Sobering analysis of the Juggernaut that is coal. There’s that “If” word again:
“If we can’t divert that river, if we can’t find some way of urbanizing the developing world with low-carbon power, we are well and truly screwed.”
Kevin Moore may want to do a lesson here on thermodynamics, our growth and fossil fuel dependent economy, and the myriad other factors which come into play when hoping for change in a world of self-delusion and backstabbing.
Let me coin a new word here: “descendantcide” – the killing of our descendants.
Let me expand on the definition of “descendantcide” since it is a new word coined right here, right now. I googled the word and it does not exist. This is no surprise for a species that lives in the here and now, unable to see beyond the next quarterly profit and election cycle.
Descendantcide – noun \di-ˈsen-dənt-ˌsīd\
The systematic and thoughtless killing of future progeny primarily by way of an unsustainable mode of living, i.e. capitalist industrial civilization.
Any variation on this definition would be appreciated.
Kevin Moore said:
Progenicide: the progressive destruction of one’s progeny.
In modern industrial societies progenicide is achieved by:
a) feeding progeny with industrially produced food of inappropriate or low nutritional value, and by encouraging overeating
b) encouraging slothful behaviour
c) pandering to wants which consume rapidly depleting energy and resources
d) promoting the destruction of the natural systems that make life on Earth possible for humans and promoting increased levels of pollution
e) failing to become informed and failing the heed warnings
Ah thanks Professor. Words and their origin interest me quite a bit (lexophile?).
That word progenicide seems to have been around for a while. I like your definition, but here’s another quoted from a 1984 paper:
Progenicide: any act, collective or individual, that is carried out in accord with cultural norms and, though delayed in its effects, functions selectively to reduce the probability of survival of the offspring.
Kevin Moore said:
Of course this goes way beyond simply destroying the next human generation’s future. By behaving the way they do, those who drive policy -the money-lenders, the corporations, the opportunists, the bought-and-paid-for politicians- are engaged in a process that is destroying a multitude of species; it is an omnicidal culture of death and destruction..
Descendantcide would also include all those who will never exist due to their ancestors’ omnicidal behavior.
Left at Grist in response to me:
I looked over this website and found this quixotic essay…
“…Can we, the stakeholders, demonstrate the ethical imperatives that will shape a gentler, more ecological capitalism or will capitalism, driven by greed and self-interest, simply self-destruct as the Marxists predict? In an era desperately seeking hopeful solutions, it would be tragic if “sustainable capitalism” was dismissed in the history books as merely an ephemeral oxymoron…”
Reform capitalism? Really? We, the stakeholders?
Accumulation of capital is the basis of capitalism. Those most successful at this primary goal translate that mass of wealth into political power which corrupts and perverts the political and governmental system. Those without vast sums of money have essentially no political power to change the system. This is the reality of our situation. Good grief, capitalism is the crisis.
Kevin Moore said:
I grew up in a coal-based society (1950s Britain).
Ships and road transport had largely made the transition to petroleum, but not much else had. Coal was used for home heating; it was used to power trains; it was used to generate electricity; it was used to produce steel; it was used to run factories; it was heated (using coal, of course) to produce industrial chemicals and coal gas.
Most large cities were filthy, and parts of many stank.
The shift to petroleum and natural gas resulted in a façade of cleanliness.
A decade or so ago [in NZ] we began hearing about ‘clean coal’. Electrostatic stack systems and scrubbers would supposedly reduce the filth. But no mention of the CO2, of course. There never is.
Presumably, as it gets more and more difficult to acquire petroleum at high EROEI those who want to keep the toxic omnicidal system going will pour money from the ‘printing machines’ into projects to utilise coal to make liquid fuels, however bad the EROEI is.
I suppose it would be best if the coal-to-liquids plants are sited in impoverished nations that have lax environmental laws. On the other hand, maybe everywhere will be impoverished within 5 years. The central banks and the politicians are working on it.