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Lifeboat Earth

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/31/lifeboat-earth

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The lifeboat analogy is the only useful thing in this article and should be the guiding framing of our approach to how we interact with the environment, along with deep ecology principles.
Lifeboats have carrying capacity.
The human species has already far exceeded carrying capacity by approximately 5 BILLION people and is therefore killing the entire biosphere in a desperate attempt to supply the needs and desires of each human.
Universal, free, safe, legal, easy to access abortion, vasectomies, and contraceptives are a minimum if we’re serious about slowing down the anthropogenic mass extinction event we’re causing.
We also need a worldwide media-driven consensus discussion so all humans know that our species is murdering the only biosphere we’re sure exists in this universe, and that making new babies is the number one cause.
I know humans will never become ethical enough to restrain themselves, but at least we could have the discussion.
If you’re going to extinguish the entire biosphere, at least do it with full knowledge and unanimous consent. Right now, our murderous ways are on autopilot, and we cavalierly keep on breeding, consuming, and polluting.


Nature Sustainability
Published: 29 July 2019
China’s CO2 peak before 2030 implied from characteristics and growth of cities
“we project that emissions for China should peak at 13–16 GtCO2 yr−1 between 2021 and 2025, approximately 5–10 yr ahead of the current Paris target of 2030.”

pop item:

China is on track to meet its climate change goals nine years early
26 July 2019


Garret Hardin and his “tragedy of the commons” was a farce. It was subjective opinion based on his point of view that people sharing the Commons would ONLY ever have Self Interest in mind. He could and would not conceive of a world where they could work cooperatively this because Mr Hardin himself was motivated by self interest alone. This type of person can not imagine another way because they assume everyone thinks as they do.

This article does a far better job of debunking that essay than I can do but the fact remains that the Commons existed as a shared resource among multiple Civilizations for thousands of years and was not destroyed as Hardin claimed it MUST be.


The Tragedy of the Commons only applies to capitalistic societies it seems. And even then I would argue that it is possible to break through that. Or at the very least those in power manipulate the narrative in order to force a Tragedy of the Commons situation.

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Oh I think I much in agreement here. Capitalism and the concept of “Private Property” with which the owner can do as he or she wishes so as to enrich the self is much more dangerous to the environment then is the concept of all held in common.


From John Feffer’s article:

Those 1979 meetings began what Nathaniel Rich describes in his article (and now book) Losing Earth as the decade of missed opportunities in the fight against climate change. In 1989, diplomats from 60 countries finally gathered to pass a binding treaty on the subject. “Among scientists and world leaders, the sentiment was unanimous,” Rich writes. “Action had to be taken and the United States would need to lead. It didn’t.”

Here was a vivid early display of that first lifeboat scenario: much talk, no action.

I haven’t read Losing Earth – but the “missed opportunities” frame to describe climate talks in the 80’s obscures the culpability of those for whom the decade was a big victory. Such a forgive and forget way of thinking is not my thing. I’d rather consult less distorted history, like Spencer Weart’s Discovery of Global Warming, here describing the first report of the IPCC:

Under pressure from the industrial forces, and obeying the mandate to make only statements that virtually every knowledgeable scientist could endorse, the IPCC’s consensus statements were highly qualified and cautious. Even so, complete deadlock was avoided only by accepting the Working Groups’ summaries as they stood. The prestige of the scientists, as scientists, was strong enough to give the authors an effective veto power over attempts to water down statements until they were meaningless.

The result was not “mainstream” science so much as conservative, lowest-common-denominator science. The conclusions were neither the findings of scientific experts nor the political statements of governments – they were statements that the scientists agreed were scrupulously accurate and that the governments found politically acceptable. So when the IPCC finally announced its conclusions, they had solid credibility.

The dissonance, between more complete history and the distortions offered by John Feffer, is that USAmerica did not fail to lead in the 80’s. It forcefully compelled the world in the wrong direction. The reactionary, threadbare lifeboat analogy offered here – the false dichotomy of democratic discourse versus effective action – is a tissue of lies just as easy to tear apart. Too bad.


What a terrible analogy.
The earth does not dock and has nowhere to attach to
we are not piloting it to a destination where it will be safe because of location
This non inclusive, narrow mindset has numbed the planet into a self destructive safety zone where immediate action is not necessary. It is as if there is an alternative - one in an environmental sense and the other in a planetary one.

There is no alternative in either. There is no other life boat. We are not in an environment where a half solution will allow us to skirt by.

This complacency, - self-comforting-because-I-am- in- material -comfort - viewpoint has to be called out

I was not the only one whose jaw dropped (as a teenager) when told that
when we we made something of no consequence to our survival we simply dumped resulting toxins into the environment.

Into the only atmosphere, land and body of water.
And the article never once mentions the reasons for all this deterioration - Narcissism and money.


Anthropocene or Capitalocene?


Brilliant conclusion!

This a very good video. Thanks for the link. I have made a point of looking at the backgrounds of old pictures and videos to see the scope of environmental disaster in the past. It my opinion it grows faster and faster and is in step with the spread of Capitalism as basis of our economies. It is not linked as much to population growth as it is the Growth of Capitalism. They certainly both play a role but Capitalism is an exponential multiplier effect when it comes to environmental destruction and, added to that , Nature takes much longer to regenerate from this scale and type of destruction.

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That is a most enlightening essay from Ian Angus, thanks:

Hardin assumed that human nature is selfish and unchanging, and that society is just an assemblage of self-interested individuals who don’t care about the impact of their actions on the community. The same idea, explicitly or implicitly, is a fundamental component of mainstream (i.e., pro-capitalist) economic theory.

All the evidence (not to mention common sense) shows that this is absurd: people are social beings, and society is much more than the arithmetic sum of its members. Even capitalist society, which rewards the most anti-social behaviour, has not crushed human cooperation and solidarity. The very fact that for centuries “rational herdsmen” did not overgraze the commons disproves Hardin’s most fundamental assumptions — but that hasn’t stopped him or his disciples from erecting policy castles on foundations of sand.

Remember those cartoons skits where the characters would ride a lifeboat and holes would pop up, making the boat fill with water, and then the characters try but inevitably fail to scoop the water out? Yeah make half of those characters asleep or actively making additional holes and that is us as a species tackling the climate issue.