Seeding Socioeconomic Avalanches! [Hacked by WordPress; filtered by Google!]

Archive for September, 2008

Six of the Reasons Why California Faces a Major Crash

Posted by edro on September 29, 2008

submitted by a CASF Member

California Accelerating To Major Crash!

1. Exponential Growth Economy. California, a subset of planet Earth [really!] is a finite entity with finite resources. The blind, brainless monster of exponential growth economy, a creature of the US political economy and Calif politics, demands infinite resources, especially energy, and services, especially carbon sinks, to continue its malignant growth. Whether Calif is governed by Arnold Schwarzenegger or a super-intelligent android back from the future, it makes very little difference in the ultimate outcome—a major crash.

2. Centralization. As the rate of increase in the complexity of Calif socioeconomic “model” [therefore its governance and decision-making processes] accelerates, the region becomes more vulnerable and susceptible to violent oscillations against even the slightest of changes in its “equilibrium state.” [Visualize the chaos that would occur on a crowded, fast-moving 8-lane highway, when a single vehicle goes out of control.]

3. Complexity. The disastrous impact of hurricane Ike on the power grid earlier this month,  which left up to 5 million people without power, was a stark remainder and yet another a wake-up call to how complex systems, the centralized power grid, could collapse “suddenly” and  with disastrous consequences. There will be many more instances of systems collapses, some more paralyzing than the others, in the country, especially in those states that are burdened with higher levels of socioeconomic complexity, in the coming weeks, months and years.

4. Information flow. To identify the exact nature of problems that beset a complex system, build an accurate picture of interconnectivity that exists between those issues, and create long term [syn: sustainable] applicable solutions, the decision-makers require:

  • Accurate, detailed, up-to-date information – currently NOT supplied!
  • Thorough knowledge of how each component of the system works – presently NOT available!
  • Deep understanding of how those components operate [or don’t operate] in interconnection [syn: unison] – NOT on the menu, right now!

5. Personal stake, 2nd-home mentality. The decision-makers must understand the consequences of a major crash [societal or ecological.] When a major crash occurs in any country, or large geopolitical region, there would absolutely be no guarantee of containment. The knock-on effect of any major crash [or multiple smaller crashes] would render futile most “survival insurance plans,” for example, 2nd homes, or hideaway cabins in less populated states, or in “safer” countries.

6. Radical Changes. Desperate problems require “radical” solutions. California suffers from socioeconomic gangrene. Cosmetic dressing only hides symptoms of the disease temporarily, but delaying the cure will kill the patient. Unfortunately, deep-seated fundamental changes to save the community of life are not allowed at the expense of GDP growth .

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Posted in 2nd-home mentality, calif, collapsing cities, Intelligent Communities, radical economy, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Good Move Generally in the Right Direction

Posted by feww on September 16, 2008

Working Toward Low-Energy Communities

Volunteers from Transition Forest Row in East Sussex cut grass and weed around gooseberry bushes in a field loaned to them by a nearby college. (Courtesy of Mike Grenville). Source: Christian Science Monitor.

Transition Movement

Christian Science Monitor published the following report about the “Transition Movement,” which apparently started in England and is becoming popular here in the US.  (www.transitiontowns.org)

“Transition Towns (or districts, or islands) designate places where local groups have organized to embrace the challenge of adapting to a low-oil economy.”  CSM reports. More …

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13 things you should know!

Posted by edro on September 16, 2008

Submitted by CASF Members Committee – edited for brevity

The 13 things you should know about the world before departing prematurely!

The facts about money fetishism, the rich, government, corporatism and CO2 pollution you always wanted to know, but were too afraid to ask!

1. How much CO2 pollution did humans produce last year?
The 2007 total for anthropogenic CO2 pollution was 38,058.66 MMT [38,058,660,000,000 kg]

2. How much CO2 does my dollar make?
Each dollar you earned, or spent in 2007 produced about 1.3lb (584g) of CO2.

3. What’s the total value of the world’s financial assets, population and income?

  • The total value of the world’s financial assets in 2007: $187 trillion.
  • World population 2007 (World Bank) : 6.61 billion
  • GNI per capita 2007 (PPP) : 9,816 (International Dollars)
  • World GNI : 64.9 trillion (International Dollars)
  • World GDP: 65.17 trillion (International Dollars)

4. Who was the largest single producer of CO2 pollution in the world?
Mr. Warren Buffett, aka the Sage of Omaha [Nebraska.] He, by way of his wealth, was responsible for producing at least 12,618,000 tons of CO2 [12.62 MMT of CO2] in 2007. Mr. Buffett’s pollution account balance put a new slant on “filthy rich.”

5. What group of people accounted for the highest per capita emission of CO2 in the World?
The world’s billionaires. The world had 1,125 billionaires in the 2007/2008 financial year, with the total assets of about $4.38 trillion. They produced a total 891.43 MMT of CO2 in 2007.

[Note: “The above figure is an abstraction. In reality, however, the world’s richest people are responsible for the bulk of CO2 pollution because as Praetorian Guards of the exponential growth economy they disallow and suppress any change to a sustainable system stifling all initiatives toward an eco-centered, low-carbon, ‘oikonomia,’ or economics for community.”]

6. What about the corporations?
The global 2000 companies and therefore their shareholders accounted for $30 trillion in revenues, $2.4 trillion in profits, $119 trillion in assets and $39 trillion in market value in 2007. [Source:  Forbes.]

Therefore the world largest 2000 corporations were responsible for at least 65 percent of all man-made CO2 emissions in 2007—total CO2 emissions of about 24,738.13 MMT [24,738,129,000,000kg]

7. Can we meaningfully reduce our CO2 emissions?
Not without a complete change in our system of political economy [aka, exponential growth economy] and therefore the structure of government.

8. What is the role of government in all this?
The world governments are best described as mostly organized mercenary forces whose first priority is to protect the wealthy [who, for all intents and purposes, appoint them to office] against rest of the population. By extension, the governments’ protection of the wealthy and their money fetishism perpetuates the political economy and their illegitimate offsprings, the corporations, behind whose Alice-in-Wonderland legal defense mechanism the rich comfortably hide.

9. How could the world function without governments?
There is no reason why the governments must be elected from among the thugs and criminal elements. Instead, volunteer candidates could be elected to run the government, much in the same way as the NGO’s operate.

10. How do they make their decisions?
They don’t; the entire nations do. In the age of Internet there’s no reason why each issue of public interest cannot be put to a referendum. The job of volunteer governments is to ensure fair play. They, in turn, are supervised by other volunteers to prevent potential abuse.

11. Where would the corporations and all of their employees go?
In the absence of mercenary governments protecting the predatory corporate system, and in a healthy economic environment, where  a system of economy working for the life communities has outmoded the prevailing political economy, most of the world’s corporations will end up in the dustbin of history. And rightly so!

Business that are beneficial to the life communities and do not cause any additional impact on the environment by way of their size, nature or scale of operation can re-organize as  co-operatives and non-profit entities

12. What about our national security?

In a world savaged by human-induced climate catastrophes and human-enhanced natural ‘disasters,’ and in the absence of any foreign military threat to the United States, our leaders have proposed to spend our tax dollars (2009) as follows

Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,650 billion
MILITARY: 54% and $1,449 billion
NON-MILITARY: 46% and $1,210 billion [Source: War Resisters http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm%5D

The United States transformed its economy into a permanent military economy after WWII with a lion’s share of its resources committed to military spending.

Here’s the dilemma:

A sane foreign policy would entail avoiding violence, rather than stirring chaos and starting wars so that the US can then intervene to end them. A peaceable United States, however, couldn’t justify an ever-growing military machine if there were no wars.

For the sake of protecting the military machine [and continue with the empire-building,] wars have become a permanent feature of world events.

As the overall size of the political economy grows, so does the need for creating more chaos and starting new wars through political deception and false-flag operations. Instead of ensuring national security and protecting the citizens, the military machine does its utmost to achieve the opposite result by endangering the country through creating wars and provoking violence throughout the world, simply to justify its own existence. Here is the classic example of “tail wagging the dog!”

To decrease the level of violence, the United States must undertake political and military decentralization. “Decentralization of the United States would also add to the security of other nations.” Say Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb, Jr. in for the common good: redirecting the economy toward community, the environment, and a sustainable future.

“The United States has developed into a highly centralized society that could be virtually halted in its tracks by a few relatively small acts of sabotage. For example, the electrical grid on which the entire nation depends could be put out of commission [easily, by a determined saboteur.] A blackout would not stop the planes in the air or the tanks in the field, but the backup systems of communication, supply, and management would be disastrously disrupted. Yet defense planning pays little attention to these matters.” Say Daly and Cobb.

Aside from rare acts of sabotage, the disastrous impact of hurricane Ike on the power grid last week, which left up to 5 million people without power, should be a stark remainder and a wake-up call to how vulnerable our centralized power grid is to seasonal acts of nature, especially the natural phenomena enhanced by climate change.

Why isn’t decentralization happening? Daly and Cobb identify two major obstacles: “The first is the political power of groups that profit from military spending.  The second is extreme difficulty of dealing in a humane way with the rapid shift in the whole economy.”

At least one of the two obstacles could be overcome, however. “If the United States makes a clean environment, human health, and community stability its goals, alone with a commitment to becoming more self-sufficient economically, the transition from a military economy to a civilian one may be affected without enormous pain.”

But how does more economic self-sufficiency help national security?

“… where there is economic self-sufficiency, national security need not involve fighting wars with distant enemies.  It does not require the ability to conquer external powers. It requires only the ability to resist aggression against itself.  Would the federation all 50 states be a likely victim of conquest? Would these states be in danger from Mexico or Canada?”

How do we protect ourselves and stabilize our world? What would it take to fight a war of aggression waged against us?

In a stable, demilitarized world, we would need only a small civil defense force to protect us against any aggression. Kirkpatrick Sale in Human Scale says: “The long human record suggests that the problem of defense and warfare is exacerbated, not solved, by the large state, and that smaller societies …  tend to engage in fighting less and less violent consequences. Indicating that a world of human scale politics would not be a world without its conflicts and disputations, but would likely be a world of comparative stability.”

13. What sort of reduction in energy consumption and therefore the CO2 emission levels could we expect if  we created all of the above changes?

The Committee Members of  Creating A Sustainable Future [what’s left of the future, AAR,] believe that if we the people

  • Replaced the world’s mercenary governments with volunteer, fully accountable organizations that are supervised by the electorate
  • Changed the prevailing political economy to an eco-centered system that provides “economics for life”
  • Criminalized the structure of corporations [rearranging the potentially useful ones to function as non-profits or co-operatives]
  • Developed our lifestyle to one of zero impact using sustainable models

If our energy abuse ends, the world demand for energy could fall by as much as 80-90 percent, resulting in CO2 emission levels approaching zero.

And if you’re still wondering whether a future would be possible with the same life-destroying systems of money fetishism, corporatism and mercenary governments in place, you haven’t read the above carefully!

Posted in economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle | Tagged: , , , , | 25 Comments »

Images of the Day: Ike Was Here!

Posted by edro on September 14, 2008

Hurricane Ike: “Not the ‘Nightmare Scenario'”

The following image relates to a comment made by Cynthia Beal on The First Wave of World’s Collapsing Cities

Ike was here! (Matt Slocum / Associated Press). Image may be subject to copyright.

“The Day the Dead ‘Rose’ from their Graves!”

Floodwaters brought by Hurricane Ike cover a cemetery in Orange, Texas. September 14, 2008. (Smiley N. Pool/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images). Image may be subject to copyright.

Them Crosses Ain’t Like They Used to BE!

George Levias, 75, moves a cross from an exposed casket as he looks for a headstone at the Hollywood Cemetery in Orange, Texas. Several caskets were exposed after Hurricane Ike caused flooding in the area. September 15, 2008 (Eric Gay/Associated Press). Image may be subject to copyright.

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Nascent Characteristics of the Cosmos

Posted by edro on September 11, 2008

How Do You Fit into the Cosmic Scheme of Things?

1. The Cosmos is ethical.

2. The Cosmic Elements are altruistic.

The Cosmos Supports Life

Star Formation in Henize 206

Within the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a nearby and irregularly-shaped galaxy seen in the Southern Hemisphere, lies a star-forming region heavily obscured by interstellar dust. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has used its infrared eyes to poke through the cosmic veil to reveal a striking nebula where the entire lifecycle of stars is seen in splendid detail.

The LMC is a small satellite galaxy gravitationally bound to our own Milky Way. Yet the gravitational effects are tearing the companion to shreds in a long-playing drama of ‘intergalactic cannibalism.’ These disruptions lead to a recurring cycle of star birth and star death. (Source)

Image Details

Object Name: Henize 206
Object Type: Star formation region in an emission nebula
Position (J2000): RA: 05h31m15.2s Dec: -71d03m58s
Distance: 163,000 light-years (50 kiloparsecs)
Constellation: Dorado (the Dolphinfish)

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/V. Gorjian (JPL)

The Structure of Cosmos is Altruistic

Spiral galaxy M51 [“Whirlpool Galaxy”]

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has captured these infrared images of the “Whirlpool Galaxy,” revealing strange structures bridging the gaps between the dust-rich spiral arms, and tracing the dust, gas and stellar populations in both the bright spiral galaxy and its companion.  (Source)

Image Details

Object Name: Messier 51
Object Type: Galaxy Pair
Position (J2000): RA: 13h29m55.7s Dec: +47d13m53s
Distance: 37,000,000 light-years or 11 Mpc
Magnitude: 8.4
Constellation: Canes Venatici

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Kennicutt (Univ. of Arizona)

Posted in 286W, big bang, Cosmic Scheme, energy, environment, future | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Thought for the Day: VLS Food Production

Posted by edro on September 5, 2008

VLS Accelerated Food Production Amid Environmental Chaos

The most highly sought after technology in the next 12 – 24 months could be VLS accelerated hydroponics. That is the know-how to produce large amounts of food in confined (or semi-confined) environments within a short time cycle and without the need for soil.

VLS: Very Large Scale

Posted in atmosphere, climate change, economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle, pollution, soil, war | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Snapshot of World “Disasters” this Week

Posted by edro on September 5, 2008


Haiti’s second city, Gonaives, was deluged by Hurricane Hanna. Image: Matthew Marek/American Red Cross. Source:BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.

Haiti – Two hurricanes, Gustav and Hanna, struck the Caribbean’s poorest nation in little over 4 days, just two weeks after tropical storm Fay had already drenched the country. the hurricanes left at least 200 people dead. The death toll could still climb substantially as thousands of people who escaped to rooftops to avoid rising floodwaters continue to starve. See: Hungry Haitian Flood Victims Stranded on Rooftops.

In 2004, after Hurricane Jeanne struck the city of Gonaïves causing widespread floods and mudslides, more than than 3000 people died.


People seek refuge from flood waters in east Nepal August 24, 2008. Twenty-four bodies have been discovered washed away by Koshi River at the Nepal-India border according to local media. More than 20,000 thousand people have been displaced due to a flooding after a dam burst. REUTERS/Nepal Army 11 Brigade/Handout (NEPAL). FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

Nepal – An appeal for assistance for Koshi flood affected people in eastern Nepal has been made by: WFP, FAO, UNICEF, WHO, OCHA, and OXFAM for a total of US$10,102,485.

  • WFP has asked for $5,000,000 to provide: Short to medium-term food needs and recovery support to flood affected persons
  • FAO requires $1,819,000 for: Support to provide fodder, treat sick draught animals/livestock and carcass disposal activities in support of the flood affected farming families
  • UNICEF asked for $1,795,065 to provide: Shelter, safe water, sanitation facilities, hygiene kits, school and student kits, emergency health messages and psychosocial support for flood affected families
  • WHO needs $853,150 to: Procure essential emergency/outbreak response medicines for Saptari and Sunsari districts, buffer stocks for Kathmandu and pre- positioning of international emergency health kits in all the regions
  • OCHA has asked for $600,000 to Capitalize Emergency Response Fund to allocate grants for emergency flood response
  • OXFAM requested a mere $35,270 to provide Support for shelter items, fuel wood, and to cover transportation costs of both IDPs and shelter kits in Saptari

[Note: The more experienced agencies never publish the required aid money in figures that are rounded to nearest thousands—,000.]


India – The flooding in the Bihar state of India has affected an estimated three million people. Without clean water, food, medicines and shelter many of them will perish.

A flood-affected man takes a nap outside a flood relief camp in Jankinagar village of Purniya district in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri. Image may be subject to copyright.


People walk past a destroyed car as Hurricane Gustav passes in Los Palacios, 100 km (62 miles) west of Havana August 30, 2008. The Category 4 storm swept across Cuba in a matter of hours and now poses a threat to Gulf oil fields on a projected path that could take it ashore near New Orleans, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. REUTERS/Claudia Daut (CUBA)

Cuba – Hurricane Gustav destroyed or damaged about 100,000 homes in Cuba. Pinar del Río province was the hardest hit with its share of 70,000, and a total of about 500 damaged schools. In the municipality of Isla de la Juventud about half of the houses were damaged. In the municipality of Los Palacios 80 percent of the 13,000 homes were damaged, some 6,000 were completely destroyed.


A man rows a boat in a flooded street of Puerto Saavedra town in southern Chile September 3, 2008. Hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes during the storms that hit parts of Chile, according to local media.  REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Caballero. Image may be subject to copyright.

Chile – About 100,000 people have been affected by torrential rains in Chile, the worst in living memory; four people drowned.

In Araucania region, 700 km south of Santiago, rain has damaged about 10,000 homes, flooded rivers and canals, blocked roadways, destroyed bridges and inundated more than 200,000 hectares of farmland.

President Michelle Bachelet designated the region as a “catastrophe zone” on Wednesday.

Two hurricanes, Gustav and Hanna, struck the Caribbean’s poorest nation in little over 4 days, about two weeks after tropical storm Fay had already drenched the country.

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Remember this Image!

Posted by edro on September 4, 2008

Coming to a City Near You!

No Food, No Freshwater, No Shelter!
[A flooded road outside Gonaives, Haiti, September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer. Image may be subject to copyright.]

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