Hazel Henderson, Book Review: “Hope In Hell”

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“Hope in Hell”
Jonathon Porritt
Earth Aware, (2021)

 

©Hazel Henderson 2021

 

Hope in hellThis is a personal recounting of Jonathan Porritt’s decades of environmental activism directing Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace in the 1980’s to co-founding Forum of the Future in Britain, now launching in the USA.  Porritt also chairs the UK Sustainable Development Commission and is President of Population Matters and The Conservation Volunteers as well as Chancellor of Keele University.  Now in “Hope in Hell” (2021), Porritt reveals his deepest fears while still hoping for a change in the course of human affairs from consumerist capitalism to the needed policies to face our global climate emergency and move rapidly toward a new ethic of sustainability.  Porritt lays out the devastation of our planet in all the latest, scariest science.  He then reviews all the still unused opportunities available for the past 30 years and how they have been blocked by incumbent 19th and 20th century fossilized companies in energy, agriculture and all other sectors of industrial societies.

We at Ethical Markets agree with Porritt’s account of the massive denial of the truth of the ecological crises building over the past 30 years.  We have tracked since 2004 on our global media platform, books, reports TV series and research all these truths ignored by most mainstream media and financial news—-largely due to their revenues from climate and science denying corporate advertising.  We launched our EthicMark® Awards for Communications Uplifting the Human Spirit and Society and our decade of Award winning ad campaigns have shown how mass media can go beyond consumerist advertising and can teach sustainable behaviors and global citizen responsibility, www.ethicmark.org.  We also tracked all the greener, knowledge-richer technologies, new companies and private investments from 2009-2020 on our Green Transition Scoreboard ® reports. We welcome BloombergGreen and other media now stepping up to the plate, especially the reports of Akshat Rathi on the need to re-define all the metrics and terminology still obscuring these issues and covering corporate greenwashing.

Porritt now believes only in non-violent civil disobedience following new leaders from Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future to Jane Fonda’s Friday Fire Drills in Washington and her book “What Can I Do?” (2021) and others. Porritt believes these movements are the best way to force political leaders still in the sway of companies and big money to action needed now to shift humanity’s trajectory in the next 10 years window of the IPCC.  Porritt is correct in calling for more such widespread grassroots action, as we have, and continue to advocate on our global media platform (without advertising or outside revenues except royalties from our TV series, books and articles) and in promoting Porritt’s book.

We would add two more bright spots for Porritt’s attention: our research on expanding the current global food system further with even more plant-based diets, both for human and planetary health.  We focus on the perilous reliance however, on the planet’s 3% of dwindling fresh water, while Earth : The Water Planet comprises 97% of saline water and that Nature has provided the hundreds of salt-loving ,halophyte food plants which can be grown without fertilizers or pesticides on  scrub and degraded land , even beaches to  expand our diets with their complete protein and mineral nutrition (see our page “Halophytes” at www.ethicalmarkets.com) and  our TV show “Investing in Saltwater Agriculture :The Next Big Thing”, with NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell.

Regarding the increase in need for electricity storage and batteries and the vast new demand for lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel and other rare earths, we draw Porritt’s attention to the more efficient methods of Vancouver-based DeepGreen, which plans to collect these natural aggregations of these mixed metals in pure form nodules from the ocean floor in the Pacific.  The third-party LCA finds this method of harvesting these pure ores of nickel, cobalt, manganese and other rare earths directly, to be over 90% more efficient than any land-based mining. A moratorium on trawling large areas of the seafloor is acceptable only if land-based mining is also curtailed. The DeepGreen plan is not to trawl, but cherry-pick these nodules from a comparatively small, specific are in the Pacific Ocean off North America. Thus a broader systemic view is needed of the thermodynamic issues surrounding the global shift from fossilized energy to renewable and circular economy upcycling of all electronic wastes.

Lastly, we draw more attention to “Fixing The Money Meme” and the weaponizing of humanity’s two  ancient inventions: money and markets, and relegating these to mostly local, decentralized uses and  only where they can be used appropriately for human production. For most other human transactions, which occur in the enfolding social spheres of mutual aid, sharing, cooperation, barter, markets and money are inappropriate. We now see they cause the market failures, including those we and Porritt identify in climate, energy and agriculture, as well as health. For these humans also need collective action and government policies and standards, as well as enforcement.

We highly recommend this thoughtful and important new roadmap to our uncertain human future.