After the RIO+ 20 Disaster Reflections about the unavoidable transition to a sustainable way

All details about our recent conCERNed colloq. can be found here:

https://indico.cern.ch/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=198162

The very fruitful discussion following the presentation invites for more discussions on our blog. Just a few quick questions/answers to add and start perhaps a new round of exchanges.

J.:  “What do you propose now?”

A (M.D.)

but basically my talk gave the answer
just look at the last slides
about what we can do..
you might have other ideas and try them that is perfect
or you might disagree with my conclusions etc
but my(the?) answer was in the talk
learn and teach about the basics, preserve and increase bio-diversity around you.
and don’t forget about the fights for disarmaments and defending human rights
and defend the few remaining sustainably living people
(with more time i would do more for survival.. but this is my personal choice!)
you must make your choice
but in any case and if you are an activist you are perfectly busy with this already
and all the other ways to teach people into action
Q (D.J): what are the examples you mentioned about “doing things differently”
A:

here are the two impressive and short video documents
here is the thing about china and greening the desert
and another impressive one

Q (S): Are we really close to peak oil, recently many studies appeared claiming the opposite?

 A(M): I think one needs to go deeper into this entire research field to come to a rational answer.
For me, i only have to look on how quickly UK and Norway oil fields are being declining.
What more do i need to know that in Europe we are in deep trouble any time soon?
but here is more to this
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14 Responses to After the RIO+ 20 Disaster Reflections about the unavoidable transition to a sustainable way

  1. Enrico says:

    saudi arabia internal petrol daily consumption is increasing dramatically. it has almost reached one third of the amount exported daily
    http://ncusar.org/blog/2012/05/saudi-arabias-energy-crisis/

  2. Alexey Burov says:

    Unsustainable Sustainability

    No question, ecological sustainability will come: the resources are limited, and nonrenewable energy sources are going to be over. The question is: how will it come? What will be the natural, the demographical, the social, the political and the spiritual characteristics of humanity at the transitional and at sustainable historical periods? Does the humanity have a chance for a meaningful life after the nonrenewable resources are gone? What should be the current short- and long-range goals for this life be meaningful?

    Creativity and Freedom

    The greatness of the European civilization lies in its creativity – philosophical, artistic, scientific, social. Its creative power is unique, by far exceeding all other civilizations –contemporary as well as past ones. The European civilization is a very special cultural space, where new entities are appearing at extreme power. That burst of creativity has its roots in the ancient world; then after the catastrophe of the dark ages it reappeared in the Renaissance, increasingly growing after that. Creativity is not just one of the human values and abilities – it is a core of humanity making us different from animals, it is the substance of our history.

    If one will look into the most creative periods of the European nations, it becomes rather obvious that there is a strong correlation between creativity, progress, in a broad sense, and personal freedoms and civil rights. Individual freedoms and creativity support and enhance each other. When the freedoms were oppressed, the progress stopped, and stagnation or degradation started. This correlation between the two factors, political and cultural, is not instantaneous, there is a delay of a generation or two, but still it is rather obvious.

    Loss of Freedom

    If progress and freedoms are so strongly related, what then forced the European nations in different epochs to come to oppressive political regimes, what forced them to lose their freedoms? A general answer could be following: freedom not only led to benefits, but also created new problems with a permanent seduction for the once-and-for-all problem solving by a means of people’s unity for all good things against all bad things. In the last century we had two examples of these, apparently to the participants goodwill actions of the united people. One was driven by a teaching based both on convincing scientific analysis and strong appeal for justice. This movement is known as Marxism. Another strong movement was based on the patriotic unity and solidarity of one of the greatest European nations. It is known as national-socialism. Results of these two movements are well-known, although not yet enough reflected in people’s minds. The two teachings were quite different, but identical at a certain point: they both were based on a frustration of liberty – thus, they disrespected and despised personal freedoms, seeing them as an enemy to their surely right social orders. Since the freedoms were already strongly rooted in the social life, triumphs of the new glorious orders required those impressive crimes they both had committed.

    Pointing to injustice in the lives of the working people, to the greed and the cruelty of bourgeoisie, Marxism pointed to real problems. However, its proposed solution was wrong. Implementations of Marxist teaching had never improved lives of working people; on the contrary – it made them much worse. In the countries where proletarian parties came to power, proletarians, together with the rest of the population, were turned to the worst form of slavery. Similarly, the patriotic teaching of national socialists lead their beloved nation to its gravest crimes, tragedy, and humiliation.

    Environmentalism and Marxism

    There are clear similarities between the two socialist teachings of the past, especially Marxism, and mainstream environmentalism.

    Similar to Marxism, sustainability teaching is based on real and significant problems.
    Similar to Marxism, it claims itself irrefutably scientific. The consequences for its opponents follow.
    Similar to Marxism, scientific greens treat their opponents as agents of the privileged classes; similar to Marxism, this movement is heavily infected with fanaticism and intolerance.
    Similar to Marxism, the sustainability teaching does not care or even despises personal freedoms of thought and actions – religious, political, economical. It is not an accident, that in his entire talk, Michael Dittmar did not say a word for importance of personal freedoms – in that he just follows the green mainstream.
    Similar to Marxism, green teaching appeals to increasing government control, on the state and international level.
    Similar to Marxism, it appeals to a new egalitarian order. Similar to Marxism, it does not realize that egalitarian goals without real primacy of libertarian law lead to a serfdom. Favoring “small egalitarian groups”, Michael Dittmar does not care that all those groups were and are totalitarian. That is why they do not have their history, time is stopped for them.
    Do not all these similarities mean that results of the winning sustainability teaching should be expected similar to Marxism as well?

    Marxism and ecologism have the same epistemological drawback, which both of them consider as their main merit – an extremely scientific approach, described by F. Hayek as abuse of reason [1]. Due to their scientism, they both are missing the human essence, creativity, which cannot be taken into account by any scientific method. Science is dealing with existing things, it cannot deal with something not existing yet. However, creativity is an ability to bring into existence an essence which did not exist before. That is why any scientific approach is very limited in its forecasts. History was never and cannot be ever designed since it follows from extreme multiplicity of creative ideas and actions. An absolutization of the scientific approach in its application to humanity leads to negation of creativity and freedom. Science, as any other branch of culture, is born by the freedom of thought and creativity; however, this baby is fatally unable to see its parents. That is why not only Marxism, but any purely scientific worldview is blind to freedom, thus tending to be a totalitarian teaching.

    Whoring after Idols

    There are some differences between Marxism and green teachings. One can mention that the greens do not have yet their “Das Kapital”, that this movement is extremely variegated. In that sense, it is more similar to general socialist movement than to Marxism. Another difference is that Marxism is based on a value of scientific and technological progress, it’s a progressivist teaching, while the ecologism, based on a value of nature, is a regressivist one. Politically, ecologism can be described as regressivist socialism. Spiritually, ecologism is one more form of idolatry, and as such has many similarities with other idolatries: fascism, national-socialism, communism.

    In its core, the problem of sustainability is a problem of values, of the meaning of life, of idolatry and religion. Arnold Toynbee, the author of classical twelve-volume “A Study of History”, wrote in 1955 [2]: “The plan on which the decisive spiritual battle was likely to be fought was neither the military nor the social nor the economic nor the intellectual; for in A.D. 1955 the crucial questions confronting Western Man were all religious.” Meaning of life, how it was discovered in the European history, is based on the inspirational vision of human divinity. This inspiration is a great source of all the miracles of the Western Civilization, its fantastic discoveries in all the branches of culture. Main tragedies in the European history were related to a loss of this inspirational vision, to following idolatries of empires, nations, egalitarian order, science, progress. Any idolatry is based on absolutization of an essence which is good by itself. The evil comes when this specific good is absolutized and worshiped as an ultimate good. At this stage the good entity turns to be an idol. When the commandment “thou shalt have no other gods before me” is broken – the evil comes. Now humanity is going to be seduced by a new idol – the idol of nature. Actually though, this idol is not new; it is a return of an old – very old – idol in new “scientific” clothing. This idol always promises to feed those who worship him. Are we going to sell our birthright?

    True Danger

    Michael Dittmar predicts an ecological and a following social catastrophe, promising without any doubt a “hard landing”. Are we really doomed to his dark scenario? I do not think so. Yes, the nonrenewable resources are reducing, but this is a slow process. Decrease of oil, gas and coal natural reserves will take century or centuries. For uranium this time is several times longer. This process already causes and will cause slow average growth of prices on the energy resources, increasing market demand for energy-saving and renewable energy technologies. If human freedoms are not suppressed by state’s degradation to totalitarianism, mafia rule or socialism, people will continue to make inventions and apply them for their own and social profits. There is no reason to doubt the inventive and entrepreneurial ability of current and following generations. The only power, which is able to stop our creativity is we ourselves. History knows many examples of stagnating and degrading societies. They all were / are entrapped in the vicious circle of blocked individual freedoms. The main danger is not in the environmental problems per se, but in totalitarian tendencies of environmentalism.

    Michael Dittmar also calls “to act for a world without weapons of mass destruction now.” Does he mean to convince all the nuke-possessing countries to get rid of WMD now? If so, it is, softly speaking, strange. If it is an appeal for unilateral disarmament of the West – it is an appeal for the West to become a voluntary hostage of any nuke-possessing dictator.

    At least a few words have to be said about the problem of overpopulation. Well, contrary to Malthusian nightmare, the European population does not grow any more; it declines. Causes of that change of the population trend are in cultural demands of the Europeans, in their priority of quality of life for their kids over their quantity. This change of the demography trend by itself shows a power of a free society, its ability to prevent an ecological catastrophe of the overpopulation. However, high quality of life in the Western countries attracts immigrants, whose mentality and values are not European. This is a true challenge and a real danger for the West. The ancient Greek-Roman civilization fell because it was too attractive for the outside tribes. The civilization fell under invasions of too many barbarians. As a result, the dark ages started. A hard challenge for the West is not to repeat this sad precedent, but turn aliens into new good Europeans.

    The ecological problems are important, but the real danger is not in these problems per se. By themselves they can be solved and overcome due to the inventive spirit of the European civilization, increasingly growing onto the entire humanity. The real danger is in old and new idolatries, in totalitarian teachings, in eternal seduction of escape from freedom [3].

    Responsibility of the West

    The Western civilization is suggesting a paradigm for the humanity: for Latin America, Russia, the Muslim world, India, China, and Africa. For none of them, this path can be easy and short. It requires something much bigger than technical education. It requires for Man to see himself according to the Western DNA – as a free kid of God, Who is the Source of Reason and the World Creator. The individual freedoms and creativity are the consequences. The West is a leading power for the entire humanity; thus, the Westerners have a special responsibility for the destiny of humans, and may be for the entire Universe.

    I am thankful to my son Lev for discussions and his help in preparation of this paper.

    [1] F. Hayek, “Road to Serfdom” (1944), “Counterrevolution of Science: Studies on the Abuse of Reason” (1952), and other works.
    [2] A. Toynbee, “A Study of History” (1974).
    [3] E. Fromm, “Escape from Freedom” (1941).

    Original: http://scholast.livejournal.com/43807.html .

    • concernclub says:

      Dear Alexey,

      thanks for your interesting reply.
      at least on one point we seem to agree
      “No question, ecological sustainability will come”.
      In contrast to you I explained in my talk how it will be achieved: by collapse not by rational response!

      you do not suggest anything else yet, perhaps you could do this in your next reply.

      but let me comment shortly on a few points, but before starting lets agree
      we base our discussion on scientific facts not wishful thinking.
      So, try to support your belief statements or give them up and me or others do likewise!

      “The greatness of the European civilization lies in its creativity – philosophical, artistic, scientific, social. Its creative power is unique, by far exceeding all other civilizations ..”

      I disagree strongly, looking at hard numbers the European civilization (and the USA
      one related to it) is the one which is the one which made most wars and invented the most bloody weapons and used them all the time when required.
      Exploitation of the natural capital is efficient and deadly as well.
      The greatest human right violations originated also from your favorite culture
      (do you really need a lesson on how colonialisation, slavery trade etc happened?)

      Sure, there were also great minds coming out of this culture
      Einstein’s and others.. all determined to stop european war and domination madness
      so in which lines do you want to be? The defenders of freedom for others?
      Just look how Assange founder of Wikileaks is being treated by your
      favorite culture.. here we have a real question of freedom and human rights defenders!
      But you are silent about this… why?

      Also, in science we have figured out that there are no particular genes related to
      good white people.. .. so do you have any other evidence for your hypothesis?
      The pseudo philosophical arguments need to be based on facts..
      you only seem to show that the current short historical moment
      is allowing some freedom of speech. In reality as the Wikileaks case demonstrates
      or the killing of M.L. King, when particular ideas become a danger for the elite
      the freedom ends. As long as the masses are satisfied with “bread and games”
      no danger for the elite exists. this is the basis for your so called freedom of the rich.

      “Environmentalism and Marxism”

      your demonizing of another european philosophy is not equivalent to scientific
      proof of whatever.

      in science we start with data (look at my talk) about unsustainability
      and we can argue if our culture became more or less sustainable
      and how fast the remaining natural capital is destroyed.

      Next we can try to find the origins of it.
      So if you have arguments against my list please..

      “Yes, the nonrenewable resources are reducing, but this is a slow process. Decrease of oil, gas and coal natural reserves will take century or centuries. For uranium this time is several times longer. ”

      please bring the data and we can discuss in detail.
      I did and do all the time and the facts indicate that you are wrong.
      but please provide your resource data first!

      your next view is interesting and points to similarities with fascist ideology
      you can google for white primacy or similar.. and be ashamed of your
      “friends”
      “However, high quality of life in the Western countries attracts immigrants, whose mentality and values are not European. This is a true challenge and a real danger for the West. The ancient Greek-Roman civilization fell because it was too attractive for the outside tribes. The civilization fell under invasions of too many barbarians. As a result, the dark ages started. A hard challenge for the West is not to repeat this sad precedent, but turn aliens into new good Europeans.”

      but, a little more about this:
      the slavery roman culture seems to be one ideal to you..
      well, i think the end of this slavery culture was a real advance for the enslaved,
      so will it be after the fall of the industrial culture.

      Just look at what the greek-romans left behind from a formerly rich
      environment .. felling the trees resulted in huge erosion and destroyed large
      parts of the ecosystem and the basis for survival afterwards.
      However this is small to what we are achieving today with our shortsighted
      culture.

      “The West is a leading power for the entire humanity” ..
      yes leading us the fastest path into the abyss, this suicidal culture needs to be stopped
      yes!

      and it seems it will be stopped by a self destruction ..
      as i concluded in my talk, those aware of the situation can prepare
      to leave the best chances for future generations and by this create
      a meaning for their life!

      A very different message from yours who wants to continue the destruction
      which will eventually end .. either by your magic and in your christian heaven
      or by a collapse.
      For non believers in the christian paradise after death
      lets be rational and look at the data ..
      next we decide on a strategy about how the minority can act under the
      dominance of freedom related to the amount of dollars in a bank.

  3. Alexey Burov says:

    Dear Michael,

    I think we already had a long discussion after your talk and my response to that: http://scholast.livejournal.com/43807.html .

    That discussion was long but still unsustainable: eventually it came to its end, exhausting all the resources of common and personal sense. Your new post above clearly shows me that neither my essay, nor our discussion did not change anything in your views, so it would be strange for me to start it all over again. That discussion slightly changed my ideas – I did not expect to see in our professional media, at your level, people with such revolutionary passion and that level of hate to their own civilization. Appreciating this broadening of my ideas, I sincerely thanked you.

    Many thanks again –
    Alexey.

    • concernclub says:

      Dear Alexey,

      you are missing the point!
      The discussion on your blog was about the question of “superiority” of european culture
      which you defend without proofs… just a belief statement.

      Here we are in a different environment and different discussion.

      The question is the meaning of sustainability and how our european culture is
      just pushing all of us within and outside this culture down the cliff.

      You claim that you do not see this cliff yet. Sure, if you look elsewhere or close your eyes
      you can’t see it. That is the meaning of your culture.
      Profit and exploit till the last moment.

      • Alexey Burov says:

        Dear Michael,

        in my essay and following discussion I exhaustively if not excessively expressed my vision of your talk, the system of values behind it, and why this system is extremely dangerous for open societies. This danger was already noted at the dawn of individual freedoms: “Tyranns are demagogs who succeeded to excite hate of people to rich and noble” – Aristotle, “Politics”.

  4. michaeld says:

    just answer to the scientific facts:
    if you do have other numbers to demonstrate that my numbers are wrong show them

    all the rest is propaganda you fall into.
    In fact it is you who is giving up on the basic scientific principles, a great achievement
    indeed!

    • Alexey Burov says:

      Dear Michael,

      I’ve never argued with your facts and numbers, and have nothing against them – as soon as they are no more than just facts and numbers. I think many of those demagogues were operating with more or less correct facts and numbers in their attacks on the ancient democracy.

      • michaeld says:

        So than you admit that your original statements are wrong?

        “Yes, the nonrenewable resources are reducing, but this is a slow process. Decrease of oil, gas and coal natural reserves will take century or centuries. For uranium this time is several times longer.”

        and your conclusions are also wrong.

        That is exactly the point. So reconsider the issue of resources, take the
        numbers which you seem to accept.

        And change your conclusions: The way down starts/or has started essentially now!!!!

        What do we leave behind, besides the waste we have produced?

      • Alexey Burov says:

        Dear Michael, since I think you expressed your position sufficiently well, and do not think I can make my position more clear for you or any possible reader of this discussion, it does non look reasonable for me to continue.

  5. michaeld says:

    Dear Alexey,

    exactly, you do not have data to justify your position and conclusions
    because it is a religious belief that the show must and will go on.

    Posting doubt on it is “criminal” and against “free” thinkers (yes those without scientific basis)
    like in the past, now you need to call inquisition to silence truth seekers.

    that is your view of freedom right?

  6. Alexey Burov says:

    Reading your descriptions of my views, Michael, makes me pessimistic about human ability to understand each other.

    • michaeld says:

      I think I understand your view very well.

      You do not like the data, so lets ignore them.

      What else do you offer?

  7. concernclub says:

    It seems the discussion on this topic is completed.

    The data, which formed the basis of the “RIO+20 disaster” talk,
    are accepted by Alexey:
    “I’ve never argued with your facts and numbers, and have nothing against them – as soon as they are no more than just facts and numbers.”

    Even though Alexey claims to accept the data, his view do not include them.
    In Alexey’s view he expresses that we have “hundreds of years” left before we need to figure
    out how we change to become sustainable, while the data summarised in the talk indicate that
    the problem is “here and now”!.
    So in fact a scientific discussion is impossible.

    However, after all there is more to it and we will start a new blog about all of this soon.
    For now, a good conclusion is expressed in this quote
    by Author: (for more details see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Kropotkin)
    Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin
    Quote:
    Freedom of the press, freedom of association, the inviolability of domicile, and all the rest of the rights of man are respected so long as no one tries to use them against the privileged class. On the day they are launched against the privileged they are overthrown.

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