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Recognition that we human beings are all on a spaceship rose to the consciousness of greater humanity over 45 years ago, by two events in 1969. In March that year, R. Buckminster Fuller published his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, which was noticed by only a few people then. Dr. Bruce Hector was a student of Dr. R. Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller more than 40 years ago. By July of that year, most of the world saw the Earth as a small blue globe against the black background of space with the moon’s surface in the foreground. As Fuller noted then: “We’re Still on Spaceship Earth and Still Without a Dashboard.” The image of the Earth starkly contrasted with the heretofore held belief of humans as isolated tribes, communities, states, nations leading us to realize we are all alone together in space have no where else to go.
This was part of the stimulus to make us recognize the need to care for our spaceship leading to the Clean Air and Water Acts a few years later under Republican President Nixon. Recently Dr. Hector was rereading Dr. Fuller’s small book of 120 pages and discovered that there are two dominant themes from it that directly apply to the world today. In Operating Manual Fuller notes that humans were provided a wonderful life support regenerative system unknown anywhere else in universe. However, the Creator provided no operating manual and left it to humans to learn the principles operative in the universe and use them to fulfill our material needs.
Fuller also noted that the human “nest” was equipped with millions of years of fossil fuel reserves to power our success until we are self-generating but that we have used a large portion of those fossil fuel reserves in a miniscule 150 years. These were the fuel reserves to serve ALL HUMANKIND for ALL TIME, not just a few generations. The book urged humans to mature on this planet, transfer to renewable energy sources identifying many of the numerous opportunities that have since been proven capable of meeting man’s needs. Hence my (Woodrow Clark) book The Green Industrial Revolution documents the current concerns today and what the solutions are. Fuller was aware of the pollution created by fossil fuels though he is also famous for saying, “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting,” indicating this too is simply a design failure on human being’s part.
A second important point “Bucky” Fuller makes is that while humankind has been extremely successful as a species growing from about 1.5 billion in 1900 to more than 7 billion now, and expected to reach 9-10 billion by mid-century, we still have not evolved an accounting system for monitoring the impact of our activities. He bemoaned our failure to measure scientifically or in many cases even recognize the impact of our industrial activities because these events often occur outside the narrow range of the electromagnetic spectrum our senses can perceive. Most of the activity of the universe is unseen by humans but well known to be questionable by corporations and governments. Ninety-seven percent of companies fail to provide data on key sustainability indicators
Earth Accounting is the effort of a dedicated but as yet small group to create this real world activity accounting system and present it to people in a form useful to consumers who are responsible for 70 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This presentation will allow consumers to use their purchasing power to promote sustainable industrial development. When refined it can also allow each consumer to monitor his “footprint,” empowering him to reduce his environmental impact. Who knows, perhaps one day humanity may even recognize that it is more important to tax a person’s planetary impact than his monetary income? Getting accurate and validated information on products, goods and services will help consumer awareness and then consumption. The result will be a dramatic result and change lowering greenhouse gases, carbon emissions and pollution.
For example, recently, in the December 2104 issue of Nutrition Action Letter, Executive Director Michael F. Jackson wrote a memo article titled “Good Luck” which noted five issues the FDA has authority to resolve but is unlikely to do so quickly: 1) setting regulations for food borne illness, 2) reducing antibiotic use in livestock; 3) banning partially hydrogenated oil; 4) setting standards for sodium intake; and 5) compelling food chains to note the calories of their menu items.
After each Jackson notes the lack of progress concluding that if consumers feel they will be protected—“Good Luck.” The public overwhelmingly wants this information, but government appears to be impotent to compel industry to provide it to us. Or “influenced” by companies to “not care.” With this history about something as important as the food we eat, one can imagine how long it will take for government to show appropriate concern about the impact of industrial processes on our Spaceship Earth!
Everyone should recognize these sad facts, which is another reason for the creation of the consumer-empowering app, EarthTouch being developed by Earth Accounting. We consumers must create the tools we need and history indicates neither industry nor government is likely to do so. We welcome your participation in this truly market driven approach to sustainability. For more information click here.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tracy L. Barnett
Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.
For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.
Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.