Jun 262007

This blog covers a wide range of issues, most of which are interconnected and pertain to the coming collapse of civilization and how this global precipice will effect us all, whether we like it or not or even whether we agree with it or not. This is an immutable, undeniable fact that is going to slam us face down into the mud of reality no matter what.

The perspectives shared here are more rare then not, although there is a growing groundswell of uneasiness and a certain fearful trepidation about what the future might bring among the average citizen. Everyone seems to know something is amiss, but there really are amazingly still, only a very small percentage that seem to know what it is.

It has always been my intention to do more then document the collapse. This is proving to be an exercise in futility. The massive paradigm shift that is necessary is colliding with the cognitive dissonance of reality. Blogs such as Clusterfuck Nation, Carolyn Baker, Cryptogon, Life After The Oil Crash, and so many more are clamoring for attention, literally screaming the warnings out that still aren’t being heard by very many.

An example –

There is a very substantial volume of highly credible writing, for anyone that wants to see it, that warns us that humankind has only a few decades left in which to “˜get it right’. We face demographic challenges and global ecological disruptions on scales like nothing that people have seen before. This is no longer news; the information is out there. In spite of this, most people in North America are still “˜sleepwalking’ into the future. Peak Oil Anarchy

This is a must read. Although dated only slightly (2006), this very timely article portrays the deep and abiding concerns that I have tried to share here.

I urge that readers do not escape by “˜turning me off’. Our children and grandchildren will not be able to “˜turn off’ the massive impacts of the changes that are converging around us now. The denial of today, is the parent of the disaster and discomfort of tomorrow.

Almost exactly one year ago, I penned ‘Our Fathers Father‘. This sins of our father, and his father, and us as fathers, is being passed down to all future generations. We are coming up woefully short of what it urgently necessary and desperately needed.

We’re going to have to get hardcore and deadly serious about making the cultural adjustments necessary if we hope to continue our survival on this planet.

It’s been one year since that was written, and in that year, there has been no progress even worth reporting. Not here, not anywhere. We are all in trouble, serious trouble, but that warning message is still not getting across, and often as not, is derided as being inaccurate and misleading.

However, more and more voices are pointing out what should now be obvious to even the most obtuse observer. These are the “heralders of collapse”, the voices who challenge the status quo, decrying the same message endlessly, repeated for years and years on end.

We believe that civilization, capitalism and greed are human vices that are no longer permissible. We know that the present paradigm of civilization is wrong, inadequate and dangerous, a destructive way of life and ultimately deadly for all things living, including humans. We long for a new society and a new type of civilization, one that is built upon the increase of life and not on the decrease.

We need to come to an awareness, that we are not part of a society that values life -only one that values its own life. We need the awareness that we are an “anti-biotic” society – against life. If the world, including this society, are going to survive, then that consciousness needs to change dramatically. Culturally and institutionally we need to become “pro-biotic” – pro-life – and that is all life, not just our own. Pro-biotic does not mean moving to a “sustainability” platform that trades development against destruction. We are past any hope of “sustainable development” in that context. We need to repair before we can even consider sustainability. New Life – On It’s Way Out

We’re interested in discovering and sharing root causes and root problems, not superficial ‘fixes’ and glossed over patches that perpetuate the present paradigms and status quo. We’ve learned that it is our civilization and our behavior that is the cause for almost all of the suffering that occurs in the world. And we don’t believe for a moment that any institution on earth has the capability to rectify these problems, because these same institutions spring from the same source as the root problems, and are often the cause of it all.

These perspectives make us outcast, outsiders and even distrusted, because we’re dancing to a different drummer and hearing a different tune. We remain unheard because our message is unpopular and contradictory to “all things” as they are known today. It never seems to occur to detractors that the way things are today is very temporary, very destructive and ultimately, a sure path to global suicide.

The sounds of collapse that we hear isn’t the same sound as what everyone else seems to hear. The loss of a single keystone species, or the aggregate meaning of a thousand different events, make their ways into our minds and our thoughts and into our writing and into the message we are trying to spread, all signposts of where we are, where we’re going, and where we’ve been. And whatever we have to say, it has already been said, all of it, a thousand times over by a thousand voices.

Let’s be honest here. We really do not have anything really new to add to the discussion. We don’t have any additional facts or understandings that will change the probable outcome. In fact, the only thing we do really have is the message itself, and the perspective of what it means, because even we are as confused and distraught about what do about it all as any of you are.

On a personal note, I understand what is needed. But like everyone else, I’m caught up in this world of a dual existence. Almost anything I do in this life, will diminish the life and lives to come after me. Robbing the future children has become America’s favorite pastime as we motor our way into a hellish future.

My choice is clear as it can be. Stop contributing to the problem and start working towards the solution. But the difficulty lies not in the understanding of these issues, but in their actual implementation.

We are isolated, alone and even outcasts. We have extremely limited finances accompanied by too many commitments, all of which are dependent upon the present paradigm and status quo that we hope to see destroyed. We need do nothing to ensure this destruction, but simply stand and watch.

Time is our common enemy as the world winds down on it’s own accord. And we lack the teachers ourselves that we know that are so desperately needed. All we really have is the message itself. We’re seeking the same answers you are, and really, not finding any no matter where we look. I hope that’s not too disappointing, even though it’s the truth.

Unfortunately, the message has proven itself to be insufficient, even for us. We have the message and the perspective, but not much else. We’re not yet self-sufficient, non-polluting and self-sustaining ourselves. We’re not ‘demonstrating how it’s done’, and giving our lives over as examples for others to follow, not even close. To my knowledge, nobody really is. Everyone is still plugged in to the oil-socket, drinking in their daily share of the output stream in a thousand different ways.

This is a subject area that bears close examination and it should scare the living hell out of everyone. Our problems is the same as your problem – who among us, any of us, has actually managed to truly unplug? Anyone? I think not. Anyone that is still using the past or present production and benefit of products created from cheap petroleum to include housing, food, tools, transportation, clothing and zillion other things is not yet really unplugged.

It’s also well worth nothing that we are all in a terrible Catch-22 situation. We cannot afford to do this unplugging either. Our commitments to this present world are simply too deep to simply unplug from the petroleum benefit lifeline, even though we know we really should. Nor can we afford not to do this either, since this ensures our destruction!

This is a terrible situation and it only demonstrates just how inadequate we really are and how completely contradictory our society is towards sustainability. We have the message, we know what needs to be done, but we’re caught between the two. The message is insufficient, it’s proving to be self-deluding because it implies that what we propose in terms of self-sufficiency can in fact be done. But if that were true – why aren’t we doing it?

I live in a very rural, remote area and have much of my life. I have met thousands of rural peoples, yet I have never even once met anyone who was truly unplugged. Unhinged perhaps, but not unplugged. The reliance upon cheap petroleum benefits is shown in everyday things big and small. Even the “self-sufficent” really aren’t, they have all built their homesteads with the benefits of roads, cars, lumber, supermarkets and hardware. The truth of the matter is we don’t seem to have any self-sufficient people anymore.

We’re too far removed from that lifestyle today. We no longer practice it, teach it or really even understand it. Our society completely contradicts this lifestyle in a million ways. There is very little in society that assists those that seek this type of living, or simply doesn’t interfere with those that want to try it. We can recycle paper, plastic, glass and metal, or compost if we have gardens, but much, if not all, what we compost or recycled has first come from the supermarket. How self-sufficient is that?

There are only a few communities that are actually working towards self-sufficiency. I don’t happen to live with 400 miles of a single one. Despite a few published stories of “community support”, the reality is very different.

They receive no tax breaks or financial incentives to be self sufficient (other then simply saving money and / or the need for a job), they are not being recognized or acknowledged as community leaders or teachers for a non-oil future, they receive no real community support or assistance, they’re not being given plots of land to help in their efforts, nor are they provided with volunteers, teachers or even a good course of instruction unless they somehow manage to find this on our own, or pay for it out of their own pockets.

They’re neither rewarded or even recognized for being self-sufficient and non-polluting, in fact, just the opposite is mostly true – they’re considered weird, odd and counter-culture, sometimes to be shunned, avoided or simply dismissed. In some circles, they’re the ones who are considered “unhinged”, lacking a firm grasp on the reality of greed. Their anathema to the present paradigms of unending growth, greed and corruption.

Yet, staring us all in the face across the globe is the total collapse of civilization and society. How strange it is that we can look at this with so little understanding of why it has happened! And worse, deliberately ignore what must now be done about it. This is the essence of the message we are trying to convey, the path of unsustainable growth and development that has led us to the brink of disaster and that a new model of living is now essential if we hope to survive.

But as I’ve already said, it is a message that is proving to be insufficient. It fundamentally contradicts the widely embraced worldview of expectations and demands and rewards. Until that perspective changes, either by hurt or by harm (but almost certainly not voluntarily) the message will remain insufficient. It lacks the commitment, skills, support and earnest desire necessary to make it a reality.

The fault, as in all things, is human. Illusion and promise and comforting words are preferable to the harshness of reality. Humans seem to learn only through the pain of experience, especially when there are other less painful choices and avenues still available. But that luxury of choice and time is fast disappearing before our very eyes. It is then, when we are being forced face down in the mud of reality that we will wonder (and cry) at our days, weeks and years of our former reluctance to choose when we actually had the choice.

The only possible decision that provides any of us with comfort, safety, security and a future promise is to act responsibly right now even though this too, will be painful. But it will be far less painful then doing it later.

Jun 262007

The latest statistical work by Dallas geologist Jeffrey Brown over at The Oil Drum.com, suggests that something else is happening, something that was not anticipated: an imminent oil export crisis. This Export Land Theory states that exporting nations will have far less oil available for export than was previously assumed under older models. (Story here.) The theory states that export rates will drop by a far greater percentage than net production decline rates in any given exporting country. For example, The UK’s portion of the North Sea oil fields may be showing a nine percent annual decline for the past couple of years. But it’s export capacity has declined 60 percent. Something similar is in store for Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela — in short, the whole cast of characters in the export world. They are all producing less and they are all using more of their own oil, and have less to send elsewhere.

Brown’s math suggests that world oil exports will drop by 50 percent within the next five years, certainly enough to trigger a systemic breakdown in market allocation, meaning serious supply shortages among the importing nations. That’s us. We import two-thirds of all the oil we use. Peak Suburbia

I definitely suggest everyone read the links above. With imports now at 80%, what would happen if they were slashed in half? Systematic collapse, probably.

Of course, our oil-soaked economy won’t absorb any of this. The skyrocketing costs of products and goods will be passed on to you. We just received notice only yesterday that Mountain House is raising their prices, and the world food situation is looking grimmer and grimmer.

A massive drop in oil imports will devastate this nation, it’ll be like a gut-shot deer, staggering, stumbling and fumbling around, glassy-eyed and near death. It will also cause a rather massive backlash as the nations leaders stupidly attack each other over the remaining resources. And as predicted, this will have a severe impact on individual freedoms in this country. Expect a curtailing of all travel except essential business. Rationing of energy supplies will also occur.

Our world is about to get extremely chaotic and dangerous. Starving billions notwithstanding, the cultural shock of having to ‘learn local’, stay home, grow your own food and develop entirely new relationships, business models and infrastructure is going to have a huge impact upon every one of us.