Up Wing

We're not left-wing or right-wing, we're up-wing. -- JohnGilmore, ElectronicFrontierFoundation co-founder

On Earth there are now about six billion humans. Our population is growing exponentially, presently doubling every forty years. UN projections indicate that this cannot continue. Ecological limits will restrict world population to 10-12 billion after 2050, but ecologists such as DavidPimentel suggest a population of no more than 2 billion can be sustained over the next century without unprecedented improvements in technology.

The stress that human population is placing on the rest of the biosphere is producing species extinctions on a greater scale than during the death of the dinosaurs. Land degradation, loss of biodiversity and pollution of air and water proceed at an accelerating rate around the world. Already more than half the world's human population live in poverty. While the popular media project an illusion of sustainability, the facts strongly suggest a risk of global ecological collapse before 2100.

See http://www.awd.org.au/seedsdestruction.htm, http://reason.com/rb/rb062602.shtml, ISBN 0761536604 , ISBN 0521010683 (Other links welcome.)

We humans are distinguished from other creatures by our ability to become literate. Literacy has allowed us to develop and propagate technology far more sophisticated than that employed by other creatures; to organize material resources on a scale unprecedented on Earth; to spread rapidly to every continent and climate; to create a civilization that spans continents and culture that spans millennia. Yet, over and over, past civilizations have built on unsustainable technologies, boomed, busted and disappeared. The Maya, Anasazi, Rapa-Nui, the Egyptian pyramid builders ... when these civilizations failed, they left behind great lifeless scars on the planet; the Sahara and the Never-Never are vast man-made deserts where just a few thousand years ago were lush forests.

The Sahara Desert is a man-made feature? References and evidence PLEASE! See http://www.usinfo.state.gov/topical/global/environ/latest/99070802.htm for one (of many) alternative suggestions.

The major qualitative difference between our modern civilization and our predecessors is the technology for mass transport of natural resources from one place to another. But our technology can do nothing to synthesize natural resources. If we destroy our ecological base, our present technology will provide us with no recourse. The resulting catastrophe would have the same scale as our civilization; this will be a kind of global dieback not seen on Earth for 65 million years.

Reactions to the predicament in which we find ourselves are necessarily political - they are calls to organize and take deliberate steps - but they are not characterized by traditional LeftWing/RightWing politics. They are orthogonal to traditional politics, so we ought to describe them on an orthogonal political axis. Here are some guesses about the poles:

What is the name of the wing where people propose ways of finding solutions with or without technology (e.g. RobertTheobald)?


What an absurd idea. How can you possibly make decisions without some grand overarching ideology to guide your every thought?

EditText of this page (last edited September 7, 2002) or FindPage with title or text search