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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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How Gullible Politicians Promoted the Destruction of the Global Economy and Threw Us into the Abyss of Serfdom


Anyone with some basic knowledge in mathematical modeling who had taken a look at the structure of the “Imperial College”-model would have noted the faults of this approach and its exaggerations. The model’s prognosis that the United Kingdom would have to count with more than half a million deaths and a complete overload of its health system reversedthe British government’s earlier decision to use prudential surveillance and specifically targeted intervention and to shift to the full-control strategy, which required massive intervention into the public and private life of the nation. The leaders of other countries that were somewhat still in doubt jumped on the bandwagon and the march into a tyrannical State was programmed.

It was too late when the authors of the model finally revised their original estimate from 500 thousand to 20 thousand and later on lowered this number even more. The governments had already set into motion their emergency plans.

After declaring the coronavirus a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), agendas that had been prepared years ago were set into motion and the state agencies followed the procedures that were prescribed by the International Health Regulations (IHR) as the international legal instrument that is binding on 196 countries across the globe, including all the Member States of WHO.

Even now, months after the outbreak of the virus, the true size of the threat remains unclear. The quantitative basis is still too small to make a reliable projection.

If the modelers and the responsible government bodies had looked at the basic numbers instead of elaborating an apparently sophisticated model, they would have noticed that there has been no noticeable rise of the death rate.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Three Ways to Regenerate Bioregions

Three Ways to Regenerate Bioregions

There are many “edges” of intact ecosystems waiting to regenerate degraded lands.

Is it even possible for humanity to safeguard its future? Are we bound to a fate of extinction… a still-birth on the way to becoming a planetary species? Or might we evolve our diverse cultures toward the regeneration of landscapes and ecosystems — making it possible to continue existing?

These are not idle questions. Humanity is currently in overshoot-and-collapse. We are causing a Mass Extinction Event that will take us down with it if it really takes off. Simply look at the Earth from space and you will see how much we have degraded the mountain ranges and valleys, flood plains and coastlines, tropical forests and high plateaus, all over the planet. The human impact is impossible to miss and largely destructive at present.

But what if we learned how to regenerate landscapes at increasing scales? Might we learn how to organize our economies around regenerative principles that turn all of this around? It just so happens that there might be a way to save ourselves.

We need to organize our societies (and all of their material flows) around bioregions. Only then might we learn how to function as regenerative economies that restore ecosystems and heal the Earth.This is what my colleagues and I are supporting at the Regenerative Communities Network. We are mobilizing a growing number of existing efforts to create bioregional economies into a peer-to-peer learning network that shares tools and knowledge to speed up all our efforts.

In this article, I would like to share three ways that we are observing in our network of communities for how to design the regeneration of an entire bioregion. These are patterns of emergence we have observed arising on their own in each collaborative effort. And each is now a focused work stream for how we consciously evolve the global network.

#1 :: Regenerative Education and Transformational Leadership

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nurturing vital diversity & resilience: Scaling out, rather than scaling-up!

Photo: NASA

Nurturing vital diversity & resilience: Scaling out, rather than scaling-up!

There is an unfortunate knee-jerk response programmed into many people in leadership positions to want to ask: “How do we scale it up?” every time they hear a seemingly good idea. To a larger or lesser extent, many of the people who have this response have contracted the virus of neoliberal economic indoctrination. Once infected you do not question the economic growth imperative, its hidden subsidies and externalities, the inadequacy of GDP as a measure of positive progress, nor the implied assumption that bigger is better or more efficient and effective. Very often it is not!

Of course we need to find a way that regenerative practice and careful restoration of healthy ecosystems functions spreads from community to community and bioregion to bioregion to reach global impact as quickly as possible. We need to reach scale, but not by scaling-up!

Many regenerative solutions will no longer be regenerative if they are simply scaled up into a mega-project or replicated in a cut & paste (cookie cutter) fashion. Such expansionist approaches tends to loose touch with the necessity for solutions to be born out of the cultural and ecological uniqueness of a place — its people and its bioregion. We can learn from the patterns of natural system how to design as nature, create place-sourced solutions and create conditions conducive to life.

In general natural systems do not keep growing exponentially in quantity and size. They tend to follow a logistic curve of growing to a certain point and then changing and maturing in qualities, relationships and interconnections without continuing to grow quantitatively in size or numbers. Just reflect on your own development from childhood to adulthood, if you want an example for that pattern. Our species has long passed the point where we should have switched from quantitative growth to qualitative growth, from more and bigger, to better and more appropriate.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects

Greta Thunberg appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee on September 18, 2019, based upon a photo by Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects

In her testimony to the US Congress, Greta Thunberg did not prepare a statement for submission to the record. Instead, she submitted the most recent scientific report, issued by the IPCC three weeks earlier. She said simply, “I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists, and I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take real action. Thank you.”

Alden Meyer, an elder statesman of environmental advocacy that I have been running into at every climate meeting since Rio in 1992, called it the shortest and most powerful testimony he has heard anyone give in Congress during his decades in Washington.

This week another headline blazed across newspapers and social media sites: World Scientists Warn of Climate Emergency.

Reading this newest installment in ecologist William Ripple’s series was a mixed experience for me. On the one hand, I was delighted that he and Chris Wolf at Oregon State, Tom Newsome at the University of Sydney, Phoebe Barnard at Conservation Biology Institute and the University of Capetown, and Bill Moomaw at Tufts were able to enlist 11,258 co-signatories from 153 countries for their paper published in BioScience on November 5th.

The first such warning, organized by Alden Meyer and the Union of Concerned Scientists in 1992, had 1,575 prominent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates, co-sign. The second, by Ripple, Wolf, et al in BioScience in 2017, had 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, which begs the question: Why fewer this year?

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Escaping extinction through paradigm shift

Escaping extinction through paradigm shift

‘Rebellion’ is not enough. We need to build new systems from the ground up, right now

Drone footage of displaced family tents in one settlement in Badghis, Afghanistan, due to ongoing drought and climate change. There are thousands of makeshift homes spread between mountain hills on the outskirt of Qala-i-naw city. (Source: NRC/Enayatullah Azad)

For the last month, as a journalist and academic, I’ve experienced a strange sensation of paralysis.

I don’t usually experience this. Usually I find myself driven by the pressures of wanting to cover with due justice a full spectrum of intersecting crises and potential solutions.

But this month watching the spectacle of political madness unfolding across Washington, London and Brussels, while chaos and suffering continues to kick off across Venezuela, Yemen, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Nigeria and beyond, I experienced something I haven’t felt in a long-time. A sense of total burn-out. Of futility. Of tiredness.

Watching the news has become like entering a psychological boxing ring where you get the shit punched out of you repeatedly until you drop to the floor, broken, bloodied, and inert: helpless.

I can’t imagine this is a particularly unique sensation. But I wanted to share it with you because this is common ground. Common ground across the deepening divides tearing our societies apart. No matter which side of the divide we stand on, that sensation of paralysis and helplessness is playing out in tangible form in the political processes we see out there.

The sensation of paralysis is therefore not just a psychological artifact. It’s the internal experience of the systemic dysfunction playing out in the world. It’s a reflection of the state of collapse that our prevailing democratic institutions are experiencing as they prove completely incapable of responding to and solving for the intricate complexity of inherently interconnected converging global crises.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US officials offered my friend cash to take down Tehran’s power grid

US officials offered my friend cash to take down Tehran’s power grid

It took a country-wide power outage in Venezuela, whispers of a cyberattack, and smug tweets from US officials to make me suddenly recall the cloak-and-dagger story of a close Iranian-American friend nine years ago.

My friend, an engineer — who I will not name for obvious reasons and who I will call ‘Kourosh’ for the purpose of this article — revealed to me in 2010 that he was approached by two “State Department employees” who offered him $250,000 to “do something very simple” during his upcoming trip to Tehran.

Kourosh was freaking out because he didn’t know how these guys knew he was going to Iran in the first place, and how they knew he was “cash-strapped,” in the second.

He wasn’t a particularly political person, though he had participated in some DC protests in the aftermath of the hotly contested 2009 presidential elections. He was just one of thousands of Iranian-American engineers in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia technology belt looking to make a decent living.

Kourosh told the US officials that he was not interested, that if Iran needed to make changes, Iranians inside the country were the only ones who should do it.

I begged him to let me write this story, but he was very nervous and declined. Over the next year or two, I pushed some more and he gave me further information, but wouldn’t budge on its publication. Here’s what he revealed:

The State Department guys had since approached him a second time. They offered him further details about the job. They wanted him to disable Tehran’s power grid in exchange for the $250k. They needed someone with technical skills, but said the job was a simple one. He would have to go to a specific location in the Tehran area with a laptop or similar communication device and punch in a code.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Qualitative systems thinking as a reflexive futures practice

Four Modes of Foresight (graphic from page 32 of review copy)

Qualitative systems thinking as a reflexive futures practice

Advanced praise for Anthony Hodgson’s forthcoming new book

I have the pleasure and the privilege to count Tony as a friend, a mentor and a colleague for more than a decade now. We connected over a UNITAR sustainability workshop in Scotland that I co-organized and facilitated which his wife attended. Their company name— Decision Integrity Ltd — sparked my curiosity. I did a bit of research and was amazed by the many parallels and connections I found to other key mentors of mine like Brian Goodwin and Henri Bortoft. Our first conversation was a four hour mind-melt at the end of which both of us were exhilarated and surprised at how time had past.

Tony invited me into the International Futures Forum in 2009. He gave me an opportunity to work with him in piloting early versions of the IFF World Game. In 2010 he hired me through his consultancy to do research and apply whole systems thinking and the IFF World Systems Model to two UK Foresight projects. In one of them we mapped the international dimension of climate change impact on 17 regions of the globe and how these would in turn affect the future of the UK. For the other, we tried to reveal systemic patterns and make visual sense out of the research a team of experts had done on migration and global environmental change.

Tony and I have also taught a three part workshop series on ‘Applied Systems Thinking’ together at Findhorn College, collaborated in various International Futures Forum project on ‘Transformative Resilience’, ‘The 3 HorizonsFramework’, and ‘Second Order Science and Policy’; and occasionally I joined a meeting or support efforts towards the creation of H3uni. In short, I have been richly gifted opportunities to learn from this remarkable wise elder.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Brexit: stage one in Europe’s slow-burn energy collapse

Brexit: stage one in Europe’s slow-burn energy collapse

The Brexit fiasco and French riots are accelerating symptoms of Europe’s earth system crisis

Riots in Paris (source: Irish Times)

Everyone’s talking about Brexit. Some about the French riots. But no one’s talking about why they are happening, and what they really mean. They might think they are, but they are usually missing the point.

On 6th May 2010, the Conservative Party took the reins of power for the first time since 1992, propped up with some help from the Liberal Democrats. Hours before the election result, I warned in a blog post that whichever government was elected, it would be the first step in a dramatic shift toward the far-right that would likely sweep across the Western world within 10 years.

“The new government, beholden to conventional wisdom, will be unable or unwilling to get to grips with the root structural causes of the current convergence of crises facing this country, and the world,” I wrote, describing the failure of all three political parties to understand why the heyday of economic growth was unlikely to return.

“This suggests that in 5–10 years, the entire mainstream party-political system in this country, and many Western countries, will be completely discredited as crises continue to escalate while mainstream policy solutions serve largely to contribute to them, not ameliorate them. The collapse of the mainstream party-political system across the liberal democratic heartlands could pave the way for the increasing legitimization of far-right politics by the end of this decade…”

My prediction was astonishingly prescient. The global shift to the far-right began within exactly five years of my forecast, and has continued to accelerate before the decade is even out.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Does Cinema War Propaganda Really Work?

How Does Cinema War Propaganda Really Work?

It goes far beyond the government entertainment liaison offices

As the co-authors of National Security Cinema, we have become known — rather inaccurately — for encouraging two major ideas:-

1. That the government is really important in making movies more militaristic.

2. That Hollywood doesn’t produce dissenting films.

While the first of these is somewhat true it is a simplification, the second is a falsehood.

The government is involved in as wide a range of entertainment projects as you can imagine, from video games to chat shows to blockbusters to docudramas. While many of these were militaristic from conception, before the government got involved, there is no doubt the the Department of Defense (a.k.a. the Pentagon) has encouraged the militarisation of popular culture and is pro-actively seeking further influence in Hollywood.

However, we want to emphasise that government support is by no means a prerequisite for Hollywood making militaristic movies. The sub-genre we have proposed — “national security cinema” — does not necessarily require the involvement of the actual national security apparatus in the production process.

National Security Cinema — Beyond the Government

Some of the examples are truly striking. Consider Rambo III (1988), set in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The film demonised the Soviets and depicted our allies of the time, the Islamic mujahideen, as heroic — albeit wild and stupid (in keeping with long-standing Hollywood stereotypes about Arabs).

This portrait is consistent with other films set in that war both before and since, such as the James Bond movie The Living Daylights (1987) and Charlie Wilson’s War (2007). While Rambo III did technically receive some support from the State Department, this did not affect the script, and the film very much reflected US government policy on steroids.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Other Two Kinds Of Debt

The Other Two Kinds Of Debt

“Any corporation, private or governmental, that wishes to provide for a sound and equitable continuity of its business must take steps towards the systematic retirement of debt immediately after it has been incurred. Postponement of all payment for property or privileges by those who presently enjoy their benefits is calculated to bring uncomfortable consequences to them or those who succeed them.”
— Engineering Economics, by C.R Young. 1949
(Read on Guerrilla-Capitalism.com)

We frequently hear pundits and talking heads talking about how short-sighted government policies and unfunded entitlements are in essence “stealing from the future” or at best “borrowing from the future” and I found myself thinking about the difference between the two ideas.
Normally when we think about “the two kinds of debt” we think productive versus unproductive debt. Exemplified in the Richard Kiyosaki “Rich Dad / Poor Dad” series, we learn that productive debt is that which you incur and then use in a way that will help pay itself off.
Examples include vendor or bank financing on buying a business that you would then pay back with the earnings from said acquisition, something I’ve done a couple times over my career; or taking out a mortgage to buy an investment property. From there you would use the rent to pay off the mortgage.

I emphasize paying off the mortgage here as opposed to simply servicing the debt with minimum payments or interest only, and we’ll see why shortly. Contrast this with unproductive debt, which is borrowing money to go on vacation or buy consumer goods, or do anything else with it that leaves you with the bill afterward. As Kiyosoki frequently stresses, it’s the difference between debt that makes you money vs debt that costs you money.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Human and Planetary Health [Part II: Going Upstream]

Human and Planetary Health [Part II: Going Upstream]

Transcript of Daniel Wahl’s ‘Findhorn Talk’ on Human and Planetary Health: Ecosystems Restoration at the dawn of the Century of Regeneration; October 13th, 2018

[…Part I] We need to go upstream and look at this ‘crisis of perception’. We need to start rethinking the story of who we are and why we are here. We need to start thinking about what we could do if we actually lived in a way that is: “creating conditions conducive to life.”

[…], Janine Benyus, the founder of the biomimicry work, says “Life creates conditions conducive to life.” This is in nutshell what we should be doing. I would also say that life is a regenerative community (1). We need to rejoin that community.

To do that we need to change the stories we tell about ourselves and we need to change the ‘organizing ideas’ that shape our perception. What do I mean by that? Have a look at that [the image below].

Some of you are seeing the head of an animal, others are seeing only a black and white circle with black dots in it. — If I give you the organizing idea ‘head-of-a-giraffe’. Ahh — some people go ‘ohh, I can see it now’. This is the neck, these are the horn, these are the eyes, this is the snout. She is looking down this way [from center line to bottom right of the circle].

This is just to show that organizing ideas are incredibly powerful. We don’t see things because they are out-there and they just come-in. We see things because we have ideas about what is out-there and we make the world. We bring forth a world together in conversation. That is the power of reshaping the world for us as well.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Society As Platform — A New Frontier in Complexity Science

Society As Platform — A New Frontier in Complexity Science

Cities are profoundly complex incarnations of cultural evolution. Image Credit: Vincent Laforet

Humanity is now confronted with new challenges unlike anything we have experienced before. Our evolved history as a species has not prepared us for what is happening now. It is time to start seeing culture as a complex system that evolves according to Darwinian principles.

What do international terrorism, human-caused climate change, and the rise of speculative bubbles in finance have in common? At their heart, each is fundamentally a cultural phenomenon that is often confused with its more superficial elements associated with religion, politics, technology, or economics. There are hidden “governing dynamics” that arise as ideologies and worldviews, diverse modes of social organization with associated norms and practices, and the foundational ontologies and epistemologies that define what is real and knowable for a given society.

Humanity has gone from subsistence living where our daily survival was a struggle to weave healthy relationships with the natural ecosystems around us to one of living within social niches of our own creation. Long ago, it was rocks carved into spear tips that determined our ability to acquire food. Now it is the use of fossil fuels extracted by large machines, which are then sent to refineries for modification and redistribution, eventually finding their way into chemical fertilizers used to extract nutrients from the soil.

All of this arose through the processes of cultural evolution.

Every major challenge in the world today is deeply and profoundly cultural — and cultural systems are always complex. They are comprised of many interacting parts with critical interdependencies that are not reducible to usefully meaningful modular parts. There are threshold effects, phase transitions, chaotic attractors, various kinds of self-organization, and all are deeply dynamic and emergent as evolutionary processes at the intersection of culture and the environment.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Murdered for Sand

Murdered for Sand

The world is running out of sand, and people are dying as a result

“It is to cities what flour is to bread, what cells are to our bodies: the invisible but fundamental ingredient that makes up the bulk of the built environment in which most of us live.“

Vince Beiser, author of “The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization”

Think of a valuable resource. What images come into your mind’s eye? Maybe oil? Water? Perhaps you looked at a ring on your finger and thought of gold. All of these are valuable resources, it’s true.

Now, what if I told you sand was also an incredibly rare and precious resource? It may sound absurd, especially if you’ve been anywhere near a beach or desert lately, but the world is running out of sand. A crucial material in everything from cellphones to high-rises, the resource is being used up faster than it can replenish itself, sparking environmental concerns and community conflicts. Some are even willing to kill for it.

You may not realize it, but nearly everything around you is built with sand. The concrete your apartment, condo, or house is made out of was mixed with sand. The glass windows you look through to see what the weather looks like — those were made with sand as well. The cellphone or computer you’re reading this on — the silicon chips in them are made with sand. The road you travel on to work — sand as well. If you live in any kind of urban setting, it is constructed with sand.

Credit: Sand Stories

Sand Isn’t as Plentiful as You Think

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Platforms Are Making You Vulnerable

Trouble at Google and Facebook shows how susceptible we are to losing control of our data — by accident or design

It’s been over a week since Facebook announced that, thanks to a coding vulnerability, access tokens for at least 50 million* accounts were stolen. Access tokens are important. As Facebook explained in its blog detailing the hack, they are “the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.”

The hack also impacted Facebook’s Single Sign-On, which lets people use one account to log into other sites, meaning the impact of the breach is perhaps wider than even Facebook initially reported. Still, at the moment, there’s no way to know how big of a problem it is, or will be. Nor do we know who did it. We’re in the dark for one simple reason: Facebook has said next to nothingabout what it knows — or if it knows much at all.

Ad-driven platforms tend to succeed thanks to one thing: our vulnerability.

Bad as it might have been to sit in complete silence, something worse has happened: Facebook’s community has filled the void. Over the weekend, a hoax circulated on Facebook. Users reported seeing a message from another person claiming to have received a weird friend request. The message suggested the user send a mass warning to everyone, urging them to avoid accepting bizarre friend requests.

Here’s an example:

Hi….I actually got another friend request from you which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A NEW friendship FROM ME AT THIS TIME.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mapping the pieces in the puzzle of local/global (glocal) regeneration

Mapping the pieces in the puzzle of local/global (glocal) regeneration

Gaia Education’s ‘Design for Sustainability’ online course offers a whole systems design perspective on ‘regeneration 101’

Daniel Wahl (4th from the right on top) during the Ecovillage Design Education course at Findhorn in 2006

In 2006 after finishing my PhD in ‘Design for Human and Planetary Health — A Holistic / Integral Approach to Complexity and Sustainability’, I used my post-doctoral research grant to take part in the first ‘Ecovillage Design Education (EDE)’ run at the Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland by Gaia Education. In 2007 I joined Gaia Education, and since then I have been collaborating with this internationally active educational NGO in one form and another.

Since 2012, I have been particularly involved in updating and rewriting the curriculum content of the online programme that evolved out of the face-to-face EDE course. The course is structured around the whole system design framework that informs all of Gaia Educations courses. It integrates four dimensions: social, economic, ecological and worldview and aims for systemic win-win-win solutions by design.

Students on the Gaia Education ‘Training of Trainers’

We are now challenged to fundamentally redesign the human presence and impact on Earth to shift from a mainly exploitative, destructive and degenerative impact to becoming co-creative collaborators with the wider community of life in the healing of our ecosystems and the regeneration of the Earth and our communities. Life itself is a regenerative community!

The material presented in the Design for Sustainability online course could be called a foundational training for people who want to become and active part in the Regeneration rising. It offers a systemic overview of the complexity of interrelated factors that have to come together in regenerative development and the transformative innovation and redesign of pretty much all our human systems.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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