Growth Shock, Going on Offense, and Setting an Example for Kindness Economics

Growth Shock Cover Art

If anything, the upcoming book, Growth Shock, is a call for action.

Confronting the combined threat posed by a rapid depletion of renewable and nonrenewable resources, a human population that is still growing beyond the 7 billion number it passed such a short while ago, a rapidly escalating and terrifying climate crisis, and a vast failure to act due to the power of wealthy, greedy, and entrenched special interests who, at every turn, fight to profit from harm, will be impossible without powerful, creative, and coordinated effort. What this means is action on the part of individuals, communities, organizations and governments. What it also requires is leadership from all individuals both great and small.

And if leadership means being among the first to act while compelling others to do the same, then I choose to dedicate the publication of Growth Shock and a majority of the proceeds to undertaking such an effort.

My actions through Growth Shock will involve:

Providing direct charitable contributions to 350.org

350_Banner_Vertical

(Go to 350.org)

In recognizing this imperative in the face of crisis, I’ve decided that the publication of Growth Shock will, in itself, be an action that pushes for effective change. I have identified one charitable organization — 350.org — which has been very effective in both its pursuit of the blocking of access to dangerous unconventional fuel sources (its stop the Keystone XL campaign) and in its direct targeting of the source of so much harm through its ongoing campaign of divestment in fossil fuels programs. 350.org’s other campaigns include an effort to stop all fossil fuel subsidies (globally) and to shift all power sources from fossil energy sources to first order renewables. 350.org is also aligned with a campaign supported by James Hansen to tax all fossil fuel use at the source and/or port of entry and then transfer the funds to the public who would then be incentivized to purchase non fossil energy sources and make more efficient use of energy. 350.org also identifies a probable ‘safe range’ of atmospheric CO2 levels at 350 parts per million and below. This range is based on the advice of climate scientist James Hansen who notes that it may be necessary to push CO2 levels below the 350 ppm limit that is the namesake of the organization.

 

My support of this noble and ongoing effort will involve the donation of fully 40% of the proceeds of Growth Shock to this charitable cause. If sales are small, and donations are low, then I can at least take a small part in this ongoing and effective campaign to remove fossil fuel exploitation and economic dependence. If sales are moderate to large, I hope to be able to provide seed money for new campaigns or expanding efforts under existing campaigns.

As part of this effort I also encourage other authors and bloggers to make funding pledges to 350.org or to similar charitable projects that help to confront the climate crisis through direct and coordinated political action and, when necessary, targeted acts of non violent civil disobedience.

Breaking the Bonds of Captive Consumerism and Providing Money for a Direct Transition Away From Fossil Fuels

Since political action may be stymied, blocked, and delayed by entrenched fossil fuel special interests, funding direct campaigns such as those conducted by 350.org may not be enough to address the larger problem inherent to an urgently needed energy transition. As individuals, we must increasingly take responsibility for our own energy use as well as the energy use of others. Such energy use and, what I perceive to be a market-enforced addiction to fossil fuels (by denial of economic alternatives), is a primary contributor to our current climate and economic problems.

My wife and I, like many who live in the western world, are among these captive consumers. Our electricity comes from a power company that generates only 20% of its energy from renewable sources. And though we live in a state — Maryland — that is progressive and actively pursues an increasing proportion of renewable energy, its current pace of transfer is not rapid enough for comfort. We also own a vehicle that, though having a fuel efficiency in excess of 35 mpg, is still entirely reliant on fossil energy. On the positive note, we are both vegan and, when possible, choose local food sources and so our food preferences have a very low climate impact while improving food availability for our fellows.

That said, there is much that could be done to further reduce our individual impacts — primarily investing in a solar energy system and a related solar garage for an electric vehicle. Having access to these resources would allow both myself and my wife to be freed from a majority of our captive fossil fuel consumerism and so this is also a goal inherent to the publication of Growth Shock.

Fully 20% of all proceeds from the book will go to a fossil energy freedom fund (FEFF) for our household. Once enough money is allayed for the provision of these alternative resources, we will undertake their installation as a completion of our own energy transition. But we won’t stop there.

Since we must also be held accountable for the energy use of our fellow human beings, once my wife and I achieve a high degree of fossil energy independence, these funds will shift to providing a similar gift, first to friends and family members and then to complete strangers. Should we achieve these aspirations, a role-out of FEFF contributions to others will be provided in more detail.

As with the 350.org donations, I will keep track of progress in a monthly report on this blog.

Unlikely Outrageous Success

Should Growth Shock be an unlikely outrageous success, the amount of funds going to charitable causes and active energy transitions will, necessarily, rise. In Growth Shock, I advocate highly progressive rates of taxation for individuals making more than 250,000 dollars per year and 1 million dollars per year respectively. In the highly unlikely event that Growth Shock should, even briefly, generate such a high level of revenue, then I will provide additional charitable contributions and charitable energy transition efforts equal to the difference between my base tax rate on the 40% of funds going to myself and my wife and the suggested rates given in Growth Shock for levels beyond 250,000 dollars. It is worth noting that, since 60% is already dedicated to transition or charity, additional amounts will push the giving level of ‘kindness economics’ far beyond that even suggested.

Since it is highly unlikely for Growth Shock to enjoy such a high level of public success, this additional pledge is probably a symbolic, but still important gesture.

An Open Call For Similar Action

I am also calling for others to act in a manner similar to that which I have described here. There are many important charity organizations like the Sierra club who are also involved in very effective campaigns to reduce reliance on and use of fossil fuels. In addition, individual pledges for private transitions away from fossil energy sources would be a very helpful addition to the broader, public campaigns. Greatly diminishing the power of the fossil fuel industry by reducing fossil fuel reliance will at least begin to point the nose of the ship of human civilization toward fairer weather, even though extraordinarily powerful storms may still await us on that, far less harmful, path of travel.

It is also worth noting that these actions only begin to address the problems outlined in Growth Shock. However, it is my view that removing fossil fuel reliance will begin to address some of the most immediate problems inherent in both resource depletion and in our current failure to provide effective mitigation to a rapidly worsening climate crisis. And even if mitigation is pursued it will continue to be imperative to provide aid for victims and the likely refugees that will inevitably result from a number of hard changes that are now unavoidable. So once the most important hurdle of mitigation is crossed, it is likely that we will then need to shift funds to helping victims, adaptation, and the invigoration of a kindness/living systems economy that works to revitalize the Earth life support structure through direct aid to and cooperation with our companion species here on Earth. An explanation of methods for weaving human systems back into living Earth systems will be provided in much greater depth and detail later. But such goals are outsets and worth mentioning.

Lastly, but not least importantly, It will probably also be necessary to support efforts and organizations that promote both kind and effective population restraint. Likely, another charity publication will be aimed at that effort.

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27 Comments

  1. Ok BUT, can it be that: “market-enforced addiction to fossil fuels (by denial of economic alternatives), is a primary contributor to our current climate and economic problems.” — is a result of a simple fact, that fossil fuels are the most concentrated, stable and cheapest energy source that we ever had on this planet?

    I know I know – if we dont ignore externalities such as climate change, air pollution, etc. fossil fuels would be MUCH more expensive, but then we would not build the industrial society n the first place!

    Now, I am NOT defending our overgown, overblown, overpopulated, over-eaten, over-hungry, unsustainable, overignorant, overgreedy etc. civilization – I am just saying that “transformation to sthg susbainable” may not happen as most well intentioned people try to push.

    I am NOT against rewewable energy – I am just saying it is not panacea. Components for renewable devices still require working industrial machine (see Germany).

    I am saying that pushing for renewable WITHOUT much more significant fundamental change of Homo sapiens if more like pushing for business as usual…

    best,

    Alex

    Reply
    • We can’t have fundamental change without sustainability.

      Further, the argument that fossil fuels are the ‘only valid energy source’ would do the oil company barons proud. In short, it’s misinformation and complete bunk. At worst, a wedge issue the oil majors are trying to use to divide environmentalists.

      The benefit from renewables comes from its decentralized, distributed nature. It is, literally, more power in the hands of more people. Fossil fuels create the opposite paradigm. So if you don’t like dominance, monopolization, or centralization of wealth and power, you clearly don’t like fossil fuels. And that doesn’t even begin to address the clear and present danger that is climate change.

      As for panacea, no-one is making that argument. And inferring that I say it is, as you have, is a red herring and a strawman combined. Renewables are a part of a solution. A solution that cannot be reached without replacement of fossil fuels. Fin.

      In all honesty, it’s difficult to determine what you’re arguing for, if anything. To me, you sound like an environmentalist who’s been captured by misinformation, who sees some far off utopia that you can’t articulate, but which, oddly, seems to include no energy sources if they’re not fossil fuels. You’ve presented no rational solutions, only vague criticism and blanket generalizations to actions that address clear and current problems.

      Reply
      • Robert, too harsh on me ;-), but I get the point. I am your fan.

        I am only frustrated to see scientists (such as my colleagues) doing virtually nothing which resembles sustainability – they just drive to work by their fossil cars, using their fossil electricity, they pay their mortgage, growing up their children, etc.

        And it has hardly to do anything with fossil fuel lobby. But let’s keep that discussion for another time, your blog is superb.

        Best,

        Alex

      • They are captive consumers. They need a way out like the rest of us.

        It’s just that I think we need to start to move the narrative away from ‘change is impossible’ to ‘you, me, we’ve all got to work to change this or we are deeply and truly and utterly screwed in a way we can hardly imagine right now.’

        –R

  2. Reblogged this on Climate Force.

    Reply
  3. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    Bless you Alexander Ac. for your hard-nosed scientific attack against ideation (thought determines behavior).

    It is a dead end,

    It is almost impossible for Robert, in all his sincerity, to hear you.

    Hence his response.

    Most of us were unconsciously spoon fed ideation throughout our intellectual lives & have never even considered questioning it.

    Max Weber’s nonsense social science theory, The Protestant Ethic & the SPIRIT of Capitalism, is a glaring example.

    Consciousness & Society is another ideationist bible.

    Philosophical idealism is espoused almost everywhere in the academic community.

    Science must focus on the material & physical determinants of our human behavior.

    This scientific plea is heard by all too few, especially those of a literary & mentalistic persuasion.

    Simply stated;

    As an antidote to rampant ideationism, I suggest a brief statement from cultural materialist Marvin Harris;

    “Only when behavior is brought into the picture and rooted in material conditions can we understand the forces that compel the thinking of certain thoughts rather than others.”

    Ideationism as openly expressed by many sincere & conscientious intellectuals, such as Bill McKibben & Robert, is rampant in our intellectual life at all levels.

    Moreover, it is the MOTHER ERROR of our attempts to understand the material & physical world that sustains us.

    Shazam Mentalism, “just change the wrong ideas,” is openly posited as all powerful & all explanatory in the so-called social sciences.

    Reply
    • What an interesting hunk of mumbo-jumbo containing a cleverly disguised ad-hominem attack on what it seems you’ve perceived to be the source of my education.

      True, I received a BA in the Social Sciences. And at the same time I was spending abrupt periods responding to natural disasters like hurricanes ripping through barrier islands in Florida and pushing storm surges miles and miles inland, or the massive North Carolina floods after Hurricane Fran.

      Which do you think was more formative? The idealism you’ve decided to deride or coming face to face with natural disasters? Or, perhaps, both?

      Later, I attended numerous military schools culminating in my education as a military intelligence analyst. Does that fit into the little social science pigeon hole you’ve designed for me?

      Three years as a DOD police officer responding to every form of domestic violence, child neglect, and suicide might have provided me with some dose of the ‘realism’ you seem to believe you have a monopoly on.

      I was editor of Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism through the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax letter cases. I wrote a news article hinting that WMD were long gone from Iraq and I was the managing editor for the Chem-bio/WMD response guide that FLETC uses to train federal officers.

      I suppose interviewing former head of Soviet biological weapons production (Ken Alibek) would have definitely reinforced my ‘misunderstanding of material conditions.’ Or working on what was then the most comprehensive guide ever written on the subject of school violence. Cataloging every oil well and its production in the Middle East would have definitely given me lots of material for becoming a ‘head in the clouds’ idealist, I think. As does tracking the terrible emerging threat that is climate change for ten years running would.

      True, I also write fantasy novels for teens. But I spend at least half of my time reading to students in disadvantaged schools. This is not lucrative, but I find it very rewarding as, for many of those kids, those schools are the closest thing they have to a home. The same public schools that so many with the ‘materialist’ mindset are so hell bent on dismantling.

      And the subject of my novels… Luthiel — the water through stone — is a metaphor for Earth in peril. Sure, I could have written a fluffed out adventure novel to spoon feed to the masses. A probably more lucrative venture. But Luthiel is more readily an expose for the massive failure of idea systems such as yours. One that those kids in those poor schools understand all too well.

      I find it ironic that when I went to a few of the richer school districts bordering the misinformation and bad thought spewing institution that is Regent University, a number the kids held a little book burning ceremony for poor Luthiel. And it is these same shits whose parents are engaged in burning the world just now — either by direct action or by an equally destructive neglect.

      ***

      Abraham Lincoln pursed the ideal to remove the stain of slavery. Teddy Roosevelt ran on the ideal of holding the powerful robber barons accountable and on re-invigorating the wildlands of the US. Albert Einstein was a pacifist. MLK campaigned for a true freedom and equality. And FDR who successfully led this country through both the Great Depression and World War II seems to fit into your little mold of ‘failing to understand material conditions.’

      I find it ironic and informative, in each of these cases, that it is an all too often derided idealism that resulted in success, advancement, a greater understanding of the material world and in, overall, greater prosperity.

      As for objectivism and so-called cultural materialism, they are the failed thought experiments, along with so called neo-liberalism, they are leading the way toward our decline. They require little or no accountability from leaders. And because they expect no success, they can blame any decline on ‘the natural law of the jungle of the strong eat the weak’ which they seem to worship.

      Such half-assed and selfish modes of thought could only come from a decadent and self-serving elite who, ironically, know very little of what it means to live in the real world they claim to understand so well. Give me a cripple to lead the world and not your crappy, objectivist/materialist/billionaire super men any day and I’ll show you someone who’s all too understanding of your so-called reality.

      ***

      Let me ask you this, Gerald. How can you change the behavior of a large system except on a large systems level? Are we to preach fossil fuels abstinence or are we to provide fossil fuel prophylactics? Are we to just ‘let people deal’ with the host of natural disasters now coming all alone and without aid? Is that the ultimate solution of cultural materialism and objectivism? Because it’s clearly not working for any solutions to any problems even as it does its best to defend its own ultimate ideal of simply doing nothing.

      Fossil fuel abstinence, thus far has been an abject failure. We need to set in place a system that provides rational alternatives, otherwise we will have some people who go and live in the woods, and billions more who refuse to exile themselves from larger society. These people, and there are billions of them, are essentially fossil fuel captives who, given no other choice, have decided against such exile. And what could we expect if such a mass migration back to nature were to happen? A rapid decline back to 1 million hunter gatherers with a few rich people living in luxury on the mountain top? Is this any rational vision of success?

      Fossil fuel dependence is a social-civilization-based problem and therefore must be solved by social-civilization based means. Same with overgrowth, over-consumption, and resource destruction. Same with response and adaptation. Without the tools provided by civilization and our technological systems, humans simply cannot survive. And it is the fixed nature of our technology that causes the problem in the first place, not the technology itself.

      Your view is that of the cynic who only believes in the rule of the jungle. From such a mind-set, human civilization would never have emerged in the first place. The human race, which is developed to optimize tools and thought systems (technology), would never have emerged. Your system of thought is founded in a strange kind of hatred for humankind and our expression of adaptation and it is a big reason why we are failing now. From those such as you, there is always resistance to what is the most responsible thing to do, because you always say ‘it cannot be done.’

      So what would you rather have? An idealist who pushes for solutions or a cynic who pushes for no action whatsoever? Cynics, as ever, will call themselves ‘realists.’ But what they do not realize is that dark vision of the world that lives so uglily in their minds as a mental construct is also one they work to create.

      Reply
  4. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    One last humble & basic suggestion

    “Since we intuitively know that there is a rule for everything, we are
    easily misled into believing that rules govern or cause behavior. But the
    principle that rules govern or cause behavior is no more credible than
    the proposition that the earth is flat. Rules facilitate, motivate, and
    organize our behavior; they do not govern or cause it. The causes of
    behavior are to be found in the material conditions of social life. The
    conclusion to be drawn from the abundance of “unless” and “except”
    clauses is not that people behave in order to conform to rules, but they
    select or create rules appropriate for their behavior.”

    Marvin Harris; Cultural Materialism, p.275

    AGAIN; The conclusion to be drawn from the abundance of “unless” and “except”
    clauses is not that people behave in order to conform to rules, but they
    select or create rules appropriate for their behavior.”

    … but they select or create rules appropriate for their behavior.”

    Reply
  5. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    Robert says; “… we need to start to move the narrative away …”

    Premier planetary scientist James Hansen has tried his damnedest for 25 agonizingl years w/o much success.

    “Narratives” or “stories (our way of thinking?) are the PRIMARY CAUSAL VARIABLES in our homicidal consumption of fossil fuels, & our abject failure to see the death written in front of us???

    Peeyar geniuses & lawyers just love “narratives.”

    Do the narratives just “arise” in brilliant analytical “MINDS” – as in the spontaneous generation of maggots???

    Robert, your theory of social causation is fatally flawed.

    Therefore, your mentalistic solution; change the narrative, change the story, change the words, change society – is equally doomed to failure.

    Reply
  6. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    A passionate environmentalist & successful urban planner, who retired after a 25 year career, flies to Switzerland & the Italian Alps with his lady for great skiing.

    The CO2 production for a round trip from Denver to Europe for two IS 20 TONS.

    He & his lady fly to Honduras & Hawaii for scuba diving.

    Last winter they flew to Cozumel to escape Denver’s winter.

    On principle he refuses to own a car, but he flies everywhere on the planet.

    He has published two books about how the horrendous automobile culture strangles the city & pollutes the entire culture.

    He has an undergrad degree in environmental science & a master’s in city planning from Florida State.

    He writes “his travel narratives” on his extensive yuppie travel blog.

    Reply
  7. Overall, I wonder what has upset Gerald the most? The fact that I support working for solutions or the fact that I hold the wealthy and powerful accountable for their failure to act?

    His ideology provides them with every excuse not to act, because it is based, in its essence, on a hatred of humankind and upon the implied notion that we deserve some kind of terrible punishment simply for being what we are: intelligent tool users.

    I reject such thought systems and demand better from him, from us, from myself, and from our leaders.

    Reply
  8. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    Robert contends; ” … a vast failure to act due to the power of wealthy, greedy, and entrenched special interests who, at every turn, fight to profit from harm, will be impossible without powerful, creative, and coordinated effort.”

    The environmental “evil doers” have NOT been identified, but their foul narratives have been exposed.

    So, let’s act.

    NOW WE, THE CREATIVE MASSES , WHO WERE COMPLETELY DOWN-TRODDEN BY THE WRONG NARRATIVE CAN ACT TO SAVE THE PLANET & HUMANITY WITH A NEW “CORRECT” NARRATIVE .

    The “powerful, creative, & coordinated” efforts of environmentalist activists, such as those who visit the Scribbler site, including me; WIILL QUICKLY REVERSE the destructive & rapacious “wealthy, greedy & entrenched special interests” by changing the stupid & destructive narrative into a narrative of KINDNESS ECONOMICS.

    SHAZAM, BRO!

    Hilarious Clinton pulled that one with her “kinder & gentler world” narrative.

    Larry Summers, Henry Paulson, & Robert Rubin – LISTEN UP!

    Reply
  9. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    Robert, you are a sincere man, whose writing about the science of environmental destruction is among the very best.

    I respect your content, but I reject your theory of social causation & social change.

    You are an incorrigible ideationist, & I am in the minority.

    Like you, I also hold the wealthy & powerful accountable, but NOT for their failure to act.

    They are “acting” well enough to effectively control the social system to their advantage, as well as ignoring essentially powerless people, such as you & me.

    And, as you observe, they are entrenched.

    If I can’t claim to know what causes their “perverse” & environmentally destructive behavior; how can I claim to be able to “change it.?”

    Yes, they have the “wrong ideas” & the “wrong mind set.”

    Moreover, how tenaciously they cling to them.

    Haven’t they been “educated” at the most prestigious universities?

    Don’t they run the system & garnish the benefits?

    They have real jails, real thugs, & real punishments.

    So, the question we must answer is what accounts for sociological differences & similarities?

    Reply
    • Entitlement, which we must remove if we are to have any hope of changing anything.

      But attacking the technological base of human civilization is not a solution. Humans depend on technology to survive. To kill technology is to kill us. It’s our only adaptive trait.

      We need to do the hard work of decentralizing that power. And I refuse to accept that there are no solutions when we, as a civilization, haven’t really even begun to try.

      I sure as hell am not going to hitch my cart to what appears to be little more than a new brand of Ludditism. Nor will I at all be happy to sit around the fire, pass the bong, and lament ‘how crappy it all is and how we have no power to change things.’ Oh woe is me!

      And this ‘movement’ among ‘environmentalists’ attacking alternative energy sources plays far too conveniently into the hands of oil company special interests for my liking.

      Reply
  10. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    I would never be guilty of ” … attacking the technological base of human civilization…”

    Indeed, I would rephrase it as the technological/environmental base or the infrastructure.

    Most importantly, I would passionately emphasize its absolute preeminence in “determining” human culture & behavior.

    “Infrastructural determinism” is the basic axiomatic principle of Marvin Harris’s Cultural Materialism.

    Reply
    • Which is why I am all for dismantling the fossil fuel infrastructure and replacing it with more distributed systems. Technology transfer is wealth transfer and cultural change.

      I emphasize this as a first step and one that buys us time. But we will obviously need much more than just an energy switch. To me it’s the first blip on the radar, but one of the most important.

      As for the author of this particular work, I would compel them to donate a portion of proceeds to foundations that fund such solutions…

      Reply
  11. Shochin

     /  August 26, 2013

    one planet one child is a charity as important (if not more so) than 350.org as our problems extend far beyond climate change (though this is perhaps the most likely cause of the great dying part 2). if everyone were to restrict their breeding to 1 child per couple the world population would be reduced to 2 billion by 2100. the economics of such things are possible as well. check into howmany.org as well as 1 planet 1 child, both have links to resources that are most enlightening. Nothing we do will be sustainable with 7+ and growing people on this planet….. I’m eager to read this book ….

    signed proud member of the voluntary human extinction movement ….

    Reply
    • I wholeheartedly support non-harmful population restraint and will be looking for related charities to support through future works. Thanks for the kind words and suggestions.

      I agree, 7 billion on its way to 10 billion is in no way sustainable, especially in the face of increasing damage to the resource base as well as the out of context shock of human-caused climate change.

      (I sincerely hope you are not a serious supporter of human extinction — voluntary or otherwise. We’re animals like the rest, our current incarnation of tool use is just extraordinarily powerful and destructive. I propose we do our best to change and earn the right to live as part of a self-supportive life system. And I hope it is not too late to change.).

      Reply
  12. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    Never give up, but it is not my entitlement

    Four years ago in 2009 I wrote to conscientious environmentalist Bill McKibben.

    His clear headed analysis of the rampant planetary destruction is on point.

    What environmentalist wouldn’t like Bill?

    At the end of an article in “The Nation” Bill McKibben says;

    “In fact, the only way to endure the transition will be with a renewed sense of community. The real poison of the past few decades has been the hyper-individualism that we’ve let dominate our political life–the idea that everything works best if we think not a whit about the common interest. In the end, that has damaged our society, our climate and our private lives. The first and final hope we have is a resurgence of a politics that calls on us to work together. We saw glimpses of it in the Obama campaign, which was at least as interesting as the man himself. I hope we’ll see many more such glimpses in the years ahead.”

    The complete article is here; http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090323/mckibben?rel=hp_currently

    Bill states that HYPER-INDIVIDUALISM – pure & simple IS WHAT DONE IT, AYYYUP.!

    McKibben writes as a grand theoretician, and he has stated a simplistic theory of how to bring about dramatic social change, and thereby save us all.

    McKibben “knows” that ideas cause everything, and he has isolated the ONE BIG CAUSAL IDEA of HYPER-INDIVIDUALISM.

    HYPER-INDIVIDUALISM in Supernation is completely & totally causative and must be “removed.”

    Using the precise language of McKibben’s simplistic theory; the root idea that “has damaged our society, our climate and our private lives” is without ANY qualification – HYPER-INDIVIDUALISM.

    Through the power of his personal intellect, McKibben has isolated the “root cause” – the “root idea.”

    Therefore; “the real poison of the last few decades” is that “WE LET (this ALL causative poison) DOMINATE OUR POLITICAL LIFE”

    What happened or what ideas caused everything before the “last few decades” is left to our personal literary preferences and imaginative fancies?

    But let’s not get bogged down in the nebulous swamp of ideationism anymore than McKibben has demanded.

    Once “spontaneously” removed, the all causative HYPER-INDIVIDUALISM will be replaced by – “a renewed sense of COMMUNITY” and “working together.”

    Shazam, a wonderful world of communities working together will appear magically.

    This change of ideas from destructive hyper-indivualism to COMMUNITY will deliver salvation to the mystified inhabitants of SUPERNATION, who are clearly operating according to the destructive ideas (silly notions & wrong narratives?) of hyper-individualism causing all the damage and destruction.

    In his own childish words McKibben’s theory is; “ideas cause behavior” therefore, if you change the causal ideas – shazam, comes dramatic social change.

    McKibben’s intellectual Ideationism is a glaring example of logic going terribly wrong with complete CONFIDENCE.

    Find the root causal idea; change it, and SHAZAM!

    McKibben presents his literary intellectual analysis and subsequent magical solution without hesitation or qualification.

    Read McKibben again and ask yourself if there is any information at all in his simplistic gibberish?

    “In fact, the only way to endure the transition will be with a renewed sense of community.” (emphasis mine)

    McKibben is a well known and widely published authority on our environmental crisis.

    As an antidote to rampant ideationism, I suggest a brief statement from cultural materialist Marvin Harris;

    “Only when behavior is brought into the picture and rooted in material conditions can we understand the forces that compel the thinking of certain thoughts rather than others.”

    Robert has done the very same thing as McKibben, when Robert claims that “ENTITLEMENT” is the all causitive Spaniard in the works & must be “removed.” in order to usher in the “kindness economics” solution.

    “Never happen, G.I.?”

    Again, Ideation is the mother error of our attempts to understand the material & physical world that sustains us.

    It is routinely resorted to as all explanatory in the so-called social sciences.

    Reply
    • Wow Gerald.

      It seems to me that you’ve embarked on a grand quest to dismantle human understanding of the universe through the expression of language.

      So it’s not enough to attack the tool base upon which humanity depends. In this case, we must attack language as well.

      Once again, there is a massive failure to act in your way of thinking. Rather than listening to and understanding McKibben, you’ve gotten hung up on a single phrase.

      And what does that phrase represent?

      The entire ideology of the conservative party, the basis for climate change denial and for harmful deregulation for neoliberalism and for many other very damaging memes ripping away at our society. Hyper-individualism and a sense of wrongful entitlement are indeed names that identify a root problem, from which has sprung many more poisonous flowers. And you attack the means to identify and respond to that problem.

      Lifeguard cries out: “Great White Shark in the Water!”

      Someone on the beach says: “Big Damn Scary Fish in the Water!”

      Gerald: “Don’t listen! It’s just that damned Ideation!”

      Reply
    • You haven’t yet earned the right to call me G.I.

      So we’ll stick with Robert for now.

      Reply
  13. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    Monsieur, If you can achieve the herculean task of “dismantling the fossil fuel infrastructure & replace it with more distributive systems,” I am wholeheartedly with you.

    James Hansen has found the transformation more than problematic.

    Many theoreticians have been passionately advocating decentralization of energy generation & renewable energy for more than half-a-century, but the fossil fuel colossus marches on.

    Infrastructure conditions both thought & behavior.

    Many of the most well-educated, socially powerful, & filthy rich people have the most preposterous ecocidal & homocidal ideas, don’t they?

    Reply
    • I once met a prominent member of a powerful and influential (oil/gas/steel) family on the beach and ended up in a very heated discussion with him over the necessity of transitioning to a decentralized power system based on roof top solar.

      He was a jovial man in his late 50s or early sixties and appeared to be having a grand time at a nearby beach tikki bar. He was extraordinarily talkative and seemed to want someone to brag to. I’d just gotten off the beach from surfing (hence the later derogatory use of the word ‘surfer’ in later attacks on my writing and thought), and had stopped by the bar for a drink of water (the ocean water was so hot that day in St. Augustine that it offered no refreshment from the Florida sun). He looked at me and immediately struck up a conversation, roping me in.

      The discussion evolved from surfing, to a talk about his world travels and recent important meetings in Europe, to settle on the notion of depleting conventional oil and natural gas reserves and the general problem surrounding the issue of energy abundance as a necessity for continued prosperity (if I knew then what I know now about his links with the Heritage Foundation, I would have probably been less open about my thoughts. At the time, he just seemed to be a smart and powerful guy and one worth talking to about some rather important problems).

      My suggestion of a decentralized generation system based on home sourced solar wasn’t taken well at all. He’d just come back from some big, important meeting in Geneva and I’d cracked a somewhat brazen joke about him having a meeting with his elk club buddies. After I’d finished talking on the subject, for his part, he did give me my chance to speak, he stood up, finished his beer and made fun of me by giving me a mock masonic handshake. He then cryptically told me:

      “Hitler was misunderstood,” Saying “You’ll probably end up working for us.”

      A little put off by his presumption and strange remarks, I lowered my eyebrows and shook my head.

      “You’re a very dangerous person,” was the last thing he said to me as he walked off.

      The year was 1992 and I was still in college. I later found out that this individual’s family was heavily involved in the Heritage Foundation and a number of interests directly working to block the adoption of renewable energy systems. It was a kind of epiphany for me then that, for renewable energy systems to succeed, not only would the technology have to become more competitive, but those individuals and related special interest groups standing in the way of their adoption would have to be roundly and summarily defeated.

      All on my own, there is absolutely no way I can effect the dismantling of fossil fuel infrastructure and its replacement. But I can be a part of that effort. And if enough people participate, we can win. Even more importantly, it is just one of many battles ahead that we ‘must’ win.

      Reply
  14. gerald spezio

     /  August 26, 2013

    St, Augustine for surfing???

    Are you part of Gator Nation?

    Reply
  1. Growth Shock Launch: “I Have a Confession to Make … We are in Trouble” | robertscribbler

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