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View from the Rainbow Bridge: Research Newsletter of Ecocosm Dynamics, Ltd.
Volume 1 ~  Number 1 ~  May 1st, 2004

From the Editor

Welcome to the first issue of View from the Rainbow Bridge, the research newsletter of Ecocosm Dynamics, Ltd. (EDL).

This newsletter is the fruit of several years of hard work by the two principals of the EDL team:   Willard R. Fey and Ann C. W. Lam. The subject matter cannot be more important:   to determine how to steer the transition from the current world of power struggles and unsustainable consumption, to a new world order marked by solidarity and sustainability.   I consider it a privilege to become part of this noble effort by way of planning and editing this newsletter.

The feature article of this initial issue (by Willard R. Fey) will explain our research goals and point to several research reports already available for downloading from our website, www.ecocosmdynamics.org .  We are planning to publish the newsletter quarterly, and send it free of charge to people who share our concern for the future of humanity.  Each issue will contain a feature article (by one or some of us), progress reports that will provide "views" of the enormously complex process under study, and commentaries on recent events as they influence our research priorities.  Hyperlinks will provide unrestricted access to the full resources in our website, including publications and databases.  We intend to act in a collaborative spirit with the many people and institutions already engaged in this arena, and we intend to remain independent of any particular interest group.  

We hope you will consider what we have to say, and let us have your feedback -- positive, negative, ambivalent .... However, if you do not wish to receive future issues, simply click here and send us a blank email to unsubscribe.  


Luis T. Gutierrez

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Feature Article

Ecocosm Dynamics Research, by Willard R. Fey

Ecocosm Dynamics research began early in 1998 to provide a system dynamics (SD) perspective of the world environmental crisis that was widely recognized at that time, but was operationally ignored under the assumption that "technology&" will solve whatever is causing it. Our SD perspective, which was presented at the ISSS annual conference that summer in Atlanta, is focused on the Ecocosm, which we define as the whole Earth system with all of its interactions.  The word "Ecocosm" comes from the Greek words "oikos" meaning "home" and "cosmos" meaning "universe".  There are five major aspects to the perspective:

  • The environmental crisis is so serious that the survival of the human species will be threatened within the next century, if it is not resolved soon.
  • The environmental crisis was, is, and will continue to be caused by world human consumption (WC) that has been for many years, and still is growing on the average by 4% per year compounded, despite having exceeded the carrying capacity of the earth's renewable resources some time in the last half of the 20th century.
  • Any variable with a 4% compounded-per-year growth rate is unbelievably powerful, in that the variable doubles every 17.5 years, quadruples every 35 years, and increases by a factor of 64 in 105 years.
  • This WC growth is caused by the relentless operation of a host of powerful, coordinated, positive feedback loops that are embedded in the world socioeconomic-political system (WSS).  They drive world human population (WP) up by about 2% per year and drive average per capita world consumption per year (APC) up by about 2% per year also.
  • Since the operational imperative of the current WSS is to create and maintain that 4% growth of WC, humanity's survival depends on the successful resolution in the next 50 years of the terrible dilemma that we call the Ecocosm Paradox.

World Consumption Data

There are two sides to the dilemma of the Ecocosm Paradox:

  • If WC is not soon reduced to a sustainable level (that is, not only must growth be stopped, but the annual amount of consumption must be reduced substantially), the life support systems of the planet will fail and will no longer support human and perhaps all life on earth.
  • If WC is reduced to save the life support system, the WSS will collapse in the form of worldwide stock and bond market crashes, currency devaluations, economic depressions, social violence and anarchy, unstable and despotic governments, and world wars using weapons of mass destruction.

The worst possible scenario is for humanity to continue to create WC growth until the resulting environmental collapse becomes severe enough and obvious enough to force the WSS to collapse and precipitate major world wars using today's genocidal nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that have the power to turn the earth into a toxic wasteland.  The best possible outcome is for human leaders to recognize that a new type of WSS is required with a new higher collective human consciousness to support it, and that they must collaborate to find and to implement the higher human consciousness and the peaceful, sustainable world socioeconomic system.  These together must restrain technological developments and implementations to morally acceptable uses, limit WC to a sustainable level, and redirect human effort and creativity from selfish, immoral, competitive objectives to peaceful, collaborative ends.  Consider that the "globalization" system that the United States has been promoting and that many nations have been adopting is the worst possible consciousness/WSS combination because, of all the governmental strategies that humans have tried over the last 10 millennia, globalization produces the highest consumption growth rate and the greatest competition at all levels of any known WSS.  These two effects (high economic growth and reinforcement of competition) together guarantee the greatest environmental destruction and the most violent and vicious conflict to determine who will survive when the collapse occurs.

To read the article in abbreviated form (just three pages, with highly significant graphs and diagrams), please go to:


To read "The Bridge to Humanity's Future" address to the World Congress of the System Sciences (seven pages), please go to:


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The Ecocosm Dynamics Website, by Ann C. W. Lam

Our website, www.EcocosmDynamics.org , has three primary purposes:

  • To inform website visitors about the cause of the environmental crisis, the paradoxical position in which it places humanity, and the speed and intensity with which our situation is worsening. You can view a short explanation of these topics by following the links in the middle of the home page. Via the website, we also provide more in-depth papers, books, and videos on these subjects.
  • To promote collaboration among those of us trying to find a solution to these problems. In this free newsletter which will also be made available on the website, we will be reporting progress on our research and related research of other organizations and individuals. To learn more about participating in this work, please contact us at info@EcocosmDynamics.org.
  • To provide information resources to assist in researching environmental problems. The EDL Links Database currently lists 1200 of the best information sources we have found. We have categorized them in ways that we hope will prove useful.

We would like to hear from you. Send your suggestions and feedback about the website to webmaster@EcocosmDynamics.org .

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The EDL Links Directory, by Luis T. Gutierrez

The EDL links directory is a customized relational database.   It is, basically, a directory of hyperlinks to websites hosting relevant information content.   To a significant extent, it is a "directory of directories", for many of the links point to websites that provide directories of links to information in specific areas.   Our current database has five columns:

  • The first column identifies subwebs by "discipline", i.e., clusters of web sites with content in a given discipline, such as biology, economics, etc.
  • The second column identifies subwebs by "sub-discipline", i.e., clusters of web sites with content in a given sub-discipline.
  • The third column identifies the institutional information sources.
  • The fourth column shows categories of information content (e.g., directory, experts, data, ...)
  • The fifth column provides the title of the website hosting the information content.

Therefore, each row of the table identifies a web site, classified with regard to discipline, sub-discipline, institutional source, and information category. The table can then be sorted to show all the web sites grouped by some combination of these four dimensions. The current table includes 1198 websites covering 15 disciplines, 305 sub-disciplines, 944 institutional sources, and 9 categories of information content.

The usefulness and versatility of relational databases are well established. They help to identify information needed, structure and integrate information found, and do sortings to group together the information sources most relevant to any given research question. Note the navigation links that facilitate scrolling up and down the tables, as well as locating links within a given discipline.  You are cordially invited to view the relational database we are developing to support our research, and hope you find it useful for your own work:

EDL Links Directory

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An Item for Reflection

                    I met a traveler from an antique land
                         Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
                    Stand in the desert.  Near them on the sand,
                         Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
                    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
                    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
                         Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
                    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
                    And on the pedestal these words appear:
                         'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
                    Look on my works ye mighty, and despair!'
                         Nothing beside remains.  Round the decay
                    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
                         The lone and level sands stretch far away."

                           by Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1817

Notes to the Reader:

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