ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags Breakthrough Institute , ecomodernism

Reply
Old 10th May 2019, 05:24 AM   #1
!Kaggen
Illuminator
 
!Kaggen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,868
Breakthrough Institute and Ecomodernism

Anyone got any opinions on the Breakthrough Institute and their Ecomodernist Manifesto
http://www.ecomodernism.org/

Seems to me like they have some good ideas about things like nuclear energy but they have been associated with the climate denier Owen Paterson...
__________________
"Anyway, why is a finely-engineered machine of wire and silicon less likely to be conscious than two pounds of warm meat?" Pixy Misa
"We live in a world of more and more information and less and less meaning" Jean Baudrillard
http://bokashiworld.wordpress.com/
!Kaggen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 11th May 2019, 01:56 PM   #2
Myriad
Hyperthetical
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: A pocket paradise between the sewage treatment plant and the railroad
Posts: 14,925
I've read about a hundred thousand words about this since yesterday.

Since this thread is in the Religion and Philosophy section, I'll first note that what strikes me the most about Ecomodernism is that, from a spiritual standpoint, it's the simple polar opposite of the views of such emerging nature-religion-derived philosophies as Ecosophia.com and the Dark Mountain Project. Those say that for humanity to survive and thrive, human activity must (and inevitably shall) re-engage with the natural world, while Ecomodernism says "decoupling" human activity from the natural world (continuing certain ongoing trends) can save both.

It's easy to see how the fear that Ecomodernism could be co-opted by the climate-denying hydrocarbon right (personified by Paterson) arises. A lot of Ecomodernism involves the continuation or intensification of past or present trends: intensive chemical agriculture, genetic modification, nuclear power for high levels of energy use. It's tempting to think that these could be grown into a sort of plantary-scale closed life support system for humans, leaving the remaining land for a natural ecosystem. An effective Ecomodernist movement should focus on the necessary decoupling. If you're taking non-renewable necessary things out of the environment (like fossil aquifers) and putting non-assimilable things in (like CO2 or nuclear waste), then you're not decoupled enough, and you have our current problems. Trying to be more decoupled might make some sense. Thinking or pretending you're more decoupled than you really are, though, and using that as an excuse for even more extraction, pollution, and consumption is a recipe for disaster.

The deeper criticism of Ecomodernism (as voiced by for instance George Monbiot and Chrise Smaje) focuses not on the decoupling of physical processes but of economies. The Ecosophists suggest that third world populations living close to the land have been "left behind" by our increasingly decoupled system and will benefit from being brought more into that system. Its critics claim that they and their impoverishment are actually an integral part of that system as it currently stands. One analogy they make is to the enclosure movement which did indeed bring people "left behind" by changes (industrialization) into a more decoupled lifestyle (literally, into cities and factories), but not to their benefit. In a detached life-support system, everything is rationed.
__________________
A zÝmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 12th May 2019, 11:59 PM   #3
!Kaggen
Illuminator
 
!Kaggen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,868
Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I've read about a hundred thousand words about this since yesterday.

Since this thread is in the Religion and Philosophy section, I'll first note that what strikes me the most about Ecomodernism is that, from a spiritual standpoint, it's the simple polar opposite of the views of such emerging nature-religion-derived philosophies as Ecosophia.com and the Dark Mountain Project. Those say that for humanity to survive and thrive, human activity must (and inevitably shall) re-engage with the natural world, while Ecomodernism says "decoupling" human activity from the natural world (continuing certain ongoing trends) can save both.

It's easy to see how the fear that Ecomodernism could be co-opted by the climate-denying hydrocarbon right (personified by Paterson) arises. A lot of Ecomodernism involves the continuation or intensification of past or present trends: intensive chemical agriculture, genetic modification, nuclear power for high levels of energy use. It's tempting to think that these could be grown into a sort of plantary-scale closed life support system for humans, leaving the remaining land for a natural ecosystem. An effective Ecomodernist movement should focus on the necessary decoupling. If you're taking non-renewable necessary things out of the environment (like fossil aquifers) and putting non-assimilable things in (like CO2 or nuclear waste), then you're not decoupled enough, and you have our current problems. Trying to be more decoupled might make some sense. Thinking or pretending you're more decoupled than you really are, though, and using that as an excuse for even more extraction, pollution, and consumption is a recipe for disaster.

The deeper criticism of Ecomodernism (as voiced by for instance George Monbiot and Chrise Smaje) focuses not on the decoupling of physical processes but of economies. The Ecosophists suggest that third world populations living close to the land have been "left behind" by our increasingly decoupled system and will benefit from being brought more into that system. Its critics claim that they and their impoverishment are actually an integral part of that system as it currently stands. One analogy they make is to the enclosure movement which did indeed bring people "left behind" by changes (industrialization) into a more decoupled lifestyle (literally, into cities and factories), but not to their benefit. In a detached life-support system, everything is rationed.
Thanks thats very helpful and similar to what I think about Ecomodernism.
For me its wishful thinking with inefficient evidence to think it is even possible to de-couple the link between modern civilisation and an extraction economy.
__________________
"Anyway, why is a finely-engineered machine of wire and silicon less likely to be conscious than two pounds of warm meat?" Pixy Misa
"We live in a world of more and more information and less and less meaning" Jean Baudrillard
http://bokashiworld.wordpress.com/
!Kaggen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 14th May 2019, 01:58 PM   #4
Myriad
Hyperthetical
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: A pocket paradise between the sewage treatment plant and the railroad
Posts: 14,925
I've thought of a way to paraphrase Monbiot's and others' political objections to the Ecomodernist manifesto. Consider the verb "decouple," and then imagine it as a transitive verb. "We're here to decouple you from your land." That summarizes the corporatist or statist agenda that Ecomodernism could be (or become) a cover for.

Of course, it's not just Ecomodernism that does that. The whole growth economy has been trending that way forever. Using technology to maximize productivity (with or without also minimizing environmental inputs) means putting production, and the means thereof, into the hands of those who have control of the technology. Whether a field is collectivized by a Marxist regime, bought out by an agricultural conglomerate, or automated by an ecomodernist technician, the effect on the farmer (either subjugated or put out of work entirely) is similar. As are the propaganda narratives of the hardships of the former farm life that the farmer is being "rescued" from.

The appeal of Ecomodernism is that it ties into trends that have been going on as long as there have been humans. When we (most though not all cultures) started burying or burning our dead instead of leaving the bodies for scavengers, or pooping in latrines instead of randomly across the landscape, or building fences to keep out predators, that was decoupling. When we recycle a plastic bottle instead of tossing it in a meadow somewhere, isn't that decoupling? And isn't that all a good thing, for us and the environment?

The skeptical eye has to fall on what can't be decoupled, and the import of that. Agricultural land can't all be fenced, especially not against bird, insect, and microbial life. Water can't be collected from designated "human" land only, not without either greatly reducing our agricultural usage or building immense new infrastructure (most likely both). We don't have the unlimited energy needed for unlimited application of technological solutions (water desalination, indoor multi-level cropping under artificial light, air conditioned living environments for everyone, enclosed transportation corridors, and so forth). However technologically advanced a nuclear power system is, it still has to be financed, constructed, operated, fueled, maintained, protected, and eventually replaced. The same is true for solar arrays and other energy resources. So energy may never be cheap.

The minimization of adverse impacts is a fine idea. Maximization of technology and of human population might not be.
__________________
A zÝmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th May 2019, 03:30 AM   #5
!Kaggen
Illuminator
 
!Kaggen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,868
Hmm...interesting points Myriad...language is certainly a powerful tool to manipulate narratives...and as you point out the word "decouple" is being used to specify an ideal of how humans can reduce their impact on the environment whilst in practice humans have and will continue to exploit the environment to decouple themselves from it...it is really a bit of idolatry where the concept takes on more meaning than its percept...so whilst the idea of decoupling sounds intellectually appealing what is needed in practice is to recognise and lessen the impact of human activity on the environment and we may discover that the de-coupling from the environment that defines modern civilisation is the main driver of environmental destruction.
__________________
"Anyway, why is a finely-engineered machine of wire and silicon less likely to be conscious than two pounds of warm meat?" Pixy Misa
"We live in a world of more and more information and less and less meaning" Jean Baudrillard
http://bokashiworld.wordpress.com/
!Kaggen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:54 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.