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Degrowth Thread

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:48:13

onlooker wrote:To what Kaiser is saying and to the topic of this post. How do you market degrowth? Contraction is about less, more sells not less

I think you market as increased efficiency. You install solar panels and a heat pump and put you oil furnace out of business depriving some camel jockey of an oil sale each winter and placing less CO2 into the atmosphere.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 15:00:14

vtsnowedin wrote:
onlooker wrote:To what Kaiser is saying and to the topic of this post. How do you market degrowth? Contraction is about less, more sells not less

I think you market as increased efficiency. You install solar panels and a heat pump and put you oil furnace out of business depriving some camel jockey of an oil sale each winter and placing less CO2 into the atmosphere.


A hypothesis..... I would make the claim that heating our homes and feeding ourselves and moving our selves about in its most essential survival context is probably happening within carrying capacity today at 7.5 billion. All that is not the problem.

It is the discretionary activities, all the billions of useless objects we buy, all of the distractions we need to entertain ourselves with which actually represents the consumption that takes us beyond carrying capacity.

Would be interesting to tease out the essentials from the frivolous and see where we really are.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 15:07:04

But can you deprogram people into believing having less is more?
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 15:37:26

I'm pretty sure that sitting and "being" is not the answer, LOL, apologies to Buddha.

The obvious solution is just go full libertarian, eliminate all taxes, all regulation and let the market decide. Within a generation a handful of people would have all the wealth and certainly a dozen superyachts could not be as destructive as a few million bass boats.


The funny part of these discussions is that as we speak, the dismantling of the administrative state is proceeding apace. Not far-out Green New Deal pie in the sky policy but simple mandates for increased fuel efficiency, clean air and water, lower GHG emissions... even paper and plastic recycling has stopped due to the trade war with China. A functioning majority in the US is actively working against even the basics of environmental protection.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 15:46:23

onlooker wrote:But can you deprogram people into believing having less is more?

Being hungry does do a good job of focusing the mind.
Attitudes certainly have changed sense colonial times. Consider this quote from a book on housekeeping from about 1820.
The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time, as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever be the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning or saving money.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 15:48:17

As Ibon said Kudzu Ape is toast haha. What comes after, who knows.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 16:34:34

Pops wrote:I'm pretty sure that sitting and "being" is not the answer, LOL, apologies to Buddha..


Buddha aside, you only have to go back a few generations and folks lived in a much different day to day rhythm prior to consumption culture. You can read about history but it is a lot harder to feel history, to be back there in the zeitgeist of those times. A good reference of how much we have drifted is for those of us in our 60's or older to remember our childhoods growing up in those post WWII decades, prior to the internet and prior to the recent jaded decades. I can still taste the flavor of those times, the slowed down rhythm.

We have moved to a far different place and these musings are not based on some idealized nostalgia but rather on the very real difference in peoples gestalt.

We can talk our heads off about the economic system and how we need to implement this or that political strategy but all of that is secondary and almost irrelevant to a collective spiritual deficit that dominates in modern consumption culture.

Pops, your looking for answers on a system level, for society at large. I honestly don't see the point. There is a point where the collective has gone beyond redemption, where there is no going back. Individuals can break away, small communities can break away maybe, but the juggernaut of humanity is stubbornly committed to playing out this consumption culture to the end.

It is a spiritual deficit. A decadence.

My amish father would be proud reading my posts! I carry so much of that legacy minus the Jesus part.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 17:00:09

Ibon,

Not off topic at all. We were in St Martin 3 weeks and here in Dominica for 3 weeks, and we were here 3 weeks last year. We are just starting to get to the palace, finding out who is willing to gossip. ;).

Our summer place is surrounded by family, my deep roots there were cut off, I’m trying to grow them back.

I think you are very much onto something in talking about slowing down, being less frenetic. I sometimes wonder about my online activity. It’s fairly intense on three sites; this and two sailing sites, and I’m sloooy getting to know those folks in person as well. Faces to icons. This is the place I can come to have intellectual conversation. Lord knows I could not do it with my Leftie PC friends in Philly, I’m too radical.

Back to Russel, smart man, but he blew it in his predictions in “In Praise of Idelness.” He imagined folks sitting around doing what they want: reading, art, crafts, singing, etc. Reality is we don’t want that, we want to feel needed, an essential part of the tribe. That’s why we want zero unemployment. It’s also why we are paid poorly, because we would do it for free to feel validated. Look at the various open software collaborations like LibreOffice. Look at what a Masters in Social Work brings for example.

Me, I was a mercenary. Did a bunch of jobs other folks didn’t want to tackle. But it paid well and I was never unemployed. The last job I had was my best ever, and I could not stand it. 40 years and somehow I’ve made the leap to full time retired. Working for myself now keeping things working. It’s good, I give myself time off, I go fart around, BS with the boys, I’m 13 again. Loving life. :)
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 18:33:21

Ibon wrote:Buddha aside, you only have to go back a few generations and folks lived in a much different day to day rhythm prior to consumption culture.

Very romantic Ibon. But I take your point, many are moving beyond old belief in the magic man which has filled some need in us generally for millenia. Personally I'm way more head than gut, not spiritual and church dogma leaves me cold. I do miss the feeling of fellowship in a congregation from my childhood.

I was a kid in the '60s, my recollection is life was grittier, rough edged, parochial, less interesting. Frankly tedious. But then we were just a step up from poor. The world of want was pretty well confined to the Monkey Ward catalog.

I can see myself in the county library thumbing through the card catalog trying to find some bit of information that it feels like should have been readily available. It certainly was available somewhere. I can see a stack of books on the library table and I remember being unsatisfied. I can't remember the question, just that the answer eluded me.

Today, lots of kids, and adults, sit passively and stare at screens, Buddha would be proud of their mindlessness! In my day I'd be outside from the bus drop till dark doing this, that and the other. Trapdoor spiders, horse sweat, deconstructed radios and lawn mowers, a tunnel in the silage pit, cousin in the hay loft! LOL

The main difference between then and now is not that humans have gone off the rails and become demented gluttonous automatons. Rather, our appetite has been enabled by easy credit starting in those very same 1960s (thanks in large part to computerized credit reporting) and of course the explosion of things. People haven't changed, that's just fond reminisce, they've been enabled to consume by painless, impersonal, socially acceptable credit, fiat currency and a world of stuff to want.

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Truly I'm not looking for a solution, systemic or otherwise. To the contrary I believe acquisition is an inherent part of our survival evolution. As I said on page one, IMO the only solution to growth is birth control—you can add to that education.
Whether it came in time is the question.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 17 Mar 2019, 12:21:57

IMO the only solution to growth is birth control—you can add to that education.


Yup, great place to start. Education... that’s where I’m so muffed at Obama. He could have used the bully pulpit to bring these issue to light, to raise it as a topic of conversation. He didn’t have to have the answers. Especially in his second term, he did need to get people thinking. AOC is also blowing it, making brash statements, not thought out. Get people upset, polarizes.

The population, we are actually slowly getting that under control, but we artificially pull population through immigration. And there is another great topic for education, an elevated discussion.

Maybe these discussions won’t happen, at least in the political level. But if they happen as they do here, in enough other venues, then it may perculate up to the “leadership” level.

If we can discuss it intelligently here then it can be done, we are not super humans.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 18 Mar 2019, 12:37:47

Just a thought, elsewhere I just read the average American uses 100 gallons of fresh water per day.

We use maybe 2.

Granted we use salt water to flush, so that’s a bit of it. But it does point to the extremes of consumption.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 18 Mar 2019, 12:45:04

A few flushes, some water in the coffee maker, a load through the washing machine and and a couple of sink fulls to wash the dishes and a shower or two and it adds up. Add in people washing cars and watering the lawn and you get to 100 per person pretty quick. That number works well when designing house sized water and septic systems. Of course on a sailing sloop your use has to be less unless your tied up to a dock.
Imagine what a Bedouin family on the edge of the Shara manages to get by with.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 18 Mar 2019, 12:47:05

Maybe not a lot less, you get dehydration and medical issues. I actually drink quite a lot of water or the damn gout gets me. If you ever need motivation to stay hydrated your will provide it.

We are pretty sensitive to water availability. We just left Dominica which is full of clean fresh water, it is reassuring.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 20 Mar 2019, 11:15:22

Here is a nifty article that might point to a rather near term source of degrowth.

Cotton doesn’t usually consume this much water. The global average water footprint for 1kg of cotton is 10,000 litres. Even with irrigation, US cotton uses just 8,000 litres per kg. The far higher water footprint for India’s cotton is due to inefficient water use and high rates of water pollution — about 50% of all pesticides used (pdf) in the country are in cotton production.

Most of India’s cotton is grown in drier regions and the government subsidises the costs of farmers’ electric pumps, placing no limits on the volumes of groundwater extracted at little or no cost. This has created a widespread pattern of unsustainable water use and strained electrical grids.

Recent reports show that India’s water consumption is far too high. In 54% of the country 40 to 80% of annually available surface water is used. To be sustainable, consumption should be no more than 20% in humid zones and 5% in dry areas, to maintain the ecological function of rivers and wetlands, experts say (pdf).


https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable ... -water-day

Hard to fully realize how lucky we are to live in a Fitst World Western Country ( except Ibon. LOL)
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Wed 20 Mar 2019, 12:59:29

Water powers our hydro plant with a constant 7.6kw
Gravity fed spring water comes out of all our taps and shower heads
Water irrigates our gardens and coffee plantation.
Water destroys our roads and causes landslides.
Water keeps the forests humid and reduces risk of forest fires which are non existent in this habitat
Water forms clouds that entertain us with swirling clouds, rainbows and strikes fear in our hearts as
lightening strikes nearby trees and thunder ricochets off the ridges and bounces off the hillsides
Water fills bromeliads where tree frogs lay their eggs 30 meters high up in the canopy.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby GHung » Wed 20 Mar 2019, 13:58:58

Newfie wrote:Just a thought, elsewhere I just read the average American uses 100 gallons of fresh water per day.

We use maybe 2.

Granted we use salt water to flush, so that’s a bit of it. But it does point to the extremes of consumption.


While I've seen that 100 gallon figure before, firstly, It seems like a conveniently round number, and I'm not sure if that is individual domestic consumption or total footprint of direct use and water use embodied in products and processes. I'm betting someone just divided total national water use by population.

We, at our place, are normally blessed with plenty of water. It is solar-pumped, gravity fed spring water and our spring intake produces well over 200 gallons an hour even during our worst drought to date. The intake harvests just a fraction of the water the spring produces. Another spring above the garden produces even more. We've had one of the wettest winters (too wet) and the area TVA reservoirs are dumping water as fast as they can while trying to not cause flooding downstream.

Not sure what areas with too many human/not enough water will do when things go critical. Water wars, mass migration,,,, it won't be the first time societies have suddenly found they've vastly exceeded their environment's carrying capacity.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Plantagenet » Wed 20 Mar 2019, 14:52:08

I was very impressed with the reverse osmosis desalinization system used on the MS FRAM while I was cruising in Antarctica last month.

We spent weeks cruising in remote areas in Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia and all the water needs for the 190 passengers and the crew were easily supplied by reverse osmosis technology.

Reverse osmosis is a simple existing technology for purifying water and it really works great for moderate size water purification systems.

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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Wed 20 Mar 2019, 15:01:01

GHung wrote:While I've seen that 100 gallon figure before, firstly, It seems like a conveniently round number, and I'm not sure if that is individual domestic consumption or total footprint of direct use and water use embodied in products and processes. I'm betting someone just divided total national water use by population.

While it is a convenient round number it is backed up by years of experience in practice. It is for housing units only and is sometimes expressed as gallons per day per bedroom instead of per person. Other things like restaurants, box stores and filling stations have factors built up from years of water meter records. Major factories would have to submit data for each water consuming process as well as number of employees in the building but in many commercial applications the fire suppression sprinkler system is by far the controlling factor. If you have a six inch main sitting idle 99 percent of the time ready to fight fire whatever lessor amount you draw through it for day to day operations just served to keep the water fresh and moving. Sewer and water bills are generated by the actual water meter readings.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 20 Mar 2019, 16:50:54

Reverse osmosis costs energy and money. It works on a bigger boat because you are likely running a diesel generator lightly loaded a good bit, so might as well put that lost energy to work.

Somewhere in Australia they built a big plant some years ago. But it cost too much to use so they let it lay. Then last year they needed it but it was not serviceable. SA was using desal water for irrigation, they decided to just stop farming instead.

On personal size units they need to be run a bit once a week or so, if not something bad happens to the membranes and they need to be replaced. You can “pickle” the membranes, but then to restore it to service you need to “unpickle” and flush the system.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Thu 21 Mar 2019, 01:10:58

Here the big use of reverse osmosis is in the maple industry. They run the maple sap which starts around two percent sugar content through the machine and remove enough water to boost it up to seven or eight percent reducing fuel use and cook time in the evaporator. Finished maple syrup is over seventy-five percent sugar and wholesales for $35 a gallon so using $3.00 of electricity to produce a gallon is a bargain. :)
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