In most Western cultures there is a tradition of saying “Happy New Year” as one year draws to a close and another beckons. As we stumble relentlessly into another anthropogenically warmed January, in a time of abrupt climate change, there will never be another “Happy New Year” for the biosphere or any of the awake sapiens or other earthlings.
“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” Aldo Leopold.
“Because of social taboos, despair at the state of our world and fear for our future are rarely acknowledged. The suppression of despair, like that of any deep recurring response, contributes to the numbing of the psyche. Expressions of anguish or outrage are muted, deadened as if a nerve had been cut. This refusal to feel impoverishes our emotional and sensory life. Flowers are dimmer and less fragrant, our loves less ecstatic. We create diversions for ourselves as individuals and as nations, in the fights we pick, the aims we pursue, and the stuff we buy.” The Greatest Danger; Joanna Macy
Anyone paying attention can see that both the biosphere and the global economy are teetering on the brink as the early stages of collapse are unfolding. Many of us nursing our ecological wounds wouldn’t normally lament the collapse of industrial civilisation but understanding the implications of the loss of “Global Dimming” and the attendant 1 to 1.5C temperature spike from masked warming and then the melt down of the worlds 450 nuclear power stations and their 1300 spent fuel pool fires makes the prospect of the collapse of the capitalist cancer that is killing the living planet a terminal sentence for the biosphere. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Soon the living will envy the dead.
On December 28th on this blog I published an article titled “This Civilisation is Finished. Rupert Reid, Paul Ehrlich and Jem Bendell.
Embedded are You Tube presentations from Rupert Reid and Paul Ehrlich and Jem Bendell’s seminal paper all predicting that relatively soon we will see the collapse of industrial civilisation. Paul Ehrlich’s interview in The Guardian begins “A shattering collapse of civilisation is a “near certainty” in the next few decades due to humanity’s continuing destruction of the natural world that sustains all life on Earth, according to biologist Prof Paul Ehrlich.”
I believe Paul Ehrlich, who I interviewed previously on my and Professor Guy McPhersons radio show Nature Bats Last is being overly cautious after being heavily attacked over some of his predictions in his 1968 book “The Population Bomb”not coming to pass.
What Paul and Anne Ehrlich couldn’t have known in 1968 was the ‘Green Revolution’ fueled by our crack like addiction to fossil fuels would allow the already balooning of the human population to escalate dramatically. This aspect of overshoot has compromised the natural world enormously.
In his seminal book “The Collapse of Complex Societies” Joseph Tainter points out that the more complex a society becomes the more vulnerable to collapse it is. There has never been a civilisation in history remotely as complex as this one. There in lies the mortal danger we face as the lunatics juggling the global economy create ever more debt out of no where and continue to juggle ‘Chickens and Chainsaws’
In 2008 the global economy teetered on the brink of collapse due to unsupportable mountains of debt, Lehman Brothers bank collapsed and threatened to bring down the entire global economic system and the ‘solution’ the gangsters came up with was more debt. The global economy has all the hall marks of a classic ponzi scheme.
Desperate times call for desperate people to literally try anything to avoid the worst scenarios unfolding. When faced with the economic collapse of an empire one of the ‘go to’ options is war.
António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, told global leaders this week that “The world has less than two years to avoid “runaway climate change.” WTF does anyone think can or will be done in 2019 to avoid runaway climate change when we are already in it? I note that the UN said in 1989 that we had 10 years to avoid dangerous climate change. How can we have 1 year left 30 years after having only 10?
We are being lied to at the edge of extinction, why would we be surprised?
Right on Christmas 2018 the US “Plunge Protection Team” was mobilised to discuss financial markets amid a rout on Wall Street. What can we expect them to come up with between canapes, champagne, cocaine and hookers and in Donald Trumps case cheeseburgers?
All we can be certain about is that we teeter on the brink of a collapse that can and will mark the extinction of most if not all complex life on this fragile planet.
I was in Berlin one week before the Berlin Wall came down which triggered the collapse of the East German state and shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. There was not one hint of the coming collapse on the streets of East or West Berlin yet a week later the game was effectively over for the Eastern Block of nations. This collapse being much wider spread will be infinitely faster and terminal, not just for nation states but for the entire biosphere.
Wishing you all the best for the coming new year with some gallows humour from the brilliant Katie Goodman and her sisters;