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Selected Citations on P2P and Ecology

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
1st February 2013


We’ve been accumulating a few choice citations in our wiki section on Ecology. Go there to find the sources.

* Charles Eisenstein on the Illusion of Separateness

“Technology is both a cause and a result of our separation from and objectification of nature. It distances us from nature, as today’s artificial environments, reliance on machinery, and processed foods exemplify; on the other hand it is precisely our conceptual distancing from nature that encourages us to apply technology to it as an object of manipulation and control.”

“The distinction between self and environment is minimal among the earliest form of life, the bacteria, which blur the self-other distinction with their fluid sharing of genetic material. Even higher animals and plants, however, rely upon on another for the co-creation of the internal and external environments essential to their mutual existence.”

“No plant or animal is a completely individuated, separate, distinct being….there is no clear-cut, absolutist definition of the self or the organism; our belief to the contrary is only a projection of our mistaken view of our own selves.”

When birds fall from the sky and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people …shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.” — Hopi Prophecy.. we are this tribe.. we are these people..now is the time!

* William D. Ruckelshaus on why the transformation needs to be fully conscious

“Can we move nations and people in the direction of sustainability? Such a move would be a modification of society comparable in scale to only two other changes: the Agricultural Revolution of the late Neolithic and the Industrial Revolution of the past two centuries. Those revolutions were gradual, spontaneous, and largely unconscious. This one will have to be a fully conscious operation… If we actually do it, the undertaking will be absolutely unique in humanity’s stay on the Earth.”

On the Energy-hungry Internet: “Equipment powering the internet accounts annually for 9.4% (or 350 billion kWh) of the total electricity consumption in the US, and 5.3% (or 868 billion kWh) of the global usage.”

* Joanna Macy on the Great Turning

“A revolution is underway because people are realizing that our needs can be met without destroying our world. We have the technical knowledge, the communication tools, and material resources to grow enough food, ensure clean air and water, and meet rational energy needs. Future generations, if there is a liveable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning. It is happening now.”

* Daniel Pinchbeck on the current state of Planetary Initiation “We are on the cusp of realizing ourselves as one species organism, in symbiotic relationship with the planetary ecology as a whole. Once we make this leap, we will share resources equitably, adopt cradle to cradle and no waste manufacturing practices, and shift from competition to cooperation as our basic paradigm. We will go from acting like a parasite or a virus on the earth to becoming the earth’s immune system.”

* Kevin Carson on Internet and Energy

“To the extent that the P2P model facilitates economic relocalization by substituting the movement of information for movement of goods (i.e., the movement of information on how to produce goods locally for the movement of centrally produced goods), Peak Oil and the increased cost of moving goods may provide strong market incentives to economic models based primarily on the movement of information. In that case, the expansion of information movement capabilities as an alternative to investment in long-distance transportation and overseas production facilities (the Ponoko/100kGarages model using local shops), and as an alternative to the movement of people (teleconferencing and telecommuting), may actually be a powerful multiplier of energy efficiency. If the money and resources devoted to Internet infrastructure results in a corresponding tenfold reduction in the money spent on containerships and trucks, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.” (http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/p2p-peak-oil-and-the-degrowth-scenario/2010/05/22)

“Digital technology and the network revolution are at the heart of what’s creating the potential for a low-impact, less resource-intensive economy. Green and high-tech are allies against mass production and the mountains of deliberately obsolete goods piling up in our landfills, and against the globalist economic model of truck/containership warehouses linking points of production and points of consumption thousands of miles apart. If any single thing reduces the need for fuel, it will be shifting wherever feasible from the movement of material to the movement of information.”

* Herman Daly on the Steady-State Economy: “The closer the economy approaches the scale of the whole Earth the more it will have to conform to the physical behavior mode of the Earth. That behavior mode is a steady state—a system that permits qualitative development but not aggregate quantitative growth. Growth is more of the same stuff; development is the same amount of better stuff (or at least different stuff).”

* Paul Hawken on Sustainability

Paul Hawken on the emergence of the sustainability movement:

“”I now believe there are over one million organizations working toward ecological sustainability and social justice. Maybe two.

By conventional definition, this is not a movement. Movements have leaders and ideologies. You join movements, study tracts, and identify yourself with a group. You read the biography of the founder(s) or listen to them perorate on tape or in person. Movements have followers, but this movement doesn¹t work that way. It is dispersed, inchoate, and fiercely independent. There is no manifesto or doctrine, no authority to check with.

I sought a name for it, but there isn’t one.” (from his book Blessed Unrest, cited by http://thenetworkedbook.blogspot.com/2007/05/networked-book-adhocracies-turning.html)

* Paul Hawken on the unity of the natural and the human: “As long as you think that nature is ‘out there,’ then you have the basic separation that allows you to see the environment as ‘other’ and people as distinct from that, and that separation of ‘self’ from ‘nature’ is really what white man brought to civilization. That is the disease, the deep, deep wound that will be healed one way or the other in the decades to come.”

* Paul Hawken on redesigning markets for sustainability:

The Creation of Waste: “We need a different kind of growth, one that reduces and changes the inputs of raw materials and energy, and simultaneously eliminates the outputs of waste.”

The False Efficiency of the Free Market: “Markets are superb at setting prices, but incapable of recognizing costs.”

Markets Ruling Nature: “The sheer size of the largest corporations tends to grant them the political and economic power to externalize costs that should properly be absorbed by the company and therefore be factored into the price it sets for its product.”

The Hollowness of Corporate Culture: “The growing power of corporations has not been accompanied by any comprehensive philosophy, any ethical construct, other than the accumulation of wealth as an end of itself.”

Altering Incentives through Green Taxes: “We must design a marketplace that obviates acts of environmental destruction by making them extremely expensive, and rewards restorative acts by bringing them within our means.” (from his book The Ecology of Commerce, cited at http://www.strategyandcompetitionbooks.com/Strategy-and-Competition-Books/The-Ecology-of-Commerce.htm)

* Elinor Ostrom on the Seven Generation Rule: Our problem is how to craft rules at multiple levels that enable humans to adapt, learn, and change over time so that we are sustaining the very valuable natural resources that we inherited so that we may be able to pass them on. I am deeply indebted to the indigenous peoples in the U.S. who had an image of seven generations being the appropriate time to think about the future. I think we should all reinstate in our mind the seven-generation rule. When we make really major decisions, we should ask not only what will it do for me today, but what will it do for my children, my children’s children, and their children’s children into the future.

* Aldo Leopold: We need an ethic of ecology

An ethic, ecologically, is a limitation on freedom of action in the struggle for existence. An ethic, philosophically, is a differentiation of social from antisocial conduct. These are two definitions of one thing. The thing has its origin in the tendency of interdependent individuals or groups to evolve modes of cooperation. The ecologist calls these symbioses. Politics and economics are advanced symbioses in which the original free-for-all competition has been replaced, in part, by cooperative mechanisms with an ethical content. The complexity of cooperative mechanisms has increased with population density, and with the efficiency of tools…The first ethics dealt with the relation between individuals…Later accretions dealt with the relation between the individual and society. The Golden Rule tries to integrate the individual to society; democracy to integrate social organization to the individual … There is still no ethic dealing with man’s relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it. Land, like Odysseus’s’ slave-girls, is still property. The land-relation is still strictly economic, entailing privileges but not obligations.

* Hod Lipson & Melba Kurman on the inherent sustainability of distributed manufacturing: “Personal-scale manufacturing machines … enable small manufacturers to make one product at a time in response to customer demand, and scale up production as the product sells. … Regular people and small manufacturing companies that lack investment capital will be able to set up low investment, “start small and scale up as it goes” businesses. With local, onsite production, long-distance shipping of the completed item is no longer necessary. Products and parts can be made only when they’re needed, saving on storage space and the costs of maintaining un-used goods and products.”

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