Limits to Growth revisited

Greg Gerritt • I read Limits to Growth as a young person in the 1970’s, and loved reading Donella Meadows’ columns in the 1990s. This summation is a good reminder that we are in overshoot (using 140% of the annual biological production each year, which shows up as eroded soils, diminished forests, and empty seas among others, and 392 ppm CO2 and the warmest March ever) and that no one really knows where along the curve we are. Several things I have seen recently say that if anything we are so far into the BAU model that overshoot moves faster than ever and collapse seems more likely. i view my work as an effort to prevent collapse by managing the decline in our footprint, and our greedy ambitions.

What we are also seeing in this overshoot is growth moving around the world and leaving new and different places collapsing in its wake. I happen to live in one of the places where the ecological damage of industrialism started hundreds of years ago. And despite 50 years of effort no one has been able to return Rhode Island to the fast growth track.

I remind them that maybe we need another approach, based on the managed decline (not the language I use, but exactly the language of Limits to Growth, so i use it here) if we are to have prosperous communities.

I am getting an EPA award tomorrow for my work in developing a compost industry, To me my work with compost has always been about making sure we can grow food in the neighborhood when the trucks from California can no longer feed us. I do not think the EPA wants to really recognize the latter part of the previous sentence, but it motivates me and feeds more into the idea of ecological healing as the only way forward.

Seeing the video on the Limits to Growth revisited, is just a reminder that my job continues to be staying just a bit ahead of the curve on what folks are talking about so that next year it can be what they are talking about. and some years later is old hat to everyone.

As we say, the hippies were right about everything.

Live long and prosper

In what is likely to be a continuing shrinkage of still too high house prices, more and more mortgages coniniue to fail.  The only way to purge this from the system would have been to make the banks eat the toxic losses and have the owners take a new mortgage with payments based on what the house is really worth if the prices are not inflated by speculation and housing shortages, especially housing for the working folks.
Governments and communities need to prepare themselves for a smaller economy, expecially in the industrial west.  Low income countries will continue to see some income gains as long as they keep their forests and have wood for their communities, but high income countries are going to see lower standards of living and more equality in income if they are to survive, economically and ecologically.  Use less, share more, heal ecosystems, grow more food in the community.  Live long and prosper.

Letter to Projo April 2012 economics

John Kostrzewa and the Providence Journal,  I was disappointed today to see in the excerpts from comments on the economy series that every comment except the one caliing for the legalizaqatiion of marijuana presented the conventional wisdom.  I know that submissions from another point of view were offered.
Anyways here is what would be a prescription for Rhode Island, one that does not repeat the failed policies of the last 50 years.
Use less, share more.
Make justice a centerpiece of the economy.
Economies that have a more equal distriburtion of wealth work better, redistribute wealth through taxation and the provision of better services to those in need to reduce inequality.
Heal ecosystems.  This is the only way to provide more actual resources for the economy.
Build resilience to climate change while doing everything possible to reverse it through ending the use of fossil fuels and expanding forests.
It was interesting today, Earth Day, April 22, the same day the journal’s editorial on building a wall in Matunuck, Beachfront bathos, clearly stated how trying to stop the ocean was futile, the article on the economy highlighted as a good thing the mindset that called for making it easier to futilely attempt to hold back the ocean.  It is time for those making economic development policy in this state to begin to understand that working with ecosystems is the only path to the future.
Greg Gerritt

Response to world weather report in the economist april 2012

Recently I saw that about 80% of China’s growth each year is due to fixing disasters created by the ills of industrialism. People have more money and less food security. people have more money and are ever more vulnerable to storms and drought. People have more money and their is less useful soil on the planet.

Where I live in post industrial Rhode Island, the economy is already on a long term downward trend. All the kings horses and all the kings men have tried to repair it for years, but they have 50 years of failure.

the way forward is ecological healing. Rebuild the soil, heal and reinhabit the waters, reknit the forest, turn waste into food instead of burying or burning it.

Every society on earth has failed when they have run out of wood and forests. Now we threaten to do so on a global scale.

Heal ecosystems, generate equality, practice justice, allow local communities to say no to inappropriate madmen economic development scams and corrupt governments powered with American weapons. its the way forward

Notes for talk at RIC 4/17/12

The context of this work
Carbon foot print
Food security
Rebuilding soil
Healing ecosystems
RI can not build prosperity without rebuilding soil and ecosystems.
Trash mentality
Getting started
Easy small systems
Ecosystem approach, small diverse, adaptive, decentralized
Big scale
On or off site
Static air
In vessel