ecoglobe Email to Prof. Pinhas Alpert, Tel Aviv University on Isreal
- "...the goal of improving the state of the environment and our lives within it.".

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Letters to influential people could generate change
16 August 2011

Dear prof. Pinhas, [bcc: Susanne Brunner]

Today's interview with your colleague Carlo Strenger (psychology) on the Swiss National Radio took me to your web page, in search for demographic data.

The most striking statement in the radio interview was about the demographic development in a region that by nature is relatively arid:

"Israel is an immigration country by nature of course. I mean in 1948 there were almost 600,000 people here and meanwhile there are 7.8 million. And a large part have been immigrants of course, many Jews form Arab states...(Carlo Strenger)"

If we only look at the environmental data and facts, I find it difficult to understand how otherwise intelligent people pay no attention to the problem of population growth, environmental resource limits and depletion.
(Cf. I=PxAxT - )

No need to refer to the details of water and land scarcities, and the dependence on imported resources of Israel.

Your introductory message on the School of Environmental Studies says that you pursue "the goal of improving the state of the environment and our lives within it."

How can the state of the enviroment and lives be enhanced by ever more people that consume ever more resources and need ever more space?

Factually, based upon generally recognised trends of worldwide increasing resource depletion rates, and the imminent post peak oil era, we must expect that the times of exuberance will very soon be over.
(Cf. Overshoot - )

Isreal will no longer be "an immigration country by nature" since after peak oil we will be on the downslope of reduced agricultural and industrial production. People will then want to go back to Russia, etc.
(Cf. Peak oil - )

Those countries who are at present still exporting fossil fuels and food (including embedded water!) will then first take care of their local population before thinking of exporting what may remain available.

Thereafter comes the time that international trade will grind to a halt because the bunker fuels for the ships will get too scarce. Electricity and "future Inventions" cannot replace oil. That's another fact.

The situation will be much similar for many countries, including Switzerland, where I happen to live.

Unfortunately the People In Power are living in a dreamworld of Hope Optimism and Technology, an escapist reaction to inconvenient realities.
This prevents any realistic discussion of environmental realities.

Do I need to add that the policy of economic growth amounts to planned societal suicide in a world that is finite?
and etc.)

Kind regards ... Helmut Lubbers

Part transcript from the radio interview:

"Israel is an immigration country by nature of course. I mean in 1948 there were almost 600,000 people here and meanwhile there are 7.8 million. And a large part were immigrants of course, many Jews from Arab states..." [My translation.]
[Original, my transliteration from Swiss German dialect:
"Jetzt, Israel ist von Natur aus natürlich ein Einwanderungsland. Ich meine im 1948 waren hier knapp 600000 Leute und mittlerweile sind's 7,8 Millionen. Und ein grosser Teil von denen waren natürlich Einwanderer, viele Juden aus arabischen Staaten..."]

Full interview audio:

Message from the Head of PSES

11 January 2009
The environment in which we live is being increasingly affected by human activity, and not necessarily in a positive sense. My goal as the new Head of the Porter School of Environmental Studies will be to encourage environmental research. This kind of research is often multidisciplinary, including interesting combinations from across the campus, and it is the aim of PSES to be the natural academic home for these kinds of endeavors.

I believe it is important to attract outstanding students to PSES and to make the school an attractive place to carry out research which aids our understanding of the physical, social and economic aspects of the environment of humans and of life in general on Earth.

At this time we are glad to be embarking on the construction of the PSES Green Building which will provide a permanent home for the school and will aim to be a successful example of a truly green building that will be a point of contact for all those concerned about our environment.

International cooperation with leading universities abroad is also key to fulfilling the school's aims, and we are in the process of building research collaboration with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and other institutions around the world.

I am sure that in the future, as in the past, we will continue to maintain a high level of activity including courses, seminars, and conferences and ongoing environmental projects with many organizations. Our work will continue to influence decision-makers in government and raise environmental awareness, and will increase the amount of environmental research into issues that contribute to our understanding of environmental problems, all with the goal of improving the state of the environment and our lives within it.

Prof. Pinhas Alpert
Head of the Porter School of Environmental Studies


Carpe diem ... Helmut
... quam minimum credula postero -
Pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the future. - Horatius
Cueille le jour présent, en te fiant le moins possible au lendemain.
Plücke den Tag und vertraue der Zukunft so wenig wie möglich.

<<< some abbreviations to facilitate understanding of modernity >>>

BPE = Business, Politics and the discipline of Economics
ECONOMIC GROWTH = The difference in GDP between one year and the previous one. GDP=Money=Material. "Dematerialised growth" is nonsense sublime.
HOT = Hope Optimism Technology
LSM = Lame Stream Media
OVERSHOOT = Too many people consuming too much resources, possibly more than 400 times in excess of the planet's carrying capacity.
PIP = People In Power
PPOD = Post Peak Oil Downslope

Helmut Lubbers, ecological economist at
14 bd Carl-Vogt, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland,, Tel. +41 22 3212320
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