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Rediscovering AnimalsĀ 

Stabilizing Population

Today we consider #2 in Rob Dietz's engaging scenarios for the steady state in "Enough Is Enough," the no-growth economics text that should be required reading. In #1 we mentioned efficiency, the need to conserve, economize, recycle, consume responsibly. Rob said "We can consume enough to meet [our] needs...without undermining the life-support system of the planet."

The planet doesn't go on forever, but our population growth seems to be doing just that, at a faster and faster rate. Education and consensus and women's rights have stabilized the population in Europe and some other places. It's clear we can do this without being told we have to.

Marq deVilliers in "Our Way Out" puts it this way "Growth has to stop, and this does not imply economic stagnation and distress. Like it or not, population has to be stabilized. Unrestrainable resource depletion has to be terminated." I know this all too well. I love raising chicks so much, when I go into the feed store I will find any excuse to get a few more. Well, no more. Now that I'm preaching steady state ethics, I'd better realize that the Hen House in winter and the pen, even the yard, in summer is only so big. Enough geese, turkey, ducks, chicken, and two dogs is enough.

It's only been fifty years, the pundits say, since we have come to believe that growth is an "unquestionable dogma." The problem is that growth now costs the planet--and us--more than it is worth. Touting growth to supply more jobs so people can buy more stuff so there will be more jobs is a nasty trap, and we need to recognize that, sooner than later. Herman Daly points out that there are only two ways to get to a stable, no-growth economy. 1) Either growth fails and leads to unemployment and suffering or 2) steady state policies succeed, which they can because they are based on the realities of resource limits, not fictitious human behavior and fairy tale technology. We can do the limits to growth.

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Downsizing On a Scale Grander Than the Hen House

The guantlet was thrown down yesterday. Time to get busy. First, a quote from Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill's ENOUGH IS ENOUGH--Putting aside our "...obsession with economic growth...[we can achieve] prosperity over the long run." Dietz and O'Neill's book

We can do this. It will not be easy, but the sooner we start the easier it will be. The first thing on the authors' list is easy enough 1) "...choose to consume energy and materials responsibly, conserving, economizing, and recycling..." i.e. mindful turning off the lights when you leave a room. There must me a gazillion things like that to do, especially for industry. I think it was DuPont that saved millions. On Varok every drop of water is captured and reused throughout the lodge and in the locale. Read The Archives of Varok.

I have to admit--sometimes, after I've filled the birds' water dishes outside the Hen House, it's easier not to walk up the hill to shut off the hose . I think to myself, "It will only take five minutes to put lay pellets and corn in the birds' dishes--maybe another three minutes to freshen their straw. Okay. Okay. I'll walk up the hill and shut off the water. At 22 seconds per gallon, letting it run for eight minutes would waste 22 gallons. Something to remember. Here in the dry southwest, we get our water from deep wells in an ancient aquifer whose level is dropping at an unsustainable rate. Precious stuff, that ancient water my geese and ducks bathe in--first thing, even before they take a beak-full of breakfast. They do appreciate it. (Maybe my sponge bathing is all I need today. My hair won't get stringy until tomorrow or Wednesday.)

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"Enough Is Enough" Not A Cliche--A Critical Book by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill

The rumors are true. I am reading Robert Fishe's "The Dimwit's Dictinary cover to cover. I'm underlining it too. What? You heard me. (Ha! I just looked up that phrase. He forgot that one.) I said, I'm underlining words and phrases that I probably would use, phrases like "express (concern)" or "attitude." Fiske lists helpful alternative words, sometimes, so I'll continue reading and underlining. I'm up to G. I'm sure his book will help me in the ongoing struggle to ramp up my verbiage to new heights. (Ooops. No, that one's not there, either.)

That said, I'm moving on. (Ha again! Neither phrase is listed, but "moving forward," is.) I'm going to express my doubts about the phrases listed in the Dimwit's Dictionary. Some are too useful; they express too precisely what I mean to say, sometimes with a tone that no alternative phrase or word captures. Take, for example, the title of Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill's excellent, concise summary of why we need to do this and that to begin the conversion to a steady state, now. "Economics for Dummies?" No! It's called "Enough Is Enough." Rob thought long and hard about using that title. A search can get 150 hits on the phrase. But it says exactly what they wanted to say, and I agree. They say why. They say how to make a steady state work for the betterment of all. It's a text that should be required reading in every school in the country, important for all of us to read before we can't stop imploding. I doubt that the title will hurt his sales. Enough Is Enough memorable and right on target. Just be sure to add the Dietz and O'Neill to your search. Here's an url to help. Enough Is Enough

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