Root Causes of Social and Ecological Crisis
I believe the house is on fire and the next few decades, as is this one, will be tumultuous. A serious analysis of the deeper problems is a key step to get from false solutions to the real deal. There are various valid ways to conceptualize the root causes of our social and ecological crisis. I adapted this list from a Foundation for Deep Ecology document, adding four or so points. The list evolves as I learn. How do you see it? My suggestion is to take what you like and agree with and add to your own list.
1. Patriarchy/Anthropocentrism: The assumption of human superiority over nature (other life forms), as if we were dominant over nature’s laws, ecological principles, or the web of life. Natural carrying capacity is not harmonized with equitable & dignified lifestyles, sensible technologies, our overall population numbers, and the needs of other creatures. Patriarchy is a manifestation of this sense of superiority.
2. Irresponsible Economic Growth: The prevailing ethic of western society that unlimited economic growth, the market economy with billions committed to commodity accumulation, consumption, and waste are desirable and possible on a finite planet. This “Cheater Economics” system externalizes pollution costs and ignores carrying capacity issues. The “True Cost Economy” is the alternative.
3. Technology Worship: The prevailing paradigm that technological evolution (especially industrial technology) is invariably good and that problems caused by technology can be solved by more technology.
4. Technological lock-in: Given our reliance on fossil fuels, individuals have little choice to opt out. People have the feeling that they are unable to change their lifestyle (i.e. they have to drive to work as there is no public transport). To solve our environmental problems we are asking people to change almost all their behaviors – housing, transport, food, shopping, vacations etc – when as we know from dieting and smoking that single behavior changes are extremely hard.
5. Modern Chemistry: The invention of substances for which the planet does not have organic counterparts capable of biologically degrading or productively integrating in natural cycles.
6. Mass Media: The domination and advancement of viewpoints that serve the interests of the industrial world and suppress alternate views, keeping them from the public consciousness.
7. The Concentration of Power: The loss of public governance due to the concentration of power within a small number of corporate executives and business owners is detrimental to nature and society’s future.
8. The Lack of Holistic Thinking: Insufficient education in whole-systems thinking in countries planet wide. This leads to ecological illiteracy, lack of appreciation for wild nature, and lack of ecological design. Indigenous communities, more exposed to nature’s ways, have much to offer to better understand a holistic worldview or perspective.
9. The Lack of a Geologic or Long-term Perspective: Actions based on the desire for short-term gratification (such as quarterly profit reports) can degrade the conditions for life and reduce the options for subsequent generations. The industrial economy seems unable to deal with complex, long-term problems. We are capable of good and evil, yet when the chips are down industrial society tends to be more motivated by fear and greed than by altruism.
10. Insufficient leadership & institutional mandate: At a local, national and global level there has been a failure of leadership. Despite the best efforts of many, there is no institution powerful enough to challenge business as usual and make the sweeping changes essential for survival. Current messages and techniques have failed to raise planetary concerns to the top of the list. Issues such as the economy/jobs, terrorism/defense, health, education, crime and religion dominate the political agenda in almost every country.
Remember that there is no economic development on a dead planet. There is no social equity to be found there either. Perhaps the rising number of extreme weather events and economic downturns will create the context for change at a scale commensurate with the problems we face. Use those windows of opportunity to your advantage and jam through the deeper solutions. Your work can lead us to a better world.
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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