Through April of 2009, the year-over-year decline is holding steady at about 3 percent. While that may seem like good news for the industrial economy, the opposite is true: The longer we hold onto a slow decline, the steeper the subsequent, inevitable cliff, as has been demonstrated in dozens of fields and collections of fields (e.g., nations). The steeper the cliff, the greater the probability of sudden disruptions in the supply of fuel, food, and water in towns and cities. And, too, a 3 percent annual decline puts us at mid-1980s world oil supply by 2015. Looks like it’s Mourning in America all over again.
Shortly after Cain murdered Abel and then founded the first city, more cities began to dot the Mesopotamian landscape. The rewards of civilization allowed relatively few people to feed the majority, with the biggest rewards going to a select, powerful minority. From those days forward, cities have allowed, in Stanley Diamond’s words, “conquest abroad and repression at home.”
Durability has always been a wise investment. Now is the perfect time to make a personal investment in durability, for myriad reasons. For one thing, most sellers still think fiat currency is valuable.
I’ve returned to the U.S. after a trip to Italy. My goals for the trip were three-fold: (1) Visit the heart of western civilization before we complete our ongoing trip to the new Dark Age and then the neo-Neolithic, (2) collect anecdotes about the collapse of a large, powerful, seemingly invincible empire, and (3) try to determine if the hatred for a living Earth by Homo sapiens, which at this point is nearly all-consuming, was initiated — or at least accelerated — by the Renaissance. These goals echo the general themes I’ve considered throughout the history of this blog, so they seem appropriate to my one hundredth post.
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.”