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SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #100 on: June 21, 2013, 12:02:28 AM »
[...]
What it comes down to is my understanding of human nature precludes the solutions you are advocating.  For the kind of solutions you advocate will not work unless humans can make and execute decisions that are contrary to basic human nature.  Your solutions are premised upon issues of fairness and responsibility.  Those required to act (the rich and powerful entities) must accept your premises and then willingly give up most of their wealth and power and dramatically decrease their standards of living.
[...]
The rich and powerful (like America) will never willingly give up their position and wealth.  They will work as hard as they can to maintain it as their culture and nature tell them they earned the right to be where they are (they think they are exceptional and thus more valuable).   
JimD, before I am able to get to your main point, I have to comment on your second point because that shocked me:
In our German history we had a time when "social Darwinism" was mainstream and due to a thinking like "they think they are exceptional and thus more valuable" we killed millions of Jews and Russians and also the handicapped persons, gays and Roma... We will never do such things again and we will take action to prevent that elsewhere. The leader of the pacifistic green Germany party sent troops for the very fist time after WW2 abroad to Yugoslavia for that reason. No - we will be totally out of that. And we are not allone in Europe with that position.

To come to your main point I have to admit, that I do understand that quite well. I have travelled to American cities quite often in different stages of my life and I have the idea, that money exhibits a particular important value there. Compared to other cultures (e.g. in Europe, Africa or Asia) I think it is save to call that significance of money a kind of fundamentalism. So I do understand that a money crisis must look like a real collapse for American poeple although that may sound strange for other poeple in the world.
The second think I have learned in American cities is, that poeple there are very anxious. Especially poeple in America are afraid of other poeple. Also this is quite unique in the world, I think. Both observations make me think that you are right with your collapse-scenario for America and the concentration on self-defense.

Fortunately it is a bit different somewhere else. E.g. in Sweden poeple consider it valuable to pay >50% taxes to ensure that the basics for live are prepared for everybody and the future of their children is safe. In Germany we are half that way - e.g. the party with the richest voters promises higher taxes and spending money for sustainable life and ecology. That is not the majority as yet in whole Germany, but the mechanical-engineering country Baden-Würtemberg is allready run by them.

So in the case you or at least your young generation want to avoid a future collapse in USA, they could find some partners to achieve that objectives. If not, then you voluntary hand over the leadership e.g. to China. Probably they would do better in that case. So I think it could be a good time now to look on the other side of your borders before it will be to late to react.

I prefer to rely on the power of your young poeple to protect their life - mainly just because I want my children to have a future, too. And I will fight without condition for my childrens future and also of that of my neighbors, my city, my tribe and all friendly societies (the word "nation" has not a good sound here).
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 12:07:52 AM by SATire »

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #101 on: June 21, 2013, 06:38:23 AM »
Cgwebmaster wrote :
Quote
there is a serious shortage of appropriately ambitious policy/solution initiatives - or even the ideas that could lead to such.

That is what we need ! There is no real option, for the people with kids it is like jumping in the void...not easy ! There is people mad enough to try doing something else like me (I am single)! I must admit it is not really coherent yet ! All ideas are welcome !

Anyone preparing as a single person though - arguably still must consider the same sort of issues someone with children must - on the assumption that at some point they might consider having children...

I think I'll spin off another discussion at some point that has smaller scale strategies as the main focus.

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #102 on: June 21, 2013, 07:00:44 AM »
What we should be doing is forcibly winding down population and the complexity of civilization as fast as possible to some level approximating the carrying capacity of the planet.  Then we could reboot and try to get it right the next time.  But human nature will not allow us to work that way and we will continue on until we cannot.  So I support neither type of BAU solution as I consider both of them a waste of time and energy.  This conclusion leads me to say that we should plan for eventual collapse and survival.  We mitigate what we little we can and adapt to the world we are creating.  It is the only realistic option.

Whether it is driven intentionally or driven by the earth system - the population and complexity of civilisation will be driven down to (and probably substantially below) carrying capacity.

In a sense - that brings things full circle - back to the question of what draws a floor under collapse and what mitigating answers could raise that floor (while I grant the primary focus on larger scale change).

There is a very simple and brutal truth in all this though - and that is that for many people - there is no real option but to attempt to mitigate or stave off collapse. They may be old and infirm, dependent on modern medicines, physically or mentally disabled, psychologically unsuited to the demands of navigating a collapse scenario etc.

Even for those people who are not in those categories the mathematics are cold and ruthless - carrying capacity will be X and population Y must come below it. Many people who would not be disqualified by absolute limits above must nonetheless somehow disappear from the equation to rebalance to carrying capacity.

The general consensus seems to be that the main block is human nature rather than an empirical absence of policies or solutions. If we accept that the majority of the population is not going to change their nature - does anyone have any view (or precedent examples) of the largest groups of people that could operate under a different paradigm that would provide an appropriate long term behavioural model for civilisation?

Where I'm going with this is - it seems to me if we were going to assume basic human nature to be immutable in the general case, one possible strategy would be to split bodies of people out from the mainstream with a view to them moving forwards. There are issues of course - one being the question of dealing with the short term violence implied by a severe resource shortage (which I expect would last until the population went within carrying capacity and then fade back to "normal" levels). Another issue is the question of selection of such people - but I think in a sense the answer is already identified there. Such people would self select by virtue of being the tiny number willing to engage with the problem, comprehend the level of ambition required to attack it and to then have the courage to go forwards on that basis.

Is this a viable path? Is it possible to have a body of people possessed of both the necessary wisdom to set civilisation on a suitable sustainable (and hopefully more just) long term path - and for them to still have the capacity to cope with the shorter term demands of such an environment? (day to day survival, and initial competition with aggressive groups with a shorter term focus)

JimD

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #103 on: June 21, 2013, 05:59:30 PM »
Hey Neven,

It happened again.  I posted a message to SATire last night about 10pm California time and it appeared to be accepted but did not appear above.  This one was not a long post like before.
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

Neven

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #104 on: June 21, 2013, 06:33:53 PM »
Hey Neven,

It happened again.  I posted a message to SATire last night about 10pm California time and it appeared to be accepted but did not appear above.  This one was not a long post like before.

I'm sorry to hear that. Dungeon Master said he would look at some stuff, and I will tell him it happened again.

Either way, make sure you copy your text (ctrl-C) so that you can paste it again (ctrl-V) when something goes wrong. I almost always do that now, after having lost stuff before.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

Laurent

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #105 on: June 21, 2013, 07:25:59 PM »
why a collapse is due to happened ! The AGW is one reason but there is something more ancored in our societies and most of us do not see it !

In French :


ccgwebmaster

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #106 on: June 21, 2013, 07:55:13 PM »
why a collapse is due to happened ! The AGW is one reason but there is something more ancored in our societies and most of us do not see it !
Just to say - I think there is a big difference between the nature and extent of collapse ultimately implied by climate change - and that implied through financial turbulence.

Financial crashes and even related societal partial collapses have numerous precedents within the last century or two and represent nothing new in isolation. As they occur in a system that is essentially a human fiction their real world impact tends to be limited to that which we dictate it will have as humans.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #107 on: June 21, 2013, 07:58:34 PM »
As soon as my kids were out of the nest I quit my career and moved to the country. Since the recession of the eighties I gave up any expectation of a luxurious retirement. We live cheap and make our own fun with like-minded ex-city-dwellers. As far as I can see, that's the single best thing anyone can do, because in a global collapse, cites are going to be very bad places to be. If a plague or nuclear terrorism doesn't perform a quick cull, I don't see these back-to-the-middle-ages scenarios being realistic. I see The Road, but with more people left to behave savagely. Not a nice, friendly, bike-riding Transition Town world of blacksmiths and bakers and gardeners and cobblers. That's a pleasant fantasy. What we're pretty well prepared for in the boonies is a bigger economic crash than 2008. Not massive migrations, wars and starvation.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

retiredbill

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #108 on: June 22, 2013, 04:25:24 AM »
I have been writing from the viewpoint of an American, being that I am a US citizen
and have never spent time abroad. It may true that a severe drop in living
standards won't devastate people in some other countries. They may stoically put
up with a new life style. And even in the US, after a few generations the people
may forget about the past high standard of living and come to expect a hunter/gatherer
existence as a new 'normal'. Youngsters today may think it inconceivable that people
lived without computers, TV sets, central heating, electricity, and automobiles. 200
years ago, none of these would have been missed.

I credit this tread with giving me insight into how other cultures may adapt to climate
change. It really doesn't matter whether the population of the planet is 7 billion or 1 million
people. Life with go on, in some fashion or other. It might look bad to us now, but we won't be
alive to regret it.


jonthed

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #109 on: June 22, 2013, 04:55:48 PM »
I saw a few comments about doing what you can to prepare for the worst, in terms of providing for your family if a collapse comes. I assume you're meaning something along the lines of what you see on 'Doomsday Preppers', where people try to make their homes self sufficient, with years of food and water provision as well as medicines and skills that would enable them to totally fend for themselves. Usually accompanied of course by an arsenal of weapons and a preparedness to kill to defend what's theirs.

Whilst I admire their commitment and determination, I really don't see this kind of solo prepping useful. If it gets as bad as people starving, and willing to steal to feed their families, then anyone or any property that has food supplies or crops growing is going to be descended upon by everyone around, they will even band together to try to get their hands on the food so they can share it amongst themselves. They will not simply accept that their are "Haves" and "Have-nots". They will in fact resent the "Haves" and despise them for not sharing. I would not want to be a "Have" in this sort of scenario. So the preppers need to be willing to fight off their whole town and surrounding area, constantly, in order to survive.

Under a different scenario. The military will just rock up and confiscate or commandeer the food and food producing land and facilities, ready to be rationed. Good luck saying no to the military.

Any meaningful prepping has to be done at a societal level, with local government making plans for food production and water provision. Ideally the national government should have some contingency plan in place that doesn't just rely on importing extra food or living off a few years of grain reserves. Each country really needs to take steps towards self sufficiency, food and water wise at least. People shouldn't need to feel the need to solo prep. Governments will probably get their act together when it's already too late.

-

As for some of the comments above about people making sacrifices. Perhaps a wealthy philanthropist can start a new town, like a transition town; self sufficient in energy, food, water, everything. The people willing to accept the lifestyle changes that go with that can all move their, and live a nice sustainable life. This town (island preferably i guess) could then defend itself from would be raiders or looters if a collapse came, and a functioning society would survive.

More optimistically, such a town would flourish and grow, and inspire many more to follow suit. Perhaps even the governments would catch-on and set up schemes to support such transitions.

-

Realistically as well though, sustainable tech (electric cars, solar panels etc.) are developing very very fast, and it's not going to be long before we can transition for no extra cost, with no need to sacrifice standard of living.

Governments and politicians won't prevent the looming disaster in time, but technology might get there in time to make the transition happen effortlessly anyway.

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #110 on: June 22, 2013, 05:28:42 PM »
Any meaningful prepping has to be done at a societal level, with local government making plans for food production and water provision. Ideally the national government should have some contingency plan in place that doesn't just rely on importing extra food or living off a few years of grain reserves. Each country really needs to take steps towards self sufficiency, food and water wise at least. People shouldn't need to feel the need to solo prep. Governments will probably get their act together when it's already too late.

While I don't want to go too far into the individualistic route (and certainly it takes a lot more thought than many "preppers" give it), I think you identify the flaw with government here - or at least you touch on it.

Your premise is that governments will probably get their act together when it's too late - mine is that governments are getting their act together, but not in the interests of the common man. I see plenty of little hints from governments in terms of their actions (as opposed to their statements - although those align too in some cases) that the flavour of the day will be to try to control and manage the descent into problems by suppressing the people by whatever means necessary.

I think it's very hard to find examples throughout history of the socioeconomic elites - the monkeys at the top of the pyramid - having much of a social conscience in terms of those lower down. Typically these people have their own interests at heart and why would we expect better in a world dominated by a capitalist meme predicated upon short term profit and maximising the rate of consumption of finite and irreplaceable resources without concern for the future?

I think a lot of people wrongly place their trust in the belief that government somehow represents their interests.

I would agree that a lot of people who "prep" take a short-sighted and poorly informed approach to the whole thing. No amount of food stockpile is going to answer this problem - rather one needs strategies for food provision into decades and centuries - and some idea of a community that can weather events on the same timescales (which I believe you also identify as necessary, setting aside the wealthy philanthropy as a means to implementation).

Nonetheless, if a young person wants to tool up - prepare for a high conflict environment and implement their own personal strategy for survival, I do not see how anyone within the broken system we have can take the moral high ground. We have been failed at the most fundamental level by the human world in which we live. Fighting for our survival (and our children) may be the only thing we have left. There are some very ugly and dark sides to this - but it would be hard to surpass the crimes of those who have brought things to this pass.

In short - I think there may be no choice but to prepare at the small scale level, as there is apparently no cavalry coming to fix things. That's something I intend to explore further in another thread as this one was really intended to be pitched at the societal level.

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #111 on: June 22, 2013, 07:12:46 PM »
The general consensus seems to be that the main block is human nature rather than an empirical absence of policies or solutions. If we accept that the majority of the population is not going to change their nature - does anyone have any view (or precedent examples) of the largest groups of people that could operate under a different paradigm that would provide an appropriate long term behavioural model for civilisation?
ccg - just because poeple know about human nature things like the social contract to form a government of a society and laws were invented to limit anti-social behaviour. If you go back behind laws and social contract you will end up at a clan level - not much civilization will be left in that case.
You asked for the maximum size of a society. Since the basis of the social contract is, that the individuals agree to the contract and hand over their power and part of their freedom to someone else, they need to be sure, that the contract is fair and not exessively exploited by the government. So the maximum size can be very flexible. In a modern democracy it depends mainly on the similarity of conditions of live and the balance between rights and duty. E.g. in Europe it is working quite well if poeple in Bavaria pay for poeple in Berlin (or similar Milano for Rome, Barcelona for Madrid...). But recently that solidarity was stressed a bit between northern and southern Europe, since some poeple are not willing to pay for others if the poeple do not even try to care for themselves or believe that the help is in fact imperialism. If the faith is lost, the society will devide in smaller parts. That happend in Soviet Union after Glasnost, when poeple lost confidence in the fairness of the contract - so from the moment they were not forced to stay anymore, they left.     

Maybe the largest society which could stay nowadays could be the Han-Chinese - so a large part of China could be free after letting go Tibet and the Muslims in China. 
Maybe also India - but I have really no idea why/how India is working. I never went there.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 07:21:50 PM by SATire »

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #112 on: June 22, 2013, 07:41:30 PM »
Nonetheless, if a young person wants to tool up - prepare for a high conflict environment and implement their own personal strategy for survival, I do not see how anyone within the broken system we have can take the moral high ground. We have been failed at the most fundamental level by the human world in which we live. Fighting for our survival (and our children) may be the only thing we have left. There are some very ugly and dark sides to this - but it would be hard to surpass the crimes of those who have brought things to this pass.
Since we are talking here about a conflict between old and young generation as well as poor and rich - in future mayby a conflict between CO2-emitters and CO2-refugees - that individual preparation will not help. In the case your society would collapse, the CO2-refugees would easily enter the free space and will build a new society at that place (like the German tribes succeeded the ancient Romans, e.g. Saxons and Angles took Britannia or the Goth got Spain after Rome collapsed and later both Americas).
Maybe it is about the time for new tribes which are ruling the world more sustainable? To prepare for the future in a AGW-world I think it would be best to consider, that we will have to pay for the CO2 we emitted. That would be considered fair and we should start to put something aside for the day of payoff - e.g. to leave some space for CO2 refugees. That will be the challenge for Europe, since we are not very good in integration of poeple now.

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #113 on: June 22, 2013, 07:53:23 PM »
ccg - just because poeple know about human nature things like the social contract to form a government of a society and laws were invented to limit anti-social behaviour. If you go back behind laws and social contract you will end up at a clan level - not much civilization will be left in that case.

I think that is precisely the outcome one envisages. Incidentally, the use of the word contract implies a two way deal. As soon as one party isn't getting their end of the deal - it's morally void.

You asked for the maximum size of a society. Since the basis of the social contract is, that the individuals agree to the contract and hand over their power and part of their freedom to someone else, they need to be sure, that the contract is fair and not exessively exploited by the government. So the maximum size can be very flexible. In a modern democracy it depends mainly on the similarity of conditions of live and the balance between rights and duty. E.g. in Europe it is working quite well if poeple in Bavaria pay for poeple in Berlin (or similar Milano for Rome, Barcelona for Madrid...). But recently that solidarity was stressed a bit between northern and southern Europe, since some poeple are not willing to pay for others if the poeple do not even try to care for themselves or believe that the help is in fact imperialism. If the faith is lost, the society will devide in smaller parts. That happend in Soviet Union after Glasnost, when poeple lost confidence in the fairness of the contract - so from the moment they were not forced to stay anymore, they left.     

Ah - no - I wasn't asking about the maximum size of just any society. I was asking about the maximum size of society that might be able to implement a suitable paradigm upon which to predicate a long term civilisation. That is to say the largest society that could operate on a long term sustainable basis and implement a sufficient level of social justice and equality (sufficient, not absolute).

Except for "primitive" tribal groups I'm hard pressed to think of examples of societies living in such a paradigm offhand? (unless one counts some of the ancient civilisations)

In another sense though I wasn't just referring to existing or historical such societies, but also asking an open question - if we accept that mainstream human nature prevents a mainstream solution (as seems to be the majority consensus), how many people do we think could adopt a new way of thinking and split off from the main group? (this proposed as a solution to mitigate against total collapse).

I'm against defeatism and therefore as a matter of logic if it's the case that human nature largely prevents the rate and scale of change required - well, surely some people are capable of that change and adopting suitable principles and implementing action?

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #114 on: June 22, 2013, 08:05:52 PM »
I think that is precisely the outcome one envisages. Incidentally, the use of the word contract implies a two way deal. As soon as one party isn't getting their end of the deal - it's morally void.
Civilisations work by social contract: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract
(before that, the government was "selected by god" or something else the poeple agreed to for some reason)

citation: Thomas Hobbes famously said that in a "state of nature" human life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short". In the absence of political order and law, everyone would have unlimited natural freedoms, including the "right to all things" and thus the freedom to plunder, rape, and murder; there would be an endless "war of all against all" (bellum omnium contra omnes). To avoid this, free men contract with each other to establish political community i.e. civil society through a social contract in which they all gain security in return for subjecting themselves to an absolute Sovereign"

Ah - no - I wasn't asking about the maximum size of just any society. I was asking about the maximum size of society that might be able to implement a suitable paradigm upon which to predicate a long term civilisation. That is to say the largest society that could operate on a long term sustainable basis and implement a sufficient level of social justice and equality (sufficient, not absolute).
What about Sweden? I think every modern society is able to "operate on a long term sustainable basis and implement a sufficient level of social justice and equality". That is only a matter of freewill and a bit a matter of fairness - since it makes no sense to try hard if your neighbors burn all the carbon you left on purpose. That was the reason why I spooke about a contract between societies... Without fairness we will be doomed until someone suceeds us with a new deal/contract.
To be more explicite on your point: The maximum size is not limited by sustainability but rather by your equality condition (as I explained in the prior post). A sustainable society could actually be larger, because they need much less resources.

On a city level: Växjö. http://wwf.panda.org/?204553/vaxjo-networking
Analysis: http://crcresearch.org/community-research-connections/climate-change-adaptation-and-mitigation/v%C3%A4xj%C3%B6-sweden-greenest-city-e
And the living is really nice there. If you look in the poeples faces there, quality of live is surely increased by sustainability. Perhaps due to the fact that sustainability puts an end to the fight between generations?
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 12:11:16 PM by SATire »

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #115 on: June 23, 2013, 02:14:29 PM »
What about Sweden? I think every modern society is able to "operate on a long term sustainable basis and implement a sufficient level of social justice and equality". That is only a matter of freewill and a bit a matter of fairness - since it makes no sense to try hard if your neighbors burn all the carbon you left on purpose. That was the reason why I spooke about a contract between societies... Without fairness we will be doomed until someone suceeds us with a new deal/contract.

I think Sweden fails to "operate on a long term sustainable basis and implement a sufficient level of social justice and equality". They do have a good reputation for social justice (recent riots notwithstanding, I suppose) but a quick check on their carbon dioxide emissions per capita shows they aren't remotely sustainable.

I agree that you're right that social justice would need to exist between and within societies but not entirely that it makes no sense to try hard - as other nations will use the carbon anyway. This might feel correct as a short term justification but there are good reasons why one should still try hard:

1. The nations continuing to use carbon based fuels are in effect addicts pursuing a short term fix, even ignoring climate change, they must go through a withdrawal of some sort as peak oil bites (these are finite resources)

2. A society that put itself on a truly long term sustainable footing - long term - should have an advantage over all those that have not that will continually be meeting sustainability related issues of all sorts (until they emulate a society that has put long term solutions in place)

Quote
To be more explicite on your point: The maximum size is not limited by sustainability but rather by your equality condition (as I explained in the prior post). A sustainable society could actually be larger, because they need much less resources.

I'm not sure this follows. I would question the definition of sustainability at this point. Resource use per capita in a sustainable society might be smaller - but as soon as you say that you can make the society larger as a result - you mitigate out all your gains (as is tending to happen with energy efficiency, especially in vehicles).

Furthermore I question that sustainability must not also include some notion of the gross physical footprint of a society upon the planet. It isn't sustainable if it involves consuming all the available land area of the planet for crops, habitation, etc.

Hence population is an issue regardless, and on those two counts you can't grow it more sustainably (not within the bounds of the earth system at least).

Likewise I don't believe you can ever take a settlement (eg a city) in isolation and hold them up as a model for sustainability - as a city there is a large footprint that extends far beyond the city (ie agricultural practices, resource mining, transport, etc).

Quote
And the living is really nice there. If you look in the poeples faces there, quality of live is surely increased by sustainability. Perhaps due to the fact that sustainability puts an end to the fight between generations?

Speaking only for the UK - but my feeling is that the intergenerational issues are not to do with sustainability, but to do with wealth. Older people can be debt free, own their homes, live comfortably, afford to eat and fuel their vehicle, have a university education, final salary pension, good healthcare, etc.

Younger people... well, TerryM said it better than I could - we get jellyfish.

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #116 on: June 23, 2013, 05:17:43 PM »
Since I do not believe that you would aim for a "war of all against all" to reduce CO2 emission by killing most poeple, I understand that you have some better concepts at hands than international agreements (on paying the price for emission) or the best-praxis example I knew of (some more here: http://crcresearch.org/community-research-connections/climate-change-adaptation-and-mitigation). So I am really curious to hear about your suggestion for mitigation.

edit: Please do not suppose that I could have intended any critics by above question. I just run out of any ideas how to proceed contributing to the topic.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 10:41:56 AM by SATire »

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #117 on: June 24, 2013, 07:45:16 PM »
SATire

Quote
citation: Thomas Hobbes famously said that in a "state of nature" human life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short". In the absence of political order and law, everyone would have unlimited natural freedoms, including the "right to all things" and thus the freedom to plunder, rape, and murder; there would be an endless "war of all against all" (bellum omnium contra omnes). To avoid this, free men contract with each other to establish political community i.e. civil society through a social contract in which they all gain security in return for subjecting themselves to an absolute Sovereign"

I think that we can say that, with the hindsight of the 350+ years since Hobbes wrote that, Hobbes "state of nature" argument amounts to a strawman argument.  He does a good job of knocking it down and all that, but it ignores the facts of nature.  Many species to include wolves, coyotes, elephants, all the primates (i.e humans) whales, dolphins, etc, etc shows that "nature" is actually NOT a "war of all against all".  Many species, like humans, actually decline and die in situations where it is all against all.  We are by 'nature' social species and will always operate naturally in small family groups, tribes/clans and when we go to larger structures is when Hobbes social contracts come strongly into play.  This is why for all most all people they will sacrifice themselves to save their family or members of their tribes.  But it is also a major part of the reason that the issue you focus on so much, "fairness", does not resonate for most humans when that fairness issues relates to strangers and competitors as we have no natural relationship with them.  This is part of my point about solutions not working or having a  chance of working if they assume changes in human nature.   

Note also that quoting Hobbes might hurt your arguments a bit as he was one of the strongest philosophical proponents of authoritarian rule.  Hardly a testament to having fairness be a key component of your social contract.

I think that one of the most likely political structures heading for the dustbin of history is the current forms of capitalist social democracy as  practiced in places like the US and Europe.  Various forms of authoritarian rule will be on the rise around the globe (witness the significant change in eth US since 9/11 for instance) over the next few decades and I think we will eventually find that the dominant form of government by the end of the century will be  modern forms of feudalism (Hobbes would like that).   Only in a sparsely populated resource rich world is there a place for unfettered individual freedoms.

A few comments on one of your earlier posts to which my reply was lost.

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In our German history we had a time when "social Darwinism" was mainstream and due to a thinking like "they think they are exceptional and thus more valuable" we killed millions of Jews and Russians and also the handicapped persons, gays and Roma... We will never do such things again and we will take action to prevent that elsewhere.

In my original reply I responded that we may be using the word 'exceptional' in different ways.  I am not sure that the concept in German when translated to English would come out with the same meaning.  But in some respects it is perhaps an approximation of that aspect of human nature I was talking about.  What the Germans did during WWII was not unique in human history by any stretch of the imagination.  Nor was it even unique in the statistical sense of a percentage of the population affected.  Humans have proven many times that they are capable of incredible extremes when it comes to dealing with other humans who are not part of their social groups.  But in your solutions requiring "fairness' to be a motivating mechanism to change you directly run counter to that very aspect of human nature of dealing with strangers who are competitors harshly.  The span of a couple of generations since WWII has not evolved the human species enough for that type of change to become part of our DNA.  What you feel and see a bit of is just a socialization enforced by trauma that can only be considered an affectation as this point in time.  Having lived in Europe, including Germany, and worked and traveled in almost half the countries in the world I can state with certainty that this aspect of human nature you wish to overcome exists everywhere.  Your approach is not a universally held opinion even in Germany. As I am sure you know.

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To come to your main point I have to admit, that I do understand that quite well. I have travelled to American cities quite often in different stages of my life and I have the idea, that money exhibits a particular important value there. Compared to other cultures (e.g. in Europe, Africa or Asia) I think it is save to call that significance of money a kind of fundamentalism. So I do understand that a money crisis must look like a real collapse for American poeple although that may sound strange for other poeple in the world.
The second think I have learned in American cities is, that poeple there are very anxious. Especially poeple in America are afraid of other poeple. Also this is quite unique in the world, I think. Both observations make me think that you are right with your collapse-scenario for America and the concentration on self-defense.

I agree that America has a unusual national drive towards accumulating wealth.  Noted historians have commented on this since the country was founded.  But I always find it curious that it mystifies Europeans (the Chinese understand it perfectly I note).  Don't forget that white Americans are just transplanted Europeans.  Mostly ones you did not want and encouraged to leave one way or the other (in my case of my 2 original ancestors for one it was leave or hang and the other leave or starve).  There is cause for America to distrust and not feel particularly comfortable with European advise and ideas as history has trained us to be that way.  Part of the reason we are the way we are is that against all odds we fought the world's super power of the time to a standstill and seized our freedom with our own hands. And what we walked away with was the greatest piece of unexploited land on the planet which allowed us to pursue individual rights for more than a hundred years in a manner like no one else has ever had the opportunity to do.  Those things turned us into what we are.  While all countries change over time or due to serious trauma it is too much to expect massive change from Americans as the requisite factors are not ion place to make it happen.  No one chooses to do it out of reason or logic.



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So in the case you or at least your young generation want to avoid a future collapse in USA, they could find some partners to achieve that objectives. If not, then you voluntary hand over the leadership e.g. to China. Probably they would do better in that case. So I think it could be a good time now to look on the other side of your borders before it will be to late to react.

I prefer to rely on the power of your young poeple to protect their life - mainly just because I want my children to have a future, too. And I will fight without condition for my childrens future and also of that of my neighbors, my city, my tribe and all friendly societies (the word "nation" has not a good sound here).

Well I don't think that collapse is avoidable for anyone so I doubt anyone's youth can accomplish that.  There are not many youth in this country that think the way you do.  Many are the very ones who would be most opposed to your approach.  America is an extremely conservative and religious country.  You have to go to countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran to find such degrees of conservatism and religiosity.  We are extraordinarily militant and feel justified in being that way.  There is no major country in the world that comes even close to what it is like in the US.  This is one of the tripping points for most Europeans when trying to understand why the US thinks that way it does.  By European standards Presidents Obama and Clinton are conservatives.  By your standards there is not even one liberal news outlet in our entire country and Fox news is just a propaganda machine for the extreme political right (which of course it is).  There are almost no European type liberals in the US at all.  Don't expect or plan for this place to ever think or act the way you desire. 
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

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #118 on: June 25, 2013, 07:10:33 PM »
JimD,

probably I did not get you right because a lot of things you write sound strange to me. To address the first part of your post - citing Hobbes does not include I would be a fan of him. He is just the first I know describing the "MadMax" scenario of total collapse of society. That is not the scenario I would consider likely as explained above by me. Neither is that any "mitigation" strategy to prepare for that.

In your second part I do not understand what you consider "my approach". The words you cited 2nd are known facts. Denial of that is a criminal act in Germany. We embeded that trauma firmly in the memory of our society - if you consider that "affectation" we have to live with that misunderstanding.

Your last two parts I understand and the message is also prooved in latest history - USA will not sign a treaty to reduce CO2. They will probably not try to reduce CO2 seriously either.
Despite that there will be some efforts in other countries, since one has to act in the right way. But the efforts maybe will be less, because unfairness kills motivation and less poeple would try hard, if some poeple stay lazy.
That is the reason why I considerd fairness important, because it could boost CO2 reduction in my country if other countries also would try hard. Competition and world trade just make no sense without sufficient fairness.   
 
So I understand that USA will head towards the collapse anyway. Other poeple may "act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law" (Kant, which I would prefer over Hobbes, e.g. if you would ask). But in sum there is no mitigation strategy left, which could be accepted world wide at least in significant parts.

Still I am open to read some proposals - maybe there is one which could find some consensus here. If that is not possible at this place, it will probably not possible elsewhere, where poeple care much less. In that case we would have to prepare ourself for the CO2-refugees - that is the future challenge. The other things are just weather, it would be totally ridiculous to collapse because of weather...

« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 07:16:15 PM by SATire »

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #119 on: June 25, 2013, 07:55:56 PM »
Well I don't think that collapse is avoidable for anyone so I doubt anyone's youth can accomplish that.  There are not many youth in this country that think the way you do.  Many are the very ones who would be most opposed to your approach.  America is an extremely conservative and religious country.  You have to go to countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran to find such degrees of conservatism and religiosity.  We are extraordinarily militant and feel justified in being that way.  There is no major country in the world that comes even close to what it is like in the US.  This is one of the tripping points for most Europeans when trying to understand why the US thinks that way it does.  By European standards Presidents Obama and Clinton are conservatives.  By your standards there is not even one liberal news outlet in our entire country and Fox news is just a propaganda machine for the extreme political right (which of course it is).  There are almost no European type liberals in the US at all.  Don't expect or plan for this place to ever think or act the way you desire.

Collapse may be inherently unavoidable - but that doesn't preclude meaningful action to mitigate it, nor to consider the question of recovery post collapse (as Laurent said - what next?). The recovery question depends very much on how low the collapse floor is as descent too far could easily provide a situation in which recovery was a very long drawn out process (or even never). It seems highly likely that a post climate change world will be nowhere near as conducive to supporting the higher human populations that drove innovation and discovery and allowed us to expand out over the planet to the extent that we did.

This thread was predicated upon the inevitability of at least some degree of collapse.

The general consensus so far seems to be that while there are theoretical solutions to substantially mitigate collapse and raise the floor, it is very unlikely that the sort of action required to implement them on a large scale will be forthcoming from those who have that level of influence (I think part of the problem is also that large amounts of imagination and willingness to take risks are involved).

I'm certainly not advocating a war against all (as Satire asked about), or even deliberate targeted direct population reduction (otherwise known as murder). What I am saying though is - surely there must be at least some small number of people with both the ability to recognise the problem, grasp solutions and with the courage to try to implement them?

If those people were gathered together and isolated from the main body of the population the main body of the population would proceed into collapse, disregarding their options to mitigate sufficiently as we agree is very likely and our species has small groups specifically designed with the purpose of raising the floor on collapse and trying to ensure an avenue to ultimate recovery along sustainable principles (socially and environmentally).

Is this a reasonable solution that works within the established constraints?

If so - what sort of maximum size do we think such societies could initiate with?

Finally, I appreciate transition is sort of addressing this - albeit in a gentler more moderate fashion - but as far as I can see most of the transition movements implicitly depend upon the wider framework of civilisation to proceed.

(I might also be biased in favour of this particular idea - it is exactly where I am focusing my personal efforts...)

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #120 on: June 25, 2013, 07:59:41 PM »
Still I am open to read some proposals - maybe there is one which could find some consensus here. If that is not possible at this place, it will probably not possible elsewhere, where poeple care much less. In that case we would have to prepare ourself for the CO2-refugees - that is the future challenge. The other things are just weather, it would be totally ridiculous to collapse because of weather...

I've replied to the some of the points you brought up in the reply I made above, so just a quick note.

It wouldn't be at all ridiculous to collapse because of weather. Agriculture - upon which most of the population of the world depends for food to live - is very much weather dependent. We wouldn't be the first civilisation to buckle under the onslaught of unhelpful weather, albeit perhaps the one that most directly and stupidly undermined their own life support.

There's been a lot more discussion of that side of things in the "When and how bad" thread (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,192.0.html) though - I'm keen to keep this one looking at possible solutions, rather than the wider case for collapse.

JimD

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #121 on: June 26, 2013, 10:18:45 PM »
SATire,

I am finding our discussions educational.  It is always hard to achieve understanding when communicating from different languages and cultures.  Not to mention the wide range of possible meanings when using the English language and our apparent differences in ages and experiences. 

For reference I think the post by ccgwebmaster on the 25th at 7:55 is very clear and I would agree with almost all of it.

What I am talking about when I say 'your approach'  is referring to your use of the concept of 'fairness' as a foundational or starting point in solutions.  My understanding and experience of typical human behavior precludes the concept of 'fairness' being a significant consideration in deciding how to behave as a group (individuals may do anything but groups behave according to the general dictates of their nature).  When I say this I am trying to point out that ANY solution requiring group action (as all climate mitigation solutions do require) that will not work unless people recognize that their past behavior was not fair and that in the future they MUST behave in a fair manner just cannot succeed. 

Solutions (or mitigation strategies) must be constructed in accordance with the above restriction.  All the key human behaviors/actions required by any specific mitigation/solution strategy MUST be among the standard human responses evolution has imprinted into our DNA.  We must use our species specific responses to danger, threats, competition, etc.  It is the ONLY way groups of humans can successfully act when performing tasks that require mass cooperation.  Does this help clarify what I am trying to say?

Another way of saying it is that solutions which require all to cooperate will fail if significant numbers choose to behave in another way.  If, in times of extreme stress, a significant proportion of the population will always revert to basic instinctual behavior patterns then this precludes any others behavior forms from being successful.  "Fairness", as a motivating mechanism, thus will not work.  If the US, or China, or India, does not choose to cooperate with a global mitigating solution then that solution will fail on a global scale.

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In your second part I do not understand what you consider "my approach". The words you cited 2nd are known facts. Denial of that is a criminal act in Germany. We embeded that trauma firmly in the memory of our society - if you consider that "affectation" we have to live with that misunderstanding.

Again we have a misunderstanding on meaning.  I am aware of what you describe having lived in Germany. What I am trying to say is that what Germans have done since WWII in terms of education and commitment (admirable and praiseworthy) does not change the core traits of human behavior imprinted into our basic nature by a couple of hundreds thousand years of evolution.  It is not possible to change fundamental instincts that quickly.   Educating a  change in human behavior can be fairly successful as long as the populace is not under the extremes of stress.  When enough stress is placed upon them virtually all people will revert to basic instincts and behaviors. 


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

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #122 on: June 27, 2013, 10:13:56 AM »
JimD,
since we are both adults for quite a while allready we should avoid teaching us - I see it is hard to be flexible while rooted firmly in a specific environment. Instead I will try to accept all your points (which does not imply accepting them for me, e.g. I would not propose to act according to all your points, since that could result in the contrary of mitigating possible collapse due to AGW in contradiction to Kant's imperative).

Therefore, I try to stay to the topic of discussing possible mitigating strategies while accepting your point that e.g. USA will not cooperate to give our children a chance. So one possible strategy left for societies wanting their children to survive would be to force e.g. USA to mitigate AGW. Could that strategy be the logical consequence accepting your words?
In my opinion "forcing mitigation" should not imply a war for 2 reasons: First the consequences of a war would very likely be more severe than the consequences of AGW. Second while avoiding CO2 emission would cost us a few percent of our wealth/GDP a war could easily cost us 10 times of that with unclear chances of success. A SWAT-analysis would not make any sustainability-investor jump in that ;-)
Maybe forcing reckless societies by embargo could match cost and benefit much more balanced. Preventing money inflow and avoiding any CO2-related trade could do the job. E.g. the embargo made Cuba quite sustainable in respect to CO2 emission/capita. Such an approach would be very familiar e.g. for USA - only the viewing direction would be surprising at first.
Did you intend such kind of mitigation strategy or something else?

TerryM

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #123 on: June 27, 2013, 10:43:31 AM »
Satire


As a Canadian that lived in the US for 40+ yrs I can assure you that the US simply would not accept a trade embargo at any meaningful level. They don't outspend the rest of the world in armament for no good reason.
I don't know how to get us out of the hole we keep digging, but forcing the US to comply just won't work.
Terry

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #124 on: June 27, 2013, 10:54:03 AM »
If those people were gathered together and isolated from the main body of the population the main body of the population would proceed into collapse, disregarding their options to mitigate sufficiently as we agree is very likely and our species has small groups specifically designed with the purpose of raising the floor on collapse and trying to ensure an avenue to ultimate recovery along sustainable principles (socially and environmentally).

Is this a reasonable solution that works within the established constraints?

If so - what sort of maximum size do we think such societies could initiate with?
If we want to avoid Hobbes "MadMax-scenario" and want to life in a comfortable society with familiar life quality I think we need a minimum size, since our high-tech life depends considerably on specialisation of skills. I think one needs about 1 million individuals for basic tech and about 10 millions to maintain a life we are used to - e.g. including laser processing of photovoltaics and manufacturing of electrical vehicels. For stabilisation it would be helpfull to have several of such societies with different cultures, roots and skills in different places in the world to have some back-up and synergy effects - think of ecology to understand that.
Since already today about 10-20% of the population in Europe is trying quite hard to act in a sustainable way (of course by different means but with increasing success), I think we are quite save to reach that threshold any time. Considering that the necessary effort is comparable to what we do to rescue our banks for unknown reasons, we can be sure that we will make even more it after understanding the reason. That may be the reason why all succesfull mitigation examples I know of start with education.

edit: Taking into account the danger implied in Terry's post above one needs to consider another necessity prior to setting up any new sustainable society. We must weed out the American way of life first, to prevent that future societies will fail again in the same way. Probably you may rely on some old German skills to perform that "weed out" carefully. That task requires concerted actions.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 11:26:44 AM by SATire »

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #125 on: June 27, 2013, 11:00:45 AM »
Satire


As a Canadian that lived in the US for 40+ yrs I can assure you that the US simply would not accept a trade embargo at any meaningful level. They don't outspend the rest of the world in armament for no good reason.
I don't know how to get us out of the hole we keep digging, but forcing the US to comply just won't work.
Terry

Terry - I know you are a wise guy and you are right with your analysis. But please - could you try to be a bit optimistic to give the young generation a different answer than "die!" when they ask "what shall we do?". You sound like you consider US-poeple beeing the alliens in Emmerich's independence day. So we are forced to fight for the right to life?

That idea makes me both so sad and angry!

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #126 on: June 27, 2013, 12:17:10 PM »
As a Canadian that lived in the US for 40+ yrs I can assure you that the US simply would not accept a trade embargo at any meaningful level. They don't outspend the rest of the world in armament for no good reason.
I don't know how to get us out of the hole we keep digging, but forcing the US to comply just won't work.
Terry

There is a degree to which perhaps the American problem (and in fairness that of the developed nations generally, just exemplified and led by the USA) will resolve itself - as such nations will implode. That much is implied by reasonable definitions of "collapse", arguably.

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #127 on: June 27, 2013, 12:37:04 PM »
If we want to avoid Hobbes "MadMax-scenario" and want to life in a comfortable society with familiar life quality I think we need a minimum size, since our high-tech life depends considerably on specialisation of skills. I think one needs about 1 million individuals for basic tech and about 10 millions to maintain a life we are used to - e.g. including laser processing of photovoltaics and manufacturing of electrical vehicels.

Do we depend upon "our" high-tech life?

I'm pretty sure I don't need it. I grew up mostly outside it by virtue of poverty throughout a big chunk of life. It seems to me this idea that we absolutely must have it at any cost is a large part of what makes it impossible for westerners (particularly in the US) to let go and realise that they should make sacrifices for the sake of a future for their descendants.

Is it not far easier to start to fight collapse with a smaller scale than 1-10 million and build up the numbers and raise the complexity of the technology (and hence the floor of collapse) supporting the society as possible? One must take these people outside the collapsing societies - easier said than done even with a few. I think you are thinking that some form of transition will be possible in time to avoid collapse, perhaps?

Since already today about 10-20% of the population in Europe is trying quite hard to act in a sustainable way (of course by different means but with increasing success), I think we are quite save to reach that threshold any time. Considering that the necessary effort is comparable to what we do to rescue our banks for unknown reasons, we can be sure that we will make even more it after understanding the reason. That may be the reason why all succesfull mitigation examples I know of start with education.

Unfortunately, in the US and UK at least - education is moving backwards...

And there is no evidence that a habitable planet or the wellbeing of the average citizen or their descendants matters anywhere near as much as the solvency of the banks to the powers that be.

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #128 on: June 27, 2013, 02:00:05 PM »
Do we depend upon "our" high-tech life?

[...]
Is it not far easier to start to fight collapse with a smaller scale than 1-10 million and build up the numbers and raise the complexity of the technology (and hence the floor of collapse) supporting the society as possible? One must take these people outside the collapsing societies - easier said than done even with a few. I think you are thinking that some form of transition will be possible in time to avoid collapse, perhaps?
I do depend a bit on high-tech for two reasons. I am older than the median in any society without high tech and without health-care I would die from the next infection. Second as most poeple here my skill are related to high tech production of things. But that are individual/personal arguments without broader importance - you easily could try without me. Several poeple live here proving that you can do without any tech and produce all you need by yourself - but they also go to the dentist from time to time  ;) .

Your second point: It would be by far easiest to transit from current high-tech state - it would cost us less effort than e.g. "euro-crisis" which most of us only know from newspapers without effects in real live (you may have lost some money in US "real" estate or greece bonds - but you did not know how to spend that money anyway - so no effect for life).
Further - I see no reason why to exclude any poeple in good faith. Poeple will gather together by their nature and want to be usefull and accepted in a society. E.g. I would not feel comfortable in some kind of sect excluding others. We would have enough work excluding CO2 emission and preventing others from emitting CO2.

Your last point:
Education is the key for a smooth transition - look what did work and what did not work e.g. in Växjö, Copenhagen, ... And education anyway is by far the most fruitful investment you could do in a society.

JimD

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #129 on: June 27, 2013, 06:10:27 PM »
JimD,
since we are both adults for quite a while allready we should avoid teaching us - I see it is hard to be flexible while rooted firmly in a specific environment. Instead I will try to accept all your points (which does not imply accepting them for me, e.g. I would not propose to act according to all your points, since that could result in the contrary of mitigating possible collapse due to AGW in contradiction to Kant's imperative).

Therefore, I try to stay to the topic of discussing possible mitigating strategies while accepting your point that e.g. USA will not cooperate to give our children a chance. So one possible strategy left for societies wanting their children to survive would be to force e.g. USA to mitigate AGW. Could that strategy be the logical consequence accepting your words?
In my opinion "forcing mitigation" should not imply a war for 2 reasons: First the consequences of a war would very likely be more severe than the consequences of AGW. Second while avoiding CO2 emission would cost us a few percent of our wealth/GDP a war could easily cost us 10 times of that with unclear chances of success. A SWAT-analysis would not make any sustainability-investor jump in that ;-)
Maybe forcing reckless societies by embargo could match cost and benefit much more balanced. Preventing money inflow and avoiding any CO2-related trade could do the job. E.g. the embargo made Cuba quite sustainable in respect to CO2 emission/capita. Such an approach would be very familiar e.g. for USA - only the viewing direction would be surprising at first.
Did you intend such kind of mitigation strategy or something else?


SATire,

I guess our last messages to each other demonstrate the difficulty in communication between different cultures and languages.

I see that somehow my post offended you.  And yours offended me.  I did not intend such and expect that you did not either.  But it is what it is.

Teaching each other should not be avoided it should be required.  You clearly have almost no understanding of Americans or the US in general.  I was attempting to explain, however feeble that explanation might be, how people come to think and act the way they do.  Your mileage may vary as they say.

I do find it interesting that your comments have evolved to bringing up the use of force to get your way.  That is kind of what I have been trying to point out is the instinctual reaction to stress and threats to one's security.  Cooperation is not a common tactic used in such instances.  'Fairness" is not a motivating emotion.  Fear is. 

Do I think that such 'mitigating' strategies will be used.  Of course.  That is part of what I have been trying to say.  Humans ALWAYS use those types of mitigating strategies.  If there are no strangers competing for the limited supply of animals to eat then you do not have to worry about sharing with them (to put it in caveman terms).  And in that kind of competition which group almost always ends up in the more desirable position?  Those who have assumed it is going to end up that way and have prepared for it or those who have not? 
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

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #130 on: June 27, 2013, 07:34:50 PM »
I do find it interesting that your comments have evolved to bringing up the use of force to get your way.  That is kind of what I have been trying to point out is the instinctual reaction to stress and threats to one's security.  Cooperation is not a common tactic used in such instances.  'Fairness" is not a motivating emotion.  Fear is. 
Yes that is interesting for you. For me it was "interesting" to learn that an existing society could consider a fearful total collapse more appropriate than a future with bit of cooperation and some concedes. If I understood you right that could be due to religious fundamentalism - some kind of suicidal heading towards Armageddon.
If your partner/enemy is not willing to cooperate and insist on killing you as collateral damage of his suicide, fear is appropriate and cooperation is becoming futile. I thought Americans were a bit crazy but what I have learned here is pure madness. 

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #131 on: June 27, 2013, 08:04:57 PM »
"Pure" madness is a bit generous.  Our national madness seems to be associated with intertwined blindnesses associated with
(1) belief in the Rapture (literally heard Rapture as a serious excuse from a man with a degree in Biology this morning for some inaction at a fellow staffer's retirement party; my one time supervisor looked over at me and pleaded with his eyes, "Don't make an issue, please"),
(2) "America, "right or wrong " (we couldn't be wrong, silly me), and
(3) "If it's good for business (short term), it's good for us US (long term)." 

Possibly needless to say, I spent several years out of the USA, am not a Rapture-believing Christian, and am not a businessman.

Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #132 on: June 27, 2013, 10:30:56 PM »
"Pure" madness is a bit generous.  Our national madness seems to be associated with intertwined blindnesses associated with
(1) belief in the Rapture (literally heard Rapture as a serious excuse from a man with a degree in Biology this morning for some inaction at a fellow staffer's retirement party; my one time supervisor looked over at me and pleaded with his eyes, "Don't make an issue, please"),
(2) "America, "right or wrong " (we couldn't be wrong, silly me), and
(3) "If it's good for business (short term), it's good for us US (long term)." 

Possibly needless to say, I spent several years out of the USA, am not a Rapture-believing Christian, and am not a businessman.

Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

Like you, I've spent many years living and/or working in other countries across the globe.  While the US has done many things admirably (mostly from the 50s - 70s),  we certainly can not claim that we do everything better than anyone else, anywhere on the planet.

I am appalled when I hear certain politicians crow about "American Exceptialism."  How can we lead the way in to the future with an educational system that is failing so badly in math and science.  However, here in Texas, we're proudly building new High School football stadiums, while eliminating the arts from the curriculum, consolidating classes and freezing teacher's salaries.  If the current legislature has it's way we'll be teaching Creationism as an accepted science and not teaching Climate Change because it is not an accepted science.
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

TerryM

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #133 on: June 29, 2013, 01:53:13 PM »
Satire
As far as optimism, lets just say I could be wrong, not just incrementally wrong but fundamentally wrong in all my speculations on this thread. There may be some technological fix around the corner, food production may blossom, SLR may indeed be linear, the US may lead the world in reducing Co2 emissions and catastrophe may averted. These are all real possibilities, but they ignore the premise of this thread.
I haven't had the globe trotting experiences of OLN or Tor, my life has been spent in North America & I see everything through that lens. While I like to consider myself well read and count diverse individuals as friends, this in no way qualifies me to make assumptions about how other areas will react to climatic shocks. I try to post about things that I do have some familiarity with & one of those is the experience I've had in seeing the US intimately over a long period of time - as an outsider.
As cc reminded me we are talking about collapse & mitigation. Collapse does infer the internal breakup of nations, and my fear is that some won't go quietly into the night. The US seems to be positioning itself to be the last one standing rather than becoming the mentor nation that helps prepare the others for what is ahead, or even the role of the reluctant supporter willing to bow to the requests of the other nations. I[size=78%] [/size][/size]think they'll succeed to some degree & that The US will be one of the last to fall. I think in their death throes they may do much to alleviate the worlds population problems & I think any mitigation strategy that doesn't consider this possibility is flawed.I'm sorry I can't provide more optimism. I don't have any solutions.  I watch the Arctic melt away with the same horrified fascination that I've felt just before a high speed auto accident. You can see it coming. It's too late to do much about it.  You know it's going to be bad.[size=78%]
Terry


Agres

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #134 on: June 29, 2013, 11:45:02 PM »
I started thinking about sea level rise and the industries affected.  Top of the list was textiles. Synthetic fibers are mostly made at sea level, cotton is mostly grown at sea level, and much of our global textile processing is near sea level.

I thought, no problem, we can grow wool, there are hand spinners around and a lot of  hand knitters.

Until circa 1840, professional hand knitters could knit fabrics that would keep a working fisherman warm.  However, those skills have been lost. Most modern hand knitters do not even believe that such fabrics can be hand knit.  What they call “warm woolens” is simply not nearly as warm as the weatherproof  fabrics that protected generations of sea men including Shackleton's men wintering on the Antarctic ice.  Modern hand spinners have forgotten the skills of industrial scale spinning. Certainly these skills can be reinvented, but that may not happen in time to have warm clothes by the next time snow flies.  My point is not about cloth, it is about sets of skills that have been lost.

The bottom line is always food.  The first causality of  climate change will be industrial agriculture. Today all of our food production is subsidized by low cost energy. The skills required to run an energy efficient, integrated farm have been lost.  Even the Amish farms are now depended on industrial products.  How many people do you know that have actually caught, butchered, cleaned, cooked, and eaten a chicken?  “Catching” a chicken is not as easy as you might think.  It is a skill that is mostly lost.  Can you butcher and  cook a cow without wasting most of it through spoilage/

If food production collapses as a result of poor weather, then industrial workers will leave their jobs, seeking food.  Then, industrial production fails, and because those industrial workers have limited food production skills, they starve.  When farmers cannot get the spare parts for their farm equipment because the factories can not get the microprocessors to repair their machine tools because the chip makers cannot get the gray plastic used to make the chip carriers, because all of the gray plastic is made at sea level, then the price of  food goes up so that none of the workers in any of the supply chains can afford food for their families.  If the wages for the workers goes up, then nobody can afford the end product, and it cannot be sold because everybody is spending all of their money on food. The bottom line is food. And we have lost much of our gardening/food production skills.  It is a branch of economics that has been neglected  while cheap oil subsidized food production, and weather risks were minimized by production on different continents.  However, now AGW puts food production on all continents at simultaneous risk.

SATire

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #135 on: June 30, 2013, 03:28:12 PM »
As cc reminded me we are talking about collapse & mitigation. Collapse does infer the internal breakup of nations, and my fear is that some won't go quietly into the night. The US seems to be positioning itself to be the last one standing rather than becoming the mentor nation that helps prepare the others for what is ahead, or even the role of the reluctant supporter willing to bow to the requests of the other nations. I think they'll succeed to some degree & that The US will be one of the last to fall. I think in their death throes they may do much to alleviate the worlds population problems & I think any mitigation strategy that doesn't consider this possibility is flawed.
So angst of the eigthies is back. While it surely is possible to mitigate 2-4 °C warming and a sea level rise of 1 m the consequences of a nuclear war would be impossible to adapt to. Global winter (6-8°C colder on average and 20-30°C colder in North America and Eurasia for more than 10 years) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2006JD008235/abstract;jsessionid=8E2310E3BDB41A71A1CCC937F09CD6AA.d03t03 would kill us for sure, if we survived the direct impacts. And then the feed-backs. We would have to move far south, where all of our mitigation strategies would not be needed, since poeple there e.g. know how to kill a chicken.

Therefore, I try to consider your points seriously in a new possible mitigating strategy.
So first and most important mitigation strategy is to prevent nuclear winter. I think USA will have to drop some nukes during collapsing - otherwise apocalypse would probably not convincing enough. But we must limit the amount of nukes they need to believe - sorry for the usual suspect satanics. To achieve that, I see 3 important conditions we have to comply with:

1) No external military threat for USA left in 2030-2050. We have to proove seriously that no other power is able to attac USA e.g. with nukes. E.g. Russia and China will have to work hard - but they are reasonable, so they will.

2) No big stock of resources and no significant consumption of resources outside USA. So we must continue to become CO2 free by 2030-2050 and to get sustainable by that date, that we can e.g. get all needed rare earth metals from our waste.

3) Last nation standing. Small countries like Sweden will probably be ignored. But some like China, Russia, Japan, Germany and finaly sister UK will have to collapse convincingly, making USA believe they are the last one standing and could start rapture appeased. I think for that task collapse of financial system and governmental structures are sufficient - no need for MadMax here, since that is impossible anyway in social societies (but USA will ignore that fact, because they believe something else). Perhaps we just need to fail e.g. with the euro and do something like they tested in Belgium recently.

Could that work for poeple in USA? What do you think?

ggelsrinc

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #136 on: June 30, 2013, 06:59:11 PM »
I started thinking about sea level rise and the industries affected.  Top of the list was textiles. Synthetic fibers are mostly made at sea level, cotton is mostly grown at sea level, and much of our global textile processing is near sea level.

I thought, no problem, we can grow wool, there are hand spinners around and a lot of  hand knitters.

Until circa 1840, professional hand knitters could knit fabrics that would keep a working fisherman warm.  However, those skills have been lost. Most modern hand knitters do not even believe that such fabrics can be hand knit.  What they call “warm woolens” is simply not nearly as warm as the weatherproof  fabrics that protected generations of sea men including Shackleton's men wintering on the Antarctic ice.  Modern hand spinners have forgotten the skills of industrial scale spinning. Certainly these skills can be reinvented, but that may not happen in time to have warm clothes by the next time snow flies.  My point is not about cloth, it is about sets of skills that have been lost.

The bottom line is always food.  The first causality of  climate change will be industrial agriculture. Today all of our food production is subsidized by low cost energy. The skills required to run an energy efficient, integrated farm have been lost.  Even the Amish farms are now depended on industrial products.  How many people do you know that have actually caught, butchered, cleaned, cooked, and eaten a chicken?  “Catching” a chicken is not as easy as you might think.  It is a skill that is mostly lost.  Can you butcher and  cook a cow without wasting most of it through spoilage/

If food production collapses as a result of poor weather, then industrial workers will leave their jobs, seeking food.  Then, industrial production fails, and because those industrial workers have limited food production skills, they starve.  When farmers cannot get the spare parts for their farm equipment because the factories can not get the microprocessors to repair their machine tools because the chip makers cannot get the gray plastic used to make the chip carriers, because all of the gray plastic is made at sea level, then the price of  food goes up so that none of the workers in any of the supply chains can afford food for their families.  If the wages for the workers goes up, then nobody can afford the end product, and it cannot be sold because everybody is spending all of their money on food. The bottom line is food. And we have lost much of our gardening/food production skills.  It is a branch of economics that has been neglected  while cheap oil subsidized food production, and weather risks were minimized by production on different continents.  However, now AGW puts food production on all continents at simultaneous risk.

Quote
“Catching” a chicken is not as easy as you might think.

Damn it, it's a chicken! They only exist because of mankind and roost during the course of a day in the protected areas mankind provides. It takes a few seconds to find a chicken and ring that chicken's neck. Since all the imagined scenarios show large portions of mankind dying off, maybe the chicken chasers will be some of the first to go.

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #137 on: June 30, 2013, 07:22:28 PM »
Until circa 1840, professional hand knitters could knit fabrics that would keep a working fisherman warm.  However, those skills have been lost. Most modern hand knitters do not even believe that such fabrics can be hand knit.  What they call “warm woolens” is simply not nearly as warm as the weatherproof  fabrics that protected generations of sea men including Shackleton's men wintering on the Antarctic ice.  Modern hand spinners have forgotten the skills of industrial scale spinning. Certainly these skills can be reinvented, but that may not happen in time to have warm clothes by the next time snow flies.  My point is not about cloth, it is about sets of skills that have been lost.

This is a major part of the problem of trying to determine the floor for collapse - if it progresses past a point - there is a rather large drop to reach any plausible floor. Accordingly it seems to me to make sense for smaller groups to concentrate on the bottom end up (hence comments about flint knapping earlier in the thread) as it demands a much larger group of like minded (or at least cooperative) individuals to attempt to prevent collapse without crashing down if one is going to attempt to retain any available option that doesn't hit that large drop.

The bottom line is always food.  The first causality of  climate change will be industrial agriculture. Today all of our food production is subsidized by low cost energy. The skills required to run an energy efficient, integrated farm have been lost.  Even the Amish farms are now depended on industrial products.  How many people do you know that have actually caught, butchered, cleaned, cooked, and eaten a chicken?  “Catching” a chicken is not as easy as you might think.  It is a skill that is mostly lost.  Can you butcher and  cook a cow without wasting most of it through spoilage/

I personally don't have too much trouble killing my food - but an awful lot of people in western nations do. While they are conditioned to be quite happy going to the supermarket to find their chicken in a nice plastic package - give them a real live chicken and they don't know what to do. Even if you tell them what to do, psychologically many people have a real problem with killing it.

However this mostly applies to developed westernised nations where the corporations have taken over control of the food supply. Less developed nations won't have such issues - and also by virtue of being closer to the ultimate floor of a collapse they are paradoxically likely to be relatively less disrupted once things reach that point.

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #138 on: June 30, 2013, 07:30:02 PM »
As cc reminded me we are talking about collapse & mitigation. Collapse does infer the internal breakup of nations, and my fear is that some won't go quietly into the night. The US seems to be positioning itself to be the last one standing rather than becoming the mentor nation that helps prepare the others for what is ahead, or even the role of the reluctant supporter willing to bow to the requests of the other nations. I[size=78%] [/size][/size]think they'll succeed to some degree & that The US will be one of the last to fall. I think in their death throes they may do much to alleviate the worlds population problems & I think any mitigation strategy that doesn't consider this possibility is flawed.I'm sorry I can't provide more optimism. I don't have any solutions.  I watch the Arctic melt away with the same horrified fascination that I've felt just before a high speed auto accident. You can see it coming. It's too late to do much about it.  You know it's going to be bad.[size=78%]

I'm unsure about the prospects for the US. On the face of it - with their own energy supplies, lots of resources - and massive agricultural production - the US ought to be well placed to try to be one of the last nations standing (and if it wasn't for my next point, I'd struggle to understand how the US could definitely enter collapse in the nearer future).

On the other hand the nation has a rather angry temperament, the economy is in the toilet and the philosophy of the nation is predicated upon increasing wealth for the rich and grinding poverty and increasing struggle for the poor. With large quantities of firearms available the people also have a disproportionate amount of potential power if things get ugly (better in my view than a monopoly of power by the socioeconomic elites, but also has interesting potential).

Anyway long story short I think the US is rather more vulnerable to societal and economic disruption than most might think - and the fact that it also lags behind the average learning curve when it comes to climate change means people there will have less understanding of the reasons for the changes in their world than in most nations. Perhaps that will make them faster to blame their politicians and start tearing the place apart.

JimD

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #139 on: December 27, 2014, 06:19:03 PM »

I'm unsure about the prospects for the US. On the face of it - with their own energy supplies, lots of resources - and massive agricultural production - the US ought to be well placed to try to be one of the last nations standing (and if it wasn't for my next point, I'd struggle to understand how the US could definitely enter collapse in the nearer future).

On the other hand the nation has a rather angry temperament, the economy is in the toilet and the philosophy of the nation is predicated upon increasing wealth for the rich and grinding poverty and increasing struggle for the poor. With large quantities of firearms available the people also have a disproportionate amount of potential power if things get ugly (better in my view than a monopoly of power by the socioeconomic elites, but also has interesting potential).

Anyway long story short I think the US is rather more vulnerable to societal and economic disruption than most might think - and the fact that it also lags behind the average learning curve when it comes to climate change means people there will have less understanding of the reasons for the changes in their world than in most nations. Perhaps that will make them faster to blame their politicians and start tearing the place apart.

ccg

I saw this and wanted to let you see what is happening below the media radar.

For those thinking that the US is immune from collapse or not actually in the process already like everyone else....

There are lots of other US examples if one looks for them.

http://urbanitenews.com/2014/12/18/day-modern-detroit-pioneers-squatter-community/

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

JimD

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #140 on: March 08, 2015, 11:31:00 PM »
This is a good topic that has sort of fallen by the wayside a bit.

Here is something that seems to fit in here and is certainly subject to some discussion.  I have been thinking that we need a topic to track what seems to me to be strong evidence of early stage collapse in the EU/Europe.  Things are going south as we say in the US and it looks like the peak of complexity is past with the gutting of Greece, the sliding away of the southern states, serious financial dislocations, the insanity of pushing eastwards and threatening the Russians.  The mistakes of empires..

http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/03/europe-the-morally-bankrupt-union/

Quote
The European Union is busy accomplishing something truly extraordinary: it is fast becoming such a spectacular failure that people don’t even recognize it as one. People have no idea, they just think: this can’t possibly be true, and they continue with their day. They should think again. Because the Grand European Failure is bound to lead to real life consequences soon, and they’ll be devastating. The union that was supposed to put an end to all fighting across the continent, is about to be the fuse that sets off a range of battles.

To its east, the EU is involved in a braindead attempt at further expansion – it has only one idea when it comes to size: bigger is always better -, an attempt that is proving to be such a disaster that heads will roll in the Brussels corridors no matter what. Europe has joined the US and NATO very enthusiastically in creating not just a failed state, but a veritable imitation of Hiroshima, in Ukraine, right on its own borders. The consequences of this will haunt the EU (or if it doesn’t last, which is highly plausible, its former members) not just for weeks or months or years, but for many decades.

The carefully re-crafted relationship with Russia, which took 25 years to build, was destroyed again in hardly over a year, something for which Angela Merkel deserves so much blame it may well end up being her main political legacy....
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

JimD

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #141 on: April 20, 2015, 06:24:58 PM »
An interesting article about the premier location in the US which is undergoing collapse.

Detroit

Quote
Yves here. Detroit is getting the same treatment as Latvia and Ireland, and we are already seeing similar results in Greece, with most people who have good foreign job prospects taking a hike. But while Latvia and Ireland stabilized at much lower levels of output and have started to recover from their, Detroit, like Greece, looks like a failed state. And this is perversely seen as acceptable in America.

By Laura Gottesdiener, a freelance journalist based in New York City. The author of A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home, her writing has appeared in Mother Jones, Al Jazeera, Guernica, Playboy, RollingStone.com, and frequently at TomDispatch. Originally published at TomDispatch

Unlike so many industrial innovations, the revolving door was not developed in Detroit. It took its first spin in Philadelphia in 1888, the brainchild of Theophilus Van Kannel, the soon-to-be founder of the Van Kannel Revolving Door Company. Its purpose was twofold: to better insulate buildings from the cold and to allow greater numbers of people easier entry at any given time.

On March 31st at the Wayne Country Treasurer’s Office, that Victorian-era invention was accomplishing neither objective. Then again, no door in the history of architecture — rotating or otherwise — could have accommodated the latest perversity Detroit officials were inflicting on city residents: the potential eviction of tens of thousands, possibly as many as 100,000 people, all at precisely the same time.......


That is 1/7 of the cities population.

If you find this interesting do a G search on Detroit and its crumbling situation.  It is hard to believe that this is already occurring in the US at this scale.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/04/continuing-depopulation-detroit.html
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

Bruce Steele

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #142 on: April 20, 2015, 07:29:34 PM »
Jim, I thought this article was well written. Drilling more wells is continuing apace, kinda like fracking.
Chasing the water down. Maybe the Calif. central valley story is weather / climate related but there have always been droughts around here. 150 years ago you sure couldn't be punching wells to 2500ft. We have overcommitted the water and even a big El Nino will only buy us a little more time. I haven't even heard any calls for farmers to conserve until their asked to curtail all pumping.  Good public relations would suggest ag water conservation be shared equitably but silly me.

   https://medium.com/matter/why-the-california-drought-is-all-your-fault-55f81a947ce2

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #143 on: April 20, 2015, 10:04:47 PM »
Bruce

Yes, a great story and I recommend that everyone read it.

There is no place on Earth which has reached the point of real suffering or some form of collapse which does not have a comparable story.  No one is really guilty, but everyone is certainly responsible.

There is simply no fixing the water issues of the Southwest and the Central Valley.  Everyone will demonize everyone and politicians will use all sides to try and gain advantage.  But reality will get its due no matter what.  If there is not enough water there simply is no way to continue along the lines of how we proceeded in the past.  No one is going to be the first to give in as no one sees in themselves a key part of the problem. 

At this point of inflection real change is coming to the Central Valley as well as to the rest of California.  Heavy rains now would not in any way fix the problem.  They might provide some short term relief but they would also tend to reinforce the continuation of behaviors which have no future.  It is not just farming in CA that needs to radically change.  The way everyone lives needs to change and the sooner the better as dragging it out will only make the suffering worse. 

Agriculture must quit growing all of the water intensive crops as the future will be one of continuing declines in water availability and the way to keep the most land in production (and provide the lives those farmers want/need) is to focus on what delivers the most crops.  It is either that or the total numbers of farmers will continue to shrink and the valley towns dry up.  Get the dairy industry out of the valley and stop growing rice and get rid of most of the orchards.  There is no other option really as the reality of water supplies is going to make that happen anyway.

One of the best things we could do in the West is to have the govt wipe out all of the historical water agreements and rights.  They are obsolete and not in the best interests of maintaining viable economies.  Water needs to be allocated much more fairly and in line with what nature actually provides us.

There are hosts of actions which the city people can take to adapt as well (swimming pools, golf courses, lawns, long showers, you name it).  It just has to happen.

There is no getting out of this unscathed for almost anyone.  While we won't all have issues as bad as your article describes, or necessarily very soon, we are all heading in the same direction.  This is why I have such a strong (bad) reaction to any kind of BAU advocacy.  It just makes the situation worse in the long run.  Deal with reality or it will deal with you.

On a side note I am going away from the blog soon.  The time I took off last year from all the blogs and writing I was doing was very good for the mind.  It lets one think more deeply and one does not get sidetracked as often by the daily news/propaganda feed.  I have not been anywhere near as busy this winter as the previous year, but I feel the need to walk away from the day to day interaction again.  Nothing has meaningfully changed for the better in years so I am sure I won't miss anything good.  Big changes for the worse will be hard not to notice I expect.  Take care of yourself.
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

Bruce Steele

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #144 on: April 20, 2015, 11:19:04 PM »
You take care also Jim. Will miss your perspective, always seemed spot on.

Neven

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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #145 on: April 20, 2015, 11:37:47 PM »
It's good to step away from the PC and the Internet, as addictive as they are. If it weren't part of my job sitting behind a computer, it'd be much easier to deal with the addiction. But sooner or later I'll have to step away and do something (more) useful in the real world too.

Take care, Jim.  Drop by when the minimum hits.  :)
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Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« Reply #146 on: April 21, 2015, 11:18:55 AM »
You take care also Jim. Will miss your perspective, always seemed spot on.

+1