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VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Astropocene CoCreative Future

C. An Earthropocene Era: Pedia Sapiens Can Choose a Unified Peaceful, Viable Ecosphere

Friedman, Thomas. The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999. An evenhanded report on the rampant burst of a global economy which the author feels can only be achieved by a balance of cultural diversity and an Internet information accessible to everyone. With regard to this subject in general, a difference between globalization as helpful or impediment seems to be whether people or profits are the primary motive.

Geels, Frank, et al. System transitions research and sustainable development: Challenges, progress, and prospects.. PNAS. 120/47, 2023. University of Manchester, UK, Institute for Ecological Economy Research, Berlin and Harvard University (William Clark) ecoscholars gather and introduce a special collection which combines conceptual guidance along with actual case studies to begin get this deliberate imperative scoped out and on its way. Typical papers are Governing the net-zero transition, Sustainability transitions in consumption-production systems and Developing the agroecological niche in Nicaragua.

This Special Feature focusses on three core aspects of better understanding sustainability transitions. The first involves the importance of multilevel interaction Second, while our content is motivated by problems due to complex nature–society interactions, sustainability transitions research leads to a focus on the development and implementation of potential solutions that can reconfigure consumption–production systems. Third, a stronger and more differentiated analysis of the processes of change is a requirement.

Georgeson, Lucien, et al. The Global Green Economy. Geo Geography and Environment. 4/1, 2017. In this new open journal, University College London geographers Georgeson, Mark Maslin (search) and Martyn Poessinouw seek to clarify, quantify, and advance this sprouting approach as a better, methodic way toward real sustainable Earth development.

Giammarese, Adam, et al. Reconfiguration of Amazon's Connectivity in the Climate System. arXiv:2307.05505. This entry by Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Connecticut is a good 2023 instance of how complex network systems science is being fed back and applied on a local and global scale to mitigate harmful conditions and as a better guide ahead.

With the recent increase in deforestation, forest fires, and regional temperatures, the concerns around the rapid and complete collapse of the Amazon rainforest ecosystem have heightened. However, our analysis presented here shows that signatures of changing Amazon are already apparent in historical climate data sets. Here, we extend the methods of climate network analysis and apply them to study the temporal evolution of the connectivity between the Amazon rainforest and the global climate system. We observe that the Amazon rainforest is losing short-range connectivity and gaining more long-range connections, indicating shifts in regional-scale processes. Our methodology innovations can act as a template for examining the spatiotemporal patterns of regional climate change and its impact on global climate using the toolbox of climate network analysis.

Giannarese, Adam, et al. Reconfiguration of Amazon’s Connectivity in the Climate System. arXiv:2307.05505. We cite this midsummer entry by Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Connecticut ecomathematicians as an instance and example of how the complexity sciences of nature’s network anatomy and physiology are beginning to be applied so to provide a deep (re)medial guidance if we can transition to a cooperative Earthropocene sustainability in the short time left.

With the constant increase in deforestation, forest fires, and regional temperatures, concerns have grown over the collapse of the vital Amazon rainforest ecosystem.. Here, we extend network methods to study the temporal connectivity between the Amazon biota and the global climate system. We find a loss of short-range links and more long-range connections. By way of edge-based network metrics, we record significant changing properties. Our methodology innovations can be a template to quantify spatiotemporal patterns of regional climate change. (Excerpt)

Gorbachev, Mikhail. Manifesto for the Earth. East Sussex, UK: Clairview Books, 2006. One of the most visionary and indeed spiritual leaders of our time draws on his long experience to offer unique insights for a sustainable planetary future. Mikhail Gorbachev is disappointed that the Perestroika and Glasnost he so fostered to liberate the Soviet Union did not expand to a salutary global dimension. Alas, we are now beset by an interlinked plethora of crises: political, economic, social, ecological, terrorism. As a response he has actively initiated the Green Cross environmental movement, with a special emphasis on water use justice, and has been a prime source, with Maurice Strong and others, of the Earth Charter Initiative document. The first chapter, How I Became Green, is a remarkable story of his life, born in 1931, from agrarian peasantry, Stalinist oppression, World War II, and into later years when he became party chairman. Seeing battlefield carnage with his own eyes moved and inspired him to vigorously seek to end the cold war, a deep experience sorely lacking with superpower bosses today.

Gottlieb, Roger. Environmentalism Unbound. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001. An effort to bring necessary environmental values into the real world of households, communities, and industry.

Green, Stephen. Good Value: Reflections on Money, Morality, and an Uncertain World. New York: Grove Press, 2011. The author, a former CEO of HSBC bank, is presently British Minister for Trade, and also an Anglican priest who studied at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong. While immersed in global affairs, he is acutely aware of financial impacts on indigenous peoples and lands. In this sensitive and erudite book, a Teilhardian spiritual expanse is offered to move beyond Tom Friedman’s well-meaning “the world is flat” to properly realize “the world is finitely round.” A novel “globalization” results as an evolutionary planetization, whose historical phase of commerce and consumption, while of palliative benefits, is in much need of wary constraint. In regard, Pierre Teilhard’s vision, which Green appreciates, can open to deeper, salutary answers and guidance not available anywhere else. And as someone who knows the ways of the world, the book closes with the crucial necessity to rectify the prevalence of men with a gender parity.

“Teilhard’s thought-world is not easy to enter. His vision of human development can easily seem nebulous. But I believe he has glimpsed something which few others have sensed so perceptively. He has seen that globalization is about something far deeper than economics, commerce and politics. It is an evolution of the human spirit. And, on this view, the end of globalization remains radically open precisely because of the ambiguities that seem to be intrinsic to the human spirit as it evolves.” (32) “John Donne’s famous phrase “No man is an island” spoke of the human condition in all its complexity – the complexity of the individual as part of the human tapestry, separate and yet part of the whole. Teilhard de Chardin’s vision was that only by oneness with the whole is there in fact any meaning or basis for the one. Yet at the heart of this Human condition is a capitalist commercial instinct that is profoundly ambiguous in its impact on human relationships.” (88-89)

There is no question that this is one of the most significant senses in which Teilhard de Chardin’s insight is true – that the human becomes a person not just as individual, but in community. Teilhard saw community as emerging through the growing global connectedness of humankind (not as a reversion to earlier, small-scale, communitarian living). This community is by definition borderless, and cannot be exclusive. And by definition it has to have the full participation of personalities made individual (and therefore open) by the same process of globalization. “No man is an island.” And no woman either. (227)

Gros, Claudius. Developing Ecospheres on Transiently Habitable Planets: The Genesis Project. arXiv:1608.06087. For this section broadly about future organic seedings and spreadings by our decisively self-sustained EarthKinder, here is an ideal example and proposal by the Goethe University, Frankfurt, systems physicist. (Johann would be pleased.) Drawing upon advances in the creation of minimal synthetic biological cells, along with findings of profligate exoplanets, a detailed pathway is laid out, albeit with novel starship ventures, which could begin to sow biochemical and cellular starters on near and farther suitable worlds.

It is often presumed, that life evolves relatively fast on planets with clement conditions, at least in its basic forms, and that extended periods of habitability are subsequently needed for the evolution of higher life forms. Many planets are however expected to be only transiently habitable. On a large set of otherwise suitable planets life will therefore just not have the time to develop on its own to a complexity level as it did arise on earth with the cambrian explosion. The equivalent of a cambrian explosion may however have the chance to unfold on transiently habitable planets if it would be possible to fast forward evolution by 3-4 billion years (with respect to terrestrial timescales). We argue here, that this is indeed possible when seeding the candidate planet with the microbial lifeforms, bacteria and unicellular eukaryotes alike, characterizing earth before the cambrian explosion. An interstellar mission of this kind, denoted the `Genesis project', could be carried out by a relatively low-cost robotic microcraft equipped with a on-board gene laboratory for the in situ synthesis of the microbes. We review here our current understanding of the processes determining the timescales shaping the geo-evolution of an earth-like planet, the prospect of finding Genesis candidate planets and selected issues regarding the mission layout. (Abstract)

Guerry, Anne, et al. Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services Informing Decisions: From Promise to Practice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112/7348, 2015. As the long Abstract explains, twenty three environmentalists from the USA, UK, China, China, Sweden, and South Africa, including Jane Lubchenco, Stephen Polasky, and Gretchen Daily, carefully describe a vital transition from an industrial excesses to quantified appreciations of integral biosphere resources, if we are ever to achieve global sustainability.

The central challenge of the 21st century is to develop economic, social, and governance systems capable of ending poverty and achieving sustainable levels of population and consumption while securing the life-support systems underpinning current and future human well-being. Essential to meeting this challenge is the incorporation of natural capital and the ecosystem services it provides into decision-making. We explore progress and crucial gaps at this frontier, reflecting upon the 10 y since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. We focus on three key dimensions of progress and ongoing challenges: raising awareness of the interdependence of ecosystems and human well-being, advancing the fundamental interdisciplinary science of ecosystem services, and implementing this science in decisions to restore natural capital and use it sustainably.

Awareness of human dependence on nature is at an all-time high, the science of ecosystem services is rapidly advancing, and talk of natural capital is now common from governments to corporate boardrooms. However, successful implementation is still in early stages. We explore why ecosystem service information has yet to fundamentally change decision-making and suggest a path forward that emphasizes: (i) developing solid evidence linking decisions to impacts on natural capital and ecosystem services, and then to human well-being; (ii) working closely with leaders in government, business, and civil society to develop the knowledge, tools, and practices necessary to integrate natural capital and ecosystem services into everyday decision-making; and (iii) reforming institutions to change policy and practices to better align private short-term goals with societal long-term goals. (Abstract)

Harris, Graham. Seeking Sustainability in an Age of Complexity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. An Australian hydrologist makes this strong case: that complex adaptive systems science is presently articulating a new, inherently dynamical, animate nature. As a result, before undertaking any transitions to a sustainable abide, we ought to avail ourselves of how such bioregion networks proceed by such nested, recursive self-organization. So advised, human beings can intentionally carry on their viability to initiate a new phase of respectful facilitation. The book begins with a good intro to nonlinear and ecological theory, and goes on to suggests practical ways to preserve water resources and to achieve an environmentally frugal economics.

So the emerging solutions require a new world view. The first, and in my view the most important, change in world view has been the acceptance and understanding of a dynamic, non-linear, non-equilibrium view of complex systems; and the ways in which the actions of biological and social agents working with simple rules based on local information can produce emergent system-level properties. (309)

Harris, Jonathan, et al, eds. A Survey of Sustainable Development. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2001. An extensive source on social, economic, agriculture, North vs. South, population and urban dimensions.

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