Category Archives: Natural Economy

how economies can work comfortably within ecologies

You have to laugh at our climate control plan!

posted to Climate Concern Group 1/28/09

You have to laugh about the long range predictions for the environment, though.    The planners show ocean levels continuing to rise for 1000+ years, even if CO2 increases are halted immediately.  The curves all have a different slope depending on how soon.

That well founded idea has been in all the literature, even from the economists, for a decade or more.  see:


It shows every physical symptom of growth leveling off,
and GDP shooting straight UP! Continue reading You have to laugh at our climate control plan!

Our great & tragic hope for bridging the gap

Right, it’s not only that things get more expensive, but more profitable to make more expensive too. On the downslope as shortages develop faster than expectations are broken the prices of things are driven up.   Then people who control resources profit from accelerating their depletion which vastly worsens the problem.

I think that’s a good general explanation for why the last tree on the Easter Islands was cut down.    It was the one with the highest profit to the owner.    That that also effectively terminated what was probably a kind of “tree worship” civilization is the curiosity…

manGap.jpg Continue reading Our great & tragic hope for bridging the gap

I enjoyed the Connections site

Re: HDS sustainability Connections site from 1/22/09

Will, All the best to you and Nicky too! Thanks for the note.

People get so absorbed with their solutions it keeps us from seeing that most mistakes come from not checking our way of defining our problems.  It takes constant reminders to just ‘look around’ for unaccounted new things happening in the world we might use or we might run into, as we go…!

Best, pfh Continue reading I enjoyed the Connections site

The big contradiction in our Climate values.

response to Carbon Equity newsletter 1/20/09


Your list of current climate change media sources is amazing, thanks, but troubling too, showing our deep confusion.

It’s amazing what an outpouring of warnings and commitments to act on solutions there is… The trouble is that all the warnings are responding to impacts caused by the profit making solutions of the past, and the present solutions are all intended to work by stimulating multiplying profit too. For a very simple reason that is bound to have the same sort of multiplying impacts. Multiplying money is not “inherently” bad, just inherently bad when the earth is already suffering from our multiplying impacts. Continue reading The big contradiction in our Climate values.

The tragedy of Barak

from RunningOnEmpty post 1/18/08

Thinking 100 years into the future with assumptions from 100 years in the past… is a problem. It’s tragic to hear of Barak’s crystal clear statement about global warming.

We know that preventing global warming requires physically lowering our total resource footprint on the earth so we can live sustainably.   That directly conflicts with all his other policies for continually swelling our footprint by restoring continual economic growth.

Cost will rule and no one who remains competitive will be using clean energy. Continue reading The tragedy of Barak

New path in the darkness, outreach to Helena Norberg-Hodge

Helena Norberg-Hodge,

A new friend mentioned your writings, and I find you are asking a lot of questions I think I can help answer.   I’m a scientist who is slowly learning how to explain to people what I found.

Understanding how nature changed the world to make growth profoundly unprofitable is something I view from a physical science approach, leading to a better understanding of how natural systems work as wholes.  They go through phases of development, where the meanings of things change.

I do diagnostic complex systems science to watch how it happens.   It points to how the real solution to growth is understanding our stage of growth, now needing to mature toward stability to avoid accelerating our conflicts and scarcities. Continue reading New path in the darkness, outreach to Helena Norberg-Hodge

Wishful solutions that multiply problems later

Re: Climate change media 6 January 2009 CarbonEquity, Climate Action Centre, Melbourne To subscribe (one email per week) send blank email

David, reply 1/10/09

Interesting list of studies and alternatives!   In the same way that “clean coal” seems to never have existed except as wishful thinking, “good growth” never has either, and most of the solutions on the list depend on it.

There are a lot of other ways that some of our “solutions” multiply problems too.    It’s a major theme of what we’re dealing with.  All our increasingly insolvable problems were created by widely supported solutions of the past. Continue reading Wishful solutions that multiply problems later

Why “new rules” apply? – Nature changed them

Steve Salmony’s 1/12/09  Post Embrace change
My reply: Why the rules changed, below

Embrace change for planet’s sake – Steve Salmony

In calling for change in our time, scientists are speaking about what could somehow be true, speaking out loudly and clearly to wealthy and powerful people who adamantly insist that the “business as usual” status quo be relentlessly promoted and ruthlessly maintained.

Industrial/big business powerbrokers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians want to keep over-consuming, overproducing and overpopulating in our planetary home as they are doing now, come what may for children, life as we know it, and the integrity of Earth and its environs. Many of our voices are needed to support these great “voices of science,” these exemplars who are courageously speaking truth to those leaders who possess the power to authorize change. The provision of a good enough future for our children is an achievable goal, but only if we elders choose requisite behavior change now.

If changes in behavior are not initiated in a timely fashion, then a sustainable world for our children may not be achievable. By doing precisely what we are doing now, the limited resources of Earth could be permanently dissipated, its biodiversity massively extirpated, its environment irreversibly degraded and life as we know it recklessly endangered. The current scale and anticipated growth of per-capita over-consumption, global production capabilities, and human population numbers worldwide could be simply, clearly and patently unsustainable, even to the year 2050. Given Earth’s limitations as a relatively small, evidently finite and noticeably frangible planet, the projected increases in unchecked consumption, unbridled production and unregulated propagation activities of the human species could soon lead the human family to come face to face with some sort of colossal ecological wreckage.

Now is the time to speak loudly, clearly and often about what is true for you. Forget about political correctness and convenience. Resist economic expediency and greediness. Embrace necessary change rather than waste another day perniciously defending an unsustainable, same old “business as usual” status quo.

Steven Earl Salmony
Chapel Hill

Why the rules changed – Jessie Henshaw

Very nice letter, clear and solid.   I think one more thing that people will need to understand in some way is “why the rules changed”, and then address what rules changed and what new rules apply.

The basic public support for “sustainability” has been achieved, we just seem clueless as to what it really means or what we’d need to do to achieve it.

The big dilemma is that everyone’s favorite solution, self-restraints and technology efficiencies, don’t have the intended effect on the whole system, *especially* if they work.    Continue reading Why “new rules” apply? – Nature changed them

“Producer side” & “Consumer side” as one circle

1/9/09 post to ClimateConcernGroup

re: Consumer-side v. Producer-side Environmentalism

No doubt it does help to look around at all the contradictions, and try to connect them, but from a scientific view each side of a circle still represents the same object. The difference between the “production” and “consumption” side, from a systems view of the economic issues, is that they’re two sides of the same circle.

The actual control available for natural system circles is usually not in which side of the circle you favor, but the economic multiplier that adds or subtracts an increment to both sides of the circle every time a dollar goes all the way around it. Continue reading “Producer side” & “Consumer side” as one circle

real cause; money multiplies, earth doesn’t

Money will multiply as long as there are profits, because people with money multiply their own profits that way.   As JM Keynes among others pointed out, when real productivity approaches limits, multiplying money will drive profits to zero. Driving profits to zero triggers waves of collapse, providing a means for our responding to our limits on earth.

It takes a little exploration to lead people to just how the present waves of money collapse are directly related to declines in the profitability of the earth, but that’s a major contributor and the first cause.   Correcting the various immediate causes won’t fix that first cause.   None of the other causes would have mattered if profits were still multiplying dramatically as compounding money needs to remain stable.

Do yourself a favor, read my own or other peoples’ writings on it to find better questions for yourself.    Explorers starve or get buried by avalanches for reading to pass judgment.    You can come up with open questions in a blink, so don’t turn any page without finding one.


Phil Henshaw ¸¸¸¸.·´ ¯ `·.¸¸¸¸