REAL Green Monastary

When I was young and idealistic in the late 80’s I embraced globalism and sustainable development.  I was then aware of peak oil and climate change having studied them in collage in my geology and environmental electives.  I also took a great philosophy class given by a somewhat radical Jesuit who believed in fighting economic injustice of the 3rd world.  I remember him asking us how many different types of food processors do we really need in reference to the then rapidly expanding consumer culture.  At the same time the worlds poor were rapidly growing in size and inequality.  I bought into globalism with time in Europe and eventually a Spanish wife.  I learned some German and Spanish and actually live those cultures.  I spent a year working in Germany as an apprentice at a construction company.  I was anti-American culture then.  I rejected the plastic suburban consumer culture of my world.  I avoided Americans and live European.  I found European culture intoxicating.

I am now against globalism after nearly 20 years of being a doomer and 15 being a dedicated prepper.  I am now a dedicated alternative living proponent I am pushing my REAL Green Deep Adaptation.  Prepping for possible societal collapse is part of this but the real push has come from understanding the energy and growth trap we are in.  This catch 22 trap means we can’t green decouple (Fake Green) and we can’t degrowth (True Green) with any measurable success for systematic reasons.  We are too far into technological development supporting population and consumption overshoot.  The planet is in human induced succession environmentally with all the worlds great ecosystems.  Planetary systems are being altered geologically and with climate.  The various planetary cycles and the web of life are negatively converging to alter the planet beyond the stable regime human’s growth accompanied.  Quality resources that allowed that growth are depleting.  Soils and water resources fully exploited.  All we can speak of positively is technology and the accompanying knowledge growth.  Yet, this is also the problem because this has not contributed to wise growth.   Humans are now in a late stage capitalism of anything profitable is exploited with increasing rapidity resulting in wealth and inequality and general population increases.  We have the technology and the knowledge but we do not have the behavioral control.  We can’t even get along which points to a population too large for human behavior to manage.  Our tribalism clashes with our drive to globalism. 

Globalism is likely the pinnacle of human productivity but also destructive change.  Humans will never match the current system of comparative advantage combined with economies of scale and global capital flows.  This combined with technology and consumerism.  Technology being the mechanics and consumerism the behavior.  We are not going to decouple from this and address planetary destruction especially because the destruction has already tipped systems into their own particular change dynamics.  Decoupling is preached as a way to grow without side effects.  Now tell me does that work with anything?  We now must live with consequences of our growth.  Decoupling will fail because the right combination of population and behavior is not present.  There is a point beyond which decoupling can work and humans have long since moved beyond that point.

 Degrowth is not possible without dramatic destructive forces of economic abandonment resulting in dysfunctional networks and irrational resulting behavior.  It is far easier to build systems up then degrowth them rationally.  This is especially true when human behavior for the most part is not up to the task.  We have Fake Greens and those who believe there is no need to degrowth to begin with.  These people actually believe more growth will solve are problems.  They want more economic growth and more population.  More ominously is the fact that most of the global population is incapable of understanding the issues to begin with.  Even those who can are delusional with the solutions.  Much of our academia and scientific best are part of this acceptance of the science showing the dangers but delusional with the solutions.  A very small percentage is truly awakened to the honest science.  We then have the nurturing in both industry and politics of pathological personalities of the extreme individual.  There flawed humans are running the show. 

Human behavior cannot degrowth in these circumstances because this requires sacrifice and likely severe pain as the deck chairs on the sinking ship rearrange.  In real degrowth people will starve.  The idea we can eat insects and turn the world’s economies into a mass producers of food energy from whatever makes the most for the most is a hoax.  Real degrowth is reduction in population and consumption both resulting in pain for systematic reasons.  You mess with a complicated system in a complex civilization and destructive change happens.  This pain is especially true because so much human activity should not have developed in marginal locations.  Tell me how that is going to sell anywhere?  This means human civilization will increasingly take the default of being driven into destructive change by self-organizing forces both human and planetary.  We will react with what we do best and that is more technology and more resources exploitation.  This is more of the same which as we know some of our best minds have called insanity.

My REAL Green Deep Adaptation says accept this circumstance and respond accordingly as our ancestors did back when life was precarious.  Then humans reacted locally and in small groups.  This is the Deep Adaptation.  The REAL Green is responding in a relative way.  Green is better locally and individually but Green has to be embraced carefully because the status quo is not green or it is Fake Green.  Late stage capitalism will swallow you up and spit you out if you take it on head to head.  You yield to the forces of change both human and planetary.  You make an effort to decline in place and under the radar of hostile forces.  You are generally defensive and occasionally when warranted offensive with extreme prejudice like any formable creature.  The offensive occurs when deadly forces are encountered.  You are prepared with security but use it as a last resort. 

REAL Green seeks to triage out the unnecessary and embrace the best technologies of both the old and the new so this does not mean being the most technological.  In many cases it means no tech or low tech.  Most of the time it means a hybrid.  All the time it means wise choices and good behavior.  Yet the relative part of REAL Green kicks in with the understanding of the failures of human behavior both within and without.  This means REAL Green is significantly about behavior as much as physical lifestyles.  Inner attitudes are as much of REAL Green as what tech to use or not to use.  If you can take the road of stoicism and live more Spartan but do this in context to your status quo position.  Dramatic and drastic behavior can wreck years of planning and development.  That said there are some who can go TRUE Green which is leaving the status quo completely closer to planetary harmony.  Some of the young and unencumbered can do this.  Some of the wealthy can buy it.  Most will struggle with the task of living in both worlds but this struggle is enlightening and contributes to physical strength. 

REAL Green means good health as a basic to building your REAL Green monastery.  I call it a monastery because one need only study the monasteries of the middle ages to get an idea of the changes needed.  Monasteries were local and they embraced self-sufficiency.  They also sought to live with the local political environment by yielding to greater powers.  They were non-confrontational.  They practiced a dedicated way of life.  REAL Green in my case is pastoral.  A excellent way to embrace REAL Green is a permaculture farm but this is not the only way.  REAL Green is an add on to your existing lifestyle and your higher power belief.  Be realistic most of us cannot leave what we have so adapt it.  REAL Green seeks to connect what you already have to planetary and human realities.  This is where the Deep Adaptation comes in.  You are doing this because you acknowledge planetary and human decline.  You embrace planetary and human succession instead of fighting it or denying it.  If you do this the planet and the best of human behavior will support you. 

You also accept that pain and suffering will be apart of this so this is why you embrace a new stoicism based on planetary realities.  You live Spartan because destructive change means less affluence.  You beat the rush so you lose less.  Those who have done the house cleaning will be far more able to save what is worth saving.  Clear the deadwood out with triage efforts.  This does not mean rejecting the fruits of consumerism.  Consumerism is killing the planet but it is beyond your context.  In your local you will collect all the old and new stuff of high value for your journey into the brave new world of decline.  This is where the prepping occurs.  The reason you will not embrace consumerism too much is REAL Green means avoiding clutter and distractions.  In most cases you will not have the resources to indulge in the unneeded.  You will also cast off the social narrative of unproductive leisure which tends to clutter life.  Your REAL Green leisure is productive and related to building your monastery. 

Finally, with REAL Green Deep Adaptation you will realize that none of these efforts will save you from the macro situation of decline and decay.  You acknowledge you are only as good as your local and when or if SHTF you will suffer the same consequences that your unprepared neighbor but likely less severe.  There are no guarantees your efforts will matter.  What matters is the meaning and enjoyment in the here and now and the understanding you have done all you can for yourself and your significant others.  You then have the meaning to face death better.  This leads to the understanding of the importance of your local.  This means you will invest in your neighbors as best you can without coming out with who and what you are.  Remember only a few can understand REAL Green Deep Adaptation.  Most if they knew what you are doing will mock and belittle you as a cook.  Not that this matters because you have found inner meaning. Where this remaining under the radar matter is your efforts to be below the purview of destructive forces.  Those who broadcast they are preppers are a target when collapse occurs.  In the end before your last breath if you have your faculties then meaning and the truth are what you want to take with you.  You will also want to leave all your stuff to those who matter.

Decline beat the rush

The below referenced article makes a point worth facing.  It is focused on the US but it applies to the whole world.  The world is heading for decline.  This is fully evident in the numbers and the science.  Techno optimist talk about renewables and EV’s as if they will save us.  The numbers and science appear to point to these technologies only being stop gaps and niche applications.  The global financial system has grown to such a powerful force that generates capital and economic activity.  This force is now spent.  It may have years left but the real force of opening up the world to competitive advantage, economies of scale, and large stores of global capital are over.  We are now seeing excessive debt, trade problems, and massive unfunded liabilities.  These unfunded liabilities are not only in the developed world.  These false promises are for the masses in the undeveloped world urged on to a better life through consumerism and growth. 

It is clear the system we have become habituated to for decades is heading for a stall.  How bad will this inflection be?  Will this break point be sudden or multiyear?  It will likely be all of the above and spread out over the entire globe but as a whole the process will be general decline. There will be pockets of real growth with sustainable value but the aggregate will be decline which will take everyone down in the long term.  Decline means a whole new paradigm.  It means dysfunctional networks, economic abandonment, and irrational policy.  It means decay that will include some of what science calls chaos and turbulence.  These phenomena cannot be modeled well.  There is no exact formula for turbulence.  We are enamored with techno grandiosity.  We think AI will save us.  We believe we have an energy transition ready.  We discount and dismiss the planetary problems with the web of life and all the cycles that make the planet habitable.  We discount and dismiss destructive decline because we believe technology will solve the many problems.   The time value of the present habituates us because the lights still go on, gas at the pumps, and food at the store. 

We can only talk and plan for the future abstractly.  We are looking out 20 to 50 years with theory and this theory is compromised and corrupted by human delusions.  It is clear economic affluence and population growth are likely not sustainable at least in regards to positive growth impulses that yield real value.  We can grow cancerously with malinvestment and overpopulation and call that growth but it is not actual growth in the sense of being of value for long term betterment.  All this growth represents is the blowout of a system that is coming apart in an uncontrolled way.  Whether this means a cascading collapse or a long decline is uncertain.  This system is self-organizing and beyond a coordinated management.  The nature components of our human ecosystem appear to be tipped into a new regime of change.  The many vital planetary support systems now appear to be in abrupt change.  This change is converging with negative reinforcement and self-organizing meaning it is beyond human management.  Different cycles and systems are forcing each other towards destructive change of a complex system.  Succession is a powerful force in this situation where every aspect of the planetary system is in flux.  This is especially true when you have a species such as ours that is very sensitive to the smallest of changes both economically and environmentally. 

Our monocultures and industrial and financial systems do not take destructive change well.  They can handle short term change but a longer-term general decline is likely a different story.  This means food, water, and energy issues at a time when we are already in overshoot.  This then should be a warning to all that it is at least a good chance a time of drastic regime change is ahead.  We can’t know for sure but the possibility is strong.  Strong means proactive effort to address what could be ahead.  The problem is human behavior and the immediacy of life.  We as the collective are not up to the task of changing.  We are trapped in a situation beyond our collective control for many reasons but most of all the simple math of overshoot is staring us in the face.  For some reason we feel exceptional and above the extinction event the rest of the planet is going through.  This is going to bite us in the ass soon.

REAL Green Deep Adaptation is a call to action for the individual and small communities.  You can face this trap and adapt in a relative way.  The REAL part is acknowledgment of no escape.  The Green part is using the best of the old and new to downsize with dignity and in a way that lowers your foot print.  This footprint reduction is for better sustainability that will help mitigate the worst of what is coming.  This downsizing also has a moral aspect for those who care.  Some people deeply care about the planet.  The Adaptation part focuses on going local and low speed.  This should occur in a relative way in concordance with the status quo.  You can’t leave the destructive status quo but you can harness the best of it to carve out a little bit safer local.  Many people can’t do much but everyone can face the numbers and the science honestly.  This acknowledgment can at least temper the bad behavior all people have today by being part of the status quo that allows so many negative activities to flourish because of economic and social reasons.  Facing the writing on the wall can be achieved by everyone and this can change behavior towards better preparedness. 

REAL Green Deep Adaptation is for those awakened to the science and math and capable of understanding the consequences.  It is also for those who can do something.  Many people can’t do anything for multiple reasons. Some are too old, young, mentally inhibited, and uneducated.  Only a small amount of people will be capable of significant change but all people can begin the stages of mental acknowledgment of decay and decline.  This means a social narrative paradigm change could happen to all.  A social narrative realignment with planetary realities will happen so beat the rush.  Those who have the mentality to digest this and the resources to change can take REAL Green to a different level.  Those who can should change for themselves and their significant others but also the planet.  This is about localization which in todays world is about downsizing.  Downsizing if done properly makes the individual leaner and stronger.  It must be done properly because the status quo of social norms and economic realities does not tolerate deviation from the plan society has established.  There is the element of competition within the status quo that will squash you if you do not respect the rules established. 

This means going REAL Green is about relative change with triage and hybridization.  Clean out the dead wood per what is best for your local.  Embrace some of what was once done when life was tougher and less affluent.  Take the best of what is being produced now and the knowledge that modern life offers and combine it with the slower less complicated ways of the past.  Do this in a relative way based upon your position in the status quo.  Radical change is a trump card you save until needed.  Until the day arrives where cascading collapse is self-evident then the call to action is a dance with the status quo.  This means being vigilant to current events but not absorbed and coopted.  Use the status quo tot leave it.  This may not be True Green but only an even smaller amount of people can successfully go True Green.  Most people that embrace green are not awakened.  They think they are green and their actions will save themselves and the planet but these are really just Fake Green.  Fake Green is doing the same thing but with a Green façade. 

REAL Green calls on the individual to multitask with the status quo and Deep Adaptation.  It is about life boats but also hospices.  It is the preparation of pain and suffering and the realization that those close to you and your local environment is going to be torn apart.  Hopefully you will be a lucky one and the degree and duration of this destructive process will be manageable.  This is where REAL Green Deep Adaptation is so important.  You will have prepared yourself mentally and physically for destructive change.  You will have done this under the radar screen because you are still apart of the status quo.  You will have downsized with dignity and actually added value to your life with meaning.  The truth is the ultimate driving force of the awakened.  REAL Green Deep Adaptation is about getting closer to the truth.  In doing so the planet will fight for you because you will harness the flow of what powers life.  What is powering life now is dramatic and abrupt succession of the planet and all its ecosystems.  Embrace that instead of fighting it.  The current human narrative is dualistic and in separation.  Our isolated egos are being herded into a bad situation.  Break out of the trap if you can and if you can’t at least muster awareness.  We are all going to die but some will die without dignity and prematurely.  Even REAL Green people will die this way but they will have gone through the stages of grief that offers truth and with truth there is dignity.

“We Will Have To Reboot Our Standard Of Living To Survive As A Nation”     project Chesapeake via zero hedge

“If we want to continue having a country worth living in we need to go back to what we know works and try to build up from there. We no longer have sufficient manufacturing capacity to employ all of the people in this country and any kind of welfare will not work without debasing the currency.  This will necessitate 20% of the population going back to living on small farms to insure they have a job and sufficient resources to care for their families. Nothing else in our current situation will work. We have too many unemployed people living off of the state and this will end soon. We will either have a mass exodus from the country or a mass extinction within it. As unpleasant as it sounds that is our future if we do not make substantial changes while we still have time. That time is nearly up.  Downsizing our lives and our wants will be a necessary change if we want to salvage something of our future. We have lived too long in fantasy land and now we must come back to reality. The west line has moved and we will never get back all of the production jobs we once had. We must accept that and accept that our country will be less productive and less prosperous in the future and learn to live within our means.”

FAKE Green will not save the planet

The  article following  highlights the REAL Green Deep Adaptation basis that fake green will not save the planet.  This means REAL green.  REAL Green says do what you can relatively speaking in regards to your status quo position.  Go local with your efforts and you will naturally see a reduced footprint.  This is not going to save the planet but it has the potential make you as an individual more sustainable.  Focus your eco efforts locally and you can make an impact.  The bigger picture is lost but the local is wide open for improvements.  This is significantly about attitude as well as actions.  It is about leaving the denial of fake greens.  REAL Green admits we are trapped in ecological decline as well as the decline of the human civilization.   Deep Adaptation based upon the realization that mankind will not fake green itself out of this ecological decline means a collapse process is unstoppable.  We can degrowth but that also presents a collapse variable.  Economic decline means less resources to combat ecological decline so at least initially this means worse ecological decline.  A poorer world is a dirtier world.  We cannot degrowth without initiating a collapse process.  Degrowth is inevitable because that is the result of a collapse process.  Deep Adaptation says begin preparations for a less affluence personally and with your community. 

This is a classic catch 22 trap that is adapted to instead of fought.  Deep Adaptation says collapse now and in place in a relative manner.  Use the status quo to leave it.  Take the best of the current modern way of life and leverage it to leave it.  This means efficiency efforts, conservation, and renewables.  It means education, community building, and spiritual preparation for hard times ahead.  The REAL Green is about triage, salvage, and hybridization.  Combine the best of the old and new.  REAL Green is about harvesting and gathering of solar energy through farming, gardening, and renewables.  This part of the effort is difficult because it is more expensive with less return than the status quo.  You can save money and make more money with the status quo but you will be less resilient.  There is a price to be paid for resilience and that is less affluence and more hard work.  The benefit is meaning and satisfaction but the tradeoff is less comfort and affluence.  The status quo is cheaper and easier.  The difference concerns going local and a return to the old ways of low energy harvesting through biomass.  It is about utilizing the modern with some of the excellent tech available like renewables and efficiency efforts. 

REAL Green says this will be a relative effort.  Many people do not have the money or the time to do this fully but they can do something.  The minimum is about the attitude of why you should be REAL Green and do Deep Adaptation.  If you have the money and the time then you should be doing this for the planet, your local, and your significant others.  REAL Green says get out of the finger pointing because it does not matter.  Avoid the conflict of protest that only puts you in harm’s way.  Don’t look for trouble because plenty of it will be around anyway.  Yield to the greater powers that are striving to increase control and manipulation.  Try to remove yourself from the corruption cycle.  REAL Green says make an effort to leave bad behavior and embrace the good.  This is in regards to your own piece of mind and what is better for the planet.  Stop discretionary travel for leisure and curiosity.  Find leisure and educational growth locally.  Stop high energy activities that do not support your local effort at sustainability and resilience.  REAL Green says to do this in a relative way since many of your significant others will remain embodied in the status quo narrative of growth and techno optimism.  Teach them without telling them and lead by silent example.  Show REAL Green wisdom by saying “No” to more status quo but don’t be extreme about it.  REAL Green says live the status quo both materially and with relationships but opt out where you can and utilize the rich resources available where you can. 

Build up your REAL Green monastery of tools, supplies, and a library of knowledge for the coming dark ages.  This is where your doomstead and prep efforts are realized as your own personal work of art and meaning.  You can be a small beacon of sanity and meaning once irrationality and dysfunction become the dominant forces.  As economic abandonment proceeds your low energy harvesting of biomass will then have greater economic value.  Do Deep Adaptation in regards to lifeboats and hospices.  We do not know when this huge self-organizing system of globalization that has delocalized the world will fail.  It is failing now so climb on the gradient and ride it down naturally and locally.  At some point people are going to die sooner that are close to you.   Medicine and the safety nets we have become reliant on will be diminished or gone at some point.  This means live healthy and exercise in preparation for tough times.  Prepare yourself for this so you can assist them in this unfortunate transformation of the coming collapse process.  The planet and the web of life will support you because that is where real meaning is.

‘Green growth’ is not enough

Nick Meynen   | 12th July 2019

The concept of green economic growth has gained political acceptance. But a new study shows this policy choice has little or no scientific basis.

The empirical data and theoretical literature is both overwhelmingly clear and sobering: there is no evidence supporting the existence of a decoupling of economic growth from environmental pressures on anywhere near the scale needed to deal with environmental breakdown.

This is the conclusion of the new report, Decoupling debunked: Evidence and arguments against green growth as a sole strategy for sustainability.

The authors also explain that there are at least seven reasons to be sceptical about the occurrence of sufficient decoupling in the future: rising energy expenditures, rebound effects, problem shifting, the underestimated impact of services, limited recycling potential, insufficient and inappropriate technological change, and cost shifting.

The fact that decoupling on its own, without addressing the issue of economic growth, has not been and will not be sufficient to reduce environmental pressures to the required extent is not a reason to oppose decoupling (in the literal sense of separating the environmental pressures curve from the GDP curve) or the measures that achieve decoupling.

Quite the contrary, without many such measures the situation would be far worse. In other words, decoupling shifts us from racing down the fast lane to cruising along the slow lane, which is an improvement. But to get off the highway, we need to do more.

The true cause for concern is the predominant focus among policy-makers on green growth as a panacea, with this focus being based on the flawed assumption that sufficient decoupling can be achieved through increased efficiency without limiting economic production and consumption.

Sustained growth is not sustainable

This scientific finding is strongly at odds with the eighth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG8), which aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth”.

While almost all SDGs have very important goals and targets that humanity desperately needs to achieve, SDG8’s pursuit of the economic growth is undermining the possibly of achieving the others.

The question now is whether governments will be willing to act upon the best available scientific evidence when they review SDG8 on 10 July in New York.

Countries such as Finland have already reacted to this contradiction within the SDGs by downgrading the importance of GDP growth in their plan to achieve the SDGs, but the EU as a bloc has yet to admit that there is a problem with target 1 in SDG8.

Researchers have some ideas about the truly sustainable way forward. The main conclusion of ‘Decoupling debunked’ is that increasing efficiency only makes sense if it is part of a wider pursuit of sufficiency, which is the direct downscaling of economic production and consumption in those sectors where it is needed most.

In the view of the authors and based on the best available scientific evidence, only sufficiency strategies respect the EU’s ‘precautionary principle’.

This Author

Nick Meynen is policy officer for Environmental and Economic Justice at the European Environmental Bureau. He authored several books on the environment and he comments on global environmental and economic issues on Facebook and Twitter.

The report, Decoupling Debunked. Evidence and arguments against green growth as a sole strategy for sustainability, was produced by the EEB, with the support of the German Alliance for Nature Conservation (Deutscher Naturschutzring), in the context of the EEB’s work on economic transition in the context of the Make Europe Sustainable for All (MESA) project. It was released on 9 July and can be downloaded at

REAL Green and Renewables

My personal experience with renewables is they are not saving me money.  They have made me more resilient and sustainable.  They are part of my REAL Green effort.  I gather solar energy with PV’s and also solar water heating with evacuated tubes.  I also access the grid as needed.  In my home I have a switch box I can switch circuits to grid or solar.  I also have a diesel generator.  I have a wood boiler for wintertime space heating and water heating.  I am not interested in being off the grid completely.  I am interested in maximizing gathering of solar energy.  Being on and off the grid allows significant flexibility over a totally on or off the grid application.  It is my hope my local grid improves its renewable content.  It is currently low but rising because Missouri is embracing wind energy from the Great Plains.  I also harvest biomass in the form of wood energy and grass for animal feed.  I raise animals and have a garden, orchard, and grapes making food calories.  I am not self-sufficient but I am much more sustainable and reliant than most people.

My REAL Green point is as a people we should be doing more harvesting and gathering of lower density energy at the individual level.  We should also being doing large scale renewable energy collection.  It is my feeling fossil fuels are not going away if we intend to stay modern but we can reduce their usage as civilization degrades from depletion and planetary degradation.  Society has no intention of retrogressing and will only be forced into it by planetary realities.  My years of study on the subject have shown me the physics and the economics do not add up for a full fossil fuel clean transition.  Yet, I have also been pleasantly surprised at the new renewable technologies created in the last few years.  I am much more optimistic with renewables and hydrogen then previous years as a bridge sources.  This still means eventually we will not have what it takes to maintain the high consumption civilization we have currently nor the population levels.  If behavior changed in this regards then we would seek less techno advancement with more sustainability efforts.  The degree of behavioral change at this point will dictate how much time we buy.  We have the tech what we do not have is the behavior.

We need to retrogress to a life that is a hybrid of the old ways complimented by the best of the current technology and knowledge.  We should try to save the best knowledge and produce more of the best tech to aid this retrogression.  This means embracing the best energy gathering and harvesting of lower grade sources that can be economically managed.  A garden, animals, and PV’s are not going to save you money.  They will represent a cost that can only be managed through a lower standard of living.  This hybrid way of life would seek to eliminate the bad consumptive behavior found in consumerism to offset this sacrifice.  It would seek to integrate lifestyles into the planetary cycles.  These cycles include the hydrologic, carbon, nitrogen, and ecological web of life.  Like renewables this activity would be in addition to industrial efforts the modern society cannot dispense with without failing.  It comes with the understanding all this modernism will fail eventually in regards its extreme techno nature and also the high population levels.  This is very important because it represent acknowledgement first that industrial efforts are needed to be REAL Green and Modern man is at a cross roads of failure.  No amount of REAL Green or anything else will save us.  Modern man is on death row.  Yet, this effort will provide a new growth opportunity that will buy time and offset some of the nasty human foot print on the planetary system and web of life.

This means permaculture and this means less affluence.  This will not be without pain but those who begin the retrogression into a life closer to the planetary cycles by gathering and harvesting lower density energy will be ahead of the curve.  What REAL Green is calling for is not a phony transition fake greens advocate as they drive to their getaways, shop the brick or digital malls and eat their cheeseburgers in EV’s and PV houses.  Fake green is deceptive and delusional.  REAL Green is not saying don’t fake green necessarily.  REAL Green is saying acknowledge this state of affairs and begin your work to change.  REAL Green is saying be less dirty and combine efforts with offsetting lower density energy.  Much of the offsetting efforts are accomplished with efficiency, conservation, and demand management.  This requires education and a larger degree of control that reflect the need for a transformative human narrative. 

The failure today is we are talking fantasy green as we accelerate destructive efforts.  We are embracing the science that there is a problem with flawed science that says there is an easy solution to something that is a predicament.  There are no solutions for the predicament of techno modern man.  There are no solutions for bad behavior and lifestyles.   Fake greens act like they can have their cake and eat it.  REAL Green says acknowledge fake green flaw by living with it while you work on ways to leave it.  Stop worrying about fixing something that is broken and utilize the power the status quo offers to leave it.  This means you will utilize dirty energy that is not green to be REAL Green but the net result is greener.  Dirty energy is there being wasted on a way of life with no future.  Bad behavior is everywhere take some of this and make it REAL Green creating a life with more of a future.  This is only for some because many are too poor to do it or not smart enough.  This may or may not be any fault to them it is just reality.  A very small percentage can go REAL Green but those who can will make an oversized difference.

Degrowth and REAL Green

The current decline in global growth which appears to be as bad as what happened around the great financial crisis could be looked on as a good development from the point of view of ecological green efforts.  It is clear to anyone who follows the science that degrowth is needed.  Our collective ecological footprint needs to shrink.  That said how this happens and the behavior within the decline does matter.  Some positive outcomes might be a more sustainable and resilient regional multipolar economic arrangement.  The great economic powers of China, Europe, and the US will regionalize reducing the excesses of globalism.  The average global exponential growth that has been the case in recent history might noticeably begin to decline. 

It is degree and duration that dictate survivability.  We can apply this to the economic sphere as well as to ecosystems and species.  If this degrowth into a multipolar regionalism can be a modest growth decline we may see positive results.  Make no mistake positive does not mean without pain.  We are currently adding 80-90MIL people a year.  Planetary systems and the web of life are being degraded at an alarming rate.  The social fabric is fraying from general poor behavior at all levels.  So what we are talking about is a slower decline with relatively less pain.  This is not a new golden age it is one of less affluence and harder living.

Some issues for those who follow the science and economics of our human predicament are renewables and debt.  These are important consideration because renewables are absolutely essential for a powerdown of industrial civilization.  Greens who are excessively technoptimist are fake and delusional.  Tech alone is not green.  Behavior must be part of this tech with demand management and conservation.  The status quo is not green so adapting tech to status quo is more of the same.  That said behavior will need tech to manage a decline.  Renewables are part of this managed decline.  This decline might not be sustainable longer term but it may be the gateway to another life.   Optimistically this may be a lengthening of the decline and fall of modern man.  Renewables will help us figure out this gateway.  It is clear industrial agriculture and fossil fuels will have to be a part of this.  How much depends on behavior not tech.  The tech is there the behavior is not.  There is a time value to life.  A terminal condition that is acknowledged in stages with acceptance has value over a cascade of declining physical and mental health.  One is meaning based the other panic.  This can be applied to our civilization.  Will renewables survive degrowth?  We surely will not see the same investment if globalism economically bifurcates into a multipolar regionalism.  How much is still a question. 

The other issue is debt and the financial system underpinning the global economy.  Can this multipolar regionalism successfully decouple from the Dollar.  It is really the US dollar and the Eurodollar because much of the global financial flows involve the dollar outside of the US.  Can the mountains of debt that has been built up since the great financial crisis be rationalized and still allow a functioning economy?  Let’s be clear with so many people and so much consumption economic velocities cannot fall below a certain level without catastrophic effects.  Energy, food, and daily activity must be maintained.  We are now in a new normal of central bank economic management.  This is now influenced by tech and has the potential to take us further into a new financial age.  It is not clear if this new age is a dark age of inhuman control or one where the excesses of market based capitalism are tempered.  Likely it will be both because behavior is dangerously turbulent.  Behavior is again the issue here.  For this new financial age to work it will require behavioral changes.   How dehumanizing this becomes is an open question. 

Currently behavior in the realm of the global community is deteriorating with a cold war between the US and China and Russia.  The EU nations are caught in between and the rest of the world tailing along.  This is probably the most dangerous issue ahead.  We may be able to negotiate an economic degrowth into a multipolar regionalism without war.  If a hot war would occur but contained it might be possible the resulting crisis could be a catalyst of change but more likely it would be a cascading failure of our modern life support.  We then must hope for transition in behavior at the very top. 


Considering all this I am proposing to individuals and their locals to practice REAL Green Deep adaptation.  Confront these issues individually and locally.  These greater global trends are very much self-organizing with a few very powerful people and groups jockeying for power.  This is both proactive and reactive with rational and irrational.  This process at the top where the global power resides is not constructive change.  Currently this is destructive change that individuals and locals should adapt to if they desire meaning and less pain.  This destructive change can be adapted to but behavior must be changed with new lifestyles and attitudes.  What is required of REAL Green Deep Adaptation is the acknowledgement and adaptation to the fact that planetary systems and the web of life are likely already bumped into phase change beyond human change.  This will very likely bring an end to the stable planetary world civilization grew up with.  This then is the greater challenge above the destructive decline of human civilization that REAL Green individuals and locals must adapt to.  This is about what most certainly is an end game both planetary in regards to stability and human in regards to modern civilization.  This may play out over decades or it may quickly unravel.  This timeline is likely in our collective hands.  REAL Green says adapt and beat the rush and hopefully examples of proper GREEN ways of living will bubble up through grass roots behavior.

“WTO Warns Global Trade May Plunge 17% In Full Trade War”     zero hedge

“In the event of a full-blown trade war, global trade would collapse by 17%, a move that would rival the Dot Com bust, warned the World Trade Organization (WTO).”

“The increased trade tensions have forced the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to slash its global growth forecast from 3.7% to 3.5%.  “If the two sides carry through with their threats to wipe out all bilateral trade via prohibitive tariffs, this could have the impact of knocking off even more,” he added.  Rockwell said global imports of capital goods dropped 3% in 1Q19, the lowest level seen in over three years and a warning that the global economy is cycling down through summer. “We see uncertainty rampant, we see manufacturing output stalling, and export orders are down. All of this bodes ill for economic growth,” he said.”

“The best way to visualize just how dangerous the trade war threat is to the global flow of trade, and the world economy in general, below is a chart on the year-over-year changes in global trade as measured by the IMF’s Direction of Trade Statistics, courtesy of BMO’s Ian Lyngern. It shows the absolutely collapse in global exports as broken down into three categories:  Exports to the world (weakest since 2009), Exports to advances economies (also lowest since 2009), and Exports to the European Union (challenging 2009 lows).  Even if the trade war is deescalated, the damage to the global economy is irreversible. The world is likely teetering on the edge of a trade recession, making the likelihood of global trade collapsing by 17% extraordinary high.”

The basics of REAL Green

MY individual and local REAL Green Deep Adaptation strategies are for those who are in a similar situation that I am.  I am mid 50’s semi-retired doing a permaculture farm that is also a doomstead.  Not everyone is placed to do what I am doing but those who are should for the sake of the planet.  It is about the harvesting of low intensity energy through biomass and the gathering of solar energy from renewables.  This is done with an effort at incorporating permaculture in the planetary cycles.  This means both technological efforts and natural efforts. 

My focus will be on attitudes and lifestyle that prepare those who are awakened to a future of decline and hardship.  It takes attitudes and lifestyle adaptation to peruse low energy gathering of permaculture REAL Green permaculture.  Conservation and demand management are required because low energy is not economic nor sustainable in the status quo so it is a subsidy.  REAL Green is holistic in regards to lifestyles and attitudes but it is not a replacement for your existing lifestyle and spirituality.  It is an add on just like software you would add to enhance what you are doing already.  Granted the add on only works for those who are already following a green awakening. 

The doom and prep part of this adaptation is integral to REAL Green.  The doom is the acknowledgement of decline and the impulse to collapsing in place beating the rush.  It is about collapsing into a poorer way of life with dignity.  The prep part is about a hybrid life of using the status quo to leave it in a psychological condition of relative sacrifice.  Relative sacrifice is about changing relative to your status quo persona.  Most of us are stuck in the status quo requiring the status quo for survival.  We have family, friends, and a community that are generally not awakened and do not practice REAL Green Deep Adaption.  Relative sacrifice is a mindset that bridges the status quo of the unawakened with the transformative condition of being awakened.  You use the status quo to leave it while finding psychological meaning in the realization there is no transcendence nor transitioning.  There is only riding the wave down.  This means green is not REAL green and meaning still means being part of a civilization destine to end it only means getting closer to REAL Green and its meaning.  There is not nirvana of transcendence just because you have found REAL meaning. 

This awakening is giving yourself over to the enhancement of the planet in your own individual and local way.  This is about the individual and the local in permaculture residing in the destructive industrialized modern status quo.  It is about using the old and new triaging out the worst of our meaningless way of life.  It is the resulting distilled meaning.  It is about a routine of hard work with mental conditioning that is a mental and physical prepping action.  You live healthy, you clear out the deadwood, and you assemble a monastery of tools and knowledge.  This is ultimately about the pursuit of individual wisdom that allows you to say “NO” to the parts of the status quo that are deadly to meaning.  It is about choosing knowledge, tech, and relationships that enhance meaning. 

This wisdom is based on the concept of lifeboats and hospices.  Few will escape collapse.  REAL Green Deep Adaptation does not offer an escape it offers the meaning that will deal with collapse.  Most doomsteads and prep efforts will suffer quick decline along with community and environment.  Without resupply and community protection most efforts will not last long.  So this adaptation is about finding a good local to build your doomstead in.  Some locals have no future but others have a relative future of months or years.  If you are unable or unwilling to leave a local that is compromised by all the wrong lifestyles than it is about fortifying for the last days that might come.  This is where the life boat and hospice part comes in.  If the world falls apart then Deep adaptation is about the meaning one will find when life ends.  It can be heroic or degrading.  It is your choice.  It is about becoming a warrior for your local and its meaning

REAL Green is finally about collapse and the misunderstanding of the process.  It is about MAD MAX but also a longer term process.  Collapse will be local ultimately so get out of the default collapse fantasy of Hollywood.  It will be a process that might stretch out with a long tail or could be a sudden onset of a nuclear winter.  This means those who make draconian changes instead of relative sacrifice risk destroying what they want to achieve.  This means staying vigilant to current events and riding the wave.  It means the understanding that MAD MAX is possible.  REAL Green Deep Adaptation acknowledges there is no escaping the pain and suffering of death but there is the hope that comes with meaning to brace oneself for the trials ahead. 

This is also about those who chose to be leaders and care givers.  Only a few in the world are capable of awakening.  Only 10% have what it takes and of that 10% only 10% have the will and the garden for the seeds of REAL green to grow.  This is about the humility of knowing you are one of them and the impulse to go forth in your locality and lead by example.  Since this is relative sacrifice in the condition of being trapped in the status quo this is an individual strength.  You do not plan on leading people and groups to change the world.  This is not what REAL Green Deep Adaptation does because once you reach out to the politics of the world your effort will be lost.  This is about being a Shaman and a Sage that draws the power of the planetary system to affect change locally and with your significant others.  This power is not personal.  Once this power is taken and used personally for selfish reasons it is lost.  It is only giving oneself over to planetary trajectories that one finds and channels the will of the planet.  REAL Green is about a warrior spirit on behalf of the planet.

REAL Green and Collapse

Jared’s Book “Collapse” is in my library.  I read it back when it came out when collapse was more immediate than it is now.  Immediate is a deceptive term because saying not immediate is like saying we are off the hook.  The immediate in 2011 was that energy and economy were going to sledgehammer the global economy into collapse within 3-5 years.  Energy and economy are still relevant but their conditions of immediacy is not as strong.  We still have the condition of immediacy and it has not gone away.  They won’t go away because they are symptoms of a civilization in predicaments.   Climate change, resource depletion, and environmental degradation are not as immediate but they are converging forces that play into more immediate forces.  They are also terminal forces.  Once we destroy them we don’t get a second chance.  Energy and economy we could adapt a human world around a different civilization.  Could does not mean without extreme pain.  If this could be done the terminal forces might be arrested.  This “could” seems moot today like we are on death row.  The theoretical is often just fantasy.

This is where the social condition comes in because it is our macro attitudes, population levels, and social arrangements that could give us a chance of change.  If we have a flawed social narrative then we are not going to affect needed change.  In this case energy and economics will continue to be potentially immediate problems.  Climate, resources, and environment continue to rot permanently.  I would like to say human wisdom is key but saying anything is Key is deceptive.  A keystone to humanity is wisdom and it is key to the individual also.  The problem with wisdom today is humans are not scaled to our planetary system of natural cycles and the web of life.  We are too large a footprint.  There are instincts of our intellectual patterns driving action that are diverse caught in this out of scale footprint.  We are in competitive and in overshoot.  This then means wisdom can never be a key to success because human wisdom is overlapping in competition.  The ability to have human wisdom globally is compromised now because we are not scaled.  Human wisdom cannot regain effectiveness until our footprint is lowered. 

This then points to no hope for the status quo.  No hope is deceptive too because this just means this status quo will not end well someday maybe immediately or maybe not.  The status quo is mortal just like humans.  There is hope until it is over.  The hope is day by day survival hoping for another day of being alive with hope.  Where there is this type of hope is the individual and the local.  The key to effective wisdom can now only be found individually and locally when one attempts proper scale.  Use the status quo to get to proper scale.  In these times of macro destructive change you can effect positive formative change individually and locally.  This is where you find the day by day hope.  Let’s be clear many have no hope even if the status quo was flourishing.  Some people are walking no hope people living in a day to day hell.   We are all going to die and some are closer than others. 

Those who have individual and local hope can have empathy for others that don’t.  Keep scale in mind because empathy is a scale danger.  If you are blessed with the ability reach out within your scale and help another then you should do it.  The reason is more than altruism it is also what makes your local stronger.  This is also true of the dying environment.  Take a piece of your dying local environment and heal it. 

Another individual act in your local is assemble a monastery for those who are lucky enough to negotiate a human collapse.  Leave them something as a guide that came from your experience.  Experience is hard won knowledge that came by trial and error.  The monastery is your own personal example of wisdom.  It is what you have learned that can be used to survive and more importantly these days what you should not do.  Today we are threatened by too much and too many things.  Simplicity is gone and a zombie meaning pervades life.  It is as if we are working harder and harder to kill ourselves but can’t figure out why.  Your own individual monastery of local meaning can be a small beacon of meaning.  It can be a flashlight in a dark world. 

There are many ways to deal with our civilization in decline individual and local is just one.  It is for those who can.  Those who can and are awakened to the end days.  Some will choose bigger avenues of change with government and business.  It does not really matter because no way will save us. It is over we just are not there yet.  If that turns you off then that is fine too because you have choices.  You can believe this time humans are exceptional and all previous history of failed civilization is different.  Maybe you are right and I am wrong.  I would say finally be honest with yourself because meaning degrades very quickly once the corruption of dishonesty occurs.

There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050  ny mag

“As far as national crises are concerned, the first step is acknowledge — the country has to acknowledge that it’s in a crisis..  Number two, once you acknowledge that you’re in a crisis, you have to acknowledge that there’s something you can do about it. You have responsibility. If instead you say that the crisis is the fault of somebody else, then you’re not going to make any progress towards solving it.”

“there seem to be a lot of countervailing impulses on the environmental left — from those who believe the only solution to addressing climate is through individual action to those who are really focused on the villainy of particular corporate interests, the bad behavior of the Republican Party, et cetera. In that context, what does it mean to accept responsibility?”

“As for what we can do about it, whether to deal with it by individual action, or at a middle scale by corporate action, or at a top scale by government action — all three of those. Individually we can do things. We can buy different sorts of cars. We can do less driving. We can vote for public transport. That’s one thing. There are also corporate interests.”

“I’m repressing a chuckle because I know how people react when I answer that. Whenever somebody tells me, “How should we prioritize our efforts?” My answer is, “We should not be prioritizing our efforts.”

Whole article:

 There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050  ny mag

Jared Diamond’s new book, Upheaval, addresses itself to a world very obviously in crisis, and tries to lift some lessons for what do about it from the distant past. In that way, it’s not so different from all the other books that have made the UCLA geographer a sort of don of “big think” history and a perennial favorite of people like Steven Pinker and Bill Gates.

Diamond’s life as a public intellectual began with his 1991 book The Third Chimpanzee, a work of evolutionary psychology, but really took off with Guns, Germs, and Steel, published in 1997, which offered a three-word explanation for the rise of the West to the status of global empire in the modern era — and, even published right at the “end of history,” got no little flak from critics who saw in it both geographic determinism and what they might today call a whiff of Western supremacy. In 2005, he published Collapse, a series of case studies about what made ancient civilizations fall into disarray in the face of environmental challenges — a doorstopper that has become a kind of touchstone work for understanding the crisis of climate change today. In The World Until Yesterday, published in 2012, he asked what we can learn from traditional societies; and in his new book, he asks what we can learn from ones more like our own that have faced upheaval but nevertheless endured.

I obviously want to talk about your new book, but I thought it might be useful to start by asking you how you saw it in the context of your life’s work.
Sure. Here’s my answer, and I think you’ll find it banal and more disappointing than what you might have hoped for. People often ask me what’s the relation between your books and the answer is there is none. Really, each book is what I was most interested in and felt most at hand when I finished my previous book.

Well, it may be a narrative that suggests itself to me because I’m thinking of Guns, Germs and SteelCollapse, and this new one, Upheaval, but for me it’s interesting to note that each of them arrived when they did in a particular cultural, intellectual moment. That begins with Guns, Germs and Steel — it’s obviously a quite nuanced historical survey, but it was also read coming out when it did, as a kind of explanation for Western dominance of the planet …
I would say you’re giving me more credit than I deserve. But one-third of the credit that you give me I do deserve. And that’s for CollapseGuns, Germs and Steel, I don’t see it as triumphalist at all.

No, I don’t either. I don’t mean to say that. But it met the moment of Western triumphalism in our culture, I think.
The fact is that you and I are speaking English. We’re not speaking Algonquin and there are reasons for that. I don’t see that as a triumph of the English language. I see it as the fact of how history turned out, and that’s what Guns, Germs and Steel is about.

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If you don’t mind dwelling on Collapse for a second … Has your view of these issues changed at all over the intervening years? I mean, when you think about how societies have faced environmental challenges, how adaptable they are and how resilient they might be, do you find yourself having the same views that you had a decade and a half ago? 
Yes. My views are the same because I think the story that I saw in 2005, it’s still true today. It still is the case that there are many past societies that destroyed themselves by environmental damage. Since I wrote the book, more cases have come out. There have been studies of the environmental collapse of Cahokia, outside St. Louis. Cahokia was the most populous Native American society in North America. And I when I wrote Collapse it wasn’t known why Cahokia had collapsed, but subsequently we’ve learned that there was a very good study about the role of climate changes and flooding on the Mississippi River in ruining Cahokia. So that book, yes, it was related to what was going on. But the story today, nothing has changed. Past societies have destroyed themselves. In the past 14 years it has not been undone that past societies destroyed themselves.

Today, the risk that we’re facing is not of societies collapsing one by one, but because of globalization, the risk we are facing is of the collapse of the whole world.

How likely do you think that is? That the whole network of civilization would collapse?
I would estimate the chances are about 49 percent that the world as we know it will collapse by about 2050. I’ll be dead by then but my kids will be, what? Sixty-three years old in 2050. So this is a subject of much practical interest to me. At the rate we’re going now, resources that are essential for complex societies are being managed unsustainably. Fisheries around the world, most fisheries are being managed unsustainably, and they’re getting depleted. Farms around the world, most farms are being managed unsustainably. Soil, topsoil around the world. Fresh water around the world is being managed unsustainably. With all these things, at the rate we’re going now, we can carry on with our present unsustainable use for a few decades, and by around 2050 we won’t be able to continue it any longer. Which means that by 2050 either we’ve figured out a sustainable course, or it’ll be too late.

So let’s talk about that sustainable course. What are the lessons in the new book that might help us adjust our course in that way? 
As far as national crises are concerned, the first step is acknowledge — the country has to acknowledge that it’s in a crisis. If the country denies that it’s in a crisis, of course if you deny you’re in a crisis, you’re not going to solve the crisis, number one. In the United States today, lots of Americans don’t acknowledge that we’re in a crisis.

Number two, once you acknowledge that you’re in a crisis, you have to acknowledge that there’s something you can do about it. You have responsibility. If instead you say that the crisis is the fault of somebody else, then you’re not going to make any progress towards solving it. An example today are those, including our political leaders, who say that the problems of the United States are not caused by the United States, but they’re caused by China and Canada and Mexico. But if we say that our problems are caused by other countries, that implies that it’s not up to us to solve our problems. We’re not causing them. So, that’s an obvious second step.

On climate in particular, there seem to be a lot of countervailing impulses on the environmental left — from those who believe the only solution to addressing climate is through individual action to those who are really focused on the villainy of particular corporate interests, the bad behavior of the Republican Party, et cetera. In that context, what does it mean to accept responsibility? 
My understanding is that, in contrast to five years ago, the majority of American citizens and voters recognize the reality of climate change. So there is, I’d say, recognition by the American public as a whole that there is quite a change in that we are responsible for it.

As for what we can do about it, whether to deal with it by individual action, or at a middle scale by corporate action, or at a top scale by government action — all three of those. Individually we can do things. We can buy different sorts of cars. We can do less driving. We can vote for public transport. That’s one thing. There are also corporate interests because I’m on the board of directors for the World Wildlife Fund and I was on the board of Conservation International, and on our boards are leaders of really big companies like Walmart and Coca-Cola are their heads, their CEOs, have been on our boards.

I see that corporations, big corporations, while some of them do horrible things, some of them also are doing wonderful things which don’t make the front page. When there was the Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska, you can bet that made the front page. When Chevron was managing its oil field in Papua New Guinea in a utterly rigorous way, better than any national park I’ve ever been in, that certainly did not make the front page because it wasn’t a good picture.

And then finally the Republican Party, yes. Government has a role. In short, climate change can be addressed at all these levels. Individual, corporation, and the national level.

In the book, when you write about the present day — you talk about climate, you talk about resources, but you also talk about the threat of nuclear war and nuclear weapons. It may be kind of a foolish question to ask, but … how do you rank those threats? 
I’m repressing a chuckle because I know how people react when I answer that. Whenever somebody tells me, “How should we prioritize our efforts?” My answer is, “We should not be prioritizing our efforts.” It’s like someone asking me, “Jared, I’m about to get married. What is the most important factor for a happy marriage?” And my response is, “If you’re asking me what is the most important factor for a happy marriage, I’d predict that you’re going to get divorced within a few years.” Because in order to have a happy marriage you’ve got to get 37 things right. And if you get 36 right but you don’t get sex right, or you don’t get money right, or you don’t get your in-laws right, you will get divorced. You got to get lots of things right.

So for the state of the world today, how do we prioritize what’s going on in the world? We have to avoid a nuclear holocaust. If we have a nuclear holocaust, we’re finished, even if we solve climate change. We have to solve climate change because if we don’t solve climate change but we deal with a nuclear holocaust, we’re finished. If we solve climate change and don’t have a nuclear holocaust but we continue with unsustainable resource use, we’re finished. And if we deal with the nuclear problem and climate change and sustainable use, but we maintain or increase inequality around the world, we’re finished. So, we can’t prioritize. Just as a couple in a marriage have to agree about sex and children and in-laws and money and religion and politics. We got to solve all four of those problems.

What should we do? Are there lessons from history? 
To conduct a happy marriage, it’s not enough to sit back and have a holistic view of marriage. Instead you need to discuss your budget and your in-laws and 36 other things. As far as the world is concerned, solving national crises, the checklist that I came up with in my book is a checklist of a dozen factors. Now, I could make a longer checklist, or I could make a shorter checklist, but if we have a checklist of three factors it would be obvious we’re missing some big things. And if we had a checklist of 72 factors, then nobody would pick up my book and they wouldn’t pay attention to it.

As an example of one of those factors that the United States is really messing up now, it’s the factor of using other countries as models for solving problems. Just as with personal crises, when someone’s marriage breaks down or is at risk of breaking down, one way of dealing with it is to look at other people who have happy marriages and learn from their model of how to conduct a happy marriage. But the United States today believes what’s called American exceptionalism. That phrase, American exceptionalism means the belief that the United States is unique, exceptional, therefore there’s nothing we can learn from other countries. But we’ve got this neighbor, Canada, which is a democracy sharing our continent and there are other democracies throughout Western Europe in Australia and Japan. All of these democracies face problems that we are not doing well with. All of these democracies have problems with their national health system. And they have problems with education. And they have problems with prisons. And they have problems with balancing individual interests with community interests. But the United States, we too have prisons and we’ve got education and we have a national health system, and we are dissatisfied. Most Americans are dissatisfied with our national health system, and most Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with our educational system.

Other countries face these same problems and other countries do reasonably well, better than the United States in solving these problems. So, one thing that we can learn is to look at other countries as models and disabuse ourselves of the idea that the United States is exceptional and so there’s nothing we can learn from any other country, which is nonsense.

Do you think of this as being a sort of book about the path forward for the U.S.? Or do you think of it as having a broader, global audience?
It is a book about the U.S. plus 215 other countries. The United States is one country in the world, and we’ve got our own problems, which we are struggling with. I came back from Italy and Britain. Britain when I was there was at the peak of Brexit, but Britain is still at the peak of Brexit.

They’re not leaving that behind.
They’re making, I would say, zero progress with Brexit. Italy has its own big problems. Papua New Guinea has its own problems. I’m trying to think what country does not have problems …

It’s hard.
Norway is doing pretty well. What else?

Portugal maybe is doing relatively well.
Which one is that?

Portugal, maybe.
Portugal, maybe. Costa Rica, all things considered. Well, Costa Rica has problems because I think all four of Costa Rica’s last four presidents are in jail at the moment. That’s a significant problem.

If there’s hardly a nation in the world that seems to be a good model, a thriving example for other nations of the world to follow behind, how much faith does that give you that we can find our way to a kind of sustainable, prosperous, and fulfilling future? 
That’s an interesting question. If I had stopped the book on the chapter about the world without writing the last six pages, it would have been a pessimistic chapter, because at that point I thought the world does not have a track record of solving difficult problems. The U.N., well bless it, but the U.N. isn’t sufficiently powerful, and therefore I feel pessimistic about our chances of solving big world problems.

But then, fortunately, I learned by talking with friends that the world does have a successful track record in the last 40 years about solving really complex, thorny problems. For example, the coastal economics. So many countries have overlapping coastal economic zones. What a horrible challenge that was to get all the countries in the world to agree with delineating their coastal economic zones. But it worked. They’re delineated.

Or smallpox. To eliminate smallpox it had to be eliminated in every country. That included eliminating it in Ethiopia and Somalia. Boy, was it difficult to eliminate smallpox in Somalia, but it was eliminated.

I wonder if I could ask you about California in particular. It’s interesting to me in the sense that when I look at the example of California, I see a lot of reasons for hope in the sense that there’s quite focused attention on climate and resources used there — probably more sustained interested in those subjects than there really is anywhere else in the U.S. And it has policy that’s, by any metric, I think more progressive than the relevant policies elsewhere in the U.S.

And yet, it’s also a state that — maybe it’s an unfortunate phrase — by accident of geography is also facing some of the most intense pressures and dealing with the most intense impacts already, from water issues to wildfire and all the rest of it. As a Californian who’s informed by these concerns looking at the future and thinking about the future, how does the future of California look to you?
California has problems like every other place in the world. But California makes me optimistic. It does have the environmental problems but nevertheless we have, I would say, one of the best state governments, if not the best state government in the United States. And relatively educated citizens. And we have the best system of public education, of public higher education in the United States. Although, I, at the University of California, know very well that we are screaming at the legislature for more money. So we have problems but we’re giving me hope at how we’re dealing with those problems.

I’m a native New Yorker and lived my whole life in this environment on the East Coast. And when I see images of those wildfires and when I hear stories of people I know or people I meet, and the fact that they’ve evacuated, the fact that no matter where you are in Southern California, also in parts of Central California and Northern California, you have an evacuation plan in mind. I just don’t understand how you guys can live like that. It must begin to impose some kind of psychic cost.
Well, I understand psychic costs and I understand getting my head around it because I was born and grew up in Boston. The last straw for me was that in Boston I sang in the Handel and Haydn Society chorus, and we were going to perform in Boston Symphony Hall the last week in May and our concert was canceled by a snowstorm that closed Boston down. And for me that was the last straw. I do not want to live in a city where a concert in Symphony Hall is going to get closed down in the last week of May by a snowstorm.

That’s just one event, but the fact is that Boston is and was miserable for five months of the year in the winter and then it’s nice for two weeks in the spring and then it’s miserable for four months in the summer, then it’s nice for a few weeks in the fall. Similarly with New York. So when I moved here, my reaction is, “Yes, we have the fires and we have the earthquakes and we have the mudslide and we have the risk of flooding. But, thank God for all those things because they saved me from the psychic costs of living in the Northeast.”

NY Mag

EV’s and FAKE Green

Electric vehicles are Fake Green.  People that drive them often have a cult fake green mentality.  For some reason they feel special to be driving electric.  Driving is the problem and the car culture is what has destroyed the planet and our species.  That said we are where we are and that is a car culture necessary for survival.  Electric vehicles are part of the solution to lowering our foot print if we are also pushing into renewables with vigor.  In many places we are doing this so this makes EV part of the solution.  Hybrids are part of the solution too because they fill many applications well.  Both EV’s, hybrids, and fuel cell technology need to be pushed and ICE vehicles slowly taken from the road.  Most of all our modern consumeristic mobile mentality reshaped instead of adapted with Fake Green fancy shit like EV vehicles.  Most EV are sold to the rich who are the biggest consumers of resources by far green or not. 

The Real Green approach is to go local.  In all fairness this does not work except for some but it should be an option governments around the world are pushing.  Subsidize low footprint lifestyles and green good behavior.  Eco communities could be certified and supported with economic protection.  Eco communities would voluntarily go low tech and simplify.  This means leaving normal life much as monks did in the Middle Ages with the difference being economic and environmental not religious.  Monasteries are a blue print for what these communities would resemble.  Eco communities engage in permaculture even more so.  Many poor in the third world are already there so policies should avoid disrupting what they have and an effort made to keep them from developing into a modern consumer. 

Industrial Ag is something we need to move away from at least partly for a lower foot print and food supply resilience.  Electric with renewable power is part of this.  Tractors can go electric and the greatly reduced transport these eco communities would engage in also electric.  These communities could pack the vehicle with people for multi tasked trips for supplies and sale of goods.  This would be a very low foot print compared to normal people who drive single occupancy vehicles EV or not.  These communities could be powered by renewables off the grid with a lifestyle adapted to intermittency.  Their surplus power if any sold to the grid along with their eco harvested food production. 

EV’s do not make you green.  Most EV’s are fossil fuel charged to some extent because the grid is not green.  This whole EV thing is in some ways a farce but they are trying and it is better than Trump Orange or Conservative brown that are anti-green and mainly profit oriented.  Real Green is planet oriented first.  We all know these activities have to make a return.  Wolves don’t survive if their rabbit catch was more effort than the meal gives. This is where the certification comes in.  An energy audit is needed to allow economic support and protection.  The EV cult mentality needs to be taken from Fake Green to Real Green for those who can and who in their heart want to dedicate their lives to the planet and the web of life.

Black Hawk’s 11 Percent Solution

“Black Hawk’s 11 Percent Solution”    The Great Change

“I reiterated, among other things, Growth, whether of material “wealth” or population, cannot be sustained and some serious degrowth is overdue. You can get as much from looking at the Baltic Exchange Dry Index or the Dow.  If production cannot be decoupled from quality of life then we are chasing a paradox because we live on a finite planet of limited resources.  There is good news in that at least some of our problems can be addressed by reversing climate change and building ecosystem health through a multitude of natural, antifragile and frugal means.  However, none of these things are being done at any significant scale, and that scaling seems dangerously far off.  We are poised at the edge of the Seneca Cliff and will need to find a better way down than leaping without a parachute.”

“What I confirmed by reading Black Hawk’s account is the same as we might learn from any number of anthropology studies; that voluntary simplicity and gift economies provide for all, allow ample time for leisure, celebration, and sport, foster honesty and integrity as the highest social values, and encourage exploration of natural spiritual powers through deep observation, revelation, and clairvoyant dreaming. It is no worse than the lives we live now and in many ways better. This is why in the history of the American colonies those who switched sides and became Indians remained so, while Indians who tried out Western Civilization usually lasted only a short time in their strange surroundings before returning home.”

“Most of us likely cannot conceive of how a society as complex and populous as modern techno-consumer culture could transition in a century or less to something resembling Black Hawk’s village. We take half measures, like installing renewable energy, supporting a Green New Deal or joining transition towns, which are steps along the path, but not nearly enough to get where we must go. Next week we will have a look at David Holmgren’s latest missive, the strategies of the Global Ecovillage Network and Ecosystem Restoration Camps, and how to adopt the most realistic patterns of living that can be sustained into a fragile, hazardous and uncertain future.”

We may dismiss and even ridicule the above permaculture thinking but reality says at least some of this must be embraced.  I say some of this in regards to parachute strategies of lifeboats and hospices.  The nature of lifeboats and hospices does not need to be taken in the extreme just as collapse is nearly always mistaken in the extreme.  Lifeboats and hospices are a strategy of mitigating and adapting to a collapse process that may be a longer term phenomena.  It is very possible it could be short term but there is nothing that says it must.  This is about the here and now and the next day not some far off future in 2050 or 2100.

I have been a doomer and prepper now since 2000.  I have studies climate change and peak oil since 85 in college.  Even though peak oil story has change it is still relevant.  Energy is still a dangerous problem and possibly a predicament.  In any case a way of life is the real predicament.  I have come to the conclusion that the individual and small communities can embrace the necessary change to find resilience and relative sustainability within the context of a collapsing globalism.  This does not ensure survival but it does offer meaning.  Meaning comes from making efforts at survival.  Is this not what humans used to do before we become sedentary in modernism? 

This Real Green approach to a localized permaculture future revolves around the individual and small communities.  It offers a blue print for change at the grass roots level.  It acknowledges things like a Green New Deal are a waste of time.  Maybe something good will come out of the so called Green New Deal but for the most part I see a wasted effort that could of used political capital in a more informed and focused fashion.  This is the real failure of progressives and that is thinking they have the answers when they are part of the problem.  All I see is more political maneuvering to shift resources that is just another wealth transfer exercise.  The new deal is a new group who will benefit from free lunches.  This is really about power not the environment.  If it was really about the environment these people would be living differently. 

This is not about healing the planet.  That is no longer possible.  The damage has been done and the consequences are ahead.  This is more about triage and stabilization.  This is possible in small ways at the grass root level.  The top is too noisy with different ideologies corrupted by power plays.  The leadership of the world is dishonest and corrupted by affluence and power.  This is the raw truth of it, plain and simple.  This will not change until it ends.  The top has been coopted by psychopathic tendencies of power politics which is deep human nature.  It is the black hole of the ego.  There is no way to change this.  Corruption follows a process and we are in a late stage of it. 

When one realizes this predicament of human nature then they start where change can work and that is the local.  This does not mean we should reject efforts at the top.  We need efforts at the top but the point is these efforts will never make a difference with what is needed.  The efforts at the top will be cancelled out by other wrong efforts.  Let’s hope more good can come out of them is the best we can hope for.  This means if you want to be part of real change that is green with relative resilience and sustainability look right in front of you.  Quit expecting government to do it because they will not and cannot.  A flawed and destructive way of life cannot be made right with renewables and vegan practices.  Your life can be changed concentrate on that.

REAL Green Start

I have come to the conclusion after years of living what I preach and investing in it that way of life the world will not change enough and soon enough to avoid some very unpleasant consequence.  I am no longer a radical doomer.  There are stages of doom and prep one must go through.  There are basics of both that must be learned then the rest is an art.  It really comes down to attitude in the end.  There is no set manual for the undertaking because there are so many setting for doom and prep and so many different states of individual meaning.  Isn’t meaning what we are after anyway?  Those with a brain realize no amount of prepping will save you.  Those with a brain realize consequences of collapse are real and the science is real.  The problem nowadays is with solutions.  Those who think the world will engineer a way out of this mess are in a fantasy world.  The solutions are not reality tested with science and human behavior realistically.  Most solutions I see are theory. 

This should not matter to you the individual.  Quit worrying about society and worry about your little world and meaning can be found.  Maybe solutions will occur but probably not.  This conclusion has pushed me towards individual solutions and small scale reclamations of life.  These efforts may be the seeds of the future if a lucky environment is found for those who come after.  You are leaving something like an artist leave art.  If they fail then does it matter?  It is the journey that matters in the end in my opinion.  In the end we are all dead anyway.  I find meaning in my way of life.  I have learned so much.  I feel blessed because I can do it. 

I am specializing in dispersed energy gathering and harvesting while still utilizing the high intensity energy the status quo offers us.  I do this with animals, solar panels, and biomass from the forest and fields revolving around permaculture.  I am using the status quo to leave it.  I will give what I learned to anyone interested.  I do not claim to be special or above anyone.  I am just lucky and enlightened.  I have been awakened and so many others remain unawakened.  Many because they are not capable but many others who have not had the right circumstances to change their status quo behavior.  This is about behavior in the end.  It is about the individual.  Survival is about the community and landscape but the reasons are individual.  This is not concerned with a higher power.  What I am preaching is an add-on to what you have now.  It is a way to navigate the decline of human affluence and environmental succession. 

The numbers don’t add up doing cost accounting unless you place high value on real value.  Real value is sustainability and resilience with a lower footprint.  I can’t live like I do without the status quo but I do participate in the status quo less than others.  I call that the honesty of Real Green.  Gardening is not cheap.  Wood does not pay and solar is overpriced.  I have to use machines to cultivate the fields and gather wood.  I could avoid this if I had a large family or slave like the old days.  If I made the large investment in work animals I could do more without equipment.  It is only the wife and I so I have no choice but to use money from my investments and modern equipment. 

For me it is not about leaving the status quo it is about a hybridization of it.  It is about localism and collapsing in place.  The word collapse is misleading.  It is more declining in place.  I would love to be totally off the grid and out of the consumeristic world.  That is not realistic for anyone but a few.  What I am preaching is relative sacrifice that attempts to harness old ways combined with new ways to achieve a more resilient way of life.  This is with the understanding the trajectory of the planet and society is in succession with decline, extinction, and dysfunction of human complexity.  The individual can navigate this.  The individual can yield to larger forces.  Many of us will not make it with or without what I am doing.  What I am saying is you can find meaning and feel good about something by following a path to a more sustainable and resilient life that acknowledges the awful consequences ahead.  We are going to be less affluence.  We are going to experience more pain.  We are going to see death and dysfunction more.  You can face that now and be more prepared when it comes. 

You can also just do what you are doing if it is easier.  What I am preaching is a lot of work.  I am beat by the end of the day.  I could have just retired by the ocean in a warm climate.  Instead I am pursuing something that is a project of hard work and financial investment.  I had the money to do it but many don’t.  For those who don’t you can still make some changes.  Those who have the money need to realize the economics of the status quo are such that permaculture and homesteading do not add up in the world of financialized globalism.  This life does work if you use globalism to leave it creating meaning in the process out of noise and chaos of the status quo.   In the process you can make the planet a little better and your life a little more meaningful.  That is the best it gets.