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Patras lecture – 22 March 2014 Water Management in the Anthropocene Peter A. Wilderer Munich, Germany TUM Institute for Advanced Study – EASA-IoS International.

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Presentation on theme: "Patras lecture – 22 March 2014 Water Management in the Anthropocene Peter A. Wilderer Munich, Germany TUM Institute for Advanced Study – EASA-IoS International."— Presentation transcript:

1 Patras lecture – 22 March 2014 Water Management in the Anthropocene Peter A. Wilderer Munich, Germany TUM Institute for Advanced Study – EASA-IoS International Expert Group on Earth System Preservation

2 Karl August Wittfogel ( 1896 – 1988) German – US American historian & sociologist based on Max Weber & Karl Marx

3 water management spured evolution of civilizations causes and effects: arid climate food & water supply large scale hydraulic structures water governance urbanization protection against flooding & drought

4 good water governance requires - knowledge - information - management experiences K. A. Wittfogel: Oriental Despotism A comparative Study of total Power Yale University Press, 1957 https://archive.org/details/KarlAugustWittfogel-OrientalDespotism controlled by democratic system despotic system

5 oriental despotism / hydraulic despotism ruler administration subjects primary goal building huge hydraulic structures to secure water supply & agricultural production total knowledge total power are concentrated in the administration

6 feudal system monarch nobles knightsvassals farmers merchants craftmen pesants serfs first installed in England after 1066 AD. by William the Conqueror primary goal: fighting wars, expansion of wealth and power power is owned by nobility

7 misuse of power leads to collapse Jared Diamond US American scientists, 1937 Collapse: How societies choose to Fall or Succeed „climate change in accord with misuse of power determine rise and fall of empires“ = bad water governance

8 rise & fall through climate change natural impacts before CO 2, ppmv warm cold GHG emission causes anthropogenic global warming

9 what´s new: magnitude & accelleration accelleration of anthropogenic changes of the Earth System

10 global acceleration source:

11 anthropocen: expression of the contemporary geological ara Antonio Stoppani anthropozoic era Paul Crutzen (1933) 1995 Nobel Prize Chemistry 2000anthropocen: the era dominated by humankind Eugene Stroemer anthropocen: the current geolocial epoch

12 years later causes of acceleration and effects 170 Mio 2013 years ago 170 Mio 2013 years ago 7,000,000,000 Mio 2013 years later advances in science & technology population growth innovative communication consequences: we need too much we consume too much we pollute too much we destroy too much

13 how to solve those tremendous problems in virtually „no time“ ? how to solve water & food deficiencies ? how to handle droughts and flooding? how can we prevent collaps of the human civilization ?

14 limits of grassrouts democracy resistance against changes collapse the resilience theory suggests changes yes, but not - in my backyard - on the expense of own interests interests of individuals enterprises governments

15 is revival of the oriental / hydraulic despotism the solution ?

16 Wittfogel considers only those earn the privilege of freedom who are routed in the heritage of the past being alert for the threats of a conflic-torn present and boldly exhausting the possibilities of an open future

17 thank´s for listening whether democracy or hydraulic despotism is chosen all what counts is good governance


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