This sub is for discussing the collapse of civilization but with the assumption that there will not be outright Human Extinction, that some humans will survive and continue the cycle of empire and collapse for many more millennia. This sub is not concerned with the ultimate human extinction, only the collapse, post-collapse and rebuilding.
The first thread describes the purpose of the sub.
According to Wikipedia, Ecological civilization is the hypothetical concept that describes the alleged final goal of social and environmental reform within a given society. It implies that the changes required in response to global climate disruption and social injustices are so extensive as to require another form of human civilization, one based on ecological principles.
My own definition would be more like: "any form of human civilisation which has achieved long-term balance with the ecological system in which it is embedded, and is therefore indefinitely sustainable."
The concept has been popularised in China since 2007, when it was adopted as an official goal of the Chinese Communist Party. As yet it has not taken off in the west, and I think this needs to change. The concept therefore needs to be westernised. This probably, but not necessarily, means it needs to be democratised. This is partly because the majority of western society needs to be on board, and partly because insisting on democracy nullifies the inevitable accusations of "ecofascism". Fascism cannot be democratic, because it is unthinkable without the suppression of political opposition. However, some people may also argue that democracy and ecocivilisation are also incompatible, and of course China, which is leading the way on this, is not democratic.
It will help to distinguish from other concepts/subreddits.
/r/degrowth is similar because it is aiming for something similar, but explicitly defines itself in terms of the process going forwards from here, rather than any destination. Specifically, it defines that process as being managed and fair.
This is in direct opposition to /r/collapse, which defines itself in terms of the process going forwards from here being chaotic, unmanaged and inevitably unfair. Collapse does not define any end point either, apart from maybe assuming it is going to be bad. /r/collapse has very little content about what happens after civilisation collapses.
/r/sustainability ought to be almost the same, but that concept and subreddit has major problems. It has been co-opted by believers in infinite economic growth, and is associated with systemic reality-denial. I was banned from that subreddit for repeatedly talking about human overpopulation because, I was told, this “leads to ecofascism”. Sustainability has become synonymous with greenwashing -- it is about maintaining the myth that is possible to keep civilisation as we know it going somehow.
r/DarkFuturology is a free speech zone where people can actually talk about things like overpopulation without being shut down, but it explicitly bans discussion of the sort of positive long-term outcomes that r/collapse organically suppresses.
/r/overpopulation is directly relevant but only covers one aspect of the problem, and /r/bottleneck is even more directly related, since by definition it is about what happens after a collapse in human population numbers.
For now I have only added a minimum of rules. I wish to encourage discussion of everything about the way this sub is set up, apart from the rule that it must be a free speech zone. We must not repeat the cycle of the political left adopting a concept first, rigging all of the definitions and assumptions so they are only acceptable to the left and then suppressing anybody who challenges them. All of our definitions and assumptions must be defensible in open debate. They cannot be based on fantasies that can only maintained by restrictions on free speech. From my perspective, the idea that the Earth is not overpopulated is preposterous, and the idea that we can talk about "sustainability" without talking about restricting fundamentally unsustainable human behaviour is fundamentally wrong-headed. It is a perfect example of how we got into this mess in the first place.
Basically the purpose of this sub is to explore the hypothetical concept of ecocivilisation. We have two primary questions:
(1) What should or could an ecocivilisation look like? How would it be different from civilisation as we know it?
(2) How is it possible to get from here to there.
Both questions must be answered. An answer to (1) which leaves (2) unanswerable is no use to us.
Let's imagine that by 2123 the global population has collapsed back down to below 1 billion. That's a pretty drastic reduction, and it is safe to say that civilisation as we know it cannot possibly survive. By "civilisation as we know it" I mean what Francis Fukuyama declared to be "the end of history" -- western liberal democracy, by which he meant "neoliberal consumerist capitalism". Growth-based economics in general is one example of what cannot survive (obviously, given that die-off is the opposite of growth).
However, we cannot go back to the stone age either. We cannot unlearn agriculture or the phonetic alphabet and we can't destroy all the books or forget how to print them. Books mass-produced in the 20th and 21st centuries may well survive for millenia, and the more important people believe them to be then the more likely it is that they will be retained and copied. That means that all of the most important scientific and philosophical texts will survive.
This way of thinking about this sets up three categories of cultural advances:
(1) Things that can't survive (eg growth based economics and consumerism).
(2) Things that certainly will survive (eg agriculture, writing, books, science).
(3) Things that may or may not survive. By default this is everything else, but it includes some things we consider extremely important, such as democracy, satellites (working ones, anyway) and the internet.
We would each populate these list differently, I suspect. I'd be interested in knowing people's thoughts on this. What technological/cultural phenomena do you think can't survive, what will certainly survive, and what are the most important things that may or may not survive? All three categories are very important in shaping our individual expectations about the future. If growth-based economics can't survive then it will be replaced with something else, and right now not many people have a clear idea of what it will be. The survival or non-survival of the internet has massive implications. Etc...
An “eco-civilisation” is any form of human civilisation which has achieved long-term balance with the ecological system in which it is embedded, and is therefore permanently sustainable. Ecological civilization - Wikipedia. Currently this term is almost unused in the western world, but has been adopted by the Chinese Communist Party as an explicit goal.
I am interested in people's thoughts regarding ecocivilisation and democracy.
Could a democratic society/state ever create an eco-civilisation? Or does human ignorance, stupidity, greed and self-interest make it impossible? It is imaginable that people will ever vote for such a thing, given an environment of free speech where vested interests (ie the rich and powerful) will do everything in their power to brainwash people into believing ecocivilisation is either evil or impossible?
I can see arguments on both sides. You could argue that democracy would never produce such a solution, so it would need an authoritarian one-party state (like China) to achieve it. You could also argue that authoritarian states always descend into tyranny and corruption, because the people in power end up with a primary goal of staying in power (so suppressing political opposition and free speech, and therefore severely restricting the possibilities for positive development).
For the purposes of this thread, let us imagine that we are a committee tasked with planning the foundations of a future eco-civilisation. There are a great many questions about how such a civilisation would work -- for example about economics, and the inter-relationships between the state, science and religion. But right now I am specifically interested in how such a civilisation should be governed.
Do we need a (much) improved version of democracy? If so, can you say how you'd improve it?
Or should we be thinking more radically than that -- do we actually need some sort of non-democratic system which is capable of imposing necessary policies on the population even if they are unpopular?
Is eco-civilisation compatible with democracy?