VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Astropocene CoCreativity
5. An Earthropocene Future: Planetary Patriots/Matriots Achieve an Organic Ecovillage Gaia Viability
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.
Singh, Jyoti. Creating a New Consensus on Population. London: Earthscan Publications, 1998. This work follows up the Bucharest, Mexico, and Cairo UN conferences and includes many NGO and regional programs, advice on reproductive health, development, family planning and the empowerment of women.
Singh, Madanjeet. ed. The Timeless Energy of the Sun for Life and Peace with Nature. Geneva: UNESCO Publishing, 1998. Success stories about the increasing utilization of clean solar energy, especially in third world countries.
Smil, Vaclav. Feeding the World: A Challenge for the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000. A proficient survey of the many factors involved in food issues: demographic, agroecosystem, irrigation, cultural and so on.
Sole, Ricard and Simon Levin.
Ecological Complexity and the Biosphere: The Next 30 Years.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
In a special issue with this title, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona and Princeton University senior scholars introduce and survey this perilous challenge that we Earthlings must face over these decades. But as we have just seen with the US climate act, whether the biosphere can be saved and sustained, or not (kinder or cinder), can be addressed by a common initiative and a strenuous, concerted effort to make this really happen. From the author’s experience, 21st century nonlinear science such as complex adaptive systems, network topologies, resilience theories which is now known to underlie natural phenomena need be fully implemented to inform and advance this global (Earthropocene) project.
Global warming, habitat loss and overexploitation of limited resources are leading to alarming declines in biodiversity. Ecosystems are complex adaptive systems (search SL) with multiple alternative states and can abruptly shift from one to another. In dealing with a biosphere where humans are part of a complex, endangered ecological network, novel theoretical and engineering approaches are vitally needed. Using a 30-year window, we explore ways to sense, preserve and restore ecosystem resilience as well as interventions from afforestation to bioengineering to mitigate ecosystem collapse. (Excerpt)
Som, Sanjoy. Common Identity as a Step to Civilization Longevity. Futures. Online August, 2018. The author has a doctorate in planetary sciences and astrobiology from the University of Washington and is cofounder and director of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Mountain View, CA. Please visit that site for an incredible array of people and projects as human valiance begins to explore and expand into this open expanse. However it is here said that this wondrous future will not happen unless we peoples get altogether and achieve a true Earthling ethnicity.
A common identity among humans coupled with existing local identities may be key to the longevity of our civilization. We posit that societal stability, defined here as the potential for humans to avoid either physical or ideological conflict with members outside of their group, is enhanced by perception of common identity. Teaching the Earth from space as a corner-stone of common identity, leveraging on the “Overview Effect” described by astronauts, can help introduce a neutral worldview to students and offers a framework for cross-cultural exchange. Introducing psychology in the early curriculum provides tools to handle emotional complexity on par with the cognitive development of students. We suggest that a positive outcome in the development of common identity and emotional awareness would lead to the emergence of empathetic behavior. (Abstract excerpt)
Soto, Hernando de. The Mystery Of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs In The West And Fails Everywhere Else. New York: Basic Books, 2000. In this widely cited book, the Peruvian economist argues it is because of a workable balance between personal initiative, the availability of investment and legal restraints. In Peru and many other countries it can take years to get a business loan or a deed to property.