"After reading over this session program, and having downloaded and studied some of the items from the links therein, I am convinced this may well be the most important session at any academic meeting this decade -- so I regret all over again that I'll not be there. Please encourage anyone your e-mails can reach to do such downloading."
There is something very crazy going on at this meeting
Most of us know, just from our narrow research areas, that our species (and many other species) could experience die-off or extinction this century. Some of us believe that without a technological miracle, our kids could starve to death, die in conflict, and even cannibalize one another.
The FAO told us 60% of the global population does not have enough to eat to fully develop minds and bodies. The UN told us, lifespan for most individuals on earth is determined by scarcity.
Most of us expect deliveries of non renewing resources to drastically diminish this century. We expect climate change to further diminish the earth's supporting services. Some of us believe that this reduction will have two effects.
Many of us know the human footprint is too big. Given our life style, the human population (with loss of fossil fuels) will soon be 150 times too big for the earth to sustain. Even if everyone lived more simply and more equitably the contraction of footprint and the increase in fairness would not change these expectations. Only a much smaller population could produce peace and sustainability.... More
This conference, like most of its predecessors, will fail to present either an integrated image of the human predicament or mechanisms to unwind it. Instead the presentations predominantly focus on analysis defining a sub-predicament that if solved would not change our rush to tragedy.
Yes, the human predicament (defined by overshoot) is larger than our funders wish to contemplate. Yes, the unwinding of overshoot includes intervention into personal procreative behaviors which are driven by genetics and protected by culture.
And finally, we know that if humankind cannot find a way to limit an individual's hierarchical success the resulting scarcity will bring down civilization. In spite of these inhibitions, the BPE/USSEE conference's session
"From Overshoot to Sustainability"
will discuss what will probably unfold this century and what behaviors (unacceptable as they are) have the power to alter course.
Topics and materials for session:
What is overshoot?
Toward Peak overshoot.
What happens after peak overshoot?
Transitions to sustainability (BAU vs. designed)
Jack Alpert (Bio) mail to: Alpert@skil.org (homepage) www.skil.org position papers