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The river of human folly

Sat, May 17, 2014

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by Ray Jason at The Sea Gypsy Philosopher

 

It was a self-imposed exile.  My initial diagnosis was “world weariness,” but after a few days of solitude on the Rio Chagres, it became clear to me that my true ailment was “human weariness.”  How could my species be so foolish, so destructive, so self-absorbed, and so unaware of the consequences of its actions?  It saddened me and it astonished me.  So I had come here to escape from humanity in order to contemplate it more clearly.

Twice a day I would row as far up the river as the strength of the contrary current would permit me.  Then I would lazily drift back down to AVENTURA in my inflatable dinghy.  As I floated downstream, I savored a tapestry of exquisite beauty – the threads included shimmering water and bird song and fish play and sky and monkey trees in the jungle.  By the fifth day, clarity was emerging as the river breezes and the exotic night sounds healed me.  The paradoxical magic of Solitude blessed me once again.  For days on end there was not a single human in view, but this absence intensified my focus on the human project – until it seemed as sharp as the vision of the osprey that circled overhead.

Here is what I saw.  Civilization seems to be hurtling down two disastrous paths that are contrary to each other and yet connected to each other.  The first course is a societal ruination that is so catastrophic that I refer to it as apocalyptic collapse – or to create a term – APOCOLLAPSE.  The second course is a steady but accelerating reshaping of the western democracies into tyrannical police-surveillance states.  I call this FULL SPECTRUM NEO-FEUDALISM.

*******

APOCOLLAPSE  

There are three meta-systems that individually or in combination could de-stabilize the planet so profoundly that the world that we take for granted could vanish with paralyzing swiftness.  I call them the Big Bad “E”s and they stand for Energy, Economics and Ecology.

ENERGY    Our modern techno-industrial society is so dependent on enormous inputs of fossil fuel products that as Peak Oil intensifies prices will skyrocket and supply chains will break-down.  And so huge swaths of daily living that we take for granted will be compromised or eliminated.  The fragility of supermarkets that only stock three days worth of food will be revealed when the trucks can’t deliver the groceries because diesel fuel is unavailable or unaffordable.  The industrial farming system which uses oil and natural gas in tractors, combines, fertilizer, insecticides, and pesticides will wobble to a halt.  The electrical grid will go down as the fuel dribbles away, thus leaving millions of people either sweltering or shivering in the dark.

As for the recent rash (a most appropriate noun) of feel good energy stories – they are a callous and malicious charade underwritten by the energy giants to keep the illusion going … until it just stops going.  A good comparison is the believability of the tobacco industry which deceived and lied and distorted until even their most expensive public relations campaigns could no longer disguise the truth.

ECONOMICS               I would characterize our modern economic system as a perverse mating of absurdity and evil.  At least the villainous Robber Barons of the 19th century actually “made things.”  They may have been ruthless and greedy, but they produced steel and railroads and light bulbs.  But our current financial titans have only one real talent.  They are masters of deceit – of smoke and mirrors and collusion and corruption.  Try heating your home with credit default swaps or try filling your car’s gas tank with collateralized debt obligations.

These financial demigods acquire their obscene fortunes not by producing anything of worth to society, but by a dark web of manipulation.  They own the politicians of both parties.  The government agencies that should police them are packed with “regulators” that used to work for the very banks that they are supposed to monitor.  They are the owners of and the beneficiaries of the Federal Reserve.  This omnipotent agency, which many mistakenly assume works for The People via the government, is actually a creation of the biggest and most powerful banks.  I think of the Fed as the pool boy for the Too Big to Jail banks.

This financial criminality has led to a global economic panorama that is appalling and suicidal.  Most of the banks of the first world are insolvent.  Their true assets vs. obligations portfolios have been hidden by money pumping from the central banks and the IMF which, ironically also has no real money.  The fiat currency system, which is the foundation for all of this insanity, is now being called into question more and more frequently.  This scrutiny is well deserved since there has not been a single fiat currency in the history of the world that survived.  The supremacy of the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency and as the petro-dollar is also being challenged.  China and Russia would love to terminate this advantage, which has given the U.S. a “get out of debtor’s jail” free pass for decades.

In summary, the economic big picture is horrendous.  The gap between the rich and the poor has become so gigantic that the disgruntled underclass is starting to become angry.  The enormous debts of many nations are now so ludicrous that these countries have to borrow money just to pay the interest on previously borrowed money.  And there is an enormous pool of financial dark matter circling the planet like an invisible Death Star.  This is the multi-trillion dollar derivatives swindle.  One day, in the form of an enormous black dragon swan, it will darken the sky above the executive “team-building” picnic of a major corporation and divest them of their “all is well” delusions.

ECOLOGY    There are two diametrically opposed trends on the environmental landscape.  On the one hand the vast majority of climate scientists are continually adjusting their previous predictions because their “worst case scenarios” were not worst case enough.  Not only are they altering the severity of the various calamities, but also the speed at which they are occurring.

The methane vents in Siberia are expanding faster than predicted.  There are severe droughts in most of the world’s primary bread baskets.  The Arctic ice shelf might completely disappear in the next few summers.  The wettest forest in the world – the Amazon – is regularly catching fire.  I could list a dozen other examples, but the trend is that things are deteriorating more significantly and at a faster pace than expected.

On the opposite hand, the “climate change denial” camp is growing.   The fact that the obscenely rich oligarchs have funded thousands of lobbyists in Washington to sway the opinions of Congress is the main factor in this increase.  And the fact that these politicians are handed bullet points based on “scientific” studies that these same industrialists bankrolled, is repulsive.  What sort of sick sentient being would bequeath his grandchildren a smoldering planet just so that he can move further up the Forbes Richest People list?

So, in conclusion, the APOCOLLAPSE seems inevitable.  There is no reason to believe that some sort of Tesla energy miracle will suddenly appear out of nowhere.  The economic insanity that threatens our way of life is utterly monumental due to the interwoven nature of global finance and commerce in the 21st century.  And we are approaching so many ecological tipping points that it will become impossible for 7 billion people to continue to survive at our current standard of living.

*******

FULL SPECTRUM NEO-FEUDALSIM

            Any honest analysis of 21st century American democracy must conclude that it is a sham.  Certainly there is still the façade, but it is as phony as a Hollywood movie set.  The trappings of a republic are still there, but the actual “power of the people” has vaporized.  It has been supplanted by the power of the RICH PEOPLE.  If the wealthy campaign contributors want a war in Iraq, it does not matter that 80% of the population is against it.

No matter which political party is in power, the results are still basically the same.  And that’s because mega-wealthy individuals and enormous corporations donate to both campaigns, so that regardless of the outcome, the victor must grant them access and influence.  Even the two party system itself, is symptomatic of the corruption at the core of our pseudo-republic.  Any third party candidate who poses a genuine threat to the status quo is attacked and marginalized.  Instead of citizen legislators, it has become a world of millionaire career politicians.  And the phrases “term limits” and “genuine campaign finance reform” are not permitted in polite company.

It is bad enough that the U.S. political scene has become an exclusionary zone where only the prominent have access, but what is worse is the direction that this Plutocracy is headed.  It feels like the country of my youth has disappeared and been replaced by an imposter. Here are some examples:

  • The Middle Class, which should be the bulwark of democracy, is being knowingly destroyed.
  • Instead of being outraged by the use of torture, my government now commits it.
  • The power of the press has been neutered.  They have forsaken their role as societal watch-dogs, and have instead become political lapdogs.
  • Instead of supporting “self-determination” the U.S. is despised around the world for its imperial policies in support of its gigantic corporations.
  • The Posse-Comitatus Act, which forbids the use of the military in domestic police duty, is being overtly and covertly undermined.
  • The NDAA act gives the President the power to indefinitely detain (imprison) almost anyone that is perceived as a threat to the State.
  • The nation is being rapidly turned into an Orwellian nightmare whereby the government can spy on all of your communications.
  • Instead of being honored and encouraged, whistleblowers are being vilified and imprisoned.
  • Local police forces all across the country are being militarized as though the powers that rule are preparing for revolution.  Cops have morphed from crime stoppers into enforcers.

All of these bullet points are symptomatic of a government that seeks more and more control of its citizens.  The inescapable trend is towards a society in which a tiny group is extremely rich and powerful and the vast majority is an underclass of modern serfs that run the machines that spew out the profits.  It has all of the markings of a science fiction nightmare that is turning into reality.

*******

Now that I have outlined these two powerful forces – APOCOLLAPSE and FULL SPECTRUM NEO-FEUDALISM – allow me to discuss the dynamic between the two.  The big issue is whether the tyrants, who seek massive domination of humanity through their thugs and surveillance, will succeed with their control freak fantasies before civilization either suddenly implodes or gradually falls over.  If the Big Bad “E”s do initiate a societal meltdown, then large governments will suddenly be neutered.  The seemingly almighty rulers will swiftly be transformed from harem masters into eunuchs, as everything becomes smaller and more local.

If on the other hand the demagogues do manage to impose their Orwellian nightmare on large parts of the world, I believe that the APOCOLLAPSE will still occur.  And that is because even a Soylent Green world needs energy and a livable biosphere and an economic system that is not laughably dysfunctional.  Therefore, to me, the major question is whether the world will unravel before the Malignant Overlords have managed to fully erect their wet dream control grid.  It would certainly be preferable if a few generations of serfs did not have to live under police state oppression as the lights flicker out and the erupting methane vents make breathing a hellish ordeal.

*******

As for how an individual or a family can respond to these tragic scenarios, these are my beliefs.  I know that I can’t stop any of the Big Bad “E”s from continuing down the seemingly irreversible paths that lead to APOCOLLAPSE.  Nor do I think that any citizen or group of people can derail the hideous locomotive of FULL SPECTRUM NEO-FEUDALISM.  I suspect that both non-confrontational methods and revolution in the streets are both doomed to failure.

But I do believe that a wise person and his loved ones can prepare themselves so that they have at least a chance of escaping and surviving.  And for those who succeed, they will face a difficult but wondrous challenge.  Their mission will be to sculpt a new human living arrangement that combines the best elements of civilization with the best aspects of pre-civilized tribal cultures.

For over ten thousand generations we human animals GOT IT RIGHT!  We lived in a manner that was sustainable, communal, joyous, egalitarian and compassionate.  And we showed awe and reverence for the non-human world that cocooned us.  We have lost our way only in the last few thousand years when Agriculture ended tribal society and ushered in Civilization.  Unfortunately, the shining benefits of this new societal structure blinded us to the devastating side effects.  We did not realize that hierarchy and division of labor would lead to rulers and priests and armies and wars and rich and poor and destruction and despair.

*******

Personally, I no longer choose to “rage against the machine.”  It seems like a hopeless task and a misuse of my time, energy and intellect.  Instead, I believe that there is greater wisdom in attempting to conceptualize what might arise “on the other side of Collapse.”  That strikes me as a worthwhile and incredibly vital pursuit.  My essay on that topic is already pretty well sketched out.  I am tentatively calling it “On the Far Side of Oblivion.”

But its completion will require more time on the river – in sacred harmony with the whispering water – and the creatures that it nurtures.

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If you have registered, or you intend to register, please send an email message to guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com. I’ll approve your registration as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience.

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17-18 May 2014, all day, Terra Nova de Corazón, Ecuador, grief-recovery workshop (details on poster below, click here for additional information, and follow the event on Facebook here)

Ecuador

4 June 2014, Wyoming, debate with H. Leighton Steward, who often represents the fossil-fuel industry. Read about Steward here.

Wyoming debate flyer

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Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power and by more than 30 readers at Amazon.

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140 Responses to “The river of human folly”

  1. Wester Says:

    Do nothing? Let me try to be polite as possible. Albert Camus would probably tie you and your ilk to the stake, brother Jason.

  2. Ray Jason Says:

    Greetings Wester,

    Try reading my last few paragraphs again. It clearly states that the standard mode of trying to stop Apocollapse or to outgun Homeland Security is less advisable than attempting to re-vision what survives afterwards. I even mention my almost finished essay on this topic. Plus as a regular NBL “commenter” you know that my Sea Gypsy Tribe essays re-posted here are a unique and possibly achievable way to survive the calamities and reshape a wiser humanity. So how exactly is that “DOING NOTHING?” And what is your grand contribution?

    Ray Jason

  3. B9K9 Says:

    “I no longer choose to “rage against the machine.” It seems like a hopeless task and a misuse of my time, energy and intellect. Instead, I believe that there is greater wisdom in attempting to conceptualize what might arise “on the other side of Collapse.”

    Nice summary – pretty much encapsulates the entire state of our current existence. In terms of attempting to game play logical outcomes, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a matrix of unmanageable proportions. Since there’s too many variables and not enough constants to address the complexity, all one can do @ this point is have enough patience to wait it out until the dominoes start falling.

    So what to do while waiting? Well, I’m right there with you in terms of spending time attempting to conceptualize the other side of the bottleneck. And what I keep coming back to is fairly simple: try and get in the best physical & mental health you can achieve.

    When people begin to awaken from the matrix en masse, someone needs to be calm enough to try and talk them away from the ledge. When stress levels begin to rise and resources become scarce, your body is the only thing separating survivors from those who have fallen. Think Trail of Tears, Bataan or any of the many unrecorded, long forgotten great refugee migrations of yore.

    The evil minions will attempt control, but the vast state apparatus requires too many energy inputs. Once it begins to fray, the whole system will just let loose in a torrent. Personally, I don’t see how anyone under 50 (maybe 60) is going to miss out experiencing this event within their lifetime.

  4. B9K9 Says:

    “I no longer choose to “rage against the machine.” It seems like a hopeless task and a misuse of my time, energy and intellect. Instead, I believe that there is greater wisdom in attempting to conceptualize what might arise “on the other side of Collapse.”

    Nice summary – pretty much encapsulates the entire state of our current existence. In terms of attempting to game play logical outcomes, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a matrix of unmanageable proportions. Since there’s too many variables and not enough constants to address the complexity, all one can do @ this point is have enough patience to wait it out until the dominoes start falling.

    So what to do while waiting? Well, I’m right there with you in terms of spending time attempting to conceptualize the other side of the bottleneck. And what I keep coming back to is fairly simple: try and get in the best physical & mental health you can achieve.

    When people begin to awaken from the matrix en masse, someone needs to be calm enough to try and talk them away from the ledge. When stress levels begin to rise and resources become scarce, your body is the only thing separating survivors from those who have fallen. Think Trail of Tears, Bataan or any of the many unrecorded, long forgotten great refugee migrations of yore.

    The evil minions will attempt control, but the vast state apparatus requires too many energy inputs. Once it begins to fray, the whole system will just let loose in a torrent. Personally, I don’t see how anyone under 50 (maybe 60) is going to miss out experiencing this event within their lifetime.

  5. cosec00 Says:

    I think this paraphrased quote is the only appropriate response. ‘The common enemy of humanity is man.’
    It is attributed to the Club of Rome and while it is oft cited by Agenda 21ers as a basis for nefarious plot. The sentence doesn’t actually appear in their 1991 publication, The First Global Revolution. But it is a good headline for what it actually says in that publication: “In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

  6. Green Says:

    Apocollapse does seem inevitable and the trifecta of “E’s” is upon us. I believe that what is to come is beyond our wildest imaginations.

  7. steve Says:

    Again and again the only people this website attracts are the rankly anthropocentric and nauseously narcissistic. These humans have never loved any other living being outside that pathetic little circle of useless humans dominated by the grossly entitled penised-persons! The reason their is no hope for us or any others is this cowardly ,disgusting, do-nothing, blah, blah, blah whining white male crap of I better only think of me, me, fucking me, me!!! And yes, you useless fucking creep (Sea gypsy philosopher) of no nothing human feces I currently risk my worthless entitled white male existence going to jail to try and slow this ecocidal train wreck. I love you Guy for telling the truth, but how in the hell do you let these patriarchal Nazi sympathizers post on your Website their whining oh my god the world is ending I better protect precious, precious me, me, me Ad nauseum Ad infinitum at all cost

  8. mo flow Says:

    sounds like the cat must have peed in steve’s cheerios again.

  9. Shep Says:

    Look, Steve, why not just leave the blog instead of going bonkers? Your angst is palpable and a danger to yourself. Sort of like a screwy form of suicide.

  10. JohnD Says:

    Humans never “got it right”. Not a rational thing to say. We, as self-centered mammals, consumed what we could find and use, organized as we needed, reproduced and adapted. There IS no right! We never lived sustainably, pre-agricultural man just didn’t have the numbers to make a big dent in our ecosystems. Our great success is also our great failure. It has nothing to do with “right”.

    The fossil fuel abundance that has sustained us for the last two centuries is not our fault. It is simply the nature of the reality we discovered. Fossil energy and a brain that is programmed towards “more” (status, population, sex, power, money, whatever)is/was the cards we were dealt.

    The idea that humans are somehow bad because we act out the same impulses that other animals do, but with infinitely greater success due to our ability to harvest fossil fuels is ridiculous.

    We’ll go extinct, or not. So what? Really, so what?

  11. ulvfugl Says:

    We’ll go extinct, or not. So what? Really, so what?

    Because when I read that, I share steve’s righteous fury, that it’s not all about US !

  12. Hermies Purrbuckets Says:

    This essay really resonated with me. Firstly, the author’s acknowledgment of the sacred joys of solitude – a profoundly blissful, if bittersweet, state where one sees clearly that human society is the problem, not the cure – mirrors that revelation which all those proposing to become enlightened would encounter on their journey to wisdom.

    Secondly, the accurate pinpointing of the two heads of the hideous “Hydra” which promises extinction – aptly named by him a “Neo-Feudalistic Apocollapse”, rings true.

    Evil men (rich and white, primarily) have always run the world, and will til the world is no more.

    Just as in history, the kings and their minions will crush the serfs in a deteriorating post-industrial environment, and reap whatever spoils of the calamity which they can get their mitts on.

    This awareness of thus being the final days is just one of the reasons some of us thank our lucky stars that we did not breed, and will not be subjecting more innocent life into this wholly unjustifiable existence.

    I do disagree with Jason’s belief that human beings “got it right” for 10,000 years, and then suddenly got greedy. Human history from its inception has been a chronicle of cruelty, greed and ignorance, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that Homo sapiens is an evil incarnation, and irredeemable. Not every individual everywhere, but the majority as a group. In an evil species, an individual is either a perpetrator or a victim of evil. There is no middle ground.

    Which is why the destruction of the human race is a glorious, highly-desired goal. The human race is a a cancer that has finally figured out a way to wipe itself off its host planet. To that we should all shout “Hallelujah!”

  13. Tom Says:

    http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/saudi-arabia-reports-3-more-mers-deaths-as-who-calls-on-countries-to-step-up-prevention/

    Saudi Arabia reports 3 more MERS deaths, as WHO calls on countries to step up prevention

    Meanwhile, here in the U.S.:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/05/12/second_mers_case_reported_in_us.html

    Florida doctors are treating the second known U.S. case of MERS, announced just three days after the country’s first patient was discharged from a hospital in Indiana.

    The MERS coronavirus — which stands for Middle East respiratory syndrome — is a cousin of the SARS virus and has infected at least 536 people since April 2012, according to the World Health Organization. Of those, 145 — about 27 per cent — have died.
    Although every MERS infection can be traced back to countries in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, there has been a surge in cases since late March, with lab tests confirming more than 330 infections in the last six weeks.

    Travellers have also been “exporting” the virus to new countries and MERS has recently turned up in Egypt, Greece, Malaysia and the Philippines.

    U.S. health officials say the country’s first two cases are not linked and there is no need to panic. [I hate when "officials" say that - it's like a curse or a jinx]

    ["read the rest of the article if interested" or rtrotaii, pronounced 'retro tie']

    Good luck with your sea gypsy tribe Jason.

  14. mt Says:

    Haven’t read the essay yet, but it sure is nice out here today. I’m gonna miss this….

  15. ugotstahwonder Says:

    Agree with all of it, but for those of us with little in the way of ‘loved ones’ I find trying to live as simply and peacefully, enjoying things humbly, and gradually coming up with a workable suicide plan makes more sense than contemplating getting to and what I might do in a post-bottleneck world. At 50, I don’t feel it is necessary, appropriate or desirable for me to be one of the survivors.

  16. Sugar Daddy Says:

    Billionaires are smarter, study says cnbc. com/id/101679720

    “The top 1% in wealth highly overlaps with the top 1% in brains.”
    –Jonathan Wai, Duke University

    The inevitable evolution of human intelligence is often regarded by the stupid as a horrible development. And to the stupid, it is, indeed.

    To the few rich, it’s, as Ray opines, a wet dream. Domination is sexual. It’s a charge. Orgasmic.

    “Nature primes winners to keep winning and losers to keep losing. The winner effect is not exclusive to the savannah. Sports scientists have observed it in tennis, rugby, football and even chess. Winning athletes experience a post-game spike in testosterone. Even the fans of winning teams vicariously experience a testosterone surge.”
    wired. co.uk/magazine/archive/2013/01/features/why-men-risk-it-all/page/2

    My advice to the losers of evolution: follow Ruppert’s example. Get out of the way of your betters. Do the evolution, baby!

  17. Sugar Daddy Says:

    Billionaires are smarter, study says cnbc. com/id/101679720

    “The top 1% in wealth highly overlaps with the top 1% in brains.”
    –Jonathan Wai, Duke University

    The inevitable evolution of human intelligence is often regarded by the stupid as a horrible development. And to the stupid, it is, indeed.

    To the few rich, it’s, as Ray opines, a wet dream. Domination is sexual. It’s a charge. Orgasmic.

    “Nature primes winners to keep winning and losers to keep losing. The winner effect is not exclusive to the savannah. Sports scientists have observed it in tennis, rugby, football and even chess. Winning athletes experience a post-game spike in testosterone. Even the fans of winning teams vicariously experience a testosterone surge.”
    wired. co.uk/magazine/archive/2013/01/features/why-men-risk-it-all/page/2

    My advice to the losers of evolution: follow Ruppert’s example. Get out of the way of your betters. Do the evolution, baby!

  18. Robin Datta Says:

    The carriage of oxygen in haemoglobin allowed for large size, with body parts remote from the oxygen exchange site. Most invertebrates do not have this, and are limited in how far from the oxygen exchange site tissues can function. Notable exceptions are among the Coelentrata (which include the jellyfish) that have local oxygen exchange in their various parts even though they can grow quite big, and the Mollusca (which include shellfish, snails, slugs, cuttlefish, squid and octopuses) some of which have a circulating oxygen-carrying compound called haemocyanin.

    The enclosure of the haemoglobin in red blood corpuscles allowed higher concentrations of haemoglobin in the blood without increasing the viscosity. Earthworms have free haemoglobin in their blood, but the concentration of haemoglobin is less than half that of humans. The use of an air-blood exchange mechanism (lungs) is a great deal more efficient than a water-blood exchange mechanism (gills), and hence the largest aquatic vertebrates ever are not the fish even though they originated in water and were the first vertebrates, but the mammals that took back to the water their lungs from the land.

    Homeothermy allowed a steady minimum metabolic rate for the brain; an arboreal phase as primates selected for binocular vision and depth perception needed in jumping from branch to branch and a prehensile hand to grasp branches.

    An upright stance freed the forelimb from ambulation, and combined with binocular vision allowed for spatial manipulation and coordination in the devising and use of tools, which selected for an opposable thumb for fine motor work.

    Once the toolmaking and tool using skills outstripped all other creatures, the only way to avoid perdition would have been through their judicious use, governed by wisdom rather than mere cleverness.

    That did not happen, and here we are. We now have to move on from here, no matter where we can or will go.

  19. ugotstahwonder Says:

    RE – what kind of asshole is Sugar Daddy?

  20. steve Says:

    Like Guy it is necessary to tell the truth and then maybe you will become disturbed enough to actually do something positive to slow down the omnicidal culture that places you at such a privledged point in history so maybe a few less salmon will suffer. Oh that’s right salmon suffering is inconsequential. Damn, I forgot humans are the only worthy life forms. I suppose the French resistance in Nazi held france were practicing some screwy form of suicide. Or the apaches,or the Lakota or the Nigerian mend heroes, or all of the beautiful young people in earthfirst.

  21. Rabble Rouser Says:

    Sorry I have to post this anonymously. I am a sober alcoholic. For over 20 years I have dealt with people in the throws of withdrawal from the powerful forces of addiction.

    Recovery from carbon addiction is possible. There are peer support meetings available to help. Try your local garden. People in recovery hang out there. Gardens are to carbon addiction as a coffeeshop is to an alcoholic. Work out in the green gyms of our national parks (or a local or state park). In this case, a slow river can work wonders. Just get out!

    You may think I am joking, but my personal failures over a couple decades of moderation in my carbon diet. In 2000, I began a full withdrawal from fossil fuel abuse. A couple years ago I realized that walking my talk was necessary, if I was going to post on lists like this, so I am now nearly carbon-free.

    Alone, that is not enough to keep me out of despair. I found that I need regular exposure to people trying to change their lives. So, off to the No KXL protest. There, I will recruit friends to join our carbon free support group. We work to free ourselves and others from carbon addiction, and especially, the side slips into despair.

    Recovery from hating those 1% pushers who promote it is also available, but a little harder. It helps if we understand they suffer from a disease. The native folks call it wetiko.

    Keep up doing what works. And remember, sometimes that rabble just need rousing!

  22. kevin moore Says:

    Unlike Ray Jason, I continue to do what I can to expose the insanity of the system which is rapidly destroying everyone and everything. For what it’s worth, here is a tiny snippet from the ‘information and comment’ I have provided to NPDC in response to the so-called planning process:

    ‘Sadly, there is no known cure for stupidity, though termination of life does put an end to it for individuals. Societies in which stupidity reigns supreme can continue to behave stupidly until the last members die, or in the case of the fossil-fuel-addiction stupidity, until fossil fuels become unaffordable or unavailable. Crazed societies tend continue to behave in a crazed manner until they bankrupt themselves, annihilate most or all of their members, or until whatever is making them crazy stops arriving. In the case of the petro-crazed society we are currently enduring, obesity, diabetes, cancers, smoking, alcohol, drug addiction, mental disorders, motor vehicle accidents etc. are in the process of slowly eliminating huge sectors of society, leaving those who are not caught up in the madness to survive. Rather than fighting the madness, perhaps we should be saying: “Bring it on.” However, we are caught in a catch-22 situation because bringing on petroleum-based insanity greatly reduces our grandchildren’s prospects of mere survival, let alone living on a planet resplendent with life, via disruption of hydrological cycles, dislocation of the jet streams, ocean acidification and all that.

    Curing ignorance is clearly not on the agenda of any western government or council, and apparently will never be on the agenda as long as global corporations, bankers, speculators and opportunists remain in control and ignorant fools continue to do their bidding. Indeed, present economic-political arrangements are predicated on maintaining (or increasing) the high levels of ignorance and stupidity that exist in western societies. Thus, as is the case with most city and district councils, NPDC is more concerned with protocols and procedures, more concerned with re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, than with existential facts.

    Since ignorant fools, who are clamouring for their own destruction (along with everyone else’s) far outnumber the tiny minority of well-informed people prepared to publicly oppose the insanity promoted by governments and councils, only one outcome is possible: the present planetary environmental emergency will rapidly morph into a planetary extinction event exceeding in scale and intensity the Permian Extinction Event, in which most life on Earth perished: temperatures will soar by 1,2,3,4,5 Celsius or more above the long-term average over the coming decades (the CO2 content of the atmosphere hit a new record high of 401.17ppm in the first weeks of April, the biggest surge in atmospheric CO2 level in all of the Earth’s history) because the economic system demands planetary meltdown in order than the profits if corporations be maintained. ‘Nobody’ cares. The Anthropogenic Extinction Event, which the present economic-political system is generating, will certainly occur before 2100, and will very likely occur before 2040, unless there is a complete change in the paradigm by which western societies operate. ‘Nobody’ cares. And ‘nobody’, other than a tiny minority of the populace, wants to stop behaving stupidly because the bulk of the populace have not been given the correct information, i.e. that they are ‘killing’ their children (and if they are young, themselves).

    The publication of the NPDC so-called plan for 2014 to 2015 clearly demonstrates no paradigm shift is occurring: the same nonsense that has been churned out year after year has been churned out yet again, once again in blatant defiance of the requirements of the Local Government Acts, which require councils to plan for the future, to be effective and efficient, and for all processes to be transparent. The big difference between 2014 and previous years is that there is now no time remaining to ‘turn the ship around’.

    Applying the ‘Titanic’ metaphor (I first used in 2000) once again, I tried offering life-jackets and inflatable rafts to boarding passengers; they looked at me as though I was mad and told me: ‘This ship is unsinkable.” I tried pleading with the captain and crew to slow down and check the course; they told me they had a schedule to keep. Now that the captain has managed to plough straight into an iceberg and rip a hole along the hull, and now that water is pouring into the hull, now that the ship is listing and passengers on the lower decks are drowning, the top priority of the captain and the crew is to organise tomorrow’s breakfast menu and decide which tunes the orchestra will play.

    Of course, long before the Earth become uninhabitable for humans and most other vertebrate species (anyone in any doubt about that need only peruse UNIPCC AR5, which has announced that the Earth is on track for more than 2C rise in temperature and that only massive geo-engineering, using untried and untested technology can prevent runaway greenhouse), all present economic and social arrangements will collapse. Indeed, as pointed out by me on numerous occasions, global economic collapse will occur before 2020, and quite possibly before 2016. The latest item from Gail Tverberg, noted author on the matter of global oil supply, confirms our worst fears with respect to energy supply (almost exactly what I presented to NPDC last year and to the mayor at the beginning of this year) and offers a very tiny window of hope with respect to the timing of the meltdown of climate systems and other life-support systems that NPDC refuses to even acknowledge the existence of. (Tim Garret/Guy McPherson: Only collapse of the globalised industrial economy can prevent rapid meltdown of the planet; and it may now be too late for even that).’

    I have not yet decided exactly what I will say to councillors and council officers in the 15 minutes I have been allocated for the hearing but it will include a comments relating to the manufacture of consent and constructing ignorance via shutting down of discussion before it even gets started, as required by the system.

    Since I wrote the ‘information and comment’ [a month ago] the CO2 content of the atmosphere has risen a little higher. However, as I will be dealing with people who are mostly scientifically illiterate and should not even be in positions of responsibility, that fact will be ignored, as will the catastrophic droughts around the world, the political events in Ukraine, the gross imbalances in the NZ economy, the bursting of the Chinese bubble economy etc.

    If there was ever a time for being active, it is now. I just don’t bother wasting my time on the zombies who walk the streets not wanting to know about anything other than sports results or the zombies that operate websites predicated on denial. Been there, done that.

  23. mo flow Says:

    Hermies Purrbuckets –

    I am neither a perpetrator or a victim. I am One with the hummingbirds and the whales, and we would sincerely love it if you would join us!

    until we, too, dance and sing no more.

    I like to think more about how the natural world had the grace and generosity to give so much to us – the life, the air, the sun, the sublime give and take of life and death that Ma Nature has to offer, the plain old everyday beauty and joy, then add more screaming and condemnation to the mix.

    I have lived as an angry human-hating young bloke, alienated from it all. but it was only a protection from my own unhealed pain, before I knew what it meant to become a whole and joyful and fully human being, a complete and recklessly alive part of the same universe that bred me.

    I have been out there for the owls, offering myself up, totally alone, to the mountain lion and the bear, wandering miles into the deepest woods in the depths of night, just to find out if there was anyone out there that needed another voice.

    the balance is weighed, always, when one is alone with oneself.

    “Do anything, but let it produce joy.” ~Whitman

    “Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.” ~Whitman

    “I will sleep no more but arise, You oceans that have been calm within me! how I feel you, fathomless, stirring, preparing unprecedented waves and storms.” ~Whitman

    steve –

    ah, to speak of the truth… OH, such a delicious wonderful truth.

    a truth that knows absolutely nothing of victimhood or surrender.

  24. 18000days Says:

    As the cosmic debt-collection operatives come swaggering up the path, rhythmically pummeling their open left palm with the shaft of a baseball bat held in their right, who among us can claim to be innocent, solvent, in the black, ecologically, economically, energetically, or any other way?

    Unlike many, apparently, I don’t even believe the biosphere itself, (certainly in the frame, as humanity’s immediate puppet-master), is innocent. If, as seems to be the case, it has always been obvious to a few humans where all this ‘progress’ was heading, are we really supposed to believe that the biosphere- of which those humans are an infinitessimal part- didn’t have a clue? That it couldn’t have prevented such developments, if it had wanted to? That it hasn’t in fact engineered the whole trajectory of human civilisation, for it’s own purposes?

    That’s one possibility, anyway.

    Funnily enough, to believe otherwise might be evidence of harbouring a human-centric outlook, with accompanying conceit and hubris, with which you can be manipulated into taking your share of the rap for this shit-storm… or is it just denial and evasion of responsibility, to pretend that I don’t have a human-centric outlook, and that it’s thus not my rap to take?

    Not that it makes any difference…

  25. ulvfugl Says:

    A long time ago I used to respect R Prieur as an original and interesting thinker, but he seems to have lost the plot and got stuck in suspended adolescence. He comments that he sees us as the ‘dumb’ people re NTE and these people as the ‘smart’ people. Seems to me, techno utopian delusion.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/25cnbr/science_ama_series_we_are_researchers_at_the/chfwph4

  26. kevin moore Says:

    ulvfugl.

    ‘A long time ago I used to respect R Prieur as an original and interesting thinker, but he seems to have lost the plot and got stuck in suspended adolescence.’

    Yes.

    However, ‘King Mike’ decided that Prieur was a font of knowledge and wisdom similar to himself, and thereby drove away most of the remaining commenters on CoIC, leaving two or three ‘loyal subjects’. Indeed, one was so loyal he congratulated Mike for refusing to examine evidence and cherry-picking to support faux arguments.

    The river of human folly: ‘Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former': Albert Einstein, US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)

  27. RE Says:

    Amazing how the Batters here can turn a perfectly good essay into a sewer of death discussion.

    “Nothing but the Dead & Dying back on NBL”

    RE

  28. ugotstahwonder Says:

    @ re ‘a sewer of death’? I think not. We are the sewer, not death, if you think about it. What has death ever done to you? All it stands yet to do is something you will one day welcome if not of your volition than out of necessity. What should compel us to run so hard from that which we know will overtake us and it won’t be long whatever the circumstances?

  29. Wester Says:

    @steve fanclub

    “The absurd man, when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols. In the universe suddenly restored to its silence, the myriad wondering little voices of the earth rise up. Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and price of victory. There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night. The absurd man says yes and his effort will henceforth be unceasing. If there is a personal fate, there is no higher destiny.”

    -AC The Myth of Sisyphus

  30. Trish R Says:

    Ray, Thank you for your piece, I enjoyed it. If I may just make a few comments.

    Your quote:

    “We lived in a manner that was sustainable, communal, joyous, egalitarian and compassionate. And we showed awe and reverence for the non-human world that cocooned us.”

    I find the common belief that indigenous cultures are somehow a culture we need to emulate to be somewhat confusing. Yes on the whole they had generally a better and more holistic attitude to the environment but they had their problems. It was not uncommon for indigenous cultures to attack, rape, enslave, sacrifice and pillage other indigenous cultures out and hatred and for their resources. Also, indigenous cultures did not “show awe and reverence” to nonhumans. They murdered nonhumans and hunted some species to extinction. They exploited and killed nonhumans for food, clothing, entertainment and other reasons. There’s nothing respectful about that. Before anyone claims “but indigenous cultures gave thanks to nonhumans after they killed them”. That means nothing and is a nonsense. Indigenous cultures on the whole were as speciesist as we are today.

    The only reason indigenous cultures didn’t end up completely destroying their environment and using up all their resources is because we destroyed their culture and murdered millions of them. Had they continued growing in population unabated, they would most likely have used up must of their resources as well. That’s what we as a species do. We eat through everything like termites. Technology and medical advances have assisted us from putting off the inevitable. Global collapse is on its way and we will take most species with us. As with most species, overshoot and collapse is where we are today. As Carl Sagan said “Extinction is the rule, survival is the exception”

    We torture and murder more nonhumans in 4 days than all genocides, wars, plagues, and murders in all of human history. That’s tremendous violence and if we think that this violence and this attitude that it’s morally acceptable to persecute the vulnerable remains in a vacuum, we are mistaken.

    I’m vegan. I don’t use animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons to the best of my ability. I realise some readers might roll their eyes when I mention this, but as the saying goes, all great truths begin as blasphemies. Many have not been presented with the idea that we don’t have the right to use the vulnerable this way. We have an even greater obligation to give nonhumans our moral consideration *because* they are so vulnerable. We are not even aware of what we are doing when we participate in violence against nonhumans in our daily lives because we are so entrenched in our own speciesist ideology. It’s like breathing to us, but what we are doing is wrong, unjust and it is great violence. I do vegan education because our speciesism and our need to oppress and dominate 99.99% of the planet’s population who are nonhuman is not only wrong and unjust, but is at the root of many of the world’s problems today.

    I find it sad, -and I’ve said this to a few of those who accept that near-term extinction is inevitable- that even with the knowledge that we only have maybe 2 to 4 decades left before complete collapse and imminent extinction, isn’t it profoundly sad and somewhat pathetic, that *even* at this late stage, after ALL the horrific things we have done to nonhuman animals we cannot stop exploiting them in our personal lives and become vegan? I often question why people even at this late stage, and with the knowledge that we have been torturing and murdering them by the trillions since our arrival on the planet (for trivial reasons of palate pleasure, entertainment, convenience and habit), can’t we just STOP?

    About the idea of returning to a simpler time of local communities etc: Due to our population, many of which live in urban areas, most of us will not be able to return to small communities who grow food locally. Some of us who live rurally might, but most of us cannot.

    Unless society becomes vegan, large scale animal agriculture is here to stay until climate change ends it. Of course exploiting animals is so habitual, some scientists now are trying to breed animals who will be able to withstand extreme temperatures due to climate change. How sad is that? “Let go or be dragged” indeed. Animal agriculture has had an absolutely devastating effect on us, the planet and on other animals. The violence we inflict on other animals *and* climate change and so many other issues could be addressed individually by each of us by becoming vegan but in my experience even those who have accepted our imminent near-term extinction are resistant. I find that profoundly sad and bewildering. Apparently many of us prefer to talk about our care for other species and our care for the planet, than actually taking personal responsibility.

    Back to the devastation of animal agriculture and its effects on climate change: A large percentage (Worldwatch Institute reports 51%) of GHG are from animal use industry. Here’s some facts: An acre every second of Amazon Rainforest is cleared to make way for soy crops (or for cows to graze on) to export as animal feed for large feedlots in the US and elsewhere. Think about that for a moment. There goes another few acres. There goes the lungs of the planet. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest has been cleared to grow grain to feed farmed animals. 30% of planet’s arable land has been cleared for animal agriculture. 85% of antibiotics used in the US are fed to animals which is helping in the creation of superbugs. I could go on with the very long list of environmental disasters caused by animal agriculture.

    And let’s not get started on the human rights issue of hunger and water consumption related to animal agriculture. It takes 7lb of grain to make 1lb of steak. It takes a 1000 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk. Animal agriculture in California is the biggest user of water resources and there is an entrenched drought. “Developing countries” are exporting huge amounts of grain to other countries to be used in feedlots for animals. This grain could be used to the hungry. So our animal consumption has a great human cost as well. Human rights and nonhuman rights intersect.

    If we truly claim to respect nonhumans, and if we claim to be for justice and nonviolence, then we have to stop eating, wearing and using them. It’s that simple. And considering that 99.99% of our use of animals is for food, and considering that we can easily meet our nutrition needs from plants (and non-animal sources), then we are inflicting “unnecessary” suffering and death on one trillion land and aquatic nonhumans each year, all for our taste buds. That’s morally unjustifiable if we believe animals morally matter at all.

    So many problems in the world today can be solved by veganism. The most important reason to be vegan is that ALL animals (no matter what species), deserve at least one right– the right not to be used as property and veganism is the step to taking that right seriously. Veganism recognises the moral personhood of nonhuman animals and rejects their property status.

    Anyway, thanks for the essay and best wishes.

  31. Trish R Says:

    I don’t know if my comment went through so I will try again :)

    Ray, I enjoyed your piece. Thanks. If I may just make a few comments.

    Your quote:

    “We lived in a manner that was sustainable, communal, joyous, egalitarian and compassionate. And we showed awe and reverence for the non-human world that cocooned us.”

    I find the common belief that indigenous cultures are somehow a culture to emulate to be somewhat confusing. Yes on the whole they had a generally a better and more holistic attitude to the environment but they had their problems. It was not uncommon for indigenous cultures to attack, rape, enslave, sacrifice and pillage other indigenous cultures out and hatred and for their resources. Also, indigenous cultures did not “show awe and reverence” to nonhumans. They murdered nonhumans and some species to extinction. They exploited and killed nonhumans for food, clothing, entertainment and other reasons. There’s nothing respectful about that. Before anyone claims “but indigenous cultures gave thanks to nonhumans after they killed them”. That means nothing and is a nonsense. Indigenous cultures on the whole were as speciesist as we are today.

    The only reason indigenous cultures didn’t end up completely destroying their environment and using up all their resources is because we destroyed their culture and murdered millions of them. Had they continued growing in population unabated, they would have used up must of their resources as well. That’s what we as a species do. We eat through everything like termites. Technology and medical advances have assisted us from putting off the inevitable. Global collapse is on its way and we will take most species with us. As with most species, overshoot and collapse is where we we are today. As Carl Sagan said “Extinction is the rule, survival is the exception”

    We torture and murder more nonhumans now in 4 days than all genocides, wars, plagues, and murders in all of human history. That’s tremendous violence and if we think that violence and that attitude of persecuting the vulnerable stays in a vacuum, we are mistaken. I’m vegan. I don’t use animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons to the best of my ability. I realise some readers might roll their eyes when I mention this, but as the saying goes, all great truths begin as blasphemies. Many have not been presented with the idea that we don’t have the right to use the vulnerable this way. We have an even greater obligation to give nonhumans our moral consideration *because* they are so vulnerable. We don’t even think about how we participate in violence against nonhumans in our daily lives because we are so entrenched in our own speciesist ideology. But what we are doing is wrong, unjust and it is great violence. I do vegan education because our speciesism and our need to oppress and dominate 99.99% of the planet’s population who are nonhuman is not only wrong and unjust, but is at the root of many of the world’s problems today.

    I find it sad, -and I’ve said this to those who accept that near-term extinction is inevitable- that even with the knowledge that we only have maybe 2 to 4 decades left before complete collapse and imminent extinction, isn’t it profoundly sad and somewhat pathetic, that *even* at this late stage, after ALL the horrific things we have done to nonhuman animals we cannot stop exploiting them in our personal lives and become vegan? I often question why people even at this late stage, and with the knowledge that we have been torturing and murdering them by the trillions since our arrival on the planet (for trivial reasons of palate pleasure, entertainment, convenience and habit), can’t we just STOP?

    About the idea of returning to a simpler time of local communities etc: Due to our population, many of which live in urban areas, most of us will not be able to return to small communities who grow food locally. Some of us who live rurally might, but most of us cannot.

    Unless society becomes vegan, large scale animal agriculture is here to stay until climate change ends it. Of course exploiting animals is so habitual, some scientists now are trying to breed animals who will be able to withstand extreme temperatures due to climate change. How sad is that? “Let go or be dragged” indeed. Animal agriculture has had an absolutely devastating effect on us, the planet and on other animals. The violence we inflict on other animals *and* climate change and so many other issues could be addressed individually by each of us by becoming vegan but even those who have accepted our imminent near-term extinction are resistant. I find that profoundly sad and bewildering. Apparently many of us prefer to talk about our care for nonhumans and our care for the planet, than actually do something concrete.

    Back to the devastation of animal agriculture and its effects on climate change: A large percentage (Worldwatch Institute reports 51%) of GHG are from animal use industry. Here’s some facts: An acre every second of Amazon Rainforest is cleared to make way for soy crops to export as animal feed for large feedlots in the US and elsewhere. Think about that for a moment. There goes another few acres. There goes the lungs of the planet. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest has been cleared to grow grain to feed farmed animals. 30% of planet’s arable land has been cleared for animal agriculture. 85% of antibiotics used in the US are fed to animals which is helping in the creation of superbugs. I could go on with the very long list of environmental disasters caused by animal agriculture.

    And let’s not get started on the human rights issues of hunger and water consumption related to animal agriculture. It takes 7lb of grain to make 1lb of steak. It takes a 1000 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk. Animal agriculture in California is the biggest user of water resources and there is an entrenched drought. “Developing countries” are exporting huge amounts of grain to other countries to be used in feedlots for animals. This grain could be used to the hungry. So our animal consumption has a great human cost as well. Human rights and nonhuman rights intersect.

    If we truly claim to respect nonhumans, and if we claim to be for justice and nonviolence, then we have to stop eating, wearing and using them. It’s that simple. And considering that 99.99% of our use of animals is for food, and considering that we can easily meet our nutrition needs from plants (and non-animal sources), then we are inflicting “unnecessary” suffering and death on one trillion nonhumans each year, all for our taste buds. That’s morally unjustifiable if we believe animals morally matter at all.

    So many problems in the world today can be solved by veganism. The most important reason to be vegan is that ALL animals (no matter what species), deserve at least one right– the right not to be used as property and veganism is the step to taking that right seriously. Veganism recognises the moral personhood of nonhuman animals and rejects their property status.

    Anyway, thanks for the essay and best wishes.

  32. Ram Samudrala Says:

    There is one more meta-system underlying all those, also starts with an E. Evolution. Someone asked in another thread perhaps the biosystem has a reason for allow humanity to go so far in its destructive course. I don’t think the biosystem operates in a top down directed manner – if it did, there would indeed be a god who you could talk to and ask it to change its course of action, or stop it, or whatever. Instead the bottom up process that underlies the biosystem is evolution. The fittest traits will survive. Fitness depends on context and it’s hard to predict a priori what the fittest traits are today for our biosystem, but I’d venture a guess to say that it more resembles what we humans call wisdom than any other trait.

  33. Ram Samudrala Says:

    JohnD writes: “a brain that is programmed towards “more” (status, population, sex, power, money, whatever)” – well, who programmed this brain? It’s not genetic (not even sex; the vast number of people do not want have sex 24/7). Other biological creatures (most, I’d say) don’t have this programming and even if they do, there’re feedbacks that’ve co-evolved to keep it in check (or they end up with an over optimisation problem).

    The NYTimes has this article today: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/opinion/sunday/glass-warfare.html

    I wrote in response to that (and also fits to your comment here):

    “I loved this one. It just shows how far humanity has come now that we’re sated with the basic necessities (at least in the developed world, for the most part). However, instead of Maslow’s hierarchy following its designated course, it has become self-usurped by capitalists!”

  34. RE Says:

    “@ re ‘a sewer of death’? I think not. We are the sewer, not death, if you think about it. What has death ever done to you?”-UGTW

    Get real. All people ever talk about in the commentariat here is DYING. Nobody ever talks about trying to live and make the world a bit better. “It’s all OVAH” here.

    Ray Jason lives a simple life aboard a small boat, and he gets excoriated for this? WTF? Ray Jason is a friend of mine, I publish his material all the time. He is a sensitive type of person, he doesn’t have the rhinocerous thick skin I do when it comes to internet napalm.

    I won’t let such shit stand without standing behind my friend. He may not care to come back at you folks and battle it out, not so me. You mess with Ray, you mess with me too, and I will keyboard out my POV way faster than you ever can, and if necessary record it as an mp3 also. I learned these lessons growing up in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. Sometimes you cannot defend yourself, you need the help of other friends. My keyboard is in the corner of Ray Jason. Have Keyboard, Will Travel.

    You wanna go another round here with me? Feel free, be my guest. I am at the Internet Napalm Game more than 20 years now, I never QUIT. I will go with you until you are DEAD, I am DEAD, or the Internet Goes Dark, whichever comes first.

    Have a Nice Day.

    RE

  35. Noah Says:

    I see two views being propagated; one by the author of the article, that we should be focused on rebuilding after the collapse, and the other, promoted by those who disagree with him, that we should work now to prevent the collapse. But I don’t see why we can’t do both at the same time. We can and should protest, and do what we can to fight the evil that is destroying the planet. But we must also prepare for the fact that we will lose this fight, and do what we can to make it possible for humanity to rebuild after the collapse has run its course.

    There’s no reason to do only one when you can do both.

  36. OzMan Says:

    In line with the title here is the latest floods news from Bosnia and Serbia:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/18/thousands-flee-floods-bosnia-serbia

    ‘Thousands flee floods in Bosnia and Serbia as death toll rises’

    “Packed into buses, boats and helicopters, carrying nothing but a handful of belongings, tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in Bosnia and Serbia to escape the worst flooding in a century.

    Rapidly rising rivers surged into homes, sometimes reaching up to the second floors, sending people climbing to rooftops for rescue. Hundreds were also evacuated in Croatia.

    Authorities said on Saturday 25 people had died, but warned the toll could rise. Tens of thousands of homes were left without electricity or drinking water…..

    Three months’ worth of rain fell on the region in three days last week, creating the worst floods since records began 120 years ago….

    Officials said more than 16,000 people have been evacuated from flood-hit regions in Serbia, many finding shelter in schools and sports halls. Lines of mattresses covered the floors of Belgrade schools, with frightened survivors describing unstoppable torrents that surged in a matter of minutes.

    Mirjana Senic, who lives in the centre of Obrenovac, said that “we thought we had it pretty bad … [but] only when they evacuated us and when we actually saw the amount of water in other parts of town did we realise that we were lucky.”….”

    I recall the legend of Oedipus….

    Was it not the Sphinx that devastated the land of Oedipus’ birth, and was it not the Sphinx that put out the riddle:
    What walks on four legs, two legs, then three legs?

    Oedipus was the only one who guessed correctly, because he had taken some responsibility for the welfare of his (presumed) people by leaving when he heard his own prophesy from the oracle.

    But was it not strange that of all the riddles the demon Sphinx could ask, it asked about Man? And its own destructive energy, laying waste to the country and also consuming the youth of the kingdom?

    Indeed it appears the sphinx was a collective shadow prototype,operating autonomously if and when it was not understood. Oedipus understood, possibly because it is said the Sphinx was taught the riddle by the Muses, showing Oedipus was also familiar with the ancient school of knowledge-Self Knowledge.

    All this talk , again, of why we got here, it is understandable, but really we are simply Consciousness itself, and are mired in the dream we are separate, from the material aspects of ourselves.

    Sounds like Schizophrenia to me.

    Just sayin.

  37. Librarian Says:

    You know, steve, you sound a lot like the right wing, for someone complaining about white privilege.

    “How dare those OTHER people complain about their problems, they’re so selfish! What about me? How dare those OTHER people cry me, me, me, me, and ignore MY needs!”

    Compassion isn’t a belief, it’s a methodology. Compassion is not only demonstrated when others sympathize with us, we must also sympathize with others.

    Cruelty, after all, does not require a selfish belief in the supremacy of one’s own desires. It only requires that you not put any stock in the desires of others (and to do the latter, you don’t even have to like yourself).

  38. Librarian Says:

    And by the way, calling people “patriarchal Nazi sympathizers” because they’re worried about what might happen to them in an apocalypse is rather uncalled for.

  39. Tom Says:

    Hey Kevin: do you have this level of crap to deal with in NZ?

    http://crooksandliars.com/2014/05/students-protesting-pa-governor-tom

    Students Protesting PA Governor Tom Corbett Face Suspension

    What is it with Republicans and free speech? Evidently the only speech they support is the speech paid for with Billionaire Bucks.

    Republicans need a lesson in what the First Amendment really means. There’s no exception in there for Billionaire Bucks — speech is speech, and everyone has the right to it, whether you like what they’re saying or not.

    Except maybe if you’re a student. If you’re a student and you’re protesting your crummy governor’s policies in Pennsylvania, you might get suspended for protesting.

    ThinkProgress, earlier this week:

    But when Corbett held a press conference at JP McCaskey last week touting a small chunk of funding for school resource officers, students who planned to protest Corbett’s spending priorities say they were intimidated by their school administrators into backing out.

    “As soon as they found out that we were going to protest they said that we were not allowed to come and that we did not have the permission anymore,” said Brittani Carr, 17.

    Carr and several fellow students had planned to hold up signs, with messages about Corbett’s push to fund other priorities like the now-invalidated voter ID law, prisons, and fracking, while making drastic cuts to education. One read, “diplomas not handcuffs.”

    Another said, “Corbett cut public education funding while increasing prison funding. Don’t be fooled.”

    “I didn’t like the idea that he was coming because it’s like, if I’ve been stealing money from you for four years and then all of the sudden I give you ten dollars, I didn’t want it to be seen that our district was welcoming him,” said Therese DeSlippe, a senior at McCaskey.

    Carr and DeSlippe were told that if they protested, they would be uninvited from Corbett’s remarks and would face consequences for cutting class, including suspension.

    That’s right, kids, you can’t screw up the photo opp, after all. Please refrain from telling the truth about your governor while the press is on site. After that, go at it as much as you want.

    What a putz.

    So RE: which side of the fence are you on – free speech, where all views are allowed in the public forum and the public gets to decide for themselves what’s bullshit, or enforced censorship where you dare-not respond to a given view or face “consequences?”

  40. ulvfugl Says:

    @ kevin moore

    Yes, like all the pitiful third rate egomaniac kings and generals throughout history, in their paranoia, when the news isn’t what they want to hear they shoot the messengers.

    I read this yesterday

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n10/perry-anderson/the-italian-disaster

    which lists just a few of the crimes and scandals the people at the top have been involved in, and a really comprehensive list, including corporate crimes, would be vast, and we all know this, including xray mike, who claims to be ‘exposing truth’. The whole global system is run by professional criminals.

    And then, magically, the ‘crime’ gets cleaned up, sanitised, stripped out, overlooked, and we are presented with ‘the world’, by the BBC and the rest of the MSM, and by most of the the academics, as if everything was quite regular and normal and respectable, and we are expected to BELIEVE what we are told.

    Because all those people are paid not to rock the boat. If they do, they lose their job.

    That’s the astonishing bit. That xray mike does believes it, after all the stuff he’s read and seen on his site.

    @ RE

    You wanna go another round here with me? Feel free, be my guest. I am at the Internet Napalm Game more than 20 years now, I never QUIT.

    And you never get any more interesting. Just another boring attention seeking egotistical troll full of repetitive tedious self-serving crap wasting people’s time.

  41. dairymandave Says:

    About Bosnia and Serbia:

    http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/

  42. RE Says:

    “And by the way, calling people “patriarchal Nazi sympathizers” because they’re worried about what might happen to them in an apocalypse is rather uncalled for.”-L

    Ya think?

    Calling somebody “Patriarchal” is the epithet of choice amongst the Dead & Dying here on NBL.

    You can’t get lower than being Patriarchal here on NBL. All of Human Suffering and all of Climate Catastrophe is the fault of Patriarchs. If only Matriarchs had ruled the world, all would be rosey now.

    RE

  43. Grant Schreiber Says:

    At whatever point, the word “patriarchal” became the accepted buzz word for the ruling class and it was filtered through all human history as an example of war-loving conquest-seeking tyrants. But it’s the wrong word. There is nothing fatherly about what is going on. And even if your father was a drunken, abusive terrifying monster, chances are he wasn’t that way in order to get more money or win greater fame.

    Like it or not, the elites have welcomed into their ranks different genders and colors because at the core it is all about the money and in the spirit of equality we have seen that a black woman can be just as foolish, corrupt and double-dealing as any white man. Trust me on this, I live in Chicago.

    With Dubya Bush in office various “leftist” reporters and pundits struggled with how to call him a fascist without using that word and I think it was during this period patriarch came into vogue.
    The word the left is looking for but lost is ‘imperialist.’ While a patriarchy can be imperialist, imperialism doesn’t chain itself with any particular gender or race, just like a corporation. If one wanted to separate this period from other periods of imperialism, one could say we’re under an end-stage fascist imperialism as opposed to the Elizabethan era or the Napoleonic wars. Imperial Rome differs greatly from Imperial Russia. To label them both as patriarchs is lazy and leads to sloppy thinking.

  44. Wester Says:

    Hey honey-bunnies. I live in the 3rd world in the tenements on an industrial estate. I get my wifi from a gas station. I am surrounded by people who are never going to have money or time to sit in a boat, will never in their wildest dreams use carbon on the scale of practically anyone on this forum, and who are going to be taking a massive whirling bone saw to the gut whether or not your bloody system goes belly up or not. I landed where union organizers go to jail in leg irons for 14 years for writing a magazine article. Where speakers get jailed solitary for years for giving lessons on the French and Russian revolutions. Think their point of view might need a little bit more love and care than the miserable lot De Los Gringos Blancos? When you speak about how @steve and others are just ~so~ rude and insensitive, well, let me assure you, again, being as nice and polite as possible, that I hardly even know where to begin.

    Here is Mary DeMocker from March : http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/03/climate-conscious_oregonians_m.html

    “I’m surrounded by New Deniers. I don’t mean global warming deniers. No, New Deniers are scarier. They deny that action can help. Here’s their litany, reduced: Fossil fuel runs everything Citizen’s United killed democracy everyone’s busy youth are zombies we’re frogs in a heating pot it’s too late and you’ll never outspend Big Oil. New Deniers argue against self-exertion — no point — and explain why my efforts will fail…I met their “You can’t save the world!” with “Watch me try, suckas!”

    Imagine solutions. Defeat Northwest fossil fuel schemes. Deny Ambre Energy’s coal export permits. Demand PSU, OSU, and UO divest. Write letters, songs, speeches. Defend every living thing on every opinion page, in every conversation, everywhere, and fight, sing, and love as if everything — including our lives — depends on action. Because it does. So good God, join us.”

    “I wish they would burn everything f**ing thing down except the houses so that people would understand that they don’t need this system.” Bella Eiko, Speaking to Oakland City Council (paraphrased)

  45. mizerondam Says:

    It would help if the post had any reference to any external source.
    As it stands now it is just (yet another) doom rand.

    If environmental sensitive people want to be taken seriously they HAVE to write in a much more scientific way than the hundreds of conspiracy and doom&gloom pundits out there.

  46. Robin Datta Says:

    The fittest traits will survive.

    Namely, those traits that in the aggregate enhance energy flows and an increase in entropy.

    Imagine solutions.

    Start with a time machine. Go back to before the beginning of the fossil fuel age and explain the long term issues to them.

    people would understand that they don’t need this system

    If the trucks stop replenishing the supermarkets, it would dispel delusions most quick.

  47. Kirk Hamilton Says:

    Purrbuckets says, ” the destruction of the human race is a glorious, highly-desired goal. The human race is a cancer that has finally figured out a way to wipe itself off its host planet. To that we should all shout “Hallelujah!””

    Yes, yes, yes and yes!!! Purrbuckets, you’re a person of true vision! Every act of human violence, every act that causes unnecessary suffering, changes the entire universe. Yes, it is a GLORIOUS thing that we have finally figured out a way to wipe ourselves out and put a stop to the poison that is humanity!

    It seems that everywhere I read, everyone speaks out against the PTB. Nobody writes about the real source of their power: the militaries and police of the world!

    It’s only by having those willing to hold a club over our heads that the PTB can get away with the destruction of our home.

    Did you ever wonder why people admire the military so much? It is because they know, in their hearts, that by supporting a military, that they, in the end, are just as guilty for all the killing and suffering as the men (and woman, way to go girls! ) who pull the triggers and launch the firebombs. They can not handle that TRUTH, so they make military service the highest standard so they can feel good about themselves! WHAT A STINKING CROCK!

    That alone proves mankind’s unworthiness of existence. But there are so, so many more reasons to call us unworthy!

    Humanity is a race of shit-eating dogs. Think about it: Shit-Eating Dogs! We eat shit: The military is shit, religion is shit, capitalism is shit. It was ALL shit and we ate it ALL!

  48. Ram Samudrala Says:

    Robin, yep, the energy of the system is increased while the entropy of the surroundings increases also (the total free energy of the universe is conserved), but that covers everything. I think that’s an astute observation but determining the direction of the flows a priori I think is difficult.

  49. Godofredo Aravena Says:

    Ray, nice essay.
    I would underline…
    “Personally, I no longer choose to “rage against the machine.” It seems like a hopeless task and a misuse of my time, energy and intellect. Instead, I believe that there is greater wisdom in attempting to conceptualize what might arise “on the other side of Collapse.” That strikes me as a worthwhile and incredibly vital pursuit”.
    I totally agree
    That is why I decided to write my last essay.
    Once on the other side of collapse, it will be required a totally new way of living, and certainly a new purpose for living.
    There´s a lot to do about finding a new ethos.
    If somebody survives, and how, it does not matter. The “if” is enough reason to me. Denying the possibility that somebody may survive it is also an effort that does not worth the energy.
    At least about myself, I will spent the time left trying to develop a gross concept of what could help to build a “society” in a healthy relation with environment. It is not an easy task, because everything has to be questioned, all the way to the roots. Our reason, our freedom, everything.
    I can´t stop thinking in my two daughters, and their children. At least for them I have to do something. And forget about myself.

  50. kevin moore Says:

    It would be a significant step in the right direction if people stopped referring to the psychotic sociopaths at the top of the pyramid as ‘elites’.

    The word ‘elite’ is entirely the wrong word. There is nothing elite about those who have clawed their way to the top by exploiting other people and by looting and polluting the planet, or happened to born into positions of power because their ancestors had clawed their way to the top by exploiting everyone and everything.

    I am still struggling to find a more sophisticated word than ‘scumbags’ to describe such people.

    @Tom.

    NZ is not as far down the road to overt fascism as the US and Canada but Shonkey is working on it. New laws criminalising protest against deep-water drilling have been introduced, and the saboteurs in parliament are working behind closed doors to criminalise non-corporate food production and non-corporate trading, just in time for collapse of the corporate food system it seems.

    In the US the policy of shooting protesting students (or anyone else who gets in the way of corporate profits) goes back a long way. NZ follows the British tradition of beating people and locking them up for the moment, though there have been cases of police shooting (to kill) people they deem public nuisances.

  51. artleads Says:

    Patriarchy and writing

  52. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    @ pat: Here comes the twister!
    ==

    RE says: “It’s all OVAH” here.

    Over There

    Over here, over here people share,
    Once becoming extinction-aware;
    But wherever you hide,
    Doom won’t be denied
    Until it’s over over there.

  53. Grant Schreiber Says:

    Kevin Moore objects to the word elites, saying “I am still struggling to find a more sophisticated word than ‘scumbags’ to describe such people.”

    I’ll concede the point to an extent but ‘scumbags’ covers all classes, they can be found everywhere.

    It is important to note that in the “classless’ society there are certainly classes almost strongly defined. The upper crust, the 1% and higher are certainly not concerned with anyone but themselves but like to claim the middle class as their group because it sounds so appealing.

    But face it, the upper class is worthless, filled with parasites and vampires and monsters leading the world into ruin.

    The lower class is worthless, filled with small minded criminals, impotent poets and drones working themselves to death for no apparent reason.

    The middle class is worthless, terrified of the lower class and wishing beyond levels of sanity to be part of the upper class.

    Fuck them all.

    Nonetheless, I find ruling class, 1%, the wealthy to be cumbersome. Elite is perhaps too kind, and is used to mean the people so far removed from life they have no awareness of what people go through on a daily basis. I look forward to their terror.

  54. kevin moore Says:

    Grant Schreiber

    Parasites.

    Those at the top are parasites.

    Those lower in the hierarchy convert nature into stuff (plus waste) or move stuff around (and generate waste). And those at the top steal from those below them -legalised theft.

    The best kind of slave is one who defends the slave-master’s right to own and exploit slaves.

  55. tiripsgol Says:

    Been unable to post, maybe this way will work…

    “Through the bottleneck”, “on the other side of collapse”, “the survivors”… Seems some folks are developing their very own new religion. Inventing a new heavenly myth for themselves – out of thin words. Creating a whole new concept of death – aka: extinction. Contemplation of death sometimes goes that way. A need to feel that the extinction point won’t be a complete discontinuity from life… something different but still recognizable. At least, we’re supposed to still be able to recognize ourselves in that new realm of the true believer’s afterlife. On the dead side of the extinction bottleneck, carrying on somehow in some sort of Ghostly Hobiton. Even after extinction. Life after extinction, in Hobiton. The whole notion is disturbingly dubious, but perhaps it helps some people cope. The blissfully ignorant might even be enjoying this deadly ride… might be enjoying getting sucked into the ultimate opaque whirlpool. I think many of us here have the capacity to be more honest with themselves.

    Good to see the vegan message getting some air time. Recipes can be radical. Nothing wrong with reducing some of the suffering. Much better (karma and luck) than carrying around a rabbit’s foot.

  56. Tom Says:

    This is interesting and will apply to low-lying areas everywhere:

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/05/worlds-first-climate-change-refugee-has.html

    World’s first ‘climate change refugee’ has appeal rejected – ‘When Kiribati disappears, we’re going to die with our kids’

    Ioane Teitiota, from the South Pacific island nation of Kiribati, had hoped to become the world’s first climate change refugee. His low-lying homeland is likely to be engulfed by waves by the end of this century – and to become uninhabitable long before then.

    But the Court of Appeal in New Zealand, where Mr Teitioa, 37, has been living since 2007, took an old-fashioned view of what constitutes a refugee. In a ruling yesterday, it called his case “fundamentally misconceived”, and an attempt to “stand the [UN refugee] convention on its head”.

    The decision means Mr Teitioa and his family will be deported, as his work visa expired in 2010. Mr Teitioa was a subsistence farmer and fisherman in Kiribati, a string of 33 coral atolls, and he argued he faced “passive persecution” if forced to return home, as the government there was unable to protect him from climate change’s effects.

    Rejecting his submissions, the Court of Appeal called them “novel” but “unconvincing”, and noted that millions of other people in low-lying countries were in a similar situation.

    It added that while Mr Teitioa’s economic prospects might be better in New Zealand, “his position does not appear to be different from that of any other Kiribati national”.

    Storm surges and flooding are already causing environmental degradation in Kiribati, part of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The water table is becoming contaminated by salt, making it difficult to grow crops there. […]

    They also warned that if Mr Teitioa’s arguments were accepted there and in other jurisdictions, “at a stroke, millions of people who are facing medium-term economic deprivation, or the immediate consequences of natural disasters or warfare … would be entitled to protection under the Refugee Convention”. [more]

    Aha! There it is – an affirmative would add millions of islanders to the list and would be too difficult to care for – so let them die!

    Further down (in another article you should read) comes the courts explanation:

    Justice John Priestley determined that there was no malice on behalf of Western nations; a key determinant in defining persecution under the United Nations Refugee Convention.

    See? Nobody intended any harm by driving their cars or running their factories, these people just live in the wrong places! This becomes the precedent now for denying others in low-lying areas (along the coasts of the world and in states like Florida, and in major cities like Boston, NY and New Orleans) any help when the waters rise to their levels. You either have the means to relocate or, well, see ya around! [Hey Christians - are you your brothers keeper? Well get ready to be overwhelmed when people face similar conditions near you.]

    This type of thinking will entail an extreme moral dilemma when it’s applied to water rights and other types of emergency situations as well in the coming years.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet – more fun for humans!

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/05/pilot-whales-slaughtered-in-faroes.html

    Pilot whales slaughtered in Faroes ‘Grind’ hunt

    Latest report of today’s appalling slaughter is that 25 to 30 beautiful pilot whales have been massacred. [Oh, it's a right of passage for young men here, so it's all excused, you see.]

  57. RE Says:

    Clearly, we’re going to need a Bigger Boat.

    http://lessenthesuck.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/jaws-bigger-boat.jpg

    Or more of them.

    Obviously the meme for living in low lying areas near coastlines has to change. Fixed housing in such places is bound for destruction. So you need more portable housing, so encouraging locals to build more sailboats out of local materials is a good idea. This worked well for the polynesians who settled these islands.

    http://pvs.kcc.hawaii.edu/images/canoes/hokulea_09_26_99.jpg

    On the larger continents, people will need to migrate toward higher ground inland on foot, a process which will happen over time. Obviously, many will not survive this upheaval. However, it is unlikely EVERYBODY DIES inside 30 years.

    You take it one day at a time, and figure out the best meme you can given your situation. If you are dead broke inside a big city on a coastline right now, this is a pretty bad situation to be in.

    2 basic choices here, head for the high ground or build or scavenge up a boat.

    RE

  58. ulvfugl Says:

    @ RE

    2 basic choices here, head for the high ground or build or scavenge up a boat.

    I take it this is another example of one of your ‘jokes’ ?

    There’s 800 million people living in Europe and there’s a reason they don’t live on ‘the high ground’, sort of common sense, if you have a brain.

    And anybody who is watching the climate change and saw the non-stop mega storms coming on from the N. Atlantic every week from December until March with 30 ft waves and 80mph winds smashing sea defences that had been secure for a 100 years and more will not want to be out there on a boat.

    By the time it gets to be 4 deg C global average c. 2050, which appears to be more or less a certainty now, it’s going to be reaching 10 deg C above present summer average in Central Europe, which will mean the present ecology collapses, none of the indigenous fauna and flora can adapt to those new conditions, which will be like North Africa. And none of the present agriculture will work either.

    The idea that hundreds of millions of city dwellers can somehow uproot themselves and move north to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and survive seems ludicrous. What will they eat ? There’s no fertile soil, it’s dark half the year, and the people already there who are surviving are soon going to stop being welcoming.

    And then there are the hundred of millions of people south of Europe who are already risking their lives and dying trying to get into Europe. As their circumstances become ever more desperate the pressure will increase.

    At some point, all order will break down, there will be no stable governments to keep the infrastructure and the nuclear plants and the borders and the communications functioning, because disease and rioting and chaos will overwhelm all the systems.

    RE and others are obsessed with the idea that Dr Mcpherson must be proved wrong, and that SOME people will survive, because for them, it’s very important that they are RIGHT, and Mcpherson is WRONG.

    Imo, such people are insane, it’s a trivial shallow ego trip. In the context of what we see happening, and what is oncoming, it simply does not matter if there are some people left in 2070 or whenever.

    Who would want to be them ? None of this horror STOPS. It’s not like there’s a nasty patch and then things settle down and everything is fine.

    There’s only one lesson that should have been learned by the human species. That was, or is, YOU DO NOT WRECK THE ECOLOGY.

    Sadly, people like RE have not understood that. They think that life is a competitive game that you play to win, using technology as toys. That means, even if they survive for longer, they are still doomed to make exactly the same mistakes that got us into the mess where we are.

  59. Tom Says:

    http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/scientists-seriously-concerned-healthcare-workers-may-spread-mers-across-the-globe/

    Scientists seriously concerned healthcare workers may spread MERS across the globe

    May 2014 – HEALTH – The biggest risk that Middle East Respiratory Syndrome will become a global epidemic, ironically, may lie with globe-trotting healthcare workers. From Houston to Manila, doctors and nurses are recruited for lucrative postings in Saudi Arabia, where MERS was first identified in 2012. Because the kingdom has stepped up hiring of foreign healthcare professionals in the last few years, disease experts said, there is a good chance the MERS virus will hitch a ride on workers as they return home. “This is how MERS might spread around the world,” said infectious disease expert Dr Amesh Adalja of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It can take five to 14 days for someone infected with MERS to show symptoms, more than enough time for a contagious person to fly to the other side of the world without being detectable. Healthcare workers “are at extremely high risk of contracting MERS compared to the general public,” Adalja said. The threat has attracted new attention with the confirmation of the first two MERS cases in the United States. Both are healthcare workers who fell ill shortly after leaving their work in Saudi hospitals and boarding planes bound west. About one-third of the MERS cases treated in hospitals in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah were healthcare workers, according to the World Health Organization. Despite the risk, few of the healthcare workers now in, or planning to go to, Saudi Arabia are having second thoughts about working there, according to nurses, doctors and recruiters interviewed by Reuters.

    Michelle Tatro, 28, leaves next week for the kingdom, where she will work as an open-heart-surgery nurse. Tatro, who typically does 13-week stints at hospitals around the United States, said her family had sent her articles about MERS, but she wasn’t worried. “I was so glad to get this job,” she told Reuters. “Travel is my number one passion.” So far, international health authorities have not publicly expressed concern about the flow of expatriate medical workers to and from Saudi Arabia. “There is not much public health authorities or border agents can do,” said infectious disease expert Dr Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota. “Sure, they can ask people, ‘did you work in a healthcare facility in Saudi Arabia,’ but if the answer is yes, then what?” Healthcare workers are best placed to understand the MERS risk, Osterholm said, and “there should be a heightened awareness among them of possible MERS symptoms.” Neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor the Department of Homeland Security responded to questions about whether they were considering monitoring healthcare workers returning to the United States. In the last few years, the number of expatriates working in Saudi Arabia has soared, said Suleiman Arabie, managing director of Houston, Texas-based recruiting firm SA International, with thousands now working in the kingdom. About 15 percent of physicians working in the kingdom are American or European, and some 40 percent of nurses are Filipino or Malaysian, according to estimates by recruiters and people who have worked in hospitals there. The majority of U.S.-trained medical staff are on one- or two-year contracts, which results in significant churn as workers rotate in and out of Saudi medical facilities. [there are 2 more paragraphs, rtrotaii]

  60. David Goza Says:

    Subtracting the time spent in my car and a brief appearance at my friend Emily’s baby shower, I spent all day Saturday in the Oklahoma Paleozoic: two sites from the Devonian (including the celebrated White Mound) and two from the Pennsylvanian (intermediate Mississippian-age exposures being rare around these parts). Yesterday’s hours were whiled away in the pleasant project of culling, cleaning and sorting my haul while listening to the symphonies and songs of Gustav Mahler, who had died exactly 103 years earlier.

    In balance, I like the Paleozoic much better than the Anthropocene. True, it was a constant struggle for survival for most of the species whose calcified remains I collected, but there was no human bullshit for them to deal with. I’ve had more than my quota of human bullshit for one lifetime. We are without a doubt the most bullshitical species ever to curse this ruined planet. I suppose recognizing that dolorous fact makes me misanthropic. I also suppose I can live with that.

    Homo sapiens. Every time I hear that grandiose term or see it committed to print, I laugh my ass off. A turd by any other name would smell as foul. Our conceits and rationalizations are as repulsive as our gods (which, come to think of it, are a subset of our conceits and rationalizations).

  61. 18000days Says:

    @Ram Samudrala:
    “Someone asked in another thread perhaps the biosystem has a reason for allow humanity to go so far in its destructive course. I don’t think the biosystem operates in a top down directed manner”

    I don’t know if that “someone” is me? If so, fwiw, I don’t think it operates that way either:

    http://guymcpherson.com/2013/09/fukushima-climate-change-near-term-extinction-resignation-vs-surrender/#comment-93629

    @Grant Schreiber/Kevin Moore:
    A bit dated, not a one-word descriptor, but in terms of finding a dividing line between ‘us’ and ‘scumbags’, there may still be some mileage in this bit of ironic philosophical reductionism, from Bertrand Russell’s essay ‘In Praise of Idleness':

    “First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so.”

    Kevin’s post reminded me of it. Judging from some of Grant’s previous posts, he either knows that essay by heart, or has no need to read it… :)

    @Trish R:
    With the proviso that I understand that vegans cannot be held responsible for what happens when Industrial civilisation tries to synthesise analogues of animal products, the fact is that, beyond the purely dietary aspect, animal products like silk, wool, leather, etc, have virtues which the petro-chemists have not been able to duplicate, not least among which is of course biodegradeability. Just for example, the entire string section of every orchestra in the world is held together with gelatin from boiled horses. Beetle carapaces get ground into shellac. Alternatively, (or additionally) we go through the convoluted techno-magic it takes to turn petro-chemicals into poly-whatever. We both know where that stuff ends up. As things stand, it is quite possible that more animals suffer indirectly from the infrastructure and pollution of a chemical plant than would suffer from direct exploitation. I guess we can do without all this shit if needs be- vinyl and violins both.

    I have no beef with veganism. It’s just that strategies to reduce the quantity of suffering can be curiously counter-productive. I don’t have any answers. I just think that the logical endpoint of attempting to reduce suffering quantitatively is to end it permanently, which, funnily enough, seems to be exactly what we are attempting to do?

  62. Paul f. Getty Says:

    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20140517p2a00m0na006000c.html?mc_cid=236af4f5cf&mc_eid=f0754ee742

    Outcome of battle against radioactive water at Fukushima plant in doubt

    “We are facing a problem so large it’s impossible to see all its dimensions. Eventually, we’ll be able to grasp what’s happening, but for now, no. The radioactively contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is but one, relatively small part of the greater cleanup at the disaster-stricken facility, and yet in absolute terms it is enormous.”

  63. artleads Says:

    Politics: Putting together what I’ve heard from other, and making an over simplified guess:

    Re liberals and conservatives, both sides act as jailers. Good-cop jailers and bad-cop jailers.

    The bad-cop jailer is more honest, and is surprisingly better in some regards. That’s if he doesn’t kill you first. The good-cop jailer might not kill you right off, but will do so in the end. If you’re aware that the good-cop jailer is totally lethal too, you might vote for him for the short term benefit of staying alive long enough to think of something.

    To the extent (if any) that both sides have a conflict, we can exploit it. The more fierce and out of control the conflict, the better. If they fight hard enough over a bone, they won’t see it fall on the ground, and then you can run away with it.

    In the US, that would entail voting Democrat. I have thought, however, that if a Democrat voted for KXL or Arctic drilling, etc., s/he should be voted out as punishment. The GOP would not be much worse, and might even take the hint that voting for such things could be risky.

    Of course, this is not a recipe for salvation; just a practical way to think of resistance. The problem is that most think of liberal politics as a key to salvation, and show not the slightest awareness that it is merely a potential space holder for mass action.

  64. Bud Nye Says:

    Some readers here may have an interest in this comment that I just posted at Scott Johnson’s Fractal Planet blog under his “How Guy McPherson gets it wrong” discussion, http://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/ :

    Of course, I did not ask for a list of studies that include “…perfect simulation of the entire planet that includes every organism and process, from meiosis to macroeconomics”. I asked for a list of more biological reality-based, ecologically synthesizing studies, vs. simplistically analytical studies. Even though it does not make much sense in considering the probable future of life on Earth, including human life, I will gladly limit the scope of my request. In a classically simplifying, highly reductionist way, let’s completely ignore all of the other relevant, global-scale ecological collapse and pollution issues that threaten most life on Earth. As you prefer, for example, let’s fantasize in a human supremacist way that the present extinction rate of at least 200 species, every day, has no relevance at all for this discussion. Let’s completely ignore this and many other relevant, critical processes, and focus exclusively on the global warming issue:

    In response to my statement that “I would predict that if Tobis did create a computer model that included all of the different climate change processes we now see happening he would quickly come to conclusions similar to McPherson’s.” you responded, “I’m not sure what you think it is that climate scientists, and more specifically climate modelers (which is where Tobis has made his contributions), do. This is exactly what they study.” A couple of paragraphs later you wrote further, “Tobis absolutely does consider the ‘combined effects'”. So I ask again:

    Please point us to specific, published papers in specific journals, with publication dates, whether computer models or otherwise, by Tobis (who presumably absolutely does consider the combined effects), by yourself, or by any other researchers, that focus on the SYNTHESIS, the COMBINATION of the various presently known global warming processes now well in progress. What conclusions does one reasonably reach based on this research, models that take most of the most important physical and biological global warming planetary “feedbacks” and collapse mechanisms IN COMBINATION TOGETHER into account, mechanisms that interact in complex, reciprocally interacting ways according to Prigogine’s Chaos Theory, not analytically separated and simplified studies that look at the mechanisms and evidence individually and in a disconnected way as Tobis did in your featured article? What do these studies suggest concerning Earth’s biological future? In what way or ways do the conclusions of models that synthesize the mechanisms and evidence trends (vs. simplistically analyzing them) differ significantly from what a review of the evidence that Guy McPherson reports suggests? If you have provided a list of these published, scientific synthesis paper references before, please copy that list again here.

    Perhaps I have it wrong, but it seems to me that such more “holistic” studies have a MUCH higher probability of suggesting the probable nature of Earth’s future than any number of reductionist, analytical studies conceivably can. Why do I think this? Because it seems observationally and intuitively obvious to me that Earth’s living systems do NOT, for the most part, work in simplified, reductionist, analytical, linear ways, but instead much more often as an infinitely complex, reciprocally interactive, highly integrated, living NETWORK (with humans living only temporarily within it–certainly NOT at the top of some alleged, linear, “Great Chain of Being” hierarchy as conceived by Bacon, Descartes, and so many others in history and today). All of the strengths of reductionist scientific analysis notwithstanding, it simplifies greatly. Regarding global warming and the other related ecological collapse issues, it often massively over-simplifies. Prigogine’s Chaos Theory and Howard Odum’s ecological systems energy work clearly emphasize these over-simplification errors.

  65. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Grant Schreiber says: “The upper crust, the 1% and higher….”

    1%

    Corporate laws crimes curtail
    Except for those too big to fail,
    And we’re equally frail
    On justice’s scale
    Except for those too big to jail.
    ==

    In a previous thread, Grant Schreiber says: “The challenge is to welcome death without fear and malice but accept it as part of life.”

    On Human Extinction

    Basic biology theses
    For both single creatures and species,
    Say what’s born has to die,
    And I can’t explain why,
    But feel free to reply, “Fucking feces!”

  66. Godofredo Aravena Says:

    Although, I see things very much the opposite way, in the end, in both cases, the result in some way gets to the same point. Humans do not deserve any special treatment.

  67. the virgin terry Says:

    ray jason, i continue to love your views/writing.
    ________________________________________

    ‘for those of us with little in the way of ‘loved ones’ I find trying to live as simply and peacefully, enjoying things humbly, and gradually coming up with a workable suicide plan makes more sense than contemplating getting to and what I might do in a post-bottleneck world. At 50, I don’t feel it is necessary, appropriate or desirable for me to be one of the survivors.’

    great simple honest straightforward. ugotstahwonder, indeed.
    _____________________________________________

    kevin moore, your comment from a couple days ago http://guymcpherson.com/2014/05/the-river-of-human-folly/#comment-121767 spiritually floored me, as your comments and other writings tend to routinely do. the way it makes me think of u brings to mind something i heard recently from the relatively prominent canadian libertarian philosopher stefan molyneux to the effect that ‘hero worship’ is bad. perhaps so, but i can’t help feel great admiration and appreciation for u and what u do. u humble me in a good way, if there is such a thing. all the compliments i just bestowed upon ugotstah (mr. wonder) are repeated in spades here. in elegant spare language u so well sum up our predicament, physically and existentially. your perseverance in confronting local ‘authorities’ in the face of their incorrigible cluelessness, is awesome. reminds me of what chris hedges had to say about resisting fascism, it’s imperative regardless of it’s apparent futility. we all may do so in our own humble fashion. unfortunately the kevin moores and guy mcphersons of our world are very very few and very very far between.

    i do have one concern/caveat re. your efforts, regarding your putting a very near term deadline on global economic collapse, similar to what guy did in the past (and continues to do re. nthe). i guess it boils down to definitions perhaps of what economic collapse shall entail, it’s severity in the short term. i’m not persuaded it can be predicted so definitively. it seems it’s already been postponed several years. of course sooner or later it’s inevitable, but i suspect that fracking and other desperate measures to obtain the requisite fossil fuels to keep some semblance of (ab)’normality’ going may postpone it quite a few more.

  68. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Trish R

    Re your arguments.

    My neighbour keeps these rare breed cattle

    http://www.longhorncattlesociety.com/gallery/72157627971527995/

    It’s taken thousands of years to breed these things. I tend to think we have some duty of care towards them, seeing as we created them. If we do not eat them, they vanish. They have a fabulous life, as close to their natural wild ancestral life as they could wish for, but with modern veterinary care in addition. Instead of being preyed upon by lions, or dying from diseases, they get slaughtered humanely. They get treated with care and respect and die without any pain or fear, because they are used to being handled, and the people who do the job are decent and professional.

    These animals eat the grass on this mountain, turning sunshine and rain into high quality protein that makes a lot of money for my neighbour and that allows him to live here, where he works incredibly hard doing his best to look after his farm and his family and play his role in the local community.

    I find it difficult to see that your arguments apply in this case.

  69. mass Says:

    “We’ve seen that earlier Leviathans were always in a state of decomposition. When one decomposed, others swallowed its remains. But when there are no others, when Leviathan is One, the tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing, is almost at an end.”
    -Fredy Perlman

  70. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    [REPOST:]

    Sorry, second line of “1%” above should say “all somewhat,” not “equally.” Justice works more like on a kind of sliding scale, the more you pay, the more you get. Duh.

    We Never Were Equal

    Earlier primate routine
    Included behavior that’s mean,
    And hierarchy’s still key,
    So why would we be
    Any different in between?

  71. RE Says:

    “The idea that hundreds of millions of city dwellers can somehow uproot themselves and move north to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and survive seems ludicrous. What will they eat ? There’s no fertile soil, it’s dark half the year, and the people already there who are surviving are soon going to stop being welcoming.”-UF

    100s millions of city dwellers won’t uproot themselves. The vast majority are trapped where they are, without means or knowledge enough to get out. Based on the latest news from China, Vietnam, Ukraine, Syria et al,it appears that War will be a very significant contributor to population reduction.

    Anybody doing any migrating is either doing it now because they do have means and knowledge, or they will be among those who survive conflicts in the more populated regions. How many people that will be is anybody’s guess, but it is unlikely to reach zero by mid-century.

    Insofar as what kind of food might grow in what climates, this also remains to be seen. So far Alaska seems to be being treated decently by changing climate, I imagine the same is true for parts of Siberia. Besides, as mentioned there is potential for indoor food production which can be ramped up as time goes by.

    Nobody can predict the future with 100% certainty, so you just have to figure it out as time goes by, and hopefully avoid locations where the wars are heating up.

    In any event, whether the outcome is extinction in 30 years or just a vast population knockdown, the same strategies apply overall. Try to develop self-sufficiency for your community, withdraw as much as you can from the industrial economy, try to migrate to a low population zone with good resources and build redundant and resilient systems.

    RE

  72. OzMan Says:

    RE
    You wrote:

    “On the larger continents, people will need to migrate toward higher ground inland on foot, a process which will happen over time. Obviously, many will not survive this upheaval. However, it is unlikely EVERYBODY DIES inside 30 years.

    You take it one day at a time, and figure out the best meme you can given your situation. If you are dead broke inside a big city on a coastline right now, this is a pretty bad situation to be in.

    2 basic choices here, head for the high ground or build or scavenge up a boat.”

    Look, I don’t wish to get into the sort of jibing like you do with U, but I think your suggestion is only for the short term, perhaps for the very short term. I respect the “survive if you can, be resourceful and do little or no harm” attitude you are promoting, however, a few factors are not in favor of your solution going forward when the crisis finally comes full blown for all.

    We are all aware food and water are the basics, and you have suggested domes as a solution for a number of CC issues. I have to agree with U on the issue of 4-10 degrees warming, that nothing will support us and what we depend on.

    The cascade effect of world crop losses have already begun, and food price increases in staples is an indication of phase 1 of the cascade effect.
    When there is three or four years in a row of large scale crop failures, there simply will not be enough food for everyone, let alone being able to afford them.

    That is when the usual oil based resilience in a global trading system that sends oranges around the world twice, will be a ‘no show’.

    The world will fall into skirmish warfare, if not nukes, but I think they all know nukes is not worth the problems.

    I applaud your suggestion of holding to staying alive if you can, and it may work for a while, but not at 4-10 C. All the complexity of how the IC project keeps going will just break down, and humans will be devolving(or re emerging) into local tribes again, and only in micro climates that are viable.

    Portable nomadic domes that you pull on a cart might work, but somehow I think you need the calories to pull such a heavy load.
    Obviously Extinction is not a line in your mind you wish to cross, and that is your right.

    Here it sounds like denial, but you intelligently foresee the playing out up to the point where it all falls apart, at least the systems we use to stay fed, watered, sheltered(repaired) and relational.

    I feel you describe the situation that most intelligent, compassionate preppers wish we were facing, that is, a collapse of IC but not the Biosphere’s ability to sustain us and most of life.

    That is the clincher.
    Yes it has not come yet, so why give up?

    Guy did the math, and you have to follow his rabbit hole to prove to yourself what he has deduced is as close to a certainty as one can determine from this side of the extinction divide, if you have the inclination.

    If not, your strategy is good enough until you/we get to the burn off stage, if we do.

    So I don’t see an issue with what you are proposing, so long as you don’t start offering guarantees that we will not go extinct shortly.

    However, as I pointed out above, the cascade effect after a few seasons of food collapse will wake everyone up, and begin phase 2 of climate change denial- “the ‘others’ are responsible, so take out your rage on them.”
    Anyone who thinks TPTB are stupid enough to let themselves be clearly identified as the bad guys when this SHTF are a bit naive.
    Best leave it there.
    I enjoy the rant man, it is just the right mix of acerbic wit, condescension, and heart.
    Cheers.

  73. kevin moore Says:

    Opinions, opinions, opinions.

    Two sausages argued opinions.

    Fatty got eat; thinny died of heat.

    Opinions, opinions, opinions.

  74. tiripsgol Says:

    Ignorant habituation, or mastery of mental gymnastics is required to continue eating flesh after it is clear that right there, right on that plate lays part of a recently breathing, living, feeling being. That is, if it’s possible to break through and point it out. The very fact that the vast majority of human beings (rare genetic anomolies excepted) thrive on a vegan diet… is a perspective breaker. It smashes illusions and threatens the profits of the largest industry on the planet. The notion that a vegan lifestyle is not only possible but health and environment positive triggers deep guilt and a common knee jerk reaction to that guilt is defensive aggression. Reminds me of that old tobacco commercial: “I’d rather fight than switch.”

    Veganism presents a stark choice: denial or expanded consciousness. Continuing the brutality or embarking on a fresh path of compassion. Callousness or love. Supporting culture which glorifies Death or affirms Life.

    People continue to eat flesh -and rationalize it- after learning that half of all human induced global warming is attributable to the global production and consumption of ‘livestock’. (See Trish R’s reference above to the Worldwatch Institute study – which I’ve mentioned previously on this blog.) That is their choice. It is entirely within their control… if they reach for it.

    To say “we’ve always done it that way” somehow justifies continuing to do things a certain way is… false. Especially sharp antithetical shadows appear when the pattern is proven harmful. And it is now clearly documented that raising livestock is harmful on a global scale. Neither can we say that immediate ‘virtues’ justify longer term deleterious impacts. Roundup. Uranium. DDT.

    To many the vegan perspective is a whole new paradigm and ‘getting it’ means dropping many dearly held presumptions.

    logspirit

  75. dairymandave Says:

    Not opinion:

    The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. It must be so. If there is ever a time of plenty this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.
    Richard Dawkins: River Out of Eden

  76. RE Says:

    WWIII BEGINS! brand new Frostbite Falls Daily Rant now UP on the Diner Blog!

    A look at the causes and effects of the various ongoing conflicts around the world, including China-Vietnam, China-Japan, Thailand, and Ukraine-Russia-NATO.

    doomsteaddiner.net

    Also don’t miss the Peak Oil Podcast with Steve Ludlum from Economic Undertow.

    RE

  77. Tom Says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/05/19/climate-change-get-ready-or-get-sued/

    [selected quotes - read it all at the link]

    On April 18, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) declared a state of emergency after an epic deluge left much of the Chicago area under water.

    “After several days of rain, an overnight deluge overwhelmed Chicago’s underground labyrinth of aging sewers and giant tunnels Thursday, forcing a noxious mix of sewage and stormwater into local waterways and Lake Michigan. The surge of murky, debris-strewn water so overloaded the system that sewage began to back up in basements and geysers of wastewater shot out of several sewer manholes,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

    “This is a new kind of storm associated with climate change,” Tom LaPorte, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Water Management, told Medill Reports on day two of the April flood. Extreme flooding is part of a pattern that has emerged in the last two decades, according to Illinois State climatologist Jim Angel.

    Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming.

    Filed by Farmers Insurance Co. on behalf of itself, other insurance companies and customers whose property was damaged by the surge of storm water and sewage overflow, the lawsuits allege the governments of Chicago-area municipalities knew their drainage systems were inadequate and failed to take reasonable action to prevent flooding of insured properties.

    The suits also say the localities knew their drainage systems weren’t up to snuff because the regional water management authority had published plans in 2011 detailing various defects.

    Knowing the risks, they argue, local governments should have increased their storm water storage capacity. Furthermore, the suits allege they were negligent in failing to take temporary measures in the days before the storm, such as deploying water-inflatable property protection systems to mitigate damage.

    These lawsuits are the first of their kind, Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York, told Reuters. Gerrard said he expects to see more like them.

    “I think what the insurers are saying is: ‘We’re in the business of covering unforeseen risks. Things that are basically accidents,’” Ceres insurance industry analyst Andrew Logan told NPR. “‘But we’re now at a point with the science where climate change is now a foreseeable risk.’”

    The insurance companies are in for an uphill battle. Daniel Jasica of the State’s Attorney’s Office in Lake County, which is named in the Illinois state court suit, told Reuters that the localities will claim government immunity protects them from prosecution.

    “Even if a city is likely to win a lawsuit, it still is going to have to spend quite a bit in defending itself,” Robert Verchick, who teaches environmental law at Loyola University in New Orleans, told NPR. “And it might just be better for everybody involved for cities to take climate change seriously.”

  78. Tom Says:

    http://enenews.com/california-govt-report-fukushima-cesium-raining-down-2013-contamination-worked-local-ecosystems-incremental-impacts-radiation-released-fukushima-health-implications-incompletely-understood

    Gov’t Report: Fukushima radioactive material still raining down on U.S. in 2013 — Contamination “worked its way into local ecosystems” — ‘Incremental impacts’ from Fukushima radiation release — Health implications ‘incompletely understood’

    California Coastal Commission, STATE OF CALIFORNIA—NATURAL RESOURCES AGENCY (pdf), Apr. 30, 2014: Attached for your information is a report investigating the release of radioactivity materials during the disaster and the implications for residents of California. [...]

    Airborne Contamination in California

    Several massive pulses of radionuclides were released to the atmosphere from Fukushima between March 12 and 18, 2011 […] 134Cs and 137Cs persisted at trace levels […] in on-going air monitoring at Berkeley through the end of 2012.
    Rainwater Contamination in California

    March 2011 was an unusually wet month in California (~200% of normal monthly precipitation in the Bay Area) due to several large storms which resulted in discrete wet deposition events on March 18-20 and 22-26. […] 134Cs and 137Cs were present, at low levels, after 70 days. However, it is worth noting that low levels of radioactive cesium were still detectable in rainwater during subsequent wet seasons in 2012 and 2013, reflecting the continued presence of Fukushima-derived cesium in the atmosphere. […]

    Food Chain Contamination in California

    Fukushima-derived radionuclides transferred from the atmosphere to the land through rainout or dry deposition have the potential to contaminate soil and water supplies, and to enter the food chain. […] Sampling of soil and sediments from several California locations detected a clear pulse of 131I, 134Cs and 137Cs between April – June 2011, with only 137Cs remaining above the pre-accident background thereafter (through Nov 2012). Plant and food samples collected in the Bay Area in April and May 2011 contained detectable concentrations of Fukushima-derived 131I, 134Cs, and 137Cs, indicating that low-level contamination of the water and soil had worked its way into local ecosystems.

    Public Health Impacts

    Fukushima disaster presented (and continues to present) a low risk to public health relative to other concerns. However, it is worth reiterating that the health implications of exposure to low levels of radiation remain incompletely understood, and that the incremental impacts of the radiation released at Fukushima may be very difficult to separate from those of other radiation sources and the many other causes of disease. [oh, how con-veeeeeeen-ient]

    ________

    Don’t be fooled by the “low risk” claim – Fukushima is STILL constantly dumping highly radioactive particles into the sea and air (which are then spread around the world via currents) with no end in sight, so the supposed low risk increases steadily as the number of these particles (not to mention their potency) rises every second. I guess they forgot to mention that. This report is for 2013. It’s only gotten worse since then.

  79. Grant Schreiber Says:

    Vegans are a first world invention. You can’t be morally outraged by industrial farming until industrial farms come into existence. The main problem with veganism is the vegans themselves. In opening up a vegan cookbook, I am looking for a recipe, not graphic pictures of animal cruelty. The Hare Krishna cook book had what I was looking for without the torture porn.

    How do you know someone is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

    As the price of livestock becomes higher and higher, people will be forced into a more vegetarian diet. Economics, not morality, tend to move things. Take your victories where you can.

    “So far Alaska seems to be being treated decently by changing climate, I imagine the same is true for parts of Siberia”

    As long as one ignores the crumbling coastline, the increase of wildfires, plant and animal die off and structures toppling over because the permafrost has thawed out, that is true.

    Kevin Moore: It’s a grill or be grilled world for us sausages. Is it better to sit in a package in silence or sputter out the boiling juices as the heat rises?

  80. Martin Says:

    Nice to see a Fredy Perlman quote.

    Won’t somebody please end the suffering.

  81. Bud Nye Says:

    @ tiripsgol

    You wrote “Ignorant habituation, or mastery of mental gymnastics is required to continue eating flesh after it is clear that right there, right on that plate lays part of a recently breathing, living, feeling being.” Following your reasoning, it seems crystal clear to me that “Ignorant habituation, or mastery of mental gymnastics is required to continue eating ANYTHING after it is clear that right there, right on that plate lays part of a recently breathing, living, feeling being, whether plant, animal, fungus, bacterium, or any other form of life.”

    With your obviously self-centered, human supremacist perspective (the closer to YOU the life form appears, the “better” and “more worthwhile” you judge it), you completely miss the entirely obvious biological reality that ALL life eats and lives based on the death of other life. So, how do you conclude that one life is better or more worthwhile than another? How would you go about concluding that a cat or dog is presumably more worthwhile than a tree, or that a human is presumably more worthwhile than a bacterium? Or that a cornfield is better or more worthwhile than the vastly more complex prairie or forest and their soil with their infinitely complex networks of plants and animals that people killed in order to grow the corn? When and where did you develop the omniscience of a god to know enough about life and death on Earth to judge the value or worth of any living beings, or the life and death processes, themselves, on the planet?

  82. Brandon Ross Chapman Says:

    I really must make another comment after spending some more hours looking up the “net energy peak” and it’s ramifications for the “business as usual” model that people fear here so much.

    Business as usual, in those models, assumes a growth rate through mid century minimum. That’s just not possible for fossil fuel production. We’ve likely already peaked out of actual crude oil sometime last decade, will reach peak gas, and peak coal, within the next decade, and who knows what the future holds passed that point.

    What I’m saying is, a decline or –complete shutdown– of industrial civilization is said to be what’s needed to keep runaway climate change from becoming a reality, right?

    So let’s put all the pieces together, and see if we can stay away from erroneous assumptions towards the extremes, just cause we’re in a state of fear, or something..

    So net energy will decline soon enough (unless this actually already is the case {debatable} ), actual emissions will decline not too long after, and the extremes from the “business as usual” model simply can’t be.

    That means somewhere in the middle is reality. Carbon emissions will increase for a few decades, peak out, then over a long period of time, drop back down. So we’re looking less than 5-6c increase, but perhaps over 2c once it’s stabilized, hellish, but not everyone dies, OMGZZ!!

    Then there’s the ridiculous assumption that because energy declines, it must lead to a vast reduction in population. Let’s look at reality here. Per-capita energy consumption peaking out a generation ago in the United States, yet population did not rapidly decline, rather we’ve decreased the rate at which our population grows, and seem to be either in a state of equilibrium, else slight decline trended out towards the near future.

    I look to simple solutions, like how many people now drive to work, and to locations where they could easily bike to, and yes the caloric consumption from energy expended by the human being IS less than the energy needed to create that barrel of oil, and consume it over and equivalent distance. One of many, many things that are likely to change. Already there’s more walkers, bikers, and moped going people that I see as the years go by.

    So it seems instead of a sharp cliff of net energy availability, emissions output, temperature increase, and subsequent population decline, we have reality being realized somewhere in the middle.

    What I see is individuals who are dead set in their biases, because they’ve simply invested too much time in it. Sucks for those who are living this hell. Meanwhile, life goes on, and it’s another sunny day in the mid 80’s where I’m at. Went on a bike ride earlier to get groceries topless, basked in the sun, and am enjoying life.

    I see no indication that 5-6c is a reality this century, or a population cliff must be. Now, for any other set of reasons other than energy/climate issues, this could be the case, but human beings are nothing if not adaptive opportunists, and as the terrain transforms, so will our strategies and tactics.

    Please feel free to remove yourself from this self-imposed hell at any time.

  83. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    BAU

    I’m O.K. with more BAU—
    It’s better than being all through;
    The truth is, my friend,
    I don’t want it to end,
    And neither, I’m betting, do you.

    We’d be smart to shut our damn yaps
    And keep this doom stuff under wraps:
    If we kept it hush-hush,
    We might put off the rush
    To inevitable collapse.

    But it doesn’t take a savant
    To excuse being nonchalant:
    Once we admit
    That we can’t change jack shit,
    It doesn’t matter what we want.

    H/T: Gail Zawacki

  84. Henry Says:

    “river of human folly” — just more of my blahvulation from an airport club from a tablet whose keyboard keeps beeping “on” and “off” and a cursor I can’t locate when it does work — perhaps Robin could confirm this, or I’ve conjured it up:

    “Bottomless, oh bhikshu, is the well of human ignorance. I vow to overcome it.” Part of the Bodhisattva vow?

    Maybe all of this drama is just the internal struggle to overcome ignorance, in ourselves, and in contact with a few, or many, others. Doesn’t the Bhagavad Gita (or is it the Upanishads?) end with the meditating yogi watch the whole show go up in an apparent nuclear blast?

    RE — yes, the political and economic conflict has always been interesting to me, as signals of societal breakdown. From the NTE perspective, though, these are duplicative of the die-off that would occur thereafter under forcings already in motion. If those topics are new to you, then good, for they are measures of the corruption that we already live under, and show how much (nada) of the climate threat we will be informed of from on high.

    I think ulvfugl and others have been right to touch upon the Ukraine crisis as an example of powers pushing for dominance over resources, whether or not they even conceive that the use of those thousands of gt of carbon resources will bring on a more certain doom. They intend to dominate other societies while they may.

    I do listen to your rants, and I think they are complementary (and well-spoken) to much of what others offer here.

  85. artleads Says:

    BTD,

    I was with you most of the way with the 2:06 PM post. Probably all the way, depending. Nice work.

  86. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    artleads, thanks! It’s possible your take on it was partly because I didn’t originally conceive the three verses as a coherent unit. After the first verse, I kept not being finished talking. :D

  87. Anthony Says:

    We are the top predator in the world. The negative trophic cascade we are causing is due to our confusion/denial/rejection/ignorance etc. . . of our role. Veganism is just one more area where many people are confused/in denial/ignorant of our place in the community of life.

    Or should those wolves in Yellowstone be vegans?

    Link: http://permaculturenews.org/2014/02/20/trophic-cascades-reintroduction-wolves-yellowstone-national-park/

  88. Godofredo Aravena Says:

    As you know, to me, there is no such thing as rights.
    George Carlin, as clever as always, with his very personal style, supports very much the same concept. If rights exist, or not, it is for each one to evaluate. But by no means, what the concept implies is simple.

  89. logspirit Says:

    I am not a Buddhist scholar, but I have heard that the Buddha gave discernment high priority… to achieve a good life.

    Allow me to propose four fundamental premisses that I think we can all agree on:

    1) It is O.K. to live.
    2) All living things have to eat. (plants ‘eat’ sunshine, water, and various nutrients from the air and soil)
    3) People live long and healthy lives as vegans. (I think most of us here realize that this is an easily confirmed fact.)
    4) Most people are able to choose what they eat.

    So, then it becomes a matter of applying the Buddha’s advice and exercising our powers of discernment to determine what we should eat. To distinguish the good from the bad. The poison from the medicine.

    First of all, if someone said that there is no difference between a head of lettuce and the head of a cow I’d wonder about the education and perhaps intelligence of the speaker. To me the main qualitative difference is sentience. The clear and obvious ability to feel. At this point some engaged (enraged?) flesh eaters, in their frantic rationalizations begin to speculate on the sentience of heads of lettuce. Personally, I have never heard a head of lettuce cry. But I have heard cows cry.

    There are also health considerations. And there are many. Heart disease (karma?) and strokes (atherosclerosis), cancer, diabetes – are all inflammatory diseases associated with eating meat. Would you be more open minded to these rigorous scientific observations if they were presented by a medical doctor? Watch a Video: Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death

    Then, of course, there are the environmental impacts, which we are most concerned with here. Again, the reference to the Worldwatch Report (pdf): Livestock and Climate Change

    “…our analysis shows that livestock and their by products actually account for at least 32,564 million tons of CO2e per year, or 51 percent.”

    From more recent reporting by The Worldwatch Institute: Is Meat Sustainable?

    “…as environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future—deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease. ”

    “There is a strong link between human diet and methane emissions from livestock…. As beef consumption rises or falls, the number of livestock will, in general, also rise or fall, as will the related methane emissions.”

    “One ton of methane, the chief agricultural greenhouse gas, has the global warming potential of 23 tons of carbon dioxide. A dairy cow produces about 75 kilograms of methane a year, equivalent to over 1.5 [metric] tons of carbon dioxide.” And the world’s cattle population? About 1.3 billion. There’s a lot of methane in all those bovine belches and farts. By the way, chickens, turkeys and pigs also generate methane “during digestion and from the acres of cesspools filled with feces that they excrete.” (from PETA link below)

    PETA: Fight Global Warming by Going Vegetarian Maybe someone will read it. Here are a few more snippets:

    “Producing one calorie from animal protein requires 11 times as much fossil fuel input—releasing 11 times as much carbon dioxide—as does producing a calorie from plant protein.”

    “A German study conducted in 2008 concluded that a meat-eater’s diet is responsible for more than seven times as much greenhouse gas emissions as a vegan’s diet.”

    Before anyone starts attacking PETA… instead of analyzing the facts… Please don’t display the pitiful desperation of that lame debate. It would resemble an obnoxious drunken drunk discussing flaws of the sober.

    Meanwhile, as far as vegans being obnoxious… yup, I guess we hold the absolute monopoly on that. Must be the wine and roses.

    To those who figure that well, there’s lots of suffering in this world, so, what’s the big deal if we create more? Didn’t your mother ever tell you that two wrongs don’t make a right? Have all morals been annihilated under the twin banners of instant gratification and self absorption?

    And for those who can’t tell the difference between humans and wolves… too bad, wow man, that’s a bummer. How about between humans and elephants? Gorillas? Chickens? Frogs? Clueless? That kind of high is only legal in Colorado.

    Oh, and for folks who don’t like to see pictures of animal abuse, well, perhaps they should ask themselves WHY they don’t like seeing such horrors… and stop blaming the messengers, and stop sweeping those feelings under the carpet. Stop hiding the truth, stop hiding from the truth. Stop dying from not knowing the truth. Start listening to those feelings. The longest journey is from the head to the heart.

    Now for the one who was wondering whether or not you’ve found your GOD, and I’m it… uh, hmmm, do you actually think you’ll receive an answer?

    logspirit

  90. kevin moore Says:

    Brandon Ross Chapman

    Unfortunately your analysis is probably not correct.

    Although we are well past peak conventional oil, well past peak high-quaintly coal, and are well past per capita peak energy, emissions will not necessarily peak as the global economic system implodes due to net energy decline.

    There are many low-grade sources of energy which have extraordinarily high emission profiles which desperate governments and desperate individuals will turn to. Indeed, it is already happening; huge amounts of energy are required to extract oil from Athabasca tar sands, and the emissions are horrifically high, but there is a net energy gain, so the process is viable and profitable, and destruction of the future is promoted by the fascistic Harper government. There are still large reserves of low-grade coal, and desperate governments could well promote the conversion of coal into liquid fuels in order to keep the dying system alive a little longer. The truly awful Abbott government of Australia is on the path of ripping up even more of the country and selling it to China in order to maintain some semblance of historic economic arrangements. Great Barrier Reef? Who needs that when there’s a fast buck to be made out of exporting coal? NZ is no better. The fascistic government of Key is all set to rip into national parks and the conservation estate to get at fossil fuels. (And seabed mining for iron-bearing sands has been given the go-ahead.) It really is fuck the planet as fast as possible stuff from our so-called leaders.

    If fossil fuels become expensive or unavailable there could well be a trend towards people chopping down every tree in sight in order to keep warm or cook food: humans tend to do such things.

    Additionally, there is the matter of ‘natural’ emissions increasing from permafrost or even ordinary soil as temperatures rise. Even worse, there is a very real prospect of methane erupting from clathrates in ever-increasing quantities as oceans and seas warm.

    We went over all this 3 or 4 years ago on NBL but there are always newcomers who may not be aware of previous discussions.

    It seemed that CO2 had peaked earlier this month but recent figures indicate it is still on the rise. 402.34ppm last I saw.

    The sea ice cover in the Artic is tracking well below 2012 levels. It could be rather spectacular later this year.

  91. ulvfugl Says:

    My personal argument in favour of eating meat would be that for five thousand years and more we have been domesticating and breeding animals and plants and we developed an integrated system that supplied our needs.

    I see the rare breeds as incredibly valuable, just as much as the rest of the wild life. If people do not eat them, they have no market value and vanish.

    My argument would be in support of Colin Tudge’s analysis.

    http://www.campaignforrealfarming.org/

    My starting point for this argument is that I want to give other species the best possible chance going forward, so it’s a strategy with both a pragmatic practical and a moral aspect.

    Pragmatically, where I live, how do the people make a living and survive and further my aim ? And morally, how can this be done with minimal harm and suffering ?

    My enemy, regarding this ambition, is corporate agribusiness, economists and technologists who see the world and living things very differently, and the world’s politicians who plunge ahead with policies which guarantee NTE.

    My allies would be folks into rewilding, conservation, permaculture, organic farming.

    I think I’d support the right of anyone to eat what they believe to be right for them, take the drugs they want to take, and so on, because a person’s body is their own, and their life style is their own responsibility, and so is their diet and health.

    I’d like to see all intensive raising of farm animals banned on the grounds of the cruelty involved, but that’s because I am generally against abuse and cruelty and causing suffering.

    We evolved as hunters with meat as part of our diet. Raising animals for meat and all the other products they provide, does not have to involve cruelty. Plants are also sentient.

    You want to campaign against factory farming,against transporting live animals long distances, against genetic engineering, all kinds of other things I’d agree with.

    But when it comes down to it, there’s the natural foodchains that we evolved with, and we are stuck with being biological creatures.

    We did actually have almost perfect systems at one time where everything got cycled around and nothing got wasted, that supported many species, including humans.

    There’s a sort of snapshot of it here, just as it began to be obliterated by industrialisation, forced from America, whose corporations wanted ‘modernisation’ and ‘efficiency’ which were a code words for ‘more profit for them and the banks’ and who cares what damage and harm and cruelty gets caused.

    http://www.fulltable.com/VTS/aoi/b/badmin/farm/a.htm

  92. RE Says:

    “Guy did the math, and you have to follow his rabbit hole to prove to yourself what he has deduced is as close to a certainty as one can determine from this side of the extinction divide, if you have the inclination”

    Far as I know, Guy did not do the math. He just presents data other people have compiled and draws his own conclusions based on that data. Quite a few climate scientists who have pretty radical views don’t agree with those conclusions, James Hansen among them. I haven’t heard JH predicting Extinction by mid-century.

    Guy presents one scenario which is a possibility, but only that, not a certainty. One operates in a manner that is consistent with any outcome. There is nothing wrong with following the steps I outlined whether we go extinct or not.

    On other fronts, thanks for the compliments on the Rants, they are doing REALLY well. We had a Record Setting Day on the Diner in terms of Listens, Visits and Page Views. The WWIII BEGINS! Rant set a new one day record for Rant listens, and total Listens for the day went over 600. Great Day on the Diner. :)

    New Rant going up tonight, Belgian Waffles. A look at the hanky panky Da Fed is involved in these days.

    RE

  93. Grant Schreiber Says:

    “Oh, and for folks who don’t like to see pictures of animal abuse, well, perhaps they should ask themselves WHY they don’t like seeing such horrors”

    Because they were placed in a goddamn vegan cook book, that’s why.
    Maybe seeing photos of a slaughterhouse (now staffed by low-paid, often undocumented workers as opposed to union paid workers) is what you need to do every day to justify eating kale. At the same token, none of the cook books I own show me pictures of attractive people having sex, beautiful nature scenes or impressive star systems. Perhaps a lack of editorial restraint is caused by a lack of red meat.

  94. Librarian Says:

    If we have no rights, then we also have no moral claim to even be criticizing those who harm others.

    We’ve already been down that road, and it’s led to a world where corporations, certain lifestyles, etc. have basically pillaged poor people and the planet.

    Cruelty is not caused by high self-regard, but too low a regard for the rights and needs of others.

  95. Paul f. Getty Says:

    “The 67-year-old longtime Wheel of Fortune host took to Twitter yesterday to seemingly blast people who are worried about the effects of climate change on the planet.
    “I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists knowingly misleading for their own ends. Good night,” Sajak wrote last night.”

    http://www.eonline.com/news/543731/pat-sajak-global-warming-alarmists-are-unpatriotic-racists

  96. Paul Chefurka Says:

    We evolved to eat quite large amounts of meat, folks. Veganism is simply ideology, a moral club used to beat disbelievers off the vegan’s self-defined, self-claimed high-ground. There is a difference between being mindful of what one eats and being dogmatic about it. I prefer to let joy and good health guide my dietary practices, rather than revulsion.

  97. ulvfugl Says:

    @ RE

    So far Alaska seems to be being treated decently by changing climate, I imagine the same is true for parts of Siberia

    You live there and you don’t notice ?

    the fires of recent years have been the worst for 10,000 years

    – See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2013/07/29/alaska-forest-fires-worst-for-10000-years/#sthash.LJ4ZfbYY.dpuf

    And Siberia, as the permafrost melts, turns into a huge swamp, a peat bog, so good luck building domes and growing crops on that, and competing with the billion or two, and more, Chinese, Indians, and Bangla Deshi’s who will be trying to move north to survive up there in the dark, and the Russians who will be keeping them by force.

    Guy presents one scenario which is a possibility, but only that, not a certainty. One operates in a manner that is consistent with any outcome. There is nothing wrong with following the steps I outlined whether we go extinct or not.

    At least he does not come here every day boasting about his fucking ratings and trumpeting self-serving egotistical bullshit like you do.

    There’s everything wrong with following the steps you outline, but no doubt plenty of suckers will fall for your sales pitch because the world is full of fools and people like you who exploit them.


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