The Greatest Depression, briefly described

We’ve built a set of living arrangements that relies on infinite access to a finite resource. That set of ill-conceived living arrangements is comprehensive, including capture and delivery of water, production and delivery of food, construction of shelter, the systems of health care, education, and finance, our sense of community (or absence thereof), and thousands of attributes we take for granted on a daily basis.

Still hanging around

I’m not happy. The latest projections on climate change from the Hadley Center indicate we’ll not voluntarily power down quickly enough to save our species. Seems even if we reduce emissions to 47% below 1990 levels by 2010 (yeah, right) we’ll still warm the planet sufficiently to destroy all planetary ice by century’s end, and therefore ensure the extinction of our species. No surprise there, of course. When the Nobel committee gives away the Peace prize to the gutless (but “pure”) scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), you know we’re screwed at our own hand.

Time to throw in the towel?

I used to talk, and write, about peak oil with considerable urgency. But my enthusiasm is waning. Perhaps it’s time to throw in the proverbial towel, give up the proverbial ghost, switch proverbial horses, or … well, insert your own tired cliché here.

Marauding hordes require organization

Will we transform immediately and totally into ill-behaved rats, clustered in a cage without food? Perhaps, at least in the cages known as cities, particularly when the food runs out, along with the water. But people in the “tribes” known as neighborhoods and communities will try to get along, at least for a while, at least while we’re all suffering more-or-less equally. Small communities will be particularly well-suited for the hard times ahead. The neighborhoods of suburbia, on the other hand, are particularly poorly suited for neighborly behavior of the Mr. Rogers kind. Indeed, sprawling American suburbs seem to have been designed specifically for anonymity and therefore uncaring, unfriendly neighbors.

The anthropology of evil

The Judeo-Christian tradition approximately coincides with the birth of civilization: We got serious about agriculture some 6,000 years ago. I am not suggesting evil arose with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Only the most evil of structures, agriculture.

Problem solved!

Here’s the agenda, to be completed within a year or two: (1) find, develop, and distribute an energy source too cheap to meter, and (2) overcome evolution.