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Degrowth Thread

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 31 Jan 2021, 19:53:42

I am mulling the concept that we are beginning to see the cusp anticipated in the LTG studies. If true it would have made them remarkably accurate.

My reasoning for this is pretty long winded, very basically I was looking for some relationship between the rise of nationalism, tribalism, our Covid reaction, and the propensity for media to pump fear.

As we approach these various limits the they start to revel themselves. For example our outrageous budget over runs. And climate change. And our various governments inability to function smoothly (Trump, Brexit, Johnson, etc.)

Most people I know are skeptical about the future. Their articulated reasons are all over the place, and may simply reside as a general feeling of unease.

Marshall Mcluhan famously noted “The Medium is the Message”. Meaning the medium (TV, internet, twitter...) and how it connects us is a big part of what defines us. The various medium formats change us as they and we evolve.

If you consider the media as proactive then you quickly turn towards conspiracy theories “Why is the media selling fear?” Alternatively you can consider media as reactive, reflective of our culture. Tuis idea sits better with me. They are pushing fear because it is what we collectively sense. Media is taking our integrated emotion and reflecting it back on us.

By doing this it also tends to be a positive feedback loop, amplify that niggiling doubt into something bigger.

It may well make us more reactive in turn. Which pumps up our fears and supports the extremes.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby NovaVeles » Sat 13 Feb 2021, 20:00:47

Newfie wrote:Marshall Mcluhan famously noted “The Medium is the Message”. Meaning the medium (TV, internet, twitter...) and how it connects us is a big part of what defines us. The various medium formats change us as they and we evolve.


Recently I was reminded of a line from 'The Medium is the Massage' the book the proposed this idea - "Politics is yesterdays solutions to todays problem".

I light of how things are panning out these days, it is surprisingly accurate.

World 3 / The Standard run of LTG is proving to be one of the best predictions of future conditions that anyone could have asked for. I consider any study that gets within a factor of 2 of the reality to be a strong hit. All the follow up studies of World 3 show it to be accurate within about 20% of the reality.

It is fascinating watching various countries tip over from population growth to decline. The big 3 now are Japan, Korea and Russia, which are all in decline right on schedule. With more countries/nations on the way, it is starting to prove that the ecologists got it incredibly right by using an averaged out simplistic model based on fundamentals, rather than focusing on symbolic abstractions like money.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 13 Feb 2021, 22:19:05

I think what they got right was focusing on the integration of various trends. Looking at it broad brush the end result is pretty obvious. But we tend to get bogged down in petty details and loose perspective.

But yes, LTG has been pretty accurate.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Sun 14 Feb 2021, 10:26:06

You guy are stretching. The details don't fit, how can the result be accurate if the details are wrong?

I don't see the correlation between LTG World 3 and current conditions even in the countries mentioned. Maybe near term PO will change the picture but that is yet to come.


Just looking at Japan, births are falling faster than deaths so the population is aging and dying off, not the LTG model at all.

The death rate is increasing with the average age because, well, old people die more.

Image

Image


But compare to LTG:

first 2000-2030-ish, food, services and industry output all plunge...

Only then do death rates skyrocket —because that is the point of the model—those are limits growth.

Finally, population begins to fall only much later, say 2050, but much later whatever the timeline.


Image


It is totally the opposite of what is happening in Japan, which is a voluntary Population Implosion.
The limit to growth in this case is low birth rate and educated women.

Here is Donella Meadow's synopsis of of the 30 year update. Plenty to fret over in the future, including a low birth rate scenario that merely postpones collapse because fewer people mean more output?

Here is how that looks compared to China, Japan is pretty flat since 1990:

Image

I am an early adherent to the idea of LTG, I wore a ZPG T-shirt to my first earth day! Meadows points out that technology like birth control has costs and those limit mitigation. My first post on this site was about the costs associated with transitioning from an oil-based economy. Transitioning has costs, once PO occurs the timer starts on capital depletion and our ability to change.

Nowadays I'm more optimistic that we may skirt the edge of the cliff and avert doom, mainly because the birth rate is falling, belatedly but falling. It is a battle between our ingenuity and our urges and our amassed capitol.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 14 Feb 2021, 12:04:45

The majority of future population growth is projected to come from Africa.

Try overlaying the carbon budget.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissions_budget

Fundamentally the issue is of viewpoint. LTG moved their viewpoint 40 - 50 years in advance.

Now move our viewpoint 40 - 50 years in advance. What will 2060 to 2070 bring?

I noted above that the spark to LTG was there ability to take an integrated/wholistic view. Something humans are traditionally very poor at.

We recently had an article here that described how various specialties see a bleak future. The authors attempted to take those various projections and combine them into a more unified projection considering ALL the facts. The result was extremely doomy.

The WEF puts out an annual World Risk Analysis. It is pretty doomy and this year was especially so. If you take the time to dig into the methodology they use the essentially do the reverse of the above noted article. So on any topic they poll the experts in that field, but then also poll all the experts in all other fields, then report the NON-weighted average for that topic. Thus on the topic of climate change they weigh a climate scientist equally with an economist and a social scientist and report the average. And the economist financial projections are given equal weight to the scientists and social scientists financial projections. The effect is a tamping down of the alarm. Looking at the core data, across the board, the topic experts in any given field are far more apprehensive than the average. Looking at the core data of pessimism by experts in their own field of expertise would make your eyes melt.

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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Sun 14 Feb 2021, 13:33:00

you guys pointed to japan as an example of LTG in action.
I gave evidence that LTG is not in action there, rather lowering birth rates are causing falling population not resources, famines, etc.

Not sure why all the growth being in africa compared to Norway or anywhere else matters. The absolute increase is falling

Image


Of course LTG looks to the future, that doesn't make is prescient, just makes it a guess. The general idea of a limit and overshoot are perfectly valid, but they aren't inevitable. Different variables did produce different outcomes, including sustainability. Take Limits To Growth World #7 as an example. We haven't done that well but we're getting there.

Populations can decline and growth stop, just take Japan as an example
.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 14 Feb 2021, 16:57:42

One person pointed to Japan.

But you really destroyed him.

Now about Africa.

“Absolute INCREASE is falling”, which means the rate of growth for the past few years was falling. But it is still growing.

Africa with its very young population has potential for great population increase. The UN has UPPED its total max population estimate considerable, and may have to increase it again.

But maybe not.

That Carbon Budget thing.

We are used to thinking we can do pretty much whatever we want. Because we have all these cree carbon slaves to work for us. When that starts to go away we also loose our ability for action. The time for action is in the past. Without free carbon we have very limited ability to act, to effect the future. We are entering a reactive world where things happen to is, consequences.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby mousepad » Sun 14 Feb 2021, 19:24:34

Pops wrote:Image


It looks like one of them PO curves of the past. We're at the peak and the only way is down.
But it was wrong. It went up, up'n away.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 14 Feb 2021, 20:05:34

Newfie wrote:
We are used to thinking we can do pretty much whatever we want. Because we have all these cree carbon slaves to work for us. When that starts to go away we also loose our ability for action. The time for action is in the past. Without free carbon we have very limited ability to act, to effect the future. We are entering a reactive world where things happen to is, consequences.


Here is an alternative point of view. It has been actually during these abundant free carbon slave times that we actually became reactive and lost our ability to action. We became slovenly.

We generate 8KW of energy here on our project with a micro hydro pelton wheel. 12 years in we have as the years have gone by learned to optimize and adjust to this quite plentiful but finite amount of power that we have at our disposal. We have been forced to become intimate and super conscious about the power consumption of all our appliances and when we have to temporarily turn off the electric hot water tank in order to run another appliance this has become just routine. This might sound inconvenient but it is actually not at all the case, just part of the awareness of our daily consumption and making optimal use of the power available.

I was thinking how as the fossil fuel industry goes into decline and the alternative energies go mainstream they will become far more abundant than today but will never reach that dense energy quotient that we saw with oil which yes powered civilization and technology but also powered a huge decadence in consumption habits.

My point is that when we have electrified our transport and power usage through alternatives to oil they will through economy of scale become cheaper but always requiring us to become more careful in how much we consume, not too different than what we have been doing here for the past 12 years.

Many assume that Americans for example, used to unlimited cheap power, would never be able to adapt to a relationship with power similar to what we have here in our project.

8KW 24/7 is quite a bit of power but as the years have past it now powers today 7 buildings, 6 refrigerators, 4 floor freezers, coffee makers, hot water tanks, runs our coffee processing equipment, microwaves, toasters, pathway lighting at night, rice cookers, a coffee dryer using a 1200W dessicant dehumidier, etc. etc. etc. Of course you cannot run all of these at the same time but they all are being used in an optimal way to get the tasks done that we have to run a resort and a coffee processing operation.

Its a lot of energy but not a decadently abundant amount of energy. That right there seems to sum up where we are going post fossil fuels for our energy usage, a lot of energy in the alternatives but not the amount that you can just carelessly consume.

That might actually be the sweet spot towards optimizing in the most energy efficient way and sustainable way in how we run our civilization.

The assumption that the time for action was in the past might be wrong. The time for action might be coming up as we all will be forced to learn to adapt our energy consumption habits to a more constrained but still quite plentiful amount of energy at our disposal.
Last edited by Ibon on Sun 14 Feb 2021, 20:16:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 14 Feb 2021, 20:11:11

Ibon,

Your experience is wonderful. We also generate much of the power we use via wind and solar. Works well in the Caribbean but not so well here in NC during winter.

So how do you power NYC and Chicago?

Our experience is not translatable to their situation.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 14 Feb 2021, 20:59:35

Newfie wrote:Ibon,

Your experience is wonderful. We also generate much of the power we use via wind and solar. Works well in the Caribbean but not so well here in NC during winter.

So how do you power NYC and Chicago?





Nuclear?
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 15 Feb 2021, 08:59:37

Detonation or the slow release type? :-D

Seriously that is where we run up against the Carbon Budget. We only have so much carbon left to spend without going into terminal climate change. Nuk plants take up big gobs of carbon investment.

It is the “damned if you do, damned id you don't” conundrum.

Thats an illustration of the “holistic integration” analysis I was discussing above.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Mon 15 Feb 2021, 09:35:20

Newf, I'm not trying to destroy anyone, just confronting the dogma of doom.

A simple way to prevent Africa from booming is simply to build more schools.

Image

If the US and other rich world countries realize this is a matter of self preservation rather than librul bleeding hearts throwing good money at shithole countries it would be a cinch. Our current nationalistic, blame-everyone politics doesn't bode well, but it could happen.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 19:34:34

Pops,

Sorry for late response.
Coulda, shoulda, woulda..... it unfortunately didn’t happen.
We are now out of time.
The event horizon has passes. We are being sucked into the black hole.
Had we done as you suggest maybe 50 years ago it would have made a difference. Even if you had the schools built today and could effect significant change in a generation, 20 years, we would already be at significantly higher levels than now, with 20 years fewer resources and a zero carbon budget.

My main point is that folks don't realize how far down the path we are.
(Sorry if it came across flippant, not intended - just outta writing skills at the moment.)

ANF THEN......

The 2021 WEF Global Risks Report is out.
I have given it a quick gloss and I am not impressed. Yet I still know of none better. Which is sad.

https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-glo ... eport-2021


However there are interesting nuggets.
Here is a graph from that report that is kind of interesting. I had to read the description about 5 times to understand it.

Image
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Mon 22 Feb 2021, 08:56:39

Newfie wrote:Pops,

Sorry for late response.
Coulda, shoulda, woulda..... it unfortunately didn’t happen.
We are now out of time.

OK
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Mon 22 Feb 2021, 09:18:06

I guess my question, if we're dead anyway, is why degrowth?
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 22 Feb 2021, 10:55:08

the young generation says a big fuck you to all the aging baby boomers declaring that we are now out of time.

put yourselves in the shoes of a 25 year old reading comments from the most spoiled generation in the history of our species whining that it is too late.

baby boomers are not exactly aging gracefully!!!
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 22 Feb 2021, 11:09:12

Pops wrote:I guess my question, if we're dead anyway, is why degrowth?


Because there is room to manage the downturn in a kore humanitarian manner limiting misery.

Philosophical meander warning.....

Is there such a thing as “cumulative misery” os is misery such a individual experience that it makes nonsense to consider collectively?

Honest question.

For sake of clarification lets assume human population will eventually drop to say 5 billion. Is it better to drop from 8 billion than from 10 billion? Assume that the drop in either case will be from famine, disease, and war; fairly miserable ways to die.

Vastly over simplified so as to examine the “collective misery” question.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby JuanP » Mon 22 Feb 2021, 11:16:04

Pops wrote:I guess my question, if we're dead anyway, is why degrowth?


I've thought it is decades too late and the situation is hopeless since I was in elementary school. The problem is human nature and cannot be solved in the time we have. We evolved to breed and consume as much as we can. I still lived a relatively environmentally friendly lifestyle choosing to not produce biological offspring, sterilize myself, consume a lot less than I could afford to, avoid unnecessary travel, work on habitat restoration, organic farming, and Permaculture, educate others, donate to No Scalpel Vasectomy International, etc.. I never fooled myself into believing it would make any difference to our global predicament as a species, though.

I've done all this knowing it was pointless because not doing it was not an option for me for moral and ethical reasons. I don't expect others to do it or lecture them about it; there would be no point since it is decades too late. I am responsible for my own beliefs, thoughts, words, actions, inactions, and reactions, but not other people's. I think the best course of action is to assist others when they seek help, but to avoid pestering them when they don't.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby dolanbaker » Tue 23 Feb 2021, 07:01:23

Newfie wrote:

However there are interesting nuggets.
Here is a graph from that report that is kind of interesting. I had to read the description about 5 times to understand it.

Image

On that graph, I would have transposed climate change with "human environmental damage" as this includes actions like deforestation, overfishing & pollution.
The man made element of Climate change is a consequence of this.
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