From the Bottom Up and the Inside Out

by Sherry Ackerman

I don’t think too many people are going to argue with the claim that the world is in a mess. It’s definitely a time when we need to re-vision our direction and make some course changes … if there is even time for that. The questions loom large. Where will these changes originate? And, how will they be implemented?

There are a lot of “plans” that originate from the top-down and the outside-in. That is, they are formulated by some umbrella governmental agency and work on the premise that the necessary changes will simply be legislated. This is fascism, any way you look at it. It’s the Nanny State. Such approaches assume that people are incapable of self-correcting, through education and consciousness-raising, and purport that government, or some authoritative agency, needs to mandate policy. These plans get churned out by Think Tanks and other talking heads and have insufficient understanding of most of the issues at the grass-roots level.

The solutions, to have longevity, are going to have to come from the bottom-up and the inside-out. That means that local communities are going to have to create their own networking solutions to deal with current problems. It also means that the motivation for the accompanying behavioral changes is going to have to be intrinsic — rather than extrinsically legislated.

Relocalization efforts mean working together, as a community, to find solutions to tough problems—economic, environmental, energy and resource needs. It means becoming sufficiently empowered to believe that local areas can do this without being mandated. We can begin to find solutions without the intervention of a boilerplate, large-scale master “plan.” This means, though, changing the way that we have thought for many years. Slowly, incrementally over the past few decades, we have slipped into thinking that “the government” will fix all of the problems — we have forgotten that we can do something about them ourselves.

I am, admittedly, a Vermonter. This type of thinking is indigenous to Vermont. When I first moved to California, I was shocked to discover that people call County and State agencies to report problems with their neighbors. Where I came from, if you had a problem with your neighbor, you walked over there and sat down to talk about it over a cup of coffee. That’s where community begins — shouldering the responsibility for trying to work things out among ourselves.

It also begins on the “inside” — with a heartfelt intention to try to build a local community where we learn to trust one another enough to enter into mutual searches for solutions to hard issues. It’s caring. It’s believing that, at the core, we all want many of the same things.

Doing it any other way opens the door to totalitarianism. It gives away our power. It asks The Man to change our diapers and give us a cup of warm milk.

This is about growing up. It’s about remembering that this is the stuff this country was founded on and it’s probably about time that we got back to thinking that way.

________________

Sherry Ackerman, Ph.D., author of The Good Life: How to Live a Sustainable and Fulfilling Lifestyle, is a socially engaged philosopher who believes in doing “philosophy on the streets”. For more information, visit her website at www.sherryackerman.com.

Comments 169

  • Guy should have warned you Sherry. “Solutions” are taboo on NBL.

  • I agree with Mike, this won’t get much positive feedback.

    This is like saying that the regular folks on the Titanic should have all gotten together and figured out a way to “fix” the sinking boat and, as the bow started slipping below the water, maybe they should have made plans for an orderly jumping over the side into their certain deaths so the whole boat didn’t go into complete chaos at the end.

    Ridiculous.

    What you saw in the last minutes of the Titanic is actually a much better scene than you will see as humans face their last minutes on Earth! Wild roaming hoards of cannibals and racially charged marauding looters will lay waste to everything in their paths including the inconsolable former patrons of TPTB who lay strewn across the wide path of destruction made only worse by spewing radiation and far-reaching radioactive fallout.

    However, don’t get me wrong, there IS a solution: 90% of Earth’s population needs to die quickly, we need to dismantle the toxic infrastructure of industrial civilization and we need the survivors to pledge to live in harmony with Nature (plant no crops, build no cities).

    But, it’s pretty much already too late for any hope of that! So, here we are again sharpening our blades for the coming zombie apocalypse…

    The train is going over the cliff, we cannot stop it and you can’t get off. You can resist – make life difficult for TPTB. You can take your seat, shut up, and wait for the crash. You can be a good samaritan and comfort others on the train. Or, you can party like it’s the End of the World.

  • According to a superbly dour litany in the UK Guardian, a global pandemic will almost certainly push some of the passengers off the train before it goes over the cliff. As usual, the author feels compelled to ameliorate his warnings with wholly unjustifiable optimism. His timeframe is unrealistic and he makes the preposterous conjecture that more “fortunate” countries like (of course) his and ours and Western Europe will become militarized oases, fortified against climate refugees. Hasn’t he noticed the flooding? What about the wildfires?

    Other than such glaring omissions, the following passage is a pretty reasonable antidote to the unwarranted assumption in both essays – that humans are capable of changing their behavior. They’re not – mainly because they live, for the most part, in a magic kingdom of make believe.

    “It is now very likely that we are looking at a future global average rise of 4C – and we can’t rule out a rise of 6C. This will be absolutely catastrophic. It will lead to runaway climate change, capable of tipping the planet into an entirely different state, rapidly. Earth will become a hellhole.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jun/30/population-growth-wipe-out-life-earth

  • It would be nice if our “elected leaders” listened to us and did what we asked, but now they only pay attention to the mega-wealthy and corporations (via lobbyists). These “folks” (care of Citizens United)
    don’t want anything interrupting their gravy train. So here we are.

  • U.S. ‘culture’ (cough) has been infantilized still WWII when the official National Security Act was put into play against the population.

    There is no broad concenus about what the ‘right of passage’ should even look like that defines ‘adults’ from adolesences. The U.S. has adultolesences or sub- adults in such sweeping breath taking numbers, the real grown ups need arm bands and special ‘I’m a Real Adult’ ID cards.

    The United Stasi of America likes it that way.

    A dumbed down educational system combined with fifty percent divorce rates and a third of the populus on ‘mood enhancing’ auto-optimistic and/or mind numbing drugs and community building is about as likely as flying monkeys shooting out of your butt.

    I’ve lived in New England on an off over the years and in the northern part especially, most folks keep to themselves, very self reliant to a fault. Good fences make good neighbors is not about fences, but about walking your property line once a year and mending the stone wall agreeablly with your neighbor on the opposite side of the stone wall. A lot of information is exchanged in the process.

    Most people don’t even know their neighbors and ‘mending a fence’ would most likely result in an argument over boundaries. I worked summer’s as a surveyor in school and the law suits and money spend on property line disputes would astound even the most hardened cynic of human nature. Pettiness to the extreme.

    As much as I’ve always been a fan of the Bottoms Up approach, I’ve truly lost faith in the occurrence of just plain old common sense in the vast majority of Consumers. They are not citizens, they are just consumers and they discount the future so drastically, they will not have one when they get there.

    The future has been mined of any value it ever had and the contents spend today on instant gratification.

    I’ve seen the Future Baby, it is Murder.

  • 1st post

    @ Sherry:

    You wrote: “This is about growing up. It’s about remembering that this is the stuff this country was founded on and it’s probably about time that we got back to thinking that way.”

    There’s no going back. If you think about what the path to 4C and possibly 6C looks like, you realize that there is no hope for us. Not to mention that our power is long gone and totalitarianism is already reality today. Our cages are nicer than most, but that will soon change.

    It’s going to be horror upon horror like nothing we can imagine. Forget community, disconnect yourself from everything and everyone. Be the void.

  • 07/02/2013
    Florida Keys

    “We clearly have the most to lose. If sea-level rise is not curtailed by immediate reductions in greenhouse gases, the Florida Keys may eventually become unlivable,” according to a March draft of the county’s plans. “Planning decisions should take into consideration medium to extreme sea level rise predictions.”

    You think?

  • Species Change

    We’re the most complex creatures we know,
    But life doesn’t stay status quo:
    Nothing’s constant but change,
    And as things rearrange,
    Different species, they come, and then go.

  • Most people haven’t studied our biology or they wouldn’t offer up “solutions” like this. When faced with resource scarcity or climate change we evolved to either go to war or disperse to more favorable locations. That is how humans have colonized the entire planet. Today with the planet full we have no other option but to stand and fight. People never cooperate to mitigate a potential collapse. Instead they compete to gain advantage for their own genes and that exacerbates the problem.

    Its the way the world works unfortunately for us.

  • The premise is: Industrial Civilization is unsustainable.

    The premise is: Population overshoot.

    The premise is: Environmental collapse.

    The premise is: NTE.

    Now, the discussion can move on to the updates on crazy weather happenings, admissions/denials by academicians & scientist, instances of human suffering due to climate change, movements by TPTB, and resistance activities.

  • I had to walk my dog at 5 a.m. this morning, 20 minutes before sun-up. I have an 8-month-old, 60 lb. labra-doodle, Gomez, who needs a 3 miles walk in the morning to keep him from going stir crazy. I’ve had to keep moving the walk earlier to beat the heat. The heat dipped to 92 so it was tolerable. When I saw the first rays of the sun poking through the brush I hastened my pace. It’s going to be a scorcher today.

    I grew up in Las Vegas in the early 60’s so you’d think I’d be used to it by now. When I was a kid I worked with my father installing aluminum awnings. Every day was a race to get the awning in the air before the sun got to a 75 degree angle. When the panels were up we could mostly work in the shade. The last job was caulking the awning against the structure. It had to be done correctly or it’d be a service call after a leak; you had to stand or sit on the roof (usually asphalt or on a trailer reflective aluminum). During those years I began to faint in the heat and had unstoppable nose-bleeds. It’s called sunstroke and if it doesn’t kill you it certainly doesn’t make you stronger. I’m allergic to the sun now and I’m living in a desert. I’m not suicidal I simply love the sun and I don’t believe in my own death. I somehow imagine that it will happen in some long far-off time.

    I’m sure James Gandolfino wasn’t thinking about his death when he was having dinner (no doubt the culprit) – his last. He was living his life and the end was mercifully quick. In the same way the world is full of 7+ billion people living their lives in whatever events consume them completely divorced from any notion that what they’re doing is contributing to the end of life on earth. If we all suddenly came to that illumination would anyone change? (heads shake ominously)

    @Pat – parties bore me so I won’t party like it’s the end of the world but I’ve always been a fan of pointless, futile gestures so I’ve staked out a location to dig my “picket-pin” in. “Vive la Resistance!”

  • Here’s some good news (with a twist):

    By Stefan Nicola & Julie Johnsson, Bloomberg

    June 17, 2013

    “Nuclear utilities thrust into the spotlight after the Fukushima meltdowns have ordered 20 reactors shut, the most in a three-year span since Chernobyl’s aftermath, saddling the industry with a possible $26 billion in costs.

    EON SE and RWE AG (RWE) are leading the biggest decommissioning project by European utilities ever, an effort to tear down 12 reactors in Germany over two decades. Edison International (EIX) said June 7 it will never restart its idled two-unit San Onofre Generating Station outside Los Angeles, bringing the number of U.S. reactors permanently closed in a year to a record four.

    AND THE TWIST:

    So, nuclear decommissioning is going to cost a lot of money, is it? Big surprise to those who thought nuclear-generated electricity was going to be “too cheap to meter.” Far from starting a renaissance, nuclear power is already turning into a catastrophic bust, and the party is just getting started. Because no one will have enough money to properly manage reactors and their deadly wastes, this junk will just accumulate and be left largely unattended. It’ll be an unmitigated environmental and ecological disaster. Chernobyl and Fukushima are nothing compared to what’s coming…

  • 2nd and last post today:

    The getures are only futile in that they have no impact on getting the solution implemented. They are not futile in that they do make some people feel better and feeling better is what life is all about.

    If a little is good, then a lot is better.

    If I can’t feel better, then I prefer to feel nothing.

  • Proposing solutions is okay as long as it doesn’t advocate “growth.” After all, perhaps a huge negative feedback will kick in and save us from climate change. Yeah, right.

  • Looks like Mike S. was correct, Sherry.

    However, it’s not that solutions are in and of themselves unwelcome, it’s just that the data is so far gone and over the edge approaching the Event Horizon, that any solution is as close to impossible as inhaling a piano (and exhaling it in perfect working order).

    There are three legs to the coming keyholing or extinction of humanity:

    1) Environmental/ecological
    2) Economic
    3) Sociopolitical

    At NBL the focus is usually on 1) but 2) and 3) are actually the more immediate concerns, though not by much now that the Event Horizon is in sight, squishing it all together chronologically.

    Even now, at this absurdly late date, 99.5% (or HIGHER) of the discgraceful, infantilized and frankly one can’t think of enough vile epithets most deserved, American People can’t even see it when, after the Snowden revelations, where things are going regarding 2) and 3) have been lighted up like a giant flashing neon arrow.

    Thanks to the rapidly impending 1) overarching all, it is flashing towards a vile totalitarianism that will make the Nazis look like kindergarten hall monitors when it’s all through.

    And why? Why, the same as it always is: So that the top 0.01% sociopathic aristocracy can surf the blood-frothed wave of humanity into the beach with their erect penises (and engorged clitorii) pointing the way towards future’s end.

    Why do the bottom 99.9% allow it to happen? A complex answer, but in short because wealthy sociopaths command respect and generate legitimacy. Aided by their priesthood, from the religious to the marketing monsters of today, their bankers, enetertainers and the secular priesthood of psychologists, they are literally unstoppable.

    The non-sociopaths line up by the thousands, millions, billions, to do their bidding, whether it be the tip of the spear pulling the triggers and filling the ovens with dead, to those Good Germans in the American Homeland Green Zones with their hands over their ears and eyes chanting, “This isn’t happening because it cannot be happening. It cannot be happeneing becase it has not yet happened to me and mine.”

    Meanwhile the Sacrifice Zones broil in misery happily accepted, so long as there is a TV connection and a fast food outlet.

    Oversimplified? Perhaps, but not by much. The Reptile Brain is like that. Simple, brute forces, either physical or psychological, suffices to drive the sheep willingly, unwittingly, obediently into the chute at the slaughterhouse.

    The sheep will figure it out, will overcome their Triad of Infantilization: normalcy bias, discount rate, and social inhibition, approximately one second before the massive electric shock to the brain renders them ready to be prepared for the tables of their betters.

    But not before they help their betters eliminate any sheep foolish enough to bleat that something’s going on beyond the ever narrowing confines of Conventional Wisdom and Permissible Public Speech, while still in the feedlot.

    That’s what they do, it’s what they always have done and always will do. Non-sociopaths live to do the bidding of sociopaths in authority.

    With the tiniest few exceptions, this has always been the case. Nazi Germany proved it. Corpzi America is in the process of proving that the Nazi methods still work just as well as they always did, as has almost every nation and group that ever existed for at least 10,000 years, probably 100,000 or more.

    So, probably years, maybe even decades before the environmental part of collapse/NTE begins, the Multinational TPTB have already looted neasrly everything worth looting and turned Corpzi America and probably all the world into one big Concentration Camp, Arbeit macht Frei and All Surveillance All the Time.

    But, even after Snowden, try mentioning any tiny bit of that to your average sheep, nice though they may be individually, and you will find the only true sin is straying beyond the ever-narrowing confines of Permissible Speech.

    The Global Prison is already in place, it’s just for now, it sits behind pathetically transparent scraps of window-dressing, which, pathetic as they are, are still sufficient enough to numb the minds of infantilized sheep, and even those who aren’t infantilized as much as the rest.

    Not for much longer, I’d guess. Now that the prison is fully built and wholly accepted, it won’t be a whole lot longer before 9/11 #2 (brought to us by the same folks who brought us the first 9/11 – HINT: It’s not the patsies!) and World War III initiate the big and most welcome dieoff.

    Most welcome to all the planets and possible sentient life who would be destroyed if this benighted species had managed to go extra-solar and given other worlds a Bad Case of Humans.

    Having said all that, Sherry, I admire your perseverance and willingness to contend against overwhelming odds. It’s possible, however infintessimally so, that classical totalitarianism, keyholing and/or extinction won’t happen.

    If that is the case, humanity will owe people like you a debt.

    Other planets that would have been spared who would eventually catch a Bad Case of Humans, ahem, not so much.

  • Friction in Islam getting worse:

    Over the past few years, the religion’s Sunni majority and the Shi’ite minority have clashed in Iraq, Lebanon, and Bahrain. Two weeks ago in Egypt hundreds of Sunnis fired up by hard-line preachers lynched a group of four Shi’ites, including a religious leader, before dragging their bodies through the streets. In Syria, what began as an uprising against the rule of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a sectarian war, sucking in players from across the Middle East, whose borders were arbitrarily drawn by British and French colonial officials a century ago.

    I especially like the “dragging their bodies through the streets.”

    I laugh at the soccer moms and metro-sexual men at the mall who act like the world is this pristine, civil place. They will be shocked when reality soon visits their doorstep.

    The fences will not be enough.

  • Vermont sounds nice! Where I come from the the agrieved neighbor waits until his pal is passed out drunk than poisons his pack of pitbulls with coyote bait. When pal comes to, he uses what windows remain in his buddy’s trailer for target practice. At this juncture, an incendiary device of some crude design is applied to the decrepit shack of neighbor number one. Finally, maybe, the staters show up and both guys or gals, as it maybe, get hauled off to county. After a bloody brawl, with or without pointy objects, bunk assignments are determined and peace reigns supreme. Until both get early release cause there ain’t enuf beds for all the other neighbors. Please forgive my spellin.

  • Scientists have seen evidence for a colossal flood under Antarctica that drained six billion tonnes of water, quite possibly straight to the ocean. The cause is thought to be a deeply buried lake that suddenly over-topped. …At present, Antarctica is losing mass at a rate of between 50-100 billion tonnes a year, helping to raise global sea level. This study suggests that a not insignificant fraction of this mass loss could be due to flood events like that seen at Cook SLG. “This one lake on its own represents 5-10% of [Antarctica’s] annual mass imbalance,” said Leeds co-author Prof Andy Shepherd. “If there are nearly 400 of these sub-glacial lakes then there’s a chance a handful of them are draining each year, and that needs to be considered,” he told BBC News. –
    Full story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23144184

  • That’s right, make fun of the Californians fenced in and isolated.

    Bottom Line: There is no solution to the malaise of industrial civilization.

    Look, even if industrial civilization had not required the burning of fossil fuels, we would still have all kinds of problems and we would still probably be facing a mass die-off due to population overshoot or some awful protracted war based on either scarce resources of one kind or another OR religious differences.

    I’m sorry but “Sherry Ackerman, Ph.D., author of The Good Life: How to Live a Sustainable and Fulfilling Lifestyle” just doesn’t seem logical. I wonder how she is going to feel about her fulfilling lifestyle when the barbarians are at her door with machetes…

    A friend of mine’s older brother had a Ph.D. and I could beat him at chess without hardly trying… He was real smart at One Thing but didn’t know jack about anything else – and he acted like he was gifted with some super-human intelligence… His kind will be ill-equipped to face what is coming…

    sorry, that’s just how I feel about it

  • The intellectuals, the artists, the musicians, the Speech Communications majors, Social Sciences majors along with the English Literature majors, the teachers, professors, and administrators, the office workers, the big fat sit on your butt govt employees, the lawyers, accountants, and software consultants…

    Just picture Mike Tyson in his prime and you fighting over a half-buried can-o-corn.

  • Well, Sherry hardly served as a light snack for the pack of ravenous doomers! But actually I was pleased to see that her feel good message was treated with mostly polite disbelief. No need to practice being mean before the much anticipated barbarism commences in earnest. Some of the Doomsday Preppers I see on TV are working up quite a sweat with karate, assault rifle practice, and creating various ingenious mantraps. To me some of their preparations are more like being in the hell of paranoia and inner violence than a mock preparation. Talk about a self fulfilling prophesy!

  • The money-lenders have the bulk of the populace of western nations trapped in debt-slavery;

    Food corporations have the bulk of the populace of western nations trapped in food-slavery.

    Schools, academies, colleges and universities have students trapped in paradigm-slavery.

    Media corporations have the bulk of the populace trapped in adolescence-slavery.

    Politicians have the bulk of the populace trapped in hope-slavery.

    Oil companies have the populace trapped in vehicle-slavery.

    I have been witnessed the march to the cliff face for 40 years, doing what I could over that time to question the insanity of it all. And I have witnessed the pace of the march to the cliff face accelerate over the past decade.

    There are now ‘red queens’ everywhere I look, gobbling up ever more resources to maintain the status quo.

    Falling off Hubbert’s Peak has been delayed by fracking, Athabasca tar sands, and deep-water drilling etc. And there are still jungles to be cut down to make way for palm oil, soya bean, cane and beet plantations.

    The machine is not ready to stop, and will continue to ravage the planet to feed itself. Those who profit from the machine are not ready to stop; indeed, they want the machine to go faster. And the bulk of the people are oblivious to the existence of the machine.

    I stopped believing in miracles quite a while ago. They’ll keep doing it till they can’t.

  • Dr. Ackerman, let’s hope that Dr. McPherson warned you about the rowdy crowd that he hosts at NBL. Offering caffeine to crack addicts ain’t gonna cut it.

    As has been noted before at NBL, society is structured and sustained by hierarchical vertical transactions enforced by the threat of initiation of coercive violence; community coheres through horizontal interactions and transactions based on voluntarism and mutualism. Society attempts to control and co-opt community by monitoring, prescribing and proscribing horizontal interactions and transactions. Building community is dismantling society, but community will not acknowledge this to avoid posing as a threat to society, and society will not acknowledge this to avoid unmasking as a violently coercive enforcer.

    But once the gun is seen it cannot be unseen, even when cloaked.

    New collapse pet care & oriental cuisine cook book: 101 ways to walk your dog.

  • JamesS, as a librarian, I don’t appreciate the insinuation that the “life of the mind” is of no value. Indeed, if Americans had learned from the likes of C.S. Lewis or Charles Dickens or Socrates, we wouldn’t be IN this mess!

    Indeed, such “folks” may be fodder for barbarians, but I view that as a tragedy, not as something to look forward to or desire.

    Maybe that’s just my evil, annoying, bleeding heart, contrarian librarian side talking. Hey, that rhymes! 🙂

  • How very romantic!
    If only I could believe a word of it.

  • @ mike k

    Spot on, sir. As one who at least strayed towards the bounds of anger in my reply, I still agree with you.

    I hope not meanness towards Sherry, as I honestly do envy her positive qualities and to this day daily hope – in the face of onrushing exponentially confirmatory evidence – that both collapse and NTE won’t happen as the data seems to point, now with 95%+ reliability.

    However, for some of us, there’s a lot of anger still working it’s way through. Anger at what might have been for humanity and the world. Anger at being deceived with what turned out to be baldfaced Corpzi Lies. Anger at now living in a nation (for we American Subjects of Empire) as saturated with lies and corruption and fraud and thievery institutionalized from top to bottom after we spent decades mocking the Soviets for doing what we are happily doing now.

    Anger at a people, now base subjects, who prided ourselves as the freest in the world and the carriers of the torch of said freedom, which now turned out to be the vilest advertsing and empty PR slogan, used by the vilest of people for the vilest of purposes: causing future untold suffering of billions for instant gratification and immediate profit.

    That’s a lot of anger, and not everyone is dealing with it serenely.

    =========================

    So I do apologize to you, Sherry. Thanks again for continuing to fight the good fight and please don’t take what I said personally. There’s a lot of blame to go around to a whole lot of people.

    A bit contradictory? Yes. Such is the duality of humankind.

  • @ Rob

    Be the void.

    Yeah ! Woohoo

    @ Troglodyte

    Where I come from…

    Yup. I spent a good few years surviving in that neighbourhood and lived to tell the tales. Quite a few I knew did not survive. Some here have no idea.

    @ Librarian

    Dickens, yes, Socrates, yes, but C.S Lewis ?? Gimme a break…. please. Not worth a read amongst so much competition. IMHO.

    Have little, be much.

    http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/lorraine-perlman-having-little-being-much-a-chronicle-of-fredy-perlman-s-fifty-years

    Two anarchists filling bottles with petrol to make Molotov Cocktails.
    First says to second : “Who are we going to throw these at ? ”
    Second says to first : “What are you, a fucking intellectual ? “

  • pat says: The train is going over the cliff, we cannot stop it and you can’t get off. You can resist – make life difficult for TPTB. You can take your seat, shut up, and wait for the crash. You can be a good samaritan and comfort others on the train. Or, you can party like it’s the End of the World.

    Doomer Train

    We’re all aboard; let me explain:
    The world’s going straight down the drain;
    The doomer domain
    Might not make you insane,
    But you cannot get off of its train.

    There’s no way that you can detain
    What’s occurring, that’s become plain;
    You can watch the terrain
    Through the window pane,
    But you’re still stuck right here on the train.

    If you like, you’re free to complain
    (Up to you—you may also abstain):
    You can say words profane
    And try raising Cain,
    But you’re not getting off of this train.

    Seek something to entertain,
    Relax from a lifetime of strain,
    Guzzle wine and champagne,
    Party down, dull the pain,
    But here you remain, on this train.

    Or use your time being humane,
    And help other people maintain;
    Sympathize and sustain,
    But recall the refrain:
    You still can’t get off of the train.

    Make one final use of your brain,
    Tripping down memory lane,
    But don’t hope in vain
    For some legerdemain—
    You’re not getting off of this train.

  • A very brief aberration in the course of human history which is coming to its predicted end:

  • @ Maecenas — Thanks for your comments. Maybe if we practice being a little nicer to each other it will ease the suffering to come. I share the anger you speak of, but I am trying to replace it with sadness and compassion for all of us. After all I have my own complicity in what is unfolding. We brought this all on ourselves, but we did so due to our understandable lack of maturity and wisdom. Who could have known that planting a couple of vegetables would lead to such horrific consequences? It must have seemed a really neat idea at the time…

  • @ BenjaminTheDonkey Says:
    July 2nd, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Poignantly brilliant, sir! 😀 Instilled a bit of reverie for this little ditty! “Old Charlie stole the handle,” indeed.

  • I’m trying to step carefully here. Sorting through the comments. Thinking about the article–if you were going to embark on a solution, might Sherry’s plan be worth discussing?

    But so much purity and goodness? I doubt it. While we have a minute or two for consideration (unlike others elsewhere), we seem to be largely stuck with Pat’s choices. Having lived in some of the most dangerous places on the planet, I know this no time for frivolity. I see this moment as when we think how to extend our time while not foreclosing on means toward a graceful exit..

    The length of our moment shortened exponentially with the Snowden revelations. Was this a setup to prepare us for the next big thing? If our slavers can get this horror past the tranquillized sheep, then it’s time to bring on MORE?

    NBL has peppered me sufficiently with stinging darts, that I try to watch my step. Nevertheless, I’ve got to be ready for some more to be thrown, for how else will I learn?

    I would not advocate community purity and light when instead I might better to be watching where I walk. I need all the help I can get. I SURE need such benefits from government as Social Security and keeping the “roadways” open for some pretense at normal functioning. Imagine if I had to deal with bandits on the way into town. And I hope that the fear of arousing the over-sixty’s will prompt delay on the part of our slavers.

    An African-Diaspora proverb warns us not to curse alligator’s long mouth–when he’s transporting us across the river–until we get off on the other side. So we have to ride this normality-pretense for as long as feasible and practical. Apparently, it is time to do little things that do minimal harm. But not time to hope for a major change to the script. With our copy of the script, we might still be able to make copious notes in the margins and even doodle over the print. But we must work with the script of industrial civilization in the end stage. That is dirty, impure stuff. Community solidarity is good, but God bless the child that has his own. Cool it, dude, I now say to myself. You’ve ben running around trying to be the savior. Damn! You’re lucky you got this far! Stop it, dude, stop it now!

    But it is as pointless to agitate against “healthy” projects like Sherry’s as to imagine they make change other than in the margins. The good efforts are helpful as far as they go. Anything to make life a little easier that doesn’t depart from the script. The script includes all kinds of wide-eyed projects for a “solution” too. Just keep going along with the normalcy script, including modestly supporting whatever “foolish” idealists want to do (OWS, etc,). Under no circumstances must we work against them.

    So here it comes. Aren’t the drumbeats of futility at odds with the odd possibility for a solution? Isn’t it possible for our oppressors to miscalculate? Couldn’t nature POSSIBLY step in and help (through some unforeseen cataclysmic event)?

    It looks to me that Guy is practicing a kind of cool detachment, calling it as he sees it without limiting discussion. If I’m correct about this, I’d say that it’s an attitude worth emulating.

  • @ Colin: Thanks very much! Actually, my first thought was “Train kept a-rollin’, all night long;” then came my second or third attempt at “People Get Ready” (Vanilla Fudge). In the end, it got based on the line “You ain’t using this car tonight,” at 0:40 and 1:07:
    http://myspace.com/rodneydangerfieldmusic/music/song/get-a-horse-lost-65627693

  • So in light of recent news about storing all electrons in the utah desert… how sustainable is that?

    If you look far enough into the past (when) do you start seeing the future?

    Do you think the machine sees into the future?

  • BenDonk: You’re very much welcome! Personally…

    I have a modicum of skill
    With words, maths and time,
    Yet no matter how I chill
    I still got no rhyme.

    🙂

  • Brace for impact.

    Watching things continue to fall apart is the death of one thousand cuts. And I think instead of being on the runaway train, what we have is a civilization cleverly built on the train tracks.

    On an entirely different subject, if I see another article about this or that animal/plant/organism described as “the canary in the coal mine,” I will personally start shooting science editors. The planet is the coal mine and all of life is the damn canary. Can this cliche be rendered extinct soon, please?

  • Sherry Ackerman said:

    I don’t think too many people are going to argue with the claim that the world is in a mess. It’s definitely a time when we need to re-vision our direction and make some course changes … if there is even time for that. The questions loom large. Where will these changes originate? And, how will they be implemented?

    This is about growing up. It’s about remembering that this is the stuff this country was founded on and it’s probably about time that we got back to thinking that way.

    ———————————————————————–

    You don’t have worry about legislation, or government Nanny States making plans for you. The capitalist “community” has already made the plans both for you and the governments that they own. This is “the stuff this country was founded on” so don’t worry, we never stopped “thinking that way.” The Virginia Company formed in 1606 to found Jamestown, it sold stock, its purpose was to make money for the shareholders.

    Where will these changes originate? And, how will they be implemented? Here ya go…

    https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/about-bp/statistical-review-of-world-energy-2013/energy-outlook-2030-.html

  • We think of this time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere as when things will be booming, if they are ever going to boom.

    On the other hand, Portugal has sunk a little deeper into the tar pit, triggering a degree of bond market panic.

    Guardian:

    The political crisis appears to be worsening by the hour. According to Reuters, local media in Portugal say that more ministers are considering resigning….

    * PORTUGUESE LOCAL MEDIA SAYS MORE GOVERNMENT MINISTERS READY TO RESIGN

    8.22am BST

    Portuguese stock market hit

    Shares are sliding on the Portuguese stock market in early trading, sending the PSI 20 index of leading stocks tumbling by almost 6%.

    The sell-off is lead by the banks, which are suffering double-digit falls.

  • The futility of trying to reign-in the unaccountable spooks:

    https://www.thenation.com/blog/175042/how-powerful-derail-accountability-case-intelligence-reform-part-i%20#axzz2Xv41A6lC

    Rick Perlstein

    How the Powerful Derail Accountability: The Case of Intelligence Reform (Part I)

    then you can go on to Part II (linked below so I don’t get moderated, because it’s the same post, so i’m not counting it as the second, even though it looks like it is, and in some sense it actually is, but I digress . . .)

  • https://www.thenation.com/blog/175082/how-powerful-derail-accountability-case-intelligence-reform-part-ii#axzz2Xv41A6lC

    How the Powerful Derail Accountability: The Case of Intelligence Reform (Part II)

    Yesterday [in Part I above] we learned how in 1975 the media, CIA apostate Philip Agee, the Church Committee in the Senate and the Pike Committee in the House revealed the American intelligence community to be a violent, thuggish and ineffectual embarrassment to the Constitution of the United States—and not very intelligent to boot. And what happened next, in 1976?

    Pretty much nothing. The establishment’s distraction campaigns proved too powerful.

    (read the rest)

  • https://www.thenation.com/blog/175082/how-powerful-derail-accountability-case-intelligence-reform-part-ii#axzz2Xv41A6lC

    Yesterday we learned how in 1975 the media, CIA apostate Philip Agee, the Church Committee in the Senate and the Pike Committee in the
    How the Powerful Derail Accountability: The Case of Intelligence Reform (Part II)

    Yesterday [in Part I, above] we learned how in 1975 the media, CIA apostate Philip Agee, the Church Committee in the Senate and the Pike Committee in the House revealed the American intelligence community to be a violent, thuggish and ineffectual embarrassment to the Constitution of the United States—and not very intelligent to boot. And what happened next, in 1976?

    Pretty much nothing. The establishment’s distraction campaigns proved too powerful.

    (read the rest)

  • On the subject of NTE I came across this paragraph in Lovelock’s “The revenge of Gaia”:
    “After forty years living with the concept of Gaia I thought I knew her,but I realise now that I underestimated the severity of her discipline. I knew that our self-regulating Earth had evolved from those species that left a better environment for their progeny and by the elimination of those who fouled their habitat,but I never realised just how destructive we were,or that we had so grievously damaged the Earth that Gaia now threatens us with the ultimate punishment of extinction.”
    From Chapter 9 Beyond the Terminus page 147 para3

    In light of the rapidly diminishing Summer Arctic Ice Cap and the extreme climate events now happening around the World Lovelock’s earlier pessimistic forecasts seem to be coming true.The insight of the reality of Gaia which to my mind should have given Lovelock a Nobel prize is so absent in our considerations probably because sadly we have rendered her impotent to regulate our climate. we have made the climate our own beast which may devour us.

  • Lets look at the history of towns in times of stress

    Salem took to burning witches = a likely future for any who are not religious as in times of hardship the unbelievers are thought to be at fault – god is angry that they have been kept alive and so to regain favor they must be sacrificed

    Per the Decameron during the plague parents deserted children etc. “One citizen avoided another, hardly any neighbour troubled about others, relatives never or hardly ever visited each other. Moreover, such terror was struck into the hearts of men and women by this calamity, that brother abandoned brother, and the uncle his nephew, and the sister her brother, and very often the wife her husband. What is even worse and nearly incredible is that fathers and mothers refused to see and tend their children, as if they had not been theirs.” (from Boccaccio, Giovanni, The Decameron, 1353)

    Also during the plague Jews were found to be at fault and even burned alive in their synagog in one case – so believing in god is not enough, it has to be the right god.

    The Pilgrims persecuted and ran off the Quakers. Even believing in the right god may not be enough, you also have to believe about god in the right way.

    Small towns lynched people = more common in the south but not unheard of in the rest of the country. per this link between Nebraska lynched 52 whites and 5 blacks 1882 and 1968 http://www.chesnuttarchive.org/classroom/lynchings_table_state.html

    In parts of the south the lynching was a town binding event – a party – pictures were even made into postcards and sent to friends, one iconic one shows a woman and her daughter smiling for the camera with the hung man and the crowd in the background.

    People in small (and large) towns in parts of the world sell their children into work or sex slavery. They do this not because they hate children, but to insure that some of their children survive to adulthood. They sell one to feed another.

    Jared Diamond makes the case that the root cause of the Rawandan massacre was too many people for the land to support. After the slaughter, the land could once again support the population.

    Even if a small town successfully works together to solve their problems in the coming times they will find one of their problems is defending themselves from all the others that haven’t. Will they have counseling sessions at their borders with invaders to convince them not to raid them?

    And what the hell will small towns, working together be able to do about the 100 plus nuclear plants in the US and the 439 worldwide that will melt down when the grid goes? Can they negotiate the climate not to exceed the temps that are impossible for plants and humans to live in?

    I used to say that the way down will look like the way up only faster. The inquisition will no doubt make a re appearance I thought. The problem with the nukes is that perhaps the way down will look nothing at all like the way up. Since more than one link in a post sends the post to Guy for moderation, I will not post the link for the nukes problem. Those who are new to the nukes problem can google “400 Chernobyls Matthew Stein” and “A future Space Weather catastrophe jeff masters”

    Also of note is the increase in wild fires, especially the one in AZ which killed 19 experienced and well equipped fire fighters. How would a small town manage to save themselves, especially once fossil fuels are increasing hard to come by.

    There is NOT a solution to every problem. No amount of working together can make humans be able to survive in every condition.

  • The only other topic I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention is that here in the east (U.S.), we’re getting so much rain (9 out of the last 10 days, but it’s still early yet today) that, as dairymandave mentioned above, crops are in jeopardy in NY, NJ, PA, DE, and MD from rain and further south from drought and heat. Watch for the coming spike in prices due to food shortages (again) this fall and the usual quality to be absent for the stuff that does make it to the shelves. This trend will continue and by possibly 2015 it will become acute.

    A day or so ago in Oregon 30 sheep dropped dead from the heat, so livestock isn’t enjoying global warming and its side effects either (and that’s just one incident – there are too many to even list of all the fish, wildlife, bees, bats, birds, butterflies, all the way to krill and plankton dying off rapidly and in ever-increasing numbers lately).

  • @ BtD: very nicely done! thank you.

    Yes, humans are horrible – burning people at the stake, unspeakable torture, genocide, extermination, enslavement, etc… Does there have to be a “Them” for there to be an “Us?”

    ‘Beware the beast man, for he is the
    devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates,
    he kills for sport, or lust or greed.
    Yes, he will murder his brother to possess
    his brother’s land. Let him not breed
    in great numbers, for he will make a desert
    of his home and yours. Shun him. Drive him
    back into his jungle lair: For he is the
    harbinger of death.’

  • As a farmer, I live by weather maps and forecasts, especially now that things are getting so difficult. Unisys is my favorite spot and this 10 day projection shows nothing changing, only getting worse. Seems that someone around here predicted this. Notice how the west US stays dry while the east stays wet.

    http://weather.unisys.com/gfs/gfs.php?inv=0&plot=pres&region=us&t=9p

  • @ dmd:

    Yes, the chemtrails and HAARP. TPTB are working hard.

    The question is “Why?”

  • How the Powerful Derail Accountability:

    No need for such harangues. It has been known since antiquity. As attributed variously to Ben Johnson or Francis Bacon, amongst others:

    “The law, sir, is like a net. Little fish slip through it. Great fish crash through it. And all the rest are hopelessly entangled in it.”

    Does there have to be a “Them” for there to be an “Us?”

    Occupied or not, the position is there every time there is a “we”.

    Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport, or lust or greed.

    Hubbout chimps?

  • Kathy Cs’ excellent synopsis of the human default reaction to stress and scarcity is why talk of so called “solutions” is becoming more and more delusional.

    The bottom line is that there are too many eaters on the blue marble, about 7.2 billion. There is no solution to this problem except a radical reduction in population. There are no “happy” “we will all work together in rural communities” answers to our problems. Small towns are notorious for collective insanity and violence. The planet is now one big small town and will likely descend into paroxysms of religious fanaticism and genocide when food shortages become the norm … a situation which is around the corner.

  • And yet, each of us is trying to avoid pain and suffering for ourselves, our dear ones, and the larger world…

    Let’s say that Kathy C’s eloquent description fits the main human trajectory. What about all the internal and external contradictions to said trajectory?

    In Egypt alone, there are the contradictions between the Moslem Brotherhood, the old Mubarak supporters, the military, and the people in the streets. It is likely that the military will now and always have the last word. Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. So if military might will always make right while trumping all other divisions, we need to be clear on that.

    If military might always wins–whether it’s supposedly in favor of oligarchs or the masses–we note that it only leads to extinction. In the web of the extinction process, military might functions like a dog chasing its tail. It keeps repeating the same mistake…

    Kathy C confirms that we can’t isolate ourselves. We have not been able to do so before with any long term success, and will be less likely to succeed today. Meanwhile shot-term community successes like Guy’s land trust or my local community need to be assessed as to whether they serve as worthy elements of resistance or not. Is there a way to soberly assess them while continuing, like Sisyphus, to push them up the hill?

    What does TPTB stand for? Being new to the site, I never heard of it before.

  • You sound like a tea-party proponent. What has happened to Vermont?

  • Kathy, just a minor correction:

    The accused witches in Salem weren’t burned. They were hanged.

    It was the EUROPEAN witches who were burned, not the American ones. They were sent to the gallows instead. And it was only about 14 or 16 of them, I forget the number.

    Still a tragedy, though.

  • There is a brand new article by Tim Garrett of the University of Utah. He’s been developing a formal framework for interpeting the operation of human civilization as a thermodynamic heat engine. He published the 9.7 mw/$ constant a couple of years ago, and this is his latest extension of the idea. It looks pretty remarkable at first glance.

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1306.3554

    Here is the abstract:

    This article derives prognostic expressions for the evolution of globally aggregated economic wealth, productivity, inflation, technological change, innovation and growth. The approach is to treat civilization as an open, non-equilibrium thermodynamic system that dissipates energy and diffuses matter in order to sustain existing circulations and to further its material growth. Appealing to a prior result that established a fixed relationship between a very general representation of global economic wealth and rates of global primary energy consumption, physically derived expressions for economic quantities follow. The analysis suggests that wealth can be expressed in terms of the length density of civilization’s networks and the availability of energy resources. Rates of return on wealth are accelerated by energy reserve discovery, improvements to human and infrastructure longevity, and a more common culture, or a lowering of the amount of energy required to diffuse raw materials into civilization’s bulk. According to a logistic equation, rates of return are slowed by past growth, and if rates of return approach zero, such “slowing down” makes civilization fragile with respect to externally imposed network decay. If past technological change has been especially rapid, then civilization is particularly vulnerable to newly unfavorable conditions that might force a switch into a mode of accelerating collapse.

    I’m more interested in using the thermodynamic perspective to examine the deterministic roots of human behavior – behavior that has led us ineluctably towards this extinction event since before our distant ancestors were prokaryotes. Tim’s work lays down more stepping stones on that path.

    This is why I think there are no real solutions. There never were, there was just new, yet still finite, space to expand into. We are now running out of territorial, resource and energetic spaces to expand into at the same moment that the entropic byproducts of our previous expansion are set to overwhelm us.

    So it goes…

  • Grant, the “canary in the coal mine” canard, while annoying, doesn’t rankle me as much as “natural disaster” is used to describe storms like Sandy, et al.

    But even that pales to “scientists are shocked” for my nomination for all time rage inducers used by the dumb shit media……calling them “mainstream” is a compliment.

    Artleads…..TPTB……the powers that be.

  • Librarian, I stand corrected from the Wiki entry “And now Nineteen persons having been hang’d, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were Members of some of the Churches of N. England, and more than half of them of a good Conversation in general, and not one clear’d; about Fifty having confest themselves to be Witches, of which not one Executed; above an Hundred and Fifty in Prison, and Two Hundred more acccused; the Special Commision of Oyer and Terminer comes to a period,…”

    The man who was pressed to death was Giles Cory, you can read the whole nasty business here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Corey
    But this pretty much sums it up As a result of his refusal to plead, on September 17, Sheriff George Corwin led Corey to a pit in the open field beside the jail and in accordance with the above process, before the Court and witnesses, stripped Giles of his clothing, laid him on the ground in the pit, and placed boards on his chest. Six men then lifted heavy stones, placing them one by one, on his stomach and chest. Giles Corey did not cry out, let alone make a plea.

    After two days, Giles was asked three times to plead innocent or guilty to witchcraft. Each time he replied, “More weight.” More and more rocks were piled on him, and the Sheriff from time to time would stand on the boulders staring down at Corey’s bulging eyes. Robert Calef, who was a witness along with other townsfolk, later said, “In the pressing, Giles Corey’s tongue was pressed out of his mouth; the Sheriff, with his cane, forced it in again.”[5]

    Three mouthfuls of bread and water were fed to the old man during his many hours of pain. Finally, Giles Corey cried out “More weight!” and died. Supposedly, just before his death, he cursed Sheriff Corwin and the entire town of Salem.[6]

    In the previous thread Gail wrote eloquently about NTE and said “…a few of countless examples of prominent figures and experts who peer into the abyss, shudder, and fall back on fiction to soothe their terror. It’s no wonder that ordinary citizens, even those who are well-educated, won’t pause to even take a peak.”

    While I do not aspire to ever be as good as BtD (Benjamin the Donkey)
    I offer this

    I backed from the snake when it hissed
    Now I back away from the abyss
    Nasty things bite
    And give me a fright
    So I’ll pretend they just don’t exist

    That’s about it – if I don’t look over the cliff, then it doesn’t exist.

  • With a nod to the Donkey –

    Mike was right and
    Sherry got canned
    But here’s a thing
    I don’t understand
    If NBL equals NTE
    And doom is as plain
    As the nose on your face
    How did she even
    Get space in this place?

  • Human beings are monsters.

    The tree grows tall in the forest, blocks the sun’s rays from reaching the ground beneath, and the fern dies a slow and miserable death. The tree feels no guilt, the fern feels no injustice. (or so I say for the purposes of this example)

    And, so, according to the second law of thermodynamics, this is as it should be, this is how it will be, as we progress to the inevitable heat equilibrium of the Universe.

    So, the consequences of breaking the moral code of Man is but an illusion of the heat from a stove – it serves only the purpose of the “moral code imposing man” to accelerate and enlarge his own impact on the progress of equilibrium at the expense of the impact of “those upon which the moral code is imposed.”

    The goal of each living thing is to be as impactful as one can on the progress of the Universe towards heat equilibrium. But, even more so, if living things can cooperate and therefore accelerate and enlarge their impact such that the result is greater than the sum of their individual efforts, then WooHoo!, we are really making a splash. And so, Man developed intelligence such that the species could cooperate, gather in groups, and make progress on a grander scale. This is as it should be, this is how it will be.

    Do not resist! Join in the acceleration of our collective efforts to consume the planet. Do not sit idly by either, for you are a drag upon our progress towards heat equilibrium.

  • @ Izzy:

    So true, so true.

    Maybe next we’ll get an article by Rush Limbaugh denying man-made climate change.

    @ pat:

    It seems TPTB are really our heroes and we should not only comply but aspire to advance within the ranks. And I have been lamenting my sins against the children in China’s sweatshops when truly the goal was to aspire to purchase as many shoes “made in China” as possible.

    I’ve been wrong all along, my dissonance was not due to my success in being a failure, but my failure at being a success.

  • I’m a bit confused with the negative comments about this essay. I read it as an indictment of the fascist “Nanny State” America has become, and a plea for re-localization. What’s the problem with either notion?

  • If we look at the red state/blue state map after elections, we see one picture. However, if the MSM would spend more time showing us the maps of the individual states, you would see a far different picture.

    Take a look at Pennsylvania:

    http://www.politico.com/2012-election/map/#/President/2012/PA

    Sure, 52% of the state went democrat, but it’s just the big cities of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Erie that carried the weight. I’m sure all the non-urban areas of Pennsylvania would love to have relocalization efforts be successful. The big urban centers are sucking the life out of America. The big urban populations are the NANNY in the nanny state – their laws are only fit for their huddled masses.

    The best thing that could happen would be to exterminate everyone that lives in a city with a population greater than 100,000 and level the land areas – of course, make sure you do so in such a way that nothing blows up or melts down!

    That’s my solution.

  • @Sherry Ackerman, Ph.D.

    Thank you for the article. I looked at your website, and I have to say, you are very fortunate to have been able to live a life so close to the land and nature!

    But front and center there is a promotional for your book, “The Good Life”, and though I don’t know who wrote it, I assume you support it since it is your website and book.
    My question is in regards to this: This is a portrait of a truly sustainable life–one that leaves no footprint behind!
    Do you really believe this is possible? A human life, any life, must leave a footprint, that is the nature of life. Only in not being born do we leave a cold trail. And in having children, no matter how sustainable the lifestyle, that footprint is magnified. So, my question is, what about ALL OF THE PEOPLE? Your solution regarding building communities from the ‘bottom-up, inside-out’, are valid, but when viewed through the lens of our reality of 7+ billion, they seem quaint, meant for the privileged few who live in regions that are rich in resources such as land, clean water, unpolluted air, somewhat predictable weather patterns. Where can we find such a place any more?
    Simply put, we have created our own prison, and for all the talk of TPTB, fascism, corporatism, etc…, there are simply too many people. We are large game that have outgrown our habitat, deforested and desertified and suffocated with cement our shared planet beyond any repair. We have manipulated that which we never fully understood, created false geo-political boundaries and caste-systems that are not ecologically sound, that have thrown everything into an imbalance that cannot be corrected, at least not how WE want it to be. Nothing remains static, but what a mess, what a sad, sad situation. There is no realistic solution that does not take into account the actual human population that continues it’s forward march.
    Even so, I think everyone should do what they can, no matter how small or inconsequential that thing may be. I have always done so with full knowledge that any effort I put forth will be undone or negated by those higher up on the ladder, and the nature of my own meager existence will displace maybe hundreds of those living below my own means. What a vicious cycle. Maybe the only way to make it stop is for us all to get off the ride…

  • @ pat

    The tree grows tall in the forest, blocks the sun’s rays from reaching the ground beneath, and the fern dies a slow and miserable death.

    This is a mistaken view.

    It arises from the artifice of language and reductionism of science that describes nature as discrete independent ‘things’. There are no discrete independent things on this planet.

    You yourself are a co-operative enterprise. Only one cell in ten of you, is human. The whole of life on Earth is a co-operative enterprise.

    Before that tree grew, there had to be soil, that means there had to be the micro-organisms that form soil. The whole tree-fern thing is a process. It’s not static. The fern dies and decays and feeds something else. The tree in turn dies and decays and feeds something else.

    If you look at bare ground, there are pioneer species that move in and prepare for a second wave that follow. Here where I live, a bramble and a hawthorn will provide protection for a seedling oak, so it does not get eaten by browsing animals. They have short lives, the oak can still be around after centuries, but it in turn provides habitat for hundreds, even thousands, of species, that would not have a home if it was not there.

    Humans look out at the natural world and see lots of individual items. It’s a ridiculous illusion that we overlay upon reality with our minds. There are no boundaries. From the bottom of the ocean to the stratosphere, everything effects everything else, and has been doing ever since this planet became cool enough for life to get started.

    It’s always been a co-operative effort. Biodiversity is essential, otherwise the biosphere collapses. Ninety percent of plants depend on fungi in the soil. People don’t see that. The plants depend on insects to fertilise their flowers and birds to distribute their seeds. A woodland is not a bunch of trees. It’s a dynamic network of relationships between many, many species.

  • More confirmation of what we already know.

    Independent UK:

    The past 10 years were the warmest since the start of modern measurements 160 years ago and it was also a decade of unprecedented extremes in the climate according to a report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

    Heatwaves in Europe and Russia, hurricane Katrina in the United States, tropical cyclones in South East Asia, droughts in the Amazon, Australia and East Africa and floods in Pakistan were all features of the last decade indicating a shift in the climate, the WMO said.

    Both the northern and southern hemispheres experienced the warmest temperatures for both land and sea, puncturing the myth that global warming has ended. At the same time, there was a rapid melting of Arctic sea ice and an acceleration in the loss of ice from the massive ice sheets of Greenland and the Antarctic.

    As a result of this widespread melting and the thermal expansion of sea water, global mean sea levels rose about 3 millimetres (mm) per year, about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6 mm per year. Global sea level averaged over the decade was about 20 cm higher than that of 1880, said the report.

    “A decade is the minimum possible timeframe for meaningful assessments of climate change,” said Michel Jarraud, the WMO’s secretary general.

    “WMO’s report shows that global warming was significant from 1971 to 2010 and that the decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented. Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat,” Mr Jarraud said.

    The WMO report said atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continued to rise. Global-average concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to 389 parts per million in 2010, an increase of 39 per cent since the start of the industrial era in 1750.

  • Guy asked:

    I’m a bit confused with the negative comments about this essay. I read it as an indictment of the fascist “Nanny State” America has become, and a plea for re-localization. What’s the problem with either notion?

    Facism and the “nanny state” don’t connote the same thing to me. I didn’t read it as an indictment of fascism, which I would fully support, if by that she meant the stripping away of our Constitutional rights, illegal surveillance, FEMA camps, militarizing police, suppressing dissent, and corporate control of every branch of government. However the word fascism was only mentioned once in the essay, in reference to government planning – but the concept of a nanny state came through, with the resentment of “big government” solutions not being the answer characteristic of, as someone mentioned earlier, the Tea Party.

    I think we are past any solutions so it’s a moot point, but in theory if there ever was to be one, it would have to come from government – not just national government but international agreement. How else could you herd billions of people into complying with limits? Relocalization by itself would never, ever be comprehensive enough to solve a global problem – it would have to be mandated by government doing something smart for once like, say, rationing fuel.

  • @ Artleads

    Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. So if military might will always make right while trumping all other divisions, we need to be clear on that.

    Final power rests with the people who provide the money to buy the guns.

    The side with the most guns, or the best guns, tends to win. Although that’s not a fixed rule. For example, trained idiots who don’t know why they are fighting can have the best weapons, and still be beaten by small numbers of poorly armed insurgents who know exactly why they are fighting.

    The fascists who tried to take over the world last century by force of arms failed, so they tried a different strategy and took it over by force of money. Neoliberalism.

    If you own a central bank you can create money out of nothing for free, in infinite quantities. If you own a lesser bank, you have slightly less freedom but you can still create money from nowhere and nothing in almost infinite quantities. Twenty eight banks have more power than any other organisations on Earth, including the US Gvt.

    They do not need guns or tanks or armies or bombs. If they want any of that stuff they can hire some country’s leaders and use theirs, or hire some bunch of mercenaries. That’s what they are doing. All the time. Have you not noticed ?

    When things get really nasty, only thing that counts is who has got the nukes. All the other wars are mostly proxy wars between the countries who have got the nukes, as a way of not having to actually use them.

  • This is for Pat – about “Twilight of the Idols” from Nietzsche

    Morality as Anti-Nature

    The Four Great Errors

    In the chapter The Four Great Errors, he [Nietzsche] suggests that people, especially Christians, confuse the effect for the cause, and that they project the human ego and subjectivity on to other things, thereby creating the illusionary concept of being, and therefore also of the thing-in-itself and God. In reality, motive or intention is “an accompaniment to an act”[6] rather than the cause of that act. By removing causal agency based on free, conscious will, Nietzsche critiques the ethics of accountability, suggesting that everything is necessary in a whole that can neither be judged nor condemned, because there is nothing outside of it.[7] What people typically deem “vice” is in fact merely “the inability not to react to a stimulus.”[8] In this light, the concept of morality becomes purely a means of control: “the doctrine of will has been invented essentially for the purpose of punishment, that is of finding guilty.”[9]

    “Men were thought of as free so that they could become guilty: consequently, every action had to be thought of as willed, the origin of every action as lying in the consciousness…

    …Today, when we have started to move in the reverse direction, when we immoralists especially are trying with all our might to remove the concept of guilt and the concept of punishment from the world and to purge psychology, history, nature, the social institutions and sanctions of them, there is in our eyes no more radical opposition than that of the theologians, who continue to infect the innocence of becoming with ‘punishment’ and ‘guilt’ by means of the concept of the ‘moral world-order’. Christianity is a hangman’s metaphysics.” ~ The Four Great Errors

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/twilight-of-the-idols-1#ixzz2Y1VY79M6

  • @ Gail

    Familiar with this ?

    In Book I of the New Organon (Aphorisms 39-68), Bacon introduces his famous doctrine of the “idols.” These are characteristic errors, natural tendencies, or defects that beset the mind and prevent it from achieving a full and accurate understanding of nature. Bacon points out that recognizing and counteracting the idols is as important to the study of nature as the recognition and refutation of bad arguments is to logic. Incidentally, he uses the word “idol” – from the Greek eidolon (“image” or “phantom”) – not in the sense of a false god or heathen deity but rather in the sense employed in Epicurean physics. Thus a Baconian idol is a potential deception or source of misunderstanding, especially one that clouds or confuses our knowledge of external reality.

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/bacon/#SH2j

  • Oops, sorry, lost count yesterday (higher math ability not getting any better with age); one post today.

    @ pat: thanks, and thanks for the inspiration. 🙂
    ==

    NTE is a powerful meme
    Which hasn’t yet gained much esteem;
    Although it can seem
    Like an off-putting theme,
    It’s likely to get more mainstream.

  • We are now running out of territorial, resource and energetic spaces to expand into at the same moment that the entropic byproducts of our previous expansion are set to overwhelm us.

    Precise, concise & comprehensive: thanks, Bodhi.

    The canary in the coal mine is the classic example of animal sentinels.

    Unlike the rest of the terrestrial vertebrates, birds have a one-way airflow though the gas exchanger in their lungs. This makes the exchange more effective, efficient, and results in faster equilibration than with the to-and-fro flow of other terrestrial vertebrates. While good for oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide elimination in their energy-intensive flight, it also equilibrates carbon monoxide rapidly – enough so to serve as an early warning for humans.

    Carbon monoxide latches into the oxygen-carrying niche in the haemoglobin molecule with an affinity a few hundred times greater than oxygen itself, acting in a way similar to inert gas asphyxiation.

    How did she even
    Get space in this place?

    In this pack, every wolf is allowed a chance to bay.

    A human life, any life, must leave a footprint, that is the nature of life.

    But if it is a footprint in sand or snow, the more the merrier: 100% of everything ploughed back into the system; zero end waste. Not gonna happen.

  • Wildwoman,

    I love your list of annoyances, and thanks for the definition of TPTB.

    U,

    I very much like your post on the natural web being more definitional than the parts thereof.

    What I was trying to grasp at concerning military solutions is that, however force might has been used–for liberal or oppressive goals–it has not been able to divert us from annihilation. Taking the long view, nobody has ever won.

    This could be because force is inherently at odds with the love and tender stewardship of nature. Nature is simply too “soft” and “vital” to be responsive to anything but a mother’s solicitude, as toward her child.

    General,

    I think we have it backwards. If anything could be done to save life, it couldn’t be something large-scale. Unlike small-scale interventions that can be corrected or ditched if misguided, interventions on the scale of wholly artificial and “unnatural” nation states have their flaws locked in for all time.

    I would recommend that Sherry consider the scale of community be the local watershed. I attended a workshop on watersheds and it was an eye opener. Watershed planning brings all kinds of diverse people together, because they all depend on the common source of water. One watershed is connected to the next water shed, and on it goes.

  • Anyone who comments on this sight more than a couple sentences really has a lot of time on their hands, and must still be living in the Industrial society. I have a list of taboo solutions.

    1)Get rid of your computer, your television, and your cell phone.
    2)Go have a beer or smoke with your family or friends and discuss what you and they are going to do when SHTF and start working on it. Get creative; get crazy; have fun.
    3)Get rid of your car and get a horse (donkey, mule, ostrich, will also do fine), bike, boat, or get reacquainted (for those in the southwest or Texas or California) with your patamobile, foot-mobile.
    4)Stop using money to live; stop depending on the man, the woman, or the job to live. Start depending on yourself, your resourcefulness, your skills, your labor, your family, your friends. If you don’t have family or friends you can depend on, go get some. Get religion (who says they don’t take in atheists or anarchists or negative, depressed people, at least they will give you a free meal, maybe you can recruit them to this blog.)
    5)Just shut up. People talk too much. They dribble nonsense constantly aloud or silently, especially those addicted to American culture, and to this blog. They think they are really smart with their big, four letter words, but they have no social skills, can’t tell a good joke, and/or can’t give a hug. Just be quiet for 5 minutes. Practice moderation of speech, thought, anger/joy, action. Just sit and watch life around you. Watch the birds, ants, cockroaches. You may find joy in life once again, once you realize it exists outside of yourself and your computer/television screen, and you are not really that significant, unless you can help another person smile.
    6)Start working outside under the hot sun doing hard manual labor. Find your body. Learn how to “hoist a jack, lay a track, pick, and shovel, too.” Learn how to wash your clothes by hand. How to cook real food from things you can scavenge or grow or kill.

    Stop being a hypocrite; refuse to be a part of a system that will destroy all life by starting to live a life away from that toxic overload now. Stop being the problem; change it.

    Really if you don’t know how or can’t, just go to step 1, again.

  • Thank you Carolina for the smile!

    You did your job well! Can I cut and paste your comment to hand out to others?

    The truth must hurt for some, huh?

  • I was going to write something clever… and wayyyy too long.
    But screw that. I just want a group hug as the ship goes down.

    I love every single one of these posts everyone put here. (U and Gail and Library, OMG)
    I feel like I found my tribe.
    After 50 goddam years of life and 3 continents… Why aren’t we all physically closer?

    Even Sherry, who’s “Nanny State” triggered my Tea Party radar knee jerk, though I know she means well, is pretty damn cool. A woman after my own heart, living off the land, her hands embedded in the dirt of life. Trying to do the right thing.
    She’s still hoping for the Deus Ex Machina.
    Can’t blame her.

    And no, I have not been drinking… That comes next.

  • “..Thus a Baconian idol is a potential deception or source of misunderstanding, especially one that clouds or confuses our knowledge of external reality…”

    Along that line of thinking….this news article was so bizarre and depraved I really thought it was the Onion.

    Humans, how eternally clever as we teeter-todder on the precipice, have thought up the Final Solution in advertising

    I picture Kafka nodding out with his head against the glass of his train compartment…..dreaming of a bottle of cockroach killer….

    Sky (Media)to broadcast advertisements directly into train passengers’ heads.

    Sky has developed technology to transfer adverts from train windows directly and silently into commuters’ heads.

    Passengers leaning their head against the window will “hear” adverts “coming from inside the user’s head”, urging them to download the Sky Go app.

    The proposal involves using bone conduction technology, which is used in hearing aids, headphones and Google’s Glass headset, to pass sound to the inner ear via vibrations through the skull.

    A video for the Talking Window campaign released by Sky Deutschland and ad agency BBDO Germany states:

    “Tired commuters often rest their heads against windows. Suddenly a voice inside their head is talking to them. No one else can hear this message.”

    The voice comes from a Sky-branded transmitter made by Audiva that is attached to the train window.

    BBDO spokesman Ulf Brychcy told the BBC: “If our customer Sky Deutschland agrees, we will start with the new medium as quickly as possible.

    “Some people don’t like advertising in general. But this is really a new technology. [It might] not only be used for advertising, but also for music, entertainment, mass transport information, weather reports and so on.”

    Hmmm, how about MASS PROPAGANDA

    hahahaha

    File this under: community building

  • Guy, you ask what the problem is for the plea to re-localization?

    The problem is it takes physical work and most are not up to the task. First time I saw the term “americants” was on the Survival Acres blog, excellent term.

    Maybe instead of the mantra,
    “can’t, won’t, don’t want to”
    it should be,

    “we’re more than just a hat rack, we’re more than just a hat rack, we’re more than just a hat rack” hey! I think it’s working.

    Thank you Sherry for trying, our motto is:

    EXIST TO RESIST

  • Roger said:

    “We clearly have the most to lose. If sea-level rise is not curtailed by immediate reductions in greenhouse gases, the Florida Keys may eventually become unlivable,” according to a March draft of the county’s plans. “Planning decisions should take into consideration medium to extreme sea level rise predictions.”

    That means abandon Florida now. Do you. or anyone else here believe that is realistic? People won’t leave the Jersey Shore!

  • @Gail, re. coordination: indeed. In sillier moments I’ve fantasized about being mayor oft town and banning all motorized lawn mowers, or outlawing the sale of water in plastic bottles (hey, ya gotta start somewhere…).

    P.S. You wouldn’t happen to know how much dressage consultants pull down per hour, would you…? 😉

  • sherry a., i admire your ability/desire to strive to survive (longer) in the face of teotwawki and likely nte. good idea, if u have the aptitude/sociability for it. i wish u well and appreciate your sharing.
    _______________________________________

    ‘7+ billion people living their lives in whatever events consume them completely divorced from any notion that what they’re doing is contributing to the end of life on earth. If we all suddenly came to that illumination would anyone change? (heads shake ominously)’

    film guy mike, first i shall disagree with the assertion that industrial civ. is going to render gaia lifeless. an extreme extinction event that likely spells nte (within a few generations) for us, i buy that. but that’s not my main response. it’s this: the question’s purely rhetorical of course, because there’s no way legions of essentially clueless lifelong hardcore dogma addicts (including tptb) are suddenly going to become rational and well informed. but still your question’s provocative. if by some magic/miracle it did happen, if intelligence and sanity could be mandated, could over 7 billion sheeple get their shit together and treat this like an extreme emergency? perhaps the sheer numbers alone would make it impossible. a lot different than getting a band of 100 or so savages to effectively cooperate, don’t u think? too many sheeple, too much divisiveness.
    __________________________________________________________

    ‘So, nuclear decommissioning is going to cost a lot of money, is it? Big surprise to those who thought nuclear-generated electricity was going to be “too cheap to meter.” Far from starting a renaissance, nuclear power is already turning into a catastrophic bust, and the party is just getting started. Because no one will have enough money to properly manage reactors and their deadly wastes, this junk will just accumulate and be left largely unattended. It’ll be an unmitigated environmental and ecological disaster. Chernobyl and Fukushima are nothing compared to what’s coming…’

    well stated, mordred.
    _______________________________________________________

    ‘Most welcome (human extinction) to all the planets and possible sentient life who would be destroyed if this benighted species had managed to go extra-solar and given other worlds a Bad Case of Humans’

    maecenas, i’m digging u.
    ______________________________

    ‘Vermont sounds nice! Where I come from the the agrieved neighbor waits until his pal is passed out drunk than poisons his pack of pitbulls with coyote bait. When pal comes to, he uses what windows remain in his buddy’s trailer for target practice. At this juncture, an incendiary device of some crude design is applied to the decrepit shack of neighbor number one. Finally, maybe, the staters show up and both guys or gals, as it maybe, get hauled off to county. After a bloody brawl, with or without pointy objects, bunk assignments are determined and peace reigns supreme. Until both get early release cause there ain’t enuf beds for all the other neighbors. Please forgive my spellin.’

    u’re furgivin, troglodyte. that was lol funny.
    _______________________________________________________

    ‘I stopped believing in miracles quite a while ago. They’ll keep doing it till they can’t.’ -kevin moore

    ‘Dr. Ackerman, let’s hope that Dr. McPherson warned you about the rowdy crowd that he hosts at NBL’ -robin datta

    rowdy, indeed, but oh so eloquent and articulate, and darker than a moonless starless midnight sky. surrealists! my kind of sheeple.
    ____________________________________________________________

    btd, your nomme de plume should rhyme, u do it so well!

    ‘Who could have known that planting a couple of vegetables would lead to such horrific consequences? It must have seemed a really neat idea at the time…’ -mike k

  • Carolina, I contest your claim that there is no value in words. We need to learn how to listen to complex ideas, not constantly demand that others speak to us “on our level.”

    We are not children and do not need to be spoken to as such. We can learn ideas we do not immediately understand.

    We used to be capable of listening for several hours to the speeches of Lincoln and Douglas, or to Roosevelt’s fireside chats.

    We got into this mess precisely when we STOPPED listening to those weird “elitists” who tried to tell us that our way of thinking needed to evolve.

    We wanted everyone to be “like us.” We could have had Adlai Stevenson; instead, we got Richard Nixon.

    We could have listened to the likes of Walt Whitman; instead, we listened to the likes of Henry Ward Beecher.

    We could have had another term of Jimmy Carter; instead we voted for Reagan because we couldn’t stand Carter’s description of our culture as a “malaise.”

    God forbid anyone should ever ask us to make a mental effort of some kind…why, it’s almost as if they’re asking us to understand them the way WE wish to be understood, in our daily lives!

    No, they must have “social skills”; the better to “please us,” and never harsh our buzz. They must tell a joke, so we can laugh at what makes us uncomfortable instead of thinking seriously about it.

    …well, I do grant you that they could hug people more, though.

    Hugs are always nice! ^_^

  • Heck, for a further examination of what I’m talking about, here’s a copy of “Listen, Little Man”; by Wilhelm Reich. We might’ve had more respect for nature and the earth had we listened to this:

    http://www.wilhelmreichtrust.org/listen_little_man.pdf

  • Wait, hang on, that link is incomplete. Here’s the complete essay:

    http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/listenlittleman.pdf

  • For those who haven’t yet figured it out from the coming attractions and promotions — The End of The Movie is still a surprise. Warning, plot spoiler: Going… Going… Gone.

  • Sherry,

    A top-down approach may not be preferable but the assumption for it, that you stated, is actually spot on. People can’t self correct. People, generally, will not change their behaviour. I think Dave Cohen demonstrates this almost every day.

    All one can hope for is that what we don’t yet understand about the science of climate will step in to make the world bearable enough for viable populations to survive. We also don’t know how long we’ve got, so we (those who are aware, anyway) might see it as rational to place our picket pin, because there is a chance it might be worthwhile. But I’m not sure it’s viable to try to create community within our existing non-communities.

  • Guy, most,when someone is told they have 6 months to live, prefer to hear from people who also know that. They sign up for Hospice. They want help from someone who understands that their length of their continued existence is limited, not from people who won’t even acknowledge that death is possible.

    The problem with Sherry’s article is not with localizing as a good thing to do. The problem is that Sherry does not show that she has any idea that we are very likely to become extinct by 2030 or not long after that. If it had been written from that perspective, yeah we are all going to die, but this is a good thing to do anyway and here is why, the reaction I am sure would be much different.

    Sometimes dying cancer patients are given chemotherapy. They are told it will not cure them but will ease the pain. I don’t know if that is true, that it eases the pain. In one case I was quite sure it was not. But the point is that once Hospice is in the picture no one tries to sell chemo to the patient on the basis of it being a cure. It is not appropriate

    There is no indication in Sherry’s article that she understands that it is all over for humans. Here we sit discussing the end of life on the planet and then we get an essay from someone who seems to have no clue. That is the problem. How about an essay on why in the next 17 years efforts to re-localize will make those 17 years better even though they won’t change the outcome.

    Or tell us it was all wrong. Tell us the diagnosis was wrong. Give us the data that shows that some humanity will continue and then tell us how re localizing will help us be the ones that make it through the bottle neck. Tell us how re-localizing will help us fend off the hungry outsiders so we can watch them die while we live on. Tell us how re-localizing will help us live inside of fortified compounds so we get to live rather than others. Tell us how not to go insane while doing that.

  • Kathy,

    Where do you get the date of 2030 from? I thought that the paper from where that sort of date came had been knocked on the head. If it’s still 2030, then that would have to be calculated based on different data from those used in the flawed paper. So far, I haven’t seen a replacement for the date calculation. Please let us not get into the Mayan Calendar Syndrome, whereby some specific date (“or not long after that” as an error bar estimate) is constantly bandied about and taken as gospel.

  • After coming to the realization that Industrial Society was toxic and headed for collapse, I cast about plenty for “solutions” and investigated Transition Towns, permaculture and all that. I’m on board with these ideas, but they’re too little too late at this point. Guy, didn’t you say your own mud hut was a failure? Similar to the mud hut, “community” doesn’t work unless the vast majority are on board.

    I’ve come across Sherry before; she’s written at “Vermont Commons”. I don’t wish the woman ill, but she seems to have stolen her shtick from the Nearings: the book title, the unspoken inputs from Babylon, the compound that apparently needs the slave labor of young acolytes…

    Not to single Sherry out, I’m finding that a lot of the “resiliency” promoters are upper-middle-class white folks with more money and good intentions than common sense.. A few are hard-core, but more common are those who, say, fly off to Italy to study “vernacular architecture” so they can re- purpose a peasant’s Alpine stone hut into a restaurant. http://www.yestermorrow.org/

    The people I know doing the most advanced permaculture work in the area don’t live mainly off of permaculture but off of teaching permaculture certification courses, selling books, and consulting. They have talent and insight, but they also have rich parents and spouses with professional jobs.

    I wish this weren’t the case.

    Also active in my area are classes in “wild crafting” or “primitive skills”. I had a taste of one: making cordage from dogsbane. Given that you have some dogsbane habitat, you can recognize dogsbane and harvest it at the correct time, you can extract the fibers and twist them into some twine. Or you can just go right now to the Mart and buy a lifetime supply of twine for 1/10th of what it cost to take the full cordage class. In a Long Descent, these might be skills worth resurrecting. In an NTE scenario, they are silly affectations.

  • Happy Fourth of July, my fellow Americans. Before my operation was scheduled, what I really wanted to do was show up at the local parade with a sign proclaiming “One Nation Under Surveillance”. But that gets into the realms of “community” KathyC is exploring. The folks in our town, the Rotarians and the Garden Club, are deeply patriotic (at least on the surface). How does one establish “community” with those who would label you a traitor? Is it even possible, or do you just plan to live out a lie, as B9k9 seems to advise?

  • Here’s one for Gail:

    http://enenews.com/homeowner-causes-shutdown-at-u-s-nuclear-plant-tree-fell-onto-transmission-line-after-being-cut-down

    Felled Tree Causes Shutdown at Tenn. Nuclear Plant

    an interruption [was] caused by a large tree falling onto a transmission line.

    Tennessee Valley Authority spokeswoman Gail Rymer says automatic shutdown procedures began at the Watts Bar plant when the electrical fault was detected on Friday afternoon.

    Rymer says a homeowner cut down the tree that fell onto a 500 kilovolt transmission line close to the plant

  • Tony.

    Nobody knows when NTE will occur.

    However, we do know that the CO2 content of the atmosphere is rising faster than exponentially. That in itself creates quite a problem for anyone attempting to put a time frame on ‘unihabitability’.

    When CO2 measurement were initially done by Keeling in the late-50s the rate of increase in CO2 was approximately 1ppm per annum. Towards the end of the twentieth century it increased to about 2oppm per annum. Now it is about 3ppm per annum.

    With the development of fossil fuel energy source that require huge inputs of energy to obtain energy (deep-water drilling, fracking, tar sands etc.) emissions per capita of useable energy are increasing. Even with economic ‘stagnation’ throughout much of the world (no significant increase in use of fossil fuels), global emissions are rising because the quality of fossil fuels is declining, and China is frantically using coal to make steels for cars and aircraft carriers. And of course, there are all the emissions generated by the production of concrete. And the emissions form industrialised agriculture. On top of all that there are leaks of greenhouse gases from badly managed gas and oil drilling operations. Bad management is the norm.

    All that before we even start talking about self-reinforcing and mutually reinforcing climate feedbacks which cause the release of CO2 and CH4 into the atmosphere. Is the Amazon going to die or not? It is literally impossible to tally everything and draw a curve.

    However, we can speculate that the 3ppm per annum increase in CO2 we are currently witnessing will increase to 4ppm per annum by around 2020, and that it will increase to 5ppm per annum around 2025, irrespective of implosion of the present financial system. No government anywhere is doing ANYTHING to stop it, and most humans are doing their best to make it happen.

    For me, that all adds up to 450ppm CO2@ within 15 years, and 480ppm within 20 years.

    CH4 is a lot harder to characterise because it is oxidised to CO2 in the atmosphere, About 8 years ago it looked as though the methane level was stabilising. However, in the past 3 or 4 years we have seen very disturbing reports of massive increases in CVH4 concentrations; There seem to be primarily associated with eruption of semi-sequestered CH4.

    Should the methane concentration go hyper-exponential over the next 10 to 20 years we could easily be looking at the equivalent of 550ppm or 600ppm CO2 by 2040.

    Now we know that 400ppm and the 0.8oC rise in average temperature it has induced is already having catastrophic effects. (we are approximately 120ppm above normal). What kind of planet would 500ppm, 220ppm above normal generate?

    Whether 500ppm occurs in 2030 or 2040 is of little consequence. We know that halfway to 500ppm is going to be very grim across much of the globe. And we know that the bulk of the populace doesn’t know and therefore doesn’t care.

    David Wasdell hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that there are many positive feedbacks but no known negative feedbacks. In other words the Earth keeps heating until it reaches a temperature high enough for it to radiate heat into space at the same rate that it is trapping heat. The Earth seems to have two primary states: super-cool and super-hot. The Earth worked hard over hundreds of millions of years to generate the ‘perfect’ conditions that allowed humans to develop civilisations. And industrial civilisation has messed it all up in just over 200 years.

  • Thanks for the tree link Tom!

    Carolina, since you have such venomous contempt for the posters here I am mystified as to why you bother to leave any comment at all. You make all sorts of assumptions about people you have obviously never met, which is a peculiar sort of arrogance.

    I have huge respect for Kevin Anderson as he is the only climate scientist I know of who is calling for a reduction in consumption, including air travel, which you can read about on his blog (post title: Hypocrites in the air: should climate-change academics lead by example?). But then here, in this otherwise forthright interview, he is calling for another conference, next December.

    http://www.climatecodered.org/2013/07/stop-tailoring-global-warming-scenarios.html

    As far as the timing of NTE, of course it impossible to know precisely. I suppose what concerns me more is that well before that occurs, we will reach a place where the living envy the dead. I base that on a number of issues, and climate change is only one of them. Some Egyptians are celebrating but no change of regime is going to provide more food. There is not much left of the natural world to exploit, and so there is no way to increase or even maintain the food supply in the face of dwindling supplies of petroleum-based fertilizer and chemicals, with soil depletion and worsening extreme weather. The oceans are a disaster, as are the freshwater lakes and rivers.

    I am fairly certain the crash will be fast, and people will become vicious.

  • Tony you wrote
    Kathy,
    Where do you get the date of 2030 from? I thought that the paper from where that sort of date came had been knocked on the head. If it’s still 2030, then that would have to be calculated based on different data from those used in the flawed paper. So far, I haven’t seen a replacement for the date calculation. Please let us not get into the Mayan Calendar Syndrome, whereby some specific date (“or not long after that” as an error bar estimate) is constantly bandied about and taken as gospel.

    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html
    “Twenty estimates have been made of the times of the various extinction events in the northern and southern hemispheres and these are shown on Table 1 and summarised on Figure 7 with their ranges. The absolute mean extinction time for the northern hemisphere is 2031.8 and for the southern hemisphere 2047.6 with a final mean extinction time for 3/4 of the earth’s surface of 2039.6 which is similar to the extinction time suggested previously from correlations between planetary orbital mechanics and the frequency increase of Great and Normal earthquake activity on Earth (Light, 2011). Extinction in the southern hemisphere lags the northern hemisphere by 9 to 29 years.”

    I have heard Guy say that Malclom Light who wrote the above paper had an incorrect figure for methane release. I don’t know if that figure that Guy said was wrong was used to make this prediction, and where that information to disprove Malcolm Light can be found. Since hearing Guy use that time frame of 17 years to extinction I have not heard him say that is wrong or give another time frame. But I have not listened to every recent talk. Perhaps he will comment on that or you can cite where this has been discredited instead of just vaguely suggesting the time frame is wrong.

    Arctic News has not changed the article or taken it down so I presume they stand by it. I checked back on Guy’s climate change summary and don’t see it mentioned there so perhaps as you suggest he now thinks NTE is not quite so near. I would appreciate any links or information you or Guy might provide concerning the matter.

    I do not take any date for NTE as fact. But it helps to have some idea of how near near might be. So I use the 2030 date. I will remember in the future to put all sorts of qualifications on that so I don’t get jumped again. But the CO2 keeps going up, the temps are not going down, the scientists are surprised over and over again at how fast things are going. None of the mainline predictions of where the arctic sea ice extent would be in Sept. 2012 were anywhere near close to the facts on the ground.

    Richard Duncan, in his Olduvai theory, based only on energy per capita, put the end of industrial civilization at 2030. He didn’t predict extinction because he was only dealing with fossil fuel depletion. Add warming to that and the fact that when industrial civ goes the nuclear plants all melt down and I fail to see how one can think we don’t go extinct near term.

    Have I ever quoted a religious prediction or indicated that I am religious in any way? Have my posts lacked any references to scientific data such that you would think I say this from some sort of apocalyptic stance? What will stop our extinction in the near term? The UN? Obama? The hand of God? Guy always stated in the past that only the collapse of industrial civ could save us. Instead of accusing me of religious type apocalyptic views, how about you take on that cause or tell us what else you plan to do to slow down the runaway warming, end the positive feedbacks. Arctic News and the AMEG want to do geoengineering. Go join their camp or join the Dark Snow Project. If you think the predictions I report that others have made are too dire then there is still time – go do something to make sure Malcolm Light, and Sam Carana, and David Wasdell are wrong. They WANT you to do something. Guy wants people to do something.

    Given our history, extinction is looking quite good these days. That doesn’t make me a religious end time nut because I think when we are dead that is it. Nothing after. No more us. No more religion either cause far as I can tell heat loving bacteria don’t have religion.

  • Kevin Moore (response to Tony)

    I haven’t seen a clearer or more convincing explanation of climate change than yours. I find it a total waste of time to question your premise about the science. I’ve been moseying around this subject for a long time, and I know convincing when I see it. Even so, what you say is what is known, while Tony (who may or may not accept the truth of what you write) appears to be questioning the possibility of something that is not known coming to the rescue in some way that allows some human and other complex life to continue on indefinitely. I do not see a non-emotion-driven but brutally logical way to rule that out. Who can know everything?

    I recently heard a catchy phrase on the radio: Dream as though you would live forever, and act as though you’d live for but a single day more. Living as though NTE is inevitable is the only way to live as we should have been doing all along. Living as though all we have is now. But that does not rule out, and can be complementary to, the consideration of a future.

    I dearly hope that Sherry reads your post. Maybe she’s stuck in the paradigm that Lidia describes. Even so, what she says and enables concerning self-sufficient communities is a key element of the mosaic that would comprise a dream of the future. It is most certainly not the whole picture. With issues as complex as those we face, there could be no whole, ready-made picture . (One should consider that having fairly cohesive communities, wherever possible, could at least provide some deterrence to marauding gangs.)

    So, assuming that some redeeming unknown could arrive, what could a dream of the future look like? I see it this way. It would be a messy hybrid, a tattered patchwork, as weird as the first Jackson Pollock drip paintings would have seemed to the average person on the street. It would include a little of everything that is going on now. More of some things than of others, but nothing would be completely excluded. Exclusion is the essence of violence. There would be reduced option of keeping the hungry hordes at bay, for there would be enough of industrial civilization around to guard you from them. (So here I am, after decades of staunchly opposing it, extolling the limited virtue of industrial civilization, and hoping some of it remains; go figure.)

    Were industrial civilization (ind civ) to disintegrate entirely, there would be the inevitable (if fuzzily conceived) horror that so many talk about here. So while reducing most of ind civ’s emissions could be hoped for, we would need it to continue providing the minimal basic supplies without which there would be chaos. A major aspect of hybridization would be self-sufficient groups providing some food to the large outlets.

    I question the assertion that government equates to fascism. It is largely infected by fascism while also being the bulwark against its complete takeover. Still ongoing, or else we’d all be in FEMA camps already. We still need the decreasing parts of government that serve us: Social Security, Medicaid, roads, environmental monitoring, police… We need far more from government too. We need free health care, free education, and free land. We need almost no money other than to transition significantly toward self-sufficiency of the kind Sherry advocates. That in itself requires a revolution, but that’s a subject for another day. We need to safeguard OUR space and OUR rights, and leave to their own devices Wall Street and the banks.

  • Another tree link: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/52391910#.UdWW_hYoP8s

    An art counselor at a Jewish summer camp popular with San Francisco Bay Area families was killed when a large oak tree fell on her. Four other adults were injured, but no children were harmed.
    Annais Rittenberg, 21, an environmental studies major at the University of California, Santa Cruz, died Wednesday at Camp Tawonga near Yosemite National Park, camp officials said.
    The four other adults were treated at hospitals after the tree fell while the children were eating breakfast. The tree took down power lines near the campfire area and dining hall but did not damage any buildings.
    Because of the nearby power lines, authorities said Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was responsible for annual inspections of the oak tree. Tuolumne County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Jim Oliver said PG&E had inspected the tree and found nothing wrong with it, calling is a “freak accident.”

  • @ Gardengate

    Rob’s ‘Be the void’ is the best thing I’ve read here in months, but your ‘Exist to resist’ is next best. Pretty much covers the whole of spirituality and politics for me 🙂

    @ Librarian

    Thank you for the Wilhelm Reich link. I am familiar with much of his work, but had not read that.

    @ Carolina

    How condescending you are. You obviously have no idea who you are speaking to here.

    @ Kathy C.

    Well said.

    Tony has had all this explained to him repeatedly but it seems he does not want to understand it.

    He takes a quasi-religious view himself.

    All one can hope for is that what we don’t yet understand about the science of climate will step in to make the world bearable enough for viable populations to survive.

    In other words, all we can hope for is that there are some unknown unknowns that will magically appear from the unknowable to save us. More commonly termed ‘a miracle’.

    Just another guy with blind faith in miracles.

    I wonder why anyone wants ‘viable populations to survive’.

    It is most unlikely that any of us will be included amongst them, and their survival is not likely to be a pleasant experience for them, is it ?

  • Happy 4th!

    One nation under surveillance

    great stuff

  • Thank you Badlands – I published a post about that tree, and a few other lethal incidents:

    https://witsendnj.blogspot.ca/2013/07/freak-accidents.html

  • (cheating to post a live link)

    https://www.ustream.tv/occupyeye?utm_source=crowd-live-backend&utm_medium=visit-channel&utm_campaign=notifications

    My friend Nate from WVa coal mine shutdown is covering the NSA protest in NY – best banner, Rev. Billy has the Obama logo and the words

    YES WE SCAN!

    Ha!

  • Lidia, are you out of the hospital yet?

    All, I use the 2030 date as an approximation as well, but 2040 would work too. Cannot for the life of me figure out how it could be much past that. Gail has a great video posted at Wit’s End of just the disasters that occurred in June, much less what else is coming.

    One nation under surveillance is cool, but Ecuador may not agree. Wonder who planted that bug.

    All nations under surveillance might work.

    Happy 4th.

  • I frankly don’t believe anyone is capable of making a community (that didn’t exist in whatever place before hand) that endures from a ‘plan’ of any sort. The few communities that have endured the tests of time over long durations evolved organically and quite spontaneously with their surroundings.

    They were not master plans cooked up by well intentioned people. Read up on all the ‘utopian’ communities over the centuries. Few have endured, most all have failed, some spectacularly.

    Look at the divorce rate and ask yourself, if two people can’t abide each others company for more than a decade or two (if that) how hard is to get let’s say 200 people to keep it together for centuries.

    Damn near impossible.

    Family clans can but only with the help of implied negative consequences (punishment) if you break any of the clan rules (which by and large are NOT geared to the individual’s wants and needs)

    The United Stasi of America is especially impossible to build community because of a general fear and loathing of ANYTHING that smacks of ‘common-ism’.

    There is no sense what-so-ever of common good or common purpose there. It’s every demented egomaniac (rugged indiviual) for themselves. Uber-hyper-ultra individualism is the propaganda agenda of the day in the Land of the Me and the Home of the Crave.

    Consumers, unlike citizens, have NO responsibility to anyone but themselves and their desires, period.

    The ‘purpose’ of a corporation is to produce stockholder ‘value’, period.

    And corporations now rule with an iron fist (and they are PEOPLE in the eyes of the LAW), period.

    Creating enduring communities by Will (not by letting them form as an emergent property of human nature) never works and there is simply not enough time to sit around and wait for them to form organically.

    ‘Spontaneously on purpose’ is not much of a plan. Who are you trying to fool?

    “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

    ― Mike Tyson

  • If it’s still 2030, then that would have to be calculated based on different data from those used in the flawed paper.

    Well, the all-fat-ladies group The Feedback Loops is now on world tour. While one may justifiably question now how soprano they are, others’ concern may lie with the dirge that the fat ladies have begun.

    Now we know that 400ppm and the 0.8oC rise in average temperature it has induced is already having catastrophic effects.

    And then there is the time lag. 400 ppm CO2 in the past was associated with a 23 meter (~yard = 70 feet) higher mean sea level and 4°C warmer temperature. Will be catchin’ up with y’all soon enough.

    I haven’t seen a clearer or more convincing explanation of climate change than yours.

    Intellectual explanations are fine and dandy at the rational, verbal, monkey-brain level. Almost everyone thinks this is enough because the monkey-chauffeur is in the driver’s seat. But the boss in the back seat is the non-verbal, non-rational lizard-brain which recognises only feelings – emotions, attitudes, values.

    Whether guest essay or comment, those whose lizard-brains have not yet accommodated NTE will direct their monkey brains to look for a way out, whether through a miracle of the physical world, through coordinated societal effort (nearly as miraculous!) or the ostrich method. Something will save us! We will save ourselves! There’s no problem! Each has, as they say, a snowball’s chance in hell. Which would be great if the Eskimo world-view proves correct: their hell is said to be a very cold place, and their heaven is nice and warm.