Living in Peace and Wisdom on our Planet

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             Records: 1-10  
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Our Interactive Ecological Predicament
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Blog item  Jan-11-2011       chefurka   chefurka

It is clear that we (as in humanity, other species and the planet itself) face a potpourri of problems. Most of the ecological issues in the world twine together with human activities like a mating ball of snakes.  This note discusses a set of ecological and human problems, and tries to put them into perspective against each other.
At the very top of my list of problems, always, is carbon dioxide which I consider the main villain of the play. CO2, which is produced mainly by burning fossil fuels, contributes heavily to climate change and ocean acidification. The warming aspect of climate change contributes to water shortages and biodiversity loss,...  See entire blog item

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Blog item  Nov-3-2010       chefurka   chefurka

Whenever I contemplate the spectacular mischief that we humans have wreaked on our world, I am compelled to ask how this could have possibly happened. The despoilment of our planet seems to be the exact opposite of how I would expect a thinking, feeling, caring creature to treat their home. What could have driven us to this, and what perverse qualities could have allowed us to ignore the consequences of our actions for so very long?

At first blush, our problems seem decidedly physical. Dangerous gases drift in the air; acidity rises slowly in the ocean as the fish disappear from its depths; garbage and detritus of all kinds fouls the land where lush forests and grasslands...  See entire blog item

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Blog item  Oct-12-2010       chefurka   chefurka

The "conceptual equation" I=PAT was developed by Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren in the 1970s to illustrate the idea that the impact (I) that humanity has on the planet is the result of multiplying our population (P) times our affluence (A) times our level of technology (T).

As any of the three values increases, whether we become more numerous, richer or more technologically capable, our overall impact goes up.  The formula is a convenient way of organizing our thinking about the effect we have on our planet its natural systems as our numbers, wealth and technology increase over time.

The evidence of this impact is all around us, in the air (CO2 and global warming) in the oceans (acidification and the precipitous decline of fish species) and on land...  See entire blog item

On Being A Pro-Nuclear Environmentalist
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Blog item  Oct-7-2010       chefurka   chefurka

A scattering of environmentalists believe nuclear energy is essential in order to beat global warming and greenhouse gasesIn the green community it's not terribly fashionable (to put it mildly) to favour nuclear power.  Despite the support of such luminaries as the developer of the Gaia hypothesis James Lovelock and the British environmental writer George Monbiot, nuclear power is widely regarded as beyond the pale, one of the enemies of the environment rather than one of its friends.  We all know the Chernobyl / Three Mile Island...  See entire blog item

Finding Peace Of Mind
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Blog item  Feb-15-2010       chefurka   chefurka

Peace of mind can be simpleMany of us think our situation in the coming decades will not be as good as today in one or more ways – less oil, reduced wealth in general, climate change, social and ecological deterioration, perhaps even rapid population decline. A question that I often hear when these topics come up is, "How can we keep from feeling discouraged, even though we strongly suspect our future situation will not be as good as today?"

For about three years, up until two years ago, I let the full horror...  See entire blog item

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Blog item  Jan-14-2010       chefurka   chefurka

Nightmares of the comfortableI'm waking up in the middle of the night a lot more these days.  Like so many others, my slumber is being disturbed by dark dreams suffused with a sense of suffocation.  My sleep-stopped ears ring with the lamentations of a million no-longer-existent species,  my heart is chilled with portents and signs.  Even when I awaken the feeling of stifling closeness does not abate.  Instead it is amplified by the somnolent snuffling of my numberless neighbours, all cleverly crammed into this small, safe space.

I have had to accept (reluctantly, oh so reluctantly) the evidence...  See entire blog item

The Footprints Of Consumption
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Blog item  Dec-29-2009       chefurka   chefurka

A fairly common belief among Western environmental activists is that "overpopulation is causing our ecological overshoot". It's a simple idea to present, as it just requires people to accept that more people cause more environmental damage.

Unfortunately this simple idea has a number of problems.  The main one is the old conundrum of who bears the responsibility for bringing the situation back into balance.  Should rich countries whose population growth is already slowing cut their consumption, or should poor countries that are...  See entire blog item

COP15 And The Neuropsychology Of Climate Change
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Blog item  Dec-11-2009 Click to play the linked video or audio in a new window       chefurka   chefurka

As I watch the events in Copenhagen at the COP15 conference unfold, I am filled with ennui. The malaise does not flow from any sense that the conference and climate change itself are unimportant. On the contrary, like climate change activists and ecologists around the world I feel deeply and passionately that the issue is crucial to the long-term well-being of the human race.  The ennui comes from watching yet another attempt to grasp the nettle founder on the completely predictable rocks of human psychology.

It's not that I feel the technologies of renewable energy and conservation aren't up to the task at hand.  I think it may in fact be technically possible for renewables to power an industrial civilization. I'm not 100% convinced, but given the right starting...  See entire blog item

Population, Consumption And Our Ecological Footprint
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Blog item  Dec-3-2009       chefurka   chefurka

This is yet another run at the perennial question of the relative importance of overpopulation versus overconsumption.

I recently wondered how much each nation in the world would contribute to the eventual ecological degradation of the planet given their current ecological footprint and their projected population growth between now and 2050.

To explore this I decided to use a variation on the familiar ecological "equation" I=PAT. In the original formulation, I is the impact we have on the planet, P is population, A is the per-capita activity level and T is the level of technology.

For this exploration, I used the populations of countries around the world today and in 2050, and their current calculated per-capita Ecological Footprint (EF) expressed...  See entire blog item

The 2012 Meme
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Blog item  Nov-11-2009       chefurka   chefurka

A lot of people are starting to feel portents of doom centering around the mysterious goings-on in the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012. What follows is a psychological assessment of what's going on.

"End of the World" or millenarian ideas usually have two components: a real underlying issue (that may or may not be consciously recognized) and a focusing symbol of some kind. The millenarian...  See entire blog item

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