This must be a nightmare

by Kevin Moore

Like most people who grew up in Britain in the 1950s or 1960s, I was trained to believe in a “better, brighter future” that could be achieved via continuing advances in technology. Having no reason to doubt what I was told, I did believe in a better, brighter future.

However, throughout the 1970s and 1980s I witnessed the more or less continuous failure of governments everywhere to deal with the crucial long term issues I had become aware of by the early 1970s. As the end of the twentieth century approached it was becoming increasingly clear to me that the serious deficiencies in mainstream thinking, in particular the failure to accept the limited nature of resources and failure to accept the limited capacity of natural systems to deal with waste generated by humans, would result in disaster for humanity and extinction for numerous species in the not-too-distant future.

By the time I wrote Burn baby, burn –The terrifying truth about global warming and the consumer society in 2001 I was fully aware that the age of oil would be coming to an end soon and that if society was not prepared for it there would be much unnecessary suffering. I wrote: “Total global production of oil is likely to diminish after 2010-2015.”

I was fully aware that Earth was warming due to rising carbon dioxide emissions, and that there was a very real prospect of severe climate change and devastating sea level rise, particularly if positive feedbacks amplified the warming. I wrote: ”We could be hit by one of a number of unexpected calamities” (I had not heard of the term “Black Swan” at that time), and wrote that ”my personal projection is for a total collapse of the entire social and economic structure of the western world well before 2050. Indeed, I would suggest that such a collapse is likely to occur before 2015 and could easily happen long before that date.”

I was fully aware that mainstream growth projections for world population were absurd: “Standard projections indicate a continuing trend upward, reaching 9,000 million by 2050; are such projections realistic, given that collapse of the environment has already commenced?”

I was aware that species were being driven to extinction due to loss of habitat, overfishing, poaching, pollution, and other factors: “The seas now contain toxins unknown in Darwin’s time, and many of the fish and sea-going mammals Darwin would have thought of as commonplace are close to extinction.”

I was fully aware that acidification of the oceans had us on a path that could lead to large-scale death of organisms near the base of the ocean food chain, and discussed the need to limit anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions in order to preserve the long-term habitability of this planet.

I was fully aware that mainstream culture was trite, destructive, and unsustainable, and that the dominant economic system had no long-term future due to depletion of resources and inherent flaws in the system, especially the false measurement of wealth via GDP.

I was very aware of the need to apply the precautionary principle: “Application of the precautionary principle demands that action be taken now.”

I likened our situation to being concerned passengers aboard the Titanic: “The captain insists there is no need to worry since the ship is unsinkable, and asks us to return to the lounge and enjoy the entertainment.”

A decade later I recognise I was naïve. I had a lot to learn. I thought that all one needed to do was to raise crucial issues in a compassionate and logical manner, and then public debate and implementation of appropriate strategies would follow. I was not aware that corporations funded multi-million-dollar misinformation campaigns to undermine the efforts of those who promoted sustainability. I was not aware of the depth of corruption associated with most political parties and governments. I was not aware that local government was primarily concerned with facilitating the agendas of opportunists. And I was not aware that most people in industrialised societies were unreachable and did not want frank discussion about the future.

It took me several years to learn about the barriers ‘the empire’ has constructed to preserve status quo arrangements, and to discover the truth about the culture of misinformation, fantasy, delusion, and denial that characterises western societies. I discovered much of it the hard way. I still recall a particularly heated argument I had with an engineer who insisted that “debts don’t matter,” “the Earth was warmer in the Middle Ages,” and “there is plenty of oil.” He told me I worried too much.

I will not bore the reader with a list of persons and organisations to which I attempted to raise crucial issues relating to the future: Such a list would extend for many pages. Suffice it to say that it includes numerous ministers of government, members of parliament, heads of national organisations, senior staff at numerous educational institutions, and numerous officials in local government. The response of most was apathy or denial. Some responded with platitudes. Some made no response at all. The response to the extensive submissions I made to Manukau City Council in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 was to thank me for my submission and advise me that “no change to plan was recommended.” The plan [that was not to be amended] was to cover as much of the remaining agricultural land as possible with roads, houses, shopping malls, and car parks, and increase the dependency of the community on resources I knew were about to enter terminal decline. I fled Manukau in 2006.

In a brief window of opportunity before I commenced my own preparations for the “triple tsunami” I foresaw, I wrote The Thinking Person’s NZ Guide to Surviving the Future. And over the period 2007 to 2009 I made numerous extensive presentations to New Plymouth District Council. The response was similar to that of Manukau, what I refer to as “the beached whale syndrome.” That is, upon completion of a submission detailing crucial issues that require urgent action to save the community from future calamity, the majority of councillors sat in a state resembling that of a beached whale in its dying moments. It was through my attempts to deal with my local council that I leaned what constructed ignorance is and learned that public consultation is a charade.

Let us be very clear about this matter. The Local Government Act states that the purpose of local government is, among other things, to protect and promote the well-being of the community and the environment in the present and in the future. Bearing in mind that my local council makes no mention of peak oil, climate change, or fiat money in its ten-year plan, and is primarily concerned with growth of suburbia, artworks, and the promotion of tourism, you begin to get my drift, especially when we note that the mayor of the time just happened to be an hotelier. In fact every council in New Zealand blatantly breaches the Local Government Act. However, central government and most of the general populace are quite content with the current state of affairs. After all, it’s all a matter of interpretation. And if you ignore all the elephants in the room and create your own reality you can say anything you like and make it true. Thus, council propaganda continues to be full of buzz words and catchphrases such as “vibrant,” “enhanced,” “sustainable development,” and “prudent management” even as the ship goes down. What I thought a few years ago to be a moral imperative — to prepare the community in which I live for what I know is coming by speaking unspeakable truths — turned into a nightmare.

It is now very clear to me that almost everything officialdom promotes exacerbates the predicaments of peak oil, climate change, acidification of the oceans, community indebtedness, and poverty. Readers familiar with my commentary will understand why I repeatedly describe the world around me as surreal and Orwellian. Perhaps, when I wrote Ten Things Everyone Ought To Know in 2009, I should have given it the title Ten Things Most People Don’t Want To Know. Even as we begin to slip off the ‘bumpy plateau’ and suffer the economic effects of declining EROEI and rising food prices, New Zealand mainstream culture concerns itself with rugby tournaments, motor racing, celebrity gossip, rebuilding a city in a location destined to be under water a few decades from now, and the choice between another bridge and a tunnel across The Waitemata Harbour (in anticipation of substantial growth in vehicle numbers in Auckland). They’ll just keep doing it until they can’t. In that respect New Zealand is little different from any other industrialised nation in which the bulk of the populace is essentially scientifically illiterate and financially illiterate, and is manipulated by big business.

There is nothing special about the warnings I have given over the years, or the fact that they have been ignored. As I point out in my latest book, almost every warning on every major issue that has been given over the past 50 years has been ignored. The only significant exception I can think of has been limiting the production and use of ozone-depleting substances. If industrial humanity had continued to attack the atmosphere at the rate it had been before we dealt with atmospheric ozone depletion, this planet would probably be largely uninhabitable by now.

I could write here about depleted uranium, gyres of plastic waste in the oceans, genetically modified organisms, confined animal factory farming or peak phosphorus, along with a plethora of other matters most people are ignorant about and by and large do not want to discuss. Space precludes such discussion.

Schopenhauer suggested that all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. My own experience in attempting to deliver important truths to ordinary people and to organizations leads me to the following general conclusions: There are two kinds of people in the world, those who seek the truth and those who run from it. There are two kinds of organization in the world, those that embrace the truth and those that try to conceal it.

Where does it leave us? Obviously nobody knows exactly what the future will bring. My suggestion a decade ago that total collapse could occur well before 2015 proved wrong. A very significant crisis did occur in 2008, but a bit more fraudulent creation of money by central banks pulled the world out of that particular nosedive; the system has a lot more resilience than I thought. Nevertheless, I have complete confidence in my “before 2050” prediction, and currently tend to think in terms of most of the things we presently take for granted becoming unavailable before 2020.

Many windows of opportunity have already closed (Gold has risen from around $250 an ounce to over $1400 during the past decade), and the last windows of opportunity for physical preparations are closing. I remind those who are at all interested that it normally takes between 3 years and 10 years for fruit trees to mature. Anyone who is not already making preparations for the real future is almost certain to run out of time. Not that preparation is any guarantee of survival — it just improves the odds.

Sadly, it is coming generations, who have no say in the matter, who are going to pay the horrendous price for the ignorance, greed, and collective stupidity that characterise modern industrial societies. That is a message most people still do not want to hear.


Kevin Moore was born in the south of England, where he studied chemistry to BSc Honours level and subsequently studied industrial technology. He migrated to New Zealand in 1974. He has spent much of his life involved in industrial chemistry and education, and has written five books on energy, economics, and the environment. The Easy Way, his most recent book, will be available later this year.

Comments 110

  • Kevin

    Many thanks for a thoughtful post. I must say that what you indicate is truth for NZ, “Bearing in mind that my local council makes no mention of peak oil, climate change, or fiat money in its ten-year plan, and is primarily concerned with growth of suburbia, artworks, and the promotion of tourism”, is precisely true for most any area of the world I can think of. Our propensity for fantasy today is incredibly deep and piled high.

    Can I offer you any encouragement, or hope that people will somehow suddenly begin to take in what is happening and rise up as one to provide a better future for their children? Not a chance.

    Keep on keeping on, however: a voice in the wilderness is soon joined by others, though nonetheless unheard….. ;-)

  • Capitalist economists tell us we must have more “growth”.But the earth cannot grow,it’s size is finite.So growth really means furthur destruction of nature and the environment,and furthur poisoning of
    our air and water.

    This is the ultimate insanity of industrial civilization.

    Double D

  • I was considering moving to NZ a while ago, I think you moved into the fire.
    They seem to be 50 years behind the UK and the UK is hopeless, under the covers local government is totally corrupt going back to its foundations.
    I had the same experience with Olney Town council here in the UK, gave them 3 minutes on Peak Oil the only response was from the unelected Mayor who took the mickey out of me to my face before handing me the microphone!
    Recently I found a magazine from the turn of the century published by a printer who had moved into the area shocked by the misappropriation of charity funds by the counsellors.
    What to do hey at least we tried, the whole culture is corrupt going back to the iron age, IMO.

  • Good to hear from you, Kevin. Thank you for your efforts through the years. I know you were helpful to me as I made my journey to make What a Way to Go. Thanks for sharing more of your journey with us. Wishing you well,
    Tim Bennett

  • um… 2015 isn’t hear yet

  • um… 2015 isn’t here yet

  • Thank you Kevin.

    It is next to impossible to stay sane in an insane society, which in return considers, by and large, oneself as insane anyhow.

    Lately it is hard to find something considered worth a hearty laughter,
    this one still does the job, – they are still building new roads and highways.
    Politicians and some people of the public even demanding the building of such, while the maintenance of the existent gets worse and worse. Whenever I hear and read about this, it makes me laugh, decades ago it made me “cry”, since 15 years or so it makes me laugh, I must be crazy.

    What I still wonder about, what is the! reason for the ill behaviour since ancient times, what is the true reason for mankind that keeps the so much overrated ability to reason in this poor (understatement – idiotic might fit better) state of mind?

  • Kevin, well put. I think many of us have felt like you do, but few of us have tried as hard as you to educate people.

    My husband read your essay and was very impressed. He has been working with our County Commission on a far less pressing issue but notes that they are also infected with the beached whale syndrome.

    And yes, 2015 isn’t here yet. It may be that the patches that held us together in 2008 will make the crash go ever so fast when it happens. They have propped up a termite infested building and I doubt the props are going to hold much longer.

  • Actually the end is Oct 21 2011 and the beginning of the end is May 21 2011 complete with zombies

    A bit of humor from Harold Camping, failed end time predictor tries again.
    By God’s grace and tremendous mercy, He is giving us advanced warning as to what He is about to do. On Judgment Day, May 21st, 2011, this 5-month period of horrible torment will begin for all the inhabitants of the earth. It will be on May 21st that God will raise up all the dead that have ever died from their graves. Earthquakes will ravage the whole world as the earth will no longer conceal its dead (Isaiah 26:21). People who died as saved individuals will experience the resurrection of their bodies and immediately leave this world to forever be with the Lord. Those who died unsaved will be raised up as well, but only to have their lifeless bodies scattered about the face of all the earth. Death will be everywhere….On October 21st, 2011, God will completely destroy this creation and all of the people who never experienced the salvation of Jesus Christ along with it. The awful payment for their sinful rebellion against God will be completed by the loss of everlasting life. On October 21st, 2011, all of these poor people will cease to exist from that point forward. How sad that noble man, made in God’s image, will die like a beast and perish forever:

    On a serious note, the general interpretation of what is happening when the crash comes will likely not include any of the things that regularly get mentioned on NBL but will likely include the “Vengeance is mine” god in this part of the world and other vengeful deities in other parts of the world.

  • Speaking of climate change:

    Heatwave sees warmest UK April for more than 100 years
    Last month was the UK’s warmest April on record, the Met Office has said.

    It was also the 11th driest month, with on average half the usual rainfall.

    Parts of north-west Scotland saw about 110% of normal April rainfall, while parts of south-east England saw less than 10% of normal.

    A BBC Weather Centre spokesman said: “The UK-wide records began in 1910, but the central England temperature series goes back to 1659, making it the warmest April here for over 350 years.”

    And I believe it!

  • Watch the video here – the undersea Arctic – an area never before filmed. Lots of colour and life. But huge swaths have been cut out of it as fishing trawlers are able to make their way further north due to global warming. See it whilst you can….our unabated appetite for fish will likely render it barren within a few years.

  • It’s true that the upper bound for growth rate in a single three dimensional universe is cubic in time, not exponential. However, this does not imply that exponential growth must at this particular point in spacetime end, for two major reasons.

    The obvious one is that our solar contains 12 orders of magnitude more power than our current global civilization consumes in the form of solar energy alone. There is enough matter and energy to support perhaps quadrillions of humans just in this solar system.

    More importantly, Moore’s Law of exponential increase in computational density will continue for some time, such that non-biological intelligence will soon exceed human intelligence. This non-biological intelligence will be condensed into nanotechnological substrates which allow *trillions of trillions of trillions of trillions* of human level intellects to exist in a computronium sphere around the sun.

    When we near the point that solar resources are exhausted, robotic colonizers can be sent to other star systems and the process repeated. In this way, the entire accessible universe can be converted from unconscious atoms into sentient computronium. This expansion cannot ultimately proceed more than cubically in time, but for the next few centuries at least there is no fundamental reason why exponential or even hyper-exponential growth of intelligence density cannot continue. The idea is that this exponential “intelligence explosion” is a transitional period which allows humanity to rapidly transcend the limits of its current substrate, after which a more cosmically sustainable cubic expansion can be converged upon.

  • I am so grateful for Alpha Omega! I needed a good laugh after reading Kevin’s essay!

    Meanwhile, we’re running out of places to flee to. New Zealand was on my list, but I chose Canada instead, but now the George W. Bush protégé has absolute power for the next four years. I expect anschluss well before then, as the US cannot continue growth without colonizing, and in most places with resources, the natives are revolting.

    But the nice, polite, peaceful Canadians, er, I mean “Harperians,” will be all too happy to export all that they have to the US for ever-more-worthless US Dollars.

    But I’m pissed that FacePlant won’t let me change my location in my profile to “Harperium.”

  • A very balanced presentation, thank you Mr. Moore for preaching, even if it is to the choir.

    As you are probably aware by now, the motive force behind non-physiologic needs is emotion rather than reason. Even the most extensive reasoning and thoughtfulness has as its kernel something related to morals, ethics and aesthetics. The successes of the Hitlers and Gandhis of the world is in no small measure attributable to their skills in exploiting this.

    And those who believe that reason and rational argument will win the day, consistently end up as voices in the wilderness, their pleas falling on deaf ears. The deck chairs on the Titanic will continue to be rearranged for yet a little while.

  • A sensible response to alpha omega would be simply:


    But I prefer:


  • “The Local Government Act states that the purpose of local government is, among other things, to protect and promote the well-being of the community and the environment in the present and in the future”

    Here in America, local governments are losing their right to do their constituents’ bidding:

  • Thank you all for the appreciation.

    I see that oil and gold are down a little -supposedly on the back of emerging troubles with the economy of India.

    The game in which we all lose continues.

  • With due respect to all here on your studious work however, however, however there seems to be a disconnect on this website.

    Climate change is being orchestrated through weather modification. Earthquakes like Haiti, Chile, Christchurch, Fukushima are all tectonic
    warfare hits through a system called HAARP which uses ionized atmosphere
    through chemtrails.

    The housing bubble, swine flu. codex alimentarius, Monsanto are all very much connected. There is a economic/environmental/societal controled demolition going on right now and everyone reading this is in the rifle sites.

    Please see this youtube which will start to open your eyes. We are not going down because of human nature problem. We are going down because media, military, money, is connected under a leadership that comes up with Full Spectrum Dominance by 2020 policy, as just one example, no matter who is elected.

    Please open your minds. Stop ignoring the agendas going on. Please study HAARP. Please do search for ‘HAARP geophysical weapons.’

    Please see free online videos

    The Money Masters, which will completely educate you to how big money has evolved.

    What in the World are they Spraying. Will connect chemtrails HAARP and Monsanto

    and this last one ties current affairs together and is vital

    by radiation expert, discusses depopulation agenda, HAARP,
    and more.

    Ray Songtree

  • Kevin,
    I enjoyed your essay, but after checking the latest update from Arnie Gunderson’s site concerning radiation from Fukushima, and the documentary trailer Guy posted, it has been a very depressing way to start my day. I’ve been trying, at a much smaller degree than you, to raise awareness in my hometown, but with very little success. I’m about ready to give up that part of my life and concentrate on working with a few neighbors who get it. I don’t understand why some of us can see, while the majority either can’t or refuse to. What unique qualities do we possess (or maybe lack) that allows this to happen? It’s a mystery to me. I’m about to leave for my morning school bus run, and my heart aches when I see those kids, so excited and happy and oblivious to what’s coming. Damn it all!

  • john
    my heart aches when I see those kids, so excited and happy and oblivious to what’s coming. Damn it all!

    amen john.

    thanks for u’r work…a lot of years. i especially appreciate u’r, Guy’s & others climate change work as it has enabled me & my wife to come many miles the last few years.

    the birds are chirping incessantly as day breaks…it is these moments that i treasure.

  • I am rationally convinced our civilization will disintegrate. Obviously its runs on oil which is declining in supply. Respected scientists such as Lovelock tell us Global Heating can only get worse and we know the earth’s riches are used up.Population growth prevents any stability and steady stateness. I am dependent on this system and would be dead now without its support. This system gives me a further life expectancy of 13 years, I have no children no one particularly loves me! Result?

    I have chosen to take the blue pill, taking the red pill just makes life harder.Kevin has children it’s different for him.

  • I have chosen to take the blue pill, taking the red pill just makes life harder.>/i>


    No shame in the blue pill. I have often said that at this point when no one can make a difference in the ultimate fate of our civilisation, you must make your decisions based upon your personal needs and situation. For many of us, it simply doesn’t make sense to attempt at this late date to achieve the necessary skills, tools and experience necessary to survival in the coming world. And for everyone, I suggest – live life to the fullest whilst you still able – cherish every moment you are here, and keep listening to those birds [sam]. I, for one, have never enjoyed life and living more.

  • my heart aches when I see those kids, so excited and happy and oblivious to what’s coming. Damn it all!

    John Stassek

    The movie Terminator comes to mind. Sarah is watching the children and their parents on the playground happily oblivious to all – she screams warnings to no avail – no one hears her – no one looks her way – until the light from the bomb explodes before their eyes.

    Tragic indeed.

  • Thanks for the essay Kevin. Enjoyed reading it.

    You mention this: “The only significant exception I can think of has been limiting the production and use of ozone-depleting substances.”

    It triggered something I had not thought of before: why was the threat to the ozone layer so easily accepted and changes made in the way we do things? Was it because it never became political? Or was it because the fix didn’t require any significant change in business as usual? It’s an interesting contrast to our current predicaments.

  • John, I feel for those kids and for you seeing the kids and envisioning a different future for them than the ones they look forward to. I read that and almost cried for them and my grandkids.

    But then into my mind came the images of the children killed in Iraq, the children of Afganistan who must cringe at the sound of the drones that come without warning to wage death and destruction. I remember a movie I watched about children used to find the mines in mindfields in Kurdistan and I think of the children killed after the fact by cluster bombs. Our children have a bit more time before the horrors start, but the horrors have been going on a long time all over the world.

    And in my mind I cried again….

  • I’m pleased to report that in the US we are less than 2(two) cents away from breaking that magical mark of $4 per gallon gas.

    I expect to be able to report to you tomorrow that we have gotten their.

    This will be an important psychological mark at which point the manure
    will encounter the fan.

    Stay tuned.

    Double D

  • Kevin [The game in which we all lose continues.] Apt words to follow up on your essay.

    After having weather running 12 degrees above normal we are now having weather running 10 degrees below normal and even a possibility of light frost here about 3 weeks after the average last frost date

    Meanwhile the Mississipi is flooding – perhaps will reach the stage of the great flood of 1927 – one levee was purposely breached to save a town and flooded 130,000 acres of farmland probably ruining all possibility of crops there this year. Of course we know that very shortly doing damage to any crops will be bringing disaster ever closer, but that is not the only thing the flooding is endangering.

    NEW ORLEANS — With the Mississippi River on the rise, shippers, ports and the chemical industry are keeping a close eye on the commercial artery, hoping the money-pinched federal government can dredge fast enough to keep a major pass to the Gulf of Mexico unclogged.

    The Mississippi sends huge amounts of sediment downriver during high-water times. That sediment settles into Southwest Pass, a deep-draft vessel channel connecting the river with the Gulf, which is routinely dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers …
    Concerns are being raised by the state’s chemical industry, which has scores of plants alongside the river. Some plants may have to make shipping adjustments for finished chemicals shipped by the river if water levels are high, said Dan Borne, head of the Louisiana Chemical Association. Imports of raw materials to plants – many of which come by barge – also could be hampered, he said.

    The threat comes at a time when the domestic chemical industry is in a strong position against foreign exports because of a weak dollar, which makes U.S. exports cheaper, and increasing international demand, Borne said. In addition, when the prices of oil and natural gas are at their current ratio, Louisiana’s plants have another competitive advantage over foreign plants that use oil rather than natural gas as feedstock, Borne said.

    “Any prolonged curtailment of Mississippi River shipping could have negative economic consequences,” Borne said.

    They may breach a few more levees on the lower stretches to but the water still all heads to the gulf. New Orleans – Katrina – BP spill – another flood. Well it always was insane to build a city there…..but one still feels for the people. Like the damn dams that Jensen wants to see gone, the levees need to go and the Mississippi run free again.

  • TRDH

    I believe there are two factors that made a rapid response to ozone depletion possible.

    1. Whereas the CO2 level in the atmosphere has been creeping up at 1 or 2 ppm per annnun, the ozone level over Antarctica was plummetting spectacularly. (Imagine what the response might be if the CO2 level in teh atmosphere suddenly started to rise by 30 or 40 ppm per annum.)

    2. The substances that were primarily responsible for ozone depletion were not integral to the economic system and could be replaced or eliminated fairly quickly.

    As we all know, the economic system cannot function without fossil fuels -hence nothing meaningful will be done to limit CO2 emissions. Any reduction in emissions that might take place over coming years will be a consequence of economic contraction due to shortages or high prices.

  • I was all ready to accept that bin Laden was already dead some years ago until I read that he was shot in front of his 12 y/o daughter and wife (who was wounded in the leg by one of the SEALs) who volunteered that info to the Pakistanis who have them in custody now.

    And then you have Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik, a man who held numerous different influential positions under three different Presidents and still works with the Defense Department. He claims that bin Laden died in 2001 of Marfan syndrome, a hereditary disease of the connective tissue that shortens life and was under treatment from CIA doctors for years for both that and the kidney disease. He claims also that the body was literally put on ice at the time to be released at “an opportune time” in the future. Apparently several world leaders knew he was dead, according to Dr. Pieczenik.

    You can listen to his extended interview with Alex Jones here – which is entertaining if not interesting:

    So what do you think?

  • I thought that all one needed to do was to raise crucial issues in a compassionate and logical manner, and then public debate and implementation of appropriate strategies would follow. I was not aware that corporations funded multi-million-dollar misinformation campaigns to undermine the efforts of those who promoted sustainability. I was not aware of the depth of corruption associated with most political parties and governments. I was not aware that local government was primarily concerned with facilitating the agendas of opportunists. And I was not aware that most people in industrialised societies were unreachable and did not want frank discussion about the future.


    It’s all about the economy. Both corporations and politicians can get away with their shenanigans because the people are full of fears and insecurities over jobs and cost of living. These criminals are expert at playing on these fears. So rather than teaching people truths and leading them benevolently, they instead play on those fears to their own agendas.

    People are not stupid. But in a complex society, things get…well…complex. People can not keep up with all that is going on, and many rely almost exclusively on mass media, their political/business/religious leaders and the entertainment world, their for their information about life. Anything that threatens their livelihood in whatever way becomes the object of their anger and distrust. This means they can be easily manipulated by unethical, criminal elements in leadership positions – and there are no lack of those in a complex society.

    It is all about complexity. The larger and more extensive the civilisation, the more complex. The more complexity there is, the more fears and insecurities people hold, and the more opportunity there is for deception, which is one of every creature’s natural abilities to either hunt or evade the hunt.

    What you witness are the natural drives of the hunters v the hunted.

  • In New zealand [this is wher I live] we have an interesting state of affairs.

    A population of about 4 million most of whom don’t or don’t want to get it about peak oil and climate change. The are large kie our sheep and keep nibbling the grass while being distracted by consumer object fetishism. A small group do get and are trying to gain some ground on those political leaders who are interested in the status quo.

    Our government is currently centre right led by a former merchant baker from Merril Lynch. Also closely aligned we have a free market far right led by a former discredited party leader and Treasury chief banker after a swift coup. Our centre left is rudderless leaving a small dedicated Green party doing its level best. Dr James Hansen is due to tour and spek at functions throughout the country.

    Ben Atack on his pioneering website said in 2009 not to rely on the state to help prepare for peak oil suggesting grass level organisation will be more effective.

  • sorry about typos.

  • Appeals to rationality that do not connect to the much deeper-seated emotional drives (which are based on morals – right & wrong, ethics – good & bad, and aesthetics – beautiful & ugly) will prove ineffective in changing behavior. The prospect of hardship implicit in a drastic change in lifestyle now, conflicts with those emotional forces, and mobilizes myriads of manifestations of denial of the approaching tribulations until the pain of their bite connects to the emotions. Yet there are a few – painfully few – individuals with sufficientl connection between rationality and emotion in whom the right emotions (in this context, apprehension / fear / concern, etc.) are sufficiently aroused to impel them to appropriate action. Those actions will be backed by their own sets of rationalizations which conceal the underlying emotions.

    The great challenge – if it is at all possible – is to connect to the emotions of the herd.

  • Kevin, thanks for the summary on why the ozone hole problem could be dealt with and the CO2 problem not.

    TRDH – unfortunately the problem is NOT solved. Bromine atoms do more damage than Chlorine atoms I have read and Methyl Bromide, a fumigant is still being used.

    On July 1, 2005 a dozen nations agreed under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to reduce exemptions for “critical use” of methyl bromide by 20% in 2006. Methyl bromide is a powerful ozone depleting chemical, 50 times more destructive to the ozone layer than chlorine from CFCs (chloroflurocarbons), the other major class of chemicals targeted by the treaty. In 1987, sixteen industrial nations, including the U.S., agreed under the Protocol to end all use of methyl bromide by 2005, and developing countries agreed to end use in 2015. Instead, use of methyl bromide as a soil fumigant pesticide has increased in the U.S. The 20% reduction appears to be an environmental victory, but in fact, U.S. consumption of methyl bromide rose so steeply in 2005 that the 20% “reduction” represents an increase over 2002-2004 levels.
    And then NZ
    New Zealand signed the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which commits us to, “refrain from the use of methyl bromide and to use non ozone depleting technologies wherever possible,” yet figures show that New Zealand’s Methyl Bromide use has steadily increased since then.

    I think it was Kevin who pointed out that the Arctic hole (which has been less serious than the Antarctic hole) was worse this year than ever and this is mentioned in the article I linked to above. We still don’t know if we are “saved” from frying by loss of ozone.

  • Kevin:

    Your essay sent me to the bookshelf for a dimly-remembered essay by the historian Barbara Tuchman, “History as Mirror.” She wrote it in 1972, and it formed the core of her 1978 book, A Distant Mirror, which treated the 14th century as analogous to the 20th. It’s worth looking at because it shows psychosis as a social disease, and explores the violent subcultures a stable civilization can decay into.

    Of course, the bubonic plague was a factor we haven’t yet had to throw into the mix. But I find it less than reassuring that your Australian neighbors have figured out how to engineer smallpox so there’s litte an immune system can do in response to it.

    I mentioned your essay to a scientist friend who in late middle-age had a child who is now twelve. He’s a realist about the exponential curves humanity is riding, but he said that when you have a child your mind can follow logical consequences up to the point where the child is threatened and then you stop. Perhaps that’s what you’ve encountered when you raised the alarm with the various people who could act on the problem. To act means admitting a problem exists, one that you’ve framed as lethal to their children. They cannot go there.

    Perhaps we should only allow our political leaders to lead if they haven’t had children.

  • When I was still working sometimes I would overhear a conversation that would be describing activities of various people that sounded quite unusual. After a bit I would realize they were discussing a reality show or soap opera as if it was real people.

    Today listening to a discussion about the killing of Osama on Democracy now I felt like I was again listening to a discussion about a fiction. Sort of like having a serious discussion about Hansel and Gretel. Why didn’t they release the pictures we must discuss but never the possibility that the only picture that could be released would be photo shopped. The only bit of reality was when Amy described the compound as a plush mansion the reporter on the ground reported it was an ugly building without luxuries that looked more like a prison.

    So how can we discuss peak oil?

  • Thanks so much Kevin for expressing so eloquently exactly my feelings over the past 15+ years. As a Green candidate I have addressed virtually all the things you write about except the municipal ones. I have reached a conclusion that there is now no point in trying further at least here in Canada because I believe that we have left it all too late. We here are condemned to 4 years of non-science based, far right fundamentalist “christian” ideology. The people I address at forums have no interest in what I say. About half of those who agree with it still vote for a party (NDP) not unduly concerned about anything except jobs.
    Feedback loops are clearly now a factor and my belief is that were we to stop all fossil fuel burning immediately, the planet would continue warming for perhaps hundreds of years still to come because of present and future feedback loops.
    We face the same collapse as so many “civilisations” before us (Mayans, Mesopotamians, Easter Islanders etc.) by consuming beyond regeneration but now we do so on a planetary scale. Our greed at last will find its conclusion in our ability to destroy our livelihood. The planet will recover but we won’t.

    Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin declared a state of emergency on Thursday, as Lake Champlain was forecast to crest at record levels by the weekend, officials said.

    The lake has been above record flood levels for more than a week, with waters expected to remain high into mid-May, said Ed Capone, National Weather Service coordination hydrologist.

    Heavy rain for the last 10 days coupled with snow melt pushed Lake Champlain water levels in some areas above record flooding of 102.1 feet set in 1869, said Capone.

    The lake is expected to crest at 103.3 feet by Saturday, and windy gusts could produce waves above that level, he said.

    Lake Champlain is the sixth largest natural lake in the country, trailing only the Great Lakes in size. It is more than 120 miles long, stretching from points in New York to Vermont and into Canada with nearly 600 miles of total shoreline.

  • Can anyone tell me what I missed overnight that caused oil, gold, silver etc. to drop so spectacualarly?


    I agree. The ozone depletion ‘problem’ has not been solved; humanity simply managed to avert rapid self-termination and omnicide. Even if humanity were to stop releasing ozone depleting substances tomorrow it would take decades for the upper atmopshere to decontaminate. The link with increased skin cancer rates cannot be quantified, since lifestyle changes -increased skiing and lying on beaches etc. are a factor.

  • Kevin,
    Can anyone tell me what I missed overnight that caused oil, gold, silver etc. to drop so spectacualarly?

    According to an article in the NY Times, it’s because the dollar has rallied, thereby reducing the price of all commodities (since they’re traded in dollars), and that there has been oil demand destruction since drivers are cutting back due to the high prices. According to an analyst in the article it turns out there really is too much oil after all.

    Amazingly, the analysts they quoted said that they expect the price of oil, and therefore gas, to drop steadily, if not slowly, through the end of summer. They speak as if a one day drop makes a longterm trend. They may be right, but personally I think they’re smoking crack. More of that magical thinking.

  • Weirdly I was once told that we should not worry about oil depletion because it is being recreated within the magma and is thereby refilling the oil reserves.
    A better question here is why has the dollar rallied? Obviously due to rampant speculation with money that can only win or be bailed out.It amazes me that often I see the CDN$/US$ exchange rate vary by as much as 1% during the first couple of hours in a trading day. A capital transfer tax applied to every transfer in excess of $10.00 would solve a lot by forcing the speculators to make millions of bets a second. 5 cents should be enough incentive to slow them but raise vast amounts of taxes on the very wealthy.

  • TRDH – I agree magical thinking. As of tonight oil prices have begun edging back up again. Ralph Nader has an article here at Counter Punch about who sets the price of oil through history – currently it is set at the Mercantile Exchanges – I think Ralph is not very versed on peak oil, but I think he is correct that huge swings like we saw today are not reflective of supply vs demand.
    Today, a third party has moved to the table-the New York Mercantile Exchange, a similar operates in London and a new one in Dubai. There, boisterous traders buy and sell futures contracts on the delivery of oil.
    Full article at link but you have to page down past the fund appeal to get to the article

  • Ohio river is at record heights. While worrying about dredging to keep open the Mississippi on the Ohio river they are having other problems.

    In addition to damaging homes and businesses, floods can disrupt shipping by closing locks along rivers, delay planting in agricultural areas and kill livestock. In 2008 and 2009, flooding along the Mississippi and Red rivers caused billions of dollars in damage, killed thousands of stock animals and drove thousands of families from their homes.

    Parts of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee and Mississippi rivers are currently closed to shipping because of safety concerns or because the locks and dams along the waterways have shut down

  • There are two principle factors to oil pricing – supply/demand and the value of the dollar. As the dollar weakens, oil prices shoot up to compensate. As the dollar strengthens oil prices go down. This is usually the reason for rapid daily increases/decreases in oil prices.

    Supply/Demand usually results from longer term issues – net global demand shooting up over time as we have today with the Middle East and Far East consumption patterns (even whilst American/European demand might decrease!). And on the supply side when something happens to the oil supply, such as when there is an interruption to a country’s oil productino for whatever reason and they cannot make it up, thus providing overall pressure on the markets to deliver. Another side of this lies with the “risk” factor, which can result in fairly rapid price rises. When there is a threat of loss to oil supplies, such as you see today with the Libya troubles and others, then you will see oil pricing take such risks to supply into account. This is especially true during times when overall global production will have trouble making up the difference and the markets know it – such can produce very rapid increaes indeed!

    And then you have peak oil – that state of oil production that is attained when maximum productive capacity of the world’s oil fields is attained. When this point is attained, for the first few years we can expect to see an unulating plateau of production as the economy rises and falls due to continuous hitting of this production ceiling. At some point, and this might take years, production starts its inevitable fall from the plateau, and no matter what corrective action we will take it will continue its decline, slowly strangling the global econmy to a point where it completely collapses.

    Oil is not being refreshed in the bowels of the earth. No such theory has ever been proven. Indeed, all that we know about an oil field’s lifecycle is quite predictable.

  • Victor I know all that. The recent rise of the price of oil seems to be about changes in the dollar and jitters about Libya oil supply But the one day slide in the price of oil seems to be worse than the change in the value of the dollar on the same day would predict and the situation with supply did not suddenly change by any change in the world of supply and demand that would warrant such a big drop. In the case of this 10% drop in the price of oil in one day I don’t think you can rule out the human factor of the humans in the Mercantile Exchange, whether it be human jitters, or human purposeful manipulation.

    Now if the straits of Hormuz were blocked I would expect huge rises in the price of oil, but again that would be speculation ahead of actual shortages, but justified speculation. If Ghadaffi was killed I might expect a drop in the price of oil but that would be speculation ahead of normal resumption of oil production picking up but justified speculation.

    But lets say the dollar has strengthening a bit has caused the price of oil to drop 10% in one day. Why has the dollar strengthened? Note that yesterday it went from 1.49 to about 1.45 against the Euro, a change of about 2 percent.

    If your comments were directed at me I can’t believe you would think I need a lecture on peak oil. Are you saying that the speculators in the Mercantile Exchanges never react to anything other than the strength of the dollar and their first hand knowledge of the actual state of oil available to be pumped from day to day and at future points in time?

  • Kathy

    Don’t get your knickers in a twist….it wasn’t directed at you or anyone else on this site who understands peak oil….it was directed at the likes of Roger Benham who mentioned teh possibility of forever-renewing oil reserves, and others who are not so educated about peak oil.

  • Are you saying that the speculators in the Mercantile Exchanges never react to anything other than the strength of the dollar and their first hand knowledge of the actual state of oil available to be pumped from day to day and at future points in time?


    Of course not. YOu will note that on the supply/demand side of the equation I did mention the factor “risk” plays. Your Straits of Hormuz is an [-rime example of this risk factor – the higher the risk, the higher the oil price.

    As for dollar value fluctuations, these happen all the time, and for the same reason – “risk”. When you have a situation arise in which the investors think it might cause a change in the value of the dollar, they react to it – rationally or not. The dollar increased quickly becaue the US supposedly killed bin Laden and the world was suddenly a better place and therefore a stronger dollar was figured in because it was the US who did the deed, and aren’t they wonderful and now the US will get out of its wars and global peace will reign on earth forever….well, at least until tomorrow?

    Yes, the reasoning is just that irrational.

  • According to an analyst in the article it turns out there really is too much oil after all.

    Does this analyst know something no one else knows, or is he taking Saudi Arabia’s word for it that there is a glut of oil on the market and that is why they are cutting back production?

  • Presumably traders, speculators and those who hedge cannot make gains unless prices drop occasionally. We cannot rule out the possibilty that the sell-off was orchestrated so they could sell at high pirces and buy back into teh market at lower prices.

  • Victor,

    Does this analyst know something no one else knows, or is he taking Saudi Arabia’s word for it that there is a glut of oil on the market and that is why they are cutting back production?

    I can only speculate, of course, but it seemed to me to be like the denial embraced by many economists today that we aren’t really headed for a downfall.

  • Victor, I didn’t seen any mention of abiotic oil in the Nader article I linked to, which is why I got my knickers in a twist. If Nader didn’t mention it it seemed the only other person involved in the comment was me and thus you must be directing it to me :) But I see now that Roger Benham did mention it, so I have untwisted my knickers. :)

    But I admit I could have posted a better article on the Mercantile Exchange and Nader is clearly out in left field about how much oil is left and how the tightness in supplies and flow is affecting the price of oil in general. However Kevin’s comments about the huge one day drop seems more explanatory than any events on the ground.

    I get moments of humor reading the articles on Yahoo finance that seek to explain why the market and/or oil is up or down. Some good fiction writers must be making big bucks creating the daily stories, yes?

  • I get moments of humor reading the articles on Yahoo finance that seek to explain why the market and/or oil is up or down. Some good fiction writers must be making big bucks creating the daily stories, yes?

    One needs to be very creative to be a good political or economics writer…. :-)

  • Oil going up again – betcha someone is making money on this…..

  • been detained by other interests and by my home computer infected by a virus unable to access the internet. hope to have it back soon. in the meantime, briefly,

    trdh (dr. house)- i hope some day u’ll become more familiar with cannabis’ wonderfully versatile medical and therapeutic applications. it should figure very prominently in any understanding/analysis of post-collapse medicine.

    kathy, thanks for the link once again near the end of the last thread to the mlk assassination conspiracy and cover-up.

    victor, if sheople truly were intelligent and rational, this blog wouldn’t exist because all the problems discussed here wouldn’t exist. sheople are a species of idiot savants. even one as obviously intelligent and well informed as yourself (from reading your comments for months now i can tell u have more knowledge and intelligence than i) is susceptible to making ridiculous statements such as ‘people aren’t stupid’! i suppose this is because it enables u to get along better with others, holding this unwarranted high opinion of them, and rationalizing that their ignorance simply stems from lack of time to engage in independent learning/reading, and self interest in maintaining the status quo (i.e. keeping their jobs).

    kevin, thanks for this post. i love how u use almost the exact same phrases and language i’m inclined to use in describing surreality, and that u do so with greater coherence and comprehensiveness than i can muster!

  • Oops … seems I’m being quoted as if I believe that the magma is creating oil. Did Victor read my post of May 5th? I’ve been warning about oil peaking since 2000 and in the election here in 2004 I cited the pentagon report quoted in Harper’s magazine of I think February 2004 warning about oil running out. I talked about it at 12 forums I attended last month in our federal election.
    I cited the magma business as just how much rubbish people willingly swallow.

  • The Virgin Terry, your comment made me laugh out loud. During my early college years, I was quite familiar with at least some of the effects of cannabis – not sure if I perceived any of the effects as medicinal . . . :-)

  • virgin terry….. :-)

    Roger…..oops!…apologies for that!!

    Kathy…I made a couple mil on that one today!….. :-)

  • Dr. House….I too discovered its effects….mdeicinal ones at that….no pain…no pain at all…. :-) :-)

  • Victor, hope you sold at $ 101 as it is now down to $ 97. Win some, loose some :) ? :( ?

  • Robin, thanks for the link. That was quite an education though I already knew of its role Indian and ancient Jewish practice.

    without prohibition and a coercive state how would the theraputic qualities of THC be able to change society? Sure there would be some who will mis use it but also a prevalence of good use may ultimately minimise misuse if not extinct it.

    After Pewak Oil will have to rethink every thing.

  • …possible cause of deflationary scares, commodities drops; & dollar positive, as parking large amounts of $ virtually overnite…the dollar is the only way!

    German magazine Der Spiegel reported that a meeting was taking place on Friday evening about Greece readopting its own currency.

    The claim was vigorously denied by Greece and Germany.

    However the BBC then learnt that ministers from four eurozone countries were indeed meeting in Luxembourg.

    The countries – France, Germany, Finland and Netherlands – were said to be discussing EU issues, including the financial situation of Portugal, Ireland and Greece. ….

  • ‘without prohibition and a coercive state how would the theraputic qualities of THC be able to change society?’ -martin

    could it be i’m not the only one here who thinks more widespread cannabis use could prove to be therapeutic socially as well as individually? i believe cannabis has broadened my mind, my perceptions and knowledge and curiosity about this surreal world. i began using regularly over a decade ago as self prescribed depression treatment. began using every evening when i similarly discovered it was dependable at averting insomnia. from testimony from others, it has all sorts of therapeutic benefits, and i personally think widespread use would faciliate more empathy, cooperation, and deter social violence.

    i’ve never tried it, but under the right circumstances i’d love to experiment with ‘e’, ‘ecstasy’, ‘adam’, the rave club recreational drug of choice. i’ve read many internet testimonials of it’s remarkable ability to foster empathy, trust, and communication. i’d also love to explore many entheogens/hallucinogens for fun and expanded awareness/spirituality. it’s too bad the collapse of orwellian authoritarian governments/cultures seems necessary to bring back personal freedom of this sort.

    victor, i loved your response, u charming rascal.

    guy, thanks for the link to the fall and winter doc, and as always, for creating and nurturing this great temporary refuge from the nightmare.

    i almost forgot to paste a link to jim kunstler’s latest post. i obviously prefer this blog, but that man sure has a way with words. hope u enjoy:

  • With eyes wide shut we enter into the nightmare
    EIA budget cuts will cause the following cuts in data production
    WASHINGTON, DC – The final fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget provides $95.4 million for the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a reduction of $15.2 million, or 14 percent, from the FY 2010 level.

    “The lower FY 2011 funding level will require significant cuts in EIA’s data, analysis, and forecasting activities,” said EIA Administrator Richard Newell. “EIA had already taken a number of decisive steps in recent years to streamline operations and enhance overall efficiency, and we will continue to do so in order to minimize the impact of these cuts at a time when both policymaker and public interest in energy issues is high,” he said.

    EIA must act quickly to realize the necessary spending reductions during the present fiscal year, which is already more than half over. The changes in products and services identified below reflect initial steps to reduce the cost of EIA’s program. Additional actions are being evaluated and may result in further adjustments to EIA’s data and analysis activities in the near future.

    Initial adjustments to EIA’s data, analysis, and forecasting programs include the following:

    Oil and Natural Gas Information

    Do not prepare or publish 2011 edition of the annual data release on U.S. proved oil and natural gas reserves.
    Curtail efforts to understand linkages between physical energy markets and financial trading.
    Suspend analysis and reporting on the market impacts of planned refinery outages.
    Curtail collection and dissemination of monthly state-level data on wholesale petroleum product prices, including gasoline, diesel, heating oil, propane, residual fuel oil, and kerosene. Also, terminate the preparation and publication of the annual petroleum marketing data report and the fuel oil and kerosene sales report.
    Suspend auditing of data submitted by major oil and natural gas companies and reporting on their 2010 financial performance through EIA’s Financial Reporting System.
    Reduce collection of data from natural gas marketing companies.
    Cancel the planned increase in resources to be applied to petroleum data quality issues.
    Reduce data collection from smaller entities across a range of EIA oil and natural gas surveys.

    Electricity, Renewables, and Coal Information

    Reduce data on electricity exports and imports.
    Terminate annual data collection and report on geothermal space heating (heat pump) systems.
    Terminate annual data collection and report on solar thermal systems.
    Reduce data collection from smaller entities across a range of EIA electricity and coal surveys.

    Consumption, Efficiency, and International Energy Information

    Suspend work on EIA’s 2011 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), the Nation’s only source of statistical data for energy consumption and related characteristics of commercial buildings.
    Terminate updates to EIA’s International Energy Statistics.

    Energy Analysis Capacity

    Halt preparation of the 2012 edition of EIA’s International Energy Outlook.
    Suspend further upgrades to the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). NEMS is the country’s preeminent tool for developing projections of U.S. energy production, consumption, prices, and technologies and its results are widely used by policymakers, industry, and others in making energy-related decisions. A multiyear project to replace aging NEMS components will be halted.
    Eliminate annual published inventory of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States.
    Limit responses to requests from policymakers for special analyses.

  • With eyes wide shut we enter into the nightmare

    OK…so since terminal decline in oil production is imminent, let’s just close our eyes, and it will all go away…. :-)

    Of course, policymakers will have access to the info….such a joke.

  • Oh I forgot to bold this cutback
    Eliminate annual published inventory of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States.

    I think I will close my eyes and take a nap

  • Didn’t close my eyes quick enough

    the EPA has suspended all heightened radiation monitoring, and will simply test and report every 3 months as if there were no nuclear crisis in Japan.

  • nice catches kathy!

  • defunding the eia is no big deal to me, as their rosy projections of future energy production were clearly cornucopian propaganda anyway. in case u missed it, here’s a relevant paragraph from kunstler’s recent post linked above:

    ‘Notice, by the way, the interesting and important news put out by the government on Friday (the time most favorable for “burying” news due to the TGIF syndrome), that the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency (EIA) has de-funded the office that collects data on oil production outside the USA – that is, in places like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico, et. al., in short, the places where the USA gets more than two-thirds of the oil we use every single day. And the reason for this would be? (choose one): 1.) We don’t want to know; 2.) We don’t give a shit; 3.) There’s four Saudi Arabia’s worth of oil under Zap, North Dakota; 4.) We’ve “innovated” a new technique for making oil out of lawn clippings.’


  • testing to see if submissions are being promptly punished, or delayed, as there has surreally been no posts published since my last one about 10 hours ago?!

  • Terry I was overwhelmed by Sam’s compliments. Thus I feared posting anything that didn’t garner compliments.

    Or I was busy all day in the garden.

    Take your pick :)

  • ok, i see there surreally have been no posts for about 10 hours. extremely unusual considering that a week or so ago this blog was averaging over 35 posts/day, meaning an average 10 hour period was getting 15 posts or so.

    highly unusual coincidence, or has something happened or been said to put a damper on the usual banter and intellectual/emotional provocations? hope it isn’t my fault!

  • sorry, kathy, i didn’t see your posts before posting my last one.

  • TVT, between the flooding of earlier this week and now the pretty weather, things here have been pretty busy. Maybe others are similarly engaged. :-)

  • I have been very busy avoiding TVT……just kidding….I was avoiding Kathy…..or was it Kevin?…no, wait……Blimey…I’ve been so busy!

    We got rain at last! My new garden has sprung to life…..and weeds….:-(

  • Kathy

    Great photo!….I am at last convinced and reassured!….. :-)

  • Virgin Terry, On the idea of social transformation via Cannabis you might find Island by Aldous Huxley worth reading. It is set in an island kingdom in the tropics.

    One island is more isolated to the outside and with the absence of Missionaries, oil companies on the hunt and heavy industry the people of Pala develop a society of sane non violent spirtual people who use something like Psylocybin as a religous sacrement as well as part of a coming of age ritual/ceremony.

    regards Martin

  • Martin.

    Island. This book, I think I read it a couple times in German and a couple times in English. First reading decades ago it was strange, second reading changed it to describing my utopia. Except for the end of the book.
    Must have a look on the book shelves and give it a quick read.
    Huxley, incredibly foresighted. Love the book, the author.

  • TVT

    We have exchanged so much information over the months it becomes difficult to find new things to say about the main themes. And I think many people are suffering from burnout after hitting the walls of apathy and ignornace for such a long time.

    There seems to have been a peak moment of truth-telling three or four years ago which did not generate the culture change we were looking for. A mood of dismal fatalism seems to be emerging amongst many of the 1-2% who fully understand where we are headed.

    And, as several people have noted, it’s spring the northern hemisphere, so maybe people have outside work to do.

    Life is becoming increasingly difficult for many people in NZ; following on from a tax hike and ‘the earthquake’, many regions have been hit by severe weather events (just as in the US). And winter has not yet started. It’s going to be a tough one.

  • TVT, no your second post was up before mine. I wrote it in response to you – I think the time stamp function doesn’t always work right and thus the blog put my post answering yours before yours. The world is as you say surreal.

  • Ah so, I posted above at 5:51 AM my time but the time stamp on my post is 2:51 AM.

  • Victor since you liked the photo how about this

    Washington Blog has several posts on the bin Laden story

    Bin Had
    Why didn’t we interrogate
    Why does he look better in current vids than he did in 2001

    As the one title says we “been had”

    Watched Wag the Dog last night – wow how much I didn’t remember. Time to watch it again folks, puts everything in the right framework. The production crew has been working overtime.

  • Kevin, I guess we can add your “peak moment of truth-telling” to the “Peak” list.

    I for one grow weary of beating the increasingly dessicated husk of a horse that my message regarding collapse has become to so many in my life. Easier just to work on the garden and manage the livestock, both of which are more receptive to my ministrations. :)

    Plus — and this may be a sign of mental illness on my part — I tend to get a little depressed when industrial civilization seems to gain a new lease on life for a little while. I tend to be in a better mood when the price of oil is trending upward.

  • Christopher, if as many of us believe, the crash of civilization is the only way left to avoid the crash of homo sapiens and many other species, then cheering the signs that it is close is mental health. Wanting it even if it means an earlier personal demise is a sign of great moral courage.

  • Kevin,

    “And, as several people have noted, it’s spring the northern hemisphere, so maybe people have outside work to do.”
    Bingo! It’s forking sod to make new garden beds and cutting firewood for me. Or is it f’ing sod? Oh, well, it’s all compost in the end. And also we took time off yesterday to buy more bare root fruit and nut trees.
    If anything, your post has left me with renewed energy and a sense that I have been making the right choices, even in the face of overwhelming volumes of happy talk to the contrary. Even that happy talk is changing. The undercurrent in many media columns lately is, “Even though I’m saying everything is great and the economy will soon be better, I really believe in my heart-of-hearts that life as I knew it is turning into a big ball of dung.”

    Michael Irving

  • WWF has issued The Energy Report that is “confidently claiming that we could transition to full reliance on renewable energy”. Ted Trainer refutes it at commenting in conclusion “In my view The Energy Report does not provide a satisfactory analysis of the issue. It fails to defend assumptions adequately and it omits discussion of crucial issues. To put it mildly, its general conclusion is not established at all persuasively. More importantly, the Report appears to provide yet more proof that renewables can save energy-intensive and growth obsessed societies. It therefore helps to ensure that thought will not be given to the possibility that sustainability cannot be achieved unless there is dramatic reduction in levels of production, consumption, affluence and GDP, and therefore unless there is extremely radical social change, including the abandonment of growth economies.”

    I have read it over briefly and he makes good points. I don’t think he addressed on other point. When we first starting using fossil fuels we thought they were only taking up space in the ground. We have now found to our dismay that they were sequestering CO2 as they took up that space in the ground. The initial uses in small scale did no harm, but the amount used to power this civilization is causing great harm.

    Wind and sunlight and tides are doing something all the time. There is no wind, sunlight or tidal energy that is not doing something. If we were able to harness them in quantities that would power this civilization to the degree we now use energy, we might well find out that subtracting their energy from the environment to power our machines would be as bad or worse for humans. The idea that any sun not absorbed by plants is doing nothing, is ludicrous – it has to be doing something. The idea that subtracting large amounts of wind energy won’t effect the weather is ludicrous. The idea that we can capture tidal energy and not affect the sea life that is adapted to it is ludicrous. Those ideas can only be maintained when we do those activities in small ways, just as campfires of hunter-gatherers did no harm because they were small releases of CO2. Haven’t we messed with our world enough? Luckily these experiments will not happen.

  • How sad that noble man, made in God’s image, will die like a beast and perish forever:
    the Biblical creation story notes that G_d breathed the Spirit into Man. From the Kabbalistic viewpoint, that Spirit never separated from G_d. It is indestructible.

    There seems to have been a peak moment of truth-telling three or four years ago which did not generate the culture change we were looking for.
    Rationalization is ineffective without connecting to emotion.

    I for one grow weary of beating the increasingly dessicated husk of a horse that my message regarding collapse has become to so many in my life.
    Without the connection to emotion, reasoning hitched to cart of behavior change is indeed a dead horse. A two-horse team is needed.

  • Robin, I agree about the connection to emotion necessary here. I’m just not sure how one goes about accomplishing said connection. As a society we seem to have largely “lost all conviction,” as Yeats said. The emotional disconnect which is a triumph of industrial civilization is enormous. How can you fire hearts used only to the cold flicker of the hologram?

  • Antonio Damasio is a neurologist known for his writings and experiments on emotions. His best known previous book is Descartes’ Error, which argued that emotions have an important role in rational decision-making, and presented evidence that people who suffer damage to the brain centers that generate emotions become seriously impaired in their decision-making ability. His most recent book, Looking for Spinoza, concentrates specifically on the conscious aspect of emotions.

    Damasio discusses a patient with brain damage that removed emotional content from his thinking. He was unable to even make decisions about which day would be best for his next appointment. No amount of reasoning about the value of this day over that day was able to stir him to make a decision.

    In fact most our decisions in life are connected to emotions. We are no where near as rational as we might think. In fact perhaps in many instances we create the rational to match what our emotion has chosen.

    I think in fact the resistance to hearing the “message” is an emotional one. The emotion being I do not want to have any lower lifestyle and prefer to have a higher lifestyle and thus emotion over rules the ability to rationally access the situation. Perhaps the reason that some of us can do so is that we feel a huge disconnect to business as usual and thus our emotions are in sync with the information of climate change and peak (almost) everything. Or perhaps we have some different balance in our brains.

    The right wants increased wealth so badly that the wealthy can con the less wealthy into tying their future with them. The left (by and large) wants equality, but only at their standard of living. They have to believe their is enough to go around for everyone to live like them so they don’t have to reduced their lifestyle. Thus both sides are incapable of seeing what is coming BECAUSE of their emotions.

    It is not having emotion that is needed. It is having different emotions. You have to hate modern life. You have to look at tall buildings and view them as monstrosities. You have to love salmon more than turning on lights or yes even computers. You have to love Bayaka children making songs as they splash in the river more than Bach and Beethoven. You have to look at cities and cry. Those are the emotions you need to have to rationally accept what is coming and be glad that it is coming regardless of how horrible it will be. Those are the emotions that can let you see the horror and not turn away in denial.

  • ‘NPDC is bursting at the seams with people who behave as though the short term interests of the industrial economy are much more important than protecting the natural systems that make life in the district possible. They behave as though the wants of present day adults are much more important than the needs of coming generations. They behave as though the lives of their children/grandchildren have a much lower value than their own, and apparently have no compunction in squandering what remains of rapidly depleting resources on their own selfish pursuits. In doing so they promote the generation of pollution which is rapidly the destroying the natural systems that make life on this planet possible. They hold close to their hearts numerous dysfunctional ideologies which are based on no empirical evidence, and promote them vigorously and on a continuous basis. When confronted with facts that challenge their irrational beliefs they ignore the facts and carry on regardless.’…….

    ‘It will, of course, be the young people of this district, including the children and grandchildren of those who currently promote dysfunction, who will suffer the dire consequences of this council’s determination to squander resources, and off-load the financial, social and environmental costs of profligacy onto the next generation.’

    I believe my local council’s emotional response to the above (taken from my current submission) will be denial. By remaining firmly locked in denial the council will then be able to continue with the vandalism which has now become habitual for a few more years.

  • Thank you, Kathy. Your comment was the first to break the stillness it the discussion: it is an emotional event to acknowledge that we are not primarily rational animals.

  • Christopher.

    ‘The emotional disconnect which is a triumph of industrial civilization is enormous.’

    That’s a very good way of putting it.

    Industrialism promotes a lack of love.

  • Kathy.

    I love your last paragraph.

  • Kathy, your words inspire. Thank you.

  • An easily observable phenomenon in all life forms from bacteria all the way to the human is the avoidance of pain and the seeking of pleasure. Humans will go to far greater lengths to avoid pain than we will to seek pleasure. If the same action accomplishes both, far the better.

    Accepting the truth of what is coming is very painful, as I suspect all of us have experienced in our journey of understanding. So it is no wonder that people avoid what we have to say. It hurts. No one likes pain.

    It’s far easier, less painful, and therefore more pleasurable to ignore the warnings and soldier on, blindly accepting the lies told by the powers that be.

  • That is why to this point so many pleas, exhortations, arguments, explanations, etc. have fallen on deaf ears.

  • For those who wish to pursue a different course:
    The Bullshit Synthesizer

  • Robin.
    Thank you, a good laugh in the morning:-))
    I’d like to use this synthesizer in the near future;-)

    Do you know this one:

    Similar things used to be sort of desperate fun and the only way to cope with endless, brainless, boring useless meetings.

    I remember one meeting, the idea was born by big boss of manufacturing, to install signal lights at the work places to indicate the overall quality, speed and so on, of the work being produced at this personal! workplace.
    Similar to the lights attached to machines, people turned into cyborgs then.
    So the light would be green when work was within or better than the limits, turn orange when nearing the lower limits, turn read when out of required limits.
    It was a strange feeling watching some of the about 25 people looking stunned by the idea. Then some small objections were made, like how to get all the required data to the signal lights but that was turned down quickly. So just before the meeting was “agreeing” on the idea, it was my turn.
    Asking what would happen if the light turned orange or red and stayed that way, no matter what improvements should be tried out.
    Quiet, nobody said a word for some time. Then I said, I believe I found a solution for this. As we all are frustrated from time to time, we could use this as a sort of relieve. Whenever there is this red light it should be allowed to walk to this workplace and yell at the person or even spit at them. Shocked, the brothers and sisters of the meeting where truly shocked, no one said a word for some long time and finally some body not thinking too bad about me, brought up the next item of the agenda.
    Signal lights for single work places was never heard of since.
    And they did not sack me then.