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The Third Industrial Revolution

Sat, Nov 17, 2012

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As Derrick Jensen points out, this “culture as a whole and most of its members are insane.” I continue to be surprised at the number of people who believe in infinite growth on a finite planet. I continue to be amazed at the number of people who believe a politician cares about them, and that their favorite politician will act in their best interests. I continue to be surprised at the number of people who actually believe in the political process. I continue to be amazed at the number of people who support civilization, knowing it is killing us all. I’m even more surprised, though, at the number of people who claim ignorance about the costs and consequences of industrial civilization.

As pointed out by French author and Nobelist in literature André Gide: “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” So, here I go, saying it again.

Apparently I’m a very slow learner. It’s a bad, sad time. I hate this culture.

It’s worse than all of the above, though. There are a significant number of people who believe we can continue the omnicide, and that doing so is a good idea. Consider, for example, proponents of the Third Industrial Revolution.

The five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure are listed below. After pasting a brief description directly from Wikipedia (in italics), I dismantle each of the pillars.

1. Shifting to Renewable Energy: Renewable forms of energy — solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, ocean waves, and biomass — make up the first of the five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution. While these energies still account for a small percentage of the global energy mix, they are growing rapidly as governments mandate targets and benchmarks for their widespread introduction into the market and their falling costs make them increasingly competitive.

“Renewable” sources of energy are derivatives of oil. Oil is the master material. The availability and price of oil control every other “resource.” I’ve pointed out the absurdity and hopelessness of switching the extra-oil sources here, here, here, here, here, and here (in chronological order).

2. Buildings as Power Plants: New technological breakthroughs make it possible, for the first time, to design and construct buildings that create all of their own energy from locally available renewable energy sources, allowing us to reconceptualize the future of buildings as “power plants”. The commercial and economic implications are vast and far reaching for the real estate industry and, for that matter, Europe and the world. In 25 years from now, millions of buildings — homes, offices, shopping malls, industrial and technology parks — will be constructed to serve as both “power plants” and habitats. These buildings will collect and generate energy locally from the sun, wind, garbage, agricultural and forestry waste, ocean waves and tides, hydro and geothermal — enough energy to provide for their own power needs as well as surplus energy that can be shared.

First, see my comment above regarding “renewable” energy sources. They are a well-promoted myth. Second, consider if you will, the reality of our collective situation 25 years from now. If human beings persist on this planet — and that’s a significant if, based on the various paths by which we are vigorously pursuing human extinction — then it’s difficult to imagine a scenario that includes an industrial economy at the scale of the globe. We can have an industrial economy or we can have a living planet, but we cannot have both over another quarter century.

3. Deploying Hydrogen and other storage technologies in every building and throughout the infrastructure to store intermittent energies. To maximize renewable energy and to minimize cost it will be necessary to develop storage methods that facilitate the conversion of intermittent supplies of these energy sources into reliable assets. Batteries, differentiated water pumping, and other media, can provide limited storage capacity. There is, however, one storage medium that is widely available and can be relatively efficient. Hydrogen is the universal medium that “stores” all forms of renewable energy to assure that a stable and reliable supply is available for power generation and, equally important, for transport.

As a carrier of energy — but definitely not a source — hydrogen is neither stable nor reliable. The notion of stability is dismissed with a single word: Hindenburg. The hype about hydrogen is extreme and extremely ridiculous.

Transporting hydrogen is prohibitively expensive and requires distillates of crude oil. In addition, automakers will not make hydrogen fuel-cell cars until the hydrogen infrastructure is in place, and the infrastructure will not appear until there are a sufficient number of fuel-cell cars on the road.

4. Using Internet technology to transform the power grid of every continent into an energy sharing intergrid that acts just like the Internet. The reconfiguration of the world’s power grid, along the lines of the internet, allowing businesses and homeowners to produce their own energy and share it with each other, is just now being tested by power companies in Europe. The new smart grids or intergrids will revolutionize the way electricity is produced and delivered. Millions of existing and new buildings — homes, offices, factories—will be converted or built to serve as “positive power plants” that can capture local renewable energy — solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro, and ocean waves — to create electricity to power the buildings, while sharing the surplus power with others across smart intergrids, just like we now produce our own information and share it with each other across the Internet.

Never mind the endless hopium associated with producing “renewable” energy for more than seven billion people. Never mind the war-based industrial economy of the world’s sole remaining superpower. If we’re counting on technology currently under testing in Europe, we’re also assuming Europe will exist as a political entity for a long time. We’re also assuming Europeans will continue to play nice with each other as well as people in other countries. The very idea of surplus power is being revealed as a horrifically bad joke as the Middle East and northern Africa come under daily attack from several more-industrialized nations.

5. Transitioning the transport fleet to electric, plug in and fuel cell vehicles that can buy and sell electricity on a smart continental interactive power grid. The electricity we produce in our buildings from renewable energy will also be used to power electric plug-in cars or to create hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles. The electric plug in vehicles, in turn, will also serve as portable power plants that can sell electricity back to the main grid.

Car culture is a huge source of many of our worst problems. Cheering for the never-ending continuation of car culture is a death sentence for the living planet. In addition, as indicated above, transporting hydrogen is unsafe, expensive, and dependent upon distillates of crude oil. And then there’s that chicken-and-egg issue associated with construction of infrastructure to support hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

When these five pillars come together, they make up an indivisible technological platform — an emergent system whose properties and functions are qualitatively different from the sum of its parts. In other words, the synergies between the pillars create a new economic paradigm that can transform the world.

When these five pillars of sand come together, they make up an undistinguished pile of dysfunctional hopium — a pile of sand whose properties and functions are qualitatively and quantitatively irrelevant to the industrial economy. In other words, the synergies between the meaningless pillars create a new pile of false hope for those who wish to continue destroying the living world. Fortunately, the hopium is running out.

Contrary to conventional wisdom among civilized humans, we don’t need an industrial economy to survive. In fact, all evidence indicates the opposite is true, yet we keep cheering for this culture of death, cheering for continued destruction of all we need for our survival. Insanity has won, proving Ralph Waldo Emerson correct: “The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.”

_________________

This essay is permalinked at Plan B Economics, The Refreshment Center, Island Breath, Seemorerocks, Market Clues (edited), and at Exopermaculture (with other information at the latter site).

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376 Responses to “The Third Industrial Revolution”

  1. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Great essay, and I agree with everything you said….except the “amazed” and “surprised” part. I’ve stated it before, and I’ll state it again, despite using the words on rare occasions, I am neither amazed nor surprised by anything these days.

    Also, I’m a bit forlorn that Sosebee never interviewed me for his latest film. I really thought it was going to be my Big Break. Time’s running out for my chance at the Big Break. I’m beginning to think it’s in the cards for me.

    .

  2. ulvfugl Says:

    Someone ought to come up with a snappy name for the ‘In X number of years we will have…’ syndrome, which pops up everywhere, without any substantive support. Seems just like a Santa Claus wish list…

    I have not checked this, but seem to remember, hydrogen atoms are extremely small and can leak through most containment materials.

  3. Ivy Mike Says:

    “443 nuclear power plants melt down catastrophically…destroy every terrestrial organism” ~transitionvoice

    Increased cancer, yes. Increased genteic defects, yes. A horrible catastrophe, yes.

    But kill all life on earth? Negative.

    A text “The Medical Implications of Nuclear War” (1986) published by the Institute for Medicine, National Academy of Sciences extensively covers the scenario of direct hits on “nuclear fuel cycle facilities.”

    Why does everybody have to exaggerate to get their point across?

  4. dairymandave2003 Says:

    Here’s a snappy name for all those civilized humans who fucked over Mother Nature: Motherfuckers.

  5. Robert Thankyoufornotbreeding Atack Says:

    The Spirit in the Gene: Humanity’s Proud Illusion and the Laws of Nature

    «As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behaviour is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.»

    – Reg Morrison

  6. Ivy Mike Says:

    The farmer’s plow opening the fertile soil to plant seed is a phallic symbol of mother-fuckery that was recognized even by the ancient Greeks in their mythology of the Rape of Demeter, [later, her daughter Persephone] the goddess of grain and agriculture.

    “…farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization.
    ~/wiki/Agriculture

    “Agriculture, the indispensable basis of civilization…”
    ~John Zerzan
    Agriculture: The Demon Engine of Civilization
    rewild.info/anthropik/library/zerzan/demon-engine-of-civilization/

    Thesis #9: Agriculture is difficult, dangerous and unhealthy.
    ~Jason Godesky
    The Thirty Theses
    theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jason-godesky-thirty-theses

    “…we chose the latter [agriculture] and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny.”
    ~Jared Diamond, PhD, (UCLA School of Medicine)
    The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race
    discovermagazine.com/1987/may/02-the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race

    Thou art Hades himself, plowboy! I damn thee to Heck, to be purified of thy sins by Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light.

  7. Ivy Mike Says:

    Do you treat reproductive humans’—Breeders’!—”particular human behaviour” with “scorn or dismay” that precisely measures your “ignorance,” Robert Thankyoufornotbreeding Atack?

  8. dairymandave2003 Says:

    Intelligence was overly successful in its primary job; maintaining a positive EROEI. I agree with Reg M. we couldn’t help ourselves. We got drunk on the black stuff. However, the Amish chose to not use it. Explain that.

  9. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    The Amish are not as pure as the myth would have us believe. They do use oil. From here:

    http://peakoil.com/forums/the-amish-thread-merged-t934.html

    The Amish do use oil. They may live a low-tech lifestyle in general, but they are part of the modern world, and they use its conveniences when it suits them.

    For example, when they are sick, they go to modern doctors and state of the art hospitals, high-tech life support, etc. In emergencies, they go to their neighbors with phones and cars and borrow the use of them. They are part of our global economy, buying stuff they need and selling stuff they make so they can earn money to buy stuff.

    You can’t live like the Amish “only with solar panels.” Who is going to make the solar panels? Amish sure can’t.

    Don’t get me wrong – life can be good without modern technology. The happiest people in the world are Nigerians. But that’s not a “modern, energy-rich” life. And you can’t point to the Amish as an example of people who live without oil.

    And this:

    The Amish family we’re buying (hopefully) our place from hire heavy tractor work, use a gasoline powered air compressor to run the well pump, have propane refrigeration, buy goods – however “plain”- produced and transported with cheap energy and he made cash on the side repairing others farm equipment.

    .

  10. Susan Says:

    Hi Guy, could you summarize clearly in a nutshell for arguments’ sake, how solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, ocean waves, and biomass are all derivatives of oil? I checked your here, here, here, etc. links and couldn’t get a clear understanding. I remember from your book that we probably wouldn’t have time or resources to convert everyone to solar, and many of those resources are oil dependent. But surely there are solutions related to the above list that aren’t directly connected to oil?

  11. Ivy Mike Says:

    The Amish aren’t anti-agriculture (the demon engine of civilization); they still plow and “rape the earth.”

    In fact, government’s love them and invite them to come “develop” land in “undeveloped” areas. Their kind of agriculture isn’t any more sustainable than the agriculture that’s been going on for 10,000 years of destroying China, the Fertile Crescent, Greece, Rome, and Europe, and now North America. The Amish are an integral part of that environmental destructive culture.

    Nor are they anti-oil. They use oil lamps, gasoline powered balers, propane heat, grease on their buggy hubs, and even have oil wells on their farms.

    But they have resisted the much of the industrial intensification of agricultural civilization this last 90 years or so, which is admirable.

  12. dairymandave2003 Says:

    Ok, I know the Amish cheat, but if we didn’t have the gadgets for them to “borrow” and they only used lamp oil, would they have set the world on fire?

  13. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    I think it says something positive about the larger System that it didn’t persecute the Amish into extinction. It certainly did so to the Indians, for the most part, but the Amish were allowed to continue unscathed. The Quakers, when it was all said and done, pretty much went by the wayside from their Glory Days in the late 1600’s through the 1700’s, whereas the Amish withdrew, but still persevered and thrived even. Some claim it’s the highly fertile farmland they secured early on. Without that prime farmland, they would have fell upon severely hard times, and more than likely their culture would have been fragmented and/or disbanded. The Germans in Texas are an interesting historical story, as well.

    .

  14. ulvfugl Says:

    I thinkit is ridiculous to find fault with the Amish. As I understand it, there are numerous sub-divisions of Amish and Mennonites, which differ in their degree of felexibility. None of them may be ‘perfect’, but then what is perfection ?

    In this context, perfection must mean zero ecological impact. It’s obvious that that is impossible. A human, just by occupying physical space, has an impact. Their presence will perturb the environment, frighten birds, compress soil, etc. The impact grows larger if they build a home, if they hunt and gather, if they practice gardening, horticulture, permaculture, agriculture. The ideal must be to minimimse ecological footprint, but zero, perfection, is unattainable.

    None of it would matter if there were only a few thousand, even millions, of humans. The total biosphere wouldn’t be perceptibly effected.
    Where it becomes significant, is if numbers increase, and if impact is maximised, as in building huge cities, damming rivers, polluting oceans and air, covering the land with concrete and tarmac, displacing all other life forms.

    In other words, where it became significant was with the rise civilisation, and then by many orders of magnitude more, with the rise of industrial capitalism, amplified by oil and technology and science, until the natural world we inherited is no longer extant. We replaced the Holocene with the Anthropocene.

    Sure, there are minor problems with the Amish, like the number of children they have means they must expand. There are problems with the Kogi, who are also very close to ecological perfection, and with the Bishnoi likewise. But they are all at the opposite end of the scale from Dow Chemicals, Monsanto, Exxon, Cargill, and the like. That’s where the real problem lies and where criticism should be directed, because that’s where the threat to all life is coming from, not some tiny insignificant minority of Amish, Kogi, Bishnoi, and permaculturalists.

    Ultimately, the theoretical problem is how could humans integrate themselves into ecosystems in a benign fashion, in the same way that bears, wolves, lions, elephants, and the like are integrated into ecosystems.

    It’s not, theoretically, an insoluble problem, even though it appears be insoluble in a practical and political sense. Estonian peasants and Amazonian indians lived for millennia without trashing their habitat, in fact, they enriched the ecology, to the benefit of many other species. We have the knowledge and understanding, we could mimic those systems, if that was out highest priority. But it’s not the highest priority, is it. Nowhere near. The vast mass of the 7 billion are not interested in subsistence. They want ‘progress’, power, wealth, expansion of control, etc, etc.

    People are not being forced to buy Coke and Pepsi and Macdonald’s and cars and fly in aircraft for weekend vacations, are they. They like their guns and their motorbikes and their movies and their electrical gadgets and the bright lights of the cities.

    Once, maybe thirty years ago, I thought I had cracked it, when Mollison published his Designer’s Manual. It wasn’t 100% perfect, but there seemed to be a map for a way forward that would allow humans to satisfy basic needs and coexist with the rest of life on this planet. But it wasn’t long before I understood that people simply don’t want to do it.

    Yes, there’s a minority, the Amish, Kogi, Bishnoi, permaculture, the organic movement, Guy’s agrarian anarchy, Rob Hopkin’s Transition towns, John Robb’s Resilience, Greer’s Green Wizards, and a whole lot more, all striving to find ethical ways to live. But compared with the Pentagon, BP and Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon and Aramco, all the coal and gas companies, all the corporations, the banks, the pension funds, the hedge funds, the vast majority of people alive, the ‘green’ fringe is not going to change the course of history, is it.

    I expect that most here would prefer for the industrial mega-machine to collapse. I would, because that’s the only way to save something of the biosphere. But, if/when that happens, billions will die. That’s too appalling to contemplate. The only thing worse, is for things to continue, BAU, then everyone gets to die, along with most other living things.

    That’s why we are doomed, one way, or another.

    If anybody sees faults in this logic, let’s hear them.

    John Robb has often said, don’t waste energy trying to change the old, focus on building the new, that will replace it. But some of us have already grasped the flaws in that. How can you build a self-sufficient small agrarian community, when the whole climate is changing all around you, faster than you can keep up ? That model made sense a few decades ago, but global ecological meltdown may mean large areas of the planet become uninhabitable…. then what ?

  15. Ivy Mike Says:

    It is ridiculous ulvfugl tries to obfuscate the significant impact of agriculture with the red herring of “zero ecological impact…perfection.”

    The difference between agriculturalists and foragers is distilled into one answer a Kalahari bushman gave an anthropologist inquiring why they didn’t practice agriculture:

    “Why should we plant, when there are so many mongomongo nuts in the world?”

    ~Marshall Sahlins
    The Original Affluent Society (Chap. 1 of Stone Age Economics)
    primitivism.com/original-affluent.htm

    Like Jared Diamond states, Agriculture is the “Biggest Mistake in the History of the Human Race.” The Mennonite/Amish are as deep into that mistake as anybody else.

  16. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    I don’t think it’s ridiculous to find fault with the Amish. All Industrial Civilization did was speed the process up by a thousand or two thousand years, but with the advent of agriculture, it was always just a matter of time until humans completely fouled their nest. The Amish aren’t immune from that charge, so there is fault to be found there, not to mention the other numerous faults that can be found within their culture. I’m sure someone, somewhere, has modeled when exactly we might have outstripped our resources and overextended our populations without burning oil and coal. If anyone has a link, I’d like to review it.

    Either way, I like the Amish eggs I buy at the local farmer’s market here…brought to my door by the Industrial Economy, and no doubt, the Amish profited handsomely from it, but hey, you can’t fault them for that….they’re Capitalists just like all us Heathens.

    .

  17. ulvfugl Says:

    I guessed that Ivy Mike the troll would come up with typical nonsense. Despite my disdain for his lack of intellectual integrity, and my stated position to ignore his comments, seeing as this is a new thread, and I invited criticism, I will reply, with one very simple question.

    How are you going to feed 7 billion people, soon to be 9 billion, by hunting and gathering, whether for mongomongo nuts or anything else ?

    All hunter gatherer soceities were very low population density.

    For example, the last time such a thing existed in Wales, during the mesolithic, before the neolithic farmers arrived, it’s been calculated that the population of the entire British Isles was only in the region of 2000 people. That was the carrying capacity.

    Wales now has 3 million. Supported by oil-based agriculture, industry, cities and imports.

    To return to hunter gathering, all of those three million, minus a thousand or so, will have to die, and even then, how will those thousand survive by hunting and gathering when there is no longer any of the wildlife and forest and sea life that supported the mesolithic people ?

    So, Ivy Mike’s ‘solution’ means telling millions and millions people that they must cease to exist, and this from an individual who regularly berates others on this blog for being ‘unethical’.

  18. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Actually, now that I think further about it, I’ll modify my comment above to say….

    I think it says something negative about the Amish that the larger System didn’t persecute them, and their culture, into extinction like it did the Indians.

    .

  19. Ivy Mike Says:

    I guessed that ulvfugl the troll would call scholarly anthropological references “nonsense.”

    As to your question, I’m not in charge of feeding 7 billion people; but that’s a nice try with another red herring to dodge and weave around the scholarly anthropological references giving evidence that agriculture has been the primary factor in fueling civilization.

    What is my solution? Your lies? Sorry, ulvfugl, your lies don’t equate to any “solution” of mine.

  20. ulvfugl Says:

    Morocco Bama, the other troll, who has such shallow understanding of everything that he doesn’t even understand the difference between trade and capitalism.

    It was by no means inevitable that agriculture would ‘foul the nest’. I just mentioned two examples where it did not, the Estonian peasants and Amazonian Indians, both of which developed agricultural systems which worked in harmony with the natural world, ENHANCING and INCREASING biodiversity. Such systems could continue indefinitely without producing any of the problems which are causing our imminent extinction.

  21. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    The way I understand it, billions of people are going to cease to exist regardless of what any of us feel about it or try to do about it. I thought that was one of the certain messages put forth here. If that’s the case, that it’s already cooked in, then a return to Hunter-Gatherer is possible if you believe that not all human life will go extinct.

    .

  22. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl fallacies are addressed here:

    Objection #2. We have a stable, abundant supply of food. Primitivists want us to spend our lives desperate as to where our next meal is coming from.

    Why, then, is it only agriculturalists who starve? In fact, civilization’s food supply has always been shaky and meager…

    Jason Godesky
    5 Common Objections to Primitivism and Why They’re Wrong

    http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jason-godesky-5-common-objections-to-primitivism-and-why-they-re-wrong

  23. ulvfugl Says:

    Ivy Mike, you have not provided any ‘scholarly anthropological references’ that have any bearing whatosever upon the contemporary situation.

    So what that the San don’t practice agriculture because they can live on wild nuts ? What has that got to do with 2012 and a world of 7 billion people ?

    Yes, I know ‘you are not in charge’, and thanks be to God for that, because your lack of insight and frivolous remarks don’t qualify you for any position of responsibility.

    You don’t have any answer to offer at all, do you. So, what happens to the 7 billion ? You, along with them, will die.

    Or are you seriously trying to suggest that the 300 million in USA can abandon agriculture and wonder off into the woods and live like the San ?

  24. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl is conflating horticulture (the more accurate anthropological term for what the Amazonian Indians did) with agriculture—in a dishonest attempt to justify agriculture—just like any other KOCHsucking troll would do.

  25. Ivy Mike Says:

    Both Marshall Sahlins and Jared Diamond are scholarly references.

    And thanks again for proving who started the insults around here. You.

    “Or are you seriously trying to suggest that the 300 million in USA can abandon agriculture and wonder off into the woods and live like the San?”

    No. Do you think that is what both Marshall Sahlins and Jared Diamond are suggesting? If you do, well, enjoy your delusions.

  26. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl, I note your word is worth zilch. When is your next Big Pronouncement about ignoring me?

    You can’t ignore me. I’m living in your head rent-free. Apparently forever.

  27. ulvfugl Says:

    Bama ….then a return to Hunter-Gatherer is possible if you believe that not all human life will go extinct.

    So, what are they going to hunt and gather ?

    Have you ever caught and killed any wild creature, ever, in your life ?

    Do you think you can do that every single day, or find enough nuts and berries, when the whole country is denuded by, first, by being ravaged by all the people who tried to survive by hunting but failed and perished, and then by climate change so all the ecosystems have collapsed, so there are no deer, no ducks, no squirrels….

    Hunting and gathering is/was a very highly skilled life style that people learned from babyhood over many generations.

    Can you make a bow, an arrow, hit a running rabbit ? do you know which berries are good and which kill you ? What about when the weather is bad, in winter, and there’s nothing but rain and snow for weeks ?

  28. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl, are you seriously trying to suggest that BC Nurse Prof wants the 300 million in USA can abandon agriculture and wonder off into the woods and live like the San?…”

    …Just because she asked this?

    “So I ask again, just what was it exactly that was wrong with hunting and gathering?”
    ~BC Nurse Prof

    http://guymcpherson.com/2012/11/justice-american-style/#comment-53848

    Go ahead, ask her your rhetorical question, if you truly think its an honest attempt at learning. But you know it’s not, so you won’t.

  29. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl has taken on the mantle of the KOCHsuckers; i.e., mocking any scholarly critique of agricultural civilization. Who’s paying you? Cato Institute? American Enterprise Institute?

    Nah, you’re not that good. It’s just typical troll behavior to switch positions just for the thrill of scoring points.

  30. Yorchichan Says:

    Yes, I agree that this is a great essay. I much prefer it, Guy, when you concentrate on the collapse of industrial civilisation due to resource depletion (a certainty if nothing else brings IC down first) and less on climate change (already occuring but with many unknowns).

    As well as agreeing with MB about the lack of surprise and amazement at what people do and believe, I also take issue with calling the majority of people insane. At an individual level most of the decisions we make are perfectly rational, even though the cumulative effect of these decisions is the destruction of our home.

  31. ulvfugl Says:

    For someone who so frequently boasts of their intelligence and learning, Ivy Mike, you are as good and example of Dunning-Kruger as I have come across.

    ulvfugl is conflating horticulture (the more accurate anthropological term for what the Amazonian Indians did) with agriculture—in a dishonest attempt to justify agriculture—just like any other KOCHsucking troll would do.

    I am not ‘conflating’ anything. It’s just as possible to practice unsustainable horticulture as it is to practice unsustainable agriculture, if they are based on artificial chemical inputs from fossil fuels, as most are.

    But the Amazonian indians have proven that they could garden the forest t o supply all of their needs, without wrecking the ecology, and they proved, with terra preta, that they can actually benefit all living things whilst sustaining themselves.

    The Estonian peasants practiced dairy farming based upon hay meadows, for three thousand years, whilst enriching the biodiversity to the highest recorded anywhere on the planet.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with ‘justifying agriculture’. It has to do with analysing what options there are, or could be, regarding the greatest crisis that the human species has ever faced.

    All you have offered so far is garbage, like ‘hey let’s have a nuclear war’ which is one reason why I don’t view you as a serious responsible individual.

  32. ulvfugl Says:

    ulvfugl, I note your word is worth zilch. When is your next Big Pronouncement about ignoring me?

    You can’t ignore me. I’m living in your head rent-free. Apparently forever.

    I’m attempting to conduct a serious adult conversation here with grown ups, despite your trolling and childish behaviour.

  33. Jennifer Hartley Says:

    I’m glad you’re saying it again, Guy.

    I hate this culture, too.

  34. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl, “adult conversation” doesn’t include your carpet-bombing of insults. At least where I come from. But I’ll address one of your points anyway:

    You are indeed conflating horticulture with agriculture.

    I’ve posted this before, I’ll post it again:

    1. Relationship with Succession
    Gardening: Promoter
    Agriculture: Catastrophe

    2. Emulation of catastrophe (e.g., tilling, flooding, fire)
    Gardening: Rarely
    Agriculture: Always

    3. Monocropping
    Gardening: Rarely
    Agriculture: Always

    4. Crops
    Gardening: Wide variety of various successional species
    Agriculture: Small variety of early successional species

    5. Role of native plants
    Gardening: Essential to garden health
    Agriculture: DEATH TO WEEDS!

    6. Place in society
    Gardening: Mixed with various forms of foraging
    Agriculture: Sole (or nearly sole) food source

    7. Wilderness
    Gardening: Precious resource; valued hunting grounds
    Agriculture: Wasted cropland; home to vermin

    Source:
    Jason Godesky, June 2007, Agriculture or Permaculture: Why Words Matter, http://www.rewild.info/anthropik/2007/06/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words-matter/

  35. ulvfugl Says:

    Yorchichan, At an individual level most of the decisions we make are perfectly rational, even though the cumulative effect of these decisions is the destruction of our home.

    ‘Sane’ and ‘rational’ are not the same thing. If your kids in your car are driving you crazy screaming and shouting, the ‘logical’, the ‘rational’, thing to do would be stop the car, kick them out, leave them at the side of the road. Makes perfect practical sense, faultless solution to a problem. But sane ?

  36. Ivy Mike Says:

    ‘hey let’s have a nuclear war’

    Another lie. Show me where I said that.

    What I’ve said is:

    1. Nuclear war is “virtually inevitable.” Just like Dr. Martin Hellman of Stanford University says.

    2. Nuclear war will end civilization and civilization’s global warming.

    If you can’t figure out those two points without making up laughable lies, well, you might be a ulvfugl.

  37. ulvfugl Says:

    Ivy Mike But I’ll address one of your points anyway:

    I’m very well aware of those distinctions. That has absolutely NOTHING to do with my points.

  38. Ivy Mike Says:

    You called horticultural practices, specifically Amazonian Indian’s “swidden” (slash-and-burn) horticulture “agriculture,” so it does address your points, if you had ever bothered to read the reference.

    Anthropologically, we know that horticulture—gardening—preceded agriculture. Even in technical anthropological definitions, this cultural confusion sometimes persists; horticulture will sometimes be called “hoe agriculture” or “swidden agriculture”….

    ~Jason Godesky, June 2007, Agriculture or Permaculture: Why Words Matter, http://www.rewild.info/anthropik/2007/06/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words-matter/

    Also addressed here:

    “By comparison, cultivation converts a specific area of biomass into human food, raising the edible ratio of that area to 100%. In swidden (a.k.a., “slash-and-burn”) horticulture, for example, an area of rain forest is cut down and burned, and a garden is planted in the ashes. This is the only way to practice cultivation in the rain forest, as the ground is about as fertile as cement — all of the nutrients are locked in the trees. This very clearly illustrates the conversion from biomass into human food, as the biodiversity of some area of rain forest becomes fertilizer to grow a horticultural garden. This is the essence of all cultivation. For agriculturalists, who depend entirely on their crops for food, the wilderness is no longer a resource, but a nuisance. Not only is it land “going to waste” (and very often put into just such explicit terms), it also harbors all manner of pests and vermin who threaten the agricultural way of life.

    ~Jason Godesky
    Thesis #8: Human societies are defined by their food.

    http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jason-godesky-thirty-theses#toc10

  39. ulvfugl Says:

    There are 7 billion people alive. More than half live in cities. The great majority of those rely for their daily food upon manufactured commercial products supplied by corporations which get them from industrial agribusiness, which can only produce those commodities because of oil.

    In other words, almost half the 7 billion are being fed on fossil fuels, supplied by industry and infrastructure that is sustained by fossil fuels.

    Okay, so we have to stop using fossil fuels NOW, or we get an uninhabitable planet, and go extinct.

    So, what happens to those 3 or 4 billion people ? What do they eat ? Ivy Mike says they must all return to hunting and gathering, because agriculture is evil.

    Where do they go to hunt and gather ? What do they hunt and gather ?

    Do they just wonder out into the suburbs with a shotgun ? A basket to collect…. what ?

    Without the highly complex system which exists, entirely based on fossil fuels, they starve and they die.

    Not to mention all the other vital needs, warmth, medicine, etc, that are required for survival.

  40. Ivy Mike Says:

    “Ivy Mike says they must all return to hunting and gathering…”

    Where do I say that? Please show us!!!

    Oh, you can’t, because you lie.

    What I have done is present several scholarly critiques of agriculture.

    So why don’t you write to the University of Chicago and have Marshall Sahlins brought up on your charges? Oh, right, they’re false.

  41. Ivy Mike Says:

    You called horticultural practices, specifically Amazonian Indian’s “swidden” (slash-and-burn) horticulture “agriculture,” so it does address your points, if you had ever bothered to read the reference.

    “Anthropologically, we know that horticulture—gardening—preceded agriculture. Even in technical anthropological definitions, this cultural confusion sometimes persists; horticulture will sometimes be called “hoe agriculture” or “swidden agriculture”….

    ~Jason Godesky, June 2007, Agriculture or Permaculture: Why Words Matter
    rewild.info/anthropik/2007/06/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words-matter/

    Also addressed here:

    “By comparison, cultivation converts a specific area of biomass into human food, raising the edible ratio of that area to 100%. In swidden (a.k.a., “slash-and-burn”) horticulture, for example, an area of rain forest is cut down and burned, and a garden is planted in the ashes. This is the only way to practice cultivation in the rain forest, as the ground is about as fertile as cement — all of the nutrients are locked in the trees. This very clearly illustrates the conversion from biomass into human food, as the biodiversity of some area of rain forest becomes fertilizer to grow a horticultural garden. This is the essence of all cultivation. For agriculturalists, who depend entirely on their crops for food, the wilderness is no longer a resource, but a nuisance. Not only is it land “going to waste” (and very often put into just such explicit terms), it also harbors all manner of pests and vermin who threaten the agricultural way of life.

    ~Jason Godesky
    Thesis #8: Human societies are defined by their food.
    theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jason-godesky-thirty-theses

  42. ulvfugl Says:

    I’m not the least bit interested in your trolling, Ivy Mike. I’m familiar with all those references. I’ve read all the stuff by Sahlins and on the Anthropik site. None of it has ANYTHING to do with what I am talking about, it’s just your usual tactic to avoid constructive dialogue. You have no knowledge or insights of your own, so you throw out arbitrary quotes, with no context, to try and bluff that you have something to say.

    If I wanted to argue with Sahlins or Godesky I’d email them, and for sure they’d talk more sense than you do.

    I have said nothing about slash and burn agriculture. I said that some Amazonian indians gardened the forest, to provide for everything that they needed and grew crops using terra preta. That has no connection whatsoever to slash and burn. Godesky is talking about something completely different, modern day people who don’t know how to do what the earlier indians had done for a couple of thousand years, and you are too ignorant to comprehend the difference. Dunning-Kruger, again.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta

  43. ulvfugl Says:

    Okay. So Ivy Mike thinks agriculture is ‘bad’.

    So, this is the question he is required to answer. What happens to the 3 or 4 billion people who at present depend for their daily food upon the products of industrial agriculture ?

    Come on, Ivy Mike. What do you say to all those people, and to the readers here ?

  44. Ivy Mike Says:

    Terra Preta isn’t “agriculture” as defined by Godesky above, which you say you know. It’s more accurately described as “horticulture.”

    “But at least 10%—possibly much more—of the Amazon Basin (an area the size of France) is covered with a rich black earth called terra preta. Terra preta soils hold their nutrients even in tropical downpours, and are rich with soil life.”

    Seeing the Garden in the Jungle
    by Toby Hemenway

    http://www.patternliteracy.com/127-seeing-the-garden-in-the-jungle

    Dunning-Kruger, indeed, ulvfugl.

    It is you who has the problem with Sahlin’s, Godesky, and Diamond, and other anthropological scholars when you bloviate about any critique of agriculture being a death sentence for 7 billion.

  45. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl has switched to the KOCHsucker bandwagon. He says agriculture and civilization are good.

    Come on, ulvfugl. What do you say to all those people, and to the readers here?

  46. Ivy Mike Says:

    Forest gardening is horticultural, not agricultural, even though “agriculture” is now often attached to horticultural/gardening/permacultural practices. Like Godesky says, it’s a “cultural confusion.” You’re a prime example.

  47. ulvfugl Says:

    Terra Preta isn’t “agriculture” as defined by Godesky above, which you say you know. It’s more accurately described as “horticulture.”

    It was you who dragged Godesky into this thread, and it was me who said that what he was saying has NOTHING to do with what I am saying.

    As usual, a smoke screen to hide your ignorance, that’s all.

  48. Ivy Mike Says:

    You claimed “I’m very well aware of those distinctions” between agriculture and gardening/horticulture/permaculture.

    Apparently, you’re not.

    You called Terra Preta “agricululture.” Like I said, it’s better described as “gardening/horticulture/permaculture.”

    Or are you going to say Toby Hemenway is wrong? NOTE: he doesn’t say “agriculture in the jungle.”

    Seeing the Garden in the Jungle
    by Toby Hemenway

    http://www.patternliteracy.com/127-seeing-the-garden-in-the-jungle

  49. ulvfugl Says:

    And you boast about your ‘intelligence’ and your ‘intellectual integrity’ ? Jeez.

    Where did I say …agriculture and civilization are good. anywhere on this blog since I’ve been here, or anywhere else, EVER ?

    It obviously is not good, it’s permitted over-shoot of human population. But that’s what we have got. To pretend otherwise is to be dishonest.

    So, to take it away, means a few billion people who depend upon it, must die.

    That’s very far from saying ‘it is good’..

  50. ulvfugl Says:

    Why don’t you answer the question like a responsible adult ?

    You have been declaring that you are against agriculture repeatedly, on many threads, and extolling the virtues of hunting and gathering.

    So, answer the question I put to you, stop all the prevarication and evasion. It’s a simple and straightforward question :

    This is the question Ivy Mike is required to answer. What happens to the 3 or 4 billion people who at present depend for their daily food upon the products of industrial agriculture ?

    Come on, Ivy Mike. What do you say to all those people, and to the readers here ?

    What do you say ?

  51. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 6:09 pm: So Ivy Mike thinks agriculture is ‘bad’.
    ulvfugl 6:26 pm: It obviously is not good…

    17 minutes to switch to my position. Cool move, bro.

  52. ulvfugl Says:

    Answer the question please.

  53. Ivy Mike Says:

    Agriculture: The Biggest Mistake in the History of the Human Race.
    by Jared Diamond
    discovermagazine.com/1987/may/02-the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race

    Just read it for once, ulvfugl. Stop all the prevarication and evasion.

  54. Ivy Mike Says:

    Why are you so pro-agricultural civilization, ulvfugl?

    Answer the question please.

  55. ulvfugl Says:

    I have read everything by Jared Diamond. I’m not talking to Diamond, I’m talking to Ivy Mike.

    Now, please answer the question.

  56. Ivy Mike Says:

    If you’ve read Diamond, then you should know why agriculture was the biggest mistake in the history of the human race.

    Do you think mistakes are “bad?” Or “good?”

    Answer the question please.

  57. ulvfugl Says:

    Anybody who has read anything I have ever written, here and elswhere, knows full well that I am not pro agriculture or pro civilisation.

    Now, please answer the question.

    Would you like me to repeat it for you again ?

    Perhaps you have some difficutly with comprehension ?

  58. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 6:09 pm: So Ivy Mike thinks agriculture is ‘bad’.
    ulvfugl 6:41 pm I am not pro agriculture.

    Now we agree again? Or are you switching positions every millisecond now?

  59. ulvfugl Says:

    So I take it you refuse or are unable to reply and answer my question. I think readers would be justified in drawing the obvious conclusion.

    You are a troll and you cop out when asked a very fair and honest question.

    I’m more than happy to reply to yours.

    Just because I have read Diamond does not mean that I agree with him or accept his thesis. He’s recently been shredded by more than one critic. But what Diamond has to say has nothing to do with my points in this thread, which you refuse to respond to.

    We do not face a situation which can be classified as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The deaths of billions of humans cannot be considered ‘good’ by any sane person.

    The situation we are faced with is, do billions of people die, because of the collapse of industrial civilisation, or, does everyone die because of the collapse of the biosphere.

    Only shallow fools incapable of anything other than binary thinking would see either as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ options.

    Now, perhaps you will have the courtesy to give a direct answer to my direct question.

  60. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 6:41 pm: I am not pro agriculture

    What happens to the billions of people who at present depend for their daily food upon the products of industrial agriculture ?

    Come on, ulvfugl. What do you say to all those people, and to the readers here ? What do you say ?

    Now, perhaps you will have the courtesy to give a direct answer to my direct question.

  61. Ivy Mike Says:

    troll ulvfugl cops out of calling Terra Preta “agricululture” without admitting his mistake.

    Only shallow fools incapable of anything other than Matrix thinking would see Terra Preta as “agricultural.”

    Seeing the Garden in the Jungle
    by Toby Hemenway

    http://www.patternliteracy.com/127-seeing-the-garden-in-the-jungle

  62. OzMan Says:

    Guy,

    Back to basics. Great essay.
    Unfortunately I wasn’t in the area, so I missed the session.

    For all:

    We had an “Ex Oil Man’ give a talk in our locality last week or so. I was tempted to go, but my ‘intuition’ led me to do something else, equally benificial. I picked up 10 kg of kangaroo poo instead.

    He was to talk about peak oil, depletion of resources, and the need to bring in renewables. Revolutionary stuff eh?

    Now I asked myself why an ex oil man would give a talk in a backwoods place like the Blue Mountains?

    Some may feel this a bit of a stretch, but I felt it might be a trap, to identify those already politicised or aware, and likely to become those who mediate the message, and organise awarness of the ‘real’ situation, when TSHTF. No idea if it was so.
    Keep your eyes peeled. I Trust my gut, on these matters now.

    I notice the usual name calling persisting.
    I’ve got better things to do now.

    Keep up the great work Guy.
    Cheers.

    !!!

  63. OzMan Says:

    Guy,

    Last thread I think you were discussing options about how to proceed with the site, and in doing so you stated in passing, that the site had largly served its purpose now.

    What did you mean by that?

    Can you flesh it ot for us a bit?

    Cheers.

    !!!

  64. ulvfugl Says:

    I think that my point is made. You, Ivy Mike, are a troll, you entertain yourself by irritating people, telling them they are wrong, winding them up, disrupting the blog, and so forth, but when it comes down to the actual issues that this blog is about, you have absolutely nothing to offer.

    You don’t answer my question, because you CANNOT. You are not a serious person who discusses in good faith, you are only interested in playing games for your own perverse reasons.

    All your quotes, whether from Diamond, Godesky, Kaczysnski, Zerzan, Sahlins, etc, whoever, have absolutely no relevance to to the very real and horrifying predicament which faces us all. Your flippancy and casual evasion shows just how much you respect the human race and this Earth. None of it matters to you, only Ivy Mike’s ego.

    It doesn’t matter at all how hunter gatherers lived, or whether agriculture was a mistake, or any of the other red herrings you have introduced on this thread.

    The year is 2012. We have 7 billion humans. A billion or more are already living in semi-starvation. Without fossil fuel based agriculture ( and all the rest ) maybe half that number gets to die of starvation.

    All you, Ivy Mike, have offered is ‘go eat mongomongo nuts and die in a nuclear war’.

    Instead of thinking about the very real and tragic problem, all you can do is throw quotes at me, which have absolutely no bearing upon the horror that we face.

    I think that is a measure of your true character. You’re only here to troll, not for serious adult conversation.

  65. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 6:26 pm: It obviously is not good…
    ulvfugl 6:49 pm: Only shallow fools incapable of anything other than binary thinking would see either as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ options.

    23 minutes to become a shallow fool. Cool story, bro.

  66. Anthony Says:

    Susan Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    “Hi Guy, could you summarize clearly in a nutshell for arguments’ sake, how solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, ocean waves, and biomass are all derivatives of oil? I checked your here, here, here, etc. links and couldn’t get a clear understanding. I remember from your book that we probably wouldn’t have time or resources to convert everyone to solar, and many of those resources are oil dependent. But surely there are solutions related to the above list that aren’t directly connected to oil?”

    Hi Susan,

    Here is my take on it as a someone who grew up on a subsistence organic farm, science teacher, long term researcher on the issues, a person who has built and lived in an off-grid PV powered home, a yurt, and is currently builing a home that is run on the local energies of temperature, gravity, water and wood.

    In a nutshell renewables get a huge subsidy from oil in their production, construction and mainenance. If renewables had to manufacture, distribute and maintain themselves without oil they would run an energy deficit ie: could not/can not happen. The “better” ones might do the above with the energy they generated but would not have any, or at best only a surplus energy to run society. Beyond looking at it from a straight energy perspective consider that renewables generate electricity. Society needs far more than just electricity to operate.

    This does not account for environmental costs, resource exhaustion such as metals, rare metals, rare earths and most importantly for me the continued high level of violence modern civilization perpetrates on our behalf to displace and destroy indigenous people and all the other beings on and in the ecosytem in which the extraction, transportation, refining and construction of industrial energy Iand everything else, like modern agriculture) occurs.

    In short, there is no such thing as sustainable level or form of industrial civilization. It is a lethal cultural myth. One of many that make our culture a culture of death.

    Here is a link to Dr. Tom Murphy’s “Do The Math” article on the Energy Bulletin wherein he deconstructs the myth:

    http://www.energybulletin.net/authors/Tom+Murphy

    Cheers,

    Anthony

  67. Ivy Mike Says:

    A billion or more are already living in semi-starvation.

    Correct.

    Starvation/famine is typical of agricultural societies. If you like starvation, you’ll just love agriculture, like you, ulvfugl.

    “…we chose the latter [agriculture] and ended up with STARVATION, warfare, and tyranny.”

    ~Jared Diamond, PhD, (UCLA School of Medicine,) The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race

  68. ulvfugl Says:

    What I say to the billions, and to the readers here, is that we face the biggest crisis that the human species has ever faced.

    Previous dramatic changes in Earth’s climate that have produced mass extinctions happened very slowly over relatively long periods. This present manmade change is happening over a few decades.

    I believe this will result in extinction of our species and most of the rest, certainly all the larger organisms. It’s probably unavoidable, because we have already set the changes in motion. The climate chaos we have now, loss of Arctic ice, etc, are the results of emissions from decades ago. There’s a time lag. Emissions have continued to increase, so the future will reflect those increases, with even more shocking results, and once we are past two degrees C. and the methane begins to enter the atmosphere, then there’s nothing that can be done. The oceans are already acidifying faster than the rise in CO2, glaciers melting, etc. It all looks very similar to previous mass extinction events in Earth’s long history.

    So, what can be done ?

    We’d have to end the use of fossil fuels. Now. I guess that’d be the advice from an impartial and objective Martian. That way, we limit the damage and buy some time.

    But, ending fossil fuel use collapses industrial soceity, upon which so many people depend for their food, their income, everything that they require to survive. The hypothetical Martian might say, so what, they’ll die anyway, sooner or later. For a human with a sense of compassion and morality, the choice is not so simple.

    Without the cooperation and consent of the world’s population, we’re unlikely to find any mandate for any kind of action. How will people respond when told, ‘We’d like you to die, so that the Earth remains viable for a very much reduced human population’ ?

    If, for sake of argument, lots of hands went up volunteering to be euthanised, and we got the numbers down to say, 1 billion, and we followed the examples I gave above, re the Kayapo, the Kogi, the Estonian peasants, etc, then we might be able to have a viable planet.

    But that’s mere fantasy.

  69. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl’s troll behavior—the “Answer the Question, Jerk!” gambit—is widely recognized online:

    http://www.troll.me/images/y-u-no/why-you-no-answer-the-question.jpg

  70. ulvfugl Says:

    Ivy Mike, you are obviously incapable of coherent thought.

    Starvation/famine is typical of agricultural societies. If you like starvation, you’ll just love agriculture, like you, ulvfugl.

    Take away agriculture ? What do you get ? Starvation of billions.

    Or, how else do you feed them ?

    No point is there, in asking YOU for an answer to that.

    “…we chose the latter [agriculture] and ended up with STARVATION, warfare, and tyranny.”

    So what ? That was TEN THOUSAND YEARS AGO. A million on the entire planet.

    This is NOW. Seven BILLION, and two more, equivalent to 2 X China, arriving shortly.

    Who cares what Diamond says. It’s all history. You might as well be telling me why the William the Bastard invaded England. It has no bearing whatsoever upon the present day predicament.

    7 – 9 billion people CANNOT FEED THEMSELVES BY HUNTING AND GATHERING.

    With a collapse of the global ecology, dead oceans, dried up rivers, polluted land and water, much of the wildlife rare or extinct, even a few million will be hard pressed to live from scavenging whatever they can find, especially since all the skills have been lost.

    So, I repeat, the question you refuse to answer. What happens to those billions ?

  71. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 7:12 pm A billion or more are already living in semi-starvation.
    ulvfugl 7:50 pm: STARVATION…So what ? That was TEN THOUSAND YEARS AGO.

    38 minutes to switch positions. Cool story, bro.

    Never read any history of Europe, have you? Famine and starvation are as frequent as war.

  72. ulvfugl Says:

    The reason you don’t answer, Ivy Mike, is not because I am a troll, it is because you cannot answer. It was a fair question, courteously put. All you have done is prevaricate.
    So much for your integrity. I’m sure the readers can judge for themselves. I don’t need to add anything further.

  73. ulvfugl Says:

    From the start of this thread until now I have not changed any position on any aspect of my argument.

    I’m familiar with your dishonest sleight of hand tactics, Ivy Mike. I despise them. You are incapable of discussing in good faith. Shame on you.

  74. Ken Barrows Says:

    Ulvfugl & Ivy Mike,

    In the entire range of political opinion, you seem to be closer to each other’s views than each of your views is to 99% of the world. It is a difference over what percentage to grow and what percentage to hunt/forage. You are both a lot closer to dealing with the problem than just about everyone else.

  75. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 4:47 pm: my disdain for his lack of intellectual integrity
    ulvfugl 5:02 pm: your lack of insight and frivolous remarks
    ulvfugl 5:24 pm: Ivy Mike, you are as good and example of Dunning-Kruger as I have come across.
    ulvfugl 6:05 pm: You have no knowledge or insights of your own,
    ulvfugl 6:21 pm: your ignorance
    ulvfugl 6:41 pm: Perhaps you have some difficutly with comprehension ?

    ulvfugl 7:57 pm: courteously put.

    An evening of Welsh courtesy. Cool story, bro.

  76. ulvfugl Says:

    Never read any history of Europe, have you? Famine and starvation are as frequent as war.

    I’m willing to bet an arm and a leg that I know a hell of a lot more about European history that you do, Ivy Mike, but this is just another of your sneaky irresponsible diversions.

    What do you expect me to do ? Time travel and go back and change it ? Disinvent agriculture and the domestication of plants and animals ?

    The problem we have is HERE TODAY. It’s the future of everyone’s children.

    If you actually cared, if you had any real compassion and intellectual honesty, that’s what you’d be addressing.

  77. Ivy Mike Says:

    Guy McPherson Nov 10 9:40 pm: If somebody wants to have a litter of children, ignorantly or fully aware of our dire straits, I have little interest
    ulvfugl Nov 17 8:09 pm: It’s the future of everyone’s children.

    Shouldn’t you check with Guy on that?

  78. ulvfugl Says:

    Thank you for that intervention, Ken Barrows.

    In the entire range of political opinion, you seem to be closer to each other’s views than each of your views is to 99% of the world. It is a difference over what percentage to grow and what percentage to hunt/forage. You are both a lot closer to dealing with the problem than just about everyone else.

    Relative to the 99% you may well be correct.

    I don’t think that this is about percentage to grow v. percentage to hunt and forage.

    For people who love in rural areas, where there is open country, mountains, lakes, forests, which is possibly about half of the 7 billion, probably less, where they can grow crops for themselves and spend periods fishing, gathering wild berries, etc. then the problem is different. They’ll often be resourceful folk who’ve grown up in that lifestyle and understand how to survive, even through harsh periods of adversity.

    I’m not so much concerned with that portion. The other portion, the half who live in cities and shanty towns, who are dependent upon shops and transport systems to bring them their food, which is mostly produced by intensive commercial agriculture, using fossil fuels at every stage, those are the ones who get to die in the absence of agriculture.

  79. ulvfugl Says:

    In any major European city, there’s plenty of food available in shops, if you have the cash to pay. Same in UK. But almost every item in every super market is only there because of fossil fuels, from the packaging, to the transport, to the tractors and herbicides and the fertilizers. You might as well say that the people are eating oil, because that’s what it amounts to.

    So, take away the oil, the gas, the coal, – because that is what we HAVE to do, to keep a habitable planet – then what ?

    What do those people EAT ? It’s no good telling them to grow their own veg, when most of them live in places where there are no gardens, and when most have no clue how to do it, and use all their time and energy working for money.

    It’s no good telling them to hunt and gather. They’d have to walk for two hours to get out of the city, and then what ? What will they see to hunt ? A cat ?

    If they walk another 20 miles out into the surrounding agricultural land, there’s nothing there in the fields to hunt ot to gather. It’s all sterile cultivated agribusiness, commercial crops, maybe herds of cows, scarcely a wild animal or bird or plant to be found…

    Even if you know what you are doing,like some country folk who know how to catch rabbits and which mushrooms to eat, in general, the population of stuff to hunt and gather is so sparse that it’s make for a very difficult life indeed.

    Present day is NOTHING LIKE the conditions when people lived as hunter gatherers, where the whole land was teeming with wildlife, and from accumulated generations of knowledge people knew where to be at the right time, fro example when the salmon or eels were coming up river, when the ducks were sitting on eggs, all that stuff is lost.

    You don’t just go out and learn it in weeks or months. You die first, in the bad weather, from exhaustion and starvation.

  80. Ivy Mike Says:

    telling them to hunt and gather

    I’m not telling anybody to do anything. You’re the Leftist control-freak who has spent an evening trying to order me around, (how’s that working for ya?) and you apparently project your authoritarian belligerence onto others.

    Jason Godesky addresses your red herring as follows:

    Most will choose to die; we cannot change that. It would be just as wrong to force them to choose life as it was for Kaczinski to force others to die. What we can do is try as hard as we can to make sure everyone understands that it truly is a choice they face. When hearing this defense, many progressivists will claim that our willingness to “allow” such a thing to happen is characterized as monstrous. First, the hubris dripping from such a statement is absurd; we do not “allow” such things to happen any more than we “allow” the sun to shine or the rain to fall.

    ~Jason Godesky
    5 Common Objections to Primitivism and Why They’re Wrong

    http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jason-godesky-5-common-objections-to-primitivism-and-why-they-re-wrong

  81. ulvfugl Says:

    Like I said earlier in the thread, the last time that people lived by hunting and gathering, before the first farmers arrived, the population of the entire British Isles was in the thousands. The whole countryside was alive with wildlife, aurochs, bears, deer, beavers, wild boar, birds everywhere, rivers and lakes full of fish, nuts, berries, sea food, it was just one big larder.

    Now there’s 60 million, and only about 10% live in the countryside, all the rest in towns and cities.

    How many of those, even if taken back to mesolithic times, could live for a month on what they could catch or find ?

    In the present day British countryside, which is almost all exploited for agriculture, there just isn’t a lot there to catch or find that you can eat, unless you count stealing sheep or pigs or chickens… and how long would they last, with millions of desperate hungry people and feral dogs scavenging the land ?

    Give it a year or three, and we’d be back down to the mesolithic population levels, in the thousands, I’d expect.

    But that would be GOOD, if you are not soft hearted and squeamish about horror, cruel death and suffering… because then the land could return to wilderness….

    Perhaps…

  82. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 6:49 pm: Only shallow fools incapable of anything other than binary thinking would see either as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ options.
    ulvfugl 8:48 pm But that would be GOOD

    I heard the word from a good source that you’re a shallow fool incapable of anything other than binary thinking.

    Whadayathinkathat?

  83. ulvfugl Says:

    As always, Ivy Mike, nothing of your own to offer, only second hand stuff from other people, quoted out of context, that I’ve already read long ago. You are incapable of conducting an intelligent adult conversation. Very boring.

    So, if you agree with Godesky, YOU go and tell them, they all have to choose to die, because you disapprove of the agriculture that’s keeping them alive. Let us know how you get on.

  84. ulvfugl Says:

    I think you are a tiresome troll, that’s what I think, and I wish there was someone here with some intellectual integrity and depth of character with whom I could discuss this topic, instead of your nonsensical and irrelevant distractions which, IMO, add nothing of any value.

  85. Ivy Mike Says:

    Good Reference? Then ulvfugl sez ya got “nothing of your own to offer.”

    Cool game there, troll.

  86. Ivy Mike Says:

    Next, ulvfugl posts a wall of text, because why?

    “nothing of your own to offer.”

    Think he sees himself that way? Nope. LOL!

  87. ulvfugl Says:

    Okay, I’m done with your foolish games, Ivy Mike, you’re a complete waste of my time.

    Anybody else got anything worthwhile to contribute ?

  88. Ivy Mike Says:

    Is a constant stream of insults the 5th Noble Truth for you, ulvfugl?

  89. Robin Datta Says:

    A summary integrating many posts preceding it on the issues of renewables and other alt.fuels, by the insightful Tom Murphy whose his skills at mathematics and physics bring a modicum of sanity to the conversation at his blog Do the Math.

    The Alternative Energy Matrix

  90. Ivy Mike Says:

    Good stuff, Robin.

  91. ulvfugl Says:

    Jeez, the fact that you think that that Godesky quote is a ‘good reference’ just shows to me how utterly intellectually bankrupt you are and out of touch with reality and the whole drift of this topic…

    Most will choose to die

    No they will not ! They’ll choose to stay alive, by eating the food that industrial agriculture provides for them, which means the oil companies keep drilling and ‘civilisation’ keeps on going for as long as it can… until it can’t.

    Which is the whole point of what I’ve been saying here these last hours. That’s why we are doomed. That’s why there’s no solution.

  92. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 9:01 pm: Okay, I’m done
    ulvfugl 9:13 pm: Jeez

    As the door turneth upon his hinges…

    ulvfugl: »Most will choose to die« No they will not!

    “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” ~Arnold J. Toynbee

    So much for your vaunted familiarity with history, ulvfugl.

  93. ulvfugl Says:

    This what you meant, Robin ?

    When I first approached the subject of energy in our society, I expected to develop a picture in my mind of our grandiose future, full of alternative energy sources like solar, wind, nuclear, biofuels, geothermal, tidal, etc. What I got instead was something like this matrix: full of inadequacies, difficulties, and show-stoppers. Our success at managing the transition away from fossil fuels while maintaining our current standard of living is far from guaranteed. If such success is our goal, we should realize the scale of the challenge and buckle down now while we still have the resources to develop a costly new infrastructure. Otherwise we get behind the curve, possibly facing unfamiliar chaos, loss of economic confidence, resource wars, and the unforgiving Energy Trap. The other controlled option is to deliberately adjust our lives to require fewer resources, preferably abandoning the growth paradigm at the same time. Can we manage a calm, orderly exit from the building? In either case, the first step is to agree that the building is in trouble. Techno-optimism keeps us from even agreeing on that.

    I think we already a long way behind the curve. I think we had our chance and we blew it. UK government seems set on fracking and importing more gas.

    I deliberately adjusted my life to require fewer resources, long ago, for ethical reasons.
    The rest of the country took a different view and consumption and emissions have continued to rise, even during economic decline. There doesn’t seem to be anybody in the positions of power who has a clue.

  94. Ivy Mike Says:

    ulvfugl 8:09 pm I’m willing to bet an arm and a leg that I know a hell of a lot more about European history that you do…

    Who’s Toynbee? LOL! ;)

    Ah well, just keep your arm and leg; ‘twoundn’t be right to deprive a man of the only thing his intellect is capable of swaying.

  95. ulvfugl Says:

    The tar-baby troll who has nothing of his own to say…

    I’ve read Toynbee.

    I’ts a stupid and irrelevant quote.

    First, I was talking about real individual humans and their personal deaths, not an abstraction like ‘civilisations’. People commit suicide or get murdered. A civilisation is not a person.

    Second, what civilisation ever knowingly ‘committed suicide’ ? That’s not how it works, whether you’re talking about Mayans, Romans, Assyrians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, there are very many reasons why they collapsed and vanished. None ever came to a collective decision ‘okay, let’s all give up and die’.

    Even if I was to accept the figure of speech, it’s still obviously wrong. For example the Aztec and Inca civilisations were ‘murdered’, by the Spanish and Portuguese.

    I began this inviting criticism of the logic of my initial statement. You, as I expected, provided none, just played your usual game throwing out random quotes that have no bearing upon the topic and showed that you don’t actually know anything about anything. Which again makes me wonder why you are here all day every day, when you claim to be a farmer, whilst having no understanding of what this blog is about.

  96. Robin Datta Says:

    This essay first appeared in Mike Ruppert’s blog From the Wilderness as a guest post. The author later went on to write a book with the same title.

    The premise is that industrial agriculture is a process – which like all processes requires energy – to convert energy to food energy. Photosynthesis remains essential, but in the net energy balance is a small player.

    The ERoEI of industrial food is lower than that of any prior large-scale food produced.

    Eating Fossil Fuels
    by Dale Allen Pfeiffer

  97. OzMan Says:

    Still bickering three and one half hours later.

    Oh well.

    Good details Robin Datta.

    Photosynthesis is the way to go.

  98. OzMan Says:

    Correction four and a half hours later….

  99. Jay Says:

    ulffugl is the champion at ticking off lesser mortals. Should he get a prize?! :-)


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