raising lowering the stakes. My long-time offer to deliver presentations and help you make other arrangements is hereby modified: If you’re serious, I’ll speak, moderate, and participate for no charge to you. You’ll need to provide venue(s), a place to lay my head, the occasional bite to eat, and transportation. Additional information follows for prospective hosts.
You’ve come to grips with near-term human extinction. It’s a lonely conclusion, one that interferes with many relationships. You want somebody with whom to discuss the most important topic in the history of our species. It seems most of your friends and family are in denial.
In response to numerous requests, Pauline Schneider and I have developed a workshop to address this issue. The workshop follows naturally from my presentations. It’s the logical next step for those interested in pursuing healthy psyches and healthy relationships after concluding the worst.
Ms. Schneider and I began creating the workshop in January 2014. We facilitated various versions of the workshop and came up with a version we believe is quite good. Our current version distills hundreds of hours of scholastic reading, deep introspection, and facilitated practice into an eight-hour workshop.
This is not a grief-recovery workshop. Rather, it is a synthesis of our professional expertise in light of near-term human extinction. It is an active, interactive workshop focused on the topic of living fully in light of evidence pointing toward the near-term loss of habitat for humans on Earth.
If you are interested in hosting a workshop, please send an email message to NatureBatsLast2007@gmail.com. Subject line should state, without quotation marks, “workshop.” An all-volunteer team will step forward to assist with all logistical issues, and we will send a planning packet to the organizers to help streamline their work. The packet will include hosting advice, housekeeping advice, flyers, reading materials, links to reading materials and required viewing, and printable handouts.
The workshop is titled, “Abrupt Climate Change: How Will You Show Up During Humanity’s Final Chapter?” It requires eight hours of time in a group of humans numbering between two and twenty (inclusive). We offer it online and in person, as described below.
A two-hour session on a weekday evening is followed by a six-hour session the following weekend. We ask that at least one full day pass between the workshop days (e.g., Wednesday and Sunday or Thursday and Saturday, but not Friday and Saturday).
We are strongly committed to offering a workshop that is valuable and valued. As such, we expect participants to be familiar with McPherson’s message. A short video clip and other germane information will be sent sufficiently far in advance for all participants to study the evidence before the workshop commences.
A local host will assume responsibility for securing and filling a venue (which may be a personal home). S/he also will be charged with local marketing and finances.
McPherson and Schneider both practice and promote a gift economy. As such, we will facilitate this workshop for a very low financial cost. We will deliver and facilitate the workshop in your venue for $1,500 and reasonable travel expenses (including food and lodging). The online version of the workshop is offered at $1,200. In the latter case, we will facilitate the workshop via Skype while participants are gathered in a single room.
Biographical Sketches of Facilitators
Guy McPherson is professor emeritus of natural resources and the environment at the University of Arizona, where he taught and conducted research for twenty award-winning years. His scholarly work, which has for many years focused on conservation of biological diversity, has produced a dozen books and hundreds of articles.
Guy developed a comprehensive set of durable living arrangements in response to the ongoing collapse of the industrial economy and global climate change. He shares property in a rural area developed specifically to provide abundant supplies of food and water as well as maintaining comfortable body temperature in the absence of fossil fuels.
Because the topics of his presentations often induce despair, Guy became a certified grief-recovery specialist in January 2014. The certification came from The Grief Recovery Institute.
Pauline Schneider, nee Panagiotou, was born in Nigeria and moved to Flushing Queens as a toddler, then back to Nigeria for only two years until her family was forced to leave due to the Biafra war. She was then raised in Greece until the age of 15, by which time she was fluent in Greek. At the age of 15 she moved to Texas with her parents and three younger siblings. She received her Associate’s Applied Science degree in Radio TV Production, and moved to Los Angeles where she met her future husband and father of her three children while working at Dream Quest. They raised their family in New York where she studied art and film at SUNY Purchase. She received her Bachelors in Sociology and Anthropology, Magna Cum Laude at Pace University and went on to receive her Master of Education in Social Studies with a focus on Special Education and Visual Arts, with honors.
Always interested in social justice and in protecting the environment as the home for human and non-human children, Pauline has been an activist for several decades. From 2011 to 2014 she was a core, organizing member of Transition Westchester Hub. In 2014 she completed her first feature documentary, Going Dark, a 30-minute film based on the work of Dr. Guy R. McPherson who lectures on abrupt climate change and near-term human extinction. In 1993 Pauline created a 10-minute documentary film at the State University of New York-Purchase, about a local fight to prevent the Department of Environmental Conservation from installing a toxic waste incinerator on the Hudson River.
An avid gardener, in 2005 she received certification from the New York Botanical Gardens in Landscape Design. Pauline is also a certified facilitator in Alternatives to Violence Project, a certified specialist in the Grief Recovery Method and holds New York state education certifications in Visual Arts, Social Studies, and Special Education.
If you’re reading this, you are likely considering the prospect of inviting me to visit to your area to speak and to help you make other arrangements. Herein, I offer some ideas and tools for a successful visit. You might want to read the perspective of a host from late 2012 in the wake of my departure.
In a nutshell, I will consult with you, in detail, about your living arrangements, focusing in particular on water, food, body temperature, and community. In return, I ask you to pay my travel expenses, provide me with food, lodging, and local transport, and perhaps assist me in setting up speaking engagements in your area.
I will spend a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 10 days in a given location, depending on the number of venues arranged. I do not charge fees for speaking engagements or consultation services. I will, however, accept stipends from conferences and well-funded organizations. Although it is not expected, I will also accept gifts if deemed appropriate by my hosts.
Outreach to Groups/Venues
As the initiating host, you are an important part of the planning process. As a local resident, you are in a unique position to identify local groups that might be interested in hearing me speak and coordinating logistics. This is not an overwhelming project, even if you have never previously done something similar.
Identifying relevant groups/venues
1. Start with the low-hanging fruit. Are you already part of a group that you know would be interested in arranging a presentation? Launch into the planning process with them as a first step.
2. Ask friends to brainstorm with you about other interested groups/venues. If they can take on other tasks as well, that’s even better. Assembling a team of helpers to whom you can delegate tasks can be very effective.
3. Reach out to those “well-connected” people in your community, the ones who seem to know everyone and everything that’s going on.
4. Reach out to a wide variety of groups who might be interested. List all the groups you can think of, and then do more research to find others. Some groups you might consider approaching include:
“Green” or “sustainability” groups within larger institutions
Schools and universities
Voluntary simplicity groups
Producers of food (farmers, gardeners, and so on)
Activist groups focused on climate change and/or energy constraints
Sample text for outreach email message
Subject: gauging interest in inviting Guy McPherson to speak
I’m writing with a request for your assistance. I’m a peak oil/climate change activist in [City, State], and I’m assisting Guy McPherson, a writer/speaker on climate change and energy depletion, in setting up speaking engagements throughout the region from [start date] to [end date]. I’m wondering if your group might be interested in his message and in providing a place for him to speak, or if you might know of other groups in [location] that might be interested.
I think Dr. McPherson’s message is compelling and would give the community plenty of food for thought. His blog, Nature Bats Last, can be found at guymcpherson.com and his writings and videos there can give you a sense of what his presentations are like, although each one is customized for the local audience. His book Walking Away from Empire details why and how he left his university position to live off-grid in the desert in New Mexico. (Online description and ordering information is found at Amazon, among other places. McPherson will provide electronic page proofs of the book.)
Thanks very much, and with appreciation for your work,
Scheduling, booking locations, and record-keeping
From the beginning of this process, you will want to keep track of details. You probably have your own systems of managing logistics and record-keeping.
Items you will need to keep track of:
A list of those to whom you plan to reach out.
Where things stand with each of those people/groups (Have they been contacted? By whom, on what date, in what format? Any reply? What follow-up is needed?)
Persistent follow-up. Do not be discouraged by those people/groups that decline interest. Let them go. Continue politely pursuing those who express any level of interest. You may want to develop your own, personalized elevator speech about why you feel strongly about mu presentations and what you feel I can offer to your community.
If you are delegating responsibility to helpers, you need to check in with them regularly and get a detailed report of where logistics stand.
Confirmed dates and locations. I prefer to deliver one or two presentations per day, if possible. Depending on the geographic extent of the presentations, we will need to account for travel time.
Directions to each venue, and accounting for parking needs.
Planning meals (home or elsewhere).
Once a location is confirmed, find out what publicity the venue will provide; availability of electrical outlets/LCD projector/surface to project on; who will introduce me to the audience; and offer them a press release and/or text to use on their website or newsletter as well as a photo of me.
Email lists, Facebook/Twitter, local media (newspapers, radio, television)
I am very flexible and need only simple accommodations, including a bed and meals. I reside in a warm region, so warm bedding in the winter is appreciated. I desire access to shower facilities daily and also customary meals. I will be very pleased if ice cream makes an occasional appearance on the menu.