It’s the End of the World as We Know It

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 “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;

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Activist, sailor, passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour . Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

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Posted in Abrupt Climate Change, Collapse, Jem Bendell, Near Term Human Extinction--NTHE, Professor Guy McPherson, Professor Paul Ehrlich
26 comments on “It’s the End of the World as We Know It
  1. Robert Schick, rogue composer says:

    Emily Bronte: “I burned too bright for this world.” Thank you Kevin. rc

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin Lister says:

    Thanks for posting the collapse of complex societies. An excellent presentation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alex Smith says:

    Keep in mind Stuart Scott’s interview with Jem Bendell, broadcast on Radio Ecoshock here:
    [audio src="https://www.ecoshock.net/downloads/ES_Bendell_LoFi.mp3" /]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin Hester says:

    In this episode of Radio Ecoshock Professor Jem Bendell discusses his paper “The Study on Collapse they thought you should not read;”. Jem’s segment begins at the 21 minute mark;
    [audio src="https://www.ecoshock.net/downloads/ES_181212_Show.mp3" /]

    Like

  5. Doug Snedden says:

    Kevin,

    Question: In all the peer-reviewed (refereed and scholarly) journals with tens of thousands of published scientific articles written and reviewed by experts and accompanied by an endless stream of references and citations, how many of these articles (specifically) have actually provided a solution or made a recommendation to deal with abrupt climate change on a planetary scale?

    Question: If there is no abrupt climate change planetary solution and there is only mitigation, what ten scientific papers would you recommend or list as the most useful in reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of climate change and what is clearly unfolding around the world today?

    Respectfully,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin Hester says:

      The answer to Q1 is zero
      The answer to Q2 is the Jem Bendell paper “Dialogue on Deep Adaptation”.
      Ruppert Reid has mentioned that there is no real adaption for collapse of this society. If there are starving children at your door which ones will you feed?
      https://jembendell.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/the-study-on-collapse-they-thought-you-should-not-read-yet/?fbclid=IwAR1C1se1IQSpmW-pERugMOJJIFFo8LtuIgc78L6Vgq9irHLTKCYWf73hQ0o

      Like

      • seal says:

        Hello Kevin. We are in a heavy influenza outbreak up here. Been pretty sick since before NY’s Eve, 102-103’F fever etc etc. Lost 15 pounds in ten days. And it killed a friend of mine last Friday… Since I’ve been offline for near two weeks I thought I’d have a chance to catch up a little of what you’ve posted.

        And what do I find? Never any good news, eh?

        Funny how people keep asking this question (Q1) but I mainly think it is because they just do not like any answer that doesn’t leave them with a warm fuzzy feeling after reading. There has just GOT to be an answer, a way around the giant cliff yawning open at our feet, because….well just because. Is it a combination of religious insanity and a totally delusional society that continues to promote this in order to perpetuate the wealthy elite’s control just a little longer, for just a few more billions in profit, a few more layers of ‘buffer’ between their precious valuable bodies and the road kill of the rest of the planet as it grinds itself into toxic soup?

        And they think they, the ‘Elite Wealthy,’ will actually survive this. Magical thinking in my view but then I was never indoctrinated into that viewpoint as a child…which may be a good thing or a horrible curse depending on how one looks at it!

        As for your ‘will be 10 times worse than we can imagine’ statement, I am sure you are radically understating the explosion of violent insanity a gibbering, seething, hideous planet-covering mass of starving wild-eyed primates are capable of. And that’s if they’ve only got sticks and rocks to hit with. Which starving kids do you not feed at your door? Interesting question but one that will be answered by the stewpot I’m afraid and that’s before the mad fools in control of the weapons technology get going. We have never been a stabile species, ever, and every single one of the 22 Major Civilizations on this planet that have crashed all had evidence the cannibals were the last ones alive. And I’m sure there will be religious ‘who lives’ justifications for who gets cooked this time, too. Nothing new to see here, just a repeat of history we don’t pay attention to. Bad doesn’t begin to cover the concept. We cannot mentally imagine that…deep into the dark.

        By the way, I’m in Chpt. 15 of Daniel Ellsberg’s ‘Confessions’ book (before I got sick). It is so laced with terminal insanity among all of the ‘highest levels of government’ that to expect any reaction even remotely sane has got to be some kind of amazing magical thinking, too.

        Best

        sealintheSelkirks

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I.M. Noman says:

    “Ocasio-Cortez: ‘World will end in 12 years’ if climate change not addressed” Enter another political joker. Of course climate change won’t be addressed and world won’t end in 12 years. She’s just trying to make money fast
    https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/426353-ocasio-cortez-the-world-will-end-in-12-years-if-we-dont-address

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin Hester says:

      If only we had 12 yrs or even 2!
      “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.”

      Like

      • I.M. Noman says:

        “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”–Albert Einstein

        Liked by 1 person

    • Imagine this Mr. Norman. If you’ve been following the science it shouldn’t be all that hard mentally though I will admit it is a tough scenario to face emotionally. Kicks ya in the gut it does.

      We have one (1) too-hot summer that burns the US Midwest grain crops to death instead of there being a harvest. Literally toasts it all. Crumbling dried brick instead of rich Iowa farmland. Maybe at the same level as what’s going on in Australia at the moment…so hot that fruit hanging on the trees are being cooked from the inside out. I have a hard time imagining that to be honest.

      That same summer, due to Global Climate Collapse, the disappearance of the Arctic Ice, the looping Northern Jet Stream, stagnant blocking highs (etc etc) that caused the farming Midwest to literally burn to death kills off California’s entire fruit, vegetable, and nut crops with the same kind of weather patterns. After all, the inland valleys are freaking deserts without the Colorado River being pumped in…and that diminishing water source is so over-allocated to different states it isn’t even remotely humorous.

      Oh, I guess I forgot to mention the probable death of enormous numbers of cattle, sheep, chickens, pigs at the same time since i don’t think there is enough air-conditioned barns around to make much of a difference except maybe locally. For a while.

      Nope, the world won’t end…but sure as f*** this delicately balanced primate-invented techno-society that gets the majority of its food shipped to your local grocery store from those two places is going to go completely bug-sh** crazy when they go to the store and…the stores are all closed because there ISN’T ANY FOOD TO SELL YOU. Not that you could probably afford the prices if there was at that point anyway…

      Just one missed harvest is all it would take. But maybe you’re a mormon and have that required year’s worth of food for each member of your family stored in your basement or garage so you aren’t going to be too bothered by it all. Right? Unless your starving neighbors find out. That might get a little sticky, eh? But your family survives…

      Until the next year when the weather does the same thing but by then there won’t BE any farmers or ranchers left to grow or raise your food because they’ll all be dead of starvation.

      Oops.

      We are balancing on the point of a pin. Doesn’t take much to knock one off the point of a pin…and 1 million more mouths to feed arrive every three days on this planet. Big oops.

      sealintheSelkirks

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kevin! You’ve gotten good at this! Clean text, no frills. You have the right set up! Great work, David

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Johny says:

    Does Katie Goodman actually support the work of Guy McPherson or atleast the NTHE theory? It seems unclear to me

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kevin Hester says:

    In his seminal work “The Collapse Of Complex Societies” Joseph Tainter talked about how the more complex a society becomes the more likely it is to collapse. There has never been a society as complex as this one.
    The global economy is a ponzi scheme and anyone paying attention to what has just unfolded in Nebraska and my old home in Beira Mozambique can see that we are in the non-linear phase of abrupt climate change.
    We are just one more major event be it climatic or economic for this entire pyramid scheme to implode and collapse. Perhaps the permanent poisoning of the US grain belt by these floods means it’s already happened.
    The end of this otherwise good article is laced with post apocalyptic hopium which seems to dog most collapse theorists but not me.
    The loss of global dimming after the collapse of industrial civilisation will see a doubling of anthropogenic warming in a few months perhaps triggering the much anticipated 50 gigatonne methane release in the Arctic.
    The collapse of Ind Civ will trigger the meltdown of the planets 450 + nuclear power stations and their 1300 spent fuel pools will quickly over heat and catch fire.
    On that note have a lovely weekend everyone!
    View at Medium.com

    Like

    • I’ve not read the Tainter book but found it interesting that he’s from USU where I went to in my 30s. If it’s the same USU; are there more than one with that name? Utah State University…

      Brutal complexity I think would be a better description due to the incredible damage this technological civilization has and is doing to the rest of the biosphere. It’s amazingly vicious, staggeringly so. It leaves nothing but rubble in its wake. Death and destruction.

      And yes no doubt balanced on a pin point just waiting for that little nudge to knock it over. Lots of nudges going on worldwide, isn’t there? And in general I see people deliberately ignoring pretty much everything going on around the planet. It’s like nothing else exists outside of this very narrow focus in their immediate vicinity. I asked people I know yesterday that I bumped into after I read your words about Mozambique, and not a single one knew anything about it. One said he thought he heard something about that on tv and asked it if was really bad… I don’t have tv so no idea that typhoon disaster was on the MSM but since it wasn’t the US that was affected it didn’t really exist?

      People did know about the flooding in Nebraska. The ‘potentially unprecedented flood season’ was the term vox.com used. Which means never seen happen before I believe, yes? Nobody I talked to had linked it to anything having to do with themselves that might affect their food supply. Food comes from stores not from drowning farmlands… The term ‘Bomb Cyclone’ had people nervous, though.

      I love the term ‘compromised levees’ that the Iowa governor used. It sounds so much better than destroyed or washed away or disappeared, doesn’t it? It could be ‘weeks’ before businesses open back up. Yeah, ya think, lady???

      Of course I pointed out to the people I was talking to that the flooding hasn’t even started yet with all the snow melt-off to the north in Canada, and that the coming Spring rains hasn’t happened yet, either, that the Iowa governor warned about (she had called western Iowa ‘an ocean’), and mostly what I heard back was a ‘really, it could affect food prices?’ in reply.

      Kevin, people just don’t want to know. They just don’t.
      ___________

      I came across an article by David B Lauterwasser this week, one I don’t remember reading. It was published in 2017 titled: The Collapse of Global Civilization Has Begun. It also comes from medium.com. The end of the article was so full of HOPIUM that it gagged me, but the rest of it laid out some serious facts. I sent it off to a couple of people I talk with but warned them about the ending of it. No civilization to contain those nuclear plants and storage vats…yeah, Northern Hemisphere is going to glow…
      __________

      Yesterday it was 70’F with a bright blue sunny sky. Far too warm for this time of year here in these mountains. The snowpack down here (3440 ft) just melted away over the last ten days, POOF! GONE! Ground is so sodden that you sink inches into it. Mud everywhere. It’s the end of March. It’s not supposed to be like this. The robins that have been hatched on the property the last few years are back chasing worms and they are a bit early again just like the temperatures. Clouds are packing up, rain showers expected this week off and on.

      Hope you have a good week, Kevin. Do something fun.

      sealintheSelkirks

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Kevin Hester says:

    In his seminal work “The Collapse Of Complex Societies” Joseph Tainter talked about how the more complex a society becomes the more likely it is to collapse. There has never been a society as complex as this one.
    The global economy is a ponzi scheme and anyone paying attention to what has just unfolded in Nebraska and my old home in Beira Mozambique can see that we are in the non-linear phase of abrupt climate change.
    We are just one more major event be it climatic or economic for this entire pyramid scheme to implode and collapse. Perhaps the permanent poisoning of the US grain belt by these floods means it’s already happened.
    The end of this otherwise good article is laced with post apocalyptic hopium which seems to dog most collapse theorists but not me.
    The loss of global dimming after the collapse of industrial civilisation will see a doubling of anthropogenic warming in a few months perhaps triggering the much anticipated 50 gigatonne methane release in the Arctic.
    The collapse of Ind Civ will trigger the meltdown of the planets 450 + nuclear power stations and their 1300 spent fuel pools will quickly over heat and catch fire.
    On that note have a lovely weekend everyone!
    Here’s the article you mentioned ;
    View at Medium.com

    Like

  11. Kevin Hester says:

    ‘I say to my soul, be patient and wait without hope, for to hope is to hope for the wrong thing.’ T.S Elliot.

    Like

    • Yep Kevin, no doubt. Waiting without hope while I continue speed reading my way through the madness sweeping this planet and the species we are part of. Is this madness a symptom or is it a reaction to the unconscious knowledge of what is happening? I’m not really sure if either apply, but people are acting stranger and stranger planet-wide. Just like the climate.

      I’ve been commenting on sites a lot, commondreams, truthdig, constortiumnews, obrag.org (my home beach alt rag from 1970), and I think it’s because it’s a way for me to express my grief. I’ve never been all that patient but I certainly don’t hold out much hope at this point.

      Actually, I have none. It’s now just a matter of how fast and when the balloon goes up.

      I’m trying to finish my 2nd book I’ve been working on for three years. Why the hell not? It’s anti-religion and experience-based, and I’ve got a retired prof native american friend who read it and told me that I absolutely have to get it published. She sent a publisher she knows something about it who requested my email. Nothing yet but who knows?

      Okay. Big sigh. Live each day as if it is forever, and as if it is your last. I read that somewhere. I think I’ll work on the book today. Massacre Sites; Working for the Dead. Seriously appropriate title!

      sealintheSelkirks

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Kevin Hester says:

    An interesting contribution from Dr Mike Joy, Aotearoa NZ’s leading activist scientist.

    Like

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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

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