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Saturday, December 4, 2021

William Reese - Dec. 4/8 - Something re: ecological footprint but TBD
Location: Zoom
Time: 10am to 12pm
William Rees is a human ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in Vancouver, Canada, where his research and teaching focused on the biophysical prerequisites for sustainability in an era of accelerating ecological change.  Within this envelope developed a special interest in ecologically-relevant metrics of sustainability and their interpretation in terms of complexity theory and behavioural ecology. Prof Rees is perhaps best known in ecological economics as the originator and co-developer of ‘ecological footprint analysis’.
Bill Reese's talk will mark the end of this series The Systems View of the Global Problematique
It’s a system, stupid!
By William E Rees, PhD, FRSC

Techno-industrial society is being forced by evolving circumstances to confront a meta-problem of unprecedented complexity. The human enterprise is in a state of potentially catastrophic ecological overshoot, systematically destroying the biophysical basis of its own existence. (Overshoot is an inevitable emergent property of the interaction of evolved survival behaviour that operates beneath consciousness and a deeply-entrenched maladaptive socially-constructed cultural paradigm.) Using contemporary examples from climate change to the population taboo, I argue that modern H. sapiens is not up to the challenge of self-rescue from its self-generated predicament. The human brain is obsolete; it evolved in the context of small tribal groups living in spatially-limited, relatively knowable predictable ecosystems. As a result most people naturally think in simplistic, linear, reductionist ways; emotions and instincts frequently override rational analyses. We are not neuro-cognitively equipped to understand, let alone control, the mind-numbingly complex world-system of overlapping sub-systems that we ourselves have created; we don’t ‘get’ complexity; we don’t connect the dots.  Overshoot is theoretically solvable but governments, corporations, NGOs and ordinary people alike both deny the diagnosis and reject policy initiatives that might effectively address the disease.