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Forced Responses: Jul 2018

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2018

Open thread for climate policy and responses.

282 Responses to “Forced Responses: Jul 2018”

  1. 251
    Hank Roberts says:

    I wish the self-styled geniuses here all the luck in the world getting their ideas adopted. Proclaiming them here seems less productive.

  2. 252
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @240, I broadly agree with your comments on technology.

    Imho it seems so simplistic to claim that complexity and high tech is somehow by definition “unsustainable”. Its certainly at least dubious to claim its all undesirable or somehow a bad thing.

    I don’t know enough about led bulbs to comment on how sustainable they are in terms of their component materials, although the silicon in semi conductors is very abundant, but they are very efficient and last for ages. I just recently installed them in my home. This efficiency and lifespan has to be considered along with the availability of their materials.

    Smartphones are very complex and the epitome of high tech, yet they are small and don’t use many resources. They replace the need for numerous other devices. I purchased one mainly because it saves me having to carry a camera and paper based diary. So here is an example of complexity that is of great use and reduces the need for other devices, so is arguably as sustainable as you will get.

    And how would Stephen Hawking have done without the technology that enabled him to convert key strokes into speech?

    How would disabled people get by without high technology Killian? What about hearing aids and things like that?

    However Al you need to appreciate resources are not unlimited. We have to stop wasting the earths materials on products that we don’t really need, and which add very little of value, or save trivial amounts of time.

  3. 253
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @248,

    “My point was that a typical human is quickly becoming a net loss economically speaking.”

    Yes and it appears inevitable that AI and robots will replace a lot of jobs. Owners of capital will own the factories and use them to replace labour leaving a pile of unemployed or under employed low wage people. Hell, its already happening.

    This can be mitigated by a “universal basic income”, but of course would get push back from the rather short sighted Republicans, but in time it has a sense of inevitability about it. Its impossible to stop the march of technology (in the sense of innovation and change and within a market structure) and so something will have to be done, and so many people will be affected it will require a political response.

    However limiting processes are at work as well. Negative feedbacks! I just doubt that the planet has enough resources to replace all jobs with robots. It will be some white collar and manufacturing jobs mostly at risk, as opposed to the building trades and various services jobs etc.

    Smaller population reduces the pool of unemployed or underemployed. Like Zebra says smaller population fixes a range of problems, although imho not all. People may elect to over consume on a per capita basis, and will be tapping into automated factories capable of considerable production. Everyone wants to own a ferrari or two! More or less.

    Therefore I think looking after the environment still has a moral dimension where people need to be persuaded to make an ethical commitment to doing the right thing and not over consuming to excess. Not easy I know. Of course it all depends on just how small population becomes, because a very small population could have quite a party!

  4. 254
    zebra says:

    #248 Al Bundy,

    Apologies. The sock puppet comment was just something that popped into my head; your writing style is much more focused and concise than alan’s. (Unless… you are a literary genius puppeteer??? ;-) )

    Anyway, I don’t think that in the current context you can do away with jobs that are essentially unnecessary, whether an AI can do them or not.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-08-01/too-many-jobs-feel-meaningless-because-they-are

    The point is that if you have a low, stable, population, relative to resources, rational economic choices will create a system that allows for most people to have both “work” and “leisure” satisfaction.

  5. 255

    nigel:

    “What is a technology backbone? How does one maintain this and clip it onto a peasant culture?”

    “How would disabled people get by without high technology Killian? What about hearing aids and things like that?”

    Indeed. And it’s not just ‘disabled’ people–noting here that I don’t mean ‘just’ in a dismissive sense; perhaps I should have written ‘exclusively’–probably a majority of the people I know are taking medication on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. For a goodly number of them, it’s actually life-sustaining.

    Modern medicine and pharmacology is pretty ineluctably high-tech–and that includes birth control. It’s been written that the biggest chunk of the responsibility for longer life spans is public health and sanitation, not ‘heroic medicine,’ and I believe it. But nevertheless, I think it’s a realistic worry whether the demographic transition to low fertility rates could survive in a ‘peasant culture.’ Like the technological backbone, it may very likely be impossible or impractical as ‘addenda.’

  6. 256
    Bill Duncan says:

    In regard to our use of resources how’s this for ridiculous consumption. Tesco in the UK have started selling water in cans. Yes, plain old water. As if we don’t have taps.

  7. 257
    nigelj says:

    https://qz.com/1349245/the-next-major-innovation-in-batteries-might-be-here/

    Something pretty interesting about a new type of more efficient lithium battery called a lithium metal battery, that is already being sold for use in drones. This is a detailed article on the tech.

    And no I don’t suggest its feasible to have a world full of billions of lithium batteries and drones, because lithium isn’t an infinite resource, however it makes sense to make battery technology as efficient as possible, so we get the most bang out of a given quantity of lithium. We then have to make sure we don’t waste the planets resources on products that add little real value to life. But that’s another story for another day, with many possible answers.

  8. 258
    zebra says:

    #255 Bill Duncan,

    I am one of the 43 million people in the USA whose water supply is a private well. I buy gallon plastic jugs for drinking and cooking from the supermarket because a sufficient treatment system would be way too expensive and troublesome to maintain. The supermarket water is cheap– very unpretentious labeling as “spring water”, but we all know it is from some “tap water” type source.

    I wonder though– are they really selling water in metal cans? What size? This sounds like some kind of prepper craziness.

  9. 259

    #256, nigel–

    Yes, I saw a piece on those batteries. The crucial bit, IMO, was the energy density claimed. If they pan out commercially–ie., if their costs can be lowered sufficiently to work for non-niche applications, and if they can be coaxed and tweaked to achieve many more than the current 50 or so discharge cycles–they would offer very practical storage performance for electric aviation more generally.

    As you say, that still does leave the question of wider, longer-term social utility TBD.

  10. 260
    John Kelly says:

    I have a few thoughts on the Jem Bendell paper. First, while he’s not a climate scientist, his work seems to have been at the intersection of advancements and change with economies, which makes him perhaps well suited to see impacts on societies that escape others. So, to me, the idea that he’s concerned is disconcerting.

    Second, I was disappointed in his huge leap from very concerning recent data to inevitable near-term social collapse. I read and then re-read to see if I missed it, but there’s no indication of how or why this happens. Based on his methane discussion, I suspect he thinks an instantaneous methane bomb is going to off, leading to temps rocketing higher. While that’s possible (moving way beyond my authority here), I wonder about the timeframes. Something that seems instantaneous in the geologic record may have taken 100, 1000 or 10000 years.

    Third, while we know very well the energy being added to the system, and pretty well (in broad brush strokes) the climatological implications (higher ocean and atmospheric temperatures, melting ice, etc.), one tipping point that Mr. Bendell seems to feel attuned to that remains a mystery is the societal one, that which tips us over into collapse. With modern societies in the developed world so interconnected, I don’t doubt that a large enough shock could make it all happen quickly. For instance, when the delivery truck doesn’t show up at the grocery store, where are the vast majority of people going to get food? Likewise, when the power goes out and the water stops flowing. To top it all off, and I know this has been pointed out here before, the current crop of humans, at least in the West, is the group least capable of surviving a non-technological world in the history of human-kind. But we can text.

  11. 261
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @255, yes modern medicine and high technology are integrated together. I have a long list of health issues, none life threatening, but they require medication, and without this my quality of life would plummet. Perhaps this is why I’m less than enthusiastic about low tech philosophies. I hadn’t considered this before!

    I’m not prepared to sacrifice this particular aspect of my quality of life for future generations, especially when it’s not clear that they would gain much benefit. I’m prepeared however to sacrifice some things and keep consumption of scare resources reasonably minimal where it makes some sense. For example I drive a small car when I could afford something much larger if I wanted. I do it partly also because of the climate problem.

    Coming back to pharmeceuticals, they do not use massive quantities of metals anyway, so wheres the problem for people like Killian? They are another example of complexity that is not actually ‘unsustainable’ if one defines sustainablity in commonsense terms. Medecines do use non renewable fossil fuel compounds of course, but they use small quantities, and are arguably the ‘right’ use of fossil fuels.

    The issue then is how does society maintain a level of technology like pharmaceuticals? While I see many problems with capitalism, I dont see how we maintain modern medecine and continue to improve it without some form of capitalism, competition and free markets. Theres a huge risk of some form of shared ownership or other alternative leading to stagnation and all sorts of problems. Tell me if you think I’m wrong.

    I hasten to add I’m not some libertarian right winger. I support public education and healthcare for example, but communal and socialised forms of ownership of manufacturing mostly has a poor history in the modern era. Perhaps we could learn to do this on small scale of worker cooperative ownership, as opposed to “state owned” manufacturing as such, however I’m not hugely persuaded.

  12. 262
    alan2102 says:

    251 Hank Roberts 8 Aug 2018 at 9:11 AM
    “I wish the self-styled geniuses here all the luck in the world getting their ideas adopted. Proclaiming them here seems less productive.”

    Hank reflects here a deep thread in the American ethos: anti-intellectualism. “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” To which the best answer is: “If you’re so rich, why aren’t you smart?” Different skill sets, different roles.

    Ideas require a great deal of thought, discussion, more thought, more discussion, extensive modification, and still more thought and discussion, before they become ready for adoption. And even then, the people doing the thinking and discussing are seldom in a position to do any adopting. Different skill sets, different roles. All part of a process that is lost on anti-intellectual minds.

    One of America’s biggest problems has always been too strong of a bias for action over thought and discussion, which results in a mess. We didn’t think things through very well, nor discuss them, before building a massive oil-burning CO2-belching culture, did we?

    Too much action; not enough theory.

  13. 263
    alan2102 says:

    Al Bundy 7 Aug 2018 — “we’ve got to figure out how to get humanity to use all their time in a non destructive fashion.”

    That’s a simple one. Simple, but not easy. Abolish capitalism. Sequester the psychopaths. Establish an anarcho-communist, ecological and empathic classless society devoted to art, science, learning, spiritual development, post-modern permaculture (or even the Killian-esque pre-modern/luddite variety, if anyone is interested in it), getting high with family and friends, cooking gourmet vegetarian meals, practicing birth control, making stupid videos, and aimlessly puttering around the backyard and shop. Lots and lots of fun, fulfillment, communion, worship, joyful work and play, meaningful self-expression, and creation of novel and beautiful things and experiences, for everyone, forever.

    Hank Roberts may not approve, but I think it a good idea to spend a little bit of time every week, (just a little bit), imagineering a great future for everyone. Everything starts with an IDEA, a vision, even before the discussion begins, let alone adoption. And for every one of us with a vision, there are a hundred without. We have to make up the deficit, for without a vision, the people perish — and that’s what is happening, right now.

  14. 264
    Hank Roberts says:

    More rivets missing
    https://www.google.com/search?q=ecology+missing+rivets

    +—————————————–+
    | Why The Summer Sound Of Noisy Crickets Is Growing Fainter
    | https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/08/10/0238239
    +—————————————-+

    [0]Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the [1]following story:

    […] Because the crooning of the crickets has quietened in recent years and may be becoming a thing of the past. There is strong evidence that large numbers of crickets and grasshoppers (known, along with mantises, earwigs and cockroaches as the “Orthoptera”) are declining across Europe. [2]A 2017 review of European species showed that over 30% of the 1,000 European species were in decline while only 3% were increasing. As with many insects, we simply don’t know what is happening to most of the rest.

    The problem is that recent work has suggested that all insect species, including Orthoptera, are declining – the so-called “insect Armageddon.”

    A 2017 study found that the abundance of flying insects has plunged by 75% over the past 25 years. One member of the study team, Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University, said at the time: “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline.”

    ——————————————

    [3]Original Submission

    Discuss this story at: https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=18/08/10/0238239

    Links:
    0. https://soylentnews.org/~Arthur+T+Knackerbracket
    1. https://phys.org/news/2018-08-summer-noisy-crickets-fainter.html
    2. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/redlist/orthoptera/summary.htm?dm_i=2QBL,E62V,2KAHDP,1FRJW,1
    3. https://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=28336

  15. 265
    Killian says:

    Re #263 alan2102 said or even the Killian-esque pre-modern/luddite

    Stop lying.

    1. Your comment shows you do not understand what the Luddite movement was. it was not anti-machinery and neither am I. That is clearly established.

    Educate your ignorant self.

    2. If you think a permaculture design would end up being able to be described that way, then you don’t understand permaculture.

    So stop lying. Stop claiming permaculture when you so clearly are not a practitioner, not trained, not educated in the subject.

    And stop lying.

  16. 266
    Killian says:

    Re #261 nigelj said Kevin McKinney @255, yes modern medicine and high technology are integrated together…

    Coming back to pharmeceuticals, they do not use massive quantities of metals anyway, so wheres the problem for people like Killian?

    The only problem I have is your lie. But your ignorance is also an issue if you think the only thing making pharmaceuticals unsustainable as currently practiced is the use of metals.

    I have, regardless, never stated an opposition to pharmaceuticals in general. Ever. not one time in my entire life. In fact, I am on record, repeatedly, to you, as saying one of the things we need to spend some of our unsustainable resources on even as we simplify is the medical system.

    What, problem, then, are you speaking of? Other than the one you are lying about, which you made up?

  17. 267
    Killian says:

    Re #241 nigelj said Killian @234

    “Ships existed long before modern machinery. highly functional buildings for myriad climates, too. And many other things. Fire and a big hammer can forge any metal.”

    So in other words we are expected to build sail boats out of hand made tools and very, very simple machines like the ancient Greeks for example.

    Why the hell not? Why do you *need* anything more? But I cannot tell you what would be sustainable where you are. How many times do I have to tell you that? I can only tell you what is or is not sustainable. If you can make tech sustainable, please do. I have never said otherwise. But you can’t, so it is stupid to keep destroying our home for creature comfort. If someday they can, great.

    But the real problem with your question is that it is not sincere. It is an implication, oft repeated by you, so it is dishonest.

    I have repeatedly explained this. You pretending I haven’t is just *another* prevarication. You intentionally leave out reuse. How long will all the tools, from as simple as a nail to as complex as a bullet train, we use be useful if we care for them, husband them carefully? You intentionally leave out re-purposing. If a train car becomes to fragile for movement, is it useless as a home, a store, a barn or…? You intentionally leave out recycling, which I have said – ad nauseum, so yet another intentionally misleading statement from you – we should do. How do the words, “It’s currently unsustainable,” equal, “We cannot recycle anything?” Hmmm? They do not.

    You intentionally leave out my suggestion for deep simplicity except in communications, medical systems transport and R&D and long-term planning to extract resources from the solar system, then you, et al., call me a Luddite/claim I said we should all live deprived, “peasant” lives. Unethical behavior. Aka, lying.

    And I have repeated probably hundreds of times, because of disgusting, misleading statements and falsely polite, intentionally misleading questions like the ones you use in your post, that simplicity does not require deprivation. It does not require sacrificing half the planet or any fraction of it. It does not include any sort of hate of technology or complexity. But it IS a state of a system that is non-negotiable in its underlying principles, in its limits. And we have precious little time to get there so, yes, *getting there* will be harder than it needed to be, and people like you are making it harder still be imposing your concepts onto the natural world and injecting your ignorance into a conversation you have no useful reason to be part of other than as a reader, perhaps asking an occasional question. Hey, I believe we must go to an egalitarian system of decision making, so, hey, throw it in there, buddy, but understand the harm you do because you speak when you should be listening – and lie about what those who understand more fully than you have said.

    This is pretty much peasant culture

    Bull. Your ignorance of that which you speak about is again on display. Peasants building ships. :-)

    Whatever you say.

    But, hey, let’s go with lying crap for just a moment. Assume what I suggest – egalitarian, simplified, slower, highly social, healthy, happy, sustainable – meets some stupid-assed modern idea called “peasant culture.” Tell me, what is it that makes the “peasant culture” so unbearable? For example, was Oetzi miserable over his 40 or so years? Have the Sa’an been miserable these tens of thousands of years? The aboriginal Australians? Were the Cherokee? The Blackfoot? The Cree? The people of pre-Columbian Amazonia?

    Why do you use derogatory – and you absolutely are using it with negative connotations, so don’t complicate things by denying so – terms for such people? Or are they somehow above your use of “peasant culture” to denigrate sustainability?

    So, clearly, please, articulate what makes “peasant culture” so unbearable? Were the Amazonian people, and those that are still there, isolated, peasants? If so, are you saying their way of life is shit, (or is your ignorance the problem here?) Are they peasants and the Middle Ages “peasants”, too? Or are they qualitatively different? Is one a peasant, the others not? If not, why not? If so, why?

    Let me save you the trouble. What might be different? Weeeeeeelllll, Amazonians (as distinct from unsustainable cultures such as the Inca, Maya, etc.,) appear to have been freely associating human beings who by turns defended against or welcomed the first Europeans to navigate the Amazon. (Look it up.)

    On the other hand, during exactly the same era, European “peasants”…:

    Is there any reason to believe that the material factors that define one’s status as “peasant” are more fundamental to consciousness than the cultural or ethnic factors having to do with one’s immediate social milieu? Does the peasantry constitute a distinct social group?

    There are some shared features of peasant experience that would provide a partial answer to this question. First is the common experience of insecurity. Farmers are more vulnerable than most economic groups to the vagaries of weather, water, and soil.

    [Sure. But does unlucky weather make one peasant? And why were they so vulnerable? Where were their 8 years of grain, like the Sa’an (iirc) tended to keep on hand? Oh, might it be because…]

    Second is the fact of surplus extraction.

    [Whoop! There it go!]

    …the state and other powerful agents in society have an interest in extracting part of the peasant’s surplus from him/her. This occurs through rent, interest, and taxation. And it is a commonplace that the peasant’s life is often held hostage to predatory surplus extraction.

    And…. there it went. You may pretend to know what permaculture is, but don’t. You demonstrate this over and over. A key element is return of surplus to the system. If you remove surplus, then over time depletion occurs and surplus ends, then deprivation begins. Basic physics and thermodynamics: Keep taking more than you put in, things go very poorly indeed.

    So, is “peasant,” in the sense you mean it, a way of life, chosen, filled with deprivation, or is it a way of life, chosen, that is then preyed upon to reduce the majority’s life to subsistence and deprivation?

    Rhetorical. The peasants you speak of are created by the taking of resources by the lazy.

    You are being dishonest when you say I suggest a peasant culture when I suggest a sustainable one, but there is at least some ignorance in your reasoning: You clearly believe simple is horrible because you associate it with the *idea* of peasantry. Sadly for you, what creates a peasantry is what *you* espouse: Hierarchy, ownership and hoarding. You are the peasantry advocate.

    You cannot call a regenerative, happy culture peasants. They are not. They are rational, intelligent, adaptive, masters of their domains, and, quite often reject the “western” world’s true peasantry of scrounging for dollars from lords, never free to pursue what one would truly wish to do. They think us fools. They see a damn being built and know it’s stupid to do so. There is no need for debate: Destroy the river, destroy life.

    (unless you are one of the wealthy ruling elite). This is a harsh life by any measure.

    I’ll go tell the remaining regenerative cultures they are poor, unhappy sots who should move to the city because you have declared them peasants.

    I think…

    What you think is immaterial. You understand almost nothing. Even the bits and pieces confuse you. The very fact that unsustainable leads to death and destruction at some future point escapes you and allows you to say things like what I deleted above. You literally think because you don’t want to or because people won’t want to you don’t *have to.* The risk is going to just evaporate away.

    I’d say you’re insane, but that would be impolite… right?

  18. 268
    Al Bundy says:

    Zebra,
    Thank you. I am rather proud of my writing. My first book was an ex post facto piece called “Quantum Magic part 1”. The second is underway, obviously “Quantum Magic part 2”

    Both attempt to write the most fantastimacal tales using easily verifiable facts. QM1 included 21 deaths personally related to my childhood and early adulthood. I even wove the sun once and Sputnik twice into the tale. (Taking out two of the top five top secret US military projects via intimately personal techniques should send shivers down readers’ spines) The premise is that I’m “The Weaver” – and no, I’m not crazy; I’m a writer looking to make one Hell of a mark.

    Hopefully, my writing will combine with my inventions to help save the world. Otherwise all those folks died in vain.
    —-

    Nigel,
    I agree, and yes, I am very aware. As I said, sustainability is a journey.

  19. 269
    Hank Roberts says:

    The only problem I have is your lie. But your ignorance is also an issue

    http://www.barbneal.com/the-collection/looney-tunes/foghorn-leghorn/

  20. 270
    nigelj says:

    Killian @267, you are being contradictory, and just don’t make much sense to me. A few days ago you were ranting about how unsustainable and complicated modern technology was, and you quoted the use of medieval level technology, and so I thought you had abandoned the idea of modern technology.

    Now you are saying basically all modern technology is acceptable (communications, transport medical technology etc) and we don’t need to be poor peasants. Seriously dude not all your ideas are bad, but plenty are seriously contradictory, flawed and incoherent.

  21. 271
    Hank Roberts says:

    So in other words we are expected to build sail boats out of hand made tools and very, very simple machines like the ancient Greeks for example.

    Why the hell not? Why do you *need* anything more?

    Remember the problem with hand built log cabins going cattywampus and falling over?
    https://www.google.com/search?q=land+where+no+cabins+fall+lyrics

    And the huge waste of wood in early sawmills?
    https://www.google.com/search?q=sawmill+narrow+kerf+blade

    The advanced technology that produced extremely thin saw blades that cut a narrow kerf — and so making a lot less sawdust — is an example worth contemplating for those who imagine the early hand tools are the most sustainable technology.

  22. 272
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian,
    How much would you charge me for a quarter ounce of what you smoked before your last rant? (But skip the meth and LSD or whatever short circuited the post.) You started this (or was it last) month with a call for civility, but here you are spouting little more than insults.

    OK, let’s assume Nigel doesn’t understand you. (This is easy enough because you certainly evade my comprehension) So, obviously the proper response would be to provide data, not insults.

    EXPLAIN YOURSELF, duh

    Nigel is trying very politely to see you as a rational actor. Me, I think you’re addled.

    You have constantly taken the side of extreme primitivism. Now you’re saying that super high tech factories are the way to go? I need a lawyer so I can sue this turnip for intellectual whiplash…

    To get to productivity, answer the damn question, “What is rust and are smelters et al a part of your vision?” Or are you advocating Mad Max?

    A simple friggin question. Don’t respond with insults, respond with your vision.

  23. 273
  24. 274
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @272, ha ha ha. Not lsd or meth, that would be too “high tech”. Probably organically gown home brew alcohol.

    But I think we all agree we have to use less resources, and I don’t even own a dishwasher for example. But for me I don’t like manual labour much, or communal living or severe reductions in technology and I certainly wont be reducing my use to that extent.

  25. 275
    zebra says:

    #271 Hank Roberts,

    Having schooled Killian in the past on the finer points of using wood, I am obliged to offer some correction on your comment as well. It’s really about context, economics, convenience, and so on. I have both thin and thick kerf circular saw blades, and neither is universally superior to the other– it really depends on the task at hand. If I had a giant studio and lots of money, I would have multiple table saws with different blades to avoid the hassle of changing.

    I made a comment earlier about the ratio of population to resources. If you had a stable world population of 300 million humans, there would be lots and lots of trees. And, in such a situation, Mike Roddy’s suggestion about not building with 2×4 would probably be the norm, because there would not be any money in constantly putting up cheap tract houses. So, creating a bit more sawdust at the mill would not be a problem; it could always be used to make wood pellets for heating anyway.

    My point, of course, is that as unhelpful as Killian’s ramblings might be in specific concrete terms, we can ourselves speculate on the details of some different paradigms for a sustainable future. The mix of technology and resource use is going to develop based on underlying fundamentals. It would be nice if people were willing to have that kind of discussion rather than pointing out over and over that K is not really saying anything.

  26. 276
  27. 277
    nigelj says:

    I’m curious about how we best define sustainability. A simple google search turns up definitions like leaving the planet in good condition for future generations, and minimising pollution. These are fine, but don’t tell us much fine grained detail about how sustainable specific materials and processes are. We need something practical, specific and quantitative, and not too arcane or philosophical.

    Here’s my definition. I think you can go further and categorise all materials as high, medium or low sustainability depending on a combination of their ability to be recycled, reused, or replanted, so timber would be highly sustainable, because trees can be planted over and over. Metals would be medium sustainability because they can be recycled, but there’s some loss of material in the process.

    Oil and coal would be low sustainability, because their products of combustion become so dispersed and there’s the climate change problem. Fissionable materials like uranium would be about zero sustainability because of the process of nuclear fission.

    I don’t think anything is perfectly sustainable, because its possible the entire universe will eventually come to an end. So we have options within the boundaries of nothing being perfectly sustainable and near zero sustainability.

    You then have to consider the size of reserves of raw materials. Some are so plentiful that this makes these materials sustainable for all practical purposes regardless of how they are used and whether they can be recycled like stone and sand. So you could rank sustainability as a combination of ability to be recycled and size of reserves of materials.

    Just a thought. Has anyone got a better definition?

  28. 278
    JRClark says:

    The modern socio-economic system (socio-Darwinistic system) is built-on opportunism; and which is living on borrowed time by denying the truth of our current unsustainable situation. Thus, any post-collapse society will need restore trust in sustainable truths:

    Title: “A philosopher explains America’s “post-truth” problem”

    https://www.vox.com/2018/8/14/17661430/trump-post-truth-politics-philosophy-simon-blackburn

    Extract: “To get some answers, I reached out to Simon Blackburn, a philosophy professor at Cambridge University and the author of On Truth. We talked about what’s misleading about the phrase “post-truth,” and why the real problem may stem from a lack of trust.”

    For a start any post-collapse society can redefine the term ‘post-truth’ to mean seeing things from multiple different points of view to order to gain insight on the truth of a constantly changing world/universe.

    Second, a post-collapse society can appreciate that time is a derived parameter in a Holographic/Quantum/String-Theory Universe; which means that change is a function of true free will (not preconditioned free will).

    responses/comments to Adapting to the Anthropocene https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1308.msg167310.html#msg167310

  29. 279
    Carrie says:

    Building the resilience of the reef
    “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know … and I never envisioned we were going to be talking about restoration like we are now in my life time, but we are” (rough quote)

    A survey this year from the Australian Institute of Marine Science reported huge areas of bleached coral on the reef. Corals can regenerate but the frequency of climate events is severely testing their ability to bounce back. So reef scientists are searching for new ways to build resilience.
    Recorded 8 May 2018 Climate Adaptation Conference.
    Speaker David Wachenfeld Chief Scientist Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (audio)
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/building-the-resilience-of-the-reef/10098660

    I heard saw recently someone mention that Glacier Park US/Canada used to have 250 (?) separate glaciers a hundred years ago, and now there’s less than 30.

    Glaciers disappear as the globe heats up
    As negotiators sat down to hammer out a deal at the Paris Climate Talks, they watched live images of melting glaciers. Those images came from Tim Jarvis and his team who were on the top of mountain peaks at the equator. These mountains have glaciers which will disappear within twenty-five years unless we slow down climate change. 25Zero The Bettison and James Oration recorded 15 July 2018 Adelaide Festival of Ideas
    Speaker Tim Jarvis environmental scientist and explorer
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/glaciers-disappear-as-the-globe-heats-up/10094546

  30. 280
    Carrie says:

    correction – In 1850, there were 150 glaciers in the area now known as Glacier National Park. Today there are 26. They’ve been there for 7,000 years — but in just a few decades, the glaciers of Glacier National Park will almost surely be gone.

  31. 281
    mike says:

    Sustainability? how about when overshoot day does not occur before December 31st?
    https://www.overshootday.org/about-earth-overshoot-day/

  32. 282

    zebra, #275–

    ..we can ourselves speculate on the details of some different paradigms for a sustainable future. The mix of technology and resource use is going to develop based on underlying fundamentals.

    I agree whole-heartedly. I think that all kinds of speculation–both imaginative and informed, by preference–about what a sustainable world would be extremely helpful. You can’t build it without imagining it first (even if it usually happens that the building process modifies your prior imaginings.)

    And, IMO, we desperately need visions of what ‘sustainable’ is, means, and looks like.

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