these problems in the past and we did not solve them before. Blame your heritage. Now is now and now we cannot solve them if a large part of the earth’s population is desperately struggling to make a living, and ; (2) therefore, that no other compassionate goal can be accomplished when there are more people than the earth can feed; and (3) therefore, the four other goals cannot be solved in the presence of overpopulation.

Therefore, if we genuinely want to accomplish our goals. If we want our behavior to reflect our commitment to the real goal, and regardless of our personal expertise or our primary interest — hunger, global warming, conflict resolution (community) or spirituality – then it is our obligation to spend a portion of our effort, every day, to help compassionately reverse human overpopulation, first informing ourselves about why it is a problem, and then addressing that problem as it relates to our own special skills and projects. I tend to judge people’s compassion by their behavior. When I see anyone brush off this obligation with a platitude or a blank look — we all do really know how important it is. Then I wonder why they don’t really want to know. Can it be they don’t want to help carry the burden of responsibility that goes with knowledge?

And then – we all work together to accomplish both the root goal and the individual goals by enclosing all of life on earth within the fully informed, goal-oriented, responsible, compassionate hand of human kind.

And then, you ask. (Everyone does.): “But it is such a big problem, what can I do?” The answer is – in this sequence:

1-You can recognize that this is not about “me.” It’s not about who does what at the level of individual decision making. Do not promote the fake debate (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/another-fake-debate-pro-life/) over family planning, which is corposystem propaganda meant prevent us from growing our personal and community power (http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/About)within the ecosystem. Instead study the real overpopulation threat, which is about human suffering at the level of the population, and at the level of survival of the whole living earth.

2-Do not waste time blaming anyone; it will not accomplish our common goal. Instead educate yourself and others about the suffering of populations of humans who do not have access to family planning because our corposystem is withholding that resource from them.

3-Education yourself about how the ecosystem functions to maintain its balance and therefore it’s welfare and its life (you could start with the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook downloadable from the right side of this blog site).

4-Discuss all three “sides” of the issue with family and friends. The “sides” minimally can be described as the conflicting needs of individual persons, families, communities, and the whole earth ecosystem.

5-What we need most right now is the political will to make family planning available compassionately to everyone on earth who wants it and needs it for their health and well being. Work as a citizen to bring this to the people who need and want it.

Bare Bones Biology 122 – Human Hands

Bare Bones Biology 094 – Climate Change III

Oh, and yes, all these physicists who believe that they understand life because they have some convenient information about the basic laws of the universe. As far as anyone knows, life is not the center of the universe, and while life does operate according to the laws of physics, it is not studied by the science of physics. As far as anyone knows, life is the whole of the reacting, breathing, interacting earth, and physics says nothing about the higher Levels of Organization (and) beyond the properties of energy and matter. Well, not nothing. Physics is very important because it informs us about fundamental natural laws like gravity and energy that everything must obey.

Life couldn’t exist if it did not obey the fundamental laws. But of course, EVERYTHING obeys the fundamental laws, or it wouldn’t be here. That’s what fundamental means. And everything is not life. The purpose of biology is to learn to understand what is the difference between life and everything else.

Everything must obey the law of thermodynamics, so biologists study that. But all the non-life also obeys the laws of thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is not what makes life alive. It is necessary but not sufficient.

Biology is the study of life, and therefore biology is the study of the whole earth ecosystem and how the living earth and all its parts is different from non-life and – more importantly — how we can stay alive without causing harm to the whole earth ecosystem that gives us our lives.

The ecosystem stays alive because of interacting cycles of functions and properties, of energy and matter, because of the ability to transmit information by genetics so that the ecosystem can respond to change, and because of the ability to flow energy from the sun into plants and from plants into every other living thing. And the ecosystem also stays alive because of the ability of itself to recycle the key materials that it needs to stay alive – like carbon dioxide and oxygen and water. Carbon and oxygen and water recycle through the living earth just as they recycle through our own bodies. They are a part of life. They are the climate – the respiratory system – of the living entity we call the earth ecosystem. If they didn’t change – if the climate didn’t change – the earth would not be alive and we would not be here.

There is no debate among biologists about whether or not living things change. There would be no life if it couldn’t change in response to what is happening around and within it. That is the foundational necessity of being alive, and all illness, disease and death are the result of not being able to change in response to one’s environment. Climate change is real, the fake debate is about politics, not about life. And the function of the fake debate is to prevent we the people from figuring out what to do about it, because what we must do about it would diminish the preposterous wealth and power of the corposystem.

So what can we do to give a gift of fitness to our human future within our living earth? We have three options, at least. 1) We can do something useful to help humans — that is, to help the earth maintain a climate that is suitable for human life. That’s what most biologists prefer to spend their time thinking about. 2) We can do something that is harmful to the health of the living earth. That will cause devastation to the future of humans on this earth. Or 3) we can do nothing and let the climate rebalance itself without regard for our needs.

The trouble with doing nothing is that it will result in unimaginable suffering because of the vastly greater number of people, animals, plants and other living things that will be affected, and that’s why I prefer option number one, do something useful to help humans.

And the way to do that is to find a way to stop the growth that is causing the ecosystem to rebalance and readjust all its millions of cycles of life, in response to our waste products.

Bare Bones Biology 094 – Climate Change
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week
here and at http://BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended Readings: Bare Bones Ecology free download on my blog.

Bare Bones Biology 066 – Corposystem Power

The corposystem can not destroy our heritage, the rule of law, the soil, water, air, the climate and our freedom. That is, they can’t do it unless we let them, and because we all know that this is true, the corposystem gives us games to play to prevent us from thinking about the reality of our power.

One game is to change the subject away from real facts by claiming there is a debate. Rather than consult experts and discuss opinions, they display their own ignorance by debating fake or peripheral issues. We saw this clearly in the so-called debate over climate change. Also “Darwinism” and others you can name.

Another game they give us to play is to use really important issues, like fracking to make us forget the root cause of the multiplicity of our lesser problems. Fracking is as important as global warming, but the root cause of both is growth, because economic and population growth require resources that come from the living earth ecosystem – resources like food, minerals, water, soil – and the economy and every living thing requires these resources in order to grow. We can not grow forever because we will run out of food, clean water and good soil. And we run out of them because they are being destroyed by fracking and chemicals that are used in an effort to support more growth. And the game is, while we are fighting over fracking, or “Darwinism,” or poisoned soil, the corposystem is trying to grow some other part of itself, so that whatever we gain by reducing fracking is more than lost by the overgrowth of something else.

Or some important problem bubbles up in the news, and immediately the corposystem might start a fight over whose fault it is. Fight! Fight! We all gather around to watch and have a good old time blaming each other. Blame-placing, of course, takes away all our personal and social power, because we can’t change anything that has already happened. We can only do one thing at a time, and fussing over things we can’t change doesn’t change anything. That’s why political blaming and fighting is one of the corposystem’s favorite games, because it distracts us so effectively from the bigger problem. The bigger problem is — us — sitting on our TV watching the fight when we could be using our brains and our hands to make positive change.

If we would stop debating and blame-placing, and hand-sitting, and think factually about reality, we KNOW that growth beyond resources is NOT A GOOD THING. The solution to our problems is NOT growth, after we have already reached the capacity of the earth’s ability to feed us. From that point, which is approximately now, the solution to all these problems is to stop using more food energy and other kinds of energy than the earth can grow. But that’s not what the corposystem is doing. Instead of looking for real solutions, the corposystem just gives us another game. This time it’s a cliff-edge panic decision that is meant to grow the corposystem. Bush chose war — Obama chose debt. Neither war not debt nor any other kind of growth addresses the real problem.

So there is no point poisoning the future water and soil and air, just to squeeze out another dollar or two for a dying corposystem that will crash anyhow. Or maye it will change. It can’t continue as it is, because, there aren’t enough resources. Our better option would be to build a more compassionate and sustainable social order for our future. We can begin this by refusing to play the corposystem’s power games. Blame-placing, political board games, aintitawful games, cliff-edge panics. And use our own personal power to do something positive.

Anyone can do that.

Bare Bones Biology 066 – Corposystem Power
KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Transcript at FactFictionFancy.wordpress.com
Audio later this week at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

For the past few years I have been working more than full time and spending retirement money on the effort to explain to people that we are in a real biological emergency of unpredictable magnitude. (If you don’t agree with this, you are not well informed and you should come talk to me, but that’s another story.) So in my daily life, I don’t have time nor inclination for politics, unless it is a real emergency where it seems I can make a difference. Why? Because I do not believe that war of any kind will improve our human predicament, biologically or otherwise. And our American politics today is not a lot different from war. So rahrah let’s win this battle slogans only depress me. Nobody ever wins in a war. Not even the rich capitalist.

But there is hope. Today I heard two programs, in one day, in which people actually discussed real issues that could change this roadblock that America has thrown up against biological sanity. First was on Sierra Club Radio, where the moderator was so courageous as to use the word “growth” as problematic. Second was New Dimensions on the subject of sanity in politics. Meaning. People actually talking to each other and discussing issues. Hooray for both.

Politics and Human Values

Lester Brown is the person I always refer to when I want reliable statistics about the earth’s productivity. He has been collecting the data for I think about 40 years, and he does not issue biased propaganda.

Politics are very important. I have voted. But they are not important for the reasons we are debating. This is why I do not waste my puny little energies engaging in that debate. Politics is important if it is willing to deal with the ecological crisis we have entered. The politics COULD determine whether we face the reality and fix it — or whether we continue to play the game in the same way that caused the crisis in the first place, trying to control the mother nature that gives us life. We can not, and neither can our corposystem or our technologies. Politics could accomplish what needs to be accomplished, and that is to guide our behaviors so that we can give the ecosystem what it needs to survive. We can control ourselves; we can not control the basic laws of nature. The sooner both parties face up to this, the more likely it is that we might be able to save a reasonable lifestyle for our grandkids. When I see that happen I will be the first to jump back on the political bandwagon. If I only hear hate talk, or “warriors” talking, then — take my course in The Ecosystem and Human Values. I have better things to do than waste my energies on politics that are going in circles.

We have some very hard decisions to make, we know what they are (If you don’t, it’s not complicated to learn – bottom line is the whole earth productivity is now maxed out and decreasing. Like it or not, we will have to find other solutions than making more stuff,) But we are choosing to continue doing more and more of what caused our situation in the first place, which is growth. Growth was OK when there were resources to cover, but growth for its own sake is not a good problem solving technique. In fact, it’s a definition of crazy.

For the statistics to back up what I say, check out Lester Brown’s web site and his new book.

Letter to Chet Edwards

Hello Folks,

Today is Thursday, our day to talk about Bare Bones Ecology, Chapter 03, The Flow of Information. The BBE post is half written, but I find myself a bit bogged down today, after issuing yesterday the first edition of Bare Bones Biology (the podcast that will eventually parallel BBE and extend beyond). And we are having a runoff election. Check back tomorrow (Friday) for the next post about proteins.

Mostly we stay away from elections lately because this blog is about power, and human politics does not rank high compared with the power of the earth ecosystem. However, it is occasionally necessary to clearly state this fact to the politicians, and today is one of those days. Feel free to share the letter below and adapt it for your politician. Actually, I hope Mr. Edwards wins, because the alternate candidate thinks the real world is centered around human activities (as I discussed in yesterday blog) which is far out even for a politician. But neither one of them can help to pull us out of this hole if they can’t even see the hole.

To: Chet Edwards,

I got the multiple phone calls from your machine, and I comment about that at the end of this letter. More importantly:  You will not convince me of your ability to govern well, by advertising that you have done only two things.

1. Squeeze a lot of money out of the government coffers for use by a local entity that doesn’t need it and can’t manage it to the benefit of the people;
2. Block the use of government money for the welfare of all the people.

Or by telling me why you did these things, because whatever are your reasons, and whether or not they are well intended does not change the facts. We will run out of money unless we change our economic model; we have topped the graph and are on the down side. This is not because of small business or big business or the rich local entity or health care or you.

It is because money comes from resources; resources come from the earth; the earth can not grow; the economy can not grow beyond the limits of the resources, no matter what anyone does, and we have hit the limits of the resources (or thereabouts, it would be silly to quibble about when exactly, and I am not speaking for Mr. Lester Brown — I have my own expertise that supports his). Our economic model is a Ponzi growth scheme that benefits this day at the expense of sustainability.

In the aftermath of all Ponzis, it is the people who suffer. They are already suffering all over the world. The more y’all refuse to talk about these hard and real facts, the worse it will be also for the people here at home as we slide down the wrong side of the growth curve and your power base evaporates with the increase in human suffering. It will happen, just as surely as you can not grow ten horses on a one-acre pasture (unless you have a friend down the road who uses his land resource to grow hay).

You have more responsibility than most people to help generate as soft a landing as possible for us all. If you would stop your love affair with our toxic economic model and begin to think about the long-term facts and implications of its cancerous growth style, I believe you could do a better job of tending to your real responsibility than any of the other candidates.

But I don’t see that happening.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
Bryan

And by the way, here is my other complaint: I have been told many times by many people they need not honor the no-call list (ha, another expensive and useless government scam), and then two of them had the nerve to become insulted when I told them I don’t allow other people to use my telephone for their advertising. Or rather, I can’t stop them but I will never, never, never, never do whatever it is they want me to do if they call me up to ask for something, especially if it is a machine that calls me up. Of course, unless you want to donate to my telephone bill.

Nothing That Uses Resources Can Grow Forever

Here is another little thought while you wait for Thursday morning when I will post slide number 5 of the series of slides that I used at the HPJC presentation. I will post the entire series on the blog site as a pdf for download when I can figure out how. The book was no help. If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know. In the meantime, here is a rather depressing thought for the day.

Nothing earthly can grow forever. That is obvious. All money that is worth anything is tied to resources. Most of us know that. If you pay $100 for a pet rock and pet rocks go out of fashion, what you have left is a rock that is worth about $1.00 if it is cute. The rock is not worth $100, your $100 bill was worth about $1. Looking from the other end of the dollar, the oil companies will be getting larger and larger shares of our money as we are now on the down slope of the oil/gas/coal resources available on the earth. If you want a better explanation of this, I recommend the Crash Course of Chris Martenson.

When you grow money that is not tied to the resources, the name for that is a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme grows the money basically by selling the same resources to many people.

Our growth economy is a Ponzi scheme. The earth does not have resources to support any further growth of the sort we are now experiencing.

It will crash.

Using growth to solve problems only works if the problems are political, and then only temporarily. Growing our economy to save ourselves from our growth economy is a Ponzi scheme. It will not save us from the economic consequences of trying to grow the economy after we have already taken more out of the earth resources than she has to give.