Three Paths to Near-Term Human Extinction

About a decade ago I realized we were putting the finishing touches on our own extinction party, with the party probably over by 2030. During the intervening period I’ve seen nothing to sway this belief, and much evidence to reinforce it. Yet the protests, ridicule, and hate mail reach a fervent pitch when I speak or write about the potential for near-term extinction of Homo sapiens.

“We’re different.”
“We’re special.”
“We’re too intelligent.”
“We’ll find a way out. We always do.”

We’re humans, and therefore animals. Like all life, we’re special. Like all organisms, we’re susceptible to overshoot. Like all organisms, we will experience population decline after overshoot.

Let’s take stock of our current predicaments, beginning with one of several ongoing processes likely to cause our extinction. Then I’ll point out the good not quite so bad news.

We’re headed for extinction via global climate change

It’s hotter than it used to be, but not as hot as it’s going to be. The political response to this now-obvious information is to suspend the scientist bearing the bad news. Which, of course, is no surprise at all: As Australian scientist Gideon Polya points out, the United States must cease production of greenhouse gases within 3.1 years if we are to avoid catastrophic runaway greenhouse. I think Polya is optimistic, and I don’t think Obama’s on-board with the attendant collapse of the U.S. industrial economy.

Apparently — too little, too late — a couple people have noticed a few facts about Obama. This “awakening” might explain why his political support is headed south at a rapid clip.

But back to climate change, one of three likely extinction events. Well, three I know about: I’m certain there are others, and any number can play. With four months remaining in the year, the U.S. has already tied its yearly record for the most billion-dollar weather disasters. Russia is headed directly for loss of 30% of its permafrost by 2050. Tundra fires could accelerate planetary warming. This year, the Northeast Passage was open as of 27 July. This is a massively dire situation for the Arctic. In fact, we have passed a de facto tipping point with respect to Arctic ice. This latter outcome is stunning, but only to those who follow the horrifically conservative and increasingly irrelevant Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Nature is responding with hybrid bears, suggesting the near-term loss of all polar bears. Indeed, all Earth’s systems are rapidly declining. Many organisms can’t keep up as they try to stay ahead of an overheating planet.

As the living planet decays, we keep piling on. Examples abound. Here’s one tiny example among thousands, from that pesky BP well at Deepwater Horizon. It’s out of the news cycle, but it’s not done destroying life in the Gulf of Mexico. But perhaps this tidbit belongs beneath the heading of …

We’re headed for extinction via environmental collapse

Nature is bankrupt, just like Wall Street and the USA. Thanks for playing, but you lose. The banksters on Wall Street “win.” But only in the short term. In the long run, we’re all dead (as first stated by John Maynard Keynes).

Among the consequences of taking down more than 200 species each day: at some point, the species we take into the abyss is Homo sapiens (the wise ape). The vanishing point draws nearer every day. Our response, in the industrialized world: Bring on the toys. Burn all fossil fuels. Harvest the rain forests and strip-mine the soil. Pollute the water, eat the seed bank.

And, most importantly, figure out how we can make a few bucks as the world burns.

We have our hand in a monkey trap, and we can’t let go.

We’re headed for extinction via nuclear meltdown

Safely shuttering a nuclear power plant requires a decade or two of careful planning. Far sooner, we’ll complete the ongoing collapse of the industrial economy. This is a source of my nuclear nightmares.

When the world’s 442 nuclear power plants melt down catastrophically, we’ve entered an extinction event. Think clusterfukushima, times 400. Ionizing radiation could, and probably will, destroy every terrestrial organism and, therefore, every marine and freshwater organism. That, by the way, includes the most unique, special, intelligent animal on Earth.

Ready for some good news?

Meanwhile, back on Wall Street

The Securities and Exchange Commission is busily covering up Wall Street crimes, just as they did during the last presidential administration. And, as it turns out, they’ve been performing this trick for two decades. Finally, though, the S&P is taking the U.S. to the woodshed.

The S&P knows what the media and politicians know: U.S. national debt isn’t really $14 trillion and change, as we’ve been led to believe. In fact, it exceeds $200 trillion. And, back when it was a mere $10.5 trillion, it exceeded the value of all circulating currencies as well as all the gold ever mined. It cannot be paid off, ever. The response will be default. With luck, it’ll happen quickly and completely, thus sending us directly to the new dark age (with the post-industrial Stone Age soon to follow).

The ongoing crash of the stock markets differs from prior events because, for one thing, the Fed is about out of ammunition. At this juncture, there are no easy solutions. In fact, there are no solutions at all. We have just about used up all our “rabbits in the hat” as far as fiscal and monetary policy are concerned. Economics pundit Graham Summers agrees: The Fed is about to find itself completely powerless as 2008 redux appears. The great collapse, for which 2008 was merely a warm-up act, is under way.

Think of 2008 as an economic teddy bear, and 2011 as a grizzly. And I think I mentioned this one already: The hunters are out of bullets.

The all-too-expected political response from the final remaining superpower: ratchet up covert wars. Maybe, while we’re at it, launch another World War.

The bottom line

You’ve been warned repeatedly in this space, and the Guardian finally joins the party: The industrial economic system is about to blow. This burst of hope, our remaining chance at salvation, will undoubtedly be greeted with the usual assortment of protests, ridicule, and hate mail I’ve come to expect from planetary consumers who want to keep consuming the planet.

The underlying predicament — reduction in available energy — is described graphically by Gail Tverberg in this essay. She then tacks on fine analysis in this subsequent essay. Jared Diamond adds a dose of complexity, as described by Erik Curren at Transition Voice.

But these warning shots are only the most recent in a rich history dating back to Marcus Aurelius (and probably further). For materials only slightly older than me that focus on our energy predicament, take a peek at M. King Hubbert’s 1956 paper and the text of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover’s 1957 speech.

And then, let go.


This essay is permalinked at Seismologik, Max Keiser, Conchscooter’s Common Sense, Counter Currents, Speaking Truth to Power, Seemorerocks, Jackpot Investor, eWallstreeter, Stocks that Pay, Intelwars, Tov Hazel, Equity Help Desk, InvestmentWatch, Gold & Silver Mashup, Singstock, a few dozen other sites, and Zero Hedge (comments at the latter site echo my opening paragraphs).

Comments 104

  • No hate mail from me, unless it’s directed toward those who have and are continuing to cause our demise. (On the bright side, the amount of mail that would require would get the U.S. Post Office out of its budgetary hole.)

    The nuclear meltdown you discuss is, in my opinion, the icing on the cake. Of all the other issues we face, our species could likely survive – at least a handful of people anyway. But, not the nuclear holocaust. It will, as you’ve said, almost certainly cause the demise of not only our species, but perhaps all. How devastatingly sad.

  • More on the “cleanup” in Japan

    Not good and yet someone is still trying to clean up.

    I was beginning to think that no one was more doomy than me. Can’t argue with anything you have written. After reading Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short one looks back at the title and notes that the full title is The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. They don’t even know what they are doing anymore. Just following programs — make money, move on, make money, move on, loose money, get money from the fed, make money, move on.

    But you forgot to mention the nukes that will no doubt fly.

    Maybe the aliens will save us????

    Ah well, as I always say, we are mortal and death is our fate from birth. “While Man Is Growing, Life Is In Decrease; And Cradles Rock Us Nearer To The Tomb.” Edward Young. Thus it is not death that is in question, only how many years. And the number of years is not necessarily what is important. Quality matters. Hug someone you love. Enjoy a bird. Marvel at a bee. Pat a pet. Make the most of these moments we have now. Sounds sort of trite I know, but what else is there to do?

    We have seen some beauty in the midst of the folly haven’t we.

  • Serious essay. The release of nuclear bombs and the forced abandonment of 442 nuclear reactors across the globe might well end life on earth – with the possible exception of cockroaches (but even roaches need to eat!).

    So where does this leave us? Rickover’s speech was a classic delivered by a man of true vision. He saw what was coming if we didn’t change our ways. And he was dead right. We are now past the point of no return and speeding into a future no one planned, but all contributed towards. What this future holds is not golden.

    Kathy, really enjoyed your link – planet earth forever – indeed….

  • Guy you made it to ZH pretty quickly with that one. 100 comments and 4,000 views in an hour. Can’t wait to read the comments.

  • Guy
    Thanks for this article, it’s not signs on the wall, it’s a picture painted, doesn’t look good though, yeah, And thanks for the hint to the comment section on Zerohedge, unbelievable, :-/ but still, some are really funny.

    Kathy As we ought to enjoy, Guy links to an explanation of a monkey trap, here is something to enjoy – how to find water in african desert – the monkey trap part starts about 1:10 –

  • I wouldn’t read the comments on ZH unless you want to be convinced, once and for all, that the human race is doomed.

    The “wise ape” ain’t wise enough, apparently.

  • Can you imagine someone in government today making the type of speech that Rickover made in 1957? There appears to be little difference between those in power and the comments by the denialists over at Zerohedge.

    The Japan cleanup footage linked to by Kathy illustrates why we need to have a massive effort to come up with right livelihoods for most of the world’s inhabitants. It is a sad day when a paycheck is more important than health.

  • I saw the article on ZH and enjoyed the read. You share many of my concerns. The tragedy of human beings is that IF we practiced restraint we had an opportunity to build a “Garden Of Eden” upon Earth. Of course, we didn’t – and now the consequences are staring us straight in the face – a likely ELE. (Extinction Level Event)

    Thomas Jefferson certainly had it right – an Agrarian society – with a low level of technology. Instead we chose a high-level industrial society- which is ultimately unsustainable. We are now staring into the abyss – the chasm is deep – and it is dark.
    Industrial Civilization was right – for certain genetic types – that drove it to the brink. I see this evidenced in the World all around me – those with power, and those without, and the innumerable masses who are nothing more than Consumers. It is the short-sighted for quick gain that have been the winners – thus we have a consumption/production based society. To someone with a mind-set opposed to that – it means marginalization and lack of success.
    Kathy asks a very interesting question – “Will Aliens save us?” – Cornell University did a study – and concluded that Aliens would exterminate us – for destroying the Earth While human beings believe many different things as to their orgin – I find no truth in Evolution or Intelligent Design – here is the Theory of Astrobiology, which science finds more confirming facts everyday –
    Is there proof of Alien life amongst us? You decide.

    As for the Sun – Sunspot activity is increasing. A powerful X-Class flare – as in 1859 could bring the Worlds’ electrical grids to sudden destruction.
    Monitor Solar activity here:

    The most AMAZING part – is that the World of Finance and Banking is all based on lies, deception and fraud – yet we live and die by that fraud. Fractional reserve lending, interest, “compounding”, paper investments – It is all FANTASY. You can’t touch it, hold it in your hand – or it is a lie – We are driven by lies. Let the liars pass from us.

  • Guy, re. comments at zerohedge (the site name tells us all we need to know – they do not hedge, no pre-caution, just roll the dice baby).

    “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

    (courtesy of Seraph @oildrumbeat today)

  • During the dinosaur era, the Arctics didn’t exist because temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere were much higher. Life was still able to exist in those conditions.

    Chernobyl has been evacuated of humans but it’s still teeming with life. There is even a radiotrophic fungus, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, which lives inside the reactor sarcophagus and converts the ionizing radiation to chemical energy by using melanin. Wildlife mortality and mutation rates may be up in Chernobyl, but life goes on, adapting to ever-changing circumstances, whether they be quick or slow, as it always has.

    Even in oxygen-free ocean dead zones, scientists have discovered animals that can survive and reproduce without oxygen, like the Spinoloricus Cinzia, a small jellyfish. Previously this has only been thought to be possible with bacteria. But ultimately all life originates from microbes and many animal species still have certain genes buried in their DNA from by-gone eras when the climate and living conditions were different. These genes are just waiting for the right environmental indicators to activate them.

    I guess what I’m saying is, don’t worry about humans destroying life on Earth, don’t worry about Mother Nature. She has seen all of this and worse before, on many occasions. Also, Mother Nature doesn’t know time, which is why she has all the time in the world.

    A life can be fragile, but Life as a whole is adaptive and resilient. 99.9% of all the species that have ever existed have gone extinct, but we’re still here. Life goes on, and on, and on …

    In my view, living organisms are expressions of the environment and thus also of eachother.

  • Johan
    In my view, living organisms are expressions of the environment and thus also of eachother.

    What a beautiful thought, and absolutely correct too. That’s what we missed to understand, missed possibly 10.000 years ago already.

  • Johna “From a high of 65,000 active weapons in 1985, there are now nearly 8,000 active nuclear warheads and more than 22,000 total nuclear warheads in the world in 2010.”
    The planet has never had as far as I know more than one nuclear weapon discharged at a time. Can you say with a certainty that the planet will even exist if all those weapons are fired in a short period of time? Could it be knocked out of orbit. The most recent earthquake in Japan altered the earth’s axis? What happens to our atmosphere if they all go off at once? We almost fried the planet by destroying the ozone layer for the sake of refrigerators and air conditioners.

    Since there are planets with no life, it is possible that our planet can become lifeless. Global warming will not do it, I don’t know about the meltdown of 400+ nuclear plants, but I can’t see how this ends without the boys in the Pentagon playing last man standing and starting a nuclear war.

  • Addendum to my last post, posted separately to avoid the two link problem :) Harm to the Ozone Layer

    The high temperatures of the nuclear fireball, followed by rapid expansion and cooling, cause large amounts of nitrogen oxides to form from the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere (very similar to what happens in combustion engines). Each megaton of yield will produce some 5000 tons of nitrogen oxides. The rising fireball of a high kiloton or megaton range warhead will carry these nitric oxides well up into the stratosphere, where they can reach the ozone layer. A series of large atmospheric explosions could significantly deplete the ozone layer. The high yield tests in the fifties and sixties probably did cause significant depletion, but the ozone measurements made at the time were too limited to pick up the expected changes out of natural variations.

  • I like this comment at Zero Hedge
    “I find it amusing that most (if not all here) have NO problem with the idea that the global financial system is controlled by a small number of individuals. But when it comes to environmental issues (the effects on the environment of human activity, not the act of governmental/wall street profiting off of it), there seems to be some who have trouble with it. Why is it so hard to believe that if I dump oil (or any other chemical/compound/etc.) into the ocean/land/atmosphere/etc that it will be problematic?

    <b.If you piss in your living room, whenever you feel like it, eventually it will smell. “

  • Thanks for the first-time comments, Matt and Tim E.

    ‎Johan, I understand your point. We need not worry about destroying every aspect of the living planet, because Mother Nature can handle all our insults. Let’s just keep pounding away, seeing how robust she is. And we needn’t worry about causing our own extinction along the way because life is adaptive and resilient. Yep, I get it.

  • Tim E, I don’t think aliens will find us worth saving, perhaps worth eating tho. see To Serve Man

  • Guy and some others of you might consider this some kind of spam, but believe me, it is not! off topic.

    Maybe some here understand how deeply disturbing this war in Libya is. At the moment there is greatest danger that the capital Tripolis – 2 million city, is going to be invaded, I won’t go deeper into this, just saying that phone reports over the last few days told each time, that the population talks about defending their city from any forces trying to enter the city, they are talking about their Stalingrad. Now I know a little about Stalingrad and I don’t think it a good comparison, but it shows the potential of a catastrophe, for Tripolis and of course all of Libya.
    And not the least for us, living in the countries that produce yet another failed state, we are losing all credibility in fighting ever more wars.

    So for anyone who likes to have some courage in signing for a stop on this war on Libya, please go to:

    Ah yes, Love and Peace on earth.

  • Kathy,
    I am far more concerned about the 400 plus nuclear power plants melting down in the coming years than I am with the assorted nuclear arsenals. When it comes to neglect, nuclear weapons are mostly harmless depending on where they are and how they are deployed. US missiles (both ICBMs and SLBMs) are solid propellant and very stable. The weapon itself is also very stable and will not go off on its own. They are designed not to. Nor do they give off much ionizing radiation nor do they contain much for fissile material. They are actually rather small and can be carried around with a hand truck. The former Soviet arsenal is falling apart and is a shadow of its former self. The missiles themselves are wearing out, most of them are liquid except the newer SS-25/27 and the Bulava-30 SLBM which are long life solids but production of these new missiles is very low, ten or so a year. (Really, I was a production analyst and it got rather boring watching these industries because NOTHING was going on!) The Soviets built about 100,000 weapons in all but most of them have been dismantled (they had about 3,000 strategic at last count) (the US nuclear power industry bought a lot of that highly enriched uranium for blending down into fuel for power reactors.)
    In a former life I spent a lot of time thinking about nuclear war and what could cause it. The large numbers of weapons built had more to do with keeping industries up and running as well as keeping weapons fresh (they really don’t last that many years without servicing, fresh tritium and new electronics, the ionizing radiation wears out the electronics required to fire the weapon). The Russians also expected to loose a lot of weapons in a first strike so wanted plenty scattered around in reserve. With force levels were they are today, I just don’t see that kind of massive war being fought and most of us who were involved in that game knew full well that it would not take very many weapons to destroy either country.
    Now all those nuclear power plants, they on the other hand are a serious concern. Since most nuclear weapons would be air bursted and since they don’t have that much fissile material, there will really not be that much fall out, unless, you strike a nuclear power station. As you probably know there is TONS of highly radioactive materials stored at these sites and the fallout from such an attack would be beyond believable.
    So, help me out, I’m not seeing the former Soviet arsenal doing much, when I was in the business I spent most of my time watching them trying to make new missiles and failing, their subs are warn out, their missiles are warn out, most of the weapons are warn out. The US is in much better shape, but I don’t remember anyone being in a big hurry to use these things. China? India, France, Pakistan, the UK? What do they get out of it? Wiping out Pakistan gets India irradiated, China and India? How about Iran and Israel, now that one is more likely but would be very limited.
    Again, I’m more concerned about those power reactors. The Soviets at their height in 1985 could have destroyed the West but they did not and now that stuff is mostly rotting after they collapsed. Just take a look at all the old nuclear subs sitting along the shore tied up on the Kola Peninsula with their reactors still in them!
    It’s the nuclear power plants that are the ticking bombs that need to be shut down and entombed. Unfortunately they probably won’t be.
    Guy, good piece, I saw it first on Zero Hedge and yes, the readers there are a bunch of trolls.
    I’m sorry if I rambled on a bit, I think we are really screwed when it is all said and done, but I just don’t care that much about the nuclear weapons issue, but those power reactors are bad news.
    As to Rickover, he had guts and would take on anyone. There are two books out, “Running Critical” and “Rickover.” Both worth reading if you are not familiar with him. I worked with three men at DIA that all interviewed with him to get into the nuclear navy. Like MK Hubbard, Rickover could see things clearly and he as not afraid to speak his mind. He was also a navy admiral and didn’t care about political office or what people thought of him.

  • Guy here was your mistake. You didn’t explain how the readers can profit from these dire circustances, and you didn’t end with, “buy physical gold and silver bitchez.”

    I read ZH every day, and totally enjoy it. It’s full of alot of people that always seem to know everything about everything on every subject all the time, well you get my point. It was amazing how most of the focus positive and negative was on GW/Climate Change. I get way too confused when the experts get trotted out. I prefer to listen to the 60 year old farmers talk about how you could plant your soy beans or your corn on the same day year after year. Now its just a crap shoot. Or how it used to really rain as opposed to each rain now being a gully washer.

    It begs the question, how did your blog end up there? Every once in a while there will be something from Chris Martenson. I get the impression that Tyler doesn’t put stuff up that he doesn’t agree with, and with 1.5-2.0 million page views a day, at the very least gets the message out.

    430 comments. You are getting in with some pretty exclusive company.

    All the best,

  • It’s funny how many of the comments on ZH were alternately bashing the science behind AGW as being funded by the global elite, then were trotting out their own Denier scientists, without mentioning the global elite who fund them.


    Call me callous or cruel, but it’s a shame that Collapse won’t single out these fools for extinction, and leave the Earth for those who actually give a damn about it.

  • Ed,
    Well said, Guy needed to talk about buying silver and how you could profit off human extinction! You are just too funny. I like ZeroHedge as well, but I take it for what it is, financial analysis. Just to be clear though, Tyler is a fictitious character from the film “Fight Club” and the photo is his character portrayed by Brad Pitt. There are lots of people posting all those articles most of those people are insiders in the financial industry. They also sometimes pull stuff from other sites that interest them.
    As to the farming issue, again, you are right on. This spring’s rains here in SW VA were unbelievably bad and now it is dry. I have animals down in the valley where I stock piled grass for August as I wait for September rains to come. It is hard enough to make a go if it now and with a changing climate it will be even harder (why I graze and don’t grow row crops) as the weather gets more severe. Then put peak oil, collapsing financial markets as well as the oceans, top soil, what have you. What’s a guy to do? I have spent the last two years trying to collapse proof this farm and now I have to wonder how much radiation will come this way from failing plants as collapse sets in in the coming years. Kathy is right, better enjoy life now, while you can. The future awaits us and it is not pretty.

  • Flora and fauna of the ages past nearly always had time to adjust to global changes, as these changes usually took place over millennia, if not longer. With anthropocentric global warming, this is not the case. There will be little time to adjust. Plants will die when the weather conditions change too drastically. Animals will lose their habitats, or their food sources (plants or other animals), phytoplankten might well die out – or be reduced to a minimal barely sustainable population – thus depriving the atmosphere of a significant portion of its oxygen. Forests will burn or die off as climate conditions deteriorate causing further depletion of the oxygen. The average global temperature will likely increase at least 4-6 degrees Celsius within 100 years – the species of the world might not be destroyed by that rapid and deep change, but most will.

    Mother Nature might well be able to adjust, but what would her new face be like after mankind splashed fossil fuels all over it and set it afire?

    As for rising seas, there is no way mankind will adjust to that. First, they will not believe it could or would happen. Secondly, even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to agree among themselves how to fix it. Thirdly, if they agreed, they wouldn’t be able to afford it. Fourthly, if they could afford it, they wouldn’t because such massive expenditure would harm the global economy…. :-)

    Occasionally, I find myself contemplating the scenario that mankind might yet wake up and smell the coffee, then take drastic and focussed action to correct our problems. And then I read some website’s comment section like ZH, and I am yanked back to reality.

  • Looking around at some of your other posts – I’m surprised I didn’t see any mention of the Georgia Guidestones. For some reason – their message is hated by most and seen as something to fear – I openly embrace the precepts of the Georgia Guidestones:

    “A message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in eight different languages, one language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the structure from due north, these languages are: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.
    1.Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
    2.Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
    3.Unite humanity with a living new language.
    4.Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
    5.Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
    6.Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
    7.Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
    8.Balance personal rights with social duties.
    9.Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
    10.Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature”

    I can find no objection in my mind to a single precept – which may say more about ME that about others. It makes me wonder – “what’s wrong with you” – as in their inner drive. This is where I believe it may be genetic. I am male, 48, never reproduced by deliberate choice and always felt uncomfortable with what I saw occurring around me – a fan of Jay Hanson (, ZPG and Limits to Growth.
    The Georgia Guidestones give me hope that our Creators are still watching over the Planet – and will save the Planet from us.

    Concerning nuclear weapons – there is a lot of good documentation that someone/something else has taken an interest in our activities and is watching us: “Although the vast majority of Americans are completely unaware of its existence, the UFO/Nukes Connection is now remarkably well-documented. Air Force, FBI, and CIA files declassified via the Freedom of Information Act establish a convincing, ongoing pattern of UFO activity at U.S. nuclear weapons sites extending back to December 1948.”

  • Speaking of Fukushima….

    Total radiation thus far – approximately 29.6 Hiroshima bombs.

    Apparently a melt through the concrete base of the plant and into the soil beneath – has reached the water table and is emitting highly radioactive steam through cracks and fissures opening around the plant. Sounds a bit out of control to me.

  • Great stuff as always, Guy.

    It is clear that the culture of denial will remain firm until the markets crash ans burn.


  • I post this comment with great trepidation since our last email exchange, and your posts that precipitated it, had me more or less convinced that continuing any form of communication would be no more than an exercise in futility. Yet, given the content of this article (almost redeemable) and the comments in the thread to this point, perhaps some of you are actually starting to “get it.”

    First, I was genuinely amazed to see this article in my ZH feed! (I get it primarily for the articles authored by “Cognitive Dissonance.”) However, I did not find the comments there in the least bit surprising. Most of the commentators to most articles there are inane, if not outright asinine, in the extreme. However, since you, Guy, and some of the commentators above have also noted that, I have to ask, HOW can any of you, for even an instant, BELIEVE that “re-localization,” “sustainability” or “green energy” have any potential to “succeed?” Because it’s your “hope” or “expectation?” Expect in one hand and expectorate in the other and see which one fills-up first! Perhaps more poignantly, how does an [ex-?]DIA analyst (above) confuse “warn” with “worn” in multiple instances? What measure of “intelligence” does that denote? Just askin’.

    Second, and for the umpteenth time, it is not just nuclear power-generating plants that are of “concern.” The coal-fired power plants, the refineries, the pharmaceutical production facilities, every “industrial” plant, right down to that innocuous chrome-plating facility next door have never, ever given more than modicum of money or thought to “safety.” We, as a species/culture, have obviously learned absolutely nothing from Bhopal or even Deepwater Horizon.

    Furthermore, it has been noted on these pages earlier that the grounding-line of the WAIS, specifically in the Pine Island region, has retreated more than 20 miles in the past 3 decades. That means that a significant portion of that ice is already unstable. If just 10% of that collapses (I give it 5 yrs, tops) sea-level rises by 1.5-2 ft “overnight.” I know that doesn’t sound like much. I suggest you check whatever resources you desire to determine just how many millions of people, just in the USA, will no longer have a home, an employer, or both. What will the resulting “financial/employment shock” have on an already less-than-recovering economy? Then expand your research beyond the USA. Hint, a good part of Beijing’s economy will be effectively submerged. How many more Bangladeshi’s will have to become refugees into something less than abject poverty?

    Lastly, I suggest a perusal of this KILLER IN OUR MIDST: Methane Catastrophes in Earth’s Past . . . and Near Future?. Specifically, this passage

    The anthropogenic carbon dioxide release rate is therefore about 6000 times faster than the average Siberian Traps release rate indicated by Leavitt, 1250 times faster than that of Gerlach and Graeber, and 850 times faster than that of Javoy and Michaud. If the duration of Siberian Traps volcanism much shorter than a million years, as say on the order of 100,000 years (the shortest duration estimated by Renne and Basu, 1991), relative rates would be reduced by an order of magnitude, to 600 times faster than the Leavitt estimate, 125 times faster than the Gerlach and Graeber estimate, and 85 times faster than the Javoy and Michaud estimate.

    If you can’t grasp that “natural processes” do not progress linearly or even exponentially, but in an exponential “step-function,” then good freakin’ luck!

  • Sooner.

  • Hi, I have found your blog via Collapse Net. Your comments really resonate with me – I see no grounds for optimism unless human industrial civilisation goes into RAPID collapse.

    While the economy is imploding there will probably be enough of an economy for the rape and pillage of the planet to continue.

    Today’s news says that we have passed 1 billion vehicles on the planet and use of corn for ethanol has exceed that for food.

    If you don’t mind a small commercial I have my own blogsite (with a little bit of a New Zealand focus) – mostly providing stories from media that confirm the general picture of environmental and climate collapse; Peak oil and economic/social collapse.

    See –

  • Hi there,
    Interesting article and interesting statements. Nothing new by the way for people who do understand and see with both eyes. I would like to introduce the writer to something few know about and that is ‘Islamic eschatology’. You will find the answers for all the questions in your mind about the state of the world today and will help you anticipate the coming events, as well as the reasons why things are heppening the way they are happening now. Unfortunately media has portrayed anything associated with Islamic as something out of the blue and far from reality but its the other way around, atleast for people who see. The leading scholar on the subject is Imran Hosein… watch his lectures on youtube especially ‘Jerusalem in the Quran’ and ‘Islam and money’ and you will be pleasantly surprised. Just a suggestion if you need to clear your mind further…
    take care

  • so what if humans become extinct. life on earth was never to be forever

  • Colic:
    Yes, I am no longer a DIA analyst, no I don’t spell well, in fact I am dyslexic. That had no impact on my ability to do my job. I didn’t think my spelling would be criticized
    Now farming in SW VA.

  • joe, we’ll persist about 1/7 as long as the typical species of mammal, and perform a once-in-a-planet act: extinction at our own hand

    I’m not a fan

  • Good Essay, Guy!

    When I read it on ZH, I didn’t realize you were the author. “Tyler” always posts the real author, but it’s kind of small.
    I’m happy to be able to include it in the news tonight.


  • Victor @ August 20th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks for the YouTube/RT link. On further investigation…

    Fukushima radiation alarms doctors

    …When on August 2nd readings of 10,000 millisieverts (10 sieverts) of radioactivity per hour were detected at the plant, Japan’s science ministry said that level of dose is fatal to humans, and is enough radiation to kill a person within one to two weeks after the exposure.

    10,000 millisieverts (mSv) is the equivalent of approximately 100,000 chest x-rays.

    Jyunichi Tokuyama, an expert with the Iwate Prefecture Agricultural and Fisheries Department, told Al Jazeera he did not know how to deal with the crisis. He was surprised because he did not expect radioactive hot spots in his prefecture, 300km from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

    “The biggest cause of this contamination is the rice straw being fed to the cows, which was highly radioactive,” Tokuyama told Al Jazeera.

    Damn, I won’t be ordering any more Hojicha!

    Randy C, my apologies and sympathies for your “condition.” Nonetheless, I am left wondering how many miscommunications in the “intelligence industry” (among a myriad of other places) have occurred as result of such afflictions… or abject lack of cognitive proof-reading.

    shafiq, I think you’re in the wrong “playground.”

  • Thank you for the brilliant post! More and more people are waking up, keep up the great work! There really are no solutions except to emotionally prepare for the cliff or stair step events to come.

  • Colinc,
    My first team chief at DIA told me that all intelligence in human intelligence. Someone is going to read out the imagery, the communications intercept or talk to a source. And all that information gets filtered through their head. We once sent out an SDR (source directed requirements) for a humint source and the CIA guy called us back and asked us what an SLBM (sub launched ballistic missile) was. Hum… Right. At that point we said we will do the interview. I also recall a meeting with a Russian linguist who stopped us and asked “what does this mean?” You guessed it, he had been listening to intercepts and didn’t know what they were talking about so he never issued a cable. When we explained the technical stuff he went back to the “fort” and a whole bunch of great stuff flowed off his desk. Back in 1998 when the Clinton Adm was still fighting with Hussein I was at the Pentagon on a watch team and was given an overhead image of something they wanted to bomb and I was asked to ID it. I was never trained as an imagery analyst and all it looked like to be was a pile of junk so I would not comment. It was 4 am on a Sunday morning. I told them to wait for the NIMA guys (now NGA) to come in on Monday and look at it. No they said, it was time sensitive. Really, why?? Well I got stubborn and wouldn’t make a call on it. Turns out it was some farmers irrigation piping. Yup, drop a bomb on it. Great idea. You are right much is lost on the cutting room floor and no one ever knows it. In fact, after 9/11 the reports officers starting publishing absolutely everything that came across their desks which of course just plugged up the system with lots of trash that us desk analysts had to wade though. One of the reasons for such a large influx of contractors into the D.C. area after 9/11. If just took so many more people to review all the “nuts and cranks” that walked in off the street.
    So, you are right, stuff gets missed, stuff gets thrown away (we had files on the Soviet Defense Industries going back to WWII) and we all think we have everything figured out until the “oh shit” light goes on and then you have to scramble to get an answer for the same group of people who were badgering you to throw out all your old paper files because they were taking up too much file space. The real sad ending is that management did such a good job of pissing people off even though the government had spent tens of thousands on background investigations, training and travel to have people get so frustrated that they finally have had enough and they leave. Pretty much what happened to me. Left DIA because they were sending civilians to Iraq and since I already knew the WMD story was a bunch of crap I was not willing to go so I went to defend America with the new Department of Homeland Security. What a dump. Not only were the offices trash, they had no communications connectivity with the rest of the IC and everyone else (CIA, NSA, etc.) hated them. So, it was impossible to get anything done and management there consisted of whomever CIA wanted to get rid of so, as a DIAer I had a CIA boss who hated DIA people and that was most of what she had on her team. Real fun. Was there a year, then sent on a rotation, stood watch for two years, bought a farm and left. Discovered peak oil in 2009 and well, the rest is history. Waiting for things to come to a halt. And, if it was not for computers to help me with my spelling this message I just wrote would be a mess.

  • Also, I was not looking for an apology for my condition, I just think we all need to be considerate of others on such things are spelling, after all, this is a discussion form and what matters is dialog about ideas. I also really find the name calling offense. While I have never been called a “shitsack” on line, I have had some nasty things said by people that I actually knew in person at some point in the past and they still said nasty things when they discovered that I didn’t agree with them on some small point. Ah, the dangers of e-mail and facebook. I really do try to watch what I say for that reason.

  • Online discussion of this essay led to a Facebook friend sending me the youtube link to this beautiful song, which he co-wrote and performs

  • hope this article wasn’t linked by guy…

    Species are moving northward in the northern hemisphere and southward in the southern hemisphere on an average rate of about 16km or 17km per decade, according to the study, published in the journal Science.

    “These changes are equivalent to animals and plants shifting away from the equator at around 20cm per hour, for every hour of the day, for every day of the year. This has been going on for the last 40 years and is set to continue for at least the rest of the century,” said Professor Chris Thomas senior author on the paper and a professor of conservation biology at the University of York in the United Kingdom.

  • @ Randy C Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Given that comment, I apologize for my earlier apology. Regardless, I have to ask, where do you perceive that I referred to you in any manner other than “Randy C”? Specifically, please indicate where any comment I made even contained the term “shitsack.”

    You are, of course, correct in observing that “this is a discussion form”[sic] but, please, elucidate how meaningful discussion can be pursued via a plethora of misspellings and nearly indecipherable phraseology. Nonetheless, I salute your preceding comment illustrating just how dysfunctional (and utterly useless?) the “IC” is. (I am assuming your use of “IC” refers to “intelligence community,” nez pas?)

  • These are not paths to extinction. If you take your scenarios to ridiculous hypothetical extremes, maybe they kill billions and create a new dark age. That’s still not extinction.

  • Amazing what being published on a highly visible site like ZH will do…. ;-)

    I believe that it is a valid question to ask, “Why do you use the term ‘extinction’ to describe these three roads?”

    It is not so much ‘each’ road that might cause an extinction event – though the jury might be out yet on that one – but the force of the three simultaneously that might well do the job, incredible as that might sound. The three roads operate on three entirely different levels attacking life as we know it and our common habitat, the planet and its ecological and environmental systems at their core.

    Indeed, the world has recovered many times from catastrophic events – but it has never been faced with a species that is so clever and aggressive. We are releasing the destructive dark side of the power of the atom, through our aggressive industrial actions and consequent waste processes are destroying the natural habitats of innumerable species (including our own), and through our continued use of fossil fuels and its consequent global warming process assuring that the natural ecology as we know it today will not likely recover.

    These three roads converge at the centre which might well look a lot like the 6th extinction event, possibly even making the first 5 extinction events look like child’s play in comparison.

    One thing that will be difficult to successfully argue against, however, is that these three roads, and the financial road mentioned in the essay will most definitely lead to an extinction of modern civilisation and the global highly connected technological base upon which it sets. Once broken, this modern infrastructure will be impossible to re-build.

  • Seemorerocks you wrote “I see no grounds for optimism unless human industrial civilisation goes into RAPID collapse. While the economy is imploding there will probably be enough of an economy for the rape and pillage of the planet to continue.” I fear you are right. ALL environmental controls may be trashed in order to keep our “non-negotiable” way of life going for some. Farther down the line, trees as well as furniture may be burned just to eat cooked food or stay warm. Nukes would be a RAPID collapse but a nuclear war could be the worst scenario for the planet. That leaves germ warfare as the planet’s best hope???? Oh well no doubt TPTB have plans for that :(

  • ALL environmental controls may be trashed in order to keep our “non-negotiable” way of life going for some.

    This is true. The GOP, whom the American public seems to love to elect, has candidates who express just that concern for the economy – to hell with the environment – let’s just get the economy going first!

    The Dems give lip service to the environment, for the sake of their more progressive faction, but nonetheless go along with the GOP economic interests.

    You will find, I agree, that the world will burn itself up before it thinks about the environment. Things will only get worse. Hold on to your hats – we are in for a wild ride over the next 3-4 years.

  • Kathy

    Biological warfare is indeed a viable option. Already they are trying to perfect genetically-specific weapons to target specific groups of people, leaving the rest unaffected.

    And there are other sources which I will not post because of the rules of moderation on this site…. :-)

  • Good morning.

    I had heard that they were selling eyeless potatoes in SA, but bud nip is a new one for me.

    It really is so so sad.

  • Colinc,
    Sorry that I was not clear, I was not referring to you calling me names but to the name calling directed at Guy.

    Yes, the IC is the Intelligence Community.

    Why are you so hung up on spelling? Did not General Patton say that words should have more than one spell?

    “You are, of course, correct in observing that “this is a discussion form”[sic] but, please, elucidate how meaningful discussion can be pursued via a plethora of misspellings and nearly indecipherable phraseolog” That one is lost one me.

    Is the IC a waste of money? Maybe, maybe not. The sad reality is the the White House uses it for their own ends. I had a co-worker who would say that “they would just rather guess.” (That was Clinton).
    Bush/Chaney on the other hand used us to justify the war in Iraq then purged CIA after it became clear that the WMD story was a false flag. Yes, it was a purge, not a Soviet style purge but a purge non the less.

    The other problem is that the world has changed so very quickly. On 9/11 I was busy updating target folders on the former Soviet aviation industry, a collection of mostly dead factories, while the Pentagon was burning. It took ten years to shift from the Cold War after it ended.

    But, don’t look at me, I was just a worker bee.

    BW (bio weapons) now that is a nasty, nasty world. I only sat on the edge of it. Knew enough to know it could be really bad, also knew the man who ran the Soviet BW program, Ken Alabek, he published a book called “Bioharzard.” Well worth reading.

  • Great essay Guy.

    How is it that people can accept without the blink of an eyelid that 200 species are becoming extinct every day, yet not for one moment consider that homo sapiens could be one of those extinct species in the not too distant future?

    I feel as if I’m two different people. One of me is trying to live in the “Business as Usual” world, making enough money to survive and pay my bills, doing my tax, making plans to go to my sister’s wedding, worrying about the increasing cost of living, empathising with my son and his girlfriend who are expecting an unexpected baby, worrying how best to position myself financially for the near-term collapse of the economy. The other me is wondering why do I have to waste time on all of this when Rome is burning.

    Why am I bothering to grow my own vegetables, loosen my dependence on the industrial economy, build up my farm’s resilience? After all, given the odds against us, we probably won’t be around 20 years from now. I guess my strong instinct for survival and protecting my family is why I’m doing it – even though the chances of coming through don’t look good.

  • Nicole, I empathize completely. At times I feel the same way. Everything seems so futile – including both trying to survive in the industrial economy, as well as trying to prepare for the inevitable. However, as you say, our instinct for survival is too strong to just lie down and die (for most of us, anyway).

    And, of course, as in any complex system – and there is none more complex than our planet and its inhabitants that I know of – there are almost certainly going to be unexpected outcomes. My thoughts of what the future holds line up pretty closely to what Guy and others here espouse, however, I also must acknowledge humbly that I may be wrong and things may turn out very differently. The system just has too many variables to know for sure.

    So, in spite of the damage my little bit of living adds to the overall problems we face, I keep doing what I need to do to survive – if for no other reason than the one someone gave a few essays back: to see the show. I love a good suspense thriller.

    Like Kathy has suggested many times, I hope that as I progress with my preparations, my life will become closer and closer to being in tune with the natural world around me so that I cause as little disruption to my surroundings as possible.

  • Nicole, I understand completely how you feel. I feel that way a lot. I try to remember that growing my own vegetables feels good whether or not it extends my life. Some days everything on our plates is something we grew ourselves and that has a pleasure all its own. I try not think beyond that, not think of all the young people with hopes and dreams who will see them shattered and in many cases see their lives play out far to quickly.

    But I also note that all living creatures die, and none knows when they are the last of a species. Perhaps even the last humans won’t know they are the last. I note that when I go to bed at night I welcome the nothingness of sleep and when I first awaken I resist the coming into somethingness. Nothingness is not for me fearful, but the chain of events that I might have to journey through before getting there could be quite horrific – already are for many humans on the planet. When I look at the history of the human race, sometimes I think human extinction is for the best. But our programs say survive, help your kin to survive and so we do until we can’t…..

    Sometimes we humans think too much….

  • Nicole, you are so right. Here we are out on our farm producing product to sell to pay cash bills, doing everything we can to reduce our impact and living in two worlds while Rome burns. What can I say? Should I just sell it all and go wander the Earth until my life comes to an end? I really can’t, too risk aversive and I have too strong a survival instinct. Probably intensified during my youth and involvement in Boy Scouts. Ever find yourself freezing to death in the Rocky Mountains in the middle of June? That memory will stay with you for a life time.

    So, I just push on and keep an eye on what is happening around me. The coming months will likely be a real indicator of how this will all play out. A collapse of the credit markets will likely be the start followed by civil unrest as things seize up.

    Now, think about this, what happens if American farmers can’t get the credit they need to plant next years crops? At $150 per acre input costs to grow corn that’s $150,000 to grow 1,000 acres of cash crop corn and most farmers I know don’t have that kind of coin sitting around so they borrow it. Without capital farming comes to an end and by next winter people will be starving in mass. That is all it will take, one bad harvest, no capital for planting, no rain, game over.

    My son tells me that yesterday on NPR they ran a story where one of the GOP contenders said global warming was a hoax and he would strip all funding if he becomes president and on the next story they talked about the ongoing drought in Texas? What a nice contrast.

    Final thought concerning food production, some time ago, a man identified only as Wyoming Rancher comment on a piece posted to Zerohedge that the only thing that will matter in the end is if you can feed yourself. If you can’t all the gold and silver in the world will not save your life. He talked about how people from out East came with their gold and silver and either left broke or died. If you can’t grow protein, your dead. While we may not become extinct I do expect that I will see in my life time a 90% die off of humans. Simply put, you can’t feed the current population without oil and modern farm equipment and there is not enough horses or horse equipment to make a quick transition back to the early 20th century. Once it really gets going it is going to go down fast.

  • ED – thanks for the potatoe link – it was very interesting. GMO foods will become a new weapon of war – because they are sterile and controlled by Corporations and patents. I have also read reports that GMO corn causes harm to vital organs. Monsantos’ development of Round-Up Ready Soybeans has spawned a new “Superweed”.

    Lloyd Pie has some very interesting thoughts on Humans and genetics. There is some very intellectually challenging material on his website:
    It is interesting in that humans have 46 chromosomes, while primates have 48. Lloyd Pie seems to believe that we are genetically modified primates – which is why we have so many defects in our genes. While disturbing to many – it is thought that genes also control our behaviour. The ancient Sumerians left behind many records – their records claim humans were developed by the “gods” 200,000 years ago. This claim is backed up my modern evidence of a so-called “Eve” that suddednly appeared 200,000 years ago. The Sumerians claimed to have lived under the benevolent rule of their “gods”, that the “gods” also gave them knowledge of advanced technology, provided genetically engineered animals and grains for their consumption, and eventually left them for their home Planet. The Sumerians even had names for their “gods” and addressed them as their rulers. When the Sumerians referred to the Planet Earth – they called it the SEVENTH Planet – because they counted Planets from the outside to the inside – How could they have known this?

    The book of Genesis contains many confusing passages for “modern Biblical” types. The source for those old stories were found in Sumeria! They are more ancient than we realize. When you read the Old Testament – the Hebrews were instructed to be an Anarchiac form of Government. THIS IS NOT CHAOS. It is a self-governing form of Society, ruled with a strict moral code. We think the laws are harsh and cruel – but this is exactly what one would expect of an imperfect being using culling to weed out genetically defective beings – leading to an improved species. While not wanting to be a shill for religion – what is so wrong about the 10 commandments?

    Ancient laws prescribing death for such crimes as pedophiles and murders have been circumscribed – hence we now have a proliferation of them. Ancient laws concerning land and plants have been circumscribed – hence massive amounts of pesticides and fertilizers have been required – soil depletion is occuring, and the land is becoming sterile. An Agrarian Society, ruled under Anarchy – would have very little overhead – long periods of celebration – and the 7th year would have been a period of rest, relaxation, and joy. Money not required.

    Here is a link that will provide some interesting facts obout the Sumerians – and their “wild claims” – as pronounced by “modern scientists”

  • Hey Nicole: Wondering why? Because it beats doing sweet FA, and you don’t impress me as the crawl up on the couch type. Grab the dogs and go for a walk about, surrounded by just the good stuff. It always puts me in the best frame of mind.

    I can’t remember who was having trouble with their potatoes. Here are some possible solutions:

    Sam, I had a eureka moment this morning. We are getting about one and half ears of corn from each plant of our Painted Mountain, which works out to around 350 kernels. 1/4 pound of seed (400 count) is $10 from Johnny’s. Still thinking I’ll get 5-6K of seed for the PM, and double that for Oaxacan Green. Buy seed at least for corn is pretty stupid.

    Finally, we keep hearing about perennial sunflowers coming on market. Seems to be one called Maximillian. Self seeds and you can divide the roots. Anyone know anything?

  • Fear Of The Unknown

    “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,and the oldest and
    strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”, H.P.Lovecraft.

    This is the reason why the worldwide stock market plunge is so delicious.There is a great plethora of unknowns and what Thomas Homer-Dixon called “unknown unknowns”,which is even more dreadful.No one knows when Greece will default,when Italy and Spain must also,how many
    trillions of dollars of bad paper is held by banks,how bad is the US economy,and by extension the world economy,ect.,ect.,ect.All of these are unknowable and can never be known,and will continue to be so.No end in sight,and so stocks worldwide are in a worldwide death spiral.

    Double D

  • Bah. These are not paths to extinction, just some relatively minor death and suffering. The entire world’s nuclear arsenals aren’t even enough. The best hope for human extinction is to push forward with deadly new planet-destroying superweapons and technologies: Death Stars, genocidal robot armies, superviruses, etc.. My plan is to put a small group of genetically superior humans in orbit, depopulate the planet with chemical and biological weapons, then return to earth and start over. Does anyone have a better idea?

  • Hugo Drax

    Yeah, Hitler had a similar idea as I recall. Didn’t work out too well.

  • Ed

    I had the potato question. You answered it. Thanks!

  • Randy C

    You are so right about farmers and their capital requirements. It is a scary situation for all all of us. If our farmers can’t get the money to produce the crops, we are screwed. I have a garden, but i can’t imagine living on it alone. I need the farmer – it is as simple as that.

  • Nicole

    Like others here and yourself, I share those feelings – often. Sometimes I think I should be doing more through activism. But then I realise that it is far too late for activism – far too late.

  • Report out of Tripolis, evening:

    Franklin Lamb: “NATO has forbidden any ceasefire to stop a Bloodbath in Tripoli” (August 21, 2011)

    The US must end its wars.

  • Congratulations, Dr. McPherson: you managed to stir the mental bucket of s**t in so many people!

    But of course, it stinks even worse when stirred, as evidenced by the comments elsewhere.

    However, a salutary effect is the freshet of comments by others here. Maybe there were some buckets emptied out. Most of what you say has been discussed threadbare on NBL. What is regrettable is that so many of those buckets have yet to compost.

  • In the film Philadelphia, Denzel Washington’s attorney character asks: “Now, explain it to me like I’m a Four-Year-Old.” Guy McPherson does just that. One item he missed is the plethora of bio-nano-gen-tech labs, the contents of which are about to meet up with peak energy, rolling blackouts, economic collapse, 500-year weather events with totally unpredictable (except as in “not good”) results. Oh, and the weapons labs, both biological and nuclear. And the weapons stockpiles. Otherwise, he pretty much nails it. The first self-inflicted Extinction Event. And, the first to take every other still-existing life form with it. Homo sapiens? More like homo dumfucus or homo sine spina.
    Unless we pull the plug. Now.

  • A lot of fear mongering in this article. The author is way too certain about the future to be taken seriously. I believe that global warming and oil depletion are the greatest challenges facing the developed world in the 21st century. But predictions of collapse need to be justified, not simply assumed as the author does.

  • Roderick:

    Don’t be so quick to pull the trigger.

    Read Guy’s previous posts. Lots of data and sound arguments. Overwhelming really.

    Particularly the following from 10/1/2010:

    A presentation with audio and another about bioenergy

  • The degree of adaptation called for – in terms of outlook and attitude – will amount to a cultural revolution every bit as great as that which engulfed aboriginal societies as they were catapulted within a generation into the space age.

    In that phase of human history the toll was enormous, and most didn’t make it, succumbing to alcoholism, violence, family breakdown, etc.

    The vast majority of space age people will simply be unable to grasp the new reality and will go under in an orgy of violence, starvation and disease. I remember as a teenager, aboriginal cultures were described as ‘primitive’. It’s almost spooky to think that the vast majority of people today, who like to think of themselves as educated, sophisticated, aware etc etc, are actually the ignorant ones – as about aware as an unsupervised ten year-old boy let loose in a sweetshop and finding that he can no longer help himself.

    History does not repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes. In this case we shall witness a replay of the tape but in the reverse direction.

  • Martin:

    It will be on high speed rewind.

  • Just listening to Mike Ruppert’s latest rant. Oh dear.

    What stands out more than anything is that NBR isn’t about personalities and who said what first but facing the issues with humility and compasion.

  • Kevin:

    Yes, Ruppert is too full of himself. The rant, I think, is also about his frustration and desperation after being involved with this quest for probably a decade with little to show for it.

    I don’t see him as a bad guy, but just too much to take at times.

  • Guy,
    Whilst I broadly agree with your thesis on a forthcoming collapse I find it difficult to agree that Nuclear Powerplants present such a dire threat. The key to Fukushima was that the diesel generators all died unexpectedly making it impossible to seperate fuel rods in the core. To my understanding a fuel shortage would never create this kind of crisis since it would require a shortage with virtually zero warning (rather than a gradual decrease in availablity as would be expected). Power plants surely stockpile enough fuel at any given time to run the mechanised removal of fuel rods from the core? Even if complete decomissioning takes several months and governments are not in full control of nations I would imagine finding fuel to prevent nuclear meltdowns would be a major priority. Overall I suspect any collapse wil be too gradual and insidious to cause the kind of unexpected shock comparable to a major earthquake meaning Fukashima isn’t neccesarily a good case study.
    However, I do agree that as a species we face a pretty bleak future, which is at time difficult not to feel gloomy about. The approach a friend and I have adopted is to try and express our frustrations in music

    P.S @Tim E, I’m afriad the video about ‘Theory of Astrobiology’ video you link isn’t really Astrobiology; it contains more fallacies than the average creationist video and is best filed under “Attention-seeking pseudo-science”

  • Simon:

    Decommissioning takes years! If the society is collapsing, then we will not have the people, resources, or organization to keep up any complex endeavor. That is all part of collapse.

  • Simon Says – would you please provide me with more information that asserts your proposition that states that the theories proposed by Dr Joseph are in error. I am always willing to learn, and open to new ideas. Circular reasoning is always a dangerous proposition. Denying the truth does not negate the truth. Please provide more information.

  • Chimeras exist – and we don’t know what is happening in government labs. The horror is upon us. “Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that’s part human, part animal”

    The Sumerians stated explicitely that Human beings were a flawed experiment – and that many failed experiments took place –

  • Wow this blog is crackpot city! Can we please get back to reality!

  • ‘Homo sapiens? More like homo dumfucus or homo sine spina.
    Unless we pull the plug. Now.’

    caren, it always warms this cold heart to recognize kindred spirit. the surreal question is how do we convince our fellow dumfucas (lol) to abandon their delusions, to acquire intellect/perception which has hitherto been missing? how do we turn blind fools into seeing sages?

    likely the best we can do is as many here are doing already, largely disconnecting from our crazy civilization/economics, and trying to become organic/durable/off-grid, as dr. guy is a fine example of.

  • What stands out more than anything is that NBR isn’t about personalities and who said what first but facing the issues with humility and compasion.


    I listened to that rant as well. It was pitiful, quite frankly. It shows to me a man who is near the edge and just doesn’t know it. Ruppert has always been about Ruppert, even from his early days. Somehow he thinks that he is a prophet who sees things no one else sees. He is an adequate analyst. He’s often right. But he’s often wrong as well.

    But I suppose what stood out most for me was not the video but the comments. These folks who follow him, seem more to worship him. Too bad.

    Occasionally, I go over to Mike’s site and am always happy to return here.

    In the end, however, we each follow Collapse as best we can, and those who follow Mike are still kindred spirits.

  • Hugo Drax

    Please explain what you mean by ‘reality’?

  • More like homo dumfucus or homo sine spina.


    I do like that one….excellent. And yes, many of these labs rely upon negative pressure to keep their contents from getting out into the atmosphere. And some of their contents are…well….let’s just say that you don’t want to think about it too hard.

  • The rant, I think, is also about his frustration and desperation after being involved with this quest for probably a decade with little to show for it.


    Just re-read what you wrote. I agree, except that I have followed Ruppert too long to believe that he really cares about ‘results’. IMO, ‘results’ to Mike come in two forms:

    1. Personal recognition as a great prophet and seer – he has an almost childish need for attention. Besides his need to be personally stroked continuously, he refers to his small company that runs the site in terms that make one think he is the head of a large corporation having multiple departments and high-sounding titles. This is fine if you are running a zombie business in the zombie world, but it doesn’t, IMO, offer a consistent image for someone who is supposedly trying to wake people up from their zombie existence.
    2. A paying customer – you pay $10 per month or $100 per year to participate in his site as a member. He used to have a Cadillac. He now has an higher end SUV – more ‘practical’ he says. He is currently offering the following on his site:

    ‘Join CollapseNet’s Member Referral Program and save 28% off your new (or renewal) CollapseNet membership. Once you have done that you can earn 20% commission passively whenever anyone using your promotion code to gets their 10% discount. ‘

    In the end I simply couldn’t bring myself to maintain a membership.

  • Overall I suspect any collapse wil be too gradual and insidious to cause the kind of unexpected shock comparable to a major earthquake


    No matter the speed of collapse (and I happen to believe in a relatively quick one), nuclear power plants require, among several other important things, people to run them on a continuing basis. In a collapse situation, we will experience huge human die-off as the infrastructure providing civilisation’s lifeline breaks down. Most affected will be the cities where food, water, electricity will be in short supply. Cities, coincidently, are the centres of those technical skills and experience required to keep reactors going. Human die-off will remove those folks from the equation, leaving the reactors on their own.

    If there is a slow collapse as you seem to advocate, then people will continue denying the inevitable until the last moment. But the end is the same – an unattended plant, which will eventually begin meltdown. And as nuclear plants are built near water reserves for cooling, the meltdown will eventually burn through the reactor core and the cement base, as it has at Fukushima, and will reach the underlying water table, at which point the resulting pressure from the highly radioactive steam produced will cause cracks and fissures around the plant, which will in turn be spewed into the atmosphere for years.

    This is the reality that the world faces. We must begin the process of shutting the reactors down now, or face this end – 400+ reactors scattered around the globe spewing immense amounts of highly radioactive steam into the atmosphere and polluting the seas and ground water sources.

  • A new guest essay is up, courtesy of our own virgin terry. View it here.

  • Guy — I am deeply impressed by your encyclopedic, panoramic grasp of a great many of the germane issues — as well as your humility in appreciating that, as they say in AA, “we know but little; more will be revealed.” You reference the “monkey trap” syndrome in human behavior: having spent many years clutching the banana, I was finally graced to learn how to let go, 38 years ago this month. (Granted; my “letting go” is imperfect and episodic — but at least I understand the problem.) Fairly early on I came to appreciate that my individual predicament was a microcosm of our predicament as a species. This link, to the Prologue of a book-in-progress, speaks to the core question, “Why do we keep doing things that are manifestly self-destructive?”

    Thank you for your work. If you have a mailing list, I would welcome being included on it.

  • ruppert’s a very complex character, isn’t he? he’s done some very impressive work, like CROSSING THE RUBICON. his ability appears to be in competition with an impressive ego and apparently contradictions/hypocrisy/paranoia are part of the mix as well. i just try to appreciate him for some of his great works/achievements, and ignore the rest.

    roget lockard, very impressive work also your analysis of addiction and it’s role in our predicament, imo. i lack your encyclopedic knowledge on the subject, and perhaps foolishly presume to have a pithier way to try to make some of your point.

    i define dogma as beliefs/assumptions which are not based on facts or reason. i perceive our culture as being based on/ marinated in dogmatic delusions, from common religious myths to common faith in the superpowers of technology and human ingenuity to overcome physical limits/obstacles we face. thus i’ve combined the concepts of addiction and dogma in referring to most sheople as dogma addicts. i don’t see any artificial solutions to this dilemma either. it’s highly unlikely we can evolve fast or profoundly enough to overcome this pernicious addiction (based in flawed, limited and distorted thinking) before it does us in. if it hasn’t already sealed our fate.

    ‘Addiction is the conviction that control is the optimal path to fulfillment.’- from roget’s link, definition of ‘profound addiction’

    we’re likely all dogma addicts to some extent, needing to believe in god or anything that gives our existence meaning and purpose and hope. we all feel the need for some control over our lives/fate, don’t we? we all need to believe things which aren’t necessarily true to meet that need. it just seems it’s gotten out of control, leading to very destructive delusions and behavior on a mass scale. perhaps it’s this lack of control, of dogmatic limits, bringing about our downfall?

    not sure what to make of all of them, but u have some very interesting ideas, roget, and i look forward to seeing how they play out as your book writing progresses. in the meantime, thanks for your post and i hope it wasn’t your last here.

  • Like seasons, if humans go there will be another species.

    Like Kurzweil’s post-singularity ‘superhumans’.

  • If only the global predicament, the ominously looming and enlarging threat to everything that really matters was a laughing matter, that would be the best thing. If only the human family was not primary inducers and drivers of this colossal predicament, and therefore principally responsible for it; if only the many too many leaders who understand precisely what it is that we are discussing now here did not willfully deny science and consciously choose silence over speech. That too, would be the best thing.

    Thanks to all for speaking out, and for your willingness to consider the ideas that are presented here. More than ever before and most of all, I fear that the silence instilled in many too many by the greedmongers who rule the world in our time is leading to the destruction of everything each one of us is striving somehow, in any way at all, to protect and preserve.