The following video message is from Dr. Erik Pianka, an esteemed American biologist, one of the world’s most accomplished field ecologists, and author of the classic 1983 book Evolutionary Ecology. This video was made roughly four years ago. Not much has changed in the interim other than everything getting progressively worse —more people, more cars, more garbage landfills, more greenhouse gas emissions, more ocean acidification, more extinctions, etc…
Farming is never going to go back, regardless of how much rain we get next year, to the way it was in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s a long-term era of scarcity.
California is much bigger than it was when these reservoirs were built, 40 or 50 years ago. There’s more water going to cities and the environment now. That boom era of California farming, I think everyone recognizes, is just a thing of the past.
They used to flood-irrigate everything here. When I was a kid, growing up, you’d walk outside in the middle of summer, six or seven months since the last rain, and it would be humid outside because there’d be so much irrigation going on. You hardly ever see anything flood-irrigated anymore. That time, that’s just not coming back.
The solution is not the techno-utopian fantasy of cold fusion. Even if cold fusion was a realistic possibility, the creation of unlimited amounts of ultra-cheap energy wielded in the hands of techno-capitalist man would surely spell disaster for any last vestiges of life that might have survived the omnicide of capitalist industrial civilization and the age of fossil fuels. A good steward of the Earth’s resources and web of life would never have perpetuated the 6th mass extinction and defiled the planet that gave birth to his kind while arrogantly naming himself Homo sapiens (Latin: “Wise man”).
Capitalist carbon man acted like a bull in a china shop, throwing his weight around and blindly destroying everything in his path. Now he wants to invent even more disruptive tools with which to save himself from the very techno-nightmare that he has already created? He treated the biosphere like a buyosphere, and money was his God. His epitaph was inscribed long ago by Oscar Wilde who perceptively said, “They know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Tragically, humans had their chance in a magnificent paradise and they blew it in spades.
You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.
You’re a Grand Old Flag
by George M. Cohan
Life in these United States is rough, especially for the working poor. This is a subject that just doesn’t get enough attention. Yes, lot’s of ink is spilled over the truly poor, those who qualify for SNAP (food stamps), rental assistance, utility assistance, and the various other govt. programs, but not for those who slave away year after year, just making enough to keep their heads above water, but never enough to get ahead.
Just consider, as I’m sure you have, the physical and psychological stressors borne by the great unwashed (speaking metaphorically), and the range of mixed messages we must process just to keep our heads on straight.
Let’s start with something basic, sex, always a good start, something we can all relate to because as they say, if someone wasn’t monkeying around, none of us would be here. Being a straight male, I can only write from my own perspective, but the reader is free (of course) to relate my thoughts to whatever fits their own circumstances the best. Look at what is paraded in front of the average red-blooded American man: cleavage, T and A, Giselle, Heidi, The World’s Next Top Model, and let’s not forget Ms. Upton; what a masterstroke of marketing genius! Take plain old Kate. Why she’s just an ordinary girl, the girl next door. Meanwhile back on Planet Earth, how is the average male to look at the old warhorse over on the Barcalounger who has thickened up through the process of having his kids?
“Doctors’ pills give you brand new ills
And the bills bury you like an avalanche
And lawyers haven’t been this popular
Since Robespierre slaughtered half of France!
And Indian chiefs with their old beliefs know
The balance is undone crazy ions
You can feel it out in traffic
Everyone hates everyone!
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills
Yup, stuck between a rock and, well, never mind.
Speaking of traffic, we’ve seen them on teevee. It’s the slim young hipsters in their smart cars with their cell phones, bright young faces going places, the packaged and commodified non-conformists creating their calling plan so nobody is late for the show, where no doubt they will strum their guitars and beat their drums (Made in China), and lament the death of the Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey reference not intended.
C’mon, admit it, it’s creepy. You see them on the street, texting, talking, in their spandex on the treadmill (why don’t they hook those things up to a generator? people would pay).
The perfect people, the enlightened. I’m sure they don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes. These people are scary, all in their own orbit, and if they know that they are being controlled, they seem to like it.
And the cars! Why they talk to you! And Sly? He drives a Ferrari, of course. My truck doesn’t talk to me, just bings when I leave the turn signal on or don’t fasten the seat belt, because God knows I would be such a loss or, even worse, a burden, but we’ll get back to that. In any case, it probably would be best to get a great big neon sign to strap to the tailgate that flashed “LOSER” once every 3 seconds. I think the denizens of the ghetto have got it right. Know what they say? “S’up, Dog?” –a statement of fact. You’re a dog, I’m a dog, everywhere a dog, dog. You could even become a bounty hunter, get a TV show, put the other dogs in the kennel.
Yes, all these poor people, such a burden on society, eating our food, sucking up our resources, just too many of them; and if they are lucky enough to have a job? Why they should just be grateful. That’s right, Bob, grateful. It’s not like the Boss Man is making any money off them. Just a big bunch of ungrateful losers, a great big fat burden for the rest of us, we who are smarter, harder workers and who play by the rules, unlike them.
My very favorite is the Sunday shows where carefully coiffed and groomed experts give serious statements about current events through their lying horse teeth, perfect pearly white teeth and big mouths being so much more telegenic, don’t you know. Then after you are informed that your common sense opinions on matters of life and death are so very mistaken, you are treated to 5 minutes of adverts for your retirement plan, and how you had better get on the stick boy. Time flies and you better get on the horn and call up T. Rowe Price and make some sound investments with all that extra cash you have lying around. What? What’s that you say? You don’t have a retirement plan? Loser.
You’ll probably become a burden to your children because that is what’s important, the children, isn’t it? Why, you probably shouldn’t have had any, overpopulating the planet as your kind do. Don’t you care about Mother Earth? Probably not, don’t even care about your very own Mother, such a Loser.
But here’s the beauty of it. The battering, the depression, lack of response, that good old deer in the headlights look, it’s for free. Many people don’t realize, but Howie says it best:
“… It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. …
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.”
Howard W. Campbell Jr.
Why are Americans never going to revolt? Why will they never effect any meaningful political change? Because they are too busy beating themselves up, beating themselves black and blue; if they aren’t beating themselves up, they’re beating someone else up, on the street, in a foreign country, and of course, there’s no place like home.
The web makes it easy to look up the statistics, crime, poverty, drug usage. There are more people in the US on legal drugs than illegal I would hazard to conjecture, but one thing is for sure, We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1!
Yes, the Good Old USA, the country that gave you road rage, drive by shootings, drone wars, and KFC, it’s Finger Lickin’ Good!
I think we should change the colors on the US flag, and it’s not just because we borrowed the colours from the bloody English (oh, excuse me, the “UK”) or the French , who we all know are Communists. It’s because our flag no longer represents the true state of America, if indeed it ever represented anything at all. Maybe we should just be honest about it and adopt the Silver and Black, Thunder and Lightning, Shock and Awe. Hell, let’s just go all the way, admit we are the Black Hole of the Universe, Raider Nation, Buccaneers, Pirates.
No? Too many contractual commitments? Copyright problems?
Ok, then how about Black and Blue? Such is the state of most of America, figuratively speaking, or is that literally? So confusing. If the injuries are not readily apparent, we can fix that. Just go down to City Hall and try to claim it as yours. Black and Blue doesn’t just tell the whole story though does it? We need something to add a shade of definition; how about something the color of blood? And the contrast of white thrown in for the countless bones crushed beneath the tank tread of Empire.
So what if some of that Red splashes on the camera lens? If it bleeds it leads.
That’s the ticket! By golly, I think we’ve got it, Red, White, Black, and Blue. It’s a Grand Old Flag:
Those who have read my thoughts, sprinkled hither and thither around the internet, will perhaps be aware that I gave up, about one and a half years ago, when I realised that whatever mighty efforts activists might make, it was going to be impossible to save the biosphere. Daniel Drumright was about three months ahead of me.
Nobody who hasn’t fully encountered and absorbed that experience for themselves, in its true horror, has any idea what it really means, and for those who have yet to face it, you have my deepest compassion and sympathy.
There’s no point in going over the technical reasoning in detail. People either get it or they don’t. They can find all the information quite easily.
There are three big, obvious factors that most people do not understand; those are, first, the irreversible self-reinforcing positive feedbacks that Guy McPherson is listing, and second, the time lag, that what we have now is the result of what we did forty or so years ago, and what we get in the future will be the effects of what we have been doing ever since. The third is the astounding rate at which all the changes are happening, when compared with all previous similar or comparable events in Earth’s history. Whatever it is, it is ULTRA DRAMATIC on the geological time scale.
The doom scenario has been, and is being, comprehensively documented by xraymike on this blog. The trickle of folk who are going through the process of coming to terms with this hellish awakening has already grown into a cascade and will soon be millions, and I really have nothing to say to them, because I do not know what to say to them.
Once you get the insight regarding the Mass Extinction Event, it’s a bit like the Buddha’s Enlightenment Experience under the Bodhi Tree, only in reverse, so to speak.
Gautama pondered whether to keep his insight to himself and spend the rest of his days in bliss, or whether to teach others what he now knew, and he chose, out of compassion, to spend the remainder of his life wandering through India teaching his message.
But how do you teach how to cope with doom ? There’s nothing optimistic or pleasing or life-enhancing or joyful about imminent apocalypse. There’s just the anguish and distress involved with the demanding process of navigating your own psychology and emotional responses toward an impossible future.
Each individual IS an individual, as we see on NBL, with their own version of the mixture of belief and disbelief and their own political and philosophical and religious outlooks, and some have children and grandchildren and some are thinking of survival chances, some of suicide, some of resistance, and so on.
I have had more than a year to dwell upon my own position, and to watch the responses in my own being, and in the people whom I like and respect, and the voices I admire, who also grasp the profound and terrible tragedy facing us all. For a long time, there was commiseration, but then what ? Commiseration fatigue ? How can anyone commiserate with anonymous thousands, let alone millions ?
Again, there’s lots of speculation as to the detail of how the crash will play out and how societies will respond as they collapse. I’m not going to add much to that here, it’s all available elsewhere. We either get a die back, and a bottle neck, with a few survivors, or a complete die off and total extinction event. I think we get the latter, but even if it is the former, none of us are going to know any of those people, as to who they will be, or where or what becomes of them, so why does it matter ? And why would anyone choose to have to live through whatever horrendous circumstances they will have to endure, following the trauma of the ending of civilisation ? Perhaps some people will just happen to find themselves in such a situation. Who knows ?
Meanwhile, here we are. Peak just about everything, where we start the big slide down into the abysmal depths of whatever awaits us all… the biggest crisis that the human species has ever faced, 7 point something billion of us, with millions more arriving here every month. There is no discernible global leadership of any kind that comprehends our dire situation, only madmen and corruption and people locked in to dead cultural paradigms.
What does a dead cultural paradigm look like ?
Well, we’ve got Joseph Tainter to give us some clues from the historical record and maybe Heathcote Williams to bring us up to date with the contemporary scene
From what I understand of history, we can expect a hard swing toward fascist dystopia, as regimes try desperately to exert total control over everything, and hard swings from repressed populations and factions which reciprocate with resistance.
The future will be whatever it will be. Every day I walk up and down the Beach of Doom and kick at pieces of poisonous plastic flotsam and miscellaneous cosmic debris left by the virtual tide, and gaze at the orange purple bruises on the tangerine sky and sometimes I bicker and haggle with someone.
Yesterday it was Lidia at NBL to whom I am grateful for an insight into something or other.
You see, people can be very roughly divided into two groups. Those who primarily hold a religious, or spiritual, or romantic, or mythical world view. And those who primarily hold a scientific, or materialist, or rationalist world view.
Of course, this is a crude over-simplification, and speaking to any individual, you’ll soon find they hold all kinds of contradictory beliefs. But roughly, it’s Mythos and Logos, or Iain McGilchrist’s Right and Left Hemispheres.
So, Lidia was kind enough to describe her worldview, her welt anschauung, her cosmology, her mental conception of how reality is structured, her epistemology, her way of ‘knowing your place in the Universe’.
I hope she will forgive my using her as an example, and the exchange several days ago was only a brief re-run of a much longer version we had on the now defunct NTE ning, some months ago, so I think I do have a fairly full idea as to her thinking, but so as not to risk any personal offence, I’ll take the illustration away from Lidia, and apply it to any generic physicist or scientist or person with a similar belief system, of whom I have met very, very many. This will allow me some poetic license possibly, avoiding danger of maligning the good Lidia, I hope.
You see, according to this paradigm of reality, there is only physics. Everything is physics.
That means that everything is explained by physics. That means no mystery, because even if there is mystery, that’s only due to physics not yet explaining it. And once mystery is killed off, it’s relatives, cousins – things like awe, wonder, sanctity, sacredness, the numinous – easily shrivel and die too.
So, that reality ‘out there’, and this reality ‘in here’, is all meaningless, because it only means something if we impose some wishful magical thinking onto the physics, which, as objective scientists, we are not allowed to do.
And that reality ‘out there’ is just ‘stuff’, and it interacts with this reality ‘in here’, the brain, which again is just ‘stuff’. It’s all physics, it’s all physical stuff, and even though we don’t understand all of it – even don’t understand most of it, or, if pressed, hardly ANY of it, hahaha – in theory, physics can, and will, explain all of it, one day, so no problem.
So, it’s quite interesting to trace back where this story, this Logos story, comes from, and it’s quite easy to do, because it’s well documented and researched, and it goes back to Descartes and his radical scepticism, and the ideas given to him by an angel (Mythos) and his struggle to find anything, something, that he could not undermine by radical doubt, and his arrival at ‘I think, therefore I am’ and then the beginnings of modern science.
Given that the Church of Rome was the dominant power in Europe at the time, an accommodation had to be made between the rising power of science and the prevailing authority, and thus we got an expedient result, the division which gave the material world to the scientists and the spiritual world to the priests. That’s why there’s no God or spirits involved in physics. Which, you may say, is an excellent thing. But let us call it, for the moment, ‘a mixed blessing’.
Because, you see, if you follow the epistemology carefully, and look at it very closely, something absolutely amazing emerges.
Einstein said that our ordinary common senses give us ‘naive realism’. That is, grass is green, rocks are hard, and snow is cold. But physics, if it is true, tells us that this naive realism is all wrong, physics tells us that the reality is quite different, something completely different is actually going on, out there and in here.
Now, it’s all very well for someone like Einstein, or Niels Bohr, or Feynman, to come up with these ideas, as professional physicists, but what happens when this scientific worldview, this basically Cartesian worldview, is taught to us lesser mortals as part of the culture, and internalised as epistemology, and preached to us as ontology, and integrated into general social cosmology ?
This is where it gets really weird, a MOST extraordinary thing – because when I thought over what Lidia had told me, nowhere in the depiction and analysis is there anywhere for A HAPPY HEALTHY COMPLETE HUMAN BEING.
Isn’t that bizarre ? That human beings have come up with a teaching as to what the world is and what the totality of the Universe is, which does not even include the organism that WE ARE, AT ALL ?
I mean, that strikes me as exceptionally odd. Prior to Descartes, the cosmology was a sort of Divine Order, with the Heavens above and layers with angels and God at the pinnacle and so forth. And people were taught this, and their place in the social hierarchy of feudalism was essentially justified because the King was a sort of representative of God on Earth, and so on. So although we can scoff at the nonsense of it, at least at the time, if you were a peasant, you featured in the story.
If you were out in the fields with your ox and your plough and you were gazing at the distant rainbow and thinking about your dead grandfather and you heard the church bells peeling for a wedding in the village next door, all sorts of strange impressions could flicker through your mind, but basically you had a cosmology which placed God somewhere ‘up there’ and you ‘down here’ with a coherent pattern where your birth and living and death belonged with the landscape and the community and the larger reality.
Therefore, the map, the mental model ‘in here’, when projected and overlaid upon reality, had in it the human subject as its focal point, and because that’s what the human subject had been taught, a story was established featuring the ME.
But now, not only have they written God out, with Descartes and the Cartesian Paradigm of reality as the basis of modern science, but you’ve got a model, a cosmology, which has written US, as human beings, biological creatures, right out of the system altogether, as if they were not even involved !
And then people have internalised this model and taken it to be their own personal reality that they use to explain the world to themselves.
I wonder what that does for a person’s health ? I wonder what it does, when millions of people do something like that ?
The Christian Fundamentalists may be completely round the bend when it comes to LOGIC but maybe they just feel intuitively that what they are being offered by the people who argue against them, a worldview, a cosmology, which says NOTHING MEANS ANYTHING, and a worldview, a cosmology, which doesn’t have ANY PLACE where a happy healthy human, a biological human being, can even fit into it, is so sterile and horrible, that they intuitively reject it and are hostile to it ?
Because, if you look at anthropology or what Joseph Campbell said about myth, what a belief system provides for a tribal people is a safe mental refuge. When a person takes a mental excursion into fantasy and ponders the nature of their own life and identity, and the dream they had last night, and their relationships with the world around them and other folks, and the stars above and so forth, the whole purpose of the cosmology is to deliver them safely back unto THEMSELVES.
I mean, think of acid trips and ayauasca and mushrooms and vision quests and all that stuff, where you encounter visions of beings from other dimensions and the most mind-boggling experiences, the idea is to get back to start, square 1, more or less sane and intact.
The same applies to ordinary daydreams and fantasies and all our thinking about our ordinary experiences. How can we be sane and healthy, if our fundamental belief system does not even include a home base option anywhere within it ?
You know, who cares what the physics says. Primarily, we are human beings, biological animals, that cry when we are hurt and sad, and laugh when we are happy, and get sentimental about babies and kittens, and need clean water and food, etc. AND we need a meaningful Universe which has a place for US in it, with a STORY that makes sense as to why we exist…
You know, a story we can UNDERSTAND about who we are and what we are doing here.
At the moment, all these stories we are being told are crap because they are not accurate with the science, strictly speaking, since they can’t be; we can’t get any clear picture from the physicists as to the ultimate nature of all the quantum stuff and the Universe. In addition, these cultural stories are unsatisfactory at the human level when they LEAVE OUT the human being and pretend it’s all some sort of abstract empty machine.
What’s more, from what a large percentage of quantum physicists have plainly stated, you cannot leave the physicist out of the experiment because the observer EFFECTS the observation. Now, I recognize this is contentious, there is no consensus, and it’s not clear what this means. But !
So, what does a ‘good story’ look like ? Well, that’s hard… but I’m glad you asked.
I think this is a complicated and difficult problem, and here I am upon the Beach of Doom, with all of human history and culture, every idea that’s ever been recorded, washed up at my feet at the tide line, strewn and tangled and rotting and steaming…
Look at us, pitiful, confused Bonobos, asking ourselves questions we can’t answer, tearing ourselves and each other apart, trying to satisfy Maslow’s Hierarchy…
Is that what we are doing ? Well, the whistle has blown, the sirens are wailing, time is up, the NTE light is flashing, so there is not going to be some utopian Promised Land for the Bonobos to migrate to…
Xraymike was kind enough to point me to the definition of the word Humanistic:
1. A believer in the principles of humanism. 2. One who is concerned with the interests and welfare of humans.
“Humanism is a group of philosophies and ethical perspectives which emphasize the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers individual thought and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism). The term humanism can be ambiguously diverse, and there has been a persistent confusion between several related uses of the term because different intellectual movements have identified with it over time. In philosophy and social science, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of a “human nature” (contrasted with anti-humanism). etc…”
So let’s take that as a verbal anchorage.
I’d suggest that most human beings have a fundamental requirement, for their psychological, physiological, and social welfare, to understand ‘the world’ in a way that makes sense. So that, whenever they sit down and think things over, and run ideas through their head, they can confirm themselves and they can confirm ‘the world’ and feel okay.
Wouldn’t that be nice ? Look what we’ve got. It’s not THAT, is it.
Is it any surprise that some people want the Rapture or Alien abduction to get the hell out of this confusion ?
The epistemology that science teaches, following on from Descartes, has caused most of the damage to the biosphere over the last century or two, because nothing is sacred, everything is just dead stuff, in a dead machine, inhabited by ghostly meaningless meat robots, zeks, without any dignity or purpose of their own.
You marry that to Capitalism, an elite with power and greed as their motive, and give it to them as a tool, and hand them control of the Military, which was once meant to guard but gets turned into a predatory plundering machine.
Well. We are where we are. The lights will go out, one by one, and then a few million years of silence as the extremophiles have peace.
It could have been, might have been, a very different story, if we had all followed the example of, say, the Bishnois.
The Arctic is melting, but it’s just an invitation to exploit it as the next hydrocarbon frontier. It’s a golden busine$$ opportunity with new shipping lanes, untapped oil/gas reserves, minerals, and fish. Hell, it’s even got potential as another tourist trap.
Drill it, frack it, dig it up, pump it out and burn it!
Gotta keep our six lane highways humming, our three-story malls and big-box stores bustling, our jumbo jets flying, and our semi trucks hauling.
Drill it, frack it, dig it up, pump it out and burn it!
Our food supply is failing from floods, droughts, and heat waves, but it’s the perfect open door for Mon$anto’s GMOs. A DNA tweak here and a genetic alteration there to our fossil fuel-dependent monoculture crops is all that is needed to withstand this strange new weather.
Drill it, frack it, dig it up, pump it out and burn it!
The forests are dying, biodiversity is disappearing, the oceans are acidifying and plasticizing, the fresh water aquifers are drying up, and the skies are simmering, but the show must go on, for the corporations know no other way. Business-as-usual must continue, even if it kills us.
Drill it, frack it, dig it up, pump it out and burn it!
The history of large-scale industrialization, whether capitalist or communist, has been marked by the mindset of ‘develop-first and clean-up later’ if at all. The costs of oil spills, nuclear meltdowns, dead zones, industrial GHG pollution, chemical contamination and countless other adverse effects of man’s activities are paid for collectively by the human race as well as every other living thing on the planet. The totality of all these environmental assaults has reached such a high degree that it has set into motion an escalating disruption and alteration of the Earth’s weather and seasonal patterns. Last year was a record for CO2 emissions; methane spikes have been recorded in the ongoing runaway climate change of the Arctic; and we now know that both poles are primarily melting from below by the warming oceans. What has been the response of this planet’s human inhabitants? …to sprint headlong toward the climate cliff. This kind of reaction to the unfolding eco-apocalypse can hardly be the sign of a wise being, but rather that of a fossil-fuel addict who cannot stop using, even in the face of death, i.e. near term extinction (NTE). Wisdom requires a broad and deep understanding of reality as well as acknowledgment of one’s limitations and humbleness of one’s capabilities. Industrial man exhibits neither of these traits, but instead thinks of himself as somehow outside the web of life and a Master over nature.
Radical change is unequivocally needed, and the alternative of business-as-usual, which we appear hellbent on following, is assuredly catastrophic and final. “But we have technology!”, they say. Technology cannot substitute for a stable climate or for the myriad of ecosystem services the Earth provides free of charge to the human economy. Sorry, but none of the geoengineering schemes proposed by man will bring back the melting glaciers and ice sheets nor stop the methane time bomb we have unwittingly released. We are talking about geologic processes which have been unleashed, far beyond the capability of humans to stop or control at this late stage. We’re sort of like ticks on a rampaging elephant. Nevertheless humans will try to sequester the carbon, sprinkle the atmosphere with reflective nanoparticles or aerosols, seed the ocean with iron, or any other of a number of schemes, but to no avail. I suppose the following 1990 statement by the U.N. Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases should have been taken more seriously:
Beyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.
In light of the sudden cancellation of the Halocene’s stable climate regime, I would say that the statement, “The American Way of Life is not negotiable!“, first uttered by George Bush Senior at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, is not only negotiable, but will soon be null and void. Yes the lifestyle of industrial civilization marked by mountains of disposable plastic bottles and wrappers, cheap crap shipped from Asia, and hours-long commutes from suburbia to corporate enslavement centers will inevitably fail as will all things propped up by hydrocarbon energy. What we took for convenience and progress was actually killing us, both physically and spiritually. The trappings of industrial civilization snuffed out the last connections we had with the real world so that people now think food comes from grocery stores, water comes from faucets, and climate control comes from a thermostat. As disconnected as we are, most never saw Mother Nature slowly pulling the plug on what Joe Bageant called “the theater state’s 400 million screens” of the “American Hologram.” Being released from the 24/7 American hologram would actually come as a welcome relief for most if not for the fact that the real world which they had been disassociated from for so long was rapidly deteriorating. In tandem with the collapse of the biosphere is America’s not so surreptitious slide into overt totalitarianism. You must have already figured out that a few well-heeled individuals are going to try to protect their opulent lifestyle as the rest of humanity turns to a diet of insects and rodents. Somebody’s got to pay the price for all those externalized costs and it’s going to be the unwashed masses – the climax of socialized losses and privatized gains.
And what about the children, if by some miracle a few do survive the ravages of climate chaos? Well, we can only hope that in the aftermath of their ancestor’s sociopathic behavior and lack of conscience, they will forgive us. Bequeathing a destroyed planet to one’s descendants most certainly earns such a person a seat in the innermost circle of Hell. But quite literally, Hell is what we are creating right here on Earth.