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Editors Note: This reprint is from Michael Tobis’ excellent Climate Change blog, “Only in it for the Gold.” It deals with the rampant and almost epic problem of the failure of science communication to prevent corruption of climate science. Eventually (many would argue it already has), the same techniques may very well be directed towards energy decline and its likely impact on modern health care and public health. It is one of the tenants of this site that many health professionals have not only the skills but the duty to lead efforts to redress this problem.
While reading Gerald Zaltman and Lindsay Zaltman’s Marketing Metaphoria: What deep metaphors reveal about the minds of consumers, (MM), I recalled a healthcare consultant who told me, “You really should market peak oil, but you’ve got to give folks some good news to win them over.” I laughed and replied, “Are you kidding? I’m not selling whiter teeth.” Turning serious, I went on, “Most people react by saying, ‘This just can’t be true.’ They think scientists will invent a cheap and endless supply of energy and we’ll live happily ever after. And if you try to tell them about thermodynamics and ecological limits, they tune out or say, ‘but Tom Friedman says….’ So I see no way into most heads except through crisis.”
“The greatest good is the knowledge of the union
which the mind has with the whole of nature.”
Ian Mitroff and Abraham Silvers’ book, Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely, addresses the inability, prevalent among political, economic and cultural elites and the highly educated who serve them, to think critically and properly formulate problems. This incapacity results in Type 3 Errors, which
“is the unintentional error of solving the wrong problems precisely. In sharp contrast, the Type 4 Error is the intentional error of solving the wrong problems.” (Pg. 5)
From Bill O’Reilly to Bill Moyers there is consensus that a return to growth is the remedy for what they see as an economic recession. Their political divisions arise over how to rekindle demand and consumption, with the right favoring a market led recovery and the left typically advocating massive government stimulus spending.
Were I to meet O’Reilly or Moyers I would ask, “Since we live on a finite planet, with finite resources, why is economic growth the solution and not the source of our dilemmas?” The failure of media, political, educational, scientific, and cultural leaders to consider this question illustrates what Joseph Campbell calls the power of myth. Questioning growth is at odds with our faith in the American Dream, whose main promise is that future generations are entitled to a higher material standard of living than their parents enjoyed.
For those wishing to contribute to the Haitian people at this moment of catastrophe, I would like to suggest a donation to Hopital Albert Schweitzer. Many donors are concerned about how their donations will be used by various relief agencies–what percentage will actually reach the Haitian people. This is not to imply that only Hopital Albert Schweitzer is worthy of your contributions; but it is to affirm that this is one institution where you can be assured your donation will directly benefit the Haitian people. Please visit their website for more information.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 49 million Americans — one in seven — struggled to get enough to eat in 2008, the highest total in 14 years of a federal survey on “food insecurity,” the U.S. government said Monday.
Jessica Pierce, PhD
It is well over a decade now since environmental concerns became pressing enough to command attention in almost all realms of intellectual and practical affairs, and well over four decades since environmental ethics developed as a recognizable field of study in response to a growing set of global problems. Yet in contrast to this broad trend, environmental concerns have remained at the farthest margins of bioethics. As improbable as it seems, bioethics has remained tuned out and disconnected from the ecological realities of our current world.
|Where will you go when the sewers clog up? Where will you go when the porcelain finally cracks? Where will you go when the Toilet Duck quacks its last?
Let’s go back to the beginning…
Keith Farnish is a writer, philosopher and radical environmental campaigner who lives in Essex, UK with his family and his garden. His book, Time’s Up! An Uncivilized Solution To A Global Crisis, was published in September 2009 by Chelsea Green in the USA. The book is available for free via amatterofscale.com. He is also author of The Earth Blog where the above article first appeared. He also runs the anti-greenwashing site The Unsuitablog.
In this interview, Didi Pershouse of the Center for Sustainable Medicine is interviewed by Dan Bednarz of Health After Oil about the Cuban health care system, peak oil, free medical schools, community acupuncture, cholesterol myths, and how working-class values and owning-class values play out in different models of health care. It is a continuation of a conversation titled “Peak Oil and Sustainable Medicine, Part One,” found here .
A few generations from now our descendants will wonder, “What took them so long to figure out that we’d reached the limits to growth?” The answer, of course, is that growth is the core of the myth holding the American psyche together. If it’s false, what’s the meaning of “life, the universe, everything?”