Sustainability Bites

There is no such thing as a free lunch

disturbance

Joining the dots (part I): The garden shed as metaphor

Joining the dots (part I): The garden shed as metaphor

Unfortunately, as the last two years are demonstrating (AND SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN PREDICTING FOR THE LAST HALF CENTURY!), climate change means the past is no longer a guide to the future. All other things are no longer equal because human modification of the Earth system means it is behaving with no historical analogues. And the disruption is set to accelerate. Sometimes, to join the dots, you have stop looking at the big picture and focus on smaller things – like the leaky garden shed in my backyard.

Postcards from hell – cognitive dissonance in the face of a disastrous holiday

Postcards from hell – cognitive dissonance in the face of a disastrous holiday

Frequently, it seems, the greatest exposure to climate disruption we witness in mainstream media is where it interrupts our holidays. To help us avoid the inconvenient truth of existential collapse, we distract ourselves with the trivial and the inconsequential, or give up and join in the orgy of misinformation and conspiracy thinking. You can run (deny and/or delay or maybe retreat to your favourite holiday idyll) but you can’t hide.

The first casualty – do we really want a war with Mother Nature?

The first casualty – do we really want a war with Mother Nature?

Our world is sinking; climate disruption is unpicking the very fabric of humanity’s identity; our belief in a future with certainty is withering. In response, people are calling for action, big action, revolutionary responses as only occur in a time of war, and the calls are growing more strident and desperate. But be careful about what you wish for. In war, society’s norms are thrown out the window. Truth is no longer regulated by our institutions, chaos reigns.

Losing it – the consequences of stepping over the threshold

Losing it – the consequences of stepping over the threshold

There are limits to how much a complex system can be changed and still recover. Beyond those limits the system functions differently because some critical feedback process has changed. These limits are known as thresholds. Sometimes it’s easy to cross back over to the identity you want, sometimes it’s difficult and sometimes it’s impossible. The concept of ‘thresholds’ is central to understanding the resilience of your system.

Disaster follows failures in integrity. Don’t think the Earth System is too big to fail.

Disaster follows failures in integrity. Don’t think the Earth System is too big to fail.

Disaster follows failures in integrity. Don’t think the earth system is too big to fail.
Good governance, transparency and accountability would have prevented Chernobyl, Challenger and Deepwater Horizon from ever becoming disasters.
Now we have climate change and we’re ignoring all the warnings.