Tag: Sustainability

Entropia, a review.

A review of the new book by Dr. Samuel Alexander.

Back last November, not long after Jean and I had moved up to Oregon, I saw this on the PRI website: The Sufficiency Economy – Envisioning a Prosperous Way Down. Very quickly I realised the importance of the essay and contacted the author requesting permission to republish on Learning from Dogs.  That author was Dr. Samuel Alexander and permission was quickly given, leading to two essays: The simpler life and Where less is so much more.

Now fast forward to nearly a month ago and in came this email:

Samuel Alexander here, from the Simplicity Institute. I’ve recently published a new book, Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation. Was wondering whether you were interested in posting either a review or an excerpt on your website?

I was flattered to have been asked and delighted to review the book.

First, some background. samuelalexanderDr. Alexander is a part-time lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne, Australia. He teaches a course called ‘Consumerism and the Growth Paradigm: Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ in the Masters of Environment.

He is also co-director of the Simplicity Institute and co-founder of Transition Coburg. He writes regularly at the Simplicity Collective and posts most of his academic essays at www.TheSufficiencyEconomy.com.

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Introduction

After the review was completed, I forwarded it to Sam just to check that I hadn’t made any technical errors.  Within Sam’s reply to that email was his acknowledgement that his book fell into a genre that was not easily classified.  Ergo, the book being fiction yet not a novel.  Sam went on to muse that perhaps he should have been clearer about what the reader was going to get.  He wondered if my review should mention that aspect.  I said that I wouldn’t amend my review but would include an introduction to that effect, as now witnessed!

So to the review.  (Note: For some reason, I was unable to prevent the paragraph spacing from being deleted in the published version.  Hence the insertion of a single ‘-‘ after each paragraph.)

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Entropia-Cover

Entropia – Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation by Samuel Alexander

A review by Paul Handover

The title of the book didn’t offer this reader any clue about what might be coming. Nevertheless, very soon an experience of an ‘ah-ha’ moment arrived. Right on page one of the Acknowledgements when this sentence jumped off the page: “Henry Thoreau has been by far the greatest influence on my worldview, for it was he who awakened me to the insight that ‘superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only’.” [my emphasis] Wow, what an intriguing turn of phrase about wealth.

I plunged into the Prologue:

After the poets were banished from Plato’s Republic it is said that they set sail into unknown horizons in search of a new place to call home.

Shortly later reading:

But life proceeds in twists and turns, not straight lines. After losing consciousness in the midst of this perfect storm, the lost poets found themselves washed ashore on a small,fertile island, which was uninhabited and isolated entirely from the rest of civilisation. The boundless opportunities presented by this merciful twist of fate were immediately clear to all.

Some people believe this simple living community flourishes peacefully to this day, lost to the world in its own harmonious, aesthetic existence. But like Atlantis, the Isle of Furor Poeticus, as it has come to be known, has never been found.

* * *

The Isle of Furor Poeticus is a utopian romance of course – a myth. But we should remember that human existence has always been shaped and guided by myths and stories, so let us not dismiss the story of the lost poets too quickly or proudly. After all, we may not be so free from superstitions of our own. Modernity’s ‘myth of progress’ might itself just be a story we have been telling ourselves in recent centuries, one in fact that could soon be dismissed as a story no longer worth telling. Indeed, perhaps that book is closing before our very eyes – has already closed – leaving us to reflect on its themes from beyond as we step forth into unknown pages. And yet, it seems we have not found a new story by which to live. We are the generation in-between stories, desperately clinging to yesterday’s story but uncertain of tomorrow’s. Adrift in the cosmos, without a narrative in which to lay down new roots, humanity marches on – lost and directionless. But then again, perhaps the new words we need are already with us. Perhaps we just need to live them into existence.

Beautiful, magical writing right up to the closing sentences of the Prologue:

By choosing to do so we could again become the poets of our own lives and of a new generation, instead of merely reading out a pre-written script to an audience that is no longer listening. So open your mind, gentle reader, for the future is but clay in the hands of our imaginations.

We are being called to make things new. [again, my emphasis]

The novel, for it is a work of fiction, opens in substance with the account of Mortimer Flynn, a wealthy Texas oil magnate and son and only child of a Welsh coal industrialist, who having achieved “everything of which he had ever dreamed” comes to the realisation that he has no idea at all as to the purpose of his life. From this life-changing reassessment of his journey, his profound crisis of conscious, comes the purpose of the book. A story of a group of people who settle down in a remote South Pacific island, the island of Entropia. A “story about a community that became isolated on its small island in the wake of industrial civilisation’s collapse, during the third decade of the twenty-first century.”

Now, it’s fair to say that at this point I was truly hooked on the book. This was going to be the read of my life. Because it reflected my own belief that humanity was at the point, perhaps beyond the point, where the growing threats to our natural world threatened our moral obligations to the generations that follow.

However, somewhere during the second chapter, the style of writing started to intrude into my absorption of the story. At first the intrusion was more like a fly buzzing around; a minor irritation. Then it got to the stage where I had to stop reading and ponder on why I felt so uncomfortable with this reading experience. I was by now well into the third chapter.

Still couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was. Returned to the book but noticed that I was skim reading and had forcibly to focus on fully reading each page. After all, I was reading the book for review purposes!

Then it struck me. There were no characters coming to life off the page. Consequently, there was no dialogue. It didn’t read like a novel, much more like a report. That was the key to me re-establishing my relationship with the story; the book. Because despite the unusual style for a work of fiction, the value inherent in the pages was beyond measure. Here was a book that described in great detail the way a community discovered the reality of a sustainable way of life. How this group of a couple of thousand souls reinvented a society, a sustainable society, out of the ashes of a failed industrial civilisation.

I read on.

Later on the book described how the community looked at the way they governed themselves, how they set up representative systems and then, on page 119, came something that really punched me in the face, figuratively speaking. It was introduced, thus:

Eventually a short constitutional document was drafted by the Advisory Council and put to a referendum by the People’s Council, and this document received 94 per cent support. It is reproduced in its entirety below, as it serves as the best summary of our social, economic and political vision.

And proceeded:

Charter of the Deep Future

ENOUGH, FOR EVERYONE, FOREVER

.

We affirm that providing ‘enough, for everyone, forever’ is

the defining objective of our economy, which we seek to

achieve by working together in free association.

.

We affirm that everyone is free to create as an aesthetic

project the meaning of their own lives, while acknowledging

that this freedom legitimately extends only so far as others

can have the same freedom. Freedom thus implies restraint.

.

We affirm that our inclusive democracy does not

discriminate on such grounds as race, ethnicity, gender,

age, sexuality, politics, or faith.

.

We affirm that generations into the deep future are entitled

to the same freedoms as present generations.

.

We affirm that respecting the deep future requires maintaining

a healthy environment.

.

We affirm that technology can help to protect our

environment only if it is governed by an ethics of sufficiency,

not an ethics of growth. Efficiency without sufficiency is lost.

.

We affirm that maintaining a healthy environment requires

creating a stationary state economy that operates within

environmental and energy limits.

.

We affirm that a stationary state means stabilising

consumption and population, transitioning to renewable

sources of energy, and adapting to reduced energy supply.

.

We affirm that strict limits on material accumulation are

required if a stationary state is to maintain a just distribution

of resources and avoid corrosive inequalities.

.

We affirm that property rights are justifiable only to the

extent they serve the common good, including the overriding

interests of humanitarian and ecological justice.

.

We affirm that a stationary state economy depends on a

culture that embraces lifestyles of material sufficiency and

rejects lifestyles of material affluence.

.

We affirm that material sufficiency in a free society provides

the conditions for an infinite variety of meaningful, happy,

and fulfilling lives.

___________________________

Well that had such an impact on this reader. For this reason. The contrast between the reality of our present 21st Century life and the lives of those souls on Entropia was like night versus day. Enough, For everyone, Forever. If ever we needed a new cry from the heart, a new cry of hope and purpose, it was now and those are the words of that cry.

Entropia is a book you should read. It is a book that offers much hope, much guidance and much direction. As Samuel Alexander wrote on page 148, “Tranquillity and angst are both contagious, so it matters which of them we feed.

Time to feed that tranquillity.

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A planet worth protecting

This is our beautiful planet.

There have been a couple of hard-hitting posts this week, first about the implications of climate, with respect to the massive drought across the USA this year, and the efforts of Polly Higgins of the Eradicating Ecocide movement to make ecocide a crime against humanity.

This short but very compelling video shows why the planet is so worth protecting. Enjoy!

Loving our planet!

While Learning from Dogs trawls around a wide variety of topics, the theme behind the writings is, as the banner says on the home page: Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

Integrity, defined more or less universally as the ‘adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

Please trust me that this position is taken not from the perspective of the writer, I’m struggle with ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ as much as the next guy.  No, this position is the result of one very simple and stark vision: If we don’t understand pretty damn soon what we, as in mankind, are doing to our planet, both directly and indirectly, then we are living through the era of the end of civilised man; these are the last times.

The relationship between man and the dog is ancient beyond contemplation.  It is widely believed by scientists who study the history of man that, at the very least, dogs assisted man in evolving from hunter-gatherers to farmers.  But some scientists believe that without the support of dogs, man never would had made the transition to farming.  Either way the relationship goes back more than 10,000 years.

So what on earth does that have to do with integrity?  Simply that alongside millions of us, dogs offer us the examples of loyalty, faith, meditation, patience, truth in love; an example of an adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.‘  In a single word: integrity!

OK, now that I have got that off my chest, to the topic of today’s post.  For some months now I have subscribed to the blog run by The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.  It has much that will be useful for Jean and me when we move to Oregon in November.  But also, not infrequently, the Institute highlights deeper, more fundamental, issues.

Thus it was that a few days ago, my attention was drawn to an item with the title of  We Need Your Help to End the Era of Ecocide.  It was about the work of English woman, Polly Higgins.  I’m ashamed to say that I had not heard of her before!  A very quick search came across the website Eradicating Ecocide, from which one quickly learns that Polly,

In March 2010 international barrister and award winning author Polly Higgins proposed to the United Nations that Ecocide be made the fifth Crime Against Peace. There are currently four Crimes Against Peace: genocide, war crimes, crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity. Ecocide is the missing fifth crime – it is a crime against humanity, against current and future generations, and against all life on Earth.

Wow, that makes sense.  So what is ecocide? Again, Eradicating Ecocide offers the answer,

Back to the specific topic.  This is a copy of what is the latest news item on the Eradicating Ecocide website and it is reproduced in full.  I’ve included the Editor’s introduction from the Permaculture News website, as I couldn’t say it any better.

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We need your help to end this era of Ecocide

Editor’s Note: We’ve covered a little of Polly Higgin’s important work before (see here and here). If you’re not already familiar with Polly’s work, I would strongly encourage you to check out the web pages and videos linked to below, as well as our aforementioned pieces. Permaculturists dream of whole earth restoration, but our efforts, whilst essential, are, if I may, largely piecemeal. The reason for this is that for every positive step someone makes, an industry or government does, or allows, something significantly more destructive to take place that more than overshadows it. We will never break out of this destructive cycle unless we make environmental destruction illegal, and hold the people responsible accountable. As you are able, please support Polly’s work. If you cannot donate, please at least do what you can to share and circulate this page.

Polly Higgins

I have something I would like to share with you. Today myself and my team have reached zero. The pot is now bare and our funding resources are in urgent need of replenishing. In the past year your donations of over £200,000 funded my and my team’s work; we planted some incredible seeds in the run up to the Rio Earth Summit. Out of that we have had some wonderful successes; in the past year alone we have held a mock Ecocide Trial in the UK Supreme Court, the University of London launched their Ecocide Project, I have travelled to countries and spoken on many platforms, I launched my second book Earth is our Business, I have been awarded Overall Champion by the PEA awards, I have started a training programme for others to learn how to become a Voice for the Earth and I have submitted a concept paper, Closing the door to dangerous industrial activity to all government’s around the world. All this has been done with the help of your money and without it none of this would have been at all possible.

Yesterday we held an emergency meeting; despite the enormous efforts of our fundraiser over the past few months we have been unable to raise more than a few thousand pounds. We are looking squarely at the future and we see enormous opportunity to take forward all that I have already achieved; just think how close we are to making this law a reality.

Everything we do is governed by permaculture ethics; people care, earth care and fair share. Ecocides occur when we take far more than our fair share, which affects both our people and our Earth. To ensure we live within our planetary limits, a law of Ecocide creates a legal framework that can ensure we all live in peaceful enjoyment.

Please help me to continue to build upon all of this good work; now more than ever people care, earth care and fair share matters. Together we can end the era of Ecocide.

With love for the Earth,

Polly

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If you read this and want to share this Post, feel free to so do.  If you want to do that and more, then:

How you can help

  • Set up a direct debit.
  • Give a one-off donation.
  • Do a direct bank transfer.
  • Send a cheque to us at 6 Highbury Corner, Highbury Crescent, London N5 1RD. Please write your cheque out to our charity, The Earth Community Trust.
  • In the US you can donate via the Iris Arts and Education Group 1856 San Antonio Ave, Berkeley, California 94707. Please write your cheque out to our charity, The Earth Community Trust.
  • Please become one of our funding volunteers. We are seeking a team of people to help us fundraise. This can be done in a number of ways. If you think you can help, please email our intern Nina: nina (at) eradicatingecocide.com
  • We are seeking a volunteer for 2 weeks full time to come into our London office: please email Louise with your CV: louise (at) eradicatingecocide.com

And don’t forget to go to the Eradicating Ecocide website to become more aware and then take action!  Speaking of becoming more aware, do watch this video.

Clarity of thought

The power of clear visions.

Martin Luther King, (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968)

One of the aspects of modern life that is deeply unsatisfactory is the way that politicians and leaders of democratic societies fudge the truth in the hope that trying to be all things to all men means wider acceptance of their messages.

Think of the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. ”

These words serve as an introduction to some beautiful thoughts from a loyal American living here in Payson.  This is a man who is deeply spiritual, who has fought for his country, and who is soft and gentle to the core.  This is a man who is not afraid to offer a personal vision to the world.  I regard it as a real bonus that Jean and I have his friendship.

Here is the first of two contributions from John H.

The Passion of Enlightenment

Enlightenment includes deep grief and a passion to leave life a bit better than we found it. Enlightenment has little practical value in a growing and constantly consuming cultural demographic. Consumers tend to spiritually disconnect when faced by a need for change or when morality becomes inconvenient.

Is God truth?  What is the opposite of truth?  We’ve lost our way as a species.  Does God tell us to worship money? Does God tell us to ignore our finite earth?  Does God tell us to kill each other?  Does God tell us to ignore human history and the emerging network of scientific understandings?

Human wisdom has been far greater in the past than it is today.  God is not known through empirical knowledge.  Man is as limited as the finite planet which gave life to our species and sustains our existence. Matter and energy are interchangeable as fundamental forces.  God is experienced through our inner being and understood through the wisdom tradition of our species.

Sustainability includes the well-being of our planet and the life it supports.  Sustainability includes serving as caretakers rather than acting as owners.  Sustainability includes surrendering our addictions, our illusions and our delusions. Surrendering includes the courage to speak the truth and walk as we talk.  Surrendering assures our common well-being as a conscious component of God.  We have nothing to fear.

Consider world leadership.  Who are the aggressors?  Who are the oppressed?  Who serves God?  Who serves Mammon?  We each must search our heart, mind and soul to answer these questions honestly.  We need to face our shame and guilt in order to redeem ourselves and make a sustained effort to change.

The roots of wisdom in a constantly changing world are God, nature, history, and science.  We’ve come a long way since we first learned to use tools.  What have we forgotten in the process?  We can’t wait for the truth to become popular.  We each need to help make the truth popular.

an old lamplighter

Powerful words.  Thank you John.

Ernst Friedrich “Fritz” Schumacher

Ernst Friedrich “Fritz” Schumacher (16 August 1911 – 4 September 1977)

Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher

It seems amazing to realise both that this far-sighted man was born a century ago this day and that his incredibly influential book, Small is Beautiful, was published 38 years ago.

The book has been hugely influential.  Indeed, my gut sense is that it probably started the whole ‘green’ movement.  The Times Literary Supplement of October 6, 1995 regarded E.F. Schumacher’s 1973 book Small Is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered as among the 100 most influential books published since the end of the Second World War.

Just a personal note that for many years I lived just a few miles from Dartington in Devon (UK) where Schumacher College was founded in 1991.  Named after the great man, it provided, and still does, learning for sustainable living.  Perhaps no surprise at all that nearby Totnes became the world’s first ‘transition town’.

Want to find out more?  Then go to the New Economics Institute website here and discover,

The New Economics Institute is a US organization that uniquely combines vision, theory, action, and communication to effect a transition to a new economy — an economy that gives priority to supporting human well-being and Earth’s natural systems. Our multidisciplinary approach employs research, applied theory, public campaigns, and educational events to describe an alternative socio-economic system that is capable of addressing the enormous challenges of our times.  Our premise is that a fair and sustainable economy is possible and that ways must be found to realize it.

The Institute, formerly the E. F. Schumacher Society, is working in close partnership with the New Economics Foundation from London to add the programs and experience developed in the UK to its own work in the US.

Finally, to get a flavour of this wonderful man and the amazing legacy that he has left the planet, watch this short video of E.F. Schumacher answering a question from the moderator about whether or not Buddhist Economics can work in the West. (Question & Answer Panel at Great Circle Center, 3/19/77.  Peter Gillingham Collection, E. F. Schumacher Library Archives.)

Two years today!

Learning from Dogs first saw the light of day two years ago.

It all started on July 15th, 2009, during a very hot summer down in San Carlos, Mexico where I was first living with Jean.

Now, some 1,000 posts later life is very different.  Jean and I are now married and living incredibly happily, with our twelve dogs and six cats, in Payson, Arizona, some 80 miles NE of Phoenix, up at 5,000 feet on the fringe of the world’s largest Ponderosa Pine forest.

Ponderosa pine forest

So apologies if today’s Post is partly reflective on the last two years.  It also seems appropriate to revisit the reasons why so many articles on the Blog aren’t about dogs.

I feel the need to do that because the number of new readers now is just staggering.

The first full month was August 2009.  Wordpress stats reveal that there were 1,172 unique viewers of the Blog.  The last full month was, of course, June 2011.  Wordpress figures were 31,664 unique viewers!  That’s over a 1,000 viewers a day, and the trend is still upwards!

I am, of course, deeply moved by this response.  Thank you, one and all!

In writing Learning from Dogs, I have tried to stay close to the theme that dogs are a metaphor for change for mankind.  But that doesn’t mean that this is a doggy Blog.

As I wrote on the Welcome page, “Dogs live in the present – they just are!  Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have. They don’t judge, they simply take the world around them at face value.”

Learning from Dogs is a Blog about the fundamental truths that we need to be reminded of, for our long-term survival. Dogs teach us the importance of integrity, of faith and loyalty and of unconditional love.

But just as importantly, dogs are a reminder that our evolution to Neolithic man may have been an evolutionary mistake.  Stay with me for just a while.

Dogs were domesticated a mind-numbing number of years ago.  There is good evidence that dogs were co-operating with man 30,000 years ago.  However, one might speculate why the DNA of the dog separated from the grey wolf approximately 100,000 years ago.  Was it because they evolved even that far back as domesticated companions to man?  Science can’t tell us that yet.

But 30,000 years ago man was most definitely a hunter-gatherer.  Archaeologists have pondered whether the domesticated dog allowed man to be so successful as a hunter-gatherer that, in time, man was able to evolve into farming which, of course, we describe more accurately as the Neolithic Revolution.

Here’s an extract from WikiPedia,

The “Neolithic” Revolution is the first agricultural revolution—the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicate that various forms of domestication of plants and animals arose independently in six separate locales worldwide ca. 10,000–7000 years BP (8,000–5000 BC), with the earliest known evidence found throughout the tropical and subtropical areas of southwestern and southern Asia, northern and central Africa and Central America.

However, the Neolithic Revolution involved far more than the adoption of a limited set of food-producing techniques. During the next millennia it would transform the small and mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that had hitherto dominated human history, into sedentary societies based in built-up villages and towns, which radically modified their natural environment by means of specialized food-crop cultivation (e.g., irrigation and food storage technologies) that allowed extensive surplus food production.

These developments provided the basis for concentrated high population densities settlements, specialized and complex labor diversification, trading economies, the development of non-portable art, architecture, and culture, centralized administrations and political structures, hierarchical ideologies and depersonalized systems of knowledge (e.g., property regimes and writing).

There’s one sentence that just jumps off the ‘page’.  It’s this one. “During the next millennia it would transform the small and mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that had hitherto dominated human history

Here’s a quick bit of history about Homo Sapiens, from here,

Neanderthal man: from 230,000 years ago

Around 250,000 years ago Homo erectus disappears from the fossil record, to be followed in the Middle Palaeolithic period by humans with brains which again have increased in size. They are the first to be placed within the same genus as ourselves, as Homo sapiens(‘knowing man’).

By far the best known of them is Neanderthal man — named from the first fossil remains to be discovered, in 1856, in the Neander valley near Dusseldorf, in Germany. The scientific name of this subspecies is Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. The Neanderthals are widely spread through Europe and the Middle East, and they thrive for an extremely long period (from about 230,000 to 35,000 years ago). Bones of animals of all sizes, up to bison and mammoth, and sophisticated stone tools are found with their remains.

Thus as a species we, as in H. sapiens, survived for approximately 200,000 years as hunter-gatherers!

Now after just 12,000 years, give or take, as ‘farmers’ we are facing the real risk of extinction. Go back to that WikiPedia extract above and re-read “concentrated high population densities settlements, specialized and complex labor diversification, trading economies, the development of non-portable art, architecture, and culture, centralized administrations and political structures, hierarchical ideologies and depersonalized systems of knowledge (e.g., property regimes and writing)“.

If you want to fully comprehend the mess we, as in man, have got ourselves into, then watch the stunning movie What a Way To Go: life at the end of the empire.  That movie website is here or you can watch it from here.  (I will be reviewing the film on Learning from Dogs in the next couple of weeks.)

The filmmakers, Tim Bennett and Sally Erickson, towards the end of the film muse if mankind must go back to some form of hunter-gatherer society, not literally, of course, but ‘back’ to a form of society that is fundamentally sustainable with the world upon which we live.  As successful as Neanderthal man.  Here’s where dogs may have critically important lessons for mankind.

  • Dogs form small packs, up to a maximum of 50 animals
  • They have a simple hierarchy within the pack; the alpha female (who has first choice of breeding male and makes the very big decisions about whether the pack should move to a better territory), the beta male (always a dominant male that teaches the young pups their social skills and breaks up fights within the pack – my Pharaoh, as seen on the home page, is a beta GSD), and the omega dog (the clown dog, male or female. whose role is to keep the pack happy through play).
  • They survive through an extraordinary relationship with humans but if they have to revert to the ‘wild’ they survive as hunter-gatherers.

Maybe humans, at heart, also share certain similar characteristics:

  • We are happiest in social groups of less than 50
  • We much prefer simple methods of group order, where rules and discipline are managed within the group.  (Think about how easily we form all sorts of local clubs and groups.)
  • A ‘local’ approach to survival through deep and extensive group co-operation would be so much more effective than what most of us presently experience in our societies.

That’s why so many of the articles that appear on Learning from Dogs focus on the madness of what we experience so often in our present enormous, faceless, distant societies.

Back to Sally Erickson, one of the film makers mentioned earlier.  Here’s what she wrote in her Blog

Our world is in need of healing at every level. We as a species aren’t going to survive, the way we are going. If we don’t heal ourselves, evolve a new consciousness, and fundamentally change the way we live, human beings won’t make it.

Where’s it all heading?  Who knows?  I am reminded of that wonderful quote attributed to Niels Bohr but, more likely, from an unknown author (although Mark Twain is often suggested), “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.

Happy Birthday, Learning from Dogs.  Thank you to all of you that have supported this venture over the last two years.

CASSE

The Center for the Advancement of Steady State Economy

My post published a short while ago contained a contribution from Carla.  This, in part, is what she said:

We have to try to work constructively for change. I keep urging people to check out the potential for an economy based not on constant growth, which is impossible on a finite planet, but on some sane principles of equity and sustainability.

If you go to http://www.steadystate.org and look at their position statement, you can see that people from all over the world are signing on–yes, just three or four people a day–but they are from every continent and just about every country.

Now, can you help this “go viral”?

I spent sufficiently long at the CASSE website to be comfortable that it is well worth supporting.  Here are the members of the Executive Board.  Here are the staff and here are their advisors.  Here’s their Mission:

The mission of CASSE is to advance the steady state economy, with stabilized population and consumption, as a policy goal with widespread public support. We pursue this mission by:

  • educating citizens, organizations, and policy makers on the conflict between economic growth and (1) environmental protection, (2) ecological and economic sustainability, and (3) national security and international stability;
  • promoting the steady state economy as a desirable alternative to economic growth;
  • studying the means to establish a steady state economy.

Even if you don’t want to make a financial subscription to CASSE you can still register your support.  Here is their Position Statement:

The CASSE position sets the record straight on the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution are just three powerful examples. And how will the next generation find jobs when the planet can’t support our overgrown economy? The CASSE position calls for a desirable solution – a steady state economy with stabilized population and consumption – beginning in the wealthiest nations and not with extremist tactics. Join the likes of E. O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, and David Suzuki; fill in the information below to sign the position and support a healthy, sustainable economy.

Go for it. After all, one of the definitions of madness is to continue doing the same thing and expect a different result.

By Paul Handover