A Response to My Critics and Further Adventures in Ecuador

I continue to receive abundant criticism for driving an automobile and taking flights on commercial airlines. These critiques obviously originate from caves to which water is carried via gourd from the nearby stream and the only meat is derived from insects.

As I’ve explained for many years, I will gladly stop participating in fossil foolishness when these enterprises reach their overdue end. If my lack of participation in these activities would terminate car culture and airline culture, I would’ve stopped years ago. Actually, I did, for about two years. Sadly, the beat goes on.

Conservation is largely irrelevant, as explained by Jevons’ paradox, the Khazzoom-Brookes postulate, and reality. Not surprisingly for people born into this culture, the irrelevance is lost on the culturally conditioned masses. Indeed, conservation in this culture is another attempt, among many, to bring austerity to the masses. Perhaps you could join me in driving up the price of oil instead of furthering civilization by doing the opposite.

On my recent travels, airplanes with empty seats were in the solid majority. The airline death spiral continues.

My power to induce change is, to quote Kurt Vonnegut, “like a banana cream pie three feet in diameter dropped from a stepladder four feet high” (my power continues to make such a difference). Yet, driven by my inner teacher, I foolishly forge on. The quest costs money, of which I have little. It attracts deniers and trolls, of which I’ve attracted many. Contrary to the lunacy I’ve heard and read, I’ve no motive beyond the evidence and no desire to see our species driven to extinction.

Scientists put their ideas on display. They expose their concepts, hypotheses, and forecasts to scrutiny, specifically to further discussion. As with other scientists, my ideas are intended to reach a large audience, specifically to expose them to critical review.

I will discuss my ideas with anybody who will listen and many who won’t. I have agreed to debate H. Leighton Steward on the topic of climate change (see below for information). I was asked to debate James Hansen on the topic of abrupt climate change leading to human extinction: I agreed immediately, and I’ve received no response.

With respect to my prediction of near-term human extinction, I’d love to see evidence refuting my conclusion. Thus far I’ve received only disparaging comments and ad hominem assaults. I’ve yet to see anybody launch a rational attack on the evidence, although disparagement of me and several other scientists continues unabated. When the science cannot be refuted, the obvious step is to attack the scientist’s credibility.

As nearly as I can distinguish, these attacks primarily originate with city dwellers. Launching their attacks from the source of the predicament, these critics fail to acknowledge their own complicity while basking in the belly of the carbon beast. Sucking at the teat of empire, they cannot grasp how their comforts could possibly be viewed as detrimental. Yet subsidies allow them to remain car-free while they occupy inexpensive houses heated and cooled with inexpensive electricity, drink inexpensive water piped into their homes, eat inexpensive food in neighborhood restaurants, and pay a pittance to have various sources of waste hauled away from their tender eyes and noses. When asked, most of these folks claim they’ll do something when it matters. Something important, no doubt, like recycling.

But I digress. On the topic of evidence, please consider, for example, the overwhelming evidence regarding the firing of the clathrate gun. Critically important papers have appeared in Science, Nature, Geophysical Research Letters, and Global Policy, as well as from NASA’s CARVE project, but there has been no general scientific acceptance and reporting of this major phenomenon.

The notion of near-term human extinction is anathema to mainstream climate scientists, including the likes of James Hansen and Michael Mann, among the most famous climate scientists in the world (links for all the following statements can be found in my climate-change summary and update). Paul Beckwith, for example, forecasts 6 C temperature rise within a decade and 16 C temperature rise within two decades but distances himself from the notion of human extinction. An engineer and physicist, Beckwith apparently doesn’t realize human animals require habitat to survive. A quick peek into my email in-box indicates Michael Mann — among the most revered climate scientists in the world — was unaware that a 1.95 temperature rise is guaranteed with collapse of industrial civilization until I brought Clive Hamilton’s 2013 analysis to his attention. He still clings to the idea that 2 C is the ecologically important threshold we must not cross, contrary to 24-year-old information from the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases. James Hansen, perhaps the only climate scientist more famous than Mann, only recently realized 1 C was the threshold not to be crossed, and he still promotes nuclear power plants, even though they are known to be carbon-generating environmental disasters. Apparently enabling our addiction to electricity is more important than slowing the omnicide generated by industrial civilization.

The train not only left the station, it fell off the trestle. Now we’re simply contemplating who gets the best view before the train hits the bottom of the rocky canyon. According to David Wasdell’s May 2014 analysis, which includes a critique of the IPCC’s ongoing lunacy, “equilibrium temperature increase predicted as a result of current concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gasses is already over 5°C.” I see no way for humans to survive such a rise in global-average temperature, and it’s baked into the proverbial cake.

If only I’d offer a civilized path forward, I’d be popular. If I promoted false hope, contrary to abundant evidence, I’d be able to make a living by speaking in public to sold-out crowds. If I’d finish each presentation with three tasks everybody can pursue, I’d be featured on the mainstream nightly news. Alas, no dice. Evidence is priceless.

In the spirit of all the scientists promoting their own careers, here’s my list of three relevant tasks to pursue to solve our climate-change predicament:

1. Don’t just do something. Sit there.

2. If you care about the living planet, take steps to terminate industrial civilization.

3. Look inside yourself.

The video embedded below is derived from a presentation I delivered in rural Ecuador on Friday evening, 16 May 2014. The video was shot and edited by Pauline Schneider. You can support Pauline’s work by clicking here.

The trip to Ecuador brought mixed feelings. The natural beauty is stunning. The dependence on industrial civilization is, too. Ecuador has access to sophisticated technology and infrastructure, including hydrofracturing and refineries. Even small villages rely heavily on modern, truck-based importation of food and other “necessities” for everyday life. Contrary to the typical Western approach, most Ecuadorian people with whom I interacted are content to pursue joyful, simple lives rather than an abundance of money. Sadly, though, there is little evidence that many of these people will survive collapse of American empire (for example, their official currency is the U.S. dollar, and typical billboards tout the same two soft drinks battling for American minds mouths).

Guy’s Collapse Talk in Ecuador from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo.

I spoke in error in the video. OPEC was formed in 1960, not 1973. OPEC first exerted significant power in 1973.

4 June 2014, Wyoming, debate with H. Leighton Steward, who often represents the fossil-fuel industry. Read about Steward here.

Wyoming debate flyer

Comments 151

  • What was your tipping-point Guy, when did you realize we’re going to become extinct? In your book you say it occurred when you were editing a book on climate change.

  • DEAD on as usual.

  • I was working on that book in 2002, Raquel. It was published the following year.

    Thanks for your kind comment, Dorell.

  • I am the guilty one who invited Guy to visit my little finca, in Ecuador, as I have done most of my friends and family. He happened to be one of the first to take me up on the invitation. All of my interested friends have skills, talents, knowledge, resources that they have offered to share with our burgeoning community, Terra Nova de Corazón. So, I asked Guy if, while he was visiting, he’d care to do a presentation & maybe even a mini version/trial run of his newfound grief processing skills. He said that’d be a great idea.

    He also asked if I would mind if he invited his friend, Pauline, to join him, and of course I accepted. Any friend of Guy’s…especially when she offers to document the whole thing and capture some footage to launch a crowd-funding campaign for our little outdoor school.

    It was my first week down there, so we didn’t expect to draw too impressive a crowd…and we didn’t. The gringo/ex-pat party we attended at a bar two nights before drew 10 times as many people. I guess I shouldn’t keep being surprised by how disappointing human priorities are – especially those who self-identify as ex-pats.

    So, yes, we took a tropical vacation while living our final years on planet earth. We are raging hypocrites. I’ve been vegetarian for 25+ years, I am a car-free bicyclist/pedestrian in Hollywood, I have not and will not breed (human nor other animal), I buy less packaged goods than just about any North American I have met. But, I do fly in an occasional plane. I would love to meet these people who are so guilt-free that they can chastise us for exploring the earth before we finish killing most life on it.

    Again: We. Are. ALL. Hypocrites.

  • I compost, recycle, have mixed results with gardening and try to drive the car as little as possible because it makes me feel good. I know that my minor activities don’t amount to squat, and I can’t say for sure that anything is actually recycled as it all might be shipped over to India for all I know to let the children there figure out what American garbage has value.

    The human race has been overwhelmed. Some years back, there was talk on the world population reaching 7 billion. One of the talkers mentioned that it isn’t a question if the planet can handle 7 or 8 billion people, we already knew it couldn’t handle 300 million Americans. We conquered the world with bad tv, but still need to bomb people for their oil.

    Who wants to think about that? According to someone, somewhere, Roman heroes in a triumphant celebration over the Gauls would be told by a slave that “Glory is fleeting.” That all the good times, easy fun stuff, would soon fade away and leave one with a hangover and bills to pay. In some versions of the musical Cabaret, Brian finally pushed to complete exasperation says “Wake up, Sally! The party is over and Berlin is vomiting in the street.” Sally cringes. “You’re being vulgar. You know I can’t stand ugliness.”

    And so, the human race starring as Sally Bowles. Vain, silly, unaware that the party is over. Unaware that the world is crumbling. Certainly unwelcoming any news that they might have to finally grow up and face their own actions.

    It hardly matters. Once the food is gone, the waters rising or receding, the whole of society tearing itself apart, the shrillest deniers and the savvy techno-solutionist will be there shouting “How come no one warned of this? What is the government going to do to stop it? Why weren’t we told it would be this bad?”

    Us bleeding hearts, alarmist and wet blankets can kick back and dust off the old hand-cranked phonograph record player. One more time, from the top.

  • _XC_LL_NC_

    According to Socrates’ view,
    A life of this we should persue
    (Though it’s still overdue
    And will never come true)—
    Please give me a single “U.”

    Reference: https://guymcpherson.com/2010/03/going-back-to-the-land-in-the-age-of-entitlement/


    Ann Coulter says “The worst thing and I think the most offensive is that ‘global warming deniers,’ comes from people who are ‘Holocaust deniers.’”

    TH_ H_RR_R
    TH_ H_RR_R

    Collapse will surely expose
    Every hatred the human heart knows
    As cruelty grows
    Unrestrained. So it goes—
    Please give me two “E’s” and four “O’s.”

  • Hold the phone! Senility strikes again! The first rhyme above was to fit a title of TR_TH before I decided to quote Guy and Socrates on the pursuit of excellence. Oh well, they’re both seeking truth, so I guess, hmm, O.K. please delete the reference and change the mystery word to “TR_TH” dammit.


  • O.K., that makes no sense. What I was trying to say is:

    Guy, I salute you.

  • Guy: Keep on. Keeping on. You are probably one of the sanest individuals I have ever known. I tell all the ostriches to just wait a little longer till the obvious appears. But you know what, very few listen, and few ever will. Thank you and Pauline for what you do. You remind me of some of our greatest folk singers like Joe Hill and Utah Phillips. They never quit because they knew the truth.

  • Guy,

    I lived in Ecuador as a teen. Ibarra was my favorite place. Spent some time in the Putamayo basin. Wouldn’t want to live there, but found it a nice place to visit.

    While I see the same climate trajectory as you, I am not so certain of the end result. I don’t deny global warming, just think there are too many potential unforeseen variables that alter the outcome.

    Such as the possibility (probability?) of a major volcanic eruption, the possibility (probability?) of a limited nuclear war, etc.

    I think man’s reaction to resource shortages will hasten the end of industrial civilization sooner than most realize.

    But then, I could be wrong.

    Worst case scenario: we keep on doing as we do for as long as we can.

  • To Guy, CatCampion, dancebackthesea, Sabine, ilinda, and all other child-free NBL folks:

    I commend and admire anyone who makes the conscious choice not to reproduce. That decision alone is one of the most important and intelligent forms of helping the planet; even if it is too late to stop human extinction, ample potential misery will be blocked by each astute human’s desire to prevent future births.

    To the first-worlders, who had a choice:

    I can understand (only a tad since I’ve never been a follower) the typical conformist humans who have 1 or 2 children. They follow the herd. What grates are those who have 3, 4, or more. I suppose they do it out of bull-headedness (“I won’t be told what to do!”) or perhaps they are incapable of handling logistics and/or making hard, practical decisions (“I keep forgetting to take my pill…I refuse to get a vasectomy, tubal ligation, or abortion!”) or their narcissism is too overwhelming (“My children will be smart and superior and capable of solving the world’s problems…my DNA is important and special, so my family line must continue…I want lots of little ones who look just like me!”) or having babies is a good excuse to quit irritating jobs and careers (I’m very familiar with this one since I’ve been surrounded by plenty of women who become bored with working and “suddenly” become pregnant.)

    But the biggest excuse I’ve heard is this: “Well, I just LOVE children! I can’t help wanting them!” No, you love yourselves and your own replications. If there were actual love and caring for children themselves in this world, more adoptions and foster-care situations would be occurring. But we are an ego-driven species. That will never change.

    So, one more time, here is my special thank-you to all of those on this site who managed to break free of humanity’s mindless biological programming and use the brain that evolution gave us.

    Yes, this is on topic since I think “Don’t Reproduce” should be No. 1 on Guy’s to-do list!

  • The standard response of the emperor receiving bad news was and still is to shoot the messenger.
    I’m sorry you keep getting shot at Guy but I am eternally or at least as long as I live, Grateful to have received the news.
    As I watch and study each and every new feedback loop I don’t doubt the outcome of hundreds of years of Geo-engineering carried out after the beginning of the Industrial revolution.
    Keep up the good work mate and continue to raise the alarm, It’s the least we can do.
    Kia Kaha, Stay Strong from Aoetearoa NZ

  • Amen, Laurel. Once we get Terra Nova fully operational, I sincerely hope we will be in a position to take in/take on a few young’uns who would otherwise be without family. My sisters have adopted many children and I bristle when people use the term “real parents” vs. “biological parents” (or sperm/egg donors, more appropriately). I do love children, which is exactly why I will not create more on a planet rife with kids whose needs are not currently being met.
    It takes a village.

  • One of the best remaining uses of fossil fuels is in the attempt to escape from idiots.

    When they can’t refute the evidence, they want to shoot the messenger. The guy who ran the first “marathon” was bringing news of victory in battle, or else he’d have wisely dawdled his way to Athens over a few more years, and no one would be running races by that name today. (Just ask yourself, is anyone going to be eager to run in a 26-mile “McPherson”? Only happy news gets you on “Good Morning America”)

    Guy, you cloak your disappointment with humor, but I do hear the pain in your tone. The first crime was in the habitat’s destruction, the second is in the cover-up and the denial. At least let us have the few years of recognizing truth, and appreciating the beauty of life, before the horror sets in, but, no, they won’t even do that much.

    Liberals habitually engage in Pilate’s (and I don’t mean the exercise) hand-washing over crucial matters. “I recycle; I didn’t destroy the Earth habitat!” and then thinking themselves safely hidden within their own hypocrisies, they make some noise against a “safe” (consensus) target to bolster their own bravado.

    Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.”

    Little intellectuals content with climbing one level above their idiot contemporaries, though the times call for two, three or ten levels of better thought, combined with action.

    Even Thoreau’s tax refusal and resulting night in jail was not intended to end the conquest and rape of Mexico, but to dissociate himself from a government that would do such a thing. “I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.” (But years later, he praised John Brown’s fervent attempts to bring an end to slavery. I think he’d be a DGR supporter today.)

    No, Guy, airline seats are put up into the sky to serve business travelers, and well-off vacation tourists to a few specific destinations. The route decisions and the revenues come from the same IndCiv corporate machine that drives other carbon consumptions. Filling in their empty seats does not carry the environmental impact of equal proportion to those monied travelers.

    But to separate yourself from the herd — to wander in the wilderness as our late friend Mike has bravely done — that is risky. All of human evolution was dependent on tribal living, and ostracism was the death sentence carried out in that world. No one instinctively seeks an existence outside his tribe, but some of us have made a life’s habit of it nevertheless, as we come to suspect we were born into the wrong tribe.

    And I was on that train, once, and about five miles out of the city it tipped over (the car in front of mine) on a pile of clothing left on the tracks. I suppose Thoreau, ranting against the train whistle’s ruin of Walden Wood’s quiet, would have appreciated that one.

    Benjamin evokes Conrad’s (and Coppola’s Brando’s) Kurtz with “The horror!” and we are reminded of the savagery committed as the ivory and rubber trades killed both animals and humans by the millions. A “civilized” king, that Leopold. Why, his pictures even show him wearing a uniform! Must be so.

    The “thin veneer of civilization” was a theme of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Tarzan” and other writings. It is ironic today that we are still juggling between the two intimations of these words, “civilization” and “civilized”. (One of ’em killed us; the other one did the cover-up?)

    Burroughs: “Civilization (which is part of the circle of his imaginings) has spread a veneer over the surface of the soft-shelled animal known as man. It is a very thin veneer; but so wonderfully is man constituted that he squirms on his bit of achievement and believes he is garbed in armor-plate.

    “Yet man to-day is the same man that drank from his enemy’s skull in the dark German forests, that sacked cities, and stole his women from neighboring clans like any howling aborigine. The flesh-and-blood body of man has not changed in the last several thousand years. Nor has his mind changed. There is no faculty of the mind of man to-day that did not exist in the minds of the men of long ago

    “It is the same old animal man, smeared over, it is true, with a veneer, thin and magical, that makes him dream drunken dreams of self-exaltation and to sneer at the flesh and the blood of him beneath the smear…”

    Guy, you’ve stepped outside the tribal norms, and many/most people — even gentle but unthinking “liberals” — just reflexively dish out a punishment for that type of “crime”.

    After all, what was the crime of Meursault? He failed to weep at his mother’s funeral.

    “I, too, felt ready to start life all over again. It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.”

  • I found this “On my recent travels, airplanes with empty seats were in the solid majority. The airline death spiral continues” most interesting…….. because it is ABSOLUTELY not the case in Australia.

  • “I’ve yet to see anybody launch a rational attack on the evidence”

    I don’t think anyone denies the evidence in ‘our circles’, but what I have great difficulty swallowing is your interpretation of that evidence Guy; extinction by 2030, even 2050 simply won’t happen. Maybe 2100, but even that is highly unlikely….. even if only a few thousand humans persist in pockets of survivable places on earth by 2100, I think humans are too resilient to simply go extinct like mere unthinking species.

  • Thank you Guy. Keep it coming. “Evidence is priceless.”.

  • Paul Beckwith, for example, forecasts 6 C temperature rise within a decade and 16 C temperature rise within two decades but distances himself from the notion of human extinction.

    IF this should be correct Guy…….. why even bother doing all this work? Such temperature rises simply cannot be alleviated no matter what, and indeed we WILL go extinct by 2050. And if there’s nothing that can be done to prepare or adapt, then what is the point of warning everyone?

  • @damnthematrix: “like mere unthinking species.”??

    Do you meant the mere unthinking species who aren’t constructing nuclear power plants and skyscrapers and concrete domes in the desert?

    …or the unthinking species who don’t continue to pour toxic Corexit into the Gulf of Mexico?

    Perhaps you’re referring to the unthinking species who never thought to pump out ton after choking ton of plastic garbage at a breakneck pace, lest “the economy” suffer for any restraint in doing so?

    Not really sure of your definitions, here…

  • @damnthematrix, maybe so that he can look in the mirror and say to himself, “I told the truth”, rather than pretending.

    Like in the MasterCard commercial, that’s priceless.

  • @damnthematrix: PS, there is a two-post/topic/day limit here on the blog, that we try to self-police, so that the thread does not get swamped by one or two posters. For more commentary than that, sign up for the forum and continue to comment there, where you will also find additional topics proposed by commenters.

    Thank you.

  • I struggle to find proper words to describe how happy I am to have gained your friendship and how proud I am of you for continuing to share your clear, accurate, and uncensored perspective with the world. The number of your annoying detractors will rise as you gain in popularity. It’s an expected part of your growing influence. Keep at it!

  • Damnthematrix, the video embedded below might answer your question, which I’ve answered a few dozen times. If not, trying reading this essay.

    MalpracticeSuite from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo.

  • Guy……. I totally fail to see how that video answers my question. IF I had terminal cancer, what difference does it make whether the doctor lies to me about it or not? It’s still going to kill me…… if it’s terminal, it’s terminal.

    BTW, I am no optimist. Civilisation will collapse, climate change will kill millions/billions, I just don’t believe it will kill 100% of the species.

    To Lidia…. not ALL humans are of the unthinking type that build “nuclear power plants and skyscrapers and concrete domes in the desert”. THOSE unthinking people will go extinct…. but there are still plenty of ‘wild’ humans who know how to interact with their environment. And I’m sorry if I posted more than my share for today, I was unaware of ‘the rules’ and I will shut up…..

  • While I’m sure everyone enjoys a little Camus, I believe one J Heller more accurately describes Guy’s predicament:


    Clevinger knew so much because Clevinger was a genius with a pounding heart & blanching face…As a Harvard undergraduate he had won prizes in scholarship for just about everything…In short, Clevinger was one of those people with lots of intelligence and no brains…In short, he was a dope.

    He was a very serious, very earnest and very conscientious dope. It was impossible to go to a movie with him without getting involved afterward in a discussion on empathy, Aristotle, universals, messages and obligations of the cinema as an art form in a materialistic society.

    Yossarian tried to help him out. “Don’t be a dope” he had counseled…
    “I’m going to tell him”, Clevinger insisted…
    “Keep still, idiot” Yossarian had advised avuncularly
    “I want someone to tell me” Lt Scheisskopf beseeched
    “He wants someone to tell him” Clevinger said
    “He wants everyone to keep still, idiot” Yossarian answered
    “Didn’t you hear him?” C argued
    “I heard him” Y replied. “I heard him say very loudly and very distinctly that he wants every one of us to keep out mouths shut if we know what’s good for us.”

    “I won’t punish you”, Lt S swore
    “He says he won’t punish me” said C
    “He’ll castrate you”, said Y
    “I’ll be grateful to the man who tells me the truth” said Lt S
    “He’ll hate you” said Y. “To his dying day, he’ll hate you”.

    The bloated colonel began bellowing @ Clevinger the moment C stepped gingerly into the room to plead innocent to the charges Lt Scheisskopf was lodged against him. It was all very confusing to C, who began vibrating with terror as the colonel surged to his feet and threatened to rip his stinking, cowardly body apart limb from limb.

    One day he stumbled while marching to class; the next day he was charged with breaking ranks while in formation, felonious assault, indiscriminate behavior, mopery, high treason, provoking, being a smart guy, listening to classical music, and so on. In short, they threw the book at him. He was a dope who would rather be a corpse than bury one.


  • First, I have to say “THANKS” to Guy McPherson.
    He took a decision, to walk away from the empire, a decision that has taken him to face a lot of bullying, coming in many cases, from people that are supposed to be intelligent, smart, and sometimes, wise. But, that decision opened one door to awareness to many, me included. And this awareness changes your life.
    Thanks again for that.
    The first person that gave me an explanation of why things were not going well in our world, something I was kind of “feeling”, was Michael C. Ruppert.
    But who gave me the big picture, cristal clear, was Guy McPherson.
    Today I can clearly understand why he is being attacked, and probably will be under attack, for the years to come. To a lot smaller scale, sometimes, the same happens to me.
    There´s nothing to do but face the attacks, because the reasons and evidence shows that to bring awareness to a few more is a need, and a goal we cannot leave aside.
    If today, part of the problems we have are related with flying, driving a car, and so many practices of the IC, first it has to be said that the problem is not totally our fault. It is our heritage from our parents, grandparents, and many generations before. In many cases, like in developing countries, we have almost no part in the origin of the problem, even having many people (not the case of my country). The practice that can be questioned is the abuse. The excess. Driving a 300 HP car, instead of a smaller one, living in a big house, living far from the job (and driving everyday), keep on consuming not really needed gadgets, eating food in excess, etc..
    Awareness is a paramount goal, and I cooperate a little bit with what I can.
    I can perfectly say that my non used flight miles that I should have access to (but that I will never use, I do not like flying, and do not need to), I give them to Guy McPherson. The same I say about driving, all the fuel I do not use, and CO2 that I do not generate by driving, because I drive very little, and my car is a 26 mpg (average) diesel powered, I give to Guy McPherson. The same I would say from my daughters, they do not have a car, they walk, use the buses, or ride a bicycle, that includes their more than 20 years without a front row seat. Their share of CO2 can be used by Guy McPherson. So, he (and Pauline) can travel around the world, with my part of the CO2 (per capita) quota.
    So Guy, keep on flying, and driving, and using energy, and producing CO2 if the cause needs it, because you have the fund of more than ten years of my family´s already unused fuel, and not produced CO2.

    To Laurel
    It has always been my position that children are important.
    I totally disagree with the position of highlighting the “good” of not having children.
    I have said many times, that children are the way to change the world (you cannot have more than two certainly, to avoid excess of population). Our (your) children are the only people in the world that will not question your teaching. You can see daily how difficult is to agree on something among adults, but when children are raised under a certain (balanced) philosophy, they will share the same way of seeing things as their parents, and once they become adults, they will continue very much under the same path, but, they will add something else, to make things better, or make adjustments to what was “kind of “ wrong. Besides, along your life, you can learn from your mistakes, make adjustments to your points of view, and later give to your children the adjusted concepts. This event may happen many years after, but that is part of the game, and the value of the corrected lessons is that they come from your direct experience (first hand), a very solid background certainly.
    It has to be said that if we have children to make this world a better place, that is the way. But most people do not have children because of that. Most people have children just because everybody does (or because IC tells you that is what you have to do). Practicing parenthood that way, take us where we are today. But that is not a reason to say that it is better not to have children. Like many other things we have been doing wrong, that kind of parenthood has to be changed. But avoiding parenthood is not the solution. Otherwise, we are not learning the lessons of the past, then, we are not becoming (a bit more) wiser.

    If somebody never had children, it will be natural to feel that it is the best decision, given that present times we live. But, children make you see the life in a different way. You have to become parent to understand that. I have questioned many times the fact that the word “children” is rarely mentioned on NBL. Sometimes surprises me the possible fact that most of the NBL posters do not know what a children implies and means to our lives.
    Our loved children are a very powerful reason to look for solutions “beyond”. They make you feel more empowered to look for solutions, as you know that what is happening is not their fault. It makes you think in a long term concept, no matter how dire is the present scenario. If you do not have children, you do: “Worst case scenario: we keep on doing as we do for as long as we can”. It is obvious, you do not feel the need to do something else, because the bad you see ahead, and the clear feeling that whatever you do will not change the course of things. You just stop doing things. After all, it is only about you.

    I know that to many (here), it will be hard to understand that having children may make some sense, but if we want to learn from the past, and IF things turn out to be not so terrible, and dire, and only 1% of species on earth survive, including some humans, what the survivors will have learnt from their parents, that will be in their minds like carved in stone, will make a lot of sense.
    If James Hansen wouldn´t have become a parent, he would be doing things in a different way. His grandchildren are something very important to him. Responsible parenthood gives you an energy that when you are alone do not have. He maybe doing some things wrong, but certainly they (if survive) will heritage James Hansen´s way of seeing things, and with the due respect, they will question him, and probably correct (or try to) what he saw and did wrong.
    The final question is not “if having or not having children”, the question is “what for having children”. And in any case, if we want to change the world, in some moment in the future, our children are the best way.
    Like many other things of our life, parenthood is a gift, but it has to be used wisely. Something we clearly have not been doing as a common practice.
    These are three powerful reasons for me to keep on looking for a better world…(beyond, if that ever happens).

    my reasons

  • Damnthematrix, you prefer to be lied to? By everybody, or just people with information you don’t like?

  • The following video could be offensive after the first 35 seconds.

    This is dedicated to all the progenitors & believers in “Be fruitful & multiply” who create carbon burners & resource users,who create carbon burners & resource users,who create carbon burners & resource users,etc.

    It’s to bad my parents didn’t get the message earlier.rofl

  • May I suggest a reading of Jay Hanson’s conclusions about human overshoot and collapse. Jay has been researching these issues pretty much full time for 20 years. He is a brilliant human being (I’ve met him). His conclusion (no surprise to NTL readers) is that nothing can be done to slow down or mitigate the collapse until it is already under way. So if Guy wants to spend his time flying to Equador to give a collapse presentation to 8 people by all means do it. It won’t affect the outcome one bit.


    And for those hoping for a quick collapse of industrial civilization to save what is left of the planets biodiversity be aware that hungry humans will quickly devoir anything that moves if they need to. Be careful what you wish for.

  • And before Hanson, Malthus. And long before him, Cato, who obliquely referenced the maximum power principle by stating “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam”.

    None of these ideas & concepts are new; what’s new are successive generations who feel compelled to articulate their awareness, rather than just keep quiet and go along with their lives.

  • Being lied to is part of being on this planet Guy….. The entire Australian population was lied to by some politicians who got elected on the back of those lies… But those lies were different, they achieved an avoidable outcome… I worked out I was being lied to years and years ago, seeked out the right information, and even found you! My point is, if I have an illness that can be cured and the doctor lies to me, that’s unforgivable. But if he lies to me because nothing can be done to save my life, then who gives a rat’s ass?

    Only the people who care seek the truth anyway, and there are very few of us who do. I question whether you are actually peddling the truth. I’m not saying you’re lying, I think you are erring. I simply cannot see how so much solar energy can be trapped under the CO2/CH4 blanket to raise temperatures 6 to 16C in such a short time… Making people believe that absolutely nothing can be done is not helpful in the least. I still rest some hope on the fact the empire will collapse, not as fast or as soon as I’d like, but hopefully soon enough to avoid the hell on Earth you predict.

    So no, I don’t prefer to be lied to, but I have enough brain cells to understand the situation and to make my own decision on how things will pan out.

  • Damnthematrix, if you prefer being lied to, please go elsewhere. You’re violating the only rule I have in this space and not offering anything of value. You really think you’re more expert than Paul Beckwith on the topic of abrupt climate change? I think not. The clathrate gun has been fired, and he knows what that means. You clearly don’t.

    Some people value evidence. You’re clearly not one of them. I’ve explained why I write and speak numerous times, but you’re stuck on that issue. Get over it. Move along.

  • “The train not only left the station, it fell off the trestle. Now we’re simply contemplating who gets the best view before the train hits the bottom of the rocky canyon.”

    This reminded me of the movie Snowpiercer. I highly recommend it. I don’t want to give the plot away, but you will easily see parallels to civilization and climate change. Get the Korean subs if you torrent the movie.

    BTW, great post a usual Guy.

  • Well said Guy.

    Dmt brings to mind your great quote about stupid people.

    On another topic. . . .thinking that being a vegan, screwing in funny shaped light bulbs, sorting one’s trash, riding a bike in a city etc. . . even if by some magic everyone participated was ever going to change the course of events seems short-sighted.

    Try the thought experiment of no electricity anywhere. . .no power plants, no transmission lines, no communication systems, no modern manufacturing, no plastics, no hydro dams, no wiring electrical lighting in your house, no solar panels, no wind turbines, no electrical appliances, no electric cars, no medical gizmos, no pumps for sewage/water/irrigation, no batteries etc. . .

    Try no transportation beyond gravity,animal(including you) or wind powered.

  • Some here already know that I’m currently working at a primate sanctuary. I’ll share some of that experience.

    Many of the monkeys here have lived under very stressful laboratory conditions where they were given drugs and faced various psychological challenges, not the least being boring, sterile lab settings without natural light. Others come in as abused ‘pets’. They have seen evil, heard evil, but cannot speak about it.

    Note: Primates never become pets! They are curious and clever, with individual minds and emotions of their own and they don’t like to be told what to do… just like us. They, like us, get bored, fall in love, get anxious, depressed, irritated, angry… and destructive, even dangerously aggressive. Never buy a monkey for a ‘pet’. If you really like them donate your time and treasure to a sanctuary.

    Some monkeys are able to adjust to the spacious naturalized habitats (enclosures) here and feel joy – they have the same emotions, the same hormones, we have. Others given the same opportunity never forget their past, and self-mutilate. It is readily apparent that all of them know they are in captivity.

    Their plight is our own. ‘Born into captivity’, some of us are self destructive, or outwardly destructive. Some seem to accommodate captivity. I think all of us crave the wild.

    Despite these deep yearnings… No – these monkeys could not survive in the wild. Nor could most of us – if there was a wild for us to go to. The world has been mournfully captivated. We all howl through the frustrating barriers from time to time. Once in a while we feel joy.

  • Yes, I agree, please don’t have children!

    For me, I got here pretty much like everyone else – researching various things that led me to “Collapse.” However, the main thing I got from NBL was the realization that CIVILIZATION was the beginning of the end for humans, and, sadly, with the discovery of fossil fuels, the timeline for The End has been exponentially increased and now includes Every Living Thing on Earth. So, we’ve been on this runaway train for several thousand years – and NBL has indicated that my generation will have the dubious honor of seeing The End. I banked on this prediction – and now I’m broke, jobless, home in foreclosure, etc, and I live on food stamps. How long I can hold on like this is unknown. Had I never found NBL, I might still be a responsible, acceptable and productive member of industrial civilization with my only purpose being to consume, consume, consume…

    I’m certain that my timing miscalculation has made for a far less comfortable seat on the train… But did it matter really to the passenger’s on the Titanic if they were 1st class or steerage? No.

    Just sittin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • First of all, hello to everybody. My name is Nuno, I’m Portuguese and recently moved with my wife to Brasil, Rio de Janeiro. Sorry for my english, I hope it is good enough to somebody understand me.

    I’m gratefull to mr. Guy Mcpherson cause I say this things (about economic global collapse and that we are in big trouble ambiental (water, food, etc)) since several years ago, and I started to feel very alone on this and like I was with some kind of mental desease because everybody else says I’m too pessimist or that it only will happen in a far future(or never happen), or simply laugh or worst.

    Some days ago I found a disturbing video about metane in the artic which lead me to your interview to RT television and to the talk in Taditions World Cafe (February 2014) that is translate to portuguese.

    So I’m grateful because I found someone that explains the all thing and base it on scientific sources. So Mr. Guy I support you in keeping telling this to everyone, everyway you can.

    The only difference is that I thinked we have more time. To me the economic collapse will happen somewhere about 2025-2030 followed by a period of social nightmare with people killing each other in big cities and after that emerging militar dictatorial esctructures and so on and a dark future for humankind, but a future…

    Now you talk about hiperinflation this year and 15% oil rupture as close as next year,and martial law in USA and nuclear plants going meltdown, and all the climate change and no ambiental support for humankind in 2030.

    Here in Brazil there is a big drougth in São Paulo state, the water supply to São Paulo metropolitan area (about 20 million people) is in critical situation, they started to pump water from the (volume morto) “death volume”, wich means they are pumping from the bottom and only have water for 5/6 months. This summer (January/February 2014) there was a very long heatwave with record temperatures. Do you think this can be related to climate change and getting worse?

    As I said before we moved to Rio de Janeiro in April 2014 and we are starting a new life here in Brazil. In your case in our actual situation what would you do… Organize things here in the city (house, work, and so on) or look for some place more quiet, like a small city or some rural community, and if that makes really any diference in terms of survive, if going to a rural community is only to postpone inevitable death for a few years…

    As I said before, congratulations for the speech in equador, it looks a nice place there, and for the courage of expose all of this to others, I know it is not an easy task.

  • If people don’t like how Guy spreads the (good) news, then maybe they’ll like Kevin Anderson’s (Professor of Energy and Climate Change, University of Manchester) style better:

    He doesn’t go as far as Guy in that he wont mention the “e” word and he deals out a bit of hopium at the end, but he’s the most upfront of any mainstream scientist I’ve heard on this, calling out the lies, obfuscation and manipulations for what they are….

  • “The clathrate gun has been fired, and he (Paul Beckwith) knows what that means.”

    What makes you think Paul Beckwith, or any serious climate scientist, believes that “the clathrate gun has been fired”? NB: HAS BEEN fired; not MAY BE fired.

  • Guy, you forgot to mention that your critics are keyboarding out their criticisms on laptops made in China over Cisco Routers that consume about 10% of the currently produced electricity in the FSoA.

    The Planes will fly until they don’t, the cars will drive until they don’t, and trolls will haunt the internet until it goes dark. That’s how it goes. Everybody Knows.


    “Just sittin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window.”-Pat

  • Don’t just do something. Sit there.

    The title of a book by Sylvia Boorstein, yet another JuBu (Jewish Buddhist). A very practical introduction to the basic concepts.

    No one instinctively seeks an existence outside his tribe

    Much depends on what one identifies as one’s tribe. I identified with the English-speaking people, a result of the remarkable efficiency of the imperial overlords in creating a caste of “Brown Englishmen”.

    Driving a 300 HP car, instead of a smaller one

    Actually, the tare weight of the vehicle is just as important. My previous car was a Toyota Supra Mark IV, 360 hp, but 12 lbs/hp. My present car is a 2007 z06, 505 hp but 7.3 lbs/hp, which alternates 4 of the 8 cylinders at low power outputs, and so is rated at 26 mpg on the highway. In spite of its 7 years, it has less than 10,000 miles on it. To keep the battery from discharging, I always use a trickle charger when it is parked in the garage.

    living far from the job

    Actually just under three miles from the job, and biked to work for several years.

    In view of a coming massive human population dieback, procreation is a ticket in the game of “last man standing”. Most progeny must perish earlier than at previous life expectancies. Regardless of how well they are raised. And without leaving subsequent progeny. The numbers in the dieback dictate it. Regardless of NTE or survival of the species. Those who do not see it this way are those unable to emotionally acknowledge the high likelihood of an approaching dieback. And that is quite different from an intellectual acknowledgement.

    Being right with unpleasant news does not make one popular with the proles. Errors make one’s pronouncements less threatening. The more right and the more dire one is, the more one will be hated. The person to articulate the ill tidings will be associated in memory with their fruition and blamed for it.

    Physicians taking care of patients with terminal conditions usually offer valid statistics with a very generous side helping of palliative care, which is not overtly presented as palliative. The patient is permitted to think / pretend that s/he will be among the rare exceptions. Makes life easier for both the patient and all the care providers.

    There is the classic story of the Yaksha’s question and Yudisthira’s reply:

    “What is the greatest wonder?”

    “Day after day countless people die. Yet the living wish to live forever. O Lord, what can be a greater wonder?”

  • I concur with Tom F. remarks. After nearly 15 years of interaction, I also concur that Jay is the smartest man on earth.

    “If you haven’t done your homework, you won’t have the neurons/dendrite/synapses to think new thoughts.” Jay Hanson’s work is FOUNDATIONAL:


    I see Jay’s work cherry-picked and plagiarized all over the web, with zilch for attribution. Dozens of the peak-THIS, or peak-THAT websites,
    books, & films were tutored at his knee, and nobody even understands that his work is one of the few originating fountainheads for this kind of serious study. He’s a multidisciplinary, systems-analyst, peak-n, die-off, rock-star. Makes Casandra look like a trite optimist. Check him out.

    Paul Chefurka also writes with insight that many here might enjoy. I think I’ve seen him here at NBL, but in case he’s failed to toot his own horn, here’s a link:


    Thanks again to Guy for delivering the punches on NTE. I didn’t know that Beckwith “forecasts 6 C temperature rise within a decade.” (Wow, we’re freeking DOOMED!) I guess this is an example of the “pre-apocalypse episode offering many opportunities for profit.”
    I need to increase my shares of Coppertone stock!


  • Hello Guy, just a small clarification. I said that I think that we are undergoing an abrupt climate change, with a temperature rise of 5 to 6 degrees C likely within a decade or two. In the past during the PETM a rise of 5 degrees C in 13 years occurred, according to a recent paper. During the forty or so D-O oscillations a rise of 5 or 6 degrees occurred many times (in one case the rise reached 16 C) within a decade or two. Deep history shows that the Earth climate system is very capable of large rates of change, and I think that is happening again, today.

  • I believe that birds are dinosaurs that survived extinction. They recycle all their waste, recycle their nests, recycle their clothing (feathers) and their bodies and depend 100% on sunshine for their energy. They hunt and gather.

    Thinking man makes damn sure he doesn’t recycle any of his waste, makes damn sure he doesn’t recycle his housing or his clothing or his body but he thinks that recycling his plastic bottles is worthwhile. In spite of his big brain, he doesn’t know how to use sunshine for his energy needs (photosynthesis) so he mines his energy. He thinks he is smart, superior. He even thinks he can sustain this style of living.

    I don’t see how even the birds will survive man’s nuclear energy thinking, this time around.

    This is what I see. This is what I think.

  • Guy’s A Response to my Critics… now UP on the Diner Blog!

    Fortuitous timing, since assuming all goes well we are scheduled to do a followup Podcast with Guy on Sunday.

    Guy was one of the first Bloggers we interviewed on the Collapse Cafe, and his Climate Change & Extinction Podcast is one of the leaders in Listens, with 1745.

    Much to catch up on here after nearly a year, and I am looking forward to the chat.


  • I’m fairly new on this site and I often find myself reading the comments but never reply myself. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs but generally I would say there’s to many trolls in the comment section for me to find it worth engaging in the discussion.

    Now I just wanted to express my gratitude to Guy and basically everyone else who walks their own path here in life. In this society it’s not the easiest thing to stay true to yourself and keeping your integrity.

  • @Godofredo – well, luckily (according to you) plenty of people have children, so let’s see them get us out of this mess, since only they have the necessary compelling reason to do so. Or, let’s see the children do it, even better. As a childless person, who only cares about myself, I’m all for this approach. Where’s the argument you seem to be seeking? Is anyone opposed to the parents and their children saving the world? No. Personally, I just feel badly for those suffering from this delusion and even moreso for their innocent children who never asked to be brought into this world of pain.

  • Thanks Guy,
    You hit the nail on the head as usual!

    I have no scientific training (I’m just a language graduate and translator) but have been aware and open to my natural surroundings ever since I can remember. Reading while sitting in a nearby wood and experiencing a feeling of extraordinary well-being is one of my favourite childhood memories. And I could always relate well to other humans, old and young, and can now. I was considered a charming smiley child but still preferred the company of plants and animals.
    Having been aware and observant all my life, I’ve noticed the changes taking place in the natural environment more than most people I know. The scientific proof is just the “icing on the cake” for me.

    Something that I’ve noticed over the last few years here in England is that trees and shrubs, everywhere I look, are ailing. Many seem to suffer the symptoms associated with drought, and that here in England, where we’ve just had the wettest winter on record! Often the air is so damp that the surfaces in my very insulated and well-built house feel clammy. That never happened 10 years ago! It’s obvious to me that the conditions needed by the plants are changing.
    I live surrounded by traditional heathland (there are still remnants of it here designated as sites of “special scientific interest”) with birches as the most common tree. Birches are not long-lived, I know, but boy do most of them look bad. Dry branches and twigs everywhere. The same applies to willows, including my two beloved weeping willows and all other trees (oak, beech, conifers, ornamental and fruit trees …).
    My beautiful willows, that were always so thickly laden with branches and properly formed leaves, now look thinned and balding, like a man losing his hair. Most of the leaves are curled and marked. My willows are not the only ones. The same is happening all around.

    When visiting my sister in Germany, I’ve noticed the same over the last three years or so.

    The plants are there to look at for everybody willing to spend time to “see”. How can people deny that the biosphere is dying and think that they might have a chance to “survive” without it? I suppose you have to have an “engineer’s mind” or fall into the trap of thinking that humans are on top and can “solve” everything.
    I know, people love to be ignorant about this and/or don’t care. And for scientists observations like mine are not proof. You can’t win.

    Thanks for this blog, where else could I have the confidence to air my unscientific observations?

  • Thank you Guy McPherson for providing all the necessary evidence in one spot for my life-long observation that we’re doomed. The time-line is advancing with each passing day due to the interacting feedbacks we’ve triggered (which are now triggering more of them) and I fully expect the entire house of cards that is human industrial civilization to collapse before 2020. Though it’s comforting to know that I wasn’t “nuts” (although living this way is completely irrational because it’s unsustainable), it’s brought on a new set of emotions and problems to deal with along the way (ala pat’s position). My family keeps making plans for a future that isn’t going to be there. I don’t say anything and just go along for the ride, doing what I can, knowing it’s all for naught.

    We’re kept in our open prison of IC via “fascination” and “fun” – tech gadgets and NASCAR, shopping and involvement in herd activities.

    [As an aside, one of the most interesting events – a meteor shower – will be visible over most of the U.S. late tonight/early a.m. Sun. – so look up if you’re awake]

    Fascination Street – The Cure


    Oh it’s opening time down on Fascination Street
    So let’s cut the conversation and get out for a bit
    Because I feel it all fading and paling and I’m begging
    To drag you down with me to kick the last nail in

    Yeah, I like you in that like I like you to scream
    But if you open your mouth then I can’t be responsible
    For quite what goes in or to care what comes out
    So just pull on your hair, just pull on your pout

    And let’s move to the beat like we know that it’s over
    If you slip going under, slip over my shoulder
    So just pull on your face, just pull on your feet
    And let’s hit opening time, down on Fascination Street

    So pull on your hair, pull on your pout
    Cut the conversation, just open your mouth
    Pull on your face, pull on your feet
    And let’s hit opening time down on Fascination Street

    Down on Fascination Street
    Down on Fascination Street
    Down on Fascination Street
    On Fascination Street

  • “children who never asked to be brought into this world of pain.”

    That covers EVERYBODY in every era. This is the deal we’re dealing in.

    While I can’t answer for others, I know I have benefited greatly being part of the American Empire. I don’t spend much time on any given day worrying about the slave labor that provided me with this computer or some of the food I eat or clothes I wear. Being aware that we’re reaching an end to all of this isn’t something I’m cheering for either. I’d have some satisfaction in a popular uprising that resulted in various Wall Street parasites and their DC puppets hanging from street lights, but that would actually require enough Americans being aware that they’ve been murdered. Instead of revolution we get vapid marches and snappy slogans. Screw them all, myself included. And the screw is getting tighter.

    From Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five:

    “Why me?”

    “Why you? Why anyone?”

  • Like many others, I fell into the trap of saying that the atmospheric baseline CO2 level was 280ppm. That is what everyone was saying.

    However, when we examine the 800,000 year CO2 record we note that 280ppm corresponds to an unusually high peak (other peaks being closer to 260ppm, and the average is around 220 to 230ppm.

    So here we are at 400ppm, 120ppm above an unusually high peak [in recent times] and around 180ppm above the 800,000 year average. Not only that but we are also adding CO2 at such a rate that even with much of it going into the oceans the level in the atmosphere is rising at around 2.5ppm per annum, and the rate of annual rise is increasing.

    I had some discussion with Paul Beckwith regarding the relative forcing factor for methane. The UNIPCC value of 23 times CO2 was raised to 34 times CO2 over a 100 year time period but I contend that such analysis is phony because such analysis I based on oxidation of CH4 when in practice every molecule that gets oxidised is replaced by another, plus more.

    I contend that the correct forcing factor for atmospheric methane is in the range 200 to 300 times CO2, and am yet to have anyone demonstrate why that is not the case.

    The 2,000ppb methane in the atmosphere = 2ppm, and if we use a multiplier of 250 we get a CO2 equivalent of 500. Adding CO@e for other gases gives us a total CO2e of around 1,000.

    Those who doubt temperatures can rise quickly should bear in mind that temperatures are being held relatively steady by the latent heat of phase change ice-to-water, but once most of the ice in the Artic Sea has melted trapped heat will result in a rapid increase in sea temperature, which will trigger faster release of semi-sequestered CO2 and CH4.

    For the past decade I have been highlighting the desperate need to reduce CO2 emissions in order that release of methane not be triggered.

    Just as Guy has been ignored, I too have been ignored.

    @ Paul Beckwith.

    Any data on the INSTANTANEOUS methane absorbance-reradiation factor relative to CO2 yet?

    One other matter while I am posting: a ‘hole in the OH layer’ has been discovered. Since OH is crucially important in the oxidation of CH4 and low OH implies higher CH4 and longer residence as CH4, it seems to me we are in dire straits.

    Do those who detract and criticise, and ridicule the concept of runaway greenhouse and NTE actually understand the chemistry of all this stuff>?

  • http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/11-things-destroy-immune-system-194000152.html

    11 Things that Destroy Your Immune System
    By The Editors of Rodale News

    As if Greece didn’t have enough trouble a 6.9 earthquake struck yesterday south of Kamariotissa



    As a college educator (‘adjunct slave-labor hanger-on’ would be more apt), let’s celebrate our graduation to reality with this (embedded within the link is a 27 min. speech you’ll enjoy):



    Large protests in one of the top industrial nations now occurring:


    Boiling point: Riot police battle to take control after thousands of student protesters shut down Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in mass demonstration over education budget cuts

    Chaos broke out in the streets across Australia this afternoon as police clashed with thousands of students protesting the Abbott goverment’s changes to tertiary education funding announced in the recent federal budget.

    A massive contingent of police officers struggled to contain the masses as they chanted crude slogans including ‘bull****, come off it, our education is not for profit,’ reported The Age.

    Melbourne saw the most tense conflict, however demonstrations in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane also exploded in violence and chaos.

    While you’re at the site, if you scroll past the really interesting read on NZ, there’s this:

    This Ice Sheet Will Unleash a Global Superstorm Sandy That Never Ends

    Glaciologist Richard Alley explains that losing West Antarctica would produce 10 feet of sea level rise in coming centuries. That’s comparable to the flooding from Sandy—but permanent

    Following that there’s a few more great reads – especially the Ukraine posts.


    From Jumping Jack Flash Hypothesis blog, more evidence of what’s coming (just another facet):

    Category: Corpses In Low-Lying Areas

    2014-05-22 – Two young men, 23 and 25, drop dead in separate homes one mile apart in the Forest Park area of Cincinnati (Ohio):

    Quote: “Police do not believe there was foul play involved when two men in their 20s were found dead in separate Forest Park homes Thursday morning.”

    Note: Ah, cool, so nobody killed them. Probably just got poisoned to death then, so no big deal. These two men dropping dead like this is eerily similar to the two men, both 52, who dropped dead in their separate but adjacent homes in Oklahoma City (Oklahoma), as mentioned in the 2013-03-15 update. Two inmates, 25 and 51, were found dead in their respective cells at Attica Correctional Facility (New York), as mentioned in the 2013-12-06 update. Three people, 78, 58 and 54, dropped dead in same house within 24 hours, in Woodville (Alabama), as mentioned in the 2013-11-20 update. Two men dropped dead in their respective rooms at a YMCA in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), as mentioned in the 2013-02-11 update. And so on. Sort of separate, all of those events, but not really – same timeframe, same geographic area, same atmosphere. Once the atmospheric contamination intensifies then it’ll be more than 2 or 3 people dropping dead in the same area; eventually it’ll be entire neighborhoods, then entire towns. This area is near Mill Creek Lake and also northeast (downwind) of the Ohio River…

    Have a nice holiday weekend America.

  • To clarify further, Paul, you’ve said high methane releases follow fracturing of the jet stream, accounting for past global-average temperature rises up to 16 C in a decade or two (Paul Beckwith via video on 19 December 2013). No humans will survive such an event.

  • Why is that Americans are always so sloppy regarding history (and oil history in that case) ?

    OPEC wasn’t formed in 1973

    But the first oil shock is indeed a consequence of US peak more than anything else.
    But the energy cirsis started in 71 in the US with heating fuel in particular.

    But it’s true that the whole story is completely obfuscated.

    A real great documentary about the whole story (but only exists in French and German to my knowledge) :

    Another one (less good) :

    in fact translated/adapted from below one :

  • Sabine you are correct that the trees are in decline, and it is a global trend. Climate change cannot account for it – yet – because the same premature mortality is occurring irregardless of changes in precipitation, or temperature. So far most warming has affected the higher latitudes and yet trees well within their range of their heat tolerance exhibit identical symptoms of damage. Leaves of tropical ornamentals being watered in pots are blighted by the end of. The growing season, as are aquatic plants, and even those in greenhouses.

    The reason they are dying is that the background level of pollution is increasing. Ozone is invisible but it’s highly toxic to all forms of life. Trees exposed to cumulative injury become more vulnerable to biotic attacks from insects, disease and fungus, which are usually blamed when they ultimately succumb and die. In the UK foresters are obsessed with blaming invasive pathogens, even though enthusiastic gardeners have been importing exotic species from around the world for centuries, and it is only now that the attacks have become epidemics.

    See this article for links to research if you are interested: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whispers-from-the-ghosting-trees/

  • Thanks for your clarification, yt75. OPEC was formed in 1960, and exerted power in 1973.

    I recently came across the song “Runway Train” from Eliza Gilkyson,who I discovered because of a post from Kirk Hamilton where he included her song “Beautiful World” (Thank you Kirk!).
    I post it here in honor of you!

  • Guy,

    “and exerted power in 1973.”

    Not sure what you mean by that, things are much more complicated.

    Basically the “common image” or “myth” is :

    “first oil shock (73) = Yom Kippur/Arab embargo= geopolitical story= nothing to do with geologic constraints”

    When the real story was :

    – end 1970 : US production peak, the energy crisis starts from there, with some heating fuel shortages for instance (some articles can be found on NYT archive on that), or :
    – Nixon name James Akins to go check what is going on.
    – Akins goes around all US producers, saying this won’t be communicated to the media, but needs to be known, national security question
    – The results are bad : no additional capacity at all, production will only go down, the results are also presentede to the OECD
    – The reserves of Alaska, North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, are known at that time, but to be developed the barrel price needs to be higher
    – In parallel this is also the period of “rebalance” between oil majors and countries on each barrel revenus (Ghadaffi being the first to push 55/50 for instance), and creation of national oil companies.
    – there is also the dropping of B Woods in 71 and associated $ devaluation, also putting a “bullish” pressure on oil price.
    – So to be able to start Alaska, GOM, North Sea, and have some “outside OPEC” market share, the barrel price needs to go up (always good for oil majors anyway) and this is also US diplomacy strategy
    – For instance Akins, then US ambassador in Saudi Arabia, is the one talking about $4 or $5 a barrel in an OAPEC meeting in Algiers in 1972
    – Yom Kippur starts during an OPEC meeting in Vienna, which was about barrel revenus percentages, and barrel price rise.
    – The declaration of the embargo pushes the barrel up on the spots markets (that just have been set up)
    – But the embargo remains quite limited (not from Iran, not from Iraq, only towards a few countries)
    – It remains fictive from Saudi Arabia towards the US : tankers kept on going from KSA, through Barhain to make it more discrete, towards the US Army in Vietnam in particular.
    – Akins is very clear about that in below documentary interviews (which unfortunately only exists in French and German to my knowledge, and interviews are voiced over) :

    For instance after 24:10, where he says that two senators were starting having rather “strong voices” about “doing something”, he asked the permission to tell them what was going on, got it, told them, they shat up and there was never any leak. The first oil schock “episode” starts at 18:00
    (the “embargo story” was in fact very “pratical”, both for the US to “cover up” US peak towards US public opinion or western one in general, but also for major Arab producers to show “the arab street” that they were doing something for the Palestinians).

    Note : About Akins, see for instance :

    And his famous foreign affair article :

    His report to Nixon in 71 or 72 is still classified to my knowledge though, would be interesting to know if it can be declassified now.

  • The U.S. was the world’s swing supplier until 1970, and the peak wasn’t widely acknowledged until 1973 (the decline between 1970 and 1972 was modest). Ergo, OPEC was able to exert serious political power beginning in 1973.

  • @damnthematrix
    you said:
    “IF I had terminal cancer, what difference does it make whether the doctor lies to me about it or not? It’s still going to kill me…… if it’s terminal, it’s terminal.”
    ” if I have an illness that can be cured and the doctor lies to me, that’s unforgivable. But if he lies to me because nothing can be done to save my life, then who gives a rat’s ass?”

    You must not have known people who suffered from a terminal disease.
    Or you’re just an un-empathic, unthinking dolt who is uninterested in experiencing life in it’s fullest as you are thrust towards the Abyss. Though you claim to be a thinker. Lidia adequately addressed that questionable attribute.

    “Who gives a rats ass?”

    A dear friend passed of ALS several years ago. Knowing his days were numbered he reached out to others with the same affliction. He championed their quality of life, not quantity of days. He became a spokesperson for his fellow afflicted. And then something amazing happened. He was transformed by going within himself and became enlightened.
    He died happy.
    because he knew. He gave a rat’s ass.

    Last year a very sweet and kind local gentleman passed suddenly.
    The community was devastated by this loss. We quickly discovered that he had just been diagnosed with seriously, advanced melanoma only a week before his death, and was the cause of his death. Apparently someone had failed to tell him the truth at an earlier visit and he lost precious time that he could have used to settle his business, say goodbye and find personal peace.

    But who gives a rat’s ass about that?
    Not you.
    If you prefer to remain clueless and in the dark, this is the wrong space.
    We embrace all truths here at NBL, both ugly and beautiful.
    Because we give a rat’s ass.

  • Your presentation in Ecuador was outstanding. Your best to date! I was so impressed that I wanted to thank you with a $100 donation for a wonderful diversion to an otherwise boring day. I admonish all your readers to donate, but you need to fix you donate button. I couldn’t get it to work but will try again later.

    Regarding a response to your critics, I suggest that you take the Edward Snowden approach as explained by Glenn Greenwald in his book “No Place To Hide”. Dissenters always try to demonize the messenger to refute the facts or continue the lies. Stick with the facts that you have so carefully researched and ignore the deniers. They will come around when their livelihoods expire.

    BTW, I believe a lot of people could better deal with the scary prospect of NTE it they understood that all species that have ever lived on the planet last for only a 100,000 years or so. Our time is about up (consider rhinos, tigers, etc. who are a bit ahead of us). Relax and rejoice in the fact that you are the last of a kind to meet a normal end! That’s how I live and I thank you for heaping me understand it.

  • I’m a 55-year old ‘breeder’ with FOUR – yes FOUR – children – three adults and one almost 11-year old… The self-righteous contempt for us ‘breeders’ expressed by some here is really obnoxious…

    I was not awake and aware about the state of the planet when I chose to have my children. The drive to have offspring is really a multi-faceted thing that is based partly in our DNA/primal natures and partly in our conscious and unconscious psychology…

    Most of us seem to have lost sight of the fact that we humans are animals and wherever possible, nature drives animals and plants to procreate – its survival of the species…

    And for those of you who blame us ‘breeders’ for not making ‘better’, more informed choices, tell me that you have never in your life made a decision, made a choice, taken an action without full understanding/awareness of the deeper, wider, more profound consequences and of how much your choice would hurt other living beings, if not the planet… I don’t believe anyone here is pure as the driven snow in this regard…

    I get that in our anger and despair it’s easy to point the finger and blame people for where we’re at… I too get really frustrated when others don’t see/understand basic truths about politics and economics and governance, for example… AND… I have to accept the fact that every single one of us has a unique experience of being alive, which results in a different way of looking at the world and different levels of understanding and there is no way to control for that variation – nor should we….

    So I try to remind myself: “Let s/he who is without sin, cast the first stone”…

  • Guy,

    Not sure if this is the right combo for registering a comment here. Nice slide show and talk. You need to configure your PC so no power saving alerts come on when the screen is inactive for awhile. Just about all your slides were affected by that, and you talked around it well, but there is no reason to have to put up with that annoyance. It’s best to have your PC battery fully charged or even better, to have it plugged into a power source during your presentation, if possible.

  • Dr. Doom, that wasn’t the problem. Occasionally my laptop gives a message indicating it is overheating. Apparently it cannot be repaired, and it’s only occasionally a problem. I just got lucky in Ecuador.

  • Dear Gail,

    Thanks for replying to my post. You are a marvel. I was always very interested in your posts when you were a regular here.

    I’ve missed you! You have a lot to contribute.

    And thanks very much for the link.

  • Wow, CatCampion, I wish you well in your endeavors! I don’t encounter many who offer a helping hand to children outside their own gene pool, so congratulations to you and your sisters for being originals. It’s wonderful.

    I’ll leave you with a favorite cartoon of the Voluntary Human Extinction crowd (I hope it comes through from FB):


  • Have you read Scott Johnson’s critique of your position at his Fractal site and if so what is your response? I have to say that he relies largely on the IPCC reports and so his critique is not convincing but it is long.



    Chris Black

  • Guy,

    I keep 2 thin strips of wood under my laptop to give it some air circulation from under neat. Anything to keep it cooler may extend it’s lifetime.

  • @Sahilla,
    I too bred three incredible humans who are my teachers and it’s an experience I would not replace. The feeling of a new life growing in my belly, nursing, watching their first steps, seeing them grow into amazing, clear thinking adults unhindered by the brainwashing I was treated to… Amazing people with amazing voices.

    Like you, I wasn’t fully aware of the predicament we are in, though
    my spouse and I knew enough about overpopulation to plan to replace ourselves with two other people. The third was an accident we decided to be responsible for.
    Any further accident would have to be returned to the universe. But three was now our limit. We have not regretted fighting for her. She is another amazing human, clear thinking, aware and creative. Un-brainwashed.

    I have full respect for those who made the choice not to have children.
    Some feel the loss of having made that personal choice, others do not.
    Like you Sahilla, I hope to be respected also for my personal choices.
    Personal choices are really for no one to judge. We make them based on the information, and the cultural conditioning we have been subjected to.
    Often we make them based on unconscious drivers.
    More often than not that unconscious driver is Fear.

    Last May I was at the Age of Limits conference where a young woman in tears confessed that even though she is well aware of what is coming, she wanted to have a baby.
    It might seem selfish and foolhardy, even cruel of her to make that personal decision.
    She is, after all, about to submit another human, without their consent, to unimaginable horrors…

    However, this life, this existence, this plane of consciousness is complex and filled with unimaginable wonders. Who knows what if anything is on the other side. All we know is this experience. Part of that experience may include giving life, and/or taking it away, or helping it leave with compassion, consciously and with some dignity, even if that ending is horrifying and the life is short lived. It’s all part of the experience of being human.

    Ultimately, life is both beautiful and tragic. We cannot judge what others are capable of handling. And now it’s too late to change it with our puny actions.

  • To Ugotstahwonder

    Our children are not going to get us out of this mess. They will have to find their way. We have to give them the basic tools, the codes.
    I have never said that “luckily” plenty of people have children. I believe that parenthood is a very important task, that have to be taken seriously. I can clearly see that most parents are not doing a good job, but that does not mean that we do not have to have children.
    You are measuring pain from a point of view that I suspect is very contaminated by IC concepts, and first world lifestyle. Besides, pain is a relative concept.
    For example, for children, the concept of pain does not exist (besides the basic physics, like heat, hunger, thirst, but they can learn to face it). Others put the stick to their lives, from outside.
    They totally adapt to where they grow up. If you teach them that life is unsecured, that you never know what will bring the next day, they will be happy with that. There will be no pain for them. If you teach them that happiness does not come from gadgets, they will be very ok with that, no matter what they see around.
    That is why, parenthood is a decision that implies relevant and long term consequences.
    My first daughter was born when I was 22, my second came, when I was 26. and since then, with my wife, decided to do or best efforts, to make of them, persons of good, distant from happiness related to consumption, simple persons. They were raised in a community of hard working people. And in a great manner they are very much what we wanted for them to be. They are part of our IC, but at the same time, they are simple, and pursue happiness by doing things related to the arts, not by consumption. They don´t have a car, because they do not need one (on due time, when needed, they may get one). Currently they ride bicycles, or walk, or travel by bus. No pain on that.
    They are aware of the storm ahead, but at the same time, enjoy their days. They are not perfect, and make mistakes, but learn from them. They are not typical consumers, and use second hand many things, because they choose to. They are far from the average level of a typical first world carbon burner. They are very low carbon burners, besides, our country as an average it is so (below world average).
    Responsible parenthood is the point. Children are part of life, we as adults have to guide them along the right path, and if what comes is “painful”, we have to prepare them for that. Within them is the seed of any possible way out.
    As you probably accept, it is too late for the generation of 50 or more years old to change things. Our children can.
    History, even recent, shows that no matter the evidence at hand, the future never is what we believe today it will be. That is not hope, it is just simply what our history shows. I totally agree with Guy McPherson, based in the solid evidence available, we are done, but at the same time, we cannot assure that things will totally unfold as we believe today, because there are unknown factors, with unknown consequences. As it has happened over and over again Castle Bravo being one of many examples, the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster, being another one.
    In the end, NBL is a good place to present our positions, knowing that probably nobody holds the truth, and the right thing, but from the mix of our different points of view. We can learn a bit from each other.

  • @ godofredo and grant (since my reply to him posted in the forum) by ‘world of pain’ I meant the foreseeable loss of everything, including the usual pains of life (which aren’t really so bad, when you think of the alternative). What I meant by the ‘luckily’ bit is people go right on reproducing no matter what anyone thinks and will, I am certain, no matter how dark a picture anyone paints of our collective future, such that you needn’t be a cheerleader for bringing children into the world.

  • Guy,

    Yes the US was the top producer at its peak in 1970.

    However, not sure calling the US “swing supplier” makes a lot of sense in that case, as basically the spot markets didn’t exist, it was more or less still the “seven sisters era”: that is all the major oil producing regions mostly operated by the western (Anglo American for a big part) oil majors, with some percentage for the countries (percentage that was truly ridiculous in some cases, just enough to make the local emir happy).

    And the price of oil was more or less determined by the US domestic price with the Texas RRC mechanism, but in the Gulf basically determined behind closed doors between the companies and the “countries representatives”.

    I think that’s what a lot of people don’t know, or avoid regarding oil history : the oil market was MUCH MORE of a cartel during the seven sisters era that it has been with OPEC.
    Saudi Arabia for instance has been extracting oil from the very beginning with the US (standard oil of California), Iran(Persia) was a Brit territory (Anglo Persian previous name of BP).

    And the late sixties beginning seventies period is primarily a shift “out of” the seven sisters era.(and together with the decolonisation process)

    One could say it started before in Venezuela (more or less), and that there was also an attempt done by Mossadegh in Iran : result he was overthrown by the CIA/MI6 coup (operation Ajax) and the Shah regime was put in place.(and by the way this also meant a major shift in the US vs Brit interests in Iran, to the US benefit)

    But saying that US peak wasn’t “noticable” before 1973 is simply not true, I guess below graph makes it quite clear :

    The point isn’t only production starting to decrease, production stopping to grow is already a major thing (with imports shooting up), and Nixon made some of his most alarming speeches prior to 73, and again Akins made his report also prior to 73, 71 most probably.

    So beginning seventies there was two major things regarding oil :
    – the barrel price (win win for both oil majors and countries when it goes up)
    – the share the oil majors were taking on each barrel vs the countries share.
    (and also the formation of national oil companies or joint ventures)

    But the key point regarding the first oil shock is that the barrel price rise was WISHED FOR by the oil majors, and it was also the US diplomacy strategy.

    Again : necessary to start Alaska, GOM, North Sea.(the benfits of the oil majors grew tremendously further to the first oil shock)

    In the end the embargo was very “practical” for everybody :
    – It allowed the US to “hide” US peak towards the US public or the western one in general, and to “put the blame” on the Arabs for the price rise
    – For the Arab producing countries, it allowed to show “the Arab street” that they were doing something “for the palestinians” (when the truth is they really don’t care that much ..)

    Plus again the embargo was very limited in terms of barrels taken out of the market (not from Iran, not from Irak(forgot why), not from Venezuela, etc), and it was completely fake from KSA towards the US (don’t forget there was already a major security deal between KSA and the US, further to Roosevelt meeting with Ibn Saud in 1945).

    I’m not saying all this matters that much in the “grand scheme of things” regarding the industrial civilization history, but for sure the cover up of US peak, has been a major wake up call that has been missed.
    And when I hear “peak oilers” using the “OPEC oil shocks” or “OPEC embargo” little song, it really feels kind of weird. (this maybe also due to the fact that the “bible” regarding oil history is still Yergin’s “the prize”, and even if his book isn’t “false” per se, it for sure chooses some kind of presentation angles, not to mention that Yergin is also with IHS CERA the industry cheerleading voice or something, and a major “peak oil denier”).

    Also if this history was a little bit more known, maybe current propaganda (regarding US energy revolution and the like), would have a bit more problems to get through.

    But then again, it doesn’t change much regarding current situation, that’s true.


  • St. Roy, thanks for your generous contribution. If you try clicking on the heart instead of filling in the blank on the DONATIONS tab, I think you’ll have better luck.

    Chris Black, this essay is a partial response to Johnson and other critics. In addition, I modified my long essay in response to his comments. The remainder of his comments are not worthy of response, in my opinion. However, I’ll correct any errors reported to me.

    yt75, we agree: The US was allowed to “hide” the peak for a few years post-peak. I use the term “swing supplier” because it’s common in peak-oil circles.

  • Robin Datta explains why I lost at Wheel of Fortune: There is no “you.”

    In the previous thread, Bud Nye says: we have no “control”


    No one can be in control
    When they’re only a part of the whole:
    Many forces conflict,
    But together predict
    You’re fucked, whatever your goal.

  • Kevin says “Do those who detract and criticise, and ridicule the concept of runaway greenhouse and NTE actually understand the chemistry of all this stuff?”

    Kevin, you’ve been on quite a roll recently – I, for one really enjoy the science behind some of your more recent posts.

    However, as you know, I tend to mock those who feel compelled to share information with those who simply do not have the faculty to either understand the core dynamics, nor synthesize what it actually means in terms of our everyday political-economy.

    To make matters worse, there are plenty of people who DO understand exactly what you, Guy and others are saying. However, they have entirely different objectives in terms of what the science means. To wit, they are well versed on historical precedent when societies are confronted with resource collapse, and they mean to exploit knowledge that to their advantage.

    So the messenger is dealing with a double quandary: wasting time on those who cannot understand; and revealing themselves as a threat (a la Clevinger in Catch-22) to those who DO understand.

    I sometimes wonder if Guy wishes he had just remained @ his position, keeping his more radical ideas to himself, perhaps networking with other more like-minded professors to publish progressively more alarming papers, but in general attempting to survive in his corner of the world as this real-life drama continues to unfold.

  • B9K9, I wish I had kept my position and NOT kept my radical ideas to myself

  • Godofredo Aravena,
    A gentle suggestion that you think more deeply about this quote from your post dated May 23,6.13pm :’You cannot have more than two certainly,to avoid excess of population’ The last time this statement would be correct would be over 80 years ago.Anyone who is informed about the human impact on Earth knows that the we are currently grossly overpopulated.Two children per couple is approximately replacement rate.Even without the probably insurmountable problems caused by climate disruption,a responsible society would be advocating a maximum of one child per couple,which leads to gradual decrease of population to a sustainable level.’Countdown’ by Alan Weisman and ‘Ten billion’ by Stephen Emmott are two recent books I would highly recommend.I tend to agree with the latter author,who after investigating various issues as well as population,concludes ‘I think we’re fucked’
    I personally regard any person having a child currently as uninformed or a sadist.I am being facetious about the sadist bit,as no parent would wish pain for their child,but the reality is that a child born today has a high probability of living through a time of chaos,famine,turmoil and extreme suffering.

  • @ Sahila with 4 children
    We are the first species that has the intelligence to understand that we are undermining our own children’s future. Yet we are unable to control our destructive behavior. Are we not the most tragic species that has ever evolved?

  • I believe that birds are dinosaurs that survived extinction.

    No need to believe it.

    Thank you Guy McPherson for providing all the necessary evidence in one spot for my life-long observation that we’re doomed.

    Same here. However, the “doomed” should be qualified by “imminently”. The traditions that take the long view describe three phases, manifestation, sustenance and de-manifestation (shristi, stithi, and pralaya). We are part of Nature, and our particular characteristics include enormously speeding up the process, for which some of us assign the “blame” to us. Yet in the long view, we are as blameworthy as a star is blameworthy for going supernova because it was the right size (or wrong size, depending on one’s point of view).

    So, let one do what one can, and for the rest let it be.

    Do those who detract and criticise, and ridicule the concept of runaway greenhouse and NTE actually understand the chemistry of all this stuff?

    Does a chicken need to understand how a rotisserie works?

  • GREAT article. Guy! My one minor quibble: What you say about conservation being “another attempt to bring austerity to the masses” is *true within the existing social-economic system*, but it’s not an inherent characteristic of conservation in the abstract.

  • Robin Datta,
    Your statement’Yet in the long view,we are as blameworthy as a star is blameworthy
    for going supernova because it was the right size ‘resonated with me .I am not sure if you have read ‘ Energy and Economic Myths’ by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen.You may be interested in
    this quote from it.
    ‘But one thought has persisted in my mind ever since I became interested in the entropic nature of the economic process.Will mankind listen to any program that implies a constriction of its addiction to exosomatic comfort? Perhaps,the destiny of man is to have a short,but fiery,exciting and extravagant life rather than a long,uneventful and vegetative existence.Let other species-the amoebas,for example a which have no spiritual ambitions inherit an earth still bathed in plenty of sunshine’
    I think Georgescu-Roegen overstated his case here.For example, the lives of Australian Aboriginals,in their society when they did not have access to fossil fuels,was certainly not an uneventful and vegetative existence.Never mind.

  • Guy

    As a tenured professor, I too think that you should have kept your position and said fuck you to the system while expounding on your radical ideas. Disingenuous of course, but also a way to be a cancer to the deep state.

  • Because I was born and raised in another world, I can only grasp a small fraction of the reality of today’s world. This is not the future we looked forward to when I was a child. This is not the post-war dream of my husband and his fellow soldiers as they fought in WW2. This is some kind of nightmare more horrible than all the fantasy-horror movies & TV programs of my children’s growing-up years. Of course I don’t want to believe that the beautiful world my children were born into has turned into a world of constant battles, hatred, prejudice, the triumph of the bankers, the downtrodding of the poor.

    Excuse me, I think I wandered into the wrong theater. This is not the show I paid to see. This is not happily ever after. This show doesn’t even have an after. It just ends – suddenly – all the self righteous and all the poor but humble, the givers and the takers, the murderers and their victims, all crushed beneath the unfeeling laws of physics and chemistry.

    Who can say where we went wrong? Is there any place, any movement of people, any laws besides that of gravity that we should have known, but didn’t discover until after they were broken? Any species, human or otherwise, ignorant or overflowing with knowledge that could be held responsible? Did we worship the wrong gods? Was the love of money the root of our evil? Are we, or were we evil? does good or evil have any role to play in this predicament? What do we say to our children? Our grandchildren? If we say we are sorry and will never do whatever it was again, will it all go away?

    Will we wake up in the morning and discover we had a bad dream?
    Whose idea was this?
    Should we shoot the messinger?
    What will the speaker at our grandson’s high school graduation say?
    (something like “Don’t believe everything you hear?”)
    What DO we tell the children?

  • @ Stormcrow: Thanks for the song.

    @ everyone: I agree: Having children is totally insane.

    @ David Higham: “The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have shone so very brightly Roy, revel in your time!”

    We are the pinnacle of all things known, however you measure it. Be it “the best,” “the worst,” or “the no matter.”

    And I forget just why I taste
    Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
    I found it hard, it’s hard to find
    Oh well, whatever, never mind

    Just sittin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • “Tom F Says:
    May 24th, 2014 at 5:58 pm
    @ Sahila with 4 children
    We are the first species that has the intelligence to understand that we are undermining our own children’s future.”

    you are speaking (and damning) from the point of white, male, western, educated privilege….

    I don’t think we DO have the intelligence – not as a species…. some of us have woken up and seen things that others – who are not (yet) awake – do not see…

    Some of it is, I think, wilful ignorance, denial…. and MOST of it is really, really not knowing…

  • I asked myself (and the wife) the other day would the average person give up driving if they knew it was destroying climate as we know it?

    She said what do you mean? Give up my job? Live as if it were the 1870s?
    “Yup”, I said. We both had the same answer.

    The average person would drive until they could not afford it or until climate change made it irrelevant!

    Most will not willingly give up our cushy life-style!

  • thinking about Tom F’s comment to me that “We are the first species that has the intelligence to understand that we are undermining our own children’s future.”….

    It struck me that we are the first species WITHOUT the intelligence to understand that we are undermining our own children’s future”…

    Other species DON’T have more offspring than their environment can support… they DON’T crap in their own nests…. they DON’T waste the food they forage/hunt for… they DON’T wage large-scale all out wars amongst themselves or go wiping out their neighbours…

    We are STUPID!

  • @pauline

    From the previous thread re the coup in Thailand;

    “If John Kerry is “disappointed” in the military coup, it can’t be all that bad.
    When the leaders of a violent, conquering empire (USA) are upset, you’re doing something right.”

    What an idiotic, uninformed, stupid comment.

    Maybe best to keep silent and be thought a fool rather than speak and remove all doubt, Pauline.

    Democratically elected governments being over-thrown by military/elite with distinct Fascist leanings is all bad.

    Perhaps keep your comments to NBL related matter until you are better informed.


  • p.f. getty, thanks for providing the link a couple days ago on the previous thread to the website working to save tribal peoples like the awa.
    i too envy the happiness and freedom of their simple uncivilized lives. very much so. that we feel the same way is a vital connection. a connection that’s shared by most of the posters to this blog. the world may be going to hell, but it’s not quite there yet…

    this may be completely irrelevant, but i love the bee gees, this song and video… ‘are u just a dream, to fade away?’:

  • Guy,

    Not sure we agree, but doesn’t necessarily matter that much :)

    My point is more that the first oil shock being primarily linked to (and even simply labeled with) “the embargo” in the “common understanding”, has resulted in US peak having been completely “skipped” in that common understanding.
    Even today if you ask Americans (or even Europeans), when did the maximum US oil production occured, what percentage would know of US 1970 peak ?
    If you read “the prize” from Yergin, it takes a couple of lines, to go straight into the creation of the sierra club and opposition to the Alaskan pipeline (with 1968 or 69 claifornia oil spill before), leaving the impression that 1970 peak is due to “tree huggers”, when drilling went up like crazy at that time.
    But the administration on the other hand, clearly got the message.
    I find Akins “this time the wolf is here” still a very good read (and quite a bit in between the lines or tongue in cheeks aspects)

  • jut in case some of you have missed the news.

    1. California oil shale reserves have been reduced by 96% by the EIA, and now amount to just 600 million barrels, wiping out nearly 2/3 of US claimed reserves overnight. So much for energy independence and revitalising the economy.

    2. The UK government’s policy of energy resurgence based on fracking has hit the wall, with ‘no gas’ and very little oil being found in the most promising Weald basin; maybe equivalent to 0.5% of the oil recovered from the North Sea and recoverable only with great difficulty.

    Together these blows to BAU suggest things will fall apart economically by 2016.

  • Dear Sahila,

    You are probably right in saying that we are a species which doesn’t understand that we are undermining the biosphere for future generations of humans. LET ALONE OTHER BEINGS!

    Please don’t take it personally when we discuss the benefits of not having wanted children. All the women here that feel like that (without regrets) came to think like that very early in their lives (me included, I was sure by the time I was 15, now more than 50 years ago).
    I was brought up in a poor but very loving emotional environment with what I would term a perfect mother, a loving but very damaged father, grandparents in the same house (one of those multi-generational houses you still find in my home country Germany) and relatives near by. Even 2nd cousins of my grandparents were part of family life. An old-fashioned patriarchal family of the type that still exists in many parts of the world. For children this is ideal. It gave me my confidence, for which I’m grateful. It’s not easy to put me down. But yet I made the conscious decision not to have children. I never wanted many material things but I need space in my head, I always did. And being a good observer I realized that that’s almost impossible for mothers … even when your children are grown up. You should know that better than me.
    We all came to where we are now based on our experiences, and they don’t always have to be bad ones in order to say: “I’ll never be like that.” As you know, we’re complex beings influenced by so many subtle factors. That’s why, as Pauline said, we should not judge. Laurel didn’t, as she thought she was just speaking to people like me.

    Take care of yourself and your children and don’t practise resentment.
    For online conversations, a sense of humour and the absurd is vital. I recommend it in every situation that life will through at you. Sign up for the forum and have a look at Grant Schreiber’s Doom Chuckle.

    PS Sahila is a lovely name

  • Sahila

    I have three children. They emerged in a sequence that coincided with increasing difficulty in our lives…so the last had the most difficulty. How you describe yourself could fit us perfectly. It’s not clear to me that we would have done anything differently even now. What IS clear to me is the ongoing mass programing to encourage child bearing, mostly in women. Presumably, this is a factor of patriarchy. Now, I would stop that programming any which way I could. Perhaps, in a less individualistic (separated) society, where the tribe essentially rears the children, ego (DNA) needs to procreate would lessen or disappear. So it’s the system and it’s programming that I would question, not so much the individuals led by it…

    People who don’t have the drive to reproduce are legion. Yet they are constantly, at every turn, being told they must. That should change.

    This conversation doesn’t seem to take place outside of the community of western women. Is that why the Dalai Lama said that western women will save the world?

  • On having or not having children

    The first thing to say is that, why we, those who live in the third (or second) world, should not have children, because of what mostly people from the first world has caused, with their children?. Besides today, every people from the first world produces between double, triple, and quadruple CO2 per capita than people from the second and third world. (in some cases more than twenty times).
    Well, I do not blame this people, they did not know. But that is not a reason to say today, that we cannot have children.
    Besides, it is not a matter of the number of people, but mainly, the resources consumption, and the CO2, per capita.
    The USA with 5% of population, is credited with some 20% of the world´s oil consumption and CO2 production.
    The first world is about 20% of population, but uses 70% of the oil, produces 55% of the CO2, and own 70% of the cars (and have more than 95 % of the nukes of the world, by the way).
    My whole family, including grandchildren (6), according to per capita figures, uses the oil and produces CO2, equivalent to less than two average persons from the USA.
    So the messages of not having children should be directed to people from the first world.
    The American dream, has been sent to all corners of the world through movies, and TV, for decades. Nice cars, nice houses, nice gadgets, nice life, nice everything. That is a reflection of a lot of oil consumption, and a lot of CO2 along the way, and the evidence that the origin of the current problem is not in our side . And now, the first world say that it was a mistake, and the rest of the world cannot pretend something “similar” (not even equal) for us and our children. Seems kind of unfair.
    I accept the limit, even being an unfair situation (because of somebody else´s mistake), but that is not a reason not to try to be a responsible parent, and along the way, try to make this world a better place, by raising kids aware that we have limits, that we cannot do what we want, that we have to respect nature, and that life is not consumption. No matter how dire is the situation today.
    My children and grandchildren, are not a big CO2 burners, and in general, not big consumers, quite aware of the problem, and are responsible about that (within their limits).
    We as a family have never pursued the American dream.
    My children are my real two cents to support to make this world a better place.

    But the big issue, besides contingency, is the purpose of life. If you do not have children, and I am talking about the average persons, what will be left on earth after your death? A lot of energy used, a lot of CO2, a lot of waste and garbage, for nothing. All your experience gathered along you life, all your thoughts, all is in your mind, vanishes with death. No lessons, no way to become wiser as species. What seems to me a life with no purpose. A life just to be you, for you. There are some cases of people that have done things with value as a legacy for future generations, but what I see is that the average don´t. They just live a life of doing things, with no purpose at all. And then, they die. They have been just mainly “consumers”, and obedient workers (as George Carlin said). The big problem is that most people are consumers and obedient workers, and at the same time have children, just because is what it is expected. Certainly, without children, there is no possible legacy of life, a legacy that will last long after your death. Responsible parenthood is the clue, the mean of the two extremes.

    And, if I have to choose, between livings a life with no purpose, and to try to make this world a better place, first through my personal efforts, and later, using my life experience as a basis, transmitted to my children, I choose that, instead of just living and dying with no legacy.
    Because the world I live in is not good, and to change it, it is required more than one generation, I want to do my best effort to change it, while alive, but at the same time, that effort can last long after my life ends, through my children.

    I do not invite others to have children, it is (still) a personal decision, but I disagree with those that blame who have had children. And certainly, having children is a decision that has to be taken with responsibility, having in mind mainly that they are a way to change things. In any case, time will tell if either, was a wise decision.

    Sorry if I may have been kind of rude, but I see here very much a point of view from an elite of the world (regarding consumption of all kind), that is aware of the problem we all have (as citizens of the world), but at the same time, want to charge the responsibility of the solution to the rest of the world.

  • Robin Datta says: We are part of Nature….

    Part of Nature

    Animals make their debut
    As part of nature’s milieu,
    And a terminal route
    Via overshoot—
    That’s part of nature too.

  • @Godofredo the sort of prejudice you describe having against those who have not had children (their very lives are ultimately worthless) is a large part of what has gotten us into our present troubles, lives have whatever value we attribute to them. If we could have thought outside the box a bit more beyond the perpetuation of endless nuclear families to consume our lives, maybe we wouldn’t have population overshoot and all these lousy parents and poorly prepared children.

  • @Sahila: We are STUPID!

    It’s all a matter of perspective.
    How ’bout اشرف ا لمخلوقات (Urdu for “the best of Creation”)?

    What seems to me a life with no purpose.

    Au contraire, the show/dream must go on. The Divine Playwright/Dreamer has not only written the play/dream and set the stage, but also masquerades as all the role players in all the roles from the leading to the most minor: from emperors to eatrhworms. S/he does such a good job of it that each player thinks it is an individual on its own right, separate and distinct from everything else in the Divine Play/Dream. No purpose to any individual player, but the show/dream will go on.

  • FYI:

    The really primitive accumulation- “Inequality has deep archaeological roots. Yet if existing traditional societies are any guide, our hunter-gatherer ancestors were mostly egalitarian (see sidebar, p. 824). How and when did a few members of society begin to amass wealth?

    Farming has long been blamed for the rise of inequality. Relying on evidence from the Near East, researchers suggested that the earliest elites emerged after 10,500 years ago, when people successfully domesticated plants and animals and settled in large permanent villages. In this view, agriculture led to the production of surpluses and the emergence of managers, craftspeople, and other specialists, who eventually gained control over extra resources.

    Now, analyses of archaeological sites as well as ethnographies of traditional societies are etching a more complex picture, suggesting that some ancient hunter-gatherers may have accumulated wealth and political clout by taking control of concentrated patches of wild foods. In this view, it is the ownership of small, resource-rich areas—and the ease of bestowing them on descendants—that fosters inequality, rather than agriculture itself.

    The transition from egalitarianism to societies rife with economic competition and inequality was “the single most critical watershed in the last 2.5 million years of human history,” says archaeologist Brian Hayden of Simon Fraser University (SFU), Burnaby, in Canada. Over time, it paved the way for the development of “chiefdoms, states, and ultimately industrial empires.””


  • “What seems to me a life with no purpose.” Whereas your life’s purpose is to raise children, whose purpose it is to raise their children, ad infinitum (in theory)?

    I don’t see much purpose in that recursive activity except in the immediate- (if you get pregnant or make someone pregnant there is that fact and responsibility for dealing with it).

    So what if your family uses less energy than a childless yuppie couple in the US..? I don’t see that as a defense or excuse (not that a defense or excuse is needed, just that that’s what you seemed to be offering).

    Since I was small, I never understood why people would want to have children (aside from the cynical idea of having someone to serve you in your old age which, from my experience, is far from guaranteed). I feared having a child I would personally dislike. You say that children are mirrors of their parents. I think it’s a false notion that parents can mold children like clay.. each one is its own being. My sister’s child has all the makings of a serial killer.. he’s been that way from birth (really!).

    Things are what they are, none of us asked to be born, and we didn’t know how bad things could get. What I would ask you, though, Godofredo, is whether you now encourage younger generations, your daughters and their cohort, to go on procreating, knowing now what horrors face us? To me, that would be a form of child abuse.

    I understand very well the Catholic social context which insists on maximizing the number of souls and the number of souls in pain. Increased pain increases the “Glory” of their God character (see Mother Teresa for a primer on this concept). The more suffering, the more we are like Jesus! Yay! Needless to say I find this repulsive and illogical, but it has a stronghold in the collective mindset in some areas (like Italy, with which I am familiar). Suffering is regarded as a “gift”, the “kiss of Jesus”.. this to allow them to make sense of it without calling anyone or anything in the real world to account for it… very politically advantageous.

  • Robin,

    It seems that you are at last putting oft repeated messages about consciousness into a form that simpletons like me can grasp. :-)


    You speak as though the third world, second world, second point five world must forever be the victims of history. The bad first world did these bad things to the world, and now they want to limit the rest of us (as in stopping our reproduction despite our meager consumption, etc.). But is there a different way to look at it?

    The good thing about the meltdown of the first world, is that the rest of “us” don’t have to follow them anymore. Their road of individualism, separation, domination, avarice and consumption leads to the abyss. There clearly is a better way, which contains large elements of “developing world” culture. Just as the first world contains many elements of any conceivable improvement to our current mess. Leadership, I contend, could arise from any point on the globe.

    As you rightly say, we can’t do anything we want. We face constraints of many sorts. And if we mimic nature, we respond to those constraints as “shapers” of our response. They address us and we address them back.

    If we are conscious of the biosphere and its needs, we might look at ways to absorb (mitigate) what strikes me as a massive global population overshoot rather than add to it. Countries like yours are at an advantage in that regard. Low consumption, relatively low population? That potentially puts you in a global leadership role (among many other places). My question is what is the relationship between that leadership and having children?

    Unless you correct me, I assume that the global biosphere needs places to be left devoid of future human interference. That implies reducing population and stopping all development that could impact global vegetation, air, soil or water. That implies a return to as primitive a state as humanly possible. That is actually progress.

    I’m sure I haven’t touched on many concerns you are correct in airing, and I look forward to some clarification here. I find this discussion very interesting.