A Freedom-Loving Response To Collapse … The Sustainability Regulation Clusterfuck … Climate Denial Violates Human Rights … Winning the Future ++

Edition 24 | April 2024

This spring edition of the Lighthouse Keeper comes a bit belated as I was respecting Easter vacation downtime, but also due to interesting, partially shocking and partially hope-giving developments in the global political and sustainability & regeneration field. We see retraction and cocooning nearly everywhere, so this Lighthouse Keeper continues to document the logic of collapse right as it occurs, but also gives space to the seldom rays of (active) hope. Even more exciting is the fact that we’re also welcoming another 410 subscribers to this newsletter since the last edition. Welcome to all new readers.

A Freedom-Loving Response To Collapse

On April 8, we at r3.0 welcomed ‘prof. emeritus’ Jem Bendell in r3.0’s 3rd Open Dialog Session, a format we do close to monthly now at r3.0, bringing important and necessary discussions to life. While we discussed two papers by the Earth Commission in the first two sessions, this session gave us the opportunity to clearly explain our change as r3.0 in positioning ourselves towards collapse resilience. The slide below offers a timeline and r3.0 work topics and in parallel how this changed our thinking from collapse awareness, trying to avoid collapse, towards collapse resilience, concentrating on what’s necessary to honour ‘Love to All Life’. This is a considerable change in our work priorities, one reason to start the 2nd generation of r3.0 Blueprints this year, and basing a new economic system design on the time post collapse. It could also help to smoothen transitions while collapsing. Mind that collapse is not one big shock, but a more gradual slide from hospicing the old to midwifing the new in all of our lives.

We also found a lot of gratification in an article by Garry Peterson and Graeme Cumming (already a bit older), called ‘Unifying Research on Social–Ecological Resilience and Collapse’, in which the authors suggest a research field that connects collapse understanding and learning about resilience strategies. As Garry Peterson says:

I feel personally attracted to be in that field and steering r3.0 in that future direction, together with my colleagues and our partners. In the face of a long going global collapse that started in the 70’s already (just look at the 50+year old projections of Limits to Growth by the Club of Rome and be flabbergasted by their accuracy) it is simply the right thing to do. And it is a logic maturation of r3.0, being called ‘steps ahead’, while our mantra was always to make people saying that aware that they were ‘steps behind’ and asked them to hurry up.

In my review of Jem Bendell’s book ‘Breaking Together – A Freedom-Loving Response To Collapse I was particularly torn by the second part in which he sets out the challenges for each and everyone of us to overcome. He calls that development of ‘Critical Wisdom: the elusive capability for understanding oneself in the world that combines insight from mindfulness, critical literacy, rationality, and intuition. A capability for mindfulness involves awareness of the motivations for our thought, including our mind states, emotional reactions and why we might want to “know” about phenomena. A capability for critical literacy involves awareness of how the tools by which we think, including linguistically constructed concepts and stories, are derived from, and reproduce, culture, including relationships of power. A capability for rationality involves awareness of logic, logical fallacies and forms of bias. A capability for intuitioninvolves awareness of insights from non-conceptual experiences including epiphanies and insights from non-ordinary states of consciousness.’ Based on these capabilities he asks us ‘free ourselves’ in various perspectives:

  • ‘Freedom from progress’ (rediscover the immense wisdom of indigenous peoples);
  • ‘Freedom from banking’ (monetary power was not an accident, but organised by a complex of people, organisations, resources, norms and rules that served the monetarily wealthy’);
  • ‘Freedom in nature’ (liberating ourselves into a free will to allow for ecolibertarianism to be birthed);
  • ‘Freedom to collapse and grow the doomster way’ (offering 15 characteristics of becoming a ‚doomster‘);
  • ‘Freedom from fake green globalists’ (counter media manipulation and conspiracy porn, how to focus on the 5th ‘R’s – being Resilience, Relinquishment, Restoration, Reconciliation and Reclaiming), helping to resist authoritarianism, avoid distraction and dilution.

 

Each of these chapters is a treasure trove of insights and argues for positions against what Jem Bendell calls ‘Imperial Modernity.’ Reading these it becomes clear that these are all resilience strategies against collapse, clearly identifying the shortcomings of existing economic system stereotypes and what to do about it. In that sense the first ‘R’ of Jem’s list of the 5 ‘R’s’ is in my view of overarching importance.

If you are interested to hear the full Open Dialog with Jem Bendell, you can listen to the full recording here: https://lnkd.in/efn2uk6v. My slides are available here: https://lnkd.in/eEajKs6g Jem will also be speaking at r3.0’s 11th international annual online conference ‘Tipping Points on Tipping Points – Building Necessary Collapse Resilience ‘ on September 10/11. Registration is open here: https://lnkd.in/e8QSWjVX.

The Sustainability Regulation #Clusterfuck

A chaotic situation where everything seems to go wrong, often caused by communication failure, a complex environment, or incompetence’. That’s what is entailed in the meaning of the word ‘clusterfuck’. And I think it is a quite accurate description of what we’ve been seeing from the political sector recently, a pile of glass overall. I look at all this from just one set of questions: does this give us a chance to reach sustainability or regeneration at the scale needed, is it fair to future generations (intergenerational equity is probably the most important principle in sustainability, amongst others), and will it avoid collapse? On all three partial questions I come up with a straight ‘NO’. Many of my Sunday Thoughts addressed aspects of that (please see the links below), so I’ll just wrap it up for you:

  • The EU Pesticides Law got taken back to please the agricultural sector. Representatives protested quite violently in many EU countries, and that seemed to be the easiest for the EU Commission to give in. The aim was to reduce pesticides use by 50% in 10 years. GONE!
  • The EU Nature Restoration Law collapsed at the very last minute and got ‘frozen’ to not fully get culled, making it an issue for later potential approval. GONE (for now)! What’s the Biodiversity COP 16 Agreement then worth, you may rightfully question.
  • The EU CSDDD got watered down in a minimum consensus, excluding about 70% of all earlier targeted companies and excludes certain sectors completely. It mainly made sense in the interplay with the CSRD. The remainder now is just patchwork. That effect is mostly: GONE!
  • And what will happen to the EU Deforestation Law? WWF writes: ‘The EU Deforestation Law is undermined by some industry groups and EU Member States! Doesn’t it sound familiar? In a joint letter, over 170 NGOs call on PresidentUrsula von der Leyen to stand by her commitment to tackling deforestation and not cave in to the recent weakening efforts.’ We’ll see!
  • The U.S. SEC finally came with years in the works and long-awaited climate ruling, even cancelling out Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions, over all much lighter than useful to have impact, to immediately see Republican States launch a lawsuit to block the ruling, and days later see the Court of Appeal of the 5th Circuit pause the ruling, as Liberty Energy, a fracking company, saw its business model endangered.

 

Retraction and cocooning are happening all over the place now, and sometimes produces surreal and even cynical headlines. It is amazing how corporations, and especially, the oil and gas sector, now takes back earlier set targets and comes with a slap-in-the face reasoning: well, it’s the clients fault. Demand for oil & gas products is still growing and the transition to renewable energy sources doesn’t increase much percentage-wise. And given how essential human needs like food production, mobility, and even health care are dependent on oil & gas, we shouldn’t be surprised, it’s all our fault. No wonder they argue like that, while the sector is increasingly off-track from Paris Agreement goals. No word about decades of greenwashing. obfuscation, lying, corruption and even killing by the firms, as Client Earth documents.

In the meanwhile, Gaia screams at us, but nobody really listens:

  • The EU Climate Risk Assessment, carried out by the EU Environmental Agency, paints a bleak picture: Europe is the fastest warming continent in the world, and climate risks are threatening its energy and food security, ecosystems, infrastructure, water resources, financial stability, and people’s health. Many of these risks have already reached critical levels and could become catastrophic without urgent and decisive action.
  • The global extraction of raw materials is expected to increase by 60% by 2060 (after it already rose by 400% in the last decades), with calamitous consequences for the climate and the environment, according to the UN Global Resource Outlook. And while arguing for ‘decoupling’ on the supply and demand side, the report debunks itself by looking at reality, as commenters very well said in responses to the report.
  • Catalonia declares drought emergency, extending restrictions to Barcelona: Water reserves fall below 16% as region’s president says it has not rained in some areas for three years.
  • The Atlantic Ocean circulation is nearing a ‘devastating’ tipping point, a collapse in system of currents that helps regulate global climate would be at such speed that adaptation would be impossible, according to new scientific studies . When that will happen is unclear, but the likelihood that this happens this century is increasing.’
  • A world record temperature jump in Antarctic raises fears of catastrophe as an unprecedented leap of 38.5C in the coldest place on Earth is a harbinger of a disaster for humans and the local ecosystem. ‘It is simply mind-boggling,’said Prof Michael Meredith, science leader at the British Antarctic Survey. ‘In sub-zero temperatures such a massive leap is tolerable but if we had a 40C rise in the UK now that would take temperatures for a spring day to over 50C – and that would be deadly for the population.’ This amazement was shared by glaciologist Prof Martin Siegert, of the University of Exeter. ‘No one in our community thought that anything like this could ever happen. It is extraordinary and a real concern,’ he said. ‘We are now having to wrestle with something that is completely unprecedented

 

But there’s GOOD NEWS too: necessary accuracy in governance seems to climb up higher on agendas, given the blatant failures of the standard setters, governments standing on their own feet, and political and lobbyist infiltration:

  • It seems as if finally the shit at SBTI is hitting the fan, leading even to a staff revolt. Needless to say, my colleague Bill Baue has been on this for more than three years, having been an insider for long enough, and had filed a public complaint three years ago. He has been a constant documenter of the increasing malfunctioning, obfuscation, lying and ridiculing through SBTI. We knew it would bite them in the butt at one moment, their latest move was probably the icing on the shitcake. Here, here and here are some links to describe the situation and put the developments into context, and of course Bill’s juicy, but justified comments, plus more context here.
  • 16 organizations (r3.0 being one of them) signed an open letter to the German Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann, calling for reforms of HGB §342q in order to counteract current blatant conflicts of interest and infiltration of the participation in European sustainability reporting by the ASCG – German Accounting Standards Committee e.V. – commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Justice – by company representatives. The letter mentions concrete demands as well as remedies that the Ministry could take. See the full letter (in German) here.

 

Climate Denial Violates Human Rights

As we are seeing an age of litigation coming, it is a fantastic win that we’ve witnessed this week at the European court of human rights, where the judges ruled that weak government climate policies violate fundamental human rights. As the Guardian reports, ‘in a landmark decision on one of three major climate cases, the first such rulings by an international court, the ECHR raised judicial pressure on governments to stop filling the atmosphere with gases that make extreme weather more violent.

The court’s top bench ruled that Switzerland had violated the rights of a group of older Swiss women to family life (see video in link), but threw out a French mayor’s case against France and that of a group of young Portuguese people against 32 European countries. The court, which calls itself “the conscience of Europe”, found that Switzerland had failed to comply with its duties to stop climate change. It also set out a path for organisations to bring further cases on behalf of applicants.

The Swiss verdict opens up all 46 members of the Council of Europe to similar cases in national courts that they are likely to lose. Joie Chowdhury, an attorney at the Centre for International Environmental Law campaign group, said the judgment left no doubt that the climate crisis was a human rights crisis. “We expect this ruling to influence climate action and climate litigation across Europe and far beyond,” she said.’

This case can be of huge impact with regard to EU countries climate policies. There’s no European country that adhere’s to the 1.5 degrees Paris Climate Agreements, so we can expect increased law case and litigation. This ruling sets the baseline for bringing cases to national courts. If all of this glimpses of hope of activism will help to smoothen collapse remains to be seen.

Winning the Future Podcast

My podcast in GewinneZukunft – Nachhaltigkeit erfolgreich umsetzen with the ingenious host Zackes Brustik is now available (in German language). A long podcast of over 1 hour, but there was so much to talk about! Why is sustainability reporting currently more of an occupational therapy than a contribution to the effective achievement of sustainability, but how do we change that?

What is a resilience strategy in times of polycrisis, and why is an economic system collapse probably the most likely scenario for a return to real, authentic sustainability, based on regenerative and bioregional approaches? What are the possibilities for action for individuals, companies and international organisations? There is a lot to discover for interested listeners! You can listen to the podcast (in German language) on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or YouTube.

There’s also a summary post with a small deck of slides available (in German) here that got quite some interest, and strong threads with more than 150 comments. Overall I hear it one of the podcast editions with quite high demand. Enjoy, if you speak or at least understand German language.

Sunday Thoughts

As always, we close out the Lighthouse Keeper Newsletter with links to all Sunday Thoughts that got published since the last edition. Those 10 Sunday Thoughts attracted more than 300k views in total. It has become quite a habit on Sunday mornings to get this one thought to chew on over the first coffee or tea ;-).

A Sunday Thought (#88): ‚Matrix Madness‘ – an indication of being lost in the ESG standards swamp! (April 7, 2024)

A Sunday Thought(#87): ‘Authentic Risk Management’ – Collapse Acknowledgement as the new Baseline! (March 31, 2024)

A Sunday Thought (#86): ‚Caterpillars with Wings‘ – a failed metamorphosis! (March 24, 2024)

A Sunday Thought (#85): ‘Help me, I’m a politician’ – unable to solve complex problems! (March 17, 2024)

A Sunday Thought (#84): ‘Decoupling’ – sorry, did you mean ‘Decolonizing?’ (March 10, 2024)

A Sunday Thought (#83): ‘The Business Case of Sustainability’ – No, there is only a ‘Sustainability Case of Business!’ (March 3, 2024)

A Sunday Thought (#82): ‘Sustain(DIS)ability’ – is it just continued Imperial Modernity? (February 25, 2024)

A Sunday Thought (#81): ‚Digging Holes‘ – the despicable debris of the anthropocene! (February 18, 2024)

A Sunday Thought (#80): ‚Retraction‘- the modus operandi in a time of mounting collapse! (February 11, 2024)

A Sunday Thought (#79): ‘A 50 billion USD bonus package’ – escape money to Mars (February 3, 2024)

For older versions please go back the earlier versions of the Lighthouse Keeper Newsletter.

Wishing all of you lots of ‘Active Hope’ in the weeks to come and I will leave you with Joanna Macy, saying:

The next Lighthouse Keeper will be published by end of May / early June. Be well all!