Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

AGW in general => Policy and solutions => Topic started by: wili on January 14, 2014, 05:56:23 PM

Title: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 14, 2014, 05:56:23 PM
Two titans of the sustainability movement (for lack of a better word) have gone head to head over how to proceed from here (or at least about how to think about the process). Holmgren is the top permaculture guru and Hopkins the father of the Transition Towns movement.

One really has to read through each position to understand where they are coming from, but briefly:

Holmgren sees the only hope of having anything like a livable planet left after industrialization is to intentionally crash the planetary financial economy. He thinks the global financial system is now fragile enough that a relatively small part of the middle class could bring about it collapse by basically opting out--disengaging from most of the financial economy.

The latter is a good thing to do for all sorts of reasons anyway, and it is these positive reasons that Hopkins would like to emphasize rather than promoting local resilience and permaculture (which now have mostly positive associations, to the extent they have even been heard of in the larger culture) as a means of collapse. Hopkins thinks there are still positive things to get out of the system, and the goal should be to extend the influence of the nascent local organizations up into the city and state levels, in hopes that these in turn can put pressure on national and international levels of governance to do the right thing. He also emphasizes the importance of employing the Buddhist dictum of "skillful means."

The whole discussion brings up many issues battered about around here and on other fora, but here we have major leaders of these alternative movements expressing them openly.

The link to the original Holmgren piece, "Crash on Demand," is here: http://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/CrashOnDemandSimplicityInstitute13c.pdf (http://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/CrashOnDemandSimplicityInstitute13c.pdf)

Hopkins response "...be careful what you wish for" is here: https://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2014-01/holmgren-s-crash-demand-be-careful-what-you-wish (https://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2014-01/holmgren-s-crash-demand-be-careful-what-you-wish)

Nicole Foss has also chimed in here: http://www.theautomaticearth.com/crash-demand-response-david-holmgren-3/ (http://www.theautomaticearth.com/crash-demand-response-david-holmgren-3/)

And I see there is another piece now at the Resilience blog that seems to be related (though I haven't read it yet) called "Economic descent, hopefully with skillful means" here: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-14/economic-descent-hopefully-with-skillful-means (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-14/economic-descent-hopefully-with-skillful-means)

Lots to chew on and discuss. Enjoy.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Laurent on January 14, 2014, 06:28:23 PM
You could set up a poll ! That would be very interesting !
A famous football player, you may know him "Eric Cantona", asked some time ago to put our money out of the bank a special day, there was no effect, few people did it !

It will crash there is no doubt about it, the question of when would be very interesting (especially if your assets have to escape from the mess), but the better question still not answered is by what do we change it !?

We have to change the European Constitution (and the French when we are at it), we can't let the elites choose the rules. We must choose a system where people are drawn lots from the citizen (At all the stages, town...Europe...world(?))...urgently...
(Of course there would be some limits, some controls, let's talk about this idea if you please)

Laurent
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 14, 2014, 07:23:22 PM
I'm not sure what we would be polling. But if you want to set up a poll of some sort, do be my guest.

Others have been making the point that we don't have to do anything to crash the system, since it looks to be about to implode on its own. But many (including the linked N. Foss) have been prophesying an imminent total collapse for a long time, over and over. But the 'Brown Economy' Holmgren talks of just keeps chugging along at ever dirtier rates.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Laurent on January 14, 2014, 08:49:41 PM
I can't create a poll in this thread, can you ?
Question : Are you for :
                         1) David Holmgren, helping the system to crash.
                         2) Robb Hopkins, better a transition within this system than a crash

Well, I do not really care about the result  ! What I do care about is the answer of how will we sort this problem ! The transition movement doesn't seem to help much, it is mainly the people from the city that are involved and very few ! Not enough global vision, we won't solve  the problem quickly by little foot steps (thought it does help moving the minds), the system has to change completely but by undermining the fundamentals not  by a crash (Property, governance)!
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 14, 2014, 08:51:00 PM
We have to change the European Constitution
Sorry, we do not have such a thing like a european constitution - did you forget the votings in Netherland and France? Only nations and countries have constitutions and only their governments are elected by poeple. Europe is still only a contract between nations...

And in Europe we try to do a "slow collapse" or a "de-growth strategy" - so we reduce the impact of nations by reducing their power. That power is usually transfered to poeple/companies with money. Therefore, in future we only have to switch off money (e.g. by just avoiding to pay back the loans and interest) and the problem of power or collapse is "solved" easily. But right now majority of poeple would not like to do that - just because they have much more property than loans. But in the mean time "Green-BAU" and "economy with sense" could be reasonable ways around that brutal short-cut into the post collapse world.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 14, 2014, 09:23:44 PM
Thanks L and SAT for your perspectives. I think we have to start screaming, cajoling, insisting, persuading...at all levels that individuals, families, schools, churches, businesses, cities...have to reduce their consumption by at least 10% right away, and then make realistic plans to cut even more next year, and more the next.

We have to get a consistent, urgent message across that this a planetary emergency that cannot wait. That beyond-bad things are rapidly coming our way very quickly if we don't immediately reverse direction (and probably even then at some point we will have some pretty bad stuff coming). 

This is the year to start spreading the reality of this crisis, both because it is actually upon us, and because it is looking like a major El Nino event is coming, and if we get ahead of it, the extremes that it will bring can be a wake-up call--but only if people have had us shouting in their ears that just exactly this type of bad sh!t is what we can expect from not changing our ways.

If a largish groups of people, institutions, municipalities...do start radically reducing their consumption and their energy use, there may or may not be economic effects. It's hard to know. Almost none of the millions of trained economists/mbas/econ. majors... in the world saw the last global recession coming even days before it hit. So I don't think they or anyone else can really know for sure what the impact of a sudden reduction in energy use like this would bring.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 15, 2014, 01:02:00 AM
If a largish groups of people, institutions, municipalities...do start radically reducing their consumption and their energy use, there may or may not be economic effects. It's hard to know. Almost none of the millions of trained economists/mbas/econ. majors... in the world saw the last global recession coming even days before it hit. So I don't think they or anyone else can really know for sure what the impact of a sudden reduction in energy use like this would bring.

If you could cut consumption significantly (which I agree is needed in an ideal world where people can cooperate, but think is highly unlikely to happen), it would inevitably cause massive economic damage. What about all the jobs predicated upon mindless consumption? The manufacture of disposable items, pointless widgets, gadgets that don't need to be replaced, etc?

Without the demand those jobs disappear. Those wages stop being cycled through the economy. Unsustainable consumption is the foundation stone upon which all the developed nations of today are built - take it away - and crash, down they come tumbling.

From a socioeconomic point of view poverty is a key factor that drives unrest - particularly coupled with high food prices (and high is relative to your purchasing power and norms).
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 15, 2014, 01:43:42 AM
Unemployment is totally a construct of structures of the economy that we tend to assume are unchangeable, though they are anything but.

Make all (or nearly all) work weeks 30 hours max, and suddenly you have 25% more jobs (or so) than you did the day before you passed that law. This was done in some places during the First Great Depression and it was so wildly popular that some companies continued those shorter work weeks long afterwords. Or have the government create jobs. There are lots of buildings that need to be insulated and degraded areas that need to be restored--lack of jobs is totally artificial.

But, yeah, that of course requires someone at some level of government to 1) Give a good Gd Damn; 2) Have a smidgen of creativity and imagination (or minimal knowledge of fairly recent history); and 3) Be willing and able to go against the powerful interests that will shriek and holler and moan and gnash..."SOCIALISM!" and worse.

But really, unemployment is almost entirely artificial. It serves the master classes to have people desperate to work so they won't complain to much about shitty conditions.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 15, 2014, 05:12:28 AM
 Wili, another very interesting topic.

I just finished reading all of your links.  Whew!

Considering the weight of the participants; I am not familiar with Poyourow, but have read all of the others at times; I must admit that I am a little stunned at the conversation.  My opinion of the quality of the depth of the thought processes of Holmgren and Hopkins certainly went down.  I attribute this to their being so fully committed to their respective niches in the spectrum of ideas that they are incapable of seeing the forest that they live in.  Which is actually the same forest curiously enough.  And their trees are within sight of each other too.

To start with Holmgren does not seem to have a good grasp of where he sits in the panoply of possible solutions with the Permaculture account.  Permaculture has never been and never will be a possible solution to human survival pre dramatic population reductions.  He, of all people, should be aware that the value of permaculture practices and having as large of a number of practitioners trained as possible is to provide seed knowledge for the lucky folks picking up the pieces following the big population drawdown.  Providing this knowledge and training is a hugely valuable service to humanity as it raises the probability of human success following our coming disaster.  And he puts it all at risk.

I am not sure if he really realizes the possible damage he has done to his ability to provide this service he has devoted his life to by writing this post.  He will certainly lose credibility with many folks who were in basic agreement with him and many people will end up not going his way because of the blowback effects if is likely to generate over time.  He will always and forever be tainted by this article and it will be used against him and against permaculture.

His statement, that the bottom up creation of household and community economies can create and sustain different ways of well being which can compensate for the contraction in fossil based economies which is coming, is absurd.  And he should know it so well that by his writing the above down it calls into question much else he has written.  We cannot collapse the economy and switch to permaculture and feed the world.  That is simply insane talk.  Is he not aware of how far we are beyond the carrying capacity of the earth. Poyourow points out the carrying capacity problem he has, but she uses the old number of we are only at usage rates of 1.5 earths, which is just not supportable.  We are more likely running at at least 3 and heading towards 5 earths of usage.  And climate change is reducing the carrying capacity a little more each day and it is going to get much worse.  In the meantime we are adding to total population at the rate of 70-80 million a year and also growing the middle class rapidly thus causing an additional increase in consumption and further abuse of the carrying capacity problem. The Red Queen scenario.

Another huge gap in his apparent understanding of the world is his assumption that he could convince 5% of the middle class to deliberately crash the economy.  Does he not realize that they are rightly going to perceive that as an act of suicide?  There is zero chance that he could get them to do this deliberately.  It flies in the face of human nature at a level not often seen.  Advocating this from his level, and as a person who has passionate followers, automatically puts him on the security lists of someone advocating revolution and a threat.  This is not an exaggeration and he seems to be aware of it by some of what he says in the article.  One of the other articles points out that he must have reached the stage of panic internally.  He is basically reaching the point that he is starting to advocate going all in.  This position will draw unwelcome attention to permaculture and he is drawing his permaculture adherents into the maelstrom of being enemies of the status quo state.  In the future we are heading into that is not a place to be except by deliberate choice and intent.  He is committing his followers to it without their permission.

As one of the other articles points out this opting out is already being done on a small scale by the folks trying to implement the Transition Town concept and just the vast number of non-affiliated people who are self starters and are picking up and learning old craft and trade skills on their own.  But this is such a small drop in the bucket it has no meaningful effect on the economy and it won't.  But what it does is add more diversity of knowledge and capabilities back into the population (just like permaculture) that will hopefully seed the future.  Nothing can fix the problem of dealing with the vast population other than continuing to burn the fossil fuel candle at both ends.  Thus both Holmgren's concept of deliberate collapse and Hopkins holding dear to the Transition movement thinking it will evolve into a sustainable society are doomed to fail.  Neither seem to understand what is valuable about their concepts and where it fits in the puzzle.  Or which tree it is in the forest.

Holmgren in particular really strikes me as being astonishingly naive and innocent in the ways of the world.  But none of the 4 writers touches on the core of the problem.  Population prevents any solution proposed so far from being viable.  Any reduced consumption or a stopping of growth in the industrialized countries is quickly going to be picked up and ran with by the developing countries.  This very issue comes up in the climate talks and managed development discussions when the 3rd world is talking to the 1st.  Give us our share so we can live like you do.  The problem is that even if all of us divided up everything equally we would still be the same distance beyond the carrying capacity point and we would still be cooking the climate at the same rate.  If we all lived like west Africans (which we won't do) we would still be cooking the system.  Minus fossil fuels the world used to support about 1 billion.  But that was not the damaged world we live in today and those 1 billion in the old days were destroying a good hunk of the earth even then.  There is no level of per capita emissions acceptable if the capita is derives from a number like 7-9 billion.

Deliberately crashing the system is certainly a possible strategy and we have brought that up on a number of occasions.  It has the potential to leave extra resources available to the folks trying to pick up the pieces post collapse and thus has merit.  But one needs to be frank in that this option leads directly and quickly to collapse.  Collapse primarily means a rapidly shrinking population with all the attendant pain, horror and suffering which occurs in those circumstances.  A necessary evil?  Or and unacceptable one?  One chosen deliberately for rational reasons or the same one chosen just by passive acceptance of the various forms of BAU that happens at a later date.  We have so many choices it is hard to make up our minds.

 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 15, 2014, 06:52:40 AM
Jim, I'm honored and humbled that you found it worthwhile to track down my lengthy links.

I share many of your reactions, but I also have others (I always seem to be of at least two minds on most subjects).

"We cannot collapse the economy and switch to permaculture and feed the world." I didn't see any place where Holmgren said he expected permaculture to 'feed the world,' but I might have missed it.

Your last paragraph is perhaps most apropos--I think Holmgren is exactly advocating crashing the global (financial) economy with all the horror that would imply. The horror is coming no matter what, of course. And I think he is being quite frank about it. One thing that was refreshing to me about the piece was its frankness and honesty. Foss's and Hopkin's main critiques seemed to echo yours...essentially, "Shut TF Up, dude--your gonna bring the Man down on all of us."

But I think we can no longer cower in fear. We have to clearly and loudly state what the real horrific situation actually is...as Holmgren has done, as Kevin Anderson has done, as more and more are doing. Choosing between fear and honesty, I would like to think I would pick honesty, especially when the stakes are this high.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOAreomo6FY# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOAreomo6FY#)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: johnm33 on January 15, 2014, 11:54:35 AM
Wili "Almost none of the millions of trained economists/mbas/econ. majors... in the world saw the last global recession coming even days before it hit. "
Actually a few economists saw the crash coming http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2009/07/15/no-one-saw-this-coming-balderdash/ (http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2009/07/15/no-one-saw-this-coming-balderdash/) all excluded from the mainstream. This tells to me that they're the ones to listen to.
As to a deliberate collapse, that'd be like getting fully informed turkeys to vote for xmas
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on January 15, 2014, 12:33:10 PM
Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level…

Again, I see the Forum carrying an intriguing topic with a philosophical touch. I can’t resist…
I’ll reflect more on this, try to read the links given, but let me shed some, although premature, thoughts.
The choices to make are individual. Within the realm of provenance it is the individual, specific part that shapes the World as perceived. I’ve had the privilige to learn some things through gifted artists and teachers. These Gifts are mostly about compassion and beauty, the values that make up the sole lasting rewards in (my) life.

On that ground, it is not justified to contribute to a planned collapse. At least, for me.

So that leaves me a contibution to local-level mobilisation of survival skills and resilience.
Such a contribution will not have much relevance in the light of general provenance. With the limited knowledge and naïve artistic intuition I’ve received, I see not much chance for a World population of 7 billion people conditioned by limited resources. I have no illusion that there are strategies to secure my individual existence, nor that of my local community or even an orderly society on the scale of a European nation as we know it.
Even so, I will try to do what’s in my personal competence, while trying not to fight or hate those who seem to trash our Planet willingly.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 15, 2014, 04:45:39 PM
Wili

I was extrapolating that he thought that, as so did Hopkins seem to be doing, but no it is not precisely stated.  His statement about bottom up communities clearly implies that between permaculture and the Transition Town concept that is sufficient.  This is what I objected too.

To clarify on his advocating deliberately causing a quick collapse.  I don't object to someone or many ones doing that.  I object to him doing it.  Everyone has a place in the system and that place puts limits on what you should consider viable options for action.  He is advocating revolution in  a way that would precipitate a long chain of extreme violence.  But that is not an option he should consider open to him personally because he has already filled a key niche that can be wiped out if he turns toward violence.  We are served a greater good with him continuing to promote permaculture as it has real potential value post collapse.  An additional objection is that, because of his prominent position, he inadvertently drags his permaculture followers into that maelstrom with him.  And it is wrong to do that unless they make that choice themselves.

Many people fantasize about picking up the gun and charging off to change the world (a bit metaphorically speaking, but many would need to do just that).  Most know, however, it is just a  fantasy and that they would never have the courage to do it, the ability to execute, the willingness to die for a cause, the passion to believe that strongly, or the vigorousness of youth it requires.  The folks who do this kind of thing are out there thinking about how to accomplish this already. The kind of folks who populate organizations like Earth First, ELF, Deep Green Resistance.  The really smart ones do not join organizations or discuss what they are doing or advocating on the internet (NSA is listening you know - for real).  They think, plan and act. And the system will kill them when it catches them in the future.  Holmgren does not fit into this world.

I agree with you that it is time for prominent people to start to articulate very strongly that the time for passivity is past and that time has run out.  That extreme action is called for right now.  But those kinds of people have to leave out the call for violence from their rhetoric. Leave that to the revolutionaries (They are out there and they will act).

Having spent a large part of my life amongst the security people who will be looking for these revolutionaries/terrorists and the operators who will be dealing them violence I cannot emphasize enough how serious deliberately precipitating collapse will be taken.  Think what it means if it happens.  What will the PTB do to stop people trying to do this?   Or anyone associated with them.  What will the general populace do to them if they think they know who they are and what they are trying to do?  The question will not be "What would Jesus do?"  it will be "What would Stalin do?".

werther

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I’ve had the privilige to learn some things through gifted artists and teachers. These Gifts are mostly about compassion and beauty, the values that make up the sole lasting rewards in (my) life.
 
On that ground, it is not justified to contribute to a planned collapse. At least, for me.

So that leaves me a contibution to local-level mobilisation of survival skills and resilience.

I understand this sentiment and it is expressed by many who share our great concern about the future.  Many of those same people express strong emotions about earlier generations who share most of the responsibility (mostly unconscious responsibility) for the situation we are in and also articulate the concepts of compassion, fairness, equity and so on. 

But all positions are forms of choice.  Tearing down civilization is a choice which violates many of the concepts above by choosing to suffer sooner for the greater good later.  Following BAU and Green-BAU solutions is choosing comfort now and passing on suffering to others for a lessor good.  The later choice also defers personal suffering and passes it to innocents (an evil).  Many of the most passionate about the concepts of fairness, compassion and equity choose the Green-BAU approaches which defer the suffering to the innocents of the future.  What does that say about them?  Holmgren, and the like, occupy one of the unique positions in that they are preparing the knowledge/skill base for whomever makes it through the bottleneck (it really doesn't matter who makes it as some get wrapped up in) so they serve a good purpose.  You can join them or not.  But every approach to this issue is a choice and every approach carries a responsibility.  Best make sure what that responsibility is, and do you want to carry it, do you have the courage to carry it.   
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 15, 2014, 05:23:07 PM
Jim, wow, I didn't see Holmgren say anything about violence, and I certainly didn't see anything about advocating it.

First--the system IS violence. Crashing it is probably the fastest way to end that violence.

Second--many people blamed MLK at the time for fomenting violence, since he knew that his non-violent civil disobedience would likely prompt violent reactions from authorities and from southern bigots. Would you agree with that assessment? I wouldn't for reasons we could get into. But it sure sounds like your argument is about the same as those who blamed MLK for the violence of southerners against him and his followers. (for more on this topic: http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/king.pdf (http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/king.pdf))

I do think it is a good point that most permaculturalists didn't sign up for this. But as a leader he also has a responsibility to continue to analyze the situation and do and say what he thinks is necessary by his own best lights. 'Followers' at any time can distance themselves from him and any part of his 'movement' they wish to. I really doubt that swat teams are about to descend en mass on a bunch of carrot growers because someone in Australia hypothesized about what the effect of various percentages of the populations opting out of the financial system would have on that system.

Again, MLK came out against the Vietnam War even though that was not what most/many in the Civil Rights Movement saw as a central part of their mission. Towards the end, he was more and more seeing the movement as a poor peoples movement, about class more than race--again, quite different from the initial vision of the movement.

We often criticize our leaders (rightly, I think) for not actually being leaders--not making an independent analysis of the situation as it evolves, coming up with a position, and articulating that vision. It seems to me that Holmgren is doing just that here.

In your response to werner's thoughtful comments, you mention "Tearing down civilization." Again, this is not an explicitly stated goal of Holmgren. (I do think that Holmgren could have been clearer about the exact goal, though.) Of course, industrial society does like to identify itself with 'civilization,' as if nothing remotely 'civilized' happened before it or outside of it. But I would hope we wouldn't buy into such delusions here.

As I've said elsewhere, I don't think Holmgren should even say that he is for crashing or collapsing the 'economy,' only the (already entirely corrupt and nearly completely out of control) 'financial economy.' And he is far from alone in wanting to withdraw support from that festering carbuncle defiling the planet--there are movements through churches and other organizations to divest all funds from the major banks, for example. Do you see them as fomenting violence, and bringing down down militarized attacks on their congregations? I see Holmgren's objectives in much the same light, though he does have a broader view than most (isn't that exactly why thoughtful people have been drawn to him)?

Again, thanks one and all for comments. Probably if Jim had come out strongly in favor of Holmgren's recent statements, I would be countering with something pretty close to Jim's reservations and objections. It is a worthwhile discussion to have, imvho, if for no other reason than to clarify our thoughts and positions on these vital matters.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 15, 2014, 05:50:44 PM
Jim, wow, I didn't see Holmgren say anything about violence, and I certainly didn't see anything about advocating it.

First--the system IS violence. Crashing it is probably the fastest way to end that violence.

Come on now.  Advocating deliberate collapse IS advocating violence.  Let us be real here.  Collapse will result in billions dying.  That is undoubtedly violence.  So we do not have to parse his phrases that tightly and we can assume he is smart enough to understand the implications of what he is advocating even if he does not state all the effects explicitly.  And yes, the system is violence already.  ALL paths lead to violence so what we are choosing is the best path.

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Second--many people blamed MLK at the time for fomenting violence, since he knew that his non-violent civil disobedience would likely prompt violent reactions from authorities and from southern bigots. Would you agree with that assessment? I wouldn't for reasons we could get into. But it sure sounds like your argument is about the same as those who blamed MLK for the violence of southerners against him and his followers.

Well we cannot avoid some discussion here because we have a real disagreement about what MLK was doing and also someone like Ghandi.  Absolutely they knew they were instigating violence.  Neither one of them was non-violent in any true sense of the phrase.  They just strategically understood the way to victory was to ensure that the violence that their resistance was going to precipitate fell on their supporters.  Their analysis was that in the political climate of the time this was the path to success.  These were highly intelligent sophisticated men who had a deep understanding of the world and what would work at the time.  Their rhetoric was designed to control their supporters (a situation where they drifted back and forth between passive resistance and violence would not do) and also to control public perceptions and debate.  Victory would come when the public could no longer stomach the one sided violence.  I admire them tremendously, but they were not saints but rather hard headed realists. 

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I do think it is a good point that most permaculturalists didn't sign up for this. But as a leader he also has a responsibility to continue to analyze the situation and do and say what he thinks is necessary by his own best lights. 'Followers' at any time can distance themselves from him and any part of his 'movement' they wish to. I really doubt that swat teams are about to descend en mass on a bunch of carrot growers because someone in Australia hypothesized about what the effect of various percentages of the populations opting out of the financial system would have on that system.

I think you need to examine this a bit more.  We are talking here about a level of systemic stress far beyond anything previously experienced in recorded history.  Those trying to maintain control and their vast numbers of supporters (and there will be a lot of them) are not going to characterize those resisting them as 'a bunch of carrot growers' if they are associated with the resistance.  Think about the history of insurgencies during your lifetime and remember how frequently those who even 'might' be associated or sympathetic to those actively resisting are just swept up into the violence.  It happens all the time.  And we are talking here about a "time" like no other.  It is a guarantee that they will be having visitors.  The phrases "If you afre not with us you are against us." and "Kill them all and let God sort them out." come to mind here.  This is not a game when it starts.

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Again, MLK came out against the Vietnam War even though that was not what most/many in the Civil Rights Movement saw as a central part of their mission. Towards the end, he was more and more seeing the movement as a poor peoples movement, about class more than race--again, quite different from the initial vision of the movement.

We often criticize our leaders (rightly, I think) for not actually being leaders--not making an independent analysis of the situation as it evolves, coming up with a position, and articulating that vision. It seems to me that Holmgren is doing just that here.

Again, thanks one and all for comments. Probably if Jim had come out strongly in favor of Holmgren's recent statements, I would be countering with something pretty close to Jim's reservations and objections. It is a worthwhile discussion to have, imvho, if for no other reason than to clarify our thoughts and positions on these vital matters.

Probably you would be.   :P  Lastly, my advice to Holmgren would not be that he is wrong on what he is articulating, but that he is not the right person to be making the point. 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 15, 2014, 06:01:49 PM
"they were not saints"

I never said they were saints. But are you really putting the primary responsibility on them for the violence perpetrated on themselves and their (in this case willing) followers? Do you similarly blame someone who wears nice clothes for being mugged? Where does that line of thought stop?

I don't think there is no risk to his followers. There is probably risk also some risk to congregations choosing consciously and openly to withdraw their moneys form major banks. I still doubt these types of folks would be the highest priority targets, unless they started taking to the streets (which they also should probably do). But, as your know and have said in so many words, there are no risk-free options at this point.

And of course none of us can say for sure how things will unfold under collapse (or contraction, or whatever). I agree that the most likely case will be great suffering (versus, as you say, even greater suffering later). And of course there is much suffering now. The collapse of the Roman Empire seems to have brought about actual improvements in physical well being of many, iirc, especially in the colonies and among the most oppressed under the old system. We could hope for something similar, but of course the conditions are in most ways radically different today.

Just to be clear, I would prefer a (still rapid, but) planned, humane contraction of the type hinted at by Joanne Poyourow. Areas going through water shortages regularly restrict watering lawns, yet, in spite of some grumbling, few call it the end of capitalism or of civilization--even when those restrictions extend to washing cars, or even household use. If people understand the vital need to conserve a precious asset, they generally go along with organized, (mostly) fair, across the board restrictions. We just have to spread those to other things now like fuel, meat, dairy...But I see essentially no chance of gov doing anything like that...essentially ever.

I honestly don't know enough about Holmgren to judge whether he was the best person to be articulating these positions. But few others seem to be stepping forward.

Is there someone you had in mind that would be better?

ETA: I guess I have to get back to the use of the word 'violence' here and who would be held responsible for fomenting it. I have to fall back on a comparison, here--it seems to me that Holmgren is seeing the system as already terminal and that we need to withdraw 'life support' to the system and let it die. We recently had to make a similar decision for my wife's brother.

Was pulling his feeding tube out an act of violence? Or would leaving it in be the greater act of violence? Certainly, the death rattle he went through and the organs shutting down seemed violent, and the removal of the tube could be seen as directly causing that.

But I think most people would not define the removal of that tube as a direct act of violence in that situation (though doubtless some would).

Anyway, I guess I'd say, even if you identify the tube-removal as a kind of violence, on the scale of types of violence, I would say it is way down toward the 'minimal' side, versus someone randomly walking up to someone else and shooting them in the head (or even compared to the things that my brother in law was doing to his body before his death that lead him to that state).

Thanks again for the chance to hash through these sometimes difficult thoughts. I really do have to go and get some over-due work done now.

 Best, wili
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Laurent on January 15, 2014, 07:21:17 PM
Satire

Quote
Sorry, we do not have such a thing like a European constitution - did you forget the votings in Netherland and France? Only nations and countries have constitutions and only their governments are elected by people. Europe is still only a contract between nations...

You are wrong on that, it is not a contract !!! A contract can be argued before the justice, that's not the case of this constitution. No jurisdiction is above !

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution)
“A treaty which establishes an international organization is also its constitution, in that it would define how that organization is constituted”

The precise word is treaty ! Which is the same thing as a constitution !

A constitution binds you, it does set the rules, Giscard d'Estaing is an old right wing president, he is part of the elite. Letting this type of persons writing the constitution is totally insane !!!
The only fairly way to create a constitution would be to draw lots the people !

We French did vote in majority against the treaty but our beloved politicians didn't want to ask us if we were against or not again ! Don't know why !?
Democracy...not likely...we should stop using words that have not reality, olygarchy is more appropriate.


Quote
And in Europe we try to do a "slow collapse" or a "de-growth strategy" - so we reduce the impact of nations by reducing their power. That power is usually transfered to people/companies with money. Therefore, in future we only have to switch off money (e.g. by just avoiding to pay back the loans and interest) and the problem of power or collapse is "solved" easily. But right now majority of people would not like to do that - just because they have much more property than loans. But in the mean time "Green-BAU" and "economy with sense" could be reasonable ways around that brutal short-cut into the post collapse world.

Nothing like that !!! In Europe and in France the governement is looking for growth only growth !
You can't stop paying your loan...just try... !!!
In spain some people did it...guess what...they have been expelled from their home and still must pay for the loan !!! Something similar in USA !
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 15, 2014, 09:05:02 PM
Wili

Quote
I never said they were saints. But are you really putting the primary responsibility on them for the violence perpetrated on themselves and their (in this case willing) followers? Do you similarly blame someone who wears nice clothes for being mugged? Where does that line of thought stop?

I can see I am giving you palpitations!

I do not see these types of events in history in a binary sense.  Everything to me seems complicated and a host of factors drive decisions, and causes and responsibilities are not always easy to assess. 

MLK certainly knew what he was doing. 

MLK knew that the resistance he was choosing to step in front of and lead (he did not start the resistance) would lead to violence.

MLK chose, from a deep understanding of the strategic situation, that the proper tactic was to make sure all of the violence which was going to occur happened to his side.  It was a deliberate choice as he believed that that approach would lead to victory.  He was basically correct.

Was the resistance justified.  Of course.  A million times over.  The violence and abuse which had been suffered was epic.  What did it matter in the long run if the chosen path of resistance led to more suffering on his side (it was a drop in a full bucket by then) if it could lead to the change being fought for.  It was a suicide mission for some.  Perfectly justified and one has to admire the courage of those who followed that path as many of them knew perfectly well that they might not survive. 

The "Primary" responsibility for the violence during MLK's time was of course initiated long before MLK was even born.  They had a right to resist in any fashion they chose.  They chose to accept the violence on their side as a winning tactic.  I am not sure why you think saying the above is making some sort of accusation derogatory of MLK or absolving others of blame. 

I don't think your example of someone wearing nice clothes and getting mugged is valid or relevant in relation to a discussion of such a significant historical event.  They are not related to each other in any meaningful way.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 15, 2014, 09:25:26 PM
The occasional palpitation is about the only way I know I'm still alive these days! ;D

I like how you put the rest. Binary thinking, partly from our binary language, is much of the problem. There's a new response to the Holmgren piece, really more of an analysis of where very major voices in the sustainability movement are on various scales. Binary thinking is much in evidence there, again around the word 'violence.' The guy lumps about half of all thinkers on the subject on the 'violent' side of his spectrum even though as far as I know none of them has ever used a gun or thrown a punch or advocated that anyone else do so. (Quelle suprise that he sets himself on the least violent extreme of the chart).

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-15/charting-collapseniks (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-15/charting-collapseniks)
 
"Charting Collapseniks" by Albert Bates
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Neven on January 15, 2014, 10:38:56 PM
Small musical intermezzo, Binary Existence by genius comedian Reggie Watts:

Reggie Watts 05/08/2009 'Binary Existence' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyuKTyZlUtw#)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 16, 2014, 06:44:47 PM
Wili

I am finding that last link very interesting. 

I would love to see his chart rewritten with each of the people he charted placing themselves where they think they lie.  I would bet 10 bucks it would look a lot different.

A note.  My farm was not far from Joel Salatin's that he refers to.  I do not consider Salatin's farming methods as permaculture as this author states and I doubt a lot of permaculture proponents would either.  Unless we are in the redefinition mode with the goal of broadening our base or something like that.  What Joel does is essentially a more planned and sophisticated version of what used to be the standard way of operating a mid-sized mixed animal farming operation pre industrial chemicals.  He does not grow vegetables for sale and he uses machinery.  Not that what Joel is doing is not very interesting as it is.  Joel is another one of those working on methods and techniques which seeds knowledge and skills which will hopefully survive the bottleneck and prove very useful.  But, just like many of these other techniques we have discussed you could not switch to his methods now and feed the world.

I am finding the comments in the article enlightening as well.  However, the more I read of this stuff the more I realize that almost no one writing about these subjects has any idea what the other side thinks of them and how they are liable to behave in the future.  And most seem completely blind to their own innocence and naivete.

An example I have provided before is relevant here.  Some years ago a person I know infiltrated one of the most prestigious right wing think tanks in the US.  One that daily fetes members of Congress and officials of the Executive branch.  In a meeting this person attended the heads of this organization openly discussed that the time was coming when it would be necessary to start the process of eliminating prominent environmentalists.

I spent my entire working career in a branch of the govt which executes its intelligence and security policies related to national security.  I know first hand how that apparatus works and what it is capable of and willing to do because my job was to execute its wishes.  It is brain dead stupid to think that if you make enough trouble that you even appear to be on the verge of seriously disrupting the system that it will not provoke violence.  It doesn't matter what little lies you tell yourself about your motivations and your adherence to humanistic principals, all that matters is what their perception is of what kind of threat you appear to be.  And the non-official people like those in that think tank I mentioned have already long ago made up their minds and fully intend to act when the time is right.  You can bet your life on this and some already have.

Your comment there

Quote
People on the other side will be all too eager to brand anyone who isn't just going along with the system as being 'violent.' Let's not give them support for such absurdities.

It is too late for that.  The branding happened a long time ago.  If they thought the way you do you would have a point.  But they think the way I have been trying to describe and their opponents are automatically perceived of as threats and trying to overthrow the system is defined as violence and terrorism.  It is two different cultures (or mindsets) imposing their own perceptions on their opponents.  Both are in error.  But when actions come it is easy to see what will happen.  There is no such thing as a nonviolent revolution.

And I like your pointing out to Bates that he is all binary when this is at the very least a 3 dimensional cloud of thought processes and positions. 

It has been years since I read any of Jensen's stuff, maybe I need to spend some more time to see if he is realistic about what he is doing. 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Laurent on January 16, 2014, 08:20:36 PM
Depends of what kind of right wing we are talking !
Even the right wings (the french ones) will soon realize that there is a problem...oh yes there is one...what will they do ? keep the system as it is ? don't think so !
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 16, 2014, 11:17:33 PM
"I would bet 10 bucks it would look a lot different." Good bet. Except it does sound as though he consulted JHK before putting him in the dead center.

But there is no way that Jim Hansen, a Republican most of his life iirc, would even now self-identify as an anarchist advocating violent revolution and in the same quadrant as the Uni-Bomber (that's at the site where this crap was originally published).

Thanks for your insight on the intelligence and security stuff. I've been mostly on the other side of that coin, going back to the '70's and '80's--hey, maybe you surveiled me?? ;D
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 17, 2014, 02:58:35 AM
Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level…

On that ground, it is not justified to contribute to a planned collapse. At least, for me.


Holgrem is absolutely correct in his view.

We are racing towards an unplanned collapse. BAU and all the minor tinkerings around  the margins of what we do will have absolutely no impact on the timing of this unplanned collapse. We discuss on these threads the need for an immediate rapid reduction in CO2 output to bring levels back to 350ppm. Critics object, saying this will result in an economic collapse. Well, duuuuhhhhh!

We have one choice and only one choice. We can simply wait for the inevitable unplanned collapse with all of its attendant horrors washing over human civilization. Alternatively we can engineer a planned  collapse which will have its own horrors but, if we implement the planned collapse tomorrow,  we can reduce the environmental damage and be better prepared to address the horrors as a  result of our planning.

I choose planning. The sooner we get started, the better.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on January 17, 2014, 08:09:32 AM
Thanks for the attention you gave my contribution, JimD, SH!
Seems I have to cope with my first emotions in this sort of reflections on a possible future. Jim, I don't see 'green-BAU'  as a course that can preserve our culture nor our numbers. I hope I have the courage to die elegantly when the time comes, investing in compassion and beauty as long as I can. SH, I'm with you in the intention to cut back GHG emissions and pollution hard. In that case, BAU and capitalist economy will come down as well. If that's a 'planned crash', I accept it. But I'm not going to support violence to do this.
About the chances for survival, I'm a doomer... I hope not to discourage anyone, because on a personal level merit in positive intention is infinitely worthwhile. But I think life on this planet is actually very fragile. There's just a small margin in the properties of the environment to support it. When the 'buffers' fail, it will not just be our economy that will crash, but the biosphere too. I think that actually is happening, right now.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 17, 2014, 05:05:52 PM
Wili

Quote
Thanks for your insight on the intelligence and security stuff. I've been mostly on the other side of that coin, going back to the '70's and '80's--hey, maybe you surveiled me?? ;D

Not me, I was mostly chasing terrorists of various stripes around the world and the usual helping/hindering the overthrow of governments.  But I am sure the FBI has a file on you  ::)

Werther,

I too am in favor of us paying that terribler price now rather than later.  But I don't think it will happen that way as the system will not undergo a planned crash as the folks who have the power to do that just will not do it.  I don't actually think crashes like Holmgren is advocating can be brought about the way he thinks.  But more power to those who want to try.  I think the only way the quick crash happens is a Black Swan type of event where an individual acting alone and in  anonymity trips the system all by himself (thus my statement that the most likely trigger is a self designed bio-weapon by a PhD level virologist).  Or some equivalent low probability event like a giant volcanic eruption, or the Rapture.

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 17, 2014, 05:22:19 PM
My view is pretty well known here that, baring a deliberate crash as advocated by Holmgren, the system will hit natural limits and agriculture will collapse circa 2050 and drag ev erything down with it.  Some of course think that collapse will come much earlier.

Here is an article by Gail Tverberg where she argues that collapse will come in 10-20 years due to a collapse of the financial system.  It is interesting reading.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/01/gail-tverberg-eia-iea-researchers-modeling-wrong-growth-limit.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/01/gail-tverberg-eia-iea-researchers-modeling-wrong-growth-limit.html)

EDIT:

Oh btw Tverberg frequently argues that worries about co2 emissions are overblown as the consumption of fossil fuels will drop dramatically in the future due to the increasing problems in the financial system and its eventual collapse.  She has been arguing this line for at least 5 years that I am aware of.  Trends in fossil fuel consumption and co2 emissions are not following her projections..yet anyway.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 17, 2014, 05:43:41 PM
Werther........

Why do I think a planned collapse is better?

Both unplanned and planned collapses will certainly have what might be described as horrors but an unplanned collapse will result in far more violence than an engineered one.

When I speak of collapse, I am not talking about the collapse of our biosphere. I am talking about the intentional collapse of the economic system that is at the root of our "growth" problem. As I have said before, the industrial revolution was the single most critical component that contributed to exponential growth and humanities dilemma. (See chart below which I have posted several times on this website.) Any planned collapse will need to take into account the impact of essentially unplugging capitalism, quickly and permanently.  This would involve understanding how to continue the effective workings of things crucial to humanity (food production and distribution, water use, housing, clothing and energy use in a drastically less consumer driven culture). Continuing these essential activities will need to take place in the complete absence of the profit motive.

When you look at it this way, it becomes clear that any nation like Sudan, Bolivia, Central  African Republic or any of the more than 100 other nations which are peripheral to the system of capitalism cannot possibly be the impetus behind the planned collapse. The collapse must originate at the very heart of capitalism, the U.S., Europe and, to a lesser extent, South America and emerging Asian economic powers. Why must it originate here? It is the demand of frivolous consumerism that is driving us to disaster.

So how do we engineer this collapse? First, let's be clear. There is absolutely no way that we can expect this collapse to originate from the very institutions whose existence is dependent on the system. Our institutions, political (the modern nation state), social, and economic (corporations) are absolutely committed to the continued existence of the system which is their "raison d'être". This is why corporations and politicians who depend on corporations cannot effectively address any of the environmental disasters that are occurring across the planet. Fracking, I am sorry to say, will not go away as long as the system is operational. Profit motives will always provide the incentive to supply what is being demanded by human beings. This realization can be disheartening to those of us (there are millions, hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions) who are frightened by the disaster looming in front of us.

There is, however, a simple and powerful way to trigger this collapse and it can only originate from fully developed, mature economies. While it cannot originate at the top, it absolutely can and must originate at the bottom. This bottom driven collapse is not dependent on any of our current institutions but resides in the hands of every person living in the developed world, underutilized and/or unrecognized and powerful beyond measure. The system of capitalism is, at its core, the manifestation of an unbelievably simple concept, supply and demand. Every institution in the western world is organized to deliver what people demand of it. Corporations are very rational institutions and this profit driven rationality drives their efforts to supply what is demanded.

Do you want to short circuit the rapidly approaching disaster? Change everything you do as a consumer. Everything! Consume only those things that are at the core of human existence (housing, food, water, clothing and, most importantly, socializing) and do these things in a manner that absolutely minimizes your environmental footprint. Sorry, no meat in your diet. Oh! Cars are a thing of the past. All "wants" must go away. Only needs are to be satisfied. We must eliminate anything purchased that is a "convenience". Our "throw away" society must be thrown away. Each of us can start doing this tomorrow.

Oh! But such a thing would tank the economy! Duhhhhhhhhhh! This is the whole damn point! But if I do this, my life will become very difficult. Riding mass transit, walking, biking, getting rid of all of the labor saving gadgets in my home will be absolutely and unbelievably inconvenient!

Well, then, let's just call it an.............

Inconvenient Truth
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 17, 2014, 06:32:17 PM
wili.....

I would like to thank you for posting this topic.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on January 17, 2014, 08:30:55 PM
Werther
Beautiful aspirations!


Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 17, 2014, 10:27:11 PM
SH, thanks back to you for all your great contributions here.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 17, 2014, 11:14:19 PM
And for all of us who worry that a planned collapse would result in mass starvation and deaths, let's look at the history of China since the beginning of the 20th century.

At the beginning of the 20th century, China's population was approximately 500 million, living in a country that is geographically the same size as the U.S. Perhaps 1/3 of China is largely uninhabitable. The industrial revolution had passed them by, yet they were able to feed and house their citizens. China's industrial revolution did not really begin until post WWII. In the 1960's, 60% of Chinese were still employed in agriculture. If you look at the attached chart, it should come as no surprise that China's population growth spiked at the exact same time they began to industrialize.

We need to reverse this by engineering a collapse. Capitalism needs to be killed. We can keep and benefit from all of the assets and technology the industrial revolution provided only if it can contribute to a post capitalistic society. Electronic communication would certainly be one, industrial agriculture to provide basic foodstuffs (wheat, rice, corn, soybeans)  would be another. Our ability to build big, wonderful things would come in handy. Medical advances etc. Urban areas  throughout the world would engage in the kind of transformation that occurred in Havana during Cuba's special period. Almost everything would become local as the only concerns would be for basic human needs, food, shelter, clothing etc. Global trade and travel would, for the most part, cease with the exception of the kind of trade needed to provide basic needs to all of humanity, primarily food.

This can be done but it will not happen until we kill the beast and it can only be killed from within. U.S. and  European consumers could bring down the entire system in a matter of a couple of years, driving businesses, entire industries into bankruptcy. Please keep in mind, bankruptcy does not damage the underlying assets. They still are available to provide our needs (far simpler than before the collapse). Bankruptcy will only serve to expose the system for the fraud that it is.

This sounds radical, even to me and represents an emerging understanding that this website has contributed to. I am a highly successful 58 YO businessman who has had a six figure income for the past 20 years. I have an Economics degree and MBA from the University of Chicago. I am not some wild eyed fanatic but I do have trouble sleeping at night when I think about my grandchildren.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on January 18, 2014, 12:12:34 AM
Guys, a boring long piece… but thanks for letting me get rid of it….

Hi JimD, I’m following Gail Tverberg’s posts too. For what my personal competences are worth, in my opinion her strong analytic capabilities and specialization are not necessarily relevant for an opinion on the biological and ecological aspects of our world.

I have, through education and observation, just enough insight in the interactions of organic and anorganic processes in soils, related to plants and (small) animal life. Just enough to have an idea of the basic principles of ecological sequences. I’ve been watching nature closely in my own surroundings since I was a kid. With a strong artistic sense to focus my interest.
I suppose change has always been a defining part of succession in nature (since Darwin they name it evolution…). But what I’ve seen for myself in my almost six decennia shouts out “faster and faster”. From basic ecology, I refrain that ‘the more dynamical the environment becomes, the smaller the amount of adapted species’. And these survivors appear in large numbers, producing enormous offspring in the race to preserve their genes.

The rapidly shifting circumstances create shortlived opportunities for sometimes quite exotic passengers. They present  contradictionary signals that lure us into a wrong sense of adaptive strength within the biosphere. But mainstream is a strong tendency to dominance of these few, adaptive species. Grasses, gulls, crows and so on, I’ve not much competence in insects, but I wouldn’t be surprised to suppose the same tendency in that domain.

Repeating myself, there’s a small band of circumstances that sustain the niches  for lots of species. In space, but, hélas, also in time. In time, there’s a varying rubber-band-, or buffering capacity.
With the successive speed I’ve noticed myself, I suppose scientists like Jim Hansen are dead right in suggesting that there’s far higher sensitivity within the biosphere than we idly want to attribute to “our world”. Of all destructive strain mankind has sown, not the least is our relentless emission of GHG’s through the burning of millions of years worth of fossil organic deposits. The intrinsic damage already done is, combined with all other forms of waste, enough to bring the biosphere down to a very basic set of pioneer species.

The reel down, given that further disturbance would stop right now, could take anything between a dozen of decennia and a few centuries. Even sooner, the stadium will be reached that there are few possibilities for larger animals like us to survive. Not to speak of our massively inflated numbers.

Some time ago (the time between IPCC AR3 and 4) there was speak of a time window of maybe two decades for effective action. But that window, being over optimistic for starts, has closed. In my opinion, the accelerating rise of CO2-content suggests the start of failing carbon sinks. 

While I respect Gail Tverberg’s musings, I think she leans on conservative political assumptions suggesting todays amount of total emission and suggested emission reductions could result in warming equilibrium under 2dC on average. I don’t think I have to tell you what I’m expecting…

Sort of the same for economist Dr. Paul Krugman. While I like his op’s, I’m amazed that extremely well trained and intelligent people like him never even seem to think about what is really driving economic processes. His suggestion to “Keynes” our economy out of slump is only interesting to me because such stimulus could provide a one-shot investment in leaving fossil fuels and consumerism behind us for a Holmgren/Hopkins scheme of sustainable, non-profit and egalitarian survival-society.

Of course, that one shot would crash us into collapse of BAU. It would happen in weeks if all nations would do this ensemble and rigorous. But it could be diluted a bit, say over five years, amortizing debt that now captures so many in the BAU trap, training communities for resilience and preparing the strong regulatory force necessary to hold some order and tame the profit corporations.

Since it is hard to imagine this could happen, there’s only local initiative possible to ‘step out’. For who’s in debt, that will mean poverty. And it will be bloody awful suffering while it is clear there won’t be a general providence into survival as we seem to know it….
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on January 18, 2014, 12:37:43 AM
Saw your post, SH.
Last remark before some sleep and a Saturday's worth of local campaigning for the Green Party.
I sympathize with your opinions. That was in part why I joined that Party a year ago. I hope my bank will collapse before suing me into rags, because I'm one of the suckers carrying a nice debt (see there's a big difference between practice and ideal...). Well, there are two nice houses supporting your vision that the assets will still be there and convenient enough.... I suppose the one I created myself will serve a cause, doesn't matter if it's not for me.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 18, 2014, 05:55:56 AM
Thanks again, SH and Werther. Your posts move me.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 18, 2014, 08:15:02 PM
Here is a link to an analysis of the energy/GDP issue that has a different opinion of the Gail Tevrberg's link from yesterday.  It comes to a very different conclusion in the respect that it argues that the cost of energy is decoupling from GDP growth.  Interesting how the two come to different conclusions.  A fair amount of data is presented with this article.

Quote
..Energy consumption grows less rapidly than the global economy, with GDP growth averaging 3.5% p.a. 2012-35. As a result energy intensity, the amount of energy required per unit of GDP, declines by 36% (1.9% p.a.) between 2012 and 2035. The decline in energy intensity accelerates; the expected rate of decline post 2020 is more than double the decline rate achieved 2000-2010....

A very interesting and significant similarity between the two analysis is that they agree that we are on a track in energy terms that will lead to less impact due to increasing carbon emissions.  I find this very problematic and to not think that there can be agreement on this from these two different viewpoints.

I find the analysis by Kaminska with the FT to be more convincing but I think his work leads to the opposite conclusion on carbon emissions.  If the cost of energy decouples to a great extent from GDP growth as his numbers indicate is happening then it would seem to follow that this will hold down the cost of fossil fuels and virtually guarantee that a much larger set of consumers ill not be priced out of the market.  Thus holding gross consumption at whatever level of production the industry is capable of delivering. 

Note that Tverberg thinks that actual consumption will decline significantly and Kaminska might be saying that the rate of increase in consumption will be much lower than previously expected and not be implying that actual consumption will decline.   I don't think one can make a  good argument that consumption of fossil fuels will start declining as long as population growth is significant as the demand created by that growth will keep overcoming various financial blips.  That is until the climate effects of AGW overwhelm everything.

http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/01/17/1745542/energy-is-gradually-decoupling-from-economic-growth/? (http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/01/17/1745542/energy-is-gradually-decoupling-from-economic-growth/?)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 18, 2014, 08:31:11 PM
I am posting this as an argument in support of crashing the system from within in the U.S. and Europe. The reasons in support of this argument are both ethical and practical.

While I am certain this is not new information for anyone who visits this blog, here is a map of  the world which shows which nations are the biggest contributors to AGW. I would also argue that the biggest contributors to AGW are also the biggest contributors to a host of other environmental tragedies that are playing out across the planet.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129523.100-the-seven-deadly-sinners-driving-global-warming.html?cmpid=RSS#.UtrMvabna00 (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129523.100-the-seven-deadly-sinners-driving-global-warming.html?cmpid=RSS#.UtrMvabna00)

It should come as no surprise that the biggest contributors to AGW are also the nations with the largest GDP.

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/GDP.pdf (http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/GDP.pdf)

Put simply, it is the lavish lifestyles of certain nations that is the cause of humanity's and the biosphere's approaching calamity. Many of the threads here discuss various ways that we, the developed countries, can maintain our lavish lifestyles while, simultaneously, solving the problem of AGW. While there certainly are technologies that could help us reduce the impact on our lifestyles, the fact is we cannot maintain them and save ourselves from our fate. If the developed nations do nothing, we may be able to avoid AGW's worst effects early while the rest of the world suffers the horrors of famine, disease and bloodshed but global warming will continue apace since the behavior of the developed world will continue.

The developed nations have an ethical and moral responsibility to save the planet and it is our greed that prevents us from taking action, pure and simple.

From a more practical point of view, seven nations are responsible for 60% of the emissions that are causing AGW. There is nothing that the undeveloped world can do to save us from our shared fate. If we are serious about avoiding the approaching calamity, this can only be accomplished by altering the behavior of the developed world.

I am not sure what the political climate is in the rest of the developed world but, in the U.S., our political leaders and the major corporate players are controlling the national dialogue. The conversation that dominates this nation is the absolute primacy of economic vitality. We need to grow GDP and generate jobs. Nothing else matters.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 18, 2014, 08:34:11 PM
Another little idea that might tweek some comments.

And it fits right in with the post by SH that came in while I was doing this one up.

Wealth/income inequality.  The issue of fairness and one of the great problems with capitalism resulting in a concentration of wealth.  This is a big problem in the US and OECD countries but also a big issue in relation to how the rich countries live off the resources we get from the third world and leave them impoverished.  Versions of this issue come up all the time.  Most of the commenters who focus on this issue are of the more liberal/socialist viewpoint and also those most likely to be in sync with the causes of AGW.

In light of this discussion on triggering collapse or at least being amenable to it.  Should we actually work in concert with the rabid capitalists and those who run the system in such a draconian fashion because this method of concentrating wealth is much more likely to crash the system into collapse than an equitable sharing of wealth would?  The idea seems to warrant some thought.

Quote
The large and growing income gap between rich and poor is the biggest risk to the global community in the next decade, the World Economic Forum said on Thursday as politicians, business leaders and academics prepared to gather in Davos.

Reflecting mounting concern about the risk to societies from inequality, the WEF said the need to tackle disparities in income and wealth had to be addressed at WEF's annual gathering in the Swiss ski resort of Davos next week.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/16/income-gap-biggest-risk-global-community-world-economic-forum (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/16/income-gap-biggest-risk-global-community-world-economic-forum)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 18, 2014, 08:39:41 PM
Here is a link to an analysis of the energy/GDP issue that has a different opinion of the Gail Tevrberg's link from yesterday.  It comes to a very different conclusion in the respect that it argues that the cost of energy is decoupling from GDP growth.  Interesting how the two come to different conclusions.  A fair amount of data is presented with this article.

Quote
..Energy consumption grows less rapidly than the global economy, with GDP growth averaging 3.5% p.a. 2012-35. As a result energy intensity, the amount of energy required per unit of GDP, declines by 36% (1.9% p.a.) between 2012 and 2035. The decline in energy intensity accelerates; the expected rate of decline post 2020 is more than double the decline rate achieved 2000-2010....

http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/01/17/1745542/energy-is-gradually-decoupling-from-economic-growth/? (http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/01/17/1745542/energy-is-gradually-decoupling-from-economic-growth/?)

It is actually not surprising that this is the case. As the price of fossil fuels rise, particularly oil, every business in the world will seek ways to continue to grow while reducing their dependence on these energy inputs. The aggregate effect would be to have GDP rise faster then the use of fossil fuels. This shift away from fossil fuels would serve to dampen price increases of these energy sources. I am not certain what effect this would have on the rate of use globally of fossil fuels.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 18, 2014, 08:46:11 PM
Thanks to all for a great discussion so far. Much to chew on. I'm on my way out for a bit. Hope to get back with more in depth discussion a bit later.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 18, 2014, 08:57:56 PM
Another little idea that might tweek some comments.

And it fits right in with the post by SH that came in while I was doing this one up.

Wealth/income inequality.  The issue of fairness and one of the great problems with capitalism resulting in a concentration of wealth.  This is a big problem in the US and OECD countries but also a big issue in relation to how the rich countries live off the resources we get from the third world and leave them impoverished.  Versions of this issue come up all the time.  Most of the commenters who focus on this issue are of the more liberal/socialist viewpoint and also those most likely to be in sync with the causes of AGW.

In light of this discussion on triggering collapse or at least being amenable to it.  Should we actually work in concert with the rabid capitalists and those who run the system in such a draconian fashion because this method of concentrating wealth is much more likely to crash the system into collapse than an equitable sharing of wealth would?  The idea seems to warrant some thought.

Quote
The large and growing income gap between rich and poor is the biggest risk to the global community in the next decade, the World Economic Forum said on Thursday as politicians, business leaders and academics prepared to gather in Davos.

Reflecting mounting concern about the risk to societies from inequality, the WEF said the need to tackle disparities in income and wealth had to be addressed at WEF's annual gathering in the Swiss ski resort of Davos next week.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/16/income-gap-biggest-risk-global-community-world-economic-forum (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/16/income-gap-biggest-risk-global-community-world-economic-forum)

It is encouraging that this conversation is taking place at Davos. It certainly indicates that the true nature of our problem is understood. I hope it results in an agreement as to what we, the developed nations, need to do going forward. Given that the U.S. refused to ratify previous agreements regarding CO2 emissions, I hold little hope that any agreement will be accepted in the U.S.

Over the past 3 decades, we have made "greed" a virtue. It will be very hard for Americans to arrive at the realization that it is, in fact, one of the seven deadly sins. These seven are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. We are fairly well practiced in most of them.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 18, 2014, 09:12:45 PM
Another little idea that might tweek some comments.

Wealth/income inequality.  The issue of fairness and one of the great problems with capitalism resulting in a concentration of wealth.  This is a big problem in the US and OECD countries but also a big issue in relation to how the rich countries live off the resources we get from the third world and leave them impoverished.  Versions of this issue come up all the time.  Most of the commenters who focus on this issue are of the more liberal/socialist viewpoint and also those most likely to be in sync with the causes of AGW.

In light of this discussion on triggering collapse or at least being amenable to it.  Should we actually work in concert with the rabid capitalists and those who run the system in such a draconian fashion because this method of concentrating wealth is much more likely to crash the system into collapse than an equitable sharing of wealth would?  The idea seems to warrant some thought.

Ahhhhhh! Just reread your post and this idea is very interesting. It would be a second way of exposing this system for the fraud it is. In the U.S., there is this myth that talent and hard work can vault you into the ranks of the wealthy. While there are examples of this, the truth is the average American has a better chance of winning the lottery.

The vast majority of Americans, fully 60%, have been experiencing a decades long slide towards poverty. Depending on what stats you draw on, about 20% are currently living in poverty. Meanwhile, the wealthy who are nearly in complete control of policy continue to get wealthier. Income inequality is at historic highs. While our political discourse is getting more contentious (Populist movements are growing on both ends of the ideological spectrum. The Tea Party on the right and Occupy Wall Street on the left both share a virulent contempt for Wall Street and the world of finance.) there is not yet enough political impetus to exact concessions from the wealthy. This should change as more and  more Americans face poverty.

Can this dynamic play out on the world scene? Can impoverished nations exact lasting concessions from the wealthy nations? I'm not sure.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 18, 2014, 09:25:24 PM
In light of this discussion on triggering collapse or at least being amenable to it.  Should we actually work in concert with the rabid capitalists and those who run the system in such a draconian fashion because this method of concentrating wealth is much more likely to crash the system into collapse than an equitable sharing of wealth would?  The idea seems to warrant some thought.

Quote
The large and growing income gap between rich and poor is the biggest risk to the global community in the next decade, the World Economic Forum said on Thursday as politicians, business leaders and academics prepared to gather in Davos.

Reflecting mounting concern about the risk to societies from inequality, the WEF said the need to tackle disparities in income and wealth had to be addressed at WEF's annual gathering in the Swiss ski resort of Davos next week.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/16/income-gap-biggest-risk-global-community-world-economic-forum (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/16/income-gap-biggest-risk-global-community-world-economic-forum)

I think this aspect of things would need included in a planned crash of the western world ideology (consumption and short term economic metrics as the gods worshipped).

That's the main reason it won't happen - the monkeys at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid want to retain their position and elevation. They want to cut everyone else back and are succeeding as seen by the widening gap between rich and poor and the concentration of wealth at the top even in times of economic crisis.

That's an explosive mixture and significantly accelerating the ongoing economic decline and failure is liable to set it off. To avoid the implied violence and unpleasantness of that it would be necessary to reinforce the safety nets - to take care of the people who would not only no longer be able to afford things they want but also things they need.

Otherwise they are thrown into survival mode and must respond accordingly. This is already starting to happen on the fringes of many affluent societies, but widely ignored and brushed under the carpet by the comfortable mainstream (even as they themselves start to feel the lightest pinching, about which they complain!).

All the policies speak to me of plans for brutal violence against the poor (even when they become the masses), rather than of attempting to maintain social cohesion through cooperation and respect for fellow people.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 18, 2014, 10:13:35 PM
ccgwebmaster.....

"All the policies speak to me of plans for brutal violence against the poor (even when they become the masses), rather than of attempting to maintain social cohesion through cooperation and respect for fellow people."


A depressing  thought and it could play out this way globally (violence by wealthy nations) and domestically within wealthy nations as the oligarchy crush the poor.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 19, 2014, 02:14:19 AM
A depressing  thought and it could play out this way globally (violence by wealthy nations) and domestically within wealthy nations as the oligarchy crush the poor.

Could? It is. The trouble is people who are comfortable and blind to the realities of their society only see it when it comes for them. Then they can't understand how they can be thrown under the bus even as they happily let those less fortunate be tossed there before them. Until that point they tend to gladly swallow the ideological spin fed to them by their higher up monkeys which tells them to believe those people deserved their problems/fate (for whatever reasons).

Of course crash on demand is a desirable thing to do in theory - but you wouldn't get my vote for it knowing how readily as a lower socioeconomic status person I would starve without turning to crime to survive (which potentially entails direct violent conflict with the system).

A lifetime of experiences teaches me how disposable I am to my society and the ideology it embraces. From my perspective pure chaos and massive violent unmanaged collapse is perhaps a better outcome personally, if taking a selfish view. At least in such chaos one is more equal - or even at a possible advantage in some cases if the environment becomes one where might matters more than money.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 20, 2014, 03:38:49 PM
Laurent,

we have no European constitution - french and dutch poeple killed it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_establishing_a_Constitution_for_Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_establishing_a_Constitution_for_Europe)
So - the poeple still have all the power. And of course politicans talk about growth - also in France. But what they did was a lot of de-growth in Greece, Spain, Portugal - they efficiently reduced the exaggerate consumption there.

A reply to Holmgren and the links above: You need 50% of poeple for such a thing like a planned collapse. And of course you will not get them. For me that proposal is looking like a typical extremists perspective - whether right wing or left wing doesn't matter, since they look the same. At the edges the extremists meet, since it is a circle - e.g. we had our national socialists (=translation of Nazi) 70 years back. One extremist is heading to collapse by speeding up burning as much of the last fossils as soon as possible and the other one argues to do a planned/dictated collapse maybe including some force/virus/... Poeple will not like those things and they are right - of course.

Another reply to Holmgren: If 10% of poeple drop out of the system , that would not change the world. We have allready >10% of poeple out of the system here: On the one hand the hard trying avant-garde (living in zero energy houses, growing their own bio-food and walking on zero footprint) and on the other hand the lazy "drop-outs" of the society (not working, living from welfare and watching TV on a frugal flat screen). Both extremists (the hard trying and the not-at-all-trying) are out of the growth system and that is no problem for the growth system but helps a bit to reduce average footprint. It will stay like that until you have 50% of the poeple. We hope, that some vanguard ideas become mainstream - that happened often in recent history.

To conclude: By no way you can get out of fossils without the fossil industry. You need them in your boat. You will need them for ~20 transition years and they need some reliable plan to work with (and to make some profit in the meantime without investing to much in vain of course...). And you need the poeple (>50%) or it will not work. But without a working plan you will not get the poeple for that plan. So - please forget the extremists plans and the collapses, since nobody wants to go that way (only a very few extremists would benefit from collapse like very rich poeple, very poor poeple, very strange poeple, some virus biologists, some nuke-lovers...). Just my 2c.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 20, 2014, 09:03:01 PM
So - please forget the extremists plans and the collapses, since nobody wants to go that way (only a very few extremists would benefit from collapse like very rich poeple, very poor poeple, very strange poeple, some virus biologists, some nuke-lovers...). Just my 2c.

I thought this was relevant to this discussion.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/20/oxfam-85-richest-people-half-of-the-world (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/20/oxfam-85-richest-people-half-of-the-world)

If the 85 richest people own as much as the 3.5 billion poorest, this bears a little reflection. You say a few extremists ... very poor people ... - there is nothing few about the very poor. In any BAU future (or indeed a managed collapse, presumably managed by the wealthy and powerful who already have everything) - those very poor people have a virtually nil chance of making it. They are disposable. I think at some level they know it (and I could use those terms in the first person too, I am not singling them out as different from me).

On the other hand a chaotic and violent unmanaged collapse gives them a chance. Still a small chance - but nonetheless a much bigger chance than BAU or managed collapse would.

Although I've found this topic a fascinating discussion to follow (and wish I'd had the time to read through the links required to participate properly), I think the bottom line is that we are already attempting BAU. At some point those in power will attempt to manage collapse in the most ugly and distasteful way possible (from the perspective of everyone else) as they will be looking out only for themselves (as usual). Hopefully the process will rapidly become unmanaged (quite likely due to the massive numbers of poor people involved and the extent of the inequality building up) and the opportunity to survive will then be a bit more equitably distributed (I am sure it will still be far from equal).

Theoretically of course if they could manage those processes - human civilisation would continue (probably with a handful of absolute despots who own everything, pretty much the same as today, but more brutal and solidified). The question in my mind though is simple - do we really want such people, so willing to do such a thing, so ruthless and uncaring in how they operate - to be the foundation of the future of our species? Would that be likely to set us upon a sustainable pathway as a species? Or more likely to merely assure the future of the descendants of the few wealthy and powerful people who already did the most to cause all this?

To me - while I appreciate it spills into philosophy - the question is not merely one of survival, either for ourselves, our descendents or civilisation.

It is a question of who we are as humans - as a species - and who we want to be.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 22, 2014, 12:00:12 PM
Thanks, ccg. That's quite a stat! It pretty much shows that, besides crashing the planet, the whole system is set up primarily to vacuum up value and deposit it in the bank accounts of the top few dozen wealthiest individuals in the world.

Meanwhile, here's another response to Holmgren/Hopkins...

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-21/agency-on-demand-holmgren-hopkins-and-the-historical-problem-of-agency (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-21/agency-on-demand-holmgren-hopkins-and-the-historical-problem-of-agency)

Agency on Demand?
Holmgren, Hopkins, and the Historical Problem of Agency


Here's part of one comment about this essay:

Quote
Wow, i started to read this with the mindset of 'not another comment' - but am completely blown away by the depth and grounding achieved. Thank you Erik for weighing in. You have added an important dimension to the discussion, bringing it to a much deeper philosophical level.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 22, 2014, 05:13:44 PM
cg

Quote
Theoretically of course if they could manage those processes - human civilisation would continue (probably with a handful of absolute despots who own everything, pretty much the same as today, but more brutal and solidified). The question in my mind though is simple - do we really want such people, so willing to do such a thing, so ruthless and uncaring in how they operate - to be the foundation of the future of our species? Would that be likely to set us upon a sustainable pathway as a species? Or more likely to merely assure the future of the descendants of the few wealthy and powerful people who already did the most to cause all this?

To me - while I appreciate it spills into philosophy - the question is not merely one of survival, either for ourselves, our descendents or civilisation.

It is a question of who we are as humans - as a species - and who we want to be.

Besides the fact that the economic system is set up to make it likely that this would happen and likely that we will continue down that path until there is a large break, I think we have to consider the tendencies of human nature and how they relate to this situation.  We already are that species you don't want us to be.  You would prefer we evolve into something more moral and ethical.  It would be nice, but is it at all likely?

Rule by the strong has been a part of human culture for untold thousands of years.  It is fair to say that a large percentage of our population is very comfortable operating within a governmental structure which is authoritarian in nature.  It provides certainty where democracy or anarchism provides uncertainty.  We are pack animals and packs normally have Alpha's and democracy is unknown.  A great many people are content to find a place in such a hierarchy and proceed on with their lives.  I expect in the future that will be the dominant governmental choice.  In times of great stress, danger and competition for resources it is hard to imagine any other form of government being successful.  What happens, post collapse, when two communities from the opposite ends of this spectrum end up needing the same place and resources.  Who wins in that competition.  The one which has trained its most capable citizens to be professional soldiers who "protect" the interests of the rest (for suitable reward) and where the bulk of the citizens provide the rest of the functions of society and fill the ranks of the army when needed?   Feudalism, with a modern twist, seems likely to be the most dominant form of government post collapse.  And increasingly authoritarian ones heading towards that event.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 22, 2014, 07:26:47 PM
Rule by the strong has been a part of human culture for untold thousands of years.  It is fair to say that a large percentage of our population is very comfortable operating within a governmental structure which is authoritarian in nature.  It provides certainty where democracy or anarchism provides uncertainty.  We are pack animals and packs normally have Alpha's and democracy is unknown.  A great many people are content to find a place in such a hierarchy and proceed on with their lives.  I expect in the future that will be the dominant governmental choice.  In times of great stress, danger and competition for resources it is hard to imagine any other form of government being successful.  What happens, post collapse, when two communities from the opposite ends of this spectrum end up needing the same place and resources.  Who wins in that competition.  The one which has trained its most capable citizens to be professional soldiers who "protect" the interests of the rest (for suitable reward) and where the bulk of the citizens provide the rest of the functions of society and fill the ranks of the army when needed?   Feudalism, with a modern twist, seems likely to be the most dominant form of government post collapse.  And increasingly authoritarian ones heading towards that event.

The issue is not necessarily rule by the strong - but rather the metric that we use to determine strength, and the ideologies and behaviours adopted by a society (and this is important - it is not just the very wealthiest and most powerful who have destroyed the future at this time - but most people doing their little bit).

One must work within the constraints of human nature, certainly. Does that mean a small group of people will be headed by the strongest? Yes - most likely. But even here the question of how that strength is assessed comes into play. Do we mean the physically strongest? The most intelligent? The most effective at socially networking and persuading people? The most suited in terms of knowledge and skills?

Today we mean the richest. By any measure of strength I would value, that is worthless. There is only limited correlation between that wealth and any of the other attributes (indeed much of the wealth of the richest was originally gained through criminal or immoral behaviour if seen through the eyes of the present day world they now dominate - eg drugs, slavery, war crimes, etc).

In my view the main outcome (and the mode of governance is almost irrelevant to this) is that a society or civilisation must live sustainably. Even that much goes against human nature - but yet it has been done before. Ancient civilisations have lasted thousands of years and some groups of people have lasted far longer and actually enshrined sustainable principles in their core ideology (I grant they were nomads and therefore not directly exemplar).

A secondary outcome however is to consider what sort of people can fit within such a system. Indeed - how can you keep such a system on the rails without a strong ideology that compels the society to adhere to it? How do you put checks and balances to stop those at the top from hijacking it all for their own short term gain?

The earliest "kings" may well have been the strongest in some sense, just as the alpha male in a pack of lions is the strongest. I wager it didn't take long for them to invent ideas to inject into the ideology such as "divine right of kingship inherited through birth", and soon - the strongest is now only the strongest in name. The illusion of them as strongest is perpetuated by the power structures assembled across generations at that point, but it is a lie. They are no longer the strongest (and sometimes you saw this demonstrated via violent upset).

Today strength comes mostly from money, as the common means by which to assure compliance and control people and obtain resources. Once you have enough such strength you no longer need to worry about the money as you can take it from other people (through taxation or products). It is however a rather nebulous measure of strength, assuring only that those with the power are good at using their money and power to reinforce itself. It is not a measure of strength that would mean a thing in terms of most ancient civilisations.

Therefore I'm arguing that while the general principle of rule by the strong is too much of human nature to do much about - there is nonetheless potentially a lot of latitude within that to work, to build an ideology that constrains everyone (just as the ideology of money even constrains the wealthiest and most powerful people today - and in some respects constrains them even more thoroughly than those with less), and that represents something more ethically noble than simple brute force.

At the foundation of civilisation, I suppose I see ideology, which is something we can do an awful lot about (at least in theory). It must fit human nature - but there is plenty of wriggle room in there if you look at the details and historic examples. Inasmuch as the sheep usually follow regardless, one is perhaps concentrating mostly upon the ideology that binds the strong?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 22, 2014, 07:35:28 PM
Meanwhile, here's another response to Holmgren/Hopkins...
Thank you for that very interesting article. Unfortunately, some things are a bit difficult to understand for me - maybe cultural things make it even worse again. The philisophical part is not part of the problem (of course) and I like the line from Marx to Peak Oil narrative. Funny, that the Marx-followers sit in US these days ;-) Strange to read that Peak Oil was considered a problem and not climate change...
 
But I could not understand what "Transition Movement" is - is that what some poeple here call "green BAU"? Something similar to European green liberals who try to live on smallest footprints and trying to explain others how to live?

And where does this idea of "violence" fits in the last paragraph? Is that "deconstruction" something similar to early days "Luddite" and maybe similar to Germans still Romantic relationsship to nature and the resulting fighting things like acid rain and nuclear? But it is sounding much more dangerous than that...
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 22, 2014, 07:43:52 PM
I'm glad you found it interesting.

Quote
But I could not understand what "Transition Movement" is - is that what some poeple here call "green BAU"? Something similar to European green liberals who try to live on smallest footprints and trying to explain others how to live?

More like the latter. I think of 'green BAU' as just middle class folks not making much change except changing light bulbs and buying a prius SUV and assuming that alternative energy is going to (or already has) done the rest. My experience with Transition Movement is that they are people who are really trying to live as if the earth existed--radically downscaling their footprints and doing a lot of work to get others to do the same, while trying to strengthen community resilience in various ways. I learned recently that it sprang from the permaculture movement.

Holmgren is one of the founders of permaculture, and Hopkins (one of his students, iirc) basically started the Transition Town Movement.

I think the use of the term 'violence' here is misplaced, unless one thinks (as some here seem to) that removing support from a deeply violent system is itself an act of violence.

The original Holmgren article that the others are ultimately responses to called on people in the Permaculture and Transition movements to move themselves and get as many others as they could to radically accelerate their trajectory away from the finance economy and toward resilient, cooperative self-reliance. But now with the specific goal of depriving the national and global financial system of enough assets that it could trigger a general collapse of the whole system. This is the goals that some described as 'violent.'

I see it as simply recognizing that one is involved in violence by participating in such a system, and on that recognition, removing ones support from that system. The system itself has baked violence into the cake no matter what.

It's as if a suicide bomber has locked a bunch of people into a building with some explosives taped to his body. He (=the system) is telling the people in and outside the building that if they don't give him more explosives, he is going to set himself off and take down a lot of people with him.

If one refuses to give this idiot more explosives, is that itself a violent act? I don't happen to think so, though of course some violence may (or may not) happen due to it. What is clear is that giving the dude ever more explosives makes ever more violence ever more probable/inevitable.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: johnm33 on January 22, 2014, 09:03:52 PM
My 2c's. Every attempt at civilization has developed a system similar to the social insects. [Must be something in game theory that covers this] A central powerful ruler, a warrior/police caste and an actively befuddled worker caste serving the system rather than their own interests. At every attempt the sociopathic genes have increased, way beyond the numbers that made sense in a hunter-gathering group. Unfortunately another artifact of our evolution is that we're adapted to have about 150 relationships, [in an extended group of maybe 750?]. So we all end up living in disconnected bubbles along with our 'social equals' and each group develop their own self serving world view. What with universal surveillance and the msm propaganda we stand on the brink of the most profound choice that we could make as a species, no more conscious of it than unfolding extinction event we've brought down on ourselves.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 22, 2014, 09:26:49 PM
Wili  The last link is a great find and I am sucked into starting what is likely to be a long response to it (this is your fault btw  :P  I find that I have some very profound alternative outlooks (disagreements I guess) to the article.  But I really liked it in any case as it really has made me think and focus on why I think otherwise.  More later if I have the energy.

ccg  I also want to respond to your last and will try and get to it as soon as I have time.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 22, 2014, 09:47:35 PM
Mea Culpa! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QuL0XgNZCY# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QuL0XgNZCY#)  :D

Ah, the joys and tribulations of the life of the mind.

Get energy where you can, and do share your thoughts. I had a similar reaction to the piece--thought provoking but also disagreement provoking.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: AndrewP on January 23, 2014, 07:29:34 AM
This just seems to substitute one hopeless plan (green lifestyle and public policy) with another (intentionally collapsing the financial system).

Neither plan is likely to occur in the short to medium-term future because you could never get enough people committed to either solution. The former requires sacrifice but prevents the worst costs of AGW, the latter causes chaos and collapse of civilization.

So all that one is doing is substituting one very difficult to attain solution with another even more difficult to attain solution that isn't really a solution.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: jonthed on January 23, 2014, 03:50:17 PM
Very interesting discussion everyone, thank you all for the time you’ve put into articulating your thoughts.

I’m afraid I might not have much to contribute but I did want to pick up on the point about current population levels being unsustainable, and that suffering and death of millions (billions?) was inevitable.

Sure, the consumerist economy and all the products associated with it may not be able to be sustained at its current level, let alone at a level where all the world’s population has been elevated to the same standard of living, but necessities, particularly food, should be within our capabilities, without even needing to go vegan.

Firstly, I’m sure it has been stated many times that we could eliminate hunger already, if only the food would not be wasted and could be distributed fairly. But regardless of this fact…

Allon Savory is trying very hard to get people to adopt holistic practises when it comes to land management and the raising of livestock. His Savory Institute (http://www.savoryinstitute.com/ (http://www.savoryinstitute.com/)) uses grazing practices that are organized in a way that mimics nature, allowing for huge herds that actually help the depleted grasslands replenish and thrive, (reversing desertification), and be capable of sustaining much more biomass and livestock than current farming practices allow, and even altering the ecology of the landscape to retain water better and develop year round streams and wetlands. If these techniques are adopted worldwide, the restoration of so much land to good agricultural land capable of sustaining huge numbers of livestock as well as providing opportunities for holistic crop and vegetable growing, would be an incredible boost to our food growing capacity.

Perhaps more importantly, it would also serve to sequester a huge amount of carbon, not just in the biomass of the new plants and animals supported, but in the continued enrichment and growth of the soil.

Another kind of projects coming at the food problem from the technology angle are vertical farming and the Sahara Forest Project (http://saharaforestproject.com/ (http://saharaforestproject.com/)). Vertical farms could be built on a grand scale in or near cities by the hundred, making the cities practically self-sufficient for food. The Sahara Forest Project has demonstrated that using only sunlight and saltwater, they can grow food, make drinking water, renewable electricity and biofuels as a profitable enterprise in the desert. If this was scaled up and seawater pipeline infrastructure developed huge areas of desert could be turned to useful food production with a potentially negative carbon footprint.

Both of these technological approaches would require a huge investment, but if it’s profitable then it could happen, or a strong government could make it happen anyway if it was needed. Eitherway, it is possible.

Then if we also stop using fertile land to grow crops used for livestock feed (no longer necessary with the holistic approach) or biofuel, we would have even more arable land to put to use feeding humans.

All together, the food production capacity of this planet could be massively increased.

Biofuels will soon be able to replace petrol and even jet-fuel, and will be able to be made from algae bio-fuel plants using only brownfield sites and saltwater.

Plastics will likewise be able to be made from algae.

3D printing will make most international shipping unnecessary.

Electricity can of course be wholly renewable.

We could build and build (tech-farms, algae-farms, renewable power), and be able to sustain an ever increasing number of people, without increasing our geographical footprint, and in fact even letting the amazon and other devastated ecosystems regenerate and return to the natural state and original size.

We are only limited by the actual raw materials on the planet, namely carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

The technologies we need to facilitate our modern way of life and standard of living for the whole human race are already here or very nearly. We only need for there to be a concerted effort to make these become our dominant technologies and methods. This could even be purely market driven, with government incentives or a carbon tax, or simple consumer choice, after all, these technologies are going to be cost competitive soon, and a good investment for forward thinking companies.

What I’m trying to say is this, we can feed the planet and elevate standard of living for everyone, sustainably and without sacrificing diet or lifestyle. And we could even combat climate change at the same time. This could be achieved without a massive collapse and within the current capitalist framework. Or it could be forced through strong government action.

Whether or not we’ll ever even start on that path is another matter. Even though the technology is within reach, the political will to take hold of it may never materialise in time. We could well see global food crises and famine and civil unrest and government crackdowns all over the world, and the kind of collapse you have been talking about. But it’s not the only possibility.

So, I am optimistic that the technological solutions are at hand. I am pessimistic that they will be adopted with any speed. But I am optimistic that they will win out in the end due to basic market forces, despite efforts from the vested interests. Only a few industries would crash. The governments and economies would survive intact (unfortunately) but a collapse will have been avoided and mankind can proceed into a clean, renewable, sustainable future. Not some backward carrot-growing pre-industrial feudal existence. So I think I could live with that.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 23, 2014, 04:43:14 PM
jonthed

I won't disrupt this thread with a detailed response, but as I read through your post I don't think there was any point in it which I could substantially agree with.  As the post more properly belongs in the Agriculture thread or the population threads you might want to review the posts there which discuss almost all of your points in detail.  And then if you still feel that way repost your comments there.  But when you say you are an optimist that surely is an understatement. Thanks for joining the discussions.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 23, 2014, 04:55:40 PM
ccg

Quote
Therefore I'm arguing that while the general principle of rule by the strong is too much of human nature to do much about - there is nonetheless potentially a lot of latitude within that to work, to build an ideology that constrains everyone (just as the ideology of money even constrains the wealthiest and most powerful people today - and in some respects constrains them even more thoroughly than those with less), and that represents something more ethically noble than simple brute force.

At the foundation of civilisation, I suppose I see ideology, which is something we can do an awful lot about (at least in theory). It must fit human nature - but there is plenty of wriggle room in there if you look at the details and historic examples. Inasmuch as the sheep usually follow regardless, one is perhaps concentrating mostly upon the ideology that binds the strong?

I too share your dreams of a society structured along moral and ethical principals.  Where there is equity, fairness, equal treatment, a sense of responsibility, a recognition that many of our most common weaknesses are not in our best interests, and is a place where we are safe and secure and happy.  Is there an ideology which is based upon these goods or can there be one?  I don't know, but these ideals have always been in our thoughts and dreams and nothing has ever really come of them along the lines of what you speak.

I do not believe that society is set on an ideological foundation.  Many ideologies are resident in any society (or civilization) with one or occasionally more being in positions of dominance.  Capitalist ideology is clearly the dominant one of our time by any measure.  Capitalism however is not the foundation of society which I would argue is actually an institutional representation of the sum of the behaviors which comprise human nature.  Human nature has no ideology as it is not a reasoned rational set of behaviors or beliefs.  Capitalism is just a narrative which has successfully addressed a large enough set of the individual sub-conscious components of our basic human nature that it has risen to dominance.  These ideological narratives have come and gone throughout history with various levels of success.  Capitalism of course is hugely successful, perhaps more than any previous ideology.  It is certainly turning out to be a spectacular failure and bears the most responsibility for the mess we are currently in.  Not that we would not have figured out how to get in this mess absent capitalism as all it is doing is triggering an effective set of our basic human responses which would have led us here in any case.

Can an ideology be created which provides a structure supporting  the desired human behavior described above.  I would say yes.  Could it have the narrative power to rise to dominance amongst other competing ideologies.  Perhaps.  One might suppose that Capitalism will fall out of favor some time in the coming years as its inadequacies might become generally evident.  Though that would take some doing as it so effectively maps our basic nature.

Quote
The issue is not necessarily rule by the strong - but rather the metric that we use to determine strength, and the ideologies and behaviours adopted by a society (and this is important - it is not just the very wealthiest and most powerful who have destroyed the future at this time - but most people doing their little bit).

One must work within the constraints of human nature, certainly. Does that mean a small group of people will be headed by the strongest? Yes - most likely. But even here the question of how that strength is assessed comes into play. Do we mean the physically strongest? The most intelligent? The most effective at socially networking and persuading people? The most suited in terms of knowledge and skills?

But I must say that the above discussion has to be considered in a different light as well.  It would seem we are far beyond the point where a competing ideological narrative has time to be designed and promoted throughout civilization where it could compete and win dominance.  While a worthy ideal it might have to wait for when the dust settles.  Parts of the train we are on have already left the tracks and we are inevitably going to stack the cars up in a big pile. 

We have in essence already made our decisions for the foreseeable future on what metric we use to pick our leaders...our strong men to rule.  Sure the strongest rise to the top and given that our leaders in today's world do not go out onto the fields with sword and prove their mettle in physical battle we can be certain that their self selection (as that is what it always is) has parts of all of your criteria.  Physical strength and courage never hurt of course and may sometime in the future once again have more prominence than now.  But for now it is a different kind of courage they possess along with the typical traits of ruthlessness and tendencies towards brutality.

Quote
Today we mean the richest. By any measure of strength I would value, that is worthless. There is only limited correlation between that wealth and any of the other attributes (indeed much of the wealth of the richest was originally gained through criminal or immoral behaviour if seen through the eyes of the present day world they now dominate - eg drugs, slavery, war crimes, etc).

I have trouble accepting that all of the people you describe above have none of the strengths you value.  I would posit that some of them are among the most effective genius's we have produced.  Many have great intellect, tremendous courage to follow their instincts, and are among the most persuasive people there are.  But as people like Hitler and Stalin have shown us having great capabilities does not mean you are an admirable person or interested in the general welfare of your fellow citizens. 

 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 23, 2014, 05:09:52 PM
"Only a few industries would crash. The governments and economies would survive intact (unfortunately) but a collapse will have been avoided and mankind can proceed into a clean, renewable, sustainable future. Not some backward carrot-growing pre-industrial feudal existence. So I think I could live with that."
Jonthed, I think you are dreaming. Both JimD and I are "carrot-growers" and I am sure Jim would find that last sentence as insulting as I do. Pasture management is completely dependent on rainfall so although rotating stock is preferable, and not the least bit original, to overgrazing it is never going to feed the world. The vertical farm stuff is pure fantasy.
 Before well meters were mandated we had ( acres / crop) calculators to figure water use from agriculture wells. I used to pay for 9 acre feet of water to irrigate ~ 5 acres of crops with the calculator but after putting a meter on my well I paid for 3 acre feet of water used last year. So I use about a third of what wasteful flood or sprinkler systems use. Pasture demands those types of wasteful water practices because drip-tape just won't work. Pumping out of wells will also preclude most pasture or livestock so the area where livestock rotations work is limited to areas with substantial
and consistent rainfall. So write off most of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona , etc. for the "Savory" plan.
 I guess if you can ignore most of the comments up thread on what is going to happen as we plummet off the cheap energy curve that has pushed human populations far past carrying capacity then you can believe what you choose. I have always been a backward carrot growing feudal type so lots of luck on feeding yourself with fantasy .
     
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JackTaylor on January 23, 2014, 06:32:59 PM
Quote
jonthed: Reply #56;
"All together, the food production capacity of this planet could be massively increased."
You "could" be correct.  Here, have another bowl of rice for your hunger.
How about some ladies' fingers (okra) cooked in palm oil?  Reasonable hot climate crops.

Just think when a method to avoid crashing turns research dollars away from animal feed and fuel crops you will probably see what amounts to a substantial increase in food availability.  Research available on this - looking for my reference(s).

What are people going to eat when issued a 'Ration Yard' for only about one-pound or one-half-kilo of animal protein per month?  Going to roll-over and starve refusing to change dietary preferences?

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 23, 2014, 09:09:48 PM
The different culture thing again?

I can understand some of the critics aboye aiming at jonthed - you may discuss each and every point in his long list and you could come to a more pessimistic conclusion. But I think he is right that mankind easily could do it but probably refuses to try it. And I think he is also right that even a survival based on future technology miracles would be more probable than 50% of the poeple agreeing on a planned collapse - the latter is totaly unrealistic and sounds like a pipe dream.

As an example - let me take a look at the place where I live:
* High population density - but not very much higher than 100 years ago. So - why should it collapse or why should we starve if we go back even to energy consumption 100 years ago?
 
* We can savely assume, that the 100% renewable energy scenario would result in about twice of todays energy costs (based on existing technology - no breakthroughs needed). Why should we starve with double energy costs? Just put a bit less into consume and then another bit and that is it. It would still be much more comfortable than 100 years ago. Even easy-going "green BAU" would work out better much better than the collapse.

* Why should anybody go for a planned collapse in such situation? Never will you get 50% of the poeple for that crazy plan - so forget it. You may forget any plan without at leat 50% of the poeple. One would have to take Hitlers way again towards his planned collapse - but nobody will follow that way again.

I mean - hey, energy will be more expensive. So - pay a bit more for that and buy less other stuff. "Economy" will not die because of that - since poeple will not die. Just do a bit de-growth like in Japan, South Europe (and Germany 10 years back) and let us repeat that 5-10 times. OK - you probably will stopp growing crops in places like California or Saudi Arabia - but that would be common sense. In such case the Japanese will have to grow their own grass for their feeding Kobe cows instead of buying cheap virtual water from the Californian desert...

To conclude: Try to get the poeple to start some action. Getting more and more radical just will disgust everybody and you can not make it with anyone. That is my answer to Homgren: All that whining is only killing any action. You probably will call me optimistic and naive again - but we did proove that we can survive much harder times than expensive energy and things.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 23, 2014, 10:24:48 PM
Satire, I think farming with low energy inputs demands enormous labor inputs. I think refrigeration,transportation,and electrical costs for wells requires energy costs that the rest of BAU supports. I don't honestly know if a population that changes to a much higher number of farm laborers would find enough land close enough to large population centers to keep the cities fed.
I am in a small way trying to answer those questions by growing and selling locally and trying to keep track of energy inputs and crops( energy) produced. The fact that I am experimenting with things that are potentially relevant to how we are all suppose to be living within the next 50 years should bother people more than it does. I don't know how anyone can really talk about how secure our food system is unless they really honestly look at EROEI. What are the energy costs for the food you eat? 
 If I understand Holmgren he is saying that if enough people walked away, quit buying things, fed themselves, and lived very small, the economic system would collapse. That however is pure conjecture that I don't personally believe is happening even with large numbers of people already there. For me that argument is less relevant than how we work ourselves off of our fossil fuel dependence?  We are suppose to radically reduce our ff use.. Farming will not somehow be exempted.
 I think doing the very things Holmgren promotes ,live small etc.,are commendable ,moral ,and they will most certainly result in lots of poverty. There are worse things going on than poverty however.
I am a carrot grower now and if become very poor I will still be a carrot grower...  And that my friend is optimism.     
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 23, 2014, 11:16:42 PM
Bruce, I think I am with you. One should go the way that one is a bit familiar and used to. Therefore, any kind of "BAU" could work until it does not depend on holes in the ground or CO2 in the air. "Green BAU" or "carrot BAU" could do the trick similarily. And if you say "collapse" just means the transition to such reasonable acting, I am totally with you again. But if you would say collapse goes with several billions dead poeple I would be out - of course.

Probably at different places with different poeple different ways are appropriate. E.g. labor intense "carrot BAU" without fossil-based fertilizers are a way, if a lot of poeple are going to move from cities to rural live - so it could fit at such places, since it makes sense. My conclusion is - stopp fighting between the different sustainable BAUs and let us try all doable things. And let us tell Holmgren to stopp whining and keep on working. We need the poeple with our future and not against it.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JackTaylor on January 23, 2014, 11:22:17 PM
Quote
Satire: Reply #61;
"Why should we starve with double energy costs?"

Agree.  We will change our dietary habits before we starve.  The will to live (survive) is very strong.

Reduction of "Tillable Agriculture Land (TAG)" could cause a crash.

For example, desalinated water costs approximately double current conventional sources (ground extraction or surface reservoir storage), but the largest part of cost of desal is energy, renewable's could become a very convenient marriage.  Presents a problem for disposable of 'brine salt'.

As long as it's possible for a Corporate Profit to be made feeding masses of people it will be done.

BTW, industrial fertilizer (nitrogen component),  is CH4 Methane Gas a substantial part of it ?  Can more be easily recovered from warming of higher latitudes?   

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Neven on January 23, 2014, 11:32:48 PM
Quote
If I understand Holmgren he is saying that if enough people walked away, quit buying things,

I am trying this in my own way, and I can tell you it's very, very difficult. Unless you want to revert to medieval lifestyles, which I don't even see the hippies I know do.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 24, 2014, 06:37:17 AM
If I understand Holmgren he is saying that if enough people walked away, quit buying things, fed themselves, and lived very small, the economic system would collapse. That however is pure conjecture that I don't personally believe is happening even with large numbers of people already there. For me that argument is less relevant than how we work ourselves off of our fossil fuel dependence?  We are suppose to radically reduce our ff use.. Farming will not somehow be exempted.

I really ought to make time to read through the original links etc - but the impression I get from what you say above is that he's advocating people with the money to buy land and retreat from the system do so? He is offering nothing for those unable to obtain their own land with which to grow food upon? Save perhaps to seize their food from whatever source they could if they were not participating within the system that virtually enslaves everyone?

That is to say that for most people to totally non participate within the system (and surely he himself participates within it significantly) is to court starvation or conflict (with the system). There are little details like food, shelter, water - that the system controls people through, that you can only get independently of the system by participating in the damn thing in the first place.

The system also controls the land for permaculture. To buy land - you participated within the system. You depend upon the same system to enforce your ownership of that land (and by implication the exclusion of other people from it).

Isn't it contradictory to advocate collapsing the system in this context? What does he think replaces it? If the system is brought down - or collapses of it's own accord - there are consequences, even for those who think they left it...

I think doing the very things Holmgren promotes ,live small etc.,are commendable ,moral ,and they will most certainly result in lots of poverty. There are worse things going on than poverty however.

Those things are commendable - but they only make sense in the context of transition, don't they? Isn't there a supposition that it is viable to transit to a new system (without absolute disintegration in between) to strongly advocate such things?

Certainly there must be a selective assumption that you can collapse the economic system and people practising permaculture could retain their land ownership and protection from those without that type of economic wealth?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 24, 2014, 04:51:21 PM
ccg

I think you need to read Holmgren's article as you are missing a big part of what Holmgren is saying. 

Holmgren's article is a break with his previous work with permaculture and his association with the Transition Town movement.  It appears that he has come to the realization that Green-BAU approaches like the Transition Town movement and his more fundamental Permaculture movement are an insufficient path to bringing us out of this complex mess we find ourselves in (such a conclusion is old news to most of us - SATire and jonthed being exceptions from their recent posts).

As such he is openly contemplating a radical departure from his previous work in that he is starting to advocate "deliberately" collapsing the economic system (and thus the whole system) with all the pain and suffering it implies.  We would just accept the consequences and try and pick up the pieces.  Not a new idea at all as many here have suggested that instigating a deliberate crash now is the best long-term solution in terms of taking responsibility and suffering the consequences for our own actions is more moral and it would also leave more resources for future generations to live off of.

Holmgren has capitulated.  He has finally seen enough data to become convinced (like a lot of us are) that there is no path forward of any kind which assumes that any version of BAU is followed and if our modern complex civilization is continued. 

His chosen method to cause this collapse, in my opinion and that of many others, is completely impractical and would not work.  But that is sort of beside the point as the real news is his conversion and advocacy of immediate deliberate collapse.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 24, 2014, 05:25:03 PM
The different culture thing again?

I don't think so this time.  Unless you are meaning that from the philosophical perspective that some things are too horrible to think about and thus are exempt from the discussion.

Quote
I can understand some of the critics aboye aiming at jonthed - you may discuss each and every point in his long list and you could come to a more pessimistic conclusion. But I think he is right that mankind easily could do it but probably refuses to try it. And I think he is also right that even a survival based on future technology miracles would be more probable than 50% of the poeple agreeing on a planned collapse - the latter is totaly unrealistic and sounds like a pipe dream.

Your assumption that is would take 50% agreement to generate a collapse is completely unfounded.  Depending on the cause of the collapse it could be a number as small as one person.  Holmgren's proposal for about 10% of the current middle class (I believe he is thinking by US or Aussie standards) deliberately walking away from the system being sufficient to trigger financial collapse is not outside of reasonable possibility.  The big issue with his proposal is getting them to do it.  Highly unlikely. 

The chance of a technical miracle saving us is certainly not anywhere near 50%.  Articles on this idea by PhD level physicists indicate that the prospects of a technology development capable of providing a solution to AGW is almost non-existent. 
 
Quote
As an example - let me take a look at the place where I live:
* High population density - but not very much higher than 100 years ago. So - why should it collapse or why should we starve if we go back even to energy consumption 100 years ago?

Since borders in Europe have been so fluid since 1900 there is no way to count by countries.  However Europe has at least 50% more people than it did in 1900.  So to me that is a LOT higher and it should be pretty obvious that you cannot feed all of those people minus fossil fuels and industrial agriculture.
 
Quote
* We can savely assume, that the 100% renewable energy scenario would result in about twice of todays energy costs (based on existing technology - no breakthroughs needed). Why should we starve with double energy costs? Just put a bit less into consume and then another bit and that is it. It would still be much more comfortable than 100 years ago. Even easy-going "green BAU" would work out better much better than the collapse.

No, I don't agree that you can safely assume that.  Show me a full cost analysis from minerals in the ground all the way thru the lifecycle of the equipment built and installed that even comes close to proving that.  Most analysis shows that a significant percentage of alternate energy installations are built using fossil fuels and there is no prospect of changing that for 10-20 years.  Don't forget that the core precept of the quick collapse is to "save" critical resources for future generations.  If we run out the string via BAU there will be dramatically less resources left for the folks who make it through the bottleneck to try and build a new civilization upon. 

Quote
* Why should anybody go for a planned collapse in such situation? Never will you get 50% of the poeple for that crazy plan - so forget it. You may forget any plan without at leat 50% of the poeple. One would have to take Hitlers way again towards his planned collapse - but nobody will follow that way again.

The idea is to do it for the innocent of the future.  To follow BAU is to shirk our responsibility for fixing this mess now that we know its scope.  Following BAU is cowardice in my opinion.  And like I said above it does not take democratic agreement. 

Quote
I mean - hey, energy will be more expensive. So - pay a bit more for that and buy less other stuff. "Economy" will not die because of that - since poeple will not die. Just do a bit de-growth like in Japan, South Europe (and Germany 10 years back) and let us repeat that 5-10 times. OK - you probably will stopp growing crops in places like California or Saudi Arabia - but that would be common sense. In such case the Japanese will have to grow their own grass for their feeding Kobe cows instead of buying cheap virtual water from the Californian desert...

To conclude: Try to get the poeple to start some action. Getting more and more radical just will disgust everybody and you can not make it with anyone. That is my answer to Homgren: All that whining is only killing any action. You probably will call me optimistic and naive again - but we did proove that we can survive much harder times than expensive energy and things.

My answer to the above is contained in hundreds of posts on this forum.  It is just not in any way logical to think that BAU approaches will result in anything but a far worse collapse in the future than what Holmgren is advocating today. 

Those who remember my posts here will know that I think we will follow the path of what you are advocating because we are weak and fearful and because we hope for miracles to save us.  And it will result in utter catastrophe. 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 24, 2014, 05:54:47 PM
Quote
I can understand some of the critics aboye aiming at jonthed - you may discuss each and every point in his long list and you could come to a more pessimistic conclusion. But I think he is right that mankind easily could do it but probably refuses to try it. And I think he is also right that even a survival based on future technology miracles would be more probable than 50% of the poeple agreeing on a planned collapse - the latter is totaly unrealistic and sounds like a pipe dream.

Your assumption that is would take 50% agreement to generate a collapse is completely unfounded.  Depending on the cause of the collapse it could be a number as small as one person.  Holmgren's proposal for about 10% of the current middle class (I believe he is thinking by US or Aussie standards) deliberately walking away from the system being sufficient to trigger financial collapse is not outside of reasonable possibility.  The big issue with his proposal is getting them to do it.  Highly unlikely. 

The chance of a technical miracle saving us is certainly not anywhere near 50%.  Articles on this idea by PhD level physicists indicate that the prospects of a technology development capable of providing a solution to AGW is almost non-existent. 

JimD - you misunderstood me allready in my first point. Maybe because of that you may believe I did not read a good amount of your posts - I did. 

As I mentioned further above - if you consider democratic societies 50% of poeple would be needed for decision. If not - 1 suicide bomber with a killer virus could do that. I did ignore that point and explained why. And I did explain allready above that 10% drop out of middle class will not do the Holmgren trick - we have allready >10% out at my place and it does not matter.

I never assumed 50% probability for a technological miracle. I assume that probability to be close to 0%. But I think the probabilty, that you will get 50% of poeple to agree on a planned collapse is even lower. Especially if you consider a "catastrophic" collapse. So please forget it.

The other points - it makes not much sense to discuss about 50% more here or less there. Such things will be doable - even with 50% less things/food/... you can survive quite well. As long as you do not start to fight each other - that will take much more ressources. So please let us end the fight between green BAU and carrot BAU or whatever BAU... 

We have to do some work and we have to rely on some things we can do and know - so we all rely on some kind of BAU. In future we must rely on all kinds of BAU without holes in the earth and CO2 in the air. That is all - not a catastrophy but some work.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 24, 2014, 06:07:50 PM
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I really ought to make time to read through the original links etc - but the impression I get from what you say above is that he's advocating people with the money to buy land and retreat from the system do so? He is offering nothing for those unable to obtain their own land with which to grow food upon? Save perhaps to seize their food from whatever source they could if they were not participating within the system that virtually enslaves everyone?

That is to say that for most people to totally non participate within the system (and surely he himself participates within it significantly) is to court starvation or conflict (with the system). There are little details like food, shelter, water - that the system controls people through, that you can only get independently of the system by participating in the damn thing in the first place.

The system also controls the land for permaculture. To buy land - you participated within the system. You depend upon the same system to enforce your ownership of that land (and by implication the exclusion of other people from it).

Isn't it contradictory to advocate collapsing the system in this context? What does he think replaces it? If the system is brought down - or collapses of it's own accord - there are consequences, even for those who think they left it...

I think doing the very things Holmgren promotes ,live small etc.,are commendable ,moral ,and they will most certainly result in lots of poverty. There are worse things going on than poverty however.

Those things are commendable - but they only make sense in the context of transition, don't they? Isn't there a supposition that it is viable to transit to a new system (without absolute disintegration in between) to strongly advocate such things?

Certainly there must be a selective assumption that you can collapse the economic system and people practising permaculture could retain their land ownership and protection from those without that type of economic wealth?

Collapsing the system means just that. The rules that the system currently operates under will simply not function. Implied is that new rules will need to be put in place to govern society. It is simply not the case that the wealthy will maintain their position of dominance as that wealth is absolutely dependent on the functioning of the system in place. Think, stock and bond markets and the amount of wealth the rich have invested in these markets. Think of the value of physical capital like commercial space and factories that are dependent on business as usual.

It is likely true that we lack the courage to engineer a collapse. This means we will work to perpetuate BAU as long as possible. We will develop and implement technologies to do this. It does not matter how practical they are (scrubbing of emissions, expansion of alternative energy etc.) or how exotic (geo-engineering of our oceans and atmosphere), postponing the collapse by sustaining BAU has only one possible outcome. By pushing us further up the exponential growth curve, the collapse will be more horrific. There are no magical technologies that will allow us to avoid this fate.

Why? Because our current method of organizing human civilization, the modern industrial state, is a growth system constrained by a finite resource, the planet. All growth systems, constrained by a finite resource ultimately collapse. Any anthropologist could list many previous civilizations that suffered such a fate as they bumped up against the limits of their regions. What is unique about the current situation is that, for the 1st time in human history, this system is global, larger than any that has come before it.

The collapse will be spectacular!

If you look at the exponential growth in population, really accelerating at the beginning of the industrial revolution in 1850, (any number of other charts will display the same exponential trends such as energy consumption)  you might argue that a horrific collapse is already inevitable. If this is so, why not just enjoy the system and the toys that it provides? With any luck, we'll have gone peacefully to our graves without having to witness it.

This, in my opinion, is immoral, highly unethical and, if I believed in God, would certainly condemn us to Hell.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 25, 2014, 01:19:57 AM
I think you need to read Holmgren's article as you are missing a big part of what Holmgren is saying. 
[snip]
His chosen method to cause this collapse, in my opinion and that of many others, is completely impractical and would not work.  But that is sort of beside the point as the real news is his conversion and advocacy of immediate deliberate collapse.

My impression following a quick skim is actually that people are fixating (predictably) almost entirely on his statements that relate to crashing the system. He doesn't actually appear to be exactly saying that - but rather suggesting people retreat into locally resilient smaller systems with the collapse of the main system as a fortunate byproduct of that process. Seems to me he could've said all the same things without even talking about crashing the system and been taken more seriously and with less opposition for it.

To that extent as I think you pretty much said in an earlier response he isn't really helping anyone by talking about it, even if it was really his goal. The goal would be more likely to be achieved by not talking about it.

Also, a little cynically, I don't think he really grasps how the world works. The global economy is on really shaky ground already. It's going to fall over sooner or later. That doesn't mean the end of the system - just that those with power will consolidate and maintain their power more directly (and violently) than they did before. Sure, you will see effective revolutions in some countries - but in others you will see resurgent police states and authoritarian policies.

Indeed you can always see that happening - no reasons to think those running the show don't know everything we do (and more).

My view - the collapse of the global economic system is only the first big step in the process of final collapse. There are other uglier ones that will follow close behind.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 25, 2014, 01:44:25 AM
I do not believe that society is set on an ideological foundation.  Many ideologies are resident in any society (or civilization) with one or occasionally more being in positions of dominance.

Then how do you define a civilisation? Is it not more than a group of people just living and following their basic animal needs? Does it not require ideas upon which these people base their life? What makes the ancient Egyptians different from the Romans, Greeks, Inuit, modern day westerners, etc? It seems to me that the only difference is ideology (given that human needs and desires remain constant in all cases). The ideas that drive the civilisation and upon which it is predicated shape the people living within it and shape the macroscopic effects the civilisation has on the planet and other civilisations. Thus you see some civilisations that go to war for resources and some that preferred to trade, some that believed it was their divine right to conquer and pillage and others that valued the earth. Human nature was the same in each person in each civilisation and thus I'd defend my argument ideology is at the foundation of civilisation?

I am not saying that the underpinning ideology may not be fluid, may not at times change - but the civilisation changes with it. An example might be in societies that moved from polytheism to monotheism. Human nature is a constant and it is the ideas that change, hence my perspective.

Capitalist ideology is clearly the dominant one of our time by any measure.  Capitalism however is not the foundation of society which I would argue is actually an institutional representation of the sum of the behaviors which comprise human nature.

Again I'm not sure I agree. Money as the dominant ideology in our society is so firmly rooted as such that it is the gatekeeper to even the fulfillment of basic human needs. Try to find the basic things you need to survive (food, shelter, water, etc) in a strongly capitalist society - without money? Good damn luck is all I can say, it'll be a lot harder than in a society that believes in looking after each other (a much stronger idea in more primitive societies, I'd wager).

Capitalism is just a narrative which has successfully addressed a large enough set of the individual sub-conscious components of our basic human nature that it has risen to dominance.  These ideological narratives have come and gone throughout history with various levels of success.  Capitalism of course is hugely successful, perhaps more than any previous ideology.  It is certainly turning out to be a spectacular failure and bears the most responsibility for the mess we are currently in.

I am not even convinced capitalism does address a large set of the components of our basic nature. I think it is a luxury that we have simply because we have managed to make the daily struggle to survive trivial and easy enough that we no longer need communities, or compassion, and can focus on the cult of the individual and their wealth. This is a technologically assisted fantasy that we have been led into by those with most to gain - those who stand atop the ideological pyramid. It is in our nature to compete, to breed, to consume, etc. - yes - but it is also in our nature to cooperate and support one another without having to use imaginary tokens to facilitate the process. Apart from the premise that money is required to support a very complex civilisation (and I think capitalism is not the same as money - money is a tool, capitalism is an ideology) - I see no advantages to capitalism save for the few.

I am not convinced capitalism is actually fundamentally harmful to the environment - consumption certainly is, but one could imagine forms of capitalism which did not destroy the future and consume all resources and where the only harm was to people less successful within the capitalist framework (this seems a necessary part of the capitalist thinking, that there will be more losers than winners). That would perhaps not be a purely capitalist ideology (and I am using the term ideology a little loosely perhaps to refer to collections of ideas and belief frameworks as well as single ones).

But I must say that the above discussion has to be considered in a different light as well.  It would seem we are far beyond the point where a competing ideological narrative has time to be designed and promoted throughout civilization where it could compete and win dominance.  While a worthy ideal it might have to wait for when the dust settles.  Parts of the train we are on have already left the tracks and we are inevitably going to stack the cars up in a big pile. 

I do not think there is time to implement a new ideology in time to avoid collapse - nowhere near enough. I think it is however a question of great importance after the dust settles though - as to me that's a foundation stone for a civilisation - and something that can last for a long time (far longer than a human lifetime).

Quote
Today we mean the richest. By any measure of strength I would value, that is worthless. There is only limited correlation between that wealth and any of the other attributes (indeed much of the wealth of the richest was originally gained through criminal or immoral behaviour if seen through the eyes of the present day world they now dominate - eg drugs, slavery, war crimes, etc).

I have trouble accepting that all of the people you describe above have none of the strengths you value.  I would posit that some of them are among the most effective genius's we have produced.  Many have great intellect, tremendous courage to follow their instincts, and are among the most persuasive people there are.  But as people like Hitler and Stalin have shown us having great capabilities does not mean you are an admirable person or interested in the general welfare of your fellow citizens.

To be clear I wasn't saying that they possessed none of those traits - I said there was limited correlation. That isn't the same thing as no correlation. I would hesitate to call most of them geniuses though - unless you mean in the very narrow sense of those who built themselves up from nothing and through their own ideas and efforts rather than luck.

I don't think they self select though, for the most part. The dominant people are a group and have much influence in who joins them. In many cases - just as with the old kings - they remain in the group through accident of birth far more than through personal merit.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 25, 2014, 10:35:44 AM
The collapse will be spectacular!
Depends what you call a collapse.

Following Holmgren it would look like the thing we had in 2008 in Germany - sudden stopp of investions and a dip in economy for 1-3 years. Poeple made it through that without problems. But that did not change CO2 emissions much... About 10% less CO2 if 10 % of poeple step out.

Following your population curve: If you say collapse = end of exponential growth of population, we had that >50 years ago in Germany. But CO2 emissions did not drop to <80%...

The only thing spectacular to imagine is - that we will get CO2 emission down to 10% in 10-30 years. The faster the better for us. That is much work. I would not call that a collapse but the end of the transient period called "modern age" - and the beginning of the stable phase with constant population, constant CO2 content, stable everything. Perhaps the time to lean back...

But if Holmgren really wants to crash the system and to perform a catastrophic collapse a possible route e.g. for Australia could be like this: Stopp making holes for exporting resources and tell China, that US told you to do so - since the most reliable way to collapse of the biosphere is still nuclear winter. And of course that would be a crime against humanity and everything. Just like any intentional collapse. Last example for such an attempt here was Hitler and years of collapse 1945-48.

For me the desire for collapse is looking like the religious mania heading to paradise via doom. A silent suicide without bothering the reasonable would be more helpfull.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 25, 2014, 04:47:18 PM
This post is in response to the article by Erik Lindberg linked by wili in post # 47 on Jan 22nd.  I highly recommend reading it.

Due to size limitations on posts I have broken this post into two parts.  This is part 1

Since I am about to try and beat up on Mr. Lindberg I first off want to state that I fantasize about being able to write with the skill and sophistication that he does.  In human discourse it is a tremendous advantage to have an extremely articulate way of speaking.  It naturally garners support for your positions, even when the arguments you are making may not be the best description of what the state of affairs may be, or also many times even when people do not understand what you are really saying.  This, of course, points back to my post to ccg on leadership skills and how they can be used in various ways.  Not to imply that Lindberg has bad motives because I don't think he does.  I just think that he is missing the point of what is going on by a wide margin.  Lindberg article is very long and so interesting that it is going to take me quite a while to finish up.  It also transitions back and forth between the Peak Oil dynamic and the AGW dynamic.  As wili and I have been drifting in and out of the Peak Oil blogs together for a good 8 years I can't not address those aspects at least for our interests.  Off we go.



I found Lindgren's scholarly description of the philosophical breakdown of the various reasoned approaches to Enlightenment thought and how Agency (to what extent, if any, can humans be purposeful agents of historical change) is perceived by the several philosophical camps.

Notably the Liberal camp which espouses "...that we can make history as we please if we maintain the proper virtues and qualities of leadership.  Thus history is a battle between great men and presumptuous villains and fools, just nations and misguided tyrannies.  Choice and free-will are highlighted in this version that stays closer to the original Enlightenment ideal....men did make their own history and just as they pleased--or at least they could if they became sufficiently enlightened and freed themselves from what Kant referred to as the childhood of previous ages, in which they accepted guidance from another rather than their own reason...".

The deconstructive camp which "...sees history as little more than chaos, disorder, and chance; the historian’s work, which is viewed with suspicion, is the doomed attempt to impose a false order on this chaos.  According to this view, history doesn’t have a narrative; rather humans tell historical fictions by selecting  between details and by choosing a causal connective tissue that serves the interests of his or her story and the will to power it represents....".

And the Marxian camp which "...argues that history has its own underlying logic.  This logic tends to be the product of human activity; but, importantly, it is not the conscious choice of any single or group of individuals making history as they please.  Rather the struggles and interactions of humans follow some sort of progressive or regressive laws of development, growth, or decline. ...".

He goes on to point out where many of the most prominent authors of the current period, on the subjects of Peak Oil, Climate Change and Collapse, fall into this philosophical structure.  With some good justification I might add.  But also with a pretty broad brush and sort of a rigid categorization which I am sure almost all of the authors he specifically mentioned will take the time to disabuse him of.

My take on this philosophical structure and categorization of these individuals is that it may be academically pure but it does not represent reality.  I see more of a continuum in the passage from one of his categories to another.  They are not mutually exclusive of each other except perhaps at the extremes.  His authors all seem to me to express views which are a mixture of these various philosophical viewpoints.  I expect that even Marx and Nietzsche would not feel comfortable pigeonholed as such and would find common cause with other categories to some extent.  Kant?  Who knows, because I do not believe anyone can actually understand what he is saying to really know what he thought.

This first half of this article was very thought provoking and I really enjoyed it.  But only as a intellectual philosophical discussion.  I go over it because I found it so interesting and he spent a lot of time on it.  I do not think it actually substantially addresses the core issue of initiating collapse nor really explains the pros and cons.  At this point the article morphs a bit into the real world from the theoretical world and this is where I think Mr. Lindberg slowly leaves the tracks.

The meat of the Holmgren article, which prompted Lindberg's response, was the question of whether it is time to try and crash the system deliberately; i.e. radical action.  To differentiate a bit, Lindberg describes the dilemma of the "activists",  "These philosophical dilemmas might strike some as rather abstract, but they have weighed like a nightmare on the minds of many activists and the plans of most radical politics.  The Liberal history has in the modern era been the official history of the most powerful nations, their powerful  people, and their vested interests.   Critics operating within this tradition tend to be reformist.   While agency is accepted without question, it is confined to the role of voting citizens and leaders working within a legislative process.   Extreme action, in a Liberal context, involves protesting and marching, publishing and petitioning. "  One cannot argue very hard with this description.  And the "radical" who "The radical, in contrast, believes that the fundamental structures or organization of society need to be changed, something that cannot be done through the “free” agency of a voting populace, most of whom are victims of the myths and beliefs of the Liberal historian and their naïve histories of the triumph of freedom and reason."

To Lindberg the activists foundered on the problem that his first two philosophical divisions provided no support and left them to function in a world where "it was increasingly difficult to imagine how to proceed except by the slow, but safe, work of reform." within the dominant system.  In this dominant system it appears to the activist that  "If history did have its own logic and inherent direction, however, it seemed to be moving in the direction of increased freedom, expanding technology, and a global market economy. ".  Thus perhaps a giant reason that so many who are worried about the future glom onto to solutions which the data and trends indicate have little to no prospect for success.  Green-BAU is born.  Activists are co-opted by the dominant ideology and support the system.  For the radical he states "While radical criticism flourished, any radical politics that might be serious about actually confronting the basic structure or organization of industrial civilization had died." seems to be mostly born out by the facts.  Real radical action has been effectively suppressed and has no impact on the system at all at this time.  But this, of course, misses the point that radical action is always suppressed....until it succeeds and then the paradigm changes.

Lindberg goes on to categorize some of the prominent authors who originally appeared as commentators on the Peak Oil scene, notably Holmgren, Hopkins and Geer, and draws parallels between their outlooks for the future and what level of impact they think agency can have on the outcome.  This then places them in one of his categories of philosophical outlook.  Others like Heinberg land in another category and your mainstream environmentalist land in another.  Some see little impact from human agency, like Geer, and basically indicate that building skills and preparing for post collapse conditions is all we can do as our ability to effect meaningful change in civilizational systemic behavior is minimal and maybe not even desirable.  Others, most notably those among the Green or mainstream environmental movement see some form of opportunity to evolve human behavior to a more fair just system through some form of rise in consciousness.  And if this can be done now it would in some way prevent collapse, or post collapse it would allow us to build some version of a Utopian society which lives sustainably in harmony with nature.

Another interesting juxtaposition made by Lindberg is the description of the differences between the narratives put forward by those authors originally triggered by the Peak Oil issue and how their perceptions are almost entirely oriented towards the issue of collapse from a viewpoint based almost solely on energy dynamics and this factor being a hard limit on the possible options available to human agency.  Alternatively the narrative of those who focus almost exclusively on climate change (the environmental camp) focuses on the possibilities of how that all a free and independent people need to do is learn how to limit their exercise of free will and impose limits on their freedom and power and all will turn out right. "that nature has fixed no limits to our hopes,” which consist of, “the destruction of inequality between nations; the progress of equality in one and the same nation; and lastly the real improvement of man.”   I must say I find his description of these two groups pretty spot on, with the caveat that there is a melding between them and rigid categorizations are not valid.  One would not have much trouble placing many of the posters on Peak Oil and AGW blogs into Lindberg's categories.  Lindberg's characterizations have great explanatory power about their desires for the future and what they see as possibilities and how they perceive the proper moral approach to dealing with our complex problem. 

A critically important issue in understanding the Peak Oil narrators like Geer, Foss, and Holmgren was always their placing of AGW in a secondary position to that of energy supply issues.  Cheap energy is easily demonstrable as the key driver of the scale and complexity of modern civilization and is certainly responsible for our vast population.  Their belief has always been, and I personally have been arguing with them about this since about 2006, is that the decline in cheap energy from the peak of Peak Oil would relatively painlessly dial back civilization over time.  This is the catabolic collapse argument made so eloquently by Geer. Peak Oil would thus prevent the level of carbon emissions required to bring on the worst effects of AGW therefore we did not really need to worry about it all that much.  Civilization would collapse, but almost in a managed fashion as long as we anticipated future needs and skills.  Events, of course, have shown conclusively that this dismissal of the risk of AGW was not warranted.  Most all of the Peak Oil narrators still cling to this viewpoint however.  Holmgren's article is so impactful in that he has moved out of this category and accepted that AGW requires action and it needs action now.  Lindberg clearly is vacillating over this same realization and his article clearly states his angst over what this means.

The conclusion that Lindberg leaves us with is thus philosophical.  Two primary narratives.  One in decline who's adherents are largely demoralized and currently out of balance.  The other in ascendancy who's dominant adherents envision a Green-BAU supported by technological miracles which will lead to a more just and equitable society.  He rightly points out that these competing narratives exist outside of the mainstream of society and thus have little to no impact on where that society is going at this time.

These comments of his bear emphasizing:  Please read them carefully.

"I think much of the debate precipitated by Holmgren’s  “Crash on Demand” comes down to the sudden realization that if there is to be radical change of the sort necessary to avert a climate disaster of unimaginable scale, we can’t depend on some sort of historical necessity to make this change for us.  The moral narrative of climate change is eclipsing the peak oil narrative of respond and adapt, even as the more sophisticated students of peak oil remain ruefully aware of the limits on agency.  The trepidation, fear, even anger that has been breaking out in recent commentaries has to do with emerging possibility that we, as a subculture of activists, may have a series of unbearable decisions in the days and years ahead.  Most of us are, I believe, of peaceful demeanor.   I think this is a great blessing.  Many of us understand the perils of revolution and violence, the simple fact that it has so infrequently worked.  We understand, moreover, that the collapse of global economies, of civil society creates its own predictable violence.  We understand that the result and consequences of any action that pursues radical, human designed change is neither controllable nor predictable.  But at the same time, refraining from radical, potentially destructive, action is also a choice whose results are unpredictable and almost certainly dire.  The stakes are as yet beyond comprehension.   The question is no longer whether we can make history as we please, but whether history itself will continue to exist.  This is difficult.  Let us be patient and tolerant with ourselves and each other."

End of Part 1  In the next post I will try and explain why I think Lindberg does not understand what ground he is standing upon.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 25, 2014, 04:48:55 PM
This post is in response to the article by Erik Lindberg linked by wili in post # 47 on Jan 22nd.  I highly recommend reading it.

Due to size limitations on posts I have broken this post into two parts.  This is part 2


This is the point where I am going to try and beat up on this narrative.  Lindberg is so focused on the philosophical nature of the thoughts of everyone commenting on problems he has actually ended up not realizing the state of the problem at all.  One can argue that Holmgren is at last realizing where we now stand, Lindberg is not yet grounded in reality.  Lindberg notably does not include anyone from the mainstream of society; namely the BAU folks, the dominant religious groups, the general public and how they relate to this discussion.  They are the elephant in the room and the agency we are talking about will be aimed directly at them.  And they know it and are not pleased about it at all.  Belatedly and reluctantly Lindberg is going to come to the realization that, while he currently thinks it is getting to be time to make a decision about whether to follow Holmgren's lead, that time actually came and passed some time ago and every decision he makes supports one side or another in this war.

In a recent interview Lindberg has this to say about his children.

"I try not to think much about the difficult world they are likely to grow up into. I hope the world has re-ordered its collective priorities enough to save our remaining resources to create things we really need and that can create a better future for a long time, rather than maintain economic growth for one more election cycle," Lindberg says."
 
Hope does not solve problems.

I offer a quote for those who espouse the ideals of a more just, fair and equitable world but do not believe action now is warranted.

"An actions morality - or at the very least its perceived morality - can shift depending on one's perspective, but also of course on circumstance."  Derrick Jensen founder of Deep Green Resistance.  Jensen advocates tearing civilization down to its very foundations.  Or further.

We long ago passed the point where philosophical discussions are useful for any more than intellectual entertainment.  We are well into the beginnings of the descent to the collapse point.   Every decision everyone is making right now or has already made is a choice about the future.  There are no neutral choices.  To put this situation into terms of conflict, the war is not a philosophical or theoretical possibility, it started a long time ago.  Those who think that there is time to evolve human society and that it can be accomplished if we just spend enough time talking about right and wrong, and morals and ethics, have completely missed the point that they have already made their choice about the future.  The choice they unthinkingly made was to ally themselves with their most diametrically opposed opponents;  the supporters of the status quo, the BAU forever folks, the fossil fuel industry, the Rapture is coming religious right, the free market capitalists, the Imperialists, the empire builders.  They have chosen to avoid personal responsibility and not to suffer the consequences of their actions, and to defer that inevitable payment to future generations.  We fix it or those of the future fix it as there is no avoiding it.  Ignoring it is a choice of going with the status quo.

We collectively face the greatest challenge of human existence.  Survival is at stake.  Truly, really at stake.  No joke or exaggeration.  Not for us but for our descendants.  There are only two sides to this war.  There is no middle ground, there is no correct moral path unless that path leads to survival.  Every action that everyone takes is a choice one way or the other.  Survival or not.  As Jensen above points out, the morals of a decision depend on the circumstance governing that decision.  There is no choice to be made here between the guilty suffering the consequences and not the innocent.  Almost everyone is fundamentally innocent as virtually no one had any idea what we were doing.  Some of course could care less, but I am sure most feel remorse about past actions and are just bewildered about how to move forward.  However, all of our descendants are of course completely innocent.  The moral choice is to fix this problem now.  The methodology is not particularly important just that it works or has a good chance of working.  Whomever has the capability to effect this fix is morally and ethically obligated to execute it regardless of the cost to themselves.   And time has almost run out so they had better do it soon.

The great dilemma, of course, is what do the rest of us do who do not have the capability to perform the fix nor do we adhere to the mindless march of BAU.  How do we behave in a moral fashion as we have that obligation as well, even if we do not have the power.  Holmgren has proposed we join him in a quest to collapse the financial system.  As someone pointed out above the probability of him getting the kind of support he needs from the right people is not high.  And one could make the argument that any slack added into the system by an action like he proposes would just be sucked up like any unexpected extra capacity by the growing population.  This does not mean I am against his trying, just that I don't think it will work.

What are our options.  Can an individual action, which only has the power to degrade the system comparable to what an individual is worth in the system, have meaningful impact?  Clearly not.  Tens of millions of individual actions do make mass?  Perhaps that works.  An argument can be made (and it is another difficult one) that the most effective way for the average person to help bring the system down is just to continue living the way we do now.  Or even to maximize that lifestyle.  Promote growth, consume, drive a big car, eat meat.  For it is certain that every person acting Green with the intention that by everyone doing so would build a path to a solution is actually prolonging the pain and deferring the payment of this debt we owe to someone else but us.  If you are working low impact solutions and building old fashioned skills so that you can pass them on to others who will hopefully come through the bottleneck and be able to use them to rebuild I have no issue with that as it has value.  Thus my point to willi earlier that Holmgren should stick to his area of expertise as that is the value of permaculture.  I say the above in all seriousness because I hold a few truths to be self-evident (I am borrowing some of the premises from Derrick Jensen's book Endgame here but modifying them a bit or adding to them some comments).

1.  "Civilization is not and can never be sustainable.  This is especially true for industrial civilization."

7-9 billion people living the standard of living common in Africa would quickly destroy the earth and generate enough carbon emissions for AGW to run wild.  This means that we will never achieve sustainability.  Period.  We cannot return to the hunter-gatherer mode and live off the bounty of the earth because we have already destroyed most of that bounty and AGW and 7-9 billion people are going to destroy the rest pretty soon.  We are stuck with some form of civilization like it or not and the only way we can get our consumption down to the point that the earth can recover is to eliminate all but a small percentage of the people and essentially eliminate our carbon emissions.  And then ride out AGW.  If we can survive the coming storm and rebuild in a world which can support us, even if not in a permanently sustainable fashion, for thousands of years of time maybe we can sort out the rest of our dreams and make something else happen.  Or we can choose to live a pre-civilizational lifestyle at a real sustainable level as Jensen wants.  By any rational measure our population is a good 4 times the level it would have to be to be able to operate any kind of complex civilization and not press the carrying capacity of the Earth beyond its ability to heal itself.  We must dramatically reduce population for any solution to have a chance of working.

2.  It follows that those who have to have resources will do what it takes to get them.

3.  Our way of living is based upon, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

4.  Violence, like s**t, flows downhill.  Those at the bottom get both.

5.  Those at the top get to keep theirs and they eventually get yours as well.

6.  Civilization is not redeemable.  Our basic nature is formed and will not undergo a voluntary change to a fair, equitable, sane and sustainable way of living.  Evolution does not work that way.   Accept what you are and make it work.

7.  The longer we wait for civilization to crash the worse it is going to be.  Do it now or pay a worse price later.

8.  The needs of the natural world are more important than ours.

9.  Dramatic population reductions are inevitable and will undoubtedly and frequently be very violent.  The longer you wait the worse the violence will be.

10.  Humans are not capable of reasoned rational thought.  Jensen refers to our culture being insane.

13.  Those in power rule by force and only recognize force and only yield when forced.

15.  Loving this world and other people does not imply pacifism.

16.  The material world is primary.  Faith will not heal us.  We are here.  We have to deal with reality.  The Earth is the point.

17.  It is a mistake to base our decisions on the feelings of people.  An actions morality - or at the very least its perceived morality - can shift depending on one's perspective, but also of course on circumstance.  We are in the land of circumstances.

18.  The way we think about ourselves is no more sustainable than any other part of our civilization.

I should conclude at this point though I am tempted to keep going for a few hundred pages.

We have spent years looking at AGW, critical energy issues, our degrading environment, over population, depleting resources, etc. and it is clear that we cannot and will not long continue in this vein.  Collapse is certain and unavoidable.  So we need to decide what we do. 

Those who might have the capability to bring the system down (if there are any that can) should make the attempt to do so post haste.

One can choose a path to build resilience, skills and knowledge and to teach such things as they will be needed by the survivors of the coming bottleneck and this is a worthy task.

One can do whatever they can manage to bring the system down in an incremental fashion as that is the only option available to most of us.

A hidden bonus is that everyone who does not fit the above, i.e. the various BAU'ers, are unknowingly working to incrementally bring the system down along with us as that is what their actions will do.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 25, 2014, 05:58:03 PM
ccg.  Interesting post.

I do not believe that society is set on an ideological foundation.  Many ideologies are resident in any society (or civilization) with one or occasionally more being in positions of dominance.

Then how do you define a civilisation? Is it not more than a group of people just living and following their basic animal needs? Does it not require ideas upon which these people base their life? What makes the ancient Egyptians different from the Romans, Greeks, Inuit, modern day westerners, etc? It seems to me that the only difference is ideology (given that human needs and desires remain constant in all cases). The ideas that drive the civilisation and upon which it is predicated shape the people living within it and shape the macroscopic effects the civilisation has on the planet and other civilisations. Thus you see some civilisations that go to war for resources and some that preferred to trade, some that believed it was their divine right to conquer and pillage and others that valued the earth. Human nature was the same in each person in each civilisation and thus I'd defend my argument ideology is at the foundation of civilisation?

I am not saying that the underpinning ideology may not be fluid, may not at times change - but the civilisation changes with it. An example might be in societies that moved from polytheism to monotheism. Human nature is a constant and it is the ideas that change, hence my perspective.

I think you and I have different interpretations of the words ideology, society and civilization.  Or at least I think so.

Civilization
Webster's dictionary:  "a high stage of social and cultural development."
Oxford dictionary: "a developed or advanced state of human society."
Derrick Jensen: "a culture - that is, a complex of stories, institutions and artifacts - that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities.." with cities being defined as a complex of living places which cannot be lived in in a sustainable fashion as can a village or camp.
From Wiki:  generally refers to state polities which combine these basic institutions, having one or more of each: a ceremonial centre (a formal gathering place for social and cultural activities), a system of writing, and a city. ..... Civilizations have more densely populated settlements divided into social classes with a ruling elite and subordinate urban and rural populations, which, by the division of labour, engage in intensive agriculture, mining, small-scale manufacture and trade. Civilization concentrates power, extending human control over both nature, and over other human beings.

Society
From Wiki:  A society, or a human society, is a group of people involved with each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent members....More broadly, a society may be illustrated as an economic, social, or industrial infrastructure, made up of a varied collection of individuals.

Ideology
From Wiki:  An ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology is a comprehensive vision, a way of looking at things (compare worldview) as in several philosophical tendencies (see political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a "received consciousness" or product of socialization).....Ideologies are systems of abstract thought applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics. Implicitly every political or economic tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought.

So my perception of ideology is that it is the dominant narrative promoted by the ruling class who use it as the lever to guide the society that they sit on top of and benefit from.  A civilization is any collection of people who have concentrated themselves into an unsustainable mass and have to create and exercise the various levers of coercion to supply themselves with the resources they need.  As soon as you form a civilization you set yourself on the road to state and empire and endless conflict regardless of what type of society forms to rule that civilization and what ideology the ruling elite of that society use to manage the masses.

So I think (and tell me if I am wrong) that you and I largely agree but we are not using the same definitions of the key words we are using.

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Capitalist ideology is clearly the dominant one of our time by any measure.  Capitalism however is not the foundation of society which I would argue is actually an institutional representation of the sum of the behaviors which comprise human nature.

Again I'm not sure I agree. Money as the dominant ideology in our society is so firmly rooted as such that it is the gatekeeper to even the fulfillment of basic human needs. Try to find the basic things you need to survive (food, shelter, water, etc) in a strongly capitalist society - without money? Good damn luck is all I can say, it'll be a lot harder than in a society that believes in looking after each other (a much stronger idea in more primitive societies, I'd wager).

Money can in no way fit my definition of ideology.  I don't think money is the main facilitator of capitalism either but rather that debt serves that function.  Money is just a way of counting.  Capitalism is a form of institutionalized slavery for those at the financial bottom of society.  Money, as the chosen means of exchange, is used to control and manage the actions of the slaves.

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Capitalism is just a narrative which has successfully addressed a large enough set of the individual sub-conscious components of our basic human nature that it has risen to dominance.  These ideological narratives have come and gone throughout history with various levels of success.  Capitalism of course is hugely successful, perhaps more than any previous ideology.  It is certainly turning out to be a spectacular failure and bears the most responsibility for the mess we are currently in.

I am not even convinced capitalism does address a large set of the components of our basic nature. I think it is a luxury that we have simply because we have managed to make the daily struggle to survive trivial and easy enough that we no longer need communities, or compassion, and can focus on the cult of the individual and their wealth. This is a technologically assisted fantasy that we have been led into by those with most to gain - those who stand atop the ideological pyramid. It is in our nature to compete, to breed, to consume, etc. - yes - but it is also in our nature to cooperate and support one another without having to use imaginary tokens to facilitate the process. Apart from the premise that money is required to support a very complex civilisation (and I think capitalism is not the same as money - money is a tool, capitalism is an ideology) - I see no advantages to capitalism save for the few.

If one examines the philosophical beginnings of capitalism and the rise of industry I think we could come to a different conclusion.  Its structure and arguments were specifically designed to break down the existing dominant narrative (which was clearly partly socialist in that the common man was entitled to use of the common land).  In England the elite passed laws specifically designed to outlaw the use of common land and place it under the control of the elites.  Thus pushing the poor farmers who now no longer had the means to live sustainably off the land and into factories which needed labor to make the elite increasingly wealthy.  We know how that transition worked out for them and for the elite.  I question very strongly that the non-elite are actually better off than they used to be in any non-trivial sense.  Capitalism was designed to allow the strongest and most ruthless to rise to the top and dominate everyone else.  The most basic of our many hidden natures.

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I am not convinced capitalism is actually fundamentally harmful to the environment - consumption certainly is, but one could imagine forms of capitalism which did not destroy the future and consume all resources and where the only harm was to people less successful within the capitalist framework (this seems a necessary part of the capitalist thinking, that there will be more losers than winners). That would perhaps not be a purely capitalist ideology (and I am using the term ideology a little loosely perhaps to refer to collections of ideas and belief frameworks as well as single ones).

It is interesting to note how difficult it is to imagine a form of capitalism which does not orient towards a few big winners and a mass of losers.

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But I must say that the above discussion has to be considered in a different light as well.  It would seem we are far beyond the point where a competing ideological narrative has time to be designed and promoted throughout civilization where it could compete and win dominance.  While a worthy ideal it might have to wait for when the dust settles.  Parts of the train we are on have already left the tracks and we are inevitably going to stack the cars up in a big pile. 

I do not think there is time to implement a new ideology in time to avoid collapse - nowhere near enough. I think it is however a question of great importance after the dust settles though - as to me that's a foundation stone for a civilisation - and something that can last for a long time (far longer than a human lifetime).

It never hurts to try and the goal is certainly admirable.

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 25, 2014, 06:07:45 PM
Wow, Jim. I'm glad my linked article gave you a chance to wax so eloquently and at such length.

For now I'll just say that, as to your comment: "Lindberg is going to come to the realization that, while he currently thinks it is getting to be time to make a decision about whether to follow Holmgren's lead, that time actually came and passed some time ago and every decision he makes supports one side or another in this war."

I said much the same thing in the comment section (though I have no confidence that I can guess when or if Lindberg will realize any particular truth.

I also agree that a fuller account by Lindberg should include other potential 'agents,' of which I would particularly include CEO's and board members of top international corporations (as I also mention in the comments.)

Thanks for the reflections. I'll need to spend more time on them before I respond further.

I'll just say for now that I spent some time last night googling "Holmgren" and "crash" and was distressed to find little discussion on line about it besides the few responses at that Resilience site, this site, and a very few others. These are issues that pretty much the whole world should be vehemently arguing out.

But what do you think is going to happen do Justin Bieber's reputation after his arrest?? 8) :-\
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 25, 2014, 07:25:55 PM
Depends what you call a collapse.

Absolutely. The collapse will be spectacular (horrific) only if we stumble into it by attempting to prolong BAU. A deliberate, engineered collapse could be far easier to manage and the worst effects of transitioning from this growth system to system that has arrived at an equilibrium with the biosphere could be avoided.

Collapse is unavoidable. Do we want to prolong BAU and suffer a chaotic, violent collapse as human civilization finally bumps up against constraints of our biosphere? Famine, disease and violence will be rampant. Alternatively, do we choose to collapse this growth system and transition to a new method of organizing human civilization in a deliberate and methodical manner. This second approach would still be difficult but we could avoid some of the worst effects of a chaotic collapse.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 25, 2014, 07:48:54 PM
Quote
We collectively face the greatest challenge of human existence.  Survival is at stake.  Truly, really at stake.  No joke or exaggeration.  Not for us but for our descendants.  There are only two sides to this war.  There is no middle ground, there is no correct moral path unless that path leads to survival.  Every action that everyone takes is a choice one way or the other.  Survival or not.  As Jensen above points out, the morals of a decision depend on the circumstance governing that decision.  There is no choice to be made here between the guilty suffering the consequences and not the innocent.  Almost everyone is fundamentally innocent as virtually no one had any idea what we were doing.  Some of course could care less, but I am sure most feel remorse about past actions and are just bewildered about how to move forward.  However, all of our descendants are of course completely innocent.  The moral choice is to fix this problem now.  The methodology is not particularly important just that it works or has a good chance of working.  Whomever has the capability to effect this fix is morally and ethically obligated to execute it regardless of the cost to themselves.   And time has almost run out so they had better do it soon.

Nicely put.

Really, the only issues I have with pretty much any of your essay (and I am looking forward to the next few hundred pages) are in this section--not surprisingly being the paragraph about what to do:

Quote
What are our options.  Can an individual action, which only has the power to degrade the system comparable to what an individual is worth in the system, have meaningful impact?  Clearly not.  Tens of millions of individual actions do make mass?  Perhaps that works.  An argument can be made (and it is another difficult one) that the most effective way for the average person to help bring the system down is just to continue living the way we do now.  Or even to maximize that lifestyle.  Promote growth, consume, drive a big car, eat meat.  For it is certain that every person acting Green with the intention that by everyone doing so would build a path to a solution is actually prolonging the pain and deferring the payment of this debt we owe to someone else but us.

If we agree that individual green actions (and non-actions) are not adequate in themselves to effect any real change, I hope we can see that the very same point means that individual 'brown' un-environmental actions are equally unlikely to effect systemic changes of the types we are discussing.

It is hard for me to imagine that the folks in the boardrooms of top corporations are shivering in their shoes that people might consume so much that they will collapse the capitalist system.

I think the point of withdrawal from the 'system' can have many sides and can possibly incorporate many potential allies. The 350 movement is now focused on getting schools and other groups to divest from FF companies. I can imagine this expanding to divesting from major banks that invest in the same. Churches are moving toward removing their funds from banks that did so much to create the last financial crisis. These are the types of groups whose divestment initiatives helped end apartheid. Combine these with those who follow or at least respect the likes of Holmgren and the various environmental groups (who have been getting more and more radicalized), and you are indeed starting to look at a critical mass that could be large enough to "crash" (or severely hinder plans of) the global financial network and the fossil-death-fuel companies.

The overall effort must be to de-legitimize these entities in the eyes of more and more people. Holmgren, after all, traces his realization of the fragility of the system to Reagan's statement that it is belief in the system that supports it. Lot's of people stopped believing in the Soviet system, and one day it suddenly and completely collapsed. The aftermath has not always been particularly pretty, but it is a precedent for a massive, seemingly unassailable (except by nuclear annihilation) oppressive system suddenly collapsing in a relatively non-violent way.

People on PO fora used to say--if you want to bring on PO, just drive around even more. Well, that hasn't worked very well. All those folks showing that they are willing to pay every higher prices for oil meant that all sorts of crud that folks thought would never be economical to extract have been--hence Holmgren's "Brown Energy Path." An exhortation to drive more and eat more meat is, to me, a call to vote for exactly that dirtiest of paths (however insignificant any one such vote may be, either way).

But perhaps I'm missing something?

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 25, 2014, 09:46:21 PM
JimD - it was great to read your first answer to Lindberg and in most parts I would agree to your summary. Your second answer was much more difficult for me to follow. I missed most of that points in Lindbergs article so I can not follow your critics. Maybe I missed something. During reading usualy I concentrate on descriptions, ideas and new ways of thinking. But most time I overlook opinions. E.g. you write "Hope does not solve problems"- but I can not find Lindberg stating hope as a solution, I missed that completely.

JimD, Shared Humanity and ccgwebmaster -
you are way to fast for me with words like "collapse", "BAU", "system" and such - those words have a very broad span of implications, not all of those implications are "good" or "bad" (and one has to ask: Good or bad to achieve what? Good or bad for you or me?).

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What are our options.  Can an individual action, which only has the power to degrade the system comparable to what an individual is worth in the system, have meaningful impact?  Clearly not.  Tens of millions of individual actions do make mass?  Perhaps that works.  An argument can be made (and it is another difficult one) that the most effective way for the average person to help bring the system down is just to continue living the way we do now.  Or even to maximize that lifestyle.

Before answering I need some explanations of the 3 words.

* system: The system is not something outside. The system is us, our society, the way we decide to live. And of course the system evolves, since some individuals step outside and propose a change of the system and if sucessful it becomes mainstream of the new system. So - it makes no sense to fight the system. The radical approach failed badly 1968-1980. Furthermore, governments and companies are not bad per se - we had radical green politicans in governments and I know a lot of fundamental green poeple running sustainable companies and even banks. Also schools are not all to blame - in every city there is a Waldorf school where children practice organic agriculture and holistic thinking. Our system is complex, very colorful and variable - since it consists of all of us and can respond with a multidude of behaviors to any threat. It will not collapse - it will evolve (OK, I ignore again your killer virus and the nuclear winter - of course).

*BAU (business as usual): Business as usual is a good thing as longs as it works. Unusual business is often not executed because it did not work previously. But some of the businesses we usualy did will not work in future - because of AGW (just ignore peak oil - that may help but we can not rely on that). So we have to change our business to be CO2 neutral. And we have to make those changes mainstream and one of the new BAUs. Call it "green BAU" or "carrot BAU" (or "granola BAU" as a German movement of the 80s could be translated) - those things are allready quite mainstream here, which is a good thing. So - please do not fight BAU since we need BAU in future. We can not rely on untested unusual business and only "hope" to survive by it.

* collapse: That word has a lot of different meanings in this forum - ranging from total collapse of the biosphere or the Mad Max world to a stable world without further growth. Some poeple even consider the stable world as awful threat while I would call stable=sustainable=mission accomplished. I had the feeling Holmgren was talking about the latter - but I am not sure. If not, he is totally wrong for sure for obvious reasons.

So, finally I should answer JimD.
Does the individuum has impact? Of course, because it is part of the system. But the impact is tiny. A teacher, a company leader, a politician have more impact, but still small since they are indivuals, too. But to change a system you need more - 50% of poeple is a good guess. So your action should involve some marketing to be attractive. That is the reason why the anti-nuclear movement was peacefull 1980-2000 and become mainstream in Germany. You may find an overview of that history e.g. here: http://www.ndr.de/regional/chronikgorleben101.html (http://www.ndr.de/regional/chronikgorleben101.html) (sorry, only German language  - I think that strategy was only copied in Japan after 2011 but ignored elsewhere).

To conclude: If an individuum can convince 50% of the local poeple, it can change the system. If the individual becomes more and more radical, it can not - of course.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 26, 2014, 03:36:58 PM
From wili & SATire's responses I see I have a lot more work to do - as I expected I would.

First, SATire your post I think, for the most part, needs to be answered in a new topic as you have highlighted for me a lesson I end up relearning over and over again.  That is, "What are the working definitions of the key words we are using?".  I will start a topic where we can discuss what we mean by the words system, BAU, collapse and, I am going to throw in, sustainability.  There are obviously many ways to use these words as there are not a set or rigid definitions and given that on this blog there are a number of non-native English speakers as well as a variety of cultural differences which impact how one uses and perceives the use of words.  Not to mention that these words have taken on a life of their own in the mass of literature on the subjects we talk about on the Forum and elsewhere.  This will be helpful I think as from reading your post I can see that just between you and I we are not using these words in the same way at all.  Without a doubt most everyone else is working from varying definitions as well.  Sort of like the different ways ccg and I have been using ideology, society and civilization in the posts above.

Re: this

Quote
E.g. you write "Hope does not solve problems"- but I can not find Lindberg stating hope as a solution, I missed that completely.

I was making a statement about his quote.

Quote
In a recent interview Lindberg has this to say about his children.

"I try not to think much about the difficult world they are likely to grow up into. I hope the world has re-ordered its collective priorities enough to save our remaining resources to create things we really need and that can create a better future for a long time, rather than maintain economic growth for one more election cycle," Lindberg says."
 
Hope does not solve problems.

Lindberg is largely a philosophically oriented person not an action oriented person as is seen by his article (and I also sought out some of his other work and statements as I was writing my post).  When talking about the future and his children he acknowledges the problems his children face and says that he tries not to think about that and, in essence, just "hopes" that things work out for them.  Statements like that really annoy me.  There is a famous quote that applies here that describes my viewpoint on things like this, "It takes just as much energy to wish as it does to plan."

More on your other comments later.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 26, 2014, 04:04:33 PM
I was making a statement about his quote.
I see. Maybe you were a bit biased during interpreting Lindberg. I would read that citation like: He has no working solution at hand. So maybe he hopes someone else will frind a solution. But he clearly does not state that hope is a solution. That would be stupid - since he is not stupid that interpretation is not likely.

If you are going to cite my stable=sustainable above - please do not assume that I say stable=no exponential growth - it must include that all input of the system must equal its output. A sustainable system must be closed - the only energy input is the sun (and resulting wind, plants, ...). So stable/sustainable means also "no holes in the ground" and no more CO2 in the air. I wrote that allready above but there may be the risk you overlooked that.   
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 26, 2014, 04:10:59 PM
Quote
But perhaps I'm missing something?

I don't believe you are missing anything. Each of these efforts to move away from the current system are worth doing and, if enough do this, the system will collapse. We cannot expect businesses to contribute to this needed collapse. They are and will continue to be completely committed to BAU.

Divestiture is a move away from the system and will contribute to this collapse. Tens if not hundreds of millions moving to a meatless diet will do the same. Simply walking away from the consumer culture, buying only to satisfy basic needs that include, food, clothing, housing and (I must emphasize this) socializing will also contribute. Gardening, buying local, getting off the energy grid etc. are all valid approaches. All that needs to happen is for there to be a  critical mass and the collapse will be unstoppable.

When you compare this to the collapse of the Soviet Union, I would argue that the collapse of the modern industrial state will be even less violent. In the Soviet Union, the methods of control, the source of  power was political and autocratic. This collapse required mass movements, confronting this autocratic power on the streets. In the modern industrial state, we simply need to individually and in sufficient numbers decide to stop buying shit. The collapse would be a slow crumbling of the  economic edifice, leaving stable political structures to address the inevitability of transitioning to a new method of organizing  civilization.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 26, 2014, 04:14:13 PM
SATire

I personally am not going to set the definitions of the words in the new topic so do not be concerned about that.  I am just going to describe what they mean to me, how I use them, and other various ways I think others in the field like Geer, Foss, Holmgren, Hopkins, the Peak Oil folks, the Green folks, the BAU folks, etc. use and define them.  You and any other interested posters should jump in and tell us the equivalent. I think this would be valuable.  I find activities like this sort of fun and interesting.

And I will try in future posts to be more clear on what I mean when I use them.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 26, 2014, 04:39:20 PM
I would also like to comment regarding how many people contributing to collapse would be needed. Some have argued we would need 50% of consumers to effect this collapse. This is not the case.

A far smaller percentage would have to alter their lifestyles to trigger this collapse as long as their efforts involved a complete shift of their lifestyles. This group of perhaps 10% to 20% of consumers would need to embrace every single strategy to disengage from the system. Modern western states are currently seeing growth rates in GDP of 1% to 2%. This low growth is causing cracks in the edifice to be visible. If a movement to minimize participation by 10% to 20% were to occur, this low growth could easily slip into a 5% to 10% contraction as the reduced demand of the 10% ripples through the economy.

Make no mistake, such a decision will have a significant impact on their lives. This will not all be bad however. Two years ago, I sold my car. I quit eating meat. I eat like a king however. Nadia and I eat primarily organic, all fresh produce, organic rice and beans. I bake my own bread. We only buy clothes (all natural fibers, no oil based synthetics) when we need them, live in a wonderful turn of the century apartment, and take advantage of all sorts of free events that occur in Chicago. Things for our apartment are purchased almost exclusively in resale shops. We spend so little money that we are able to eat out at various ethnic restaurants several times a week. I have no debt and no longer have a credit card. I walk and ride my bike everywhere. I have so much time on my hands as a result of simplifying my life that I am able to mend my clothes by hand. I have become an expert with a needle and thread. I have a seemingly endless amount of play time. My stress levels have fallen dramatically. My quality of life has improved. Over the past 4 years, as I made this transition, I have slowly lost 50 pounds. I am as healthy as I have ever been in my adult life. I no longer seem to get sick, no colds, no flu.

For me, extracting myself from (or more accurately altering my interaction with) the system has been wonderful.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 26, 2014, 04:54:46 PM
JimD,

actually I am not asking you for your personal definitions of those words. Also I am not sure if I would find a discussion about definitions interesting. But I would like to ask you to be more careful with such words, because you may risk to scare some poeple - that would limit your chance to get them and finaly will make us fail.

We need to get the poeple. We need >50% of them. We need them now to start action - that action may take 20 years, so we must not risk to lose any time.

If you tell poeple things like: "Let us make collapse. Perhaps 90% of us will die because of that action." That is not attractive and it is very probable wrong - so you are out and failed. So please avoid the word collapse since we actually only want 0 emission and not dead poeple.

Same with BAU - To ask poeple to do any "non-usual" things is risky and you will fail. Please ask poeple to do known and prooven things which result in 0 emissions. And those things must become BAU. So please do not fight BAU because sustainable BAU is our goal.

If you want the poeple - do not tell them what to do not. Tell them what to do. We need a positive attraction and not fear. Of course your poeple are different from my poeple here - so we need different attractions.

E.g. exit nuclear here was a very good motivation to kick on renewables. Reduction of CO2 emission in the beginning was considered futile - since that stuff just will burn elsewhere. But different places need different actions - so you should know what will work at your place to get >50% of the poeple. Go that way.

SH - I did answer your comment allready above. We have >10% out here and the system is fine. And if you reduce your middle class that would be compensated by increased middle class in China. You must be emission free but GDP does not matter.

edit: Nice way of life, SH. It sounds like the way I called "granola BAU" above and is widespread here, too.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 26, 2014, 05:06:10 PM
You must be emission free but GDP does not matter.

I could not disagree more strongly. GDP, growth if you will, is at the very heart of the system. Driving a stake through it will force a reconciling. The system is absolutely dependent on growth. Causing a dramatic contraction will absolutely empower, require actually, other institutions to step in to replace the collapse of the growth system.

Also, it is not necessary for anyone to suggest that "doing without" is needed. In fact, my personal experience is that extricating yourself from the growth system is remarkably rewarding.

Also, growing the middle class in China, is absolutely dependent on western nations continuing to consume things they do not need. Here is a chart of China's trade surplus.

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/balance-of-trade (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/balance-of-trade)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 26, 2014, 05:17:27 PM
Shared Humanity,

please do not get me wrong intentionally. The goal is zero emission. That is something to agree on.
0 GDP could be one way to go there but it is not a goal. You can have high GDP in granola BAU - e.g. by high priced cran berries. So you may have high GDP at zero emission - but that really does not matter! GDP is just a number, how could it matter!

That you should not consume things is clear - that would not be emission free!

edit: Germanys trade surplus is similar - it only means, that our emission numbers are overrated because we imported emission from places importing our products.
But the Chinese increasingly consume - they will not stopp before they consume more than US poeple per capita, of course. But also they will start with some kind of alternative zero emission life - Zen-BAU or something...

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 26, 2014, 05:43:50 PM
Quote
What are our options.  Can an individual action, which only has the power to degrade the system comparable to what an individual is worth in the system, have meaningful impact?  Clearly not.  Tens of millions of individual actions do make mass?  Perhaps that works.  An argument can be made (and it is another difficult one) that the most effective way for the average person to help bring the system down is just to continue living the way we do now.  Or even to maximize that lifestyle.  Promote growth, consume, drive a big car, eat meat.  For it is certain that every person acting Green with the intention that by everyone doing so would build a path to a solution is actually prolonging the pain and deferring the payment of this debt we owe to someone else but us.

If we agree that individual green actions (and non-actions) are not adequate in themselves to effect any real change, I hope we can see that the very same point means that individual 'brown' un-environmental actions are equally unlikely to effect systemic changes of the types we are discussing.

It is hard for me to imagine that the folks in the boardrooms of top corporations are shivering in their shoes that people might consume so much that they will collapse the capitalist system.

I think the point of withdrawal from the 'system' can have many sides and can possibly incorporate many potential allies. The 350 movement is now focused on getting schools and other groups to divest from FF companies. I can imagine this expanding to divesting from major banks that invest in the same. Churches are moving toward removing their funds from banks that did so much to create the last financial crisis. These are the types of groups whose divestment initiatives helped end apartheid. Combine these with those who follow or at least respect the likes of Holmgren and the various environmental groups (who have been getting more and more radicalized), and you are indeed starting to look at a critical mass that could be large enough to "crash" (or severely hinder plans of) the global financial network and the fossil-death-fuel companies.

The overall effort must be to de-legitimize these entities in the eyes of more and more people. Holmgren, after all, traces his realization of the fragility of the system to Reagan's statement that it is belief in the system that supports it. Lot's of people stopped believing in the Soviet system, and one day it suddenly and completely collapsed. The aftermath has not always been particularly pretty, but it is a precedent for a massive, seemingly unassailable (except by nuclear annihilation) oppressive system suddenly collapsing in a relatively non-violent way.

People on PO fora used to say--if you want to bring on PO, just drive around even more. Well, that hasn't worked very well. All those folks showing that they are willing to pay every higher prices for oil meant that all sorts of crud that folks thought would never be economical to extract have been--hence Holmgren's "Brown Energy Path." An exhortation to drive more and eat more meat is, to me, a call to vote for exactly that dirtiest of paths (however insignificant any one such vote may be, either way).

But perhaps I'm missing something?

Well this section certainly needs some work as I meant to imply with my little phrase "this is a difficult one".  It is far too complicated to brush across with one paragraph as I proved so well.

Let me turn your post upside down and start with the Peak Oil point.

Quote
People on PO fora used to say--if you want to bring on PO, just drive around even more. Well, that hasn't worked very well.

You say that this did not work out well as a tactic, but was the tactic actually executed?  As an old Peak Oil blogger I think you would probably accept my statement that the current media hype that Peak Oil is dead and industry has proven them wrong is complete propaganda.  We are on the long talked about bumpy plateau.  What has been proven to date is that the extreme positions that the peak and decline would happen very quickly did not pan out (and there was little logic to that position if I may say so).  Fossil fuels are a finite resource and EROEI is physics so there is no mathematical doubt that we are peaking overall and that the decline in C&C by the original definition is underway.  In light of that summary if we turn back to the point of maintaining consumption, or even increasing it, as a tactic to bring the decline forward in time it would be fair to say that it has to work and is functionally working right now as, in sum, that is what the US population is essentially doing.  Not everyone of course, and the rise of alternative energy sources and hybrid vehicles has a small impact, but in aggregate we are executing that tactic.  But, any such tactic will take a looong time to have substantial effect.

The above point I am going to use to counter this part of your post

Quote
If we agree that individual green actions (and non-actions) are not adequate in themselves to effect any real change, I hope we can see that the very same point means that individual 'brown' un-environmental actions are equally unlikely to effect systemic changes of the types we are discussing....

...I think the point of withdrawal from the 'system' can have many sides and can possibly incorporate many potential allies. The 350 movement is now focused on getting schools and other groups to divest from FF companies. I can imagine this expanding to divesting from major banks that invest in the same. Churches are moving toward removing their funds from banks that did so much to create the last financial crisis. These are the types of groups whose divestment initiatives helped end apartheid. Combine these with those who follow or at least respect the likes of Holmgren and the various environmental groups (who have been getting more and more radicalized), and you are indeed starting to look at a critical mass that could be large enough to "crash" (or severely hinder plans of) the global financial network and the fossil-death-fuel companies.


First I have a question and my answer to that question.  What is yours?

If you have two people who are doing essentially the same action. But one of those people is consciously and deliberately executing that action with the goal of bringing down the system (collapsing it to a much lower state of energy consumption which will result in a dramatically lower population).  And the other person is executing that same action with the goal of salvaging the system in order to maintain it and the population at roughly the same levels of complexity, lifestyle and size.  Are these two people actually doing the same thing?

My answer is a definitive NO.

The above situation is the one we are living in.

Bill McKibben has a long track record of environmental commentary going back many years.  I have read many of his works and recognize him as a deep thinker and not a naive person in any sense.  He has struggled for many years for change and fully recognizes the danger of AGW and knows that deep collapse is coming.  He knows that it is likely too late to fix the situation but he is making his last try to make the result less worse than it will otherwise.   He created 350.org as a last ditch attempt to exercise what power he has to try and fulfill what the first person in my question above is intending to do.

He knows that premise 1 is true, likely believes that premise 6 is true, is trying to execute premise 7, and utterly believes premise 8.

The vast majority of the people who support McKibben and 350.org think they are executing what the second person in my question above is doing.  They are the Green-BAU folks I dig at all the time.  They do not actually understand the situation we are in (or perhaps they do subconsciously and are incapable of formulating it in their conscious minds) and are trying to "save" civilization, their way of life, create a fair and equitable society, and cannot conceive any form of dramatic population reductions.

McKibben knows that what his supporters want is not possible, and that if they knew what he was really trying to do most of them would not support him or help him.  He is using them.

This is where I have hopefully have started to differentiate this group of people into their respective categories and thus make a little more clear what I was trying to say in my long post. 

If you are executing Green-BAU with the goal of continuing today's world in essentially the same form, but with a greater percentage of alternate energies and some sort of striving for "sustainability" you are tilting at windmills.  Such a thing simply cannot be accomplished as the laws of physics do not offer that as a possible solution.  That is why I say that these people have made their choice already  "...that they have already made their choice about the future.  The choice they unthinkingly made was to ally themselves with their most diametrically opposed opponents;  the supporters of the status quo, the BAU forever folks, the fossil fuel industry, the Rapture is coming religious right, the free market capitalists, the Imperialists, the empire builders.".

McKibben is not naive.  He is using these people to try and bring down the system.  If the goals of 350.org were actually achieved that is what would happen.  This is exactly what Holmgren is suggesting be done.  It would dovetail in exactly with what McKibben is doing and since I am sure the two know each other it would not surprise me that they have had some deep discussions along this very line.

Doing what McKibben is doing is morally different than what his followers are doing.  McKibben is found here; "An actions morality - or at the very least its perceived morality - can shift depending on one's perspective, but also of course on circumstance."  His followers are definitely NOT in the same place.  McKibben is using his followers just like the US military uses its soldiers.  The military's goal is to support the empire, which is not a good selling point when asking soldiers to sacrifice their lives, so it tells the soldiers that they are putting their lives on the line to save their freedom and their families from evil.  It works like a champ!

So we reach the point where we say intent matters just as results matter.

Premise 1:  Civilization is not sustainable.  Green-BAU supports civilization so it inevitably fails.

My other point about intent was this.  If you are executing a 'green' lifestyle and checking out of civilization as much as you possibly can with the intent to learn and recreate skills which are critical to the post-collapse world you fall into a different category than the Green-BAU folks described above.  That is completely different than trying to maintain BAU.  It is an essential activity and one that I engage in myself every day.  I am too old to see that future, but I want to try and pass on the skills the survivors of the bottleneck will need.  This is the place that I perceive posters like ccg, Bruce and Neven being in.  That may be presumptuous, but that is where I think they are working.

Does this clarify the point I was trying to make for you?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 26, 2014, 06:05:24 PM
SATire.....I understand now what you are saying and, for the most part, we are saying the same thing. Obviously zero emissions is the final objective. My point is that disrupting the current growth system is a requirement to move in this direction.

When I say collapsing the system, I do not mean some sort of violent action or reaction. This system needs growth and putting in place an ongoing contraction will render the rules of the existing system obsolete. This can be done more easily than most of us think.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 26, 2014, 06:11:14 PM
SATire et. al.

I sometimes get strident or testy in my posts. This is only because I am passionate about the problems and possible solutions. I value everyone's contribution here, even those who disagree with or are critical of my comments.

I just wanted to put that out there.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 26, 2014, 06:12:41 PM
JimD,

actually I am not asking you for your personal definitions of those words. Also I am not sure if I would find a discussion about definitions interesting. But I would like to ask you to be more careful with such words, because you may risk to scare some poeple - that would limit your chance to get them and finaly will make us fail.

I stated the intent to create the topic because I see a lot of misunderstanding about different meanings. If you are not interested it makes no difference to me.  As to your second sentence I completely disagree with you.  My intent IS to scare people and I think failure of the Green-BAU approach is certain so it is not possible for me to impact its failure.

Quote
We need to get the poeple. We need >50% of them. We need them now to start action - that action may take 20 years, so we must not risk to lose any time.

The time to start implementing your type of solutions was the first Earth Day protest in 1970 which I participated in.  The time when such solutions could have worked is long past.  You are standing on the beach trying to tell all the nude sunbathers that that big dark line on the horizon is a tsunami coming and we need to run.  It is too late for both of you already as you cannot outrun the wave. Best grab one of their surf boards and try and ride it out.

Quote
If you tell poeple things like: "Let us make collapse. Perhaps 90% of us will die because of that action." That is not attractive and it is very probable wrong - so you are out and failed. So please avoid the word collapse since we actually only want 0 emission and not dead poeple.

Zero emissions will not save us.  It will be decades before you could achieve that and to do so would absolutely require a dramatic population reduction (which you also don't like).  By then the carbon emissions added to the system will result in AGW effects sufficient to crush civilization.  You must have zero emissions right now.  And then actions which pull the co2 levels down substantially every year.  Do you actually think that is possible?  Without a dramatic population reduction starting right now?  Zero carbon emissions requires you turn off the fossil fuel industry right now.  You have to stop making cement.  You have to turn off industrial agriculture.  Doing that guarantees global collapse right now and results in dramatic population reductions almost immediately.  And don't forget that those newly struggling people are going to immediately go out and start cutting down every tree for fuel and digging up their own coal which is easy to do and start burning that.  They will also be forced  to clear almost all of the forest of North America and Europe to grow food upon in the attempt to feed themselves.  What will that do to carbon emissions.

Quote
Same with BAU - To ask poeple to do any "non-usual" things is risky and you will fail. Please ask poeple to do known and prooven things which result in 0 emissions. And those things must become BAU. So please do not fight BAU because sustainable BAU is our goal.

Civilization is not sustainable.  7-9 billion people are so far beyond the carrying capacity of the Earth that what you are suggesting amounts to a suicide pact for the future.

Quote
If you want the poeple - do not tell them what to do not. Tell them what to do. We need a positive attraction and not fear. Of course your poeple are different from my poeple here - so we need different attractions.

E.g. exit nuclear here was a very good motivation to kick on renewables. Reduction of CO2 emission in the beginning was considered futile - since that stuff just will burn elsewhere. But different places need different actions - so you should know what will work at your place to get >50% of the poeple. Go that way.

There is no German solution just as there is no American or Chinese solution.  The problem is a global one and the only solution must be a global one.  This should be obvious I would think.

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 26, 2014, 06:39:51 PM
There is no German solution just as there is no American or Chinese solution.  The problem is a global one and the only solution must be a global one.  This should be obvious I would think.
JimD - do you remember that you once convinced me here that US  never will accept a global solution (other than nuking the world or other kind of suicide-rapture-rushing)?

The solution is 0 emission everywhere. The road may be different and the way to get the poeple will be different.

I understand that you are frustated and want to stopp action and collapse now. But I am still able to do things - now more than before, so I will proceed. And I continue teaching my children also to work for sustainable society. Probably you are right and it is futile - but I can not stopp trying - of course. We will try as hard as we can and than we will see, what we did. Surely not everything we will have done will be considered good in the end - for me it is to early to judge my life but it is the time to try harder.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 26, 2014, 07:52:16 PM
Does anyone have any idea how much of current industrial ag is actually used to directly feed people with the grain/legumes produced. I'm thinking it is a minority of total acres, but I have no idea how much. My impression is that most industrial ag is used to feed livestock and to make ethanol. Does anyone know where to find info on this?

The flip side of this is what percent of the world's poor supply what portion of their calories come from industrial ag and what comes from small farms and gardens, either their own or from farmer's markets...

I'm not saying that a collapse of industrial ag will not result in massive food shortages. I just do wonder how much of that food shortage will be due to ongoing wasteful use of what food is available, and how much will be due to actual, physical shortages.

ETA: OK, I got off my sorry @$$ (actually, I did all this sitting down--so much for metaphor), and looked up some stats. Here's one on meat:

Quote
35 percent of the world grain harvest (760 million tons) used to produce animal protein

http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights22 (http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights22)

The ratios given here are 7 pounds of grain for one pound of beef weight gain, 3 for pork, and 2 for poultry and farmed fish. So just shifting more of the meat eating there is to pork and (especially) poultry and fish would go some way in the right direction. (I know these numbers are somewhat contested, but mere conservation of energy/mass means that you will get less out than you put in.) But really moving mostly off meat would get us faster where we need to be.

I'll see if I can find out, but I would have to assume that soy bean production would be a similar number. Grain figures get better when soy is mixed it (though the same is true for the value of these grains and legumes for humans as far as protein goes).

ETA again: OK, it looks like almost all soy production in from major producers is used for meat and oil production (though these two are not broken down further here):

Quote
Only about 10 percent of all of these soybeans was eaten as tofu or some other food; the rest were crushed for animal feed and soybean oil.

I don't know what the ratios are for pounds of soy feed per pound of meat produced, but I imagine they are similar to the grain ratios.

Soooo, We could lose a third of total grain production and nearly all soy production and it would mostly come out of meat consumption. Yes, those calories/proteins would have to be made up, but that could happen much more efficiently that through CAFO fed cattle, etc.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 26, 2014, 08:05:48 PM
There is no German solution just as there is no American or Chinese solution.  The problem is a global one and the only solution must be a global one.  This should be obvious I would think.
JimD - do you remember that you once convinced me here that US  never will accept a global solution (other than nuking the world or other kind of suicide-rapture-rushing)?

You misunderstand me.  The US is the world's dominant empire.  It will not accept your solution it will attempt to impose its own global solution.  Big difference.  And it won't be alone as the I fully expect all powerful countries to largely go along with the path the US decides to take as they have little choice in the matter and everyone wants to be left standing.  That includes Germany, which in many ways is even more bought into the industrial worlds method of operating than the US is.  Give me a shout when Germany hits zero emissions. Consider the following numbers in light of sustainability.

Germany 225 people per sq km  approximately equal to 1.1 acre per person

US 32 people per sq km approximately equal to 8 acres per person

Quote
The solution is 0 emission everywhere. The road may be different and the way to get the poeple will be different.

I understand that you are frustated and want to stopp action and collapse now. But I am still able to do things - now more than before, so I will proceed. And I continue teaching my children also to work for sustainable society. Probably you are right and it is futile - but I can not stopp trying - of course. We will try as hard as we can and than we will see, what we did. Surely not everything we will have done will be considered good in the end - for me it is to early to judge my life but it is the time to try harder.

While I have no illusions about the paths we all are likely to take - BAU will run the show until collapse happens.  I find it impossible not to at least occasionally focus on reality and the only path that the data indicates could have a chance of actually largely (certainly not completely) getting a substantial number of us out of our dilemma.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 26, 2014, 08:54:36 PM
 If zero emissions is the goal it is just a question of how long it will take to get there and how much damage we will do to the earths climate  between now and when zero emissions are achieved. Any lessons that inform the zero rate goal are important to pursue but getting those lessons passed on to future generations is critical also. Wanting to help and actually doing so are separated by results.
 Primitive skills for procuring and preparing food as well as local knowledge about spring locations,salt licks,and animal + fish migration patterns are the knowledge sets that got humans and human ancestors through millions of years without planet wide self inflicted disasters. Those skill sets will be important again someday but it would be nice to hand along a legacy that improved on those skill sets with both self sustainable farming and hopefully mechanical aids that don't get us back into our current predicament.
 None of these lessons or goals will be improved upon by continuing Co2 emissions. If civilization means maintaining large cities there will be no civilization. None of our skill sets from ~ 300 years ago can support very large population concentrations. Every question now comes down to time. Ten years ago when I first jumped into the rabbit hole we were emitting ~27 gt Co2 per year now we are at
~35gt Co2 and there isn't any indication this increase is changing anytime soon. This site and I would think everyone here would agree that 45 gt or 50 gt per annum will result in summer melt of arctic
sea ice. I am convinced it will also impact the ocean carbon sink negatively and the resultant heat increases will also reduce the terrestrial carbon sinks. For these reasons the carrying capacity of planet earth is already less than it was 200 years ago and it will drop from here until we get emissions below the  2 gt carbon ( ~5.2 gt Co2 )that the ocean can put into long term carbon sinks.
 We are intervening in the planets ability to maintain it's carbon sinks. This will result in a much hotter planet. We are going to push an enormous number of species into extinction and large mammals that our ancestors depended upon are high on that list. I am trying to say time is very important. Ever day in our current overshoot will reduce the eventual number of humans this planet can support. Carbon sinks do not recover quickly once compromised .
 The only thing to fear isn't fear.   
   
 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 26, 2014, 08:55:18 PM
Does anyone have any idea how much of current industrial ag is actually used to directly feed people with the grain/legumes produced. I'm thinking it is a minority of total acres, but I have no idea how much. My impression is that most industrial ag is used to feed livestock and to make ethanol. Does anyone know where to find info on this?

I did a little research for the U.S. In 2011 there were "43.4 billion pounds of beef harvested under USDA inspection."

http://www.beefusa.org/beefindustrystatistics.aspx (http://www.beefusa.org/beefindustrystatistics.aspx)

Since it takes 7 kg. of grain to produce 1 kg. of beef, this means that it took 138 billion kg. of grain to produce one years production of beef.

In 2012, the U.S. produced 354 million tons of grain or 321,818,181,818 kg. of grain. If my calculations are correct and if you assume a steady state of annual production, 43% of all grain grown in the U.S. is used to produce beef.

Please keep in mind that this is only for beef. Pigs and chickens consume another large amount of  the grain grown.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 26, 2014, 08:58:19 PM
You misunderstand me.  The US is the world's dominant empire.  It will not accept your solution it will attempt to impose its own global solution.  Big difference.  And it won't be alone as the I fully expect all powerful countries to largely go along with the path the US decides to take as they have little choice in the matter and everyone wants to be left standing.  That includes Germany, which in many ways is even more bought into the industrial worlds method of operating than the US is.  Give me a shout when Germany hits zero emissions. Consider the following numbers in light of sustainability.
[...]
I find it impossible not to at least occasionally focus on reality and the only path that the data indicates could have a chance of actually largely (certainly not completely) getting a substantial number of us out of our dilemma.
JimD - again you make it very easy to get a sharp and sudden focus.

Following that precise logic Germany will hit 0 emission just when US will. And the latter never will hit 0, because even the radical greens there consider burning fuel in vain to drive the collapse road and never will make it with the 50% of the poeple. It will stay stalled in radical positions fighting itself. The logic of collapse but human nature dictates to fight it anyway and to continue working for the future - in vain and knowing that facts. Good luck everybody.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 26, 2014, 09:02:08 PM
Let's do a little hypothetical mind game. I love to do these, not because they are real but because they help frame a discussion.

What would happen to the industrial agriculture system in the U.S. if Americans stopped eating beef? 43% of all grain grown is consumed by cattle. Much of our grain is produced by this industrial system. How would this industry look if 43% of the demand for their product suddenly disappeared?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 26, 2014, 09:10:03 PM
Shared Humanity, if you stop industrial agriculture you also lose artificial fertilizers. In pure organic agriculture (here in wet Germany) after ~10 years your productivity is only 25%. So - you will still need all the acres busy with a lot of poeple to feed your vegetarian population. It will not be a comfortable life but you will have no problems with unemployment ;-)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 26, 2014, 09:18:49 PM
I just did some research on pork production for the U.S. The FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) is better for pork. It only takes 3.2 kg. of feed to produce 1 kg. of pork. In 2011, 21 billion pounds of pork were produced in the U.S.

http://www.nppc.org/pork-facts/ (http://www.nppc.org/pork-facts/)

It would take 30 billion kg. of grain to produce this 9.5 billion kg. of pork or 9.5% of annual grain production.  If you add both beef and pork, 52% of grain output is consumed by cattle and hogs.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 26, 2014, 09:38:16 PM
Thanks, SH. That pretty much coincides with my general understanding. So if you add in poultry, lambs, etc, probably about 60 % or nearly two-thirds.

This is old data, but if anything that means that it is understatement, since global meat consumption has exploded since then:
Quote
More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat (http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat)

When you add in corn ethanol, it turns out that only about one twelfth of the total corn crop is used for anything other than livestock feed and ethanol.

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ers.usda.gov%2FImageGen.ashx%3Fimage%3D%2Fmedia%2F521847%2Fcornuse.jpg%26amp%3Bwidth%3D480&hash=cb68a5a8f28f2c4fea9ee16436416a86)

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/corn/background.aspx#.UuVzIPbnZ-U (http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/corn/background.aspx#.UuVzIPbnZ-U)
Soooo, the general point here is that, as usually happens, the problem is not merely an issue of the total potentially available amount of grains and legumes that could be used to feed the world population, but the way that those grains and legumes are (mis-)used. This is all reminiscent of the fact that Ireland was exporting beef to England even during the darkest years of the great potato famine.

Unfortunately, just pointing out that these mal-distributions exist does not make them go away or make it much more likely that there will be saner sort of distribution. But it does mean that nearly all of US (and probably most of global) industrial ag could go away, and if (and that's a big 'if' of course) there were corresponding reductions in meat eating and ethanol fuel use, it would not have as great an effect on world food supply as one might think.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on January 26, 2014, 11:32:29 PM
Sorry for not appropriately contributing to the line of discussion. I've just started actually reading Holmgren's work linked by wili. This is a part I took in my own words.

"Holmgren...
Criticised the naive alignment by the climate activist community with masters of finance in favouring a bubble economy of tradable carbon. Which wasn’t eventuated. As Copenhagen COP 15 failed late 2009, quantitative easing in the USA was facilitating a continuation of investment possibilities in large-scale fossil  energy extracting operations. While private debt acquired unprecedented levels, the dominant economic structure has shortcut financial circuits to continue concentrated wealth accumulation through new, less carbon efficient ways of extraction.
By now, this shows how economic downturn in the prospect of peak-oil and limits to growth doesn’t lead to lesser carbon emissions. On the contrary, by outsourcing production to low wages nations that do not constrain production with limits to pollution and carbon emission, the danger of global warming has become progressively worse."

I think Holmgren's analysis is quite accurate here. I asked myself: 'is the CO2 content actually rising to the extent this analysis implies?"
I see two main constraints:
1. CO2 emissions by the new production nations are masked to a certain degree by coinciding aerosol contributions
2. CO2 and methane content growth are now beyond the level of natural buffering capacity
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 27, 2014, 12:41:49 AM
Wili, We can eat grass fed beef at grain numbers much less than those quoted. Cattle can graze in conditions not compatible with most agriculture uses so you can't assume all reductions in grazing necessarily being replaced with additional agriculture. Energy uses can be measured and calories delivered either deliver or they don't. I just don't understand how you expect farming to proceed without farm animals as manure assets? I think zero fertilizer systems may work with several legume plantings to each crop produced but we are talking about pie in the sky here.
 The USDA chart on corn use shows biofuels as the growing part of the use trend. I think cutting back 50% on driving would get better results than similar reductions in beef consumption. There are animals that would produce similar protein per acre conversions without the methane that cattle,sheep or goat production.
 I guess I am having problems with what will be necessary after collapse and what we will attempt in the meantime. I don't think any 50% solutions will be adequate so  let's put 50% less ruminant protein
together with 50% reductions in miles traveled as a compromise . I would put even larger reductions in air travel or consumption of products or foodstuffs that utilize air transport. I have a difficult time convincing even good friends and relatives however. "Thrashing the air ,with his hands" jeffersonairplane   
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 27, 2014, 01:45:26 AM
"I just don't understand how you expect farming to proceed without farm animals as manure assets?"

Good question. First, I didn't mean to imply that there must be no livestock at all. Just not much heavily grain and soy feed ones.

As to animals for manure, recall that humans are animals.

Quote
let's put 50% less ruminant protein together with 50% reductions in miles traveled as a compromise . I would put even larger reductions in air travel or consumption of products or foodstuffs that utilize air transport.

I'm good with all that, though we may need something a bit north of 50% on each.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 27, 2014, 07:10:56 AM
Wili, Equity will of necessity be a very important guideline as we proceed. Some of us will try harder than others but that will also give us the high ground in trying to encourage participation. I wish I could say I was where I knew I needed to be , I can only say I am doing better and using less ff than before I realized how bad the situation really was. I most certainly can achieve a 50% reduction and still avoid the poorhouse. I don't know why hammering on the numbers is so important to me. I was never that good a student but making the changes necessary will require some rigor in how we measure our progress. If I were to venture a guess you are probably currently using less energy than I. Food production is where I am focused and maybe I will have something to contribute to how other people approach low energy food production systems. I am quite obsessed.
 I am happy that I have two or  three novice farmers interested in what I am up to. Some solid numbers might draw more interest. I do have a couple plots set aside for zero ff farm production efforts and the electric tiller winter lettuce experiment is still on track.Twenty cases so far, ~ 600 heads,with new plantings in the ground. I will challenge my young friends to make similar efforts on the land I am going to lend them. I am going to make a couple batches of bio-diesel for larger crop efforts but the electric tiller will get my EROEI numbers higher because the bio has higher imbedded costs. Obsessed and everything I have to say should probably be on the gardening page but my experience with politics makes me think equity is just as important.   
 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 27, 2014, 08:13:14 AM
I honor your obsession, Bruce.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on January 27, 2014, 11:04:37 AM
It is great what you try to transform into the future and it would be great to learn more about that - maybe in that agriculture thread? But since that topic falls also in that "marketing strategy" to get >50% of the poeple and food is the first place for poeple to look at, it could fit here, too. Next to renewables (green BAU) those organic-BAU approaches are surely a way to get the poeple on board. Remeber: The goal is 0 emission - every approach is welcome to get there. And you will never get there without the poeple (apart from killing them all).

Next to mainstream EU organic standards (which has significant maket share allready) there are more strict concepts with impact - but of course very different approaches, philosophies and so on, e.g. to attract different kind of poeple:

http://www.demeter.de/verbraucher/landwirtschaft (http://www.demeter.de/verbraucher/landwirtschaft) (Steiner concept)
http://www.bioland.de/start.html (http://www.bioland.de/start.html) - difference to standard explained here in english: http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf (http://www.bioland.de/fileadmin/dateien/HP_Dokumente/Allgemeine_Informationen/2012_12_12_Vergleich-BL-EGVO_englisch.pdf)
http://www.naturland.de/naturland.html (http://www.naturland.de/naturland.html)
http://www.gaea.de/ (http://www.gaea.de/)
http://www.biokreis.de/ (http://www.biokreis.de/)
and a lot of more smaller iniatives...
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 27, 2014, 05:42:27 PM
Well we are starting to drift off topic, but I can't resist either  :)

Does anyone have any idea how much of current industrial ag is actually used to directly feed people with the grain/legumes produced. I'm thinking it is a minority of total acres, but I have no idea how much. My impression is that most industrial ag is used to feed livestock and to make ethanol. Does anyone know where to find info on this?

I did a little research for the U.S. In 2011 there were "43.4 billion pounds of beef harvested under USDA inspection."

http://www.beefusa.org/beefindustrystatistics.aspx (http://www.beefusa.org/beefindustrystatistics.aspx)

Since it takes 7 kg. of grain to produce 1 kg. of beef, this means that it took 138 billion kg. of grain to produce one years production of beef.

In 2012, the U.S. produced 354 million tons of grain or 321,818,181,818 kg. of grain. If my calculations are correct and if you assume a steady state of annual production, 43% of all grain grown in the U.S. is used to produce beef.

Please keep in mind that this is only for beef. Pigs and chickens consume another large amount of  the grain grown.

Quote
I just did some research on pork production for the U.S. The FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) is better for pork. It only takes 3.2 kg. of feed to produce 1 kg. of pork. In 2011, 21 billion pounds of pork were produced in the U.S.

http://www.nppc.org/pork-facts/ (http://www.nppc.org/pork-facts/)

It would take 30 billion kg. of grain to produce this 9.5 billion kg. of pork or 9.5% of annual grain production.  If you add both beef and pork, 52% of grain output is consumed by cattle and hogs.

SH

You have some significant errors in your numbers.  You can't take the lbs of beef harvested and use the 7kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef and get that result that way.   Cattle are not raised eating only grain and your grain numbers include large amounts of grain that is not fed to animals (like wheat).  On a typical cattle operation they are fed almost entirely grass and baled hay (alphalfa, fescue, etc) until they are at or very near the weight where they are shipped to auction and sold to a CAFO operation where the intense grain feeding occurs.  This ship weight is typically around 950 lbs. Slaughter weights average 1277 lb by your link.  The grain, which is mostly feed corn, is used to add that last 350-400 lbs. 

Approximately 47% of soybeans and 50% of corn is used in animal feeding (note that a lot of that corn is exported and not used in the US), wheat basically not at all.   Approx 40% of the US corn crop is turned into ethanol and about 10% is consumed by us humans directly.

It is actually pretty difficult to get exact numbers along the lines of what you are trying to do and one's assumptions dramatically impact the final answer (politics often effects the final number).  But I played around and did some reasonable guestimating and came up with the following.

Your actual weight in kgs added to the beef and pork animal herds by feeding grain is about 20 billion kgs (vice the 51 billion from your post). And a portion of that is non-US animals as it is from exported production.

My post is not to argue that feeding grain to animals is ok or anything like that.  But just to point out that it is not straightforward figuring this all out.  And it you want to hate using grains for other than human consumption you should first kill the corn to ethanol program - we can't eat ethanol.  That is near 40% of the corn crop.

I want to add emphasis to Bruce's comment on raising animals and eating meat.  Those who argue for everyone being vegetarians are just flat not understanding agriculture.  CAFO operations are very environmentally destructive and consume food which could be used for feeding humans.  But a lot of meat can be grown on land unsuitable for growing either grains or vegetables (the cow is converting grass and weeds which we can't eat into tasty meat - it is a win-win situation).  Though if we switched to buffalo we would be even better off than with range fed cows.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 27, 2014, 07:08:02 PM
"Those who argue for everyone being vegetarians"
I have not (or have not intended to) make any such argument.

But the rapid increase in global grain-fed meat consumption is part of what has to be reversed if we are going to have any chance of even imagining a remotely 'soft' landing.

It looks like we get the same numbers on corn, at least--less than 10% is used for direct consumption by humans. And iirc most of that 90% is no longer edible by humans--its been bred and GMO'ed to be non-human-edible.

I agree that ethanol is an even bigger culprit, and it wastes even more precious water resources.

As to "we can't eat ethanol"--Well, we can certainly drink it. And perhaps that would be the fastest and 'softest' way out of all of our dilemmas--put the world on a ten year binge of pure grain alcohol...by the time the survivors sober up, the world will look quite different.   :o
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Neven on January 28, 2014, 12:22:42 AM
As to "we can't eat ethanol"--Well, we can certainly drink it. And perhaps that would be the fastest and 'softest' way out of all of our dilemmas--put the world on a ten year binge of pure grain alcohol...by the time the survivors sober up, the world will look quite different.   :o

This sounds like a plan the Russians might suggest.  ;) :D

Just popping in to say I enjoy this thread, but it's hard to keep up! Especially with all those long texts by Holmgren and Lindberg and JimD (I didn't read Hopkins, because he pissed me off once with an unfair critique of one of my favourite documentaries called Blind Spot (http://kickass.to/blind-spot-t4054265.html)).

I read all the opinions, and agree with most of them, either rationally or emotionally. This leads to contradictions that confuse me, and I simply don't know where I stand. I've got the cause-aspect pretty much worked out, but the solutions are elusive.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JackTaylor on January 28, 2014, 02:38:16 PM
"~~"
I've got the cause-aspect pretty much worked out, but the solutions are elusive.
Indeed the solutions are elusive.  Until we have a world-wide substantial consensus that we have a problem which needs solving there will continue to be a lot of contradiction.

It's tragic to say this, but is the "Only Hope" for one or a series of detrimental climatic related events necessary to "turn the tide." http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/turn+the+tide (http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/turn+the+tide)   
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 28, 2014, 03:53:57 PM
I have always argued that the system of capitalism is far more fragile than most of us recognize. Evidence of this is the fact that a mortgage crisis in the U.S. in 2007 almost brought the worldwide financial system to its knees. Only a coordinated effort by the world community prevented this from happening. After seven years, we are still feeling the effects of this.

AGW will deliver a lethal gut punch to capitalism. This punch will disrupt the smooth flow of capital to such an extent that this fragile system will simply break down. In fact, AGW will not simply deliver a single gut punch but will pummel us with an endless volley of blows that the system simply will not be able to fend off. This is already happening.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-27/global-warming-battle-is-over-market-share-not-science.html#disqus_thread (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-27/global-warming-battle-is-over-market-share-not-science.html#disqus_thread)

Why will the system collapse? The simple fact is that all of the wealth of humanity has been accumulated in a relatively stable climate. Our cities, our businesses, all physical capital represents the work of thousands of years. For business capital, the  horizon for investment is a minimum of 20 years to perhaps 60 years.  Many business assets are still contributing after hundreds of years. Many of our cities trace their history back thousands of years. All of this wealth, the value of which is the foundation of the financial system is increasingly at risk. The financial system will not be able to handle the shocks.

We are already being pummeled by AGW and our foe is just getting warmed up. We are  far closer to collapse than anyone realizes.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 28, 2014, 04:01:23 PM
SH: It seems to me that what we have seen is more and more the mix of capitalism and socialism that has kept some tattered threads of a social contract in place is being replaced with a mix of capitalism and socialism-for-the-rich. In my town, our taxes go directly to pay for stadiums owned by billionaires. This is the operations of government being used to directly siphon money from the hands of the many to the hands of the very, very few. This kind of situation is reproduced in various forms all over the place.

Yes, the whole think will eventually fall, but the very wealthy have a huge incentive to keep enough bits of the system going to keep their methods of vacuuming up everyone else's money in place for as long as possible. And they will continue to manipulate governments and other entities at all levels to do so, imvho.

JT said: "Until we have a world-wide substantial consensus that we have a problem..."

But we really shouldn't need to have such a total consensus. We didn't have to wait for every nut job to accept that virus's kill people to empower the CDC to dictate that massive numbers of livestock must be slaughtered at various times to prevent outbreaks of various horrific diseases.

Obviously, many of the livestock owners were not happy, but as far as I've seen, most of them understood the gravity of the situation.

It is as if, here, the most demented and craven 'live stock' owners have near total control of the process, pretty much call the shots, and are perfectly happy to risk mass death just to sell their 'stock' and make next quarter's earnings numbers.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 28, 2014, 04:13:53 PM
It seems to me that what we have seen is more and more the mix of capitalism and socialism that has kept some tattered threads of a social contract in place is being replaced with a mix of capitalism and socialism-for-the-rich. In my town, our taxes go directly to pay for stadiums owned by billionaires. This is the operations of government being used to directly siphon money from the hands of the many to the hands of the very, very few. This kind of situation is reproduced in various forms all over the place.

Yes, the whole think will eventually fall, but the very wealthy have a huge incentive to keep enough bits of the system going to keep their methods of vacuuming up everyone else's money in place for as long as possible. And they will continue to manipulate governments and other entities at all levels to do so, imvho.

I agree that this is going on but their efforts to hold onto their wealth will be swept away as financial markets implode. Most of their wealth is tied up in financial assets.  The value of these assets are actually quite vulnerable. The wealthy drove the efforts to save the financial system after the mortgage shock. This was done to defend their wealth. The effect, predictably, was to increase their wealth at the expense of the rest of us. Think how small this shock was that triggered this near collapse of the financial system, a mortgage crisis in the U.S.!  The dramatic drop in the value of homes nearly brought the system to its knees. This loss of value in these assets is laughably small when compared to the impact that global warming will have, the widespread destruction of the value of assets across the planet.

Read the article from a reputable business site. Recognize that the examples given in the article barely touch on the true breadth of the approaching disaster. Look at your own local economies (national, regional, local) and what assets are at risk and the  extent to which these assets are intertwined with the financial system.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 28, 2014, 04:46:53 PM
wili

I did not mean to imply that you were saying that no one should eat meat.  I do know people who believe that and was just addressing that misunderstanding.

I think CAFO operations are an abomination.  Most farmers hate them too.  They are one of the low hanging fruits in terms of increasing food supply.  But we will have to change the kind of corn we grow all right as feed corn is pretty hard to stomach.

But the first thing that jumps up when affluence arrives in a previously poor location is meat consumption.  That is a hard thing to fix.  People love eating meat (it's in our DNA) and other than religious beliefs there are not a huge percentage of people who actually do not like eating meat.  Meat was probably about 50% of my calories growing up as my parents thought you should eat meat at every meal (I used to get steaks for breakfast when I was a kid and pork chops, not to mention bacon, ham and sausage - but not chicken as my father did not think chicken was real meat, it was more like a vegetable in our house :)

Re: ethanol for fuel.  It is my understanding that this fuel has to have an additive in it that makes it inedible (this may not stop those pesky Russians though).  Otherwise it would be subject to the alcohol tax. 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on January 28, 2014, 05:07:28 PM
SH, hi,

A detail in your argument above. You bring out the sub-prime mortgage crisis as the driver for the global financial crisis. While that was the obvious driver, as with all intertwined systems, it wasn't a stand-alone reason. Although in mainstream economics and politics almost never mentioned, there's a strong relation to the underlying energy (and resources) balance. This balance has always been shaky. And it was certainly in the period '02-'08. It wasn't just the high consumer price for all oil-related products during the first half of '08. In the years before that, rising profits in the oil-producing nations were lavishly invested through lending and borrowing in all real-estate. A bubble, yes, and a big one. Not just in the US, but Europe and lots of non-fossil fuel-producing nations elsewhere were very vulnerable too.


Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JackTaylor on January 28, 2014, 05:13:04 PM
Quote
wili Reply #114
JT said: "Until we have a world-wide substantial consensus that we have a problem..."

But we really shouldn't need to have such a total consensus.
wili,
Do I understand correctly your meaning of "shouldn't need a consensus"
= before proceeding to what?  How are we going to "sell-it?"
When will we know it's a done deal?

A government enforced judgment (CDC ruling on livestock) is a consensus for all practical purposes.   Whomever/whoever we/they were which conferred "the authority" or should it be called "the power" in the example does not relate to me as being the same as correcting "Anthropogenic" environmental treatment of the planet....

Damn, how I wish it was simple.

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ritter on January 28, 2014, 05:44:40 PM
We are already being pummeled by AGW and our foe is just getting warmed up. We are  far closer to collapse than anyone realizes.

Agreed. Look to what the insurance industry is doing by pulling back from high-climate change risk scenarios. Look to what the US military has said. Look to what the US government has done to consolidate its ability to "control" a crisis on US soil (based largely on "terrorism" but just as applicable to climate change). Some (many? most?) people in power are paying attention and are reorganizing in response to anticipated climate disaster.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 28, 2014, 06:49:34 PM
We are already being pummeled by AGW and our foe is just getting warmed up. We are  far closer to collapse than anyone realizes.

Agreed. Look to what the insurance industry is doing by pulling back from high-climate change risk scenarios. Look to what the US military has said. Look to what the US government has done to consolidate its ability to "control" a crisis on US soil (based largely on "terrorism" but just as applicable to climate change). Some (many? most?) people in power are paying attention and are reorganizing in response to anticipated climate disaster.

Your 1st example is perfect. What happens to the value of property assets when insurance is no longer affordable? What happens to tax revenue? What about the banks that hold the mortgages?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 28, 2014, 06:58:01 PM
werther......you are correct....a real over simplification.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 28, 2014, 08:39:45 PM
ritter wrote:
Quote
Look to what the US military has said. Look to what the US government has done to consolidate its ability to "control" a crisis on US soil (based largely on "terrorism" but just as applicable to climate change). Some (many? most?) people in power are paying attention and are reorganizing in response to anticipated climate disaster.

Well, not all people in power are paying full attention, apparently (thanks to ASLR on neighboring thread for this):

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-27/fema-caught-between-climate-change-and-congress-.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-27/fema-caught-between-climate-change-and-congress-.html)

Quote
...the U.S. agency in charge of preparing for and responding to these disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), doesn't account for climate change in most of its budget planning and resource allocation or in the National Flood Insurance Program it administers.

"Climate change is affecting everything the agency does, and yet it isn't given much consideration"...

So the agency most of us would want to be most on top of this, is in fact the least. Yet these are exactly the people we will turn to to help us survive heatwaves, monster storms, beyond-biblical deluges...

But the money shufflers and war makers are on top of it--how comforting.

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 28, 2014, 09:00:01 PM
"Whomever/whoever we/they were which conferred "the authority" or should it be called "the power" in the example does not relate to me as being the same as correcting "Anthropogenic" environmental treatment of the planet...."


JT, I'm not sure I follow this, but what I mean is that the EPA should have authority to shut down a power plant that is emitting much more carbon per unit of power produced than other plants. This seems to be an authority they are going to get.

But it should go beyond that. They should be able to shut down mining/fracking operations that are leaking/venting massive amounts of methane directly into the atmosphere. They should be able to shut down (at the least) the mining operations digging the dirtiest coal...

But ultimately we need an international body that has enough international cooperation that it can shut down even tar sands operations if they are deemed to be a clear threat to the future of complex life on earth.

Really, there should be grown ups in the room who say essentially: "Look, the world has now been told for decades, and with increasing frequency and urgency, that AGW is a very real threat and that we have to start moving away from a carbon-based energy system.

TIMES UP!

If you have heeded these warnings, then the total immediate (or very rapidly advancing) ban on any further carbon emissions will not come as much of a shock to your society. But since essentially no country has in fact done so, well, it's too bad, but y'all lose."

But, alas, there are no such adults in the room (at least none with any such power). Only politicians.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ritter on January 28, 2014, 09:44:25 PM
So the agency most of us would want to be most on top of this, is in fact the least. Yet these are exactly the people we will turn to to help us survive heatwaves, monster storms, beyond-biblical deluges...

But the money shufflers and war makers are on top of it--how comforting.

Well... As they say: Close enough for government work!  ;D
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on January 28, 2014, 10:26:13 PM
Oh…all right SH… I knew you would be aware…
I had to write that energy driven crisis link down. You see, in a way, I think, Holmgren is right. Even with EROEI going down, there’s still bubble driven capital creation enough to enable the frantic freaks to hike into Brown Tech.

It’s all rather depressive.

Reading in on some stuff concerning this thread, I can see why Holmgren’s point is being criticized. I have my own objections, too. But essentially he’s got the equations right (I think).

Some suggest that the system is too unpredictable to retain a plan, that it could do more harm than good. But I think the climate models are basically not that bad. IMHO it is inadequate to dismiss the models because they didn’t exactly forecast the recent behaviour of Arctic sea ice.
When adequate attention would be given to these models, action would be taken. Even when the time-schemes may be conservative.

I just read in on some Eocene information. I knew about the PETM, some 56 MYA ago. I didn’t  on the Eocene-Oligocene extinction event ( a ‘minor’ one…), about 34 MYA. Ranges for CO2 mentioned over these immense time-epochs were 4000 ppm (Himalayas in formation) to 470 ppm (Antarctica starting to freeze). All data through sea floor drilling analysis of ancient deposits containing specific isotopes of carbon. R W Langford came up with the comparison on the blog. Don’t know why. The thing is, that sort of GHG behaviour took eons, like 600K years. You probably wouldn’t even notice the extinction in progress on a short term visit, if possible.

I’m not a modeller, nor a climate scientist… I’m just a lawnmower. Still, I don’t think some fancy science degree is indispensible to grasp where this is going. Holmgren is right, in the sense that aware people can choose to leave consumerism behind as good as they can.
Bypass the global economy and concentrate effort in the neighbourhood.

If that makes Babylon fall, it’s just consequence, not responsibility nor guilt. 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JackTaylor on January 28, 2014, 10:34:04 PM
wili in Reply #123 sez:
"I mean is that the EPA should have authority"

"Really, there should be grown ups in the room who say essentially: "Look, the world has now been told for decades, and with increasing frequency and urgency, that AGW is a very real threat and that we have to start moving away from a carbon-based energy system."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No disagreement with your statements.

But, when you go to town-hall type meeting with your elected Representative or Senator(s)
or personally go to their district offices,

do they seem to listen to you?
or
do they ignore you?
or
treat you like an uninformed busy-body, appease you for the moment?
 
Ever got a private or one-on-one audience/meeting with one of them?
Do you know other people who have?

Will they answer a printed on paper letter with a form letter?


Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 29, 2014, 04:55:42 AM
"do they seem to listen to you?"

Actually, they generally do, but then I have relatively cool representatives!

Meanwhile, on the topic of 'crash' or as he puts it 'collapse', here's a nice lecture by Tainter himself on the subject:

http://climatestate.com/2013/05/14/collapse-of-complex-societies-by-joseph-tainter/ (http://climatestate.com/2013/05/14/collapse-of-complex-societies-by-joseph-tainter/)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 29, 2014, 07:37:17 AM
Meanwhile, on the topic of 'crash' or as he puts it 'collapse', here's a nice lecture by Tainter himself on the subject:

http://climatestate.com/2013/05/14/collapse-of-complex-societies-by-joseph-tainter/ (http://climatestate.com/2013/05/14/collapse-of-complex-societies-by-joseph-tainter/)

If that's the one I think it is it's well worth paying attention to (EDIT: It is, I just scrolled down to see my comment from several months ago). The one where he explains the limits to complexity and why civilisation tends to head into a dead end by resorting to greater complexity (and hence energy cost) to resolve it's problems?

At the very least it's a damning indictment of why it simply is not possible to innovate endlessly out of problems (and hence the fallacy of arguments based on inappropriate technological optimism) and potentially it's an argument against civilisation ever being able to surpass a given limit (that of humans to manage complexity vs energy cost).

Serious stuff.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 29, 2014, 07:59:50 AM
I've got to point out that I do think, though he is 99% right, that Tainter here misses on a couple points. While I agree that innovation will not always come to our rescue, T's example of when innovation stalled in human history is not, in fact, really relevant, because it was likely before modern human language developed.

The other point is actually brought up by one of the questioners toward the end of the video: When he claims that conservation does not lead to sustainability, he is really saying that short term sustainability of an unsustainable system can require more resources rather than less. That seems to me to be an odd use of sustainability there, but the overall point should be clear--there is no way to sustain an unsustainably complex system over the (not very) long term.

But otherwise, yes, mostly very well worth taking the time to watch this.

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: prokaryotes on January 29, 2014, 05:59:05 PM
At the very least it's a damning indictment of why it simply is not possible to innovate endlessly out of problems (and hence the fallacy of arguments based on inappropriate technological optimism) and potentially it's an argument against civilisation ever being able to surpass a given limit (that of humans to manage complexity vs energy cost).

Serious stuff.
Well, i tend to belief that you need an equation which constantly adjusts the complexity distribution. For instance we need to cut the branch filed fossil - it is unsustainable a branch which leads to simplicity. In nature you have this too when the bubonic plague strain ended because it consumed it's host.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 31, 2014, 04:05:52 PM
Here's another salvo by Hopkins:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-31/reflections-on-being-a-cultural-optimist-and-a-month-of-scaling-up (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-31/reflections-on-being-a-cultural-optimist-and-a-month-of-scaling-up)

Reflections on being a 'Cultural Optimist' and a month of scaling up

Quote
I believe that things can change fast.  This month we heard how the UK government published its first ever Community Energy Strategy, a statement of intent from government that it wants to "tap into the enthusiasm and commitment that’s so evident in community groups across the country".  That strategy was shaped, in part, by the input of Transition Network and some community renewables projects that grew out of Transition...

Transition, for me, is in part about withdrawing our support from the existing, climate-destroying, fossil fuel-hungry beast, and transferring it to a new culture, a new economy, a new society.  It's divestment writ large...
In the last part, he is kind of basically agreeing with Holmgren, it seems to me. He just doesn't seem to admit that the purpose of any divestment campaign is to make it collapse--in the anti-apartheid campaign it was to collapse the South African government; in transition, to collapse consumer society and the financial system that supports and drives it.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on January 31, 2014, 05:58:52 PM
Hey wili thanks for the notice on the new replies to Holmgren.  I must say that, once again, I am very underwhelmed by the Orlov, Hopkins and MacLeod responses. 

Perhaps the problem with all of these people is that they have managed to generate a great living and fame from their books and blogs and are no longer as attuned to the world disintegrating around them as they used to be.  This happened to many of the big environmentalists from 40 years ago.  Only Orlov  would I classify as still having his head basically oriented in a realistic direction and he to of course is making good money.

Before I decided to post the above I looked up Geer to see if he was responding and I am reading it right now

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/ (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/)

Hah!  2nd para he states just what I said above.  He thinks they are sucked into the main stream too.

Ah well.  The article morphs into mostly another Peak Oil narrative, accurate from my perspective and to be expected since Geer is one of the main Peak Oil prognosticators, but he basically brushes across the idea of deliberate collapse because of the difficulty of executing such a thing and moves on.

But he does make a key point about the efforts of those like Holmgren and Hopkins in that the kind of work they are teaching and advocating serves a purpose for those who survive the bottleneck as those skills will help them have an easier life.

Quote
...(Are they gone?  Good.  Now listen closely while I whisper:  none of the things I’ve just suggested will save industrial civilization. You know that, of course, and so do I.  That said, any steps in the direction of conservation, decentralization, and rehumanization that get taken will make the descent less disruptive and increase the chances that communities, localities, and whole regions may be able to escape the worst impacts of the industrial system’s unraveling. That’s worth doing,....

I once again go back to what I said before.

1.  If you have the capability to crash it, just do it.

2.  If you don't have the ability in #1 then build and teach skills for the benefit of the future.

3.  If you can't help with either 1 or 2 you must be a BAUer, I guess you can buy some beer and popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on January 31, 2014, 07:49:38 PM
Quote
Before I decided to post the above I looked up Geer to see if he was responding and I am reading it right now

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/ (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/)

Hah!  2nd para he states just what I said above.  He thinks they are sucked into the main stream too.

Sounds like you should apply for the job! Jim The ArchDruid--has a nice ring to it! ::)

Frankly, beer and popcorn are sounding better all the time. :-\
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Neven on January 31, 2014, 10:13:56 PM
There was a time I read blogs like Greer's, Kunstler, Orlov, Morbus and several others on a continuous basis, but I just couldn't keep up. I have the same feeling now. I read Holmgren's piece, the Resilience philosopher guy, JimD's excellent comments, but they're already off again for another round...  :-\ ;D
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 01, 2014, 04:28:17 PM
I was replying to Geoff on another thread and realized that bringing the below article forward from its topic to here made a lot of sense considering what we have been talking about.  The author seems to me to have a fundamental understanding about where we are at and the attitude we need to adopt.  Courage is hard to find in the face of what we are looking at for the future.  We don't need to be passive and this is a path to action.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/learning-how-to-die-in-the-anthropocene/?_r=1& (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/learning-how-to-die-in-the-anthropocene/?_r=1&)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on February 01, 2014, 05:03:21 PM
Here's another salvo by Hopkins:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-31/reflections-on-being-a-cultural-optimist-and-a-month-of-scaling-up (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-31/reflections-on-being-a-cultural-optimist-and-a-month-of-scaling-up)

Reflections on being a 'Cultural Optimist' and a month of scaling up

Quote
I believe that things can change fast.  This month we heard how the UK government published its first ever Community Energy Strategy, a statement of intent from government that it wants to "tap into the enthusiasm and commitment that’s so evident in community groups across the country".  That strategy was shaped, in part, by the input of Transition Network and some community renewables projects that grew out of Transition...

Transition, for me, is in part about withdrawing our support from the existing, climate-destroying, fossil fuel-hungry beast, and transferring it to a new culture, a new economy, a new society.  It's divestment writ large...
In the last part, he is kind of basically agreeing with Holmgren, it seems to me. He just doesn't seem to admit that the purpose of any divestment campaign is to make it collapse--in the anti-apartheid campaign it was to collapse the South African government; in transition, to collapse consumer society and the financial system that supports and drives it.

I absolutely agree. The system (industrial, consumer) is already dead. Withdrawing from it is the sanest thing to do. Not only that but, as the numbers who withdraw expands, the system will collapse. An engineered collapse now is far better than a chaotic collapse later.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on February 01, 2014, 08:03:51 PM
2.  If you don't have the ability in #1 then build and teach skills for the benefit of the future.
That point would apply to a large range of hard trying poeple - from Amish poeple up to poeple preparing Terminators sky net. Most BAUer would find themselfs here, too.

Only the lazy poeple are out as usual - you have to force them to follow the same way you force them not to shit on the streets today...
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Rubikscube on February 02, 2014, 11:10:27 PM
Sorry Hopkins, but your reply to Holmgren is simply not of the standard I was expecting. Holmgren and Foss seem to be discussing at a deeper level, while Hopkins apparently still thinks that some magic fairy can possibly turn our shity capitalist/corporatist economic system in to a zero growth system without even having to crash it first. With such illusions, the conclusion can hardly be satisfying, and it isn't. That said, it doesn't mean that Holmgren is right.

First Holmgren is in my oppinion correct in his assessment that an economic collaps sooner would be better than an economic collaps later, and that such a collapse will come either way because our maxed out system can't cope with both climate change and peak everything. Secondly I agree with JimD and Hopkins in that Holmgren is shooting himself in the foot by writing this essay. Although telling the truth can allways be justified, this will give all his opponents a concrete reason to label him as a terrorist, and take deliberate action to dismantle his "terrorist organisation" if permaculture ever were to threaten economic stability, as Holmgren wishes. Thirdly Holmgren (not to mention Hopkins) seem to underestimate the power of the rich elite, if the elite feels that their interests are under threat by people who withdraw from consumerism, they will find some way to outlaw people from doing that, trading with homemade goods for example, is already being made harder and harder as permits for such activities are required to a larger and larger extent. Making random individuals pay harshly for breaking such ridiculous regulations is one extremly efficient way to prevent others from doing the same. Shortly summed up, his 10% goal was not really going to happen and will never, NEVER happen after this paper was published, though, I applaud his effort.

So what can be done? This very delicate problem we face seem to have no obvious solution, none of the possible solutions are likely to succeed with crashing the system and even less likely to succesfully replace it with a system that works in both the long and short term, none of the possible solutions won't require huge personal sacrifices by those involved. However, there is one alternative I consider at least possible. Now, Holmgren dismissed the idea of mass mobilization for reasons that are very understandable, movements like "Green Peace" and "Occupy" are grim examples of attempted mass mobilizations which has utterly failed to produce results of any significance, no reason to believe such mobilizations will become easier in the future. My proposal, though, is to encourage mass mobilization and revolution in the poorest countries in the world instead of trying to mobilize an apathetic western middle class. No doubt it would have been favourable to have a revolution in an industrialized country, but getting people with something to loose to revolt against the people that apparently gave them this "something" is, as Holmgren correctly assess, a hopeless task, getting people with nothing to loose to revolt against the people that gave them nothing is another story entirely. It will not be to counter the "brown tech" economy and it's elite directly, but potentially undermine it by slashing the supply of raw material (which might be enough to cause severe economic turmoil) as well as potentially establishing a goverment that actively counters Brown Tech.

Of course there are several drawback with such a solution. Even if peacefull protest is encouraged, such a revolution, and especially an eventual crash of the global economy, is going to spark large scale violence and human suffering. There is also a question about time, which is perhaps what worries me the most, this need to be done pretty fast. And controling post-revolutionary chaos with mighty contra-revolutionary forces constantly trying to break your back, will perhaps be even harder than creating a large scale revolt in the first place. However, I still think going down this path can possibly yield a very possitive result in the longer run, not likely to come through, but nevertheless the best, and perhaps only, alternative we are left with.

Last but not at least, thank you Wili for posting all these links and for making an excelent reply to Joanne Poyourow, I blame myself for having been to lazy to take a thorough look at this thread before.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 03, 2014, 04:51:27 AM
Thanks, Rc. I can't blame you for hesitating to jump in--there is quite a lot of material to cover. In any case, you made up the time with a very interesting contribution.

Practically, though, I'm not sure many of us are in much of a position to foment revolt among the 3rd world down trodden. I do think that it is a good idea to make common cause with those with the least to loose. Whatever form Occupy takes next, I hope to be more active in supporting it. Another peoples movement with American Indian roots that looks promising is Idle No More (though I confess that I haven't been following them closely in the last few weeks).

In any case, all such movements are certainly closely watched and almost certainly infiltrated. My main hope is that there will rise so many movements with so many varied backgrounds that even the NSA will be hard pressed to keep abreast of the legion of hydra heads.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 03, 2014, 09:32:56 PM
Quote
The world’s elite, it is painfully clear, will do little to halt the accelerating destruction of the ecosystem and eventually the human species. We have, through our ingenuity and hubris, unleashed the next great mass extinction on the planet. And I suspect the reason we have never discovered signs of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is because extraterrestrial societies that achieved similar levels of technological development also destroyed themselves.

Quote
The death spiral we face means that resistance will increasingly break down along two lines—those who have children and those who do not. It is one thing to sacrifice one’s self. It is another to sacrifice one’s children. No matter how grim and apocalyptic the world becomes, a parent is compelled to protect his or her child. One cannot totally give up hope. When resistance becomes an act of almost certain futility and suicide, and this is what is fast approaching, violent confrontation will mean the extermination of your children. And that is too much to ask of a parent.  Parents—and I am one—do not make great revolutionaries. We have to go home to put a child to bed. Those who do not have children more easily rise up. Most parents, for this reason, are able to embrace only nonviolent protest. ....... But as societies unravel, as desperation becomes worldwide, both nonviolence and violence will do little to alter our impending self-destruction. In the coming struggle against the global corporate elite there will be two sets of priorities—those of parents and those of fighters. 

Quote
The dichotomy between the role of parents and the role of fighters in times of extremity was delineated in  Hanna Krall’s remarkable book “Shielding the Flame,” a narrative that drew on the experience of Dr. Marek Edelman, who before he died in 2009 was the last surviving leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Edelman, 23 years old when he helped lead the April 1943 uprising, refused to hold up his actions as more moral than those who walked with their children to the gas chambers. After all, he said, by the time of the uprising he and the other resistance fighters knew that “it was only a choice as to the manner of dying.” 

Quote
The uprising lasted three weeks, ending when the Germans razed the Warsaw Ghetto. Edelman was the only commander of the uprising to come out alive. He escaped through the sewers and was carried away from the ghetto on a stretcher ...... One of the women carrying the stretcher, Dr. Alina Margolis, later became Edelman’s wife. During part of the 1979-1992 war in El Salvador, Margolis lived in my house in San Salvador. She was working in a refugee camp for Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, an organization she helped found. She and Edelman were fierce anti-Zionists, publicly denounced Israel’s occupation and repression of the Palestinians, and defended the right of Palestinian people to resist that occupation, even through violence. They saw in the Palestinian struggle their own fight against German occupation during World War II.

Quote
“... [T]o die in a gas chamber is by no means worse than to die in battle, and ... the only undignified death is when one attempts to survive at the expense of somebody else,” Edelman told Krall. He said of parents and children who were deported to the death camps: “Those people went quietly and with dignity. It is a horrendous thing, when one is going so quietly to one’s death. It is infinitely more difficult than to go out shooting. After all, it is much easier to die firing—for us it was much easier to die than it was for someone who first boarded a train car, then rode the train, then dug a hole, then undressed naked. ...” 

Quote
“When one knows death so well, one has more responsibility for life,” he said. “Any, even the smallest chance for life becomes extremely important. A chance for death was there all the while. The important thing was to make a chance for life.”

Quote
Traditional concepts of right and wrong, Edelman pointed out, collapse in moments of extremity. Edelman spoke to Krall about a woman doctor in the ghetto hospital who poisoned the sick children on her ward as the Germans entered the building. “She saved children from the gas chamber,” Edelman said. “People thought she was a hero. So what, then, in that world turned upside down, was heroism? Or honor? Or dignity? And where was God?”

Quote
The forces of life, including the ecosystem, are being transformed into forces of death. .... Nature and global elites seeking to exploit the planet’s last drops of blood and its repressed masses are joining to make the days of descent squalid and terrifying. And in this extremity we will have to find our place. There will come a time, if there is no radical change, when we too will be forced to choose how we will die, whom we will cling to, what we will risk. There will be no moral hierarchy to resistance. We will be pulled one way or another by fate and love. And these different routes of resistance will all be legitimate as long as we do not, as Edelman said, attempt “to survive at the expense of somebody else.”

Is not business as usual choosing to survive at the expense of future generations?

(Bolds mine.)

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/shielding_a_flickering_flame_20131124 (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/shielding_a_flickering_flame_20131124)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 03, 2014, 11:50:54 PM
Is not business as usual choosing to survive at the expense of future generations?

Of course it is. And that is what annoys me about the countless legions of people who steadfastly refuse to see the truth, because it's more convenient to cling to their delusions, and those who say they don't need to change as they are not significant and cannot achieve anything, or those who say they are powerless to act and so on. They are all complicit in what is happening - and in the end - the murder of people present and future.

I'm not sure morality is even that clear cut in the end. The rich and powerful survive every day at someone elses expense (as in a sense most people living in the westernised societies now do). If someone is attacking you to take away your life or your requirements with which to sustain your life - are you not entitled to defend yourself?

In a sense, are you not also entitled to take the fight to those who are doing this to you? And therefore - are you surviving at their expense, if you responding to their similar actions against you? I could hardly fault the impoverished masses were they to rise up and tear the wealthier into little pieces in retaliation for what they have done. I would also struggle to find it morally wrong were they to seize the resources of the wealthy to their own ends? Or at least - no more morally wrong than the socially acceptable and legally backed seizure perpetrated against them in the first place?

This is the strange irony of modern society - a banker can receive money from the taxpayer via the government and their contractually assured bonus - but if a pensioner who has lost their pension should go to the banker and take money from them - they are a thief and socially reprehensible.

I dunno, perhaps it's all just an exercise to justify the retention of a certain amount of moral flexibility...
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 04, 2014, 05:36:49 AM
I have to say that I am constantly stunned by the eloquence of folks on this blog and thread.

To keep up with the latest, may I offer (in lieu of any eloquence from myself) the following very recent interview with Holmgren himself addressing some of the issues from the essay:

http://www.mixcloud.com/21stCenturyPermaculture/2nd-feb-2014/ (http://www.mixcloud.com/21stCenturyPermaculture/2nd-feb-2014/)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 04, 2014, 05:57:35 PM
wili  interesting interview.

A couple of takeaways.

As I guessed Holmgren did not like the pigeonholing that Bates used on him and does not agree with his placement on that chart.

Holmgren says that the common permaculture activist assumption that it has relevance beyond the family support level and can be used to convince society to reorganize itself along more sustainable line is NOT something he has ever agreed with.  He thinks of it just like I indicated what I thought it was worth.  For the small scale and also for future capabilities/resilience.

Part of the motivation for his article Crash on Demand is that he believes that AGW is now progressing much faster than he once thought it would and he thinks we now have less time to adapt and prepare.  He is moving up his date so to speak.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 04, 2014, 07:13:40 PM
"As I guessed Holmgren did not like the pigeonholing that Bates used on him and does not agree with his placement on that chart." Yeah, he sounded pretty good humored about it, though.

I also liked that he confirmed what a number of the more thoughtful commenters were saying: that he hadn't really shifted his basic position; just articulating one possible consequence of it.

I was surprised to here how strongly he talked about the goal to reach out to environmental activists with this message. That really does seem to be his main audience. I do wonder if permaculturists or some similar set of like minded folk should be looking at doing the Amish thing--pick a place that looks relatively resilient, buy up much of the area, and form your own community there.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 04, 2014, 08:49:40 PM
wili

I have advocated your last point to young farmers myself.  Not to start an 'intentional' community/commune, but just to do what you said.  That way you can build a community that is self supporting without getting wrapped up in all the negatives of the intentional community thing.  There are a few places which are very close to this that I am aware of.  The Amish do have the advantage (or at least JMG would think so) of the religion thing. 

Not at all an easy thing to do of course.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 04, 2014, 11:33:02 PM
I have advocated your last point to young farmers myself.  Not to start an 'intentional' community/commune, but just to do what you said.  That way you can build a community that is self supporting without getting wrapped up in all the negatives of the intentional community thing.  There are a few places which are very close to this that I am aware of.  The Amish do have the advantage (or at least JMG would think so) of the religion thing. 

Not at all an easy thing to do of course.

Actually it's also pretty much exactly what CCG is about trying to encourage people to think of doing albeit with heavy emphasis on the long term view (and not just immediate survival). You can view it as the building of local resilience and self sufficiency - but I would argue the future of our species depends upon this and as such it doesn't hurt to think as deep and far ahead as possible.

Failing to plan is planning to fail...
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on February 05, 2014, 12:23:43 AM
Thanks for the interview link Wili.
It's good to hear Holmgren accentuating the aspects he likes to get through to the aware community. I don't sense a difference with my own point of view on actual violence. He doesn't advocate that at all.
What matters first is to step away from the global financial system as good/far as possible. No need to radically quit and endure personal hardship. When enough people do this, there is indeed a possibility that the self-destructive financial system will crash and some alternative could be structured in at least some orderly way.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 06, 2014, 04:10:53 AM
Here's another contribution, not completely unrelated, imvho: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-05/declaring-victory-wherever-we-can (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-05/declaring-victory-wherever-we-can)

Personally, I am busy failing my plants, and planning to flail.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on February 06, 2014, 04:59:00 PM
I attended a lecture last week by David Keith who argues for a geoengineering program to halve the rate of global warming by spraying sulfur into the upper atmosphere.
He claims that this would not have the deleterious effects that haulting warming completely would entail and that it could be accomplished for < $1B/yr. Since the rapidity of global warming has any number of disasterous side effects he argues that reducing the speed of change would be well worth the investment & that since sulfur doesn't last long in the atmosphere the experiment could be haulted if unforseen problems appeared.
He believes that some body similar to the UN should be in charge & that a haitus on such programs should be enforced until all the bugs are worked out. I think anything that extends the period when BAU is possible will simply add to problems down the line, but it's difficult to argue against slowing AGW when we know at least some of the horrors that we or future generations will face.
As his aim is 180 degrees from what is being contemplated on this thread I thought this might be a good place to discuss it.
http://www.cigionline.org/events/case-climate-geoengineering (http://www.cigionline.org/events/case-climate-geoengineering)
Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 06, 2014, 05:17:31 PM
Quote
Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism

April Sniper Attack Knocked Out Substation, Raises Concern for Country's Power Grid

Must be one of the followers of the Derrick Jensen philosophy.  But I would say it most likely is an ELF or Earth First type of attack and thus does qualify as terrorism and it seems surprising that the FBI is downplaying it.  Bring down the grid and you bring down the system.  And I note that they were targeting Silicon Valley.

Quote
The attack reportedly started when at least one person entered an underground vault to cut telephone cables, and attackers fired more than 100 shots into Pacific Gas & Electric’s Metcalf transmission substation, knocking out 17 transformers. Electric officials were able to avert a blackout, but it took 27 days to repair the damage.

My understanding is that the weakest link in the US grid is availability of replacement transformers.  The really large ones are made to order and are not stocked.  It takes about 2 years to get one delivered.  A concentrated attack that took out a number of the very large ones in an area would result in significant power problems for a very lengthy period of time.  Couple that with toppling selected towers on certain long distance very high voltage transmission lines and the effect could be crippling.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304851104579359141941621778?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304851104579359141941621778.html (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304851104579359141941621778?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304851104579359141941621778.html)

Fox news link if you can't access the WSJ.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/06/2013-sniper-attack-on-power-grid-still-concern-in-washington-and-for-utilities/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmaing5%7Cdl4%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D439459 (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/06/2013-sniper-attack-on-power-grid-still-concern-in-washington-and-for-utilities/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmaing5%7Cdl4%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D439459)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 06, 2014, 05:38:01 PM
Terry

I certainly share your concern about this.  Foremost in my mind is that every technical attempt to solve large problems always results in other problems cropping up that were not foreseen.  And they are often worse than the one being fixed.  Global geo-engineering just strikes me as an insane undertaking and much more difficult and expensive than just addressing the core problem; that being reducing carbon emissions and population.  If we maintain BAU and play at geo-engineering we will certainly toast ourselves and could possibly dramatically reduce the chances of future generations to survive.

Every day we delay real solutions makes future difficulties worse.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on February 06, 2014, 06:29:35 PM
Jim


I have problems with accelerating and with decelerating the timing of the coming crash - but no reason for accepting the "natural" path toward destruction.
Trying to precipitate a crash may cause some FF to remain underground for a very long time, and while this is a worthwhile goal I'd hate to be involved with anything that causes death or at least extreme discomfort for such a huge number of people. Trying to artificially extend the BAU period may save some lives/discomfort for a period of time but will ensure that we'll extract the maximum amounts of FF and therefore the final results might be even more disruptive.
If I believed that we were working to somehow sequester the CO2 in the atmosphere or even showing signs of lowering our output then I might be able to support the geoengineering initiative, but it seems to me that if it worked it would simply be taken as proof that burning coal/oil was viable and that we should progress as rapidly as possible down that path.
The scary thing in the lecture was his <1$B figure. This is not just affordable for many nations, there are any number of corporations & even individuals who could do this, possibly covertly, and the world would have little say in the matter.
If the decision were entirely mine to make I have no idea what direction I'd want to go in. Procrastination has been a life long habit so I'd probably dither until things moved so far that the geoengineering option made no sense - but I'm not convinced that this would be a rational response.
Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 06, 2014, 07:46:29 PM
Terry

Quote
I have problems with accelerating and with decelerating the timing of the coming crash - but no reason for accepting the "natural" path toward destruction.
Trying to precipitate a crash may cause some FF to remain underground for a very long time, and while this is a worthwhile goal I'd hate to be involved with anything that causes death or at least extreme discomfort for such a huge number of people. Trying to artificially extend the BAU period may save some lives/discomfort for a period of time but will ensure that we'll extract the maximum amounts of FF and therefore the final results might be even more disruptive.

In a sense I suppose one has to take some comfort in the reluctance of many folks to consider moving collapse forward to the present.  Even though a strictly rational and pragmatic approach to the problem (at least in my opinion) would point to doing that being by far the best choice among our rather limited options.  That reluctance perhaps shows that human compassion for others can at least be a major part of some peoples makeup. 

But it may also be interpreted as a selfish outlook (I've got mine and you're on your own) or one of cowardice (it is too horrible to contemplate so let's not talk about it).  It is perhaps easier to contemplate if one is older and a bit worn down by life.  And one could also say that it is easy to make such talk if one had a good life and not so easy if one is young and has their dreams still intact.  Not only should I have never made it this far I never dreamed I would.  So it is all a big bonus for me. 

It is interesting to juxtapose the similar views of Jenson and Edelman who reached similar conclusions (though their specific circumstances were clearly different).  Jensen grew up in such a horribly abusive home that it would not have been surprising if he turned out to be a serial killer, yet for all his talk of destroying the system he is non-violent.  Edelman chose to fight to the death but saw no meaningful difference in the choice to go either way since death was certain.

I am internally certain that there is no fix to the AGW/population problem.  Civilization is not and cannot be sustainable.   We will collapse.  But we can chose the timing and manner of it.  Logic says that the longer we drag BAU out before we tip over the less there is left for future generations (if any) to try and continue on with our future.  And I do believe in that possible future being a goal to continue to strive for.  While I don't often meet any humans I actually like I am totally committed to the aspirations of the human race.  We have great potential that I deeply want us to achieve.

We can make a difficult choice now and probably preserve that potential.  Continuing any form of BAU will likely dramatically lesson the chances of future generations being able to once again see if our reach and grasp can be compatible.  This current civilizational peak of human progress has clearly failed to rise to the heights we desired and is going to fall back down the slope of progress.  The story of all civilizations up to the present.  It is the story of history.  But we don't want to end that history. 

Thousands (millions?) of times in history the duty has fallen to someone to guard the river ford or to stand on the wall and turn back the enemy or all one loved would perish.  Most of these people knew that they would not survive and willingly took their place in the line and sacrificed themselves for those they loved.  As frightening as it is to contemplate and even more to actually do, history seems to have presented the opportunity to us once again.  The stakes could not be higher.  Will we take our place upon the wall or will we walk to our doom. 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 06, 2014, 08:16:40 PM
But it may also be interpreted as a selfish outlook (I've got mine and you're on your own) or one of cowardice (it is too horrible to contemplate so let's not talk about it).  It is perhaps easier to contemplate if one is older and a bit worn down by life.  And one could also say that it is easy to make such talk if one had a good life and not so easy if one is young and has their dreams still intact.  Not only should I have never made it this far I never dreamed I would.  So it is all a big bonus for me. 

Considering the number of older people I have heard express relief that they expect to be dead (having lived a long and naturally ended and comfortable life, I might add...) by the time things get really bad? Of course it's selfish...

It's that crowd who I expect to start pushing geoengineering and to start getting especially anxious to eke out another decade or two when the shit starts to splatter (presuming it does so ahead of their current expectations).

To me there is no benefit to doing so. I don't expect to live to be as old as such people anyway. If you're over 50, you're beyond my aspirational limit (though I'm not saying I wouldn't like to see 60...). People of my age can be fairly certain they will see these things come to pass whether it's within a decade or within three decades (although if it takes that long I would be in the camp of the older people today and I hope then graciously passing all my efforts off to someone younger and fitter and more capable of going forwards with them, rather than clinging selfishly on).

However many people of around my age also cling to the notion that we should prolong things as long as we can, even at the price of the future. Just a few more decades would be nice, wouldn't it? So we too can enjoy the destructive pleasures of our ancestors? Or even a few years - live life for the party today and the future be damned?

Actually some days I feel stupid for not subscribing to this viewpoint. The odds arrayed against one in this fight are so great it's easy to see why people think it's pointless to try, even though that very view in itself assures failure.

It's bad enough to have to face this future and everything that it implies - and yet strangely worse to have to do so from the context of the modern world, a world of plenty and yet filled with callous unnecessary cruelty and driven largely by greed and money. No matter how noble your objectives, you are still forced to fight in the gutter to work towards them. In a world with resources and knowledge and technology, one is still forced to try to build a future from left over scraps. Way to go, inhabitants of the modern world...
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on February 06, 2014, 09:38:43 PM
As one of those that definitely fits into the older, but probably not wiser grouping I'd like to think that my age and longevity don't play too much of a part in my ponderings. I've lived a very full life & wouldn't be terribly upset if I learned than next week would be my last. That said I do think there is a case to be made for extending the life of civilization for as long as possible on the off chance that some as yet unimagined technology does come to our rescue.
Before the jet engine was invented it was understood by everyone that there was limit as to how high an airplane could fly. The jet changed everything & it wasn't an incremental improvement on the propulsion systems that preceded it. These breakthrough inventions can't be predicted, they just happen when someone's mind skips over what has gone before and lands us in a whole new place.
I can't see any way out of the fix we've put ourselves in, but this doesn't mean that there is no way out. If we shut things down immediately we've ruined any possibility of someone developing a carbon breathing, money making machine that will suck up carbon faster than we can replace it. The fact that we can't conceive of such a machine doesn't mean that one can't or won't be invented. The only way we can guarantee that it doesn't happen is if we close off all the avenues that might lead to it's discovery.
I don't think it's probable or even likely that such a thing will be developed, but I am sure that it's much less likely to be developed if modern civilization melts away.
Given the above I'd probably vote in favor of some form of geoengineering when things get to the stage where not doing so would guarantee the imminent disintegration of civilization.
Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 06, 2014, 10:38:00 PM
If we shut things down immediately we've ruined any possibility of someone developing a carbon breathing, money making machine that will suck up carbon faster than we can replace it. The fact that we can't conceive of such a machine doesn't mean that one can't or won't be invented. The only way we can guarantee that it doesn't happen is if we close off all the avenues that might lead to it's discovery.

Funny thing is, we already have machines that are capable of extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in very dilute concentrations and concentrating it nicely. They can even make money if you do it right and they're totally powered by renewable energy at virtually zero materials cost (although I grant there is a small opportunity cost by using space to site them, though the same space can produce food simultaneously).

They're called trees...

Forgive me for thinking it's actually a damning reflection on the views of people who believe in technology, that we use one technology to solve one problem, thus creating a bigger one that we will create another technology to solve... meanwhile the natural world already figured it all out itself before we even existed. To me - this view is the problem with technological optimism. It really should not be called progress to keep fighting this battle technologically - and I'm speaking as a fan of technology myself (as in I think we need and want it - but not when it's used this way). Technology should be used first and foremost as a means of getting more out of a sustainable lifestyle, which is to say doing more within the limits.

Furthermore I would argue the human race is squandering colossal amounts of resources and effort technologically speaking. Consider the financial and intellectual resources deployed to come up with new ways to design and sell combustion powered cars, for instance? Now compare to those resources deployed to resolve the problems we face? Compare even those to the resources deployed to provide some sort of long term future planning for our species? Humanity is not collectively deploying it's abilities in a manner that suggests it wants to survive en masse.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on February 07, 2014, 12:45:01 AM
In the line of posting, I'd recommend reading Jean Giono's 'The man who planted trees'.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Neven on February 07, 2014, 02:09:19 PM
Or watch the short animated movie:

The Man Who Planted Trees (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfe--wNa0uk#)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 07, 2014, 05:22:06 PM
Terry

I completely understand your thinking the way you do.  I think it is actually the most common approach to dealing with the probability of collapse. 

But I once again must point out that this approach is a version of playing the lottery or Russian roulette. It is choosing to bet on a miracle and if that miracle does not show up we end up in a far worse place than if we take our medicine now.  And then there is the moral dilemma of selecting the option which absolves us of that pain at huge risk to the future.  Which option do we think the 20 year olds of 2100 would vote for?  We have no option but to make the choice for them.  Or one could also ask since the choice falls to us is there any logical or moral option to choose anything but to choose to crash quickly?  Any other choice could not be divorced from personal self interest and thus corruption.  Hard questions.  Given the human track record I am sure we will chose personal self interest.  We seem to be programed to make decisions that way.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 07, 2014, 05:50:06 PM
This could easily go in another thread, but it illustrates a point about crashing on purpose.  Many forms of BAU may as well be considered deliberate attempts to cause a crash when one examines their direct effects on system stability.  For instance:

Quote
Fracking is depleting water supplies in America's driest areas, report shows

From Texas to California, drilling for oil and gas is using billions of gallons of water in the country's most drought-prone areas

Quote
America's oil and gas rush is depleting water supplies in the driest and most drought-prone areas of the country, from Texas to California, new research has found.

Of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled since 2011, three-quarters were located in areas where water is scarce, and 55% were in areas experiencing drought, the report by the Ceres investor network found.

Fracking those wells used 97bn gallons of water, raising new concerns about unforeseen costs of America's energy rush.

Quote
Half of the 97bn gallons of water was used to frack wells in Texas, which has experienced severe drought for years – and where production is expected to double over the next five years...

....But it warned the added demand for fracking in the Eagle Ford, at the heart of the Texas oil and gas rush, was hitting small, rural communities hard.

"Shale producers are having significant impacts at the county level, especially in smaller rural counties with limited water infrastructure capacity," the report said. "With water use requirements for shale producers in the Eagle Ford already high and expected to double in the coming 10 years, these rural counties can expect severe water stress challenges in the years ahead."

Local aquifer levels in the Eagle Ford formation have dropped by up to 300ft over the last few years.

A number of small communities in Texas oil and gas country have already run out of water or are in danger of running out of water in days, pushed to the brink by a combination of drought and high demand for water for fracking.

Twenty-nine communities across Texas could run out of water in 90 days, according to the Texas commission on environmental quality. Many reservoirs in west Texas are at only 25% capacity....

Couldn't happen in a better place as Texas is ground zero for the cultural, religious and political problems plaguing the US. 

We know BAU will crash the system eventually, but some aspects of it will get us there much quicker than others.  Fracking is a good example of one of them.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/05/fracking-water-america-drought-oil-gas (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/05/fracking-water-america-drought-oil-gas)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on February 08, 2014, 06:09:01 AM
Jim
Possibly we have differing visions of "The Crash". In my mind I'm seeing a very small percentage of humans surviving - and these are living in conditions that people of the middle ages would find appalling.
A few generations will get by in warrior societies by scavenging, but those days will be recalled as days of plenty when the spoils have been despoiled. Small groupings won't be able to practice metallurgy, chemistry, or even have the resources to produce paper. The Ik people had neighbors to raid and trade with, our ancestors won't have their advantages.
Hunter Gatherers had game to hunt and intergenerational knowledge of where and what to gather. With chaotic weather and extreme temperatures we'll find it easier to track other survivors than to track whatever large herbivores that remain.
I realize that my decision not to precipitate a crash is counting on something happening that has almost no chance of occurring, but when only one avenue appears, that's the road we have to take. I'll opt for almost anything to avoid the future that I see for coming generations, but I won't deprive them of the one slim chance they have of avoiding such an outcome.
FWIW I think the crash is happening in Somalia, Syria and probably other countries that we don't hear much about. As long as we have a grid that works we have an imperative to keep things running as long as possible.
Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 08, 2014, 07:03:36 AM
Jim
Possibly we have differing visions of "The Crash". In my mind I'm seeing a very small percentage of humans surviving - and these are living in conditions that people of the middle ages would find appalling.
A few generations will get by in warrior societies by scavenging, but those days will be recalled as days of plenty when the spoils have been despoiled. Small groupings won't be able to practice metallurgy, chemistry, or even have the resources to produce paper. The Ik people had neighbors to raid and trade with, our ancestors won't have their advantages.
Hunter Gatherers had game to hunt and intergenerational knowledge of where and what to gather. With chaotic weather and extreme temperatures we'll find it easier to track other survivors than to track whatever large herbivores that remain.

As I see it, this is exactly where the realistic battle lines ought to be drawn - this is where we should be fighting. I broadly agree with you about the outcomes we face, and yet in my opinion this is where people today could still make a tremendous difference.

Why will the small groups that make it necessarily not be able to practice metallurgy or make paper? Is this not an outcome that would be within the reach of people today to improve (personally I am quite comfortable with the thought of making soap, could at least try paper, and have no confidence on metallurgy - mostly with respect to identifying and extracting useable ores - the chemistry isn't a problem)? Is it impossible to preserve knowledge at the most basic levels for small groups - and even to influence which small groups have a chance to make it - and to try to define a pathway forwards for them?

Humanity came out of nowhere once already - and solved all the problems we take for granted today. That includes everything you are mentioning. It is not impossible that our species would not do the same again even without assistance - but it is a concern that the environment would be far more hostile and the resources far less plentiful. It is however very likely that it would take a very long time indeed to replicate all those discoveries that depended upon improbably good fortune, especially given a small population. This becomes most especially true if no efforts at all are made to build a "floor" (however primitive it may be) for collapse - and to define a viable strategy to accelerate recovery.

I'm not saying it is a wholly trivial problem - but I hold it to be an essentially soluble one - and not one that requires the powers of a nation state or billionaire to implement either (especially as the key commodity is knowledge).

Unfortunately, to even do this requires people to be prepared to step away from purely selfish modes of thinking. I had a conversation with someone a little younger than myself recently - someone who was very well informed on the key issues of the day - but their main concern (and hence priority) was the preservation of the masses for at least a few decades if possible.

This attitude (selfish in my view, albeit understandable) condemns those in the future to the conditions you describe.

Maybe I'm just biased though, as that's where I've drawn my battle line.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on February 08, 2014, 12:27:13 PM
Unfortunately, to even do this requires people to be prepared to step away from purely selfish modes of thinking. I had a conversation with someone a little younger than myself recently - someone who was very well informed on the key issues of the day - but their main concern (and hence priority) was the preservation of the masses for at least a few decades if possible.

This attitude (selfish in my view, albeit understandable) condemns those in the future to the conditions you describe.
CCG, what you call "selfish" is a natural behaviour: For older poeple it is better, if the things stay as they are. For younger poeple a revolution might be the better choice. Therefore, both behaviours are similarly selfish. And sometimes it happens, that the age is wrong somehow - e.g. that an old mind is living in a young body or vice versa.

But running for a collapse (which is very harmfull for all of us and our children) could by no means called less selfish than any other behaviour. For me that sounds like calling Hitler an altruist. Remember he once performed a nice little collapse here? Actually it wasn't so nice and didn't help us very much, too.

Such things like a collapse are high risk and low gain tasks. By definition a collapse is not controlable. Therefore, you can not expect to reach any goal by it. The revolutionary romantic of todays talking will change into an ugly situation for everybody once the fiction gets closer to reality. I can see no reason to go for the collapse. For me it looks like "bla bla" of radical poeple: who is the most radical in the room is going to win the show. I can not see how such things could help us. Things that help are e.g. Amish BAU, green BAU and any other way of life we learned in human history which would not depend on holes in the ground and CO2 in the air. I think there is realy a lot of work to do for anybody of us and there is no valid excuse to start the work.

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 08, 2014, 12:33:38 PM
The metallurgy issue is a telling one. Once every village of any size had at least one blacksmith that knew the basics of how to work with raw iron and forge it into different shapes...

Now machines do much of this work and only a few specialists and artisans have preserved the craft. It is hard to imagine, but this kind of specialization is why basic skills like writing and sewing (and a wide range of other practical techniques in, for example building domes) have been lost in past collapses such as those that lead to the Greek and European Dark Ages.

If just a few people really have practical knowledge of a skill, a plague that kills all those people wipes out the knowledge. And everybody else is scrambling around just trying to survive, not having lots of leisure time to reinvent such not-immediately-essential skills.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on February 08, 2014, 05:44:42 PM
I think anything that extends the period when BAU is possible will simply add to problems down the line.....

Absolutely. Any attempt to sustain BAU (further growth) can have only one outcome. The inevitable collapse will be more horrifying. In the late 50's and early 60's as the world's population rapidly approached 3 billion, there were predictions of massive famine. The green revolution helped us to avoid the calamity and, with simultaneous improvements in worldwide health systems, allowed for a doubling of the population in 40 years. We have only postponed the collapse.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on February 08, 2014, 05:54:08 PM
Terry

I certainly share your concern about this.  Foremost in my mind is that every technical attempt to solve large problems always results in other problems cropping up that were not foreseen.  And they are often worse than the one being fixed.  Global geo-engineering just strikes me as an insane undertaking and much more difficult and expensive than just addressing the core problem; that being reducing carbon emissions and population.  If we maintain BAU and play at geo-engineering we will certainly toast ourselves and could possibly dramatically reduce the chances of future generations to survive.

Every day we delay real solutions makes future difficulties worse.

I believe I read it on this website 1st that "Solutions are the root cause of all problems".
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on February 08, 2014, 07:13:02 PM
SH
I share your concerns, but think the time has long past that anything like a soft landing is possible. The horrors that we'll face by 2100 aren't fundamentally different than those we'd face if the collapse happens in 2020.
Once the grid comes down we're left without water, fuel, food or sanitation. The EROI will be much higher for those that hoard munitions than those that hoard food & warrior raiders will be better fed than their agrarian brothers.
Those that don't hoard either won't make it through the first winter whether that winter is in 2100 or 2020.
It's far easier to steal a boat than to build one & any asset that is fixed in place is even easier to acquire by force than by industry. The burglars will live better than the burgers.
Imagine the difficulty in keeping anything larger than a village together.
Imagine the difficulty a village would have in building a saw, or a book, or a refrigerator.
I agree that another century of BAU will doom us, but also believe that without the grid we're already doomed.
Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on February 08, 2014, 07:32:50 PM
Greer has said we should work on acquiring some of these fading skills ( forging iron? ). Red ochre or hematite is fairly easy to source so with a furnace, bellows, charcoal and some hematite smelting skills can still be reproduced or relearned. I am sure making weapons will be the desired outcome of recreated smelting skills but farm implements ,axes and trade items will help support those groups that can maintain themselves in the iron age.
 Collapse seems to be something people contemplate but actually preparing skill sets like smelting, stone knapping, zero ff farming techniques, net making , etc., are eccentric or lunatic fringe. Good to know where you stand anyhow.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on February 08, 2014, 08:25:47 PM
Bruce
I'm amazingly envious of those who have practiced the "lost arts" you've enumerated. I have some small skills re. metalworking & an ability to keep almost any mechanical thing working to at least some extent. I'd probably survive if there were lots of scrap piles about to build things from, but once they were gone I'd be pretty useless.
I've attempted flint knapping on a few occasions & decided I did much better with accretive technologies than with reductive. All I ever ended with was a small mound of gravel.
I gave away most of my library almost 10 years ago and now, like most, derive my information from the ephemeral internet. Without money I've few things that would be of value in a bartering economy & my longevity would probably be a matter of weeks, or possibly of months if some group saw value in a decrepit old man whose only value might be in his ability to tell humorous anecdotes.
Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 08, 2014, 08:35:37 PM
It's far easier to steal a boat than to build one & any asset that is fixed in place is even easier to acquire by force than by industry. The burglars will live better than the burgers.

Only short term. A boat being such a large capital asset to try to obtain and maintain, I considered that very question. Easy enough to get the vessel - most of them are owned by older people with relatively sound affluence (and hence not the sort of people well suited to coping with collapse). What you cannot easily get are the skills and knowledge you need to operate it, repair it, maintain it, etc.

Then of course, all you would have is the vessel. You wouldn't necessarily have numerous other things without having done quite a lot of long term planning and work. Plenty of tools and equipment that you need short term (or even food - not really hoarding if you're planning longer ocean passages - necessary to have stocks), plus of course things with specific relevance to collapse (and not to modern day sailing) that you wouldn't get with it. You'd also need to wait until the very last minute - the onset of collapse - as obviously there are legal implications to it (and you need a state of at least near lawlessness to do it).

Imagine the difficulty in keeping anything larger than a village together.
Imagine the difficulty a village would have in building a saw, or a book, or a refrigerator.
I agree that another century of BAU will doom us, but also believe that without the grid we're already doomed.

Another century of BAU or another decade of BAU - modern civilisation is doomed either way. Our species though need not be - and it seems far from impossible to raise the collapse floor such that saws and books might be doable in a few generations. We don't really need refrigerators - there are a host of older ways of storing and preserving food that can work just fine. They are a matter of convenience more than necessity. In any event, one suspects if you live in an area cold enough to reliably get ice in the winter you could build an icehouse just like the old days...

To do anything more than survive does of course require a group to have resolved the demands of survival with comfortable margin to spare for other activities. Furthermore, one must resolve the immediate demands of survival fast - within a generation - or else the loss of knowledge massively deepens as the next generation grows up knowing only that, and likely learning and valuing only that (how to survive).
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 08, 2014, 08:49:16 PM
Red ochre or hematite is fairly easy to source so with a furnace, bellows, charcoal and some hematite smelting skills can still be reproduced or relearned. I am sure making weapons will be the desired outcome of recreated smelting skills but farm implements ,axes and trade items will help support those groups that can maintain themselves in the iron age.

So how do you find the haematite? That's my sticking point. From what I've read most of the worlds iron ore occurs in geographically specific (but widely distributed globally) locations in banded formations underneath the soil - sometimes as little as a few feet (very accessible if only you know it's there) and sometimes somewhat deeper.

Now if you had control over the terrain you were going to hang out around - you could just preselect an area where you knew you could dig for it (and people could work out how to find new deposits later). If you don't have that control though - what seems ideal to me is to be able to look at the terrain and identify if it's at least worth digging? How did people do this in more primitive times?

There is an awful lot of detail to all these processes in a modern context but my sentiment is that one only needs to be able to replicate the very crudest and most basic implementation - human nature is such that if you do only that and there is only one immediate use - over time the process will be improved and the technology advanced (which could be accelerated by retaining at least some focus on education and trying to get a ideology established that valued learning and knowledge and discovery).

To that end one need only retain the "discovery point" of key technologies, enabling a small group (or even individual) to focus on breadth of knowledge in favour of depth.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 08, 2014, 09:00:14 PM
Without money I've few things that would be of value in a bartering economy & my longevity would probably be a matter of weeks, or possibly of months if some group saw value in a decrepit old man whose only value might be in his ability to tell humorous anecdotes.
Terry


Notwithstanding the issues raised by the loss of modern medicine, one would do well to look at the past and see what role older people played in more primitive times? It seems to me that in a group without a strict initial head count constraint one can find plenty of things for even fairly decrepit older people to do:

While I grant I think collapse will have a high conflict stage, I also don't think that will last a long time - certainly not indefinitely. Fighting and burglary are not sustainable survival techniques (you need a perpetual supply of victims, at which point I guess you declare yourself king and farm your victims by moving to a regime of extracting tax in return for "security" - but even that step moves the social landscape into politics more than conflict).

In any case I've seen people the wrong side of 80 still racing sailing dinghies and gardening and so on... the old don't have to be disposable? If they choose to assume they are, I guess they'll not bother to do anything to make sure they can add value though?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on February 08, 2014, 10:04:21 PM
Ccg, Red ochre has been used for rock art, burials, and body paint for a 100,000 years plus. We are lucky to have over 100 rock art sites locally( painted caves  ) and I have been to a most of them. For 30 years I have wandered about tracking down sites with my friends. Most sites are deep in the wilderness and I have kept track of ocher, both red and yellow, that I see while wandering about in search of rock art that was created with these mineral pigments. Usually it is small pieces but on occasion it outcrops with lots of ground scatter and an occasional baseball sized piece but just ground collected pieces would add up fairly quickly. The rock art sites are sacred and associated with perennial springs,  water being sacred here in the desert southwest. Chert and workable rock is more abundant and concretions for stone bowls are also available. Those raw materials that supported native culture are still available if you look for them.
 Even my friends that track down art sites with me don't have a lot of interest in bow making, flint knapping  bowl making, arrow making or for that matter smelting. These are survival skills to be sure but passing the knowledge along isn't a whole lot different than the problem the last survivors of any number of now lost tribes have suffered. For the tens of millions of people within 200 miles of where I live how many want to learn and pay their dues? Again it's lunatic fringe but in my opinion praying at the springs is important too. My list of apprentices is zero. To be honest I don't have any interest in telling the location of the springs but the rest of the knowledge base is just as useful. Post collapse local knowledge will be very important but it takes decades to walk the backcountry . It's important to know what your looking for. I have a saying that I share with my crew on bleak days fishing," you have to want it".

   http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/bog_iron.htm (http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/bog_iron.htm)     
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: OldLeatherneck on February 09, 2014, 01:28:04 AM
............. if some group saw value in a decrepit old man whose only value might be in his ability to tell humorous anecdotes.
Terry


Terry,

Knowing you as well as I think I do, I certainly hope that you have no hopes of becoming the spiritual adviser in a refugee conclave of Southern White Evangelicals.

On a more serious note, the value of elders will vary, in the resulting conclaves depending on the predominant value system of that specific surviving group.  Some will by chance be more diverse in their ethnic, racial, religious, educational and skill set demographics.  The more diverse the grouping, the better the chances for long term survival, however initial frictions between opposing elements in the beginning will be very challenging as the group tries to organize into a viable community.

I'm concerned that so much of the knowledge that has been amassed in the past few hundred years will be lost to future civilizations.  I wouldn't know where to begin culling the libraries of the world's universities for those books most essential to pass on to a future society.

And now for a very scary thought;

A million years from now, archeologists will discovery a vault deep in a cavern. 
What they might find is the complete writings of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh!! ...Shudder the thought!!
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 09, 2014, 03:45:49 AM
I'm concerned that so much of the knowledge that has been amassed in the past few hundred years will be lost to future civilizations.  I wouldn't know where to begin culling the libraries of the world's universities for those books most essential to pass on to a future society.

Simple? Flip the problem on it's head and start with an empty pile that you add books onto. Far more feasible. Inasmuch as every person that is born must start with nothing in terms of education and information that way it's more important to hold onto simple school text books than treatises on the finer points of MRI scanners as you not only need the information but the learning pathway to bring someone up to it. Then you choose the branches you think valuable and extend them as far as you think feasible for your assumed collapse floor (and group/resource capacity).

Even then no point being too book heavy - the books won't last forever and while useful cannot be assumed upon as there are plenty of ways they can get lost or damaged even setting aside the question of how long you expect to rely upon them for. Therefore the most important information must also be stored in peoples heads - the minimum framework, at least (noting that some knowledge has prerequisites to make it useful, eg why would people bother with the equations driving electrical systems if they don't have the means to produce electricity). Also, even with books - many people still need actively taught something to learn it.

James Lovelock had a decent idea with the premise of creating "durable stores of knowledge", but personally I can't say I've managed to think of any approaches cheap enough and fast enough to do that meet the truly durable requirement.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 10, 2014, 05:56:53 PM
Appropriately I was off hiking in the mountains all weekend.  A few thoughts as always on the comments.

Metallurgy. This will not be an issue post collapse for at least 500-1000 years.  Why because the worlds is awash in mountains of dozens of different types of steel.  Scavenging and cannibalizing will dominate for hundreds of years.  Think how much metal of different kinds just sit in an auto junk yard.  If it rusts into a pile that is also your source of concentrated iron ore.  One is going to need piles of coal or charcoal to burn for forging though.

Skills.  I hand make weapons (my chosen field is edged weapons - knifes and short swords).  The quality I can make if taken care of properly will last hundreds of years.  The top quality firearms made today will also last hundreds of years.  Even when frequently used.  A top quality automatic 9mm or 45 cal is capable of being fired 20,000 times before it is worn out.   I still have my grandfathers WWI army rifle and it is perfectly usable and it is 98 years old.  The volume of ammunition existing today would last a very long time.  And we are making billions of rounds every year.  Reforging or reworking existing metal is not difficult and we will be able to make almost anything for quite some time.  In a friend of mine's knife shop there is a milling machine and a precision grinder that were built before there was electric power to run them (they were belt driven from steam engines).  They are accurate by a skilled operator to better than 1/ 10,000 of an inch.  One can easily use them to build any small arms parts needed from that huge pile of metal laying around.

Every farmer and village is going to be armed to the teeth and raiders will not last long.  War lords will however and the farmers will align with them and create feudal societal structures for self protection.  My ancestors (And likely yours as well) were all farmers when they were not soldiers.  Fighting was their 2nd job and no one is going to easily take anything from them.

We are not going back to the hunter-gatherer stage except maybe in the far north or islands in the Pacific.  There are not going to be any animals left to hunt.  We are going back to, IMHO, to a feudal agrarian society which will have many trappings of the modern world like our weapons and medium tech knowledge.  Much of medicine will survive as long as you do not depend on the very high tech stuff.  A reasonable large manor will be able to produce penicillin for instance.

While I don't agree with all of John Michael Geer's thinking along these lines I do agree in general with his stair step societal decline which takes place over hundreds of years.  We will lose a lot of capability at the crash and in the few decades thereafter.  From that time on it will be gradually down overall until we reach a stabilization point.  Depending on when the collapse happens and how far the initial fall is determines how the following years play out.  It is quite probable that we eventually stabilize at a low industrial level with trappings of medium technology.  If collapse is very deep very fast we could go much lower to the medieval level but still with a lot of modern knowledge and some modern technology.  But where ever the bottom turns out to be it will not be reached for hundreds of years most likely as we will be living off the detritus of our current world.  The big issue is total global population and how long it takes to get it down far enough that the climate and eco-systems stabilize.  With only a billion people left we can have a pretty capable level of technology (not sustainable but able to exist for millennia).  But we have to get down to those kinds of numbers quickly to achieve that.  If we run the table trying to keep this disaster afloat we will turn the Earth into a cinder and how many the Earth will be able to support and their level of technology will be greatly diminished.

SATire:
Such things like a collapse are high risk and low gain tasks. By definition a collapse is not controlable. Therefore, you can not expect to reach any goal by it. The revolutionary romantic of todays talking will change into an ugly situation for everybody once the fiction gets closer to reality. I can see no reason to go for the collapse. For me it looks like "bla bla" of radical poeple: who is the most radical in the room is going to win the show. I can not see how such things could help us. Things that help are e.g. Amish BAU, green BAU and any other way of life we learned in human history which would not depend on holes in the ground and CO2 in the air. I think there is realy a lot of work to do for anybody of us and there is no valid excuse to start the work.

I do not agree with your high risk low gain characterization.  Collapse is coming either way so that is not part of the calculation.  The choice is early or late in time.  Later collapse is a bigger collapse so that is worse I believe.  Which delivers the best result?  I say it is early so that is high gain and later is low gain.

Yes you can reach a goal by it.  Given that the longer we go before collapse the more resources we consume and the  more critical damage we do to the eco-system, it matters tremendously when that collapse happens.  If collapse happens in 2050 then we have 36 more years of destroying resources, raising carbon levels, higher eventual levels of equilibrium temperatures and sea level, a crash that happens from 9+ billion vice 7+ billions (vastly more death and suffering), etc.   And will almost certainly result post collapse in a lower level of survival and technology than if we triggered collapse sooner.  The goal is to have more resources and a less hostile environment with an early collapse.  Is there any argument that an early collapse would not satisfy that goal?  Developing skills for that feudal society is sound also, but not sufficient.

By choosing to drag things out as long as possible, as you advocate, and as I am equally convinced is exactly what we are going to do, is to deliberately choose the path that leads to MORE suffering (though someone else's instead of ours - a typical response) not less suffering.  One may as well acknowledge that reality if that is one's choice.

How is it more 'radical' for one person to want to choose a path that results in less total suffering while the person claiming not to be a 'radical' is choosing a path which results in more suffering?   
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 10, 2014, 06:30:58 PM
Good insights, Jim. But I wonder how many people have the kinds of skills you have and how many people have the kinds of machines your friends have. Hundreds? Thousands? I rather doubt millions. If we imagine a not-too-distant future with increased diseases and violence, and decreased food security, chance could end up wiping out the few specific people who have these skills and these tools. I certainly do think that we will have some kind of scavenging society, but somethings are easier to scavenge than others. What will mostly be lacking, imo, is leisure...the free time to learn such skills and to teach them to others.

And having a lot of heavily armed villages is not necessarily a prescription for peaceful co-existence, imho.

I think the best case for passing on knowledge is that of the early Medieval Church--mostly intentionally very poor groups of monks in mostly fairly remote locations quietly devoting themselves to preserving manuscripts and knowledge. Not fail safe, by any means, but it is a strategy that has been 'road tested' after a previous collapse.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on February 10, 2014, 07:36:07 PM
JimD, Hiking is nicer this time of year, no snakes, ticks or heat stroke.
  I suppose living within driving range of 15 million people limits ones choices. I just don't think I have the stomach for defending against the likely push out of L.A.   I have read before that the choices one makes will be driven by whether you have dependent children. So one alternative is to live a very primitive existence in a very remote place. Those choices will be water dependent and here on the West Coast those water resources are very limited. Even a very large arsenal won't help much if you can't pump water. Farming will likely return to dry land farming because the water infrastructure demands central control and that will be a big problem.
  If one stays a scavenger very long the knowledge base for a more vertically integrated infrastructure will IMO deteriorate over time. Thinking too much about ones personal survival is selfish to be sure but transmitting those bits of knowledge necessary for someone trying to rebuild 100+ years from now isn't. Like Wili says much of that knowledge isn't common knowledge even today and those individuals with a knowledge of skills like smelting will be greatly reduced post collapse. Armed encampments don't seem like a good option to me, getting near any such village will be dangerous and sharing what ever knowledge base remains will not be conducive to ones health. Very small groups that live very independently in harsh surroundings sounds preferable to me.
       
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 10, 2014, 07:41:10 PM
wili

Quote
But I wonder how many people have the kinds of skills you have and how many people have the kinds of machines your friends have. Hundreds? Thousands? I rather doubt millions. If we imagine a not-too-distant future with increased diseases and violence, and decreased food security, chance could end up wiping out the few specific people who have these skills and these tools.

Thus the whole point of having people learn the old skills and to try and spread the knowledge.  The more there are who know how to do things the better the chance of some making it through the bottleneck.  Of course the groups of people post collapse who end up with the best set of these people with knowledge will also have the best chance of success.

Everyone should stockpile books which contain both the practical knowledge of all the fundamental technical skills and how to do things from a low to medium technical  base, but also all of the academic knowledge we have developed over the years.  I sincerely hope there are a lot of people out there collecting all the school text books clear up to phd level.  Your new monks (and I expect people like that to exist) can maintain the existence of the esoteric stuff pending regeneration of the technology to be able to use that knowledge once again.   Large population groups should have teachers and education of the young should not stop and the knowledge should be preserved and passed down the generations to when it can be used again.  Hopefully with more maturity next time.

I have a very large set  of  books on gardening/farming, construction skills, metalworking, woodworking, the FoxFire books, math/engineering books up to graduate level, philosophy, history.  I will pass them on to my son if I can or someone else who would carry them forward.  Plus I have a mountain of tools.  I have already given my son a  big pile of them and will shift more to him every time I go see him.  I am also arming my children over time and have long ago trained them how to use weapons and to fight.  My daughter is a vicious little street fighter and has taken out male blackbelts in full contact fights as has my son in real fights.  Both are excellent with weapons and my son is gifted with a bow (his grandfather was on an NCAA champion archery squad) and his sister is near competition level with a 45 automatic (I trained her  :)   One does what one can.

Quote
And having a lot of heavily armed villages is not necessarily a prescription for peaceful co-existence, imho.

And the contrary imho is that a village that is not heavily armed and capable will not be around long enough to have an opportunity to co-exist.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 10, 2014, 08:11:08 PM
Bruce

I understand what you are saying.  You and I both live in the southwest which, as we all know, is one of the most non-sustainable places in the US.  If major collapse happened here (unlikely before you and I are long gone) the post bottleneck population would be a small fraction of what it is now.  You might be more likely to experience that if the great earthquake finally hits LA.  I would be more concerned about that than living through the collapse if I lived where you do.

Given the variety of climates and ecological niches in the world, and the wide distribution of people, I expect that when collapse comes every possible configuration of human groups and approaches to living will be tried.  Some which will work out in one place would  be certain to fail in another.  There will be no one size that fits all.  I expect feudal structures to dominate, but not to say that will be everywhere.  Island communities, in both a real and figurative sense, could easily end up with a variety of other forms of living.  But for those groups living in the remaining large fertile areas there will be serious competition for land and water.  Those who are unprepared to defend their place in it, even if they are not expansive by nature, will just be washed away by the press of competition.  Only when the population in a region has reached near a sustainable level with how much food can be grown will that competition wind down.  And it will wind back up again if they over populate again or over use their resource base.  I don't expect trade between different entities to go away at all.  In the past there was always trade and people figured out how to conduct it relatively securely and to mutual benefit.  But with the vast infrastructure available for scavenging some will not likely have to do to much trading till long after collapse.  Some will probably make their livings scavenging.  Caravans to the ghost town of Phoenix in the winter for goodies!

One has to be very careful on site selection if you are taking this approach.

Quote
Very small groups that live very independently in harsh surroundings sounds preferable to me.

Those most prone to gravitate to those types of locations are the least oriented towards coexistence and quickest to violence in my experience.  And harsh surroundings are likely to get harsher as the effects of AGW dial in over the next few hundred years. If I was of an age that it mattered I would be burrowing into a farming community in a place which has long term prospects of being a fertile region and plan taking my chances there.     
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 10, 2014, 08:21:21 PM
Metallurgy. This will not be an issue post collapse for at least 500-1000 years.  Why because the worlds is awash in mountains of dozens of different types of steel.  Scavenging and cannibalizing will dominate for hundreds of years.  Think how much metal of different kinds just sit in an auto junk yard.  If it rusts into a pile that is also your source of concentrated iron ore.  One is going to need piles of coal or charcoal to burn for forging though.

I made a list of arguments against reliance on scrap from the old civilisation before - curious what your thoughts are:

We are not going back to the hunter-gatherer stage except maybe in the far north or islands in the Pacific.  There are not going to be any animals left to hunt.  We are going back to, IMHO, to a feudal agrarian society which will have many trappings of the modern world like our weapons and medium tech knowledge.  Much of medicine will survive as long as you do not depend on the very high tech stuff.  A reasonable large manor will be able to produce penicillin for instance.

Short term, perhaps (not sure I agree about penicillin though). I think medium to long term you need to consider the ongoing climate change context and long distance globalised supply chains. How will the farmers work the fields? How will they get weather forecasts? How will they handle changes in climate that gradually continue to erode the viability of a given region for a specific crop? (bearing in mind that if natural feedbacks come into play, decades or centuries hence a significant chunk of the planet - possibly even a majority of the currently inhabited area - will become uninhabitable due to web bulb temperatures becoming too high.

I don't think we have a path to orderly retreat to medieval feudal conditions personally. We might hang onto the margins of the scrap from the old civilisation for a while, living off the corpse - but to retreat backwards so far technologically? It seems improbable without serious effort in spreading the necessarily knowledge in the surviving section of the population.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 10, 2014, 09:00:07 PM
Very small groups that live very independently in harsh surroundings sounds preferable to me.

Those most prone to gravitate to those types of locations are the least oriented towards coexistence and quickest to violence in my experience.  And harsh surroundings are likely to get harsher as the effects of AGW dial in over the next few hundred years. If I was of an age that it mattered I would be burrowing into a farming community in a place which has long term prospects of being a fertile region and plan taking my chances there.   

I'm with Bruce on this one - self sufficiency in a remote (if initially inhospitable environment) seems to me to offer the most sure pathway forwards. I'm not sure why you think one needs to be quickest to violence to favour that strategy - for me - it's actually a key part of avoiding violence, but then and again you need to consider the thinking that takes me to that point.

I am from the UK and it is highly unlikely I should ever have the resources to afford land and housing etc in the right sort of area for this (let alone be able to find my type of employment to fund it all). It would be more challenging to acquire serious firepower (let alone use it in the grey period of collapse itself). The population density of the UK is astronomically high compared to probably carrying capacity post collapse. I would expect a very high incidence of violence there, and while I would like to think I wouldn't be entirely useless - I'm certainly not Rambo, and I also don't particularly want to have to fight.

To go to another country and integrate with a suitable farming community poses problems too. Firstly, as always - the matter of resources. Secondly language barriers and the integration question. Thirdly the legal aspect of immigration - if one has to be in the shadows even to start with (complicates doing anything else legal).

So what does that leave? As far as I can see - to have any say in the future - without submitting to the social order of my nation (which is already currently oppressing the poorer section of the population), I have to go elsewhere - to a place more remote than most people can or will get to. In that way one tries to avoid as much of the high conflict stages of collapse as possible and tries to maximise the chances to setup what you want to setup with a minimum of outside interference. In the process I may as well pick a location that has good long term prospects climatically (inasmuch as one can tell).

Many places will become more harsh - but centuries from now some places might actually be less harsh. Those are the places for future civilisation to flourish, rather than the old remnants scavenging whatever existence they can from the ashes of the modern world. I submit that it will be harder to revert to that sort of existence and to sustain it than one might at first think. Consider the simple question of land ownership and cultivation knowledge in developed nations, and work out how you get from here to there - and will the existing farming communities withstand that process?

My caution is most of all that people become very short term - as when starving peoples in Africa eat their seeds to survive. But in this case, there is no external assistance - nor real prospect thereof.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on February 10, 2014, 09:55:19 PM
I do not agree with your high risk low gain characterization.  Collapse is coming either way so that is not part of the calculation.  The choice is early or late in time.  Later collapse is a bigger collapse so that is worse I believe.  Which delivers the best result?  I say it is early so that is high gain and later is low gain.

Yes you can reach a goal by it.  Given that the longer we go before collapse the more resources we consume and the  more critical damage we do to the eco-system, it matters tremendously when that collapse happens.  If collapse happens in 2050 then we have 36 more years of destroying resources, raising carbon levels, higher eventual levels of equilibrium temperatures and sea level, a crash that happens from 9+ billion vice 7+ billions (vastly more death and suffering), etc.   And will almost certainly result post collapse in a lower level of survival and technology than if we triggered collapse sooner.  The goal is to have more resources and a less hostile environment with an early collapse.  Is there any argument that an early collapse would not satisfy that goal?  Developing skills for that feudal society is sound also, but not sufficient.

By choosing to drag things out as long as possible, as you advocate, and as I am equally convinced is exactly what we are going to do, is to deliberately choose the path that leads to MORE suffering (though someone else's instead of ours - a typical response) not less suffering.  One may as well acknowledge that reality if that is one's choice.

How is it more 'radical' for one person to want to choose a path that results in less total suffering while the person claiming not to be a 'radical' is choosing a path which results in more suffering?

JimD - I think there is one big problem in your idea "early collapse = better than late collapse": The main risk of early collapse (next to all the dead poeple killed for that purpose) is, that society would bombed only to e.g. 1850 levels - Therefore it would pay us only a few hundered years until we reach the point we have now again. Only a wipe out of humans would guarantee that humans will not be harmfull again.

Each collapse is not a solution. It will probably not result in sustainable societies. And what I advocate is clearly not "choosing to drag things out as long as possible". Instead what I suggest is to head towards sustainablity right now, since we have the ability and the knowledge and the good reason for it right now.
This is the perfect time for us to get sustainable (of course). And there is no need for a fight between Amish way and renewables - booth fit together in a single society, a lot of poeple are living allready here together with both solar panels, hand-forging and bio-farming. We do not need suffering - we just need a reasonable frugality.

So - step out of that "growth-fiction" and start to do sustainable things that make sense. Stop fighting others that try hard to do sustainable things than make sense - we can do together instead. But please stop talking about killing poeple - that path is not sustainable and it probably will kill those poeple first, which want to kill others.
 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: sidd on February 10, 2014, 10:10:26 PM
"And there is no need for a fight between Amish way and renewables - booth fit together in a single society, ... "

Quite. I know an Amish farmer (sometimes grows canola for us) who has an half an acre of solar panels. Depends on the local bishop and community.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 10, 2014, 10:38:57 PM
SATire

I realize these discussions are unpleasant for you and I am not trying to make them harder.  But I have a problem with much of what you say.

Quote
JimD - I think there is one big problem in your idea "early collapse = better than late collapse": The main risk of early collapse (next to all the dead poeple killed for that purpose) is, that society would bombed only to e.g. 1850 levels - Therefore it would pay us only a few hundered years until we reach the point we have now again. Only a wipe out of humans would guarantee that humans will not be harmfull again.

I don't think this follows at all.  Humans will always be harmful.  It is the scale of damage that is the issue.  Following collapse would we once again repeat the growth into collapse mode again.  Perhaps as we always have before in history.  But it is also possible that the scale of this collapse and our better understanding of it would put us in a position to learn from our mistakes. Perhaps not.  But waiting for collapse does not effect that possible result in any meaningful way that I can see.  I don't understand this 1850 idea.  Technology is not going to disappear overnight.  It will, over time post collapse, become  less complex but it is highly unlikely we go back all the way to 1850.  At least not everywhere.  Do you see electricity disappearing?  I don't. 

You are absolutely fixated on this death thing.  But you only seem to see the immediate issue as it relates to a quick collapse.  Several of us have addressed why we think that a quick collapse results in fewer deaths and much less suffering than the long term option.  If you disagree with that assessment then please explain your reasoning.  Why do you think it is the other way around.  Or do you?

Quote
Each collapse is not a solution. It will probably not result in sustainable societies. And what I advocate is clearly not "choosing to drag things out as long as possible". Instead what I suggest is to head towards sustainablity right now, since we have the ability and the knowledge and the good reason for it right now.

A collapse is a solution implemented by reality.  We have been talking about accepting eventual reality and trying to better the long term result. 

Civilization (societies) are and never have been sustainable.  Through all of human history we have been very destructive to our environment and to other species.  I do not in any way expect that to change.  Why would you?  We do not have the ability to live sustainably any longer.  Once we left the hunter-gatherer life style it became impossible to do that.  Once we embarked upon an agricultural lifestyle our population grew beyond the local carrying capacities of our ecosystems and we had to start overusing the land and resources to survive and keep growing.  Industrialization made that much worse by orders of magnitude.  We can never live sustainably again as the land base has been so depleted it would now be impossible.  So the goal (unless you are an anarcho-primitivist) is not to live sustainably but to just dramatically reduce the destruction we impose upon the Earth to the point where we can exist for a very long period of time and perhaps work out this problem.  We do not have the knowledge or technology (an oxymoron in the sustainability sense) of living sustainably.

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This is the perfect time for us to get sustainable (of course). And there is no need for a fight between Amish way and renewables - booth fit together in a single society, a lot of poeple are living allready here together with both solar panels, hand-forging and bio-farming. We do not need suffering - we just need a reasonable frugality.

The things you mention are not actually sustainable.  But we can live that way for millennia as long as there are not billions upon billions of us.  If there were a billion maybe.  500 million probably.   Population levels are critical and primary to all paths to survival.

Quote
So - step out of that "growth-fiction" and start to do sustainable things that make sense. Stop fighting others that try hard to do sustainable things than make sense - we can do together instead. But please stop talking about killing poeple - that path is not sustainable and it probably will kill those poeple first, which want to kill others.

Well I am about as anti-growth as you can get I think.  You ask me to stop talking about the benefits of an early collapse because you don't like what it implies.  But by advocating not doing that it means you are advocating the alternative, which is the later collapse, which I think results in even more of what you don't like than my solution.  How does that make sense?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on February 10, 2014, 11:26:58 PM
JimD,

if you think this discussion is unpleasant or that the set-up of a sustainable society is to much of work, you are probably right. But I am sorry, it is the way to go.

You are also right, that in history human societies have not a good track record in sustainability (maximum understatement). But in future it must become sustainable - the environment will force us. We have the instruments, we have the examples of a lot of different ways to live and we are aware of all complexity and all simplicity of human life, thus we can do it now.

Why do I have problems with killing poeple? Because such collapse on purpose would put humanity per se in question. It is very unlikely that unreasonable behaviour would result in a reasonable society. E.g. how to explain that to Kant?

We still have a chance and we can do it - half of the countries are allready away from population growth, all the way from Europe, Russia, China to Japan we have less than 2 children per couple. Even in Iran reproduction felt from 6 to 2 in one generation. Typically education of women is enough for that task - not a big deal. In a 1850 world we had no such chance - Enlightenment was young and education much worse. Next to all the useless killing the destruction of education are reasons to vote against artificial collapse.

And to reiterate again - if you would call collapse to step away from mainstream way of life, from growth, digging holes and producing CO2, I am with you and would love to plan together with you the steps to go. It is hard work, but it is feasible.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 11, 2014, 03:00:15 AM
This seems somewhat relevant to the current drift of this thread:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-10/come-on-home-ecological-agriculture-and-sixteen-wonderful-farms-that-point-the-way (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-10/come-on-home-ecological-agriculture-and-sixteen-wonderful-farms-that-point-the-way)

Quote
>>Our industrial way of life is toast.  The way we live now in Industrial, USA will not last long.  It may persist anywhere from a few more hours to a few more years, but the faux stability we’re feeling now will end shortly.  Jim Kunstler summarizes the big picture nicely at his Forecast 2014 post: http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2014-burning-down-the-house/. (http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2014-burning-down-the-house/.)  And Chris Martenson does all the play by play at http://www.peakprosperity.com/. (http://www.peakprosperity.com/.)

>>The post-industrial transition will be damn hard.  While we can certainly expect much laughter, love, and beauty in the ‘collapsing’ times ahead, we’ll also be visited by a generous helping of much nastier stuff.  Here’s a sampling of some unwelcome things we’ll need to deal with over the coming years as our civilization unravels:  economic depression, broken supply lines, hunger and want, military opportunism, spasms of pollution, repression, homelessness & refugee camps, disease, random & directed violence, etc.  See Dmitry Orlov’s The Five Stages of Collapse for a general framework of what we might expect.  And see Kunstler’s World Made by Hand novels for a fiction take on the same ideas.

>>We’ll likely have trouble feeding ourselves in the coming decades.  As the fabric of fossil-fuel-based industrial agriculture unravels, we’ll be shocked to find that (1) the transition to traditional annuals-based agriculture is severely challenged by past erosion of the necessary capital (soil fertility, fossil aquifers, knowledge, skills, genetics, etc.) and (2) that really any sort of dependable agriculture becomes highly problematic due to a destabilizing climate.

But most of the article is a loving evaluation of 16 "Farms that Point the Way"--something that may be of interest, too.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 11, 2014, 05:48:09 PM
SATire

I think your belief that we can create a sustainable way of living along the lines of what you describe and via the approach you advocate is a total fantasy and cannot be done at all.

Any form of civilization previously known in human history was not sustainable.  There is nothing we know now or are likely to ever know that will change that.  It is just a dream.  Any precise analysis of the resource requirements needed to live the way you are talking about will show that to be the case.  Industrial technologies cannot be sustainable basically by definition.  We have finite resources and the laws of thermodynamics to take into account.  GreenBAU approaches are doomed to fail as they are not sustainable either.

The ONLY WAY we can maintain a significant civilization long term (but not forever as it will not be sustainable) is to dramatically reduce population.  We     simply    have    no    choice!!!  IF we do not find start the process of a rapid reduction in population now as we desperately need to do then nature will do it her way (which is extremely brutal) when we finally consume the slack out of the system in a few decades.  Nothing you are doing will change that dynamic.  We deal with reality or it deals with us.  There is no other path to choose from.

The point you made about declining birth rates is just flat wrong.  With all of that taken into account we are looking at significant population growth for another 40 years, topping out at about 9.5 billion.  If we do this you destroy the Earth and most all of the chances for any future civilization.   Population will be reduced to well under what it is today by the end of the century via famine, disease, and war and will have to trend down for a long time after that to approach the Earths carrying capacity.

The data is there to see all of this.  Everyone wants to find a way to continue to live the basic lifestyle we have lived the last century.  As you argue for.  That will not be possible much longer.

Quote
It is very unlikely that unreasonable behaviour would result in a reasonable society.

If one steps aside from their fears and looks at the situation we are in I think it is you who exhibits the unreasonable behavior.  You choose a worse result over a better one because of that perhaps.  Humans have always been very selfish and I don't expect that to change.  We are moving past our last chance to act for the greater good.   
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on February 11, 2014, 07:59:58 PM
Jim
My father was a brilliant man with no notion of how people would react, but once many decades ago we were reading a piece that said that So. California would need to bring in billions of gallons of fresh water within some time frame to sate the growing population, He just looked at the article & opined that it was BS because if they didn't bring in the water, the population wouldn't grow.
For once he had it right.
Overpopulation won't occur if there aren't the resources to feed them. It won't be nice to look at, but it will happen whether we look or not.
Sudan isn't seeing a population explosion, and left on it's own it probably won't for a very long time. The Have Nations aren't growing, it's the Have Not Nations that explode whenever there's a food surplus.
Climate change is here, and it's working as we speak to lower population density. I don't think anything we can do would be more, or less cruel than the way nature will deal with it.
Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 11, 2014, 09:16:35 PM
Overpopulation won't occur if there aren't the resources to feed them. It won't be nice to look at, but it will happen whether we look or not.
Sudan isn't seeing a population explosion, and left on it's own it probably won't for a very long time. The Have Nations aren't growing, it's the Have Not Nations that explode whenever there's a food surplus.
Climate change is here, and it's working as we speak to lower population density. I don't think anything we can do would be more, or less cruel than the way nature will deal with it.
Terry

But we do have the ability to feed them and will for some time.  Thus we have the ongoing work to increase access and efficiency of the industrial food system (based of course on access to vast amounts of fossil fuel).  This system will be able to increase production for many years still.  We can debate how many, but it is good to keep in mind what we are capable of as we become desperate.  In the mean time the effects of AGW continue to build and population will continue to rise at about 75 million a year.  There will inevitably come a point when AGW depresses food production and the rising population's food requirements cross.  When that happens there is no fixing it.  And it may fluctuate back and forth across that intersection for a few years but AGW will be relentless and over time will severely constrain production.

I expect that vast use of fossil fuels will eventually be deliberately dialed down significantly when we are forced by AGW to capitulate.  One could expect that this event will also negatively impact food production.  Combine that with AGW and it guarantees big population declines.  The weak and the Have Not's, as always, will eventually be left to fend for themselves.

BTW some of the Have nations are growing.  The US population is growing strongly, Australia is growing strongly, China is growing some and dropping the one-child policy is likely to see a significant rise in growth, Brazil and India are growing fast (though they sort of fall in-between Have and Have Not).  Population growth is fairly fast at +75 million a year and is projected to rise by over 2 billion by 2050.  We are probably a realistic 5-7 times carrying capacity now.  Carrying capacity is degrading quickly and population is rising quickly.  It just can't end well.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 12, 2014, 02:17:00 AM
Again, much/most of the industrial ag system does not produce food to be eaten (directly) by people. So...much of it could disappear, and only some relatively high income meat and dairy eaters and ethanol users would notice.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 12, 2014, 02:48:03 AM
Again, much/most of the industrial ag system does not produce food to be eaten (directly) by people. So...much of it could disappear, and only some relatively high income meat and dairy eaters and ethanol users would notice.

That really isn't true, quite the reverse in fact - when it comes to who notices.

Much of it can disappear and most people will starve while said high income meat eaters and ethanol users continue to consume those things regardless. Look at what's happened so far? Ethanol from corn used in biofuel extensively - do you think it's the people burning it in their car engines who are noticing the high food prices - or those in countries such as Egypt who struggle to feed themselves as the additional source of demand pushes prices up?

For as long as the system works as it does, the poor will lose their food before the affluent lose their ethanol or their meat. Hence, the poor are the ones who will feel the pain and notice the loss of their food.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on February 12, 2014, 10:39:09 AM
The Have Nations aren't growing, it's the Have Not Nations that explode whenever there's a food surplus.
Terry, that is close to the point but not exactly hitting it. Education level drives population down, especially education level of women. Wealth alone does not help and is not necessary. Also correlation between wealth and happiness is poor. Wealth is part of growth-fiction.

If poeple have enough to eat and a place to live education is all that is needed. If those basic need are satisfied you need extras like small spread in wealth, fairness and freedom to reach happiness - those things come at no extra costs or ressource needs.

But anyway - most poeple and JimD will call me idealistic or a fantast again. Still I have no other chance but to plant some apple trees. Discussions like this can not be won or lost but may get some poeple in a boat and some others out - left in search for a boat more suitable.
My place is in a boat in which different ways towards a sustainable future are tolerated, investigated and practiced. Personally I can act most efficiently the way I am able to act. So I need this possibility and by this I am forced to let other poeple try their ways - while staying open and learn from things that work. If you rule out some pathes in advance or plan to kill other poeple and thus their ways to act, then I have to be out.

I am sorry if I messed up this discussion with my strange/fantastic thoughts. I will try to contain myself. Probably I am not qualified for serious international networking and should stay local.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on February 12, 2014, 05:22:20 PM
SATire
Please keep posting your views. If anyone should be reclusing himself from the topic it's myself. I've a well developed brown thumb that's never allowed me to grow as much as a single producing tomato plant & had never heard of Holmgren or Hopkins until this thread was opened.
I'm very interested in what you and others have to say on the subject but my own conclusions have yet to be drawn.
I do have questions about whether there is any difference between killing people now with a gun or later through starvation. If we conclude that we have to lower population in less than a generation it's not going to be pretty no matter the method. Forced sterilization works over a longer time frame, but the blowback would be fierce & who decides who gets to be a "breeder".
We may be facing a Lifeboat Quandary on a massive scale & my inclination is to let everyone pile on in the  hope that she won't capsize & rescue is only moments away. On the other hand I'm torn about whether once we're fully overloaded we should make a concerted effort to search for others who have already capsized their lifeboat.
Terry

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 12, 2014, 05:49:07 PM
Please keep posting your views. If anyone should be reclusing himself from the topic it's myself. I've a well developed brown thumb that's never allowed me to grow as much as a single producing tomato plant & had never heard of Holmgren or Hopkins until this thread was opened.

I can't say I had heard of either of them previously myself. I'm not really "in the scene" though, firstly by never having associated with the right sort of people and secondly being just as happy (if not happier) thinking through things independently without relying too much on others peoples views.

SATire - provided everyone is taking part in a rational and reasonable fashion (which generally seems to be the case here), different views are of value to discussion - particularly if backed up with rational arguments. If everyone holds the same views - discussion dies. The different sides of a debate can both benefit from being set against each other and that can help to inform not only the people taking part in it but anyone else who later follows it.

As an example from your previous posts, one thing I picked up on was the premise that if people were relatively equal within a society, there was a good chance they would (or could at least) work together cooperatively and coherently to deal with collapse (to at least some degree). All the more valuable a point as it was drawn from your experience and not anecdote.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on February 12, 2014, 06:53:17 PM
SATire, on this side of the pond I wonder sometimes "why are we so screwed up". I wonder if anybody is thinking this through . A couple weeks ago you linked a "bio-lands" list of best practices that showed me at least on your side of the pond somebody really is putting together energy, agriculture and environmental solutions. Over here we have " organics " which are marketing oriented, go figure.
I wonder why Germany has progressed on these questions with renewables and agricultural solutions while we Americans/Canadians are hellbent on fracking and tar sands. We need global scale thinking and we need examples of working solutions. If this silly little box is good for anything?
  Largely we are old men talking. I wrote this for my father this morning.

If an old man, a good man, a dying man
dreams lucid dreams
And awakes, back into the present, and asks
Can we still go live my dreams?
You can only answer yes
While he is awake he knows he is dying
and
slips back into dream
and sometimes talks in his dream
And you listen

When he awakes again you ask him
Do you remember?
He does
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: SATire on February 12, 2014, 08:16:28 PM
I do have questions about whether there is any difference between killing people now with a gun or later through starvation. If we conclude that we have to lower population in less than a generation it's not going to be pretty no matter the method.
Terry - from technical view you are right, the difference is small. But in reality the difference is HUGE: If I would kill someone with a gun, I would have done it. The fact that I would be guilty would change my life and the life of other poeple significantly.

If I kill someone far away by consuming coltan/oil/coffee/... resulting in some "side effects" at that remote place, it would not be the same thing: I am not guilty of some specific kill there but of course I am responsible for that death. Similar with AGW effects. 

If someone is killed far away without any relation to my action my only relationship would be charity - that is very different from guilt and accountability.

Bruce, ccg and Terry - thanks for your warm words. I was not planning to leave this forum but this thread. The reason for that is that I am really pissed off by Holmgrens paper. Such ideas like "planned collapse" make it very difficult at my place to get more poeple towards sustainablity. Reason and sense are the only capital we have to get poeple (at this place here) while fear and pressure will drive them away. Holmgren destroys all our credit. Lost confidence kills the chance to get the majority. It reminds me of the eighties when green poeple were totaly busy in wing fights between fundamentalists and realists. Only the end of such silly fights brought them into government. At this place we have to work with the poeple and not against them - that lesson was learned and is now in danger.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on February 12, 2014, 10:23:14 PM
"
If an old man, a good man, a dying man
dreams lucid dreams
And awakes, back into the present, and asks
Can we still go live my dreams?
You can only answer yes
While he is awake he knows he is dying
and
slips back into dream
and sometimes talks in his dream
And you listen

When he awakes again you ask him
Do you remember?
He does

Bruce Steele on The Forum ASI 12 Feb 2014 "

Bruce, I never heard my father, 84 years old, talk in his dreams. Nevertheless, your poem reminds me, he remembers, for sure. And that supports me in doing whatever I can to share compassion. Thanks.

SATire,
I'm a bit shocked. As I posted some days ago, I don't think Holmgren is advocating violent disruption at all. I may have read wrong. But I read a strong case to bring down the perverted financial system through coordinated disconnection by 'the aware'. In the light of 'limits to growth' it does seem to have a chance to succeed. Just a percentage of people stepping out could do the job. No need for guns? Just courage to face less material wealth?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on February 13, 2014, 02:51:26 AM
New radio interview with Holmgren, along with Nicole Foss.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-11/radio-ecoshock-crash-on-demand-with-david-holmgren-and-nicole-foss (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-11/radio-ecoshock-crash-on-demand-with-david-holmgren-and-nicole-foss)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on February 17, 2014, 05:12:42 PM
A little more info on the California Power station incident.  We have the theoretical about crashing the system and the practical as they say.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-attack-20140211,0,7627269.story#axzz2tb16VNMz (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-attack-20140211,0,7627269.story#axzz2tb16VNMz)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on March 01, 2014, 05:25:00 PM
Another example of practical monkey wrenching?

Quote
Vulnerable people living near a raging coalmine fire in Morwell, still burning three weeks after it was deliberately lit on 9 February, have been advised to leave their homes.

Quote
Coal Mine Fire Still Burning After Weeks Looks Like Mordor, Fills Australian Town With Smoke

Quote
Police on Wednesday gave chilling details of the massive fire’s origins. Victorian police chief commissioner Ken Lay said it was believed the firebug lit a “test fire” in Hazelwood on 28 January to study its behaviour, before setting another in the area on the morning of 9 February.

The arsonist then set three fires on the Strzelecki Highway at Driffield, near Morwell, around 1.30pm on the Sunday, which spotted into the Hazelwood open-cut coalmine and continues to burn.

“This fire was set on the worst fire day for this year and had the potential to cause an enormous amount of damage and loss of life,” Lay told reporters.

Police believe the person responsible was likely to be someone who lives or works in the Latrobe Valley or wider Gippsland region, with the fires lit along dirt tracks leading into plantations behind the highway which also provided easy getaway routes.

“This was someone with a vehicle, a mode of transport, to set three sets of fire within a 15-minute period,” Inspector Mark Langham said.

The test fires lit two weeks earlier were also in similar locations, set within a few kilometres of each other on high fire-danger days, he said.
 

http://www.newsweek.com/coal-mine-fire-still-burning-after-weeks-looks-mordor-fills-australian-town-smoke-230557 (http://www.newsweek.com/coal-mine-fire-still-burning-after-weeks-looks-mordor-fills-australian-town-smoke-230557)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/28/morwell-mine-fire-vulnerable-residents-advised-relocate (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/28/morwell-mine-fire-vulnerable-residents-advised-relocate)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: werther on March 08, 2014, 01:07:30 AM
Hi all,
On the Blog there’s a lengthy discussion again on the ‘Decreasing Arctic albedo’-thread. It focuses on the role of peak-oil and the possible response of government/leading class.
It  could better be discussed here, as it is very related to a policy to promote a rapid crash or a grass-roots movement on city/state level.

As FI Gail Tverberg has been arguing on the ‘Our Finite World’ Blog, an early collapse of the FF-based economy might prevent the worse part of CC/AGW. In that scenario, the main part of what’s left in the earths’ crust isn’t going to be burnt, because it isn’t economically viable to extract it.
In that case, we’d only have to sit and wait, the collapse, expressed through EROEI calculations, is to be expected within five to ten years.

One problem I’ve got with that opinion is that severe consequences of our FF-burning history are already encapsuled in the present trend. In that light, to sit and wait is equivalent to wasting precious time.

Some see the transition to renewable as a viable response. Not Tverberg. I hate to admit, but I guess she’s probably right. Most arguments I’ve seen from supporters of a renewable energy future have a smell of wishful thinking. When the whole chain of production of goods is considered, it seems hard to imagine the EROEI of renewables to be enough to support the kind of exploitation FF’s have provided.
I HOPE the supporters are right. I will support myself. But I don’t expect a miracle.
So if the line expressed by FI Tverberg has it right AND we have to endure the brunt of AGW ín the pipeline’, there’s a hard future ahead.

On the Blog, some express the opinion that ‘the powers that be’ will apply severe measures to keep control in case of collapse. In that case, Hopkins’ approach will in fact be imposed upon the survivors in a sort of slave/feudal societal structure.
In fact, it is already taking form in the social arrangements in FI the Netherlands, as beneficials are required to repay in the form of duties.

To end this post, in the light of ongoing developments in this world at this moment, it seems appropriate to continue this thread. Let’s consider how a viable way could be achieved to conserve a certain sphere of personal freedom within a progressively constraining social and ecological environment.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on March 08, 2014, 03:27:24 AM
werther

Many of us have been reading Tverberg's analysis for 5-6 years now, or more I am not sure how long.  While I have a lot of respect for the efforts she puts in and in some cases I agree with her analysis there has long been a tendency for her to land on the side of early crisis and early collapse.  I don't think I am exaggerating when I say we have already passed the dates of some of her earlier predictions.  She has been a Peak Oiler for a long time and seems to see the entire system through that lens.  I think the below

Quote
an early collapse of the FF-based economy might prevent the worse part of CC/AGW. In that scenario, the main part of what’s left in the earths’ crust isn’t going to be burnt, because it isn’t economically viable to extract it.
In that case, we’d only have to sit and wait, the collapse, expressed through EROEI calculations, is to be expected within five to ten years.

is extremely, highly unlikely.  To the point of absurdity.  There is an incredible amount of high EROEI crude oil already discovered and not being produced which is still available.  It is currently not on the market due to political turmoil and infrastructure problems.  Namely Iraq.  We are approaching the point where production declines are certain to manifest themselves in Saudi Arabia and this scares people.  But Iraq has the oil, providing it is put on the market, to completely stand in for any production declines in SA and then some.  And there are all the other arguments which are still valid such as efficiency improvements, higher mileage vehicles, etc.  It is just not possible for EROEI to decrease fast enough to trigger a collapse in 5 to 10.  Nicole Foss argues that the financial system will flip soon and trigger collapse and that problem will take the low EROEI liquid energy sources off the market as no one will be able to afford to produce them (see the Automatic Earth blog).  She and Illargi have been arguing this point since before the 2008 crash.  While I do think we are approaching another big economic/financial downturn I still do not think we have stressed he total system hard enough and long enough to wring out all the slack.  We have a lot of fat left to burn and we are not malnourished yet.  All of the people who thought we were on the verge of a big collapse in 2006 should have learned a lot from the tools bought out of the financial boxes to keep this mess afloat. Peak Oil of conventional crude supplies arrived years ago, but the high prices that generated brought about the tar sands oil and the vast increase in fracking for oil and gas.  Just those sources alone, largely totally unexploited still, are sufficient to keep us on the Peak Oil plateau for a couple of decades when combined in with the eventual production of the big supplies of conventional crude in Iraq.  Us Americans did not invade Iraq just for fun, we wanted that oil.

An area that I am in complete agreement with Tverberg is her opinion on replacing fossil fuels with alternative energy sources and still maintaining industrial civilization.  That idea is ludicrous and an example of magical thinking.  All one has to do is run the numbers on what is required to replace fossil fuels and it quickly becomes obvious that alternates cannot fit the bill.  This can easily be proven from an EROEI viewpoint and also from a financial/resource viewpoint.  This civilization and our vast population was built upon a foundation of almost free energy in the form of ancient sunshine stored for us in the fossil fuels.  This is not replicable in any way by direct solar, wind, hydro.  Just cannot be done. 

Civilization is not sustainable and industrial civilization even less.  Industrial civilization is living on borrowed time.  But it is not going to die for awhile yet.

Absolutely those with deep power resources will try and manage the situation going forward.  I am always trying to point out methods and motivations for how and why they are doing many of the things they do.  I have also stated a number of times that we are headed towards authoritarian/totalitarian governance which I already think is evolving towards a modern version of feudalism.  Democracy has no future and it has largely ceased already in many respects.  In times of great stress the chaos of democracy is non-functional and people naturally gravitate towards and follow strong leaders.  Authoritarian governance is the norm for human civilization.  Democracy has occupied niches at times but it is not suitable for dealing with AGW should we decide as a global civilization to deal with it as everyone would have to be ordered what to do and made to do it.  And when collapse happens one can be certain that the utter mayhem which results will not allow time for it either.

I like my personal freedom just as much as anyone.  But I would give everything for our species to survive.  Dealing with AGW is far more important than anyone's freedom or all of our freedoms.  Survival takes precedence no matter what.  We cannot fix this problem until the 'me' is deleted from the equation and only the 'us' is calculated going forward.  Which means, of course, that the equation cannot be solved.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 08, 2014, 05:38:10 PM
Werther, Conventional oil supplies are in decline and if Hubbert is right the decline will intensify.Big oil has put an enormous amount of effort into non-conventional sources to maintain supplies but the bet may be a loser. For now the switch to lower EROEI sources has helped maintain big oil market share and gross oil supplies but if the bet on non-conventional goes south and the market goes south on investments large enough to maintain the drilling frenzy total oil supplies will also begin to decline.
Renewables are at this point are maintaining total supplies rather than replacing them but should the investment market switch from a losing bet on the fracking panacea into renewables it seems to me renewables will become a replacement for oil supplies. Total emissions should at that point begin to decline. The argument that there are inefficiencies in how we utilize our energy could be used to make the argument that the transition to renewables could be combined with improvements in efficiency to buy society some time. My opinion is there are enormous inefficiencies that higher energy expenses will begin to erode. Will renewables hold civilization together if population keeps rising? No.   So getting control of population growth is critical . This is true though no matter what energy supply powers civilization.
 I also believe humans need to rethink the paradigm that places  agriculture workers at the lowest rung of society. Agriculture is renewable, if done correctly ,and those sectors of society that deliver on renewable outcomes should be elevated in the social hierarchy.   
 So switch the investment priorities, cut waste, and reward ( socially ) those people willing to switch to renewable systems. It will buy us all time. Our value systems are IMHO a big part of civilizations ills.
They can be changed.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 08, 2014, 07:01:08 PM
The bottom line I think is that the minimum price of oil is rising as the EROI of the sources and the availability of supply are increasingly pressured.

The maximum price of oil that can be sustained without damage to the rest of the economy (and consequent demand destruction) is not really rising, if anything the reverse as other resources are also pressured and competing for the effort/energy/money.

The collision between the two we see in economic impacts such as 2007/08 preceded by a spike in the price of oil (and by implication other key commodities such as food).

As that margin of profitability diminishes, the feasibility of continuing to operate civilisation as we know it shrinks into an ever smaller margin. One suspects the peak oilers could still be more right than most people think now - just on a somewhat later timescale.

The analogy with Malthus comes to mind - an awful lot of people seem to think the "Green revolution" prevented a Malthusian catastrophe.

It didn't. It simply delayed it a bit. We shouldn't get swept away by illusions of success just because the more aggressive predictions of failure turned out to be wrong.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 08, 2014, 07:23:24 PM
 Ccg, I agree with your points but food costs are a relatively small part of most people budget. To effect the changes that I believe would promote the points above ,governments worldwide should eliminate all energy subsidies and tax incentives.
 All agriculture subsidies should be eliminated and large taxes should be placed on processed foods.
This should encourage victory gardens , direct markets, and depopulation of cities.
Although this would put burdens on the poor they are the portion of the population that would most quickly ramp up personal production of their food supplies. It would take awhile for poor families to have larger families to supply their new labor demands so it might not be a long term population cure but it would likely be a temporary one.Although these changes wouldn't likely affect the lifestyles of the top 1% it would undoubtable negatively impact their ability to syphon profits from the rest of us. The existing systems have been designed for the enrichment of the 1% and they would make all sorts of arguments for maintaining the existing tax structures. The current system is for their benefit and it is killing the planet. Throwing the whole thing on it's head will likely never happen but finding solutions needs thinking way outside the box. Food is a very small portion of peoples expenses in western societies and eliminating tax subsities for energy should more than compensate for higher food bills.Energy subsities benefit energy waste and monetarily benefit the rich at the expense of all taxpayers. Those weren't golden eggs and it's time to strangle the goose.
 p.s. Mice got into my little greenhouse for seed starts and ate all my little tomato plants. Damn foul mood.
Time to start over.   
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 08, 2014, 08:14:48 PM
Ccg, I agree with your points but food costs are a relatively small part of most people budget. To effect the changes that I believe would promote the points above ,governments worldwide should eliminate all energy subsidies and tax incentives.

You're giving away your status as a member of an affluent nation not struggling to eat... though of course food costs as a portion of income are still typically fairly modest even at the poorer end of the western populations as compared to many other countries.

That said I suspect it's also a question of comfort factor - if you are used to spending a high proportion of your income on food or energy and the price rises a little bit - it's just an extra little squeeze. If you are not used to it and the price rises proportionately by a lot (even though to less than the other set of people identified) then you get angrier and more desperate and perceive more impact on your lifestyle.

Hence the initial fuss about gas/petrol prices in the US rising from $1.50/gallon to $4 gallon - notwithstanding that the price was still half that of the UK. In a society where food spend is < 10% of income the other 90% will be accounted for too (in most cases) and it gets noticed if food grows to 20%.

As food prices rise more and more people can't pay for all the things they might take for granted before - water, internet, electricity, gas, education, road repairs, health, etc. - I think the social stresses are caused more by the rate of change than the absolute lifestyle (ie to lose one or two of those things in a western nation can make you angry and desperate yet many people live on an ongoing basis with virtually none of them).

I'd agree that the existing subsidies need to go away - I don't know that it would so much encourage victory gardens or individual cultivation or increased population - but it's ridiculous to store up such a large public health problem by having such cheap junk processed food (and it seriously distorts the market). Much better to have a diverse and varied diet - also much better for the long term health of the land itself.

To encourage the domestic production of food paradoxically I'd argue the minimum wage should be raised. Not only could people then afford the more expensive food implied by ditching the subsidies but it would reduce the pressure to work such long hours (for poverty rates of pay) and give people more time to save money by producing more food for themselves (which arguably should be incentivised).

I don't see increasing population as a function of agricultural labour requirements as likely in developed nations on this side of collapse.

p.s. Mice got into my little greenhouse for seed starts and ate all my little tomato plants. Damn foul mood.
Time to start over.

That really sucks (especially suspecting the scale you're talking about ie not just a dozen plants).
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 08, 2014, 08:22:26 PM
<I>I agree with your points but food costs are a relatively small part of most people budget. To effect the changes that I believe would promote the points above ,governments worldwide should eliminate all energy subsidies and tax incentives.
 
All agriculture subsidies should be eliminated and large taxes should be placed on processed foods.</I>

I have to strongly disagree. For the vast majority of the world's population, food costs are the single biggest expense. Eliminating food subsidies would condemn a couple of billion people to death by starvation. The 1st billion would die within a generation (20 years). By UN estimates we already have 1 billion people suffering from chronic malnutrition, 60 million of them starve to death annually. A couple of billion more have adequate food to eat because their governments subsidize the distribution of foodstuffs to their citizens. In a post-growth world economy, the market mechanisms break down. Food will absolutely have to be grown and distributed outside of the market mechanism. Failure to do this will bring an almost instantaneous collapse across large regions of the planet. The subsidizing of food is already done in every nation of the world, including the wealthiest. In the U.S. this takes the form of food stamps and food depositories. In less wealthy regions this takes the form of transfers of basic foods (primarily grains) at subsidized levels or entirely free.

Agriculture policy, in the form of price supports, are an ongoing source of heated debate in the U.S. This usually focuses on the budget impacts but what is not discussed is that these price supports encourage a level of food production that allows the U.S. to provide food aid across the planet.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on March 08, 2014, 08:36:47 PM
Bruce

Re mice eating your tomato seedlings.  We used to have the same problem.  My mother-in-law told me to surround the tomato seedling trays with trays of plants from the onion family.  We used scallions.  I would drop about 7-8 scallion seeds per cell (50 cell trays) and fill enough trays to surround all the tomato trays.  Worked like a champ and we did it for years.  Apparently mice hate onions and will not walk across the trays to get to the tomatoes. 

When it was time to transplant the tomatoes we also transplanted the scallions.  We sold tons of scallions for $1.50 a bunch.  We panted each scallion cell at 6 inch spacing and 4 rows per 30 in bed.  Yes we planted them into plastic mulch.  This was a great way to make easy money as we just pulled the number of scallions we could sell for each market.  They just kept slowly getting bigger and they actually will get very large (3/4 inch dia) and about 3 ft tall.  People went nuts over them. 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on March 08, 2014, 08:45:56 PM
SH

Quote
In a post-growth world economy, the market mechanisms break down. Food will absolutely have to be grown and distributed outside of the market mechanism. Failure to do this will bring an almost instantaneous collapse across large regions of the planet.

This dovetails into my reasoning about how collapse is most likely to be triggered by food production.  In the poor countries you are describing the end comes when their financial situation is such that they can no longer subsidize or buy global commodities for their populations and the supply situation is such that countries like the US will no longer provide free bulk grains.  When this happens that individual country will likely fail or at least take a big stairstep down in terms of population numbers to a new level which it can support internally.  I think this type of failure will pop up here and there at first and slowly gain momentum over time.  As AGW intensity slowly increases the above will work its way up the food chain so to speak.  It does not take much imagination how the chaos this creates will materially degrade other parts of the global system and help drag other places down.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 08, 2014, 10:42:05 PM
SH,  Almost all crop subsities here in the U.S. go to commodity crop production. Those crops use fossil fuel derived fertilizers ,huge tractors and tend to supplement corporate scale farming. They in the case of the Oglala also are draining important aquifers and in general also promote strip mining soil fertility.These artificially promote population growth at the expence of future generations. Starvation is unavoidable so long as we depend on unsustainable systems. The name of this page is "collapse" and I guess you can decide yourself whether pulling the plug on the current 7.2 billion humans is somehow more inhumane than waiting till we get to 9 billion and crash then but there are many species on this planet you are committing to extinction the longer you postpone the inevitably of our overshoot . The poor on this planet will be feeding themselves in the long run and I suggest we ease that transition by changing the current support structures. My suggestions were more based on screwing with the 1% than hurting the 99% but it's all academic anyhow. Promoting self sufficiency and easing into that transition is in my opinion more humane than ignoring the inevitability of the situation. I have zero ability to affect my suggestions and I would think your mindset of avoiding reality as long as possible will rule the
day. Nothing personal and I am sure we would enjoy each others company if we actually knew each other.
 JimD,  I will take your advice and if I would have rearranged all my onion seed starts I might have avoided the little setback.     
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 11, 2014, 02:18:44 AM
SH, I would like to offer an apology. I would like to somehow walk back the line " your mindset of
avoiding reality". It was rude and has no place on this forum. It has been bugging me since I pushed the post button. I could erase it but that would be chickenshit without an apology. It will go down as a reminder to me to avoid posting when I am in a bad mood. Sorry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 11, 2014, 05:51:07 AM
Here's another angle/response to the Holmgren thesis: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-03-07/paul-kingsnorth-on-living-with-climate-change (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-03-07/paul-kingsnorth-on-living-with-climate-change)

Quote
[Q]His basic argument was that economic growth and the growth-based economy is the thing which is frying the biosphere and pushing us over the edge, and the only way to have any hope of saving that is to deliberately engineer economic collapse because that’s the only way it stops growing, and that actually we would be well advised to put some or all of our energy into actually withdrawing our support from the economic growth model in such a way that we deliberately bring about its collapse.  I wondered what your thoughts were on his approach?
 
[A]It’s interesting because I think there’s going to be a lot more of this in coming years. You’ve probably seen the rise of Deep Green Resistance as well, that’s another slightly more radical, angry response to this idea that the thing that’s destroying the world is the capitalist machine and therefore you must destroy the capitalist machine.
 
It’s quite right really. Obviously the thing that’s destroying the world is economic growth. More broadly, the thing that’s destroying the world is advanced capitalism. What you do about that, on the other hand, is another matter. I haven’t read Holmgren’s paper so I can’t really comment on it.
 
In terms of withdrawing your support from the machine as it were, it seems like a great idea to me. That’s what I’m trying to do myself. I don’t think you’d ever get enough people to withdraw your support from it to crash it, but to be honest I think it’s starting to crash itself anyway. It seems to be completely unsustainable. Again, this is a question of everybody’s individual response to the crisis we’re going through now.
 
I think everybody’s individual response will be different, and his seems to be, as far as I can tell, quite sensible. Whether it will have the effect that it wants to have, I don’t know but what’s clear from an ethical point of view to me is that this industrial machine is destroying the world. We know that. It seems to be an obvious ethical obligation really to withdraw your support from it and your engagement with it as much as possible.
 
But of course, the reality is that we’re all stuck in it. Just by being born into our generation in this country it’s almost impossible to completely withdraw yourself. But you can still do what you can do. You can’t predict the future. How many people are going to do that kind of thing? We don’t know. Anything could happen over the next 10 or 20 years. It could be another economic crash, it could be a rapid climate change event and everything could change and everybody’s attitudes could go out the window.
 
One thing that is exciting I suppose is that we shouldn’t underestimate how quickly people’s attitudes can change when circumstances change. If we had a giant economic collapse, if we had rolling climate change, if we had all this stuff coming at once and making it very very obvious that we weren’t going to keep on going in the same direction then anything could happen. That doesn’t mean we could reverse everything and get back to how it was, but we could have a very very different attitude. At some stage, our intellectual assumption that capitalist growth and progress are the only game in town is going to collapse. How soon that will be, I don’t know, but it will happen because it so obviously is undermining even its own assumptions, and when that happens then things start to get really interesting, but in what direction we have no idea at all.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Neven on March 11, 2014, 07:57:09 AM
Quote
One thing that is exciting I suppose is that we shouldn’t underestimate how quickly people’s attitudes can change when circumstances change. If we had a giant economic collapse, if we had rolling climate change, if we had all this stuff coming at once and making it very very obvious that we weren’t going to keep on going in the same direction then anything could happen. That doesn’t mean we could reverse everything and get back to how it was, but we could have a very very different attitude. At some stage, our intellectual assumption that capitalist growth and progress are the only game in town is going to collapse. How soon that will be, I don’t know, but it will happen because it so obviously is undermining even its own assumptions, and when that happens then things start to get really interesting, but in what direction we have no idea at all.

Hence the Arctic Sea Ice Blog and this forum. I'm hoping against hope that attitudes will change...
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on March 11, 2014, 05:33:54 PM
Hence the Arctic Sea Ice Blog and this forum. I'm hoping against hope that attitudes will change...

I am sure I speak for all of us here when I say that we all appreciate everything you have been doing over these past few years.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 11, 2014, 06:32:59 PM
Hear! Hear!
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 11, 2014, 08:25:24 PM
Hear! Hear!

Thanks for the link....a great read. His contention that the solutions will come from outside of the system is exactly what I believe.

More specifically he mentions "withdrawing support" which is a concept that is part of my masters research project. The current advanced capitalism/industrial system exists as a result of our support. We are all part of this system and how the system behaves is the logical result of our participation in the system. We are all behaving rationally within the system and the results are highly irrational, presenting an existential threat. To alter these results, persons must step outside of the system, withdraw their support. If sufficient numbers of people living in developed western nations do this, we can transform the system and alter the results.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 14, 2014, 10:53:50 PM
SH, cool. So how would you recommend one going about the task of withdrawing from the system? I have my own ideas, but I'm always eager to hear others', especially those who have made a specific study of it.

Meanwhile, here's another read that kind of fits in here:

The Creation of Society's Shared Hallucinations

Quote
The fundamental problem with issues such as Climate Change and Ecological Degradation is that they stem from a core problem, the exponential growth of human demands upon the earth, and thus the only solution is an end to that growth. With the industrialized human societies having spent the past two centuries developing a tight fit to the exponential growth facilitated by fossil fuels, an end to that growth will require wrenching changes to how those societies are structured and operate. Such changes, while producing great concern to the general populace, will be extremely threatening to those that have succeeded under the current societal arrangements. These are the rich and powerful that have most control over media organizations, as well as other determinants of social reality such as the school system and the workplace

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-03-13/the-creation-of-society-s-shared-hallucinations (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-03-13/the-creation-of-society-s-shared-hallucinations)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 14, 2014, 11:29:44 PM
On the collapse issue:

NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?

   
Quote
A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

    Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common."

    The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

    It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

    The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business - and consumers - to recognise that 'business as usual' cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.

    Although the study is largely theoretical, a number of other more empirically-focused studies - by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance - have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a 'perfect storm' within about fifteen years. But these 'business as usual' forecasts could be very conservative.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 16, 2014, 08:27:12 PM
wili.....I will try to briefly reply.....I am currently working on research and hope to publish within a year. I briefly considered pursuing a PhD but have come to the conclusion that I lack the discipline to do this.

My research interest was born out of my 30 plus year career in manufacturing. As a manager (upwards to 400 direct reports) I developed the ability (trial by error) over my career to develop vibrant, effective organizations where the vast majority of employees loved coming to work. I had very low turnover and highly productive teams. These teams stood in stark contrast to groups led by my peers. My basic method was to foster communication throughout my organization. I would create, very methodically, a rich communication network where this communication not only built relationships but the sharing of individual perspectives caused the organization to become very flexible and solve problems quickly and effectively. I went back to school 3 years ago to try to understand why I was effective as a manager.

My interest was in the "learning organization". How do organizations learn how to learn.

What I have discovered applies not only to manufacturing groups but, in fact applies to any bounded entity (group of individuals who see themselves as that group) These bounded entities can be small (a family) or large (a country) or massive (human civilization).

1. All of reality can be viewed as a system, a bounded entity that acts rationally within a set of beliefs.

2. Larger systems are made up of subsystems and these subsystems are, in turn, made up of smaller systems.

3. Systems overlap. Their boundaries can include parts of other systems (e.g. Various religions are included in the larger system of the U.S. but these systems also span the boundaries of individual nation states).

4. All systems have an overriding purpose, the perpetuation of the system. The reason for this is that all individuals within the system or bounded entity have an overriding interest in its perpetuation.

5. Systems that have a robust network, interconnections within the individual components of the system, are more robust than systems that are less well interconnected. (My success as a manager was directly related to my success at creating these highly interconnected communication networks within my organization. I had inadvertently created a highly resilient bounded entity.)

6. A resilient system is more flexible and adaptable, able to withstand shocks.

7. Smaller, less complex systems are more resilient than larger complex systems.

8. A previously robust system can become less resilient if the robust interconnections within the system are broken or weaken. Systems can weaken due to attacks from within or without.

9. Just as the creation of larger systems are the result of the integration of subsystems through the creation of interconnections, the collapse of larger systems is a dis-integrative process, a breaking of the robust connections that form the larger system.

10. All systems have as their foundation, a set of shared beliefs, a paradigm that guides the systems behavior and deliver the logical results. Individuals, as rational actors within the system, make decisions consistent with the foundational paradigms without usually being aware of their existence.

11. System results are the logical outcome of rational behavior of the system. This system behavior cannot be altered from without. The system will see such attempts as a threat to its existence and will either destroy or coopt the external agents for change.

12. System behavior and the logical results of this behavior can only be altered from within, although the system will see these internal efforts as threats as well. While there are many ways to alter system behavior from within, the most powerful way is at the level of paradigm. It is also paradoxically the easiest as, for each individual, it can occur in an instant, as the veil is lifted, pulled away, exposing the existing paradigm and allowing for choosing a new paradigm to  operate which is transformative and can alter the behavior of the system.

Modern industrial capitalism is just such a system. As western Europe began the transformation from a feudalistic society to what ultimately became the modern system of global capitalism, brilliant philosophers worked to understand and define the nature of economic man. Five of the most influential were Descartes, Mandeville, Locke, Hume and Adam Smith. Together and with contributions from other thinkers of the day, they created the foundation, the very paradigm that guides the system, its behavior and results.

This paradigm or concept is that of the "Invisible Hand".  Mandeville proposed that "private ethics did not matter; anything that happens, be it moral or amoral, contributes to the general welfare." As others explored this idea, ethics became seemingly irrelevant. The originally universal notion of the relationship between ethics and economics, which we encounter in the Old Testament, was turned on its head. The argument began that the more vices there were, the more material well-being there could be. "Greed is good" is not an accident but a desired feature of the emerging system. Adam Smith refined this and argued that the individual pursuit of pure self interest, would logically result in the common good. This paradigm forms the foundation and continues to guide the system of capitalism today. It can be found in public discourse everywhere and serves as a justification of the pursuit of wealth. Each of us, as rational actors within the system, make economic choices guided by this paradigm. We seek to improve our standing within the system, to improve our lives and the lives of our family.

While a very useful construct to build a philosophical foundation for the creation of the modern economy, this concept or paradigm is patently false. Any student of economics is well acquainted with the "tragedy of the commons". The pursuit by individuals of pure self interest is the root cause of all of the ills of modern human civilization. This selfish pursuit does not contribute at all to the common good but is the source of misery. Pollution, poverty, overfishing of fisheries are all logical results of the pursuit of pure self interest. Because the paradigm is a falsehood or lie, all forms of institutions have arisen to mitigate the effects of (e.g. prisons to incarcerate the desperately poor) or limit the destruction that the pure pursuit of self interest causes. Despite this, the paradigm continues to form the very foundation of the system of capitalism. We continue to act as rational actors within the system pursuing our own self interest while railing against the logical results of such a pursuit, the destruction of the environment, rampant poverty and injustice and now the existential threat that is AGW.

What is needed is a new paradigm. New paradigms always occur on the individual level and they attain their power as more and more adopt and operate from the new paradigm. Each person continues to participate in the existing economic system but by having the new paradigm guide their economic choices they will transform the system from within. All systems, true for the system of Capitalism as well, see new paradigms as a threat to their very existence and will fight this threat.

We need to discard or "withdraw from" the old paradigm, "The Invisible Hand" and fashion a new paradigm to guide our economic being. This new paradigm must recognize that every economic transaction has a value that is attached and communicated to the rest of humanity. Each transaction made by the individual must also contribute to the common good, to benefit ourselves while simultaneously benefitting those who are party to the transaction and society as a whole. It is no longer possible for us to separate ethics from economic choice but ethical decisions need to be at the foundation of each and every choice we make as economic beings. Do we value the environment? Then every economic choice must be made so that it contributes to its well being. Keep in mind that adopting this paradigm means that we can no longer make economic choices out of pure self interest. We must decide for ourselves if we choose to continue to be rational actors, guided by the existing paradigm, and serve to perpetuate the system or choose to operate from the new paradigm with its attendant impact on the realization of pure and amoral self interest.

Adopting this new paradigm will transform the current system and individuals can adopt this new paradigm in an instant. As more and more operate rationally from this new paradigm the system of capitalism will be transformed and many of the ills that are a result of the existing paradigm will disappear. Perhaps we can avoid the existential threat that is AGW.

I would like to add that no actions within the existing paradigm have any hope of saving us from the logical results of the system of capitalism. We will continue to inhabit a world of desperate want and injustice and environmental degradation that threatens our very existence.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on March 16, 2014, 09:04:14 PM
SH

Great post!
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 16, 2014, 09:10:10 PM
Yeah, wow, SH, thanks.

On your last point, aren't all acts currently essentially forced to be 'within the current system'? Can you give examples of any economic acts that would be outside of it? Barter only? Or is consciously only buying, say, locally produced food a way of acting enough outside the system?

I do like the idea of having every economic act be a moral act. I'm not sure there are any economics departments that teach it that way, though. Any idea how to make these ideas go viral through the relevant communities? Any idea how to change the paradigms amongst the most important players most rapidly? It seems like if you could get some of these things into every economics text book, it may have a chance, but that would probably be a ways off.

Also, how does the whole growth issue fit into this?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 16, 2014, 09:51:51 PM
SH

Great post!

Jim D....As I was posting, I read the quote you have by Albert Einstein. It is a great question and I believe my post is an attempt to answer his question.

Also, when I argue for crash on demand, I am actually talking about choosing to operate from the new paradigm. I am a revolutionary but the revolution is one grounded in ideas that guide action on an individual basis. It is decidedly non-violent.

Never the less, this new paradigm will wreak a great deal of change on the system of capitalism and the current system will see advocates of the new paradigm as mortal enemies. As such, the devoted adherents of the existing system will quite willingly perpetrate violence on these enemies.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 16, 2014, 10:41:39 PM
Yeah, wow, SH, thanks.

On your last point, aren't all acts currently essentially forced to be 'within the current system'? Can you give examples of any economic acts that would be outside of it? Barter only? Or is consciously only buying, say, locally produced food a way of acting enough outside the system?

I do like the idea of having every economic act be a moral act. I'm not sure there are any economics departments that teach it that way, though. Any idea how to make these ideas go viral through the relevant communities? Any idea how to change the paradigms amongst the most important players most rapidly? It seems like if you could get some of these things into every economics text book, it may have a chance, but that would probably be a ways off.

Also, how does the whole growth issue fit into this?

All economic acts are performed by rational actors in the system. We are the rational actors. It is not that we are forced to act in a certain way, we simply take as given the paradigms that serve as the foundation for all of our actions as economic beings. Since we were born into the system, raised and taught to be rational actors within it, I suppose you could make the point we have been coerced to do what we do. We really have no other way to see ourselves and the world in which we live.

Keep in mind that people raised in another system (Native Americans for instance) found the ideas of our system abhorrent. They fought this system that was being imposed on them and were destroyed.

We simply must unshackle ourselves from this paradigm. First we need to recognize its existence and the role that it plays in all of the choices we make as economic beings. We are usually not aware of the paradigms that form and guide our behavior. We all are rational actors in the pursuit of self interest, working to attain increasing wealth and prosperity. We will point to wealthy individuals like the Koch brothers as  somehow evil while simultaneously try to figure out how to get where they are. This paradigm is the very engine of growth, its philosophical foundation, and the acceptance of this paradigm guides us in the system that is also trying to accumulate wealth, in the form of societal capital.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 16, 2014, 10:49:36 PM
"They fought this system that was being imposed on them and were destroyed."

Right. So, doesn't that bode rather ill for those of us planning to do the same? I suspect that the more effective we are at actually "subverting the dominant paradigm" the more likely that we will be jailed or killed under some pretense or other (or perhaps under no pretense at all).

I would love it if you could give a few concrete example of what you see as the most promising developments now going on, or the most promising specific developments or actions that you think would point in the directions you want things to go. Or would that be giving away too much, in some way?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 16, 2014, 11:13:02 PM
"They fought this system that was being imposed on them and were destroyed."

Right. So, doesn't that bode rather ill for those of us planning to do the same? I suspect that the more effective we are at actually "subverting the dominant paradigm" the more likely that we will be jailed or killed under some pretense or other (or perhaps under no pretense at all).

I would love it if you could give a few concrete example of what you see as the most promising developments now going on, or the most promising specific developments or actions that you think would point in the directions you want things to go. Or would that be giving away too much, in some way?

The distinction here is that Native Americans were outside of the system and their attempts to change its behavior were doomed as a result. You cannot change a system from the outside.

While seen as a threat, as actors within the system, we pose a real dilemma. The system is absolutely dependent on the existence of individuals acting rationally within the system. It is the cumulative effect of our actions that deliver the results. An individual choosing to be guided by a different paradigm is not something the system can fight. It is not unlike boxing with shadows.

Those public proponents of the alternative paradigm are quite a different story. The system will attempt to defame, marginalize or destroy them. Given the battlefield is one of ideas, the weapons brought to bear on the opponents that would be considered legitimate will be ideas as well. Of course, men who argue forcefully and persuasively for an idea (Martin Luther King) can find themselves in an early grave.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 16, 2014, 11:36:32 PM

I do like the idea of having every economic act be a moral act. I'm not sure there are any economics departments that teach it that way, though. Any idea how to make these ideas go viral through the relevant communities? Any idea how to change the paradigms amongst the most important players most rapidly? It seems like if you could get some of these things into every economics text book, it may have a chance, but that would probably be a ways off.


This kind of misses the point and the power of paradigms. Trying to convince the most vocal adherents of the current system and the supporting paradigms is pointless and will have no effect. No economics textbooks need be nor will be written in support of the new paradigm. The system and its advocates will argue to the death about the wonderful system in which we live. We should expect nothing else as the primary motive of any system is its perpetuation.

The power of the new paradigm is that it can transform the system behavior from within, even in the face of opposition from its most avid supporters. It may sound like magical thinking but it is really quite simple. Do each of us want to operate under the existing paradigm? Do we want to continue to subscribe to the myth that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good? Can we persist in acting as rational actors within the existing paradigm in the face of a mountain of evidence that doing so will lead to our destruction? Or perhaps, we would prefer to pursue our own self interest while pointing out others as the cause for our problems? The Koch brothers might do. This is a fiction.

Either we reject the existing paradigm and act in accordance with a new paradigm or we should simply be content with the increasingly irrational and damaging but logical results of a system acting in a manner that is consistent with those paradigms.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 16, 2014, 11:56:12 PM
"Either we reject the existing paradigm..."

Again, what exactly would that look like? Is it at first just a mental thing? It's really, really hard for someone living, for example, in most place in the USA to suddenly decide not to take part in 'the system'--not drive in any internal combustion engine, not use electricity generated by coal, not engage in economic activities of various sorts...

So would one be able to recognize someone who had rejected the existing paradigm? Or would they necessarily have to harbor their new paradigm mostly in secret--participating outwardly with the system while not 'buying in' to it? Always looking for ways to subtly subvert it without looking like s/he was doing so?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 17, 2014, 12:21:07 AM
"Either we reject the existing paradigm..."

Again, what exactly would that look like? Is it at first just a mental thing? It's really, really hard for someone living, for example, in most place in the USA to suddenly decide not to take part in 'the system'--not drive in any internal combustion engine, not use electricity generated by coal, not engage in economic activities of various sorts...

So would one be able to recognize someone who had rejected the existing paradigm? Or would they necessarily have to harbor their new paradigm mostly in secret--participating outwardly with the system while not 'buying in' to it? Always looking for ways to subtly subvert it without looking like s/he was doing so?

I have always found your posts interesting and thought provoking. I appreciate the intelligence and insight you bring to these discussions. I can't help but think you know the answers to these questions.

Yes, it is at first just a mental thing, recognizing the existence of the paradigm that guides our actions. This mental thing can occur in an instant and simply requires a little reflection. Why do I make the choices I make?

Secondly, this is not about choosing not to take part in the system. I am not sure how a person would do this. This is about being a rational actor in a system but being guided by a radically different paradigm.

The existing paradigm of the system of capitalism is that "everyone may make all choices in the pursuit of pure self interest and the common good will be realized". This paradigm is patently false and the pursuit of pure self interest is the source of all of the ills of society including the existential threat that is AGW.

Choosing to discard this paradigm as a guide means that I must make decisions that follow the new paradigm. To do this, I am quite consciously deciding to make choices that are different than under the existing, yet fatally flawed, paradigm. My pure self interest is no longer the deciding factor. Yes, this means I will be making economic choices that do not maximize my profit or attainment of wealth. They will be inconvenient, impose personal costs, cause me to be less wealthy in the sense that the current system defines wealth.

The existing paradigm can be boiled down to a simple 3 word phrase. "Greed is good." I can choose to continue to embrace the existing paradigm, pursuing my own self interest. It is my choice. If I so choose, I need to accept the fact that I will be contributing to the destruction of human civilization. I am serving to perpetuate the system. I am an accessory to the crime, if you will.

This is a dilemma, a personal conundrum. One that I continue to reflect on and grapple with.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: TerryM on March 17, 2014, 01:09:20 AM
SH


Thanks for the post!


I've often found myself as playing near the system's boundaries. Capital accumulation followed by Hippy communes for a period followed by a reflex jump into money making endeavors, followed by tribal living (on a Harley) followed again by capitalist ventures.
Not sure that I was acting terribly rationally during any of these periods, but always keen on poking "The Man" in the eye when the opportunity arose. As an old man the most anti-social habit I've kept is my personal boycott of goods offered by those I see as bad actors.
Traveling through Cuba at the tail end of the "Special Period" gave me a glimpse of what could be if people decided that the welfare of the group was held to be as important as the welfare of the individual. Somehow the commons were being tended, everyone was being fed during a time of privation & people had a deep sense of being involved in something very important.
Hippy life in So. California started with some of that sense but soon devolved into a capitalist system dependent on psychedelics trading.  We experimented more with marketing techniques than with alternative lifestyles & the whole thing soon collapsed under its own weight (or went up in smoke).
I don't see a future for capitalism nor for democracy. In fact I don't see much of a future for much of anything after the reversion to a feudal existence lived under very brutal conditions.
The slim hope I have for the future is a breakthrough that somehow produces power while eliminating atmospheric CO2. There is nothing in our past that indicates that this is possible, yet prior to the steam engine, prior to the telephone, prior to the internal combustion engine and prior to the jet engine there was no hint that such things were to become part of our material heritage.
Keeping the lights on and keeping communications open are the minimum prerequisites for having any chance at such a technical miracle. For this reason I'll opt to keep some form of what systems are now extant viable as far into the future as possible. I recognize that this further degrades the planet's capacity going forward but frankly without some method of rapidly removing greenhouse gasses we might as well have one hell of a party & pass the Koolaid.
Terry
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 17, 2014, 01:18:30 AM
Thanks again, SH. Yes, I suspected we shared much of the same vision, but I wanted to be sure and to see if you taken this in some other direction.

TerryM wrote: "Traveling through Cuba at the tail end of the "Special Period"..."

Cool. Would you consider starting a thread that briefly describes your some of your experiences and the conclusions you have drawn?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 04:09:07 AM

Jim D....As I was posting, I read the quote you have by Albert Einstein. It is a great question and I believe my post is an attempt to answer his question.

Also, when I argue for crash on demand, I am actually talking about choosing to operate from the new paradigm. I am a revolutionary but the revolution is one grounded in ideas that guide action on an individual basis. It is decidedly non-violent.

Never the less, this new paradigm will wreak a great deal of change on the system of capitalism and the current system will see advocates of the new paradigm as mortal enemies. As such, the devoted adherents of the existing system will quite willingly perpetrate violence on these enemies.

Resistance is what counts.  It goes to what ccg said earlier today.  One is either supporting the system or trying to take it down.  Passive behavior supports the system as that is one of their most desired behavior modes. 

Not everyone is suited for all kinds of direct action.  Non-violence is a fair choice due to reasons of skills/knowledge and also due to age and ability to execute physical acts.  To each their own depending on their abilities.  As long as they resist.

And as you point out above any kind of resistance will get you stomped on.  The folks supporting the existing system could care less if you are non-violent as they always use force.  Sometimes they will tolerate a certain amount of non-violent resistance but just as often they will come after you anyway and especially if they start seeing you are having results.  Just assume that they are coming. 

The people who resist are not doing it for themselves, they are doing it for the future.  A higher purpose than just being the rational actor in the destroy the world paradigm,

Quote
All economic acts are performed by rational actors in the system. We are the rational actors. It is not that we are forced to act in a certain way, we simply take as given the paradigms that serve as the foundation for all of our actions as economic beings. Since we were born into the system, raised and taught to be rational actors within it, I suppose you could make the point we have been coerced to do what we do. We really have no other way to see ourselves and the world in which we live.

We live in a culture and economic system that fits the definition of being insane.   
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 17, 2014, 04:57:41 PM

We live in a culture and economic system that fits the definition of being insane.

At the very least, we are delusional.

"A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary."

Our guiding paradigm argues that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good. We believe this despite superior evidence to the contrary. This is not as disheartening as it first appears. We can simply acknowledge that the paradigm is patently false. Having successfully escaped from this delusion, we can now act to avoid its deleterious consequences.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 18, 2014, 03:13:42 AM
"Either we reject the existing paradigm..."

Again, what exactly would that look like? Is it at first just a mental thing? It's really, really hard for someone living, for example, in most place in the USA to suddenly decide not to take part in 'the system'--not drive in any internal combustion engine, not use electricity generated by coal, not engage in economic activities of various sorts...

So would one be able to recognize someone who had rejected the existing paradigm? Or would they necessarily have to harbor their new paradigm mostly in secret--participating outwardly with the system while not 'buying in' to it? Always looking for ways to subtly subvert it without looking like s/he was doing so?

I'm afraid to say that if you have rejected the existing paradigm, I think you are then the same as the native americans - the enemy of the system - and logically a target thereof.

Can you really change the paradigm without destroying the system? Is there any difference in that respect between the paradigm and the system? (particularly as now we do not have time for evolution, only for revolution).

Furthermore to instate a new paradigm requires you to either come into conflict with the existing one (particularly in the sense of revolution) or to wait until it is gone naturally (my preference, as it's a lot easier to focus on in terms of personal capability). Therefore you cannot bring about a new paradigm that dominates secretly. There must be a point at which the new paradigm forcefully (not necessarily violently per se, but in this case probably so) pushes aside the old if or while the two co-exist (if it is built from the ashes, I think you get to dispense with most of that bit).

Finally I don't think rejecting the existing paradigm is really just a mental thing - your thoughts matter not a jot if they are not backed by action. I think people also need to reflect just how deep the paradigm and the system go and how far you must be prepared to go to escape from it's orbit.

Most people here no doubt pay taxes (if not on wages then on purchases or some other thing). The revenue from those taxes goes to policing you and to maintaining your compliance with the system. Every year you therefore pay significant amounts of your personal income to the system to enable it to pay other people to keep you under control. Do we see the irony here?

Withdraw your cooperation from this system and you are a criminal.

Hint at acting against it - and you are a terrorist.

One suspects, without necessarily having any personal knowledge, that at this point life is going to be a lot tougher and you're going to be looking over your shoulder quite a bit and confronting some rather complex questions about just what you are prepared to do and in what circumstances.

Again - merely to think you are leaving the system in no way means you really have. The illusion is dangerous and it is what the system can use to trick people into thinking they are acting against it or moving away from it, when in reality it is just a nice distracting illusion - for they remain firmly within the grasp of the system.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 18, 2014, 03:19:36 AM
Our guiding paradigm argues that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good. We believe this despite superior evidence to the contrary. This is not as disheartening as it first appears. We can simply acknowledge that the paradigm is patently false. Having successfully escaped from this delusion, we can now act to avoid its deleterious consequences.

If only it were that simple?

You cannot avoid violence. You can avoid resorting to it yourself, but you cannot avoid it being used against you by those with the means to do so (mostly governments in this context, at least in the developed nations).

Furthermore the depth of the roots of delusion should not be taken lightly (America and climate change denial is a great example here).
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 18, 2014, 02:55:58 PM
Our guiding paradigm argues that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good. We believe this despite superior evidence to the contrary. This is not as disheartening as it first appears. We can simply acknowledge that the paradigm is patently false. Having successfully escaped from this delusion, we can now act to avoid its deleterious consequences.

If only it were that simple?

You cannot avoid violence. You can avoid resorting to it yourself, but you cannot avoid it being used against you by those with the means to do so (mostly governments in this context, at least in the developed nations).

Furthermore the depth of the roots of delusion should not be taken lightly (America and climate change denial is a great example here).

While I don't believe violence will be perpetrated against anyone who simply chooses to make purchases based on "common good", I do agree with you that actual transformation of the economy is more difficult than it could be. We are simply too intent on making choices based on pure self interest.

Perhaps, I should go out and buy a car. It would be very convenient and I certainly could afford one even though my reliance on public transportation and cabs saves me money.

Having sold my car 3 years ago, I've yet to have militias, armed by GM, knock on my door. I can always hope they remain unable find me, I suppose.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 18, 2014, 03:07:37 PM
"Either we reject the existing paradigm..."

Again, what exactly would that look like? Is it at first just a mental thing? It's really, really hard for someone living, for example, in most place in the USA to suddenly decide not to take part in 'the system'--not drive in any internal combustion engine, not use electricity generated by coal, not engage in economic activities of various sorts...

So would one be able to recognize someone who had rejected the existing paradigm? Or would they necessarily have to harbor their new paradigm mostly in secret--participating outwardly with the system while not 'buying in' to it? Always looking for ways to subtly subvert it without looking like s/he was doing so?

I'm afraid to say that if you have rejected the existing paradigm, I think you are then the same as the native americans - the enemy of the system - and logically a target thereof.

Can you really change the paradigm without destroying the system? Is there any difference in that respect between the paradigm and the system? (particularly as now we do not have time for evolution, only for revolution).

Withdraw your cooperation from this system and you are a criminal.

Hint at acting against it - and you are a terrorist.



Using a different paradigm is not the same as rejecting capitalism. It can be entirely consistent with capitalism as it guides us to make different choices. In fact, we already do this.

We all have families. We have parents, children, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. This social unit is very resilient, dependent on the connections between members of the family and has existed and persisted throughout human history. The economic choices we make routinely consider the impact they have on our families and we seek to benefit our families when we make them. The common good guides our choices. We do not make choices in pursuit of pure self interest.

I've raised 4 children. At no point has my government identified me as a criminal for making choices that benefit my family and I doubt if I publicly advocated for others to do the same that I would be labeled a terrorist. I'm not sure where you live but I think you should emigrate to the U.S.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 18, 2014, 03:22:22 PM

Furthermore to instate a new paradigm requires you to either come into conflict with the existing one (particularly in the sense of revolution) or to wait until it is gone naturally (my preference, as it's a lot easier to focus on in terms of personal capability). Therefore you cannot bring about a new paradigm that dominates secretly. There must be a point at which the new paradigm forcefully (not necessarily violently per se, but in this case probably so) pushes aside the old if or while the two co-exist (if it is built from the ashes, I think you get to dispense with most of that bit).

Finally I don't think rejecting the existing paradigm is really just a mental thing - your thoughts matter not a jot if they are not backed by action. I think people also need to reflect just how deep the paradigm and the system go and how far you must be prepared to go to escape from it's orbit.


Discarding the existing paradigm and selecting a new one does result in conflict but the conflict is a personal one. Of course, we each are free to make this choice. This is the true meaning of freedom within the system of capitalism.

Do we want to operate under the existing paradigm? Do we want to continue to subscribe to the myth that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good? Can we persist in acting as rational actors within the existing paradigm in the face of mounting evidence that doing so will lead to our destruction? If we so choose, we are suffering from a delusion, a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. Either we reject the existing paradigm and act in accordance with a new paradigm or we should accept the increasingly irrational and damaging but logical results of a system, behaving in a manner that is consistent with those paradigms.

We must decide for ourselves if we choose to continue to be rational actors, guided by the existing paradigm, and serve to perpetuate the system or choose to operate from the new paradigm with its attendant impact on the realization of pure and amoral self interest. I would like to suggest that no actions within the existing paradigm have any hope of saving us from the logical results of the system of capitalism. We will continue to inhabit a world of desperate want and injustice and environmental degradation that threatens our very existence.

If there is violence, if there is a war, it is a war with ourselves.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 18, 2014, 03:36:20 PM

Furthermore to instate a new paradigm requires you to either come into conflict with the existing one (particularly in the sense of revolution) or to wait until it is gone naturally (my preference, as it's a lot easier to focus on in terms of personal capability).



In this single sentence you capture the point I am making. Yes there is conflict of a very personal nature. The revolution is the personal act of discarding the existing paradigm and embracing a new one. You can certainly choose to continue to be guided by pure self interest. I will absolutely defend your right to do so.

I am not sure how this personal choice to pursue pure self interest will "go naturally" unless you mean when you pass into the next world. May you live a long life and accumulate vast wealth, entirely dismissive of the needs and fate of your grandchildren.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 18, 2014, 04:14:39 PM
I attended the University of Chicago where I obtained a degree in Economics and an MBA. I would like to believe that this institution has the finest economics program in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the degree.

I thought I would link to a very short video, a small portion of an interview with Milton Friedman, a brilliant man and economist who taught and did research at the university. It is one simple example of the public discourse regarding the paradigm we have all chosen to accept and guide our lives.

Socialism vs Capitalism: Milton Friedman. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-o0kD9f6wo#ws)

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 18, 2014, 04:33:44 PM
SH, I think we mostly agree, but in the following, you seem a bit naive: " At no point has my government identified me as a criminal for making choices that benefit my family and I doubt if I publicly advocated for others to do the same that I would be labeled a terrorist. I'm not sure where you live but I think you should emigrate to the U.S."

Yeah, probably not if the choice is buying a carrot instead of a twinkie. But many people judged that making choices that benefit their families means standing in the way of projects of various sorts that could harm or displace their families, or refusing to leave homes that were foreclosed on by corrupt banks...

Often such activities (and even much milder ones) will get you on lists of various sorts.

But JimD could probably give a better informed perspective on this.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on March 18, 2014, 06:06:47 PM
wili

We are commenting in a thread that discusses crashing the capitalist system.

I would assume that everyone on this has blog has had their computer ID electronically filed.

When the public libraries has to report anyone checking out certain books to the FBI what can you expect.

We live in a surveillance state with strong authoritarian leanings and everyone is assumed to be potentially hostile and you can be listed as a probable quite easily. 

Depending on how one defines violence; i.e. it does not have to be physical as it can just be intimidation or financial harassment, then I would say that SH's advocating a paradigm change, if effective, would certainly be perceived as a threat and could result in 'violence'. 
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 18, 2014, 06:20:53 PM
Thanks, Jim. I had a feeling you would have some insights on this that would cheer us all up. ;D
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Neven on March 18, 2014, 08:21:41 PM
Milton Friedman, a brilliant man and economist

A bit of a contradiction there, I fear.  ;D

But seriously, the Chicago-style economic thinking, or at least neoclassical thinking seems to have taken over universities all over the world. I guess this is what you mean by paradigm.

It does sound compelling, the way Friedman puts it, but did he ever talk about limits, or where the thing he propagated would eventually lead to? Classical economists like Adams and John Stuart Mill said that at one point, when everyone's basic needs were fulfilled, the economy would become stationary. Neoclassical economists don't seem to do that. They seem to believe in perpetual growth, whether a system is finite or not.

One other point I'm not sure I subscribe to, is the conflation of free market and capitalism. Isn't it possible to have a free market without capitalism, especially when that point has been reached where everyone's basic needs are fulfilled? I think that capitalism is actually diminishing the free market potential, because of a concentration of power and money, which distorts the free market, turning it into a wild market with no rules, where the strongest decide everything.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: wili on March 18, 2014, 11:00:05 PM
As long as there were ever more resources, especially energy resources, to exploit and you could ignore ('externalize') the pollution and other consequences of that use, something like capitalism was indeed probably the best way to run through all of those resources and convert them into pollution and the planet into a rock. The places where that wealth were best distributed tended to be those with a strong, well organized labor movement, something Friedman would not like to hear.

But now those consequences are showing up ever more prominently and the limits to exploiting those resources are starting to hit, but we are mostly still wed to Friedman's ideas.

SH, do you think that people more easily give up one set of delusions if there is another handy set of delusions ready on hand to pick up? Or can we really live without delusions of any sort?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 19, 2014, 12:46:51 AM
As long as there were ever more resources, especially energy resources, to exploit and you could ignore ('externalize') the pollution and other consequences of that use, something like capitalism was indeed probably the best way to run through all of those resources and convert them into pollution and the planet into a rock. The places where that wealth were best distributed tended to be those with a strong, well organized labor movement, something Friedman would not like to hear.

But now those consequences are showing up ever more prominently and the limits to exploiting those resources are starting to hit, but we are mostly still wed to Friedman's ideas.

SH, do you think that people more easily give up one set of delusions if there is another handy set of delusions ready on hand to pick up? Or can we really live without delusions of any sort?

We all get to choose the delusions that guide us.  ;)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 20, 2014, 04:14:17 AM
In this single sentence you capture the point I am making. Yes there is conflict of a very personal nature. The revolution is the personal act of discarding the existing paradigm and embracing a new one. You can certainly choose to continue to be guided by pure self interest. I will absolutely defend your right to do so.

I am not sure how this personal choice to pursue pure self interest will "go naturally" unless you mean when you pass into the next world. May you live a long life and accumulate vast wealth, entirely dismissive of the needs and fate of your grandchildren.

Let me be clear - when I say the existing paradigm will go naturally I mean it will crash and burn, with all the violence and suffering entailed by that.

Whether you took JimD and his 2050 or my "quite possibly within this decade" view - I will see that happen to me in my lifetime. So it is nonsense to wish me a long life and great wealth, I know what my future holds - mostly ashes, only really a question of exactly when.

Knowing what my future holds and determining my response to it is my opportunity to respond to the needs of any descendants I might have that might survive (but more than that - also to think about the species in the wider context, ie the descendants of others too). While self preservation and the hope of surviving at least for some time myself (we all die sometime!) no doubt is a factor to some extent in what I am doing - I don't know most people where I am would be thinking how they were successfully pursuing self interest...

... because I can assure you, if self interest were my primary motivation I would be failing most miserably in achieving success in fulfilling it right now.

The bottom line is that while the collective is composed of individuals, all of whom must adopt a paradigm - what matters most for the fate of civilisation is the collective paradigm, and hence the balance of power in the collective must rest with an appropriate paradigm. There necessarily will be violence if we were to get anywhere near success in transforming the situation. Indeed - on a small scale - there already has been violence in this battle...
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 20, 2014, 04:21:12 AM
Often such activities (and even much milder ones) will get you on lists of various sorts.

Just attending a protest can be enough in the UK.

On the plus side - the more lists the government keeps and the more of us are on them, the harder it becomes for them to do anything about those lists...

And I think the one saving grace about big governments is that they become progressively more and more inefficient. Like adding parallel processors to a computer it is law of diminishing returns as you scale up.

In any event I don't think they're really using the lists a lot yet - the time and place for the lists is a bit later, as things start to unwind - when they want to decapitate any potential sources of protest or alternate sources of leadership.

Not that I know anything about it - just making what seem to me to be reasonable inferences.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 21, 2014, 12:31:20 PM
ccgwebmaster..........

Sorry for the snark. I can be a bit of an ass sometimes. My family and friends all know this. I should not expect someone on a website know this or care to deal with it.

What I reacted to was perhaps a misunderstanding on my part. It felt that you were suggesting that you, personally, could only go on with business as usual while hoping that we could somehow avoid business as usual regarding CO2 emissions. My point is that each of us going on with business as usual guarantees that BAU with regard to CO2 emissions will also be BAU. We are the demand that defines our economy.

Each of us needs to allow this new paradigm to guide our purchases. Certainly, in the short run, we need to make choices that reflect our personal situation. I live in Chicago and do not own a car. I am able to do this but someone in the suburbs might not. I never set my thermostat above 64 in the winter. We dress like it's winter, wear sweaters, warm socks inside the house. I have never had air conditioning where I live. In hot weather my family will move outside, take dinner on the shaded porch, sit under the trees that I planted in the yard, drink lots of water. I use no herbicides or pesticides, no artificial fertilizers in my vegetable garden. My yard has been over run by praying mantis, which eat all manner of pests. Some of them are more than 6 inches long. I compost everything, have rain barrels and have installed a French irrigation system under my garden. I avoid plastics and synthetic fabrics, anything made from oil really. I buy all of my dry goods in bulk, legumes, grains, flours, dried fruits etc. I store them in the saved cardboard cans in which I buy my coffee. Most of the glass containers, we reuse. I recycle everything. I use cloth rags instead of paper towels. I eat very little meat. When I do, it is usually for flavor (a bit of ham, bacon, dried fish).

There are other things, too large to list.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 22, 2014, 03:13:51 AM
What I reacted to was perhaps a misunderstanding on my part. It felt that you were suggesting that you, personally, could only go on with business as usual while hoping that we could somehow avoid business as usual regarding CO2 emissions. My point is that each of us going on with business as usual guarantees that BAU with regard to CO2 emissions will also be BAU. We are the demand that defines our economy.

Or perhaps poor communication on my part for that matter.

Each of us needs to allow this new paradigm to guide our purchases. Certainly, in the short run, we need to make choices that reflect our personal situation. I live in Chicago and do not own a car. I am able to do this but someone in the suburbs might not. I never set my thermostat above 64 in the winter. We dress like it's winter, wear sweaters, warm socks inside the house. I have never had air conditioning where I live. In hot weather my family will move outside, take dinner on the shaded porch, sit under the trees that I planted in the yard, drink lots of water. I use no herbicides or pesticides, no artificial fertilizers in my vegetable garden. My yard has been over run by praying mantis, which eat all manner of pests. Some of them are more than 6 inches long. I compost everything, have rain barrels and have installed a French irrigation system under my garden. I avoid plastics and synthetic fabrics, anything made from oil really. I buy all of my dry goods in bulk, legumes, grains, flours, dried fruits etc. I store them in the saved cardboard cans in which I buy my coffee. Most of the glass containers, we reuse. I recycle everything. I use cloth rags instead of paper towels. I eat very little meat. When I do, it is usually for flavor (a bit of ham, bacon, dried fish).

The sort of things that you list - as well as those mentioned on a couple of occasions by Anne in relation to how people of my grandparents generation lived (and parents when they were children I suspect) - I consider very worthwhile.

For that matter, anyone who cuts their impact significantly through personal choice rather than the blunt force of economic adversity in my view is doing especially well. The main reason my lifetime impact is pretty modest is general economic adversity - I cannot be sure I would have made the right choices given a more affluent situation and closer initial integration with my society. Notwithstanding that I have made some degree of such choices latterly (ie I did have choices at some points), I cannot be sure I would have come to the realisation as to which choices were the right ones without being on the margins for so long?

The perspective on the modern world is surely very different from the outside looking in, than it is if you are on the inside surrounded by it?
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Pmt111500 on April 16, 2014, 06:59:10 AM
tried to tie economical events to the speed of CO2 rise here, it's likely ENSO (and possibly some other oceanic oscillations) effect the speed atmospheric CO2 increases.

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,66.msg24209.html#msg24209 (http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,66.msg24209.html#msg24209)

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on May 19, 2014, 05:08:50 PM
A very good read by Ilargi.

Quote
If we can agree for a moment that there is a very real possibility that we will have both much less capital and less energy available to us in the future, what should we do to define our response to this possibility? The obvious answer would seem to be to scale down, and do that as best we can without causing our societies to crumble because of it. We could take comfort in the knowledge that, despite the huge range of inventions and surge in wealth we have developed over the past 150 years, there is no proof whatsoever that we are happier today than our ancestors were in the Paris of 1900 or Chicago of 1950. We could also acknowledge that our present lifestyles are highly destructive to our habitat, so scaling down would seem to be a good idea from that perspective as well.

Quote
...
The short tenure of the human species marks a turning point in the history of life on Earth. Before the appearance of Homo sapiens, energy was being sequestered more rapidly than it was being dissipated. Then human beings evolved, with the capacity to dissipate much of the energy that had been sequestered, partially redressing the planet’s energy balance.

The evolution of a species like Homo sapiens may be an integral part of the life process, anywhere in the universe it happens to occur. As life develops, autotrophs expand and make a place for heterotrophs. If organic energy is sequestered in substantial reserves, as geological processes are bound to do, then the appearance of a species that can release it is all but assured. Such a species, evolved in the service of entropy, quickly returns its planet to a lower energy level. In an evolutionary instant, it explodes and is gone....

“Today, the extrasomatic energy used by people around the world is equal to the work of some 280 billion men. It is as if every man, woman, and child in the world had 50 slaves. In a technological society such as the United States, every person has more than 200 such “ghost slaves.” to do our work for us.


Quote
Is there really a solid reason, apart from our religious adherence to the equally religious gospel of growth beyond infinity, that would keep us from taking a step back? Are we capable of recognizing the folly of our ideas, and of choosing a different path? That is not an easy question to answer. We certainly are as individuals, but as a group, as a society, different rules apply. Scaling down would collapse our economies, since they depend on ongoing growth – and energy use -. It would also collapse our political systems, which for better or for worse are integral parts of the organization of our societies. This probably means we’re not going to get anywhere in any scaling down efforts if as individuals we stay where we are, if that is a typical American or British or continental European community. Which in turn means most people may switch a light bulb or get a less inefficient vehicle, but that’ll be it, and they’ll stay put. And help David Price’s predictions along.

It’s entirely possible that there is no way out for us. That we are merely a species that evolved to “redress the planet’s energy balance”, and the best we can lay claim to is that we are “an integral part of the life process”. However, again, we’re not gone yet. But we will be if we keep doing what we do. The pinnacle question is whether we can cross the great divide between what we can do as individuals and what we need to do as societies

http://www.theautomaticearth.com/debt-rattle-may-18-2014-how-to-redress-the=-planets-energy-balance/ (http://www.theautomaticearth.com/debt-rattle-may-18-2014-how-to-redress-the=-planets-energy-balance/)
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on May 27, 2014, 04:46:51 AM
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-end-of-employment.html (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-end-of-employment.html)

Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on May 27, 2014, 01:44:20 PM
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-end-of-employment.html (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-end-of-employment.html)

Not a bad article, but I think the premise that we are better equipped to deal with collapse this time around is slightly flawed as it's only true while we retain the knowledge and technologies that give us an advantage over those who went before. Our situation is ultimately incomparably worse, I would argue.

The idea of transition (in an employment sense) is also strongly represented in the final conclusions. I think that's seriously flawed - particularly in the developed nations, where people have been conditioned to fit into the corporate machine. Let's face it, if you're desperate it's just as easy to turn to crime as it is to reinvent yourself.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on May 27, 2014, 03:02:33 PM
A very good read by Ilargi.

Quote
If we can agree for a moment that there is a very real possibility that we will have both much less capital and less energy available to us in the future, what should we do to define our response to this possibility? The obvious answer would seem to be to scale down, and do that as best we can without causing our societies to crumble because of it. We could take comfort in the knowledge that, despite the huge range of inventions and surge in wealth we have developed over the past 150 years, there is no proof whatsoever that we are happier today than our ancestors were in the Paris of 1900 or Chicago of 1950. We could also acknowledge that our present lifestyles are highly destructive to our habitat, so scaling down would seem to be a good idea from that perspective as well.

Quote
...
The short tenure of the human species marks a turning point in the history of life on Earth. Before the appearance of Homo sapiens, energy was being sequestered more rapidly than it was being dissipated. Then human beings evolved, with the capacity to dissipate much of the energy that had been sequestered, partially redressing the planet’s energy balance.

The evolution of a species like Homo sapiens may be an integral part of the life process, anywhere in the universe it happens to occur. As life develops, autotrophs expand and make a place for heterotrophs. If organic energy is sequestered in substantial reserves, as geological processes are bound to do, then the appearance of a species that can release it is all but assured. Such a species, evolved in the service of entropy, quickly returns its planet to a lower energy level. In an evolutionary instant, it explodes and is gone....

“Today, the extrasomatic energy used by people around the world is equal to the work of some 280 billion men. It is as if every man, woman, and child in the world had 50 slaves. In a technological society such as the United States, every person has more than 200 such “ghost slaves.” to do our work for us.


Quote
Is there really a solid reason, apart from our religious adherence to the equally religious gospel of growth beyond infinity, that would keep us from taking a step back? Are we capable of recognizing the folly of our ideas, and of choosing a different path? That is not an easy question to answer. We certainly are as individuals, but as a group, as a society, different rules apply. Scaling down would collapse our economies, since they depend on ongoing growth – and energy use -. It would also collapse our political systems, which for better or for worse are integral parts of the organization of our societies. This probably means we’re not going to get anywhere in any scaling down efforts if as individuals we stay where we are, if that is a typical American or British or continental European community. Which in turn means most people may switch a light bulb or get a less inefficient vehicle, but that’ll be it, and they’ll stay put. And help David Price’s predictions along.

It’s entirely possible that there is no way out for us. That we are merely a species that evolved to “redress the planet’s energy balance”, and the best we can lay claim to is that we are “an integral part of the life process”. However, again, we’re not gone yet. But we will be if we keep doing what we do. The pinnacle question is whether we can cross the great divide between what we can do as individuals and what we need to do as societies

http://www.theautomaticearth.com/debt-rattle-may-18-2014-how-to-redress-the=-planets-energy-balance/ (http://www.theautomaticearth.com/debt-rattle-may-18-2014-how-to-redress-the=-planets-energy-balance/)

This essay and  the associated excerpts from the author, David Price" says far more eloquently the point I have been making regarding growth systems (capitalism) constrained by a finite resource (earth). Such a system (their are countless examples in nature) have only 2 possible outcomes, achieve a dynamic equilibrium with the finite resource or grow exponentially until collapse. There simply are no other possibilities. Does this mean human extinction? Not necessarily. Nature is replete with examples of alternating booms and busts where a predator population, faced with a seemingly limitless prey population, grows exponentially until the prey population suddenly collapses and this is quickly followed by a collapse of the predators. As prey populations recover, the cycle begins anew.

There is one other thing about growth systems that are constrained by finite resources. If there is a significant lag in the feedbacks in such a system (AGW is just such a feedback) the likelihood of achieving a dynamic equilibrium drops dramatically. Also, if the stocks that are drawn from the finite system replenish very slowly (think fossil fuels and the hundreds of millions of years it took to form) then the rebound from a collapse will be very slow and look entirely different than the initial development. Human civilization, as it rebounds, cannot possibly look like the past 10,000 years.

What is really very spooky about this article is that my name is David Price. I am not that David Price.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: Shared Humanity on May 27, 2014, 03:36:55 PM
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-end-of-employment.html (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-end-of-employment.html)

Not a bad article, but I think the premise that we are better equipped to deal with collapse this time around is slightly flawed as it's only true while we retain the knowledge and technologies that give us an advantage over those who went before. Our situation is ultimately incomparably worse, I would argue.

The idea of transition (in an employment sense) is also strongly represented in the final conclusions. I think that's seriously flawed - particularly in the developed nations, where people have been conditioned to fit into the corporate machine. Let's face it, if you're desperate it's just as easy to turn to crime as it is to reinvent yourself.

I agree, a great article. I also agree with your feeling that we are not better equipped. This is due, in large part, to the fact that the growth system we now have (the world wide modern industrial society) is more complex than anything that has come before. The larger and more complex a  system is, the more spectacular and devastating is the collapse. Furthermore the more integrated you are in this system, the worse that impact will be.

Think of the Roman Empire, a growth system that spanned the Mediterranean and most  of Europe. When it collapsed, it plunged this area of the world into the dark ages and it took nearly 1000 years to recover. Meanwhile, China was unaffected.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on May 27, 2014, 06:04:05 PM
Quote
What is really very spooky about this article is that my name is David Price. I am not that David Price.

hmmmm.....I thought we found you out!   ;D
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on May 27, 2014, 06:25:35 PM
I agree, a great article. I also agree with your feeling that we are not better equipped. This is due, in large part, to the fact that the growth system we now have (the world wide modern industrial society) is more complex than anything that has come before. The larger and more complex a  system is, the more spectacular and devastating is the collapse. Furthermore the more integrated you are in this system, the worse that impact will be.

I think that last point - being more integrated in the system and consequently the impact being worse - is what he's getting at. But I think he's ignoring many of the realities of our world, not exactly his fault - his blinkers are a result of his upbringing and social immersion (and age), as we all have to some extent (some more than others).

Consider what he is saying with respect to employment though, and apply it to oneself. Part of what he is saying is that the management classes need to go and the structure to become flatter - fair enough. I've already done that as circumstances prevent me from participating in the local labour market, but it means competing in the global market place - and that means earning a lot less on account of competition from India and China (and having little job security). So my boss is me, but I pay a steep price (even if I do realise other benefits, I don't think they remotely outweigh the cost, I just have no realistic choices).

However, while my expertise (software engineering) may fare better than plenty of other professions - surely there comes a point in the process of collapse and simplification where there are far too many software engineers (one of countless professions supported by the cheap plentiful energy he identifies as underpinning modern civilisation)? That is my one area of arguable expertise, and while there are other things I can do, I have no qualifications in anything (including software engineering), and not a great deal of experience in anything else. The odds of my changing to another profession in the face of competition from people with much greater experience and pieces of paper are therefore pretty small, excepting to find some sort of a strange niche.

So what am I to do, should I become unable to afford to eat?

I have enough experience of poverty to know what the limitations of society are, and can read the writing on the wall well enough to know I would be an absolute fool to trust to the mercy of the "system" as implemented by my society (or any other I might be passing through).

In an ideal world I would control some land and be able to support myself fairly self sufficiently upon it. However the price of land in nations I can legally live is so high that I would have spent far more to do that than I have spent to do what I have done - and therefore it is an option that is simply mathematically unavailable (have never been able to afford to do it, just as I never could afford to buy a house).

That leaves the option of heading into the wilderness to try to survive with my accumulated resources and knowledge, or if unable to decouple from society to that extent - to fall back upon violence for survival. As collapse accelerates, in some senses everywhere could be said to become wild in the sense that law and order will retreat, but there is at least some moral ground (and sensible strategy) to opting out of violence as long (and much) as reasonably possible.

If you take my personal attributes and my resource level and place in society - violence is ultimately an entirely rational choice (especially without sufficient preparations for completely decoupling from society). I'd be curious to know what counter arguments he could make to that.

Think of the Roman Empire, a growth system that spanned the Mediterranean and most  of Europe. When it collapsed, it plunged this area of the world into the dark ages and it took nearly 1000 years to recover. Meanwhile, China was unaffected.

Therein lies a reason it is a worse collapse by far than most previous - it's global in reach - and from a population base previously unprecedented for our species (far more scope for violence, far less places to run and hide).
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: JimD on May 28, 2014, 05:17:36 PM
ccg

It may be a skill that you are completely uninterested in or would avoid due to your commitment to fighting AGW, but for someone living on a boat there is and will be for a few decades a need for skilled marine diesel mechanics. I am sure you know this.  A guy with knowledge and on board tools could undoubtedly make some good exchange on the side almost anywhere he goes.

Not to mention the ability to fix/repair a lot of the hardware found on those boats as well.

Just a thought.
Title: Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
Post by: ccgwebmaster on May 28, 2014, 08:19:33 PM
It may be a skill that you are completely uninterested in or would avoid due to your commitment to fighting AGW, but for someone living on a boat there is and will be for a few decades a need for skilled marine diesel mechanics. I am sure you know this.  A guy with knowledge and on board tools could undoubtedly make some good exchange on the side almost anywhere he goes.

Well, the question was partly rhetorical in the sense most people haven't taken the choices I have (I would imagine my self sufficiency far greater than most people my age).

I have of course had to learn a little about diesels (and outboards) by virtue of having to fix my own problems, but I'm a very long way from a useful level of expertise. Diesel mechanics are relatively common and easy to find, especially in areas where demand is high. While I imagine it is seldom a show stopper it is technically illegal for one to work for hire/reward in most jurisdictions (it does mean in practice that you cannot safely advertise).

And there are of course quite a few other things I've learned (and have the tools and equipment to do) in the process of working on my boat. However, one is speculating a world where I can't support myself working online as a software engineer - does one really think there will be that much work out there for my much weaker skills by then? Or that there won't be intense competition from countless other people trying to get by? (in general boating as a leisure industry means a lot of the money evaporates in times of economic adversity in any case)

Charter or day trips are similarly legislatively problematic (a pity, my boat is a decent size). In general - for younger people, I feel confident saying I think the world has grown such that we are strangled by regulations and legalities our parents generation had far less of (and their parents even less of again).

Not to mention the ability to fix/repair a lot of the hardware found on those boats as well.

Just a thought.

But you're still projecting from the current time, and just subtracting one element - software engineering. I suspect leisure boating will fade away before the demand for software engineers does.

Of course, someone who hadn't taken such drastic choices would have greater ability to participate in local economies. I guess that's why so many younger people with degrees can be found waiting tables or unemployed now (particularly in certain European nations). That's of course another case in point - what do those people do when they can't even get that job?