Presenting in Amherst

Tonight’s event on the University of Massachusetts campus was livestreamed and is embedded below. Viewers are subjected to a short advertisement.

Video streaming by Ustream


My presentation was subject to simultaneous interpretation by two American Sign Language interpreters. One wrote about it here.


My presentation from earlier this week was featured in a local newspaper. That article is here.

Next-day update: Radio interview from 29 November has been posted here.

Comments 178

  • I just saw Daniel’s essay on Collapse Net. The xraymike incorrectly attributes those words to me and I have just written him and asked him to correct that. I requested Daniel’s permission to post his words on two other blogs I post on. He said OK. I posted with this introduction
    I requested permission from the author of this comment to share this further. Many of us who post on Nature Bats Last found it quite moving. NTE stand for Near Term Extinction. Posted on Nov. 28, as a comment on this essay

    Someone on one of those blogs apparently e-mailed it to Collapse Net without requesting my permission to do so or going the route I did e-mailing Guy to send an e-mail to Daniel to request permission. That person also failed to include my introduction above. Collapse Net posted it apparently without checking the entry on NBL to verify or he would have know that it was not me.

    Apologies to Daniel. As I note above I have asked Collapse Net to correct the error.

  • depressive lucidity : Does anyone have an alternative interpretation?

    I really don’t know. Remember the Iraqi information minister, Comical Ali, appearing on tv, insisting that the Americans had been defeated, when US tanks were plainly in view in the background ?

    When people have been denying reality for a long time, all their lives, how do they change ? The only really obvious example I can think of from my lifetime is the old Soviet Union. The people had been told for half a century that it was the best system, the only system that worked, the media were totally controlled, so 99% believed it. So if anything bad happened, it just didn’t happen.

    So then there’s a big problem for the leadership. How to tell the masses, ‘Erm, actually, the system is crap, it’s broken, it can’t be fixed, and we’ve been telling you lies all along ?’ Who is going to volunteer to do that ?

    In the USSR, it staggered on until it imploded, then Gorbachev, who nearly got assassinated for trying to be a bit honest, the Yeltsin, who mostly got drunk, the Putin, who said, ‘Don’t mess with me, or you’re dead’….

    Now the whole thing has gone global. All of the Emperors are naked. None of the diplomats dare say so, because they’ll lose their jobs and their pensions.

    How can a Saudi Arabian or Venezuelan scientist or diplomat tell their government that they have to leave all that oil in the ground now because, if they don’t, it means NTE ?
    I mean, their boss will say to them ‘Are you insane ? The economy will collapse ! The people will riot, they will kill us all ! Think of your wife and children ! ‘, and if a leader begins to take the science seriously, and considers the future, some slimy dude with a connection to Kochs or Chevron or BP or whoever, calls by with a mention of an offshore bank account with a few million dollars in it, and if that doesn’t work, there’s the even slimier dudes, with the offers that nobody can refuse….

  • I suppose that this is a sort of ‘centrist’ view of the situation that we face…

    An innocent observer could be forgiven for thinking that the United Nations climate talks, now hotting up in the Qatar capital of Doha, would be the focus of the international fight to combat global warming. But the innocent observer would be wrong. There is indeed a battle going on, one that will determine the planet’s future, but it is not between the negotiators finding new ways to disagree over the implementation of decisions they have already made.

    The battle is being waged in energy and finance ministries around the world, and in the boardrooms of energy companies and their bankers. It is the battle between a high-carbon and a low-carbon energy future. And the outcome is unclear.

    On the one hand, global investment in renewable technologies, particularly wind and solar, has been racing ahead: for the past three years it has exceeded investment in generation from fossil fuels. Last year, fully 70% of all European power investment was in renewables.

    Leading Europe’s drive towards decarbonisation is Germany, whose national “energy transition” will reduce emissions by 40% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050 without use of nuclear power – using renewables and energy efficiency alone. Meanwhile, China has become the world’s largest producer of both wind and solar power. In California, South Korea and Australia new emissions-trading schemes have recently put a price on carbon.

    Yet at the same time the world is also going in the opposite direction. More coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel – was used to produce electricity last year than for 40 years. As the International Energy Agency warned this month, this is driving up global carbon emissions, which rose by an alarming 3% in 2011. Coal burning now represents almost a third of all power generation; it is rising even in Europe, as the economic slump slashes the carbon price. And there is more to come: the World Resources Institute reports that globally no fewer than 1,200 new coal plants are currently proposed, two-thirds of them in India and China. Meanwhile, Canada leads the countries exploiting highly carbon-polluting tar sands, and the oil majors eye up the Arctic for new oil.

    The environmental movement has tried hard to explain climate change in terms of emission trends, targets and international treaties. But as the British thinktank Carbon Tracker has pointed out, it’s really just simple maths. If the world is to limit global warming to 2C, it must keep greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to under 450 parts per million. We are currently at 392, and rising fast. To have a good (80%) chance of staying within the 2C limit, that means the world can emit only another 565 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. But global fossil fuel reserves are much bigger than that, equivalent to 2,795 gigatonnes, or five times the safe amount.

    In other words, we can only avoid devastating climate change if we keep most of the world’s fossil fuels, including almost all of its coal, in the ground.

  • Glad to see that Supeman1 is still battling away at the conundrums in the comments at J. Romm’s Climate Progress. IMO, he’s amongst the best at trying to understand the mess, but as far as i can tell, it all seems to confirm the basic ‘we are f***ed/NTE’ scenario’….

    I found this link there, that I had not seen before

  • ulvfugl, seems like the reports of unexpected, earlier than expected, etc just keep increasing – in the article you linked to “The “Ancient Ice Complex” that crops out along the 7000 kilometer long Siberian coastline has melted and eroded more quickly than expected as the climate warmed 2 degrees Celsius faster than models predicted.”

    When the facts on the ground keep being unexpected it is time to pay attention to folks like Guy who aren’t surprised….

  • ulvfugl Now the whole thing has gone global. All of the Emperors are naked. None of the diplomats dare say so, because they’ll lose their jobs and their pensions.

    Yes. I agree. I suppose the whole thing is just pathetic human greed and inertia. One would like to think that the end of our run as a species might be attributable to something loftier. But it just ends with a stupid whimper. A bunch of psychopathic corporate types looking out for #1.

  • Some years ago I was attending Calle Ocho in Miami. It’s a huge street celebration of Latin culture. Typically, a million people will be there. As you can imagine, it’s terribly crowded, but usually manageable.

    At one point there was a sudden crush of people. Something exciting was going on somewhere many blocks away and the crowd just began to shift toward it. I was pressed on all sides. I had no choice but to go with the flow. I saw one person fall and be trampled. Eventually the police had to shut down the event that was causing all the excitement – I never found out what it was – until everyone calmed down a little bit.

    I think that’s what happening for those in “leadership” positions with respect to climate chaos. If they don’t go with the crowd they will be trampled. Perhaps a few who were already on the fringes can work their way to the periphery and try to change things, but it won’t work. The mass is moving in a particular direction. It won’t stop until it can’t go any farther.

  • Arctic News was supposed to be #1, they and the IPCC. They were the “watch” people. I’m reminded of the Titanic. So who will now get blamed for not watching well enough. The first thing people are going to do is fix the blame. Why are there nearly no comments at Arctic News?

  • There are some truths that most people don’t believe, not because they are not true but because, like the mythical prophet Cassandra, society is resistant to them

    When he ran for the state legislature in the 1980s, Bailie says he started to notice something. He campaigned among senior citizens (‘because they vote’). In some communities, people in their 90s were still farming. His campaign manager came from the same neighbourhood as him. Bailie asked him: ‘Why we don’t have any old folks?’

    ‘They all died of cancer.’

    ‘Why is that?’

    ‘I don’t know.’

    Bailie asked the elderly farmers if they used pesticides. ‘Yes, we did,’ they told him, ‘until that communist lesbian bitch Rachel Carson came along.’

    ‘See,’ Bailie said to me, ‘everyone used DDT, so that didn’t make the difference.’

  • I don’t think IPCC have been considered as the ‘watch’ people, David. They have been considered as the respectable standard to refer to, because their authority is supposed to be based upon peer reviewed scientific papers in reputable journals ( as opposed to wacky speculative folks, who go beyond the hard evidence. ). The problem from the outset has been that those papers may have been about research several years before they were published and years again before the last IPPC meeting, so they can be totally obsolete and irrelevant, and everybody knows it.

    My impression now is that everybody knows that staying below 2degC is unachievable and unrealistic, and everybody who is well-informed about the science must know it, but they are playing this game… if that’s the right word.

    Why ? I really don’t know. Perhaps each individual has their own reasons. Perhaps it is a matter of character. Some are timid, hate to speak out, some are cowardly, worry about their career prospects, or they truly believe there will be a magic techno-fix….

    I think Daniel was the first to smack the thing square on… it just hasn’t sunk in yet, six months is too short a time, I keep reading the same old ‘in twenty or thirty years, blablabla… we’ll be adapting’ kinda shit…. they just don’t get it.

    So far, for most of the science guys and most of the rest, nothing has changed, they sit in the same offices, drive the same cars, the lights still come on, the money is still in the bank, they read the same journals, they’ll meet their buddies at the conference…
    Same goes for many of the guys running the green groups, the big NGOs. I knew some of those when they were lean and mean, many moons ago, I was really shocked to discover how they had changed, indistinguishable from corporations really, glossy trade magazines and company cars, and all kinds of perks… sickening really, that they become part of the problem…

  • Well, I can honestly say that discussing the weather is no longer considered making “small talk”.
    Almost 70 F yesterday. Balmy December, we went to the park & the ground was carpeted with branches blown from the cottonwoods, all sprouting green leaf buds. Over the weekend, friends in Alaska were posting info on a local wildfire, which burned about 200 acres. I looked at the photos and noticed they had no snow cover. Where are all the climate change deniers who were so vocal about their historic snows last season?
    Also wondering if Ken Burns “Dust Bowl” coming out the same year as historic droughts is coincidence? Sorry for the fragmented thoughts, must get the children out to play in our own mini dust bowl, aka the back yard.

  • Badlands, yeah about 70 here yesterday – but not a one day thing, been that way for several weeks and little change on the 10 day prediction. So my kale, and sorrel are lovely, not being held back by frost – BUT I am having to water them. Usually I have the outside water turned off a month ago. We got about 1/8 inch rain in the last month and only a slight chance of anything on the 10 day.

    But it does seem like the deniers are a bit muted now. About time, except for the fact that it is too late.

  • BadlandsAK and Kathy C,

    72 here yesterday. Supposed to get to 75 today. 20 and 24 degrees above “normal” respectively. Yesterday wasn’t a record but today will tie one set in 1982. Like Kathy, our weather has been running 10-20 degrees above 30 year averages all year. We’ve had a few months that were more in line with averages, but for the most part, very warm.

    As to rain, they keep putting it in the forecast, 6 or 7 days out, but then it seldom materializes. We’re a little better off than some places, but it’s still dry.

    My prediction is that summer 2013 is going to be even hotter and drier than 2012 and the collapse that is already underway is going to become much more evident to everyone. Food shortages are going to be a huge issue this coming year.

  • Also wondering if Ken Burns “Dust Bowl” coming out the same year as historic droughts is coincidence?

    There’s no reason to think it isn’t. It is ironic, though. The bread basket of the great plains is a lie. Soon enough, that dead water pumped from the Ogallala Aquifer will run dry. Then the dust flies again. Civilization has abused everything, including that most precious resource, water.

    Love That Dirty Water

  • It’s 61 degrees here in Michigan today. The new normal.

    2013 may be the year that there isn’t enough water for Hoover Dam to generate electricity.

    I’m thinking 2013 might be the year that all the deniers wake up and say something to the effect of, “hey, nobody told us it was going to be like this”.

  • The collapse will more than likely happen “suddenly.” Though we’ve been setting temperature records and witnessed the “strongest storm” on record or an unheard-of string of tornados year after year for the past decade, once the food production aspect goes into steep decline (like i’m expecting this coming year) – THAT’S when the SWHTF, people will start to panic and all hell will break loose. There’ll be bank runs (and bank “holidays” to counter them), crime will skyrocket as people become increasingly desperate, the police (and government) will be overwhelmed (especially since they’ll all be in the same sinking boat as us) and pandemonium will result. Add to this extended viscious drought in our bread-basket states (which may be the start of all this) flooding, sinkholes, earthquakes, tornados, diseases and finally the electrical grid going down and suddenly there we are back in the “Stone Age” with no electrical gadgets to rely on and trying to figure out what to do. Typical humanity will resort to violence, anger, finger-pointing and blame, and civilization will unravel rather quickly (my initial statement).

    What is your take on the coming schedule of events?

    i awoke from a weird dream involving aliens coming to pick up those of us they want (perhaps to be miners elsewhere) and leaving the most of the rest to perish in our wasted, irradiated and totally polluted world, killing each other to survive another day.

  • Seems appropriate, Tom, ;-)

    The Simple Critical Infrastructure Map is a tool for assessing which pieces of AIAC infrastructure protect you from the six ways to die

  • Tom, IMO, once the age of cheap food ends, the rest of the economy will be on a slippery slope to perdition. Given that the retail economy (based on credit) is what keeps Amerika afloat, the moment people can no longer afford iphones and flat screens because they need to eat and have no disposable income, the whole mess will soon unravel.

    The social and economic disruptions will probably occur in a snowballing spiral. I’m sure that the corporate/financial aristocracy have several survival plans. At the first sign of a major disruption, TPTB will try to impose totalitarian restrictions on the population. But unless they can feed people and afford them some type of security (however illusory it might be), the furies will be unleashed and then it’s hell on earth for the remainder of our short journey.

    P.S. I too have been having unsettling dreams. Last night I dreamt that a comet slammed into the Earth and I could see it approaching, like a fiery moon.

  • Full article at
    ASPEN — The drought of 2012 — one of the worst in modern Colorado history — doesn’t appear to be easing.

    Technically the 2012 water year is over. Water experts start tracking a water year on Oct. 1 because that’s the month that snowpack usually starts building in Colorado’s mountains. After two months, the 2013 water year is picking up where 2012 left off.

    The snowpack at Independence Pass east of Aspen is at 40 percent of average for Nov. 30, according to data from an automated snow-measurement site maintained by the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

    For the Roaring Fork River basin as a whole — which engulfs 1,451 square miles, including the Fryingpan and Crystal river watersheds — the snowpack is at 43 percent.

    To put the dry fall into perspective, the Roaring Fork Conservancy reported Thursday that Schofield Pass has the beefiest snowpack in the basin right now, but it’s only half of what it was in 2002 — another major drought year.

    “Drought conditions still persist,” said the conservancy, a nonprofit organization that works on water quantity and quality issues in the Roaring Fork Valley.

  • Ok, let’s play the next round of “cook you ass”.

    It is not too early to build that fence around Kansas and Oklahoma. Next year when they try to make a run for it, remind them who they vote for.

  • depressive – you can check known asteroids that are going to make a near earth pass at spaceweather dot com There is a Feb 15th one at .09 LD (lunar distance) which I calcualted to be be 21,501 miles from earth. Its small – 57 meters. So even if it did hit it wouldn’t do us in. Some months back a new asteroid that came fairly close to earth was discovered just a few days before it made its fly by.

    On the comet front, A comet long considered lost has been found again!
    Comet Pons-Gambart was discovered on June 21, 1827 by Jean Louis Pons, observing from Florence, Italy and Adolphe Gambart in Marseilles, France. It brightened to the naked-eye limit (between 5th and 6th magnitude) and then quickly faded.

  • @Collapse Watch – Coincidence is definitely the wrong word for the timing of Burns’ “Dust Bowl”. Impeccable timing on his part, though. I found it interesting how people, in the face of destruction of their own making, insisted on attributing intention to nature and the weather, namely “evil”, that God was trying to drive them from the land.

    I read your post, Love That Dirty Water, and I must commend you. I recently watched the documentary, Blue Gold, and though it was an in depth expose on the politics and money behind the water wars, you managed to touch on water as a living thing. It made me think about growing up without running water, how we hauled water to our home, heated water on the wood stove to wash dishes, or hair, or faces. I cringe at how much water we go through in my household, though I would die before I wasted water on watering grass, thus, our dust bowl out back. Even the folks who diligently watered their lawns every day had brown grass if it was not in shade at least part of the day. I felt a little sorry for their obsession with the superficial, but then, they probably weren’t suffering the psychic pain I was in the face of impending doom.

    @Kathy C. It was so hot & dry here this summer, it seemed no matter how much we watered our few plantings, they didn’t thrive. The few sprinkles of rain we got created such a noticeable difference in the plants, but it was short lived.

    @Tom I haven’t thought through any possible “coming schedule of events”, but I think with the extreme weather this year, it will only take another season before it starts dawning on people how bad it really is, and what the implications are. It will definitely revolve around food. I agree that things will be sudden, in the sense that when the majority of people wake up, there will be wide-spread panic, but otherwise, I think it’s already here, just in different forms in different pockets around the world.
    You know, the price of gas has been going down steadily and has been hovering around $3.15. That should be good, right? Well, I don’t know the intricacies of oil production/markets, but that low price does not give me a good feeling. It’s just a feeling, nothing more.
    I don’t think there will be a return to hunting/gathering because animal habitat is so infringed upon already, and they live in the same polluted world we do, what makes us think they will be there to support us? As children, we used to walk out in the woods and pick mushrooms, wild raspberries, rose hips. We knew what the plants were and what we could eat. I don’t even remember the last time I saw something edible while out walking in the woods, maybe I’m just too far removed, or too busy looking up. The city spent $4million on a parking lot, pavilions for farmer’s market, etc…and there were no less than 10 completely dead trees, countless others 1/2 dead, just within the parameters of that small area. The situation is widespread throughout the entirety of Rapid City.
    I can only wonder at the complete disconnect between people and nature, or even people and other people.

  • I was wrong. I thought surely by now the deniers had given up

    h, those wacky professional climate change deniers! Once again, they’ve banded together a passel of people, 90 percent of whom aren’t even climatologists, and had them sign a nearly fact-free opinion piece in the Financial Post, claiming global warming isn’t real. It’s an astonishing example of nonsense so ridiculous I would run out of synonyms for “bilge” before adequately describing it.

    The Op-Ed is directed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who has recently, and thankfully, been vocal about the looming environmental catastrophe of global warming. The deniers’ letter takes him to task for this, but doesn’t come within a glancing blow of reality.

    The letter itself is based on a single claim. So let’s be clear: If that claim is wrong, so is the rest of the letter.

    Guess what? That claim is wrong. So blatantly wrong, in fact, it’s hard to imagine anyone could write it with a straight face. It says:

    “The U.K. Met Office recently released data showing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years.”

    This is simply, completely, and utterly false. The Met Office is the national weather service for the United Kingdom. In October 2012, they updated their database of global surface temperature measurements, a compendium of temperatures taken over time by weather stations around the planet. David Rose, a climate change denier who can charitably be said to have trouble with facts, cherry-picked this dataset and published a horrendously misleading graph in that bastion of scientific thought, the Daily Mail, saying the measurements show there’s been no global warming for the past 16 years.

    But he did this by choosing a starting point on his graph that gave the result he wanted, a graph that looks like there’s been no warming since 1997. But if you show the data properly, you see there has been warming:
    graphs and rest at

  • Skip down to the end of the post, and check out the pictures of maple trees (or, go outside and look at some real ones instead).

    I’ve never seen anything like it. I think we are in for a very violent upheaval in the spring when it becomes apparent that a significant number of trees are dead, beyond redemption.

  • Kathy C Says:
    December 3rd, 2012 at 4:05 pm
    I was wrong. I thought surely by now the deniers had given up
    h, those wacky professional climate change deniers!

    It’s easier now to ignore
    Deniers than it was before:
    Even our futile chatter
    In the end, doesn’t matter;
    In the end, nothing matters anymore.

  • Security Obsession Drives 100 Scientists from NASA

  • What are they hiding?

    Security Obsession Drives 100 Scientists from NASA

  • Monbiot’s analysis. Like McKibben, he still thinks that democracy and protests can fix the mess.

  • Geologic time has a pace that is perceptible in the human timeframe only when it is faster than a speeding geologic bullet. For reference, the tectonic plates in geologic time are moving at the same speed as quadrupeds in our time frame. Climate change is on the start of the upward curve of its sigmoid trajectory.

    The saying goes “If you con’t keep up with the big dogs, stay on the porch”. The pace of cultural change and short-term-adaptive innovation may seem to have no problem keeping up with the “big dogs”. Yes, these big dogs may move slow, but they move inexorably. The problem is that when they quicken their pace, they continue to be just as inexorable. They then leave evolutionary adaptation in the dust; wisdom and long-term-adaptive innovation have yet to get off the porch.

    The insights expressed on NBL seem to be getting under people’s skins. Skins must be thinning as they are abraded by the increasing roughness of passing events. Otherwise there is no reason for them to rant against this fringe group of baying hounds or sidling in amongst them in an attempt to disrupt their baying.

  • Everywhere I read about ocean acidification, I see the term “food chain”. No one dares to say “food cycle” even though these scientists must know that is how it works. I mentioned this thought to an employee and he said he could do without his flat screen but not without his toilet. No toilets = no cities.

  • And then there is the pollution associated with and embedded in the crap on the ships.

  • And interesting essay at
    by Fred Reed

    conclusion below
    An examination of our curious world shows no signs either of a loving god or of a moral order. The only faint flickerings of decency in the cosmos seem to come not from gods real or imagined but from people. Most of life, all life, is characterized by undeserved suffering—a deer being torn down by wolves and agonizingly eaten while not yet dead, millions of parasite-ridden children dying of starvation every year, babies born with hideous birth defects (presumably in punishment for sins committed in the womb). This is not heartening.

    And still we know not who we are, or what, or why, or whence, or whither, or when. Better not to think about it. Prices on the iPhone 5 are falling and….

    I have always thought (predeterminedly) the Cogito ergo sum of Descartes less profound that Bierce’s Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum. Cogito. “I think I think, therefore I think I am. I think.” Just so.

  • Kathy C Says: … Most of life, all life, is characterized by undeserved suffering—

    Where we go after death is unclear:
    We may or may not disappear;
    But in any case,
    It’s a better place,
    ‘Cause at least we’re no longer here.

  • dairymandave2003: No toilets = no cities

    I think many people underestimate the benefit of sewer systems. When there is no running water, there also will be no running toilets. Can you imagine any relatively large city without a functioning sewer system? After a few days, the shit will be flooding the streets.

  • What matters is here and now,
    Most importantly I and Thou;
    Once our molecules scatter,
    Nothing will matter—
    Or not very much anyhow.

  • The Real Dr. House, If we could figure out how to get it back to my fields, the streets would be clean and I could grow something. For 60 years I have watched nutrints leave the farm by the ton and I doubt that even one molecule of nutrients ever came back. We know better, we just don’t care.

  • Robin, your comment on December 4th, 2012 at 2:15 am was excellent.

    Michael Irving

  • Wonderful discussion here in the past week. I couldn’t possibly comment on all of it. I’m still trying to keep up on the science. I’m now reading Real Climate and finding a lot of good science and some really conservative analysis. I hope Superman1 doesn’t give up.

    Here’s an interesting model for what happened in the end- Permain extinction:


    The end-Permian extinction decimated up to 95% of carbonate shell-bearing marine species and 80% of land animals. Isotopic excursions, dissolution of shallow marine carbonates, and the demise of carbonate shell-bearing organisms suggest global warming and ocean acidification. The temporal association of the extinction with the Siberia flood basalts at approximately 250 Ma is well known, and recent evidence suggests these flood basalts may have mobilized carbon in thick deposits of organic-rich sediments. Large isotopic excursions recorded in this period are potentially explained by rapid venting of coal-derived methane, which has primarily been attributed to metamorphism of coal by basaltic intrusion. However, recently discovered contemporaneous deposits of fly ash in northern Canada suggest large-scale combustion of coal as an additional mechanism for rapid release of carbon. This massive coal combustion may have resulted from explosive interaction with basalt sills of the Siberian Traps. Here we present physical analysis of explosive eruption of coal and basalt, demonstrating that it is a viable mechanism for global extinction. We describe and constrain the physics of this process including necessary magnitudes of basaltic intrusion, mixing and mobilization of coal and basalt, ascent to the surface, explosive combustion, and the atmospheric rise necessary for global distribution.

  • Kathy, you might not like some of Fred Reed’s politics.

    He’s not too fond of evolution, for example, and he’s anti-homosexual. He also thinks Western culture is superior to all others and he’s mostly critical of the West for no longer living up to its own ideals (which is why he now lives in Mexico).

    That and he has little patience for racial minorities and has written several essays about how white men are getting a raw deal all the time because they have the temerity to “stand up” to those entitled brats (yes, that is how he essentially thinks of black people).

    He has a lot of insight, but be careful about who you quote…^_^

  • Librarian, thanks for the info. It is the only piece I have read by him.

    However as you well know, people can have good ideas and bad ideas in the same brain. The good ideas, if they are good are just that regardless of who holds them. I post from Arctic News from time to time. I think their assessment of the near term extinction of humans is correct and admire them for saying it. I think their proposals for geoengineering are crazy and dangerous and I wish they would just shut up before they convince anyone else.

    As you know Thomas Jefferson kept slaves and had children by one of his slaves – she was the half sister of his wife, the daughter by another slave of his father-in-law. I read recently that while George Washington freed his slaves when he died, Jefferson did not. Perhaps we shouldn’t quote the Declaration of Liberty or uphold the Constitution that instituted democracy for white, land owning males, written by white land owning, males, many of whom kept slaves.

    OTOH thanks, I will issue a disclaimer if I post that anywhere else that I agree with this article by Fred Reed but do not agree with other opinions by the man. :)

    Here is a quote I believe to be true “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed” Sure seems to be true. Doesn’t mean I think well of the man who said it.

  • BC Nurse Prof,

    Re the “explosive combustion” of coal:

    Right now we are arguing about shipping Montana coal to China via terminals along the coasts of Oregon and Washington. Additionally BC is ready to begin shipping massive amounts of coking coal out of Vancouver. If we in fact burn that coal as fast and to the extent projected by the entrepreneurs the result will not be as bad as the Siberian traps but will be creating an even faster/stronger level of “explosive combustion” of coal.

    Michael Irving

  • Useful reading on the end Permian Extinction is When Life Nearly Died, by Michael Benton. He posits that the warming triggered by the Siberian Traps may have set off a methane burp.
    Methane has some inconvenient characteristics that are important to remember: it is a poisonous gas, more than thirty times stronger as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and very volatile. In addition, methane oxidizes in the atmosphere producing water and carbon dioxide; water vapour is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere as verified by B. Soden (“Water-vapor Observations” in Frontiers of Climate Modeling, Kiehl, J T, V. Ramanathan, Cambridge University Press, 285-311, 2006).

    Moreover, as methane is released from the Arctic the global temperature rises which enables a faster release of methane. The circle ends with an atmosphere saturated with methane and low in oxygen, which severely endangers life. In his book “When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time”, geologist Michael J. Benton writes that once such a process starts there is no way to stop it, it can only go forward culminating in an hostile environment that can leave life nearly extinct (“Methane Burps: Ticking Time Bomb” Energy Bulletin, original from Baltimore Sun (Common Dreams), December 15 2004).

  • Michael Irving and Kathy C.

    Yep. Venus 2.0 here we come. Governments are choosing to look like they are “creating jobs” over, literally, saving the planet. Short term over long term. Since we have so little time left, why not give all the money to themselves and their families and friends to party until the end. Those jobs they create are indirectly killing people. Why not make it direct? Hire people to kill people. Jobs!! Wait, that’s called war, and we’re on track for that, too. All bases covered now?

  • @Robin Datta

    Thank you for the excellent analogy re:geologic time vs. human time. I now have a visual of a freight train (climate) being chased by yipper dogs (us). I will now read Alan Lightman’s “Einstein’s Dreams” again, just to remind myself how little I understand about the nature of time, and why so many people don’t have the same sense of urgency that those here seem to, even at the same time grappling with the understanding that it is too late anyway.

  • Kathy C. (and all): here’s an interesting video

    “Nuclear Expert Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education: The Kewaunee plant in Wisconsin, it’s a 600 megawatt plant, a single unit plant and the owner of the plant has decided that it makes no economic sense to run it so they’ll be shutting down. […]

    The dominoes are starting to fall, small single unit reactors like Oyster Creek, Vermont Yankee and others. The commercials pressures on them to keep them running, especially in light of Fukushima modifications, I don’t think Kewaunee will be the only plant to shut down. I think we’ll see quite a few.”

    It’s a start.

    Meanwhile i’m reading that coal is being imported by China in great quantities from Vancouver and the US.

    (one step forward, two steps back – the usual political dance of the corporations with world governments)

  • One thing to remember about coal vs. natural gas. There is a certain amount of gas that is lost from when it is extracted until when it is burned. I don’t know if fraccing changes this or not. Recent events in Boston are examples. This gas escaping into the atmosphere can be as much as 9%. Anything over 3% makes coal a more environmentally friendly alternative. In many areas of the US when gas is more than $3/million cubic ft. coal becomes a cheaper alternative.

    DMD, switch the chickens for ducks. We tried ducks here in the Fingerlakes and it didn’t work. Carol Deppe in your part of the world suggests ducks are a much smarter way to go.

    RDH: 3 month old lab? I’m guessing this isn’t good news for your rotti.

    68 degress today vs a normal high of 38.

    Thanks to all of you, I just finished reading all the posts.

  • Yes, Carol Deppe:

    The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times

    She recommends ducks, but that’s in Oregon. Couldn’t do that here. You need to try Carol’s ideas to see if you like them. I have learned a lot from her, bought seeds from her, and some work and some don’t.

    I did learn from her about the fact that some people cannot make long chain fatty acids from the short chain ones. Those people must have animal fats. I have found I’m one of them.

    On the other hand, I bought some seeds for some squash she raved about and I didn’t like them.

    Also, Steve Solomon, Gardening When It Counts

    Steve knows about everything, and you will learn a lot reading him, but keep in mind that he is an absolute perfectionist, and you will no doubt vary his methods in your circumstances.


  • Ed, the rotti was becoming too aggressive with the goats and chickens – she just couldn’t see them as something she shouldn’t chase (and try to catch). I knew some people who had lost their 13 year old Rottweiler earlier in the year. I adopted her to them and all are far happier now.

  • For some much needed comic relief, this new website pokes fun at flame wars on various internet forums. One of them sounds very much like one of the exchanges from a month or so ago on NBL.

  • Kathy, I enjoyed the article on methane and the permian. But it always annoys the be’jeesus out of me when these guys claim to know (without justification) that we are not over the edge yet … that there is still time to come up with some magical solution.

    Being less alarmist and more realistic, some methane has already escaped to the atmosphere and more will escape; it’s a natural process. The Arctic hasn’t passed the point of no return yet, but global warming hasn’t been significantly slowed either. It is not known where the released methane is exactly – it could probably distribute in the air or remain together like a cloud.

    I suppose he thinks that “being less alarmist” makes him more credible than those who realize that we’ve blown past the methane tipping point. How, for example, are we going to keep the methane that is leaking from the tundra in the tundra? Or the methane hydrates from bubbling into the atmosphere? Are there any proven solutions beyond what some MIT engineering geek has formulated on the back of a cocktail napkin? Or Malcolm Light’s Haarp?

  • Random thoughts on NTE

    Apparently, it’s a strange yet common compulsion to reach out in desperation, to either commiserate or alleviate the unparalleled anxiety that comes with the acute awareness of our collapsing world. I’ve seen this behavior repeated enough times, by countless others, to know that I too, must be acting out of duress far more than whatever moral imperative I once imagined to be my driving force.

    We all get lost in discerning who has and hasn’t the proper credentials, to corroborate all the pieces from specialized fields into a complete picture, so as to distinguish what is otherwise staring us in the face. We are all guilty to some degree, of subscribing to the meritocracy which attempts to shine a light into the very darkness it creates.

    Whether we’re unable to see the forest through the trees, or a tree in a forest, our inculcation has made fools of us all. And for those sentient beings who have seen what was coming for an awfully long time–and there are many–it now appears to have only aided in bringing those of us that much closer to losing our minds in such unprecedented acceptance, that it seems to be defying the act of acceptance itself.

    The relentless internal and external conflicts that consume the lives of anyone who has chosen a similar path, has found only insoluble unprecedence at every turn. Wherein, being intellectually trapped by the overwhelming evidence that has made acceptance and defeatism nearly inseparable, we are but left to individually wrestle with the subtle distinctions between what it means to be completely heartbroken, and just finally fall apart.

    The further one digs for the truth, one eventually must comes to terms with the hypocrisy, culpability and privilege which has afforded us the opportunity to dig for the truth in the first place. And whatever conclusion one draws, it is but an indirect result from such privilege. This is one of the most unidentified and duplicitous aspects of attempting to discern reality from what our culture buries, given we are all mired in the very traditions we imagine ourselves to be living outside of.

    If you look at something long enough, it inevitably changes, you just don’t see it the way you did in the beginning. Often it’s idealism that brings something new to our doorstep, but such rosy romanticism often quickly fades into familiar patterns. The same goes for what we think about. Contemplate anything for long enough, and inevitably, it will alter under the weight of inquiry. Doesn’t matter what it is, just the act of thinking about something, has the power to change the way we see everything. And if one dedicates their life to specifically contemplating the collapse of both civilization and the Holocene for a significant amount of time–as many of us have–inevitably, we’re going to have an entirely different opinion then we did from day one. Study anything for years, and we’ll discover most everyone to be in the dark in regards to whatever lessons we’ve come to learn.

    NTE is a story of what happens when you look at something for too long. When the basic power of deduction eventually distills our entire culture down to nothing but vain meaninglessness in the face of our self-destruction. When perceived solutions to society’s ills, not only fade, but are gradually revealed to have only ever been imaginary to begin with. This is a story about how literally everything that we believe–the very act of believing in fact–is barely removed from most childish fantasies.

    Once reality forces us to examine our obvious failure to prevent the collapse of our biosphere, one discovers only voids in the very places we once “believed” to be filled with potential significance. Wherein absence of sober rational acceptance of our true state, we find only blind faith in comforting fairytales across the entire spectrum of humanity. Where it takes the entire Arctic to melt, before society finally accepts that life on earth, might not be able to magically walk across water.

    When a citizen within a completely unsustainable culture, eventually comes to grasp the depth of our civic invalidity in all respects, there are only two options left us: continue the fantasy or engage in despairing.

    But this was true long before we discovered the reality of NTE. However, we’re now learning this juggernaut, is shooting everything out of the sky.

    So now what?

    That does seem to be the one question we can’t stop asking ourselves, nor can we find any satisfactory answer to. And it’s not as if we should be surprised, we are after all, literally considering the single greatest unfathomable dilemma in the history of the human race. So, it only makes sense that we would be at a complete loss as how to respond. One could easily make the claim, that there has never been a better cause to be completely confused, sad, lost, depressed, defeated and outright miserable, and that these emotions are wholly appropriate given the circumstances. One could argue further, given the staggering loss of life, if it’s at all possible to honestly feel any other way?

    Again, while the empirical evidence is quickly becoming incontrovertible, this window of time in which we are currently commiserating is still being framed as a relative abstract concept. For us, food still abounds, even amidst increasing drought, with worldwide famine looming just over the horizon. We’re presently inhabiting some sort of unparalleled reality between a priori and a posteriori knowledge. While our judgment is based on an event that is currently happening, its dire impact has yet to fully manifest. That’s one hell of a Sword of Domiciles. Nor is this a confident position from which to ponder such life altering phenomena.

    But, regardless of this inescapable dilemma, most of us, I would presume are feeling extremely compelled to make some kind of major life altering change, especially if we are still young enough to undertake it. Particularity, if making that change doesn’t involve having to dash the aspirations of our dependent children.

    If NTE is anything, it is blunt. And for anyone who has the internal fortitude to value truth at all costs, where we allow such communicable evidence to spread throughout our vested interests, beyond the point of self-preservation, bluntly, soon discovers there really isn’t much left to consider once we have. It’s not as if there’s a bevy of options to weigh, as to how NTE is ultimately going to play out. Aside from one incredibly loaded taboo, they’re all gruesome in their own right. They’re all utterly hopeless.

    The awareness of NTE metaphorically has ran from a once lush passive valley floor, up the steep learning cliffs, pass the accredited timberline, into a barren wasteland where the radical air has always been thin. Our lungs gasp and our minds grapple with the unwanted view. The journey has been epic, such sacrifice. But who could have imagined we could now see so far, with there being so little to be seen.

    There is no life up here, only death and indifference. If we remain inaccessible in this awareness, all the living below becomes its own frightening abyss, and we’ll freeze to death in our contempt of it. At some point we must descend back down, pass the raging fires to the flooded valleys if we desire to hold onto what precious moments remain.

    I remember the folly in having something to prove when I started the climb decades ago, that there must be some ultimate truth buried in the crown of our achievements. But now I can see clearly for myself. My guides are all trapped in the ice and I no longer care who’s right, or what that profound truth means anymore. We’ve all been mistaken, there is no more work to be done. There is nothing to prepare for.

    I thought I was somehow escaping, but all I discovered was resignation. Strange that I can no longer tell the difference.

    Death is coming my friends,it’s already here, there is nothing to fear, all we’ve left to decide is how we’ll meet it. I am done resisting. I am done with self-preservation. The inescapable sadness has finally found a way out. Time to let go, and finally live, as we’ll never be again.

  • If you want to curl up in a ball and lie on the ground and sob “NTE” until the end, that’s one way of dealing with it. But if you had a terminal illness, and you saw a child being mercilessly beaten by a thug, wouldn’t you still try to stop it, even if you knew you had only a few months to live? Being able to say, if only to yourself, that you tried to stop it; that’s a life worth living. The thuggery against the weak and helpless life of this society and this world will no doubt continue up until the last moment before NTE, and we must always try to stop it, up to that very last moment. Each of us will choose different ways. In a society as sick as this one, simply being kind to someone without expecting anything in return is a subversive act against the thug ethics of TPTB. Heck, it might even be fun.

  • BC nurse, I didn’t know that about animal fats vs vegetable fats. However I have switched using butter to cook with rather than canoloa. Things turn out better (especially chicken livers). But the oil question is interesting for anyone doing end of civilization, before the extinction preps. Oil. How many who don’t have animals have set up ways to extract oil for cooking (not really necessary, you can boil food instead) or for making soap? In fact how many are making their own soap – I did once in TN with help from a local and lard from our pig – but we used commercial lye not lye from wood ashes.

    Depressive, I know many think we still have time, or hope it and write their hope. But since so few have faced NTE its hard to find anything to quote that doesn’t embrace hope and change and hope of change…..

  • I suppose there’s nothing wrong with curling up in a ball and sobbing for a while, nothing wrong with any other human reaction, maybe work through them all, as a process of discovering what it really means to be a man or a woman… maybe choose to end up noble, self-less and courageous, rather than a creepy dishonest slob, whatever…

    I mean, we are living amidst the great contrast, the depravity, deceit, stupidity of most humans, and the incredible beauty and magnificence of nature and the Universe. You can choose which you prefer to be a part of. Not that it makes much difference, but just because it’s more pleasing, more honourable, gracious, dignified… no pressure, no hurry, no anxiety, at ease with it all…

    For a little while, you are here… floating around, somewhere, we’re calling the Milky Way… silly name, when you think about it…

  • Hahaha, beautiful sentence from Kim Dotcom “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of changing their views to fit the facts, they try to change the facts to fit their views.”

  • and I quoted that because it sums up this so perfectly :

    House Committee Leaders Deny Climate Change While Extreme Weather Devastates Their States

  • With big thanks to John Duffy, I’ve posted his latest essay in this space. It’s here.

  • overwhelming evidence that has made acceptance and defeatism nearly inseparable

    Anticipation without expectation implies acceptance of the outcomes, and is outside the paradigm of triumph and defeat. Where expectations are harboured, attachment to outcomes conflates acceptance of less than “acceptable” outcomes with defeatism.

    continue the fantasy or engage in despairing

    Despair in this case is fantasy not discarded.

    They’re all utterly hopeless

    Expectation is the flesh of hope. When frustrated, it morphs into despondency and masquerades as hopelessness; hopelessness itself evokes no despondency – it has no kernel of thwarted expectation.

    some ultimate truth buried in the crown of our achievements

    Those who imagine some ultimate truth in achievements may be well advised to peruse Shelley’s Ozymandias.

    there is no more work to be done

    Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. In the latter instance, there is neither expectation nor a sense of agency (“I am the doer”), and no work “is to be” done.

    being kind to someone without expecting anything in return

    Just as non-expectation and acceptance are characteristics of the enlightened, so too is this: charity. There is no sense of placing the recipient under any obligation whatsoever, not even so much as a “thank you”. What is commonly understood as charity is in effect a commercial transaction.

    The corollary is also a characteristic of the enlightened: non-receiving, not accepting anything from others that implies assuming an obligation.

    When man makes money, the man is the better by it. When money makes man the man is the worse by it.

  • loved sock puppet theatre, tsdh. as u said, some much appreciated humor.

  • Now Now Ripley. “curling up in a ball and sobbing about NTE…”?

    I think you completely missed what I was implying. There is the life we’ve all lived up to “this moment”, where many of us have been operating under every imperative under the sun, in attempting to prevent “this moment” from occurring.

    What is probably the hardest aspect of NTE for most everyone to fully accept, is that that moment has now passed, making “we”, each other, not TPTB each others greatest threat.

    We can all work together as long as there is enough to go around. NTE is the reality of there being ever less to go around, until none of us are around. Anyone who imagines that this is going to be anything other than indescribably violent and horrific, is still projecting their concept of past precedence into the future, and hasn’t quite grasped the consequences of permanent global famine.

    There is no work to be done, simply because there is no way to prevent what is already happening. Soon, every meal we eat, will be one less meal for someone else. Soon, if we all live long enough we will all be in the dilemma of having to justify continuing to consume precious calories, in light of knowing there are others who need it more. How many of us will continue to eat knowing ours or our neighbors children are starving to death?

    NTE simply equates to famine unto extinction.

    Deciding who lives and who dies, will simply be decided by who gets to eat, until the entire human race starves to death. It’s that brutally simple.

    We can continue to project whatever moral imperative has motivated us up to this moment, but regardless of any of our behavior, non-linear rates of change have already been triggered, so all our imperatives can possibly hope to achieve at this point, is to help ease our own troubled minds, by allowing us to imagine we still have agency where we most likely never did. Homo-colossus was doomed before any of us were ever born.

  • Please, Guy, elevate Daniel’s post above (5 December, 12:08) to a thread unto itself. You’ve posted another essay and few will come here to read this one.

    Daniel, you’ve done it again and expressed what I can no longer say. Your post reads like the work of one of my philosophy professors from long ago and far away. It makes me want to ask, “Who are you really?” What has made it possible for you to see so deeply and clearly?

    The Albatross of Damocles Hangs Over Thy Head

    I put the above together once, just to be funny, but it’s not funny anymore. Sometimes I wonder: who will be last? Will it be someone who is rich now? Will it be a poor person hunting and gathering to the end? Someone who gathered slaves from the starving masses to produce the last of the food for them? Or someone who has never encountered civilization.

    A moot point, to be sure, but I’m reduced to wondering anyway.

  • Yes, Daniel. We are going extinct very soon.

    Do we take everything else alive with us?

    Do we have any agency over that?

    The nukes sort of guarantee it, unless………

  • Daniel & BC Nurse – I have been reading this blog for a while now, coming to grips with what we know is happening. I so appreciate your words, understanding, HUMANITY in dealing with this. Daniel – your words are so succinct and true. I feel like my heart knows you even if my ‘self’ doesn’t. The part about deep self-analysis and trying to determine what really counts in life to each of us… that is hard. This knowledge is forcing me to leave a 12 year relationship because I now discover how heartless and sociopathic my husband truly is and I cannot bear facing this future with someone like that. A level of schadenfreude that is terrifying. I am happy that I am not alone in the realization of NTE. I intend to continue to live fully, as happily as I can, grow food and take care of the people around me. I am moving back to No. California where the people I love live. I had moved to Australia and then Canada with this man in order to ‘leave’ the USA behind after Bush was installed a second time. Gave up my job, home, family, city (SF) and security to follow this person and he turns out to not care about anything or anyone. His father was a psychopath and it appears to be hereditary. When I realized how much more depressing it would be to face this with a psychopath I made the break. He is just furious but I know he just wanted a co-conspirator to laugh at the less fortunate. That will be so many people…..
    I think I figured I should get over all the heartbreak at the same time…. now I can start over and be whatever help to others I can be. Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile….

  • ‘This knowledge is forcing me to leave a 12 year relationship because I now discover how heartless and sociopathic my husband truly is and I cannot bear facing this future with someone like that.’ -carol

    wow! isn’t it something how smart sheeple quite often make the worst, most ignorant choices when it comes to ‘love’! perhaps your familiar with the old saying ‘love is blind’? i think this is greatly exacerbated by a culture of dogmatic fears, shame, prohibitions, repression, limitations… a culture of ‘romance’ that teaches us that ‘sur)real’ love is intense and possessive/monogamous, a culture that discourages not just physical intimacy but intimacy of all sorts outside certain narrow dogmatic boundaries… and thus cripples or stunts our development in terms of ability to form healthy, open, honest intimate relationships, in my not so humble opinion (i think i know of which i speak, having personal experience with self-deceit and extremely foolish intimate choices). exasperated sigh

    ‘alleviate the unparalleled anxiety that comes with the acute awareness of our collapsing world’ -daniel

    perhaps it’s denial or psychic numbness or narcissicism (or all of the above?) at play, but i’d say i have greater anxieties than ‘acute awareness of our collapsing world’. (sigh) yeah, it’s a shame that we’ve so desecrated gaia and nature bats last and who knows what if anything shall survive the anthropocene age, but the natural world isn’t all birdsong and butterflies and succulent sweetness… nor was it ever meant to be eternal…

    for me unparallelled anxiety comes in moments of extreme imminent personal danger, or when i’m confronted by the surreality of having been born into a culture i perceive as utterly crazy and cruel in it’s dogmatic conformity, puritanism, intolerance, and bigotry towards would-be free livers and lovers like me. i hate it so much i consider it’s destruction a blessing, so in a way, i’m a fan of collapse…
    but then, of course, any such blessing is overwhelmed by the curse u speak so eloquently and succinctly of, daniel in a later post:

    ‘We can all work together as long as there is enough to go around. NTE is the reality of there being ever less to go around, until none of us are around. Anyone who imagines that this is going to be anything other than indescribably violent and horrific, is still projecting their concept of past precedence into the future, and hasn’t quite grasped the consequences of permanent global famine.’

    that’s definitely going to suck. i find comfort in the selfish hope and opinion that collapse and nte aren’t as imminent as guy and some others claim. if i’m wrong, i’m probably still better off to worry less about something i have no control over.

    ‘Soon, if we all live long enough we will all be in the dilemma of having to justify continuing to consume precious calories, in light of knowing there are others who need it more. How many of us will continue to eat knowing ours or our neighbors children are starving to death?’

    daniel, maybe i’ll beat kathy to the punch in my reply: if one expands one’s view of ‘neighbor’s children’ to include all gaia’s children, hasn’t it always been the case that we privileged relative few of the ‘developed’ world have lived at the expense of the masses suffering from extreme poverty throughout much of the ‘under-developed’ world? how many of us (i’m one) indulge in relative luxuries, when we could be giving to humanitarians who are working to ease at least some suffering?

    selfishness. ‘moral’ myopia. i’m guilty of it and i’ll bet u are too sometimes, as is our species collectively. considering this, maybe death/extinction isn’t so tragic.

  • Daniel. What I said was not an accurate take on what you were trying to say. I regret it. It was more of my emotional reaction to a quick skimming of your statement. It could be the virus of NTE denial still lingered in my brain. You’re analysis of the situation is interesting, though I’m not sure I understand all of the subtleties of what you’re saying. I will pay closer attention as you expand on it, as I notice you already have in the next thread. Cheers.

  • @ TVT

    “selfishness. ‘moral’ myopia. i’m guilty of it and i’ll bet u are too sometimes, as is our species collectively. considering this, maybe death/extinction isn’t so tragic.”

    “Moral myopia” is a fascinating concept,especially now, when all our moral imperatives have just been laid to waste. And the selfishness to enjoy the time we do have left, knowing we westerns have already benefited so much from the destruction thus far, it’s hard to justify our right to live any better than we already have. Thanks for your comments. Daniel

  • @ BC Nurse,

    I can’t thank you enough for the kind words. I honestly don’t know how to answer the most basic question of who I am anymore. I honestly haven’t a clue. I’m a radical. I’m a carpenter. I am a fellow Cascadian.

    After over a decade of collective folly in the face of collapse, two years back, I sold my house, my business and all my possession. I had a three story Estate Sale. Sold my library. Sold everything but my tools. Now, my partner and I are living a quasi mobile existence, we have been networking with farmers for years in preparation for collapse. I have built an inner city compound in the backyard of a good friend of mine, that we once planned on being a sort of way-station along the dark road ahead. Though I’ve been preoccupied with climate science since 89 after reading McKibben, I am not a scientist. Starting in college in the mid eighties, I was your poster-child of an Anarchist Monkey Wrenching “eco-warrior”, who was eager the see the whole destructive machine come to a grinding halt, while there still remained at least some old growth. We were fools, filled with silly dreams of revolution and Eco-topia. I suppose this long track record of sorrow somehow prepared me for this day, if that’s at all possible. But things started to change for me about three years ago, with the emergence of the latest methane feedbacks.

    But I have been fortunate in my life that I’ve been able to commit so much time to study. My whole perspective still put direct climate impacts as being several decades away. I have always known it would be drought that gets us in the end, but when Guy came out with “We’re done”, he was only publicly stating what many of us had already started to accept ourselves. We have known we will not survive climate change for a very long time. Like so many others, our primarily focused had been local food security, similar to the whole relocalization movement, based on energy scarcity and permanent economic decline. But this international movement never included non-linear rates of change.

    Non-linear rates of change are a testament to the resolve of truth seeking like nothing ever before. I, like you, often struggle with having so much to say, yet know there is so little to be said. I apologize for not being able to regularity comment as much as I would like, my time is simply limited. Thanks again for your gracious comments. It does help knowing that there are others out there in the world who share our perplexity of how best to spend what time we have left. And I very much get a charge from your courage to step up, and let it all go. Please stay as honest and open as you have been so far, it matters. I hope we can all help support each other in what lessons we learn along the way, as we all struggle to reconcile such impossible knowledge. Take care, Daniel.

  • Dairy Man Dave – you suggest replacing Food Chain with Food Cycle. I respectfully point out that it is your thinking and not the terminology that is in need of a makeover. Food Chain is an ingenious term that covers situations so complex we can’t begin to tease out all the species involved. And we don’t need to. Just compare Food Chain and Food Cycle in their most basic forms:

    If a food system is a closed loop, with each species both a fuel and a consumer, Food Chain works to describe it. As you say, this is a food cycle; it is also a food chain that loops.

    If the system appears linear, for example, a previously looped system might be broken due to dysfunction and stress, or a system appears relatively functional but isolated: Food Chain continues to identify the system; while food cycle does not work anymore.

    Both “chain” and “cycle” were certainly available common words when the term was coined. In addition, the food chain most certainly includes the decomposers. At the micro level, meaning the level where you or I define our environment with observable connections, chain describes reality, while cycle is only wishful thinking.

    Now imagine the whole world: the one beyond our perception, where we can only suggest the probability of relationships but never truly observe them. The one where the food system is no longer a series of linear connections forming a single closed loop, but a vast, unknowable fabric of infinite food relationships, or links. When we zoom in, we see some links connected in sequence, making what appears to be a simple chain. In other frames, the links might be knotted and tangled or spliced together with more than two partners (as in chain mail.)

    Food cycle describes a hopeful situation where we live in harmony as both consumers and as fuel for other species. Despite your best intentions, this is an anthropocentric perspective.

  • WWF statement on COP 18

    Basically, a total waste of everyone’s time. USA and Canada being chiefly responsible for that.