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Re: [CumberlandGreenRiverBC] The Great Change: Summer is Coming

From: Eric S.
Sent on: Sunday, June 22, 2014 9:51 PM

I think that the complexity of nonlinear systems gives us just the opposite of an excuse to procrastinate. Some kinds of nonlinearities mean that things may get a lot worse a lot faster.

In particular, feedback loops mean exponential growth. That starts off slow and then picks up speed very rapidly. Another kind of nonlinearity is phase change, also known as threshold change or tipping point -- i.e., when some threshold is crossed and suddenly the rules change and it no longer makes any sense at all to extrapolate from past history. The methane bomb could go off. The ecosystem could collapse.

And the article only mentions two scenarios, "business as usual" and "drastic curtailment," both of which lead to near-term extinction. I think that's insufficiently imaginative, and a third scenario needs to be considered: "revolutionary transformation." That would not only involve drastic curtailment, but also the planting of trillions of trees, and/or the building of giant machines that suck carbon out of the air. We don't know yet what we might discover in the little time that remains to us. We won't know what is possible unless we try. But first we need to spread a change of attitude. "Drastic curtailment" is merely one of the extremes within the present socioeconomic system; we need to move to a different socioeconomic system altogether.

Eric Schechter
Does capitalism cause apathy?

On 6/22/14, 9:35 PM, Doug Kalmer wrote:
We are in a crisis in the evolution of human society. It’s unique to both human and geologic history. It has never happened before and it can’t possibly happen again. Albert Bates, author of The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook, brings you along on his personal journey.

" Studies such as these help us gaze into the uncertain future and ask if that is what we want for our children. Most of us don’t. A few of us actually try to do something to change it. For the rest, the lag time is comforting. The complexity of non-linear feedback systems gives us an excuse to procrastinate."

Both scenarios — business as usual and drastic curtailment — produce a temperature and climate regime that would likely be lethal for modern civilization, if not the human race.

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