Terminating the Industrial Economy: A Ten-Step Plan

Will the ongoing economic collapse reach completion in time to save the living planet, and our species, in the absence of action on our part? Perhaps. Does that give us the right to ignore the moral imperative, hoping — or rather, wishing — peak oil causes the system to collapse under its own weight in time to save us? I hardly think so. If we are to save the planet that supports us, which currently hangs by the barest of threads, and we are therefore to save ourselves, we need to act early and often to hasten the collapse.

My latest two entries established the moral case for terminating the industrial economy. The initial entry drew no arguments in favor of sustaining the industrial economy, but it did raise a few questions. The subsequent entry reiterated and clarified my arguments, and again brought no resistance to the notion of accelerating the ongoing collapse of the world’s industrial economy. I conclude that terminating the industrial economy is a moral act.

In fact, I believe that any attempt to terminate the industrial economy places one on the moral high ground. But agreeing to the morality of economic collapse is the easy part. The hard part is, as usual, taking action. Actually taking effective steps to bring down the massive, murderous machine of death is a daunting task. How to begin, with this seemingly overwhelming task? And where? Is there any chance we could actually be successful if we tried?

I’m certain only that we will fail if we do not try. Terminating the industrial economy is the most important job in the history of humanity. Our lives depend on it, in the same way our lives depend on the living planet. Allowing the industrial age to continue another day is utterly unconscionable (to say nothing of another week, another month, another year, or — and I am truly shuddering at this thought — another decade). But I take heart in knowing that a dedicated 15% of Americans brought the Vietnam War to a close, and stimulated environmental legislation that briefly made this country the safest, cleanest industrialized nation in the world. If we can 15% of Americans on board this time, we might accomplish something far more important than ending a war and passing legislation. We might ensure habitat for ourselves in the world we save.

First, the usual caveats apply. I don’t provide financial advice and you shouldn’t be taking my advice if I did. And I don’t tell people how to live. Following this 10-step plan is almost certain to cost you money. It also might cost you time behind bars, or worse. If you’re up for an all-expenses paid trip to Guantanamo Bay, keep reading. When you’re done reading, start acting.

1. Opt out of the industrial economy. Your continued immersion in the world of make believe depends to a great extent on how willing you are to live in that world, as opposed to the real world. After spending my entire adult life in the so-called ivory tower of academia, I’ve developed new skills to mitigate for a totally new set of circumstances in the years ahead. When I started, I could hardly distinguish a screwdriver from a hammer, and I certainly did not have sufficient money to simply opt out and go it alone, which I think is a bad idea, regardless. My specific, personal example notwithstanding, just about anybody can break the bonds of empire.

2. Get active. Start taking steps, large and small, to bring down the omnicidal system. The steps are many, varied, large, and small. An excellent list of actions, in two essays, can be found here and here. Some are even legal. Some aren’t. If you’re taking heroic actions to save the living planet from the culture of death, prepare to pay dearly. I don’t know if it’s possible to buy insurance on earnings to mitigate against time in prison. But it seems like a good idea, at least for revolutionaries with children.

3. Convince others to join you in getting active. Show them the data. Buy them books. We need a revolution. Therefore, we need revolutionaries. Think about the 15% solution: one in seven. Then 15% more. Rinse and repeat, until we’re an insurmountable force. And hurry: Time is not on our side.

4. Stop paying your debts. The banks cannot afford to come after you, even if you stop making gihugic mortgage payments. They’d have to admit to their shareholders exactly how much toxic debt they have on their books. And if they did that, their shares would drop in value to approximately zero. Furthermore, the current system is designed to indenture you. Whereas American culture formerly demanded you buy a house that required you to work for a few decades, college is the new house. By the time most people complete an undergraduate degree, they are indentured for life, even without shelter. It’s time to stop throwing our money at the people who created this mess, and continue to profit from it. If it makes you feel better, request a hardship deferment on your student loan. If, on the other hand, this entire system makes sense to you, and if you’re in favor of it and the associated destruction of the living planet (including planetary loss of habitat for Homo sapiens by mid-century), please take a deep breath, tune out the rational voices in your head, and go back to your television.

5. Practice the first of the three Rs: Reduce your consumption. Stop going to the stores. Personal consumption accounts for nearly 70% of the industrial economy in the U.S. Just say no, recognizing that the federal government will continue to claim economic growth is occurring, even if they have to account for all that growth by fudging numbers and taxing your future. (When the feds announced third-quarter economic growth, I wrote they were making it up. We now have the data to support my accusation.) At some point, reducing personal spending brings it all down because the government cannot fool all the sheeple, all the time. If you live in a city, you can obtain most of the stuff you need from the dumpsters in the alleys of your neighborhood. For years I’ve been living, at least in part, off the detritus of empire.

6. Practice the second of the three Rs: Reuse everything you can. Investing in durability and simply refusing to play along with our throw-away culture will go a long way toward bringing down the system. Combined with the preceding step, you’ll be able to save money while saving the living planet.

7. Practice the third of the 3 Rs, with a caveat: Recycle renewables such as paper and cardboard, because doing so requires a lot of energy. There’s an added benefit: All your friends will think you’re “green.” But don’t recycle disposable containers made from non-renewable resources such as plastics and metals. In particular, every plastic bottle in the trash generates demand for a few more drops of oil.

8. Increase your consumption of oil or electricity, both of which are nearly too cheap to meter in the United States. Use as much of both as you can afford, then use some more. The future of the world is at stake, along with the future of humankind. Leave the lights on in every room. Turn on the lights in every public building. Use the doors that rely on motion sensors every time to enter and leave a building. Exceed the posted speed limit. And so on. Waste energy until it becomes a habit. According to Jevons’ paradox, somebody else will use it, if you don’t. Burn those fossil fuels while you can.

9. The strong link between water delivery and energy consumption indicates every gallon through the taps requires a few drops of crude oil. As with oil and electricity, water is so heavily subsidized it is essentially free, so let’s keep the water running. So keep the water flowing when you leave a public restroom and, if you live in a rental where water is paid by the owner, don’t fix that leaky faucet. And, as we say in the desert, flush twice for Tucson.

10. Read and apply Dave Foreman’s (1993) Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching. This is a compelling, how-to guide for terminating the industrial economy.

Finally, a personal appeal from the billboard-toppling desert anarchist Edward Abbey: “Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast — a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”

To which I would add only this thought: Especially — and probably only — if you abandon your addiction to empire, and then change your life accordingly.

Comments 29

  • A lot to contemplate.Some,such as exceeding the posted speed limit,may
    not be practical.

    Is “gihugic” a new word you coined ProfEmGuy?

    I’ve long esposed radical measures.If I were the dictator,as mentioned before I’d relocate the Yuppie Scum from the sloburbs,into work camps dedicated to renewal and reeducation much like the programs practiced by
    the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.Only,I’d put them to work tearing down the awful sloburbs and returning the sites to nature.

    The young would have a green education,and the crimes of their parents
    would be revealed for the whole world to see.

    This is only the beginning of these musings.Much thinking and study remains to be done.It would seem that nothing is too radical in the defense of that greatest good—nature.For too long environmentalists
    have been on the defensive.Defeat has mascaraded as compromise.We need
    real,substantive victories.The destruction of the sloburbs and returning
    the sites to nature would be a moral and noble act.

  • Guy,

    Directive #7 left me thinking you had some modifiers reversed. I wonder if you might give it a look and make sure you said what you meant.

    I must say, stopping payment on our debts caught my fancy.

    Buying any more insurance is a non-starter with me though. I’m much more inclined to drop any insurance that I already have.



  • Frank, I borrowed “gihugic” from my students (I’ll give it back when I done with it, though), and wrote about it in the magnus opus. I don’t think exceeding the posted speed limit will lead to legal action, as evidenced by my actions during the last three decades or so. If I’m not mistaken, drag increases as a square of the speed, so slight increases in speed lead to large decreases in fuel efficiency.

    Dan Treecraft, I checked #7 and I think it’s correct. Recycling renewables is very energy-intensive (vs. using plantation-grown trees), and tossing the plastics increases demand for oil (actually, it increases the oil demanded, but that’s an economic semantic).

  • A lot to look at here. First, a caveat. I heartily agree with the premise that the only way to save the planet from the cancerous human growth explosion (CHGE) is to stop them from being their natural cancerous selves.

    But, having said that, and concomitant with the metaphor I’ve injected, cancer cells gots to be cancer cells.

    They have no choice. Once the cell’s programming has been changed, it is almost impossible to unprogram it. I sometimes deal with American Indian tribes who are so teched up, it would make a standard American weep with envy. I tell them about the strangling planet and they say, “I know, I know. Hey, want to go four-wheeling in my new Hummer?”

    So what’s a concerned cancer cell gone good to do? Well, all that Guy suggests is completely consistent with the idea of dismantling the system. However, should you take a look at the power of large numbers, you will see that so many people around the planet are hooked on the cancerous paradigm that that fifteen percent would find itself hard pressed to overcome the remaining 85%’s constant rain of evil upon the earth’s body. The CHGE has a multiplier effect that reformed cancer cells cannot have. The CHGE have enormous footprints. The reformed cancer cells still must gain sustenance from the paradigm thus supporting it in some form. For example, dumpster diving is secondary support of the system. The only truly free cancer cell is a cell that is completely detached. All of its sustenance comes from its own energy expenditure. It buys nothing the cancer cells produce, nor does it trod on anything, or wear anything, or use anything produced by the cancer cells.

    Sounds impossible to defeat, right?

    Ah, one must consider the magic of the CHGE! If the non-cancer cells cannot kill the CHGE by withdrawing all support, the cancer paradigm will ultimately kill itself by killing the host, by killing the earth. Now, it is unlikely that this orb will explode into smithereens, so there will be an environment. It may not have humans in it, though. Bummer for us. Yeah for the survivors!!!

    So, ultimately, the best way to use that fifteen percent is to look for leverage points. You must use what the Army College calls, “Force Multipliers.” Cancer paradigms being what they are, generally are simplistic devices that rely upon a simple manmade chain rather than a complex natural web. The only way that nature has made it this far is the extreme complexity of its systems that provide for flexibility and the ability to absorb impacts. Manmade systems are not like that. They work on the cheap by avoiding complexity and using nature’s complexity as an unacknowledged support. Instead of a food web that recycles everything and has thousands upon thousands of self-regulating checks and balances, we strip mine the soil with machines and then inject fossil sunlight into the earth in order to grow mono-crops.

    I would say the best force multiplier would be the eradication of the automobile. It is the hub of the cancer paradigm. Get rid of yours. Help others to get rid of theirs—wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

    Disable the feeding centers and the paths they travel. Block the paths at crucial points and times. If you still have a cancermobile, it would be unfortunate if it broke down at awkward times and places where getting around said cancermobile would be difficult and the flow of other cancermobiles were heavy.

    Remember, I do not advocate anything that is illegal in the truest sense of the word. Who would have prosecuted the French Resistance other than the those whom they resisted? The law of non-species specific supremacy must take precedence. Humans are no more essential than the fern, the barn swallow, the sea slug, or the plague germ. All act in balance, if the laws of the natural web are followed.

    Take heart. Even if you do nothing to save the planet, the CHGE will kill off the host and itself in the process. Like a Rube Goldberg device, it will whirl and stumble and start flinging off parts as it collapses.

    And, if you do put your life on the line, it will be the greatest sacrifice, one that you will make anyway at some point as a natural part of the cycle.

  • #11; read more Ed Abbey.

    I’m pretty much with Cherenkov…feeling no more important in the Big Scheme than a robin. Which leads to thoughts like: ‘refuse vaccinations for H1N1’; because if I get it I’ll likely spread it, and viruses are nature’s way of keeping us in check. Nothing personal!

    Obey little; resist much (Ed again). Cheat on your taxes; they mostly go to support the death machine. Gandhi’s method, filling the prisons with the innocent, once worked…and given the tenuous condition of economy and the nation’s prisons, may again. Or it may just flood the streets with the more traditional criminal, while we end up in the Gulag, as seems more likely.

    But in the Long View, whatever hastens the demise of homo sapiens can’t be all bad. It may take 17,000,000 years to undo the damage, but I doubt it. So maybe we ought to borrow deeply for a Hummer, a huge house in the far suburbs, and eat out every meal at chain restaurants.
    Pay extra taxes; sometimes you just have to break 700,000 Iraqi eggs to make a good Freedom Omelette.
    Buy a backhoe, and dig a moat around the mansion to keep the riffraff out. Fill in some wetlands to do it.
    Join the Republican party.
    Go to church, and believe in God.

    Nevermind. I like your ideas better, Guy. But do add # 11…

  • Regarding 8 and 9 – really you are saying do nothing and tell no one, because ‘we’ are burning as much oil as we can afford now and it is best to keep doing so.
    Rather than curb consumption you are saying consume more, so borrow more from the banks, put more crap on hire purchase, do not recycle anything, buy water in plastic bottles, and pump out as many children as you can.
    I think we already have the 15%, as this is what most people who have the ability to borrow and spend are doing IE killing the system.
    So 10 points everyone keep up the consumption, lets treat the system like the fat pig it is and keep feeding it until it pops.
    The sooner it pops the sooner the children stop coming …. and the sooner the suffering will start to reduce.
    Personally if I miss the recycle truck on a Monday morning or have to pay to take things to the dump, I burn it all first, I haven’t got kids, most people I know don’t give a toss, so why should I fight the system.
    I keep this as my mantra
    “The planet is going nowhere … we are”
    oh and “I told ya so”
    Lets face it humans are dumber than cockroaches, we are the same dumb f%@ks that crawled out of caves 10,000 years ago and it is our destiny to go extinct.
    Thanks for the ride Gaia



  • I guess I now can excuse myself for not having a rice – burner. I did have four rice – burners: the first set of wheels (1975) a Datsun 280Z, and then three (3) Toyota Supras. Toyota quit selling them in the US in 1994. Since I could not get another Supra, in 2007.05 I got a Bowling Green z06. Gets around 12 miles per gallon in the city, but after reading this post I won’t feel so bad about it!

  • Hi Guy, nice article, absolutely in line with my thinking, whereby the only way to actually create change requires a considerable element of undermining (or sabotaging) the Industrial Machine, partly because it has to be done anyway, but mainly because it’s the only way of freeing peoples’ minds from the disconnection that civilization imbues in us.

    I just discovered your blog (and inevitably will also discover your books) via Carolyn Baker, who raves about you in our conversations :-) You might want to include the following links in Step 2, which show practical (and not necessarily legal) things people can do to assist with the undermining process:

    http://earth-blog.bravejournal.com/entry/40952/ : This is the introduction

    http://earth-blog.bravejournal.com/entry/42068/ : This is the list of actions itself, which I am keen to add to, if either you or any of your readers want to help.

    If you want to read my book, you can do for free at http://www.amatterofscale.com – it would be good to do something for your web site in the future.

    Cheers, Keith.

  • Keith, thanks very much for the links — I’ve added them into Step 2, and I recommend your book to all readers. It’s freely available here for those who missed it. Regarding Carolyn, there’s no accounting for taste, is there? :)

  • The person who advocates slowing down to “save” fuel must realize that ultimately such behavior will not save the planet.

    You cannot “save” fuel. Fossil fuel is a once in a one hundred million year occurrence. There is X amount. The minute that first well began drawing out that oil, it was on its way to disappearing. So, any use is depletion. It is also releasing carbon. You must also consider Jeavon’s paradox which states that a more efficient use of any resource will mean more people using the resource. In effect, any savings will be eaten up by those who at one point could not afford, but who can now.

    This is a false economy and terrible distraction from what really needs to be done.

    What needs to be done is a complete cessation of driving as quickly as possible. This means relocalization. Relocalization in everything from food production to clothing to housing materials to water to energy to, well, everything. Thus, people who live in deserts will not be able to live there. Deserts cannot support cities like Phoenix without exogenous support–imported energy, water, food, and etc.

    Where will these people go? How do we accomodate all these people?

    The first step is a complete inventory of land and water. One must determine availability on a long-term sustainable basis. This will determine population density. If we have enough land to resettle everyone, then great. If not…. Well, interesting times. But, let’s say we do. Next, we need all educational facilities from kindergarten to grad school to be retasked teaching permaculture. Universities must train trainers. If each trainer trains thirty people in the basics in one year, and those thirty people train thirty and so on, within a couple of years we will have enough trainers. Each bioregion must have its own type of permaculture. Land without sustainable wood sources must use some other material for home building. Examining the lifestyles of Native American plains dwellers or the lives of Russians living on the steppes before industrialization will save years of trial and error.

    A methodology of birth control that circumvents the vagaries of social BS that often undermine decent planning efforts is required. I suggest that only a random number of children born into the world be equipped to procreate. The ideal number would be easy to determine. To do this, a surgery would be randomly performed on infants to sterilize most. Those not sterilized, will get the surgery, but without the actual sterilization. That way appearances will not give away the identity of the fertile.

    We must start breaking up the land into zones of human habitation, wildlife habitation, wetlands, recovery areas, etc. Build out must be done with the idea that every structure will be designed to last at least a lifetime.

    People will move out of the toxic lands, the cities and suburbs, filling out the small shareholder farms as they are trained. Obviously, the best farms will go to those most motivated to learn quickly and demonstrate competence.

    The toxic lands (cities) will be disassembled and rehabilitated back to viable natural terms. Materials deemed non-toxic will be used for building materials. Those too fragile (built-in obsolescence) for use in a durable future will be used in the building process if non-toxic or remediated if toxic.

    The process goes on and on and I don’t have the time to finish in this post, but you get the idea.

    Unfortunately, the process just described will not occur. We, as a species are far too short-sited and selfish to do what is necessary. That is not a comment on a moral short-coming, it is merely noting the millions of years of evolution that baked these survival tropes into our genes. We will have to let nature take its course. The cull will come chaotically, brutally, and without recourse or appeal.

    I’ve made my peace. There comes a time when you must let it go. Let go of the paradigm. Let go of the pollyannaism. Stand back and watch nature go to work in all its glory.

  • The elites are not idiots. They are the winners of thousands of years of competition.

    Their wealth and power come from maintaining this facade of industrial economy, and they will not give up without a serious fight.

    Reread the Great Gatsby, where my kinsman Tom redirects the angst of a wronged man into Gatsby, eliminating his chief rival and killing two birds with a stone.

    The elites will redirect the angst of the ‘cogs’ to the activists who are supposely destroying the ‘life-tools’ of capitalism, thereby defeating the cause of the activists and keeping the people in line.

    Ironically, even when everything goes completely bad, the ones at the top are more likely to survive and propagate their genes, due to their immense ownership of lands.

  • Guy,

    I thought you were serious. Pretty obviously since 1, 5 and 6 directly contradict 7,8, and 9 you are not. Or am I just too dense to understand that consuming oil is not the same as consuming all the stuff that is made from/with oil? Also, 2 and 4 are invitations to become someone’s bitch in jail. As Thoreau chided Emerson from his cell, “Why is it you’re out there and I’m in here?” That just leaves 3 (get help) and 10 (have fun).

    What do you really think? Is there anything we can do?

    Michael Irving

  • Michael Irving (and the masses at Facebook), I’m proposing consumption of all petroleum products. If you take the time to read about Jevon’s paradox, you’ll see that there is no contradiction. With respect to numbers 2 and 4, I have indicated many times that the cost of bringing down the industrial economy will be large, especially to those willing to take heroic action. So, as Derrick Jensen often writes, we have the best excuse in the world to not act … would you rather have the best excuse in the world, or would you rather have a world?

    So, yes, there is much we can do. Of course, most people are unwilling to stand in the way of culture, much less commit a misdemeanor in defense of the planet. If that’s the case, there is almost nothing we can do except continue to rape the planet and kiss our sorry asses goodbye.

  • Guy, have you noticed that nearly all of your previous blog friends haven’t written much recently? Where are Australian Matt and Charlene and Stan Moore? Have they been scared off (as I am) by the new more bitter tone of your essays? I just can’t understand your blog this time. The world is still a very beautiful place and there are still lots of solutions, using up water in the desert as you advocate seems to be an extremely selfish thing to do and can only be said by someone who has already secured his own water supply. Wasting electricity and petroleum products won’t help anyone, long or short term. We need to learn to do without things, not to spoil things that already exist. And it’s no use just one or two activists wrecking stuff, they end up languishing in jail without effecting change unless they are part of a huge mass movement. I can understand you must get very frustrated living inside the American Empire, especially with all the doublespeak and hypocrisy surrounding your politicians, but I think you need to find some joy in your life. Bitterness is a lonely bedfellow.

  • Thanks for your concern, Daphne, but I can assure you I’m doing fine. These last three posts certainly have driven away the masses, even though nobody has presented a coherent argument against any of the ideas they contain. Although my outlook is becoming increasingly militant in light of the complete failure of “environmentalists” and “conservationists” to slow the runaway train of industrial culture, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. “Give peace a chance” sure as hell isn’t working, unless by “working” you mean enriching the financially wealthy at the expense of the living planet and the other 99.9% of humans.

    Solutions, anybody? I’m all ears (to quote Ross Perot). But so far, I’m providing the only solutions — and nobody likes them. I feel like Mark Twain vis-a-vis the weather: When everybody was complaining about ecological collapse, nobody was doing anything about it. Are you suggesting that, now that I’ve presented some options for solving the immoral machine of death, my “audience” is insulted to the point of departure?

    Could be, I suppose. I know a little of me goes a long way.

    On the other hand, Charlene left a long time ago, and gave notice at the time. Matt is weaning himself off peak oil and economic collapse, according to the email messages he sends. I assume — and hope — Stan has a life beyond the blogosphere.

  • Thanks for the honest and true insights to the current situation facing us. I am tired of the “50 ways to save the planet” hype. I am also tired of “what governments (i.e. others) must do to save the world”. It’s all B.S.

  • ProfEmGuy:

    According to your earlier prediction we have less than 24 hours.See
    you in the after world.


  • Sadly, Frank, the industrial age did not end in 2009. But I’m already one for one for 2010: James Howard Kunstler forecast Dow 4000 in his annual assessment.

  • I still read your blog Guy. I love your suggestions. I’m reading some Jensen myself and wouldn’t ya know it Nikki Craft contacted me about a picture of mine. Here is her creative result.


  • If parents truly loved their children, they would do the only thing they could to try and help them survive what is now here, and that is for every parent to commit suicide, a sudden population drop of 3 billion will not reverse our current situation, but it will make a bit more wiggle room for the non breeding victims, who through no fault of their own have ended up alive on earth. I didn’t ask to be born, no one forced my parents to have me, it was their choice not mine, they should be the first to pay for their mistakes. They dumped me in this shit hole, to do the best I can to survive.
    I can at least hold my head high, in as much as I haven’t added to the problem or sadness (apart from my use of everything available to stay alive)
    So thanks for nothing mum and dad with your ego lead production, and that goes for my idiot brother and sister with their 2 kids each. … and one grand child …… god help it.
    Giving birth should be a criminal act, if logic dictated it would be.
    We are dumber than yeast.

  • i tend to think the commenter Cherenkov has the most enlightened outlook here. recognizing one’s impotence to affect the kind of radical change that seems “necessary” by whatever enviro-economic-human rights standards creates a feedback loop that totally contradicts evangelizing any particular route to radical activism. if anything, the tempting invitation to throw out your bills and overuse the resources already doomed to dry up should only make it harder on your conscience that people elsewhere in the world are thirsty and oppressed and that you’re engaging in some mind-fuck “rebellion” that only yourself and a few pretentious others might appreciate because you each have the good fortune of being born in the glorious gluttonous west.

    is it the goal to save a handful of fortunate, white, self-righteous, educated westerners from the violent collapse because they had the foresight to move to a little piece of farmland (which they could afford)? or is it just applying one’s personal sense of vengeance and justice to the gentry of their own nation-state? either way, no virtuous big-picture aims i can decipher…

    Cherenkov pointed out that if you kick back and relax you’ll still make the same sacrifice as the system unfolds. i agree, and its not as if fighting and dying for some tiny Pyrrhic victory is going to stop the train. you will not be making a noble sacrifice by dying to tear down a social system that is taking the species with it anyway. if logic and natural selection are truly paramount to your system of thinking, enjoy your life – learn, grow, and be aware – but don’t go kamikaze for anyone. even your own ego.

  • I’ll follow up on commenter dave’s thoughts with some semi-rhetorical questions:

    1. Whom are you benefiting with these actions? Yourself? Current humanity? Future humanity? Other species present and future? The rest of the earth (inorganic material)?

    2. Why (do you care about any of the above)?

  • Chad, I benefit from these actions only if I’m joined by a lot of like-minded people. Ditto for all future generations. Otherwise, we run out of habitat for our species by mid-century, according to the latest, conservative forecasts. Certainly other species and cultures benefit from the termination of western civilization.

    I care about the living planet for reasons far beyond myself. I feel a moral obligation to maintain conditions conducive to life on Earth for the sake of future generations of all species. Sadly, I’m joined in this moral stance by about a dozen people, none of whom are financially rich or politically powerful.

    And you? If you disagree, why? Do you want to destroy the living planet, as well as conditions conducive to human life? How quickly? Is mid-century soon enough for you? Is the cost to current and future humans, and all other living species, worth your comfort?

    My questions for you are not rhetorical.

  • Thanks for the edits, Guy. Will keep checking your feed.


  • Yes, it is moral obligation to do something meaningful.

    And, as this post illustrates, there is not shortage of actions you can take, controversial and not.

    However, I feel like I am personally unable to fulfill that obligation in a meaningful way. I have educated myself on the dire reality of our collective situation, and opted out of propaganda; but that only makes me all the more despairing of our ability solve it collectively. That in turn makes me feel any actions I do take individually (activism, recycling, being self-sufficient) are for naught – or at best serve selfish goals of preservation for myself and my dependents.

    I guess you could say I don’t have any faith, which is ironic for a regular churchgoer.

    Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s hard to escape the American debt-serf status quo – especially when it would be (perceived as) hardship to my dependents.

    Plus, I’m lazy and prefer to spend my non-serf time relatively non-productively (from a saving-the-planet perspective). When I observed first hand how hard you and your neighbors work to further these goals, it didn’t look like fun at all to do on a daily basis. When I observe how hard other activists work and get nowhere with it, their efforts seem uselessly Quixotic.

    So, even though I think the ideas in this article are great and morally justified, I cannot overcome my human (and personal) tendency towards fatalism and inertia. Unfortunately, this feeling only deepens as I learn more about the nature of reality (and the reality of nature).

  • Somebody who understands Jevons’ paradox! Amazing. I shall be back.