The Ecolate Message

A timeline



TUCSON (A-P) — Love and understand:

System (as Nature) over self: Ecolate message timeline

Those having 'ecolate' (systems science literate) concerns include:
  • First Peoples (some who may have learned the hard way, knew their place in biophysical Nature, but no written record.
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 'increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid'. Letters to Lucilius #91, 64 CE
  • Thomas Malthus, 'geometric' (exponential) vs linear growth, An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1798
  • William Forster Lloyd, Two Lectures on the Checks to Population, 1833
  • J. S. Mill, for the sake of posterity, Principles of Political Economy, 1848
  • Henry David Thoreau, 'in wildness is the preservation of the world', Walden, 1854
  • Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, 1859, both independently came to a theory of evolution by natural selection after reading Malthus.
  • John Muir, Nature conservation, Sierra Club, 1892
  • (intermission for WWI)
  • Alfred Lotka, biophysical reality and energy laws matter, 1925
  • Frederick Soddy, energy as "real wealth" is basis of economy, 1926
  • Howard Scott, replace money with energy certificates, technocracy movement, 1932
  • (intermission for WWII)
  • Aldo Leopold, wildlife matters in a world of wounds, A Sand County Almanac, 1949
  • Fred Cottrell, Energy and Society, energy and cultural evolution, 1955
  • M. King Hubbert, models peak production and descent of non-renewables, 1956
  • Rachael Carson, Silent Spring, 1962
  • Kenneth Ewart Boulding, The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth, 1966
  • E. J. Mishan, The Costs of Economic Growth, 1967
  • Garrett Hardin, Tragedy of the Commons, 1968
  • Edward Abbey, growth is the ideology of the cancer cell, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness 1968
  • Ludwig von Bertalanffy, General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications, 1968, 1976
  • Paul & Anne Ehrlich, Population, Resources, and Environment (The Population Bomb), 1968
  • Al Bartlett, Arithmetic, Population, and Energy, 1969 - 2013
  • H. T. Odum, Environment, Power, and Society, 1971, 2007
  • Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, economics as subset of ecological economics, The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, 1971
  • Donnela Meadows et al., Limits to Growth, 1972, 1992, 2004
  • E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered, 1973
  • Herman Daly, Steady-State Economics, 1977, 1991
  • R. C. Christian, Georgia Guidestones–leave room for Nature, 1980
  • David Suzuki, Planet for the Taking, 1985
  • Joseph A. Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies, 1988
  • Elder Brother's Warning, 1990
  • World Scientists Warning, 1992
  • Teodore John Kaczynski, Industrial Society and its Future, 1995
  • Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 1997
  • Serge Latouche, global degrowth, Farewell to Growth, 2009
  • Kogi second warning, all is interconnected, Aluna: There is no life without thought, 2011
  • Charles A.S. Hall & Kent A. Klitgaard, Energy and the Wealth of Nations, 2012, 2018
  • Consensus Statement from Global Scientists, 2013
  • Haydn Washington, Demystifying Sustainability: Towards real solutions, 2015
  • E.O. Wilson, Half Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life, 2016
  • Jeremy Lent The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning, 2017

Understand: Seneca, Malthus, Lloyd, Mill, Darwin, Wallace, Lotka, Soddy, Scott, Cottrell, Hubbert, Boulding, Mishan, Hardin, Bertalanffy, Ehrlich, Bartlett, Odum, Georgescu-Roegen, Meadows, Daly, Tainter, World Scientists Warnings, Kaczynski, Diamond, Latouche, Hall, Klitgaard, Wilson, Lent

Love and understand: First Peoples, Thoreau, Muir, Leopold, Carson, Abbey, Schumacher, Christian, Suzuki, Elder Brother's Warning, Aluna Message, Washington

All the above: marginalized by the intelligentsia of the Growth Hegemon as their narrative of system over self, of enough is enough, is not consilient with SYSTEM! over self, or MORE! so all can get richer as members of the SYSTEM that firmly supports PROGRESS and DEVELOPMENT at any cost as material wealth/GNP/consumptive growth without limit. That this narrative can still be believed in by most (and their intelligentsia) is what keeps the SYSTEM going (along with unsustainable high energy inputs and denial).


System over SYSTEM

The current technoindustrial SYSTEM is one of profit (acquisition) and loss (cost/waste/harm) in which profit is privatized and costs (e.g. pollution, illness, harm) are commonized as much as possible. The functional difference between capitalism and communism is rhetorical, which is to say, both are growth SYSTEMs pursuing the same end. When Khrushchev asserted, "We will bury you!" he meant economically by growing faster than the capitalist West. Pure (non-existent) capitalism would privatize both profit and loss, while pure (non-existent) communism would commonize profit and loss (unmanaged commonism). Socialism privatizes profit (but don't tell anyone) and commonizes loss, and both capitalism and communism soon become functionally socialist (but don't tell anyone). Commonism, commonizing profit and loss, is alternative, but if unmanaged, always has a tragic outcome, forcing any would-be commonist growth society (having more than 100-150 members) to become socialist. The current global SYSTEM is socialist as commonizing profit would not allow for economic growth. Commonizing profit while privatizing loss would not grow the economy either.

Alternative is a closed (except to energy), no growth, largely egalitarian (0.8—1.25) rationing system using mostly solar input for needed energy, no net profit, no elite material wealth, where the system is managed to minimize production and consumption to provide for needs rather than wants (managed by-the-numbers Natural Law commonism). This alternative would be sustainable (function long-term) and be prosperous enough—other than no one dies with more than 1.66 times as many toys than another.

The acquisition/waste growth SYSTEM assumes an open, illimitable frontier/commons. Consuming the planet has a short-term payoff, and some may be laughing maniacally to the bank (e.g. 99% of Americans including those getting free food from the Food Bank), but a reasonable guess is that the SYSTEM, the Euro-Sino Empire, will peak somewhere between 2030 and 2070 (~95% p?), and will transition or humans will go extinct (maybe p=10% in next 100 years). Transitioning now to managed commonism (a managed commons benefiting all life) would minimize extinction, that of myriad species which could include humans. The Feudal SYSTEM, based on the ideology of God's Mandate (divine right of kings narrative), was replaced by Growth's Mandate (the ideology of the cancer cell) and the technoindustrial Growther SYSTEM, which, if hu-mans are to live long and prosper, needs to be replaced by Nature's Mandate (as understood via best guess of those who listen). The current Growther SYSTEM (of MORE!) cannot be tweaked/reformed into its opposite (Nature's Mandate, a society of enough). So down with democracy, up with naturocracy.

Timeline of human population growth


The fox knows many things: the hedgehog knows one big thing. —Archilochus

Ecologists. . . are hedgehogs. The one big thing they know is this: "We can never do merely one thing." This simple sentence imperfectly mirors the one big thing . . . —the idea of a system. —Garrett Hardin

It will be a race toward either paradise or oblivion, right to the last moment. —R. Buckminster Fuller


Alternative to oblivion: choiceless obedience to the Nature of things. Freedom is the recognition of necessity.

Narrative of Empire: SYSTEM! over self

Humans and their subsystems matter, to which environment is a peripheral externality.


Narrative of the Ecolate: System over self

Environment matters, of which human affairs are sub-sub-sub-subsystems enfolded within.


We are the environment (e.g. geobiosphere) or we lord over, are 'decoupled' from Nature. Both are not actual. If human subsystems are a small part of a complex planetary life-support system, then what works, what allows a species to persist, to evolve, is not determined by the species nor by choice. Nature doesn't care about your opinions (beliefs). The contingencies of survival follow natural laws in which obedience is linked to persistence as a life form. An ecolate narrative is alternative to a political/religious/business-as-usual narrative. Extinction is an option. Human choice is based on preference (opinion), like and dislike, picking and choosing, being for and against—going with what feels good. If one's understanding of Nature is a function of the nature of things, as in determined by without room for opinion, then choiceless awareness follows, for the price of an effort, assuming one would rather know than believe. Serving the system (Aluna) is perhaps our highest calling (the Kogi serve the system as ecolate humans, not the SYSTEM as social control system of human-centric special interests), hence the subsystem of their lives has worked sustainably for 1,100 years. Perhaps we too could/should say NO TO EMPIRE.


The mind clings to its image of the world; we call it real only because of our ignorance. Do not seek after the Truth, merely cease to cherish your opinions. —Jianzhi Sengcan, 6th century CE.

Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know... I was in New York in the 30’s. I had a box seat at the depression. I can assure you it was a very educational experience. We shut the country down because of monetary reasons. We had manpower and abundant raw materials. Yet we shut the country down. We’re doing the same kind of thing now but with a different material outlook. We are not in the position we were in 1929–30 with regard to the future. Then the physical system was ready to roll. This time it’s not. We are in a crisis in the evolution of human society. It’s unique to both human and geologic history... Soon all the oil is going to be burned and all the metals mined and scattered.—M. King Hubbert

My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first. ―Ursula K. Le Guin

One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. ―Aldo Leopold

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


The solar system matters (maybe): You are a speck on the pale blue dot below as seen up close. Know then thyself.

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