In the End, What REALLY Matters
by Reese Jones
This is my new favourite video of Dr. McPherson. But then, all the new videos are my favourite. Each brings with it new clarity and insight. But this one is especially thought-provoking as it can show us how to release fear, uncertainty and dread whilst helping us to find recovery, rebirth and redemption as we all face a seemingly dangerous and precarious future.
It begins with the rather provocative revelation that recycling doesn’t MATTER. It NEVER mattered, says Dr. McPherson. And then, he moves on to discuss what really DOES matter. It isn’t recycling.
For the time we have left which may be longer (or shorter) than we think, we can have a road-map to fulfillment no matter our age or family status despite our ominous future. It is our choice; we CAN reject the pain and embrace the gain, or we can wallow in desperation and despair and collapse to the wayside.
As for the discussion on $10 per hour … ten dollars is an honest wage. But in the United States, it’s barely enough to meet basic needs and is often supplemented by governmental services such as food stamps and medical assistance. Many companies spend little as possible on their employees and as MUCH as possible on senior dividends and bonuses. This contributes to the ongoing controversy of a living wage. In no way do we disparage anyone’s wages or profession. In my humble estimation, we and our labours are all, pretty much priceless. Whenever one gives me the fruit of his labours, he gives me a part of himself.
A new video will be up soon. Thank you for watching, and your comments are very much appreciated.
What “Purpose” Do I Have?
by Bud Nye
This essay lays a foundation for another one to follow titled “How do I respond to inevitable collapse?” By “purpose” in the title of this essay, I do not refer to any kind of supposed theistic or human directedness. My concerns lie with life here on this known Earth, in this known existence, not with an alleged afterlife of a supposed “soul” that can, presumably, escape death if I live according to some religious group’s favorite set of rules allegedly dictated by a directing God somewhere “out there”. When I use the word “purpose”, here, I mean for it to refer to functioning in nature that produces a common end result for all living and non-living processes. The title asks the question, “What end result does my life have on Earth, and what does it have in common with all other living and non-living processes on Earth?”
Here I tell a story that most readers will probably find strange and unfamiliar. Unfortunately, in telling this story I immediately confront a major problem. As Einstein suggested, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Making this as simple as possible, but not simpler, seems an especially difficult task, here, because of the abstract nature of some of the concepts I will discuss, plus the lack of background knowledge that most readers will bring to the subject. Despite these difficulties, I have decided to do my best to meet Einstein’s test. I hope that most readers will not feel overwhelmed with too many new ideas and words.
In much natural science the concept of a “system” proves vital. This word generally refers to some group of interrelated elements comprising a larger whole. How one defines or draws a boundary line around the interrelated elements under discussion has massive influence on the nature of any discussion and the outcome of any study. For example, suppose that we want to study a frog. In doing this, we might define the frog system as only the frog within the boundaries of its skin, we might include its surroundings up to and including the glass walls of its terrarium, we might include the pond it lives in, or we might consider the frog system as including the entire forest it lives in as defined by several highways several miles apart. Clearly, the nature of our discussion about the frog, the results of any study we do, and the conclusions we draw, will differ significantly depending the system boundaries we draw!
Notice this as well: the boundaries we draw—the system we define—remains entirely arbitrary! Consider the implications of this: what holds true for the frog in a system defined one way may not hold true for it in a system defined another way. For example, if we start with a living frog system defined exclusively by its skin as the system boundary, we will very soon find that we have a dead frog. (Certainly in studying dead frogs we can learn much about many things, but, clearly, dead frogs differ significantly from living frogs.) So, especially concerning life, the system we focus our attention on matters!
One of the tactics scientists sometimes use involves setting up and studying “closed” systems. For example, classical thermodynamics studies the world under highly specific conditions. They construct isolated systems that have no contact with events outside their walls and that often have a reversibility characteristic. This simplifying idealization does allow for solving many problems that would otherwise remain intractable. Meanwhile all systems in the real world—not temporarily constructed by some people—work as open, irreversible systems. All living and non-living processes, including living organisms and all known, functioning ecosystems, trade both matter and energy across their boundaries. A few examples include cities, automobiles, stars, nuclear power plants, trees, mice, bacteria, and all humans.
All of this points to a serious limitation and problem found in much of natural science: its arbitrary, over-simplifying nature: its reductionism. In the real world outside of our heads, everything appears to connect with everything else in complex ways, but in using the science of Bacon, Descartes, and Newton we arbitrarily draw boundaries in order to simplify this interconnected complexity of the universe. Scientists love to construct and work with systems that give repeatable results, and they tend to discard systems that seem too complex or that have too many variables. Then, to add insult to injury, we often generalize from what we have learned about the parts we disconnected to the infinitely more complex and interconnected whole. We often erroneously assume that the same principles that apply to a closed or partially closed system also apply to open systems. In some cases universal principles do generalize, but in many cases the principles do not prove so universal after all. Given all of this, it seems to me that the system concept does have much value and much power—and we need to use it with great caution, always remaining aware of its many weaknesses and limitations. But with vast wishful thinking and arrogance, far too often we do not exercise the needed caution, certainly not concerning the biosphere that produced and supports us and all other life: Earth.
Some people may disagree with me, but I conclude from this that, even though it appears to in the short term and in many limited situations, natural science cannot and does not give us the knowledge and power over nature that so many people who love the science, philosophy, and values of Bacon, Descartes, Newton so strongly wish. It definitely does not confer that knowledge and power concerning the longer-term, broader processes on Earth. Meanwhile, by far the most important reason that so many people support and work in natural science involves the power and control that it appears to confer to individuals and to groups of people. Herein, I think, lies much of the resistance that many people have to more holistic science: holistic science often threatens the sense of personal control that many people wish to believe they have in life as well as the control that they wish to believe humans, in general, have in life.
Question: In the most fundamental sense from a natural scientific perspective, how do we best describe humans and life in general? What “purpose” do we have? To the best of our present knowledge, the short, way-too-simple answer to this question appears to look something like this: Life, including human life, works as an energy-based, dissipative, gradient-reducing, metastable process. But what does this twelve-word, anticlimactic answer mean? To begin to answer this question, the reader must construct some basic energy and thermodynamics concepts.
What does the word “energy” point to in the universe and as we use it in natural science? Actually, no one really knows, but here I will use energy to refer to a measurable, massless, fluid-like quantity inherent in all change processes. This quantity, energy,interchanges with mass through Einstein’s famous equation, E = Mc2, but it differs from mass and does not have any mass. We know of only ONE energy, and it has different storage and transfer mechanisms. Because we know of only one energy, I do not write in terms of different “forms” of energy, or different “energies”, in the plural, as so many authors so often do, which produces great conceptual confusion for many people.
Energy occurs on Earth stored in many ways, many modes. The same, one energy gets passed to different kinds of storage. The storage modes most important for most people most of the time include: mechanically (through kinetic movement, including mechanical waves such as sound), chemically (as in food and gasoline), heating (very small particle motion: conduction), in gravity fields (for example, lifting an object from the floor and placing it on a high shelf), and in electromagnetic fields (radiation such as light, radio, and so on, when electrically charged particles move).
A problem we and the rest of nature have with energy involves getting it into a useful storage mode—in the right place, at the right time—for whatever we or other nature processes might do with it. We and the rest of nature change energy storage modes using various kinds of converters. These converters change energy from one storage mode into another, thus making it easier to store, transport, or use it for doing various kinds of work (applying a force over a distance). Herein lies a critical, fundamental principle in all of nature: each storage conversion always includes a large amount of energy “loss” in the sense that a large proportion of the pre-conversion energy dissipates, largely in heating the environment: producing random motion in atoms and molecules. These dissipated storage modes make the energy impossible to capture or use to do work. We call this universal conversion dissipation principle the second law of thermodynamics. We call the dissipated energy “entropy”. Importantly, energy does not get “lost”; it just moves into dissipated storage modes such that it cannot do any work any longer.
As a measure of this conversion dissipation, we give various converters efficiency ratings. For example, human beings have about 18 percent efficiency. This means that for every 100 calories of chemically stored energy we eat as food, only 18 will do useful work and the rest gets dissipated uselessly into the environment. Horses have an efficiency of about 10 percent, and diesel engines about 40 percent, significantly more efficient than most automobile engines.
Life, including human life, works as an energy-based, dissipative, metastable process. “Metastable” means continuing in its present state of equilibrium unless sufficiently disturbed to pass to a more stable state of equilibrium. For example, a pot of soup simmering on a gas stove exists in a metastable way. If we disturb the process by turning off the gas, the higher energy stored in the soup will quickly and spontaneously dissipate such that the soup will soon cool to the temperature of the surroundings.
Although stable (in the metastable sense), and often mistaken as a “thing”, life works as a process. Living matter always occurs in a continuous flux, kept from reaching a final, dissipated equilibrium state by energy provided ultimately from the sun (plus some Earth-core radioactive decay energy). Life works as an interconnected network of bioenergetic and biophysical open thermodynamic communities. “Open”, here, means that they require a continuing energy flow from somewhere else, an energy gradient, in order to continue. Many non-biological energy-based, dissipative, metastable processes also occur, for example hurricanes, tornadoes, water vortexes, Hadley cells, and so on. Indeed, many global-scale thermodynamic equilibrium-seeking systems help maintain Earth’s climate in which life thrives.
These interconnected, near-equilibrium living and non-living systems may appear unchanging, but in fact they exist as flowing, steady states “feeding” off of gradients, most fundamentally energy gradients. Any flow of diffuse matter, heat, electricity, or chemical reactants can create a steady, unchanging state and maintain it in a metastable way at some distance from equilibrium. For a simple example of such a metastable process, consider a Ping-Pong ball suspended by a column of air blowing vertically from a vacuum cleaner exhaust below it. Living organisms work similarly. Because new energy adds continuously to the Ping-Pong ball/Earth gravity relationship, as well as at the cell level of living things, they do not fall to a dissipated energy equilibrium. On the other hand, if the energy stops flowing they rapidly reach dissipated energy equilibrium, a state of maximum entropy. The Ping-Pong ball falls to the floor. When this happens to an animal, including a person, their body temperature quickly reaches equilibrium with the temperature of the surroundings and we say that they have died: the many energy flow gradients involved with their living have disappeared.
When gradients occur in nature and persist, various kinds of organization spontaneously occur that will most efficiently dissipate the energy. People sometimes refer to these spontaneously occurring metastable states as “self-organizing” systems. This works as something of a misnomer because these systems feed on energy available from somewhere else in order to maintain their organization. In biological situations, populations grow to take advantage of energy sources, enlarging the flow regimes. All natural processes occur as energetically open processes and the gradients they reduce organize the systems, so we would better describe them not as self-organizing, but as gradient-organized systems with self-referential characteristics. A hurricane or tornado exists as a gradient-organized, energy dissipating system. I, my cat, the fly on the wall and the tree outside of my window all exist as interconnected, gradient-organized, energy dissipating, biological systems.
Civilization and life
When one begins to grasp these fundamental second law and gradient reduction principles, they may correctly see that our 10,000 year-old, agriculture-based civilization rests entirely on these energy dissipation and gradient reduction principles. Recognizing this, one might easily jump to the conclusion that because of these fundamental underlying principles “Fighting against our 10,000 year-old, patriarchal civilization makes about as much sense as fighting against gravity, so we were and remain doomed from the start.” An element of truth exists in this idea, but in thinking this way, one misses a critically important characteristic of life: in general and over the long term, life makes maximum use of the available energy. This has the effect of slowing or delaying the energy dissipation processes to the greatest extent possible. Over the long term, life minimizes “wasted” energy, energy that dissipates without doing work useful to life. More dense energy “wasted” through second law dissipation processes by one plant or animal in the food-energy network gets captured and used by another one within the living network through many, chained together, energy dissipating steps.
Consider the implications of this as it relates to human civilizational history, especially its climax in capitalist industrial civilization. In speeding up the energy dissipation processes while making maximum use of the available energy (mainly stored in fossil fuels)—for the most part without capture of the dissipated energy by other organisms, mainly just heating the surroundings—the civilizational exploit/ expand/ exploit/ expand cycle works exactly opposite the larger, longer-term life characteristic of capturing the greatest amount possible of wasted energy and thus delaying its dissipation! As just one of many thousands of possible examples, this 1892 quote by Chicago businessman W.P. Rend about coal smoke pollution nicely illustrates the human supremacist thinking regarding this: “Smoke is the incense of burning on the alters of industry. It is beautiful to me. It shows that men are changing the merely potential forces of nature into articles of comfort for humanity….” This attitude remains especially common today, now on a global scale.
So, working or fighting against the insanely wasteful civilizational exploit/expand cycle makes very good sense, after all, if one values life: actual living, breathing organisms, which includes all humans and non-human life. Thus, in a deep sense, life energetically “values” long-term gratification, or long-term hedonism (delaying energy dissipation), while most humans, most of the time, energetically value immediate gratification, short-term hedonism (producing rapid, wasted energy dissipation). Herein lies our fatal flaw as a species, fatal not only for us but, obviously, for many other—perhaps most other—species as well: we have a nervous system significantly more strongly hard-wired for immediate gratification, short-term hedonism, than for long-term hedonism.
Complex or merely complicated systems?
Unpredictable, complex, chaotic processes, such as ecological collapse, climate change, and nuclear collapse, differ significantly from merely simple, or even complicated, situations. In his article, “Systems Thinking and Complexity 101” (http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2014/06/14/systems-thinking-and-complexity-101/), Dave Pollard describes some of the characteristics of complex situations in this way:
- it’s hard to know where to start
- we can’t define them
- everything seems to connect to everything else and depends on something else having been done first
- we get in a muddle thinking about them
- we often try to ignore some aspect/s of them
- when we finally do something about them, they usually get worse
- they’re so entangled that our first mistake is usually to try and fix them as we would fix a “simple” problem
Examples of messy situations might include: the healthcare system in your country, dealing with a family break-up, exploring change and making it happen in your organization, and worrying about how to look after your elderly parents.
Other examples of messy, complex situations include coping with poverty, addiction, inequality, and economic systems, as well as ecological collapse, climate change, and nuclear power collapse. It seems important to me to know how to discriminate between complicated and complex systems. How do we do this? Pollard suggests that, with study, we can fully know complicated systems, we can thoroughly understand the causality relationships between the variables, which occur in finite number, and we can use that understanding to predict the outcome of interventions in the system with some practical degree of reliability. On the other hand, we cannot fully know complex systems, which include the human body, organizations, cultures, and ecosystems among many other processes. We cannot understand complex systems with sufficient accuracy and precision to assess causality with any certainty or predict outcomes of interventions with reliability.
In studying complex systems and issues, we can come to appreciate them, see why they work in the ways that they do, how they probably got that way, and what keeps them going, but we can never fully understand them. Pollard states his “Law of Complexity” like this: Things are the way they are for a reason. If you want to change something, it helps to know that reason. If that reason is complex, success in changing it is unlikely, and adapting to it is probably a better strategy.”
“Fixing” the ecological collapse and climate change “problems”
As the horrific consequences of our fatally wasteful, short-term hedonism continue to mount and become ever more apparent to even the most devout deniers, many people have started to talk about “fixing” the ecological collapse and climate change “problems”. This talk now includes adding purposeful geoengineering of Earth’s climate to the many geoengineering projects that we have already unintentionally done. Meanwhile, we do not have a simple or complicated linear, Newtonian/Cartesian “problem” to “solve”, but, instead, a complex predicament to live and die with, as suggested by Pollard’s Law of Complexity. Only human-made and temporarily closed systems possess the characteristic of reversibility, while all natural systems remain open, highly unpredictable, and irreversible.
Much of the argumentation that occurs related to climate change, ecological, and nuclear collapse issues contains a fatal flaw: it rests on a false premise. What false premise? The naive idea that the biosphere, including Earth’s climate, nuclear power systems, and human society in general, function according to the linear physics of Bacon, Descartes, and Newton. But, they do not. Instead, they work as unpredictable, irreversible, complex, chaotic processes. As such, it makes no more sense to reason about the ecological collapse and climate change processes based on Newtonian physics than it does to reason about high speed systems (close to the speed of light), or atomic and molecular processes, using the science of Bacon, Descartes, and Newton. The universe works based on linear, Cartesian/Newtonian mechanics only as a small sub-set of Einstein’s relativity theory, Schrodinger’s quantum mechanics, and Prigogine’s complexity theory.
A person who thinks in Cartesian/Newtonian terms might reasonably ask, “How can you predict near term human extinction or near extinction based on scientific evidence while emphasizing the weaknesses of science in making climate change and related predictions? How and why, do you consider near term human extinction or near extinction predictable based on science?” A too short answer to this question (per Einstein’s not too simple test) looks something like these two paragraphs:
When trying to understand high speed processes viewed from a Cartesian/Newtonian perspective, unresolvable paradoxes occur, which Einstein’s relativity theory resolves. Similarly, viewing the global warming, ecological and nuclear collapse self-annihilation trap through the Cartesian/Newtonian lens produces the paradox inherent in the questions above related to prediction. Just as Relativity Theory resolves many Cartesian/Newtonian paradoxes, so also, it seems to me, complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics resolve the Cartesian/Newtonian science prediction paradox while also pointing to the near certainty of a fatal outcome for us soon. The prediction paradox occurs because of the limited nature of the Cartesian/Newtonian science concepts. Just as Einstein’s relativity theory explained many weaknesses inherent in Cartesian/Newtonian science, so also considering complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics resolves the prediction paradox.
As described above, life takes maximum advantage of the energy that gets dissipated in all energy conversion processes (entropy). On the other hand, civilization—especially fossil fuel-based capitalist industrial civilization—violates this most fundamental life principle, instead maximizing wasted energy for immediate gratification “payoff” by taking the shortest routes to gradient reduction. Just as evolution made the emergence of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacteria inevitable, so also civilization’s anti-life agenda, paired with complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics, makes global warming, ecological, and nuclear collapse with human extinction or near extinction coming soon an extremely high probability. As complexity theory makes clear, unpredictable and irreversible tipping points, accompanied by very rapid change, occur in complex systems.
In order to understand this in any depth, one really needs to have some background knowledge of complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics, as discussed, for example, in the books I recommend at the end of this essay. Yet, many otherwise intelligent and well educated people avoid these topics. This makes about as much sense to me as a person’s avoiding relativity theory and quantum mechanics because they feel more comfortable with, and prefer, the world as interpreted by Descartes and Newton.
Unfortunately, as I discussed in my earlier essay “McPherson’s wrong about global warming!?” (https://guymcpherson.com/2014/06/mcphersons-wrong-about-global-warming-thoughts-on-some-possible-psychological-and-emotional-motivations-for-the-attacks-on-guy-mcpherson/), these ideas clash severely with our human supremacist beliefs, our strong cultural tendency pathologically to deny death, and our popular delusions of dominance and control over nature. For many people, especially in this country, these new ideas suggest some dramatically painful realizations that clash severely with, and produce great cognitive dissonance with, some of our most popular and strongly held human-centered, fantasies and wishful thinking.
If one understands these principles, the idea that we can replace fossil fuel use with so-called “alternatives”—while continuing to ignore the general ecological collapse also occurring—amounts to little more than wishful, magical thinking. Most of the proposed energy “alternatives” directly extract vastly more energy than we already do from, and thus further kill, Earth’s living biosphere, which makes full use of that energy. So, for this reason alone, but along with many others, despite so much human supremacist thinking no magical way exists for maintaining anywhere near the present human population and consumption. Only a massive reduction in human population to a small percentage of the present 7.1 billion, with an accompanying reduction in consumption, might conceivably restore balance to Earth’s biosphere. Meanwhile, best evidence suggests that even if such a new balance eventually occurs, Earth’s biological and physical restoration processes will require many tens or hundreds of thousands of years—if Earth does not soon become another dead, hot Venus, which remains a distinct possibility given its location within one percent of the inner edge of the solar system habitability zone. If we do not proactively make those population and consumption reductions as soon as possible while minimizing the pain for all in the process, nature certainly will do it for us with maximum pain for all. Meanwhile, even if we made the needed reductions immediately, and even though it would probably help many other species, given the complex, chaotic, non-linear nature of the situation, it most likely would not have the wished for beneficial effects, for humans.
I will end this essay with this quote, significantly and ironically more fitting today, it seems to me, than when written in 1513:
It happens then as it does to physicians in the treatment of consumption, which in the commencement is easy to cure and difficult to understand; but when it has neither been discovered in time nor treated upon a proper principle, it becomes easy to understand and difficult to cure. The same thing happens in state affairs; by foreseeing them at a distance, which is only done by men of talents, the evils which might arise from them are soon cured; but when, from want of foresight, they are suffered to increase to such a height that they are perceptible to everyone, there is no longer any remedy.
—Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)
I think that what Machiavelli said of affairs of state holds doubly true related to global ecology, climate, and nuclear power plants. Especially given the complex, chaotic, irreversible nature Earth’s ecological and climate processes, it proves impossible to see what we have happening until it has become inconveniently too late to do anything about it (other than changing our thinking and feeling about it). It seems clear to me that, contrary to much human supremacist belief and grandiose, wishful thinking today, much of it based on simplistic, linear, Newtonian/Cartesian thinking, no remedy exists for the global warming, ecological, and nuclear collapse self-annihilation trap that we humans have constructed for ourselves and most other species.
Someone recently wrote to me: “I’m also sorry that you see no redeeming features in civilization, and that it’s no great loss—in fact, a good thing—that we’re all fated to go bye-bye. Well, I’m sure that you have good reasons that aren’t grounded in linear, mechanistic, Cartesian, feedback-insensitive, hideously stunted Western thought. But I’m curious about something. If we’re going to hell, and in fact are already there, why bother to make a fuss about any of this?” I responded in this way:
I have never thought nor written that I think dying, collapsing human civilizations, including our present one, “is no great loss”, nor that I consider such a collapse “a good thing”. On the contrary: I judge such processes incredibly tragic, unfortunate, sad, and usually horrifically painful for the humans and other life involved. I have only described our lack of choice in the unfolding processes. Neither do I think anyone “is going to hell”. My concerns lie with life here on this known Earth, in this known existence, not with some alleged “heaven” or “hell” that our souls supposedly will experience after we have died and left this “merely worldly” existence, depending on whether we live according to some religious set of human-written rules attributed to God. I also have not thought, nor written, that Western thought qualifies as “hideously stunted”. I have just pointed to some of its many weaknesses, in particular some of the now extremely well known weaknesses inherent in the popular Baconian, Cartesian, Newtonian scientific thinking.
“Why make a fuss about any of this?” I think that this exists as another question that comes directly out of narcissistic, human-centered, human supremacist thinking and values, based on the belief that if humans do not reign at the top of an alleged Great Chain of Being hierarchy, living next to God and the angels, that if humans soon become extinct, then, presumably, no point exists to any life. I strongly disagree. It seems to me that all life wants to live, all life has every “right” to live, and it does its best to live fully—with or without humans. Why make a fuss about any of this? Because, to me at least, life matters in the universe and on Earth, whether it has any humans around or not. Meanwhile, human civilization—especially this very short-lived, capitalist, high-energy, industrial civilization—does its best to kill as much life as possible just as quickly and efficiently as possible. I make a fuss about this because I love life and the planet that has produced and maintains life here.
I have decided to make my purpose the same as that of life in general: to delay the gradient reduction processes as much as I can by making maximum use of the available energy, not recklessly wasting it with the highest possible rate of energy dissipation as so many of us now do on a daily basis. Born and raised in this insane society, which remains profoundly and pathologically out-of-touch with physical, biological reality, this means swimming upstream against the current of our high energy, immediate gratification culture, a difficult, often painful process indeed. Why so difficult? Among other reasons, because, for example, it proves much easier to flip an electric heater switch than to gather firewood and build a fire, or to drive to a store and buy food instead of growing it. It proves much easier for me burn fossil fuels as “energy slaves” than to do needed work using my own body, much easier to drive than to walk.
Given my limited power as a fallible human with many weaknesses, I do not fantasize that I will have any significant impact on civilization’s 10,000 year-old self-annihilation processes, nor that I will survive while most, if not all, others die. Now that I understand and accept our complex predicament, and I know my purpose, how will I respond? What will I do?
To help develop a more emotional sense of the universal, interconnected nature of the themes developed here—the physical and biological gradient-reducing processes that have produced and maintain all life—I highly recommend seeing the audiovisually stunning, 96-minute Earth-video: “Baraka”. Every image and sound one sees and hears in this video illustrates energy gradient reduction. I found it well worth experiencing twice.
For much more detail concerning the concepts I have only briefly outlined here, as well as many more importantly related concepts, I highly recommend four books and an article, in alphabetic order:
Chaos, Making A New Science by James Gleick, 2008.
Environment, Power, And Society For The Twenty-First Century by Howard Odum, 2007.
*Into The Cool, Energy Flow Thermodynamics and Life by Eric Schneider and Dorion Sagan, 2005.
Order Out Of Chaos, Man’s New Dialog With Nature by Ilya Prigogine, 1984.
“Systems Thinking and Complexity 101”, by Dave Pollard, http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2014/06/14/systems-thinking-and-complexity-101/
I’ll soon implement this brilliant idea from Daniel Drumright: If you could ask a single question concerning near-term human extinction, knowing that everyone at NBL would ponder and then offer their opinion, what form would that question take? If you’re willing, please send your question to email@example.com. It will be posted anonymously for commentary in place of an essay.
I was interviewed by filmmaker Pauline Schneider during my April 2014 trip to New York and Ontario. One result is embedded below, and you can support the creation of Pauline’s documentary film by following this link.
Nature Bats Last premieres on the radio Tuesday, 5 August 2014. It will broadcast every Tuesday thereafter at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on prn.fm. Hosts Guy McPherson and Mike Sliwa get to the root of relevant issues facing society. Catch the latest on Facebook on this page and in this group.
McPherson’s next book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind has been submitted to the publisher and is scheduled for release by 1 October 2014.
Find and join the Near-Term Human Extinction Support Group on Facebook here
If you have registered, or you intend to register, please send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the online moniker you’d like to use in this space. I’ll approve your registration as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience.
Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power, Anne Pyterek at Blue Bus Books, and by more than three dozen readers at Amazon.