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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…]

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Environmental Ed

Intentional Ignorance

The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.” — Gregory Bateson, An Ecology of Mind

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Intentional Ignorance

Preamble

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). My purpose is to present:

– a short history of our planet and the human place on it

– how recent trends toward nearly absolute market-based policy and extreme political polarization have made it all-but-impossible for the national government to effect useful, substantive change at the needed scale

– to offer some suggestions for further study and examination.

Recent political trends make it very difficult for governments to act. Worse still, they can keep knowledgeable, capable, and honest leaders from running for office in democratic governing systems around the world.

The recent national disaster across the northeastern tier of states was predicted last year, but the  report offering the prediction went essentially unheeded by the government structures set up to protect us. The threats of global warming, including this specific threat, did not come up in the recent presidential debates. It is as if Hurricane Sandy decided to force the national attention on global warming in a very dramatic way.

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Exceptional 3 minute Anthropocene Earth Animation

In June 2012, “Welcome to the Anthropocene”—a film about the state of the planet—opened the UN’s Rio+20 summit on sustainable development. The summit was the largest UN meeting to date.

A 3-minute journey through the last 250 years of our history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the Rio+20 Summit. The film charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes.

HD stills available by clicking here.

Here is the video with music, beautiful…  

For me, the music doesn’t start immediately. Give it a few seconds if you don’t hear it when the animation begins. This is a beautiful presentation of the animation with music, but doesn’t have text or narration to explain what you are seeing.

Fortunately, a narrated version, complete with animated population growth chart, is also available, at the link below.

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Biodiversity loss: as serious a threat as most other fears.

I’ve been harping about overpopulation for some time now. Fortunately, there are major efforts around the world to reduce fertility levels to more sustainable values. But are they being implemented fast enough?

Of course, I don’t forget the additional (derivative?) concerns about inadvertent climate modification (including global warming) and its effects on ecosystems as well as people. We cannot neglect the role of what are called “nature’s services,” which depend upon maintaining biodiversity. [Do a Google search on “Nature’s services” for numerous links to information on that topic.]

Now, thanks to Joe Bish at Population Media Center, comes this pair of interesting articles on diversity loss:

Impacts of biodiversity loss rival those of climate change and pollution by Emmett Duffy on May 2, 2012 in SeaMonster – Ocean science, sports, and discovery

And

Diversity Loss v. Environmental Change: The Story of the Paper

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