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19Mar/110

Still Flying

Posted by Nate

In light of what is going on in the world now, I tried to organize my thoughts and my ideas about the state of affairs on this planet.  It sounds a little grandiose but we do need to get "out of the box" sometimes and look around, look up, pause and try to analyze where we are as a society. Here are a few points to consider.  It seems that a set of current events around the world points to common crises.

Food shortages in the world.

Coming hunger

Hunger

One billion people do not have enough food.  It fuels anger towards the governments and the countries that support these governments.  The food shortages will continue just because there is not enough for the growing population.  In addition the climate is changing, the weather is becoming more extreme.  We do not know how the climate change will affect crops around the world.  Contributing to the problem is mono agriculture (mono cropping).  Wikipedia: “The crop more susceptible to disease as genetic similarity between plants makes them equally vulnerable.  An example of this would be the potato famine of Ireland in 1845–1849 and, according to Devlin Kuyek, is the main cause of the current food crisis with monoculture rice crops failing as the effects of climate change become more acute."  Food prices are on the rise and will continue to rise.  Food production in the world is falling behind growth of the population.

Unemployment.

In my opinion the unemployment will continue to get worse.  There are many reasons - higher productivity is one;  another is that our employment rate depends on consumption.  So it depends on dwindling natural resources.

Pollution.

Pollution

For the sake of the Economy.

It is a scientific fact that no matter where we pollute,  the pollutants become air borne and travel around the globe.  So no matter how hard we are trying to clean up our air  dirty air from China  comes to America.

Natural events like hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and many others.

We call them natural disasters.  That is what it is to us.  It is just because there are so many of us.  No matter where the event occurs somebody gets hurt.  We may not know in what way we affect the climate change.  We just know we do.

Science, technology and the economy.

Will technology by itself save our civilization?  I believe that in order to survive we need to grow and develop spiritually. So instead of devising new ways to kill each other, we should work on ways to advance physiologically and mentally.  We still do not know the full capabilities of our minds and our bodies.  But if we don't change, what we call technology may actually cause the crush of our civilization.  Just one example - it seems that as a society we are caught in a vicious circle.  We devise new technology, new ways to increase production to make more stuff for our consumption.

Wasting the Planet

Wasting our Planet- We make cars to drive to work

- We drive to work to make more cars
- We build roads to drive our cars
- We need fuel to drive our cars in order to make more cars that use more fuel.

And we have to ask ourselves, do all these activities make us happy?  Meanwhile we are still flying. We behave like nothing is happening.  We are talking about the economy, the GDP growth and the unemployment as if nothing is happening around us.  We keep wasting natural resources.

The rift between rich and poor is widening.  Considering the shrinking resources, the rich will grab more and the growing underclass will have less.  If the current situation continues, I see a scenario where a small group of super rich will control the planet and all the resources.

But we are still flying. We fell off the cliff and are falling down.  But in the meantime we are flying and it feels good.  As one roofer said after falling off the roof, "Flying is fine...it is landing that is the problem."  Our economy in my opinion resembles the inverted pyramid.  We are depleting the planets resources - the foundation of our economy.  But we keep expanding our production capacity.  We keep building up and, as our society becomes unstable economically, it also becomes unstable socially.

What I see in our country:

- Erosion of freedoms
- Erosion of the middle class
- Erosion of educational standards
- Erosion in leadership in scientific research
- Erosion in environmental protection
- Erosion in dollar value
And on and on….

In short, the DECAY of society... life cannot move backwards...it dies.  But where do we move forward?  More and more people realize that we cannot continue to do what we are doing.  But we are set in our ways and change is hard.

So, where is there a solution?  We cannot predict the future.  But we know that even if we could have an unlimited energy source and learn how to make food out of thin air, we will run out of air.  In this universe it is impossible to make something from nothing.

Wasting our future

Can we eat this?

Let's imagine that tomorrow some products will disappear - Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, all  cereals and bottled water - to name a few.  Will we survive that kind of “disaster”?  Probably.  Now think of all the resources that could be saved - energy, raw materials...and think about pollution?  Could we use these freed resources for more important purposes?

But what if rice disappears tomorrow? Will people feel it?  For the world it would be a catastrophe.  Whether we want it or not we will be forced to make hard choices.  If there is no rice people will not use bottled water instead.  And all these problems affect the very structure of our society.

What makes us happy

Happiness.

Now let us think about what we do need to be happy.

-Nature

-Food

-Shelter

-Security

-Love

-Social interactions.

I do hope that science and technology will bring us to an understanding of the limits of technology in our advancement as a species.  Time to make a choice!  What do we want?  Even if you worry about your money or perhaps you have a false sense of security, you cannot be secure if poverty is growing in our country.  Our civilization is in an obvious and dire need of replacement with a new and better system, characterized by morality and logic in both its economic operations and personal value systems; a system that would not be corrupt in any area, including the military, and indeed would not foster global competition to acquire resources in the first place, as our current system routinely does...that has historically resulted in war.

30Jan/110

The way we look at things

Posted by Nate

At times, I feel that we approach life from the wrong direction.
A few examples:
Climate change

Climate is changing

1. Global warming, or perhaps global cooling, let's just call it climate change. Is this really occurring beyond a reasonable doubt? Before we do anything to reduce pollution, should we not wait for incontrovertible proof of its existence? But, why wait? What could be bad about cleaning up our planet? Must we have hard facts indicating that current energy resources will be depleted before practicing energy conservation? Just what could be the downside in developing green energy sources?

Usually the counterargument states that these efforts “will hurt the economy." It is my understanding that people create economies. Economies are created by people in order to make life better, in other words, in the pursuit of happiness.

Polluting the environment

Clean air

Does dirty air, water and a toxic laden environment make us happier let alone healthier? Does the chronic worry about toxins everywhere make us healthier and happier? It seems to me that the only entities which become happier and benefit from our current situations are multinational corporations.

2. Now about health care. First, people need to be educated on how to stay healthy. We all know that our country's people are not getting healthier; cancer will soon surpass heart diseases as the main cause of death, and rates of CVD (cardio vascular disease) are skyrocketing. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, especially in children. I see this as the unintended result of our Western economic model spiraling out of control. The economy appears to be feeding on itself for the sake of the economy. There is a movement in this country and in the rest of the world to encourage people to take personal control of their health by educating themselves about adopting a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. Will we need affordable healthcare for all?

Absolutely! It is the only ethical choice.

Again, I think we are approaching the issue from the wrong side. The state of our current economy is itself very stressful, and what creates most of the stress? Money! In our country, a disproportionate amount of our people's income is spent on medical bills.

stress factor

Stressed out

So, people get sicker due to technology, the industrialization of their food supply and chemicals in our environment. Making it even worse, people are further stressed because of the money needed for “health care.” And this just makes them sicker. It seems obvious that it would be sensible, moral and prudent to remove these stress factors. As our economy grows, trying to solve problems, it appears to be creating new ones. In short, the current economic model is not sustainable.

So, what would be the right approach? Again, what is wrong with staying healthy? We need to educate ourselves, and use technology wisely, for our sake, not for the sake of the “economy”. Do the right thing and the economy should follow. After all, the economy is supposed to function for our benefit, not the other way around. There was a saying in the USSR "we create problems and successfully overcome them." Are we are following in their footsteps?

3. It seems to me that a significant portion of our planet’s resources is being wasted. Our economy is a consumption-based economy. We consume stuff; our economy produces more stuff to consume so we can generate income to enable us to purchase and consume more stuff. While admittedly not an economist, I can state that in the long run this continual spiral of production and consumption is unsustainable. It is just a giant Ponzi scheme. Our planet’s resources are limited. The planet’s population is growing exponentially. If we continue on a current path, we are heading toward a cliff.

Our planet’s capacity to feed its growing population is diminishing. In order to keep up with the demand, farms become technological factories overusing chemicals, utilizing genetic engineering and adopting mono-culture-based farming (corn, soy beans) . These practices create tremendous health problems for our population. Pharmaceutical companies come up with more and more drugs to deal with health issues. The use of these drugs then cause side effects creating the need for more drugs. The spiral continues.

All of the above issues are interconnected. We must understand how all these problems affect each other and how these interconnections exacerbate our problems. To keep up with growing demand, the industrial nations need more and more energy. More energy allows us to make stuff for us to consume; so we get sick; so pharmaceuticals make more drugs for us to deal with that sickness, and we just get sicker. In order to afford “healthcare” we need to consume more stuff to support the economy, and this way we just continue to poison our environment and create energy crises and an unhealthy planet

And all this is supposed to make our lives better? Because, remember, we created this economy for our benefit. So, maybe we should do things that will benefit us and “the economy” will follow. For example, our approach to healthcare and medical education should be changed from "cure" to prevention.

The Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov stated, “At the end, the moral choice, is the most pragmatic choice.”

We must do the moral thing and the economy will adopt, follow and support ethical practices.

In my opinion, if we do not change our approach to the “economy” there will be no economy.

   

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