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Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XXXVIII

Tulum, Mexico (1986) Photo by author

The following contemplation has been prompted by some commentary regarding a recent article by Megan Seibert of the Real Green New Deal Project. It pulls together a couple of threads that I’ve been discussing the past few months…

There is no ‘remedy’ for our predicament of ecological overshoot, at least not one that most of us would like to implement. While it would be nice to have a ‘solution’, we’ve painted ourselves into a corner from which there appears to be no ‘escape’ — for a variety of reasons.

Most people don’t want to contemplate such an inevitability but the writing seems to be pretty clearly on the wall: we have ‘blossomed’ as a species in both numbers and living standards almost exclusively because of the exploitation of a one-time, finite cache of an energy-rich resource that has encountered significant diminishing returns but whose extraction and secondary impacts have led to pronounced and irreversible (at least in human lifespan terms) environmental/ecological destruction;  this expansion of homo sapiens has blown well past the natural carrying capacity of our planetary environment and like any other species that experiences this the future can only be one of a massive ‘collapse’—both in population numbers and sociocultural complexities.

Also like every other animal on this planet, we are hard-wired to avoid pain and seek out pleasure. But unlike other species we have a unique tool-making ability that we can use to help us address this genetic predisposition. So instead of accepting our painful plight and because of our complex cognitive abilities we have crafted a variety of pleasurable narratives to help us deny the impending reality — few of us ‘enjoy’ contemplating our mortality, so we avoid it or create comforting stories to soothe our anxieties and reduce our cognitive dissonance (an afterlife of some kind being one of the most common).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh V

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Pompeii (1993) Photo by author

Yet another of my comments for an article on The Tyee regarding energy and how we should approach our coming dilemmas. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/10/02/BC-Needs-Wartime-Approach-Climate-Emergency/


While I certainly appreciate the need to ‘correct’ our global industrial civilization’s path from its current trajectory there is an obvious ‘problem’ with the argument presented here: forcing the wrong ‘solution’ upon society is a recipe for an expedited collapse. As in the movie/series Snowpiercer (where an attempt to ‘correct’ global warming ended up leading to a frozen planet), the human need to ‘do something’ often leads to negative, unintended consequences and, quite frequently, the opposite of what was desired.

A great example of how the above ‘solution’ would likely bring about more quickly the opposite of what is desired is found in this statement: “We must conduct an inventory, determining how many heat pumps, solar arrays, wind farms, electric buses, etc., we will need to electrify virtually everything and end our reliance on fossil fuels.” To me, this shows quite clearly that the ‘solution’ is not to address the dilemmas created by chasing infinite growth, as our ‘modern’ world does, but maintaining business as usual by trying to have our cake and eat it too. It proposes maintaining all the technological, industrial, and energy-intensive baubles/conveniences that fossil fuels have brought us without realising the price that must be paid to do this (in fact, I would argue the impossibility of doing this).

As I have argued several times on these pages, renewables are NOT the panacea they are marketed as. The energy-return-on-energy-invested (EROEI) is markedly lower than fossil fuels resulting in significantly less energy available for end use. They all rely on environmentally-destructive processes for their material input. They depend upon industrial processes in their manufacture that cannot be done without fossil fuels. They use finite resources, some of which are already experience diminishing returns. They cannot replace fossil fuels.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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