Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Climate Change Debate Resolved

An independent commission in Britain cleared climate-change researchers of charges of academic misconduct in early July, completing an inquiry begun after hundreds of e-mails from the scientists were released to the public. This created a fabricated scandal, "Climate-gate" that had accused researchers of violating academic protocols to spin the climate analysis. The commission, chaired by a Scottish university administrator, found no evidence for this. The world community has established that global warming is real, and caused by human activity. An editorial on this is at the New York Times, along with a link to a series on Climate Change.

Having clearly established that our capitalism is destructive to the natural processes that everything relies upon to live, the connection becomes obvious. As well as alarming. Our reliance upon mechanized processes driven by oil consumption and paper capital investments are driving an unsustainable destruction of the natural capital that generates true wealth and habitability on this planet. Joe Bageant seizes the moment to lay out a rant on this plunder of nature and the impact it has on all of us.

What remains to be accomplished by human societies - in a relative twinkling of an eye - is to radically change these mechanistic practices and our way of building environments that rely on machines to be habitable. "Energy Star" appliances are simply a way of staying hooked on this lifestyle rather than building sustainably, and this allows the construction of insulated boxes for shelter that are not habitable otherwise. They also give rise to mold issues from humidity, as well as "sick building syndrome" since these boxes are sealed tight. This gives the homes built prior to 1950 a huge advantage, since they're designed to use natural air circulation and the properties of the site and materials to remain temperate.

To quote an article from Yes! magazine:

Cultural historian Morris Berman points out that since the dawn of the scientific revolution we have gradually adopted a “mechanical philosophy” that “insists on a rigid distinction between observer and observed” and assumes that our personal well-being is contingent upon acquiring personal wealth through the exploitation of natural resources.

Our attempt to isolate the welfare of the human species from the health of the rest of the biotic community is a direct outgrowth of this worldview. And perceiving water as if it were a separate entity, a thing, a commodity, is part and parcel of this same compartmentalized scientific culture.
But we now know that nature is not a collection of objects. It is not a machine. We are not the end point of evolution. And we are not, as environmentalist Aldo Leopold reminded us, “conquerors” of the land community, we are simply “plain members and citizens of it.”

It's about taking action, as Greenpeace International moves to "Planet Three", for example. Their world-changing view has been going on for decades now, and is kicking into high gear for advocacy of fundamental change.

Change is going to start to mean something else - an imperative move towards low-energy strategies and following those flows of natural energy and water. Long life, low energy, loose fit.