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Heinberg: Systems Thinking, Critical Thinking, and Personal Resilience

General Ideas

As a writer focused on the global sustainability crisis, I’m often asked how to deal with the stress of knowing—knowing, that is, that we humans have severely overshot Earth’s long-term carrying capacity, making a collapse of both civilization and Earth’s ecological systems likely; knowing that we are depleting Earth’s resources (including fossil fuels and minerals) and clogging its waste sinks (like the atmosphere’s and oceans’ ability to absorb CO2); knowing that the decades of rapid economic growth that characterized the late 20th and early 21st centuries are ending, and that further massive interventions by central banks and governments can’t do more than buy us a little bit more time of relative stability; knowing that technology (even renewable energy technology) won’t save our fundamentally unsustainable way of life.

In the years I’ve spent investigating these predicaments, I’ve been fortunate to meet experts who have delved deeply into specific issues—the biodiversity crisis, the population crisis, the climate crisis, the resource depletion crisis, the debt crisis, the plastic waste crisis, and on and on. In my admittedly partial judgment, some of the smartest people I’ve met happen also to be among the more pessimistic. (One apparently smart expert I haven’t had opportunity to meet yet is 86-year-old social scientist Mayer Hillman, the subject of this recent article in The Guardian.)

In discussing climate change and all our other eco-social predicaments, how does one distinguish accurate information from statements intended to elicit either false hope or needless capitulation to immediate and utter doom? And, in cases where pessimistic outlooks do seem securely rooted in evidence, how does one psychologically come to terms with the information?

Systems Thinking

First, if you want to have an accurate picture of the world, it’s vital to pay attention to the connections between things. That means thinking in systems. Evidence of failure to think in systems is all around us, and there is no better example than the field of economics, which treats the environment as simply a pile of resources to be plundered rather than as the living and necessary context in which the economy is grounded. No healthy ecosystems, no economy. This single crucial failure of economic theory has made it far more difficult for most people, and especially businesspeople and policy makers, to understand our sustainability dilemma or do much about it.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the field in which systems thinking is most highly developed is ecology—the study of the relationships between organisms and their environments. Since it is a study of relationships rather than things in isolation, ecology is inherently systems-oriented.

Systems thinking has a pre-history in indigenous thought (Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, or “All are related,” is a common phrase in the Lakota language). But as a formal scientific pursuit it emerged only during the latter part of the twentieth century. Previously, Western scientists often assumed that they could understand systems just by analyzing their parts; however, it gradually became clear—in practical fields from medicine to wildlife management to business management—that this often led to unintended consequences.

In medicine, it is understood that treating diseases by managing symptoms is not as desirable as treating the disease itself; that’s partly because symptomatic treatment with pharmaceuticals can produce side effects that can be as distressing as the original disease symptoms. Take a pill and you may feel better for a while, but you may soon have to deal with a whole new slew of aches, rashes, sleep problems, mood swings, or digestive ailments. Further, truly curing a disease often involves addressing exposure to environmental toxins; or lifestyle choices including poor nutrition, smoking, lack of exercise, or job-related repetitive stress injuries—all of which are systemic issues that require treating the whole person and their environment, not just the symptoms, or even just the disease in isolation.

In order to address systemic problems we need to understand what systems are, and how to intervene in them most effectively.

All systems have:

  • Boundaries, which are semi-permeable separations between the inside and outside of systems;
  • Inputs of energy, information, and materials;
  • Outputs, including work of various kinds, as well as waste heat and waste materials;
  • Flows to and from the environment;
  • Stocks of useful nutrients, resources, and other materials; and
  • Feedbacks, of which there are two kinds: balancing or negative, like a thermostat; and self-reinforcing or positive, which is the proverbial vicious circle. Systems need balancing feedback loops to remain stable and can be destabilized or even destroyed by self-reinforcing feedback loops.

The human body is a system that is itself composed of systems, and the body exists within larger social and ecological systems; the same could be said of a city or a nation or a company. A brick wall, in contrast, doesn’t have the characteristics of a system: it may have a boundary, but there are few if any meaningful ongoing inputs and outputs, information flows, or feedbacks.

The global climate is a system, and climate change is therefore a systemic problem. Some non-systems thinkers have proposed solving climate change by putting chemicals in the Earth’s atmosphere to manage solar radiation. Because this solution addresses only part of the systemic problem, it is likely to have many unintended consequences. Systems thinking would suggest very different approaches—such as reducing fossil fuel consumption while capturing and storing atmospheric carbon in replanted forests and regenerated topsoil. These approaches recognize the role of inputs (such as fossil fuels), outputs (like carbon dioxide), and feedbacks (including the balancing feedback provided by soil carbon flows).

Elements of a climate system diagram

In some cases, a systemic approach to addressing climate change could have dramatic side benefits: regenerative agriculture would not just sequester carbon in the soil, it would also make our food system more sustainable while preserving biodiversity. Interventions based in systems thinking often tend to solve many problems at once.

Donella Meadows, who was one of the great systems thinkers of the past few decades, left us a brilliant essay titled “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System.” There are places within every complex system where “a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.” Meadows suggested that these leverage points have a hierarchy of effectiveness. She said that the most powerful interventions in a system address its goals, rules, and mindsets, rather than parameters and numbers—things like subsidies and taxes. This has powerful implications for addressing climate change, because it suggests that subsidizing renewable energy or taxing carbon is a fairly weak way of inducing systemic change. If we really want to address a deeply rooted, systemic problem like climate change, we may need to look at our society’s most fundamental paradigms—like, for example, the assumption that we must have continual economic growth.

We intuitively know that systems are more than the sum of their parts. But digging deeper into the insights of systems theory—going beyond the basics—can pay great dividends both in our understanding of the world, and in our strategic effectiveness at making positive change happen. A terrific resource in this regard is Meadows’s book Thinking in Systems.

Book coverIn addition to imparting general understanding about the nature of systems, the book teaches readers how to interpret and make system dynamics diagrams—to which I was first exposed in 1972 in that cornerstone of systems literature, The Limits to Growth. One of the virtues of system dynamics diagrams is that they can aid in the creation of computerized system models— several extremely useful examples of which appear on the website www.ClimateInteractive.org. It features two tools: C-ROADS and En-ROADS, system dynamics models that enable the user to see the potential impact of various climate and energy policies. Tweak the variables and watch the outcomes.

Systems thinking often tends to lead to a more pessimistic view of our ecological crisis than thinking that focuses on one thing at a time, because it reveals the shortcomings of widely touted techno-fixes. But if there are truly useful strategies to be found, systems thinking will reveal them.

Critical Thinking

Human thought is rooted partly in words, partly in emotions, and partly in the body states (whether you feel alert, sleepy, hungry, agitated, etc.) that may accompany or give rise to emotions; another way of saying this is that our thought processes are partly conscious but mostly unconscious. In our conscious lives we are immersed in a soup of language, which often simply expresses judgments, intuitions, and observations that emerge from unconscious thought. But thought that’s expressed in language has great potential. Using language (including mathematics), we can assess the validity of statements about the world, then build upon proven statements until we ultimately achieve comprehensive scientific understandings and the capacity to manipulate reality in new ways (to build a bridge, for example, or land a probe on a distant asteroid, or update an app).

Of course, language can be powerful in another way. Some of us use language to persuade, confuse, or mislead others so as to gain social or economic power. Appeals to unconscious prejudices, including peer group-think, are frequently employed to sway the masses. The best protection against being the subject of verbal manipulation is the ability to use language to distinguish logic from illogic, truth from untruth. Critical thinking helps us separate information from propaganda. It can help us think more clearly and productively.

One way to approach critical thinking is through the study of logic—including formal logic (which builds conclusions almost mathematically, using syllogisms), informal logic (which also considers content, context, and delivery), and fuzzy logic (which recognizes that many qualities are subjective or matters of degree). Most of our daily thinking consists of informal and fuzzy logic.

The study of formal logic starts with learning the difference between deductive reasoning (which proceeds from a general principle to a special case, sometimes referred to as “top-down reasoning”) and inductive reasoning (which makes broad generalizations from specific observations, also called “bottom-up reasoning”).

Both deductive and inductive forms of reasoning can be misapplied. One might deduce from the general rule “human history is a grand narrative of progress” that therefore humanity will successfully deal with the ecological challenges of the 21st century and emerge smarter, wealthier, and more virtuous than ever. Here the problem is that the general rule is laden with value judgments and subject to many exceptions (such as the collapse of various historical civilizations). Inductive reasoning is even more perilous, because there is always the danger that specific observations, from which one is drawing general conclusions, are incomplete or even misleading (economic growth has occurred in most years since World War II; therefore, economic growth is normal and can be expected to continue, with occasional brief setbacks, forever).

While learning the rules of formal logic can help in honing one’s critical thinking, it’s just as useful to familiarize oneself with logical fallacies—which include circular reasoning, name-calling, hasty generalization, stereotyping, the either-or fallacy, and appeal to the bandwagon. These days, that’s a fair description of much of the content on social media. Learn to spot these fallacies in political discourse; but, better yet, learn to catch yourself using them.

My favorite book on logic and its fallacies is Lean Logic by the late David Fleming, a British economist-philosopher who cofounded what eventually became the Green Party in the UK, and who originated the idea of Tradable Energy Quotas. There’s no simple way to sum up Fleming’s book, which is organized as a dictionary. Among many other things, it explores a wide range of logical fallacies—especially as they relate to our sustainability crises—and does so in a way that’s playful, artful, and insightful.

One of my favorite sections of the book is a four-page collection of ways to cheat at an argument. Here are just a few of the entries, chosen mostly at random:

Absence. Stop listening. Abstraction. Keep the discussion at the level of high-flown generality. Anger. Present it as proof of how right you are. Blame. Assume that the problem is solved when you have found someone to blame. Bullshit. Talk at length about nothing. Causes. Assume that an event which follows another event was therefore caused by it. Evil motive. Explain away the other side’s argument by the brilliance of your insight about their real intentions. False premise. Start with nonsense. Build on it with meticulous accuracy and brilliance. Old hat. Dismiss an argument on the grounds that you have disregarded it before.

Critical thinking should not necessarily elevate reason above intuition. Remember: most thought is unconscious and emotion-driven—and will continue to be, no matter how rigorously we analyze our verbal and mathematical expressions of thought. Just as we seek coherence and consistency in our conscious logic, we should seek to develop emotional intelligence if we hope to contribute to a society based on truth and conviviality. Lean Logic reveals on almost every page its author’s commitment to this deeper concept of critical thinking. Here’s one illustrative entry:

Reasons, The Fallacy of. The fallacy that, because a person can give no reasons, or only apparently poor reasons, her conclusion can be dismissed as wrong. But, on the contrary, it may be right: her thinking may have the distinction of being complex, intelligent and systems-literate, but she may not yet have worked out how to make it sufficiently clear and robust to objections to survive in an argument.

As politics becomes more tribal, critical thinking skills become ever more important if you want to understand what’s really going on and prevent yourself from becoming collateral damage in the war of words.

Personal Resilience

Let’s return to the premise of this essay. Suppose you’ve applied systems thinking and critical thinking to the information available to you about the status of the global ecosystem and have come to the conclusion that we are—to use a technical phrase—in deep shit. You want to be effective at helping minimize risk and damage to ecosystems, humanity, yourself, and those close to you. To achieve this, one of the first things you will need to do is learn to maintain and use your newfound knowledge without becoming paralyzed or psychologically injured by it.

Knowledge of impending global crisis can cause what’s been called “pre-traumatic stress disorder.” As with other disorders, success in coping or recovery can be enhanced through developing personal or psychological resilience. Fortunately, psychological resilience is a subject that is increasingly the subject of research.

Some people bounce back from adversity relatively easily, while others seem to fall apart. The reason doesn’t seem to have much to do with being more of an optimist than a pessimist. Research has shown that resilient people realistically assess risks and threats; studies suggest that in some ways pessimists can have the advantage. What seems to distinguish resilient people is their use of successful coping techniques to balance negative emotions with positive ones, and to maintain an underlying sense of competence and assurance.

Researchers have isolated four factors that appear critical to personal psychological resilience:

  1. The ability to make realistic plans and to take the steps necessary to follow through with them;
  2. A positive self-concept and confidence in one’s strengths and abilities;
  3. Communication and problem-solving skills; and
  4. The ability to manage strong impulses and feelings.

An important question: To what degree is psychological resilience based on inherited or innate brain chemistry, or childhood experiences, versus learned skills? We each have a brain chemistry that is determined partly by genetic makeup and partly by early life experience. Some people enjoy a naturally calm disposition, while others have a hair-trigger and are easily angered or discouraged. In seeking to develop psychological resilience, it’s important to recognize and deal with your personal predispositions. For example, if you find that you are easily depressed, then it may not be a good idea to spend hours each day glued to a computer, closely following the unraveling of global ecological and social systems. Don’t beat yourself up for getting depressed; just learn to recognize your strengths and limits, and take care of yourself.

Nevertheless, research suggests that, regardless of your baseline temperament, you can make yourself more psychologically resilient through practice. The American Psychological Association suggests “10 Ways to Build Resilience,” which are:

  1. Maintain good relationships with close family members, friends and others.
  2. Avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems.
  3. Accept circumstances that cannot be changed.
  4. Develop realistic goals and move towards them.
  5. Take decisive actions in adverse situations.
  6. Look for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss.
  7. Develop self-confidence.
  8. Keep a long-term perspective and consider the stressful event in a broader context.
  9. Maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualizing what is wished.
  10. Take care of your mind and body, exercise regularly, and pay attention to your needs and feelings.

These recommendations are easier said than done. Learning new behaviors, especially ones that entail changing habitual emotional responses to trigger events, can be difficult. The most effective way to do so is to find a way to associate a neurotransmitter reward with the information or behavior being learned. For example, if you are just beginning an exercise regimen, continually challenge yourself to make incremental improvements that are just barely within your reach. This activates the dopamine reward circuits in your brain.

Psychological resilience may also entail learning to deal with grief. Awareness of species extinctions, habitat destruction, and the peril to human beings from climate change naturally evokes grief, and unexpressed grief can make us numb, depressed, and ineffective. It’s helpful therefore to find a safe and supportive environment in which to acknowledge and express our grief. Joanna Macy, in her “work that reconnects,” has for many years been hosting events that provide a safe and supportive environment for grief work.

Personal resilience extends beyond the psychological realm; developing it should also include identifying and learning practical skills (such as gardening, small engine maintenance, plumbing, cooking, natural building, primitive technology, and wilderness survival skills). Knowing practically how to take care of yourself improves your psychological state, as well as making you more resilient in physical terms.

Further, your personal resilience will be greatly enhanced as you work with others who are also blessed (or burdened) with knowledge of our collective overshoot predicament. For many years we at PCI have been assisting in the formation of ongoing communities of reflection and practice such as Transition Initiatives. If that strategy makes sense to you, but you don’t have a Transition group close by, you might take the Think Resilience course and then host a discussion group in your school, home, or public library.

 

Systems thinking, critical thinking, and personal resilience building don’t, by themselves, directly change the world. However, they can support our ability and efforts to make change. The key, of course, is to apply whatever abilities we have—in community resilience building, ecological restoration, or efforts to resist the destruction of nature and the exploitation of human beings. As we remain open to learning, action presents opportunities for still more learning, in the form of what systems thinkers would call balancing feedback. We test what we think we know, and discover new things about the world and ourselves. It’s a life-long process.

Even if we do all we can, there is no guarantee that problems will be solved, extinctions prevented, collapse forestalled. But paralysis only guarantees the very worst outcome. In the words of the Bhagavad Gita, “The wise should work, without attachment to results, for the welfare of the world.” Act from love with the best understanding you have, and always seek to improve your understanding. It’s all that any of us can do.

 

richardheinberg



43 Comments on "Heinberg: Systems Thinking, Critical Thinking, and Personal Resilience"

  1. Manila1 on Tue, 29th May 2018 3:27 pm 

    Good article, but in other news:

    “From inception to today, America’s history reflects a nation dedicated to endless wars, disdaining peace and stability, extermination its native people, enslaving Black Africans, colonizing and/or otherwise controlling lands belonging to others, seeking dominion over planet earth, its resources and people.

    The horror of endless wars, the stench of mass slaughter and destruction, the suffering of living survivors bear testimony to US rage for conquest and control at the expense of peace on earth, good will toward all – a nation dedicated to might makes right, not right over wrong.”

    https://stephenlendman.org/2018/05/memorial-and-veterans-day-reality-glorifying-war-deploring-peace/

    Memorial and Veterans Days warrant condemnation, not celebration – symbols of national depravity for committing the highest of high crimes.”

  2. Manila1 on Tue, 29th May 2018 3:40 pm 

    More news for Americans:

    “The U.S. imports a staggering 95 percent of coffee, cocoa, fish, and shellfish. Half of all fresh fruit and fruit juices consumed in the U.S. are likewise imported. … “Most of the ships pass through a small number of choke points, which are very easy to attack.” Disruptions would quickly leave many of U.S. hungry. … Cutting off international and national food supply chains is, in fact, the easiest way to bring us to our knees. … today most retailers operate on a just-in-time system that reduces stocks but requires constant deliveries. That makes the U.S. even more vulnerable: in case of an emergency, the apples from Chile, beef from Brazil, and milk from Austria won’t arrive in time, or at all.”

    https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/05/lets-talk-about-food-and-what-happens-crisis/148440/?oref=d-mostread

    Food for thought. Pun intended.

  3. Manila1 on Tue, 29th May 2018 4:00 pm 

    “Show and tell” in American schools:

    “Indiana authorities on Saturday were yet to charge and identify the student who they say was responsible for wounding a teacher and student at a middle school in what media is reporting as the 23rd shooting on a United States campus in 2018. … The student, who was being held by police, was armed with two handguns when he shot a science teacher and another student in a science classroom. b… The shooting, by CNN’s count, was the 23rd in the United States this year and comes just a week after a high school student in Santa Fe, Texas, shot and killed eight classmates and two teachers.”

    “Suspect wounds teacher, fellow student in 23rd school shooting in 2018”

    Maybe he didn’t like science?

  4. Theedrich on Tue, 29th May 2018 4:03 pm 

    The military mind is merciless.  General Douglas MacArthur wanted to carpet Manchuria with nuclear bombs that would result in a century-long radiation barrier preventing the Chinese from helping North Korea.  President (formerly a 5-star general who mass-murdered Germans AFTER WW II — see James Bacque’s “Other Losses”) Dwight Eisenhower ended the Korean War by threatening the Chinese with nuclear extinction.  (The Chinese remember that today, even though the Americans have conveniently forgotten it all.)  And up to the present day, the U.S. has continued to threaten other countries with nuclear bombardment in order to achieve its fantasies.

    One remembers, of course, that it is the victor who gets to write the history books.

    So what is left out of the history books is always very convenient for the victor.  An example:  in the post-9/11 hysteria, President George Bush, along with the UK, used an Iraqi congenital liar, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, known by his “informant” pseudonym of “Curveball,” told the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, or “BND”) that Saddam Hussein had created mobile biological weapon laboratories to produce weapons of mass destruction.  (Curveball had fled Iraq to Germany because he had embezzled government funds and had been facing prison in Iraq.)  The Germans passed his lies on to the British Secret Intelligence Service and the U.S. government, which then used them, despite their spurious nature, as part of the pretext for launching the second Iraq War to kill Saddam Hussein and regime-change Iraq.  Later on, the entire tissue of lies was uncovered, but Bush had accomplished his goal and destroyed Iraq, which was all that really mattered.  The current excuse for the “mistake,” of course, is “good intentions,” etc., etc.  And today not one citizen in a thousand even knows about Curveball.  Mission accomplished.

    The fact is that the American government is corrupt beyond exculpation.  The masses are diverted with Yid entertainment, obsession with political correctness and turmoil over contrived cultural issues.  The fantasy of “patriotism” and nonsensical appeals to “come together” (as in race mixing) excite the popular mind with their drivel.  Meanwhile the Pentagon, State Department, CIA, NSA and domestic and foreign lobbies steer the ship of state and its massacres.  Even at the State and local levels, graft and corruption of all kinds pervades the system, so it is no wonder that the top of the pyramid is swarming with maggots.

    The problem is that this disease is fed and protected by U.S. economic and military dominance in the world.  But history has a funny way of dealing with corruption.  That way is called collapse.  Sooner or later, whether by war or internal disintegration, the septic tank called America will end.  Then evolution can get on with its work.

  5. Davy on Tue, 29th May 2018 4:03 pm 

    That 1/2 is because of the seasons 3rd world. The US supplies the world with the basis of the human food chain and that is grains. We produce plenty here to live on. You on the other hand are food insecure in the P’s. I bet China is worried about Brazilian stability. Look how much food goes to Asia from the Americas. Your overpopulated continent is screwed, 3rd world so making bad of us US over food is egg on your face stupidity.

  6. dave thompson on Tue, 29th May 2018 4:52 pm 

    I am keeping an eye on the arctic sea ice, once it goes, not if but when, the growing seasons will be thrown out of wack to the point that growing grains will be impossible at human scale. Once that happens humans will have a few months left to say goodbye to one another.

  7. MASTERMIND on Tue, 29th May 2018 5:05 pm 

    Bernie Sanders ‘is considering another run for the presidency,’ former campaign manager says

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/bernie-sanders-considering-another-run-presidency-former-campaign-manager-says-154431449.html

    Billionaires can’t buy Bernie!

  8. DerHundistlos on Tue, 29th May 2018 5:20 pm 

    “McPherson predicts end of civilization as early as this summer or as late as next summer”

    There you have it people: Guy McPherson says that by as early as this summer or as late as next summer ” we will have a collapse of civilization induced by the inability to grow, transport, and distribute grains at large scale”, (a climate induced collapse).

    When this happens, Trump and his Republican confederates in congress should be strung-up to every lamp post for stoping society from taking meaningful action when it may have made a difference.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw0AAsGaDg0&t=96s

  9. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 29th May 2018 5:46 pm 

    “some of the smartest people I’ve met happen also to be among the more pessimistic”

  10. LetStupidPeopleDie on Tue, 29th May 2018 5:55 pm 

    There is no such thing as system approach. It is something invented by man to understand the world.

    There is only chaos and entropy in this world. Still people thing they can control chaos using systemic modeling approach.

  11. onlooker on Tue, 29th May 2018 6:07 pm 

    It is too bad we didn’t employ our capacity for systems and critical thinking beforehand, to recognize and avert the Collapse that now is inevitable not as Heinberg says likely

  12. Manila1 on Tue, 29th May 2018 7:02 pm 

    As usual, Davy, you are full of bullshit with no refs to back up your fantasy world.

    Us exports of all grains in 2016/17 = ~93.9 mmt
    World grain production in 2016/17 = ~2,460 mmt

    OR: ~4% of total grain consumption in 2017. Hardly a huge loss if it disappears. Just a few less grain fed cattle for the rich folks. Not a change for the average Joe.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/263977/world-grain-production-by-type/
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/190348/total-us-grain-exports-from-2001/

  13. MASTERMIND on Tue, 29th May 2018 7:18 pm 

    Soros Warns “Another Major Financial Crisis” Is Looming—and Trump Is Partly to Blame

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/05/soros-warns-another-major-financial-crisis-is-looming-and-trump-is-partly-to-blame.html

  14. GregT on Tue, 29th May 2018 7:51 pm 

    “Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the field in which systems thinking is most highly developed is ecology—the study of the relationships between organisms and their environments. Since it is a study of relationships rather than things in isolation, ecology is inherently systems-oriented.”

    And Guy McPherson would be professor emeritus of natural resources and ecology and evolutionary biology.

  15. MASTERMIND on Tue, 29th May 2018 7:53 pm 

    Chinese state media slam U.S. trade announcement, say Beijing ready to fight

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trade-china-media/chinese-state-media-slam-u-s-trade-announcement-say-beijing-ready-to-fight-idUKKCN1IV015?il=0

  16. Davy on Tue, 29th May 2018 7:55 pm 

    “Hardly a huge loss if it disappears.”

    So, 3rd world, you are saying if the US stopped its exports of grains and soybeans the world would hardly notice. LMFAO. There is a reason you are called 3rd world.There would be widespread famine if US food exports quit. It is the marginal exports that provides food security for many countries.

    U.S. exports account for about 40 percent of world corn trade.
    https://tinyurl.com/y7c9cyec

    “The United States is the world’s largest producer and exporter of soybeans.”
    “By the late 2000s, the value of oilseed and product exports doubled to over $20 billion.”
    https://tinyurl.com/yaowwec7

  17. MASTERMIND on Tue, 29th May 2018 7:55 pm 

    Here is what Guy McPherson says to his students..”I want to lick your pussy”..He is the Bill Cosby of doom..

    https://imgur.com/a/fQs9GzE

  18. MASTERMIND on Tue, 29th May 2018 8:22 pm 

    George Soros warns the European Union is on the brink of collapse — and Trump is partly to blame

    http://www.businessinsider.com/george-soros-president-trump-eu-collapse-2018-5

  19. MASTERMIND on Tue, 29th May 2018 8:27 pm 

    When the Russians bought Trump they certainly got their money’s worth.

  20. DerHundistlos on Tue, 29th May 2018 8:28 pm 

    MM-

    In McPherson’s defense, these are accusations by a single disgruntled individual without a shred of proof. Maybe she’s speaking the truth, I don’t know, but without corroboration by other people or witnesses or evidence, who knows. Maybe she became a spurned lover? I hope her accusations are false.

  21. MASTERMIND on Tue, 29th May 2018 8:40 pm 

    DerHundistlos

    The funny thing about death cult leaders..They always go after the young woman of their groups..

  22. GregT on Tue, 29th May 2018 9:44 pm 

    McPherson isn’t a death cult leader MM. He’s spreading the same basic message as you are, except that he rightly does not believe that economic collapse equates to global mass extinction, and he doesn’t have any plans to commit suicide.

  23. Davy on Wed, 30th May 2018 5:45 am 

    Welcome To The Hotel Europa…
    https://tinyurl.com/y9ra3ytk

    https://tinyurl.com/ybgsxoqq
    The EU and euro cannot survive in their present state. But those who benefit most from both are also the ones who can stop either from undergoing desperately needed changes. That’s Hotel Europa.

  24. Manila1 on Wed, 30th May 2018 8:04 pm 

    Davy, again I say that ~4% of the world’s grains would hardly be missed when the Us can no longer grow it because of climate change. As temps move up, Russia will have more usable land to grow grains and make up for the loss of the Us’ feedlot corn and soy. The Us’ is already turning into a new dust bowel. The projected Us grain export this year is already less than last year. Be patient.

    BTW: the Us export of grain equals about 1oz per day per person. Not a huge loss.

  25. Manila1 on Thu, 31st May 2018 8:06 am 

    Important to Americans: “We have been watching the shift of society and all of its components to collectivist thought and action in preparation for the step into a full-blown totalitarian state…. The key to this has not been the use of force, but the molding of thought and behavior over the decades within the schools, within the fostered predictive programming of pop culture and television, and within the lying, Marxist, mainstream media…. Police are in schools to enforce conformity and submissive behavior: they’re managing the “troupe” of juveniles, driving the herd.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-30/fine-tuning-surveillance-state

    “We are seeing such a state metastasizing by the day, as the surveillance state is fine-tuned for the final act…a performance that has not happened but is entirely predictable by any who examine the course of history and our past.”

    Nice to live in a country (Ps) that cannot afford such Gestapo systems.

  26. Davy on Thu, 31st May 2018 8:48 am 

    Important to Asians, the Surveillance state is worse than the US. This is especially true in China.

  27. Manila1 on Thu, 31st May 2018 8:53 am 

    “There are days I wake up and want to go right back to sleep in the hopes that this surreal landscape of government-sanctioned injustice, corruption and brutality is just a really bad dream. …

    https://www.theburningplatform.com/2018/05/29/whose-country-is-this-is-the-constitution-even-welcome-here-anymore/#more-177188

    …As President Ronald Reagan recognized, “If we lose this way of freedom, history will record with the great astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.”

    3rd world America…

  28. Antius on Thu, 31st May 2018 9:00 am 

    “We are seeing such a state metastasizing by the day, as the surveillance state is fine-tuned for the final act…a performance that has not happened but is entirely predictable by any who examine the course of history and our past.”

    All part of the globalist agenda. Moral absolutists dream of surveying everyone – they cannot abide the thought that someone, somewhere might be defying them.

  29. Cloggie on Thu, 31st May 2018 2:22 pm 

    Poland aspires to be autonomous driving front runner:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/05/31/poland-has-huge-e-mobility-plans/

    Austria to match solar panels with trains:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/05/31/austrian-federal-railways-pilot-adds-pv-solar-generation-to-train-lines/

    (personal suggestion: why not placing panels between the rails, rather than wasting farmland?)

    Russia wants to store kinetic energy of deceletating trains in batteries along the tracks:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/05/31/a-new-energy-storage-solution-for-a-massive-railway-system/

    “Record 2017 For Australian Renewable Energy Industries Presages “Unprecedented Activity” In Coming Years”

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/05/31/record-2017-for-australian-renewable-energy-industries-presages-unprecedented-activity-in-coming-years/

  30. MASTERMIND on Thu, 31st May 2018 2:35 pm 

    Clog

    Autonomous cars are crashing everywhere in America..we just had one kill someone in Arizona and in California..and just recently one slammed into a fire truck and police cruiser..Its a total joke. And you will never have a 100 percent driverless car because they can’t park themselves..

  31. MASTERMIND on Thu, 31st May 2018 2:38 pm 

    All this talk of A.I. taking over, driver less cars, delivery drones, hyper loops, and mars colonies, is nothing more than fake news..

    Progress is not an illusion it happens; but it is slow and invariably disappointing..

    -George Orwell

  32. Cloggie on Thu, 31st May 2018 2:41 pm 

    “And you will never have a 100 percent driverless car because they can’t park themselves..”

    https://youtu.be/1OPESlV1sQA

    Nitwit.

  33. MASTERMIND on Thu, 31st May 2018 2:47 pm 

    The Unbelievable Amount Of Frac Sand Consumed By U.S. Shale Oil Industry

    https://srsroccoreport.com/the-unbelievable-amount-of-frac-sand-consumed-by-u-s-shale-oil-industry/

  34. MASTERMIND on Thu, 31st May 2018 2:50 pm 

    Clog

    Parallel parking is different..Lets see it park inside a parking garage..Lets see it find a spot a the grocery store..etc..

  35. MASTERMIND on Thu, 31st May 2018 2:54 pm 

    Trump Started a Global Trade War Today: Canada, Mexico Responded, So Will Europe..

  36. Cloggie on Thu, 31st May 2018 3:02 pm 

    “Lets see it park inside a parking garage.”

    https://youtu.be/NzqUNYU-7_8

    There are on youtube many videos of autonomous cars parking themselves in parking garages.

    Many governments have the ambition to be the first in achieving nation-wide autonomous driving. Something will come out of it.

  37. Cloggie on Thu, 31st May 2018 3:11 pm 

    “Trump Started a Global Trade War Today: Canada, Mexico Responded, So Will Europe.“

    Time for a Eurasian-wide conference in order to get rid of US hegemony once and for all:

    – withdraw from the UN
    – dumping the dollar by announcing that the dollar will be forbidden to be used in entite Eurasia
    – closing down google, amazon, windows, apple, hp, facebook in Eurasia
    – forbidden to sell the new ASML EUV chip making machines outside the US, which means the end of Intel and AMD.

  38. Davy on Thu, 31st May 2018 3:24 pm 

    Neder, fair trade is a two way street. What is going on now is not. Also, spare of your usual excessive drama. This is about negotiations. I can tell you never ran a business or sold anything.

  39. Cloggie on Thu, 31st May 2018 3:48 pm 

    Green light for Italian right-wing government:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/31/world/europe/italy-government-populists.html

    The first large European domino has fallen. The wine will taste good tonight in the Kremlin.

  40. MASTERMIND on Thu, 31st May 2018 4:06 pm 

    Clogg

    The daily mail is a tabloid you stupid moron..You pick them on purpose because they are in the fringe like you..

  41. MASTERMIND on Thu, 31st May 2018 4:10 pm 

    clogg

    That video was bullshit..You couldn’t even see it parking..It just showed the tail end..You are such an easily fooled idiot..Driver less cars are still an oxymoron..They don’t exist.

  42. MASTERMIND on Thu, 31st May 2018 4:17 pm 

    If Trump puts tariffs on China..Does this mean Trump products will cost more?

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