The Political Economy of Half-Earth – The Bullet

A fascinating 6 page read. Troy Vettese, an environmental historian at New York University, starts by saying the killing of 54 million indigenous peoples in the Americas and the removal of some 12 million west Africans along slavery’s “Middle Passage” left millions of hectares of cropland fallow, and that their subsequent natural reforestation sequestered sufficient carbon to lower northern hemisphere temperatures by nearly one degree centigrade – ‘a little ice age‘. He then goes into Natural Geo-Engineering (NGE – vs artificial geo-engineering, AGE), outlines the phenomenal dangers of releasing millions of tonnes of sulphate aerosols to reflect sunlight back into space vs vastly increased carbon sequestration via afforestation, reducing forest scarcity by growing food crops instead of pasture. Of 5 billion ha. of global agricultural land, 3.5 B ha. is in pasture, with less than 1 B ha. to grow food for people vs industrial use or animal feed. He compares the power density of increasingly scarce fossil fuels (10,000 Watts/m2 – based on 300 million years of accumulated photosynthesis) vs solar (2-10 Watts/m2) or bio fuels (0.2 Watts/m2). He champions our need to free up much more land for afforestation to sequester enough carbon to counteract the worst effects of climate change. He dismisses the questionable proposals of Monbiot and Lovelock for a nuclear transition involving an increase from the current global 444 reactors to 2135 [dangerous] new reactors by 2050 to cover only electrical production, which wouldn’t even put a dent in fossil fuel energy for transportation or air conditioning. If 800 million ha. of land were reforested, billions of new trees would sequester 215 gigatons (GtC) over the next century, bringing atmospheric carbon to a much safer level in the low 300s ppm. (compared to today’s 410 ppm) But this can only come about if the richest make drastic cuts to their energy consumption and it cannot be fixed by the market. He presents the Swiss ‘2000-Watt Society‘ (48 kWh/person/day) vs the 12,000 W of average US citizens, 6,000 W for Europeans and 1,000 W in India and discusses the eco-socialist accomplishments of Cuba’s transition after the collapse of the USSR based on an average Cuban consumption of much less than 2000 watts.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Davos and ‘capitalist time’

A very interesting article. Below some clips.

How does capitalism condition the ways in which we measure, imagine and weaponise time – and what does this mean for our future? It’s Davos time again. Our overlords are arriving at the Alpine resort for the World Economic Forum (WEF). But the ski slopes all around are melting. The mountain’s snowline is receding.

Anthropocene is the buzz word, with Capitalocene its more accurate substitute.

Facing the catastrophes of his era, and the complacency of progressives, [Walter] Benjamin offered the image of the emergency brake: “Marx says that revolutions are the locomotive of world history. But perhaps it is quite otherwise. Perhaps revolutions are an attempt by the passengers on this train — namely, the human race — to activate the emergency brake.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wireless 5G Radiation, population, technology, social vs mainstream media, growth and climate change – Why we need to degrow!

Thanks to Janet Eaton for bringing the toxic 5G issue to my attention. In addition to these health impacts, this should be read along with the articles on population and media linked below. These histories of technology, population, social media vs mainstream media, and growth, not to mention climate change, will have significant impacts and implications for the need to degrow our industrial and societal metabolism to the point where it is sustainable. One could even factor in Canada’s detention of the CEO of Huawei, one the foremost sellers of 5G technology, into these geo-technico-politico scenarios!


To the UN, WHO, EU, Council of Europe and governments of all nations

We the undersigned scientists, doctors, environmental organizations and citizens from (__) countries, urgently call for a halt to the deployment of the 5G (fifth generation) wireless network, including 5G from space satellites. 5G will massively increase exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation on top of the 2G, 3G and 4G networks for telecommunications already in place. RF radiation has been proven harmful for humans and the environment. The deployment of 5G constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From Doom to Doom: Population Explosions and Declines – Other News

The United States appears to be facing a possible population crisis. Statistics from the National Institutes for Health show that the U.S. birthrate has declined to the extent that it cannot sustain the current population level. Conventional wisdom suggests that countries experiencing population decline – largely industrialized nations – face serious problems. Yet in the latter half of the 20th century, we feared the threat of an exploding population. There are some subjects for which any outcome appears dangerous: a growing population because it outstrips resources and a declining population because it threatens to slow the economy. Are warnings of a new crisis valid?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Environmental Values, Human Nature, and Economic Democracy, by Gregory M. Mikkelson

Gregory M. Mikkelson <gregory.mikkelson>
Department of Philosophy and School of Environment, McGill University

19 December 2016

Abstract: Recent social science indicates that the public at large behave more ethically, and favor environmental protection more strongly, than do the wealthiest minority. Yet the latter group exerts predominant control over the economy. This suggests that shifting power away from this minority and onto the majority would yield a better ecology. In this paper I spell out the implications of these considerations for “economic democracy” (ED), a well-developed alternative to capitalism that shifts power from wealthy shareholders onto ordinary citizens and workers. I contrast this rationale for ED with some thinkers’ defense of “sustainable capitalism”, and with others’ ecological arguments for ED based on economic stability and self-interest, rather than ethical behavior per se.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The degrowth of insects – an apocalypse Is here – Other News

Not your “classic” degrowth article, but something to think about resulting from growth.

Because insects are legion, inconspicuous and hard to meaningfully track, the fear that there might be far fewer than before was more felt than documented. People noticed it by canals or in backyards or under streetlights at night — familiar places that had become unfamiliarly empty. The feeling was so common that entomologists developed a shorthand for it, named for the way many people first began to notice that they weren’t seeing as many bugs. They called it the windshield phenomenon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Degrowth and the city

The degrowth hypothesis posits that a radical, multiscalar reorganization of society is needed in order to achieve a drastic reduction in resource and energy consumption and therefore remain within the planetary boundaries. Degrowth now operates as starting point for envisaging new worlds that can provide better lives with less, in which sustainability goes hand in hand with equity and a pluriverse of alternatives substitutes the growth “machine” that characterizes contemporary society. Against this background, a series of innovative research agendas have been developed to support this hypothesis. However, in a world that has been and is still being increasingly urbanized, degrowth has largely neglected the topic of urbanization. Against this background the following questions are crucial:

How can urbanization be compatible with degrowth?

How can cities become places of experimentation that challenge and transcend the growth imperative? What is the role of architecture and urban planning in this process?

How can urban dwellers contribute?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment