Does Climate Change Require Our ‘Radical And Immediate De-growth’?

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From Naomi Klein:

How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt

In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles.

But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).

Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”

Read the full story at Common Dreams.


4 responses to “Does Climate Change Require Our ‘Radical And Immediate De-growth’?

  1. I would refer other followers of your blog to look to another perspective on the “Are we f**ked?” question you address.
    Another blog I follow on this topic addressed the question with a mix of dark humor from the Jimmy Kimmel show, along with the bleak prognosis of Dr. Stephen Emmott, Oxford scientist and Microsoft’s head of Computational Science, that I believe is worth sharing.

    Not to leave anyone hanging on the cliff of despair, I would offer the follow-up, hopeful blog post from the same author/activist, which details a very hopeful meeting with director James Cameron, who is mentioned as one of the participants in the AGU fall meeting account. He is apparently becoming more activist in seeking means of population-wide behavioral change to sustainable practices.

    “Hopefully, we won’t go the way of the Rapa Nui on Easter Island (link contains video), who wastefully depleted their finite resources until their civilization collapsed. Although we humans have inflicted more damage on the fragile harmony of nature in just the last fifty years than all generations of humans before us (combined)—we still have time to reverse that deadly trend. But we URGENTLY need to get started in a big way.”

    • good reads, both. thanks. i believe a full half of our current agw is due to industrial meat production. not a popular topic even among committed environmentalists, typically. after a dozen years as a vegetarian myself, i began adding some fish and meat into my diet (as my depression was bottoming out — or i thought it was the bottom at the time — i read some information about a possible connection). i guess i’d call myself a very-low-meat consumer (maybe 3-5 percent?). i recall reading many times to eat at the bottom of the food web, so sardines have played a part. then yesterday i read how the sardine population is collapsing on the west coast from overfishing. obviously this is something for me to reevaluate. thanks for putting back on my plate, so to speak.

      • I’m not really advocating that everyone go vegetarian, just that we all pay attention to the consequences of our choices in eating, as in all other spheres of human activity. And, yes, it turns out these choices we make, usually without even thinking about it have very significant impacts, such as the depletion of fisheries.
        I’m not vegetarian either, but started cutting back on industrial-produced meat consumption as I began to read about the consequences of the conventional meat production industry. Food choices can lead to some heated, emotional arguments on par with any religious oriented conflicts.
        I think we all have to consider the balance between what is best for us as individuals – which can vary quite a lot, as some people do not do well on strict vegetarian diets, while others will be quite sick on heavy animal protein diets – and what our dietary choices mean to our life-support system, the earth.
        As my favorite public health blogger, Dr. David Katz, says, “Love the food that loves you back.”

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