Earth to Sun.    


Sustainability 101




TUCSON (A-P) — For an introduction to Sustainability 101, there is professor Al Bartlett's public lecture on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy: Sustainability 101 he gave 1,742 times from 1969 until he died in 2013. "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

To demystify the subject, read the Forward, Introduction and synopsis to Demystifying Sustainability: Towards real solutions 2015, by Dr. Haydn Washington which should be "required reading for every high-school student, CEO, and politician." (Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Stanford University, USA). Add high school graduates, university students and alumni on up to professors at Schools of Sustainability among those who should read this book.

Is your way of life sustainable?



Are there limits to growth
Is exponential growth sustainable
Does EYR (Emergy Yield Ratio) matter?
Will life as we know it keep getting better and better
Could the current Anthropocene mass extinction include humans

Schools of Sustainability are dominated by the faith-based narrative of Neoclassical Welfare Economics (NWE) that renders their intended 'solutions' unreal, as in falling outside the set of solutions that might actually work. To iterate towards real solutions the intelligentsia's grasp of reality must be based on biophysical reality, that which doesn't go away because you don't believe in it. Hence students, not just those within the silo of sustainability studies, need to get good with reality. NWE is the core narrative supporting the delusional belief in 'sustainable qualitative development', or 'growth' without the added obfuscation of the merely eloquent. Alternative is to wake up and smell the biophysical reality. University students or graduates should start with a paradigm shift before breakfast and read Energy and the Wealth of Nations: Understanding the Biophysical Economy.

Listen and learn from Professor Hall who listens to Nature. Follow the breadcrumbs of evidence and listen to Nature who has all the answers. Dr. Hall et al. may know more that you do about What-is, about what matters, and have existential concerns humans would do well to consider. Primate prattle, no matter how eloquent or impressive to others who listen to the socio-religio-politio-economic prattle, doesn't lead to 'real solutions'.

Consider the Ecolate Party Platform: Protest the failure of communities to provide sustainability education about real solutions. If your local library doesn't have a copy of Demystifying Sustainability or Energy and the Wealth of Nations, have a talk with the librarian. Picket outside if necessary. If your local high school doesn't offer a class in Sustainability 101, suggest at least one teacher show Bartlett's video, mention the books, and have the school librarian procure copies. If your university or college library doesn't have copies, there is something seriously wrong, so make sure someone takes care of the oversight. If there is a Sustainability 101 class, see if one or both books are required reading. If not, protest—urge students to be autodidacts and organize an informal class under a tree to consider the issues.

Graduates of Schools of Sustainability are employed to create the world our grandchildren will live in (or not be able to live in). If the narrative of sustainability that students attending Schools of Sustainability are learning to repeat it is mystified, a shared delusion, an academic fraud..., then they should know sooner than later. Life sustainable is a need. Therefore endeavor to think well. There will be no life sustainable without ecolate thought, and, by the way, it really is more important to know than to believe.



The following video, 'GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth', is dedicated to Al Bartlett. It was made by a political activist intent on convincing fellow consumers that it is okay to not be pro-growth, to not obey the iron law of the Growth's Mandate narrative, the firmly held belief that growth is good. I may not be able to make a professional film to express my concerns, but Dave Gardner could and did. His presumed aim was to leave behind him a world his children and their grandchildren could live in. To achieve such an end, why not make a film and oversell it? It's the American way.

Those still suffering from 'the greatest shortcoming of the human race', aka the 99%, could [arguably should] watch it. I can protest for 1,742 hours and so could you. I can run for city council and so could you. When enough Ecolate Party candidates [67%] are elected to Congress [in USA], they can rewrite the Constitution. No one knows if and when a 'teachable moment' may be upon us, so we can but endeavor. All anyone can say is that you haven't ripped out the still beating heart of growthism yet.

Apparently a monetary return on time, labor, money invested in making the 2011 film is an ongoing expectation. You can click below and view some minutes of the film, then go to the GrowthBusters web site and pay for a copy. I had assumed the cost was covered by benefactors of humanity, maybe by Dave Gardner himself who could obviously afford to make the film to save his children, but could not bring himself to share the information detailed in it as given to him by assorted scientists, so apart from video of clipping from the print media, presumably information Gardner will not claim to be proprietary, I included clips from scientists, who probably were not paid to share their information, in the edited video below. I imagined that maybe he had asked supporters to buy a pre-release copy to help pay for actual monetary costs before releasing the film under Creative Commons.

Maybe he tried to crowdfund the film and had to mortgage his nearly 4,000 sq. ft. home with three car garage to make the film and is currently homeless with only the income from sales of his film to support his children he would take a bullet for. That would explain why he still expects would-be viewers to pay to view his film. Maybe some of his richer friends had promised to bankroll the film, but backed out when they realized it wasn't a parody to defame aniti-growthers like he was pretending to be—that maybe he really believed his anti-growth rhetoric. He doesn't provide a transcript, so information, other than visual, could be shared. I could use software to generate a transcript and share it, but likely that could be deemed illegal sharing of proprietary information. No value in sharing information, apparently, even to save his children. I was going to host a copy here, but as I'm a Kopimist, I watched my copy and I'll let others figure out how to view the information and 'truly prosper'.

Some recent headlines from the print media that intelligentsia types read may be of interest if you paused the video to read them. And, yes, a merely partial list. You can search news headlines daily, including your local news, and add more and more. Better would be to listen to Nature, read science news and books covering the past 3.8 billion years of our geobiophysical reality (aka life-support system), with a focus on the centrality of energy principles. At some point, delusional narratives will pass away as the storytellers who opine them pass away, kicking and screaming or otherwise.

Gardner's target market seems to be upper-middle class, university educated, politically active consumers hoping to 'preserve or enhance our quality of life while reducing our consumption of energy and other resources'. If elected [he ran for city council and lost with 43% of vote, but could run again] he likely would have offered 'a common vision for building a bright sustainable future' for his city dependent on using the electrical output of a medium-sized coal-fired power plant to pump water 62 miles to meet its water 'needs' [Tucson depends on the coal-fired output of the large Navajo power plant to pump water 336 miles, nearly 2,000 ft. uphill, via 15 pumping stations using more electrical power than any other user in Arizona so residents can use 130 gallons per person per day]. When he is eventually elected he can promote a 'grass-roots organization that builds regional resilience and sustainability through awareness raising, community engagement and public/private partnerships'. He can work tirelessly to help 'focus their action, advocacy and research through working groups addressing the unprecedented challenges of our time: economic meltdown, population pressures, climate change, and resource depletion'. He can start an Envision Colorado Springs Sustainable Festival and maybe be reelected a time or two until his failed policies are blamed for things not getting better and better.

Gardner and other believers in the glorious Transition Movement to come envision resiliently preserving and enhancing their quality of life while transitioning to a steady-state economy supported by growing, qualitatively of course, a sustainable green economy by consuming evermore sustainable products and services evermore efficiently—unlike all prior empire builders.

Voting for GrowthBusters will be a precondition to achieving feel-good 'solutions', and as growth is starting to not look so feel-good, voters will support transitioning to a no-growth green economy managed by those with green MBAs and graduates of Schools of Sustainability. All well-educated wordsmiths are getting the message that growth is like so old school. To preserve and enhance our collective prosperity we have to resiliently transition to a steady-state world of universal, equitable, fair and just prosperity for all while we continue to work to educate and empower all women who will choose to have fewer children to naturally end population growth someday. Vote for the one true GrowthBuster who will oppose 'growth' and who will thereby address public concerns he helped to create even though not one 'real solution' is mentioned or envisioned.

So expect the more progressive intelligentsia to envision transitioning to a steady-state life of prosperity much as a naturally burned old-growth forest recovers by exuberantly growing and diversifying unto a gloriously mature climax forest ecosystem. Expect the 'growth is not good' mantra to spread and 'bad' growth to be blamed for increasing societal and environmental ills that don't feel good. Expect GrowthBuster politicians with 'solutions' to come out of the woodwork, or crawl out of cracks in the pavement, and speak fine words. Expect that, meanwhile, the pace of planetary destruction will not be slowed.

The Transition enthusiasts get the 'limits to growth' narrative, believe firmly that illimitable growth in a finite environment cannot continue, and that the Transition will come. They selectively listen to every word the science-based Cassandras have to say that especially clever apes can parse into inspiring narratives. They get that no growth is thinkable because it is, but they unconsciously use their Jedi mind tricks, learned in university schools of wordsmithery, to not listen to those who listen to Nature when they point out that humanity is not an old-growth forest in recovery. We are the first species on Earth to tap into the vast planetary vat of fossil fuels to grow the economy unto overshoot which, by definition, means 'descent' will follow. No one gets a vote. If descent is resisted, as all prior empire builders have, chaotic collapse as usual will follow. Every anti-growth word from the mouth of any credible source will be embraced and loudly repeated while systems ecology 101, the ecolate message, will be obfuscated by the merely eloquent.

But apes need hope, a vision of a future they can believe in. Okay, they do and there are always an army of ideologues ready to provide 'solutions' or 'salvation'. Alternative would be to wake up and smell the geobiophysical reality in the morning, or otherwise 'get right with reality', and realize that just saying 'No!' to growth while shaking your fist isn't enough.

Alternative is to consider the ecolate concerns of those who may know enough to have an opinion. William Rees was cited in support of Gardner's anti-growth rhetoric, but he could have been quoted to note "that humans [including all political activists] have a limited grasp of reality.... [are] still subject to the demands of natural selection...[that] since the dawn of agriculture, humanity's material and cognitive relationship with the rest of the natural world has become increasingly dysfunctional...that humanity is now on a collision course with biophysical reality...the global community has failed utterly to take the necessary evasive action...from birth, every sensory input and social encounter a person experiences contributes to the formation of various cognitive filters through which that person interprets all subsequent experiences...[so] consider how many differing cultural narratives, tribal myths, religious doctrines, political ideologies, disciplinary paradigms, ethical frameworks and other worldviews exist to divide the human family. We humans are, by nature, story-tellers [aka Homo narrator] and myth-makers who collectively, selectively and subconsciously make things up as we go along...words massaged or polished by social discourse and elevated to the status of received wisdom by agreement among members of the social group who are creating the construct...the operational platform for mainstream sustainability is corporate capitalism and its hand-maiden, neoliberal market economics...with remarkable conceptual sleight of hand [mind?], economists have thus constructed an abstraction of the economy that floats free from both the ecosystems within which the economy is embedded and the human community it purports to serve...only climate catastrophe or some other massive ecological shock will be enough to discredit today's expansionary cultural narrative and force the world community to hit the re-set button...will it then be too late?...behavioral traits that were once robust have become maladaptive in the very environment they have helped to create...nature's great unfinished experiment with high intelligence may well be shut down...[consider] the implosion of previous civilisations that natural selection weeds out defective memes (units of cultural information)...if modern global society fails to 'demystify sustainability' and act accordingly, it may be just as unceremoniously 'selected out' as were the Sumerians, the Mayans and many societies in between." [Rees 2015] The above graph is as good a vision as Nature says we can hope for if we collectively embrace descent and cooperatively and peacefully manage the way down. But the way down, while it could be prosperous in terms of having enough to avoid Malthusian negative feedback loops, won't be all that feel-good, so political animals can choose, it's their right—it's in the Constitution for God's sake, to not belief what they don't want to.

Okay, so questioning growth for its own sake is a start, maybe even a good start, but at some point the intelligentsia, including anti-growth and stop-shopping enthusiasts, need to think outside the politicized feel-good/for-and-against conceptual box and realize that 'sustainable' means 'lessable', that degrowing the economy and population by 80+% in the near future is also thinkable, even adaptive, and may allow humanity to live long and prosper. If GrowthBuster Gardner doesn't want future generations to not take his name in vain, he needs to question more than growth. Start by questioning everything, including political 'solutions' and rhetoric....



What can you do? Protest/Inform: Blogroll of 1,742-hour Protesters



Of possible interest, a 'communique' from 'Master' Zhen apparently referring to ancient and current affairs of state.

An apprentice to the Great Leader, Chairman Cheh, asked him, saying, "Are there then moral values among thieves?" The Great Ruler of Thieves replied, "Tell me, is there any act of government in which there is not an intent to do good, to provide solutions?

There is in the character of thieves the endeavor to do good whereby booty is located, the courage to be the first to go in to extract the wealth for the taking is celebrated, and the chivalry of coming out last is admired. There is the wisdom of properly calculating profit, and kindness in the equitable division of the spoils. There has never yet been a great Robber-baron who was not possessed these five qualities as taught by the NWE Priesthood."

It is seen therefore that without the teachings of the Priests, good men could not keep their position in the socio-political-economic hierarchy, and without the teachings of the Great Priests, the Emperors could not accomplish their ends. Since among empire builders, good men are scarce and bad men are the majority, the good the NWE Priesthood does on the planet is little and the evil great. Therefore it has been said, "If the lips are turned up while grinning broadly, the teeth will be cold." It was the Emperor Trump's wine, as watered down by a corrupt servant, that was given as a gift to Chairman Un (who blamed the Trump for the offence), that the war to end all wars began again.

When the Intelligentsia arose, gangsters appeared. Overthrow the Pundits—the solemn pretenders to learning. Put the gangsters out of a job, and then will complex societies be in order and cease to collapse. When the stream ceases, the gully dries up, and when the hill is leveled the chasm is filled. When the Pundits are dead, gangsters will not appear, but the empire will rest in peace. On the other hand, if the Ideologues do not diminish, neither will the gangsters drop off. Nor if you double the number of Pundits to help govern the empire, will you do more than double the profits of Robbers like Chairman Cheh.

(Zhuangzi, 3rd century BCE, as updated by Zhen)

Who's the current Chairman of the Communist Party in China? Answer: it doesn't matter. Who's the current President of the United States? Answer: it doesn't matter. All serve the SYSTEM, and the unenthusiastic servants, like Ted Kaczynski and myself, are marginalized.

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Anyone who believes that exponential growth can continue forever in a finite system is either a madman or an economist. —Kenneth Boulding


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