29 January 2010

Peak Certainty

I've been reading some scary stuff lately. Books about how we're fucked, excuse my French, unless we make some serious, drastic changes starting yesterday. Culture Change, by Alexis Zeigler explains how society as it is currently structured will make it almost impossible to carry out the changes that are necessary. The End of the Long Summer, Why We Must Remake our Civilization to Survive on a Volatile Earth, by Dianne Dumanoski explains why we can expect sudden climate change instead of gradual warming and how the odds are against us managing very well. I'm currently working on An Illustrated Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright. It's a look at 10,000 years of failed civilizations and surprise, we're on a familiar trajectory. To top off my doomfest, I found the documentary Collapse online and wallowed in that. The movie features Mike Ruppert of From the Wilderness explaining how peak oil and economic failure are going to cause the collapse of western civilization without even mentioning climate change. Mike sounds like he's full of it, but as much as I wanted to write him off as a crank, especially when he talks about being a CIA target, I wasn't able to.

So imagine my surprise every morning when I get up and the sun still rises, the electricity is still on, my bank balance is roughly the same as it was yesterday - and worth the same, every institution save the Canadian parliament is still operational, stores are still full of cheap crap, the weather is mostly tolerable, and my birdfeeder is crowded with a variety of birds. No wonder it's hard to convince folks that there's a problem, let alone a problem for which the solution, if there is one at all, is to radically reduce consumption of fossil fuels. I hardly believe it myself and I think about this stuff a lot.

The one thing I'm sure of, is that the future is not going to be like today only richer and more comfortable. I also know that beyond a pretty basic level, wealth and comfort don't make you happier. Other than that, I don't know. I think I crested my Hubbert's curve of certainty sometime last year.


  1. I just watched Collapse a couple of weeks ago but I missed some of it - fittingly, the part that included the reference of not needing atc anymore - due to it being afternoon nap time. But, aside from the financial stuff which I've come to know from other sources anyway, peak oil and 9/11 conspiracy was so convinvingly documented by Ruppert in his book Crossing the Rubicon that I lost sleep over it - real night time sleep - when I read it in '06.

    He's now predicting a catastrophic Chinese cyberattack among other things and seems much less credible as a blogger than as an author.

    In any case, it's been a while since I've read a whole doom-based book. I just don't need any more details.

    My current project is deer-fencing 25 acres to protect the island's only grain from being munched prematurely.


  2. Between Meg our big mean dog, the doe hunt last year and the coyotes, we hardly saw any deer around here compared to a year earlier. The hunters have taken to shooting coyotes now (in contests! for prizes!) so maybe I'll need deer fencing after all.

    Sounds like quite a project, no doubt keeping you firmly in the present.



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