Dear Corluminous,

 

I entirely agree. We are all in the power of a nexus of power elites. This is epitomised by governments' support of nuclear power in the teeth of Fukushima, the most dire of warnings. Nuclear power takes power out of the hands of citizens.

It seems to me that key concepts for the future are sustainability and self-sufficiency. Individuals and states alike will need to become as independent of international and national power elites as possible. This will include a shift from agribusiness and monoculture to the polycultures of tradition.

A less technologically dependent existence is indicated with the hardships of older, traditional life-styles ameliorated by simpler, easily understood, easily repaired technological aids.

Empathy too is key. It can lead to compassion and a resistance to the madness of warmongering leaders.

 

Best wishes,

 

Jim.

----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Corluminous
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 7:00 PM
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization

I feel strongly that whilst those who at present appear to hold most power will do everything possible to retain that power, and that this impedes making changes that would benefit all societies, industrial and aboriginal alike, and is probably the biggest threat of all, that adaptation to climate changes where possible is not to be ignored.... it MUST be considered in depth, and honestly.

1. A shift from monoculture pharming builds in resilience, especially if it is largely towards perennial plants, whose roots go deeper, which means they can access and maintain water tables more efficiently than annuals. We know that perennial plants planted in diversity are also far less susceptible to failures due to 'pests', and that they can provide a wide range of foods.

So what if we have to live without so much wheat, bread, rice, sugar, etc.....? There are plenty of foods that could be produced and eaten without recourse to Pharming! There are myriad diets amongst the aboriginal peoples, ranging across a diversity of climates, diets that do not bring about the vast array of dietary related degenerative diseases our hospitals and health systems are now floundering under - diabetes, IBC, colon cancers, ulceration, trace element deficiencies, heart disease, etc etc......

Surely our health, the health of our children, their children and the environment is of more importance than our conditioned food tastes...?

The same applies to what is known as 'cradle to cradle' technology. This is a means by which the use of toxic chemicals can be reduced, rapidly, and by which most industrial processes can be transformed such that they become truly nurturant.

2. Adaptation is essentially the ability to take in information on the nature of the changes in the environment, and then to respond accurately to those changes..... at the cellular, bacterial and fungal level this involves altering the internal bio-chemistry in ways that metabolise the 'new' to maintain life's nutrient flows...

That the prevailing ideology refuses to acknowledge this as an intelligent process is yet another part of the problem of Power, because it is Power that conditions us all, to think we are somehow 'superior' to all that from which we have emerged. Be aware that we are 99% bacterial, physiologically.

3. Empathy - the ability to discern the content of the other, and it's meaning -  is and always will be the most essential quality of any given human society in terms of it's willingness to look after each other, and to connect with the environment - and all who dwell therein - at a visceral level, a level of meaning much, much deeper than mere intellect or words can describe.  It is an a priori element of being.

It should be blatantly obvious to all serious explorers of this life that empathy is biologically mandated and is the single biggest threat to any hierarchical power system. To omit the vast research on empathy as a biological quality from any of the analyses currently floating around is staggering, yet far too common.

4. In the end, it is not a technological transformation of the climate that will prevail, but a deep and abiding change to how our society BEHAVES, because it is the BEHAVIOUR that is driving the adverse situations : war, corporate greed, religiosity, fear...

I have long pointed out that all the proposed techno-fixes WITHOUT a deep seated change that recognises the un-natural dysfunctionality of those four horse men of the apocalypse -
war, corporate greed, religiosity, fear.based action  - who happen to be the main drivers of the Industrial Empire Logic Society will not deliver the future our children will thank us for.
 
Kindest regards

Corneilius


www.dwylcorneilius.blogspot.com


"do what you love it's your gift to the universe!"


note : if you do not wish to receive further emails from [log in to unmask] please reply with blank email and "remove me" in the subject field.

From: "Barker, Tom" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, 15 November 2011, 11:48
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization

Agree. Positive feedbacks are already occurring. It will be impossible to keep a rise to 4 degrees even if that were comfortable.
 
From: Discussion list for the Crisis Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Christopher Shaw
Sent: 15 November 2011 11:39
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization
 
I have really enjoyed this debate, and only wish I have been able to contribute more. I would like to add to Tom’s disquiet about the belief that climate change can be adapted to. Obviously the question is about what level of warming, what speed, what adaptation means and who can do the adapting. I think the idea of adaptation is a lie which serves the desire of elites to carry on with business as usual. Currently the thinking is to plan for 4 degrees of warming. Such a proposal assumes it is possible to plan for 4 degrees. I see little evidence of effective planning for the current 0.8 degrees of warming, a sentiment I am sure would be shared, if they were alive, by the 30,000 plus who dies in the 2003 European heatwave.
 
I take this as the definitive statement on climate change policy and notions of adaptability
 
‘Calculations surrounding our ability to survive in a dramatically altered natural world are presented rationally so as to deny the irrationality of the actions generating the crisis’ (Ross, 1991: 136).
 
Chris
 
P.S Good idea on the photos Alastair.
From: Discussion list for the Crisis Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alastair McIntosh
Sent: 15 November 2011 11:21
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization
 
Re the speed of things, here’s an interesting one from the BBC today about UK fruit trees ripening 18 days earlier than baseline:
 
 
I take screenshots of pages like this these days (shift/PrtScr on a PC, and then paste into Word or Powerpoint) and they make handy slides for showing in talks.
 
A
 
From: Discussion list for the Crisis Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Barker, Tom
Sent: 15 November 2011 11:16
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization
 
Careful. It might be more rapid than climate change but it is not certain at all whereas climate change is definite, progressive, maybe exponential and is likely to result in sudden and unsurvivable environmental change.  If you really, honestly, think that life can adapt to it, I suggest you read up on the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, when life had up to 20,000 years to adapt.  While you are at it, read The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (teebweb.org) to see if you still think we can do without diverse and plentiful species. Relying on adaptation is wasting your brain power, and furthermore walks into the traps of the denialists.
Tom
 
From: Discussion list for the Crisis Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jim McCluskey
Sent: 14 November 2011 15:45
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization
 
Yes. It is a much greater threat than global warming since it could decimate our species in a matter of hours and the instruments for doing so are kept in place by the power elites.
 
Of course, it is necessary to resist global warming as well. At the same time it is worth our being aware that if the fight against global warming is to include a support for nuclear power (Lovelock and Monbiot) we will be worsening the nuclear weapons threat since it spreads the ability to manufacture fissile material.  And the nuclear lobby is enjoying a resurgence in spite of Fukushima thanks to the wealth of  the industry and the drive of governments to centralise ‘power’ and keep it well clear of the control of citizens.
 
Regards,
 
Jim. .
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Corluminous
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Jim McCluskey ; [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 1:40 PM
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization
 
Jim,
 
I forgot to comment on your article.

It's accurate, well written (not a word wasted) and clear, and to my mind reveals a far bigger threat than climate change, in that one can adapt to climate change (nature does it all the time) but one cannot adapt to a Nuclear Armageddon....   and in that the potential for an utter nightmare is merely minutes away at all times....

it's that kind of stark reality check that needs voicing, again and again...
 
Kindest regards
Corneilius
 
www.dwylcorneilius.blogspot.com
 
"do what you love it's your gift to the universe!"
 
 
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From: Jim McCluskey <[log in to unmask]>
To: Corluminous <[log in to unmask]>; [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, 14 November 2011, 11:52
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization

Dear Cornelius,
 
I agree with your analysis. I would add that it is necessary to inform the present adult population, about the threats which face us, as well as young people. One way of doing this is by writing for popular web sites. I attach an article which I published a while ago in this way.
 
Which Don Robertson is your quote from?
 
Best wishes,
 
Jim.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Corluminous
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 3:06 PM
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization
 
"The presently-effective responses of the Human Species to global warming by and large display the virtual paralysis of an immature "organism", that is unwilling and incapable of recognizing the real long-term threat it faces.

How can we shift social responses from one paradigm to the other?"

I agree with this.

It appears to me that 'the crisis' is most often seen in terms of the symptoms, and the resolution in terms of symptom management.

What I have learned from 30 years of psychology and health experience is that treating symptoms leads to a temporary relief, followed by the onset of deeper and more adverse pathologies.... "History repeats itself" is that old unexamined saw that alludes to this truth without submitting it to a critical analysis, and tends to encourage such repetitions as 'the way it is'

Thus there is a need to get to the roots of the underlying psyche that generates the problems, if long term resolution is to be the aim.

Two quotes help identify the drivers of this, from my perspective:
"The moral imperative of life is to live a life that detracts not at all from the lives available to all those who will follow us into this world"
Don Robertson
"It helps if you become your own best friend and find out what is true about all this for yourself."
Stephen Harrod Buhner
 


For my part, I feel strongly that the underlying psyche of the need for coercive control, the urge to power, needs to be understood.

This video explores the basic dynamics of the loss of self empathy, and how that leads to the urge to power.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xVuHo_VabE

I submit it for your attention, and consideration.

Furthermore, I would say this: Participative Democracy is one of the oldest, and most effective modes of self governance. There are many examples of this in the anthropological record. Tony Hall refers to some of these in his recent book "Earth into Property" and notes that in North America, the variants of this found in the Aboriginal Societies, and in particular, The Great Peace (Law), of the Mohawk Longhouse League had profound affects on the intial urge to separate from Great Britain and France...

Participative Democracy cannot emerge unless all our children have the experiential of how it works.

A description of the psychological and practical elements of a genuinely Participative Democractic Education FOR children, what it REALLY means in 7 easy to grasp points :

http://dwylcorneilius.blogspot.com/2011/10/perfect-description-of-participative.html

A great example, with nearly 50 years of continuous practice, is SUDBURY VALLEY SCHOOL.

http://www.sudval.org/
 
Kindest regards
Corneilius
 
www.dwylcorneilius.blogspot.com
 
"do what you love it's your gift to the universe!"
 
 
note : if you do not wish to receive further emails from [log in to unmask] please reply with blank email and "remove me" in the subject field.

From: Brian Orr <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, 10 November 2011, 14:51
Subject: Re: The dangerous reality of climate change - what we can do about it, and our new film, The Crisis of Civilization
Dear Nafeez,
 
I'm afraid I don't accept the analysis embedded in your last paragraph. The 'elite', including the political elite, are not entirely stupid. I'm sure many of them have a fairly firm grasp of the physical realities of climate change - they do have access to many of the best brains in the business and even if the advice they get from such is couched in very cautious terms, the politicians and leaders of the corporations won't be deceived* - although they will appreciate the wiggle-room afforded by the scientists' caution.
 
But they are trapped on the back of a tiger - in the shape of years of promises that life will only get better for everybody, underscored by the advertising industry and paid for by the corporations. Any way of dealing with the environmental/climate change crisis that allows business as usual to continue will have enormous appeal to the majority enjoying their hegemony - including the elite in China.
 
Sold in the right way, geoengineering is the 'get-out-of-jail-free card' they are all looking for. It will have to be demonstrably workable, relatively inexpensive (under 2% of Gross Global Product???) and having a low risk of unfortunate consequences. (The elite don't want to die prematurely and they want to keep their positions and not hung from lamp-posts.)
 
There's no real catch 22 lurking here.
 
The real catch 22 is can we risk having the elite taking control of a new toy that is even more dangerous than the current industrio-military complex they now have to play with - whilst registering that it is only the elite that have the authority and resources to bring the geoengineering solutions into the arena in the first place?
 
Brian Orr
 
*World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns yesterday!
 
On 10 Nov 2011, at 13:02, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed wrote:
 
Hi everyone,
 
It would seem to me that the parameters of this debate are becoming clear. Analysis of current trends provides overwhelming evidence that we are either at, or may well have already breached the tipping point on climate change. We are well set on the path toward a rise in global average temperatures of around 4C by mid-century (heading toward as much as 8C if not higher by the end), let alone the disingenuous “2 degree limit” our governments pontificate about in public while collaborating to make the situation far worse in private.
 
Simultaneously, for the last six years world oil production has been flat. Instead of vindicating the futility of industrial civilization’s over-dependence on fossil fuel resources, the spectre of the end of the age of cheap conventional oil is driving a manic bid to continue business-as-usual by diversifying the kinds of fossil fuels we use, with greater investments in natural gas, coal, and worst of all, oil shale and tar sands – whose carbon output despite its miniscule EROI is magnitudes higher than that of conventional oil. We are also seeing a focus from governments on nuclear energy, even though uranium production is likely to peak within the next three decades (and thorium though available in abundance is dependent on uranium to secure the chain reaction); has serious EROI issues; and retains a relatively high carbon output to boot.
 
The climate crisis arises indelibly from the totality of our relationships with one another, and with nature – the very nature of our civilization, its ideology of nature and life, its value system, how these are inherently linked to its socio-political, economic and cultural forms. We are already seeing the death-throes of this overarching civilizational form in the form of multiple converging symptomatic crises - the global financial crisis, the global water crisis, the global food crisis, the crisis of terror, war & militarization.
 
Amidst this maelstrom of civilizational crisis, we are also witnessing a number of quite unexpected phenomena – the Arab spring in the Middle East, where popular outrage and resistance toppled the rule of two long-standing dictators friendly to Western interests, and where struggle now continues with immense work still to be done, but a new civic public consciousness growing fast; the Occupy Wall Street protest, which has spiralled into a decentralised global protest movement, the likes of which have not been seen before (there have of course been past parallels, but the global Occupy movement is distinctive in that it is genuinely leaderless and spontaneous). These two phenomena already are facing immense challenges in the form of the increasing militarization of state-power and the tendency to securitize every perceived challenge to state-power, that Steve rightly observes seems to be the primary way the powers-that-be are responding.
 
But it would seem to me that these phenomena are symptoms of the other dimension to this crisis hinted at by Alastair – that we are not simply facing a process of civilizational collapse, but are also undergoing a process of civilizational transition, the outcome of which remains to be seen. We can debate how far gone we already are in terms of ecological apocalypse – admittedly, I do lean toward the view, noted by Graham, that there is a great deal of credible evidence that a catastrophe is already inevitable. That of course remains a matter of debate, and there are uncertainties that might give us leeway. Either way, catastrophe is quite literally in the pipeline on a business-as-usual scenario, and doing nothing is simply not an option. 
 
Faced with this stark reality, it would seem to me that it would be a grave mistake to simply reject geo-engineering approaches as one option that should be seriously investigated. The argument that we should reject geo-engineering simply because it implies more use of interventionist, instrumentalist human industrial technology, which is precisely what got us into this mess, is compelling. However, it overlooks how deep we are into this crisis, and I think the evidence for the inevitability of catastrophe due to positive-feedbacks already underway is overwhelming. John Nissen is right, and so is Torsten, when they point out the evidence that we are most likely past the tipping point on dangerous global warming at current concentrations (about 445ppm), and we really need to remove carbon from the atmosphere to avoid devastating eco-system collapses that could lead to runaway warming. So I don’t see very strong grounds to remove geo-engineering from the debate as utterly impossible to consider. That position can only come from a lack of appreciation for the scale and gravity of our current ecological predicament.
 
Having said that, the reality is that it’s far from proven beyond doubt that geo-engineering solutions exist which won’t have their own negative environmental effects. The literature is replete with debate about every possible geo-engineering technofix under the sun, so the conclusion that more research is needed to close up the areas of uncertainty as much as possible, is clearly urgent.  Even if that is done, and perhaps there are specific technologies where it has been, the problem that Nissen, respectfully, just doesn’t seem to get, is that the reason governments and policymakers and so on are unwilling to act on climate change, let alone consider issues like geo-engineering, is not purely a psychological phobia of death. It is due to the socio-political and economic system in which policymakers operate, the short-term material interests which this system elevates, the reductionist ideology that this system presumes to be an accurate vision of life and reality, and the corresponding capitalist/consumerist value-system that follows from this vision. The bitter irony of our predicament is this – without fundamentally transforming the defunct political structures which are embedded in this dysfunctional civilizational complex, we will never get our politicians or anyone in power to take seriously not just the idea of measured, careful environmentally-sensitive geo-engineering (assuming this is possible), but the necessity for fundamental social structural transformation in pursuit of more sustainable and equitable civilizational models.
 
This, of course, appears to be a Catch-22. 
 
The other issue of course is that recognising the possibility that geo-engineering might be necessary for species survival in no way obviates the wider recognition that fundamental social structural transformation remains necessary to ensure a civilization that is capable of functioning in harmony and parity with its environment, rather than in an exploitative and ultimately self-destructive relationship. Either way, the question of civilizational transition is forefronted.
This gets me back to Alastair’s insightful framing of our predicament as an opportunity, I agree with this. For the first time in human history, we face a civilizational crisis of truly planetary proportions. With it we are witnessing the self-destruction and decline of an exploitative, regressive and harmful industrial civilizational form within the next few decades, and certainly well within this century. Simultaneously, this process of decline brings with it a real danger of species extinction; yet a danger that, I think, most of us agree is not yet written in stone. Yet.
 
So we also now have a historic opportunity, as this regressive civilizational form undergoes its protracted collapse, to push for alternative ways of living, doing and being – economically, politically, culturally, ethically, even spiritually – which are far more conducive to human prosperity and well-being than hitherto imaginable. So this is, also, an unprecedented opportunity, and the scale of the opportunity I think is manifest in the kinds of spontaneous outbursts of popular resistance we have seen across the world in the last year, outbursts which could be incredibly powerful and transforming IF they were directed in the right way.
 
Compared to ten or twenty years ago, public opinion has converged massively. The majority are now sceptical of the Iraq War; and a slimmer majority want troops out of Afghanistan; everybody hates the banks; most people are now aware of ‘green’ issues, more than ever before, even if many remain confused by corporate media promulgation of absurd ‘sceptic’ (non)arguments; most people are wary of conventional party politics and disillusioned with the mainstream parliamentary system, due to the continuation of scandal after scandal. In other words, on a whole range of issues, there has been a massive popular shift in public opinion toward a progressive critique of the current system. It is, of course, largely subliminal, not carefully worked out, and I’m probably overstating the case a little anyway – but it has happened. This, for me, is the evidence of humanity’s capacity to overcome what we’re facing.
People are increasingly fed-up and disillusioned with existing socio-political and economic structures, and they are hungry for alternatives. Yet they see none readily available, remain somewhat confused about why we're in this mess and who exactly is responsible, and this gives them limited options beyond simply occupying public space in an effort to, somehow, reclaim power.
 
In my view, the way forward is this:
1)      We need to popularise our discourse on the diagnosis. The discourse that we have developed here, the ideas, the change of consciousness that comes with it, needs to be disseminated as widely as possible. The greater the dissemination, the greater the shift in consciousness, and the more organised and focused the work and direction of protestors and activists. Only by popularising the discourse can we, in my view, effect sufficient pressure on the system to begin soliciting systemic change.
2)      We also need to develop the discourse further by developing a meaningful prognosis, and with it, a coherent alternative framework of action – we, and certainly I, have a penchant for delving into the nature of the problem ad nauseum. We need to go beyond this, work concertedly to demonstrate the efficacy and potential superiority of alternative social, political, economic, cultural, and ethical models of life. Not only do we need to develop our thinking and action on this, we need to show-case it and popularise it too.
3)      We also need to develop ways to enact the discourse, to implement the ideas, here and now, rather than simply waiting for power to catch-up, wake-up and listen – which, it probably won’t. The Transition Town model is one, but only one, way we could do this. In any case, we need to find ways to empower communities to actually embark on that transition process, to facilitate people pooling their collective resources and changing their lives for the better now. Transition is definitely a leading example of this, but I think more needs to be done to show-case the work being done, but we need to go beyond that too, to start thinking about concrete transformative actions, that are viable and accessible for average people, that can allow them to start going off-grid, growing their own food, and working together to create resilient local economies. Specifically, we need to find ways to make Transition far less bourgeoisie - it is currently largely irrelevant to the vast majority of working class people in this country, and even less relevant to ethnic minorities who tend to be the most marginalised. The challenge is how to make models like Transition meaningful where they really count - where unemployment is high, where young people are vulnerable to crime, and where opportunities for social mobility seem slim. Until we do that, Transition will remain irrelevant to wider social movements such as Occupy.
4)      Simultaneously, we do need to continue to use gains made in these areas to lobby the establishment. By popularising the discourse, and the implementation of the discourse in concrete social changes at community level, it will become increasingly difficult for power to not take notice. At this point, there is a possibility, even if a slim one, of effecting political change.
As scholars, scientists, activists and, in effect, ‘leaders’ (and I don’t mean that in a traditional top-down sense, but in terms of simply people who are taking a stand and doing something about the crisis, what we can, within our means), we have a responsibility to link-up and communicate with the emerging protest movements around the world, and to help increase their understanding of what is at stake, and what needs to be done. It is imperative, in other words, that we step down from our ivory towers and find innovative ways to communicate to the public. I really appreciate what Nicholas Maxwell has spoken about repeatedly here, on that note - the need for academia to be focused on development of wisdom about how to actually live life, not simply to maximise 'knowledge'. We cannot underestimate how critically important it is for us, people on this Forum, to find ways to communicate and disseminate our work outside of the academy. Focusing on communication and community education may well open up novel opportunities for funding as well outside the traditional academic institutions like the ESRC etc., although to my mind, the important thing is not to agonise about funding but to get on with acting, while we're still alive and able.
 
Right now, the Occupy movement represents a fantastic outburst of legitimate public anger against what are, in reality, fundamental systemic failures. It is imperative to ensure these popular energies develop the right diagnosis of our predicament, so that they can be pointed in the right direction – not simply at the 1 per cent, but at the system which enables the 1 per cent to exist in such parasitical fashion, and which thus enables the dysfunctional pathway on which we are now set, and of which economic and financial crisis is merely one symptom.
 
I wrote my last book, "A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It" (Pluto/Macmillan, 2010), as an attempt to develop a holistic and systemic diagnosis of the problem, because one can’t develop meaningful solutions without really understanding the problem. It offers a prognosis and the basic conceptual outlines of an alternative civilizational model. I’m plan to start work on a second book which will attempt to elaborate on the question of alternatives. In both cases, the idea is not to say something radically new, but rather to bring together research in multiple fields into a single framework of understanding. I think I’ve only generated a step forward in that direction, and much more work needs to be done. It would be great to see how we Forumers could explore ways that we could begin to bridge up disciplines.
 
On the basis of the book, as I informed the Forum a while ago, we have made a feature-length documentary film, "The Crisis of Civilization". You can learn more about the film, how it was made, and watch the trailer on our website at www.crisisofcivilization.com. The film is now finished, and we’re in the process of getting it out there. The world premiere of the film took place in October in Graz, Austria, at the Elevate Festival, and we just had our UK premiere at the Leeds International Film Festival last week. We’ve also just sent out notice of our Gala London premiere which will take place in the form of 2 screenings over 2 days, at the Whirledart Cinema near Brixton (http://www.whirledart.co.uk/cinema), on 29th/30th Nov, 7pm. The screenings are free and open to all, so you’re all most welcome to come and bring friends/family – however, demand is very high and is already getting booked up pretty fast, so if you do want to come, it’s best to book your seat asap by RSVP-ing at [log in to unmask]. It would be really nice to meet some of you there, as I think you would all see the film as a potentially very powerful educational tool.
 
We see the film as a way of communicating the findings of the book to a wider audience, and particularly of getting the message out to activists working in very different areas, to encourage them to start talking to each other and working together to develop more joined-up ways of activism in pursuit of more concrete goals for social change. We really believe that this is a film that could have a strong, positive catalysing effect on the social movements that are now emerging. As such, we’re encouraging anyone who wants to screen it in their own community, university, etc. to just get in touch with us and we can work with you to make it happen very easily.
 
I recall a number of you got in touch with me just under a year ago when we were still producing the film to ask about organising screenings – if you’re still interested in doing so, or if anyone else is interested, please do get in touch with us on [log in to unmask]. We will be essentially looking to start community/public screenings outside London next year, but if you’re based in London and want to organise a screening, there’s a chance we could get it done sometime in December.
 
Apart from the film and other things, I'm really keen to explore creative ways to not just communicate academic research to the public, but to also communicate effectively to policymakers. I set up the IPRD to do that, but have never had the time to really make it happen beyond a few small things. I'm not bothered about the vehicle, but I think we need to do something here more effectively, and it seems to me that there's more than enough expertise on this Forum to provide scientific credibility - we simply need to think about how to harness this expertise in a way that we can talk to the right people involved in policy. I wonder if perhaps we can see the Crisis Forum doing this, or if we can imagine new partnerships and collaborations that could help us to start reaching out to policymakers more concertedly.
 
Many thanks
Nafeez
 
-- 
Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed M.A. D.Phil (Sussex)

Executive Director
Institute for Policy Research & Development
Suite 301, 20 Harewood Avenue
London NW1 6JX
Mob: +44(0) 7824 44 10 44
http://www.iprd.org.uk

Read my blog, The Cutting Edge
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Latest book: A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (Pluto Press / Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
 
 
 
 
On 10 November 2011 11:12, Omega Institute <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
hi Torsten,
Even more excellent. You are clearly stating the reality, we have all faced, up until now.
Graham Ennis
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Torsten Mark Kowal
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:48 AM
Subject: Re: The dangerous limits of dangerous limits
 
Forumers:

My output yesterday midday was not as impressive as it could've been, given that I sent the message without completing it....

How I meant to conclude was by re-stating the construction from Climate Code Red (on page 64) of the opposing or contrasting attributes of societies that are defective versus healthy, in psychological and social terms. This is what I referred to (in a post about 6 weeks ago if you recall) as the level of "pyscho-social maturity" of people within societies and their institutions, that are capable of facing fully the challenge of stopping GHG emissions and bringing atmospheric concentrations down to safe levels.

The collective lunacy of American Republican candidates for the US Presidency chimes strongly with the immaturity of some attitudes in China that are evident in the astonishing report from Oliver Tickell "concerning China’s outrageous threat to vent huge quantities of super greenhouse gases into the atmosphere unless other nations pay it what amounts to a climate ransom of billions". How this peculiar "abatement industry" has developed, and is now taking the turn towards actual deliberate release of CFCs (if the CDM's financial taps are turned off) is literally mind-numbing http://www.eia-international.org/china-threat-to-vent-super-greenhouse-gases-in-bid-to-extort-billions .

I have taken the short descriptions from Page 64 of Climate Code Red, and expanded these, based on my judgement. 
Normal “political paralysis” and immature mode (when crises are constrained within business-as-usual mode)
·         Spin, denial and “politics as usual” dominate the debate, with the evidence-base from science downplayed and mis-stated
·         Crisis is not perceived as an urgent threat but characterised as not yet serious enough to justify what are seen as costly mitigation actions
·         Time of response is seen as not important; "it can always be tackled later"
·         Crisis is seen as one of many issues, not as existential for the human species in the long term
·         Normal development of labour markets are seen as the only option for developing and supplying the human resources to manage the problem
·         Budgetary “restraint” is always highlighted as an imperative in resource allocation decisions
·         Communities and markets expected and managed to function as usual; only weak and ineffective incentives to foster change are put in place
·         Slow rate of change, due to systemic inertia, lack of synergy and unresolved conflicts between the media, the political classes, electorates, scientists, civil society, the public sector and businesses
·         "Market needs" dominate thinking and response choices - "trading away" the problem is seen as the acceptable option
·         Targets and goals are determined by political tradeoffs; and are not based on effective internalisation of the policy implications of findings from science
·         Culture of compromise in which lowest common denominators usually win out
·         Lack of political and national leadership, adversarial politics in which manipulation of information prevails over honesty
·         Ethical and value systems prioritise gratification of the wants of present generations and immediate constituencies, arguing that if problems occur, future adaptation will suffice  
Emergency "mature" mode (when societies engage productively with crises — not in panic mode)
·         All actors assess the situation with brutal honesty, seeking out early new information and acting on it; maximizing the efficient exposure of that information to their policy constituencies
·         Crisis is visualized as a threat to life, health, property or environment according to real levels of vulnerability (degree of exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity)
·         Crisis is understood to feature a high probability of escalation beyond control if corrective actions are not taken, implying the consistent application of the strong precautionary principle during policy-making
·         Speed of response seen as crucial, due to the effective internalisation of future costs into present day calculations (not the use of standard discounting)
·         Highest priority is assigned to problem-solving in all areas of low-carbon development
·         Emergency project teams and labour planning are seen as imperative to manage the ambitious projects that are required to respond quickly, at the scale of the problem
·         Decisions are taken globally by all past and current contributors to the problem, to devote major volumes of resources, borrowing heavily if necessary, even if this imposes current costs
·         Non-essential functions and consumption may be curtailed or rationed in order to apply resources to the major social and economic changes needed
·         Rapid transition, and scaling up, is built into all the programmes that show results in stimulating real mitigation of, and adaptation to, the crisis
·         In-depth planning and the fostering of green innovation is heavily prioritized and resourced
·         Targets and goals are not compromised, but seen as mandatory obligations to be fulfilled 
·         "Failure is not an option" is taken as the ongoing maxim for all efforts
·         Heroic leadership and bipartisanship are shown in all areas of society and economy, by successfully applying long-term thinking and positive vision to overcoming critical problems
·         Ethics and values are based on concern for the critical impacts on future generations; and current damages to exposed populations with limited ability to adapt
The presently-effective responses of the Human Species to global warming by and large display the virtual paralysis of an immature "organism", that is unwilling and incapable of recognizing the real long-term threat it faces.

How can we shift social responses from one paradigm to the other?

I attach a presentation made by a colleague Dr Richard Pagett on the subject of the Big Society - Securing the future, that develops the Big Picture from other angles, and asks if Big Society thinking under current UK government, really can contribute to solving all these problems, at scales large and small.

Kindest regards,

Mark Kowal
 

 
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