NTHE Question #15

If you do not currently own land, and lack the financing required, do you conceive of a time where you would risk shortening your date with extinction to acquire land (i.e., by occupying vacant unfarmed land), in defiance of local or national laws OR if you currently own land would you invite others to share that land, again in defiance of the law, and defend that position by force of arms if necessary, because of the moral imperative to do so? Given that I own land and believe subsistence farming is the most (and possibly the only), righteous life; the answer for me is yes. But not quite yet.


Mark Thoma’s film, 22 After, is embedded below. Mark welcomes feedback: mpthoma2003@yahoo.com. I encourage you to post the link on social media: Spread the news!

22 After from mark thoma on Vimeo.


Climate change and the methane crisis: An interview with Dr. Guy McPherson, Dorsi Diaz for San Francisco Examiner, 26 August 2014

Comments 34

  • I’ll just move back into living with the mentally challenged in an urban setting. I’m yoked with them in a covenant type relationship.

    If others want to do similar, but be on the land, Camphill does raised beds, etc. around the planet and involves living with the mentally challenged. The one in Sauk Centre Mn harvests and sorts prairie seeds that they sell to the MN highway dept. The Camphill near Kilkenny in Ireland is rather nice, Vancouver Island, hey, they do have a web site.

    Oh yeah, there are Catholic Worker farms around the planet. So, if you have the itch to go rural but do not have the scratch . . .

  • I’ll keep building relationships and work with land owners who want or need occupants. I like being able to meet others and explore possibilities.

  • Hey everybody and most importantly Guy,
    Thanks for all the support. Love to hear your reaction to the movie. Please, please, please, (does it sound like I’m begging? :-) ) copy and paste the following posts and tweets to your Facebook and Twitter accounts:
    Suggested text for FB friends…

    Just watched this really troubling film called ’22 After’.

    Is this true? It can’t be that bad. I’d be interested in your reaction.

    for Twitter followers:

    Just watched a really troubling movie on Vimeo. Somebody tell me this isn’t true! https://vimeo.com/99455948

    thanks in advance,

  • There is this old joke about having a list of Mormons and owning a handgun…

  • The answer for me is: What kind of pathology inclines anyone to believe that a human being can actually ~own~ land?

    Just on the system’s own terms, you can’t own any land. Just as a thought experiment, try not paying your taxes on the land you own for a few years and then see who it is that OWNS “your” land.

    Bolivian indigenous elder Marcello Saavedra maintains that ownership of land is an illusion and complete delusion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6q5mfYTrJc That you do not own the land, but the land owns you.

    I’m with Gerrard Winstanley of the Diggers who bitterly opposed the English enclose movement from where all this psychotic “owning” sickness began.

    Proudhoun: “Without robbery and murder, property cannot exist.”

    Rousseau: “The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: “Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!”

    If you are still wedded to the modern system of land “ownership”, real estate (read: fake-estate) or even property, I’d advise you to get completely out of it as quickly as you can. Turn around and run. You’d probably do better to spend all that cash at a psychiatrist who will be able to hook you up with much better drugs than the western imperial concept of “property”.

  • @ Wester

    I accept your points, but this..

    I’m with Gerrard Winstanley of the Diggers who bitterly opposed the English enclose movement from where all this psychotic “owning” sickness began.

    The ownership thing started long, long before. Who knows precisely when or where, but in Britain, with William the Bastard’s invasion and conquest, in 1066, EVERYTHING belonged to HIM. Simply, because, if you did not agree, his men killed you.

    And that’s how it remains, ever since. So QE2 owns everything. Other people can ‘own’ and buy and sell and do this and that with it, but only because she lets them. Any minute, she could change her mind, and then, well, it all belongs to her. Same as Australia and Canada.

    Re the enclosures. Under the Feudal system, which was, at least in many cases, relatively benign, the peasants had access to Common Land. That meant they could feed themselves and get their own fuel wood, etc. Which suited the Lord of the Manor fine. He didn’t want the hassle of looking after them. Let the fuckers look after themselves, so long as they worked when needed, and provided whatever goods and services were necessary, so the Lord could keep his soldiers well equipped and pay taxes to the King. The King didn’t give a fuck what anybody did, so long as they didn’t contest his right to supreme power, and kept sending him lots of money.

    The Enclosures happened when the Lords and other nasty greedy buggers realised they could make more money by stealing the common land from the peasants, and they could bribe judges and others and get away with it. That’s pretty much the same deal as today. Banksters and CEOs in USA rip off the public and nothing happens to them.

    When that happened, historically, in China, Russia, elsewhere, going right back to ancient Sumeria (Graeber’s Book, Michael Hudson) they learned, it leads to disaster, and the only cure is to hang the fuckers as a example, because no other deterrent works, to stop greed, except fear of death. Putin has done that in Russia. USA has never had a President, afaik, who was not corrupt and in league with the robber barons. That’s why it’s in such a mess and has to keep on stealing from everyone else.

    Re the question. I have mixed feelings. I agree with Rousseau and Proudhon and Kropotkin, in principle. However, in practice, having seen what happens in several attempts at common ownership, they are usually disasters. Human nature being what it is, now.

    I do have some land. I feel extremely territorial, protective and possessive about it. I have been involved in very many attempts to set up communal ownership projects in my life, probably about 20. It is exceedingly difficult. I have tried here, too. The problem is, the right people.

    As for defending the place. Well, that’s cropped up before, I think. These are decisions to be made at the time, as necessary. Hypothetical discussion about killing other human beings is somewhat unsavoury and for adolescents, methinks.

  • Mark: Thanks for that. It’s like the Blair Witch Project only worse because it’s much more likely.


    The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

    It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon. [there’s more]

    saw this over on JJFH:

    2014-09-04 – Villagers afflicted with unknown brain problem in Kazakhstan:

    Quote: “The villagers began to ask for medical help complaining of drowsiness, memory loss and hallucinations. All of them were diagnosed with ‘encephalopathy of unknown etiology.'”

    Quote: “Specialists excluded infectious and bacterial factors and assured that the radiation background in the village was within normal limits. The maximum permissible concentration of salt and heavy metals was not exceeded.”

    Quote: “In May this year, officials at the Ministry of Health said that one of the possible causes of ‘sleeping sickness’ in the village of Kalachi could become a high concentration of vapors in basements during the heating season.”

    Quote: “After waking up, the children were behaving inappropriately. They suffered from delusions and hallucinations; some had to be tied up as it seemed that they intended to hurt themselves.”

    Note: About 60 people have been afflicted. They fall unconscious, experience memory loss, have hallucinations, and when they wake up they’re ‘not the same’ and do crazy shit, like hurting themselves. This sounds very much like hydrogen sulfide poisoning, which is a broad-spectrum poison but does the most damage to the neurology, the brain. They’ve eliminated pretty much every possibility EXCEPT an environmental toxin. The mentioning of basements is worth noting since hydrogen sulfide, a heavier-than-air gas, will tend to accumulate in basements when it infiltrates buildings. Also, children, being smaller than adults, tend to succumb easier to toxins.

    12,000 endangered saiga antelope dropped dead on May 27 in 2010 in Kazakhstan too. That was one of the events that woke me up. They all died in the same area. Since they’re grazers, that doesn’t happen due to disease – they’d have been scattered over a wider area as the weakest succumbed and then the next weakest and so on, as they moved. So whatever killed them did so very quickly and was 100% fatal. That’s when I asked myself: could one of these ancient H2S-methane extinction events be underway now? I’ve seen plenty enough since then to be certain that that is indeed the case. Your government has been preparing, as best they can, for widespread human die-off and an unsurvivable surface of the Earth. I guess they just don’t think it’d be advantageous if YOU knew what was going on…

  • “I do have some land. I feel extremely territorial, protective and possessive about it. ”

    Me, too. And I have made some attempts to figure out arrangements that amount to a win/win for sharing that land, although so far it hasn’t turned into anything with great promise. Fortunately I have this thing called a Big Family, that might eventually turn into the Right People if nobody else works out.

    If current models for climate change are accurate (and I’m persuaded that if anything, they’re too optimistic) then the land I worked so hard to get will likely be getting very hard to live on and it will be hard to grow enough food for anyone at all to live there by mid-century.

    I do have many ideas for adapting to the heat and the drought, which I’m persuaded could work, but I’m far from having them fully implemented. Couple the speed of the coming onslaught of climate chaos with the loss of fossil fuels as a means of mitigation, and it doesn’t look too good.

    “do you conceive of a time where you would risk shortening your date with extinction to acquire land (i.e., by occupying vacant unfarmed land), in defiance of local or national laws OR if you currently own land would you invite others to share that land, again in defiance of the law, and defend that position by force of arms if necessary, because of the moral imperative to do so?”

    In a word, yes, I would, although I’m not so convinced that defending that land would be possible or even necessary. I’d be willing to plant food there and tend it, in hopes that it might be willingly shared and not stripped bare by human locusts.

    I do believe there are some pockets of land that will become temporarily more hospitable than they are now. Pockets of land that aren’t currently very populated and likely will never become over-populated due to their remoteness. In such a place, the laws of the land are not going to be enforced with a heavy hand, and there won’t be any zombie hordes.

    And I don’t rule out buying a bit of land in such a place, either, ahead of the curve. Philosophically I agree with those who say we never own the land, but in practical terms, there are benefits to participating in the current legal system for control of land. Those benefits are likely to continue to exist over the short to medium term.

  • Neoliberal economic policies, as forced through by Reagan/Thatcher are really the same thing as the Enclosures, they take assets like water, parks, railways, roads, health care, etc, which had been owned ‘by the people’ – that is, the people had paid for them through taxation, and had public rights to access them – and sell them at discount rates to private investors, who then charge the people to use what had previously belonged to them. This is/was legalised theft.

    It’s now been honed to a fine art, so that the banks first wreck a country’s economy, Greece being a classic example, by corrupting the ruling criminal elite, as Goldman Sachs did, explaining how they could hide their debt and still get into the Euro, then giving a massive loan from the IMF, knowing it can’t be repaid, then crashing the economy, so the country has to sell of anything of any value to the international robber barons.

    Same trick with Ukraine. Monsanto and Cargill get the farmland cheap, Biden and Kolomoisky and Shell frack the gas. Except Putin is in the way.

  • A communitarian system would recognise the individual’s ownership of the results of one’s efforts. A bow and arrows made out of materials gathered from the forest (not pilfered from someone else) belong to the maker.

    Plants started by one person from seed and carefully tended by that person bringing them to harvest should belong to that person. The problem arises if two or more persons would like to raise plants at the same place. Land ownership addresses that one issue, but does not “solve” all aspects to the problem. Among the most deleterious effects is the interruption of migratory patterns of fauna and breaking their habitat into enclaves.

    Humans are indeed the most disruptive of invasive species. But they also do set up durable ecosystems within which they can themselves survive. Although the extinction of the the New World megafauna was temporally related to the arrival of Homo sapiens, it is not commonly realised is that the Amazon rainforest was the handiwork of humans. Humans operating within a different worldview, with different narratives and paradigms. None of which could withstand smallpox, measles and Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand.

  • Shades of Cormac McCarthy’s epic novel The Road, another manifestation of collapse.
    Coincidentally I have 11 acres on a small Island in the South Pacific and personally would have no desire to defend it with my Mossberger. I’m happy to stand witness to the arrival of collapse but can’t see myself having the motivation to fight over the last crumbs of food.
    Well done Mark Thoma,you have created a great landmark on the road to ruin.

  • ulvfugl

    I totally agree with the sentiment but I don’t think you realise what you wrote.

    ‘It’s now been honed to a fine art, so that the banks first wreck a country’s economy, Greece being a classic example, by corrupting the ruling criminal elite,’

    The ruling criminal elite cannot be corrupted: they are already corrupt.

    It’s the same in NZ. Those who have got themselves into positions of power are ‘as corrupt as hell’. Otherwise known as ‘scum rises to the top’.

    As for the land ownership matter, the Maori did not have the pakeha concept of ownership as such (though they were very territorial) and were initially duped into coming under Queen Victoria’s ‘protection’ in 1841. A couple decades later, when it was obvious they were having access to the land denied, many fought back, and got annihilated.

    40 years ago a reclaim-the-land movement got underway, and in the 1990s some token compensation was paid to tribes. The issue drags on. The abandoned Barrett St hospital in park-like grounds in New Plymouth sits slowly rotting because it is subject to an unresolved land claim, I believe. Which is not a bad thing because otherwise it would have been transformed into a high-density housing ‘development.

    The Fitzroy Pole near the northern bank of the Waiwakhio River, the furthermost point pakeha were to be allowed to settle, now stand adjacent to a shopping complex in a district almost entirely covered in commercial ‘development.

    Ultimately, the ability to live off the land and stay ahead of human predators will be the most successful strategy. Once the manufacture of bullets becomes impossible and bullets in storage get used up or deteriorate, it will be back to bows and arrows, and spears and clubs.

  • I understand Wester’s laments but the issue is that it is too late to return to some earlier, looser, set of arrangements. There are WAY too many people, too little land, and too little political mobility. From what I understand, a foreigner cannot own land in Thailand.. that doesn’t mean it is collectivized or nationalized under the king any longer.

    For an individual today, his/her best short-term bet is to own land in order to steward it in the least-harmfully-extractive fashion. IF you don’t someone else will do worse… Said stewardship will last as long as it lasts, until climate change does us in, or some bigger fish wants to frack under it, for example…

    Barring that, the next best thing is to align yourself with someone who is doing the best they can stewarding the land, doing permaculture stuff, no-till, biodiversity and all that. Rent a spot for a tiny home from them, do the WWOOFing thing.. All we have comes from the land. This has been figured out, so anyone who tries to keep you off the land does not have your best interests at heart. As the economy collapses, middlemen who supply food, water, and shelter for a fee are going to come under increasing pressure, so I would say go to the source if you can. ‘S pretty obvious.

  • Dear Mark, i caught this film thanks to a share by Guy McPherson on FB. my response is no to weapons. and no to any fear based response. as i see it all we are learning is to let down our guard and come together. i am working with others toward the evolution of human consciousness in that direction. the more we ourselves embody fear/paranoia, the greater it becomes. it is only energy and that we have been infected with it is no doubt. the scenario you paint is a potential. there are people doing as you say i know. i see that as self-interest, precisely what we are working to dispel. i’m school in the science on mass extinction and climate change. please do not read my note here as if i am another in denial. thanks for your work on this and for the work of subsistence farming. i healed on homesteads years ago, that retreat was necessary for me. it may be for all of us, to step away and come to our sense, receiving the messages we need from the living world, the soul. bowing, much love megan


    You are THE MAN!!

    Thank you for the rant on W. Churchill. Perfect!

    Give me a shout shepherd2121 at teleclipse dot net. Please.

  • SNUFU: corruption, lies, profiteering incompetence -as usual.

    ‘Not only have ministers signed off huge rewards for failure, but delays in projects are pushing up costs astronomically at a time when families are struggling to make ends meet.’

    Anyone concerned that the system will go into catastrophic failure mode over the next 5 years can take comfort from this:

    ‘These cost rises are for the estimated decommissioning spend over the next 120 years’

    Or not.


  • Ownership of something that was there before you and will be there long after you is a stupid notion. It should be the other way around, the land should own people.

  • For those who have an acquaintance with putrefaction, some scenes with purported corpses in “22 After” were less than realistic. It can be quite difficult to depict postmortem changes, and absent that, such scenes could best be left out.

  • “Ownership of something that was there before you and will be there long after you is a stupid notion. It should be the other way around, the land should own people.”

    Agreed. The land should come first. Dorothea (?) posted the declaration of land rights a few weeks ago.

  • Great movie , Mark! Like Kevin said, a real milestone on the pathway to the final end.

    The movie goes well with question #15. My greatest hope is that when things fall apart, I have the courage to choose suicide rather than scrabble after those last crumbs. To me, buying land and preparing to defend it is a path to spiritual ruination. Just thinking of all the horror and slaughter turns me off to the idea. I want nothing to do with violence.

  • Nice video, Kirk. Two of us watched it. We were rooting for the dog. Ah well. Ditto to your post on prepping/defending. Totally agree.

  • Florida just passed a law that everyone ‘must’ be hooked up to the power grid and it is against the law to not do so – state wide. Expect other states to follow suit. You will be part of the slavery machine one way or the other.

  • .
    we are slaves to our needs – food, water, shelter.

  • “we are slaves to our needs – food, water, shelter.”

    Conduits rather than slaves. Conduits to convert order (low entropy) into disorder (high entropy). Flows rather than conduits. Flows that create and maintain the conduits. No flow, no conduit.

    Whirlwinds/dust devils maintained by the wind. Visible when they pick up stuff from the ground.

  • Interesting comments. They seem to fall into several (repeated) categories, “woo-woo”, “off-subject/point lost”, “off-subject/lucid point” (nice pointed reference to “The Limits of Growth”), “replies-well-to-others”, “here are some quotes”, and “spot-on answering the questions” (well done, Eddie).

    Our group’s answers to the questions asked is that we don’t have land now but have the finances to acquire with little to no mortgage. But we’ll take the mortgage and use some of the cash (before it becomes just paper) for more supplies. We’ll look for defensible structure, land, secure storage and water, not necessarily in that order. But we’ll also continue with building community, OUR community. That’s difficult, as has been written in the comments here, also. When it comes to NTHE/NTE, not everyone sits in the same car in this train. Some are at the back, some are at the front and some are looking out the windows, perhaps admiring the view or frozen in terror. Our community is nascent, but we know we don’t want too many. So we want to keep a smaller community of people who ARE like minded, but who bring something to the table. We have medical, agricultural, electrical and other skilled individuals. But we also are aware of the need to keep our group small and manageable.

    The defending part. We’ve had many conversations about this. I know most of us will defend what is ours ‘with force of arms’, but not because of or in spite of any ‘moral imperative’. We’ve dismissed that since none of us can say for certain if we have to take a life, what we’d feel about that THEN. We can only know what we feel about it now. But if we have to… It will come down to keeping what is ours, keeping material and supplies safe/viable, and keeping us safe. Conversations about taking another life aren’t, really, for adolescents, when spoken of honestly, understanding that such an action (like losing one’s virginity) is completely out of the realm of experience until the moment it becomes completely part of one’s experience. I personally hope I never have to take a life, but if a situation forces me to do so, I will hope to have gained enough skill (manual and mental) to do so. There are many others who have committed violence and murder without much thought, perhaps without much conversation before or after. I wouldn’t believe they thought their actions were simply an adolescent conversation piece.

    Darfur, Somalia, Rwanda, etc. Considering those and other ‘histories’… I think a collapse of our society will make much of our country, perhaps the world, look similar. But in America, we’ve a more heavily armed populace than those places named above. However, the take away is that in a collapsing society, the vile seem to come out on top, if not more often, then certainly faster than ‘good citizens’ and stability can come about. I can’t see any reason why our social/environmental/economic/etc collapse here will be a better, gentler affair than other horrific collapses most of us have only seen on the news. Perhaps some think it will be so because we’re used to the luxury of treating each other better, during anemically ‘difficult times’, but often still at a distance. I agree with Kirk above, I, too want nothing to do with violence. But sometimes it comes to us, even if we don’t seek it. I fear that may be very much the case when things go bad. I, also, have thought of suicide in such a scenario. but I have the luxury of not having children. I think that changes the equation completely. I mention that a bit further at the end of this comment.

    And if things should not unfold in a worst case scenario, or not in the timeframe the science seems to indicate, or even if I die before then, I and WE (my group and our slowly growing community), we still will have our land, our supplies, our knowledge and our friends. Part of what some of us are doing is learning to live ‘excellent’ lives, doing what is intentional and good, as we can. To and for ourselves and each other.

    As for the film. I think a big point will be, if things go south very quickly, much may look more like “The Road”, at its worst. Drawing on the point above in the comments about being able to take one’s own life…People don’t talk much, of course, of what to do about the children. If there are no more antibiotics, if there is not medical care close by, if one’s child is starving, people will probably do whatever they can (morality aside) to get their child food, to get their child well. And rather than suicide being a tough call, it’ll more probably be the question: “does/how does one end a child’s life”, if, for example, they’re terminal with an infection? I think the admittedly heavy question of suicide loses weight in comparison.

  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/06/stop-and-seize/

    Stop and seize

    Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes


    Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police-training firms that teach the techniques of “highway interdiction” to departments across the country.

    One of those firms created a private intelligence network known as Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System that enabled police nationwide to share detailed reports about American motorists — criminals and the innocent alike — including their Social Security numbers, addresses and identifying tattoos, as well as hunches about which drivers to stop.

    Many of the reports have been funneled to federal agencies and fusion centers as part of the government’s burgeoning law enforcement intelligence systems — despite warnings from state and federal authorities that the information could violate privacy and constitutional protections.

    A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network’s chat rooms and sharing “trophy shots” of money and drugs. Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities.

    “All of our home towns are sitting on a tax-liberating gold mine,” Deputy Ron Hain of Kane County, Ill., wrote in a self-published book under a pseudonym. Hain is a marketing specialist for Desert Snow, a leading interdiction training firm based in Guthrie, Okla., whose founders also created Black Asphalt.

    Hain’s book calls for “turning our police forces into present-day Robin Hoods.”

  • The latest post in this space includes an essay by a first-time contributor and several links. Catch it here.

  • .
    I’ve got no plans. All my plans went away when I realized that I’m no longer interested in participating in civilization (any more than I have to). When the marauding hordes appear, whether they be in uniforms with shiny badges and guns or in rags with baseball bats and torches, I will be waiting.
    Just sittin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window, with a cat on my lap.
    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.
    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • NMMark,

    I have a family, so no matter how much I find violence thoroughly disgusting, I feel that I should be prepared to protect my loved ones. So, my first duty will be to stay alive as long as I’m needed by them. I hate that!! It feels like a punishment that I have to keep myself alive just in case I have to kill someone to protect my family, when there is no point to anything anymore because everyone is going to die anyway.

    So now I’m saddled with the existential fear that I will see something horrible happen to a loved one because I didn’t prepare properly. I have weapons that I don’t want to use. Yet, I know how I would feel if men raped my wife and daughter and I had done nothing to protect them. It would be a fate worse than death.

  • Hain’s book calls for “turning our police forces into present-day Robin Hoods.”

    And instead we have a police force filled the Sheriff of Nottingham.

  • pat, i see you have added a cat. nice.