Ties that bind

I’ve written about the importance of a decent human community (here, most comprehensively). I’ve hosted hundreds of visitors here, and I’ve spoken and written often about this rock-pile in the desert as an example. In this essay, I provide a brief summary of the ties that bind the members of this human community, with a focus on the few hundred people within five miles of the mud hut rather than the five-person community occupying this small property.

Love for this place

The humans here love this place. Consider the examples at either end of the fiat-currency continuum. There are several financially wealthy people here. They could live anywhere, but they choose to live here. The majority of my human neighbors, though, choose to live in financial poverty. A mile up the road is a land trust with 13 members who share life on 20 acres. They grow their food and share a common well near the center of the property. They could live in dire financial poverty anywhere, but they choose to live here.

This is not a bad spot. I’ve grown quite attached to it. The latest trailer for Mike Sosebee’s film reveals the perspective of one of my neighbors.

Respect for self-reliance

If you can’t fix it, learn how. If it’s an emergency, learn quickly. The preferred route is to teach yourself. If that doesn’t work, you are welcome to call one of the neighbors, most of whom have been pursuing self-reliance for many years. They know about building structures, installing electrical lines, repairing the plumbing, changing the carburetor, growing food, tending animals, mending clothes, and mending fences.

And you’d better not call the expensive plumber in the town 30 miles away. Not when your neighbors need the work and appreciate the companionship and the Federal Reserve Notes. As John Steinbeck wrote in Grapes of Wrath: “If you’re in trouble, or hurt, or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones.”

Appreciation for diversity

Most of us claim to tolerate other races, creeds, and points of view. But that claim comes up well short, in many of my experiences.

And tolerance isn’t nearly as much fun as appreciation. Here, we appreciate diversity in its myriad forms. My favorite example is the combination New Year’s Eve and house-warming party I crashed a couple years ago. About 20 of us were attending another party. Two of party-goers had been invited to a party at the home of the financially wealthy literary agents up the road. So we all went.

We were welcomed, of course. The party was attended by 150 or more people. At one point during the festivities, I happened to notice one of the well-dressed hosts chatting with a cowboy from the cattle company. The cowboy was dressed to the proverbial nines, including the requisite felt hat, pearl-button cowboy shirt, vest, starched blue jeans, and ostrich-skin boots. I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find two people in this country with more disparate political views. They were joined by a man from the land trust. His dress and personal hygiene reflected his living arrangements, with limited access to fiat currency and water. The three men continued an animated, thoughtful conversation for 30 minutes or so, as if they care about each other. Which they do.

I’m not suggesting it’s all rainbows and butterflies here, much less that the years ahead will bring nothing but good times. We have our differences, thankfully, even here on this hectare.

There are many attributes that could keep us apart. But there are even more that can hold us together, if we allow. I’d like to believe the latter is stronger than the former, despite the tendency of civilized humans to find an “other” in our midst.


I was interviewed by Daniel Kerbein for Shift Shapers radio. The result is embedded below.

Listen to internet radio with Shift Shapers on Blog Talk Radio


This essay is permalinked at The Refreshment Center.

Comments 65

  • Harvard professor Niall Ferguson claims that, if there is to be a Lehman crisis in Europe, it’ll be next week. That’s a precise forecast!

  • Guy, thank you so much for this essay. As one who has often been seen as an “other”, I appreciate greatly the importance of acceptance of diversity. Tolerance is nice, and I’m happy to get it when it’s offered. But acceptance is better, any day of the week.

    Diversity comes in many forms, of course, including racial, religious, financial, age, etc., and it’s something that adds substantially to the spice of life – at least for me. In fact, if there’s one thing I miss about living in South Florida (there aren’t many), it is the diversity. Arkansas is getting more diverse all the time, but it can’t hold a candle to many other areas.

    As for the other aspects of your community you mention, again, you’ve shown what a truly wonderful place you and yours have created in that corner of the semi-dessert. If it can be done there, then surely, it can be done anywhere.

  • When changing from what’s called normality
    To more of a doomer mentality,
    There’s a way to explain
    Why you might feel insane:
    Each view is a different reality.

  • My wife and I were fortunate enough to spend last summer with Guy. The community is amazing. We spent sometime with some of the folks from the land trust as well as many others from the surrounding community. I have never come across a more resourceful group of people in my life. Not only were they handy but the artistry that they displayed within their work was mind blowing.

  • Okay, i’m just gonna come out and say it:
    “tolerance, acceptance of diversity” etc. is all complete bullshit.

    You’re talking about HUMANITY here – you know, the species that’s dumber than YEAST, mmkay?

    Yeah, yeah, i hear ya: there are always pockets of “nice” people – but they don’t get elected, don’t set policy, and nobody gives a shit about “nice.” And, though your mileage may vary, it doesn’t matter who cares about what at this point – we’re all gone within a century at the very most (my money’s on less than 20). As a species we’re a total failure.

    Oh, but what about the Enlightenment – not all it was cracked up to be; it was all about “us” with no thought for the planet we live on.

    what about the Industrial Revolution? – yeah, how about that, we’re going extinct because of it (that’s what caused the population explosion);

    what about modern medicine – can you afford it (you lucky bastard)? and it’s created more problems than it supposedly helped humankind.

    Education? – a big joke; we didn’t “learn” even from our mistakes.

    Philosophy – complete nonsense compared to fucking up the entire planet while our illustrious brains “exercised” at its expense.

    Mathematics? – misused to the advantage of the 1%, the military and corporations everywhere; the rest was the mental equivalent of masturbation (see philosophy).

    So – don’t forget to vote for the new clown to take you over the cliff in November!

    ps. i doubt this rant applies to anyone viewing this site, which is like singing to the choir, i imagine.

    Face it – we’re complete losers at best and a sick cancer more realistically.

  • A very exceptional man named Clarence Jordan founded a community in Plains GA (yes the home of Jimmy Carter) founded on the ethics of Jesus and named Koinonia. I had lots of contact with folks there when volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in nearby Americus. In fact the founder of Habitat, Millard Fuller, worked with Clarence in the early goings to develop the principals for Habitat. During the Civil Rights era, the community was attacked in various ways by the Klan. “As a way to survive in hostile surroundings, Koinonia members created a small mail-order catalog to sell their farm’s pecans and peanuts around the world. The business’s first slogan was “Help us ship the nuts out of Georgia!” The business evolved to include treats made in the farm’s bakery. The Koinonia Catalog business continued after the boycott concluded, and still constitutes the largest source of earned income for Koinonia.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koinonia_Partners
    When I was there Clarence had already died. The impact of this leader however still inspired the community, but over time it was lost and Koinonia today is not the same, or so I hear from folks who used to be members.

    Often a strong leader is what keeps a community on track. We lack the ages of tradition that tribes once had to supply stability over many generations. I think that great communities like Guy’s and his neighbors should recognize that and not only think about getting through each day but about how to pass on traditions and values. Luckily with collapse at hand ties that bind, cooperation will become not just a good way to live but the only way to live. Necessity will hold together communities that might not have survived the loss of wise and strong founders.

  • Tom, most days I share all your views about humanity. We are products of evolution. The problem is that we evolved in a different world than what we live in and the programs that worked for us then don’t now. That is not to ever say that we were all nicey nice, but humans are social creatures and we had to work things out in some matter with tribe members, so we do have programs for cooperation.

    I’ve just finished reading Axelrod’s Evolution of Cooperation. In testing strategies for interactions the strongest program written was Tit for Tat.
    “This strategy is dependent on four conditions, which have allowed it to become the most successful strategy for the iterated prisoner’s dilemma:
    Unless provoked, the agent will always cooperate
    If provoked, the agent will retaliate
    The agent is quick to forgive
    The agent must have a good chance of competing against the opponent more than once.”

    Its not all nicey nicey, but it is cooperation with other cooperators and it pays off.

    Dilworth in Too Smart for Our Own Good, thinks that given our Smarts and our gene programs all this was inevitable. But it is possible that some will survive and on a ecologically devastated planet we will use our smarts just to survive each day, and stay out of trouble.

    If this seems to conflict with my previous posts its because I have more than one mind in my head. :)

  • BtD (Benjamin the Donkey, not bored to death) as usual thanks for the limerick…. :)

  • Guy – thanks for the encouragement for embracing diversity. One of the area’s not often remembered is the ‘talents’ of individuals in a group setting and the ability to ‘respect’ and ‘appreciate’ what an individual can do and forgive them for what they can not. I find myself having to remind members in my house hold, that not EVERYONE is as SMART as they are or as good of a COOK, or as good of a GARDENER,or FILL IN THE BLANK, but that we are all COGs in the WHEEL and we need each of us to fulfill our potential and share WHATEVER our individual TALENT’s may be so that we can collectively live in PEACE and HARMONY. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT ANYONE IS ‘BETTER THAN’ anyone ELSE. This sickness of MANIACs addicted and feindn’ for tryhumph and dominance is contantly being played undermining and permiating everything and everywhere and ‘pushes’ prejudice to devide and concore. Junkies are dangerous and the ones drunk on power are on a path to self distruct and threaten to take the rest of us with them. I keep my own sanity by doing what I can to ‘clean up my own back yard’ I just watched a 2011 film http://www.ethosthemovie.com/
    basically about putting your money where your mouth is. Makes sense to me as directly ‘fighting City Hall’ is futile…but as you’ve said, ‘walking away from the king’ is much more effective.

    Tom – I agree with most of your statements, but as I stated above, it looks more like Addiction and Mania than Cancer. As for November, I suspect that TPTB Junkies will topple EU before – if they want Romney and after if they want Obama…either way it is inevitable because they are preditors going in for the kill and financial crisis is a way for them to steel gold from weeker nations…reminicent of ‘Confessions of an Econimic Hit Man’ style. It’s all been a set up. Last week the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers went in on a RIT…salivating on the foreclosers/theft from all the average americans. What we have here is not Capitalism but Cannibalism.

    Save your breath, they can’t hear you and even if they do, they will surely ‘shoot the messenger’ so I prefer to keep close to my neighbors and family and keep up with blogs like Guys, so I don’t go over the edge myself and then be no help to anyone else.

  • Thanks, Kathy! :) The above is my takeaway from a rare excursion out into meatspace. It’s an alternate universe out there, I tells ya! :D

  • Often a strong leader is what keeps a community on track

    This is reflected in The Three Refuges:
    I take refuge in the Buddha (leader)
    I take refuge in the Dharma (principles)
    I take refuge in the Sangha (community)

    At first the guidance is from an individual. The flame must be transferred to other lamps, the fire must be lit from the taper.

    At an intermediate stage, the social order is guided by principles, written and/or spoken and/or avowed.

    Further along, the community functions through the interaction of its members and their mutual understanding: the operative rules are neither written, nor spoken, nor avowed: an exemplar of anarchy. 

    Communism failed when it was unable to transition to the third mode: the fulfilment of the promise that the state itself would disappear, with no rulers – their version of anarchy – receded into impossibility. It was unable to lay down the gun. The states that call themselves Communist, China and Cuba, have converted to fascism – a coalescence of private enterprise and government.

  • Laura Mae:
    If you use Microsoft Windoew, there is a small freeware memory-resident program called tinySpell that is freeware, and can be easily downloaded and installed.

  • As John Steinbeck wrote in Grapes of Wrath: “If you’re in trouble, or hurt, or need – go to the poor people.”

    Been listening to the audio book and can’t believe the similarities of today, gotta love Tom and Al.

    Sounds like you have a more than a solid foundation and it can only get better as times get worse, good for you!

  • I love living on Vancouver Island in BC for some of the same reasons. In many places here on the west coast I find people are accepting and appreciative of differences of people and lifestyles. I was raised in northern Alberta and it is very different there although it is changing slowly.

  • Off topic, but important to all who access NBL:
    The Survival Podcast
    Episode-922- Jeremy Lesniak on Technology Preparedness and Redundancy
    June 14, 2012 at 10:33

  • Victor:

    RE: “Too bad there won’t be anyone around with the capability of managing it.”

    In your opinion, of course, and as you noted, “opinions, by and large, are just that—opinions, not scientifically held truths.” Your opinion is statistically possible; it’s the probability that’s debatable.

    Re: “And I enjoy books, learning from the experiences of others rather than listening to myself. I am not ashamed of that.”

    Ditto. My house is packed with books, floor to ceiling, two rooms. And as much as I enjoy them, I don’t take any as the gospel truth. Even the science ones, and I love science. Books are based on someone’s opinion, which (in many cases) is readily refuted by someone else’s opinion.

    Re: “To see what is most likely coming at you, based upon current scientific discovery, is important to formulating an integrated view of where the world is headed, and is most useful for determining where one should plan emphasis on their own life into the future.”

    Agreed. The kicker, however, is in “current scientific discovery.” It’s amazing how often it switches position. Keeps me on my toes.

    Re: “For me, I have finally adjusted to the idea that we are truly fucked,”

    Your life; your choice. I see a different life and a different choice.

    Re: “I stand humbled before such a master of practicality and self-esteem.”

    No need to be humbled. Practicality, on the other hand, has its virtues.

    Re: “Your world needs more of you.”

    Plenty exist. They just tend to be doers, not doomers.

    I hope your little garden is doing well. I pulled 10-inch cauliflower heads off mine a few weeks ago. Lettuce is gigantic, onions are bulbing, and baby zucchinis are already flooding the summer squash plants. Yesterday, I swiped a panful of spuds off the ‘taters, and this evening, I plucked a gallon of strawberries from the berry patch. I seriously have to do something with the latter this weekend. Either that or let the birds have them.

    I hope your efforts are as bountiful (and enjoyable). (Collapse, notwithstanding), it looks to be a plentiful year. I wish the same for you.

    Of course there is that Greek shindig happening on Sunday …

  • Again off topic, but meshes with much of the general message of NBL:

    Hope in a Changing Climate

  • Off topic, typhoon Guchol headed towards the East coast of Japn

  • i met this person who learned all about the traditional medicine of the Native Americans of the Southwest, Mexico and other cultures. He has taught doctors at symposia that they will have to rely on this sooner or later, and many people have learned from him. For information, he has a website:


    if anyone is interested.

  • Full story at http://www.cnbc.com/id/47840486 snippet below
    The banks are on high alert.

    Hundreds of employees at big firms, some part of special teams, will be on standby this Sunday, awaiting the results of Greece’s pivotal election. They are preparing for the worst case. The fear is that the vote will heighten the chances of Greece exiting the euro and the global financial system will be shaken when the markets open on Monday.

  • Kathy C:

    Hope we see some action soon.

  • Hi Guy,

    It sounds like your community is growing and deepening. It pleases me to see it. When we talk about embracing diversity, we should also be ready to embrace the wonderful diversity of life on this planet. “All my relations” is how the native Americans phrase it.

  • Thanks Guy, and all who have shared insights (I read ’em all).
    There are suggestions posted on Zero Hedge that a partial collapse of the Eurozone is “needed” to get the various governments scared enough to comply and bail out more banks. One of these days the controlled crisis will go out of control, maybe Tuesday?

    On another note, we humans are all the best and all the worst that is said about us. We are animals, after all, not something else. We have different characteristics which bubble to the top based on a lot of factors, like group size and food stress. It’s best to steer clear of large groups and food stresses, if you have the freedom and options.
    We are the very fortunate few, living the “precious human existence”, as Robin Datta will appreciate (Buddhist term). Most humans have little choice and lots of suffering… How did we get to be the fortunate ones? What can we do for the general good? How good will that be, for how many, for how long? Here’s a quote for today:

    “More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” — Woody Allen

  • Oh, and here’s a song that is appropriate to the topic and occasion:

    It makes ME want to go home…

  • John, thanks for the link to the song. That goes back a way. Nice… Personally if home means where I grew up, nope don’t want to go back there. If home means where I have lived for the last 20 years and where my husband is, well I am home (and resist all attempts by others to get me to go to concerts etc in town). I dislike even leaving home to shop for groceries once a week And at some point I look forward to this aging body going home to the soil. Dust to dust and RIP.

  • Thanks Kathy,

    I always felt that the song was about the feeling of wanting to go home, more than about any specific home. In fact, there is no “home” for the singer to go to, as he describes it. He finds himself bereft of human community, in a business world, which has dissolved the community of his childhood.

  • ‘Most of us claim to tolerate other races, creeds, and points of view.’

    i don’t believe in blanket tolerance for diversity. some points of view are offensive. a good example imo is dogmatic puritanical religious zealotry. basically, for a pov (point of view) to be acceptable it must be reasonable, not dogmatic.

    even the relatively enlightened are prone to dogmatism. your neighbor in the video clip mentions land ownership. there’s a subtle dogmatism in the assumption that our species ‘owns’ land, the absurd belief that we are special, divinely chosen ‘stewards’, or exploiters/dominators. it’s this hubris that has us in deep shit.

    i’m glad u’ve grown attached to your current home, guy. from your description, it sounds like a good place to be at least for now. selfishly i’d like u to remain there rather than adopt nomadic ways, because i think that way this blog may be around longer. i trust u to make the best decision for yourself. longevity isn’t everything.

    for a doomer, u’re pretty optimistic about some things, guy. thanks again for sharing.

  • John, going home evokes all sorts of feelings. You wrote that there was no home for the singer to go to. Perhaps that is true of all civilized humans. Although there persist a few hunter gatherers in the world, it is hard to become one if you are not born one. Yet that is the life we evolved to live.

    I am reading Song from the Forest by Louis Sarno. He actually got to go mostly home. Seeking to record the Bayaka pygmies’ music he found home. He joined and married into a tribe that was living on the interface of jungle and civilization. Pulled by booze and cigarettes and pushed by authorities and saw mills, they were slowly loosing their home. He describes them as they enter the jungle as coming alive.

    After 3 mos. there he left due to running out of money and getting malaria. He writes “What I would miss most, I realized, was simply the company of the Bayaka. During my months at Amopolo I had come to regard them as the most well-adjusted people in the world. Their undaunted preoccupation with enjoying each moment as it came, with no concern for the consequences made them free from neuroses. They were an example to me of how the full potential of the individual would be realized in the absence of the complex constraints imposed by modern civilization. Originally I had thought many of their concerns petty and trivial. Now on the contrary, it was the machinations of the world I was returning to that struck me as superficial, even idiotic.” This reminds me a lot about what Daniel Everett wrote of a South American hunter tribe the Pirahã in Don’t Sleep Their are Snakes. (recommended by someone on this site)

    Sarno returned and stayed
    His recording and a shorter book are Louis Sarno – Bayaka – The Extraordinary Music Of The Babenzélé Pygmies – some of the singing you can not tell exactly where the jungle sounds leave off and the singing starts or stops.

    you can get a flavor of their music at http://www.baka.co.uk/baka/ but I like his recordings best and I am glad that he found his home.

  • Sorry for going off course, but …


    How do you square the information from the IPCC with your assessment of the future? I read your statements to be a refutation of the IPCC scientists’ best guesses at the future. Are you saying they are wrong? Or are you saying all of them are lying? If the second case is your answer explain why over a thousand scientists from around the world would choose to low-ball their estimates even while they have taken a position that is wildly unpopular with most of the decision makers? I understand that the report is an abomination built by committee, however, it seems to be an honest effort to sound a warning and to seek solutions. I think they (IPCC) are saying that if we really suck it up and do “X” it will be bad. If we only do “Y” (a little and slowly) it will be really bad. If we do nothing, “Z” (BAU) it will be a catastrophe. I think you are saying that there is NOTHING we can do to avert disaster. Clarification?

    I was looking at this post and it got me thinking https://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/10/496960/dan-yergin-dilemma-energy-reality-vs-climate-reality/?mobile=nc

    Michael Irving

  • OK, for all of the mid western assholes, climate chaos tolls for you and me. Hot (92F), dry, sunny, 40 mph winds. Has been building for last 4 weeks. Most intense day yet. Never saw this before in this area. More like West Fuckin’ Texas.

    My, garden plants – beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, crooked neck squash, all endangered of being ripped out by the wind. My pears tree has no fruit because of the weird spring. Michigan lost its’ entire cherry crop due to late frost. Maybe corn and soy bean losses later?

    Fat ass morons everywhere.

    Let them eat cake!

  • Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Kathy.
    I very occasionally feel at home in a certain maeditative state, but after years of being a half-assed meditator, I’m still a half-assed meditator.

  • “Is a global financial collapse coming? The fact that German 2-year bond yields are at 0% suggests bad news”
    Cynt Unger makes the case for collapse. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31621.htm

  • Cenk Uygur not Cynt Unger sorry

  • John Day, I had less success than that with meditation :)

  • If this is true things could get very interesting…..
    ‘Iran, Russia, China, Syria to launch biggest joint war game in Mideast’
    Political Desk

    On Line: 18 June 2012 15:24
    In Print: Tuesday 19 June 2012

    Font Size
    TEHRAN – An informed source has announced that Iran, Russia, China, and Syria plan to stage a joint war game in Syria in the near future, the Persian service of the Fars News Agency reported on Monday.

    90,000 forces from the four countries will be involved in the war game, the informed source said.

    No official from the countries has confirmed the news report, but a Syrian official, who spoke on conditional anonymity, announced that the joint war game will be launched in Syria.

  • ‘the most well-adjusted people in the world. Their undaunted preoccupation with enjoying each moment as it came, with no concern for the consequences made them free from neuroses. They were an example to me of how the full potential of the individual would be realized in the absence of the complex constraints imposed by modern civilization. ”

    interesting, kathy. u and i share a similar passionate desire to be free from civilization and government tyranny, living in greater natural harmony, heedless of laws and dogmas. living with surreal spontaneity for a change.

    ‘I am glad that he found his home.’

    i hope u get to also, kathy, if u haven’t already done so.

    ‘I read your statements to be a refutation of the IPCC scientists’ best guesses at the future. Are you saying they are wrong?’

    michael, whatever comes out in these reports is subject to the approval of ‘authorities’ in industry friendly places like ‘america’. which means subject to heavy influence from fossil fuel corporations:

    ‘Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute (on a voluntary basis, without payment from the IPCC) to writing and reviewing reports, which are reviewed by representatives from all the governments, with summaries for policy makers being subject to line-by-line approval by all participating governments… Political influence on the IPCC has been documented by the release of a memo by ExxonMobil to the Bush administration, and its effects on the IPCC’s leadership. The memo led to strong Bush administration lobbying, evidently at the behest of ExxonMobil, to oust Robert Watson, a climate scientist, from the IPCC chairmanship, and to have him replaced by Pachauri, who was seen at the time as more mild-mannered and industry-friendly.’ from wikipedia article on the ipcc https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intergovernmental_Panel_on_Climate_Change

    ‘I understand that the report is an abomination built by committee, however, it seems to be an honest effort to sound a warning and to seek solutions.’ -michael

    honest effort by some of the scientists, no doubt. however they don’t have final say as to what goes. for an nbl-er, your political naivete is astonishing. it’s past time u learned that anything governments 0which largely act as proxies for ‘special interests’) can lay their hands on is corrupt propaganda. it’s past time u learned not to trust corporate sponsored institutions, be they government agencies or big media. we live in an orwellian world.

    so in answer to your question, of course ipcc reports are hopelessly compromised. however, i don’t go so far as victor and some others in stating with certainty that unvarnished science shows unequivocally that we’re doomed. i think it is cause for great concern/pessimism. i think we are essentially past the point of no return climatically, which alone will probably ensure our extinction beyond a certain point, but as u’ve brought up climate is very complex, much is unknown, black swans, sometimes white swans happen. whatever, our species disregard for science and ignorance/foolishness is breath-taking, making us surely unworthy of the name homo sapiens.

  • It’s the end of the human age,
    So how will we disengage:
    Recognizing the trend
    And accepting the end,
    Or stuck in the bargaining stage?

  • Re the IPCC, someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the IPCC does not include positive feedbacks in its scenarios, ostensibly because it is not known very well how they will act (and the sponsoring corporations don’t want that looked at). Thus if I am remembering correctly they don’t account for release of methane from the oceans, peat decomposition, forest fires, etc https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_feedback From this wiki article it looks like the mention the possibility but it doesn’t say that it is part of their modeling.

    Since they are not about modeling the economic collapse of the global world or peak oil they are not including the loss of global dimming when the coal fired plants of China and elsewhere stop spewing smog into the air and the jets stop flying.

  • Meanwhile events that were predicted to happen some time in the future keep on happening today.

    “Risks of Global Warming Rising: Is It Too Late to Reverse Course?
    The negative impacts of climate change are beginning to appear–and we may soon cross a threshold of significant damage”

  • Kathy C, you are correct: The IPCC assessments, like most other assessments, do not take into account positive feedbacks. Also, as with most of these efforts, the IPCC relies on consensus. The combination of these two attributes partially explains why these assessments are extremely conservative.

  • guy, did u read my last post above? i ask because your comment seems to indicate otherwise. just like michael, u mention that the ipcc reports are built upon consensus. if this was simply consensus among all the scientists involved, naturally it would take the edge off some, tend to make the report mildly conservative. but as the brief quote from the wikipedia article i included shows, this ‘consensus’ doesn’t simply include scientific opinion. whatever goes into the report is subject to the final approval of non scientific government officials, i.e. politicians, who, as most of us not named michael here are well aware, are corrupt ignorant clowns who mainly represent ‘special interests’, which is to say extremely wealthy individuals and corporations. it’s a case of the inmates clearly being in charge of the asylum. it’s a case where any very well informed sherson knows that anything put out by them is propaganda primarily. any science involved is mere window dressing. scientists are mere props in the game.

    i think kevin moore once wrote that maybe at best 1 in 10,000 sheople surreally understand what’s going on in the world, aren’t fooled by all the outright lies and misinformation that streams non-stop from coroporate-sponsored elite politicians and media outlets. i think this is clearly the case. consider this: perhaps at best 1% of ‘americans’ even know what the ipcc is, what those initials stand for. of that 1% or less, 1% or less of those are aware of just how compromised the ipcc is by political influence, which is to say the power of money, greed,, corporations. 1% of 1% is 1 in 10,000. this appalling degree of ignorance is the biggest reason there is absolutely no hope that our species will ever do anything significant about changing it’s ways in the face of all the calamities we now face. problems can’t be solved when they aren’t even known or understood. ignorance is the source of all ‘evil’. and ignorance is closely linked to dogmatism, or the tendency of our species to believe utter bullshit, not think critically or rationally, not be able to tell the difference between scientific facts and fanciful lies. thus, we’re screwed!

  • tvt, I read your comment, and I’m pointing out that major assessments are conservative by their very nature (that is, conservatism is built into the process by which they are created). I’ll have much more to say about this topic in the essay I’ll post tonight or tomorrow morning (it’s in draft form now).

  • TVT,

    Guilty as charged. Political naiveté is my specialty. However, you did not address my question to Victor. I’ll try restating it so that you will not be distracted into a screed about the plutocrats:
    If decision-makers view the IPCC report’s recommendations as too harsh then, perversely, the report may actually be a reasonable representation of reality in an upside-down world. If that is the case (Victor), how is it that scientists are claiming that various levels of greenhouse gas reduction could result in various levels of climate degradation ranging from relatively mild to catastrophic (but not biosphere ending). You (Victor) are claiming that the complete biosphere will be destroyed. Where is the data refuting the IPCC report?

    Terry, if you want to accuse me of something, an easy shot would be to accuse me of desperately looking for some ray of hope that my generation will leave some measure of livable future for my grandkids. I’m old. I’ll be lucky if I even see the beginnings of the effects of peak oil let alone the onslaught of climate change. I’m trying to find a way that I can contribute my small energies toward helping to limit the damage. Perhaps we have different agendas. Maybe you have given up hoping for any future for mankind. Maybe you are rejoicing in the projected early demise of our species. Maybe you think the 6th mass extinction is worth the price of ridding the world of people. Maybe your response to climate change is to just say, “It’s all over but the shouting. Party on!”

    It would be fair to accuse me of being in denial of the overwhelming power of the plutocracy. It’s true they are powerful. It’s true they have all the tools of control at their disposal. It’s true the opposition is weak, disorganized, and ineffective. However, we here in the west have been in that place before and, relating to working conditions, successfully fought back via the IWW, CIO, and communists/socialists politics to establish better conditions and an increased share of the industrial wealth of nations. Yes, I know TPTB have fought back, and are committed to wresting back all of the gains the ‘little people’ have made. But if you’re a minority no longer suffering under the yoke of slavery, or a working person no longer laboring in a factory 14 hours a day in abominable conditions, or an endanger species no longer hunted for its feathers or tongue, conditions are better now than previously imaginable. I believe that a similar mass turning could happen again with respect to the bastards (corporatists and politicians) bent on the biosphere’s destruction just to satisfy their thirst for power. I think it is worth trying to help that happen. If we can’t, or won’t, make that effort then yes we are well and truly fucked and we’ll bring the whole biosphere down with us.

    And, returning to the original question, (Victor) I think the IPCC report says we still have a little time to act. How is that assessment wrong?

    Michael Irving

  • TVT,

    As you can see from the above, I was responding to your earlier post and had not yet read any of the follow-on comments from you, or Kathy C, or Guy. Sometimes I just don’t get down to the bottom of the page in a timely manner. I will do that.

    Michael Irving

  • Michael Irving

    By now you should have realised through these discussions that

    1) Scientific Reports are, by nature, conservative. No scientist worth his (her) salt will issue a technical report and claim 100% confidence in the data – even though they would surely like to in order to impact people. But their scientific training, fortunately, reserves this screaming about the implications of what they say to people like us, who being intelligent and capable of putting 2 and 2 together from a broader perspective, are not so limited.

    2) The IPCC Report in particular, is not only conservative, it is a square forced to fit into a round hole. Scientists provide the data and the reports to support their interpretations of the data they have reviewed, but it is the political representatives from the various nations who actually write and edit and approve the final summary document. The final report ends up being a huge political compromise and greatly softens the opinions of the scientists.

    3) Because of the turnaround time between gathering and assessing the data, review and editing the final assessment and summary reports, and issuance, much data will have already changed significantly since the report was developed in draft form. Indeed, new observations indicate that in so many areas the most liberal and pessimistic views of the modelling are being shown to be much too conservative. And as Kathy notes, the models very often do not contain the processes involving positive feedback loops. This is particularly true of the latest report. But as I understand it, many of the scientists wanted to actually present the truth as they knew it this time because the situation we had evolved to at that time, was considered so serious.

    4) The question you pose about the report showing the impact of differing levels of CO2 put into the air over a number of years, does not give an ‘end of everything’ amount of CO2 simply because they do not know 100%, nor does any one else for that matter. We have accepted the 450 ppm for so many years that we tend to accept this. Many now believe that is patently untrue as a basis of analysis. Many now believe that is is more like 350-360 ppm that we must not exceed, a growing number believe that it was a concentration much closer to what we started with, around 280 – 300 ppm! The models did not even consider this possibility, and still don’t as far as I know! Further an end date is not presented for political reasons – isuch a figure would never get past the politicos.

    5) The reports offer various scenarios at different levels of CO2 as discussed. But the elephant in the room that no one speaks about is the most critical factor, IMO, to human-induced climate change and global warming is – the people factor.

    What is the probability that humans, knowing what is before them will accept what is going on and make the changes necessary at the right time to reduce carbon in the air?

    I believe strongly that I know the answer to that. Do you? I think you do. If humanity does not make the necessary changes, what do you suppose will be the result of that inaction? What is the chance that people will put climate change over their jobs and livelihoods? What of significance have we done so far with the knowledge we have gained over the last 40 years? What is the change we will overcome this behaviour in the future before it is undeniable to even the most unobservant person?

    You or anyone on this site can doubt me over the scientific, but I challenge you to present me evidence showing that we as a society are changing for the better on these issues. Individuals and even small communities are making changes – like Guy, Kathy, Resa, and so many around the world, but forgive me for saying, but that matters not one twit in this gigantic struggle. Unless the humanity as a whole changes it will be impossible to solve this problem. And I happen to be one of those who also believe that it is already too late given the evidence around us with positive feedback mechanisms kicking off left and right and forward and behind us. It is business as usual now. It will be business as usual until we fall into the pits of hell.

    I hope this answers your question to me. I wish I could offer more hope for you and your family. I truly do.

  • TVT,

    Damn, I wish I were not an ignorant, evil, dogmatic, believer in utter bullshit as you so kindly noted. It would be cool to be so well informed and scientifically literate that I would be infallibly able to sort out the reality from all the studies that include waffle words like if, could, might, perhaps… For example:

    Scientific American—“Ice Escapades”—About the melting of the Greenland Ice sheet—How much rise in sea level? “Scientific estimates range from less than an inch to as much as 20 feet (six meters).” I’m guessing you would go with 20 feet.

    Kathy’s link—Scientific American—“Risks of Global Warming Rising: Is It Too Late To Reverse Course”—- “The question is: Will it be catastrophic or not? “We’ve dawdled, and if we dawdle more it will get even worse,” Schneider (Stanford U) says. “It’s time to move.”” Sounds equivocal to me but I guess you know for sure that it is too late and it will be catastrophic.

    There’s a word for people who are absolutely, positively sure they have the answers. I think it’s dogmatic (“characterized by an authoritative, arrogant assertion of unproved or unprovable principles”). Could it be that you, with all of the answers, and me, with none of the answers, are both dogmatic. Hmmmm?

    For my part I am waiting for Guy’s new post, even though (“just like michael”) he may not have all the answers either.

    Michael Irving

  • Michael, I sometimes think that Guy is not preaching to the choir, but preaching to a tone deaf choir. In his last essay he wrote at the end “Additional positive feedbacks are on the rise, and completion of the ongoing collapse is the only way to stop them. Indeed, it might be too late already. But if we act as if it’s too late, that act becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d rather not see how that turns out.” In other words per Guy, the only way we can prevent climate catastrophe is a collapse of the industrial economy and with it the early deaths of billions of humans. So if we can think of things to do to hasten the collapse of industrial civilization it MIGHT just be in time to prevent an extinction event (earlier essay). At my request he linked to his essay on Terminating the Industrial Economy at https://guymcpherson.com/2009/12/terminating-the-industrial-economy-a-ten-step-plan/ If you want hope, that is what is offered, actions to bring on the early death of billions vs extinction.

    My personal assessment is that we are too late to do much as individuals and extreme actions might actually help the powers that be stay in power a little longer. My hope is that the financial wizards are about to bring down industrial civilization quite soon. In other words my hope is for the slightly earlier death of billions to avoid the early death of every human and most species. Somehow that doesn’t look much like what hope is supposed to look like. Hope and morals sort of begin to seem irrelevant concepts. But as I always say, we all die anyway, and what we can do is foster the ties that bind until death severs them. Hug your family, love them, let them know how special they are – we may not have much time left to do those things.

  • Curtis:

    Get yourself a Gempler’s catalogue. They have a huge selection and their prices are the best around. We are trying some of this new plastic mesh this year to hold up our toms, and beans. Dirt cheap and seems to be working really well so far. As long as your plants haven’t flowered, cover them with floating row covers, it keeps the moisture in and wind can’t destroy them. We cover our corn with it until it gets about 5 inches high and then the crows can’t pull it out. Works great.
    Lots of other good stuff in the catalogue like bundles of bamboo which we are stockpiling. Your fat ass comment cracked me up.

    If Jean is around, I was reading some stories this morning about the animal and produce theft that is going on in Spain now. At that point what the hell do you do, shoot someone for stealing a squash?

    Best to all of you!

  • John Day: “This precious human existence” reaches its full fruition with the realisation that every sentient being, from a gnat to a Buddha, is another expression of the very same light that illuminates our own awareness. And not just the understanding as an intellectual exercise, but grokking it on the most fundamental level of one’s own existence. One may substitute the term “Buddha-nature” for “light”. 

    The realisation brings with it the awareness that our “home” is not some physical place, but rather the non-dual origin of that light/Buddha-nature, the home of every sentient being that ever existed, now exists, or will exist in the future. Each one of us has forever been at home and will forever continue to do so. The term non-dual indicates that it is not even “one”, because “one” can only exist in a context where there is a concept of more than one. 

  • The Oxford English Dictionary says that scientific method is: “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”

    Using that definition, and based on past observation of human behavior in the face of problems requiring quick, forceful, international cooperation, I see no evidence that human beings will take any substantive action to avert global catastrophe with respect to global warming. In fact, the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary. So, I theorize that we are all fucked.

    Does anyone have any information which doesn’t support my theory? I would be happy to assimilate it into my data.

  • Victor, Kathy C, TVT,

    I think this is just a function of the season. This time of the year it is so incredibly beautiful here that the thought of it ending is very nearly more than I can bear. I know, sounds like denial. Apparently I’ve just slid into another round of grieving. I was arguing with my brother about the November elections and about the lesser of two evils is still being evil and boom, the floor dropped out from under me again.

    It’s not the science. I understand that. I’ve got it about feedback loops, and methane releases, and glaciers melting, and sea level rising, and agriculture failing, and billions of people dying, and all the rest of it. And it’s not that I think climate change is some future event. Even here, under the sway of la Nina (and maybe the only cool spot in the country) climate change is evident in warmer winters, longer growing seasons, and exploding bark beetle populations.

    It’s that the sons-of-bitches can be so stupid—so greedy! In fact I’m so forking angry about the stupidity of people in general I can hardly contain it. That’s why I’ve been bargaining with you over the IPCC report (are you sure we are beyond even those awful projections?). So I’m in denial, I’m angry, I’m bargaining, I’m depressed to the point of despair…I guess that just about covers it. Oh yes, there is that one other stage, but it does not look like I’ll get there any time soon.

    On a lighter note, the bear that’s been hanging around surprised me last night. I walked around the corner of the woodshed and there he was, standing on his hind legs, leaning with one foreleg against a big pine. He looked for all the world like Yogi Bear of the old kid’s cartoon, standing there with his head cocked to one side just staring at me. Two weeks ago we found him lying on his stomach eating an apple under my bird feeder. Yes, it is a little problematic because he does not seem to have any fear of people. We’ve been running him off with a shotgun but he seems pretty unimpressed. He’s a young bear, but still he is almost as tall as I am. I guess if a person does everything he can to invite wildlife into his yard he should not be surprised when some critters actually show up.

    Michael Irving

  • Michael Irving, would you do anything differently if you were NOT in denial (if indeed you are)about what may come via climate change? Should we not enjoy our encounters with Nature while we can? Should we not attempt to ameliorate what may befall us by doing what Guy is doing? It may not change the ultimate outcome, but it will allow us to live more more in harmony with the Earth.

    I think you live somewhere around Spokane, if I’ve been reading correctly. I live in Spokane. Last weekend, I got together with a group of like-minded friends(building community), and we walked over to Cannon Hill Park. While we were there, the bull frogs started their cacophony of sound. It was beautiful, and all I could think was I was so grateful the frogs were there when so many have been lost to climate change. There was also a redwing blackbird flying around and baby ducks coming up to be fed (not good).

    In my backyard, I have a failed pond system that I was about to drain. However, it was growing duckweed, which has many benefits including being great for the garden. When I was dipping out some of the weed to feed the garden, lo and behold, there were salamander larvae in there. I was flabbergasted! The ponds will stay because obviously they are beneficial to some critters.

    My point, I guess, is to enjoy things that we can. We cannot know for absolute fact what the future holds, except death, as Kathy C notes. It will come for us all.

  • Judy–exactly!

    Every morning I get up and walk my dog, Annie. Or rather she walks me. Insists upon it actually. We are lucky to have one of those rails to trails bike/hiking paths a quarter mile away and we make good use of it. Most always go a bit over a mile west and then return home. There are a couple of trees along the way I stop and hug as I go by. I exhale deeply to pass on some of my CO2 and suck in some O2 I’m sure came from them. We have this arrangement, don’t you know. Rain or snow or shine, it doesn’t matter. Deer flies and mosquitoes don’t stop us. We enjoy it.

    They say a pessimist is an informed optimist. Or maybe vice versa. Don’t remember for sure. I do know I’ve tried that pessimistic route , as have most of you. Doesn’t work out very well, does it? If we’re lucky we find a few who share our concerns. I have my wife and a few close friends. And I have this website.

    I’m convinced we have some hard times coming. Maybe TEOTWAWKI. But I have trouble focusing on that. Can’t believe anyone knows for sure how much time we have left and how it will all go down. What good does it do to argue or debate it, anyway? Why not argue about what year the Cubbies are going to win the World Series. Chaos works in mysterious ways.

    So I work at projects that give me a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. I do things I enjoy doing. I don’t follow politics very much any more. And leave the evening news turned off. I’m much happier now than I was a few years back. I hope all of you can find some happiness too. I know when I come to NBL I’m going to hear many of the same arguments every day. But now I don’t get too shook up about it. It’s like coming home to my large dysfunctional family after being gone for a long time. It’s good to hear your voices! Someday I may discover it really could be my last day. If/when that day comes, I’ll probably take Annie for a walk.

  • John Stassek, I match your “exactly” and raise you two. My dog Samson takes me for a walk everyday, too. We stroll down the street to my neighbors’, who have a chicken coop with 14 hens (illegal in Spokane), and Samson loves to think he will kill them all :-((. Unlike him, I just love watching them and feeding them green things they cannot reach, since in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, they have denuded their pen.

    I know things are not good in the world in terms of the ecosystem and so much more (huge understatement), and as I mentioned, I’m grateful that I am providing habitat to critters that are in decline. Like you, I don’t read/watch the news very often, and politics leave me cold. Why should I watch this stuff? I’m much happier without the drama.

    What else can I do? I am a wage slave with too much debt after the economy took out my business and left me with the debt. My goal is to get my tax payments down to as close to zero as I can because I hate funding the wars, etc., that the Government is spending our tax dollars on. Most of my former friends did not understand where I was coming from, so, I’ve formed new bonds with people who get it.

    In addition, I’m relearning how to grow my own food, and I’m forming bonds with people who are interested in doing the same thing. These relationships are sustaining me, and I’m so grateful I’ve found this group.

    John, your hugging of trees reminds me of two things: when I restarted my garden last year, the radishes I planted were the first to produce fruit for me. I cried over them because I was overjoyed to see them. The other thing is that I bought some pastured chickens from local farmers, and when I got ready to roast the first one, again I cried because I was thinking about their lives up to the point of slaughter and was grateful they had better lives than their mass-produced counterparts.

    Yeah, I know. I’m sentimental. I love the thought that you would take annie for a walk in spite of things. I would do the same, John. Yours was a lovely thought.

  • Judy,

    Thanks for your remarks.

    You’re right, I’ll continue to chop wood and carry water, literally and figuratively, no mater what happens, until I can’t, as Kathy C reminds us.

    Apparently you were the only one who thought the ponds were a failure.

    And yes, I live about an hour north of you. But I seem to live in a different country, one where everyone knows for sure that 1500 years worth of oil is just waiting to be pumped out of the ground in North Dakota so they can keep on trucking. Be thankful for like-minded people.

    Michael Irving

  • ‘If decision-makers view the IPCC report’s recommendations as too harsh’

    do u mind if i call u irving? easier to spell. anyway, up front, i’ve only begun to read your first reply above, commenting as i go along, not having yet read any subsequent commentary.

    my answer to your quote above is that your assumption is wrong. they don’t view the reports as overly harsh. ‘decision makers’, or ‘deciders’ like our esteemed ex president george w bush are the ones with ultimate authority regarding what goes in these reports. if they want certain views silenced, certain data removed or buried, they get their way. this is why well known feedbacks are not included in them. the whole damned process is propagandized by political editing and placing political hacks in key positions of ‘authority’ within the ipcc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajendra_K._Pachauri

    one can sometimes learn a lot from wikipedia, with a little curiosity and the easy research this vast virtual encyclopedia makes possible.

    this guy pachauri was hand picked by george w. bush, at the urging of his close friends at exxon mobil, to take over the chairmanship of the ipcc a decade ago. doesn’t that make u the least bit curious? it made me curious. so i just researched the dude. research was rather disappointing. there were no smoking guns saying ah ha! this guy’s a tool of industry! he’s certAINLY NOT THAT. but here’s what i gathered in a short time:

    he was born in colonial india in a family of well off native indians. in other words, he comes from a privileged family of skilled collaborators with colonial imperialists. he went to university and got an engineering degree. he lives in one of the most financially exclusive neighborhoods in all of india. he’s very very wealthy. he’s very liberal, concerned about the environment and climate change, but not radically so. his primary field of knowledge/expertise involves technology. a pure scientist, he isn’t. i’m even venturing a guess that his knowledge of the science behind climate change is sketchy at best. he’s also been controversial, accused of corruption, and cleared by an establishment oriented investigation. overall, he presents the picture of a very privilieged, technophile liberal, probably sincerely well intentioned, but ultimately a tool of tptb, like al gore. he’s someone liberals can rally around, conservatives can hate, and machiavellian deciders like bush can live with. after all, he’s bush’s boy. someone who can be counted on to not rock the boat too much or even be aware of the role he’s playing in this hellish marriage of science and corporate politics.

    sigh. perhaps i speculate too much. in summary, tptb can’t be all that unhappy with the ipcc reports, considering they’re the ultimate authors. they edit and slant the science enough to keep most liberals just very concerned, not concerned enough to advocate revolution. let the liberals grumble, throw them a bone now and then, as long as they don’t get rebellious. tptb grumble themselves, act like they’re displeased by ipcc reports. they’re only displeased that they have to play such elaborate games to allow a certain degree of dissent and scholarship to prevail, while maintaining control. in the end that’s all that matters.

    ok, i’ve just read through all the rest of your comment and all subsequent comments up to 5:34 pm. given time constraints, i’m not going to respond much more this evening. i see michael got a little upset with me, like i was upset with him. i sort of sympathize with his position. it’s hard to abandon hope when one has much attachment to this world, to nature. i haven’t completely gone to despair, michael, but i have less hope, more cynicism certainly. in the end it’s foolish to fight over this shit, when we should be preparing more. after all, we still have some future left, a future that promises to be very challenging, to say the least.

  • ‘I know when I come to NBL I’m going to hear many of the same arguments every day. But now I don’t get too shook up about it. It’s like coming home to my large dysfunctional family after being gone for a long time. It’s good to hear your voices!’

    (smile) well said, mr. stassek! ditto. a smile for judy also. dysfunctional families sometimes still are nurturing.

  • John Stassek, Judy,

    Wow, who would have thought there were so many dutiful dogs in the world. My Kodi takes me out every day too, rain or shine, and insists that I’m punctual.

    Michael Irving

  • one last note on our friend pachauri, the current chairman of the ipcc. for 3 years immediately preceding his appointment to this post, he served as a director on the board of india’s largest corporation, which just happens to be in the oil business: http://www.iocl.com/

    curious thing to have on one’s resume, isn’t it? this throws a little light on why exxonmobil and w. bush were keen on having this guy be in charge at the ipcc.

  • I agree 100% with Michael, Judy, and John Stassek. All of us might not agree on the inevitability of climate change, but we do most certainly agree that one should live the remaining years of their life devoted to what works best for them and enjoy what our still lovely world has to offer, and seek to protect it as best we can within our individual areas of interests and influence.

    I remember bull frogs from my childhood and their symphonies as night approached. It has been some years since I have even seen one. Tragic. It leaves an empty space in my heart.

  • John, yes I do think a pessimist is an informed optimist. But two words do not encompass the range of being. Every time we have a broody hen set on eggs we are excited and hopeful (we try to control breeding and give her eggs from a pair in a breed pen). What will they be like? Will they all hatch. Every time something gets one of the new chicks (rats took 3 this year) we feel down and discouraged, but then we do things to try to not let that happen again. Every time I plant squash I feel excited, and devote much time to defending the squash bugs, but worry about the vine borers that so often destroy plants early on and when one collapses overnight I am distraught.

    A pessimistic view prompts me to try and fend of disasters by keeping rats under control all year, or researching the web for anyone with a successful strategy against squash vine borers. If I didn’t have any pessimism and was all optimism I wouldn’t try to prevent what happened bad this year from happening again next year.

    Unfortunately there is nothing to be done to prevent climate change and only possibly something to be done to prevent catastrophic climate change. To want to do something to keep industrial civilization going is to want catastrophic climate change. Thus we have to hope for collapse or work for collapse as both inevitable and if timely the lesser of two evils. Even as we have our little disagreements about exactly when or how bad, people here continue in their daily lives, growing food, making preparations, attempting to inform others etc. This site is a place not for the dysfunctional, but rather the only place the sane who are aware can come to let off steam and get informed. Darth/Sean aside I think everyone here is in their lives doing what they feel they can to make at least on part of the world better at least for now. It hosts some of the more functional people I know.

    Almost 6 now, time to stretch, go feed the chickens and enjoy the 40 plus chicks we have hatched out, pick the garden, check for bugs, and eat one of my husband’s most excellent squash omlets.

  • There are many, many scenarios about how ‘the end’ will come, but as folks have pointed out there are really two many variables to arrive at a clear agreement on. But I think that by far the most popular way involves ending industrial civilisation as a way of suddenly reducing CO2 emissions and various polluting chemicals – as long as the collapse doesn’t take place too late. Of course, this is where I part ways with people and stand over in my dogmatic corner shouting ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!’.

    But that aside, let’s examine the most likely way of collapse. Here, too, I would wage that a sizeable number of folks would select the scenario that has a global financial implosion, where the banks fail, international credit is shut down, followed by global bankruptcies, a complete breakdown of the global supply lines, followed by global hunger and thirst, lack of spare parts, destruction of medical services, ad ifinitum. I agree here, but it is now time to part ways. You knew it couldn’t last… ;-)

    Along the way to collapse, I suspect we will have at least one major financial collapse, perhaps more. But I do not believe that a major financial collapse will ever take down civilisation on its own unless it is kicked off by the right reason. And what is going on today is not sufficient to do the job. If worse comes to worst, then TPTB will simple change its structure, revamp the banking and finance systems, get rid of fiat money (something else), then re-set the system. They will have no other option, except to let it all implode. You see, it is these folks who have just that power, and they will use it because they know their own lives are at stake, as well as the rest of the world. And they will fix it – not without great pain and loss for many, including themselves, but they WILL fix it. They need the international supply line like everyone else, and don’t think for a moment that they do not realise that.

    No the real instrument of demise for the financial system, as well as civilisation and ultimately nature as we know it, is quite simply – oil production depletion. It is peak oil that will drive everything once global production can no longer possibly meet global demand.

    For it is at that point that the global supply line will really start breaking down, as well as transport, and a teetering finance system. And there will be no way to re-start things, no way to implement a new ‘oil structure’. Prices for oil will sky-rocket. All other prices will sky-rocket. Communications services will fall. Electrical grids will begin failing all over the world. And Industrial Civilisation at some point in the midst of all that will collapse suddenly, irreversibly.

  • I’ve posted a new, dire essay. It’s here.

    I’ll be departing for New Zealand in a couple days, and therefore posting irregularly or not at all. Please be kind to each other in this space when I’m unable to post or moderate.