Is the growth-dependent structure of corporations and fundamentalist religions holding us back from a sustainable future?
Are corporations and fundamentalist religions our archenemies?
Any entity which evolves has to grow, but nonbiological entities can be especially dangerous because they don't share the same ecosystem as human beings. Their selective pressures can be orthogonal to long term human survival. Corporations thrive on profit. Fundamentalist religions reproduce by their adherents' overproduction, with "the faithful" merely hosts. Like lethal infective agents killing the patient, they're out of control and directly prevent us from achieving sustainability.
The first step to fighting an infection is identifying what's making you sick.
This diagram represents the architecture of global economic power. Highly interconnected companies are red. When the web of ownership was untangled a superweb of 147 companies emerged. Less than 1% of transnational companies controlled 40% of the network. Revealed The Capitalist Network that runs the World.
Just as memes evolve in the memosphere, not the Earth's ecoshpere, corporations evolve in their own financial realm. These are NOT biological entities, and as such we are ill equipped to comprehend them. We continue to think anthropomorphically, to imagine ourselves in conflict with organic beings. It's time to reimagine what an enemy might be.
To achieve sustainability we must balance growth with available resources. These enemies are inherently incapable of such balance.
"Orthogonal" just means at right angles, loosely it's a way to say, " X doesn't correlate with Y". Sorry if I was unclear.
Perhaps Bill McKibben's Global Warming's Terrifying New Math will sound less like woo woo to you.
...For the past year, an easy and powerful bit of arithmetical analysis first published by financial analysts in the U.K. has been making the rounds of environmental conferences and journals...
...So far, we've raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected.
Thomas Lovejoy, once the World Bank's chief biodiversity adviser, puts it like this: "If we're seeing what we're seeing today at 0.8 degrees Celsius, two degrees is simply too much." NASA scientist James Hansen, the planet's most prominent climatologist, is even blunter: "The target that has been talked about in international negotiations for two degrees of warming is actually a prescription for long-term disaster."
Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. ("Reasonable," in this case, means four chances in five, or somewhat worse odds than playing Russian roulette with a six-shooter.)
In fact, study after study predicts that carbon emissions will keep growing by roughly three percent a year – and at that rate, we'll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years, around the time today's preschoolers will be graduating from high school. "The new data provide further evidence that the door to a two-degree trajectory is about to close," said Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist. In fact, he continued, "When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of about six degrees." That's almost 11 degrees Fahrenheit, which would create a planet straight out of science fiction.
2,795 Gigatons... It was highlighted last summer by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts and environmentalists who published a report in an effort to educate investors about the possible risks that climate change poses to their stock portfolios. The number describes the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it's the fossil fuel we're currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number – 2,795 – is higher than 565. Five times higher.
Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it's already economically aboveground – it's figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. ...if you paid attention to the scientists and kept 80 percent of it underground, you'd be writing off $20 trillion in assets.
You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet, or a relatively healthy planet – but now that we know the numbers, it looks like you can't have both. Do the math: 2,795 is five times 565.
[T]he planet does indeed have an enemy – one far more committed to action than governments or individuals. Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization. "Lots of companies do rotten things in the course of their business – pay terrible wages, make people work in sweatshops – and we pressure them to change those practices," says veteran anti-corporate leader Naomi Klein, who is at work on a book about the climate crisis. "But these numbers make clear that with the fossil-fuel industry, wrecking the planet is their business model. It's what they do." [emphasis mine]