Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Resource depletion (37)

Why a “modern” can’t understand the risks we face

Resource Insights / Kurt Cobb / 08 May 2016

Mandelpart2_redPROCIn my previous piece, I discussed why it is useless to argue with a person clinging to what I called the “religion” of modernism. I summarized four main tenets of the modern outlook as follows:

  1. Humans are in one category and nature is in another.
  2. Scale doesn’t matter.
  3. History can be safely ignored since modern society has seen through the delusions of the past.
  4. Science is a unified, coherent field that explains the rational principles by which we can manage the physical world.

These assumptions make modern humans particularly susceptible to becoming captives of the bell curve. Our understanding of risk is mediated by a misleading picture of regularity in the physical world and in human society. Moderns believe that nearly all risks–and certainly the nontrivial ones relating to our survival as species–can be easily calculated and managed.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Review: The Schizophrenic Society by Roger Boyd

resilience.org / Frank Kaminski / 25 January 2016

schizoIn a chapter titled “The New High Priests: Economists,” Boyd summarizes a handful of the widely held false beliefs about our society’s relationship to its ecology that lie at the heart of common economic wisdom. These include unquestioned faith in the infinite supply or substitutability of any natural resource, an espousal of free trade and deregulation as the optimal ways for a country to develop, the supposition that all economic participants have equal market power and the tenet that everyone makes rational, self-interested decisions. The author points out that these mainstays of economic thought are simply unproven assumptions that benefit the elites by providing “a smokescreen of beliefs” concealing how modern societies really work. While there’s nothing really new in this discussion for those already familiar with the failings of conventional growth economics, Boyd does a succinct job of outlining the main ideas.

[ FULL REVIEW ]

More plastic than fish in the sea by 2050: Report

The Guardian / Graeme Wearden / 19 January 2016

Ratio of plastic to fish 2014 - 2050As a record-breaking sailor, Dame Ellen MacArthur has seen more of the world’s oceans than almost anyone else. Now she is warning that there will be more waste plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, unless the industry cleans up its act.

According to a new Ellen MacArthur Foundation report launched at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, new plastics will consume 20% of all oil production within 35 years, up from an estimated 5% today.

Plastics production has increased twentyfold since 1964, reaching 311m tonnes in 2014, the report says. It is expected to double again in the next 20 years and almost quadruple by 2050.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Will the oil & gas industry’s crash cascade into contagion?

Oil Pro / Mark Harrington / 11 January 2016

As noted in prior pieces, this crash is far different and far more fundamentally impactful than the 86/87 calamity. In 86/87, a major culprit was grossly bloated corporate overhead. My colleague William Weekley and I launched the Energy Vulture Funds in 1986 to grab those opportunities, and were fortunate to do so very effectively. Subsequently, tighter regulatory diligence on G&A scraped away the heretofore omnipresent: corporate jets, fishing and hunting camps, and in many cases, inflated C-level executive cash compensation.

Why is this price downturn fundamentally more impactful? Because this time the unmanageable culprit in depressed margins is at the field level. You can cut corporate G&A, but you can’t change what Mother Nature gives up if you are already employing state of the art completion technologies.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene

The Guardian / Adam Vaughan / 07 January 2016

3500There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.

The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.

The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered a new geological epoch.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

A missing item on the COP21 climate agenda: Grieving

resilience.org / Robert Jensen / 05 December 2015

climate_mourningPredictions are a fool’s game, but look at any critical measure of the health of the ecosphere on which our lives depend—groundwater depletion, topsoil loss, chemical contamination, increased toxicity in our own bodies, the number and size of “dead zones” in the oceans, accelerating extinction of species and reduction of biodiversity—and ask a simple question: Are we heading in the right direction?

Whether or not we want to confront any of this politically, many people have at least a visceral sense of what is coming. If we want to begin shaping a livable future, we should start grieving, collectively, for what we have lost and likely will lose. Grieving is not surrender but an acceptance of what can’t be changed and a commitment to what can be accomplished, within limits the ecosphere sets. We understand the importance of such grieving in personal contexts, when we lose loved ones, and now we need to apply it to the planet, together.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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The Transition Framework

The Transition Towns movement aims toward veering away from excessive consumption – to deal with the conjoined problems of peak oil and climate change – but also in the belief that we may create an essentially more contented society, through building strong and resilient local communities. We will get to know our neighbours better, because we shall all need one another in the time to come.

— Chris Rhodes, Resource Insights (03 June 2013)
TB Projects

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