Thoughts for transition
and descent
Convergence of Energy, Economy and Environment
With Political, Religious, and Cultural Realities
Mark T. Brown
March 12, 2007
Growth …
The Growth Ethic…
“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology
of the cancer cell.”
- Edward Abbey
Transitions …
Thoughts for transition and descent…
The Transition …
1. All education is environmental education, systems
education is essential.
2. A common core of knowledge in science, arts, civics,
and culture with flexibility built in for the rest.
3. Orient schools to stress different life themes…. not
only to send everyone to universities.
The Transition …Information
TV is the global “campfire” and as such needs to focus on
shared ideas, purposes, and ethics.
2. TV needs moderation and focus on broader issues with
some optimal entertainment
3. Universities will need to once again become society’s
storehouse of information, and its generation, testing,
and selecting.
4. The world needs to share information, not hide it and
make it difficult to obtain.
5. How much information is appropriate?
The Transition …Religion
Religion should stress the larger scale issues such as
environment, capitalism, globalization, community,
population growth, war
2. Service and sacrifice must replace “rugged
individualism” and “growth is progress” ethic
3. We will need to include nature and the earth's energy
systems in our religious ethic.
4. Sharing and a code of attitudes that includes
pluralistic respect for other faiths will be important
The Transition… Environment
We must treat the environment not as a
dumping ground, but the source of all life.
2. Recycle should become the main strategy
for dealing with wastes… we must change
from a consumer society to a “re-user”
3. We will need to rebuild natural capital
(forests, soils, wetlands and water) that
have been neglected for the past two
4. We should better value the services from
the environment and include them in our
schemes for national accounting.
The Transition …Work
Everyone needs to feel part of the society with
sufficient useful work contributing to productivity.
2. Cut wages across the board before laying off workers
3. Institute minimum and
maximum wage reform
4. Achieve full employment
of the young and old
through sliding pay scales
5. Tele-commuting and
“Flex-time” where possible
The Transition …
Public Policy/Energy Policy
1. Public policy decisions should include biophysical and
social constraints, not only monetary concerns.
2. We should invest in alternatives…the best of which is to
reduce luxury consumption.
3. We should NOT tax energy sources…taxes will increase
prices driving down productivity and increasing inflation.
4. We SHOULD tax luxury consumption.
5. We should require net energy determinations of all
proposed alternative energy sources.
The Transition …
Life Styles
Abandon the growth ethic.
2. We must learn to do more with less…”less is
more”…”Small is beautiful”…”the prosperous way down”
3. Adopt simplicity rather than complexity.
4. Decrease personal living space, increase energy
efficient architecture.
5. Accurately value “family work”…caring, loving, mutual
support…are not valued in monetary value system.
“As sometimes attributed to past cultures, people
may find glory in being an agent of the Earth. It
remains to be seen whether the social mechanisms
will be conscious, logical, emotional, ritualistic,
regimented, or by some means we can’t imagine.”
H.T. Odum, 2001

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