Seizing the day

by Jennifer Hartley

About a month ago, Guy wrote an essay, Let go, or be dragged. His essay spurred some more personal reflection on my part about letting go. I’ve made reference in my last essay on Nature Bats Last on ways that I’m letting go, such as relinquishing conventional ideas of “achievement” or the hubristic concept of “saving the world.” But I’m releasing more than that, in ways that are both painful and full of vitality.

The most painful thing to relinquish is the hope that my five-year-old daughter might live a long, peaceful life, on a planet not being actively murdered. I can’t maintain that hope in the face of compelling evidence, and it’s devastating. At the same time, I have not given up hope that her life, whatever its length, might be full of as much joy and meaning as possible. The tension between that anticipatory grief and the quest for joy and meaning is often complicated. Nevertheless, knowing that her life will likely be much shorter than that of her ancestors, I feel much more free to offer her an unfettered childhood. We don’t put off small pleasures. We don’t waste time with jumping through hoops of others’ expectations. There is ample time for frolicking outdoors and seeking out friends. I try to say “yes” to as many of her requests as possible (although there are some limits). We have time for reading lots of books. We have time for philosophical discussions. (If you haven’t had a philosophical discussion with a young child in a while, I strongly recommend it. It will be time well spent.)

Meanwhile, I’m also aware that I won’t have a long life either; longer than my child’s, most likely (I’m 40), but almost certainly not as long as my parents’, grandparents’, or great-grandparents’ lives. Sometimes this prospect is horribly depressing, and I think to myself, I’m not ready for this! I need more time to make something of myself. I want to leave my imprint on the world. But what kind of imprint can be left in a world without people, without memory? There’s still so much I want to write, so many more projects I want to take on, so much to learn, so much self-actualizing that I want to do. And I wanted to be the most splendid mom ever.

Now I must confront the door of the hospice where dreams go to die. My hand is on the doorknob. And I’m in charge of populating that hospice with my own appointed caregivers that I seek out in places both mundane and surprising, and also responsible for being one of those caregivers myself, to everyone I love and those I encounter who are in need.

Unsurprisingly, I’m also letting go of the prospect of having any more children. I have no doubt this is the right decision, and yet there’s a part of me that mourns my potential child(ren).

I’m letting go of the idea that I will somehow perfect myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Strangely, this seems like a great opportunity for me to go to self-acceptance boot camp. I will not have the perfect body. I will not be brilliant and famous and dripping with accolades. I will not be brimming with confidence and finally grow a thicker skin. I will not gain the wisdom that only comes with old age. None of that will happen. It would make sense, wouldn’t it, for me to arrive at some sort of peace with that, sooner rather than later?

I’m letting go of the idea that my demeanor and actions don’t matter. Extinction might suggest that we should just behave any way we want, no matter how thoughtlessly or callously, because what does it matter if we’re all dead in the end? I can’t subscribe to this. I believe that acting with love and kindness is all that matters.

I’m letting go, gradually, of the elaborate coping mechanisms I’ve developed over the years to maintain illusions of control. In reality, almost everything is out of my control. Cultivating love and patience in my own heart seem to be the main tasks that remain. No doubt I won’t be free of anxiety, and I will still circle back to old habits: intermittent denial; believing I could solve intractable problems if I could just think hard enough about them; believing I could cause people to care if I could just be persuasive enough. I will try to treat myself with kindness when I recognize that I’m still clinging to those illusions. I’ll be kind to others who cling to those illusions with all their might, with no sign of unclenching their fists.

I’m letting go, too, of the illusion that any day is ordinary. From here on out, I will ask, what extraordinary things are to be learned today? What adventures will transpire? What will my daughter do, or what will I do, that will be new, delightful, important, thought-provoking, odd, “crazy,” or even earth-shattering? I will stay awake and not take any event for granted.

I’m letting go of the notion that there is still plenty of time to make all the apologies I want to make for long-ago mistakes, for finding and reconnecting with long-lost friends, for speaking the truth to people in my life in possibly dangerous ways. There is not plenty of time. The truths need to be spoken now. The risks need to be taken now.

One small example: not long ago, I found the blog and email address of an ex-boyfriend, with whom I hadn’t been in contact for over 20 years. I had always felt regret about some of the things I had said to him. So, I took a deep breath and wrote to him, telling him I hoped he was having a good life, and that I was sorry. He wrote back, astonished, glad to hear from me—he was having a good life as a writer, thousands of miles away, happily married. He didn’t have the faintest idea why I would be sorry and said it was simply not necessary for me to apologize. No matter. My conscience was eased.

I’m also developing a list of the people throughout my life who have profoundly affected me but disappeared, and I’m planning to find their addresses if I can, and write letters or emails to them.

I’m letting go of the idea that if I can just practice restraint and self-abnegation, I can somehow keep the boat from rocking and keep others around me happy. I’m letting go of being a “good girl.” I realized very recently that it serves no one’s interest for me to squelch my own genuine needs and desires. It’s common for women in particular to do such squelching, and mothers even more so. There is a high cost to be paid: the experience of being fully free and alive. I want my daughter to have a model of womanhood that is not about repression, conformity, and taking care of everyone’s needs but one’s own, but about living at full throttle (with respect and kindness for others, still, and shouldering responsibility appropriately). My own mother, who I think is brilliant and gorgeous, always maintained that she was unattractive, not smart enough, and not good enough. She had many ambitions that were never realized; as a child and as an adult, I remember many times when I would strenuously attempt to help her pursue her interests, only to be told, “It’s too late for me. But you — you will go ahead and do great things.” I think she truly believed that her self-effacement was somehow serving the interests of others, that in the long run, it would be for the best.

But now there is no long run left. And if part of my task is to compress as much full-throttle living into the time that’s left, for both me and my daughter, then I owe it to us to heed the words of poet Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Carpe diem, friends. May you be fully alive every day of your life.


Jennifer Hartley is a homeschooling mother, radical homemaker, permaculturally inspired gardener, and local food activist. She was a founding board member of the non-profit Grow Food Northampton, and lives on a budding, quarter-acre homestead with her family in western Massachusetts. She is also a former reference librarian and still gets excited about connecting people with resources and ideas, helping people evaluate information, and collecting scads of books. These days she and her daughter can be found reading books, making art, singing a lot, harvesting and preserving food, playing with numbers, and having deep conversations. Jennifer loves sharp hand tools, mows with a scythe, and splits wood with an axe.

McPherson has been blocked from commenting at ThinkProgress after pointing out Joe Romm’s latest essay in that space, although relatively comprehensive, is too conservative. I pointed to evidence and, in return, I’ve been precluded from further commentary. I sent email messages to the publisher, so far without a response, and to the writer. Romm responded by telling me I am ignorant, and he is saving me embarrassment by blocking my comments. Thanks, Joe!

McPherson’s responses to the YouTube video embedded below, from somebody who did not contact me for clarification (the limited length of comments necessitated multiple comments):

“Thanks for the introduction, asshole. I’m professor emeritus at the University of Arizona. I left that institution and the city of Tucson for ethical reasons several years ago. A quick little math check: 2031 is NOT 13 years from now! Several of those 80 people missed their predictions, some of them many times, but ALL have made predictions consistent with global economic collapse (e.g., Kunstler and Dow 4,000 = capitulation, Soros directly in January 2012, Max Keiser changed his forecast).”

“I could go on and on, but I hope you get the idea. Without bothering to contact me, you’re questioning my credibility. No, it’s much worse than that: You’re claiming I’m not credible. Do a little research, or check with me so I can point you to the claims, and you’ll see each name on my list has made a claim consistent with complete collapse of the world’s industrial economy by the end of 2012.”

I regret the name-calling. It was quite uncivil of me, as pointed out by one of my Facebook contacts, to call somebody an asshole in the first sentence ever written to a person.

Comments 214


    The Untold Story of the Ecological Science of Human Population Dynamics, presented at the following link,

    There is one issue that is not being given the attention it deserves. I want to ask you to focus on human exceptionalism as it relates to population dynamics of the human species. How are we to grasp the gravity of the human predicament, much less gain consensus about how to go forward, if we cannot share an adequate, scientific understanding of the ‘placement’ of the human species within the order of living things. Specifically, is the population dynamics of the human species essentially similar to, or different from the population dynamics of other species? In terms of our population dynamics are human beings actually exceptional? If so, where is the science for an assertion of human exceptionalism vis a vis its population dynamics. The population dynamics of non-human species are routinely and immediately understood. Food is the independent variable and population numbers is the dependent variable. More food equals more organisms; less food equals less organisms; and no food, no organisms. But the minute our focus shifts to human organisms, everything we know from well established scientific research about population dynamics is turned upside down. We widely share, consensually validate and automatically broadcast via the mass media the notion that the human species must grow food in order to meet the needs of growing human population. All of sudden human population numbers is the independent variable and food is the dependent variable. Where is the scientific research for this distinctly human exceptionalism with regard to the population dynamics of humankind? I cannot find sufficient scientific support for such exceptionalism.

  • SES : I cannot find sufficient scientific support for such exceptionalism.

    I don’t think that there is any, is there ? It’s just people clinging to a comforting myth. As far as I know, we are subject to the same ecological laws as the reindeer on St. Matthew Island. Except that we found coal and oil. Which can be thought of as a handy ship arriving every winter with an enormous quantity of a hay… until one winter, it does not arrive anymore..

  • SES

    Thank you for summarizing the issue in such clear terms.

    At the moment, as we are still in the thralls of the growth and progress delusion, any discussion of depopulation is verboten. The big, ugly questions surrounding depopulation are who decides?, who lives?, who dies? and by what means would depopulation be carried out? The issues are especially thorny since we are running out of time.

    The likelihood of a near term managed population and economic contraction (short of some science-fictionesque engineered pathogen) seem pretty slim.

  • Did you read about the family orchard in Colorado that was ransacked by hungry mobs after the owners offered undersized peach crop free to public? More anarchy here.

    “The voluntary support of laws, formed by persons of their own choice, distinguishes peculiarly the minds capable of self-government. The contrary spirit is anarchy, which of necessity produces despotism.” ~Thomas Jefferson, to Philadelphia Citizens, 1809

    “…repairs to the standard of the laws. Do this, and you need never fear anarchy or tyranny. Your government will
    be perpetual.” ~Thomas Jefferson, Manuscript, 1801

    “Our falling into anarchy would decide forever the destinies of mankind, and seal the political heresy that man is incapable of self-government.” ~Thomas Jefferson, to John Hollins, 1811

    (for those who imagine Jefferson was an anarchist)

  • SES you are of course exactly right. The problem is that the population is now so large that no restriction of births can help soon enough. As I think I have shown, restriction of all births only gets us to 4 billion in 60 years. So what is the point of talking about population as if it was a problem we could address. It will be addressed by other means – nature through famine, disease, or by humans through war, or germ warfare. But increasingly it looks like climate change will just solve the whole thing by wiping us out. There is nothing more to be done about population other than each individual thinking about what kind of world they would bring a child into and hopefully taking advantage of permanent sterilization before all birth control is gone.

  • science-fictionesque engineered pathogen

    Even once mythical chimeras are not fictional these days.

    ANNALS OF WARFARE: THE BIOWEAPONEERS, The New Yorker, March 9, 1998, pp. 52-65

  • Kathy, your vey accurate assessment, for some reason, brought this passage to mind:

    “In some remote corner of the universe, flickering in the light of the countless solar systems into which it had been poured, there was once a planet on which clever animals invented cognition. It was the most arrogant and most mendacious minute in the ‘history of the world’; but a minute was all it was. After nature had drawn just a few more breaths the planet froze and the clever animals had to die. Someone could invent a fable like this and yet they would still not have given a satisfactory illustration of just how pitiful, how insubstantial and transitory, how purposeless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature; there were eternities during which it did not exist; and when it has disappeared again, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no further mission that might extend beyond the bounds of human life. Rather, the intellect is human, and only its own possessor and progenitor regards it with such pathos, as if it housed the axis around which the entire world revolved. But if we could communicate with a midge we would hear that it too floats through the air with the very same pathos, feeling that it too contains within itself the flying centre of this world. There is nothing in nature so despicable and mean that would not immediately swell up like a balloon from just one little puff of that force of cognition; and just as every bearer of burdens wants to be admired, so the proudest man of all, the philosopher, wants to see, on all sides, the eyes of the universe trained, as through telescopes, on his thoughts and deeds.”

    Friedrich Nietzche, The Birth of Tragedy

  • For God so loved the κόσμος (cosmos). ~John 3:16

    Because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. ♪ ~Dr. Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

  • I am so tired of this anthropocentric bullshit!

  • I am so tired of this anthropocentric bullshit!


    “Egos appear by setting themselves apart from other egos.” ~Martin Buber, I and Thou (1923)

  • Antidote. The Wonders of Creation. Portrait of a Duck.

    Turkish version of the Wonders of creation, A duck, Walters Manuscript W.659, fol. 116a detail

  • Portrait of a Duck.

    Art, like religion, arose from the original sense of disquiet, no doubt subtly but powerfully disturbing in its newness and its encroaching gradualness. In 1900 Hirn wrote of an early dissatisfaction that motivated the artistic search for a “fuller and deeper expression” as “compensation for new deficiencies of life.” ~John Zerzan, Running on Emptiness: The Failure of Symbolic Thought

  • Ivy Mike : …an early dissatisfaction that motivated the artistic search for a “fuller and deeper expression” as “compensation for new deficiencies of life.”

    Naah, I don’t buy it. I don’t agree with Zerzan’s thesis that symbolic thought was the root of the problem either. As I see it it fire ( first, 800,000 years ago ? ) speech, singing, dancing, drumming, self-decoration, palaeolithic cave art, all expressions of the human animal, not ‘mistakes’. That duck is as vibrant as the cave art, only slightly more stylised.

    I subscribe to Gombrich’s ‘No such thing as art, only artists’ and artists do stuff for all sorts of reasons.

  • RE: Cannibal Officer

    The cops I know are often involved in really sick shit. They’re in a bondage-domination-submissive-Master (BDSM) profession, and it becomes a hidden sexual turn on; they become predators.

    Actally the industrial rape of Gaia can be seen as the final predatory orgasm of agricultural civilization.

    Even the Greeks recognized agriculture as rape in their mythology of the rape of Demeter (and her daughter Persephone), the goddess of Grain and Agriculture, with the plow being a phallic instrument, opening the earth in a violent farming, not loving gardening, way.

    So the cannibal officer was gyno-measuring females to subdue them, just as agriculturalists geo-measure Mother Earth to subdue it.

    Now you know why you didn’t like geometry in that grouped (schooled) prison camp for kiddies; farmers and other rapists are cold, calculating killers.

  • …into the Woods: Jungian…

    Peter Birkhäuser, a friend of Jung, painted ‘Der Gespaltene (The Split One), a face he saw in his dreams.

    This was the first painting after his mid life crisis when he realized that he could no longer paint his outer world as he once did. It was orginally called “The Split One: but it has now been renamed “The World’s Wound.” It was the result of a dream in which he saw this wounded man, and realized he had to paint him as he saw him in the dream, although he had formerly used living models. But in this case, he had to paint the image as it was given to him by the unconscious. ~Jungian analyst Dean Frantz

  • I read Robert Bly’s Iron John when it came out, I’m embarrassed to say. It was a celebrated book in certain circles, the supposed men’s movement at the time to join drumming circles and participate in sweat lodges. The only bit I can still remember is Bly’s counsel that men should learn to shrug. WTF?

  • Great painting, Ivy Mike, I had not seen it before, thanks for it.

    Sam Harris, ‘stare into death so as to infuse every moment with present and potent life’

  • You can’t get out “a’dead.”

    The empty onion unpeels itself, dirty incarnation after dirty incarnation … from fruit fly to sage.

    You can’t destroy a biosphere and then sneak off into nonexistence.

    The karmic bunny will hunt you down, turn you into a hungry ghost, consign you to a universe of sadistic assholes for a trillion years, you will be Pat Nixon for a thousand cosmic cycles …. et cetera, et cetera

  • KathyC, have you got any links to calculations for your reply to SES? I missed them. Not that I disagree, but I’m curious about the maths.

  • Outstanding speech by Sam Harris, ulvfugl. I just received his book The Moral Landscape, and may need to move it up the list. (And no, I didn’t get it on a goddam Kindle. LOL!)

  • Gail
    At about 150,000 normal deaths per day, even if we had NO births we only reduce the world population by 54 million per year, 20 years per each billion. So 60 years to get us down to 4 billion which most don’t think is sustainable. But in 60 years if there have been no new births most women will be infertile and problem solved.

    That is based on the assumption that the number of deaths we have per day remains the same.

    The current births per day is about 350,000 so we are currently adding 200,000 new humans (350,000 – 150,000) to the planet each day.

    When China started its one child per family policy in 1979 it seemed like that should start reducing the population from the git go. It did not, in the subsequent years they have increased from almost 1 billion to 1.3 billion an addition of 300 million people in 30 years.

    Here is some of the explanation
    “The architects behind China’s one-child policy never expected to cut the population immediately, because the millions of young children born before implementation are now in their reproductive years and having kids faster than the smaller elderly population is dying off. This phenomenon, known as population momentum, creates a 50-60 year gap between a drop in the fertility rate and an actual population decline. In addition, the one-child policy isn’t really a uniform, nationwide prohibition on multiple children. Within three years of the program’s initiation, massive protests in rural areas forced officials to revise the policy, and today the number of children allowed for each parent depends on a variety of factors (more on that below). Lots of couples have two or even three children by exploiting legal loopholes, paying fines, or simply lying to the government.”

    But also I have read elsewhere that because China became wealthier, in part because of slowing population growth, the age of death went down, so more people were living longer than before.

  • depressive,

    Thanks for the Robert Thurman clip.

  • looks like many commenters will be silenced for a while:

  • Thanks Kathy. Now I have one less thing to worry about!

  • Thanks Kathy C. and Robin Datta to the response to my earlier post.

    I think something is off on Kathy C.’s calculations, and what is off is the baby boom which occurred in the 1940s and 1950s in the US, and in the 1960s and 1970s in the planet as a whole.

    These baby booms added an absurd number of people to the planet, none of which have hit close to their ‘natural” life expectancy. I suspect that even under “business as usual” deaths should go up sharply beginning in the 2030s, though that would be too late under Guy’s and most of the other boomer timelines.

    If the human race can pass through the clashing rocks of climate change and peak oil, and people limit themselves to one child or less, I think things would turn out OK as the baby boomers die off.

  • In a similar way, exposure to the supernatural Light raises the spiritual consciousness of receptive people

    Any concept of “Supernatural Light” is delusional. An object is perceived when the light that bounces off from it reaches the eye. As a result, the appearance of the object is perceived, not the light per se reaching the eye.

    The Consciousness that illuminates all perception is not ItSelf perceived: it is THE Subject: not being an object, it is not perceived. It cannot be raised or lowered. There is no mysticism about it: it is as real as anything and everything perceived and nothing can be united or separated from it.

  • Robin, these are non-overlapping magisteria and here you are playing college-dorm square-the-circle.

  • non-overlapping magisteria

    Every•>”magesterium” (another sesquipedalian word) is yet another concept, dependent on perception.

  • HTML corrected:
    non-overlapping magisteria

    Every “magesterium” (another sesquipedalian word) is yet another concept, dependent on perception.

  • non-overlapping magisteria

    Every “magesterium” (another sesquipedalian word) is yet another concept, dependent on perception.

  • Ed post peak oil and the collapse we will not have condoms, sterilization surgery, birth control pills, IUD’s etc. How will people limit themselves to one child?

  • In the continuing saga of the LA sinkhole that opened up on Aug. 9th

    Sinkhole quake jolts further than Bayou Corne

    An earthquake occurred soon after 9 p.m. Wednesday at the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Assumption Parish, according to USGS monitors, parish officials and locals not only in Bayou Corne, but also those in nearby Pierre Part who felt the jolt.
    rest at

  • HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (CBS St. Louis) — Boeing successfully tests a new missile that can take out electronic targets with little collateral damage.

    The aerospace company tested the microwave missile last week on a two-story building on the Utah Test and Training Range where computers and electronic systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the missile’s radio waves, according to a Boeing press release.

    The missile, known as CHAMP (Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project), fired a burst of High Powered Microwaves at the building, successfully knocking out the electronic systems and computers, and even taking out the television cameras recording the test.

    “This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works, said in the press release. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”

    rest at

  • Ed further thoughts. The baby boom was a US phenomenon. I don’t know if Canada and Europe had a similar one. But my figures were not for the US or the Western world. My figures were also just illustrative as indicated by the word “if”. Since I think the sustainable population is less than 1 billion I think that nature or man is going to have to step in. However recently I have revised my figure of what is going to be sustainable if runaway climate change continues to zero. Nature or the men with the bombs will finish us off.

    MB – I think TPTB have miscalculated and will become extinct with the rest of us. The danger of power is hubris. But if they hide in caves and keep reproducing they are welcome to the world they have created – polluted, irradiated and HOT.

  • Kathy C

    I’m not sure I should be discussing where my penis goes on free to air internet discussion pages, however, to be clear, to the best of my knowledge I have only fathered 1 child so far biologically. I happen to be looking after 4 additional female children from some other arseholes emissions. My partner and I met 4 months after she gave birth to twins, and 3 years later we had our own son, now thirteen. So only single replication on my part I believe to date.

    BTW when in my twenties I travelled in India, as many privelaged Aussies do, but I came from a relatively poor family, as my father left soon after I arrived,( fully sick power, even at such a young age).

    That family poverty had mitigation in a strong narcent welfare system in the 1960’s and 70’s in Ausralia, and I was able to get a solid public education. Unsure of many aspects of what I now see as ’empire’, I went into a fairly small niche career as a modelmaker in architecture and worked on my own art in my spare time. That type of work allowed me to go overseas several times in my twenties, and from those visits to Asia I got a first hand view of the steamroller that is Western Free Market Capitalism, and its effect on those cultures with such varied and strong histories before colonialisation and world oil wars engulfed them.
    Some people who travel read and prepare a lot but I was not a big reader back then and prefered to absorb what I found and learn some things.
    So the privelage I mentioned, I would not use in the same way were it somehow repeatable again with what I know now.
    When in India I playfully engaged two market place psychics. One I payed about 30 rupees, the other a week later I payed about 140 rs.

    Those amounts were as one knows not very much by Western currency standards. Such was the disparity then, and perhaps still is.
    The first man told me I would be married and have a loverly wife and only one child, and we would be happy, but not have extra wealth, but enough. The more expensive and later prediction was that I would have a large house and many children and be married with some ups and downs , but for a long time, and be happy in my old age and still healthy.

    At this time I had no strong feelings on parienthood for myself and probably felt I had a lot of sorting myself out to do before I was getting close to any of that.
    I mused over the subsequent years that these cheep, and whimsical predictions were obviously mutually exclusive, how could I have only one child and a large number of children at the same time? It seemd like it may be one or the other,(or neither),but hey presto and they both came true! At least the aspects referring to progeny.

    Also Kathy C, IMO there is no direct mathematical relation between how many times a man puts his penis in a woman’s or many women’s virginas(or anywhere else) and how many conceptions he is occasioned to have created.
    At least a one to one if he only puts it in once, and fathers a child, I’ll grant, but beyond that it can be zero or hundreds, it all depends on other factors, but certainly not the frequency.
    Only one thing you can be sure of, as my mom used to say, saying no and abstinance is the only way to be certain you, or your female partner, doesn’t get pregnant, (sans the use of force of course).

    I’m not sure I can cope with the very unsettling image you created in my mind of many little OzMen running around down here, seems a little unruly and rudderless an image.
    Anyway my guess is they would be ‘walking’, not running. Ha!
    Thanks for that mental image all the same.

  • “…men with the bombs…TPTB…hide in caves and keep reproducing…”

    “The dangers from nuclear weapons have been distorted and exaggerated, for varied reasons. These exaggerations have become demoralizing myths, believed by millions of Americans. While working with hundreds of Americans building expedient shelters and life-support equipment, I have found that many people at first see no sense in talking about details of survival skills. Those who hold exaggerated beliefs about the dangers from nuclear weapons must first be convinced that nuclear war would not inevitably be the end of them and everything worthwhile.” ~Kresson Kearny, Nuclear War Survival Skills

    The meek who start digging now shall inherit the earth.

    Or do nothing and sulk, it’s an easy way to earn the prestigious Darwin Award. But if you’re daughter is perky, send her over, maybe she can redeem your genes.

  • say the same thing about light…

    Indeed. The quote referred to obviates the need to say so.

  • With respect to population, the essentials of human survival: food, water, and shelter will ultimately be responsible for a large die-off of humans. (Contrary to what many of my young patients think, a cell phone and facebook are not essential for survival.)

    Food, or the lack of it, may lead to a large number of deaths over the next few years. The worldwide drought and subsequent reduction in food production this year will lead to hardship in a lot of places over the next few months. If that trend persists over the next few years, while we continue to increase the world’s population by 200,000 every day, it’s a given that population increase will begin to slow and then decrease to the point where food supply is more or less equal to food demand. Of course, not without lots of pain and suffering along the way.

    The lack of water, on the other hand, has the potential to lead to far more deaths at a much quicker pace as humans can survive quite a while without food, but only days without water. Potable water is becoming scarce in an increasing number of places, including in the developed world. When aquifers or rivers run dry, civilization’s days are numbered in the area served by that water source.

    Shelter, which can be expanded to include housing, clothing, and climate control, is not quite as tenuous a resource – at least not at this moment. But, in time, as the climate continues to be unpredictable and less hospitable to humans, it will become more and more of an issue.

    The developed world is more vulnerable to these vagaries than many realize. For instance, if the water supply for a major city is disrupted, the economy for that city will almost certainly collapse (think of almost any large city in the American West). Even as the federal government begins to truck-in tankers full of water, there won’t be enough for industry, nor clothes washing, nor bathing, nor cleaning, nor flushing toilets, etc. Productive work of any sort will become difficult as people spend their time standing in water lines to be certain they get an adequate share for themselves and their family. How long could such a scenario be maintained? As people flee those areas and begin to overwhelm surrounding communities, how will the infrastructure handle that influx? As the shortage expands to a wider area, the phenomenon will be compounded exponentially.

    Combine all these things with climate change, peak oil, war, nuclear power plant meltdown, and all the other nasties we discuss here, and it seems that population will take a dive around the world affecting cultures across the spectrum. It’s all a matter of timing.

  • I view the advent of agricultural civilization as just another explosive catastrophe such as the Toba supervolcanic eruption 70,000 years ago.

    Global thermonuclear war is “virtually inevitable;” history shows what John Zerzan states in his On the Origins of War, “War is a staple of civilization.”

    Global thermonuclear war over dwindling resources will cure the cancer of agricultural civilization into remission long before the growth kills the host.

    Nuclear winter will stop climate warming and cool the globe, possibly into another ice age, as we still are in the Pleistocene epoch, letting Gaia rest and recover.

    We’ve had a 1000 year long volcanic winter with human population bottleneck of 1000 breeding pairs before, we few, we willing few, we band of diggers shall do it again.


  • Safe in the arms of Gaia, safe in Her gentle breast,
    There by Her soil o’ershaded, shielded from fallout’s zest.

  • Just to be clear my example about how slow population decline would be if we had no births and usual deaths is to point out how it would be impossible to bring the World population down substantially without an substantial increase in deaths. This will of course happen, but the days when we can think that we can encourage folks to have less kids and accomplish anything are gone. Thus it seems to me to be useless to discuss the population issue. It will be taken care of either by war or other depopulation measures by TPTB or by natural causes, lack of water, food, climate change, 400 Fukushima’s etc. The Chinese example of how the population increased despite a 1 child policy means that we should have started a worldwide 1 child per family policy as soon as we developed modern birth control because of the lag time in population dynamics.

    Thus IMO the only issue worth considering now is whether or not any individual wants to bring a child into a world that is heading towards extinction. Ask yourself how you feel if your child starves, dies from lack of water, is raped, is murdered, etc. How will you feel knowing that the warnings were all there and you still chose to bring a life out of painless nothingness into the coming horror. If you are a woman you can be raped so even if your husband has a vasectomy get your own tubal. If you are a man with a wife who has had a tubal, consider that she might die early. Decide whether you can stick to abstinence in a world where sex may be one consoling thing left.

    And sure not every sex act results in a child – but even one child brought into the coming horrors because you don’t want to get sterilized is one to many. That child’s suffering will be on your head. No one on this site is unaware that a time of great suffering is ahead – even if you don’t quite believe it, consider it a possibility and then think “do I want to be responsible for the suffering of my own child?” Perhaps that is the only moral question left.

  • …stick to abstinence…the only moral question left…

    Just abstinence?

    Clinton got a blow job! ♪
    ~Eric Schwartz (1st Place, International Songwriting Competition, Comedy/Novelty category, 2008)

  • Ivy Mike I didn’t say abstinence was the only moral question left which I am sure you know. I said choosing not create a new life when they will face nothing but suffering is the moral question. If you accept that as true then when birth control methods are no longer available you can 1. use abstinence 2. only have sex with women who have tubals (or are past menopause) or 3. get a vasectomy.

    What more moral question can we ever face in life than procreating. We who are alive get the choice, but the life is to be lived by someone else, someone we created and they get no choice. It is the most consequential act we do in life.

    I wish I had known what I know now when I had my two children who are in there 30’s now. Heck I never even thought about whether they would be glad to be born. Now I have to think about their shortened lives and what they might have to face and know I made that happen. But at least I can say I had no idea that they would be facing climate change out of control, peak oil and dog knows what else when I choose to get pregnant.

  • If we take the Imminent Methane Doomsday reports seriously, it’s too late to do anything to stop or mitigate the Methane Overload, so it’s now or never to complete your bucket list before the Sixth Extinction, which is scheduled for completion within two decades, if not sooner.

    Then there’s this:

    “September 19, 2012/Kiel. Marine scientists from Kiel, together with colleagues from Bremen, Great Britain, Switzerland and Norway, spent four and a half weeks examining methane emanation from the sea bed off the coast of Spitsbergen with the German research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN. There they gained a very differentiated picture: Several of the gas outlets have been active for hundreds of years.

    The reason for the expedition was the supposition that ice-like methane hydrates stored in the sea bed were dissolving due to rising water temperatures. “Methane hydrate is only stable at very low temperatures and under very high pressure. The gas outlets off Spitsbergen lie approximately at a depth which marks the border between stability and dissolution. Therefore we presumed that a measurable rise in water temperature in the Arctic could dissolve the hydrates from the top downwards” explained Professor Berndt. Methane could then be released into the water or even into the atmosphere, where it would act as a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2.

    In fact, what the researchers found in the area offers a much more differentiated picture. Above all the fear that the gas emanation is a consequence of the current rising sea temperature does not seem to apply. At least some of the gas outlets have been active for longer. Carbonate deposits, which form when microorganisms convert the escaping methane, were found on the vents. “At numerous emergences we found deposits that might already be hundreds of years old. This estimation is indeed only based on the size of the samples and empirical values as to how fast such deposits grow. On any account, the methane sources must be older” says Professor Berndt.”

  • I knew when I got pregnant what was already happening on the planet, even if it was still almost invisible. I have been knowing since my teens. I had 6 abortions. And then, it was stronger than me, I had to have children. It was totally reptilian. And I pay for that everyday, in many many ways. And it gets more and more expensive by the hour.

    2. only have sex with women who have tubals (women who “says” they have tubals)

    it is in the 80 farenheit here today. should be 50 at this time. there are 3 schools right in front my apartment and around the corner. i hear children, tons of children, all day long. for now.

  • It has been claimed that increasing atmospheric CO2 can cause either catastrophic warming or catastrophic cooling. If we assume that CO2 and Methane work to warm the atmosphere, increased atmospheric CO2 or Methane can only cause catastrophic cooling if the Earth is already prepared by a natural process to enter the next Ice Age.

    In other words, to claim that increasing atmospheric CO2 or Methane (which normally should cause warming) might cause catastrophic cooling requires that the Earth is already on the brink of the next Ice Age due to a natural process — such as the orbital cycle.

    The paleocimate record shows that CO2 levels always peak at the end of an Interglacial, and we should now be near the end of the present Interglacial. So if catastrophic cooling occurs within decades, or within centuries, which can we blame — CO2, or the orbital cycle?

    – Gregory Fegel

  • Even though I’ve complimented you several times, you couldn’t just watch the video and have a good laugh as your first response back to me, could you?

    Nope! Your dismal premise has transformed you into a humorless hag befit a catholic convent, obsessed with sexual restraint.

    No, I don’t accept your list of methods as inclusive. You left out the following:
    4. normative infanticide (Lee)
    5. breastfeeding delayed ovulation (Cohen)
    6. “seasonal fertility linked to changes in dietary intake,” “leanness,” “muscle activity” (Cohen)

    And no, I don’t accept your premise that the future offers only suffering to humans — unless they’re in contact with you.


    Cohen, Mark Nathan. (1991). Health and the Rise of Civilization. Yale University Press., p. 181.

    Lee, Richard B., Politics, sexual and non-sexual in an egalitarian society, paper presented at the Conference on “Hunting and Gathering Societies”, Paris, UNESCO, 27-30 June 1978.

  • An Updated Comparison of the Limits to Growth with Historical Data.
    “The data review continues to confirm that the standard run scenario represents real world outcomes considerably well. This scenario results in collapse of the global economy and population in the near future. It begins in about 2015 with industry output per capita falling precipitously followed by food and services…However the alignment of data trends with the model’s dynamics indicates that the early stages of collapse could occur within a decade, or might even be underway. This suggest, from a rational risk based perspective, that planning for the collapsing global system could be even more important than trying to avoid collapse.”

  • Much thanks to the author for bringing up over-population among other earthy things though she skipped adoption as a topic. It’s an interesting time for women because they have to adapt to their instinct for offspring in a dying world.

    American women in particular are very complicitous as a biological feedback loop for destructive consumerist culture. Maybe nature’s cruel addictions like testosterone crippled men let alone estrogen crippled women are to blame the most for why women are usually not self-actualized or even informed about reality and have never reached their creative and nurturing potentials in mass.

    Most western institutions seem to perpetuate values of status through profit and consumption perpetuated by sociopathic hierarchies. I rarely hear women complaining about these structures let alone in those terms.

    American women in particular value money sociopathically and the suburban American dream of the past in order to impress their friends with their possessions like showing off their new shoes or car and to experience their sexuality through offspring that they hope to show off. Women have huge intellectually challenged egos. They rarely concern themselves with anything out of that collective paradigms though the more conscious or informed ones become somewhat motivated when they can see what’s coming for their children.

    An Orwellian-like machine of extroverted values has created an un-nurtured tasteless country of ignorant machines – where women due to the lack of market value in it are rarely criticized in the mainstream for their part in helping reinforce these paradigms.

  • Michele, thanks for the laugh. (women who says they have tubals) or (men who says they have vasectomys eh) Well I am beyond that – as Ivy Mike thinks I am an old hag – he’s right – I am past menopause (and had a tubal earlier). Of course in the early years that is dicey. I met a woman raising a daughter who was younger than her granddaughter because the doc said she was through menopause. Thanks also for sharing your pain and your history. Funny they tell women they will never get over having an abortion but soon many will find that what they cannot get over is that they have had children, as it is for you and I already.

    Ivy Mike, sorry I enjoy humor, but not humor relating to the question of the suffering of children. If that makes me a humorless old hag so be it. I cared for sick and starving children in Haiti. Damn I don’t usually let the emotions of that experience hit me, but just now it rolled over me and I almost let myself cry. So excuse me for not being amused by your Clinton Blow Job humor. (my husband is sleeping so I have not played it yet) Have you ever seen a child with skin so thin it looks like parchment. Have you ever held a child while a nurse tries desperately to find a vein that will take a needle to provide nourishment. Have you ever dealt with the emotions of wanting to save the lives of these hurting children and then thinking that, no, it is better that they die for the country is too overpopulated already. Is good, good?

    Actually have you considered that you made a joke because you couldn’t deal with the future I was projecting? Not an uncommon defense mechanism.

  • Atmospheric warming is regarded as an inevitable outcome of increased greenhouse gasses, while a paradoxical atmospheric cooling is regarded as a potential outcome of increased greenhouse gasses.

    Greenhouse gasses, which are presumed to cause warming of the atmosphere, should not by themselves cause catastrophic cooling. There must be another process already in place to cause cooling, which the greenhouse gasses might trigger, to set off a catastrophic cooling.

    To say that greenhouse gasses such as C02, Methane, or water vapor will cause catastrophic cooling presupposes that conditions exist in which atmospheric warming will lead to atmospheric cooling. For greenhouse gasses to cause catastrophic cooling requires that the Earth be already on the brink of an Ice Age, which the greenhouse gasses would trigger.
    The warming greenhouse gasses cannot cause catastrophic cooling unless catastrophic cooling has already been primed to be triggered by warming.

    To suggest that increasing greenhouse gasses might cause catastrophic cooling is to acknowledge that the Earth is already on the brink of an Ice Age.

    — Gregory Fegel

  • Cathy, I appreciate your wanting to reduce suffering, such is the foundation of morality. And I’ve done plenty of time in Haiti. But I’d wager if you preached to Haitians about your ambition for people to “stick to abstinence” from the biological imperative, they’d consider such a scheme to be grave suffering.

    Besides, the Evangelical Fundamentalist have already tried cajoling their progeny into abstinence; it’s a failure. Not only does it not work, it’s worse than useless.

  • One quarter of ALL energy-related CO2 since 1750 was emitted since 2000. Total GHGs now stand at 474ppm CO2 equiv

    During the last great climate-change event, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, some 55 million years ago, the Earth heated up about 6°C over 20 000 years and then took 200 000 years to return to near pre-perturbed conditions. The planet underwent significant changes during this period; ocean acidification accompanied mass extinctions on land and in the sea. The sedimentary rocks that formed before and after this event are so different that they were divided into separate geological epochs long before scientists discovered what had caused the split.

    For a great many species, adaptation was simply not possible, even over many thousands of generations. Business-as-usual scenarios using current emission trajectories suggest that a similar degree of climate change is likely, but over less than 1/100th the amount of time.,32890,en.html

  • Ivy Mike, you still don’t get it do you. I am advocating for anyone on this site who is aware of what is ahead to forgo their biological imperative because it hardly matters if we are going extinct. I am asking them to not selfishly put a burden on a child for the desires of the parent. I remember once hearing a program where they asked people what they would do if they knew an asteroid was going to hit the planet and destroy the world in 10 years and there was nothing they could do about it. One woman said she would have a child because she wanted to experience childbirth. She had absolutely no thought in her mind about anyone but herself. Perhaps if the situation were real instead of hypothetical she would have thought more deeply.

    I am only saying this to people who have heard, whether they accept it or not that the climate is going to extinct us, or at the very least drop our population down to perhaps 1 million. Its hard enough to get people to even consider this message much less if I said get sterile, don’t have children. But everyone reading this site has heard the message. If you can’t give up your biological imperative for unselfish reasons, give it up for selfish reasons, give it up because you don’t want to see a child you created suffer horribly.

  • President Declares ‘War on Entropy’
    by Richard Heinberg
    Enjoy this satirical look at the politics of energy by PCI Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg.
    CDN News, October 25
    (Washington, DC) At a hastily organized news conference, president Obama this morning called for a new national effort to restore America’s greatness by combating “entropy.” Mr. Obama described entropy as “a self-defeating ideology of failure” and called on Congress to replace the Law of Diminishing Returns with a new legislative agenda geared to reversing a range of trends in resource depletion and economic stagnation. “I have directed the Attorney General to identify loopholes in the Second Law of Thermodynamics,” the president said, “that would allow our nation’s prosperity to advance indefinitely.”

    President Obama’s comments come in response to increasing public skepticism about the potential for further economic growth. Interviewed on last Thursday’s broadcast of Good Morning America, Caltech physicist Kelvin Vereisen observed that, “Unless they’re maintained by a steady stream of energy, systems gradually decline into disorder. We pour extraordinary amounts of energy into the global industrial system annually, but the cost of that energy is rising while its quality is declining. We should therefore expect to see an increase of entropy in civilization.” GMA was immediately overwhelmed by viewer calls and emails.

    In recent months, a small west-coast think tank, Post Carbon Institute, has raised questions about the possibility of endless growth of population and consumption on a finite planet. “There are limits to growth, and humanity is colliding with them,” according to Executive Director Asher Miller. The organization alleges that high oil and food prices and extreme weather are all symptomatic of growth limits.

    As if this weren’t enough, legendary Harvard economist Justin Haymaker announced last week the conclusions of a blue-ribbon panel set up to analyze the causes of the current global economic crisis. “We found that money is not a substitute for energy,” he said, “and that making debt grow faster than GDP in order to stimulate the economy just leads to a situation where nobody can afford to make payments and the whole financial system implodes.” Asked whether further infusions of cash by central banks could prevent that implosion, Haymaker replied, “Yeah, for a while maybe. But real growth? Forget it. That’s soooooo twentieth century.”

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney immediately criticized president Obama’s new policy offensive as being too weak. “If elected, I will make water flow uphill so that we can double our national hydroelectric capacity. With a Republican Congress, old oil wells will gush once again. And we will outlaw global warming. Everyone will be rich. Unimaginably rich! There’s no limit. Anywhere. To anything. We won’t just combat entropy, we will obliterate it!”


    We’re being systematically killed with gmo food too.

  • Methane emission and consumption at a North Sea gas seep (Tommeliten area)
    1 August 2005

    “All uprising methane is consumed within the sediments, ex- cept for a few locations with active gas venting to the hydro- sphere. Here, at the crest of the marl domes, the ebullition of free gas circumvents microbial consumption most likely due to the presence of gas channels through sandy sediments. Thiotrophic bacterial mats as well as methane-derived authi- genic carbonates exposed at the sea floor also indicate the presence of local gas escape routes.”

  • Peak oil is a hoax. We have oil coming out of the ground on its own

    “California has thousands of naturally occurring seeps. Much of the petroleum discovered in California during the 19th century was from observations of seeps. The world’s largest natural oil seepage is Coal Oil Point in the Santa Barbara Channel, California.”

  • give up your biological imperative because it hardly matters if we are going extinct

    Why don’t you just quit breathing right now? Breathing is an aspect, survival, of the biological imperative. If your rationale is valid for yourself also, then lead on by example, oh great unselfish one.

  • .
    Global Warming Ends It

    Think we’re not hitting the wall?
    Do the math, and you make the call;
    Unless fatally cursed
    By something else first,
    Global warming’s the end of it all.

  • Ivy Mike – a biological imperative or being a mal-adaptive is not a weakness with regard to this much failure and suffering to come.

    Maladaptive is a sign of tastefulness, and to be tasteless is likely the worst that you can be in life. But naturally an emphatic mal-adaptive doesn’t fit the consumerist model or your natural model of “success” though I’m not sure there is a consumerist model for good taste outside of “BMW vs Mercedes” for many in the US and beyond.

    Consumerist models suck at being tasteful and more children at this point seems a touch consumerist particularly without being able to adopt or adapt to things to come.

    Humans are proven to lack biodiversity – plants have up to three times more chromosomes than humans. Humans have had way too many consumerist sociopaths breeding at the expense of empathic people more capable of nuanced arguments beyond labels of “success” like “adaptive”. Empaths are more likely to have self-control in respect to the future.

    A lot of women maybe most are so hard-wired to reproduce that most living conditions don’t change their actions. That’s why love is a suspicious gimmick past down by nature. What do you love Mike? Higher things on Mazlow’s chart of needs? Why are you so pro redundant mediocre chromosome limited protoplasm with diminishing resources? What is your opinion about empathic people – mal-adaptive? I wonder.

  • I’m not sure I can explain why I decided to have a child. I think at the time I still harbored some hope.

    Regarding sterilization vs. abstinence: there is still a long list of non-procreative sexual behaviors to consider. Yes, there is also the issue of rape. I still find it very disturbing to consider the idea of preemptive surgery in the face of potential rape. Not that it shouldn’t be considered.

    There are also non-industrial methods of birth control (such as the use of wild carrot along with charting) and herbal abortifacients, although most people don’t know about them and there’s no guarantee of their availability in a given place.

  • Spaz, you make a lot of blanket statements about women, such as

    “American women in particular value money sociopathically and the suburban American dream of the past in order to impress their friends with their possessions like showing off their new shoes or car and to experience their sexuality through offspring that they hope to show off. Women have huge intellectually challenged egos.”

    Have a problem with women much? Does the average American man not value money sociopathically or try to impress his friends with his possessions or try to show off his kids or have a huge intellectually challenged ego?

    Mind you, I’m not defending the hordes of nitwits, regardless of gender.

  • Yeah men do it too Linda – what chicken came first or enables the other in bad behavior is up for speculation.

    Women want children and men with resources whom they “love” for that natural desire.

    Women usually seem to operate on very primal levels in order to have children and are indirect and hard to trust due to their goals. I think most American women don’t want to work and seek resources in order to have a family in the suburbs in as easy a way as possible.

    I just don’t think this is brought up enough in culture. Yeah men make these obvious tasteless choices too.

    Yet, I also think women can be an extremely forthright inspiration like Rachael Corrie – valuing life over death in more altruistic ways. Too bad they are such rare lotus blossoms.

  • spaz: without being able to adopt or adapt to things to come

    Got a fallout shelter? No? So you have no ability to “adapt to things to come?” Spaz, the stepford wife! Well, that’s your “tasteless choice,” but take comfort, you’ve got lots of company.

    Meanwhile in Russia, Moscow is urgently digging 5,000 new emergency blast/fallout shelters.

    Oh, and look up “Yamantau Mountain Complex” too. Never heard of it in your stepford wife existence? The U.S. Congress has, and it’s addressed it with a SENSE OF CONGRESS ON NEED FOR RUSSIAN OPENNESS ON THE YAMANTAU MOUNTAIN PROJECT. It is in the Congressional Record.

    “The only potential use for this site is post-nuclear war.” ~Maryland Congressional Representative Roscoe Bartlett (June 2000)

  • Jennifer, I know a number of women who advocated for non-industrial birth control who are mothers because of it. One miss, one child from that miss and you have one more child to protect in the coming times, one more child to mourn for their future. And likely one more child to watch die at an early age. I would not want to take that chance.

    Ivy Mike,
    Clearly the biological imperative is far stronger to breathe than to breed. How many families do you see that have more than 2 children – even Catholic families. Do you not know any couples with NO children? The biological imperative to have children and to have as many as possible is clearly not as strong as the biological imperative to have sex (the indirect way nature pushes us to have children) which is why people often get sterilized after two kids.

    In suggesting I stop breathing, you are acting as if I am saying all this to reduce the numbers of humans on the planet. I am not. I am trying to save some unborn from what us born are going to suffer and I am trying to save currently fertile people from the agony of knowing they are responsible for bringing new life into a dying world. I may well choose to exit early to avoid the worst of what is coming, but if I was a mother or father with dependent children I would have to carry on.

    But apparently denial about what is coming is still strong enough that my message is highly disturbing. I will leave it there and not bring up the subject again.

  • Well one more comment before I leave this – posted here before is the story 400 Chernobyls – we now know from Fukushima that when the electric grid goes (emp, solar flares, lack of fuel, aging infrastructure) the cooling pumps will stop at all the plants. 400+ nuclear plants will go Fukushima. So as you consider your reproductive future look at some of the pictures from Chernobyl of the birth defects that give these children a terrible future

  • Kathy C one minute: “give up your biological imperative” [!]
    Kathy C the next minute: “Clearly the biological imperative is far stronger”

    Clearly, you’re weaseling-out of taking your own advice.

    “Weaseling-out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel.” ~Homer Simpson

  • Windmills Overload East Europe’s Grid Risking Blackout: Energy
    By Ladka Bauerova and Tino Andresen – Oct 25, 2012
    Germany is dumping electricity on its unwilling neighbors and by wintertime the feud should come to a head.

    Central and Eastern European countries are moving to disconnect their power lines from Germany’s during the windiest days. That’s when they get flooded with energy, echoing struggles seen from China to Texas over accommodating the world’s 200,000 windmills.

    Sustainability news
    Renewable energy around the world is causing problems because unlike oil it can’t be stored, so when generated it must be consumed or risk causing a grid collapse. At times, the glut can be so great that utilities pay consumers to take the power and get rid of it.

    “Germany is aware of the problem, but there is not enough political will to solve the problem because it’s very costly,” Pavel Solc, Czech deputy minister of industry and trade, said in an interview. “So we’re forced to make one-sided defensive steps to prevent accidents and destruction.”
    full story at

  • We have drifted into a serious and fascinating global problem that will affect every human being on this planet: the food squeeze. For the first time in decades, we’re on the verge of producing too little food to feed the planet.
    As with all perfect storms, several forces are converging to create this danger. They include:
    Falling water tables, particularly in the three biggest food producers: the United States, India and China.
    Global warming-driven increases in temperatures and drought that reduce crop yield, as was dramatically the case here in the United States this summer.

    Slowdown in grain-productivity increases derived from technology breakthroughs, as new advances appear less powerful than the previous round.

    Growing population in the poorer countries.

    Soil erosion, in large part from overgrazing.

    The conversion of food stocks — largely corn — into biofuel for cars.

    Rising grain demand as people around the globe move up the food chain to middle-class diets with more meat and poultry.

    Overfishing of many of the world’s fisheries.

    Many of these trends are deeply rooted, long-term trends that will not be easily reversed. A new book by Lester Brown called “Full Planet, Empty Plates” tells us that over the past decade, world grain reserves have fallen by a third and food prices have doubled. Most Americans spend about 10 percent of their income on food. But millions of families in poor countries need to spend as much as 80 percent — and for them, a big increase in food prices can spell disaster. A recent survey by Save the Children in India reported that a quarter of Indian families experience foodless days. For them, the food squeeze has already begun.
    The United States sits in an interesting position as the jaws of the squeeze begin to close around poor countries. American agriculture is enormously productive, and we still have some unused capacity. U.S. agricultural know-how has been the source of high-yield grains used around the world. The United States is not far advanced in water conservation, so for our own sake we will have to get serious on that subject as well.
    The world is fast becoming interdependent in terms of food economy. Asian countries are beginning to battle over that continent’s rivers. Exports from the major food producers — including the United States, Europe, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Australia — will be needed by the emerging economies and the poor countries of Asia and Africa. And along the way we are going to have to stabilize the planet’s population and encourage people to eat only as much meat as they need, not more.
    What do we need to do? The first steps are clear. We must build up global grain reserves so we can ride out sudden shocks and droughts, and prevent individual countries from shutting down exports when a bad crop season hits someone else. Russia and Vietnam, for example, both temporarily closed off exports in recent years, which sharpened the squeeze on grain importers who relied on them.
    We need the food surplus countries, led by the United States, to start producing more food, sustainably, for the long haul. And the United States needs to stop the inefficient manufacture of biofuels from grains better suited to produce food. The grain turned into ethanol here in 2011 could have fed some 400 million people.
    We also need all the countries of the world, especially those like Israel that have pioneered efficient drip irrigation, to pool their knowledge on water and soil conservation. Soil and water are the indispensable ingredients for food, and we need to make sure supplies of both are adequate and environmentally sustainable.
    Oil-price spikes and shortages are one thing. Food spikes and shortages would be a hundred times more disruptive and dangerous. But we can avoid them if we address the food squeeze now.

    Peter Goldmark, a former budget director of New York State and former publisher of the International Herald Tribune, headed the climate program at the Environmental Defense Fund.

  • Six steps ahead of you Mike. I have six wives because Sunday is a day of rest. Though I recently had to send two back to the factory for repairs. They’d been getting uppity.

  • “There must be some way out of here—
    There’s too much confusion I fear,”
    Said joker to thief,
    “I can’t get no relief—
    We’re all going to disappear!”

    “Doom: this is our fate,
    Let’s not talk falsely, but straight;”
    The thief kindly spoke,
    “This isn’t a joke—
    The hour is getting late.”

    H/T: Jimi, of course

  • Benjamin,

    No H/T to Bob? He wrote the thing.

  • Generating food surpluses to feed the third world poor will only continue to increase their population size, which will inevitably crash this century. It will also perpetuate the environmental disaster and is ultimately based on an unsustainable agricultural system.

    Anthropocentrism is a suicidal ideology.

    (I believe this topic was recently addressed on this blog using duck feeding as an example.)

    Mother nature is a harsh dominatrix and she doesn’t want anymore human babies.

  • Martin, good point. I guess his versions aren’t the way I think of the song.

  • On Giving Up

    Saving the world is an op
    Like when you repeatedly bop
    Your head on a wall;
    The boon, we recall:
    It feels so good when you stop.

  • Thanks Benjamin. I stopped trying to save the world but I still thought I could save some unborn. But my head was getting sore :)

  • Kathy, it’s like, you know, a Zen thing. :D

  • Some of us just read and don’t say much, so don’t stop because of a couple of troglodytes, Kathy C. Patriarchy doesn’t quit.

    So, I read The Last Policeman. Enjoyed it and now wonder, do you think Henry Palace commits suicide? I do.

    Have you read The Leftovers by Tom Perotti? It’s pretty good.

    Everything Matters! Is coming up.

  • Wildwoman, Oh I remember hearing about the Leftovers – I will get that soon. Not sure about Henry Palace – I guess he does nothing since the story ended without him committing suicide and he only exists on the written page. He is frozen in time :) However I see his character as the sort that would keep going in as normal a manner as he can to the end, but may well be knocked out of that mode by the events he has been investigating. I think you will like reading Everything Matters right after The Last Policeman as they ask many of the same questions, but Currie is a much more inventive (quirky?) writer. You will see what I mean when you get into the book.

    Oh I probably will go back to banging my head against the wall at some point. The unborn have no choice. They get dragged into living by people who make that choice for them. When discussing sterilization it should never be about what the alive people want but about what the potential people will be forced to experience. We owe our children that at least. See there I go banging my head again.

  • Troglodytes? So now you’re inveighing against natural (horribly nasty!) pre-civilization “cavemen,” eh? LOL!

    “Think about the images that come to mind when you mention the labels ‘cave man,’ or ‘Neanderthal.’ Those images are implanted and then invoked to remind us where we would be without religion, government, and toil, and are probably the biggest ideological justifications for the whole van of civilization—armies, religion, law, the state…”

    Interview by Derrick Jensen, September 1998
    Published in Running On Emptiness: THE PATHOLOGY OF CIVILIZATION by John Zerzan (Feral House, 2002)

    Well, have at it then, but remember, Nature’s Natural “Cavemen” Bat Last.

  • The unborn…no choice…get dragged…forced…

    Only a morally bankrupt harpie could equivocate the natural, joyous births happening at this very moment with the coercive assault that defines rape. Did you go to the same ethics class as Todd Akin?

  • wildwoman Says:
    October 27th, 2012 at 12:40 pm
    Some of us just read and don’t say much, so don’t stop because of a couple of troglodytes, Kathy C. Patriarchy doesn’t quit.


  • Ivy Mike

    I like the phrase….’van of civilization’, even though it is embedded in a quote from someone else. It makes me think of the word, ‘Portmanteaux’ and its meaning of carrying many items together like Industrial Civilisation.
    Cheers for that.

  • Kathy C.
    I applaud your tenacity to still take on those who troll sites they don’t even agree with, because they obviously have nothing better to do with their time, than publicly attempt to disprove a reality they can’t accept. And partly, who can blame them? Who among us truly “wants” to know this shit? We know it, because probably for most of us, it never was a choice. It was never something we had to let in, we just gravitated to it.
    As you well know, Climate Change has been steeped in obtuse denial from the get go. Sadly, unbelievably, no amount of evidence is capable of overriding our entrenched idiosyncrasies. Our early childhood experiences either hardwired us to value the scientific method, with all of its imperfections, or it didn’t. Lest we forget, only 15% of American’s believe in evolution! In my little corner of the world, that one stat, can indirectly answer virtually every question we might ask in regards to why the human race is just infatuated with a litany of cultural myths.
    NBL has the potential for being one, if not the only website, where like minds (those who for the most part, agree with Guys’ assessment) are able to congregate and seriously consider the single greatest threat the human race has ever known. For better or worse, this requires a profoundly advanced cognizance. This site, has the potential to be a space, where we can at least attempt to advance this conversation beyond the endless background noise, from those who for whatever reason, consider such a conversation to be reprehensible. Few of us have any close relationships, which allows us to so candidly commiserate on a subject that’s clearly psychologically and emotionally crippling, however something we consider to be of paramount importance. And let’s not kid ourselves, we’re all doing our best to cover-up the fact, that we’re all reeling from having just been dealt an incredible body blow, which none of us, are honestly able to take in stride. We are at best, groping around in the abyss.
    I don’t know anymore if it’s even possible for someone who has kept themselves in the dark, as to the grave threat of Climate Change, at least up to this point, to suddenly grasp the dire meaning of recent evidence over the last couple of years. I simply don’t think they’ve the context to comprehend either the significance or existence of non-linear events. I mean we’re now looking at a reality, that comes as close to being totally unbelievable as anything we’ve ever collectively experienced. Most everyone I know, is so far from being able to internalize this reality, that I no longer even try. Hence, why I’m writing to you now.
    I understand that we all process things differently. Even if we’ve come to the same acceptance, the paths we’ve traveled to get there are nearly infinite. And I can no longer begrudge those who seem reluctant to see the world as it is. Personally, I can no longer suffer fools. My ego is fried, and I’ve no longer the patience or interest to argue the existence of mountains of evidence proving we’re no longer living in the Holocene. They’re either going to be respective to it, or not. And tragically, most aren’t.
    In other words, if we’re to practice the art of letting go, at some point, we have to stop suffering fools, and just ignore the flies who only distract us from coming to terms with this nearly incomprehensible reality. I appreciate your insight and sane and sober contribution to furthering our acceptance of this abominable moment in time. You have a unique perspective and temperament I very much value.
    It’s not that our words are betraying us, but rather, who truly isn’t at a loss for words? Aren’t we all just pretending to be……….at this point?
    Take care, Daniel.

  • Troll-boy Daniel, I do NOT disagree with Global Warming, liar. Can you come up with anything better than bald-faced fabrications in response to my argument against Kathy C’s Vaticanesque fatwas on other people’s reproductive behavior?

  • Kathy C and others.

    Since we were on the acusation of ‘hag’….

    A great treatment of the framing and position of the Hag and Crone throughout Western European culture is a pretty easy to read but nevertheless challenging book by Young Polly Eisendrath titled:
    Hags and Heroes – Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts.

    Don’t let the tag ‘Jungian’ put anyone off.

    It is essentially looking at the role of the older powerful woman and how Patriarchy in the Western context seems to have only one place for her, ostracism.

    Today we would peg the hag as having a mental illness, but many more hags are out there that meet the eye, (he he)IMO.

    I can’t recommend this book too highly.

    The set up to the story is well put up in wiki:

    ‘The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle’

    “The story begins when the mystical knight Sir Gromer Somer Joure challenges King Arthur to discover what women desire the most, or face dire consequences. This encounter takes place following the stalking of a deer by the king in Inglewood Forest, a setting that in other Middle English Arthurian poems such as The Awntyrs off Arthure and Sir Gawain and the Carle of Carlisle, is a haunted forest and a place where the Otherworld is near at hand. The king, on his own instructions, becomes separated from the rest of his hunting party, follows the deer, kills it and is then surprised by the arrival of an armed knight, Sir Gromer Somer Joure, whose lands, this knight claims, have been seized from him by Sir Gawain. King Arthur is alone and unarmed and Sir Gromer’s arrival poses a real threat to him. Sir Gromer tells the king that he must return in exactly a year’s time, alone and dressed as he is now, and give him the answer to a question he will ask. If the king fails to give a satisfactory answer, Sir Gromer will cut off his head. The question is this: what is it that women most desire?

    King Arthur returns to Carlisle with his knights and it is not long before Sir Gawain pries from his uncle the reason for his sudden melancholy. King Arthur explains to his nephew what happened to him in the forest and Sir Gawain, optimistically upbeat, suggests that they both ride about the country collecting answers to this tricky question. So they both do this, riding separately about the kingdom and writing down the answers they receive. When they return, they compare notes.

    Sir Gawain is still willing, but King Arthur senses the hopelessness of it all and decides to go once more into Inglewood Forest to look for inspiration. In the forest he encounters an ugly hag on a fine horse, a loathly lady who claims to know the king’s problem and offers to give him the answer to this question that will save his life, on one condition. That she is allowed to marry Sir Gawain. The king returns to Carlisle and reluctantly confronts Sir Gawain with this dilemma; for he is sure that his nephew will be willing to sacrifice himself in order to save him. Gawain selflessly consents in order to save his uncle. Soon, King Arthur rides alone into the forest to fulfill his promise to Sir Gromer Somer Joure and quickly meets with Dame Ragnelle, who is, in fact, Sir Gromer’s sister and who reminds King Arthur of the hopelessness of his task:

    “The kyng had rydden butt a while,
    Lytelle more then the space of a myle,
    Or he mett Dame Ragnelle.
    “Ah, Sir Kyng! Ye arre nowe welcum here.
    I wott ye ryde to bere your answere;
    That wolle avaylle you no dele.”

    King Arthur tells her that Sir Gawain accepts her terms and she reveals to him that what women desire most is sovereynté, the ability to make their own decisions. With this answer King Arthur wins Gromer’s challenge, and much to his despair, the wedding of Gawain and Ragnelle goes ahead as planned.”

    To save king Arthurs life Gawain agrees to marry the Lady Ragnelle, an old hag. By marrying her and giving he courtly social status, which entails endless social ridicule for having to get about with a disgusting old ugly hag. All the townspeople around the kingdom also know he will have to sleep with her too, hence the ridicule.
    Garwain is not only publically honours to Lady Ragnelle by taking her on required visits throughout the kingdom in the lead up to a noble marriage to regional fiefs etc, he is personaly polite and courteous, and Lady Ragnelle notes this lack of ordinary duplicity. She feels he is genuine.

    In response to Gawains ‘decency’ and exemplary behaviour in the lead up to the marriage, Lady Regnal offers Garwain a choice on their wedding night in the bedchamber.
    Lady Reganal asks Gawain if he would like her to go behind the screen to undress and put out the candle before she comes to bed, or would he prefer her to undress in front of him?
    Garwain answers like the hero he is sensing something important here. (Many a weaker man would bolt for the door!)
    Garwaing replies. “Which would you prefer?”
    In that moment a beaming smile comes over Lady Regnal’s face, and she is transformed into a beautiful young woman, before Garwain’s eyes.

    Garwain is unsure if this is not some trick of witchery, but Lady Reganal comes to him and explains she has been under a spell that has been broken by his respect and honour of her. She also explains that he now has a choice to make. She can only take this form for half of each day.
    He must choose between having her this way at night in their private life, in bed and in quarters, or having her this way by day to be seen in public with her. She must go back to being the old hag for the remainder of the day. So Garwain weighs up the pros and cons of sleeping with the hag and getting great social kudos from her public beauty, or having to endure public ridicule by day, and great pleasure at night in the bedchamber.
    After not a moment’s reflection Garwain turns to Lady Reganal and says, ‘Which would you prefer?”.

    Again a great smile comes over Lady Reganal, and she momantarily shimmers in magical light. Lady Reganal jumps for joy and reveals that only half the spell was broken, but now because Garwain has defered to her about that most critical of issues to women, “What do women most desire ?” the answer to which she explains, ‘soveriegnty’, the other half of the spell is broken, and she can be like this all the time. Garwain is naturally overjoyed, and they have a rollicking good wedding night after that.

    I did my final year’s major works at art school on ‘hags’, and they now hang in our hallways at home as a reminder of the fact that the ‘hag’ and ‘crone’ are what is deemed as worthless to Patriarchy, and if you take on board what Naomi Wolf writes about in The Beauty Myth, the hag has definitely passed her used by date to the Patriachy. But not to herself or humanity at large because she is the test of power in Western European culture. The Hag ceases to be so if she is equal, and has soveriegnty.

    The great aspect to the book IMO is it explains how this myth is enacted in many partnerships, and the struggles and choices of both Garwain and Lady Regnalle are typical of relations where the dominant cultural forces weedle their way into the way men and women relate to each other, unsuccessfully of course.

    There are few reviews online, but if anyone wishes to get an in depth appreciation of the hag and crone beyond the image of the disruptive and disgusting old smelly wart-nosed angry wildwoman, this is a great start.

    So Kathy C, IMO it is somewhat of an unintended compliment to be called a hag, because it is an admission that you are independently minded, strong, unaffected by social censure, and also interested in justice, for the widest social good. Also in some stories there is a ecological element to her situation because the hag often lives in the woods or at the outskirts of the village, in a similar way to the sharman, close to nature and the animals.

    IMO the hag is like a mirror. The more repulsed you are the better the mirror. No doubt to a young man like Paris in the story of the ‘Judgment of Paris’, the hag is less apealing than Aphrodite,
    but in my recollection hags laugh loudest and with greatest heart.

  • Ivy Mike

    Nice mixed religeous metaphore there… ‘Vaticanesque fatwas’.

    How about not trying to spin Kathy C’s opinion into a doctrial decree. She is only putting a view, take or leave. It makes no sense if you are not convinced of the tribulations and suffering to come, and I think it is obvious from what Kathy C wrote that that is a prerequisite for understanding that view she offers re having no more children.

  • Ooops….’doctrinal decree’.. sorry.

  • Vaticanesque fatwas on other people’s reproductive behavior. That’s the issue you’re studiously evading, OzMan.

    It’s like I’ve entered an Evangelical Fundamentalist Baptist Church here, obsessed with other folks sex lives, while the parishoners circle wagons and refuse to discuss their beliefs, all the while accusing the asexuality skeptic of the heresy of hating baseball and apple pie. My God! Kick him out of church!

    Care to discuss Kathy C’s dogmatic mandates?
    • “give up your biological imperative”
    • “stick to abstinence”
    • “The unborn…no choice…get dragged…forced…”


    Funny. Every. Day.

    Keep dodging and weaving, coward.

  • How about not trying to spin Kathy C’s opinion into a doctrial decree.

    Why? Do the conspicuous parallels between Kathy C’s fatwas on other peoples’ sexual/reproductive behavior and the various religious fundamentalists’ fatwas on other peoples’ sexual/reproductive behavior have you feeling a little uncomfortable?

  • Ivy Mike

    There is a striking similarity in your ‘voice’ – syntax, tone and grammar with that of Morocco Bama. Any relation? Are you now at his
    Hal-ber-on console?
    Just joking. To answer your question, I am not evading.

    I believe people are free to join there little bits whenever they like, assuming, age, consent and enough disclosure to make it all cool. Even so people will do their own thing anyway.(e.g. Romeo and Juliet)

    I was emphasisning that Kathy C seems to be ‘speaking to’ those who agree with the likely scenario of suffering and human difficulties down the track. That is not an accross the board statement to all people, like your implied religeous dogma metaphore suggests.

    I assume Kathy C has enough years and wit to understand others will do what they do regardless.

    The Chineese one child policy has been an example of a social and legal decree by a long standing civilisation to counter the modern threat of overpopulation. Overpopulation is one of the elephants in our now crowded room, as many here are clear about.
    I think Kathy C is putting a clear ethical argument as to considering the consequences of engaging in potentially life giving intimate encounters, regardless of any morality of relationship status, unlike your said vatican metaphore, and how those actions weigh in the balance of future human suffering, of the newborn.

    In the context of Jennifer Hartley’s essays above and previously, and her journey with her daughter to provide for her in all likely aspects of normal development and social engagement and the likely climate induced human problems and devastation, it is even more pressing her views, (Kathy C’s) are not ‘wedged’ into some fundamentalist sidetrack persuant to deterring discussion and involvement by other perhaps silent site viewers.

    Alternative arguments and discussion points about other views than Guy’s proposals, and discussion poster’s views, are not being censored, but IMO Guy and say Kathy C hold up a good standard of evidence via public report, and peer reviewed scientific paper based evidence for discussion. That does not preclude or deny involvement by contributors with just a viewpoint to offer, but the key ‘demand’ or testing criteria is that views offered as to ‘how it really is in the world’, especially about the biosphere, will be contested in all liklihood by those disagreeing.
    Hence it is almost inevitable that a poster that puts up climate change denial, or spoiling views, or simply counter views, no matter if they are genuinely held or payed for views of denial, for all are free to remain anon here, then those views will be vigorously tested or interrorgated here.
    That does not amount to any ‘return’ to a discourse and discussion around old world morality ipso facto. It just means that the long term trajectory and welfare of humanity and the biosphere is in the background, and IMO the forground also, of most discussion topics here, and most contributions address this.

    I believe Guy’s motivation was initially to throw the ‘mazaire’ hand in the desparate hope of making an evidence based difference through raising awareness and discussion, to avert this likely devastation.

    With his essay, “We’re Done”:

    We’re done

    Guy turned a corner, a heart wrenching corner IMO, of acceptance that ‘the evidence’ strongly suggests that the biosphere is now ‘tipped’ beyond being able to pull it back by near term remedial action by humans.

    This is all the complex setting for Kathy C’s comments about thinking ahead on unplanned or unconsidered human reproduction.
    There is no moralism commensurate to old world religious prohibition on sexual behaviour there. It is motivated by compassion, not power and control. That is my opinion, but IMO it should be clear to anyone reading her comments.

    Your subsequent comments IMO attempt to frame that discussion in cringeworthy fundamentalist notions of patriarchal and religious dominated moralism, and clearly ‘we’ are not wanting a return to such times or ways of existing. That is a large part of how we got here!

    I ask the question, ‘In who’s interest is it to have NBL discussion framed in that way?’
    Asking the right question is always held by Zen masters a key to clear understanding, and in this context it helps me.

    Nice to hear from you MB, (if my intuition serves me correctly…?)

    I’ll cop a serve for those statements, as intuition is not counted as public domain evidence, so I will have a chuckle to myself about that, and apologise in advance there, but no matter, no discomfort here,
    …root away…