The river of human folly

by Ray Jason at The Sea Gypsy Philosopher

 

It was a self-imposed exile.  My initial diagnosis was “world weariness,” but after a few days of solitude on the Rio Chagres, it became clear to me that my true ailment was “human weariness.”  How could my species be so foolish, so destructive, so self-absorbed, and so unaware of the consequences of its actions?  It saddened me and it astonished me.  So I had come here to escape from humanity in order to contemplate it more clearly.

Twice a day I would row as far up the river as the strength of the contrary current would permit me.  Then I would lazily drift back down to AVENTURA in my inflatable dinghy.  As I floated downstream, I savored a tapestry of exquisite beauty – the threads included shimmering water and bird song and fish play and sky and monkey trees in the jungle.  By the fifth day, clarity was emerging as the river breezes and the exotic night sounds healed me.  The paradoxical magic of Solitude blessed me once again.  For days on end there was not a single human in view, but this absence intensified my focus on the human project – until it seemed as sharp as the vision of the osprey that circled overhead.

Here is what I saw.  Civilization seems to be hurtling down two disastrous paths that are contrary to each other and yet connected to each other.  The first course is a societal ruination that is so catastrophic that I refer to it as apocalyptic collapse – or to create a term – APOCOLLAPSE.  The second course is a steady but accelerating reshaping of the western democracies into tyrannical police-surveillance states.  I call this FULL SPECTRUM NEO-FEUDALISM.

*******

APOCOLLAPSE  

There are three meta-systems that individually or in combination could de-stabilize the planet so profoundly that the world that we take for granted could vanish with paralyzing swiftness.  I call them the Big Bad “E”s and they stand for Energy, Economics and Ecology.

ENERGY    Our modern techno-industrial society is so dependent on enormous inputs of fossil fuel products that as Peak Oil intensifies prices will skyrocket and supply chains will break-down.  And so huge swaths of daily living that we take for granted will be compromised or eliminated.  The fragility of supermarkets that only stock three days worth of food will be revealed when the trucks can’t deliver the groceries because diesel fuel is unavailable or unaffordable.  The industrial farming system which uses oil and natural gas in tractors, combines, fertilizer, insecticides, and pesticides will wobble to a halt.  The electrical grid will go down as the fuel dribbles away, thus leaving millions of people either sweltering or shivering in the dark.

As for the recent rash (a most appropriate noun) of feel good energy stories – they are a callous and malicious charade underwritten by the energy giants to keep the illusion going … until it just stops going.  A good comparison is the believability of the tobacco industry which deceived and lied and distorted until even their most expensive public relations campaigns could no longer disguise the truth.

ECONOMICS               I would characterize our modern economic system as a perverse mating of absurdity and evil.  At least the villainous Robber Barons of the 19th century actually “made things.”  They may have been ruthless and greedy, but they produced steel and railroads and light bulbs.  But our current financial titans have only one real talent.  They are masters of deceit – of smoke and mirrors and collusion and corruption.  Try heating your home with credit default swaps or try filling your car’s gas tank with collateralized debt obligations.

These financial demigods acquire their obscene fortunes not by producing anything of worth to society, but by a dark web of manipulation.  They own the politicians of both parties.  The government agencies that should police them are packed with “regulators” that used to work for the very banks that they are supposed to monitor.  They are the owners of and the beneficiaries of the Federal Reserve.  This omnipotent agency, which many mistakenly assume works for The People via the government, is actually a creation of the biggest and most powerful banks.  I think of the Fed as the pool boy for the Too Big to Jail banks.

This financial criminality has led to a global economic panorama that is appalling and suicidal.  Most of the banks of the first world are insolvent.  Their true assets vs. obligations portfolios have been hidden by money pumping from the central banks and the IMF which, ironically also has no real money.  The fiat currency system, which is the foundation for all of this insanity, is now being called into question more and more frequently.  This scrutiny is well deserved since there has not been a single fiat currency in the history of the world that survived.  The supremacy of the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency and as the petro-dollar is also being challenged.  China and Russia would love to terminate this advantage, which has given the U.S. a “get out of debtor’s jail” free pass for decades.

In summary, the economic big picture is horrendous.  The gap between the rich and the poor has become so gigantic that the disgruntled underclass is starting to become angry.  The enormous debts of many nations are now so ludicrous that these countries have to borrow money just to pay the interest on previously borrowed money.  And there is an enormous pool of financial dark matter circling the planet like an invisible Death Star.  This is the multi-trillion dollar derivatives swindle.  One day, in the form of an enormous black dragon swan, it will darken the sky above the executive “team-building” picnic of a major corporation and divest them of their “all is well” delusions.

ECOLOGY    There are two diametrically opposed trends on the environmental landscape.  On the one hand the vast majority of climate scientists are continually adjusting their previous predictions because their “worst case scenarios” were not worst case enough.  Not only are they altering the severity of the various calamities, but also the speed at which they are occurring.

The methane vents in Siberia are expanding faster than predicted.  There are severe droughts in most of the world’s primary bread baskets.  The Arctic ice shelf might completely disappear in the next few summers.  The wettest forest in the world – the Amazon – is regularly catching fire.  I could list a dozen other examples, but the trend is that things are deteriorating more significantly and at a faster pace than expected.

On the opposite hand, the “climate change denial” camp is growing.   The fact that the obscenely rich oligarchs have funded thousands of lobbyists in Washington to sway the opinions of Congress is the main factor in this increase.  And the fact that these politicians are handed bullet points based on “scientific” studies that these same industrialists bankrolled, is repulsive.  What sort of sick sentient being would bequeath his grandchildren a smoldering planet just so that he can move further up the Forbes Richest People list?

So, in conclusion, the APOCOLLAPSE seems inevitable.  There is no reason to believe that some sort of Tesla energy miracle will suddenly appear out of nowhere.  The economic insanity that threatens our way of life is utterly monumental due to the interwoven nature of global finance and commerce in the 21st century.  And we are approaching so many ecological tipping points that it will become impossible for 7 billion people to continue to survive at our current standard of living.

*******

FULL SPECTRUM NEO-FEUDALSIM

            Any honest analysis of 21st century American democracy must conclude that it is a sham.  Certainly there is still the façade, but it is as phony as a Hollywood movie set.  The trappings of a republic are still there, but the actual “power of the people” has vaporized.  It has been supplanted by the power of the RICH PEOPLE.  If the wealthy campaign contributors want a war in Iraq, it does not matter that 80% of the population is against it.

No matter which political party is in power, the results are still basically the same.  And that’s because mega-wealthy individuals and enormous corporations donate to both campaigns, so that regardless of the outcome, the victor must grant them access and influence.  Even the two party system itself, is symptomatic of the corruption at the core of our pseudo-republic.  Any third party candidate who poses a genuine threat to the status quo is attacked and marginalized.  Instead of citizen legislators, it has become a world of millionaire career politicians.  And the phrases “term limits” and “genuine campaign finance reform” are not permitted in polite company.

It is bad enough that the U.S. political scene has become an exclusionary zone where only the prominent have access, but what is worse is the direction that this Plutocracy is headed.  It feels like the country of my youth has disappeared and been replaced by an imposter. Here are some examples:

  • The Middle Class, which should be the bulwark of democracy, is being knowingly destroyed.
  • Instead of being outraged by the use of torture, my government now commits it.
  • The power of the press has been neutered.  They have forsaken their role as societal watch-dogs, and have instead become political lapdogs.
  • Instead of supporting “self-determination” the U.S. is despised around the world for its imperial policies in support of its gigantic corporations.
  • The Posse-Comitatus Act, which forbids the use of the military in domestic police duty, is being overtly and covertly undermined.
  • The NDAA act gives the President the power to indefinitely detain (imprison) almost anyone that is perceived as a threat to the State.
  • The nation is being rapidly turned into an Orwellian nightmare whereby the government can spy on all of your communications.
  • Instead of being honored and encouraged, whistleblowers are being vilified and imprisoned.
  • Local police forces all across the country are being militarized as though the powers that rule are preparing for revolution.  Cops have morphed from crime stoppers into enforcers.

All of these bullet points are symptomatic of a government that seeks more and more control of its citizens.  The inescapable trend is towards a society in which a tiny group is extremely rich and powerful and the vast majority is an underclass of modern serfs that run the machines that spew out the profits.  It has all of the markings of a science fiction nightmare that is turning into reality.

*******

Now that I have outlined these two powerful forces – APOCOLLAPSE and FULL SPECTRUM NEO-FEUDALISM – allow me to discuss the dynamic between the two.  The big issue is whether the tyrants, who seek massive domination of humanity through their thugs and surveillance, will succeed with their control freak fantasies before civilization either suddenly implodes or gradually falls over.  If the Big Bad “E”s do initiate a societal meltdown, then large governments will suddenly be neutered.  The seemingly almighty rulers will swiftly be transformed from harem masters into eunuchs, as everything becomes smaller and more local.

If on the other hand the demagogues do manage to impose their Orwellian nightmare on large parts of the world, I believe that the APOCOLLAPSE will still occur.  And that is because even a Soylent Green world needs energy and a livable biosphere and an economic system that is not laughably dysfunctional.  Therefore, to me, the major question is whether the world will unravel before the Malignant Overlords have managed to fully erect their wet dream control grid.  It would certainly be preferable if a few generations of serfs did not have to live under police state oppression as the lights flicker out and the erupting methane vents make breathing a hellish ordeal.

*******

As for how an individual or a family can respond to these tragic scenarios, these are my beliefs.  I know that I can’t stop any of the Big Bad “E”s from continuing down the seemingly irreversible paths that lead to APOCOLLAPSE.  Nor do I think that any citizen or group of people can derail the hideous locomotive of FULL SPECTRUM NEO-FEUDALISM.  I suspect that both non-confrontational methods and revolution in the streets are both doomed to failure.

But I do believe that a wise person and his loved ones can prepare themselves so that they have at least a chance of escaping and surviving.  And for those who succeed, they will face a difficult but wondrous challenge.  Their mission will be to sculpt a new human living arrangement that combines the best elements of civilization with the best aspects of pre-civilized tribal cultures.

For over ten thousand generations we human animals GOT IT RIGHT!  We lived in a manner that was sustainable, communal, joyous, egalitarian and compassionate.  And we showed awe and reverence for the non-human world that cocooned us.  We have lost our way only in the last few thousand years when Agriculture ended tribal society and ushered in Civilization.  Unfortunately, the shining benefits of this new societal structure blinded us to the devastating side effects.  We did not realize that hierarchy and division of labor would lead to rulers and priests and armies and wars and rich and poor and destruction and despair.

*******

Personally, I no longer choose to “rage against the machine.”  It seems like a hopeless task and a misuse of my time, energy and intellect.  Instead, I believe that there is greater wisdom in attempting to conceptualize what might arise “on the other side of Collapse.”  That strikes me as a worthwhile and incredibly vital pursuit.  My essay on that topic is already pretty well sketched out.  I am tentatively calling it “On the Far Side of Oblivion.”

But its completion will require more time on the river – in sacred harmony with the whispering water – and the creatures that it nurtures.

Comments 140

  • I eat meat too, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to claim someone is dogmatic because their viewpoint exists. That’s led to people claiming that because we “believe in climate change”, we’re trying to oppress them (and therefore, we deserve to be oppressed in retaliation for our imaginary crime).

    I don’t agree with veganism, but I think vegans should be allowed to eat only vegetables if they choose, as well as express their viewpoint in the marketplace of ideas.

  • It’s interesting that in the culture with perhaps the oldest tradition of abstaining from meat, that of the Hindu, the (Sanskrit) word that most nearly approximates “vegetarian” is shakahari, which translates literally as “plant-eater.” It doesn’t mean, as one might hope, “one who has taken a vow of ahimsa” or anything that exalted.

    In the case of the West, when the time came to coin an equivalent, no folk word could be found, because there was none. A rummage through Latin and Greek yielded nothing. So the band of 19th Century English eccentrics conceived a child born out of etymological wedlock: the clanking, ill-carpentered word “vegetarian,” which we’ve been stuck with ever since.

  • RE: “Guy presents one scenario which is a possibility, but only that, not a certainty.”

    In between “possibility” and “certainty” lies the crucial difference between rhetoric and mathematics, which is Probability.

    I present a current probability (70% at present from the methane already at work on its own) and an eventual 95% BAU probability with no course changes, meaning immediate halt of IndCiv emissions, of Guy’s correctness, which no one here has challenged, corrected, or even commented upon. Oh well.

    And yet, a world of probabilities is what we have always lived in, impossible of certainties, true, but so what? Every outcome was a high probability at some point along its curve into realization.

    WWI was a shock to most, a match tossed into a high-probability tinderbox. Low recognition. High probability. Many lives lost. Into the history books it goes. As will be the shocking collapse of the USD.

    Recognition almost ALWAYS lags shifts into high probability (Hitler in 1933 –> new war) and that lag is masked in denial with words such as “hope” and “uncertain” which are tangential to what is actually occurring.

    “There is nothing wrong with following the steps I outlined whether we go extinct or not.” Essentially true, and a reminder to me to keep on learning more. People talk past each other all the time, so don’t take it personally. Just keep on keepin’ on.

  • If interested, I just posted the following comment to Scott Johnson’s Fractial Planet blog under his “How Guy McPherson gets it wrong” discussion:

    Regarding Mikeroberts’ request for what I think about the near term future: given the chaotic nature of the universe (see Prigogine and others), given that we cannot predict the behavior of complex systems, and given the rapidly accumulating evidence, making claims of continuing short- or long-term stability of Earth’s climate and ecosystems seems childishly naive to me. I think that about the best one can reasonably say is that major changes are very rapidly occurring in all of Earth’s ecosystems, including the climate systems, those changes will almost certainly have profoundly adverse effects on most, if not all, life on Earth, and we will soon experience famine, war, and disease on a scale unlike anything our species has ever experienced in its entire evolutionary history. Will this produce near-term extinction of humanity? Probably, but I don’t presume to know—and academically arguing that trivial point in the midst of the mass death unfolding around us and including us seems a ridiculous (and desperate) distraction to me. Extinction, or not, I think that at least 95% of humans will soon die, probably within the next 20 to 30 years. If I am wrong about this probable time-line by 20 or 30 years, does it really matter? And if Guy McPherson is wrong, will you please explain how, presumably, “his message is counterproductive” as you claim?

    I enthusiastically agree with Cloudwalking Owl that with much of this “…people are ‘pussyfooting’ around here.” I agree in this way: I think that much if not most of the science-focused conversation here and elsewhere consists largely, at its roots, of managing anxiety through maintaining our present and historical cultural sense of dominance and control over nature that we wish to believe natural science and mathematics confer. But in reality, despite the apparently blinding “successes” of science and technology that the power-elite have produced over the past few thousand years, they provide us, ultimately, with a false sense of dominance, control, and security. Ah yes. Feeling in control. It works for a while. But then reality catches up with us. And reality is rapidly catching up with us, in spades, now. Many, if not most of us, can feel it in decidedly unscientific ways in our guts. (Given that we have conscious awareness of less than one millionth of what goes on in our brains, and given that we can solve far more complex problems non-consciously than we can consciously, perhaps we would find ourselves well advised to pay much closer attention to our decidedly unscientific guts?)

    I think that the fundamental truth, the fundamental reality, exists that we have no “control” and certainly no “dominance”, over Earth, and our science-based technology that has so strongly supported our 10,000 year-old civilizational exploit/ expand/ exploit/ expand cycle has come to its final, gasping, global-scale climax, which will soon end horrifically for even the richest and most powerful of us in this country just as it already has in the past and presently does for so many other human and non-human living beings on Earth. We will ALL soon lose our wealth and power. Correct: this exists only as my opinion: my best judgment based on my education, experience, and reasoning about the evidence (plus what my guts tell me). I think that few writers and readers of this blog wish to acknowledge these brutal realities, strongly preferring, instead, to distract themselves, to “pussyfoot around”, with playing the technotopian “Science, math, technology (and nuclear energy) will save us!” game. Presumably, and with childish naivety, many people love to believe that “If we just stay firmly and clearly with the science and technology, they will save us.” (Or permaculture; or learning primitive skills; or whatever.) In our ignorance and anxiety we need our contingency plans in order to help ourselves feel powerful and in control. I don’t think so. In my experience this strategy of power and control created and/or supported by science, mathematics, and technology does not lead to peace in the world, and it certainly does not lead to personal peace, which I prefer over fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and other painful emotional states in my life.

    Contrary to your assertion, Scott, I do NOT hate or reject science, math, and/or technology. I love them(!), and I have loved them for my entire life, including BOTH “reductionist” AND “holistic” science. How can I write the previous paragraphs followed by this sentence? Because I have aged enough and had enough experience, now, to have passed THROUGH them while still including them in deeply, cognitively, and emotionally accepting MY personal lack of dominance and control in life, as well as OUR COLLECTIVE lack of dominance and control in life—our hundreds of years of human supremacist, Cartesian and Baconian hubris and magical thinking notwithstanding. I passionately agree with Carl Sagan that “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

    I find it fascinating (but certainly not surprising!) that some here insist that I think in all-or-none ways while they fervently and rigidly believe that natural science can and does exist separately and disconnected from the political, social, religious, philosophical, and economic forces that produce the scientific researchers, processes, and content. They wish to proceed based on a fantasy that mathematics and science, with their specially qualified, “objectively independent” and anointed priesthood, can and does, presumably, inform us about Objective Truth. And Guy McPherson, or anyone else who does not fit the presently accepted anointment criteria, definitely does NOT belong to this exclusive club! Meanwhile, it seems obvious to me that ALL purveyors of natural science, present and past, express their culture’s values and ethics to at least as great an extent as they construct and express tentatively held “truths” and “laws” about how the universe supposedly works. It seems blindingly obvious to me that we consider scientists as “objectively separate” and somehow “above” or “outside of” today’s insane, out-of-touch with biological reality culture that produced and supports them only at our great peril.

    Jane: Despite the qualifying comments that you made afterward, I felt shocked by your first two sentences firmly stating that, presumably, “Guy McPherson has not earned the right to hold his views on extinction of humanity due to climate destabilization. Unlike Peter Wadhams’ 40 years of continuous involvement in Arctic sea ice research (University of Cambridge), and unlike James Hansen’s 35 years of continuous research in global warming (NASA), Guy McPherson is primarily a social critic.” Only a specific, highly educated, specialized and experienced intellectual elite has the right to hold views on human extinction due to climate destabilization? I do not have that right because I do not belong to the elite club? Derrick Jensen does not have the right? The Africans and many others dying of drought-related famine do not have that right? The approximate 200 species each day that we drive to extinction do not have that right? On one hand, I doubt that you consciously meant that. But on the other hand, look at the obvious, power-elitist implications of what you wrote: we, the anointed, should ignore any ideas and thinking that does not come from within our specially qualified club. I see a very strong current of that kind of elitist thinking and valuing on this blog.

    As I wrote in March, it seems to me that ALL speaking and writing has a bias based on the thinking and world-view of the author. This includes all articles published in the most prestigious scientific journals, it includes Guy McPherson’s writing and speaking, Michael Tobis’ writing, everyone writing here, and it certainly includes mine. It strikes me as both supremely naïve and dangerous for anyone seriously to believe, often with religious fervor, that natural science eliminates social, political, philosophical, religious, and/or economic bias. For sure, scientists for the most part work hard to do that—probably better than any other group of people in history—but they most certainly have not succeeded in the past, and they do not succeed today, despite the popular, seductive, magical, wishful belief that they have and do. The strong, character-attacking, kill the messenger trend of many of the comments here, with no comments by Scott to the effect that “This comment is pointless, or that these comments are pointless” as he did with my summary of Tobis’ credentials, very nicely serves as just one, trivial example that emphasizes the bias that all speaking and writing contain (yes, including all published scientific papers). How could they not? They always project onto the world the world-view, thoughts, stories, and emotions that the writer or speaker has constructed.

    Jane did not mention that over a year ago two friends and I started a group in Tacoma that we call an Eco-collapse Support Group (ESG). We meet once a month in order to provide social and emotional support for those of us who understand what is happening and coming soon here. For most people these come as emotionally difficult and painful realizations. The group is informal and very easy to manage. If anyone would like a copy of our agenda as a help in starting a similar group of your own, I will feel glad to send you a copy if you send me an email request at bud.nye@gmail.com .

    I will close this long comment with one of my favorite quotes, this one by Jared Diamond in The Third Chimpanzee: “The past was a Golden Age, of ignorance. The present is an Iron Age, of willful blindness.”

  • Brandon Ross Chapman,

    So it seems instead of a sharp cliff of net energy availability, emissions output, temperature increase, and subsequent population decline, we have reality being realized somewhere in the middle.

    2048 – 2014 = 34 years.

    I reckon it looks like a bit of a sharp cliff if you’re a salt water food fish.
    Get ready for a whole lot of oily tilapia, if you’re lucky.
    Or go vegan if you can find a place to grow food plants in 34 years.

    Enjoy ‘er while she’s here…’cause soon…

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/salt-water-fish-extinction-seen-by-2048/

    Thanks to Tom for posting this study a few threads back.

  • The caecum is an important feature of non-ruminant Terrapods, to ferment cellulose and make digestible otherwise non-digestible vegetable matter in their diet. It is sometimes the longest segment of the gut.

    The control of fire leading to cooking allowed much of the process of breakdown of cellulose to occur extra-corporeally, and the introduction of meat into the diet further reduced the need for a caecum, which for the most part shrank into a vermiform appendix in humans. The meat also played a role in providing animal fats to an expanding brain.

    An adequate assortment of plants can compensate for the deficiencies of essential-to-humans amino-acids (lysine, leucine, isoleucine, tyrosine, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine and valine). These deficiencies vary from plant to plant, but occur in every plant. Finding and providing and adequate assortment of plants is no small task. Hence kwashiorkor in parts of Africa. Even the consumption of termites as in parts of sub-Saharan Africa provides adequate animal protein.

    Marginal lands inadequate to grow crops, can often still produce forage for herbivores, which can serve as an important nutritional adjunct to human diets.

    Those using monolithic concrete domes should consider incorporating NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) protections into the domes to deal with the 400+ Fukes, “emerging” infectious diseases and all the chemical pollution. In addition, island nations going underwater could perhaps build waterproofed marine-grade concrete domes with snorkels.

    And when push comes to shove, will they start eating vegans? If that happens, the Last Man Standing might not be a vegan.

  • I’ve posted anew, based on my recent trip to Ecuador. There’s more, too, at the bottom of the page. Catch it all here.

  • The subject of whether to eat meat or not leads into other subjects that are difficult to cover in a brief comment I shall just offer a few observations from our life here.I largely agree with ulvfuCO2 ifs comment above.We live on a block of forest in north Queensland,Australia.Most of our income comes from propagating and selling ornamental tropical plants and fruit trees.We also have a small herd of beef cattle.The cattle graze the grass understory of the forest.I should add that I think the aboriginal Australians had a sustainable society,which has been replaced by a rapacious ,unsustainable system.I think everyone knows that the aboriginals here ate a mixture of plant and animal food.The huge demand for food ,and in particular animal food,by our grotesculy inflated,unsustainable world population has led to other equally obscene institutions that would not exist in a sustainable society.I refer to feedlots,factory farming,the growing of grain and legumes to feed to animals,with a loss of up to 90% of the energy when compared to direct human consumption,etc.It would be instructive for anyone interested in the sustainability of agricultural systems and natural ecosystems to compare the forest here to the adjoining cleared agricultural land,which is dependent on continuous inputs from industrial civilisation to remain productive.Some of the llarger trees here are over 60 metres tall,and the deep root system absorbs nutrients from the whole soil profile,and the continuous shedding of leaves,bark ,twigs,etc.are cycling nutrient and humus to the topsoil.The beef cattle are converting the grass understory,,which is not digestible by humans,into a valuable food source Also the biodiversity of the forest remains,whereas the adjoining cleared land is,by comparison,almost a biological desert.
    The business of cattle being the source of our climate disruption problems is a furphy.The carbon contained in the grass is part of the current carbon cycle.It returns to the atmosphere as CO2 if burnt,or CO2 andCH4 if digested by ruminants or termites.Termites are a very important part of many natural ecosystems.I would like to see many less cattle eating food in feedlots that is directly consumable by humans,and that applies to chickens and pigs as well.Meat should be a much smaller part of the diet than it is for many people in our society,but animals for food is a part a sustainable society.
    There were vast herds of ruminants in Africa and North America before humans decimated them. The driving force of climate disruption is the reentry of fossil carcarbon into the current carbon cycle.

  • In the face of this moralizing/demonizing, some food for thought.
    The locust, a normally solitary creature, every now and again wreaks havoc on its own environment.
    Why?
    “Flushes of vegetation in remote desert wadis attract normally solitary locusts into confined areas. If conditions are right the locust population explodes, and the locusts undergo a transformation from desert loners to swarming hordes. ”
    The right conditions–a bit of rainfall. So, does this tendency make the locust evil? Does its root cause, a bit of rain, evil?
    Its time for people to shelve the dichotomous thinking….oops, times up.
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Locusts/locusts3.php

  • It is quite possible to survive in a swamp area. There are numerous examples of tribes that live in swamps. The Seminoles here in the FSoA were forced into it as the Europeans ovverran their land with Guns, Germs and Steel.

    Survival in the Swamp

    The Seminoles began the 20th century where they had been left at the conclusion of the Seminole Wars – in abject poverty, hiding out in remote camps in the wet wilderness areas of South Florida. There, finally left at peace from U.S. government oppression, the last few Florida Indians managed to live off the land, maintaining minimal contact with the outside world. Hunting, trapping, fishing and trading with the white man at frontier outposts provided the Seminoles with their only significant economic enterprise of the era.

    http://www.semtribe.com/History/SurvivalInTheSwamp.aspx

    Google “Swamp Living Tribes” for more examples.

    I have never made a case that Billions of Chinese and Indians will be able to survive. My case is that some people can survive, not no people.

    The argument is between a Bottleneck and large population knockdown event such as Toba versus an Extinction Level Event.

    Climate rapidly changed after Toba also, even more rapidly than it is changing now. Toba put an astonishing 2-3000 cubic kilometers of ejecta into the atmosphere and the environment was immediately subject to a Volcanic Winter that lasted around 6 years, with the whole cooling episode running around 1000 years.

    You say there are no Negative Fedback Loops that can turn around Global Cooking? Yellowstone is due to Blow anytime here, and if it anything like the blowoff of Fish Canyon Tuff, it is capable of pitching up 5000 cubic kilometers of ejecta, about double what Toba put up.

    10,000 Human Souls, 1000 Breeding Pairs survived the Toba cataclysm. They had far less knowledge than we do now to make survival possible under extreme circumstances. Those people eventually bred up to the current 7B or so walking the earth today.

    Extinction or Bottleneck? There is no possible way to know which one it will end up as. I am in the Bottleneck Camp, and the idea is to figure out strategies to survive, as our ancestors at the time of Toba did.

    RE

  • Well, as usual, people just believe whatever they want to believe, to hell with the facts. “We evolved to eat quite large amounts of meat, folks.” When 14 of the top 15 causes of death in the U.S. are related to eating meat? I have already provided the documentation in previous posts: Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death Hmmm, actually I messed that link up in my last post… strange… no one seemed to notice… Oh well, people just believe whatever they want to believe, to hell with the facts.

    ulvfugl – Here’s one of the lighter quotes from that presentation by Dr. Michael Greger M.D. which answers your question with a practical proven healthy solution: This is what farmers in a climate at least as challenging as yours have done…

    “After World War 2, Finland joined us (the USA) in packing on the meat, eggs, and dairy. By the 1970’s, the mortality rate from heart disease of Finnish men was the highest in the world, even putting us to shame. They didn’t want to die, so they got serious. Heart disease is caused by high cholesterol, high cholesterol is caused by high saturated fat intake, so the main focus of the strategy was to reduce the high saturated fat intake in the country. So that means cheese and chicken, cake and pork. So, a berry project was launched to help dairy farmers make a switch to berry farming. Whatever it took. And indeed, many farmers did switch from dairies to berries. They pitted villages against each other in friendly cholesterol-lowering competitions to see who could do best.

    So how’d they do? On a population scale, even if mortality rates drop 5% you could still save thousands of lives. But remarkably great changes took place…

    An 80% drop in cardiac mortality across the entire country. “With greatly reduced cardiovascular and cancer mortality the all cause mortality has reduced about 45%, leading to greater life expectancy: approximately 7 years for men and 6 years for women.” And that was just cutting down on animal products.”

    I hope you’ll check out the link for the rest of this enlightening talk. He also discusses cancer and other meat related diseases including dementia. What’s at stake…? eh, nothing but mere miserable illness and early death. Just thought I’d try to save you some trouble.

    A predatory diet is one of the major culprits in this climate catastrophe and mass extinction. If we consider the whole culture as predatory – well, that explains it all. But getting that link requires consideration of facts. What we don’t know can hurt us. Oh well, people just believe whatever they want to believe, to hell with the facts. To hell with us, I guess.

  • Nukes weren’t around then RE. And the Earth wasn’t anywhere near as polluted, overfished and hot as it is now. You assume things will stay the same so that humanity can survive, but every indication is that all of our supporting habitat, including the other species we need to survive, will be gone due to lack of adaptability. Good luck.

  • For those of you who do not know about Fish Canyon Tuff and La Garita Caldera, here is a snippet from Wiki

    The Fish Canyon Tuff is the large volcanic ash flow deposit resulting from one of the largest known explosive eruptions on Earth, estimated at 5,000 cubic kilometers.[1] (see List of largest volcanic eruptions) The eruption was centered at La Garita Caldera in southwest Colorado. The tuff can be assured to belong to one eruption due to its high chemical consistency (SiO2=bulk 67.5-68.5% (dacite), matrix 75-76% (rhyolite) and consistent phenocryst content (35-50%) and composition (plagioclase, sanidine, quartz, biotite, hornblende, sphene, apatite, zircon, Fe-Ti oxides are the primary phenocrysts). This tuff and eruption is part of the larger San Juan volcanic field and Mid-Tertiary ignimbrite flare-up.

    La Garita lit up around 27M years ago and the progenitors of Homo Sapiens survied that one too.  You think anything we can do in terms of burning of fossil fuels can compete with something Mother Earth can pitch out?

    Events like this happen with regularity on Planet Earth.  There are Extinctions and Knockdowns all the time resultant from the processes that run this planet.  We may have made some effect here with the burning of fossil fuels, but on geologic scale and time periods, it is NOTHING compared to the power of Mother Earth.  A VEI such as Toba or La Garita is orders of magnitude beyond all the fossil fuels ever burned on Earth, more even than 100s of Tsar Bombas, the largest Thermonuclear device ever detonated., and yet the ecosystem, and indeed Homo Sapiens as well can recover from them.

    It is indeed possible everybody dies from something like this, but the history of the planet also shows that it IS possible to survive such a cataclysm.

    Your choice, like the folks who made it through the Zero Point when Toba went Ballistic is to either fight to survive or die.  My choice is to fight for survival.  Your mileage may vary on this.

    RE

     

     

  • @ RE

    Your choice, like the folks who made it through the Zero Point when Toba went Ballistic is to either fight to survive or die. My choice is to fight for survival. Your mileage may vary on this.

    And you reveal what a total fraud you are, with this bullshit, once again.

    Nobody got to CHOOSE, nobody will get to CHOOSE. There will be no choices.

    It’s not like there’s a sign ‘Go left to live, turn right to die’.

    Those people at the time of Toba didn’t say ‘Hey guys, I know, let’s fight to survive’.

    It’s absolutely random and unpredictable, and you have no idea as to what will help people to survive, you’re misleading and exploiting them and creating hopium, on your own fucking ego trip, which I find repulsive and dishonest.

    And when people don’t accept your fantasy game about winning the lottery against impossible odds you castigate them as quitters, which is yet another cheap dirty snakeoil salesman trick.

    Anyway, you’re NOT fighting to survive, you’re getting drunk and typing at your computer and hanging out at the Diner with your friends ranting burning oil and electricity just like most of the rest of Americans.

    You want to pretend that there will be some survivable world on the other side of a bottleneck. But you are never going to know. So it’s absolutely a waste of time coming here to tell us about it.

    You’re stuck in a juvenile mode where winning matters to you, because, for you, your life is a fucking game. Some people have a deeper insight than that.

  • @ logspirit

    I have not even attempted to make any argument on the grounds of health.

    I was making an argument centred upon a very specific case, re my neighbour, this country, and my personal aim, which is to try and assist other species to survive as long as possible.

    If there ever came a chance to return to some sort of farming system without fossil fuels to support communities, then I believe it would have to involve other species of animals.

    We did have that here, in Europe, developed over five thousand years or so, it was very sophisticated and lasted right up until about 1800, when it began to be replaced by industrialisation.

    I could put forward a very long list of arguments in support, but in the light of what is happening, and NTE, I don’t think there is much hope or chance of my wishes coming true.

    But neither do I see any chance of your wishes, that people will become vegan, happening either.

    Let me be clear, I’m strongly and absolutely opposed to industrial intensive agribiz and factory farming and cruelty to animals, and I support the right of anyone to be vegan or vegetarian or to eat any other diet, even totally crap food, if that’s what they want. Heavy evangelising and putting pepper pies in Lierre Keith’s face produces a string negative reaction, I think.

    Human health is not my top priority. I don’t have any power or control or say in what other people do anyway, do I. I just express my opinion regarding stuff I feel strongly about. I want to speak on behalf of the other species. I try to think of strategies which might be beneficial to them.

    There’s thousands of rare breeds in Europe that were specifically bred for particular localities and purposes over many centuries. They are part of the heritage and systems which we had that made sense and was more or less sustainable and eco friendly. To my way of thinking they are precious.

    I don’t accept some of your Dr Greger’s stuff. We co-evolved with the animals here. We had a genetic mutation which allowed adults to digest dairy products, which then let people store protein as cheese to live through the winters. The cows, sheep, goats and the humans became part of a symbiotic survival system.

    If you use horses or oxen or donkeys for transport, sheep for wool, etc, they all breed exponentially, so what do you do with the excess population ? You can’t keep multiplying up, you have to kill them. Same goes for dogs, rabbits, rats and everything else. Natural ecological systems balance themselves out. Ideally humans would understand this and fit themselves in.

    The guy above mentioned the trophic cascade thing in Yellowstone. Well, in the Eastern Baltic, this symbiotic survival system produced the best biodiversity on the planet, and it was ARTIFICIAL, it was created by human activity, hay meadows separated by strips of woodland, that sustained a rich stable peasant culture for three thousand years and more, without any degradation, but quite the opposite, more species per area than almost anywhere else recorded, including the tropics.

    I don’t personally think that meat is harmful to health, in moderate amounts, I think that stress and artificial chemicals are the major factors that make people sick these days.

  • @logspirit

    Have you read Gary Taubes’ book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories”? It presents the opposite side of the argument with extremely complete scientific references. In the interest of knowing the facts, I would recommend it highly.

    “A predatory diet is one of the major culprits in this climate catastrophe and mass extinction. If we consider the whole culture as predatory – well, that explains it all. But getting that link requires consideration of facts. What we don’t know can hurt us. Oh well, people just believe whatever they want to believe, to hell with the facts. To hell with us, I guess.”

    Are you aware of the brain-bending irony that this paragraph represents?

    IMO the problem isn’t the eating of meat, it’s how we produce the stuff. Meat is healthy for people and the environment. CAFO meat is not. But given that we’re this close to the end of the road, and that many of us are going to have our lives truncated from other causes, I choose not to get too exercised over the dietary choices of others.

  • Godolfredo

    Marcus Garvey often repeated that might makes right, even though he was sometimes involved in electoral politics and constitutional democracy. Maybe he believed both things and didn’t find them contradictory. Maybe democracy was mostly a tactic for him.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Garvey

    But the discussion on rights seems to be fundamental. What gives one the right to act in the world at all, or even to live? Human society appears, most of the time, to be embedded in the sense of rights, varied and irregular albeit.

    I very much hope you will follow up on this subject. If we don’t have rights, what do we have?

  • There are extremely strong opinions in favor of pure veganism contrasted with ancient methods of sustainable husbandry that include meat eating. Disturbing any of these camps is like disturbing a hornet’s nest. Compared with food consumption in today’s overcrowded world, both alternatives are superior.

    Most people are profoundly ignorant about the old sustainable traditions, and are instead caught up in a horrible vortex of destruction. So what about veganism? With meat still relatively inexpensive in the west, and the dietary shortcut it seems to offer, mass conversion to veganism is going against the grain.

    Still, it strikes me as doable (albeit far off) on average to actually grow one’s own vegan food. No expense, fuss and bother taking care of and slaughtering animals. Great independence and simplicity.

    I try to grow food in so easy and unscientific a manner that anybody anywhere could “emulate” or improve upon it. It’s not enough to constitute a vegan diet by a long shot, but it has chance to improve significantly. That’s the aim. It’s trying to think ahead to when meat won’t be there. If some sort of vegan backup isn’t put in place from now, there will be a lot more suffering later than need be. Likewise, those who can master sustainable animal husbandry are thinking how that can help lesson suffering of domesticated and farm animals as collapse unfolds. But I believe the vegan part of the equation is simpler and easier to effect.

    The challenge is to stay clear of conflicts between two methods that are infinitely superior to industrial food production as it currently stands.

  • For those of us with metabolic syndrome, the decision about whether to eat meat is simplified by the health threat posed by grains. For those who are not insulin-resistant, the option of getting most of their calories from grain is open. For us, it’s not.

    If my health choices and food preferences cause me to violate someone else’s moral code (even though I eat pastured, antibiotic-free, hormone-free meats and wild-caught fish) that’s not my problem. Nor should it be a problem for any other mindful meat-eater.

    I view NTE as an existential crisis, not a moral crisis.

  • Obviously a lot of luck is involved here. If you happen to live right where an F5 Tornado drops down and your McHovel does not have a storm cellar and is not a ferrocement dome, you go Extinct. If you happen to be walking the Boardwalk at Atlantic City when a Tsunami rolls in, you go Extinct.

    In both cases though, you did have choices. The choice of dwelling and preparation for such an event in the case of the Tornado, the choice not to go Boardwalk walking and hang out a little further inland in the case of the Tsunami.

    If your local climate goes into drought and heats up, you go extinct if you did not build a grow dome to conserve and recycle water and maintain nighttime temperatures utilizing thermal mass heat collector. You have the choice to build or not build the grow dome.

    You obviously have substantially fewer choices dependent on your financial situation at the moment, however even broke people have choices they can make. You can choose to learn skills which will be valuable, such as building mechanical energy collection and storage devices, scavenging remnants of the Age of Oil from junkyards. You can bike to your minimum wage job instead of paying for public transportation to conserve funds.

    The biggest choice people have right now is whether they will continue to live in a big city, where die off is likely to hit first and hardest, or move to a low population zone with good resources. Again, this takes money to do right now, so it is not a choice everyone can make, but some people can make it.

    To reinforce the nature of the debate here, its not about the undeniable fact many people will go to the Great Beyond here, they most certainly will.. It is a debate between Bottleneck and Extinction, whether it is possible for a few to survive past mid century. For NTHE to be invalid, only a few people need to survive, as a few did in the aftermath of Toba. Nobody can say with 100% certainty a few will not survive, so making the choices which can enable survival only makes sense, if you want to live anyhow.

    If you don’t, go live in a trailer park in Oklahoma. You’ll be in Oz with Dorothy in no time.

    RE

  • @ulvfugl

    OK, well then I will respect and take solace in your awareness that there are serious medical issues associated with eating meat.

    You say you are not interested in being healthy – allow me to remind you that your health is how you feel.

    I will leave upon the table your request to preserve artificial varieties. But I’m really not sure what the purpose or justification is, when eating these lifeforms is harmful to our health (and medical bills). Maybe keep them around strictly for aesthetic and archival and sentimental value – if we can afford the luxury of using some land that way. A protected sanctuary for human created life forms… Posted: No Hunting.

    The economic transition for your neighbor has been mapped. By the way, fruits and particularly berries are among the healthiest and most healing foods anyone can eat. Lots of anti-oxidants, enzymes and phyto-nutrients.

    I hope you have/will watch the talk by Dr. Greger. After doing so, I’m curious to know which of the quoted 3rd party medical reports are you unwilling to ‘accept’ – upon what factual basis? You see, like Guy, Dr. Greger is mainly a compiler and public interpreter of peer reviewed scientific literature. He’s not pontificating unsupported beliefs. He’s a doctor promulgating data based results. Want a second opinion? Read the original studies and derive your own. Maybe we just don’t like the inevitable conclusions, and how they affect confidence in predatory lifestyles.

    I’d say Michael Greger’s talks are as revelatory to the typical consciousness as Guy McPherson’s. In my book, both are amazing tireless heroes shining their brilliant lights, dispelling thick fogs of ignorance. Quixotic perhaps… but full fledged heroes nonetheless.

  • @ logspirit

    OK, well then I will respect and take solace in your awareness that there are serious medical issues associated with eating meat.

    You say you are not interested in being healthy – allow me to remind you that your health is how you feel.

    No, sorry, logspirit, but you are misunderstanding what I am saying.

    I never said I’m not interested in being healthy. I said I never mentioned the health aspects of diet in the particular argument that I made. I could have, but I didn’t.

    That’s because I am not arguing from an an anthropocentric starting point. I’m not, primarily, concerned with what is good for PEOPLE.

    I’m certainly not looking through the narrow reductionist slot of a doctor primarily concerned with human health and nutrition.

    I begin my argument from ‘How can I best help other species survive ?’

    That does not mean that I see human health and well-being as irrelevant, or that I argue in favour of people being sick and ill, does it.

    (I used to say that I begin from a biocentric position but that word has been co-opted by the wretched Robert Lanza and given a completely different meaning, so maybe I’ll have to say I start from an ecocentric position rather than an anthropocentric position.)

    I will leave upon the table your request to preserve artificial varieties. But I’m really not sure what the purpose or justification is, when eating these lifeforms is harmful to our health (and medical bills). Maybe keep them around strictly for aesthetic and archival and sentimental value – if we can afford the luxury of using some land that way. A protected sanctuary for human created life forms… Posted: No Hunting.

    Well, there you show that you have no understanding of why I am arguing as I do.

    Those animals, birds and plants are descended from their wild ancestral forms, and hundreds of generations of our forebears have gone to immense trouble to select them to suit particular circumstances. The land, the soil, the weather, of the region and the sort of product that was needed to fit in with everything else that people needed to survive. Leather, feathers, fat, bark, everything was used.

    All that knowledge and resource gets thrown away and lost forever. It’s not ‘harmful to health’, it’s crucial to survival. It’s not the ‘luxury of using some land that way’ it’s the only way to have a sustainable system that’s not dependent on fossil fuels.

    If, by some extraordinary miracle, people became sane and decided to live within ecological limits with a concern for future generations and we designed permacultural systems to sustain us, then we would have to have those species as part of those systems.

    Unfortunately, it’s already become too late, because the climate is now chaotic, and it’s difficult to see how any system can be designed under such unstable conditions.

    The economic transition for your neighbor has been mapped. By the way, fruits and particularly berries are among the healthiest and most healing foods anyone can eat. Lots of anti-oxidants, enzymes and phyto-nutrients.

    I mentioned my neighbour, not because I see what he does as being perfect, but because it’s an example I can use that illustrates and refutes some of the arguments. The cattle have a splendid life. Nobody can say that they suffer. At the moment, beef is selling for a very high price so he makes a good living.

    I have nothing against people growing and eating nuts and berries, the more the better, I don’t know why you mention that.

    I have not watched Dr Greger’s stuff. Why would I ? I’m not really interested in promoting a vegan diet, logspirit. I don’t care what other people eat. It’s their own business and responsibility. Everybody has to decide for themselves how they respond to this crisis and what they do.

    Look, I’m covering a vast area all the time. As I see it, we are into a mass extinction event and billions of people are going to be dying prematurely and there is absolutely nothing I can do to prevent this global horror.

    Humans are the cause and there are far too many of them and the population will crash, and one of the reasons will be famine and starvation, and then people will be eating anything. As they are already in some parts of the world.

    My thinking regarding saving other species is fanciful, because I don’t think there is much hope at all for their survival. But when they are extinct, there is no hope at all, so the longer they keep going, at least there is a slight chance.

  • I thought this quite interesting, re the recent nonsense from xraymike, re 9/11

    Both of these findings are amplified in the new book Conspiracy Theory in America by political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, published earlier this year by the University of Texas Press. Professor deHaven-Smith explains why people don’t like being called “conspiracy theorists”: The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination!

    “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

    In other words, people who use the terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” as an insult are doing so as the result of a well-documented, undisputed, historically-real conspiracy by the CIA to cover up the JFK assassination. That campaign, by the way, was completely illegal, and the CIA officers involved were criminals; the CIA is barred from all domestic activities, yet routinely breaks the law to conduct domestic operations ranging from propaganda to assassinations.

    http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2013/07/cia-invention-of-the-phrase-conspiracy-theory-to-block-questions-on-jfks-assassination-is-one-of-the-most-successful-propaganda-initiatives-of-all-time-2453052.html

  • A major incident in Ukraine

    ..yet the US media have completely ignored this.

    This is top-flight Western journalism meets The Twilight Zone.

    Imho, this is CIA/black ops false flag trying to create civil war in Ukraine, which, if it works, will suck in the rest of Europe. And Russia.

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/05/ukraine-army-soldiers-killed-in-friendly-fire-incident.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01a3fd0ed2d1970b

  • You hit the nail on the head there ulvfugl – the CIA is now (like the NSA and the whole Homeland Security gang) a completely rogue agency: unaccountable, beyond the law and lead by a mentally unhinged government. These people have totally ruined the country (though it was always on shaky ground imho) through its wayward actions, unchecked power and rampant surveillance. i’m ashamed to call myself an American (have been since my college years and the whole Viet Nam fiasco). Our complicit media would rather show us cleavage and mixed martial arts fights than investigate anything seriously. It’s all lies all the time now and I feel like I live in what we used to perceive the USSR as being – a totally propaganda-run charade that’s bound to fail. No wonder Russia and China (as well as others) are pulling away from the dollar and distancing themselves from this mindless beast of a country. Seems everyone can see what’s happening to the U.S. except us, the citizenry. We’ll go through the motions of another meaningless, staged election in November and no matter who “wins” we all lose, because the corporate agenda is now in full control.

  • @ Tom

    Yup.

    Map of US Military and CIA Interventions since World War 2

    http://williamblum.org/intervention-map

    Is the United States a force for democracy? In this classic and unique volume that answers this question, William Blum serves up a forensic overview of U.S. foreign policy spanning sixty years. For those who want the details on our most famous actions (Chile, Cuba, Vietnam, to name a few), and for those who want to learn about our lesser-known efforts (France, China, Bolivia, Brazil, for example), this book provides a window on what our foreign policy goals really are.

    If you flip over the rock of American foreign policy of the past century, this is what crawls out… invasions … bombings … overthrowing governments … occupations … suppressing movements for social change … assassinating political leaders … perverting elections … manipulating labor unions … manufacturing “news” … death squads … torture … biological warfare … depleted uranium … drug trafficking … mercenaries …

    It’s not a pretty picture. It’s enough to give imperialism a bad name.

    http://williamblum.org/books/killing-hope/

  • ‘Those using monolithic concrete domes should consider incorporating NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) protections into the domes to deal with the 400+ Fukes, “emerging” infectious diseases and all the chemical pollution. In addition, island nations going underwater could perhaps build waterproofed marine-grade concrete domes with snorkels.

    And when push comes to shove, will they start eating vegans? If that happens, the Last Man Standing might not be a vegan.’

    u r 1 funny fothermucker, r.d. (r.r)

  • @ ulvfugl

    I’ll take my tongue out of my cheek now, and simply say that I really hope you will look further into this issue. I know you have the intellectual courage and fortitude to deal with inconvenient truths. And I do applaud your efforts to help people get the big picture. Perhaps someday you will include the ‘trivial’ detail of how dietary choice is the central driver of our mass suicide. I hope someday you will help humanity understand the impact of a predatory lifestyle.

    @ Paul Chefurka

    Paul, my main point isn’t a moral issue, although it certainly could be. Especially when we realize that the morals we live by determine inclination towards war or peace. I am mainly speaking to flesh consumption as the prime driver of catastrophic climate change, which is the focus of this blog. See the Worldwatch Report linked to above for the evidence.

    If you are one of those extremely rare individuals who unfortunately was born with genetic anomalies that necessitate the consumption of proteins as flesh… (which contains fat, not carbohydrate, making your condition a bit confusing) Well, anyway, I have compassion for you. However, that mutation does not support others eating meat, the vast overwhelming majority, who do not have such atypical genetic situations.

    The notion that raising ‘livestock’ is sustainable… is absurd, against the backdrop of all the documented damage – even in ancient historical accounts from places like Greece and Italy. Such tripe is clearly nothing more than propaganda from the ‘livestock’ profiteers, promoted for free by it’s habituated ‘users’. This is also practiced in the tobacco (and sugar) world, where the industry provides cut and paste rationalizations and psychological diversions for its addicted customers… and to keep capturing new ones as they die off. I have already provided a reference: Worldwatch Institute: Is Meat Sustainable?

    But, apparently, no one is willing to read it. That self-serving shill you sent me to should hide in shame. But it isn’t at all shocking, it is common practice for huge industries, like flesh vendors and pharmaceutical purveyors and coal diggers and tobacco growers to simply buy their preferred ‘science’. Intellectual prostitution isn’t new. ‘Facts’ for sale, real cheap, deposit money here. No, sir, no matter how much your exalted taste buds may disagree, the problem, according to brain cells, is humans eating meat.

    When even intelligent people, like the folks who gather here, cannot seem to bring themselves to examine, nay to even look at hard evidence that contradicts their habitual beliefs… it is very disappointing. Even more disappointing is the apparent inability to see how this is a direct parallel to the reactions of ‘common folk’ when they hear Guy’s prognosis of NTE. They slip on their opaque head shields, poke their fingers in their ears, and sing, as loudly as they can: ‘la la la la la’. No matter how many times people insist and shout that eating flesh isn’t damaging to their health, or the health of the global environment, or the morality of society – resulting in war – well, that simply does not make it so.

    It’s apparent, should be anyway, that the main cause of our horrible predicament is stubborn blind insistence upon maintaining predatory lifestyles. We’re causing extinction with our own bloody hands… the blood is covering our eyes too, and we don’t even know it. Now that’s a “brain-bending irony”.

  • @ logspirit

    I’ll take my tongue out of my cheek now, and simply say that I really hope you will look further into this issue. I know you have the intellectual courage and fortitude to deal with inconvenient truths. And I do applaud your efforts to help people get the big picture. Perhaps someday you will include the ‘trivial’ detail of how dietary choice is the central driver of our mass suicide. I hope someday you will help humanity understand the impact of a predatory lifestyle.

    But we are never going to reach any common position on this, because we are starting from completely different positions.

    I’m not interested in beginning from what an individual eats as a starting point for analysing our overall global predicament, because I don’t agree with you that it is the foundation of the problem.

    As I see it, the foundation of the problem is biological overshoot, we’ve bloomed, as a species, – just as yeast, bacteria, etc, do, when they discover a rich resource – we’ve exceeded the carrying capacity of our environment – the planet – we destroy the biosphere with our excreted byproducts, – the pollution, CO2, etc – and just as happens to the other species when they do this, – the locusts, etc,- once everything is consumed, the population crashes.

    It then gets more complicated because we have added on the factor of scaling it up to effect the global climate, which we are changing faster than any time in geological history, pretty much. Which means all the other biological systems get effected too, and they’ll mostly crash as well.

    So I don’t really see any way of ‘saving’ this situation, because we are in it now, and we are out of time.

    You want to convert others to agree with your views, to change their diet, in line with a series of logical ideas that you have, which have persuaded you to hold a particular point of view.

    My line of thinking begins from a different origin and arrives at a different conclusion. As I see it, most, if not all, the humans are going to die anyway, whatever they eat, and whether they are healthy or not, and there is nothing I can do about this.

    Global capitalism and international geopolitics are the drivers, and nobody has their hands on levers which can stop what is happening.

    What I am arguing for, just as Kling tries to buy and conserve forests, is to try and keep other species going for as long as possible.

    For me, it’s not about the PEOPLE. 99.9% of humans are already totally obsessed with themselves and their own selfish needs and wants. I’m talking about systems that allow humans and other species to survive to their mutual benefit.

    Having everybody become vegan or vegetarian does nothing to assist that aim. Humans still have to eat plants and those plants still have to be grown, in vast quantities, and if they are not raised using hi tech agri biz methods with fertilisers and machinery and pesticides from fossil fuels, how can that be done ? As far as I know, it’s impossible.

    The only system that I know of – talking about Europe, don’t know about the tropics – that would supply human needs and allow wildlife to coexist, would be one that incorporated domesticated livestock, the sort of systems that we had, prior to 1800.

  • @ logspirit

    Re what you are saying to Paul.

    If I thought that what you are saying stood up to scrutiny, and that it lead to a strategy that would produce a happy outcome, then I’d support your case.

    But I think that it’s all wishful thinking.

    The way I see it, the global capitalist economic industrial and financial systems, based upon fossil fuels, will not be effected in any significant way by your campaign, even if it is very effective and many people do become vegan.

    Half the world’s populations live in cities, the population is growing at a terrifying rate, all the food has to be shifted by ships, trucks and trains, whatever it is, it’s a major trade commodity, that’s gambled on the markets every day.

    None of the people in power care about the morality or the health aspects, they care about the profits and their own survival. The oceans are being destroyed, we are heading into total collapse, but nobody is going to stop doing what they are doing until they are forced to stop.

    You seem to think that killing another living thing is fundamentally wrong, unless it’s a plant.

    I don’t agree with that premise. Everything on the planet is eating everything else, all the time. Don’t blame me for that, I didn’t design the system, it’s just the way I find it to be.

    We’ve killed off the wolves and the lynx and the bears in this country, and then taken their territory to grow crops. And now we grow crops so intensively that we won’t even allow space for the insects and songbirds.

    The land is treated as a factory floor to produce commodity crops for human consumption. People becoming vegetarian or vegan does nothing to address that.

    I’d much prefer it if people had a much closer connection to what was involved with raising farm animals humanely, so that they understood the amount of work involved, and how difficult and unpleasant it is to have to kill them.

    Then perhaps they’d have a different attitude towards meat. But I don’t think that there is anything morally wrong. I think we evolved as hunters, and then as farmers.

    Ideally, I’d like to see the land surface as close to wild nature as possible. There’s ways to do that, by mimicing the natural ecology using domesticated species. Of course, it can only work with a low human population density.

    There is a very small chance that we might arrive at that sort of eventuality again. I doubt it, mostly because the climate is wrecked, and because of the Fukes and so forth. But if it ever does occur, we’ll need the other species, they’ll be very precious.

  • logspirit

    Growing and eating home-grown produce seems to be the most practical, “light,” peaceful and joyful approach to nourishment. Especially at a time like this. The pastoral traditions which some call sustainable “feel” to me rather outdated. I certainly can’t argue the case other than to observe how it strikes me aesthetically.

    OTOH, it’s very hard to grow all or even most of your own produce, while buying them commercially entails enormous environmental and other costs. Memes that allow for “sustainable” animal products are attractive and powerful in the face of inadequate understanding. I admire your effort to increase this understanding, even though being convinced of your science doesn’t come easy. I hope you’ll keep on.

  • logspirit,

    I admire your impassioned plea and I promise to look at a couple of Michael Greger vids. However, please understand that I will not be watching the Paul McCartney clip, as I am strictly a Lennon man. :)

  • A good summary, imo, of the events re Ukraine that have lead to what happens now

  • @logspirit

    Insulin resistance (aka metabolic syndrome, aka Syndrome X)isn’t a genetic anomaly. It’s an acquired condition, caused by repeated insulin spikes due to the over-consumption of carbohydrates.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin_resistance

    Some people are more susceptible to it, some less, but everyone seems to carry some degree of susceptibility. In susceptible individuals the condition progressively worsens as long as excessive carbohydrates (especially refined starches and sugars) are consumed. The end-state is Type 2 diabetes

    The simplest and best treatment for insulin resistance is to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates and replace their calories with fat calories. Protein isn’t eligible as a caloric replacement because there is an upper limit on the amount of protein the body can process without harm.

    There is a growing body of scientific opinion that insulin resistance is probably behind the recent fattening of America. The over-consumption of starches and sugars have led to half the population or more now exhibiting the symptoms of insulin resistance, including obesity, hypertension, cardiac problems and diabetes. The incidence of these symptoms has risen dramatically over the last 50 to 100 years, paralleling the rise in refined carbohydrate consumption by the population.

  • @ Martin

    Thanks for your adventurous spirit. Imagine!

    @ artleads

    You make a very good point – that it is much easier, and less energy and water and nutrient intensive to sustain a vegan population on organic gardening/farming methods than a toothy horde of flesh eaters. Let’s keep in mind that there wouldn’t be much flesh around for humans to consume without feed lots. And feed lots require lots of harvested grain… that could be feeding humans. Yup, raising ‘livestock’ sucks up grain and increases its price on world markets – and that prices poor people out, and sometimes their children starve. Oh, that’s so depressing, especially at meal time… Veal, anyone? Actually, of course, the economics are more contorted and obscure – but I think most folks here can see, in general, how these price pressures apply. Rich people demand meat, poor people starve. Now please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that we should just keep on pulling ever more food from the Earth and having ever more children… especially not now. But we can reduce some of the suffering, if we’re smart and compassionate.

    @ Paul Chefurka

    The links I provided discussed the proven connection between eating flesh and adult onset diabetes. Check out Dr. Greger’s talk. Unless you prefer to just stay stuck. Here’s a TED talk on diabetes by a different vegan medical doctor, Dr. Neal Barnard M.D.

    @ ulvfugl

    Yes, these issues get rather complicated. Of course, as you know, I fully realize the pickle we’ve made of the current Earth’s ecosystems, and that climate catastrophe and mass extinction is already well underway… and accelerating. I hold no illusions of inventing ‘solutions’. I’m only serious about attempting to reduce some of the suffering. If the folks who expect a miracle are miraculously vindicated, and all the species facing near term extinction are granted an almighty reprieve, and all the climate altering pollution is instantaneously turned as benign as rose essence… then my suggestions would have greater utility. I’m not holding my breath.

    I have spent the last 40 years in various stages of attempting to share what I have discovered – and, if nothing else, I have gained a grand respect for the amazing capacity humans have to be stubborn and intentionally ignorant… we’re far worse than mules. I know. I’m human too. And I used to take care of mules. They were easy. I wasn’t. I think I was much ‘worse’ than any of you… More than 40 years ago I was voicing -the exact same arguments- that I hear from meat eaters to this day. (Hmmm, ever wonder where those meme’s come from?) I was really bad, a terrible hot head. I really enjoyed fighting (or thought I did). Only later, after I stopped eating meat did I see that my aggressive, defensive, sullen and angry moods were directly proportional to how much meat I ate. I mention this just so everyone knows that indeed, I really do understand the phenomenon. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I consider my discovery of this new path and consequent survival through all these latter years an act of grace, or at least superb luck. You see, I was getting very sick from all that flesh, probably approaching death. Then, when a particular vegan came into my life, I actually had the brains (or at least smart enough balls) to shut my dumb mouth and listen, and I’ve been ever grateful to this day.

    OK, so how does this relate to our greater concerns? You bring up overshoot, and we both know that its impact is a product of population and consumption. And we both know that eating meat is more consumptive – magnifying the overshoot. I’m not talking about the fantasy of idyllic free range pastures, let’s face it, globally we’re talking about feed lots. Massive confined feeding operations. With that roaring sucking sound of all the grain from the mouth’s of babes, as mentioned to artleads above. With all the manure pools reeking methane. With the morgues busy as hell.

    If we had a global dictatorship, our ruler could simply declare how people should behave… but, we don’t. Instead we have what I think of as essentially global anarchy – where environmentally critical decisions such as what we should eat is left up to the so called ‘free choice’ of individuals – and the corporate propaganda injected into their heads. It is for that reason that I can only appeal directly to individuals, sidestepping the existing top down command structure. Globally the results we’re getting are the concatenation of all our ‘little’, individual actions.

    Meanwhile you still haven’t said anything about the Worldwatch Institute’s conclusion that 51% of human greenhouse forcing is coming from eating flesh. If that figure is even half correct, then “Having everybody become vegan or vegetarian does nothing to assist …” is obviously quite false. The Worldwatch Institute is fastidious in their efforts. They have an untarnished reputation. Are you contesting or simply ignoring them?

    Many studies have shown that organic methods equal or exceed chemical yields, while regenerating and preserving soils. See reports from the Rodale Institute. Even Walmart sells organic produce now. Very profitable. Organic food tends to be locally grown, but even otherwise transportation is a small part of the overall impact compared to those insidious chemical inputs. Try: “Monsanto’s Darkest Secret: Roundup’s Effect On The Fetus” and “Glyphosate (Roundup) Linked To Cancer of the Lymph Tissue In New Study”

    “The land is treated as a factory floor to produce commodity crops for human consumption. People becoming vegetarian or vegan does nothing to address that.” Ahh, but that’s the clincher, it does… exactly that! More and more people are planting gardens to feed themselves… seed companies have been selling out for the last several years, previously unheard of. The more organic, healthy, wholesome, nutritious plant based food people grow for themselves in ways that respect the Earth – the lower the global impact and the better our health (physical and mental – they are the same entity).

    “I think we evolved as hunters” really? evolved? that takes a long time… how long have people had fire? evolutionary terms? Hardly. Eating flesh without fire is not only difficult, but downright dangerous given all the bacteria and parasites. No, I don’t think so. People, particularly rich people, like kings and queens ate (cooked) meat, and were very sick… then the rest of us got fossil fuel rich and started eating like kings and queens and started getting very sick. (video documentation above, and below)

    51% is a pretty big impact. A good chunk. Not that it will have any effect on the pollution that is already in the pipeline which probably means we’re screwed and won’t be “… talking about systems that allow humans and other species to survive to their mutual benefit.”

    Humanity can change… and start feeling a whole lot better… and reduce the suffering… but, you’re probably right… we probably won’t. People are just plain stubborn and intentionally ignorant (and brainwashed) and are going to eat whatever they dam well think they want to eat: ‘Screw the medical advice, screw the environmentalists, the corporation’s bully voice is louder and let’s me stay right here… in my rut.’

    “we’ll need the other [artificial] species, they’ll be very precious.” For what? Surely, you don’t still plan on eating them, do you? Oh, right, I forgot, you don’t care about measly stuff like cancer, diabetes and obesity. Or what a vegan doctor can teach us. Bigger fish to fry.

    I hope I’ve addressed all the questions you raised. Of course the comprehensive answers fill many journals and books. Thanks for pleasant conversation and the chance to explore a few of my discoveries with you. Meanwhile, here’s a healthy helping of some nutritious food for thought with fascinating (and tasty)historical side references, bon appétit:

  • @ logspirit

    I’m not talking about the fantasy of idyllic free range pastures, let’s face it, globally we’re talking about feed lots. Massive confined feeding operations.

    But I am.

    And from time to time I have sent whatever cash I could to Compassion in World Farming, Humane Slaughter Assoc. and other Animal Rights Orgs.and I support DGR and as I’ve stated repeatedly, I am completely opposed to intensive agribiz, and would like to see it all closed down.

    But that does not mean that I support a vegan diet.

    And I don’t agree with you, that my moods have any connection to the meat in my diet. In fact, my ‘mood’ is pretty much totally under my own conscious control and does not vary very much. I’m speaking for myself, not others.

    Meanwhile you still haven’t said anything about the Worldwatch Institute’s conclusion that 51% of human greenhouse forcing is coming from eating flesh. If that figure is even half correct, then “Having everybody become vegan or vegetarian does nothing to assist …” is obviously quite false. The Worldwatch Institute is fastidious in their efforts. They have an untarnished reputation. Are you contesting or simply ignoring them?

    You seem to think that there is some chance that people changing their actions will stop the catastrophe. I simply don’t believe that.

    Look, if you want to argue a vegan diet for yourself, on moral or religious grounds, or on health or nutrition grounds, because of your personal beliefs, I have no problem with that. (I think I have some problem when you try and insist everyone else believe what you believe, because then it’s religious proselytising.)

    But if you think it’s a practical strategy to reduce CO2 and ‘save the planet’ I think you’re flat out mistaken. I have no children, have not owned or even been in a car for years and years, I’ve been in a plane twice in my whole life, I’ve planted thousands of trees, I’ve protested, written thousands of letters, sent cash to causes, etc, and nothing has made the slightest difference. My diet is insignificant, anything I’ve done in my whole life is cancelled by 15 minutes of the jets in the air corridor above my head.

    People will not stop raising and selling animals for meat so long as it makes money for them. Nothing is going to stop this capitalist industrial system until it finally crashes. It’s not just the meat, is it, it’s everything else.

    If you wanted to ‘save’ anything at all, you’d have to persuade people to give up the whole industrial modern capitalist lifestyle, because every aspect of it contributes to the destruction of the biosphere, to the wrecking of the climate, it’s all part of the overshoot of the carrying capacity.

    You want to remove just one element, diet, meat, farming, and try to change that. But that doesn’t work, it doesn’t fix anything, all it would do is allow even more space for other people to expand and cause even more abuse and damage for even longer before the whole thing crashes.

    Many studies have shown that organic methods equal or exceed chemical yields, while regenerating and preserving soils. See reports from the Rodale Institute. Even Walmart sells organic produce now. Very profitable. Organic food tends to be locally grown, but even otherwise transportation is a small part of the overall impact compared to those insidious chemical inputs. Try: “Monsanto’s Darkest Secret: Roundup’s Effect On The Fetus” and “Glyphosate (Roundup) Linked To Cancer of the Lymph Tissue In New Study”

    What the fuck are you talking about ? You appear to be speaking to someone else, not to me.

    “I think we evolved as hunters” really? evolved? that takes a long time… how long have people had fire? evolutionary terms? Hardly. Eating flesh without fire is not only difficult, but downright dangerous given all the bacteria and parasites. No, I don’t think so. People, particularly rich people, like kings and queens ate (cooked) meat, and were very sick… then the rest of us got fossil fuel rich and started eating like kings and queens and started getting very sick.

    People have had fire at least 800,000 years. I don’t know what point you are making. As I already said, people of N. Europe who had a genetic mutation that allowed adults to digest dairy products had an advantage over hunter gatherers, because they could have a symbiotic relationship with cattle, sheep and goats, and store protein in the form of yogurt, cheese, butter, in addition to getting the meat from the surplus animals.

    This, along with horses, donkeys, pigs and poultry, made a system that worked for some eight thousand years providing everything that people needed.

    To say that only kings and queens ate meat until fossil fuels is ludicrous nonsense. Where I live here, people had been living pretty much the same way for six or seven thousand years before industrialisation. Kings, queens, fossil fuels, had nothing to do with it. They ate meat. Before that, hunter gatherers ate meat. They ate lots of other stuff too.

    “we’ll need the other [artificial] species, they’ll be very precious.” For what? Surely, you don’t still plan on eating them, do you? Oh, right, I forgot, you don’t care about measly stuff like cancer, diabetes and obesity. Or what a vegan doctor can teach us. Bigger fish to fry.

    You completely miss the point. How will you provide for all the stuff that people need in the absence of fossil fuels ?

    The problem is that you have been banging your vegan drum for 40 years, because you think that everything fits together to make a comprehensive argument based on personal health and so forth.

    But I don’t accept any of it. I’m looking at the whole picture from a completely different angle.

  • @ ulvfugl

    “You want to remove just one element, diet, meat, farming, and try to change that.” I never proposed focusing exclusively on teaching people about the darkside of flesh, however everyone can certainly see that 51% of global warming is a big chunk. I’m not saying there’s any hope – but I’ve always said that we might as well try. Running around in a rut only cuts the rut deeper. One thing that most people have entirely within their own control, that they can change, is their diet. They can’t say that they have to wait, that they can’t do it until some government gives them permission or some corporation cooperates. 51% is a big chunk.

    You don’t seem to realize that the flesh vending sector is the largest industry on this planet. Nor do you seem to realize how much environmental impact that sector has. That the vast majority of the flesh consumed in rich countries comes from feed lots. That without those feed lots only the super rich could afford meat – supply and demand, you know. You refuse to understand that if a significant portion of people stopped eating meat and turned to less environmentally damaging, less predatory lifestyles – that it would have an enormous ripple effect in other critical areas. Areas you claim to be concerned about. It would be a sea change in the way people perceive the world. If people started respecting their own health, and took an interest in how their diets are literally killing them, and their loved ones… and made some simple changes… then people would have the health and strength and interest to start respecting the health of the planet. You have it all backwards. Right now many people in the rich countries are too dam sick from eating too much dam flesh to give a dam about life and the planet and all that crap.

    I don’t see how anyone who truly cares about life on planet Earth, who comprehends that 51% figure, can continue to eat meat.

    As far as why I included the section that you ‘wondered’ about (in a rather brusk and aggressive way) — wondered whether it was addressed to you or not — is because it was an answer to YOUR bazaar question:

    “Humans still have to eat plants and those plants still have to be grown, in vast quantities, and if they are not raised using hi tech agri biz methods with fertilisers and machinery and pesticides from fossil fuels, how can that be done ? As far as I know, it’s impossible.”

    Recarbonization of the soil through organic farming would absorb much of the remaining 49%. Of course, cutting fossil fuel use ubiquitously is still essential to get that 49 to 0. We’re not dead yet… might as well try. Maybe you’re too sick to join the effort.

    Did you watch the video about the gladiators? (apparently not)

    Here’s another one. Its about a martial arts master – near your neck of the woods. Try it, you might actually like it (he beat the USA, come on, you gotta like that):

  • @ logspirit

    As far as why I included the section that you ‘wondered’ about (in a rather brusk and aggressive way) — wondered whether it was addressed to you or not — is because it was an answer to YOUR bazaar question:

    Because you are not addressing ME.

    You are pushing your own fucking vegan propaganda, and ignoring what I have written in comments on this page replying to you, which is discourteous and why you receive a brusque and aggressive response.

    It’s grossly insulting to suggest that, because I am not a vegan, that I am against organic farming (when I have stated above that I see organic farming as an ally, and organic farming relies upon using farm animals, which get eaten) and suggesting that I am in favour of Monsanto (which I consider to be totally evil.)

    If you want to discuss with ME, then please debate the issues and pay attention to what I say.

    You don’t seem to realize that the flesh vending sector is the largest industry on this planet.

    No, I don’t realise that, you’d have to give some evidence to accept that it is true, afaik it’s not correct, drugs, weapons, energy, transport, oil, finance, but as I already said, it’s part of the capitalist machine, and that has to be seen as a whole, and whilst I’m all in favour of all attempts to dismantle it, your strategy of changing diet doesn’t fix anything, you STILL have to keep it intact to feed the people with vegan food in enormous quantities and prolong the misery.

    Look, I am not the slightest bit interested in answering the question ‘What was the best diet for a gladiator in ancient Ephesus ?’ or the question ‘What’s the best diet for a MMA fighter ?’

    As I have explained to you, with some care, I begin from an ecocentric position. What can I do to assist the other species ?

    My analysis begins prior to civilisation when humans were still part of the natural ecology, just like bears and similar large mammals.

    Humans evolved on a mixed diet which included meat. Just prior to the first domestication of animals and plants they were hunting wild caprids, gazelles, wild boar, deer, etc.

    This is irrefutable, logspirit. In the archaeological record of their sites, the bones that are charred and have the cut marks, where they cooked and ate the meat. They also ate wild cereals and nuts and fruit and no doubt all kinds of fish and other vegetable stuff of all sorts.

    (I’m talking about the Middle East now, Asia, Australasia, S. and N. America, etc, followed different timelines and trajectories.)

    They then got into farming and domesticated the animals and plants and that system spread across Europe. They had some genetic mutation which let them digest dairy products as adults. The hunter gatherers already in Europe couldn’t do that. Still many people on the planet can’t do that, they often get bad reactions to milk and alcohol.

    It meant that a farm that had animals became a unit that had some advantage over hunting and gathering, because it quickly spread all across the European continent. I presume the advantage was getting through the winter, although I don’t have any particular reference to back that up.

    They needed a foodstore in a fixed location, with their harvested crops, their dried meat, their cheese, their hay for the animals, etc, and that let them survive winters, and multiply in villages, fending off the bears and wolves.

    The hunters and gatherers did not have that. I suspect their winters were a lot more difficult. In any case, over a few thousand years, farming spread everywhere. And the people ate meat. And vegetables.

    (And the stuff you worry about, cancer, diabetes, obesity, were not problems. People rarely got those, they are modern American lifestyle conditions.)

    So, if I had total control and wanted to design a system that gave maximum benefit to humans AND all other species, there would be no cities, there would only be small communities of humans integrated as ecologically benign units with high biodiversity.

    You cannot have such a system, without fossil fuels, unless you have animals. And because animals breed and multiply at an astonishing rate, you have to kill them. Otherwise, you have what we have, overshoot of the carrying capacity.

    There’s nothing pleasant about killing, but humans have been doing it forever. You do it efficiently with compassion and care. We are animals, we are part of the foodchain. We have to take responsibility for our place in the scheme of things.

    (To cop out because of squeamishness and sentimentality does terrible harm. Just go to the places where all the abandoned dogs and other animals end up, where they keep them for two weeks and then kill them.)

    If you don’t accept that such a system as I outline above is possible – and I myself doubt that it is, now,because climate chaos and Fukes and general universal chaos make it improbable – then the only other option will be hunting and gathering the modern way, sort of Mad Max rummaging through the ruins and wreckage scavenging.

    We have not got there yet. I began with my neighbour, because, although what he does is not perfect – it needs hi tech tractors and haylage, and so forth – the animals are fine, they have an almost perfect life.

    You want to close down the feedlots, fine, close down Walmart and Monsanto and Wall Street, the Fed and Exxon and the Pentagon too, I shall not complain.

    None of that has anything to do with me eating meat. The hillside here would become forest. To be ‘natural’ there should be large herbivores, ungulates, aurochs, bison, red deer, wild ponies, eating the young trees keeping open glades. Really there should be wolves that eat the baby deer, foals and aurochs.

    There are none of those. Instead there are these Old English Longhorn Cattle which are noble creatures and do the same job. And humans eat them instead of wolves eating them.

    The fundamental point is, that if we wanted to survive longterm – and I think it is now too late – we’d have to preserve the biosphere, which would mean our systems would have to be as close as possible to the systems that existed before we began wrecking the planet’s surface. We’d need to mimic nature as closely as possible.

    That’s my starting position.