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The Ecological Crisis

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Title: The Ecological Crisis


1
The Ecological Crisis
  • Social Ecology World Sustainability
  • Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D.

2
Paradigm Theory Robert Kuhn
  • Cultural Groups Develop insider views of the
    world
  • shared sets of assumptions,
  • jargon,
  • definitions,
  • Methods
  • Paradigms cause
  • Insiders to see the world similarly and
  • Outsiders to see the world differently

3
PARADIGM CHANGE
Modernity J Curve
Paradigm Shift
4
Raising the Alarm in the 1960s
  • Murray Bookchin (aka Lewis Herbert) Our Synthetic
    Environment, 1962
  • to suggest that pesticides, food additives,
    chemicalized agriculture, burgeoning urbanization
    and nuclear energy were harmful was regarded not
    merely as reactionary but as a national heresy
    given the sentiment characteristic of the
    country as a whole---the equating of progress
    with mindless growth and the technocratic ideal
    of progress above all.

5
Raising the Alarm in the 1960s
  • Rachel Carson Our Silent Spring 1962
  • the controversy that exploded around Rachel
    Carsons book.highlights the extent to which
    American public opinion, orchestrated by
    corporate interests and government agencies,
    adhered to a grow or die economic mentality and
    a domineering attitude toward the natural world.
    Bookchin, X11

6
Carson vs Modern Paradigm
  • the question is whether any civilization
    can wage a relentless war on life without
    destroying itself and without losing the right to
    be called a civilization p99.The control of
    nature is a phrase conceived in arrogancewhen
    it was supposed that nature exists for the
    convenience of man. and a Neanderthal science,
    in turning its weapons against insects, has also
    turned them against the earth 297.

7
Criticism of Carson
  • Miss Rachel Carson's reference to the
    selfishness of insecticide manufacturers probably
    reflects her Communist sympathies, like a lot of
    our writers these days. We can live without birds
    and animals, but, as the current market slump
    shows, we cannot live without business. As for
    insects, isn't it just like a woman to be scared
    to death of a few little bugs! As long as we have
    the H-bomb everything will be O.K. P.S. She's
    probably a peace-nut too.

8
Criticism of Carson
  • The National Agricultural Chemicals Association
    spent over 250,000 on PR firm to malign book and
    author.
  • President of the Montrose Chemical Corporation,
    DDT manufacturer Carson wrote not "as a
    scientist but rather as a fanatic defender of the
    cult of the balance of nature."
  • Velsicol threatened to sue Houghton-Mifflin
    Audubon and New Yorker also threatened.

9
Rachel Carsons Meta Connections
  • Biomagnification
  • Ecological Integrity Damaged
  • Human Health Impacts
  • Human Caused Impacts
  • Synthetic Society
  • Paradigm Challenge

10
Progression of Anomaly Recognition
  • Synthetic Environment (Carson, 1962, Bookchin,
    1962)
  • NEPA, CWA and CAA, FIFRA, TSCA (1970 and circa)
  • CERCLA 1980--- PRP polluter pays
  • Contaminated Communities (Edelstein, 1988,2004)
  • Our Stolen Future (Theo Colborn et al, 1997)
  • Living Downstream (Steingrabber, 1997)
  • End of Nature (McKibben, 1999)
  • IPCC
  • Anthropocene (Crutzen and Stoermer, 2000)

11
http//vimeo.com/55073825
12
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13
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14
Systems Theory
  • Von Bertalanffy
  • General Systems Theory

Throughput
output
input
Through-put
SYSTEM CLOSED OR OPEN
15
Limits to Growth 1972The Club of Rome
  • The world first confronts the reality that
    resources limits constrain growth
  • Club of Rome---an international organization of
    scholars, industrialists and scientists from 25
    nations http//www.clubofrome.org/ ---
  • funded Dennis and Donella Meadows to run a
    computer model projecting conditions in 2100 from
    known data from 1900-1970.

16
The World ModelJay Forrester MIT
  • Model complex systems and project outcomes given
    specified assumptions
  • Overcome humans limited ability to handle
    complexity and large number of variables.
  • Example of simple linear extrapolation
  • Herman Kahn The Year 2000 (Hudson Institute)
    failed to anticipate energy, pollution or
    population problems. Assumed economic and
    technological growth would handle all problems.

17
Modeling Complex Systems Cont.
  • Complex systems have multiple feedback loops
  • Short run, linear decision making fails to
    anticipate unexpected results ex. Iron rule of
    highways.
  • Each variable affects all
  • Synergistic interactions 2 2 5 ex. Drug
    interactions
  • Time Delay ex. Ozone hole, climate change

18
Buckminister FullerMake the world work, for
100 of humanity, in the shortest possible time,
through spontaneous cooperation, without
ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.
  • Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth 1963
  • Dymaxion and Geodesic Dome
  • http//www.hearingvoices.com/webwork/bucky/fuller3
    .htmlbotleft

http//www.bfi.org/
19
Forrester Assumed that Social Systems
  • Engage in counterintuitive behavior
  • Welfare of system contradicted by subsystems with
    different goals
  • The actions of one subsystem affect all
  • Short term improvements conflict with long term
    perspectives because invariably lead to
    degradation
  • Insensitive to policy changes intended to change
    the systems behavior.

20
System Dynamic Computer Modeling
  • Assume key variables, trends and weighting of
    factors plus interactive factors.
  • Use mathematical equations to simulate multiple
    interactions and non-linear relations among
    variables.
  • Clearly specify assumptions. Can change as new
    information comes to light.
  • Test different scenarios.
  • Not predicting the future. Project current trends
    to see consequences and allow for correction.

21
5 Key Variables Dynamically Interacted
  • Population
  • Pollution
  • Natural Resources
  • Industrial Output per capita
  • Food per capita

22
Limitations
  • Examples
  • Omitted many types of pollution and focused only
    on long lived types.
  • Resources lumped all together.
  • Assume resources last 250 years at 1970 use rates.

23
6 Major Assumptions
  • Finite stock of exploitable, non-renewable
    resources
  • Finite amount of land to grow food
  • Finite capacity of environment to absorb
    pollution
  • Technological change is incremental assuming
    money and environmental technology to allow.
  • Finite yield of food from any unit of arable land
  • 6..

24
Thomas Malthus
  • 1798 Malthus published On Population.
  • Imbalance between population and resources is
    inevitable because
  • Food increases arithmetically
  • Population increases geometrically
  • God created a world in which the power of the
    eater to reproduce himself is of a superior order
    than that of the earth to produce food because
    fear of starvation stimulates men to be
    industrious.

25
Assumptions Continued
  • 6. Exponential growth of population, pollution
    and industrial output as long as resources and
    their interaction permit.
  • Ex. World Population is increasing at 1.7 -1.8.
  • Population increased more than 6x in 200 years.
  • http//www.poodwaddle.com/Stats/

26
World Population (billions)
6.5 billion in 2005
4 billion in 1975
2 billion in 1920
1 billion in 1800
Source UN Population Division 2004 Lee, 2003
Population Reference Bureau
27
Exponential Growth
  • When a quantity changes exponentially, its value
    will double (or halve) in regular time intervals.
  • The time it takes to double depends on the annual
    percent of growth. You calculate doubling time by
    dividing this annual growth rate into 70.
  • Doubling time in years 70/growth rate or
    70/1.839 years.

28
World GDP (trillion 1990 dollars)
52 trillion in 2003
10 trillion in 1967
1 trillion in 1900
Source DeLong 1998
29
Overshoot Crash
S curve
crash
30
Phantom Capacity Overshoot
  • Catton carrying capacity illusions x reality

cc
CC
Unlimited CC
load
load
load
Prosthetic/ Tech Fix
realism
Unrealisms Phantom or Ghost Capacity
31
Overall Findings of Limits to Growth
  • If population and industrial growth continue to J
    curve, sometime after 2000, nonrenewable
    resources will be depleted and a population crash
    will follow de to scarcity of food and medicine.
  • If assume technological advance doubles all
    resource reserves and you allow 75 recycling,
    there will be a sharp increase in pollution
    increasing death rates and causing a population
    crash.

32
Improving Standard of Living with Population
Increase
  • World averages 2 children per family
  • World industrial output/capita stabilizes at 1975
    levels
  • Reduce resource consumption and pollution to ¼ of
    1970 levels
  • Shift consumption from material goods to services
  • Direct capital toward food production, soil
    enrichment and erosion control
  • Industrial capacity is built to last much longer.

33
Criticisms of Limits to Growth
  • Not Assume technology and ingenuity increases to
    solve all problems
  • Not assume people can adapt to all conditions
  • Not objective computer replaces humans
  • Failure assured given exponential growth and
    finite resources
  • Fatalistic---lessen hope, self fulfilling
    prophesy
  • Lumps unique regions of the globe together
  • See http//www.clubofrome.org/archive/publications
    /van_Dieren_Doors_of_Perceptions.pdf

34
Mankind at the Turning PointMessarovic and
Pestel 1974
  • To address criticism that world regions differ
  • 2nd study divided world into ten regions.
  • Despite assuming technological optimism, more
    pessimistic.
  • Unless economy and growth redistributed from rich
    to poor nations,
  • Resources and food will collapse by 2050 in poor
    nations causing a population crash
  • Interdependency means regional collapse will pull
    all down. Ex. Asian Flu 1998

35
Neo-Malthusian view
  • Beyond population, increased resource use is
    problem
  • Recognize World System---interconnected
  • Differences between poor and rich countries
  • West plus Japan and Russia --- ¼ population and
    80 resource use
  • US 5 world population, 1/3 resource use and 1/3
    pollution

36
Global 2000 July 1980
  • May 1977, Pres.Carter ordered study world
    population and natural resources thru 2000
  • Done by US CEQ and DOS
  • US govt. no tradition of long term planning
  • Trend projection using long term global data and
    models employed by federal agencies.

37
Global 2000 Conservative Bias
  • Used existing long term data and models of US
    government
  • Data on population, GNP, resources and
    environment taken sequentially 1977-1979
  • Thus, not interact factors
  • Allocate resources repetitiously
  • Assume continued growth of earths goods and
    services without maintenance or higher costs

38
Assumptions of Global 2000
  • Continuation of public policy
  • Continuation of rapid technological development
    without resistance
  • (ex. Continually increasing crop yields)
  • Assume that shortages of resources cause rising
    prices which will drop demand
  • International trade not disturbed by war,
    politics or economics, etc.

39
Sample Findings Global 2000
  • As population increases, the gap between the rich
    and poor will widen
  • Food production increase 90 1970-2000 assuming
    constant climate and environment
  • Due to energy intensive farming not new land
  • Fertilizer, pesticide, machines, irrigation
  • Only a 15 per capita increase
  • Costs of food double
  • Increase food importation
  • Bulk of food go to rich
  • of malnourished triple to 1.3 billion

40
Sample Findings Global 2000 2Food Cont.
  • 1 hectare of arable land (2.5 acres) support 1970
    ---2.6 people
  • 2000 ---4 people LDC 5.5 people
  • Soil loses yearly size of Maine by 2000 lose 1/3
    worlds arable land
  • Increased use of grain for alcohol fuels
  • Contradictionincrease production from Green
    Revolution ignores degradation from soil loss

41
Sample Findings Global 2000 3Soil Destruction
is constraint to food growth
  • Higher yields at cost of soil integrity
  • organic humusnutrients, water absorption
  • inorganic clay and salts---infertile
  • rock pieces, bedrock
  • Desertification barren land ex. Sahel
  • 3x 1970-2000
  • overgrazing, farming on marginal lands
  • Drought cycles

42
Sample Findings Global 2000 4Threats to
Arability
  • Waterlogging, salinization, alkalinization
  • Asia, S. America, California
  • collapse of Mesopotamia and Upper Nile
  • Deforestration---increased flood and erosion
  • Erosion---corn and marginal land farming
  • Loss of organic matter and largest CO2 sink
  • Development---urbanization of river valleys,
    industrialization, sprawl

43
Sample Findings Global 2000 5Other factors
affecting food
  • Monocultures
  • Loss of diversity
  • Use of hybrids and designer crops
  • Fuel subsidies to agriculture
  • Pollution from pesticides, fertilizers, etc.
  • Net effect shift farming from renewable to
    non-renewable and unsustainable basis!!!!

44
Sample Findings Global 2000 6Other Conclusions
  • Fisheries overexploited
  • Loss of forests ½ California/year
  • Particularly in LDCs (40 by 2000), Trop RF
  • Severe Water shortages
  • doubling with population, irrigation
  • Mineral resources no reserves, more , inequity
  • Global Climate Change by 2050
  • Loss of 20 of all species as habitats vanish
  • Toxics cause health problems
  • Oil reach maximum capacity despite higher prices

45
Sample Findings Global 2000 7The case of Fuel
Wood
  • ¼ use wood for fuel Poor mans oil
  • By 2000, need exceed supply by 25
  • In Sahel (Sahara border) fuel wood gathering full
    time---20-30 family income
  • No trees left 50-100 k around cities
  • Deforestation, erosion, desertification, higher
    costs, less fuel, and substitution of dung and
    crop residues.

46
Refutations of Global 2000A Resourceful Earth
  • Julian Simon Heritage Foundation
  • Herman Kahn Hudson Foundation
  • The year 2000 will be less crowded (with more
    people), less polluted, more stable ecologically,
    less vulnerable to resource supply disruption.
    People will be richer and have more food.

47
Refutations of Global 2000Assumptions made by
Simon and Kahn
  • No water shortages
  • Spread of cheap nuclear power
  • Air water pollution overblown problem
  • US farmland not being urbanized signif.
  • More than enough farmland
  • No rapid species loss
  • More food to feed the hungry
  • Birth rate down while life expectancy is up

48
Refutation of Global 2000Simon and Kahns Magic
  • Resource problems become opportunities inviting
    entrepreneurs to solve them with ingenuity
  • Wood crisis-coal, coal crisis-oil, whale oil-oil
  • They spur increases in knowledge which spurs
    growth
  • Solutions to problems leave us better off
  • Ex. Rail to haul coal
  • Need stimulus for discovery

49
Refutations of Global 2000
  • Simon Kahn
  • People are not just the cause of problems but
    with training, the means to solve these problems
    WE NEED MORE AND BIGGER PROBLEMS
  • Steven Bardwell The World Needs 10 Billion
    People Fusion Sept. 1981
  • Qualitative innovations in technology must be
    planned on but cannot be planned for
  • fusion energy allows more people and consumption

50
Refutation of Global 2000 Bardwell
  • Convert J curve of productivity to linear curve
    because
  • Higher population leads to increased labor
    division, ingenuity, ideas, increased
    productivity
  • Complex technologies can support more people
  • More people are required for complex technologies

51
Our Common Future World Commission on
Environment and Development
  • Brundtland Commission) --- 1984-1987
  • Cant separate economic development from
    environmental issues
  • Inequality is main env. devel. Problem
  • Problem of the rich over consumption
  • Problem of the poor natural disaster over time
  • exploit resources for export, debt, dumb aid,
    militarization, increase population, unemployment
    and cities, loss farmers, loss soil, drought and
    flood

52
Our Common Future 2
  • SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
  • Meeting the needs of the present without
    compromising future generations.
  • Need for lifestyles within the planets
    ecological means population size and growth in
    harmony with environment.

53
Ecological FootprintSourcehttp//www.footprintne
twork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/world_footprint/
54
Ecological Footprint U.S.Global Footprint
Networkhttp//www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.p
hp/GFN/page/trends/us/
55
U.S. 2005 FootprintGlobal Footprint
Networkhttp//www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.p
hp/GFN/page/trends/us/
56
NEOMALTHUSIAN INEQUITY
  • We live in a world where
  • 1/5 of people and 1/3 of children are hungry
  • 1/5 of people lack clean water
  • 1/5 of people lack adequate housing
  • 1/3 of people lack health care and fuel
  • ½ of people lack sanitation
  • ¼ of adults cannot read and write

57
U.S., Russia, China and India
58
U.S., Russia, China and India
59
U.S., Russia, China and India
60
Sierra Leone, Rwanda and U.S.
61
Source http//www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.p
hp/GFN/page/ecological_debtors_and_creditors/
62
Sierra Leone, Rwanda and U.S.
63
UN Conferences
  • 1972 Stockholm conference on the environment,
    consensus on problems of development.
  • 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and
    Development---Rio
  • Agenda 21
  • Emergence of Civil Society and Governmental Paths
    to Sustainability
  • 2002 World Summit on Sustainable
    Development---Johannesburg

64
RIO20 Brazil June 2012 The World We Want
  • Shift to Social and Economic Sustainability
  • Equity
  • Green Economy
  • Renewable energy
  • Hunger (Millennium Ecosystem Goals
  • Culture (i.e., First Nations)
  • Happiness indicators
  • Bien Vivier Right of Nature to Life
  • Recognize next generations as key stakeholders

65
Lovins Soft Energy Paths
  • Renewable energy flows (energy income)
  • Diverse (many small contributors)
  • Flexible and low tech
  • Resilient/ decentralized
  • Match in scale and geographic distribution to end
    use needs
  • Match in environmental quality to end use needs

66
Web Sources
  • The (2005) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
  • http//www.millenniumassessment.org/en/Products.Sy
    nthesis.aspx
  • Koffi Annan We The Peoples The Role of United
    Nations in the 21st Century.
  • Chapter 4 Sustaining Our Future.
  • http//www.un.org/millennium/sg/report/ch4.pdf
  • Al Gore. An Inconvenient Truth.
    http//www.climatecrisis.net/
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