The children are rebelling, the ice is melting, the weather is already chaotic and the feedback loops are multiplicative. How do we navigate the perfect storm when we know that our only habitable spaceship is hurtling into the abyss at the early stages of non-linear, chaotic, runaway warming.
As an offshore, blue water ocean sailor, I have always had at the back of my mind the possibility of having to declare a ‘Mayday’ and the order to abandon ship. This emergency is different as there are no lifeboats and there are no emergency services coming to the rescue. Soon there will be no internet to post pictures of the unfolding chaos or to search how to grow something to eat as habitat and the biosphere immolates.
I had the honour of hospicing my darling mother as she slipped away, they were the most honest 6 weeks of our life together. I had another experience recently where I looked after Sandra Wihongi, one of my tribes members on Rakino Island as she departed this mortal plane. She joked that she would come back as a Hawk and keep an eye on me! I see hawks daily!
Done right hospice can be a wonderful experience. Let’s try and do it well on a planetary level.
As I write this the “Empire of Chaos” as Pepe Escobar calls the USA appears on the brink of attacking Iran. Pepe writes that the Iran could crash the global economy by closing the straights of Hormuz. Were that to happen we could well see the loss of Global Dimming which could double the level of anthropogenic warming in a matter of weeks. We really are a day to day, week to week proposition. That’s the brink militarism has brought us too.
Whilst no one will get out alive, despite what the likes of the charlatan Elon Musk would like you billionaires to believe, there are many things we can do as we watch the chaos unfold. Failing to prepare is the same as preparing to fail.
Knowledge of and acceptance of our predicament can be a lonely, isolating place to be, in many respects it’s the first challenge we need to face. First and foremost it’s imperative to find like minded souls to share our grief with. There has never in the history of our species been a more important time to form a ‘Tribe’ and to cut the dead wood free.
One of the world leaders in triggering this debate recently has been Jem Bendell with his seminal paper that no referee journal was prepared to publish because the ramifications were and are so dire.
“I am releasing this paper immediately, directly, because I can’t wait any longer in exploring how to learn the implications of the social collapse we now face,” explained the author Dr Bendell, a full Professor of Sustainability Leadership.” Check out his paper: Deep Adaption here:
Jem has set up a Facebook Group for just this purpose to help us find like minded people who are having the conversation few are prepared to have. “Getting busy with action can be a distraction from full acceptance of our predicament”.
Check out Positive Deep Adaption
Quite possibly our greatest challenge will be managing our own grief, that of our loved ones and the children and youth in our lives, next come our neighbours and then complete strangers. Any day now we will have 1 billion very, very angry young people on the planet. Start thinking now about what you intend telling them. I shall say “I tried and failed”.
My personal “Antidote to despair” has been to volunteer at the not for profit Rakino Island Nursery where we propagate native trees for a rewilding program. For me it represents my final act of rebellion in a life of rebellion.
Zhiwa Woodbury has recently written : CLIMATE TRAUMA & RECOVERY: The Radical Compassion behind the Green New Deal: “And yet it is trauma that is driving civilization off the proverbial cliff in this hooked-up, 24/7 maxed-out age. Fight it, fear it, or flee it, the climate crisis is the sword of Damocles that hangs menacingly over the heads of all life on Earth. Call it by its name. Then recovery is knowable.”
Zhiwa also has a Facebook page; Planetary Hospice: Overcoming Climate Trauma
“We do not see ecological grief as submitting to despair, and neither does it justify ‘switching off’ from the many environmental problems that confront humanity. Instead, we find great hope in the responses ecological grief is likely to invoke. Just as grief over the loss of a loved person puts into perspective what matters in our lives, collective experiences of ecological grief may coalesce into a strengthened sense of love and commitment to the places, ecosystems and species that inspire, nurture and sustain us. There is much grief work to be done, and much of it will be hard. However, being open to the pain of ecological loss may be what is needed to prevent such losses from occurring in the first place.“Hope and mourning in the Anthropocene: Understanding ecological grief.
“How do we live with the fact that we are destroying our world? What do we make of the loss of glaciers, the melting Arctic, island nations swamped by the sea, widening deserts, and drying farmlands?”
“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 by Joanna Macy
Recently I had the pleasure of hearing and meeting Stephen Jenkinson sometimes known as “The Grief Walker”. Stephen was a guest on Nature Bats Last and was interviewed on the Peak Prosperity podcast.
My good friend and staff reporter at Truthout.org Dahr Jamail was recently interviewed on Radio Ecoshock where he discussed his latest book “The End of Ice”and navigating hospice.
The episode is embedded here
Professor Guy McPherson and I will continue to chronicle the great unraveling until the curtain falls on Industrial Civilisation which because of the aerosol masking effect and the melt down of 450 nuclear plants and their attendant 1300 spent fuel pool fires is a mass extinction event for the planet.
There have been five previous mass extinction events on this planet. We have the dubious honour of watching the sixth unravel live and direct. If we were coal miners we’d be neck deep in dead canaries.
Good luck everyone, make the most of every day, love with passion as “At the edge of extinction, only love remains.” GMP.
“At the risk of seeming ridiculous let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality” Ernesto Che Guevara.
To get the most from this article click on the embedded links, this really is the perfect storm.
Another appropriate article on this subject here from Catherine Ingram;
Sam Carana from the Arctic News Blog has covered Professor Guy McPhersons presentation to the New York City Commission;
Coping With Collapse: despair, deep adaptation, action & the end of the world
Peter Miller is having a series of interviews on navigating the perfect storm. I’ll post them in this space as they evolve. I will participate at the end of July;
Today I had the pleasure of joining Peter Miller on his project “NTHE Hospice Conversation! ”
We ventured into discussing the dynamics of watching the conditions for collapse unfolding and gaining non-linear momentum, the incredible lack of understanding that the general populace have to the precarious predicament we face and the psychological wave we’re all riding whether we know it or not.
I quoted Joanna Macy from an essay she wrote titled “The Greatest Danger”.
Our dear friend and colleague Wolfgang Werminghausen has put his feelings and thoughts into his latest blog post on the great unraveling.
“Everyday psychotherapy may not be enough to contain the emotional crushing that comes with accepting that we – as individuals and as a species – are in a hospice situation.”
I’ve only recently discovered the Daily Maverick and they are producing so excellent content.
Professor Guy McPherson’s thoughts on this subject as we circle the drain.
My co-host on Nature Bats Last has chimed in about Hospice and Anarchy.
For the uninitiated “Anarchy” does not mean chaos, it’s best defined as a having rules but not rulers. What’s not to like?
Check out this excellent resource on the five stages of grief.
A tsunami of grief is building in our youth, this is the dulled down corporate spin on the predicament.
In the incredibly near future this will have grown into a tsunami.
If you think youth suicide is a big issue now factor in collapse and the reality setting in that they have no future and we have a powder keg lit in front of us.
“Children shouldn’t have to have this worry – they have their hopes and dreams, they want to look forward to a bright future but what’s coming at them is about how there isn’t much time left.”
Climate Change Grief writ large
So much of this resonates with me. Acceptance brings a degree of liberation.
Liberation in the face of armageddon but liberation none the less.
A really beautiful discussion on our unfolding predicament.
“People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material portion of their privilege.” John Kenneth Galbraith
Hospice discussions, the kind of discussions we need to be having
It’s no coincidence that more and more people who study the extinction and climate crises are coming to the same conclusions.
I first wrote about being in “Hospice” four years ago. I broadly accepted our predicament a decade ago.
My last decade of existence has revolved around that perspective.