There is a lot of ‘happenings’ taking place in the world right now, as the jockeying continues for attention, resources and power.
I think a lot of these things are meant to be distractions from the serious issues facing us all. If you notice, I’m not putting much of this ‘news’ up on the newsletter lately for this reason. What news is there that we don’t know already? The Administration is lying, spending us into bankruptcy, and heading us all over the cliff towards collapse.
There are definitely some sites I think you should check everyday, even though the news they contain is of the same topic and the same direction. Steve Lendeman has several new articles on Gaza and what’s happening there right now, this situation may yet explode.
Desdemona Despair too is worthy of a daily check, there are always several new important articles linked in, all showing the same global decline in environment, climate and future.
The media news shows that we are headed for yet another war, but I prefer Lendeman’s article on this as it is far closer to the truth that the media lies.
While this is a very big deal, don’t let this distract you from what you can do. They’re going to go to war whether we like it or not, whether we protest or object or not. If not this time, then next time, or the next one after that. Unless you are willing to take up arms and physically stop them from doing this, then I suggest you concentrate on something else more practical.
Hi, as much as I sympathize with the notion of disconnecting from the train of destruction and to go homesteading I don’t think it is going to be a solution. Not for the world and not for you either. Why? First of all: disconnecting from the economy and industrial civilization will not shield you from the effects of climate change and the coming post peak energy resource wars. Fall out from nucleair explosions will not limit itself to cities. Neither do heatwaves and droughts. Nor are you save in your homestead from hungry hordes and oficials confiscating your harvest.
I sympathize because here in Europe I have tried to do something similar: living in one of the most industrialized and most densely populated countries in Europe I decided after realizing what kind of predicament the world is in to buy a house in one of the least populated countries in the north of Europe, just to have a way of escape. But I realize that the whole operation may have been futile for the reasons already stated. (Still I will keep the house, learn the language (yes that is an additional difficulty in Europe), grow/ store food and try to socialize with the natives, just in case).
But there is a more compelling reason I think that disconnecting from industrial society is not good: because it will disconnect you (and other people like you) from power. You will be even more powerless than you already are while fully suffering the consequences of the actions of greedy powerfull people. You will be happily discarded by the power elites. One person less..
You see that is the problem: to counteract the enormous forces of mass destruction (in terms of nature and resources) called ‘corporations’, at the very least you need something equally powerful. Only governments might be – just – powerful enough to tame them IF they would be serving the general interest of the people rather than the special interests of the rich as is usual.
I see roughly two possible scenario’s for the onset of the coming collapse:
1) The one I think will happen: as most humans, incapable of understanding what is happening and why it is happening, will easily fall prey to a number of dark characters that will show up leading them into more acts of religious or other induced terrorism, fascism, escapism, resulting in riots, wars (including nucleair wars), a world where the survivors wish they were dead.
2) The one that I wish would happen: that the people somehow keep their heads cool, and for one time don’t let themselves be tricked into war “because we need the jobs NOW and the economy comes before ecology”, expose the real criminals, take the government back democratically in order to have the power to bring corporations under control. Remove all special interests from government and make lobbying unlawful. Base economic decisions on science rather than the pseudo-science with is taught at Economic faculties of Universities.
I only mentioned option 2 because I know of one occasion were the people of a country were able to resist a totalitarian government that seemed to be impossible to overcome but they succeeded just by protesting in the main square. First there were a 1000 then there were 10000, then it grew to more than 100000 and they stayed there day and night week in week out until finally the regime gave itself up. This was the Romanian revolution of 1989. This regime under dictator CeauÅŸescu was so violent and so determined not to relinguish power that nobody thought it possible that the crowd would succeed but it did.
You don’t have to agree with me but do you see my point? Although I understand you, to vanish into the countryside or the woods will not help, not even yourself as you will get your share of pollution, violence and global warming effects anyway. (Even the North pole is not safe any longer..) Instead people would need to go to the financial centers of the world: London, New York, Tokyo, Beijing to protest en masse. They would have to show up with hundred thousands (millions?) in Wallstreet and demand real change and refuse to go away. For days on end, weeks if need be. Until they give in. Now that would be the nice option.
This of course can only happen if the effects of post oil peak and/ or global warming have become so obvious and so devastatingly damaging that everybody feels them, nobody can deny them AND somehow it would still be not too late to mitigate them. (That is the weak part, I admit..).
I guess I should not be surprised that there are still people, even among my own readership, that do not get it yet. They don’t understand the overall picture and where this is all headed. I’m going to take this letter and the opportunity it provides to address each of the issues this brings up.
1) The economy and industrial civilization is shutting down. We are doing this right now in stages, what I long ago wrote as ‘plateaus’. This is the slipperly slope of energy decline, mixed in with economic collapse and climate collapse. Nobody, any place on the planet will remain immune from these effects.
2) Disconnecting from the dependency and fracturing of civilization remains the only true answer for what you can actually do, and what will be left after civilization’s collapse. Otherwise, by remaining plugged in, you remain totally dependent upon civilization and industry and all the multinational and mega-corporations, large and small, for your sustenance and livelihood. If you stay “plugged in”, you are in fact, continuing to feed the beast, the voracious destructive monsters and institutions of society that are factually destroying us all (and all future hope for the planet and human generations to come).
The future outcome of civilization as we know it today is already well known. Civilization is the driving engine of climate collapse, resource collapse, fisheries collapse, deforestation, acidification, soil degradation, air and water pollution and all of the rest of the many ills affecting man and beast alike.
It is civilization itself, that engine we depend on to keep us alive (daily), that is destroying this planet, bite by bite, by enabling and harnessing the destructive power of 7 billion humans to voraciously consume everything (plant, fish, animals, minerals, resources) through their industry and exploitation for money.
Remaining plugged in to civilization as you suggest is the same thing as giving your permission for this engine to continue to engulf you and everyone else, including ALL future human generations, ALL living species and the entire biosphere. You are not only giving your permission, you are giving your support in terms of time, labor and finances to help make this destructive force viable.
There is absolutely no question nor debate on this issue in reality. It is civilization that is destroying everything while pretending that it is ‘providing for our future’ when in reality, it is destroying all hopes of a livable future because of its present form and practices, leading us all over the cliff edge of overconsumption, exploitation, overproduction, pollution and environmental degradation (and many other issues, such as declining health and debilitating diseases).
3) A homestead creates an independent livelihood and sustanance for your survival. While this is not completely disconnected from civilization or society (nothing is), it is far better then remaining plugged in and doing nothing. This also empowers you to become self-educated in personal survival skills and techniques, such as growing some of your own food, working for yourself, and developing the necessary skills and experience to take care of yourself, and helps you disengage you from the failing support systems of a failing society.
4) Nobody will be ‘shielded’ from the effects of climate collapse, nuclear war or any other disaster, not even the homesteader, but especially those that are still depending upon civilization and industry to take care of them and keep them alive.
The many points of failure that civilization has today, such as “just in time delivery systems” of everything from food, water, energy, oil, gasoline and a highly integrated delivery / transportation system has a million failure points built in, all of which are going critical now.
Examine how ice storms or hurricanes (disaster examples) today strip the stores bare in a matter of hours, and then people go hungry, cold or even freeze to death because ‘civilization / society fails them’. The real failure is you and how you have chosen dependency over personal responsibility for your life, and the autonomy that this actually gives you.
You don’t have to live like that and be the victim of collapse when it happens to you. To suggest that this is “better” ignores all the evidence.
5) The comment on ‘people in power’ assumes several points: That you have a voice, that it is respected, appreciated and listened to, that your vote actually counts, that individuals and groups of individuals can actually effect that halls of power by protest, by voting and by demanding change.
Almost every one of these points is patently false and no longer true. Here in America, voting is irrelevant. The candidates are pre-picked (pre-selected, what I have coined years ago as (s)elected), voting discrepencies and abuse of power / candidacy are absolutely legendary, and even after a candidate is put into office, these slugs wind up doing whatever the hell they want (witness what Bush did and what Obama is now doing, despite the demands of the people and all the protests taking place).
I contend without reservation that voting is a total waste of time in today’s world. We do not live in a democratic society where the people have any direct influence over the halls of power. The Romanian revolution was far, far different then the ballot box “demands” people are accostomed to using and practicing. But whatever we do, we ALWAYS wind up settling for less then what we are promised in any case, and far, far less then what is actually needed.
The fact is, the people are entirely disconnected from the powerful people. There is ample evidence of this fact throughout the world. The illusion however, remains: That ‘voting’ empowers you and gives you voice, and that participating in the democratic process ‘makes a difference’ and that this is your only real means of voicing your opinions, dissent or wishes.
None of these are true. They all belong to that illusion and make-believe reality promoted by media and of course, government and politicians. They WANT you to remain powerless and totally dependent upon their direction and influence and to keep you ignorantly believing that you are actually empowered.
By playing into this game (voting for example, but there are many other examples), you are in fact, giving credibility to this sham and giving your consent to be governed by these tricksters.
Finally, if voting or ‘participating’ in the democratic process could save us or change our world for the better, then we would have already done so by now and we would in fact, be living in a very different world.
What the people want, and what the politicians / governments / corporations give us are two entirely different things now. If we could have had it “democratically” — we would have already long since had it, but we don’t, ample evidence that the democratic approach simply does not work. It is an illusion, pure and simple, promoted by media, all of our institutions and by government themselves. The last thing that they want you to figure out is that you are living in the Matrix.
We remain on the inexorable decline of collapse no matter what we do. Government, politicians and industry aren’t listening to our protests — this should be dead obvious. If they were, they’d stop their destruction, but what are they actually doing instead? They are continuing on the same paths of self-destruction and exploitation for all of humanity and all life on earth.
They are pursuing profits, period, pure and simple, and always will, and until that changes or we collapse, there is nothing we can do in the voting box that is going to make a lick of difference. It does not even matter if we get a new (s)election of pre-approved ‘candidates’ — nothing is going to change now. Again, if we could have changed it by this method — we’d have done so already.
5) The reality is, to ‘counteract the forces of industry’ you have to stop supporting industry altogether. As long as you continue to remain dependent upon their production and output (which is really environmental depletion and destruction), you will be forever empowering industry to retain control over you and the planet.
YOU must become personally powerful by taking charge of your own life and divorcing yourself from dependency. You cannot do this ‘democractically’ within the confines of society, not how it is setup today, because it is designed from the bottom up to protect itself, insulate itself and destroy any opposition that may come against it. This is why Senators and Congressmen and city councilmen and anyone who attempts to work against the status quo consistently fails.
It is also why there is such widespread failure with indigenous tribes who have tried to stay independent and free. They represent the last truly free societies on earth and they are a direct threat to the status quo despite their small size and stature. They have no power, but what they represent is deadly to the status quo.
Their small successes are noteworthy, and I am NOT discounting them, but they are still losing ground despite these milestones. Until they are left the hell alone and these evil corporations pack up their pollutive crap and depart from their lands with profuse apologies and sincere offers of help to restore the damage that they have already done, the indigenous peoples of the earth will remain a persecuted people and will forever, vote or no vote, be at risk for these rapacious bastards.
6) I have not advocated ‘vanish into the countryside or the woods’. A homestead is not this at all, but a part of a growing community of self-sufficient and independent peoples who are providing for themselves. If there is more then one in a local area, they can barter, exchange skills, labor, supplies, materials, produce, livestock and / or cooperate with gardening, projects, fire suppression, safety, protection or any number of things, if they so choose. Even larger groups can setup their own bartering systems, including a country store or warehouse with an exchange of goods or labor, whatever is needed for the community.
This is in direct opposition to our present society, which requires you and fully expects you to drive to various stores over vast distances to exchange your money (read: job), time and labor to purchase goods from large stores (box corporations) and small suppliers, and drive home. In this equation, almost zero locally produced products are offered or created for you to choose from. This has gigantic impacts upon resource consumption, oil depletion, pollution and of course, your total dependency.
Your every effort in this reality they’ve created is based upon competition, not cooperation, and your job, consumption and even personal production that you are engaged in is entirely oriented towards the further exploitation of resources and the capitalistic enterprise. This is insane, yet it is the world we are being forced to live in. There is a better way.
It is these things and our mythical belief that we are ‘bettering ourselves’ by continuing our participation in, that is significantly contributing to our destruction and collapse. The root problem here is we have been literally conscripted into this ‘army’ of connedsumeristic capitalism, literally forced to participate against our own best interests.
We’re dumbed down by our schools, media and government into accepting this form of ‘lifestyle’ as being better or more healthy or somehow beneficial to all, sold this lie throughout our entire lives, when the ugly truth is exactly the opposite. We are destroying this planet, our only home and everything that it is (or was) by continuing to support this predatory lifestyle.
7) There are other people who have fallen for the notion that they can disappear in the woods and live on the land, but I have long pointed out that this will result in their total failure (death) in short order.
Except for highly skilled primitivists, who are fully experienced and prepared to live off the land like this in extremely remote regions, this is a terrible idea. Many will try it, I get calls and email all the time from people who think they’re going to go live off the land by their wits and 72 hour kits. They will die, very quickly when they try this, or flee back to civilization if they can. Refugees are among the most impoverished, desperate people on the planet, don’t let this happen to you.
8) Mass protests do not work. Witness the World Trade Organization protest, the G8 protest, the Hopenhagen protests, ad infinitum. It would not matter if 100,000,000 million people managed to show up, protest do not work, they do not change outcomes, they do not succeed in redirecting society or civilization towards a sustainable (and the only ‘hope’ there is) future, they only succeed in creating a totalitarian police state and knee-jerk response to public dissent as government and political leaders and industry react in mock ‘horror’.
It’s a rigged game, from start to finish, anybody playing into this is only playing by the well-established rules and responses already laid down.
Witness the crackdowns, the batons, the water cannons, the tear gas and the crowd control machines deployed against peaceful protesters. Talk to the jailed protestors and survivors of police beatings, shootings and bogus arrests. What did they actually accomplish other then venting some anger? Fifteen minutes of fame? A five-second sound byte on the national news? They accomplished nothing, and are quickly forgotten by a world that simply doesn’t care.
Stay home and protest by abandoning the elements of civilization that are destroying you and everything else. This is the most effective action plan you can take, because it is real, it’s peaceful and it is personally empowering in ways that I have only begun to describe. Your homestead gives you the opportunity to do that like nothing else will.
If that isn’t good enough for you, then take up arms and physically stop what you can no longer tolerate. Nothing less then this will work.
9) The entire premesis of the letter above is to work within the system to effect change; that such efforts will actually work; and that we can somehow prevent our collapse of environment, resources and climate by doing so. None of this is true.
Furthermore, nothing can stop collapse now, this is something that I’ve also long pointed out. It is much too late now for that. We have huge truly insurmountable problems now, such as overpopulation and environmental destruction and resource depletion. No city, state, region or homestead will be immune to this, and there is nothing we can do but prepare for it. Again, nothing is going to stop our collapse now.
If you don’t plan / prepare for this, then you are simply tossing your lot and your life in with everyone else and their fated outcome, and you don’t care enough about your own future to do anything about it. You are also exercising your belief, demonstrated by your lack of action, that you do not care about your children and their future either, because you are still giving your support to the destruction by participating in it, daily. You do have a choice. Make it and choose wisely.
No doubt some who do not prepare will survive by sheer luck or by opportunity, but witness the ongoing collapse happening right now in Australia and Kenya for example. There are already millions of climate refugees that are losing land, homes, jobs, possessions, livestock, employment and are now homeless, destitute and starving.
They were totally unprepared for their personal collapse and when it happened to them, they had made no options for their survival, they expected civilization to save them, and all of them were thrown back upon civilization to keep them alive (and many of them didn’t make it). And civilization cannot handle them. The influx of refugees is a gigantic problem and they are barely able now to keep them alive. What will happen when there are even more refugees as there will surely be? A hundred-fold, a thousand-fold? More environmental collapse? More resource depletion? There is no doubt that a gigantic die-off will occur.
10) The two scenarios in the letter above are worth a final mention here. Scenario 1 will come true and is already happening.
Scenario 2 is not going to come true, because it forgets that:
a) people will do absolutely anything for food, money, security and the notions of “safety” (including sacrifice their own children to senseless wars), or relenquish their freedoms for the illusions of safety and protection, or destroy entire nations or even an entire world in their pursuit for material possessions, food, power, wealth or fame;
b) the notion that we can “take back control of the government” and do anything better / different is baseless even if we actually could take government back (that will never be permitted to happen), we would in point of fact probably wind up doing the same exact things that are being done now, because our society, institutions and even civilization itself is not adaptable to these kind of changes like we think;
c) corporations are now nation / states unto themselves, truly accountable to no one, and are the true powers in the world today, superseding even that of governments and (s)elected politicians. Nothing is going to change this in this present world which deems money and power more important then life itself, and they will viciously defend themselves to the death (taking your life) if necessary;
d) special interests and lobbyists and all the backroom jerrymandering going on will undoubtedly continue as long as people continue to serve money as their primary self-interest no matter who or what is in charge;
e) real science is taking a back seat right now in our superstitious, fear-mongering, knee-jerk Fox news “reality show” catatonic society and will stay that way for some time to come.
I too would like to see a democratic, wise-response to our ongoing self-induced collapse, but it is not happening. I do not count the greenwash promotions of industry as the answer, nor do I count the growing public awareness of this multifaceted crisis as the answer either. Effectively, unless we actually STOP doing what we are doing, we have done NOTHING AT ALL that will slow down or prevent our civilizations collapse.
It is the height of hubris to assume that humans can control the earth, but that is exactly what we’re being told we can do. If that were actually true — then it is also true that we can inflict terrible damage upon the biosphere and the atmosphere — something that is being vehemently denied by the deniers that “can’t be done”.
We can’t control the earth, but a thousand years of exploitation and a hundred plus years of petroleum extraction, burning and pollution have in fact done some pretty terrible things now. It will take a very long time to undue the damage — and there is absolutely no clear assurances that we can.
The only way we can “fix” what is wrong is to abandon what we are actually doing. Now. Not next year, not ten years from today, not next century. NOW. And even then we will have to figure out how to live with one thousand years of climate change and perhaps more.
But of course, this will never happen, which is why it is now up to you, each and every one of you to personally make the adaption strategy necessary. The homestead is the answer. Given enough people / participation, these will become local communities, even villages, cooperating and working together to provide for a pathway, a return to local living.
Local living IS the answer and it is exactly what is being promoted, albeit in a high mindness kind of way today, by government. Most of this is whitewash / greenwash, but the message is there.
Another Reader Writes
I don’t e-mail much as im still working in the Arctic, and only get back to Ontario once every couple of months. I’ve been up in the Arctic for 18 months now, and even in that short period of time I have seen climate changes. We fly over Churchill on a regular basis, and the ice pack last spring broke up way early and this year the ice still hasn’t formed as much as it should. I teach Survival skills, and last fall I had the chance to talk one on one to the locals, some the typical young teenagers others in their mid to late 80’s.
The elders, regaled me of hunting stories and how they used to travel, great stories, but that’s not why I’m writing this e-mail. What has come about, is that in the last ten years there hunting patterns have had to change by almost 90%, ice, snow and extreme weather systems are all taking a toll on the wildlife.
In fall I took 18 rangers on to the tundra to exchange survival skill techniques, I think I learnt more from them than they learnt from me, but we all had a great time, Arctic char is the local fish and I have to say that after we caught a few and cooked them fresh, I have never tasted fish that great, BUT they told me that the taste of fish and game has changed so much in the last ten years that some of the elders can’t eat the meat anymore, as they find it tastes acidic!!
What this e-mail is all about is that in the last six months, the reality of our dire situation has hit home, I can no longer waste the time educating those who are too stupid or blinkered to see what is happening, here is a great example:
Last month I had a class of 10 people age range mid 20s to late 40’s, I was covering the usual items when I suddenly asked “Who here has stores and provisons to carry them through for a year? No reply… I kept asking until I got down to a week!!! Then one person said they had some pasta and
I asked “What would you do if the stores ran out of food this afternoon? One woman who was serious said “Well, if the stores run out of food, I will just order in Pizza or KFC” !!!!!!
SO what can one say apart from a few swear words. Anyhow just thought I’d drop you a line, I will send pics of the Arctic when I can get access to a better internet connection, maybe when I get home at the end of the month etc. keep well
This is of course, nearly laughable, but not. It’s sad. It reminds me of another story I heard: A woman was asked “What will you do when the farmers run out of food?” and her answer was, “I’ll just go to the store and buy some”.
It’s hard to believe that there are actually people who don’t know where food actually comes from, or how it arrives in the stores. Just to be clear, food is grown from the ground (soil), most often because a human (farmer) planted it, harvested in season (when ripe), processed (cleaned, packaged) and shipped to stores, which is then bought by consumers. No place in this process does the store, resteraunt or factory actually produce food. All this requries tremendous amounts of energy (oil), fertilizer, sunshine, water and handling.
Food production requires soil, oxygen, sunlight and water (and most often, fertilizer as our soils are severely depleted) and seeds. If any of these are degraded by climate, shortage, overabundance (flooding for example), pests, vermin or disease, then production declines or is wipe out.
The United States has a 3 day food supply on hand in the “just in time” delivery network. We no longer have a strategic reserve, you can thank your politicians for that fact. Most food is already pre-sold long before it’s actually grown and China is buying up vast contracts for US food production.
Finally, Pizza Hut and KFC both get their food from distributers, which buy them from wholesalers who in turn get the food from farmers who are struggling like mad to have sufficient production (crops) and stay in business. Without farmers and productive farms, we would all be long dead. The same can be said for climate, water and even energy.
There are many weak points in this chain from field to plate, which is why I have long advocated self-sufficiency. Almost nobody is totally self-sufficient, but you can make a huge impact in your own life by learning how to grow some of your own food.
I am in the process of ordering and assembling some rather large raised earth boxes (nearly 1800 sq. ft) to grow some of my own food — and I have a ten year food supply now on hand. It is not enough, not for what is coming. I will supplement my food stores with my own food production. I will build these boxes myself, from raw materials. I wish my neighbors would do the same, but I already know that I will be feeding more then a few of them. And when that gets out of hand, I will be defending my food stores / production and am making plans / preparations for that too. Make no mistake — this will not be a free-for-all kitchen, I do not suggest anybody do this either as you will be overwhelmed rather quickly, and then you will lose everything.
Is all of this necessary? You betcha. We are facing a global food crisis, the likes which the world has never seen before. It is being worsened by climate collapse with farmers losing entire crops, and energy decline as petroleum once again spikes up in price and availability issues with entire countries going “dark” to save on energy. We will see other factors very soon too, as new diseases and pests migrate farther north affecting food production.
On the petroleum front, all the world’s major oil fields are now in severe decline. Since food production (planting, harvesting, transportation, processing and distribution) all require gigantic quanties of petroleum, the world looks to a future of declining food harvests no matter what we do.
The same is true for fertilizer, a critical component in food production (made from natural gas). There are also critical element shortages such as phosphates looming ahead. And do not forget fresh water supplies either, available fresh water is in critical stages throughout most of the developed and “undeveloped” world, a problem that is getting worse as we continue to warm up.
Aquifers are in severe depletion and river, stream and glacial runoff is in decline world wide. It all adds up to a future of severely diminished food production.
A return to local growing and breaking the chain of dependency and “1500 mile salads” is going to be absolutely necessary. In a world of declining resources, collapsing economies and catastrophic climate change, local living is the only answer there is.