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Sustainable Planetary Management


{Nature_and_Environment.58.1}: ... {wren1111} Sun, 04 Dec 2005 16:52:46 CST (HTML)

Sustainable Planetary Management



Patriarchally or matriarchally managed enterprises will in future be superseded by synarchally-oriented forms of organization.

Philosophers and other thinkers have speculated over the centuries as to how human societies can be helped to again attain peace and prosperity and, to this purpose, have envisaged ideal forms of government and organization. Thus, Plato wrote â??The Republicâ??, Thomas More â??Utopiaâ??, Francis Bacon â??The New Atlantisâ??, Campanella â??The City of the Sunâ??. Synarchy, the concept of which goes back to Saint-Yves dâ??Alveydre (1848-1909), is understood as a government founded on principles, in contrast to anarchy, a form of government devoid of principles. Synarchy was introduced by Rama 7400 years before Christ; he founded an empire that lasted for 3500 years. Synarchy is a form of government at the head of which a trinity attends to government affairs. The main areas of responsibility (educational system, judiciary, economy) are divided in such a manner as to enable of a harmonious working method.

Interestingly, the form of state organization in Switzerland is in its rudiments comparable most of all to a synarchic form of government. To that let it be said: â??Every nation gets the president it deserves!â??, or put another way, â??The trouble is at the topâ??. When an elected president makes the wrong decisions, the entire nation shares the blame. It should have subjected its president to earnest questioning before the elections. â??But politics donâ??t interest usâ??â?¦orâ?¦â??

They are anyway only out for their own interestsâ??â?¦â??Football is more enjoyableâ??â?¦â??I have my own problems, and I should go about solving others?â?? There is no lack of excuses when it comes to carrying on in oneâ??s trite and intact world â?? to then be suddenly roused from oneâ??s hibernation and find oneself confronted with harsh realities.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.2}: Green Roofs Promo {bshmr} Tue, 31 Jan 2006 13:04:32 CST (20 lines)

[ Note links at end; plus, planetsave's features, including a short
on gasoline prices, may grab some. ]

Green Roofs Written by ALEX DOMINGUEZ; Tuesday, 24 January 2006

STREET, Md. (AP) _ If you're the type that likes to buy plants and
forget about them, Ed Snodgrass has a greenhouse full of abuse-loving

Grower Ed Snodgrass displays some of his plants that he sells and are
used for rooftop growing at one of his greenhouses in Street, Md.,
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006. Many of the plants Snodgrass growIf you're
the type that likes to buy plants and forget about them, Ed Snodgrass
has a greenhouse full of abuse-loving varieties. However, these plants
aren't grown for the absent-minded gardener. They're for the
burgeoning market for green roofs, where plants help keep out the
summer heat and winter cold while also managing storm water runoff and
absorbing carbon dioxide. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)


{Nature_and_Environment.58.3}: Magillacutty {anir} Sun, 18 Jun 2006 00:03:31 CDT (32 lines)

That Survivaball thing was funny, Wrenn. I didn't finish the Wal-Mart

I lean (in theory) toward Permaculture...the way Bill Mullison
describes it. There's a little heathen doubt mixed in with my
enthusiasm (instead of 100% Faith), however. When you look at what
Africans do with so little rain it would seem even homeowners in the
eastern U.S. with backyards could grow significant amounts of food.

I have questions about where to get unGM'd tomato plant seeds.

Who was that woman on PBS' "Now" that had to shut down her organic pollen from GM'd crops was wafting in?

I have questions about how to deal organically with fire ants.
They're not here yet, thank God. Could anteaters take GA winters btw?

What's a plant that can grow relatively prolifically at the desert's
edge...and thus move the boundary in a bit...and lower temp too???
[Someone suggested one here before, but I forgot what they said.] I
recently saw some vines that grow prolifically in almost pure sand.
The had waxy shiny leaves on one side...round IIRC like a tear drop
with one point at tip, and they crimped and folded up a bit. Anyone
have any articles discussing how raindrops coalesce around bacteria
(or pollen?) blown off the leaves of tea plants? Will have to listen
to Bill Mullison again re that question.

When hurricanes come this time I'd love to have some 4 x 8 plywd
sheets just to lean over the windows [afterwards when power's
out]....with rows of photovoltaic cells mounted thereupon; but I
don't know the 1st thing about where to get 'em or how to wire 'em
up...or cost.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.4}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Sun, 18 Jun 2006 00:09:44 CDT (3 lines)

I think all the seed catalogs sell non-GM tomato seeds. Or do you mean
non-hybrid? I get most of my seeds from Territorial Seeds in Oregon,
and they have many open-pollinated seeds, including some organic ones.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.5}: Magillacutty {anir} Sun, 18 Jun 2006 00:20:45 CDT (8 lines)

Man, I forget the issues. Let's see...(will have to go back to Seeds
of Deception)...the DNA shouldn't have been all split up and put back
together with molecules unfriendly to bugs...I think.

All that stuff about antibiotics in the corn that could zap your
natural internal flora...and on and on. Thanks for the mention of
Territorial Seeds! If it sez "organic" and you mention it, it's for
sure the best bet I've ever heard of.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.6}: {anir} Sun, 18 Jun 2006 00:22:38 CDT (0 lines)
{erased by anir Sun, 18 Jun 2006 19:03:42 CDT}


{Nature_and_Environment.58.7}: Magillacutty {anir} Sun, 18 Jun 2006 19:06:55 CDT (HTML)

Mollison is the correct spelling, as in Bill. I recommend the New Dimensions interview if they still have it available.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.8}: Magillacutty {anir} Sat, 24 Jun 2006 07:48:14 CDT (11 lines)

It looks as though you're right about the non GM'd tomato seeds,
Suzanne. In the back of the book there are mentioned all kinds of
things that aren't GM'd yet.

Hybrid's are ok with me, but it would be interesting to taste the
least hybridized variety around.

Did you hear about the seed stashes they're doing hither and yon on
NPR this week? One in a coal mind on a Russian Island near the
Arctic, 28 degrees when they did the story.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.9}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Sat, 24 Jun 2006 12:34:37 CDT (9 lines)

I'm glad someone is doing that. It's extremely important.

Magillacutty, if you have a garden, you can save hybrid seeds from
your tomatoes and plant them the next year. They will have reverted to
their pre-hybrid state. You might not get a good tomato though because
of the complexity of the breeding process.

Squash will cross-breed all by themselves and produce these weird
zucchini-Hubbard things that usually aren't very good to eat.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.10}: Magillacutty {anir} Sat, 01 Jul 2006 08:44:46 CDT (12 lines)

Thanks for that info. Worked to the bone this yr, Suzanne. No
vegetables planted. We have some pine tree limbs blocking the sun a
bit more this summer and a couple Leland cypresses I planted for
shade...where I used to put stuff. I wouldn't mind a couple raised
beds out in the open yard, but there are the problems of time and
aesthetics. Mostly time. Without enough time one can't do the
convincing. There are other lapsed projects too where I need to build
up credibility...Wisteria all over a wall (for shade) which I have
to cut back all summer. Up to the roof and it's never bloomed! Cut
back the roots?

"Hubbard" as in?


{Nature_and_Environment.58.11}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Sat, 01 Jul 2006 11:56:20 CDT (4 lines)

It's a kind of squash, the big orange winter keeper kind. We had put
some squash from the grocery store on the compost heap, and they got
together with zucchinis and produced a giant oblong pale green squash
with no flavor.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.12}: Magillacutty {anir} Sun, 02 Jul 2006 13:24:07 CDT (5 lines)

Wow. My best squash summer derived from a compost heap too, many
plants but only one squash. It's the same area where it gets real
hot. I wanted shade so wasn't too bummed (almost ordered Kudzu
seeds). They were from one I bought in the store, so I guess seeds
from that were programmed not to bear fruit?


{Nature_and_Environment.58.13}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Sun, 02 Jul 2006 15:18:04 CDT (1 line)

No, they don't do that to squash - as yet.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.14}: Johnny Asia {johnnyasia} Tue, 24 Oct 2006 09:56:02 CDT (109 lines)

Tuesday, 24 October 2006, 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK

Global ecosystems 'face collapse'

Greater demand for land is threatening species' long-term survival

Current global consumption levels could result in a large-scale
ecosystem collapse by the middle of the century, environmental group
WWF has warned.

The group's biannual Living Planet Report said the natural world was
being degraded "at a rate unprecedented in human history".

Terrestrial species had declined by 31% between 1970-2003, the
findings showed.

It warned that if demand continued at the current rate, two planets
would be needed to meet global demand by 2050.

The biodiversity loss was a result of resources being consumed faster
than the planet could replace them, the authors said.

They added that if the world's population shared the UK's lifestyle,
three planets would be needed to support their needs.

Ecological footprints

The nations that were shown to have the largest "ecological
footprints" were the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Finland.

Paul King, WWF director of campaigns, said the world was running up a
"serious ecological debt".

"It is time to make some vital choices to enable people to enjoy a one
planet lifestyle," he said.

See the world's ecological footprints

"The cities, power plants and homes we build today will either lock
society into damaging over-consumption beyond our lifetimes, or begin
to propel this and future generations towards sustainable one planet

The report, compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the
Global Footprint Network, is based on data from two indicators:

    * Living Planet Index - assesses the health of the planet's ecosystems
    * Ecological Footprint - measures human demand on the natural world

The Living Planet Index tracked the population of 1,313 vertebrate
species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals from around
the world.

It found that these species had declined by about 30% since 1970,
suggesting that natural ecosystems were being degraded at an
unprecedented rate.

The Ecological Footprint measured the amount of biologically
productive land and water to meet the demand for food, timber,
shelter, and absorb the pollution from human activity.

The report concluded that the global footprint exceeded the earth's
biocapacity by 25% in 2003, which meant that the Earth could no longer
keep up with the demands being placed upon it.

The findings echo a study published earlier this month that said the
world went into "ecological debt" on 9 October this year.

The study by UK-based think-tank New Economics Foundation (Nef) was
based on the Ecological Footprint data compiled by the Global
Footprint Network, which also provided the figures for this latest
report from the WWF.

'Large-scale collapse'

One of the report's editors, Jonathan Loh from the Zoological Society
of London, said: "[It] is a stark indication of the rapid and ongoing
loss of biodiversity worldwide.

"Populations of species in terrestrial, marine and freshwater
ecosystems have declined by more than 30% since 1970," he added.

"In the tropics the declines are even more dramatic, as natural
resources are being intensively exploited for human use."

The report outlined five scenarios based on the data from the two
indicators, ranging from "business as usual" to "transition to a
sustainable society".

Under the "business as usual" scenario, the authors projected that to
meet the demand for resources in 2050 would be twice as much as what
the Earth could provide.

They warned: "At this level of ecological deficit, exhaustion of
ecological assets and large-scale ecosystem collapse become
increasingly likely."

To deliver a shift towards a "sustainable society" scenario would
require "significant action now" on issues such as energy generation,
transport and housing.

The latest Living Planet Report is the sixth in a series of
publications which began in 1998.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.15}: ... {wren1111} Sun, 29 Oct 2006 19:21:00 CST (HTML)

War Climates ""

Our political systems and global politics are largely unequipped for the real challenges of today’s world. Global economic growth and rising populations are putting unprecedented stresses on the physical environment, and these stresses in turn are causing unprecedented challenges for our societies. Yet politicians are largely ignorant of these trends. Governments are not organized to meet them. And crises that are fundamentally ecological in nature are managed by outdated strategies of war and diplomacy.

Consider, for example, the situation in Darfur, Sudan. This horrible conflict is being addressed through threats of military force, sanctions and generally the language of war and peacekeeping. Yet the undoubted origin of the conflict is the region’s extreme poverty, which was made disastrously worse in the 1980s by a drought that has essentially lasted until today. It appears that long-term climate change is leading to lower rainfall not only in Sudan, but also in much of Africa just south of the Sahara Desert—an area where life depends on the rains, and where drought means death.

Darfur has been caught in a drought-induced death trap, but nobody has seen fit to approach the Darfur crisis from the perspective of long-term development rather than the perspective of war. Darfur needs a water strategy more than a military strategy. Its 7 million people cannot survive without a new approach that gives them a chance to grow crops and water their animals. Yet all of the talk at the United Nations is about sanctions and armies, with no path to peace in sight.

Water stress is becoming a major obstacle to economic development in many parts of the world. The water crisis in Gaza is a cause of disease and suffering among Palestinians, and is a major source of underlying tensions between Palestine and Israel. Yet again, billions of dollars are spent on bombing and destruction in the region, while virtually nothing is done about the growing water crisis.

China and India, too, will face growing water crises in the coming years, with potentially horrendous consequences. The economic takeoff of these two giants started 40 years ago with the introduction of higher agricultural output and an end to famines. Yet part of that increased agricultural output resulted from millions of wells that were sunk to tap underground water supplies for irrigation. Now the water table is falling at a dangerous pace, as the underground water is being pumped much faster than the rains are recharging it.

Moreover, aside from rainfall patterns, climate change is upsetting the flow of rivers, as glaciers. ...


{Nature_and_Environment.58.16}: Tonu Aun {tonu} Sun, 29 Oct 2006 23:06:40 CST (5 lines)

Yup, Chinas' cities are sinking through subsidence -- no different
from Mexico City... then we have Bangladesh with the arsenic in their
wells... can continue to include Phoenix extracting 800 years of water
from their aquifer each year... or Florida... the list is depressingly


{Nature_and_Environment.58.17}: William Lynn {billcorno} Wed, 22 Nov 2006 20:26:59 CST (9 lines)

Some glimmers of hope for future green builders:

(If we're not already too late...)

    William Lynn


{Nature_and_Environment.58.18}: Tonu Aun {tonu} Wed, 22 Nov 2006 22:47:01 CST (HTML)

We probably are judging from this article --- long read and depressing: Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, and investment bankers in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global "Peak Oil."

The author debunks most of our cherished faith in alternate energy as a saviour -- also partially discusses the effect of the totally accepted economic theory of 'Jevon's paradox' formulated 150 years ago -- short précis: conserving energy whilst good for an individual tends to most often lead to increased total energy use in a society.


{Nature_and_Environment.58.19}: Glen Marks {wotan} Tue, 07 Jan 2020 01:47:38 CST (2 lines)



{Nature_and_Environment.58.20}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Wed, 08 Apr 2020 20:13:10 CDT (229 lines)

The Earth Is Telling Us We Must Rethink Our Growth Society
Why COVID-19 previews a larger crash. What we must do to save
by William E. Rees - professor emeritus of human ecology and
ecological economics at the University of British Columbia

As the pandemic builds, most people, led by government officials and
policy wonks, perceive the threat solely in terms of human health and
its impact on the national economy. Consistent with the prevailing
vision, mainstream media call almost exclusively on physicians and
epidemiologists, financiers and economists to assess the consequences
of the viral outbreak.

Fair enough — rampant disease and looming recession are genuine
immediate concerns; society has to cope with them.

That said, we must see and respond to the more important reality.

However horrific the COVID-19 pandemic may seem, it is merely one
symptom of gross human ecological dysfunction. The prospect of
economic implosion is directly connected. The overarching reality is
that the human enterprise is in a state of overshoot.

We are using nature’s goods and life-support services faster than
ecosystems can regenerate. There are simply too many people consuming
too much stuff. Even at current global average levels of consumption
(about a third of the Canadian average) the human population far
exceeds the long-term carrying capacity of Earth. We’d need almost
five Earth-like planets to support just the present world population
indefinitely at Canadian average material standards. Gaian theory
tells us that life continuously creates the conditions necessary for
life. Yet humanity has gone rogue, rapidly destroying those

When will the media call on systems ecologists to explain what’s
really going on? If they did, we might learn the following:

That the current pandemic is an inevitable consequence of human
populations everywhere expanding into the habitats of other species
with which we have had little previous contact (Homo sapiens is the
most invasive of “invasive species.”)

That the pandemic results from sometimes desperately impoverished
people eating bushmeat, the flesh of wild species carrying potentially
dangerous pathogens.

That contagious disease is readily propagated because of densification
and urbanization — think Wuhan or New York — but particularly (as we
may soon see) because of the severe overcrowding of vulnerable people
in the burgeoning slums and barrios of the developing world.

That the coronavirus thrives because three billion people still lack
basic hand-washing facilities and more than four billion lack adequate
sanitation services.

A population ecologist might even dare explain that, even when it
comes to human numbers, whatever goes up must come down.

None of this is visible through our current economic lens that assumes
a perpetually growing, globalized market economy.

Prevailing myth notwithstanding, nothing in nature can grow forever.

When, under especially favorable conditions any species’ population
balloons, it is always deflated by one or several forms of negative
feedback — disease, inadequate habitat, self-pollution, food
shortages, resource scarcity, conflict over what’s left (war), etc.
All of these various countervailing forces are triggered by excess
population itself.

True, in simple ecosystems certain consuming species may exhibit
regular cycles of uncontrolled expansion. We sometimes refer to these
outbreaks as “plagues” — think swarms of locusts or rodents.

However, the plague phase of the cycle invariably ends in collapse as
negative feedback once again gains the upper hand.

Bottom line? There are no exceptions to the first law of plague
dynamics: the unconstrained expansion of any species’ population
invariably destroys the conditions that enabled the expansion, thus
triggering collapse.

Now here’s the thing. Homo sapiens has recently experienced a genuine
population explosion. It took all of human evolutionary history, at
least 200,000 years, for our population to reach its first billion
early in the 19th century. Then, in just 200 years, (less than one
thousandth as much time) we blossomed to more than seven billion at
the beginning of this century.

This unprecedented outbreak is attributable to Homo sapiens’
technological ingenuity, e.g., modern medicine and especially the use
of fossil fuels. (The latter enabled the continuous increases in food
production and provided access to all the other resources needed to
expand the human enterprise.)

The problem is that Earth is a finite planet, on which the seven-fold
increase in human numbers, vastly augmented by a 100-fold increase in
consumption, is systematically destroying prospects for continued
civilized existence. Over-harvesting is depleting non-renewable
resources; land degradation, pollution and global warming are
destroying entire ecosystems; biophysical life support functions are
beginning to fail.

With increasing real scarcity, growing extraction costs and burgeoning
human demand, the prices for non-renewable metal and mineral resources
have been rising for 20 years (from historic lows at the turn of the
century). Meanwhile, petroleum may have peaked in 2018 signalling the
pending implosion of the oil industry (abetted by falling demand and
prices resulting from the COVID-19 recession).

These are all signs of resurgent negative feedback. The explosion of
human consumption is beginning to resemble the plague phase of what
may turn out to be a one-off human population cycle. If we don’t
manage a controlled contraction, chaotic collapse is inevitable.

Which brings us back to society’s restricted focus on COVID-19 and the

Listen to the news, to politicians and pundits in this time of crisis.
You will hear virtually no reference to climate change (remember
climate change?), wildfires, biodiversity loss, ocean pollution, sea
level rise, tropical deforestation, land/soil degradation, or human
expansion into wildlands.

Nor is there a hint of understanding that these trends are connected
to each other and to the pandemic.

Discussion in the mainstream focuses doggedly on defeating COVID-19,
facilitating recovery, restoring growth and otherwise getting back to
normal. After all, as Gregory Bateson has written, “That is the
paradigm: Treat the symptom to make the world safe for the pathology.”

Let that sink in: “Normal” is the pathology.

But returning to “normal” guarantees a repeat performance. There will
be other pandemics, potentially worse than COVID-19. (Unless, of
course, some other form of negative feedback gets to us first — as
noted, there is no shortage of potential candidates.)

Consider the present pandemic as yellow flagging for what nature may
yet have in store. Earth will have its revenge. Unless, to avoid full-
on negative feedback, we stand back and re-focus. This means
consciously overriding humans’ natural myopia, thinking generations
ahead and abandoning our perpetual growth narrative.

Surely the time has come to reconsider what seems to have become a
“self-terminating experiment with industrialism.”

To save itself, society must adopt an eco-centric lens. This would
enable us to see the human enterprise as a fully dependent subsystem
of the ecosphere. We need to script a new cultural narrative
consistent with this vision. We must reduce the human ecological
footprint to eliminate overshoot.

Our cultural reset cannot end there. As medical supplies and equipment
run out and supply chains stretch or break, people everywhere are
becoming conscious of hazards associated with today’s increasingly
unsustainable entanglement of nations.

We will have much to celebrate if community self-reliance, resilience
and stability are once again valued more than interdependence,
efficiency and growth. Specialization, globalization and just-in-time
trade in vital commodities have gone too far. COVID-19 has shown that
future security may well reside more in local economic diversity. For
one thing, countries under stress may begin hoarding vital commodities
for domestic use. (As if on cue, on April 3, Donald Trump, president
of Canada’s biggest trading partner, requested 3M to suspend exports
of badly-needed respirator face masks to Canada and Latin America.)
Surely we need permanent policies for the re-localization of vital
economic activities through a strategic approach to import

We might also build on the better side of human nature as ironically
invigorated by our collective war on COVID-19. In many places,
society’s fear of disease has been leavened by a revived sense of
community, solidarity, compassion and mutual aid. Recognition that
disease strikes the impoverished hardest and that the pandemic
threatens to widen the income gap has renewed calls for a return to
more progressive taxation and implementation of a national minimum

The emergency also draws attention to the importance of the informal
care economy — child rearing and elder care are often voluntary and
historically subsidize our paid economy. And what about renewed public
investment worldwide in girls’ education, women’s health and family
planning? Certainly individual actions are not enough. We are in a
collective crisis that demands collective solutions.

To those still committed to the pre-COVID-19 perpetual-growth-through-
technology paradigm, economic contraction equates to unmitigated
catastrophe. We can give them no hope but to accept a new reality.

Like it or not, we are at the end of growth. The pandemic will
certainly induce a recession and possibly a global depression, likely
reducing gross world product by a quarter.

There are good reasons to think that there can be no “recovery” to
pre-COVID “normal” even if we were foolish enough to try. Ours has
been a debt-leveraged economy. Thousands of marginal firms will be
bankrupted; some will be bought up by others with deeper pockets
(further concentrating wealth) but most will disappear; millions of
people will be left unemployed, possibly impoverished without ongoing
public support.

This heralds a future crisis: GWP and energy consumption have
historically increased in lock-step; industrial economies depend
utterly on abundant cheap energy. After the current short-term demand-
drop surplus dries up, it will be years (if ever) before there is
adequate new supply to replicate pre-pandemic levels of global
economic activity — and there are no adequate “green” substitutes.
Much of the economy will have to be rebuilt to size in ways that
reflect this emergent reality.

And herein lies the great opportunity to salvage global civilization.

Clearing skies and cleaner waters should inspire hopeful ingenuity.
Indeed, if we wish to thrive on a finite planet, we have little choice
but to see the COVID-19 pandemic as preview and our response as dress
rehearsal for the bigger play. Again, the challenge is to engineer a
safe, smooth, controlled contraction of the human enterprise. Surely
it is within our collective imagination to socially construct a system
of globally networked but self-reliant national economies that better
serve the needs of a smaller human family.

The ultimate goal of economic planning everywhere must now turn to
ensuring that humanity can thrive indefinitely and more equitably
within the biophysical means of nature.


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