Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Resource depletion (33)

We need a richer picture of the human ‘economy’

Paul Arbair / 17 February 2018

Mainstream economics seems to have learned little and changed nothing in the last decade, despite the fact that the financial crisis and its aftermath laid bare a number of important issues with its theories and models. Failure to address these issues is making the economics discipline increasingly incapable of informing us about the trajectory and situation of our world.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Energy, money and technology – from the lens of the superorganism

KAUST Official / Streamed live on 23 January 2018

In his #WEP2018 keynote, Nate Hagens discusses how all of our lives will be influenced by how we react to the coming era of harder to extract and more costly fossil fuels that will be combined with cleaner but more stochastic energy types.

Special thanks to our Platinum #WEP2018 sponsors: Saudi Aramco and Sabic.

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 ]

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The Transition Framework

Resilience is the ability of a system or community to withstand impacts from outside. An indicator is a good way of measuring that. Conventionally, the principal way of measuring a reducing carbon footprint is CO2 emissions. However, we firmly believe that cutting carbon while failing to build resilience is an insufficient response when you’re trying to address multiple shocks such as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis together.

— Transition U.S.
TB Projects

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