Climate Collapse & Adaptation

Yves here. Even though Thomas Neuburger makes sure to include how we soldier on in the face of inevitable death as a reference point for how to better respond to the prospect of climate collapse, I draw less hopeful lessons than he does. Humans are in deep denial of their mortality, which does not bode well for coping with the increasingly high odds of really bad climate outcomes.

For instance, in the Indian epic Mahabharata, Yudhisthira goes looking for his
missing brothers, who went searching for water. He finds them all dead next to a pond. In despair, but still parched, he is about to drink, but a crane tells him he must answer some questions first.

The last and most difficult: “What is the greatest wonder of the world?” Yudhisthira
answers, “Day after day, hour after hour, countless people die, yet the living believe they will live forever.” The crane reveals himself to be the Lord of Death and, after some further discussion, revives the brothers.

Generally speaking, one of the main purposes of religion is to reconcile believers to the inevitability of suffering and death, via the prospect of being rewarded in an afterlife or better conditions upon reincarnation. Personally, I am done with this plane of existence. I am sure there are other ones under better management.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

Relinquishment: Much resistance to the thought of climate adaptation seems to center around preserving our “modern” smart screen lifestyle. Could we make life better tomorrow if we relinquish the toys of today? Or will preserving today at all costs ruin the future? We’re running a natural experiment to find out.

For this piece I had to make a choice. There were two topics I could write about. One has been on my mind a lot, so much so that I’ve recently written a thriller, an action novel, with this as a theme — the theme of collapse. (If you personally know any literary agents, please write to me.) For the other topic I considered, jump to the end.

Collapse. Not just the political collapse we’re currently watching — the slow drift into failed-state status that looks like molasses crawling its way into a jar. But the other collapse, the bigger one — the end of human civilization.

That sounds dramatic, doesn’t it, the end of civilization? Probably too dramatic for most people. But that’s only because there’s no “social proof” — better stated as “permission to think this way” — that lets people even entertain the thought. Apocalypticists are regularly trashed and dismissed by the writers of the right, and no countervailing voices — not from scientists (who I know know differently), nor the bought-off press, nor our bought-and-paid politicians — will say otherwise.

In other words, the Overton Window on discussing the possibility of collapse is completely closed. No wonder even the wealthy, some of whom I’ve discussed this with, don’t seem alarmed. (I’m certain, though, that the very very wealthy are making plans as we speak, or have made them already.)

But ask the ordinary Jane or Jeffrey what the odds of total collapse are, and the answer will, if expressed in words, be the same as the odds of seeing a lasting snowfall in April in Portland, Oregon — never. (Yet as I write, I look out my Portland window and see two inches of white sitting on the rooftop next to me, proud and clean, barely melting at all. It fell last night and lasted all day long.)

Despite the near total silence on the subject of collapse, some are starting to speak about its nearer certainty, and more importantly, speak about how to process and deal with it. To that end, I offer this, a preliminary look at a 35-page paper entitled, “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy,” by Professor Jem Bendell, published 2018, revised 2020. It made enough splash when first published it sparked a movement named for its title.

The Unspeakable Word

As Bendell says in the Abstract, “The author believes this is one of the first papers in the sustainability management field to conclude that climate-induced near-term societal collapse should now be a central concern for everyone, and therefore to invite scholars to explore the implications” (emphasis added). Yes, there is a field called “sustainability management,” and it’s an important one.

Early on, he asks these important questions:

Can professionals in sustainability management, policy and research – myself included – continue to work with the assumption or hope that we can slow down climate change, or respond to it sufficiently to sustain our civilisation? As disturbing information on climate change passed across my screen, this was the question I could no longer ignore, and therefore decided to take a couple of months to analyse the latest climate science. As I began to conclude that we can no longer work with that assumption or hope, I asked a second question. Have professionals in the sustainability field discussed the possibility that it is too late to avert an environmental catastrophe and the implications for their work? A quick literature review revealed that my fellow professionals have not been publishing work that explores, or starts from, that perspective. That led to a third question, on why sustainability professionals are not exploring this fundamentally important issue to our whole field as well as our personal lives. To explore that, I drew on psychological analyses, conversations with colleagues, reviews of debates amongst environmentalists in social media and self-reflection on my own reticence. Concluding that there is a need to promote discussion about the implications of a societal collapse triggered by an environmental catastrophe, I asked my fourth question on what are the ways that people are talking about collapse on social media. I identified a variety of conceptualisations and from that asked myself what could provide a map for people to navigate this extremely difficult issue. For that, I drew on a range of reading and experiences over my 25 years in the sustainability field to outline an agenda for what I have termed “deep adaptation” to climate change.

Again, the questions are:

  1. Can professionals in sustainability management, policy and research continue to work with the assumption or hope that we can slow down climate change, or respond to it sufficiently to sustain our civilization?
  2. Have professionals in the sustainability field discussed the possibility that it is too late to avert an environmental catastrophe and the implications for their work?
  3. Why are sustainability professionals not exploring this fundamentally important issue to our whole field as well as our personal lives?
  4. What are the ways that people are talking about collapse on social media?
  5. What could provide a map for people to navigate this extremely difficult issue?

He concludes this section: “The result of these five questions is an article,” meaning the one you’re reading, “that does not contribute to one specific set of literature or practice in the broad field of sustainability management [but] questions the basis for all the work in this field…. [T]he implication is for you to … consider ‘what if’ the analysis in these pages is true, to allow yourself to grieve, and to overcome enough of the typical fears we all have, to find meaning in new ways of being and acting.”

That’s certainly the problem, isn’t it? To find meaning, if collapse is coming, in life itself.

The Non-Linear World

In a section titled “Our Non-Linear World,” Bendell goes through the data that suggests that the IPCC is constantly (in my phrasing) “wrong to the slow side.” Later he confronts the bloodlessness of the descriptions of the disaster we face.

“When we contemplate this possibility of ‘societal collapse’, it can seem abstract. The previous paragraphs may seem, subconsciously at least, to be describing a situation to feel sorry about as we witness scenes on TV or online. But when I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life. With the power down, soon you wouldn’t have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won’t know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.”

It’s that last — that this is about “you” (the reader) — that’s both hard to face and hard for the scientists to say. Yet it’s absolutely true.

“As we are considering here a situation where the publishers of this journal would no longer exist, the electricity to read its outputs won’t exist, and a profession to educate won’t exist, I think it time we break some of the conventions of this format.”

I find this a striking passage. It’s worth reading again before going on.

Strategic Denial

Given the preponderance of evidence that societal collapse is at least one of the likely outcomes, Bendell tries to explain its denial (an explanation on which he and I part company, by the way).

Bendell defines “strategic denial” as the impulse to avoid admitting the likelihood of collapse “because people want to continue their striving … based in a rationale of maintaining self-identities related to espoused values.”

In plain terms, people’s image of themselves as doers of good in the world is threatened if collapse is inevitable. How can you define yourself as a doer of good if no real good can be done, if failure to stop the crisis is either likely or worse, inevitable? (For what it’s worth, I’m of the opinion that collapse is inevitable, given our broken-by-design politics and the lateness of the hour. I also think that the explanation lies elsewhere — firmly seated in our broken-by-design politics and the psychopaths who own the women and men who lead us.)

Bendell provides examples. (My paragraphing below.)

That process of strategic denial to maintain striving and identity is easily seen in online debates about the latest climate science. One particular case is illustrative.

In 2017 the New York Magazine published an article that drew together the latest data and analysis of what the implications of rapid climatic warming would be on ecosystems and humanity. Unlike the many dry academic articles on these subjects, this popular article sought to describe these processes in visceral ways (Wallace-Wells, 2017).

The reaction of some environmentalists to this article did not focus on the accuracy of the descriptions or what might be done to reduce some of the worst effects that were identified in the article. Instead, they focused on whether such ideas should be communicated to the general public.

Climate scientist Michael Mann warned against presenting “the problem as unsolvable, and feed[ing] a sense of doom, inevitability and hopelessness” (in Becker, 2017). Environmental journalist Alex Steffen (2017) tweeted that “Dropping the dire truth… on unsupported readers does not produce action, but fear.” In a blog post, Daniel Aldana Cohen (2017) an assistant sociology professor working on climate politics, called the piece “climate disaster porn.”

Their reactions reflect what some people have said to me in professional environmental circles. The argument made is that to discuss the likelihood and nature of societal collapse due to climate change is irresponsible because it might trigger hopelessness amongst the general public.

I always thought it odd to restrict our own exploration of reality and censor our own sensemaking due to our ideas about how our conclusions might come across to others. Given that this attempt at censoring was so widely shared in the environmental field in 2017, it deserves some closer attention.

I can personally attest to the desire not to “trigger hopelessness” among the general public as a reason to alter the message from truth to (sorry to say it) something that approaches manipulation.

Bendell calls this desire understandable, and it certainly is, but he deplores it as “paternalistic” nonetheless. He also points out, correctly, the positive effects on many people of hopelessness — how people redefine their relationship with time, their families and the world, for example, after a terminal diagnosis. He adds that the “question of valid and useful hope is something that we must explore much further.” Indeed.

Deep Adaptation

Bendell’s solution to the problem of the new reality — which for him is “collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable, extinction as possible” — is Deep Adaptation, something far different from the shallow and narrow adaption of current academic focus. Why is deep adaption needed? (Again, my paragraphing below.)

First, the upbeat allegiance to “development” and “progress” in certain discourses about resilience may not be helpful as we enter a period when material “progress” may not be possible and so aiming for it might become counterproductive.

Second, apart from some limited soft skills development, the initiatives under the resilience banner are nearly all focused on physical adaptation to climate change, rather than considering a wider perspective on psychological resilience.”

Both points are important.

About the first, adherence to progress — or at least adherence to what I’ve called our “smart-phone big-screen lifestyle” — may drain resources from where they can be actually useful, lost in service of a doomed cause, Early Twenty-First Century American Comfort. If that cause is lost, how tragic to focus resources, time and energy on preserving it, when things that can be preserved are also at risk?

About the second, focus on “psychological resilience” is almost entirely ignored today, save misguided (in my view) attempts to stave off hopelessness despite its inevitable arrival. Why not work instead to deal with hopelessness in more positive ways than mere denial? After all, if hopelessness will inevitably turn up in everyone’s life, handmaid to the certainty of death, best be prepared ahead of it.

Is the optimum plan to dance until we die? Some say yes, but most can’t do that and without going mad.

Neoliberal Solutions to Socialist Problems

Only near the end does Bendell get to the actual root of the problem: “The West’s response to environmental issues has been restricted by the dominance of neoliberal economics since the 1970s.” (The exception is the wonderful takedown of the World Wildlife Fund he offers in an earlier example.) And even there his focus is narrow, primarily on his and his colleagues’ lives as academics in a corporate-funded world.

Yet the obvious overall cause of both the physical problem (persistent burning of carbon) and the political problem (capture of governments by ideologies that conveniently glorify wealth-acquisition by the already gloriously wealthy) sit nakedly in front of us.

No one with money will tell us there’s a problem, except as virtue-signaling. So “we,” social creatures as we are, normalized to the thoughts of our neighbors (a virtue in a species that lived in tribes), eat what we’re fed instead of what we forage for ourselves.

By that I mean, we think what our neighbors — the blonde and the serious on Fox and MSNBC — tell us that they think they think. And we act when we’re told to act — in defense of the Ukrainian people, for example, but not for the Yemeni, who, for most Americans, don’t by design exist.

If we had control of our own government, “we” meaning the actual people, we’d know in a flash what to do. After all, our popular fiction is filled with our fears, from Mad Max to The Windup Girl. In our hearts we know, even on the right, what’s going to happen. It’s our inaction we need to control, our denial. And to do that, we have to regain control of our politics. Too bad rebellion on the left has been canceled by the “left.”

That Other Topic For Today — Biden’s Betrayal of Medicare

Which leads me to today’s competing topic, the shameless effort by the Biden administration to privatize Medicare. We’re out of time, so I suggest watching the following video.

Note especially the courageous callout of bribery near the end. Note also the dollar amounts — $500,000 to the main Senate Democratic super PAC; $250,000 to the Biden Victory Fund. These are not small-dollar donors.

This isn’t ideology or dearth of feck. It’s simple, straight-up bribery. No wonder our “left” is merely the Not Right.

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  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Deep adaptation used to be fringe.


    Degrowth is not a topic for debate. It’s an inevitability to which we must adapt.

    1. DanB

      Greetings Henry MP, Ten years ago a colleague and I wrote the intro paragraph to an article below. I’m sure we got a good bit wrong but the point I wish to make here is that the article got up to 1 million Google hits and only a few responses -to us- from anyone working in health care. Two years later I wrote my final article about health where I noted that public health’s response to decline was loyalty to the 1%, an observation illustrated by how our government has failed -the public, not the 1%- re Covid.

      “There are unprecedented and widely unappreciated dangers posed to public health, nursing, medicine and allied health professions by the ongoing global economic contraction. This is a multilayered and, frankly, emotionally difficult topic to digest. Before discussing how health systems are affected we first lay out the larger social-ecological context of modern society’s predicament. This includes a brief overview of the idea of degrowth,[i],[ii],[iii] which is a response to ecological overshoot and reaching the physical resources and ecological limits to growth, and why it must supplant growth as the cardinal metaphor of modern culture. Then we outline how the inability to perceive that the world has reached the end of growth –by mistakenly seeing the present as a Great Recession- threatens health systems.”

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I try to follow the debate and as far as I know degrowth remains by and large a topic of discussion only within academia, and the “debate” there, like most academic debates, is between academic camps that can choose to engage each other with bad faith (for example, by routinely mis-defining their opponents terms of debate or by re-defining their own or their opponents’ terminology) or not to engage at all, and is for all practical purposes irrelevant to policy, politics, and the lives of all other people (and their descendants). I say this despite the fact I am broadly sympathetic to the degrowth argument (though it would help to have a coherent, consistent, accepted understanding of degrowth). Perhaps that will change, that activists will be able to make degrowth a subject of ordinary politics (I’d be curious if even a body like DSA has a position on degrowth) or that the debate will somehow “grow” from being an irrelevant academic debate to a relevant socio-politics (though given what I know about academia, this seems impossible to me).

        I feel the same about the Deep Adaptation framework. I am broadly sympathetic but I have a larger problem with this entire debate, which seems to be between the one side of environmental catastrophe and societal collapse are already baked in and the other side of “we still have 5 minutes” to avert such collapse and catastrophe. They both posit some all-or-nothing, before-and-after situation in which before we had all and after we will have nothing. It strikes as much more plausible that
        1. we will have both catastrophe AND continued cell phone coverage for many (not to mention much less justifiable luxuries),
        2. that societal collapse will be slow motion, if you will, in the sense that for many it will continue to happen on TV and only to other people for a long time, so that the world will continue to get uglier and worse but that there will be no before-and-after moment between pre-collapse and post-collapse, and
        3. most importantly, there is lots of good evidence out there that societal collapse is already well underway for many people in many parts of the world, which is hardly an excuse for “coming to terms” with inaction and acceptance.

        The author mentions the reaction of some to the Wallace-Wells article and subsequent book as an example of an unwillingness to confront the hard truths. Again, I paid pretty close attention to the Wallace-Wells “debate” at the time (and I continue to use the article/book in my teaching to college freshmen, because it is excellent) and I think this is oversold, both because there was very little actual criticism at the time and because Wallace-Wells did a very good job of laying out a “just the facts” case, including about the choices still ahead of us and the differences they could make. What Wallace-Wells does particularly well is to point out the idiocy of focusing completely on the situation in 2100 as some kind of end-state, as much of the climate change discourse does, when that it is simply an artificial planning horizon and how much worse things will continue to get how fast after 2100 based on our past and future actions is important to consider.

        Ironically, if the world were to actually comport with the all-at-once collapse scenario, that would probably make the politics easier, because humans for all their foibles love an opportunity to rise to a challenge they perceive as authentic, whereas slow-motion collapse makes it easier for the charlatans to say it’s all BS.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Degrowth is an open-ended concept out of necessity. The term itself cries out against the growth obsession of neoliberal culture. To even pose the idea that it would be best for all of us to throw the GDP machine in reverse, at least for a while, is to convict oneself of the highest of heresies against The Great and Powerful Invisible Hand. Until enough of us get over that to the point that we can imagine a more important societal goal than 4% a year GDP growth, there’s little possibility of filling in the details of just what needs to shrink specifically.

          Step one is to break the programming.

          Deep Adaptation is aimed at a different species of culturally induced resistance to reality. We have been raised in this society to believe that we “deserve” nothing but comfort and convenience. All the technological wizardry that allows for microwaving a frozen pizza or watching the Super Bowl live or ordering takeout is built upon a great deal of complexity. Covid gave just a little taste how well all that works when there’s sand in the gears. The West’s sanctions are likely to give another, especially in Europe. Even someone like me who smiles at the idea of this particular system crashing has been surprised just how dysfunctional our American politics has become under primarily stresses caused by the idiots at the top themselves. The ineptitude and corruption of our elites has been even more obvious when our society has been under attack by forces beyond their control–and understanding.

          Behind Deep Adaptation’s pessimism on the climate side is an understanding of tipping points. It’s quite possible for us humans, through our seducibility to individualism and materialism, to start in motion a process over which we have no control beyond self-destructive Hail Marys like shooting sulfur in the sky every two years, the favorite solution of Bill Gates, Harvard and the EcoModernists. Now there’s Disaster Porn for you. When we hear about the jump in the atmosphere’s methane content, likely the product of reaching some tipping points in the boreal forest and at the poles, the time may have come for us to recognize that horrific changes in the climate may be coming well before 2100.

    1. Reaville

      Big fan of Paulo Bacigalupi. Both The Windup Girl and The Water Knife are books that stick with you. The Water Knife is a common abbreviation used in my family to refer to the water crisis in the US Southwest. Late last year, we moved back to Puget Sound from Sacramento (21 years) to relocate into a rain belt, not because of the book but because it opened my mind to worst case outcomes. Applying this worst case thinking is what this post is about (I think). There could be a very good quality of life in front of us if we retreat from fossil fuels. It will not be the same one we have now, but it is possible that there could be improvements by deletion.

      But I think not. The era of autocrats is upon us. As democracy is felled by neoliberalism, the populist surge will elevate patriotic religiosity (Upton Sinclair: “wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross”). The autocrats will not be likely to address environmental collapse, and may even embrace it as some kind of judgment day. There is form on this in America. Neoliberalism is the entrenched process, one that puts Autocrats in power. They can hardly be expected to retreat.

      So, I admire Jen Bendell’s clarity of thought. If collapse is the leading contender, then it is surely a topic for discussion. This was a good post by NC.

  2. DJG, Reality Czar

    And there’s this from the article: ‘Bendell defines “strategic denial” as the impulse to avoid admitting the likelihood of collapse “because people want to continue their striving … based in a rationale of maintaining self-identities related to espoused values.”’

    The article spends a considerable number of words in a form of inventing the wheel. (Up to the graphical Liszt reference.)

    In Buddhism, we learn everything is impermanent. Nothing lasts. As Herakleitos, roughly contemporary with the Buddha, pointed out, Everything flows.

    So the Four Rs up top might be better thought of as Bandaids for Monotheism.

    We would be better off thinking about the corporal works of mercy:

    The works include:

    To feed the hungry.[18]
    To give water to the thirsty.
    To clothe the naked.
    To shelter the homeless.
    To visit the sick.
    To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.[7]
    To bury the dead.[6]
    [Using Wikipedia’s list.]

    Then we proceed to the part below the Liszt reference to discover >>> Politics. The public sphere. Yes, let’s revive that part of our collective world. But that means, in the U S of A, overhauling the system of economic relations and smashing the MonoParty system of the Party of Property.

    Any takers?

    1. LilD

      I don’t see a path but hope to be surprised

      Wrote another song last week so at least I have more to dance to

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      You’ll have better luck silently undermining it from the sides and below than from trying to smash it from in front and from above.

      But that is just a theory, like any theory. And as with any theory, people will do their best work from the theory they most believe in. So the “silent underminers” should try their silent undermining, and the “noisy smashists” should try noisily smashing it.

      Let Darwin decide who is right.

  3. Wukchumni

    I feel awkwardly lucky to be an eyewitness to what will be a first in that the entire world pretty much as we know it, will collapse all together.

    It helps that i’m approaching geezerhood-with no progeny to obsess over, but that said I do harbor the usual qualms that come with the terra incognita.

    The hope is to live the remainder of my life in a style in which i’ve become accustomed to, as the objects of my desire are insulated from market forces, there are no MSRP stickers in the wilderness.

    1. RobertC

      I’ve found in any community of healthy retirees if you listen long enough you will hear every single one of them express the thought “I glad I won’t be around to see how things turn out.”

  4. caucus99percenter

    My question is this: if the threat of global climate catastrophe is real (and I believe it is), why is the world still allowing itself to be led around by the nose by, and still waiting hand and foot upon, those who have profited the most from the destruction: the heirs to, and stewards of, the great oil company fortunes, and behind them, the hydrocarbon kings, emirs, and sultans of fossil fuel?

    1. Tom Pfotzer

      We’re “led around by the nose” because we’re party to – beneficiaries of – the way things “work” now.

      Vilification of the rich, the manipulators, the oligarchs-du-jour is a convenient way of shifting the responsibility (the work, actually) onto someone else. That generally isn’t effective.

      The problems we face are perpetuated and intensified by the 8 billion people busy 24/7 making things worse. I’m one of those 8 billion. I accept, and am acting upon, my culpability.

      I don’t have to commute, buy consumer toys, or strive for social position. Those are choices, and those choices are be made at the individual level.

      The way I’m dealing with this giant problem is to break it down into manageable bits. Find the place to start, and get with it. So I:

      * conducted an audit of my lifestyle. What behaviors are doing the most damage?

      * devised a plan to address the “damaging” – stop it, substitute it, or evolve it

      * recursively pick the mini-max points (easiest to do, most impact) and do the doing

      As each component reaches the diminishing-returns point, pick the next one on the list, and repeat the process.

      Note, please, that I don’t absolve or excuse the abominable behavior of our putative leaders. I note them well, and will, if I live long enough, help them to experience the fullest joy of their selfishness and stupidity.

      First, I need to get my ship in order, and I’ve got many a long mile to go before it is. Once I’ve walked the talk, I’ll have plenty of leisure time to address the stupids.

      1. Keith Newman

        Tom Pfotzer@ 9:23am
        I agree with you that blaming our leaders is not enough, although they are guilty as charged.
        The climate change issue goes way beyond that. The reality is that to make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions requires dramatic changes to our lifestyles: no more cars, public transit everywhere, little commercial flying, consuming way less, having stuff that lasts, local production, no advertising, drastic reduction in the population of wealthy countries, etc. Any movement in that direction, where there is any, is very small indeed.
        Individual action along those lines will not get us very far. Why would I give up my car when everyone on my street has one, or even two? Why would I give up flying south in the winter when the planes are packed with Canadians fleeing the winter?
        Only collective action will give rise to significant change. I’ll give up my car if everyone else does as well and excellent public transit replaces it. That requires sustained political action not a feel-good one-off demonstration every few years or a modest donation to an environmental group. There is a bit of action on climate change but far from enough to make any significant difference. Where are the young people who’ll bear the burden of climate disaster?
        I do agree that some fear-mongering is necessary to give a sense of urgency but I also believe there should be a limit. I have been dismayed over the 20 years I’ve followed the issue that the main message has been one of doom and gloom. That is not a motivating way to go. Denial and hope for the best are easier. My view is the message should be about how much better our lives will be: less work, more time with family and friends, time for hobbies, ability to walk and cycle around town in breathable air, etc.

        1. Tom Pfotzer

          Keith: great, great comment. Now we’re gettin’ somewhere.

          I agree that “collective action” is required for substantive change. I (appear to ) differ from you in that I just don’t think the collective action is going to happen top-down until things get reeeaaalllly bad, e.g. after it’s too late.

          I also agree with you the gloomerism is really a dead letter. It’s a psychological boat-anchor. Vinegar.

          I believe in “having a better party”, like you said above re: having a better life.

          And I believe in having that better party one household at a time. If I really _am_ having a better party, my neighbors are going to notice, my friends are going to notice, etc.

          So we’re in agreement on that “collective action” thing. We differ re: how to get to collective-ness.

          Top-down is blocked, solidly. Am I wrong on this? Can you tell me the means whereby we’re going to get top-down meaningful action to give up cars, commuting, fossil fuels etc.? I’m not seeing this happen top-down.

          What about bottom-up? Can you envision some people deciding to ditch the commute, and get a job that allows telework? Sure you can.

          Can you imagine somebody that says to themselves “Screw the cube-farm! I can’t stand another day of this lunacy!” and they move back to their parents farm, and start a CSA. I can see that happening.

          That’s why I say “we need more ways _out_”. More alternatives. People are social, they follow/emulate what’s cool, and if it’s both cool and actually makes a decent living…people will do it. New England, just to pick on one region I know a little about…has a lot of people that would rather do right than do well. They take pride in stickin’ it to the Man and doing right-work.

          We need more cool life-styles that fix the planet. Then we can all Stick it to the Man, and have a great party while we’re doing it.

          1. rob

            I agree,

            I think that falls into the sphere of creating “parallel structures”.
            The actual “ground up” approach…of old.
            Living under occupation, as we all do. living under the realm of neo-liberal fantasies where , the markets will save us. We can create small examples; in creating relationships to each other and to nature
            Our collective communities , small, yet “in the midst” of all that is wrong, everywhere..
            created by the imagination of people actually wanting to help. Since the only laws that can’t be broken are ,the laws of nature.

            people with conviction may realize these small steps won’t solve the bigger problem , in and of themselves… but still action is needed, and something can be done .. for the good… without expecting miracles.

            the world needs an “earthling” party.. since every living thing is “an earthling”.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          @Keith Newman,

          ” Where are the young people who’ll bear the burden of climate disaster? ”

          Struggling to survive from day to day, or in some cases hour to hour. Many of them came out and lent strong support to Sanders, only to see their hopes denied and destroyed by the DemParty/Clyburn/Warren/Obama conspiracy.

          Have they learned lessons from that? Probably. Would we like the lessons they have learned? Perhaps not.

          Those of us who have enough social-economic stability to do something about more than day to day survival can certainly try to live lives of visible non-hypocrisy and conservation-lifestyle modeling. That might entitle us to a respectful hearing if/when they might want to hear what we have to say.

          Any individual with some survival security who is using less of things than what the average individual in his/her position uses is living a personal credibility life to just the extent by which he/she is using less than what the average individual in his/her position is using on average.
          So visible lifestyle-credibility might be worth demonstrating on the part of those who would be leader or teacher. It might be something to work on. Bearing in mind that we can only do so much in the teeth of a waste-based civilization, just as the iron filings can resist the magnetic field by only so much.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Part of ” the work” will involve rounding up and exterminating the OverClass Manipulators who actively obstruct and prevent the rest of us from doing “the work”. Some years ago the City Leaders of Nashville put on a Nashville-wide ballot the question of whether to raise taxes to fund and build a Nashville wide mass transit system or not. The Koch Brothers family of brain-war organizations mobilized all their activists in the field to get that question defeated. So Nashville has no excellent mass-transit and will not ever have any until the Kochs and all their supporters have been rounded up, shot en masse in the back of the head, and buried in pits, trenches, etc.

          That too is part of “the work”. That is the part of ” the work” by which we will gain effective permission to do the “rest” of “the work”.

          But liberal-guilt wallow-mongers are free to reject that. They are free to try doing “the work” while leaving the Legions of Koch still alive to destroy every “the work” they try to do.

          Am I right? Am I wrong? Let Darwin reveal the answer over time.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Covid was a good test for how people might respond to a Deep Adaptation or degrowth approach. The simple public health requirement of closing businesses where spread was worst (i.e. bars and restaurants) or even requiring masks in indoor public spaces has proven too much. It has been argued that Covid was not lethal enough, but what level of mortality would be necessary to set aside “normal” and respond with a robust public health response that was supported by a substantial majority of the public?

      We have been “formed” by our culture to believe that we must prioritize hustling for a buck to the exclusion of all else, and that if we conform to this requirement, we then “deserve” to partake of the delights proffered by our society like flying vacations and baby back ribs at Applebee’s. No one and no thing can interfere with our getting what we “deserve.” Otherwise, all our sacrifice of integrity and true independence will have been for naught, and most of our psyches cannot handle that.

      Humans have been recreated by capitalist culture into beings that have no understanding of what it means to live within an ecosystem or even a human society. That could change as a result of the expected collapse that brings an end to the means of manipulation, but the question remains what will be the glue that can hold groups of humans together once “the one who dies with most toys wins” passes away.

      1. caucus99percenter

        The people here in former East Germany may be among those who have the least trouble adapting. Everyone has older friends and relatives who can point out, “Oh, it’s all just reverting to the scarcity we grew up with in the GDR. Thought it would. All the reunification hoopla was too good to be true, eh. Well, we can live with it. Most of the big new wealth opportunities never trickled down to us regular folk anyway.”

        1. Barnes

          I beg to differ on this one.
          Having had the chance to experience East German lifestyle, I must assume first, that even the poor here exceeded their share of ecologically sustainable resource consumption. Not just CO2 but all, or nearly all of the resources one needs for the western idea of a life worth living. And that is despite the fact, that we had working recycling schemes for many a physically (if not exactly economically sound) recyclable resource and a significantly lower standard of living, compared to the west.

          Yet, 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, it is undoubtably fact that every single resident of the former East German Republic uses more resources and virtually none of the superior methods of their preservation have prevailed. Almost all East Germans adopted the resource intensive way of life and most are not only not willing to reduce, they won’t be able to because the next generation never experienced those societal and consumerist restraints. Therefore they cannot even fathom a life like that.

          Not to speak of political and in turn societal repression…

          Maybe the North Korean life would be closer to the truth and I truly doubt anyone reading this will be able to find just one upside to that.

          I am afraid I must agree with Yves’ point of view that our societies will collapse, although I am fairly certain that the species will survive.

          I think it is a good idea to consider the great famines of the 20th century to get a grasp of how quickly things might evolve and how dire the consequences might be (i.e. some of our species would eat their own children in order to survive etc…).

          Having said that, I also believe that it’s crucial for individuals of the rich countries to exposes themselves to some of the restraints likely to come for us for the simple truth that most of us are neither willing nor able to physically/emotionally understand what adaption will mean in reality.
          Covid restraints were just the tip of the iceberg…

    3. anon y'mouse

      we are led around the nose by people who have their names on the right pieces of paper recognized by the right governmental bodies, written by lawyers, discussing property, rights and ownership.

      these things are our stone commandments, greater than those brought down by Moses.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And stone erodes and crumbles . . . . IF . . . you can pour the right kind of acid on it.

    4. Ellery O'Farrell

      See Yves’ description of Yudishthira’s answer to the question “What is the greatest wonder?”

      Though in a way that’s all we can do: carry on as if we weren’t going to die. But while living our lives so as to be content if we knew we’d die in an hour, which includes planning and working for something livable for our descendants and the whole earth.

  5. SIttingStill

    Regarding professionals working in sustainability management, I just wrapped up a two decade run as an employee at one of the largest big green NGO’s. I’ll offer these observations/impressions on Big Green attitudes towards Deep Adaptation and likelihood of societal collapse: 1) Most staff are aware of these issues on some level; 2) However, openly talking about these issues are a third-rail to career ambitions, so most discussions are among lower-tier staff behind closed doors (still way too hush-hush); The high-flying ambitious career climbers are particularly avoidant of these discussions – these are the people that tend to rise to the top; 3) These organizations financially sustain themselves by promulgating narratives that most people will find inspirational enough to motivate large donations. Deep Adaptation-related narratives philanthropically inspire few in comparison, so open discussion is avoided like the plague with respect to outwardly facing communications about the work of a given organization; 4) These organizations will always strive for wide-reaching influence via efforts to work collaboratively with the corporate and public sectors and will always choose this over more adversarial approaches. Inevitably some (perhaps more than some) corrupting influence invariably seeps through – sometimes (but not always) resulting in poor/disgraceful outcomes that are little publicized; 5) Trustee boards are typically made up of persons that in and were enriched by and are well-embedded the current system, and generally are particularly ill-inclined to openly discuss or entertain Deep Adaptation perspectives.

    There was a period of time that the organization I worked for openly moved towards taking on an Ecomodernist perspective, which offers the convenient and eminently palatable notion that sustainability can be achieved while decoupling growth-oriented economies from environmental/ecololgical impact. This perspective now is still present, though much less explicit than it was a few years back, as the credibility for the decoupling notion is sinking fast.

    Finally, I think that the rapidly devolving global situation is making the positioning that these organizations are most comfortable with less and less tenable, given that it takes increasing levels of credulity (or ignorance?) to believe the narratives that they tend to promulgate. I see it as an existential issue for their persistence and relevance. We’ll see what the future holds.

    1. Tom Pfotzer

      SittingStill: your experience tracks almost exactly with my decade of engagement at the local level. I put all I knew how to do into supporting, joining, starting groups that raised awareness, that built local political action forces, etc. All the local-level top-down typical behaviors.

      We got flattened, then run over again, by the reality that most people can’t or won’t engage in any behavior which – to the slightest degree – reduces their bank account, their social status, or involves any sort of protracted effort and self-sacrifice. Politicians and big biz understands this reality perfectly well, and that’s why they do green-wash, platitudes, etc. but little else.

      There’s one more phenomena which I think will help us:

      Many of us _do not_ lack for motivation. We generally know what needs doing, and we’re highly motivated to do _something_. What we lack is a viable set of alternatives to the behaviors we’re currently using.

      Allow me a metaphor: How long have humans wanted to fly? Cave-people have drawings of humans with wings. This is a powerful motivation, and it’s been with us from the git-go.

      When were we able to fly? After we invented fuel, airfoil (wing design), metals, engines. Not until. The enabling technology was the bottle-neck.

      What is lacking, even for the most-motivated – is enabling technology. Remember: “technology” is just “what humans know how to do”. Might be complex, might be simple.

      What is needed is new ways to make a decent living while fixing the planet.

      Here’s a lo-tech example: Oyster farming. Estuaries are contaminated. Food is needed. Oysters clean water (purify 50 gals water / day), and they’re good food. Lately several little biz have cropped up growing oysters near where I live (major east-coast estuary). We already know how to do everything involved, it’s well-documented. It works.

      We need hundreds of new, viable, alternative ways to make a living as we fix the planet.

      Then we can fly.

      1. Susan the other

        There is a persistent mental block when it comes to changing the way we live so that we can then change the way we live. More like a brick wall. Like when Macron imposed a huge gas tax on French commuters which they couldn’t afford – the thinking was thoughtless, clearly – but that’s how government prefers to work. Make hardship the enforcer of change. Cripple demand. Instead, since we are running out of time, we might start being proactive. I really hate that word because it has been used so frivolously – but there is more to it than its improper use. We need to create, and fast, a society and a world that does not require fossil fuel at all. So for the French commuters it would be a world that does not require commuting. And so on, all throughout our senseless frenzy. The one thing that supports the senselessness more than anything else (ergo really needs to be ended) is the profit motive. It would be fine if it were contained and used only for incentivizing fixing the crisis at hand – but it is allowed to run amok at an accelerated pace. (Like the old joke, Buy high, sell low and make it up in volume.) And who is conducting this cacophony? Corrupt politicians. It’s all so damn circular there’s no clear place to start – so Neuburger’s essay is almost equally delusional. “Sustainability management” is a euphemism for collapse. Just let it happen.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        What is needed is new ways to make a decent living while fixing the planet.

        This is it. Which is why I say Medicare for All should be job 1 for the climate. Most people have no idea how hard it is to think up new ways to actually make a living (that don’t negatively impact the planet), and how most people who do think up new ways can afford to do so and then to try to make it happen because they have a spouse or family member with good health insurance that covers them.

        Second I think should be a non-negligible national dividend payable to all, though I understand there are good arguments against a UBI.

        1. Tom Pfotzer


          There’s a lot of wisdom in your comment!

          Why do I say that?

          a. It really _is_ tough to think up new ways to make a living while fixing the planet. The economy is full of competitors who are trashing the planet; they’re externalizing a lot of costs. When you fix the planet as you make a living, like for ex. organic / regenerative farming, you’re doing a lot more work as you create your product. And you can only sell it for a little bit more than conventional produce. A lot more work, only a little bit more revenue. You need to have quite a lot of talent to overcome that hurdle.

          b. The health insurance thing. Right! I had coverage from my wife’s job, and that makes a lot of difference. No way I could have done all those years of R & D and climbing learning curves (and making miniscule revenue all the while!) without her help. No way.

          So, yeah, it’s really tough. Still needs to happen, but we need to accurately assess the scale of the problem, and gather the tools necessary to address it.

    2. orlbucfan

      Thank you for this informative comment. I braced for the ecological worse as a teen decades ago, and have lived a life which has followed the sensible pattern known as a low carbon footprint lifestyle. I certainly have no answers, but will continue to follow my “green” footprint. I will also follow and stay informed on this most serious of subjects.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It would be nice if Naked Capitalism had a regular weekly feature-thread reliably devoted to highlighting an aspect of Low Carbon Footprinting by individuals and communities. And reader-commenters could bring their own knowledge of methods, information, sources, links, etc. to the threads inspired by those periodic ( ideally once-a-week on a regular schedule) posts about Low Carbon Footprinting.

        If Naked Capitalism were to do that, and keep doing that for the next few years until the Internet becomes extinct, NaCap would gain thousands and then millions of readers desperate to give and to get information about Low Carbon Footprinting before the Internet goes extinct and the Information goes dark along with the Internet.

        People would like a chance to get information to be able to weaponise it and use it and disseminate the weaponised information to any other people who might want to use it and disseminate it even further. There are still a few years left for people to do that before all the information “freezes in place” and people are stuck doing what they know because they will never be able to know any more after the information spreading-and-gaining channels have all gone extinct.

        So now is the time, if there is to be a time, for people to help eachother live their witness by visible Carbon Footprint Shrinking.

        1. Tom Pfotzer

          drumlin: if you circle back, I’d like to point out that I’d be an avid reader of such feature. This is, IMHO, exactly what it needed: an info clearinghouse for adaptation technique.

          I encourage you to keep this notion on the radar screen. Soon enough, you’ll get some support from others.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Thank you for the kind words.

            I am just a third tier commenter here. But you have some real world credibility based upon the work you can prove that you are doing.

            If you ask for such a predictably scheduled weekly feature and can make the case as to how it would certainly allow the gathering-in-one-place of effective carbon-footprint-shrinking information/advice/sources/links . . . . which might even attract a huge enough readership over time that the money NaCap can sell ads for will rise based on the rising number of eyeballs it could stick to . . . our bloggers may well consider creating such a predictable reliable Weekly Feature.

            IF . . . someone of YOUR presence and credibility here were to humbly ask them for it and make the case for it.

    3. Keith Newman

      SIttingStill@ 9:10
      I have experience that complements yours. Here is some background. I was director of research for a large industrial union in Canada until 10 years ago, one that included thousands of workers in the Alberta tar sands. One file I had was the environment. The union’s positions on greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions were pretty good e.g. calling for a moratorium on expansion of the tar sands, and support for various ghg emissions reduction schemes as per serious environmental groups. Developing support for these positions was the result of discussing the issues with our members, listening carefully to their concerns, and later making speeches and holding discussions with hundreds of workers in leadership positions. This was the work of several staff people of whom I was one. The process took a couple of years. Eventually we took our positions to the political level, meeting with the minister of the environment and advisers at the prime minister’s office. The fact an industrial workers’ organisation supported significant ghg reduction was important politically because it countered big business scare mongering about job loss.
      To my original point: As part of my work I sat on tables with many other labour and environmental groups where we tried to coordinate our positions. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a very prominent environmental group (the Sierra Club) had much weaker positions than we did, the union representing tar sands workers! After the meeting I asked allies in the environmental movement what was going on. It turned out the Sierra Club had made a deal with polluters to work together to reduce their pollution. I followed the issue for some time after to determine whether their deal did in fact lead to any significant improvements in industrial practices. The answer was no.
      I should add that this was only one group. The others I worked with did remain unco-opted. Nonetheless I did know of others that were also co-opted by business interests.
      Sadly all this work wound up leading nowhere politically when in 2005 Steven Harper and the Conservatives were elected. Harper informed us that:”the climate change issue is a conspiracy by the socialist Chinese to undermine the economies of the West” (approximate quote). So that was that.

  6. The Rev Kev

    I think that you can consider the present Pandemic as a live-fire model of what governmental responses will be when climate collapse ramps up. There will be denial that it will hit us bad in the west as we are not like those poorer areas. There will be a resort to authoritarian measures that will be ignored by the top end of town. The state of the economy will be what determines what public measures will be taken as business people will complain loud and long about disruptions to their businesses. Help to people will only be one-offs like means-tested cheques that will ignore the underlying problems. And in the end, people will be told that they are on their own and that they have to learn to live with the changing climate patterns where they live.

    1. Tom Pfotzer

      I agree on that description; it’s what I’m expecting.

      Therefore I decided to begin my adapting early, while the adapting is easy(ier).

      Top-down isn’t going to happen. I feel certain about that aspect.

      Bottom-up won’t generally happen either, but there’s more scope for exceptions, e.g. those few cases where awareness and capacity intersect.

      1. anon y'mouse

        or the power failures in Texas where that gov’t official said, essentially “you are on your own, your safety and health isn’t our responsibility!” while people froze to death in their homes.

        he was criticized and took it down, but only because it was the truth about how “they” feel about “us” said where many could read it.

  7. Wukchumni

    Of all the Sequoia trees i’ve walked far to find, none played as hard to get as the King Arthur Tree, requiring a nearly 20 mile traipse to be in it’s embrace.

    Kind of an anti-Sherman act tree, it was actually a few feet wider in circumference at the base than the largest tree of all, making the journey to see something that was a sapling when Sophocles was in sandals all the sweeter. It languished in anonymity, far from the maddened crowd who rushed to see the Sherman Tree.

    I managed to see it 3 times before something which had statistically been through lightning strike wildfires every seventeen years on average over it’s lifetime, suddenly succumbed to one-burned up.

    That’s when climate change hit hard for me, I felt guilty for what we have all collectively done, destroyers that we are.

  8. Kris

    The purpose of the Mahabharata story is profound: to make us realize none of us are special, that our ending in this life may come at any moment, just as it has/is for others, and presumably, therefore, that we should realize what a gift life, being alive, is. Once having understood the inevitability and lack of control over death – its fact and its timing – for Death to then make death appear reversible by reviving the brothers seems to negate the point of the lesson. Heaven serves a similar purpose. In fact, the realization is its own reward, bringing us closer to understanding reality and our place in it/as par of it, and not needing a reward beyond itself.

    That said, this is an esoteric point compared to the level at which we are actually struggling with facing or addressing climate change/the metacrisis. In fact, our newfound societal acceptance of not only othering those far away from us, but even those right in front of us – publicly shaming or deplatforming, ostracizing – bodes ill for any attempt to share more, consume less, or in general come together and accept or impose limitations.

  9. Paul Handover

    I have been a non-believer all my life and I am now 77! I am re-reading The Harm Done By Religion, published by Free Inquiry in 2015. It is required reading for all those uncertain as to whether a faith in a religion is real.

    1. Art_DogCT

      Faith is always ‘real’. Whether any religion or other system of belief is ‘real’ is entirely a different question.

  10. José L. Campos

    The notion of adaptation is very puzzling since by definition change changes continuously. It seems to me impossible to adapt to change unless the adaptation consists in complete immobility. If one could adapt to every continuously changing reality the meaning of adaptation would be identical to the meaning of change.

  11. Marti61

    reading thru ‘Ecological Grief’ by Stephen Buhner has given me some direction. looking at the death of our climate thru a kubler-ross lens.

  12. JEHR

    Mostly I grieve for the animals killed by cars: deer (about 3 this year so far), groundhogs, porcupines, skunks, squirrels, baby birds learning to fly, etc.

  13. Paula

    I woke up today with a clear sky and beautiful sunshine just east of the Cascade Range in WA state and then the planes came, leaving spreading chem trails all over our blue sun shining skies, and what might have been a beautiful warming day, became grey and overcast and colder for no reason other than chem trails. Some say this is a DARPA project, with toxic chemicals to keep us from warming, and the chemicals used also react with any cloud cover to bring more moisture. I read about Portland snow in April. Same is true here. See 2021 documentary, The Dimming, on geoengineering.

  14. Tim

    Humans are in deep denial of their mortality

    I’d take it one step further, the only people that truly comprehend mortality are commonly referred to as having PTSD.

    We simply cannot function properly under 100% comprehension of our own mortality. Not wired for that in the least.

    1. HotFlash

      Oh, wait another 20 years and see. I have reached the stage where death, as Dido sings, would be a welcome guest. I’m also a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator, so I’m not intending to hurry that, at least just now, and I have responsibilities to others for a while, but I can’t see this whole world situation getting better because the PTB, and they ARE the powers, just won’t have it. Eg, pandemic response. And it isn’t limited to climate change, as you-all have probably noticed. So what to do? Haven’t taken a plane in 35 or more years — by choice. Ditched the van 10 years ago when we found we could rent for business use — hurray! I am self-employed, work where I live, and live where I work — by choice. I am learning to grow my own food — that’s a stretch on less than 15 m2, but the knowledge will serve me anywhere, and come the apocalypse streets and parking lots may be available for food growing. Sewing, weaving, woodworking with hand tools, fixing things, cooking without electricity, washing dishes and clothes (sigh) ditto, heating water, generating electricity. All this self-reliance stuff, this world seems to be forcing me to be a libertarian!

      But not really. I am a socialist by temperament and decision, I will gladly share what I know with anyone who wants it, anytime. I don’t expect them to ask me until they really need it, but I’m here. I am getting to know my neighbours better. Some of them laugh and call us the post-apocalyptic corner. But those guys have already asked me what to do about their cat!!! Omg, huge abscess on his head (they didn’t know what it was — jeez, what do they teach people in university these days?) on a Sat night!!! (of course). I gave them H2O2 spray and betadine to put on it twice a day and showed them how to use it. Healed up completely, two weeks later you can’t even see where it was, they gave me a gift cert for a modest amount. “That would have cost us $300 to start at the emergency vet.” They may not know how to first-aid cats, but they know how to make beer and wine : ). I will ask them to show me — Ben Franklin advised that the way to make someone a friend was to ask them for a favour. I have found it so.

      I am taking notes of the plantings on good paper in permanent ink, such as when is the earliest time to plant various things, useful edible perennials, plant propagation. When Youtube doesn’t work anymore perhaps someone will find my notes and they will help them to feed their family or their community. Will I change the world? Not bloody likely, I think. But I may be able to leave some seeds that will help the remnant to survive.

  15. Robin Kash

    A meditation on a paper from a few years back on responding to the likelihood of civilizational collapse as climate change overtakes our planet.

    Among biblical responses to such calamity are the Noah solution and the second coming of Christ–or similar transformational event/process, depending on one’s theology/philosophy. I gather that our wealthiest elite are working interplanetary arks and how to inhabit and exploit their landing places. The Second Coming is subject to emulation, aka, “false messiahs,” e.g., net zero emissions.
    In both instances a relative handful are, um, “saved.” Even among those whose view of the latter is some form of universalism, the terms of future existence among the saved is far from clear–a matter of vivid, if sometimes pious or resigned, imagination.
    Hard to imagine that we in the rich, developed world can continue to live as we do without drastic, irrecoverably destructive consequences for all.
    Reflection and discussion beckon–for a short while longer.

  16. RobertC

    In all likelihood some very small portion of homo sapiens sapiens will survive the direct (drought, etc) and indirect (war, etc) effects of rapid climate change but its civilization won’t.

    I’m expecting there will be an engineered homo evolutionous in which one innate characteristic will be altruism.

  17. Copeland

    Excellent post Yves. Many good comments on why no progress on adaptation. I’ll simply comment on the fact of climate collapse, as I’m living it every day here in the west Willamette Valley.

    We moved to the WWV in fall of 2020. That winter we had an ice storm more severe than many of the locals had ever experienced. We moved into a new house in late June 2021 and the unprecedented Heat Dome of 2021 immediately began. A region of the globe (Cascadia USA & Canada) that was thought to be the last to suffer, endured a heat event in June that blew the minds of climatologists, record high temps were incinerated, hundreds died in USA and Canada. Salem, OR now has the the same record high temp as Las Vegas. The summer was inexplicably smoke free –Corsi-Rosenthal filters & fan remain un-assembled in their shipping boxes. The west was still burning but most of the smoke seemed to go east. Some of you may recall that Oregon burned badly the summer 2020, before we arrived. The drought of at least five years continued. Water restrictions were in place from August-September.

    And now we’re having the coldest April on record. Many plants in gardens and landscapes began growing in late March as there had been substantial heat. Then we had an entire week of freezing overnight temps in the mid twenties, killing much of the new growth.

    Now they’re saying a tornado might be a possibility today or tomorrow, as the atmosphere will be uncharacteristically unstable.

  18. DonCoyote

    From: Is free speech a casualty of the Ukraine war? America’s commissars crack down on dissent by Chris Hedges, which would seem to be off topic, but converges on a similar theme:

    Shutting down critics in a decayed and corrupt society is equivalent to turning off the oxygen on a seriously ill patient. It hastens mortality rather than delaying or preventing it. The convergence of a looming economic crisis, fear by a bankrupt ruling class that they will soon be banished from power, the growing ecological catastrophe and the inability to thwart self-destructive military adventurism against Russia and China have set the stage for an American implosion.

    Those of us who see it coming, and who desperately seek to prevent it, have become the enemy.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If you give up seeking to prevent it and just concentrate on seeking to avoid it personally ( or your local community regionalocally), you may escape attention.

  19. Mikel

    The actual problem is that there was too much marketplace and too little civilization. There’s not that much “civilization” to lose.

  20. Peerke

    This idea that you should not frighten people and remove any hope is I think wrong. What we need is people to be so concerned that they forego the new F150 (nicely equipped) and instead get rooftop Solar and a Nissan Leaf and pressure the admittedly bought politicians accordingly. The decision making process that goes on in the mind of someone thinking about a new SUV or truck is one of justification – I’m worth it, we need the space, safety first etc – it is rarely about the environmental impact in the justification equation. But imagine if you were shit scared for your children’s future on this planet nevermind your own future? You’d say sod the SUV, a Nissan Leaf for me and get solar on the roof and turn off the sprinklers and fill in the pool while you’re at it love. Then you’d be: why the family blog does everything in this so called organic supermarket come in family blogging plastic! Once you realised just how much the oil industry has been pushing itself in to every nook and cranny you would try your damndest to reject it. This would in and of itself slow down growth and eventually bring about the start of degrowth.

    1. HotFlash

      Indeed! Simplify, simplify, simplify. I do shop at a couple of supermarkets, but I usu cruise through the Healthy Food aisles — over processed, over packaged, and over priced. Organic baby food, packed in Mylar pouches (which will be around longer than the baby) with a plastic cap the size of a doorknob, hello? And the ‘snacks’ — pre-popped corn, again in Mylar, *chips*, chips, CHIPS?? Like that’s food? And in Mylar. Clearly, our childrens has not been learned to think.

      From Well into the 20th century, most Americans continued to illuminate their homes using gas lamps. In 1925, only half of American houses had electrical power. Thanks in great part to FDR’s Rural Electrification Act of 1936, by 1945, 85 percent of American homes were powered by electricity, with virtually all homes having electricity by 1960. Think of it! Not ’til 1960! The first commercial oil well entered operation in Oil Springs, Ontario in 1858. The pyramids, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Taj Mahal, the conquest of the Americas by Europe, the “taming” of the west — all happened without electricity or oil, or even a Black and Decker. Moses, Socrates, Ovid, Jesus, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Michelangelo, Napoleon, Stephen Foster, Dickens — no electricity. You know, they did OK. There was coal, but most people didn’t have it. Great works of art, thought, architecture, mathematics; millions, even billions of children raised, acres cultivated, fish caught, songs sung. And we get our panties in a twist because, why? Are we such wimps?

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