Three related systems thinking blogs
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<blockquote class=”wp-block-quote”><p>Grounding what we eat
Jun 11 ·
Food distribution, but of what?
Not just our food chain but the whole of life on earth depends on soil; soil is where it happens. Macro fauna and flora, like ourselves and the trees, are largely irrelevant in the scale of things. We don’t see it like that because we are macro and filled with our own importance. But we are discovering (again, this is how civilisations collapse) that both in the quantity and the quality of what we eat, the soil is where it is at.
Assessing our food supply chain is that simple. Does the food we eat and how it was distributed and how it was grown protect the vital asset it is based on? Or does it degrade that asset for short term gain, or indeed for any other reason? Since the vast majority of the world’s soils are not only being degraded but are being eroded away entirely, we can guess that the food supply chain is utterly broken.</p><cite><a href=”https://medium.com/gentlyserious/grounding-what-we-eat-e639d1aa9222″>Grounding what we eat – GentlySerious – Medium</a></cite></blockquote>
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Active Gut, Passive Brain
Jan 31, 2019
What would it mean if our brains were passive? Passive to aspects of our environment that we are not even aware of? What would it mean literally but also as a metaphor of our hubris? What do we know and what are we prepared to hear? And given all that, what use can we make of these brains of ours? My increasingly ancient but still spry mother read Peter Frankopan’s Silk Roads: A New History of the World. Her favourite sport is goading the sticks-in-the-mud at her local church. This history is told as the title suggests from a non-western perspective, and my mother’s summary is “Aidan, we are just specks. All this happened and we are nothing in the bigger picture”. His New Silk Roads is her preferred entry into current affairs. Maybe I am my mother’s son, without reading either book. Let me try and rehearse a fantastic narrative from Zack Bush. I am increasingly allergic to the exuberant ‘American’ style and to medical doctors. I don’t like slick presenters, I want authenticity. I came at this from my course on soil regeneration with Didi Pershouse. And I watched an interview-style presentation that lasts 94 minutes. Ugh! And yet.
Crimes against humanity
Feb 5, 2019
The original template for capitalism is sugar plantations in Brazil. The recipe is this. Occupy an area of land by force. Kill off anyone who happens to live there. Wipe out all the trees and plants to create bare soil. Import some slaves from Africa, keep them isolated so they have nowhere to run to. Plant sugar cane and harvest for as long as the soil still works for you. Export the sugar to wreck peoples’ health elsewhere. If you were a Portuguese gentleman with some spare cash, you could invest it in such an enterprise and never know the misery that allowed your investment to grow. You didn’t need to know anything other than you were not cheated in the returns. Capitalism in the raw. When we speak of crimes against humanity we generally think of naked aggression: Cortes in Mexico, Stalin and Mao, Apartheid, the Holocaust. Here, we pay more attention to misinformation about the health effects of tobacco, corruption of climate science by the oil majors, killing people with processed food. These are closer to the raw capitalist model: just make sure your investors don’t know and don’t care — killing millions of people is OK, it is just business. And very respectable, caring, liberal-minded people don’t even notice; the officially sanctioned history doesn’t get written. Yet? I want to add one to the list that I was not properly aware of until my studies this week. In two hundred years Australia was turned from a green and pleasant land into largely a desert and desertifying hell of 50 degrees centigrade. And that change is so significant that it tilts the warming and aridification of the whole world. How many people does that kill? I don’t mean to suggest that the enormity of a crime is measured by the number of dead bodies: but I do want to rescue our imagination from the immediacy of death camps to the long slow impoverishment and starvation of masses of people. We have written before about slow violence. The rehearsal of the true history is immensely important, vital even.