Presenting in Auckland

The three video clips embedded below are the results from a presentation I delivered in Auckland, New Zealand on the evening of 24 June 2012. Thanks to Deck Hazen of Deep Green Productions for organizing the event and creating the videos.

Comments 36

  • Will listen when I get around to shelling field peas. A good listen makes the shelling go fast 🙂
    Meanwhile Dmitry Orlov on the liklihood of food riots in the near future(high). Seems clear to me that Nature is now calling the shots (or to put it another way, what we have done to the natural world has passed the peak of what we can do to sustain our species.

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2012/08/revolutionary-conditions.html

    “Food price spikes and food shortages are very effective in driving people to revolt. Since everyone has to eat, food is not a divisive issue. Whereas political régimes are quite adept at exploiting differences of opinion to divide and neutralize the populace (in the US, issues such as gay rights and abortion rights are their favorite tools) a shortage of food divides the population into the hungry and the well-fed. The well-fed inevitably turn out to be in the minority, defended, for a time, by the slightly less well-fed. They also tend to be associated closely with the régime or the moneyed interests that prop it up, and once they are dislodged, so is the régime.”

  • Re the discussion of peak population on previous post – The Soviet Union hit peak just before it collapsed.
    http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/russiapop.htm
    “Updated May 31, 2006
    The president called on parliament to provide incentives for couples to have a second child to increase the birth rate in order to stop the country’s plummeting population.

    Russia’s population peaked in the early 1990s (at the time of the end of the Soviet Union) with about 148 million people in the country. Today, Russia’s population is approximately 143 million. The United States Census Bureau estimates that Russia’s population will decline from the current 143 million to a mere 111 million by 2050, a loss of more than 30 million people and a decrease of more than 20%.

    The primary causes of Russia’s population decrease and loss of about 700,000 to 800,000 citizens each year are a high death rate, low birth rate, high rate of abortions, and a low level of immigration.”

  • Thank you.

  • “Agrarian anarchy” is an oxymoron.

    “Agriculture creates government.” ~Richard Manning, Against the Grain, p. 73

    Without government, herding sendentary agrarians and occasionally harvesting their riches they accumulate will be the new pastime of the new barbarians.

    “[Agricultural civilization] becomes easy prey for pastoral nomads on the margins, who swoop in cleanse the culture of accumulated stupidity, and revitalize it with a fresh infusion of barbarian blood at the top. You might even say that barbarians operate at a meta-level: they plant and harvest value out of civilizations. They are civilization farmers, just as they are animal herders.”

    ~The Return of the Barbarian | March 10, 2011
    http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2011/03/10/the-return-of-the-barbarian/

  • Thanks for the comment, Ivy Mike. But I disagree. Agrarian is not equivalent to agriculture.

    You are indicating that growing food is equivalent to agriculture. It’s not. Growing food need not imply large-scale growing of grains, which is analogous to civilization. Indigenous people grew food. Some still do.

  • Kathy C: It seems to me that encouraging and making gay marriage legal is possibly a significant population control method. Gay marriage (at least for males) removes two potential impregnators from the scene and creates a loving relationship into which already-existing children should/could be adopted. And if the figures for gay males are accurate, this could be a significant factor.

  • Cathy, gay marriage is just fine in my opinion and does remove most people from bearing children, although I have read that some gay women will get sperm from a sperm bank in order to bear their own child. But many of us here think that post peak oil, once industrial civilization bites the dust, the carrying capacity of the planet would be less than a billion. If all births stopped and deaths were normal, we would lower the population by 57 million per year (the current death rate). If my math is correct it would take 17 years to lower our current population by 1 billion with no births and current rates of death. To lower it to 1 billion would take 102 years.

    It is interesting to note that with a strongly enforced 1 child per family in 40 years China ADDED almost 400 million – part of this has to to with the number coming into sexual maturity, the age of giving birth and the increase longevity that the Chinese have experienced.

    However beyond peak oil and subsequent end of this civilization, we are likely into runaway climate change and with that total extinction of the human race perhaps by 2050 https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html So this all becomes academic.

    I hope that we are at peak population because the more children born between now and depopulation or extinction the more humans who will have to suffer in the chaos about to be unleashed. That said, I am therefore glad for anyone who is gay who does not procreate. We don’t have much time left but I am all in favor of gay marriage so that what time we have left can feel more fulfilled to that much persecuted group of thankfully non-procreating humans.

  • Cathy: Here! Here! 🙂

    Ivy Mike, there is a certain romantic fascination with the so-called dark ages/middle ages; witness the popularity of the Society for Creative Anachronism and Renaissance fairs, etc. I can attest personally, however, that such fascination ignores the brutal reality of that time. I doubt any of us really wants to return to that time and place.

    The situation you quoted from “The Return of the Barbarian” also has existed before in human history and is sometimes romanticized. I think some “doomers/preppers” think we will return to a world order similar to what we’ve had at some point in the past. I used to think that myself. However, I no longer hold that belief. It now seems abundantly clear that as industrial society collapses, so too will the human race. There are simply too many manmade chemical, biological, and nuclear nasties which will be loosed on the world for humans to survive – let alone thrive. When you include climate change – we’re toast (pun intended).

  • Watch 131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds – Source NASA

  • http://theviewfrombrittany.blogspot.fr/2012/08/fascination-for-death.html

    Fascination for Death

    by Damien Perrotin

    We are a peculiar culture. We are extremely reluctant to accept the possibility that our civilization might decline and fall, like all those which have preceded us, yet consider the idea of utterly trashing the biosphere with a fascination which would have made an early twentieth century symbolist uneasy. We have had another example of it with a paper published in the June issue of Nature.

    The paper itself is quite serious. The authors’ thesis is that our dumping loads of CO2 into the atmosphere will cause Earth to undergo a state-shift, that is, that the climate of the planet will, abruptly, become something totally different. It is quite possible. In fact, given our remarkable ability to do nothing to make our lifestyle more sustainable, it is quite likely.

    The problem is the way it was relayed. Thus, in the (highly reputable) French paper Les Echos, we could read La fin du monde en 2100 ?, which translates as The End of the World in 2100 ?. The idea is that the change will be so dramatic and so brutal, that life will be unable to adapt and we will be left with with a warmer version of Mars.

    At this point, it may be interesting to go back a bit in time, say 250 millions years. Then most land masses were collected in a single super-continent, which, like most super-continents erred on the dry side. This did not keep, mostly reptilian, life from thriving, with such specimens as inostrancevia a bear-sized reptile with 12 cm long saber-teeth. The vegetation was not exactly lush but there were still vast expenses of forests, mostly in the south.

    It was not a paradise, especially if you stumbled on a inostrancevia in a dark wood in the middle of the night, but it was a functional world, with functional ecosystems.

    Then, everything which could possibly go wrong did.

    A magma plume burst through what would become Siberia, burning through the
    largest coal seam of the time. The Siberian traps, as they are cold, covered 2 millions km² with lava and released an embarrassing surplus CO2 into the atmosphere – enough to raise global temperatures by 5°C. This was enough to destabilize oceanic methane clathrate, send a lot of methane into the atmosphere and turn an already hot and dry world into something reminiscent of Arakis.

    The oceans became severely deficient in oxygen, but unfortunately not quite
    dead. Its normal inhabitants were just replaced by hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria. The oxygen level in the atmosphere plummeted, making life quite difficult for those few animals which had not been baked to death.

    Yet life could survive in a overheated desert bordered by a steaming ocean and surrounded by a poisoned atmosphere, and did.

    @ URL

  • I still prefer not to link directly to Ann Barnhardt because of her extremest religious views, but I noted that Mr. McPherson had referenced her in a video.

    Rightly so, she is pretty sharp about finance. And she is again sounding the alarm on getting your money out of the system with the latest Sentinel case being decided.

    You may as well have a water tank, land, 5 gallon buckets, hand brace, pvc pipe, greenhouse, lumber, books, or whatever, as to let the big banksters steal what you have in the bank. (This case isn’t just about futures.)

    Here’s a website I can stand about it:

    Warning: Get Your Money Out: “All Legal Bank Deposit Protections Are Now Officially Gone” | August 12th, 2012 | http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/warning-get-your-money-out-all-customer-deposits-in-the-united-states-are-now-the-legal-property-of-jp-morgan-goldman-sachs-megabanks_08122012

    Might be worth a short time’s comfort before we all roast in hell, worse than we already are roasting in hell, formerly known as the midwest.

  • Hi every one – it looks like I will be free of my house on Thursday at 4 pm. I really have no solid plans after that, other than being on hand when youngest daughter is having her baby. I have felt very strongly that I wanted to be free of entanglements, so have sold all possessions that did not fit in the Honda Civic.

    I still have some of the bulk food I bought. I have a good camp kitchen. I got a large mosquito net that covers the whole car so I can sleep with the windows down.

    I have some writing work lined up and a pittance from Social Security.

    So – the adventure begins – an old woman breaks free and wanders about the country to see what others are doing about The Situation.

    I hope to visit Guy and any of the rest of you that want to be visited.

  • Morocco – It took me a long time before I could put my home on the market. One big reason was knowing I would have some money and have to invest it. I know tons of people who have all their money invested in Western Civilization. If I suggest to them that there may be a moral issue, a high risk, or a conflict of values, it quite unnerves them and so I have learned to avoid that conversation, if it matters to me how I am viewed by them. I find money a touchier topic than global warming, peak everything or collapse.

  • Rita, congratulations on divesting yourself of most all your “stuff”. I’m sorry that we never had the chance to visit with you when we were over in NWA, but please feel free to come by here anytime. We have a spare bedroom and would love the opportunity to get to know a kindred spirit.

    Wherever you wander, happy trails!

  • TRDH – I assured my mother that I would see her this Christmas. One reason I discarded the RV idea was wanting to make a sweep of the country in the coming year and wanting to keep my footprint tiny. So after many years of avoiding driving, I am now embarking on a driving binge, and will take you up on that offer whenever I am headed east, possibly in the spring, but maybe in January. I would love to see your place and hear your stories. I also am available to help on projects.

  • Morocco Bama, I only spent a few years in the traditional corporate world and so had a small 401k for a very short period of time. Other than that one brief experience which was required by the company, I have always eschewed any type of retirement planning, mostly, due to youthful hubris, but also because I always felt like I would never retire or that I would be wealthy enough that I wouldn’t need to worry about it. I certainly missed the mark with respect to that latter reason – at least from an industrial society viewpoint anyway.

    I don’t expect that I will ever retire, certainly not in the traditional sense. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing – raising my few livestock, working in my garden, and seeing patients – as long as I can whether due to my personal physical limitations or due to climate change/collapse. When I can no longer do those things, I suspect it will be my time to shuffle off into the long night.

    As to wealth, if there has been any silver lining to my growing awareness of the collapse of industrial society it is my likewise growing awareness of my true wealth: my connection with nature. From that standpoint, I am wealthy beyond my wildest dreams! If there is any wealth destruction that I’m concerned about now, it’s the destruction of the natural world.

  • This presentation is more powerful than before.
    A few proposotions.

    If the oil and electricity and gas stop people are going to cut their trees down, and very quickly there will be no trees, at all. How does that figure?
    Perhaps the remote tree will not go soon, like the amaxon, but if there is a market, even a barter market mule trains will go a long way to cut them dowm.

    Also of the four things we need to survive, isn’t the fifth clean air? I suppose that too will clean up quickly with no smoke, no jet fuel burnt, etc, into the atmasphere.

  • Ozman, I doubt people will be cutting down every last tree — which is what they’re doing now, by the way — when they no longer have access to water coming out the taps.

    I do not focus on the attributes over which we have not control, notably including clean air. But when the ship goes under water, we needn’t worry about smoke out its stack.

  • Rita, you are welcome to come visit here (western Massachusetts). Guy has my email address. I wish you a grand adventure. I have a friend in her 20s who is walking across the country and finding all kinds of adventure and abundant kindness along the way; it’s inspiring to me to witness how little “stuff” is truly needed, but how human connection, an open mind, and a little know-how go such a long, long way.

    Regarding money in the system: I agree that a big piece is psychologically detaching from the idea/use of money and circumventing nervous breakdowns over the collapse of monetary systems. Meanwhile, in this bridge time, I still think it makes sense to gather up whatever funds one might have and get access to, and spend it on useful things, if that’s possible. This includes money in bank accounts/credit unions, not just stuff like 401k’s.

  • Snip below, more at the link http://etfdailynews.com/2012/08/15/the-mississippi-river-is-drying-up-as-food-prices-continue-to-surge-moo-dba-ung-uso-jjg/
    The Mississippi River Is Drying Up As Food Prices Continue To Surge
    August 15th, 2012
    Michael Snyder: The worst drought in more than 50 years is having a devastating impact on the Mississippi River. The Mississippi has become very thin and very narrow, and if it keeps on dropping there is a very real possibility that all river traffic could get shut down. And considering the fact that approximately 60 percent of our grain (NYSEARCA:JJG), 22 percent of our oil (NYSEARCA:USO) and natural gas (NYSEARCA:UNG), and and one-fifth of our coal travel down the Mississippi River, that would be absolutely crippling for our economy. It has been estimated that if all Mississippi River traffic was stopped that it would cost the U.S. economy 300 million dollars a day. So far most of the media coverage of this historic drought has focused on the impact that it is having on farmers and ranchers, but the health of the Mississippi River is also absolutely crucial to the economic success of this nation, and right now the Mississippi is in incredibly bad shape. In some areas the river is already 20 feet below normal and the water is expected to continue to drop. If we have another 12 months of weather ahead of us similar to what we have seen over the last 12 months then the mighty Mississippi is going to be a complete and total disaster zone by this time next year.

    Most Americans simply do not understand how vitally important the Mississippi River is to all of us. If the Mississippi River continues drying up to the point where commercial travel is no longer possible, it would be an absolutely devastating blow to the U.S. economy.

  • Ozman I agree with Guy about the trees – here is a visual image – on the slow assent of a roller coaster you could if you wished read a book, on the swift descent down all you can do is hold on. Well not a very precise analogy, but each step that humans made up the ladder of technology was gradual. Time was needed to build the infrastructure appropriate for the technology – if you wanted horse shoes you needed ways to mine ore, ways to forge it, skill sets to do that all without oil or electricity. If you wanted glass bottles you needed fuels that could be made very hot, bellows to keep the heat up, tools to work the glass, knowledge of how to make the glass and blow the bottles. With stable functioning societies you could build up the surrounding infrastructure appropriate to that level of technology. Apprentice systems were also set up to train people in the technology of the time.

    Now imagine the grid going down never to come up. People won’t even know how to get food, or have enough shovels and hoes and seed to grow it. They will be unable to deal with their own waste and not have sources of water in most cases. In the midst of that chaos you are going to start up forges to make saws to cut trees by hand – so what trees are cut by hand will be limited by the number of saws around. While I have a nice supply of bow saws and blades, it took big two man saws and skilled work hardened men to bring down the big ones. Besides many forges used anthracite coal. That is mostly gone and if you don’t live near a mine you would need a horse or mule and wagon to get it. Is anyone building up herds of horse and mules, learning to make wagons and leather traces by hand, learning to tan the leather themselves etc.?

    No, come lights out there will be a huge depopulation sending us back almost, if not to, the stone age – oh and 439 nuclear power plants around the world going Fukushima one week after all the grids have failed. I don’t expect all the world’s grids to fail at one barring one humongous solar flare, but at some time the world will once again be without electricity and no one is preparing for that time except a few homesteaders here and there and most of them still rely on manufactured goods that will not ever be manufactured again.

    Now is the time for the aliens to step in and save us (or eat us as the case may be). Other than that we are at end civ and perhaps end species.

    Richard Duncan’s Olduvai theory puts the return to the stone age at 2030. I suspect it might be sooner.

  • OzMan, I can’t really improve on Kathy’s thorough assessment, but when I read your comment about the trees, my thought was “who in the world is able to saw down trees by hand anymore?” My neighbor has an antique two-man saw that probably measures 12 feet or so. No way you’re going to get me (age 52) or him (age 60) to start pulling that thing – not more than a few strokes any way. Hell, a dead tree fell across our driveway the other day and it still took two of us just to move it. And it was dead and rotting!

  • Guy
    Kathy C
    The REAL Dr. House

    All your comments make very good sense, and in some way or another these views have come out in the previous comments to other essays. I was thinking more about the resourseful ones, not the unadapted ones dependent on all the Blah sent to their domicile.
    I’m about fifty and I bet if I were cold I could cut trees with a one to two foot diameter, with help from my 12 yo son.
    Also there is so much stuff in the world we’ve made, there would be saws untill 2100, and after the initial flash of depop’ the resoursful, strong and perhaps selfish will use all these tools untill the end of time, (er.. end of rust). We have the Wallmart equivilant here nationwide named Bunnings, and even though these places will get raided, that means the cutting tools will still be in circulation.
    Although I have a high resprct for all of your judgments, in this regard I feel people will be forced to work with these simple tools to eek out some fuel source.
    I take Kathy C’s point about the dowmward slope of the roller coaster is not the same as the gradual up side, no question. Hiding from any armed resource scavenger packs is likely to be the main social issue, post collapse, apart from who to group up with and share labour and skills and some resources.
    Having your own seed bank burried somewhere in another location(s) is not a bad idea. Of course this all supposes you can take the heat and there is water to use.
    On it goes …

    Here is an article on the likely collapse of sites in the Pacific Ocean, like Mururoa Atoll, that the French Government used to test their nuclear weopons.

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/mururoa-atoll-could-collapse-report-kept-secret-for-2-years-277717.html

    An excerpt:

    “Just in that little area, there is over maybe 12 underground tests in that area, and we have to remember that France have done altogether 193 nuclear test explosions in Mururoa,” he told Pacific Beat…
    In the soil of Mururoa, if something happens there is about 150 holes containing very dangerous radioactivity…
    MET, an organization working to secure restitution for victims of French nuclear testing in Tahiti, has been trying to raise the issue with the French government and public, Mr Oldham said.

    There have been concerns that part of the Mururoa Atoll could collapse into the sea due to atomic tests from the 1960s to the late 1990s. Back in 1997, one year after the final, highly controversial nuclear test, an official report referred to the risks, Newsweek UK online reported.
    Yet, the leaked report, Mr Oldham says, makes no mention of radioactivity…
    In this report we got not too long ago, they’re not even talking about radioactivity,” he told Pacific Beat. “The way they present it, it’s like it’s not very dangerous.
    In a video recorded last month with Breaking the Nuclear Chain, Mr Oldham was cited as saying that Mururoa and other atolls were the site of atomic explosions up to 170 times stronger than that used in the bombing of Hiroshima.”

    Just a small PMU for the day.

  • Another article on species loss due to habitat destruction in brazil.

    Extinctions Rife in Tropical Forest Remnants

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/science/extinctions-rife-in-tropical-forest-remnants-279333.html

    An excerpt:

    “Large vertebrates are rapidly going extinct in the small forest fragments remaining after mass deforestation in Brazil.
    Led by England’s University of East Anglia (UEA), an international team of scientists assessed the long-term effects of hunting and forest fragmentation on tropical biodiversity in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil.
    About 90 percent of the area has been deforested for agriculture, grazing, and development with most remnants smaller than a football pitch. On average, these patches contained only four of the 18 mammal species being surveyed…

    “We uncovered a staggering process of local extinctions of mid-sized and large mammals,” said study co-author Gustavo Canale from the State University of Mato Grosso (UNEMAT) in a press release.

    The study revealed that white-lipped peccaries were completely extinct, and other mammals like jaguars, woolly spider monkeys, and giant anteaters were nearly extinct.

    “You might expect forest fragments with a relatively intact canopy structure to still support high levels of biodiversity,” said study senior author Carlos Peres from UEA in the release. “Our study demonstrates that this is rarely the case, unless these fragments are strictly protected from hunting pressure.”…

    “Human populations are exploding and very few areas remain untouched by the expanding cornucopia of human impacts,” Peres said. “It is therefore essential to enforce protection in areas that are nominally protected ‘on paper.’ The future of tropical forest wildlife depends on it.”

    What can I say?

  • OzMan, there is truth to what you say with respect to smaller trees and all the tools that are already out there – as you say, for the resourceful. But resourceful isn’t a term I would use for most living in the industrialized world – particularly those here in the U.S. Daily I am reminded of how helpless so many people are. There are exceptions of course, but an astonishing number of Americans – to use an old metaphor – can’t tell their assholes from a hole in the ground.

    Unfortunately, I find this particularly true of young people. If you need to know how to do something online or you aren’t sure what power of wizard protection you earn at level 12 of WarCraft Gallery, then they’ve got you covered. But if you want them to tell you where eggs come from or how to plant a seed in a garden, they haven’t a clue. (I know many of you are raising wonderful children who are exceptions to this – for that I’m eternally grateful.)

    Yes, I’m being negative on my species again, I know. I had an incredibly busy day at the clinic and it’s emotionally draining trying to treat so many different maladies when you know what we know. Depression and anxiety are especially difficult to treat these days. The incidence of these two is increasing rapidly in our country and yet I try to find something for these patients to grasp on to other than drugs that will help them find peace in our crazy world. Not only is it exhausting, it definitely breeds cynicism.

    Sigh.

  • I finally got a chance to watch Guy ‘s presentation and it is the best yet and should be sent out to everyone you know.

    Morocco Bama – yes, thank you for the warning. Have you read “Communion” by Whitely Streiber?
    Jennifer – thank you. I will head that way later this year.

  • Oz man I have by myself cut down 1 foot diameter trees with my handy bow saws. I have a lifetime supply of blades. Despite being rural I don’t know anyone else who has stocked up on blades. They rust easily so I put a smear of vaseline on them after each use. I have a lifetime supply of that too. OTOH I have a small wood stove and a small house and live in the south, I imagine I could keep warm enough and cook with just downed wood I can break up with my feet. I don’t know another neighbor who is prepared in the same way. They are prepared with guns and talks of race war. But at any rate it is unlikely that with few 2 man saws left anyone will be taking down the remaining large trees. Those will die from global warming.

    You also wrote “I suppose that too will clean up quickly with no smoke, no jet fuel burnt, etc, into the atmasphere.” As we have discussed here before it is highly likely that when the atmosphere cleans up the cooling effects of global dimming will vanish quickly leading to a spike in global warming as was documented by one researcher after 911 when the planes were grounded for 3 days. Also that cleaner atmosphere will quickly become radioactive once the grid goes down and 439 nuclear plants, 100 or so in the US, go Fukushima.

    OK I write this dismal projection from my retreat from the world in rural AL. Today I head to Atlanta to visit my 96 year old dad. As usual when I return from the city I will be even more dismal 🙂

  • Kathy C

    If you ever wondered what an alien invasion would be like just think of how the Aboriginal Australians felt. The strange looking ones came in ships with powerful at a distance waepons, brought a blight that killed 80% of their people in 4-6 weeks wherever they moved.
    A possibility it could happen on a bigger scale again to all of us.
    It really is the only theory that explains why no-one in the elite has done anything to stop the planet warming.
    There is a very funny satire of invasion that turns the tables on the Black/White issue. Its called ‘Babakiueria’.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMk3XgZkmVc

  • How do you see that manifesting Morocco?

  • Some more information to add to the presentation, Guy:

    http://www.sfu.ca/pamr/media-releases/2012/study-predicts-imminent-irreversible-planetary-collapse.html

    Study predicts imminent irreversible planetary collapse

    “Using scientific theories, toy ecosystem modeling and paleontological evidence as a crystal ball, 21 scientists, including one from Simon Fraser University, predict we’re on a much worse collision course with Mother Nature than currently thought.

    In Approaching a state-shift in Earth’s biosphere, a paper just published in Nature, the authors, whose expertise spans a multitude of disciplines, suggest our planet’s ecosystems are careering towards an imminent, irreversible collapse.

    Earth’s accelerating loss of biodiversity, its climate’s increasingly extreme fluctuations, its ecosystems’ growing connectedness and its radically changing total energy budget are precursors to reaching a planetary state threshold or tipping point.

    Once that happens, which the authors predict could be reached this century, the planet’s ecosystems, as we know them, could irreversibly collapse in the proverbial blink of an eye.

    “The last tipping point in Earth’s history occurred about 12,000 years ago when the planet went from being in the age of glaciers, which previously lasted 100,000 years, to being in its current interglacial state. Once that tipping point was reached, the most extreme biological changes leading to our current state occurred within only 1,000 years. That’s like going from a baby to an adult state in less than a year,” explains Arne Mooers. “Importantly, the planet is changing even faster now.”

    The SFU professor of biodiversity is one of this paper’s authors. He stresses, “The odds are very high that the next global state change will be extremely disruptive to our civilizations. Remember, we went from being hunter-gatherers to being moon-walkers during one of the most stable and benign periods in all of Earth’s history.

    “Once a threshold-induced planetary state shift occurs, there’s no going back. So, if a system switches to a new state because you’ve added lots of energy, even if you take out the new energy, it won’t revert back to the old system. The planet doesn’t have any memory of the old state.”

    These projections contradict the popularly held belief that the extent to which human-induced pressures, such as climate change, are destroying our planet is still debatable, and any collapse would be both gradual and centuries away.

    This study concludes we better not exceed the 50 per cent mark of wholesale transformation of Earth’s surface or we won’t be able to delay, never mind avert, a planetary collapse.

    We’ve already reached the 43 per cent mark through our conversion of landscapes into agricultural and urban areas, making Earth increasingly susceptible to an environmental epidemic.

    “In a nutshell, humans have not done anything really important to stave off the worst because the social structures for doing something just aren’t there,” says Mooers. “My colleagues who study climate-induced changes through the earth’s history are more than pretty worried. In fact, some are terrified.”

  • With thanks to writer Samantha Gray, I’ve posted a new essay. It’s here.

  • nice state of relative enlightenment or perhaps foolishness right now, am i. in the mood to express, emote, and create (if i dare chance to fail).

    guy, every time i listen to u ‘lecture’ (i’m sure there’s a better word) on youtube i’m very impressed. u’re damned good and dependable this way. care to dream with me of attaining fame and misfortune for your message of hope/doom, or our message, if i may be so presumptuous to include myself and others who share your bipolar views of surreality in their essence. perhaps u may draw strength from our acquaintance?

    surreally, u have a winning way with addressing a roomful of sheople curious to hear what u have to say. u have an unselfconsciousness. a mysterious spirit/passion to save what might be salvagable of this beautiful wondrous world, seems to have possessed u, or is in fact u. whatever, it’s a sight for these sore old eyes. a tad awesome. maybe more.

    and u have an impressive command of many relevant facts/figures, more commonly referred to as ‘knowledge’. very impressive, imo. this, along with the above paragraph suggest a potential for achieving fame and misfortune on a grand scale, perhaps mortal martyrdom, should u choose to follow your passion come hell or high water.

    i have one hopefully constructive criticism involving the bipolarity u find yourself in. on one hand u are the ultimate dr. of doom, like when u say u think we’re facing certain extinction by 2035. on the other hand, u don’t come off as despairing. mostly u project an earnest hopefulness that u may be changing lives for the better. much of your message is information and encouragement to abandon the sinking ship of civilization if u can to the extent possible, before it’s too late. u speak as though there’s something to still live for, like a future.

    i think maybe the one thing that can stand between guy mcpherson and grand fame and misfortune (but the misfortune’s expected, isn’t it, one way or another?), is this disconcerting duality or bipolarity in his message, this clash of utter despair and brilliant hope for the future in his words/actions.

  • Thank you, tvt, for your kind comment. I’m not sure what to do about the bipolar nature of my presentation (hence, me). I’m conflicted, for sure. That I’m able to find humor in catastrophe is undoubtedly a serious flaw, but one I refuse to take seriously. As I wrote five years ago, we’re lucky because we get to die (and thus, live): “The odds against any one of us being here are greater than the odds against being a particular grain of sand on all the world’s beaches — no, the odds are much greater than that: they exceed the odds of being a single atom plucked from the entire universe. To quote the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, ‘In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I that are privileged to be here, privileged with eyes to see where we are and brains to wonder why.'”

  • ‘I believe we will see mass psychosis.’

    isn’t that what we’re seeing now? but i get your drift and agree. the great stress will bring out the most extreme behaviors. i’m not looking forward to it, morocco bama. btw, are u any relation to a fellow named baracko bama?

    tom, thanks for bringing me back to surreality with that science. i forgot momentarily how fucked we are. one big fault with that article, imo: instead of saying the point of no return is coming this century, it ought to be this decade, if it hasn’t already been passed with regard to runaway agw.

    kathy, hope your trip goes/went better than expected.

  • Morocco Bama
    The mass psychosis.