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Rediscovering Animals 

Long-term Stability—Survival in the Anthropocene

The –isms are irrelevant. Socialism, communism and capitalism are all growth economies—stuck on the belief that growth is a panacea for what ails our Full Earth. A new ecological, full Earth, complex economy needs to focus on the long-range future and make a stable (no-growth) economy the primary goal of all nations.

Some places have already arrived with the primary driver in place—human population growth at zero. For them the opportunity is ripe for another needed focus—converting to a debt-free economy. Only then can a society hope to secure its future. Only then can resource use (and production) be reduced to sustainable levels for all time.

This means minimal throughput—setting quotas for extraction so that resources--like rare metals, water, and soil--are not lost over time and waste can disappear into reuse, repair and recycling.

Technological development must be highly selective and focused on improving efficiency of end use. Jobs must be shared and taxes devised to assure equity of income, with no more than a 15% difference.

We know now, all too well, the dangers of growth continuing as it has for the last two hundred years. Critical to our kicking the habit is an understanding of steady state benefits, like time for creative endeavors, less stress, and more community.

We also need to improve our understanding of our world and our place in a large universe. Join the NSF funded projects to incorporate aspects of sustainability in their teaching--NAGTW (On the cCutting Edge Faculty Development Program in the Geosciences) workshops and InTeGrate (Interdisciplinary Teaching of Geoscience for a Sustainable Future) in their major efforts to link student course context to “real-world issues.” Resources can be found at http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/workshops/sustainability2012/courses.html.

More next week on the details of these programs as reported in EOS volume 94 Number 25 18 June 2013.

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