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VIII. Earth Earns: Our Open Participatory Earthropocene to Ecosmocene CoCreativity

5. A Viable Gaia: A Sustainable, Familial Unity: Planetary Patriots and Matriots

Bettencourt, Luis and Christa Breisford. Industrial Ecology: The View from Complex Systems. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 19/2, 2015. In this issue on Advances in Complex Adaptive Systems, Santa Fe Institute scientists emphasize the need to understand and avail nature’s nonlinear, network, self-organization phenomena to inform a viable natural and social sustainability. By this synthesis, such independent, universal organic principles can orient and guide this imperative ecological transition. See also Bettoncourt’s paper The Use of Big Data in Cities in Big Data (2/1, 2014) which makes the same case.

Biermann, Frank. ‘Earth System Governance’ as a Crosscutting Theme of Global Change Research. Global Environmental Change. 17/3-4, 2007. Such terms are often tossed about in discussion and documents without clear, consistent definitions, the author argues. A dedicated worldwide social and political programme to this end is most imperative. Four basic principles are evoked in this regard: credibility, stability, adaptiveness, and inclusiveness. These lead to these five issues: overall management structure, an agency beyond states, realistic implementation, legitimate accountability, and fair allocations.

Billson, Janet Mancini and Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, eds. Female Well-Being: Toward a Global Theory of Social Change. London: Zed Books, 2005. Billson is Director of Group Dimensions International, Rhode Island, and Fluehr-Lobban is Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies at Rhode Island College. We choose this volume for its content and to again make the statement that a fundamental aberration of human civilization remains its denigration, both physically and mentally, of the equal place and contribution of women. On the day this is written, one reads in the NY Times of an acid attack in Afghanistan upon female students who dare attend high school. The longer such imbalance is not set right, the harder it will be, if possible at all, to achieve an egalitarian sustainable earth. We cite the publisher’s synopsis and a quote from the book by John Stuart Mill from the 18th century, just as true today.

This global survey starts from the belief that the significant transformations in women‘s lives need to be fully documented and interpreted. It illustrates the critical challenges faced by women in the 20th century using original data from countries in every world region. The case studies are written by teams of scholars, educators, and policy analysts in Canada, the United States, Colombia, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Japan, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Africa, Sudan, and Kenya. The catalysts for change in female well-being are identified from trends from 1900 to 2000 in infant mortality, maternal mortality, literacy, life expectancy, education, work, income, family structure, and political power. Trends are analyzed in the light of the century‘s major events, legislative initiatives, social policies, and leadership, to illustrate the processes that enhance, sustain, or detract from the female condition. (Publisher’s Website)

The principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes – the legal subordination of one sex to the other – is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement…it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, no disability on the other. (John Stuart Mill, 392)

Birkeland, Janis. Design for Sustainability. A Sourcebook of Integrated Eco-Logical Solutions. London: Earthscan Publications, 2002. A workbook guide for the intentional transition from an industrial society based on Newtonian mechanics to a viable world of self-sufficient communities which draws upon the indigenous wisdom of an organically self-organizing nature.

Birkeland, Janis. Positive Development: From Vicious Cycles Through Built Environmental Design. London: Earthscan, 2008. The Queensland University of Technology professor of Architectural Studies provides a practical workbook for an imperative sustainable transition. As readers know, piecemeal fixes, bailouts to set the clock back, (or should they be out on bail) will only make things worse and put off a reckoning day. Only a total change of approach from “single-issue reduction” to human countryside and citywide rehabitation in an ecological homeostasis will heal and save.

Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World. Boston: Conari Press, 2005. Not a minute too soon, the beloved Jungian psychologist and author summons the long suppressed feminine wisdom and action. If our world, so stressed by male violence and rapacious plunder, is to survive and flourish for the children’s sake this palliative empathy and compassion is in great need. We quote from the publisher’s website.

The message to all the women of the world is "Wake Up! Arise! Do not ask for permission to gather the women. What cannot be done by men, or by individual women, can be done by women together. Earth is Home."

Briand, Sylvie, et al. Infodemics: A New Challenge for Public Health. Cell. 184/25, 2021. Two years into the pandemic plague, seventeen medical scholars posted in Switzerland (SB Global Infectious Hazards Preparedness Department, WHO), Italy, the USA (CDC), France, the UK (Turing Institute), and China propose an imperative program to address the virulent, misinformed public resistance to simple palliative measures to mitigate and control.

The COVID-19 information epidemic, or “infodemic,” demonstrates how unlimited access to information may confuse and influence behaviors during a health emergency. However, the study of infodemics is relatively new, and little is known about their relationship with epidemics management. Here, we discuss unresolved issues and propose research directions to enhance preparedness for future health crises.

Bristow, David and Christopher Kennedy. Why Do Cities Grow? Insights from Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics at the Urban and Global Scales. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 19/2, 2015. University of Toronto civil engineers find far-from-equilibrium, open system principles, after decades of research studies, to have a mature appropriate suitability to explain and empower viable human societies.

This forum article explores thermodynamic understanding of the growth of cities, including theoretical foundations, observations, and analysis. The general theory of nonequilibrium thermodynamics is reviewed, as well as discussing the hypothesis of maximum entropy production. Calculations of exergy gradients in a few cities and settlements, along with measures of anthropogenic heat loss in further cities, support the notion that cities are dissipative structures. The observation that primary energy use per capita increases in Singapore and Hong Kong as they grow is further evidence to support the thermodynamic understanding of the growth of cities, indicative of an increasing rate of entropy production. At the global scale, the strong linear relationship between global urban population and total global energy use, and the distribution of city sizes according to Zipf's law, can be understood as emergent results based on thermodynamics. (Abstract)

Broad, William. A Web of Sensors, Taking Earth’s Pulse. New York Times. May 10, 2005. A Science Times lead article reports on an intelligent bioplanet beginning to instrument itself so as to maintain and enhance its own viability. Wireless beacons in rivers, a global net of stations to measure landform and sea mantle strains and deformations, (a world tsunami warning system is part of this effort) and constant surveillance of urban, rural, agricultural and wilderness atmospheres are examples.

Brown, Lester. Eco-Economy. New York: Norton, 2001. The founder of the Worldwatch Institute and now president of the Earth Policy Institute advises that the old destructive mode of nature serving commerce and economics be changed to a natural sustainability with an ecological basis.

Brown, Valerie and John Harris. The Human Capacity for Transformational Change: Harnessing the Collective Mind. London: Routledge, 2014. Valerie Brown is Director to the Local Sustainability Project, Australian National University, and John Harris is Head of Environmental Science, University of Canberra. Amongst works seeking to save the earth, their unique approach emphasizes life’s persistent evolution toward a more effective collective intelligence. If we altogether could intentionally, respectfully, recognize and avail the novel resource of a worldwide “noosphere” gaining knowledge on its own, this could provide the common guidance we so much need. An expansive array of thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Norbert Weiner, James Lovelock, Gregory Bateson, Christopher Alexander, and especially Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, are enlisted to brace this vista.

Table of Contents: Part 1. Changing Minds 1. Living with transformational change: a future for the collective mind 2. The Darwinian mind: the next step in human evolution 3. The Gaian mind: people and planet as a self-organising system 4. The cybernetic mind: human social networks in cyberspace 5. The Herculean mind: seven challenging tasks 6. A collective mind: asking reflective questions Part 2. Changing Society 7. Inclusive language: hearing all the voices 8. Transformation science: a science of change 9. Collective governance: democracy for the next millennium 10 Collaborative economy and gift relationships 11. Life-long education: learning without limits 12. The collective self: asking introspective questions Part 3. Changing Worlds 13. Utopian thinking in a connected world.

The era of the collective mind is already underway in twenty-first century society. As the leading edge of thought, it is re-examining long-standing biological and social features of humanity and rethinking the question of what it means to be human. There can be a new freedom and dignity in the future of the collective mind. New ways of experiencing, knowing, being and becoming that can put humanity in reach of new kinds of worlds through a collective and ethically-guided influence on inevitable transformational change. (15)

Bryner, Gary. Gaia’s Wager. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001. In a modern version of Pascal’s wager, it would do us well to act as if the earth was, in fact, a self-regulating but critically-poised, organically unified biosphere and base our environmental policy upon this premise.

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