Tag Archives: sustainability

Faith keeps the centre strong

Faith is all that holds civilisation together.

Much of what we call modern civilisation is built on the rock of faith.

Much of what we call modern civilisation is built on the rock of faith.

It intrigues me that five years later in suffering and decline the people of the failing nation-state of Greece are not in civil war.  All the money thrown into Greece by outsiders is to pay off loans rather than ease the suffering of the citizen, whilst demands of further austerity cuts and tax rises have turned all the institutions and facilities of Greece into little more than ineffective ghosts.  The only people who protest and cause violence are mainly on the extreme right and left, the neo-nazis and anarchists.  In other failing states like Egypt and Tunisia it takes only one trigger to start off a full uprising leading to change of leadership.

The different reaction of the citizens of Greece compared to say Tunisia is I think down to faith.  In Tunisia they have faith in their centre where the leader and their team hold power.  Such people who have faith in their centre rise up in violence, protest and disorder in order to influence and change the leader and the team at the centre in the belief that it would benefit them, often in the face of competing factions, thus one sees a pendulum of change and discord flowing backwards and forwards over time.  In Greece the citizen lost all faith in the centre and created localised independent alternatives, returning to the land and creating barter trading systems.

There is a big grin on my face at the irony that in destroying Greece, its institutions and inflicting untold suffering on its citizens the corrupted world capitalist system has destroyed the faith of the Greek people in its centre and by default in the world capitalist system.  The Greek citizen have dropped out of the system, gone native, gone off grid.  Trouble would only happen if the centre and its agents attempted to regain control over what is now a liberated free-spirited Greek citizenship.

With regards to all other nations that are failing they go in one of two directions: a strong tyranny backed by might is right at the centre or fragmentation into smaller localised units of power as is happening in Greece. Which direction depends on faith, those with no faith in the centre create an alternative locally to them; power moves from the centre to the community, family and individual.  Scotland (UK) and Catalonia (Spain) are moving in the direction favouring breakaway from the centre.

The problem of failing nations is not due to bad leader but a bad centre, thus even a good leader is undermined by the beliefs, behaviours, structures and processes that exist at the centre.  When faith is lost in the centre then a paradigm shift emerges that can sweep the old centre away with sustainable alternatives often located in the community.  Once power shifts from the centre to the local then it is near impossible to reverse without considerable bloodshed.

All the unsustainable structures in the political, economic and social systems of civilisation rests on a paradigm of beliefs and behaviours, in turn supported by the faith of people in those paradigms.  Most world currencies are empty air with no assets supporting them, and the negative equity of debt, all that holds them together is faith.  People have faith that their next meal will still be available to them in the supermarkets, water will still run and they will get power through their electricity socket.  People have faith that the centre can deliver.  When the faith in the centre is obliterated interesting consequences are that people will have a paradigm shift to sustainable alternatives.

Liberty rather than Control

Lots of liberty and less control benefits self, community and the environment.

Carrying your little brother

All actions that liberate rather than control is good.

In the last few months I have signed many worthwhile petitions that campaigned for liberties or against harm of people or environment.  Today I refused to sign a petition to limit bonuses of bank staff. It would be hypocritical of me to tell the State to interfere with the decision of a business of how much bonus it pays its staff when I would not want that sort of interference in my own business decision-making on bonuses.  As business owner and citizen I support minimal interference by the State.

I consider the State should have only three functions: army, international diplomacy and enforcement of laws protecting rights and liberties, compensation law and contract law.  Anything else is run by small district councils centred on the local level.

All citizens, business and community should be allowed the maximum of rights and liberties to do as they like as longs as they do no harm to people, community or environment.  The laws encoded for rights and liberties, compensation law and contract law can enforce the rule of “do no harm”. Control is not desirable, but penalties for harm is desirable.  The State bailing out a failed bank makes no sense to me, especially when it is the poor who suffer the most from the action.

The backbone of the economy of the State is the small business, who operates on the community level.  It makes sense to concentrate all resources on the small business and not the unsustainable foreign-owned corporates.  The backbone of the political systems is the small community councils who better knows the needs of their community than a largely ignorant centralised government.  The backbone of the social systems is the family, and then the community; when their voice and needs are destroyed society collapses.  If the family and the community is strong then so is the nation, it will hold against anything since family and community work together in adversity in ways a centralised State apparatus can never do. The backbone of the environment is local, all the assets of wood, river and land belong to the community who exist as stakeholders and stewards to utilise sustainable activities to keep them healthy.  It it obvious that when tens of thousands of communities are sustainably managing their own environmental assets on the local level that the overall impact is the entire environmental system of the nation is healthy and abundant.

In all things from your own life all the way to the leadership of the nation the focus that increases liberty and eliminates control results in healthy, happy and abundant outcomes.

Paradigm shift into sustainability

The global realignment to a sustainable future is through pain and knowledge.

Will humanity achieve a paradigm shift of the ugly duckling into a swan?

Will humanity achieve a paradigm shift of the ugly duckling into a swan?

Like so many lemmings humanity marches onward to the abyss, yet I hold out hope for a change of direction. Humanity lives in a current paradigm of growth through relentless consumption.  What do I mean by paradigm, I mean a worldview in the social context, one that is made up of beliefs and behaviours.  The current paradigm of relentless consumption is unsustainable, its conclusion is a predictable mass breakdown of social, political, economic and environmental systems that humanity depends on.

The answer is a paradigm shift, a change of worldview. How? There are two ways a paradigm will shift, often the combination of both, which is via pain and knowledge.  As energy systems breakdown humanity suffers pain, there is a conflict arising between the inertia of the familiar and the need for relief from the pain.  To cross the threshold the pain would overcome inertia leading to a paradigm shift.  The provision of knowledge can also produce a paradigm shift, for humanity given the option might prefer a new paradigm to an old unsustainable version.

With crisis hides the blessing for those that seize the opportunity.  If an old paradigm causes suffering, the individual who offers a solution, a relief to pain can reap the benefits as befitting a hero.  All those who are trailblazing ahead of the masses towards a new paradigm of sustainability are in a position of influence to educate and show the rest of humanity a new paradigm of beliefs and behaviours that will act as a relief to world suffering through sustainable living.

Our relationship with the Grim Reaper and energy

Everything is energy.

It is the doom of all energy systems to be cut down by entropy.

It is the doom of all energy systems to be cut down by entropy.

To understand the grave threat that humanity faces to its survival is to understand energy, energy systems and the laws of thermodynamics.

The universe is energy.  You are energy. Your thoughts, words and actions are energy.  What you hear, see and smell is energy.  All change and motion is energy.  All matter is energy.  How you look and how you behave is energy.  Your dreams, hopes and fears are energy.  There is nothing mystical about energy, it is a scientific fact that everything is energy.

You are composed of an energy field, through which energy flows, which together form an energy system.  You are an energy system, interconnected with other energy systems.

All energy desires to return to its primordial chaotic state, this gives rise to entropy.  The ancient Egyptians personified entropy as a snake, calling it Apophis .  The ancient Celts called entropy Gwyn ap Nudd.  In the modern world entropy is recognised as the personification of Death, or the Grim Reaper.  Entropy is the most powerful authority in the cosmos, for it existed before this universe, and will devour this universe at its ending.

You are dying.  Entropy is stealing your energy from you.  As your energy is lost you decay into disorder in a process called old age.  At a certain point the energy deficit will be so great in your energy system it will collapse, you will die. Game over.  Your doom is to die, but you have the ability to delay this fate through a process of energy renewal and conservation.  You can cheat entropy by sending part of your energy out into a new energy system by having children, but you yourself are fated to be obliterated by entropy.

All energy systems have mass, and this mass can resist the immediate impact of entropy.  Mass creates energy fields such as gravity and magnetism that can trap, organise and give order to energy.  At all times entropy is stealing energy from the energy fields, reducing their mass, reducing their energy fields, to a point that they will decay to disorder faster and faster as they diminish in energy.

Energy systems have a capacity for renewal in that they can steal some of the energy back from entropy via their energy fields.  Energy systems are in a state of becoming through a constant state of strife and renewal. The flow of energy at work within the energy systems increases mass and the energy field through energy conservation.  All energy systems are temporary in nature in that they are running at an energy deficit, their doom is delayed only through their ability to steal energy and conserve that energy as work available to the energy system.  It is through the creative capacity of energy systems that new energy systems arise to replace the ones that die.

A healthy energy system has an abundant flow of energy coming into the system, and an abundant energy available as work within the system through conservation.  Energy systems that are overly abundant with energy become creative throwing out new energy systems, for instance in human society this is marked by a blaze of art and scientific progress.

Energy systems lacking energy both as an input and as available within the system will move to a state of increasing disorder and decay.  Decay is identifiable in that infrastructure falls apart and processes malfunction.  In the UK the widespread pot holes in roads are an example of decay of infrastructure, and the death of patients in UK hospitals from hunger and thirst is due to decay of process. Disorder can manifest in many forms from violence, to anarchy, to fragmentation of infrastructure and processes within an energy system.  Syria is an example of an energy system that is collapsing to disorder. Egypt is an example of an energy system that is about to collapse into disorder.

All energy systems have a tipping point.  If there is lots of energy in a system in excess to its needs, it turns creative churning out new energy systems until it returns to a state of deficit.  If there is too little energy in a system it will collapse.  Whilst the decline of an energy system may appear steady through increasing manifestations of decay and disorder, when it hits the tipping point the collapse is rapid and total.

For me the question is no longer if energy systems that humanity depends upon will fail, rather it is when and how many energy systems will collapse.  An energy system like the Earth has sufficient potential energy to recover from a collapse, however the recovery after an energy system collapse can be slow, for the Earth hundreds to millions of years, which is not enough time for humanity to derive enough energy to survive as a species.

The difference between consumer and stakeholder

Would you rather have a stake in the environment or merely consume it?

Be a consumer or a stakeholder? Your choice. .

Be a consumer or a stakeholder? Your choice.

If a bank loaned me money the relationship would be that of a consumer.  The bank has no interest in my business, only on making a fast profit at my expense. The bank will require that I pay back its loan plus interest.  The bank would see me as a cow to be milked for every penny it can through bank charges and selling me expensive unnecessary financial products.  The bank has a parasitic viewpoint to its customers in making profit without regard to encouraging happiness, health or abundance in its customers.  If an individual invested money in a business they are in effect a stakeholder, their focus is on producing a healthy profitable business so they gain a return on their money, the downside is they take a loss if the business fails.  It is in the interests of the investor to do everything in their power to assist the business to succeed.

The consumer

In the old economic global order you and I are classed as consumers.  Our interest is limited to the consumption of products and services sold to us by the providers of those products and services. We have no say in the processes or the provision of the products or services: for instance the process that employs children in factories to provide Apple products; or the processes of Monsanto that kills bees.


The contract between consumer and provider is limited to a short-term exchange of product and service for money, often with a notion that what is consumed will in a short time be thrown away for a better one, or as a result of the design that gives it a short-term life cycle to encourage further consumption.

Consumers are placed in a state of constant need

The consumerist system is designed to see you and me as nothing more than a hungry locust, we the consumer are always placed in a state of need in a system that often favours an outcome of parasitism where one side loses and one wins.   The idea is we satisfy this need by spending on products we often do not need, regularly and continuously; wiping out our savings, the legacy for future generations, and enslaving ourselves in perpetual debt to money merchants (banks) to keep this unsustainable system going.  Consumption is the golden ideal in this system, where the health of a nation is measured by the amount of consumption via the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and recession is considered bad indicating consumption has slowed or reversed. Spending is good and saving is bad in such a system.

The stakeholder

When you get involved in the conversation on sustainability you and me are often referred to as stakeholders.  As stakeholders we take on a radically different world view to that of the consumer.  As a stakeholder you have an interest in the community, economy and the environment you are involved in.  No longer are you merely consuming resources, you have authority, and responsibility for those resources.  You become like the investor in the business, investing in the health of energy systems thus reaping the benefits of the prosperity in terms of happiness, health and abundance that the energy system will bring.  Instead of being a bystander you are centre stage in the conversation and processes of anything that you have an interest in.  You become a change master, in that now you have the power and voice; you are the change maker, in that you not ruler, priest or merchant makes the changes.

The choice

The attitudes, ideas and processes that worked at the expense of the environment for the last 50 years around spending, consumption and relentless growth are no longer sustainable.  The energy systems are no longer coping, are breaking down into disorder.  The consumer is heading towards extinction, the rise of the stakeholder is the beginning of a new order.  The choice remains if you wish to continue to be a consumer or take on a new role as a stakeholder.

The magic of snow

The world is full of magic, shame the sleeping majority will never notice.

Imola Pond in Colchester Castle Park last week conveyed the magic of winter beautifully for me.

Imola Pond in Colchester Castle Park last week conveyed the magic of winter beautifully for me.

Yesterday as I was visiting new WordPress blogs I posted a comment on a blog how everyone seems to mention Narnia when it comes to snow scenes.  The response was “Do they?” That response irritated me, the sort of response with the unsaid insult of “here is an idiot”.  It is the sort of rude blog response that no blog writer should make if they want to attract followers or encourage comment on their blog.

To understand such a comment as I made on that blog about Narnia, it requires an assumption of three pieces of information:

  1. they had seen the film “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”.
  2. they had experience of others having mentioned Narnia.
  3. they had encountered winter scenes that reminded them of Narnia.

It is presumptive on my part to assume the other knows what I am talking about when I speak of something that they are ignorant of, however the response they make can shut down an opportunity to learn something new about the world.  Opportunities for new insights or adventures open up around us all the time, all we have to do is keep our minds open to all possibilities.  Too often however the mind shuts out anything that is new or is counter to its world view.

The concept of sustainability is often new and challenging to most minds brought up and conditioned in the old unsustainable paradigms that currently rule the minds of people and society today.  It is the defensive, hostile closed minds that anyone attempting to share and show sustainable ideas are going to face with the ignorant.  The ignorant rude attitude of some can be like a red rag to a bull, so it takes an effort to pull back and let it go.  Such people will be constantly encountered, and they are unworthy to waste energy on.

If you have not seen the “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” then it is worth seeing, as well as reading the book. CS Lewis includes considerable philosophy into his Narnia books, which makes them enchanting to both adults and children.  Once you have seen the snow scenes in the film, then you will quickly make the association with winter scenes in the real world.  Once the snows come the wildlife seem to vanish; the birds stop singing; there is often a silence, a calm fresh stillness in the air, as if everything is sleeping, waiting and watching.  If you have a camera as the light conditions get low you can catch a magical landscape that will convey the magical experience of what you see.  It is the magical scenes of nature that make life worth living, sadly the ignorant will be blind to such magic.

The illusion of control

Nature presents alternatives to the human obsession of control.

Swans adapt to change rather than seek to control it.

Swans adapt to rather than control change.

Last night I am in bed floating on an increasingly stormy threatening ocean, afraid I would fall into the dark cold waters to my doom.  It was a dream, the bed my sense of security, the ocean the chaotic universe.  To my relief my dream bed grew larger and the ocean calmer.  We all need security, but the process of control to achieve this sense of security is wrong.

Energy systems

The universe is composed of layers of energy systems.  “Panta Rhei!” announced the philosopher Heraclitus as he observed that the natural state of the universe is to flow, move, change.  The energy in the energy systems naturally favours strife, renewal and creation.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and create.  The design of all life is movement. Energy moves, be it as a form of money, water, food, heat, knowledge; in fact everything is in a state of becoming, motion and change.  Nothing is still.

The illusion of control

Then comes humanity with their illusions of control.  Humanity entertains the delusion that the universe is deterministic, that at any given moment humanity can know everything there is to know about an energy system; in reality all energy systems feed into each other, have hidden parts, have a state of complexity of anything more than three variables that makes it impossible for even the fastest of human computers to calculate the true state of a system at any one moment. Another human delusion is that energy systems are dead cold mechanical systems thus easy to determine and control; in reality all energy systems are chaotic, living and self organising; energy systems that are destroying, renewing and creating new forms of itself.  In such energy systems the smallest change of a variable causes a large overall outcome in a system.

The danger of abstraction

Control obsessed humanity abstracts complex energy systems down to simple self-confirming illusions of control.  What will reach the ground first, a sack of feathers or a sack of apples each a ton? In an abstraction only using gravity as a variable humanity proudly declares both will arrive at the same time; however they leave out friction and air currents which can have a large unpredictable impact on the outcome. If you are unable to determine outcomes in systems, you are unable to control the system.

The danger of determinism

The process humanity uses to control the energy flow in an energy system is by forcing it to be deterministic.  This process leads to obstructions, stagnation and interference with the strife, renewal and creative aspects of energy flow in a system.  Humanity even talks about controlling the weather to achieve favourable outcomes, not realising that any attempt to interfere with energy flow in the weather will cause the entire energy system to break down.  Often by control humanity slows or even stops the energy flow altogether.  All energy systems are healthy because of the flow of energy through them in a cycle of potential-kinetic-potential-kinetic-repeat. If this cycle of flow of energy is blocked the entire system turns entropic and breaks down.  It also wastes large sums of energy fighting against the flow of energy systems.

Control leads to sick energy systems

Practically all human processes are focussed on command and control, which leads to the flow of money, energy, food, water, information being paralysed or slowed.  All energy systems that relies on this sort of energy flow starts to break down according to the laws of thermodynamics.  Look at the effects of the vast control systems on the human information and money systems due to 9-11 and the credit crunch.  Look at the children where fear of child abuse, road traffic accidents, of health and safety has the outcome of childhood obesity, allergies, mental health issues and eye sight problems.  How liberty, creativity and wisdom has been devastated in children and the human society thanks to the obsession of control.  Where energy is flowing in an energy system it is healthy, when it is controlled to the point the energy is no longer naturally flowing, sickness is the result.

Nature has the answer

What is the answer? Look to nature.  Nothing in nature is controlling energy flow, instead it uses defence and attack strategies to capture energy.  All plants and animals establish territories that contain enough energy resources to satisfy their needs, they never try to mess with the energy flow, they tap into it.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and create; all which requires energy.  All strategies in life are focussed on energy; all life aggressively and creatively captures energy, uses the energy efficiently and conserves energy.  Energy impacts life processes and purposes, ultimately determining who survives and prospers.

All plants and animals won’t control energy flow, they adapt to changes in the energy system.  When the lake in Castle Park Colchester froze over recently all the ducks headed off to the river; when snow hit Castle Park, all the squirrels vanished to their nests; even the children adapted to changing weather conditions in Castle Park by indulging in snowman building and sledging.

Fighting against energy systems costs energy

To fight against an energy system costs energy.  A plant and animal follows the rule of least resistance where they follow a strategy that costs the least amount of energy.  All life will rapidly adapt with new strategies to changing situations in an energy system, for instance some birds will turn cannibal if food runs out.  Genetically all life will mutate their DNA rapidly to environmental changes, with viruses being the fastest adapters (thus a warning if bat species are exterminated, as the viruses from bats will jump to humans to survive, for example like Ebola and SARS.)


In summary nothing in nature seeks to control energy flow, but rather adapts and uses strategies to capture, use and conserve energy in an efficient manner.  All life follows the principle of least resistance following the strategy that uses the least amount of energy to achieve an outcome.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and to create; all which requires energy.  All life carves out spaces with enough energy resources to sustain them, which they will defend aggressively and creatively.

The stupidity of humanity and its choice

Only humanity could be stupid enough to waste energy attempting to control energy flow in energy systems, thus undermining the whole energy system that humanity depends on to survive. I dream that humanity will wake up and learn from nature, for like in my dream the outcome will be that humanity risks falling out of bed into the abyss of no return.