Sorry We Are Out of Gas

This is the first of my “Don’t Add Up” series.  It concerns energy.  Energy is something I have been fascinated with for decades.  I have done deep research.  Most of my research has been during my time as a “Peaker”.  This was when peak oil was all the rage back in early to mid-2000s.  I learned then how troubling peak oil really is.  Yea, it still is troubling.  It is just that now it has been drowned out by other issues.  Spoiler, renewables are not going to save us. 

This is not about crying wolf, it is about tuning into a greater reality.  Collapse is the result of this process but if you tune into reality then you see a cycle and process.  Find your place in the process then this abstract talk about energy will give you meaning.  Just feeling fear is of little use but not seeing the dangers is just as bad.

In 05 I had a radical departure into doom because of peak oil and the understanding of how unstable the current financial system is.  I say radical because I moved too quick into the doom mode.  These forces of doom manifesting in the unsustainable civilizational narrative move slow.  The financial crisis came and went and the shale boom erased peak oil fears but that was the typical short sightedness of society.  These forces of doom never sleep.  Depletion is something that slowly erodes the net energy of society relentlessly.  The reason I am including financial decline with depletion is important to understand.

Fossil fuels are still very abundant and we are in no danger of running out of them but that is not the whole story.  Reserves are not resources and this is how the establishment hoodwinks the public into complacency.  Resources are more than geology they are also a function of economy.  You need an economy to bring resources to market and put them to productive use.  The economy is in systematic decline which is complex and complicated.  The complexity is the nature of globalism being interconnected and systematically based.  The goal is ever greater efficiency and performance to achieve affluence growth.  The complicated part is the internal networks and systems that continue to get more complicated because of the demands of performance and efficiency.

Diminishing returns with energy and economy is now going dangerously non liner into the condition of problem solving becoming the problem and growth that is actually decline.  Imagine taking your time and money and investing in something that is a failure.  Your time is lost and money.  This type of investment loss is losing principal which is your money and interest which is time.  This is a tipping over point, and I believe we are in the neighborhood of this.   When Problem solving is the problem then failure occurs rapidly hence a non-liner inversion going vertical.  Growth becomes malinvestment which means many great efforts at producing are instead destroying. 

This vertical non-linear condition of breaking down will likely manifest on the other side as a stairstep down where unsustainable activity breaks down to more sustainable.  This is where reality testing makes our efforts once again effective problem solvers meaning we get a surplus for living.  The process continues like dominoes falling but with periods of regained stability. 

The reason this will be an ongoing process is the amount of extension that occurred with centuries of affluence seeking with disregard for sustainability and resilience.  Complete collapse is always possible but more likely regional and local collapse with the system holding.  This is a mirror of how civilizations decline and fail.  It is a process not an event although the process is a series of sub events.  Finding your place in this process is critical just like getting a deck chair or a place on a life boat.

The important point to realize now is the global system’s financial system that supplies capital, transport and the just in time manufacturing is hitting limits.  These limits are now even more dangerous because of the limits of change.  We have burned bridges.  This is a classic ending of a Ponzi scheme where an entity is paying out dividends from new member initiation.  Real returns on the investments are negative in regards to promises made.  This is unfunded liabilities.  Not only is there no interest the principal is being reduced as new entrants dwindle but the promises remain to maintain confidence.  At a point that confidence is lost, losses are inevitable and these investments will just be pennies on the dollar.  In the case of our global system this is pursuing growth when growth is actually demolition of social fabric and critical infrastructure.  The wasting of resources for irrational goals etc.

Our system is a Ponzi of growth from growth policies that are path dependent and carbon trapped.  This is a hard wiring of self-organization and the inability to power this system with anything but dense carbon sources such as fossil fuels.  In future posts I will deal with renewables which are little more than extenders much like fuel aditives like ethanol.  There true holistic EROI is not adequate to replace fossil fuels and they can’t replicate themselves.  Complex society that produces renewables can’t produce renewables with renewables.  This is a long discussion so I don’t have time to elaborate.  

Efficiency is hitting diminishing returns with cost being more than what is saved.  Fission is fossil fuel supported plus fissile material is also suffering depletion.  Fusion is a scientific fantasy and likely produce little power with huge cost.  This is the same story as renewables with an unrealistic economic application of energy which ends up being just an expense or cost.  Energy expense is the producing of energy at a cost not a surplus.

This is not to say efficiency and renewables are not useful and wise.  What I am saying is basing the future on these sub energy vectors is just prolonging the breakdown to a more sustainable and resilient way of using energy and economics.  I called them vectors because they are fossil fuel trapped and the economy in its current form is fossil fuel trapped.  Renewables thus are like hydrogen just a way to reform fossil fuels to deliver energy.  This is what I call carbon trapped.  This behavior is path dependent from centuries of living this way.   This way is using fossil carbon to grow on a finite planet.  It is really quite simple and common sense.

The reason you need to understand this is fossil fuels are now as economic as geologic.  When these fossil fuels were easy to get and produce they were geologic energy.  Today they are more economic than geologic energy.  As the economy declines you can see this pointing to a tipping point from growth to degrowth.  At some point getting this fossil carbon will not support the tools of getting it.  This is very abstract and systematic but the outcome is the same as the fox working too hard to get a rabbit for dinner.  In this process her cubs will be the first to be lost so in this sense regions and locals are going to be allowed to fail.  This is much like the body does in hyperthermia. 

This means the embedded energy is getting so low that economically the performance and efficiency of handling them becomes very narrow.  The margin of energy return on energy invested heads for diminishing returns where a point is reached where it cost more to produce the energy than the return on marketing the energy.  EROI is not used by investors for a reason.  It is holistic and something society needs to research.  Investors look at ROI.  Here an investment can treat energy as a constant with a narrow range of cost that is until energy is not available.  Then energy’s constant is zero.  10% return on zero is still zero.  This is the end game and why there are so many lies.

It is extremely important to understand how intricately linked energy and the economy are.  Scientist are constantly pushing technology that they say will decouple this relationship and dematerialize it.  Economist constantly are talking about substitution.  They treat energy as a constant that is magically always there in some form to keep the economy growing.  Keep in mind the economy must grow or forces of decline like abandonment, dysfunction, and irrational behavior take over.  These problems don’t get solved.  In these deceptive narrative situations, the real nature of high-quality energy that produces a net surplus is obfuscated.

The reason for the lies and deceptions are the cold hard reality of decline and depletion in not being embraced because they can’t handle the truth.   If you understand economies have limits and so do energy resources on a finite planet then this is common sense.  The human narrative is progress and advancement that always sidesteps limit.  Limits to change are even more rarely discussed even with environmentalist that understand decline and collapse. 

These people assume going back is as easy as it was going forward.  This is where we get talk of circular economies nonsense.  Circular economies only happen in semi-nomadic hunter gathering cultures.  These degrowthers fail to consider system reality that indicates when a system is pushed beyond its stable envelope of recovery then elasticity is lost and breakage occurs.  This breakage can have a long way to go until it is stabilized.  There are those who think degrowth is an option when instead degrowth is a frame of mind of adapting to post system breakage. 

Degrowth is not a policy of solutions to declining affluence represented by the current narrative.  It is a way of life adapting to a great turning of a human civilization and a planetary epoch of abrupt change from human forcing.  It is more individual and with smaller groups.  Ideally degrowth should not be penalized by society.  An optimum policy would be maintaining the traditional narrative of growth since it is trapped but also allow nodes of resilience and sustainability to form as seed beds for a possible system breakage.  This is a pressure valve release just as a business sheds labor and closes facilities to keep the core functional.  Today leadership does not take degrowth seriously and this is one of their biggest mistakes.

The economic system is now beset with so many systematic problems it is little more than a Ponzi scheme of growth meaning there is no real growth.  It is fake growth that is actually decline.  The productive base is being gutted for fake growth.  This is because of systematic corruption and all those variables of limits of growth.  This is parasitic decay and cannibalization of a productive base.  The corruption part is lies and misinformation from the private sector realizing profits at the expense of the public domain.  This is the parasitic nature of the current system.  The elites are looting the system legally because they create the laws and apply them.  So, all those valuable resources that modern man need to mitigate decline are being squandered by private entities the represent the elites of the world where power and privilege reside.

This decline is resulting in systematic abandonment, dysfunction, and irrational behavior.  The flip side of this abstract systematic decline is the physical and material decline of infrastructure plus resource decline of depletion.  A small variable input can crash the process when there is too much complexity with complicated subsystems.  When sustainability and resilience are brittle a small perturbation or a tiny resource shortage can crash complexity or ruin a complicated system. 

Society is swamped with debt and unfunded liabilities.  These are themselves deceptive abstracts because in nature there is no ledger of assets and liabilities.  In man’s world of systems, networks, and machines there is something called confidence which is liquidity.  If we do not trust each other a global system will grind to a halt.  This is the real nature of debt.  Excessive debt represents broken promises and lies of promised returns that are instead costs.  If these abstracts and physical things are net energy negative or close to zero then the system is just being cannibalized.  This is the case now.

I bring this up because this is the case with fossil fuels and net energy.  Not only are they in decline of quality which is high energy return they are also losing net energy from an economy that can’t produce them properly for a net return.  These two issues are actually systematically tied together because it takes fossil fuels to make fossil fuels and economies need fossil fuels to create and maintain systems, networks and machines that produce growth.  Growth equals energy and energy equals growth so when this approaches a net return of zero the result is cannibalization of wealth.  This is eating your seeds instead of planting.  This is so simple but obfuscated by complexity and our complicated systems, networks, and machines.

I want to add the issue of tech and its hitting of diminishing returns and systematic brittleness.  Tech is reaching the point where its performance and efficiency is also maxing out.  Digital revolution along with exotic materials are reaching the point of limits.  Tech advancement, new materials, power and performance concentrations, and size performance are near limits.  Scientist are dazzling us and mystifying with their claims but these are just more lies of theory being made to appear to be commercial.  In the past this has allowed ever greater performance and efficiency.  A great example is chips performance.  Mores law is heralded as amazing but clearly near its climax. 

This has driven economies to open doors to brittle resilience and camouflaged sustainability.   These are doors that once gone through are closed.  It is like getting on a ship without life boats so space can be saved for lounge chairs for viewing.  Globalism is now dominated by delocalized nodes of narrow specialization, just-in-time manufacturing, monocultures, and long distance and heavy transport.  These are all things that if one variable is in shortage, they all fail.  Energy is a global commodity produced by this system so it is not only one of the variables it is only produced because of this system.

I have not given you any backup or facts for this.  I am purposely doing this because I don’t have time but you have a wealth of resources at your fingertips so do some tapping.  Keep in mind the bias of scientism where science is more political and deceptively a religion so policy will influence what science is considered true.  Marketing and profit motive will push science deceptively too.  What I am giving you is a healthy skepticism to doubt what the main stream wants you to believe to either sell you something or get you to invest your resources.  They want you to feel safe not informed.  When you approach an inflection of a nonlinear diminishing returns curve what you have is an accelerating acceleration.  Time speeds up and results diminish rapidly.  This is the true reality I am seeing and have seen now especially since 2005.

This is the time of real danger because humans want short term results and they have time value bias.  This means they will not see the real picture of a building bifurcation as domains are extended out beyond a return to stability.  Elasticity is lost and the result is a break to a new equilibrium.  This is system language which is the only way this process can be thought through.  It is so complex and complicated it must be reduced to abstract systems theory.  This great engine of civilization is moving in its own time frame which is both faster and slower than normal human time.  This means things are going to break sooner but others will last longer. 

Humans are not wired for system time.  I found this out when I had a radical doom conversion in 2005.  Peak oil and the financial crisis came and went in 2005-2010.  One must be very careful in reacting to this process or the reaction is worse than not doing enough.  I overreacted and suffered financially but remember the financial crisis was almost a collapse.  Also keep in mind the can was kicked down the road and now the payments are due as you can see with unsustainable debt, rising inflation, and the moral hazard of corrupt institutions of today.  So, I was right just before my time. 

REAL Green seeks to see this system time in a relative and realistic sense.  Be yourself but be aware.  See this with vision but live how you must because you are carbon trapped and path dependent being part of a society that sustains your life that is trapped.  There is no transcending this you can only transform the trap.  Carbon trapped is the nature of the high energy life we live and path dependent because of your nature and nurture.  You were educated and have experience from a fossil fuel growth engine not a semi-nomadic hunter gatherer culture.  You are trapped and only by having the awareness of the trap can it be transformed.

What you need to know as the individual is this human process, we call civilization, oscillates.   It is not linear as we try to make it out to be with our elaborate history narratives that follow linear time frames.  Even our language is 2 dimensional and abstract using terms and concepts to represent the non-linearity of life and the planet.   Civilization is now in or near decline albeit on a systematic time frame humans have a hard time relating to because of dualism and linear fact patterning.

The planet’s systems like life, carbon, hydrologic, and nutrient systems are in abrupt change meaning the stability that humans need to produce food and run a global engine are forcing the system to bog down.  Not only are fossil fuels running out but also other important resources.  But there is also the situation of this system progressing so far that there is a limit to change.  This limit to change is compounded by ecosystem destruction.  The planet has been altered which means going back to pre-industrial and agricultural revolution is not possible without dramatic pain.  Industry and agriculture are now linked directly.  Food is energy too.  Today food is industrial.  Water is also an economic product now in regards to civilization.  Water is industrial.  The process is now in decline and at a nonlinear pace that is accelerating acceleration.  Food and water so basic to life are now unsustainable industrial processes.

You the individual need to consider where you live and how you live if this even matters to you.  I can’t tell you when this breakdown will hit nor where but I can show you bad behaviors that won’t survive this breakdown.  I can tell you places without a future.  I can point to places that are better.  I can also tell you we can’t just walk back in time because of the consequences of activity that will be paid for just as smoking causes lung cancer and cancer kills. 

What you need to consider is adaptation to this process in a relative and realistic way.  By doing this you connect to this late-stage civilization and abruptly changing planet with degrowth doom.  Before you can adapt you need to see these things do not add up. None of this adds up in an honest definition of sustainability.  Most places are delocalized which means they are not resilient to the kinds of shocks building.  Globalism makes delocalization sustainable and resilient as long as globalism is robust and growing.  As long as there is trust in the system by billions of participants.  Once this breaks down there is something called a Minsky moment when trust is gone and the engine stops.   This is a plane crashing and no parachute.

I am telling you all this without facts, numbers, or footnoted theories.  Common sense combined with education and experience will show this.  You can do the research but when you do the research be careful to not be sucked in by your bias to be optimistic.  This is why I preach pessimistic optimism.  You understand things don’t add up but you find optimism in the meaning of it and you take action.  That action for me is green pepping because what is greener is more prepped.  Optimism is found in action that responds to the truth.  The key to green prepping is physical and metaphysical.  It is the proper balance of spirit and science.  This discussion of energy would normally be strictly scientific by most sites.  I add spirit because they must both be addressed to see each of them properly.  Today there is an extreme separation of the two

You must embrace the wisdom of insecurity which is acceptance and humility of failure.  The wisdom of less is recognizing stoic and ascetic living in response to the failing human narrative of progress.   The key here is you have no choice but to use this failing human narrative and system to leave it into less.  What this gives you is more meaning that is close to life’s way and further from the anti-life of the transhumanism of machines and the lies of this human Ponzi scheme that is global civilization. 

This meaning is spiritual and it is what I would call approaching the truth.  Truth is the ultimate value to a dualistic being in self-consciousness.  This is about finding the proper scale and balance physically so you can balance metaphysically and with this you find naturalness.  This naturalness is the way of the planet and if you can approach this the planet and life will support you in your efforts to live to die another day.  You are a mortal life form that is here to live.

I am telling you this because I am an expert in green prepping.  I have done a decade of focused investment.  I have decades of education and experience.  I can also tell you my middle-class life does not add up.  All that I have done is not going to save me in many situations.  There is no security so this is why I embrace the wisdom of insecurity as best I can.  Keep in mind the truth and meaning that comes from this is not something I have and hold.  My body and mind are in decline so eventually I may lose the truth through dementia and physical disabilities.  I am now closer to the truth but before long I will be in a process of becoming a child again.  This is if a tree does not fall on me and I die before my time.  I see light but one day I may be in darkness.  It is my hope I die in the truth but I accept dying in darkness.

I am embracing a life that is focused on less when I can.  This is adapted with being realistic and relative in regards to people and place.  I am embracing the planet and life and reducing man’s arrogance and anti-life tech but only where I can and to a degree my limits of change allow.  That is as good as it gets.  I am living to die another day.  I am doing this in the warmth of the truth that is the light that shines from honesty and acceptance that there is ultimately not safety or security.  Death will turn all to dust.

My message is for a few.  These will be the leaders of the lifeboats.  They will be the hospice nurses.  If you are a sheeple enjoy life as best you can.  If you did not understand what I just said and find it nutter then be yourself.  You are just one of the flock blindly living the lie that is civilization.  Real humanity is found closer to semi-nomadic hunting and gathering combined with permaculture agriculture.  Real culture is more spoken than written but we must accept both because it is human nature to write down science and history with math and language.  The culture found in small groups embedded in dynamic ecosystems is the grail of human life now rejected by techno power.  Civilization was an aberration that comes with life’s frequent forays into evolution and devolution.  Our modern civilization has been a planet shaking event little different than the cyanobacteria that brought on snowball earth.

If there is a universal intelligence that is not for us to know.  It would dwell in the sacred.  Humanity should stop the arrogance of seeking the deepest secrets of the universe and the building blocks of life.  It is these actions killing us and destroying planetary stability.  Forget travel to Mars.  Instead, the truth is where we scale and balance properly in ecosystems of symbiotic support.  If we are a species that causes succession then that is part of it.  We disrupt so life can evolve but we can also destroy and that is where we are now.

SUPPORTING ARTICLES:

Here are two great articles that support my above post. I have been following Resilience for 2 years now. Resilience is a great site although unfortunately it has recently gone woke leading to the diluting of the environmental message with social justice. These should be kept separate. Woke is based on lies and an elite hijacking in my opinion. Resilience is also populated by techno-optimist pushing renewables as a transition paradigm when I see it as a transformation to a power down of far less energy use.

The second article is from Our Finite World. I have been following Gail since the early 2000s. Gail and I have been coming to similar conclusions which to me is mutually supportive of an indication we are on the right track. Her discussion are technical and very useful support to mine which incorporates life systems. There are great graphs in both articles.

Complexity Revisited

By B, originally published by The Honest Sorcerer

February 17, 2022

In my last two posts, I have highlighted how the depletion of once rich and abundant resources can have a potentially detrimental effect on this civilization. I’ve made the case that a transition to renewables does not stand up to scrutiny, and how a coming peak in copper production could hinder any efforts made at reaching Net Zero. I have concluded that, with peak oil most probably already behind us and with a looming peak in natural gas production, humanity is now facing peak energy — in fact peak everything — in the coming decade or two. What effect will this peak have on our complex societies? Is there a way to forgo this change? This will be the topic of this week’s post.

Increasing complexity was always a hallmark of civilizations. From rural villages to towns and empires, the development of societies always came at a cost of increased complexity. Anthropologist and historian Joseph Tainter has described this process and illustrated it with the story of many past civilizations in his seminal book the Collapse of Complex Societies.

According to the summary of his work, complexity can be recognized by:

numerous differentiated and specialized social and economic roles (bakers, shoemakers, jewelers, landlords etc.)

the many mechanisms through which these roles are coordinated (hierarchies)

the reliance on symbolic and abstract communication (writing, laws, accounting etc.)

the existence of a class of information producers and analysts who are not involved in primary resource production (clerks, lawyers, engineers etc.)

Following this definition above, the global techno-industrial society is the most complex civilization of all times. We are the pinnacle of social evolution! What could possibly go wrong…?

It’s important to note at this point, that increasing complexity has always been a way to get around “problems” instead of solving them, and not every society lived with this opportunity. In those cultures where it did occur, it came through as a necessity, from which no doubt many have benefited exceedingly. On the other hand, the process of ever increasing complexity has always been a sign of desperation and a major factor behind the fall of empires. Are we an exception to this rule?

According to Tainter, in modern industrial societies the cost of complexity is measured in energy and paid for by fossil fuels. What could illustrate this process more aptly than the green revolution in agriculture?

Let’s start by defining what was the problem we were trying to “solve”. By the middle of 20th century world population was growing exponentially, while the size of the planet apparently did not. We as a species have populated all habitable continents and started to reach, and in some places exceeded, the carrying capacity of the land. Soil fertility was already on the decline: there was an acute shortage of plant nutrients, primarily Nitrogen. Plants did not yield enough food. Something had to be done.

Modern bio-technology came to the rescue. A swathe of technologies were thrown at the apparent problem of “low yields”: chemical fertilizers from the Haber-Bosch process (made available by natural gas), herbicides and pesticides derived from oil, mechanization and long distance transport of produce via diesel fuel, irrigation powered by electricity (ultimately made available by fossil fuels), and new plant varieties producing better yields — relying completely on the previous three inventions to grow… It is needless to emphasize how complex agriculture has become as a result, and how it required ever higher inputs from fossil fuels. All this though has come at the cost of pollution, environmental degradation, species loss and climate change — now threatening the very results the green revolution has achieved.

Observe however, how the root cause of the problem, the underlying predicament of a finite planet’s inability to support unlimited population growth was not solved, but quite the contrary: has only been exacerbated. Now we are facing resource decline in a dangerously destabilized, massively overpopulated world — compared to the number of people the land could’ve support indefinitely without one-time inputs from fossil fuels and mineral phosphorus.

Another prime example, examined in detail last week, is mining. All throughout history we had to deploy ever more complex and energy intensive methods to get the next ton of metal, or next barrel of oil. We had to invent ever more complex machinery and methods — all coming at a cost of increased fossil fuel and electricity use… Thus driving up energy expenditure exponentially in return for an ever lower quality (1) energy carrier or ore. Again, the predicament of running out of cheap, easy to extract resources was not solved at all, but made worse by turning the process of extraction literally ‘a race to the bottom’ —at the cost of destroying the environment.

How long can we continue along these lines? What happens if we cannot? As we have seen, depleting resources demand an exponential increase in our efforts to obtain (the next step requiring substantially more work than the previous) — and thus none of them are exempt to Tainter’s other famous observation: diminishing returns. The problem here is that we humans tend to think in linear terms, while almost everything we do at a global scale have exponential results (2). Which is also true to the negative side-effects of technology: pollution, soil erosion, habitat loss, species extinction. These negative side effects tend to increase disproportionally with any additional use of technology, until the point they start yielding negative returns; i.e.: causing more harm than good.

It is very important to understand here, that no matter how worse the side-effects of technology-use get, turning back is not, and never was an option. The increase in complexity (and thus energy use) is a one way street. The population alive today have to be fed. The machines keeping this civilization functioning (providing electricity, healthcare, shelter, raw materials etc.) have to be powered constantly. Since we’ve built more and more of technology every year, their overall energy requirements only kept growing, despite efficiency gains made throughout the process.

Every increase in complexity has happened with a reason: we had a problem to “solve”. Now, there is no voluntary return to a prior, simpler state without the said problem raising its ugly head again. This is especially true to “problems” (or rather predicaments) related to depletion: you cannot go back mining copper with a pickax and a basket, as those easy to get resources are now long gone… and what remains requires huge, complex, energy hogging machines (not to mention the tons of water and the space needed to place those toxic tail-ponds). Sure, the efficiency of these machines could be improved still somewhat, but the next increase in energy demands (as a result of turning towards lower and lower ore grades) will nullify these results in a matter of years.

As long as we were able to increase energy availability at will there were almost no problems we could not “solve”. Using the metaphor of a rising tide in a harbor full of rocks: as long as water levels were getting higher, we could build ever bigger ships without hitting those pesky rocks. Now that the tide is turning and water levels are getting lower, we will experience problems not seen in a long time… Hidden from plain sight by a massive roll-out of technology and an ever increasing energy use.

There are natural limits to the human endeavor. Predicaments have a tendency of slowly getting worse over time and there is no limit to how gruesome they can become. So far we have “solved” the resulting problems by throwing more and more technologies, and as a result more and more energy at them, but there is a limit to that. As the very predicament of depleting finite resources start to affect energy production (either through fossil fuel depletion or a limit to copper or any other metal’s extraction), our very abilities to handle the problems caused by predicaments will start to wither.

Unless we admit that predicaments like ‘a finite planet’s inability to support unlimited growth or handle unlimited amounts of waste’ have no solutions to them, only outcomes, we will not be able to handle the situation. Only after accepting that there are hard limits has humanity a chance to change course and adopt to a drastically changing landscape. Whether we can do that, is question to be pondered…

Until next time,

Limits To Green Energy Are Becoming Much Clearer

SUNDAY, FEB 20, 2022 – 09:55 PM

We have been told that intermittent electricity from wind and solar, perhaps along with hydroelectric generation (hydro), can be the basis of a green economy. Things are increasingly not working out as planned, however. Natural gas or coal used for balancing the intermittent output of renewables is increasingly high-priced or not available. It is becoming clear that modelers who encouraged the view that a smooth transition to wind, solar, and hydro is possible have missed some important points.

Let’s look at some of the issues:

[1] It is becoming clear that intermittent wind and solar cannot be counted on to provide adequate electricity supply when the electrical distribution system needs them.

Early modelers did not expect that the variability of wind and solar would be a huge problem. They seemed to believe that, with the use of enough intermittent renewables, their variability would cancel out. Alternatively, long transmission lines would allow enough transfer of electricity between locations to largely offset variability.

In practice, variability is still a major problem. For example, in the third quarter of 2021, weak winds were a significant contributor to Europe’s power crunch. Europe’s largest wind producers (Britain, Germany and France) produced only 14% of installed capacity during this period, compared with an average of 20% to 26% in previous years. No one had planned for this kind of three-month shortfall.

In 2021, China experienced dry, windless weather so that both its generation from wind and hydro were low. The country found it needed to use rolling blackouts to deal with the situation. This led to traffic lights failing and many families needing to eat candle-lit dinners.

In Europe, with low electricity supply, Kosovo has needed to use rolling blackouts. There is real concern that the need for rolling blackouts will spread to other parts of Europe, as well, either later this winter, or in a future winter. Winters are of special concern because, then, solar energy is low while heating needs are high.

[2] Adequate storage for electricity is not feasible in any reasonable timeframe. This means that if cold countries are not to “freeze in the dark” during winter, fossil fuel backup is likely to be needed for many years in the future.

One workaround for electricity variability is storage. A recent Reuters’ article is titled, Weak winds worsened Europe’s power crunch; utilities need better storage. The article quotes Matthew Jones, lead analyst for EU Power, as saying that low or zero-emissions backup-capacity is “still more than a decade away from being available at scale.” Thus, having huge batteries or hydrogen storage at the scale needed for months of storage is not something that can reasonably be created now or in the next several years.

Today, the amount of electricity storage that is available can be measured in minutes or hours. It is mostly used to buffer short-term changes, such as the wind temporarily ceasing to blow or the rapid transition created when the sun sets and citizens are in the midst of cooking dinner. What is needed is the capacity for multiple months of electricity storage. Such storage would require an amazingly large quantity of materials to produce. Needless to say, if such storage were included, the cost of the overall electrical system would be substantially higher than we have been led to believe. All major types of cost analyses (including the levelized cost of energy, energy return on energy invested, and energy payback period) leave out the need for storage (both short- and long-term) if balancing with other electricity production is not available.

If no solution to inadequate electricity supply can be found, then demand must be reduced by one means or another. One approach is to close businesses or schools. Another approach is rolling blackouts. A third approach is to permit astronomically high electricity prices, squeezing out some buyers of electricity. A fourth balancing approach is to introduce recession, perhaps by raising interest rates; recessions cut back on demand for all non-essential goods and services. Recessions tend to lead to significant job losses, besides cutting back on electricity demand. None of these things are attractive options.

[3] After many years of subsidies and mandates, today’s green electricity is only a tiny fraction of what is needed to keep our current economy operating.

Early modelers did not consider how difficult it would be to ramp up green electricity.

Compared to today’s total world energy consumption (electricity and non-electricity energy, such as oil, combined), wind and solar are truly insignificant. In 2020, wind accounted for 3% of the world’s total energy consumption and solar amounted to 1% of total energy, using BP’s generous way of counting electricity, relative to other types of energy. Thus, the combination of wind and solar produced 4% of world energy in 2020.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) uses a less generous approach for crediting electricity; it only gives credit for the heat energy supplied by the renewable energy. The IEA does not show wind and solar separately in its recent reports. Instead, it shows an “Other” category that includes more than wind and solar. This broader category amounted to 2% of the world’s energy supply in 2018.

Hydro is another type of green electricity that is sometimes considered alongside wind and solar. It is quite a bit larger than either wind or solar; it amounted to 7% of the world’s energy supply in 2020. Taken together, hydro + wind + solar amounted to 11% of the world’s energy supply in 2020, using BP’s methodology. This still isn’t much of the world’s total energy consumption.

Of course, different parts of the world vary with respect to the share of energy created using wind, hydro and solar. Figure 1 shows the percentage of total energy generated by these three renewables combined.

Figure 1. Wind, solar and hydro as a share of total energy consumption for selected parts of the world, based on BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy data. Russia+ is Russia and its affiliates in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

As expected, the world average is about 11%. The European Union is highest at 14%; Russia+ (that is, Russia and its Affiliates, which is equivalent to the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States) is lowest at 6.5%.

[4] Even as a percentage of electricity, rather than total energy, renewables still comprised a relatively small share in 2020.

Wind and solar don’t replace “dispatchable” generation; they provide some temporary electricity supply, but they tend to make the overall electrical system more difficult to operate because of the variability introduced. Renewables are available only part of the time, so other types of electricity suppliers are still needed when supply temporarily isn’t available. In a sense, all they are replacing is part of the fuel required to make electricity. The fixed costs of backup electricity providers are not adequately compensated, nor are the costs of the added complexity introduced into the system.

If analysts give wind and solar full credit for replacing electricity, as BP does, then, on a world basis, wind electricity replaced 6% of total electricity consumed in 2020. Solar electricity replaced 3% of total electricity provided, and hydro replaced 16% of world electricity. On a combined basis, wind and solar provided 9% of world electricity. With hydro included as well, these renewables amounted to 25% of world electricity supply in 2020.

The share of electricity supply provided by wind, solar and hydro varies across the world, as shown in Figure 2. The European Union is highest at 32%; Japan is lowest at 17%.

Figure 2. Wind, solar and hydro as a share of total electricity supply for selected parts of the world, based on BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy data.

The “All Other” grouping of countries shown in Figure 2 includes many of the poorer countries. These countries often use quite a bit of hydro, even though the availability of hydro tends to fluctuate a great deal, depending on weather conditions. If an area is subject to wet seasons and dry seasons, there is likely to be very limited electricity supply during the dry season. In areas with snow melt, very large supplies are often available in spring, and much smaller supplies during the rest of the year.

Thus, while hydro is often thought of as being a reliable source of power, this may or may not be the case. Like wind and solar, hydro often needs fossil fuel back-up if industry is to be able to depend upon having electricity year-around.

[5] Most modelers have not understood that reserve to production ratios greatly overstate the amount of fossil fuels and other minerals that the economy will be able to extract.

Most modelers have not understood how the world economy operates. They have assumed that as long as we have the technical capability to extract fossil fuels or other minerals, we will be able to do so. A popular way of looking at resource availability is as reserve to production ratios. These ratios represent an estimate of how many years of production might continue, if extraction is continued at the same rate as in the most recent year, considering known resources and current technology.

Figure 3. Reserve to production ratios for several minerals, based on data from BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy.

A common belief is that these ratios understate how much of each resource is available, partly because technology keeps improving and partly because exploration for these minerals may not be complete.

In fact, this model of future resource availability greatly overstates the quantity of future resources that can actually be extracted. The problem is that the world economy tends to run short of many types of resources simultaneously. For example, World Bank Commodities Price Data shows that prices were high in January 2022 for many materials, including fossil fuels, fertilizers, aluminum, copper, iron ore, nickel, tin and zinc. Even though prices have run up very high, this is not an indication that producers will be able to use these high prices to extract more of these required materials.

In order to produce more fossil fuels or more minerals of any kind, preparation must be started years in advance. New oil wells must be built in suitable locations; new mines for copper or lithium or rare earth minerals must be built; workers must be trained for all of these areas. High prices for many commodities can be a sign of temporarily high demand, or it can be a sign that something is seriously wrong with the system. There is no way the system can ramp up needed production in a huge number of areas at once. Supply lines will break. Recession is likely to set in.

The problem underlying the recent spike in prices seems to be “diminishing returns.” Such diminishing returns affect nearly all parts of the economy simultaneously. For each type of mineral, miners produced the easiest-t0-extract materials first. They later moved on to deeper oil wells and minerals from lower grade ores. Pollution gradually grew, so, it too, needed greater investment. At the same time, world population has been growing, so the economy has required more food, fresh water and goods of many kinds; these, too, require the investment of resources of many kinds.

The problem that eventually hits the economy is that it cannot maintain economic growth. Too many areas of the economy require investment, simultaneously, because diminishing returns keeps ramping up investment needs. This investment is not simply a financial investment; it is an investment of physical resources (oil, coal, steel, copper, etc.) and an investment of people’s time.

The way in which the economy would run short of investment materials was simulated in the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth, by Donella Meadows and others. The book gave the results of a number of simulations regarding how the world economy would behave in the future. Virtually all of the simulations indicated that eventually the economy would reach limits to growth. A major problem was that too large a share of the output of the economy was needed for reinvestment, leaving too little for other uses. In the base model, such limits to growth came about now, in the middle of the first half of the 21st century. The economy would stop growing and gradually start to collapse.

[6] The world economy seems already to be reaching limits on the extraction of coal and natural gas to be used for balancing electricity provided by intermittent renewables.

Coal and natural gas are expensive to transport so, if they are exported, they primarily tend to be exported to countries that are nearby. For this reason, my analysis groups together exports and imports into large regions where trade is most likely to take place.

If we analyze natural gas imports by part of the world, two regions stand out as having the most out-of-region natural gas imports: Europe and Asia-Pacific. Figure 4 shows that Europe’s out-of region natural gas imports reached peaks in 2007 and 2010, after which they dipped. In recent years, Europe’s imports have barely surpassed their prior peaks. Asia-Pacific’s out-of-region imports have shown a far more consistent growth long-term growth pattern.

Figure 4. Natural gas imports in exajoules per year, based on data from on data from BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy.

The reason why Asia-Pacific’s imports have been growing is to support its growing manufacturing output. Manufacturing output has increasingly been shifted to the Asia-Pacific region, partly because this region can perform this manufacturing cheaply, and partly because rich countries have wanted to reduce their carbon footprint. Moving heavy industry abroad reduces a country’s reported CO2 generation, even if the manufactured items are imported as finished products.

Figure 5 shows that Europe’s own natural gas supply has been falling. This is a major reason for its import requirements from outside the region.

Figure 5. Europe’s natural gas production, consumption and imports based on data from BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Figure 6, below, shows that Asia-Pacific’s total energy consumption per capita has been growing. The new manufacturing jobs transferred to this region have raised standards of living for many workers. Europe, on the other hand, has reduced its local manufacturing. Its people have tended to get poorer, in terms of energy consumption per capita. Service jobs necessitated by reduced energy consumption per capita have tended to pay less well than the manufacturing jobs they have replaced.

Figure 6. Energy consumption per capita for Europe compared to Asia-Pacific, based on data from BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Europe has recently been having conflicts with Russia over natural gas. The world seems to be reaching a situation where there are not enough natural gas exports to go around. The Asia-Pacific Region (or at least the more productive parts of the Asia-Pacific Region) seems to be able to outbid Europe, when local natural gas supply is inadequate.

Figure 7, below, gives a rough idea of the quantity of exports available from Russia+ compared to Europe’s import needs. (In this chart, I compare Europe’s total natural gas imports (including pipeline imports from North Africa and LNG from North Africa) with the natural gas exports of Russia+ (to all nations, not just to Europe, including both by pipeline and as LNG)). On this rough basis, we find that Europe’s natural gas imports are greater than the total natural gas exports of Russia+.

Figure 7. Total natural gas imports of Europe compared to total natural gas exports from Russia+, based on data from BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Europe is already encountering multiple natural gas problems. Its supply from North Africa is not as reliable as in the past. The countries of Russia+ are not delivering as much natural gas as Europe would like, and spot prices, especially, seem to be way too high. There are also pipeline disagreements. Bloomberg reports that Russia will be increasing its exports to China in future years. Unless Russia finds a way to ramp up its gas supplies, greater exports to China are likely to leave less natural gas for Russia to export to Europe in the years ahead.

If we look around the world to see what other sources of natural gas exports are available for Europe, we discover that the choices are limited.

Figure 8. Historical natural gas exports based on data from BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy. Rest of the world includes Africa, the Middle East and the Americas excluding the United States.

The United States is presented as a possible choice for increasing natural gas imports to Europe. One of the catches with growing natural gas exports from the United States is the fact that historically, the US has been a natural gas importer; it is not clear how much exports can rise above the 2022 level. Furthermore, part of US natural gas is co-produced with oil from shale. Oil from shale is not likely to be growing much in future years; in fact, it very likely will be declining because of depleted wells. This may limit the US’s growth in natural gas supplies available for export.

The Rest of the World category on Figure 8 doesn’t seem to have many possibilities for growth in imports to Europe, either, because total exports have been drifting downward. (The Rest of the World includes Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas excluding the United States.) There are many reports of countries, including Iraq and Turkey, not being able to buy the natural gas they would like. There doesn’t seem to be enough natural gas on the market now. There are few reports of supplies ramping up to replace depleted supplies.

With respect to coal, the situation in Europe is only a little different. Figure 9 shows that Europe’s coal supply has been depleting, and imports have not been able to offset this depletion.

Figure 9. Europe’s coal production, consumption and imports, based on data from BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy.

If a person looks around the world for places to get more imports for Europe, there aren’t many choices.

Figure 10. Coal production by part of the world, based on data from BP’s 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Figure 10 shows that most coal production is in the Asia-Pacific region. With China, India and Japan located in the Asia-Pacific Region, and high transit costs, this coal is unlikely to leave the region. The United States has been a big coal producer, but its production has declined in recent years. It still exports a relatively small amount of coal. The most likely possibility for increased coal imports would be from Russia and its affiliates. Here, too, Europe is likely to need to outbid China to purchase this coal. A better relationship with Russia would be helpful, as well.

Figure 10 shows that world coal production has been essentially flat since 2011. A country will only export coal that it doesn’t need itself. Thus, a shortfall in export capability is an early warning sign of inadequate overall supply. With the economies of many Asia-Pacific countries still growing rapidly, demand for coal imports is likely to grow for this region. While modelers may think that there is close to 150 years’ worth of coal supply available, real-world experience suggests that coal limits are being reached already.

[7] Conclusion. Modelers and leaders everywhere have had a basic misunderstanding of how the economy operates and what limits we are up against. This misunderstanding has allowed scientists to put together models that are far from the situation we are actually facing.

The economy operates as an integrated whole, just as the body of a human being operates as an integrated whole, rather than a collection of cells of different types. This is something most modelers don’t understand, and their techniques are not equipped to deal with.

The economy is facing many limits simultaneously: too many people, too much pollution, too few fish in the ocean, more difficult to extract fossil fuels and many others. The way these limits play out seems to be the way the models in the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth, suggest: They play out on a combined basis. The real problem is that diminishing returns leads to huge investment needs in many areas simultaneously. One or two of these investment needs could perhaps be handled, but not all of them, all at once.

The approach of modelers, practically everywhere, is to break down a problem into small parts, and assume that each part of the problem can be solved independently. Thus, those concerned about “Peak Oil” have been concerned about running out of oil. Finding substitutes seemed to be important. Those concerned about climate change were convinced that huge amounts of fossil fuels remain to be extracted, even more than the amounts indicated by reserve to production ratios. Their concern was finding substitutes for the huge amount of fossil fuels that they believed remained to be extracted, which could cause climate change.

Politicians could see that there was some sort of huge problem on the horizon, but they didn’t understand what it was. The idea of substituting renewables for fossil fuels seemed to be a solution that would make both Peak Oilers and those concerned about climate change happy. Models based on the substitution of renewables for fossil fuels seemed to please almost everyone. The renewables approach suggested that we have a very long timeframe to deal with, putting the problem off, as long into the future as possible.

Today, we are starting to see that renewables are not able to live up to the promise modelers hoped they would have. Exactly how the situation will play out is not entirely clear, but it looks like we will all have front row seats in finding out.

Failure

This is more from around the campfire series.  I have no supporting references nor laid out facts.  I am speaking to those who already have seen the honest science and who are awakened.  If you are looking for something like facts and a tenable position then move on.  This is just me telling you what I see.  I am dyslectic.  You will notice this with my poor spelling and grammar.  This was a disability growing up in school but now it is vision.  I see differently than others.  I see backwards and in this age of inversions I see things others miss.  This is just me seeing things and telling you about it.  Around the campfire there are no speakers at podiums talking to academics and scientist.  I am talking to people who are seeking out wisdom.  If that is you then read on.

I am going to do a short series on things that don’t add up.  This will be with my own life but also our current civilization.  It is my hope you see through these lies and inconsistencies and make better choices.  In my case I will explain why I do what I do even though it does not add up.  In this way you can see a key aspect of REAL Green which is acting out what does not add up but in a realistic and relative way.  This post is my reflection on this way of life that is a turning of an age.  Yea, you are right in the middle of a turning.  If you care about security, meaning, and growth then you really need to embrace failure and death because this failure is of the current widely accepted narrative of the affluence of techno-optimism.  Civilization is now a system of failures.  The abrupt change of a planet is the evidence.

Things don’t add up and I do not know where to start because everywhere I look, I see lies and inconsistencies.  You may ask who are you, Mr. Know-It-All?  I know I ask myself this too but hear me out.  If you are a degrowth doomer than you are not goal seeking affluence.  This affluence that civilization is goal seeks is more than having more affluence of a better life.  Increasingly today it is a desperate attempt to maintaining what we have against the onslaught of inflation, burdensome regulations, and competition.  Smell the coffee and adapt to the current of destructive change.

If you are a degrowth doomer than you are honest from the start with declining affluence.  When you are honest and in acceptance of this process there is a clarity when you observe.  This clarity is surreal though which makes for cognitive dissonance.  This cognitive dissonance is different from the sheeples and the elites who sense that things are not adding up but choose instead to believe in the human optimism narrative that dominates today. 

The cognitive dissonance a degrowth doomer senses comes from his purgatory of dualism.  This purgatory is embracing a life contrary to the narrative of techno optimism but also being required to live in that world of optimism that tech and knowledge will save us.  There are very few that can completely leave this world as monks and sages that go away in the wilderness in complete poverty of things.   Most are like I am trapped in this world of techno optimism of a fake growth and a life of lies.

If you are living this degrowth dualism you will have to live in two worlds.  You will need to function in both and this is difficult.   Proper spirituality but also honest science is what is needed.  Spirituality allows you to embrace failure and death.  This is done through honesty.  The truth is only possible through honesty.  Honesty that itself is wrought with failure because at a point even honesty fails to guide meaning.  At a point the truth is beyond anyone’s abilities and it is here where it is sacred.  Honest science is needed because science and tech are required for life but it is a proper wisdom of these that must be embraced.  These days almost always this means less of both science, knowledge and tech.  This is contrary to the currant narrative of knowing the very secrets of the universe.

The living of two lives is one of the hardest of undertakings because you will have to live a lie to find the truth.  This is of course an incongruous juxtaposition.  It is the paradox of this age of decline.  In such situations you must live a wisdom of insecurity which is acceptance and humility of failure and death.  This techno optimistic modern life most live in is failing and in a turning over.  Diminishing returns has hit tech and efficiency.  Corruption has displaced proper wisdom.  This life is in the process of turning into collapse but most people refuse to accept this or choice to hide from it.  It is the acceptance and humility of this process that allows you to power through the many inconsistencies and lies both from outside and within.  If you see this and decide to live the lie than you will inevitably catch yourself in lies from living the lies.  This is what is so difficult and insecure but vital and necessary about what I am telling you.

You might say “quit being so serious”, “why even dwell on these things”, and just live day by day.  I agree but my point would be to be careful because there is a fine line between acceptance and ignoring. These lies and inconsistencies are quite dangerous physically and spiritually.  I firmly believe in living in the present because this is where life really is but there is the metaphysics of it all that is the basis of spirituality that can’t be ignored.  Not everyone is outfitted to research the metaphysics of life.  It is my contention that we need shamans and sages respected by small communities to do this because without this we are blind to a pole of life which is spirituality.  Notice I said small communities this is because it is only in localism this can be found.  This is not for movements.  Movements are out of scale and prone to coopting.

Spirituality is where the sacred is.  The other pole is science.  Science is where knowledge and tech are.  It is physical and material.  This is not religion I am talking about.  The pursuit of the sacred without dogma and a priestly class which is civilization is what I am hinting at.  Our modern dogmas and priests are deceived and now the problem.  Religions are no longer competent because civilization is now worshiping science and tech even within religions.  Affluence is the real worship and science and tech are the tools to affluence.

Ignoring is not wisdom but honest acceptance is.  It takes wisdom to find a human happiness of spirit.  This is true even in failure and death.  One example of the interplay with lightness and deepness of spirit is how often great comedians are very serious.  My point would be two-fold.  Point one is spirituality takes commitment to the truth regardless of where this takes you.  Point two is if you are truly going to free yourself from the debilitating cognitive dissonance which manifests in so many neuroses then you need to fully embrace the seriousness of life.   To find salvation of spirit which we all crave requires a seriousness of purpose.  This is meaning and meaning gives calm.  Meaning allows lightness of spirt to laugh and love.  All seriousness is just as dark as all play.  There is a point where lightness and deepness intersect.  This is contentment of spirit.   It is here you should set your internal compass for.  The journey is both serious and playful.

You can’t ignore meaning long.  You can’t live a lie long.  This is adapted with REAL Green by living a lie to leave the lie.  This is the case today when you must live the narrative of optimism when the reality is the pessimism of failure and death.  It is only here where real optimism is found.  I want to reiterate death I am speaking of is the end of all those abstract things related to the civilization of today.  Our mortality is a given in any age of man but now death is with systems, networks, and economies.  They will be gone as we know it very soon.  This could be a generation or two because this process does not operate in human time.  These human constructs are dead men walking because of net energy decline, systematic bifurcations, and planetary systems in abrupt change.

The primary lie today is with human affluence.  Keep in mind I am a middle-class American guy in his late 50s who is semi-retired.  You might think I have it made and I would if my body and mind were not in decline.  I am now older and in decline but I was once like many of you who are young but you will soon be like me.  What I do have is richness of experience that has come from a hard life of both failure and success.  You might ask why is success a hard life?  It is because success is fleeting.  Success is not a place it is a spot in a process.  I have lost many things and gained some back.

There are billions who are poor.  Yet, also keep in mind of these billions that are poor there is a subset that live closer to the truth of life and as such really the blessed ones.  They have just enough and they are blessed with family and live in nice places.  These places are places of beauty.  I would say there are maybe one billion in this class.  These billion who are poor but living properly are far ahead of the 1 billion middle class whose life is really precarious in an unsustainable affluence that is not resilient to change.  We are in abrupt change that is destructive and nonnegotiable so those who are considered wealthy by worldly standards are most at risk

Most of the wealthy 1BIL are city dwellers because cities are where the wealth is.  Cities have no future as-is.  Cities of the future will be a small fraction of what they are now.  The elite are worse yet.  The .01% are in a category all their own in pathological lies.  The elite have the furthest to fall and this is the reason for the global elite class seeking obedience and control of the great reset.  These technocratic authoritarians want to rule over the serfs in feudalism because they sense the end of affluence.  Their goal is not altruistic as they pretend with woke and NetZero, it is about wealth and power preservation.  In China this deception is the lie of a divine mandate.  In the west this devine mandate is just been westernized in the great reset.

The elites are the most deceived and today to get to the top psychopathic behavior is required.  They must fully live the lie or they will not remain elite.  This is filtering down into government in the form of the administrative apparatus and all those support personnel like lawyers, accountants, and civil servants.  Further it is with academia that is fully unhinged today and scientist who no longer follow science but instead worship it through scientism.  This is an inverted pyramid.  This mirrors life which is in an inversion.  This is why if you want true meaning you must embrace failure and death the inverse of growth and optimism.  The paradox is you must live this inversion to find order.

This is so simple it is almost impossible for many.  Keep in mind this is only an aspect of life now.  In a different age and possibly the new age at hand the inversion will end and a world of light will be the new reality.  In this current time what I am speaking of will have to adapt to life and growth.  We are now in a winter of discontent that is an extinction process.  Life is dying as well as civilization.  This is important because we don’t know when this age will be over and the new one in place.  Likely this will be a process of rolling back over as a new-age rights itself back up much like a buoy will always float up to its natural buoyancy.

I must also be fair and point out a significant amount of the population is too young, too old, uneducated, or mentally handicapped to even have the opportunity to embrace this truth of the lies and inconsistencies.  Maybe 2BIL are too poor and struggle just to live.  I am not worthy to speak of these peoples but feel sadness for them.  They deserve what I have and may never have peace of mind or enough food to eat.

I want to also speak of those too smart, educated and wealthy to find a spiritual calm because the more affluence and narrow knowledge specialization you have the harder it is to thread the needle of a spirit quest.  The meek will inherit the earth.  Here the inheritance is not physical but spiritual.  It is the meek and honest that will find the grail of meaning.  Meaning is where lightness and deepness intersect.  If you are meek the baggage of affluence will be less in the way of the attainment of the grail of calm which is salvation of the spirt.

This means many people have no option but to live the narrative of lies that all will be ok because many are trapped in darkness.  In their case it is because this is what they are told by their betters.  There is a mechanization of the living going on with modern civilization with delocalization and transhumanism.  These anti-life forces are the meatgrinder of darkness and we are in the age of darkness. 

Many of people are truly deserving of compassion and empathy.  They are the ones who deserve better.  Instead, they are often tempted and destroyed by the elites who deceive and lie to control and direct them.  It is these people you should be a servant to if you are awakened.  Always be gentle and supportive to the honest of spirit.  Be harsh and firm with those who seek to destroy and enslave these children of the spirit.

If you are one of the few who has been gifted with vision and the opportunities to grow through education and development then you have what it takes to be awakened.  The awakened are the servants of this new age.  This power comes directly from the planet which is the nearest of these greater powers.  It is likely the planet is part of the galaxy projecting this power but my point is the planet is where the tires meet the road for a human being. 

Stay scaled to find balance.   Too often today man is far from his local in academic abstractions.  Delocalization of spirt is similar to the delocalization of our daily lives physically.  It is unsustainable and lacks resilience in both cases.  In regard to the spirit, it is spiritual drift and this leads to darkness.  Scale properly which is in localism and permaculture.  Permaculture is required because true spiritual happiness only comes by connecting to the planet.  Only dirt and water allow spiritual life once the light of truth shines upon it.  The reason this has become the age of death is this is the age of mega cities.  These are death traps.  Here soil is asphalt and glass.  The light of meaning is hard to find.

If you embrace this truth, life will support you.  It will support you by you living the proper life that is one of failure, decline, and death of an age.  This is both global man but also the Epoch of the Holocene.  It is important to understand this.  The turning is not only with man’s world but also the planet’s world.  This is complete and whole and there is no escape as in earlier times when man could migrate in a stable age.  There is nowhere to go now.  This is the end times for this way of life so if you embrace this reality, you will make proper decisions. 

This is the wisdom of insecurity.  In another life this wisdom could be other.  In fact, once this current world completely turns over, wisdom will adapt and be less of failure and more of growth.  This might be a world of growth and life but this is not for us to know now.  This could be extinction so that must also be embraced.  Planetary acquiescence is the ultimate force for man.  The planet has its own frequency not a human frequency.   The human frequency dwells within the planetary frequency.  The frequency of life works in this way but unfortunately not in your human time.  It is likely this is the end days that will unfold over generations so embrace the wisdom of insecurity now with what is at hand.  You can reflect on a coming golden age but this is just for reflection.  Now you must live in the dark age of death.

What this means now is you are in the midst of the unravelling of the narrative.   The skill needed is a type of judo.   This is a wisdom of using the narrative to leave it.  Find places where you can engage in constructive growth that is freed up where the general narrative is breaking down.  This false narrative is breaking down opening up new ways of living. The reality is these new ways of living are the old ways we left and rejected for increasing affluence.  This is just ecology 101 because this is how life on the planet works when in succession.  Mirror this and life will support you.

Get back to the basics.  Reduce affluence and find dignity in this process of increasing poverty of things because this is where meaning is.  Downsize now and do this with a peace of mind and happiness of heart that comes from spiritual fulfillment.  This means a stoic and ascetic life because this is what declining physical affluence is all about.  Yet, since to do this, you must live in the current dominant narrative of affluence this means adapting in a relative and realistic way.  You will likely not be able to change as much as you would like but do what you can.  Understand even the attempt to live right is going to hit the brick wall of limits of change.

The key point to having the strength and the vision to live right is acceptance and humility.  There is no substitute so if this does not appeal to you then move on.  Many can’t embrace this because it is contrary to the age.  Failure and death are ahead for the narrative that is techno optimistic, believing knowledge power will save us.  We will not save ourselves from ourselves.  We are the problem and we will destroy ourselves at least the life that humans have currently.  You can save yourself from yourself but not society.  Society is over so let go of it and save yourself. 

This is a hospice mentality of terminality and with this there is a relief and comfort of acceptance.  It becomes a life boat strategy by embracing constructive growth physically.   This acceptance and humility of a failure of our great human ship allows you to build your life boat. 

Those who have experienced failure know that it is here where your best learning and growth is.  Nothing proves right living better than failure.  Success is very deceptive because it involves affluence.  Failure involves loss and shame which is the best motivator.  It is the harnessing of failure and shame that allows proper wisdom to go forward with a hard-won experience.

Choose simplicity over complexity.  Downsize over growth but keep in mind you must embrace constructive growth or else you will not eat or sleep with a roof over head.  Accept failure and go forth in wisdom of the insecurity of this failure.  This hard-won experience will map out the way forward.  This ultimately means embracing death and mortality because this is the basis of life.  This includes letting go of our urge to immortality.  Our egos crave immortality.  It is not so much there is no immortality but instead there is a place where the sacred resides where an unknowable immortality may be.  This can’t be known so embrace mysticism if you can.  Here is the mystic way:

“in the first degree the higher power enters into the soul and she turns inward into herself. in the second she ascends above herself and is lifted up to the higher power. in the third the soul, lifted up to the higher power, passes over altogether into Him. in the fourth the soul goes forth on the higher power’s behalf and descends bellow herself”

This is an anonymous quote and rightly so.

This is critically important for you and your journey.  I am not asking you to leave you spiritual home.  I am not asking you to embrace what I just said as a religion or new age spirituality.  You must realize and come to understand your limits of change.  The limits of change of your nature and nurture.  The limits of change of your people and place.  What I am asking you to do in a realistic and relative way is seek out within your spiritual and physical world what I told you above.

There are some religions that should be left because their basis is a lie.  This is especially true of scientism and its atheistic positions.  The transhumanism and delocalization of this religion of the privileged in science and academia is anti-life.  It is a mechanization of life by machines and unrestrained knowledge.  It is these people that are driving the destruction of the planet.  The technocratic elite and their administrative soldiers are the henchmen of evil. 

I leave you with some C.L. Lewis and some Alan Watts:

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin”.  The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens love to paint.  It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps.  In those we see its final results.  But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”

and

“Picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passion of envy, self-importance, and resentment”.

“The Screwtape Letters”  C. S. Lewis

“Someone or something beyond conscious control must overthrow the Devil at the right moment, for, being an archangel he can read thoughts and is always aware of the intention that precedes the act.  He can be defeated only by an act without prior intent. “let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth.” Now in Christian terminology this “someone or something beyond conscious control” is called the grace of God, and grace is held to be the only means of overcoming the machinations of the Devil, that is, of the vicious circle into which self-consciousness can lead us.  God as the giver of grace has therefore the same function as the guru, or spiritual guide, in Hinduism, and thus “the means of grace”….upaya. But it does not seem to have occurred to most Christians that the means of grace might include trickery—that in his cure of souls the Lord might use placebos, jokes, shocks, deceptions, and all kinds of indirect and surprising methods of outwitting men’s wonderfully defended egocentricity”

Allan Watts 1964

rhyme of the rhythm

This work mirrors the “why and what” of what I am doing in my permaculture localism.  In other words I am doing the nuts and bolts of this metaphysical discussion.  I am an imperfect vessel but one that is sojourning to the light. This post is the rhyme of the rhythm I look for when I do my spirtual journeys.  Most importantly to me it is enjoyment to read something that is a reflection of the truth and as such to the degree I am reflecting this in my living, it gives me direction like a sextant.  It is enjoyable to feel the warmth of the light of the truth.  Is this not what life is about at its higher levels!

Living Resilience

This is the final installment of the collapse chronicles.  See the pages side of this blog for details on prepping 101.  This will be heavily weighted to what you can do as a prepper.  I am a green prepper so my strategies are applying a hybrid effort of permaculture and conservation to prepping.  Most prepper are not green.  They are mostly people who plan and prepare for the violent end of civilization.  There is increasingly a widespread group who would like a minimum of preparedness with a month or two of food, guns, and bug out equipment.  My approach is hybrid because it is my opinion the effort needs to be part of a way of life.  Prepping alone will not save you long in my opinion.  Even green prepping is doomed in an all-down situation but the key difference is a lifestyle that is full of life while life is still functioning.  There is meaning in preparing and running a homestead and working farm.

I have elaborated fully in many previous posts what REAL Green is so if you desire more information on that you need to refer back to these many writings.  It is an elaborate way of life that requires time, money, and education.  It is hybrid using the current system to leave it.  It is spiritual because there is a hospice aspect of acceptance of decline and failure.  This post is more about outfitting your life boat with proper supplies.  The green prepping part is your permaculture homestead that is a working farm.  If you want to go the extra mile as a prepper you must add green to it in my opinion.  There is no substitute for this.  In fact, if you want to take green prepping a step further you will want a community of permaculture farms orbiting a permaculture town all located in a habitable location surrounded by natural areas.  These open spaces serve as sinks of food, water, and hiding.

What I am going to give you is a nuts and bolts of a preparedness plan.  This is not my plan it is a generalized plan.  I do all the categories but I do not do all categories to their maximum.  You will find when you become a green prepper you will be constrained by time, labor, and resources.  You will have to prioritize what is important.  This is where I differ significantly from the standard prepper.  I spend much more time on permaculture and less on security and the hording of supplies.  I try to distance myself from fossil fuels and industrial products if possible.  This makes me less of a fortress and more of a living organism.

This prep plan is distilled down.  You can buy books on this.  You can buy books on particulars.  For example, there are those who have bunkers.  A whole book can be devoted to building a bunker shelter.  I am going to get to the very basics of what I feel a permaculture homestead would want to consider.  These considerations will need further fine tuning depending on your local of people and place.  Your individual plan would be shaped significantly by what climate you are in.  If you are urban, suburban, or rural all has a major impact.  I am focusing on the rural in the Missouri Ozarks.

Polarity

When you read this keep in mind, I am not claiming to have mastered these things.  I am an imperfect vessel of the truth.  These writings are an urge, enjoyment, and a mental workout.  I do not need your praise.  I am not here to lecture either.  I am merely reflecting on my understanding from nearly 60 years of life.  I hope some of this helps you make sense of things.  Meaning is my primary goal not power.  I do offer an alternative to what is mainstream.  It is meant for a few who have a similar life to mine.  Some of what I speak of is universal.  Everything I speak of is from others that I regurgitate to you.  If it is unique, it is only because I am a product of a unique local of nature and nurture.

Why is polarity important?  It is important because the problem with the world now is human nature.  The symptoms are tech’s destructiveness, energy waste streams, and network dysfunction.  Human nature is a mess in regards to proper species placement in the ecosystem of the planet.  We are now an extinction causing species.  We are a destroyer of a highly habitable and stable epoch for complex ecosystems.  This is commonly referred to as a plague species.  We counter that with we are intelligent and reflect universal intelligence.  This to me points to the evolutionary dead end of intelligence as a specie specialty.  In fact free floating intelligence in an ecosystem leads to the anti-life destructiveness of technology and efficiency.  Wisdom is what is lacking and this is because of scale, balance, and limits.

Stop looking to miracles to mystify.  The miracle of life is enough.  Stop looking for special powers when you are walking upon a power that pervades all.  Stop looking for a God out there far enough away a myth can be created that mystifies.  Respect the sacred which is the truth unknown.  It is sacred for a reason accept this and have humility.  Atheist and fundamentalist alike look to miracles.  Atheist look to tech and knowledge to satisfy a higher power.  Fundamentalist look to a personification of a higher power in our image.  This higher power thinks like us and is omnipotent.

Science says God is unnecessary and this is true from a scientific method point of view.  If you are reducing life to facts, data, and hypothesis you don’t need the spiritual.  The spiritual embraces reality with the feeling and emotions of connectivity.  This is made possible with humility.  Science does not need feelings and humility.  Science needs data, evidence, and a method.  Man’s human nature needs both so they must be good neighbors. 

In this time of so much meaninglessness. Finding the proper balance of science and spirituality is essential for adapting and mitigating the coming decline process.  They both are vital to proper human nature if we are to apply wisdom to actions that have consequences.  Without proper wisdom the destructive process of ever more destructive tech is inevitable.  Spirituality must be tempered also or else we have unrestrained actions inconsistent with planetary system without data and evidence as a guide.

This dichotomy is why we have faith and belief.  They are not entirely different and should not be opposed.  We unconditionally embrace faith from emotions deep in our heart and soul.  We need belief to make sense of things with action and consequence.  This fundamental duality of our nature is detached in both directions in this age of machines and extreme spirituality. 

We believe with a faith or have a faith that believes.  This is a result of our dualistic nature having lost proper wisdom.  Here wisdom is of what tech and knowledge to use and what to reject in regards to what is proper to a life system.  This lack of wisdom is pointing to an impending reset.  This reset is systematic, planetary and evolutionary.  It encompasses all which points to a impending bottleneck. 

The problem today is scale and balance.   Delocalization and the transhumanism of this age of machines has disturbed our nature within nature.  It has resulted in hopium of both science and religion.  Actually, science and religion are merging in a messy meaninglessness.  Excessive science, tech, and knowledge accumulation is causing our self-destruction by contradiction that linear thought leads to.  Life is too nonlinear to fully describe linearly.  Tech just makes this more deceptive. 

Our disturbed human nature is the problem now.  It is civilization that allowed man to power multiply this disturbance.  Civilization is now a metastasizing disturbance.   Populations are beyond proper scale and our consumption destructive.  This arrogance of humanism is now an anti-life waste stream. 

Science, tech, and concentrated knowledge is not healthy now because it distorts the way of things. The vital balance of science and spirituality is now turbulent and manifested in an emptiness.  Emptiness is a manifested waste stream.  Science and spirituality must be properly scaled as neighbors.  This means localism.  As delocalization increases science power projection through economics creating extractive behavior with destructive waste streams. 

When the balance of human nature is skewed to science man draws into himself and becomes invasive and extreme.  This is a destructiveness that disturbs the force of life.  The distortions of spirituality are about lack of respect for a higher power from our power projections of science.  This is about usurping the sacred.  It is about claiming its power.  It is about looking far out of its proper scale when a proper spirituality is near man’s local and close to his family and tribe.  When you erect alters to the gods you have lost it.  When you formalize worship, you are losing it.  Spiritual must be found by being natural in nature. 

A small community is the proper scale.  Ideally in this time of extreme urbanism proper scale is permaculture farms orbiting a permaculture town widely dispersed with natural buffers.   Human waste streams are more manageable in this way.  This is not harmony but it is the right direction.  This may no longer be possible in many places but it is the only way forward. This way forward is backwards which then means embracing a paradox.  Modern life is now regressive not progressive.  Progressive now is rejecting the narrative of meaning of modern life’s progressivness.

If there is new religion to create it would be one embracing a wisdom of balance and scale of science and spirituality.  I am not advocating a new religion only an adaptation to your existing one.  Today these aspects of human nature are both in a turbulence.  Science is now a religion of scientism.  It is now being mechanized with transhumanism with the merger of machines and man.  It is increasing the delocalization of man making him invasive and extreme.  This disturbs the sacred that is that power and truth that pervades life.  Machines are not life and when elevated in importance are anti-life.  Automation and artificial intelligence are not a life essence.  They are only an armor.

The web of life is under attack and this is the problem with spirituality too.  We are looking out into places that are far from where a proper spirituality can be found.  This is arrogance.  This disregard for scale and balance is because we desire its power.  We have humanized the sacred and on doing so have created false idols.  Proper spirituality is based on humility and acceptance not glorification and grandiosity. 

A naturalism of scale is a proper spirituality that grounds with humility.  Accepting this then points to an existential humility lost that needs to be returned to.  Spirituality is now free floating and detached from planetary realities.  A medical term is a free radical.  Immune systems seek out these free radicals and destroy them.  The planet is doing this to us now.

The disruption of science and spirituality’s proper balance is now hard wired in our civilization.  It is when you embrace this reality you can find a transformation.  This transformation is an awakening of the real meaning of life in our age of machines.  A wisdom develops from this transformation. 

When the individual, small group, and at times small community can find strength in this rebalancing of the spiritual and science a proper religion result.  This means transforming your existing religion and rejecting scientism which is anti-life.  The free radical of scientism now touches all so reject this with prejudice through a proper wisdom.

A proper religion is wisdom of scale and balance in nature.  Nature enjoys nature and only nature can overcome.  This is the transmutation of the kind that is simple and natural not the faux one of misdirected alchemy of power over things and immortality.  True alchemy is transformative not a transcendence. 

Transmutation is a phase change and, in this case, it is back to our original naturalism.  This is not so much innocence but instead a natural and functional enlightenment or an expression of a complex ecosystem.  Simple enlightenment that is robust and draws complexity from planetary systems.  We may be trapped in the age of machines but an adaptive balance is possible.

Permaculture localism is salvific.  The redemption is scale and balance with all planetary systems.  This results in what science to use and reject but also the embrace of a proper humility of scale and balance.   Proper human scale to the land where this power and truth is fully connected to is a new persuasion to add to your existing religious meaning.

Those times when man was a seminomadic hunter gather is when we reached our apex of proper human nature.  We used science to gather and harvest.  Science made tools and allowed practical permaculture of ecosystem management.  From this naturalness meaning was cultivated in a narrow but life enhancing way.  The complexity was provided for from the planet.  Adaption to planetary upheavals was more likely.  There has been bottlenecks in the past and we made it through.  It is unclear if we will make it through the next one.

Spirituality was once one of weaving of beings and animate forces with a complete connectivity.  Culture was oral with the passing of meaning on to the next generation from elders who spoke wisdom.  This was living wisdom.  It was not written because a written culture is the beginning of the lost way of codifying the sacred in worship.  It was of respecting planetary systems and cycles naturally not forcibly with engineering or code.  If this was primitive and superstitious it was scaled and balanced in regards to what knowledge is needed and what is destructive.  Survival dictated this.

Today’s turbulence of proper science and spirituality is extreme and invasive.  It is even more superstitious than primitive man because it is empty.   We now know so much that what we know contradicts what we know.  We now have a spirituality that arrogantly worships the affluence and comforts of man not his proper place in life.  Even the traditional religions worship science and tech by embracing this arrogance of humanism.  We pray to a God to have more affluence instead of humility.  We want immortality not connectivity.

Today science is the religion of scientism.  Scientism is sorcery.  It is a modern-day witchcraft.  This results in a spiritualism of arrogance where science and spiritualism combine.  This combination is revolting to life just as opposite poles oppose. 

We arrogantly called our primitive ancestors superstitious yet we desire to know all.  We desire to know the deepest secrets.  We search for a power that will give us the immortality we crave.  Is this not a superstition far more destructive and distorting than the simple ones of these simple but complex peoples? 

These simple people were complex because they drew their complexity from a complex ecosystem.  By being symbiotic with proper scale of people and place proper balance of our instincts of science and spirituality resulted.  This was real sophistication.  A sophistication that embraced a far superior sophistication of the ecosystem they dwelled in.   

A naturalism of proper scale and balance respected nature unconsciously.  Today we are in an extreme reversal of this with civilization with its urban centers of specialization.  Our monocultures and tradecraft create waste streams that the ecosystem can’t properly manage.  The result is rapid succession.  Rapid succession is an extinction event.

Succession is the manifestation of life’s vital need for change to adapt to a changing planet.  Change is the underlying expression of the sacred and here is where we should embrace the truth.  We are an instrument of this truth.  We are in a late stage of this sacred change.   It is now extremely destructive because science has been mechanized and spirituality arrogant. 

The resulting destructive change is taking all systems down in succession.  This is not the great reset the priests and faithful of scientism crave with the singularity of the secret of the universe.  This is not the rapture the faithful who mistakenly believe in leap frogging the consequences of our meaningless.  This is a return to our original scale and balance of pre-civilization.  The planet is forcing us back to this original balance.

We have so degraded an immensely fertile and complex ecosystem of the Holocene we now have the resulting degraded and dirty age of succession called the Anthropocene.  This will further degrade quickly to a time of an age of renewal.  This won’t be in man time.  This will be in a sacred time.  This is where the truth dwells for modern man which is a humility of a rapid succession of his own doing. 

Find a niche of constructive growth that will be freed up in this decent of complexity.  Reject the complicated life of modern man but live it to leave it.  You can’t transcend it but you can transform it.  Simple transformation comes from humility to this destructive process.

This is the awakening.  It is a liberation to be yourself to find meaning in a world of meaninglessness.  What we were told was arrogance.  Arrogance is in our current nature in turbulence.  Tame the turbulence in humility.  Wisdom is the result.  Wisdom is about properly scaled decisions with accepted consequences.  Science provides the data and evidence.  Spirituality provides the humility to stay scaled. The combination of the two provide species balance.  The failures of this is arrogance.  This is the age of arrogance and failure.

The truth can’t be known it can only be approached.  Science grounded in a proper wisdom helps us approach this sacred truth.  Science is our nature resulting in tech.  A proper spiritualism is needed to balance science and restrain our urge to tech.  Spirituality is about knowing the limits to our scientific nature of desiring to know the truth.  The proper combination of the two is part of what the planetary system of life needs to grow complexity.  Evolution needs succession.

We can also say then what is happening is also the process.  Destructive succession is obviously part of it.  The point I am making is for you the individual, family, and tribe is survival which is also part of the plan.  To survive this time of destructive change with so much meaninglessness then embrace the reality of this age of death.  Use its nature to be that force that creates renewal.  Niches of constructive change are part of evolution of destructive succession.  Be the new human type that transitions this bottleneck.  It may not be you who transitions but it might be your seeds properly planted that bear this fruit.

demystify

Science is clear on carbon with the physics, chemistry, and biology.   The planetary carbon cycle has been forced by human activity.  There is no form of industrial human activity that is NetZero.  Sustainability can’t be achieved by adding so called “renewables” to an unchanged affluent seeking civilization.  This civilization is clearly in overshoot of both population and consumption profile.  This is a congenitally broken system of technology and energy that can’t be reformed.  Land use changes alone overwhelm the carbon budget with monoculture agriculture and human habitation waste streams from extractive needs.

The key problem today is decades of forcing is now phase changing.  It took years to warm the ocean and fill carbon sinks.  This will only be mitigated by a planet with significantly less human civilization.  If you want human civilization that is based on high-positivist and rationalist science it will have to be one accepting and embracing destructive change.  There is no other way.  Anything else is a lie of human arrogance.  This predicament of consequences can only be adapted to and mitigated by a localism of downscaling, decentralization and degrowthing within the process of decline.  This is only possible at the grass roots because the top is impervious to reform.  The planet is initiating change with all its systems and human systematic decay is now well past its tipping point into decline.

Pointing fingers at fossil fuel oligarchies and not looking at the same corruption from green tech oligarchies is just a fraudulent wealth and power transfer scheme.  The elites have plans to remain elites.  These plans are not based upon planetary concern or else 400 jets would have not journeyed to CopOut26.  Academics that create intellectual material are themselves oligarchies surrounded by group bias and expensive walled in campuses.  How can they comment on carbon or social justice when they are corrupted?  They are pawns of the elites so their proclamations are more based on an ideology of scientism than facts and evidence of honest science.  State capitalism based on the successful Chinese model of affluent authoritarianism of a minority is taking over the majority of the rich world.  This State capitalism both east and west will have to colonize globally north and south to remain affluent.  The silk road is Chinese colonization just as the American dream once was and before that European colonization.  Carbon has always been the lubricant of colonization.

There are no solutions to this because high civilization itself is wired to be a consumerist-industrial growth economy.  This is congenitally unsustainable and tweaking it with a fake green sustainable development with technocratic control and so-called renewables is just another lie.  These noble lies to save the planet are really just to save civilization for a few and serfdom for the majority.  This will benefit a new global oligarchy of east and west in state capitalism.  This is elite merger.   It is unclear if these elites can avoid a catastrophic war because the drums are beating.  Hegemony is a human addiction.  Between war potential and planetary forces of decline, our consumeristic-industrial growth economy is heading for a break point.  The next step down is forced localization which will result in lower populations and consumption without negotiations from science and technology only appropriate responses.  The only negotiations are with human nature with human nature.  This is the basis of wisdom.

It is this transformation of human nature that is the beacon.  This beacon will come from the many examples already in place among less developed populations of low tech and no tech across the globe.  This is not only in the south.  This can be boosted and leveraged by modern science.  It can not be replaced by modernist science and technology.  This is the problem so if there is a path forward it is not state capitalism that is a fascist combination of monopolistic and Marxist control.  It will be permaculture localism that will seek out niches of growth in sustainability and resilience.   This can only be found with the combine approach of low tech and no tech and ample amounts of basic facts and evidence of modern science to focus best practices. 

This is not the mystifying modernist science and technology that talks of space travel nor the transhuman of AI and automation.  It will be practices already in place found across the globe of peoples that have maintained their cultural identity even after being colonized by the global extractive economy.  These people have already adapted and mitigated the damaging effects of this last stage of civilization by remaining dedicated to their core identities.  This is not blind optimism because the planet is tipping. No matter how adapted locals are with the best practices of permaculture localism there are still consequences so this is why human nature must be transformed.  This transformation is a wisdom and an insecurity.  This is humility and acceptance which is the basis of honesty.  It is only honesty that benefits from the truth.

Subverting imperial greenwashing

By Vijay Kolinjivadi, originally published by Uneven Earth

  • January 6, 2022

Max Ajl’s recent book published this year by Pluto Press, entitled A People’s Green New Deal, is a welcome and important contribution to an increasingly crowded and confused conversation on “green” futures. In the industrialized countries of the Global North, especially the USA, the European Union, Canada, and Australia, governments, social movements, and everything in between have proposed “Green Deals” of varying demands, generating much confusion as to what each of them stand for and the types of interests that underpin them. Ajl’s book places particular attention on the prospects of a US Green New Deal; as the US economy directly infiltrates nations and social classes around the world with its military, petrodollars, and monopolies, what it decides to do in the name of “greening” will have profound implications on the rest of the world under the current order.

The book offers a refreshing analysis, grounded in an ecosocialist lens for a global anti-imperialist class struggle. In doing so, it distinguishes itself from the distractions of rhetoric loosely being advanced under an amorphous “Green New Deal”. Ajl details these distracting narratives as they range from: a) liberal progressives and social democrats using all the right words but ultimately compromising to the interests of capital by advocating things like “greening” the US military; b) techno-modernist socialism unhinged from basic understandings of ecology while continuing to depend on exploitation of a Third World (e.g. “fully-automated luxury communism”); c) Euro-centric working-class solidarities for “greening” in the industrial core that conveniently ignore precarious and racialized labor forces both within and beyond the “Global North” (e.g. “Ecological Politics for the Working Class”); d) global veganism and half-earth nature conservation that have no qualms about embracing colonial logics against non-Western ideologies and affinities, and e) status-quo United Nations and World Bank-speak in support of the “Sustainable Development Goals”, furthering the myth of “green growth” and paying for nature’s “services”, which have thus far done little to halt or have even reinforced global inequalities and hastened ecological collapse. Of course, these narratives are not mutually exclusive, but hybridize into different shades. Common to all however are the silences in demanding climate reparations for historically uneven ecological exchange in which imperialist colonizers of Europe and North America looted the resources and life-energies of billions of people and displaced and shackled hundreds of millions in the Global South as a cheap laboring force to keep prices low and speculative finance afloat. It is this oppressive unequal ecological exchange that makes it possible for countries like Switzerland and Belgium to be considered chocolate connoisseurs, for the United States to foster and produce “innovative” tech hubs like Silicon Valleys that produce tax-evading billionaires, and for cities across Scandinavia, Canada, and Australia to be consistently distinguished with high standards of living.

Put simply, there can be no such thing as an ecologically-conscious future unless it involves popular control over time, territory, and ways of living that Indigenous people, pastoralists, campesinxs, and artisans around the world demand as restitution for historical and repeated assaults on their autonomy. In this review, I assemble a series of quotations from the book under broad themes that highlight a few key take-away messages as well as an invitation to further dive into the details by reading the book. I conclude with some issues I felt the book left the reader to ponder.

Main take-aways

To control industrialization does not mean to eliminate industrialization, let alone modern social life with complex forms of economic interchange and interdependence. It means understanding how on the one hand, the North is gratuitously over-industrialized, and not to the benefit of working-class life. And it means accepting how much northern industrial capital, and the consumption which it encourages, rests on de-development or underdevelopment of the South.”

What is missing in the First World left is not an abstract commitment to solidarity and partnership but a committed internationalism which takes the anti-systemic struggles of the periphery as the fundamental departure point for solidarity…thus climate debt or ecological debt must be a fundamental part of any serious green transition.”

If capital is under pressure from social movements or political parties and needs to find a way to give something away to domestic middle classes, that something has to come from somewhere (my emphasis added). And that somewhere will be those not included in the social and political struggles: in other words, the South.

Ajl’s work offers a reality check reminding us that the influence of ecosocialism in contemporary global politics is at a historical low and indeed superseded by the more organized forces around pro-capitalist and techno-futurist versions of eco-fascism. The (often failed) electoral politics ambitions of recent legislators like Bernie Sanders in the US, Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France, and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK should not distract us from this reality. He also emphasizes the utter importance of placing agrarian reform for agroecology and peasant sovereignty at the core of what an anti-imperialist ecosocialism would require.

Modern industrial agriculture does not feed the world; it is incredibly wasteful and takes the capacity to produce food away from people who understand their territory the best. Instead, it forces everyone to be market consumers of pesticide-ladened and chemical fertilizer pumped monocultures that generate mass death of pollinators, birds, and soil life. It also heightens the risk of animal-human transfers of new epidemic diseases that lead to potential pandemics. With industrial agriculture, being fed is no longer something that every human deserves but something that reflects purchasing power and the capacity to absorb rising costs of food . These values neatly follow racial and class lines, with the vast majority of people unable to afford healthy and sustainable food production systems as these are re-branded into market consumption as “artisanal”, “organic”, or “heirloom”. Perhaps worst of all is the way modern industrial agriculture mines arable soils, stealing time, land, and knowledge from human societies and rendering current and future generations bereft of food-producing potential.

Why an internationalist, anti-imperialist politics is what being ecological should refer to

Colonialism itself is not over. As formal and legal decolonization gave way to neocolonialism, nations lost control over their economic sovereignty, the pot of gold they had hoped to find at the end of national liberation…Indeed, even during the brilliant noon of decolonization from 1947 to 1980, farmlands, forests, banks, currencies, factories, salt iron mines, quarries, and oil fields remained in the hands of the colonizers. Almost never was decolonization so successful as to allow peoples to fully determine their own histories, even within their own nation-states…the climate crisis is basically the child of northern imperialism, pure and simple.

Ajl reminds readers that it is impossible for the global ecological breakdown that we witness today, such as COlevels reaching their highest levels in 3 million years, to have occurred without past and present (and expected future) dehumanization of black, brown, and Indigenous people. It is consequently impossible and counterproductive to treat ecological crises like climate change as separate from those that perpetuate settler colonial land grabs, class divisions, and a military industrial complex. Tackling ecological crises requires structural transformation rejecting a militarized global police force (e.g. the US military) that justifies war-profiteering over the lives of Yemenis and Palestinians in the name of free markets.

Why other Green New Deal proposals based on “green” social democracy or domestic “green” Keynesianism are fundamentally flawed

There are four problems with green social democracy. First, it is not achievable through current strategies. Two, even if it were possible, it would be imperialist and rest on devastating the South. Third, it is being marketed as something it is not: namely, eco-socialism … and four, it limits our political imaginations.”

This does not mean it is bad to have anti-racist green left-liberals in office. It means that they will not implement eco-socialism unless massive movements and parties outside the state, and worldwide, are fighting for actual eco-socialism – which Ocasio-Cortez, 350.org, and the Sunrise Movement are not.”

Ajl historically contextualizes “green social democracy” as Keynesian concessions to labour that worked to stave off the spread of communism in the post-war era and were ultimately intended to reinforce capital accumulation. He highlights precisely why left-liberal politicians and journalists confound the terms of debate by ignoring this history. Instead, “green social democrats” tiptoe around very real uneven ecological exchange while superficially signalling support (largely by recourse to electoral politics) to anti-imperialist social movements and Indigenous demands around the world.

“Greening” as securitizing capitalism

Green Social Control aims to preserve the essence of capitalism while shifting to a greener model in order to sidestep the worst consequences of the climate crisis. [It] is a decision to avoid reparations [and] a blueprint for world management in which imperial loot remains in the North.” 

In relation to the confusing politics of Green Keynesianism as described above, a People’s Green New Deal explicitly rejects “green social control” or any eco-friendly attempt to maintain capitalism intact while deflecting or dismissing conversations around climate reparations for colonial violence and theft. Securing capitalism through greening takes the form of carbon offset purchases, eco-certification schemes, industrial and high-tech precision agriculture, “nature-based solution” projects and ecosystem service policies and others that co-opt intimate ecological relations as alienable forces of production.

On (green) technology

Those who argue in an absolute way for technology’s categorical social neutrality, especially from the left, forge one of the most dangerous, subtle, and effective instruments of ideological counterinsurgency: they accept the myth of progress and confuse opposition to the capitalist agenda. And this is dangerous, because capitalists do not choose technology willy-nilly, but in order to maximise power, as has been shown time and again by critical historians of technology.”

Amazon relies on a certain way of organizing the human relationship with the environment. Each item for sale on Amazon’s website, its energy-guzzling “cloud” data servers, its gossamer logistical systems which enable same-day delivery, is tied with a million threads to use of carbon sinks and the atmospheric space for CO2 emissions. These occur without the permission of humanity.”

To meet UK electric car targets in 30 years, the (British) Isles would need twice current world annual production of cobalt. It would swallow up current world production of neodymium, gobble three-fourths of world lithium production and at least half the world’s copper. If mileage did not shrink, to charge that monster fleet an additional 20% of current UK-generated electricity would be needed …. Cobalt, one necessary mineral, is kept cheap by a half century of neo-colonial massacre in the Congo, and lithium extraction turns on the mangling of Latin American water tables. Even now Microsoft, Tesla, and Dell are being sued for being party to child labor in the Congo mines that supply material for the batteries that keep their doodads cheap and briskly selling.”

Ajl emphasizes that technological futurism cannot be discussed in isolation from the interests and voices that fund and imagine it. Popular control of knowledge and deliberation of its impacts is dismissed in favor of techno-utopias dreamed up through visions of human exploitation, despite the window dressing of “fully-automated communism” or (white) working-class ecological politics. Technology, no matter how “green,” is therefore always political.

On the colonial violence of suggesting “global veganism”

Plant or culture-based meats … now rely on tremendous inputs of energy, and according to lifecycle assessments, may be more carbon-intensive than cows.” … “We have to keep in mind that the problem is not meat, but certain kinds of meat production: capitalist concentrated animal feeding operations.”

The demand that meat-eating cease … creates northern consensus around encouraging, coercively or otherwise, transformations of how people live. It also creates a justification for unnatural ‘climate solutions’ based around biofuels and bioenergy or ‘afforestation’ based on trash-tree plantations which will allow the great petroleum corporations to keep burning their assets, to great profit. And it will be the poor who will suffer.

A People’s Green New Deal would never impose universal cultural blueprints. It would not continue imposing imaginaries of human-nature relations from entitled Northern countries onto all people of the world through strategies like “compulsory global veganism” or “half-earth” conservation. Such tactics would scream colonialism and border on eco-fascism.

On ways forward

Although we should embrace scientific advance in healthcare, from regrowing knee cartilage to organ transplants, the obstacle to world-class worldwide universal healthcare is not technological. It’s social. It demands a social revolution to shatter the capitalist organization of healthcare and to restructure it as primarily care-centered, preventative, and decentralized.

If social wealth is generally allocated based on labor inputs, relatively labor-intensive agroecology will receive more compensation…Command measures ought to extend to phase-outs of industrial agriculture, which has no justification for existing, and wholesale shifts in research spending away from conventional agricultural research and towards agroecology.”

Land should be redistributed everywhere. Each country should have total control over the food import and export trade, so that food dumping is impossible. Communities rather than farms should be in control of water, seed, and eventually land. This is the agenda of food sovereignty.

Intra-urban transportation would occur on bicycles, electronic bicycles, and mass transit, from trolleys to trains, where possible. Private cars would be most often reserved for ambulances and emergency transport – the times and places where society can collectively decide to use the fruits of inherently damaging industrial production in order to protect and convenience human life.”

Shifting from brick cladding, vinyl windows, asphalt shingles, and fiberglass insulation to a wood-frame house which substitutes those other products with cedar shingles and siding, wood windows, and insulation made from cellulose can convert such a home into a net absorber of CO2 emissions provided that when the house is demolished, the material is recycled instead of entering a landfill.

A People’s Green New Deal devotes its second half to sketching alternatives to the ‘Green Deal’ idea that put power back into the hands of workers, recognizing crucially how the production of “green” means exploitation of people especially in the Global South. It proposes several key improvements in terms of worker-controlled production; quality and anti-imperialist healthcare; urban re-design; large-scale agrarian reform and the dismantling of agri-business; intra-regional and collectively-controlled transportation systems, and locally-appropriating siting and construction of widespread social housing among other strategies.

In reflection: Thinking with and beyond A People’s Green New Deal for anti-imperialist organizing

Ajl’s A People’s Green New Deal has enormous implications for many who have put their eggs in the basket of “green” environmental politics. It is a wake-up call (or perhaps a slap in the face) to eco-minded social democrats, left liberals, and Green Party followers in rich countries to reassess the colonial violence of their proposals. Ajl stresses that Green New Deals have failed to center the rising tide of dissent ranging from Indigenous sovereignty on Turtle Island to Palestine, to the abolition of systemic racism and carceral assaults as demanded by “Black Lives Matter”, to reproductive control over (femme) bodies, to material transfers of “Land Back” and ecological debt reparations. A People’s Green New Deal redefines (or perhaps defines more clearly) what a just transition implies. Thus far, it is only the degrowth movement in the Global North that makes advances to redirecting the violent processes of growth; though tweaking the machinery of “growth” requires an explicitly anti-imperialist emphasis. As Ajl makes resoundingly clear, “greening” must be redirected as an international class struggle and demand for Indigenous sovereignty. The only way to do this is to ensure transfer of wealth back to those it was stolen from in the form of payment of climate debt (and ecological debt more broadly).

Yet, the means by which such a profound cultural shift can be accomplished leaves the reader somewhat wanting. Ajl notes that “being has a tendency to determine consciousness”, referring to the fact that Global North bodies are less likely to feel and experience the effects of imperialism due to the comforts that they’ve inherited and continue to obtain from an “imperial mode of living”. The problem is simple, yet difficult to overcome: the absence of crucial experience in the inherited comfort of middle-class bodies without which the true depth and nature of ecological crises as a class struggle is potentially not graspable nor perceivable. As Catherine Liu recently writes in Virtue Hoarders: The Case against the Professional Managerial Class, we left progressives in electoral politics, academia, journalism, and other facets of the creative sectors and knowledge economy refuse to talk about class or class consciousness in proposing solutions to things like social and ecological crises. As a result of repeatedly masking questions of our class status with deference to increased gender and racial identity politics and tolerance, the outcome over the past four decades has been an ultimate boon to neoliberal capitalism. Moreover, the perfectionist tendency to “be” and embody anti-oppressiveness as the key to social change excludes people that do not live up to a constructed (though often unspoken) ideal depicting a sort of commitment to struggle. It has also resulted in alienating allies for changing their minds or making mistakes. These legacies of a neoliberal era occur due to a deeply individualizing ethos of personal responsibility that permeates palpably in spaces of well-meaning self-identifying left progressives. The consequence has been the generation of new forms of leftist accommodation within liberal market economies around knowledge generation, and more detrimentally, a pernicious intransigence to truly organize in solidarity across class divides. The potential of engaging in anti-imperialist eco-socialist politics without falling into the trap of an identitarian bourgeois politics of anti-oppression Olympics needs careful attention yet is all too often brushed aside.

For others in less comfortable positions but who are able to get a foot in the door to the fabled “American”, “Canadian”, or “European” dream (even in the abject exploitation of their labor they may experience), the pressure to prove oneself as an entrepreneurial and well-behaved visible or cultural minority enormously sets back the possibility for working class solidarity. Given this gulf of class difference, through what cultural means can class convergence take form in practice? How might this arise? What will it take for comfortable, even anti-racist eco-minded liberal progressive Westerners (and other privileged groups elsewhere) to recognize that Indigenous sovereignty, Third World working class struggle, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) peoples’ dreams for the future, and religious caste oppression are not side objectives, but fundamental for reversing ecological breakdown, generating and resurrecting alternative relations and relationships into being?

Alternatively, why should “greening” strategies direct attention to comfortable middle class Westerners at all? Why even (re)center voices of those who can’t possibly understand the material and everyday violence inflicted on countless people? Would it not make more sense for this demographic to cede place entirely and listen (for a change) by following the lead of those who have been and continue to be violently erased in the name of colonizer ecology? If this latter, what might this look like? These are questions that are left open in trying to imagine a “People’s Green New Deal” in action. It is here where thinking about organizing for anti-imperialist solidarity in the context of generational imperial living could benefit from both class- and region-specific context. What can liberal progressive-minded people in North America learn about “greening” from racial, labour, and decolonial struggles in their own communities? How have middle classes in places like Chile and Ecuador amplified voices and contributed through meaningful rather than performative allyship in anti-imperialist struggles?

Ajl raises some relevant points on the question of national sovereignty from imperialist resource and labour grabs, to reclaim popular control over the means of governing and administering resources in a society, and the role of a national governing body as an appropriate jurisdiction to ensure climate and ecological debts are transferred and appropriately administered. At the same time, he rightly stresses the “hierarchical international system organized around nation states.” Here, some greater clarification is needed. Since demands for national sovereignty often work in parallel to demands around land rights within capitalist political and economic relations, similar questions arise. Both have to do with understanding sovereignty not as a codifiable “right” but as a legitimate relationship. On the one hand, recognition of land rights and nation states are necessary to reclaim autonomy over cultural and economic lifeways; while on the other hand, they reduce diverse political subjectivities and relationships of territory to that of land or “national identity” as an entity to possess and enclose, to erect exclusionary borders around, to ally with or war against. How can overtly or indirectly socialist-oriented governments like Bolivia, Venezuela, and now Chile (under newly-elected Gabriel Boric) effectively reclaim popular control when they are at the same time imbricated within capitalist global markets for primary resources? What unintended effects does the stickiness of globalized markets and their infiltration into anti-imperialist ecosocialist national projects engender? Furthermore, how might the ‘national question’ support Indigenous sovereignty and demands for “Land Back” in different parts of the world? The potentially messy confluence between national sovereignty and a broader vision for an anti-imperialist (and thus anti-capitalist) internationalism needs some fleshing out. What comes first, a popular struggle to demand a fully internationalist anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist world order or nation states etching out sovereign ecosocialist agendas within an ossified and violently militarized capitalist world order? A People’s Green New Deal would require further guidance as to which of these strategies comes first as well as how they might interact or counteract each other.

Finally, Ajl argues that casting a glance away from these questions and instead turning to what is “feasible” or “pragmatic,” as liberal progressive professional managerial classes in the Global North all too often do, effectively confirms that the exploitation of people and nature from a fabricated Third World is an unquestioned necessity. But the questions of how to combat the always-present penchant for pragmatism, even among comrades on the Left, as well as the unexpected outcomes of trying to realize idealized forms of popular sovereignty and control among extremely heterogeneous and internally fractured societies remain open ones. Greater clarity is needed on how anti-imperialist local direct action or municipalisms can better align with an anti-imperialist internationalism, while perhaps reducing the role of the nation state to facilitating this convergence process.

Ajl rightly emphasizes that the “Left” is by no means organized enough. It is clear that status quo establishment has a firm hand in the driver’s seat of a melting planet when tax-evading fortune-500 companies own more wealth than entire countries (with politicians blithely casting their glance away and indeed participating in tax evasion schemes themselves), when stock market bros capitalize upon sophisticated machine learning to squeeze profits from Wall Street, or when eco-fascist elements carry on the legacy of systemic and historical Eurocentric imperialism in “solutions” like replacing (certain) human populations with pristine wilderness. Dislodging this cabal of eco-modernists (regardless of their capitalist or socialist inclinations) through popular revolt has never been more urgent and yet seemingly so far away. A global “People’s Green New Deal” therefore demands that our ecological practice is anti-colonial and anti-imperialist or nothing at all.

Appropriate Tech

I am presenting to you an article that has some amazing insight into the nature of technology.  REAL Green adaptation is primarily a system to reconcile technology and spirituality.  The REAL Green message is meant for more affluent westerners.  I am relatively affluent so I will not pretend to be an expert on what is best for the poorer subsistence farmers of the world.

This article is directed to their protection and advancement through “AT” appropriate technology.  The affluent need to reflect on “AT” as a new benchmark.  An alternative to the status quo of ever-expanding efficiency and tech that is clearly failing to delivery real happiness is now needed more than ever.

The wisdom of what tech and knowledge to use and what to reject is a key aspect of REAL Green.  This article lays forth a foundational approach to this wisdom from the tech perspective.  Those in the 3rd world are the beacon now in regard to appropriate tech.  Those in the first world the problem with high tech.  The planet is in decline and in need of beacons and less problems.

I recommend you read the article I linked.  In this post I am highlighting terms, nomenclature, and definitions from this article mainly to digest the best points.  These notes are useful to explain green prepping tech.  Appropriate technology is central to localism and permaculture of REAL Green.

My goal in REAL Green is to get affluent westerners closer to appropriate technology.  REAL Green considers decline an unstoppable force now.   The embrace of the affluent with tech and efficiency is complete now meaning the penetration of tech and efficiency into our lives can’t be reduced. 

Affluent people are trapped in an unsustainable world of ever-increasing demands for tech to solve problems.  This is now the problem.  Affluents are trapped in carbon and the path dependencies of growth.  This trap is the culture we are locked into so adaptation is only incremental and marginal. 

We affluent westerners are comfort and convenience driven consciously and subconsciously.  Technology is central to our lives directly and indirectly.  This is a self-organizing systematic process beyond human control.  If there is human control at this point it is just exacerbating the negative process through delusions and denial.

Reason itself is corrupted in scientism.  Human wisdom is not trusted with trust given to algorithms and automation developed by compromised humans.  This means the damaged will be swift and brutal if more care is not taken.  Machines have no empathy or compassion and those who employ these tools have malice in their hearts.

My goal is to get people to develop a wisdom that is primarily focused on throttling down the affluence of the modern world.  This throttling is relative and realistic to the local of people and place.  My point is there is no way to go back completely to this AT world for the affluent people short of collapse.

The affluent can walk back a great deal and doing so can improve resilience and sustainability.  This strategy is then a lifeboat and hospice approach of small groups and individuals who can learn from the subsistence people our society has been colonizing for centuries now.  We can learn from them and be the ones colonized with a wisdom that seeks less of what we have become.  

This article is useful to know what direction we need to go in but we are not in the same world as these subsistence people this article reaches out to.  In the past we forced these subsistence people into our world of novel tech.  Now a forced planet and unwinding civilization will force us affluents back to the world of appropriate tech found among the subsistence peoples of the world. 

Techno fake greens take note.  Your world of wind and solar are a ruse for what is really green.  Renewables have a place in the world of decline now being entered but NetZero is a lie.  Green new deals are just more of the same tech and efficiency that guarantee failure.  This article addresses the correct path forward all true greens should reflect on.

“Appropriate Technology, Traditional Cultures and Degrowth”  by Alex Jensen, originally published by Local Futures.  I found it here:  https://www.resilience.org/stories/2021-12-14/appropriate-technology-traditional-cultures-and-degrowth/

Notes from appropriate technology:

The industrial-capitalist-technological system

novel ‘needs’ are manufactured

boundaries and norms of comfort and convenience are continually reshaped socially necessary

 ever-accelerating throughput of matter-energy and output of waste

Technological planned obsolescence begets material objects of short functional lifespan but nearly permanent environmental harm

being made of industrial processes and toxic substances that do not return safely to the environment (e.g. plastics, stain-resistant coatings with toxic ‘forever chemicals’, heavy metals

From an ethical and sustainability perspective, the reigning technological system is fundamentally in-appropriate but wearing the mantle of high-positivist and rationalist science

Rube Goldberg machine, where solutions, no matter how brilliant in isolation, are applied to either ridiculous ends or a ridiculous complication of means.  Each stage of the unnecessary or absurd contraption itself produces a new series of problems requiring further (profitable) technical mitigation, treatment, and ‘externalization’ (i.e. dumping) in turn.

technologies are whimsical cartoons

life cycle assessment

surplus exchange value for profits, rather than use or subsistence value for needs.

insidious seductiveness, since it disperses, mystifies and socializes its real costs in time and space, causing a “non-intersection between advantages that are privately consumable and disadvantages that have to be borne collectively

socially paid but nevertheless hidden from the end consumer. Only by way of this accounting legerdemain can complicated high-tech devices appear “efficient” against simple manual tools.

use value over exchange value; social necessity; place-based, hand-made and low- or no-energy; non-polluting; durable but also ultimately safely bio-degradable; democratic and decentralized; and non-alienating

the avoidance of technical interventions and superfluous innovations where none are needed, or where their utility may be overwhelmed by their harms: the sufficiency principle, and the precautionary principle, respectively.

I would also call this the ‘a-novation’ principle – the application of intelligence and creativity to not-doing, to non-production.

nothing should be made by man’s labor that is not worth making, or which must be made by labor degrading to the makers

Traditional/original AT, based on communal social arrangements, hand-crafted from local, natural materials that cultures have used since centuries mostly for subsistence purposes, satisfies practically all of the principles of deep sustainability.

contra modernist prejudices

externalized costs

modern AT (aka Intermediate Technology)

indirect pollution

technologies graft well onto and enhance the subsistence economy while responding to novel challenges of modernity, and maintaining critical qualities like autonomy and cooperation

some of them necessitate entanglement with the cash economy.

modern ATs as solar cookers and water heaters, rocket stoves, ram pumps, trombe walls and other passive solar building techniques are widespread.

This belies misconceptions of traditional cultures as static and closed; indeed, traditional ATs themselves are the result of centuries of careful refinement and innovation

chief disadvantage of both traditional AT and modern AT vis-à-vis modern high-tech is precisely in their non-mystifying nature: less privatized convenience borne of cost-shifting.

This lack of ‘convenience’, conventionally conceived, and the physical muscle input required in its use have been the very features of traditional tech long denigrated as backward,

pretext for colonial intervention and domination.

traditional cultures are eroded by incorporation into the extractive global economy. This is of particular concern at a time when living examples of AT and sustainable modes of social organization are so desperately needed as lighthouses by which to navigate the downscaling of industrial society.

still being muscle-powered enough to stop short of an energy stroke” of the sort suffered by the over-developed societies.

reversion to simpler, manually-powered AT

praise of traditional AT mere romanticization?

convenience through mechanization and automation under the banner of technological progress

epidemics of both physical and mental illth

lack of ‘conveniences’, facilitating reasonable and necessary bodily exertion and movement, connection to nature, and alleviation of loneliness.

AT movement, intermeshed with the degrowth movement, is doing exactly this sort of ‘reverse development’, re-peasantization and deliberate in-conveniencing, motivated both by ethical objections to the socialized harms of high-tech, and by practical ones of independence and autonomy, especially from centralized energy grids and fossil fuel oligarchies.

durable advantages

hegemony of the dominant system.

Agroecology

in the pursuit of “technological sovereignty

decommodify life through projects of sharing and repairing are also pointing the way towards a ‘social AT’: repair cafes,  remakeries, tool-lending libraries, and reskilling hubs.

planned obsolescence’ and criminalization of repair

not on ever more innovation, but rather ‘exnovation’ to dismantle harmful technologies and technological systems that are incompatible with eco-socially just futures.

There is no AT in traditional cultures independent of traditional community-based social arrangements: reciprocal labor sharing and care, mutual aid, and the like. The two are mutually constitutive.

Just as sustainability cannot be achieved merely by adding renewable electricity technologies to an otherwise unchanged consumerist-industrial growth economy, neither can AT in isolation make significant impact situated within an otherwise congenitally unsustainable system.

Unsustainable substitutions are often ushered in on the wake of community disintegration, and cause further such disintegration in turn, because by nature they obviate the community element, privatize the use and shift dependence to global industrial supply chains.

AT is therefore not just a matter of tools and artifacts, but requires supportive social and political-economic conditions.

smaller-scale, more localized, sufficiency economies

social maladies of alienation (from our own labor, ourselves, other people and nature)

downscale, decentralize and de-grow the economy

 This paper was originally presented at the online conference, “De-growth or Reinventing Life: Prospects and Projects”, 4-6 October 2021, by the M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies ‘Metamorphoses of the Political

simplicity

I wrote 8 pages on simplicity and realized that is not simplicity so I am going to struggle and keep this short. 

 “Plain question and plain answer make the shortest road out of most perplexities.”

– Life on the Mississippi – Mark Twain

“The clever will be deceived”

Somewhere in my readings of Taoism I read this.   Maybe it is my quote.  I can’t find it.

This is the passage where the rich man runs up to Jesus and says,

“Teacher, what must I do to experience eternal life?” and Jesus responds by saying, “Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor…for it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Mark 10:17-31

The truth is only found in simplicity for the truth is simple complexity.  It is this incongruous juxtaposition that is paradoxical.  The circular nature of the human condition written about by the greatest of those in the past points to a cycle of knowing and not knowing.  This can’t be deviated from.  It is the central nature of intelligence because it is only by losing ourselves, we find ourselves.  This is true of the individual as well as the collective.

If you want to find the truth at some point you must stop looking.  You have to look and this is part of it.  You will not find it and this is part of it.  This is the way and it is the simplicity of this process that is required.  Nothing is simpler than failure.  All is found in failure.  You are naked and alone and it is at that point you find it.

The collective is at this point.  You may be there too as the individual.  The collective is locked into this process beyond human intervention because this is the self-organizing process of billions of decisions that must run its course.  This is the consequences of complicated behavior in a complexity of civilization.  The end game is destruction because this is the basics of the dualism found in humanism.  Fighting it just makes it worse.  Embrace humility and failure by acceptance.

You the individual on the other hand can embrace this locally in people and place even within this end game of civilization where civilization discovers it is naked and alone.  You can find the burst of constructive growth within the destructive process of the human ecosystem self-destructing in its late stage.  You can’t transcend this but it can be transformed.

Simplicity is required.  Go into nature and become natural.  This is relative and realistic within the trap you are in.  The trap is the same for all individuals.  It is now all of our civilization that is unravelling.  Grace will visit you.  It will trick you by you outwitting your wit.  You will only find this through simplicity because an oak can’t grow in the desert.  Birds can’t fly in the sea.  Man can’t know the truth.  He can only get closer to it in humility.

Green Decline

The life I am living is in preparation for this collapse scenario.  Collapse is not popular.  People entertain it like they do when they study a disease, they think they might have.  They do this in a quiet secretive way.  My site is not very popular because of what I discuss.  If I were more uplifting, I may get more traction.  I am not seeking popularity nor recognition.  In fact, I want neither.  I want to give to a few of you something that will change your life.  It will be you that changes your life not me.  I am just showing you a door to open.

My response to this aversion is that so many people miss the liberating aspect of green prepping.  It is truly the most important nonimportant lifestyle people could follow today.  I say nonimportant because society considers it fringe and just for curiosity.  It is considered a hobby just like hobby farming which is actually much more.  Many hobby farmers would only be farmers if they could make a living at it.  Decline is not taken seriously.  It is taboo in many circles.  We are told to be optimistic and happy instead.

I explain this disregard for embracing decline and collapse as path dependencies and the trap of affluence.  The trap of the worship of science and the arrogance of humanism.  Humans are now hard wired with transhumanism and delocalized lifestyles.  Any contemplation of simplicity and localism has little traction other than in nostalgia.  I myself that live this life do it in a surreal and dualistic way.  I have come to a way of adapting to these mutually exclusive life systems by a hybridization.

I use the status quo of growth to leave it.  I leverage the status quo to build up my local and get positioned for a simpler life.  What this means is living a dual life of conventional growth and non-conventional growth.  You will need to grow either way.  Constructive growth locally in permaculture with renewal and restoration is essential to life.  The status quo growth of getting wealthy and comfortable is a delusion. 

The local world I am trying to return to has been dismantled from many decades of modernization and it has to be rebuilt.  Simplicity needs tools and education.  You will also have to continue to live the status quo life or you may lose your family and be thrown to the street as homeless.  The reality of the status quo is you must produce status quo results are end up a ward of the state or homeless.  Profit drives survival in our status quo world, don’t think otherwise.

There are some exceptions with the young who are unattached.  There are those who can come together as a group and do this move out of the status quo into a permaculture localism.  I am not speaking directly to these people.  I am speaking to people like me that have the time, money, and education.  I am trapped in affluence because of my people and place.  I accept this and wish it could be different. 

Most of these people I am speaking to will be middle age and older and have already experienced life.  They will have built up skill sets and established relationships.  They will have resources to make a move to different way of life.  I don’t offer much to urban people either.  My advice is, get out of cities while you still can.  I will not pretend to be an example for everyone.  I am just relating my experiences to those who might fit into my way of life.  Yet, there are many aspects that apply to all walks of life.

I have to respect those who can’t follow what I am preaching.  I have the time, money, and education and because of this it is my duty to do what I am doing.  I feel in no way superior nor judgmental on those who can’t.  Even the fools who are the robber barons and killers of nature I feel I am below.  They are the most deceived.  Their way is the most difficult.  You can never get enough affluence and knowledge which is basically what power is.  Power is an illness of the soul.  These people will never find true piece of mind.  Their empty soul will never be quenched because you can never get enough power.  The power of tech and affluence is a killer that causes self-destruction individually and collectively.

I am not going to pretend I am sheltered and others doomed.  This is not at all the case although I am prepped and will have options others don’t.  One thing I do not have is luck.   I have increased the odds but they are still odds and subject to luck.  I have the preparation but I do not have lady luck.  What I do have is proper preparations so if luck visits me it will prosper.  I will also know who she is because I will be humble and accepting for failure of everything I do.  If lady luck visits, then I have the potential to flourish in adversity.  This is the best it gets.  With REAL Green there are no assurances.  There are no places to hide.  You face death with dignity.  You seek to find a good death and find life in the process.

What I am doing has another silver lining if you want to take green prepping to a higher level.  What is green is more prepped and what is more prepped means more odds at survival.  What is green is more natural and a pathway to grace.  Keep in mind REAL Green is adamant about not being a religion.  It is an add-on spirituality to your existing spirituality.  It localizes and attempts to throttle down anti-life tech.  It attempts to embrace low carbon capture locally with efforts to harvest carbon naturally.  It attempts to gather carbon with lower tech. 

No tech is applied whenever possible which means embracing nature naturally.  Man is tech orientated so REAL Green does not attempt to dispense with tech.  Instead, what it does is humanizes it and seeks to eliminate the worship of tech. A proper REAL Green way is to live the status quo to leave it. 

This means triage, hybridization, and salvage.  The triage is removing the destructive growth from your lives that is leading to self-destruction.  The hybridization is taking the old ways of low tech or no tech and boosting them with the best of modern knowledge and material.  The salvage is being efficient with what you have.  Efficiency is a killer in the modern sense with ever rising need for performance.  This efficiency is different.  It means taking what you have and using it properly with applications.  This tech type is more related to conservation.

Salvage will be a critical element of decline.  In decline there will be abandonment, dysfunction, and the irrational ever more present.  This means an adaptation and mitigation through taking what you have and repurposing it.  This is not about hating tech either.  Tech is a natural response of our human essence so respect your nature.  Do not hate things either.  Consumerism is destructive and an illness but this does not mean hating the things you bought.  That is a complete waste.

Instead apply strategies of triage and hybridization to salvage what you have.  Many things have a high imbedded ecological cost.  Make use of this in the sense of avoiding obsolescence.  Trashing an item because something better is available is often a green downcycling.  You might think you are saving energy but instead you are increasing energy use.  The important aspect of salvage is seeking to lower the status quo and build up localism.

The biggest aspect to decline that is necessary is not the things you need but the attitudes.  You will need to go through an awakening that will transform your life.  You will need to reject scientism with its transhuman idols.  Tech and knowledge must be controlled with a proper wisdom.  This wisdom is of less and local.  It seeks proper scale.  This wisdom is a wisdom of insecurity.  You will accept failure and mortality and through this acceptance find a liberation to be optimistic. 

This is transmutation.  You will change state from a creature of the status quo to being natural in REAL Green but not without a purgatory of the surreal.  This transmutation will deliver you from the latent pessimism found in the cognitive dissonance of the anti-life of transhumanism and scientism.  This transmutation is changing back to the naturalness of pro-life.  This is a grace that comes from letting go and accepting mortality.  Tech and affluence are not going to save you.  This is what the priests of scientism want you to think.  This is their deceptive message.  What will save you is right in front of you and under your feet.  It is becoming real and authentic.

That was a wordy introduction to the next level up of collapse.  Remember in these chronicles I am showing collapse in an ascending way in optimism.  You started with all-down.  This is where you are in the belly of the best with the worst-case scenario.   Now you are in the guts of REAL Green which is a place of dignity and optimism albeit with respect for the pessimism of decline.  Your demons become angles and through this transmutation a grace of naturalness is found.

This is the life you will live where the effects of decline come naturally.  The all-down is a relatively swift death and destruction.  Green prepping allows you to find a good death in this situation.  You will find dignity and preparations for death but not a refuge.  There will be some lucky ones who will be the seed bed for the future but they will be few and far between.  Extinction is also possible but that is a given for all species eventually. 

In green decline you will have adequate resources to adapt and mitigate if lady luck visits you.  I say this because in this phase of decline there will be general decline with localized failure.  All-down is global failure.  To be successful in general decline it is absolutely critical to find the right local of people and place to increase your odds.  It is like finding the right job to advance your career.  There is no substitute for the proper place and people.  The key is a place to force multiple with relationships.  Community is a force multiplier so people are as important as place.  This is not a time for lone wolves.

This next level I called green decline.  The world is in decline and green is the new pathway not industrialization.  It is a pathway to renewal and restoration of people and place.  It is both material and spiritual.  It is with proper footprint yielding a powerful force multiplier of material and spirit.  The body of Christ so to speak is where the kingdom is.  I do not want to be religious here other than to point out that Christ mentioned community as the “salvic” ingredient to life.  Salvic here is saving grace that community opens up. 

In REAL Green the permaculture community grounded in localism with low tech is the gold standard.  This is permaculture farms orbiting a permaculture town.  This is it so quit complicating things as we do in the status quo where we search in vain for what is right in front of us.  This is so simple it is next to impossible for some to find.

The priests of scientism with their technocracy of increasing applications of knowledge and tech to further anti-life control is what you will want to reject.  Smart cities and centralized control are anti-life.  In this way scientism is evil.  Transhumanism is dehumanization.  Delocalization is invasive and disruptive.  Seek to leave this modern-day religion of affluence in a relative and realistic way.  Every institution is corrupted with this virus.  Every system coopted.  Accept this and use a spiritual judo to use it to leave it.

Get out of cities for they are where you will be deceived and turned against life.  Get out of the modern techno optimistic green lies and the color revolution tools of woke.  These are fascist lies.  Governments have combined with large monopolistic corporations to now drive these soulless changes.  There are the noble lies of our so-called betters who feel the sheeple can’t handle the truth.  The real problem with the truth is with these people.  They want to control you to maintain their wealth and power. 

There are no noble lies except with children.  With grown adults these are just lies of deception.  There are also the Marxist and Machiavellian lies of coercion that these elites use once the noble lies fail.  You must realize these people do not care about you at this level.  They can’t because so much of their energy must be expended to attain more affluence and power. 

Social justice and green policy are a lie today.  Normal greens and caring people have been coopted.  Science and academia are the deacons of these elite devils.  I do not trust science and have a huge disrespect for academia.  All I see with universities these days are shiny new buildings and bloated staff.  Professors are tenured and care little about the sanctity of the truth that knowledge is supposed to give us.  Everything in science and academia is corrupted by the profit motive now.

This is where we are at in society today with the globalist.  They are seeking to transform humanism in subversion to transhumanism.  This is the last stage of the destructive process of the arrogance of humanism.  This is where death is worshiped.  Humans can’t be trusted because they are irrational so instead, we trust algorithms and automation.  Nature can’t be trusted so we do geoengineering.  We are told to own nothing and we will be happy.  What this amounts to is an age-old elite capture technique.  Divide and conquer to assist the elites in their worship of affluence.  If you follow this you will die.  If you reject this you will find the truth.  It is as simple as this.

I have to reiterate this, leave cities and go rural if you can.  Cities are the cathedrals of scientism.  It is here you will be subject to the worst of its prescriptions.  If you can’t leave then at least be aware of what is being done to you.  Honesty is a prerequisite of the truth.  The consequences for this arrogance of humanism are now at the level of species extinction and abrupt change to all the planet’s systems.  The acceptance of this is embracing the truth. 

While many who worship scientism understand the consequences of modern man’s growth.   They are fooled at the next step of how to fix all the problems.  They are fooled by the priests of scientism who claim tech and knowledge are our only solution.  Tech as our savior is a false god.  Reject this or face the consequences of dehumanization.  REAL Green says this is a lie.  The only solution is a natural wisdom that seeks to minimize tech and knowledge.  Tech and knowledge must be placed properly or they are a destroyer of worlds. 

This does not mean anti-tech it just means properly applied tech.  Most often in this modern world this means rejecting new tech and instead downsizing in dignity.  You will find a spiritual windfall in being natural and authentic.  You will naturally find renewal and restoration in niches of constructive growth surrounded by a slow decline in succession of the planet, life system, and human civilization.  This wisdom will be what you employ to reduce transhumanism and delocalization.  You can’t leave these forces because these are the conditions of this new age of the Anthropocene.  But you can adapt them to prepare for the next age that is the breakup of the Anthropocene where nature reestablishes its order.

This ascending level of an optimistic decline is the one I am planning and working towards.  This means a life of permaculture.  It means learning new skills that revolve around low carbon capture locally with others.  This will only be a niche movement.  Most people will be hostage to transhumanism and delocalization.  Yet, at some point these pockets of permaculture localism will be vital as this world of transhumanism and delocalization self-destructs.  It will be these locations that will harbor the skills and knowledge to rebuild locals.

This is why I often speak of the monasteries of knowledge and things.  You can use consumerism now to buy things and sources of knowledge that will be vital post collapse.  In the decline phase of green decline, you will be gathering knowledge preferably in books and art to guide those who will come afterwards to a more harmonious and balance life in nature. 

You will buy tools and machines that will assist this process.  Quality items with time proven uses that are low impact.  You will gather these together in a barn just like has always been done.  You will store these out of the weather and continually debate through your REAL Green wisdom what should be kept and what should be triaged out.  There is not enough room for everything so you must choose wisely what you store in your life boat.

This monastery is about education too.  It is here you will instruct those who show an interest for what is REAL Green.  You will advise and instruct so these people take knowledge to other locals and fortify them.  Hopefully this green wisdom will be contagious.  This is also about spirituality.  I am a green mystic and shaman.  Not all are called to this.  Some of you will be carpenters or metal workers.  Some of you teachers or doctors.  Know thyself and grace will inspire you. 

My calling is to be a spiritual advisor on REAL Green.  The planet has instructed me to do this.  No, it did not speak to me.  It instructed me through my life experience.  I listened and understood what to do.  I have had spiritual experiences both in the light and the darkness.  I have been awakened and transformed.  I now go forth on behalf of the planet.  My higher power is mystic meaning I have given up on knowing and now go forth naturally on the unknowable behalf.

This is a surreal way of life.  If you pulled up to my homestead you would not see that much difference from other homesteads.  In fact, my permaculture is likely less potent than others who are more skilled.  Remember I am a green shaman so a spiritual advisory.  My permaculture is secondary to this spiritual permaculture.  I have modern things.  You will see my energy gathering devices.  My solar panels will be of interest but normal.  You will see my wood boiler.  You will see my elaborate grazing system.  None of this is out of the ordinary.  It is just a typical farm.  I have equipment and furniture just like everyone else.

It is digging deeper that the REAL Green prepping and spiritual permaculture bubbles up.  Everything I do is influenced by REAL Green prepping so if you would dig deeper, you would see a transmutation of a different state of consciousness.  Taking this deeper as a green shaman I would take you to your more natural state like the oaks and the birds. 

I would tell you that you can’t find this it will find you.  All you can do is open up to this.  It is only found in acceptance of death which is the wisdom of insecurity.  It is the wisdom that yields the humility that offers the grace that will lead you away from the anti-life of scientism and to the pro-life of permaculture localism.

You will see my library and art collection.  My maps and painting will be of curiosity but without digging deeper you will not see their meaning.  Most of my painting are Native American.  This is the time we will need to return to Native American ways.  It is the time of preparations for some of the basics of the oral culture of these semi-nomadic hunter gathers.  It is not likely I will get there but this next or the generation after will. 

My library is full of history books.  Many have old photos.  Many books are how-to books recovering the lost ways of the past.  Many books are books on comparative religions and spiritualties.  Remember REAL Green is not a spirituality so much as a way to bring honesty back to your existing spirituality by becoming natural.

You will see my carbon capture devices with wood, animals, and plants.  You will see a permaculture design.  Again, I am not an expert in permaculture.  I’m getting good with goats and cattle but with my garden, grapes, and orchard I am not an expert.  I have them because these types of things are required of a well-balanced permaculture homestead. 

I am a specialist in a few things but a generalist in many things. I can do carpentry and be a mechanic but this is not my specialty.  I try to surround myself with people who have specialties.  This is the nature of permaculture farms orbiting a permaculture town.  Various specialties will be in each farm with concentrations in the towns.  All together this is a powerful system embracing the planetary ways of life.

I have cars, tractors, computers.  I have electric devices.  I am essentially modern.  This is because I am realistic and relative to my local of people and place that is highly delocalized and transhuman.  Even in the Ozarks of Missouri this is the case.  Even rural areas are now adapted to the technocrat lifestyles of the cities.  I am no different.  In fact, I am a kind of oasis in a transhuman world. 

I have reached out with localism everywhere I go but the time is not right yet.  People are so indoctrinated and attached to these transhuman delocalized conditions my calls to embrace permaculture localism falls on death ears. In fact, I do not even talk about REAL Green unless asked and even then, I do it in a camouflaged way or else I will be judge as a nutter.  It is better to use trickery to get people to be natural.

So, I come across as normal but a bit odd.  I can’t hide everything and really don’t try to hide REAL Green that much.  It is just I respect the fact most people can’t handle too much truth so I give it out in small doses.  Keep in mind I do this in humility and obligation.  I am in no way superior and in fact I am the servant of others. 

Christ talks about this.  You will be humble and have compassion and empathy for others.  You will also have to have compassion for yourself because this life is so difficult to follow.  You are an imperfect vessel of the truth do not beat yourself up over this.  You will constantly be faced with challenges but also ones that are part of the surreal of living a life to leave it.  You will constantly be faced with a local of people and place delocalized and embracing transhumanism.

I define transhumanism deeper than the normal definition.  My definition includes the car and the digital culture.  The standard meaning today is merging tech with life with implants.  This is just transhumanism taken to the extreme.  The transhumanism I talk about is what happens when we rely too much on cars and computers.  We are setting ourselves up for hunger and pain unfortunately.  There is no future in the car and digital culture. 

Keep in mind I am transhumanized and delocalized.  I am fighting it or it is better to say utilizing it.  Fighting something is less effective than harnessing it.  This is like entering a river and swimming with the current but at an angle instead of head on. 

It is not possible for me to leave this transhuman delocalized world but there are others who can.  If you can, leave it.  Go to a rural place and engage in permaculture.  This should be spiritual permaculture also which is the embrace of green spirituality.  You can include your existing higher power.  We all have a higher power which is just our source of meaning and truth.  If you don’t have this then I can’t offer you much because what I speak of is challenging and requires sacrifice.  Without meaning you will not make it.

The next in my collapse chronical series will be a review of prepping strategies.  I don’t want to dwell too much on these strategies and technics because there is a wealth of information on-line to draw from.  Yet, it is important to review the basics.  Some of these I will be using and some are not relevant to me. 

It is important to be prepped in my opinion.  This is what our ancestors did because they were more exposed to crisis situations regularly.  Their daily lives were more precarious and the times were much more brutal for those unprepared.  Today there are safety nets and emergency services.  The reason you will want to prep is because these are luxuries of affluence that may not always be available.  It is my opinion the next generation will be faced with challenges we have not seen in hundreds of years.  You can prepare these people as teachers and spiritual advisors.

All-Down

I am going to start with the bad one.  This would be a situation where civilization is damaged beyond repair.  These kinds of events could be nuclear war, cascading world war without Nuks, and natural events.  Climate change and net energy decline don’t fit this category but will be discussed in the next step up in my series where collapse is an accelerating process but not catastrophic.  This less severe decline type develops within the global system with time to adapt.  The sudden loss of electrical grid and primary energy supplies for transport across the globe will be catastrophic.  The critical element of human collapse or not is degree and duration of shock.  This dictates species survival and we are no different.  All-down differs by being an event and being global. 

The natural events that could strike would be a caldera volcano, severe solar flares, and an asteroid.  Any natural event that would end the resource chains of primary energy and the value chains of industrial economy would bring down civilization.  Surprisingly, this breakdown is easier to occur than many would care to consider.  The loss of the grid is an end game.  If the grid goes down so does civilization.  Without electricity our overextended way of life collapses.  The grid is very fragile so do not take it for granted.

There are few refuges from this all-down collapse because of population levels and consumption profiles.  Even sustainable places with low consumption profiles will suffer the waste steam of collapsing industrial civilization and the movement of peoples from overpopulated areas.  All sustainable peoples are only partial sustainable because of delocalization.  Even the poor subsistence farmer still gets products from the globalized world.  In an all-down ALL are at the mercy of fate. 

The waste stream of nuclear waste ponds boiling dry is just one example of poisons leaching across the planet from system failure of centuries of human development.  This would be a very dirty event so any of those extremist environmentalists that lust for an industrial civilization collapsed are sadly mistaken.  This will be a global destructive event that will likely do more harm than a gentler decline process of managed destructive change.  The dirtiness of it will threaten all other life with dramatic decline in ecosystem health.  As an environmentalist I seek managed change and understand and accept what we have done to the planet.  A human die-off will do more harm than good for life.  A slower power-down is more desirable.

I have been a doomer and prepper since 2000.  I didn’t know fully what that meant back then but I had a gut feel for decline having researched extensively multiple different fields that appeared to me interconnected.  I am a generalist not a specialist.  This has allowed me to see things the best minds don’t see because of their fact prejudice from specialization.  I also tag different collapse variables as less severe than the experts portray.  This applies to climate change that is far too hyped in regards to other variables.  Climate change is bad but it is not alone. 

It is more the convergence of several variables that is the issue.  The runway train of technological development is a central element to all man’s problems and potential solutions.  We are digging a hole deeper with our worship of technological progress.  It is our evolutionary dead end.  Individually get out of this worship if you want to improve your survival profile.

I differentiate decline and collapse for a very important reason.  While collapse is always possible, collapse is an event.  Decline is a process.  Collapse actually applies more to localized collapse mirroring the global ecosystem with localized failure but only general decline.  I have found human civilization mirrors natural ecosystems so follow the science of ecology to understand what is happening to our global civilization.

I saw right through the hollow social narrative of techno progress years ago on multiple levels.  I entertained renewables in the 90s.  I made plans up for an off-grid cabin back when it was a more a curiosity.   I researched renewables extensively in the 2000s watching their development.  I came to the fair conclusion a few years ago they will not transition us from fossil fuels with a status quo of affluence or anything close. 

NetZero renewable systems will stall at 30-40% primary power in most places and even then, cause dramatic drops in affluence.  By the way I have a 3600-watt solar system with battery and inverter.   I know firsthand the pluses and minuses.  Renewables are vital to a managed decline by offering diversity but will not save us.  I mention this because they could cause our ability to resist an all-down worse if not properly applied.  Today’s NetZero is a dangerous plan that will expose civilization to collapse dangers.

I have always mentioned on various sites where I was in conversations about renewables that energy is only part of the reason behind the overall decline process.  There are multiple reasons for decline and no single one is the primary driver rather it is the convergence and negative reinforcement of all of them driving the system into destructive change.  This change includes abandonment, dysfunction, and the irrational.

Improper human decisions are a huge problem today with technological progress.  Destructive change includes the abstract and physical of the human system.  It is self-organizing with billions of carbon trapped and path dependent decisions.  In my opinion it is unstoppable so don’t fight it with denial and poor lifestyle thinking we can power out of this.

If the grid goes down and no resupply is possible, I will turn to my stocks of food, equipment, and energy.  I have guns and ammo.  I have medical supplies.  I have water equipment.  I have a working farm that can be turned to for food.  I have livestock guardian dogs for security.  I have fuel stocked up.  I have a lot of goods to barter.  I have a lot of alternative equipment to utilize when all else fails.  I have a garden, orchard, grapes, natural forage, and hunting. 

This sounds great for me but it is not what you think.  All this stuff just delays the inevitable unless lady luck spares me.  These blessings of luck will be few in an all-down.  I do not expect to survive long in an all-down.  I am not in denial and I live day by day contemplating death as a safety valve for fear.  If you live with death, it becomes your friend advising you on how to live life fully.  I often speak of allowing your demons to become angles.  Hell is here on earth so face it and you will find beauty and grace.

Yet, I can survive several months like this if not attacked or overwhelmed by the needy.  In this extreme all-down case, I will likely be short on help.  In milder cases I am a go-to place for my family as a safe house.  In extreme cases I doubt my family will make it here.  I am talking greater family.  My immediate family of wife and two 14-year-old boys are here with me most of the time.  Although they may not be here when the event strikes.  If all-down hits and it is just me here on the farm the difficulties will be enormous.  Warm bodies are essential to surviving collapse for multiple reasons including division of labor but also morale.

Labor is going to be an issue although too many mouths to feed is an issue too pointing to a sweet spot.  Preparations are required to support more people and more people are required to extend out survivability.  My wife and 14-year-olds will help but the reality is without a grid and fossil fuels I will need 12 people minimum.  This will be for home economics.  We will need to forage and hunt.  We will need a security detail.  Water will need to be gathered daily.  There will need to be shifts so rest can be had.

In the first months my backup generator will assist my solar to keep my freezers cold and give us light.  If this happens in the winter, I will have the solar to run my wood boiler which heats my home and shop.  My backup fuel will go many months if I husband it.  This will eventually run out.  My solar and battery may breakdown but will probably continue on for years.  Still if the solar breaks down it will be of little use since resupply of replacement parts will not be an option.  Something as small as a fuse will stop it if I don’t have a spare.  I have a stock of candles and other light devices but these too will run out. 

In this extreme situation the basics in regards to equipment will last a relatively short time and be highly at risk of permanent breakdown.  Having all the spare parts needed is quite an effort.  I have lots of backup but it is never enough.  Yet, I will likely have a grace period to organize and implement a longer-term survival plan.  Eventually that plan will have to be human and animal labor with local biomass.

I have a stock of charcoal to cook with.  I have a large propane tank to use for cooking.  My wood boiler produces charcoal in its process that I can utilize.  Yet, these things will run out or break eventually.  So, cooking will at some point need to be with a wood fire.  I have a wood stove that is an oven I can utilize.  This will be a great item to draw upon because cooking over an open fire is messy and exposes you to the elements. 

I will make an effort to immediately start foraging and hunting.  Keep in mind others will likely be doing this too so I expect the deer, turkey, and rabbit populations to be decimated quickly but this depends on how many people survive me locally.  Lots of things like blackberries, walnuts, acorns are available around my farm.  There are many eatable greens. 

It matters what time of the year this all-down hits.  An all-down in the deep of winter will make everything all the more difficult here in the Ozarks.  The fact that I have months of long shelf-life food will power me through this dangerous period.  If you can buy some long shelf-life food.  Have two months minimum.  Your pantry will empty quickly and the freezer even quicker.  Your freezer may not have power making it useless in day.  It is an insurance policy that will give you breathing room to make proper decisions.

In an all-down any animal will be game.  Any kind of meat will be used.  Dead animals will be utilized depending on how decomposed.  Remember I have 4 dogs that will need to be fed too.   They have no problem eating dead animals.  They eat the equivalent to a man.  I may be short on labor for all tasks making the effort of hunting, foraging, and preparing food a time juggle with other efforts.  Food is a critical element so you will need to rid your mind of any food prejudices.  I fast twice a week and I can tell you it never gets comfortable.  I have been fasting for 10 years both for health reasons and prep.  I am used to it but there is something about an empty stomach for 36 hours that focuses thoughts.

I have a solar system which can power my well pump.  This requires I power down everything else because it takes all my system can do to run the ¼ horsepower electric well pump.  I have a wood boiler to heat water without the need for an electric water heater.  It does this through a water-to-water heat exchanger.  So, I will have water and the luxury of hot water for a time.  I estimate equipment failure with the solar and wood boiler will happen eventually.  In a maximum of 5 years, I expect them to be useless.

I have plenty of water sources.  I have a device I can lower into a well casing to pull water back up.  There are lakes and ponds on my farm.  I have the equipment to purify water.  Eventually these water purifiers will degrade.  There is a spring on the place I can get clean water at all times but this is a quarter mile walk.  To lengthen the use of my purifying equipment I will likely need to get water from this spring as much as possible.  This lengthening out strategy will have to happen with many other applications.  We tend to use the best and easiest first but this will be problematic in an all-Down because resupply will be nonexistent.  I will need to get water to my animals too.  Lots of back breaking efforts will be needed with water.  Water is 8lbs a gallon and many gallons will be needed.

Animals will be very important to my survival and especially to longer term survival if that is even possible.  It is unclear how long we will make it when all goes down but having animals will greatly increase my options.  This is why I often speak of a working farm being so important for longer term survival.  I have goats, cattle, and chickens.  I wish I had more animals especially for labor and transport but I am maxed out running a working farm as it is.  I manage a household, equipment, buildings, systems, and 400 acres.  I am approaching 60 and wearing out.  Nobody seems to want to do the work I do and there is no money in a small farm so there is a limit to what I can do.

The goats are my best resource because they are easy to handle and prepare into food.  Cattle are more difficult to deal with but offer lots of meat if I can find the time and help to prepare them into food.  They may be more for trade and barter or group food efforts.  I will have refrigeration because of my solar but again this will depend on how long the solar works and refrigerators work.  I have air drying equipment as an alternative to refrigeration but this is much more an effort. 

Chicken will have to free range and it is likely since I will not have feed for them, they will be eaten for food instead of eggs.  The problem with both goats and cattle is in the winter time.  Hay is needed and it may not be available.  I have small size hay equipment but remember fuel will run out.  I have a scythe but this requires lots of manual labor in groups.  I may not have the time and help to get enough hay. Still, the animals can make it through winter but loses will go up.  They will have to range over many more acres requiring me to be more a shepherd hanging out with them to keep them from wandering off.  This is just more labor and time I will be short on but is still an option.

Washing and cleaning are important for the maintenance of clothing.  Cloths will be wearing out so I do make an effort to have backup.  I keep tough work cloths as backup but these will eventually wear out.  I have hand washing equipment like in the old days and cleaning supply backup.  Supplies will run out in a year or so.  I do have books on how to make soap but this again will require labor and some supplies.  I have hot water for as long as my wood boiler and solar hold out.  I have equipment to boil water which will be my last resource.  This is inconvenient and inefficient but still an option.

There is plenty of wood around my farm and I have equipment to get wood.  The fossil fuel equipment will degrade within a year and then I will turn to axes and a cross cut saws.  These require lots of labor and time that will already be needed for food, water, and animals.  I wish I had the time and money to have a mule team but I don’t.  A mule team is essential for hauling logs out of the woods.  I am maxed out already with very little margins for extras.  I can buy this stuff but this is just part of the process.  A mule team needs to be maintained and I need an education on their care.  This all takes time I don’t have.  In an all-down they will need to be fed and watered too.

Heating will be vital in the winter.  I keep back up propane but this will be used up quickly and I will likely not want to use this for heating and instead use it for cooking.  I have electric backup but remember the grid is down.  My solar can only run a small heater and only do this when there is full sun.  I have generators but fuel will run out.  Heating will have to be with wood.  I have 2 years’ worth of seasoned wood stored up.  Making seasoned firewood takes time and labor that will be in short supply.  Wood will be vital like water and food.  Without help I can’t do them all very well.

In an all-down situation for the first few months security is going to be a big issue depending on how bad the all-down is.  A Nuk war situation will mean most large cities will be destroyed.  A situation where cities remain this will mean there will be some refugees on the move.  It is unclear how many and how far they will venture.  Fuel will run out so cars and trucks will not make it that long except in cases where organizations take what fuel is left and utilize it for security and or exploitation. 

I have a shortwave radio, CB, FM/AM, and weather band where emergency broadcasting will be made.  I have a neighbor who I speak with once a month on the shortwave radio.  We will keep in touch during a crisis period both as a way to know if raiding is occurring but also for morale.  When all down hits having people to talk to will help with the crushing reality of collapse.

How much military and police there is will depend on time frame.  Early on they will be around but latter they will be struggling to survive too.    I imagine war-lordism will develop.  I personally feel in an all-down, cities will die out rapidly.  I estimate they will drop down to a tenth of their former populations.  Many will completely depopulate. 

People will likely not move far because this means leaving their security and psychological comforts.  If they know there is no place to go, they will likely just shelter in place where everything will run out.  In 90 days, a mass die off will occur in most places.  If you can make it through this 90 days your odds increase.  Delocalization has produced settlements that are not sustainable nor resilient to shock except with a functioning global civilization.

I have guns, ammo, and dogs.  My shop has been reinforced as a defensive place.  Yet, I will need people to keep good security.  This labor need will be in addition to food, water, and wood efforts.  I do have neighbors who I have already been in contact with in regards to security.   We can draw together for security if there is a very dangerous time.  How well this will function is hard to say.  I will be a hardened target but depending on how big the raiding or refugee forces are.   My security success will depend on how many people I have.  If security fails then everything I have could be wiped out in a day.

Human power is again the big limiter of survival but it is also a liability that must be fed, watered, and kept warm.  One big issue will be the need to turn people away that need help.  This will be a very tough situation because I tend to be a helpful and generous person but this must be restricted or else my survival and those under my care will be at risk.  I dread the thought of killing in self-defense but this will be required in certain situations.  I am going to need to turn people away and possibly with force.  Bribery may be the best options in combination with being a hardened target.  If I can give something to a group and not have them attack this may be an alternative to a fight.  Bad actors will move on to easier targets hopefully.

REAL Green is heavily weighted towards attitude and morale.  It is absolutely necessary in this all-down situation to have proper mental preparation.  Everything you have will be pushed to the limit so you do not have the time for anxiety, confused decision making, and feeling sorry for yourself.  You will need to respond like someone in the special forces.  You train like you are in a war and act like you train in war. 

You will want to be organized and prepared with proper attitude.  This is the surreal part of being REAL Green.  You will have to live the status quo narrative that all is well but prepped for a crisis.  This prepped condition is in a constant state of readiness.  Having stuff is good but not good enough.  It is just like the military you have to be in a constant state of readiness.  The way I do this is to try as much as I can to combine the two worlds so an adapted status quo life is in a state of readiness. 

Living REAL Green means using the status quo to leave it.  You will green prep which will satisfy a spiritual desire to be more resilient and sustainable.  What is greener is more prepped.  Of course, there is a sweet spot between the two as is the case in life with most things.  I am talking true green not fake green.  Techno green is fake green but because we are in a status quo world of tech and efficiency you will have to incorporate fake green into green efforts.  This is what I call hybridization.  You will need to triage out tech that is not optimal for survival.  You will have to learn to salvage and produce systems that leverage higher tech with low tech and no tech. 

Green for me is also spiritual.  I find a spiritual connection to the planet.  I am a green mystic and practice a simple green shamanism that is little more than a connection to the land like Native Americans had.  I live this so my green prepping comes more naturally than it would for others who are urban and more humanist.  I am speaking of humanism that is removed from nature.  Most techno-optimistic people don’t have much of a connection to the planet.  Many established religions are not connected.  I am connected and live it and this will enhance my survivability.

In an all-down your state of readiness is vital so learn to live a life that is in a state of readiness but also live a rewarding life.  This means more work and less affluence because survival will be with lower comforts and more work.  This is a certainty so don’t think the rich with their bunkers will avoid this either.  A few warlords will have workers, soldiers, and slaves and have comforts but not many.  Just expect a life of discomfort and hard work.  Start living this now if survival matters.  You don’t want to learn to adapt to discomforts in discomfort.  You want to learn this in a state of affluence to work up to readiness. This frame of mind is tough to do and takes discipline. 

The most important aspect of all decline types including all-down is localism.  Go local to find proper balance with proper scale.  A spiritual windfall results from localism too.  If you have a system that runs smoothly then it will work when put under stress.  I have found this to be the case with my grazing system.  A functioning localism is worth more than a region with more resources.  Humans are a power multiplier.  Localism is a power multiplier.  Family, tribe, and community is the key.

I have many aspects of my grazing system invested in to lower my labor inputs.  I try to utilize nature as much as possible to lower my labor inputs.  I want my animals to do more of their own work.  This often means less productivity.  Lower stocking rates and less fossil fuels are an enhancement to my system but it means less return.  My system will not support my middle-class lifestyle with my working farm but it is more resilient and sustainable.  In an all-down situation, it is worth its value in gold by being resilient.  A return on investment will be with resilience not profit when all goes down.

I do not prep for this all-down situation.   My prepping is for a decline process I will write on in the next of the series.  Prepping for a decline process will take care of me for a time in an all-down.  Being prepped means I will be more likely to die a good death as Native Americans speak of.  This is with dignity and preparation.  A good death will be ok for me.  I often say that life is so short we are dead already.  In the blink of an eye, you are old and dying or in an instant dead from an accident.  Live life fully and a good death is more likely.

I prep for the low and medium collapse situation.  This all-down is truly a scary situation and the reason I feel we all need to be prepping for the two less dramatic decline scenarios instead.  I will discuss in later posts a more optimistic prep that is rewarding and educational. 

I have considered a filtration system for a NUK war fall out situation with a safe room.  I am in a very exposed location because of military bases in Missouri.  The bulk of the silo based NUKs of the US are out in the northwest plains so they will be hit hard.  Lots of fallout will result.  Much depends on the winds here in the Ozarks for how bad the fallout is.  If the winds are out of the south or southwest, I will do much better. 

NUK war is something I dread.  I mention this last because this is something man should contemplate so we avoid it.   Yet, I constantly hear and see preparations for it.  The southern hemisphere will fare much better.  In the north where I am at, I do not have much hope.

I have given you much to think about on decline and collapse.  I will give you more uplifting material on the next step up in the process with a slower decline process.  This will not be all-down globally but will be all-down locally in many places.  My Ozarks has lots of pluses for a slower decline.  This means if you want to avoid all-down situations find a resilient and sustainable local now. 

There will be failed locations to avoid and the science is clear where the worst places are.  Common sense will tell you where disastrous situations are lurking.  You will need to have the ability to move too.  I am planning on making my last stand here but maybe I will send my kids off if it is safe enough.  Again, I want a good death not one on the run.  None of us will be able to run from an all-down.  So, if a major NUK war hits or they announce an earth killing asteroid is coming just hunker down and get ready for your end time.