Tag «fire ecology»

Linking the Past with the Present: Resources, Land Use, and the Collapse of Civilizations

We have ripped minerals from the Earth, often bringing down mountains in the process; we have harvested nearly all the old-growth timber on the continent, replacing thousand-year-old trees with neatly ordered plantations of small trees; we have hunted species to the point of extinction; we have driven livestock across every almost acre of the continent, baring hillsides and facilitating massive erosion; we have plowed large landscapes, transforming fertile soil into sterile, lifeless dirt; we have burned ecosystems and, perhaps more importantly, we have extinguished naturally occurring fires; we have paved thousands of acres to facilitate our movement and, in the process, have disrupted the movements of thousands of species; we have spewed pollution and dumped garbage, thereby dirtying our air, fouling our water, and contributing greatly to the warming of the planet. We have, to the maximum possible extent allowed by our intellect and never-ending desire, consumed the planet.

Why I Write

I will be the first to register when I see an advertisement for the conference of my dreams. This conference focuses on the collapse of industrial ‘civilization.’ Such a collapse would wreak havoc on my 403(c), my 401(k), and my IRA. But it might save a few of the species and cultures that have managed to elude our iron fist, and that’s worth much more than the few dollars in my retirement funds.

My Life in Song

At some point, not so far away, nature becomes the ultimate authority. And that’s when I’ll stop fighting authority. At that point, I’ll need a new theme song. Got any ideas?

WELL, Then

While we were away, the financial sector continued its downward spiral and the price of oil continued to climb, albeit with considerable volatility. During the next few months, I expect to see the stock markets continue their unwinding while supply disruptions in gasoline spread throughout the country (from the six states impacted last summer). By year’s end, the Northeast’s fragile electrical grid is likely to collapse. The price of heating oil already exceeds the price of electricity, and is likely to increase between now and November. The overwrought electrical grid will collapse when a small proportion of the sixty percent of homes heated with heating oil switch to space heaters.