Climate Chaos, Ecological Breakdown,
and Planetary Restoration
A quick read, showing our general positions, and the aims of the three conversations.
Why You Don't Even Need Scientists
The Non-Linear Principle
The Fractal Structure of the Universe
Feedback Loops and Tipping Points
Water and Life
Technocracy - a Fanatical Religion
A Gallery of Technocratic Stupidity
Understanding the True Nature of the Problem
The Earth Party Plan for Planetary Restoration
A. Even though the problem of climate change is being exploited by people and organizations with ulterior motives, it's still a real thing.
B. And it's part of a larger crisis called the omnicide.
Whereas the killing of a person is "homicide", and the killing of an ecosystem is "ecocide", the omnicide (from Greek: omni = "all") is beyond all of those - it's the systematic elimination of all Life on the planet. It's a war against Life itself.
Our civilization is quite simply killing the planet, in a thousand ways. Piece by piece, tree by tree, creature by creature, hectare by hectare, species by species, it's converting the living planet into a dead one. It's driving a global collapse of our ecological life-support systems.
C. Most of the public discussion about this is mired in carbon reductionism - the intellectual reduction of all environmental issues into a single one: carbon. This is dangerous, because it ignores the wider omnicide, and perpetuates the societal narratives of technocracy (see below) and separateness from Nature (also see below).
D. We can prove the reality of the omnicide, without the need for "trust" or "belief" or "faith" in any scientists or governments - or any kind of self-styled "authority" figures.
In fact, reliance on an appeal to authority (i.e. "trust scientists", and "trust governments") is counterproductive, and the wrong type of argument to be making.
We can prove the reality of the omnicide with pure reason alone, without needing a single scientific paper, and we're going to do it right here on this page. It's not a hoax - it's really happening.
E. But despite being real, it is nevertheless getting hijacked by technocrats, who don't actually understand the problem, and in some cases, don't even really care, and are simply exploiting the crisis as a pretext to advance their own agenda of technocracy.
Technocrats think machines are the answer to everything. The solution to every problem, in their view, is "more machines."
They offer ridiculous "solutions", like stratospheric aerosol injection to cool the planet by creating a new atmospheric layer of heavy metal compounds (like aluminum, barium, and strontium) floating in the atmosphere, to reflect sunlight back out into space), robot bumblebees to pollinate the crops after the actual bees are gone, and carbon sequestration machines when we already have a system that can do that called a FOREST.
These so-called "solutions" are dangerous. If we follow the technocrats and implement their solutions, we won't fix the problem - in fact, a serious attempt at technocratic geoengineering could cause just as much damage to the planet as the entire industrial economy. 200 years of damage could be matched in a single decade, just by the geo-engineers who believe they're "helping" the planet!
Einstein said you can't solve a problem with the same type of thinking that you were using when you created the problem.
Technocracy reflects a failure to learn the lessons of ecological consciousness. Technocratic solutions reiterate the same fundamental mistake that got us into this mess, and they certainly won't get us out of it.
F. The type of geo-"engineering" we need is the kind that Nature does on her own. We have to stop destroying. We have to give land back. We have to allow this planet to regenerate. If we just allow Nature to heal herself, she will.
G. But this means a drastic change to our economic systems, philosophies, mythologies, religions, lifestyles... and our most basic assumptions about the way our society needs to be organized.
We're going to have to give up our egregious excesses, learn to share and cooperate, think as one Planet, and adopt new forms of economics and governance. And we'll need to re-examine some of our civilization's founding narratives, about who we are, and what our place in the cosmos is.
H. People are generally reluctant to engage in such a high degree of introspection. It can be intellectually uncomfortable to look so deeply in the mirror, and to question one's model of Reality. Most people don't want to do this.
So technocratic "solutions" seem appealing by comparison. Why re-evaluate your most basic assumptions about the way economies and societies ought to be organized, when you can just get a new machine that will take care of the problem for you!
Most people are eagerly latching onto these (false) technocratic solutions because they enable us to avoid a deeper introspection, which would be too humbling for our egos.
I. But we have to get serious about this. Everyone must acknowledge that we need the most fundamental change, at the most fundamental level of our social structures.
Solving the ecological crisis for real requires a more profound collective change, and a rewriting of our civilization's founding stories and principles.
J. The Earth Party has a plan to do this. If you've been feeling a sense despair because you know things need to change, but you haven't found any organization with a comprehensive, workable plan to do so, then fear no more, because the Earth Party Presents:
The Blueprint for a Mature Civilization.
To read the full blueprint, click here.
At the bottom of this page, we'll present excerpts from the Blueprint that relate directly to stopping the destruction of the biosphere and allowing the planet to heal.
But first, a few much-needed conversations:
9. This change should begin with a recognition of the Precautionary Principle - the idea that when a system is very large, very complex, and indispensable to our survival, we should simply not mess around with it.
The Precautionary Principle is an inherently conservative principle, and is thus more readily digestible to people who identify as "conservatives." So, instead of citing scientists and their studies as an argumentum ad authoritatum (the authority fallacy), ecological activists should instead appeal to conservatives' innate (but latent) understanding of this principle. This will be much more effective at bringing them on board the effort to stop the tropocide.
What's Actually Going On
What follows is a pair of side-by-side conversations.
If you understand the seriousness of climate chaos (and ecological breakdown), the one on the left is for you.
And if you're skeptical about the whole thing, we'll see you over on the right.
Question from an activist:
"Before we can even begin to think about solutions, we need the world to accept that there's actually a problem. So far, that's not happening. World leaders are either in outright knuckle-dragging denier-ism, or they're mealy-mouthed corporate neoliberals who CLAIM to care, but won't actually DO anything about it, other than nip around the edges with weak, incrementalist "reforms" that will solve 1% of the problem in 100 years.
So first, humanity must become collectively aware, not just of the problem's existence, but its full SIZE AND SCOPE. People need to start understanding just how BIG this is.
But they're not. Why won't they?"
Part of the reason why it's so hard to change "skeptics" is because the narrative you're offering them is flawed from the start.
If you want to understand why so many people remain skeptical, then you need to realize that there is a "bug" in the narrative.
Most activists are framing climate change as an issue of trust and belief. You're asking people to put faith in scientists, and trust their data, and believe their reports.
You're setting up scientists as authority figures.
While most of the science on climate change is indeed sound, it nevertheless constitutes an appeal to authority, which is a weak argument in a debate.
Please take note:
There are personality types, comprising a fairly substantial portion of the population, who are instantly repelled the moment they see an "appeal to authority."
(And for good reason, considering how "authority" has been used for so many horrific purposes throughout history...)
And whenever you make an appeal to authority, you instantly lose the respect of this type.
There are also types who are highly cautious and skeptical. They're the kind who are difficult to fool with scams, because they're reluctant to believe anything - especially coming from strangers, and anyone they don't have a personal trust relationship with.
And you're trying to convince them to take someone's word - a stranger's word - as fact. You're telling them to put faith in the pronouncements of researchers they've never met, dressed in strange clothes, working for institutions with names they can't remember, located on distant icy continents they've never been to!
Don't you see how this approach is flawed from the start?
The good news is, you don't need it, because there's a far stronger argument available.
"And what might that be?"
You can explain ecology.
It shouldn't be about
It should be about understanding concepts.
It's a bit more complicated to do. It's hard to explain deep concepts to people - especially something as deep as ecology.
It's much easier to just throw data at them. Throw graphs at them. Throw articles at them. Throw big names and titles and degrees and credentials at them. And when they refuse to believe, call them names. Shame them. Make them feel bad. Sit in the middle of the road, and block traffic, until they believe.
It is easier. But it doesn't do the job.
You have to start doing the messy work of educating them about the principles behind ecology. You need to teach them an entirely new way of looking at the world, different from what they're used to.
And, not only that, but...
...before you can teach them the concepts, you have to make sure that you understand! Which is by no means a given!
But thankfully, there is a resource to help. A comprehensive, convenient, step-by-step guidebook, to both learn ecology, and explain it to others.
We're talking, of course, about this page. :)
You're reading it right now.
"OK, sounds great. But one thing though... You keep saying that we "don't need science." You don't think science is important? You even said it to that denier guy in the right-hand column over there. "Science isn't necessary." Don't you think that's a dangerous thing to say? How can you possibly think that? How does it help if you're unscientific?"
There's a difference between unscientific and non-scientific.
"Unscientific" is a claim that's not based in science but pretends to be.
"Non-scientific" is something that doesn't claim to be based in science in the first place. It uses a different type of thinking entirely.
Science is not the only way to arrive at conclusions, you know. There's also Reason. If Reason is done properly, it can serve as ironclad proof.
And the useful thing about Reason is that it doesn't depend on external validation the way science does. It doesn't require any measurements or data. It doesn't require any believing. It can validate itself, from within.
Its like math. You don't need a credentialed scientist in a peer-reviewed journal to verify to you that 375 + 896 makes 1271. There is no argument about "whom to believe." It's internally provable.
And we're going to rely on Reason to prove that our planet is in trouble.
Science can play a useful supplementary role - but it's not the main argument.
"And how should I use Reason to prove that our planet is in trouble?"
Simple - just keep reading this page! We've got a pretty comprehensive walk-through. It should be all you need.
So let's begin!
"Alright, go ahead. I'm listening."
Question from a skeptic:
"Climate change isn't real! It's a globalist plot to undermine national sovereignty, set up a one-world government, and take away our freedom!"
OK. Sure. That may be true, but it doesn't change the fact that climate change is a real thing.
Yes, there are shadowy elites.
Yes, they have a secret agenda.
Yes, it involves setting up a totalitarian technocratic world government.
Yes, they're using the issue of climate change to advance that agenda.
But they didn't create the issue - they hijacked it.
They're taking a real issue - one which people are right to be concerned about - and
exploiting that concern, and redirecting it in a direction that benefits their own agenda.
You shouldn't need science to tell you to respect your planet. The Earth is our home, and you're supposed to take care of your home. You're supposed to know that already - with or without a guy in a lab-coat telling you!
Even if there were no scientists talking about climate change, the precautionary principle still applies.
"But that doesn't matter because the whole thing is a hoax! It's completely made up! It isn't happening! Or, if it is, mankind isn't causing it! Or, if we are, then it's not a bad thing!"
Fine. You know what? For the sake of the debate, we'll toss out a freebie for you.
We'll concede (for the sake of debate), that there are problems with climate science, major ones, and global warming is a hoax.
Let's just assume that, for this discussion. That's your free Bingo square.
Even WITH that being true, it's still ALSO true that our economic system is destroying the planet in a thousand other ways. And if it keeps up, we might actually kill the planet.
"Bah! Kill the planet? That's ridiculous! That's the most alarmist thing you could possibly say! It makes no sense! How could we possibly "kill the planet?" Why are environmentalists so crazy?
The idea doesn't make sense to me. After all, the planet is just a "big rock", right? How could a rock die, if it's not even alive to begin with?
I know some things about ecology. I've heard of the "food chain." I know what an ecosystem is, and I know that they can become degraded.
But an entire planet?
It's one thing for a local ecosystem to collapse, but quite another thing for the planet to do so.
Are environmentalists out of their minds? Why do they think this?"
If you're asking this question, then you're in the right place, because we're about to explain it!
Are you willing to learn?
"But it's a buncha crap!"
Look. You're probably one of those people who gets upset at the fact that activists are sitting in the middle of roads, blocking traffic to get your attention.
You probably call them "nutjobs" or "wackos." You probably say that if they have a point to make, they should do it like mature adults. They should have a rational conversation, and just explain what the issue is.
Well that's this. We are going to explain the issues to you, in a rational, straightforward manner, form start to finish. No one has to sit and block traffic. No one has to disrupt your life. Because we're explaining it right here.
Will you read? Will you learn?
"But I don't believe in the data and studies put out there by scien-.."
There's no science necessary. We can explain it without needing a single scientist.
Are you willing to learn something?
"OK. Fine. I'm listening."
Before we begin, please be aware that there are several smaller concepts that you have to understand, before we get to the larger ones. It's like building with Legos. You have to put the smaller pieces together first, before combining the big pieces.
And it might appear, in the beginning, like some of the concepts might not be "relevant" to the discussion. Bear with us. We promise, it's all relevant. If you read to the end, you'll see how they all fit together - how all the dots are connected.
It requires some patience. Are you willing?
"Well I dunno, I got things to do..."
This is something that threatens your life, and your family's and your children and grandchildren.
Isn't it your duty to look out for things that could harm your family?
"But I don't see it as a threat..."
That's what we're about to explain. That's the reason for this page.
"Alright, go ahead. I'm listening."
You don't need science to tell you that our society is messing with dangerous things it shouldn't be messing with. All you have to do is look around you:
The amount of pavement in the world is increasing. That means that the amount of living soil is decreasing.
There is no indication of it ever stopping, nor slowing. The rate, in fact, is accelerating.
It's obviously doing so, because economic growth is accelerating, and economic growth means pavement.
A finite quantity (anything that's not infinite) cannot experience net subtraction forever. Indefinite subtraction eventually results in zero. That's simple math. Math can't be argued with.
There is almost nowhere where pavement is being converted back into living soil with trees. Effectively, all the movement goes in one direction: from living soil to pavement. Not the other way around.
Mathematically, the amount of living soil on the planet is heading in the direction of zero, at a pace that's accelerating, exponentially, AND YOU DON'T NEED A SINGLE SCIENTIST IN ORDER TO KNOW THAT.
And pavement isn't the only thing.
While pavement snuffs out living soil, even the soil that remains living and unpaved still gets reduced to a saddened and pathetic version of itself, consisting of exactly one kind of plant, in a space where there used to be thousands.
-A thriving community
-Hardly a community
-Next to no biodiversity
-A fraction of the biomass
Look at any "lawn." It used to be a thriving forest, with thousands of species of plants, fungi, and animals living in a spectacular community of amazingly diverse Life.
Same with the farms that grow our food; they're expanding (as population is expanding and getting more greedy and picky and wasteful in its habits), and they're not replacing strip malls and parking lots and housing developments - they're replacing forests.
Farms and lawns are replacing forests, and nowhere, for all intents and purposes, is it the other way around.
And it's not just land. It's the water too.
Drinkable water is turning undrinkable, almost everywhere. Need proof? Go walk to the nearest stream, and drink a glass from it.
See, you don't need a scientist to tell you something's wrong!
Although there are a few nice stories of lakes and rivers getting cleaned up and fish returning, none of them turn truly drinkable, and for every place of improvement, there are a hundred more turning more polluted by the day.
Large areas of the oceans are becoming "dead zones", as run-off from industrial fertilizer and animal agriculture waste changes the chemistry of coastal waters and decreases the oxygen levels of the water, until no living creatures can survive in it.
Fish and other creatures are washing up dead on beaches by the thousands and millions, having suffocated in the seas.
These dead zones are only increasing, both in size and in number.
Here's a brief explanation of what a dead zone is:
The ocean's size is not infinite. It's finite. So if the amount of dead zones keeps increasing, then the amount of living ocean keeps decreasing.
Again, do the math. You can't subtract infinitely from a finite quantity.
Map of oceanic deadzones, as of 2010. It's only gotten worse since then.
Meanwhile, the open oceans are filling up with plastic, and whales and dolphins are washing up ashore, starved to death because their stomachs are filled to the brim with plastic, and there was no more room for food.
Land is becoming entirely uninhabitable. Toxic waste sites, dumps, landfills, those massive trash hills you see people climbing on, nuclear accident sites, all these things are increasing, and nowhere are they being healed and turned habitable again. The rate might be slow... so far... but the amount of uninhabitable toxic land is increasing.
Biomass is decreasing, at an exponentially accelerating rate, all around the world.
Biodiversity is decreasing, at an exponentially accelerating rate, all around the world.
Don't trust those articles?
Trust your EYES.
ALL OF THESE THINGS are things you can verify with your own eyes.
You do not need scientists to prove any of this to you. You can see it happening right outside your window, or with very simple logic.
"Well now, I'm not denying that this stuff is happening. And it does sadden me. I wish we would take better care of Nature.
But this planet is so HUGE. There is SO MUCH land, SO MUCH water, and SO MANY trees and animals. There's no way we're going to destroy ALL of it/them.
I mean, with the pavement example, are you really saying that we're gonna cover the WHOLE PLANET with pavement? Or to cut down EVERY TREE?
These are not realistic fears! You're being alarmists!"
No, it's not alarmist, because this argument fails to consider the non-linear properties of living systems.
"I've heard that term "non-linear" used by climate activists and environmentalists. What does it mean?"
To sum it up, we don't need to get "all the way to zero" before we cause catastrophic, irreversible damage.
We don't need to cover the entire planet in pavement, or cut down every single tree, in order to destroy this world.
It's best shown with an example.
We call this the Parable of Lost Cells.
The Parable of Lost Cells
Here's a little thought experiment that shows how the consequences of ecological destruction are non-linear.
First, let's meet these little guys:
These are nanobots. They're microscopic little robots, the size of a human cell.
As of 2019, they're still in the realm of Science-Fiction. (Although a lot of people have plans to develop them and use them for various purposes... and who knows what the military-industrial complex might already have...).
For the time being, let's just put on our imagination hats, and imagine the following scenario:
Every day, a swarm of little tiny nanobots go inside your body, and remove a certain number of your living cells.
After the cells are removed, they're replaced with cement, so that no new cells can regrow to replace them.
So, every day, you have a net loss of cells.
Got that so far?
The average human body has anywhere from 1 - 5 trillion cells. For the sake of simplicity, let's use the 1 trillion figure for this experiment.
Now again, for the sake of simplicity, let's set the number of cells removed each day at 1 billion.
So to recap, you've got 1 trillion cells, and every day, 1 billion are removed, and replaced with cement.
Here's the 64,000 dollar question:
How long would you survive like this?
"Well that's easy! Just divide 1 trillion by 1 billion."
Really? That's it? Are you sure?
"Sure! 1 trillion / 1 billion = 1000 !
Easy answer: 1000 days.
Ummm..... no. Not right. Not even close to right.
You would NOT have to arrive at "zero cells" before you died. Do you think you'd still be alive after 999 days, with only 1 billion cells remaining, 1/1000th of your current body mass?
"Oh wait, you're right. I didn't realize that."
Do you think you'd be alive after 900 days, with 9/10 of your body mass gone, and only 1/10 remaining?
"Good point. Definitely not."
What about after 667 days, after 2/3 of your mass is gone, and 1/3 is remaining?
What about after 500 days, with 1/2 your current mass?
You might still survive at half your weight - you'd be emaciated, and look like someone from a charity commercial - but you MIGHT be alive.
However, that assumes that all the cells are being taken from body fat and non-essential muscle mass. But our scenario has them coming uniformly from all areas and organs. What if the cells are also coming out of your brain?
Would you be alive if half of your brain cells were gone?
If half of your liver cells were gone? Half of your heart cells? Your lung cells?
"My guess is no."
What about after 333 days? Would you be alive if 1/3 of your brain was gone, and 2/3 remained? How would all of your "functions" look?
"If I were still alive, I'd probably be a vegetable."
What about after 200 days, with only 1/5 gone, and 4/5 remaining?
"Perhaps not a vegetable, but I surely wouldn't be able to function normally."
What about after just 100 days, with 1/10 gone, and 9/10 still remaining?
"Hmmm... not sure. Maybe functional, but just barely."
The point is this:
1. You don't have to get to zero before your systems would start to break down.
2. You don't even have to get anywhere NEAR zero.
3. Just a fraction of your system destroyed would have dire consequences for your functioning.
4. And there is a point at which your entire system would collapse completely.
5. That point, also, is nowhere near zero.
6. Nobody knows exactly where such a point is.
It's impossible to know for sure exactly how many cells you can be reduced to, and still live - but we can DEFINITELY say, for sure, that the answer is nowhere near "zero."
It's nowhere near 1/10th. It's nowhere near 1/3. It's probably nowhere near half.
Nobody knows the answer.
You cannot extrapolate linear trends in a dynamic system.
"Linear" means subtracting the same exact number, at a regular pace. (In the case of our scenario, 1 billion cells per day).
Dynamic systems (like the human body, or the planetary ecosystem) don't work that way. Since every component of the system affects every other component, the further into the future you extrapolate, the faster the effects compound on each other and accelerate. This makes the equation NON-LINEAR.
"OK, I think I get it."
But that's not all.
In addition to the 1 billion cells converted to cement each day, there are other things going on too:
Other tiny robots simply hack and slash and kill cells.
Others inject poisonous chemicals.
Others emit microwaves.
Others deposit microscopic pieces of plastic in gaps between cells.
Others extract blood and other fluids.
Others extract vitamins and minerals.
Others conduct microscopic science experiments.
Others produce dissonant sound vibrations.
Others erect walls and other barriers between cells.
And so on. They're messing with your biology in a thousand ways.
"Yikes! I see what you're saying."
The overall point is, do you know how much of this you could take, and still be alive?
"No. I guess no one can ever predict this kind of thing."
And if you understand the danger
of performing such an experiment
on a body (e.g. yours),
then why in the world would you want
to perform it on the planet?
"Hmm... this is a new way to look at things. I get what you're saying. But... just one thing though...
I can see how this applies to individual bodies, but not a planet. A planet isn't the same as a body."
Actually, yes, it is.
It's bigger, and more complex, but it has the same properties, and is subject to the same rules, as your body.
The planet is a living organism.
And like any organism, there's a thing called "health." And if health decreases too much, there's a thing called "death."
"But that sounds like Gaia Theory."
So? What's wrong with that?
"Because it's against my religion."
Why is that?
"Well, it's what's called "worshiping the creation, instead of the Creator." And that's idolatry. It's heresy."
How does recognizing the existence of a living organism equate to "worshiping" them?
"Well, what about God? Where does God fit into this picture?"
Why would you assume otherwise?
Whoever you believe created the universe, created the planet. Right?
And that planet is a living organism.
How exactly does this deny or go against God?
"Well the Bible doesn't mention anything about it..."
So? There are myriad things the Bible doesn't mention, which exist. Computers, cellphones, protein, carbohydrates, DNA, the moons of Jupiter, radio waves, the Amazon rain-forest, Eskimos, walruses, the Atlantic Jet-stream, Antarctica, the internal combustion engine, atoms, TV, the ionosphere, and 10,000 other things make no appearance in the text of the Bible, yet are real. And acknowledging their existence does not constitute heresy.
"Hmm... OK. But how exactly does this... work? Does the planet have a face? A heart? Organs?"
The planet is a living organism, consisting of a great many smaller ones, called plants, and animals, flora and fauna, people, and so forth.
And each of those consists of a great many smaller organisms called cells.
Cells combine to form individuals.
And individuals are like cells in a larger body called an ecosystem.
And ecosystems combine to form a biosphere.
And all of these units share the same general characteristics.
If God exists, then the fact that He's able to create Life - and not only create it, but create it on so many levels and scales, from small to large to planetary - is a testament to His/Her genius. Is it not?
"Good point. I guess the idea isn't so bad. As long as you're not demanding that I... like... worship a tree... or pray to an idol... or anything like that."
We're not here to convert you to a religion! Just to explain how ecology works.
"Cool. Anyway, you said that each "level" of Life shares the same characteristics with all the others. I'm guessing you mean that a biosphere behaves like an individual. How is that?"
Because the universe has a fractal structure. What you see at any scale resembles the other scales, because all the scales of the universe are built with the same laws of physics.
The Fractal Structure of the Universe
"As on Earth, so in Heaven."
The universe is made up of layers of organization.
Particles, atoms, molecules, minerals, planets, solar systems, galaxies, super-clusters.... each of those is a layer of organization - a scale at which energy organizes itself.
"I don't believe in a 'self-organizing universe". I believe God created it."
Alright. Change "organizes itself" into "is organized by whatever intelligence, deity, or consciousness you believe does the organizing."
And the layers have a lot of things in common. They're similar in the way they behave.
Some refer to this as a fractal structure, because fractals reiterate themselves at multiple scales of size - just like the universe seems to do.
Zoom in really close, and you see a certain shape. Zoom out really far, and you see the same shape!
Solar systems mimic the structure of an atom, with nucleus + orbiting bodies. And galaxies repeat the same shape yet again. Crystals have the same shape as the molecules of which they're constituted (for instance, a hexagonal crystal, such as quartz, is made up of atoms with hexagonal bonds). The macro reflects the micro.
Electrons orbiting an atomic nucleus
An atom, solar system, and galaxy each have different scales, but similar properties. All three involve a dense nucleus, which exerts a pull on smaller components near it, which orbit it.
Next, we have crystals:
Shape of the crystal
A hexagonal molecular lattice makes a hexagonal rock.
molecular lattice makes a
(table salt - NaCl)
A funny-lookin' molecular lattice
The visible shape (or "superstructure") of a crystal reflects its molecular shape, or microstructure.
Galaxies in a supercluster
Could this be what the phrase,
"As on Earth, so in Heaven",
(or "as above, so below")
Wanna see more amazing and beautiful fractals found in nature?
And the same principle applies to societies, too. A society takes on the characteristics of the people who compose it.
If a culture consists of violent individuals, you can bet on a violent culture.
If the individuals are peaceful, the culture is peaceful too.
Apply this rule to any trait. Intelligent people build intelligent cultures. Dumb people build dumb ones. Healthy people make healthy ones. Depraved people make depraved ones.
"This is fascinating stuff! It's all a testament to the genius of the Creator... but what's it got to do with biology?"
Because it also applies to biology.
Life is organized at several different scales - but all the scales share similar characteristics.
The properties that apply to cells also apply to the individuals made out of those cells.
And the same apply to the ecosystems made out of those individuals.
And to the biosphere made out of those ecosystems.
"And what properties might those be?"
Here are the properties of biological systems, at all scales:
1. Systemic interrelation (every part affects every other part)
2. Component interdependence (every part depends on the functioning of every other part).
3. Susceptibility to feedback loops
4. Thresholds of breakdown (tipping points)
5. Unfathomable complexity, and near-impossibility of predicting with full confidence the outcome of any alteration
"Can you explain what some of that means?"
Let's use an example. Let's say you puncture the cell membrane of a cell.
Usually, if the wound is small enough, it will be able to repair itself.
Well done, cell!
Living organisms are resilient. They can absorb damage, and repair it, and go on living.
There is only a finite amount of damage a cell can absorb. If you damage it enough, and/or enough times, simultaneously, or in quick succession, it can't repair, because the repair function depends on activities and organelles inside the cell. By puncturing the membrane, you allow all that stuff to spill out!
If it's spilled out, it's not in the cell anymore, and can't do the repairs on the membrane.
And without repairs, more stuff spills out.
Which means less repair.
Which means more spillage.
This is an example of a feedback loop.
A feedback loop is a situation in which:
X leads to more of Y...
Y leads to more of X.
They cause each other.
The same phenomenon can occur with a whole body. Suppose a fighter gets wounded, and loses blood. The blood-loss saps his coordination, his ability to stand, to move, to fight. And with those abilities decreased, he's even more vulnerable to further wounds... which further decrease his fighting ability, leading to more wounds... and so on.
A feedback loop.
Another example: Let's say a farmer has a bad crop year, and has to cut back on his personal spending, and has to eat cheap, low-quality food for the upcoming year. His poorer diet will make him weaker, and less able to do his farming... which means fewer crops the next year, and even worse nutrition...
A feedback loop.
Here's another one that a lot of folks might be familiar with. The stampede feedback loop:
So now we know what a feedback loop is.
The next concept is a threshold of breakdown - also known as a "tipping point."
"What is a threshold of breakdown?"
Again let's use examples.
In a cattle stampede, there may be a brief initial frame of time in which the herd can be calmed down. But once the level of panic reaches a certain level, and crosses a certain threshold, there is no turning back. Those cattle are going to stampede.
For all of the examples - the punctured cell, the bloody fighter, the malnourished farmer - the resilience of Life can fight the feedback loop, and restore balance. But only up to a certain point. If enough damage is sustained, the feedback loop will spin out of control, and there's no stopping it.
If there's only a little bit of X and Y, the living system can repair itself. But if there's too much, it can't keep up, and total systemic breakdown occurs.
That's what "dying" is. Dying is the feedback loop that occurs after the tipping point of damage has been crossed. And it's an exponential feedback loop. It tends to happen very fast.
A person might spend an entire lifetime with poor habits, constantly doing damage to their body. But when they start to actually die, an entire lifetime's worth of damage is matched and exceeded within minutes.
Recalling the non-linear principle explained earlier, this is very, very important to understand, because the linear progression seen in the early stages of breakdown can mislead us into thinking the system is more resilient than it actually is, and thinking that we have more time to stop a feedback loop than we actually have.
Let's revisit the Parable of Lost Cells for a moment, to see how this would play out in your body.
You wouldn't be subtracting just 1 billion cells per day, because, after subtracting a billion cells, OTHER CELLS would die due to the structural damage incurred by the overall system (your body as a whole). The deaths of those cells would in turn lead to the deaths of yet more cells, which would lead to still more - in a cycle that compounds upon itself. This is a "feedback loop."
At first, your system would be able to compensate, and regrow those "extra" lost cells. Remember, those ones aren't getting replaced by cement, like the 1 billion are - they're just dying. And "Nature" can regrow them, that's true.
At least in the early stages of the experiment.
But as the days wear on, and more and more of your body becomes cement, your system would start losing its ability to regenerate itself, due to the structural decay of the overall system, which all this subtraction, both linear and exponential, is causing.
The amount of biosphere that humans took 5000 years to eliminate was quickly matched in just 200 years of the industrial revolution. Then that same number was again matched in just the last 40.
Just like the cemented body in our scenario, death is accelerating for the biosphere. How much time do we have? Where EXACTLY is the tipping point of no return? Nobody knows. But it is INSANITY to push the experiment.
Even if our "best scientists" put the number at 50 days (500 billion cells), would you still feel comfortable pushing the envelope to EXACTLY that? Right up against that wall?
"No, I wouldn't be comfortable doing that. I'm starting to see what you mean by "insanity." We really are taking a huge risk here, aren't we...
I mean, I get these concepts... I think. Everything you explained so far, it makes sense. I know what a feedback loop is, and a tipping point, and all of that stuff.
But how would an entire PLANET actually, like... die? HOW?
I just can't picture it. Theoretically, OK, maybe it's possible... But what would be the actual "mechanism" (or set of mechanisms) by which the whole planet would die?
What would that even look like? How would it unfold?"
There are many ways. In fact, "many" is the wrong word. Due to how complex the systems are, there are innumerable ways.
"Not really helping. Do you have anything specific?"
Sure. Let's talk about Water and Fire.
Starting with Water.
If you look at a water droplet sitting on a surface, it forms a dome. Since it's a liquid, it "shouldn't" have a shape like that. You'd expect it to just flatten out. But it doesn't. Because it holds itself together, though the magnetism of the water molecules.
And this magnetism does more than just hold droplets together. Its range is farther-reaching. You could even say that it has its own type of "gravity."
Yes. While all physical matter has general gravity (the kind that keeps objects on the ground), water has an additional type, on top of that, called self-affinity. Water attracts more water, specifically, through its magnetic properties.
And the molecules don't have to be touching for it to work. If they are touching, the effect is stronger, obviously, as we see in the droplet. But even if they're not touching, they still exert this "gravity" upon each other. If you have air with humidity in it, the microscopic droplets in the air can pull each other together.
Water draws in more water. You may have noticed this in regard to your clothes on a rainy day. If you go outside on a rainy day with clothes that are completely dry, they'll stay dry throughout the day (as long as you don't get directly under the rain).
But if you go out with clothes that are slightly wet - just a wee bit moist - then you'll find that, by the end of the day, you're wetter than when you went out, even if you were not directly under the rain! Because the water on your clothes drew in more water from the air.
The small amount of water in your clothes attracted more water from the air. And the wetter they got, the more water they attracted!
If there's water, there will be more water. And if it's dry, it stays dry.
"Got it. So what's this got to do with ecosystems?"
Because this applies to forests. And understanding this process is the key to understanding desertification.
Compare a forest to desert; obviously, the forest has more water in it. The more trees, plants, and living creatures, the more biomass - and thus, the more water.
On the left, we have a forest. On the right, a semi-arid chaparral landscape.
Regardless of how recently it rained in each place, the land on the left has more water than the land on the right, because it has more biomass - more plants - and plants hold water. The more plants, and the larger the plants, the more water.
A forest is more than just a bunch of trees. It's a self-sustaining water-attractor. Think of a forest as a water droplet, on a larger scale. It holds water in its biomass, and that water makes it more likely that clouds will arrive from the ocean to deliver more water. An area of land is more likely to get rainfall, and to get a greater quantity of rainfall, if it already has a forest on it. The clouds are drawn towards the forest, due to the water inside it - just like mist droplets to damp clothes. And so, a forest will sustain a cycle of rain, and hence, Life.
But that's not all!
In addition to water attracting more water through its self-affinity properties, the forest itself is deliberately attracting rainfall!
Trees release a type of chemical that can cause raindrops to condense, and then fall.
Raindrops can't form on their own. They need a tiny particle around which to grow. It's called a "rain seed." It's like a pearl needing a grain of sand to get started. It could be a piece of dust, a piece of pollen - anything really tiny.
Every place on Earth has humidity - even the driest deserts. But in a desert, the humidity is just not condensing into rain. It passes over the land, without falling. And part of the reason why, is because deserts have no rain seeds. Because they have no trees.
But if there are trees - enough of them, that is - then they can cause that moisture to condense, making rain.
This video explains it nicely:
Mushrooms can do this too, with their spores.
But that's not all!
A forest has many ways of sustaining itself, and promoting its own health.
The trees form a canopy, which keeps moist air inside.
The trees protect each other from wind.
The trees share nutrients with each other, through their root network. When one tree is not getting enough of some nutrient, the other trees nearby send that nutrient to it, through the root network. They support each other. A forest is truly a community.
Even mushroom mycelia (the parts underground) can help transfer water and nutrients to different places, where they're needed most.
A forest is a living system - an organism - a community of Life.
This is why forests have always been seen from time immemorial, as living beings, with a spirit and consciousness. They are self-sustaining living systems. Life begets Life. The more Life there is somewhere, the easier it is to create more Life. And the more water there is, the easier it is to draw in more water.
But if people start cutting down the forest, and replacing it with pasture (or buildings), then there are several feedback loops that can accelerate the loss of water.
1. First of all, as there is less biomass, there is less water. And that means the self-attracting principle of the water won't be as strong - meaning there could be less rainfall there in the future.
Just like your dry clothes on a rainy day, a dry forest doesn't attract as much water. And less rainfall means less biomass - less forest - which, in turn, means less rainfall.
A feedback loop.
2. Fewer trees means less of the rain-drop-seeding chemicals that trees release, and thus, less rain, and thus, fewer trees, and so on.
A feedback loop.
3. A closed canopy holds in more moisture. If you cut down even a single tree, you open up a hole through which that moisture escapes, causing the forest to become drier, which means fewer plants, which means less water, and so on.
Another feedback loop.
4. There's also the fact that trees stop wind. If a tiny seedling is trying to grow, wind can disrupt and uproot it. When you cut down a forest, there's more wind, and it's harder for a new seed to grow, even if you plant it, and thus, fewer trees, and more wind.
Another feedback loop.
5. Trees share nutrients with each other, through their root networks, but this only works if there is a continuous network of roots. If you break it up, and have a gap, then the trees obviously can't do this, which means less nutrient sharing, and thus, fewer trees and plants.
...yet another feedback loop.
6. Mushrooms provide essential services to the forest. They help with rain seeding, and their underground networks facilitate nutrient exchange. But mushrooms require very wet environments to survive. Less moisture means less mushrooms. Which means... less moisture.
...yet another feedback loop.
There are so many factors, so many variables, and so many potential feedback loops. X causing Y, which is causing X again. And they can all combine to form the overall desertification feedback loop.
The less forest, the less... forest.
And like any feedback loop, there is a level that Nature can absorb and recover from, as well as a threshold of breakdown - a tipping point - beyond which it can't.
Nature does of course have the ability to recover when we do damage, but there's a tipping point, where it's unrecoverable, and we don't know where that point is.
So if a region is on the cusp between wet and dry, the presence of a forest is what determines whether it stays wet or goes dry.
If you look at a world map, you'll notice that many of the forested areas - like in Southeast Asia, or the Eastern USA - are at the same latitudes as deserts in other parts of the world. Why do some areas get so much rainfall, while others get so little - despite being at similar latitudes?
"Because they have forests!"
Yes. Many forests are forests solely because they're continuations of primeval forests from times so long ago that the weather was wetter. The forest grew to have great big old trees back when the climate was wetter, and now, the climate is drier, but since the forest is already there, it's able to retain its water, like a living organism preserving itself. But if you were to kill it, it would not grow back, because the water would be spilled out. A "recovery" would mean a chaparral landscape, or some semi-arid ecosystem, but not the grand old forest it once was.
"Aha! So that means the forest can take care of itself! And we don't need to worry! See? Nature is so wise! God is so wise! There's nothing we can do to mess any of it up!"
No. Nature has self-correcting mechanisms, but they only work up to a point. Just like we saw with the cell, it can repair itself, but there is a threshold of breakdown, at which this repair mechanism can no longer suffice. In a forest, it would be a point of dryness at which there are no more mushrooms. Mushrooms, as you may know, require a lot of moisture to survive. If the forest falls below a certain moisture point - and becomes too dry, then the mushrooms won't exist anymore, an this function will no longer take place.
Here's another factor determining what regions are wet and which regions are dry: global atmospheric circulation patterns. Just like air circulates throughout your house, it also does so throughout the planet. There are certain patterns that have been in place for millions of years. For example, the Atlantic Jet Stream.
Why does the air circulate in these specific ways? Well, there are innumerable factors that go into it.
Temperature plays a part. Both in the air, and in the ocean. So does chemistry. Both in the air.. and in the ocean. If we change the temperature and chemistry, we are playing with fire.
"But so-called "scientists" have been predicting, for ages, that the patterns would change. They said the Jet Stream could shut down decades ago - and it didn't."
Science works with models that are largely linear. But that's not how Nature works. Nature is not linear. These systems are held in place by infinitely complex sets of factors. Changing variables linearly might not lead to linear change in outcomes. Instead, it could be an all-or-nothing phenomenon. The weather patterns could stay the same until a particular threshold is reached, and then rearrange with startling suddenness.
"But how do you know this?"
NOBODY KNOWS. That's the whole point! Due to the nearly infinite complexity of the system, we cannot predict how it will turn out. We cannot predict where the threshold of change is.
So to mess around with it, like our civilization is currently doing, is pure suicidal insanity.
"But this whole idea of the Earth being a living organism... it sounds like "Gaia Theory." And my pastor told me that that's incompatible with my religion."
And which part of the theory do you disagree with?
The idea that we live on a planet?
The idea that the size of the planet is finite?
The idea that it's impossible to subtract indefinitely from a finite quantity? That if you keep subtracting, you'll eventually hit zero?
The idea that the various components of an ecosystem are causatively related to each other?
The idea that actions can have unforeseen consequences?
What part of this is THEORY?
This is MATH. What exactly are you disagreeing with?
And there are signs that major forests, like the Amazon (arguably the most important forest in the world) is starting an aridification (drying out) feedback loop.
The Amazon has so much water in it, and produces so much evaporation, that it creates a "river in the sky" - a major current of water on this planet with a volume comparable to an ocean current.
While the Amazon River carries water from the forest to the sea (in a west-to-east direction), there is another river, of comparable size, in the sky above the forest, carrying water from the sea to the interior (in an east-to-west direction).
And there are signs that this river is getting smaller and slowing down. And the more it slows down, the less rainfall the forest will get. As this happens, that Amazon could be entering an aridification feedback loop.
And as one forest dries out, it decreases the overall amount of moisture in the planet's atmosphere - which hurts every other forest in the world, even on opposite sides of the planet.
Most people think the oceans are the primary source of evaporation, but that's not true. It's actually trees. Even though the ocean holds 99% of all the planet's water, it has a very low surface area. If you have 1 square mile of ocean, that's basically 1 square mile of water surface area.
But in a forest, every leaf is a surface area for evaporation. There is much, much more surface area for evaporation in a forest, compared to the ocean.
So when we cut down trees and eliminate forests, we're destroying the main source of moisture in the atmosphere.
And this could have cascading effects, as more dry = less forests, and less forests = more dry.
"So you're saying the entire planet could dry out this way?"
"But you're not sure?"
Do we have to be sure?
If there's even a chance of it, doesn't that render any amount of short-term economic profit insignificant in comparison to the destruction we might cause?
"But you don't KNOW for sure."
That's the point. Nobody knows. Nobody CAN know. The system is far too complex for certainty to ever be possible.
We don't know that this scenario will happen, and you don't know that it won't. In the absence of certainty, we should follow the Precautionary Principle, and play it safe.
"But is there any existing example of this kind of thing happening? A model that we can reference?"
Yes. The planet Venus.
As everyone knows, Venus is really, really hot. Its surface is hot enough to melt lead. It's a literal hellscape.
"Well of course! It's closer to the Sun!"
Yes, but proximity to the Sun doesn't account for all of it. Mercury is even closer to the Sun, and yet Venus is hotter than Mercury!
Why is that?
"Because Venus has an atmosphere, and Mercury doesn't?"
Right. Atmospheres trap heat. That's what they do.
There are two ways to transfer heat from one place to another:
Radiation and Convection.
Radiation is light. It travels through space, and when it hits an object, it becomes heat, in that object.
Convection is when heat transfers directly from substance to substance, through physical touch.
Atmospheres allow radiation, but prevent convection.
Therefore, radiation from the Sun passes easily through an atmosphere, and hits the ground - but then the atmosphere insulates that heat, and prevents it from escaping.
Venus's atmosphere is made of carbon dioxide.
And here on Earth, we are pumping more and more of that stuff into the air.
There is nowhere where carbon is being sequestered out of the air in any major way, and it's being released into the air, everywhere.
"But carbon is plant food! The more carbon there is, the more plants absorb it! So all that extra carbon is just getting recycled back into plants!"
This is not true, because carbon is not a limiting factor in plant growth. There is no climate or biome, anywhere on Earth, in which plants don't have enough carbon to grow. So adding more doesn't make them grow more.
The limiting factors in plant growth are:
and most importantly of all:
In a desert, the limiting factor is water. A plant in a desert is not going to grow more from having more carbon, because it's already being limited by the availability of water, and as along as the amount of water is not increasing, no amount of carbon is going to make it grow more.
Adding more carbon to the air will
not make more plants grow here.
And all plants are limited by space. A little square of soil, in between two pieces of pavement, can only grow so much plant mass. First of all, people are going to come along and mow it, or trim it. Is more carbon going to make people mow/trim the plants less? No. Is more carbon going to make the plants able to grow on pavement? No.
Adding more carbon to the air will
not make more plants grow here.
No matter how much carbon you add, plants aren't going to grow on pavement. They're not going to grow taller, because they're already limited by the simple maximum growth height - in other words, a tree that can support 100 feet of height before collapsing, is not going to grow taller than 100 feet just because there's more carbon in the air.
This whole "carbon is plant food" argument is nonsense. Yes, it's plant food, but no plant is lacking it, and every plant is limited in its growth by something else.
"But there will never be enough carbon in our atmosphere to become like Venus! Even if we burned all the oil, coal, and natural gas in existence, it wouldn't be nearly enough."
But there is enough carbon in the biosphere to produce a Venus-like atmosphere. Thankfully, it's currently trapped (the science term is "sequestered") in trees, plants, animals, and all the living things around us If it were somehow released from those living things... it would be enough to turn the plant into a Venus.
"But how would it be released?"
It's being released right now. Every time a forest burns, that carbon gets released into the atmosphere.
"But not enough forests will burn for that to happen."
This is where feedback loops come in.
The more forests we cut down, the drier the planet gets (as explained above).
The drier it gets, the more forests burn down - which reinforces the dryness, while also releasing more carbon, making the planet hotter still, causing more forests to burn, making the planet drier and releasing more carbon, making it hotter... and so on.
Plus, there's all that carbon stored beneath the Arctic permafrost. As the Arctic melts, it's getting released.
Carbon dioxide causes oceans to become more acidic. As the oceans acidify, bacteria will produce more sulphur dioxide, which could replace the oxygen in the atmosphere, leading to a hypoxic event in which we can no longer breathe. (Interestingly, Venus has clouds of sulfur dioxide... indicating that it may indeed have had a similar history to our planet, and may have undergone the same transformation that we're currently causing).
The bottom line is: This planet is very complex, we don't fully understand how it works, and we are insane to mess with it.
Water and Fire
In metaphysical terms, our current civilization is all about Fire - it burns everything, and Fire is its obsession. Meanwhile, it's cutting down forests, and poisoning water.
Our civilization is all about increasing the Fire element, and decreasing the Water element.
And many religious traditions, including Christianity and Hinduism, have prophecies about the world being destroyed by Fire.
We are really playing with fire.
"But... don't we have scientific models that can predict where the limits are? Can't we just... push it up kiiiinda close, but still give some room for error..."
No scientific model can predict where the limits are. Not with certainty. Anyone who thinks they're certain about such things, is a fool.
This is because living systems are unfathomably complex, and no one can account for all the variables, and all possible interactions. There are far too many for any accurate model.
The Unfathomable Complexity
of Living Systems
Chalk it up to evolution, or to a Creator - either way, you can't deny that Life is a work of art, which our current scientific knowledge barely even scratches the surface of.
And this complexity makes our predictions even more difficult. There could be variables we don't even know exist, and we could be hurting them without even realizing it.
Other variables, which we do know exist, can interact with one another in ways we didn't anticipate.
Our first example (the punctured cell) only used 3 variables:
But, in reality, there are thousands of variables in a cell. And the ways they can relate to each other, and affect one another, are of such multitude that it's impossible for anyone to fully understand them all, and hence, impossible to know for sure where the thresholds of breakdown are, no matter how smart you are, or how much data you have, or how fast your computers are.
"OK. So that's for cells. What about the other levels? Bodies? Organisms? Ecosystems? Planets?"
It works the same way in a body. In your body, organs work together. Each is related to all others. What happens in one affects the entire body.
What happens to the body affects all the organs - as well as all the cells.
And what happens in the cells affects the body.
Big affects small, and small affects big.
As above, so below.
And here's an important thing to note: since the body is a thousand times more complex than a cell, there are a thousand times more variables in play. Instead of dealing with a thousand variables relating in infinitely complex ways, we're probably dealing with a million!
Good news is, we usually don't have to worry, because Nature takes care of almost all of it, without us needing to do anything. We just have a few variables to focus on - like eating, drinking, sleeping, and so forth. Nature takes care of the rest.
IF we don't mess around, that is.
When we start putting ourselves in unnatural conditions, it opens up a Pandora's Box of innumerable variables going out of whack - usually beyond our ability to predict.
And that's why the best variables - the best living conditions, the best diets, etc. - are the most natural ones. All the experts are finally starting to conclude that the best conditions for us, in all areas of life, are conditions that are as close to natural as possible. (This isn't really "news" anymore).
"So let me guess... ecosystems behave in the same way as the other scales?"
Precisely! Ecology is the recognition of another layer of organization, on top of cells and bodies.
Cells... organisms... ecosystems.
Except, instead of dealing with a million variables we're now dealing with trillions.
Bottom line: nobody can predict the results of messing with the planet.
And this brings us to the Precautionary Principle, which is the only sensible attitude to have, once you realize just how complex living systems are, and how little we know about their workings, and how bad we are at predicting the outcomes of messing around with them.
The Precautionary Principle
It shouldn't require a single scientist... or a single institution... or a single research paper... to tell us what we need to know.
Here's ALL we need to know:
1. We live in an ecosystem.
2. The ecosystem is very complex.
3. Nobody fully understands how it all works.
4. There is no way to predict how altering it might affect it in the future.
5. Interference can come with unintended consequences.
6. The health of the ecosystem is absolutely essential to our survival.
7. The ecosystem is most stable when least interfered with.
8., Therefore, we should minimize our interference with it.
That's it! It doesn't take a scientist to tell you to be careful with the only planet we have.
In other words..
It's way bigger than us...
we don't know what we're doing...
and we shouldn't mess around with it!
It is profoundly unwise to alter the biosphere, and we should seek to develop ways of living and meeting our needs that cause as little disruption to the biosphere's systems as possible.
And that, friends, is the meaning of conservatism.
Conservatism is all about caution. What did your grandpa tell you?
Anyone who tells you know how it all works is lying. And humans have a terrible track record on predicting this stuff.
Here are a few examples:
As you can see, unintended consequences are myriad. We think we're just getting rid of one species... but we're really degrading the whole ecosystem.
"If you don't know how something works, don't mess around with it!"
If you're not cautious - especially with the things that matter most for our survival - then how can you call yourself "conservative?"
We do not know how spewing all of these chemicals into the biosphere will affect it in the long run.
We do not know how many trees we can cut down before the desertification feedback loop becomes self-reinforcing.
We do not know how much of the living surface of the planet can be converted into dead pavement before all of that death starts cascading upon itself.
We do not know how many fish we can pull out of the ocean before the species' populations collapse irreversibly.
We do not know how much pesticide we can use before the insect populations collapse (which they're starting to do already).
We do not know how much artificial fertilizer we can use before the soil becomes unusable.
We do not know how much of the insect population we can lose before it leads to the collapse of ecosystems.
We do not know where all of these tipping points are.
We just don't know how much of all this we can mess with, before it all comes crashing down upon our heads.
"But... if that's what conservatism means, then how come all my conservative friends don't think this way - and all the people who do think this way are liberals?"
Because our culture is confused. When caution is considered "new", "wacky", and "radical", we really have some soul-searching to do as a society.
Climate change was never supposed to be a "liberal" issue, but a conservative one.
What is liberalism anyway? It's about change.
Liberalism seeks to change society (hopefully to improve it), while conservatism is about exercising caution before changing things, to make sure the changes are actually improvements (because they aren't always).
Liberalism says, "Hey, this will be great! Let's do it!"
Conservatism says, "Hey, watch what you're doing. Be careful. You don't know what might happen."
Fossil fuels, for instance, seemed like a huge improvement when they were first discovered, and their sudden intrusion and disruption of social systems (and ecological systems) was touted as a way to change society (for the better - although it obviously didn't work out that way).
The first proponents of fossil fuels said, "Hey, look what we can do! We can go FAST now! Weeeeeee! This will make society so much better! Let's DO it!"
But if (true) conservative voices had been heard, such fuels would never have risen to prominence in the first place.
Long-term stability would have been placed above short-term gain. There's nothing more conservative than that.
If you think short-term economic gain is more important then long-term ecological stability, then you're NOT a conservative!
So be a conservative, OK?
"But you don't have any PROOF that fossil fuels are bad for the biosphere, or that the biosphere is in trouble. Until you can PROVE it, why should we trust you?"
We don't need proof because the burden of proof is supposed to be on the other side.
When you make a big alteration to a very old, very complex, and absolutely survival-essential system (like the biosphere), you're supposed to prove that the alteration won't undermine the system...
...and you're supposed to prove that ***BEFORE*** you make the alteration.
If you want to drill into the planet, suck out material, burn it at an industrial scale, worldwide, for decades, and change the chemical composition of the atmosphere, you had better damn-well prove that it won't mess things up.
You've never proved that.
The burden of proof is not on those saying "stop screwing with the system."
The burden of proof is on those saying "screw with it."
"Hmm... but the ECONOMY is also very complex and essential. And the things environmentalists want to do will harm the economy."
Our ability to have any discussion about this at all depends on the health of the planet's biosphere.
Without this - without balance - the debate is over, because there would be no one around to continue it.
In any building, the lower floors are essential to the upper floors. The lower floors CAN continue to exist without the upper floors - but the upper floors CANNOT exist without the lower ones.
It's the same in a society. The ecosystem is the foundation. The human economy is above the foundation, and rests upon it, and therefore, cannot exist without it.
The economy is the play - the biosphere is the stage. The play can't happen without the stage - the stage is infinitely more essential.
No matter what's going on in the drama, if we lose the stage, it's over.
These are the laws for civilization. They apply to any civilization, and all civilizations. If you want to be a civlization, then you have to follow these laws.
1. Don't mess around with your star.
2. Don't mess around with your orbit.
3. Don't mess around with your rotation - neither the axis nor the speed.
4. Don't mess around with your magnetic field.
5. Don't mess around with your atmosphere. Don't do geoengineering experiments on it. Don't experiment on the ionosphere. Don't mess around with the chemistry.
6. Don't mess around with the chemistry of your ocenas. Nor that of any body of water. Rivers, lakes streams. Water is Life, and every student in school should be taught that.
7. Don't mess around with your soil. Don't take nutrients out of it. Don't mess around with the microbiome - the community of microorganisms in the soil.
And don't mess around with the Community of Life. Backbone trees...
Entire biosphere, don't mess around with it. If you need to mess around a little bit, to secure your food and warmth and basic real needs, then choose ways that mess around the least. Choose ways that meet your needs while doing the least messing-around with the biosphere.
And listen when people try to explain ways in which you might e messing around wiht it,and onsqeuencnes of that messing around. Don't dismiss it, don't ignore it. Takie it seriiosly,. Giv eit serious consideration . Actively dsearch seek to learn more about your imact on your environ. and activley search for ways to develop better systems that have a better ratio of meetting real needs to messing around.
That's the precautionary principle.
And it's not optional. And everyone has to get this. Everyone has to recognize this. And this is the difference between a malignant perosn and a benigh person. / civilzation.
Difference, and how bodies respond to that
Ecological law must be recognized as real law and enforced.
The Law of the Earth.
What *NOT* To Do About It
Now that we've established that we need to take care of the planet, the next question is: How.
"You said that there are people who are using the ecological crisis for ulterior motives, and you called them "technocrats." What does that mean?"
Technocracy is a complex force that manifests in just about all aspects of human life in this society.
It's a worldview with 4 main tenets:
1. "There is only one direction for technological progress to advance in. We have to advance in that direction, and there's nothing we can do to change it."
2. "That direction always means more machines, more dependency on machines, and reliance on increasingly complex machines."
3. "More machines will fix every problem, and the answer to any and every problem is more machines, always."
4. "Even if machines don't solve the problems we invented them to solve, and they don't make us happier (and might actually make us less happy) it doesn't matter, because what really matters is having more machines, which is a good thing in itself, as it will bring us closer to an eventual (no one ever says exactly *when*) point in the future where machines WILL finally start making our lives better, and we just have to trust that that's the case.
Some technocrats even believe in a 5th tenet:
5. "The purpose of technology is not to serve humanity - but the reverse. The purpose of humanity is to serve technology, by creating more of it, and getting it up to a level of development where it can self replicate, and replace us - because that's all we're for - we're just a "stepping stone" on the march to a race of robots - and that's our only purpose, to invent them - and once we achieve that, biological organic life-forms aren't even necessary anymore."
To learn more, read: What Is Technocracy?
"Wow, those people sound crazy."
Yes, this worldview is crazy. However, it also happens to be the dominant philosophy among top business leaders, media owners, and public policymakers.
And they've spent the past 100 years saturating us with propaganda in favor of this worldview.
In fact, most average people believe in this, to some degree. It underlies a lot of our thinking, subconsciously. You might even be carrying around some assumptions and attitudes connected to technocracy, since it permeates our culture so thoroughly. It's important to become aware of these subconscious assumptions, and correct them.
"And how does this apply to climate change and ecology?"
Because (most of) the so-called "solutions" being offered and promoted by major institutions, media corporations, and governments, are technocratic solutions.
And they won't solve the crisis. In fact, they could make it even worse. Technocratic attitudes are downright dangerous.
A technocratic solution is one that does not address the underlying problems (and more importantly, the problematic thinking methods) that caused the problems in the first place, and instead tries to simply patch up the problems with more technology.
The people who believe in this 5th tenet do not care about the planet. As long as they cna get their robots up and running... so their solutions will at most slow it down, but that's it, and it doesn't matter ot them, because all they're trying to do is buy time - time so they cna get their robotic world up and running ,and then it won't matter if there' sno more bilogy and thean d the planet looks like Mars or venus, because they won't need biology anyway, because there will be robots to carry on civilization and the proejct of reaching the so called singluarity . that's all they want. That's acceptable to them . The complete genocide of all people a,dand tcomplete ecocide of the thtire living world, is palatable to them. so that's why they're gonly trying to slow it down, but don't care about actually stoppin git of hrelaing the planet.
"Can you give some examples of what you mean?"
The Earth Party Presents:
of Technocratic Stupidity
Technocratic False-Solution #1:
Stratospheric Aerosol Injection
There are people who want to spray chemicals with heavy metal ions, like aluminum and barium and strontium, into the upper atmosphere, to stop global warming. The idea is that these chemicals are reflective, and will reflect sunlight back into space, slowing down warming. Other ideas involve spraying sulfur dioxide to form artificial clouds. You can read about this stuff here (CBS), here (LiveScience), and here (CNN).
These mainstream (technocrat-owned) publications present it as a perfectly acceptable idea, overlooking how obviously stupid it is.
Just think about it for 2 seconds. We got into the climate mess by spraying chemicals into the atmosphere. Right?
And now they want to get us out of the mess by... you guessed it: spraying chemicals into the atmosphere.
It doesn't take a genius to spot how dumb that is. Have these people learned ANY lessons from the past century?
Right, and that's what makes them technocrats! They do not understand the true nature of the problem.
This CBS article details some of the concrete reasons why this won't work.
As one may imagine, a concept like this comes with a lot of controversy. Like treating a fever with aspirin, this type of engineering only treats the symptoms, it does not fix the root cause of the warming: Escalating levels of heat trapping greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels.
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) expressed concerns that the possibility of seemingly quick and inexpensive fixes will distract the public and policymakers from addressing the underlying problems and developing adaptation strategies. And if for whatever reason the aerosol missions stopped, within a few years the temperatures would shoot up at breakneck pace. A pace that would likely be too fast for humanity to adjust.
The AMS official policy statement regarding this type of geoengineering begins with a warning, "Reflecting sunlight would likely reduce Earth's average temperature but could also change global circulation patterns with potentially serious consequences such as changing storm tracks and precipitation patterns."
In other words, the atmosphere is complex. Any band-aid fix is bound to have unintended consequences and possibly cause a new set of problems. The AMS goes on to say results of reflecting sunlight "would almost certainly not be the same for all nations and peoples, thus raising legal, ethical, diplomatic and national security concerns." One region may become a desert, while others become flooded out.
Oh, and it will change the color of the sky. And they admit this.
"Wow... anyone who is OK with changing the color of the sky - after this entire mess was caused by humanity screwing around with nature in the first place - is out of their freaking mind. This is really, REALLY idiotic. We have to make sure we don't allow these people to lead the way."
Right! And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Technocratic False-Solution #2:
Yes, you read that correctly. Robot bees to pollinate the crops. Here (NPR) and here (The Guardian).
If the bees die out (from pesticides, mono-crop agriculture, cell-phone microwaves, and all the other ways we've polluted and eliminated their habitats), the answer is apparently not to re-examine our relationship with Nature, not to ask ourselves why we use things that are so incompatible with the foundations of Life in the first place, and not to contemplate the possibility that we may have messed up. No, the answer is more machines!
We can build trillions of tiny robots to pollinate the crops!
The ingenuity of man! Hurray!
This idea is so stupid, it's embarrassing to even bother addressing. But it's real, and they're going to try to go for it. The patent has already been filed!
We hope this doesn't insult your intelligence too much, but here's a scientific paper proving why it's a nonsensical idea.
If we manage to build robot bees - even if - it would still be a Pyrrhic victory, as it would enable us to avoid asking deeper questions about how we got to this point in the first place. We won't have to ask ourselves what mistakes we made that led to the disappearance of the bees. We won't have to examine ourselves or our systems. We won't have to admit that anythings wrong with our beliefs, and our cosmology. It will be business as usual, without acknowledging any mistakes. And that would merely set us up for more problems in the future. And the longer we kick the can down the road, the worse problems it will cause.
Technocratic False-Solution #3:
Tapping Rotational Energy
There are people who propose to draw energy from the rotation of the planet, and convert it into electricity.
Can you think of any potential problems?
"Hmmm... Well there is the Law of Conservation of Energy, stating that energy can neither be created nor destroyed... and if we're taking it OUT of somewhere... then that source will have less energy in it. So... I suppose it could... slow down the planet's rotation over time?"
Yes. And not only would it shorten the length of days and nights, thereby interfering with biological rhythms, but it would also sap the centripetal force that holds the lithic layers of the planet in place. With less centripetal force, the planet's crust will begin to collapse in on itself, causing earthquakes, more volcanic activity, and the appearance of completely new volcanoes popping out in random places, like an acne-plagued teenager, as the crust cracks and the mantle bubbles through.
"But there's sooooooo much energy in the planet's rotation... and we'd only be taking a little tiny bit... right? It would not be significant-enough amount of really change anything... right?"
Isn't that what they said about fossil fuels?
"Yes, the coal in steam-engines produces horrible black smoke that chokes people... but it's just a little bit of smoke! It will never be enough to make entire cities and regions have black skies..."
"Yes, burning petroleum releases carbon, but it's just a little bit, and the atmosphere is soooooo huge! It will never be enough to significantly change the atmospheric chemistry..."
Can't you see the same exact folly repeating?
Technocratic False-Solution #4:
If our civilization doesn't... "make it"... then who will be around to watch over the radioactive waste? No one.
As the canisters rot and leak, they'll be releasing pulsed infusions of radioactive matter into the biosphere, for the next 100 million years. Any remaining humans (perhaps the un-contacted tribes deep in the jungles will survive the Great Collapse) will be finished off by the radiation leaks. And the leaks will keep happening at intervals, for millions upon millions of years, sabotaging whatever "comebacks" Life makes. Even if dolphins develop an opposable thumb 10 million years from now, the nuclear waste will get them long before that. Biological Life might never recover.
Nuclear power is so diabolical, it almost gives the impression of having been deliberately designed with the explicit intention of making sure that once we're gone, no intelligent life will ever replace us.
Technocratic False-Solution #5:
GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms)
GMO Exhibit A: Genetically engineering a fungus or a bacteria that eats plastic, thereby cleaning the plastic up.
A genetically engineered... bacteria... or... fungus... What could go wrong?
It's a sci-fi horror movie that writes itself.
So why would anyone be stupid enough to want this?
Because it's an easy fix that allows them to avoid asking why we have so much plastic pollution in the first place. And they don't want to ask it because it would implicate the system, and they're attached to the system. They'd rather risk turning the whole planet into a campy horror film than question the system.
GMO Exhibit B: Genetically engineered crops.
"But we have so many mouths to feed!"
You wont be feeding any mouths if you destroy the ecosystem. And that's what GMO crops do. They degrade soil. They poison insects. They aren't a balanced member of the ecosystem - they're like an alien organism. They might produce more calories, in the short run, but in the long run they lead to the degradation of the overall ecosystem.
If someone is telling you we need GMO crops to feed hungry people in "third world countries" - but doesn't complain about the fact that these same countries are using the majority of their farmland to produce cash crops for export to other countries - and doesn't want to address the gaping idiocy of making starving people export their own food - and would rather corrupt Nature's genome to inject more food in through the back door than address the question of why their food is being snatched out through the front door - then you're dealing with a technocrat - someone who doesn't have the wisdom to see this as a systems-problem.
Technocratic False-Solution #6:
Electric Cars & Self-Driving Cars
Changing our cars to electric and/or self-driving won't solve the problem, for several reasons.
First, electric cars still require energy to charge their batteries. That's energy whose production harms ecosystems.
Second, those batteries require rare-earth metals, like cadmium, lithium, cobalt, neodymium, lanthanum, terbium, and others. They all have to be mined out of the ground, involving horrendous ecological destruction - even worse than fossil fuels!
Third, self-driving cars will rely on 5G Wi-Fi to communicate with other cars in the vicinity. Having hundreds of microwave transmitters radiating in a close vicinity, and marinating ourselves and the environment in hundreds of sets of microwaves all at once, comes with its own set of frightening dangers to biology.
Fourth, the manufacturing of cars requires a large amount of materials and energy, and we have to ask ourselves whether having 8+ billion personal cars, regardless of how they're driven or powered, is really the wisest use of the planet's limited resources.
And fifth, perhaps most importantly of all, switching to a different type of car ignores the fact that the roads themselves are as big of a problem as the cars themselves. Roads take up a lot of land - land that could have had forests on it (and once did). We need those forests. Our planet is choked with roads, with concrete, with cement. We need to break that stuff up, and return the land into living, breathing soil.
Switching to a "new type" of car will just perpetuate our dependence on all these roads, keeping the planet choked.
Thankfully, there is a way to transport everyone where they need to go, but it won't involve car culture.
While technocrats are busy talking about making small tweaks to improve efficiency in small ways, they never ever ever ever ever mention the fact that the physical layout of our communities creates waste in itself, and is not conducive to efficient use of energy or resources, and that the only way to fix this is to redesign the physical layout of our civilization.
Even if we did nothing but restore the Village as the basic unit of human society, this alone would save so much energy, and so many resources, by making use of the power of permaculture principles such as cooperation, proximity, non-duplication, sequential re-use, and other forms of intelligent design of food and energy systems.
This would be the wholistic solution, whereas just building tons and tons of machines is the technocratic solution (which isn't really a solution at all, as we just explained above).
To learn about the new transit system that will phase out car-culture, visit our page on Transportation and the Automobile.
Technocratic False-Solution #7:
First of all, solar panels use rare-earth minerals, just like electric cars. In addition to the ones mentioned above, there's also dysprosium, indium, praseodymium, and more.
And there might not be enough.
And even if there is enough, the amount of horror we'd have to inflict on the planet to extract them would be a crime in its own right.
"Wait a minute... no solar panels? Really?
NO SOLAR PANELS?"
Solar panels are a relatively good source of energy, and the Earth Party plans to transition to renewable clean energy, and solar panels are part of that plan.
But think about this:
Whenever you have an energy supply and an energy demand, and the supply is not currently meeting the demand, you have two options.
You can increase supply to meet demand...
You can decrease demand to meet supply.
And the first option is the only one you hear from politicians, media people, business bigwigs, and tech leaders.
And that's what makes it technocratic. They're not asking us to re-examine our lives or the structure of our society.
Instead, if we use too much energy, their answer is simply "more energy!"
But why do we use so much energy in the first place?
Aren't there a lot of things we don't need? Aren't we consuming too much?
Why are machines always the answer?
Simply "building more solar panels" is a lazy excuse to avoid asking these kinds of questions.
Solar and wind power will be enough to power a re-localized permaculture economy with conscious and wise use of energy, in which the decisions about how to distribute energy are made democratically, based on where it's actually needed.
But it will NOT be enough to power a capitalist economy, in which those decisions are made by money, and whoever has the most money gets the most energy simply because of their money, and gets to use the energy to build and power the kinds of pointless vanities that rich people like to buy as status symbols.
"More energy" not a complete solution. The real solutions involve reexamining our relationship with Nature, and figuring out why we got so out of balance in the first place. From this introspection comes regenerative agriculture, re-rewilding, and the complete restructuring of our social, economic and political systems to be based on love-based values of cooperation, sharing, and trust.
Technocratic False-Solution #8:
Carbon Sequestration Machines
These are great big machines the technocrats plan to build, which will suck carbon out of the air and store it in solid form.
Read about it here.
But wait a minute! Where will we get the resources to build all these machines?
Where will we get the metal? We're going to have to mine it. How much more ecological destruction will that cause?
What about all the factories? How much pollution will they cause?
Where will all these machines go? If they're sitting on the ground, then plants can't grow there. They can't grow if there's a machine on top of them. How many forests will we need to cut down to make space for all of these machines?
Where will we get the energy to power all of these machines? How much more destruction will that cause?
These carbon-sucking machines won't solve the problem. They'll only make it worse.