Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Little Pollution

Can't stop progress ... the price you have to pay ... corporations are people too ... job growth ... it's not my problem ... the government would collapse ... you want to be poor ... children will adapt ... environmentalists don't understand how business works ... national pride ... the best economic system in the world .. and, a planet of fools....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Considering a Rational Morality

This interview with Bertrand Russell, philosopher and mathematician, took place in 1959.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Dying River

No fresh water means no oxygen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gathering the Pieces

Of course there are reasons to be skeptical whether or not the traditional nation-state, at least the structure we've had for the past 200 years or so, will be with us by the end of the 21st century.

Climate change, resource scarcity, population increase, economic decay, superstition and ignorance, along with the growing influence of non-state actors across the planet are likely going to place huge strains on all nations, even the most powerful. The question of “legitimacy” could very well gather momentum among more and more people. But what could replace the traditional state?

The short answer is that we don't know at this point, but resilient communities, transition towns, tribal networks were, until quite recently, ideas espoused by only a handful of people, often on the fringe of society, but which is now no longer the case. The transition movement, for example is spreading across the globe. In the U.S. go to Transition United States.

John Robb of Global Guerrillas, who has written a lot on asymmetrical warfare and “system disruption,” has a couple of interesting pieces on resiliency. See Why a Resilient Community Network? As well read Journal: Tribal Opportunity Space.

As we slowly get beyond abstract ideas and put together specific proposals and detailed plans for a particular community or region, we will likely see a widespread interest in the development of alternative “states” of various types.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why Create Resilient Communities

Chris Hedges, journalist, offered a bleak, personal critique of the American “empire” back on December 28th in New York. His view is that the current system can not be reformed no matter the degree of tentative tinkering we undertake.
The question still remains how we begin the serious creation of new resilient communities, which likely means we will have to confront at some point an increasingly undemocratic status quo. See Empire of Illusion.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Five Centimeters of Life

We are using up our dirt across the planet, which means we are threatening all life on Earth. In the U.S. alone two acres of dirt disappears every minute of every day. It is not sustainable.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sleeping with Bots

Daniel Suarez, software engineer and author, gives a fascinating presentation on what is referred to as “Bot-Mediated Reality.”

Bots are software applications that search, retrieve, and act on information. It has a great deal to do with the seemingly inexorable drive to efficiency, which likely means fewer people making decisions. Will we humans lose more and more control?

The implications are significant. There are plenty of reasons to believe that our traditional institutional structures are not capable of adapting to the changes? See Changing Reality

Monday, January 04, 2010

So What Follows

No I don't think things will be quite the same, even when the global recession “shakes out.” I believe the discussion of resilient communities will shortly go beyond a debate among the few to the necessity of the many.

Barring some as yet undiscovered technological breakthrough or a remarkable change in how Homo sapiens have acted, at least since the beginning of the Neolithic era 10,000 years ago, we are going to have to address just how we live and how we govern ourselves in a radically changing world. I don't think there will be a choice.

While what is likely to happen is perhaps speculative fiction at this point, the pieces are moving closer together. Climate change, resource scarcity, populations increase, non-state power and influence, changing geopolitical alignment are all factors that will affect us individually and collectively.

The fact that there is no 100 percent certainty doesn't mean we don't buy insurance, have our cars tuned up periodically or get an annual physical. The Oil Drum ran a series of articles back in early November 2008 on a changing suburbia. Is it viable or isn't it? How might it change? Since November 2008 a great deal has happened. The comments following the article are equally worthwhile. Go to A Resilient Suburbia

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Peer Review 101

An easily understood explanation on how scientific peer review works. It also addresses the stolen e-mails that allegedly expose, among the climate denialists, that there is a widespread scientific conspiracy or fraud is lurking about or global warming is now debunked or other feverish fantasies thought up by denialists.