Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Pernicious Myth of Perpetual Economic Growth

Nothing grows forever. The myth the economy can is destroying the biosphere.

By Dr. Glen Barry

Economic growth is destroying the biosphere
Economic growth is destroying the biosphere
The present human condition is predicated on one of the biggest lies ever – that the economy can grow indefinitely. In a self-serving logical contortion, economists in service to the oligarchy measure the well-being of a society by how fast the economy grows, with little regard to the state of natural capital, human inequity, the welfare of ecosystems and other species, or the extent to which people and society are happy. Natural capital is defined as Earth's stocks of natural assets including ecosystem services which make all life possible, which is unmeasured and thus undervalued by indices of economic growth.

Measures such as Gross Domestic Product utterly fail to tie increases in economic output to human and natural well-being. Spending on militaristic drone attacks and the rich's conspicuous over-consumption are equated with social expenditures to meet basic human needs. Clearcutting old-growth forests for toilet paper is of equal worth as providing homes and food for the poor. Ravaging Earth's last natural ecosystems for every last drop of oil is deemed economically beneficial (despite being terribly inefficient as externalities remain unpriced), while we are told restoring natural ecosystems is unprofitable because of large discounting of future benefits.

Living as if Earth's nature has no worth other than to be liquidated for consumption degrades ourselves and ecosystems, and can only end in utter ruin as first society, then the economy, and finally the biosphere collapses. It is blatantly obvious that infinite growth on a finite Earth is impossible. Yet we run our economy with this goal.

Earth is Everything
Earth is everything. Without ecology there can be no economy.
Economic growth is worshiped as if it were holy and divine, rather than acknowledging that growth can come at enormous economic, social, and environmental costs. There is little understanding of ecological overshoot and the limits to growth, as we seek ever more material possessions at the expense of all else, systematically degrading not only our habitat, but also our future resource base and potential for broad-based community advancement.

Growth appears to be benign and pleasant, iPhones and foreign travel are intoxicating, yet perpetual economic expansion comes at an unknown price whose deleterious impacts sneak up upon you. Such is the nature of exponential growth. The exorbitant costs of an exponentially growing economy are best illustrated by imagining a pond whereby the extent of lily-pad coverage doubles in extent every day, on the 30th day fully covering the water. On which day is the pond half covered? When is it a 10% covered? We shall return to this question.

By falsely equating exponential growth with societal well-being, capitalism may well be irredeemable. Its foundational idea of people coming together in markets to exchange their surplus has been bastardized to suggest that creating something of worth and selling it is the same as every manner of speculative financial trickery. Yet for markets to serve human's and nature's well-being, there are some basic out-right lies that need to be addressed now.

Firstly, growth cannot fully measure economic well-being; we need a richer measure that determines the extent to which economic activity is sustainable and widely beneficial. A much richer measure is the rate of economic growth per unit of natural capital (drawn down or replenished), and by the extent to which economic advancement is equitably shared. Such a truly green economy is said to be at a steady state, whereby both population and consumption are stable at a sustainable level. How dense are we to not understand that Earth is everything, and that without ecology there can be no economy?

Given the current state of ecological overshoot – as terrestrial ecosystems, climate, water, oceans and biodiversity are collapsing – achieving a steady state economy would require decades of degrowth and redistribution of wealth. Urgent measures would have to be taken to provide incentives that cap both population and disparities in consumption, even as aggregate draws upon natural capital are reduced to below replacement levels to allow for decades of ecological renewal.

[Finish reading essay by Dr. Glen Barry at EcoInternet]

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On Ecology and Going Back to the Land

Life begets life, making Earth livable. — Dr. Glen Barry
Grow your own food as you restore ecology
Not much new land is being made, yet land’s well-being is central to the well-being of human and all life. On land, in a miraculous act of biological emergence, plants and animals have naturally evolved and self-organized to form ecosystems and ultimately the biosphere. Yet existing land and its ecology have has been treated incautiously and with great malice for centuries.

Land ensconced in natural vegetation is the living membrane that encompasses Earth and mediates energy and material flows between air and water. Naturally evolved terrestrial ecosystems are a majestic miracle, provider of life, and humanity’s habitat home. Over countless eons pulsing lifeforms emerge and radiate creating the panoply of a living Earth.

Life begets life, making Earth livable.

The history of natural land destruction is largely synonymous with human settlements and agriculture. The disease of ecological colonialism radiated from Europe, utterly decimating land and its productive capacity globally. As the myth of a perpetual growth economy has been universally embraced; about 90% of Earth’s original old-growth forests have been pillaged, 50% of top soil has been lost, and about half of global land cover no longer remains in a natural condition.

The global ecological system has percolated from a state of human settlements enmeshed within a sea of life-giving natural ecosystems, to a sea of unnatural human endeavors surrounding islands of nature. Such ecological overshoot is not sustainable and this terrestrial ecosystem loss is collapsing our one shared biosphere.

Rarely has a species gone so rogue and utterly lost their place within the natural world.

Read more at EcoInternet

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Twitter Jumps The Shark as Coddles Congressional Pedophile by Shutting Down EcoInternet

Twitter accounts of EcoInternet, the leading deep ecology environmental and social justice newsfeed and micro-blog, and the personal account of Dr. Glen Barry, shutdown just after posting a link to essay recounting Congressman Mark Pocan's, of Madison, Wisconsin, admission of child sex tourism.

Update: EcoInternet's primary Twitter account, Dr. Glen Barry's personal account and others on climate, rainforests, and other environmental issues remain suspended. Congressman Pocan continues to misuse governmental power to cover-up his child sex tourism.


Twitter enables Congressman Mark Pocan's child sex tourism
It has been nearly four years since I informed Madison law enforcement, Wisconsin governmental authorities, the FBI, and the public of then State Assemblyman Mark Pocan's admission in my presence of having raped children while traveling to Costa Rica for child sex tourism. I still remember vividly him play acting as he demonstrated for a group of close friends how children are able to be penetrated not only from the rear as they bend over, but also from the front as kids are nimble enough to recline while standing. His friends Doug, Tom, Andy, Kyle, Mike and a couple others thought this was hilarious. After being threatened by Mr. Pocan when later referring to the matter, and considering my state funded University research position at risk, I chose to not socialize with Pocan and his entourage again. Sadly, given the power differential and my own history of being a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I remained silent for too long.

Since I wrote a powerful essay painfully recounting these matters (, I have faced a vicious assault upon my character by Congressman Pocan's surrogates. There is even evidence that Pocan's political opponents - Governor Scott Walker, whose authoritarian demagoguery I have criticized, and the Dane County GOP - have colluded with Mark Pocan to attempt to discredit me. Progressive Madison institutions and citizens – including the Madison Police, the Government Accountability Board, the Madison DA's office, Madison media, and the court of public opinion – were notified and failed to investigate or act upon the allegations. Outrageous and blatantly false claims have been made against me in retaliation by Pocan cronies. Yet I continue to live normally and with a clear conscience, having since published major ecological science, continuing to run Earth's largest biocentric environmental advocacy network, and advancing in my second career in financial technology.

Yet one can only wonder how many other children Congressman Pocan is abusing from his position of power. And reflect upon how sad it is that beautiful and progressive (yet corrupt) Madison is represented in Congress by an acknowledged child sex predator.

In an unnecessary act of intimidation, a few weeks ago the US Capitol Police contacted me at work, presumably on Congressman Pocan's behest, asking me why I continued to occasionally tweet a link to my essay. I explained that it was important to me, that despite having been dismissed by the authorities and the public, to continue to demonstrate that by no means do I retract my truthful narrative of what Mr. Pocan disclosed to me and others. After posting this tweet below a couple days ago, first to @EcoInternet and then a couple hours later to my personal Twitter account @DrGlenBarry, my personal and all of my environmental Twitter accounts including non-related ones dedicated to old-growth forests and climate, to which the post was not sent, were suspended:
Will progressive #Madison, Wisconsin re-elect @repmarkpocan an admitted pedophile as their Congressman for 3rd time?
After initiating with Twitter an appeal of the account suspension, stressing the importance of the work done by EcoInternet using social media for the environment and social justice, noting the absence of any warning, and asking for specific guidance on the rules that may have been broken so we could change our conduct; I initially received this terse reply at both my personal and EcoInternet main account (as well as for a climate Twitter account to which it was not sent): 
Your account was permanently suspended due to multiple or repeat violations of the Twitter Rules:
This account will not be restored.
Please do not respond to this email as replies will not be monitored.
Twitter Support
After seven years of using Twitter to save innumerable rainforests, repeatedly help protect indigenous rights, and successfully raise ecological awareness and cut emissions globally, that is it, game over, because I posted a link to my essay. The reply from Twitter is patently false, we know of no "multiple or repeat violation of the Twitter Rules". Almost certainly Mr. Pocan complained and Twitter folded in the face of political pressure by a Congressman facing reputable allegations of child abuse.

For years EcoInternet, besides its primary account, had run a couple dozen distinct Twitter environmental newsfeeds on numerous explicit topics ranging from climate and rainforests, to more specific accounts on tar sands and fracking. There was a small amount of overlap (sent at staggered times) if say an article dealt with the loss of rainforests' impacts upon the climate, but generally they were discrete. On occasion we called out powerful individuals' greenwash such as Gordon Moore stealing native Hawaiian land and Leo DiCaprio's use of private jets as tells us to cut emissions. At one point we received a reply from Twitter indicating that several of our accounts had been falsely identified as spam and the accounts were restored. One by one, quickly these were shut again until there was just the primary EcoInternet account with 25,000 followers left.

Needing to know definitively if we were being harassed by Twitter for outing a child pedophile, or if it was genuine concern that a small amount of overlap was spam, I posted three tweets. One notifying followers we would no longer be providing newsfeeds to remain in compliance with Twitter regulations, another a picture of me in New York, and the third a link to a New York Times article on Dennis Hastert's conviction with the comment:
Dennis Hastert and Madison Congressman Mark Pocan have a lot in common, and it's not wrestling
My largest and most important account was then shutdown within hours, all appeals denied, again with the above terse rejection. So I can definitively say Earth's largest Twitter network was shutdown for sending two links over a several week period sharing my truthful recollections of having a Congressional candidate admit in my presence to child sex tourism.

And good riddance as I have no desire to spend my time self-censoring myself because the platform for exchanging information I use does not respect freedom of speech, and believes itself to be the arbiter of legal disputes. Such behavior by Twitter is precisely how child sex predators are enabled.

At one time Twitter was a force for social good, allowing the marginalized and average citizens an equal voice to the powerful. Now, as the company is failing financially and desperately seeks to grow, Twitter puts people sharing inane selfies and narcissistic star postings before those working for social justice including global ecological sustainability and keeping children safe. Twitter has shutdown a global network of tens of thousands of like-minded ecological and social activists routinely protecting the environment  to protect one powerful sexual predator of kids.

By coddling a Congressional pedophile, silencing a small yet persistent critic, it is clear Twitter has jumped the shark.

I know what I heard and saw on that fateful day – a powerful politician telling of traveling internationally for child sex (indeed, describing vividly and acting out his crime) – which is a federal offense. I am willing to testify in court what I know, and to take a professionally implemented polygraph at any time, preferably as Mr. Pocan and others present as he disclosed his criminal act do so as well. If Congressman Pocan feels aggrieved by my accusations, I encourage him to take the matter to court (rather than continue to harass me using the levers of government power); where the numerous other people present, as well as others aware of his behavior, can be subpoenaed, deposed, and testify as well. I implore the Madison press and police to independently investigate this matter, as Mr. Pocan's behavior is well known and my account has been anonymously confirmed in a public posting by another person who was there.

In addition to Mark's public admission when I was present, I have purposefully not recounted until now further admissions relayed second hand to me by Andy Janssen, a mutual friend, of further underage sex by Mr. Pocan in London theaters and Amsterdam brothels. I was told there were more stories to tell, but had heard enough, and immediately went home to begin writing my initial essay. From what I have observed, there appears to be a pattern of Congressman Pocan abusing children as he travels internationally. It was after this was disclosed to me that I chose to report the matter to the authorities and go public several months before Mr. Pocan was first elected to Congress. 

If Congressman Pocan thinks he can hound me by taking away my means of environmental advocacy, and that he can misuse his power to force my silence, he is badly mistaken. I failed to report the matter in a timely matter for reasons outlined in my initial essay, and I will not again let down children being preyed upon by a powerful man. Scurrilous attacks upon my reputation are the burden I must bear for failing to come forward on the matter immediately, however frightened I was. Now it is time for Madison Progressives to step up and clean house, and for Twitter to respect free speech and unsuspend my accounts which have long been used for the greater good.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Embrace the Coming Ecological Inflection Point and Great Transition

Environmental awareness must soon reach a critical mass, whereby massive societal resources are re-allocated to scale up solutions in a great ecological transition; before biosphere, social, and economic collapse become unavoidable. An approaching ecological inflection point reflects a narrow band of opportunity to repair fragmented, quivering nature, clearly at its breaking point, before it is too late.

By Dr. Glen Barry

After 25 years of ecological advocacy, I can say with certainty that I have never seen as much genuine environmental concern as I do now. This has generally not led en masse to required action such as personal dramatic emission cuts and refusal to buy all products from old-growth forests. But for the first time ecological decline including climate change is visibly apparent to a degree that it is readily known by the educated and it can't be denied by anyone of good faith and character.

Concurrently trend lines for atmospheric and ecosystem decline are more perilous than ever. Humanity is putting the biosphere at great risk, as rampant industrial pollution and clearing of natural vegetation results in abrupt climate change occurring far faster than envisioned, and natural ecosystems are failing to provide the surrounding matrix of natural services which makes life possible. The natural family's only hope is that an ecological inflection point occurs, whereby the impacts of biosphere collapse become so evident – perhaps as millions die from extreme storms and other depredations – while there is still time to implement sufficient solutions. At that point the human family will howl for the necessary measures to be taken to protect and restore natural ecosystems, and end fossil fuels, on an accelerated emergency basis.

The only questions are whether as ecosystem collapse becoming apparent, will we squabble for what remains as we deny ecologism, or will we remain free as we begin in earnest a great transition to green liberty? And will we have identified and prototyped, and be ready with sufficient ecological solutions, to meet human needs while maintaining a living Earth? The ecological inflection point is a narrow band of opportunity to repair fragmented, quivering nature before it is too late. We must be ready with templates for ecological sustainability, which can employ billions, as a program of ecological restoration and energy conservation are rapidly scaled.

What hope remains for humanity and her habitat as ecological awareness and collapse converge in such a manner, is whether we are able to ramp up fast enough the plethora of ecological solutions we all know about but don't support enough. These efforts may be abetted by deep wells of global ecological resilience of which we are unaware, as the Earth is a living organism that has self-regulated for 3.5 billion year, yet whose workings remain largely unknown to her peoples.

[Read more at EcoInternet]