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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Deep Adaptation

Duly Notified,

Deep Adaptation, A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, Jem Bendell Ph.D.
  Disruptive impacts from climate change are now inevitable. Geoengineering is likely to be ineffective or counter-productive. Therefore, the mainstream climate policy community now recognises the need to work much more on adaptation to the effects of climate change. That must now rapidly permeate the broader field of people engaged in sustainable development as practitioners, researchers and educators. In assessing how our approaches could evolve, we need to appreciate what kind of adaptation is possible. Recent research suggests that human societies will experience disruptions to their basic functioning within less than ten years due to climate stress. Such disruptions include increased levels of malnutrition, starvation, disease, civil conflict and war – and will not avoid affluent nations. This situation makes redundant the reformist approach to sustainable development and related fields of corporate sustainability that has underpinned the approach of many professionals (Bendell et al, 2017). Instead, a new approach which explores how to reduce harm and not make matters worse is important to develop. In support of that challenging, and ultimately personal process, understanding a deep adaptation agenda may be useful.

The pdf above is 23 well organized pages, followed by references and a letter to the editor of the journal, whose peer-reviewers said it had to be cheered-up before they could publish it. That would negate it. 
Charles sent this, and it looks at not just the science, but the science of the human reactions to news that the world we are very well adapted to will soon rapidly change and be far less supportive to our lives. Many of us will die from starvation, disease, lack of medicines, lack of electricity and clean water, those things we rely upon. The thrust of the longer article above is summarized and excerpted here, though I found the article itself to be more transformative to read and digest. This timeline is about what my study has led me to, also. 

Large scale farmers, who use diesel and combines to harvest endless waves of grain, are noticing the damage from climate change, but media and politicians are not noticing it. Thanks Ray.

Climate Change is the context within which our human population over-growth, fed and fueled by coal, oil and gas, is now presented to us in the media and political discourse. It is the most vague, nebulous and unthreatening lens, through which to look at our Malthusian predicament/
Please allow me to direct you back to MIT 1972, where the third iteration of the most advanced systems-analysis computer model, World-3, produced the projected graphs below, of what our species would achieve on our planet, if we kept doing things about the same, without a concerted and global redirection of our efforts, "Business as Usual". 
Notice the red line on this graph, marking peak industrial output and food per person. It looks like it falls right about 2015. This was not a "prediction", as the authors explained many times, but a forward projection of historical trends, with the interactions of the trends correlated into each other, rather than being projected in isolation. 
World-1 and World-2 programs had been tested and retested, then further refined to develop World-3. Running the data with a start date of 1900 predicted the 20th century pretty well, including the part that had not yet happened. 
Societal limits to growth was a hot topic in 1971, the year that US oil production peaked, just as M. King Hubbert had predicted in the 1950s. We were feeling a lot of change then. I remember. We were surprised, and didn't want to be surprised again. Remember? 
Move your gaze past the red line, toward the marker for 2020, down on the x-axis. that's where we are. That's where Wile-E-Coyote looks down.
China's Deng Xiaopeng was strongly influenced by this book. Remember China's one-child-policy? Ronald Reagan made a point of scorning this book in public speeches, saying there were "no limits". Peak oil was discredited in 2006, the year oil was to peak, by re-defining "oil". Look, no peak! (except the archaic definition of "oil" peaked that year) Saved by innovation! 
Inline image 1

In 2010, the University of Melbourne rigorously analyzed the 1972 projections, overlaying best data from the intervening years to create these graphs. this 2014 article presents the data well. The graphs all show very impressive correlations.
Inline image 2

Professor of Physical Chemistry, Ugo Bardi, at University of Florence, explains The Seneca Effect, or "Seneca's Cliff". Seneca observed 2000 years ago that natural systems grew slowly and collapsed rapidly. That is what we face in our human-centric ecosystem now. That curve of collapse is shown above in the industrial output per capita, and other inflection points of the Limits to Growth graph.

What we do in our current setting is to keep doing what we usually do each day, our trained responses within the context we have mastered. We stay focused. Responding to environmental cues and stimuli is most of what adult humans do, but we can also explore new options, where we have time and money and interest. I have lately been seeking to explore lower energy options and growing vegetables. I don't think we will actually have options in any crisis, for which we have not prepared in advance.

Passing the Time

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