In June of 1992, when he was 91 years old, the great Dr.
W. Edwards Deming
scolded me loudly in public on the topic of system optimization.
I describe the experience at George Washington University in graphic detail in my talks, but for now, I will just say that something I had asked prompted him to "school" me loudly. But then he calmed himself and carefully wrote these sincere words on a paper I had handed him:
Keep on learning. Study optimization of a system.
W. Edwards Deming
At the time, he wasn't talking about "optimizing" the natural "system" (of which we are a part) as we coexist with nature on planet Earth.
But were he alive today, I am almost certain that he would be talking about that "ultimate" system - the one that gave us birth and sustains us now. And he would probably have gotten to know Dr. James Lovelock who ultimately came to this conclusion regarding our future as a species.
If the Earth improves because of our presence, then we will flourish; if it doesn't, then we will die off.
Dr. Lovelock is a "big picture" scientist in the UK, who will turn 100 next month. In this brief 3-minute clip from a 2010 BBC documentary (Beautiful Minds),
he talks about the Earth's self-regulating "system" that includes human beings and all of nature. He calls it GAIA, a name inspired by the Ancient Greek Goddess of the Earth.
Dr. James Lovelock: Beautiful Minds (BBC)
most-recent video clip (2.7 minutes)
of Dr. Lovelock was posted by BBC in January 2019 and in it, he talks about the danger of humanity losing our tenure on this planet. Still very lucid at 99.
It's really too bad that Deming and Lovelock never had a chance to collaborate. For once Deming fully understood the GAIA Earth Science Theory as expressed by Lovelock, they would have connected the dots regarding what must be done to optimize that ultimate "system" to the extent necessary to preserve our species and our civilization.
To my knowledge, Deming and Lovelock never collaborated. But fortunately, they each left us with a critical piece of the puzzle which we can now leverage to help us survive indefinitely on the only planet, of trillions in the universe, capable of keeping us alive.
So where to start with system optimization?
I have frequently talked about the five basic actions we must take to have any chance of living in harmony with nature. My assessment is that we're failing miserably in all five:
- Reduce population to a sustainable level
- Develop and enforce a GREEN global economy
- Abolish animal agriculture worldwide ASAP
- Dramatically slash fossil fuel consumption
- Aggressively pursue geo-engineering options for removing CO2 from the atmosphere
Also, in addition to the above five, there are many other related issues when it comes to system optimization. I have provided a new list below for you to ponder, one that was posted by
just four days ago.
Sam is a
prolific researcher and blogger on climate issues and is the editor of Arctic News, where his powerful 6-1-19 Climate Plan is posted.
Although he keeps a very low profile, Sam Carana is genuinely respected by the likes of Dr. Peter Wadhams, Paul Beckwith and other noted scientists. The world should listen to what he has to say.
His "Immediate Implementation" List
You will want to carefully read Carana's entire piece but, in case you don't have time right now, here is an abbreviated summary of the first nine of the seventeen global measures that he says are needed immediately:
- Fossil Fuel. Ban the use of coal and natural gas for heating, cooking and generating electricity.
- Nuclear Power. Stop nuclear power plants from continuing to operate and start decommissioning existing plants.
- Wood and Biofuel. Progressively ban the use of wood and other biomass for generating power, for driving vehicles and for other energy-related purposes.
- Road and Rail Vehicles. Progressively electrify all trains that run on fossil fuel, while using revenues to fund conversion or to purchase new electric trains. Also progressively ban the use of vehicles with internal combustion engines.
- Aviation. Progressively ban aviation where flights are powered by jet fuel and other fossil fuel and biofuel.
- Shipping. Progressively prohibit use of bunker fuel and other fossil fuel in shipping.
- Urban Waste. Progressively make sure that zero % of their waste leaves each city, neither by road or boat transport, nor through the sky, soil or waterways. Make sure that waste will be processed within each city.
- Plastic. Ensure that no plastic (or plastic parts) will be sold without permit and without fees high enough to ensure return of such items to approved collection points for safe disposal and processing.
- Diet. Progressively ban sales of livestock products, unless supplied for medical purposes if no alternatives are available.
My take on his list
. It's a great start but, for a number of reasons, it is not likely to result in a fully-sustainable way of life for humans - a form of human civilization that would cause the Earth to "actually improve" because of human activity.
For example, he fails to mention huge issues like these:
- Overpopulation (adding a net 230,000 every day)
- The need for a new global economy based on strict sustainability principles
- The need to reduce the number of motor vehicles, regardless of how they are powered
The Bottom Line. After thinking, researching and writing about a totally-reinvented human living arrangement with nature, the more I am convinced that trying to retrofit our current system to comply with nature's requirements is not possible.
And I would like to think that, were he alive today, Dr. Deming would be loudly scolding all world leaders about the urgent need to totally re-design our civilization - because putting trillion-dollar bandaids on crumbling infrastructure has no chance of optimizing our relationship with nature.
Those bandaids are an outrageously expensive waste of time, effort and money - while distracting us from the need to totally re-invent our civilization.
Further, by pursuing the creation of an ultra-efficient, beautiful, pleasant and nature-friendly habitat for ourselves, we can embrace HUGE goals like eliminating the need for
80% of all roads, parking lots and road vehicles as I have proposed in the GRATOLA model for sustainable living.
As I've said since the first Gratola post in September of 2018, perhaps this "one simple idea" for saving our civilization will resonate with enough powerful individuals who are equipped to take the idea to a highly advanced, futuristic level that is far above my pay grade.
And that would be just fine with me.
For your convenience, here are links to three recent blogs about Gratola:
As always, I will continue to focus on all of the above - in my research, my writing and my speaking.
As for speaking,
I continue to search for mainstream audiences who may have an interest in learning more about a realistically hopeful vision for our future - and their role in making that vision come true.
As such, I will travel anywhere for an opportunity to speak to one or more groups in each city that I visit. I only ask for travel expense reimbursement and a modest honorarium.
As for the specifics of my topic, I invite you to
contact me directly
about how I might tailor my presentation to best suit an audience you may have in mind:
churches, think-tanks, legislative bodies, environmental
organizations, alumni associations, leadership clubs,
and/or civic groups who may appreciate a message of reality and hope for our future.
Or maybe we'll see you at the world's first Plant-Based EXPO this weekend. We'll be there under the 4Leaf flag and will be administering 4Leaf Surveys to the public. Click on this image below for more info:
What else can you do to help?