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Big Picture – Problem Orientation. I’ve got to pee. Big Picture – Problem Orientation. We’ve lost power. We’re going to crash. Big Picture – Problem Orientation. What are we going to do?!. Big Picture – Problem Orientation. Don’t worry. I know what needs to be done.

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Big Picture – Problem Orientation


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    Presentation Transcript
    1. Big Picture – Problem Orientation I’ve got to pee.

    2. Big Picture – Problem Orientation We’ve lost power. We’re going to crash.

    3. Big Picture – Problem Orientation What are we going to do?!

    4. Big Picture – Problem Orientation Don’t worry. I know what needs to be done.

    5. Big Picture – Problem Orientation Well?

    6. Big Picture – Problem Orientation Isn’t it obvious? I’m going back to use the bathroom.

    7. Big Picture – Problem Orientation • Are climate change, toxic pollution, deforestation, groundwater depletion, fisheries depletion, eutrophication, acidification, mass extinctions, etc. the problems? • Or are they symptoms of a larger problem on the horizon . . .

    8. Collapse!

    9. Collapse!orC

    10. Collapse!orCollapse?

    11. (Which is it?)

    12. Recap of Ecological Footprint • Any complex differentiated system has a natural tendancy to erode, dissipate and unravel (Rees & Wackernagel) • “[M]odern cities do not run down in this way [because] they are able to import available energy and material . . . from their host environments which they use to maintain their internal integrity [and] export the resultant . . . waste . . . into their hosts.” (Rees & Wackernagel)

    13. Recap of Ecological Footprint • Any complex differentiated system has a natural tendancy to erode, dissipate and unravel (Rees & Wackernagel). • Modern cities do not run down in this way [because] they are able to import available energy and material . . . from their host environments which they use to maintain their internal integrity [and] export the resultant . . . waste . . . into their hosts (Rees & Wackernagel)

    14. Recap of Ecological Footprint • Any complex differentiated system has a natural tendancy to erode, dissipate and unravel (Rees & Wackernagel) • Modern citiesdo not run down in this way [because] they are able to import available energy and material . . . from their host environments which they use to maintain their internal integrity [and] export the resultant . . . waste . . . into their hosts (Rees & Wackernagel)

    15. Big Point No. 1 • The adequate importation of energy and material and the export of waste are critical ingredients for preventing a city from unraveling or collapsing • On a global scale, the import and export also happen to account for many of the “symptom” problems listed a few slides back

    16. Focus on Waste • We often hear about how our metabolism of imported energy and materials produces carbon emissions and climate change • We hear much less about our production of toxic pollution, such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals http://www.youtube.com/user/endocrinedisruptor#p/u http://www.motherearthnews.com/relish/dangers-bud-nip-zb0z11zwar.aspx • What do you think about atrazine and PCBs and PBDEs? Could chemicals such as these bring about collapse by themselves? What about together with the other waste problems? Are they a bigger problem than climate change? (Note: Jared Diamond defines “collapse” on page 3 of his book as “a drastic decrease in human population size and/or political/economic/ social complexity, over a considerable area, for an extended time.”)

    17. Big Point No. 2 • To stave off unravelling or collapsing, cities come up with plans about how they are going to continue the import and export processes into the future – “sustainability” or “collapse prevention” plans

    18. What is Sustainable? • The plans cities come up with depend on how they understand the concept of sustainability, including these variables: • What kind of capital is to be sustained? • For how long? • Above what critical level? • How far above the critical level?

    19. When we talk about sustainability, we’re usually talking about making sure some kind of capital (e.g., natural, human, human-made) exists at or above some level until some point in the future. For the next few slides, we’re going to focus on just one type of capital: natural capital.

    20. There are multiple timeframes and multiple scenarios within each timeframe.

    21. There are multiple timeframes and multiple scenarios within each timeframe.

    22. There are multiple timeframes and multiple scenarios within each timeframe.

    23. There are multiple timeframes and multiple scenarios within each timeframe.

    24. There are multiple timeframes and multiple scenarios within each timeframe.

    25. If you pick “The End” timeframe, you next have to set a level of capital below which you do not want to dip. The level you select will dictate which scenarios can meet needs.

    26. If you pick “The End” timeframe, you next have to set a level of capital below which you do not want to dip. The level you select will dictate which scenarios can meet needs.

    27. If you pick “The End” timeframe, you next have to set a level of capital below which you do not want to dip. The level you select will dictate which scenarios can meet needs.

    28. Obviously, setting the level below which you don’t want to dip is a matter of debate, but let’s say we settle on this one. It leaves us with two viable options: Fast build-up of capital or maintain capital. The one we ultimately choose is a matter of what we want, not what we need.

    29. Switching our timeframe opens up another option: Slow depletion. Why would we choose this timeframe? Maybe we believe technological advances will change the game (for example, maybe we expect to colonize another planet or at least harvest its resources by then).

    30. Now let’s make it even more complicated: Two capital classes at once. Let’s say we want a fast build-up of human-made capital (i.e., the “sustainable growth” we hear so much about). To get this fast build, it will require a fast depletion of natural capital. Natural capital will dip below critical level, but overall capital will not. Is this okay?

    31. Coming up with a “sustainability” or “collapse prevention” plan for a city or the planet is akin to coming up with a retirement plan for a person 3 Questions: How long will you live? (How far out does the plan need to go?) How much will you need to keep you going? (What level must you stay above?) Do you want to die broke or do you want to have an estate? (How far above the critical level do you want to stay?)

    32. It involves all the uncertainties and assumptions, with the added complexity of needing lots of people to agree to it, many of whose individual interests may be materially adverse to a city/world plan 3 Questions: How long will you live? (How far out does the plan need to go?) How much will you need to keep you going? (What level must you stay above?) Do you want to die broke or do you want to have an estate? (How far above the critical level do you want to stay?)

    33. Focus on Jared Diamond • Diamond identifies 5 factors playing a role in collapse: • Environmental damage • Climate change • Hostile neighbors • Loss of friendly trade partners • Society’s response to environmental damage

    34. Focus on Jared Diamond • Diamond identifies 5 factors playing a role in collapse: • Environmental damage • Climate change • Hostile neighbors • Loss of friendly trade partners • Society’s response to environmental damage No one of these is necessarily significant in a collapse This one is always significant

    35. Focus on Jared Diamond • What timeframe should our societal response to environmental damage focus on? What arguments would you use to convince someone who believes differently? • Do we know what the critical level is below which we dare not cross? Is it knowable? If not, how do we proceed? Precautionary principle? • Should sustainability be determined by needs alone? Is setting a higher bar based on wants something other than sustainability? What is that “weight of the evidence” stuff in the killer whale article? What burden of proof does the public demand? What burden does interested business urge them to demand?

    36. Focus on Derrick Jensen • What types of capital should we be concerned about when we plan for sustainability? • Should we consider each type of capital separately or should we permit some types to be converted into other types? • Specifically, should we permit natural capital to be converted into human-made capital on our balance sheet? If your answer is no, are you worried about the economy and people’s short-term welfare?

    37. Focus on Detroit • When you consider Detroit’s plan for sustainability, what timeframe, critical level, needs/wants, and capital classes is it elevating? • Is Detroit collapsing? (Remember: Jared Diamond defines “collapse” on page 3 of his book as “a drastic decrease in human population size and/or political/economic/ social complexity, over a considerable area, for an extended time.”)