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Rolling blackouts in California show how reliance on solar and wind power can backfire

Image: Rolling blackouts in California show how reliance on solar and wind power can backfire
(Natural News) California issued its first rolling blackouts in nearly 20 years last week as the state’s grid operator tried to keep the power system from complete collapse in the midst of a heat wave, and some are pointing out that the situation demonstrates the failures of green energy.

The rolling blackouts affected upwards of 2 million Californians. Many of the outages took place in the afternoon, when power demand peaked as people starting turning up their air conditioning at the same time that solar power supplies started slowing down as the sun set.

The state’s three biggest utilities – Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric – cut off power to homes and businesses for roughly an hour at a time until the close of an emergency declaration, and this was followed by a second outage.

On top of that, erratic output from the state’s wind farms failed to make up the gap. Around a third of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources thanks to state law mandates, and these alternatives proved incapable of keeping up during peak power usage. In the past, utilities and grid operators in the state bought extra electricity from other states when it fell short, but the vast size of the heat wave meant that other states were also reaching their limits and had none to spare.

Governor Gavin Newsom ordered an investigation into the outages seen in the state over the weekend, vowing to uncover the cause. However, Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno, who serves as the Committee on Utilities and Energy’s Vice Chair, said that the problem can be traced to California’s reduced dependence on natural gas.

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

The Importance Of A Resilient Life

The Importance Of A Resilient Life

In the end, it will mean all the difference

My business partner Adam and I recently met with a successful business owner whose career began on Wall Street. The kind of guy who should be rooting for the system, because it has treated him well.

Instead, he was quite nervous about the sustainability of the status quo. “Starting in August,” he said, “Maybe it was the Amazon catching fire, maybe it was the negative interest rates – I don’t know for certain what the trigger was – but something has snapped.”

I agree. Because I feel it, too.

As do so many others. And not just those who regularly read PeakProsperity.com. Increasingly, even ‘mainstream’ voices are stating to report a profound sense that something really isn’t right. That — from the economy to geopolitics to the natural world — things are swiftly worsening.

Public perception is beginning to shift from complacency to fear. Countries are fast rejecting globalization in favor of nationalization. The holes in our ecosystem — vanishing birds, insects, amphibians and fish stocks — are becoming frighteningly obvious. The threats to life as we’re accustomed to it are becoming more visible while accelerating in both magnitude and frequency.

I expounded on the danger of this in my recent report It’s the Pace of Change That Kills You. Negative developments can spark their own vicious cycle. The more components of a system that fail, the more at risk the remaining components become.

That report was published just two weeks ago. Since then the world’s largest oil refinery was attacked by hostile forces and knocked out of commission, throwing the future integrity of the global oil market into question. Scientists just announced that North America has lost 29% of its total bird population (a drop of -3 billion) in the past half century.

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

Living With Integrity

Living With Integrity

It’s time to choose a new direction.

Every so often, our work in the premium side of PeakProsperity.com is deemed so important that our paying subscribers request we share it with the general public. Last week’s ‘Off The Cuff’ podcast received so many of these requests that we are releasing it to all here.

In last week’s Off The Cuff podcast, Chris delivered a very personal message about how we each decide to live our lives.

A growing number of people are watching the “prosperity” around them — record high asset prices, record-low unemployment, new technologies, etc — and yet feeling that we’re making the wrong trade-offs as a society. All that wealth is flowing into fewer and fewer pockets, ecosystems are faltering and an alarming number of species are dying off, depression rates (especially among the youth) are skyrocketing.

In short: there’s more money flowing around than ever, and yet we and the planet are becoming sicker and unhappier.

Why?

From Chris’ point of view, it comes down integrity. The modern human way of life lacks integrity as a guiding principle. For those of us who desire a better future, brining our actions into better alignment with our integrity is the path to true prosperity.

My ultimate diagnosis of what’s going on in the United States culture and a lot of Europe culture — probably in other cultures, but I can’t speak to them as well – it’s that they lack integrity. Now, integrity isn’t simply “Oh, I don’t lie”. Integrity means that your actions are for the greater good. Sometimes there are acts of integrity which actually are not optimal for you; they’re optimal for the larger society around you.

Integrity is thinking out seven generations. Integrity is saying that beauty matters in our life, and that when we take out a species, we’re taking away something extraordinarily beautiful.

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

Planetary Collapse Threatens Our Survival: A New Study Says That More Than 1,200 Species “Will Almost Certainly Face Extinction”

Planetary Collapse Threatens Our Survival: A New Study Says That More Than 1,200 Species “Will Almost Certainly Face Extinction”

We are witnessing a worldwide environmental collapse, and nobody seems to know how to stop it.  As you will see below, a study that was just released that looked at more than 5,000 species of birds, mammals and amphibians discovered that nearly a quarter of them “will almost certainly face extinction”.  Never before has our society faced such a massive collapse of life on a planetary scale, and yet the vast majority of the population doesn’t seem concerned about what is happening.  Species after species is being permanently wiped out, and most of us couldn’t care less.

The time for action is now.  According to this new study, over 1,200 species will soon be extinct unless dramatic action is taken.  The following comes from the Guardian

More than 1,200 species globally face threats to their survival in more than 90% of their habitat and “will almost certainly face extinction” without conservation intervention, according to new research.

Scientists working with Australia’s University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society have mapped threats faced by 5,457 species of birds, mammals and amphibians to determine which parts of a species’ habitat range are most affected by known drivers of biodiversity loss.

Once these species are gone, they will be gone forever.

And remember, this study from Australia only included larger creatures such as birds, mammals and amphibians.  The situation is far more dire when we look at what is happening to the insect world.  The following is an excerpt from my previous article entitled “Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why”

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

Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why

Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why

Scientists are telling us that we have entered “the sixth major extinction” in the history of our planet.  A brand new survey of 73 scientific reports that was just released has come to the conclusion that the total number of insects on the globe is falling by 2.5 percent per year.  If we stay on this current pace, the survey warns that there might not be “any insects at all” by the year 2119.  And since insects are absolutely critical to the worldwide food chain, that has extremely ominous implications for all of us.

I write a lot about the inevitable collapse of our economic systems, but it could definitely be argued that our environment is already in a very advanced stage of “collapse”.  According to this new research, insects are going extinct at a rate that is “eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles”…

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

Perhaps the entire world will come together and will stop destroying the planet and we can reverse this trend before it is too late.

Unfortunately, you and I both know that this is extremely unlikely to happen.

And if it doesn’t happen, the researchers that conducted this scientific review insist that the consequences will be “catastrophic to say the least”

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

Collapse Is Already Here

Collapse Is Already Here

It’s a process, not an event.

Many people are expecting some degree of approaching collapse — be it economic, environmental and/or societal — thinking that they’ll recognize the danger signs in time. 

As if it will be completely obvious, like a Hollywood blockbuster. Complete with clear warnings from scientists, politicians and the media.  And everyone can then get busy either panicking or becoming the plucky heroes. 

That’s not how collapse works.

Collapse is a process, not an event.

And it’s already underway, all around us. 

Collapse is already here.

However, unlike Hollywood’s vision, the early stages of collapse cause people to cling even tighter to the status quo. Instead of panic in the streets, we simply see more of the same — as those in power do all they can to remain so, while the majority of the public attempts to ignore the growing problems for as long as it possibly can.

For both the elite and the majority, their entire world view and their personal sense of self depends on things not crumbling all around them, so they remain willfully blind to any evidence to the contrary.

When faced with the predicaments we warn about here at PeakProsperity.com, getting an early start on prudently shifting your own personal situation is of vital strategic and tactical importance. Tens of thousands of our readers already have taken wise steps in their lives to position themselves resiliently.

But most of the majority won’t get started until it’s entirely too late to make any difference at all. Which is sad but perhaps unavoidable, given human nature.

If everybody around you is saying “Everything is awesome!”, it can take a long time to determine for yourself that things in fact aren’t:

Real collapse happens slowly, and often without any sort of acknowledgement by the so-called political and economic elites until its abrupt terminal end.

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

The Ghost Of Christmas Future

The Ghost Of Christmas Future

Here in the brief period between Christmas and New year’s, as a writer I am obligated to say happy, wishful things. I have to confess, I’m just not feeling it this year, so I’ll just do the minimum here and return to being a curmudgeon, because that’s what the times call for.

So, happy new year. I hope everything works out well for you in 2019.

There, with that behind us we can now return our attention to the true state of the world, which is deteriorating and getting worse.

For most people things will be decidedly worse, not better, as things progress along their current trajectories. The only planet we’ve got to live on is being killed by human activity and gross inattention, while economically the greatest and most ill-advised credit bubble in all of human history flirts with the sort of sudden disaster that follows shortly after the failure of one’s reserve parachute.

As I’ve often repeated, I truly wish this weren’t the case.  I don’t have a “bummer gene” that relishes bad news nor do I enjoy being “that guy” who says what no one wants to hear.

Many of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about.  You, too, had to keep your lips zipped over the holidays lest the strained family small talk and opening of cheaply-made forgettable gifts be ruined by any talk of ‘reality’.  Sure, everyone can inwardly wince at uncle Jack’s sixth bourbon and tolerate the buffoonery and social awkwardness sure to follow because  “it’s only once a year.”

But collapsing insect populations, species loss, shrinking aquifers, and the utter betrayal of the younger generations by the “olders” running the fiscal and monetary policies of the world are not as easily dismissed. There’s no relief at the end of the day when the problem drives itself home.

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

Total Planetary Collapse: The World’s Vertebrate Population Has Fallen By An Average Of 60 Percent Since 1970

Total Planetary Collapse: The World’s Vertebrate Population Has Fallen By An Average Of 60 Percent Since 1970

The clock is ticking for humanity, and it is not just because our financial system is heading for the biggest implosion that any of us have ever seen.  The truth is that we are literally running out of everything.  We will not have enough oil to meet our energy needs long before we get to the end of this century.  The lack of fresh water is already a major crisis in many parts of the world.  Our air and our soil are more polluted than they have ever been before.  And at this point we can barely feed the entire planet, but global demand for food is expected to escalate dramatically in the years ahead.  If we continue doing things the way that we have been doing them, a future filled with famine, civil unrest, environmental chaos and war appears to be inevitable.  We are literally on the verge of total planetary collapse, but because this is happening in slow-motion most people don’t feel an urgency to do anything about it.

And to a certain extent, the damage has already been done.  This week, the WWF released a report which found that the vertebrate population of the world has fallen by an average of 60 percent since 1970.  the following comes from NBC News

The population of the planet’s vertebrates has dropped an average of 60 percent since 1970, according to a report by the WWF conservation organization.

The most striking decline in vertebrate population was in the tropics in South and Central America, with an 89 percent loss compared to 1970. Freshwater species have also significantly fallen — down 83 percent in that period.

You may be thinking that you are not a big fan of the WWF, and I certainly am not either.

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

The Whole System Is Rigged

The Whole System Is Rigged

From elections to media to the markets, it’s all controlled

As the dog days of summer wind down, it’s hard not to notice how the climate is suffering brutally right now across many areas of the globe.

Crop failures have hit hard across Europe. Australia is under an intense drought. Warm water representing ‘archived heat’ has penetrated deep into the arctic.  Coral reefs are dying through mass bleachings. The stocks of ocean fisheries are in deep trouble. Insect and bird populations remain in a state of collapse.

It couldn’t be any more clear that our society’s demands for ever-more “growth” are taking an increasingly dangerous toll. “Growth” is now the enemy of life on the planet; yet there are precious few leaders willing to admit as much.

What we need is less pressure on vital ecological systems and precious remaining resources. But good luck finding a politician willing to admit that.

Though a refreshing exception is French environmental minister Nicolas Hulot who dramatically resigned his position last week, on live television, declaring “I don’t want to lie to myself anymore.”  His view is that the government is not addressing the major environmental issues properly and he didn’t want his presence to give the false appearance that it was.  Kudos to Nicolas, though I’m not sure that losing such a rare principled person in government is a step in the right direction.

Operating On Blind Faith

Most politicians appear to think that there are no big issues out there ecologically-speaking. Of course, very few of them spend any time outside or understand where their food even comes from. Most subsist on the blind faith that our planet will somehow always bounce back from the abuses we inflict on it, despite reams of mounting evidence that it’s hitting a mulitplying number of breaking and tipping points.

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

Time To Choose

kienyke.com

Time To Choose

Will you be an agent of depletion or regeneration?
There’s a vast revolution underway. And it’s time to pick sides.

Your choice couldn’t be more critically important. Quite possibly, the entire fate of the human species hangs in the balance.

It’s time to decide: Will you be an agent of depletion or regeneration?

Bad Choices = Bad Outcomes

For many centuries, humans have consumed the natural resources around them at a rate far faster than the planet can replenish. Until recently this didn’t pose an existential problem, as fresh deposits could be tapped through the discovery of new continents or development of new technologies.

But those days of living beyond our means are now over. No sizeable unexplored territories remain on the globe. Technology is only helping us burn faster through the increasingly dilute deposits that are left. The planet’s population and its demand on key resources is ballooning, causing the natural systems we depend on for life to falter.

Yes, the situation is dire. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

A better future is possible. It’s up to us to make it happen.

There’s plenty of evidence of working real-world models that show exactly how we can improve the planet for future generations. I’ll focus on a few in a moment.

But first, it’s critical to understand that working against adoption of these better practices is our society’s entrenched system of extraction, otherwise known as the Business As Usual (BAU) crowd. This includes every person and entity busy protecting or promoting (usually from a position of profound ignorance) the concept of exponential economic growth as a necessary and good thing.

Complicit are all major parties of our political systems, the mainstream media (MSM), and of course the entire financial system — especially all the world’s central banks and their main clients.

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

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

© Rangizzz | Dreamstime.com

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

Looks like we’re in for a much rockier ride than many expect

This marks our our 10th year of doing this.  And by “this”, we mean using data, logic and reason to support the very basic conclusion that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. 

Surprisingly, this simple, rational idea — despite its huge and fast-growing pile of corroborating evidence — still encounters tremendous pushback from society. Why? Because it runs afoul of most people’s deep-seated belief systems.

Our decade of experience delivering this message has hammered home what behavioral scientists have been telling us for years — that, with rare exceptions, we humans are not rational. We’re rationalizers. We try to force our perception of reality to fit our beliefs; rather than the other way around.

Which is why the vast amount of grief, angst and encroaching dread that most people feel in western cultures today is likely due to the fact that, deep down, whether we’re willing to admit it to ourselves or not, everybody already knows the truth: Our way of life is unsustainable.

In our hearts, we fear that someday, possibly soon, our comfy way of life will be ripped away; like a warm blanket snatched off of our sleeping bodies on a cold night.

The simple reality is that society’s hopes for a “modern consumer-class lifestyle for all” are incompatible with the accelerating imbalance between the (still growing) human population and the (increasingly depleting) planet’s natural resources. Basic math and physics tell us that the Earth’s ecosystems can’t handle the load for much longer.

The only remaining question concerns how fast the adjustment happens. Will the future be defined by a “slow burn”, one that steadily degrades our living standards over generations? Or will we experience a sudden series of sharp shocks that plunge the world into chaos and conflict?

It’s hard to say. As Yogi Berra famously quipped, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”  So, it’s left to us to remain open-minded and flexible as we draw up our plans for how we’ll personally persevere through the coming years of change.

But even while the specifics about the future elude us today, “predicting” the macro trends most likely to influence the coming decades is very doable:

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

Waiting for the Debris Flows

Waiting for the Debris Flows

In J.M. Coetzee’s 1980 novel, Waiting for the Barbarians, his characters sit around in an isolated colonial fort in a nameless desert country, awaiting their destiny – an invasion of the barbarians. The novel concerns its characters’ slow realization of their complicity, as agents of the Empire, in their fate. Something very similar is happening here on the eastern fringe of southern California’s Thomas Fire burn area as we await the rains and the debris flows that will surely follow – as they did, earlier in the year, with such devastating results in Montecito, further to the west.

This analogy, to fully flower, depends on two things. The first is that the fire was intensified by global warming. It came, early in December, after six years of drought, towards the end of a dry first half of the rainy season and in the midst of N.E. Santa Ana winds of unprecedented intensity. The second is that we are both culpable and complicit in the first by the fact of our living in a society driven by the burning of fossil fuels. Implicit is the connection between the two.

The motley assortment of ex-pats who populate Coetzee’s desert fort have more reason to debate the benefits or provocations of their colonial mission impacting the peoples they have (we presume) earlier displaced, although they too, even without the benefit of a course in post-colonial studies, come to accept their role in the disruption of a pre-existing social ecology and the acts of revenge this will ultimately generate. They sit and wait for an invasion by the people who, by destroying their world, they have made barbarians.

Meanwhile, in our now certified fire-safe house (but still surely vulnerable to debris flows) situated in the wildland-urban-interface, we sit and wait for other acts of weather terrorism provoked by the Empire’s eviscerations of the earth’s crust.

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

10 Years Automatic Earth


Winslow Homer Mending the nets 1881
 

Yes, it’s 10 years ago today, on January 22 2008, that Nicole Foss and I published our first article on the Automatic Earth (the first few years on Blogger). And, well, obviously, a lot has happened in those 10 years.

For ourselves, we went from living in Ottawa, Canada to doing a lot of touring starting in 2009, to support Nicole’s DVDs and video downloads. We visited Sweden, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Denmark, US of course, with prolonged stays in France, Britain, New Zealand, Australia, times that I miss a lot here and there, to now with Nicole settled in New Zealand and my time divided between Athens, Greece and the Netherlands.

We met so many people both online and in the flesh in all these countries it’s impossible to remember everyone of them, and every town we found ourselves in. Overall, it was a humbling experience to have so many people share their views and secrets, especially since we never stayed at hotels (or very rarely), we were always invited to stay with our readers. Thank you so much for that.

Since we started publishing 8 months before the fall of Bear Stearns, and we very much predicted the crisis that followed (we had been doing that before as well, since 2005 at the Oil Drum), we were the first warning sign for many people that things were going off the rails.

There are still to this day people expressing their gratitude for that. Others, though, not so much. And that has to do with the fact that governments, media and central banks came together to create the illusion of an economic recovery, something many if not most people still believe in. Just read the headlines and the numbers, on housing markets, stocks, GDP, jobs. Unfortunately, it was an illusion then and it still is now.

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

There’s No APP for That: Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation, and Biodiversity Loss

THERE’S NO APP FOR THAT: TECHNOLOGY AND MORALITY IN THE AGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE, OVERPOPULATION, AND BIODIVERSITY LOSS


It has become something of a mantra within the sustainability movement that innovations in technology will save the world and all of us in it, but we tend to forget that technology played a big part in getting ourselves into this mess in the first place. In a manifesto released back in August, author Richard Heinberg, who is also the Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the US-Based Post Carbon Institute, explains why technology, which is widely heralded as our saviour, is not the secret sauce to solve all our environmental troubles. He joins us to discuss his arguments in the manifesto which is titled, “There’s No App for That: Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation, and Biodiversity Loss.”

Signs Of Distress

The need to change is becoming more obvious than ever
The world is edging closer to the final moments after which everything will be forever changed. Grand delusions, perpetuated over decades, will finally hit the limits of reality and collapse in on themselves.

We’re over-budget and have eaten deeply into the principal balances of all of our main trust accounts. We are ecologically overdrawn, financially insolvent, monetarily out past the Twilight Zone, consuming fossil fuels (as in literally eating them), and adding 80,000,000 net souls to the planet’s surface — each year! — without regard to the consequences.

Someday there will be hell to pay financially, economically, and ecologically as there simply isn’t any way to maintain these overdrafts forever. Reality does not renegotiate. Its deal terms aren’t compromisable.

For those who have the neural plasticity to actually see what’s happening around us, the changes are already here, blatant and frightening. Younger folks, with their fresher eyes and fewer ties to the past, can see them a lot easier than their elders.

The prosperity enjoyed by the past few generations — especially the Baby Boomers — was stolen from future generations. All the while, they pretended as if their borrowing-heavy standards of living were the result of sheer genius and intelligence; like trust fund babies who mistake being born on third base for hitting a triple.

Young people have sussed this out; and are now pulling back from many of the principal occupations of their forebears — like marriage, babies and buying homes and cars. This perplexes older folks, who are beginning to find themselves increasingly at odds with the generations following after them.

Humans can be very very smart, but the flip-side of our ingenuity is our capacity for self-delusion. We’ve very consistently preferred to look past our faults. That can work for a while, but eventually an incomplete view will lead to a complete disaster.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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