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News that effects the sustainability of life on Earth
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Energy and the Financial System: What Everyone Needs to Know… and Work Darn Hard to Avoid

Energy and the Financial System: What Everyone Needs to Know… and Work Darn Hard to Avoid | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"Our economic and financial system is based on assumptions of continued growth. Currently growth is highly dependent on energy and a surplus thereof as provided by high EROI energy sources. Our available energy sources, however, are providing less and less energy returns on the amount of energy we put into them. Therefore the amount of surplus energy available is declining. Thus, given the dependence of growth on energy, growth will decline too. The little remaining health of our financial systems, however, relies heavily on assumptions of continued growth and rather high ones at that, but those assumptions will increasingly turn out to be false if Boyd’s prediction of declining EROI is true".


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Willy De Backer's curator insight, April 12, 2014 10:13 AM

Great article on the link between society's diminishing energy return on energy investment and the current economic and financial crisis. A must-read for all austerians and post-Keynesians. This time it IS really different.

Eli Levine's curator insight, April 13, 2014 6:35 PM

Indeed, our ability to "grow" economically and socially is bound by the environment, our population size, cosmological conditions, food production and our state of technology.  Should we honestly "grow" for the sake of "growing", if it comes at long term as well as short term harm?

 

Things that Capitalism under its current logic, does not answer and does not wish to answer.

 

Think about it.

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When Wealth Disappears

When Wealth Disappears | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
We are reaching end times for Western affluence. We must accept economic honesty and recognize that promises made during good times can no longer be easily kept.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, October 13, 2013 2:06 PM

Brilliant must-read article from NY Times.

"In his “Future of an Illusion,” Sigmund Freud argued that the faithful clung to God’s existence in the absence of evidence because the alternative — an empty void — was so much worse. Modern beliefs about economic prospects are not so different. Policy makers simply pray for a strong recovery. They opt for the illusion because the reality is too bleak to bear. But as the current fiscal crisis demonstrates, facing the pain will not be easy. And the waking up from our collective illusions has barely begun."

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GDP Growth and Diminishing Returns

Tighten your belts. A new paper suggests the optimum gross domestic product (GDP) may be only $7,000 per person.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, July 10, 2013 1:57 PM

good article on 'beyond GDP' inspired by new paper in Ecological Economics.

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Zero-growth is the 'new normal'

Zero-growth is the 'new normal' | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

US economic growth will be less than 1% in the next fourty years according to a new analysis by famous American investor Jeremy Grantham. The contrarian investor sees resource scarcity and higher resource prices as well as demographic factors as the main reason why our global economies will continue to struggle for new economic growth.

 

As always the gloomy predictions of Mr Grantham's piece make a lot of sense but will be neglected by the "don't worry, be happy" myopic political and economic elites.


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The End of Economic Growth

Another impressive presentation by Richard Heinberg of why we have now entered the post-growth era and what will be the implications for our societies.


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New Inclusive Wealth Index shows lower growth and future risks for major economies

"Some large economies show significantly lower growth when natural assets such as forests and water are factored into growth indicators, an index showed on Sunday, a few days before an international sustainability summit starts in Rio de Janeiro."

 

Interesting new report from two of the UN's environmental institutions shows that the Beyond GDP debate needs more and faster progress.


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New report: Taking environmental limits seriously: The need to reshape environmental policy

New report:  Taking environmental limits seriously: The need to reshape environmental policy | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Despite this large untapped potential, a sufficient degree of decoupling may not be achieved. As part of a precautionary strategy, policy and society should therefore also reflect on conditions of social and political stability under conditions of low economic growth.

 

This new report from the German Advisory Council on the Environment is one of the few reports which looks beyond the "decoupling" paradigm and puts forward ideas to adapt economic and social practices and institutions for a coming post-growth world.


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Tim Jackson: Let’s Be Less Productive

Tim Jackson: Let’s Be Less Productive | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The relentless drive for productivity may have some limits; if our economies don’t continue to expand, we risk putting people out of work.

 

Excellent article by Tim Jackson ("Prosperity without growth") pleading for less productivity and more quality of life to deal with our growth crisis.


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The Rise of Anti-Capitalism

The Rise of Anti-Capitalism | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"A formidable new technology infrastructure — the Internet of Things — is emerging with the potential to push much of economic life to near zero marginal cost over the course of the next two decades."


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Willy De Backer's curator insight, March 16, 2014 4:47 AM

As always, super-optimist Rifkin is great at analysing new trends in the global economy, but totally misjudges the negative implications. This is the guy who predicted the age of the "European Dream". Look where Europe is now! So by all means, read this NY Times article but put off your rosy glasses.

Eli Levine's curator insight, March 16, 2014 1:31 PM

Perhaps this era of free manufacture will break the current economic system (assuming that the businesses don't attempt to break it).

 

It still won't change the attitude with regards to money, society and the environment that's proving so caustic to our whole world.

 

This will be interesting to watch.

 

Think about it.

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The Fracking of “The Limits to Growth”

The Fracking of “The Limits to Growth” | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Does a new extractive technology arrive before or after limits to growth in resource throughput are in place?

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, August 21, 2013 4:20 AM

Interesting article by Herman Daly on the death of a American proponent of 'limits to growth' who went over to the fracking side - Darth Vader?

 

"If we were to first enact limits to growth in resource throughput, then even a violent extractive technology such as fracking would be constrained in its ability to wreck the planet on a large scale. The lower carbon content of natural gas might reduce global warming enough to make up for additional extraction damage to the environment. However, if we insist that unlimited growth must remain our first goal, then fracking will just increase total greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention groundwater depletion and pollution. With growth in first place, even soft technologies, those that increase efficiency of resource usage, are likely (thanks to the Jevons Paradox) to promote growth in resource throughput to a scale that is on balance harmful."

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New Lens Scenarios - Shell Global

New Lens Scenarios - Shell Global | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"With the world’s population headed toward 9 billion at mid-century and millions of people climbing out of poverty, global energy demand could increase by as much as 80% by 2050. That’s according to Shell’s latest scenarios, which look at trends in the economy, politics and energy in considering developments over the next half a century."


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Willy De Backer's curator insight, March 9, 2013 3:35 AM

In its latest New Lens scenarios, Shell recognises the existence of "ecological limits" to growth and confirms 2 degrees warming target is unreachable.

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Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse”

Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse” | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"So we have no historical precedents for anything greater than 1% per annum reduction in emissions. We’re saying we need nearer 10% per annum, and this is something we need to be doing today. And therefore, we can draw a very clear conclusion from this, that in the short to medium term, the way for the Annex 1, the wealthy parts of the world to meet their obligations to 2°C, is to cut back very significantly on consumption. And that would therefore mean in the short to medium term a reduction in our economic activity i.e. we could not have economic growth."

 


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Jeremy Grantham: ‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis’

Jeremy Grantham: ‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis’ | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"We are five years into a severe global food crisis that is very unlikely to go away. It will threaten poor countries with increased malnutrition and starvation and even collapse. Resource squabbles and waves of food-induced migration will threaten global stability and global growth. This threat is badly underestimated by almost everybody and all institutions with the possible exception of some military establishments."

 

Joe Romm summarises the latest article by guru investor Jeremy Grantham in his Quarterly Newsletter. "The global economy is a Ponzi scheme".


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Sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value

Sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
If Shared Value is to offer real, long term transformation it must address the flaws of capitalism, look beyond incrementalism and not just align commercial and societal goals, says John Elkington...

 

Good critique by sustainable business expert Elkington of the Shared Value approach developed by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer. But Elkington's own "triple bottom line" is as flawed as Porter's. Both of them do not put "ecological limits" at the heart of the transformational agenda.


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Rio+20: A Momentum for Resource Economics

Rio+20: A Momentum for Resource Economics | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Growth. It's not about plant growth, hair growth or growth in quality of life, it's about economic growth. And the kind that is measured in GDP. However, Rio+20 might mark a paradigm shift in the way we measure growth and wealth.

 

This article on Rio+20 in the Huffington Post demonstrates clearly how difficult it is to end our obsession with "growth" as the number one political priority. "Intelligent" growth, a "paradigm shift in the way we measure growth and wealth"... do all these phrases really put us on track for a new destination or do we just blind ourselves with nice rhetoric?


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