2009.08.31 19:00 - Sustainability of Civilization as we know it

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Threedee Shepherd. The comments are by Threedee Shepherd.

    doug Sosa: hi three!
    Threedee Shepherd: hi, brb
    doug Sosa: ok
    Threedee Shepherd: back
    Threedee Shepherd: how was your experience of the retreat?
    doug Sosa: pretty good. still having its effect, mind not quite as organized. this is good.
    doug Sosa: it was kind of like here, longer of course, .
    Threedee Shepherd: much silence, I expect
    doug Sosa: SB told me you were very involved with... but I forgot what it was, knew I wanted to talk to you about it. Architecture?
    Threedee Shepherd: SB being?
    doug Sosa: Silence was less than half. Pema would set the stage, maybe ten minutes, then a silentreflection on it, maybe 20 min, then an hour of talk.
    doug Sosa: I also do not recall.
    doug Sosa: Two strikes against me.
    Threedee Shepherd: I am interested in architecture, cognitive aspects of three-dimensionality, and related topics
    Threedee Shepherd: Hi Pila
    doug Sosa: hi pi
    Pila Mulligan: hi Threedee and DOug
    doug Sosa: Pila i was saying that SB (forgotten) told me Three was interested in... something i was very intrigued by... ut i don't rememebr what...:(
    Pila Mulligan: neurology?
    Pila Mulligan: opensim?
    Threedee Shepherd: I also am working in OpenSim
    doug Sosa: hm. maybe but it would have had an edge to it.
    Pila Mulligan: opensim is interesting
    doug Sosa: que es?
    Pila Mulligan: maybe the project to involve people in sustinability?
    Pila Mulligan: a*
    doug Sosa: three, is sustainability an interest?
    Threedee Shepherd: not much there. We are also working in neurodiversity
    Pila Mulligan: but the method you are planning to use may be of interest to 3d as a procedure
    Pila Mulligan: doug
    Pila Mulligan: and closer to opensim
    doug Sosa: like some of my neurons are more interested in talking to yours than to the rest of mine?
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: using SL to bring in a worldwide discussion
    Threedee Shepherd: Wait, what is the project you are working on that is recently started, Doug?
    Pila Mulligan: opensim may be even better suited for that
    doug Sosa: as part of it, yes.
    doug Sosa: The cultural and political side of sustainability, part of the Oslo Initiaitive on Sustainability, at Stanford.
    Pila Mulligan: this is where your neurons are meeting
    Pila Mulligan: I suspect
    Threedee Shepherd: OK. Say more about what is to be sustained?
    doug Sosa: i have to ask them, they have a mind of their own.
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: do they speak?
    doug Sosa: ah, chess move.
    doug Sosa: Sustainability in the sense that the world will support quality of life for future generations.
    doug Sosa: at least three.
    Pila Mulligan: maybe even the NAtive American idea of planning for the Seventh Generation?
    Threedee Shepherd: It does not do that now, does it?
    doug Sosa: problem is, most people are convinced, but the momentum and interests of large corporations are what prevent change, unless they can see how to own it.
    doug Sosa: PaB has been very fruitful in my own rethinking the standard ideas.
    Pila Mulligan: my impression from hearing from Doug and Paul about their project was that part of it would be an attempt to have a continuing dialog about the sustainabilty issues and the project in a virtual world setting
    Pila Mulligan: the opensim project Threedee and others are working on is a virtual world using the same software as Second Life but with their own servers and control
    doug Sosa: We do have a core group which has begun conversations in SL. We will go slowly but of course, if EB was living in sl, big impact on sustainability. (but server heat?).
    Threedee Shepherd: Doug, a radical thought:
    doug Sosa: please.
    Threedee Shepherd: If large economic interests seem to "interfere" with sustainability,perhaps there is a lesson there. The possible lesson being that major worldwide initiatives need to be commercially viable (Capitalism) in order for things to get done. If so, why not try to co-opt that economic model rather than trying to defeat it
    doug Sosa: Big question. The futur will surely require organizations, and these will include corporations. I would look at the nature of corporate charter, and the role of credit. One obvious scenario is that the path to sustainability
    doug Sosa: is a link of policies and technologies, what i cam calling he technocratic solution.
    doug Sosa: technocratic scenario.
    doug Sosa: The problem is, the current economy is needing less people so to keep profits up, marginalizing many. This can't contnue in any case, even witout sustainable and environmental issues.
    Pila Mulligan: Pila's pre-cooked ideas on this: economic incentives will exist later this century, and in some places already exist, to support environmental restoration as a result of the population decreasing -- the obverse of how the economy of the past century has largely been supported by incentives to build facilites needed for the increasing population
    doug Sosa: The resistance to the technocratic scenario will be extreme, as current mainline organizations try to own the scenario.
    Threedee Shepherd: So, we need to develop additional kinds of economically viable, gainful activities for humans, beyond current jobs.
    Threedee Shepherd: As I recall, the decline of Rome had a similar problem and used circuses and such to no avail.
    doug Sosa: Yes indeed. we are working on that in silicn valley where we have 300,000 unemploed.
    doug Sosa: Pila, will the probabale near bankruptcy of the US force us to do things diffeently which may be sort of equivalent
    doug Sosa: to your proposal.?
    Pila Mulligan: $400 million was spent on restoring the island of Kaho`olawe from use as a bombing range -- DoD spends tons of mony on that type of stuff already
    Threedee Shepherd: Well, what if we somehow instituted a 30 hour workweek at 40 hour/week pay scales. Moneyu IS arbitrary is it not?
    Pila Mulligan: the existing banruptcy of the US will force us to developlocal economies
    doug Sosa: How has it worked out?
    Pila Mulligan: half-assed
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: but it made jobs
    Pila Mulligan: and did some good
    doug Sosa: hat might be enough and ok.
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: local, economimes can support environmental reastoration
    Pila Mulligan: and consider Maui -- hundreds of resort rooms stay nearly emtpy
    Pila Mulligan: they could be anyhting
    Pila Mulligan: classrooms
    Pila Mulligan: dentists
    Pila Mulligan: apratments
    doug Sosa: the alternative to the technocratic organized sceanrio is a sceanrio of local and regional experimentation. more of a random walk, may actually get us there will less authoritarian pressure.
    Pila Mulligan: it is already happening here
    Threedee Shepherd: Tourism is hardly sustainable because no net gain in a thing of value occurs, to keep fueling it.
    Pila Mulligan: local economy is growing, tourist economy is in decline
    Pila Mulligan: tourism was devastating to hawaii
    doug Sosa: I will be in hawaii late october.
    Pila Mulligan: cool
    Pila Mulligan: come visit
    Pila Mulligan: maybe threedee will too
    doug Sosa: will. this time honolulu, last time big island.
    Threedee Shepherd: Probably not
    Pila Mulligan: big grocery stores in Hawaii import bananas from California
    Pila Mulligan: is that smart?
    Threedee Shepherd: Let them eat papayas
    Pila Mulligan: becaus ethere is no local distribution system
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    doug Sosa: are pineapples coming back?
    Pila Mulligan: probably ont as an industrial ag scene
    Pila Mulligan: those fields are horribly poisoned
    doug Sosa: no i mean small scale.
    Pila Mulligan: yes, there it is viable
    Pila Mulligan: organic too
    doug Sosa: are the big chains hawaiian owned?
    Pila Mulligan: Safeway?
    Pila Mulligan: Foodland?
    doug Sosa: ugh.
    Pila Mulligan: not much if any
    doug Sosa: poop
    Pila Mulligan: yep
    Pila Mulligan: haole poop
    Pila Mulligan: (foreign)
    doug Sosa: oops, that's me?
    Pila Mulligan: do you own Safeway?
    doug Sosa: no but haole, no?
    Pila Mulligan: hi Sukhbir
    Sukhbir Muhindra: hello
    Threedee Shepherd: Wait--let me try first principles: What is the basis of an *economy*?
    doug Sosa: :)
    Pila Mulligan: ahh, not the ethnic -- the underlying menaing -- foreign
    Pila Mulligan: shanti
    Threedee Shepherd: Have you been here before Sukhbir?
    Sukhbir Muhindra: yes i am
    Pila Mulligan: Sukhbir we are discussing sustanability in economy and environment
    doug Sosa: three, i think it is from the root, home, its laws (eco-nomos, and its structure, eco-logos.)
    doug Sosa: brining those back together.
    Threedee Shepherd: Ok, what happens when there are many homes?
    doug Sosa: As I see it we have been an expansive, and successful at it, species. Now, bad results. we need to shift from exploitation to a kind of husbandry in the old sense of caring for the farm.
    Pila Mulligan: Threedee, agan, my take is that increasing population has driven the eocnomy, such as by the need to make many homes
    Pila Mulligan: now that is abnout to turn around
    Pila Mulligan: in many places
    Pila Mulligan: india perhaps not so close in time, but envetually
    Pila Mulligan: already in some parts of europe
    Threedee Shepherd: Let me try a tangent--but one that is serious and may help. Why is clean water and sanitation not available to every currently living human? Surely neither a technical or insurmountable monetary isseu.
    Pila Mulligan: it wold e easy to do in fact
    Pila Mulligan: be*
    doug Sosa: power, status and ownership.
    Threedee Shepherd: Exacty, Pila, so why is it not done?
    Pila Mulligan: especially military
    Pila Mulligan: funding priorotes
    Pila Mulligan: more fun to fight
    Pila Mulligan: crazy, eh?
    Pila Mulligan: but those guys in themilitary industrial complex have more thanIke worried about
    Pila Mulligan: they have the money and the propaganda
    Pila Mulligan: Ike
    Pila Mulligan: Eisenhower
    doug Sosa: don't forget the banks.
    Pila Mulligan: Presidnet
    Pila Mulligan: 1958
    Pila Mulligan: or whenever
    Pila Mulligan: yes, same complex
    Threedee Shepherd: A *modest* suggestion: If the *world* could figure out how to provide clean water and sanitation to all, the seeds of sustainability would derive from how that is accomplished.
    Pila Mulligan: it probably can be done locally too
    Pila Mulligan: but for local politics being tied to lrger politics
    doug Sosa: OK, take coca-cola, buying up water rights in India, right Sukhir?
    Sukhbir Muhindra: it is right yes
    doug Sosa: We need a lot of oranization to feed and etc for 7 billion people, but can we do that without creating hierarchies that favor themselves?
    Pila Mulligan: the hierarchies were pre-existing Doug
    Threedee Shepherd: The alternative to sustainability has been played out many time in history, Plague, famine, devastation of war, all leading to severe population decrease. The the cycle starts over.
    Pila Mulligan: human's need mor elong temr meory
    Pila Mulligan: more long term memory*
    Threedee Shepherd: I am doing a North Dakota 1890s homesteading simulation, which leads me to ask the rhetorical question. How many homesteaders ever ate a pineapple?
    Pila Mulligan: probaly a few
    Pila Mulligan: there was some commerce back then with Hawaii
    Pila Mulligan: in the 1800's anywya
    Threedee Shepherd: How many expected to be able to buy one locally?
    Pila Mulligan: and some form other places
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    doug Sosa: Can the ideal of quality of life in the sense you seem to mean it be articulated in such a way that poor and super rich would want to go there, drop the old ways and embrace a nature-human integration on amuch higher and more beautiful level?
    Pila Mulligan: to do that the super-rich have to be able to decrease their comfort expectations
    Threedee Shepherd: I think that requires divine intervention ;>
    doug Sosa: ah, connection. Three are you using staellit e mapping? We are starting a project on silicon valley from 1900 to 2100.
    Threedee Shepherd: No, I am not. We just made up some typical terrain ty0pes
    doug Sosa: ok, so that wasn't the poential connection.
    doug Sosa: But we are having another one, a good conversation, right here.
    Pila Mulligan: doug, I think you touched an essential part of the probem with the heirarchy idea
    Threedee Shepherd: No *utopia* has worked.
    Pila Mulligan: utopia is not a good goal
    Pila Mulligan: simple homesteading is plenty
    Pila Mulligan: the primary locus of corruption is in teheirarchy
    doug Sosa: I've drafted a book, GardenWorld Politics: development without growth.
    Threedee Shepherd: simple homesteading would not support an Internet
    Pila Mulligan: yes, that is it exactly
    Pila Mulligan: doug
    Pila Mulligan: but threedee, it would
    Pila Mulligan: I am an example
    Pila Mulligan: not super fast, but it works
    Threedee Shepherd: Internet is too expensive without *big* technology and the corporations that go alone with it
    Pila Mulligan: why?
    doug Sosa: Living in a slightly more gardened environment and all intent connected, can we not nejoy a life of local experimentation, realtionships and art?
    Threedee Shepherd: Huge infrastructure costs that somehow must be funded
    Pila Mulligan: my home server can handle quite a bit
    Pila Mulligan: it is not a data center, but it works for emial
    Pila Mulligan: open sim runs the same for many
    doug Sosa: Its not either or, but a blend. Even if seven billion are going to three, it will require lots of organization. But the doers can live more simply.
    doug Sosa: Look atthe ads in expensive magazines: nture everywhere for every product. people hunger for natural connections.
    Threedee Shepherd: No Pila, I disagree. Let me give an example.
    Pila Mulligan: corruption in the heirarchy will still be the #1 problem
    doug Sosa: example.
    doug Sosa: That was to three who offered an example.
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Threedee Shepherd: there is a small island in the mid-Atlantic that has 270 inhabitants. They do export crayfish to have something to trade for what they themselves cannot produce. The basics come from functioning as a cooperative. OK so far?
    Pila Mulligan: (the moving lion's mouth is the equivalent ot the typing hands of the avi, doug)
    Pila Mulligan: sure
    doug Sosa: yes.
    Threedee Shepherd: Now they also have an Internet cafe. Tell me, what is it they could possibly have done to manufacture an Internet? Nothing! They are parasitic on others money for the existence of Internet.
    doug Sosa: (i thought i was supper in those teeth :) )
    Pila Mulligan: of course
    Pila Mulligan: but that is history
    Pila Mulligan: they also probably buy toothpaste
    doug Sosa: Too harsh. The question is can we afford an internet and organize for it with muc less hierarchy and much lowere salary diffeentials, and less payback to the banks?
    Pila Mulligan: we already have the intenet
    doug Sosa: needs constant renewall.
    Pila Mulligan: the communication aspect of it is the only cost
    Pila Mulligan: the swires, satelites, etc
    Threedee Shepherd: Well, I happen to depend for the income of my pension funds on said payback.
    Pila Mulligan: wires*
    Pila Mulligan: the most useful parts of the internet are desinged to be widely distributed
    doug Sosa: so like everything else, pension funds shrink by half, and we make do, and it turns out in ways that are attrative.
    Pila Mulligan: they already exist
    Pila Mulligan: 10 year olds canmaintain andimprove them
    doug Sosa: if we stopped making computers, and the ones we had slowly died, and then we need ed to make more - too late. not enough capital to restart the factories.
    Pila Mulligan: maybe part of ouyr dialogue diverges at the perspecitve level -- I have no pension fund but socila secuirty :)
    Threedee Shepherd: Pila, the only point I was trying to make is that certain kinds of technology requires more than local organization, local effort, or local sustainability. Of course we could do without the technology.
    Pila Mulligan: I think the continued R&D andmaufacturing canbe done on a small scale too
    doug Sosa: Pila, social secuirty too is worth less, as it does not keep up with the real cost of living..
    Pila Mulligan: Intel is one way
    Pila Mulligan: true
    Pila Mulligan: but I am also close to self-sufficenicy
    Pila Mulligan: so my worries are not as amplified
    Pila Mulligan: physical self-suffiicnecy
    doug Sosa: does that include not using soc security?
    Pila Mulligan: yes
    Pila Mulligan: it could
    doug Sosa: how do you get calories?
    Pila Mulligan: ran water solar electric and heat plants gronw in thre yard
    Pila Mulligan: rain*
    Pila Mulligan: avos have tons of calories
    Pila Mulligan: taor ha sprotien
    Pila Mulligan: banasa have stuff too
    Pila Mulligan: taro*
    Pila Mulligan: this isunusual
    Pila Mulligan: so let's not get stuck there
    doug Sosa: Do you know Jim Channon?
    Pila Mulligan: I don;t think so
    doug Sosa: Big sustainable farm in hawi, big island.
    Pila Mulligan: it is common here
    Pila Mulligan: self sufficenicy
    Pila Mulligan: and the local economy is growing on it
    Pila Mulligan: itis already the post-modern world
    doug Sosa: frends i ned to go, let's think about how to continue.
    Pila Mulligan: ok
    Pila Mulligan: next time :)
    doug Sosa: bye for now.
    Pila Mulligan: bye for now
    Threedee Shepherd: bye
    Pila Mulligan: this is a big topic for me Threedee, as you may have felt
    Pila Mulligan: I set out to get where I am purposefully about 30 years ago
    Pila Mulligan: and now I am there
    Pila Mulligan: fopr the reasons mentioned above
    Pila Mulligan: I called it donward mobility
    Pila Mulligan: downward-
    Threedee Shepherd: I understand. It all has to do with desires and sufficiencies. AND a somewhat stable context in which to achieve them.
    Pila Mulligan: yes, the hard part is in letting go of the idea of what is neede for comfort
    Threedee Shepherd: agreed.
    Pila Mulligan: thos eepxecatins are suually way too high in the west
    Pila Mulligan: mostly fear based
    Pila Mulligan: people confuse security and comfort and exaggerate them both as a result
    Threedee Shepherd: agreed
    Pila Mulligan: here I sit watching banana and taro pants self mutlitpl with no effort on my part
    Pila Mulligan: plants*
    Pila Mulligan: old pre-contact Hawaiian communities had a four hour work day
    Threedee Shepherd: Here is a real scenario that shows unintended consequences:
    Pila Mulligan: then they sang, danced, surfed, di all kind sof arts
    Threedee Shepherd: A small town in a nice geographic setting recognized that if something was not done, urban sprawl that would eventually reach them many decades hence would demolish the small town setting and its amenities.
    Threedee Shepherd: So the towns folk started to tax themselves to buy much of the land surrounding the town and use it as a greenbelt in which no development was allowed, thus heading off the incoming urban sprawl--successfully.
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Threedee Shepherd: Well, the result was so successful that more and more people wanted to live in the small town, and came to do so. Eventually, there was no more room for additional housing and amenities, so the cost of existing housing rose--a clear example of supply and demand.
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: seen it
    Threedee Shepherd: Now, unless you are rich, you cannot afford to move to Boulder, colorado.
    Pila Mulligan: or Paia
    Pila Mulligan: or Makawao
    Pila Mulligan: same
    Threedee Shepherd: In fact, noone of the people who started bthe intelligent greenbelt movement could now afford to live here.
    Pila Mulligan: an assumption of inevitable continued growth of urban sprawl for many decades may be erroenous now, however -- and that is an essential part in planning at this time
    Pila Mulligan: most growth will not continue without population
    Pila Mulligan: population gorwth that is
    Threedee Shepherd: Oh, and that has stopped ;>
    Pila Mulligan: in 30 years that century old pattern will stop
    Pila Mulligan: in the UDS
    Pila Mulligan: Us
    Pila Mulligan: it is alreayd over in much of Europe
    Pila Mulligan: population decrease is the next phase
    Pila Mulligan: thanks to birth control, the rise in incrmeental population change ended in the late 1980's
    Pila Mulligan: it started downward then
    Pila Mulligan: but the volicity is ocntinuing inutl mid century
    Threedee Shepherd: Well, let's continue anon, I need to stop now. Good chatting, see you soon :)
    Pila Mulligan: then population will decrease
    Pila Mulligan: yes, thanks Threedee -- aloha untilanon
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