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An open question to all politicians

By Social Rebirth

This is an open question to any leader, treasurer or candidate of any political party in the world.

Our planet is finite, has bounds or limits in regards to the temporal spans of the human experience, being corroborated by measurements of biocapacity, the ability of an area to produce resources and absorb waste.

We are currently in ecological overshoot, the amount of resources we consume annually and the waste we produce is exceeding biocapacity by about fifty percent. Our ecological footprint is one hundred fifty percent that of the biocapacity of our planet.

Global consumption patterns which drive the capitalist economic model, the dominant economy on our planet, generating vast financial wealth to a steadily decreasing amount of our human population, are destroying planetary ecosystems, impacting directly on biodiversity.

As a species we have removed half of the forests that once covered our planet and are currently eliminating about eighteen million acres, an area near the size of Panama, annually. The key drivers are urbanisation, timber for construction, fuel and agriculture.

Climate change, pollution, agriculture and expanding industrialisation are producing extreme levels of water scarcity throughout our planet. Over one billion people lack access to water, more than two and a half billion people experience water scarcity for one month of every year.

Overfishing has fully exploited fifty three percent of the world’s fisheries, without change to practices all stocks of species fished for food are expected to collapse by 2048.

Our continual pumping of carbon into the atmosphere is altering global climatic patterns, resulting in increased instances of drought and flooding; engendering rapid glacial melt, sea levels to rise and acidification of the oceans, damaging corals, shellfish and the web of life.

These symptoms are a result of our consumption trends, which politicians such as yourselves continue not only to promote but express as being necessary. Following in the footsteps of people like Victor Lebow, whom so succinctly expressed in 1955:

“Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today expressed in consumptive terms. The greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats- his home, his car, his pattern of food serving, his hobbies.These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only ‘forced draft’ consumption, but ‘expensive’ consumption as well.” (Journal of Retailing – Spring 1955).

Your continued denial of reality, or predisposition to pander to the corporate elite, your reluctance to dare to question the fundamental rules which have governed society for millennia, is working only to secure the position of the status quo. In light of our exponentially increasing commercially generated wants and rapidly decreasing resource availability, this status quo is now posing an existential threat.

This denial of reality has become endemic amongst career politicians and is a disservice to the clear majority of the voting public, who are continually left in a position of disadvantage and are the ones picking up the tab whenever there is a crisis of finance.

People don’t vote for you because they agree with everything you stand for; they vote for you because with the limited choice offered to them, you represent the option with which they most closely identify. As such, an election win should not be misconstrued as a popular mandate for the entirety of party policy. It should be seen for what it is, an opportunity to represent the people. This means finding out what concerns the people have and bringing those concerns to bear front and centre in the political arena. People are drawing the connections between our economies and environmental and social decline, however of those people, none appear to be politicians. This issue does not make it into the mainstream media, which helps to entrench the idea that questioning this aspect of social organisation is beyond the pale.

Our understandings of the natural world have continued to expand over the past sixty years and can no longer be ignored or eclipsed by something as rudimentary as financial economics. Our technological advancements are reducing employment opportunities, widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The ongoing production of cheap substandard products is creating increasing levels of waste and driving up the use of our planet’s finite resources.

When ecosystems collapse, when the biosphere is taken beyond its ability to support complex life, we all suffer.

Understanding this, how will you/your party change the system of economics to come into line with the carrying capacity of our planet and secure a sustainable future for generations to come?

Bearing in mind that “sustainable growth”, like “military intelligence”, is an oxymoron, as once again we are already experiencing ecological overshoot; the last thing we need is further growth as it would be unsustainable.

Looking forward to you response.

Concerned Citizens of Earth.

References:

Tracking the ecological overshoot of the human economy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12089326

Global ecological overshoot cause rapid species loss http://www.swedesd.se/news-frontpage/item/402-the-living-planet-report-2014-global-ecological-overshoot-cause-rapid-species-loss

Causes of Deforestation http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Deforestation/deforestation_update3.php

Deforestation http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/deforestation/

Water Scarcity http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml

Water & Poverty, An Issue of Life & Livelihoods http://www.fao.org/nr/water/issues/scarcity.html

Overfishing http://www.marineconservation.org.au/pages/overfishing.html

Overfishing: a threat to marine biodiversity http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyID=800

The science of climate change: Questions and answers https://www.science.org.au/climatechange

Climate change: How do we know? http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

 


45 comments

  1. Pingback: An open question to all politicians – Written by SOCIAL REBIRTH -THE AIM NETWORK = | winstonclose

  2. Kaye Lee

    Stop fossil fuel subsidies.
    Price carbon to include its social cost.
    Subsidise renewable energy.
    Invest in research.
    Incentivise recycling.
    Free up patents for long life products.
    Invest in public transport.
    Reduce consumption of cattle and sheep in favour of farmed chicken and fish.
    Plant more trees.
    Encourage and assist small organic farms.

  3. Andreas Bimba

    Thanks for a good article that covers vitally important issues that must be addressed urgently.

    I however don’t agree sustainable growth is an oxymoron. Creation of a renewable energy industry, sustainable transport, energy and water efficient housing and even a more comprehensive education, social welfare and environmental protection sector will produce economic growth. Not all economic growth involves an increased use of natural resources, many involve less for example intellectual or information based enterprises. Recycling and increased durability of goods also helps. The sun provides us with huge quantities of energy so we don’t need to return to a very basic way of living unless that is our choice.

    I define growth as the path from subsistence farming to an advanced society that harnesses science and human ingenuity for the benefit of all people and the other life forms we share our planet with in a sustainable way. Our GDP can go up while our material demands decline with good management and government. Other measures of human progress such as a happiness based index should also be adopted.

  4. Jexpat

    Andreas:

    Ecological economists such as Herman Daly draw a distinction between growth and development that covers what you’ve already intuitively grasped:

    Growth – the quantitative increase in size or throughput of biophysical matter. Daly has argued economic growth is based on the “limitless transformation of natural capital into man-made capital”.

    Development – the qualitative improvement in economic welfare from increased quality of goods and services as defined by their ability to increase human well-being. This infers promoting increased economic activity only insofar as it does not exceed the capacity of the ecosystem to sustain it.

    http://www.citizenrenaissance.com/the-book/part-three-where-are-we-heading/chapter-seven-the-rise-of-ecological-economics/growth-vs-development/

    More here: http://steadystate.org/eight-fallacies-about-growth/

  5. donwreford

    Those in power are not interested in ecology other than lip service, you have to see power as a legal drug.

  6. Annette Schneider

    You are right about the denial of reality by mainstream politicians, but for many of them this is either a deliberate choice, or foisted on to them by working in a system where oligarchy, rather than democracy, rules. Although there are many prominent politicians who appear to be plain stupid, I have come to the conclusion that their behaviour actually fits the definition of “evil” much better. Neither of our major parties are free of the corruption of the fossil fuel industry and its lobbyists. The Palaszczuk government in Queensland’s inability to separate itself from the fossil fuel industry shows that if we want a future we will have to fight for it ourselves.

    Wake up Australia, they say that change comes from the ground up, so why do we even bother pleading with most politicians? Let’s just withdraw our money from banks and super funds which invest in fossil fuel. Let’s get out on the streets with our banners and pickets and onto the minesites with our lock on devices or overwhelming crowds and let them know that we actually want a future. The science is well and truly in on anthropogenic climate change, yet most of us are too frightened and obedient to act in the interests of our children, our species and everything we love about life on Earth.

    Target the fossil fuel industry, the necessary key to supply for the overconsumption and degradation of our land, air and water. This is a civilisation based on coal, oil and gas, but it doesn’t have to be and it never used to be. Coal mining is the greatest cause of carbon dioxide pollution and climate change, yet we allow huge new mines to be developed for the export coal industry which brings minimal financial return for our country as well as ruining our prime farmland. Now we are also plagued with the industrialisation of our best farmland with fracking fields which rip apart the fabric of the ground and poison land, water and people while adding large amounts of methane, a volatile greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.

    So stop complaining about the catastrophic weather and our stupid, corrupt politicians. We have created our own climate catastrophe and will not listen to the advice of our top scientists who are warning us that we are killing ourselves. These politicians we keep voting in are the same ones all the time. How about you vote for an independent or a Green next time? Vote for the people who are not on the payroll of the coal miners and frackers and give some of your spare change to groups like 350.org and Lock the Gate who are fighting for you and your future. It’s up to you, Australia, live or die by your own decisions. We can all only do our best, but most of you have hardly started.

  7. mikestasse

    NO Kaye Lee………. what we need is to end all consumption. We are in OVERSHOOT. Every time one buys something, anything, more resources are consumed, and more waste is created….

    By all means remove all FF subsidies (10 million bucks per minute, 24/7!!), but I’m totally against subsidising renewables. We have to discourage all consumption, full stop.

    Just walk away………..

  8. Kaye Lee

    mike, I am fully aware of your views and how utterly impractical they are. You want a bolt hole for you and your family and to snipe at anyone who actually makes practical suggestions about things that CAN be achieved rather than submitting to Armageddon fatalism.

  9. Harquebus

    Good article and will be passing it along.
    Solution: Population reduction and control.

  10. Wally

    @mikestasse the Greenies and hippies have done as much harm as they have done good because like you they cannot see the bigger picture, preferring instead to concentrate on what they see with blinkers on. Australia had sustainable hardwood forestry that minimised the impact on rain forests in poorer countries by reducing demand but people with small minds, limited knowledge and no bloody idea closed it all down in the name of conservation. Now we import rain forest hardwood from countries that do not replant native species.

  11. philgorman2014

    Ecological overshoot is being accompanied by a continuing population overshoot. As resources are over exploited population crashes inevitably follow population explosions. The same has proved true for every civilisation yet devised by humans.

    I remember this topic being discussed as part of a social psychology unit in the late 60’s. The cycle was well known then and has only been amplified by subsequent research and computer modelling.

    Despite the long and loud denials of its detractors the forecasts of the 1972 publication “Limits to Growth” commissioned by The Club of Rome have proved to be remarkably accurate. Dr Graham Turner of the University of Melbourne has compared current global statistics with the “business as usual” scenario from 1972. When compared the actual trends and the forecast trends follow very similar trajectories.

    “If the present growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.” “Limits to Growth, 1972.

    2015 is the predicted year for the initial stages of this decline, with industrial and agricultural output per capita falling as resource extraction soaks up more and more capital. A fall in real wages can be expected around this time.

    From about 2020 cuts to real wages, savings, pensions, health, education and social services result in rising death rates.

    Starting around 2030 global population declines with losses of around half a billion per decade.

    Living and social conditions are are likely to resemble those of the nineteenth century with small immensely wealthy authoritarian elites ruling over technologically aided police states .

    Historical, archaeological and biological studies detail the characteristics of population collapse. They are:

    over exploitation of resources,
    economic stresses,
    rising individual stress levels,
    increasing financial and social inequality,
    declines in physical and mental health,
    increasing suicide rates,
    increased male aggression,
    high levels of domestic violence;
    economic instability,
    social and cultural breakdown,
    increasingly repressive authoritarian governments,
    warfare with other groups or states,
    mass poverty, displacement and alienation,
    internecine tribalism, civil strife, crime and violence,
    economic collapse,
    institutional and cultural collapses,
    rising murder and infanticide,
    epidemics,
    increasing overall death rates,
    malnutrition, famine and starvation,
    fights to the death over dwindling resources,
    the expulsion and killing of outsider groups,
    revolutions, civil wars, population displacement,
    local warlords,
    loss of all civil order and collapse of the state
    reversion to a more primitive and barbarous existence.

  12. mikestasse

    @wally……. ME, not seeing the bigger picture? Puhlease…… how many hardwood trees have YOU planted? How many houses built with recycled materials have YOU built?

    BTW, I happen to agree that greenies have done just as much harm as the conservatives by wanting to substitute ‘green consumption’ for the brown stuff…. it’s why I left the Greens in disgust in 2001, useless policies for the big picture items like population and limits to growth.

  13. mikestasse

    As we’ve been discussing of late here at PeakProsperity.com, humans desperately need a new story to live by. The old one is increasingly dysfunctional and rather obviously headed for either a quite dismal or possibly disastrous future. One of the chief impediments to recognizing the dysfunction of the old story and adopting a new one is the most powerful of all human emotional states: Denial.

    I used to think that Desire was the most powerful human emotion because people are prone to risking everything in their lives – careers, marriages, relationships with their family and close friends – pursuing lust or accumulating 10,000 times more money and possessions than they need in their desire for “more.”

    Perhaps it was my own blind spot(s) that prevented me from really appreciating just how powerful human denial really is. But here we are, 40 years after the Club of Rome and 7 years after the Great Financial Accident of 2008, collectively pretending that neither was a sign warning of the dangers we face — as a global society — if we continue our unsustainable policies and practices that assume perpetual growth.

    http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/92776/denial-we-pursue-endless-growth-our-peril?utm

  14. stephentardrew

    For all the debating the problem and solutions are obvious. There is a school of academic excellence that demonstrate that we can, given the psychological and conceptual shift necessary, solve these problems effectively. Evolution needs to bong us on the head to see if we have the wherewithal to survive and if not a new culture paradigm and/or species will evolve to take our place. We are not indomitable or the zenith of evolutionary potentiality and here lies the rub.

    Just a cheeky thought experiment. I for one am quite sure we can overcome the most dysfunctional epoch in living history however we may well just be a failure waiting to happen. You see evolution has not value judgments or objectives other than sustainable survival of species that must the move towards environmental equilibrium. We are so out of whack as to be on the path to self-destruction. There may well be no viable choice. Point being we need to consider every possibility seriously if we are to change our ways.

    Obviously science is the methodology and reason and logic the tools for the application of science to survival. Funnily enough the psyche evidence demonstrates that sentient beings need a sense of mystery awe and wonder so the problem is to mesh the facts and proofs of science and logic with the deep inner urge for meaning and a reason for being. You see its so easy to ignore the evidence for personal opinion and, heavens knows, we have too much of that. So religion and atheism both miss the mark because what is demanded is innovative thinking an a new mythology that gives hope and meaning to life.

    Some psychologist, psychiatrists and medical professionals are beginning to see that psychotropic drugs can provide a new and manageable methodology for dealing with fear and its underlying response “hate” that so drives this self-destructive madness. We are forgetting that the place of happiness is in or subjective selves not the material world which is temporary and fleeting. Most objects wear out and have to be replaced as soon the gloss wears of an the object loses its egocentric appeal so off and buy a new one. What is required first of all is a dramatic shift in thinking.

    Everyone here is well aware of these issues and hopefully we can work together to produce a paradigm of controlled consumption and environmental equilibrium. In this respect technology is our friend not nemesis.

    This all leads to one very important realisation. Our current political framework, left and right, is completely dysfunctional. To hope for change within is naive because they all have too much personal wealth and status to lose.

    I don’t have ready made answers but I think the challenge is obvious to most who write and blog here. My hope is that the greens, with the impact of the likes of Scott Ludlum, can effect the necessary change if we actively support them yet critically challenge the pie in the sky nonsense.

    We live in interesting times.

  15. keertidalleyKeerti

    There is a strange idea that by shifting to solar/wind etc that we can continue in our profligate ways. Not so, a field of solar panels requires both mining and oil to build. It requires large amount of plastic, a product of the oil industry which again needs energy The planet does not have unlimited amounts of oil, iron, copper or aluminum (all required to build solar panels.. Clearly when to get oil we are destroying water supplies with fracking.
    Above there is a suggestion that we need to move from beef and sheep meats to farmed fish and chicken. Food for both is had in various ways, but at the moment the cheapest is made from overfishing, particularly in Asia where everything that is netted including juveniles etc is used to produce for feed for farmed fish. Perhaps interesting to note that as a species our “need” for protein has been seriously overestimated. Human breast milk has a protein content of 4%. Given that the first few months of life are when most rapid growth is taking place , 4% would be most likely the greatest amount needed. Not the 10% or more in dietary recommendations.
    “Limits To Growth”—Club of Rome, set this whole situation of resource use in the early seventies. The work was assessed and updated in 2005. Both the original and the update make a useful and I believe necessary starting point. The projections made in the original were found to be accurate in the update.
    I enjoyed the article above, both for it’s quality of writing and for the clarity therein.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Sustainable aquaculture is becoming big business for Asia, particularly Vietnam (about $4 billion worth). The big exporters are very aware of the importance of sustainability and importers set standards which they are at pains to meet. I saw an interesting program on Landline. They suggest that Australian expertise should be used to help the Asian producers expand and improve. It could be another growth industry.

    http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2013/s3945647.htm

  17. Social Rebirth

    There has been a fair amount of commentary about overpopulation in this thread.

    There are plenty of facts to support the idea that our population is putting insurmountable strain on our planet. Our world population has expanded more since 1950 than it did in the previous four million years. These additional people place additional demands on earth: 80% of the original rain forests have been cleared or degraded; one-third to one half of the Earth’s land surface has been transformed. Currently, 505 million people live in countries with water-stress or water scarcity. By 2025, almost half of the Earth’s population, from 2.4 to 3.4 billion people, will be living in areas of water stress or scarcity. Only 0.3% of the planet’s water is available for human use. Mismanagement results in over 40% of the groundwater in the U.S. being contaminated by industrial, agricultural, and household pollution, leaving it extremely difficult and costly to purify.

    80% of the earth’s original rainforests have not been clear cut or degraded due solely to population growth, it is the way in which we as a population are choosing to live in a consumption driven economy. We are not experiencing water shortages because we are drinking it all, rather because of poor management and industrial pollution. If we were more intelligent about the way in which we consumed our finite resources the use of those resources would decline significantly and without a reduction in our standard of living.

    Fundamental changes to the way we operate on an economic level would result in an increase in the standard of living for our entire human family, and bring the human ecological footprint in line with the biocapacity of our planet. In short we can continue to exist in an infinite growth paradigm and struggle with all the environmental and social symptoms which arise as a result, or we can challenge our current social model in its entirety and come up with practical solutions to the short falls we find. It may be difficult for many of us to question everything we have been raised to understand, but it will also be difficult to live on a planet of ever decreasing biodiversity. Our current economic model is going to force us into a position of having to consider these issues and rethink what is and what is not important. Without an environment that can sustain human life there will be no profit.

    http://socialrebirth.org/understanding-population-limits/

  18. Keith

    The Abbott neo-cons argue about Intergenerational theft; what they don’t mention is that they are the main perpetrators.
    Climate change is real, the physics and chemistry of how CO2 functions is well known. It is something several scientists from a number of disciplines agree on; astrophysicists, atmospheric scientists, marine scientists, glaciologists, biologists, chemists, physicists, medical scientists, paleo climatologists, hydrologists etc etc. Deniers suggest climate science is a hoax; a pretty silly conspiracy theory when so many science disciplines are involved and a huge number of nationalities are represented.

    The cryosphere is deteriorating; one of many signs that climate change is happening..
    Yet; we appear to be having a re-run of the GFC; fossil fuels can be changed to represent housing in the US. Now is not the time to be squandering huge amounts of capital on mining projects that would appear to be less viable as time goes on. In the long run the GFC is small bickies in comparison to the damage that climate change will cause. As the atmosphere warms it takes on more water vapour ….
    In other words, the question is when major flooding happens how much is due to normal weather conditions , and how much is due to climate change (clouds carrying more water vapour)?

    The renewable energy market is developing in other parts of the planet; either inept management, or a conscious program on undermining the renewable energy market has happened in Australia.
    Coal is not good for humanity, the emissions kill hundreds of thousands of people in China and numerous thousands in India. Rather than an open for business attitude a very rigorous assessment of supply and demand for coal needs to occur. Currently the neo-cons are happy to risk the Great Barrier Reef for short term gain. Though the capital available to Adani is questionable and the number of jobs to be created have been highly inflated

    Divestment of mining shares is beginning to hit home (Norway); and the introduction of batteries developed by Tesla which virtually allow people to leave the grid will have an impact. By over extending financial resources in a sunset industry Abbott and Co are creating huge debts for the future; apart from contributing to climate tipping points.

  19. mikestasse

    Sustainable aquaculture is an oxymoron……… what I saw in that video might be less unsustainable than what I’ve seen in Tasmania with salmon farming, but the fact remains the fish are farmed in huge plastic hoops, from food that comes out of plastic bags (I’d love to know what it was and where it came from…) and that this fish is then shipped to Australia in refrigerated containers, all burning fossil fuels…. do you realise that the 15 biggest ships create more emissions than ALL the cars in the world? There are almost 500,000 ships in the world, and the mind boggles at how much pollution they produce when combined……

    Fact of the matter is, NOTHING we do is sustainable, but you Kaye Lee continue believing technology will save us from armageddon, even though it’s actually speeding its arrival. Oh and a ‘growth industry’ is the last thing we need…….. growth MUST stop. And it WILL……..

  20. stephentardrew

    One thin is certain economic rationalism and supply side economics are a total failure yet most of the world desperately hangs onto failure in vain hope that we can fix a fundamentally self-destructive self-consuming paradigm that is a total failure.

    We need a social contract with the plane not the wealthy oligarchs.

  21. Harquebus

    The link posted by MS is an excellent read. I read it yesterday and is another that I will be passing on.

    “But here we are, 40 years after the Club of Rome and 7 years after the Great Financial Accident of 2008, collectively pretending that neither was a sign warning of the dangers we face — as a global society — if we continue our unsustainable policies and practices that assume perpetual growth.”
    http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/92776/denial-we-pursue-endless-growth-our-peril

    We can not shop our way to sustainability.

  22. Harquebus

    And, as people literally lay dying in the streets.

    “…across a broad range of Delhi politicians and policymakers there is near unanimity. There is, they say, simply no possibility that at this stage in its development India will agree to any form of emissions cap, let alone a cut.” In other words, coal mining must continue in the name of economic growth, no matter what the human costs.
    http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/the-senility-of-elites-coal-mining-must.html

  23. seawork

    Kaye Lee# No more farmed chickens please. There is enough animal cruelty going on now without adding to it.
    Free range chicken is OK if it is proper free range.

  24. Harquebus

    Unless, all the animals are dead.

    pragmatic, survival-of-the-fittest philosophy
    “if it moves, shoot it; if it don’t move, chop it down.”
    “It was an uphill struggle because of rapid population growth, hunger, lacks of jobs and income, the availability of axes and saws, and the proliferation of cheap bullets and firearms such as .22 caliber rifles, which are durable and can last for many decades.”
    http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_25_2/tsc_25_2_kolankiewicz.shtml

    “Ocean’s dying, plankton’s dying… it’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food. You’ve gotta tell them. You’ve gotta tell them!”
    http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/unprecedented-mass-die-offs-as-pacific-ocean-turning-into-a-desert-off-california-coast_05212015

    “more than 120,000 saiga antelope that have died in central Kazakhstan”
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/previous-mass-die-offs-of-the-endangered-saiga-antelope-hint-at-a-warm-wet-weedy-culprit-in-kazakhstan/
    http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/saiga-antelopes-dying-unprecedented-rates

  25. Keerti

    I’m sorry KayLee sustainable aquaculture in Vietnam? With Australian expertise? I live in Vietnam part of the year by far the greatest amountt of aquaculture in Vietnam relies on fish food manufactured from overfishing of fisheries in oceans which are already moving toward collapse. As well a large part of fish food is made from grains which alter the proper proportions of omega 3″s and 6’s. The result of that is coronary issues and diabetes. Most aquaculture in Vietnam is carried out in extensive rather than state of the art aquaculture set ups. yes the Vietnamese government is aware making words about sustainability. That is while they continue to pollute farms and rivers with huge amounts of pesticides and do deals with monsanto.

  26. Keerti

    The Landline doco referred to sounds more like public relations/ advertising piece for fish importers and producers than an independently researched journalistic investigation.

  27. mikestasse

    Thank you Keerti, for telling us what’s in those feed bags, exactly as I suspected….

  28. mikestasse

    In the link below you can access the ‘introduction’ to Samuel Alexander’s new book, Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits.

    http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=54DeY&m=3fcVBY3hFwid6Dr&b=JAC_sptXHLhMfd1Ioz0T_A

    For a full electronic copy of the book, the following link provides access to a pdf on a ‘pay what you want’ basis. While the suggested
    price is $10, if you are unable to pay, then the book can be accessed for free.

    http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=54DeY&m=3fcVBY3hFwid6Dr&b=RnyvS6k_UipAHYo1RxpptQ

    The paperback of the book is available here:
    http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=54DeY&m=3fcVBY3hFwid6Dr&b=nV3kIXWLrQsRjCAAfYRhVg

  29. mikestasse

    http://www.votesustainable.org.au/media_release_infrastructure_cannot_be_doubled_with_population_doubling

    The doubling of our population demands a doubling of our infrastructure, but this will be impossible to deliver in Australian cities. The increasingly obvious reason is that our cities have reached diseconomies of scale. Diseconomies of scale are the forces that cause governments to produce infrastructure – like schools, hospitals, road and rail – at increasing per-unit costs. In short, governments do not receive enough proportionately extra tax from each new citizen to provide for this disproportionately expensive infrastructure.

    It used to be easy to deliver infrastructure when the government owned the land, but because our major cities are already planned and built up, there is no room to retro-fit new infrastructure without expensive additions like land buy-backs and tunnelling. Consequently, projects like Melbourne’s East West Road Link and Sydney’s North West Rail Link now cost $18 billion and $8 billion respectively. That’s an astounding $350 million to $1 billion per kilometre. The impact on government budgets is clear. According to The Grattan Institute, state and territory borrowing for capital expenditure over the last seven years drove their finances backwards from $37 billion in the black in 2006 to $69 billion in debt in 2013

  30. Harquebus

    More of the same is only going to give us more of the same. Those that espouse growth have no understanding of the exponential function nor the consequence of unfettered compound growth.

    Here is the formula for doubling time.
    70/%rate=doubling time
    70/doubling time=required %rate

    At 7% GDP growth, China’s GDP will double in 10 years. Is this a realistic expectation? Can our environment cope?

    Increase energy production, grow populations, grow the economy, build massive amounts of energy guzzling infrastructure and pay off debt all while trying to reduce greenhouse gasses and the budget deficit…. Ha! It is the ideology of compound growth and the absurd pursuit of it that is the problem.

    Thanks for your comments and links Mike.

  31. jimhaz

    [Consequently, projects like Melbourne’s East West Road Link and Sydney’s North West Rail Link now cost $18 billion and $8 billion respectively]

    My view is that the big companies collude and share the jobs around only ever tendering at massive rates of profit and have done so for 20 or more years. It is that sort of industry.

    Take the North West Rail Link. Lets say that of the 8 billion, 6 billion is for land purchases, machinery and profit, leaving 2 billion for salaries. At a salary cost of $150,000 per annum, 2 billion would give you 13,333 jobs for one year. That many people can do a lot of work in one year.

  32. Wally

    @mikestasse you seem to have some belief that you are a lone crusader, the only person left who cares for the planet and that your way is the only way.

    Building with recycled materials is not necessarily the best way our ancestors built their homes from natural/renewable materials offering many obvious benefits. The main one being minimal impact on the environment. I have built/extensively renovated 4 homes.

    I don’t need to plant trees, I cut down trees on my 10 acre bush block for firewood and the new trees seed naturally just the way nature intended.

    To be brutally honest anyone who is fully committed to reducing their impact on the planet would kill themselves, totally removing their footprint on the planet and in the case of most greenies it would make the world a better place. And mikestasse I am not referring to you my beef is with the idiots who destroyed the sustainable hardwood timber industry at the expense of native rain forests in Asia. One group of high profile protesters were so well informed they spent 3 days protesting about logging native forests sitting beside a stack of Pine trees????

    This mob succeeded in closing down 4 local hardwood timber mills and many others around Victoria. As a result instead of adding value to the natural resource and with the local community enjoying the benefits of the employment and wealth generated all of the logs are now exported as wood chips so instead of being used to build houses and make furniture our natural forest hardwoods are now exported to Japan to make dunny paper.

  33. Wally

    @mikestasse if we could find a way to recycle dunny paper we could save lots of gum trees.

  34. mikestasse

    Mine ends up in the compost toilet, which then ends up in the garden compost, which ads Carbon to my soil. The worms LOVE IT!

  35. Harquebus

    We could all shit in our own back yards and not flush the nutrients out to sea.

  36. mikestasse

    @wally you seem to have some belief that you are a lone crusader, the only person left who cares

    OK……… there are two of us now!

  37. keertidalleyKeerti

    Add to that the floating villages in the Mekong ( Otherwise best described as an open sewer with added chemicals from China, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia) engaged in fish farming. Individually some of these make around $200,000 gross a year per family. Add twenty of them together and you have a big operation. They are passed off as small operations in the doc, but the reality is that each floating village is grossing about $1,000,000. Now off one town in the delta there may be 5 such villages. Starting to get an idea of the scale??!!

  38. Sean C

    Mike Stasse,
    You say :
    “Fact of the matter is, NOTHING we do is sustainable,”
    and then,
    ” Nothing short of a collapse will put an end to the madness….”,
    so then why do you then boast:
    “Mine ends up in the compost toilet, which then ends up in the garden compost, which ads Carbon to my soil. The worms LOVE IT!”

    By your own admission you are wasting your time.

    I believe you have a lot to offer in the dialogue, it is a shame that you frame it with such disdain for humans…it’s not useful for us alive today trying to do something positive.

    Not everybody has read as widely as you on this issue. Show some compassion for humanity, and even if collapse is inevitable can you please contribute in a more inclusive manner? Dismissing everyone else’s ideas to your own will be regarded as arrogance and dismissed by otherwise receptive readers.

  39. Wally

    @mikestasse Compost toilets are a great idea – “Mine ends up in the compost toilet, which then ends up in the garden compost, which ads Carbon to my soil. The worms LOVE IT!” – BUT albeit a good disposal system this is not recycling. You still need to cut down trees to make paper for the next visit and you cannot make good dunny paper out of recycled paper. Apparently you need to mix in fresh hardwood fibre to provide the correct softness to hardness ratio and aussie wood chips make the best dunny paper.

    Until the end does come some things will never change.

    – If you don’t eat you won’t shit and if you don’t shit you die.
    – Don’t buy cheap dunny paper if it doesn’t scratch your bum your finger will poke through.

  40. Andreas Bimba

    Wally you appear to blame conservationists for closing down local timber mills, expansion of the wood chip export industry and the importation of unsustainably harvested tropical timber from Asia.

    As I recall those conservationists that protested against timber harvesting in Victoria and elsewhere were just trying to save high conservation value or old growth or virgin native forests from being clear felled. Very little remains of our unique and highly valuable virgin native forests and we should be extremely grateful to those few brave individuals that risked their own personal safety to protect these forest remnants. Without them we would no doubt have lost all of our old growth forests that were within economic reach within a decade or so.

    This source of timber would have been depleted and the sawmills would have closed down in any case if sustainable alternatives were not developed. The ‘quick buck’ captains of industry and their political harlots set up this fight between forest industry worker and conservationists by refusing to plan for the long term.

    The uneconomic and destructive wood chip export industry and the importation of unsustainably harvested tropical timber from Asia and elsewhere are examples of appalling mismanagement by neo-liberal Conservative and Labor governments that stubbornly refuse to invest in sustainable forest management practices.

    Conservationists have always opposed large scale wood chip exports and have demanded sustainably managed local plantations and regrowth forests to meet local demand as well as the development of local saw mills and manufacturing enterprises that use locally grown timbers.

    Conservationists have also demanded much tighter enforcement of sustainability classification systems and import regulations for imported forest products but neo-liberal governments have turned a blind eye and have allowed the unregulated importation of unsustainably harvested timber to continue.

  41. Wally

    @Andreas Bimba your comment proves that the protesters stuffed up.

    We had a sustainable forestry industry in the Otway Ranges but now as you say all we have is “The uneconomic and destructive wood chip export industry and the importation of unsustainably harvested tropical timber from Asia and elsewhere….”

    Before the protests started we had this “Conservationists have always opposed large scale wood chip exports and have demanded sustainably managed local plantations and regrowth forests to meet local demand” wood chips were waste product from sawmill logs and after clear felling everything was replanted and this has been proven to provide the best quality timber and highest yield. As a result less forest is harvested so more natural forest remains untouched. The methods of replanting and felling were all developed and supervised by the forestry commission experts but of course who are they the conservationists know better.

    Most mills had invested millions of dollars into the industry to suggest “The ‘quick buck’ captains of industry and their political harlots set up this fight between forest industry worker and conservationists by refusing to plan for the long term.” is a total fabrication.

    Conservationists succeeded in buggering up the local industry but there has barely been a whimper about “enforcement of sustainability classification systems and import regulations for imported forest products but neo-liberal governments have turned a blind eye and have allowed the unregulated importation of unsustainably harvested timber to continue.” so at the end of the day they failed dismally.

    I see more log trucks go past my house than ever but the logs no longer go to the mill they go straight to the docks where they are chipped then loaded onto the ships. No value adding and minimal local content. And I could take you to protesters houses to see the marabou decking they have around there homes. At the end of the day what we have now is nothing short of a total stuff up and where are all the protesters now?

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