there exists, exactly one, biosphere
2022 escaped me. I go round and round and keep coming back to the same point:
There exists exactly one biosphere: Ǝ!Ⓑ
Which is so banal it hardly needs saying. But it is the crux of the whole matter. We humans are a part of the biosphere – simple as that. But we are not a necessary part! We are just a subset.
100% certainty: the biosphere will continue, with or without humans, until destroyed by some solar or galactic event.
Will humans survive? Not quite 100%, but almost certainly. The questions are how will life be for these future humans, and do we care?
To halt the degradation of the biosphere we need to shift focus from science and technology to philosophy and ethics – which brings me onto slippery ground. I have some vague smattering of the former, but practically none of the latter.
Which is why I keep returning to simplistic formulae like Ⓒ⊂Ⓗ⊂Ⓑ
Ⓒ is all that stuff that we humans, Ⓗ, have dreamt up – like language, art, religion, nations, politics, laws, economies, wealth, culture, society and so forth. Ⓒ has clearly made us different from every other component of Ⓑ.
Over millennia Ⓑ has been the driver of most human behaviour. We lived in nature and were subservient to it. We may not have understood it but we were ruled by the basic physics, chemistry and biology of the planet. And those rules were consistent, bounded and unbreakable.
But more recently, within the last few thousand years, Ⓒ has become the overwhelming driver of our actions. By now most of us (certainly in the wealthier countries of the world) have become disengaged from the basic truths of nature. We demand spotless tropical fruit on our table at any time of the year. We demand to be warm in winter and cool in summer, we demand clean water at the turn of a tap. We expect to lead long, happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. Ⓒ has given us many of these things by driving human actions that modify the biosphere.
But Ⓒ has a sinister downside. It is not bounded by physical reality or logic. It allows us to hold contradictory thoughts and act on them. We can all cite examples; My gods good, your gods bad! All life is precious; how much are you worth? Peace good, Greenpeace bad. People much wiser, more passionate and more practical than me have pondered these issues throughout history.
Most of us realise that we face a crisis in the biosphere. Our actions have changed the biosphere to such an extent that we, all, will suffer some ill effects unless we take a wide range of counteracting measures now. We have allowed ourselves to believe that the imaginary Ⓒ is more important than the real Ⓑ. Anybody likely to read this will already have reached the same conclusion. So what’s the point?
The point is that we have this whole thing backward. All our discussion and learned papers, the COP’s, the IPCC reports, the brilliant TED talks, the political policy papers are all based on Ⓒ. We talk of percent of GDP, of climate justice, of technological breakthroughs. We somehow think that we can solve the Ⓑ issue without major change to our “western” lifestyle. We talk of national interest and national security.
We need to invert our view point, we need considerations of Ⓑ to drive our imagination, not be ruled by Ⓒ
Hmm … maybe … when I get elected emperor of the world my first edict will be to print the symbols Ǝ!Ⓑ on every bit of official or legal paper, emboss them on every coin and banknote, embroider them on every country, state and whatever flag, pin them on every uniform. Recite the words “there exists, exactly one, biosphere” before every pledge of allegiance or swearing in ceremony, at every session of parliament, at the beginning and end of every religious service. Sing the words before any anthem and at the start, and half time, of every sporting event……
I must admit there is a chance this may not actually happen. But we can recite those words to ourselves and have them guide our actions. If enough of us try that for a generation or two we may not always get what we want but we’ll find we get what we need.
Ǝ!Ⓑ – I will use this mantra to guide my blog entries from here on (January 2023)
Content below is from older front pages and show some of the evolution of this site.
We have “exactly one biosphere”. There isn’t another in all reality. Or, if there is, none of us will ever reach it.
It’s time to rethink 1biosphere.net (December 2021)
There is just one biosphere. We are part of it. There is no other; no “Planet B”. We are trapped here. Which is OK; we were either created or evolved to be here.
There is something else; that imaginary universe we humans have thought up for ourselves. “It” includes religions, nations, kings, mathematics, money, the economy, art and so forth. Others can describe this thing far better than me. To make it simple I just call it “Ⓒ”.
We humans link Ⓒ and the biosphere. We have a foot in each camp – more to the point; we have a body in one and an imagination in the other.
(So, in three paragraphs, I glibly dispose of thousands of years of philosophy plus all of neuroscience, astronomy, evolutionary science, non-human animal intelligence and so forth. Ah, well…)
We are so totally controlled by Ⓒ that we actually damage our biosphere; we damage ourselves. We have ideas of economic growth, national prestige and other imaginary things. And we turn them into physical realities – and so alter the biosphere.
A single human has no limit to their imagination; from writing a poem to building a dam, from drumming on a log to detonating a fusion powered bomb. A single human can believe whatever they will. However it is only through joint belief that we can realize the big things.
This is how my ideas arrived at “stories”. Stories shape belief and belief generates action. Actions change the biosphere. Big actions like an industrial revolution or chemical processes that feed billions. Small actions like personal consumption and waste.
My naive intent, when I started this website, was to generate more stories. “1bio” stories; to show the correctness of science. To emphasize personal and political action. To influence that action toward retaining a biosphere benevolent to humans.
Of course exactly those stories are flooding the world every day, with no help whatsoever from 1biosphere.net.
Here then is my rethink:
- We don’t need more stories.
- The scope of 1biosphere.net has to be reduced and focused
- I intend to look for a model of the type of stories that exist. (and will no doubt continue to be published)
- Possibly (?) use that model to influence a storyteller, or two.
The posts from December 2021 onward will reflect that emphasis. I leave the original introduction below as background only.
The countdown to the US midterm elections remains as important as before. (On the right. Or on bottom in mobile view)
You need to preserve the biosphere. Vote!
THIS IS THE ORIGINAL 2020 FRONT PAGE:
The biosphere is in an Environmental Crisis and it’s hard to see how to get out of it. We know the causes and we know what needs to be done. We are overwhelmed with messages about what will happen and the need for urgent action.
But these messages echo inside our “bubble” of Environmental Organizations, activists and concerned individuals. I believe we need to get out of our bubble and create short, sharp, clear messages calling on the “silent majority”. Only then can we create the political and social environment where real changes can be made.
That’s what this site is about; CREATING STORIES and supporting the stories with solid FACT and ANALYSIS
- Stories – anything that communicates; anecdotes, slogans, symbols, pictures, sound bites, memes…
- Facts and Analysis – a chain linking the story back to underlying analysis, data and eventually basic scientific principles.
If you have a story please share it. If you are an artist, cartoonist, poet, songwriter, social media influencer – how can we tell the story of Environmental Healing and get it to the intended, broad audience? If you are a mathematician, scientist, game player, blockchain expert – how do we trace a path through the masses of information to separate our stories from the tangle of skewed and misleading information? THANK YOU for your input !
In the diagram below I call these messages 1bio stories. In addition to the blog links there are internal pages showing The Basic Story of 1bio, how The Idea developed and how 1bio could grow into the 1bio Organization. Also why don’t people pay attention to the threat of the Environmental Crisis? And a comparison of Money spent on environmental efforts compared to other things.
“Stories” for Environmental Healing,
with a clear, vivid, polarizing message and style*,
supported by a traceable chain of data and analysis
Currently most of the scientific and economic material is below the surface, invisible to most people (unless we read selected news outlets like the NYT, Guardian or Süddeutsche Zeitung). Public summaries and general media stories surface from time to time, but they typically lack the rigorous chain of support back to basic research.
*This point is repurposed from Newt Gingrich, US politician, quoted in New York Times, Dec 2020 :“We had been in the minority for 40 years and unless you had a clear, vivid, polarizing message and style, you were going to be in the minority for 40 more years,”