practical, local solutions to the three biggest problems
        (environment, hunger and energy)
           a three pronged approach
        and an argument for the future
<the world is going to shits and we're too (power) hungry to stop it>
goals of this essay: with little or no bias, present this sliver of facts:
  • energy production alternatives
  • employment alternatives
  • food production alternatives
  • environmental dangers
  • money&incentive alternatives [detailed in another article,, released 2011-05-05]

What if the problems of a depleting environment, a looming energy crisis and widespread hunger in the third world can be resolved within our lifetimes?

Turns out there is a solution to these seemingly impossible problems, and here is the strategy that you need to start moving toward that solution. First however there are some things that you must know as a citizen of the world that you may not have been aware of. The facts may be contrary to what you might have been taught in school or read in the newspapers. and although there are some things flying against conventional wisdom I invite you to verify each and every thing you will read here.

Without this knowledge you are powerless and the outlook for the future is very bleak indeed. With this knowledge, you might see hope for yourself, your children and your childrens children in this world.

I will present these facts one by one; they may seem unrelated to each other now, but I promise to tie them together in a timely fashion.

Although people are not fond of change in general, the great advantage of humanity above other species is its ability to diversify and specialize while still remaining adaptable in the face of change.

Due to this specialization people who are authorities on one thing need others to provide the knowledge and authority on another matter, therefore we need authorities. The world is a complex place and one cannot know and understand all. Historically, people either want to or are conditioned to be governed and simply do not know how to rule over themselves, however if there is one universal human law it is that power corrupts. We must tend away from concentrations of power, and therefore we must shy away from global authorities. Indeed, we must place safeguards that will block the evolution of global authorities. We need to put more power in to the hands of everybody.

However the problems of world hunger, environmental disaster and energy scarcity, which somehow intuitively must be linked together, are not directly linked to global authorities.

Turns out our problem is not that of scarcity, but artificial scarcity, a manufactured problem caused by logistics or the reality that it does not pay to feed the hungry; nor does it help in the long run to air-drop shipments of food. Turns out our problems are not due to overpopulation, but due to greed and corruption.

Do away with the idea that someone must suffer so that another can be happy. This is simply not true, and the proof is thus: the happier people are around you, the happier you can be.

No state will go under because a greater proportion of people is unemployed at any given time. Unemployment frees people up to do other useful things. Some valuable tasks are done best outside of employment: art and music being perhaps the best examples.

"We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because (..) he must justify his right to exist. (..) The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

We must do away with the (..) notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living.."

(Buckminster Fuller,quote abriged)

Let's start with the least urgent but most practical of the three problems: energy. - wasteful consumption causes a larger energy budget than neccessary. - we have an industry geared towards consuming oil. -- pavement, plastics, fuels, chemicals, agriculture depend on oil. - However, the belief that "we can't do without crude oil" is false. - there is a consensus that current eco-friendly energy alternatives are "not economical". This consensus is based on bad math. -- transportation/logistics:: solving the wrong problem. -- Focus on the _reuse_ of natural resources: wind, waste heat, waves, solar. -- oil-independent food production is neccessary for a stable society.

The reason an energy crisis is looming is in part due to our unneccessary and wasteful consumption, and the idea that prosperity equals economical progress and that this progress must be governed by growth. This idea stems from the industrial revolution, when we first discovered how to scale production. This idea is defunct.

The consumption paradigm in the global environmental discourse is a dead horse by now. It should be obvious to the reader that increased production is a function of increased consumption, and gives corporations, which are by nature profit-maximizing entities, tend to maximize consumption to achieve higher production and therefore higher profits. Exhibit one of this process is the well documented conspiracy of light-bulb makers to cap the lifetime of a lightbulb to 1,000 hours despite the possibility of producing lightbulbs equally cheaply to last 50,000 hours at the least.

Higher production rates driven by profit-maximization is a wasteful process, and in an open world of unlimited resources would only be called ignorant. However, we live in a closed-loop world of limited resources, and this strategy of profit-maximisation and economies of scale is destroying the very basis for human survival both ecologically and politically.

Biodiesel, methanol and bioethanol is created from plant oils and while powering transportation and electricity. This energy form can be kept local by use near production and even transported without hazards to the environment, closing the environmental power loop. Existing infrastructure can be used, however the process can be localized to avoid the logistics involved in long-distance transportation. Cars and other engine-propelled vehicles can use this fuel with very little modifications.

There is extensive proof to support the notion that CO2 emissions from biofuels are part of a renewable cycle, the CO2 released when burning a plant being exactly the amount that the plant consumed during its grow cycle.

That is the crux of the matter: current and projected energy needs are based on thinking we have to carry on transporting foodstuffs over vast distances, producing chems and plastic, and consuming crude oil for essential things like food, heat and transportation.

On a side note, nuclear energy is not clean energy. First know that it's hard to idiot-proof a nuclear reactor. Then consider the problem of operating and maintaining a nuclear power plant across the span of several centuries in a political and economical environment that rewards short-term thinking. Consider the problem of disposing of toxic radioactive waste for hundreds if not thousands of years when our longest political horison is the four-year election cycle.

There exist viable renewable sources of energy other than biofuels. Some of the sources require more research and more consideration than they have been given in face of the oil economy, others are available only in specific conditions (wind, water, solar energy) but one thing is for certain: we cannot keep pumping oil out of the earth's crust.

What happens when you pump oil out of the ground? That oil does not become consumed by our processes, instead it takes tremendous amounts of resources to drill, extract and refine (manpower, energy, metals, engineering) and the refined results are all toxic and harmful: asphalt, diesel, gasoline, napthalene, ...

To make use of the resulting substances whole new industries had to be invented: packaging, roadworks, gadgets and gizmoes in plastic, everything is trash and goes straight to the land fill, most of it without ever serving a purpose.

Take for example food packaging, which clearly serves the purpose of keeping food fresh while it is being delivered to you. Turns out that packaging is solving the wrong problem, a problem in logistics. It is more energy efficient to transport the meat unquartered and divide it up at the butcher shop as we have done for centuries, but somehow along the way this stood in the way of profits and we got centralized packaging. If we did not produce tons of packaging every year, would it be so hard go back to the old way?

Which brings me to the third problem: hunger.

Global hunger is a logistics problem. Hundreds of thousands of tons of food are being tossed as garbage or burned as fuel in the western world today while billions of people are hungry in other parts of the globe. Our current global distribution system does not even entertain the possibility of redistribution of this food, because there is no profit in solving such a difficult logistics problem.

Permaculture is a new method of culturing the land in such a way as to sustain food production without crop rotation by combining different growths that live in a symbiotic relationship with one another. Permaculture makes higher-yeild local sustainable food agriculture a fact, and throws away all conventional math about how much food can be produced per acre of land.

Greed is destructive because it gives people the wrong incentives. These incentives are based on the currency as it is today: debt. Money is a medium of communication, it communicates trust and has since ancient times been based on something of perceived value instead of actual value (gold, diamonds, debt).

Brazils population is currently completely unreliant of petroleum oil. One acre of land produces enough food and energy to support 10 families.

Turns out hemp seeds are a great source of proteins and fatty acids, while containing none of the stigmatized cannabinols and cannabinoids, while hemp fibres make great isolation, clothes, plastics and paper for the cases where this is not an anachronizm. Furthermore, they grow anywhere and can readily be used to produce oil and plastics.

We need people to do the right things towards each other and the environment, and therefore we need to provide the right incentives.

To sum it up: some industries will disappear as more people realize they are sawing their own legs off continuing along the path of mutually assured destruction, and that's ok. More people will go into recycling, repurposing, food production, local energy, home manufacturing repair and re-production.

This document was written so that you could be part of this sustainable cultural future.

> work unfinished
started 2010-11-23 draft 2:2011-05-15

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