On the March episode of Nature Bats Last Kevin and Guy were joined by George Tsakraklides. We discussed George’s recent work at Tsakraklides.com , including the collapse of industrial civilization and George’s recently published book “Disposable Earth: How and why we gave the earth an expiration date”.
The interview is embedded here:
“Whatever the reason for extinction, it always has to do with an environmental parameter that has changed, costing certain species their competitive advantage. But as extinction shocks reverberate up and down the food chain, nature always finds ingenious ways to recalibrate the system, achieving a new delicate balance each time between predator and prey. Any life form that disrespects this balance, wanting more for itself, eventually meets its match. Invasive species, super-multipliers, even most viruses, all have an achiles heel: their strength is actually their biggest weakness. The more parasitic a species is on an ecosystem, the more dependent it is on it, and the more sensitive it becomes to environmental perturbations. Behind their tough exterior, predators hide a fragile nature. They can become extinct almost as easily as their victims.” Collapse Means Collapse
I mentioned in the interview the loss of 20% of Australia’s forests that have burned already this fire season;‘Unprecedented’ globally: more than 20% of Australia’s forests burnt in bushfires.
Former guest on the show Mimi German called in and asked George for his opinion of this article written by Professor Guy McPherson titled: Extinction Foretold, Extinction Ignored
Photo credit: 6th Mass Extinction woodcut print by Nat Morley (2019)
When we humans awake to reality, it will be too late to save ourselves.
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The last caller prompts me to ask:
Would a few surviving remnants of humanity in the aftermath of a collapse be so different from people living now?
I believe the answer is no. Those survivors would do as any animal would, and attempt to occupy the habitat that was left for them. Their behavior – our behavior – would remain the same. Tsakraklides uses the metaphor of a book whose pages have been torn away, but given human behavior, we don’t need the book. We are who we are, regardless of our culture, or history. The author of that book is evolution.
It may be comforting to imagine that human survivors would be wiser, having “learned a lesson” the hard way, but I doubt that wisdom would last for long. Near extinction of humans would put an end to business as usual, but as soon as circumstances allowed for it, we’d be back at it.
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Tim Bob adds his imagery and some brilliant music from our caller Mimi German to excerpts of the March episode of NBL. How’s that for doing his homework.
Farewell Humans, again from George;
“King wrote: “The ‘comfort cult’, as Amalrik called it – the tendency in seemingly stable societies to believe “that ‘reason will prevail’ and that ‘everything will be all right'” – is seductive. As a result, when a terminal crisis comes, it is likely to be unexpected, confusing, and catastrophic,”
In Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises” Bill asked
“How did you go bankrupt?” .
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
This is exactly how civilisations collapse, slowly and then suddenly. The cognitive dissonance around not seeing the obvious signs is amazing.
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The incomparable Donella Meadows from 1977
We were warned