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posted on 12 January 2020

Collapse Of Global Industrial Civilization Is Nigh

by Reverse Engineer, Doomstead Diner

-- this post authored by K-dog

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner.

Collapse is now certain. It has been certain for a long time. But even collapse aware people have a hard time admitting this hard truth. Tipping points are without question crossed. Arctic methane is being released. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is on a fast climb. Perhaps this is not news to you? Perhaps you are a rare individual who knows atmospheric CO2 is now 0.55% more than it was one year ago.

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CO2 is rising fast. Half a percent a year now. A rather important thing to know. A fact that should be known by more than a few people. People who don't know what to do with the information once they have it it. Thinkers who do not act. Half a percent a year should be common knowledge and the subject of talk everywhere we go. In another culture it would be. Not in America. This culture prefers to die.

Half a percent a year and increasing with no decrease possible. Atmospheric CO2 concentration does not go down. It can't go down and geoengineering is a child's fantasy. Geoengineering is a dodge to sidestep reality and is an insult to science.

Acting like collapse has not begun has crossed a line in America. From a personal point of view you as an individual may have not crossed the line yet. Individual mileage does vary. We have different lives so we do not all share the same culpability and awareness. But you are reading this so your culpability is increasing. I am sorry about that. Enough evidence is out there now. Ignorance is no longer an excuse for anyone with any smarts. Not being collapse aware is an exercise in irresponsibility now. With abundant facts, not being collapse aware is no longer an exercise in ignorance.

Lines crossed collapse is now certain. It has begun and is underway. But there is something worse than collapse. The certainty of what happens if collapse is ignored. The certainty of our apocalypse. Apocalypse after collapse crosses the tipping point where all social order breaks down. Where the remnants of humanity live out a Mad Max future without relief until everyone dies.

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The biosphere is pretty much gone. Everyone alive is too young to remember vast forests and animal herds stretching as far as the eye can see. Nobody appreciates what the Earth has lost. In the last forty years half the insects on the planet have died. Extinctions are now commonplace as the web of life grows ever more fragile. Every generation a few people fought to save a chunk of environment. Every generation their planet eating brethren fought back. Success was never 100% so every generation lost biosphere. None of the loss ever comes back and the possibility of a total biosphere collapse now looms. Like a ratchet on a bolt that only turns a bolt in one direction, we ratchet away the Earth's web of life. Every year there is less forest and more people. The web does not renew. Now there are more people than the planet can support after our energy stores and materials deplete.

Yet so addicted are Americans to their telephones that they don't care if there are no bees anymore. Their phones, now smarter than the phone owners tell stories. Mechanical bee replacement robot stories. A soothing balm of technical porn. Devoid of any reality, this porn returns everyone to their phone addiction.

By weight people outweigh wild animals. By weight livestock outweigh people. Cows, pigs and goats, outweigh people and we outweigh all wild animals put together. Wild animals are now 4% by weight of all animals on Earth. The weight of poultry is three times more than the weight of all wild birds. Oceans have been 90% depleted of fish. Facts undeniably prove human population overshoot. But humans deny such facts. Humans have a special talent for denying facts.

Why people deny facts fascinates me. Social reasons are a huge influence but just being human is enough. Humans focus attention on goals. It is a survival thing. Focus attention on a goal and dismiss facts that are not relevant to your goal. Selective attention. Identify and ignore the trivial. This is part of concentrating on what is important. Two sides of the same coin of selective attention. But what is trivial is not always clear. Looping back to social reasons being a big influence and very nasty feedbacks result. Fantasy eclipses reality. Technical animals like no other human selective attention follows the pied-piper of technology with a blind faith. It takes a special effort to be aware that technology has any downside. Externalities are systemically ignored. Ignored because that is the efficient thing to do for the short term. 'Shit happens' is a common way to push away complicating awareness. Brains are always trying to be efficient. At the level of the human social machine which controls our destiny, systemic drive for efficiency results in inhumanity.

Projections are for a world with 10 billion people soon. I do not see this happening. Die-off will intervene before population grows that much. It would be nice if humans took control of their collective destiny. But that requires a solidarity that Americans do not have. It can't happen here. We are a divided nation unable to solve problems. Unable to solve problems, when resources deplete and the biosphere crashes, our nation will be in ruins.

We have not built community or authentic culture. Purposes we never endorsed suck away our daily energy. This makes for misery. Creating a life that is meaningful is the smart way to prepare for the end of the world. But for most of us this is impossible. Most of us sell our labor to earn enough to survive day to day. Mastery of life in America is imagined as escaping from your life. Vacation, retirement, a state lottery, even death. Happiness always seems to be somewhere else but the place you are at. The reality of the common man is debt and loss of agency. Freedom is only imagined.

Fossil fuels which built our society have failed us and there is no going backwards. Built for fossil fuels only our infrastructure can't be adapted for anything else. There are no substitutes for oil, coal, and gas. American trains unlike trains in Europe cannot be easily electrified. No substitute fuels can feed cloth or shelter the number of people now alive. Climate change, an ancillary but not a root cause of global industrial collapse, will aggravate existing problems.

Failure to prepare for new ways of life will mean no way of life in our future. Localised small scale food production is the best way to grow food. Superior in the absence of fossil fuels it is more efficient. It is more environmentally friendly. But the trend is for ever more steel, glass, concrete, and city. Away from local production.

Fossil fuels caused people to breed like bunnies in a meadow after shooting all the wolves. Now the meadow is full of bunnies. Soon nothing done, the bunnies will start to eat each other. I fear nothing will be done before it is too late.


Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 12, 2019.


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