A warm reception in a cold country

I’m back at the mud hut after delivering a dozen presentations in as many days in New Zealand. The trip also included a few interviews. This cryptically brief post merely relays results from my trip into the damp, cool winter on a beautiful couple of islands. A few presentations were recorded via video, and I hope to post one or more in the future if they become available.

I was interviewed for Radio New Zealand by the country’s premiere journalist, Kim Hill. The edited result is embedded below, and the entire day’s program is detailed here.

The interview with Hill generated blogospheric commentary from three sources: (1) New Zealand’s New Economics Party, (2) Seemorerocks, and (3) Murray’s Blog.

I was featured in the print media as a result of interviews and presentations. Results are presented below in chronological order. As always, interviews are permalinked at the tab above cleverly labeled “Interviews.”

Photo essay based on my presentation in Auckland, New Zealand the evening of Sunday, 23 June 2012

Economic collapse ‘might save us’, The Bay Chronicle, 28 June 2012

World ‘bleeding to death’, Taranaki Daily News, 29 June 2012

Guy McPherson in New Zealand, Seemorerocks, 30 June 2012

I think I hear the fat lady singing, The Most Revolutionary Act, 1 July 2012

Civilization and the price of oil, Dissident Voice, 4 July 2012

Despite a broken toe and a severe head cold that led to a bout of laryngitis, my visit to the emerald-cloaked country was pleasant and productive. My final presentation, in the city of Nelson on the north end of the south island, was especially memorable, and included two “firsts” for me:

(1) About 20 minutes into my presentation, two 80-something men shuffled from the back of the room to the exit in the front. Before departing, one of them turned to the audience to say, “Don’t believe the liar,” and gave me the finger.

(2) The initial comment after the presentation questioned my credibility because I was presenting dire information with good humor. Shortly thereafter, several people offered me permanent residence at their homes because of my sense of humor. Or so they said. I’m betting the invitations resulted from the leather patches on the elbows of my jacket, the primary source of my credibility.


This post is hyperlinked at The Refreshment Center.

Comments 94

  • Yep. When we first met it was those leather patches that convinced me you were serious and on the level!

  • I think it’s the hair — gives you that “wise elder” look. (Works for me).

  • Re: those 80-something men, I can totally imagine my 90-year-old grandfather having a similar attitude. It comes from being an adult through the boom times from the 1940s to the 1970s, being members of strong unions that got them good wages, benefits and job security. It comes from watching some (admittedly pretty amazing) technologies appear to solve far more problems than they create, at least in the short term (which has now ended). They think their experience is typical, is just how life works, and they *know* because that is how it’s been for them. And no way could younger people know better.

    Plus, they are much less invested in what the future holds because they won’t be around for it anyway.

    Ugh. It’s such a rubbish attitude.

  • margarets

    Excepting they have children and possibly grandchildren.

  • Nice work Guy…even I haven’t been flipped off yet. Patience…I know:)

  • I’m betting the invitations resulted from the leather patches on the elbows of my jacket, the primary source of my credibility.
    With regard to the advice never to judge a book by its cover, this book is even better than its cover.

  • OZman, they don’t believe there is a problem, so they aren’t worried about their children and grandchildren.

  • @ John Stassek

    “[O]n the level” is a Masonic expression. Knowing its origins, I wouldn’t use it myself. It’s not that I think that Freemasonry is sinister, I don’t, it’s more the curious idea that only members of the fraternity were viewed as being straightforward and honest in their dealings. “Freemasonry takes good men and makes them better.” A rather lofty claim, wouldn’t you say?

  • margarets

    I Take your point.

    Some people just need to see the proof of something, and untill they do, by their own definition of same, it aint worth a damn,( followed by some spittin of t’backy into the dirt).

    That kind of proof, in this case, will be no an overcooked, dry, sorched pudding, and it will be impossible to turn the oven down.

  • Slide show of Joe Sacco’s new graphic novel, co-written with Chris Hedges, on The Guardian site about America’s invisible poor: Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

  • The old guys were just showing the attitude most people around the world have to ‘our’ news. In the end Guys trip was disaster entertainment, it was enjoyable listening to him on the radio, and I’m sure most of ‘us’ would look at his comments as confirmation, we can point to Guy’s qualifications, and say look this person knows a shit load more than YOU, and you should listen. But no, 99% of the general dumb public do not want to know, Jay Hanson says only about .6% could ever get it, let alone the magical 15% that would be needed to make a positive change.
    So death goes on, nothing will change until people start tripping over cadavers, and then the biggest change will be in diet, I mean we are not going to let good protein rot.
    It was good that you enjoyed your holiday Guy, but as far as changing anything, you should have just gone skying.

  • They say you should look at a house on bad day in winter; if you like it then you will like it on every other day. Come to see us again in January or February -that’s if the global system is still operating 6 months from now. You will be most welcome. After all, there are not too many well-informed people who can hold an intelligent conversation around. And the US drought monitor is looking grim.

    By the way, I spoke with Puke Ariki staff shortly after you left about the lack of numbers (64, when there should have been standing room only): they told me we did very well, and that similar events in the past have only attracted half the number of people.

    I’m looking forward to seeing a video/DVD. The videoer hasn’t got back to me yet.

  • ops i not y, dam my dropping out of school at 15 ;)

  • @Martin Knight–

    Regarding “on the level” and “freemasonry takes good men and makes them better”. I wouldn’t know anything about that. But it just so happens I’m trying to build a masonry stove in my house. It’s going slow. So I guess I’m a Slow Mason. Do you suppose that counts?? (:

  • @ John Stassek

    I don’t know what a masonry stove is. Sounds good. If it has to do with handsome brick-work, I’m all for it.

  • Liberals beware: meritocracy leads to oligarchy. That’s according to Chris Hayes. I have to say, I don’t find his argument very convincing: The Age of Illusion

    It looks like earnest hand-wringing, or maybe hand-waving, of the most gratuitous kind. If my own experience is anything to go by, the working world doesn’t work. As Paul Goodman said, few great men would have got past personnel. Or maybe that’s just what I tell myself for having failed so conspicuously.

  • The radio New Zealand interview was fabulous! I’m amazed at your ability to field all the hard questions and provided focused, cogent and complete answers every time – no waffling or inconsistency. I wish I could find a community to do it with and still hope for that, but meanwhile we’re doing everything you say to the best of our ability, except continuing to fly and otherwise consume oil, and we just don’t have the financial resources to do that, nor anybody to look after the farm while we’re gone. Still, we’ve each flown about 2,000,000 miles in earlier days, and driven across country numerous times, plus this year we put in the largest solar array in town and burnt up quite a bit of oil making all those panels,so I hope that counts.

    Guy, you’re way ahead of me on not voting. I hate to think of how many times I was persuaded to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” but I’ll definitely join you in sitting this next one out, and hope to persuade a few others to do so as well.

    Welcome home, and thanks again.

  • From Timothy V. Gatta at Counter Currents: “The country won’t go to pieces before midnight, but in historical terms, the fall of the empire is right around the corner. Many people today (but not as many as yesterday) will see everything collapse and won’t have a clue as to why the collapse is occurring. There are others that will wonder why it didn’t happen sooner. One thing will be apparent; no one will be able to ignore it.”

  • What if people live longer because it’s profitable?

  • Guy McPherson

    I assume you are endorsing this view from Timothy V. Gatta, and if so I got to say something.

    We are seeing it already, and it is just never going to register on conservative nightly news or big national papers because the system of economic and political analysis and commentary in the mainstream is either asleep, or deliberatly directing that analysis to subordinate causes, and that is an octapus’s nightmare in that zone.


    Spanish miners rebelling against austerity, letting go of penalty rates and overtime pay on the cards here in Australia if Liberals get in in the next federal election.

    It is a long emergency, and the more drawn out it is the more we will feel the oppression at out own town level.

    Lets not kid ouselves, once the oil burner dies down the lights will go out, and in the dark, no one can see us scream, but we will hear it from now untill the last gasp.

    We need to make as much noise about it as possible, and I don’t agree with Robert Attak when he says;
    ‘But no, 99% of the general dumb public do not want to know’,

    Maybe in North America, but it is my experience that advocacy is the key. People listen to those they respect, and the more street conversations we have about these issues with people we know, the more that critical mass will come about.

    It is well to have someone of Guy’s qualifications doing some world advocacy, because now that people like Mike Ruppert, have been seen to resorting to the bogus types in the spiritualst movement, collapse issues lose much credibility in the mainstream.

    Conservative people tend to respect conservative9Seeming) people, and I really don’t know how to fight that except to follow a few simple rules:

    1. Talk the talk
    2. Walk the walk
    3. Dress and groom moderately well,(patches in elbows are OK)
    4. Only 1 and 3 are not enough.

    I am satisfied both Guy and Richard Hineberg quallify according to this, but I’m not sure I, or many other well known people would so easily do so.

    Of couse there are lots of free range people, left over from the 1060’s and 70′ who dropped out who no one hears from still perma-living and such. Maybe we need to tap them on the shoulder to get them vocal.

  • OZ man

    What are the objectives of talking the talk and walking the walk?

  • Regardless of the origins of a word or phrase, when the prevalence of its use with a particular meaning or connotation is widely recognised, that becomes its accepted usage, an instance of evolution by consensus rather than an imposition by hierarchy. Even Merriam-Webster recognises the meaning of the phrase “on the level” as “bonafide” or “honest”; the Urban Dictionary generally recognises such trends and interprets it in even stronger terms as completely honest and above-board.
    OneLook Dictionary Search: on the level

  • Amongst hunter-gatherers the best hunter in the band led the hunt, and the best gatherer, the gathering. This brought those who excelled commensurate social status. Amplification of such status beyond any correlation with societal benefit in a meritocracy is promoted by and only possible in hierarchical systems.

    The societal benefits gained from the abilities and achievements of the top Wall Street CEOs and the top athletes need substantial embellishment to justify their pomp and pelf.

  • @ Robin Datta

    the Urban Dictionary generally recognises such trends

    To which trends are you referring? Do you mean catachresis? I accept that catachresis, once it is under way, cannot easily be stopped, but I am unclear as to why it is something to be celebrated. You call it evolution by consensus. I call it unchecked carelessness.

  • A system approach to the financial predicament we’re in:


    (from same)
    “The financial subsystem is essentially a house of cards built on top of a bubble, or a composite bubble (see Figure 3). We got a taste of this when the defecant hit the fan in the housing bubble/sub-prime mortgage markets leading to a large number of bank failures and a substantial bailout for the surviving institutions by governments[2]. The situation is similar in many parts of the world, not just the US. Europe is in the grip of financial emergencies of several sorts and the EU is constantly trying to apply band aids to stanch the bleeding from really large wounds (Greece, Spain, etc.). There are reports that China is suffering a real estate bubble about to burst.

    As in Figure 3, there is a pin (probably several) that are poised to burst the bubble and bring the whole house of cards down. It isn’t always possible to see what the pin could be. By definition bubble bursts cannot be predicted so far as what will cause it and when it will happen. All we know for sure is that bubbles do eventually bust and often with devastating consequences.

    The real economy is based on real physical assets plus the capacity for producing new assets. The latter comes down to the availability of physical resources, especially energy. It is necessary that a certain proportion of assets be held as surplus so that it is available to ‘loan’ to ventures seeking to acquire those resources and produce more assets (note that this does not necessarily imply a growth economy, however). But the borrowing is against existing surplus (savings) not speculative assets to be produced sometime in the future.

    Where we stand today is that non-renewable resources have been dwindling with over extraction. Net energy per capita, available to the economy, has been declining. So whatever surplus we held, our collective savings, have been eroded such that it was necessary for the past several decades to create illusory assets on speculation that somehow the production economy would once again rev up and produce a sufficient surplus in the future to compensate for current deficits. We did this by reducing much further the reserve requirements on banks and large funds like pension funds that invest in equities. The apparent creation of money then made it possible to continue the illusion of investing in real asset production. But it just wasn’t so.

    Society made the mistake of treating superfluous trinkets and entertainments as if they were actually assets. They definitely cost money to produce but less in the way of resources. Moreover, they were not likely to contribute in any meaningful way to the future generation of assets. iTunes might make it more tolerable for copy clerks to make it through their mind-numbing days at the office, but that really isn’t the same as producing tools that will increase our resource flows in the future. We are spending a lot of illusory wealth on illusory (and hence worthless) asset-like stuff while all the time getting poorer.”
    (there’s more)

    i too enjoyed your interview though i don’t have the patience to keep being interrupted by the fatuous comments of the interviewee and would have either told her to stfu while i was speaking or just walked out – thanks for being steadfast and patient. You definitely got the point across despite her many side-lining interruptions.

  • All languages evolve through consensus. Old English became Middle English about the time of the Norman invasion. Middle English became Early Modern English. Shakespearean / Elizebethan English evolved to Modern English. The usages and the forms of the words in each were different from that of subsequent phases. It is a process that is continuous. The later forms and usages would be incorrect in their predecessors. Improper usages of bygone times are quite proper today. And some of today’s improper usages will be proper usages in the future. When such changes in usage are sufficiently prevalent, they are granted official recognition  by incorporation into the then-current dictionaries. 

    There are always those at every stage who will insist on the usage which they see as customary. That helps to maintain continuity by limiting the proliferation  of variants and the speed at which they become prevalent. That does not however halt the evolution. Even in the past several decades, the usage and meanings have changed. Examples include “media” and “gay”. 

  • Fodder for the brains…

    …While the nineteenth century American city faced many forms of environmental pollution, none was as all encompassing as that produced by the horse. The most severe problem was that caused by horses defecating and urinating in the streets, but dead animals and noise pollution also produced serious annoyances and even health problems. The normal city horse produced between fifteen and thirty-five pounds of manure a day and about a quart of urine, usually distributed along the course of its route or deposited in the stable. While cities made sporadic attempts to keep the streets clean, the manure was everywhere, along the roadway, heaped in piles or next to stables, or ground up by the traffic and blown about by the wind… More here: http://www.enviroliteracy.org/article.php/578.html

    And this was before oil and gas and automobiles. Everything further away in time (past or future) looks rosy and supports dreaming away the problems of present. A super delusional state of existence.

  • K, cities suck. They are emblematic of civilization. They represent the apex of empire. I’m hoping they’ll be gone soon. All of them. After all, we managed fine without them for about two million years.

  • Robin Datta

    The bit about hunter-gatherers:
    “Amongst hunter-gatherers the best hunter in the band led the hunt, and the best gatherer, the gathering. This brought those who excelled commensurate social status. Amplification of such status beyond any correlation with societal benefit in a meritocracy is promoted by and only possible in hierarchical systems.”

    This some of your best work.

    This says it all.

    I will stress some bits I would like to ephpasise:

    In larger groups reputation of big nobs, both women and men, is often manufactured, but in a healthy sized hunter-gatherer group no one can bullshit any one else about their contribution. It seems grandparients were very nescessary, as one may expect.

    I recall Cassio in Shakespeare’s “Othello, the Moor of Venice” lamenting his loss of favour with his friend and military superior Othello.

    “Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation”. To which Iago replies:

    “…Reputation is an idle, and most false imposition;
    oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.”

    Later when winding Othello up Iago says:

    “Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
    Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
    ’Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name,
    Robs me of that which not enriches him,
    And makes me poor indeed.”

    This sounds a little close to some of Socrates earlier words:

    ” Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of – for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”

    I’ll repeat that last bit just to ephasise somthing very simple but nevertheless yoda-like;

    “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
    That is very wize.

    What kinds of benifits does the urber hunter/gatherer obtain from the group by a slightly enhanced status? Is it a slightly larger portion of the amimal and vegetable so hunted and gathered? Is there more to be had?


    From the material you quoted this is the nub:

    “So whatever surplus we held, our collective savings, have been eroded such that it was necessary for the past several decades to create illusory assets on speculation that somehow the production economy would once again rev up and produce a sufficient surplus in the future to compensate for current deficits.”

    The big domestic problem is the un-affordability of housing. In Sydney the market is so overpriced it requires Babyboomers to suppliment their children’s deposit and mortgage payments to get a house close enought to the CBD to get to their two jobs. There have been first home buyers schemes that prop up the new entrants to the market, but the banks have largely not supplied credit for first and second entry level houses to be built, because typically their rewards for larger mortgages are much higher. Subsequent to those 2 decades we have no entry level houses, everything is a $650,000+ MacMansion.

    Governments must have known what they were doing was FUBARing the economy, this is what makes me really think the Aliens are arriving around Christmas. Everything seems to have been timed to POP about then!

    I’m with Iago on this one;

    “Men should be what they seem;
    Or those that be not, would they might seem none!”

  • More fodder –

    There were about 5 millions at the beginning of 19th century and there were over 60 millions at the end of the 19th century.

  • Glad your back Guy.

    Had a really nasty moment where I misread your “severe head” for “severed head”I began hyperventilating and wondering how you managed to write your post with a severed head!Luckily on the third attempt I read it right.

    Sorry about the toe but after the severed head it seemed a little anticlimactic!

  • re. guy’s getting the finger from a rude elderly critic at one of his talks, it’s worth noting that not wilting in the slightest in the face of very personal public animosity by someone, who, for all guy knows, could be dangerously inclined to violence…guy’s courage/resolve to persevere in the face of what he must know will be increasing resistance to his efforts the more success he has at them is highly laudable. not everyone can do what he’s doing, and few can do it as well.

    i listened to guy’s interview with kim hill on new zealand’s public radio, no doubt reaching a sizable number of ears. impressed as always by his performance. guy provided a link to murray’s blog in his essay. as a congregant of this sandbox religion, of course, like kathy and others i’m adept at the ridiculously simple (and therefore, apparently unworthy of k’s respect) practice of cutting and pasting. i’m using this unimpressive skill to share more fully with my fellow sandbox believers (lol) murray’s brief blogpost on guy’s visit, since it makes a couple of noteworthy observations. here is that post, in it’s entirety:

    Posted on July 8, 2012 by murrayg1

    Well done Kim Hill. Easily the smartest Journo in the country, and the only one going anywhere near the truth of what is hitting us.

    McPherson could be Jennie and I. No difference = or bugger-all – when you work it out. Like Orlov, he understands Jevons:


    very well, and suggests that a fast crash will leave more chance for those who follow. Some folk complained that Hill chopped-in too often – but they will be those who understand, and who wanted to listen to one of their own kind. Interviewing – from a basis of ‘extracting the truth’ – needs to ask the hard questions, and attempt the trip-up. His reply re flying (you used fossil fuels to get here) was classic. How can we have a country being removed from the truth (NIWA / Lauder silencing / Steven Joyce / Tertiary ‘funding’) and yet there is the information, on National Radio.

    Clearly, the current Govt can’t have such comments going mainstream – imaging the consternation: “You mean my mortgage won’t be repaid, my investments will be worth progressively less, and I won’t get a pension?” Watch for National Ratio to get knobbled soon. Can’t have this truth stuff getting about, now, can we?

    observation 1: interviewer hill did interrupt guy too often, sometimes interjecting relatively ignorant opinions. this annoying habit of not allowing a gifted speaker free reign to make his points without interruption seems to be a universal characteristic of what’s at best a very flawed profession: journalism. at least high profile professional journalism. however, she is exceptionally open in giving a fair, friendly, lengthy interview to a talented ‘doomer’. as noted above, this is exceedingly rare. new zealand is lucky to have a political climate in which one can exist. i doubt if guy has any chance of ever getting such a high profile interview in the orwellian ‘american’ media. (i place quote marks around ‘america’ to denote that the nation commonly referred to by that name is in fact just a small part of the american continents. technically speaking, everyone from canada to chile and argentina is american.)

    observation 2: murray asks how can we have a ‘country removed from the truth’ when it is freely available on national radio? my answer is contained below:

    i posted a couple comments on murray’s blog in my flawed attempt to be supportive and encouraging. repeating some of the gist of them here briefly: trying to raise awareness as guy and murray are doing is great work, the most important work one may choose. it’s also very difficult, because of massive ignorance and entrenched delusions, and dangerous, as has already been pointed out. it seems a lost cause that a sherson of conscience must take up. as guy is fond of saying, (paraphrasing) ‘revolutions always fail, which is a great reason to start one today.’

  • During the interview Guy uses U.S. drone attacks as an example of human suffering in the world. That certainly is a more recent and noteworthy example, but I would have simply used oil wars like that of Iraq in which we butchered hundreds of thousands of foreigners directly and indirectly in order to gain control of capitalism’s and industrial civilization’s keystone resource, i.e. oil.
    I would also say that capitalism and industrial civilization go hand in hand. The inherent need for growth that characterizes capitalism is THE MAJOR FORCE in the destruction of the environment. Industrial civilization is simply the result of our discovery of cheap fossil fuels and the development of modern technology, but the guiding force behind it all is our economic system – capitalism.

  • Morocco Bama:

    I spent 45 years in IT, as a programmer/analyst, project leader, etc., usually working under the watch of a sociopath. In all that time serving the corporate world my work did nothing of value for anyone. It only helped large companies get larger. I am relieved to now be retired. Even when I was in the system, I could not stand to work 40hr/50 weeks per year. I took months off each year to go camping and devote time to our private lives. Even with all that, I probably spent too much of my precious time doing nonsense.

  • No answer to my question on the objective(s) of walking the walk and talking the talk. I seem to remember in the last essay the public school system came in for criticism for dissuading questions. Maybe the question is too dumb. Is the aim “To increase collapse awareness so that we might start living in a more sustainable way less harmful to the living planet”? Are there any other aims?

  • Yorchichan, I don’t think your question is dumb, but are you asking OZ man or everyone?

  • Guy,
    Sorry about the mixed-bag in Nelson. I still like the place, and it at least had a resident Tibetan Lama when I was there. You may now see why I thought most Kiwis were overly fixed in a there-there-it’ll-all-be-allright kind of world view. Sadly, you got the f…-you-it’ll-all-be-allright version. The implication of the invites, if I may interpret Kiwi, is that you may visit us, not only because we find you pleasant and agreeable, but because we will be just fine here.

  • Yorchichan

    Re Talking the Talk, and Walking the Walk.

    In my own way, this far from anywhere,I have attempted to establish, in relative terms how seriously I should take the ‘Emergency’ of Peak Oil and the Collapse issues.
    I have emailed Dimitri Orlov to try to assess if he makes money from his website, ‘cluborlov’. In that case I tried to be clear and polite, and he told me it was none of my ‘businesss’.
    I have seen videos of Richard Heinberg in his back yard with his wife describing their vegetable garden and the devices they use to minimise their dependence on the grid.
    I have investigated Guy McPhersons site and lectures and seen some video footage on the place he now lives.
    I listened to Mike Ruppert on CIA and 9/11 and drugs and his critique of how cash is king, and how that is an indicator of collapse coming. I have read ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ by him, and ‘The Grand Chessboard’ by Zebignu Zerbanski, which concerns USA attempts at violent geopolitical hegemony. I no longer listen to Mr Ruppert, even though I honour his earlier work, because he has endorsed very shonky phony alien conjurer pscho mumbo jumbo types as he has taken to North American Shamanism, and advocated throwing out reason and logic, purely because that is how we got here.

    Here is a link to my comments to him on his weekly Lifeboat Hour radio session in which i give my reasons for not listening to him anymore:


    This is not to say that just because someone has a backyard vegetable garden they are the real deal. Far from it.

    So let me get to the point of the problem we all face with regard to advocacy.


    I have attempted to verify as much as I can the broard thesis of let me say ‘ecological collapse issus’, which includes economic and Peak Oil issues, in order that I may,
    1. Make some big choices , with my family
    2. Advocate sanely the extreme problems we now face, and some triage solutions
    3. Minimise the loss of credibility when some of the more critical details fail to eventuate, like Oil prices going down, and an amateur analist will determine the long haul problems were just scare mongering.
    4. That I can still feed my kids and not disrupt their life by continuing their education, some skill base in terms of occupation,(pre and Post Collapse), and prepare them for an unknown future.
    5. Stay sane.

    The real issue is that like Newton’s great understanding about momentum, unless acted on by a force an object in motion will continue that motion indefinitely, we are globally on the cliff right now.

    If I was to ask my fasmily, spouse plus 5 children, to move to a more carbon neutral anarchic community, and there are many around, some less clearly defined, I would be going on my own. I would be the crazy one. And the story would be told around that I abandoned my family for some doomer cult.

    So the thing about Talking the Talk, and Walking the Walk, is firstly to establish if someone who publicly advocates, say Collapsing Empire, ‘either by hook or by crook’, is genuine. One test is if they also Walk the Walk, of live it.

    Using the internet, and books to establish facts is only partially sound. One has to make a judgment, and I try to assess all I can find with all my functions, not just a few.

    So the objectives of Walking the Walk are to prepare for a time of no dependence on centalised energy and easily acquirable resources , on currency, and on systems that are unsustainable.

    If you read my original 4 points you will notice it is of no use to Talk and not Walk. If you look at a traditional monastic life cycle, you will find that most of these objective are there.
    Frugality, self sufficiency, and self discipline. There is also the emphasis on functioning community.
    If you wish to understand more fully how currency as a means of energy exchange reduces and destroys reciprocation in community read,

    Bernard Lietaer- ‘The future of money’. not a self help book, it is a profound analysis of the relationships that currency induces, and how it destroys community.
    I would say that in a nutshell the problem with currency is that it encourages the force of self interest to override the force of community interest. If you find mone that is not someones then it is yours, not your communities, unless you were educated otherwise.

  • xraymike79

    I think that in terms of the USA and UK, all the other military players are noting the lengths they are prepared to go, to dominate the world.

    Your points about Iraq are valid, however it is of far more significance to military regimes that the use of DU – Depleted Uranium, munitions kills not only the inhabitants of the theatre of war, ie homelands, but olso the seving soldiers themselves.

    I call it the Keiser Suzei syndrome, where a villain is crazy enough to kill his own family so he is invulnerable to manipulation and blackmail, which instills fear in his competitors, be they police or rival criminals. It come from the film, ‘The Usual Suspects’
    I view what the USA and UK and allies did in Iraq as a chessboard move to that effect, as well as satisfying other strategic objectives. To be clear they are saying loudly,

    “We don’t need to launch neclear weopons to bring fallout to your region, we can deploy conventional weapons and have a simillar carcinogenic effect”, and they did.

    If you add to the mix the rapidly expanding drone deployment side of warfare, spreading Radiation is a powerful deterrent and Iraq is a very potent teaching tool for TPTB. Ergo- take us on and your children will get cancer etc.

  • Guy

    If I can arrange a radio interview on your core subject, End of Empire, with an (AUSTRALIAN),ABC National Radio environment producer/correspondent would you be interested? The interview in NZ would be a useful starting point for me to broach the issue.

  • OZ man, I’ll get out the word any way I’m able, including radio interviews with any interviewer. Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

  • Fascinating! I wish I could have come and seen you talk in NZ.

    What are your feelings on ‘Occupy’ the movement.

  • Heard you on national radio earlier. Chilling how relavent your thoughts were to my decision to leave the west recently. All the best in your rockey outcrop. Cheers.

  • Really enjoyed hearing your interview on our government-operated- commerical-free-radio station today here in little cold New Zilland.
    Wonder if you’d be interetsed in one of my T Shirt range
    “UNSUSTANABLE and proud”
    Ideal for wearing on those long haul flights!!

  • sic UNSUSTAINABLE oops!

  • I hope you likd NZ. Sorry about the crap weather. I blame climate change [no we are not immune].
    I was pissed that I missed you at Petone but at least the failing was mine alone.
    I heard you being interviewd by Kim Hill and as it kept going I kept thinking “My od! this is going run an hour!” That’s the longest I have heard her talk with someone.
    You were unimpeachable. :)
    All the best.


  • I have emailed Dimitri Orlov to try to assess if he makes money from his website, ‘cluborlov’. In that case I tried to be clear and polite, and he told me it was none of my ‘businesss’.

    That is because it is his business: there is at least one advertising banner on that site. Any time there are ads on a site, someone is milking that cow.

  • Walk the walk & talk the talk:

    There was once a tribe of forest-dwellers. Their storyteller used to tell them of a village with frequent revelry. One day a few of them  happened by the edge of the forest where they heard the sounds of the revelry in an adjacent village. They went to the village and joined in. However one of them broke away and returned to the forest to inform the rest of the tribe, many of whom proceeded to the village.

    The storytellers are thinkers and philosophers, talking the talk. The ones who partake of the revelry are those who “attain” “enlightenment”, walking the walk. The one who returns to tell the others is one of the Great Teachers – such as the Buddha – walking the walk and talking the talk. 

  • Jennifer

    You are right. I can’t ask Oz Man a question and then make a general criticism. Sorry about that. If anybody else wants to write about how they walk the walk and why, I would be interested to read about it.

    Oz Man

    Thank you for a far more detailed reply than my question deserved. I am cynical by nature and like you I am always curious as to the motivation of those famous in the peak oil community. Do they talk the talk for personal gain, whether financial or otherwise, out of a desire to help other people or out of a desire to help the living planet? Of course, I am also interested in their state of mind and whether they walk the walk.

    When back in the UK I used to belong to a transition organization but in the end I left because by picking fruit or planting vegetables on “waste” ground I was depriving animals of their food and habitat. I reckoned the animals needed the food and habitat more than the people did.

    Now I live in Thailand. I’ve got lots of land but I live far away from it. Instead I live mortgage free in a gated community with a good mix of foreigners and Thais. The house has little land and although I planted as many fruit trees as I could after moving in I am well aware this food would not go far. I could build a house on my land and start a permaculture forest but the isolation would drive me crazy. The kids like living in the community and have their friends here and would not be happy if we left too. Thanks to my wife’s job in the evil oil industry money is not a problem.

    The thought of living in an anarchic community in close proximity with strangers fills me with dread. Even if I wanted to do so I would, like you again, be on my own. Walking around a Thai museum last week looking at pictures of how people lived a hundred years ago, I am not sure if I would want to survive a collapse.

  • Morocco Bama

    I agreewith you on:

    “The problem I have with advocating the “walk the talk” is that it’s a dualistic ultimatum, meaning if you can’t walk your talk, then shut the hell up, keep your head down…”

    That was not what I was getting at. I was looking at assessing a person, or group for that matter, that advocates anything, and I mean seriously. Now if somone says ‘we should all exercise more’, thats not a big deal. Of courese we should exercise more, if we are not getting enough to begin with.

    I am referring to the public integrity of an advocate, and its legitimate only if they are walking and talking.

    I am not speaking to silence people or voices in the manner you have questioned.

    That is, in terms of radical social and economic transformation, Talking it, and Talking it as if we have a chance to change the destructive outcomes, is to me only valid if you take your own advice, and Walk it.

    Talking the talk is ok too, but it is a kind of talking that people accept as general advice, but in order to have any effect in the way Guy and others are calling for, requires people to be woken up to the pathways beyond their present way of life.

    By all means kill the Beast with your steely knives, even many times over if it makes you feel better. But the Beast we need to kill is the binding power of the Ego. It is only we ourselves that can self administer that ‘death blow’.
    Here is one rubric to decide on advocacy, in ‘Strain’:

    1.Talking = Cool, cheers mate
    2.Walking = Bloody cool, good on ya cobber
    3.Talking and Walking = Way cool, pick up a shovel will ya mate, still a shit load of work to get through before any smoko.
    4.Talking and pretending to be Walking = …………(fill in own descriptor).

    Everyone who feels the emotional shock of what is at stake goes on a journey about haw to manage their response. People have made reference to Elizabeth Cubler Ross’s ideas about the stages of grief. Part of waking up to being born into a giant world gobbler machine is devastating to your heart. If Talking is all that I can do to start getting oriented and make decisions about my actions within that machine, then of course that is OK.

    However, if I keep telling people that driving to work each day puts far more CO2 into the atmosphere than cycling, walking or even public transport, and drive to work every day without seriously attempting the opposite, then I am only in the Talking and pretending to Walk category.

    Remember Winston Smith’s revolutionary transgressive act?
    He kept a piece of paper he was supposed to destroy that was evidence that the Party was revisioning historical documents, constantly – it was his job.
    Talking is radical
    Walking is radical
    Both are radical

    I also meant that if that is all we do, talk, the outcomes will not eventuate. Walking gets the job done.

  • Robin Datta

    Regarding Dimiti Orlov I want to be clear. He never told me anything. I cannot conclude therefor that he is not genuine, but I was not encouraged to trust his overall motivations in bringing what is otherwise fairly rational advice and views on the subjects he specialises in. I merely wished to indicate I have made reasonable attempts to find out if there is a lot of self interest in these sourses of shouting about the coming collapse and climate catastrophie.

    The story is a good one. Many variants float about of it. To twist the metaphore, I fear we have developed a way of life that encourages us and many poorer peoples to aspire to go over to that ‘party’ and it requires the destruction of the forest to keep that going.

  • Robin Datta

    Regarding Dimiti Orlov I want to be clear. He never told me anything. I cannot conclude therefore that he is not genuine, but I was not encouraged to trust his overall motivations in bringing what is otherwise fairly rational advice and views on the subjects he specialises in. I merely wished to indicate I have made reasonable attempts to find out if there is a lot of self interest in these sourses of shouting about the coming collapse and climate catastrophie.

    The story is a good one. Many variants float about of it. To twist the metaphore, we have developed a way of life that encourages us and many poorer peoples to aspire to go over to that ‘party’ but it requires the destruction of the forest to keep the party going. And the booze is about to run out.

  • Yorchichan

    Thanks for the clarification.
    People only make changes when they feel deeply about something AND feel a responsibility to respond with a change. Many situations do not lend themselves to easy changes of the kind we are talking about, and the factor of children is a big considderation. However, my experience is that we can all do something, it is just what and will it suffice for our own sense of that responsibility. Some are happy being revolutionaries, and dropping some pretty hefty responsibilities, like family, but since my father did that to our family in a big way, I don’t see that is an option for me.
    I think some people will scoff at the ‘do what you can’ approach, and equate it to checking the labels on foodstuffs to see if it is eco freiendly, and not buying from Wallmart. If we are living in this machine, we are all giving something to keep it going, but that is not a reason to not advocate radical transformation, even rapid collapse, nor is it a reason to take on too much revolutionary zeal without the ability to sustain some course of action.

    We all will ‘walk’ what we decide to, and yeah for that.

    I find if I have a strategic objective and it is not realisable just yet, if I hold the intent inside, I can adapt something, or find a way to achieve that objective. Its not positive thinking, but it is a kind of trust in the world, that what I identify as a positive change is in agreement with the creative path for myself.

    I think its called inner commitment, and although that mustneeds be a kind of resolve, it also needs to be mutable and flexable, like the reed that knows when to bend, so not to break.

    Because we only rent I have been developing some portable no-dig-garden pods to grow organically in. So far with moderate success. The local wallabies have eaten a few things. I walk every sunny day, and I would like to walk around Australia before I go to worms. But I also want my children to get a reasonable beginning to their lives, and be protected. I have no doubt that those walks will get longer and longer, and if I really want to I will walk aroud this amazing land – Great Southern Land.
    I don’t think the oil company your wife works for is evil, but the laws that permit some corporations to act in a way that destroys the planet are unjust. The lack of reforming those laws is equally unjust, in my view.

  • Apologies for posting a note twice. Glitch..

  • Interesting comments follow the article:

    Lucas Foglia: the photographer in search of off-the-grid Americans

    Raised by back-to-the-landers, he scoured the US in a camper van, seeking out people who have gone further than his parents…


  • Nick NZ, I’m a fan of the Occupy movement because it’s counter-cultural. I explain in some detail here, and please read my comments as well as viewing the video.

  • Sesquipedalian verbiage in prosaic prose: incongruous as a patch of velvet on sackcloth.

  • Robin Datta

    Please, you gotta explain that one.

  • Guy

    “Cities suck”

    Maybe, but cities are not the main problem. That would be the large human population. Even in a densely populated urbanized country like the UK it is surprising how little land is actually concreted over:

    The great myth of urban Britain

    What is driving other species to extinction is loss of habitat to agriculture, not to cities. You could argue that it is people living in cities that require the agricultural resources, but the underlying problem is still the number of people rather than where they live.

    I know you try to inspire people to leave cities and live in sustainable rural communities and I don’t say this is a bad thing. Anybody listening to this message is probably increasing their chance of a longer life. But I still see it as an anthropocentric message. If everybody followed your advice and our cities emptied we would still require the same amount of land given over to agriculture to feed all the people. In fact, a lot more land if it is farmed organically. There would be no benefit to non human species because there would be no increase in natural habitat.

    There is no solution to over population other than to let nature run its course. Neither you nor anyone else in the environmental movement has any power to terminate the industrial economy.

  • Havnt had time to read Guys work yet but was glad to hear much of his interview with Kim on National replay radio last night. Thankyou Guy. Could relate.

  • Yorchichan ” Neither you nor anyone else in the environmental movement has any power to terminate the industrial economy.” I agree, however the financial sector does and is, although the military sector might jump in. If a Carrington event type solar flare doesn’t wipe out the US grid which our congress has refused to spend 1 billion to protect. http://www.truthistreason.net/emp-attack-and-solar-storms-the-complete-guide You see just like we claimed of Sadaam Hussein, the US has failed to maintain and upgrade its infrastructure.

    When collapse comes, people who live in cities will find that living in cities does suck. While the same number of people have to be fed regardless of where they live, if they live away from the land it takes additional power to get their food to them. With oil, relatively little fertile land is appropriated to get that food to them (although the longer things hold on the more fertile land will be fracked and contaminated). Without oil it takes domestic animals to get that food to them, and they are powered by the sun through food grown on land. Thus without powered vehicles it takes more food grown from land to feed the cities, because one would greatly have to expand the population of donkeys, mules and horses.

    Of course once any country’s grid fails and stays down for for a week or two all its nuclear power plants will go Fukushima and even living in the countryside will suck.

    so it goes….

  • Please, you gotta explain that one.

    OneLook Dictionary Search

    Out of respect for swallows elevated above squires, I say no more.

  • Revisiting Carrying Capacity: 
    Area-Based Indicators of Sustainability

    by William E. Rees, The University of British Columbia

    A simple mental exercise serves to illustrate the ecological reality behind this approach. Imagine what would happen to any modern human settlement or urban region, as defined by its political boundaries or the area of built-up land, if it were enclosed in a glass or plastic hemisphere completely closed to material flows. Clearly the city would cease to function and its inhabitants would perish within a few days. The population and economy contained by the capsule would have been cut off from both vital resources and essential waste sinks leaving it to starve and suffocate at the same time. In other words, the ecosystems contained within our imaginary human terrarium would have insufficient carrying capacity to service the ecological load imposed by the contained population.

  • There is no solution to over population other than to let nature run its course.

  • ‘Either you’re part of the problem, or you’re part of the solution’ must be one of the most threadbare shibboleths ever formulated in the English language by now. It’s pretty much like having to choose between declaring yourself a believer in God or an atheist. How about ‘I-don’t-give-a-fuck-ism’? Because any god (why does there have to be one?) who is so incompetent at issuing his dispensation to humanity that we now have three-and-a-half different versions (if you count Mormonism) of what he wants is not worthy of respect, but this never comes up because, as the Australian stand-up Jim Jefferies says, ‘religious people will forgive God fuckin’ anything.’>

    We are at the Eve of Destruction, and people want to interrogate if Dmitry Orlov is sincere.

    It ought to be obvious that Dmitry is not in the persuasion business. No one as hard-headed as this guy, who advocates getting into pimping and drug-dealing as a means to survive the coming evolutionary bottleneck, gives a monkeys what you do. He is totally sincere, if a little sadistic: he is in the ‘you can’t say you weren’t told’ business. Because you were told.

  • Dmitry Orlov perceives from the vantage of an engineer: one thained not just in science, but also in its application. In addition, he is polite, something becoming increasingly rare amongst those who, unlike him, are born in the uSA.

  • “one trained not just in science”

  • Robin, thained, I thought maybe that was another word you use that I was going to have to google. Thanks for saving me on searching that one :)

  • Robin, thained, I thought maybe that was another word you use that I was going to have to google. Thanks for saving me on searching that one 

    King Philip of Spain appointed a very successful general (Antonio Medina) to head the navy when that billet opened up. The navy then was converted into a batch of unwieldy, lumbering troopships fitted with cannon – the Spanish Armada. 

    I do not believe it is my fault that the Royal Navy, led (amongst others) by Sir Walter Raleigh) made short work of that Spanish Armada: as a remote consequence, the British ruled the Indian subcontinent for a couple of centuries. 

    Unfortunately Herr Adolf Hitler upset the apple cart, and the “brown Englishmen” that had been created (to fill roles in middle management) were strewn to the four winds – and one of them comments at Nature Bats Last. 

  • full article at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/trade-study-global-systemic-collapse snip below

    This study considers the relationship between a global systemic banking, monetary and solvency crisis and its implications for the real-time flow of goods and services in the globalised economy. It outlines how contagion in the financial system could set off semi-autonomous contagion in supply chains globally, even where buyers and sellers are linked by solvency, sound money and bank intermediation. The cross-contagion between the financial system and trade/production networks is mutually reinforcing.

    It is argued that in order to understand systemic risk in the globalised economy, account must be taken of how growing complexity (interconnectedness, interdependence and the speed of processes), the de-localisation of production and concentration within key pillars of the globalised economy have magnified global vulnerability and opened up the possibility of a rapid and large-scale collapse. ‘Collapse’ in this sense means the irreversible loss of socio-economic complexity which fundamentally transforms the nature of the economy. These crucial issues have not been recognised by policy-makers nor are they reflected in economic thinking or modelling.

    As the globalised economy has become more complex and ever faster (for example, Just-in-Time logistics), the ability of the real economy to pick up and globally transmit supply-chain failure, and then contagion, has become greater and potentially more devastating in its impacts. In a more complex and interdependent economy, fewer failures are required to transmit cascading failure through socio-economic systems. In addition, we have normalised massive increases in the complex conditionality that underpins modern societies and our welfare. Thus we have problems seeing, never mind planning for such eventualities, while the risk of them occurring has increased significantly. The most powerful primary cause of such an event would be a large-scale financial shock initially centring on some of the most complex and trade central parts of the globalised economy.

    The argument that a large-scale and globalised financial-banking-monetary crisis is likely arises from two sources. Firstly, from the outcome and management of credit over-expansion and global imbalances and the growing stresses in the Eurozone and global banking system. Secondly, from the manifest risk that we are at a peak in global oil production, and that affordable, real-time production will begin to decline in the next few years. In the latter case, the credit backing of fractional reserve banks, monetary systems and financial assets are fundamentally incompatible with energy constraints. It is argued that in the coming years there are multiple routes to a largescale breakdown in the global financial system, comprising systemic banking collapses, monetary system failure, credit and financial asset vaporization. This breakdown, however and whenever it comes, is likely to be fast and disorderly and could overwhelm society’s ability to respond.

    We consider one scenario to give a practical dimension to understanding supply-chain contagion: a break-up of the Euro and an intertwined systemic banking crisis. Simple argument and modelling will point to the likelihood of a food security crisis within days in the directly affected countries and an initially exponential spread of production failures across the world beginning within a week. This will reinforce and spread financial system contagion. It is also argued that the longer the crisis goes on, the greater the likelihood of its irreversibility. This could be in as little as three weeks. This study draws upon simple ideas drawn from ecology, systems dynamics, and the study of complex networks to frame the discussion of the globalised economy. Real-life events such as United Kingdom fuel blockades (2000) and the Japanese Tsunami (2011) are used to shed light on modern trade vulnerability.

  • Martin Knight

    It should be clear from what I have previously written, the issue was to see if we are on the eve of destruction, by asking the question,

    “do Dimitri Orlov and others have something themselves to gain by way of creating some fear and irrational concern about collapse issues?”

    That is a very valid aspect of assessing if one should make personal changes.

    If , for instance , you are already convinced of the veracity of the claims then another, like myself, doing and commenting on that assessment motive and process, may look very nieve. You might have your way of verifying others assertions of global reality, and I have mine – so put something concrete up for others to look at, and see if the jump starters pull out the electrodes.

    I am one of those idiots who want to know the truth, and just like in all the ages of humanity before now it is never an easy task to determine the truth, especially when some philosophers declair there is no truth. But I digress.

    Without offering ‘Occular proof’, I attest here that I do things. And have done things. I don’t need to prove that to others.

    But if you wish to look at the issue of creating a fearful market in order to profit from offering the solutions later, look at a study of the self help movement, from Oliver Burkeman, in his new book, ‘The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking’. A link to an interview about that study is here:


    Regarding Dimitri Orlov, I agree that he has some very sound points to make about his special areas of concern, and I can take that and negotiate the rest. I believe he never advocated selling drugs and pimping others, he merely pionted out that in crisis times people resort to that, maybe they stay doing that even if things improve.

    So I cannot conclude if Mr Orlov cares, or not. But my concern was how much does he make from his website, and I asked with respect, and he told me nothing. I asked because self interest is an issue for me when giving valuable warnings of issues to do with other peoples welfare. Is that enough for some clarity. I have no beef with Mr Orlov.


    Incidently NZ sounds to me like a great place to ride out the near term of a collapse.

  • OZ man,the proper spelling of Dmitry’s name is “Dmitry”.

  • Kathy C

    The US claims Saddam failed to maintain Iraq’s infrastructure? That would have been rather difficult to achieve with US bombs raining down on it! Rather a bold rewriting of history there, methinks.

    Have to continue to disagree about financial collapse equating to industrial collapse. I still believe governments will be able to mitigate the inevitable financial collapse and keep the industrial game going while the resources are there to exploit.

    I remember reading that before the oil age one third of agricultural land was given over to growing food for mules and horses (I think I read it in “The Party’s Over”). Diverting such a large percentage of land away from the production of food for human consumption would lead to even more starvation than is likely anyway, so I can’t see it happening. So cities will indeed suck in the absence of oil. However, I’d keep quiet about it if I were you: a migration of everybody out of the cities would be a disaster for existing countryside dwellers, human and non-human alike.

  • Judy
    Right its Dmitry.

  • Yorchichan you wrote “I remember reading that before the oil age one third of agricultural land was given over to growing food for mules and horses (I think I read it in “The Party’s Over”). Diverting such a large percentage of land away from the production of food for human consumption would lead to even more starvation than is likely anyway, so I can’t see it happening.”

    Isn’t that sort of like saying, losing most of a whole years crop of potatoes in Ireland would cause starvation, so I can’t see it happening? Of course it did eventually as such a dependence on one crop and the close growing of such a crop (not to mention the use of clones not seeds) should have been foreseen. Wasn’t foreseen, wasn’t prepared for and thus it happened a whole lot of people died.

    Not only would draft animals be needed for transport, but once oil declines they will be needed for plowing and harvesting. Of course as long as we deny the need to return to draft animals we won’t be breeding them, making the equipment to use with them, and learning how to handle them. Thus we will be caught unprepared and even more people will starve than would starve if we didn’t have so many people trying to deny the inevitable.

    Here is one example of how finance keeps industrial civ going and how the collapse of it will collapse industrial civ. Trust is the prime thing that holds up any financial system. If you are in China and want to ship a product to the US (since we gutted and offshored our production) you want to be assured that when it arrives you will get paid. You may not have much trust in the company you are selling but you do have trust in banks. So the buyer gets a letter of credit from a bank for a fee and that is your insurance that you will be paid even if the buyer defaults. Without letters of credit most international trade would collapse. We would be sitting with excess grain and other countries with excess of whatever they produce. You can check out Wiki for more info on “letter of credit”. If letters of credit no longer are issued because trust in the financial markets has disappeared here is what happens. Any product that a country no longer makes will be denied to them. Any product they make for export will not be shipped.

    In 2008 when trust was getting very thin in the financial sector the letters of credit business was hit hard http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/10/international-trade-seizing-up-due-to.html
    here is a snip from the article
    “Confirmation comes from the Financial Post, “Grain piles up in ports” (hat tip reader Vox Sanus):
    The credit crisis is spilling over into the grain industry as international buyers find themselves unable to come up with payment, forcing sellers to shoulder often substantial losses.
    Before cargoes can be loaded at port, buyers typically must produce proof they are good for the money. But more deals are falling through as sellers decide they don’t trust the financial institution named in the buyer’s letter of credit, analysts said.
    “There’s all kinds of stuff stacked up on docks right now that can’t be shipped because people can’t get letters of credit,” said Bill Gary, president of Commodity Information Systems in Oklahoma City. “The problem is not demand, and it’s not supply because we have plenty of supply. It’s finding anyone who can come up with the credit to buy.””

  • OZ man

    The interview with Oliver Burkeman was very enjoyable. I was a little disappointed that Barbara Ehrenreich was mentioned towards the end, because I was going to recommend Smile or Die, the RSA animation of a lecture of hers. Perhaps you have not seen it; others may not have. I had not heard of Burkeman and find him very likeable; it is also good to hear an interview conducted so well.

    Yes, your point about people making a living from doomer porn is a good one. Also, you are correct to point out that Orlov probably has not advocated drug-dealing; perhaps I was exaggerating for effect; nonetheless it’s plain to me that his position is amiably indifferent to what people will get up to.

  • Martin Knight

    I agree with your comments about Oliver Bourkman. I took the time to listen to all of the radio recordings on Kim Hill’s news program site for that day, which incidently, for others, it is the same that guy was interviewed on in NZ. His link gets you there.
    I was impressed with the interviewer, Kim Hill, and I listened to her because I am going to email her with some praise. Maybe others will as well. It could help the ball roll faster.

    Regarding Dimiry Orlov, on his compassion. I suspect he has seen and felt some of the effects on his former country, Russia, when the Soviet system collapsed, as we now are lead to believe, was because of Chernobyl, not USA manipulation of oil prices to induce USSR to pump themselves to peak)…?

    I dont think he is as detached as he may project. I think he feels for people like we all do, and would not want to see what we all seem to know is very likely coming, happen. But I am only going on intuition alone.

    With his analysis of the way people behaved in that crisis situation, perhaps because he witnessed how brutal the initial stages were for everyday Russians, I think he is more aware than many, of simply what people will do to survive, and as he has written, if I can paraphrase him, people who are not very self sufficient but able to use other methods to get thier needs met often will.

    I think it is that kind of assessment he has made that looks like indifference, because if you have seen it, you may also conclude that it is foolish to believe it will not happen in other places and circumstances.

    I think Dimitry is what is known as as realist. Grim as that sounds. I respect his work for that honesty and unflinching resolve, which does not attempt to guild the Lilly. I feel that may help prepare ‘us’ for what may come, and for that I thank and commend him.
    Will look @ the link to Barbara Ehrenreich, thanks.

  • Kathy C

    “Isn’t that sort of like saying, losing most of a whole years crop of potatoes in Ireland would cause starvation, so I can’t see it happening?”

    Not to my mind. If the potato famine is viewed as being caused by potato blight, then the starvation was not the result of a conscious decision. Choosing to divert agricultural land to be used to grow animal fodder knowing that people would starve as a result of this is different. If, however, one were to say that people in Ireland starved during the famine because Ireland continued to export food to England then the analogy is a little better, but still not perfect. In the one case the starvation is caused by a human action and in the other case by human inaction. If there were no potato blight and the starvation was caused solely because the landowners in Ireland chose to export food which hadn’t previously been exported knowing people would starve as a result, you’d have a perfect analogy.

    Still awake?

  • without oil, there will simply be no other recourse than to revert to animal labor to plough land and perform other functions currently being done by oil powered machines, animals which must be fed. that means less land for growing food for human consumption. no getting around it.

    just an off-topic aside to the notion of ‘drug dealing’: as long as big pharma does it, it’s considered perfectly respectable, even though big pharma’s artficial products unarguably kill at least 100,000 sheople annually in the usa alone. however, let any unlicensed entrepreneur attempt to deal demonized criminalized ‘drugs’ that are safer and natural such as cannabis, and it seems many sheople have dogmatic fits as to the ‘immorality’ of human nature.

  • I listened to Prof MCPherson interviewed by K. Hill. Both on that MP3 and on this blog I am struck by the lack of numbers. It is no wonder the Julian Simon-style Growth Cornucopians who throng to eg pro-nuclear sites such as Depleted Cranium or Brave New Climate or Atomic Insights and sign on on Prof. David Mackay’s calculation about renewable energies, and the agrarian anarchists here have no common language.

    This is because they are all “numbers” and you people here are all “words”.

    Specifically, and given that Prof McPherson wants the collapse of industrial civilisation, which can be taken to mean the exit of high tech renewables such as photovoltaic; solar thermal; wind turbine; hydro; wave and wind power, all of which need a power grid for the machine tools and extractive minerals e.g rare earths (wind turbines) to get built in the first place:

    1. Prof. McPherson, do you agree with Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd who think that we need die-off of about 6 bn to fit Earth carrying capacity, if I understand him right? Who will be selecting these 6bn?

    1a. Is Homo sapiens “a virus that wears shoes”?

    2. With regard to 1: what is your current fossil-fuel-based input (diesel backhoes? tractors?) in calories or kWh or whatever unit you choose per unit food produced on your property? Assuming you eat 2.300kcal/day, what % of that are you currently producing yourself?

    3 How do you envisage maintaining that figure post-Collapse? Human muscle and animal traction only? if wood is to be allowed for chemical energy (combustion): what is your estimate of the wood useage (BTUs) needed on your property to maintain current levels of comfort/production? What acreage of wood of what BTU amount (broadleaf versus evergreen!) sort would be needed by the number of Collapse survivors you envisage? Where will this wood be grown?

    4. USA is in national emergency drought, other nations have severe flooding, the warming Earth air holds 5% more water than in 1970 and latent heat of condensation causes severer storms : Jim Hansen shows how standard deviations of anomalous temperatures from June-August means have been steadily going up for decades. Hence my question: how do you envisage achieving 2.300kcal fat/protein/carbs per capita on your property reliably once industrial civilisation – which can possibly buffer some of those standard deviations by developing e.g. drought-flood-salt tolerant GMO crops – has gone?

    5. Absent the grid and diesel fuel which power rural areas: what type of wood do you see as best for use in the forges/smithies needed to make and repair your farming and other tools incl. post-Collapse dental tooth extraction forceps to be used by field dentists such as yourself? (NB: the Amish, who reject electricity, can buy articles from an industrial civilisation corp. called Lehmans since 1955, but Lehmans gives no guarantee that what they sell the Amish is being produced without the grid)

    Concluding: in your interview with K Hill you adopted a stance towards the Palaeolithic which has been heavily discounted by Prof L Keeley in “War before Civilization” (1997) https://books.google.com/books?id=SlXBOWFhvj8C

    You claimed to K. Hill that your envisaged life may be short but it will not be brutish and nasty: Keeley begs to differ.

  • I am still placing my bets on the heat and drought. West of Chicago, mid to upper 90’s again (still). Low humidity. Windy. Veggies, particularly Zucchini and yellow squash, can not take up the water fast enough to kept up with transpiration. Less fruit, lower quality, and some strange looking flowers. Crop losses of all kinds and starvation coming to a neighborhood near you soon. Let them eat weeds.

  • Beltane, I don’t owe you or anybody else an explanation, and answers to most of your questions can be found in my extensive writing in this space. Nonetheless, for reasons completely unclear to me, I’ll humor you with brief responses to your numbered questions:

    1. I don’t agree with Shepherd. Between 3 and 4 billion people live outside or primarily outside the world’s industrial economy already. Many people in the industrialized world will self-select for shortened lives. Most have already made that decision and have implemented the decision with numerous actions. The others will make it relatively soon, choosing civilization over longer lives.

    1a. No. Our predicaments are not derived from our species, or even our sub-species. They result from civilization, the first of which arose only a few thousand years ago.

    2. We use hand tools for our orchards and gardens. Last year, we (and mostly I) produced 80-90% of the calories ingested by 4 people on this property. I’ve scaled back this year to accommodate my speaking schedule.

    3. I foresee no problem generating 100% of our food with 4 adults using hand tools. We’ll use no animals for power, except human animals. We use, and will continue to use, about 1/4 cord of wood each year to heat ourselves and prepare food. Currently, we have sufficient firewood stored to last longer than this region will support human habitation. But the surrounding lands, including public lands (USDA Forest Service) and those owned by the mining company, will serve as the commons of the future. High-Btu wood is abundant.

    4. I’m not interested in your implied green revolution. It didn’t work the first time, and it won’t work in the future. GMO is poison. I prefer food.

    5. High-Btu wood is abundant locally, largely in the form of mesquite (Prosopis sp.). It will serve this community’s blacksmiths well. In addition, contemporary medical and dental tools will outlive humans in this region, probably by a century or more.

    Keeley’s stance differs from that of most contemporary anthropologists. I suspect people will be working much less in the future than we do today, just as people spent little time working during our first two million years relative to our civilized selves.

  • Yorichan you wrote “Not to my mind. If the potato famine is viewed as being caused by potato blight, then the starvation was not the result of a conscious decision. Choosing to divert agricultural land to be used to grow animal fodder knowing that people would starve as a result of this is different. ”

    What makes you think we are going to have a choice about diverting agricultural land to draft animal fodder once we no longer can get oil for our vehicles? Of course we won’t do it until we have to, but when we have to we either use animal drawn carts to transport food or anyone who doesn’t or can’t grow food will starve.

    Of course my analogy wasn’t perfect because of the actions of the British in continuing to export food. But my point is that things happen that no amount of wishing can prevent from happening. Depletion of oil on a finite planet is a given even if the timing is in dispute. No amount of wanting or wishing will put it back in the ground for us to use again. I haven’t seen any 18 wheelers designed to run on electricity, have you? How about those big combines that harvest wheat, any of those running on electricity.

    So tell me what conscious decision humanity can make other than returning to using draft animals to farm and for transport once the oil is gone?

  • Curtis, yep. I think about trying to water my garden with the hand pump well, and wellllll it won’t do. We would have no garden right now I had not watered, watered, watered and to do that with the hand pump would have taken all of my time every day.

  • Oz man

    The question of Dmitry’s compassion is certainly interesting to me. Of course, all any of us have to go on is his writing, all of which I’ve read, and I’ve come away with the impression that Dmitry has arrived at a pretty impressive state of maturity. That is, he does not make a public display of what compassion he may feel, and he does not conduct himself as one who expects acknowledgement for what he feels.

    I wish I could say the same. Strangely, I deleted a paragraph from my last comment, which spoke of why I related so strongly to Dmitry. It had to do with the fact that, like him, I have witnessed the rapid conversion of the land of my birth from something familiar to something strange, all quite rapidly, and which started with exhilaration very much in the public gaze but which since then has turned rancid and full of foreboding yet ignored by the same media that, only a short time before, feted it.

    In consequence, like Dmitry, I now live effectively in exile, he in Massachusetts, I in northern England. I am not doing well. For one thing, I despise Britons. They talk shit all the time.

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

  • Beltane,

    “This is because they are all “numbers” and you people here are all “words”.”

    Numbers vs rhetoric ?

    That is a very broad brush, but I think I understand your point of view.

    I have not visited the site you mentioned but, the “numbers people” are more likely in the “bargaining stage.” Are they still looking for the cracks, or keyholes, or more human cannon fodder – so they can keep their current way of life. That’s okay though, been there, done that ; ).

    I think most of the audience and contributors here know the numbers very well. Most see the end of industrial civilization as a natural process and we are not in control of the situation. Most of us are beyond trying to bargain with nature, or argue with thunderstorms, etc, and are simply starting to batten the hatches.

  • navid

    I know of a man who stood down a thunderstorm. I will only discuss it via email though.

  • Kathy C

    “So tell me what conscious decision humanity can make other than returning to using draft animals to farm and for transport once the oil is gone?”

    Growing more food locally, moving to where the food is or starving to death. Maybe even biofuels, although that would be far more inefficient than horses or mules once the energy for creating and maintaining the machines is taken into account.

    I don’t dispute that there will be a return to using the energy of large domestic animals, but I think that due to land pressures such animals will not be used in anything like the numbers they were in the past.

  • Kathy C

    Forgot to mention using human energy.