Beyond Credentials

Born into a family of educators, I was wise enough to choose my parents and country of birth in a way that resulted in a life of relative luxury. When I was a child, my parents looked forward to their combined annual income reaching $6,000. At that point, they knew they’d have it made.

I was born at the latter end of the era of expansion. Of course I didn’t know it then, but summers spent fishing and autumns spent hunting with his parents and siblings helped prepare me for my later life as a homesteader.

I am a teacher, first and foremost. At the age of six, after attending first grade for a few days, I was teaching my younger sister to read. Frustrated when she called the dog a dog, I sputtered, “It’s Sp … Sp … Sp, Spot!” Rinse and repeat for Puff, whom she ridiculously called a cat. She was four years and a few months old.

There’s a difference between teaching and learning. A few years in the ivory tower, surrounded by poor teachers who cared little about facilitating learning, illustrated the point to me.

I witnessed the last of the great log drives down the Clearwater River, a sure sign of manifest destiny run amok. The Nez Perce tribe and their abundant salmon fed Lewis and Clark along this river, thereby allowing the starving Corps of Discovery to finish the trip to the Pacific Ocean. Later in my youth, at the height of the cold war, I saw U.S. battleships on the Clearwater River until completion of another sign of manifest destiny, the Dworshak Dam. I graduated from high school on the Nez Perce Reservation, a small patch of consolation from the destroyers to the conquered.

One of the disadvantages associated with my life of privilege was my naivete. For far too long, cultural programming convinced me that planetary destruction represented human progress, and that human progress required the “collateral damage” of human suffering and death.

As attentive readers know, I developed a homestead and wrote about the task, which nearly overwhelmed me. I then wrote and spoke about the homestead as an anchor for my life as a post-academic social critic. I came to agree with my critics in viewing the homestead as a failure, for several reasons I’ll not mention here. Nonetheless, the homestead conveyed credibility I otherwise lacked, and it allows me to speak widely about the horrors I see. Unshackled from the corporate university that previously paid my bills, I could describe evidence without harm to my long-lost, much-beloved career. Along the way, I’ve been able to interact with wonderful people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

In the midst of creating the homestead, my body suffered from the mistakes I made. As I’ve been known to say: “I’ve heard you learn from your mistakes. I make all of mine repeatedly, just to make sure I absorb the knowledge.” I was a young, vibrant man when I started the homestead. I was old beyond my years only a few years later, my body and mind racked with pain.

Although I view my efforts at homesteading as a failure, I take heart from the words of Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra:

The higher its type, the more rarely a thing succeeds. You higher men here, have you not all failed?

Be of good cheer, what does it matter? How much is still possible! Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must laugh!

Is it any wonder that you failed and only half succeeded, being half broken? Is not something thronging and pushing in you — man’s future? Man’s greatest distance and depth and what in him is lofty to the stars, his tremendous strength — are not all these frothing against each other in your pot? Is it any wonder that many a pot breaks? Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must laugh! You higher men, how much is still possible!

And verily, how much has already succeeded! How rich is the earth in little good perfect things, in what has turned out well!

Place little good perfect things around you, O higher men! Their golden ripeness heals the heart. What is perfect teaches hope.

Now, of course, I’m hope-free. As a result, Nietzsche’s final line does not appeal to me.

I’ve pasted the initial essay for this blog below, verbatim. With it, I re-welcome readers into this space, and briefly explain my perspective. The latter has changed, as you can see.

Welcome to the show. My initial foray into the blogosphere lets you know where I’ll be going, and invites you along for the ride.

Why another blog? Why me?

A quick search on Google Blog indicates I’ve been the subject of a few postings, primarily based on my recent entry into the world of social criticism. But this blog represents my initial attempt at posting a blog of my own. I would like to expand my efforts in social criticism, and I’d like to have a forum in which my errors can be revealed to me. Ergo, this blog. As the name suggests, I will explore the fertile ground at the largely unplowed intersection of conservation biology and philosophy. I’ll also spend some time in the realms of art, literature, C.P. Snow’s eponymous Two Cultures, and academia. I’d like to think that, like Walt Whitman, I am large; I contain multitudes. But I’ll let you be the judge.

I call myself a conservation biologist, yet I did not discover the enterprise of conservation biology, much less become a conservation biologist, until long after my formal education was complete. My undergraduate curriculum in forestry and my graduate programs in range science were tilted heavily toward extraction of natural resources. This focus on extraction was not the only obstacle between me and the pursuit of conservation biology. The greater challenge was that the field of conservation biology, as exemplified by publication of the first issue of Conservation Biology, emerged the same year I was granted a Ph.D. Thus, there were no formal university courses in conservation biology until my days on the student side of the classroom were behind me. My own laser-like focus on applied ecology prevented me noticing the field for a full decade after it appeared on the American scene, although I now call myself a conservation biologist. You can read all about those credentials at my website.

In contrast to my claim to be a conservation biologist, I make no claim to being a philosopher. Through high school and nine years of higher education culminating in a doctoral degree, I did not complete a single course in philosophy. I was exposed briefly, superficially, and vicariously to a dab of Karl Popper and perhaps another philosopher or two who subsequently escaped my long-term memory. And yet I earned a Doctor of Philosophy in that least philosophical of majors, range science (in my days as a graduate student the field centered largely on production of red meat; apparently it continues to do so, without admitting as much). I discovered Socrates relatively late in an unexamined life. In my defense, I have been working hard in recent years to fill the philosophical void (not to mention the existential one).

Future posts will address various topics, including philosophy from ancient Greece to the present, conservation of natural resources, the end of American Empire (it’s probably closer than you think), the extinction of humanity (ditto), sustainability, economics, and just about anything else that grabs my attention. Much of my recent work falls into the category of social criticism, and I’ll continue that work here. Fair warning: I’m an equal-opportunity offender. And, since I’m airing the laundry: I’ll be borrowing numerous ideas from other writings, occasionally losing track of the source. If it’s you, and I fail to acknowledge you, please let me know so I can fix it.

I look forward to comments from rational human beings. I especially welcome solutions to the planetary crises we face.

______

Upon request for Nature Bats Last on the Progressive Radio Network, I provided an explanation for those looking to introduce abrupt climate change. It’s below.

We are in the midst of abrupt climate change, which will soon obliterate habitat on this planet for our species. This event has precedence in Earth’s history, and it’s irreversible at time frames that matter for humans. Civilization is a heat engine, and the planet is about to overheat. Our species, like all others, will go extinct. It’s later than you think. I’m not suggesting we “give up” in the face of certain death. I am, however, indicating that birth is a sexually transmitted disease that is lethal in every case. We all die. What matters now is how we choose to live. That’s always been the case, although we often lose track of the urgency.

Comments 137

  • Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with putting music on this blog. How would we have ever heard Modern Times! Some people still want to believe they can change things. That, without being able to change what goes on between their own ears!

  • “RE and the crew of denying nitwits at the Diner happily ignore habitat”-GM

     

    The habitat in Nigeria seems OK for farming at an average temp of around 26C.

    http://agronigeria.com.ng/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Nigerian-Fermers-Nigerian-News.jpg

    RE

  • On cue, RE’s ignorance is on display. Do you suppose those plants are adapted for that environment? What happens when the environment changes a lot?

  • Kirk,

    Carlin is always right.

    Hate to say this but…one of my grandsons went to camp at the YMCA i.e., The Young Mens’ Christian Association this summer for “LEADERSHIP TRAINING”. By the way, it is located on the richest lake shoreline in Georgia. Nick Saban of football fame even has a place there, although I’m not sure he has ever used it because it is empty and is…’for sale’, only, 10 million.

    I guess anywhere u go is corrupted because I think I have the two best children and it wasn’t because of me. It was my ex’s fault.
    Can’t escape this shit hole.

  • @Mark Austin

    You do a great job flogging the molecular world of political science. Makes going down with the ship feel a bit positive.

    Janet Yellen forgot her silver.

    The Pope is the Vice-Admiral aboard HMS New World Order.

    Might one suggest to your Science Masters that gravity is a compound field?

    Good luck with the Seviert People.

  • ‘iconic photos such as the little Vietnamese girl screaming down the road, burned by napalm’

    http://theseagypsyphilosopher.blogspot.com/2013/09/never-stop-running-napalm-girl.html

  • Apneaman Says:
    September 26th, 2015 at 1:50 am
    “Kevin, here is another one from the CSI. Funny you should link to them as they are highly “skeptical” of all your favorites “theories”.

    The Conspiracy Meme

    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_conspiracy_meme/

    From tho article.
    “Loose Change raises a long series of questions illustrated by tendentious information, such as the fact that the fires in the World Trade Center were not hot enough to melt steel. But no one had claimed that the steel had melted, only that it had gotten hot enough to weaken and collapse, which it did.”

    First of all, the original official explanation for the WTC towers falling was indeed that the fires melted the steel. The “hot enough to weaken and collapse” came after several days and a bunch of postings on web forums about the melting notion being total nonsense. But in fact, samples of fire-affected steel taken from the main WTC towers and examined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that over 98% of these samples didn’t even get to 500 deg F, well short of the 1112 deg F needed to significantly weaken structural steel. None of the others got to that crucial temperature either, just that almost all of them didn’t even get close. And, even worse for the official story *which has changed 4 times re the WTC towers), several studies, including by the USGS and the RJ Lee Labs, doing a study for the Deutsch Bank building, found ample evidence of molten iron spheres and even molten molybdenum in the WTC dust. The iron made up 5% of the dust, vs some .01 percent of ordinary building dust. The molten iron spheres require not only iron to be melted (2800 deg F) but for the molten metal to be flung sideways at high speeds, which is what forces it into a spherical shape. Gravity-driven collapses feature only the force of gravity, which is vertical, it cannot cause melted metal to be flung sideways at high speeds. Molybdenum has a melt point of over 4000 deg F. the only way to attain such temps is a volcano, a specialty furnace, a star, or some sort of explosive/incendiary device. We know that none of the first three were a the WTC.
    See my article “The Trapping of Screw Loose Change” from November 2011.

  • Artleads. Thanks but I don’t want to intrude on Sabine. Previously I noticed the other comments, including Caroline, who missed Sabine.

    I admit I was a bit concerned about her health & well being. Of course everyone has times away. Things to do. Much to life beyond the concerns we express on NBL. I’m still looking forward to an evening when I can catch up on youtube links provided by people here. Much to learn.

    No matter what happens, I think Sabine’s comments are admired by some. Hopefully I will long remember her recount of healing ferns growing “Like Magic” near trees where they normally do not grow. We need a tiny bit of magic along with lot’s of scientific calculations to create radiation reducing plants.

    Sabine’s past garden stories are an inspiration as I do a small part with a larger team developing hybrid fungi that might ingest radiation. Landscaping around a few reactors is my final project. 60 days till retirement! At first it was a sub-conscious LAND USE idea, then I realized both you and Sabine were “seeds” to this test project.

    Your personal energy inspires and grows in ways that mostly will never be seen or thanked. All my very best.

  • Good Carlin video. I’ve only watched a few Carlin videos,but he is certainly not always right. In one I watched, he spent some time ridiculing
    concern about the current rate of extinction of species,because’species have always gone extinct.’ That is approximately the same level of ignorance as those who disparage concern about climate disruption because
    ‘The climate has always changed’

  • Petyere

    RE provides a few graphs, refers to some other irrelevant “scientific” data then makes conclusions of “fact” apparently debunking “total” extinction of the human race, NTHE. Not many will quibble about a few remaining humans, it’s possible, it still constitutes a mass extinction event of the species.

    By the way, who is RE? His qualifications, degrees, masters, Phd, years of expertise? Something?

    His blog “debunking” NTHE belongs in the file cabinet marked “86”. You know what they say about ass**les and opinions, everybody has one. Well RE has an “opinion” and as long as he is just RE it’s likely an uniformed or misguided one. There are too many blowhards with opinions formulated to support their ego, and too few humble, open minded voices.

    There is a wealth of information provided on the net, supporting Guy McPhersons conclusions on NTHE. World renowned scientists, experts in their fields, are agreeing NTHE will occur if we don’t change now. How long we have left is still a debate among some. Take a look at their videos though, many appear to be very concerned, some appear to be ready to cry. Personally, I agree with those saying, “we needed to change 20 years ago”.

    Scientists will argue details to their last breath, yet agree on many common facts of climate change. until recently they weren’t able to put aside their differences and collectively voice what they agree on. Had they done that 20 years ago, perhaps things would be different. Other scientists are muzzled or paid off. Disagreements supply deniers with fodder useful for confusing the real issues. Exxon was well aware of the problem in the 70s, then reneged. What does that say about when change should have occurred.

    Guy see’s the end product and calls it like he see’s it. Society needs more people like him to step up. It won’t change the final act for mankind, but it would enable people to choose how they spend their final days. I don’t know Guy, but I’m pretty sure, preparing people thru education, is the reason for him doing what he does. It certainly isn’t for the accolades, or fame and fortune.

    The reality is, Carbon release is killing life on this planet and soon the feed back loops will exponentially speed the process of climate disaster. 200 species extinctions every day. Many of those species could have contributed to a future food source.

    A lot of us know that we’ve screwed it up. Humans don’t have enough time to adapt to the changes coming. Damn, were still fighting Wars over control of oil. Trillions of dollars for what, freedom, BS. We are a destructive species capable so so much good. It’s a crying shame.

    Sorry, I wish I could contribute to a solution, but short of a total collapse of society as we know it, there would be no starting point from which to begin. Even if society collapsed, are there enough committed leaders ready to organize what it would take. Alternative, sustainable ideas would need to be online for quick development. There would also be the need to deal with the mess already created. As Guy has repeatedly said, Nuclear power plants, a massive undertaking, perhaps too big.

    We might have to be well into the human extinction event to force the level of world wide cooperation needed to begin making meaningful changes, and that won’t come before a nuclear war. Maybe I’m too pessimistic, I just don’t see it. I think we’re f#*%ed.

  • ‘The global commodity collapse is finally starting to take its toll on what China truly cares about: the employment of the tens of millions of currently employed and soon to be unemployed workers.

    On Friday, in a move that would make even Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman blush, Harbin-based Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group, or Longmay Group, the biggest met coal miner in northeast China which has been struggling to reduce massive losses in recent months as a result of the commodity collapse, just confirmed China’s “hard-landing” has arrived when it announced on its website it would cut 100,000 jobs or 40% of its entire 240,000-strong labor force.

    Impacted by the slump in coal prices, the group saw its loss over January-August surged more than 1.1 billion yuan ($17.2 million) from the year before. In the first half of 2015, the group closed eight coking coal mines most of which had approached the end of their mining lives, due to poor production margins amid bleak sales.

    Chaiman of the group Wang Zhikui said the job losses were a way of helping the company “stop bleeding.” The heavily-indebted company also plans to sell its non-coal related businesses to help pay off its debts, said Wang. The State-owned mining group has subsidiaries in Jixi, Hegang, Shuangyashan and Qitaihe in Heilongjiang province, which account for about half the region’s coal production…….’

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-27/chinas-hard-landing-has-arrived-chinese-coal-company-fires-100000

  • Gerald, it figures that you and Budnye would have a lot in common:
    Gerald at 9:47 “Wren, Bud never said that he did or didn’t do any “mind enhancing” or “mind constricting” substances….”
    Yet at 1:02 Bud stated point blank “…no, I have never ingested any psychedelic drug. ”

    Henry, what a good take on our shared history. Thanks for that.

  • Guy,

    I had a grandfather, a very bright guy who had graduated as a civil engineer about 1905 or so I think. He spent some time surveying and then went into teaching, having landed a plum job in a prestigious high school. Apparently he was being eyed as a candidate for the job of school principal at a relatively young age. Unfortunately for him he had the same urge to tell the truth to his students that you also manifested.

    His crime in those days, 1920s, was teaching Darwinism. The school board administration, being maybe Baptist fundamentalists of some sort ( I think our current PM is something of the same ilk ), wouldn’t allow this. He was fired and the only teaching job he could get subsequently was in the Northern hinterlands.

    I believe he got fired from that position also since he subsequently moved his young family to the BC South Okanagan to become one of the first orchardists there under the new irrigation scheme. This must have been very difficult since he had suffered a major leg injury at some point several years before this and then had to develop a new farm, build a house, barns, etc. By this time he was no longer very young, having married quite late, and had a large growing family to fend for.

    He managed to live to into old age and had a very full life in the Okanagan.

    There seemed to be some parallels between his story and yours so far. He was also quite kind, even over-indulgent, to his farm animals as I recall ( he wouldn’t clip the wings on his chickens so we’d get to climb up in the hayloft and search for eggs! ) He also loved the outdoors and hated useless office tasks.

    Almost a hundred years later and these same fundamentalist believing types are back ( still? ) in power and once again suppressing scientific knowledge. In the 60s it seemed as if they were on the run but I guess they were just biding their time and plotting their current ascendency.

  • Kirk: Thanks for providing the soundtrack for a stellar lunar eclipse! Couldn’t have been more appropriate. So beautiful!

    Of course, in light of all the discussion about psychedelia, I can’t help but offer up an alternative version…

  • “On cue, RE’s ignorance is on display. Do you suppose those plants are adapted for that environment? What happens when the environment changes a lot?”-GM

    Is it really necessary to pitch an insult in every post?

    Obviously, when the environment changes, you move the location of the plants. Seeds are portable you know.

    RE

  • RE: What do you do when you run out of places (i.e. arable land) to move the plants? I think that might be the issue here…

  • The Guardian went downhill several years ago but still reports items of interest occasionally.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/28/shell-ceases-alaska-arctic-drilling-exploratory-well-oil-gas-disappoints

    ………………………………………………………..

    If anyone is looking for REAL conspiracies, here is a place to look:

  • It seems to me, what ‘we’ need is a good cry, not from out our eyes, but a soul cry, and a collective one, one that transcends the petty differences of our experiences, outlooks, cherished beliefs, prejudices and judgments. One that recognizes what has brought us together, despite all of these, without anything reminiscent of the world we see as having brought us to this space: one without arguments about opinions, reasonings, or even reflections; but, rather, one that speaks to the future, such as it is, and we have yet to process. One that acknowledges a consciousness yet to come, with or without our bodies or ourselves, at all, perhaps. A cry for all that is lost or on its way there. A cry for what we have failed to feel to make it real enough to make it different. A cry for the acknowledged loss of that option that maybe we never even had. A cry for all of ‘that’.

  • “RE: What do you do when you run out of places (i.e. arable land) to move the plants? I think that might be the issue here…”- BBJ

    Obviously you are in the deep doo-doo when that occurs!

    However, this will take a good deal longer than the 15 year timeline Guy is pitching out. It’s a timeline question, and Guy has an ideological spin that he promotes for an incredibly short timeline. It is just outrageous, and no science supports it.

    RE

  • While traveling, impromptu, letting airbnb guide me, to near Antietam this past week, I was drawn by the questioning of all the locals I encountered who asked if I had been, to Shepherdstown, West Virginia. There, errantly, I picked up a used CD of Jefferson airplane, ‘Volunteers’, a CD that reminded me of my first love and our brief ‘time out of mind’ together, which I cherish, somewhat tragically, because I handled that ‘ situation’ badly and it seems to still haunt me. Psilocybin recalled it to me, Valentine’s Day, 2015, and I fight with ‘it’ still for having done so. In any event, listening to it, on the way home, ‘Good Shepherd’ among the most memorable of songs thereon, while reading traffic signals regarding the Pope’s visit, the synchronicity could hardly be lost on me. Shepherdstown, good shepherd, the Pope, I mean, come on! So, I share that here for hopefully obvious suggestive reasons. We who ‘know’, being potential ‘shepherds’, in follow-up to my last post, and because I love a good synchronicity!

  • RE: “Obviously, when the environment changes, you move the location of the plants. Seeds are portable you know.”

    Don’t forget to move the intact soil, too. Plants and soils develop together. This is why an ecological perspective is necessary. There is much more to think about. Most people prefer not thinking. It won’t take 15 years for the last human to exit the planetary stage.

    I’ve posted a new essay, courtesy of the virgin terry. It’s here.

  • As RE’s article demonstrates, he is little more than an egotistical ass clown. As John noticed — RE’s **debunking** is just a couple vanilla charts — a clip or two from RE’s favorite movies — and a lot of bluster and arm waving.

    RE wrote his **article** to attack Dr. Mcpherson, not to *debunk* NTHE. RE’s blog posts leading up to the article make it clear — A Diner member started a thread that said Guy was on to something and RE went nuts!

    ——————————-

    ******The reason Guy attracts such a nasty bunch of misanthropes to his website is because he’s running a death cult. The folks there are so disgusted with humanity they WANT to see us all die off in 15 years. In subtext, Guy himself would like to see that. He is bitter about the failure of the environmental movement and bitter about his own choice to go live in the mud hut to be an example for more sustainable living.*********

    ******Guy is absolutely Wrong on this issue, and his credibility is close to ZERO because he pitches a RIDICULOUSLY short timeline of 2030 as the date at which every last Homo Sap on the Earth will be DEAD. That is what EXTINCTION means folks, not a knockdown event, it means every last breeding individual is DEAD. This is absolutely preposterous, and makes the movement to get things fixed up look stupid. Guy is undermining the whole deal by pitching this out, it is screwing the pooch just about as bad as the propaganda pitched out by Exxon and MKing.**********

    ******We do not need HOPELESS QUITTERS like Guy McPherson. Such folks are counterproductive to survival.*********

  • Thanks Kirk,

    for the George Carlin video. I love that man too, and does my husband. We’ve just listened to it with tears in our eyes from laughing. He’s a comic genius.
    Here in Europe, it’s exactly the same, the same “child worshipping culture”. But I think it started with you in America.

    When he mentions the bits about special child turning into special adult and when or aren’t adults special etc etc I must say that that thought had occurred to me too, as indeed many of the others. He just hits the nail on the head every time. What a talent!
    I couldn’t live without seeing the absurd in human culture and feel quite sorry for people who can’t. People, who take everything so seriously (thus fucking most thing up). But nature is just scenery for these self-absorbed ones (parents)and not serious at all.
    You have your priorities right. I like to think that I have too.

    Star points. You’re a special adult.

  • “I’ve posted a new essay, courtesy of the virgin terry. It’s here.”- GM

    Still more ideological claptrap with little scientific underpinning. You’re going to need to do better than this Guy.

    RE

  • .
    @ugotstahwonder

    Thanks for your last two posts.

    Message received!

  • @RE

    My understanding is that when one owns a blog, one can post whateverthefuck one wants on it.

    One man’s ideological claptrap is another man’s existential treasure.

    Feel free to not post ideological claptrap on your own blog, though…

  • RE
    Please slow down and think. Plants require a multitude of optimal growing conditions to develop. Seeds are one of the easiest requirements. Soil and water though are critical and much more difficult to acquire. We both know how portable they are in sufficient quantities. Type, quality, ph, micronutrients, beneficial bacteria are a few things that must be considered.

    There have been efforts at growing plants in non optimal conditions such as deserts, but these efforts often fail due to salt buildup, and it happens within years, somewhat longer if you have a good supply of water to flush the soil of salt. However indiscriminate use of fertilizers and depleted aquifers are large problems now. These depleted soils won’t be productive for centuries, and who knows how long it will take the aquifers to recharge. Especially with low snow packs in the mountains.

    You also must be unaware that the earths soils, suitable for growing, have
    been in steep decline for decades. We are running out of arable land. Large corporations are mono cropping, leaving the soil damaged and poisoned.

    Once the feed back loops start increasing in severity 15 years could be generous, but the shit will be hitting the fan well before 15 years.

  • John,

    “Soil and water though are critical and much more difficult to acquire.”

    Part of the confusion is that we’re talking generally, while there are such varied models for food production–cultural, economic, geographic, etc.

    Sabine on this blog is a gardener extraordinaire. I presume she grows on a relatively normal size lot within an urban or suburban environment. It would be helpful to know how she maintains healthy soil. Then there are the many millions of subsistence farmers who may be growing in the same small area for decades. When I could have inquired about the third world methods I witnessed as a youth, there was no need to at the time. The individual grower anywhere, using her own tried and tested methods, might do better than the larger, more commercial growers.

    Water is related but harder. Many third world peoples depend on rain, and when it doesn’t rain… Here in the first world, there are large, centralized water sources, including across states. In the rural area where I live, not many homes have wells. The town has a big well that supplies most residences. Getting the water to the desired quality is a huge problem. I understand that they are using the well water at 20% above the recharge rate. I was barely able to scrounge (including getting a donated tank) and put in catchment tanks for rainwater. If every residence could do that, there could be a cluster of benefits toward resilience, including perhaps making up that 20% water shortfall. The trouble is the scarcity of rain! And of the wisdom to dispense grants for poor people to buy tanks. That’s not asking for too much.

  • Artleads

    Water sources will continue to be a source of frustration as the snow packs dwindle.

    I agree small farms can be more productive than commercial farms. They are also much healthier for the environment. We should never have abandoned the small farmer. I won’t go into why, you are likely aware of the issues.

    Although conversing in general terms may be confusing it is all that can be done until one has more knowledge. Generally speaking the information in my previous post covered what needs to be considered in the event of having to find a piece of ground to grow food, but before you know your growing conditions. Mass migration will play a role in this.

    It doesn’t matter the size of the operation, every species of plant requires conditions critical to growth. Some have small differences, easy to overcome, others require conditions not as easy to address. Specifics are taken into account after you obtain the property, and know the growing conditions. ie.Soil, water, temperatures and more. Specifics prior to that point are difficult. At best you could narrow it down, but with little specifics.

    Example: “Re” had posted a picture of a monoculture farm, tea I believe. Acres of these plants. Regardless, all plants grow optimally under specific conditions, from ph, temp, water and more. If we were to move that crop we would need to find suitable growing conditions for it to flourish, but prior to buying seed as RE suggested.

    If the tea was moved due to unsuitable growing conditions but the soil was still usable for something. Generally speaking you would need to either find a suitable plant to grow in the soil with the amount of water available. Or you would need to change the structure of the soil by adding manure, sand etc., but on a large scale it is very difficult to change soil type in a short period of time.

    This is where the small and subsistence growers have an advantage over big farms. Where big farms require economy of scale. Subsistence growers, with the right land, can feed their family and friends quit well from mostly sweat equity and barter, as you have witnessed.

    So the reason for my generality is, in the event of rapid climate change, many of us will not be able to stay on the properties/farms we had hoped would feed us. Northern land will not likely be ideal soil for food. So most of the population will be climate refugees, slowly starving or dehydrating as the planets climate continues to change. Raiding any successful subsistence farm reserves.

    None of this addresses the hoards of climate refugees that will be closing in on us, before we also become refugees. Nor the refugees displaced due to sea level rise.

    Either way you look at it, it’s going to get ugly.

  • Thanks, John. You have given this a lot of thought. How we seem to differ is that you are more focused on the macro level, which I don’t yet have a handle on. I find it more reliable to extrapolate outward from what my local scene teaches.

    Drought is a problem here, but when I promote radical rationing, people look away. So I’m in favor of doing the utmost to make the local situation work, against a general unwillingness to face the seriousness of our situation. It’s just not bad enough yet to counter the normalcy bias. We would be among the populations you would recommend moving elsewhere. But if no one can even conceive of rationing water, I can’t be the only one in my community to get up and move elsewhere. I’m stuck with trying to play out the hand I’m dealt, and seeing how my community’s dynamics play out is more important than trying to save myself alone (which, IMO, is impossible by its own terms). I try to be a catalyst for awakening in my own community, and if hard reality and my advocacy isn’t enough to make that change, then I suppose that is where the story ends. As I see it now, my community and I are one.

    So an intellectual process to see how the global land situation plays out defies my method of approach. However, I share your point about current climate refugees, in which category I’d place the flood of refugees into Europe. I think it would behoove all communities, mine included, to see whether/how we can benefit by taking in some refugees. For one thing, among others, the issue could help to raise consciousness about the land, water and other resources we need to be far more concerned about as the future unfolds. Again, my process is to improve, refine, and empower the local community to the greatest degree possible. For another thing, and as you note, nobody wants to take in floods of refugees past a certain limited point. And so I believe it is best for people to stay where they are. And if they’ve tried everything and still can’t manage, then the outside world should try to help. But almost everything western countries are doing internationally, is making things worse.

  • Artleads

    Small communities of subsistence farmers will need more people like you. Dedicated to making it work as long as you can. Your obvious compassion, and concern for the community I respect very much. Working with and helping our neighbors and community is the path I hope the population adheres to as times get tougher, but many are used to going it alone, and they have no experience in growing food.

    Conservation of water and other resources will benefit communities if they don’t wait for the sources to dry up. Small farmers can get by on much smaller amounts of water when they utilize sound conservation practices, as I’m sure you know. The amount of water wasted is mind-boggling. With the fracking industry using and polluting mass amounts. Ground water may become unusable in some areas.

    As long as communities are able to produce food, they should stay put. An individual farmer would have a much tougher go of it, but communities that work together will have an advantage.

    I was on a small farm but had to give it up. The time spent there created some of the best memories I have. I moved to the city where needed facilities are closer. Many cities have lost sense of community. It is the refugees from the cities that I’m mostly concerned about.
    It will be difficult to feed the people in these cities in the event of widespread drought and/or economic collapse.

    You’ve got the right attitude. All the best to you and your community.
    I’m with you in spirit.
    John

  • Thanks, John. You are a fine gentleman. Best wishes for whatever you are doing. I may post again on cities, even if not specifically to you, and this subject is also applicable to my forum thread: Land Use.

  • What are the issues around globally mapping what food can grow where throughout the planet? Then, with increasing heat, how this map might change? Clearly(IMO, anyway), there must be a progressive decrease in mass food production and increase in personal food production, tailored to local conditions. This can be an aspect of land use planning, rather than planning for bullet trains and settlements on Mars.

  • That’s a tough question.

    For specifics, I’ll defer to individuals knowledgeable in modelling to supply you with an intelligent answer to those questions.

    Personally though, I believe modelling areas for future food growth would be difficult and unreliable. There is so much to consider with weather patterns changing and unexpected new patterns yet to be realized. In the north, the jet stream is all over the place with ocean currents changing. There are a lot of bright people out there though.

    However if the modelling for that was available, I believe the desirable areas would remain classified and/or occupied by the military.

    I don’t believe mass food production will be possible in the near future. At least not capable of sustaining large populations. Pockets of micro-climates will support local needs.

    I agree, there are wasted resources going to NASA and a multitude of other programs, with tax breaks going to the wealthy. We spend 100’s of billions of dollars looking for habitable planets, as though we aren’t living on one. We don’t know much about the oceans that are so crucial to human life. Any follower of this site knows of these frustrations.

    Redistribution of resources from higher level governments to support small local farmers won’t be coming anytime soon. Cooperation within your local community will be a strong asset. Some small towns could be supportive. Passing local bylaws restricting water use, etc. Where possible make all water sources public property and ensure developed sources receive needed repairs and protect your water at all costs. Map watershed areas of your sources of water and restrict use of the land by domesticated animals. Stop wasting resources on things like road repair. Try to develop new water sources and support local small farms. Require mandatory composting. Pay a little more to your local growers for food. Plant lots of trees locally. Learn how to preserve food. Acquire tools and equipment that don’t require fuel or electricity, including water pumps. The changes you make now, may make the difference later on. Don’t wait for the uncommitted or allow others to muddy the waters. Stay focused.

    I personally agree with Guys projections of NTHE, but everyone must do what their heart tells them. So I hope you make it.

    John S

    “Only Love Remains”
    Guy McPherson

  • John,

    It’s rare that I agree so thoroughly with someone on the what-to-do points.
    Only one quibble. In case the hope I “make it” was referring to the universal vision that I have (in which case I thank you) and not just my personal benefit, which interests me hardly at all, your assessment of me might be off a little. :-)

  • Artleads

    As my last comment, it is confusing. What I meant was:

    So I wish you success. I can’t imagine anyone believing that you would be out for yourself after reading your posts.

  • Thanks, John. I should have known that this was what you meant.