Citizen Action Monitor

Breaking through the silence; finally, recognition (of sorts) of the value of Dr. Nate Hagens’ work

Below2°C concedes: Hagens’ video “Earth and Humanity has been posted on the Below2C home page…” —

No 2760 by fw, July 27, 2021

For several years, I have been promoting the works of systems synthesist Nate Hagens to many of Canada’s online climate action sites, including, for example: Leadnow; 350.Org/Canada/; 350.org; Climate Action Network; Below2c.org/; Dogwood; and Canada’s National Observer.

All to no avail. (See, for example: Is the National Observer intentionally ignoring reports by/about leading climate scientists?  : Why has Observer reporter not responded to my email promoting work of Dr. Nate Hagens? Posted by fw, June 6, 2021; 350 Canada’s “Climate Science Basics” fail the acid test of science reporting excellence : Its climate crisis assertions border on the fraudulent; they’re “misleading, overly simplistic, and sometimes, factually false. Posted by fw, April 16, 2021; I’m discovering that Garrett’s “civilization collapse” message is a tough sell, with no takers so far. How come? : Perhaps an answer of sorts can be found in an exchange of comments I had with two other readers on a popular website.)

However, there may be one success in the making. Below is a copy of a civil exchange of conflicting viewpoints between myself and Rolly Montpellier of Below2°C. I opened the conversation July 11, 2021 and posted my most recent comment this morning, July 27, 2021. It’s unclear whether the dialog will continue, or whether I will get a clear and concise answer to my question:

Why is it that Below2°C has, for the many years that I have been following it, not responded to this crisis by following and reporting on the contributions of the world’s top scientists, including: systems synthesist Dr. Nate Hagens; physicist Dr. Tom Murphy who blogs at ‘Do the Math’ (which Below2C seldom if ever does); and the recent work of ecology expert Dr. William Rees of UBC.”

My opening comment was prompted by a Below2°C, July 11, 2021 article, titled: Message to Justin Trudeau: Canada’s on Fire – Act Like It. Here’s my response –

Frank White July 11, 2021 At 2:45 pm

Hi Rolly — I find it ironic, but not really surprising, to read that Below2C is calling on “Trudeau to respond to this crisis with emergency-level climate action that delivers two things …,” when your site has, for the many years that I have been following it, not responded to this crisis by following and reporting on the contributions of the world’s top scientists, including: systems synthesist Dr. Nate Hagens; physicist Dr. Tom Murphy who blogs at “Do the Math” (which Below2C seldom if ever does); and the recent work of ecology expert Dr. William Rees of UBC.

Why is that, Rolly?

In his information-rich, May 21 Earth Day presentation, which lasted almost 3 hours, Dr. Hagens noted that “We live in a world of expertise separated by oceans of misinformation and confusion.” Watch his full video on You Tube, titled — “Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality” — where he offers 33 myths about solutions to our existential crises, many of which 2C subscribes to.

No offense intended Rolly, for you are a gentleman, but in my responsibly informed viewpoint, Below2C is one of those remote islands floating on “oceans of misinformation and confusion.”

Reply Rolly Montpellier @Below2C_ July 13, 2021 At 6:46 am

Frank – thank you once again for your comments although you do Below2C a disservice by accusing us of being a remote island floating on “oceans of misinformation and confusion.” For the record, there is no intention to deliberately misinform and confuse readers and viewers of materials found on Below2C.

In fact, it’s the opposite. We seek to inform our public and publish material which tries to get to the truth of the matter. There are over 750 published posts on Below2C, a weekly newsletter and more than 20,000 followers on social media platforms. We’re a small group of dedicated climate advocates fighting for the survival of our planet.

Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality” has been posted on the Below2C home page. I’m viewing the 33 myths about solutions to our existential crises, and as I do so, it’s clear that the presentation by Dr. Hagens is not focused on climate change but rather all of humanity’s many problems. And as you point out, most of us, including yourself I would guess, subscribe to a number of those myths.

What are your top 10 myths?

Reply  Frank White July 16, 2021 At 4:48 pm

Hi Rolly – Thanks for your comments. In answer to your question — Re my top ten myths: So far I have reposted 7 of Hagens’ 33 myths to my blog, as listed below. The beauty of his 2hr, 52min long, information-rich Earth Day talk is that it is more of an indexed reference tool for recurrent consultation than a lecture meant to be assimilated in one sitting.

+ Myth # 1 “WE ARE DOOMED” is Nate Hagens’ #1 Myth on his list of 33 myths about where we’re headed : Fixed, biased personal viewpoints like this, says Hagens, are subverting interpersonal communications about the future. — No 2736 Posted by fw, June 7, 2021

+ Myth #11: Nate Hagens challenges the accepted belief that “Climate Change is the Core Problem” : “From a systems perspective, a more complex story emerges.” — No 2755 by fw, July 3, 2021

+ Myth #14 : Nate Hagens unveils evidence that upends the presumption “Technology Will Solve It” : “When technology is combined with a growth imperative in the financial markets, there is no way to shrink energy use.” — No 2756 by fw, July 4, 2021

 Myth #19: Nate Hagens dismisses the insistence we can achieve Net Zero!! (by 2050 or any date) : “When people use the term “Net Zero” it’s mostly shorthand for maintaining economic growth while doing some magical technological salvation in the future.” — No 2754 by fw, July 2, 2021

+ Myth #21: Nate Hagens rebuts claims that “Renewable energy can power THIS civilization
The popular myth is that we can somehow swap out the dirty energy with clean energy technology while also continuing to consume at today’s income and GDP levels.” No 2753 Posted by fw, June 30, 2021

+ Myth #22: Nate Hagens discredits claim “We Can Always Get More Resources If We Have More Money” :
We can create money, but we cannot create energy, only extract what exists — FASTER.” No 2757 by fw, July 5, 2021

+ Myth #33: The Experts have all the answers: “We live in a world of islands of expertise separated by oceans of misinformation and confusion : Collective coordination of our upcoming challenges will not be possible without first having collective sense-making”: Nate Hagens — No 2734 Posted by fw, June 5, 2021

I have more to say in response to your comments, but I don’t want to wear out your invitation. Always a pleasure Rolly.
Take care.

Reply Rolly Montpellier @Below2C_ July 20, 2021 At 5:10 pm

Frank – I like that you’ve posted a selection of top myths. The video is well indexed into sections which makes it easy to use. I’ve posted it on my Home page in the video section.

And of course I get that climate change is only one of the many interconnected threats our civilization faces. And now we also have a new myth being born – that of colonizing space for when our planet can no longer support our existence as a species. Good luck with that one. Today I watched the Jeff Bezos launch and of course that was given as a prime reason why billionaires are becoming instant astronauts – to help humanity eventually survive in outer space.

How impressive.

Reply Frank White July 20, 2021 At 11:22 am

Hi Rolly, I promised “more to say” and here it is — rather long —

I’m responding to your comment, which claims that I “…do Below2C a disservice by accusing us of being a remote island floating on ‘oceans of misinformation and confusion.’ For the record, there is no intention to deliberately misinform and confuse readers and viewers of materials found on Below2C. In fact, it’s the opposite. We seek to inform our public and publish material which tries to get to the truth of the matter. There are over 750 published posts on Below2C, a weekly newsletter and more than 20,000 followers on social media platforms. We’re a small group of dedicated climate advocates fighting for the survival of our planet.”

In response –

First, Contrary to your claim, I did not “accuse” Below2C of “intention to deliberately misinform and confuse…” If you re-read my original comment, I wrote: “…in my responsibly informed viewpoint, Below2C is one of those remote islands floating on ‘oceans of misinformation and confusion.’”

Second, I was quoting systems synthesist Nate Hagens when I used the phrase “oceans of misinformation and confusion,” in the sense that “Most people think that when you get a bunch of experts in a room, their expertise is somehow merged and everyone understands everything. The reality is that information ultimately has to be synthesized in a single mind. It’s the only place it can possibly be synthesized. Specialists need to learn a lot from other specialists to arrive at a generalist aha! moment that puts the big picture together. This is a problem for a culture full of reductionist expertise.”

In Hagens’ sense, I see Below2C more as an “information silo”, or, to echo Hagens words, a “remote island” that rarely, if ever, in my reading of Below2C, synthesizes its collected pieces of information to assemble a “big picture” aha’ moment of meaning.

Third, you write, “We seek to inform our public and publish material which tries to get to the truth of the matter.” Rolly, What is Below2C’s “standard of truth”? My impression is that the majority of your posts are largely rhetorical. But rhetoric itself, unsupported by measurement of some kind (ideally physics-based), or, at least, by reliable evidence and rational inference, is not emancipatory. Truth cannot rest solely on one’s preferences.

Fourth, you write, “I’m viewing the 33 myths about solutions to our existential crises, and as I do so, it’s clear that the presentation by Dr. Hagens is not focused on climate change but rather all of humanity’s many problems.” Rolly, help me out here – I’m not sure what point you’re making re Hagens “not being focused on climate change.” Two points: 1) In Hagens’ Myth #11 he challenges the accepted belief that “Climate Change is the Core Problem.” And 2) In his works, Hagens argues convincingly that Climate Change is a “symptom” of our existential crisis, not a “cause”.

Fifth, below is a list of statements excerpted from Below2C presented as climate change “solutions”, everyone one of which systems synthesist Nate Hagens would (likely) rebut (based on my understanding of his works)

I include the URL link and the names of the author(s)

https://below2c.org/2021/07/is-carbon-removal-just-a-dangerous-distraction/ (by Rolly)
+ The world needs aggressive climate policies and programs that focus on emissions cuts and accelerate the transition to a clean energy platform.
*****
https://below2c.org/2021/07/stop-fuelling-the-climate-crisis-with-our-pension-money/ by (GASP4change.org)
+ In January this year, with much fanfare, our $205 billion pension fund announced its commitment to ‘net-zero greenhouse gas emissions’ by 2050.
*****
https://below2c.org/2021/06/8-key-components-on-the-pathway-to-net-zero-2050/ (by Climate Reality)
+ Hit the brakes on fossil fuels
+ A green economy is a strong economy
+ Electrify everything
+ Go all in on renewables, and fast
+ Transportation: out with gas, in with electricity and hydrogen
+ Existing tech can take us far, but more innovation is needed
*****
https://below2c.org/2021/03/support-for-a-dying-industry-or-a-just-green-transition-you-cant-do-both/ (by Mitchell Beer)
+ Every dollar wasted on emerging fossil fuel technologies is a dollar that could have been productively allocated to genuine green solutions that are already practical, affordable and surging in other countries.
+ But charting a different future begins with seeing that it might be achievable. For federal decision-makers, that begins with recognizing that the walls won’t cave in if the fossil industry goes into a managed decline because the wider economy isn’t nearly as dependent on oil and gas as they might have thought.
*****
https://below2c.org/2021/07/message-to-justin-trudeau-canadas-on-fire-act-like-it/ (by Below2C, 350.org, @30Canada)
+ An immediate moratorium on new fossil fuel approvals and a freeze on all fossil fuel projects under construction — including the Trans Mountain pipeline.
+ Just Transition legislation to support impacted workers and communities, especially Indigenous and remote communities as we move towards a 100% renewable energy future. (Source: text of 350org Canada petition page)

Sixth, in my original comment, I asked “Why is it that Below2C has not reported on the contributions of the world’s top scientists, including: systems synthesist Dr. Nate Hagens; physicist Dr. Tom Murphy who blogs at ‘Do the Math’ (which Below2C seldom if ever does); and the recent work of ecology expert, Dr. William Rees of UBC?”
Correct me if I’m mistaken, Rolly, but I don’t recall seeing your response to this question.
*****
Always a pleasure Rolly

Reply Rolly Montpellier @Below2C_ July 20, 2021 At 5:20 pm

Frank – you’re right. A long response but all good. I’ve approved the posting of the comment and I will respond but not possible at the moment.

Cheers.

*****

Frank White July 27, 2021 At 9:35 am

Hi Rolly. I’m enjoying this civil exchange of opposing viewpoints– very rare in these fractious, post-truth times.

You may/may not be interested to learn that Nate Hagens has co-authored a new, 345-page book on the human predicament, “Reality Blind: Vol. 1: Integrating the Systems Science Underpinning Our Collective Futures.” In terms of content, it is similar to his almost 3-hour Earth Day talk,  “Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality”. The book is an excellent companion piece to his talk, both of which are essential reference tools for recurrent consultation. With a 6-page Table of Contents and 205 footnotes, Hagens, as usual, is well-prepared to argue his case for system synthesis.  (Coming soon is Vol. 2).

For those interested, copies of Hagens’ book are available online for purchase or free PDF download at https://read.realityblind.world/view/975731937/i/  — (Note: the download icon is on the black border at the bottom of the open window).

Cheers.

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