Today’s radio interview (post-interview update)

I was was interviewed today on Alternative Energy Radio, a production of the Shades of Green Network. To listen to the podcast of this radio interview, click here or go to this url: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/alternativeenergyradio/2009/12/07/wwwshadesofgreennetworkcom–the-green-economy-netw

The topic, as usual: the collapse of civilization and the extinction of our species. Pretty serious stuff, I think. But to hear the interviewers, you’d think we were on AM radio during the morning commute with Bobby and Brad, talking about Bragelina’s new tattoos. And, although Bragelina is on the line, Bobby and Brad won’t let them answer the few questions that come to mind.

As usual, the interviewers missed the primary point by the typical 180 degrees. We can save our species, but only by terminating industrial activity, and very, very soon. Their reaction to the notion of economic collapse: We’re all going to die. No, no, no, wrong answer. We’re all going to die only if we do not cease industrial activity. Some of us might live, and our species might persist, if we do cease industrial activity.

In discussing the viability of the living planet, and the prospects for Homo sapiens squeezing through the global-change bottleneck, a little humor is warranted. After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself, and you can’t laugh at the apocalypse, you’ve got dark days ahead. On the other hand, a little humor goes a long way. I’d have appreciated the opportunity to talk about personal options for dealing with economic collapse, for example. Or the interplay between the twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin. Or the importance of securing water, food, and community. Or any number of other factors with some intellectual merit.

How ’bout you? Did you listen? What did you think? Am I too sensitive, and taking myself too seriously. Are my neuroses showing? After all, I tend to think of myself as FINE (Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotionally unavailable). What about you?

Comments 5

  • I’m listening now. You are right that “…As usual, the interviewers missed the primary point by the typical 180 degrees. We can save our species, but only by terminating industrial activity, and very, very soon…” Their giggliness would be tolerable if they at least listened and reflected the heard your point. I don’t think they’re capable.

    Their laughter was nervous. They can’t internalize this information. They worship at the altar of civilization. The shrine of which is morning am radio….

    A few yrs ago, James Howard Kunstler was interviewed here in Buffalo briefly. Operative word, briefly. He ended up telling them to shut up, because of the same behavior.

    Finally, I’m hearing them say they believe in pockets of food cultural revolutions. The guy knows there’s problems. They just can’t handle the depth of it, and so they can’t help their audience access that information, sadly.

    Your patience is admirable. You did your best. Thank you for that. (i don’t think i can listen to the whole thing… i am not that patient, in this context…)

  • “…but, we were gonna like stimulate the economy and stuff.”

    Just say no to Copenhagen Fluff.

    See you at the superbowl.

  • Nice work Guy. I listened to it all and enjoyed it. Here’s just a few comments:

    First, hardly anyone, including me most of the time, can imagine human extinction by mid-century. If that’s what the science says, then it will be important (in future appearances) to paint a realistically grim picture of how that might occur. I can easily imagine a global dieoff, but I can’t as easily imagine a human extinction in that time frame. I can also imagine the possibility of an extinction via runaway greenhouse, but I don’t think the science for a climate cascade scenario is in yet given the range of past earth episodes and our general ignorance of global systems.

    Second, your choice of agrarian anarchy over the post-industrial stone age seems strange in light of your statement about the incredible longevity of pre-agricultural human society. I can think of many cultural benefits of each arrangement, but I can’t imagine that an agrarian anarchy would outperform a post-industrial stone age in either its relative sustainability or its ecological footprint. For a listener like me, you’ll need to convince me that the agrarian path is the better option.

    Third, If it is true that the “business as usual” option will lead inevitably to our extinction as a species, I’m not convinced that that is necessarily the “bad” outcome for the rest of the planet. What is at stake, as in any mass extinction, is the balance between the earth’s current suite of biota and the potential biota evolving on the far side of the bottleneck. Ironically, human extinction, despite the mass extinction that would accompany it, might allow a richer future for life as a whole a ways down the road.

    Lastly, Although I think you did a great job with those two in terms of staying on message, their optimism regarding technological innovation and civilizational continuity was a constant, deafening chorus. I liked them both. They were sincere, energetic, and idealistic. Better then most. In fact, because of their own concern for the future and their obvious familiarity with topics like relocalization etc., I think they were able to control the frame of the discussion for the most part. For future gigs, I would suggest, perhaps, a quick logical progression at the beggining that sets the stage for what you think is possible, probable, unlikely, impossible, etc. We can all work toward the possible and the probable. We can even take a stab at the unlikely, but don’t let them waste your time with the impossible.

  • anarchy- 1a : absence of government b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government

    People are most familiar with definition 1b, which implies chaos.

    Just like collapse includes disorder and implies chaos.

    When discussing collapse and anarchy with I believe you might want to follow the rule of defending yourself in politics. When you do it you lose.

    Otherwise I felt your interview went well. They are techno-optimists (and getting paid to do so) so your hurdle was high, but not insurmountable. Give it a few more interviews and you will do much better, especially given you didn’t come across with as much energy and weight as they did. Dead air is forbidden in radio and TV if you want to get your ideas out and into the conversation you need to throw your weight around and use judo to throw them around too.

  • garbage in – garbage out