From: “A. Gayle Hudgens”Date: 11 February 2011 16:24:00 GMTTo: Richard Moore <•••@••.•••>Subject: Re: Systems thinking and the global prolematique
Yes, sustainability has to begin at the local level. Hence, the localization movement is certainly key to achieving a broader sustainable world. However, even well-meaning people at the local level can have blind spots and not realize that something (or even several things) they are doing can turn out to be unsustainable.
For example, the following extract from Nathaniel Philbrick’s book, Mayflower, touches on how quickly well-meaning people can create an unsustainable situation at the local level:
A settler in a typical town in Plymouth Colony in the 1650s received a house lot…. Instead of the tiny wattle and daub cottages constructed by the original Pilgrims, the subsequent generations built post-and-beam structures covered with clapboards and shingles and anchored by mammoth brick chimneys.It took a tremendous amount of lumber to build one of these houses — even a modest house required at least twelve tons of wood. Just as daunting were the heating requirements of the home’s open hearth. It’s been estimated that the average 17th century New England house consumed fifteen cords, or 1,920 cubic feet, of wood per year, meaning that a town of two hundred homes depended on the deforestation of as many as seventy-five acres per year.
Fortunately today many have realized that deforestation and fireplaces are unsustainable. We now have more sustainable building products and fuel for heating our homes. Yet, we (as in almost 7 billion human beings on the planet now) have such a very long road to hoe, so to speak, that we may already be past the tipping point.
And, unfortunately, as you point out, among the larger obstacles against achieving sustainable societies, are the power elites, who through such mechanisms as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund can force such things as happened to the Argentines several years ago…. a French corporation took over the previously public water systems in Argentina and water bills went up some 400% overnight.
I have to wonder how a local community might have been able to fight that battle, for one of the prospects we have to face now is the state/corporate takeover of water systems elsewhere (aka the coming Water Wars). Let’s hope local rain collection systems will be exempt, but we may be surprised to find out that they too can be subsumed in the category of ‘any and all’ water systems’…. or some similar sneaky phraseology in new legislation concocted by so-called people’s representatives, who are in actuality under the influence of — and on the take from — the lobbyists of the elites..
Just some thoughts we’ve been pondering lately.
Yes there are many obstacles to be overcome if liberation is to be achieved, the greatest of which are the power elites, and 6,000 years of conditioning to domestication. Perhaps the task is impossible. Nonetheless, the duty of those of us who have overcome the conditioning is to seek a path that has hope of overcoming the power elites.
I think we have succeeded in eliminating the paths that we know could never work, the paths that carry within them their own failure. And I think we have figured out the essential characteristics of a liberated society. By application of the Pollyanna Principles, I think we have identified, in rough terms, the most feasible path to achieving liberation. We have made considerable progress. We thus have reason to celebrate, reason to redouble our efforts, and reason and to permit ourselves to have hope.
I am not at all concerned about the sustainability issue. I do not think we are close to any real global tipping point for humanity, although the tipping point for industrial, growth-seeking civilization was passed long ago. Because of the nature of a liberated society, and the green consciousness that has spread throughout the world, sustainability will be easily achieved if liberation is achieved. In this regard I think How Cuba Survived Peak Oil stands as the classic proof of concept.
The question of how a single liberated community might engage elite oppression is not, I suggest, relevant. The power of early adopters lies in their example. Effective engagement cannot begin until liberation has pervaded larger societal units. At that point some progress can be made, and those larger units become examples on a larger canvas. To a considerable extent Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia — and most of all Cuba — already serve as such examples.
By intentionally accelerating the collapse of industrial civilization, and by revealing their hand as regards the new world order, elites have created everywhere fertile ground for liberation. In the case of Ireland, for example, I can now envision a whole nation finding liberation by the dynamics I formerly thought could only happen in a local community. And if somewhere like Ireland succeeds, within the belly of the beast, that would be an example that could very rapidly go viral globally.
Over the past 15 years, as I’ve been writing, I’ve been observing the kinds of ideas and initiatives that have been emerging around the world. The level of liberation consciousness has been rising rapidly. Ideas which are finding wide currency now would have been generally dismissed only 15 years ago. I see us now in a race, between the emergence of liberation consciousness, and the final imposition of the new world order.
2012: Crossroads for Humanity:
Climate science: observations vs. models