Self sustaining, autonomous systems

Notes from a session held at the Luminous Green Retreat, 28th of April 2007

  • Consider Life Span
  • Overall energy balance = relative concept
  • Acoustic spectrum of new forests as compared to old growth
  • Cotton → natural fabric, yet causes many other environmental problems
  • No simple equation between natural & ecological
  • Core Criteria for a Green world → BioDiversity
  • Low level → indication of overfed (capitalist) system
  • Biological diversity in 'low nutrient environments'
  • Surges of nutrients → emergence of monocultures
  • Consumption has to be reduced
  • Expecting growth of 'green collar' jobs for in service industries (USA)
  • NZ project which present power consumption of cities on TV
  • designing games to encourage agency re. these
  • deceleration
  • how to counter idea of exponential growth / constant acceleration
  • how to 'justify doing less'
  • doing less → ephemeralization
  • how to change a neo-liberal economic system
  • offer choice, as cheap as possible
  • tyranny of choice
  • gradual persuasion rather than revolution
  • evolutionary strategies
  • augmented with intelligence / education
  • debates now on the table re. agricultural methods, biofuels, etc+
  • a lot of behind the scenes action
  • persuasion through branding /design/etc+
    • rebranding of chiquita → campaign of antagonism
    • smart cars
      • visibility → succesful
      • daimler chrysler → seen as financial failure
  • human perspective
    • capacities for development
    • motivation →
      • how to encourage self development →
      • education as viral, rather than institutional
  • personal power generation
    • discounts for power production at health clubs
    • various types of discomfort
    • future 4th warrior
  • EC parliament relocation →
  • “If it can be measured it can be managed”
  • Measuring is the key concept, this makes energy use visible and motivates people because they see the direct result of their actions
  • Awareness raising at any level is important and necessary
  • From measurement to understanding
  • Ad-hoc social enforcement
  • Making a step by step change
  • Responsive environments → reinforcing sense of agency → feedback
  • First step to any change is awareness,
    • Examples: The Watt Bug / DIY Kyoto
  • We need a paradigm shift (ongoing in US at local level)
    • Away from linear thinking and competition
    • We need to change the capitalist system
  • Green products: success depends on good design & comfort
  • Inner Consciousness has to be developed worldwide - education is crucial
What are the assumption being made?
  • “finding ways back to other species”
  • Many small efforts → don't underestimate the effects of these
  • constituents → shareholders → consumers, etc+
  • gradual infiltration of conversations
  • moral / 'holier than thou'
  • vernacular values
  • gradual reinforcement
  • personal consumption becoming public →
  • 300 cities in USA have agreed to meet kyoto requirements
  • much more low level, local activities
Ethics & beyond
  • What lifestyle do you want to maintain? - at what cost…
  • Recognize interconnectedness - reciprocal relationship with environment rather than consumption only.
  • From fundamental disconnection → fundamental interconnectedness
  • Environmentalism as enlightened self-interest

In field of design, the word ìethicalî has been hijacked (strong growth of 'green' shops (organic food…) Ethics as a philosophical → marketing phrase

What are persuasive lifestyles
  • bedzed (bioregional)/ zed factory
  • how has it progressed, are they willing to bring in new technology?
  • you can't “just despise the national grid”
    • reciprocal arrangement with the grid, power consumers.
  • how does a pilot project scale?
  • reduced power consumption - 1/5th of avg. uk homes.
  • city planning
  • minority opinion re. most efficiency can be gained by knocking down all the houses an beginning again

balance in an ecosystem →

  • climate change has overtaken environmental debates
    • short term threats, deforestation, etc+
  • smaller initiatives
  • culture of decelleration →
  • many initiatives are dealing with issues on the surface,
    • not connected to the biosphere
    • linearity of cause and effect.. .
    • the mindset 'we' are in is not those that are necessary to address these problems

civilization as degrees of separation

difference between raising awareness about issues/ connectedness and imposing ideologies

High-brow people from the '1st' world talking of energy issues:

  • some decadence involved when 'feeling guilty using a hair dryer'
  • Often ppl who 'use most' have the least shame/guilt about their use
  • Seeing where one sits, within a whole → aspiration rather than guilt
  • Challenges of emerging nations, how they fit into an emerging regulators system
  • How does the 'developed world' sit at the table / tell others how to live, without taking serious changes to our own lifestyles.

Sources {incomplete}

  • luminous/self_sustaining_autonomous_systems.txt
  • Last modified: 2008-02-19 08:16
  • by nik