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Category — Social Collapse

Guy McPherson’s Recent Climate Chaos Presentation

Guy’s Climate Chaos Presentation from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo.

Pauline Schneider writes: Guy presents the laundry list of scientific evidence that goes back nearly 100 years supporting the horrific threat of extinction of all living beings on the planet possibly by 2030. Or sooner if Fukushima melts down. Oh wait. It already did…
This is a call to action, but not the kind you’d think; a call to be present, to be loving, to Be Here Now, to be tender, to be grateful for the small things, to shut the lights as we leave so that hopefully in 9 million years other beings will have a chance to return…
There will be no dirges, no legends told of our courage in our last hours, no one to remember us after we walk into the Abyss. Let’s make now special, because now is precious and it’s all we have before the 400 nuclear power plants melt down…

February 6, 2014   No Comments

The road to the future leads to the past

Ray Jason 

Schoolgirl_and_sister_in_a_cayuco

An ordinary sunset was about to turn extraordinary. AVENTURA was resting between voyages — way down south in the Banana Latitudes. We were anchored in a cove so serene that the birds seemed to fly at half speed in order to preserve the tranquility.

A native cayuco slowly emerged from behind one of the islands that frame this tiny bay. A man and a woman were gently rowing their dugout canoe through the pale, peach-glazed water. When they swung their bow around and faced the west, I recognized the young couple. They had stopped by yesterday and traded a freshly-caught fish for some cooking oil.
They stowed their oars in the cayuco and drifted about 30 yards off my starboard side. She leaned her back against his chest and his chin cradled the top of her head. Although the twilight panorama that we were savoring was only mediocre, I suspect that their contentment was as transcendent as mine.

Suddenly, this exquisite peacefulness was destroyed by the roar of an outboard engine as a shiny American powerboat came blasting through our little sanctuary. Two overweight guys laughed drunkenly as they watched their wake nearly capsize the little native canoe. I looked over at my neighbors and shook my head in disgust. They responded with body language that said, “Sad, sad, sad.”

A few minutes later, with the euphoric spell broken, they slid a fishing line into the water, and then started to row towards a nearby island. As I watched them depart, I realized that every element of this dusk-soft panorama was so elemental, that it could have taken place 500 years ago.

While their cayuco drifted to the south, with the lovers lazily fishing, I turned back to the west and caught a glimpse of the drunken gringos roaring out of sight. Because I am blessed (or cursed) with the philosopher’s need to contemplate such symbolic vignettes, I began a meditation that took me deep into the star-plush night. [Read more →]

October 30, 2013   No Comments

What happens when the oil runs out?

Kieran Cooke

Pumpjacks

Lost Hills oil field, California: The sun sets on a beleaguered industry. Image: Arne Hückelheim via Wikimedia Commons

A new book by Jeremy Leggett, The Energy of Nations: Risk blindness and the road to renaissance, predicts a grim future if our oil-dependent society refuses to change.

It is early 2007 and Jeremy Leggett, environmental campaigner and renewable energy entrepreneur, is on the top floor of a skyscraper in Hong Kong, taking part in a BBC debate on fossil fuels with the head of Shell and other chief executives.

Though Leggett is cast in the role of attack dog in the debate, the exchange – initially at least – is polite. The man from Shell says fossil fuels will continue to be a dominant part of the global energy scene for years ahead. Leggett says if that’s the case, then we’re all in for a very rough ride. As CO2 levels go up, the polar ice will melt and sea levels rise. The world economy could collapse.

The Shell executive says the world has to have energy – and that’s what companies like his provide. And anyway, energy companies are enterprises, not governments – Shell is not ultimately responsible for the type of energy produced around the globe.

“There you have it, I think”, says Leggett. “Shell is not responsible for the energy used in the world. The drug pusher’s argument.”

Those of us who write about climate change, fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions do not have an easy time of it. These subjects are not, after all, particularly sexy ones. Pessimism abounds. We struggle to find some good news. Heaven forbid that we might, at times, be glum and boring. [Read more →]

September 24, 2013   No Comments

“Time is Running Out: Ecology or Economics?” – David Suzuki

Environmentalist and activist David Suzuki gave a lecture titled “Time is Running Out: Ecology or Economics?” at noon on May 6, 2013 at Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center Concert Hall, as part of Western’s annual Japan Week Celebration. The event was co-sponsored by Japan Week and Western’s Office of Sustainability.

Suzuki is best known for his work as a radio and television host dealing with natural sciences in an easy to understand way, and has won numerous awards throughout his career in broadcasting. He has also received 25 honorary degrees from institutions in the United States, Canada and Australia and written 52 books.

July 17, 2013   No Comments

Reducing the Risk of Human Extinction

Jason G. Matheny

Space Station

Excerpted from Reducing the Risk of Human Extinction,
Risk Analysis, Vol. 27, No. 5, 2007

In this century a number of events could extinguish humanity. The probability of these events may be very low, but the expected value of preventing them could be high, as it represents the value of all future human lives. We review the challenges to studying human extinction risks and, by way of example, estimate the cost effectiveness of preventing extinction-level asteroid impacts.

It is possible for humanity (or its descendents) to survive a million years or more, but we could succumb to extinction as soon as this century. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. President Kennedy estimated the probability of a nuclear holocaust as “somewhere between one out of three and even.” John von Neumann, as Chairman of the U.S. Air Force Strategic Missiles Evaluation Committee, predicted that it was “absolutely certain that there would be a nuclear war; and that everyone would die in it.”

More recent predictions of human extinction are little more optimistic. In their catalogs of extinction risks, Britain’s Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees (2003), gives humanity 50-50 odds on surviving the 21st century; philosopher Nick Bostrom argues that it would be “misguided” to assume that the probability of extinction is less than 25%; and philosopher John Leslie (1996) assigns a 30% probability to extinction during the nex tfive centuries. The “Stern Review ”for the U.K. Treasury (2006) assumes that the probability of human extinction during the next century is 10%. And some explanations of the “Fermi Paradox” imply a high probability (close to 100%) of extinction among technological civilizations.

Estimating the probabilities of unprecedented events is subjective, so we should treat these numbers skeptically. Still, even if the probability of extinction is several orders lower, because the stakes are high, it could be wise to invest in extinction countermeasures. [Read more →]

April 7, 2013   No Comments

Dmitry Orlov: Peak Oil Lessons From The Soviet Union

Dmitry Orlov, engineer and author, warns that the US’s reliance on diminishing fuel supplies might be sending it down the same path the Soviet Union took before it collapsed.

In this fifth video (uploaded on Jan 24, 2011) in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, Orlov, who was an eyewitness to the collapse of the Soviet Union, asserts that run-away debt and national bankruptcy will lead the US to its demise, just as it did for Moscow. As oil becomes more expensive and scarcer, the US will no longer be able to finance its importation and the economy will hit a wall, he says.

“Sixty percent of all of our transportation fuels are imported—a lot of that is on credit. A large chunk of the trade deficit is actually in transportation fuels. When those stop arriving because of our inability to borrow more money, then the economy is at a standstill,” he says.

He discusses his five stages of collapse, which he expanded into his latest book.

March 26, 2013   No Comments

Dmitry Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices

Dmitry Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices from The Long Now Foundation on FORA.tv

Dmitry Orlov is the author of the award-winning book Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects and numerous essays published on his blog, ClubOrlov.com. Born in Russia, he moved to the US while a teenager, and has traveled back repeatedly to observe the Soviet collapse during the late eighties and mid-nineties. He is an engineer who has worked in many fields, including high-energy Physics research, e-commerce and Internet security. Recently, he has been experimenting with off-grid living and renewable energy by giving up the house and the car. Instead, he has been living on a sailboat, sailing it up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and commuting by bicycle. Dmitry believes that, given appropriate technology, we can greatly reduce personal resource consumption while remaining perfectly civilized.

 

He has a new book coming out this May: The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkit. To order your advanced copy, visit http://cluborlov.blogspot.ca/p/the-five-stages-of-collapse.html.

March 23, 2013   No Comments

Wade Davis on “The Wayfinders”

Anthropologist Wade Davis warns that half of the world’s seven thousand languages are set to disappear within a generation and explains why this threatens our survival.

In particular, he talks about cultures being lost and why this matters.

His book The Wayfinders is based on his Massey Lectures.

March 14, 2013   No Comments