This man sums up in a simple and inescapable way exactly what is wrong with our economy (it assumes continued growth for ever) and our usage of non-renewable resources.
Watch it till at least the 3rd video it will really open your eyes.
simple math…it’s time to make a change people.
- Please note that some of the links in this article will take you to my personal Blog over at www.samadhisoft.com.
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Eden Lost is the phrase I use to refer to all that we are on the brink of losing as the Perfect Storm of problems in our future approaches.
We seldom realize it, but we are living in something very similar to the Garden of Eden referred to in the Bible. An environment that we are perfectly adapted to. An environment which is both extremely rare and extremely precious in the endless vacuum and hard radiation of space. And an environment which, like the Biblical Garden of Eden, once forfeited, will never be returned to us again as it was.
Our world is filled with plants and animals born of four billion years of evolution and woven into incomprehensibly beautiful and complex patterns of interdependency. The elephants, the glaciers, the rain forests and the reefs with their long beaches of white sand. The annual migrations and the nests built with such care, the new cubs at play in their first year, the green mountains covered with ancient and dark conifers and the frogs that sing lifeâ€™s song of longing to us from the ponds of our springs and summers.
It is a palette of life, this world – our birthplace. It is filled with millions of overlaid brush stokes and each of these is a chain tens of thousands of generations long that we call a species. And, in this small place, safe from the pitiless and vast nothingness beyond our sky, a vibrant and magical complexity has been building and feeding into itself for eons – self-replicating – driven and warmed by the bounty of the sunâ€™s glow and spilling forth ever more beautiful forms keen of eye and glorious of leaf – a small and fragile garden in a universe of desert.
Sit outside on a warm day with a soft breeze blowing and the leaves singing. Before you, a small child, or a puppy or a kitten playing in the grass feeling the joy of life welling new and ask yourself what it is all worth – this natural world of ours.
If you have the freedom and ease to be able to do these things and feel what Iâ€™m talking about, then you are still among the lucky ones in this world. Many, even as the sun blesses our thoughts, cry for water and for food. Cry from disease and cold, from fouled water and repressive governments and brutality. The world is becoming a narrow and hard place. A world of haves and have nots, of wealth and poverty, of lives of beautiful indulgences and of grinding misery.
Some would say there have always been rich and poor and thereâ€™s always been disease and misery. Yes, but in recent centuries, things were getting better. Despots were giving way to governments for their people, Health care and sanitation were reaching further each year into the lives of the marginalized. Education was more freely available. Mankind was on a steady ascension towards the light of a fair and equitable world.
But, all of this, the summer sun, the joy of natureâ€™s bounty and the steady rise towards social enlightenment are all now sliding towards an unimaginable edge beyond which they will simply be memories of what once was and what once could have been.
A world changing storm is gathering. As E. O. Wilson, the biologist, says, humanity is approaching a bottleneck in history. And unless we manifest an unprecedented exhibition of intentional transcendence and move beyond blindly acting out our Biological Imperatives, we and our dreams of better lives and the biological world, as we know it, will not survive the passage.
So, what are these coming changes which threaten to destroy our Eden? You can find them discussed here under the permanent topic, The Perfect Storm.
Iâ€™ll discuss some of the consequences, below.
Global Warming will induce Global Climate Changes and, in most places, temperatures will rise. As temperatures rise, species will want to move to pursue their optimum climates. Some birds and animals will succeed but many plants will fail and large scale extinctions will result.
The web of life is interdependent and as species disappear, it will have a domino effect on the viability of other species and critical food chains may well be broken causing the damage to spread exponentially.
As the world warms, global weather events will become more severe. The ice covering Greenland and the Antarctic continent will speed their melting and ocean levels will rise. Mountain snow packs will decrease and the current melting of the worldâ€™s glaciers will accelerate. Low-lying coastal areas will be inundated and millions and millions of environmental refugees will result and major urban areas will be destroyed at huge economic costs to the countries involved and these impacts will radiate back into the global economic matrix negatively.
Mankind has already expanded to fill the world nearly to its limits. Fresh water supplies are becoming critical in many places and aquifers are falling rapidly towards depletion in several of the worldâ€™s critical food growing regions such as the central US and northern China. Manâ€™s ability to grow sufficient food for our populations is nearing a limit and demise of a critical aquifer or the cessation of summer runoff from winter snow packs due to global warming, will lower our ability to produce sufficient food far below what is required and mass social unrest will follow in the areas affected. Current problems with deforestation, erosion, desertification, ocean dead-zones and failing fisheries will continue to accelerate these problems.
Meanwhile, first-world consumption will continue and increase as it always has increasing the pressure on water, food and oil supplies. As we begin to move into peak-oil territory, the cost of oil products will begin a slow but inexorable rise and thousands of â€˜downstreamâ€™ oil-dependent products will also rise in cost and scarcity as well. Especially significant here will be the cost of fertilizers which directly relate to our ability to grow food at prices people in poorer nations can afford.
As the water, food, economic and social pressures rise, marginal governments will fall into chaos such as currently exists in Somalia. These stresses will be met by ever more militant forms of fundamentalism as people struggle to understand whatâ€™s wrong with their world and adopt ever more decisive and simplistic explanations and responses. Increased fundamentalism will increase the marginalization of women and their rights and as women lose their human, economic and reproductive self-determination rights, the inevitable result will be increasing birthrates in areas with the worse problems which will, in turn, further drive radical fundamentalism.
By the time that things are so bad that our greenhouse gas emissions have dropped to reasonable levels as a result of the destruction of our civilizationâ€™s infrastructures, Global Warming will be well on its way into uncharted territories, huge numbers of species will be extinct, much of the world will be subject to anarchy and chaos and billions will have died.
This is just one story of how Eden may be lost. There are many possible stories depending on the order in which the coming problems manifest themselves.
The bottom line behind all of these stories is, however, that we, mankind, cannot simply continue as we are going:
- forever expanding our populations
- forever increasing our usage of the earthâ€™s resources both renewable and non-renewable
- forever pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
- forever inventing and disbursing new chemicals into the biosphere with little idea of their consequence
- forever allowing the gap between rich and poor to build into greater despair and fundamentalism
- forever ignoring our deep and utter dependence on the natural world from which we sprang
But, beneath all of these things lies the deep driver behind all of them; our inborn Biological Imperatives. Hardwired into the very fabric of our biological beings, these imperatives inform and drive our actions just as they inform and drive the actions of every biological form which has evolved on this earth over the last four billion years.
The deep urge to live, to propagate our genes forward in time, to create a space within which our progeny can grow to reproductive age safely so that they may continue the chain unbroken.
Itâ€™s a strategy which had its roots very near the beginning of evolution with the first self-replicating entities. These early forms underwent natural selection in which those that tended to pursue such imperatives survived and those that did not, died. And thus, the imperatives were conserved and enshrined at the center of our motivations as our deepest and most fundamental drives and have existed as a behavioral cornerstone ever since in all biological forms.
As a strategy, it has always served biological forms well up until evolution tried a new experiment with generalized intelligence and a species evolved which was so much more powerful than those which had gone before that it was able to effectively free itself of all of the checks and balances of the natural world and expand unopposed.
And that brings us to now, because we are that species and our acting out our Biological Imperatives unopposed has brought ourselves and the biosphere around us to the edge of ruin.
Other than continuing forward onto ruin, there is only one pathway open to us and its difficulty is immense. We must, as a species, and as individuals, intentionally transcend our Biological Imperatives and adopt a new conscious imperative if we wish to survive.
We must choose to get into a steady-state balance with the biosphere. We must lower and control our population and our resource needs to the point where we can exist here indefinitely without exceeding the ability of the resources we are using to replenish themselves.
If we can do this, we can exist here indefinitely on this planet while allowing the natural world around us to continue evolving unimpaired. If, instead of constantly striving to grow and expand, we turn our attentions to improving our lives and our comforts within a constant foot print on this planet, we can continue to advance materially and in wisdom and we will give ourselves the time and space to ask, â€œWhat the purpose is of biological forms such as ourselves after theyâ€™ve survived the bottleneck of their adolescent coming out?â€
A friendâ€™s family is going through some big changes. And when she and I talked about it the other day, she was feeling mixed about it all. She was wanting , on one hand, to embrace the changes and she was mourning a bit, perhaps, on the other hand, for the things they were going to leave behind.
I told her that I donâ€™t think change can be avoided. In fact, when we try to avoid change, change will end up stalking us.
All life, all existence, is change. And existing behind the changes are patterns we call cycles. We assimilate and then we act. We design and then we build. We save and then we spend. We learn a way of life and then we transcend it. We are born, we live and we die.
If we are here for anything, we are here to experience, learn and grow. As life happens to us, we are offered choices. We can choose to try to hang onto what we have and to consolidate our gains but sooner or later, the cycle will turn and we will be called upon to strike out again and grow and learn and accumulate more experience. Those who resist are denying that change is a deep law of existence and they will come into conflict with it inevitably. Those who listen to the gentle urgings calling them out to transcendence are honoring how existence works. Those who try to stand still in the river of time, will feel the gathering press of the rising river of change.
Look around. You will see the evidence of this everywhere. People trying to hang on to their youth while time moves past them. People trying to hang onto their job, just as it is, while the corporation and its requirements evolve around them. People of a conservative bent, trying to keep their lives and their societies just as they were in an earlier day – and over the long run losing the battle as the historical dialectic unavoidably derives the present from the past and the future from the present.
See the middle-aged men who, when they were younger in their twenties, dominated the young women they were with because those ingÃ©nues were still trying to work out their places and their roles in a male dominated culture deeply infused with the iconic deceptions of the suggestive sexual role advertising blitz we all live under. Now older, these women have found their feet and their centers and they know much better who they are and whatâ€™s important. The balance of power between the sexes shifts as we age and the macho men who thrived on compliant women now find themselves playing to an unappreciative audience. A deep reevaluation or a fall into the bottle are often the only two choices faced by men whoâ€™ve never developed the art of introspection and a willingness to change and grow.
Desperado, why donâ€™t you come to your senses?
You been out ridinâ€™ fences for so long now.
Oh youâ€™re a hard one, I know that you got your reasons,
These things that are pleasinâ€™ you can hurt you somehow.
Donâ€™t you draw the queen of diamonds, boy,
sheâ€™ll beat you if sheâ€™s able,
you know the queen of hearts is always your best bet.
Now it seems to me some fine things
have been laid upon your table
but you only want the ones that you canâ€™t get.
Desperado, oh you ainâ€™t gettinâ€™ no younger,
Your pain and your hunger theyâ€™re drivinâ€™ you home.
And freedom, oh freedom, well thatâ€™s just some people talkinâ€™,
Your prison is walkinâ€™ through this world all alone.
Donâ€™t your feet get cold in the wintertime?
The sky wonâ€™t snow and the sun wonâ€™t shine,
itâ€™s hard to tell the night time from the day.
Youâ€™re losinâ€™ all your highs and lows,
ainâ€™t it funny how the feelinâ€™ goes away?
- Desperado by The Eagles
I remember my mother and the sad habits she fell into towards the end of her life. Rather than embracing life and walking into it as one might walk into a warm caressing wind, she decided to draw lines in the shifting sand and then fought to hold them. She was an alcoholic and her life settled into a repeating cycle. When sheâ€™d just emerged from a binge and she was gathering up the pieces, she would decide that if everything in her house was as neat as a pin, if she had the right job, if her finances were organized just so and if the place she lived in was quiet so that the neighbors didnâ€™t stress her, then everything would be alright. She would fight to make it all just as she wanted it – and she would achieve it.
But, always, something was missing. Politics would arise at work, the apartment, which was so quiet when she moved in, would seem to get noisier the longer she stayed. The finances she worked out so nicely would be upset when her car needed a repair. In short, the perfect world she tried to create always faltered against the chaos of reality. Todayâ€™s quiet apartment, which was so much better than the last place sheâ€™d lived, would slowly become the new status quo – and the noise levels would â€™seemâ€™ to increase. And the only answer was to move to a quieter place again – but the problem would repeat. Further and further she painted herself into corners of her own making – resisting and denying and refusing to accept life and existence as it was and trying to make it fit her plan. And then one day, sheâ€™d have a drink, slip over the edge, lose her job, blow her finances, make her neighbors crazy, and a week later call me to come over and save her from the spiders on the wall. Sheâ€™d be deep into delirium tremens and Iâ€™d spend hours assuring her she was sane and that it would all pass. Then, we would begin again.
Change is good. Itâ€™s whatâ€™s on the menu here. Enjoy what you have and remember that it all may, and probably will, change at some point. Your children grow, the face you look at in the mirror ages, the people you are competing with get smarter, everyone dies. Itâ€™s the plan, itâ€™s the way and we can grok and embrace it and make the very best of it and ride the waves of change to maximize our growth and experience before weâ€™re called away – or we can resist the impossible and waste the time thatâ€™s given to us.
- for Katy -
I was reflecting last night on conversations Iâ€™d had with two different people recently. The subjects had been the environment, the state of the world, and the likely directions history will take in the near future.
Both my friends clearly understand the situation that we (humanity) are in. They are not denialists in any sense of the word- they really get whatâ€™s going on.
But, I noted, they were both emotionally distressed about it. And that their distress was causing them to waffle back and forth between seeing the situation weâ€™re in clearly and then switching around to trying to ameliorate it by saying something like, â€œWell, humanity has tremendous powers of creativity – surely weâ€™ll think of a way to avoid these problems.â€
Watching them squirm got me to thinking about what it was that was making them squirm.
One of my friends has older parents who live in a major metropolitan area and sheâ€™s made a commitment to them and to herself to live near them in their closing years. Sheâ€™s also dependent upon them financially as well. Later, when theyâ€™ve passed on, she will be able to live where she wants and how she wants – but for now, sheâ€™s made commitments that tie her to this city.
My other friend had been thinking very seriously about immigration to New Zealand as a result of his analysis of the worldâ€™s situation. But, after a lot of agonizing and thinking about his extended family here on the U.S., he decided that he couldnâ€™t simply abandon them and go off to save himself. So, heâ€™s decided, out of love of family, to stay here with all of them and face the hard times together.
To me, it looks like both of these folks have the same problem. Theyâ€™ve both made emotional decisions to stay but at the same time, they are both confronted with convincing reasons why they should go. Cognitive dissonance is the result. And the way that the mind tries to reduce cognitive dissonance in a situation like this is to try to reinterpret the data that suggests they should leave into something less convincing.
It seems to me that their rational mental processes are being distorted by the presence of emotional non-negotiables in the mix.
When this first occurred to me, it seemed like a bit of an epiphany and I spent several hours over the next day or two noodling it over. In the end, I saw that it was no epiphany at all but just something Iâ€™ve known about and acknowledged forever. Itâ€™s just that I hadnâ€™t quite looked at it from this angle before – especially as it relates to how people see the worldâ€™s current situation.
On the web site Al Goreâ€™s put up about his movie, â€œAn Inconvenient Truthâ€œ, he has a quote that Iâ€™ve admired since I first saw it.
Itâ€™s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
- Upton Sinclair
This captures a lot of what I thought was my epiphany.
When, in the past, Iâ€™ve asked myself why people seem so obtuse about seeing the state of the world right in front of their eyes, Iâ€™ve assigned the cause to a variety of things like â€˜Heâ€™s a Republican.â€˜ or â€˜Heâ€™s a Libertarian.â€˜ or â€˜Heâ€™s a right-wing Christian.â€˜ or â€œHe has no understanding of science.â€˜. Or any of a long list of other reasons.
But, amazingly, Iâ€™d never seen that all of these folks, just like you and me and everyone else, are encumbered by any number of emotional non-negotiable factors that limit their ability to process the data before them solely on its own merits. We are all twisted by our emotional attachments.
Men who run corporations and have their identities and all of their finances tied up in those endeavors cannot think objectively about the good or ill that corporations do in the world.
People who cannot move away from an area of danger (like my two friends), cannot see the data indicating the danger they are in clearly without cognitive dissonance. And that cognitive dissonance generates stress which the mind will try to lessen how ever it can.
Religious conservatives have staked their faith on the fact that God has everything well under control so how can they objectively view information that shows things are getting badly out of control around them?
Libertarians believe that free markets will find appropriate solutions for all conceivable problems so how can they assimilate the fact that the financial sieves that are multinational corporations and Globalization are steadily increasing the wealth of the very few at the expense of the many.
Iâ€™ve had to smile privately at Republican friends of mine as they held forth on the merits of less government and free markets. And then I watched them stress as they tried to explain why all these â€˜freeâ€™ corporations and â€˜freeâ€™ markets, which only care about next quarterâ€™s numbers, are sending all of our jobs and manufacturing overseas to the benefit of their bottom lines but to the ultimate degradation of the country and the lives of those who live here.
I recall reading a Buddhist tract a long time ago. It said something like,
â€œOne can only see what one is looking at clearly when one doesnâ€™t care what one sees.â€œ
Yep, that about sums it up. And we, all of us, are emotional creatures who are emotionally bound to certain ideas, creeds, places, points-of-view and whatever. And all of us, therefore, are not clear and rational thinkers to the extent that these emotional non-negotiables warp our rationality.
I donâ€™t think any of this changes my prognosis for the world. I still think it is bleak. Perhaps, even more so given that I now see that many (most, all) of us are incapable of rational perceptions due to our emotional attachments. But, it does, perhaps, make the problem a bit clearer.« newer posts