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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?”
Q: “Grandpa, why didn’t you help make the changes needed to adapt to energy decline 25 years ago?”
A: Well, Marion, it was just hard to do with everything else going on. We were watching TV, traveling, eating well, fighting wars against enemies both real and imagined, working hard at our old jobs, and planning for our so-called “golden years.” And then there were all the distractions: Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, funny videos, computer games, football, NASCAR, any and all kinds of entertainment; more than you could ever imagine right at our fingertips! Do you know we had over 120 video channels and something called the Internet for instant global communications? And besides, most of our leaders, the oil companies, economists and journalists said it wasn’t going to be a big problem for a long long time or they just didn’t talk about it at all.
Q: You believed them?
A: Yes, I suppose I did most of the time. Lots of people believed them. Either that or we simply took the easy route and ignored thinking about it at all. The rest I guess really believed that “green” technology would save us.
Dwindling supplies of fossil fuels are transforming “business as usual” in our world. Although we still hear mainstream pundits and media tell us the economy will improve in late 2009 or early 2010, the massive contraction of economic activity throughout the world informs us otherwise. Two areas of great importance and little-considered challenges are public health and medicine. To stimulate attention and action in these areas, Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA is planning a one-day, first-of-its-kind regional conference entitled Public Health and Medicine at the End of the Oil Age: Challenges and Opportunities. It is sponsored by the college’s Institute for Sustainability and Post-carbon Education and supported by the college’s Center for Business and Industry. The director of the Institute, Nancy Lee Wood, Ph.D., says that the conference aims to bring together anyone and everyone concerned about the future of public health and medicine in this era of fossil fuel decline and fiscal/economic decline. “Public health and medical systems will experience significant challenges in the face of the impending world-wide energy crunch,” she said. “This day-long conference will address the threats to medicine and public health – threats which are beginning to affect us all.”
The conference is to take place on Tuesday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the college’s main campus in Fall River in the Jackson Arts Center. The conference fee of $75 includes an all-organic lunch and refreshments, as well as the addresses and workshops. Continuing Education Units are available for nurses, social workers, and other healthcare providers. Information is on the Website at www.bristolcc.edu/postcarbon . Read the rest of this entry »
Ken Smail, PhD
Culture Change Jan Lundberg Editor’s note: One can run into a good report on a critical subject, only to find the author has a deficit of understanding on peak oil, for example. Or one may encounter the delusion that population growth is a problem basically in “Third World” countries. Not with this new essay for Culture Change. Professor Ken Smail has put together the best argument for facing depopulation.
Its full title was Acknowledging and Confronting the Inevitable: A Significant Shrinkage in Global Human Numbers, and Other Inconvenient Truths. Some readers may find Ken’s timing-scenario for depopulation optimistic — picturing it further off into the future than the 21st century — but he acknowledges its possibly being played out earlier due to today’s “toxic brew” of crises.- JL
Assuming then, my postulata as granted, I say that the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.
- Thomas Malthus (1798)