Dip your foot in the river of news…

There’s a lot happening. Each day, I gather several articles I want to comment on in relationship to the Perfect Storm Hypothesis. Let’s take a ramble through some of them, shall we? This doesn’t need to be a complete sampling – we’re just looking for the broad patterns here.

I’ve had my doubts about some of the new energy technologies like biofuels and hydrogen. I don’t think the people pushing these are doing rigorous full-cycle accounting analyses. They, and the people they preach to, are hoping for magic bullets which will allow us all to go on breeding, driving cars and consuming as we always have. A U.N. expert has called thinking like this a ‘crime against humanity‘. Here are some other stories that relate to this as well: , , , and .

As the world’s resources get thinner and the pressures build, governments will need to keep tighter and tighter controls on their populations. We’ve all heard of The Great Firewall the Chinese government has erected to try to keep external news critical of the regime from the Chinese people. This very blog appears to be blocked by that firewall. Now it appears that Putin and the Russian government are heading down that same path towards control of beliefs and perceptions through the control of information. And here are some other stories that bear on this theme: , , and .

And for an absolutely rip-you-up analysis of what’s going wrong with news reporting here in the USA, read Bill Moyer’s speech to the National Conference for Media Reform from January 12, 2007. It’s a killer.

The father of the concept of Gaia, James Lovelock, has come out with a piece in The Rolling Stone on his thoughts about humanity’s future. It’s best you don’t read this if you haven’t had your morning tranquilizers. It’s also best that you skip it if you haven’t thought about the future and how it may affect you and those you love. James is such a sweetie-pie. I wish he’d tell us what he really thinks and not sweeten it up so much.

Another fellow who can always be depended upon to cheer you up with a good dose of hard-edged thinking is James Kunstler. Here’s his most recent piece called Assumptions. (more tranquilizers, please!)

There’s a new publication out by the United Nations Environmental Programme called, GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK. it is described as:

The fourth Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) assessment is a comprehensive and authoritative UN report on environment, development and human well-being, providing incisive analysis and information for decision making.

It’s a massive compendium somewhat like the State of the World Report put out each year by The WorldWatch Institute. It tries to pull an entire world of information together so that the reader can see the big patterns. More to the point, it tries to pull these patterns together so that our leaders can make wise and informed decisions. Somehow I think most of our leaders are missing the points made in documents like these.

One of the big problems with leadership type personalities is that they tend to be on ‘transmit’ instead of ‘receive’ most of the time and thus lose a lot of the opportunities they might otherwise have to learn.

And that leads naturally into thinking about what’s wrong with our thinking. We human beings like to think we are logical and reasonable but our own scientific studies reveal just how flawed our thinking processes really are. I’ve written about this before here: , , , , , and

Here’s a piece about how decision-makers make decisions. Granted, this piece is largely about how decision making processes go wrong in psychologically impaired individuals but the underlying mechanisms that drive decisions, as described in this paper, affect us all.

All of this makes me think we are our own worst enemies and the best thing we could do for ourselves is to require that our leaders be well versed on all of these thinking flaws before they take up their positions of responsibility. Otherwise, we truly are the blind leading the blind.

Environmental problems are building up. Of course, the denialists will say these are just statistical aberrations. And, I assume they will continue to say this until the statistical evidence for significance is overwhelming. And that, I suspect will be a good long ways past the time when we could have hoped to do anything about these problems. There’s that impressive human thinking again, eh?

Here are some more stories that came up immediately when I Googled for ‘Water Shortages’: , , , , and .

Well, if everyone’s cheered up sufficiently, then I think I’ll go off and enjoy the rest of my day off.


One Response to “Dip your foot in the river of news…”

  1. MD says:

    Great! this brings together a lot of loose strings. I think this is the kind of information that needs expressing. It is imperative that a critical mass develops and emerges, which understands the magnitude of the problem and insist that our political masters get off their butts and make some hard choices.

    Well done Dennis.