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Thread: Review: Bright Green Lies

  1. #11
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    I don't think life without civilization in the broadest possible abstract would be much worth living (for other species maybe but then one is actually advocating voluntary human extinction at that point).

    But I don't think *human* life would be much worth living, but one is going to be all "oh you mean transatlantic travel", NO I mean women not dying in childbirth at massive rates (like I've always said notice it's ALWAYS men advocating this....) But even if somehow it were and we were like "a bunch of women are just going to die in childbirth ho hum, so their average lifespan is 40, oh well", I don't think anyone from this culture can even imagine life without civilization, it's so far out there. So therefore I really think his thinking is a dead end, not just radical but so radical that it can't even serve as an ideal to work toward .. But notice it seems there has been civilization without massive fossil fuel use, what about the Roman empire? Technologically advanced in some ways no? LONG BEFORE the industrial revolution. Not utopia, not without exploitation - in fact slavery, not as advanced as now? No noone says that, I'm just thinking about technology.

    But an alternative way of life? Well I think some kind of degrowth eco-socialism might be desirable. Because most of our real improvements to life due to technology may amount to a few things: oh yes modern medicine is one. So I try to read de-growth books to try to understand what it would look like (so I read Herman Daly's Beyond Growth, and I'm maybe 1/2 through Prosperity Without Growth), and I don't know yet, but it seems less of a complete dead end to try to imagine what such a world would be like with technology used appropriately, than just declaring: all civilization is bad.

    Of course population is a big factor, if the population of the world was 2 or 3 billion rather than near 8 billion (and that is very recent) this would all be easier to deal with, it's easier to deal with at 8 billion than 12. A better life for less people would be better, but try to tell that to people (and no I don't advocate murder of already existing people, I advocate limitation of birth rates). People who advocate against population growth actually are advocating the EASY way, it is the easy compared to collapse sure, but also compared to trying to limit economic growth without limiting population growth. One can do things the easy way or the hard way.

    The problem for solar etc. is we just add solar and keep on using the same amount of fossil fuels etc. because energy use keeps increasing. The problem is growth (fueled by population growth too). At the same energy use alternative energies would probably (eh yea even I don't know for certain as it's a total lifecycle cost thing) reduce fossil fuel use as they would replace some of it. But that's not what happened, energy use keeps growing.

    As for big environmental movements? I think you have to be pretty naive and not really paying attention, to not realize most big advocacy things have their corruption, it doesn't mean they are entirely corrupt but ...
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  2. #12
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    I don't think life without civilization in the broadest possible abstract would be much worth living (for other species maybe but then one is actually advocating voluntary human extinction at that point). But I don't think *human* life would be much worth living, but one is going to be all "oh you mean transatlantic travel", NO I mean women not dying in childbirth at massive rates (like I've always said notice it's ALWAYS men advocating this....) But even if somehow it were and we were like "a bunch of women are just going to die in childbirth ho hum" ... I don't think anyone from this culture can even imagine life without civilization, it's so far out there. So therefore I really think his thinking is a dead end, perhaps and interesting dead end but ..

    But an alternative way of life? Well I think some kind of degrowth eco-socialism might be desirable. Because most of our real improvements to life due to technology may amount to a few things: oh yes modern medicine is one. So I try to read de-growth books to try to understand what it would look like (so I read Herman Daly's Beyond Growth, and I'm maybe 1/2 through Prosperity Without Growth), and I don't know yet, but it seems less of a complete dead end to try to imagine what such a world would be like with technology used appropriately, than just declaring: all civilization is bad.

    Of course population is a big factor, if the population of the world was 2 or 3 billion rather than near 8 billion (and that is very recent) this would all be easier to deal with, it's easier to deal with at 8 billion than 12. A better life for less people would be better, but try to tell that to people (and no I don't advocate murder of already existing people, I advocate limitation of birth rates).

    The problem for solar etc. is we just add solar and keep on using the same amount of fossil fuels etc. because energy use keeps increasing. The problem is growth (fueled by population growth too). At the same energy use alternative energies would probably (eh yea even I don't know for certain as it's a total lifecycle cost thing) reduce fossil fuel use as they would replace some of it. But that's not what happened, energy use keeps growing.

    As for big environmental movements? I think you have to be pretty naive and not really paying attention, to not realize most big advocacy things have their corruption, it doesn't mean they are entirely corrupt but ...
    Yeah, ANM, I think I'm on your page with the alternative of degrowth eco-socialism.. As you probably know, I'm a big fan of Charles Eisenstein (Sacred Economics, The Ascent of Humanity) who writes about benefits of negative growth (demurrage). The problem is getting people on board with this type of a counterintuitive mindset.

    As for the Deep Green thinking, yes, I think that even those guys admit that it will take an apocalypse of some kind for that to happen. A Biblical Flood or a destruction of The Golden Calf/Tower of Babel as it were.

    Thanks for mentioning those books by Daly--I'll have to check them out.
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  3. #13
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    Whatever things people say, whether good or bad morally, right or wrong scientifically, possible or impossible technologically.... None of it will make any difference unless it is possible to get the majority of people, politicians, and industries to agree that something needs to be done, what that 'something' is, how to make it happen, and above all everyone involved has to be willing to make whatever sacrifices are needed in order to make it happen.

    I see no hope of that happening on any big or fast scale because almost no one is willing to make any real sacrifice, almost no one is willing to trust other people to reciprocate by making equal sacrifices, and above all the people and industries with the most wealth, power, and influence will always be the most reluctant to make any sacrifice at all because doing so would reduce their own wealth, power, and influence.

  4. #14
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeParker View Post
    Whatever things people say, whether good or bad morally, right or wrong scientifically, possible or impossible technologically.... None of it will make any difference unless it is possible to get the majority of people, politicians, and industries to agree that something needs to be done, what that 'something' is, how to make it happen, and above all everyone involved has to be willing to make whatever sacrifices are neededj in order to make it happen.

    I see no hope of that happening on any big or fast scale because almost no one is willing to make any real sacrifice, almost no one is willing to trust other people to reciprocate by making equal sacrifices, and above all the people and industries with the most wealth, power, and influence will always be the most reluctant to make any sacrifice at all because doing so would reduce their own wealth, power, and influence.
    Yes, I pretty much agree with this.

  5. #15
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    Yes, I pretty much agree with this.
    Me too.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  6. #16
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I agree that many of the environmental efforts have dubious results. What is the actual goal? I haven't read a clearly stated goal. Fewer people, less industry, limited occupation of landmass, more flora and fauna, reversal to primitive life practices, complete control of all life?
    When was the earth perfect and ideally managed? Is it a myth?
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    I agree that many of the environmental efforts have dubious results. What is the actual goal? I haven't read a clearly stated goal. Fewer people, less industry, limited occupation of landmass, more flora and fauna, reversal to primitive life practices, complete control of all life?
    When was the earth perfect and ideally managed? Is it a myth?
    The goal should be to live on earth without destroying the life support systems of the planet (via either using resources at a non-sustainable rate, or creating pollution at a rate greater than the biosphere can absorb - like with CO2). It's not that difficult a concept. An implementation, yea that's complex. How much of the planet should be left to other species and how much for humans is also an open question. But we're WAY beyond that as we're degrading not just life for other species but future human life.

    But when you are talking about the modern environmental movement in 2021, in the U.S. anyway, it hardly exists. So what is the goal of who exactly, who are we talking about? Just Derick Jensen and company, then read the book I suppose. But as for any larger "environmental movement", yes there are groups fighting to preserve wilderness. All good, especially of the type of org that doesn't sell out (the Sierra club will often sell out, but even it does some good). There are policy ideas like the Green New Deal, but no they have not gotten anywhere in the U.S. really. Other countries have advanced further. And then there are big NGOs (sure the Sierra club but newer more prominent ones like the Sunrise movement for example) who claim to have good intentions but are subject to the grift such things are often subject to. They deserve some skepticism.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    The planet would be so much better off without us humans.

  9. #19
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    The planet would be so much better off without us humans.
    Not sure that I agree with this. Why are we less valuable and essential than whales and dolphins or elephants and eagles which are very intelligent creatures?
    My very naive thought is that each part of creation is equally important. The difficulty is that humans cannot even agree that other humans are equally valuable.
    Last edited by razz; 3-12-21 at 8:10pm. Reason: typo
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  10. #20
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Just finished Bright Green Lies by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Max Wilbert. Very provocative.
    Unlike Bezos who feels we just shove off and resign Earth to a planetary recycling heap, Jensen/Keith/Wilbert believe it is better to take off our blinders and do something to save the wholesale destruction of the planet. And by taking off our blinders, he means stop thinking that politics and industry can solve the problem for us, because they can't. The upholders of our current systems are reframing the issue in terms of what's best for them--meaning more power and more money, and neither of those things are going to save us. As for us, we need to do what we can to promote, in our own ways, the restoration of of the earth--vigorously--as if it were our own homes burning down. Which it is.
    Catherine, has Jensen changed his main message, or maybe is it more timely now? It has seemed to me like he could work on his presentation, but a good message. I kept up with a few of his earlier books and while I'm pretty much all in with parts of it I can also see how he could come of as a big of a crank or rant to the general public. They mostly seemed to revolve around a quote I mostly recall from an essay in the Orion, something like, recycling Styrofoam, driving a Prius, and taking short showers is not going to save the planet. And then the parts about activism.

    I get his point, but actually have trouble reading his books because they are sort of a downer. I mentioned it to a friend who has also been a Jensen reader and he said he might try it when there is more sunshine.

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