When you’re on a cruise ship, and you have the only window, and you see a tsunami headed your way, what shall you do? “Good” scientists would plead for research to verify the existence of tsunamis. And they would be rewarded for this action with research funding from fellow scientists. The wonks at the Oil Drum, for example, will be trying to access the internet to argue about whether we’ve passed the oil peak long after the electrical grid fails. On the other hand, I believe informed people — even scientists — should sound the alarm when a threat appears on the horizon. I believe we have an obligation to work toward solutions for individuals and, when appropriate, for society. If that makes me a poor scientist, I can live with it, bearing in mind the famous words of Albert Einstein when he found out about Hiroshima: “If I had known they were going to do this, I would have become a shoemaker.”
The second reminder appeared in the cover story of the local counter-culture rag. It’s a compelling story, told sufficiently well to evoke tears as I read it. It’s a reminder that we can do many things to help others and ourselves as the world comes down around us.
All the wishful thinking in the country can’t resurrect a long-dead corpse. By the time president-elect Obama takes the oath of office, he’ll have all the power of a quadriplegic EMT without a medical kit, much less a resuscitation device. And he’ll be staring at a patient with a DNR order, courtesy of a lethal combination of inevitable geology and abysmal policy.
As usual, I have good news if you don’t like the direction the government and culture have taken: the problem’s going to take care of itself. When the empire completes its fall, when the federal government loses the ability to control everything from foreign wars to domestic sex acts, when the dollar’s even further in the toilet and the transportation networks are completely impotent, when the cheerleader-in-chief of American Empire can no longer destroy the lands and waters and the organisms on which we all depend, that’s when we can bury the neoconservative agenda.
Sometimes my attempts to stir the pot are not successful. And sometimes they result in shaking instead of stirring.
“Without extra investment to raise production, the natural annual rate of output decline is 9.1 per cent.” Energy experts generally agree that a 2 per cent annual decline in extraction of crude oil translate to reasonably painful adaptation and the cessation of economic growth, a five per cent declines spell very painful adjustments and an economic depression of unprecedented magnitude, and a ten per cent decline means societal breakdown at a monumental scale.
As waves of red ink from the Overdraft Ocean lap at the shores of The Check(book) Republic, the cry goes out: The economy must grow.