VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Ecosmocene CoCreativity
5. A Viable Gaia: Planetary Patriots and Matriots in an Earthropocene Era
Sachs, Jeffery. The End of Poverty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. The tireless advocate of motivating governments and populaces to face and eliminate the abject state of a third of the world’s peoples here provides an excellent and practical survey. Now director of the Earth Institute at Columbia Institute (check website), economist Sachs draws on the successes of Eastern European countries, along with how China and India have prospered, to propose an “enlightened globalization” to address the situation. For example, at very low cost mosquito nets can be supplied to rural Africa so peoples and villages can begin to overcome disease and start on a path to recovery. The accomplishment of such Millennium Development Goals requires the empowerment of women, an end to warlords and corruption, universal primary education, environmental sustenance, a voice for the poor, a redress of priorities for the United States, the IMF World Bank, and so on. But it would seem all the good data and argument is in need of a common vision – just as a person cannot live with festering illness in parts of the body, so organic, super-personal humankind needs to heal, rehabilitate and integrate the destitute poor from Guatemala to Niger to Bangladesh.
Sachs, Jeffery, et al. Six Transformations to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Nature Sustainability. 2/9, 2019. Six senior authorities from the USA, Germany, the UK, and Austria, from Columbia University to the Potsdam Institute, including Johan Rockstrom, provide a thorough conceptual and technical study to date. But as I review in April 2022, the world has gone to blazes in an orgy of bombings and summer firestorms. Our pan- demic world is exhausted, ill advised, beset by mad warlords, with little academic natural philosophy. We have long been trying to discern and give our most especial bioworld an epochal relevance to the future and fate of the entire ecosmic genesis so as an incentive. A finding that social protocells as noted in Sustainable Ecovillages are meant to be life’s metabolic stage could provide an actual rationale. And so on.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change call for deep transformations in every country that will require cooperative actions by governments, civil society, science and business. Yet stakeholders lack a shared understanding of how the 17 SDGs can be achieved. Following on the World in 2050 work, we introduce six SDG Transformations as modular building-blocks: (1) education, gender and inequality; (2) health, well-being and demography; (3) energy decarbonization and sustainable industry; (4) sustainable food, land, water and oceans; (5) sustainable cities and communities; and (6) digital revolution for sustainable development. We also outline an action agenda for science to provide the knowledge required for designing, implementing and monitoring the SDG Transformations. (Abstract excerpt)
Sanderson, Eric, et al. From Bottleneck to Breakthrough: Urbanization and the Future of Biodiversity Conservation. BioScience. Online April, 2018. In a well considered proposal, senior Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NYC ecologists Sanderson, Joseph Walston, and John Robinson focus on three prime aspects for a viable Gaia: the stabilization of human population, the end of economic and environmental poverty, and a shift to creative, sustainable cities. By this view, an old and new, once and future Anthropocene era can be sketched – prior unplanned, unrestrained growth, and this intentional shift to a biospheric and regional symbiosis of our human phase, as it historically moves into equitable urban ecologies.
For the first time in the Anthropocene, the global demographic and economic trends that have resulted in unprecedented destruction of the environment are now creating the necessary conditions for a possible renaissance of nature. Drawing reasonable inferences from current patterns, we can predict that 100 years from now, the Earth could be inhabited by between 6 and 8 billion people, with very few remaining in extreme poverty, most living in towns and cities, and nearly all participating in a technologically driven, interconnected market economy. Building on the scholarship of others in demography, economics, sociology, and conservation biology, we articulate a theory of social–environmental change that describes the simultaneous and interacting effects of urban lifestyles on fertility, poverty alleviation, and ideation. (Abstract)
Saravia, Leonardo, et al.
Power Laws and Critical Fragmentation in Global Forests.
Nature Scientific Reports.
We cite this entry by Argentine and American researchers for its sophisticated quantification (97 references) of how ecosystem dynamics reach tipping points between stable viability or a disorganized, perilous condition. Another implication would be the active presence of an independent mathematical, geometric formative source in effect, which is a crucial realization we have not yet collectively made.
The replacement of forest areas with human-dominated landscapes usually leads to fragmentation, altering the structure and function of the forest. Here we studied the dynamics of forest patch sizes at a global level, examining signals of a critical transition from an unfragmented to a fragmented state, using the MODIS vegetation continuous field. We defined wide regions of connected forest across continents and big islands, and combined five criteria, including the distribution of patch sizes and the fluctuations of the largest patch over the last sixteen years, to evaluate the closeness of each region to a fragmentation threshold. Regions with the highest deforestation rates – South America, Southeast Asia, Africa – all met these criteria and may thus be near a critical threshold. (Abstract)
Sardar, Ziauddin, ed. Rescuing All Our Futures. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999. A theme of this website is the need for a global representation of all peoples in a peaceful, sustainable, much kinder abode. Within the palpable dominance of West and North over East and South, which augurs for a more of the same technological, consumptive future, these papers explore non-Western, indigenous, feminine options. Noted contributors include Susantha Goonatilake, Eleonara Masini, Sohail Inayatullah, Ivana Milojevic, Vinay Lal and Ashis Nandy. The traditional vision of the Maori peoples of New Zealand would make a suitable organic vision.
For the Maori, writes activist Ramana Williams, the appropriate term is the creation of a whanau. It means a vast universal family that connects the stars and the moon, the earth, and the sky and all life forms that reside therein, the world of animation and inanimation, the worlds of the living and the dead. (56)
Schellnhuber, Hans, et al. Earth System Analysis for Sustainability. Environment. 47/8, 2005. A second Copernican Revolution is cited as science becomes a global project to not only collectively study nature but to intentionally quantify and take over the sustainable maintenance of planetary anatomy and physiology. Examples are the Amsterdam Declaration on Global Change and the Earth System Science Partnership.
For today, we live in what may appropriately be called the “Anthropocene:” a new geologic epoch in which humankind has emerged as a globally significant (and potentially intelligent) force capable of reshaping the face of the Earth. (12)
Schneiderman, Jill, ed. The Earth Around Us. New York: Freeman, 2000. Essays from leading scientists articulate our current environmental dilemma and propose solutions. Its seven sections include: Records of Time and History, Scientific Judgments and Ethical Considerations, Resources Reconfigured, Local Manipulations, Inventive Solutions, Whole Earth Perturbations, and Global Perspectives.
Schramski, John, et al. Human Domination of the Biosphere: Rapid Discharge of the Earth-Space Battery Foretells the Future of Humankind. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112/9511, 2015. Schramski, and David Gattie, University of Georgia and James Brown, University of New Mexico environmentalists aptly apply an energy storage analogy to this life-charged biosphere. The physical logic is “indisputable because the laws of thermodynamics are absolute.” If a global public collectivity and local communal individuality does not soon become aware, so as to mitigate the rate of drain and begin in some way to recharge, then “human civilization is unsustainable.” Dead battery, out of gas, lost in space.
Earth is a chemical battery where, over evolutionary time with a trickle-charge of photosynthesis using solar energy, billions of tons of living biomass were stored in forests and other ecosystems and in vast reserves of fossil fuels. In just the last few hundred years, humans extracted exploitable energy from these living and fossilized biomass fuels to build the modern industrial-technological-informational economy, to grow our population to more than 7 billion, and to transform the biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity of the earth. This rapid discharge of the earth’s store of organic energy fuels the human domination of the biosphere, including conversion of natural habitats to agricultural fields and the resulting loss of native species, emission of carbon dioxide and the resulting climate and sea level change, and use of supplemental nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar energy sources. The laws of thermodynamics governing the trickle-charge and rapid discharge of the earth’s battery are universal and absolute; the earth is only temporarily poised a quantifiable distance from the thermodynamic equilibrium of outer space. Although this distance from equilibrium is comprised of all energy types, most critical for humans is the store of living biomass. With the rapid depletion of this chemical energy, the earth is shifting back toward the inhospitable equilibrium of outer space with fundamental ramifications for the biosphere and humanity. Because there is no substitute or replacement energy for living biomass, the remaining distance from equilibrium that will be required to support human life is unknown. (Abstract)
Seck, Diaraf, et al. Editorial. Acta Biotheoretica. 62/3, 2014. As the quote describes, Senegal scientists introduce a special issue from a joint meeting of French, European, and West African biologists, environmentalists, and sustainability workers. We note this as an good example of a collaborative application of the latest theories of a nonlinear natural ecology so as to mitigate and improve urgencies and welfare of real peoples and societies. The lead paper is Stability, Complexity and Robustness in Population Dynamics by Jacques Demongeot, a French systems physician, along with African researchers from Cameroun and surround. A typical contributions are A Bioeconomic Model of a Multi-site Fishery with Nonlinear Demand Function and Decision Making Environment of Rift Valley Fever in Ferlo (Senegal).
This special issue of Acta Biotheoretica is a selection of papers presented at the 4th international conference of the Francophone Society of Theoretical Biology (SFBT) which was held from 03-05 June, 2013 in Dakar (Senegal). This outstanding international scientific meeting was organized by the Francophone Society of Theoretical Biology, the International Joint Unit on Mathematics and Computer Modeling of Complex Systems (UMMISCO), the Research Institute for Development (IRD) and Dakar Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD). The conference was, also, sponsored by the African Institute of Mathematical Science of Senegal (AIMS-Senegal) and the Developing Countries committee (COPED) of the Sciences Academy of the Institute of France. The main theme of the conference focused on the Dynamics of populations, epidemiology and renewable resources. A hundred papers were presented over 3 days, in four thematic sessions: a general session, a session on systems modeling of fisheries, a session on modeling of epidemiological systems and a special session on mathematics and computer sciences. (241)
Sen, Jai. The World Social Forum as an Emergent Learning Process. Futures. 39/5, 2007. A good entry to this popular, intentionally self-organizing movement, that takes as its mantra: Another World is Possible. As with such laudable efforts, there is often a need to move beyond defining themselves in terms of what they are against, and to substantiate this better alternative we so need. The quote is from its website (Google) and its prime principles.
The World Social Forum is an open meeting place where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, to formulate proposals, to share their experiences freely and to network for effective action.
Sherr, Lynn and Megan Thompson. Women’s Movement Transforms Post-War Liberia. http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/04/14/womens-movement-transforms-post-war-liberia/4965. Noted more in Gender Complements, a most luminous example of how women united can change the worst of violent, gang-ridden situations.
Shrivastava, Aseem and Ashish Kothari. Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India. New York: Viking Penguin, 2012. Senior Indian environmentalists call for a dramatic shift from a prior and present western industrial bent, which although valued for its services, will ultimately destroy the nation, including the natural biosphere. See also an article by Kothari: “India 2100: Towards Radical Ecological Democracy” in Organic Democracy.
The world stands so dazzled by India’s meteoric economic rise that we hesitate to acknowledge its consequences to the people and the environment. In Churning the Earth, Aseem Shrivastava and Ashish Kothari engage in a timely enquiry of this impressive growth story. They present incontrovertible evidence on how the nature of this recent growth has been predatory and question its sustainability. Unfettered development has damaged the ecological basis that makes life possible for hundreds of millions resulting in conflicts over water, land and natural resources, and increasing the chasm between the rich and the poor, threatening the future of India as a civilization. Rich with data and stories, this eye-opening critique of India’s development strategy argues for a radical ecological democracy based on the principles of environmental sustainability, social equity and livelihood security. Shrivastava and Kothari urge a fundamental shift towards such alternatives—already emerging from a range of grassroots movements—if we are to forestall the descent into socio-ecological chaos. Churning the Earth is unique in presenting not only what is going wrong in India, but also the ways out of the crises that globalised growth has precipitated.
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