Exploring the fringe: Environmental breakdown vs. the System

The unravelling, and a ball of thread

2018 was a watershed year for public awareness of ecological and climate breakdown. I had heard about these crises many times over the years, however I never really thought about them in a focused way. Last year, I decided to start studying.

Information on climate change and biodiversity loss is like an endless ball of thread. You pull the thread and more comes out. You keep pulling, the same thing happens. Now several months in, I am still pulling that thread, and still learning. Information ever more curious, ever more serious, ever more disconcerting.

Below, I am highlighting some of the more unorthodox material that I have come across. This is not a comprehensive review but rather a few points and observations on each source, to give you an idea.

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Reflections and highlights from the New Economy conference 2018

I recently joined the New Economy Network Australia conference for three days here in Melbourne. It was fantastic – you can find the program here (pdf). I’ll cover some of my reflections and highlights from the conference below.

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The downsides of convenience

The modern society wants us to be productive, to optimise, to fit more into a day. Slowing down is thought of as a weakness, something to look down upon.

Consider a Monday conversation at the office, where your colleague asks what you did over the weekend. The reaction is to rattle off a list, to recall each activity, to talk about the quantity of things we did. The more the better; otherwise your weekend must have been a waste.

Bigger Better Faster More
How about Smaller, Enough, Slower, Less?

A key to fitting in more is choosing convenience. Convenience is sold as the solution to help with our busy lives, and it comes in many shapes and forms.

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Undo capitalism or it will undo us

Let’s start with an assumption:

We want to live meaningful lives on a healthy planet and we want the generations to come to be able to do the same.

And a related definition of true sustainability (Ehrenfeld 2009):

[Sustainability is] the possibility that humans and other life will flourish on the planet forever

We are currently using 1.7 Earths each year. This means that ‘we use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate, through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb’ (source).

Our current way of life is deeply unsustainable.

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Technology and the tragedy of quiet as a commons

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash
Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

This post is about noise. It follows us everywhere, and there are lots of it.

I am writing this in the middle of Melbourne at an open-plan office where the floors above and the property next door have been renovated for months. Drilling, grinding, banging, hacking, boring, buzzing, sawing.

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