Biodome Fundraiser

Green Free Will at work!

Introduction

The Biodome Project progress can be followed on http://enggreenfreewill.wordpress.com. The construction team are doing an awesome work. However, one of the problems we have encountered with the LEADER support grant we’ve received has been that we have encountered demands on additions and elaborations to the reports we send in to explain how we’ve used the part of the grant we received first. The result is that our payments are delayed by constant demands on more and more specifications.

If we do not receive our next payment, we can have trouble finishing the project as it stands, and we are risking to be liable of the grant. This is not how it should go, because we have all struggled very hard with this project, a project that is non-commercial and aims to create a better world.

The Biodome in Lögdea (on Swedish)

The goal is to build an automated experimental biodome with an aquaponics system, connected to a computer system that can alter conditions inside the dome after the changing needs of the ecosystems inside said dome.

What do we need?

We would need 60.000 Swedish Crowns to complete this stage of the biodome and pay our costs. That is 9000 USD and around 6500 Euro.

We have already received 1000 SEK during the early stages of this fundraising, and that money would go to compensate some of the practivists of Green Free Will for their gas costs driving to the site for voluntary work. Needless to say, that is a small fraction of our costs.

Re-funding

If we receive our next part-payment from the County Board of Vesterbotten, we can refund your donations as “private expenses”, so you can get your money back. Note that we are not sure when the next part-payment will arrive, or if it will arrive, given the experiences taught us by the process until now.

That is why we are asking for a donation and not for a loan.

How do I pay?

You can donate a sum of money through Paypal or to our official bank account.

Our official Paypal adress is: andrew.wallace[at]technate.eu

Our bank account number is: 8420-2 903 584 947-1 (Swedbank)

The future needs your help!

Enrique Lescure, Sequence Director of Relations, EOS

The Way Ahead

Galaxy

“If fear should win our hearts
Our light will have long diminished
Before it reaches the farthest star” ~ Ronan Harris, VNV Nation

My name is Enrique Lescure, and I am a board member of the Earth Organisation for Sustainability – EOS, and has been active within the network since 2007.Energy Accounting, Earth Organisation for Sustainability, EOS

Maybe it could be seen as pretentious to say that we – we who are alive today – perhaps are the most important generation that has lived during the era of humanity on Earth. That the decisions that we make – or not – during our lifetime, will affect life on Earth during hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions of years?

Our planet has gone through five mass extinctions during its life, the last one caused by a meteor hitting the sea at the Yucátan Peninsula 65 million years ago. It ended the age of the Dinosaurs and led to the rise of the mammals as the dominant terrestrial forms of life.

While I am writing this, almost all eco-systems on our beautiful planet are put under an unfathomable stress. Complex ecosystems are replaced by mono-cultures. Heavy metals, chemicals and particles are poisoning air, water, earth and organisms alike. The rise of CO2 has been caused by emissions of fossil fuels into the atmosphere. The seas are dying. The quality of the soil is being destroyed. If this development continue, it will spiral into a sixth mass extinction event.

I am sure that you who are reading this know about this.

You also probably do know that this is caused by the current civilization that we have created.

The question is: How should we solve this?
Answers are varying. Politicians are speaking of bans, taxes and subsidies. Businesses and scientists are speaking of technical measures. Grassroot organisations are speaking of solving local problem. The complexity of the issues can seem overwhelming.

Though all these issues are really symptoms of a main cause.

What is then that main cause?

The main cause is that we have created an ecologically and socially unsustainable civilization, founded on a debt-based monetary system dependent on exponential growth. Today we are using around 135% of the renewal capacity of the Earth.

We must solve all issues with climate change, sea destruction, heavy metals and mass deaths amongst animal and plant life, and each of these problems present an enormous challenge for all of us.

The main challenge however is to reduce our usage of resources from 135% to below 100%, which means a level where the biosphere can start to recover after decades of exploitation.

I was aware of many of these problems already when I studied at high school.

Thus I started to explore ideas aimed at solving the environmental deficit we are experiencing today. I started to see that the green movement relied too heavily on changing the behavior of the individual, as well as changing details of how the systems are working today. The alternative green forces, anarcho-primitivists, deep-greens and eco-fascists, were on the other hand focusing on misanthropy and on unrealistic visions of a pre-industrial world.

At the end, my search led me to establish contact with students, engineers and researchers from many countries, who shared similar ideas on how we should proceed. Our goal was aimed at creating a realistic, tangible model on how to combine a high-tech civilization with social and ecological sustainability.

Thus we created EOS – the Earth Organization for Sustainability.

EOS was founded as a research- and grassroot network, producing a blueprint for a hypothetical sustainable civilization. This is a (well… relatively) short text called “The Design”, which is describing our ideas.

Our thoughts are the following: We are aiming to create a model for handling the Earth’s resources in a more rational and ecologically sustainable manner. In short, this proposed model is based on a) a continuous survey of the global renewal capacity, b) that all human beings get to own a share of this renewal capacity, c) that they from their share can allocate their resources to what they want to be produced for themselves, d) and that the production is determined by where the consumers are allocating their shares.

In short:

• There is a ceiling that limits how much we can use – the renewal capacity of the Earth.
• All human beings are entitled to an income floor and an income ceiling.
• No products that people are not actively asking for should be produced. This also means a radically lowered amount of working hours.

We are not aiming for a command economy, but for a libertarian, de-centralised and federated system characterised by common communication networks. Neither do we want no growth, as growth in income and living standards under a system as it is proposed by us would be a result of environmentally friendly applications and more efficient ways to utilize resources.

How realistic is our model then?

As a research network, our approach is moving towards applying scientific methodologies on socio-economic systems. Therefore, our goal is to work together with local communities, associations and groups of individuals and test aspects of the design to see how well it works in the real world, to change or scrap what doesn’t work and evolve organically.

Ideally, we aim to also strengthen local communities to increase local resilience and together form a model that can bridge the ecological crisis awaiting us, and help humanity move towards a more evolved and mature civilization.

The most important foundation of our work is that we are striving towards a sustainable world, and that we during our journey are basing our work on ethical methods that strengthen human rights and diversity.

We can all together create a civilization based on sustainability and human creativity, a stable foundation for the values which our descendants one day hopefully will spread beyond the stars.

My question to you is: What should we – humanity – become, and how should we become?

The Biodome Project 2014

dsc02411One of the greatest challenges of the future, in a world affected by peak oil, damaged soil and climate change, is how to ensure our food. We stand before the greatest challenge that humanity has ever encountered. There are 7 billion people on the planet, and many of them are today dependent on an agricultural sector which is dependent on fertilizers based on chemicals and fossil resources.

There are, however, alternatives. Organic farming for example.

But for organic farming to become an alternative to the prevailing paradigm of large, monocultural fields, it needs to become less labour-intensive and be able to feed billions of people. That is why I found the ideas of Alexander Bascom and Green Free Will so intriguing when I first heard about them.

The idea is to contain a self-regulating aquaponics system within an automated geodesic dome. This system will simulate an eco-system, with an artificial river floor world, filled with small aquatic animals, and a plant bed where vegetables, fruits and beans are grown. There will be a computerised regulation system inside the dome which would adjust to a number of variables – climate conditions, atmosphere, bacteria levels, nitrate levels and water levels, and change the conditions of the dome to keep a dynamic equilibrium. This choice represents the reality, where vegetables and fruits together stand for around 80% of the human calory intake, whereas aquatic food stands for 20% of the proteine intake for most people. Since soil will not be used, and the plants will be fertilized by organic manure produced by the aquatic eco-system, the internal eco-system will be sustainable, and will only require a minimum of external nutritional in-take (mostly iron).

EOS has joined its forces together with Green Free Will, to make sure that this project is realised.

Our aim is to raise a small, experimental prototype dome, made of plastic composites and located in Lögdeå, near Umeå.

And we have received a grant which is covering a part of the cost. The grant is delivered by URnära, a LEADER project which helps with agricultural development in northern Sweden. The grant is covering the construction materials for the dome and the initial wages for the two project leaders, Alexander Bascom and myself. However, a condition for the grant is co-financing from other entities – from individuals and from associations and companies. Also, the grant does not cover the foundation digging, the aquaponics system nor the computer hardware and software.

The grant is on 34.035 Euro (300.000 SEK), while the total cost of the project is 177.011 Euro (1.560.000 SEK). We have a deadline until the 30th of June 2014 to have the Dome up.

You have an opportunity to help with achieving food sustainability, combine innovative new systems to make high-tech organic farming. The aim of this project is not to make a profit-driven enterprise, but to help individuals, communities and peoples achieve sustainable farming. Imagine roof-tops, private and public gardens and communities centered around dome-farming. Imagine a future where people once again can grow clean, unpolluted food in a sustainable way any time they want during the year, no matter where they live. This project has prospects from everything from ordinary gardening, to humanitarian aid, to space exploration.

Our paypal address is biodome2014@gmail.com

Contact person is Dr Andrew Alexander Wallace, Spanngränd 13, 906-28 UMEA, SWEDEN.

CURRENT NEEDS: 300.000 SEK/1.560.000 SEK

 

 

Energy Accounting


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This is another one of the series of proposed articles for the updated EOS website. It delves into the subject of Energy Accounting, which can be pretty complex to explain. I have tried to be as concise and clear as possible, given that this subject is unfamiliar to the overwhelming majority of people.

Introduction

 

Now when we have established why we don’t appreciate the current monetary system, we would like to offer our alternative. Before we start this segment, we would however like to remind you that we do not aim to dogmatically enforce our views on the world.

 

EOS is aiming to utilise research, science and testing to allow alternative systems to emerge and evolve in harmony with the needs of the participants and of the environment. We feel that is necessary in order to provide a social environment that would treat it’s participants with respect and dignity. Nowhere do we claim that we know this would work, but we believe that it offers a potential way out of the gridlock which the human species have got stuck into.

 

We also want you to keep an open mind while reading this article, even if the conclusions can seem radical. We are building our conclusions on how the planet is working, as well as on our values, our views that all forms of life should be treated in such a dignified manner as possible, that we need to balance our needs with the needs of the biosphere, and that all human beings should have the rights to a minimum standard of living.

 

We mean to form a realistic model of how such a mutually beneficial relationship can be established between humanity and the Earth.

 

The Earth’s renewal capacity

 

For the last 65 million years, we all living beings who have had the privilege to enjoy the fresh water and fruits of the Earth have been living under what we could call “The Eocene Biosphere”. It is an ecosystem which is characterised by two features.

 

One: The dominant form of animal life on most of the continents of the Earth are mammals.

 

Two: The climate has been characterised by warm periods and ice ages following one another in a cyclical pattern, regulated by humidity and vegetation.

 

The biosphere is working in a circular system. In the natural world, there is no landfills. Instead, everyone’s waste is someone’s gain. The system is self-renewing and de-centralised, composed of multiple emergent agents that consist of plants, insects, birds, mammals, and the networks that emerge out of their interactions.

 

This system gradually establishes dynamic equilibriums, where an abundance of plants leads to an explosion of herbivores, which leads to a subsequent growth in the number of carnivores. Often, there are interlinked webs of thousands of different species, making up different ecosystems.

 

The biosphere is materially consisting of biomass, which consists of all accumulated organic matter on the planet. Under natural circumstances, given that the system is not enduring a geologically volatile period or a period of rapid climate change, the system is generally adding new biomass to itself, thus growing. This new biomass is generally generated in the world of plants, where sunlight, water and minerals together are an important part of the individual nutritional cycle of a plant.

 

However, for the last decades, this natural order has been upset by the linear growth-oriented economy of the current human civilization. In the year of 2013 for example, we had already consumed up the equivalent of all the biomass the Earth could generate during that year at the 22nd of August.

 

In general, this rate of global ecological cannibalism is creeping 14 days closer to January every passing year. By that point, we will have surpassed the planet’s ability to regenerate itself with one year.

 

Thus, EOS has concluded that it might be wise to base the new socio-economic system on the Earth’s renewal capacity. By directly tying our accounting system to the Earth’s renewal capacity, we hope to be able to receive direct information on how to better manage our common resources.

 

The Energy Survey

 

We imagine that the society in the future, in order to feed the billions of people on the planet, would still need to be a society with a technological infrastructure, and that technological progress will continue. The reason for this is both realistic and humanitarian. We cannot feed more than one billion people if we would return to an agrarian economy on a global scale, and we can only feed ten million if we moved back to a global hunter-gatherer production system.

 

However, a technological system has a few benefits when it comes to the rational evaluation of the available resources. It allows us to gather data and information, analyse it and have a more transparent an open evaluation than ever before.

 

Therefore, we believe that the best way to move forward is to be aware of what we can do, and what effects that would bring to the environments. We must measure and compile data from all ecosystems on a constant basis, as the situation of the Earth is so dire now that we need to survey the status of local eco-systems.

 

But more than that, and central to this article, we hope to establish a global network that can gather data about the renewal capacity of the Earth on a yearly basis. This process will be called The Energy Survey, and will determine exactly how much we as a species could collect from the planet without depleting the natural foundations for life on Earth.

 

Energy Accounting

 

The new form of currency which we want to test as an option are called “Energy Credits”, and they will represent fractions of the total renewal capacity on Earth translated into the emergy cost – in short what energy it will take to extract resources, produce items, transport them and then recycle them.

 

That will represent the cost factor of the new socio-economic system, which will mean that all prices will represent the actual environmental costs, at all segments of the product cycle.

 

Moreover, since the total amount of energy credits should represent the total amount of renewal capacity on the planet for a certain period of time, it would be impossible to utilise the system to overexploit the resource base of the planet.

 

The line is that the share should be divided as such, that one part will go to maintaining infrastructure, another one (which will be the largest) will be distributed directly to the citizenry, and a third part will be “reinvested” into the biosphere, which will mean a biomass net gain.

 

This system is called “Energy Accounting”.

 

Basic Income

 

It is too early yet to discuss exactly what proportions should be allocated to the three different areas of distribution, and it is most likely that if the system is implemented, the proportions will wary in accordance with the interests of all engaged parties.

 

What stands clear however, is that a large part of the energy credits distributed to citizens will be consisting of universal basic income for all citizens. It is a core tenet of the values of EOS, that no human being should be homeless, starving, freezing, thirsting, or deprived of healthcare and education.

 

Human beings have differing backgrounds, talents, interests, personalities and levels of intelligence. Under this current system, people are punished because they are badly adjusted to the needs of the labour market, often through no fault of their own. Even in developed nations, there are many homeless and mentally ill people who are abandoned on the streets.

 

Nobody deserves to become ill or die due to their social incompetence or physical disability. All human beings deserve to have basic dignity.

 

Consumption, how?

 

People receive their income in accordance with the rules that the citizenry have agreed upon.

 

Then the question arises, is there any difference in how trade and exchange is supposed to work in comparison to the current world?

 

Yes, there is a difference.

 

Under our proposed model, the consumer allocates shares of her energy credits to various goods and services. Instead of each actor paying money to the prior actor in the product cycle, from consumer to raw materials extractor, the consumer allocates energy credits which represent the environmental cost of the entire product cycle for producing and transporting x numbers of a particular product.

 

This means that the demand – or the will of the citizens – will have a larger influence over the supply side. The consumers will decide, through their allocations, what will be produced, and from which producers they want to purchase their products.

 

On the other hand, there will be no advertisement in the manner there is today. It would make no sense at all to try to actively encourage consumers to increase their rate of consumption. Moreover, goods will be assembled only when requested by the consumers. We believe that such an organisation of production will serve to decrease the production of for example electronic products, cell phones, fashion clothes, magazines and other products, especially as many products in today’s world are never sold or used.

 

 

Reduced labour hours

 

With the vastly decreased production rate, and the production ceiling, there would be no more needs to try to increase demand and thus the production rate of the good. Moreover, with the system of Energy Accounting, employments would not anymore be founded on the principle of maximising profits, but rather on the principles of maximising social utility. This can be used to reduce unemployment significantly (we will return on that issue in the next article), especially within the sectors of education and healthcare.

 

If more people are gainfully and meaningfully employed within a sector, the labour hours of all the participants can be reduced. They will be able to spend more quality time with their family and loved ones, and more time in pursuit of their interests and passions. In short, they would have more time to fulfil their human desires.

 

On the other hand, several sectors will shrink and disappear. This will of course serve to free more labour to be employed in gainfully productive jobs.

 

The ramifications of this should of course however be left to the local communities to determine, as our proposed alternative to this current system – as you will see in the next article – is characterised by a high degree of de-centralisation and organisational flexibility.

 

When it comes to barter between individuals, it is best left to the regulation of the local communities as well.

 

Wise growth

 

This new form of socio-economic system that emerges through Energy Accounting will probably have slower rates of growth in more than a few sectors. This does not however mean that there will be zero growth.

 

Rather, the amount of energy credits – or rather the purchasing power of said energy credits – will increase as new technological innovations are arriving, which are making production, transports or resource extraction more ecologically friendly.

 

Of course, the existence of such a system would stimulate inventions that would save energy and reduce the amount of materials used in production. In short, stimulating more sustainable ways of utilising energy.

 

Summary

 

Energy Accounting as a design offers several potential benefits, both to the well-being of the biosphere, the harmony of the communities, and the quality of life of human beings. These benefits are the following:

 

Ecological

 

·         Real-time awareness of the state of the planet.

 

·         A production ceiling marked by the renewal capacity of the planet, ensuring that the biomass is not degraded and that biological diversity – Life as we know it – would not be harmed.

 

 

·         The cost of the product in terms of purchasing cost will reflect the environmental stress exerted over the environment.

 

 

·         Cheaper relative costs for purchasing more environmentally friendly products.

 

 

·         Total balance between demand and supply, through a demand-driven economy.

 

 

·         A decreased production rate.

 

 

·         Stimulate innovations that reduce the energy usage and materials, and increase the sustainability of goods and services.

 

Social

 

·         A guaranteed basic income for all the participants in the system.

 

 

·         Guaranteed housing, healthcare and education.

 

 

·         Reduced labour hours, allowing for more time to be a human being.

 

 

·         No forced long-term unemployment and social alienation.

 

 

A scientific path forward

 

EOS is aware that this system is untested, and that there are many questions that remain unanswered. For example, we do not know how human incentives would respond to this new socio-economic environment. Will people for example – during the end of an Energy Survey period – consume frantically to not lose their remaining energy credits? Or will people try to avoid work?

 

We are not a political movement, and do not aim to try to introduce this system tomorrow on a global scale if we had the chance. That would be highly irresponsible and immature. It could lead to unprecedented disasters, and actually to consequences that would damage both the Earth and the human race even more, and bring us farther away from our goals.

 

Instead, we aim to test Energy Accounting on a limited scale, during different conditions, to be able to judge what parts of the idea that works and what parts should be adjusted or abandoned altogether. Any adverse effects would happen in a limited environment. Our goal is to allow Energy Accounting to evolve and develop itself through the interactions of networks of humans, collaborating with one another in a voluntary and rational manner.

 

We are also aware, that if Energy Accounting is ever implemented, it will look different – perhaps even alien – to the current design. That does not bother us. We embrace evolution and development.

 

Energy Accounting does neither, if ever implemented, represent the final step in the evolution of the human civilization. Rather, it would then just be a step towards another, hopefully superior way of managing resources. After all, we would one day stretch beyond the Earth, and throughout the stars.

 

Final words

 

 

The important thing is that the new system, during the time it is implemented, should fulfil the two core objectives.

 

First: That no more should be taken from the Earth than what the Earth can replenish.

 

Second: That all human beings are given access to basic standard of life.

 

Hopefully, the 21st century will be the century when we eliminate the triplet evils of poverty, illiteracy and famine. Despite that we are facing an environmental challenge, greater than any before, it remains the hope and conviction of EOS that humanity can unite and overcome Her adversities and help a better human civilization to emerge.

 

We can do better than we are doing.

 

And we can become better than we are.

 

Or else our light will vanish before it reaches the farthest star.”  – Ronan Harris, VNV Nation

WW3?

By Enrique Lescure, Relations Director of EOS.

The recent developments in Syria are very troubling for the prospects of world peace. Both Iran and Russia have signalled that they will respond directly by an US strike, while the USA has stated that retaliation will be taken as a reason to expand the conflict.

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While the recent gas attack in Ghouta was a horrific atrocity, the proposed US intervention is even officially resting on several reasons, one of which is “US national interest”. One could only recall the horrendous Central African wars of the 1990s, which did neither engage a foreign intervention or even much attention from western media and governments.

It is estimated that 10 million people have been killed in these separate wars. Yet they produced no international intervention. It is probably necessary that we in the future find a way to allow a neutral and general way of conducting interventions, without affecting the “precious balance of power”.

Given that, the Syrian Civil War is probably the most intensive conflict in the world today, and there is an acute humanitarian crisis.

The main issue for the involved parties can be said to be “The Great Game”, an underlying conflict between the Anglo-Saxon powers and the Russian Empire, which can be said to be over two centuries old.

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The Great Game is basically a centuries old conflict of interests regarding Central Asia and the Middle East. In its modern incarnation, it is basically an issue of oil and gas reserves.

On one side, there is Russia, which is heavily dependent on its virtual monopoly on Central Asian oil and gas, which it exports to Europe. This has come to fund Putin’s military and security apparatus, and anything which would upset this monopoly would harm Russia’s economy – perhaps leading to an economic crisis and the collapse of the Russian Federation.

On the other hand, there is America, a heavily indebted superpower which is suffering from sluggish growth prospects, a crumbling infrastructure, a social security system which would be bankcrupted in a few decades if not years. If the United States would get an inroad into the Central Asian oil and gas market, it could theoretically be used both to bolster the United States’ fading superpower status and serve to cripple their Russian rivals.

This is probably why Russia consider the prospects for a US intervention in Syria as a mortal threat, and show readiness to use military force in order to try to intimidate the United States. During these last two months, it stands evidently clear that we all are living in the middle of a Second Cold War.

This is a very dangerous situation.

Syria is an ally of Iran, and Iran is an Anti-American power that blocks western access to Central Asia from the south. Since 2003, the geopolitical situation of Iran has steadily improved, due to both the toppling of the Sunni Minority regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel War and the increasing participation in the Putin-led “multipolar bloc”.

Syria allows both Iran and Russia access to the Mediterranean Sea.

In the same time, Saudi Arabia and Qatar both desire to contain Iran and if possible weaken it, as they both fear the prospects of Iranian hegemony over the Middle East, and both have desired to shoulder the leadership of the muslim nations of the Middle East.

Many analysts believe that the toppling of the Assad regime in Syria and the subsequent weakening of the Hezbollah militia that must follow would pave the road for a war with Iran, aiming at destabilising it so a pro-western regime could take power. This would then (according to Russian analysts) probably lead to increased western influence over Central Asia.

This “new great game” is a very dangerous game, since it touches the core interests of two great powers and several regional powers. The question is whether we collectively as a species are willing to risk a great war, possibly a global conflict with nukes involved, for the issue of Syria.

The solution must be to openly discuss the great game, and for all the great and regional powers to take a step back and realise that others don’t want to the exposed to what they themselves don’t want to be exposed to. “Do not do unto others, what you don’t what others to do to you.”

The impeding resource crisis is a serious challenge for all powers. We should not primarily think of how to hurt Russia, America, China, Africa or the EU, but how to help everyone adjust to the future.

If we can separate the Syrian Civil War from the corporate and political interests to gain geo-strategic footholds and hurt competitors, we can solve it tomorrow. And the only way forward is if all assorted parties sacrifice their offensive interests visavi one another, and realise that sometimes we might need to allow odd to be even.

I also suggest that you all who read this are signing this petition. It would not mean much, but the more of us that are signing this, the clearer it would be that the peoples of the world do not desire a war.

Why we are failing (Proposed article)

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Okay. Here is another proposed article for the updated EOS website. It is pretty much longer, and I know the articles should be short. But I have comprimed 500 years of human history in less than five pages. It was pretty difficult I must admit.

Introduction

 

We want to apologise for the length of this article beforehand.

Energy accounting is originally a concept from the US technocratic movement of the 1930’s, which EOS has developed as a conceptual template. To understand what Energy Accounting is and why we want to carefully examine it as a potential replacement to the current monetary system, we need to understand how the current monetary system is working.

 

Firstly, what is money? Money is a medium of exchange, in order to simplify transactions between various parties. Originating in the mists of the Bronze Age, monetary economies connected regions and allowed trade to perpetuate itself.

 

Yet, we must understand that early monetary regimes were often tenuous at best, most often local and requiring the protection of patrons with access to mines – most often the dukes, kings, sultans and emperors of the various states of the medieval world.

 

This could also help to explain our points, as to why our current system is failing in regards to our collective environmental obligations as a species.

 

Early Monetary Systems

 

The first monetary systems that arose either arose spontaneously from small communities, which used either a “key good” or a form of “semi-available rarity” as currency. When the first coins were made, in Asia Minor around 2700 years ago, they were made both to stimulate and facilitate trade between villages and towns, and to strengthen the legitimacy and strength of the early state (especially as money often trickled down into market places from the payment of soldiers and other public employees).

 

The rise of money is a thoroughly complex process, but the rise of the monetarised global system is a relatively recent occurrence. For much of the ancient and medieval world, money was inherently deflationary as its value rested on the control of copper, silver and gold. Thus, the system encouraged savings and hoarding, and retarded the development towards a full-scale monetary price system. In medieval markets, every licensed merchant often had with him his own scale, to judge the value of the money in terms of its weight.

 

Even in the advanced Roman Empire, only a small fraction of the taxes were collected in the form of money! Most taxes were collected in the shape of grain, minerals and other resources.

 

Most people in the pre-industrial world were self-sustaining farmers and rural labourers, who for most of the time directly worked to feed themselves from what they could produce out of nature.

 

The rise of Banking

 

Trade could be a perilous business during the middle ages. Highwaymen, barons, wars, storms, the Black Death and other occurrences could easily separate a merchant from his gold during the many dangerous voyages through lands and seas.

 

The wealthiest and most prosperous region of Europe was northern Italy, where the cities never had vanished during the dark centuries following the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

 

During the Renaissance, cities like Venice, Genoa, Milan, Pisa and Florence sent out merchants far and wide throughout the Mediterranean world, Europe and the Middle East, often exchanging gold for valuable luxury products from the Far East.

 

To facilitate this exchange, several of the great trading families began to engage in the insurance business. Gold chests were heavy, clumsy and hard to transport, not to speak of being magnets to thieves and pirates. Families like de Medici could specialise in offering securities by depositing the gold (for a fee) to other merchants, giving them a receipt which allowed them to gather the same amount of gold in for example Alexandria, Constantinople or Kaffa.

 

These firms soon started to lend money to various cities and kingdoms for interest fees. Thus, “banking” in the conventional sense was born.  

 

The rise of Fractional Reserve Banking (FRB)

 

Given that both the depositing and the lending were made with receipts, the gold would not under normal circumstances leave the confinements of the bank vault. It would be impractical for the client to withdraw it physically, and people who deposited gold in such a bank where often years away travelling. At the same time, borrowing money became increasingly popular, especially as the European monarchies and republics of that era became increasingly dependent on hiring mercenaries to fight their many destructive wars. Banking houses were offered lucrative contracts, without having the necessary deposits to be able to lend money to the states in question.

 

We don’t know exactly when banks started to lend money without having access to the necessary balance to do so, but it stands evidently clear that the temptation and the low risks associated with the scheme would soon or later have coalesced into the practice today known as Fractional Reserve Banking.

 

Shortly speaking, Fractional Reserve Banking is a mechanism that allows banks to lend more credits than are covered by their deposits. This is possible because of multiple clients depositing their fortunes at the same time, and that it is unlikely that all these clients would remove their deposits at the same time.

 

Moreover, the clients were thereby obliged to pay back gold which had never existed in the first place, plus interest.

 

In the terms of laypersons, Fractional Reserve Banking means that you lend out money that you don’t have, while those borrowing the non-existent money are forced to pay back in the form of real money, with a little bit more.

 

Where the alchemists of the dark crypts and poisonous laboratories failed, the perfumed bankers living in the luxurious Venetian and Florentine palaces succeeded.

 

Sustained capital accumulation and western supremacy

 

Even though Northern Italy was eventually destroyed, through the violence of the mercenary armies funded by the Italian bankers, Fractional Reserve Banking is a part of the explanation why the western world from the late 15th century and onward managed to create sustained economic, technological and colonial expansion.

 

The banks of Italy, and later of the Netherlands and Britain, were funding colonial ventures, the development of new weapons and technologies, scientific breakthroughs, commercial enterprises, the booming slave trade and the establishment of the first factories.

 

The reason why is simple. With a full deposit cover, the bankers who lend money would lend out gold that actually is entrusted them by clients, and thus would be unwilling to support projects that hold high risks for failure, or which are new and untested. Thus, the employment of FRB systems can accumulate and utilise capital more aggressively than the crude agricultural economies previously were able of.

 

During the 19th century, the gradual gains of trade, colonialism, technical and scientific innovations and capital expansion culminated in a sustained industrial boom that transformed the entire civilization. The modern world was born.

 

As innovations and growth rushed, however, so did the many bankruptcies and failures. The world grew faster, and with the telegraph and railways, information spread quickly throughout the now very much smaller world. Rumours, true or false, stock rushes, companies and ventures falling apart and the increased competition for more and more scarce resources fuelled an increasing number of bank runs – events when the deposits were retrieved by the clients as a result of a loss in trust. Such events usually led to liquidation of the bank itself, and the destruction of capital – both real and imaginary. It says itself that unregulated capitalism from the 1870s and onward experienced more and more shocks following the collapse of one commercial bank after another.

 

To counter this development and to restore stability, most developed nations turned towards establishing central banks in order to guarantee the deposits of the commercial banks and their clients – if necessary by sacrificing the interests of the weakest citizens. In the USA for example, the US Congress of 1913, at the behest of the big commercial banks and the US mega-corporations, established the Federal Reserve during the first Wilson administration.

 

Usually, central banks are a pillar stone in regards to the regulation of interest. This practice is referred to as interventionist monetary policy. After the Second World War, it has usually been coordinated with interventionist financial policies, which are carried out by governments. These policies exist in order to smoothen the business cycles and prevent either overheating or sudden crashes.

 

Nowadays, the signs are everywhere that the system is crumbling. The dominant power in this system, the United States, is suffering massive de-industrialization and an enormous debt on both the federal and state level. The European economy is stagnating. China is experiencing declining growth rates and increasing environmental pollution and class conflicts.

 

The system has accumulated a mountain of debt, and we are on the verge of what can spiral out of control and become World War Three.

 

So, why are we failing?

 

The addiction to growth

 

The global monetary system is not dependent on growth because it has the wrong priorities, or because it is in the knees of multi-national corporations and consumerism. It is not dependent on growth because of “human nature” or because of greed, even if greed plays well into the mechanisms it is built on.

 

It is dependent on growth because it must grow, otherwise it will start to crumble and eventually collapse.

 

Think of it for a moment.

 

Only 10-15% of the loans of modern commercial banks have to be covered by the deposits of the customers. Thus, the banks are really lending money from the future. This means that FRB has not only realised alchemy, but also for all purpose invented time-travelling!

 

Some critics claim that FRB is a system which is creating money from thin air. That is however not entirely true. The money is created in the figurative world by the banks, but then created a second time – this time in the real world – through investments, labour and the production of goods and services. In short, the economic activities of all the corporations and individuals who have been compelled by need or by their dreams and ambitions to ever accept a loan from a bank.

 

This process allows the capital to multiply itself, and make credits accessible for the future development of the economy.

 

The hidden danger in this pyramid scheme lies in the fact that it requires permanent economic growth, or at least the belief in permanent economic growth. A growth which can turn the debts in the balance sheets into actual financial assets.

 

For this to be permeated however, it requires one thing:

 

The continued destruction of the Earth’s biosphere.

 

What really matters

 

For hundreds of millions of years, the Earth has had a complex system for the acquisition and renewal of resources. This system has been characterised by complex relationships unified within an emergent dynamic equilibrium. This system is called “the biosphere”.

 

It can more simply be referred to as Life.

 

The human civilization is ultimately resting on the fact that we are based on a planet characterised by a wide variety of ecosystems of living beings. The current way in which we are heading is the equivalent to raising a palace while removing the ground and foundation of to gather more materials. It is foolish, and not the least sustainable.

 

It stands clear to every aware individual that our civilization at the present point is on the route towards causing a new mass extinction amongst the species, bringing the entire Eocene Biosphere to an end.

 

Climate change is but the most well-known of the challenges ahead. The swift increase of the global average temperature is upsetting weather and drought patterns, affecting the natural cycles of storms, contributing to an accelerating rise of the sea levels, and affecting multiple species of animal and plant life negatively.

 

There have been several major conferences on this issue, and all of them have either produced semi-failures or complete breakdowns. While the leaders and decision makers have been aware of this issue for the better part of 20 years, they have been unable to turn the development around or even slow down the increasing usage of energy that produces CO2 emissions.

 

There are many reasons for this monumental human failure. You can blame the oil lobby, the United States, China, the consumers, the politicians, yourself or human nature in general for this failure.

 

The fact, however, is that it is extremely difficult to enact any kind of meaningful change in the energy sector as long as we have  a monetary system that automatically seeks to expand as much as possible, since a contraction will mean that it will be crushed underneath a mountain of debts piling up before it.

 

At the same time, we are silently allowing a real deficit to constantly grow, by using more resources for every year than the Earth can possibly renew. The continuation of that practice will eventually produce an ecological disaster of hitherto unseen proportions, at least for the last 65 million years.

The EOS alternative (Proposed article)

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The human civilization is a very complex series of emergent systems, connected by the multi-level activities of all participants in the process of shaping the future of things to come. Many attempts have been made to devise schemes to describe, envision and realise societies which – only if implemented, and if human beings behaved exactly as expected by the philosopher kings – would certainly solve all of humanity’s woes.

 

Of course, such an outlook would be rubbish. Forget “human nature” as an argument. It is enough to think there are 7 billion people on the planet, as well as thousands of cultures, religions, communities and conditions which adjust their choices according to differing social environments.

 

Hardly surprising, the realisation that it is very difficult to change the entire way the human civilization is organised makes it a seemingly far more attractive route to change aspects of our current society with the aim of strengthening it so it would better be able to face the challenges of tomorrow. Moreover, swearing in church would create enmity and perhaps even fear by groups who can expect that they must make sacrifices for the common good of the planet and of humanity.

 

Isn’t that, for example, what the term “green growth” has come to mean?

 

EOS is arguing that a few core tenets of this current dominant socio-economic system are the main culprits behind the global degradation of the biosphere. We will explore these core tenets and how they relate to the system later more thoroughly, but this article is a brief outline over our alternative.

 

Firstly, we do believe that the current socio-economic system employed on a global scale by the human race is short-sighted, self-destructive, destructive, growth-dependent and virtually forced by its own constraints to consume the biosphere in a frenzy. While reforms can bring us closer to a more harmonious relationship with the planet, no reform which doesn’t aim to shift out this system in return for something else will accomplish any sustainable objectives.

 

This current socio-economic system will die during this century. The only question is if it will collapse to a more primitive form, or if it will be replaced by a more enlightened system. EOS aims to actively contribute towards a shift to a higher evolutionary stage.

 

As we see it, the system of the future must ultimately serve the progress of Life, without trying to control it.

 

As we have previously stated, the existence of life is what we must treat as the most valuable thing in the universe. Without life, there would not be experiences, emotions, thoughts, dreams or aspirations, or the opportunity of them. The preservation and elevation of life is a prime imperative.

 

Thus follows that both the survival of the biosphere and the dreams and aspirations of an individual human being are intimately connected to what EOS aims to achieve. The biosphere should be able to thrive, and all humans should be able to aspire to their highest possible potential within their interests, dreams and skills.

 

Therefore, we are proposing two conditions with which to decide what goals the new socio-economic system should strive to fulfil.

 

One: The new socio-economic system should keep the usage of the Earth’s resources below 100% of the Earth’s annual renewal capacity.

 

Two: The new socio-economic system should see that no human being goes without access to basic income, housing, education, water, food and a social network.

 

That means that the new system must have both ecological and social aspects.

The challenge of this millennium

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(This is the second installment in the new articles collection of the renewed EOS website)

When this article was written, in the first of September 2013, the human civilization had already used up the equivalent of all the biomass produced during this year. For soon to be forty years, we have utilized more biomass than the Earth has renewed for every passing year, which has led to an ever increasing ecological deficit.

 

It is estimated that thousands of unique species are vanishing every year. The CO2 emission rate is still increasing, as new powerplants driven by coal and oil are opened every week. The oceans are stained by floating continents of decomposing plastic materials. Huge areals of pristine forests – the lungs of the Earth – are being replaced with field after field of monocultural crops, often seeped with poisons. Industrial chemicals and heavy metals are polluting our water reservoirs.

 

On an overall basis, natural systems built on interdependent relationships between species, arranged in elaborate, self-sustaining webs of life, are now on an increasing rate being replaced by linear systems, where resources are extracted, transported half-way cross the planet, refined, transported yet again and then sold to consumers.

 

The purpose behind that process is not to improve the livelihood of humanity, to benefit scientific or cultural development, to raise the infrastructure of the world or to explore the stars. Any improvements in these areas are secondary to the two main goals – to sustain a debt-based global monetary system, and to continue to enrich a camarilla of banks, institutions and multi-national corporations.

 

At this point, 1% of Earth’s population is controlling over 40% of the resources of the planet.

 

Over 1 billion of Earth’s seven billion inhabitants are starving, while another 2 billion are undernourished, despite that we collectively are producing enough food to sustain 12 billion people. Instead of seeing that those who are hungry are fed, we deliberately waste, burn and drown mountains of food every week, just so new refreshments can fill up the shelves at the supermalls quick enough, so that we can subsidize dubious industries and uphold an industrialised meat industry which is hazardous and violently repulsive.

 

Some of the proponents of the current system are claiming that whatever wrongs it has, it has managed to give more people than ever before access to education and healthcare, comparing to the lives of hardships suffered by generations during the pre-industrial eras of human history.

 

Yet, that presents a false dilemma. The choice is not between our current system and a 19th century agrarian society. The choice is between this current system and a system which is less wasteful, more sustainable and more humanitarian. There is nothing in “human nature” which compels us to mismanage the planet and to continuously abuse ourselves and underachieve.

 

The choice is between what we are achieving now, and what we know that we can achieve.

 

What we know that we must achieve.

 

The other “uncomfortable” facts that the forces fighting to uphold the status quo have wilfully chosen to ignore, is the fact that with the current rate of exploitation, the current biosphere will collapse at the latter half of the 21st century.

 

Such a collapse will mean a perfect storm of developments that would see the productive capacity of the Earth reduced. This will mean a global depression that very well can sweep aside the collective wealth that humanity has accumulated, leading to unrest on a planetary scale and a reduction of the human being to a  mere struggle for daily survival.

 

Why is it so that we humans, despite that we ought to know better, are destroying 65 million years ago of accumulated biological progress, in order for a mere two and a half centuries of exponential industrial growth? And all that to allow a small fraction of the Earth’s population the sovereignty of most of the productive capacity?

 

Stay tuned.

The Case for Life (New EOS website article)

I have taken the liberty to write a new introduction article to EOS, which I want to be used to convey a certain motivational function, rather than being another boring introduction. I am not 100% happy with it, as it tells very little about what EOS aims to do, but I think the message is beautiful and would like to have it included on the new website.Image

 

Earth. A shining sapphire of life in the vast ocean that is the Milky Way. A sphere, roughly thirteen thousand kilometres across, sheltering and harbouring a promise. A promise that can spread light through the galaxy.

 

For billions of years, the conditions on Earth has allowed life to develop from humble origins, into a beautiful, cascading symphony of life. This symphony has survived five mass extinction events, one where all but one twentieth of all life perished. This current symphony we are living through has been on-going for 65 million years. The Eocene era has been the golden age of mammals, which have established themselves as the dominant form of vertebrates on the land surface of the Earth.

 

During the later stages of the Eocene Era, Humanity was born. We are the first species on the planet who can deliberate the future, organise technological civilizations, ponder on our own inner nature and whether or not we ever will find any beings similar to us anywhere in the Universe. We can create music, architecture, arts, poetry, literature and philosophy, and feel awe and wonder for the time we have been given on this Earth.

 

We are also the first species that alone has come to determine the fate of all other species, all life-supporting systems and the entire biosphere…

 

We are about to usher the sixth great mass extinction of life on the planet, a fall which would drag us down into the abyss of a dark era. Yet, we have – by evolution or providence – been given the ability to imagine a better future, a future shaped by the beautiful and radiant capabilities of humanity.

 

This is fundamentally the reason why EOS is existing. We believe that the most valuable thing in our Universe is not gold, nor silver, nor oil. The most valuable thing in the Universe is Life. Worlds that can harbour life are, for all what we know, are rare as single drips of clear water in vast, scorched deserts. Thus, we conclude that a conscious and enlightened civilization would take it as its credo to pursue the preservation of its biosphere as its top priority.

 

That is unfortunately not the case with how the human race is behaving in this era. For the last generation, we have collectively been using more resources per year than the Earth can renew. If we continue down that slope, we will be heading for a gaping abyss, and our light will fade long before it reaches the farther end of the galaxy.

 

We believe that we, humanity, fundamentally are carriers of the greatness, beauty and light that we dreams of possessing, and that we – at the end of the day – will do what we must do in order to ensure both the survival of the biosphere, and the dignity of the human race.

 

We have the ability to create a sustainable, high-tech civilization. A civilization which will rise and spread throughout the Milky Way. A civilization unlike anyone previously seen on Earth, consisting of a blossoming diversity of cultures, values and diversities, all unified around the ethos of making life on Earth thrive. A civilization which has abolished war, hunger, homelessness, illiteracy and poverty, and has given all human beings the opportunity to rise to the upper reaches of their individual potential.

 

But, we do not have much time at our disposal. The severity of the crisis that we have all contributed to will in a few decades cause the collapse of the current biosphere. That will usher in a series of events that will cause suffering to fall on humanity, worse than any previously seen during the time our species has existed on Earth!

 

You are very lucky.

 

You have been born during the greatest challenge that has ever befallen mankind. You have the power to change the destiny of your species and the fate of the Earth.

 

What is mattering is not your age, your race or your gender. Not your income, your social status, your real estate, your flat screen TV or your Xbox.

 

What is mattering is whether or not you will save your world. Whether or not you will take an active stand in the greatest challenge that has ever been thrown on mankind. Whether or not you are willing to take part of the defining moments of the 21st century.

 

You are very lucky to have been given this opportunity. Future generations might never again experience the freedom to make an existential choice.

 

We want to help you embark on this journey into the unknown. We want to help you learn and develop your experiences. We want you to succeed. We want you to have fun.

 

We want to walk this road together with you.

 

We want to connect. To help build your community. To help you produce and thrive. To help you develop your potential. To help you gain true freedom and become the master of your own future.

 

The dawn of a new era begins now.

The Catholic Church in the Digital Age

Not since the end of the Western Schism has a reigning pope abdicated. This is a significant event in the history of the Catholic Church, and it is doubtful that Benedict XVI – who always was known as a conservative – would do this to set a new example as some are speculating. While John Paul II was revered and beloved, not only by catholics but by media and liberal institutions in the west, his successor has had a turbulent and often suspicious and hostile relationship with the media. This led to his papacy being defined by the media, and all the goodwill during the JP II papacy has been wrecked. The church is in a deep crisis, defined by paedophilia scandals and allegations of corruption. All the other initiatives and policies by the reigning pontiff has been overshadowed.

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It is tempting to think that the new pope will be from the liberal faction, but that is unlikely, given that Benedict XVI (like all other popes) has strengthened his own faction at the expense of the others. The College of Cardinals is thus probably not aiming for any reformer, but possibly for a more communicative and charismatic pope rather than an insider. The problem however runs deeper than that, and the conclusion of this challenge will probably define the Catholic Church during the course of the 21st century.

The first conflict, between liberalisation and tradition, is already deeply entrenched in the Catholic bureaucracy, and the papacy would (as it always have) need to adapt to the changed circumstances. The traditionalists do for the moment hold the upper hand, but the course of history is running against them at the moment. The second conflict, which is not as much seen in western media, is the fact that the Catholic upper hierarchy is dominated by Europeans (particularly Italians), whereas the actual number of Catholics paint a population rooted in the southern hemisphere, in Latin America and increasingly Africa and Asia.

The traditional Catholic Church, in alliance with the catholic colonial powers, was brought to what would later become the Third World through colonialism and imperialism. Under the 1960s to the 1990s, it was made clear that local catholic clergy in the Third World could turn into a subversive weapon against westernised post-colonial elites. Liberation Theology has been condemned as heretical, but the foundations of Liberation Theology will prevail as long as the antagonistic relationship between the unipolar world dominated by the west and the emerging multipolar world is not resolved. If the curia would reflect actual Catholic population distribution, then the Catholic Church could gradually move from being the very definition of western culture, into becoming a church for the Global South.

This leads to another conclusion. The Church can either liberalise or third worldise. It can probably not do both and still be credible, and neither can it do neither. Ratzinger tried to do neither, and therefore he failed. It might have been possible to retard development during the 17th century, when Internet (or newspapers) did not exist. Nowadays, it is not possible. Liberalisation will probably stop a part of the decline in the west, while Third World-isation will speed up the decline in the west, but lead to increasing numbers of followers in the Third World. The current leadership of the Church, which consist of white European cardinals in their 70s, would probably resent both ways – but they would have to choose one of them ultimately.

According to the Prophecy of Malachi, this pope who would succeed Ratzinger would be the last pope, after whom the End-times would happen. Certainly, the Catholic Church is in dire straits now. But it has been in worse situations historically, and it has always rebounded. Ultimately, the Catholic Church would need to reform, but it has always reformed gradually and slowly after periods of stagnation, redefining itself to fit into new ages. It is the only continuous world institution (apart from the Japanese Emperor) which has survived until the digital era. It has survived the Roman persecutions, Attila, the Pornocracy, Frederick Barbarossa, the Mongols, the plague, the Borgias, the Reformation, Napoleon, democracy, socialism and Hitler. It will probably survive you too. But if it should survive, it must change to reflect the changed demographic of the global catholic congregation.

Enrique Lescure

Sequence of Relations Director

EOS

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