Riffing on a Sustainable Society
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Riffing on a Sustainable Society
A collection of articles, memes, and mind-busters curated to one topic: how do we realize a sustainable society?
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India To U.S.: Cut Back On Your Consumption!

India To U.S.: Cut Back On Your Consumption! | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
The Paris climate talks are said to be the best chance in 20 years to reach a global treaty. But India argues little will change unless fossil-fuel-reliant rich countries change their habits.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Exactly...

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Why Degrowth has out-grown its own name. Guest post by Kate Raworth

Why Degrowth has out-grown its own name. Guest post by Kate Raworth | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
My much-missed Exfam colleague Kate Raworth, now writing the book of her brilliant 'Doughnut Economics' paper and blog, returns to discuss degrowth. Tomorrow, Giorgos Kallis, the world's leading ac...
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Great post by Kate Raworth.

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Vatican presses politicians on climate change - BBC News

Vatican presses politicians on climate change - BBC News | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
The Vatican Science Academy urges politicians to end their "infatuation" with a form of economic growth that is ruining the Earth.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

From the piece:  "The Pope is hoping to build agreement among all religions on the moral obligation to protect the environment."  Wow.  If some kind of consensus is reached among the world religions, something tells me it is going to be much more effective than the narratives coming from science.  

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Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters?

Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters? | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
The results of a new report show which countries are the most vulnerable to risk--and the most ready to respond when disaster strikes.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

FYI!

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Visioneering a Better Future: The Hieroglyph Project, STS, and the Future of Science and Technology, Joshua Earle

Visioneering a Better Future: The Hieroglyph Project, STS, and the Future of Science and Technology, Joshua Earle | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
Author Information: Joshua Earle, Virginia Tech, jearle@vt.edu Earle, Joshua. "Visioneering a Better Future: The Hieroglyph Project, STS, and the Future of Science and Technology." Social Epistemol...
Steven McGreevy's insight:

I have high hopes for the potential of science fiction visioneering for a better future, I hope to read the Hieroglyph Project book, but just looking over this recap, I can see some major gaps.  There is zero mention of the environment, living within ecological limits, or of nature itself.  The question for all of these visionaries is will we have  a future for humanity that includes nature as a distinct, functioning system with which we must coexist for survival?  I see a complete redesign away from reliance upon nature for anything-- a human-made ecosystem with selected species... an ecosystem for the Anthropocene.  With a nature-less design, do we risk losing an integral part (our soul?) of our humanity?  Transhumanism at what cost?

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Why GM is the natural solution for future farming

Why GM is the natural solution for future farming | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
A new failsafe promises to prevent leakage of GMOs – but will it appease the sceptics, writes scientist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford
Steven McGreevy's insight:

This is a sad take on the GMO issue-- yes, the failsafe is a scientific achievement.  But to say that issues of power, a problem of capitalism is not a problem of science is a cop-out.  There is a future of farming under the control of the private sector, but it's not a sustainable one.

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Statement of the Workshop on Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature

Statement of the Workshop on Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Pope Francis in the house!  It's refreshing to hear organized religions participating in this kind of debate. 

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Economists Are Blind to the Limits of Growth

Economists Are Blind to the Limits of Growth | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
Economists ignore a crucial constraint on human prosperity: energy.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Huge backlash against Paul Krugman's ripping of the "degrowth" movement.  Here's yet another example of why he is wrong.

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Whose Century Is It?: The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Food and the “21st-Century Trade Agreement”

Whose Century Is It?: The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Food and the “21st-Century Trade Agreement” | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it

In pro-TPP rhetoric, the deal is marketed as a “21st-century trade agreement.”2 But the deal isn’t as futuristic as its boosters want you to believe; rather, it’s a massive double down on the strategies and philosophies of NAFTA and other 20th-century free trade agreements. And like those earlier deals, TPP has the potential to impact agriculture and food systems on a large scale.

Steven McGreevy's insight:

A bit on why the TPP is not a good thing for small-farmers.  Canada and Japan are not liking the TPP when it comes to food.  But Japan wants so desperately to sell its Toyotas and Sony TVs...

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Will Fiction Influence How We React to Climate Change? - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com

Will Fiction Influence How We React to Climate Change? - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it

interesWill movies and novels about the effects of climate change make a difference in how people react to global warming?

Steven McGreevy's insight:

Interesting debate on whether or not "cli-fi" moves and novels make a difference in how people react to global warming.

 

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Unlocking the power of women farmers

Unlocking the power of women farmers | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
Focusing on women farmers will increase food production and gender equality, says Ken Davies from the World Food Programme
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Steps to empower women farmers...

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A Gathering of Silverbacks: Age of Limits 2014

A Gathering of Silverbacks: Age of Limits 2014 | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
We are in the realm of highly improbable events that almost daily transform our world. A review of the Age of Limits conference.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

This is a great recap by Albert Bates, attending the Age of Limits conference.  The silverbacks are some of the best minds we have on life and living in a time where we have moved beyond our limits.

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Thinking in a Foreign Language Could Sway Your Moral Judgments | Science | WIRED

Thinking in a Foreign Language Could Sway Your Moral Judgments  | Science | WIRED | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
Would you sacrifice one person to save five? Pitting principle against utility, ends against means, it's a complicated moral equation—and ostensibly one we'd solve the same way whether we considered it in our native language or a foreign tongue. After all, our morality is supposed to be consistent. Yet psychologists say that's not always the case: people may be more likely to make a calculated utilitarian decision when considering it in a second language.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

I find this fascinating... So, I wonder how katakana loan-words spoken in Japanese factor into these experiments... 

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Japan will not sacrifice growth in combating climate change: Abe

Japan will not sacrifice growth in combating climate change: Abe | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday Japan intends to balance efforts to fight global warming with its focus on economic growth, in the wake of a landmark international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’ll achieve (the goal) without sacrificing economic growth,” Abe said in a statement, as Tokyo pledged to cut emissions from 2013 levels by 26% by 2030.

Steven McGreevy's insight:

Sad... growth is not the answer.

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Countries Grab Farmland beyond Their Own Borders

Countries Grab Farmland beyond Their Own Borders | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
To meet demand for food, fuel and wood, countries are snapping up property beyond their borders

Via SustainOurEarth
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Top ten lists of land grabbers....

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God’s Climate Plan - US News

God’s Climate Plan - US News | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
God would not be happy with climate change skeptics.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Been waiting for this perspective for some time... lets hope it takes root.  

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Existing cropland could feed four billion more by dropping biofuels and animal feed

Existing cropland could feed four billion more by dropping biofuels and animal feed | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
The world's croplands could feed 4 billion more people than they do now just by shifting from producing animal feed and biofuels to producing exclusively food for human consumption, according to new research.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

This point seems to be lost in the "we need to feed 9 billion" debate...

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World's Largest Indoor Farm is 100 Times More Productive

World's Largest Indoor Farm is 100 Times More Productive | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it

The statistics for this incredibly successful indoor farming endeavor in Japan are staggering: 25,000 square feet producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day (100 times more per square foot than traditional methods)...

Steven McGreevy's insight:

Is this the future of food production?  These technologies, along with GMO, are intriguing (although I doubt the materials/energy LCA for factory farms), but they always boil down to issues of propriety (among other factors).  Who owns this food system?  Not farmers... at best you have local companies that are beholden to local input.  I know that the areas around Fukushima are looking into this kind of agricultural rebuild, but the jury is still out...

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Heft Notes: Naomi Klein's

Heft Notes: Naomi Klein's | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it

Detailed summary of this important new book on how to combat climate change.

Steven McGreevy's insight:

Here's a quick and dirty overview of Naomi Klein's new book.  It's a good read!

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Forum Exchange - Is Climate Engineering Worthy of Consideration? - Andy Parker (IASS-Potsdam) and Jim Thomas (ETC Group)

Forum Exchange - Is Climate Engineering Worthy of Consideration? - Andy Parker (IASS-Potsdam) and Jim Thomas (ETC Group) | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it

The Washington Geoengineering Consortium is pleased to present the first in a new series of forums on climate engineering. This new series is designed to produce open and frank exchange between people with divergent viewpoints on critical issues.

Steven McGreevy's insight:

Here is an exchange between Jim Thomas of the ETC Group and Andy Parker of IASS Potsdam.  It's dicey at the end... Parker's last word is a bit over the top.  ETC gives their response here: http://dcgeoconsortium.org/2014/12/10/forum-exchange-is-climate-engineering-worthy-of-consideration/

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Green modernism would kill off the wilderness – Brandon Keim – Aeon

Green modernism would kill off the wilderness – Brandon Keim – Aeon | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
Some of the world’s most powerful conservationists are giving up on wilderness. They are making a big mistake
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Seems to piggyback on some of the Dark Mountain rhetoric.  Wildness is at stake.  And Wildness is something magical.

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Are We What We Buy? Consumer Society and Its Discontents

Are We What We Buy? Consumer Society and Its Discontents | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it

People in affluent countries consume too much for the future of the planet. Much of this consumption is unnecessary for well-being and is stimulated by our current version of capitalism predicated on endless growth. Yet stimulating change is difficult.

Steven McGreevy's insight:

A post from the Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy blog.  Summarizes a pair of recent colloquia (of which there is video on the SCORAI homepage).  

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Global Village Construction Set

Global Village Construction Set | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
Sharing the world's first low-cost, DIY, open-source Tractor, Compressed Earth Brick Press, Power Cube, and Soil Pulverizer.
Steven McGreevy's insight:

It's life sized, lego-like, building block appropriate technology.  

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The Wrong -- and Right -- Solution For Feeding 9 Billion People

The Wrong -- and Right -- Solution For Feeding 9 Billion People | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it
The five steps (freeze agriculture's footprint, grow more on existing farms, use resources more efficiently, shift diets, reduce waste) are all good technological fixes, none of which are terribly complicated. So if they are so great, why aren't we i...
Steven McGreevy's insight:

Article by Eric Holt Gimenez from Food First.  He looks at the National Geographic's recent issue on food and agriculture and critiques Jonathan Foley's Five Step Plan to Feed the World.

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Systems Thinking and the Future of Cities

Systems Thinking and the Future of Cities | Riffing on a Sustainable Society | Scoop.it

The idea that nothing exists in isolation−but only as part of a system−has long been embedded in folklore, religious scriptures, and common sense. Yet, systems dynamics as a science has yet to transform the way we conduct the public business. This article first briefly explores the question of why advances in systems theory have failed to transform public policy. The second part describes the ways in which our understanding of systems is growing−not so much from theorizing, but from practical applications in agriculture, building design, and medical science. The third part focuses on whether and how that knowledge and systems science can be deployed to improve urban governance in the face of rapid climate destabilization so that sustainability becomes the norm, not the occasional success story.

Steven McGreevy's insight:

David Orr-- environmental educator-- commenting on systems and cities.

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