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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 10:25 PM
Original message
A stunning year in climate science
This article pulls together a truckload of bad news. From the article dated November 2010:


The last year or so has seen more scientific papers and presentations that raise the genuine prospect of catastrophe (if we stay on our current emissions path) that I can recall seeing in any other year.

Perhaps the media would have ignored that science anyway, but Climategate appears to be a key reason less than 10 percent of the news articles written about last years climate summit in Copenhagen dealt primarily with the science of climate change, a study showed on Monday.

But for those interested in the real climate science story of the past year, lets review a couple dozen studies of the most important findings. Any one of these would be cause for action and combined they vindicate the final sentence of Elizabeth Kolberts Field Notes from a Catastrophe: It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.



A stunning year in climate science reveals that human civilization is on the precipice
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murray hill farm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. I live in Arkansas...
and for ever reason of boredom or whatever, I listened this morning to the Arkansas farm report! The farmers know! No debate...it is a given now. From my personal observation, the farmers know...and none of them doubt the already devastation of climate change. It is every day...winter and Summer. But it isn't even a debate on the State AG report...they all know from experience. It has so changed...and there is no doubt with the farmers. It has and continues to happen.
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yeah ... the people in the trenches always know
well before the generals that the war is lost.

Its is guys in the corporate board rooms who think we can squeeze by without consequences that will touch them.

Trav
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MrMickeysMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 11:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. It took a long time to download this page...
... worth waiting for it... Holy crap...
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Follow the links if you
want to be even more disturbed. My gods, I think we're fucked. Pardon the expression but it is hard to think of another one that is more suitable.

It is not any one of these things that scares me so ... though any of the first 4 points is enough to freak ya. It's the whole array of them.

I really don't see how we can hold things together for long as these conditions deteriorate, and as these processes roll forward. Tomorrow, doubtless, I will feel more optimistic ... but for the moment ... I admit without shame ... I am a little freaked.

Trav
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MrMickeysMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. I agree...
... What has made it particularly frustrating is the "other side" as has been thrown in my face during municipal Council meetings. In particular, I've dealt with the "free market, Milton Freidman/Chicago School of Economics theory" counter in that this is all a hoax in yet more attempts to pay someone at the local level an exuberant salary to go tell all your municipalities how to cap and trade these "unfounded" green house gases.

You have NO idea how frustrating it was a little of a year ago to get this counter from at least 2 opposing views when I was trying to institute a greenhouse gas inventory. A year later, S L O W progress and a few new faces on Council have moved the goal of us actually doing energy audits here, as we try to address things without pissing off "the others".

I got into local govt to make a difference. Feeling the slowness of this goal and reading the links, I have to have an optimism because I HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE.

Let's hold hands and keep fighting, Traveler.... :pals:
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. I right with ya, buddy!
We can't give up on this or our kids and grand kids will live and die in a real world of crap. Win or lose, we gotta struggle on! Speak the truth and refuse to swallow the lies.

Trav
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 12:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. The Deialists will be denying reality even as they drown.
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Well, at least they can do one thing well
... exercise the skills of Denial! Because for the past several years, that has been an ever more difficult art. But through grit, determination, and stubborn refusal to admit they are wrong, they are still at it!

Trav
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
8. Kick for one of the better compilations of bad news in recent memory
It's nice to see people finally applying a systems-level approach to connect up all these separate little dots. And ocean acidification is finally getting the respect it deserves.

Estamos tan jodidos!
Everybody dance!
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. Thanks for the kick
I really think this is a vital summation of the current state of things, and our knowledge of them.

Trav
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CRH Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
9. Confirms years of concern, ...
I don't even want to think about the feedback scenarios if two or three of the first six are experienced.

For social and economic order any one alone is chaos, for two or three in aggregate, imagine feudalism within the century, with most survivors, serfs.

The most stunning of all, is the grand majority of people still do not recognize the severity of the threat, and many who do, will not give up the frivolous consumption that seals the fate of their offspring. Humans deserve the karma coming.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Most people literally cannot see it coming.
We are well out beyond the territory of reason and rationality here. Our denial of future threats in favour of continued consumption is driven by deeper, older, unreasoning parts of our brains that are relatively inaccessible to cortical reasoning. We are being done in by patterns that were laid down millions of years ago in our evolutionary history. The fact that we developed a neocortex that makes us clever enough to create planetary-scale catastrophe as a side effect of increasing our consumption is ... unfortunate.
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CRH Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I'm not sure I can buy into, ...
Edited on Mon Jan-17-11 04:22 PM by CRH
being driven to over consumption by patterns long establish in evolutionary history.

For me that separates our responsibility from choice. My grand parents lived very simple lives not controlled by desire, but rather shaped by needs. When offered frivolous materialism, they instead preferred frugal, they saved for rainy days.

It was a generation that passed on sayings like, 'If you are honest, you work hard, and you take good care of your family; you might not have everything you want, but you will always have everything you need.' It was a different philosophy, never devoid of choice and consequence.

In 2001 shortly after 'the election', I began to be more activist. I became more political. I studied climate change and Kyoto, I became aware of peak oil and its potential future impact, I became aware of the population paradigm that cascaded in a century beyond sustainable numbers; and I shouted to anyone who would listen, I wrote letters to the editor, letters to congress persons, and talked to friends and relatives. In the end the general apathy of everyone had a profound and very depressing effect upon my health, both physical and mental. I was a very depressed and numbed person.

Then one day I decided, what others did or didn't do was out of my control, but what I did was not. Through different choices, I altered my lifestyle to best align my needs with reduced consumption as near as possible to the 4 hectare level. I do not suffer from these changes, and in fact I am more content. What I'm trying to say is, when egotism and desire take a back seat to individual and the collective need, life becomes much more simple with less energy. All that stands in anyone's way, is choice.

Probably my largest personal evolution, was learning to accept the probable end game of organized society as we know it today, and not mourn a fools demise, or suffer from a fools errand.

Enough rambling.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. It sounds like we're on parallel paths.
I've been through what I call a "Dark Night of the Soul" brought on by educating myself in the true state of the world. I believe that the only way out of this depression and despair is to accept the world around us as it truly is, and then make all action personal.

My views on the intractability of consumption and other primary forms of human behaviour are based on evolutionary psychology (a field that more environmentalists would do well to study, IMO), and apply more to mass behaviour than to individuals. As you demonstrate, individuals can respond to new information and change their behavior, at least to some degree. Herd behaviour is harder to modify, though, and herd behaviour is what has caused The Global Clusterfuck.
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CRH Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. All points well received, ...
herd behavior is probably best modified by respected and even idolized leaders, without a personal agenda. Leaders who fashion change not just in politics, but in culture as well. Gandhi convinced a country the merits of home spun clothes and nationalized salt, but couldn't survive religious zealotry or bullets.

Finding leaders not susceptible to greed, creed or bullets, has been a problem of our collective past history
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. The problem with finding empathic leadership
is that it's incompatible with a hierarchic power system based on instincts that derive from the reptilian brain. We can accept wise men like Gandhi as social forces, but two things keep them from power. First, most wise men recognize that power only comes if you accept the premise of the existing power structures - i.e. accept that power has value for its own sake - so they tend to decide that such deep compromises can only be made by the unwise and power-hungry. Second, people seem to prefer their leaders to be a little reptilian - reptilian leaders don't waffle around and they keep a firm hand on the tiller, which gives the herd confidence.

We will never have wise men as leaders, at least under the current system.
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CRH Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I have come pretty much to the same conclusion, ...
that within the existing power structures leaders cannot rise above the command of wealth generation. Whether this is reptilian driven I question, in the face of pure greed and desire for aggression.

This leads to the question, have humans socially surpassed the instinctual need for aggressive domination of the weaker. The collecting of individual wealth beyond individual need at expense of the collective whole becomes the root of the problem, but is this reptilian instinct, or controllable sociopathy?

The answer to those questions is unimportant, the reason for failing to adapt our living in the face of immanent peril is insanity, whether of reptilian programming or social maladaption.

At any rate we have drifted from the original OP into the psychological and/or physiological reason.
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. I like this discussion
the two of you (CRH and GliderGuider) have had here ... I had never pondered the "evolutionary psychology" aspect ... my initial reaction is to suggest that what we see here is the herd in a state of carefully cultivated psychosis. What, then, is the cure? It has to begin with the truth. And if the lies are believed because they have been so oft repeated by so-called "authoritative sources" like Fox News, then we must expect to have to defiantly repeat the truth even more frequently.

Would love to continue this over a beer in a proper pub ...

Trav
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. The psychosis has indeed been carefully cultivated.
It started as a natural biological tendency - most packs/troops/tribes are hierarchical in some way. Then a few thousand years ago people figured out that power could be consolidated and concentrated by those who knew which psychological levers to pull and buttons to push in their tribe-mates. If you do it right, they will hand over power willingly, even eagerly. And concentrated power is the single most addictive drug known to man.

As technology grew slowly over the millennia, writing finally allowed the accumulation of knowledge and then the scientific method organized the growing body of knowledge. This process allowed the development of ever subtler and more powerful techniques of consolidating power and manufacturing the consent of those from whom the power was being removed.

It started well before Faux Noise, and isn't peculiarly American. You see the same effect in monarchies and dictatorships - in fact elements of it are visible in pretty well any society less than 5,000 years old. America added the refinement of having corporations instead of royalty be the power-holders (to permit wealth and power to be totally interchangeable), then finally added corporate personhood to complete the picture. Along the way, our social structures have been refined to support, defend and promote the hierarchy as the natural order of human society, with the corporation as its apotheosis.

I agree that the solution is to tell truth and reveal the lies. However, the question is, what is "truth"? There are so many levels and interpretations of everything that happens that it's very difficult to differentiate "truth" from learned principles taught by socially approved schools and media. The only core truth I'm even somewhat sure of is that our culture/society/civilization is a wholly artificial construct bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Matrix - a construct whose true goals are obscured by a manufactured consensus of "truth" that we all "agree" to.

To catch a glimpse of the latest evolution of this manufactured reality, read up on the Powell Memorandum of 1971.

My outline of the "power pump" of modern cultural institutions is here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=115&topic_id=271223&mesg_id=271228

This understanding is what has caused me to discount any hope that the interlocked predicaments of energy use, ecological degradation and social inequality will find any institutional solutions. The institutions that count (i.e. the corporations and their handmaidens) are fundamentally uninterested in solving these problems, the problems are either essential to their existence or inevitable byproducts of it.

Estamos tan jodidos...
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CRH Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. Hey Glider, I'm throwing a penalty flag, ...
Edited on Fri Jan-21-11 01:42 AM by CRH
The Powell Manifesto was safely tucked into my memory vaults with a do not disturb sign warning of trespass. It saddens me to think of its effect on our political and social history.

This single document was one of the strongest influences using the red scare of the cold war to bait and foment the emasculation of the center left democratic party and further left socialist philosophy.

It suggested that the protection of free enterprise was the sole responsibility of the political right, and pounded the belief into the political system that free enterprise was some how the only guardian of freedom. Social democracies were disparaged and worse, and the democratic party was painted as a threat to free enterprise whenever regulation of industry was sought. The next step was the beginning of deregulation of utilities and industries, privatization of public functions, increasing control over public broadcasting and airwaves, casting the government as an unnecessary evil, and the eventual judicial influence that allowed for the finalization of the corporate citizenship.

The manifesto inspired invention of the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute, two organizations that ate the lunch of the democratic party leadership, out maneuvering and out flanking their strategies for the next 35 years. The far right won nearly all the skirmishes during these years, jerking the Democratic party platform farther right with every conflict.

The only area the government was considered good, was funding the military industrial complex war machine, and corporate welfare for agribusiness, and energy corporations.

The Powell Manifesto inspired the political right and business leaders, to apply pressure to administrators and faculty of the education system, to promote free enterprise while advancing the red scare of the cold war. The right sought to influence the editing of textbooks and curriculums.

This all has supported, Traveler's 'carefully cultivated psychosis' and provided the foundation of your organization of power pumped hierarchies for political and social control of institutions, by the elite of the global corporatocracy.

It has evolve beyond the nation state and now is a condition, cast upon all of humanity.

If all this is happening through control of information, misinformation and disinformation, doesn't it become a manipulation of learned behavior maintaining mass ignorance preventing informed choice? In sequence to this, could it be implied perhaps that rather than 'being done in by patterns laid down millions of years ago in our evolutionary history', (instinctive psychological hard wiring), we are instead being systemically prevented from acting rational and using well informed cognitive development for environment, social, and economic, planning and preparation of our collective terrestrial future?

on edit: change a word for clarity.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 07:20 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. Yes, we're being systematically trained and channeled into these patterns of thought
Edited on Fri Jan-21-11 07:22 AM by GliderGuider
What I've wondered though, is why we are so susceptible to them. After all, it's not just an American phenomenon.

I look back in history and see a hierarchy at the core of every major social organization back to Paleolithic tribes -- even in societies that claim egalitarianism. People who "get" the psychological implications of that fact make very powerful leaders. Hierarchy turns out to be an ideal milieu for the development of authoritarianism. It's more favourable to the right than the left because it concentrates power and increases inequality. Since the urge toward hierarchy seems innate, it's the basis of my explanation of why the left is historically and today less effective politically, socially and economically, and why we're in the spiraling global predicament we are today.

ETA: It's also why, at the ripe old age of 60, I've become an armchair anarchist.
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CRH Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. Ahora Yo groke, ...
Now I see your position more clearly, thank you. It is a good question, why are humans as a whole so susceptible to being led.

Your final statement is eery, as I am reaching my 60th year now, and have settled into position as a closeted armchair anarchist, with slightly more fear than you of admitting so, on a public internet forum. Mine is a feeling and thought process without an overt action, that what humanity needs most is a liberating breakdown of the political and economic power structures, to shock people into seeking change through different forums and channels. It will never happen but it does keep hopeless despair safely hidden behind intellectual dreaming.

Luego
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. It will never happen...
Are you absolutely certain of that? :evilgrin:

I used Einstein's caution about problems not being soluble with the same mindset that created them to seed the realization that the "solution space" to our current predicament has to be orthogonal to the problem space, in some sense. For me that led to an interesting brew of anarchism, deep ecology, non-dualist spirituality and grass-roots action. Each person's response will be different, of course, but I remain convinced that the door out of this room is actually in the ceiling.
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CRH Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. I find there is little I am absolutely certain of, ...

I find that certitude arrogant of the possibility I might not actually know everything presently.

However, if you can humor my ignorance, why is it the 'solution space' needs be orthogonal to the problem space and therefore not quantifiable with a linear solution, or at least statistically consistent with the problem, rather than independent.

Or are both possible for any given dilemma? Doesn't it make a difference of the original perception and willingness to expand the boundaries of the perception, of the problem.

You are talking about looking up to see down. Interesting, I have to think about that some.
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
20. kicking for the deniers
yup
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guardian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. So kind of you.
We here in Denierville can't thank you enough.
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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. .
:hi:
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Yes, it was a bad year in Denierville and for denier pseudoscience
yup
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