The road to the future leads to the past

by Ray Jason at the Sea Gypsy Philosopher

An ordinary sunset was about to turn extraordinary. AVENTURA was resting between voyages — way down south in the Banana Latitudes. We were anchored in a cove so serene that the birds seemed to fly at half speed in order to preserve the tranquility.

A native cayuco slowly emerged from behind one of the islands that frame this tiny bay. A man and a woman were gently rowing their dugout canoe through the pale, peach-glazed water. When they swung their bow around and faced the west, I recognized the young couple. They had stopped by yesterday and traded a freshly-caught fish for some cooking oil.

They stowed their oars in the cayuco and drifted about 30 yards off my starboard side. She leaned her back against his chest and his chin cradled the top of her head. Although the twilight panorama that we were savoring was only mediocre, I suspect that their contentment was as transcendent as mine.

Suddenly, this exquisite peacefulness was destroyed by the roar of an outboard engine as a shiny American powerboat came blasting through our little sanctuary. Two overweight guys laughed drunkenly as they watched their wake nearly capsize the little native canoe. I looked over at my neighbors and shook my head in disgust. They responded with body language that said, “Sad, sad, sad.”

A few minutes later, with the euphoric spell broken, they slid a fishing line into the water, and then started to row towards a nearby island. As I watched them depart, I realized that every element of this dusk-soft panorama was so elemental, that it could have taken place 500 years ago.

While their cayuco drifted to the south, with the lovers lazily fishing, I turned back to the west and caught a glimpse of the drunken gringos roaring out of sight. Because I am blessed (or cursed) with the philosopher’s need to contemplate such symbolic vignettes, I began a meditation that took me deep into the star-plush night.


Yesterday, when the couple rowed over to barter their fish, I complimented the young man on his well-crafted cayuco. With a mixture of modesty and pride he said that he had carved it himself, just as his father had taught him. And he mentioned that one of his earliest childhood memories was watching his grandfather teaching his dad his boat-shaping technique.

A single tree trunk, a few hand tools, and skill passed down the generations, was all that was necessary to create this handsome cayuco that could be used for transportation, fishing or twilight romance. How simple and exquisite; and how out of step with the misnamed “real world.” By contrast, the speedboat that had just annihilated the silent beauty of this little cove was a perfect symbol for our industrial-techno society.

As the Sun Sky surrendered to the Star Sky, I decided to carefully ponder the differences between these two vessels. An hour’s contemplation confirmed that they are an excellent metaphor for the chasm between the primitive-tribal worldview and modern-civilization. The contrasts are stark and sobering and they are a perfect illustration of the somewhat enigmatic title of this essay: “The Road to the Future Leads to the Past.”

Go to any shopping mall, anywhere on the planet, and show 50 people a photo of a cayuco and a picture of a high-speed powerboat. Then ask them this simple question: “Which of these boats will become extinct in the near future?” A huge majority will respond that the little Indio canoe will soon be gone. But I firmly believe the opposite, and hopefully I can also convince you. But before examining the future of these two types of water-craft, let’s consider how profoundly different they are in the present.

· Simplicity The cayuco has exactly one moving part – the paddle. On the other hand, the power boat has hundreds, if not thousands – all interwoven amongst mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and electronic systems.

· Health-promoting A lean, powerful human animal smoothly paddling a small boat is a universal and enduring image that can be traced back thousands and thousands of years. But an overweight, “look at me” speedboater is a phenomenon that has been around for less than a hundred years.

· Nature-friendly The self-propelled cayuco allows one to blend with nature and savor it. A motorboat with its screeching outboard engine assaults nature and scares away all of the nearby neighbors of the sea and the sky.

· Non-polluting The speedboat imposes its noise pollution on any creature in the vicinity. The exhaust from its engine spews poison into the air. And a more subtle form of pollution is the lack of bio-degradability of the fiberglass hull. The wooden cayuco will rot away fairly swiftly, but the power-boat will try to outlive the pyramids.

· Personal satisfaction Admittedly, the owner of a gaudy new power-boat will experience some ego-stroking as he pulls into his local marina. But compare that to the pride of an Indio, who has just finished carving a cayuco. Imagine the joy he feels as he admires her sturdy but elegant lines and his delight when his excited children climb in to go for their maiden voyage.

· Fossil-fuel freedom Astronomical gas prices or crippling supply interruptions are meaningless to the person in the dugout canoe. But these issues can convert that shiny pleasure boat into a money vacuum or a haunting, unused relic.

I was still contemplating fuel dependency, when I heard a shout of delight from the couple in the cayuco, who were now a hundred yards down the bay. They had caught a fish. Soon they built a fire on the beach and prepared their meal with cavemen simplicity, by cooking it on a stick bent over the flames. When it was ready they rotated it to let it cool. Then they enjoyed it by just pulling off delicious chunks of the fish with their fingers.

Watching this lovely couple enjoy their little feast in the same manner that their ancestors did 10,000 years ago, turned my ever-pensive mind to how much more complicated it would be for the chunky, drunken gringos to catch a fish and enjoy it for dinner. It would probably involve very expensive high-tech equipment and an underwater fish finder. As for the rustic campfire, it would be replaced by a propane barbeque grill. And this brought me back to that question that I posed earlier – “Which one of these boats is headed for extinction?” And this leads to the more significant interrogative, “Which one of these modes of living is headed for extinction?”


Most people today, believe that the problems our planet faces are serious, but not overwhelming. They comfort themselves by thinking that we can muddle along until some miraculous solution appears. Having carefully researched the possibility of societal collapse for many years, I vehemently disagree.

My term for the possible disasters that confront us is the Big Bad “E”s. This stands for Economy, Energy and Ecology. I could discuss these three meta-systems individually for hours, but it is their interconnectedness in today’s society which I find most troubling. Let me focus on just one – contemporary food production, or what is normally called Big Ag. It will be obvious how intertwined and precarious every aspect of modern daily life is.

In the U.S. during the Great Depression, there were still many family farms scattered throughout the nation. So when the economic collapse hit, most of the farm children who had migrated to the big cities, could return home and at least have survival food. Nowadays about 98% of agriculture is conducted on massive corporate farms, so the family farm safety valve no longer exists.

And these monolithic agribusiness tracts are entirely fossil fuel dependent. You will not find many farmers tilling their fields behind mules or scattering manure on their soil. Every step of the modern agricultural assembly line relies on fossil fuel inputs whether it is fuel for the tractors, combines and trucks or natural gas derivatives for the fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides.

Ecology also entwines itself negatively in Big Agriculture in both directions. As the climate crisis deepens there are more extreme weather events that destroy food production such as severe droughts or devastating flooding. And because factory farming is so artificial and inorganic, it contributes enormously to climate destabilization. The fuel inputs in modern, large scale agriculture are so vital that some people have observed that we actually “eat oil.” This may or not be an exaggeration, but I believe that the way I phrase it is completely accurate – “Without oil – we do not eat!”

But the young couple feasting in the firelight on their just-caught fish, are completely independent of modern food processing. Certainly, they sometimes go to town and buy a few staples and some treats, but if that was no longer available, they would still survive. But the hefty, drunken boaters are utterly dependent on their supermarket. This led me to assess the other basic elements of survival and how well-prepared the natives are.

However, before evaluating these differences, let me clarify my terminology. The couple that I describe in this story, are what I consider Fringe Indios. Their ancestors were here long before the arrival of the white people, and due to their self-reliant capabilities, they will remain after the whites are “gone.” I refer to them as “fringe” because unlike the 85 or so remaining indigenous tribes who live almost completely cut off from the modern world, these Indios exist on the fringe of it. Here’s why they are so much less vulnerable to a “real world” collapse:

· Water They have never been connected to any form of “the grid” whether it is electricity or piped-in water. They know which local streams are good for drinking and they know how to catch sky water.

· Food Besides fishing, they also are skilled at foraging the shoreline. In the surrounding jungle they know which fruits and plants are edible. They are also skilled at primitive, low-tech cultivation. Cooking is mostly done with pots and pans over open fires.

· Shelter The roofs of their homes are woven from palm trees. The only hand tools necessary for building the remainder of a house are a machete, hammer and saw. They sometimes use nails but they can also connect the timbers using twine at the joints.
· Health They haven’t completely lost the knowledge of which local plants are medicinal and their simple style of living insulates them from most of the “diseases of civilization.”

· Security The Indios have very little that a typical marauder would desire, which is their first line of defense. But should things become dangerous in spite of this, they can retreat to the deep jungle where most human predators would not follow.
The little campfire on the beach had now gone out, and I could hear the young couple splashing in the water. A few minutes later their play became quieter and more rhythmic. I sighed deeply, for it comforted me to realize that these lovely human animals were now pleasuring each other where the water meets the land…the same place from which our forebears had emerged so many millions of years ago.


Then my thoughts returned again to the drunken power-boaters who were probably sitting at a bar back in town laughing uproariously over how they had almost capsized “a couple of Indians” that afternoon. These so-called civilized beings are supposedly “my people.” Certainly I was raised in that milieu. But miraculously, down the decades I was able to separate myself from the conventional human voyage and to view it through a different lens – from the outsider, sea gypsy perspective.

But it has been profoundly disturbing to carefully observe our species. With our enormous brains which bless us with the power of self-awareness and of language and of the arts, we could have achieved so much, but instead, we have squandered these gifts so foolishly and destructively.

Rather than accepting and relishing our place in the natural order, we deceived ourselves into believing that we could rule over Nature and use it as we desired. Our hubris in this regard became so extreme that we embraced the fool’s quest for infinite growth on a finite planet.

We never achieved our higher order consciousness when it came to conflict resolution. So every century has been stained with needless blood and mutilation. We chose competition over co-operation, excess over moderation, and mindless worship of trinkets over authentic, interpersonal living.

And we let our big brain technologies seduce us. We unleashed gargantuan forces without wisely pondering the consequences. So now we are poised at the edge of the abyss. Our human intelligence and power has been so distorted and corrupted that we are on the verge of destroying our planetary support system. We are on the threshold of annihilating much of the life that exists on the one single planet amongst millions that can support life. How insane and tragic is that?


Just as my depressing ruminations began to overwhelm me, the young couple came rowing by. They nodded to me and smiled. Even though there was no moon, they glistened radiantly in the starlight. A reassuring peace came over me, for I knew that if the monstrous Leviathan of modern civilization did come tumbling down, these two lovers would survive. THEY are the road to the future that leads to the past. And perhaps on the second try, humanity will do better on that road …

Comments 88

  • From

    Japan is the country of rain and it’s quietly pushing Fukushima plant to the edge.
    After this September, Typhoons keep coming.
    Every time they have the heavy rain, the contaminated water overflows.

    Until this August, Tepco was saying it rains so heavily only once in ten years that the water overflows from the wall.

    There it is again – those once in 10/100/1000 year events happening everywhere, all the time.

  • So much gorgeous imagery and thought. Kudos! Does The Third World Point To The Future?

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #70

    Loading groceries-
    fat guy smoking in big truck
    next to me jacks off.

  • Very nice and well worth the read. I will share this!

  • re decommissioning vs dismantling…

    There is always option #3: deserting. Arnie Gundersen expects this to happen if TEPCO isn’t able to set the new world record for pickup sticks next month. If something goes wrong (cough, cough, gag!), so much radiation could be released that the workers would be evacuated (leaving no one to apply duct tape, spray firehoses, wield oven mitts, etc). Then, if Fuku has a big enough reaction and airborne release, the two downwind nuclear power plants would have to be evacuated. And so on…

  • “Which of these boats will become extinct in the near future?”

    “Which one of these modes of living is headed for extinction?”

    Both. That’s NTE.

    But miraculously, down the decades I was able to separate myself from the conventional human voyage

    I went from the 95% that uses 75% of the world’s resources to the 5% that uses 25%. No regrets looking back, but some trepidation looking ahead.

    And perhaps on the second try, humanity will do better on that road …

    Convergent evolution is a known phenomenon, but species are not recreated once extinct. If enough of the biota and environment is left to radiate new species, an intelligent species would need an adequate brain size and encephalisation quotient. Maintenance of the brain would require an adequate oxygen-carrying mechanism. Air-breathing (presuming adequate atmospheric oxygen) is a lot more efficient than aquatic respiration. An adequate oxygen-carrying mechanism, including a haemoglobin or haemocyanin or other compound (possibly again involving a tertapyrrole ring) to reversibly bind oxygen would be needed, as well as a circulatory system to carry it around. Homeothermy to sustain brain function over a wide range of ambient temperatures would be a plus.

    Although mammals have their tickets punched for all the items, it is not impossible that another class, possibly deriving from mammals, as mammals derived from reptiles) might emerge. But the story might be different if indeed only extremophiles survive.

  • A 7.3 (according to USGS) magnitude earthquake just struck 311 miles ENE of Tokyo at a depth of 34 miles. The Pacific Tsunami Center has issued a warning and VOA reports a 1-meter high tsunami could hit Fukushima coast at 02:40 local – 1340ET)…

  • Pleasure, eh? Soon many small Indios running about! No more going off to the cities to look for jobs. No more money sent home by relatives in the north. No more north! Life beneath the sheltering palms will grow harder as more & more people are catching the fish – eating the soft mangoes, catching chickens gone wild.

    I look forward to the end of engines. Just wish I could be around to see it!

  • Having spent nearly a decade sailing around Lake Michigan and then in the Bahamas and the Ft Lauderdale to Key West stretch, I can greatly appreciate the author’s tale, And the beyond obnoxious interjection of the power boaters. They embody the mindset of this destructive culture.

    I can’t count the numerous times I saw multiple scars on the backs of Manatees and Dolphins, bearing witness to those who disobeyed no wake zones and hit them with their props.

    The dichotomy of the absolute beauty and peace one finds on the open water as you come upon cans, plastics, styrofoam and oil sheens floating in what should be a pure, pristine paradise.

    As I think back, all I can do is regret that we rescued far too many of those ‘gringo’s’ when they ran into some kind of trouble. In retrospect, I think we should have just been firing a flare gun into each and every one of their fuel tanks.

  • TEPCO is evacuating!!

    More doom-porn for you NTE’ers.

  • True skepticism requires that you challenge your skepticism, and yes, of course, this means you could be chasing your skeptical tail in perpetuity, but it shouldn’t preclude you from considering the bias and prejudice of your deeply held skepticism.

    Are Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Really Over?

    9.2.2013 | by Mike Rothschild

    To paraphrase an oft-misattributed quote, pseudoscience can travel halfway around the world while good science is still putting its lab coat on. This would appear to be the case for “At the Very Least, Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over,” a hysterical blog post alleging that all fish out of the Pacific will be unsafe to eat forever because of leaking radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

    The piece was written by Gary Stamper, who runs “Collapse into Consciousness,” a website devoted to surviving the supposed coming collapse of society. It went up on August 14th, and has been reposted on numerous blogs and Facebook pages since then. It’s clear that a lot of people have read it (Stamper claims it’s gotten half a million views) and become extremely frightened. Should they be? Is there anything to Stamper’s claims of animals being burned, fish becoming inedible and thyroid cancer skyrocketing?

    The short answer is no, there isn’t. Certainly, the leak of radioactive water into the Pacific is dangerous and needs to be fixed. The situation at Fukushima started bad and hasn’t gotten much better. But it’s not the all-out disaster Stamper makes it out to be. And while Stamper can’t be written off simply because of his credentials, he makes a number of allegations that have little to no validity behind them, backed by dubious sources and unsound science. He takes information out of context, leaving in the horrors and removing the explanations that make them not so horrible. And he wanders in and out of the topic at hand, lumping things together that have nothing to do with each other.

    This is the kind of pseudoscience that demands a skeptical examination. So what does Stamper claim, and why is it wrong? Read on and find out. And if you’d like, enjoy some nice sushi-grade tuna while you do.

    One thing to note is that there are several versions of the piece floating around. Stamper substantially rewrote the later sections after commenters accused him of plagiarizing a site called “Nuclear Crimes.” For consistency’s sake, I’m going to address the version currently on Stamper’s site. The words might have changed, but the crap science remains.

    All quotes [sic], of course.

    At the Very Least, Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over

    Right off the bat, we have problems. A hyperbolic scare title designed to induce hysteria in readers is not responsible science. It’s good click-bait, but not good journalism. And while the piece might label itself as “opinion,” opinion presented as fact often takes on the appearance of fact. And fact this is not.

    The heart-breaking news from Fukushima just keeps getting worse…a LOT worse…it is, quite simply, an out-of-control flow of death and destruction.

    There’s that hyperbole again. Worthy of collapsing into a fainting couch, perhaps, but not of anything meant to be a scientific document.

    TEPCO is finally admitting that radiation has been leaking to the Pacific Ocean all along. and it’s NOT over….

    EPCO is short for Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operators of the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant. On July 22, 2013, TEPCO revealed that a large amount of water was flowing into the basements of the damaged reactors and leaking out into the Pacific – at a rate of 300 long tons per day. This was contrary to previous assertions they made that contaminated water wasn’t making its way into the open ocean.

    While TEPCO’s bungling of the situation is indefensible, what Stamper writes here is misleading. TEPCO did not admit “radiation” was leaking into the Pacific Ocean, they admitted radioactive water was leaking. It might sound like a minor difference, but it’s not.

    […] It now appears that anywhere from 300 to possibly over 450 tons of contaminated water […] is flooding into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Daichi site everyday.

    This is true. It’s exactly what TEPCO said. And it’s not good. So we should all be pulling our hair out before the radiation takes care of it, right? No, and here’s why:

    Radiation can be difficult and confusing to measure, so let’s go with the figures from TEPCO. They admitted that between 20 and 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive material had gone into the ocean since the initial incident in March, 2011. Sounds bad, right? But what does that actually mean?

    A becquerel is a unit of radioactivity that measures decays per second in the nucleus of an atom. It’s a rate of action, not a dosage. So we can’t say that a person or a fish was exposed to x number of becquerels of radiation, because that doesn’t really mean anything. And while 20-40 trillion anything sounds like a scary number, the amount of becquerels in the water leaking into the Pacific is orders of magnitude less than what was spewing from the plant after the incident, which might have been as high as 15,000 terabecquerels. By comparison, the water leak has dumped around 7.2 terabecquerels total into the Pacific since the incident.

    It’s also a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to the entire Pacific Ocean, which is roughly 187 quintillion gallons in volume and will quickly dilute the water in question. While hundreds of tons and trillions of becquerels sounds like a lot, this is simply not enough water to have any kind of lasting effect on the health of either the Pacific Ocean or the fish in it.

    To give you an idea of how bad that actually is, Japanese experts estimate Fukushima’s fallout at 20-30 times as high as as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in 1945

    At this point, Stamper has simply started talking about something else. Fallout from a nuclear explosion is not at all the same thing as leaking radioactive water. It’s not even the same thing as fallout from a nuclear event, which is what Fukushima is considered. The only event that Fukushima can be compared to is the Chernobyl meltdown, and by every comparable measure, Chernobyl was much worse.

    Comparing the Fukushima incident to the atomic bombings is lazy, simplistic and simply designed to scare people by tying an event which caused extraordinary death and destruction to one that did not.

    There’s a lot you’re not being told. Oh, the information is out there, but you have to dig pretty deep to find it, and you won’t find it on the corporate-owned evening news.

    Ah yes. When in doubt, blame the “mainstream media.” So what are “they” not telling you?

    ◦An MSNBC article in April of 2012 reported that seals and polar bears were found to have “external maladies” that consisted of fur loss and open sores, obvious signs of radiation burns from the Fukushima meltdown, despite the conclusions of the article.

    The article Stamper links to specifically says “Reuters noted that preliminary studies do not support a theory that the disease is due to contamination from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.” Stamper offers no proof that the article is wrong, other than him saying it’s wrong.

    ◦Fukushima radiation appears to be causing an epidemic of dead and starving Sea Lions in California and the FDA has refused to test for radiation

    Given that the radiation plume from the Fukushima water leak has not reached the West Coast, this is literally impossible. Any radiation from the initial incident would be far too weak to do this kind of damage – which is why the NOAA isn’t looking at it as a cause of the sea lion epidemic in California and Oregon.

    ◦Update: Huffington Post reports that the reactors used “dirty fuel,” a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX), which means we can never return to this place again. This comes from a Russian nuclear physicist who is an expert on the kinds of gasses being released at Fukushima.

    MOX is not “dirty fuel.” It’s uranium oxide with a small amount of plutonium in it. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, “[D]ue to […] the relatively small differences between the radionuclide content of MOX and low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, the use of MOX fuel did not have a significant impact on the offsite releases of radioactivity.” And the bit about the Russian physicist is simply appealing to authority. Pay it no mind.

    ◦.Almost a third more US West Coast newborns may face thyroid problems after Fukushima nuclear disaster

    This absurd claim is the finding of a study by the Radiation and Public Health Project, a New York-based anti-nuclear power research group. They use dubious methodology to tie a slight increase in hypothyroidism in certain Western states to exposure to iodine-131 from Fukushima – despite the fact that, again, the radiation plume from the water leak hasn’t reached the US. Also, iodine-131 has a half-life of only eight days, meaning none will reach the US anyway.

    ◦Contaminated water from Fukushima reactors could double radioactivity levels of US coastal waters in 5 years — “We were surprised at how quickly the tracer spread”

    The quote is from Claus Boning, a researcher at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. And while Boning and his colleagues did find what Stamper alleges, Stamper leaves out the part of the study that contextualizes the findings: “While this may sound alarming, these [becquerel] levels are still lower than those permitted for drinking water.” The radioactivity level of US coastal waters will increase – from miniscule to slightly less miniscule. Then it will decrease again, as the cesium decays.

    So yes, the “corporate-owned evening news” is not telling you any of this. Because it’s wrong.

    The quote is from Claus Boning, a researcher at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. And while Boning and his colleagues did find what Stamper alleges, Stamper leaves out the part of the study that contextualizes the findings: “While this may sound alarming, these [becquerel] levels are still lower than those permitted for drinking water.” The radioactivity level of US coastal waters will increase – from miniscule to slightly less miniscule. Then it will decrease again, as the cesium decays.

    Video (See link to article above))

    above: German Scientists have calculated the dispersion of Cs-137 in the Pacific Ocean

    Here’s where Stamper’s lack of scientific rigor shows. In his original post, he used a map from the National Oceanic and and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to illustrate the severity of the radiation that would reach the US. Except the map had nothing whatsoever to do with radiation. It’s a map of wave heights after the tsunami that followed the 2011 earthquake. But being totally wrong about something has never stopped people from being terrified of it. This image, devoid of context, spread so quickly around the internet in 2011 that Snopes devoted an entry to explaining what the picture actually is.

    After being corrected by commenters, Stamper replaced the picture with the video above, illustrating the findings of the Helmholtz Centre cesium study. But the version Stamper posted omits the voiceover from the researcher (no doubt a paid shill for Big Cesium) explaining what it actually means and replaces it with ominous music – then silence. Devoid of context, it looks like a spreading plume of red death. Which it is not. This is the actual video from the Helmoltz Centre study, minus the Tubular Bells-esque horror:

    Video (See link to article above)

    WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE PACIFIC OCEAN FOOD CHAIN? – May 2013 – Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology […] have detected radioactive cesium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in plankton collected from all 10 points in the Pacific they checked, with the highest levels at around 25 degrees north latitude and 150 degrees west longitude. […]

    Another misleading, out-of-context study. Japanese researchers did indeed find higher levels of cesium in plankton from around the leak site. This is to be expected. But the highest concentration found was 10.5 becquerels per kilogram – which is far lower than the newly toughened Japanese standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram for general foodstuffs. “Higher” does not mean “so high it will kill you and everyone you love.”

    A WARNING TO SEAFOOD LOVERS EVERYWHERE – Scientists previously reported higher-than-expected concentrations of radiation in fish off Japan.

    Yes, fish from around Fukushima do have a much higher than permitted becquerel level. This is why Japan has banned the sale of fish from this area. But on the West Coast of the US, only Pacific Bluefin tuna have been found to have any kind of radiation increase – and only in trivial amounts, far lower than the radiation that naturally occurs in potassium rich foods like bananas.

    Now there are calls for testing of seafood sold in the U.S. Although contaminated air, rainfall and even radioactive debris from Japan have drifted toward the U.S. West Coast since the disaster occurred 2 1/2 years ago, scientists are unclear about how the contaminated waters could impact the health of Americans, and while scientists say that 300 tons of contaminate water is diluted in the Pacific, no one knows how long that’s been going during those 2 1/2 years as we also now know TEPCO has been lying all along.

    This sentence is so long and rambling that I can’t actually tell what it’s trying to say. Radiation from the initial leak reached the US a few days after the incident, but it was so weak that it couldn’t possibly have had any kind of effect. The same will be true of the radiation from the water leak. The length of time the leak has been going on simply is irrelevant. The Pacific will dilute the radioactivity in the water to the point of being harmless.

    Nuclear experts are calling on the U.S. government to test West Coast waters and Pacific seafood sold in the U.S. in the wake of Japan’s alarming admission about an ongoing radiation leak, something the EPA and the FDA have so far refused to do, as they are only testing imported fish, not wild-caught. WHY?

    Completely false. The FDA was testing wild-caught fish in the aftermath of the incident. They tested 1313 samples, 1312 of which had no increase in radioactivity. One did, but it was still below the acceptable threshold. So they stopped testing.

    The only way to protect your children and grandchildren is by NOT EATING SEAFOOD from the Pacific Ocean until we have better information.

    We have the information we need, and it all points to one thing: Pacific Ocean fish being perfectly safe.

    Source.Information posted at the website of heThe Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California recommends not buying any fish from the Pacific Ocean or western states, including Baja.

    Stamper links here not to the official website of the University of California at Berkeley, but an anonymous message board post from someone connected to Berkeley who won’t buy anymore Pacific Ocean fish. Which is completely their right, but it should not be mistaken as properly vetted scientific information.


    The rest of the piece is a long, rambling Gish Gallop of random information, out-of-context links, opinion and anti-technology haranguing. Most of it has little or nothing to do with the topic at hand. Feel free to read it, but it’s only going to make your brain hurt.

    Obviously, the situation at Fukushima is distressing, and not at all something that should be shrugged off. But compounding it with scaremongering about our food supply does nothing productive for anyone. Whether or not you continue to eat fish from the Pacific Ocean is entirely up to you. But I urge you to make that decision based on sound scientific research and testable claims, not hysterical screeds backed by supposition and fear.

  • Dear Atsuko, why are you here? Are you trying to prove that things are good?

    Just answer this question; are things good or are they really bad?

    Everyone here knows things are really bad. Really, really bad.

    If you don’t see that, that is not a surprise but please educate your self by going out into the real world or even by reading what scientists, scholars, and average citizens know and are all saying in chorus. This is not alarmist propaganda, it is reality and some of us are waking up, and some are panicking in various degrees to the reality that is upon us. Sure panic won’t help but it is an understandable reaction. You come across as uneducated, but I think you are scared. This is a safe place to work that out, but only virtually so and still developing it’s safety standards ;-)

  • Since the three sisters appear to be no longer posting (an obvious decision once one reaches full enlightenment), I will channel them to dissect a slight re-phrasing of this particular question:

    Ask them this simple question: “Which of these boats ** would you like to have **?”

    Well, we all know the answer, now don’t we? Whether you fall in the deterministic/2LT camp, or believe, like Jeff S and a host of others, that the “evil” corporations trained people to become avid consumers, the answer will be the same: I want the fast, powerful, shiny boat!

    The same type of choice works with my dog. If I hold up a stick or a bouncing ball, he’s gonna jump with excitement in anticipation of going after the one with lots of action ie the ball.

    Hell, even our 3 chickens make the same kind of affirmative choice. If I throw down both scratch and sunflower seeds, they will immediately make a bee line towards the seeds, cackling amongst themselves while quickly pecking every morsel before turning, if at all, towards the scratch.

    I know deep thoughts about how “society sucks” drives a lot of angst within the weeper crowd. However, if one were to simply step back and realize that we’re just fish going after a shiny lure, then I believe some comfort might be found in understanding how & why we got to this particular place in time.

    If we were born 100 years ago, this end-point would be nothing more than theoretical conjecture. But we’re here, right now; we got the prize – someone had to be witness to the unavoidable end-point.

  • Atsuko Says:

    “True skepticism requires that you challenge your skepticism, and yes, of course, this means you could be chasing your skeptical tail in perpetuity, but it shouldn’t preclude you from considering the bias and prejudice of your deeply held skepticism.”

    I heard of the legendary foobird who flew in ever tighter circle until he finally flew up his own ass and disappeared.

    Is that what you mean?

  • I got the following from some sort of edited blog…the quote said to be “from Wikipedia.”

    “Modern is the culture of science and technology; it offers nations, constitutional governments, improved medical care, sanitation, media, popular arts, status, wealth, transportation, finance, the sensation of speed, comfort, instant communications, leisure … at least eight intercontinental wars, death camps, mass deportations, epidemics, overpopulation, colonialism, banality, finance bubbles, mass delusions and … all-out assault on natural systems, nuclear weapons and resource exhaustion … Modern is the culture of how to scientifically kill things.”

  • @Atsuko — I, too, am curious about the science of oceanic radiation spread, as compared with atmospheric injection and dispersal by wind currents.

    You started out to debunk an article by Gary Stamper, and ended up debunking yourself, with the pissy attitude you displayed throughout.

    I withstood it for awhile, and I would have then liked to skim through, quickly enough to get to your points on which we share curiosity, but your ARTICLE was simply unreadable. However, I was able to save considerable time in my evening by stopping reading the rest of it. Thank you.

    You could have stated Gary’s thesis in one paragraph, and then presented your own salient points about the science you value below it, but somehow, I think communication about science is not your priority.

    Anytime we waste bashing other personalities is time lost from learning how to live well in the rest of our lives on this beautiful Earth.

  • I wonder if Aventura is a fiberglass hulled boat, has nylon lines, dacron sails, aluminum and stainless fittings, electronics, a battery or two along with a generator, and an inboard engine? Need I say more?

  • Anthony,

    No, you needn’t say more.

    That’s because with your two sentences you have proven that you completely missed the point of the essay. The next to last sentence says “THEY are the road to the future that leads to the past.” It refers to the Indio couple in the wooden cayuco, not to me in my fiberglass boat. I am merely the neutral observer contrasting the tribal, primitive worldview with the modern, “civilized” worldview.

    Normally, I would not respond to a comment like yours, but because it so totally distorted my message, I could not let it pass.

    Ray Jason

  • @Atsuko-
    hhmmm…me thinks you can’t see the forest for the trees. As in the web of life, the interconnectedness of everything, which this lovely essay talks about; like a knitted sweater-just pull at one loose thread and the whole thing unravels. Yes, Fukushima may or may not be THE deciding factor, but what about all the rest? Climate chaos, weather whiplash, peak oil, dwindling fresh water, pollution of water by industry, loss of forests, soil erosion, desertification, melting permafrost, air pollution, bioaccumulation of chemicals, antibiotic resistant superbugs…well, you get the picture, and that doesn’t even include the world economies and how they are woven together and propped up.

    But sometimes to see the bigger picture, you actually have to get out and observe what you can see, hear, and feel with your own senses, rather than parsing some unscientific blog on some other blog. This sight is full of what I like to refer to as ‘watchers’, people from all around the world keeping an eye on things. If you follow some of the conversations, people often give reports on what is going on in their neck of the woods- how the garden is doing, how the trees look, how there may be fewer songbirds, frogs, bees, butterflies, bizarre weather events- in my area we went from flooding- to worst level drought-to record unseasonal blizzards, two in April and one in October.

    Just look at that lazy jet stream! Notice how SLOW the weather moves, how much rain one parked system can dump. We never get a nice drizzle, always a hydrologic event. What about the fires, the burning tundra? Loss of biodiversity, warming arctic oceans…you can’t just take one variable out of the equation and expect to debunk the whole enchilada, that is messy math! Oh, and welcome. That is all.

    @B9K9- I want the fast, powerful, shiny boat!

    WRONG!! The sophisticated and intelligent adult human has the ability to deduce that the fast, powerful, shiny boat would then require one to purchase a boat trailer, a half-ton pick-up to pull the whole operation to the water, somewhere to park all of it while not in use, lots of gasoline, a boat cover, possible boater education certification and operator licensing, etc, etc, etc. I’ll take the canoe, please.

    You are right, though, that the ‘three sisters’ are missing, and missed. Kathy C was the grounding voice of this blog’s commentary, and Erin’s voice was just like a sledgehammer to the face, and I mean that in a good way. Maybe they have simply prioritized and moved on, allowing room for triage of others suffering from NTE Derangement Syndrome.

    Oh, and don’t mind us ‘weepers’, we simply find it uncouth to laugh uncontrollably at funerals, this one being for the natural world. It just sort of sneaks up on you, even when you have steeled yourself against the decay. Or it could just be the heightened solar-flare activity and mercury in retrograde…

  • mr. ray jason (your name just brought to mind this: ) i love your writing. it’s quality reminds me of another pretty good word artist who had several past guest essays published on this blog named john rember. this essay and your initial ‘sea gypsy/ essay, loved ’em both, as well as a few others from your blog that i read.

    i surreally envy your sea gypsy life as described. seems about as good a way to live as any, and far better than most. i like the relative freedom/security such mobility gives, and respect the skills/expertise/experience/confidence required to successfully pursue this path. lots more adventure and less boredom, i imagine. u’re lucky, as are the young lovers u wrote of. i agree that the simple life is much more sustainable/durable, and will likely outlast civilized living. the question though is by how much? to what extent will the collapse of industrialization, sure to be horrific, affect life in the quiet backwaters of civilization’s fringes, and how quickly? if there is nuclear war, or if a great many nuclear power plants become sites of extreme radiation emissions as a result of collapse, paradise is lost, everywhere. not to mention climate change and ecosystem collapse. point is, it seems likely that as civilization goes down a lot else is going down with it and probably not long after. carpe diem, for the future is grim. and please, keep writing and sharing your gifts/adventures with us, as we commiserate.

    atsuko, thanks for the post with link re. the hysterical scare article claiming the whole damned pacific ocean has been contaminated with dangerous radiation levels. it’s a shame there’s so much junk ‘doomer’ science around, which along with the usual hysterical dogmatic religious ‘doomer’ claims, give all ‘doomer’ claims a bad name by association. as in anything, the devil’s in the details. bottom line: extraordinary claims require extraordinary checking out as to their veracity/soundness.

  • Thursday, October 24, 2013

    Epic Methane Releases from East Siberian Arctic Shelf

    This is epic! Keep watching the Laptev and East Siberian Sea. This is a very dangerous place for methane to come up. Huge amounts of methane hydrates are stored below. They have been frozen there safely for over 10,000 years.

    We are witnessing the thawing and large release of methane from this area for the first time in over 10,000 years. The fear is that at a critical point there may be a catastrophic sudden burst of methane from this area. This would more than likely trigger runaway global warming.

    We could be watching the beginnings of this. If the red on the 1750 ppb and the yellow on the 1950 ppb setting on the keeps spreading and intensifies, we are watching it happen. I hope this is an anomaly and these areas return to little or no activity.


    Between Fukushima on the verge of catastrophic collapse and the Arctic melting (not to mention the Antarctic which is also heating up)
    and causing trapped methane and other toxic and flammable gases to “fizz out” into the atmosphere, adding to the warming problem – is it any wonder people who actually see what’s going on and measure the changes in real time are concerned and worried? Shouldn’t we all be?

  • This is for Paul, ulvfugl and others (like myself) who find this stuff interesting:

    Quantum Experiment Shows How Time ‘Emerges’ from Entanglement

    Time is an emergent phenomenon that is a side effect of quantum entanglement, say physicists. And they have the first experimental results to prove it

    check it out if you’re interested

  • @ Tom

    Thanks for that, Tom, I’d seen it already, very cool, but I hadn’t visited Arctic News yet today so you were ahead of me, and THAT is scary as HELL.

    If it is what it looks like, and maybe it’s a little too soon to be certain, but if it is, then there’s a hell of a lot of ‘scientists’ on Real Climate, and Skeptical Science and elsewhere who should be hanging their heads in shame and offering grovelling public apologies to certain people whose names we are familiar with here.

    Not that I expect it to happen, not that it would do any good, because if that methane does start coming out fast, if I remember correctly, just 1% of what is calculated to be there will double the CO2 in the atmosphere, roughly meaning we could get a 2 deg C average global temp increase in a YEAR, sort of thing, all depending how much methane comes out and how quickly.

    Could be that vast amounts come out and don’t stop, not 1% but, say, 10%, and we could be seeing 10 deg C average global temp over next ten years. Basically, we’re all out of here, along with everything else except jellyfish, ants, cockroaches, bacteria…

    That is what all the fuss was about a couple of months back.

    But of course, all we heard from the mainstream scientists and the mainstream media was ‘couldn’t possibly happen, nothing to worry about’ and only a few thousand people actually even noticed and paid attention. You could tell by the viewing numbers on the relevant youtube videos, if they are to be trusted.

    Point is, what we MAY be seeing, is the beginning of that horror.

    It’s what was predicted. If it IS happening, we are all fucked, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

    All we can hope is that next week or month it all settles down and shows no more methane there. But is that likely ? The presence of those raised levels produces local warming.

    Like I’ve been trying to explain, re the horse race metaphor, what we have THIS morning, the Methane horse has galloped into the lead, just ahead of the Fukushima horse… still quite a way to go though…

    Keep smiling everybody !

    By the way, these, erm, horses, they are the Horsemen of the Apocalypse’s horses, but they’ve been breeding. There’s a huge herd of the fuckers, none of them are nice…

  • For anyone interested, here’s some technical detail of the area of concern, that zooms in on the source of that methane. It’s a little dated, there’s other more recent studies, but for anyone who wants to get acquainted with what’s actually occurring there, it is essential background info.

    You can see from these photos what has happened to the ice cover

    The ice cover has been protecting the sea floor for 10000 years. So the sea floor has been around 0 deg C all that time. So the sea bed, which is mostly just mud, has been frozen solid.

    Before, it was land. It was permafrost, just like on the adjacent land in N. Siberia now. When the glaciers melted, the sea level rose and flooded that huge plain, which is now called the East Siberian Arctic Sea.

    The water is very shallow. The sea bed, the mud, has remained frozen all this time, and underneath it are frozen methane clathrates, kept solid by cold and pressure. Underneath them is free methane gas, because its warmer deeper down, from geo thermal heat rising up from the Earth’s core.

    The only thing that keeps all that methane there, is the frozen mud. Now that the ice is melting, the sea water warms up. Instead of being near O deg C all year around it’s now something like 7 deg C.

    The lack of ice means the wind can stir up the shallow water and mix the warm surface water right down to the bottom. Also, the huge Siberian rivers are much warmer, bringing warm fresh water into that area.

    So, the sea bed thaws out, the methane comes out. Isn’t this fairly obvious and simple to comprehend ?

    Only the world ‘expert’ David Archer, who writes joint papers with Exxon’s chief scientist, and Gavin Schmidt of Real Climate, considered amongst the great climate modellers, both of whom have never been to the ESAS, could not understand this, and claimed it was highly unlikely, and suggested that the world experts on that area who wrote that paper and have visited ESAS every year for 15 years, drilling and sampling, must have got it all wrong.

    In fact, the list of voices claiming that this methane bomb couldn’t ever happen, voices coming from all quarters, has been a fascinating study in it’s own right. Who the fuck are all these people and what motivates them ? One might well ask.

    The terrifying part is the quantity of methane estimated to be there which is absolutely staggering.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #71

    Red carpet fool throws
    himself overboard, into
    the wild sea of heart.

  • It appears the Fukushima nuclear incident is being overplayed by the alternative media. The alternative media plays bad cop to the mainstream media’s good cop. This way, they’ve got you coming and going. The big question is why? Certainly, generally speaking, it’s about control of reality perception but to what end? Or is there an end? Is it just about the means with no focus on any kind of end?

    Tokyo has greatly overestimated Fukushima resident’s exposures

    April 20, 2013

    A team at Tokyo University’s Science Research Dept. reports that Fukushima resident’s exposures due to ingestion since October, 2011, have been negligible. In addition, the results indicate that previous official exposure assessments for the prefecture’s most contaminated communities have been greatly over-estimated. Unfortunately, the Japanese Press has refrained from covering this good news.

    This is believed to be the first study of its kind relative to the Fukushima accident. Team leader Dr. Ryugo Hayano says, “Findings suggest that the level of internal radiation exposure brought about by pollution from the soil within the Fukushima Prefecture is much less than originally believed. The amount is so negligible that it is difficult to imagine there being any risk to the health.” Hayano’s group found that nearly 120,000 Fukushima residents were given sensitive Whole Body Counter scans between March 2011 and November 2012. 99.9% show an internal exposure of less than 1 millisievert, which is the national standard. All of those above the criterion were examined before May, 2011, with the majority of positive results occurring in March of that year. Since then, thousands have been reexamined and found to have no detectible radioactive Cesium in their systems. This includes the more than 1,000 students who were tested at Miharamachi elementary school, 50 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi.

    Up to this point, residential exposure estimates were created out of worst-case, upper limit ingestion assumptions, but did not use any actual data. Hayano’s team used only actual data, and their findings were stunning. First, of course, were the results of a comprehensive study of the Whole Body Count outcomes, mentioned above. When he actual numbers were much lower than expected, they wanted to know why. Ministry of Health records contain over 40,000 radiological analyses on foodstuffs since 3/11/11. 10% failed Tokyo’s exceedingly restrictive limit of 100 Becquerels per kilogram. However, only 2% of the failed foods were over the health standard. In other words, only a tiny fraction of each specific food banned for distribution actually had contamination levels above 100 Bq/kg. 98% of the volume was below the limit. This strongly indicates that the actual ingestion of radioactive Cesium has been many times lower than prior government estimates.

    In addition, the report contradicts the exposure estimates for communities that have the higher levels of soil contamination outside the government-mandated exclusion zone. 10,000 of the people tested live in locations reported to have more than 100,000 Bq/m2. Only 4.7% showed detectible Cesium radioactivity in March 2011. Only 1% of those re-tested since then have detectible Cesium in their systems. After August 2012, no children have shown even a trace of internal contamination. The team believes the lower than expected exposure levels are because residents have been keenly aware of the foods they buy, and also because food restrictions began almost immediately after the first week of the crisis at F. Daiichi. Professor Hayano says, “Results have shown that even the minority of people whose radiation exposure was high can reduce or eliminate exposure through regular health monitoring and avoiding contaminated food.”

    Even with all this good news, the research team wanted to know more; where did the original, flawed exposure estimates come from? They feel it has to do with a line of thought prominent after the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Exposures were assumed to be proportional to soil contamination levels, similar to what was the case with the Chernobyl-area population. At Chernobyl, food restrictions were not put in place until weeks after the accident, plus contamination was much-more wide-spread and the concentrations much higher than around F. Daiichi. When these Chernobyl-based assumptions were applied to a community like Koriyama, which had many areas above 100,000 Bq/m2, it was estimated that the population’s Cesium intake would result in a 5 mSv/yr exposure. This was assuming that the population was consuming the banned foodstuffs at a rate similar to their ingestion before the Fukushima accident. However, the actual levels of intake were considerably less and the resulting exposures more than 5 times lower than the long-standing official estimates. It also suggests that a majority of food products from areas of higher soil contamination were not as contaminated as first thought. Again, the previous estimates for contamination up-takes from the soil were centered on Chernobyl-based assumptions that no longer seem to be valid for Fukushima.

    Dr. Hayano believes that the team’s findings ought to ease the public’s deep-rooted fear of radiation, and dispel negative rumors about Fukushima, its foods and its people. However, it does not appear the Japanese public will know of this good news because their politicians and popular press are not telling anyone. The politicians are probably remaining mum because it would seem they have been needlessly frightening hundreds of thousands of Fukushima residents, and tens of thousands of evacuees could have safely returned home a long time ago. Tokyo should tell those who can safely go home to “go home”, and be done with it. The Press is probably remaining silent because this extremely good news conflicts with their publically-admitted antinuclear agenda. But, it seems Japan’s news media only wants to keep the radiophobic demographic cowering in fear.

  • We are witnessing the thawing and large release of methane from this area for the first time in over 10,000 years.

    The thawing of frozen archaeal farts.

    I hope this is an anomaly and these areas return to little or no activity.

    As they say in Medicine, all bleeding stops. So too will the methane release: the deposits, no matter how many umpteen gigatons, are finite. It’s not whether the methane release stops, it’s when.

    concerned and worried? Shouldn’t we all be?


  • re: “The road to the future leads to the past,” an excerpt from ‘Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia,’ by Rob Brezsny


    Beauty and Truth Lab researcher Artemisia had just begun menstruating, and was suffering from debilitating cramps. Massive doses of ibuprofen were not relieving the distress, so she went to her regular acupuncturist, Dr. Lily Ming, to get relief.

    Dr. Ming had Artemisia lie down on the table and proceeded to insert 10 needles in her belly and hand and ear. Then Dr. Ming introduced a treatment that Artemisia was unfamiliar with: She lightly pounded the nail of Artemisia’s left big toe with a small silver hammer for a few minutes.

    “Why are you doing that?” Artemisia asked.

    “It is good for the uterus,” the doctor replied.

    Indeed, Artemisia’s cramps diminished as the doctor thumped, and in the days to come they did not recur.

    After the session, as Artemisia prepared to leave, the usually taciturn Ming started up a conversation. Artemisia was surprised, but listened attentively as Dr. Ming made a series of revelations. The most surprising was Dr. Ming’s description of a traumatic event from her own childhood.

    During the military occupation of her native Manchuria, a province of China, she was forced to witness Japanese soldiers torturing people she loved. Their primary atrocity was using hammers to drive bamboo shoots through their victims’ big toes.

    The moral of the story: Dr. Ming has accomplished the heroic feat of reversing the meaning of her most traumatic imprint. She has turned a symbol of pain into a symbol of healing.

  • You all make excellent points from different angles. For me, this indicates that the changes we need to make in order for human life to continue into the distant future need to be fundamental, deeply transformative, and globally effective. The key to engendering this kind of change agent is to transform the way persons consider their world and themselves. What is the primary goal of my life on Earth at this time? What are the best ways to accomplish that aim? How each of us answers these questions will determine whether our activities will enhance the possibility of an extended happy future for humans, or contribute to our near term extinction. How our culture answers these fundamental questions is to a large extent what will determine our mutual relations to be either peaceful and cooperative or warlike and competitive.

    Myths need to be properly interpreted. The Garden of Eden really refers to humankind living more or less as the other animals. That this state was paradisiacal can only be understood in comparison to what was to befall us when a little knowledge gave us more power than any other beings on Earth. What happened was more or less inevitable: we misused our powers and headed down the road to self-destruction. Only much later in our historical development would some of us acquire the insight necessary to reverse this disastrous trend line. Whether we can do this at this point depends on our willingness to see our errors and make the difficult decisions necessary to correct our course. Given the powerful addictive forces that are controlling the majority of humankind, the future looks very dark unless we can wake up to our drunken spree and do those things necessary to recover our sanity. The odds are much against our doing this, but the possibility cannot be ruled out.

    Addiction is an inability to change a course of action which is dysfunctional. Modern society is replete with such problems. Living much more simply is an obvious solution to many of our problems, but we are showing little evidence of realizing this, much less doing the hard inner work to accomplish it.

  • the changes we need to make in order for human life to continue into the distant future

    The presumption there is that there is no imminent NTE. With NTE, changes can still be salutary, but there should be no expectation that any or all of them may help avert NTE. The changes are to be framed in terms of minimising suffering en route to NTE.

    What is the primary goal of my life on Earth at this time?

    The same as the goal of kittens or puppies playing. Only in this case, it is the Divine Play, in which the Playwright has included all the play of all kittens and all puppies as so many subplots.

    To become the “witness” to the continued movement of all parts of the world including the mind-body complex in accordance with conditions, properties and propensities, without the slightest sense of agency that “I am the doer”. That last bit mightn’t be easy for most. Yet there are ways to get there. To the rare realised person, it may be the most obvious.

  • @ mike k

    …but we are showing little evidence of realizing this, much less doing the hard inner work to accomplish it.

    Oh dear. Yet another advocate of ‘hard inner work’. Fucking puritan zealotry to keep the priests and gurus busy and important. You were the guy who was selling us the Exxon/Koch propaganda, word for word, a few days ago. So much for all your hard inner work.

    I must say, that given the choice, I opt for Datta’s playing kittens and puppies

    That said, I really think advaita is pretty horrible, dehumanising, who the heck wants to be a meant robot amongst meat robots. I’m a human being.

    “I am officially no longer an ‘Advaita teacher’ or ‘Nonduality teacher’ – if, indeed, I ever was one. Life cannot be put into words, and however beautiful the words of Advaita/Nonduality are, they must be discarded in the end. I could never claim to be any sort of authority on this stuff. I will continue to speak, to sing my song to those who are open to listening, but gone is the need to adhere to any tradition, to use ‘Advaita-speak’ to avoid real, authentic human engagement, to pretend that I am in any way more or less special than you, to kid you that I know more than you, to play the ‘teacher’ by refusing to meet you in the play, to stop listening to you because I see you as ‘still stuck in the dream’ or ‘still a person’. This message is about love, in the true sense of the word – otherwise it is simply nihilism masquerading as freedom. The ‘Advaita Police’ reply ‘Who cares?’ I say I do. I do.”

    @ Robin Datta

    That last bit mightn’t be easy for most. Yet there are ways to get there. To the rare realised person, it may be the most obvious.

    The implication being that you yourself are one of those rare realised persons ? Or that you’ve heard about this, second hand ? You never make this clear.

    Or where it is that ‘there’ is, for that matter. Always obfuscation. Never open to questions. Never clear honest answers.


    Fukushima nuclear plant operators prepare for dangerous procedure

    … (Tepco) need to remove 1,533 rods … 18-month project is due to start in early November … Tepco says the building surrounding the reactor has been reinforced and a crane has been constructed that will be used to lift the rods from the pool … strengthening the tolerance of the storage pool by reinforcing the bottom, monitoring the building to make sure that it is not tilting, conducting visual checks for any hazards and carrying out inspections of the integrity of the building four times a year … Charles Perrow, a professor emeritus at Yale University [says] … Conditions in the unit 4 pool, 100 feet from the ground, are perilous, and if any two of the rods touch it could cause a nuclear reaction that would be uncontrollable … The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas including Tokyo … Because of the radiation at the site the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years …

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Very sorry to hear the three sisters are no longer broadcasting here.

    Is that some kind of inverse on a NTE site of the fat lady singing sort of thing.

    Anyone read and got comments on the book: “Not in His Image” by John Lamb Lash ?

    ulvfugl, have you read it, and have you a view on it ?

    Been doing community work, so been silent for a while, and will probably be so for the rest of the NTE emergency.


  • I like to call it the ‘just wrong’ stage of civilisation.. Who knows when it started? Hopefully we are all familiar with the experience of getting something ‘just right’. ‘Just wrong’ is the polarity of that sensation. Seems that civilisations reach a point where every decision that can be made, collectively or individually, is so ‘just wrong’ that it beggars belief. It almost seems like willful idiocy. It is disconcerting at first, but eventually you just accept it, and it becomes laughable and predictable- ‘What is the worst possible decision in this situation? OK, let’s do that, make sure every serf has to comply with our diktats, and reward ourselves handsomely for our sagacity into the bargain’

    Somebody somewhere is working out how to sell those Indios a speedboat, or failing that, a high-powered router to dig out their cayucos with maximum ‘efficiency’ in (what’s left of) the future….

  • Add an ecological planetary state tipping point, which is unknown except in retrospect, to extreme weather related food shortages and to nuclear plants in trouble. The food shortages will be first, the mass extinction tipping point is second ( which is irreversible and unstoppable once started ) and the actual temperature and sea level rises will get us last, but we gonna git got 3 ways to Sunday.

  • @ Ozman

    I listened to half of a talk by Lash. ‘Gnostic Sabotage’. Sorry, really not my thing. ‘Inter-species predators’ ?. I think there’s a bit of a problem, like the Archdruid, when people claim to represent ancient traditions that have long ago died out and been lost. There is no authentic living connection to the ancient Greek Mysteries, afaik, any more than there is to the original druids, there’s just all sorts of fragments. Not saying he’s good or bad, or passing judgement, just not sufficiently interesting for me to spend time going further.

    Community work ?

    Afaik, Kathy C. was taking a break because she was sick of the hopium here from certain people, Erin, I don’t know, Gail has been very busy elsewhere.

    Easy to see why Gail and Orlov might have some discordance when they hold fundamentally different views on the basic essence of human nature.

    Gail likes the neo-liberal, right-wing genetic determinists like Dawkins, for example. He’s the inheritor of a large country estate, that his ancestors got from the wealth they accrued from the slave trade. His organisation’s logo is indistinguishable from that of the Greek Golden Dawn, which is a hard fascist bunch of nazi thugs who murder people with views like mine, in cold blood, just for holding views like mine.

    If you listen to Robert Sapolsky, whom I like, Dawkin’s genetic determinism is completely irrelevant to our human behaviour.

    Gail thinks that all humans are and always have been, like modern day Americans, greedy, selfish, acquisitive, competitive, individualistic materialists, ignoring evidence from, say, Sorenson and Wade Davis.

    Which doesn’t sit too well with Orlov’s description of the Australian Aborigines in his recent blog post:

    When Captain James Cook landed on the shore of Western Australia, he was the first white man to encounter aboriginal Australians, who had up to that point persisted in perfect isolation for something like 40.000 years. (They arrived in Australia at about the same time as the Cromagnons displaced the Neanderthals in Europe.) They spoke a myriad different languages and dialects, having no opportunity and no use for any sort of unity. They wore no clothes and used tiny makeshift huts for shelter. They had few tools beyond a digging stick for finding edible roots and a gig for catching fish. They had no hoards or stockpiles, and did not keep even the most basic supplies from one day to the next. They had little regard for material objects of any sort, were not interested in trade, and while they accepted clothes and other items they were given as presents, they threw them away as soon as Cook and his crew were out of sight.

    They were, Cook noted in his journal, entirely inoffensive. But a few actions of Cook’s men did enrage them. They were scandalized by the sight of birds being caught and placed in cages, and demanded their immediate release. Imprisoning anyone, animal or person, was to them taboo. They were even more incensed when they saw Cook’s men catch not just one, but several turtles. Turtles are slow-breeding, and it is easy to wipe out their local population by indiscriminate poaching, which is why they only allowed the turtles to be taken one at a time, and only by a specially designated person who bore responsibility for the turtles’ welfare.

    Cook thought them primitive, but he was ignorant of their situation. Knowing what we know, they seem quite advanced. Living on a huge but arid and mostly barren island with few native agriculturally useful plants and no domesticable animals, they understood that their survival was strictly by the grace of the surrounding natural realm. To them, the birds and the turtles were more important than they were, because these animals could survive without them, but they could not survive without these animals.

    Gail also makes the point that hunter gatherers ate all the megafauna, which does not fit with the fact that the megafauna survived in Africa up until modern times. The picture is just not nearly so simple, imo.
    Why havn’t the Africans eaten all the zebras, wildebeestes and elephants to extinction over the last several hundred thousand years ?

    Co-evolution ? Bullshit,. ‘Big dumb animals’ ? Bullshit. That’s grossly insulting to the animals that are smart enough to have survived for millions of years, smart as horses, smart as dogs. They learn in a single day if something nasty tries to kill them, and they do not forget. The hunters were very few, the numbers of animals, e.g. mammoths, were enormous, like the N. American buffalo herds.

    I agree with Gail that we get NTE, and I admire her work re the trees tremendously, + 100%, just have fundamental disagreements over how and why we got here, and cannot comprehend why she cites establishment shills who support the system that is killing us all, to make her arguments.

    You know, it seems strange, some people lived in China for 5 thousand years without completely wrecking the place, they lived in N. America for 12,000 years without completely wrecking the place, Gail’s people come along and comprehensively trash N. America in just 200 years, and she tells us it would have happened anyway, because everybody has always behaved like that. Nothing to do with culture, just basic human nature.

    And she backs her story up with selective quotes from the same bunch of people, the ‘winners who wrote the history’, the ones who think Columbus is a hero. Yeah, thatColumbus, the genocidal psychopathic murderer.

    We never get to hear the whispers of the dead ones who were not ‘like that’, do we. Gail certainly doesn’t seem to want to hear them. Might spoil her story. Might invoke some guilt, some sense of shame, of responsibility, possibly ? Even in recent times, the last century, every attempt to come up with alternatives, to avoid the insanity and destruction of capitalism, has been squelched by violence and written out of history.

    Here’s a quote from Ian Welsh, quoted on Naked Capitalism, Oct.25th. ‘The Coercive Power of Capitalism’. We never hear anything from Gail about the responsibility of capitalism, of culture, of social systems and structures, for hastening NTE do we ?

    Basically, being a hunter-gatherer is about as good as it gets for most of human existence. There are some better agricultural societies to live in for brief periods (certain periods of Roman history, say) but they are rare. Industrial society produces better medicine and goods, but we work harder and have vastly more chronic disease even at the same age, and industrial society includes as its concommitent things like the widespread rape in the Congo and African poverty: that’s a requirement of our society, is not incidental.

    But hunter-gatherers lose confrontations with pastoralists and agricultural societies. It’s a great way to live, but more dense societies were better at violence, so hunter-gatherers were forced to the margins….

    If you want a society, then, which is prosperous and egalitarian, with the proceeds of increased production going to everyone and not just a few, you must have an internal structure of power which gives ordinary people quite a bit, makes concentration of power in private hands difficult, makes the government unable to use too much power against its own citizenry while (and this is the important bit) still being able to defend itself externally, and able to resist internal putsches. Egalitarian societies which cannot defend themselves get overwhelmed by hierarchical societies which are better at violence.

    We’ve had centuries of the elites that get to the top by brutal violence, stealing everything from the weaker ones, until we get the modern day elite, who put out their propaganda justifying why it’s right and good that they should have it all.

    Personally, I find it a bit sickening that Gail should help them spread their self-serving version of how the world works. Of course, humans would eventually become extinct, like all species. But who knows, with a different culture, we could have enjoyed another few centuries, a few thousand years. The dinosaurs lasted for many millions. Big dumb animals.

    Ah, well. Nevermind. None of it makes any difference now. Just idle chatter about the journey to the Beach of Doom…

    @ Shizel

    Yes, indeed. All these scientific projections into the future tend to be linear, assuming we don’t get unpredictable sudden step changes, forgetting many of these things are exponential, and that this human-caused change is happening so fast, that it is not comparable with most of the earlier changes in geological history which were eased their way in over thousands of years.

    Peter Ward suggested that the tropics can’t warm up very much, because they are already hot, whilst the polar regions will warm a lot. Sure. But a recent report in Nature said that by 2050, every MONTH in the tropics will be a new extreme record weather event.

    That’s the problem for your conservationists and permaculturalists and ‘pockets of survivors’ theorists. Billions of people with no place to go, no way to grow food, in a collapsing biosphere, that only gets worse, every MONTH.

    That 2050 date is coming from the cautious, conservative guys.

    We’ve had decades to see this coming. DECADES. For anybody to act surprised, or to say ‘Why wasn’t I told ?’… WHAT ???

  • ulvfugl Says:
    October 27th, 2013 at 3:54 pm
    “Co-evolution ? Bullshit,. ‘Big dumb animals’ ? Bullshit. That’s grossly insulting to the animals that are smart enough to have survived for millions of years, smart as horses, smart as dogs. They learn in a single day if something nasty tries to kill them, and they do not forget. The hunters were very few, the numbers of animals, e.g. mammoths, were enormous, like the N. American buffalo herds.

    I agree with Gail that we get NTE, and I admire her work re the trees tremendously, + 100%, just have fundamental disagreements over how and why we got here, and cannot comprehend why she cites establishment shills who support the system that is killing us all, to make her arguments.

    You know, it seems strange, some people lived in China for 5 thousand years without completely wrecking the place, they lived in N. America for 12,000 years without completely wrecking the place, Gail’s people come along and comprehensively trash N. America in just 200 years, and she tells us it would have happened anyway, because everybody has always behaved like that. Nothing to do with culture, just basic human nature.

    And she backs her story up with selective quotes from the same bunch of people, the ‘winners who wrote the history’, the ones who think Columbus is a hero. Yeah, thatColumbus, the genocidal psychopathic murderer.

    We never get to hear the whispers of the dead ones who were not ‘like that’, do we. Gail certainly doesn’t seem to want to hear them. Might spoil her story. Might invoke some guilt, some sense of shame, of responsibility, possibly ? Even in recent times, the last century, every attempt to come up with alternatives, to avoid the insanity and destruction of capitalism, has been squelched by violence and written out of history.”

    YEAH!!! By the way, thanks for the info on Dawkins. No wonder he believes in “the selfish gene.” Gail works overtime trying to exonerate capitalism.

  • So in The End we all lay down. Not in dreams. Those shall be left behind. Laid down, dust in the dust, mindless. No knowledge of dark or light, or if there ever was a difference.

    This passing moment accelerating away does not stand well alone. It teeters forward with no future to lean on. It feels reluctantly drunk with head spinning nausea from the vertigo up here at the top of civilization, drenched by enveloping, rising, waves of death.

    Pity the innocent by intentional ignorance. Their dismay shall be multiplied by the height of their folly.

    Beauty becomes a terrible attachment, an amplifier of pain. Do not cling to beauty, it will remind you too much of what you are losing. Respect the aggressiveness of erosive ugliness, to maintain clarity and focus on our final destination… less resistance, less dragging and scraping of the heels that way. Death always wins, and takes it all away. Life lasts from first breath in, to last breath out. Holding beauty is like holding breath. Not too long, or it gets painful.

    “Love Is A Rose”
    by Neil Young

    Love is a rose
    but you better not pick it
    It only grows when it’s on the vine.
    A handful of thorns and
    you’ll know you’ve missed it
    You lose your love
    when you say the word “mine”.

    I wanna see what’s never been seen,
    I wanna live that age old dream.
    Come on, lads, we can go together
    Let’s take the best right now,
    Take the best right now.

    I wanna go to an old hoe-down
    Long ago in a western town.
    Pick me up cause my feet are draggin’
    Give me a lift and I’ll hay your wagon.

    Love is a rose
    but you better not pick it
    It only grows when it’s on the vine.
    A handful of thorns and
    you’ll know you’ve missed it
    You lose your love
    when you say the word “mine”.
    Mine, mine.

    Love is a rose, love is a rose.
    Love is a rose, love is a rose.


    @ ulvfugl

    On fighting: an unbalanced, unstable position, offering many vulnerabilities. It is better to maintain wits and remain centered… which is advantageous since it increases the likelihood of a mutually desirable outcome. Remain calm and controlled, simply move in fearlessly and provide a firm fulcrum or point of balance so the attacker can fall gently to a stable position of body and mind. If accomplished spontaneously without hesitation, naturally, with art and grace, without ego, without causing lasting hurt or insult, the adversary wont lose face and increase their desire to attack. They may even thank you for helping them regain their composure.


    @ Wendy
    You are welcome.


    For those who were wondering, I’ve been dealing with the vicissitudes of homelessness. But I’m not dead yet. Nor enlightened.

  • ulvfugl — your depiction of the ESAS methane beds is so clarifying to my fuzzy thoughts of the past year. I think it was a process of accretion, to get firmly in mind, and past the Denial, the process most likely to be the engine of extinction.

    I believe that I have developed a unique writing voice over the years, and I now try to make it a conversational one, as if I was really meeting and jabbering with people I know, and enjoy.

    But it often sounds stuttering to me, next to a few others I encounter, who seem to just sail on and never miss the next perfect turn of phrase. Mine, replete with “ouches” and “oops”…

    I really enjoy it when one like you manages to pull off the full art of revealing your thoughts in a conversational style through the written word.

    Now — do I dare go to your links that I’ve opened? Was I just delaying and denying by blabbing away like this?

    My first weeks at NBL might have been the most clear: We saw record ice loss in 2012, and we were awaiting the September lows for 2013.

    Now that has passed, with a small slowdown in that onrushing cycle.

    But the other key thing I knew we had to watch for was something that only a few thousands of people would recognize when it was announced: The acceleration of Methane release.

    It would be like a trumpet sounding at the beginning of some battle, and none would hear it but us. And just what would we do then? All of our thoughts and plans and questions here would be put on a fast track to their Endgame.

    So every time I click open such a link, and then take a good, long time getting over to read it (but I mustn’t turn off the computer until I do!), I wonder if it will be THAT announcement for me.

  • @ logspirit

    Thanks ! Referee intervened :-)

    @ Henry

    Yeah :-)

    What are we watching ?

    The most awesome show in the Universe, The Endocene…

    Something too terrible, horrible, shocking, people cannot even see it..

  • they lived in N. America for 12,000 years without completely wrecking the place

    Of course, the operative word in this statement cleverly enough is “completely.” The American Indians may not have had industrial civilization, but they certainly had civilization and the destination of that path ultimately would have been the symptom of population overshoot and the destructive transformation of the wild forests and fauna. Industrial civilization just hastened the process, but at least with industrial civilization there’s a chance technology could provide the next great evolution of the human species thus navigating, if only barely, the treacherous bottleneck we’re approaching rapidly.

  • @ Lomahongva

    Not saying anyone has been perfect, but we know the Kalahari people lasted c. 200,000 years, Australians, c. 50,000, Industrial civilisation has managed to trash the whole planet in just 200. There’s no evidence that technology will solve anything, it’s just a fantasy that some peopl have, it’s faith, just insert God instead of technology.

    Every technofix raises a new set of problems requiring more technofixes, adding to the complexity and the number of things that can go wrong. The techno utopians can’t admit or accept this, because from early childhood they are indoctrinated so that technology is their religion.

    I agree that technology is impressive. ‘Next great evolution of the human species’ ? Only in movies and sci fi novels. Without the biosphere, there is no human species. The technosphere is destroying the biosphere. The technosphere cannot replace the biosphere, it is totally dependent upon it, in every respect.

    We are animals, mammals, we need air, water, food, a certain range or temperature and humidity, etc. that we evolved expect from this Earth, and the nature provided free. Once that has gone, we go too.

    Sure, we can go to the deepest ocean and to the moon with technology, and survive, but only because we have a base camp that nature provides.
    Once we lose that, no more technology, no more us.

  • Ray Jason Says:
    October 25th, 2013 at 8:36 pm


    “No, you needn’t say more.”

    Well, I dunno about that. The essay seemed to me to be one more “cancer cell metaphorically waving its arms” about the destruction the tumor is wreaking. (To paraphrase one of the posters I haven’t seen around here lately)

    Whatever. Cheers mate.

  • Most of this ground has been covered before.

    The discussion on Fukushima and also the broader topic of all Nuclear Power Plants, etc., is beyond my expertise. I just know that what happened at Fukushima happened because the systems failed to keep the reactor fuel cool and this could happen to any nuclear power plant. And, whatever the radiation levels that are flowing into the sea, it’s not good, and, forgive me for oversimplifying, but the risks seem way bigger than the benefit these plants provide. Just sayin’.

    Not going to go into the hunter-gatherer discussion, that’s been beaten to death here and I’m way past that. I’ll just repeat my earlier comment: “I’d rather live 40 years as a wild animal than 80 years as a civilized human.”

    I miss Erin, Kathy C. and Gail. And Speak Softly, Depressive Lucidity, Michael Irving, cuntagious, Jennifer Hartley, Ginomerino, etc….

    Food riots begin erupting all over the world, along with resource wars among nations, the social fabric begins to break down, major cities engulfed in riots.
    1) TPTB impose worldwide martial law, the populations are forced into labor camps to safely shut down the nuclear power plants and secure them for all time along with particularly dangerous other pieces of our civilization like nuclear arms, chemical factories, etc., and then, once all the dangerous aspects of our lives have been secured, 90% of the population is unceremoniously executed while the remaining 10% pledge to live in balance with nature and never build a city or plant a crop ever again.
    2) TPTB impose worldwide martial law – and simply shield and protect their interests while the rest of civilization spirals out of control into the zombie apocalypse. Let the chips fall where they may. No orderly shut down of the nuclear power plants, no effort to somehow safely secure a future for the living organisms on Earth. Just chaos and death. Bye-Bye everything.
    3) The Resistance somehow overthrows the govt and assumes power. Now, with that power comes the responsibility of implementing the solution. Just what do you think that is going to look like?

  • With thanks to Ray Jason, I’ve posted a new guest essay. It’s by Gregory Vickery, and it’s here.

  • I will go with what’s behind Rob’s door number one, thank you, if they’re my only three choices, which of course they’re not but it’s not my game show.

    Assuming it’s door number one, it’d be best to grease the skids so the useless eaters go easily into that dark night, so it would be wise to sprinkle the internet and any and all communication spaces with Robs who, out of a profound sense of guilt, will acquiescently throw themselves on the alter of depopulation in order that a few special people may survive. Rob is a message, not a person.

    Nice try the message that is Rob, but we’re not buying it. Tell them to try yet another angle because this one, the one you’re playing out, is too transparent. And assuming you are genuine which is highly doubtful, get a real job. One that provides. Because that’s what a man does. Provides. A man doesn’t walk relentingly into detention centers and crematoriums.

  • “If you want a society, then, which is prosperous and egalitarian, with the proceeds of increased production going to everyone and not just a few, you must have an internal structure of power which gives ordinary people quite a bit, makes concentration of power in private hands difficult, makes the government unable to use too much power against its own citizenry while (and this is the important bit) still being able to defend itself externally, and able to resist internal putsches. Egalitarian societies which cannot defend themselves get overwhelmed by hierarchical societies which are better at violence.”

    Nicely put. The MIC would (if they could) be that disciplinary, defending entity, I believe.

    @ mike k

    “Addiction is an inability to change a course of action which is dysfunctional. Modern society is replete with such problems. Living much more simply is an obvious solution to many of our problems, but we are showing little evidence of realizing this, much less doing the hard inner work to accomplish it.”

    The addict must hit rock bottom as a condition of reform. IC has hit rock bottom, of which the addict is yet unaware. How do we make him see?

    18000days Says:

    “I like to call it the ‘just wrong’ stage of civilisation…”
    You make enormous sense with this short post. Just wrong indeed. Absolutely to the point.

  • @ Noam:

    Provides what? Death to Every Living Thing on Earth? No thanks.

  • Shame on you, uvlfugl and Jeff S, for an out of the blue and unwarranted attack on Gail. Must be getting boring if you’re trying to provoke someone who actually gets it. None of us agrees with everyone about everything. I sure wish, instead of attacking people who are amongst the tiniest population on the planet, we’d spend more energy attacking the people who are actually killing the planet. Here…..Rex Tillerson, Hugh Grant, Russ Girling, Greg Page……these guys.

    Denise, you are on fire! Badlands, you keep me coming back. Wren, welcome.

    ogardener, so sorry about Sandy. If there is something after, it will include our friends, I’m sure.

    Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been carrying around this weight of dread in my belly. I know I’m slow and late, but it’s really sinking in that next year is going to be worse than this year, and every year thereafter is going to suck worse until we finally get what we so richly deserve as a species. Makes me so mad and sad, but now add dread.

  • @ Artleads – You wrote, “The addict must hit rock bottom as a condition of reform. IC has hit rock bottom, of which the addict is yet unaware. How do we make him see?”

    In the recovery from addiction process as we have learned to understand it “hitting bottom” is often a prelude to taking positive steps in response to that shock. However, having that devastating experience is just as often not part of recovery. Many have a much quieter waking to their problem. Many who do have a dramatic hitting bottom event are simply destroyed by it. The sine qua non of initiating the recovery process seems to be becoming aware of one’s problem in all its seriousness, and deciding to do something about it.

    “How do we make him see?” This opens the question of intervention, which is itself a tricky and potentially dangerous door to open. How do we help someone who is living in denial of their lethal condition to face the truth that they are doing everything they can to avoid?

    If we consider the two preceding understandings, we come to realize that only a certain number among the afflicted will be accessible to the help they so desperately need. Those who choose to ask for help are largely self-selected. So the first problem for those seeking to aid those suffering from the disease of civilization is to become known to or find those open to being helped. A necessary prerequisite for those extending help is that they must have been helped to recover themselves, and have proven methods for helping others like themselves. I could go on about this whole fascinating journey from despair to hope to recovery of one’s basic sanity, but it would be too much for now. Besides it might give Ulvfugl a fit, and I don’t wish to unduly disturb him.

    I will append a couple of things I wrote elsewhere to my friend Terry, that hint at my visionary direction… (Ulvfugl, avert your eyes!)

    Terry – Thanks for your comments. I am aware of the concerns you express for whether there is time to save ourselves from ourselves. I spend time on the Nature Bats Last web site, where the concern is that we may have already triggered irreversible feedback loops that guarantee our extinction in the near future. I am not yet as certain as some are that this is a done deal….yet. But we are certainly playing with fire on so many fronts that I can’t dismiss this possibility.

    I have no doubt that a disastrous global collapse is due in the near future, but the question now is what can we do to give the survivors a better chance to create some kind of longer term future for themselves? Circumstances now still make it possible to plan and create some ways that we can go into the daunting times to come better prepared to weather the storm and replace our mistaken paths with something better. I am convinced that unless we develop ways of living together in peace and harmony, it will only be a matter of time before we finally do ourselves in along with much other precious life on this rare and beautiful planet.

    A new way of living will necessarily involve overcoming the myriad addictions of modern life, and returning to ways that are much simpler and in tune with the long term realities of Nature. That does not mean that we have to go all the way back to hunter/gathering life, but it will appear to our spoiled addictive selves as a difficult and transformative process. Our technology then will be along the lines of the Green Wizardly methods espoused by John Michael Greer, simpler and more sustainable alternatives to the engines of industrial civilization.

    So much for technology. The real issue is learning to reconfigure our own minds and learn to get along with each other. There are a lot of ways to design such a re-education effort. We need to work on that. Only new better people can make a new better world together…

    Terry – I share your concern that the days of full collapse will turn chaotic and sweep all sanity away in an orgy of lawlessness. But this is not an inevitable scenario for what is to come. The Archdruid Report by JMG is based on an analysis of previous major collapse storylines, and indicates that there may be islands of sanity persisting even if large parts of society disintegrate. Something in me refuses to give up all hope or preparatory efforts. Small affinity groups who have trained themselves to cope with the new non-industrialized reality may be able to preserve something of the higher values of humankind as a basis for a new way of being together. Much would depend on their being able to commit to doing the work to forge bonds of trust and loyalty to higher ideals and each other. They might think of themselves as giving their lives for the sake of a human future for all.

    I am working with a few others along these lines. The first step is to convince ourselves that collapse is real and inevitable, and that it trumps all other concerns one might have entertained. This is the necessary basis for total commitment and willingness to do whatever is necessary to deal with humankind’s greatest crisis and test. “Do not go gentle into that good night…”

  • wildwoman Says:
    October 28th, 2013 at 11:25 am
    “Shame on you, uvlfugl and Jeff S, for an out of the blue and unwarranted attack on Gail. Must be getting boring if you’re trying to provoke someone who actually gets it. None of us agrees with everyone about everything. I sure wish, instead of attacking people who are amongst the tiniest population on the planet, we’d spend more energy attacking the people who are actually killing the planet. Here…..Rex Tillerson, Hugh Grant, Russ Girling, Greg Page……these guys.”

    No, she does NOT “get it.” She blames the human genome instead of the social system which was imposed via mass coercion on the vast majority of humans by a tiny elite. This is precisely what the elite would like us to believe, it’s one of their most crucial excuses and diversions. And she summons apologists for the capitalist system to support her perspective, the likes of Dawkins. This is nothing less than providing crucial help to those actually killing the planet.

  • Jeff S, does it change anything? The earth is still being killed. The oceans are still crashing. The arctic is still melting. I know, it hurts and we all want to blame and scream and throw hissy fits over the injustice of it all, but sheeit, man, there are so many more deserving targets than one of our own here, doncha think?

    This is why so many of us have quit posting here. The rage we all feel just keeps getting recycled onto each other.

    There is something really wrong with us as a species that we can’t even mourn in peace.

  • @ wildwoman

    I keep thinking that I’ll write a post on Kubler-Ross stages of NTE awareness. Looking for scapegoats is the anger phase. “Humans are shit”, “no, industrial society is shit”, “no, primates are shit”, “no, Europeans are shit”, “no, the Illuminati are shit”, “no, technology is shit”, “no, everything is shit, viruses are shit, DNA is shit”.

    Indeed, you are right, it doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t change anything. We proceed to the bargaining phase “there’s a loophole in the science somewhere and by damn I’m going to find it!”, then to the depression phase that most of us are acutely aware of.

    If this blog has a purpose, it is to ease us all to the acceptance phase.

  • @ wildwoman

    Hey, I’ve been attacked and insulted by someone just about every single day ever since I first came on this blog, and oftentimes by Gail.

    If you read what I said, it’s not an attack on Gail, it’s an attack on Dawkins and a criticism of Gail for supporting Dawkins and that ideological viewpoint which I happen to oppose. I did also mention the reasons why I respect and admire Gail, didn’t I ?

    You see, if Gail was ‘one of us’ and at the same time supporting Monsanto or Exxon or some other force to which I’m strongly opposed, does this matter, or not ? To me it does.

    I agree the battle is lost, but I’m still fighting, until the end, and one of my enemies is that particular capitalist ideology that believes it is okay for an elite to exploit people and planet to destruction.

    Dawkins is part of that, an apologist for that. It’s crazy for Gail to be on HIS side, whilst also bewailing the damage that system is doing.

    I know why she holds that position, it’s because she opposes what she sees as the irrationality of the lunatic religious fundamentalists.
    Well, I share her opposition towards them TOO.

    I agree, when we are all faced with NTE, when it comes right down to it, none of it matters. But one way for me to pass my time on the Beach of Doom is to work out precisely why we arrived here. I think that matters too, although not very much

    @ mike k

    You are ten years behind the curve.

    I spent about five years on Ran Prieur’s Forum saying exactly what you are saying. Then a couple on the Dark Mountain, as I gradually understood that none of those ideas are going to work.

    Which is why I arrived here.

    Why are you telling people HERE that stuff ? It’s pie in the sky.

    Only new better people can make a new better world together…

    You see, that’s what the people who left England and Europe to colonise America said. The Shakers and Quakers and Anabaptists and Mennonites and loads of others. Look what happened. Worked out just great, didn’t it.

    That’s also what the hippies in the 1960s said. I was part of all that, and worked hard at it, attempting to set up utopian communities over and over again.

    All of that is OVER. I’ve read Greer’s blog and Green Wizardry for years, and the many other similar gurus and their versions. There are scores of them to choose from.

    You are all welcome to do that stuff, why not, but all you are doing is making sandcastles on the Beach of Doom, and the Tsunami is coming, closer everyday, and there is nothing you can do about it. So, enjoy your amusing recreation, while there is still time to do so.

    You see, you can’t even comprehend the magnitude of this catastrophe, and because you can’t face it, you pretend to yourself that this fiddling about with your utopian hopium will somehow make it go away.

    Sorry, but it will not work.

    The methane, the ionising radiation, the average global temperature, the melting permafrost, the irreversible feedback loops, the international geo-politics, none of these things care whether we are new better people or bad older people or, indeed, what kind of people we are. It’s purely physics and biology and enormous forces that are beyond anyone’s control.

    You seem to be totally delusional. You seem to think that there are choices and options, that suddenly, over the next couple of years, seven billion + people will stop being how people have been for the last few thousand years, and become completely different.

    This is not going to happen. Is it. Except in your personal fantasy world.

    It is really very hard and painful to face the reality. Tremendously so. This is the ONLY place I have found where people have been willing to do it at all.

    And yet, constantly, new people arrive who say ‘Oh, it can’t possibly be that bad, if we really try, we can change the world, we can change ourselves, God will help, technology will fix things, blablahblah,,,’

    But that is ALL bullshit without any evidence, it denies the evidence, it’s lies and more lies.

    Everything is getting WORSE, faster and faster, exponentially worse, faster and faster, and there is no way to fix this, because there is nobody with the power to do it.

    How do you STOP the people who are causing the problem ?

    It’s everybody !

    Your analysis is idiotic. It’s not about them being BAD and needing to be BETTER, it’s that they’d need to stop eating, and shitting and wanting to be warm in the winter and cool in the heat and stop travelling about and having sex and babies and all that stuff that they desire that they’ve been told they can have, like houses and tv and movies and art galleries and holidays and computers, etc, etc, etc.

    And the bankers and corporate CEOs and generals and politicians and professors and businessmen and PhD graduates who want to have nice careers. And the appalling plans by the transnational corporations to get around all controls so that they can monopolize the remaining resources of food, water, timber, minerals, whatever, and keep pulling in the money at the expense of everyone else, regardless of the consequences.

    There is NO TIME LEFT.

    You are ten years behind in your thinking.

  • U, brother, fill the pipe, take a deep hit and exhale slowly. You know and I know you know that Gail does not support Monsanto. She agrees with Dawkins. You and I don’t. But we all believe that it’s over.

    She is not your enemy.

    Take another hit and lighten up just a tad. We all hurt.

  • @ wildwoman

    ok ;-) xxx

  • Hey wildwoman! You all keep me comin’ back for more as well.

    Funny story, and normally I wouldn’t do this, but I think quite a few here may have been witness to it, too. There is a Facebook group that I won’t name, but on the surface, it would lead one to believe that by participating, one might be able to keep up with some of the climate change science and some of the conversations on the topic.

    Whoa, not so fast!! I have no idea what anybody’s credentials are over there, but a ‘climate psychologist’ basically said anyone that ‘believes’ in NTE is a passive victim, demanded that Guy respect her, and the entire dustup ended up in several people being blocked, many people leaving the group. Last I saw, Gail was still giving them hell. Go Gail!
    Heavily moderated, closed-minded, extreme white privilege on display. They wonder why all the action the last two days on their page? Hello, you tagged Guy in a post about the moral imperative of hope, so of course those who follow him are going to take a look at this group. They don’t want Guy’s ‘followers’ sabotaging their attempts at mustering global response to climate change, so anyone arguing along NTE lines is being ganged up on. Don’t rock the boat, or the discussion might wake someone up!

    As if any self-respecting adult could take anyone seriously who stamps their feet and demands respect! Respect is earned by walking the talk, honoring your word. It is commanded, rather than demanded. So, you/we have all been pigeon-holed as mindless, victims, Guy’s lapdogs, just for your information. What a time suck that turned out to be. But there are now, as I found out climate psychologists out there who may be able to help you with that dread in your belly, wildwoman!

    Or you could just self-medicate.

    p.s. I thought it fair to discuss this, as some there were bringing comments from NBLers into the discussion. You are being watched, haha!
    From all quarters, it seems…

  • @ Badlands

    That’s interesting.

    Re us as lapdogs, and wildwoman’s point re Gail not my enemy. I’ve never seen Gail as an enemy. Just because I fight with someone doesn’t make them an enemy.

    There’s a lecture by a radical activist – forget her name momentarily – about the difference between traditional hierarchical groups and anarchist groups, particularly hackers and activists.

    Apparently, the ‘authorities’ have been totally bemused and confused for years, because they themselves have rigid disciplined hierarchies, with a pyramid structure and a boss who gives orders. And then they infiltrate and spy on these chaotic crazy anarchists, where everybody is always fighting with everybody else and nobody is in charge, but stuff gets done anyway… and can’t understand what the hell is going on, because it’s a different kind of structure, everybody is equal, no boss, if you want respect, you earn it, you can’t demand it because of your paygrade or stripes on your arm.

    Only way that Guy has respect here, afaik, is because he can give fantastic lectures, and has command of the subject matter, and has paid his dues, by walking away from The Machine. He’s a focal point. He brings these great essays.

    Personally, I arrived at my position quite independently of Guy, by a different path, different reasoning, that produced the same conclusion. I’ve never been anybody’s lapdog in my life, hahaha.

    We’ve had master-servant and master-slave relations for thousands of years, since Sumeria. Nobody wants that anymore, except the masochists and sadists who go into the police and corporations.

    In flat anarchist structures, whoever has done the work makes the rules, whoever is best at something takes the lead, you know, the Zapatista’s have codified this stuff.

    I think, as opposed to formal hierarchy, natural hierarchy always arises. People always fight, to discover each others strengths and weaknesses. This is essential. We have to KNOW if another person is going to be reliable or if they’ll freak out, if they’ll stay cool or if they’ll crumble. We have to know their social skills and their insights and understanding, because we are social animals. Basic primate behaviour.

    All of that gets screwed up when there’s a fixed formal enforced hierarchy in some regular structure that gets determined by pay grades and the kind of office you get allocated.

    But in fluid anarchistic groups of free people where everybody is equal, it’s constant re-negotiation. Whoever is going hunting that day decides who is coming and where they’ll go, sort of thing, and maybe there’ll be some fighting and haggling and yelling about who doesn’t get to go, just like kids going on a fucking picnic.

    I tend to think the best people are the free-est people, not the ones who are the most obedient, and who are doing what they do because they love it and wouldn’t want to do anything else. How many people who go to work feel that way ?

    @ mike k

    Only new better people can make a new better world together…

    Thinking more about what you’ve been saying, it’s really just the same Old Testament trope rehashed for the trillionth time, that unless we all remake ourselves and become ‘good’ the Lord will smite us, so our only hope is to do ‘inner work’ (which, no doubt, you, as the High Priest, will specify, carved on your fucking Stone Tablets) and become ‘pure’ and ‘reformed’, and then we shall inherit the Promised Land.

    The stick and the carrot.

    It never worked before, did it, but this time, it’s even worse, because there’s nowhere to go.

    You want to be a leader. People want a leader. Trouble is, this is the Titanic. And there’s no land and no rescue ships. The only way anything is going is down.

    Tell yourself little white lies, if you want, as if you were a child.

    I want honesty.

  • @ulvfugl
    Well, to be honest, no one called Guy’s followers ‘lapdogs’, that was my term, but being called ‘passive victims’ made my blood boil just a little! Guy did get called a loser, and they want nothing alarmist discussed, nothing that doesn’t follow the IPCC findings. So, for the non-scientifically inclined, thinking that the experts are on the ball, are going to figure out any big fixes, the hierarchal structures are likely going to prevent anything it seems. If the discussion won’t even allow for the possibility that NTE for humans could be an outcome, well, it doesn’t seem realistic, and assuming anyone who considers the possibility to be a victim, an alarmist, just pushes people away. We are no dummies, and the alarm bells are being rung by nature, not us, not Guy.

    While the big guys argue over semantics, smaller groups are already in the trenches, like Idle No More, many indigenous movements, and though big changes aren’t being made that way, small victories are accomplished, and many alliances made. I am a firm believer in the power of collaboration to expand the realm of possible answers, and I think even someone like Artleads, as an artist, knows the value of staying open to many possibilities, many voices, not shutting people out. Also, artists are nothing if not the voice of the disenfranchised, truth-tellers, communicating in another language, a language that has no constraints, and which gives opportunity for viewers to understand various issues they may not have been exposed to otherwise. Why not take advantage of everyone’s strengths? I guess that makes me an anarchist at heart, per your explanation.

    A small example of non-traditional collaboration. There is a dance troupe called Capacitor, and they have been working with scientists on many projects, bringing awareness to the plight of the oceans and such. For their most recent project, Synaptic Motion, they are working with neuroscientists, and the choreographer of the group will undergo fMRI while choreographing a new piece, in order to understand and address the question, What does creativity look like? Not the art (the products of creativity), not the artist (the vessel of creativity), but the act (the activity in the mind that generates what we call creative work)? They are also exploring the function of mirror neurons, and though avant-guard modern dance is not for everyone, it is just a small example of the many paths to understanding, many facets to every reality that may be hidden when approached in a rigid manner.

    Oh, well. What is there to say? I am no scientist, so I couldn’t possibly understand what is happening to the planet, right? Some people throw around numbers, like billions of people are going to/must die, as if those numbers didn’t represent actual human beings, people just like them. Or they keep their blinders on, saying, it’ll be ok, because global warming will just result in ecosystems wandering north, we’ll just farm what was once arctic tundra!! I guess it really is true- we are doomed…

    p.s. I think accepting NTE actually enables one to become the strongest version of themselves, and having done the mental/emotional/psychological acrobatics necessary to arrive there, allows one the capability of performing the grueling task of acting in the face of NTE, acting as if there is hope, while understanding there is not. Not a bad way to live.

  • @ Badlands

    Yes, well, I am nobody’s ‘passive victim’, let’s make that clear.

    I used to get upset and despair because I’d think the thought ‘How are we ever going to get the message across to those people ?’

    But then I realised that we are never going to get the message across.

    So stop worrying about it.

    Because, even if we DID get the message across, it STILL doesn’t fix the problem.

    The problem is reliance of industrial civilisation on fossil fuels, isn’t it.

    So, stop that. But you can’t. Because it means hundreds of millions, billions of people, starve and die. Because everything that is feeding them and employing them is dependent upon fossil fuels.

    So, what good would it do, if they all knew this ?

    The problem is an ecological overshoot problem, a carrying capacity problem. You can’t solve that except by population reduction or increasing the carrying capacity.

    We’ve already far exceeded the carrying capacity, and there’s nowhere else to go. So, the only other option is population reduction.

    But that cannot be done by any ethical or democratic or popular means.
    Nobody will vote to be starved to death or even to have their standard of living reduced. I mean, they don’t care if it happens to someone else, do they, but it’s never going to be THEM.

    So, the weakest, those with the least amount of power and influence in the geopolitical arena, will go first, I suppose.

    This could be softened by sharing the wealth more equitably, but there is no sign that the 1% are willing or intending to do that, quite the opposite.

    Of course, they will not survive, any more than the rest, because nature is going to do the job, and nature doesn’t care how much money a person has, not even Mrs Queen, who owns a fifth of the planet, gets to breath when there’s no breathable air any more. Long before we reach that stage, everything will be burned to a frazzle.

    If anything, people who blindly follow the IPCC report are the passive victims.

    When you look in the IPCC report, under ‘Projected likelihood of 21st century change in scenarios considered’ it says for ‘Clathrate methane release’ that ‘Very unlikely that methane from clathrates will undergo catastrophic release ( high confidence )’

    But this, presumably, is based upon the work of David Archer, because, afaik, his survey was the only one of global methane clathrates, and decided they were all in very deep water and would take thousands of years to warm.

    However, seems that as much as 50% of marine methane releases come from just one small area, the East Siberian Arctic Sea, where the water is very shallow, and the clathrates are NOT deep down, and the water is warming very fast, and there is strong evidence that the methane is coming out and could easily be catastrophic.

    The quantities of methane under the sea bed there are enormous and there seems no good reason why they will not escape as the ice proceeds to melt, in what is an already unstable seismically active area.

    So, as several very serious and senior scientists have predicted, we may expect a catastrophic methane release, and we should be watching that area closely.

    And, for those very few who are awake and with sufficient wits and intelligence to understand, and are watching, what do we see ?

    Just EXACTLY what we would expect the beginning of the catastrophe to look like !

    Now, it may be a little too early to begin our final death howl, but if this goes on and on…. well, we know what it means, and we don’t need no friggin IPCC bullshit to tell us how everything is fine and dandy and we can go back to sleep.

    What it might mean is a 1 deg C per YEAR global temp increase.

    No mention of anything like that in the IPCC report is there. Of course not. No mention in the MSM at all. Of course not.

    So, while there is time, yes, dear Badlands, small groups.

    I guess the Dunbar Number works as well as any, as a rough guide. Any number so that everyone knows everyone else. No anonymity. And flat structure. Whoever is best at something takes the lead in that area. Everybody knows whose best at what, and whose useless, doesn’t take long to discover that, does it. :-)

    Thanks for the link, havn’t looked yet.

  • is this thread dead as well?

  • R.e., ulvfugl’s post at 10/29/2013 11:40 AM — The crucial contextualizing question or frame is the question as to whether a catastrophic, mass extinction type event has already been triggered, which has been his contention along with most folks here in this forum. That is, must current greenhouse gas concentrations necessarily result in the sort of NTE scenario that most folks in this blog think has already been established, physically. In the “pipeline”.

    I think that question remains a significant scientific question or debate. The jury isn’t in on it. But the IPCC’s probably erring on the side of make believe, I’d say. Their “carbon budget” just seems entirely wrong. The Arctic sea ice is in precipitous decline and the permafrost and peat bogs are thawing. Subaquatic methane hydrates are bubbling.

    Meanwhile, the now absurd IPCC says we can somewhat safely contribute about as much — just under — CO2 to the atmosphere over the next roughly thirty years without insuring utter catastropic collapse of life as we know it (in biological terms).

    So I just don’t think the climate “mainstream” (“consensus” – lol) can be relied upon to tell us the truth; and in this sense I’m not so different from Ulvfugl or McPherson. Except that Ulvfugl and McPherson don’t think we have any chance at all of pulling out of our collective nose dive into extinction, while I do. But just barely, if at all. Skin of our teeth. But we’d have to go from nearly zero to about sixty in a very few seconds. We’d have to sound the Global Emergency alarm at the grass roots level. And we’d have to steeply downslope our carbon emissions as if there were no tomorrow without doing so. (There wouldn’t be.)

    Ulvfugl believes hundreds of millions of people would have to die if we suddenly-ish got ourselves off the carbon intensive life-way we’re now embedded in. And that’s where he’s wrong. There’s ample data distributed hither and thither to show that he’s wrong. But his response to the suggestion that this is so meets with “haahahaaahaha” and “you’re a bloody ideot!”. I just don’t buy it. But it’s true that a transition from the present carbon intensive lifeway/economy which cares for the living would be the most incredible feat or achievement humanity ever attempted. And it’s true that we’ve shown little sign of being up to such tasks, thus far. All of that is true. Skin of our teeth, as I said. Those are the best odds we have. But I think we could pull it off if we were to really, really try.

    Those who are skeptical of my take on this mostly doubt that we will ever try, not in the necessary numbers. And they may be right. But we should try anyway. And not to try would be to feed a feedback loop … known as self-fulfilling prophesy.

    I want us at least to TRY to get the message to the world’s people, everywhere, that this is a global emergency … with little wiggle room left in time. So far we’ve failed to sound that alarm. So we can’t blame the common person (once “man”) for their failure to respond to it.

    Snowballs build layers of snow by rolling. Sitting on our hands accomplishes exactly nothing.

  • @ James Martin

    Ulvfugl believes hundreds of millions of people would have to die if we suddenly-ish got ourselves off the carbon intensive life-way we’re now embedded in. And that’s where he’s wrong. There’s ample data distributed hither and thither to show that he’s wrong. But his response to the suggestion that this is so meets with “haahahaaahaha” and “you’re a bloody ideot!”. I just don’t buy it. But it’s true that a transition from the present carbon intensive lifeway/economy which cares for the living would be the most incredible feat or achievement humanity ever attempted. And it’s true that we’ve shown little sign of being up to such tasks, thus far. All of that is true. Skin of our teeth, as I said. Those are the best odds we have. But I think we could pull it off if we were to really, really try.

    I’ve had long exchanges with you on NTE ning, and on this blog, trying to explain my position to you, and you still don’t get it ????

    To cut the CO2 (and methane and Nox) means stopping fossil fuel use.

    Okay, you agree.

    Stopping fossil fuel use means that all the people presently dependent upon fossil fuels will die.

    Why can’t you understand that ?

    If you look at the global situation, half the population, roughly, live in cities and are fed by fossil fuels.

    Not only fed, but everything they need is transported to them by fossil fuels.

    Everything in modern industrial civilisation runs on fossil fuels, except for the tiny fraction from nuclear, hydropower, solar, etc.

    You take away fossil fuels, the whole of IC collapses. Billions at the very least, have no work, no health care, are thrown into deep poverty, and starve, because all of their food comes from industrial agribusiness which is entirely based on fossil fuels.

    Why is this hard for you to understand ?


    You think there is a slight chance this system could be changed to some other system.

    How long would, or will, that take ?

    How long have we got ?

    Why hasn’t it happened already ?

    I have never said anybody should sit on their hands.

    I keep telling you, go and do whatever you think you should do.

    The other day it was biochar. How far did you get with that ?
    Then you were studying the methane. Then Fukushima.

    I know about all these things already.

    If you think you can change the world go out and fucking changing it, and stop misrepresenting what I’ve said.

    My position is that, whatever you do, it’s not going to stop what’s happening, i.e. the mass extinction event.

    I’ve already explained this to you, a zillion times. The time lag, the vested interests, the feedbacks, the geopolitics, etc, etc, etc.

    Perhaps, one day, you will understand what I’ve already been telling you, repeatedly, the same thing over and over again, for many months ?

    It’s not my fault if you are a slow learner, is it, James.

  • R.e., Ulvfugl’s most recent post, addressed to me.:

    Ulv –

    I don’t believe I have misrepresented you views or statements. Maybe I did, but we’d have to clear that up between us by you stating which view of yours I’ve misrepresented.

    On the matter of biochar, actually, I’m in the midst of serious preliminary secondary research on this. In particular, I’m exploring the potential for concentrating solar thermal technology (basically polished metal mirrors) as a energy/heat source for the pyrolysis of biomass in biochar production. Luckily, more competent people than myself are seriously at work on this. I’m catching up. Give me some time. I’m no engineer!

    Of course, I still have a LOT to learn about how biochar helps us sequester carbon. But the evidence is that it does, and may well (likely will) prove useful when combined with the eight thousand three hundred and twelve other things we need to do to buy ourselves a possible wiggle out of extinction.

    There are NO silver bullet solutions. But — perhaps, if only barely — a “shotgun effect” –, precisely eight thousand three hundred and twelve little silver BBs, could help us evade worst case scenarios like massive die-offs or NTE/LTE.

    People who take your position on the absolutely unalterable “fact” of the inevitability of massive human die-offs resulting from a steep downslope of fossil fuels must rely on a set of disprovable assumptions or assertions, such as “very low (or no) carbon agriculture/agrarianism (or whatever) will necessarily have much lower yields per acre or hectare…”. But that supposed fact is not factual. But the high yield sustainable / viable / organic (etc.) alternatives are Labor Intensive. But so what! You yourself said that likely future economic conditions would be such that paid labor (a.k.a., “employment, work”) would be scarce. But I’m talking about a very significant role for what I call “community self-provisioning” in food production. So there’d not be a boss man telling you, or anyone, what to do — at the end of a whip or a gun. People will need to eat. They will work together to insure that their labor pays in veggies, grain, etc. I’m talking outside the market system. Takes some imagination, I know. And much else in the economy would also be community self-provisioned, just as we did before industrialism. Mostly. (We’d have to restore what you Englishmen call “the commons” to do it right.)

    Would social relations, economic relations, etc., need to change for my fanciful vision to be realistic, viable? Damn right. And many other things would have to be attended to, cultivated as possibilities, potentials. We’d have to be real smart. We’d have to work together cooperatively. A little dreamy, I know. But not impossible.

    Many people will probably have to relocate for what I’m talking about to be remotely realistic. Migrate, that is. Deurbanization, mostly, in most places. Re-ruralization. And that’s hard for an Englishman to imagine, since population densities are outrageous where you live. I’m in the wide-open-spaces of the “American” West, where it’s not quite as difficult, either in fact or in imagination. But much depends, too, on cooperation for my dreamy vision to become real. Some important examples worth mentioning would be our need to create cooperation based human relationship patterns, thus avoiding the hurdle in which a lot of stupid laws will have to be abandoned, such as the laws which withdrew (sold) water rights from what were rural agrarian villages into urban industrial holdings. At some point it will be obvious enough that these need to be ignored or abandoned, legally or otherwise. But folks will have largely fled the by then archaic over-urbanizations.

    In emergencies, people do what is necessary. And my optimism largely depends on this observation. What is now impossible becomes more possible as the present delivery systems break down. And as this happens people will be thinking — because they will really need to do so. And they will realize that only cooperation and sharing and caring for one another will afford us what we need.

    Dreamy? Sure, yes! And I’m not ashamed of it, nor do I think my dreaminess means I’m a fool, utterly uneducated, naive. It’s just that such optimism is necessary in order for there to be any chance of it coming true, becoming real. I consider such optimism … functional. It’s a condition of possibility. And if I’m shown by the unfolding of history to be wrong, I’ll live with that. But, meanwhile, I shall play my Fool Card. My little white doggy by my side, yipping in my ear and nipping at my heals.

    But if you want to discuss the minute particulars of transition, the data and facts, I’m up to the challenge. But let’s deal with them one or two at a time, please.

  • Ulv—,

    Regarding my earlier claim about high per acre/hectare agrarian/agricultural productivity in a low-to-no carbon system…. Many times I’ve seen reports over the years which demonstrate that, with significant labor inputs and soft/low tech knowhow, the productivity of industrial agriculture can be bested. It’d take a lot of pouring over google searches to find these again; they’re hidden here and there like slightly oversized needles in midsized hay stacks. But I’ve been convinced, and I’d be happy to convince you too.

    I did find this.:

    I do realize, sadly, that growing (and etc.) conditions are likely not to be so good in the future as they have been in the recent past — due to climate change. That’s a real deal. Probably even more crucial than fossil fuels when it comes to feeding current human populations.

    I suspect there will probably be some population decline in our future. But I’m hoping that we can voluntarily reduce human fertility (birth – death ratios) without a sudden and cataclysmic die-off / global famine. And such “hope” may not be quite so unrealistic as you might think.

  • @ James Martin

    People who take your position on the absolutely unalterable “fact” of the inevitability of massive human die-offs resulting from a steep downslope of fossil fuels must rely on a set of disprovable assumptions or assertions..

    No. The reason why, politically, ethically, practically, it is IMPOSSIBLE to stop emitting CO2, is because of the death toll that would result (and also because of the vested interests and other reasons.)

    So. Emissions WILL continue.

    So. Climate change and all the other effects of the emissions will continue.

    And the result, will be the mass extinction event. (and a very much bigger death toll.)


    ….such as “very low (or no) carbon agriculture/agrarianism (or whatever) will necessarily have much lower yields per acre or hectare…”. But that supposed fact is not factual. But the high yield sustainable / viable / organic (etc.) alternatives are Labor Intensive.

    Look, I completely agree with you, we ALREADY know how to solve ALL our problems, in terms of supplying ALL our basic needs sustainably in eco friendly ways, pretty much forever.

    I have known this for thirty years.

    THAT is not why we get to mass extinction, is it.

    If only we COULD do what you dream about. But we CANNOT can we.

    Look, it’s no good being dreamy, you have to face the practical reality.

    For example, in UK, there’s 12 million people in London and they do not want to go out into the countryside and spend all day with hoes and rakes in the rain and wind tilling the earth growing vegetables.

    There’s no houses for them. Other people, farmers with machines, big landowners, already have all the land.

    So, you’d have to have a revolution, and force people, like Pol Pot did in Cambodia.

    But say, by some quirk, in UK everybody agreed we were going to do that, and redistribute all the land, give every family a house and 20 acres, and some lessons in how to do permaculture.

    This, btw, would be Guy’s Agrarian Anarchy, more or less.

    Yes, we then could support the population we had before the industrial revolution and oil. Which was about 15 million not 65 million. Perhaps with better knowledge, make it 20 million, whatever.

    On the negative side, we’d have the already ongoing and inevitable climate chaos to contend with, which would make it much more difficult than it was in 1800, and nobody has the skills anymore, to run an agrarian economy, so maybe it’d need to be 10 million.

    How many people know how to slaughter a bullock, tan the hide, make it into leather, to make harness, so that a donkey, or a horse, or an oxen can be used to pull stuff ? You know, there were dozens of highly skilled trades that have vanished, replaced by the motor car mechanic.
    It would take at minimum, decades, to rebuild what took many centuries to evolve.

    Who cares ? It still won’t work unless the rest of the world does it too, so you’d have to get Russia, China, India and Brazil and Indonesia and Korea and so forth all to agree… and do this like NOW, because we are out of time…

    Nobody is interested in your plan. You can tell by the youtube hits. Permaculture videos get hundreds. Silly videos about cats and stupid semi naked singers get millions.

    The leaders of Russia, China, USA, UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, etc, only stay on power by pandering, to some degree, to their population. I know they screw them and lie, but if they do it too much, they’ll get thrown out and some other liar will take over. The populations all want much the same thing, which is money, so they can survive and satisfy their desires. The bankers have control.

    You can TRY and explain to them what this global problem is, and why they have to do biochar, whatever, if you want. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But do you think Vladimir Putin is thinking along those lines ?

    You see, the global geopolitics is about the nuclear weapons and the the military power and the economics and all that stuff, and it doesn’t just turn on a dime, it’s impossible to shift vast bureaucratic machines that have been established for decades, lifetimes, with all those millions and millions of people with their vested interests, their careers, their pensions. Everything is interlocked. Somebody who seriously upsets the machinery just gets erased by people whose interests are threatened.

    Look, I know myself how to design systems that will supply just about everything that a human being needs, whilst doing minimal harm. There are some problems. Stuff like glass and rubber and so on. Perfection is impossible, but a system that’d allow humans to survive 10,000 years would be pretty good.

    But that’s not the problem that needs to be solved is it. Hippies doing permaculture doesn’t decommission the nuclear plants, doesn’t stop China building a railway to Europe and a new empire, doesn’t make the Pentagon withdraw it’s 700 bases from all around the world, all that stuff, and doesn’t stop the climate change and ocean acidification that’s already in the pipeline.

    The sea level will continue to rise, the Asian rivers will dry up, the forests will die and burn, etc, etc, and another two billion babies will be born…

    The human population will crash. If we want some life to survive, then the sooner the better, because the later the crash, the less of all life will survive.

    But either way, it’s ghastly.

    So, what’s the good of telling people, or arguing ?

    Everybody has to make up their own mind how they respond to this.

  • @ James Martin

    I don’t need to be convinced about the permaculture stuff, I know it already.

    As I’ve just said, – our comments crossed – that’s the easy part, that’s not the problem that needs to be solved, it’s been solved. that’s not why we get NTE.

    Btw, imo the best thought out, or, anyway another approach, is that Colin Tudge.

    Still doesn’t stop NTE though.

    You see everyone could live like my neighbour here, and then we’d all be fine. But they are not going to are they. That’s the problem.

  • @ mike k, badlands, james martin (and others)

    Language (in a dualistic world) is so slippery that anything one says can get distorted.

    Thank you, badlands, for championing the artist’s way. It is true that aesthetics and intuition are what led me to NTE, as they have determined my environmental awareness over time.

    I get the sense that mike k is groping for a way beyond literalism and facts. I have experienced moments of transformation where understanding leaps and minds change. I have even been part of such change. But to say this doesn’t imply that mike or I have a solution to NTE. That doesn’t mean that there could never be a solution either.

    But the oceans, the methane, the bankers, starvation, exploitation, population, the MIC! Oops. Hold on for a second. One thing at a time. To not believe there could never be a solution doesn’t mean that one has a solution to offer. But this is very difficult to talk about, and since I have an early start tomorrow, I’ll try to continue at the earliest possible time.

    Wendell Berry entreats us to have patience in a dire emergency. If somebody doesn’t like the thought of that, there’s not one frigging thing I can do about it. The issue we face is like a whole lot of things. Among them, the untangling of knots. You can’t really rush it, and if you’re used to solving problems by hitting them with a hammer, the process of knot untangling will seem quaint and inept. It requires a different skill.

    Above all, global collapse is a thing of sublime complexity. It cannot be addressed by frontal charge, or this action or that. It cannot be addressed using “current” ways of thinking, although current ways of thinking require that there be a ready, proven alternatives, lest maybe all be hope, lies and fantasy.

    One place I would start is to consider separating collapse that is dependent on physics and that which is dependent on human will.

  • ulvfugl

    Your reference to some of D Orlov’s entries, @ October 27th, 2013 at 3:54 pm, art rather incredible from him.
    The first paragraph is rather insulting to the indigenous people here, a bit Euro-centric I feel. Not saying you endorse those views.
    The idea that the few stone tools etc argument is very last century anthro-jerky, the whole cornucopia of indigenous culture was not displayed in artifacts, but made, and used as needed-the essence of very resilient NOMADIC people(s). I really can’t find any fault with a culture that remained pretty stable in such an arid continent, for so long.
    The book I asked about seems to have a lot to say about the very things you subsequently wrote in the response to me.
    Just a point. I think if we are variously having dreams that relate to pre-Christian Earth based ‘Pagan'(don’t like the term) ways of being, including Greek and Roman deities and hero cycles, we may still have a lot of unresolved stuff going on under the surface, which speaks to the possibility of a way of being that has been suppressed, and unacknowledged.
    Re community work… just doing stuff for neighbors and other small integration things.

  • @ Ozman

    Re indigenous Australians, I wouldn’t presume to know, I was just pointing to the contrast between Gail and Orlov’s positions re fundamental human nature, etc.

    Re Lash, etc. Assuming that there is all that spirit world, shamanistic stuff, going on. Then why spend time tangled up in it ? Because I suggest you can go up a level, so to speak, like going up in a lift to the next floor in a building gets you a better view.

    I think you can keep going up, leave behind the notion of gods and demons and spirits, leave behind the idea of levels and going up, you keep on doing this, every concept that arises, you keep leaving it behind, getting higher and higher….

    People here have mentioned the metaphor of the spiritual mountain that has to be climbed by doing inner work. Well, how about being an eagle or a vulture or a condor, and soaring upward in a spiral on a thermal, effortlessly, and gazing down on all those wretched humans trudging up their wretched mountain, far below…

    Just watch every idea arise, and immediately let it go, and go higher… not bound by anything, free from everything.

    What is this ? It’s not religion or psychology or anything… nothing can contain it or limit it.

  • @ulvfugl said:

    Still doesn’t stop NTE though.

    You see everyone could live like my neighbour here, and then we’d all be fine. But they are not going to are they. That’s the problem.

    The problem is that you’re still spelling neighbor as neighbour.

    Seriously though, do you not see the contradiction in your words and motivations? The rest of us can, and if you’d listen to someone other than yourself for once in your life, you would see the contradiction(s) clearly too. But you won’t. I’ll state it anyway for the record, as if it matters.

    There are no longer any problems once you accept NTE. Problems are only problems if there is a future. NTE precludes a future, therefore there’s no need to resolve or solve anything. NTE takes care of it all. No fuss, no muss. Considering that, you need to stop. Accept NTE, which you obviously have not hence your consistent and daily contradictions, or move on to another blog that believes mankind can survive collapse, i.e. Orlov and Kunstler. It’s ridiculous to prove to the world how smart you really are in the face of NTE as you do here every day, day in and day out. Do you think anyone cares, especially in the face of the acceptance of NTE? What you perceive as your superior intelligence in the face of NTE is farcical. Worse, it’s an abomination. What a disgusting way to pass your remaining days; browbeating knowledge seekers who happen to be crossing the NTE bridge you hide under. Your time would be better spent doing crossword puzzles. At least that way, you wouldn’t harm anyone.

  • @ Seacher08

    Thank you for your uninvited and unneeded advice which, as you no doubt expect, I comprehensively reject.

    ‘The rest of us’

    Who is the ‘us’ of which you speak and claim to represent ? I’d like to know.

    As for the rest, it’s just worthless troll bait.

  • The problem here with the round robin discussion of NTE and acting to change/improve our odds of survival is an example of why we should accept that NTE is inevitable. We can’t even agree on the scope and nature of “what is” in the face of so many obvious red flags going up as collapse plays out in real time! So, those of us who do “get it” are left with but one viable option, to “live as if the day were here” or “live as if we were all in hospice” (thanks Guy). The tricky part is letting go of the proverbial ledge or the wing of the airplane. By this I mean to get on with living with this knowledge while walking amongst the living dead every day without losing our sanity and humanity. Not an easy task. All I can say at this point in my journey is good luck! It would seem that luck (good fortune) will be a greater factor than most any action we take going forward in light of the fact that THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE TITANIC WILL AVOID HITTING THE ICEBERG AT THIS POINT. I hate to say it but biochar will not be saving the day. Warning others is increasingly looking futile at this point but doing whatever feels right for ourselves and those we care about is fertile (in terms of personal well being if nothing else). So I’m going to work on my Walipini and try not to look back at Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course I’ll help others do the same if they want because that “feels right” (for me), but I don’t see any point in trying to convince anyone that they should live differently any more. Most of them couldn’t if they wanted to. I take no pleasure in saying that it appears that this is our fate as a species. Nothing new to see here. Move along…

  • @Artleads:
    I think my original formulation was: “Exactly wrong”… Two more syllables, but as a sort of stand-alone oxymoronic koan, it probably works better than “just wrong”. . No copyright..

    No offense to B9K9, but thanks to Badlands for pointing out that some of us have learned to do a ruthless cost-benefit analysis on some of the ‘latest model’ (read; instantly obsolete) pre-landfill that is peddled in our direction, although, in a system compelling “exactly wrong” decisions, we probably end up ‘consuming’ it anyway..

  • It’s painful and stressful to the Nth degree, to a soul-shaking degree, to face the ongoing global ecocide while trying to both evolve and salvage and heal what’s left of one’s humanity. (Not being a misanthrope, I use “humanity” in a positive sense here.)

    There are several ways in which the pain of it can be reduced or evaded.

    1. One can be in denial about the ongoing ecocide and the ecocidal nature of the dominant culture in which one is embedded.

    2. One can limit or eliminate the pain which results from a sense of response-ability by denying that anything could possibly be done about the unfolding ecocide. “No effective response is possible.”

    3. One can pretend to one’s self that some fancy new technology or god or space aliens will save us in the eleventh hour.

    4. One can blame “them” for the whole problem, and name “them” “the Juggernaut”.

    5. One can go to battle with “them,” and try to “take down” their omnicidal culture.

    6. One can attempt to evoke naturalistic magic in an attempt to transform the culture through non-violent, non-oppositional [????] (Insert name/word here). Creative engagement?

    I could keep growing the list, as can anyone here.

    I’m not in denial about the trajectory or trend. I’m feeling the pain of it. I’m choosing not to look away, evade reality. But I can only do this (for now, anyway) in the spirit of what I call “The Gift”. And the only way I know how to live The Gift at present is in the form of The Fool (tarot card).

    But I’m too old and experienced to be the simple Fool. And too educated. But, still, I am called by the energies of my birth to remain innocent and naive — and to receive the shadow projections this entails. But I do not absorb these shadow projections — not with my little white doggy by my side, which reminds me that innocence and
    naïveté is the loyal magic which serves and guides me, even without my understanding. Beginner’s mind, in which all things are possible.

    I am a Fool because I don’t know what is impossible or possible. I only know what is worthy of service — The Gift.

    Who gives? Who receives? I don’t know.

    “There are nothing but gifts on this poor, poor earth.” — Czeslaw Milosz

  • Regarding the essay. What is it with this tradition of activism that grew up and intertwinded it’self, twin mirror to the movement against mother nature? Against those against? And you failed to promote any resistance? It is not resistance to entangle yourself with the parent of the crime, it’s a form of incest, breeding abomination. This is all part and parcel and evidence of what I originally arrived here to point out. Our minds are hopelessly entangled in the matrix of what is. To unentangle, a herculean task, we would need to go back to the boiling cauldron, to the place we fear the most. The only thing that could break our clinging to these chains? Watching them strangle the life out of the earth. But here we are, we who see it, and our hold remains quite firm as of today. We have many years yet to play this out. My curiosity is this, will we here enter the cauldron, or cling to the chain? Life or death awaits us and all is fair…..and right and good because we go to the cauldron in the end, death and life.

  • @ulvfugl
    Yes, no one likes being referred to as a ‘passive victim’. But, my dear ulvfugl, it only gets worse! Did you know, because of your deduction that near term human extinction is the most likely possible outcome of non-linear climate change and systemic collapse, that makes you an outlying, apathetic, science denialist and climate misinformer, sobbing as you curl up into a little ball in the corner, waiting for the end? Does that sound like anyone here? Nah, I didn’t think so. But, enough with this silly game, as eye-opening and disappointing as it was!

    Cost-benefit analysis becomes automatic when you look at transactions or purchases in terms of actual cost in units of time. In other words, is this shiny new iGadget or whatever worth ten units of my LIFE? That shiny new boat would invariably speak to me in the voice of ‘The Machine. http//
    Of course I agree that we end up consuming it anyway, and if not us, someone else. I can see that a lifetime of measures taken by one person towards a smaller footprint are negated in seconds by any number of corporate practices. Exactly wrong!!!!!

  • Sorry, I meant ‘The Machine’: !!!

  • @18000 days: “dead wrong”?

  • @Denise

    ‘dead wrong’ sounds ‘exactly right’! Here, I’ll let you decide…

  • There goes my waived copyright…Beaten to the presses by 372 days, but at least it was by a linguistics professor…Kudos! (I think):)

  • @ Rick

    Excellent comment.


    My position is that it has already struck and is going down and the crew are looting the cabins and robbing the rich vulnerable passengers whenever they can… that would be the Trans Pacific Trade agreement and it’s US European equivalent, which are just scams for multinational corporations to evade national laws and rip off people and environment for a few more years…

    But for folk who don’t subscribe to my view, perhaps Guy’s feedback loops can be seen as the entry points, where the iceberg hits the hull, pierces and penetrates, and the water starts to enter. That’s the irreversible change that spells doom, because those holes cannot ever be blocked off and they’ll just keep on getting bigger, so it’s Titanic in slow motion, years instead of hours…

    @ James Martin

    My position is ‘none of the above’.

    I’ve been through all the stages, and the variations on the reactions.

    If you’re standing in a narrow valley with a huge mountain towering very high above you, and you see that there’s a landslide way up at the top, and you realise it’s getting bigger and it’s going to reach where you are, and there’s nowhere to run and no way to avoid it, what can you do, other than accept the situation and enjoy the magnificence of the occasion ?

    It’s going to be a nasty painful ending, quick, slow, who knows ? but meanwhile, why make it any worse than it has to be ? The view is fantastic, every moment is delicious, life is exquisite, to exist is a sublime privilege, a miracle beyond measure… I am so grateful that I am permitted to witness this awesome spectacle.

    @ Badlands

    Little do they know ;-)

  • @ ulvfugi
    Thanks for the validation. It does make me feel like more apart of the NBL scene to get a response to my post. Point of clarification, it isn’t “the crew that are looting the cabins and robbing the rich vulnerable passengers”. Its much worse. It’s like we’re all on the titanic and the corporation that owns the ship and the bank or “investment group” that financed the ship’s construction are robbing us blind while we are on board having what we think is a great time. The thing is we all wake up hung over and broke in this game.

  • @ 18000days

    Sorry to misquote you (if I did).

  • No you didn’t.. 7.26am post I was simply remembering the wording of the ‘idea’ as it originally manifested to me, which may have been at around the same time as the fella in Badlands’ link..