Catching up

This brief post is used to point out three former activities and one future one. I present them as I live: in chronological order.

My July essay at Transition Voice summarizes collapse-related information.

I am featured in this article from 14 July by editor Erik Curren at Transition Voice.

I am featured in this article from 4 August at The Good Men Project.

Finally, I will be speaking in the upper midwestern U.S. next month. Details are still in development, and will be posted in this space. For now, the schedule includes the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (ca. 12-13 September), Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan (14-15 September), Munising, Michigan (16 September), and in and around Cadillac, Michigan (17 September through … unknown). I’d love to see you at any of these events, so please let me know if you’ll be there and available to meet.

Comments 83

  • If by chance you’ll be around Monroe, in south east Michigan, I’d like to send my family to one of your talks.

  • Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It

  • I will sell my first born to raise cash to come and hear you at UWGB. Maybe sell the first and second so I can bring the wife and third too – like Jan.

  • With the herd in full stampede towards the cliff, it is to be hoped that the preaching will not be just to the choir, but might succeed in lassoing a few head from the periphery of the herd. Good luck with your efforts!

  • Guy,

    If you can travel 1700 miles to Marquette University, I can drive 1 1/2 hours from the western burbs of Chicago.
    I will put the dates on my calendar. Thanks.

  • My mistake, folks: I’ll be speaking at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, not Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My apologies for the error.

  • I might suggest Ann Arbor, Michigan as a progressive-thinking college town that might give you a good reception.

  • It’ll be difficult to get there from here in the UK, but I hope that several NBLrs are able to make it.

    I’ll be speaking at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, not Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Guy, you sure you know where you are going? We wouldn’t want to lose you!… ;-)

    I might suggest Ann Arbor, Michigan as a progressive-thinking college town that might give you a good reception.

    Jan – might I suggest that he visit places that might NOT give him such a good reception? I think those are the folks who need influence.

  • Bernhard

    Good article, and true enough. I believe the truth is even stranger and scarier than fiction. I believe much of what we are seeing in the world today is a giant manipulative scheme designed to bring pressure upon all nations and peoples to accept a “higher governance”. Both predatory economic and raw military power is being wielded behind a façade of corporate media propaganda, scare tactics, pervasive psyops against the peoples of the world and pseudo-democratic processes to accomplish this. 2012 might not be the year of Collapse, but it might well be a year of great change in the power structure of the world.

  • The heat wave in the South is beginning to take its toll.

    Things are getting serious. As the article states about Texas:

    Closer to Austin, the Llano River trickled at a rate about 95 percent slower than normal. The city of Llano already has contacted bottled water distributors about supplying residents with bottles for cooking and drinking if the river flow stops entirely, which could happen in a matter of weeks.
    Story: Forecast heat waves 40 days out? There’s a tool for that

    “It’s amazing we’re still getting what water we are,” City Manager Finley deGraffenried said Thursday. “We’re running 107 degrees yesterday and the day before. It’s unbearable.”

    Texas received no significant rain in April or May, which are typically the state’s wettest months. Lake levels are so low that earlier this week, a massive chunk of the space shuttle Columbia that broke apart over Texas in 2003 was found poking out of the receded waters of Lake Nacogdoches.

    About 70 percent of Texas rangeland and pastures are classified as being in very poor condition, which means there has been complete or near-complete crop failure or there’s no food for grazing livestock.

  • Victor

    Yeah, we need more counterpunches, not to save anything, that’s an opportunity missed, but to do the “right” thing, going under head up high;-)

    Mike Moore. The small video embedded – 4 minutes Reagan R.

    “Texas received no significant rain in April or May” Neither did we here.
    Some walnut trees dropped a lot of immature fruit, leaves yellowish, dropping – beginning of Aug????

  • How are the Islandians nowadays?

    Maybe the Greek should send some investigators to Island. Saving earth by becoming a really poor society -an equal poor of course, as nobody is poor when everybody is poor.

  • Bernhard

    We should ALL look to Iceland as an example. The bankers, not the people, should be the runs fleeing for their lives as was the case in Iceland. It is all a great mirage put up by powerful people. If the people were to rise up in the face of these threats and dictate their own terms, we could then see many of the elite sent to prison and their ill-got assets confiscated and used to rebuild society.

    We need a modern day Bastille, figuratively parading the piked heads of the elite around the cities of the world.

    But that is not going to happen. A nice dream, however…. :-)

  • “Texas received no significant rain in April or May” Neither did we here.

    And neither did we. For the first 5 months of the year we only received 10% of our usual rain. It was awful getting the garden started. Now it seems to have steadied out a bit as we have been getting some nice moisture. But I fear the winter here as gas prices have increased significantly and it is projected that our winters might get even worse than they were last year. Unlike the Scandinavian countries and Germany, most homes and buildings in the UK are severely under-insulated, including the one I live in…. :-(

  • Paul Craig Roberts is good as usual = however he said this as well “And there is the global warming scandal, in which NGOs. the UN, and the nuclear industry colluded in concocting a doomsday scenario in order to create profit in pollution.”

    I agree that the solutions to global warming largely are designed to be a win for some section of TPTB, but it does not mean that the doomsday scenario is false. In fact as we have often discussed here it is increasing looking like the MSM is creating the idea of a mild doom (if any), while the facts on the ground are that all predictions to date of doom are probably highly optomistic.

  • Kathy
    His opinion on GW, the only part, I couldn’t agree with, whilst he is correct again that Nukes industries have profited on what he calls a hoax?

    As Us people do not seem to want to discus about the war machine, I still would like to provide some information. The spokesperson of the Libyan government has set up a youtube channel, seems like an attempt to be heard at least somewhere. Moussa Ibrahim, I’ll post the link in a moment,
    in the very first movies of the press conferences uploaded, you can witness how desperately he is trying to convince the press people to report, asking for commissions of the UN to do investigations,… and so forth.

    So “free” media, in our “free” countries are doing a remarkable job in providing the environment for these wars to be fought.
    Are we all Cretans?

    What can we say, this war is brought to you by united world corp.

  • Kathy

    Certainly TPTB are capitalising on peak oil and global warming as best they can. Indeed, any depleting resource is used for profit. I notice that one Japanese company (Mitsubishi?) is killing all the blue salmon it can and freezing them so that when they are at last extinct, they will bring huge prices. As a species, we are deserving of anything that happens to us. But you are quite right – just because these folks are profiting doesn’t mean it is not true – and that is where I believe so many of the otherwise good analysts like Mr. Roberts go wrong. In spit of that, I have a lot of respect for him. He is a former political insider who refuses to submit to further prostitution.

  • Victor, Kathy

    Done it again, two links, aahhh -ok.

    Victor, think this one is suited for you, brings you to comment section of the Guardian, the language is alike some contribution that was on NBL recently ;-)

  • The response to John Rember’s recent guest post that included a fictional Chinese take-over of the US was sharp and immediate. In following comments I opined that China could be a problem for the US because they hold a significant amount of US debt. In response a group of previously silent readers became very vocal accusing me and others of xenophobia. I’d like to observe the following response to the S&P’s downgrade of the US credit rating yesterday.
    “China, the world’s largest holder of US debt, had “every right now to demand the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets,” said a commentary in the official Xinhua news agency.
    “International supervision over the issue of US dollars should be introduced and a new, stable and secured global reserve currency may also be an option to avert a catastrophe caused by any single country,” the commentary said.
    CNN Wire notes that Xinhua News also said, “S&P’s move served “as another warning shot about the long-term sustainability of the U.S. government finances…” and “Washington must stop its practice of “letting its domestic electoral politics take the global economy hostage and rely on the deep pockets of major surplus countries to make up for its perennial deficits…”
    Also, according to the Xinhua News itself, the Chinese rating agency Dagong has downgraded the US credit rating from A+ to A.
    Michael Irving

  • “Guy, you sure you know where you are going? We wouldn’t want to lose you!”

    No, I don’t. I’m geographically challenged. And it’s cold there, too, so I’d hate to be lost too long.

    Regarding suggestions about where to speak, I do appreciate all of them. And I’ll speak anywhere somebody will pay my expenses. Once somebody makes that commitment, I put my itinerary in his/her hands. So far, I’ll be hitting about 10 venues on this 10-day trip.

  • Guy! Come to London! I can’t afford to pay for it but I would buy you lunch! : )

  • Guy! Come to London! I can’t afford to pay for it but I would buy you lunch! : )

    I might be able to spring for tea (or coffee, as you may)…. ;-)

  • Victor: as one living in Texas (I refrain from calling myself a ‘Texan’), the water shortage here is obvious. Yet people whine and bicker about utilities not providing ‘enough’ water to meet their ‘needs’, climate change is a Democrats’ and scientists’ scare tactic, homeowners associations demand green lawns, and God will provide. All so they can water their vast lawns, wash their cars, and fill their swimming pools. Meanwhile, the Edwards Acquirer remains uncharged and further depleted. Most Texans take their inalienable rights to the nth degree. At the expense of everyone else and all other life.

  • Spokesperson Guy, we wish you success. If you are able to open the blinds and raise the curtains in the minds of people in that region, we thank and congratulate you. Best wishes and we look forward to hearing your perspectives on the tour.

  • Macrobe, doncha know that meat grows itself in the grocery store. Farmers don’t need that water when the swimming pool needs to be filled :) OTOH if they are going to water their vast lawns we could put beef cattle on their lawns to get some feed, provide some fertilizer and forestall mowing.

  • drive 1 1/2 hours

    The drive would be closer to 4 hours.

  • I had a sheep ranch in Oregon. I still can’t overcome an entrained urge to put sheep on any lush green lawn I see.

    My five acres of Texas prairie still have some green. That’s because it is still virgin soil and prairie grass. I don’t water, I don’t mow but 50′ around the house. I live side-by-side with the owls, rabbits, deer, coyotes, turkeys, bobcat, fox, hawks, skunks, birds, fireflies, and my neighbors are cows. We’re all sharing the burden of this drought, and I feel rage against those that waste water for their own selfish greed. I’m also opinionated and I tend to let them know.

  • Robin:

    At first Guy posted Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Green Bay is a 4+ hour drive. After that is just a guess.


    I have driven both I-10 and I-20 across west Texas in the winter. Very tough area. How close are they to running for their lives?

  • Curtis A. Heretic,

    If the influx of Texans license plates into eastern Washington is any indication they are running already.

    Michael Irving

  • I have driven both I-10 and I-20 across west Texas in the winter.

    Most folks of our generation have tales of long drives. I myself have driven coast-to-coast four times (3000+ miles each time) and am guilty of contributing to climate change on that account: mea culpa! 

    Future generations will experience it only through tales told, from living memory, and thereafter only from records. 

  • a rare moment of a cnbc team being semi-real with marc faber; even some humor too.

  • I had a sheep ranch in Oregon. I still can’t overcome an entrained urge to put sheep on any lush green lawn I see.

    My five acres of Texas prairie still have some green.


    From a sheep ranch in Oregon to 5 acres in Texas. I must admit to curiosity as to your sanity…. ;-)

  • macrobe,

    I must admit I have the same question Victor asked. I know life throws curves at us and sometimes going with the flow is the only course. I do commend you for your efforts at stewardship on your place. Preserving what little native prairie is left is a much needed and noble task.

    Michael Irving

  • ProfEmGuy

    May we bask in your reflected glory !!!

    Double D

  • Guy,

    “Climate hawk” has a nice ring to it.

    Michael Irving

  • Creditanstalt Redux

    Read this very carefully—history doesn’t repeat itself,but since human nature never changes it provides a damn good mirror.

    Double D

  • “If by chance you’ll be around Monroe, in south east Michigan, I’d like to send my family to one of your talks.”

    I also have family there that I would like to send, glad I’m in Oregon now but you’re definitely around my “ole” stomping grounds and agree that Ann Arbor would be a great place for you to speak, wish you well and hope the the Michiganders welcome you!

  • Guy,
    Folks are still talking about your visit to Bloomingdale, Michigan, last September. Quite a few beers were emptied afterwards, by several of the members of the audience! We may get a caravan organized to travel to Cadillac. It’s only a couple of hours away. I’m sure it’s obvious to regular readers of NBL, but grab this opportunity to meet Dr. McPherson in person if you possibly can. The way things are going, it is inconceivable this opportunity will present itself for very much longer! (I’m not sure that word means what I think it means, but what the hell!)

  • What are the Internet’s dependencies?


    Excellent. And this just covered the issue of elemental resources. Not covered due to its further complexities were such as the manufacturing, energy, transport and processes involved along with the layers of management skills and communications required to keep it all going.

    After such an analysis, another would be useful – how much of modern life now depends upon this system?

  • An even further useful analysis would be centred around this system’s waste products and its environmental impact globally. I reckon it would not be a pretty picture.

  • Robin/Victor:

    With the possible further big drop in the markets this morning, is it just possible to hope that this madness is really coming closer to the end?

  • Meanwhile in Alabama our new Commissioner of Agriculture has a Message (we used to get Democrat Sparks Remarks, now we get Republican McMillan’s Message). So this from a Republican “You don’t have to go far to find out whether the state’s new immigration law has impacted Alabama’s economy. Produce goes unpicked, or partially harvested, in fields across the state. Produce farmers tell us they’re having great difficulty finding enough workers at a critical time when their crops are ready to pick and send to market. Poultry farmers report an exodus of hundreds of Latinos, all leaving Alabama to other states in search of work or returning south to the countries of origin. Construction contractors are having similar stories; Latino workers are disappearing, leaving trade jobs behind.”

    We shall see if our unemployed Americans are up to doing the work these people have done, for the wages they have done it for…..

  • Yes, it should be an interesting morning.

    Michael Irving

  • Kathy: I was in a mid scale grocery store yesterday. Romas 2.50/pd, beafsteaks 3, and cherry tomatoes 3.49. I don’t know how people making 8 dollars an hour can afford to eat.

    Michael: The munis, and corporate bonds are following the US downgrade as I write. The corporate downgrades will cause some pretty big margin calls. That ususally happens around 3 if the market is still deep in the red for day. Compound all this with the FOMC meeting tomorrow. What a big pile of dung.

  • Ed:

    Good tip. I will set up my lawn chair and popcorn for 3pm EDT.

  • Hmmm, apparently the UK is considered to have safe haven status. Things must be bad!!

  • Curtis its kind of fascinating what happens around 15:00. Oil dropped 4 dollars a barrel, which was probably to cover margin calls. So happy to be out of it all.

  • Ed:

    Yes, an interesting show. Within the last 10 minutes the DOW moved up about 80 points and then in the last 2 – 3 minutes dropped 100. As if many said, “Aw shit!” and gave up.

    Let’s hope this is really the beginning of the end. This should at least cause everything but the sale of liquor to drop off.

  • Dow ends at -634. Riots in London, mass killings in Syria, civil war in Libya. Etc., etc., etc.

    QE3+++ announced tomorrow, probably, the beginning of the end of the Dollar.

    Looks like Ruppert may have been right when he said recently, “We have until July at the latest.”

  • I have a hundred things I should be doing but watching this implosion is irresistable. Christopher I don’t think we get QE3 tomorrow. Everyone is piling in to bonds which is what the FED wants at least for the time being. It just seems that the FED is becoming less and less important with each crisis that comes along. I remember a bunch of you were talking about 120 on Brent being a crisis point. Does each crisis come at a lower number because everything is so unstable?

    Sue Day: don’t start thinking you are so special. Rumors starting to float on a downgrade there as well.

    Root cellar dug, and I need to get some forms in there so we can get the slab poured. Was chided by a visitor last night because I told him we were using 8″ block for the walls. He said for a root cellar you don’t want to use anything less than 10″. I didn’t know there was anything but 8″ block.

    Sam and Michael: Our duck pond is now full. I love solar power


  • Christopher, Rupert was a lucky guess. As far as I understand it he based his theory on economic projections with regard to what had happened in Japan. Whilst that may have had some impact on what is happening now it is the financial fiasco in America and the EU which is causing all the trouble. It wasn’t all that long ago that he was warning of TEOTWAWKI from a giant helium bubble! Rupert is an astute economist but he doesn’t always check his sources. Which are sometimes highly suspect.
    I notice that he is saying “I told you so” even though the source of the problem had nothing to do with his prediction. Although to be fair to him he has repeatedly warned about the economic implications of the debt mire so many countries are wallowing in.

    Brandon Smith AKA Giordano Bruno seems to be the most accurate of all the financial forecasters I have come across so far. Gonzalo Lira is pretty good too.

    I wish I shared the elation of some that the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket but to be frank I’m just scared. There is rioting going on about an hours drive away from my house and every where I look black swans keep swimming by. Nobody around me seems to notice. It is like living in the twilight zone.

  • Sue, it is perfectly natural to be scared. I would think that anyone who has any brains should be scared right now. The other feeling, the relief that this evil thing is coming to an end is more the result of a thought process, a thing to think. Personal fear is an emotion, a thing to feel. I bet everyone here feels it. I do. I see in my mind’s eye the Klan donning their robes and the inquisition rising out of its obscurity. This heretic can already feel the flames ….

  • Apocalypse Now ?

    ———-and I looked and behold a pale horse,and his name that sat on him was death.

    Double D

  • The horse is at the Denver International Airport

  • Crude is following the greater market downward. 2008-2009 all over again(?). Wonder where the bottom will be for oil this time around.

  • Interesting times, eh my friends? It’s ok to be scared. I am as well. A lot is unknown right now. I reckon we are at a fork in the road at this point. The scenario we face is either the beginnings of serious economic collapse taking all of us, including the bankers and corporations, with it, OR it is the result of a global manipulation on the part of the international banking cartel which is intended to produce great fear and anxiety in the world and acceptance of a “solution” which the bankers have on offer, a solution that, given the situation, will be hard to turn down (see Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine – the US and Europe being the prime focus of that shock at present). Only time will tell which is true at this point.

    Ruppert is not an economist – he is an analyst and he is an ex-cop. His reputation was established with his book, Crossing the Rubicon. But he really hasn’t, in my opinion, followed that up with any other notable accomplishments. He lives on the reputation brought by that book. He is right sometimes. He is right about many of the things we are all right about. He is wrong a lot. His followers tend to proclaim loudly when he is right, and forgive (and forget) when he is wrong. And I guess that is natural.

    As oil prices go, I tend to think that there exists an undulating plateau of prices as well as production levels. This pricing will in turn impact the global economy and be impacted by the global economy. So we can expect to see fairly wide changes up and down as the economy creaks along with only limited ability to respond due to ever-limited production and ever-increasing debts. In the period 2012-2015 we should begin to see an obvious and permanent decline in global oil production levels. How the following years play out will likely determine the fate of humanity.

    In whatever case we can expect social stress and instability to continue to increase, and many more Londons to occur on a more frequent basis. We are only at the bare beginnings of this.

  • Interesting new design of wind farms, capable of producing 10 times the electricity of the traditional design?

  • ed
    kudos on the duck pond. yeah solar is a little, all along; plugs along for 2 or 3 decades.

    re your ‘do it over farm’…hardly a unique attribute; i claim it toooooo! i’d like a from scratch do over some days!

    yeah interesting times; do they get one more[last] kick of the can down the road? if so at best we get a little more time, weeks/months? i don’t think anybody/thing/group has much control at these scales of magnitude in finance. the shadows of credit defaults & derivatives are looming in the background.

  • Victor

    Read the guardian, many calling for army,etc.
    Crazy, extinguish fire with adding fuel.

    Still want Guy to come to London?

    All the best.

  • Bernhard, I still want Guy to come to london so I can catch a lift back to his place! Be a lot safer there!

    Victor I think both scenarios could be right. The people need “softening up” before they are willing to relinquish their rights altogether. Maybe SDR’s will be the weapon of choice. One things for sure this is a chess game and, unfortunately, we are the pawns.

  • oh & ed i never heard of 10 ” block either. lateral strength, for earth pushing against it? good luck. thanks for the financial details.

  • Sue, chess games are being played, but nature has other plans. No chess game can create new oil, the life blood of the civilization that is playing the games. No chess game has the power any longer to restore our natural world, some positive climate feedbacks are already in play. They are playing games on a broken board held together with masking tape. The game is over, they just don’t know it. Sure they will have some plays to make, but nature bats last. Their games will become increasingly irrelevant. Of course they have that one final play – bringing out the nukes. But it is a play of desperation that will not save the players, just bring the game crashing down. But in the end we are all mortal. All the kings and queens and financiers die just like the pawns. However, once you get comfortable with your own mortality, you don’t have to be a pawn. When you live for the day and not for the number of days you have more freedom than any of them ever will.

    Looks like people are beginning to see the value of redundancy….

    “Japan is considering the possibility of creating a back-up capital city in case a major natural disaster, like the March 11 earthquake, strikes Tokyo.

    A new panel from Japan’s Ministry of Land and Infrastructure will consider the possibility of moving some of Tokyo’s capital functions to another big city, like Osaka.

    Japan is located on the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences
    one-fifth of the world’s strongest earthquakes and geologists have warned Tokyo is particularly vulnerable to powerful earthquakes.

    It is feared if a massive earthquake like the March magnitude 9.0 quake struck Tokyo, it could destroy the country’s political and economic base.”

  • Ed,

    Was your “visitor” one of those folks who know everything and can do anything better than you; just ask him? Many people are quick to laugh when others are trying their best to learn new skills and build things for themselves. Often they may have some skills, but they’re skills that are dependent on oil and big machines. You know the type, “Shit, I could have dug that cellar out in 20 minutes with a backhoe, what do you want to use a shovel for?” My brother replaced his entire drain field last summer using only a shovel and a wheelbarrow. It reminds me of Robert Frost’s “Two tramps in mud time.”

    And, echoing Sam, the duck pond is great.

    Michael Irving

  • a particularly good paragraph;

    “We have people buying Treasury securities because they’re worried about the Treasury,” he added. “We’ve got people selling banks stocks, taking the cash and putting into the banks for safety. It doesn’t make sense. What you’re seeing is this adjustment is occurring and people are not sure how to react to this adjustment.”

  • Michael: No, the guy is the real thing. Can fix, build, or grow anything and happy to share the info. He came by tonight and for a couple of beers and dinner he got our prefab stairs installed, and then with the kid who is going to build the shell of the root cellar, they kind of figured everything out and I just marvelled at what I don’t know. When he left he had a borrowed Joseph Campbell and a forage book.We decided on the 10 inch block, and we will also pour a slab for the outdoor cooking area for free, because we have to meet minimum’s on the concrete delivery. I was resigned to a wood roof on the structure but they figured a way that we can do it in concrete for the same price and then we don’t have to deal with treated wood. Once we get the whole thing kicked in I’ll detail it on or blog. To dig the hole and grade around the opening for the cooking area was 150 dollars.

    Bill Mollison (sp) and Sepp Holzer are both amazing permaculturist, and both of them are big fans of using the heavy equipment now while it is still available. I have to say I am as well. Dig your ponds, build your root cellars, grade your fields while you still can. A one acre pond around here that will support fish through the winter is 6,500 dollars. Digging it by hand is not an option.

    If you move to the country, resign yourself to the fact that you don’t know everything you think you know, and listen to the locals. They are intrigued by what we are doing here with the forest gardening, and foraging, but when it comes to some things we have to know what we don’t know.


  • Guy,

    I won’t make it to GB to hear your presentation. Best of luck.

    Re. when the fuel supply shuts down, is it “nine meals from anarchy,” or “nine days from anarchy,” ??? Not trying to split hairs, I just get easily confused (more and more lately it seems – stress-induced dementia maybe ??? ; ).

    Also, does the Red Cross/FEMA etc recommend a week’s worth of food stored, or a month’s worth? I see this kind of question in the eyes of some 2 or 3 of fellow locals and I think it will be on their lips sooner than later. It’s probably a good idea not to wait around to hear this question though, by then it will probably be into the 9 day/9meal countdown, and time to take cover.

    Faulty internet is good for forcing mental downtime.

  • Ed,

    Good that the guy is the real deal. Sounds like he will be a great asset going forward. My point about using heavy machinery is that most operators seem to think of things only one way. There are some though who have a different knowledge set. The guy who owned the place next to me wanted to get rid of the old cars his son had left there before he sold the land to me (scrap metal prices are high now). I was glad because I did not want to deal with them. Anyway, they presented no problem for him, he just cut up two cars and a delivery van with a saws-all powered by a generator and then we used three come-alongs to load two more that could be sold as re-buildable (34 International logging truck and a 52 Studebaker pickup).

    I know Mollison and Holzer are into using big machinery, and I will be hiring the services of a dump truck tomorrow, but I think the transition we are about to make will require that we start trying to come up with alternative solutions. Holzer’s approach, building ponds and terraces, is great, but the work was spread over 4 decades with lots of mistakes and do-overs. Some people, just now becoming aware of the state of the world, may not have the resources, or an inherited 100-acre farm, to follow Holzer’s prescription. Thinking they need a big plot of land, and the money to rent/buy heavy machinery to whip it into permaculture’s best management practices, may leave them frozen and unable to do anything. But, again, I use what is available, so I’m not claiming sainthood in the ‘world made by hand’ (Kunstler).

    Michael Irving

  • “Too many egos, not enough indians”

    I just leanted that today.

    over and out.

  • navid

    I believe the term is “nine meals from anarchy” – for you anarchists, I am only quoting!!…. :-)

  • So Mr. Obama and the Democrats are pushing through legislation to increase taxes on the rich? Of course they are! But behind the scenes they are also pushing very hard to pass a free trade agreement with Panama. And who is Panama? Just the best tax haven in the world!

    This article just shows so clearly the hypocrisy and the corruption going on in high places, and demonstrates why we cannot hope for reform from within the system. If reform is to come, it must be the result of a revolution. If it does not come, then the whole of the financial edifice upon which modern economies rest will collapse in due time. It is not likely the US, or Western “democracy” will experience true revolution. So there you are – countdown to Collapse continues unabated.

    It may not have a large economy, but Panama does have some of the most stringent bank secrecy laws in the world, making it extremely easy and inexpensive for U.S. citizens to set up offshore corporations and bank accounts. Establishing the corporation and bank account costs less than $2,000, and any money that Americans stash in these entities is not taxed. Bank secrecy laws and extremely lax corporate registration standards make it very difficult for the Internal Revenue Service to track transactions transferring funds to these Panamanian destinations from the United States. Small surprise, then, that Panama is home to nearly 400,000 offshore corporations, more than any other nation except Hong Kong.

    “A tax haven . . . has one of three characteristics: It has no income tax or a very low-rate income tax; it has bank secrecy laws; and it has a history of noncooperation with other countries on exchanging information about tax matters,” said Rebecca Wilkins, senior counsel with Citizens for Tax Justice, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to improving U.S. tax policy. “Panama has all three of those. … They’re probably the worst.”

    The trade agreement with Panama would effectively bar the U.S. from cracking down on this activity. The U.S. would not be allowed to treat Panamanian financial services transactions differently from transactions in nations that are not tax havens. It would also be unable to pursue some standard anti-money laundering techniques in Panama. Combating tax haven abuse in Panama would be a violation of the trade agreement, exposing the U.S. to fines from international authorities.

  • Today I attended a talk on dung beetles, given by one of the scientists who first introduced into Australia dung beetles capable of digesting cow manure. Dr John Feehen had a piece of “soil” (actually only concrete hard parent material) that had been drilled through by dung beetles. It is absolutely amazing what they are capable of.

    When I first heard about Yeoman’s ploughs, come hell or high water, I wanted to run a Yeoman’s plough through our paddocks to reduce run-off of water and encourage the deepening of our topsoil. However, when I made my aspirations known to the Yeoman’s plough experts, they told me that the effort would rip the guts out of my little Massey Ferguson 35 horse power tractor. It needed at least a 60 HP if not a 90 HP tractor to deep rip the ground.

    Yet here I find that nature has been doing that same job for millions if not billions of years – and surprise surprise, it does it even better than the Yeoman’s plough does. Apparently every day 500,000 tonnes of cow manure are deposited on the tired old Australian continent. If we had sufficient dung beetles in numbers and species to cover the land mass, that manure would be incorporated into the soil within about 24 hours. At the moment 90% of any nitrogen in the manure evaporates back into the atmosphere. With sufficient dung beetles, 80% of the nitrogen (and 100% of the carbon) would be incorporated into the soil. Also, dung beetles take the manure down at least 30 cm, sometimes even as far as meters, depending on the species. So new soil is formed – a reversal of the loss of our topsoil.

    When trying to work out how to survive without our big machinery, don’t forget our fellow creatures on this planet.

  • An interesting bit of trivia I learned today was that when the mega fauna in Australia became extinct about 16,000 years ago, they left behind their dung beetle allies. These species of beetles managed to hang on until the Europeans arrives with their cattle and horses, and have done much better since then. It is good to know that with all the damage we have done to Australia, at least one species benefitted from the arrival of the Europeans.

  • Thank you Victor – and thank you for your demeanor. I think you would be very good company to keep during this collapse. It seems there is no poison or spittle coming from you.

    Micheal Irving – I know from my experience very well what you mean by “freezing” in the face of preparation. I’ve noticed that happening to me repeatedly. Usually I find I was “bargaining” with Nature – “Ma, I will lower my consumption if I buy a PV system and … and nor really Ma!” (also, “gambling” – “Ma, I bet I can run back into the burning house to get my socks and shoes before it collapses… ya think Ma???).

    Nicole – THANK YOU for the comments on dung beetles.. I mean it. So many light bulbs go off when I visit this site (as long as I avoid the spittle and occusional poisionous vomit).

  • Ed,

    Again, my world made by hand today included the use of a 10 yd. dump truck and a 3 yd. loader. No saints here!

    Michael Irving

  • Dung beetles. What they always remind me of is that our human perspective on what is beautiful and good is just an embedded program in our brain. To us certain colors look good, certain tastes make our mouths water, certain smells delight. But what looks, tastes and smells good to a dung beetle is dung. In our human centered worldview we tend to think that what is good is what we find good. Yet even after we have destroyed the very thing we find to be good, this big beautiful planet in the sky , something will have or evolve the programs to find the world “good”. Both a very sad thought that we would destroy the very thing that our evolution programmed us to find good, and yet somehow comforting – we are not the be all and end all. The dung beetles can roll their dung balls with our without us.

  • Michael, using fossil fuel powered vehicles now while we can is not something that somehow dims the halo. It is just something we do not that we will not be able to do later. What matters is merely to see clearly what parts of our world are going to crumble and have some idea what to do when they are gone.

    I don’t feel like a saint when I wash clothes in my James Hand Washer. I feel tired. I recognize it is still a product of an industrialized world and that when it breaks someday I will have to wash in a stream (if there are any streams left here and I live that long). Some days I want to get an electric washer again – the problem is not guilt, not a desire to keep a bit of a green halo over my head – but size constrictions of our house. Small non standard size electric machines seem to break faster. Otherwise I would say, @#$% it I am tired of washing clothes by hand and get another electric washer. :)

  • Gwynne Dyer: The food bubble
    By gwynne dyerFirst published Aug 10 2011 01:01AM
    Updated Aug 10, 2011 01:01AM

    There are all kinds of bubbles. We had the financial bubble that burst in 2008, causing economic devastation that we are still paying for. There is the Chinese real estate bubble, the biggest in history, which may take the whole world economy down with it when it bursts. But nothing compares with the food bubble.

    Back in 2008, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published a report on world food supply predicting that the price surge of that year would quickly revert to normal: “Barring any underlying climate change or water constraints that could lead to permanent reductions in yield, normal higher output can be expected in the very short term.” And barring age, disease and accidents, we will all live forever.

    Between April 2010 and April 2011 the average world price of grain soared by 71 percent: not a very big deal for people in rich countries who spend less than 10 percent of their incomes on food, but a catastrophe for poor people who already spend more than half their money just to keep their families fed. And that is before “climate change and water constraints” get really serious. But they will.

    Let’s ignore the effects of climate change, because it’s too early in the game to be certain that any given drought, flood or heat wave has been caused by rising temperatures. Besides, there are a few countries (notably the United States) where climate change is still seen as controversial by a significant number of people. So let’s just talk about what happens to the world food supply when the irrigation water runs out.

    The first great food price crisis was in the early 1970s, when consumption was outrunning production due to rapid population growth: The world’s population almost doubled between 1945 and 1975. Grain prices were even higher in real terms than they are now, and there was near-starvation in some areas. But the problem was quickly solved by the famous “Green Revolution,” which hugely increased yields of rice, wheat and maize (corn).

    The only drawback was that the Green Revolution wasn’t really all that green. Higher-yielding strains of familiar crops played a part in the solution, certainly, but so did a vastly increased use of fertilizer: Global fertilizer use tripled between 1960 and 1975. And above all, there was an enormous expansion of the world’s irrigated area. It has more than tripled since 1950.

    Only 10 percent of the world’s cropland is irrigated even now, but that irrigated land provides about 40 percent of the world’s food, so it is absolutely vital. Yet they didn’t discover any new rivers after 1950. Almost all of the new irrigated land — two-thirds of the total — uses water that is pumped up from deep underground aquifers.

    Obviously, the aquifers won’t all go dry at once. Some are bigger than others, and some have been pumped much longer or more heavily than others. But most of them are going to go dry at some point or other in the next 30 years.

    The irrigated area in the United States has probably passed its peak already. In key agricultural states, it is already long past: 1978 in Texas, 1997 in California. In China and India irrigation may be at its peak right now. A World Bank study reported in 2005 that the grain supply for 175 million Indians is produced by over-pumping water, and some 130 million Chinese similarly depend in a dwindling supply of underground water for their grain.

    It gets worse. In the Middle East, Israel banned all irrigation of wheat in 2000 in order to conserve the remaining underground water for people. It now imports 98 percent of its grain. More recently Saudi Arabia, which was self-sufficient in wheat production only five years ago, decided to shut grain-growing down completely before the major aquifer under the country runs dry. Next year, it will import 100 percent of its grain.

    Saudi Arabia will be able to go on importing grain even when the price is twice what it is now, and so will Israel. But there are a great many countries that will lose their ability to feed their own people once the irrigation bubble bursts — and will not be able to afford to import food at the vastly inflated prices that ensue.

    Never mind what climate change will eventually do to the world food supply (although we will mind very much when it finally hits). The crisis is coming sooner than that, and it is quite unavoidable. We are living way beyond our means.

    Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist.

  • Kathy

    Thank you for the link to Colbert – that was hilarious (the water bubbling of fear of the fire -).

    And thank you for posting that entire grain bubble article. I clicked to his site, but I can’t read articles formatted like that – my eyes get buggy after the first line.