Sustainability and Regeneration

In our little way Ewe & Ply tries to be ethical. In our personal lives as well. We try to stock as much British wool as possible, our foreign wool must be ethical, our cotton responsibly sourced and organic. We check where our notions come from, we don’t buy plastic bags, we reuse or recycle packaging that arrives in the shop, our paper bags are from recycled paper, when Teri broke the pricing gun, we decided not to buy another one as it was plastic. Our coffee is fair trade and organic….At each point we look at why we want something, where it comes from, how it is produced and if it can be done locally or better. We use as little water in our dyeing as possible and as we have to carry every drop of water we use, we really do know how much we use. We also scrutinise our use of energy and make it as carbon neutral as possible.

We are about to embark on a new phase of Ewe & Ply. We want to open another shop, with a tea room and a proper workshop space. We have started deciding what we will stock, how the shop should look and what we will do in the tea room. Then Teri read Marc Doll’s post about climate change. As I said we think we do quite well on the environmental front and we both have apocalypse issues but this article brought everything into sharp focus. As he says it is not about sustainability anymore, it is about regeneration. So, we are thinking again.

The new shop will be furnished with second hand or used furniture so don’t expect a swanky or cohesive look. We will be looking at everything we stock again. More British, less airmiles, more thought will go into everything. We have been talking about a new EPOS system and a new computer; these things use a lot of energy in their creation and are about as ethical as single use plastic. What you can expect is our usual exceptional service, a range of yarn, wool and notions you can buy knowing we have done the research, food and drink which is as ethical and organic and local as we can find, workshops showing you how to use what you have, mend things, recycle, learn new techniques and skills and we will have the return of the Orphan Lamb Table. The Orphan Lamb Table may be the best idea yet as it is a way of recycling where everyone wins. You can sell yarn you don’t want any more (we all make mistakes in purchases or go off purple mohair) but someone else will love it.

If you want to know what sent Teri off the deep end and why our response is so very “radical” please read Marc Doll’s post.

 

25 January  Marc Doll

I realize there is something I have known for some time but have never said, and, since I have just spent another 4 hours of my life in climate change academia I have to get this out of my system.

Please understand that many you reading this won't live to an old age... and likely will start scrolling after one or 2 more paragraphs... (edit...Ok I was wrong on this point. This is now my 2nd most shared post of all time..(edit)...make that my most shared)

The IPCC report and Paris accord are incredibly overly optimistic and that commits the world to a target that means the death of hundreds of millions if not more.

But it is worse than that.

Even the commitments made by countries in the Paris accord don't get us to a 2 degree world.

But it is worse than that.

The 2 degree target is now unattainable (unless of course the entirety of civilization does a 180 today...) and is based on geo-engineering the climate of the earth as well as the sequestering of every molecule of carbon we have produced since 1987, as well as every molecule we are producing today,as well as every molecule we produce tomorrow.... with magical technologies that don't exist, wont exist and, even if they did would likely cause as many if not more problems than they fix.

But it is worse than that.

The 2 degree target of the IPCC does not factor in the feedback loops such as the increase absorption of heat due to a drastic reduction in the albedo (reflectivity) effect caused by the 70% loss of arctic ice,..- the release of methane from a thawing arctic. (there is more energy stored in the arctic methane than there is in coal in the world). This is called the methane dragon. If the process of the release of the methane, currently frozen in the soil and ocean beds of the arctic, which may have already begun, but if it spins out of control we are looking a an 8 degree rise in temperature.

But it is worse than that.

The report which gives us 12 years to get our head's out of our arses underestimated the amount of heat stored in the world's oceans, as we descovered in mid-January by 40%... so no , we don't have 12 more years.

But it is worse than that.

The IPCC report ignores the effects of humans messing up the Nitrogen cycle through agricultural fertilizers and more... Don't go down this rabbit hole if you want to sleep at night.

But it is worse than that.

Sea level rise will not be gradual. Even assuming that the billions of tons of water that is currently being dumped down to the ground level of Greenland isn't creating a lubricant which eventually will allow the ice to free-flow into the northern oceans; it is only the friction to the islands surface that is currently holding the ice back. Then consider the same process is happening in Antarctica but is also coupled with the disappearance of the ice shelves which act as buttresses holding the glaciers from free flowing into the southern ocean. then factor in thermal expansions; the simple fact that warmer water takes up more space and It becomes clear that we are not looking at maintaining the current 3.4mm/yr increase in sea level rise (which incidentally is terrifying when you multiply it out over decades and centuries.) We will be looking at major calving events that will result in much bigger yearly increases coupled with an exponential increase in glacial melting. We know that every increase of 100ppm of C02 increases sea level by about 100 feet. We have already baked in 130 feet of sea level rise. It is just a question of how long it is going to take to get there... and then keep on rising..

But it is worse than that.

Insects are disappearing at 6 times the speed of larger animals and at a rate of about 2.5% of their biomass every year. These are our pollinators. These are links in our food chain. These represent the basic functioning of every terrestrial ecosystem.

But it is worse than that.

58% of the biomass of vertebrae life on earth has been lost since 1970. That is basically in my lifetime!

But it is worse than that.

Drought in nearly every food producing place in the world is expected to intensify by mid-century and make them basically unusable by the end of the century... Then factor in the end of Phosphorus (China and Russia have already stopped exporting it knowing this) and the depletion of aquifers and you come to the conclusion that feeding the planet becomes impossible.

But it is worse than that.

We can no longer save the society that we live in and many of us are going to be dead long before our life expectancy would suggest.

If your idea of hope is having some slightly modified Standard of living going forward and live to ripe old age... there is no hope. This civilization is over...

..but there is hope..

There is a way for some to come through this and have an enjoyable life on the other side. Every day we delay can be measured in human lives. There will come a day of inaction when that number includes someone you love, yourself or myself.

So we have 2 options.

Wake the fuck up. If we do we will only have to experience the end of our society as we know it aka...the inevitable economic collapse which is now unavoidable, but be able to save and rebuild something new on the other side. This would require a deep adaptation. Words like sustainability would need to be seen as toxic and our focus needs be on regeneration. Regeneration of soil, forests, grasslands, oceans etc.... This is all possible.

Option 2 is the path we are on thinking that we can slowly adapt to change. This not only ensures we experience collapse but also condemns humanity to not just economic and social collapse but in a 4-6 or even an 8 degree world... extinction.

I am sick of pipeline discussions. I am sick of any argument that is predicated on the defeatist assumption that we will continue to burn oil at an ever increasing rate simply because it is what we have always done. Fact is if we do we are not just fucked, we are dead. I am sick of people who don't understand how their food is produced, and its effect on the climate.(both carnivores who eat feed-lot meat and vegans who eat industrially-produced-mono-cropped-veggies as they are equally guilty here. The consumption of either is devastating). I am sick of the tons of shinny new clothes people are wearing without realizing 1 Kg of cotton takes over 10 thousand Liters of water and incredible amounts of energy to produce. I am sickened by the amount of that same clothing hits the landfill in near new condition. I am sick of the argument that our oil is less poisonous than someone else's. Firstly, no it isn't and secondly, It doesn't fucking matter. I am sick of people that can't even handle the ridiculously-small, only-the-tip-of- the-iceberg-of-changes we need to accept; a carbon tax. I am sick of the fact that the political will seems only capable of focusing on the individual consumer through small measures like a carbon tax but no elected Party seems to have the fortitude to enact policies that take it to the small handful of companies that are responsible for 70% of our current C02 production. I am sick of my own hypocrisy that allows me to still use fossil fuels for transportation. I am sick of those who use hypocrisy as an argument against action. I am sick of the Leadership of my country that argues we can have economic growth and survivable environment... we can't. I am sickened by the normalizing of the leadership of our Southern neighbour who as the most polluting nation in the world officially ignores even the tragedy that is the Paris accord. I am sick of the politicians I worked to get elected being impotent on this subject. Naheed and Greg I'm looking at you. (BTW...Druh, you are an exception) I am sick that the next image I put up of my kids, cheese, pets or bread is going to gain immeasurably more attention than a post such as this which actually has meaning... I am sick about the fact that all the information I referenced here is easily discoverable in scientific journals through a simple google search but will be characterized by many as hyperbolic.

I am especially sick that my future and the future of my children is dependent on the dozens of people that saw this post, said there goes Marc off the deep end again and chose to remain ignorant of the basic facts about our near future.

There is a path forward.

But every day we delay the path forward includes fewer of us. Build community, build resilience, work for food security, think regeneration, plant food producing trees, think perennial food production, turn your waste products into resources, eat food that does not mine the soil and is locally produced, eat meat that is grass fed in a holistic or intensively rotated (ideally holistically grazed in a silvopasture ) that is used to provide nutrients to vegetation, get to know a farmer or become one yourself, park your car, do not vote for anyone who either ignores climate change or says we can have our cake and eat it too, quit your job if it is fossil fuel related (it is better than losing it... which you will), stop buying shit, stop buying expensive cars and overly large houses and then complain that local planet saving food costs more than Costco. Stop buying things that are designed to break and be disposed-of, let go of this society slowly and by your own volition (its better than being forced to do it quickly), Rip up your lawn and plant a garden with perennial veggies, fruit bushes, fruit trees and nut trees. Learn to compost your own poop (it is easy and doesn't stink). Buy an apple with a blemish, Get a smaller house on a bigger lot and regenerate that land, Plant a guerrilla garden on a city road allowance. Return to the multi-generational house, Realize that growth has only been a thing in human civilization for 250 years and it is about to end and make preparations for this change. Teach this to your children. Buy only the necessities, don't buy new clothes-go to the thrift store. Don't use single use plastic or if you do re-purpose it, Unplug your garberator and compost everything, Relearn old forgotten skills. Don't let yourself get away with the argument that the plane is going there anyway when you book a holiday. Understand that there is no such thing as the new normal because next year will be worse, Understand before you make the argument that we need to reduce human population ... meaning the population elsewhere... that it is not overpopulation in China or India that is causing the current problem... It is us and our "western" lifestyle, Understand that those that are currently arguing against refugees and climate change are both increasing the effects of climate change and causing millions on climate refugees... which will be arriving on Canada's doorstep because Canada, due to our size and Northern Latitude, will on the whole have some of the best climate refuges. Understand that the densification of cities is condemning those in that density to a food-less future. Stop tolerating the middle ground on climate change. there is no middle ground on gravity, the earth is round, and we are on the verge of collapse.

 

 


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