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Sigmetnow

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Better Tomorrows
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:26:52 AM »
Many of the discussions about "the future" on this forum seem to be about "BAU until we all die," or "Global collapse now, then we die."  Perhaps we need a separate thread like this where other, more positive scenarios can be considered?  Think of it as science fiction if you wish.   If necessary, this thread can be moved over next to the nice poetry and art items.  :-)

Climate change is happening; it's caused by the burning of fossil fuels;  we must stop using fossil fuels as quickly as possible;  climate change is going to get much worse;  it's going to be horribly expensive to act on;  the developing world needs help;  life as we know in the developed world will definitely change -- BUT -- there are still many different paths out of this scenario!  In the early 1930s, did anyone foresee disparate countries coming together to fight a "world" war?  Or could they guess that a huge chunk of the US manufacturing sector would be turned over to the war effort, practically overnight?  Or that rationing and mandatory blackouts would happen?  Given the unpredictability of humankind, I do not believe that the total collapse of civilization due to climate change is inevitable. 


The future scenario I would like to share is based on known, improving technology.  I am suggesting big changes, a new "valence state," if you will, as a result of fighting this global climate war.  It will be a lower energy state, because we won't have anywhere near the amount of power we got from fossil fuels -- but we won’t need that much!   As we totally revamp the energy, food and industrial sectors, it will make sense to revise social and economic approaches, as well.  A less materialistic and less capitalist state only makes sense.

Here’s how I see it:

1). Income.  Everyone is paid a monthly living wage.  So, since there's no need to be employed in order to live comfortably, unnecessary jobs (e.g., manufacturing, and most food production and service) can be eliminated.  People will work at what they love, which might be in government, or service, or farming; or they might be an artist, or they may do nothing at all.  
http://www.salon.com/2013/10/11/rather_than_savage_cuts_switzerland_considers_star_trek_economics/

2). Food.  Most cropland and herds have been demolished by climate change.  As traditional food prices skyrocket, 3D food printers take their place in every village, restaurant, household.  Big Ag turns to krill, algae, and insect sources to supply the base food mix needed for food printers.  No longer does feeding the world depend on large tracts of arable land and just the right kind of weather.  Environments can start to heal.  Small, sustainable farms exist where the climate permits.

www.extremetech.com/extreme/156355-nasa-funds-3d-food-printer-to-combat-hunger-in-space-and-on-earth

3) Power.  Fossil fuels were eliminated.  Renewable energy and storage continue to become more efficient.  New buildings are self-sustaining. Between power cutbacks and ubiquitous 3D printers, most manufacturing plants closed.  The remaining "Industry" no longer requires large amounts of power from a national grid.  People discover they do just fine without a lot of "stuff", particularly when they can print what they need, when they need it.

www.greeningtheblue.org/news/new-unfccc-hq-renovations-reduce-emissions

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/375737311641628672/photo/1

gizmodo.com/this-printer-spits-out-10-meters-of-solar-panel-every-m-508966042

www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-10/csiro-makes-brisbane-girl-a-titanium-dragon/5194636

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/02/06/3-d-printer-creates-organ-tissue/?hpt=us_bn8


4). Everything is recycled.  “Trash is the new gold.”

5). Land once used for farming can now be used for housing, helping to reduce overcrowding.  A typical house or apartment is "smart" and needs no extra devices like lamps, TVs, clock radios or fans. It probably has a food printer, but it has no kitchen or laundry.  The power it requires is small and is generated locally; water is heated with renewables and is recycled.  Water that would once have been used for irrigation or energy or manufacturing can now be supplied for (efficient) personal use.

6).  Cars.  Yes, there will be cars!  And trucks!  Not many, mostly commercial, and all-electric.  Lots of public transportation methods, and residential/work/play communities that enourage walking and biking.


I hope others will post additional positive possibilities.  Food for Thought.
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ccgwebmaster

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 01:53:50 AM »
Many of the discussions about "the future" on this forum seem to be about "BAU until we all die," or "Global collapse now, then we die."  Perhaps we need a separate thread like this where other, more positive scenarios can be considered?  Think of it as science fiction if you wish.   If necessary, this thread can be moved over next to the nice poetry and art items.  :-)

Well, I'm trying to push a  "we collapse, mostly die, then we build something better" line of thinking - but it isn't really meant to be science-fiction... does that rule it out of this thread? I mean - I'm arguing it's a positive way of looking at it - as positive as my view of reality will permit anyway...

Neven

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 12:02:56 PM »
I had been thinking about opening a what-if-everything-isn't-hopeless-thread, so thanks for doing this, Sigmetnow.

The 3D printing stuff sounds a bit like Soylent Green to me.  :D

An economic system that doesn't revolve around perpetually growing GDP, limits to how much one can own and earn, a minimum living wage, a switch from agriculture to horticulture, de-urbanisation, decentralised information and energy networks, harvesting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, healthier nutrition with a completely different emphasis on meat and fish, decadal population decline: all elements of a much healthier societal set-up, and right in the middle of fast forward (growth at all costs) and rewind (back to the middle ages doom), the best of both the old and the new actually.

But it's all theory. How to get there in practice, without totalitarian measures? We need a change in paradigm Shared Humanity talks about in another thread. How do we get the change in paradigm? When enough people realize that the current paradigm cannot continue. How do we do this? By showing the limits (like, for instance, Arctic sea ice) AND showing the root cause AND providing solutions and a vision.

Easy!  ;D
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Shared Humanity

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2014, 04:29:38 PM »
I would like to voice my support for a better tomorrow. Where do I sign up?  :)

Sigmetnow

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2014, 01:31:04 PM »
Well, I'm trying to push a  "we collapse, mostly die, then we build something better" line of thinking - but it isn't really meant to be science-fiction... does that rule it out of this thread? I mean - I'm arguing it's a positive way of looking at it - as positive as my view of reality will permit anyway.

True, I prefer the "we collapse and mostly die if we don't move hard and fast on this, right now" approach, but many people do need to know the worst that could happen, to get them moving.  I purposely haven't described the details of How all the good stuff will come about; as I said, there are many possible paths.  Yours would be one.

The 3D printing stuff sounds a bit like Soylent Green to me.  :D 

Well, I figure they'll need the algae for the green color, if nothing else....  ;)

But it's all theory. How to get there in practice, without totalitarian measures? We need a change in paradigm Shared Humanity talks about in another thread. How do we get the change in paradigm? When enough people realize that the current paradigm cannot continue. How do we do this? By showing the limits (like, for instance, Arctic sea ice) AND showing the root cause AND providing solutions and a vision.

Knowing details of the disaster, like the Arctic Sea Ice, and sea level rise, and the effects of CO2, are absolutely part of the solution.  I ply my social media friends with articles on climate change pretty much every day.  And several friends have gone so far as to say they find them interesting.   :D

Envisioning a healthy future is easy for me.  "How Do We Get There," particularly globally, governmentally, is hard for me to see, but there must be others who can show the way.  (Would anyone vote for a dispassionate scientist for Planetary President?)

I would like to voice my support for a better tomorrow. Where do I sign up?  :)

I think you just did -- thanks!!!


I guess my overarching message is:  if the only possible futures shown to people are "gloom and doom", why the heck would anyone lift a finger to make any changes?

Whereas, folks who care nothing about global warming will say, "You guys work out all that fossil fuel stuff -- I just want one of those new smart houses with no utility bills and an electric car I will charge off of the sun!" 

That's the momentum we need.

The world requires urgent, massive change for the future.  Presenting alternative views -- what some would call science fiction (others, "predictive history") is vital to show the way!
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Shared Humanity

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2014, 05:17:34 PM »

But it's all theory. How to get there in practice, without totalitarian measures? We need a change in paradigm Shared Humanity talks about in another thread. How do we get the change in paradigm? When enough people realize that the current paradigm cannot continue. How do we do this? By showing the limits (like, for instance, Arctic sea ice) AND showing the root cause AND providing solutions and a vision.

Easy!  ;D


What if I were to say that you are already doing it?

Thomas S. Kuhn wrote a seminal work, "The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions". In it he laid out how a particular firmly held belief in science behaves when evidence mounts that the belief is false. There is not a gradual evolution in understanding. Proponents of the conventional understanding will battle with, explain away and dispense of the evidence that  suggests they are wrong. This continues until there occurs a rapid transition to the new understanding. Einstein and his contemporaries did this in the field  of physics.

So, how do you change firmly held beliefs or paradigms? Thomas Kuhn has a lot to say about this.

'You keep pointing out the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm. You keep speaking and acting, loudly and with assurance. You insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power. You don't waste time with reactionaries; rather, you work with active change agents and with the vast middle ground of people who are open minded.'

I want to thank you for taking the lead in this with regard to climate change. We need to do the same with regard to the belief system we hold regarding our global economic system.

We are discussing it on this thread.

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,723.200.html#lastPost

Jim Hunt

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2014, 08:15:45 PM »
Well, I'm both a born optimist and an ageing engineering hippie. I still like the sound of some of Bucky Fuller's further out ideas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephemeralization

Do more and more with less and less!


Or how about this one? http://www.geni.org/

How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 12:12:28 AM by Jim Hunt »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2014, 04:54:59 AM »
Well, I'm trying to push a  "we collapse, mostly die, then we build something better" line of thinking - but it isn't really meant to be science-fiction... does that rule it out of this thread? I mean - I'm arguing it's a positive way of looking at it - as positive as my view of reality will permit anyway.

True, I prefer the "we collapse and mostly die if we don't move hard and fast on this, right now" approach, but many people do need to know the worst that could happen, to get them moving.  I purposely haven't described the details of How all the good stuff will come about; as I said, there are many possible paths.  Yours would be one.

I'm glad you said that, because I think there is actually quite a lot of intellectual overlap between the idea of transformation and post collapse recovery (regardless of the number of people who rush to call the latter doomerism). The ultimate end goal has to be the same in either case - and some aspects of the journey are certainly common too (for instance both paths require a low impact lifestyle implemented as a priority).

I don't think the challenge is actually to find answers and solutions to our problems - that's the easy bit in a way (many of them are blatantly obvious and discussed many times on this forum and in other places).

The challenge is how to make it work in the context of human nature, and I can't say I have any great ideas yet - not so much on the making it work bit - but the making it work indefinitely bit. I need more brain cells...

prometheus

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2014, 10:23:03 AM »

The challenge is how to make it work in the context of human nature, and I can't say I have any great ideas yet - not so much on the making it work bit - but the making it work indefinitely bit. I need more brain cells...
I get hung up on the indefinite part of sustainability, too. With our current options for renewable energy and food production, relying solely on processes that have no (or sustainably small) impacts would put us in a pretty bleak situation.

The optimist in me says that our sustainable options for energy and food will grow in time, however, even though I may not be prescient enough to predict exactly how right now. Long term solutions need to be found, but we don't need to know what they are right now to start working on them.

Absolute sustainability right now is likely out of the question, but that doesn't have to mean we are necessarily doomed. Working on solutions to reduce our impacts in ways that will be acceptable to most people now is still a good start (and the only viable one), and we can work from there. Solar might not have a great EROEI now, but it will improve as we deploy more. There is still lots of room for breakthroughs in the cost and efficiency of renewables. Here's a quote from the solar energy article of wikipedia:
The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth's non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined

I don't know how we can access and use all of that energy, and surely we can't even harness a sizeable fraction of it without disrupting climate and ecosystems, but there's so much energy there we only need a tiny portion. There's a lot of room for growth, in other words.
To sum up my position: working with people and within the system to reduce our collective ecological footprint may be too little too late to avoid serious negative consequences, but trying to force drastic cuts now will only backfire and force BAU to become reality, because people will reject them outright. In the end, that will be much worse. We don't have to know the ultimate solution(s) now in order to start working on the problems facing us. There's still a lot of room for improvement, so we aren't all necessarily doomed just yet.

JackTaylor

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2014, 11:20:59 AM »
Many of the discussions about "the future" on this forum seem to be about "BAU until we all die," or "Global collapse now, then we die."  Perhaps we need a separate thread like this where other, more positive scenarios can be considered?  ~~

Climate change is happening; it's caused by the burning of fossil fuels;  we must stop using fossil fuels as quickly as possible;  climate change is going to get much worse;  it's going to be horribly expensive to act on;  the developing world needs help;  life as we know in the developed world will definitely change -- BUT --
~~
 I do not believe that the total collapse of civilization due to climate change is inevitable. 

Sig,

Great to see you're not falling for http://www.ozpolitic.com/articles/logical-fallacies.html#argumentum ad populum

Hey, for a lot of us, our diet may change to eating "tropical foods" grown - produced in Canada and Siberia, but I do not believe they'll kill us.

Will there be a discovery for economical extraction of Nitrogen from 'thin air' for a fertilizer component?  (to reduce/eliminate fossil fuel sourcing) - think positive, in a hundred years will the world be exploding like the Hindenburg due to too much Hydrogen production - or will there a lack of Oxygen to prevent combustion - or will CO2 (ghg) smother/extinguish everything.

Also - some more along these lines:

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/512771/doomsday-recalculation-gives-humanity-greater-chance-of-long-term-survival/

Please forgive my 'tongue-in-cheek' on this one
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2013/12/20/misguided-solutions-well-intentioned-eco-doomers/#.Uyq9jKhdWSp

I agree with you and truly believe AGW is very bad for us - but not the end of us.
Dammed if I going to roll-over and let it fry me.  Please pass the "Lady Fingers" cooked in Palm Oil.

icefest

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 11:23:24 AM »
On the topic of  collapse and rebuilding, has anyone read the novel "A Mote in Gods Eye"?

A great sci-fi novel detailing a planetary civilisation which goes through endless recovery/collapse cycles.

It's similar to 'Nightfall' but has a (to me) more plausible backstory.
Open other end.

prometheus

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2014, 11:37:24 AM »

I agree with you and truly believe AGW is very bad for us - but not the end of us.
Dammed if I going to roll-over and let it fry me.  Please pass the "Lady Fingers" cooked in Palm Oil.
Okra has to be my all-time favorite veggie. Fried, boiled, pickled, raw, in stews, any way of cooking it works for me. They make a lot of slime if you boil the pods, but that just makes 'em go down easier, mm-mmm. I wouldn't complain if I was "forced" to eat much more of it. :)

Plus the plants are prodigious producers in the right climate; they're like squash or zucchini that way. It's definitely a heat loving plant; I grew a bunch of it when I lived in Louisiana, but I tried growing it in Colorado and only got two bitter tasting pods. :/ Its seeds have quite a high oil content as well, and could be a useful source of biofuel.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 11:44:57 AM by prometheus »

JackTaylor

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2014, 12:40:54 PM »
prometheus,

If I was still involved in commodities, would you consider it wise for me to try source my yam and taro root shipments out of Wyoming/Montana?

It ain't gumbo if it ain't got okra in it. 
I still prefer it chopped with a light dusting of seasoned corn meal/flour batter and fried in a big-ole cast iron skillet.

BTW, why do some people turn-up their nose at grits but scoff up polenta as a gourmet dish?

prometheus

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2014, 03:18:54 PM »
prometheus,

If I was still involved in commodities, would you consider it wise for me to try source my yam and taro root shipments out of Wyoming/Montana?
No? I'm not sure why you'd ask that, I doubt they'd do very well outside of the tropics but you already know that. If you're poking fun at me trying to grow okra in colorado, fair enough but like I said, I like the vegetable and wanted to see if I could do it. I tried it in a greenhouse with just a few plants, but the nights still got too cold, I think. Gardening is just a hobby for me, anyway, so no great loss in the end. Some kinds of chillies don't do that well here, either; sometimes I miss the South...

As for why people grits and polenta hold such different places in (many) people's minds, who knows? A product of yankee enculturation I suppose.  :D


Sigmetnow

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2014, 03:41:14 PM »
....
The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth's non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined

I don't know how we can access and use all of that energy, and surely we can't even harness a sizeable fraction of it without disrupting climate and ecosystems, but there's so much energy there we only need a tiny portion. There's a lot of room for growth, in other words.
....


I love this.  While phasing out FF, we can harness enough energy with renewables to provide what we absolutely need;  as things progress, we will develop new ways to provide the new stuff we want.

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

SATire

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2014, 04:02:31 PM »
I believe a better tomorrow desperately needs a start of thinking today.

A lot of poeple wrote a lot about sustainability - that must be the goal or the better tomorrow is doomed, too.

Some poeple argue, that 100% sustainability is not possible today and a dream. However - let us start to aim at 80% sustainability today and learn step-by-step what it means to life sustainable. Some eremites are sucessful but that is not the path for most of us. But we will have to find a path with sustainability beeing the main number to look at. That is challenging work - but we safe a lot of other challenging work because we do not have to bother GDP or growth or other difficult to achieve numbers anymore. So it will not change much our workload but the measure and the lifestyle.

Furthermore - please do not expect miracles from technology. Technology is only the way we do the things we want to get done and humans have no track record with producing miracles. E.g. 3D printers (I am quite involved in that): They print only what you put in and need some energy for that. For a plastic printer you need to feed it with plastics, a metall printer needs metal powder and a food printer prints the food in its cartridge on your pizza. It does not solve anything but to make it simple to bring something in a desired form. So you still will need to get food for lunch or metall for your fork.

The way to go is to use technology to get the stuff back in circles. There is no waste and there is no place to dump anything. If you need stuff you have to get it from "waste" or from the sun - there will be no other source. That will be the challenge and technology is appreciated to get all our stuff back - including the machines and the solar cells and everything. Step-by-step that is the way to sustainability. If you buy something consider where to place every part and how to get it back to its origin. For most stuff it will be to complicated and you might consider it being more convenient not to buy it at all and do without...

Sigmetnow

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2014, 04:26:15 PM »
SATire,
You said:
The way to go is to use technology to get the stuff back in circles.

Yes!  As I said:
4). Everything is recycled.  “Trash is the new gold.”
Recycling is certainly one of the biggest, most pressing areas in need of new technology....   :)
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2014, 04:49:02 PM »
This just in: people seeking more coverage of climate change and clean energy.

On March 10, Upworthy released the findings of a poll of its readers on what topic they wanted more coverage of -- the number one answer was climate change and clean energy. This is the latest in a trend of new media sources actively working to provide more coverage of global warming, in contrast to traditional media that are providing "shockingly little" coverage to a "critically important issue."  Meanwhile, to receive their news content Americans are turning increasingly away from papers and TV, and towards web-based sources, a term collectively known as "new media."

http://mediamatters.org/mobile/blog/2014/03/18/this-new-media-trend-will-leave-you-optimistic/198513
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JackTaylor

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2014, 10:05:56 PM »
~~ If you're poking fun at me trying to grow okra in colorado ~~
Absolutely NOT.  Trying to be a little light-hearted - yes.

Better Tomorrows ( the future ) hold a change in our diet and as AGW continues to warm things up, Okra fresh from the garden in Colorado will be on a lot of dinner tables.

Since we strayed to foods/eating.

A few of the things I practice for Better Tomorrows:

1. Kill the Cow (it's a movement) - I eat beef only as a last resort type thing;

2. Limit foods with wheat in them - I do not have a gluten intolerance;

3.  Only eat corn-on-the-cob;


ccgwebmaster

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2014, 10:13:53 PM »
The challenge is how to make it work in the context of human nature, and I can't say I have any great ideas yet - not so much on the making it work bit - but the making it work indefinitely bit. I need more brain cells...
I get hung up on the indefinite part of sustainability, too. With our current options for renewable energy and food production, relying solely on processes that have no (or sustainably small) impacts would put us in a pretty bleak situation.

To be clear - I don't see it as necessarily bleak to have a highly sustainable civilisation - potentially even a high tech one (eventually) as I think technology will advance along the lines valued by the dominant ideology. I think the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle work just fine in most cases - and there is great potential to do well - if that is the dominant value adopted by those running the show. I also am discounting modern civilisation as a write off, so the toys of today are of little concern taking the long view.

Unfortunately, where I struggle is when you get into human nature. How do you make that ideology dominant - and indefinitely keep it so? Can another group using a more short term aggressive (and potentially initially favourable in terms of short term competition...) come along and destroy your group and their paradigm?

Can a group within your group rise up and push a new idea - consumption, short termism, myths of unlimited resources (or virtually so), and so on? It isn't that the solutions are hard to find - and not even that it's necessarily impossible to start a civilisation off on that paradigm (especially on smaller scales) - it's how do you keep it running sustainably across thousands of years? How do you anticipate the threats? How do you pre-empt and prevent them?

prometheus

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2014, 04:37:11 AM »
The challenge is how to make it work in the context of human nature, and I can't say I have any great ideas yet - not so much on the making it work bit - but the making it work indefinitely bit. I need more brain cells...
I get hung up on the indefinite part of sustainability, too. With our current options for renewable energy and food production, relying solely on processes that have no (or sustainably small) impacts would put us in a pretty bleak situation.

To be clear - I don't see it as necessarily bleak to have a highly sustainable civilisation - potentially even a high tech one (eventually) as I think technology will advance along the lines valued by the dominant ideology. I think the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle work just fine in most cases - and there is great potential to do well - if that is the dominant value adopted by those running the show. I also am discounting modern civilisation as a write off, so the toys of today are of little concern taking the long view.

Unfortunately, where I struggle is when you get into human nature. How do you make that ideology dominant - and indefinitely keep it so? Can another group using a more short term aggressive (and potentially initially favourable in terms of short term competition...) come along and destroy your group and their paradigm?

Can a group within your group rise up and push a new idea - consumption, short termism, myths of unlimited resources (or virtually so), and so on? It isn't that the solutions are hard to find - and not even that it's necessarily impossible to start a civilisation off on that paradigm (especially on smaller scales) - it's how do you keep it running sustainably across thousands of years? How do you anticipate the threats? How do you pre-empt and prevent them?

I don't know, ccg. I've given up trying to convince other people to change as I've had so little success with it myself. My own attempts at RRR (reduce, reuse, recycle) have been taken as an affront to my family's values. :( They didn't disown me, but they definitely seem disappointed I choose a simpler way of life that in their words "hurts the economy." It's hard for a group that seems to actually be pretty despised by the mainstream (at least here in the USA, the environmentalists) to be able to get anyone to change. My own ignorance of a solution isn't evidence there isn't one, though, so I defer to those wiser in the ways of the world to work on that front.

RRR is definitely a great first step. A necessary course of action. I think providing for free curbside recycling (or at least mandated) in more locations would encourage people to recycle. After that, a pay per ton garbage collection. Instead of unlimited garbage collection for a set price, pay for the amount of garbage you need to dispose of.

EDIT (ADDITION): On the topic of food, has anyone heard of a drink mix called "Soylent": https://campaign.soylent.me/soylent-free-your-body
It's a shake powder that has complete nutrition. Food assembled in a lab (and yes, I'm aware of the irony in bringing up a food that was the subject of a dystopian sci-fi in a thread about "better tomorrows" :D) On a personal note, I have survived pretty healthily some times of limited resources, several months, with a similar drink I made from masa harina and whey protein with some added electrolytes and vitamin powder.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 05:00:41 AM by prometheus »

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2014, 06:42:29 AM »
RRR is definitely a great first step. A necessary course of action. I think providing for free curbside recycling (or at least mandated) in more locations would encourage people to recycle. After that, a pay per ton garbage collection. Instead of unlimited garbage collection for a set price, pay for the amount of garbage you need to dispose of.

Actually, taken to the logical conclusion at both the individual and collective level I think reduce, reuse and recycle solves a pretty big chunk of the problem.

As for paying for what you dispose of - the problem with that is that you are essentially potentially punishing the poorest and letting the rich continue unchecked. Social equality and justice demand that people all give the world equal minimum respect and while not necessarily requiring people to be equal, I don't see why the rich should have a free (or even paid for with paper money) pass to attack the rest of us.

I don't see it as a matter of incentives to try to shoehorn people into new behaviours (there isn't time for this evolution now, and it is an uphill battle) - but more of a matter of fundamentally changing attitudes.

In any case trying to change behaviour at the very last stage of the whole process I think overlooks the question of what people do with all the trash they can't throw away (this leads to illegal dumping).

Better to attack the problem at the root - design and manufacturing. We end up with so much waste in the modern age largely by design, not by accident. Requiring manufacturers to produce items with appropriate minimum standards of durability, recyclability and repairability would potentially reduce the waste flow far more than squeezing the back end.

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2014, 12:02:13 PM »
In any case trying to change behaviour at the very last stage of the whole process I think overlooks the question of what people do with all the trash they can't throw away (this leads to illegal dumping).

Better to attack the problem at the root - design and manufacturing. We end up with so much waste in the modern age largely by design, not by accident. Requiring manufacturers to produce items with appropriate minimum standards of durability, recyclability and repairability would potentially reduce the waste flow far more than squeezing the back end.
Totally agree. Pay-to-throw is unfair and leads to fly-tippng.

In our local supermarket, most stuff is on plastic trays in plastic bags, or else in aluminium, clingfilm (saran wrap) or cardboard. I grew up in an age when loose food was sold by the weight and packed in paper bags, which my mother smoothed out and kept for all sorts of uses. Butter was sold in greaseproof paper which eventually went to line cake tines etc. Plastic bags were just coming in; they were washed out and reused. Fizzy drinks were sold in bottles which carried a deposit, and children could earn themselves pocket money by collecting these.

Most people didn't have a car; groceries, milk, bread, meat were all delivered by roundsmen. Milk was delivered to the doorstep daily in returnable bottles.

In the hardware shop, things were sold by weight, not prepacked. We used fountain pens, not something you chuck away when it's empty.

People knew how to fix things. They were easy to fix if you knew how: no sealed units in your radio or car headlights. Things were mechanical and you could see their logic. If you didn't know how to fix something there would be someone nearby who could do it for a lot less money than a new one. My parents grew up during the war and the practice of 'make do and mend' was ingrained. We darned socks and jumpers, used old shirts for cleaning rags (having first saved the buttons). And, needless to say, no food was ever wasted. I'm not saying it was all rosy back then, but we have things to learn.

A book I want to read is The Box - here's a great review of it by Venkatesh Rao.

Containerisation has revolutionised consumption. It accounts for the way a lot of our stuff is designed, assembled, packaged and sold. Many goods are far cheaper now, relatively speaking, than they have ever been. You can buy a dozen ballpoint pens for less than a bottle of ink. If something packs up it's almost invariably cheaper to buy a new one than to get it fixed, even supposing its design made it fixable. (And don't get me started on planned obsolescence.) People have far more clothes than ever and don't dream of mending them - why bother, when you can buy a T-shirt for £1? Whole economies rely on this trade. It's going to be very hard to turn this one around, except by force majeure.

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2014, 03:11:23 PM »
For those who don't "get" the idea of food printers: they would really help to address the fact that 40% of all food in the US is thrown away without being eaten!  All that energy of planting, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, transporting -- not to mention food processing, packaging, storage, transportation to stores, transportation home....

Now, imagine you could just turn to your food printer and say, "steamed corn with butter, 4 ounces," exactly when you wanted it!  Incredible amounts of energy, water, chemicals, pollution, cost -- no longer required.

Would the results be sucky in the beginning?  Likely.  You may end up with a creamed-corn-like substance, instead.  But to someone who is starving, it will be delicious.  And the food and selection will only improve as time goes on. 

Visualize whirled peas?   ;D


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/food-waste-americans-throw-away-food-study_n_1819340.html

Here's the NRDC paper:
http://www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-ip.pdf


More on food printers:

http://www.space.com/21250-nasa-3d-food-printer-pizza.html

http://io9.com/but-how-does-it-taste-watch-nasas-3d-pizza-printer-in-1508295481
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 03:21:44 PM by Sigmetnow »
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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2014, 03:51:50 PM »
Sig, try to think about this for just a tiny while before posting further on it. Or at least read your own links. Your NASA link includes the line:  "The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form"

So obviously 'food printers' would reduce essentially none of your list: "planting, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, transporting -- not to mention food processing, packaging, storage, transportation to stores, transportation home."

The carbs, proteins and nutrients are still coming from plants. You are just adding one (or really two) further, very high tech step to the process. You have to reduce all the food to powder, then you have to reconstitute it with your hightech gizmo. Both will require lots of added energy that we don't have, both in the processes themselves, and in the construction of the machines.

The only potential slight saving might be in storage--presumably the powder does not need to be refrigerated. But any such saving will be overwhelmingly swamped by the other energy expenses just mentioned.

Can we please drop the discussion. It really does not credit to the forum to be discussing such an obviously mis-conceived plan.

ETA: Ah, I see that above you posited "krill, algae, and insect sources" as sources for the printers. Krill (and most of the rest of aquatic life) is already in sharp decline, iirc. Many species of insects are already going extinct or have already gone down that one-way street, and algae is already supposed to solve our energy problems--how much more should it be asked to do?? :) But really, we already use about half of all photosynthesized light that hits the planet. Switching to algae will not reduce that in any way that I can see.

 You can't get the energy and nutritional resources that you get from, say, corn without using just as much acreage on whatever it is that you are going to replace corn with. What are the insects going to eat? That has to be grown or provided. You still have to harvest this stuff, which is no trivial task. In fact, all the elements of your list: "planting, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, transporting -- not to mention food processing, packaging, storage, transportation to stores, transportation home" still apply, but they now require vast new infrastructures that have not yet been built--lots of embodied energy there.


« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 04:09:10 PM by wili »
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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2014, 04:25:03 PM »
Can we please drop the discussion. It really does not credit to the forum to be discussing such an obviously mis-conceived plan.

Actually, I think it's a good thing that the forum is wide ranging and free flowing in terms of things that are discussed? While I also don't see a future in printed food - I don't see the harm in being open to at least glancing at the ideas (and the most absurd usually either get ignored or get gently ridiculed). As far as I know, the forum hasn't really got a reputation to uphold or shareholders to satisfy...?

Maybe I'm being selfish as a lot of things I say could be shouted down as being also objectionable in some way.

Personally though I am opposed to messing with food a lot. In fact, we mess with food much too much already. We need food to be less industrial and less of a commodity than it already is. We need to understand where our food comes from and why we need to respect and value that source - this emotional distance from the land and the ecosystem facilitated by the modern world and the big shiny energy hungry dirty cities is surely a large part of why so few developed world people understand how serious all this is - and played a big role in us getting to this point where we are at now.

Plus we are venturing into yet more techo-deluded hubris thinking we can improve upon the natural world in this respect in my view. If we can't even avoid destroying the old system, we are in no position to try to improve upon it. There are plenty of better targets for technological effort than things that have worked for thousands of years (specifically in this case - our diet).

So having ignored the printed food thing, I guess now I'm declaring myself happier to scratch around in the dirt to feed myself than I am to eat even more processed and refined junk where I have no idea where it came from or what harm was done to get it.

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2014, 05:01:43 PM »
Food printing is one idea of many, folks.  I just happen to think we could feed the world more efficiently by starting our gathering of food from the bottom of the food chain, rather than by using only what we manage to force through to the top.  If you can't see it, you can't see it.  Whales are pretty big eaters, and they manage.   ;D

From MAD Magazine's parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey:

BOWMAN: What's for dinner tonight?

POOLE: There's a glass of steak, a glass of corn, a glass of potatoes, and a glass of bread with butter.

BOWMAN: Anything to drink?

POOLE: Yeah -- a piece of coffee.
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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2014, 05:23:53 PM »
Food printing is one idea of many, folks.  I just happen to think we could feed the world more efficiently by starting our gathering of food from the bottom of the food chain, rather than by using only what we manage to force through to the top.  If you can't see it, you can't see it. 

Logically, we would then strip out the bottom of the food chain - wiping out everything at a higher level - most likely ultimately including ourselves as we so far lack the wisdom to manage our own numbers in relation to our food sources.

Look at what's happened to the oceans? We're steadily moving towards the base of the food chain there... and are well on track to destroying it all.

Thing is we don't need to produce more food right now exactly - we need to manage our numbers - and we need to stop wasting so much food (not just in direct wastage that can be hard to avoid in some situations but also by burning it in engines and using it to produce excess protein that isn't really justified in dietary terms.

There are other reasons I don't think it would do us any favours to go to a more highly processed way of doing food - we would potentially ultimately weaken our evolved ability to digest and work with a wide range of foodstuffs. Do we really want to make ourselves more vulnerable in the long run like that? Totally dependent upon technology?

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2014, 08:38:53 PM »
What's "stripping" about growing our own krill, algae, and insects for human consumption?  Certainly we've learned enough that we don't farm nature out of existence.

ccgwebmaster said:
There are other reasons I don't think it would do us any favours to go to a more highly processed way of doing food - we would potentially ultimately weaken our evolved ability to digest and work with a wide range of foodstuffs. Do we really want to make ourselves more vulnerable in the long run like that? Totally dependent upon technology?

Shall we go back and ask our hominid ancestors what type of French Fries they preferred, which artificially-colored and artificially-flavored carbonated drinks they had, and where they got the high fructose corn syrup and palm oil to make their chocolate donuts?  Our diet has long ago ceased to be the "original" one -- first we moved away from our original food sources, and later new foods from around the world were discovered and delivered to us.  And now we eat highly-processed "food" that barely resembles its source -- sounds ripe for nutritional and sustainable improvement to me!

Today, we are "totally dependent" on agricultural lands that are being destroyed by climate change.  I'd say that's pretty vulnerable.  Growing basic food can be done inside, almost anywhere, and with much more efficiency.
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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2014, 11:43:55 PM »
What's "stripping" about growing our own krill, algae, and insects for human consumption?  Certainly we've learned enough that we don't farm nature out of existence.

Not sure of that personally...

Shall we go back and ask our hominid ancestors what type of French Fries they preferred, which artificially-colored and artificially-flavored carbonated drinks they had, and where they got the high fructose corn syrup and palm oil to make their chocolate donuts?  Our diet has long ago ceased to be the "original" one -- first we moved away from our original food sources, and later new foods from around the world were discovered and delivered to us.  And now we eat highly-processed "food" that barely resembles its source -- sounds ripe for nutritional and sustainable improvement to me!

Er - some of us don't have that diet you describe, believe it or not. Some of us think if stupid to eat it - and some of us (speaking for myself at least) would really strongly resent being told to eat an even more processed and unnatural diet (it annoys me enough if people try to tell me I shouldn't eat any meat, especially if it's just because they have some notion of animals suffering to produce it - which ignores the ideal way to raise meat). We aren't all westernised city dwellers mindlessly following current cultural norms...

Today, we are "totally dependent" on agricultural lands that are being destroyed by climate change.  I'd say that's pretty vulnerable.  Growing basic food can be done inside, almost anywhere, and with much more efficiency.

Do you have evidence that it's as easy as you say to do this? Are there places doing it? If not - why not? What resources and supply changes do you require? The fact that you're saying it would happen "inside" suggests to me immediate unfeasibility - the areas required would be truly immense (you cannot escape the bottom line - the need to capture the energy in the first place, presumably from the sun). Furthermore - what do you gain doing this over, say, rice or potatoes or various other crops grown in the land with much less technological effort?

Our agricultural lands are not being destroyed by climate change precisely - they are being destroyed by our own actions, which just happen to include climate change (and other things).

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2014, 11:50:54 PM »
No, tbh I don't really get the idea of food printers except in a sci-fi story. I get the idea of feeding waste food to pigs and chickens.

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2014, 12:01:15 AM »
Should add (and here's the rub): few people can keep pigs and chickens. Right now it's not such a luxury, more like drudgery. Life in cities works as long as it works and then it absolutely doesn't.

There is this persistent myth of an organic good life, hard-working and self-sufficient, but it is available only to the very few who can afford the land and, in the long term, afford to defend it.

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2014, 12:16:46 AM »
Even if those 3D food printers were feasible and just as nutritious as fresh food (I don't think this will ever come about, but OK), what would happen, is that the distribution of those printers and the powders would be unfair and inefficient. Just like it is now with "normal" food.

My vision of better tomorrow is a combination of the old and the new. Much of the new we already have, we don't need that much more newer.

It feels a bit like a young man leaving his island, in search of adventure and self-fulfillment. On other islands he learns all kinds of new things and ways of doing things. After many years he goes back to his island, and with his experience and knowledge he improves the old things and the way things are done. He doesn't discard the old, and he doesn't reject the new. He combines them so that they mutually reinforce each other and make it easier for people to fulfill their basic needs with less effort.

What are our basic needs? Food, shelter and a minimum of energy. How can we provide these with less effort than in the old times, but also without the hidden burdens of the new times? This is what it's all about. We, in the developed world, have the time and opportunity to work these things out, and build a model. Either to prevent a collapse, or to prepare for post-collapse. I think this model is already there. We just need to connect the dots, and realize it will take more of an effort than we are accustomed/brainwashed to in these new times, but possibly also less than in the old days.

The only newer stuff we need, is a new economic system, a replacement of combustion engines and (industrial) agriculture, and something that gets the excess greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Smart phones and 3D printers, not so much.
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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2014, 02:26:12 AM »
Should add (and here's the rub): few people can keep pigs and chickens. Right now it's not such a luxury, more like drudgery. Life in cities works as long as it works and then it absolutely doesn't.

There is this persistent myth of an organic good life, hard-working and self-sufficient, but it is available only to the very few who can afford the land and, in the long term, afford to defend it.

It's also legally difficult in some jurisdictions. When I was a child we lived in the country and my parents kept various animals and foul at times (with the consent of the landlord where we rented, we never owned land), presumably because it was affordable protein (we ate little enough meat even so).

Now, however in the UK there are far more rules imposed by the government on the raising and slaughter of animals even for personal consumption. Quite a bit of what we did then would be illegal now - and many people have undue respect for the law just because it's the law.

In fact generally society and governance actively try to force people into the mainstream by either making it flat out illegal to take other paths or at the very least by setting up an environment that applies significant pressure to constrain people. For example - try living without a house (and hence address) in most western societies? You find answers, of sorts - but it isn't ideal. I presume in the case of addresses the government prefers people to have them so they know where to send the rough men to collect taxes and enforce "justice", but it amounts to a desire for control and conformity nonetheless.

The prison walls are subtle yet strong and vicious and escaping is fraught with challenges and obstacles.

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2014, 08:27:08 PM »
OK, just wanted to offer some info on eating algae, insects and krill.  The IPCC report due out this month will no doubt lend more weight to such ideas:

"Match this data with information leaked from the most recent IPCC report (to be published in March 2014) linking climate change with food supply disruptions. The leaked report points to a widening gap, with agricultural output rising a mere 2 percent each decade for the rest of the century, while the demand for food is projected to rise at a staggering 14 percent each decade during the same timeframe. In the face of a rising population, a more volatile climate and an increasingly difficult food production paradigm, new tools are needed to adapt to this new status quo.

The world is going to need new ways of producing food, feed and fiber. We need production systems that produce more efficiently (i.e. with more production per resources used) and production systems that are not so susceptible to the unpredictable changes in climate."

http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/12/with-food-supply-and-demand-on-collision-course-algae-tech-to-bloom/


--- Algae farms already exist.  Algae was once hailed as potential biofuel, but the food source value is now getting more recognition.

"Comparing algae to soybeans, van der Meulen notes that the former has a year-round harvest and can produce 38 times more usable protein per acre per year than soy, using one percent of the water that crop needs. “Ultimately, we may not need fresh water at all,” he adds."

Algae farming company Alltech
http://www.alltech.com/future-of-farming/algae-the-growth-platform

http://www.forbes.com/sites/amywestervelt/2012/05/04/forget-fuel-algae-could-help-feed-the-world/

http://phys.org/news/2014-02-algae-renewable-carbon-negative-source-food.html


--- "Eat insects, save the world"
This is anything but a new idea -- the BBC documentary shows a book on eating insects from 1885.

"Consumption of insects like locusts, crickets or larvae is very common in parts of Asia, South America, Mexico and Africa, due in large part to their high nutritional value. Insects beat out both meat and fish in protein content and quality, and they're also rich in fiber and healthy micronutrients including copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Insects adapt so quickly to climate change, that there would be few barriers to gathering from the wild or farming at any altitude or latitude around the planet - making them a cheap and eco-friendly food source. They also have a very low risk of transmitting disease to humans, unlike farmed beef, pork and poultry."


Unscientific poll at the bottom of the article, about the idea of eating bugs, showed that only 20% said "not a chance."  And if you're one who says they'll never eat bugs -- well, the US food quality standards already allow a certain number of insect parts and rodent hair on food.  So, eat up!   :D

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/05/your_breakfast_of_champions_includes_bugs_partner/

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2013/05/14/eat-insects-save-the-world-says-the-u-n/

>> Hour-long informative (and fun) live-action BBC doc:  Can eating insects save the world?
Includes a cricket farm in Thailand -- the country actually imports insects, because demand outstrips supply.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Acxbx-DUkL4


-- Krill
There are concerns about over-harvesting krill, which is fished from Antarctic waters, not farmed, so an alternative for this should be found.

"“Yes, it’s wiser and ecologically more sustainable to eat lower on the food chain,” she said. “Eating crustaceans is more sustainable than eating the larger animals that eat crustaceans. But we have to make sure we’re not competing for krill with their natural predators. We have to make sure that when and if you take an omega-3 supplement or eat a krill sandwich, you’re not taking food out of the mouth of a penguin or a whale.”"
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/12/16/can-krill-end-world-hunger.html

"The actual krill catch is far below the total allowable catch, but some scientists say that the most significant issue for krill populations is concentration of the catch in one area, which can have significant impacts on the ecosystem."
http://krill-oil.wellwise.org/krill-oil-sustainability

Krill harvesting is currently protected by the CCAMLR.
"The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life. This was in response to increasing commercial interest in Antarctic krill resources, a keystone component of the Antarctic ecosystem."
http://www.ccamlr.org/en/organisation/about-ccamlr

--------
So for those who eat well now, without eating processed food:  that's excellent -- as long as it lasts.  But check out the undernourished, tiny-for-their age kids in the BBC video, who thrill at finding a tarantula to eat, because they have little else.  And even the bug connoisseur in the video warns the host against eating the day-old fried bug.  Highly processed foods that are nutritious and need no refrigeration are a vital solution for the world's hungry.  While the technology may start helping at the level of the desperately poor, it could also take hold at the top, for those who love junk food and the latest fad (Cronuts, anyone?) -- and in that way the technology will be ready when the crops fail.
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wili

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2014, 08:39:02 PM »
Thanks for doing the research, but it pretty much confirms what I though or already know.

1) If algae hasn't panned out as a fuel source, why should it pan out any better as a food source?
2) Farmed fish generally have very high levels of inputs that are very expensive, and of course the infrastructure is generally very expensive--not likely to produce the super cheap food you hoped for.
3) Yes, great add a few insects to your diet. But eating highly processed versions is not going to make them cheaper.

"Highly processed foods that are nutritious and need no refrigeration are a vital solution for the world's hungry."

Unless subsidized, highly processed foods are likely to be more expensive for most of the worlds poor (the two billion that make under 2$ per day, iirc) than, say, the onions they or their neighbors grow.

Believe me, there will always be promoting these ideas, because when you add a processing step, someone can make a buck. And the world is full of people willing to say anything to get people to invest in their latest schemes, or to lock people into having to pay higher prices for crappier, more processed foods. Let's all try not to become shills for such interests, shall we?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2014, 01:27:03 AM »
3) Yes, great add a few insects to your diet. But eating highly processed versions is not going to make them cheaper.


Insects are actually a pretty efficient way of converting biomass into protein, much more efficient than cows - for instance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_conversion_ratio

However, please take note that they are not actually a lot better than chickens, which would require much less processing to turn into something I'd consider eating (especially as I really don't like processed foods).

So you want to save the world and still eat meat?

What's wrong with chicken, huh?

In any event - some of the other animals can also be raised on land that is unsuitable for crop agriculture and therefore there is no competition with human food in these cases. Good luck growing crops on the hills of Scotland - but sheep do OK. Of course we shouldn't necessarily divert human food into animals - but many of these animals are capable of being fed on alternatives (land or food sources).

Also you can recycle food and crop waste into animals - it still gets back to the soil once they've finished processing it (so it isn't competing with compost per se, just taking an alternate route to get there). In my family we used to feed whatever leftovers there might be to our ducks to supplement their natural scavenging (they got pellets in the winter if memory serves).

So while the developed nations eat far more meat than is really justifiable diet wise, I'm not sure insects need be part of the solution just yet. Or maybe the advocacy is for the absolute cheapest protein to feed to the impoverished masses as they slave away to keep the shining citadels of the rich polished?

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2014, 02:50:30 AM »
I imagine that herding crickets may be something of a...challenge. ;D
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2014, 12:23:00 PM »
Believe me, there will always be promoting these ideas, because when you add a processing step, someone can make a buck. And the world is full of people willing to say anything to get people to invest in their latest schemes, or to lock people into having to pay higher prices for crappier, more processed foods. Let's all try not to become shills for such interests, shall we?
Wili - you hit the bull's eye here. That is todays business: Talking about something great happening in the future to get some money from investors or consuments today. It will not be better but for very few poeple at the cost of plenty poeple. Of course none of the processing steps ever made some food better in terms of taste, nutritional value or sustainability. Processing steps help someone making some money at the cost of lower quality and higher price. Do never believe the marketing bullshit - it wants to make you believe, that it is good thing if plenty poeple give money to a few poeple for nothing.

wili

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2014, 12:41:00 PM »
Or, put more briefly and theatrically:
Princess Bride Clip
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Sigmetnow

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #40 on: March 24, 2014, 03:47:35 PM »
On krill: 
I tried to find a reason why we couldn't grow our own krill, but couldn't find one.  I guess we haven't tried, simply because there's so much available in the ocean.  So, growng krill in some fashion may well be a potential option.
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #41 on: March 24, 2014, 03:49:00 PM »
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 04:13:40 PM by Sigmetnow »
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #42 on: March 24, 2014, 04:27:28 PM »
This!
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/18/transition-tipping-point-revolution-doom

And this:
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2014/03/global_climate_treaty_u_n_s_christiana_figueres_says_we_ll_have_an_agreement.html

Doom mongers will call it other things, but I call it Realistic Optimism.  :-)


P.S.:  There are other people besides myself and doom mongers.  :-)


A well  written column exhorting us to do something and a climate treaty in 2015 whose goals will not be met is hardly evidence of a tipping point.

Question: The 2015 deal will include national pledges to cut emissions by 2020. Will that be enough to keep warming below the limit of 2 degrees Celsius?
Answer: No. That's why it's important that the global treaty sets out how we get to carbon neutrality by the second half of the century. In a perfect world global emissions would have peaked already. In a semi-perfect world we will peak on Dec. 31, 2020. The fact is, that's going to be difficult. We know that it's going to get more and more expensive the longer we delay. We will have to invest more, and in more expensive technologies. It's very much about balance between time and ultimate cost.


If it is any consolation, the approaching climate disaster will not differentiate between optimists, pessimists and deniers.


JimD

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2014, 05:23:55 PM »
On krill: 
I tried to find a reason why we couldn't grow our own krill, but couldn't find one.  I guess we haven't tried, simply because there's so much available in the ocean.  So, growng krill in some fashion may well be a potential option.

I don't want to mess with your thread too much so I will make one post here and then stay quiet.

Krill, bio-fuels and all of those kind of technologies have to follow the laws of thermodynamics and have positive EROEI's just like anything else to be viable/sustainable.  Growing krill on a vast scale requires vast infrastructure and vast quantities of energy inputs.  Your EROEI will not justify the investment of energy and resources.

Your two links from today are chock full of bad assumptions, misunderstandings, misrepresentations, etc that can be logically refuted.  Carbon emissions, resource limits, sustainability and time are all constraints which are being ignored. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Sigmetnow

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2014, 07:18:43 PM »
Nay-Sayers gonna neigh....

The cricket farm in Thailand did not even need electricity.  The input, once the farm was started, appeared to be a few pieces of fruit or vegetables, the output a regular (truckload?) of food. 

Hard to prove something to be impossible when it exists.
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2014, 07:42:27 PM »
Sigmetnow, I would like to take issue with your propensity for name calling. Doom-mongers or
even nay-Sayers is hardly gonna really bust my chops but I don't appreciate it anyhow. I will leave you to your vices or rhetorical devices but dude you need to come up with something better than
your list of survival options. I have run a boat most of my life and I don't recall anyone using the word captain but when it gets really scary people look to someone with some experience and a good track record of problem solving. I always got the crew home and they still nicknamed me " grim "  but because I try to think things through, do preventive maintenance and try to prepare for worst case
scenarios surely doesn't make me a ( doom-monger ). It has kept me and my crew alive.
 As we move forward , or backward if you prefer , some of us will provide leadership in what I foresee as a nasty transition.  Prepare yourself or suffer the consequences . 

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2014, 11:13:40 PM »
The cricket farm in Thailand did not even need electricity.  The input, once the farm was started, appeared to be a few pieces of fruit or vegetables, the output a regular (truckload?) of food. 

In which case you're still feeding the insects fruit or vegetables that could have gone to human consumption? So even though the feed conversion ratio can be slightly more favourable for crickets than chickens - I don't see the clear win over chickens feeding through self forage or any larger animal being raised on land unsuitable for crops. Or for that matter over just eating said fruit and vegetables?

If your answer was protein - some vegetables (beans for instance) would do just fine.

I don't see it as nay-saying, I see it as simply challenging the assertion - if it's got legs, it'll withstand closer examination, if it does not - it will not. I'm not a techno-optimist myself, and I try not to assume upon ideas simply because superficially they seem to make sense.

Anne

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #47 on: March 25, 2014, 01:37:20 AM »
I like this sort of stuff. It works. It uses first principles, things like mechanical advantage and conservation of energy.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #48 on: March 25, 2014, 06:08:46 PM »
Sigmetnow, I would like to take issue with your propensity for name calling. Doom-mongers or
even nay-Sayers is hardly gonna really bust my chops but I don't appreciate it anyhow. I will leave you to your vices or rhetorical devices but dude you need to come up with something better than
your list of survival options. I have run a boat most of my life and I don't recall anyone using the word captain but when it gets really scary people look to someone with some experience and a good track record of problem solving. I always got the crew home and they still nicknamed me " grim "  but because I try to think things through, do preventive maintenance and try to prepare for worst case
scenarios surely doesn't make me a ( doom-monger ). It has kept me and my crew alive.
 As we move forward , or backward if you prefer , some of us will provide leadership in what I foresee as a nasty transition.  Prepare yourself or suffer the consequences .

And not investigating, articulating and preparing for worst case scenario is what is wrong with the climate change discussion all over the planet. When worse case or something approaching it occurs we will be screwed if we haven't prepared for it.

Example: North Carolina has suffered some real damage to its coastal areas over the last decade as sea levels have risen. Scientists studying sea level rise have concluded that the sea level rise is accelerating. The North Carolina legislature responded by passing legislation that prohibits anything other than historical rates of sea level rise in their planning.  They refuse to acknowledge the science and the result they will be unprepared when the reality sinks in.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Better Tomorrows
« Reply #49 on: March 26, 2014, 12:36:27 PM »
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NOTICE
NOTICE
NOTICE

Obviously I need to restate the purpose of this thread!

1)   To my knowledge, there is no rule on the forum that every statement made must be backed by peer-reviewed, published studies, positive EROEI, or even E=mc2.  (Though in some threads, that may be encouraged.)    ;)

2)   This thread is for IDEAS.  Positive ideas about the future.  And how we get to that positive future.  Suggesting things currently thought to be "Impossible" is FINE.  Links to things you would like to see developed further, or see used more widely, are FINE.  Thoughts or philosophies that illustrate an aspect of your vision of a better future are FINE.  Steps being taken by governments or companies or just Jo Schmoe from Nguwynamck -- if they show a positive way forward, are FINE.  The first step to any improvement is imagining it!

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
-  Lewis Carroll

3)   Instead of tearing down other people's ideas, try expressing your doubt by showing an alternative you think would work better!    Otherwise, I will have to break out the strong language, like "doom-monger" and "nay-sayer."   ::)


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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.