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Age of Limits

Fri, Jun 7, 2013

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Edward Kerr participated in the Age of Limits conference at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary in Artemas, Pennsylvania. While there, he kindly interviewed me. The result, with apologies for the wind-interrupted conversation, is embedded below. With thanks to ulvfugl for the phrase, I’m calling it my interview in the Last Chance Saloon on the Beach of Doom.

Pauline Schneider, author of the previous essay in this space, also participated in the conference. She shot the two video clips embedded below. The Powerpoint file I used for the climate-change presentation is linked below. Big thanks to Orren Whiddon for inviting and supporting my participation in the conference.

Powerpoint file, Age of Limits May 2013

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I’ve embedded the third of four figures from Barry Saxifrage’s article in the Vancouver Sun below. Note that the path to 4 C is accomplished by 2030.

BP Energy Outlook 2030 as interpreted by Vancouver Sun
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My monthly essay for Transition Voice was published today. It’s here.

My latest essay for The Good Men Project was published yesterday. It’s here.

________________

Michael Sosebee’s documentary film is available. Details and ordering instructions for Somewhere in New Mexico before the End of Time can be found here.

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130 Responses to “Age of Limits”

  1. pat Says:

    NBL is now being referred to as a cult. Not sure how that works, not sure if I’m a member. Do we pay dues? When do we get properly initiated? Will I have to get a tattoo?

  2. Mike Sosebee Says:

    It’s great to see the positive response that your talk was met with at “The Age Of Limits”. It must have felt like being in Utopia compared to a lot of the talks I’ve seen you give where the recognition of what is fact from fancy is a huge block to communication.

    Last year in November we did a soft premiere of the film (Somewhere In New Mexico…”)in Las Vegas. (Yes I see the irony, every day that I live in this ghastly town) Nearly all of the people who were at the show were friends of mine or folks from the Great Basin Permaculture or Roots community garden.

    This should have been a soft audience but the opposite was true. I filmed a young woman speak for almost 7 minutes in response to all of the assertions of the film as well as Guy McPherson’s short talk about collapse. Her speech was peppered with statements such as: “We are all now eating natural foods and gluten free so the hip urban lifestyle is completely sustainable.”

    One renewable resource is of course denial and it often comes from the least likely sources. I have sent the film out to a great many people who may have an interest in the film but other than Michael C Ruppert and personal statements to me by individuals it has been largely ignored. In this culture it’s heresy to say that all of this is going away and so are we and in a relatively short time. Guy said to me that (anonymous we’re not here to gossip) was devastated and wasn’t ready for the emotional leap. I had credited her at the end of the film under special thanks and it hurt a little bit that she rejected it outright. But that’s alright. Everyone will come around in their own time.

    I do want to thank all of the folks from NBL who have
    supported the film.

    My awareness started almost 30 years ago doing environmental restoration in ecological reserves (volunteer) in and around San Diego and Los Angeles. I took the birds eye perspective (literally) and over time I came to realize that all of the ecosystems were in irreversible decline. Every year less and less birds, less biodiversity. The drivers were a variety of impacts that human societies have on natural ecosystems: Habitat Destruction, Invasive Species, Pollution, Over-harvesting of the resources both marine and terrestial. The ecologists were in a panic to try and save something of substance. A triage-operation to try and keep a few species alive for just a little longer. Most stopped trying to save individual species and focused on preserving habitat. Very sad profession that has failed to stop the ecocide.

    But somehow many still delude themselves into believing that we’ll easily adapt to a de-evolved planet. So how many fucking species do we need to keep McDonalds going? So it will be age of the generalists: Us and our friends the cockroaches. If that’s what persisting will come to then you can count me out.

    I apologize for the long comment.

  3. rob Says:

    When Edward Kerr says “…we’re facing near-term human extinction,” I half expected to hear loud screaming and see crowds of people running for the hills… wouldn’t that be the appropriate response?

  4. Paul Chefurka Says:

    The various commentaries that have emerged in the aftermath of AoL have been vastly enlightening. I’m glad Guy’s talk was received well, it’s a relief to preach to a choir every once in a while :-)

    The thing that has become clearest to me is the extent to which we are each prisoners of our personal emotional history. I loved what Dave Roberts said in his recent interview on science-pope:

    One thing that social scientists keep discovering — and left-brain, hyper-rational people keep ignoring — is that information and emotion are not two separate processes in the brain. All learning, all reasoning, takes place in the context of an emotional or affective frame. Indeed, they would be impossible without those frames, because those frames provide focus, meaning, and goals.

    One of the great problems with climate change is that most people have no emotional context for it. There are very few points where it intersects with people’s daily lives, their worries or their aspirations. It is almost entirely abstract, just a set of inert facts. And it turns out people cannot be moved or motivated by inert facts. Such facts just get compartmentalized.

    This goes double for NTE, of course. It’s not surprising that even collapsists of various stripes are having a problem connecting with the idea. My thermodynamics hobby-horse fares even worse.

    The standard reaction of the man on the street will be “OK, I get it. So what? If you have no prescriptions for change, why should I care?” I think it’s a very valid question, and in fact is one that has helped keep me agnostic on the whole subject.

  5. Grant Schreiber Says:

    There’s certainly an very human element in looking for answers or solutions to problems that don’t have any solutions. If a tornado lands outside your bedroom window at 3am, chances are everything you know about safety in tornado weather aren’t going to do you a lick of good. Knowing that your death is rapidly approaching and it is coming either by disease, violence, starvation or suicide doesn’t necessarily make that death any easier, but there’s no point worrying about it either.

    The constant challenge to anyone who has embraced NTE is that you’ve given up hope. No, I’ve given up the illusion that hope provides. And I’ve given up fear too. Hope and fear turn out to be closely related, and while fear is often stronger, it can only exist when hope is present. Lose your hope and lose your fear.

  6. Denise Says:

    Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #13

    Reality cult:
    Eyes open, learning, coping.
    Off the “Hopium.”

  7. Timmy Says:

    Grant Schreiber
    Man with beard Judas Goat Quarterly

    Casual observer of the Decline of the American Empire. Generally amused by death and decay. Highly amused that people have actually wanted to connect to me on this site as I view the internet, like the human race, as a passing fad.
    I’ve been writing Judas Goat Quarterly for over 12 years and while it remains completely obscure, it is all mine and I love it. My life is not a career, it is not something I do to fill in my time. I try to do as little as possible and while I complain a lot, I laugh even more.

  8. Todd Cory Says:

    “The American way of life is not negotiable” (Dick Cheney, 2001)

  9. Tom Says:

    rob: (and thanks, Paul, for beating me to it with your usual intelligent response) it appears that for most of humanity we’re not wired to respond to threats that aren’t immediate. If the tiger is way off in the jungle, we don’t have to run (or worry about being eaten), but we should keep our eyes open, just in case. For those (extremely few, it seems) who not only have been familiar with the science for quite some time, but following it to it’s logical conclusion (and now – it’s even measurable), the usual response is extreme depression. Here’s where, if you aren’t ready for it, your comment is valid and you find some people “going off the deep end” and committing suicide or going zombie. If you’re lucky enough to fight your way through that, to the realization that “oh hey, I’m going to die anyway” the next phase seems to be acceptance and going on with your life for as long as you can, doing what you’re inclined to do. How odd that we’re here at this particular time – to witness this immense spectacle up close and personal? Cherish your experience for the exquisite moment it is.

    Edward: thanks for the interview (that wind noise could probably be edited out), your heart-felt feelings and good questions.

    Here in southeastern PA it’s been a little dry up to this month and now we’re beginning to get some days of rain. Amidst all the lush greenery it’s interesting that leaves are dropping regularly from what seem to be healthy trees, many others haven’t fully leafed out, lots with dead or sparse crowns or bare branches, and most of the pines look scraggly and unhealthy. There aren’t many bugs around like in years past – i’m not seeing the bees, butterflies etc. and hope my tomatoes are being pollinated (among many other plants). Pointing this out to the common person is like having them look at abstract art – they don’t get it and don’t want to spend any time on it. It’s all about being happy, following “the dream” and living “the good life.” So few humans can even understand how dire our situation is that it’s practically useless to bring it up (as I’ve learned the hard way), and in fact, negatively affects one’s invitations to social events. Ah well.

  10. Gail Says:

    The Onion’s ‘Future News’ Comes To YouTube For Free Streaming

    See the future for what it is:

    A catastrophe known only as “the Burndown” has reduced the world to a lawless wasteland.
    A tattooed thug has been installed as the president of what remains of the United States.
    In robot-controlled Californiex, humans are forced into speed-dating programs to produce more slave offspring.
    Protesters in the Indiana Grimlands brave devastated city centers, coming out in full force to defeat a bill that would allow same-sex couples to wed.
    The last remaining Israeli and Palestinian are still locked in battle.

    Finally, completion of the world-destroying ‘Doomsday Machine’ has been delayed once again, sparking widespread outrage that life on earth will have to continue.

  11. Vidalia Says:

    Ummmmm, why would I subscribe to The Onion when I can get the same here for free? NBL is my Onion.

    Sweet Dreams,

    Vidalia

    PS: ulvfugl is my hero. Thank you for stepping up in the last thread ulvfugl and protecting us little ladies from all those big nasty men. Before NTE hits hard, I’d like for you to take me on a motorbike ride. Would you be willing to do that for little ‘ol me? I hope so.

  12. Redreamer Says:

    It has been an interesting journey through the last 20 or so years, collecting observations experiences and information along the way without being conscious that is what i was doing…..

    I do think the point about CONTEXT for discussing climate change and near term human extinction is relevant because it seems to me that people who essentially live their whole lives without meaningfully interacting with their environment are practically a different species of human. That being said, it also means that any personal experience with ecological change and biodiversity is limited (at least in the west) to a small percentage of the population because our culture in it’s hubris and striving for moar moar moar does not value their OWN habitat.

    In my experience whether trying to save old growth forests in Western Australia or swimming with dolphins or growing food and teaching my students permaculture or supporting anti fracking efforts – each event is a direct connection with my immediate environment. Being right brained probably helped connect the dots too.

    I have learned to be gentler and kinder to all that are at a different stage of understanding. It is sometimes a lonely place to be because it separates one’s priorities from the priorities of those around one in a very profound way.

    I do recommend Michael’s film to those that have not seen it yet……. it is a great conversation starter for those around you that you may wish to show it to. I for one greatly appreciate tools that allow me to do that if only for personal harmony and a resetting of priorities.

  13. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    How I Became A Believer, Second Attempt
    or
    Overwhelmed

    My mind’s made up of divisions
    With views in constant collisions;
    Somehow they vote
    On which one to promote,
    And that’s how I make my decisions.
    ==

    “our actions and decisions….emerge from conflicts and negotiations among societies of processes”
    Marvin Minsky: The Society of Mind, p. 308.

  14. Arthur Johnson Says:

    Somewhere around 1990, Americans began to stop spending time in the Great Outdoors; hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, even just spending time birdwatching in a nature park, all went by the wayside. And so Americans’ ability to place climate change within its proper context disappeared with it.

    There’s just no such thing as a country girl anymore!

  15. Denise Says:

    @Arthur Johnson

    My friend, you may take a girl out of the country, but you can’t take country out of the girl!

  16. Kathy C Says:

    Haven’t listen to the whole program yet, but this is getting posted all over so I think it must be quite startling

    http://fairewinds.org/podcast/fighting-a-dragon-i-cannot-see

    On today’s podcast, host Nathaniel White-Joyal and Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen talk with renowned diplomat Akio Matsumura and Fairewinds board member Chiho Kaneko about nuclear power and the effects of the Fukushima disaster on the Japanese people today.

    Also check out the Arctic News Blog
    Thin Spots developing in Arctic Sea Ice
    From the start of 2013, Arctic sea ice extent has roughly followed the same path it did in 2012 when a historic record low was reached, as discussed in a previous post. At the moment, thinner spots are developing in the sea ice, as illustrated by the image below….These thin spots are developing due to a combination of factors:
    .a cyclone over the Arctic
    .low North Hemisphere snow cover causing more sunlight to be absorbed, rather than reflected back into space
    .warm sea surface temperatures at edges of sea ice, as illustrated by the image below
    .ice thickness is very low, as illustrated by the image further below…
    For years, observation-based projections have been warning that Arctic sea ice will disappear within years, with dire consequences not only for the Arctic, but for the world at large. Hopefully, more people will realize the urgency of the situation and realize the need for a comprehensive and effective plan of action as described here.

    Neven on the Arctic Sea Ice Blog reported that a cyclone seemed to be breaking up some ice early and this post confirms that some changes in the ice are now noted.

    When Arctic ice is all gone
    It won’t take very very long
    To shoot up the temps
    Despite our attempts
    To correct what we’ve been doing wrong.

  17. Denise Says:

    Violating 2 post limit to say:

    @Guy Just watched the Edward Kerr interview. It takes ALOT of whatever makes a good human to admit “Abject failure.” Thanks for humbly sharing yourself and providing a much-needed 21st century Portrait of Courage.

  18. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Kathy C Says:
    When Arctic ice is all gone
    It won’t take very very long
    To shoot up the temps
    Despite our attempts
    To correct what we’ve been doing wrong.

    Haha LOL! :D
    ==

    It takes lots of heat from the sun
    To raise ice up to thirty-one,
    But past thirty-two,
    Whatever we do,
    The baking has only begun.

  19. Roger Says:

    2 down, only 6 billion to go:

    NEW YORK (AP) – On a radio show they hosted called “The Pursuit of Happiness,” John Littig and Lynne Rosen urged listeners to embrace spontaneity.

    A shocking decision the couple made together appeared more methodical: Police say they killed themselves side by side as part of a suicide pact.

    Autopsies found that both Littig, 47, and Rosen, 45, died from asphyxiation after inhaling helium, a spokeswoman for medical examiner’s office said Thursday.

    “Inhaling helium can be dangerous if done to excess, since helium is a simple asphyxiant and so displaces oxygen needed for normal respiration. Breathing pure helium continuously causes death by asphyxiation within minutes. In most mammals (except seals and many burrowing animals) the breathing reflex is triggered by excess of carbon dioxide rather than lack of oxygen, so asphyxiation by helium progresses without the victim experiencing air hunger.

  20. Gail Says:

    Ha, THIS will keep me entertained tonight!

    http://www.edge.org/conversation/napoleon-chagnon-blood-is-their-argument

    Arthur Johnson, I’m not so sure either that people are spending less time in Nature since 1990, or that it would make any difference whether they did or not. It seems that eco-tourism and biking and hiking clubs are going strong, sports like kayaking, hunting and fishing are popular – I think that the Audubon annual bird count has more participants each year. And I have met many people who spend an awful lot of time outside who are complete, total deniers of climate change, never mind that there is anything wrong with the health of the ecosystem.

    I suspect it’s ideologically driven more than anything else. Some people look at a tree and see something awe-inspiring, and others see money…toothpicks and toilet paper.

  21. Roger Says:

    @ pat:
    Not sure NTE is a cult, really. The other fringe doomer sites call NBL a suicide cult – but, I don’t see anyone serving kool-aid.

    How to Start a Cult
    1. Choose what it is you’re worshipping (can you really worship NTE?). Can we simply worship Nature?
    2.Make your own decisions. Establish a religion that suits your requirements… You can chose who’s in, who’s out, what goes on within the religion and who does what.
    3. Get a group together. Preferably a group of friends or people that live in your area.
    4. Have regular meetings, so you can be sure nobody forgets.
    5. Establish a set of rules. A bible, if you will, or a pledge, or a rede. Whatever you want to call it, it’s your cult.
    If you start small, you can get very popular.
    If you conduct rituals, make sure they do not include any illegal activity (i.e violence, drug use, etc.).
    Don’t do anything illegal. No sacrifices. No “punishments.” Harm none, not even yourself.
    A religion is not like a gang, you cannot go off and shoot people or else you will get arrested.

  22. Rob Says:

    @ Roger:

    Thanks, I’ll keep a helium balloon handy for when the SHTF!

    Also, what fun is there in starting a cult if we can’t have sacrifices? We could start small, say by tossing plastic water bottles into an active volcano. Not sure if we are sacrificing the water bottles or the volcano – hmmm. How many plastic water bottles would we need to kill a volcano?

  23. Tom Says:

    Kathy C.: thanks for the links to the video/talk. Well worth the listen. It’s so far worse than what we hear (and most of us can’t imagine any of the real life scenarios and consequences we’re having).

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/walter-brasch/49931/fracking-america-s-food-supply

    Fracking America’s Food Supply

    Fracking—the process the oil and gas industry uses to extract fossil fuel as much as two miles below the ground—may directly impact the nation’s water supply, reduce water-based recreational and sports activity, and lead to an increase in the cost of food.

    The cocktail soup required for each well requires about two million pounds of silica sand, as much as 100,000 gallons of toxic chemicals, and three to nine million gallons of fresh water. There are more than 500,000 active wells in the country.

    In 2011, the last year for which data is available, Texas energy companies used about 26.5 billion gallons of water. Energy companies drilling Pennsylvania used the second greatest amount of water, followed by Colorado and Arkansas. Nuclear plants, which use more water, can recycle most of it. Because frack wastewater is toxic, oil and gas companies can’t recycle the contaminated water.

    The water is provided by companies that draw up to three million gallons a day from rivers and lakes, by individuals who sell water from their ponds, and by municipalities. Steubenville, Ohio, is tapping one of its reservoirs to sell up to 700,000 gallons of water every day for five years to Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest players in the fracking industry.

    However, fresh water is not unlimited.

    Beginning about five years ago, the water in the nation’s aquifers has been decreasing significantly. The depletion since 2008, according to Leonard Konikow, a research hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. is about three times the rate as between 1900 through 2008.

    Significant reductions in water availability are now common for the 1,450 mile long Colorado River, which provides water to about 40 million people in California and the southwest, including the agriculture-rich Imperial Desert of southeastern California. Lake Mead, a part of the Colorado system, provides water to Las Vegas and the Nevada desert communities; its water level is close to the point where the Department of the Interior will declare a water shortage and impose strict water-use regulation.

    The depletion of the rivers, lakes, and aquifers is because of population growth, higher usage, climate change, and a severe drought that has spread throughout the Midwest and southwest for the past three years.

    The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), basing its analysis upon more than 25,000 wells, reports almost 47 percent of wells that use fracking were developed in areas with high or extremely high water stress levels; 92 percent of all gas wells in Colorado are in extremely high-stressed regions; In Texas, 51 percent are in high or extremely high stress water regions.

    Water is so critical to fracking that oil and gas companies have been paying premium prices, as much as $1,000–$2,000 for about 326,000 gallons (an acre foot) and outbidding farmers in the drought-ravaged parts of the country for the water; the normal price is about $30–$100 for the same amount. Oil and gas drillers have also been trucking in water to the Midwest and southwest from as far away as Ohio and Pennsylvania. The companies are “going to pay what they need to pay,” said Dr. Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University.

    If farmers have to pay more for water, they will raise the prices of their product. If they can’t get enough water, because the energy companies are taking as much as they can get, they grow fewer crops and reduce the size of their livestock herds; this, also, will force food prices up. It’s a simple case of supply and demand.

    But, there are other problems. Some farmers and owners of corporate farms who have large water resources often sell that water to the energy companies; they can get more money for the water and leave their fields barren than they can get for growing crops and selling them to wholesalers and distributors.

    Another reality may be driving food prices higher.

    Fossil fuel mining and agriculture have always co-existed. But, that is changing.

    Beneath about 200,000 square miles of North Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan, lying between 4,500 and 7,500 feet below the surface of the earth, is the Bakken Shale. Oil in the shale was discovered in 1953; however, because the shale is only 13 to 140 feet thick, using conventional drilling methods were marginally profitable until five years ago with the development of horizontal fracking.

    The Bakken Shale lies directly below one of the most fertile wheat fields in the United States. North Dakota farmers produce almost three-fourths of all amber durum harvested in the United States. High in protein and one of the strongest of all wheat, amber durum is a base for most of the world’s food production. It is used for all pastas, pizza crusts, couscous, and numerous kinds of breads. Red durum, a variety, is used to feed cattle. North Dakota farmers in late Summer harvest about 50 million bushels (about 1.4 million tons) of amber durum, almost three-fourths of all amber durum produced in the United States. About one-third of the production is exported, primarily to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Destruction of the wheat fields, from a combination of global warming and fracking, will cause production to decline, prices to rise, and famine to increase.

    Energy company landmen, buying land and negotiating mineral rights leases, became as pesky as aphids in the wheat fields. However, the landmen didn’t have to do much sweet talking with the farmers, many of whom were hugging bankruptcy during the Great Recession. The farmers yielded parts of their land to the energy companies in exchange for immediate income and the promise of future royalties. By November 2012 there were 7,791 wells in North Dakota.

    In 2006, oil production in the North Dakota fields was about 92 million gallons. Energy companies are expected to mine more than 15.2 billion gallons this year. Drilling for oil also yields natural gas; there are about two trillion barrels of natural gas in the shale.

    In Pennsylvania, 17,000 acres have already been lost to the development of natural gas fracking. That land is not likely to be productive for several years because of “compaction and landscape reshaping,” according to a study by the Penn State Extension Office. U.S. Geological Survey scientists conclude there is a “low probability that the disturbed land will revert back to a natural state in the near future.”

    The presence of natural gas drilling companies has also led to decreased milk and cheese production. Penn State researchers Riley Adams and Dr. Timothy Kelsey concluded: “Changes in dairy cow numbers also seem to be associated with the level of Marcellus shale drilling activity.” Counties with 150 or more Marcellus shale wells on average experienced an 18.7 percent decrease in dairy cows, compared to only a 1.2 percent average decrease in counties with no Marcellus wells.”

    Beneath some of the nation’s richest agricultural land in drought-ravaged central California lies the Monterrey Shale, a 1,750 square mile formation that holds about two-thirds of the country’s estimated shale oil reserves, about 15.4 billion barrels (647 trillion gallons). The landmen have already arrived to buy leases and set up what is likely to be the biggest oil and gas boom in the country.

    More than 200 different crops are grown in the central valley, including about 70 percent of the world’s supply of almonds, most of the grape production and 90 percent of all domestic wine sold in the United States. The Sun-Maid farm cooperative, headquartered in the Central Valley, is one of the world’s largest producers of raisins and dried fruits.
    When the politicians unleashed Big Energy to frack the nation and extract gas, they parroted industry claims that extensive drilling would improve the economy, lower natural gas prices, and help make the United States energy independent from having to import foreign oil. What is happening is that the companies have purchased far too much land, are in heavy debt with the banks, and have a glut of natural gas that has forced the prices to the lowest level in almost 10 years.

    The solution is that these patriotic corporations, to reduce the glut and force domestic residential prices back up as the mined gas becomes less available, are developing extensive plans to export natural gas to countries that will pay significantly higher prices than what is currently charged in the American market.

    There is one problem. The United States can’t import water.

    Dr. Brasch’s current book is Fracking Pennsylvania, which looks at the impact of fracking upon public health, worker safety, the environment, and agriculture. The book–available at local bookstores and amazon. com–also looks at the financial collusion between politicians and Big Energy.

  24. mike k Says:

    Paul — Those who endorse strict determinism often do not realize that their belief in this regard is only one of several options as far as probability, certainty/uncertainty, predictability of future events, and numerous other considerations in the area of epistemology, philosophy of science, modern advanced physics and mathematics, and other unfolding fields of knowledge which are relevant. One aware of these other rich perspectives ends by considering a belief in simple invariant determinism an artifact of a former level of ignorance of the depth, complexity, and mystery of our Universe, not to speak of the depth of our own basic ignorance, in spite of our hubristic pretensions of certainty and finality about our still very preliminary notions of the meaning of it all.

    The above thoughts are one reason that I demure from counting out the human presence on earth in the near future. Another reason I hold out hope for us is my understanding that there is a deeper level of meaning in the existence of unfolding intelligence in the Universe than what can be revealed by physical methods which by their nature can only reveal a material world, although some make a leap of faith and conclude that this is the whole story of existence. Knowledge of this deeper level requires methods other than those of traditional material science, which has chosen to ignore or ridicule them (like meditation) until fairly recently. The irony in all this is that the very material science which has been largely responsible for bringing us to our present sorry pass, now wants to assure us that its infallible methods guarantee that our near term extinction as a species is a scientific certainty. While initially charming us with the promise of endless goodies, we are now informed it was all a mistake. My question to that is “what makes you so sure this time when your prior attempts to play God have proved such a colossal disaster??”

  25. George M. Says:

    @ Roger:

    this will help you, it’s also very funny:

    http://voices.yahoo.com/how-start-successful-cult-1478147.html

  26. pauline Says:

    Is a fetal position and wetting pants in terror part of the requirement to join this cult?
    If so, I’m already in…

  27. George M. Says:

    @ Roger, pat, Rob:
    Funny, but it seems like every company I ever worked for was like a cult – and even the Mom & Pop small businesses kinda’ operated like a cult. Everyone toes the Company line, no dissent is allowed, everyone fawns over the owners.

    @ pauline:
    sure, but you have to be in charge of the cult’s laundry facility.

  28. Cults "R" Us Says:

    That is my observation and experience as well George M. Ever since the advent of culture, cults have been popping up everywhere. They’re like fractals. If you dive deep into one and explore, many more cults will unfold before you like a cultish kaleidoscope in perpetuity. How the hell do you get that genie back in the bottle? It’s as though once it was released it’s a jack-in-the-box that is still in the process of expanding outward.

    This is an appropriate theme song for this cult.

  29. izzy Says:

    cult – noun

    obsession with, fixation on, mania for, passion for, idolization of, devotion to, worship of, veneration of.

    “Cult” has a number of possible definitions, including the above. It may not seem so to regular contributors here, but as someone who drops in only now and again, I do detect that sort of flavor. NTE may well be upon us, but since the popular consensus on this site has it that nothing can really be done to stop the juggernaut, one does wonder what all the time at the keyboard actually accomplishes. I suppose some sort of virtual sense of solidarity can arise (cult?), although it seems to be of limited benefit. For my own part, I’m more in favor of Guy’s approach – bail out and live your life – which is more or less what I’ve been up to for the past 40 years anyway.

  30. Arthur Johnson Says:

    mike k,

    I too demure from counting out the human presence on Earth in the near future, at least for the time being. But not for any of the deep philosophical reasons you state. I simply note that all of the collapse-aware groups, including NTE, are almost exclusively composed only of white American men and women. And only a sub-set of whites at that, basically Anglo-Americans plus some other NW Euro-Americans mixed in for good measure. The stubbornly monochromatic character of NTE and the other collapse-aware groups suggests that, while they may indeed have valuable insights to offer, something fundamentally important is missing from their perspective on climate change, peak oil, collapse of industrial civilization, etc.

  31. Luna Says:

    LOL Kathy & Benjamin – good ones.
    I’m gonna have to put on my limerick hat again soon..

  32. Gary S Says:

    Hello Guy,

    Thank you so much for you presentation and the interview. Your perspective is inspiring to me. Since I discovered your work a couple of months ago I have been experiencing my days on this earth kind of floating through time/space in some kind of beautiful third person detachment. As a child in a New Jersey suburb I always wondered why the hell everyone was running around like headless chickens in search of what they didn’t have even if they didn’t know what it was. I feel a kind of comfort knowing that this childhood intuition was right, and I feel a gratitude toward you for putting me back in touch with it.

    A rather technical question if I may.

    The man who identified himself as a climate scientist in the Q&A said (@ 33:40) that a counterbalancing negative feedback loop is taking place with the rise in temperature. He said as temperature rises we are “bleeding out energy” exponentially in a negative feedback that could “help balance things”. Do you know what he meant by this, in particular what he meant by “bleeding out energy” as the temperature rises, and do you agree?

    Thank you again.

  33. Guy McPherson Says:

    Gary S, thanks for your first-time comment in this space, and for the compliment. The climate scientist is referring to the information presented in this article: Earth’s Atmosphere May Be More Efficient at Releasing Energy to Space Than Climate Models Indicate, Satellite Data Suggest. It’s the real deal, although the feedback apparently is relatively minor compared to the positive feedbacks.

  34. michele/montreal Says:

    doom after doom is too much really
    I’ll take them in bulk
    and swallow big gulps
    until I am full
    and blow at full moon

    (for suicide club members who want helium, you should hoard because it is in short supply…):)
    «Most of the world’s supply of helium is held by the US National Helium Reserve, which was mandated to sell off all of its stockpile by 2015, regardless of price. This is based on a 1966 law, the Helium Privatisation Act, which was intended to help the government recoup the cost of building up the reserve. Though the uses of helium have multiplied, the law has not been revisited, so by 2015 much of the planet’s stockpile of helium will have been sold at an extremely low price. Unless the price of the helium increases, there will be no perceived reason to conserve or recycle the gas so it will be used and lost.»

    http://chemistry.about.com/b/2012/11/11/will-we-run-out-of-helium.htm

  35. jaywfitz Says:

    Not so worried about helium personally. . .but running out of Sylvania STR 415 series 6L6’s would truly be an eschatological concern. . .

    Going to do my best to burn up a couple of those at a show tonight. . .

  36. Paul Chefurka Says:

    @mike k

    I’m not a believer in strict determinism by any stretch of the imagination. My views are growing more nuanced by the day.

    What I think now is that we probably have “free will” as individuals, but that as our collectivities become larger, the collective behaviour becomes statistically deterministic. We have something in common with gas molecules that way. An individual gas molecule doesn’t have a temperature or a pressure, it has a position and a velocity. When you put a large number of molecules together, each of them still has a position and a velocity, but the aggregate now has a temperature and a pressure, as a result of all those positions and velocities adding up statistically.

    Temperature and pressure are statistically deterministic, and depend on the number of gas molecules, the size of the space they’re confined in, and the energy fed into the gas. Similarly, the behaviour of human civilization is statistically deterministic, and depends on the number of people (7 billion, and the more people there are the more deterministic the behavior becomes), the finite space we’re confined in (i.e. the surface of the planet) and the amount of energy flowing into the system (~18 terawatts at last estimate).

    One reason we’re susceptible to statistically deterministic behaviour is that we don’t realize that most of our brain power is devoted to removing limits. we have a very hard time placing inits on ourselves – the exact situation one would expect from an organism that evolved to be a very effective gradient dissipator.

    So it’s not strict determinism, but like anything else in the universe our free will has limits. It’s just that we evolved to be blind to those limits in order to become better dissipative structures.

  37. Paul Chefurka Says:

    “placing limits on ourselves…”

  38. Bailey Says:

    That is a very good point Paul. It is also exemplified by the fact that the majority of people within the society, do not like the society – but have demonstrated a helplessness to change it for as long as our history.

  39. Wester Says:

    Benjamin Libet performed neuropsychological tests in the 1970s and 80s in an attempt to isolate origins of motivational will, finding that:

    “Researchers recorded mounting brain activity related to the resultant action as many as three hundred milliseconds before subjects reported the first awareness of conscious will to act. In other words, apparently conscious decisions to act were preceded by an unconscious buildup of electrical charge within the brain.”

    “Libet’s experiments suggest to some that unconscious processes in the brain are the true initiator of volitional acts, and free will therefore plays no part in their initiation. If unconscious brain processes have already taken steps to initiate an action before consciousness is aware of any desire to perform it, the causal role of consciousness in volition is all but eliminated…Libet finds that conscious volition is exercised in the form of ‘the power of veto’ (sometimes called “free won’t”) which manifests some moments before physical actions take place in the real world.”

    ~~~~

    With this knowledge, I always try to be aware of what environmental factors are influencing my thought processes (easier to do in contextual cultures, many found in Asia) and try to cultivate and develop my consciousness and my VETO power rather than rampantly externalize and indulge my unconscious. Or spend long hours studying things to educate myself on all possibilities, permutations and ramifications so that when “decisions” appear, I can exercise my prohibitive instincts or better judgement.

    ~~~~~~~

    Another book I’d recommend is Thomas Khun’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, where he introduces the concept of “paradigms” or modes of analysis and observation that, slowly or not, take over human conceptual experience. Some people say that he is implying something like mob rule to science. That science, by ancient standards, is indeed a kind of religion, with priests and clergy in the university rather than the church complete with power to manifest magic in the world.

    Harvard? Anthropologists? Even “Bibles” proclaiming “the way”, available for outrageous, exorbitant, unattainable sums on amazon.com, unavailable to the unsaved, unwashed proletariat who have yet to hear the news or understand the one true path to salvation? Or even apostate clergy like David Graeber, Normal Finkelstein or Ward Churchill who must at any cost be rejected, demonized and exorcised from the flock?

    [...projectile vomit cleanup break...]

    And scientific theological philosophy – after all, early scientific tools were called “philosophic instruments,” and early science was called “Natural Philosophy” – carries over strains from earlier thought – like DesCartes and LaPlace’s scientific determinism paralleling Protestant theological determinism.

    Or even the NTE acolytes’ “doom, nothing is to be done, surrender Dorothy” vs. Calvin’s salvation not through good works but through faith alone.

    That is not to say that the future doesn’t look utterly awful, just that the thought processes parallel.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    Helpful resources regarding any of this may be available at the link and not at any union-busting, community-destroying, theologically sanctified money pit: http://tinyurl.com/mmdczct

    Here’s wishing you all as much VETO power as you can muster.
    Cheers and good day.

  40. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Mike Sosebee

    Most stopped trying to save individual species and focused on preserving habitat.

    Yes. One of the most horrible moments of my life was when the realisation dawned, trying to ‘save habitat’ doesn’t work when climate changes. Everything wants to move, to adjust, either north, or to higher altitude, and the conservationists weren’t understanding that, they were still in fixed static mode. Same went for the permaculturalists.

    And mostly, it’s impossible for species to move and adjust, because there’s roads and cities and all kinds of hazards in the way, no corridors to move along, and moving to higher ground doesn’t work for species that are already on the highest ground.

    That was a couple of decades ago, I suppose, when things were ‘warming’. Then came melted Arctic. No more ‘warming’. Now it’s a battering ram of extreme weather events that’ll shake all the ecosystems to pieces.

    @ Wester

    300 milliseconds ? Libet is obsolete.

  41. alexander hawk Says:

    @Guy,

    Guy will you please respond to this weeks radio ecoshock.

    Alex smith raises some believable criticisms.

  42. Daniel Says:

    @ Ulvfugl

    You state: “Yes. One of the most horrible moments of my life was when the realisation dawned, trying to ‘save habitat’ doesn’t work when climate changes.”

    Exactly!

    Which is also a milestone on the road to accepting NTE.

    @ Mike K

    You state:

    “The irony in all this is that the very material science which has been largely responsible for bringing us to our present sorry pass, now wants to assure us that its infallible methods guarantee that our near term extinction as a species is a scientific certainty.”

    “…scientific certainty”?

    The only certainty I’ve come across here is just how certain others are of “our” certainty. My friend, there is no such thing as “scientific certainty”. Please, enough with the straw men.

  43. OzMan Says:

    A ‘cult’ is just a group of people organising their living and dying arrangements in a different way than those self authorised to label ‘them’ a ‘cult’.
    Cults historically arise in greatest numbers at times of cultural shift and change. Often Western ideas are influenced by religious parameters from the roots of Judaeo-Christian and Abrahamic religions, but in all clarity, cults are just subgroupings of people doing it differently than the mainstream. Some are very different, and some only minor-ly different.

    For them to be truly threatening to the larger (now corporate) cultural power structures, they have to interrupt the supply of vital commodities, like energy, information, water food, compliance with consumption, around which service delivery of live functions on an industrial scale are delivered.

    Cults will become ‘terrorist groups’ as they assume bigger followings, and –

    PEOPLE ACTUALLY CHANGE THE WAY THEY LIVE.

    Not to worry folks, move on, nothing to see here.

    So far only Guy has changed to such a degree, but, to be fair, the mud hut and solar panels and pipes and all that shit to keep the caboose going were purchased(Or otherwise got) from the main store.
    Not personal criticism on my part, I support Guy in his actions, and applaud his human experiment, for it show what a diabolic ‘monkey trap’ is out there for anyone who swims against the tide.

    Human sacrifice is the cost, but it equates as to asking oneself the question:

    “What will I willingly give up -today- to have the world a better place.”

    And Guy’s example is as good a commentary to point to the futility of going it alone.

    I suggest this is not all Guy has attempted to do. he could have just done all this at the mud hut, but kept to himself. I suggest this is the second strategy he knows instinctively is the greater answer, no matter what he does personally, and that is he is communicating, and teaching the basics of (largely withheld and concealed) scientific data and climatological facts.

    The greater cult of conspicuous consumption and social fiat currency exclusion/scarcity is coming to be revealed for what it has always been – a cash cow for an investor class, whose stated interests as corporations is self interest first and accountability to the plane t later, if at all.

    In Australia, there is a likely change of National Government on Sept 14 this year because in part it attempted to make the market reduce CO2 and other pollutants by imposing a carbon tax, which is to be followed by a cap and trade scheme, all of which can be corrupted by mere manipulation of figures.

    There are many areas on this continent being sold off to world finance that are not well surveyed for Oil, Gas and Coal, leases not yet included in the zillions of known gigatinnes of Carbon energy commodities in the pipe.

    They are still selling it!!!

    Fools.

    A whole deck of fools, what could they accomplish in one round of poker?

    We will see.

  44. OzMan Says:

    Here is a link to your choice of carbon nightmare leases:

    ‘Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release’

    http://www.petroleum-acreage.gov.au/

    Brought to u by none other than your favoured corporation supplier of fossil fuel energy/profit stream, the Australian Federal Government.

    Dig in.

    Note: this is issued from the,

    ‘Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism’

    …funny how that seems a strange amalgam of interests now?

  45. B9K9 Says:

    I really don’t get the idea of taking yourself out before it’s time. One positive aspect of CC is increased ocean storm activity. You have to wonder if the oceanic heat sink effect has some baring on this development.

    We’re in the middle of the 4th big south swell this season (produced by winter storms that form along the 40th parallel below Oz/NZ in the S Pacific and shoot waves towards Tahiti, HI & SoCal), and it’s not even summer (winter in the S hemisphere) yet.

    Most years, you might get a few large swells all summer. Four so far, and another one the way from a storm passing by Tasmania. (It takes 7-8 days for the waves to travel 5-6k miles.) If this trend continues, I for one welcome our new normal. Photo links:

    http://surf.transworld.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/443/files/the-wedge-june-7-2013/AC_California_13_176A.JPG

    http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/hawaii-swell-story_97121/

  46. B9K9 Says:

    Tahiti get it’s first, and hits one of the biggest, craziest waves on the planet head on:

    http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/teahupoo-returns—-one-more-time_96847/

    Note the excited language about another mega swell in a two week timeframe, whereas the ‘old normal’ might have been a ‘code red’ (civil defense emergency red flags) swell of this magnitude every other year or so.

    Some might watch leaves drop, I’d rather experience the ocean getting more intense.

  47. kevin moore Says:

    Not long to wait.

    100 days to know the severity of the high-summer drought.

    120 days to know the extent of the Arctic Sea meltdown.

    150 days to know whether the smoke and mirrors has prevented a ‘bond apocalypse and an October financial meltdown (most meltdowns being in September-October).

    Similarly, 150 days to know the severity of hurricane/typhoon super-storms and their impact on the US, Philippines, Japan, China, India etc.

    And about 150 days to know whether the youth of Europe will lie down to die or will revolt.

    180 days from now the picture will be so much clearer.

    A question anyone who is awake could ask themselves is: How will I spend the next 180 days?

  48. Speak Softly Says:

    Paul, I liked your single-molecule-freewill-slidingscale-multimolecule-determinismpressuretemperature-thing.

    I think you need to translate it into a single catchy German word for convenience sake to help spread it to the masses.

    Branding is Everything nowadays.

    As for the ‘cult’ thing, NTE doesn’t have a secret handshake yet.

    An absolute necessity in today’s Total Surveillance Society.

    As to why the whole hard core enviro blog thing seems to be Crackers.

    Everyone outside the ‘white-anglo’ club’ is going to be impacted very severely by climate change.

    Why are they not discussing it on blogs?

    They are probably too busy just surviving.

    Their daily existence is on the cutting edge of environmental degradation.

    Or maybe fish are the last ones to realize water.

  49. Guy McPherson Says:

    alexander hawk, I responded via email to Alex (of Radio Ecoshock). He’s quoting — and apparently believing — a man who disparages science. It’s a data-free conversation to which I have no response except this comprehensive, updated essay. And, contrary to the conversation at Radio Ecoshock, it’s rooted in science.

  50. Gail Says:

    Wizards who shall not be named?

  51. Kathy C Says:

    B9K9 having volunteered in nursing homes where people live beyond “their time” I learned that their are things that are not worth living through before your inevitable death. At sixteen I came to love a woman who had been flat on her back in bed from MS last stages for 12 years. She couldn’t feed herself and could barely speak anymore, but when she did speak she never complained. I remember the day the staff came to lift her out of bed for her bath. Because of the bed sores, this woman would could barely whisper screamed in agony. NOT ALL LIVING is WORTH LIVING. If you want to stick it out until the last possible moment that is your choice. If some want to prepare for the option of missing societal breakdown, the attendant violence, rape, hunger, starvation, outbreaks of diseases whose course will make you suffer in ways I doubt you can imagine, fine. If others want to skip that why should you care – more food then for the holdouts to suffer longer. I had a friend who got dengue when doing volunteer work in Nicaragua. It is also known as breakbone fever. She said it was as if every bone in your body had been broken. It is in TX now and will no doubt move north.

    For those who want to have some option (which doesn’t mean you will use that option) the book Final Exit describes options and includes the use of helium.

    jaywfitz thanks for your comments at the end of the last essay.

    Kevin, thanks for the countdown. I think we will know much more about just how exponential this may become by the end of the Arctic Melt season. As for the financial situation, I am amazed they have patched it together this long. Which means this collapse, when it comes will be far more devastating than 2008.

    We also have until the end of the growth season, maybe September, to find out how bad this year’s crops will be.

    How to spend the next 180 days. Well I have turned hedonistic. Just won’t look that way to anyone. I am already doing exactly what I want – growing a garden, raising chickens. I will quite selfishly continue those enjoyable pursuits. But occasionally I will buy kiwi fruit and mangoes – can’t really think of much else to do.

    One bright spot this morning is the news that San Onofre Nuclear Power plant will not be restarted. I would like to think that means only 438 nuclear plants to melt down, but shutdown of a nuclear power plant takes years One method is Safestor per wiki “Safe Enclosure (or Safestor(e) SAFSTOR): This option postpones the final removal of controls for a longer period, usually in the order of 40 to 60 years. The facility is placed into a safe storage configuration until the eventual dismantling and decontamination activities occur” Given how much they fudged to get more power out of San Onofre, I expect them to fudge any way they can on the shutdown.

    But it feels good to know that however futile, the nuclear industry lost this one. I give a lot of credit to Arnie and Maggie Gundersen of Fairewinds. No surprise that the news comes out on a weekend when people are busy seeing how much fossil fuel they can consume.

  52. OzMan Says:

    kevin moore

    And only 99 days till we have a new elected federal gubmint.

    Deckchairs rearranged here then. but your timelines are far more important – for everyone and every life form.

    Guy

    Your presentation was great, and I think some of the comments and questions were well treated.

    I am on the ‘Carp diem’ thing.

    Yall

    I tried to get my 13 y/o son to watch 4 mins of the DVD tonight, the segment with James Kunstler, (where he describes the meeting he had with the Google execs and engineers, and that they do not understand the difference between Energy and Technology) and we ended up having another barney.

    “What can you do?” “Why waste your time listening to that American academic, if there is nothing that can be done?”

    The kid has a point.

    What is more tragic – not that the level of practical intelligence he displays is not highly admirable, IMO – is that I think he blames me for the situation, mixing the desire not to know with not having a viable solution. I mean the kids future is down the toilet.

    How would I respond if I were him? Probably not so well. But he has a different path to mine, and he and his peers will be just of age and strength to have the best chance of stretching the limits of survivability.

    Not hopium, just looking ahead, and even as it is dim up ahead, up ahead is still not certain.

  53. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Cult

    I belong to a doomer cult
    Because, as a thinking adult,
    I can look at the trend
    And see what kind of end
    Will most likely be the result.

  54. Gardengate Says:

    Thanks again Guy for truly speaking truth to power. We too could say we’ve failed at our endeavor, but I try to think of failing as not trying, can’t say we haven’t done that, right?

    Mike:
    Received the dvd and viewed it twice so far, waiting for a spare minute to get out of the garden to write you. Thank you for your work

  55. Redreamer Says:

    yeah that post about the noctilucent clouds disturbed me too….


    Back in the 19th century, NLCs were confined to high latitudes. You had to go to Alaska or Scandinavia to see them. In recent years, however, they have been sighted as far south as Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska. Some researchers believe that the spread of NLCs is a sign of climate change.
    One of the greenhouse gases that has become more abundant in Earth’s atmosphere since the 19th century is methane. “When methane makes its way into the upper atmosphere, it is oxidized by a complex series of reactions to form water vapor,” says Russell. “This extra water vapor is then available to grow ice crystals for NLCs.”
    The early start of the 2013 season appears to be caused by a change in atmospheric “teleconnections.”

    especially the point about methane…

  56. Kathy C Says:

    OZ – just love him and be prepared to help him when he realizes he needs help. Ask him to forgive you for bringing him into a world so messed up, Tell him that while you regret bringing him into a world that may not be survivable you love and like him and are glad that he was born so you could know him. If he says that doesn’t make sense, tell him yes but that is what you feel. Tell him that no matter what he now thinks or does or fails to do, you will do your best to help him in the future. IMO of course and of course only if that is what you feel. I know you are not really asking for advice, just sharing your dilemma. And I don’t usually feel I should give such personal advice. So just read this as the thoughts that came to my mind when I read your post, nothing more.

    NBL is NOT a cult. If it were a cult, the divergence of views expressed here would not be expressed. If it was a cult all dissenting views would be removed. If it was a cult we would all be out doing deep green resistance instead of sitting around blogging.

    What is bringing this blog and Guy’s talks into the spotlight now is the fact that many of us are accepting that it is over for the human species. That scares the shit out of people and they have to discount it. This moves beyond disagreement because it moves beyond ideas abut what might happen to fear of what might happen. Of course the fact that there is a high degree of consensus on NTE on NBL won’t make it happen. But humans seem prone to a certain degree of mystical thinking. I find myself saying something and then saying knock on wood to stave of the bad luck my words might have engendered. I of course smile when I say it, but don’t we all at times have an irrational fear that naming something has the power to make it happen. No we would never admit that, but somewhere in our brains we make the connection between words and events. And of course words CAN make things happen. I call someone a name to their face and I might get a fist in my face. But that the words have power in themselves goes beyond that and in fact such beliefs are strong in many if not all religions. It is no surprise that God’s word creates the world per Genesis. Or that John starts out “in the beginning was the word”. Magicians have magic words to cast their spells. Words matter to people but it is people that give them power, not the words.

    Naming NTE, accepting NTE, is genuinely perceived as a threat – not something to be argued against, but an actual threat. The arguments against it are a bulwark against the fear. We may even in the end get blamed for extinction, our words having called it forth. :) Luckily after extinction what anyone thinks of anything won’t matter at all.

  57. TIAA Says:

    Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts, they are all valid and help shed light on our collective experience. One thing that has my curiosity up is that the idea of NTE has people in an uproar to the degree it does. If you take the threat of NTE out of the equation and just observe human interaction, are you content with what is left over? To me the disaster was upon us long ago. It has been thousands of years that it took us to drive what natural harmony abided in us into a deep, deep and dark, all but hidden part of our psyche. How we call that back, ressurect it from near extinction, is not something that anyone seems aware of, or even aware that this would be the first step. We need it first no matter what happens at last. So my experience of an idea like NTE does not pack much of a punch, I was forced to go through the process of grief to grace some ten years ago. But why we must face physical extinction is because of that extinction of natural harmony compliments our conscious development. Everything since that age old sacrifice of one for the other is just a mirror of that fatal attack on the heart of our greater common awareness so we could attain complex special awareness.

    No one will feel they are able to shake off that collective shadow, layer upon layer of traumatic rewiring so deeply buried now. But what harmony yet remains is calling us all to awaken and to emerge. Listen, listen and if you can start to grieve in a simple and honest way it will lift, layer by natural and painful layer and our original and new humanity will come and can possibly alter the path we think we are trapped on.

  58. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Ozman, they say “y’all” down under? Who woulda thunk it? Maybe I would fit it down there better than I realized. :-)

    As Ozman pointed out, a cult is nothing more than a religion that has been labeled a cult when the mainstream religions see it as a threat. I grew up being told that Mormonism was a cult because they follow the teachings of a man who lived in the 1800s and because the tenets of their beliefs changed from time to time. (Of course, following the teachings of a man who lived 2000 years ago was somehow more rational.) Amazingly, however, when the rightwing wanted Romney elected, the Mormons magically transformed into a “real” religion. It’s a miracle!

  59. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    I realize my previous post was completely off-topic, however, the comments here over the last few months have been so good, informative, and thorough, I just haven’t felt I could add much to the conversation and thus have posted very infrequently. I posted today just to be sure I still knew how. :-)

    Thanks to all!

  60. mike k Says:

    @Paul Chefurka:
    Paul — Thanks for your clarification. When you say, “We have a very hard time placing limits on ourselves…” you hit the nail on the head. This a root basis of our out of control addictive culture that reinforces the lack of maturity and wisdom that would be needed to avoid the mess we have created for ourselves. Now in order to have a chance of survival we need to reverse the effects of millennia’s of imperfect cultural conditioning. The very structure and functioning of our brains reflects our culture’s lack of preparing us with wisdom and restraint to handle the powers that our instrumental intelligence thrust upon us. Even then recovery from this deficit is possible, but only on condition that we realize our inadequacy and become willing to do the work to correct it. Unfortunately the vast majority show no such awareness or willingness to counter our devotion to ego and acquisition. Only a few have undertaken to change themselves by psychological training methods which have been called spiritual paths — not to be confused with popular religions, which are indeed a major part of the problem.

  61. Daniel Says:

    BK9K comments: “I really don’t get the idea of taking yourself out before it’s time.”

    Well, given that no one else other than maybe Kathy C, has so openly discussed the prospects of suicide in the face of NTE, I’ll assume that this mischaracterization is directed towards me.

    Your doubt is based on the concept of “…….before it’s time”.

    Your statement also implies that the idea of “taking yourself out”, is something you would “get” if the timing was right.

    So, who gets to decide when the time is right for everyone?

    Are we to assume that the timing will be the same for all seven billion of us? Are we to assume that everyone has the same understanding of climate science? Are we to assume that we’re all the same age, in the same health, have the same responsibilities and share the same philosophical outlook on life? Are we to assume that systemic drought and famine will be equally distributed around the world?

    bk9k, the reason you don’t “get the idea”, is because there is no idea to be gotten.

    All there is, is a mountain of unprecedented catastrophic evidence reveling that the Holocene has ended. This is/will obviously have a catastrophic impact on all of life on earth.

    All we have to do, is decide on what to do with the time we have left. Your approach to this catastrophe, is that’s it’s a good time to go surfing. I personally find your overall Big Kahuna prescription for life to be morally apprehensible.

    However, neither of us are right or wrong. It just is, whether you “get it” or you don’t, ultimately, it’s none of your business or concern how others choose to live or not.

  62. Robin Datta Says:

    The cult, the minnow
    Face to face with NTE
    Then a beached blue whale

  63. Gail Says:

    absolutely riveting podcast, how & why jellyfish are taking over the oceans. NTE anyone? starts at 34 minutes in:

    http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/2013/06/05/june-8-ground-control-to-major-bob/

    Gershwin said she fears that the biodiversity of the world’s water will eventually resemble that of the Precambrian era, when oceans where ruled by jellyfish and mammals and reptiles did not exist.

    “I think it’s a very scary thing that we could be heading back to a situation where jellyfish are dominating the oceans,” Gershwin says, “but if we keep heading down the path that we’re currently on, I’m not sure I see very many alternatives.”

  64. infanttyrone Says:

    Japanese koi ponds
    Mere ornamentation or
    Future food storage ?

    Blue whale ?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi52YTOkQwk

  65. Henry Says:

    I should jump in to clear my thoughts, but there’s acres to mow, errands to do (“life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”), but mostly just to say I read through all the posts above, appreciated some people I hadn’t “gotten” before, watched the videos, listened to Ecoshock, think the overall tone and direction are improving from a few days back, And NO, we’re not a cult, as in being stupid and lazy followers satisfied with easy answers.

    OK, JMG was in there labeling it all a sociological phenomenon, and I don’t think we should spend much time even answering critiques like that. People who are expert (and good writers) in one field of life want to expound as experts for as long as they have listeners. Enjoy it while ye may!

    So, hang that topic up. It’s not “about us”; it’s about the science.

    We are more like a science class on a geological field trip, to some ancient Permian bands of fossil remains, spending our time trying to envision what existence in that time was like.

    Only, we’re looking forward, not back. FUTURE fossils, we may be. Trying to imagine how billions of people at a minimum are going to die from agricultural and immunological collapse, if not ending up in complete NTE.

    A bad enough patch to go through, without trying to “prove up” a 100% certainty.

    As Kevin Moore expressed so well my own sketchy thoughts, these signposts will be upon us in not so many more days. We will be here, connecting those dots, and extrapolating them forward. Isn’t that what human brains are supposed to be good at doing — helping us aim our arrows ahead of the moving target?

    And Alex asked some valuable questions on Ecoshock, which reminded me I have not re-read Malcolm Light in 8 months, nor refreshed my mental imagery of Methane clathrate structures, or the mechanisms of their release, upon which so much of our discussion hinges. I’ll try to put my open questions in a future post.

    But, trying to peer within Alex’s mind while he spoke — and he is good at digging into the homework we should all be doing — I saw his images of methane release as primarily linear. It occurred to me that our word “non-linear” doesn’t really convey an upward-arcing, accelerating curve of exponential increase.

    The fact that Malcolm did give multiple curves toward temperature increase in his graphs — which Guy pointed out in the Q&A — allows for multiple timelines of expectation. And the leap into a Permian climate is what implies extinction, but does not address every single niche of living humans or species — Alex does not go after that, but then, neither do we. The broad picture is still hitting us pretty hard, isn’t it? So that’s understandable. We’re still very early in this adjustment period.

    He also suggested that the methane would “dissolve” out quickly enough under a slow-release scenario to not present as big a risk as carbon. I certainly hope he is right! (I think he wants us to keep focusing on carbon output, which is of course correct, if made ultimately futile by human perversity.)

    (I would also hope that as diligent a commentator as he is would acknowledge a “precautionary principle”, and credit others for doing so, under which you give extra weight to a dire scenario, even while admitting to doing so, since the outcome would be so catastrophic. Ya think?)

    But I think his “linear” view misses the point: If Malcolm’s curves are off by some years in these initial stages of methane release, the upward-acceleration of each of those curve lines closes much/most of any error gap, and gets us to the same dire place too soon for survival.

    That number 43 certainly focuses the mind. Mine, at least.

    Again, for people who generally agree with the overall direction of things to clash over whether it’s all 7 billion (whatever number is total) going to die, or “only” 6.9 billion with some survivors, and, I suppose, implying some differing things we might “do” in either scenario, is kind of silly.

    We are on a long, steep trek and have several mountain ranges ahead of us, blocking our view of that future, and we will get a better view from each of those peaks as we climb them, and not before.

    And oops, there goes one post.

  66. Henry Says:

    “That number 473 certainly focuses the mind”

    Double oops.

    I think I dropped some crumbs under the “7” key.

  67. ulvfugl Says:

    Some confirmation perhaps for those of you here who believe that human beings are intrinsically selfish, cruel and sadistic.

    http://aangirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/solving-problem.html

  68. Ripley Says:

    mike k Says

    Now in order to have a chance of survival we need to reverse the effects of millennia’s of imperfect cultural conditioning.

    Exactly. Our culture tells us every thought that is worth thinking, and every action that is worth doing. Instead of watching people’s hearts get cut out, millions of Americans will go to church tomorrow and watch something like this — much better don’t you think?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NIAk46Iwp6I

  69. WoodsDweller Says:

    This isn’t all that significant in itself, but I expect we will see this sort of thing becoming more common in the next few years:

    http://www.texastribune.org/2013/06/06/west-texas-oilfield-town-runs-out-water/

    Barnhart, a small community in West Texas, has run out of water. … hoped to have a backup well in service Friday morning. A load of bottled water was on its way to the community center … The town has one main well that serves 112 customers … said there wasn’t any water from the tap. But he said the fire station had a full tank for fighting fires and firefighters are drinking bottled water … the town was considering the possibility of getting a tank of freshwater from San Angelo, which is 50 miles away … Early last year, wells failed for the community of Spicewood Beach, near Austin, which then began trucking in water. About 30 communities statewide could run out of water by the end of the year

    This isn’t all that unusual. The community where I had my first house would sometimes run out of water in the driest part of the year and have to truck some water in from a nearby town.

    You can truck water for 112 people. You can’t do it for a major city.

    My brother lives in Castle Rock, CO. They get all their water from wells which recharge very slowly, and the whole county has been swallowed by suburban sprawl. A few (6?) years back they predicted (articles in the newspaper) that they had 8-9 years of water left.

    In 2007 Atlanta suffered drought and nearly ran out of water. It has over 5 million people. You can’t possibly deliver enough water for that many people if your primary system dries up. What do you do? I suppose you would have to evacuate the city. If the rains don’t come back, you have to abandon it.

    In a drought, wells go dry. You can get a rig in and drill a new, deeper well and hope to hit enough water. Eventually you’ve drained what is there and you are reduced to the natural recharge rate, which may soon be zero.

    Just more signs of things to come.

  70. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Grant Schreiber says: The constant challenge to anyone who has embraced NTE is that you’ve given up hope. No, I’ve given up the illusion that hope provides.

    The pre-doomer sometimes derides
    The doomer for whom hope subsides,
    But hope running out
    Leads to learning about
    The illusion that hope provides.

  71. Robin Datta Says:

    biodiversity of the world’s water will eventually resemble that of the Precambrian era, when oceans where ruled by jellyfish and mammals and reptiles did not exist.

    In the Precambrian there were the precursors to extant phyla (the largest groupings of animals) as well as phyla that have since gone extinct. The weirdest of creatures, weird because they do not fit our concepts of the various groupings in Animalia.

    Indeed, mammals did not then exist, not did vertebrates, but out Chordate ancestors did. We have not forgotten that ancestry: in our embryonic development we first make the Chordate’s rod, the notochord, before replacing it with the backbone.

    Jellyfish are the scion from a primitive branch of that tree: the branch into body plans with radial symmetry (like spokes in a wheel, or in a snowflake). Another primitive branch, the Bilateria, have mirror image symmetry of halves of the body, from which come earthworms and humans.

    Today’s extant creatures have squeezed through multiple and varied evolutionary constraints and bottlenecks, and have been moulded accordingly. Given the opportunity, they could still radiate into myriad new forms, but it will not be analogous to the Percambrian world.

  72. Artleads Says:

    Guy,

    I disagree with you about many thing; firstly, that you have failed. To say you succeeded doesn’t seem to fit the situation either. Whatever one calls it, you have made an earth shaking difference.

    That leads me to why I disagree with you. You can’t grasp that you have made an earth shaking difference.

    Paul Chefurka says above:

    “One thing that social scientists keep discovering — and left-brain, hyper-rational people keep ignoring — is that information and emotion are not two separate processes in the brain. All learning, all reasoning, takes place in the context of an emotional or affective frame. Indeed, they would be impossible without those frames, because those frames provide focus, meaning, and goals.”

    You quite properly are operating within your frame. You, like everyone else, are stuck inside a frame, which makes you, like the rest of us, incapable of seeing reality objectively from the outside. Your frame limits you as it properly should.

    What I would recommend to you is that you develop the capacity to not know.

    The universe is indifferent to life on Earth. Where is that written, and written so indelibly that it could never be questioned? The exceedingly great Joseph Campbell (who apparently foresaw NTE) scoffed at the notion that God, among uncountable galaxies, cared and remonstrated on behalf of each individual. But why not? What could limit God one way or another? Who would be Joseph Campbell to say? Why couldn’t God not care and care at the same time?

    The mind accustomed to operate with scientific linearity (word) has no patience for such fuzzy concepts as being and non being contradicting each other. My superficial understanding of quantum physics is that this is to some extent reality.

    So I accept NTE and don’t. Simply because I see reason and non reason as being complementary. Non reason says that God is, and God has the last word. Which is not separate from what we think, envision or intend.

    In all this contention, your actions work like the focus mechanism on a camera, suddenly sharpening the image of our global predicament. That is huge. You can’t know whom you have touched, and what processes you have set off. A believer in God cannot accept any reasonable conclusions unless they comport with divine illumination. You have said that it is up to people to do as they wish with the unprecedentedly honest information you present them. Can you take your own frame out of the way (not getting angry) and allow them to do just that?

  73. Tony Says:

    Mark Cochrane’s remarks in the question and answer session were interesting. He’s an active climate scientist and seems very aware of the destruction we’re causing and the seriousness of climate change. However, despite being active in the field and keeping up to date with the science (as seen in his thread on Chris Martenson’s web site), he doesn’t see near term human extinction as likely (though I don’t think he dismisses it entirely).

    Although I’m in awe of what Guy has done and is doing, I’m not sure why he’s so supportive of Malcolm Light’s self-published paper, which appears to be based on a single data point (and Guy acknowledged this in his talk) which is no longer in the data set and was never supported by other observations. He also gives a lot of weight to Oliver Tickell’s synthesis, which relies on the complete melting of the Antarctic. As Mark Cochrane pointed out, melting of the Antarctic would likely take centuries.

    I certainly think human extinction is possible within a century or two and don’t completely rule it out within a few decades but it seems to me that the evidence of such a rapid extinction isn’t robust enough to say “we’re done”. This, in no way, infers that I don’t see horrendous suffering ahead, in the near term. I do, almost certainly in my lifetime (I’m 59) and definitely in my kids’ lifetimes (they’re in their mid 20s). But near term human extinction is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence, which doesn’t appear to be there. Unless I’ve missed something? Positive feedback loops have kicked in but are they really likely to progress so rapidly that 2 decades is all we have left?

    In some ways, and rather perversely, I’d “like” near term human extinction to be true because it would vastly simplify the choices I’m having to make for our future.

  74. Wester Says:

    Robert Jensen and James Baldwin on the beguiling corruption of: “Doom, Doom, Nothing-to-be-done, and Surrender Dorothy”:

    “Never have we had so much information about the threats we must come to terms with. It’s easy to cover up our inability to face this by projecting it onto others. When someone tells me “I agree with your assessment, but people can’t handle it,” I assume what that person really means is, “I can’t handle it.” But handling it is, in the end, the only sensible choice. To handle it is TO BE A MORAL AGENT [caps me], responsible for oneself and one’s place in a community.

    “On this question of dealing honestly with hard truths, James Baldwin reminds us, “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” In that essay, titled “As Much Truth as One Can Bear,” Baldwin suggested that a great writer attempts “to tell as much of the truth as one can bear, and then a little more.” He was speaking about the struggle for justice within the human family, but if we extend that spirit to the state of the larger living world, the necessary formulation today would be “to tell as much of the truth as one can bear, and then all the rest of the truth, whether we can bear it or not.”

    By avoiding the stark reality of our moment in history we don’t make ourselves safe. All we do is undermine the potential of struggles for justice and sustainability and guarantee the end of the human evolutionary experiment will be ugly beyond our imagination. We must remember, as Baldwin said, “that life is the only touchstone and that life is dangerous, and that without the joyful acceptance of this danger, there can never be any safety for anyone, ever, anywhere.”

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/06/the-craziest-person-in-the-room/

  75. OzMan Says:

    Mark Cochrane’s remarks in the question and answer session regarding the wildfires in southern Tasmania last year are quite significant.

    I was visiting a relative there 2 months ago, and travelled to Port Arthur, the old jail and penal colony site, now an historic relic tourist destination. On the bus trip of several hours we passed through a lot of the area burnt out and it was a huge area.

    This is what is the trend now – prolonged periods of extreme weather, not shifting, and when that is the high heat and dry systems, it will cause this type of fire and vegetation stress, not to mention the difficulties for animals.

    Last week a new fire phenomena was coined that explains the devastating Canberra, (Australia’s capital city) fires of January the 8th, 2003. A lot of detailed study has been put in because of the devastation, 500 homes and 4 deaths.

    The new ‘Fire Tornado’ is born. Phenomenal footage was taken by a resident.

    ‘Fire Tornado’

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3774941.htm

    Video embedded, a must see.

    A quote:

    “Rick McRae
    No-one has captured a tornado like that as clearly in a fire situation before. One of the interesting things about the video was a pair of football goalposts in the foreground – that gave us a measurement stick in the vertical direction, so we could go out to where the video was taken and we could measure the speed of movement over the ground, and also the wind speeds within the vortex. We were able to estimate the vertical wind speed of over 150 kilometres per hour.

    NARRATION
    Scientifically documenting a fire tornado was a world first, but that left a vital and more important research question. How could a series of relatively contained fires develop so quickly into such a violent, pyro-convective event?…

    NARRATION
    The intense and deep flaming caused by the fire-channelling events happened immediately before the thunderstorm formed.

    Anja Taylor
    With such a huge area alight, a massive amount of energy was released into the atmosphere. In fact, in the peak ten minutes of flaming, more energy was released than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

    NARRATION
    The massive smoke plume of heat and moisture formed a gigantic pyro cumulonimbus cloud – a huge supercell thunderstorm. Stephen took these incredible photographs as it formed. As the moist, hot fire plume is lifted into the upper atmosphere, it’s hit by upper level winds of a different speed and direction, setting up a vortex, and a tornado is born. As for fire tornados, the team hopes never to see another one, but they’re even more hopeful that their discoveries on fire behaviour may one day save lives.”

    Troglodytes may rule the Earth, and opal miners in central Australia, if they can find something to eat, that is.

    Kathy C

    Thanks for the help. The boy is making his own path, and some of that is by my choosing, and some is his need to just be himself. He has to do what is right for him, and it is in truth me that will have to pick my pieces up as I go on. It is unfortunate we don’t get on right now. I think what I could do with his help, and maybe that is how he sees it too.

    The roos ate all my 17 Spinach plants, just maturing, and all my Brussels Sprouts and half my Shallots. My fault, its into winter here and I didn’t fence off the growing bed which backs onto the bush. Chokos are too high for them though, plenty of them.

    Also on the winter weather front we have a warm start to it here.

    Sydney’s warm start to June ‘staggering’

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/sydneys-warm-start-to-june-staggering-20130605-2np1c.html

    A quote:

    “Sydney’s series of unusually warm spells is continuing into winter, with the city forecast to break its record for consecutive days in which the temperature has risen to at least 20 degrees.

    Harbour City temperatures are tipped to hit the 20s each day until at least Tuesday, an eight-day sequence that would break the previous record of seven consecutive days, set in 1921.

    “This is staggering, as Sydney’s average [high] for the first month of winter is just 17 degrees,” Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist with Weatherzone said. “This week would fit nicely into late April or early May.”….
    In the forecast period, showers are possible on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Temperatures are tipped to rise to 23 degrees at Observatory Hill on Saturday, not far from the record June maximum of 24 degrees set on June 10, 1921, Weatherzone said.

    The closely watched El Nino Southern Oscillation system over the Pacific remains in neutral, so climate scientists are focused instead on the warmer-than-average waters of the eastern Indian Ocean.

    Those models suggest the so-called Indian Ocean Dipole will turn negative, a signal typically associated with above-average rain in winter and spring over the country’s south.”

    As Guy likes to joke in his presentations:

    “At what point will we see evidence of climate change?”

    Yup! Its Heating up.

  76. kevin moore Says:

    Tony.

    When I began to get seriously concerned about overheating of the Earth, approximately 15 years ago, the evidence pointed to severe or abrupt climate change by 2100. The atmospheric and oceanic chemistry and physics were clear to me, but the structure of society was not.

    Since I began actively raising the alarm on energy depletion and environmental meltdown around 1999 I have discovered the following:

    a) money-lenders have been in control of western nations for centuries, and now have a greater stranglehold than ever in ‘developed nations’, and have extended their control to include most nations on Earth. Their Ponzi scheme demands ever increasing use of energy and resources, and works a lot better for them if there is population growth.

    b) practically every government on Earth implements policies geared to the money-lenders agenda.

    c) nothing we say or do will deter money-lenders and governments from promoting the insane agenda of perpetual growth on a finite planet, and money-lenders and governments will sacrifice anything and everything to that agenda -hence deep-sea drilling and fracking etc.

    d) the vast majority of bureaucrats are scientifically illiterate and financially illiterate

    e) corporations carried out a ‘coup’ over a period of several decades, and now tell governments what policies to implement. There are many ‘revolving doors between governments and corporations.

    f) corporations have an agenda of converting the Earth’s resources (including all life) into computer digits via the use of fossil fuels.

    g) corporations are above the law, and indeed often write the law.

    h) the vast bulk of the populace of all nations are completely clueless how the economic system works and the vast majority of people do not want to know (that came as something of a shock to me a few years ago, but I now know the general populace has been purposefully misled and dumbed-down. Chris Hedges put it this way: the bulk of the populace clamours for its own enslavement.)

    i) we live in societies which are awash in an ocean of lies, and almost anything that is official is Orwellian; most people do not know who Orwell was.

    j) there is human population overshoot of the order of tenfold.

    Under this set of circumstances catastrophe is inevitable; we can debate when NTE will occur (2030 to 2080) but any timeframe within that range still qualifies as NTE.

    I wish none of the above were true.

    Okay, we can conjecture that a tiny band of humans might scratch out some kind of existence on the northern coast of Siberia or on Antarctica if the oceans do not become anoxic and toxic, but for the bulk of humanity the prognosis is exceedingly grim within two decades, if not within one decade.

    I don’t know if I have added anything to the discussion (most of it has been said many times before) but repeating basic truths is one of the things I have chosen to do while I am still alive.

    (That last remark does not mean I am terminally ill, and I could conceivably be around for quite a while yet if society does not descend into overt fascism.)

  77. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Tony, kevin moore

    Re that Mark Cochrane in the audience and his points.

    I see it slightly differently to Guy. I think we have destabilised the climate. That’s the tipping point. No going back. We’re over the edge, into free fall.

    There’s the various self-reinforcing irreversible feedbacks, that Guy mentions, which cannot be fixed whatever we do. Is anybody even studying them closely, there’s probably others nobody even noticed yet, and by the time we do, it’s always too late.

    And there’s the human social and cultural factors that kevin mentions, which explain why nothing has been fixed and why nothing will get fixed. All the talk is about economic growth and war and having fun. The people who are aware of this stuff and worried enough to do anything are a tiny insignificant fraction.

    But it’s too late anyway. Kevin mentioned somewhere that we’d need to ‘get to 235 ppm to stabilise the climate’ ( I think ? where does that come from ? )

    I have no idea what that means. I don’t think anybody has any idea what ‘stabilise the climate’ means. Nobody knows how to reduce the emissions. Nobody knows how to get CO2 out of the atmosphere ( yes, I know, plant trees, biochar, artificial leaves, etc, look at the numbers, it’s impossible, and anyway nobody is doing it ). Nobody knows how to get CO2 out of the oceans. What is ‘a stable climate’ on this planet that has be engineered out of its natural state ?

    Even if we could get CO2 back to 280ppm preindustrial, the climate does NOT return to it’s previous state. It has already set off on a completely new trajectory which will take tens of thousands of years before it stabilises. The benign Holocene climate that we had, has gone. It is finished, ended, and cannot be retrieved whatever we do.

    That climate guy, talking about the ice taking centuries to melt seems to be missing the point. Now that the Arctic ice goes, the N. hemisphere climate and weather is completely changed. How this connects to NTE is as follows. I’m not talking with precision, just to give a rough idea.

    If the jetstream stops, then the weather systems all around the N. hemisphere change. No more regular seasons. No more regular rainfall patterns. No more regular agriculture. No more predictable food supply. For the cities.

    No more seasonal snowfall for the glaciers, which vanish and the great rivers of Asia don’t get their water, and so all those people, all the way down to Vietnam and the Mekong delta don’t get their rice. Because there will be no predictable monsoon rains and predictable dry season any more.

    Climate chaos means unpredictable extreme weather events which make human existence increasingly difficult, tearing bigger and bigger rips through ‘civilisation’ that cannot be repaired.

    There is lots of uncertainty, for sure. Mostly about timing. But how fast Greenland melts ? Look, to have a viable planet where humans can flourish, means having a viable biosphere, with healthy forests and rivers and ecosystems and oceans and all the stuff we just HAD, and which is all going away.

    How do we get any of that BACK, when the whole climate is gone away, changed irrevocably ? It’s impossible to do. Whole ocean currents have changed because of our activity. Nobody knows how to change them back or if changing them back, if you could, wouldn’t make things even worse.

    Yes, yes, I know we have our green heroes, who insist all obstacles can be overcome, we can green the deserts and all that stuff….

    Theoretically, with tremendous dedication and skill, people can achieve wonders. But, THEORETICALLY, we never needed to get into this mess at all. Theoretically, who would have believed that humans could ever have been this stupid when many could see this coming long ago and it could have been avoided ?

    There’s a time lag. What we have now, is the effect of what we did thirty years ago. The change is exponential. Put those two notions together. Check out what happened in previous mass extinction events. Realise that the changes we are causing to this planet are probably faster than any changes in the entire geological history of the planet, short of massive impacts by objects from space…. slowly, slowly connect the dots and slowly, painfully, the unthinkable begins to become thinkable.

    Nobody is doing anything effective to avoid this cataclysm, are they ? As far as I can see there is nothing effective that can be done. It is going to happen. NTE.

  78. ulvfugl Says:

    Not to be missed…

    ” Guy McPherson and the Nemesis Effect at The Age Of Limits conference, Part One.”

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/

  79. Gail Says:

    Mark Cochrane is a fan of JMG and left the following comment

    http://www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/80011/john-michael-greer

    Nov 11, 2012 – 5:44pm#16

    Mark Cochrane
    Status: Gold Member (Offline)
    Joined: May 24 2011
    Posts: 341

    Truly Visionary
    Great talk with John Michael Greer!
    I can definitely recommend several of his books as excellent reading material including:
    The Long Descent: A user’s guide to the end of the industrial age
    The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a post-peak world
    The Wealth of Nature: Ecomonics as if survival mattered

    I find his writings a bit more cerebral than Kunstler or Heinberg but also less apocalyptic. He envisions a catabolic collapse more in line with that of previous civilizations, ratcheting down over decades to centuries.
    Mark

  80. mike k Says:

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on that sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Dylan Thomas

  81. mike k Says:

    We have created, suffered, collaborated in, sometimes tried to awaken from and struggle against a culture of unlove whose origins are buried within us in the remote beginnings of the human experiment. Will our cumulative failures to learn the lessons of love finally destroy our chance to realize our sometimes glimpsed higher possibilities? We are all now gathering at the last chance saloon, whether consciously or in zombie sleep. In a dark time will the eye begin to see…? (Roethke)

  82. Denise Says:

    Ode to the NBL Doomsday Cult

    Some think we’re insane, with no hope-
    depressed, smoking NTE dope.
    With Guy as our Chief-
    cult-leader-and-thief,
    just waiting to hand out the rope.

    It’s science, not myth or taboo-
    wrong choices we cannot undo.
    This empire of lies
    makes truth-telling guys
    a threat to the ol’ status Q.

    So, put down that “hopium” brew.
    Get real! Feel your feelings and stew.
    It’s all apropos.
    The truth sucks- huh, bro?
    We humans have fucked up God’s zoo.

  83. Padraig O'Cathallain Says:

    Speaking cults, whatever happened to Jennifer Hartley? She used to post here at NBL quite regularly but she hasn’t been seen or heard from in this space for the past several months at least. Anybody know?

    A main feature of cults and cultish behavior is group think anchored in unabashed certitude, regardless of how that certitude is rationalized and or justified. “We” is often bandied about, as is noted in Martin’s (Denise’s) excellent poem above , even if you don’t agree with its premises and conclusion.

  84. John Stassek Says:

    @Ulvfugl:

    “I see it slightly differently to Guy. I think we have destabilised the climate. That’s the tipping point. No going back. We’re over the edge, into free fall.”

    and

    ” Guy McPherson and the Nemesis Effect at The Age Of Limits conference, Part One.”

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/

    Excellent summary/overview in the first. Excellent link in the second. Two great posts. Thanks.

  85. alexander hawk Says:

    @Guy

    Guy, thank you for your response.

    Your diligence is astounding.

    My previous post and inquiry was really a question as to the integrity of malcolm light.

    You made him out to be an old luddite who doesn’t use he internet. Alex smith makes him out to be a mad scientist cajoling the ignorant into geo engineering.

    The data light used for the 2010 instantaneous methane release never happened.

    Do you trust this man’s agenda?

    Now that said, there is plenty of data and evidence of nte and i believe it to be true.

  86. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Denise! Holy crap! :D
    ==

    Still Good Odds

    When things get too bad to ignore,
    People will still act as heretofore:
    Build esprit de corps,
    Blow shit up with C-4,
    And finish with nuclear war.

  87. Daniel Says:

    In response to Alex Smith Eco-shock podcast

    As for loyalty, mine resides with those who tell the truth at an obvious cost to themselves. This is probably the only reason why I am a loyal supporter of Guy.

    From the very beginning Guy has addressed our ecological dilemma with an objective clarity that very few, if any, have matched over the last decade. The only impression of where his vested interests lie, has come from those he has left behind. I have never sensed any sort of agenda or sales angle. His position has almost always been science based, and he’s never shied away from brutal truth. So as I’ve already stated, it comes as no surprise that it would be someone like Guy who would be the first to publically sound the alarm concerning NTE.

    For me personally, being accused of being anything regarding NTE puts me in an untenable position, for on one hand, I feel a need to defend myself, however, I refuse to attempt to convince others that NTE is a reality. This is a phenomena I believe others must come to on their own.

    We are discussing the single most distressing event to EVER confront our species. Our cultural and sub-cultural blinders as well as the psychological trauma is so overwhelming, I consider it futile to attempt to argue such a contentious and ultimately defeating point. And I say this completely respecting Guy’s choice to talk publically about NTE, and his moral imperative of sustaining DGR.

    All we can do is put forth the evidence as Guy has clearly and repeatedly done, and let people come to their own conclusions. Those who can’t, or simply won’t accept such evidence, or refuse to connect the dots for themselves, will most likely be compelled to personally attack those who do. This patterned behavior stereotypically repeats every time we are confronted with distressing news that runs contrary to our entrenched vested interests. In this regards, John Michael Greer and his Long Descent acolytes are right on cue, as with everyone who probably has a book with the word “Long” in its title.

    Similar behavior can also be observed in Alex Smith choosing to put such emphasis on Malcolm light’s paper in attempting to debunk NTE. However flawed Light’s paper might be for attempting to put such an exact date on NTE with so few data sets, Smith’s singling out Light’s work in context to the ever growing list of available evidence which Guy has put forth, borders on being disingenuous.

    Many here at NBL have been openly critical of AMEG’s geo-engineering agenda, and consider their “solutions” to be highly suspect. I have been critical of Light’s paper from the beginning, and have questioned Guy’s choice to stand behind it. I consider it to be scientifically indefensible at this early stage of development, where it will only allow for continued obfuscation of more compelling data, as can been heard with Alex Smith.

    However, regardless of Light’s histrionics, it is only one very small piece of this unraveling puzzle. Remove it completely and very little changes in regards to the mountain of evidence revealing the end of the Holocene.

    But as for obfuscating, just look at how far the pendulum must swing (Smith and Archer in the Ecoshock show @ 42:30 mins) in attempting to disprove the theory of NTE. They actually hypothesize that a sudden release of 50 gigatonnes of methane could actually be what “humanity needs to wake up!” They actually attempt to turn this epochal catastrophe into a potentially positive event. That stunning twist of logic is no less junk science than anything Malcolm light has come close to.

    Such thinking is so unbelievable–and from a climate expert no less–it seriously makes me question to what depth our collective cognitive dissonance is going to delve in attempting to reconcile what we can’t accept.

    As for NBL being a “cult”, suicide or otherwise, I’ll assume my share of the mantle, given I’m one who has openly discussed the role of suicide in regards to avoiding either predation or starvation.

    For starters, there was no way “we” could have initiated a conversation about NTE, and not have eventually been labeled as being some kind of death cult. This was inevitable, there is just no way ANYONE could attempt to openly discuss such dire evidence and its implications, and imagine the vast majority of humanity would not negatively react, even within “collapse groups” who naturally share a greater understanding of such dire news.

    NTE is the ultimate schism. It is literally the end of everything, starting with social cohesion. But here’s the bizarre thing, the whole of industrial civilization equates to nothing more than a passive suicidal death cult.

    The acceptance of NTE is a Trojan Horse of incommensurate resignation. It is as close to a complete mind killer as we’ve ever experienced. Guy will be completely ridiculed and dismissed–as JMG so ineffectively attempted to do by completely avoiding the nonlinear rates of change which NTE is based–until it can’t be physically avoided. JMG reaction to Guy is such typical ad hominem slander it is as equally sad as it is expected.

    The whole topic of NTE at this point in time, will be a field day for mischaracterization from all contrarian vested interests, if for us “cultists” only being slightly ahead of such a daunting curve.

  88. Daniel Says:

    @ Ulvfugl

    Excellent synopsis!

  89. Henry Says:

    Agree, Daniel’s description of our/Guy’s role and authenticity, and on Ulvfugl’s excellent synopsis. (I put something over on Transition voice, too.) Will re-read both of you after mo-mo-mowing!

    Of course we are a cult!!! Let’s apply now for the tax exemption available for religious groups! Think of the financial benefits.

    Now, we would need to have some really fine designer robes to wear, maybe with pictures of polar bears and garden slugs and phytoplankton on them. And donkeys.

    And of course, the liturgy. We must require that it be rendered all in limerick style. OK, haiku, too, Denise.

    We will build a $50 million “clathrate” chapel somewhere, probably on a rock pile in the desert, where we will await our water-bearing unicorns. As the donations roll in from our telethons. (Don’t think you won’t see just this from some enterprising preacher types!)

    I suppose we could fund ourselves by selling special NTE NBL-blessed Seed Packets, guaranteed to sprout and grow, post-extinction.

    And JMG, eat your heart out (or start your own — maybe the Druids already have?), b’cuz we’ll be rollin’ in the dough-re-mi, toute suite! (J-J-J-Joking, bro’)

    OK, maybe the gasoline fumes from my trimmer got to me last night; time to go out and slay more excess greenery on my hillside…

  90. kevin moore Says:

    ulvfugl

    ‘Kevin mentioned somewhere that we’d need to ‘get to 235 ppm to stabilise the climate’ ( I think ? where does that come from ? )’

    I don’t remember ever writing that; if I did it was to demonstrate the impossibility of the task. 235ppm is way below the ‘normal’ range, which is effectively 260ppm to 320ppm, rarely deviating much from 280ppm to 300ppm. 235ppm is too low and would push us into ‘snowball Earth. And totally unachievable. Indeed, 350ppm is totally unachievable. Stabilisation at 400ppm is totally unachievable. Stabilisation at 420ppm is unachievable. Stabilisation at 450ppm is totally unachievable.

    In ‘Burn Baby Burn’ (published 2001) I wrote: ‘Note that levels above 350ppm are associated with increasing deviation from historically normal weather patterns’. Atmospheric CO2 was about 372ppm at the time. I have learned a lot over the past decade or so. Most politicians and the bulk of general public have learned nothing.

    In ‘The Easy Way’ I wrote: In combination, positive feedbacks add up to the nightmare scenario of out-of-control warming, otherwise known as runaway greenhouse, whereby the Earth’s average temperature could rise several degrees in a matter of a few decades, rendering much of the Earth uninhabitable for humans or other large mammals, not simply because of the temperature but because the temperatures would devastate entire ecosystems.’

    I also wrote in TEW: ‘How can we possibly have confidence in official policy which talks about stabilising the carbon dioxide level at 450ppm, when there is no evidence that such stabilisation can be achieved.’

    That followed (several afterwards) from my rejection of the Stern Report, available on oilcrash.com. Interestingly, Stern has admitted HE got it wrong.

    It rather looks as though we had to have the target of stabilising CO2 at below 350ppm long before it got to 350ppm and have in place mechanisms* for withdrawing more CO2 from the atmosphere than was being put into the atmosphere before we got to 350ppm, so we would have been on the way to reducing CO2 to 320ppm during the 1980s – 1990s.

    * such as manufacturing ‘coal’ from organic matter and burying it.

    All we know now is that we are headed into totally uncharted territory that looks an awful lot like previous extinction events, in particular the Permian extinction event.

    The fact that life on Earth continued through and after previous extinction events may give some people cause for hope.

  91. Speak Softly Says:

    1# Climate Models with feedback loops included

    No one has made a credible climate model WITH the positive feedback loops, not even for intellectual curiosity or to simple rule out the possibility they are irrelevant to the outcome.

    Where would competent, honest scientists get the grants and funding for a Positive Feedback Climate Model?

    (Hey, the people giving the grants are probably such morons that they would assume the word ‘positive’ in the title of the grant proposal was a Good Thing and OK the funding!)

    The Reptiles Masquerading as Mammals (RMM) currently controlling the levers of power don’t want a Positive Feedback Climate Model ever made. Extend and pretend, they will block funding of it at all costs.

    Unless of course the RMM want to use such a study to totally scare the crap out of the Sheeples so they will surrender the last remaining shreds of their freedom and wealth to them in exchange for a Solution (a final solution).

    So if a Positive Feedback Climate Model ever get’s made, we might get a real glimpse at the reality of the situation and STOP speculating with the lame linear data (LLD) that does not include them.

    2# Uneven release of methane

    The methane releases will not be evenly distributed over any given area. It will look like swiss cheese from above with the ‘air pockets’ of methane shifting and bubbling in a time lapse. The methane clathrate deposits are not uniform in density or location or exposure to warm water. The Arctic Ocean is heating up from every direction, loss of albedo, heat sinking from the air, warm currents entering from the Atlantic Fram Strait and the Pacific Bering Strait.

    3# The SPEED of the change.

    Nowhere in the literature of the fossil records, ice cores, sediment layers, tree rings..etc… do I see any evidence of CO2 increasing as RAPID as what humans have done in the last couple hundred years.

    In fact the historic record of CO2 increase is MAGNITUDES slower than what good old lovable h s sapian has managed to put off.

    So all you fence sitters, time to put up or…

    So me the beef, show me the meat of your case, show me some logical rational reasoning that makes the case that it does not matter if atmospheric CO2 goes up 100ppm in a century OR it goes up 100ppm over say 10,000 or 100,000 years.

    Standing in front of a rock face where the layers record back through 100’s of millions of years, the ash layer from the Big asteroid collision in the Gulf of Mexico is very, very, very thin compared to the rest of geologic time in that rock face. The two hundred years of industrial civilization is a blip in the record and yet it will look like it happened almost as fast as that asteroid collision ash layer.

    It’s like trying to make the case that it doesn’t matter if a 100,000 lbs of ammonium nitrate slowly oxidizes in the soil in the field next to your house or it oxidizes in a few milliseconds in a factory explosion next to your house.

    Does the speed of the CO2 build up matter when compared to the geologic record?

    The consequences of this rate of speed of change is the real danger, not the fact that the CO2 or methane produces warming.

    Show me where in the records of Earth that the atmosphere had this much CO2 added this fast.

  92. Tom Says:

    Daniel – I don’t think it’ll be too much longer before it becomes painfully obvious to everyone that civilization is proceeding in the direction of NTE and that civilization has been a giant scam. What’s even worse is when the majority of the populace “figures it out” it’ll lead to the complete breakdown of society, governments, politics, agriculture, food and necessity distribution, medical care and the economy of fiat money will crumble. This will strike like lightening – some day the whole world will begin thrashing around wildly, leaderless, the banks will close up. Food stores will be raided, lots of violence everywhere about everything and police will be unprepared and many of them will go rogue – even the military will dissolve. Disease will skyrocket once medical care is overwhelmed and frozen up due to economic collapse (what, you expect the doctors and nurses to work for free? Even if they did, supplies won’t be replenished). How long before the electrical grid goes down? That’s when we start climbin’ the exponential curve ever-more steeply in ever less time.

    The pace of collapse will pick up and these will be the good-ol’ days when we used to communicate with complete strangers that you could almost picture in front of you reading their words – people you’ve gotten to know via a glorified typewriter attached to a phone.

    I appreciate being here with all of you.

    Song for yas (or using the Philly vernacular, yous)

    http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AnKSYEJoGSUnFPCmSj353mubvZx4?fr=yfp-t-656-1-s&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&p=useless%20desires%20patty%20griffin

    “Useless Desires” Patty Griffin

    Say goodbye to the old street
    That never cared much for you anyway
    The different-colored doorways
    You thought would let you in one day
    Goodbye to the old bus stop, frozen and waiting
    The weekend edition has this town way overrated

    You walk across a baseball field
    The grass has turned to straw
    A flock of birds tries to fly away from where you are
    Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye old friend
    I can’t make you stay
    I can’t spend another ten years
    Wishing you would anyway

    How the sky turns to fire against a telephone wire
    And even I’m getting tired of useless desires

    Every day I take a bitter pill that gets me on my way
    For the little aches and pains
    The ones I have from day to day
    To help me think a little less about the things I miss
    To help me not to wonder how I ended up like this

    I walk down to the railroad track and ride a rusty train
    With a million other faces I shoot through the city veins
    Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye old friend
    You wanted to be free
    Somewhere beyond the bitter end is where I want to be

    How the sky turns to fire against a telephone wire
    And even I’m getting tired of useless desires

    Say goodbye to the old building
    That never tried to know your name
    Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye old friend
    You won’t be seeing me again
    Goodbye to all the windowpanes shining in the sun
    Like diamonds on a winter day
    Goodbye, goodbye to everyone

    How the sky turns to fire against a telephone wire
    Burns the last of the day down
    And I’m the last one hangin’ around
    Waiting on a train track, and the train never comes back
    And even I’m getting tired of useless desires

  93. infanttyrone Says:

    Question for Guy, or anyone…even Bueller…

    I’ve watched a number of your presentations on Youtube, and I am pretty sure that, on each of the versions I’ve seen, you mention the 2010 Amazon reversal (releasing CO2 instead of capturing it) in the section where you go over the 9/10/11/x positive feedback loops.

    This is only nit-picking with regard to terminology, but if the activity in the Amazon is a positive feedback loop, shouldn’t the CO2 release there be increasing ?

    Are we still waiting for data about what happened in the Amazon during 2011 & 2012 ?

    If the data are already available and the reversal in 2010 was a (so far) one-off thing, it might be useful to mention it last in that section and refer to it as a profoundly dangerous evet that could become a positive feedback loop if Brazil gets an extended drought condition.

    Question for TRDH or any other medically qualified NBL’er

    Folks here have occasionally referred to keeping a supply of medication on hand in case suicide turns out to be the best option for them.

    Medications have expiry dates past which their efficacy is not guaranteed.

    If one were prepared to inject one or more large air bubbles into a vein or artery, would a syringe of sufficient volume be adequate to insure fairly quick death ?

    If so, what’s your best guess as to how large a syringe would be needed ?

    For Kathy C

  94. Denise Says:

    @Padraig O’Cathallain

    Who is Martin?

  95. Padraig O'Cathallain Says:

    @Denise

    That’s the question. Indeed, who is Martin? Any ideas?

  96. Lidia Says:

    @infanttyrone:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/08/news/la-heb-expired-drugs-still-work-study-20121008

    It’s pretty obvious that doctors and pharmacies and Big Pharma make tons of money by having people buy two and three times the drugs/visits they need to. I also saw reference to a WSJ article citing military studies about their drug stockpiles, concluding that most stuff lasts decades. Have not tracked that one down.

  97. Erin Says:

    U, that was a fantastic summary. Very well put.
    BtD, your prowess increases with time.

    Re: injecting air to kill yourself. Forget it. People in the hospital ask about this all the time. They see a small bubble in the IV line and call the nurse to ask if that will kill them. I tell them that the amount of air that would have to be shot into a large vein all at once under pressure is about half that bag of fluid hanging there, much more than all the space in the plastic line that goes from the bag to your arm. Unconcious people sometimes have their IV run out and the tubing sits there, empty, for hours before some poorly paid stooge comes by and notices it.

    No, that’s not the way. And helium is now in short supply. TRDR, how about those opium poppies?

  98. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Daniel, John Stassek, Henry,

    Thanks for compliments.

    @ kevin moore

    Apologies if I misattributed, I think the 2 was a typo, it should have been 335ppm, someone said it, in a comment recently, I had an idea it was you on xray’s site, but I read so many blogs and forums I sometimes lose track. I agree with what you say in your comment.

    @ infanttyrone

    Not answering your question directly, but related :

    The Amazon has been shrinking for years due to deforestation and pollution, but now fires in the understory have burned 3% of the rainforest in the last 12 years. The forest fires are adding to the destruction what is already precarious, shrinking land.

    NASA said that in the study that 1999 and 2010, understory forest fires burned more than 33,000 square miles-which amounts to roughly 3% of the forest in 12 years.

    Generally, the fires are caused by humans. Cigarettes, cooking, and burning waste can start them. But they’re not the massive forest fires related to deforestation-rather, they are small fires, burning slowly in the understory.

    Dryness and low nighttime humidity add to the risk. The flames in understory fires are only a few feet high and often burn for weeks at a time.

    http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/30687/20130609/amazon-fires-forest-nasa.htm


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