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The Hawkwood Elephant

The Hawkwood Elephant thumbnail

“Large-scale problems do not require large-scale solutions. They require only small-scale solutions within large-scale frameworks.”

The author’s book signing circuit for small publishers like New Society and Chelsea Green is more likely to have you at something in Marianne Williamson’s comfort zone than Joe Biden’s, and it often brings me to scenic places with biodynamic gardens, blacksmith shops, and vegan cafés. The latest was the Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking in England’s scenic Cotswold’s region, with panoramic vistas of the Severn valley and an annual Seed Festival of Ideas.

For me, the best thing about these kinds of events is always the people you get to rub shoulders with, cross-pollinate, and generate the kinds of seeds the hosts are hoping for.

Rob Hopkins draws from his new book on

imagination, From What Is to What If

One of the first ripe pollinators I encountered at Hawkwood was Shaun Chamberlain of Dark Optimism, a young man I have long admired for having rescued the work of a late departed mutual friend, David Fleming, by locating and finding a publisher for the economist’s masterpiece, Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. Had Shaun not done that, the manuscript could have been either boxed and shelved in some university letters collection, or worse, consigned to a rubbish bin by unsympathetic relatives. Fleming’s life’s work, which Chamberlain has since synthesized into the more accessible Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy (Chelsea Green 2016), is a robust prescription, in stunning detail, of what Odum called “the prosperous way down.” Drawing upon a wide range of scientific disciplines, Fleming provided a practical and easily imagined way to walk our civilization back off the plank and recover the ship of state from the pirates, using neither cutlass nor rum.
Lean Logic
Lean Logic does not conform. It is a community of essays about inventive, cooperative self-reliance in the face of…www.leanlogic.net

Shaun said of his relationship to David (I paraphrase), “When you lose someone you love, the best thing you can do is to keep a part of them alive in the world.” I later mentioned this statement in my talk, in reference to Frank Michael, a recently departed friend of mine. Frank did the original calculations on tree-planting I published in The Biochar Solution and that we later revised in papers for conferences and a science textbook on biomass energy. I noted how much more accurate Frank had been in estimating the area, photosynthetic efficiency, and effort that will be required for forests to remove the legacy greenhouse gases from the industrial era from both atmosphere and ocean than are the most recent estimates of provided by Bastin, et al, published in Science on July 5, 2019.

The global tree restoration potential
The restoration of forested land at a global scale could help capture atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change…science.sciencemag.org

In 2009–2015, Frank Michael and I ventured well out in front of the current crop of negative emissions technology studies to examine not only how an area the size and aridity of five Spains could be permaculturally reforested every year, eventually reaching 3 Gha, (3 billion hectares) but how those forests could afterward remain healthy and reach maturity in an epoch of rapid climate change and extreme weather events. The solutions we proposed were along similar lines to the story woven by another Hawkwood speaker, Ian Redmond, OBE, who held up a ball of elephant dung (I later asked him how he manages to take that through customs) and gave a marvelous explanation of how elephants plant trees. David Attenborough has made a film series describing this, which it turns out Redmond advised. The elephants eat the seed pods of acacia trees, digest the pods, and excrete the seeds in their rich manures. As they rove the dry savannahs, forests of acacia spring up in their wake.

I have previously described to The Great Change and to Grist Magazine (October 2000) similar phenomena observed in the Darien Peninsula of Colombia, where monkeys select the fruits they most like and then build orchard gardens of those trees in the high mountain sanctuaries safe from two-legged predators.

The takeaway points are (1) that we cannot reverse climate change without also arresting biodiversity loss and (2) that to hang onto our freshly-seeded forests we have to also develop (or recover) woodland ways and norms where cultivation and maintenance — deriving useful and valuable products and services — are done because it profits us in the short-term to do it.

The same holistic approach applies to most (but not all) of the other 17 Sustainable Development Goals. And yet, if you were to take our planet’s 4.6 billion year history and reduce it, as Shaun Chamberlain did in his talk, to a 4.6 km walk along a footpath, anthropogenic climate change arrives only in the last 0.1 mm of the walk (four-hundredths of an inch). One-half of all species that existed at the end of the last Ice Age have been lost to extinction in that last 0.1 mm already. The remainder, ourselves included, are threatened in the next four-thousandths of an inch.
David Fleming once said that large-scale problems do not require large-scale solutions. They require only small-scale solutions within large-scale frameworks.

Allowing elephants to roam freely, for the sake a wild aesthetic, or to assist us as woodlands people to gather roundwood for thatch, baskets, and braided fences, or elephant dung for our gardens and bamboo groves, bypasses a deeply embedded neurological discount algorithm that inclines us to select immediate rewards over distant, conceptual good. It points that maladaptive pistol away from our temple.

There is a second maladaptive gene that inclines us to select a single “best” solution instead of a holistic approach to problems. For those who think climate change is the sine qua non problem we must solve, before all others, think again. As John Muir said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else….”

Elephants plant forests. We should too. Then we need to keep the elephants and nurse the trees. That is a seed idea worth spreading.

The Great Changeby Albert Bates




43 Comments on "The Hawkwood Elephant"

  1. Robert Inget on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 8:47 am 

    If you are growing a future survivor, try my child’s
    favorite book. “The Elephant Ate the Profits”.

    How an elephant and a giraffe open a fruit stand.
    The fun part (for two year olds) starts when the long list of what the elephant eats all day long.

    If you love to see kids laugh, you’ll love this book.

  2. Sissyfuss on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 9:07 am 

    If an elephant takes a dump in the forest will anyone smell it. That is an encapsulation of this woo and poo article. Now back to our regular programming concerning the 6th Mass Extinction. And please patronize our regular sponsors, ExxonMobil and Bayer-Monsanto.

  3. Duncan Idaho on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 9:27 am 

    Err—
    Might be time to turn around, and not look into the rear view mirror?

  4. ANAL REAPER on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 10:51 am 

    Fucking Somalis and their shitty driving.

    GTFO.

  5. makati1 on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 6:31 pm 

    I like your sarcasm, Sissyfuss. They can write a million “we should” articles, but until the collapse forces humanity down the ladder, nothing will happen. I hope it happens while there is still enough ecology left to rebuild a world humans can exist in, but I doubt it.

  6. Robert Inget on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 6:43 pm 

    Just In;
    Really terrible news;
    Politics
    Mattis Resigns as Defense Chief, Citing Differences With Trump
    By Anthony Capaccio
    December 20, 2018, 2:23 PM PST Updated on December 20, 2018, 6:29 PM PST
    President says Pentagon chief’s replacement to be named soon
    Mattis long seen as force for stability in tumultuous Cabinet

  7. Robert Inget on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 6:52 pm 

    Mattis was the last sane cabinet minister.
    I’m almost certain it was he who blocked Trump from bombing Iran. With Mattis gone Trump has a free hand to use the military in any way he figures it benifits Trump.

    In Trump’s next term Putin will be getting daily CIA briefings .
    (and no Republican will object)

  8. JuanP on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 7:09 pm 

    “I’m almost certain it was he who blocked Trump from bombing Iran. With Mattis gone Trump has a free hand to use the military in any way he figures it benifits Trump.”

    Bobby, mattis was gone long before the Iran bombing situation occurred. You should think before you write

  9. makati1 on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 8:10 pm 

    JuanP, many here do not think…period. Even fewer take time to research their “facts” before posting an opinion. Even I, 75 years old, know that Mattis has been gone long ago.

    Mattis resigns …Dec. 2018.

    Trump’s fake Iran attach bullshit … June 2019

  10. Anonymouse on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 8:56 pm 

    Israel & US Conduct High Altitude ‘Arrow-3′ Missile Defense Tests In Alaska
    Following Iran’s provocative test firing last week of its medium-range ballistic missile the Shahab-3, which is capable of hitting Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday the successful test firing of Israel’s own Arrow-3 ballistic missile shield over Alaska, tests previously considered secretive. “The performance was perfect – every hit a bull’s eye,” Netanyahu, who doubles as defense minister, said in a statement following the three secret “live interception” tests held in coordination with the United States and the missile system’s maker, Boeing Co. The Arrow-3 is touted as being able to shoot down incoming missiles in space, or while a hostile missile is still outside the earth’s atmosphere, and is the “bottom tier” and longest range integration on top of the the short-range Iron Dome interceptor. Specifically the Arrow-3 is designed to take out advanced ballistic missiles in Iran and Syria’s arsenal. The tests were held in Alaska due to Israel not being considered a capable hosting site given the system’s specifications, as well as likely the current soaring regional tensions with Iran. “Today Israel has the capabilities to act against ballistic missiles launched at us from Iran and from anywhere else,” Netanyahu said on Sunday. “All our foes should know that we can best them, both defensively and offensively.” “They were successful beyond any imagination. The Arrow 3 – with complete success – intercepted ballistic missiles beyond the atmosphere at unprecedented altitudes and speeds,” the Israeli PM added. However, no details regarding what altitudes were reached during the testing were given. Wow, this is breathtaking. Actually pretty massive news! The #Arrow3 is a real game changer! It allows #Israel to intercept long-range ballistic missile targets outside the atmosphere. Simpler: Israel will be able to intercept Iranian nuclear missiles. [Video: @Israel_MOD] pic.twitter.com/kyzbGWTVaj
    — Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) July 28, 2019 During the Alaska tests the Israeli Arrow-3 missiles were also integrated with the US’ long-range, very high-altitude active electronically scanned array surveillance radar which globally assists in early detection of hostile projectiles with a range up to 2,900 miles. As Reuters summarized: Israel’s Ministry of Defense said that, as part of the Alaska tests, Arrow-3 was successfully synched up with the AN-TPY2 radar – also known as X-band – which provides the United States with extensive global coverage. Israel hosts an X-band battery. “We are committed to assisting the government of Israel in upgrading its national missile defence capability to defend the state of Israel and deployed U.S. forces from emerging threats,” Vice Admiral John Hill, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defence Agency, said in a statement. The Arrow-3 system, once fully integrated with the Iron Dome and the medium-range ‘David’s Sling,’ will mark the highest level in Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense network. #BREAKING: Israel & US conducted in Alaska a joint test of Arrow 3, missile defence system pic.twitter.com/EXBA0AOXqi — Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) July 28, 2019
    No doubt, the publication of the weekend tests doubly serves as a strong message of warning to Iran amid soaring tensions and a US military build-up in the Persian Gulf after tit-for-tat drone shoot downs over the past month and ongoing “tanker war”.

  11. More Davy Identity Theft on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 11:02 pm 

    JuanP on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 7:09 pm

    Anonymouse on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 8:56 pm

  12. Anonymouse on Sun, 28th Jul 2019 11:09 pm 

    Yes, definitely not one of mine. The expcetionaltard is truly one of PO.coms leading minds(he has several minds actually, and they keep fighting each other for dominance and control), and all-around douche-bag besides.

    Good thing he has 100’s of acres of orchards, crops and herds of animals to keep him busy, or else, he might just spend all his time on the internet, staring at his discount I-phone and wondering whose identity he is going to concentrate on stealing today.

  13. majece majece on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:47 am 

    Advices from https://justbuyessay.com/blog/controversial-topics will help you to learn more about Controversial Topics. It will help you to achieve academic success

  14. Robert Inget on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 10:01 am 

    “Trump’s Intelligence Chief resigned after the White House repeatedly suppressed his warnings about Russian interference, New York Times reports”

    Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats repeatedly found his warnings about the threat posed by Russia suppressed by the White House, The New York Times reported Sunday amid his resignation from the post.

    According to The Times, Coats has often found himself at odds with President Donald Trump over Russia, a situation that worsened in recent months.

    “Coats saw Russia as an adversary to the US, The Times wrote, and pushed for closer cooperation with European countries to counter it, but the White House did not agree”.

    Trump identifies with dictators.

    Asking anyone here over 40, no matter your political views, have you EVER seen the like of
    Donald Trump?

    .

  15. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 12:53 pm 

    Asking anyone here over 40, no matter your political views, have you EVER seen the like of
    Donald Trump?

    Not really– but a 6 times bankrupt scammer from Queens does have possibilities.
    At least as “President”, he can’t go bankrupt.
    Late stage capitalism was never going to be fun.

  16. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 1:22 pm 

    Hello again majece majece , I loved the articles on your site on being an argumentative A-hole. That is pretty much all I do here, and anything that helps make me a even bigger argumentative douche-bag, is a winner in my book. I am going to recommend your resource to all my friend.

    Cloggo, you should check that site out. You seem to believe, think you are some sort of academic. I bet majece has something there you might find useful. Perhaps they have essays on how to tell fact from fantasy, something you could definitely use.

  17. JuanP on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 1:45 pm 

    Fuck you majece majece , I hate you and all your articles on your site. I am a perverted cyber bully obsessively stalking good forum member I am incapable of debating. That is pretty much all I do here, and anything that helps make me a even bigger argumentative douche-bag, is a winner in my book. I am going to recommend your resource to all my friend.
    Cloggo, you should check that site out. You seem to believe, think you are some sort of academic. I bet majece has something there you might find useful. Perhaps they have essays on how to tell fact from fantasy, something you could definitely use.

  18. JuanP on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 1:49 pm 

    Duncan, Hillary makes trump look god like and you fucking voted for him. What does that say about you??

  19. JuanP on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 1:50 pm 

    Her not him. I am fuckin pissed off

  20. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 2:19 pm 

    Everyone here is fully aware that all comments under JuanP’s nick are by me. I’m not fooling anybody so maybe it would be smarter for me if I stopped playing my child like behavioural games.

  21. JuanP on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 2:51 pm 

    Everyone here is fully aware that all comments are made up as I go using both JuanP’s and Davy nicks. My intention is to bring down this stinking forum which I hate.
    I’m not fooling anybody so maybe it would be smarter for me if I stopped playing my child like behavioral games.

  22. More Davy ID Fraud and Projections on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 3:54 pm 

    JuanP on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 2:51 pm

  23. Ban the butt wipe juanpee on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:15 pm 

    “More Davy ID Fraud and Projections on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 3:54 pm”

  24. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:30 pm 

    Up the butt and through the penis, thank you very much.

    I loves my cocoa puffs early in the morning.

    The name inscribed upon me is ABOMINATION DAVY as I am a DESTROYER of TRUTH and FATHER of LIES.

  25. Obviously JuanPervert on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:45 pm 

    Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:30 pm

  26. More Davy Sock Puppets on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:49 pm 

    Ban the butt wipe juanpee on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:15 pm

    Obviously JuanPervert on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:45 pm

  27. JuanPee is a liar on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:50 pm 

    More Davy Sock Puppets on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:49 pm

  28. Another Davy Sock puppet on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:57 pm 

    JuanPee is a liar on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 4:50 pm

  29. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 5:00 pm 

    I am spending less time on this lame unmoderated forum to concentrate on my own lame blog. I do want to thank all those who have attacked me with giving me material for growth. I have saved the best of my comments for my new lame blog. I have years worth of my own material that nobody else cares to read.

  30. makati1 on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 5:34 pm 

    Trump is just what the US deserves. An egotistical, six time loser running an egotistical, losing empire. Isolating America one tweet at a time.

    The insanity is only going to get worse. If you are trapped in the American gulag, buckle up. It’s going to be a rough ride to he bottom.

  31. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 5:50 pm 

    Remember when I told you how I awoke in the park after passing out from too much Ripple and found Pablo painting my toenails?

    Thought it was about time you meet my ebony twink:

    https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4059/4461449764_916c9a9dee.jpg

    Yummy, yummy, yummy, guess what Pablo put in my tummy?

  32. The real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 5:55 pm 

    JuanPee, Now you are defaulting to your true nature as a pervert. Flush the illegal back south

  33. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 5:58 pm 

    A recent pic. taken of me while cleaning the pool..

    https://twitter.com/gudheadt/status/724345617800003584

  34. The real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 6:10 pm 

    JuanP the troll is a failure. JuanPee were is the gang these days? Lol. You guys got your ass handed to you because you failed. JuanPee the troll is a sore loser.

  35. The real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 6:12 pm 

    JuanP likes young boys. The dumbass does Twitter to. Can you be a troll on Twitter JuanPee?

  36. Juanpee ID FRAUD on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 6:18 pm 

    The real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 6:10 pm

    The real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 6:12 pm

  37. The real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 6:30 pm 

    Obviously the troll JuanPee is failing again. No rebuttal dumbass?

  38. More juanpee ID Fraud on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 7:03 pm 

    The real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 6:30 pm

  39. The real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 7:07 pm 

    I WANT MY MOMMY!!

  40. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 7:08 pm 

    juanpee wants its mommy.

    LOL

  41. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 7:40 pm 

    Why are folks always telling me if the shoe fits….

  42. Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 7:43 pm 

    I’m projecting again,,,,what a dumbass!!!

  43. The Real Davy on Mon, 29th Jul 2019 7:51 pm 

    If all you guys don’t stop giving me back some of my own medicine, I’m gonna tell my daddy on you.

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