society

Population and climate

Submitted by naught101 on Sat, 06/06/2009 - 14:40

This is in response to a discussion about population control and climate change on an e-list I'm on. In particular, it's in response to a line by a mate, Jono:

it's not the number of people that is important, but rather the power of the argument. Population control arguments need to be challenged wherever they occur, because they turn the climate movement into a war against human rights rather than for human rights.


Population control doesn't have to infringe human rights.

Politics

Submitted by naught101 on Tue, 06/02/2009 - 23:30

Terry Pratchett notes in one of his discworld books that politics is fundamentally about the running of the city. Politics - from Aristotle's ta politika "affairs of state,", from the Ancient Greek polis - the city state.

Discussion about the semantic web

Submitted by naught101 on Tue, 04/15/2008 - 20:49

The following is a discussion from #swig on irc.freenode.org - the Semantic Web Interest Group. It's logged here if you don't believe me: http://chatlogs.planetrdf.com/swig/2008-04-15#T10-32-11. Edited slightly for clarity.

I think the semantic web is an extremely useful tool, but as I mention down the bottom, I probably would have agreed with Francis Bacon that cutting up animals in the name of science was a good thing at the time.

Dear Mr. Quinn

Submitted by naught101 on Mon, 03/24/2008 - 21:35

Daniel,

You argue that the major defining factor of population size is food limits. Australia (to give an example), currently has a birthrate less than 2 births per woman. We have an overall annual immigration, so our population is growing, but if we had no immigration, our population would be decreasing. Australia is a fairly affluent country: plenty of food, people are educated, well supported with social services, and generally feel secure. They don't need the added security of a large family (I don't claim that this is causal, but believe it may have some impact).

Post-Taker culture and other questions

Submitted by naught101 on Sat, 03/15/2008 - 13:51

I just finished reading Daniel Quinn's Ishmael for the second time (I previously downloaded the audio-book, which was amazing, but I think the book is slightly better). If you haven't read it, read it. I'd say it'd be life-changing for anyone wants to do something about the state of the environment but don't know where to start. For the ones how have already started, it's perhaps even more recommended. That said, the rest of this post won't make sense unless you already have read the book.

Ishmael answers a lot of questions for me - primarily the one that goes "if this isn't the right way, then what is?". But of course the answer isn't final, it isn't an end point, it's just an opening. It's another method of looking at things, and realising how much could change. Which basically means that it brings up more questions than it answers.

To keep the Internet?

Submitted by naught101 on Wed, 11/28/2007 - 08:44

In wanting to create a new society, I have a few obvious "core" values (quote marks due to our ex-prime minister's bastardisation of the word in the phrase "core promises") .

These consist of:

  • Best practice environmentalism (not best as in better than everyone else, but best as in as good as possible).
  • Autonomy/self governance for groups and individuals
  • Freedom of information

In that order. These are fairly solid for me, and I won't really bother discussing why in this piece. I think that the second point is basically my ideal for best practice social organisation.

So how to go about the third? I think the internet might be the answer.

Limits to Density: Beginning

Submitted by naught101 on Thu, 08/30/2007 - 22:33

I've spoken to a number of people about this topic, but I've never seen any definitive answers. So I'm going to try and find some of my own. For a student or architecture, permaculture, and ecology, it's important to understand just how much of an impact it's possible to sustain on this planet.

Spark from Bookchin

Submitted by naught101 on Thu, 08/16/2007 - 21:17

This is something I started that was going to be the first post on this blog, about 6 months ago. As you'll see though, I got lost, and I have never really made it back to it, having gotten lost in many other things in the intervening period. I thought I'd post it anyway. It might inspire me to come back and add stuff to it (doubtful), or, with a few comments, it might set off that train of thought, and inspire me to write some kind of conclusion. So go ahead, criticise, wonder, ramble, insult. See what happens.

– work in progress, 14th December, 2006 –
“In trying to find a low common denominator that would “mobilize” virtually everyone, the new “anti-nuke establishment” really educated no-one. It was Three-Mile Island that did much of the education, and often public understanding of the issue goes no further than problems of technology, rather than problems of society” - Murray Bookchin, “the Power to Create, the Power to Destroy”, 1979, p. 50, (in “Toward an Ecological Society”)

Bloody hell. Not much has changed has it? seems like, 27 years later, the environment movement is still struggling in two directions - firstly to get people active, often through short, punchy catch phrases and shocking images, and secondly to educate, which obviously require a longer attention span, and more in-depth analysis of the issues. It’s a pity that these two objectives sometimes seem almost mutually exclusive.