Featured Post
Intentional Ignorance

November 6, 2012

I wrote this essay to offer some essential information about our world and the future of our species, adding my voice to the many cries of alarm over the environmental crisis (lately reaching criticality). [More…]

Receive Post Notices
Tag Cloud
100% Renewables 350.org AAAS abundance action Age of Earth Al Bartlett Animal Rights Annihilation of Nature Anthropocene Anti-climate change Anti-Science assertion bee colony collapse bee die-off Biodiversity Biodiversity loss Biomass battery of Earth biosphere birth control carbon tax carbon taxes Carrying capacity Change Changing planet Children's Climate Crusade Citizens Climate Lobby Citizens United civilization claims Clean energy climate Climate action Climate Change Climate Desk Climate Impacts Accelerating Climate resilience climate science Climate Skeptics Climate Summit CO2 collapse Collapse assessment Conflicting Views consequences Conservation conservative thought contacting leaders Conversion from fossil fuels COP-21 credentials curiosity Debates decimation Defending the Climate democracy depletion Earth earth day Earth Full Earth system Ecocide ecological footprint Ecological imperialism Economics Economic self-interest ecosystem collapse Ecosystem services Education of women End of nature energy energy conservation Energy facts energy policy environment Environmental concern Environmental Ed Environmental Impacts environmental law Environmental reform equilibrium essays Ethics Exponential curve Extinction extinctions facts Failures to act Family planning Fertility food FossilFuels fossil fuels Future future expectations Genetic preservation global overshoot Global Population Speakout GlobalWarming global warming Government Action Government leadership government policy Government warnings grass roots Great photo collection Greenhouse Gas Emissions Greenhouse gases Green revolution Growth Myth Human-invasive species Human development human domination Human fertility human history human impacts Humanity Humanity's worst act Humanity system Human nature I=PAT immigration Impactful message inequality intentional ignorance IPCC KeystonePipeline Leadership life-support system Life in the Universe Lobbying for the Climate MAHB male chauvinism Mass Extinction Meaning of humanity media Military leadership NASA Natural Resources nature nature's services Nature's Trust Nature Services new politics non-equilibrium Nuclear Energy Nuclear Failures Nuclear Licensing nuclear safety Nuclear Waste Objectivity Oil Organic energy Overpopulation overpopulation consequences Paris action Paris Global Warming Meeting Peoples Climate March Planetary boundaries Planetary conditions Planet Under Pressure PMC policy political action political failures political protests Political support political systems politics Population population; employment; job creation Population Control population growth Preparing for Climate Change President Obama pricing carbon Problem Summary proof protecting nature PV Rationality reason reducing CO2 reducing fossil emissions Reducing fossil fuel combustion reform religion renewable economics Renewable Energy renewables republican brain resource depletion Resources for learning responsibility Reversing climate change Risk saving humanity science science denial Scientific warnings ScientistWarnings sex and global warming Societal collapse Solar solar economics solar electric solar energy solar thermal Species species extinction Status of women Steps we can take Sustainability SustainableValues Taking action teams of specialists TED talks Terrorist threats The Big Greens the big picture The Future The White House thought processes Turning Point UCS Uncontrolled growth university education UN Report Vanishing wilderness water Wildlife wind wind energy Women equality Worldview Wrecked Ocean WWF

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Recent Assessment: Avoiding Civilization’s Collapse

Paul and Anne Ehrlich recently offered what is likely the latest, carefully considered assessment of our chances of avoiding a collapse of civilization. It began with the publication of their findings[1] in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B with a paper titled, “Can a collapse of civilization be avoided?” A summary of the findings was published on a blog of the Millenium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB) hosted by Stanford University. I think you will find this assessment both interesting and sobering. Take a look at it.

Ross McCluney


[1] Ehrlich PR, Ehrlich AH. 2013. Can a collapse of civilization be avoided? Proceedings of the Royal Society B http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1754/20122845.

Senator Alexander and Nuclear Power

Senator Lamar Alexander was President of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville when I was a grad student there. He served as Governor of the State of Tennessee 1979-1991 and as the U.S. Secretary of Education 1991-1993. In 2001 he was named the Roy M. and Barbara Goodman Family Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Service at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. With such an august background, one might expect the Senator to be fairly literate about the facts of nuclear power in the U.S. and abroad.

In an email to me dated January 17, 2014, he pointed out that “wasteful wind subsidies” by the federal government to promote wind power as an alternative to fossil fuel in Tennessee does not produce sufficient return in Tennessee with its relatively low wind resource to justify the subsidy. He went on to claim that “Furthermore, windmills are destroying the environment in the name of saving the environment. For example, you can see their flashing lights for 20 miles, and you would have to stretch wind turbines the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia, to equal the power produced by eight nuclear plants on one square mile each – and you would still need the nuclear plants or some other form of power generation for when the wind doesn’t blow.” Continue reading

Let’s Just Sit Around the Table and Solve It — Immigration Example

If the Earth were tiny, much smaller than it is, and contained a reasonably small population, say a few hundred people, and were faced with a threat, we can envision how the people of the world would face it: Ten to twenty proven leaders of that population might get together as a group, ask for facts and evidence from the scientists, scholars, and experienced business and other informed people in the population, then put together an action plan they hope will avoid the danger, and finally rally the whole population around the plan and its execution.  That is the rational, reasonable, logical way to deal with a crisis.

However, with an Earth as large and diverse as the current one, with huge populations separated by oceans, by races, by tribes, by cultures, and by language, plus variations in natural resource abundance, such a reasonable course of action seems fruitless. The United Nations was created to overcome that difficulty. But it lacks the teeth and coherence to carry out such a plan. It has prepared some good plans, but they don’t go anywhere close to the scale needed to solve the problem. Continue reading