Cross Posted from: Prayforcalamity.com
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
An annual report is about to be released by The Millennium Project which is titled, “State of the Future.” This report examines global problems and their potential solutions. In discussing the report, chief scientist of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Dennis Bushnell, has said that humans need three planets to sustain themselves. I had previously read a statistic which claimed that if all humans on Earth had the lifestyles and consumption habits of the average American, that we would need over five Earths to sustain the global population. That tidbit was more of a warning about the American “way of life,” whereas what Bushnell is saying is a more direct, we are running out of shit right now, sort of statement.
“The entire ecosystem is crashing,” says Bushnell. “Essentially, there’s too many of us. We’ve been far too successful as the human animal. People allege we’re short 40-50 percent of a planet now. As the Asians and their billions come up to our living systems, we’re going to need three more planets.”
Far too successful? This choice of words, while not surprising, is quite indicative of the logic of the civilized mind and its human-centric bias. Imagine for a moment, you’re a scientist studying a colony of rats living on an island, and that these rats eat so much that they are destroying their habitat. Imagine that these rats have, in their rapacious quest to eat, destroyed the trees and killed many of the other species on the island. Imagine that after running some calculations, you recognize that these rats are going to require not one, but two more islands worth of resources if they are going to survive, and that if they don’t acquire this new resource pool, their population will crash and potentially be wiped out. In writing your assessment of this rat colony, would you choose to describe them as “successful?” I think you might be more likely to use terms like “foolish,” “short-sighted,” “parasitic,” or “suicidal.”
No, modern humans aren’t “far too successful,” as a species. The dominant culture — because not all people live this way — is far too stupid to understand that it is “eating the seed corn” if you will. Not only are the people who live under the dominant culture destroying tomorrow’s resources to get by today, they are by and large too stupid to even enter this possibility into their self analysis. The fact that Bushnell and any of his ilk would with a straight face suggest that what humans need are more planets, as opposed to needing a massive overhaul of how the dominant culture operates, is frightening. The casual madness of this recommendation demonstrates that the overriding belief within the dominant culture is that everything is hunky-dorey; what people within industrial-civilization are doing on a daily basis is absolutely OK. It’s not the activities of global industrial capitalism that are the problem, no, the problem is that God just didn’t start us off with enough stuff!
Machete your way through the brambly facade, and the core premise within this assertion — even though it would seem contradictory based on the data being reported — is that civilization works.
As an anarchist, I have often attempted to persuade people that we do not need police, prisons, armies, politicians, even money or large scale societies. With near ubiquity, the response given to such suggestions is that they would never “work.” Some are not so bold as to claim never, but merely ask, “how would that work,” in a tone that clearly betrays a wall of disbelief. Before defending myself and my supposition, I have to draw back and lay out the unspoken premise: by declaring the unlikelihood of my idea’s ability to “work,” there is a presumption that the current way of doing things “works.”
Does civilization “work?” How would we define that? What are the primary goals of civilization, and are they being achieved, and if so at what costs? This question requires one to define “civilization” before even embarking on a quest to gauge its success. I think it is fair to assume that if you were to seek a common definition of civilization from laypeople on the streets, the recurring themes would likely surround the existence of arts, literature, philosophy, and surpluses of resources. Civilization is in this view, Plato and Leonardo Da Vinci hanging out in robes and Google Glasses, drinking wine in the park and thinking deep thoughts. The antithesis of this cartoon vision holds that the uncivilized would be anyone wearing warpaint and a loincloth while roasting a pig on a spit.
Caricatures aside, how can we academically define civilization? Writer Derrick Jensen devotes some time to defining civilization in his two volume work, Endgame:
“I would define a civilization much more precisely [relative to standard dictionary definitions], and I believe more usefully, as a culture—that is, a complex of stories, institutions, and artifacts— that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities (civilization, see civil: from civis, meaning citizen, from Latin civitatis, meaning city-state), with cities being defined–so as to distinguish them from camps, villages, and so on–as people living more or less permanently in one place in densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and other necessities of life.”
In his own efforts to define civilization, writer Aric McBay offers:
“This common thread is control. Civilization is a culture of control. In civilizations, a small group of people controls a large group of people through the institutions of civilization. If they are beyond the frontier of that civilization, then that control will come in the form of armies and missionaries (be they religious or technical specialists). If the people to be controlled are inside of the cities, inside of civilization, then the control may come through domestic militaries (i.e., police). However, it is likely cheaper and less overtly violent to condition certain types of behaviour through religion, schools or media, and related means, than through the use of outright force (which requires a substantial investment in weapons, surveillance and labour).
That works very effectively in combination with economic and agricultural control. If you control the supply of food and other essentials of life, people have to do what you say or they die. People inside of cities inherently depend on food systems controlled by the rulers to survive, since the (commonly accepted) definition of a city is that the population dense enough to require the importation of food.”
Richard Heinberg in his critique of civilization wrote:
“…for the most part the history of civilization…is also the history of kingship, slavery, conquest, agriculture, overpopulation, and environmental ruin. And these traits continue in civilization’s most recent phases–the industrial state and the global market–though now the state itself takes the place of the king, and slavery becomes wage labor and de facto colonialism administered through multinational corporations. Meanwhile, the mechanization of production (which began with agriculture) is overtaking nearly every avenue of human creativity, population is skyrocketing, and organized warfare is resulting in unprecedented levels of bloodshed.”
If the reader finds a bias in these definitions, I offer this one from Wikipedia:
“The term is used to contrast with other types of communities including hunter-gatherers, nomadic pastoralists and tribal villages. Civilizations have more densely populated settlements divided into social classes with a ruling elite and subordinate urban and rural populations, which, by the division of labour, engage in intensive agriculture, mining, small-scale manufacture and trade. Civilization concentrates power, extending human control over both nature, and over other human beings.”
Some combination of the characteristics offered above, with room for nuance, forms my personal definition of civilization, and should be used insofar as understanding the question I posed above, “Does civilization work?”
To answer this, of course, we must also define “work.” What exactly is civilization trying to accomplish? High living standards for all members? Artistic greatness? This is almost impossible to measure as there are no set goals civilization is attempting to achieve and no set values by which it is trying to achieve them. It is likely more productive to approach this question by examining what civilization does. After all, to borrow a term from systems theorists, “The purpose of a system is what it does.”
So what does civilization do? What is accomplished by people living in large urban centers where the majority of their survival necessities must be imported and their waste exported? Well, for starters, the people within the cities do not have to engage in any of the toil required to aggregate the calories and nutrients to stay alive. These people are thus freed to do other things with their time. This begins to form the base of the hierarchy of work. Peasants do the heavy lifting in the fields while professional types earn higher incomes to engage in what they dub to be “skilled labor.” We are told all of this would come unhinged if it weren’t for the tireless efforts of professional decision makers; politicians and captains of industry who are granted the most influence and the highest incomes. Of course, there is a class within the cities who don’t earn high incomes, and they are generally relegated to laboring to support the “skilled laborers,” and other elites by manufacturing goods, doing janitorial work, preparing food, maintaining infrastructure, etc. In the modern world, all of the heavy lifting in the agricultural fields is no longer accomplished with human muscle alone, as the majority of the grunt work is performed by hydrocarbons, predominantly oil. The acquisition of this oil comes at a great ecological cost, from the deep wells in the gulf of Mexico to the war torn fields of Iraq to the decimated Niger delta. Anywhere on Earth where oil is being pumped out of the ground, there is death, be it human, animal, or entire ecosystems and ways of life.
Speaking of death, civilization seems to spread a lot of it around. From global and regional wars that scar the land and leave millions dead, to the constant emission of toxicity which has inundated the air, the water, and the soil with heavy metals, radioactive particles, and carcinogenic compounds causing cancer and disease. Around the world people sit locked in cages, tormented and dehumanized by their captors. In the US, where I live, the largest prison population on the planet is housed, we are told, to maintain the safety of those who participate in civilization according to the dictates of the “decider” class. If we ignore humans for a moment and try to tally the dead amongst our non-human neighbors, the task becomes nearly impossible. The best guess of biologists is that industrial activity is currently causing a mass extinction, and that upwards of two hundred species are being extirpated from the globe every day. Civilization, though it’s adherents would cite its peaceful and good natured virtues, is a bringer of death and suffering.
My critics will cry, “But death is natural; an unavoidable part of life. Absent civilization, death would not vanish.” To be sure, who dies, how, and why, are the key to what civilization does. The organizational framework found within civilization is hierarchical, and I would argue that this top down power structure is woven into the defining characteristics of civilization. With this hierarchy, power is held by a few and lorded over the many. How this is accomplished varies, but as McBay was quoted as stating above, access to food and other necessary resources is a primary component of this control. Civilization has had millennia to refine itself and to create a system for diffusing this “food-under-lock-and-key” scenario, mainly via economics. In this time civilization has been able to normalize its existence and to normalize the power dynamics by which few control many, and under which the ruling few have access to more resources than they will ever require, while the many have unmet needs. Religion, propaganda, nationalism, entertainment, myths of exceptionalism; all have served to sell civilization as a high and dignified way of existing, as well as to demonize alternatives to the civilized model, and to justify the slaughter of those who resist civilization’s advances.
Modern industrial civilization is global. The blur between the thrust of society in the United State, China, Russia, Australia, Brazil, India, South Africa, etc. is essentially the same. Cultures in these nations have their respective variances, but the general direction of human activity remains constant. The drive to acquire wealth by converting land and what it contains into some form of salable good is ubiquitous. The gains from these activities are held by those at the top of the hierarchy, while the overwhelming majority of the labor utilized to achieve those gains was performed by those at the bottom.
While the earliest civilizations would have been based in one or a few city centers which exploited an immediately surrounding region, as empires grew and technology allowed further and faster travel, the exploitation of far away lands and peoples became possible and profitable. Civilizations having merged into a global behemoth, the reality now in the wealthiest regions of the world is that resources and finished products from around the globe are widely available, and relatively, outright suffering is scant. This availability, this control of global people and places, is itself, wealth. By moving resources out of the regions they are born in, and by exploiting a global workforce, civilization has made it possible to extend the lives and drastically increase the comfort of some people at the expense of the lives, health, and happiness of others. Civilization is a con, a game of three-card-monte. It is the shuffling of resources to generate the illusion of plenty. It is the displacement of suffering from one people to another, and the shifting of ecological horrors from home to abroad. The net beneficiaries of this system are wont to ignore it, to never even question its basic functionality. They see images of the starving and dying a world away and ask, “Why don’t they move?”
A tirade against the ills of civilization is old hat for me, and certainly, there will be readers who think me unfair. Education, invention, medicine, art, sport, and so many other examples of the benefits of civilized life are likely hanging at the fore of my critics’ minds. Absolutely, these are components of civilized life, but not exclusively so. What education or innovation or medicine or art look like and how they are distributed may look different under civilized and non-civilized paradigms, but in no way are they monopolized by the former or absent from the latter. Under a civilized paradigm, the arts, sports, education, medicine – these all become the realms of professionals to a great extent, whereas for the non-civilized these are communal and regular components of daily life.
I don’t want to trade blow for blow, comparing civilized diets to non-civilized, modern medicine to herbalism, etc. I would rather here move onto the costs of the civilized model, for if civilization has its benefits, and if it has its purposes, and if it is doling these benefits and achieving these goals, we must then ask, “are they worth the cost?”
Calculating the costs of civilization is a monumental task, and doing so with any sort of scientific accuracy is likely beyond my capabilities. As a purely philosophical exercise, I would like to briefly address the issue by looking at a handful of categories.
First, there is the ecology. It is inarguable that civilization is detrimental to ecology and always has been. As human animals, we are not necessarily a net deficiency to our habitat, despite the absurd claims of those who would like us to believe that to live is to harm, so we should absent-mindedly live it up. Hunting, fishing, and even small scale planting are not necessarily destructive to an ecosystem. Sinking mine shafts, leveling mountains, damming rivers, trawling the oceans, spewing industrial waste into the atmosphere, clear cutting forests, razing prairie, laying concrete, mono-crop planting, stripping topsoil; these are all massive ecological harms, which if undertaken with an ever increasing rate become systemically cataclysmic whereby species are driven into extinction, habitat collapses, and the damage is irreparable.
Can civilization exist without such activities? Surely pre-modern civilizations did not utilize all of these methods? In fact, every pre-modern civilization did exploit the resources they had access to with what technology they had available. The forests of the middle east were leveled by the earliest civilizations, creating the barren land that now exists there. The Mesopotamians irrigated farm fields to grow great surpluses of food, until the build up of silt in their canals and salts in their soil destroyed their agricultural adventures and led to their collapse. The Greeks and Romans viciously deforested the Mediterranean basin, and the resulting topsoil loss has prevented a recovery in the region. The Maya similarly brought about their own doom by deforesting their region for agriculture and the production of lime concrete. The collapses of all pre-modern civilizations have an environmental component. By seeking to use agricultural bounty to temporarily increase their populations and thus their power, early civilizations created inescapable paradigms dependent on infinite growth. Modern civilization is no different, just more adept at avoiding early onset collapse through innovation.
Ecological costs are probably the most in dire need of attention, but costs in human misery are not to be ignored. In this vein, there is the obvious misery generated by civilization and its processes: those killed and maimed by war, those whose DNA is damaged by industrial toxins resulting in cancers, those who subsist in poverty globally, those in prison, those who are persecuted, those who are slaves, those who have their hereditary land stolen, those who are victims of genocide; these are the billions who clearly suffer, these are the billions who make possible the comforts and abundance enjoyed in wealthy nations.
But let’s not stop there. Inside the gates, the people who are beneficiaries of the pillaging of the wild suffer in ways they recognize and in ways they don’t. In the United States, one in five adults are taking a psychiatric drug, either an anti-depressant, an anti-psychotic, or an anti-anxiety prescription. Ten percent of the population suffers from clinical depression. Thirty percent of the population abuses alcohol. Numbers on recreational drug use are harder to come by. Add in those addicted to shopping, eating, sex, gambling, and pornography, and it is likely safe to say that about half of the American population is either depressed, burdened with anxiety, or has some debilitating habit of escapism. Can we blame them? What does the majority of life in the United States consist of? Working a job over which you have relatively little control, where it is likely your creativity is stifled, and from which you do not directly benefit? This consumes forty if not more hours of a person’s life every week. Commuting to and from this job and accomplishing the unrecognized shadow labor of preparing for this job, from taking clothing to a dry cleaners, dropping children off at day care, or even shaving, means that considerably more time is robbed from one’s life to serve the economic system.
Life in this civilization brings a large set of medical risks as well. Despite the illusion of abundance, most of the food the population has access to is derived from a handful of ingredients, primarily corn, wheat, soy, and beet sugar. The production of these crops en-masse is economically efficient, and therefore they have become the foundation of the western diet. The hand maiden of this poor nutritional foundation is tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, “Cancer will affect one in two men and one in three women in the United States, and the number of new cases of cancer is set to nearly double by the year 2050.”
Despite the myths we are imprinted with about the greatness of civilization, the reality is quite ugly. For a select few, the benefits and wealth and power granted by this particular organizational system are incalculable. For most, participation in civilization is comprised of boredom, obedience, servitude, and depression while daily spinning the wheel of fortune to see if they will be one of the unlucky ones who is stricken with cancer, all the while slowly degrading their body and masking their unhappiness with drugs, deviant behavior, or plain and simple escapism into fantasy.
Should I even begin to assess the misery associated with maintaining full compliance with the state and its bureaucracies which is a must if one wants to avoid court rooms, prisons, and police?
Though I was born to middle class parents, on my own, I eke out an existence in near poverty. This is partly by choice, in that I am clever enough to acquire a higher income, but I cannot burden my conscience with what such a pay grade would ask of me. For myself and the people in my region who also get by on small amounts of money, it is clear that we are not thriving in civilization, but artfully navigating it, succumbing to some of its pratfalls while skillfully parrying others. Ours is one of innumerable subcultures and informal economies that dot the landscape globally. Examples abound of squatters, homesteaders, hobos, punks, drug dealers, communes, scrappers, monks, travelers, and the myriad others around the Earth who hope the eye of Sauron doesn’t ever draw its focus on them.
Here in the cracks and dark corners alternatives to civilization simmer in the primordial soup of human consciousness. Too few to outright revolt with only the occasional exception, there are people who retreat to something similar to what I would dare call the natural state of human organization; tribalism.
No, civilization does not work, not if the definition of work includes caring for all equally and stewarding our habitat with humans and non-humans many generations to come genuinely considered. Ignoring the monuments to the egos of psychopaths, from pyramids and temples to skyscrapers and particle accelerators, civilization leaves nothing for the future. Civilization is a cannibal, greedily devouring any concept of tomorrow for a grotesque spectacle of largess today, which is only enjoyed by a select few. The ceremonies and titles of today may look and sound different than those of the Aztec or the Persian, but the macabre reality behind the pomp and circumstance is absolutely the same, only scarier in that the rate and ability of modern civilization to churn up the living world before melting it on a spoon for an ephemeral high is exponentially greater.
Civilization needs three planets, according to the scientists. Civilization is running out of fuel for the furnace, and the holy men are telling us that it is not time to abandon the machine; despite the misery, despite the servitude, despite the disease, despite the poverty, despite the extinction, despite the necessity of death – we must take this organizational system beyond our planetary borders, as missionaries of madness because we know nothing of humility or grace. Because we’re too afraid to admit we have made a mistake. So we drive on, lost and running out of gas, because we’re too damn proud to turn around.
Suggesting that there is another way for humans to organize without hierarchy, without massive population centers that require the exploitation of outlying areas, without violence and control; this is not utopianism. It is suggesting that we look at how human beings existed for the majority of their time on planet Earth, and asking that we take from that wealth of knowledge the best ideas, and that we ask of ourselves a willingness to adapt to life without the benefit of some slavery far away, some suffering we can ignore, some set of dying eyes we can avoid looking into. It is asking that we live where we are, that we find a concept of home, and that we welcome the challenges that life presents while refusing to solve them on the back of someone else’s misery.
They will say that “we cannot go back.” They will say pastoral lives where we are intimately connected to our community, human and not, are impossible, unthinkable, insane. Then they will say, “we must begin to live on Mars.”
Joe Driscoll said:
td0s is right on the money. If we take civilization as a complex system, then it is a fact that it is irreversible. I’m also not convinced that prior human organizations – with the exception of a few outliers – at any level (band, tribe, state, nation etc) ever consistently eschewed violence, resisted male domination, controlled their populations, or avoided ecological degradation. The historical and archaeological evidence is pretty clear on this. In my view, civilization and technology are not root causes, but are amplifiers of basic human behavior, much of which you can see in our chimpanzee relatives.
Oh, sure, bands and tribes did their bit of ecological degradation. Well known extinction of “mega-fauna” – largest mammals, – was likely caused by prehistoric humans hunting ’em down to extinction. That’s current scientific opinion, at least, AFAIK. However, the scale of ecological degradation was limited by inability of earlier societies to do harm. Obviously, the more powerful technologies humans develop, the more harm they can do, “per capita”, so to say. This is important factor, i think.
It was climate that killed many of the large mammals after the latest Ice Age. But what more specifically was it with the climate that led to this mass extinction? The answer to this is hidden in a large number of sediment samples from around the Arctic and in the gut content from permafrozen woolly rhinos, mammoth and other extinct ice age mammals.
Tom Peakaustria said:
Monbiots last comment also describes humans as overshooters: http://www.monbiot.com/2014/03/24/destroyer-of-worlds/ everywhere humans destroyed there ecosphere…example are the Degradation of Malta or Australia or Sahel etc…maybe the latest Ice Age was triggered cause of the first overshoot of humans and the simultaniaus collapse of Mega Fauna and Human Population so less farting and less Methane and more trees etc…so we will kick us out of…but maybe this is the endgame of our Species…
Those of us who have spent some time looking at all the signs of collapse know it’s not working, yet to try and get any traction in the public sphere on rethinking how we live in any fundamental way is even more impossible than tackling climate change. You can’t have global industrial civilization without the GHG emissions, toxins, and environmental devastation.
So yes I agree, industrial civilization will be protected at all costs. Alternative sources of energy will be brought to the fore in an attempt to keep the current set of living arrangements intact. The biotech experts will say we can de-extinctify any species of our choosing (where they would live except in a zoo is another question). And the undying myth of progress will ensure that we’ll continue to manipulate nature in even more catastrophic ways in the future such as geoengineering.
A tiny few of us are more than ready to live a different way, but as you say, the “misfits” and “malcontents” are always in danger of running afoul of CIV’s codes, laws, regulations, and security apparatus.
The other thing is that even if a particular country did abandon industrial civilization, they would be at the mercy of those powers still running on fossil fuels and the resultant hi-tech weaponry that it creates. It’s a race that the entire world is forced to participate in because to drop out will surely mean your death. And so we all race toward extinction. A race to the death, if you will.
You can’t have global I.C. without _too much of_ GHG emissions, toxins and environmental devastation NOW – that’s true. We can still hope this will be possible in a distant future. There is nothing inherently destructive about industrial production, – the destruction we face today caused by humans’ inability to operate industries safely on a global scale, i bet you know that deep inside. I.e., problem is not “machines”, but how and why we humans use them. By choice or forced by consequences, humans will have to change or get extinct. I am an optimist. I hope some small fraction of humans can change – and live long enough for other kinds of humans to get extinct. After all, we humans are very diverse, as you also know very well.
Danger of running afoul of CURRENT global civilization’s codes, laws and security apparatus – is indeed present. That’s why i keep repeating that we – humans who start to understand that our most important duty and inevitability – is to care about whole Gaia, – we are to RUN, HIDE and ENDURE. Not in any different order, might i add. We are to do what small mammals did when they managed to survive dinosaurs’ reign. This is our hope, an our species’ hope. No less.
And about countries abandoning industrial civilization – yes, this is sadly true; no _country_ can do so, except perhaps very few smallest poorest (in all regards) ones, so poor (including resource-wise) that global establishment have no interest whatsoever in them. Bhutan? Dunno. Yet, my point is, some REGIONS can actually abandon industrial civilization (or, simply not to enter it any much). Namely, it’s about regions which are, again, least interesting to the global industrial establishment. Hardly accessible places with nothing worth of attention of industries of today and tomorrow, possibly some far north people like Nenets, possibly some high-mountain people like Tibet (Tibet itself has substantial mineral wealth which is already being explited – there are mines, – yet in compare to most other regions, it’s still massively pre-industrial in many regards). May be some so-far-not-inhabited valleys deep in Eastern Siberia or far in Canadian boreal forests. I don’t know for sure. What i know is that like dinosaurs, present-day global industrial civilization does not “waste” its time hunting “too small” prey. It couldn’t care less if there are few dozen thousands of “aborigens” or “cast-aways” in some remote region it’s impossible to profit from. At least, this is what i feel about such places. They are quite abandoned. The “system” doesn’t care to put and maintain its “rules” in there, as far as i can see.
It is those regions some few of which could hopefully become “oases of civilization” James Lovelock talks about.
By the way, you won’t find many scientists as respecting Life on Earth as James Lovelock. To see, before most other scientists, that biosphere of Earth, as a whole, is much like a living being, and to give it a name – Gaia, – and to make a working theory of it, nowadays accepted by many (if not most) biologists, – this tells about the man, does it? Yet, even he, in one of his recent books, predicts that human species will possibly survive in such “oases of civilization”. Not as a wild hunter-gatherers, not as anarchists, but as civilized people. Certainly not having a “small copy” of modern industrial civilization, though, – it will be VERY different kind of civilization for it at all to work, – but it still will be a sort of civilization, i.e. a society which maintains and accumulates important non-genetic information and passes it, reliably enough, to next generations of humans.
Yes, problems become magnified to the Nth degree when you have billions seeking the consumer lifestyle of America. It’s all in the scale of things.
Scale makes all the difference between the way humans lived in the past, which is “oh, we ruined this place, let’s migrate to another” and the way it’s gonna be now – “oh, we ruined all places we can live in, so let’s do some wars and whatever else ’cause there’s nowhere else to go”, yes.
Kevin Moore said:
I fear the other recently posted essay will be abandoned before it gets up to speed.
This item has much of importance to discuss, even though there is nothing new for the well-informed.
Today I had a half-hour session with the MP for this district, covering much of the ‘casual madness of civilisation’.
I pointed out that extraction of conventional oil had peaked and was on the way down, and that present economic arrangements are being propped up by unconventional oil, the extraction of which is highly environmentally destructive; that many economies are imploding, that global warming is proceeding at a rapid pace; that climate systems have been disrupted (almost certainly permanently); that unprecedented droughts are likely to wipe out much food production in a matter of months; that the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans is being altered at a rate far faster than during any previous mass extinction event; that continuing on the present path of economic growth powered by oil is mathematically impossible and that attempting to do so will render the Earth largely uninhabitable in a matter of decades; that NPDC did not comply with Government Acts; that most central and local government policies are geared to bringing forward energetic and environmental catastrophe -actively destroying the next generation’s future.
I pointed out that all the evidence indicates there will be major economic upheaval by 2018 at the latest (but more likely by the end of 2016), so the system had no future anyway. Futile attempts to prop up dysfunctional systems (fracking etc.) simply exacerbate the overheating and ocean acidification predicaments.
I pointed out that the methane relative warming factor ‘keeps going up’ and if does prove to be 250/300 times CO2 the government has a much bigger problem with methane emissions from the dairy industry that it thinks. And if the meltdown of the Arctic region triggers decomposition of methane clathrates and a ‘methane burp’ occurs, it could all be over in ten years.
None of it was what Jonathan Young wanted to hear, of course. But since I am just the messenger, delivering the dire pronouncements of organisations such as the Tyndall Centre, NASA, The Royal Society, The Royal Society of NZ and leading energy and climate researchers, he had no real wriggle room.
I will give him his due, he did actually become engaged this time (unlike in the two previous sessions I have had with him).
Is the penny finally starting drop?
the Heretick said:
“I fear the other recently posted essay will be abandoned before it gets up to speed.”
yes, indeed, i myself noticed that, but hey, who cares? this guy is good. covered just about every point i would make if i was able to articulate as well as he.
Please note, the NASA guy didn’t say that we need 3 planets; he said we need 4. Quote: “… we’re going to need three more planets”. Three _more_ means Earth plus 3 other planets, isn’t it.
Another thing. Article says, quote: “The fact that Bushnell and any of his ilk would with a straight face suggest that what humans need are more planets, as opposed to needing a massive overhaul of how the dominant culture operates, is frightening.”
Well, it’s not frightening to me, because i know very well that he and all of his ilk – are unable to get more planets. They may want it as much as they’d like, they may dream and tell each other that it’s possible – also as much as they’d like, – yet the reality is, they can’t get more planets, period.
You see, “terraforming” Mars is not a possibility during 21st century. We talk about a planet which has no athmosphere to talk about, which is colder than Siberia, which is some 80+ millions kilometers away, but most importantly – Mars does not have a global magnetic field like Earth does, and therefore, solar wind’s charged particles are bombarding the surface of Mars. Average background levels are only a few times higher than onboard ISS (which is still within Earth’s magnetosphere), however, solar flares and proton events bring levels of ionizing radiation hundreds to thousands times higher than that (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Radiation_Environment_Experiment ), and this means, whatever complex life (we humans would need – and also ourselves) would exist on MArs outside of heavily shielded domes – is doomed.
In other words, there is no way to terraform Mars into any significantly alive planet – as long as Mars’ core can’t be changed into a liquid-metal magnetic dynamo (to become like Earth’s core and to generate planetary magnetic field). Which would be the task probably even more difficult than to reach other solar systems, – as far as i can tell.
So, as long as he and his ilk are unable to travel to other stars – i can be quite very sure they ain’t going to get any other planet. And indeed it’s for the best that this kind of humans will extinct here on Earth, – should they be allowed to spread to other stars, it would indeed be quite like a plague, but this time not of planetary, but of galactic proportions. Would be cruel for other life forms out there, for sure.
Yet another thing! The article says, quote: “Some combination of the characteristics offered above, with room for nuance, forms my personal definition of civilization, and should be used insofar as understanding the question I posed above, “Does civilization work?””
In my opinion, presented characteristics – most or even all of them, – are misleading. I gave some thought to the definition of the term “civilization” in the past, and, based mainly on books of Nikolai Danilevsky (russian scietist, 19th century) and Osvald Shpengler (“the Dawn od Europe” and other works), i have developed my own – in my opinion, correct, – definition for the term. It’s quite short:
civilization – is a form of human society, which has one specific feature: reliable transfer of non-genetic information to next generations.
It’s quite that simple, i think. The key word is “reliable”. Prehistoric humans did not have writing, however, they had spoken language. With the latter, they were able to pass information to next generations, but it was not the most reliable method. With time, spoken stories (“legends”) were gradually changing. This fact much limited how civilized pre-historic humans could be. However, i still think even those early societies were substantially civilized – at least in compare to animals, the latter being creatures who are only able to pass genetic information (through the natural process of reproduction).
Writing, however, is quite reliable. Most important is that it allows to create exact copies of information. Thus, any truly valuable information gathered by previous generations (and written down) – can remain complete and correct for (possibly) infinite time (provided copies of written matherial are made often enough to prevent any losses). It is therefore no coincedence that all major civilizations are linked to their WRITTEN language – from Shumer’s civilization, which used clay tablets (iirc) to write down the “data” – and all the way to modern civilization, which uses electronic devices to – yes, again, – write down important information. It’s not a coincedence, even, that any electronic process of creating (or, copying) files with information – is called “writing”. As in, “writing a file onto a HDD”, etc.
The rest – all the characteristics you presented, in particular, – emerges quite understandable from the key feature. Let’s take the 1st characteristic you presented as an example, quote: “I would define a civilization … as a culture—that is, a complex of stories, institutions, and artifacts— that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities”. This defines civilization based on another not-so-easy to define term – “culture”. I made an effort to understand what it is in the past, too. Apparently, “culture” – is the sum of all important information which is passed on to next generations. I dare to think it’s quite obvious, too. But this leads exactly to my definition of civilization, you see.
As for cities – i disagree with this part. While it is true that many (most) civilizations do use cities, – i don’t think it has to be. Cities are, given conditions on Earth so-far existed, – the most convinient, energy-saving method for civilized societies to base themselves on in most regions of the world. But not in all regions. Namely, in regions where agriculture would be quite difficult, while in the same time pastoralism is a viable survival method, – nomad cultures and civilizations were (at some places, still are) present. For example, mongols were known to be nomad for centuries, not forming any cities, – yet they had their own language, religion, military, and of course their won writing. They developed technologies much like any other civilization would – from pottery to complex tactics, – and they were a civilization of major military power for quite a while (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol#Military , etc).
I hope this will help anyone who’s reading this – to understand civilization for what it is. After all, this blog is called “collapse of industrial CIVILIZATION”. Some interesting thoughts appear if to apply my definition of “civilization” to the idea of this blog, – but i leave it to the reader to do such thoughts, as i was already lengthy enough.
the Heretick said:
wow, just wow, this guy stole my ideas, what the hell?
” who dies, how, and why, are the key to what civilization does.”
in a nutshell, in a nutshell.
this is most excellent, cuts right to the heart of the matter, and it is written so well, i am one jealous guy.
the issues surrounding us today go beyond political, yes, the socialist message has some relevance but it is fading fast, being overtaken by events.
the fact that large cities necessarily strip the surrounding country bare is well taken, mirrors a lot of people’s thinking.
all i would add is that much of the conformist/non-conformist behavior we see displayed by our fellow creatures is just adaptation to the power structure, not liberation in any real sense of the word, but capitulation to what is perceived as inevitable.
really good, really ood.
the Heretick said:
really, really, good, not “ood”.
And then, your question – quote: “To answer this, of course, we must also define “work.” What exactly is civilization trying to accomplish?” – has a very simple, obvious answer (given the earlier context of the article). Namely:
any civilization has to – at very minimum, – ensure that so-far-accumulated important non-genetic information – is not lost (to the process of ongoing dying of individuals who “know” it). Only then such a civilization would “work”.
Note, on top of this minimum requirement, civilization may seek additional goals – sapient creatures are known to sometimes do that, – but this is not strictly nesessary.
Good stuff. Pouring your heart out hurts, but like crying, it feels so good when you’re done. It’s the same when you hit your finger with a hammer, it feels so good when you stop.
The wonders of civilization has always been the ability of elites to make slaves do prodigiously vainglorious monumental efforts. Our ability to sit and pontificate on what it all means is based on the field work of dark skinned low-wage slaves, no matter how poor we are compared to those around us. Extinction is mainly caused by invasive species of which we, along with our favourite crops & animals, are the most successful.
In Mexico City, 500 people are kidnapped and ransomed each and every month. There is only one gun store in Mexico City, and 7,000 gun stores just across the American border. Well over 2 million children have been raped, tortured, enslaved and murdered in the Congo since 1998. The U.N. is suspected of helping to rig the last elections and the E.U. has decided that voluntary non-use of conflict minerals is the answer, in 2014.
I am no believer in life after death, but I believe in intelligent design because it’s so fucking obvious. An Arctic hare’s fur doesn’t turn white in the winter and then back to brown in the summer as the result of the survivability of random mutations over time. Our eyes are über complex responses to electromagnetic wavelengths, our ears are a complex response to slight variations in air pressure. A chameleon changes it skin colour in response to random background colours. I believe evolution is an inadequate hypothesis to explain these sophisticated and complex responses to environment.
So, why are two kids raised by the same parents so different from one another? One is a timid introvert, the other a bully. It’s nature’s way of ensuring the survival of one of them due to unforeseen environmental circumstance. This is why we are always so divided. This is why we will fail.
I’ve noticed that there are climate deniers on the right. But, there are extinction deniers on the left. The left side magically thinks we will reduce energy and increase efficiency while running our mega cities on some magic combination of renewable energy. In 40 years, assuming no cataclysm, the largest migration in human history will be near completion as mega cities strive to hold 80% of human population.
A lot of young urban kids think that as long as you take transit and shop at farmer’s market, that you are not hurting the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cities are made of concrete, steel, glass and asphalt. These things are the most carbon intensive products ever. Everywhere you walk, all the condos and telecom buildings are paid for with your taxes and monthly bills. Well over 5 million people were killed in the Congo so we could write the blogs we see now. There’s a little piece of death in every cellphone, tablet, green car, solar panel and wind turbine.
We will not escape ourselves. We kill 90 elephants every day of the year. They have devised a species specific warning call to others that “humans” are on the prowl. We kill 2-3 rhinos every day because the keratin that makes up their horns is worth $20,000.00 per pound after it is ground up into powder that gets snorted up the noses of Asians in nightclubs.
Ask any butcher if seeing so much death inures you to violence. Ask any hunter. Controlling fire and hunting weapons saved our species, changed us and inevitably doomed everything else.
“An Arctic hare’s fur doesn’t turn white in the winter and then back to brown in the summer as the result of the survivability of random mutations over time. Our eyes are über complex responses to electromagnetic wavelengths, our ears are a complex response to slight variations in air pressure. A chameleon changes it skin colour in response to random background colours. I believe evolution is an inadequate hypothesis to explain these sophisticated and complex responses to environment.”
– you “believe”, and it’s already a thing which should possibly stop me from commenting. But call me reckless, i’d still try. Who knows, may be you’ll hear.
Hare’s lifespan is a few years, new generation is every 2 years or so, on average. I suspect those fellows were around for dozens of millions of years. Let’s say 5 dozens. And i suspect their population was on average at least few millions at any given time. Let’s say 5 millions. So. 60.000.000 (years) * 5.000.000 (hares) / 2 = 150 TRILLIONS of acts of reproduction.
Even before hares evolved as a species, their ancestors most likely already had the mechanism of seasonal fur change – not for camouflage, but purely for thermal regulation. This clearly offers an advantage in terms of survival, so such a mechanism, once appeared due to random mutation (or, much more likely, in a process of gene diffusion from other, possibly microscopic symbiont, species, – we only start to realize how important “horizontal” inter-species gene exchange actually is), – so hares most likely had that from the start.
Any single act of reproduction could bring in a mutation which alters color of fur during those already-present in hares seasonal fur change. Color of most fur around is usually coded by a SINGLE prothein, which is coded by a SINGLE gene. When such gene fails, we see “albino” animals (there are all kinds of albinos!) – white ones. In hares, the random mutation is likely to “switch” such a “coloring fur” gene off for every “going to winter” fur change. It’s quite “binary” thing, and it certainly happened MANY times, as a random mutation (happened as a result of background Earth radioactivity) during some 150 TRILLIONS acts of reproduction hares had (give or take few orders of magnitude, as this is extremely rude estimate).
No doubt that such a _useful_ feature, at least in few of those few cases, – would help its “owner” to survive, and thus, to reproduce. Thus the feature spred to more and more hares, and quite soon (in evolutionary terms), arctic hares all had it.
Next, eyes. Our eyes are not exactly “our” (as in, “humans'”). In fact, very little of them is unique to human being. The same design of eyes is used for most if not all mammals, as well as other huge groups of animals. This means this design is hundreds of millions to billions years old. Number of organisms with eyes who ever lived during this huge amount of time, – is even more astronomical; i don’t think i know the word to describe it. Some “trillions of trillions of trillions of trillions”? Something like that. May be more. Thing is, the complexity of eyes did not appear all of a sudden. There are ALL sorts of “simpler eyes”, “other eyes”, “not so potent eyes”, “not so color-vision eyes”, “microscopic eyes” etc etc in Nature. Stereoscopic vision is also not human-uniqie, nor even mammals-unique feature. Dragonflies probably have better vision than we do – especially applied to task of hunting flying insects. Overall, vision’s complexity could well develop, step by little step, as a result of random mutation. Very 1st “most rude prototype” of eyes – was probably a prothein structure self-regulating in such a way so that it’d avoid to stay too close to any surface too hot (as this would denaturate the prothein), – in such a location, protheins which wouldn’t do this “dodge” would eventually become less frequent than protheins which do, because denaturating kills protheins outright. Natural selection in action, you see.
Chameleon’s ability is indeed one of toughest to even guess about in terms of biologic evolution. However, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen “on its own” – as a result of random mutation, gene transfer, natural selection and sufficient time. If i don’t understand something, – i don’t put the thing into “made by some higher power” cathegory. Otherwise i’d be too similar to some of our ancestors, who did not understand lightning, and thus decided that it’s Zeus who “throws” lightnings from the sky. Nowadays, we know for SURE it’s not Zeus, and that lightnings are not “thrown”, too.
Plus, i didn’t even try to find out details about how chameleon evolved his awesome blending abilities. I only know some sea creatures have similar – sometimes even much superior to chameleon’s – ability to camuflage by changing their body color. Doing some honest reading of scientific papers on the subject could possibly explain alot. I didn’t do it, so i don’t claim i know how chameleon’s thing work. But did you, to claim so decisively that it can’t be a result of natural evolution? If you did, please point me to such works. I’ll educate myself and will say “thanks!”. If you did not, though, then i can’t see how can you be so sure.
Valiant effort, I sincerely applaud and thank you. But, what you explained to me was more the mechanics of random evolution over time. Eyes, ears, camouflage as a series of random mutations incidentally leading to sight, hearing etc. through the vast expanse of numbers and time.
All science is belief, followed by theory and verified proof. A hypothesis first, followed by evidence in support of it. Scientists believe in things that evidence appears to support. You can objectively measure, but not necessarily hypothesize.
If hare bunny’s fur turns white in the winter and brown in the summer to regulate heat instead of for camouflage, wouldn’t that be backwards? Please, I do not mean to make fun of you. I am very serious about this subject and I very dearly appreciate your reply. I’ve read about the incidental evolutionary development of eyes. Plausible, yes. Believable? I don’t know. Especially the interaction of flower colours designed to attract bees who developed the eyes to see the flower colours to which they are attracted. Please, if someone can clue me in, please feel encouraged to do so. I need a good counter-argument.
I think I understand what you say, but, much like life after death, I still can’t buy it. As for the “higher power” thing, all life is a higher power, and I don’t even even pretend to understand, though I may try, but I believe what I see.
buz painter said:
“Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen Meyer
I’m unqualified to argue about evolution in any detail, but maybe you will take instruction from P.Z. Meyers, who teaches evolutionary biology and writes the blog Pharyngula:
Here’s the bullet: “Cosmos referred to the calculations by Nilsson and Pilger that the morphological changes to transform a flat light sensitive patch into a spherical eye ball with a lens that could form an image on a retina would require conservatively a few hundred thousand generations. They did this by incrementally modeling the shape of an eye is it transformed, determining that a) 1,829 steps with a magnitude of a 1% change in shape were required, and b) calculating the optical acuity at each step, and showing that each 1% change would increase acuity slightly (no backtracking or loss of optical quality was required in any step). They then used reasonable estimates of heritability and phenotypic variance and weak selection to calculate that a 0.005% change in shape in each generation was possible, meaning that you could easily get the whole transformation in 364,000 generations.”
Hare’s fur was changing twice a year, i suspect, before the color change was even there. I.e., one of mammals which was an ancestor of arctic hare – developed a mechanism which changed its fur twice a year, WITHOUT colorchange, – the change was about composition, possibly amount and length, or fur. The purpose of such a change was to provide better insulation during winter, and lighter insulation during summer (to prevent overheating – mammals need to dissipate heat). I know for a fact that cats and dogs have such a fur change – without color changing, – exactly for better heat management throughout a year. On top of this, dogs (and probably cats as well) have special “heat sinks” being their paws (“feet”) – those furless areas on which they walk. I’ve seen ifra-red video of arctic dogs, their feet are glowing bright – body heat is dissipating though these parts of their body.
Then Arctic hare evolved, probably having this fur change mechanism – still without color change, – for heat management. And then a single gene mutation, random, caused by background radiation, in a single (or, few, over time) hares – caused the color change for winter fur. Natural selection made sure this new feature, – color change, – spred to the whole population and stayed for good. That’s what happened, i guess.
As for flowers, – when i was a kid, my family had a small farm, and among other things, we were growing some flowers. From these times, i know that there is no flowers which is EXACTLY the same as any other, in terms of color. THere are always differences to each flower – often tiny, but still detectable even with a naked eye with careful observation. Both main color and also distribution of colors vary, even if a tiny bit. Sometimes variation is not even tiny – but massive. For some flowers species, that is. This variability, exact reasons for which i do not know, – has its consequences. One of consequences is, obviously, how well any given flower attracts insects which are required to pollinate the flower. Flowers with “better” color and/or color distribution for the task – obviously have a bit higher chance to be pollinated, – and thus, higher chance to transfer THEIR genes to the next generations, thus increasing probability that next generations of those flowers would have colors being closer to this particular variant. With millions of generations, colors would certainly shift, by this mechanism, towards ones which are gfit nearly perfectly to insects which pollinate those flowers.
Insects, in turn, are also things which change (evolve) over time, so the process never settles up; flowers always keep adapting to their pollinators. And, because there are so many species of insects which pollinate flowers, – and many of them have quite different eyes from each other, – there are also many different colors, shapes and forms of flowers in nature.
A specialist in pollination – or some paper on the subject, – will probably explain things much better than i did; after all, pollination is a major agriculture service, and is relatively well studied.
Still another thing to comment! Sigh… Quote: “Civilization, though it’s adherents would cite its peaceful and good natured virtues, is a bringer of death and suffering.”
This is obviously not entirely correct. While civilizations – most of them anyways, – are known to bring death and suffering indeed, – they are also known to bring the opposite – life, – to many generations of humans involved. Otherwise, how would one explain that advancements in civilization allow for much higher human populations after invention of agriculture, – and then once again much higher human populations after industrial revolution?
And do not be mistaken, – when we speak “higher population”, this literally means “less death”. Because even today, there is no shortage of infant mortality in the world. Higher human populations means less babies/kids died in their young, it’s that simple. Instead of starving to death, they lived.
And this is easily explained – both death and destruction and also life instead of death for so many, – if we’d use my definition for “civilization”, given above. Key feature of civilization – maintaining (and gradually increasing) non-genetic information civilized society has available, – this feature is not about some abstract knowledge; not primarily, anyways. No. When we speak about saving / adding to the civilization’s non-genetic information, – we primarily talk about information which helps to SURVIVE. However, humans being humans, most of this information mainly helps HUMANS to survive – and not nesessarily other species. Some wiser civilizations have discovered their dependance on some few other species and do care about those, – but none, so far, was able (as a whole society of a significant scale) to care about Gaia as a whole.
This is exactly the source of both “more life for us” and “more death for us and for everything else” effects. The former is achieved initially, as a direct consequence of civilization’s ability to provide for more human than otherwise possible. This effect has limited timeframe, though, – because sooner or later, for any civilization i’ve been reading about, it is overpowered by the latter. The latter grows with time, as a result of unforeseen and/or neglected long-term effects of human civilization. Mankind does very same thing today: we exploit the environment for “more life now” (however twisted and corrupted it would be in some modern societies), – at the price of “less life some day in the future”.
It is just that “some day in the future” is, in many regards, already here. In many other regards – it’ll come in observable future. We are already paying for mistakes, shortsightedness and human nature of our ancestors (fathers, grandfathers and beyond). Our children will pay even more. Our grandchildren will probably suffer the most death there will be as a result of global civilization collapse.
Yet, cruel as it may sound, the largest hope of human species survival – is to maintain at least some form of civilization. Exactly because it gives more life at least “for a while”, – and because there are few hundreds of ESPECIALLY harsh times ahead of us, being the result of imminent thermal maximum on Earth, biosphere dieout, initial phases of re-balancing and coming tothe new relative equilibrium for Earth climate system.
This future civilization(s) won’t be global – can’t be, given circumstances, – they will be regional. Much lower technology levels, too. Average, at least. But without staying civilized, our chances – as a species, – approach nil very much.
IMHO, of course.
I agree. This poster got the gist of it correctly, I believe. Whereas “information theory” may encompass what the post projects, it doesn’t get to the “nitty-gritty” of it.
Information, like “ideas” seems so innocuous and harmless, but they are anything but.
This post illustrates where the rubber meets the road rather than the view from the ivory tower that Tnioli describes. It’s like looking at everything we do being based on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Yeah, so what? How does that spell out all the nuance and depravity that’s occurred, the waste, the segregation, the stupidity and short-sightedness in any but the most generalized way? This post spells it out clearly and the author admits that he doesn’t have all the answers, which I appreciate (because those who think they do are so hubris-laden that it’s almost impossible to interact with them in any meaningful way).
Ivory tower? Geez. Nothing like it. I just share correct – in my opinion, – understanding of the TERM “civilization”. All the problems mentioned in the article are indeed present – but they are not a property of _any_ civilization, only of present global industrial one. I wouldn’t bother to put so many words to clear this – not exactly most simple, – issue, – if not the fact that our species’ only hope is to create very different civilization and with its help, to survive through imminent thermal maximum and centuries of climate chaos and destruction.
So it’s kinda important to set the terms right, i guess. Isn’t it?
P.S. In no way i consider myself “right” or “better”. I just express my opinion, and it may be wrong. I usually am not wrong, but sometimes it happens. Just a human, so please discuss and argument if you disagree with me, ok? Fixing my errors is one of things i value the most.
Oh, and no, i do not think you’re unfair (you said, quote: “A tirade against the ills of civilization is old hat for me, and certainly, there will be readers who think me unfair.”).
I do think, however, that you see “civilization” as too much black-and-white thing. According to the definition of it i gave above, – any given civilization can be very, very different from others. Just like organisms, – there is near infinite possible variety. And just like organisms, – nobody said that every civilization must be completely healthy and sustainable. Quite the opposite! What we know about civilizations (ones of the past and the present global one, too) – most of this knowledge clearly indicates that civilizations:
– are “mortal”, i.e. can’t function indefinitely;
– can be “young”, “grown”, “flourishing”, “old”, “sick”, “agonizing”;
– are very much vulnerable to a number of types of changes in the environment, quite many of such changes can “kill” civilizations (at least some types of) outright.
In my book, present global civilization is indeed very sick and ill. This, however, does not mean that concept of civilization – at least, if to define it as i do, – does not mean the concept itself is “evil” or something. Nope.
Note, though, how you use “ills” to sum your tirade up – but do not use “ills”, instead speaking about civilization in general, in the tirade itself. It shows that your subconsiousness, probably, already recognised that the problem is not with the concept of civilization itself, – but with circumstances and forms present-day civilization exist in.
Still, your consiousness is not yet there, it seems. Because, staying “against” being civilized in general – in my book, this is about as correct as to stay against being alive, and doing so ONLY because you somewhat closely inspected a particularly deadly life form (say, for example, an organism which is responsible for causing malaria in humans) and came to a conclusion – based on this simple inspection, – that all living beings cause suffering and death (Malaria indeed does, you know). Heck, most of organisms in fact cause suffering and death, since most of them compete for resources and energy. Living things – most of them, for sure, – cause both suffering and death to other living things, including, – quite often, – other organisms of the same species. Spiders even eat their mates, etc. IS it a reason to go and jump-from-a-rock and die? Geez, even if it is, i doubt it’d get us anywhere.
Same with civilizations, you see. Just gotta find out how to create good enough one, me thinks. Nothing else, nothing more.
I was just imagining a graphic that could sum-up our situation and the movie Dr. Strangelove came to mind. A graphic of an a-bomb showing witless riders on their way to ground zero. The a-bomb could be called “GreedyBoy” and so written on its side. The riders from back to front would be a chimp holding a stick, then Homo erectus holding a spear, an early agrarian holding a hoe, a scientist holding a calculator and then Slim Pickens whooping it up on the front as the whole thing heads for ground zero. Pretty much sums up our progression into oblivion.
Kevin Moore said:
I don’t want to bore you folk but here is a summary of my half-hour meeting yesterday with the local MP. One person I spoke with yesterday declared I was wasting my time talking to the MP. However, I do it so that he cannot say he did not know when it all soon turns to custard. And it is starting to.
Kevin Moore and Jonathan Young, 24th March 2014
Main points of discussion
1. Extraction of conventional oil peaked 2005 to 2008, and is in terminal decline. As time passes less and less conventional oil becomes available.
2. Increases in domestic consumption in oil-exporting nations is resulting in faster-than-geological decline in market availability.
3. Present globalised economic arrangements are being propped up by highly environmentally destructive unconventional oil, which is acquired using very high energy inputs, high financial input and high resource inputs. The EROEI is low, and is generally declining. The global warming emissions are high and are generally rising.
4. Demand destruction has permitted some increased oil consumption in industrialising regions of the world, as developed economies slowly implode.
5. The so-called financial crisis of 2008 was in part a resource crisis. ‘Kicking the can down the road’ financially via money-printing and developing unconventional energy sources has allowed the globalised economic system to persist far longer than it should have.
6. A never-ending, civilisation-terminating energy crisis will occur very soon, almost certainly by 2018, and possibly as early as 2016.
7. Numerous nations are already on the brink of collapse –Japan, Italy, Greece, Spain etc., and China, the so-called powerhouse of the global economy, is reporting signs of the bubble bursting.
8. Although NZ is better placed than many nations, it will be ‘dragged under’ by the ‘whirlpool’ of international collapse by 2020 at the latest.
1. In the mid-nineteenth century carbon dioxide was identified as a gas that would cause global warming.
2. By the 1970s it was clear that severe overheating of the Earth would occur if fossil fuels continued to be burned.
3. No action has been taken to reduce emissions, and the CO2 content now stands at approximately 400ppm. The last time such a level occurred there we no humans and sea levels were about 23 metres above current level.
4. The only reason sea levels have not risen rapidly is that it takes time for heat energy to reach the depths of the oceans and for ice to melt.
5. March 2014 witnessed the lowest ever Arctic ice cover, and the highest ever (in recorded history) temperatures in the Arctic region.
6. The high temperatures in the Arctic have caused a breakdown of long-standing climate systems, in particular jet stream flows. This resulted in extraordinarily chaotic and extremely destructive weather patterns. As the Arctic continues to overheat, the disruption will increase dramatically.
7. California is in the most severe drought in history, and all the evidence indicates it will not be habitable in its present form for much longer; approximate 25% of US food supply is about to be wiped out.
8. Following record high temperatures, Queensland is suffering unprecedented drought, and if current condition persist, much of the Australian economy will soon collapse.
9. Numerous institutions, from NASA to the Royal Society of NZ have pointed out that government policies in NZ and throughout the world are making the situation rapidly worse.
10. Few official bodies are prepared to acknowledge that the Earth will become largely uninhabitable for humans in a few decades as a consequence of warming caused by emissions.
11. My discussion with the one of the world’s leading climate researchers at the University of Ottawa indicates that the effect of methane has been grossly understated by officialdom, and the correct warming factor for methane is of the order of 250, not 34. Application of correct figures puts the total carbon dioxide equivalent well in excess of 700ppm, which will lead to Near Term Human Extinction within what would have been the lifetime of children alive now.
1. Much of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activity has been absorbed by the oceans
2. Carbon dioxide is acidic and elevated levels have cause the pH of the oceans to drop, disrupting the ability of corals and shellfish to survive.
3. As the organisms at the base of the ocean bio-system are gradually killed off by excessive acidity the entire ecology of the ocean systems is placed at risk. Dead oceans result in a largely dead planet.
Sixth Great Extinction Event
1. There have been five great extinction events in the past 600 million years, and four of them were due to changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the oceans.
2. The current rate of change of the composition of the atmosphere and the oceans corresponds to at least 100 times faster than any previous extinction event. Previous extinction events resulted in up to 95% loss of life on Earth/
NPDC and central government policies
1. NPDC does not comply with the Local Government Acts of 2002 and 2012.
2. Policies are geared to the rapid looting and polluting of the commons, and providing opportunists with the opportunity to do so. These policies are promoted via systematic lying to the community.
3. The submission process is a farce; when irrefutable scientific evidence is presented to demonstrate that the council is on completely the wrong track and is making everything that matter rapidly worse, that evidence is ignored.
4. Council officers act as a law unto themselves, and strongly resist and action that would make them accountable. The majority of councillors are scientifically and financially illiterate, and are not capable or making decisions for the common good.
5. Most central government policies are geared to making everything that matters worse, and are geared to the impoverishment and premature death of the next generation via energy depletion and environmental collapse.
6. The bulk of the populace is so ignorant and ‘dumbed-down’ they don’t care.
7. The state of ignorance and being ‘dumbed-down’ of the general populace is promoted by senior officers and the CEO of NPDC, who actively block the public discussion of the truth or any challenging of their insane policies.
8. It will be the young who will pay the highest price for all this insanity.
Nice work, the only quibble is that the rate of extinction is too variable and subjective to reliably report. ( Even though I use 100 times above normal.)
Another thing I thought you may be interested in is that the recent loss of Arctic albedo has a heat forcing equivalent to 30% of emissions over the last 30 years. Allegedly a fucking mind-blowing number.
Few details for your consideration, Kevin.
1. – you said “much” CO2 is absorbed by the oceans. I’ve seen detailed research on the subject, which reveals that so far (until 2010 at very least), the ocean absorbs amazingly constant amount of additional CO2 mankind emits – namely 57%. However, Hansen et al argue that in the future, as carbon release into athmosphere reaches multi-trillion-tons scale, this figure will be significantly reduced, possibly to as low as 35% or so.
2. – Carbon dioxide itself is NOT acidic. Please don’t give any chances for deniers to catch you incorrect, if it can be prevented, i think. What is acidic – is carbonic acid, which is FORMED when carbon dioxide gets dissolved in water (CO2 + H2O -> H2CO3, the latter being carbonic acid, which in water solution – ocean, – exists in the form of two separate particles (ions): H+ and HCO3-, thus being an acid).
Additionally, it may be good to mention to them that during last ~100 years, amount of carbonic acid in the ocean increased by more than 30%, and the rate of increase is accelerating, matching very precisely the accelerating rate of CO2 concentration in the air.
11. – 34 is NOT incorrect factor for methane; it’s longer-term average factor (over a century). This doesn’t make it incorrect, as it is still important to calculate longer-term effects – as well as short-term. Also, as i was explaining before, correct short-term for methane is far lower than 250 (i’ve been giving you two kinds of calculations both resulting in a figure being some 124…131 factor for short-term (1 year) methane factor, if my memory serves). There are at least several scientific papers confirming this, too (i think you can easily find some of them online). Again, we must be careful not to give deniers any means to demonstrate us being incorrect even in some part, i think.
6. – this statement is, i believe, incorrect. Modern industrial civilization still has a tremendous reserve, huge “backup power” to work from. This reserve – is excess. I mean, even now, much if not most resources – energy in particular, – which are used, – are used excessively. This means that when pressed, the system will get rid of such excessive use, and will continue to function for quite some more time. The process is in fact well underway during last ~30 years, since amount of energy per capita is in a large decline during last 30 years. Few manifestations of the process which public hears about – like energy-saving light bulbs and less-gallons-per-hundred-miles cars, – are but a tip of an iceberg, quite insignificant tip. Real shrinking is happening within industrial complexes themselves.
Huge “savings” of fuel, for example, are achieved by using much larger than in the past agriculture machinery – economy of scale in its literal sense. USA is well known to develop and implement huge agriculture machinery, resulting in seriously less fuel total spent to work any particular field.
Another example is aviation, where whole fleets of jet liners which were terribly inefficient in terms of fuel consumption – are replaced by several times more efficient liners. Several times is not an exagerration – just 20 years ago, there were large fleets of USSR-built Tu-154 liners, which are known to burn fuel at a rate times faster (per person-mile travelled) than modern airliners of western designs.
Still, so far, all such massive “cutting excess spending” processes – are mainly not noticed by general public, and are not decreasing “quality of life” any dramatically. This proves that there is still huge reserve present, – because we know that any “ultimate saving” which is possible to do – cuts quality of life much. We know that from WW2 times, when whole countries were forced to take much of resources usually spent for society, and put those resources to their military. Resulting processes led to
– food rationing,
– limited illumination of homes,
– limited or absent public transportation,
– shutdown or dwarfing of many/most of non-essential institutions (sport, arts, much of “services sector”, hobby clubs and so on), and
– massive increase of workload for many or even most workers (both intensifying of work process and also increasing length of workday).
I have no doubt that modern industrial civilization will use most, if not all, of those measuers – much like during a war time, – before it would shut down.
As such, i am quite sure that (at least most of) global industrial civilization will stand for at very least 10 more years, more likely 15…25 years, before it will be shut down. Even, it would still be much longer than in ~20 years from now, if not for methane clathrates and deposits in the Arctic, which, as we know, start to emit methane in unprecedented amounts now. I expect gigaton-scale annual methane emissions in Arctic to start to happen in about 10 years, give or take, and this will greatly accelerate warming and cause unprecedented damage to industrial agriculture and to many other industries as well. If not for that, global industrial civilization would possibly stand for some 50 more years or even longer, since it has some limited ability to counter-act most devastating effects of climate change by technologies like the one described by US patent 5003186 (this one is likely being in action since late 1990s, at least to some extent). But we do have methane problem, and even ~125 higher than CO2 factor for short-term methane greenhouse effect – is a huge enough figure to doom global civilization few years after gigaton-scale methane emissions become a reality. So in my opinion, the shutdown will happen some time in late 2020s or during 2030s, which is still too soon to feel any safe if you’d ask me.
I wish you best of luck in your noble work, Kevin. And, stay safe!
Kevin Moore said:
The state of war between the local council and the community I live in (NPDC has declared war on the people of the district) has forced me to write the following (now 2:00am, better get to bed).:
Mrs Barbara McKerrow, New Plymouth District Council CEO,
In response to my request to meet with you I received today a letter, signed by you, threatening me with a trespass order.
I will remind you of the circumstances under which you went down that track previously: I made an appointment with you to discuss the incompetence of senior council officers and the fact that misinformation was constantly being promulgated by NPDC staff. In particular, at that time Rory Palmer, who had no qualifications to speak of in the field of chemistry (I have an Honours Degree in Chemistry and have been involved in senior numerous senior management roles), had made various declarations about the operation of the sewage treatment facility which were totally untrue, and which I had demonstrated to be untrue using the council’s own data. Policy decisions were made by NPDC on the basis of his lies.
At the time I was naïve enough to think that I needed to advise you of the incompetence of senior council officers in order to help you, and that you would be grateful for that information in order to deal appropriately with a very difficult situation. How stupid of me! How naïve! Your prime concern was not to seek truth and establish sustainable practices in the community but to protect the incompetent of senior council officers from public scrutiny and protect the various loot-and-pollute opportunities the council had established. Interestingly, not long after that Rory Palmer left NPDC.
You cancelled that appointment at very short notice, and when I complained to your personal assistant, asking: “Who the hell does this McKerrow woman think she is? She is a public servant, paid for by public money.” you placed the trespass order on me.
We should note that the trespass order of that time was founded on various lies, in particular, your assertion that staff were ‘scared of me’. Not long after that order was issued I was required to fill in a council form, and a female member of staff (Colleen) came to my house alone to facilitate that matter: that’s how scared of me the staff were (are)! We know everything that comes from you is pretence, exaggeration, fabrication and lies, Barbara. Indeed, I met a very nice chap a just few months ago who had a very similar experience to mine and have heard of others. Manipulation, bullying, censorship and covert fascism, and a general viciousness are all legitimate tools as far as you are concerned. We are just waiting for the covert fascism that characterises NPDC to morph into overt fascism. We, as a community, are sure you can manage it, Barbara. After all, it’s all Orwelian now: war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. And everything that is unsustainable is described as sustainable under the box-ticking culture of never thinking that you have fostered. There are ‘no negative consequences’ (the most common statement in the so-called plan) to anything because you live in fantasyland, and as you said upon your initial appointment: “Feeling good [in the short term] is top priority. Never mind reality or the consequences of not dealing with reality: pass all the consequences onto the next generation and make the next generation the ‘sacrifice zone’, so that a few selfish and greedy individuals can have a good time at everyone else’s expense for just a little longer..
Back to the main thrust of this email; Rory Palmer’s role was filled by Kate McNauaght, another person with no scientific or financial knowledge to speak of, and her responses to scientific matters and financial matter were completely inane! She left some time after being exposed as incompetent.
Maureen Crombie was the next to fill the role of Manager of Strategy and Policy. Unlike previous appointees, Maureen was not completely clueless, and had some moral fibre. I had a vey productive meeting with her about two years ago in which she understood the urgent need to deal with the issues I was raising; indeed, at the end of our meeting she asked me: “What are the answers.” I did provide her with some answers but she was unable to implement them since to do so would have impinged on various rorts being operated within and by the council. And to do so would have challenged the culture of denial of reality which pervades NPDC.
We on the outside of your dysfunctional organisation are not privy to the internal politicking that goes on. Let us just say that Maureen Crombie left NPDC not too many months after her meeting with me, the media report indicating she was there in the morning and gone in the afternoon; the consensus community view is that she either she resigned in disgust at the corruption and lies, or was pushed out, with a severance package predicated on her ‘vanishing into the mist’ and saying nothing. That scenario has been confirmed by a long-standing district councillor.
The position was left vacant for 14 or 15 months, and persons with even lower levels of competence than usual were assigned planning and strategy planning duties, a clear demonstration of your inefficiency and incompetence as CEO.
When I made enquiries late in 2013, Simon Pickford was acting as temporary fill in, even though he has no knowledge of the matters essential to proper planning for the future. He advised that an appointment would be made in 2014.
I recently had a meeting with the newly appointed Policy and Strategy Manager (or to use the latest buss word, team leader, not that there is any teamwork in NPDC and even less community input, as clearly evidenced by the constant failure of people to communicate within the organisation or to members of the public. I have so many ‘customer service requests’ left not dealt with by council officers I have given up requesting them, with the exception of the complaint about the Caltex car wash, which sprays toxic detergent mist over passers-by, and which the council is not particularly bothered about, since the prime concern of NPDC is business-as-usual, whatever the consequences). Lucy Graydon was most appreciative of the time I spent with her, and thanked me profusely for the time and the information I had given her. Undoubtedly, given a month or two, she will be inculcated into the culture of corruption, bullying and denial-of-reality that pervades NPDC. After all, it was the new mayor, Andrew Judd, who as a councillor, described the council administration as “corrupt and irredeemable”. And he has now either fallen victim to that culture of corruption and lies or had no intention of doing what he said he would do at the time of the election campaign, which was to bring back honesty and accountability to NPDC. Either way, it is betrayal. Lucy Graydon will either ‘sell her soul’ and sacrifice her future in order to keep her job, or will stand by her principles and get ‘shafted’ just and Maureen Crombie was.
Let us be quite clear about this: NPDC did not abide by the provisions of the Local Government Act of 2002, and does not abide by the provisions of the Local Government Act 2012. Andrew Judd and numerous councillors are well aware of this. However, since the majority of councillors are what are generally described as trough-feeders, and the vast majority of them are scientifically and financially illiterate (as are all the senior council officers), we have the situation in which the majority of councillors will vote in favour of almost any nonsense presented to them by incompetent senior council officers. I vividly recall the conversation I had with the NPDC Chief Financial Officer, Phil Armstrong, who had never heard of Fractional Reserve Banking and had no idea how bond markets function, nor any idea about interest rates or the workings of economies: when questioned, he simply referred to a report from an out-of-town consultant, who also didn’t know what he was talking about. Yet another overpaid incompetent fool. The essence of NPDC so-called planning can be summed up as the blind leading the blind straight off the cliff.
The current situation is that NPDC has generated yet another ‘tourism brochure’ with a few ‘funny numbers’ which cannot be justified inserted, and called it a plan for the future. The same nonsense that has been copied-and-pasted year after year appears yet again. And senior council officers continue to lie to the community. The drivel about making New Plymouth as place attractive to live in and visit is repeated ad infinitum, ignoring the fact that people have found this an attractive place since the thirteenth century, and Europeans found is so attractive they fought extended wars to f[drive the indigenous people off the land. it’s all hogwash Barbara, and we all know that. Practically everything the council does makes the place less attractive and less sustainable.
The big difference between this year and previous years is that all the forecasts I have made over a period of many years are coming to fruition, and entire economic-political system is on track for collapse between 2014 and 2020, with major disruption inevitable in the Taranaki region by the end of 2016. With no preparation whatsoever by NPDC.
Your near total incompetence and the incompetence of senior council officers will soon be clearly exposed to public scrutiny.
In the meantime, I must advise you that your incompetence and the lies you and your organisation promote have been taken up with Jonathan Young, and undoubtedly you have not heard the last of these matters.
Interestingly, the war that NPDC has declared on the nest generation has been very successful and there is now no hope for the young people of this district. Despite what the incompetent fools Colin Comber and Gary Bedford might say, I can assure you I have been in contact with one of the leading climate change researchers in the world at the University of Ottawa (as discussed with Jonathan Young), and the global warming factor for methane is between 250 and 300, not the 23 the ‘idiots’ at NPDC and TRC think (not that they have the intelligence to apply relative warming factors properly; Colin Comber attempted to lie to me at our last meeting concerning CO2 and clearly clueless, and I now have no respect whatsoever for him or his idiotic, unscientific opinions; likewise Gary Bedford has clearly identified himself as an enemy of the people of the district, especially the young peole): we are headed for rapid termination of life on Earth, almost certainly within a matter of decades, as the temperature rises by 3 to 8 degrees Celsius over coming decades , as a direct consequence of idiotic policies advocated by you and your ‘team’ and similarly idiotic organisations around the world. Not only that, but there will, of course, be a financial meltdown and an energy meltdown in the near future which will result social mayhem and in mass starvation. Congratulations on destroying your progeny’s future. And shame on you for destroying everyone else’s.
Of course , one important difference between NPDC and some other councils and organisations is that NPDC has had numerous warnings about what was coming and numerous pleas to do something to prepare the community, warnings which it has chosen to ignore, whereas some other councils have had no particular warnings and are to some extent less culpable for the coming planetary and regional meltdown.
You see Mrs McKerrow, although you may think yourself very clever and powerful (a very common delusion amongst sociopaths who trample on others in order to rise to positions of power which has been well documented by psychologists and sociologists), making an analogy of a hand of bridge [card game] I hold a hand of four aces, four kings and a queen: you hold a hand consisting of 4s, 3s and 2s. There is no question who whatsoever will win this ridiculous battle you are determined to fight to prop up dysfunctional, unsustainable arrangements in the short term. As Maryanne Priest acknowledged just a few days ago, I know more that all of your staff put together. And I have truth on my side. You have nothing except bullying, dysfunction and a band of ‘clowns’ on yours.
On the other hand, playing the game according to your rules results in nobody winning long terms and everyone of a young age dying prematurely after going through much totally unnecessary suffering. That will be on your conscience till the bitter end, if you have such thing as a conscience.
You still have a miniscule window of opportunity to repent your outrageous behaviour. However, your arrogance and conceit indicate you will not take that opportunity, and will therefore pay the price for your arrogance, conceit and stupidity.
Kevin D Moore
P.S. You will not be at all surprised that this email will be as widely distributed as possible, and its contents will made be available for viewing worldwide. You see, with truth and integrity on my side, I have nothing to hide.
**Kevin Moore Fan Club**
Can I have membership card #2?
Kevin, really I admire your tireless efforts and standing by principles. Nobody gets their feet held to the fire like this, as should happen more often.
Damn, Kevin – way to go!
I’m getting a huge “KEVIN MOORE IS DA BOMB” tatty on my back.
This short video is called, “How Wolves Change Rivers.” It’s beautiful. Anyone who wants to protect wolves, I refer to the Earth First! Wolf Hunt Sabotage Manual.
Last thing. Quote: “Suggesting that there is another way for humans to organize without hierarchy, without massive population centers that require the exploitation of outlying areas, without violence and control; this is not utopianism. ”
Well. For me, being realistic is more important than most other things. So let’s see, what are any society’s needs in REALITY are, can we?
“Another way to organize without hierarchy” – would be unnatural, at very least. There is natural family hierarchy in most cultures. when you _force_ your kid not to do something (which is, for example, dangerous for his life – without the kid being able to realize it himself, yet), – it’s already hierarchy. Because your kid doesn’t try to stab you with a fork or something like that (at least if you’re good parent, your kid would never try to do anything like that) – but complies, perhaps complaining somewhat, or possibly even without. That’s hierarchy, and it’s needed on larger scales as well – because there are people who know better than most. Especially when it’s about specialists. And specialization allows for much tougher-to-fail societies, as you most likely know. So in the end, hierarchy may be just a method to increase resilience of societies, – a method which bears its cost, but cost not too huge to deny the method itself, at least if implemented good enough.
One of most challenging things any human group can do – which is defending (in military sense) the group’s vital resources, lands, animals, ideas, you name it – causes highest observed levels of hierarchy to emerge. This indicates, to me, that in the times of really desprate need, hierarchy is always applied on larger scale. And we have some really desperate times ahead, you know…
“Without massive population centers” – oh, sure, once global industrial civilization goes belly up, we won’t be _able_ to have million-scale cities. Won’t be possible. Yet, population and industrial centers have obvious sense in terms of saving resources for otherwise needed transportation and information exchange (longer-range for both). We don’t want to waste resources for something as easily avoidable as that, or do we? If there is a model for a future i’d dream about – then it’s Huri-Holde, 90-millions green city which does no significant harm to nature; it’s described in a sci-fi “the escape of Earth” novel (not sure if i translate the name properly; it’s in French, originally). Perhaps, some day, in some distant future, humans will make it there… I’d like to hope so.
“Exploitation of outlying areas” – will always be. What you meant is OVERexploitation. Exploiting too much. Yes, with this, i agree. Needs to be stopped, and if we won’t (seems mankind won’t stop it, – as long as present mainstream civilization is ruling), – then it will be stopped for us, of course, with most dire consequences (for us). No civilization may hope to last if there is over-exploitation – excellent examples of past failures in this regard, by the way. Yet, i know of civilization – small, not widely known, – existing even today in some platou in Africa, which exist for over 1000 years with much respect to local animals and plants, and is indeed sustainable. It can be done, you see, it was done there, it is still being done, and i hope more of such civilizations will arise in the future. After all, only this sort of civilizations _can_ last, so it’s even kind of inevitable for sapient creatures to end up living with such a civilization, too. Unless we extinct 1st, of course.
“Without violence and control”. There are, if nothing else, abnormalities. Some few people are pathologically cruel, aggressive, lacking empathy. Quite many papers and experiements were done, up to date, to find out how much of these features are genetic. Turns out, substantial part of those troublesome traits ARE genetic. And we know that without control, such individuals are sometimes able to reign supreme death, suffering and destruction – to both humans and also to other species and whole environment, – so controlling them is a thing i’d say we LACK, and definitely need. Abusing such control is not easy to prevent, and there is price for safety (as quite usual), etc. Still, my point is, we need control – and as a result, violence when no other means work. Much like human body needs white blood cells, which literally kill intruders – to ensure whole body won’t be killed in a matter of few hours or days by some virus or parasite.
…We can’t take anything with us when we die. If a certain balance of the current environment goes, our civilization goes, with a crash. And past another point, we go. If we go, everything else is moot. And, while I think challenging power structures gives us a better chance at lessening this crisis, any new system of political organization that continues with the same modes of development will go the same way. The needs of the natural world come first and must be the principal on which all others are judged. There are no politics now except Green politics, all others are irresponsible and dangerous pretenders.
I have spent the last twelve years living in Shanghai. It is an experience for the thinking person to behold and dread, to be at the centre of relentless urban development at dizzying speeds, cannoning into a model of development that goes against everything we have observed up until this point. It feels like a mass suicide enveloped in hysteria and it was born out of hyperbolic sloganeering and ideology when Deng Xiaoping proclaimed, “Development is hard fact.” He was, of course, just getting onboard with the emerging global ideology. We live in world of finite and declining resources, and all around me, culture and society was feverishly expanding a model where millions of people flooded into a landbase that could not possibly sustain them and therefore required constant mass import of resources from far away areas. Recently I saw that this idea had a name: Megacities9.
At some point across 2012/2013 megacities gained traction as a buzzword and started to penetrate mainstream mass media. I started to read articles, opinions and data-based features about megacities. Most of these pieces included projections and talk of being the model of the future. I learned there were around eight or so sites that featured in these articles and that I lived in one of them, although most of the barely contained excitement was focused on the Pearl River Delta to the south. What shocked me about the emerging discourse and tone of writing was how matter of fact they were about what I see as insanity. Before progressing to the myriad issues megacities throw up, pause to consider this: humanity, at the behest of our planners and leaders, is rushing to occupy and center all activity in areas that science tells us will be flooded and unusable anytime between now and fifty years from now. Think about that. Also, the current types of networks and resources we use to sustain this model are known to be in sharp decline. Megacities represent a rush in the opposite direction to the facts we have. They represent psychological denial at the deepest level, a refusal to admit our own mortality…
Mega Cities On The Edge
Sustaining Mega Cities
Filthy Cities – Old New York
Human and Horse Shit Frozen Over 1 Metre Thick – gotta love it
“There are no politics now except Green politics, all others are irresponsible and dangerous pretenders.”
– oh, but there are! For now, there still are other politics. Worse, those other ones – are dominating. But since it’s a finite world, those politics will one day become physically impossible. There won’t be people to follow them – because most people will die trying, and (i hope) at least few millions will know better, and will manage to run, and hide, and endure on their own – outside of the global system.
And no, those politics which kill the planet as we speak – are not “pretenders”. Those are quite efficient politics, because they manage to achieve (much) results they are created to achieve. In this sense, it is green (truly green) politics which so far is only a pretender…
Besides, humans won’t learn highly complex things without highly strong motivation, you know. After all, we humans are only able to learn that fast, to see that much, to think that intensively, – not higher than our nature allows to. We do enhancements, of course, – specialization in societies, microscopes and advanced learning to name a few, – but still, for mankind as a whole, to learn something as complex as proper care and respect of Gaia – will possibly take thousands of years and dozens of billions of people killed by Gaia’s reconfigurations and climate re-balancing around the globe. Such time and such a pressure is possibly required, since Gaia is darn huge system which operates on all scales – from quantum physics to astronomical factors like ocean tides… Ain’t something we could hope to model in full in any even remotely observable future, you know. Too complex, too huge!
Lots of good insights in the subject post. The comments, however, have become a breeding ground for nitpicking details. I’m among the offenders. For instance, I spotted more than a few lapses of internal logic above, which I would normally bring forward. But my concern over the specific details is ebbing away. And although I can certainly fill a blog post or a comments window with text, my motivation for doing so is also disappearing quickly. Haven’t felt this way in a while.
This won’t be “sayonarra and thanks for all the fish,” but my participation might be minimal for a while until (if) my motivation returns. xraymike has said similar things, so I’m sure most of us understand the battle fatigue. If I have anything worthwhile to add (rather than taking issue), I’ll respond. Otherwise, I’ll probably go into lurk mode.
What we have become… The Deification of Technology (For an excellent sci-fi allegory on this, read the short story The People of Sand and Slag):
Excerpt from The Illusion of Freedom and Equality By Richard Stivers…
“Uncontested matherial and spiritual power”? Wrong, i say.
Here are few of its contestants, finely existing today (in no particular order, some are matherial powers, others are spiritual, few are possibly both):
– nuclear weapons
– religions (some few which ae still strong, – radical islam is a good example)
– mass media
There are more, i bet, than those few, too. No doubt, there are many people – perhaps we can label this group as a “class”, – who indeed worship technological advancement and consider it the ultimate matherial power. “Technocrats”, was it? Whatever. Some other folks – among whom there are quite successful ones, – believe other “gods” (some of which are just named above).
I mean, we all know that there are generals who are absolutely sure that nuclear weapons – is the ultimate power; there are corporate bosses who see consumer base as the ultimate power of the market (and thus, of the world); there are religious fanatics, wall street “money junkies”, mass media “big people” like Rupert Murdock, oil olygarchs, and even few politicians who honestly think that they know how to control much/all of the world.
But who actually rule the world, then? What is the ultimate power, today? I say, it’s the SUM of those and other significant powers. An integral of all those forces, so to say, taken according to actual effects and events which were solely caused by men of power within all those (and some others) “belief systems”, if you will. Any other view – like the one above, or like relatively recent research which claimed that world is ruled by a few dozens financial organizations, or any view like “oil rules the world, so, those who controls oil – rule the world”, – all such views are one-sided, incomplete, and thus can’t provide adequate basis for working any solution.
I came across the following essay this morning and initially was intrigued:
But then I got to Charles Hugh Smith’s solution to the problem of inequality and alarm bells went off:
Both Darbikrash and Systemic Disorder have pointed out that central banks are integral to capitalism and the “End the Fed” argument is used by people who don’t really know that what they really hate is capitalism itself. I queried Darbikrash on this and got an enlightening response:
I read CHS’ book ‘Survival+…’ some years ago, and at the time I thought it was pretty good. I think he is suffering what many of these writers suffer from, which is a rapidly expiring shelf life. They have pressure to keep innovating and expounding, and the results are strained and often not credible.
What we see from CHS and others is a constant attempt at trying to re-interpret what we already know in ways that really strain credibility. They are trying to repackage events into forms that can be construed as “new” and “insightful” and I find these efforts most often fall flat- as it does with his essay.
A great example of this phenomena is the recent Bill Moyers interview with Mike Lofgren, a “fallen angel” Republican who has apparently discovered that all was not right within his party’s orthodoxy. He has deemed the state of current affairs is authoritarian and he calls this “new” phenomena the Deep State, used to describe the overlap between corporate America and the typical functions of governance.
This is no more than a regurgitation of what Marx has already said and predicted- as the Deep State is hardly new, but it sure sounds better when a reformed (sic) Republican comes up with a new term for a very old concept.
Similarly, CHS tries to reinterpret Saez and Piketty in supposedly new ways- and he makes some rather important intellectual errors.
The explanation for wealth inequality has its roots in Marxian theory, which provided a robust explanation for how and why these inequalities occur- and the futility of trying to circumvent them. Abolishing the Fed, as well as monetary revisionism in general are weak beer in the face of the root cause of inequality.
The system dynamics responsible for these effects are rooted in data-that much I give him, but the data he should be looking at is the 2,772 corporations that own +80% of all corporate assets (means of production) and as such dictate and control income distributions. It is important to start at the root, which is corporate ownership, corporate debt, and corporate income, and understand how this propagates down to the individual. Not the other way ‘round. Incredibly, the entire US debt accrued since the signing of the constitution in 1776 is represented with 7 months of gross receipts of the aggregate income of all US corporations. The aggregate surplus value of the sum of all US corporations could be monetized and used to pay cash for the entire debt in about 14 months of business receipts.
Is the problem really the debt? Cheap money?
Yes, there is fictitious capital, and yes it is (more) damaging as compared to industrial capital, but it is simply adding a Ponzi component to a system that already is intrinsically exploitative and distributive.
Ultimately these “The Fed is providing free money to undeserving bastards- end the Fed” arguments are simply red herrings, and fuel the fires of monetary revisionists who are too lazy, or too frightened to pick up a copy of Das Capital.
“Global military spending is now an integral part of capitalism…”
I guess Edwin Starr didn’t understand.
Seeing through her own cognitive dissonance:
Elizabeth Kolbert on How Tech Can — And Can’t — Tackle Climate Change and Extinction
Sherwood Rowland, one of the scientists who discovered ozone depleting chemicals and who recently died, had a couple of great lines, including one I quoted in the book. “The work is going well, but it looks like it might be the end of the world.”
Another was, and I’m paraphrasing, “What’s the use of having predictive science if you don’t listen to the predictions?”
(The full quote goes: “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”)
Reblogged this on Gaia will prevail.
We always had it in us…
It surprise me too, but then again people committing suicide often get inebriated or get high before they do themselves in.
Generalization, harmful one, too. There is no “we, the Human” thing. There are humans, yes, but some of humans differ very much from others. Furthermore, this particular piece contains more incorrect or one-sided statements than most things said around, Mike. In my opinion, of course. Please, consider that
– many humans have abandoned their natural habitat, but not all – there are still indigenous societies in the world, are those not humans?
– most humans do not try to annihilate natural habitats on purpose, – “average Joe” couldn’t care less about nature. So yes, most people do harm to nature – but not in an act of “egoic insanity”, but in an act of “butthead ignorance”, i’d say. Am i wrong?
– those of us who dwell in concrete warrens – are also different from each other. Some indeed literally lose their senses, abusing drugs, alcohol, etc. Some others, though, create amazing pieces of art and music, are brilliant scientists, writers, doctors, builders, parents, athletes and so on – i doubt senses of such people are being “gradually lost”. Eh?
– human “natural reaction” is not “to over-regulate everything”. Such reaction exist in some, especially some politicians and corporate bosses, but it’s not notural at all, to me. In many other humans (i dare say, in vast majority) – there is no such reaction at all;
– oh yes, planet start to demonstrate to us who’s the boss, that’s true. And it’s true most people stick our heads into the sand. But “most” does not equal “all”. Some few folks are brave enough to see, and even, to say to others. Quite few of us here are such people. Now tell me, who matter more – those few folks who don’t stick their heads into the sand, or the masses who do? Which bunch it makes sense to talk about? To me, it’s definitely the brave few;
– 1 in 3 people develop cancer – what a surprise, considering what average max age nowadays is. Before the industrial revolution, over 90% of people simply did not SURVIVE until the average age of developing cancer in modern society. If death to people in their 30s or 40s – is better than much longer life which may end with cancer (or without it), then sure, i accept the argument. But i don’t think early death is better, so i deem the talk about (usually) old-men illnesses – being pointless;
– i don’t think majority of humans now alive _could_ be waken up, at all. Even after a major catastrophe. So much shaped by “controlled” education systems, mass media, industries and very way of life they had for all their life, – most of those folks are unable to “wake up” even if half the world is destroyed by a mega-tsunami (half of Antarctic ice sheet sliding down into the ocean creating it, whatever). Nope, those souls will stick to the end, quite sheepishly, to what their governments would demand from them;
– “only the survivors will be able to have another go”. Geez, what a discovery. I thought dead ones will also be able, until i’ve seen this wise statement. Now i know dead people can’t “have another go”. Thanks alot!
// sarcasm off
Really, Mike, this was not a best piece to bring forward. I wonder why exactly you did, what special point you’ve seen in it. Please educate me, if you can. Honestly, i humbly request it. May be i miss something? ><
PLEASE learn to self-moderate comments that you know are long-winded, laborious, and nitpicky.
Mike, if you find some – perhaps, all – of my comments to be such, it doesn’t yet mean everybody do. It’s true most people might, though – quite few people can understand me in full. Such people exist, because i’ve met a few. They find my comments – including in this blog, – not long-winded, but quite adequate length considering the complexity of things i talk about. They don’t think i am nitpicky. They agree it’s at times laborous, but they do not see it as my fault, – but rather as objective conseuquence of how complex some subjects are.
I do my best to self-moderate, destroying multi-paragraph parts already written, cancelling some comments altogether (before posting) after some additional thought during writing them, editing parts here and there to shorten or remove not actually important bits.
I request your tolerance. I humbly hope that anybody who is not interested in what i have to say after reading few sentences of any given comment – can freely stop reading and use his (her) time in more entertaining (for them) way.
P.S. I still hope you will answer my little question: did i miss something, some major point of the text you’ve put here? I hope it’s not too… Laborous. Even a simple “yes or no” answer would help me.
Did you read the linked article?
I found no errors in that article. The evidence is clear. Mass extinctions were shown to follow wherever man went. Our current iteration of civilization has simply magnified our destructive tendencies on a global scale through our massive numbers, technology, and hyper-exploitive economic system of capitalism. Humans in small numbers that live cooperatively and within the carrying capacity of their land base may indeed be sustainable, but this does not characterize any citizen of industrial civilization.
Read the article and tell me where it is wrong. I’ll check back in the morning.
By the way, these little comments from the article I post are simply people’s opinions that I found interesting, nothing more.
I’ve read the article. Most of it is generally correct, but there are exxagerations which are not helpful to anyone who tries to see things for what they are. Namely:
1. “What rose onto its hindlegs on the African savannahs was, from the outset, death: the destroyer of worlds.”
– incorrect, early humans did not destroy “worlds” (they had only one to interact with), nor even “world”, too – what early humans did was destruction of certain species. It’s like calling illegal skin-transplantation surgeon a “killer” only because he’s a criminal who cuts small bits and pieces of skin from unwilling victims. Mega-fauna was about as important to Gaia as a whole as a little patch of skin (size of 1 square inch or so) is to human being, imho.
2. “Is this all we are? A diminutive monster that can leave no door closed, no hiding place intact, that is now doing to the great beasts of the sea what we did so long ago to the great beasts of the land?”
– ok, this is in a question form, so formally it can’t be “incorrect”. Yet, the answer to it is “no”. The article judges all humans by the actions of FEW of us humans. I have no doubt that hunting down huge animals – was not the ONLY way our ancestors lived. I am sure there were gatherer societies – not “hunter-gatherer”, but purely gatherer ones. I am sure there were cultures which respected their prey, which knew that hunting too many and too fast – is bad for themselves. Ones which avoided that. But you see, like one russian proverb says, “ain’t witohut a prick in a family”; relatively few idiotic and/or “evil” people – are always around. Sadly, those are able to do harm no matter how peaceful the rest of people are (even if peaceful people are a vast majority).
Isn’t it quite obvious, too. Look around you. I bet you know some humans who are indeed “minimutive monsters”. I, for example, certainly do. But is it the same about everyone? Nope. Not true. Not even about majority, if you ask me. Most people are not so. Not naturally “monstrous”, not eager to kill things.
And about this opinion you’ve put in (quoted)… I see – it was interesting, somehow, to you. Well then, it still seems to me so terribly one-sided, so generalizing, so depressed that i doubt how it can be of interest. But now i have a guess: perhaps you were in a such a mood that it kind of resonated with some of your thoughts? Nowadays, it quite difficult to stay “detached” emotionally from grim realities, that’s for sure…
Note, if i’d criticize it (this particular opinion) without detailed argument, then it could be seen as an offense. With detailed argument, it is instead a position and sound opinion which i have (i hope so), – alas, one which can be discussed and may be wrong, for sure. So far i don’t see how it could be wrong, though.
Mankind can’t stop, that’s true. But it can – and will – be stopped. By the way, the question slightly above – about what will happen “when hydrocarbons run out” – was answered a fair while ago. It was calculated that burning all potentially economically viable hydrocarbons would raise CO2 content in the athmosphere much beyond the point of complete planetary catastrophe, see http://mahb.stanford.edu/library-item/what-if-we-burn-all-the-fossil-fuels/ for some sound analysis. +20°C average warming over land areas is nothing short of a catastrophe, in my book.
Luckily, it seems that global industrial civilization will be unable to do that, because it will fail to function long before all hydrocarbons would be used by it.
As usual. Alas, of course it’s totally normal and natural to think that nature and life – is what we humans can see. If we can’t see any flora or fauna in some place – the place is declared “dead”. We can see little of it – then it’s declared “poor” in terms of life abundance there.
Truth is, – as modern science knows very well, – that large multi-cellular organisms – are but a tip of an iceberg of life; the main part, the actually important part, the building bricks of Life, the primary climate-shaping force on the planet, – all that is about MICROSCOPIC life.
Most people simply have no idea how alive seemingly empty places in reality are. “Empty” city square, seemingly pure concrete – is a seriously diverse ecosystem on a microscopic level. Sands of a desert – is an abundant one. Some soil with a few visible plants – is in fact a huge fest of microscopic life. Unless the chemistry of the place is ruined, of course.
See, the real devastation is not about die-out of large species (though of curse it’s tragic to us, as we can see it most readily). Yet, the real devastation of today – is on chemical level: industrial pollution, ongoing acidification of oceans, all the artificially-created (never existed in nature) chemical compounds, some of which are nearly universal poisons to most carbon-based life (including most species of microscopic life), massive disruption to nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, – those are indeed scary things to me. Sure, bad shape, in which remains of large flora and fauna in Arabia is – is sad; but it’s yet not the worst thing possible.
Gaia can live without large organisms. It did, for over a billion of years, in the past. It can do it again. In a sense, we humans and all the creatures we can see with a naked eye – all this is but a thin layer of “cream” on a thick “pie” of microscopic living beings of Earth. If my memory serves, total biomass of microscopic organisms on Earth is many, many times higher than biomass of all mammals combined (this includes 7+ billions of humans and all our domesticated livestock, that is).
So for me, it’s dangers which can destroy the “pie” itself which i am most concerned about. Without thousands of services – most of them not even discovered yet, – which microscopic life provides for us “bigger beings” 24/7 – we won’t be complaining about mosquitos, but instead, i bet that we’d simply be dead. I wish this would get appropriate attention – and not just facts about visibly-barren landscapes, lots of which we humans certainly have created up to date.
I always thought we went from egalitarian, Homo ergaster to Homo Disaster. Alas, we were fucked a long time ago.
Yeah, well I want to write a post on this plus review and include Garrett’s new paper. The only thing paradoxically that will save us is complete collapse of the industrialized economy.
I agree Mike. I think there will be a massive population correction either way, but I think our odds of extinction increase the longer world wide IC is running.
That’s true, the longer GIC runs, the less chances our species have to survive long-term. Because of that, any sane person wants to shut GIC down. However, it’s not so easy to do it. The system in place sees active efforts of the sort as terrorism, and punish it severely. Even attempts to halt GIC – not shut down, but just halt it, – lead to repression. See Arctic Sunrise recent story as a fine example of that – all they did was a _call_ to halt drilling in Arctic, made on one of platforms in the Arctic; and for that, they were accused in piracy (initially), later changed to some less severe accusation, the ship was arrested and forced to dock for a long time in one of russian ports, the crew of the ship was arrested and kept in jail for over a month (two months? Don’t remember), russian and non-russian citizens alike.
Sadly, those who know that GIC is to be shut down ASAP – are a vast minority. Such people – let me say “we”, – we don’t have the power to fight the system, and to shut down GIC. Besides, GIC is the only thing which makes existance of 7+ billions humans possible; to shut it down – means certain unnatural death for billions of humans. I am not sure any many of us would be ready to take the responsibility for such an action. I sometimes ask myself: what if i’d have a button before me, pushing which would shut GIC down “just like that”. Could i press the button, knowing full well it will end life of billions of humans way earlier than otherwise possible? And i answer myself: i don’t know. I don’t know, because there is always a faint hope for a miracle. May be God exists, after all – who can prove otherwise? – and will save our sorry butts at the very last moment. Or may be sentient beings from other star will arrive just in time to save us. Or may be i am wrong, somehow, and GIC will pull some completely unexpeected (by me) turn and will, against all odds, manage to keep most of world’s population alive, and gradually repair the damage done to Gaia?
So you see, after careful (i hope) consideration, it seems that even many of us – of people who know a bit more about real state of the world and mankind than average Joe, – even many of us are unable, for one or another reason, to do any effective action to shut GIC down. And it seems that even if some of us are able to do things which would help to shut GIC down, – it is massively not enough to make any serious difference, since powers that be – being indeed powerful, – oppose it, prevent such actions to become any large-scale process, and mercilessly restrict those who try. There is quite a number of jail sentences already being served by so-called “eco-terrorists”, you know…
So i think, instead of doing any “fight” with the GIC, we better spend our time preparing for life without it – developing technologies with which local societies could function (outside of GIC, completely), creating such societies, finding places which give the most promise for survival of our species in the future, making such places more suitable for civilized life (i don’t think we have much chance as a bunch of non-civilized gatherers-hunters, especially considering present extinction rate), – things like that. Doing such things can increase chances of survival, and hopefully increase it enough to fully compensate for decreasing chances for survival as a result of still going on GIC.
New report exposes nine of the dirtiest U.S. fisheries – ‘Hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales, sharks, sea birds, sea turtles, and fish needlessly die each year as a result of indiscriminate fishing gear’ [check it out]
Mountain birds climb with increasing temperatures – ‘We call it an escalator to extinction, as the birds are going up until they run out of room’ [read it and weep]
From Robert, this morning:
Monster El Nino Emerging From the Depths: Nose of Massive Kelvin Wave Breaks Surface in Eastern Pacific
We are observing an extraordinarily powerful Kelvin Wave, one that was likely intensified by factors related to human global warming, traveling across the Pacific. It appears to be an epic event in the making. One that may be hotter and stronger than even the record-shattering 1997-98 El Nino. What this means is that we may well be staring down the throat of a global warming riled monster. [read the article]
Kevin Moore said:
I have been too busy to get very involved in comment but do want to bring attention to the unusual surge in the CO2. There is always much variation week-to-week, but a rise of almost 3.4ppm compared to 12 months ago is staggeringly high.
Mauna Loa Observatory | NOAA-ESRL Data
Week Atmospheric CO2 March 16 – 22 2014
March 16 – 22 2013
(1 year ago)
The really good thing about these figures is ‘nobody’ cares.
LOL. Yes, nobody really cares. As one scientist said, they have been watching CO2 rise for decades with no change in behavior. Actually, the bahavior of throwing CO2 up in the atmosphere by humans has intensified because economic activity = energy = GHG emissions.
Does a politician say that he’s going to shrink the economy and make people live without their cars, cheap plastic toys from China, and 2,000 mile Ceasar salad?
Kevin Moore said:
A politician could say: “I will implement policies which will improve the health, happiness and general welfare of the majority of people almost immediately and will considerably improve the prospects of our children, There is absolutely no doubt that these policies will significantly reduce the level of suffering endured both in local communities and throughout the world, in the present and in the future. Additionally, these policies will restore a sense of purpose to hundreds of millions of people who have none.”
However, for some reason, no politician of note will ever do that.
Could it be that this reluctance to make any attempt whatsoever to provide anyone with a future is due to strong desires to perpetuate Ponzi schemes in defiance of the laws of mathematics, and attempts to defy the laws of chemistry and physics?.- a God complex.
Of course, as we all know, most politicians are extremely poor at mathematics and chemistry, and it seems that the requirements for entry into the world of the political elites include being ignorant, stupid and mendacious.
Oops, I find myself frequently falling into the pit sarcasm these days.. But really, when I see items on the Internet alluding to pronouncements made clowns and criminals like O’Bummer. (or is that O’Bomber?), Hi Liar Clinton, Macaroon, Tony B Liar, Shonkey etc., extensive sreport of them prattling on about nothing, and realise that people actually take notice of the garbage that emanates from their mouths, I despair.
But they intuitively know that “wealth creation” and emissions are tightly coupled, so if you know how to decouple them, then let’s hear it…
Kevin Moore said:
Change the definition of wealth.
Make the definition of wealth having uncontaminated air to breathe, fresh water to drink [at no cost], nutritious food to eat, safe communities to live in, low physical and metal illness rates etc.
It’s very easy for politicians and bureaucrats to do: they have already changed the meaning of the word sustainable to mean the very opposite of what it meant just 30 years ago.
There are worse things than sarcasm, Kevin. It’s always helped me deal as long as I don’t go too far.
3.4 ppm per year at a select month – is fully expected. Similar figures for select months were already seen – according to http://co2now.org/images/stories/data/co2-mlo-monthly-noaa-esrl.pdf , CO2 increase during 1 year between May 2012 and May 2013 – was 2.98 ppm, during 1 year between February 2012 and February 2013 – was 3.2 ppm.
There is long-term trend of accelerating of CO2 increase in the athmosphere, so we can fully expect the max figure of the kind to also increase as years go by. 3.4 is well on track for such an increase. There is also seasonal variability, and this variability is not exactly the same from year to year. This february, due to quite unusual “quick” of this variability, CO2 content did not rise any much in compare to this January, see http://co2now.org/Current-CO2/CO2-Now/weekly-data-atmospheric-co2.html . This created a “delay”, a “potential” for much faster growth in March, which, as far as we can see now, i being realized. Still, March is not over yet, so we don’t know the exact average for the month. And, according to the graph on this page, last few days resulted in a drop of CO2 content of nearly 1 ppm magnitude. Another quirk or seasonal variation in a climate system which gets increasingly unbalanced, if you’d ask me.
I predict that average CO2 content for this March will end up to be about 400,2 … 400,3 ppm, which is nearly 0.5 ppm lower than the 400,76 figure for the particular week of 16…22th of this March.
If my prediction will come truth, then the year between March 2013 and March 2014 will show an increase of ~2.9 ppm CO2, which is close to the upper boundary of so-far observed annual changes, but not above it. I.e., completely expected. Sadly.
Kevin Moore said:
Clear skies, calm waters, the CO2 builds up in the air.
Much precipitation and turbulent waters, the CO2 transfers to the oceans more quickly, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.
Cold weather, much heating, more CO2.
So many short-term factors on humanity’s march towards self-annihilation.
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Helen Caldicott – interview
“We need to be depressed. People can get through depression. […] People need to be sad, they need to be depressed. They need to get moving and close down all the reactors in America. They need to start getting off their bottoms and moving away from their computers, using their democracy, educating their representatives […] taking over the state house, the congress because you own them. In the vacuum that people leave by not using their democracy in an educated fashion that the corporations step into the vacuum.”
Caldicott: Fukushima to be pouring radioactive water into Pacific “probably for the rest of time… forever more”
•“There’s simply nothing anyone can do about it”
•“Nuclear industry is covering it up because they know if truth comes out it will be end of nuclear power”
[if you have time, listen to the 79 min. video interview]
Scientists Condemn New FDA Study Saying BPA Is Safe: “It Borders on Scientific Misconduct”
Researchers working on a joint NIH-FDA program to better regulate harmful chemicals accuse the agency of undermining their research with a flawed and deceptive study.
In February, a group of Food and Drug Administration scientists published a study finding that low-level exposure to the common plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA) is safe. The media, the chemical industry, and FDA officials touted this as evidence that long-standing concerns about the health effects of BPA were unfounded. (“BPA Is A-Okay, Says FDA,” read one Forbes headline.) But, behind the scenes, a dozen leading academic scientists who had been working with the FDA on a related project were fuming over the study’s release—partly because they believed the agency had bungled the experiment. [read the rest]
When watches were first mass produced, one of the selling points was that a“civilized man” had a timepiece. And in a way they were correct in that civilization requires synchronous metabolic activity, either by everyone wearing watches set to some standard or, earlier on, the sun’s passage across the sky could be utilized, but much less precisely. This matrix of time, along with map making, were essential cerebral and tool adaptations to enable the “civilized” metabolic connections to be made in technological society. Technological infrastructure could be given an address and the circulatory routes could be named. “I’ll meet you at 510 Sunset St., at 6:00 P.M., and we will make the exchange.” Isn’t it fitting that we have an “atomic” clock that pulses the rhythm for industrial society. Law and order, time, street maps – I don’t think they have much future, but they did facilitate maximal metabolic activity, while it lasted. Let’s face it, we’ll create anything to convert the energy to waste as fast as possible, like the Nascar STP 500, jumpin monkeys all around. We could have just set all the fossil fuels on fire without the superfluous “complexity” except we had to create an interface with oxygen, and to do that we had to mine it and suck it out of the ground. And once you mine it and get it out of the ground, you might as well get some dopamine out of it. So get out there and create some waste heat and CO2, that’s what it’s all about.
Great comment! LOL. The recent Monbiot article has pushed me further into your camp.
Obviously the only thing that will stop GHG emissions is for economic activity to cease or be largely degraded:
Emissions of CO2 from fossil-fuel combustion and cement production for the world (Pg C yr−1; black curve) and the carbon intensity of world GDP (g C per $US (2000); red curve, inverted axis) along with the temporary drop in emissions due to various economic crises:
Kevin Moore said:
Yes, ‘time is money’: time and motion studies to improve the efficiency of the conversion of nature into waste.
Dammit! 40 years ago I thought such things wonderful.
Click to get full access…
Kevin Moore said:
We appreciate the work you do researching technical data and narratives that provide additional insight into the operation of the machine, and the likely consequences.
In the world of governance and decision-making at the central and local level decisions and strategies are generated on the basis of personal whims, preferences and rorts, usually with no research whatsoever being done, and when hard data is presented it is ignored.
That’s a good article. After the President reads the article he says, “What the f**k is this? Cut to the chase.”
Adviser: “Sir, first our energy consumption falls, then things start to fall apart faster than we can fix them while the Anthropocene climate hits us like a sledge hammer, then we collapse.”
President: “So what do we do?”
Adviser: “We have to grow, we need more energy. There’s one more technological innovation remaining – fracking.”
President: “Good, good, I knew you would have an answer, now get out there and frack the hell out his place.” “Oh, and don’t forget, I want a list of any country willing to trade a little oil for freedom and democracy, now get to it.”
Technology can open up new vistas in resource consumption as happened when Gatling guns were mounted on trains to hunt buffalo.
How long can they keep growth going? Actually they’ve already failed. It is already impossible to maintain the existing infrastructure. Unemployment remains high, risk averse return on investment is negative in real terms. I guess we could smash the infrastructure of energy importers so they can no longer acquire and consume energy leaving more on the market for ourselves, but that does tend to make the markets skittish. And don’t forget that a 2% GDP growth rate for a 1,000 cell tumor is substantially less than a 2% growth rate for a 300 million cell tumor. The growth gets so large, it simply cannot be maintained, even if we had all of the fossil fuels we started with.
James said “It is already impossible to maintain the existing infrastructure.”
Kevin Moore said:
In WW1 near-static trench warfare became the norm. Various strategies were tried to break the deadlock and all failed to deliver a decisive breakthrough…. until the British employed large numbers of tanks specifically designed to cross trenches and flatten or rip up barbed wire.
Following the initial shock of tank-supported attacks, the Germans quickly developed strategies to slow down or immobilise British tanks, in particular wider and deeper trenches.
The British responded by fixing bars to the tops of the tanks to which bundles of brushwood could be attached: the crews of several tanks would release their bundles into a German trench at a particular location, permitting tanks to cross otherwise untransversable obstacles.
It did not take the Germans too long to develop high-velocity armour-piercing shells, though producing large numbers of guns capable of firing such munitions, and having them in the right place at the right time proved a logistical nightmare. Nevertheless, German defenders were eventually able to knock out large numbers of tanks that managed to penetrate trench defences without breaking down.
The reason I go down this apparent tangent is that a new analogy has occurred to me. In order to maintain the current trajectory, governments around the world, and my local council, NPDC, will sacrifice anything and everything.
I now have a mental image of a WW1-style tank with a stack of children and babies temporarily strapped to the top and the crew [of council officers] about to unload them into a trench which contains previously deposited children and babies, so the machine can move forward a little further before being blown up [by energy deletion, abrupt climate change and unravelling of Ponzi fiat currencies].
This documentary is perhaps my favorite on the collapse of civilization, right ahead of What a Way To Go: Life at the End of Empire.
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdGaMrnnro8
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veNyo-fbuOo
Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9bGCCi_zHk
Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZHXryE4JUs
Part 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cNYeEm0HLQ
Part 7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37SqYBEURyM
Part 8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jgsXoWmpZ0
Part 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL3xh0IdDzc
Part 10: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kf0H7bb5Mw
Part 11: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs8Z1kqbJ8g
Part 12: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDWLOwuszxs
Part 13: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3paxLxVR6w
Part 14: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_AyTK6QUKA
Watched the whole thing. Sobering to say the least. And it was produced in 2006. An update would necessitate and even more dire call for action sooner than the middle of the century. I agree with Ulvfugl, though: we’re locked into our fate already, which I suspect will mean NTE.
FWIW, I liked What a Way to Go better, if one can really like the nightmarish truth.
It could mean NTE, yes, but i still hope it would only be a bottleneck. And i am not alone. For example, i recently found an intelligent piece on the subject, which has quite a few ideas i found interesting – http://questioneverything.typepad.com/question_everything/2012/06/how-will-people-react-to-a-collapsing-civilization.html .
Tnioli: George Mobus, over on his Question Everything blog has (or had, I don’t know if he’s changed his mind yet) a similar “hope” of a bottleneck with a ‘supersapient’ humanity being able to survive. With loss of habitat and steady temperature rise, not to mention the at least 30 self-reinforcing feedbacks we’ve triggered and the constantly increasing radiation from Fukushima, I don’t see any humans being able to ‘adapt’ after about 2025, but you’re welcome to your hopeful opinion.
Thank you. My opinion is not only hopeful. It is also somewhat informed, too.
Loss of habitat won’t be 100% of land surface of Earth. At least few percent will remain habitable by both humans and large number of other species.
Steady temperature rise, – even ending up at +20C over-land average, which one of Hansen et al papers calculates (the case of burning of half-to-all of presently discovered fossil fuels) – will not render 100% of Earth surface uninhabitable. There are mountain regions and sub-polar belts. Sometimes it’s both in the same spot. Can’t overheat _everywhere_. More than ~32C is impossible even in theory last time i calculated it (with Earth changing to 0% albedo, i.e. completely black body, thus not directly reflecting ANY sunlight), since amount of energy radiated by hot body into colder environment is proportional to 4th power of temperature difference. Venus effect on Earth is even theoretically impossible as long as Sun’s output is within +-5% of the present value (i.e., for many hundreds of millions of years into the future, unless some evil aliens would explode our sun into a supernova tomorrow, of course).
30+ positive (a.k.a. self-reinforcing) feedbacks can’t cancel above simple logic about 4th power of temperature difference. This is one MAJOR negative feedback. To exceed this negative feedback’s limitation on possible warming, it’s either for the sun to increase its ooutput dramatically, or for Earth to move much closer to the Sun (to the Venus orbit or so – would suffice), since density of sunlight is propoertional to 2nd power of the distance from the sun.
Radiation from Fukushima itself doen’t reach any far. Few dozens kilometers, max, for all 3 kinds of radiation – alpha, beta, gamma. Any further – no direct amount of Fukushima’s radiation would be detectable, lest any harmful. What you meant, probably, is heavy radioactive isotopes, like Cesium-137, spilling out (within “contaminated” water) into the ocean, and then spreading around. Oh yes, this is much more long-range than direct radiation. However, this is not radiation per se – it’s radioactive matter, namely, radioactive Cesium in this case (mainly; other isotopes from Fukushima are of times less concern). Well, Cesium is quite heavy thing. Even on molecular level, gravity functions. This means that this radioactive matter will “prefer” to travel downwards. Sure, convection will do some vertical mixing, for sure. But overall direction of the spread – is DOWN. Into the nearby soil, and when it gets into the ocean – to the ocean’s floor. In order to travel any truly far (hundred kilometers or mot) horizontally or even upwards (and then settle down at some distant location), – HOT eruption is required. I.e., burning. Which was the case with Chernobil, when reactor #4 core was burning (literally) for days, exposed to the elements. Even if Fukushima would develop such a condition – which is extremely unlikely now, – the consequences won’t be much different from Chernobil. And lemme tell ya, i was in Minsk during the spring of 1986, and i had my share of radioactivity from a bit of fallout Minsk got. I’ve seen deactivating chemicals creating yellow foam during the rain. And guess what, now, 28 years later, i still do not have any cancer, i am not bald, and when i look to the mirror – i don’t see an ugly mutant, too. 😀
Last but definitely not least – may be you’re right, may be we are all doomed, but i prefer to die trying than to die giving up. It’s more interesting the former way, to me. Isn’t it to you? =)
buz painter said:
You remind me of– me, at times. It is the reason that I have learned to keep my mouth shut most of the time, especially here.
Has anyone ever said anything that you didn’t argue with?
My thinking exactly. I’ve stopped shoveling my shit into the argument trap.
Oh, i ain’t trying to argue or convince. Many people somehow think i do, but then again, many people think lots of things which are not what exists in reality, too. I’d even say, it’s one of richest traditions of humans – to think things which are not.
I comment because i’ve read things and then i had things to say. If i may, i sometimes like the process itself. Hopefully it doesn’t do any harm. If it does, please lemme know, i’ll stop.
I agree that there is no harm; it’s more like annoyance at disruptive behavior. You’ve already been asked to moderate your comments by the blog owner, which you threw back in his face with another outpouring. I was also asked to keep it civil, to which I responded by withdrawing from needless, pointless arguing. Indeed, how we behave in the face of mounting difficulty is quite important to me, and I don’t want to add to the problems. YMMV.
Your comment is an excellent example of such a saying. 🙂
Great links Mike. Kevin, your analysis is bizarre but spot-on.
I’ve been thinking about how the collapse is going to proceed through some series of trigger events and then rapidly pick-up speed (accelerating deterioration) to the point that panic, war and desperation sets in and the end result is back to the (modified) Stone Age where chaos will reign but scavenging might prolong the end for some for a short time. It may vary in different regions and countries, but will include the loss of all the support services of industrial civilization and nature.
I imagine the very end (let’s say 2030 or so), when there’s nothing left of any value: no clean air, no food (or even the ability to grow any), no potable water, no electricity, no: commerce, medical care, communication by devices, living vegetation or macro-life species (but there are still some bacteria and viruses proliferating working on decomposition for a little while). All buildings and vehicles are burnt out hollow shells in various states of decay and the weather is unpredictable, but generally hot (and getting hotter). War reduced what remained of nation-states to radioactive smoldering ruins, then diseases swept in and made short work of any people unlucky enough to still be alive. Soon, no living being walked the Earth.
Radiation is high and increasing. The seas are dead, pluming massive amounts of methane and hydrogen sulfide, and continually inundating low-lying areas. Fires burn anything that is flammable and explosions are commonplace. The land surface of the planet is one enormous dead zone where nothing is alive and many formerly living beings rotted out and were consumed by bugs and vermin, until they too died of radiation and the poisons in mutated and decaying cellular material. Soil life is dead.
Earthquakes and volcanic activity goes on, the atmosphere is a combination of various gases and particulates, but oxygen is dwindling. Occasionally there’s a “calm” day, but the dissolution of all that once was civilization is rapidly being ground to dust and buried through the forces of the Earth – baking heat, high winds, torrential downpours, massive flooding, mudslides, sinkholes, storms of all kinds (including huge lightening strikes), and tsunamis.
From here, we can work backward through the various stages of collapse to where we are now – on the brink – in mental experiments including: environmental, atmospheric, oceanic, economic, socio-political, military, agriculture collapse, resource depletion, continuing climate change and other “triggers.”
Kevin Moore said:
Don’t worry about falling oxygen levels Tom; they only occur very locally, and the overall level in the atmosphere cannot drop by even 0.1% as a consequence of burning carbonaceous materials because 0.1% O2 corresponds to 1 part per thousand or 1000ppm.
One molecule of O2 generates one molecule of CO2, and their relative masses are not hugely different (32 versus 44), so it’s not far off one for one by volume, by mass or by number of molecules.
However you might like to look at it, practically everything on this planet will be ‘completely fucked’ long before anyone manages to add another 1000ppm CO2 to what has already been liberated, even if half of it dissolves in the oceans and totally screws up ocean chemistry.
There, don’t you feel so much better having that concern alleviated?
By the way, we’ve had a few periods of light rain recently but nothing much to speak of, and the ground is nearly bone dry. Yesterday I visited a location which is normally quite boggy; almost no water where there are normally ponds, and close-to-zero flow in ditches and streams. The forecast is for continuing fine weather. No worries: at least we are headed into the cool, rainy season, unlike California, which is probably headed into extreme heat and little precipitation for many months. Or torrential rain and severe flooding.
Thanks Kevin for the clarification. Certainly volcanic particulates, brake dust from the world’s vehicles, power plant residue and the like added to the toxic gases we continue to spew from industrial civilization won’t make the air any easier to breathe and i’m sure the atmospheric chemistry is changing as a result (tropospheric ozone increase is just one of them).
Bad news out of Australia (and coming to a country near you) – from the Desdemona Despair blog:
Scientists resign ‘living dead’ species to extinction, call for triage debate
The dramatic ongoing loss of Australian animal and plant species has prompted influential scientists to call on governments to start making tough decisions about which ones to save – and which species should be left to face extinction.
The proposal to triage Australia’s unique species comes from some of the nation’s most senior conservation biologists.
It is a radical and controversial shift from decades of hard-fought conservation victories aiming to preserve all species and wilderness.
“I’m afraid to tell everybody we’re in a terminal situation. We’re confronting a whole raft of species about to go over the extinction cliff,” Professor David Bowman, an expert in environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania, said.
Professor Corey Bradshaw, director of the Environment Institute’s Climate and Ecology Centre at The University of Adelaide, says Kakadu National Park has suffered a 95 per cent decline in mammals.
“Kakadu National Park, our largest national park, is basically a biodiversity basket case,” Professor Bradshaw said.
“The Great Barrier Reef has been suffering biodiversity declines for decades. Now if we can’t get it right in our two biggest and most well-known and certainly the best-funded parks and protected areas in Australia, what hope have we for the rest of our national parks?”
[read the rest]
Corey Bradshaw – The one who, during the summer of 2013 in Austrailia, was on a panel with Paul Ehrlich and who made the following statements during that event:
1) Do you know how many people died because of Fukishima? Answer: None as he was referring to the day of the event. This question is not a fair and honest one and is so reminiscent of how others minimize the number of people who died because of Chernobyl, but probably not on the day of the event.
2) Who believes that more nuclear power plants should be built?
Industrial Civilization must survive at all costs as Bradshaw and his mate breed and had a cute cuddly little girl who is just the most special of all the little children ever to come on to the planetary stage. She might even grow up to be the one to lead us out of this mess. So, there must be a future much like the one Bradshaw projects because he must deliver it to his daughter.
Link to that event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8mEMxDRU9Q
Here’s my very first attempt at embedding that above link.
Kevin Moore said:
One of my favourites. Always worth rewatching.
Kevin: here’s some more “ammo” for you (as if they’ll listen to facts)
WMO: Global warming not stopped, will go on for centuries – ‘The laws of physics are non-negotiable’
GENEVA (Reuters) – There has been no reverse in the trend of global warming and there is still consistent evidence for man-made climate change, the head of the U.N. World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Monday.
A slow-down in the average pace of warming at the planet’s surface this century has been cited by “climate skeptics” as evidence that climate change is not happening at the potentially catastrophic rate predicted by a U.N. panel of scientists.
But U.N. weather agency chief Michel Jarraud said ocean temperatures, in particular, were rising fast, and extreme weather events, forecast by climate scientists, showed climate change was inevitable for the coming centuries.
“There is no standstill in global warming,” Jarraud said as he presented the WMO’s annual review of the world’s climate which concluded that 2013 tied with 2007 as the sixth hottest year since 1850 when recording of annual figures began.
“The warming of our oceans has accelerated, and at lower depths. More than 90 percent of the excess energy trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans.
“Levels of these greenhouse gases are at a record, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come. The laws of physics are non-negotiable,” Jarraud told a news conference.
The 21-page survey said the global land and sea surface temperature in 2013 was 14.5 degrees Celsius (58.1 Fahrenheit), or 0.50C (0.90F) above the 1961-90 average. It was also 0.03C (0.05F) up on the average for 2001-2010.
The WMO’s Annual Statement on the Status of the Climate, pointed to droughts, heatwaves, rising seas, floods, and tropical cyclones around the globe last year as evidence of what the future might hold.
It was issued on the eve of a conference bringing climate scientists together with officials from over 100 governments in Japan from March 25-29 to approve a report on the effects of future global warming and how these might be mitigated. […]
“But many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change,” declared the WMO chief, pointing to the destruction wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Another example was the record hot summer of 2012-13 in Australia which brought huge bush fires and destruction of property. Computer simulations showed the heat wave was 5 times as likely under human influence on climate, Jarraud said.
Among other extreme events of 2013 probably due to climate change were winter freezes in the U.S. south-east and Europe, heavy rains and floods in north-east China and eastern Russia, snow across the Middle East and drought in south-east Africa. [more]
WIPP update – 03/25/2014
Radiation Expert: 5 types of plutonium were released from WIPP
•Officials not informing public
•Caldicott: “I predict that facility will never be able to be used again”
•Inhaling a millionth of a gram of plutonium will induce lung cancer
Earth Talk: Science and Spiritual Practices – Dr Rupert Sheldrake
THE FOURTEEN YEAR RECESSION [selected quotes, please read the article]
When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
“A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men … [W]e have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.”- Woodrow Wilson
What’s In Your GDP
“The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the broader measures of economic activity and is the most widely followed business indicator reported by the U.S. government. Upward growth biases built into GDP modeling since the early 1980s, however, have rendered this important series nearly worthless as an indicator of economic activity. The popularly followed number in each release is the seasonally adjusted, annualized quarterly growth rate of real (inflation-adjusted) GDP, where the current-dollar number is deflated by the BEA’s estimates of appropriate price changes. It is important to keep in mind that the lower the inflation rate used in the deflation process, the higher will be the resulting inflation-adjusted GDP growth.” – John Williams – Shadowstats
The average American has experienced a fourteen year recession caused by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve. Our leaders could have learned the lesson of two Fed induced collapses in the space of eight years and voluntarily abandoned the policies of reckless credit expansion, instead embracing policies encouraging saving, capital investment and balanced budgets. They have chosen the same cure as the disease, which will lead to crisis, catastrophe and collapse.
“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” – Ludwig von Mises
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Malaysian airlines – Flight 370
It is plain that there is more than meets the eye with Malaysian flight 370. At the moment anyone’s theory is as good as anything else. Before you shout “conspiracy theory!” think about CNN’s coverage.
Flight 370 The CIA Hoax: Gordon Duff
Today we are told that the fate of Flight 370 is known, not yet identified debris has been spotted in what is called “the Southern Indian Ocean,” perhaps more appropriately described as “north of Antarctica.”
We also know that the 777/200 is a “fly by wire” aircraft with controls in place that allow the CIA to remotely pilot the plan “in case of emergency.” We were able to verify the design and implementation of this system through Boeing, Raytheon and commercial pilots. “
” The descriptions today in the New York Times and other publications are purposefully inaccurate and contradictory. Their explanations of how commercial aircraft communicate and are tracked are fanciful at best, at worst “criminal.”
CIA CONTROLS COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT
When Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was reported as having crashed in the South China Sea, a massive cover up began yet no one will speak of it, nothing is written of it and its broad consequences are a subject of no investigation. While people around the world were told the plane was “lost” or “crashed,” it was being monitored by NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and its regional defense partners through secret systems installed in the plane. In 2006, Boeing announced the following, from a John Croft article in Flight Global:
Boeing last week received a US patent for a system that, once activated, removes all controls from pilots to automatically return a commercial airliner to a predetermined landing location.
The “uninterruptible” autopilot would be activated – either by pilots, by onboard sensors or even remotely via radio or satellite links by government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency, if terrorists attempt to gain control of a flight deck. Boeing says: “We are constantly studying ways we can enhance the safety, security and efficiency of the world’s airline fleet.”
Similarly, Raytheon Corporation was awarded a contract by the Federal Aviation Administration 8 years ago to implement an “Advanced Route Evaluation System” (ARES) to work in concert with the system operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.
In addition, the technical staff at Rolls Royce, a fact also reported in the Wall Street Journal, continually monitored the plane’s flight. Hundreds of people knew exactly where the plane was, how every system was working, what had been “turned off” not only when but where and exactly where the plane is now. Every word told the press, has been a lie.
Every word told by the mainstream media has been a lie. [read the rest, you might be convinced]
paul maupin said:
You are right about what we are being told , we are purposely being set up , lied to, conditioned and manipulated. The powers that be want to control are reaction to their deliberate engineered program. It is problem, reaction, solution. They hoping we will swallow their lies and react by submission to their solution.
One example is Geo engineering or weather modification , which has been going on for years . Our weather is being controlled by chemical spraying working in conjunction with “Harp ” heaters. Now that they are able to control the weather they can create drought in one area and nucleated snow in another . We are asked to believe that we are causing what they are creating .They call this. “global warming” or climate change , what ever best suits the situation.
Look through all the bull shit and you will be able to clearly see the real perpetrators of mankind’s ills , this is an agenda.
Kevin Moore said:
We could be forgiven for saying: “Here it comes!”
We are sure the weather is to blame but what happens when pent-up demand (from a frosty east coast emerging from its hibernation) bumps up against a drought-stricken west coast unable to plant to meet that demand? The spot price (not futures speculation-driven) of US Foodstuffs is the best performing asset in 2014 – up a staggering 19%…
It’s worse for other countries that are dependent on dollar denominated imports of food from the US (thanks to heavy handed “fair trade” agreements) For many, food and fuel already absorb fifty percent of their income or more. Upticks in food and fuel prices crush them, and lead to civil breakdown. Of course, such unrest is in many ways good and necessary, but the accompanying suffering is sorrowful.
Kevin Moore said:
Yet another example of how the rules have been written to promote death and destruction via business-as-usual.
‘We demand the right to poison your population, ruin health, and ensure that energy and resources are wasted.
How anyone can think there can be hope on a planet ruled by maniacs is beyond me.
A battle against Australia’s plain tobacco packaging rules has gained pace at the World Trade Organisation, as Indonesia won the right to seek a ruling by the global body.
Trade sources said that the WTO’s disputes settlement body had agreed to set up an independent panel of trade and legal experts in order to assess whether Australia is breaching the rules of global commerce.
Canberra has faced a raft of challenges to its tobacco legislation, passed in 2011 and in force since December 2012, which politicians hope will curb the numbers of people smoking.
Under the rules, all tobacco products have to be sold in drab green boxes, use the same typeface and contain graphic images of diseased smokers.
Indonesia, which exports more than $US670 million ($A733 million) worth of tobacco a year, is the fifth country to take Australia to the WTO, after cases brought last year by Ukraine, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
The Latin American trio, who are all cigar-producers, have cited concerns that the legislation covers all tobacco products, not just cigarettes.
All four countries argue that Australia’s law breaches international trade rules and the intellectual property rights of brands – arguments rejected by the government and which also failed to convince Australia’s High Court in a case brought by tobacco firms.
The Geneva-based WTO ensures that its 159 members respect the rules of global commerce. Its dispute settlement process can last for years, amid appeals, counter-appeals and assessments of compliance.
If its settlement body finds against Australia, the WTO has the power to authorise retaliatory trade measures.
Expert panels have already been given permission to hear the Ukrainian and Honduran cases, although Cuba has not moved beyond filing an initial complaint, and the Dominican Republic still needs to make a second request for a panel hearing.
This was Indonesia’s first request for a hearing in the tobacco dispute and Australia would have been able to block its move under WTO rules.
Observers said the fact Australia did not force Indonesia to lodge a second, unblockable request was a sign that Canberra wanted a ruling as soon as possible.
In Canada they did the whole public awareness thing with tobacco, including the diseased lungs on the packaging and forcing stores to put a curtain up so the children don’t see the smokes and thus want to start smoking that instant. According to the government we went from 30% smokers to 20% smokers. The self congratulation party is still going on. The one thing they don’t really mention is smokes went from $3 per pack to $10 in a few years. And for many smokers are just one notch above street junkies. Smokers are evil, Stephan Harper is a saint and environmentalists are fucking up the economy. Welcome to the new Canada.
I read that on another blog. Truly sad. It reminds of the book “The Road,” (a favorite of mine. I am in debt to McCarthy’s canon) when the man remembers seeing the last flock of migratory birds he ever sees, and he wishes them “Godspeed.”
Smoke em if ya got em
Kevin Moore said:
As well as the Orwellian nature of the speech, the ending is ‘hilarious;.
Toxic snow for California farmers.
Apneaman: along the same line,
California drought: How water crisis is worse for almonds
BP has recently been allowed to resume their (ad)ventures in the Gulf of Mexico. Well, how about this, then:
Heart Defects in Gulf Tuna Seen Tied to 2010 BP Oil Spill
Crude oil from BP Plc (BP/)’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill may have led to heart defects and premature death for tuna, researchers backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report.
Exposure to the oil may slow or cause an uncoordinated rhythm in the heartbeat of developing Atlantic bluefin and yellowfin tuna and an amberjack species, according to a study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Damaged hearts may reduce swimming performance, jeopardizing a fish’s survival.
“The timing and location of the spill raised immediate concerns for bluefin tuna,” Barbara Block, a professor of biology at Stanford University who helped write the study, said in a statement. “This spill occurred in prime bluefin spawning habitats, and the new evidence indicates a compromising effect of oil on the physiology and morphology of bluefin embryos and larvae.”
The April blowout of BP’s Macondo well gushed oil for 87 days, fouling beaches from Florida toLouisiana and forcing the U.S. to shut about 37 percent of the Gulf to fishing. Most areas reopened in late 2010. It was the worst U.S. offshore spill and spewed about 4.9 million barrels of oil and forced London-based BP to sell about $38 billion in assets to pay for clean up and compensating victims.
The defect cited in the study may doom affected tuna later in life, Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for U.S. Oceans for the environment group Oceana, said in response to the report.
“It’s a real reminder that offshore drilling continues to be extremely unsafe and leads to impacts on marine life,” Savitz said in an interview. “Whether those fish were healthy enough to survive and help rebuild struggling populations of bluefin tuna still remains to be determined.”
Fish exposed to crude oil may have permanent changes in heart shape that reduce swimming performance later in life, said John Incardona, NOAA research toxicologist and the study’s lead author.
“This creates a potential for delayed mortality,” Incardona said in a statement. “Swimming is everything for these species.”
Researchers exposed tuna larvae raised in land-based hatcheries to oil collected at the time of the spill. Developmental abnormalities were seen at concentrations below those measured during the spill, according to the study.
“The paper provides no evidence to suggest a population-level impact on tuna, amberjack” or other fish from the ocean living in the Gulf, BP spokesman Jason Ryan said in an e-mailed statement. “The authors themselves note that it is nearly impossible to determine the early life impact to these species.”
The research is part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the Gulf ecosystem after the Deepwater Horizon spill. The findings include contributions from researchers at NOAA, Stanford University, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.
In September 2012, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service said Gulf fisheries were rebounding, with fishermen landing larger catches during the 2012 fishing season than they did in 2009, the year before the spill.
“We know from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound that recently spawned fish are especially vulnerable to crude oil toxicity,” Nat Scholz, leader of the ecotoxicology program at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, said in a statement. “That spill taught us to pay close attention to the formation and function of the heart.”
It continues to perplex me, the “anarchist” phenomenon.
Here are people standing in front of the world dressed as a dark zombie from a mainstream collective nightmare, looking like everything the average person fears, and preaching a message that is literally impossible to manifest in reality right now (the end of civilization and return to a tribal or hunter-gatherer scale of living) — and you all wonder why no one else takes you seriously.
On the other hand, look at people like the Amish, or the Mennonites, who basically reject technology and live sustainably as agriculturalists. True, they are bound by religion in ways the Anarchists cannot be – but there are lessons the latter must learn.
Looking and acting “respectable” in the eyes of the rest of society MATTERS. You do not do this.
Your opinions cannot possibly be respected while you seem obsessed with a juvenile need for attention through looking like scary punks covered with piercings and tattoos. You come off as children who just want to rebel against “daddy” in any form — be it your parents or the state.
Showing that you are capable of achieving anything in the real world would help. Form anarchist collectives that are functional, clean, attractive, and useful. Your squatter holes and the filthy hovels you often meet in are unappealing to say the least.
If you want to sway populations as a whole, you must first of all relate to their core values, and connect with them as human beings.
Look at the Civil Rights Movement. The young black people who sat in at the lunch counters and got their heads smashed looked as respectable in dress and comport as any mainstream white person. It was clear that they had no right to be refused service. They were equals, they were good, clean, intelligent young people who deserved what they were demanding.
Now look at Zuccotti park, and tell me what the difference was.
If Anarchists did not exist as a subculture, the Empire would create them for the sole purpose of derailing meaningful movements for change.
Your anti-civilization message, cloaked in filthy black anarcho-rags, and spoken with sneering derision and self-righteousness, while you display pure hypocrisy (you are on a computer, on the Internet – using civilization for your own advantage), is unlikely to persuade. So who, really, are you helping?
Youre commenting on several different groups and ideologies and tactics and lifestyles as if they are all one. Imagine if someone decried sports fans as one lump group because of the behavior of drunken fans in bars, or fans who neglect their own lives to obsess over fantasy leagues, or fans who start riots after championships.
Not all anarchists are anti-civ, though I would argue that they should be. Not all anarchists live in squats. Not all anarchists take to the streets in black blocs. Your comment basically betrays that you have no idea what your talking about, and your comment is essentially avoiding any issue or topic that anarchism takes stance on, and instead youre lamenting the appearance of people you perceive to be anarchists.
The civil rights movement is a whole separate can of worms for several reasons.
1. Those were people looking for inclusion, not a radical restructuring of society. They didn’t want modern capitalism gone, they wanted full access to it.
2. Those were people who had been cast by those with power as “less than.” They had been cast as a step above savage. Dressing up and refusing to fight back demonstrated that in fact, it was those in society deemed “respectable” (whites, police) who were savage.
It was a smart tactic that fit the situation.
Finally, I wrote an entire essay concerning the supposed hypocrisy of using the internet to spread the anti-civ message. It can be found here:
Appreciation to my father who shared with me on the topic of this web site, this webpage is actually awesome.