As should be clear by now, industrial humans — or at least our “leaders” — have chosen not door number one (ecological collapse) and not door number two (economic collapse), but both of the above.
If you think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath while counting your money.
On the other hand, Ty’s loneliness in a crowded world, induced by his intellect and his passion for the planet, remind me of an email message I received a few months back from a brilliant former student. It included this pithy line, which says, better than I ever have, my oft-felt sentiment: “Despite overpopulation I find the world a lonely place.”
The evidence is gaining increasing clarity: We’ve reached a crossroads unlike any other in human history. One path leads to despair for Homo industrialis. The other leads to extinction, for Homo sapiens and the millions of species we are taking with us into the abyss. I’ll take door number one.
We cannot use politics as usual to deal with energy decline. Ditto for runaway greenhouse. In other words, there is no viable political solution to deal with either issue.
A reminder about online comments is given by John Michael Greer in this week’s version of his blog. His primary point, that our information age is actually dependent on physical substrate, reminds me of the cognitive dissonance running so deeply among the American populace. Example A is the magical thinking that we’ll create new alternatives to oil, despite the absence of any such alternatives so far, even when the price of oil skyrocketed to $147.27. Example B is the magical thinking that we need to keep the cars running at all costs … which means, of course, at every cost to the planet and even our own species. Example C is the magical thinking that our economy is necessary to our survival, when in fact it is a grave threat to our survival.
The quote is from one of my recent books, and I use it here to introduce a
(warning: this is a large pdf file). This report is based on a semester’s worth of thinking and writing by two undergraduate students. I advised these two superb students on this independent-study project, which they sandwiched between full academic schedules and full lives.