Archive for the ‘sustainability’ Category
This morning Oxfam put up an installation called “Climate change migration camp” at the head of the millennium bridge in London. Climate change is currently predominantly caused by rich, northern countries and suffered by poor southern countries. This installation is a brilliant reminder of why that is only a temporary illusion. Quite simply, when their countries turn to dust or are covered by the sea, the people in the effected countries will not disappear. They will find a way, and they will come here.
So even if you have not one moral cell in your body, you should be concerned. I mean, even Nick Griffin should be worried about climate change.
If you want a problem solved, get a hacker. If you want world problems solved get a mega-world-hacker.
Most people see the system as fixed, and struggle with negotiating the problem description to fit the current state of affairs. Hence we get incentive packages, 20% CO2 reduction by 2020, and all sort of abominations.
Hackers only see two things as fixed: problem description and mathematics. All the rest is a toys to play with. The problem is emissions, and the mathematics is simple: we need to stop burning fossil fuels. So forget hybrids (“hybrids are like mermaids”) or hydrogen fuel cell. We need electric cars that are affordable, convenient and scalable, and we need them with current technology. Fix those parameters, and let loose of the rest. What do you get? Stop thinking of electrons as fuel and batteries as fuel tanks: the battery is the fuel. The rest follows.
50 years from now, assuming there will still be schools and history classes, teachers will have to be very creative when trying to explain the banter around the current systemic crisis. The kids would be asking how could a whole civilization stand before a plain and simple reality and looked through it as if it wasn’t there.
For start, naming. Financial crisis? Hello? 25% of mammals endangered, bees disappearing, massive climate change, global food shortages, and the man tells us we need to “restore consumer confidence”? Hell, no. Consumers have very good reasons to be worried. If anything, its time to shake their confidence. And with that, shake up some industries. In fact, some industries should probably follow whaling and leach farming. The current market turmoil is not, as some politicians and media experts would like us to believe, a freak consequence of convoluted mortgage schemes. It is an inevitable outcome of a fundamental property of markets: they predict the future. A market is a huge computer, combining the computational power of masses of machines and brains to project economic value into the future. The price of a firm’s stock doesn’t stop at its current assets, but reflects its expected amortized income over its expected lifetime. At least that’s what I was told at my high school economics class. So what should happen to the stock of a car company on a planet that is running out of petrol, or the legitimacy to use it? What would you expect of a mortgage bank in a planet where geography and climate is shifting in unpredictable patterns?
The recent bank bailout plans are equivalent of hosing a burning house with diesel. What we really need is to dowse the fire, throw out the parts that are beyond repair, and start rebuilding to a solid, sustainable standard.
In one of my fiery rants some time ago, I referred to Victor Lebow as the evil designer of the absurd linear model which dominates western economies. I linked to Steve’s article, from which the following image is borrowed:
But alas, I did not read his argument with care. I had made my aquaitance with Mr Lebow at Annie Leonard’s excelent the story of stuff. I had used Steve’s article to confirm the quote, without reading his analysis, and the colourful albeit longish) story of how he hunted down the original. Scroll down to the bottom of his post and you can read it yourself. If you do, you will also agree with Steve that Lebow was describing a flawed system, not prescribing a stratagy. There’s lots of powerful stuff there, like:
the measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our patterns of consumption. The very meaning and significance of our lives is today expressed in consupmtion terms.
This is Lebow, in 1955. What would he be saying today?
My appologies, and thanks Steve. I stand corrected.
Bold move by worldchanging. The bottom line is: we’ve had enough of your nonsense, thank you very much. You can regurgitate your hallucinary circular arguments on your own blog. This is our place, and grievous denial of reality is not acceptable behaviour here.
Amen to that. Will they block evolution deniers next?
Arnold Goldman, Founder and Chairman of BrightSource Energy, Inc., was also the founder of Luz International, Ltd. (no longer in operation).
Luz II, Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of BrightSource, provides product development and engineering, project engineering and management, and solar field manufacturing and supply services.
Luz II is headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel.
Israel’s ministry of national infrastructure has just published an international tender for the construction of two solar power plants, which will supply 5% of the country’s electricity demands. (compared to official data from 2006 and assuming I got my maths right)