Unicorn Ira Einhorn

This is a blog by and about the wrongfully convicted environmentalist and free energy activist, the Unicorn, Ira Einhorn. Here you'll find news and reviews concerning his case and views on how the world is working, or not. Articles from friends and supporters are posted here too. 'Tain't fittin, just 'tain't fittin...all those innocent folks in jail.'

Name:

I'm an old hippie from the 60's. Issues I'm working on include ebooks, hemp legalization, political activism , world trade center illness and bridging the digital divide.

Books Include:
Black People And Their Place in World History - Print Paperback
Black People And Their Place In World History - .PDF ebook edition
DePalma, Free Energy and the N-Machine
Print Hardcover
DePalma Free Energy and the N-Machine
.pdf ebook edition
Prelude To Intimacy
Hemp For Victory: A Global Warming Solution
Hemp For Victory: The Wonder Herb
Hemp For Victory: The Trillion Dollar Crop
Why I Survive Aids: Emergency On Line Edition
How To Compute: Computer Training Notes  On Line Edition.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Our Present Peril - Collapse - Ira Einhorn's Book Review

Our Present Peril
A Review By Ira Einhorn Of:

COLLAPSE:
HOW SOCIETIES CHOOSE TO FAIL OR SUCCEED

Jared Diamond, Viking (2005). 576PP


“...because three-quarters of the world’s population will be living within 50 miles of the seacoast by 2010.”
Jared Diamond

“The earth’s history suggests that with warming of two to three degrees, the new sea level will include not only most of the ice from Greenland and West Antarctica, but a portion of East Antarctica, raising the sea level by 25 meters or eighty feet.”
James Hansen

Comparing these two quotes will make any honest processor of information quickly aware that we are in the midst of “the single biggest challenge facing the planet, the equal in every way to the nuclear threat that transfixed us during the past half-century and a threat we have not even begun to deal with.”

I would say that Bill McKibbens’s quote just above is an understatement. The nuclear threat, involving the relationship of the leadership of two countries, was a minor difficulty given what we are now facing combined with our almost hallucinatory failure to fix our attention on what we are facing
N O W


Not during the lifetime of our children

Not next year, not tomorrow B U T

NOW

As I pick the latest global warming facts off of the bottom of page 6 or 7 of my Trib., I must seriously question the sanity of my species, a concern echoed by McKibben re one of the two books he is reviewing (New York Review Of Books, January 12, 2006: For convenience I have used some of his facts which serve my purpose as well as the facts I’ve gathered of late.)

Think upon:

The increasing slow down of the Gulf Stream.

The Arctic Sea is melting fast: there was 20% less of it this summer: “the feeling is we are reaching a tipping point or threshold beyond which sea ice will not recover.”

Methane which I’m told has twenty times the effect of CO2 is bubbling up from the Russian Tundra in the midst of winter, so that standing H20 could not freeze even during the Russian winter.

Microbiological activity has increased in British soil (growing season is now eleven days longer), so that more carbon is escaping.

Ice in Alaska and Greenland is melting at increasing rates.

Soon we will be able to say two things: remember animals; remember glaciers.

I could go on, but if the above does not convince you, click on something else.

Every data point I have seen of late just reinforces one perception: we are now trapped within an out-of-control planetary experiment whose eventual outcome will please no one, and the closer you live to a sea coast, the less pleased you will be.

We are about to lose a great percentage of the real property that our species has created.

Think of a New Orleans once a month.

Also reflect upon the enormous failure of leadership: the gap between what W said on Jackson Square (playing catch up ball) and the now abandoned poor of New Orleans. A gap not dissimilar to “mission accomplished” and the actual on-going very expensive ($7 billion/month for troop maintenance) egregious horror that is IRAQ on 1/1/06.

We have apparently passed the tipping point in many processes whose accumulated non-linear hell now seems beyond our power to stop.

The genie is out of the bottle.

Pandora’s box is open.

Each data point is singing of chaos to come.

Put all those divas together and you will get a cacophony that no one can even begin to predict.

A series of extremely decoupled systems looking for new points of resonance.

Markets going like yoyos.

Nerves snapping like shoe strings.

Farmers getting 36″ of rain one day and then 2 years of drought.

When? Sooner than we think, if past earth perturbations are any indication, BUT in extreme non-linear systems no one can say much beyond: chaos is coming.

In light of the above,
Collapse, an excellent book by Jared Diamond while packed with information about past collapses of individual civilizations (mainly) and avoidance of such (not really his focus) appears almost quaint though his research is large, his honesty is not to be questioned and his heart and soul are in the right place.

Anyone attempting to deal with global warming must have an absolutely global focus. That is not possible given the present political situation on our planet. And the ultimate reason for our dilemma: our present focus on growth in economic activity as the only game worth playing.

Capitalism and the infinite growth that it assumes as its just due does not allow for anything but MORE, for it is a system regulated by a linear variable (picture Sodom’s Bed Of Iron) and increasingly pushed by two unrelenting and maniacal forcing functions: daily stock quotations and shareholders incessant cry for more profit. Behavior that may be locally rational but is globally suicidal, under present conditions.

The system that produced the problems that got us into the mess we are in can’t be expected to solve it, for we would have to totally shift our central planetary focus on getting and spending to something more ethereal to avoid the sheer effect of numbers (there are too many of us now and many more each day). The by product of those numbers who are involved in a frenzy of consumption that is producing the warming effect that is melting the ice, pouring cold H2O into the oceans, and slowing the Gulf Stream is of course effecting everything that lives and breathes on the planet.

The disastrous changes seem locked in given our present momentum, sharply underlined by the accelerating development of China, India and Brazil. Miming the great criminal enterprise of the 20th century: American capitalism, profit, return on investment and everything else be dammed. And no, socialism/communism was not the solution for those systems have even worse ecological records.

The trouble is us Dear Reader, for we are truly what an earlier Diamond book called us:
The Third Chimpanzee.

Monkey see, monkey do; what we see among our ‘elite’ is ‘conspicuous consumption’ aptly named by a brilliant relocated American Thorsten Veblen over 100 years ago.

All those SUVs, those gigantic houses, those celebrities with garages full of expensive cars, $10,000,000 parties, bonuses at Christmas that are equal to an honest worker’s lifetime salary – the worst excesses of finance capital – serve as models for our behavior, have diminished us all and are now threatening the basis of our existence.

Diamond seems too smart not to be aware of this, yet his book gives little hint of how deep the crisis is.

From my perspective, it is little better than Greenwash for it refuses to challenge our basic assumption as Americans that we can just continue to consume with some nod to ecology.

It would have been right on the money in the 70s. Welcomed gladly by those of us on the ecological front lines; in 2006 it is fine sociological history, but to me, little help in the quest to find some way out of the horror that grows closer with each published data point, bringing us ever closer to the reality of this Hopi/Zuni statement: “We were here long before you came, and we expect still to be here long after you too are gone.” (143)

1/1/06 Ira Einhorn

P.S.: Those who wish to dig deeper into the crisis need to fully grasp two principles:

1. Sub-Optimization: What the use of profit, exclusively, to run our system is doing to the entire planet.

2. Ross Ashby’s LAW OF REQUISITE VARIETY: An excellent way to begin to understand how a complex system can be modulated and transformed.

Also those who have not: look up the work of Vaclav Smil whose books are each an education in themselves and each seems to require years of work.

I get the same impression from Joyce Carol Oates regarding her novels, short stores, reviews and obvious wide range reading.

Two rare pleasures in this age of intense focus and specialization.