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Making connections as the world burns … unless 126 does the trick

Wed, Jun 1, 2011

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I’ve managed to connect via email several people, most of whom I’ve not met. I have connected directly with many like-minded people using myriad outlets, including online fora, email, telephone, and live-and-in-person. The latter has proved most gratifying, particularly including the few hundred visitors to the mud hut. Online opportunities have been largely disappointing to me, in part because so many people believe online contacts are their friends. Whereas it is useful to connect with others through various means, let’s not confuse online interactions involving people who use pseudonyms in superficial discussions with human interactions leading to friendship in community. Examples of the latter phenomenon are legion, as you might expect in Facebook Nation, especially in online fora where people use clever monikers: Here’s a recent exercise in navel-gazing under the auspices of developing friendships in community.

Various fora are useful starting points for those interested in meeting like-minded people. These include, for example, the Classified Ads sections of fora such as Silent Country, Sustainable Country, Hubbert’s Arms, and The Oil Age. Michael Ruppert’s Collapse Network has a directory of lifeboats, and the occasional blogger understands the nature of our predicament and sends out a lifeline (here’s an example from Gregg Brazel, who wrote a guest essay for this site in late March of this year). Nonetheless, there remains much more to be done in the name of bringing like-minded people together for discussions of our future.

Consider various models on topics much less important than environmental and economic collapse. These include websites dedicated to Seniors Homing Together, Couch Surfing, farming/gardening, and house-swapping while on sabbatical leave. Dozens of other sites doubtless exist beyond my knowledge and interest. These sites serve valuable functions and some combination of them could be developed as a one-stop shop for doomer-oriented classified ads.

Sub-topics are limited only by our imaginations. Bartering for goods and services knows no bounds. From sharing land to sharing intimate futures, somebody should develop the one-stop shop before it’s too late. After all, times are changing. Rapidly.

How rapidly? It would be nice to know for sure.

I suspected it was game over, within a matter of weeks or months, when the per-barrel price of oil hit $126 in late April. After all, $120 oil brings American Empire to a close, as I pointed out about 18 months ago, and subsequently supported a few months ago). Michael Ruppert predicts lights out by July, which would be two months after the price spike. Ruppert’s prediction, which is viewed throughout the blogosphere as pure insanity, is completely plausible, and is consistent with events of July 2008 ($147.27 oil) and September 2008 (when all the banks in the country came within an eyelash of failing, back before the Federal Reserve Bank became powerless). Paradoxically at this point, higher oil prices indicate continuation of the industrial economy, whereas lower prices put us on track for 2008 all over again (albeit more catastrophic from the perspective of the industrial economy).

Brent crude priced in Euros

Of course, the price of oil could rise to the $200/bbl and then the $300/bbl forecast by Chris Martenson. If it does, we’ll need to bring back the Pony Express to spread the news across a nation without an electrical grid. Actually, the impending ongoing collapse of the U.S. Postal Service indicates we’re close to that point already.

As we all know, completion of the ongoing collapse can happen rapidly. I’m not saying it will happen by July: I’m still sticking with my four-year-old forecast of light’s out by the end of 2012, which is looking ludicrously conservative. But it certainly could happen by July, and I wouldn’t bet against it even as I wish for it. In any event, I’ve been pondering what I would do with an extra few days, weeks, months, or even years.

With an extra couple days, I would call the people I love to wish them goodbye, and I would spend a little extra time in the garden gazing into the adjacent wilderness. On the other hand, with an extra couple days we would drive an additional few hundred species to extinction while bringing nearly half-a-million people into a world they didn’t choose to enter.

What would you do with an extra couple days?

With an extra couple weeks, I would complete a long-planned gathering with my parents and siblings in the northern Idaho campground where we spent a week or two each summer during my youth. On the other hand, with an extra couple weeks we would drive about 3,000 extra species into the abyss of extinction while bringing nearly 3 million people to the planet just in time to suffer and die young.

What would you do with an extra couple weeks?

With an extra couple months, I would construct a solar ice-maker at the mud hut and then write about it and the biochar kiln we recently added (the obvious title of that essay: Fire and Ice). Then we would retain the ability, after the deep-chest freezer follows the electrical grid over the cliff, to cool food (and us). After all, the typical lifetime of an American appliance is seven years, suggesting ours is already in middle age. Can you imagine our prospects for bartering if we have ice in the summer, in the desert? As a society, we could seriously ratchet up the madness with an extra couple months. In that seemingly short time, we would murder an extra 12,000 or so species and bring an additional 12 million or so people into a planet on the brink.

What would you do with an extra couple months?

With an extra couple years, the orchard will be bearing fruit and we might know something about building soil. My tenth book would be published and I would be able to help a few willing people in minor ways. But, at least for me, the psychological and emotional costs are so great I cannot think about an additional two years of planetary madness. The diminishing hope for the future of Homo sapiens on an overwrought, overshot, overheated planet is too much to bear. Despite all the signs and all the evidence, this disaster we call society continues to set records for carbon emissions.

But back to the notion of connections, assuming it’s not too late. This blog has very limited readership (though I don’t know how limited, because I don’t track statistics). Nonetheless, in the spirit of taking a tentative step in the direction I’m proposing — and hoping an organization with a mission, staff, and credibility steps up — I’ve added a classified ads page (see tab at the top of this page). Send me your ad, and I’ll post it there. At any time, let me know if you’d like to revise or remove it. Use me for contact information, if you’d like, so I can serve as a human spam filter.

There are a couple caveats: If the number or content of ads sent my way exceed my ability to effectively deal with them, I’ll pull the plug. Please don’t abuse my time. And, as always, I’m treating this activity as a work in progress, subject to your input and my blowing-in-the-wind whims. Thus, as always, I welcome your thoughts about this pursuit. Have I crossed the line from ridiculous to sublime? Is it true that I’ve lost my ability to reason? You’ve not held back before, so I assume you’ll respond honestly in this space or via email.

Two examples follow, and they’re real. I’ve already posted them to my Facebook page and one of the fora mentioned above. Apparently they’ve met with a fair amount of success already.

We are located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, about halfway between Eugene and Corvallis, Oregon, in the foothills. The commute to Eugene is 30 minutes and to Corvallis about 40.

Looking for others who would like to split the costs of all living expenses, including rent and utilities, sharing resources and helping to develop a way to generate income that will benefit everyone involved. Joint ownership also will be considered.

Ideal partners will be good communicators who are enthusiastic and creative (i.e., they have the passion to create). Motivated couples, young families and/or individuals who share our concerns about climate change, resource depletion and surviving together through collapse of the current system, as we know it. We have enough space where all can live together harmoniously with separate living quarters determined by consensus of all concerned. There are a variety of options available. Kitchen and laundry facilities will be shared.

In considering our homestead, we appreciate others who enjoy actively working/stewarding the land. Ideally, we want to work together with our homesteading partners to find better ways to utilize the land we are tending: (water conservation, intensive sustainable planting, composting and organic planting) along with other mutually beneficial plans for farming. Using all of our talents/ideas and experiences to grow one or several businesses together would be a plus along with the desire to continue the arrangement for an extended period of time.

Our property is five acres, all usable with a gently sloped southern exposure and 55, 4×26′ raised beds and approximately 250′ of berries. We also have a young orchard of apple and pear trees. A creek runs along the bottom of our property (not on it) and a large tract of heavily wooded land lies beyond it (120+ acres).

Other resources:
10×15′ greenhouse
Diesel tractor with attachments, though our garden is tended by hand with no power equipment, has been “no till” for the last five years.
Free range chickens
Barn (with second-floor space) that has electric and water (needs work).
Woodworking equipment for repairs and a possible small business
Our home also has a flex-area for that can be used for classroom space, yoga or bodywork, massage therapy, an art studio (or other venture).

Additional interests include growing and processing food (canning, drying, etc). We would like our partners to share and collaborate with the garden, food preservation, and marketing the farmstead

We have considered workshops targeting sustainable practices, setting up a network with the community for bartering or bulk food purchasing and would also like to incorporate animal husbandry, mechanical, sewing, carpentry and renewable energy skills.

If interested, please contact us with more specifics about long-term plans, interests, and abilities as well as any financial or other resources you have to share. Please contact Guy McPherson via email if you are interested, and he will forward legitimate requests to us (grm@ag.arizona.edu).

____________________

Greetings fellow Doomers:

I’m pleased to be a part of this movement and glad for the collapse of the prevailing planet-destroying order. Future generations will undoubtedly look back at the late-industrial era and scratch their heads in total disbelief. So, on to the future …

I’ve been studying and practicing organic agriculture for three years: experimenting with an urban garden in Chicago, wwoofing at two small farms in Michigan, and also helping out at Strawbale Studio (http://strawbalestudio.org/). I am well-versed and skilled in sustainable design & construction, with 20+ years of experience in engineering, architecture, design and planning. In addition to concerns about health, ecology, and the food chain, my love of cooking inspires me to cultivate fresh veggies, herbs and berries near my kitchen, to share with all.

I am passionately interested in the re-localization of economies … agriculture, building, energy, manufacturing, textiles, medicine, journalism, and the arts … authentic creativity and craftsmanship that come only from a Zen-merging of mind, body and soul. The People need to preserve and safeguard these knowledge bases and critical skills. We must take such matters back into our own hands as some industries are too important to be left to the profit motive that extracts true wealth (natural capital, clean environment, labor hours, genuine relationships) from the local economy. Rebuilding culture and communities from the ground up will be the next primary concern and enterprise of humanity. I am seeking to work with like-minded people to recreate human-scaled economies and humane modes of existence on this gorgeous, finite planet that is our source of all sustenance.

My highest skills are in design+build … shelters, garden structures, furniture. So if you need affordable housing or a solar shower, a passive solar addition, chicken tractor … I am especially interested in helping in this regard. I’ve owned and run a small design/build company for 15 years and have strong business skills … web and graphic design, databases, marketing, cost estimating, project management. I gladly offer help in these areas if it would benefit your community.

Please drop by my website at www.ehrlum.com to view samples of my craft, and see my resume at http://ehrlum.com/gabportfolio/resume.pdf for complete info on my education and skills.

I am single, no children, pets, mortgage or leases. I am highly mobile and motivated, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Gregg Brazel
gregg@ehrlum.com

_____________

This essay is permalinked at Island Breath.

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109 Responses to “Making connections as the world burns … unless 126 does the trick”

  1. Gardengate Says:

    Thank you Guy for walking the talk and sticking your neck out. Don’t believe your crazy for doing so as there are many like us that are trying to share what we have with others so we can all enjoy a little peace in Nature, before it kicks our ass. Trying for 7+ years now to get a writer with an audience to help others like us connect, again we thank you. Don’t know about the lights out in July, wouldn’t surprise us at all. We just get up every day and appreciate the birds and the bees while we’re still here together. Our hearts are with nature and we wait for the last bat.

    What would you do with an extra couple weeks?

    Drive south then west towards the coast, spend a few nights there watching the storms roll in and out, then we would stroll through the Redwoods on the Boy Scout Tree Trail to Fern Falls where we would sit in awe of the surrounding beauty.

  2. David Foster Says:

    On the topic of “bringing like-minded people together”.. How many people do you imagine I could find living under the black veil of progress, who would agree with me that this “collapse” was inevitable, unavoidable, and for the best?

  3. Robin Datta Says:

    A very thoughtful attempt to help people connect, Dr. McPherson. Hope that useful and lasting relationships are forged through you.

  4. Dan Allen Says:

    Hey Guy. Right on! — Dan

  5. john rember Says:

    Guy:

    Life on earth exploded into a rich diversity after the Permian Extinction. It will recover from this one. We’re just witnessing the tragic part of the cycle.

    How tragic? A large part of my childhood diet was poached deer and elk, supplied by a father who considered it his duty to put food on the table whether or not he had the money to buy it. Based on that experience, I think that the extinction rate will increase exponentially when systems of food production and distribution collapse. People will shoot and snare anything that moves to feed their children. Look at the extinctions of wild species in China, particularly in its poorer regions, for a contemporary example.

    Cannibalism is of course an option, but probably not until all the pets and draft animals have been eaten, the zoo has been harvested, and the songbirds have all been netted and baked in pies.

    I agree that strong communities will be essential to survival. But any community is prone to tribalism, and a tribal identity destroys its weakest individuals, and the headman himself falls victim to the narcissistic pathologies of his position (cf. Gaddafi, Mugabe, Trump). Golding’s Lord of the Flies is an accurate psychoanalysis of what happens to communities in the absence of civilized restraint.

    I’m not a Mormon, but I consider myself lucky to live in a part of the country where the Mormon Church will provide an ethical framework for post-collapse behavior. They’ve been planning for hard times for decades now, and they’ve worked out the conditions under which they will welcome us Gentiles into the fold. They have an agricultural base, a military tradition, a strong initiation program for their young people, and a reverence for their old people. What’s not to like, post-collapse?

  6. Sean Strange Says:

    I for one welcome the Collapse, and hope it is total. It is obvious to me now that civilization has done nothing but enable a population explosion of rapacious primates whose idea of culture is to chatter on computers all day and slowly turn our planet into garbage. What is needed now is a good old-fashioned bottleneck to eliminate the weak, the stupid and the unfit among us, who have become the vast majority. I have no doubt that if Adolph Hitler were alive today he would be firmly in the doomer camp. How beautiful it will be when the die-off is done, this wretched civilization is gone, and a new breed of vital men can once again live in their natural state of health and freedom and primal savagery!

  7. Bernhard Says:

    Oh my dear.
    What a peace of work this is. Lol, have been writing the word peace that often, was meant to be piece;-)
    Only made it to: Gregg Brazel, somehow landed at youtube – cotton eyed Joe (love it) and from today on the way to spell democracy will be as this:
    DE MOCK RATIE (well in German anyhow)

    Thank you people, you all are a great source of inspiration.

  8. Bernhard Says:

    Amazing.

    So if we all have to go. At least we will know, some deserve the title:
    Homo Sapiens Sapiens – the wise and knowing man or woman.

  9. Jb Says:

    Adding the classifieds is very generous of you. Oil hovering around $100 is slowly bleeding us to death. I suspect it’s going to be a long hot summer. Better get started on the ice maker, Guy.

  10. Nicole Says:

    Bernhard,

    That was very moving. Tears and fury are a powerful combination.

    Guy,

    Thank you. Both for your classified ads opportunity and for your essay -thought provoking as usual.

    I’ve often thought about what I need to do and how much time left we have – as I believe most of us have. I’ve set my goals and am just chugging towards them, and I guess the path will stop where it stops. I don’t think the amount of time we have left will change my plans because I believe in what I’m doing – and actually enjoy it!

    Do you have any plans for a solar ice maker? I’m intrigued! I’ll have to search the web.

  11. Guy McPherson Says:

    Nicole, thanks for asking about the solar ice-maker. I downloaded a couple designs off the web and sent them to a colleague who is a fourth generation farmer and a Ph.D. in optical engineering. He doesn’t like the models I sent, so he’s developing his own. When he has a scale model, he’ll send it my way, along with directions. When that happens, I’ll post here.

  12. Victor Says:

    Guy

    I don’t go in for predictions – extensions of logic indicating a general period of time, possibly, but predictions as Mike Ruppert has done on many occasions now – no, not at all. The world is much too complex for that. I suspect that Collapse, when it finally arrives, will catch most of us by surprise. Ruppert uses it to generate more membership and to continually caress his bloated ego (anything happens and he has already predicted it, and is more than happy to share that with everyone who will listen), I think. He is something of a lower class John Michael Greer…. ;-)

    Your ads idea is a good one. It does no harm, and it does offer people at least the opportunity to become connected to someone of like mind, if they so choose to do so in these difficult times. And unlike CollapseNet, it offers a real emphasis on connection – and finally unlike CollapseNet, it is free.

    Apologies for going on about MCR and CollapseNet, but you hit a sensitive point there… :-)

    Anyway, I think your idea is a good one.

  13. Victor Says:

    Bernhard

    I was in tears before she got the first sentence out of her mouth….Good God! What a brilliant speech!

  14. Macrobe Says:

    I agree with Victor re: predictions (and the predictors). Today’s complexities and instabilities increase the degree of variables to the point that we can not completely rely on any one model. Regardless, the rampant denial and paralysis create a block to change. Although in-person exchange is more genuine and fruitful, online communities provide exchange of information and ideas at a faster rate and a broader effective network. They supplement each other. Of course, the latter online interface requires filters and critical analysis. Not all are successful at this.

    On another note, some online participants use pseudonyms for legitimate reasons and does not necessarily negate their sincerity or authenticity.

  15. Brutus Says:

    Sean Strange: It is obvious to me now that civilization has done nothing but enable a population explosion of rapacious primates whose idea of culture is to chatter on computers all day and slowly turn our planet into garbage.

    This latest instance of civilization has certainly done that, but that’s not all it’s done. Yeah, there’s a lot of noise and concrete and idiocy, but there are some worthwhile accomplishments, too, especially in the arts, and some people still live noble, dignified lives. On balance, though, it’s probably true that human civilization is a greater force for destruction than for progress or justice.

    As to pseudonyms, I hide behind one, though I suspect it would be relatively easy to puncture with a little effort. It affords me a modicum of personal privacy despite publishing heretical ideas — way out of step with the dominant paradigm — on Guy’s blog and my own. I wish it were easier to forge friendships among like-minded folks, but we’re spread pretty far apart, and modern social organization in the West keeps people isolated and atomized. Maybe Guy’s new initiative to connect people will help a few, but until the walls fall down, the number will undoubtedly be vanishingly small.

  16. Frank Mezek Says:

    Hey Guy,

    Frank Mezek is my real name–do you think someone could make that name up ?

    With solar refrigeration you really could keep the beer cold.I’ve been
    criticized in the past by those who think that such a mundane matter is
    beneath the dignity of such an intellectual site like this.But at my age
    I have to keep my priorities in order.

    Oh,and Guy,you’ll have to be content with “Guy” from this source.Dr.McPherson is way too stuffy for me.That’s the reason I don’t
    expect anyone to call me “Dr. Mezek”

    Double D

  17. Victor Says:

    Fortunately, I prefer my beer at room temperature; otherwise, i would be in deep shit. (Of course, that is assuming I can get beer after Collapse…or anything else to put in the fridge….)

  18. Victor Says:

    Regardless, the rampant denial and paralysis create a block to change.

    Macrobe (and I know that is your true name!)

    Totally agree. There is a huge built-in inertia that prevents a change in course. Collapse WILL happen….we just don’t know when or the precise form it will take.

  19. Victor Says:

    I wish it were easier to forge friendships among like-minded folks, but we’re spread pretty far apart, and modern social organization in the West keeps people isolated and atomized.

    Brutus

    unfortunately, so true. Of course, I suppose we could communicate via Group Skype video. That would be interesting!…. LOL… :-)

  20. Victor Says:

    Financial collapse will not cause THE Collapse. I think many believe that it will. But it won’t. It will tear a hole in the global economy for certain, but planes won’t start dropping from the sky. Governments will make certain banking continues for the vast majority of us. Business will carry on because it must carry on – there is simply no
    alternative to that. TPTB can and will make it happen.

    Collapse will come when oil production can no longer meet demand. It is at that point that we become an energy-starved world, and prices will, of necessity, sky-rocket. This will not happen before 2012. But by the end of 2012 and continuing through to 2015, all bets are off.

    As my father might have said, “You ain’t seen shit until you’ve seen no oil!”

  21. Kathy Says:

    Victor this article is of interest and asserts that economic collapse has far reaching effects that would bring down long distance transport ahead of fuel shortages. I quote a small section below.

    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-05-27/world-limits-growth

    “Not only have our dependencies become more and more de-localised and complex, they have also become more dependent on high speed flows of good and services. The real-time flow of deliveries is an integral part of modern production processes. If economic transactions are halted, for example, by a large-scale systemic banking collapse, then trade and supply-chains would be arrested. The longer production systems are halted then the greater the entropic decay as consumables are consumed and systems ware and rust. And the longer the down time and the wider the scale, then the harder it would be to re-boot the economy, and the greater the risk of a terminal systemic collapse in the global economy. If a significant part of the global banking system collapses for anything more than a week, the risks of a terminal supply-chain/ production collapse rises significantly.
    Indeed internationalised production flows are as important for the viability of our complex economy as energy flows, they are two of a number of co-dependent elements that integrate the globalised economy. If spare parts for our national grid could not be replaced due to some supply chain failure, having plenty of fuel may not matter, electricity might not be delivered. And electricity failure would compromise other critical infrastructure such as banking and IT systems, sewage and water.”

  22. Gardengate Says:

    I’m not quite sure I’m understanding the direction of the comments as we all know that collapse is happening and we either give up (which for me would not be getting up in the morning) or working towards having some things to make life a little easier for everyone trying for as long as we deem fit, as I’m sure for some cannibalism may be the tipping point. Guy has given those of us trying a great opportunity to connect and I hope that those of you commenting here will share this blog/post with those you know that are actively working to enjoy the time left and are offering resources to share.

    Guy says:
    Sub-topics are limited only by our imaginations. Bartering for goods and services knows no bounds. From sharing land to sharing intimate futures, somebody should develop the one-stop shop before it’s too late. After all, times are changing. Rapidly.

    Even as I wish for it to happen, I work harder than most preparing. Some may say I’m a fool but I’m still living, I’m not sure they can say the same. I think only we know when we’ve crossed the line.

    Guy says:
    Thus, as always, I welcome your thoughts about this pursuit. Have I crossed the line from ridiculous to sublime? Is it true that I’ve lost my ability to reason?

    No Guy, we don’t believe you’ve lost your ability to reason, it only makes good sense to us. We embrace collapse while living every day.

  23. Frank Mezek Says:

    The Bugs and Mother Nature Will Always Win

    A new super-toxic E Coli strain has arrived with genes that are resistant to antibiotics.Modern medicine strives to keep too many
    of us alive too long,paid for by the depredation of the planet.The
    purpose of germs is to keep the population in check.You cannot fool Mother Nature.Bugs will be here long after we’re gone.

    There are now highly resistant forms of malaria and tuberculosis.In the
    future the medical profession will be helpless,as ultimately unbeatable
    and unstoppable germs will wipe out our species.Humans cannot evolve rapidly enough to stop it.The bugs will win.

    Guy is on to something when he predicts an end in 2012.But the point is that the overpopulation problem will self-correct, eventually wiping out the human population.Again,all technology is self defeating.

    Double D

  24. Kevin Moore Says:

    Victor.

    ‘Business will carry on because it must carry on – there is simply no
    alternative to that. TPTB can and will make it happen. Collapse will come when oil production can no longer meet demand.’

    There is plenty of evidence TPTB can make happen almost anything they want when it comes to manipulating international finances and controlling the uninformed/misinformed masses. One must assume they will play out the end game to their maximum advantage. And an early collapse is unlikely to provide that. Only when things start to get desperate will politicians in individual localities start to be more concerned about saving their own skins than following their master’s instructions.

    I delevered a 15 minute address to the local council yesterday, emphasising that IEA advice on peak oil retreated from 2067 to 2031 to 2013 to 2006, and that the NZ government churned out misinformation to coumcils and the public all through the early 2000s, presumably based on the IEA nonsense.

    I drew an outline oil depletion curve and indicated that nobody knows how quickly we will fall off peak, but a reasoned analysis indicates that most current economic arrangements will have collpased by 2020, with major disruption by 2015 (though some people believe it could be as easrly as 2012).

    I highlighted the price of gold -up from $250 to over %1500 over the decade- and indicated it will go to $2000, then $3000, as fiat currencies unravel, and that the council’s paper ‘investments’ will trend towards zero value.

    I emphasised that permaculture -the one thing the council refuses to support- provides the only possible strategy for their children/grandchildren to get through the bottleneck.

    As on all occasions when councils are presenteed with irrefutable evidence they are on the wrong track and about to face catastrophe, most of them sat there like beached whales and had nothing to say.

    I will get a letter in a week or two thanking me for my submission and advising me that no change to plan is recommended.

    If there is a newspaper report, it will omit all the crucial information I provided, and will sensationalise the difference of opinion between myself and the council.

    I think we will have to wait for people to start dropping like flies before much will change politically.

  25. Jan Steinman Says:

    On solar ice-making: yea, you can spend lots of money and go out and build one from scratch, or you can (with a little searching) adapt an existing one for very cheap.

    Existing solar ice-makers for free? Find an old beat-up camper that no one wants. In rural areas, they are free for the hauling. They make good critter housing. And in most of them, they have a bomb-proof solar ice-making device!

    An ammonia refrigerator — a design patented by Albert Einstein — has no solid moving parts, and will last longer than any of us are going to live. All they need is a relatively modest source of heat. Most of the ones in campers are “three-way,” meaning they can operate from 110 VAC or 12 VDC electricity, or propane.

    It’s simple enough to hook one of these up to a 12 VDC solar panel. But you can also remove the housing from the boiler and build a small firebox under it to burn wood scraps, focus a parabolic solar reflector on it, or even put a tallow or beeswax candle under it.

    Inside, such fridges are separated traditionally, into freezer and cooler sections. If you want to do a lot of freezing, re-build the inside with a super-insulated box around the freezer element. Or if you want a bigger cooler without the freezer, build a bigger super-insulated box and put both elements in it.

    But don’t go overboard with all this stuff. Remember what happened to Harrison Ford when he tried to do this.

  26. Jan Steinman Says:

    “What would you do with a couple extra days/weeks/months?”

    I think the answer to all three questions is the same. No one can adequately prepare for what’s coming, except step-by-step. So, you keep taking steps, in any event.

    But I don’t necessarily agree with the entire “event” model. Rome did not fall in a day. And although the problems today are much more complex than those of the Roman Empire, I’m not a big fan of sudden collapse theories.

    I am a fan of Dmitry Orlov, who experience the partial collapse of the Soviet Empire. Although the fall of the Berlin Wall was iconic and event-like, the Orlev-Level-3 collapse of the entire system took years.

    So the answer for me to all three questions is the same. Put seeds in the ground. Breed our goats. Gather forage for them. Build more chicken tractors. Work on our greenhouse. Upgrade our housing for less energy dependence.

    The list — and the work — goes on, one step at a time. You can’t do it all. Do what you can. And if the end is “event like,” then you’ll be that much further along than you were before. But more importantly, if the end isn’t an event so much as a process, you’ll have established an ethic of actually living through a collapse, as opposed to surviving one. And I think that’s the most important skill you can have!

    But I still think humanity will go out with a whimper, not a bang. That’s actually going to be a lot harder than the “big bang” theory of collapse. If humanity goes bust quickly, you, the plucky survivor, can get by on dead people’s stuff, even if you’ve done nothing but type at blogs up until the end.

    On the other hand, in the “whimper” scenario, there’s going to be a lot more competition for the dregs of civilization. Those abandoned campers with free solar ice-making machines are going to have people living in them. You will probably have to pay to salvage stuff from the local dump.

    So plan as though there will be no tomorrow, but also as though such a tomorrow will never actually come. One step at a time, each in the “right” direction.

  27. Kathy Says:

    Jan, if you read Orlov’s book Reinventing Collapse, you will find all the reasons why their collapse was buffered. For one houses were rented by the state – people stopped paying rent and just stayed put. More importantly since food was dull and boring, people had kitchen gardens in the country – lots of them did, not the paltry few in the US. The state continued to supply bread. Factories stayed open because even if they couldn’t pay wages they fed the workers. Imagine that happening in the US.

    But we are not looking at the collapse of an overrated “super power” we are facing the collapse of the global empire, including the head of the empire, the holder of the reserve currency and the holder of the most nukes in the world.

    Frankly I think WWIII is the most likely outcome. Thus I agree fully with your advice to plan as though there will be no tomorrow. If people aren’t enjoying their preparations they are trading off surviving a few more days or months or years for living life well now.

    Meanwhile down here we are roasting – End of August weather in the first week of June. I feel like I am trapped in an oven with someone turning up the heat a little at a time. If it gets worse, my garden will fail and I may find death by heat stroke a mercy. :(

  28. Gardengate Says:

    Kathy,

    Guess we’ll all end up picking our poison, here the rain hasn’t stopped and the temps are in the 60’s. Greenhouse is full of starts waiting to be put out. Not so sure the grass seed farmers that converted over to growing beans and grains will be happy with their profits.

    I agree with you on enjoying your preparations, I much rather die of heat stroke in the garden, at least I won’t have far to go for the worms to profit.

  29. Michael Irving Says:

    Jan Steinman,

    Not as an argument, but only as a statement of belief, I would say that a collapse within the “several years” time frame (Soviet Union) would feel instantaneous. Each week would bring some new level of slippage. Each new system failure would cause us to have to adapt our behavior. In the case of a global collapse it would be even harder to make sense of what was happening, as opposed to collapse within only one country. I think it might take only a failure at one point in the system (say failure of Wal-Mart’s on time grocery delivery) to cause panic and a feeling of catastrophe. That point would become the watershed before which all was normal and after which people would perceive that their BAU world had collapsed, even if the actual slowing down took years to play out.

    Michael Irving

  30. Bernhard Says:

    Kevin.
    Do you have this address on film? If so, is it possible to watch it?
    Think I’ve seen some addresses of yours and truly like them.

    To all: Let me express my gratitude for your sharing.

    Surreal world, I start to dance to this, it does help:

    Wish it puts a smile on your face as well.
    Note the drummer, like him most.

    Love & peace

  31. Robin Datta Says:

    It is quite possible to acquire a pair of shoes that are too big for one’s feet. If so, one does not have to wear them, and indeed it may be best not to do so. A similar situation obtains for doctoral degrees.

  32. Victor Says:

    Victor this article is of interest and asserts that economic collapse has far reaching effects that would bring down long distance transport ahead of fuel shortages.

    Kathy

    This is true, but only if it happened like that. The banking industry (the financial sector of the economy) is of course a very important component. But banking is banking, and the politicos can make that system keep functioning if they are pressed to the wall about it, which of course they will be if food and fuel supplies are seriously threatened by the banks. There will still exist international systems capable of transactions – people who are knowledgeable, computer systems, existing policies. These things won’t change. And governments can make that happen – and will if necessary. Personally, I don’t think it will come to that, as I believe that much of the financial turmoil we see today in the world is the result of intentional manipulations of the market which purpose is to bring about a consolidation of global banking power. The bankers are going full stop after a dream that they have had for centuries – owning and controlling the world. They will fail, of course, but this is what I believe drives them, and they will let nothing stand in their way.

    Kevin – There is plenty of evidence TPTB can make happen almost anything they want when it comes to manipulating international finances and controlling the uninformed/misinformed masses.

    Totally agree, and they are doing this. The chaos you see in the world today is a direct result of their manipulation. Dean Henderson has started a 4 part series on the eighth banking/oil families behind much of the troubles. Interesting read:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25080

    Jan Steinman – And although the problems today are much more complex than those of the Roman Empire, I’m not a big fan of sudden collapse theories.

    It doesn’t really matter if you are a fan or not of the big collapse. This is not Rome, and humankind is wrapped in a intricately balanced global network of interconnecting processes that make it the most complex machine ever produced outside of Nature. And though huge, it is remarkably fragile and exposed to resource depletion. This machine is not capable of a slow death. It has certain thresholds that once met will cause it to disintegrate rapidly and completely fail quickly. It might take several years to get to that point, but once there, the result is inevitable.

    But I entirely agree with you on steps to take between now and then. Good advice. Live day by day. Take whatever steps you can daily. No one can truly adequately prepare for what is coming.

    As for Dmitry Orlov, he only lived in the Soviet Union until 12 when his family moved to America. He witnessed on and off its collapse through occasional visits back over the years. He never “experienced” it. My wife experienced it. Under the collapsed Russian state, everyone maintained ownership of their flats – you owned them, not rented from the government. Most people had dachas or at least plots in the country where they grew things. The transport and utility systems were centrally managed so those didn’t disappear in a capitalistic frenzy like they will in the States. And as had been the case for centuries in a country where the people have been oppressed by their various governments, they had a social system built upon human networking – family, friends, connections. It was and is, a very efficient system. No such thing exists in America – you are on your own for the most part. With these things in mind, as Orlov says, the fall will be much harder for America. But Orlov treats America as if it were another USSR, a relatively independent and separate country of the world. So he sees collapse in terms of America, not so much in terms of the entire global system of which America is at dead centre.

    Kathy is quite correct here about the “buffering” of the USSR and the lack of in the event to come. It will be a truly remarkable fall.

    Kathy – in SE England we have had only 15% of the rainfall we normally get so far this year. Farmers are hurting. It’s hot. And only the children are happy.

    Michael Irving – I think it might take only a failure at one point in the system (say failure of Wal-Mart’s on time grocery delivery) to cause panic and a feeling of catastrophe. That point would become the watershed before which all was normal and after which people would perceive that their BAU world had collapsed, even if the actual slowing down took years to play out.

    So true. At the point of food disruption, the truth will at last sink in. At that point things become extremely unpredictable.

    Bernhard – good video, good song. Good dancing. The drummer was great, but I preferred the lady on the Rodeo Bull…. ;-)

  33. sam Says:

    re slow/fast collapse… as victor has said banks can be nationalized… virtually overnight; i’d bet that such a detailed action plan is in place. the connection to the global derivatives, & credit defaults seems though -to me- to be such that a banking crisis would cause a dollar crisis.

    one idea that i have kicked around is…what is abstract, as opposed to real. this fits with victor’s idea that we will struggle along without significant collapse until oil supply is short of demand. orlov seems to mirror this thinking that financial collapse will not mean Collapse as in lights out in his prediction for the next decade; but maybe i need to read this again.

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2009-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-05%3A00&updated-max=2010-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=50

    orlov also in his most recent interview posted, where he says;

    “I think the country will be unrecognizable in 10 years, I don’t know about 5, but I don’t think it will look like a country in 10 years. I think it will be largely dismembered by it’s creditors.

    Do you think that we’re going to be going quickly or slowly into these different stages of collapse?

    I think certain stages like the onset of fuel, transportation, fuel shortages will be very sudden. American society tends to be very fragile. People tend to bring shotguns and baseball bats to gas stations and then every thing goes down hill from there. I expect certain parts of the country to go through this cataclysm where suddenly everything that they depend on, which is basically their car, no longer works and everybody’s stranded and very angry. It would be a lot of mayhem.”

    if we have a financial freeze-up; how long before the dollar quits having much reserve status… i feel/think the current plan is to let the markets/economy drop; & fear to reign for a while. this would likely boost the dollar, & provide some cover for the next QE; probably won’t be called that. Guy you alluded to such in a recent post. of course there will possibly be an unintended consequence that will foil this plan.

    a serious deflation which took way down, oil demand would possibly lengthen the time before oil runs short. hopefully orlov is right & our credit stops & we get fuel shortages soon after financial collapse. a middle east crisis cutting off oil from a significant producer would be the trick for a fast hard collapse…2 birds one stone.

    lots to ponder, but i’m out of energy for now.

  34. Kevin Moore Says:

    Bernhard.

    Unfortunately, no. It would have been good to have had for the record. Robert Atack was very keen on such things 3 years ago, and went to considerable effort to distribute them via ww.oilcrash.com but has since ‘given up’, mainly due to public apathy.

    FYI The written submission was 6 pages and commenced with an inspiration from Guy:

    NPDC is bursting at the seams with people who behave as though the short term interests of the industrial economy are much more important than protecting the natural systems that make life in the district possible. They behave as though the wants of present day adults are much more important than the needs of coming generations. They behave as though the lives of their children/grandchildren have a much lower value than their own, and apparently have no compunction in squandering what remains of rapidly depleting resources on their own selfish pursuits. In doing so they promote the generation of pollution which is rapidly the destroying the natural systems that make life on this planet possible. They hold close to their hearts numerous dysfunctional ideologies which are based on no empirical evidence, and promote them vigorously and on a continuous basis. When confronted with facts that challenge their irrational beliefs they ignore the facts and carry on regardless.

    The economic and energy-related crises I repeatedly warned the council about from 2007 onwards are rapidly progressing to the meltdown stage, and environmental degradation is accelerating. People living in this district will very shortly face a combination of ‘challenges’ (a euphemism for horrendous predicaments) for which the district is totally unprepared. The children of the district will suffer the most because conditions will almost certainly worsen for decades as oil becomes unavailable and climate instability increases. NPDC has played a major role in ensuring the community is unprepared for the ‘tsunamis which are thundering up the beach’ and has played a major role in reducing the sustainability of the district.

    The council’s budget proposals and community plan clearly indicate that the council has no intention of dealing with any of the factors that will determine the future. Indeed, NPDC appears to be determined to exacerbate the predicament the young people of this district are in by ignoring all the major issues and focusing on entirely inappropriate priorities, such as men chasing balls and artworks –fiddling while Rome burns.

    The best evidence indicates that a breakdown of global economic arrangements will occur before 2015. NPDC is apparently unconcerned about this and the bulk of councillors and staff seem to believe that business as usual will continue forever. The fact that perpetual growth on a finite planet is an absurd notion does not seem to have occurred to them.

  35. Kevin Moore Says:

    And ended with:

    Any rational person making a submission to other rational people might hope that they would take notice of crucial points that had been made and implement appropriate policies. Regrettably, NPDC has a well-documented record of not taking notice of crucial points and of carrying on regardless. The purpose of this submission is therefore not to attempt persuade the council to adopt policies based on reality, morality, or even sanity. The purpose is not to attempt to persuade the council to implement policies geared to the needs of the next generation. The council has been advised of the majority of the points in this submission on many previous occasions. The proposed budget makes it clear that council still has no intention of implementing policies based on reality, policies that would safeguard futures of children of this district.

    This submission provides the council; with updated information on the major issues of our times and puts that information into the public forum. When the global economic system and the industrialised food system do collapse over the next few years and the district is left high and dry, with all the windows of opportunity to implement appropriate strategies to prevent severe hardship long gone, the council and council staff will not be able to pretend they have not known since 2007 exactly where things are headed.

  36. Kathy Says:

    I think TPTB are not one group but many each with their own agendas for how to split the remaining slice of pie. To assume that they know what they are doing and are all working in concert to keep things going is IMO to make them gods. If they all knew what they were doing they would be doing something to leave a habitable planet for their offspring. They have created the illusion that they can hold things together if only for their own self interest, but they fail to see that their self interest is tied to the welfare of the other humans on the planet and the planet itself.

    The economy is based on trust. When trust fails the global economy will cease to function. The republicans and democrats acting like school kids who think their team is right no matter what are playing with the debt limit question as if it was a game of chicken. They act as if there would be no consequences if they fail to raise the limit.

    TPTB are brilliant, but crazy. NO bigger danger exists than to have the fate of the world in the hands of sociopaths. If Curtis LeMay had had his way several times we would have had a nuclear war back in the 60’s. Perhaps that would have been better….

  37. Bernhard Says:

    Kevin

    Thank you Kevin. Shaking head in disbelief over the ignorance of the facts you experienced – it is just the same over here.

    All we can do, is do all we can, for the ones next to us.

    Victor

    Rainfall, same over here. It’s, hmm…
    Drummer, Lady – like ‘em both.

    L&P

  38. Robin Datta Says:

    Debt is faith in the promise to make good at some future time a repayment in resources (the primary economy) or in items of use for humans (the secondary economy) the credit proffered now. To convert resources into usable items requires energy streams directed with various degrees (services) of skill.

    Degradation of the environment and despoliation of resources combined with shrinking energy flows make fulfillment of that promise moot, or more realistically, outright impossible when that debt is quantified in trillions. The only reason to continue playing with those numbers is a religion-like faith in the continuance of BAU.

  39. Victor Says:

    Kevin

    Well said and an articulate presentation of the issue before us all. I must admit to a sizeable bit of admiration for your dogged pursuance of truth in the face of ignorance and denial. Frankly, I am quite proud of knowing you, even remotely… ;-)

    Kathy

    TPTB certainly are NOT gods, but I believe they think themselves to be. I do think there are multiple levels of this hierarchy, the top is basically those 8 families mentioned. All below are not so much part of a conscious conspiracy but of a culture of power and greed, a shared culture where profits rule even at the expense of the future, which of course your point.

    They will fail, and they will bring civilisation down with them. There will be no place for them to hide. Unlike others, I believe that they are cutting their own throats and have no idea they are doing it.

  40. Kathy Says:

    Victor[Unlike others, I believe that they are cutting their own throats and have no idea they are doing it.]

    That is my feeling too. I also think they have made a creature, the global economy, that they no longer can control due to its complexity. It has perhaps taken on a life of its own.

    At any rate unless you believe they are alien shape shifters, they are mortal, just like the rest of us.

  41. Victor Says:

    War Zones: As The Economy Dies, Murders, Shootings, Robberies And Looting Erupt All Over America

    http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/war-zones-as-the-economy-dies-murders-shootings-robberies-and-looting-erupt-all-over-america

  42. Victor Says:

    The Public Banking Movement Comes of Age

    http://disquietreservations.blogspot.com/

    We should do this all over the world.

  43. john rember Says:

    The NBL community is fragile, dependent on the electrical grid, and scattered all over the world, but it is a community, and a benign one. It strengthens rather than weakens its members. It confronts—however unpleasantly—the worrisome problem of how to deal with angry and disappointed and pathologically vulnerable young people. It tries to see through the lived lies of consumer culture. Most importantly, it tries to imagine a shared future, something that the global culture gave up on about the time it announced the end of history.

    One way to look at our conversation is that we’re figuring a way through the next forty years, and most of us are not doing it for ourselves. We won’t live that long. We’re doing it for people we love, or people who are like the people we love.

    It’s an indication of how difficult the problems are that we spend a lot of time going in circles, as if simply restating the problems will solve them. But now and then a new idea–philosophical or practical—shows up in the discussion, and we’re all the wiser for it.

    Look back in the archives a couple of years, and you’ll see the extent of this community’s anti-entropic activity. Guy has done the world a great service in providing a forum where thoughtful comments can get a thoughtful audience, who then provide mostly thoughtful responses. His willingness to us this space as a clearinghouse for commercial/personal connections is yet another step away from entropy.

    Kathy: Yesterday I woke to two inches of snow on the ground, and it didn’t quit snowing all day. I wondered how it felt at 98 and humid. Then I put another log on the fire.

    A friend’s son, who normally fights fires in the Northwest, is fighting them in Alaska, where it’s a lot dryer and a lot hotter than it is here. Go figure. Maybe the poles have already slipped.

    Kevin: Although I’m not from New Zealand, we have city councils and county and state governments equally hard-headed. Your presentations have no doubt scared the shit out of them, but they grew up on an island [an island, as I understand it, is like Idaho, only with water around it rather than sagebrush] and did all the right things to take the reins of power, however thin and flimsy. They’re not about to let someone paint a picture of their future that threatens the small world they control. They represent a cautionary example for all of us.

  44. Frank Mezek Says:

    MRSA

    It was recently announced that there has evolved a new,more virulent
    form of MRSA.These kind of announcements will become even more frequent.

    See my posting yesterday,June 2.

    Double D

  45. David @ Gardengate Says:

    After reading the many comments on this post about connections, networking, going forward, I can see why no good website exists for people that want to meet up, share, barter and live together. There is no market for it. We encouraged Guy through our 7+ years of trying to find others, that we can put away our childlike behavior empire has instilled in us, that there were others like ourselves trying to do the hard work in building small, thoughtful communities, living in harmony with nature, helping others get out of the system so that we may be able to carry on in the future, whatever that may look like. Instead the comments want to debate how, when and what collapse will look like as well as trying to change the minds of the criminals (who are not brilliant but instead are morally and spiritually bankrupt) that have reeked havoc on the planet. I personally believe this is a waste of valuable time and a better choice might be helping those small groups of people that are working towards something more realistic. It is unfortunate, since Guy is devoting his own time and energy in offering such a good opportunity to have some real communication with each other.

  46. David @ Gardengate Says:

    …and besides no one knows what collapse will look like, too many tipping points.

  47. Frank Mezek Says:

    RIP

    Dr. Jack Kevorkian is dead.This is a horrible loss for the world.

    In the future he’ll be remembered as a great heroic figure–a martyr
    fighting a lonely battle against the stupid,ignorant,barbaric,antropocentric,morons of the world.

    Double D

  48. Victor Says:

    David @ Gardengate

    Many on this site who discuss the woes of the world also spend time with families, grow gardens, reduce their carbon footprints, and discuss these issues with others. I see nothing wrong with that. Indeed, discussing these issues here sometimes gives folks new ammo to use in evangelising the work we do. I don’t consider that wasteful. Further, some, like me, are still after all these years STILL trying to get our heads around this thing called Collapse. It is not easy. I think it is natural for one to try to know the enemy.

    And besides, I really very much enjoy talking about it. It helps me psychologically by allowing me to get things off my chest that I find it hard to do elsewhere.

  49. Victor Says:

    FrankWe are truly ripe for a new global outbreak of some communicable disease. We are physically connected globally as we have never been before via air travel. Our present environment must be a nightmare for those charged with defending us against such outbreaks.

  50. Victor Says:

    Frank

    Jack Kevorkian had great courage. I admired him. He gave desperately ill people experiencing the most awful incapacitating diseases and pain an honourable way out. RIP.

  51. Kathy Says:

    David at gardengate, Dmitry Orlov says that Real Communities are self organizing http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/01/real-communities-are-self-organizing.html One of the things that I have seen be destructive in the community attempts I have seen and been involved in, is some person or people having strong ideas of how things should be and trying to force them on the community. They might for instance try to tell people what they should be discussing…..

  52. Kathy Says:

    I highly recommend the movie “You Don’t Know Jack” about Kervorkian. http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/01/real-communities-are-self-organizing.html Al Pacino does an absolutely fantastic job as Kervorkian. I had always been interested in his cause as I have in my life seen too many people live unbearable lives with incurable illness. Hospice helps, but if one’s life is truly their own they should be able to hasten the inevitable if it is unbearable. We often treat pets better than humans in that mercy killing of a pet is generally acceptable. What I did not know, and the press apparently failed to inform, is that Jack Kervorkian is the son of two survivors of the Armenian genocide. He grew up in the US Armenian community with tales of horror. And his mother died an extremely painful death that at the time he was not prepared to alleviate, but motivated him to help others.

    Kervorkian helped in making the movie and is interviewed at the end.

    While this subject may seem to have nothing to do with preparing for the future and with establishing communities, in fact it has everything to do with it. Triage is something left to medical personnel especially in the army. Well as collapse progresses and dieoff reduces the population to a size the planet can support without fossil fuels and with serious environmental degradation, communities will not be able to care for the seriously injured or elderly infirm. They may have to take euthanasia into their own hands as possibly happened in New Orleans after Katrina. http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/p/anna_m_pou/index.html I believe this Dr. did the right thing, the humane thing. We need to think long and hard about it before collapse.

    I have read that the San people of the Kalahari, will leave their elderly in a thorn hut once they can no longer keep up on migrations. They know the wild animals will break in after a bit. The elderly accept it and the tribe cries. Then they move on. Moral choices will look different soon.

  53. Victor Says:

    Any of you want in on cutting up the pie? It’s gonna be really profitable!!!

    http://firedoglake.com/2011/06/03/hillary-clinton-hosts-iraq-opportunities-party-for-war-profiteers/

  54. Bernhard Says:

    Victor

    If I was a true cynic, but lack that competence still, I’m gonna wait
    for Libya to do some investment to do the looting.

    That war on Libya, all those lies, yet another country goes Iraq.

  55. Kevin Moore Says:

    There were a couple one other points I made to the local council, which may be of interest to NBL.

    Central government provides misinformation to local government (such as that peak oil will not occur in the foreseeable future, so there is no need to even think about it, let alone prepare for it; climate change is eceedingly slow and will be brought under control via ETS etc.) and provides local goverment with oxymorons (such as ‘sustainable development’). It is all summed up by: “Everything is fine, don’t worry about it’.

    Local government then bases all policies on misinformation and oxymorons, and relays the misinformation and oxymorons to the media, summed up by: “Everything is fine, don’t worry about it’.

    The media distributes the misinformation and oxymorons to the general populace, summed up by: “Everything is fine, don’t worry about it’.

    The general populace votes for politicians who generate misinforation and oxymorons; the bulk of the populace believe everything is fine, so they don’t worry about anything.

    It is a perfect circle.

    I was even able to write on the white board that the entire culture is based on:

    Ignorance
    Apathy
    Denial

    With respect to ‘sustainable developement’, I pointed out that sustainable development does not exist and is oxymoronic because all development consists of converting that which is sustainable (natural systems), into that which is not sustainable (an artificial systems, dependent on consumption of oil and dependent on the generation of pollution).

    Not surprisingly, the local ‘newpaper’ ignored everything of consequence I had said, and reported some trivia. They have to in order to maintain the consencus fantasy.

    It must be very pleasant to be scientifically illiterate and irrational, and have a closed mind, since that allows one to dismiss all logical arguments based on scientific evidence as irrelevant.

    And. as we all know, people in power have a vested interest is maintianing status quo arrangements for as long as possible, and have a vested interest in marginalising anyone who challenges their irrational beliefs.

    Much as I would like to see the system fall over in the next few months (as we have discussed many times, every day the system continues to function it destroys a bit more of the Earth’s sustainability and wastes rapidly depleting resources), it seems to me we will have to endure another 3 or 4 years of this slow collapse.

    Collapse is occuring one person at a time, one family at a time, with earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, landslips etc. damaging specific regions sufficiently badly to prevent recovery. However, as long as resources and ‘hot money’ can be shifted from one location to another the system can maintain the facade of functioning normally. I can see no advantage to TPTB in having the entire world economy crash just yet.

  56. the virgin terry Says:

    ‘all technology is self defeating.’

    Double D

    what does double d stand for? double dogmatic?

    frank, i’m frankly shocked by homo sapiens propensity for insane dogma. u’re saying here that all tools should be banned. but isn’t it only natural for the chimp looking to chomp insects dwelling in a tree hole to use it’s big brain to come up with the bright idea of using a stick to get at those hidden critters? and then all his buddies play monkey see, monkey do and pretty soon u have the whole band fashioning tools out of sticks and adding a few calories of protein rich insect (hmmmmmmmmmm, insect!!!!!) to their diets.

    we are prey animals. tools are what we do to catch (or confine) and kill our prey. is this morally wrong? how is it self defeating? true, it has become self defeating in the extreme, but i would argue it’s the tool makers/users at fault, not the tools.

    it could be morally wrong i suppose. perhaps it is. if so, i’d say it’s because in becoming master predators/domesticators of other species, we lost sight of our biological/spiritual relationships with them. they became mindless insensate beasts to be slaughtered at will and without a twinge of conscience, and we became masters of the universe, divinely appointed, godlike, insane. disconnected from nature not just outside, but also inside from our own inner beasts, undeveloped and actively suppressed feral natures. we became master domesticators of our own kind through dogmatic childrearing, preparing children from the earliest ages for a lifetime of tame living under the rule of ‘authority’. i mean, is it just me, or are parents and all adults tasked with childrearing in our culture expected to act like tyrants over children, preparing them for life under ‘the rule of law’.

    sorry, i get carried away. i’m just inclined to critique all dogmatic statements as i perceive them. i’m disinclined to follow frank’s extreme position here. of course, if jean were to insert a comment here, it would be something like ‘quit debating, and get to work!’

    sorry, jean, i’m a worthless incorrigible debater at this point. no doubt drugged by civilisation and the easy life, i’m not properly fearing or preparing for collapse and hard times to come. maybe despair and revulsion for civilized sheople and depraved leaders and the whole damned authoritarian establishment makes me weak/helpless. maybe i’m spiritually ill. i don’t mean to detract anyone from preparing for collapse as if your lives are at stake. it’s obviously a smart, sane response.

    Victor.

    ‘Business will carry on because it must carry on – there is simply no
    alternative to that. TPTB can and will make it happen. Collapse will come when oil production can no longer meet demand.’

    this too is objectionably dogmatic, although less so, imo. these dogmatic statements accurately describe our surreality. there are always alternatives or ‘free will’ at work with emergent evolving beings such as us. however i believe odds are astronomically in favor of victor’s being correct here. something akin to a miracle maybe could enlighten ‘tptb’ along with their authority groupee sheople followers bringing about necessary radical change designed to cushion collapse as much as possible. but what are the odds?

    gregg brazel. love your work, hope to see more of it here nbl. look forward to your next long post. most impressive blog and individual. odd, how in a sea of insanity exist islands of sanity. mighty lonely being an island, isn’t it?

    ‘Have I crossed the line from ridiculous to sublime? Is it true that I’ve lost my ability to reason? You’ve not held back before, so I assume you’ll respond honestly in this space or via email.’ -guy

    re. your idea of providing this free personal ad service to ‘doomers’, i’d say as usual u’re sublime. however, your offer last month to publish as a guest essay my email submissions of a few weeks ago borders on the ridiculous, considering u could replace it with something much better, like gregg’s recent blog entry u posted a link to above. unfortunately greg’s blog provides no reader comment section. perhaps with his permission u could post that entry in the slot u’d saved for me, and we can all comment on it?

    kevin- ‘I think we will have to wait for people to start dropping like flies before much will change politically.’

    in surreality, expect the surreal.

    ‘Meanwhile down here we are roasting – End of August weather in the first week of June. I feel like I am trapped in an oven with someone turning up the heat a little at a time. If it gets worse, my garden will fail and I may find death by heat stroke a mercy. :( -kathy

    if u can get away with it, kathy, try wearing a wet t-shirt throughout those hellish days of tropical heat and humidity in alabama summers. i did it in austin, texas a couple of summers. it’s the only way to survive in comfort without a/c under such conditions. constant evaporation cooling on your torso. u might try going to bed with a wet t also. it will dry out overnight, so u won’t be chilled when u awaken to relatively cool early morning air.

  57. Robin Datta Says:

    Tools are useful aspects of technology, as are dwellings, roads, bridges, etc. All of these (including tools) represent various amounts of invested energy – emergy – used in their creation. The limitations of endosomatic energy are breached by resort to exosomatic sources. Even here, the use of renewable energy resources (animal, wind, solar, etc.) would allow sustainable technology.

    The situation changes with the transition to non -renewable emergy (and other) resources. When the energy resources are depleted, the technology stats slowing down. When other resources are depleted, the same happens: the Easter Islandres felled trees at a non-renewable rate, and their civilization collapsed when the last tree was felled.

    James Howard Kunstler points out that modern skyscrapers built of complex materials of distant provenance, requiring periodic complex maintenance and / or replacement will fail when the wherewithal for such is no longer available: contrast this with stone bridges built by the Romans that today carry motor vehicular traffic, and the hanging bridges in the Andes constructed of vines that have been used for hundreds of years – but are replaced every few years. The deep perspective needed to foresee and factor in changing circumstances comes up short in so much of today’s technology.

  58. the virgin terry Says:

    kevin- “Everything is fine, don’t worry about it’.

    kevin, i have just the song for u. perhaps u should suggest to your city council they adopt this song as their official ditty:

  59. Robin Datta Says:

    TPTB are the product of, and sustained by, a certain techno- socio-cultural milieu, which itself has a rather complex evolutionary origin. In their dependence on the system, they are its prisoners. To transition away from the system would be so disruptive that the system itself Thad the existing hierarchies, no longer sustatned, would disintegrate. There is no Hope™ for substantial Change™ from within the system.

  60. Kevin Moore Says:

    tvt

    Unfortunately they have already adopted the logo ‘like no other’.

    That translates into the philosophy that the region is extraordinary, so when the rest of the world turns to custard this region will mot be affected.

    Stupidity accompanied by arrogance and pride is quite something.

  61. Victor Says:

    There is no Hope™ for substantial Change™ from within the system.

    Robin

    Indeed. I think TPTB segment of human society is akin to the brain stem – responsible for the basic functions that keep the body alive and involving the most primitive of behaviour. Change can’t happen there as it cannot conceive of anything short of survival. For change to happen, it must be replaced.

  62. Victor Says:

    VT

    You are in a dogmatic mood today, aren’t you!… ;-)

    But as regards Frank’s statement, I suspect Frank did not mean ALL technology as much as he meant “modern” technology. There is no such self-defeating nature accompanying the use of tools like a stone, or a bone, or a fashioning ropes from plants, or other naturally occurring objects of use. The problem comes when we start over-using resources faster than nature can replace them, or when we start relying upon non-renewable resources as part of the foundation of our infrastructure – like fossil fuels or non-renewable water aquifers. It is at this point that our “tools” become “self-defeating”.

  63. Victor Says:

    The deep perspective needed to foresee and factor in changing circumstances comes up short in so much of today’s technology.

    Robin

    I think this is due in large part to the way we have decided that money should work and corporations should function. Everything in our system is based upon short term profits. It takes longer and is more expensive to bring to market something that will endure the test of time. Our system demands that new products arise quickly and often. In doing so, we make compromises on quality of workmanship and materials that people in earlier times would not. The mobile phone is a perfect example of this need for new products to get out the door as quickly as possible. Most mobile phone manufacturers maintain a huge variety of phones for virtually every need and occasion. Get them onto the market quickly and make a profit THIS year.

    The same thought process overflows to politics where the art of marketing is applied for short term results there as well. A politician will make all sorts of promises to get into office, but once in they find themselves confronted with the economics of staying in, making decisions that benefit not the long term interests of their constituency, but instead the short term needs of their business supporters (who are also looking to make profits).

    And wars, where we are quick to jump into a war, because it is immensely profitable and we take every opportunity we can to get into one (and many times to create one if one is not handy), but once in it, we nearly always find ourselves without a defined way out, partly because of the profits, but also because we simply don’t consider getting out as important as getting in. That people continue to suffer grievously doesn’t enter into the picture until it becomes politically too hot to handle – but usually by then we have extracted about all the use out of the other country we can bleed it for. So we declare victory and remove our troops – well, at least some of them.

    So most everything we do is done with short term interests involved. It’s just more…well….profitable…to do so…. ;-)

  64. Victor Says:

    In their dependence on the system, they are its prisoners.

    I rather like to think of this relationship more in terms of host v parasite. These people produce nothing. Never have. Instead, they suck in the lifeblood of human society until we shake them off occasionally. But then they find a way to climb back on, and perhaps in greater numbers, thus having a more serious impact upon the host over time. This is the situation we are in today. The parasites have essentially taken over the host and are busily sucking it dry even though in the end, they will be left without nourishment and die themselves.

  65. Robin Datta Says:

    The parasites are prisoners of their methods of sustenance.

  66. Kathy Says:

    Washingtons blog indicates that Iodine-131 and Cesium-137 ratios are remaining about the same at Fuchushima. Since the half-life of I 131 is 8 days and the half life of Cesium-137 is thousands of years the ratio should change quickly, UNLESS nuclear reactions are still occurring.

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/06/are-nuclear-reactions-still-occuring-at.html

  67. Victor Says:

    The parasites are prisoners of their methods of sustenance.

    Aren’t we all! But all of us aren’t parasites.

  68. Victor Says:

    More on the global class war going on:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28245.htm

    Why is this important to the doomer lot? Because you should understand the nature of the changes being forced upon us to best understand how Collapse will likely play out and what to expect, at least at a high level, in the interim.

    As has been mentioned before, the international bankers are making a play for the ultimate in power and wealth. And they are winning. So you can likely expect to see over the next few years a concentrated effort at forming a set of international agreements that will essentially place the economic future of all countries into the hands of a financial oligarchy which will have power to control monetary policy, and thus the internal laws of all member states – a form of global governance, if you will, every bit as effective and more so than military conquest. The economic chaos on the world scene now is in large part a result of financial market manipulation by very powerful interests with a goal of making things so hot that the governments of the world will accept most any solution to gain financial security – even their liberties.

    Crazy conspiracy theory? Best think about that. The only thing that will have a chance of stopping this financial coup dé tat is a mass uprising on the order of an Iceland movement – refusal to pay and let the bankers go down, which they surely would.

    What the bankers have to be very careful about, however, is that as further austerity measures are placed into effect, there will be huge social upheavals, not only protesting all this, but also in the form of widespread individual lawlessness and violence on a global scale that will be extremely difficult to control, even with Imperial forces. We may well enter a period of time when almost no one will be safe wherever they are.

    In reality, however, it is just another step towards the final Collapse, and should be viewed in that light. In the end, peak fossil fuels and climate change will overtake all issues and foment the final ruin.

  69. Kevin Moore Says:

    Victor

    ‘Aren’t we all! But all of us aren’t parasites.’??

    Not all of us are parasites?

    Anyone living in an industrial nation is a consumer. Some of us comsume at a per capita rate 5 times what the Earth can sustain. Some of us consume at a per capita rate 500 times what the Earth can sustain.

    From memory Albert Bartlett said that the average global consumption of oil per capita was 1.2 litre per day. So anyone who uses more than 1.2 litre per day is taking more than their share

    As far as anyone living in a non-industrial nation is concerned we are all parasites, since industrialised nations’ lifestyles are dependent on sucking resources out of less industrialised nations.

    But if western nations stop sucking resources from non-industrialised nations most of their populations die.

    So the choice is them or us. Until the oil supply starts to really decline. Then it’s most of us.

    If anyone wants to read the whole NPDC submission, Robert hss put it onto http://www.oilcrash.com

  70. Victor Says:

    Kevin

    You do have a point, don’t you!

    Your Friend,
    One of Many Parasites

  71. Martin Knight Says:

    I see that no one has yet commented on the Salon article that we still have centuries worth of fossil fuels. How crazy it is to be alive these days, when an article like this briefly stirs hope in me that I might not soon be living a hardscrabble life, terrified for the welfare of my loved ones, and then to have that checked by the certain knowledge that the show cannot continue to matter how much gas is still in the tank, however much of a relief that would be, because we face the death of nature. So I veer horribly from momentary relief to inward grief about what this civilization has done.

    As always I enjoy the intelligent commentary, and the wit and repartee here, of course, but I think what I’m coming to admire the most about you lot is how philosophical you are about this ontological nightmare.

    I confess I’m finding it a heavier and heavier burden to be living this double life, going about my business and smiling and waving, when all the while I gaze on the world as though at the bedside of a dying friend. It’s crazy-making.

  72. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    The Virgin Terry,

    Here in the south we don’t have to put on a wet shirt when we’re outside – the humidity takes care of that for us. Working in the yard or garden, it takes me about 10 minutes in this heat and humidity before I have a shirt that’s wet through and through. When the humidity is in the 90s, evaporative cooling doesn’t really work. That’s one of the reasons why heat exhaustion/heat stroke/dehydration is so common here during the summer months. It can be truly unbearable sometimes.

  73. Christopher Says:

    Surreal, ain’t it, Martin? I saw a video somewhere that talked about the “madness of a dying civilization.” It’s everywhere you look, if you have learned how to look. Some days, I am fascinated. Other days, I feel wretched. Mostly, I try to stay busy with my own efforts at transition, however misplaced they may ultimately be, and enjoy the great beauty still to be found in the wide world.

    It’s been almost a month since we had rain here in south Mississippi. My garden is likely going to fail. My small fig crop is failing. Meanwhile, my neighbors continue to pour water onto their lawns, daily. Madness.

    I have noticed that all gas stations in my area are using the 10% ethanol blend. We burn away our food to keep our cars running. If that ain’t madness, I don’t know what is.

    Kathy, your mention of the San people of the Kalahari reminds me of a short story by Jack London, called “The Law of Life,” told from the point of view of an old Native man of a Yukon tribe who is left by his people in just such a manner. He reflects on his life, and on the meaning of it all, as the fire burns low and the wolves close in. Such a societal choice is inconceivable in our Western world, where we doggedly cling to life regardless of the burdens placed on the young. I can only hope to have reached such a level of serenity as to be able to effect my own passing, should my circumstances dictate.

    Best wishes to all here. Thank you again for this, Guy, an island of sanity in an insane world. It is good to hear folk speak plainly and from the heart, a rare and invaluable thing these days.

  74. Kathy Says:

    Dr. House, thanks for making that crucial difference between North and deep South clear. I didn’t want to be a wet blanket :) Since I am retired I can get up early and work for several hours, tend chickens in the afternoon in their very shady area, take several naps, and do some more garden work at sunset. I make a shallow cool bath after my morning foray, leave it there all day and hop in whenever the heat gets to me. Then stand in front of a fan for a few minutes.

  75. Victor Says:

    Great comments, Martin. I share many of the emotions here. Sometimes I feel like I am living two lives, as with Christopher. One moment I am doing just fine, and then I see something that reminds me of the shit we are in. If it weren’t for my wife, I think I would go barking mad at times. We don’t always talk about it, but it is always an unspoken mix of fear, sadness, anxiety, weariness and impatient longing just to get it over whilst neither of us want it to really happen, though we understand and accept that it must be. But we draw strength from each other even in the face of our separate, silent struggles within.

    When my wife sees my pain, she knows she need say nothing more than, “This has been a good day, my love, hasn’t it?” And I am reminded that we are living together for one more day, and we are thankful those most precious moments.

  76. Bernhard Says:

    Martin Knight

    “I confess I’m finding it a heavier and heavier burden to be living this double life, going about my business and smiling and waving, when all the while I gaze on the world as though at the bedside of a dying friend. It’s crazy-making.”

    I believe that the grieving can and will subside. It has with me. Going through this is indeed an experience that makes one feel as living in two or more different worlds. Once my knowledge about the facts reached that point “of no return” – think it is about accepting the inevitable.

    Now I see, whatever happens, as part of evolution and this changed my perception about everything once again and I could return to the behaviour of sharing and caring, more and better than ever.
    I think it is good to do the best we can for ourselves and the loved ones, “repair” relationships, be kind and loving. Stick to whatever done so far to be not such a heavy burden on earth, “walk lightly on earth”. Not that this will in any case change anything on the outcome.
    But it matters for the moment of now, in relationships whatever they are.

    Couple weeks ago we met an authoress from Germany, well in her eighties, still travelling by train, on her own, from city to city, school to school, reading in front of students out of her books. One of her books is a novel she wrote – “Die Wolke” (The cloud) when chernobyl blew up. She was strongly criticised for spreading fear amongst the youth, as this novel tells about the aftermath of a blown up nuclear facility in Germany. (This is happening today isn’t it – don’t you look at the facts – you might become scared and want to change things!)

    She sent us a postcard and a poem now, I’ll try to translate it and apologise for this will be flowery;-) She is not a “doomer”, told me, that I was more pessimistic than she is. The poem sounds quite sure about things though.

    I say yes
    to every new day!
    Still the lilac blossoms
    and butterflies – flutter.
    Still I have you
    still the music,
    still so many
    wonderful things.

    You too: Say yes
    to every new day!
    Still it makes sense
    to engage oneself for life.
    Look, the child, playing
    look at the clouds moving.
    Come, open, take part,
    dare yourself to laugh.

    Ah, yes.

    Love & Peace

  77. Robin Datta Says:

    I see that no one has yet commented on the Salon article that we still have centuries worth of fossil fuels.

    The salon article came with a key caveat upon which hinge all it’s premieres:

    If gas hydrates as well as shale gas, tight oil, oil sands and other unconventional sources can be tapped at reasonable cost, then the global energy picture looks radically different than it did only a few years ago.

    Note that it says “at reasonable cost”  With that caveat, the entire article is quite valid. 

  78. Robin Datta Says:

    I mean premisses, not premieres: chalk that one up to Steve Jobs’ spelling correction.

  79. Ed Says:

    Take a big breath, exhale and watch the video.

    http://maxkeiser.com/2011/06/04/bonos-legacy/#comments

  80. Victor Says:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/43233920

    Quote re Chinese demand over the next decade or so:
    With demand for meat rising fast and still well short of that in for example Taiwan, Ferguson believes to meet this demand the total output of grain from the European Union and Brazil will be needed.

    No need to say more. This can not continue.

  81. Victor Says:

    The populations of high trophic level fish have decreased dramatically over the last century according to a study done in 2003:

    Look at the incredibly frightening comparison chart here:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/weve-eaten-all-the-fish-in-the-sea-2011-6

    Here is the paper’s abstract:

    http://www.mendeley.com/research/hundredyear-decline-of-north-atlantic-predatory-fishes/

    A quote from the abstract:

    The results indicate that the biomass of high-trophic level fishes has declined by two-thirds during the last 50-year period, and with a factor of nine over the century. Catches of high-trophic level fishes increased from 2.4 to 4.7 million tonnes annually in the late 1960s, and subsequently declined to below 2 million tonnes annually in the late 1990s. The fishing intensity for high-trophic level fishes tripled during the first half of the time period and remained high during the last half of the time period.

    And lastly for you with a technical bent, the paper itself:

    http://www.seaaroundus.org/Journal/faf103.pdf

  82. Nicole Says:

    Victor,

    As a grazier (or rancher, if you’d prefer), I get fed up with the modern farming method of feeding grain to cattle, and how it is giving all beef farming a bad rap. Cattle are ruminents. Therefore they should never be fed grain. Occasionally when they are grazing, they will take some grain in with the grass, but first and foremost they are grazing animals. To give them anything else to eat is doing them and the world a great disservice. As grazing animals, if they are managed properly, they are the best possibility we have to avert Climate Change. “The best soils in the world come from grasslands with large ruminants, where rainfall matches evaporation.” quote from Dr Paul Hepperly, former research manager of the Rodale Institute, Pennsylvania in an interview with the ABC’s Organic Gardener magazine, July/August 2011.

    Using regenerative farming techniques like pulsed grazing and pasture cropping, an Australian farmer has sequestered an increasing amount of carbon every year for the last 12 years so that now he is sequestering 33 tonnes of carbon per hectare, which is equivalent to taking about 99 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. If these methods were applied globally on agricultural land, 33 tonnes per hectare would more than triple the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. And the beauty of these methods are that although useful, you do not require tractors and the use of fossil fuels to achieve the same results.

  83. Victor Says:

    Ed

    What can I say? That video was sickening. I couldn’t even finish it. My daughter works for BoA, and has for something over 20 years now. Her employer is a forbidden subject…. :-)

    But the Max Keiser vid on the same page was excellent… ;-)

  84. Victor Says:

    Nicole

    Totally agree. Grass fed cattle are the way to maintain ecological balance. Grain is only useful to put weight on them, nothing more. But of course, I suppose more weight, means more profits, eh? And who would stand in the way of profits?…. :-)

  85. Kathy Says:

    Victor thanks for the link on the fish. Worse than I thought.

    Meanwhile the Japanese are making great strides to cope with less electicity – open those collars men :)
    Description
    In Tokyo today, a government-sponsored fashion show kicked off the “Super Cool Biz” campaign to encourage workers to adopt a breezier look this summer.

    “We have a power shortage this year,” said Environment Minister Ryu Matsumoto, dressed in an open-collar shirt. “The government is calling for a 15 percent cut in electrical usage.”

    Office buildings are being told to set their thermostats to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Everywhere, escalators and elevators have been shut down. The Environment Ministry advised workers to use gel sheets or eat foods that cool the body. It also suggested that employees limit overtime hours, work from home and take two weeks of vacation.
    News Source Link

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/japan-energy-crisis-workers-asked-dress-coolly-beat/story?id=13737611

  86. Bernhard Says:

    Nicole

    “…using regenerative farming techniques like pulsed grazing and pasture cropping, an Australian farmer has sequestered an increasing amount of carbon…”

    Is there any thing published to/ from this farmer? Any chance of getting details, reports? This looks a different approach than usual.

    There is research in introducing bio char into the soil also. Australians and NZ people are doing interesting work on this.

  87. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    With regards to the overfishing, it really is a race to see what happens first: human population collapse or the extinction of virtually all other life on the planet. Obviously they are intricately related; the former certainly will happen if we succeed with the later. What a sad epitaph for our species.

  88. Kevin Moore Says:

    Although pastoral farming is far preferable to feedlot farming, the way it is currently practised is not sustainable in the long term, since nutrients are removed from the farm location when the cattle/sheep are sold. In the industrialised system the majority of us are trapped in, most of the nutrients in meat (NPK) end up the oceans, via sewage systems which fail to capture them. Throughtout most of the industrialised world soil fertility is maintianed via the application of fertilisers, whose manufacture and distribution is dependent on oil.

    As far as sequestration goes, there are only three major forms of carbon sequestration -coal, oil and natural gas. Humanity is engaged in a race to get the carbon nature sequestered tens (or hundreds) of millions of years ago into the atmosphere as quickly as possible.

    Some people regard biochar, the conversion of vegetable matter into carbon, as a method of saving the climate system. As long as we are adding 30 billion tonnes of additional carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year, nothing will be effective in saving the climate system, nor in preventing acidification of the oceans. Most fish appear to be doomed unless the temperature of the oceans rises sufficiently to drive out excess CO2 ….. which would have catastrophic effects elsewhere.

    The only solution to the predicament we are in, a rapid reduction in the use of fossil fuels, is politically unacceptable and will not be implemented.

  89. sam Says:

    thanks kevin for the detailed numbers!

  90. Robin Datta Says:

    Very good points. Kevin, about cattle farming! Sustainability implies a closed cycle in which nutrients taken from the land in the form of vegetable or animal product are returned to it in the form of fertilizer so that important elements, including NPK, stay in the loop. Such facts are so basic that they are “hidden in plaim sight”.

    Also your excellent insight into carbon sequestration; Nature has already done it for us in the fossil forms including coal, petroleum and natural gas. We undo the sequestration by treating them as fossil “fuel”.

  91. Bernhard Says:

    http://humanurehandbook.com/store/home.php

    I am not selling these, it’s a pretty sight – the “LovableLoo” – lol

    Remember – decades back a discussion with doctors about hygiene. Arguments were to introduce this water, energy, fertiliser wasting – water flush system through out the world. My arguments were -from a hygienic! look at the whole system it’s insane to do this.
    Was strongly opposed, they didn’t understand.

    Carbon sequestration. I wonder if it was possible to redirect the monies involved for Co2 trading, industrial sequestration attempts and so on, to farming sequestration.

    Of course all hopes are futile if we don’t drive down the Co2 emissions at the same time.

  92. Sue Day Says:

    Great essay Guy as always thank you.

  93. Kathy Says:

    Bernhard doesn’t have to sell the Humanure Hanbook as it is available on line http://weblife.org/humanure/

    Been doing it for 15 years.

  94. Nicole Says:

    Bernhard,
    Colin Seis is the farmer. He lives about 50 km from us. He came up with the idea of pasture cropping when a bushfire went through his farm in the 1970s and nearly sent him bust. Many scientists are trying to research his work, including CSIRO scientists (scientific research body of the Australian government). It is normal for the time frame of such scientific projects to be relatively short, i.e. just a couple of years. Col has achieved his results over many years. Although Col started by using herbicides, he doesn’t do so any more. However, for some reason, all the scientists use herbicides in their experiments. A couple of years ago, during the last drought, I visited his property and walked his paddocks. It was truly amazing what fabulous condition they were in compared to most of our properties.

    CSIRO paper:

    http://www.pasturecropping.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50:pasture-cropping-effect-on-biomass-total-cover-soil-water-a-nitrogen&catid=40:research-findings&Itemid=63

    Kevin,
    I’m all for reducing the use of fossil fuel. In fact I’d be pleased if we were to stop burning it all together. However, even if we did, that doesn’t address the problem of what to do with the excess C02 already in the atmosphere. Nature has several solutions for this – make fossil fuels out of it (takes a long time), grow trees (we need 7 planets the size of the Earth to fix the problem), or sequester it in the soils. That is really the only option open to us to reverse some of the damage that we humans have done to the Earth. The good news is that the soil is actually a fantastic sink for carbon. For every 1% soil carbon we sequester per 30 cm of soil over an area of 1 ha, we take approximately 132 tonnes of C02 out of the atmosphere. The soils around the world have the capacity to store 20%, 30%, even 50% of their mass as carbon. Do the maths: 132 tonne x 20 x 27% of 13 billion (27% represents the world pastureland), and you have over 9,000 tonne of C02 that could be taken out of the atmosphere. If you could get 50% carbon into the soils, you’d have correspondingly more C02 that could be taken out of the atmosphere. You don’t need biochar to do this. You need ruminants and very good pasture management.

    You offer the rapid reduction in the use of fossil fuels as the solution. That is not the solution because it doesn’t reverse the C02 currently in the atmosphere – in other words, necessary, but insufficient. We need both – rapid reduction in the use of fossil fuels and the sequestering the carbon in the soil.

    Robin,
    It is possible to get a closed loop with cattle farming. Firstly never ever sell hay to anyone else. Your farm needs your hay. Secondly, keep the bones, offal etc. when selling the meat. All that is currently treated as waste can be used on farm to turn into biofertilisers. Thirdly, ensure you have sufficient nitrogen fixing plants on your property and lots of fungi in the soil. They will gather nitrogen and trace elements from the soil and from the air. Don’t let your nutrients leach through to the water table, or let your grasses dry and decompose where they stand. There is just so much we can do to build our farm’s fertility without resorting to bringing fertilisers in from off farm. Nature is a hell of a lot cleverer than we are. We just have to learn from her.

  95. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Nicole, I understand the concepts you talked about except this one: ” or let your grasses dry and decompose where they stand”. Can you explain that a bit? Why is that a problem, isn’t that the way nature does it?

    Thanks

  96. Robin Datta Says:

    (132tonnes x 20%) x (0.27 x 13,000,000,000) = 9,609,600,000,000 tones.

  97. Robin Datta Says:

    Restating the arithmetic: [132 (tonnes CO2/1%/ha) x 20(%)] x [0.27(27% pasture =0.27) x 13,000,000,000(ha)] = 9,266,400,000,000 tonnes.

  98. Nicole Says:

    Robin,

    Thanks – I left off the billion bit!

    Dr House,
    It depends. When talking about grass decomposition, there are broadly speaking two types of environments, a non-brittle environment and a brittle environment. In the non-brittle environment, when the grass has finished its life cycle, the moisture in the air, plants etc. means it falls to the ground, lies there as mulch and is soon incorporated back into the soil. In the brittle environment, if left to itself, the grass will remain standing, turn grey and decompose back into the atmosphere. Nature never intended it to be left to itself. Huge herds of animals went hand in hand with large, brittle environment grasslands, the bisons of North America, the animals of Africa, the reindeers of the Artic region and, before the Australian Aborigine, the large marsupials of Australia. What these animals did, when left to their own devises, was graze, trample, deficate and urinate – and move on, not returning to that spot for months. The grazing pruned the roots of the grasses thus providing food for the soil microbes, the trampling ensured any remaining grasses became mulch. It also disturbed the soil and pressed seeds into the soil so that seeds could germinate. The faeces and urine were trampled too and were quickly incorporated into the soil through the actions of dung beetles and other invertebrates. This provided more food for the soil microbes. The quantity of urine deposited was also sufficiently great to irrigate the soil at the same time. The actions of the animals resulted in a predominance of perennial grass species as well a very large diversity of grasses and forbs, deepening of the soils as the grass roots go deeper and deeper, and the soils become almost spongy with the build up in carbon. This increases both their fertility and water holding capacity and thus their resilience to climatic extremes.

    If you are interested, get a hold of the book “Holistic Management” by Allan Savory. He is a former Rhodesian (before it became Zimbawe) biologist who couldn’t understand how the African wild life are denuding the African continent nowadays, but used to roam the deeply fertile African plains in vastly greater numbers. Using his work one South African farmer has increased his stocking density to incredibly high numbers, but moves the animals on every hour or so. He now has to lease half of his 14,000 ha property to someone else because he just doesn’t have enough cattle to graze it properly. I can’t remember how many he has, but it is in the thousands. He has noticed a huge increase in the numbers of wildlife coming back to his property. So there is food for everyone – and the soils are improving all the time.

  99. Kevin Moore Says:

    If it were possible to get into a time machine and travel back to 1800, we would see a planet with huge regions of forest/jungle and grasslands, all sitting on deep soil containing massive quantities of organic matter. And though we couldn’t see it, a lower level of dissolved CO2 in the oceans.

    As we all know, throughout much of the world the forests/jungles have been decimated and the soil depleted. And there are now numerous marine ‘dead zones’.

    Let us suppose that it were possible to carry out forestry planting and soil resoration globally:

    1. We could never restore the Earth to its pre-industrial state simply because such a large portion of it is now occupied by humans and their various activities.

    2. Even if it were possible to restore all the forests, jungles and grasslands to their 1800 condition, there would still be the matter of all the carbon dioxide released into the bioshpere since 1800 …. a trillion tonnes?

    I’m not against soil restoration -I’ve been doing it myself- but I am against the delusion that we can solve the emission problem via ‘sequestration’, unless we can somehow get deeper soils covering a greater portion of the Earth’s surface and more trees than existed in 1800, and keep adding soil and trees faster than naurally sequestered carbon is put into the atmopshere via fossil fuel burning. And then there is the matter of the humungous quantiry of CO2 in the oceans: it would take a long long time to unburden the oceans of 200 years of CO2 absorption.

    To achieve a ‘more pristine’ environment than existed in 1800 seems a rather big ask to me. The numbers just don’t stack up and the intellectual argument doesn’t stack up.

    A few people may create local ‘islands of sanity and sustainability and sanity’ in a world gone completely mad. But the big picture looks extremely grim. Positive feedbacks for polar regions appear likely to more than swamp anything we might do to ‘sequeser’ carbon.

    I see the latest atmospheric CO2 figure is just over 394ppm, and is rising at around 2ppm per annum, about twice the rate it was rising when I was born.

    Rewatching ‘End of Suburbia’ etc. I note that we have made no progress whatsoever on the fundamental issues in the past 7 years. In fact we have made no progress on the fundamantal issues since 1972.


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  1. […] Famed energy scholar Richard Heinberg is extremely conservative with his estimates, and he has updated his forecast. Whereas in spring 2009 he was predicting the industrial age would run until 2014 or perhaps even 2016, he’s changed his tune. Radically. Now he says it’s coming to a halt this autumn, a forecast that matches the November 2009 forecast of French bank Société Générale and is consistent with rapid completion of a long decline in the industrial economy in the wake of oil priced at $120 per barrel after being fatally weakened by the first big post-peak spike in 2008. […]