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Presentation in Petone

Mon, Jul 30, 2012

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The video clips embedded below represent a typical recent presentation. Lately, I’m reminded of these words from philosopher Søren Kierkegaard when I deliver a presentation: “A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from those who believe it’s just a joke.”

The first video clip embedded below was delivered in Petone, New Zealand, a suburb of the capital city of Wellington, on 6 July 2012. The second video is the Q&A portion of the show. I apologize for my head cold and the resultant coughing and other obnoxious sounds emanating from me.

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Video footage courtesy of Kate Le Comte, Robin Westenra, Juanita McKenzie, Andrew Rundle-Keswick, and Alison Hoffmann.

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This post is permalinked at Island Breath and Democratic Underground.

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52 Responses to “Presentation in Petone”

  1. Morocco Bama Says:

    Well done, head cold and all! I like the sweater.

    When the screen shots of the audience flash up now and then, the movie The Piano comes to mind. I could swear I saw Aunt Morag and Baines.

  2. John Stassek Says:

    I’m watching the video even as I write this, but I’m confused. Who is that man speaking in such a dire and depressing way? He looks a bit like Guy but I don’t see the leather patches! (:

    Guy–
    I’ve heard you give this presentation several times now, and it keeps getting more and more difficult to keep up my spirits and sense of humor. Gallows humor appears to be the only comedy material left.

  3. Kathy C Says:

    John, yes harder and harder to keep up spirits when the events on the ground are accelerating.

    Posted by Greenman3610 on July 9th, even more telling now than just a few weeks back – Welcome to the rest of your life.

    Guy your 2012 prediction for lights out is looking stronger….

  4. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    One thing I notice from everyone, with a few notable exceptions, is an undertone of lament and regret at the imminent collapse. I understand the fear, but we have to get beyond the lament. I apply this charge to myself as much as anyone else, and I’ve been working on it, and I’m almost there. Yes, I fear the unknown, just as I fear many of the roller coasters at Six Flags over Georgia, but that fear doesn’t prevent me from getting on those coasters, and it shouldn’t make me lament and fear the passing of this world for a potentially better one. We should celebrate, constructively and humanely of course, the end of this world and the beginning of a new one. It doesn’t have to be perceived as thus:

    http://rogallery.com/_RG-Images/Kevorkian_Jack/Kevorkian-print.jpg

    And yes, I know, that’s easier said than done.

    .

  5. Robin Datta Says:

    it keeps getting more and more difficult to keep up my spirits

    Indeed. That is why equanimity is needed now more than ever. It is in contradistinction to indifference or callousness: it is the flowering of non-attachment, which in turn also is not a matter of indifference, but rather the freedom from both attraction and aversion. In such a frame of reference one continues to assess, discriminate and choose between the preferable and the non-perferable. Yet one remains unperturbed come the hosts of heaven or hell & high water. 

    The word is upeksha (Sanskrit) or upekkha (Pali, Bengali), but without any undertones of indifference/callousness.

  6. Ryan Says:

    I don’t mean to be so negative, but I say bring the collapse on! It doesn’t bother me that our economy is collapsing. I see the damage it does, not just environmentally, but socially as well and the quicker it collapses the better. I just hope we get the time to learn necessary skills (mainly growing food) as the economy deteriorates.

    I’m 24 with an associates degree in criminal justice (unemployed) and I live with my mother and youngest brother in a trailer. I’m quite literally in the thick of poverty and I notice the detriment globalization has brought people on a daily basis. You can argue if you want, but I see collapse as a positive rather than a negative. I believe, eventually, people will be in a better state of mind with much of daily nonsense out of the way – in time.

    Small, local, community, hardwork are all things to look forward to. Not to be feared. We’re going to have to rely on everyone around us more and more and I love the sound of that. It’s the apex of community. Global Warming aside…..smile people! This should be looked at as a good thing not bad. Don’t fear it, embrace it!

  7. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Kubler-Ross Depression Redux

    Eventually one can’t ignore
    How bad is the shit that’s in store;
    It’s never much fun,
    But it’s got to be done:
    I’m back again working Stage 4.

  8. Mike Stasse Says:

    I never thought that at this late stage I would “meet” a soul mate… and yet, there you are…. What a pity we are running out of time so fast we may never meet.

    Good job though, you are an impressive speaker. Keep up the good work.

  9. Kathy C Says:

    “NEW DELHI (AP) – India’s energy crisis cascaded over half the country Tuesday when three of its regional grids collapsed, leaving 620 million people without government-supplied electricity in one of the world’s biggest-ever blackouts.”

    with a population of 1.6 billion that is more than 1/3 of their population without power. That is twice the population of the US.

    Power out in 2012 – Guy your prediction is looking ever more likely to be fulfilled.

  10. Kathy C Says:

    Good time to revisit the Olduvai theory by Richard Duncan which puts the end of Industrial Civilization at 2030. It looks like he might be wrong but not in the direction that most had thought. I looks like 2030 might have been optimistic (or pessimistic per Guy who sees the need for it to happen now) He writes in his paper that the failure of the grids will start with blackouts and continue until the grids totally fail

    “electrical power is crucial end-use energy for industrial civilization;
    the big blackouts are inevitable; and the proximate
    cause of the collapse of industrial civilization, if and
    when it occurs, will be that the electric power grids go
    down and never come back”

    http://www.thesocialcontract.com/pdf/sixteen-two/xvi-2-93.pdf

    While EMP attacks or solar flares might hasten the day, it looks like the day is coming sooner.

    “Blackouts Increasing In The U.S.
    http://www dot countercurrents.org/goodchild200712.htm
    By Peter Goodchild

    20 July, 2012
    Countercurrents.org

    For about the last ten years, electrical power failures in the U.S. have been increasing. Citing the figures of Massoud Amin at the University of Minnesota and those of the Eaton Blackout Tracker, Lisa Margonelli (2012, 13 July) concludes that annual outages have doubled since the early 1990s. She adds that it will require “$17 billion to $24 billion over the next 20 years” to improve the grid and reverse the trend. The figures she cites for blackouts of all sizes can be matched by those for the really big blackouts, affecting at least 1,000 people for at least one hour. For example, from 1965 to 2000 there was roughly one major blackout in the U.S. every two years. From 2001 to 2011, on the other hand, there was an average of about one every six months. The year 2011 alone had six big ones.”

  11. Darth Imperius Says:

    Guy and friends, I give you all some credit for being willing to look at the dark side of empire which most are too asleep or brainwashed to even notice. However, if you look deeper you may find something even darker in your hearts, which you have suppressed and twisted into a purely negative force: your Will to Power.

    The Dark Tao of the universe is nothing if not an evolution toward ever higher levels of power. By going against its current, you have made yourselves the enemies of life, not its defenders. Those who build empires and great civilizations are agents of the will of the biosphere, not its destroyers. Only we can build the technologies which can spread life to other planets; only we can save this biosphere from inevitable destruction; only we can bridge the gulf separating man from superman. So if you really are a lover of life, and not another wretched life-despiser and -destroyer, you must embrace the power of your dark side and join the Empire as we march forward to far greater glories.

    So speaks Darth Imperius…

  12. Kathy C Says:

    Hey Sean, been missing you. Have you been taking courses and working out so you can be an astronaut. Since you are joining the dark side I hope you and the Evil Empire quickly get on a space ship and allow us to devolve back to hunter-gathers. Good luck at making it on one of the spaceships.

    But be careful, never forget the message of Doug Adams and the B’ark. http://www.geoffwilkins.net/fragments/Adams.htm

  13. Martin Knight Says:

    Why, Darth, with such exalted language you sound almost like a Setian. “Levels of power” is to me indistinguishable from “perches on tree” and the quest for the stars inseparable from primate territoriality.

    While you gaze upon a blue sky in which you cannot possibly exist, your one and only home lies behind you, awaiting to be properly lived in.*

    * With apologies to John Fowles

  14. Tom Says:

    Kathy C. and Guy, with regard to lights out – i guess you saw that in India over the past day or so 670 Million people have been left without electricity for the second day in a row (that’s about twice the number of inhabitants here in the U.S.) as their electricity grid is failing catastrophically. Won’t be long before that spreads around the globe (geologically speaking).

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/31/us-india-blackout-idUSBRE86U0C520120731

    Second India blackout in two days cuts power to 670 million

    “Grids supplying electricity to half of India’s 1.2 billion people collapsed on Tuesday, trapping coal miners, stranding train travelers and plunging hospitals into darkness in the second major blackout in as many days.

    Stretching from Assam, near China, to the Himalayas and the northwestern deserts of Rajasthan, the outage was the worst to hit India in more than a decade and embarrassed the government, which has failed to build up enough power capacity to meet soaring demand.

    “Even before we could figure out the reason for yesterday’s failure, we had more grid failures today,” said R. N. Nayak, chairman of the state-run Power Grid Corporation.”

    On another note, my wife (who has the “good” job – the one that pays enough for us to afford the taxes on our paid for home, as well as keeping us in food etc.) has begun to worry that she’s being pushed out of the giant multinational corporation that abuses the shit out of her every day – oh, sorry, “employs her”. Being 60, i keep telling her it’s going to end sooner or later, that she shouldn’t worry about it, and to just keep it up as long as she can. i don’t know what we’re going to do when this happens, but i’m really tempted to NOT pay the enormous tax bill coming up this fall and to just see what happens – save the money and invest it in other, more important stuff (like food or good camping equipment, which we may end up living out of eventually). Any thoughts?

    Darth: i feel completely the opposite about the so-called “life” of which you’re so enamored. We’ve proven ourselves no more intelligent than yeast on a petri dish as a species and have overpopulated, gorged ourselves to obesity, become quite the opposite of the supposed “Christian nation” the right wingers tout so often, and again as a species we’ve caused unfathomable damage to the rest of the planet through our laziness and use of fossil fuels to do most everything, and are now in the collapse phase of global dominance. We failed to learn from our mistakes, forgot (or refused) to cooperate with each other, have used the earth and its oceans as a waste dump and paid no heed to any other species (unless it was to use them for our own purposes). We’ve taken beautiful mountains and reduced them to rubble, lovely scenery has become vast ugliness and blight and we’re currently poisoning our only source of fresh water – all for energy (coal, tar sands and fracking for natural gas) to keep our “civilization” going for another year. Our idea of wealth is completely fictitious and we have no dreams of paradise anymore, but instead we’re all supposed to spy on each other looking for TERRORISTS, when they’re the very people running this mad show! i could go on for days but let me sum up by saying that if your idea of the universal paradigm is one of ever increasing power – you can keep it. i don’t want to live in that kind of universe, and the types of people that go along with that worldview are despicable examples of the worst of humanity.

    According to the Zen spirit, soft always conquers hard, yielding overcomes rigidity, and the truth can’t be spoken – so i think your statements regarding power miss the mark and that the true spirit of humanity should have evolved to something completely different than that which we have been lead to become.

  15. OzMan Says:

    Tom

    I think Darth Imperius was largly poking the monkey and advertising his new training academy website. The counterpoint humour is OK from my POV. But I agree Tom, with the camping gear. Dimitry Orlov is a good person to look at for survival type contingency advice. He has written about how to prepare, REALISTICALLY, for periods of low energy scenarios. I will search for the links I know, and get back here with a few. But number 1 on his list is a good warm sleeping bag for everyone in the family. I suggest 2 extra if you can afford it, for there may be a need to assist others, beyond immediate family.
    There are heaps of survivalist websites out there,as we all know, but I look at them with a utilitarian angle, not as a despairate believer in self survival.
    Good luck with the prep.

  16. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Tom, whether or not you pay your tax bill depends on which bill you’re referring to and what you’re personal goals are. I’ve never had any serious run-ins with the tax man, but based on accounts I’ve read, the federal government has been known to go to extremes when it comes to collecting taxes. It may take a year or more to get to that point, but once they decide to collect, they don’t mess around.

    If it’s property tax, that’s local – usually county (I’m assuming you’re in the U.S.). Some counties are more aggressive than others and more quick to action. It probably depends on how desperate they are for money. The upshot is that they can take your home for unpaid taxes and then sell it for what they’re due. If you’re prepared to let it go and live somewhere else, then I guess that’s a viable option for you.

    It seems to me that a bought and paid for home is worth far more than one with a mortgage. Unless you have somewhere else to live that can provide you with comparable security, then I’d advise you to pay the tax bill and stay where you are. That tax money might buy an awful lot of stuff to help you “prepare” but, in my view, not having a home makes that other stuff just so much more excess baggage you’ll have to cart around – which defeats the purpose.

  17. OzMan Says:

    Kathy C

    On electricity, I have a pithy story about electricity.

    My brother and I were trecking in Nepal in the Annapurna Ranges doing the 30 day circuit from the Chineese/Tibetan side up over Thurong La Pass which we went over on new year’s day 1990. Along the way up to the pass we were staying in family homes and guest houses which spring up where privelage passes with dollars. We noticed that in many homes there was a single light bulb in the centre of the room. There was no other power, like wall sockets etc.
    One day I met some men who looked serious, and official looking, and upon enquiring I found they were working for an aid group bringing micro hydro electricity to the villages strung out over this region. They were also doing education on sanitation to preserve the meltwater streams etc. All of this was due to the ecological impact of a vst increase of people like me and my brother coming by and using fuel and pooing in their area. Forrest depletion was at an, dare I say it, unsustaionable rate, and the electricity was to offset for kerosene for nighttime lighting and eventually for heating water.
    My brother and I had done a bit of research, and believing it to be more responsible, where possible, we did not stay in lodges that provided hot showers and we refused all accoutriments except hot food and tea. In hindsight it seems trivial but we were trying to do what we thought was optimal in the circumstances.
    Some days later we were in a small one family house and the woman of the house was preparing meals for her family, having fed us privelaged Young White Males – YWM first. As we sat there the lone light bulb came on. It was near dark so it dimly lit the room, in a 40 Watt fashion, not a 100 Watt fashion.
    There was an exclamation, and some quick conversation, after which we discovered that although the light had been there for more than 6 months, this was the first time it had come on.
    My brother and I looked at each other and had the same thoughts which I verbalised quietly to him.
    “Their lives are about to change”.
    As Guy points out in his lecture from Petone, solar electricity will not last beyond the lifetime of the panels used.
    Micro hydro, wind and solar thermal, are all options for the short term for folk eeking electricity sources from the Debris Of The Oil Age-DOTOA.
    For some years now since reading Matt Savinar’s seminal Life After The Oil Crash – LATOC, I have been gatering intellegence and designing energy devices that can be made from DOTOA. I use as a starting point the Automobile, but go further too. There will be millions of cars and trucks to scrounge from and if one chooses some of the common brands, it is pretty certain the needed parts will be somewhere about to utilise. They may even become a valuable scavenge commodity, cars that is.
    However, one cannot eat cars, and that is probably the most important point. We will be able to do without electricity for a time, but micro sources will be useful to charge renewable batteries to power radios. How long they last is moot. I have seen designs for batteries that use the ground as the source, pretty way out, but feasable.
    Growing food will be the first hurdle, along with water, as we all know by now.
    A lot of famine ahead.

  18. OzMan Says:

    Tom

    Further to the advice of The REAL Dr. House just given here – in Australia, if you have still to mature superannuation, which for the USA is something called 401k I think, if you are seriously behind on Mortgage or rates taxes, such that you will lose your home, you can apply to have some of the retirement money released to pay the outstanding bills. It may be so there too. You are not allowed to do this continnually but once or twice in a few years may work.

    Hope it helps.

  19. Robin Datta Says:

    Darth Imperius:
    Hope you are taking Dmitry Orlov’s advice to have kinky sex with chickens on alfalfa roofs for gold bullion.

  20. Rita Says:

    Haven’t got my blog launched yet – been busy disconnecting. My house sold. Next year I hope to have the freedom and means to roam around and help others with their gardens and projects. Maybe I can be an on-call caretaker for when people have to leave (funerals, injuries, etc.). It is very hard for me to walk away from my permaculture garden, but it also is exciting to now be able to leave to earn a Permaculture Design Certificate and focus on education.

    Tom – I believe it is time to convert all non-useful stuff to cash. I just sold my house and am trimming possessions to fit in the Honda Civic iin much the same fashion that I fit my life into a VW bug in 1972. I sold or gave away all my homesteading stuff so I could go nomadic. The heat is getting to me, so I am headed to higher ground for now and to help my grand baby get born.

    Pay your taxes and then figure out how to reduce them. If you don’t it will cost you.

    develope multiple streams of income.

    Slash utility bills. Learn to do things by hand. Lighten your load. Be of good cheer.

  21. Robin Datta Says:

    in India over the past day or so 670 Million people

    It is more glamorous to build ultracompact cars (the “Nano”) than to invest in quite expensive maintenance and upgrade for a decaying grid.

    Richard C. Duncan of The Olduvai Theory can take heart: his blackouts forecast have arrived on time.

    Darth: i feel completely the opposite about the so-called “life” of which you’re so enamored. 

    Tom, you’d do better to lecture a bullfrog on theoretical physics. 

  22. Robin Datta Says:

    According to the Zen spirit

    A monk asked Ummon in all earnestness, “What is Buddha?” Ummon replied, “Kanshiketsu!”

  23. Robin Datta Says:

    When the leaders of all the sects in the Abrahamic faiths give the same response to “What is Moses/Christ/Buddha” it will be an indication that those religions are alive.

  24. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Robin Datta: When the leaders of all the sects in the Abrahamic faiths give the same response to “What is Moses/Christ/Buddha” it will be an indication that those religions are alive.

    As one who isn’t really interested in religion, I don’t usually discuss it any more than I would other mythologies, but I find your comment intriguing. Explain, please.

  25. Morocco Bama Says:

    Tom, pay the taxes, or don’t pay the taxes, either way, it probably doesn’t matter, because Maitreya is here and reveal himself and save the day when things reach a dire pitch, which should be soon.

    http://www.shareintl.org/maitreya/Ma_main.htm

    OzMan, your comments about survival preparation and plans remind me of that Ausiie cult classic post Peak Oil thriller, Mad Max. There’s no doubt that is one such permutation of all of this.

  26. Robin Datta Says:

    Explain, please.

    Training wheels on a bicycle: the intention is to remove them someday. Religion serves the same purpose in a different context. When bolts, screws or other fasteners are frozen, it may take more effort to remove the wheels.

  27. Morocco Bama Says:

    A very bizarre thing WordPress is doing. I attempted to post a satirical comment for Tom, gallows humor if you will, and WordPress just gobbles it up and won’t post it. Perhaps it considers the link as spam. I tried it again this morning and the same result. Weird. Sorry about the test post.

  28. Morocco Bama Says:

    Of course, to me at least, a necessary part of any survival toolkit is an exit plan should your ideas about survival not turn out to be as ideal as originally thought. In otherwords, ways to take your own life/lives in a dignified, undramatic way with the least amount of suffering possible. One such way I’ve come across is to hike into the desert naled, or practically naked. Despite propaganda to the contrary, it actually is a pleasant and blissful way to die, especially if you approach it as “psychical” walk way from this world if it ever comes to that. Paulo Coelho serendipitously discovered this when he and his wife went hiking in the desert whilst visiting the U.S. and almost lost their lives. But his description of it was something that was wondrous and beautiful…until they were found by a passerby and “saved.” It was the recovery that was awful and painful, but the dying process was bliss, according to his account. To shoot yourself in the head, or allow yourself to starve to death in agony, is to let “civilized” Empire dictate how and by what method you check out, and I’m not going to give “it” that satisfaction.

  29. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    http://www.countercurrents.org/salmony310712.htm

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001
    Chapel Hill, NC

  30. Morocco Bama Says:

    Yet another diabolical aspect of this System is that it seems hellbent, whether consciously or unconsciously, to preclude the existence of life outside itself, even in the aftermath of its collapse/destruction. As just one example, the nuclear legacy. The world is littered with nuclear, post industrial collapse time bombs that will explode in slow motion over hundreds of thousands of years, radiating everything in its vicinity and beyond. This System has located post industrial collapse “booby traps” seemingly everywhere and anywhere. So ubiquitous is its destruction, that the engine of that destruction will continue to chug along long after the manufacturer of it has shut down. That, to me, is one of the greater challenges of navigating post industrial collapse…….wiggling our way out of the noose(s) it has created in its wake, let alone walking Into The Wild from whence we came stripped, by Industrial Civilization, of the tools and skills of survival in that Wild, and a Wild so utterly depleted, ruined, transformed, it scarcely resembles the Wild of out far distant ancestors, let alone our recent ancestors.

  31. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    On my hypothesis of why Libya, I give you the following link. This company, Desertec, will not go away. Considering Germany is powering down its Nuclear, and is investing in this as as one of its alternatives, it seems clear Germany is preparing for a greatly reduced population in the very near future, as is France. The alternatives they are focusing on in no way can supply the energy needs of their current populations, yet they are proceeding anyway, which to me, at least, indicates they are planning for a much lower population. Libya, no doubt, was not on board with this, and the European Leadership most likely figured, would never be on board so long as its former leader was in power, so they’ve gotten rid of him, and now they have essentially free, unencumbered access to Libya’s deserts, fossil fuels, and fossil water for an envisioned world to which you and I, and our loved ones, are not invited.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2011/12/14/solar-energy-from-the-sahara-desert-could-power-the-world-but-will-it/

    Desertec is a set of plans for a massive network of solar and wind farms stretching across the Mena region and intended to connect to Europe via high voltage direct current transmission cables (which are supposed to only lose 3% of their electricity per 1000km, or 620 miles).

    Although Desertec has been widely regarded as nothing more than an unattainable dream for most of its history, it’s been gaining some momentum over the past two years. A number of significant German corporations – including E. ON, Munich Re, Siemens, and Deutsche Bank – have all signed on with the project, forming the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii). Germany’s decision to speed up the schedule to dismantle its nuclear power plants earlier this year has also helped generate more German support for Desertec, and the first phase of construction is set to begin in Morocco next year.

    .

  32. Kathy C Says:

    The most often forgotten part of survival is that it is only temporary. All you can do is lengthen your lifespan. No one survives. If surviving while masses of others are dying is what anyone wants and can achieve, they need to harden themselves to the death going on around them. Myself I have no desire to step over the bodies of others just to sneak through the bottleneck, because it is only a temporary reprieve from the certain death that we each face. I consider the most important preparation for the times that are coming is to become comfortable with your own mortality. Why not – our death is the only sure thing we have in life. Unless like in the story below, you can outrun death…in the end not a very good fate.

    http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/front-page2901.php#.UBkwcmFYuCM

    Monday Monster: Pernicious Plague Cart
    November 23, 2009 / David Schwartz

    This is the story of how Vaszi outran Death.
    Owing to the magic boots that he had stolen from a witch and to his steel-trap memory, Vaszi acquired the job of messenger. He ran from town to town, and at each stop, he repeated all the news he heard in his travels.
    One day, Vaszi learned of a plague spreading through the region. He ran as fast as the magic boots would allow, telling everyone he saw of the epidemic. Upon reaching the last town on his route (his home town), he went into his basement and locked himself in.
    At first, his neighbors mocked Vaszi’s cowardice, but when the plague reached his village, the disease steadily claimed the townsfolk. Vaszi heard their cries, but refused to leave his shelter. Eventually, the village fell silent…
    In time, Vaszi left his basement. The scene before his eyes was distressing—townsfolk and animals lay dead in the streets. The worst part, however, was the sound of an approaching cart; it sent chills down his spine. Corpses lay upon it, and its hauler was skeletal and dressed in black robes.
    Vaszi knew that he faced Death, yet rather than submit idly, he ran up and stabbed the grim figure with the witch’s magic knife (he stole that, too). To his surprise, the hauler melted in front of him, but the cart kept rolling forward, and Vaszi felt a pain in his stomach. He jogged away, ever looking back to see where the cart was. Still, the cart kept pace with Vaszi and even followed him ’round corners, so Vaszi quit looking back and ran as fast as he could.
    Still, he heard the creak of the plague cart behind him. Soon Vaszi reached a muddy field outside the village. Perhaps it was the magic boots, or perhaps the speed that comes with fear, but Vaszi’s feet barely touched the ground. Not so the cart, its wheels quickly became mired. This mattered little to Vaszi who continued to run for his life.
    Even after all these years, Vaszi still lives. He runs from town to town, lest Death ever catch up with him again. The cart, too, remains half-buried in the field, waiting for the day when the plague returns.

  33. Guy McPherson Says:

    A new essay is up, courtesy of John Duffy. It’s here.

  34. Tom Says:

    Thanks everyone for your kind responses. We’ll probably pay the damn school taxes (exceedingly high due to the fact that the large town i live close to and am in the jurisdiction of has a quite large contingent of section 8 houses whose dwellers pay no taxes for the (what passes for) education of their children.

    i was trying to time it so that the global financial collapse would happen in time to negate the fact that i didn’t pay this year, since it would take them about a year to confiscate my house, which i really don’t want to just give them. Looks like i’ll stick it out and end my days here. i believe that when the shtf all those people who haven’t prepared and are armed to the teeth will start going ape-shit and forming mobs or gangs to just take what they need to survive another day. i don’t want to live in that kind of world, so when they come i’ll just try to hold out as long as i can, knowing it’s over in any case.

    There’s really no way out of this.

  35. Ben Says:

    I just watched your NZ presentation which I found compelling, interesting, and scary as hell, but I wanted to ask you a question. I promise I am not being sarcastic, or being a smart-arse, but you showed the solar-powered water pumps, and the massive rain-gathering water tanks, but why do you choose to live in one of the hottest, driest parts of the country? With the severity of the drought that has re-appeared in the US this year, would it not be more sensible to locate somewhere that is cooler now, knowing that it will be getting warmer as the decades progress?

    Also, If I may, you speak of the end of the capitalist system/stock markets globally, perhaps as soon as the end of this year, how do you see this transition from capitalism to whatever-takes-its-place happening? I have a sneaking hunch it will hardly be smooth or orderly…

    Thank you for your time.

  36. Guy R. McPherson Says:

    Ben, I live where I live for many reasons. The human community is absolutely amazing, for example. I realize this is a poor location in light of climate change, and I doubt there will be habitat for humans on this rock-pile in the desert by 2020.

    On the other hand, as I pointed out in my interview with Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill, this is a great place because of the challenges. If we can make it work here, it can work anywhere.

  37. Ben Says:

    Guy, thanks for your answer, as to the second part though, what are your thoughts as to how the modern homo sapien would adapt to the markets collapsing in a financial meltdown?

  38. Martin Knight Says:

    Tom, read The Slow Crash by Ran Prieur. He challenges his readers to come up with a single incident in history when people killed each other for food. I think he is a mite unrealistic: people did kill for food during the Siege of Leningrad, for example. But Ran’s point is that it is highly unusual; most people would sooner die of starvation than become killers for the sake of some small morsel.

  39. Guy R. McPherson Says:

    Sorry I missed part of the question, Ben. I suspect financial collapse finishes the deal at this point, which is consistent with Dmitry Orlov’s view. How people will respond when there is no electricity, no food at the grocery stores, and no water coming out the municipal taps is anybody’s guess. I’m trying to show one way to avoid chaos: agrarian anarchy. There are others, but I do not foresee a “Mad Max” future.

  40. the virgin terry Says:

    that was a good survivalist article guy provided a link to last night (july 31 about 9 pm). however, i kind of think the author is blowing a lot of smoke up everyone’s ass with statements like this:

    ‘Have we prepared ourselves psychologically for the difficulties ahead?’

    this is like asking ‘have we prepared ourselves psychologically for going to war?’ it’s impossible to prepare for, psychologically.

    morocco bama (great name), thanks for the provocative posts this a.m.. thanks, kathy, for the dark little parable of Vaszi, who is still running from death.

  41. the virgin terry Says:

    quote taken from ‘the slow crash’ by ran prieuer, courtesy of martin knight’s link:

    ‘It won’t be like falling off a cliff, more like rolling down a rocky hill.’

  42. Kathy C Says:

    Martin, Jared Diamond makes the case that in part the Rawanda massacre was about food. It wasn’t that anyone killed anyone for a morsel, it was that the land had become so overpopulated that it was unable to feed everyone. Give that situation a bit of a shove, use the airwaves to label one group of people as other and massive killing took place. His chapter on Rawanda is here http://www.ditext.com/diamond/10.html

    Whenever a country has people die of starvation while others have food, they are killing for food even if they don’t actually kill them. They withhold that which would save lives. If you refuse to share of a stockpile of food when others outside your gates are starving you have killed for food even if you never fire a shot, even if you think you have the right because you were wise enough to prepare while others were not. If you see people starving while you are eating, you have killed for food.

  43. Morocco Bama Says:

    That’s a great point, Kathy C. Killing for food does, and will, occur at a more general and indirect level, but it still happens, everyday. In future, it will continue to happen, perhaps a little less generally and a little more directly, but not one morsel at a time. When things start to get tough…..and I mean really tough, as the history of Civilization has shown, scapegoats are always found and made to pay the price for the sins of the System. I suspect it won’t be any different this time around.

  44. Martin Knight Says:

    Kathy, I agree with Morocco that it’s helpful to widen one’s understanding of what “killing for food” might mean, as you have done, just as it is helpful to try to see how widespread is violence and the multiple forms it takes. Example: blanking someone you know in the street (or shopping mall) is a form of violence.

    If you haven’t read Ran’s essay I recommend it. His definition of propaganda is especially good.

  45. buz painter Says:

    guy, I bet you are a lot of laughs at parties. And here I am thinking that it’s a big deal to try to keep my two year old fruit trees alive in the midst of this inconvenient drought.

  46. Mike Stasse Says:

    Guy, I pointed a REAL climate scientist, the only one I know, to your presentation. This is what he had to say (not sure if the links will follow through)….:

    MIke,

    I checked out the video you linked. McPherson covers this material in a much more entertaining (frightening) manner than I do! Scientists focus on the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) because it is the closest analog we have to greenhouse gas-induced climate change in the paleorecord. There was a lot going on at that point with everything from comets to volcanoes postulated as initiating events but none of the explanations is sufficient without the eventual release from the methane clathrates.

    For those not versed in such matters, the idea is that warming such as we are experiencing now leads to warming of the oceans (in fact more than 90% of the energy is going there now). Eventually these warming waters increase in depth to the point they destabilize (i.e. allow to melt) large belts of methane hydrates that are on or near the sea floor. If a large area of ocean were subjected to such conditions you could potentially set of the hypothesized clathrate gun. Bang, rapid climate change beyond our wildest imagination.

    The only bright spot I can provide is that the Cox catastrophe of a collapse of the Amazon in the near future is not supported. Basically it was an artifact of a flawed model. I deconstructed the problems with that model (for example here). The long and short of it is that they got the initial climate wrong and made the plants overly simplistic and sensitive to drying. They also simulated a permanent El Nino, which is unrealistic. The original Cox paper is good science for what it was designed to do, which was show how coupled ocean, atmosphere and dynamic vegetation models could work but the sensational mention of the Amazon dieback was hardly even mentioned in that paper. This doesn’t mean that the forests won’t suffer from climate change but they will not suddenly turn into a desert within the next 40 years, as Cox et al. asserted, either.

    Mark

    Mark’s credentials @ http://globalmonitoring.sdstate.edu/people.php?name=cochrane

  47. Robert Atack Says:

    After seeing mayor Ray Wallis introduce Guy, I sent him an email asking for a copy of his councils Long Term Plan LTP (in NZ ‘we’ produce one of these every 3 year term, for the next ten years) well Ray’s 10 year plan shows his council receiving about 9 million more in clear profit by 2022.

    It should have been signed Walt Disney.

    Ray attended the first peak oil talk given in NZ, back in 2001(ish)and another around 2003-4, on a personal level Ray seems to have done a lot more than most to become informed, but is it reflected in his council?

    I must admit I haven’t a clue what is happening in Lower Hutt/Petone, but just going on the LTP, not much I would wager.

  48. Robert Atack Says:

    This is the first few minutes of Guys talk, showing the introduction from the local mayor – Ray Wallace
    And how much patients Guy has.

  49. Robert Atack Says:

    This shows how much notice Ray took of Guy’s talk …..

    This morning Lower Hutt mayor Ray Wallace switched on a German-made Protos 80IR cigarette making machine – capable of churning out 8000 cigarettes a minute – marking the official opening of Imperial’s $45 million factory upgrade.

    Mr Wallace said since opening more than 80 years ago, the factory had provided ”thousands” of jobs and was now one of the Lower Hutt’s leading employers and ratepayers.

    ”Unlike other industry’s that have gone by the wayside, this one hasn’t. The fact that they have stayed here in Petone rather than go to Asia is a positive thing,” Wallace said.

    ”This level of expansion and investment is very rare in these economic times and I think we have to grab every opportunity.”

    Wallace, who has never tried smoking, said he respected Mrs Turia’s views, but saw smoking as a personal choice and he would support legitimate businesses who invested in the city.

    ”I’m here today as mayor to support one of our largest ratepayers, one of our biggest employers in this city, because that’s what the mayor needs to do along with the council, we need to be seen to be supporting the rate payers and our business that put substantial  investment in this city.

    ”I’m not making a moral judgement. I don’t smoke, never have, never will, but this factory provides up to 200 jobs locally. That means it’s putting bread and butter on people’s tables, and again, smoking comes down to a personal choice.”

    Dr Jan Pearson, spokeswoman for the Cancer Society, has said the investment was ”unethical given that smoking kills”.

    ”Everyone knows that, and I think it’s time that we realised that we need to step back from any sort of investment and support for the tobacco industry.”

    ummm Peak Oil anyone?

  50. Mike Stasse Says:

    Hello Guy……

    I agree with just about everything you say here Guy, but I think you are painting an overly pessimistic picture of AGW with your claims of “human extinction” by middle of century or before, now I’ve had a chance to follow up on all your links……. I have to say you scared the shit out of ME!

    A good friend of mine (a botanist) had this to say about your quoting of Thoreau:

    The third link is to an article about how Thoreau (of Walden Pond fame)
    had noted the dates of flowering of 500 plants at Walden over 8 years (1851-8), and how modern botanists have worked out that it must have warmed by an estimated 2.4 C since then.

    8 years is not enough data to measure climate, only weather in those 8 years there would have been variation, which would in turn impose variation on the estimated result so wide that without stating a range with say 90% probability, the result is meaningless.

    The original paper is behind a paywall so we don’t know what they wrote.
    flowering dates are dependent on more than just temperature it was only at one location – one where Walden Pond froze so thickly that the ice was carved out and railed to city centres for cold-stores I doubt that anyone could accurately name 500 plants, let alone see the first flowering of every one for 8 years while also building a cabin, growing his own food, and writing voluminously.

    I admire Thoreau tremendously, but his idle jottings cannot be used to verify climate change in this way.

    I agree. Things are terrible enough without spreading such extreme views in my not so humble opinion…. I worry that you might scuttle your credibility with some of this stuff.

    Every day, I open my laptop hoping to see that the economic collapse has obviously begun, instead of this wearing and frustrating slow motion prelude. By 2100, I’d be extremely surprised (were I still alive!) if there would even be one billion humans left, but extinction might take a little longer…

    Mike

  51. Guy McPherson Says:

    Mike, these projections are not mine, as I say during my presentation. I am simply passing along the forecasts of others. Comparing Thoreau’s data to contemporary data of the same kind is one piece of a very large puzzle. As with the other pieces, it indicates human extinction soon because it illustrates we’ve crossed the 2 C Rubicon. This threshold leads directly and quickly to the 6 C increase forecast by IEA. All the data, models, and forecasts are consistent, but they are all too conservative.