Myth of Progress
Toward a Sustainable Future
Publication Year: 2013
Wessels explains his theory with his three laws of sustainability: (1) the law of limits to growth, (2) the second law of thermodynamics, which exposes the dangers of increased energy consumption, and (3) the law of self-organization, which results in the marvelous diversity of such highly evolved systems as the human body and complex ecosystems. These laws, scientifically proven to sustain life in its myriad forms, have been cast aside since the eighteenth century, first by Western economists, political pragmatists, and governments attracted by the idea of unlimited growth, and more recently by a global economy dominated by large corporations, in which consolidation and oversimplification create large-scale inefficiencies in both material and energy usage.
Wessels makes scientific theory readily accessible by offering examples of how the laws of sustainability function in the complex systems we can observe in the natural world around us. He shows how systems such as forests can be templates for developing sustainable economic practices that will allow true progress. Demonstrating that all environmental problems have their source in a disregard for the laws of sustainability that is based on the myth of progress, he concludes with an impassioned argument for cultural change.
Published by: University Press of New England
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Preface to the Revised Edition
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...son for that has to do with the fact that I didn’t learn to read I couldn’t teach a wr iting class, their guidance sta yed with out any editorial help. I was able to review the copy edits and that, after four y ears, shows little promise of a r eturn to the self-organization as the scientific rationale for relocalizing our ...
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Volpe for doing the initial r esearch on indicators of progress script. Special thanks to my wife, Marcia Wessels, for her care-and organization. Steve’s guidance was essential in more effec-dorsements of this project and the staff at University Press of ...
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...sive wilderness. At the age of five, I started to walk to school jority of my free time was spent in that forest building forts, hoses. Finally we poured dirt, exposed by the dozer’s tracks, else’s property. But to the three of us, those woods were our were intimately tied to their place. It’s a very recent phenom-...
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...dent Bush gave on Valentine’s Day. I heard it while listening to ate School, where I teach. I found the President’s statement so provocative that I had to pull o ver so I could wr ite it down. As an ecologist, it’s evident to me that economic g rowth, as well as its associated e ver-increasing extraction of r esources ...
1 | The Myth of Control: Complex versus Linear Systems
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...“The control of nature is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy . . .” —Rachel Carson 1M y first exposure to computers based on microchip tech- nology was in 1 980. Jimmy Carter had just lost the times less “brain power.” Yet it could do something that peo-ple couldn’t—it could execute millions of calculations in a ...
2 | The Myth of Growth: Limits and Sustainability
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...population and industrialization will stop. If man does not take conscious action to limit population and capital investment, the forces inherent in the natural and social system will rise high enough to growth will cease, not whether it will cease.” —Ja y Forrester1O n May 11, 1943, American forces stormed Attu—the is- land that anchors the western end of Alaska’s Aleutian ...
3 | The Myth of Energy: The Second Law of Thermodynamics
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...social, environmental, and political harm than today’s dominant B efore sitting down to write this morning, I helped my wife, Marcia, clean the house . We swept the w ooden floors, everyone else’s, can’t stay organized? Why will dust eventually laws of science. As Albert Einstein stated regarding this law, “It plicability of its basic concepts, it will never be overthrown.”2 ...
4 | The Myth of the Free Market: The Loss of Diversity, Democracy, and Economic Resiliency
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...“It is time for parents to teach young people that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” —May a Angelou, 1993A s they grow, all biological systems increase their com- plexity, their parts becoming ever more specialized and sustain itself, it creates conditions that sustain the whole . As a result the entir e system incr eases its efficient use of material ...
5 | The Myth of Progress: A Need for Cultural Change
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...“The more materialistic values are at the center of our lives, I n 1978 Marcia and I star ted building our house by cutting, hauling, and barking one hundr ed white pine tr ees from our property. These pines were used to build our scribe- fitted central brick fireplace to capture and hold the sun’s heat. We this computer, and it still works. I can’t bring myself to get rid ...
Epilogue: From Consumption to Connection
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O ctober 1969 found me as a depr essed industr ial engi- neering student at Johns Hopkins University. I felt out the holiness of deep connections to the Ear th, all the life it doesn’t speak of af_f_luence or material wealth, only the impor-ward the end of his life , Black Elk felt that he had f ailed his people by not being ab le to fulfill his vision. Yet his w ords ...
Glossary of Scientific Terms
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Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: Revised ed.