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Ecomodernism

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Great +NYTimes documentary on the unrealized horrors of population explosion, featuring Manifesto coauthor +Stewart Brand: “How many years do you have to not have the world end” to reach a conclusion that “maybe it didn’t end because that reason was wrong?”
In 1968, a book by a Stanford biologist predicted doom for the planet in coming decades. Whatever became of the population bomb?
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Judging by the UN's population figures, the total population changed from exponential growth to linear growth some time in the 60s  and we've been adding ~80m per year, ~800m per decade ever since with no real sign of this linear growth slowing. In mid 2015, they revised their predictions upwards to hit 10B 6 years earlier in 2056 and to hit 11.2b in 2100. If the demographic transition to lower birth rates and eventually to zero growth and a peak population is going to happen, when should we start to see it? Because right now we seem to be on the linear part of the sigmoid logistic curve. The transition to slower growth simply isn't happening yet. 

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Download/Standard/Population/
http://www.worldometers.info/news/
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Mark your calendars: Manifesto coauthors Erle Ellis and Ruth DeFries will be speaking at Resources for the Future on May 27 in a talk titled "Creative Conservation: How Humanity Innovates to Protect Nature." Tune in to the webcast here:
Creative Conservation: How Humanity Innovates to Protect Nature. RFF Seminar. Date May 27, 2015 12:45–2:00 p.m. EDT. A light lunch will be provided starting at 12:30 p.m.. Location RFF First Floor Conference Center 1616 P Street NW, Washington, DC. Registration Seating is limited and provided on ...
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The last two weeks have seen an outpouring of commentary and debate over An Ecomodernist Manifesto. One of the main criticisms of the manifesto is that there is no evidence that humans are in fact "decoupling" economic growth from environmental destruction.

Such a claim would surprise environmental scientist Jesse Ausubel, who recently wrote an essay on all the ways Americans have begun to consume less and tread more lightly on the planet. See the evidence in this magisterial piece, "The Return of Nature."
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Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development chronicles the long history of attempts to dam the Congo River. Today, the Grand Inga Dam project could potentially power half of the continent.

But as Kenny writes, "In one of the world’s most corrupt and politically volatile countries, can today’s planners succeed where so many others have failed?"

Grand Inga presents an important case study for ‪#‎ecomodernism‬: how poor countries move up the energy ladder.
For 60 years, colonialists, engineers, and dictators have tried to tame Africa’s greatest waterway. Welcome to the Congo River, where dreams go to die.
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Manifesto coauthor Stewart Brand argues that we are not headed for a Sixth Extinction.
The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis
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Franklin D. Roosevelt, #ecomodernist :

"FDR was right then, and the ecomodernists are right now. The technological intensification of food production, including perhaps even what Franklin Roosevelt in 1926 called 'a synthetic diet,' can feed a world of billions of city-dwellers — while allowing many former farms and pastures around the world to revert to the wild. That is a vision of a good Anthropocene worth fighting for."
In recent years many scientists have come to use the term “the Anthropocene” for the geological era that started when human beings began to alter the earth’s
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Atomkraft? Ja bitte! Major article on nuclear energy, development, and ‪#‎ecomodernism‬ in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
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Wir brauchen die Kernkraft, weil sich Milliarden Menschen eine Waschmaschine wünschen. Sie gehört zum guten Leben. Oder wäscht der radelnde Veganer mit Anti-AKW-Aufkleber etwa von Hand?
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Recently, climate scientist David W. Lea and +California Academy of Sciences Director Jon Foley had an impromptu exchange about ecomodernism. Make sure to read this thoughful conversation here: https://storify.com/theBTI/two-views-on-nature
A Climate Scientist and an Environmental Scientist Debate Merits of Ecomodernism
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Matthew Nisbet of Northeastern University writes of the rhetorical heat sparked by AN ECOMODERNIST MANIFESTO:

"Most academics and journalists avoid challenging the powerful forms of groupthink that have derailed our efforts to combat climate change. In this regard, attacks on those who question cherished assumptions have had a powerful chilling effect. We therefore depend on risk-taking intellectuals like the ecomodernists to lead the way, identifying the flaws in conventional wisdom, and offering alternative ways of thinking and talking about our environmental future."
Their manifesto is part of a battle on the left to define the environmental future.
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This is a subscription based article. Not accessible.
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"On this 45th anniversary of ‪#‎EarthDay‬, let us resolve to leave nostalgic dreams of recoupling with nature behind and embrace instead an ecologically vibrant future in which all of humanity thrives by increasingly leaving nature alone."
The faster we all move into nuke- and solar-powered cities, fed by corporate high-tech agriculture, the more we can protect nature.
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This is such a completely wrong-headed approach, it's difficult to know where to start in refuting it.

Humans cannot "leave nature alone" and continue with industrial energy production. Nuclear, solar and wind power require mining materials from the Earth, aka Nature, in order to build and maintain energy infrastructure and distribute that energy to users.

Modern energy has not at all "liberated people from the environment and the environment from us." Quite the contrary. Humans are as intricately linked as ever to the natural world for all our material needs. Building complex energy infrastructure increases our linkage to scarce natural resources, and increases damage to natural habitats and sensitive species.

Intensive agriculture depletes topsoils, poisons the Earth and creates dead zones in the ocean.

Pretending to turn our backs on the natural world is not a positive move for humans dependent on the well being of the natural world.
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"After decades of hearing environmentalists rally against things (no Keystone!), the change in tone coming from ecomodernists is palpable and welcome. It’s inclusive, it’s exciting, and it gives environmentalists something to fight for for a change. Plus, the ecomodernist focus on people and planet gives the broad middle of the American public a way to embrace ethical economic growth, without having to chain themselves to a pipeline."
In the past few days, a new missive has injected a firecracker into the debate on humanity’s long-term relationship with nature. The “Ecomodernist Manifesto,” a document championed by the pro-gas, pro-nuclear Breakthrough Institute, imagines a different kind of environmentalism that embraces humanity’s growing demand for energy—a sharp deviation from the...
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There is no ethical economic growth. Growth in a world of finite resources is unethical by its very nature.
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A manifesto to use humanity’s extraordinary powers in service of creating a good Anthropocene.
Introduction

We offer this statement in the belief that both human prosperity and an ecologically vibrant planet are not only possible but inseparable. By committing to the real processes, already underway, that have begun to decouple human well being from environmental destruction, we believe that such a future might be achieved. As such, we embrace an optimistic view toward human capacities and the future.

As scholars, scientists, campaigners, and citizens, we write with the conviction that knowledge and technology, applied with wisdom, might allow for a good, or even great, Anthropocene.

SIGNERS

John Asafu-Adjaye, University of Queensland                       

Linus Blomqvist, Breakthrough Institute

Stewart Brand, Long Now Foundation                   

Barry Brook, University of Tasmania

Ruth DeFries, Columbia Univeristy          

Erle Ellis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Christopher Foreman, University of Maryland School of Public Policy

David Keith, Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Martin Lewis, Stanford University             

Mark Lynas, Cornell University                            

Ted Nordhaus, Breakthrough Institute                   

Roger Pielke, Jr., University of Colorado, Boulder

Rachel Pritzker, Pritzker Innovation Fund               

Joyashree Roy, Jadavpur University

Mark Sagoff, George Mason University                         

Michael Shellenberger, Breakthrough Institute

Robert Stone, Filmmaker                             

Peter Teague, Breakthrough Institute

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