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We Will Soon Be Using More Than The Earth Can Provide


We Will Soon Be Using More Than The Earth Can Provide

David Korten

Four days after President Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, the Global Footprint Network (GFN) reported that Earth Overshoot Day 2017 will fall on August 2. Most Americans likely have no idea what that means.


Considering the consensus among reputable demographers of continued human population growth to 9 billion, I’m not particularly optimistic.

Couple that with the oligarchy’s proven ability to limit policy reforms to non-binding, non-treaty window dressing like the Paris Accords, and I’d suggest that the only concrete steps toward sustainability will result from disaster, crisis, and chaos.

And by then, it’ll officially be too little, too late.

“The Anthropecene.” That term sounds scientific and benign.

But in light of the fact that it took 200,000 years for human population to reach 1 billion, but only 200 years for it to reach 7 billion, I prefer “outbreak.” That implies a disease event akin to cancer that spreads uncontrollably and takes an ugly toll on its host. You know, like this:


It is well known that a number of natural systems are in trouble. Particularly the oceans. Understanding the global situation with regard to natural systems seems particularly hard to grasp for many people, especially corporate executives in the fossil fuel industry, Republican politicians, viewers of Fox News, and listeners of Rush Limbaugh.


“It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.”
quote from “The Terminator”

Direct Democracy


Watch the last episode of “Vice” to see how happy Russians are about global warming.

Direct Democracy


Just another signpost on the way to mass extinction of this and probably most other species on this ball of rock. Does not have to be this way, but we have all the capacity for serious change that bacteria in a petri dish do. It can not be stopped.


i do not think it will be stopped. That’s based on my own lifetime of observation and analysis. But i think your analogy is false.

Humans do have the capacity to understand, and choose life. It can be stopped.

There are no, zero, none, bacteria in that petri dish with any awareness or choice. Millions of humans have awareness, and some do choose to live in closer harmony with the living systems of the Earth. The model exists, the opportunity exists, and the capacity exists.

Every person – in every family, community and society – in every organization, enterprise and institution – needs to understand the whole-systems reality of their existence and practice, and the material impact on the living systems of the Earth. And needs to change practices to be in harmony with these living systems.

i do not think the odds are good, at this point. But i continue to point out the whole-system facts, and call for every person and every organization to take up whole-systems accounting for the impacts.

If we build a growing mass of understanding and practice, and turn against war, and industrial agriculture, and industrial meat, and fossil fuels, and consumerism, and the limited-liability investor-owned corporation as the basic building block of the economy, and away from “the bottom line” of financial accounting – and if we turn toward humility, and agroecology, and permaculture, and “rewilding” of as much of the Earth as we can, and adopt whole-systems accounting for the ecological and social impacts of our practices ABOVE the financial “bottom line”, and vastly reduce long-distance travel by pavement and airplanes, etc. – we can live full, fulfilling lives AND have a good chance of restoring ecological stability, complexity and diversity to the living Earth.

i agree the odds are very slim at this point. The transformation of the economy and society needed to have begun following the publication of Silent Spring in 1962, or following Earth Day in 1971. But we are not mindless bacteria. We do have the capacity for understanding, and for practice.


“Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes.
Contestants in a suicidal race.” The Police-Synchronicity II.


Given our intellectual ability we should have the ability to change to sustainable behavior although perhaps some additional technological breakthroughs to improve recycling, limitations of batteries, etc are necessary. But besides human greed, and various ideologies that focus on the individual rather than the group and religious beliefs that are obstacles, the game theory concept of tragedy of the commons is important. From a personal point of view it makes sense to do nothing in order to serve self interest while reaping the benefits of others who do take action. In that way the problem will be solved without a cost to the individual. Of course if this view is widespread nothing gets done and ultimately everyone gets hurt as the commons collapses.


Most people find it easier to latch on to whatever groupthink that they feel most comfortable with, rather than applying critical thinking.

95 to 98% of US voters supporting corporate Democrats or corporate Republicans in recent elections confirms this.


Items 2 and 3 sum to Soylent Green, “it’s people.”


I consider it EXTREMELY important get front and center some HISTORICAL FACTS that have, just like so many “externalized costs” without which the current model of capitalism would never be permitted its rape of all life on earth.

Please add to the list:

  1. The rapacious PTSD fraught “colonists” ESCAPING the predations in Europe never got therapy. Ta da… witness the deadly consequences in American “civilization”.

  2. Having virtually wiped out the aggregate of millennial biological wisdom of “witches”, the dehumanizing / denaturalizing premises of dominator powers were applied with saturation certainty in the power structure in a constant narcissism of unresolved trauma

  3. The “church” of 15th century popes was as twisted and corrupt as they come, constantly struggling to overcome its self-inflicted shortcomings, finally settled on circumscribing the white male model of what it means to be a human being. See and ACTUALLY TRY READING one or two of the documents that are now part of US LAW!!! Think you understand the history of the plight of indigenous peoples? not till you grasp Doctrine of Discovery.

  4. Think there has ever been “virgin land” - think centuries of presumption about the Amazon Rainforest and the power aggregated by claiming ‘no mans land’ of any land occupied by peoples of the Christian faith.

Ever wonder why politicians lately advocate “think of the future”?

If we don’t learn from history - it will be repeated.


Great album (amd I did own the album, not a cd)


[quote=“SkepticTank, post:2, topic:42544”]
That implies a disease event akin to cancer that spreads uncontrollably and takes an ugly toll on its host.
[/quote] Yes, the human species has acted very much like a cancer but this is not an inherent quality of humans. Once the ignorance that blinds humans to the reality of our actions is wiped away from our collective minds, we can then perhaps live on Earth in better way, or not.


[quote=“webwalk, post:7, topic:42544”]
i do not think it will be stopped.
[/quote] Fatalism is a trap as there is always time to stop. However, the impetus for humanity to stop and change direction seems like it will have to come from the suffering experienced from a series of environmental cataclysms such as massive fires and storms or perhaps from widespread famine. Unfortunately, it looks like it will have to occur in the climate change denying nations for any possible change to occur. I wish this were not so.


Ditto. Bought my copy at Peaches not long after it was released.


An important issue not covered enough is soils

This is about a workshop in UK starting tomorrow.
“Rediscovering soils” workshop

Here is the announcement

Soils are reclaiming their place as the foundation of survival for humans and other than humans on a fragile earth. Relegated to the margins for decades by advances in agro-technologies, today soils are being attended to by farmers, environmentalists, and scientists alike. Diverse groups are reclaiming the importance of ‘dirt’ as the lynchpin of biotic and abiotic processes on which a variety of life depends. Soils are increasingly hailed as key to addressing current challenges to human and ecological flourishing, including agricultural productivity, anti-microbial resistance, climate change and availability and regulation of foundational processes such as clean water and air.

This ‘rediscovery’ of soils calls for a rethinking of conceptual and practical frameworks for knowing and acting in a more-than-human world that goes beyond scientific realms and traditional spaces of soil practices. As a result, scholars are giving renewed attention to soils and their fascinating characteristics: omnipresent but invisible; ancient yet constantly re-made; globally significant yet heterogeneous; mundane yet unknowable; indispensable but de-valued; deeply inter-related with human labour but simultaneously independent of it; kept locally but with global effects.

The workshop “Rediscovering soils: knowledge and care in the worlds of soil” engages with burgeoning scholarly attentions to soils, bridging across disciplinary, theoretical, and empirical boundaries. Bluntly put, none of us can, or should, go at this challenge alone. The current popular attention to soils and the intellectual soil renaissance provide an opportunity to re-address the distribution of expertise and responsibility, and find productive, scientifically robust, intellectually stimulating, and politically relevant ways of acting together. It is vital to build on the intellectual and practical legacy of scholarship in participative and inter-disciplinary ways to maximise the relevance and impact of research on soils in the social sciences, the humanities and natural sciences.

In this spirit, this two-and-a-half-day workshop will bring together a diverse community of established and early career scholars investigating soils from a variety of theoretical and empirical positions. Organised by researchers working across the social sciences and the humanities, this workshop sets soils on the agenda of the social sciences and the humanities, but does so by reaching across the social sciences/natural sciences divide. At the heart of this effort is a desire to establish a constructive, critical, empirically-grounded exchange about soil and scientific practice.

On the right hand side is a list of keynote speakers and below that is the list of all the speakers. Interesting summary of their topics on many aspects of soil and locations all over the world.


‘Climate change denying nations?’

Climate change spreads its effects across the globe. We who lower our carbon footprint will suffer alongside those who burned remorselessly. Native peoples in the Arctic are screwed right now, and they have a miniscule carbon footprint.

When cataclysms happen, they’ll go equal opportunity. The rich will try to hide–we’ll find them.


When cataclysms happen, they’ll go equal opportunity. The rich will try to hide–we’ll find them.

Look no further:


The Global economy ‘disempowers’ the lesser though no less fundamental economies of locale, city, county, state and nation yet use the most fuel/energy to conduct. Trump’s alliances are with international fossil fuel brokers who pay by staying in a Trump hotel.