What are we fighting for?

In my latest essay in this space I mentioned two phenomena worth fighting for: the living planet and freedom based in anarchy. I surrender. I no longer believe the struggle matters on either front.

I no longer think we’ll save the remaining shards of the living planet beyond another human generation. We’ll destroy every — or nearly every — species on Earth when the positive feedbacks associated with climate change come seriously into play (and I’ve not previously considered the increasingly dire prospects of methane release from Antarctica or the wildfire-induced release of carbon from Siberian peat bogs).

The climate-change data, models, and assessments keep coming at us, like waves crashing on a rocky, indifferent beach. The worst drought in 800 years in the western United States is met by levels of societal ignorance and political silence I’ve come to expect. I would be stunned if this valley — or any other area in the interior of a northern-hemisphere continent — will provide habitat for humans five years from now. And climate change is only part of the story.

My trademark optimism vanishes when I realize that, in addition to climate chaos, we’re on the verge of tacking on ionizing radiation from the world’s 444 nuclear power plants. Let’s ignore for now the radioactive waste we’ve left lying around without a plan or already dumped into the world’s oceans. When we choke on our own poison, we’ll be taking the whole ship down with us, spewing a global blanket of radiation in the wake of collapse. Can we kill every single species on Earth? Apparently we’re willing to give it a try, and I will not be surprised by our “success” at this omnicidal endeavor.

Onto anarchy. Few people understand what it is, and even fewer support it. As a product of cultural conditioning, the typical American confuses anarchy with terrorism. Considering the near-term exit of Homo sapiens from this planet, it seems a bit ridiculous of me to express concern about living outside the absurdity that has become mainstream.

Color me non-judgmental. Continue to fuck the planet and our future, and see if I give a damn. Actually, saying we fucked the future without offering so much as a kiss, as I wrote back in January, is an insult to four-letter words everywhere. Minor efforts to sound the alarm, including my own, fade to insignificance when compared to the juggernaut of global imperialism. These efforts have long been irrelevant; it’s my awakening that is new.

And color me sad, of course, at the societal path we’ve taken. Swept up in the pursuit of more instead of better, we’ve become the waves approaching the rocky shore.

We had an opportunity to return to our tribal roots, as others have done when civilizations collapsed. Consider, for example, the survivors from the Olmec, Chaco, and Mimbres cultures, all of whom chose tribalism when civilization failed. Tribalism worked for two million years in a diverse array of situations. It worked before and after civilizations arose in specific regions. For many decades, our version of civilization has been successful only for a few individuals of one species, yet we keep tinkering with the system long after it’s failed.

Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, we’ve come to believe industrial civilization is the only way to live. As we’ll soon discover, it’s the only way to die, at least at the level of our species.

Inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s eponymous poem, I offer the following requiem for Earth.

If Earth could sing with a female voice.
Her strength would be evident, though her tone might waver.

Could she withhold judgment against one of her own,
through all we’ve done to her, and our brethren?

We lived in her bosom from which we were born
for two million years not forsaking our home.

Then we became something different from all we had known,
and in the gasp of a breath we destroyed it all.

Can you blame her for judging us, considering what we’ve done?
She gave us every chance to turn it around.

Now we’re all done and she’s endured our abuse,
including pillage, plunder, and rape without any excuse.

All she can sing in that mournful tone is sorrow for the power she unleashed,
through us and thus dispassionately onto herself, destroyed by one of her own.

She must ponder how our hubris overwhelmed our humility
in concluding about our recent selves: They didn’t like it here.

______________

This essay is permalinked at Seemorerocks and Island Breath.

Comments 269

  • We represent the limerick brand;
    Time’s short, and the end’s close at hand,
    So, skipping the drama,
    Morocco Bama:
    We welcome you to Limerick Land!

  • For all of you SF&F fans, you should remember, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monsters_Are_Due_on_Maple_Street

  • Jeff, I was just trying to address the fact that saying that folks won’t be coming out of the cities doesn’t mean that one is home free. My neighbors don’t need one tank of gas to get to my house. When I start typing my fingers forget to stop, so I added information that was really more pertinent to others comments than yours.

  • Kathy said, “Meanwhile while you are out working your garden with your rifle on the ground because you can’t work a garden with a rifle it just takes one well aimed shot to do you in.”

    TRDH said, “My neighbors might be a more likely threat…all of us have guns.”

    I find the movie “Cold Mountain” to be instructive. There is the part where the squad of Home Guard (Homeland Security) enters Esco and Sally Swanger’s yard to question them about their sons (deserters). Five against one–the outcome is clear from the start.

    It seems a possibility/probability that as order becomes disorder TPTB will, at least for a time, attempt to maintain order by any means necessary. It seems likely that the same thought processes that finds it okay to use LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device)/water cannon/tear gas/pepper spray to control citizens engaged in free speech will be employed to maintain order in the future. Police forces are increasingly militarized and are equipped with all kinds of hardware including tanks and drones. It is not much of a stretch for me to imagine someone like TurboGuy, previously our NBL resident gendarme, and a burly SWAT team driving up to my door in the Department’s Hummer to demand the government’s share of my garden produce.

    Not unlikely either is the problem of neighbors. For some completely unexplainable reason, 95% of my neighbors out here in the boondocks have not seen fit to grow a garden. Apparently they are just another kind of suburban dweller who just happens to live miles from the nearest town and more than an hour’s drive from the nearest city. Without gas most of them could get really surly when their food runs out. Taking a line about Tennessee from the movie “Shooter” this area is just a western extension of Idaho, “the patron State of shooting shit.”

    I’m into agrarian anarchy, thinking it to be the best chance for maintaining some semblance of civilization, if we don’t persist in scrubbing the planet clean of life. However, I think having a bug out bag and a plan B would be wise.

    Michael Irving

  • Arthur Noll:
    “Forests, grasslands, phytoplankton, begin recovering, sequestering CO2 at much higher rates. Climate stabilizes. It could be stable at a point similar to past eras of high or low temperature, much harsher, conditions, but survivable. Many nuclear power plants could work as designed and hold in their radiation. What does get out is not necessarily going to be lethal to everyone.”

    Nuclear power plants work as designed? LOL. I worked on nuclear plant design. What i know is SCARY. They hold in their radiation so well that a 1970 study by Lawrence Livermore Lab by Arthur Tamplin and John Goffman found an alarming increase in leukemia and other radiation-related effects around nuke plants. They were told to dump their study, but resigned and released it anyway, and withstood massive efforts to smear them. This was happening as my time in the industry was coming to an end, my co-workers reacted with anger because their jobs were threatened, not because they questioned the study.
    How will the on-going supply needs of nuke plants (spare parts, etc) be taken care of? What’s gonna be done with the waste, just let in pile in spent fuel pools? What will be done to maintain the grid you expect them to feed into?
    And the idea that eco-systems will begin to recover as soon as fossil fuel use drops ignores the fact that so much stuff is already in the atmosphere that hasn’t even begun to do damage, and it will continue to do so for many years even if emissions drop to zero today.
    It’s such know-nothing optimism which drives me to as much despair as Guy is showing.

    Kathy C: no problem, any time you respond,you are responding to an entire forum, not just me.:-)

  • And i forgot to state explicitly (one should never assume everyone knows:-)) that nuke plants do need FUEL, which after fossil fuels use ends will be dug up, refined, transported…. HOW?

  • Jeff S, thanks for the info on nukes. Always nice to hear what we suspect is true from an insider. Fukushima has brought the nuclear plant problem into stark perspective for many of us. Many ways the grid can go down, some sudden (EMP, solar flare) some less so – loss of fuel, maintenance problems due to failure to maintain infrastructure, cutting corners and allowing the work force to age (average age of linemen in the US is now almost 50). When the grid goes down for good and backup energy sources for cooling run out its “uh oh” time at the nuke plants. A study prepared for the US Congress reported that our grid could be hardened “EMPact America believes it would cost a mere $60-$100 million to protect the 300 largest transformers running the grid, and another $400 million to $600 million to protect an additional 3,000 transformers. It would be a one-time cost.” That would at least potentially protect it until all fuel ran out. But it appears to be more important to bail out big banks.

    http://www.whentechfails.com/node/1545
    400 Chernobyls: Solar Flares, EMP, and Nuclear Armageddon

  • The monsters are due on Maple street part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIBMWoVfnMY

  • The monsters are due on Maple street part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMVFrNfCp1g

  • The above links are for a 2002 update of The Monsters are Due on Maple street and may not be as good as the original.

  • Michael,
    You garden on land brutally stolen from the original inhabitants, done by this present “civilization”, which has moved on to brutalizing other areas of the world. It uses resources with virtually no thought at all for the future, makes plans on concepts that exist only in the imagination. What part of this did you want to maintain?
    I have never seen in the concept of agrarian anarchy, any talk about dealing with people who are willing to take things by force, any talk about how to keep population in check, any talk about specifics of how economic value is decided, including a careful look at how fast resources of all kinds are being used. I see vagueness and ignorance and fantasy about serious problems on all this if I see anything at all. I see no serious thought behind the words agrarian anarchy, just a vague utopian dream. No clear idea of how it works, and appropriately, no clear idea of how we get from here to there.

    If Guy really has surrendered on fighting to have this, I’m glad to hear it. But his extreme pessimism about anything working makes me doubtful that he really has fully surrendered. He has his small shadow of his dreams in what he has done and has seen a few others doing. I think he is telling himself there is no hope in trying anything else, he will do what he is doing or something similar, until the end comes. I’m saying no, there is another possible path here. A path that isn’t based on dreams and looks like it might have some human life at the end of it, and as a necessary part of that, of course, a significant amount of other forms of life. Worth trying for, I think.

  • That is a really odd answer, Jeff. Most people don’t regard me as a wild eyed optimist for seeing that a huge dieoff needs to happen to avoid worse problems, and that the chances it will happen are good. Did you actually read what I wrote? And I said people surviving would *not* be using fossil fuels. Included in that, they would not be trying to maintain electric grids. I think you are responding to some fantasy person you have made up in your mind, not me.

    As for nuclear plants, I’ve said previously that we might have to draw large circles around them, around contaminated areas, and people just don’t go there for centuries. That could still leave a considerable amount of territory in the world.

    As for leukemia around existing plants, that may or may not be the result of the plants. There are other things that cause cancer. You seem to be really quick to jump to conclusions with me, here, imagining a person who doesn’t exist, are you doing that with other things, too? There is no question that radiation can be dangerous and that it gets out, but I often think it is possible that people seriously overreact to those dangers and pin everything that goes wrong on it.

    That does *not* mean I’m in favor of nuclear power. People so often insist on these extreme positions, that if you don’t believe that small amounts of additional radiation to existing background is simply horrible, that you favor nuclear power. I don’t favor nuclear power, I think too much energy use from any source, can be a major problem. I trained to be an engineer, but walked away from that decades ago on reading Limits to Growth and similar stuff. I haven’t been a person knocking myself out looking for new energy sources or declaring that we need nuclear energy. What we need are a *lot fewer* people behaving rationally about how much they use and how much they reproduce.

    I don’t want to either exaggerate or downplay the dangers involved with radiation. There are already parts of the world that have significantly greater amounts of background radiation from natural sources, due to altitude, due higher amounts of uranium in the local rock, significantly higher amounts of radium from that, and people do not drop dead there at a noticeably higher rate than other places. On another list I’m on, a person who does favor nuclear power, in response to the levels of radiation being found in fish near Fukushima, came up with some of these places in the world- link at the end- and there apparently isn’t any evidence that this causes significant problems. As before, I don’t agree with this person’s argument that we need nuclear power plants, but at the same time, this information about how much radiation people can deal with, is interesting and valuable. Since we are likely to be exposed to more of it as things fall apart, it is good news that many may well be able to do that. It is not what I’d like to do, but if there is no alternative, it might be survivable. The excuse that we can do nothing to help ourselves, so we won’t change anything, could be wrong, I think. http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q1946.html

  • Also, Jeff, I don’t think I’m saying an ignorant thing about CO2 and forest regrowth, etc. The turnover of CO2 in the atmosphere with plants is very large. We use something like 40% of the available photosynthesis, and a lot of that is with annual plants that constantly turn CO2 over. They take it in with growth and it goes right back to the atmosphere as they decay. Perennial plants like trees and grasses, grow bigger, and they don’t turn over as much. If that current 40% of use was put down to, oh, I don’t know, less than one percent, and perennials grew where annuals are presently a similar high percentage, then I think you’d see a reduction in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. I don’t think people looking at this question are considering a massive dieoff and regrowth of forests on land currently cultivated. I think they are considering attempted continuation of business as usual for a large population of people doing annual agriculture and burning firewood.

  • Arthur Noll,

    Hmm, let me see if I understand…

    Your plan is to have no plan but to just go along and get along until most of the rest of us kill each other in a hissy fit because we can’t accept reality. You wait around until someone else has a plan that works and then you just mooch off them?

    I like it. Where did you sign up to be one of those graceful people?

    Michael Irving

  • Arthur Noll Says: I’m saying no, there is another possible path here. A path that isn’t based on dreams and looks like it might have some human life at the end of it, and as a necessary part of that, of course, a significant amount of other forms of life. Worth trying for, I think.

    If correct, then maybe past the bottleneck, Homo sapiens would have transformed/evolved into Homo eusapiens, as Dr. George Mobus suggests in his blog Question Everything. Possibly smarter, but not “Too Smart for their own Good”.

    Otherwise, the extremophiles, particularly the hyprethermophiles would still survive, until the 400+ Fukushima radiation substantially decays (in less than half a million years). They would then have a chance of building another tree of life – until the sun goes red giant.

  • Guy,
    Certainly don’t blame you. Think there are plenty of people that have heard the message and know but unfortunately not all of them are doing, would be interesting to know how many have taken action with what they know now. You certainly have been one of the few that can stand behind what you say as you’ve demonstrated your ability to work hard (considering all that you’ve done at the “mud hut”), you’re smart (common sense) and intelligent, I’m sure in your travels you’ve met many (including us) who would welcome you to enjoy life by being around those who know, those who care and those that continue to do what they can as we do, and let’s not forget enjoying the time we have here, fuck the rest of it.

    Thank you for coming here and sharing your time and thoughts with us, there’s a lawn chair waiting for you to sleep in.

  • Oops, I meant nap not sleep, no time for that!

  • Arthur Noll:
    “As for nuclear plants, I’ve said previously that we might have to draw large circles around them, around contaminated areas, and people just don’t go there for centuries. That could still leave a considerable amount of territory in the world.”

    Nuke plants don’t just sit there. Unless the spent fuel is controlled, it will go critical.

    “As for leukemia around existing plants, that may or may not be the result of the plants. There are other things that cause cancer. You seem to be really quick to jump to conclusions with me, here, imagining a person who doesn’t exist, are you doing that with other things, too? There is no question that radiation can be dangerous and that it gets out, but I often think it is possible that people seriously overreact to those dangers and pin everything that goes wrong on it.”

    May or may not be the result of plants? You think Tamplin and Goffman, experienced researchers, did not CONTROL for other factors? Seriously?

    “That does *not* mean I’m in favor of nuclear power. People so often insist on these extreme positions, that if you don’t believe that small amounts of additional radiation to existing background is simply horrible, that you favor nuclear power. I don’t favor nuclear power, I think too much energy use from any source, can be a major problem. I trained to be an engineer, but walked away from that decades ago on reading Limits to Growth and similar stuff. I haven’t been a person knocking myself out looking for new energy sources or declaring that we need nuclear energy. What we need are a *lot fewer* people behaving rationally about how much they use and how much they reproduce.”

    You are against “agrarian anarchy.” What do you favor, then? The implication is that you favor continuing industrial civilization, somehow.

    “I don’t want to either exaggerate or downplay the dangers involved with radiation. There are already parts of the world that have significantly greater amounts of background radiation from natural sources, due to altitude, due higher amounts of uranium in the local rock, significantly higher amounts of radium from that, and people do not drop dead there at a noticeably higher rate than other places. On another list I’m on, a person who does favor nuclear power, in response to the levels of radiation being found in fish near Fukushima, came up with some of these places in the world- link at the end- and there apparently isn’t any evidence that this causes significant problems. As before, I don’t agree with this person’s argument that we need nuclear power plants, but at the same time, this information about how much radiation people can deal with, is interesting and valuable. Since we are likely to be exposed to more of it as things fall apart, it is good news that many may well be able to do that. It is not what I’d like to do, but if there is no alternative, it might be survivable. The excuse that we can do nothing to help ourselves, so we won’t change anything, could be wrong, i think.http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q1946.html
    Chenobyl still shows massive damage to the environment, it isn’t going away. Any background radiation present in some areas is puny compared to radiation damage around Chernobyl, Fukushima, Pacific islands which were sites of US nuke tests (and similar sites in Russia, including the Chelybinsk disaster of 1957, Hanford in central Washington,…..

    Also, Jeff, I don’t think I’m saying an ignorant thing about CO2 and forest regrowth, etc. The turnover of CO2 in the atmosphere with plants is very large. We use something like 40% of the available photosynthesis, and a lot of that is with annual plants that constantly turn CO2 over. They take it in with growth and it goes right back to the atmosphere as they decay. Perennial plants like trees and grasses, grow bigger, and they don’t turn over as much. If that current 40% of use was put down to, oh, I don’t know, less than one percent, and perennials grew where annuals are presently a similar high percentage, then I think you’d see a reduction in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. I don’t think people looking at this question are considering a massive dieoff and regrowth of forests on land currently cultivated. I think they are considering attempted continuation of business as usual for a large population of people doing annual agriculture and burning firewood.”

    Any such reduction will take many years. Face it, the damage will keep mounting for years even if emissions are reduced to zero RIGHT NOW.

    Michael Irving (to Arthur Noll):
    “Hmm, let me see if I understand…
    Your plan is to have no plan but to just go along and get along until most of the rest of us kill each other in a hissy fit because we can’t accept reality. You wait around until someone else has a plan that works and then you just mooch off them?
    I like it. Where did you sign up to be one of those graceful people?”

    Bravo! Well-said.

    Kathy C.: maintaining the grid is about a lot more than making it safe from EMP. It is inadequate right now, and parts of it keep deteriorating, same as the rest of the infrastructure. Maintaining it without fossil fuels is pretty nigh impossible.

  • Michael,
    Guy posted an essay that I wrote, that goes over these questions. It is in the archives. June of 2011, “Principles for Society” I think you were here, you might remember. Basically the plan is to convince someone with some formal status that these principles are true, that they matter, and to take them to the world. The rest of the population then decides to accept them or not. Those that do, come together and try to live by them, and get the advantages to survival they should give. I don’t expect many to do that. The rest go on committing suicide- and I’d expect that to go much faster after being exposed to these principles. That will give cognitive dissonance that drives people to try and smooth that out that conflict in their brain, along with conditions in the world also driving them to make something work or die. I’d say it will be dreams or nothing for far more than those who accept simple, observable truths. And dream choosers will die, almost no doubt at all about that. The others have a chance.
    The “principles for society” are like a sharp knife to do triage on a seriously sick society, cutting the healthy, who would like to try to form a rational society, from the sick, who would rather die than even try to do anything like that.

  • this one goes out to the earth, from all the harmfully redundant overshooters who know they are

    I need you pure I need you clean
    Don’t try to enlighten me
    Power to misconstrue
    What have they done to you

    Infants in infantry
    Rewrite their history
    Uproot their colony
    You’re ripe for harvesting

    Virgin cells to penetrate
    Too premature to permeate
    They can’t elucidate
    Never thought i was the enemy

    I am the plague
    I am the plague

    They fake sincerity
    Thy gifts don’t give to me
    Now you’ve been annointed
    They’ve been asking for it

    Infants in infantry
    Rewrite their history
    Uproot their colony
    You’re ripe for harvesting

    Virgin cells to penetrate
    Too premature to permeate
    They can’t elucidate
    Never thought i was the enemy

    I am the plague
    I am the plague

    I need you pure I need you clean
    I need you pure I need you clean

  • I don’t even know who I am anymore! I can say that I am being guided by bliss more now than I have in years. No regrets, man. Also, I pay attention to the “animals.” They just keep doing what they do. Until they can’t do it anymore. That’s sort of boring, but inspiring and a relief. I don’t have to save the world. I can’t. (But there are things that I enjoy doing which might have saved the world decades ago.)

  • Rock on!

    Not much to say that hasn’t been said.

    Bob

  • 🙂 not a Jesus freak. Love Jefferson Airplane! “When the truth is found to be lies”….I’ve been reading Thoreau lately so I suppose the one to love is this little rock. I wonder how our transformation project will turn out. We shall see what she thinks about this.

    Bob

  • This does not need any words from me, even if I could find adequate expression, which I cannot…

  • Kathy C
    RE:
    ‘The monsters are due on Maple street part 1 & 2’

    The original is so pleasing and powerful, IMO, that I am reluctant to view the newer version, but probably will tonight, Thanks.

  • What are we fighting for?

    Living is not fighting, but fighting is a complex notion.

    If you have to fight I feel you have already lost.

    Finding the people accountable and bringing them to the table is one way.

    Getting on with individual and community ‘development’ is another way.

    To fight is to condone the adversarial opposition TPTB require to continue.

    I suppose it is a different matter if the fight comes to your door. In that case perhaps you revert to instincts and do what is necessary, but many of us don’t really know how we will respond if it comes to a personal confrontation.

    All I can see that works is to disengage from the cogs of Empire, and progressively move to a more local way of life.
    (Strangely, that is a suspicious act to many.)

    It may not be enough.

    What are we fighting for?

    To survive, and to take back the biosphere.

    Call me a fool, but that is it, IMO.

  • Arthur Noll

    Great posts . You appear to have ruffled a few feathers. I, however, agree with everything you wrote.

    Positive feedback and climate change

    It is clear that throughout the Earth’s climate history negative feedback loops have always rapidly gained the upper hand over positive ones. That is why the planet it is currently neither a giant snowball nor a burning hell. That, plus the fact there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, are the reasons why I don’t worry too much about climate change. At worst the climate will flip to a new state a few degrees warmer than it is today. This new state is likely to be more conducive to life than our current state. Why?

    1) More CO2 in the atmosphere;

    2) Average global temperatures closer to optimum for photosynthesis (21C), especially at higher northern latitudes where much of the land is;

    3) Higher average rainfall. At the moment, rainfall is being held in check by global dimming. Once industrial civilization ends more sunlight will strike the earth causing more evaporation and hence more rainfall.

    I can’t see a few degrees of warming driving humanity to extinction. We are the most resourceful and adaptable vertebrate ever to live.

    Agrarian Anarchy

    If it looks like agriculture and smells like agriculture…

    A question for those of you who practise it: If someone came along and tried to force you off the land now, would you call the police? Your only “right” to the land is a piece of paper sanctioned by the state you detest saying you own it. Once that state no longer exists, what right do you have left? Is “I was here first” enough?

    Nuclear Power Plants

    I’ve never really investigated this issue before, but when Jeff S came along claiming to have been involved in nuclear plant design and agreeing with the apocalyptic position I thought I would. Jeff, when you wrote

    Nuke plants don’t just sit there. Unless the spent fuel is
    controlled, it will go critical.
    ,

    did you mean to write “go into meltdown” rather than “go critical”? (Still bad, but not as bad.)

    It proved difficult to find out how long the risk of meltdown remains after shutdown. The best article I could find was the one here:

    http://www.naturalnews.com/033564_solar_flares_nuclear_power_plants.html

    Given the subject matter, it wouldn’t surprise me if Kathy has previously posted this link. It supports the position that in any rapid collapse situation the threat would be very real. Best hope that the sanity currently being displayed by Germany spreads to the rest of the world.

    ”Fear is a sickness. It will crawl into the soul of anyone who engages it.” Flint Sky, shortly before his village was destroyed due to lack of fear.

  • Yorchichan, your points re climate are grossly mistaken and don’t stand up to even the simplest criticism. Perhaps you should study the subject further before embarrassing yourself. The science refutes them all.
    If it looks like agriculture and smells like agriculture…
    An empty meaningless slogan. Do you actually know anything about agriculture, farming, horticulture, gardening ?

  • And this I can’t see a few degrees of warming driving humanity to extinction. We are the most resourceful and adaptable vertebrate ever to live.

    What utter nonsense. Perhaps we are the most arrogant, hubristic, conceited, perverse and ignorant, in our present form… resourceful ? adaptable ? We’ve only been around for a couple of million years. That’s a blink of the eye in geological time. It’s is exactly that stupid attitude that is our downfall, our delusions of grandeur that we are the masters, the all-conquering supreme beings… Yuk.
    “A few degrees of warming…” You really have no idea what you are talking about, have you.

  • From 2007, but still worth looking at IMO.

    ‘E.O. Wilson calls for an Encyclopedia of Life’

    http://www.ted.com/talks/e_o_wilson_on_saving_life_on_earth.html

    It shows how much we don’t know.

  • Just a note on ‘growing’ food.

    ‘We’ don’t ever grow food, the food does the growing, we do the facilitating of growth.

    Soon the planet will no longer do the facilitating of our growth. Will we be ‘grown’, or grow ourselves?

  • I like E O Wilson. However, he was saying those same things many years earlier. That’s the trouble. Nothing much has happened,except things have become more dire.

    Really, the gloom and doom and sorrow isn’t so much that the Arctic ice is melting away, per se. The gloom and doom comes because many of us could foresee this coming decades ago. We always assumed that the USA or the UN or some other international organisation would get some sort effective action set up. Nothing happened !

    Blair and Bush trashed international law, and now it’s too late.

    The heartache and pain comes because we ALL have to face up to the fact that this mess is NOT going to get fixed.

  • Oh dear, now I’ve ruffled some feathers!

    ulvfugi

    Agrarian anarchy is just a fancy term for agriculture without recognising the power of the state. Agriculture is defined anywhere you care to look as the growing of food and raising of livestock. Have you decided to invent your own definition because agriculture’s a dirty word to you? Do you claim agrarian anarchy isn’t agriculture?

    You forgot to mention rudeness in your list of bad human traits, a trait you possess in abundance. Do you know what you are talking about? Ever heard of the Stefan-Boltzman Law? It’s the reason we won’t turn into Venus. Explain to me the mechanism by which, say, even a 10C warming would lead to our extinction? And I do mean extinction, not merely a vast reduction in our numbers. As I’ve posted before, there have been methane releases and rapid temperature increases since the advent of mammals, yet mammals are still here.

  • Sea ice crashes – AMEG was right
    AMEG was right to warn the world that without action the sea ice would collapse. The world now is in a dire state and only immediate drastic action can cool the Arctic and hold off catastrophe.

    The image below is an edit from a larger image, illustrating the dramatic fall of the sea ice over the past few weeks and showing Arctic sea ice extent (total area of at least 15% ice concentration) for the last 7 years, and compared to the average 1972-2011, as calculated by the Polar View team at the University of Bremen, Germany.

    Read more at ‘The biggest story of all time’ and the AMEG news release at the AMEG blog.
    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2012/09/sea-ice-crashes-ameg-was-right.html
    What more needs to be said

  • The biggest story of all time
    What is happening in the Arctic is what Peter Wadhams, myself and others in AMEG have been dreading – that our deductions from the physics of the Arctic sea ice situation have come true. We also understand some of the dreadful repercussions from a sea ice collapse, which nobody has wanted to believe. But it is also like a cloud lifted, because now we can tell the world that we’ve been right all along. The sea ice extent was bound to start collapsing within the next year or two, because the thickness was decreasing steadily. Now it’s happened. Now people will have to face up to the repercussions. Now people can realise that our only choice, if we want to avoid decent into a hellish nightmare, is to geo-engineer like mad – use all the measures and techniques at our disposal that we can deploy immediately or at least before next summer’s melt, in the hope of trying to prevent further collapse.

    rest at http://a-m-e-g.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/the-biggest-story-of-all-time.html#comment-form

    I don’t agree we should do geoengineering but I understand why they want to – they think nothing else will save humans from extinction. They never considered that the collapse of industrial civilization might do the trick, but it seems to late for even that.

    I had a friend who was dying of Hodgkins disease. When he was in remission they saved bone marrow and so at the end they did a bone marrow transplant which had almost 0 chance of saving him and in fact did not save him. It seemed better to just accept fate and go at home rather than in the hospital. I think likewise it is better to accept the fate of the planet and not start messing with geo-engineering of various sorts. Even if it worked and didn’t have dire unexpected consequences, without the dismantling of industrial civilization it would just push extinction down the road a bit. But no doubt no one will bite on their proposal anyway and within some decades some aliens can come and put a gravestone on the planet – RIP.

  • ulvfugl,

    I watched that video and shared it. It brought tears to my eyes – not sure I’ll be able to watch the full film when it comes out. As most here know, the only real solution is the termination of the industrial economy.

  • Yorchichan, I can’t see a few degrees of warming driving humanity to extinction. We are the most resourceful and adaptable vertebrate ever to live.

    You may be right. The problem is that almost every climate model I know of, as well as virtually all the data, now shows that we are headed to way more than a “few degrees of warming”.

    I understand your reluctance to accept what so many scientists are saying; accepting that humans will likely be extinct in very short order is difficult at best, impossible at worst. Facing death is not something that most humans can do easily. Survival is deeply ingrained in our DNA. The prospect that human beings will not survive what’s coming is antithetical to every bit of programming we have.

    That doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.

    I’m not saying that extinction is 100% certain – to claim such would be just as baseless as your statement. I can imagine that there might be a pocket or two of humanity that survives somewhere – perhaps on the antarctic continent. The fact is, we don’t know what the future holds. We can speculate and model and run scenarios, but no one knows how this is all going to turn out. But when virtually every climate model I know of shows significant warming without a complete stop of carbon emissions, and the data is also supporting those models, to assume that somehow our resourcefulness and adaptability is going to see us through, seems to me to be wishful thinking and the epitome of denial.

  • TRDH

    I am not in denial because of a desire for human immortality. True, I’d like my children to have long and happy lives and if I am ever fortunate to have grandchildren then them also. In fact, I’d like it if everybody in the world and all creatures could live happy lives of harmony. Unfortunately, life is not like that. I am in denial about human extinction because of history and common sense that’s all.

    The history is that the earth has undergone rapid heating in the past and mammals have survived. The common sense is that humans currently have a range spanning from deserts to the Arctic. That’s why it is undeniable we are the most resourceful complex creature that has ever lived. There are plenty of places which would remain habitable if they were 10 C warmer than and 10 C is higher than any predictions I have seen.

    Like Arthur, I’m hardly an optimist. I think given pollution, environment destruction and climate change even 10% of the current population is highly unlikely by centuries end, maybe even twenty years from now. I just can’t see extinction. If even 1% survive that’s still an awful lot of people.

    What data suggest we are headed for way more than a few degrees of warming? Climate is complex and not well understood. Who knows what negative feedback may kick in and when? If human survival is what you want, don’t give up hope.

  • Agrarian anarchy is just a fancy term for agriculture without recognising the power of the state. Agriculture is defined anywhere you care to look as the growing of food and raising of livestock. Have you decided to invent your own definition because agriculture’s a dirty word to you? Do you claim agrarian anarchy isn’t agriculture?

    Yorchichan you are an idiot !

    Agrarian is not a synonym for agriculture, and your definition of agriculture is one for kindergarten kids, not intelligent educated adults. Agribusiness is certainly a dirty word for me, but farmers farmed for thousands of years before that approach appeared, using hundreds of methodologies that are not part of modern agriculture at all. Agrarian anarchy can be whatever people choose to make of it, but it certainly does not have to be anything like the common capitalist commercial agriculture that dominates today.

    You forgot to mention rudeness in your list of bad human traits, a trait you possess in abundance.

    I don’t have time to waste correcting fools, there are too many of them. You seem proud of your foolishness. Are you actually an adult. I feel like I’m talking to a teenage know-all yob.

    Do you know what you are talking about? Ever heard of the Stefan-Boltzman Law?

    Yes.

    It’s the reason we won’t turn into Venus.

    You hope ! The Earth doesn’t have to become Venus for a mass extinction event to occur.

    Explain to me the mechanism by which, say, even a 10C warming would lead to our extinction?

    No. You educate yourself. It’s not my job. It’s not the 10deg that matters, it’s the speed of increase.

    And I do mean extinction, not merely a vast reduction in our numbers. As I’ve posted before, there have been methane releases and rapid temperature increases since the advent of mammals, yet mammals are still here.

    jeez, get a clue will you, for all our sakes.

  • Nearly two years ago, Science says 16 C increase by 2100. But we know better now. And it’s not the temperature that’ll kill us all, it’s the massive changes in ecosystems. Like, say, no plankton to produce oxygen. And proteins that denature. And therefore no plants to sequester carbon. That’s the short list, and it all points to near-term human extinction.

    Yep, we’re clever. Like yeast.

  • Arthur Noll,

    You seem to want me to buy into the idea of original sin. I agree with all of your statements about the way current civilization has abused the planet and indigenous peoples. Where we part company is in the idea that I am somehow responsible for the actions of long dead people. I’m not! I had no control over what they did. I can only work, in a small way, to try to correct some small part of the damage they caused. For your part, you’ve gone out of your way to suggest I’m at fault for living on the spoils of conquest and yet you offer no alternative–long on judgement, very short on solutions.

    As for agrarian anarchy, there has been much discussion here, in generalities as well as specifics. I guess you missed it. You, in your role as judge, “see vagueness and ignorance and fantasy behind the words agrarian anarchy, just a vague utopian dream.” Of course, as in all of your comments, there is judgement (negative), but you are never willing to engage. You see vagueness, and are vague. You see ignorance, and offer no examples. You see fantasy, but offer no hint of what you mean by that. All the while you, with your superior tone, fail to offer any alternative plan (except “graceful” people will prevail in the end). What does that mean? Who are these graceful people (the tribe to which you belong). How is graceful people will prevail in the end, after everyone else has been eliminated by mayhem, starvation, or disease, not a fantasy? How is that a plan?

    How do you suggest feeding people in a harsher, energy depleted planet, if not by formulating people intensive agricultural techniques? How do you suggest “dealing with people who are willing to take things by force?” Did you overlook the discussion of just that topic in this and the last post? Did you think that anarchy involves waiting for someone to tell you how to do something rather than trying to figure out the answers for yourself?

    If you intend to join the discussion let’s hear your thoughts, not just, “I’m saying no, there is another possible path here.” Show us the “path that isn’t based on dreams and looks like it might have some human life at the end of it, and as a necessary part of that, of course, a significant amount of other forms of life.” What is that path?

    Absent details, as near as I can come to figuring out this plan of yours, it reads something like this: The Morlocks loose their unrealistic dreams>>they go crazy and kill almost everyone>>absent people the earth will rapidly heal>>the Elio will emerge from their gated communities>>everything will be cool.

    It’s your turn, Arthur. Explain yourself!

  • Another point – EVERYTHING that humans have and do has been developed over the last few thousand years during this benign window called Holocene. We get ‘a few degrees warmer’, we’re no longer in the Holocene, we’re into a totally new climate, that’s much rougher, more erratic, more extreme events. We won’t have a few thousand years for generations to learn how to adapt and develop new cultures, so we’ll lose most humans.

    Okay, so it is possible a few people may survive, so it’s not the 100% extinction that Yorchichan insists upon, but that’s mere semantics. There might be a few thousand in Siberia, a few thousand in Australia, whatever, but they won’t even know that, they’ll be living amongst the polluted toxic remnants without any of the present day technology and knowledge, at the level of the Kalahari San, small groups scavenging. So what we think of as ‘the human population, Homo sapiens,’ of today, will have gone.

  • We can grieve our potential demise as a species. We may cause it. Species come and go. Mortality is a bitch.
    But living isn’t. It is great joy.

    I play cribbage with the senior citizens in my town. At 69, I am the youngest. One of their sayings, “You want some cheese with that whine.”

    Two of my local friends are farmers. They are both in their 80s. They just stopped milking this year. He has been legally blind since early childhood. Has a rope strung to the barn. I rototill their garden so she can grow their food. They still will cut hay because in is their way. They revel in living.

    Because of stupidity, I have emphysema and hardened lungs from radiation that saved me from cancer. When I work, I will often and episodically have to been over to catch my breath. I don’t stop working, I revel in it.

    We, my partner and I, are building a growing system with rotational fields, trees, berry bushes, large root cellar, new hot house for growing and drying food. Wells that can be worked with human power all for the next generation. We have one young man working with us. We had some 20 somethings visit this summer and they want to come back and volunteer (we will see). I am planting trees and bushes the odds are I may not see come to fruition. If it goes to hell, there is not a damn thing I can do about it. I love the learning, the creating, the work.

    We will continue our population stupidity, it is the nature of the beast (all life).

    We will continue gorging ourselves on the resource of the earth because it is the nature of the beast (all life).

    We will continue to play the us and them game because we are a social animal, we need to belong, we need to have answers no matter how absurd for a sense of control and we will find scapegoats among the “them” because it is the nature of this particular beast.

    We will continue to have unintended consequences arising from our acts seemingly well intended and innocuous, again it is the nature of this particular “too smart for our own good” beast.

    We will continue to have inequity in power/resource availability whenever we become larger than the gatherer and hunter group size (30 to 200) that we evolve into and lived with for 99% of our existence. Life does not give out the candy of brain and/or brawn fairly. It is the nature of how things shake things out.

    I have lived at an incredible time in human history. So many opportunities. So much to enjoy. I am alive because of high tech medicine. I thrive at the knowledge available to me to learn about so much and celebrate the men and women who have contributed to that knowing.

    I know I have done it on the backs of others and on the back of “mother” earth. We in the USofA (and much of the west and the rich everywhere else) have benefitted from the rape of others lands, from military incursion when it will be good for business, assassination when necessary and so many other atrocities.

    Now it is coming home to roost.

    Suck it up.

    John Weber
    Curmudgeon of Northern Minnesota
    http://www.rea-alp.com/~dragnfly
    http://sunweber.blogspot.com/

  • Dmitry Orlov :

    “On the evening on April 14th, 1912, was someone banished from the Titanic’s captain’s table for being so rude as to mention that the ship was sinking?

    It troubles me deeply that bringing up the subject of immanent collapse is regarded as uncouth, while blithely talking about the satisfactory present and an ever-more-agreeable future is not seen as irresponsible denial. (“Forget about the lifeboats, and try some of this pheasant. It’s delicious!”)”

    http://www.cluborlov.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-collapse-wager.html

  • The dissonance is bizarre. Here I am talking about imminent extinction, and a couple of clicks away, the British PM and Chancellor are talking about building huge new multibillion airports, opening up more green countryside to building development, etc, etc, to kickstart the economy…

    It reminds me of a moment during the war in Yugoslavia, when beaches were covered in sunbathers and swimmers staying in luxury holiday hotels, whilst within earshot, 50 or 60 miles away, artillery was firing, hand to hand fighting in the streets, people were being burned alive in their homes…

    Seems to me the same contrast as mentioned above… rudeness v. obscene but polite reckless irresponsibility…

    Crazy world.

  • Those who think that “a few degrees of warming” is no big deal, in fact might be a blessing, are totally clueless as to how much devastation such a change can bring, in particular given the RATE at which it is happening, which is unprecedented. Idiocies like that are unfortunately commonplace, especially in global warming denial circles.
    I have little to add to the responses here (especially ulvfugl) which appropriately put such notions in their place. Know-nothings are unfortunately all over the place, as are people (46% of Americans) who believe the world was created less than 10,000 years ago, and that humans and dinosaurs lived together.

    And i did work in the nuclear industry, like it or not. Bechtel corp., 1970-71.

  • Yorchichan, as I said earlier, you may be right, but I don’t think so. If I may offer a few more thoughts.

    I will grant you that some places on earth could withstand a 10°C increase in average temperature and be livable. But, that assumes that everything else stays the same. There are so many other changes which would accompany that level of temperature change that it boggles the mind.

    Further, let’s say for a moment that a handful of people were resourceful enough and smart enough to be able to survive such a drastic increase in temperature. A handful is not a very precise number, so let’s say that it was one in ten million (just a random number but one which seems reasonable to me). At today’s population, that would leave 700 people on the planet who were able to survive extreme climate change, collapse of industrial economy, no more conveniences of the modern world like running water, sewer, basic medicines, nuclear power plant meltdown, release of toxins into the air and water from the hundreds of chemical plants which explode when there is no more power to contain all those volatiles, social upheaval the likes of which haven’t been seen in human history – I could go on, but you get the idea.

    So, 700 people on the planet. Unless all those people were in the same place, how would they find each other? Their cell phone? GPS? Smoke signals? How would they get to the part of the planet which would be more hospitable, particularly since those places would be much closer to the south pole? (The industrialization of the northern hemisphere and the fact that there is no land at the north pole, rules out that area as a refuge.) It’s a cinch they aren’t going to drive there. And, if only 700 humans out of 7 billion survive, how many “beasts of burden” are going to survive? Would those few remaining humans ride horses? Even if they were able to walk to the new hospitable regions, would they be able to survive migrating through the dead zones where temperatures are 150°F and there is no water and there is nuclear contamination, etc.?

    It’s possible that two or three of those who survive such a scenario are in the same location – perhaps their location is one of the reasons they survive – maybe they are already close to one of the new hospitable regions. The tip of South America or the most southern portion of Australia. But unless they are already skilled at living off the land and know how to survive without any of the modern conveniences of today, they will face starvation and dehydration very soon.

    So, try as I might, I cannot be bullish on the prospects of human survival.

  • Michael Irving,

    Others have debated with Arthur Noll to no avail. Best to ignore him and his goofy sidekick, Yorchichan. No crops, no animals, massive deaths (not theirs), and the massive disruptions to society, somehow won’t have an impact on the slower to die.
    The few that may survive for a few years will be lacking any societal support. As they succumb, the screen fades to black.

  • ulvfugl Says: 
    Yorchichan, your points re climate are grossly mistaken and don’t stand up to even the simplest criticism. Perhaps you should study the subject further before embarrassing yourself. The science refutes them all.

    No need to worry about embarrassment on Dr. McPherson’s timescale. If that timescale is wrong, vindication will be soon forthcoming. If it is right, then again soon enough embarrassment will be the least of anyone’s concerns. 

  • If human survival is what you want, don’t give up hope.

    There is a difference between curative palliative treatments (as in the case of cancers). A curative treatment may involve more severe measures, and is associated with a higher incidence of more severe side-effects – morbidity and even mortality. It would be unethical to submit a patient to this if there is no chance of cure, even though a cure is what is wanted.

    The issue is to determine if a cure is possible. 

  • Ha ! He suggested I am rude, I was suggesting he might like to try and save some face… it was on the timescale of today 🙂

    Sure. I’m a certainly a very rude fellow. When people tell me more CO2 can be good or okay or doesn’t matter or a hoax…. I think of dead oceans, burning forests….. and then ‘who is this effing moron telling me this stuff ?’ I’ve had enough of it !

    Re the dissonance, this kinda illustrates it…

    https://youtu.be/dXq5rcY4_TU

  • Arthur Noll,
    RE: “Principles for Society.”

    “But if a collapse took two or three years to be triggered, and then lasted another several years…”

    REALLY? This is the collapse you are preparing for? Oh dumb me, I was thinking in terms of centuries.

    Arthur, you’re a really smart guy with a ton of hands-on and academic experience. Address the problems.

    Michael Irving

  • “The issue is to determine if a cure is possible.”

    There was a time when I thought I had found the cure, which was when Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Design Manual came out. I thought, this is genius, here’s a way forward for people to get their basic needs, and to have less impact on wildlife. But that was then. decades ago. I didn’t appreciate the lengths that corporations and politicians would go to to sabotage all attempts to ameliorate climate change.

    I still believe that Permaculture offers the best way forward, but sadly it isn’t the cure.

    I mean, yes, get supportive communities organised, as self-sufficient as possible. But, for example, we’ll have the coldest winters for a century two years running, followed by the hottest driest summers for a century, the wettest year for a century three years in a row, etc, etc, the bird and insect populations all get thrown out of sync with the seasons as the thermoclines move, the vegetation all changes…. communities are going to have to plant scores of different kinds of crops to hope that some produce a good harvest when many fail… and Permaculture does nothing to assist endangered species… it’s an excellent human survival plan… but vulnerable to all kinds of external chaos, extreme weather events, nuclear fallout, pillagers, etc.

    You know, i think most people are mentally ill… the talk of war, of expanding the economy, the crap everyone talks… sigh…

  • Thanks to Yorchichan. Some feathers ruffled, I agree. I think it is going to be more than ruffled feathers before this is done.

    I don’t disagree with Jeff that if all fossil fuel burning stopped right now, that things would continue to get worse for a time. The present warming would not immediately stop, CO2 will continue coming out of the tundra, also methane. On the other hand, the regrowth of forests, especially, would have near immediate impact, since growing trees take up more CO2 than mature ones. And offsetting melting tundra, trees are already growing further north. I don’t think it is unreasonable to think that CO2 would stabilize and possibly decrease. As for methane, I agree with Yochichan that this must have also happened in the past, there have been warmer periods in the past and the planet didn’t run away and turn into another Venus.

    Nobody has a perfect view of the future with regards to anything, but it looks far too soon to give up on it. And that is what people are doing. They are giving up.

    With regard to my “vagueness”, Michael, I don’t see any hint that you bothered to read my “principles for society”, essay. Let me refresh your memory as to some main points where I don’t feel I am vague at all.

    One, human beings are social creatures, we live by teamwork or don’t live at all. We all have a naked body to demonstrate this if anyone has doubts. The teamwork can be really inefficient like it is now, with many not even realizing how important it is, a glorification of individualism reigning instead. The money game sets up people as independent agents. Supposed independence of each other is how massive inequities are justified. It can be observed that serious inefficiency in a mechanism may get by, may even sweep everything else aside, if it is big enough and has enough resources to fuel itself. Using their resources at unsustainable rates, the person who comes out of the start of a marathon sprinting can seem to be winning, but experience says that is unsustainable and they will slow down, may collapse, and they get passed and lose. And this can happen on social levels, as well. The money game also pushes unsustainable behavior, because people can win at market competitions by ignoring the extra costs of conservation. People get rich and powerful in money driven societies, and they do not pass laws that limit themselves. They generally do the opposite.

    I wrote that all these problems can be bypassed. We are subject to some simple physics with what I termed food EROEI. Food energy returned over food energy invested, eaten. That ratio defines life and death. Both the individuals in a team, and the team, must have a ratio of this of one or above. Since this is a life and death relationship governing animals for millions of years, even animals have instincts about this. We can look at it with more than instinct, consider it mathematically, and use it as a way of determining what behavior has value and what doesn’t. Closely related to this, we can also look at how fast resources are used in getting a favorable ratio of food EROEI, and if we were rational, we would use resources at an estimated sustainable rate plus a factor of safety. The factor of safety is because this is a life and death matter, yet predicting the future exactly is difficult.
    I wrote of sometimes using resources for brief periods at very high rates, to cope with emergencies, no differently than your body secreting adrenaline and increasing metabolism to much higher rates to deal with emergencies.
    Does the concept of agrarian anarchy say anything so specific about any of these things? No.

    The absolute need for teamwork, for measuring value by food EROEI, and for the sustainability of it, are three foundational principles. There is nothing vague about them unless you have serious problems with intellect. As mentioned, animals have instincts about food EROEI. Most children of the age of ten can understand these principles if explained in simple terms.

    Applying these principles can be equally specific. You cannot live without a team, and you cannot reproduce without one, either. If you need a team to do this, then logically the team has a say in when and how much couples reproduce, to keep resource use sustainable. Saving the energy of reproduction for the duration of the stress, could be a vital strategy to surviving periods of severe scarcity. The majority of humanity, blindly forging ahead with expectations of magic of one form or another, overshooting resource supplies, is creating an ultimate situation of severe scarcity. Surviving it will logically require the ultimate in efficient teamwork, efficient decisions about where resources are used, and reproduction is a major place to get temporary savings.

    The most efficient model of economic exchange, looks like that selected for the internal workings of individual bodies. Specialized organs trade their goods or services to the whole rest of the body. This avoids mismatches of availability and need that are common when specialized individuals barter. Groups of people can use this model, and ultimately specialized groups might form and do the same thing on much larger scales.

    The amount of health care that makes sense, is if you can heal someone who is hurt and bring them back to being a functional part of the team, for less resource cost than raising a replacement. I won’t go into applying that now, but just give the basic principle.

    Finally, the word “agrarian”. The main point here is the observation of inherent problems with annual plants in many environments. They cannot be as efficient at recycling nutrients as perennials, because recycling efficiency is a function of the size and density of the root system. Recycling ability is critical to having a long term sustainable system. Annuals grow and then die in a single season, their root systems go from zero to small, compared to what exists with perennials year round. The size of the above ground plant also is generally smaller, and is also going from zero to small. That means more bare soil exposed, more impact erosion. The extensive network of roots with perennials, can also hold soil and slow or prevent gullying erosion. Poor recycling ability, poor soil holding ability, means disastrous problems grow with continually growing annual plants.

    And before disasters of this nature are reached, other problems push yet other disasters. The extra work of tilling soil, controlling weeds and insects and animals, hauling fertilizer from other places- depleting them in the case of organic fertilizer- means people are often pushed to have larger families to do this work, leading to overpopulation problems.

    Agrarian anarchy has nothing to say about any of this, yet it looks fairly simple and vitally important to understand, and avoid getting into the traps that annual crops can draw us into.

    And what can we possibly do to get out of this trap? How do you live on a perennial base? Well, there are perennial crops of fruit and nuts, and animals turning vegetation and fruit and nuts into milk and meat. But with trees, that will often have to wait for annual agriculturists in denial of problems, to die off. Most areas that grow trees have also been attractive to farmers, and they are beyond reach at the moment. What is available is land that was never attractive to farmers, and land they have damaged and abandoned. Ranchers have also often damaged land with over grazing and selling animals, selling the nutrients in them and slowly depleting the land doing this. Land like this may still be capable of supporting people living as nomadic herders, hunters and gatherers. Grazing animals can start feeding you immediately, if they are milking. There can also still be some small trees and bushes with fruits, nuts, roots and herbs to gather that have not been of any interest to farmers or ranchers.

    It is a very radical change, and I would not expect many to try, but that works out, because these lands will not support a lot of people.

    There are also rough coastlines that have never been badly exploited.

    Places like what I’m describing may be possible to live in for only relatively short periods even as nomads, as you use up the limited resources in them quite fast, may not be able to cover enough ground to be sustainable. But what you are doing is not meant to be long term sustainable, you are dealing with a severe emergency. That means you want the dieoff to go fast.

    And raising cognitive dissonance to the highest level you can manage, could make it go much faster, as I’ve also mentioned. And I am doing that right now. All I have to do is raise serious doubts in people’s brains. People accuse me of vagueness, I come right back with specifics. It isn’t hard to do, because I’m looking at basic principles here, and they aren’t highly complex things to argue.

  • ulvfugl Says
    Yorchichan you are an idiot !

    That may or may not be true. But would it be unreasonable to suggest that someone is a hothead?

  • The heartache and pain comes because we ALL have to face up to the fact that this mess is NOT going to get fixed.

    Well, we can adopt the attitude of cancer specialists (oncologists). The vast majority of their patients have severely shortened life expectancies. Yet they maintain a cheerful demeanour and go about their business of helping to improve the quality and quantity of remaining life as much as possible.

    There is no point in adopting an an arboreal lifestyle.

  • “That may or may not be true. But would it be unreasonable to suggest that someone is a hothead?”

    Hahaha, I’m a Soto Zen Buddhist. I can ‘out-serene’ anyone on this planet. However, I’d suggest, that if ever there was a subject where people ought, need, should,must get emotional, then surely, it is THIS ONE ?

    if a person doesn’t have strong feelings about, say, the death of the albatrosses, then there’s something seriously wrong… what we are witnessing is far worse than the Holocaust of the Jews, or the Killing Fields, or any similar horror in human history… there has never been a crisis of this magnitude in human history. Or prehistory, for that matter, if you consider the numbers involved…. People expect me to be polite and calm and ‘reasonable’…. Man, LOVE AND RAGE ! 🙂

  • The idea that higher CO2 can actually be good is just one of the nonsense talking point which global warming denial try to throw around. Over 100 (173, as of this morning) of these are debunked at http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php and a bunch deal with CO2, including numbers 3 and 43.

    Arthur Noll and his sidekick are indeed the local specimen of a Web creature called the troll. Best to just ignore them. Rational argument is not gonna sway them, they’re not here to learn. One of their tactics is posting long posts which ramble a lot, say little, most of that little bit is nonsense (like putting the question of CO2 and methane increases even after total cessation of emissions in terms of assumptions which are deemed “not unreasonable,” as if the question hasn’t been studied, as if processes don’t get to a turning point which then make them go exponential due to positive feedback, rather than linear, which means no recovery is possible past a certain point). But people are then kept busy trying to figure it out.
    As for his implication that economic exchange is simply part of human nature, see http://www.dailybattle.pair.com/2012/occupy_target_destroy_ruling_money_fetish.shtml

  • Well, we can adopt the attitude of cancer specialists (oncologists). The vast majority of their patients have severely shortened life expectancies. Yet they maintain a cheerful demeanour and go about their business of helping to improve the quality and quantity of remaining life as much as possible.

    There is no point in adopting an an arboreal lifestyle.

    Yeah, we can do that. Or we can be true to our own nature, whatever that may be. A few people found ways to be happy in Auschwitz. I’m a master of this stuff. I can be happy, serene, blssful, amidst the most severe pain it is possible to have. I’m not telling anyone else they need to be like me. I don’t care. People have to find their own paths through all this stuff. Everyone has different stuff to deal with.

    But if I’m sitting with some, say, mountaineers, or sailors, or divers, or anyone like that, and someone like Y. suggests a plan they have, which I KNOW is ridiculous and will cause disaster and someone will have to rescue them, then I say ‘Hey, you are an idiot !’ out of kindness, not malice. Whereas all your mealy-mouthed polite pundits and politicians tell most monstrous lies, but because they are polite, then that’s all just fine….

  • I wrote,“But if a collapse took two or three years to be triggered, and then lasted another several years…”

    and you, Michael say,

    “REALLY? This is the collapse you are preparing for? Oh dumb me, I was thinking in terms of centuries.

    Arthur, you’re a really smart guy with a ton of hands-on and academic experience. Address the problems.”

    The problem, Michael, as I’ve said before, is that enormous numbers of people in the world are very dependent on long distance trade. Food, fuel, fertilizer, machine parts. The dependence is huge and grows ever bigger. Long distance trade can be fragile, and if disrupted things can collapse in a hurry. Local carrying capacities were long ago passed for a lot of places.
    Problems with monetary economics can disrupt trade, and severe economic problems tend to lead to war, which tends to disrupt trade even worse. Given the enormous vulnerability here, I don’t think that collapse is something that has to take centuries.
    You might know of the commission to the US congress that reported that an EMP attack on the US would result in about 70% dead in one year. And the reason is that stuff would not move. If people start dying and fighting, highly likely I’d say, things would not get fixed, either. And I’d guess that of the survivors the next year, they could have another 70% mortality, because while some might survive because they had access to larger food storage places, as time goes by everyone gets thrown on their own ability to get food. There is a learning curve with that, fail and you die, and they must learn with an environment that has been seriously damaged.
    Other countries have different vulnerabilities, but most are seriously vulnerable to trade being cut off, most have divisions of people who believe in different versions of magic and under stress would be at each other’s throats, making things worse. It looks reasonable to think this could all go down very fast.

  • I thought we could just pop some popcorn and watch the show – but no

    Bad news for movie fans, U.S. drought hits popcorn crop. All across the Midwest, where rows of popcorn normally thrive alongside fields of soybeans, U.S. popcorn farmers have watched in horror as stifling, triple-digit temperatures and weeks without rain withered crops. Reuters
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/02/usa-drought-popcorn-idINL2E8JVGSN20120902

    Its over folks……

  • Morocco Bama
    Your limericks are great as far as rhyme and subject so now it is time to work on meter.

    http://www.speedysnail.com/limericks/metre.html

    There are a few ways to do this – below are the usual – you can fudge a bit on them but the meter really makes the limerick roll.

    Limerick Pattern

    –/ –/ –/ A (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)
    –/ –/ –/ A (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)
    –/ –/ B (da da DUM da da DUM)
    –/ –/ B (da da DUM da da DUM)
    –/ –/ –/ A (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)

    An another
    The typical rhythm of a limerick is like this:

    bah-BAH bah-bah-BAH bah-bah-BAH
    bah-BAH bah-bah-BAH bah-bah-BAH
    bah-BAH bah-bah-BAH
    bah-BAH bah-bah-BAH
    bah-BAH bah-bah-BAH bah-bah-BAH

  • About Free Verse:

    Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.
    – Robert Frost

  • MB ok go for the limerick anarchy but sometimes it is a nice challenge to fit something into a box.

    The limerick’s a very nice form
    For writing political porn
    It won’t go away
    Cause it’s such fun to play
    With the meter that’s poetic norm

  • complexity can be hard to fit
    in boxes of rhythm and rhyme
    but one can take heart
    write prose from the start
    and keep critics at bay in this way

  • MB if you want to do free verse why adopt any part of the limerick form?

  • Hey while we are at it lets have anarchist football, baseball, basketball – that would be more fun that having the athletes play by the rules that box them in. What would an anarchist crossword puzzle look like? Lets get these puzzles out of their boxes. Lets allow more than one letter in each square – that will make solving them easier – and if the word you think is right is longer or shorter than the spaces well just black in a space or create a new one. How about anarchist chess – you can move the pieces any way you want and if you call checkmate well checkmate it is regardless of where the pieces are.

    Sometimes setting up boxes for ourselves creates challenges that are enjoyable. I enjoy working over a limerick for the right meter and rhyme. If you want to do free verse, do free verse. If you want to do a limerick accept the box. If you want to do a half limerick, invent a new name.

  • More time I must waste defending myself against obnoxious morons online.

    uglyfuk

    Yorchichan, you are an idiot!

    I came top of the year in many subjects in my university mathematics department. I am no Einstein, even less a Shakespeare, but I am certainly not an idiot.

    your definition of agriculture is one for kindergarten kids, not intelligent educated adults

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/agriculture

    A slightly more longwinded way of saying the growing of crops and raising of livestock.

    Agrarian anarchy can be whatever people choose to make of it, but it certainly does not have to be anything like the common capitalist commercial agriculture that dominates today.

    You just contradicted yourself: if agrarian anarchy does not have anything in common with capitalist commercial agriculture then it cannot be whatever people choose to make of it. I didn’t write agrarian anarchy had anything to do with capitalist commercial agriculture anyway.

    I don’t have time to waste correcting fools, there are too many of them. You seem proud of your foolishness. Are you actually an adult. I feel like I’m talking to a teenage know-all yob.

    More contradiction. You say I am a fool and yet you have spent time correcting me. I was not the one who resorted to name calling because somebody had opinions different to mine. You are the one who started behaving like a teenage know-all yob. Hypocrisy is my second least favourite human trait after rudeness. What do you hope to gain by your rudeness? Does it make you feel better? Do you think if you shout loudly enough everyone will agree with you? The only thing that will change my mind on something is hard evidence. Failing that, I will always find those who adopt a reasoned tone more persuasive than those who rant and rave. In my experience, those people who resort to name calling and ranting are those who are losing the argument and have no other recourse.

    No. You educate yourself. It’s not my job. It’s not the 10deg that matters, it’s the speed of increase.

    I wish it were so easy to educate myself. Unfortunately there is a lot of often contradictory information out there and to sift through it is an impossible task. Even answering the simple question “How long does it take to shutdown a nuclear reactor” proved difficult. Getting answers on the far more complex question of climate change is hopeless.

    It is well known that humans have no wish to be eductated. People seek out information that reinforces their currently held world view. Clearly that applies to many who contribute here. I regard myself as far more open minded than most. I am not arrogant and do not get personal unless someone else starts it.

    Okay, so it is possible a few people may survive, so it’s not the 100% extinction that Yorchichan insists upon, but that’s mere semantics

    No, extinction is a black and white issue. Either we go extinct or we don’t. Because there are so many rude, hypocritical, arrogant people in the world, I don’t care much either way. If we go extinct, it will give life on earth a chance to recover. And it will.

    Contracdict yourself once more by wasting time on a fool and having the final word if you will.

  • That’s not a defence, Y. that’s a confirmation. Idiot. Failure on all points.

  • As someone who taught college students math for a couple of decades, i can attest that i’ve met lots of people who know math well who haven’t the faintest idea regarding the nature of climate change, or even the scientific method. Guess i’ve now met one more. The regurgitation of global warming deniers’ talking points is a glaring sign.

  • Mb, better 🙂

    Why do games with boxes (rules) appeal to people is the question I had in my mind as I drifted off to sleep. No answers came to me in my sleep. Why is a crossword puzzle more interesting than a list of definitions to which you must supply words of any lengths. When did games with rules arise among humans? Is it innate? Does the complications of rules we set for games or puzzles increase in lockstep with civilization? Do organized games and organized religion help support civilization? Certainly the fervor of a football game seems to be a mild version of the fervor that sends young men to war, bonding them as a team.

  • Kathy C

    Years ago I read a small book, whose title eludes me now, which spoke about the passing out of the age of the warrior. This book did not seem to be based on any identifiable group or school of thought, and to this day I can’t identify such a position for it. However, it spoke of the earlier stages of human civilisations and how they necessitated warriors for defence etc.

    Such a practice has been easily debunked as a response to rising populations and competition for resources etc. The book also wrote that this principle of the warrior is dying and a new, more cooperative approach is needed and coming.

    I can’t vouch for the thesis of the book, but it did inform me early in life that all the atributes of the physical warrior were still needed, but the emphasis would need to be on generalising the psychological strengths, the mental and emotional resiliance, such that ‘we’ mature, to abandon the need to use force.
    As much as that impressed me it looks like the warrior cults are hanging on and are going to the extreme before they surrender and come to the table.
    For a long time young men have been grouping to achieve some specific purpose, and perhaps a protective force for the group was not an unreasonable phenomena, if all were invading each other’s watershed. No doubt some complexities in the actual histories there, but the strange thing is that with modern corporate sports there are no longer players on a team for life, which mirrored the group bonding within groups of a cohort, who knew and trusted each other( or not), and relied on that intimate cohesion. With players ‘purchased’ and ‘traded’ on a season by season basis, it would appear a deviation from an earlier form.

    Dare I say Money has the power and capacity to break and shape even the most intimate of relationships.

    Like this controversial cartoon by Michael Leunig:

    http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/369/86c/36986cec-2c1d-40c0-8e08-cb0a501eb2fc

    Rips your heart out.

  • Kathy C

    Come to think of it, the book was probably alligned with the astrological change from the Picean to the Aquarian age. ‘Peace, brotherhood and love shall rule the stars’.

    We can only hope so…(Jung’s take on the age of Aquarius was far less rosy. He wrote that it was more likely, in the change over period, to be an age where warfare was constant, because it was a period of resolving the conflicts of the earlier Picean Age, which he rekoned was dominated by the ‘motif of the hostile brothers.’)

  • Do you need more evidence that social collapse is underway?

    http://www.kait8.com/story/18751022/5-dead-at-least-35-hurt-in-violent-chicago-weekend

    (NBC) –
    It was a violent weekend in Chicago, with dozens of shootings, assaults and armed robberies.

    Five people died, and at least 35 others were wounded in shootings. Several people were mugged, beaten and robbed on Michigan Avenue on Saturday night by groups of up to 10 attackers.

    Police believe some of the incidents are gang-related.

    One man said the violence makes him think twice about going downtown. Someone was assaulted right outside the tavern he was visiting.

    “People wanted to know what was happening more than anything else. They wanted the details, who was robbed? Unfortunately, this happens all the time. It happens in other neighborhoods but doesn’t get this type of exposure. But downtown, the large tourist area, the large business center,” said Jason Hicks.

    Between Saturday night and Sunday morning, 20 people were wounded in separate incidents.

  • We’ve discussed drug shortages before, but what caught my eye about this article was the lines I’ve included below. THAT should fix everything! 🙂

    http://www.kait8.com/story/19428870/drug-shortages-sweeping-hospitals

    “It hasn’t reached its peak yet,” Martin said. “It’s likely to get worse before it get’s better.”

    One solution is to impose more federal oversight. There are several bills in Congress that address the issue.

  • So, why is it that you and Robin adhere to Frost’s arrogant establishment attitude that all creative form that doesn’t adhere to established standards is by definition, inferior and likened to cheating for easy gain?

    Beauty lies in the eye of the beerholder.

  • Try living outside the box by jumping into the water: quit breathing air and adopt an aquatic respiration like our
    Rhipidistian ancestors. Or quit eating stand in the sunshine with feet in manure and try to photosynthesise.

    Unreformed statists who flaunt an anarchist attitude as a fad misunderstand anarchy completely. Anarchy is without rulers. That is not the same as without rules. Without rules, one has chaos, not anarchy.

  • My sister and I used to play Monopoly in a somewhat anarchic way. The normal rules would put you out of the game when you ran out of money. We invented Mr. Big. Mr. Big would loan us whatever we needed and we never needed to pay it back so we could just keep playing as long as we wanted. Does this sound similar to something going on in real finance in recent years? Life in civilization without rules or rules that can change arbitrarily is not necessarily better.

    Oh well, enough on limericks. I love the sound of reading out loud a good limerick because of the meter and rhyme. It seems to me that the form leads you to the punch line and makes it more satisfying. I love the challenge of fitting a meaning into the form of rhyme, lines and meter. But to each their own….

  • Robin “Anarchy is without rulers. That is not the same as without rules. Without rules, one has chaos, not anarchy.” Well put!

  • Well put!
    H/t Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio.

  • Morocco Bama

    You wrote:

    ‘…I would have to imagine that games that were formulated after the dawn of Civilization were necessary extensions of Civilization, and since Civilization is predicated upon rules, as well as many other attributes, it stands to reason that anything it gives rise to, will be a simulacrum of itself.’

    This is an interesting conjecture. I have formulated a hypothesis along these lines and will share here in brief.

    The four functions I have blabbed on about, namely, Feeling, Thinking, Sensation, and intuition, and th eArchetype of the Shadow are reflected in the structure of many many games. Whether these originated after the development of ‘Civilisation’, is moot, but certainly some co-evolution is at play.
    For example the Game known as Pick-up sticks, or fiddle sticks. It happens to be a derivation of Chinese Yarrow sticks, chich were for determining the I-Ching, however, for the purposes of this reporting it is enought that it became a widely played popular game.
    The game:
    Five types of stick are used. Usualy designated by coloures, Red Blue, Yellow, Green, and Black.
    Usually the colours are worth 2, 3,5 10, and the black 20. there are usually 41 sticks, 10 of each colour and one black only.
    The players can pick up any colour excepting black. Only if the player picks up the four colours in a row from least value to highest value, con they try to pick up the Black. If successful in picking up the Black stick it can be used to pick up further sticks.
    The game rests on moving only the stick one is attmpting to pick up
    Analysis:
    The four colours represent the four functions, and have a cultural bias because of the numerical value placed on them. You can pick up any stick but observation of the tiny relationships between the sticks denotes that within an individual all the functions are dynaicly related. The art is in identifying how.
    Also the Black represents the Shadow, all that is relegated to the unconscious in early life in order to adapt. Only when one has properly identified and used the four functions in sequence can the Shadow be faced and reintegrated. Subsequently, the Shadow, is an asset, as the power and contents hidden there is now able to be used conscoiusly.
    Comment:
    Having played this game many times as a boy, it was obvious to me this game had the possibility, which often happened, of an ending where it was impossible to get past a situation of mutual reliance, where every stick rested on another so none could be moves without moving one at least. As I feel that a throw is a life, and the lay is the Karma of that life, then some karmas end in unconscious chaos. Some lifetimes are also not they ones that the Shadow can be integratd.
    Other games are cards. Which are modification of the Tarot, or are only the Minor Arcana. They have four suits. Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs. They are symbolic corruptions of the Tarot suits, Cups, Pentangles, Swords, and Wands, in corresponding order. Cups are vessils and represent Feeling. Pentangles, (sometimes depicted as Coins) represent Sensation, Swords – Thinking, and Wands represent Intuition.
    Modern cards still retain the signs of Monarchy and court, so to that expent they deploy and tech, as well as reflect a social heirachy not disimilar to Empire.
    Other games using a single ball, of which there are very many, are symbolic of the movement of the conscoiusness from funstion to function, as in soccer from player to player, and the goal,(pun intended) is achieved by the mastery of the flow from player to player.
    Snooker, and pool its poor cousin, comes from some some earlies associated game from India, which I cant name. The coloured balls represent the chakras in the bodymind, and the reds are the Kundalini dormant in the Sacrum, (a triangle). The white is conscious attention, and the game starts with the Break, symbolic of awakening the Kundalini. Each red must go in first before a colour can be attempted. This is symbolic of the process of having outer experiences, and then attempting to use them to contact one of the Chakras. The colours keep coming back to the table as does the white, and the game closes down when all reds are gone, and the colours are potted in sequence in the last phase. After the life of experience and awareness, the whole Chakra system falls away and only the white is left, consciousness itself.
    I have a theory of Chess along these lines too, but it is a bit long for this entry.
    Suffice to add that one must see thes structuring models as both products of the psyche, and conditioners. The main structure however is one of equal/adverarial. Like in Chess, Black versus White. It is obvious how some games relate to battle, but others are less combative by way of turn taking, as in Pick-up-sticks.
    I will not go so far as whitewashing Empire as an evil on the world. Some of the structuring supports Empire and the inequalities, but some of the structuring is not biasing any function, as per my hypothesis, and therefor, is worthy of keeping.
    In conclusion it is obvious sme games change over time, and some stay pretty much the same. Chess is a good example of one that has changed considderably over the 1400 years it has been played, denoting a change in the modern Psyche. But that’s another post…

    It’s worth noting that Jimmy Conners, and later John Mackenroe wre notable great players who challenged the authority of, and intimidated, the umpire, denoting a change in the way super-individualism, (and the big bucks), propelled a challenge to ‘the rules’ or taboo on obeying the umpire.(Authority)
    So many games….

  • Kathy C

    We also played Monopoly, but we also had a game called ‘Stockmarket’! Yep, and my older brother was the best trader in the street. How wonders never cease.
    Another game that fits well into the four functions model is Cludo.

  • More on games and structure.

    Many have pointed out that fairytales and Myths contain symbolic structuring, similar to games.

    There are many fairy tales that have a stupid Hans. The older brothers try to do a task and they cannot succeed. Stupid Hans, who no one expects can do anything, represents the ‘inferior function’, (search engine it), and it is only by finally engaging the inferior function, aka stupid Hans, that the challenge, or task can be accomplished. So many narritive based tales have this structure.
    Depth psychology points to the Myths as well, for example, St George and the Dragon, conform to psychological developmental structuring. First, go off the usual path, through difficult terrain and challenges to find the Dragon. This is symbolic of developing the less well adapted functions than the culture has provided, including the inferior function.
    Second defeat the Dragon, (never in real life a certainty), which is confronting the Shadow and defeating it, or integrating it. Luke in combat with Dearth Vader comes to mind. Fear and Anger are part of the Shadow and accompany any true encounter with a ‘Dragon’.
    Third, rescue the maiden held captive by the dragon. This is the Anima, or soul, or access to the flow of transcendent ‘life’ and joy, that comes when the Inferior Function and Shadow are integrated.
    The Grail legends also hold much of this structuring. Yes the Abrahamic cults also have a adversarial cosmology, as does the Westminster Parliamentary System, where they actually refer to the opposition as ‘Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Forein Minister”. Very clear isn’t it?.
    That opposition modeling and structuring comes from the Picean Age, and is now a dead cat to many awake people. A newer and less adversarial structure is wanting. The cat must be seen to die first. TPTB keep the bipolar structure of politics to keep the game going way past its used by date, IMO.

    Agrarian Anarchy? It’s a start.

  • Arthur Noll,

    “Most children the age of ten can understand these principles.”

    Ouch! Now that’s the tone I’m talking about.
    —————————————————————

    I’m on board with your survival program now thanks to the specifics you provided. I just had a few unanswered questions that are actually based on your earlier comments about agrarian anarchy.

    *I need a flock of goats. How many would that be? I’m thinking I should have milk goats so that I get the 3 liters of milk each day (nine months a year). Maybe I eat a goat a month, about a pound each day. So that would be a buck and 12 does (young, healthy ones) assuming collapse does not come during the first year. Let’s see, 3 liters of milk and a pound of meat a day, plenty of food.

    *What would I do for veggies?

    *By the end of the summer I should have one buck, twelve does, and maybe 18 kids (some twins). I’m not sure I have enough space to keep that many goats. Of course after the 91% human population die-off over the first two years of collapse there will be plenty of space but as you say, none of us can exactly predict when the collapse will happen. (I would like to get my flock maybe a month before the crash so I won’t have to mess with all these goats for too long. I just don’t know for sure when it will come.)

    *Did you mention how much land “brutally stolen from the original inhabitants” it will take to feed them through the winter? Maybe you don’t have winter. I’ll probably have to steal the fertility of some other piece of land by buying hay put up by a farmer with a tractor. Of course I could grow some hay for my goats and harvest it with a scythe. I would have to put it up loose in a barn. I would have to build a barn. But that all sounds kind-of agrarian to me and I’d like to steer clear of that. How have you gotten around all of that agrarian stuff with your flock?

    *By the following spring I will be down to one buck, twelve does, and the six young does from the previous year getting ready to breed. But I need a new buck to breed the young ones. Did you mention where I should look for that replacement? I’ll need a new buck each year, or else I will need to cull all of the young does before they breed. But if I do that how do I maintain my flock over time? . Oh, I remember from the “principles” I will need a team.

    *According to the “sharp knife of triage” provided by “the principles of society” I will need a team of highly rational people to provide the core of my wandering tribe. Probably each of them will need a flock of goats too. Say I just work with a team of 23 other people (rational, mixed sex, fertile for population stability, but restrained sexually by their intellect). I guess each of them will need about a dozen goats as well, although we could have fewer bucks (randy bastards) per person, unless of course each team member lives on a separate piece of land. What does that come to? 24 x12 = 288 goats to start with and 24 x 18 = 432 when the kids arrive in the spring. That’s not including the bucks. Wow! That’s why all those pictures I see of nomads always show so many goats (and/or sheep). I wonder how the team will deal with them all.

    *How will I keep them from being eaten by my neighbors during the collapse? After all we’re expecting a 91% die-off within the first two years. Some from those folks will die of starvation, and before they do they might be hungry. Luckily I live in the mountains so I don’t have far to go if I bug out there. If I lived further away I might have a problem getting to some wild land to ride out the collapse (five years, you say?). Would I drive my flock along the roads? Would I cut peoples fences?

    *What if the collapse comes in winter?

    And so on…………….

    Now none of this is real because I have had only one goat in my life and I don’t know anything about them. Except the does smell wonderful.
    ————————————————————————
    Arthur, you have no plan. You have a fantasy in which you have envisioned a future that fits your idea of how it ought to be.

    I might want to be a cowboy and ride a horse as I drive my herd up and down middle America post collapse. Using your figures (70% year one, 70% year two) there still be would be a lot of hungry people (30 million in the US) looking at those beeves, wondering if I really needed them as much as they did.

    A plan is what you do when you think about possible eventualities and try to prepare for them. Many of the people here at NBL are finding that conditions predicted by credible scientist might make it extremely difficult to survive the changes we have set in motion. Those scientist are freaking! None of this, “well it’s been warmer before and life survived” crap. They are seriously doubting even that.

    Now I’m an optimist (although my wife doesn’t think so because I read NBL) and I am planning for a future that at least leaves a possibility that humans will survive. But I am also a realist. What the scientists are telling me is that even if human survive there is no possibility that conditions similar to what we still have now will exist again for many hundreds, if not thousands of years. I’m hoping for a hard and deep collapse. I’m fearing a hard and deep collapse. I’m trying to cover eventualities. I suggest you do the same.

    Remember, there is an old saw about people living in glass houses throwing stones.

    Michael Irving

  • Michael, your mentioning your wife reminds me of a question I’ve had for a while: are there any couples out there who both read NBL? I know my Josh doesn’t.

    As we talk about educating/warning others, what, if anything, does that say if our own spouses aren’t reading NBL?

  • Thanks for restating that anarchy is about no rulers, NOT “no rules.” i find this confusion all over the place, thanks to official definitions, e.g. dictionaries, which make anarchy into a synonym of “chaos.”

  • Yes, the media, police, and established powers, etc, consciously use anarchy = chaos as an attempt to discredit anarchists in the public discourse. I personally prefer anarchism, but other anarchists sometimes object to that term. Anarchism as a political stance. It’s not a theory or set of rules, is it, it just means rejecting rulers.

    As I see it, rule is closely connected to power. The ruler rules because he’s got the largest number of thugs to deploy if you don’t do what he says, which usually means giving him ( usually a him, not a her ) something valuable, a cut of whatever you’ve got. So it’s really just a protection racket.

    But there can be another kind of rule. That’s where someone in the community becomes recognised as having superior qualities, wisdom, judgement, insight, and people naturally go to that individual for advice, guidance, leadership and problem solving. Let’s call that person the chief. They become a sort of de facto ruler, because whenever there’s a dispute people will say ‘the chief said that…, or the chief believes this…’ and because everyone respects the chief, a sort of natural ‘ruler-ship’ arises, without any thugs or coercion, and people donate wealth, as an act of gratitude and honour, rather than because of violence and fear.

    How far that sort of relationship can scale up, I don’t know. I expect the anthropologists have studied the matter.

  • TRDH,

    Not an NBL partner here. She mostly wants to cover her ears and say Nah, Nah, Nah.

    My daughter checks in from time to time but usually gets the flow second hand from me. We do have great discussions, however, and what with her humanure, solar lights, tiny stray/clay cabin (she just finished the rough coat throughout the interior yesterday, WHOOT!), stone refrigerator in the creek, and cooking on a rocket stove she is, if anything, ahead of me.

    Michael Irving

  • TRDH, my husband is fully on board about the issues discussed here, he just doesn’t use the computer much. And while he is on board about the issues he finds the endless discussion of peripheral issues futile.

    All, For my part I apologize for bringing in the totally peripheral discussion about the traditional form of the limerick. Meanwhile the planet burns and the fate of humanity is uncertain. Of course it is likely that all discussion from here on out is irrelevant except how to buy a few more years of survival if that is what one wants.

    Listened to about 1/2 of this vid today. I don’t know if has been posted before but it is quite good so even if it has it is worth posting again. Good but depressing of course – what isn’t these days.

    24 minutes into the presentation he talks about NASA being afraid to release findings of methane releases off the coast of San Diego for fear of retribution by the Bush administration.

    David Wasdell, Director of the Meridian Programme, is a world-renowned expert in the dynamics of climate change. He is also a reviewer of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports and the author of numerous papers and presentations on climate change and related topics.

  • Michael,
    Plans have to be tailored to local conditions. I can’t give a specific plan without knowing the location. And you are also coming at this as an individual, not thinking of how a group might be put together to deal with some of the questions you raise. It was looking at problems of dealing with animals, similar to some of the questions you raise, that reinforced to me that I needed a community. Someone or more is dealing with the buck(s), or bulls, stallions, whatever, someone else is dealing with the females. In nature animals like these often have bachelor herds that remain separate from the females- following that pattern requires someone to go with the males and someone to go with the females. For the females, people take the role of herd buck, herd jack, stallion, whatever, in everything except breeding, obviously. Herders do things like this. And if at all possible, you would like more than one species of animal, and they are likely to require their own handlers. Sheep and goats *may* flock together, but goats prefer browse, sheep prefer grass, they are likely to want to separate. Ditto for other species of animal. They are going to want to hang out together and not go where the others go when feeding, even though they might all come together easily enough for moving camp.
    When I look at where I am now, in Sacramento, CA, I see the mountains to the east and the coastline and mountains to the west, as possible places to go. Winter in the Sierras can have many feet of snow. A plan for going there would run something like this- you cache enough hay to get through a winter in a remote location there. Enough food for people, too. Expecting things to go completely insane, you put that together and you can be there and holed up there for the winter. In the spring you can herd your animals around the mountains, they start feeding you at this point, along with what you can gather and hunt, and by fall you can hope that the dieoff has gone fast enough to winter in the valley. You are then back to an ancient pattern of wintering in the valley and grazing in the mountains during the summer. Other places can be similar, only the migration patterns might simply be north- south, rather than from mountains to valley. In some situations you might realistically hope for making some winter fodder for animals, or that some might naturally exist. In some conditions, that would not be realistic. And the kind of animal matters a great deal for this. Horses became the animal people depended on the most in some parts of Central Asia, because they will dig down through snow to get the grass underneath. They will eat snow for water. Other common domestic animals would die in such conditions. They only survive by being given hay and water. Reindeer do well even further north than horses, obviously. Though when I say “hay”, you shouldn’t feel too boxed in by that. People have cut stuff like willows and poplar and dried the leaves and twigs for winter feed, as well as making grass hay. As far as naturally available winter food, Native Americans wintered in places where they could cut cottonwood branches for the horses to eat bark and buds. That did not always work well, though, apparently part of what drove raiding was looking to replace animals that died in the winter. But that could also be from overpopulation, too much pressure of other Natives and Europeans taking sheltered valleys with enough trees, and not enough time for trees to grow back. Coppiced trees can grow back much faster than a whole tree, though.
    Today, where people almost exclusively feed their animals grass and/or alfalfa hay for winter, trees in remote valleys may have grown back, allow this to be done again without serious winterkill. You have to look and see what is there. And with regard to that, information gathering is another major reason for why groups are much stronger than individuals. People cooperating can draw together information about very wide areas. In any case, while resources in remote areas may be quite limited and you might need to buy hay to start off, if a dieoff is going on over the horizon, your options should be opening up to find good places to make it through the next winter with one or a combination of these strategies. Migration, or looking to natural winter food supplies, possibly combined with making and storing fodder of some kind.

    People in climates that don’t have winter, might instead be looking at how to get through a dry season, but the basic principles are the same.

    The fundamental thing is to get well away from concentrations of people who refuse to be reasonable about their expectations, and look at what is there, what you have to work with, what kinds of domestic animals fit those conditions the best. Pool your resources to get what you need from existing society to start off with. With the huge inequities in present society, some may not have much to contribute to begin with. But anyone concerned about the stability of current society and inclined to join such an effort would have likely piled up knowledge of the area, skills for living without fossil fuels, that kind of thing. If people have just sat around as couch potatoes watching television in their spare time, and know nothing about stuff like this, have not practiced skills, they aren’t likely to join and aren’t worth much if they do, unless they can learn really, really fast. Not likely. Not everyone is equally valuable. You need to be ruthless but fair about who you accept, who you put faith in as part of your team. Take in someone worthless and you may suffer really badly for that, turn away someone on false measure and you may also suffer. The fit survive.

  • Aw, c’mon, MO, with respect, you’re exagerating, all Kathy C. said is that the limerick is a traditional form, with a rule as its structure. That’s a common feature right across world culture.

    It has NOTHING to do with why the world is in such a mess.

    If you don’t follow the rule for limerick structure, then it stops being a limerick. Same goes for, say, haiku, or 12 bar blues. You’re free to do whatever you want. But it’s ridiculous to draw a circle and say it’s a square because you don’t acknowledge the rule that defines a circle.

  • “Not everyone is equally valuable. You need to be ruthless but fair about who you accept, who you put faith in as part of your team. Take in someone worthless and you may suffer really badly for that, turn away someone on false measure and you may also suffer. The fit survive.”

    You appear to be assuming that you are the one doing the ‘taking in’. Perhaps you’d like to write a version from the perspective where you are the one begging to be taken in.

  • MB Rules about poetic forms clearly are not something that matters and I was wrong to note to you that traditional limericks have an accepted meter. I apologize to you for doing that.

  • The ensuing discussion that followed has everything to do with it, so you come on.

    Hahaha, okay, I will…

    The ensuing discussion to which I alluded has everything to do with it, and it’s not peripheral to the title of the thread, which is, if you’ve forgotten What are we fighting for?. Well, I’m not fighting for anything, but what I will say is that I don’t want to be part of another world created in the wake of this one that is predicated on enforced rules to coerce people into traditional modes of behavior.

    Okay. Fine. Reject all traditional modes of behaviour. Who cares what YOU do ? I certainly don’t.

    You really believe there will be another world created in the wake of this one ? That’s some peculiar religious doctrine you pursue ? Whatever it is, I don’t share it. I think we get a global mass extinction event.

    I take it you don’t subscribe to Guy’s classroom etiquette which didn’t abide by the rules, and was quite contrary to tradition in its application? The written, or unwritten, rule was that Guy would teach in the tradition, rather than engaging in classroom anarchy, and what’s ironic, is that now you have jumped on the rule bandwagon and serve to take the place of the cold, calculating, arrogant and condescending bureaucrat who marginalized Guy, and in all likelihood, considered herself superior to him since she followed the rules, and he didn’t.

    I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about there. If you really want a reply, you’ll have to unscramble it and make it accessible to me.

  • I saw Chris Hedges mentioned earlier in the comments, and today he has a post that is saying much the same thing as Guy:

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/life_is_sacred_20120903/

    This is the first I have heard Hedges say that resistance is futile. The last line is the best:

    “Unrestrained hubris always leads to self-immolation.”

  • Yeah, that’s all very well, except that a Non-Traditional Limerick is no longer a Limerick, is it. It’s something else.

    Like I said above, re a 12 bar blues. You can mess with it, provide some witty, entertaining extension that enhances a particular performance, but if you stretch it too far, it’s not the blues anymore, it’s something else.

    As for the rest, it’s an over-generalisation. Culture is changing all the time, whether you like it or not. Just try stopping it ! However, all around the world, in all cultures, there are traditional forms which those who support them strive to maintain and preserve, because they are seen as having some value. That may or may not be a good thing, depending upon your point of view. These matters are often fiercely contested.

  • Arthur Noll,

    Better!

    You still have not dealt with the timeline. You said you were in Sacramento, not near, but in. You may have mis-spoken, but assuming you did not, then if you are serious (rather than working from an armchair) you must have your team and flock already assembled and by this time you must have built shelters and stashed your winter hay supply in the Sierras.

    Many people here are actively practicing skills they expect will be required for survival in a collapse situation. Some of them are contemplating Plan B and C. Are you walking the walk, or is all this just an intellectual exercise?

    If you are walking the walk, how are your animals coping this summer? I know it has been very dry and very hot there. Has the pasture dried up? My sister-in-law, here on vacation, has been referring to it as Arrakis, in contrast to Caladan, where I live. We’ve been very lucky, benefitting from the wettest spring on record. However, we have not had a drop of rain since July 13.

    Michael Irving

  • I should add, that when things have progressed to the point where it is possible to reestablish ancient migration patterns, it may also be possible to go back to wetter climates that are presently overrun with people, and start working with tree crops. I like some permaculture ideas, but I don’t like the idea of individuals making tiny little human made ecosystems, though. There has been no other option, I understand that, but regardless I have felt this made no sense for a long time. Groups working with real ecosystems makes a lot more sense to me. And I don’t throw out the cultivation of annual crops entirely, there are a natural niches for annuals in nature, that could be used in a long term sustainable manner. Areas that grow trees, though, can have fewer niches for annuals. Annuals only fit with trees with the natural pattern of patches of forest being destroyed now and then by windstorms, fire. Annual seeds laying dormant are the first to grow back. People have mimicked this with slash and burn. Too much of that quickly becomes destructive, though.

  • Hahahahaha, jeez, MB, fuck off will you, with your silly childish insults…. or at least come up with a better quality insult, something interesting, creative, original… ‘head… ass…’ Oh dearie me !

    I see. So, a non-traditional southern landowner isn’t a southern landowner. I get it. Thanks. Makes sense. If you were following, I conceded to call my rhymes something else, it’s not important to me that they be considered Limericks, even though they heavily borrow from the device, but to imply something’s inferior and not a challenge because it doesn’t follow the “accepted” rules, doesn’t necessarily follow, and that’s at the crux of it

    No, you don’t see. You’re hopelessly muddled. I know little about southern landowner, so I’ll not venture an opinion on them, but, generally, the world is full of things, which are described, defined and categorised, by common agreement, so that we can communicate.

    If I was a book publisher and asked you for a limerick, and you agreed to supply me with one, I’d expect an effing limerick, not some potty neologism that you’d cooked up.

    Same as if I’d sent you money to buy a book from you, I’d expect a book, not some onions.

    Simple.

    Some traditions I hold in very high regard, and think they are well worth fighting for, so that they don’t get lost. Thatching roofs, for example.

    Some traditions deserve to be stamped out, IMO. Cliterodectomy, for example.

    Others I’m neutral about, if people reallywant to chase cheese down hills, what do I care ?

    As for what you do personally with the limerick form, or what you call it, I care not one bit, but the examples you’ve sup[plied so far are hardly memorable, are they ? Pretty poor, compared with the ones that are heard once and stick in your head for a lifetime. So, yes, they probably are inferior, at least in that respect.