Rewild or Die: a paradoxical read

Rewild or Die is the title and the ultimatum of a book written and published in 2010 by Urban Scout (aka Peter Bauer). The author asked me to review the book here, and I am accommodating his request.

Expectedly, Rewild or Die starts with a few definitions. Rewilding is best explained by a description of what rewilders do (p. 4): “In order to accomplish rewilding, rewilders practice a multitude of skills such as innovative team building skills, storytelling skills, martial arts and ancient hand crafts like brain-tanning deer skins into buckskins and making tools from stone, bone and wood. Because rewilders see rewilding as part of a transition culture, they do not shun the use of modern technology such as computers, guns, cars, etc. Knowing that those technologies rely on an unsustainable industrial economy and will not last through the end of empire.”

The sentence fragment at the end of the paragraph is emblematic of a text filled with poor grammar and misspelled words. It was difficult for this former teacher to gloss over the poorly edited text in search of the many valuable kernels contained between the book’s covers. In fact, this is the primary paradox associated with Rewild or Die: I agree with the message and the necessity of spreading it, but I have serious problems with the messenger’s butchering of the English language. To Scout’s credit, he uses E-Prime (or English Prime), an experimental version of the English language that excludes the use of the verb “to be.” Nonetheless, the book’s message is difficult to locate because of the many errors in grammar, spelling, and logic. Although I agree with Scout’s assessment of civilization, it’s tough to take seriously any book replete with errors and F-bombs.

There’s an F-bomb on nearly every page. They, and the many other curses meant to impart gravitas, simply lose impact after the first few pages (p. 105): “I’ve always hated school. No wait, I mean, I always fucking hated school. In fact, I’ve dropped out 5 times, from 4 schools.” Scout is no fan of books, either: (p. 113): “Information stored in books generally remains under lock and key. In a field guide, the knowledge of skills remains locked in a book. Copyright laws prohibit an individual from dispersing the information.”

Scout’s long list of dislikes extends well beyond school and books. He expresses considerable disdain for Christianity, science (which he classifies as a religion), vegans, and voting. With respect to the latter, he recommends walking away (p. 115): Voting “merely shows you still want to remain in denial. Walk away. Walk away. Walk away. Let it go.” This is odd advice coming from a man living in a city of 600,000 people who then goes on to explain that he does vote (p. 116): “I vote for schools to receive less money (fuck ‘em).” I understand internal inconsistency and I find it maddening. Apparently it doesn’t bother Scout.

The paradoxes continue throughout the book, and sometimes they are used to good effect (p. 195): “People say I should focus on the more beautiful things in the world in order to feel better. But when I see a beautiful world, I also see our civilization destroying it. I have a loyal supportive family and group of friends and I also see civilization enslaving them. I have so many things to live for and feel great about, and I feel great about those things, and yet I also see the larger oppressive forces at work.”

Lest I get too hung up on the incongruities, there are numerous points on which I agree with Scout. Consider, for example, the following paragraphs.

“I find it funny when I hear people say that our problems occur because people don’t take personal responsibility. Blame the person, not the culture, not the system of wealth management and the armies that enforce it. Since Climate Change threatens us all, does that mean that a slave-child sewing soccer balls in Taiwan has a personal responsibility to stop Climate Change? Do you think the slaves in the third world have a personal responsibility to stop Climate Change? Do you honestly think they have the power? Where they can’t even afford to buy ‘rights’? Do you honestly think us more privileged Americans do?” (Paragraph from p. 32.)

“Many argue over whether or not actions like blowing up a dam will bring civilization down or merely strengthen it. To wild humans, an argument like that makes no sense. Like arguing over whether or not the tree whose roots tear up the sidewalk will bring down civilization or strengthen it. Yes, the tree may get cut down and the street repaved. But civilization will never have the power to cut them all down, to repave all of those streets. A dandelion growing in a suburban lawn, a tree ripping apart the street, an earthquake tearing down buildings, and rewilding humans dismantling logging equipment seems as natural a process as taking out the trash feels to the civilized. I see resistance to domestication as the wildness deep down in our souls bursting forth; A rewilding human blowing up a dam as the natural world going about its daily routines… with a little tenacity.”

“Many proponents who argue against such actions say that “civilization will just rebuild.” The idea that civilization will go on resisting the roots of a tree, cut it down and pave another road, does not stop the tree from growing roots. Similarly, whether or not civilization will continue to resist the flow of water and build another dam does not stop the actions of rewilding humans. The forces of nature at work, whether we mean trees growing roots, water rushing to the ocean or wild humans caretaking the land, will continue to undomesticate the world regardless of civilization’s growing or diminishing resistance to them.” (Preceding two paragraphs are from page 51.)

“Control lies at the heart of civilization. Control over food supply means control over the earth. This culture, by its very nature, lacks humility towards the earth. You cannot show empathy towards those you dominate.” (p. 171)

“You want to know what the apocalypse looks like? Go outside and look around. The apocalypse looks like alienation from your neighbors and family. It looks like eating food sprayed with toxins and then shipped 3,000 miles to the store. It looks like slaving your life away for mere pennies so you can afford another drink at the bar or puff on your pipe to forget about your slaving. Oh god, let’s not put an end to any of that!” (p. 197)

Predictably for a proponent of the anti-civ movement, Scout takes cities to task. And I agree with his assessment regarding how the collapse of civilization will turn out for occupants of cities (p. 100): “While those in urban environments experience the worst of a collapsing monolith, those out in the wild will live freer lives, just as Robin Hood did. For rewilding to catch on, we need role models. We need heroes. Real or imagined. And we need them now.” Apparently Scout has no aspirations of becoming one of those heroes, judging from his choice to live at the apex of empire, a city in the United States (p. 62): “I live in a metropolis” (Scout lives on the western shore of North America in Portland, Oregon).

Scout knows the trade-offs between living in the city — and thereby extracting everything needed for human survival — and living in the country (p. 150): “And what the city offers up as a resource, diversity of people and perspectives, the country lacks. FoxNews plays on every bar television screen. I see Jesus Saves & American Pride bumper stickers everywhere I turn. But in the end, at this point, the pros outweigh the cons.” I disagree strongly with Scout’s conclusion about the lack of diversity in country living. My human community includes Caucasian multimillionaires, self-reliant cowboys, back-to-the-land hippies, and a broad spectrum of colors and viewpoints.

Scout goes on to claim the lives of urbanites, presumably including himself, are pointless (p. 182): “Urban people’s lives have no point. We exist as the human waste product of agriculture. We have no integrated purpose in the context of the real, wild world. We have no relationship with our landbase, except blind exploitation. We exist only to serve coffee to those in power, to enter data into spreadsheets for those in power, or operate machinery for those in power. We simply shift wealth around so that we feel like we have some worth, even though we don’t. Though we drown ourselves in culture, none of it has any meaning beyond its initial consumption. We’ve made our entire culture disposable. We’ve made our lives disposable.”

It’s difficult to disagree with the overarching sentiment, but many people find meaning in their lives regardless of where they live. Further, the paradox between Scout’s pointed criticism and the way he chooses to live leave me wanting further explanation. How can an individual justify living in a city while harshly criticizing cities and the meaningless lives of their occupants?

In addition to the paradoxes, there are enough factual errors to cause concern (p. 71): “I want to hunt and gather and garden all my own food. I can’t, because I don’t know how and it feels extra hard because no one else does either (at least in this country).” This line is evocative, and it certainly serves as an excuse for living contrary to principle. But it’s not true. Somebody in my community lives exactly this way. I’d guess there are many others in this country. Other factual errors are evident, even to me, on the topics of vegetation dynamics, fire ecology, and the notion that native peoples did not live in cities (in the New World, Incans, Mayans, and Chacoans come to mind).

The obvious paradoxes continue through the penultimate chapter (p. 207): “I have to say that by now, after spending years philosophizing about the word rewilding… I fucking hate it.” Although these internal inconsistencies are maddening, they certainly provoked thought on the part of this reader. And I certainly agree with the ultimatum provided by the title: Individuals and their tribes will rewild or die.

Ultimately, I would have preferred a more consistent, coherent assessment of the potential roles of rewilding in overcoming the horrors of civilization. The topic is too important to get lost in errors and F-bombs. Perhaps Scout should have stayed in school a little longer, if only to polish his writing skills.

Please remember: The author asked me to review the book here, and I am accommodating his request as if I have time to deal with juvenile delinquents who do not know how to write. In response to this favor, which gave me the opportunity read and comment on a poorly written book, Scout trashed me and my review on my blog and his. No good deed ….

Comments 70

  • Guy,
    I would like to write a book. I’m not sure what the subject would be, but I’ve always liked the idea of writing something special, something with the potential to bring about a worldwide awakening of consciousness and good will. I guess this is a good object lesson on how to go about it. Make sure you get someone or several someones to read your finished work, before publication, and offer their opinions.

    Problem is, given the nature of what’s coming, I could see myself torn between wanting to get it right, and wanting to get it out where it may do some good before it becomes too late. I wonder if Mr Scout had this dilemma while trying to finish his work? Just a thought.

  • Very similar to my review in many ways, Guy:

    It’s a good set of essays if you don’t worry about the grammar and the need for a consistent message. Nice to have a bit of variety in the anti-civ mix.


  • The most annoying thing about a review like this, is that I don’t use poor grammar in my writing. I write in a conversational style almost part monologue. For someone reading it who is not familiar with that style, I could see them having a hard time grasping it. If you are unfamiliar with a certain style, especially if you have indoctrinated your own brain by grading papers as a school teacher, I could see how you would not appreciate my writing style or worse: mistake it for “bad grammar”. I mean shit. You must hate poetry? Kieth didn’t care for my f bombs but he clearly appreciated the grammatical style that I wrote in:
    “Given that, the second thing to say about “Rewild or Die” is that Urban Scout writes really well; not only does he write well, he appears to be constructing text in the manner of an artisan: few words are wasted or superfluous, and the style matches the context effortlessly. Or rather, it seems effortless, though I have little doubt that a great deal of effort has gone into each and every one of the essays, frivolous as they sometimes might seem.” But I guess this is what I get for asking a former chief of indoctrination of the English mindset to review my book. Whoops!

  • Urban Scout,

    If you hand your writing over to someone for review, you need to be prepared to take bad news as well as good. Take it and grow from it. The use of language is important to some – I know it is to me, which is why I would likely have difficulty with your book as well. But attacking the reviewer is not going to help your cause. And learning to accept honest criticism in a positive and grateful manner is important – not so much for the reviewer, but for your own growth as a writer. If you don’t learn to do this, you come off as a spoiled child having a bit of a tantrum…

  • The best writers generally have the best editors … or someone willing to risk even friendship for the sake of clarity, effectiveness and truth.

    You’re a good man UScout. Feedback from a critical audience is a gift to a good writer like you.

    Keep up the good work. We are all on your side.

    Don’t hesitate to call if you need an honest, but sympathetic editor.

  • I guess I can do with or without the perfect grammar. I have a hard time myself with writing and people’s ideas of what is ‘correct’, but there needs to be some consistency to communicate effectively.

    However, I am curious if the author could elaborate more on the seeming contradictions, outlined by Guy, offered in the Rewild or Die book, i.e. the choice for a “pointless” urban existence. I don’t wish to make a point about lifestylism, as I believe there is much effective work to be taken on in the city if one so chooses, but surely Scout doesn’t think his Portland existence is pointless, does he? Does he judge those at the bus stop as harshly, too?

    I would say that these hasty generalizations and faulty and uncritical logic are a result of not being acquainted with community struggle and feeling alienated as an individual. At least, this is what it sounds like to me. Scout writes, “And what the city offers up as a resource, diversity of people and perspectives, the country lacks. FoxNews plays on every bar television screen. I see Jesus Saves & American Pride bumper stickers everywhere I turn. But in the end, at this point, the pros outweigh the cons.”

    Truly, whether choosing an urban or rural environment for his work and his resistance, I would recommend that the author get out of bars regardless of what is on its television, and if all he sees are bumper stickers professing Jesus and proclaiming that “Freedom isn’t free”, I would recommend he get out of his car, off the road, and into the world and meet the people in the country, instead of allowing Fox News to deftly do its only job of alienating us all from one another a little bit more each day.

    As for mentions of Robin Hood, decrying some English mythologies while evoking others that are equally patriarchal in nature is more than a little disingenuous, but probably unconscious. We need something real, and only real. We don’t need princess-saving boyhood heroes, and we certainly don’t need anything merely imagined. This kind of magical thinking is what perpetuated the thinking that buying eco-friendly toilet paper saves trees. It’s time for non-fictional community and most importantly, an actual, factual resistance.

  • Guy does a great service to Urban Scout. Guy is the product of much education, so Scout should consider taking his review like coaching. As a player on the court, Scout excels, but players need coaching.

  • Given that Guy wrote in the last post that it is lights out and back to the Dark Ages in 2012 book reviews as a teaching tool become irrelevant. No more new books and when the lights are out old books will be come to be seen as fuel. A book review will look more like, which few books can you not bear to burn, or at least burn last.

    If I was writing a book now I would not request a review by someone who thinks we have less than 2 years before everything falls apart. I find myself saying things more harshly to others because I share that belief. I want to shake people and say read my lips – its all over, done, fini. Very shortly nothing will matter but getting food…

    Oil at $106

  • Nymex Crude Future 106.47
    Dated Brent Spot 117.80

    A creep rather than a surge.

    I’ve been strugglng to complete a book for a while.

    ‘it is lights out and back to the Dark Ages in 2012’

    I’m banking on the lights staying on a bit longer around here, hydro-electricity and all that. 🙂

  • Sarah

    You beat me to it!… 😉

  • Kevin

    You might complete the book….but will there be anyone left to read it?

  • How can you rotate crops if all you have is a kitchen garden?

  • Thanks Sarah, it appears once again that the only cause and effect dynamic TPTB look at is what causes money to deposit in their bank accounts.

  • ‘it appears once again that the only cause and effect dynamic TPTB look at is what causes money to deposit in their bank accounts.’

    Teh scarier question is why do we (the government?) let them do it?

  • Victor, why do we let them. I think the answer is embodied in the popularity of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and the ilk.

    Listen to Michelle Bachman say CO2 is a natural and necessary part of our environment.

    The majority of people in the first world are f-bomb idiots.

  • Interesting review. I tend to agree that I would find it difficult to receive the message with so many grammatical errors and common talk. I always expect the books I read to be professional and thoroughly edited. However, I do recall reading the introduction to an English grammar textbook some years ago – Roberts, I think? – which stated that the purpose of language was to communicate. A well written document in the “King’s English” would not be well received by a bunch of rough sailors in a pub down on the docks. In the same way, a coarse, expletive-filled missive wouldn’t go well at the Gentleman’s club. The point of the introduction was to write in such a way that your intended audience would best receive the message. Right or wrong, it’s an interesting point.

    Re: Arkansas earthquakes. Arkansas is quite seismically active, actually. One of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded on the North American continent happened just a few miles from my home – long before my home was here, of course. 1812 or so. It was strong enough that the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a short time. I live on a ridge which was formed, in part, by an earthquake. We have been known to have earthquake “swarms”. I believe the last swarm was back in the 1980s when we had several hundred small earthquakes, similar to what is occurring now. The question is, is the current swarm a natural phenomenon or is it being caused by fracking? Given that this swarm started about the same time as the fracking and is happening in the precise location of the fracking, my vote is it’s being caused by the fracking.

    Have a great day everyone!

  • I was actually doing a little house cleaning this morning and came across some articles I had printed and saved (most dated 2009 so you know my priorities as far as cleaning is concerned). One was by Richard Heinberg called Timing in which he talks about past predictions that missed the mark and his own sense of where we are at. He writes:
    A much more likely scenario, in my view: We will see a few months of fairly gradual economic deterioration (slowed by the mighty efforts of the Bailout Brigade), followed by a truly ugly global economic meltdown. The result will be a general level of economic activity much lower than the world is accustomed to. Efforts to right the ship will include protectionist legislation (that will provoke international confrontations), the convening of world leaders to create a new global currency and financial system (which probably won’t succeed, at least not the first time around), and various populist uprisings that will lead to political instability around the globe. Energy demand will remain low, but energy production will fall dramatically due to lack of investment. Carbon emissions will therefore fall too, so the world’s attention will be diverted from tackling the greenhouse gas issue, even though climate impacts from previous carbon emissions will continue to worsen.

    But here’s the crux of the matter: unlike the situation the world faced in the 1970s, there is no prospect for another cheap-energy bounce this time. It’s too late to muddle. We have run out the clock on proactive adaptation. From now on, collective survival will hinge on the strategies we adopt for emergency response. Some strategies will make matters worse, while others will lay the groundwork for better times to come. This is what it has come to. One doesn’t wish to sound shrill, but there it is.

    The closer we have gotten to the crunch, the smaller the margin of error in predicting it. There really isn’t that much difference between Porritt’s most pessimistic date for catastrophe (2020) and my most wide-eyed optimistic one (2016). But perhaps the closer we get to the event horizon, the less discussions over timing really matter, because the whole conversation makes sense only as a way of motivating coordinated action prior to the crunch. Once the unwinding has begun, no more preparation is possible. Our strategy must change from crisis prevention to crisis management.

    Full article at

    I think we are in his time frame of “no more preparation is possible” as far as the world at large. Myself I plan to stop at the liquor store when I go shopping this week and augment my stash of whiskey and rum. 🙂

  • Dr. House, I posted this in response to your last post on the previous thread. fearing you might not see it, here it is again….I look forward to your views on this very much.

    Dr. House,

    As usual, an excellent post. Your points about big pharma are well taken. I would note also that as I understand it there are several common medicines that are being taken off the market because they are no longer profitable enough? In these cases I hear doctors and hospitals are in some cases having difficulty getting hold of them. At least that is a problem over here on the UK/European scene. So what big pharma is also telling, as is the general predatory capitalist system, it doesn’t really matter to us how much the medicine is needed, if it isn’t profitable enough we have other uses for our investment monies.

    Another thing I am a bit concerned about as far as medical help goes in the future, is that today’s doctors are often very much tied into technologies and big pharma-produced medicines. After the collapse, they will not have continuing access to these. Therefore, though they are excellent doctors when such medicines and technology are available, they might not be so competent when having to do without. So is it back to the “medicine man” or “witchdoctor” for us?

  • ‘Myself I plan to stop at the liquor store when I go shopping this week and augment my stash of whiskey and rum.’

    More!?!?!??! You already have a shed full!…. LOL

  • I figure I will have lots of potatoes..perhaps it is time to learn how to distil vodka… 😉

  • Victor, not a shed full, just a stash in a shed. Besides calories, sedation value, booze should work nicely for trade as long as one’s stash is not robbed.

  • Friend sent this this AM
    How Can We Outlive Our Way of Life?
    Tad W. Patzek
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    The University of California

    It appears that humanity’s survival is subject to these five constraints: Constraint 1: An almost exponential rate of growth of human population, see Figure 6.
    Constraint 2: Too much use of Earth resources; in particular, fossil fuels; and even more specifically, liquid transportation fuels, see Figure 7.
    Constraint 3: The Earth that is too small to feed in perpetuity 7 billion people and counting, 1 billion cows, and – now – 1 billion cars, see Figure 8.
    Constraint 4: The ossified political structures in which more is better, and more of the same is also safer.
    Constraint 5: A global climate change.
    Unfortunately, these five constraints prevent existence of a stable continuous solution to human life in the near-future. Alternatively, we may choose from the following two discontinuous solutions:
    Solution 1: Extinguish ourselves and much of the living Earth, or
    Solution 2: Fundamentally and abruptly change, while slowly decreasing our numbers

  • Regarding Urban Scout’s (ab)use of language…

    The first thing to do when writing is identify your audience. The second thing to do is to target your communication to your identified audience. This. Is. Why. Ad. Copy. Sucks.

    If Urban Scout followed those two dictums, then I’d say Guy was not his intended audience. Perhaps he was seeking to influence millions of disaffected youth, who feel no one is addressing their needs. People break rules to get attention from those who respect rule-breakers.

    But if not, writing in a style that alienates the audience you are trying to reach is simply a self-indulgent waste of time.

  • @ Victor, I think this is a great review. I love all kinds of feedback and it’s good to know how my writing style is coming across to a range of people and it’s good to know how I can increase the range of my book. The comment at the end about staying in school was a personal dig and completely unnecessary. The rest of it shows me what I need to clear up and hammer home in the next edition. So, hat’s off to Guy for taking the time to do this, even with the poke at the end. 😉

  • Chris Hedges used to write for the NY Times. Now that he is no longer with them his writing is much improved! This article by him might surprise the readers of the NY Times but no suprise here

    This Time We’re Taking the Whole Planet With Us – Chris Hedges

    Concluding paragraphs
    Human beings seem cursed to repeat these cycles of exploitation and collapse. And the greater the extent of the deterioration the less they are able to comprehend what is happening around them. The Earth is littered with the physical remains of human folly and human hubris. We seem condemned as a species to drive ourselves and our societies toward extinction, although this moment appears be the denouement to the whole sad show of settled, civilized life that began some 5,000 years ago. There is nothing left on the planet to seize. We are now spending down the last remnants of our natural capital, including our forests, fossil fuel, air and water.

    This time when we go down it will be global. There are no new lands to pillage, no new peoples to exploit. Technology, which has obliterated the constraints of time and space, has turned our global village into a global death trap. The fate of Easter Island will be writ large across the broad expanse of planet Earth.
    Full article at

  • so i thought i’d put a link to anthropik network…a rewilding blog from 5 yrs. or so back; i found jason godesky’s writing helpful, for ex.

    & checking around i found;

    E-Primitive: Rewilding the English Language by Jason Godesky [a review]

    Willem Larsen and Urban Scout have put together an amazing, thorough, and much-needed introduction to “E-Primitive.” Larsen’s explorations of animist language and oral tradition …

    i presume the same…urban scout.

  • kathy
    i appreciate the links/articles u put up re timelines/projections.

    i’m trying to get move[s] made by family…& continually need to reinforce/challenge my thinking/positions as i sometimes push very very hard; & a lot is on the line. i believe we have a good location & basics for a slow decline/crash [greer]; possibly having to move yrs. from now: but not so good for a fast crash, which would likely be a very dangerous time to try to move. anyway i welcome thoughts on both how/why guy’s position is correct, or how victor you might be more correct[2012-15 i think you said but a fast crash i presume then], or greer’s slow decline might be more likely. i believe the real question is can gov. do anything right[heinberg above]… after a financial crash happens so that crops get planted & to groceries that next year. anyway thanks to all!

  • i don’t know how that ‘your comment is awaiting moderation’ got in there…sorry.

  • Kathy.

    Chris Hedges write well. Unfortunatley his ‘facts’ are more than suspect: they are plain wrong.

    ‘Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere now are at 329 parts per million and climbing, with most climate scientists warning that the level must remain below 350 ppm to sustain life as we know it.’

    According to ‘CO2 Now’ we are at just over 391 ppm -so we’re already 40 ppm above the postulated ‘limit’ to sustain life. And rising at over 2ppm.


    this is a blog for a 3- part ‘after collapse’ books… in progress by risa bear. i have read a no. of post collapse books…i remember some discussion of the postman…i believe from this blog. anyway u can read the book online…she is writing book 3 currently. i think it is so far the best i have read overall. i have really enjoyed it. she does such a good job developing her characters…brings out feelings/thoughts many authors rush past + i learn a lot in the details she presents.

    she invites comments. the first 2 books are in print; but can be read..column on the right.

  • Kevin, I noted that when I read the article but got all caught up in the rest of the narrative. However I went to his column at Truth Dig to see if I could make a comment and found that he learned that he was wrong and corrected his essay to say Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now above the 350 parts per million that most climate scientists warn is the maximum level for sustaining life as we know it. [Editor’s note: The preceding sentence has been revised since this article was first published here.]

    So can you give him credit for correcting himself and noting that it is a correction. At the words “is now above” he links to

    Is he forgiven? He probably worked at the NY Times toooooo long.

  • Kathy.

    All credit to him for the correction and the link. We all make mistakes: I make plenty of typos when I post comments in a hurry (though for something as important as the CO2 level in a feature article I would have hoped someone would have checked the numbers before it was published. After all there is big difference between being somewhat below a threshold and being well above it).

  • I like Chris Hedges’ columns, and visit Truthdig every Monday to check for new ones. Truthdig itself seems little more than a chance for neoliberals to rub shoulders, though. I wonder sometimes how much longer Hedges will care to see his work there. I think he’d be more comfortable here, at NBL, among those who’ve abandoned all hope for the Establishment. Of course that would remove him even farther from the MSM and their audience… for surely this is the Fringe. 🙂

    Sad to say that. Chris’s message, and Guy’s, are so far removed from those who need to hear it. (We here in the Choir get it, mostly.) I don’t know how that can be remedied.

    Guy, have you considered expanding this site to include more articles from guests (like Hedges, perhaps), and maybe even a small forum? I like the current format fine, but there are other voices who occasionaly pipe up who might speak more often, if accomodated in a different format.

    Then again, there is something to be said for the intimacy of the small group of voices here.

  • Victor:

    After the collapse, they will not have continuing access to these. Therefore, though they are excellent doctors when such medicines and technology are available, they might not be so competent when having to do without. So is it back to the “medicine man” or “witchdoctor” for us?

    The loss of technology will result in a reversion to a cruder and coarser way in health care as in so many other aspects of life.

    In diagnostics, the greatest impact will be felt in imaging studies. These days, the first physician to see a patient with appendicitis is not a surgeon, but an emergency physician. The surgeon usually expects a CT scan (of the abdomen) with a radiologist’s report before seeing the patient: the decision-maker is the radiologist, someone who has not seen the patient.

    In future times, they may well have to make their decisions based on the history and a physical examination. It would be similar to where I had my initial training; the tests were generally unavailable. On a medical ward of 30 patients the laboratory had a quota of six blood counts per day. One had to prioritize. In fact, one developed proficiencies such as estimating (quite accurately) the level of hemoglobin in the patient’s blood by looking at the conjunctiva and the oral surfaces.

    There were a few old nurses around in decades past who remembered how to administer chloroform by dripping it onto a gauze filter placed in a mask, for surgical anesthesia. Such skills may well be needed again in the future.

    In 1973 they still had the sterilizers in the Emergency Department and on every ward for the glass syringes at the hospital in New York at which I worked, although they had not been used for a couple of years. The nurses all knew how to re-sharpen the needles and replace the trocars before placing them in the sterilizer. With the disappearance of plastic disposable syringes. those techniques may well return, although the new problem may be the electricity to run the sterilizers.

    When I first started in New York, a patient with EKG changes of an acute myocardial infarction was placed in a bed, an IV was placed in an arm, monitor leads were attached, and morphine and nitroglycerine were administered. If the patient had a life-threatening irregularity of the heartbeat, a medication to treat that was administered. Today most such patients go promptly to the cardiac catheterization laboratory. I did come across an elderly physician nearing the end of his practice who said that in the 1940s they did not have EKGs, an IV or a monitor. They did give nitroglycerine and morphine, and each day did a very non-specific blood test called an ESR which can indicate inflammation in the body. if the values went up over 72 hours. the patient was advised to rest for 6 weeks and sent home.

    In the days past transistor technology, it may be still possible to make a monitor with miniature vacuum tubes from glass-blowing technology, but the cost in resources of materials and labor would be prohibitive. They may well revert to the treatments of the 1940s – (or worse, if the population pressures do not allow even that).

    Much or most of today’s pharmaceutical industry would be history in any such scenario.

    Astute and skillful practitioners could still be the agents of preventing death and increasing the duration of life. But a lot of situations in which quality of life is enhanced and lives are prolonged for years or decades now could not be addressed in the same manner in the collapse scenarios.

  • Chris Hedges is a good writer who gets pretty good exposure within the established media. This is probably good, especially as his message becomes more urgent as it has over recent years. I can forgive errors in light of the overall message.

  • Sam

    My vision of the Crash is more like a stepwise descent into the Stone Age. In the period 2012-2015, the second step will be taken as oil production at last begins to show definite and measurable terminal decline in production rates across the world. This will cause massive readjustment of the economies of the world – oil products will of necessity be prioritised and allocated (by what means and by whom, I do not know, but it must be done). The world will enter a whole new dimension of global depression – many businesses will fail. But I think many of the necessary adjustments will be made and we will enter a period of slow strangulation of the world economy and an ever-widening gap between the rich, developed countries of the world and the rest. Make no mistake about it – despite the hype you hear, the developed countries of the world hold the vast amount of the wealth. It is their factories in the developing world that are producing goods and supporting the growth of those economies. As we are forced out of the oil economy those riches will be used to prevent chaos at home by buying up much of the food and fuel for their own populations, leaving the rest of the world to essentially fend for themselves.

    But this is an ever-tightening rope around the rich countries’ throats. Their wealth can not sustain them for long periods, so shortages will begin appearing and people in those countries will suffer as well. But just as importantly, I think critical industries will begin to fail during this period after 2015 as the economies shrink.

    After this, it is a bet over how fast the collapse will progress, at least in my mind. As I have stated before, when the right 20% of the right 20% of global businesses fail, the whole industrial structure will come down quickly and viciously. And those industries are not the ones you might at first suspect – like mining/extraction, power, food distribution, and the like, which are among the 20% of the critical industries. It will like be more like those industries providing transport, parts manufacturing, equipment manufacturing, foundries, etc. upon which the rest of our infrastructural industries rely. When you suddenly can’t get certain critical parts, your whole operation might come to a quick halt, especially if it is a part that has no substitute, like transformers for the electrical grid.

    When these industries begin to fail, we will find ourselves plunged rather suddenly into darkness. And the lights will never come back on. Instant Stone Age for the country affected.

    So to summarise, perhaps three quantum steps down separated by ever shorter periods of uneasy stability punctuated by ever increasing famine, disease, social chaos, intense resource wars, and failing industries.

    The number of those steps for any particular country will likely depend upon the step at which the lights are turned off. But it is a bit more complex than that because we depend so much upon each other now, that failure of one country might have huge and immediate impact upon the globe – disruption of oil production in the Middle East, lights out in China, massive crop failures, etc. This is why it is so difficult to predict the point of failure in a massively complex machine like global civilisation. But one thing we do know for certain – at a point it will all come down – every last bit of it. Here, I depart radically with Greer whose theory I place in the “wishful thinking” category, along with the technical hubris crowd.

  • Robin

    Excellent points. Many thanks for that. I think that much of what your say will be quite valid for that period of time I broadly anticipate following 2015 when costs rise dramatically and industries begin failing at a rapid rate affecting availability of medical technologies. But after the final plunge into darkness, it will likely be a substantially different world. I think if I were a physician today, I would consider developing skills in alternative medicine and rudimentary care. I suspect most doctors have no idea of this area, an area that will take on huge proportions in the future as technology is ripped from our hands.

  • With the kinds of scenarios discussed on NBL (“The Casmist” & such excepted) these kinds of gymnastics will be for historical narratives:
    TEDTalks : Anthony Atala: Printing a human kidney
    Posted: Mon, 07 Mar 2011 19:31:00 +0000

  • robin
    a quick word about sterilizing. i bought an old backup woodstove…i was told it came from a med clinic…in fact i think it is stamped on it…it is in storage. it consists of the typical airtight very large box with a smaller box on top with a temp gauge made into the door…& i think it must hold some water below the door; i bet a sterilizer.

  • robin much thanks from here too. one of the arena’s we will miss the most; & quickest consequentially… lots of earlier deaths as u point out.

    robin; or dr. house
    are there any low tech meds, or med substitutes for diabetes. of course diet & exercise is huge but for already -not working or damaged insulin related systems…well? BTW this is personal now as my wife has reached the diabetic range, & on the first round with diet/exercise success with better nos. on everything but sugar; & she has made radical short term changes. now to frequent testing.

    also re thyroid meds too; which my wife has been on most of her life …i see a lot of people on them. i have had in mind researching these specifically…hope this is not asking too much. thanks.

  • Robin, very good points about medical care in the future. The ability of a medical practioner to evaluate with his or her own senses (looking at the conjunctiva and the oral surfaces to judge hemoglobin levels) will once again become invaluable.

    But as Victor notes transportation is a big issue in the near future, as much from financial considerations as energy consideration. As I recall in 2008 it became more and more difficult to get letters of credit without which international shipments are halted.

    So with that in mind, where are needles, old type ones as well as disposable ones made. My guess it that precious few are made in the US (not to mention masks, gloves, and a host of disposable supplies).

    And from the energy standpoint how do you run an autoclave with the grid down? How many hospitals have solar panels on their roofs. How many have a huge supply of candles? I think that when the crash comes hospital care becomes non-existent and Drs are back to basics.

    And for that matter after the crash where do you get clean water. Here in our local area all the hand dug wells dried up after they dammed the mighty Chattahooche and made West Point lake. Even some drilled wells are having problems. Many people have abandoned wells when they got access to city water. But even old drilled wells, how do you get water out without electricity. We invested in drilling an extra well in which we installed a hand pump (I will post the link if anyone is interested) which will buy us good will in the neighborhood for the few months before people start starving. I also have a PVC well bucket stashed in a closet somewhere along with lengths of rope.

    So how are city hospitals going to get water, how are they going to sterilize it, how are they going to even walk the halls without lights?

  • thanks very much victor.
    so u see oil depletion[guy has a little sooner timeline here i believe]…the literal/real economy as the driver of the next step down… not the financial sector if i understand u. i believe this is where u differ with guy, gail the actuary[oildrum], etc.

    couple of other thoughts…i agree the parts, lubricants, ball bearings, foundry…etc. is key. my dad worked in this arena, & u may can keep things working to a degree, @ much much slower speeds, & lower levels of functioning for some things…for a while, but it will be ‘lights out’ even then. computer chip driven things, not adaptable will become useless too.

    i think the US will experience social chaos that will interrupt even this level of functioning in many/some? places. here u’r point about our wealth is i agree very true; & the first time i have heard this factor accounted for. we can walk away from our debt because of our military at least at this point.

    great [sustaining]food for thought…i may respond further, later.
    thanks again.

  • Many thanks for your feedback, Sam. I really do not disagree with Guy et al here re:finance being the main driver. I only point out the impacts on the real economy of a financial breakdown. Whilst the financial and banking services are the key drivers on the other side of the Hubbert curve, I do not believe that the financial system will halt everything in one go. There will be a major setback as senior bondholders suddenly drown (good on them) and banks collapse (hallelujah!), but I think the actual economy will continue on, albeit crippled. This is that “adjustment” I was talking about. I think that when the chips are down, the governments will have to step in and reorganise things to prevent the real economy from a sudden collapse – i.e., take over all banking services via some sort of “Northern Rock” means that Britain did. Just because bankers fail, does not necessarily mean banking must fail.

    That adjustment might not happen, but I think it will as the people across the world rise up in anger and desperation. I’m not minimising the collapse of the financial side – I am only stressing the strength of the real economy. I have a bit more to say about that, but perhaps another time.

  • As usual, Kathy, y9ou carry thought a bit further. I think there will still be hospitals, at least for a while – but in the end, as you say, they cannot stand. And for that while, they will struggle with just the sort of things you say- very basic things, like hygiene and fresh water. The GP will become an all round doctor again, performing surgery, though perhaps not the many highly specialised surgeries, like heart or brain or nervous system, or whatever. They might remove limbs, but depending upon the antiseptics available might not perform internal procedures.

    I was quite serious when I suggested that doctors today should start looking at alternative medicine as a discipline. There are many many natural cures out there, and most doctors I know don’t have a clue beyond some big pharma solution. Alternative medicine is not exactly a respected discipline among the modern medical profession.

  • I’ll add my voice in support of comments complaining about poor writing and expression. Quality is quality, and excusing unworthiness by rationalizing deficiency doesn’t convince me in the slightest. So an uncouth punk writes a book (or is it merely a rant?) that leans in a direction many of us find sympathetic. Big deal. In a world circling the drain, keeping high standards is more valuable, to me at least, than reaching morons by descending to that level.

  • Medical doctors in the U.S. are pretty much uneducated when it comes to holistic or alternative medicine. I think I had one hour of lecture on the subject during my didactic training and no exposure to it during my clinical training. Medical care as it exists today will be non-existent in the future. Almost all specialities will disappear. What good is a radiologist if you can’t perform imaging studies? What good is a nephrologist if you can’t perform dialysis? The same could be asked about oncologists, pathologists, and most other “ologists”.

    Victor, I think you’re right that the GP or family doctor (my own personal prejudice aside) will be about the only doctors who will be able to provide much care. Even for us, care options will be extremely limited.

    When I was in medical school, I did a 5 week rotation in Scotland. I wanted to educate myself about “public health care”. In the U.S. the rhetoric on that topic is so emotional that it’s virtually impossible to get an unbiased assessment. As I was preparing to go, one of the older docs here advised me to bone up on my clinical skills because medicine in the U.K. relied more on clinical diagnosis (physical exam, etc.) than on lab tests and imaging studies. So I did. However, once I arrived, I discovered that doctors there ordered pretty much the same kinds and numbers of tests as we did over here.

    The long and short of it is that healthcare 150 years ago was not much more than voodoo. A doctor could give you morphine, tell you to wash your hands, cut off your leg with virtually no sedative, etc. but not much else. The germ theory of disease wasn’t well known until the mid-19th century. The first widespread use of antibiotics didn’t occur until the 1930s when penicillin was introduced.

    For the following 50-60 years, medical advances were made in leaps and bounds – roughly following the growth curve of oil. Because, as with almost everything else of modern life, modern medicine is oil-dependent.

    As oil becomes more scarce, so will modern medicine.

    As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, virtually everything used today by modern medicine is oil-based in its manufacture. Even worse, as Kathy intimated, almost everything is made in China, furthering our dependence on oil to transport those goods.

    In my current blog post, I mention working in a rural ER. They will fare no better than their urban counterparts, I’m afraid. There are multiple reasons. One of the primary reasons has to do with personnel. I drive 65 miles one way to get to that hospital. Even at almost $4 a gallon for gas, it’s still affordable for me as my car gets about 33 mpg. But, at some point, I’m going to decide that the cost isn’t worth it. Most of the doctors who work at that hospital live in other cities and eventually won’t be able to get there. Another reason these rural hospitals will fare no better is because they got caught up in the “me too” religion just like everybody else. They’ve done away with the old buildings with windows that opened and high ceilings. They’ve thrown out all the old antiquated equipment. They are just as dependent on electricity and fresh water and complicated technology as anyone else.

    So, with respect to healthcare, it’s not going to be pretty. We’re going back to the stone age.

    To answer your question specifically, sam, I don’t know of any natural medicines to help with diabetes. But, I’ll research it. It’s something I should know. As to the thyroid, that too has no natural medicines as far as I know. But, I suspect that there are some. When I find out, I’ll let you know. If you search the internet, you’ll find tons of unproven claims about herbals, etc., but use those remedies very cautiously. Many of those claims are made by someone wanting to sell you something and are not founded in any science.

  • Dr House, thanks for another great post. I agree about herbals. Often the claims for their efficacy cover about a zillion different problems. Just as a quick example “Angelica is claimed to be good for chest congestion, insomnia, flatulence, headaches, fevers, skin rashes, wounds, rheumatism, toothaches, to promote menstrual flow, and to induce abortions.” This is not to say that no herbals are useful because they and medicines are just chemical compounds. Herbals might even have more than one unrelated use as they may contain more varied chemicals than a prescription drug. But the example I gave is probably a short list compared to what is claimed for some herbals.

    In the book I am currently reading “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” I am on the section of magnetizes – those practitioners of yore who used various types of magnetic forces, including what they called animal magnetism to cure people. Mesmer (from which we get the term mesmerizing ) was one. One Dr. did a trial for some sort of metal device that was used by one magnetizing practitioner. He made a wood copy and painted it to look like metal implement being used. Lo and behold it has the same effect on patients as the metal version. Obviously this was an early placebo trial although in 1840 when the book was written apparently the term had not been coined. I note that magnets are still being marketed today for pain relief etc. I also read that new drugs are having a harder time showing more benefit than placebos and one study on IBS where they used nothing with one group and placebos with the other BUT told the patients it was a placebo. The nothing group had some improvement and the informed placebo group more. So it is possible that a Dr. and his office are a placebo in and of their selves. You Dr. House with your genuine caring for your patients are probably an extraordinary placebo as well as a competent medical professional.

    Germ theory is useful, but some researchers think cleanliness and lack of childhood diseases may be causing the rise in autoimmune disorders. This now has a name – the hygiene hypothesis – Resistance because of general health may be more important than avoiding germs too.

  • The REAL Dr. House,

    FWIW, I have used Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James F. Balch, M.D. as one reference.

    Several years ago I had a slightly elevated TSH and an intolerance for cold. I took 500 mg of L-Tyrosine for one month (March), until one morning I woke up sweating. Ok, done. I now take it occasionally during the winter.

    Dr. Steven Sinatra has a newsletter and website. I take some of his products, among them “Blood Sugar Support.” Other sources have positive comments on the ingredients. Give it a look.

    Two years ago on a flight to L.A., I met a young doctor traveling to a conference in L.A. The conference was about lipid control. For the next 4 hours I heard about the effectiveness of Neptune Krill Oil over fish oil. He referred me to a study at McGill U. done in 2006. Effective in raising HDL. This doctor had low HDL, so he had skin in the game. I started the krill oil and raised my HDL about 10%. Swansons has the best price on krill oil.
    I also last spring started taking Seanol, from Sinatra, for raising my HDL further. I now have, by a wide margin (20% higher than without the supplements), the highest HDL of my life (now 67 years old).
    I realize that there is always the possibility of getting snake oil, but should we put all of our trust in Big Pharma? Should I wait for years or decades more, to find out that studies show this was the thing to do all along?
    As long as I can afford it, I will carefully evaluate such products and information, and in some cases use the products.


  • Thyroid hormone is one of the few hormones that is active when administered orally. Phylogenetically the thyroid gland is an outpouching of the pharynx, although the thyroglossal duct disappears in “higher” animals. Likewise the hormone itself is ancient, promoting the maturation to adult forms in echinoderms (sand dollars) and metamorphosis in amphibians (tadpole to frog).
    Ingesting thyroid glands will provide the hormone, but will not by itself address the question of appropriate dose.

    A standardized form of the extract from thyroid glands is available:
    Desiccated thyroid extract

    A note on the economy:
    Unstoppable: Runaway Government Spending James J Puplava CFP With John Williams

    With regard to language, it serves a purpose – communication, just as wood serves a variety of purposes. With regard to wood, one can have lumberjacks, carpenters and cabinetmakers. The cabinetmaker’s skills may be of little use in constructing a woodpile, and the woodpile cannot be judged against the results of the cabinetmaker’s craft.

  • One thing that confuses me about these End-Timer claims of an imminent Stone Age due to oil depletion: do you really think we can’t keep the lights on with nuclear, solar, geothermal energy, etc. if and when the oil production curve begins to decline? What is this magical quality you all seem to ascribe to petroleum products? It’s just energy, mc^2, which is a fungible substance available from many sources, including 4 orders of magnitude more than current global usage from our sun alone. Joule Unlimited has recently announced an efficient process for converting sunlight to biofuel without biomass, and this effort to find oil substitutes is just starting to ramp up. It will be quite amusing to look back on the Peak Oil hysteria of the early 21st century in a few decades when alternative energy technologies have kicked in. Maybe something similar happened with “Peak Stoners” at the end of the Neolithic?

    I find it beyond bizarre that a university science professor could seriously predict “Dark Age by 2012, Stone Age by 2025” and get anyone to take him seriously. Even the most pessimistic projections of oil production don’t support such a hysterical claim. So please, Guy and friends, get some grip on physical reality and try to find that lost spark of rationality in your minds before you all go completely off the deep end into Ted Kaczynski territory.

  • thanks so much dr. house…we’ll look forward!

  • Those that post on NBL have various points of view. Some agree with Guy and some have alternative views as well as predictions of their own. Many of us agree that industrial civilization is devouring the planet and that there is nothing on the horizon that could/would replace the enormous role oil plays in the industrial world. Even if there were such a replacement why would one want to continue with business as usual? Convenience and comfort clearly are more important than the living planet to most in this culture(IC). So before people start spouting about “physical reality” they should look at the “physical world” which is currently in peril (understatement). Besides, throwing the ol’ TK comparison is so cliché. Many of us prefer the more current and hip Urban Scout comparison.

  • The physical world is “in peril”? If you mean the biosphere is threatened by the natural warming of the sun, which will turn our planet into a lifeless desert in about a billion years, I agree with you, which is why I am so fanatical about supporting the space program. If you mean the primitive species of primates called homo sapiens is currently a serious threat to the biosphere, I disagree totally. The fossil record proves that the biosphere is incredibly robust, such that even if every creature larger than a cockroach were somehow destroyed by our meddling, complex life would quickly re-emerge and some new tool-using species would start the whole process over in a hundred million years or so. Those who believe self-disempowerment or self-extinction is the only solution to the problem of human tool-using intelligence must therefore support the total annihilation of all life on this planet, because otherwise the whole nightmare will just begin again. This is the philosophical cul-de-sac of primitivism, which explains why those who really understand it are generally indistinguishable from insane nihilist terrorists!

  • An incredibly privileged point of view will simply lead to an ego that believes everything is for the taking.
    So even if we destroy “every creature” complex life will quickly re-emerge? Whew! Well in that case let us march on and roll the dice! Insanity happens to live closer than you think my nutty space happy friend.
    What if self-empowerment looked like man participating in the natural world in which he belongs instead of trying to control it? What if we try and get it right this time instead of counting on re-emergence if it all goes to shit? What if we used the ideas that have worked for millions of years and built upon those without stepping on every living thing in the process? What if we became came aware of our privilege, entitlement, objectification, compartmentalization, dominance, and supremacy? Then maybe we could see beyond civilization.

  • thanks very much robin
    i will get this info re thyroid extract to my wife. thanks again.

  • & curtis
    thanks for particulars on what u’ve done. i’ll get this to my wife as she has had strong fluctuations re response cold recently…besides the typical hot flashes. thanks!

  • Sam,

    If you need any more info or if something is not clear, just ask.

  • Cosmist if you are “fanatical about supporting the space program” please don’t let us keep you from that important task. Why waste your time here. Donate all your wealth to NASA.
    NASA’s budget would drop at least $103 million this year if Congress adopts spending cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee.
    Write your congressman or woman or better yet call them. Surely you realize that we are on the fringe of the Peak Oil movement and hardly likely to effect the outcome of anything in the world. Even if every poster here decided to tie themselves to trees, or take some other action to save the planet or bring civilization to an end we could not do it, we are too few.

    But surely you with your wisdom can organize a movement to restore Nasa’s budget, and even increase it. What matter if towns and even states are broke and about to go bankrupt. Tell Obama to bring home the troups that are protecting our right to fossil fuels and put them to work building solar panels. Come on Cosmist, stop acting as if changing our views is the means to the end you so desire. It is not. It is an excuse for you to do nothing positive to further your dreams of humans moving on into space. GET BUSY.

  • Options traders are betting more than ever that crude oil is heading to $200 a barrel as some websites call for a “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia and anti- government protests spread in the Middle East and North Africa.

    The CHART OF THE DAY shows open interest, or the number of outstanding contracts, for “call” options to buy New York crude for June delivery at $200 a barrel.

    Full article and chart at

  • thanks curtis.

    re the economy i have found of recent a useful set of lectures on utube. they are long but i think the best overview i have seen of where we are that is sensible straight language that is much less scapegoating than the norm. he goes all the way back to the 70’s re workers wages. etc.

    Capitalism Hits the Fan Film Screening and Q&A with Professor Richard Wolff | The New School

    there are links there to 2 other lectures. i haven’t gotten thru these. i think he believes china is a possible meltdown as they are stockpiling all their export goods…they have not cut back production…& this is a bad bet but the alternative is a known…unemployment & unrest.

    he also sees great britain as a possible next domino.

    another person i have been viewing/reading is james rickards. this is a very good lecture on his thoughts.

    he is speaking to military here on national security issues re finance.he believes bernake probably has a backup plan to a dollar collapse….possibly seizing gold in vaults NYC for example, some ours, some foreign; you know just to keep it safe in a crisis[all legal, already have the executive orders on the books]; & that we[US] actually are overall a ‘world power’ re gold & we could lead the way towards a global currency with partial gold backing. i know this sounds some kooky but as he says bernake knows he is taking very very big risks & their are backup plans. he claims he is not a ‘goldbug’ but is investing there now.

    thanks for the link to the well bucket… ordered one!

  • catch orlov
    very good info, & look @ libya

  • thanks for sharing your experience and view of big drug company sales reps in hot pursuit of doctors inclined to help them increase sales, dr. house. that was interesting. the book i read on the topic of big pharma i mentioned earlier is titled ‘over dose’. i recall a chapter in it dealt with the topic of sales reps relations with doctors. if i recall correctly, doctors who agree to recommend their drugs to patients are wined and dined and compensated well by the drug companies. another case of greedy corruption.

    i’ve just begun a book promoting veganism. it claims this diet is not only much less fattening than current typical meat, dairy, and sugar based diets, but also very good re. common disease prevention and cure, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, if i recall correctly. what do u think of this, dr. house and others? if substantially true, shouldn’t this diet be promoted particularly in light of anticipated collapse of medical treatments and services? given this expectation, the old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure takes on added importance.

    kathy has pointed out that animals can be an important source of food if available, particularly to hungry people, but if one can obtain all necessary nutrients and calories from plants and grains and this leads to better health, this knowledge should be emphatically shared.

  • Guy offered his honest reaction to Scout’s book. That has to be good because authors benefit from knowing the range of responses to their work. No doubt Scout will take it into account as he works on volume 2.

    In some of the comments, though, and in some I see on Facebook, I fear people focusing on the question of Scout’s writing style are overlooking the chance to think more about rewilding, a key idea as we look beyond civilization. And I’m sure that was not Guy’s intent! As he said, he largely agrees with Scout’s main points.

    So for those less familiar with rewilding, you can find much more on Scout’s blog which goes back to 2006, or by digging into Jason Godesky’s Anthropik archives mentioned above by Sam. Jason’s “Thirty Theses” lay out the whole logic of rewilding in just thirty easy steps. 😉

    (Note that there is another definition of rewilding referring to wilderness and species restoration. Though obviously not completely unrelated, that’s a different thing.)

    I think the great value of rewilding is not only in relearning things like aboriginal living skills (some of which can be adapted to the design of the more familiar off-grid living arrangements on which some here are working), but in providing a hopeful vision of the future. As I see it, its mission is to reclaim what we’ve lost with civilization. It’s a reworking of our entire way of experiencing the world. We’re now profoundly disconnected from how humans experienced the world prior to civilization. See, for instance, David Abram’s excellent The Spell of the Sensuous:

    We’ll need ultimately to get back to that if we’re to reestablish the most thoroughly respectful relationship with the earth and come not just to survive but to thrive.

    Rewilding moves our understanding of post-civilization in a particularly meaningful, grounded, and desirable direction. Scout has been a central figure in that, introducing the idea to large numbers of people. I hope Guy’s review actually prompts others to look into the topic.

    As an aside on the medical topic, this article is kind of cool:

    Heh, maybe some did amputations better 7k years ago than the typical doctor of 150 years ago.

    @the virgin terry, as a counterpoint to the nutrition of veganism, see the paleo diet. (Cordain and other authors) Here’s a good blog:

  • ‘but if one can obtain all necessary nutrients and calories from plants and grains’

    Big IF there,esp post collapse. A lot will depend on where you end up. But it is more likely that a mixed diet of meat and whatever plants are available should do it. Very few people, even today have access to the variety of veggies, fruits, nuts and grains that most of the world has. Indeed, so much so that I have a tendency to refer to the vegan diet as the Globalised Diet – a diet more for those in rich countries than poor. In fact, I would suppose most people of the world today have access to neither meat nor a wide range of veggies and grains. They are lucky to get what they can. The probability is that it will be true for you as well.

  • Terry [but if one can obtain all necessary nutrients and calories from plants and grains and this leads to better health, this knowledge should be emphatically shared.]

    If is a very big word. “The Vegan Society and Vegan Outreach recommend that vegans eat foods fortified with B12 or take a supplement. B12 is a bacterial product that cannot be found reliably in plant foods, and is needed for the formation and maturation of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA, and for normal nerve function; a deficiency can lead to a number of health problems, including megaloblastic anemia.[22] Iodine supplementation may be necessary for vegans in countries where salt is not typically iodized, where it is iodized at low levels, or where, as in Britain or Ireland, dairy products are relied upon for iodine delivery because of low levels in the soil. Iodine can be obtained from most vegan multivitamins or from regular consumption of seaweeds, such as kelp.[23] Vegans may also be at risk of choline deficiency and may benefit from choline supplements.[24]”

    As I have read many times over the years, a vegan diet is good but only if one is very careful. Children can be at particular risk and overzealous parents who don’t have complete information have cause developmental harm to their children. I understand that Jains, a religious group in India, did fine with their vegan diet in India, but suffered if they moved to the UK. The difference was that rice in India had more insect eggs that provided the crucial difference in health. They didn’t see them so they thought they were being “pure” but when they got to a country where the grain was cleaned better and therefore helping them to be more “pure” they suffered dietary problems.

    I am a natural mammal. I am of the group of mammals called omnivores. I will not put myself above other mammals and eat as though I of all creatures am better than lions and tigers and bears. I will continue to be what evolution made me, an omnivore. Besides I like meat but I don’t eat meat from the industrial food industry although I do drink their milk and eat their cheese.

    Meanwhile the growing and harvesting of grains etc by big ag destroys the lives of various animals, rats, mice, etc – anything that gets in the way of the machines. If one wants to be free of harm to animals grow all your own food, use a continual mulch so you don’t have to kill worms with your shovel, or upend bacteria that are anaerobic into the harsh O2 laden environment at the surface.

    But I don’t think it is my business to tell anyone else what they should eat, and I don’t care. I will however point out problems and inconsistencies when the issue is raised.

  • Just a note, you can sterilize instruments in a pressure cooker (

    Always wonderful conversations here at NBL and Kathy, you rule =)

  • Sam glad you have a standby well option now. Thanks for the links. I have bookmarked them for later viewing. As always the Club Orlov is an interesting perspective. I forget sometimes to check and see what Dmitry has written of late. I highly recommend Reinventing Collapse. Even if you don’t end up agreeing with Orlov you will be entertained.

    Dr. House, your latest posting on your blog is excellent and as you can guess I agree 100% with your concluding thoughts.

    Sue, what can I say 🙂 you made this rainy day cheerful.