Initiation into a Living Planet | Charles Eisenstein

 

Most people have passed through some kind of initiation in life. By that, I mean a crisis that defies what you knew and what you were. From the rubble of the ensuing collapse, a new self is born into a new world.

Societies can also pass through an initiation. That is what climate change poses to the present global civilization. It is not a mere “problem” that we can solve from the currently dominant worldview and its solution-set but asks us to inhabit a new Story of the People and a new (and ancient) relationship to the rest of life.

A key element of this transformation is from a geomechanical worldview to a Living Planet worldview. In my last essay, I argued that the climate crisis will not be solved by adjusting levels of atmospheric gases, as if we were tinkering with the air-fuel mixture of a diesel engine. Rather, a living Earth can only be healthy – can only stay living in fact – if its organs and tissues are vital. These comprise the forests, the soil, the wetlands, the coral reefs, the fish, the whales, the elephants, the seagrass meadows, the mangrove swamps, and all the rest of Earth’s systems and species. If we continue degrading and destroying them, then even if we cut emissions to zero overnight, Earth would still die a death of a million cuts.

(https://charleseisenstein.net/essays/initiation-into-a-living-planet/

No Immediate Danger

William Vollmann’s Brutal Book About Climate Change

It is also an almanac of global energy use. The initial volume opens with a 200-page primer busy with tables, lists, and data (“I assure you that there will be no harm in skipping to page 217”) and concludes with 80 pages of definitions, units, and conversions (“Readers should feel free to skip this section”). It is a travelogue to natural landscapes riven by energy production, most prominently Fukushima (nuclear), West Virginia (coal), Colorado (natural gas), and the United Arab Emirates (oil). It is a work of oral history, containing dozens of interviews with laborers who toil in or live beside nuclear reactors, caves, and oil refineries, paired with Vollmann’s own snapshots. And it is a compassionate work of anthropology that tries to make sense of man’s inability to weigh future cataclysm against short-term comfort. Carbon Ideologies is most fascinating, however, for what it is not: a polemic.

Nearly every book about climate change that has been written for a general audience contains within it a message of hope, and often a prod toward action. Vollmann declares from the outset that he will not offer any solutions, because he does not believe any are possible: “Nothing can be done to save [the world as we know it]; therefore, nothing need be done.” This makes Carbon Ideologies, for all its merits and flaws, one of the most honest books yet written on climate change. Vollmann’s undertaking is in the vanguard of the coming second wave of climate literature, books written not to diagnose or solve the problem, but to grapple with its moral consequences. http://bit.ly/2wXUAMF

Sustainablin

A VIP guest

We started our class 30 minutes earlier today because a Chinese official from UNESCO International Research and Training Center for Rural Education (INRULED) visited us and wanted to spend some time in the class before going to catch his flight in Chengdu.

Lin Fan

We are participating in a 4 week course in ecovillage design at the UNESCO rural development center in Chengdu, China and fortunately there is a VPN connection here that allows us to “spoof” the Chinese censors and reach into Medium, Blogger, Google, Facebook, Twitter and all the otherwise banned sites, so this week I can post.

Putting ecovillage movement in the grand background of ecological civilization, highlighting the role of education and training

In a 10-minutes, rapid-fire informative speech, the official traced the history of sustainable movements to two influential books: Silent Spring (Wiki, 1962) and The Limits to Growth (Wiki,1972). The model of our industrial civilization is basically consuming the resources of our planet and leave us trash eventually. This is not sustainable. In March, 2018, Chinese government added in constitution “the building of an ecological civilization” to the duties and powers of the State Council (1). It’s a new form of human civilization based on sustainable principles (Wiki).

How can we realize ecological civilization? He firmly believes that education and training are critical building blocks. He went on that UNESCO has laid the theory groundwork by a few profoundly influential reports: Learning to Be (1972), Learning, the Treasures within (1996), and Rethinking Education (2015) For people in the class who may become future designers or developers of ecovillages, you will have a lot of work, as one of his few ending points.
http://bit.ly/2oTS7ze

Maya Farmers in South Belize Hold Strong to Their Climate Change Experiment

caribbeanclimate

In one of Belize’s forest reserves in the Maya Golden Landscape, a group of farmers is working with non-governmental organisations to mitigate and build resilience to climate change with a unique agroforestry project.

Magnus Tut a member of the Trio Cacao Farmers Association cuts open a white cacao pod from one of several bearing treen in his plot. The group is hoping to find more buyers for their organic white cacao and vegetables. Credit: Zadie Neufville/IPS

BELMOPAN, Sep 5 2018 (IPS) – In one of Belize’s forest reserves in the Maya Golden Landscape, a group of farmers is working with non-governmental organisations to mitigate and build resilience to climate change with a unique agroforestry project.

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How America Overdosed on Capitalism

 

America is something like history’s greatest experiment in capitalism. In a sense, we’re lucky to have it — it’s rare that a society devotes itself furiously, single-mindedly, one-dimensionally to an ideology, rejects the world, and pursues its own course. Here we have something truly rare and unique, which doesn’t happen often in social thinking: a perfect experiment to test the hypothesis — what would happen if a society only ever chose capitalism?

Waves of capital began to corrupt the political system. In other words, capital was beginning to corrode democracy. The idea of the neutral, benevolent capitalist, in other words, was beginning to be revealed as a myth.

 

Or, one I like better: what would happen if capitalism were given total freedom to be itself? If it could unfold according to its own logic, rules, choices, destiny — what would it naturally become? What is its nature? Now we can answer that very question, not with theory, but with reality.

http://bit.ly/2Q9wTJO

Gallery

The Benefits and Age-Old Success of Waffle Gardens: A history on one of the oldest sustainable farming methods of the Southwest

ABQ Stew

Located in the arid Southwest, on the Southeastern edge of the Colorado Plateau lives the A:shiwi also known as the Zuni people. Zuni Pueblo is the largest of the nineteen pueblos in New Mexico and perhaps the most isolated. Zuni Pueblo and its farming villages are nestled in valleys surrounded by Jurassic, Triassic and Early Cretaceous mudstone and sandstone mesas. Since the time Zuni was inhabited their survival was dependent on what the land provided. They developed different types of farming methods that enabled them to contest the variable water availability and inadequate soil quality that is common in desert soils. These methods include terrace gardening, a type of farming that allowed them to use the hillslopes of the mesas to divert water among several stair case terraces. On a larger scale is a type of agriculture known as dry-land farming or run-off agriculture which farmers used to grow…

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EPA rolls back Obama-era coal pollution rules as Trump heads to West Virginia

 

CNN)As his Environmental Protection Agency delivers its latest blow to environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions, President Donald Trump is heading into the heart of coal country to deliver the good news.

Trump will join supporters in Charleston, West Virginia, for a political rally on Tuesday to celebrate his administration’s proposal to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants.
The move would reverse Obama administration efforts to combat climate change and marks the fulfilment of a campaign promise at the heart of his appeal in coal-producing states like West Virginia.
The EPA Tuesday morning formally unveiled the details of its new plan to devolve regulation of coal-fired power plants back to the states, one that is expected to give a boost to the coal industry and increase carbon emissions nationwide.
The move is just the latest effort by the Trump administration to revive an ailing coal industry and strip climate change-fighting regulations established by the Obama administration. He previously announced plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, calling it an unfair deal for Americans. Read More