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Today’s Contemplation CLXXIII–Human Ecological Overshoot: What to Do?

Today’s Contemplation CLXXIII

Monte Alban, Mexico (1986). Photo by author.

Human Ecological Overshoot: What to Do?

Today’s Contemplation is a very short comment I posted on The Honest Sorcerer’s latest piece.

Yes, the grieving process must be travelled through to the end to reach ‘acceptance’ of our human ecological overshoot predicament. Some are just beginning this process and as such display the very typical denial and bargaining stages, thinking quite adamantly that human ingenuity and our technological prowess will triumph over any and everything that Nature has in store for us story-telling apes. In fact, it’s not unlikely that the vast, vast majority of people are not even remotely aware of the human ecological dilemma and attribute growing signs of ‘collapse’ to socioeconomic and sociopolitical factors solely.

For myself, it took a number of years to move through these grief stages and I still get bogged down in some ‘hopefulness’ periodically that we can avoid what is for all intents and purposes inevitable (I think mostly because I have children whom I’d like to think can ‘dodge’ the ramifications of the coming storm).

Aside from this psychological journey of grieving, I wrote a series of Contemplations (starting here) about a number of other cognitive aspects that impact our belief systems and thinking about this, concluding that:
“The collapse that always accompanies overshoot seems baked in at this point with little if anything we can do about it.

Personally, I’d like to see our dwindling fossil fuels dedicated to decommissioning safely those significantly dangerous complexities we’ve created (e.g., nuclear power plants, biosafety labs, chemical storage, etc.) and relocalising as much potable water procurement, food production, and regional shelter needs as possible rather than attempting to sustain what is ultimately unsustainable given the fossil fuel inputs necessary. Perhaps, just perhaps. by doing these things a few pockets of humanity (and many other species) can come out the other side of the bottleneck we’ve created for ourselves.”

Your call for focusing on a ‘graceful landing’ immediately had me think about Dr. Kate Booth and Tristan Sykes ‘Just Collapse’ initiative. They describe it as “an activist platform dedicated to socio-ecological justice in face of inevitable and irreversible global collapse…[that] advocates for a Just Collapse and Planned Collapse to avert the worst outcomes that will follow an otherwise unplanned, reactive collapse…[and] advocates for localised insurgent planning and mutual aid.” And this avenue may be the best path to follow at this point, particularly since it appears that most of our reactionary attempts to stave off the symptom predicaments of our overshoot are serving to exacerbate our issues.

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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