March 26, 2013
The steady state requires energy conservation, a rational phasing out of fossil fuels in favor of solar--like using rooftops in LosAngeles to collect it--and wind--where the birds don't swarm--and algae--do they really produce more oil if they are starved?--and hydroelectric generators--like tides and waves? There are a lot of alternatives, especially local solutions too often ignored. We really don't want to subject our great grandchildren to a sudden loss of power. Smart grids would also help that.
Don't miss the whole story.Dietz and Dan O'Neill Enough Is Enough.
The estimate now is something like fifty years of tearing up the U.S. to get at shale oil? Then what? Oh, yes. Then there's the gunk in the ocean. That makes for even more CO2 in the air. How hot can we stand? How much extreme weather? How many coastal cities will remain? We are rational beings, smart enough to do the gradual transition, beginning now.
Maybe we aren't smart enough. I'm using energy to keep my birds warm in the Hen House tonight because the temperature suddenly dropped to ten degrees F. Bringing ducks and geese into the garage, even just overnight, makes an unbelievable mess. I try not to drive too much. I buy groceries once every two weeks, use the hubby to buy ketchup or carrots when he goes downtown to the gym, and I work at home. But I also use a dryer so I won't have to iron shirts. Who knows which is more energy efficient? I fill the ducks' bowls full every morning so they can have fresh water, which they love, and on and on.
The problem and the guilt, however, should not rest with us little guys. Didn't DuPont save millions just by instituting efficiency measures in their operation? Maybe we should lean on the big guys, so the hens don't have to suffer frozen combs or the ducks dirty water. What is really scary is how much water fracking for oil requires.
March 26, 2013
There will be a "new area of healing" for nature when the economy quits growing, with its ever increasing demand for more space, energy and resources. Now wildlife will benefit, but so will outdoor recreation and the vital services nature provides, like climate regulation and water purification. The healing in this encouraging scenario includes less industrial waste. Not only resources, but the capacity of Earth to absorb wastes is also limited. Don't miss the whole story. Read Dietz and Dan O'Neill's Enough Is Enough.
Maybe I worry too much. It's because I was imprinted with rolling green hills between the towns east of San Francisco Bay and quiet beaches at Lake Tahoe. If you were born after 1960, you were imprinted with solid suburbia around San Francisco Bay and crowded beaches at Lake Tahoe. Imprinting is powerful. What you experience in your early youth is what you believe is normal--the way the world should be. Now the pundits say Earth can't support 7 billion people at a decent standard of living, but everyone born now will believe that is what is normal--that is how the world is supposed to be. They're imprinted with "Too many is okay." What can we do? Too many people are hungry.
Lucy the goose and adopted daughter Bobbi think they own the Hen House. Hence, in winter I have to enforce a regulation: "Everyone sleeps in the Hen House if the nighttime low is 23 degrees F or lower. Everyone! Not just Ms. Ritz and Kiebler, the English call ducks Lucy raised; not just Gwendolyn the chicken, who hops up with turkey to roost; everyone--even the three large Khaki Campbell ducks."
They all know what to do. When freezing temps threaten, they all head for the heated Hen House and duck (literally) passed Bobbi to the back of the warm shed. No need for my waving or gesturing to make the point. Even birds prefer a warm place to sleep.
It's another example of balancing regulation with consensus, an essential in making the steady state work and establishing it in the first place. That kind of balance is common in nature, I suspect. I'll have to think about that. But I have seen it work with my motley collection of domestic birds.
Another example: Every species has raised chicks of a different species, adapting to the consensus that the young need care. Adjustments are made to accommodate size differences without complaint, but only if the timing is right. When it isn't, regulation raises its ugly head. Example: Try giving a chick to a turkey who has only set for two weeks out of the required four.
Amongst my birds, the balance is maintained, through gentle warnings and only an occasional loud argument. I have to admit that I also count heavily in the consensus, and--yes--on the regulation side too, when needed.
7-The Look of Agriculture In The Steady StateIssues To Discuss The Balance of Consensus and Regulation
If a population is stable, the production of required food is predictable, and the continual expansion of agricultural land is not necessary. Once again, in a steady state, the emphasis can be on localization, the growing and distribution of food within an ecological region. This means fewer large-scale agribusinesses, with their huge fuel and chemical requirements. Local food production also means less packaging and transportation costs and a stronger personal connection to our farmers, as is experienced now in the growing popularity of farmer's markets in our cities, both large and small. Don't miss the whole story.Dietz and Dan O'Neill Enough Is Enough.
Once again, as illustrated in The Webs of Varok, the steady state relies on local responsibility in caring for the land and the needs of daily living. Oversight resides locally, as does problem solving--where a balance of consensus and regulation is possible, as it is with our traffic laws. More on my Goodreads blog. Global government on Varok serves only as a resource counter and health monitor, identifying problems that only the locales, working together in regions when needed, can solve.
Gone are imposed micro-regulations and solutions that might not be appropriate for all locations. The fear of top-down regulation expressed by Denzil Pugh in his review of The Webs of Varok is discussed in detail in Enough Is Enough.
In the steady state, which includes a stable population, hence a predictable, perhaps smaller population, the cities are compact with less ecological impact. Their buildings are more efficient, designed with solar exposure--heat and light-saving options trumping artistic considerations. Their location, even their roofs are enhanced with natural areas and gardens or solar panels, in neighborhoods supplying everyday needs from local and regional cooperatives and businesses supplying opportunities for employment. Long distance travel is handy but more efficient. (Metal rails are said to be 1000% more energy-saving than wheels.) Across-town travel could make use of short-term rentals of bikes, small vehicles or streetcars.
The look of cities could be much different, if equity were achieved. At one time, some ecological economists thought a 15% difference in income would be okay in order to provide incentive for doing difficult work. The % difference is now obscenely high. Not only a progressive tax, but huge serendipitous profits or lucky strikes providing popular sports or entertainment could provide a maintenance share for everyone. The impact would reflect in the cities' lack of slums. No one need be homeless or live without the basics. It just takes the will to see it done.
Sharing jobs and work hours would also impact the cities. Given more time for culture and leisure and an income similar to everyone else, arts, amateur sports and creative and educational support centers could flourish. The cities could once again come alive with people everywhere. Shared conveniences and large appliances could also add to community and save huge amounts of energy and resources.
Pie in the sky? Of course, and I take responsibility for those ideas not mentioned in the book Enough Is Enough. Dietz and O'Neill present a case for the steady state that reliably considers the fact that we have to get there from Here--where we are now. It just takes a little more thought--more thought than defensive posturing.
When it's cold, Bobbi Goose may not keep the other birds out of the Hen House--even though she is more equal (bigger) than they are. Even she knows when it's time to back off and let them in.
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Don't miss the whole story.Dietz and Dan O'Neill Enough Is Enough.