The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Understanding Your Control Over Climate Change

This is what all political efforts to reduce CO2 emissions have accomplished:


It is often argued that individuals are not helpless, they can join political movements intended to stop climate change.

I’m sorry, but it’s too late. The time to do that was decades ago. People did do it, and they failed. They didn’t move the needle at all.

We’re done. Climate change is happening. We have broken the old homeostasis and where the new homeostasis is, there is no way of telling. Everything we did doesn’t show up in the CO2 chart, while meanwhile we’re actually accelerating destroying one of the world’s two most important tropical rain forests, as the temperate rain forest of the Northwest burns down, changing the Pacific Northwest into a different ecosystem, one which will fix a lot less carbon. In the permafrost areas, permafrost is literally burning and exploding out of the ground, releasing methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas.

The world’s most powerful state, the US, is ruled by an oligarchy. In 2014, Princeton did a study which found that the opinion of anyone who is not part of the oligarchy (a.k.a., probably you, the reader) has no effect on what the government does. NONE.

This should hardly be a surprise to anyone who was awake during the last 40 odd years.

China is still industrializing and modernizing. More and more cars, more and more power plants, vast use of oil, gas, and coal.

The Paris climate accords, which driveling idiots gushed over, had no enforcement mechanism. None.

Politics is not going to stop climate change. Period.

Climate change is a FACT, it is past the point where it can be stopped. It is happening, now, and catastrophically. The catastrophic period has occured: Lytton, in British Columbia Canada, had Canada’s highest ever temperature, then burned 90 percent down. The fires over B.C were so fierce they were causing their own thunderstorms, complete with lightning strikes starting new fires.


When the Titanic is going down, some people survive. When the Roman Empire is collapsing, some people survive.

I’m not saying “don’t engage politically,” at least in countries where it won’t get you dead or locked up or beaten to the point of lifelong disability.

What I am saying is: Don’t count on political action to save you from climate change.

Even if it works, the best it could and can do is slightly mitigate what is going to happen, and convince governments to prepare and maybe help people who aren’t in the top .1 percent of the population.

Your power isn’t in stopping climate change by getting government and corporations to change their behaviour — it is too late. They will change when the oligarchy decides to change, and not before, or when the oligarchy is overthrown.

BUT, you can change how you prepare. Where you live, what your housing is like, who your friends are, what  your skills are, and so on. Perhaps it is time for some people to join a monastery or a mutual aide society (or church that operates as one). Perhaps it is time to migrate to a place where the bottom level aquifers aren’t polluted. Perhaps… well, whatever.

Catastrophes have started. They will continue. Whether you survive and how well will be determined, to a large extent, by you: You must prepare and adapt, and so must your friends and family. You cannot count on government or corporations, though they will give some aid. Helping you will never be a priority unless it serves the interests of the oligarchy (or CCP, or whatever).

In some countries (Vietnam, for example) the well-being of the masses is important to the elites, but in most, and certainly most developed, countries, it is not. Whether it is or not, climate change is now written into our future’s history, past the point of no return.

So don’t be fooled; don’t waste your life and energy trying to stop the Titanic from sinking after it has already been holed.

Instead, this is a self-preservation and triage situation: Decide what you can do to save yourself and some others and do that.

This isn’t an article I take any pleasure in writing. I am one of those who spent a decent chunk of their life trying to change politics to stop climate change. I, and those like me, failed (most people didn’t even try, so I don’t have any real guilt about the failure).

I wasted my life trying to stop climate change from reaching the runaway stage, but it has.

So, now, as one of those who saw this coming for decades and wrote about it repeatedly, listen to me, and do what you can to save your own life and the lives of others you care about.

(My writing helps pay my rent and buys me food. So please consider subscribing or donating if you like my writing.)



Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 11, 2021


Cuba’s Big Currency Mistake


  1. Plague Species

    This is what all political efforts to reduce CO2 emissions have accomplished…

    To your point, I’d say what political efforts? There has been no political effort and this graph betrays that. Plenty of political rhetoric and grandstanding and posturing about the issue, but other than THAT effort to capitalize on growing angst by pretending to be concerned, nothing has truly been done to mitigate climate chaos and the damage to the environment overall. The only solutions they’re pretending to offer now are Wall Street solutions that are no solutions at all wrapped in the cloak of Green.

    And this is just America and the West. The rest of the planet, all the other developed nations, are no different. China with its 1.8 billion people is a massive die-off waiting to happen any day now. Wrap your head around that. 1.8 billion people residing on land that increasingly can no longer sustain those numbers. It’s going to be horrific.

    At this point, I think it’s time to rethink euthanasia laws and allow people to humanely check out early if they are so inclined. It beats having them die in agony on the street. China, for example, has mobile execution chambers as part of their swift justice system, so why not mobile youthinasia chambers too? The West can follow China’s lead.

  2. Ché Pasa

    To Ian’s point:


    Those who can, do. But there are so many, many who cannot or for whatever reason, won’t.

    We might say this is the critical legacy of Friedmanism/neo-liberalism. Even their strongest advocates are whispering “Whoops!” among themselves and a bit of it is seeping out into the real world. But it’s too late now, and all our Overclass can think of is how to profit from the looming catastrope, and how quickly they can rocket themselves into space.

    Titanic is an appropriate metaphor. Though it’s been used countless times to describe Our Predicament — whatever it may be.

  3. Danl Lynch

    Agree with Ian.

    While I know it won’t make an iota of difference, I have planted a couple hundred trees on my property and have greatly reduced my travel by car. Forget about flying. In general, I don’t consume much, because nearly all consumption has a carbon footprint. Someday, when my grandchildren ask me what I did about climate change, I want to be able to say “well, I tried. I did what I could.”

    I am of the age where I’ll be gone long before the serious shit hits the fan, but I worry for the world we are leaving young people.

  4. Stirling Newberry

    You have a choice and it is running into the same problem as before: most people want less climate change but a few, with lots of capital, want to do things as they have been done. This means that most people have levers that basically ask: “How much energy do you want to go to climate change: too much or way too much?” The majority of the developed economy says “too much” but buys nick-nacks from underdeveloped economies where people don’t care. This leads to a paradox: the rich economies fund a lot more global warming. A lot. So, per person, an American produces more than a Chinese person. But, there are 4 times as many Chinese, and the Chinese government burns anything it can lay its hands on, until recently even plastics. Until they suddenly realize that they paid for it in medical costs.

    This means that you, personally, have a great deal more political control and a much larger carbon footprint. But, the worst offenses are commit by the economies on the gap: China and Brazil. Both sides point at the other. If we go into recession, it falters because it is the wedge that we spend, economically. And the rich do not make sacrifices.

  5. Z

    This summer is going to be rough with Portland blowing past their previous temperature high by eight f*in degrees (115 versus 107) already and all the wildfires in the PNW that will come from that. What happens next summer will be extremely interesting because there will be more particulates in the air due to the reopening of the economy. Mark Pontin pointed out that some climate experts believe particulates decrease the earth’s heat retention because it deflects the sun’s rays.

    Just imagine if we are so recklessly off into non-linear land that we see temperatures of 120 in Portland next year. If that happens, to me it seems ever more doubtful that we’ll see human life survive the 2020s.

    Anyway, as Ian pointed out, all we can do is do what we can. The macro control is out of our hands, and possibly completely out of mankind’s hands at this point.


  6. Hugh

    Climate change has already gotten out of hand enough that we are going to have to pull out the big guns and call it a Hoax. Problem solved! That was close.

  7. A

    If climate change is now a foregone conclusion, is there any point bothering to be environmentally conscious? For example, would getting a more fuel efficient car or driving less have any meaningful effect?

  8. Z


    I’m in the same camp as Dan Lynch: we owe it to the younger generation in particular to try.

    Of course, everyone has to make their own decisions on how much they invest in that effort, if they care to at all, but purposely tossing a gasoline soaked towel into the fire doesn’t seem to me to be an ethical and considerate action to partake in.


  9. Hugh

    We may not win, indeed we won’t win, but we can still fight. As someone once told me, bearing witness is still worthy even if it is the only thing left.

  10. Astrid

    If climate change is inevitable and effective mitigation is fraught given positive feedback loops and collective action problems, then how do we respond? Do we try frantically to figure out a living a path for ourselves and our descendents? Do we try to make things a little better within our lifetime? Do we live with dignity with what time we have and try to live as blamelessly as possible? Should we just enjoy the party as much as possible, knowing the morning after will be total hell no matter what?

    I would like to think I’m mapping something between the latter two options. Don’t speed things along to much. Enjoyment and kindness are good in themselves.

    I may just want to live long enough to see Cliff Mass admit that his smug linear thinking on climate change is completely wrong.

  11. Willy

    Developed nations caused all this. And now those who care from developed nations are trying to shame developing nations into not following the same consumptionist pathway which those who don’t care continue to control and promote and brainwash and sell.

    Ideally, developed nations would provide alternate pathways for developing nations to follow. But whenever a developing nation gets a little uppity, those who don’t care from developed nations smack em down.

    Which is why I admire Elon Musk’s organizations. Not because he’s any kind of political visionary or great guy worth following or any of that. But because somehow, things previously seemed impossible to get done, get done. I’m talking about political will here. I’m not talking about the cult worship of yet another imperial Rome, except this time on Mars. For whatever reasons, technological stagnation gets cleared out of the way and things happen. He demonstrates that it doesn’t all have to be all technological stagnation and unsolved problems and short term duct tape solutions with no hope in sight because things are just too impossible for large groups of people working together to accomplish. Somehow he’s created a culture of problem solving, like we from developed nations used to have a bit more of, back in the day. It seems that most of the other PTB have devolved into nihilism and lies.

  12. Z


    So, I personally can understand if folks can’t afford to buy a new fuel efficient car and therefore don’t because the fact of the matter is is that it is extremely unlikely that the existence of life on earth it will come down to one measly personal decision on what car they drive but if one has the money then paying ten thousand more for a fuel efficient car would at least make me feel better about myself, if nothing else, because at least I’d know I made some effort, was willing to sacrifice something towards the common good.


  13. Z


    I’d have a lot more respect for Musk if he was expending more of his genius and financial fortunes on trying to make this planet more habitable than engaging in vanity ventures into space.


  14. Astrid

    Elon Musk produces cars using materials that are extremely environmentally damaging to produce and don’t exist in sufficient quantities to economically scale globally. He designed cars that are hard to nearly impossible to escape if the car’s electrical system goes out. The dashboard in his cars are extremely distracting and his autonomous driving system isn’t much better than the responsive cruise control in my Subaru. He launches thousands satellites into the sky, greatly increasing the chance of Kessler syndrome in the near future and significantly negatively affecting astronomy and meteorology. He latches onto and off of half baked ideas with rescue submarines and Bitcoin to giving his children unpronounceable names to trend himself on social media.

    To compared him to anyone who seriously accomplished positive things in their life is ridiculous. He’s an uncanny valley Zaphod Beeblebrox, that’s it. His success thus far says much about the sickness at the heart of end stage capitalism.

  15. Hugh

    Elon Musk hates his workers and treats them like garbage. Tesla wasn’t founded on smarts but tax incentives. Most of our tech visionaries founded their fortunes on tax dodges, free money from Wall Street/the Fed, and stealing and selling your information. Doing nothing on climate change except techno-blabber is right in line with them.

  16. Ian Welsh

    There are plenty of threads where Covid comments are appropriate, but except as Covid related to climate change or getting ready for climate change, this isn’t one of them. If all else fails use the open thread, or if Tony has included a Covid article in his roundup, comment there please.

  17. Willy

    I’d have a lot more respect for Musk if he was expending more of his genius and financial fortunes on trying to make this planet more habitable than engaging in vanity ventures into space.
    Agree totally. But that wasn’t my point.

    extremely environmentally damaging to produce… nearly impossible to escape… extremely distracting… Kessler syndrome… half baked ideas…
    You may have a point. But that wasn’t my point.

    Elon Musk hates his workers and treats them like garbage…
    I too, worked in places where workers were treated like garbage. And to add insult to injury, were led to accomplish a fucked up mess, mostly.

    To compared him to anyone who seriously accomplished positive things in their life is ridiculous.
    My point is that he accomplishes, not whether it was was positive or ridiculous or not. Why can’t we accomplish? Aren’t we supposed to be the good guys? Back to the post topic: “People did do it, and they failed. They didn’t move the needle at all.”

    So why did those people fail and not move the needle at all? Before you say “because money”, I worked at a places flush with cash which were still fucked up messes.

  18. Joan

    I definitely think it’s worth it to reduce one’s personal footprint. It sets a good example. Plus then you have some experience if any of your friends try to do it and have questions. I believe in reincarnation, so I’m not just doing this for everyone’s kids, I’m doing it for future me. If I die in 2085 and come back in 2100 or something, yeesh, good luck to me.

    You learn about all kinds of misconceptions out there regarding what activities are highest in resource depletion, like how I gave up driving before I gave up flying LoL whoops.

    This helps spiritually. Make a list of what you can do to reduce your footprint, do it, and then give yourself permission to not agonize anymore. In my case, I made it ultra spiritual and offered it up in prayer, but obviously that’s not for everyone.

    Specifically, I switched to public transit, decided I wouldn’t fly unless I run into visa trouble, and transitioned my shopping to local sources. Those are the big ones, as far as I can tell.

  19. Temporarily Sane


    By buying a fuel efficient car that costs a bit more than the car you’d usually buy you’re not really sacrificing anything.

    Corporations and various foundations their super wealthy owners support have put a lot of effort into promoting the idea that if enough people buy “green” products, climate change can be “beat” or at least “beaten back.”

    This is a self-serving fiction put out by capitalists who want to protect their access to profit.

    If you are serious about reducing your carbon footprint, ditch your car and go without one. But that’s going to be inconvenient, you say, and my neighbors might look at me funny and I might get status anxiety. Well, yeah, but if it doesn’t cause at least some moderate discomfort it’s not much of a sacrifice, is it.

    Like the old saying goes…effort is only effort when it begins to hurt.

  20. Astrid

    If Musk was serious about climate change, he would be working on next generation electrified bikes and public transit options, not building electric cars for more money and less reliability than traditional carmakers. He wouldn’t be building a fleet of limited life communication satellites to pollute the Earth and sky, to do what earthbound cell towers were doing just fine on. He wouldn’t have 6 kids with clear intent to reproduce further. If he actually cared about understanding what it takes to lived in the harsh environment of space, he’d listen respectfully to people who have been thinking about it for decades and we’d heat about breakthroughs in radiation shielding and low input life support systems.

    And if he did any of the above well, it might be something, even if not necessarily a good thing. But I see unreliable overpriced deathtrap cars, redundant satellites that he will likely charge the government money to clean up after, overpriced home electrical systems that don’t scale, and a bunch of kids who will need serious psychiatric help before they turn 21. And also of being a massive douchebag to make himself the center of attention and attacking people who actually do the hardwork and planning of say, rescuing a bunch of kids trapped in a cave.

    Silicon Valley doesn’t innovate. It just uses Wall Street supplied FedBux to suck the juice out of previously more distributed and better value producing systems and turn them into overhyped crap. I might be willing to grant early Google and Apple and Netflix partial credit, otherwise it’s just a wasteland.

  21. Plague Species

    If you are serious about reducing your carbon footprint, ditch your car and go without one.

    Same goes for electronic communication devices and an internet connection. Ditch them. Right? People don’t need to spend all hours of the day online being compassionate and kind to one another in these waning days.

  22. Plague Species

    Willy has a great point. The will existed, thanks to JFK getting the ball rolling before they blew his head off, to end nuclear weaponry testing. They accomplished it. Of course, that didn’t involve contracting the world economy.

  23. Plague Species

    Astrid is spot on about Musk even if it’s not Willy’s point.

  24. Z

    Temporarily Sane,

    By buying a fuel efficient car that costs a bit more than the car you’d usually buy you’re not really sacrificing anything.

    Really? How about money?

    Everybody makes their own personal decisions on the sacrifices they make, but thanks for your suggestions, which are hardly novel. I’ll properly weigh them by how much I give a shit about what you think of me.


  25. Chicago Clubs

    >He’s an uncanny valley Zaphod Beeblebrox, that’s it.

    How DARE you. Zaphod had more cool in any given molecule than Musk has ever even imagined having in his whole stupid life.

  26. Astrid

    Chicago Club,

    Sheesh, let’s not get our limbs all matted together like a squadron of Jatravartids coming down from a twenty six hours stay at a budget all you can drink Pan Galactic Gargleblaster themed sweat lodge, man.

    I didn’t say Elon was the Zaphod, just an unconvincingly creepy simulacrum of a Zaphod. He’s almost certainly a secret Vogon psychiatrist.

  27. Hugh

    My browser had a Yahoo article about the EU getting set to be a climate change leader, not has, not is, but in the future. Thing is the Paris climate accord was in 2016, five years ago. A big part of it revolves around a carbon tariff on imports and it is not clear that a lot of the less well off EU countries are going to get on board,, but that’s where we are: no leadership, aspirations but no hard targets and commitments.

  28. Ché Pasa


  29. GW

    Nobody is talking about our overpopulation in a warming world. Meanwhile people still want children. My spouse and I decided against that. So, we already have done far more than those who have children. We can burn through all of the carbon that a substantial income can afford yet do less damage than having one child. I have zero incentive to help out future generations of other people’s spawn . . . f**k ’em.

  30. China’s building 100 nuclear plants, India is building 50, Russia is building 50, Vietnam is going nuclear, Saudi Arabia is going nuclear, say Moore in a youtube interview: “Dr. Patrick Moore – A Dearth of Carbon?”

    I’m hardly a fan of conventional nuclear energy, though I’m cautiously very optimistic about thorium and thorium molten salt nuclear energy, if such a thing is even possible.

  31. Plague Species

    Will China’s nuclear plants be as safe as the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

    I think we see what Xi means by Carbon Neutral when turning to nuclear power generation. It means China is wedded to Growth until the death of it, China, and us all.

    The show must go on.

    In defense of Xi and China, even the most ardent environmentalists in the West are also wedded to Growth and so choose not to discuss it when it comes to this most important topic. This comment section is but one example.

  32. Hugh

    We live on a finite planet. Things like population, resources, habitats, and growth need to be managed. It’s a no-brainer. But we aren’t doing it.

  33. Astrid

    Since this thread had gotten hopelessly off topic as usual, I’ll say that I’m really impressed by how Michael Hudson’s interview puts it altogether.

    Again, the West is not physically or necessarily even economically threatened by China (rentierism does far more damage than China’s opportunistic export driven industrialism, Saudi and Turkey funded terrorism and extremism pose a greater physical threat than China, which hasn’t fought anything greater than minor border skirmishes in 40 years), but that it’s emergance as an alternative to Western rentierism. All the foaming of the mouth and refusal to actual debate merits and truthfulness of China v. US positions by Hugh, PS, DC, and Willy said a lot more about the depth of their brainwashing by the neoliberal regime, than they’ve ever managed to pin on China. Whenever someone responds to their “evidence” with anything they don’t like to hear, they go on baseless attacks of the respondent rather than the arguments.

    For the record, I have serious doubts about China’s ability to handle climate change and resource depletion because those are unprecedentedly hard challenges that can run against hard physical constraints in unpredictable ways. But China had seemed to cracked the hard case of being a developing economy that resisted Neoliberal financialization, so I have slightly more trust in their competence than any organs of the West right now. I can certainly be persuaded otherwise, but none of those four have put in any effort.

  34. Astrid


    Children are not responsible for naive or willfully ignorant parents bringing them into this world. Individually having kids isn’t going to change the trajectory much. Just like individually changing consumption habits isn’t going to matter and your energy savings will likely be eagerly consumed by the next ignoramus or willful asshole.

    Still, I can’t imagine the conversation they’re going to have with their kids when SHTF. I have particularly hard time wrapping my mind around the cruelty of people who have some inkling of how bad things are going to get and still decide to have kids. Like, they’re going to have to look at those kids in the eye one day and explain their decision.

    But I’m a terrible future prognosticator (ask me how I moved money out of equities in 2008 and 2020 because I thought something had got to give, hahaha) and have no business deciding how other people go about their lives, even as I do indulge in occasional bouts of judging.

  35. Astrid

    If China didn’t exist, Neoliberal rentierism would still be around and the American factory jobs would go to Vietnamese or Indonesians or Colombia or India. Though other than Vietnam, none of those countries have managed a coherent anti-rentier policy so our elites might not consistently direct our ire that way. Fixating on China and especially fixating on what China is doing within its own borders ( which, even if true, doesn’t rise to anything like what Israel is doing to Palestinians and its Leventine neighbors, a situation that the US could actually do something about but gets no official Western attention despite ample credible evidence), is a blind to distract from what the US rentier FIRE+MIC+IP oligarchy is doing to Americans and people world over, everyday.

  36. Plague Species

    Having money invested in the system is as bad if not worse than having children born into this system.

  37. Plague Species

    If China didn’t exist, Neoliberal rentierism would still be around and the American factory jobs would go to Vietnamese or Indonesians or Colombia or India.

    And? So what. Coulda shoulda woulda. None of that changes the fact that China is the gargantuan Golem in the room.

    Malthus wrote what he did about overshoot in 1798, yet Communist China tripled its population in the mid 20th century in 40 short years when they were already well into overshoot at nearly 500 million. Talk to them about bringing so many children into the world despite what Malthus penned in 1798.

    China shouldn’t have a one child policy, it should have a no child policy and it should also incentivize people to self-euthanize humanely to get its numbers down to more acceptable levels. Instead, China continues to industrialize further and it’s turned and is further turning its population into consumeristic fiends that rival, nay beat, the consumeristic fiends of the West for who can make and purchase the most.

  38. Eric Anderson

    You’re up on NaCap Ian.
    Great article … but I’m struggling with it. The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one right now.
    Working though it …

  39. Astrid

    I can live without children. Pretty hard to live without money in this system. I guess suicide could be an answer, but I’m attached to people who like living and would be pissed if I did an early checkout.

    Plus my money can’t give me a hysterical call at 2 in the morning and say “I just got fired from my contract job due to a really bad reaction to my latest Covid booster and I haven’t eaten since yesterday because the food pantry is limiting to 1 small bag per week for singles. I overdrew my Venmo balance and it’s now locked out. I need you to Venmo me $100 to unlock it so I can drive to my interview and buy some ramen.” Now imagine if you really needed that $100 as copay for your next insulin shot.

  40. Plague Species

    …but I’m attached to people who like living and would be pissed if I did an early checkout….

    Like your wealthy privileged folks who like to travel twelve times a year? Yeah, that’s doing their part just as you investing in Apple is doing your part to mitigate climate chaos and environmental destruction in general. If I was invested in Apple, I would be a China apologist too.

    Also, “people who like living” is euphemism for people who like consuming. Consuming is a drug in its own right, and the wealthy elite and their PMC minions are addicted to it while the poor and dispossessed get stuck with the bill.

  41. Astrid

    Thanks Plague Species, for confirming your genocidal intentions towards the Chinese. And not a universalist stands since you have procreated.

    Looking forward to seeing how Hugh mentally pretzels himself on this point ( who am I kidding? He’ll pretend like he never saw your commentand goes on agreeing with you, anytime I say anything nice about China or Russia.)

  42. Hugh

    China is a major polluter and is a major reason we are failing to stop or even mitigate climate change. But instead of making this as well as growth and population part of the discussion, we are getting the usual kneejerk defenses of China.

  43. profan

    “BUT, you can change how you prepare. Where you live, what your housing is like, who your friends are, what your skills are, and so on.”

    I would appreciate more info about this. I know there is a “survival” post with many comments and there are occasional posts about how to live (learn survival, have access to water, food, make sure your neighbors aren’t going to murder you) but I always appreciate articles on these topics. Where should I live (where in the US in Alaska? Where in the world? In Siberia?). What should my housing be like? Thank you.

  44. nihil obstet

    China’s so evil. They refused to reject the “Most favored nation” status that the U.S. extended to them. They’ve industrialized by providing manufacturing to American corporations. And they will no doubt use the knowledge that working in actual production teaches to become more creative and inventive and then they will maliciously insist on U.S. so-called intellectual property laws. How evil can you get? If only there were a country other than China that could crimp China’s profiting from its markets!

  45. Plague Species

    Nobody here said China is evil. You obviously don’t care about the destruction of the environment and climate chaos, otherwise, you wouldn’t engage in strawman apologia for China. India is nearly as bad as China, so India too and yes, of course, the West. Industrialization and Growth is the issue and China and India are as guilty as the rest and they’re the fastest growing.

  46. Plague Species

    What should my housing be like?

    It’s the near future in housing. Get your order in now. They already have a backlog of 100,000 orders.

    Of course, if you like living, this isn’t for you. McMansions are for those who like to live. Just ask McDonald Trump — he’s a fella who likes to live and live large in fact.

  47. Plague Species

    Thanks Plague Species, for confirming your genocidal intentions towards the Chinese. And not a universalist stands since you have procreated.

    My stance on youthinasia isn’t relegated to just China. It should be universal and voluntary and yes, incentivized. As Ian indicated and I agree, much of the destructive implications of climate chaos are already baked in so there is going to be much suffering and gnashing of teeth. There already is. People should be allowed to humanely opt out if they so wish. I’m anti-suffering as a matter of principle and this is in keeping with ant-suffering. Apparently you’re pro-suffering. I can’t say that surprises me. Those who like to live do so precisely because of suffering. The suffering of others, of course.

  48. Mel

    “near future in housing”

    I’d like to see more thermal inertia. After Ian’s article, I want massive rock, adobe, etc. Preferably underground.
    Of course the 50..60 degrees Fahrenheit below the frostline isn’t a universal absolute. Really just a long-term average over the last many years. We’ve depended on fossil sunlight saved in coal and petroleum, we’ve drawn down fossil water from aquifers that are only replenished over millennia, next comes drawing down fossil cool.

  49. Ché Pasa

    Actually, your housing should not be new. Think on it. Not only is there more than enough already-built vacant housing to decently house every homeless person in the USofA, there’s enough to house everyone who will need housing for at least another generation. (Given the decline in life expectancy and birth rates.)

    Yet there is a “housing crisis.” Why? Mostly because housing costs in many places are beyond the ability of a lot of people to pay. It’s not just rent or mortgage, it’s utilities and insurance and maintenance and everything else that goes with having a home. It costs too much because people aren’t paid enough. People aren’t paid enough because the Overclass demands and gets everything for itself. The Overclass gets everything for itself because they have successfully bought every legislator, regulatory body, and bureaucracy they need to have their way — and we, the rabble, have not.

    No, don’t live in something new, not even a Boxabl. Recycle, renovate, reuse something old.

  50. Willy

    As Astrid points out, since everything Musk has control over always turns to shit, he’s been made a popular billionaire by shit-lovers because that’s all the human race is capable of. Shit.

    But then there’s Xi, able to get things done, way better than Mao ever could. Will that all turn to shit too?

    Should we be championing a narcissistic figurehead / shithead who can disguise climate change mitigation strategies as shit, which the people would then surely want to follow?

  51. Hugh

    Bernanke and Greenspan both bought into the libertarian dogma that markets would self-regulate and so didn’t need regulation. Not sure how this fits into the original Greenspan put but there you are. The result was the housing bubble blowing up in ’07 and the financial system in ’08. And we have had round after round of quantitative easing and fictitious stock markets ever since.

    The thing is the Fed operates not just as our central bank but the central bank to the world. It is an important and necessary tool to allocate resources if we are to tackle climate change. But aside from MMT for the rich, it is nowhere to be seen.

  52. Jason

    You should meet some people who know how to build straw-bale homes in the Yukon. Also, plant some fruit-bearing trees there. You’ll be okay.

  53. Oasis


    I recently discovered No Tech Magazine, which has interesting ideas about living with less energy inputs: As for housing, I’ve been reading about Passive Housing, which is worth exploring.

  54. Astrid

    There’s some discussion about location in the survival thread. Generally, access to water and lack of natural disasters risks good, but as PNW and European heat waves show, all bets are off once climate gets weird. Eastern NA and temperate South America looks the best so far, but no guarantee that nature won’t flip a switch and turn our lives upside down going forward. Don’t expect it to be just like before, but X degrees warmer year around.

    Local population is another wild card. Having a system where you can establish an active support system or at least seamlessly blend in is better than not. Think about how your neighbors might use their guns and skills when time gets tough, will it be to protect you and share venison? Establish a protection racket? Or do they expect to do the “taking” without reciprocity? Is moving to a place with higher social trust and cohesion an option?

    I think if you can afford it, it does make sense to think about defensibility and flexibility in your home. My current home contain enough space to house my parents and in-laws, should they lose the ability to live independently Space for friends and family, if they need shelter. Nice neighbors are worth seeking out and helping out. Your resources may be best expended to help people who will remember your help in time (don’t count on reciprocity, just expend your limited resources on good people).

    If you can, stay away from new construction even if it’s more energy efficient, it’s all made of plywood and foam boards. Pick something made out of brick, concrete, stone, or cinder block. Weatherproof and insulate as much as possible, secure weatherproof roofing, metal shutters or metal bars on windows and doors, dig a well and install a small scale home power grid as a backup, install passive cooling such as outside shutters and slats to optimize seasonal solar exposure. Be really careful about big trees near the house, I have several near my home and if I stay here, they will be severely trimmed back or cut down, as I do not want to worry about one of them falling on my roof once things get tight. Think about digging a cellar or making a safe room, for your respective climate (heat, cold, good, tornado, fire) emergency. Get your power and plumbing system as much up to date as possible, you might not have the chance to upgrade later.

    And don’t just think in terms of one breakdown situation as it can come in many forms. Could be everything from inflation and higher unemployment, to post Katrina NOLA. Be prepared for as many as possible but know you can’t prepare for them all.

  55. Astrid

    This focus on one political figurehead or even a handful of”leadership” misses the point. Many empires have suffered through a bad head of government or two without collapsing and can keep thriving, if the system is sound.

    The Chinese system is made up of millions of civil servants who are largely empowered and promoted based on their effectiveness, through a system that makes the Roman cursus honorum look short and easy by comparison. Leadership matters in any system, but the efficiency of the bureaucracy and it’s ability to self correct also matters. Xi may be bad (we shall see, he’s certainly more Maoist than his predecessors) in which case it seems the CPC has a mechanism for replacing him peacefully as has happened in the past. Remember that even Mao was replaced peacefully by Hua Guofeng, who died peacefully on his and is buried in Baoshan cemetery like most of the CPC leadership. Not a sure thing, but there’s more to China than just “Winnie the Pooh”.

    Similarly, the US didn’t fall apart because it elected Trump, it’s coming apart because it’s been under attack by rentier capitalism for at least 40 years. To think this could be turned around by an election, especially election of sometime who promised everything will stay the same, is madness.

  56. Joan

    As someone who did not have kids, I’ve had the chance to witness my friends having children and compare my feelings to theirs. There are people who genuinely want children and truly love their children and care for them. I think to tell someone like that to have zero children is cruel.

    All the same, the population absolutely has to decline, so having children at a growth rate right now is madness. But the people who have fifteen kids aren’t listening to me, haha.

    A friend of mine said that she could have four kids because I had zero, meaning we evened out at two children per woman. I replied that she did not have my permission because I chose to have zero children in order to help the population decline. She ended up stopping at two anyway.

    Even with not having children as part of my “contribution” I think it’s worth it to decrease one’s own resource use. To me that is simply the ethical thing to do, even if I am just one drop in the ocean.

  57. js

    Individual survival in many cases WILL SIMPLY NOT BE POSSIBLE in a collapsed society. It’s not going to be possible for anyone older or sicker or simply a person born with say Type I diabetes. In that case they need insulin to live. This presumes a society functioning at such a level to produce it (affordability is a whole separate discussion). If they want to live it depends on saving society (as much of a long shot as that may be) and not just themselves. Individual survival is in many cases a dead end because it can’t be pursued strictly at that level.

    But the fittest will survive? I suppose they will.

  58. JE

    I get that the ship has sailed. But I’m also convinced that we can do better together than separately. As was discussed in connection to Musk earlier, people can get things done. My feeling is that the thing to do is to yes reduce your carbon footprint, but the beast of growth that feeds the oligarchs needs us, our permission, tacit or otherwise. We need to not only withhold our consumption but also our funds. We need a general tax strike. We need to get our employers to stop sending in their taxes on our income, our retailers to stop sending in receipts, us independent contractors to stop our quarterly payments. What then? Will the powers that be start giving results?!! Worth a shot and the upshot is the resources to prosecute are thin and will likely never get to us before climate change does. Who’s in!? As the bard said… Let’s you and him fight!

  59. Willy

    So Ian has failed and the ship has sailed and the party is moving to Astrids house. I’ll bring my shovels, because I shovel very well and we’ll be needing foxholes and shelters from the heat. I’m also good with the gardening. We’ll call it the Mystery Men Refuge. I think Ian should be our get- things-done Sphinx figurehead/teacher.

  60. js

    “Do we try frantically to figure out a living a path for ourselves and our descendents? Do we try to make things a little better within our lifetime? Do we live with dignity with what time we have and try to live as blamelessly as possible? Should we just enjoy the party as much as possible, knowing the morning after will be total hell no matter what?”

    Yea those are the real questions. We can frantically try to live as long as possible, but we may not even be able to in many cases, only if we are not just prepared but lucky (don’t need medical care etc.) and also are correct in our predictions (I mean many people might have assumed Canada would be okay but they would have been wrong, at least about some parts of it)

    We can try to make things a little better within our lifetimes and that includes politics. It may or may not be *climate* politics. It may just be getting slightly more human policies that have nothing to do with climate but are ameliorative of suffering in the meantime.

  61. different clue


    The human race up-terraformed the Amazon River Basin, before the age of European Intrusion. So that is also something humanity is capable of .

    It is a major mistake to confuse modern industrial civilization with humanity. They only overlap partially.

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    This post will probably set off a lot of philosophical and moral speculation before it settles down to more specific survival advice.

    One wonders whether this post might end up being hoisted to the top once a week just like the Surviving Hard Times thread . . . if this thread shows promise of becoming a Surviving Global Warming thread.

  62. different clue


    Great Lakestan on both sides of the border may well be okayer for longer than other regions. So might Maritime Atlantica, including Newfnlaehhhnd.

  63. Willy

    I’m wondering if it would be wise to post credible science backing all this up. Not the milquetoasty Al Gore technocrats of course but the seriously hard core Mad Max Hell World guys. Then whenever I see an angry newsblog Karen calling everybody “chicken little”, I can just post such things for the sane to consider.

    But then again, if we tell people, will they just hoard even more ammo and toilet paper in quiet desperation (the english way)? Or can and will the better people help us pull this thing back from the brink?

  64. Ché Pasa

    Are we trying to reinvent the wheel?

    Moving to some remote forest location?
    Building a brand new house in a remote forest location — by a lake, of course?
    Digging a well and a cellar? Stocking a safe room? Air and water purifiers? Guns?

    For those of us who are old enough, this is very much like the nuclear shelter craze of the late ’50s-early ’60s. While the threat of nuclear holocaust was very real, a daily constant, the shelter craze was largely a marketing scheme to get people to spend lots of money on something that was essentially meaningless and useless. It worked, too.

    Yet I know that when we bought the place where we live now, it was in part to have a bug-out place in case everything went to shit, which is where everything was going even then.

    It’a not sustainable to live here full time if we lose electric power altogether because the pumps for the wells go out. And without the wells, we have no water. But as I’ve mentioned before, there is a 500+ acre solar electric field within shouting distance, and wind power facilities are not much farther away. Some individual households have solar or wind power, but not many — largely because of cost. There are a number of smallish farms and ranches in the area, and so long as they have water, they’ll be able to produce food, plenty for the locals, some surplus for others. Nearly everyone we know grows a kitchen garden at least, and some grow much more — fruit trees and grapes for example, not on an orchard or vineyard scale, but enough for more than one household. Again, all reliant on water which comes from wells as there is no surface water.

    Most of us have first aid supplies and some training, and during the panics last year, we stockpiled needed medications as long as we could get scripts — which for some was difficult. I’d say everyone has firearms of one sort or another, mostly for hunting, but there are gun-crazies arming up for “war.” With whom is not entirely clear, but you know how they are.

    We live in a mountain valley that at least in theory would be defensible should need arise, and I imagine some of the strategic minded have thought through how to do it.

    Where I see a short term problem is that there are so many newcomers, more every day. Maybe 200 over the last year (10% of the local population). It’s not sustainable. Water again. At some point, probably sooner than later, a halt will be called.

    Over the long term, survival will be fully dependent on water availability and access.

  65. Anon

    Over the last year, I have built stronger relationships within my faith community. I know from experience that I can’t look to the government for help. Climate change and Covid have shown me that. But my faith community is there for me. For people who have no religious beliefs, there are other supportive groups of like-minded people that can be found. Search for them. Best wishes to all who comment on and read this blog.

  66. someofparts

    An interesting thing about the faith communities where I live is that all of them are still closed for anything besides meetings on Zoom.

  67. Astrid

    Well, in addition to nuclear annihilation, the nuclear shelter craze 2.0 also includes economic collapse, pandemic, apocalyptic fires, hellish heat domes, Texas running out of power, people freaking out about wearing or not wearing masks, Karens giving 2 stars Instacart ratings for not getting the16 containers of Lysol wipes they ordered, Tiger King, and the unspeakable horror of being locked in with your family for 16 months. It’s definitely upping the stakes from season 1.

  68. Astrid

    The cellar idea isn’t for atomic survival (because what’s the point) but just plain vanilla massive fires, tornados, hurricanes, heat waves, and maybe murdery warbands if you hid it carefully.

    Plus if you grow your own food, you definitely need a cool constant temperature place to store your potatoes and cabbages.

  69. different clue

    @ Che’ Pasa,

    Your farmer/rancher regional neighbors may already be preparing for a more hostile climate by reading and considering this book.,pace%20and%20in%20place%20with%20arid-adapted%20crop%20plants.

  70. Mark Pontin

    Just wait till Season 3, when the stakes get further heightened with the Weather Wars and states like China unilaterally increase (they’ll have little choice) the geoengineering they’ve already been doing for the last couple of decades —

    — and get into it with their nuclear-armed neighbors in India complain.

  71. different clue

    There are tools and instruments which people can use to help themselves and others survive better or at all in an unevenly industrialized future world. But those tools and instruments are made by industrial civilization. And if they are not bought , installed, learned, applied, etc. now, while industrial civilization exists to supply them, they may not exist later when someone decides hee/shee truly needs them.

    People depending on underground water for which the only possible pumps are electrical should buy and install now the home-electricity-production systems needed to run a water pump when the power grid disappears. Though maybe a pump could be geared or belted to a little home steam engine, to be run by that. Is such a thing possible in theory?

  72. Hugh

    With the US technically out of Afghanistan, the clock is running for a nuclear war between increasingly radicalized semi-failed states India and Pakistan. It would be typical of our species to mitigate global warming through the particulate matter kicked into the atmosphere by regional nuclear exchanges.

  73. Astrid

    That’s not enough, we need to plot Veep Harris and Secretary Mayo Pete in. And maybe a cameo return of Tom Hanks in the season 3 closing shot, bleeding from eyes, mouth, nose, and ears ( it’s okay, he’s going to survive in season 4, but a lot of off camera statistics won’t).

  74. Ché Pasa

    This valley was probably a glacial lake 10,000 + years ago; there may have been Native settlements near the lake till it dried up ~8,000 years ago. Since then there were no permanent settlements — since there was no surface water — until about 1900 when homesteading was opened. The first permanent settlement was a ranch compound a few miles north of our place (no longer there, nor is there much indication it ever was there). About 1903, deep wells were drilled and lo, artesian water was found at whatever hundred feet deep, and a farming boom began, soon to cease as the easy water was quickly depleted. In the 20s and 30s deeper wells were drilled and water was pumped to new farm fields which of course were plowed and farmed wrong and Dust Bowl conditions drove most everyone who’d settled around here away. They started coming back in the 50s with the same erroneous methods and of course Dust Bowl conditions returned, once again driving nearly everyone away.

    In the 60s, the few remaining farmers educated themselves enough to understand how you could do dryland farming without losing topsoil and creating yet another Dust Bowl, and most of them are still here– or their descendants are. Ranchers learned they could run cattle without destroying the land. Happiness returned.

    Population was growing again, and that was a problem because water. People had electricity from the co-op, natural gas lines in some areas, even sewers here and there and a treatment plant! Paved streets and roads! But water was limited. The wells were drilled deeper and deeper. In some areas, I hear the wells are dry and there’s no deeper water to get. Where we are, one neighbor drilled a deeper well last year, but that isn’t common — yet.

    Population went up and down around 1,500 reaching almost 2,000 and then falling. Rising again. And last year, big rise started, still going on. People escaping the city. Need some place to bug out when everything goes to shit.

    There are local preppers (especially the Mormons) but most aren’t, no more than people who’ve been self-reliant for a long time would prep and learn to make do. They’ve been Living Lean all or most of their lives, and that, dear friends, is a key factor. Folks around here, even the ricos, know how to do without, know what’s necessary and what isn’t, and how to adapt to changing conditions.

    If things get really bad, a big percentage will leave, but not everyone. At least not as long as there’s water.

    I think about big cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas and those in Southern California, not to mention northern Mexico. Where will they go?

  75. Eric Anderson

    Kim Stanley Robinson in his Mars trilogy suggests passing a law that allows everyone to have 1.5 children.

    Think about it. It makes sense.

  76. Astrid

    I don’t get it. So up to 1 kid for singles and 3 for couples?

    A friend once suggested a 0.9 child per person cap, which is either a long winded way to encourage polyamorous relationships or a nefarious attempt to prevent poor people from procreating under a cap and trade scheme.

  77. Mark Pontin

    Hugh: ‘It would be typical of our species to mitigate global warming through the particulate matter kicked into the atmosphere by regional nuclear exchanges.’

    It’s a definite possibility.

    Those .001 percent boltholes in New Zealand will be located inconveniently close to the action, if it matters.

  78. Jessica

    There is a delicious scene in the TV show Firefly in which they have suffered and engine fire and were forced to vent most of their O2 out into space in order to put out the fire. With the engine disabled, no more O2 is being produced. They are all terrified of suffocating.
    The half-crazy River Tam says “We won’t suffocate”.
    A tiny spark of hope. “No? Why not?”
    Because we’ll freeze first.

    Still think that there is a good chance that resource depletion (drinkable water, farming water, soil, minerals, fossil fuels) and over-population will get us before climate change does and wonder why the focus is so exclusively on climate change.

  79. From:

    4.5 Stirling cycle
    Binary cycle, using Helium as a working fluid, could work
    upon a low ∆T Stirling cycle as well. After removing the heat,
    brine is reinjected, preventing CO2 pollution.
    The low temperature potential of some geothermal reservoirs
    is their major disadvantage when it comes to power
    generation, since the above mentioned processes require
    reheated steam for their operation. Thus, Stirling cycle seems
    to be a better and more practical solution resulting in
    considerably higher efficiency, because it is
    thermodynamically equivalent to the optimum Carnot’s cycle.
    The development of Stirling engine with the flat plate heat
    exchangers (Stirling-Kolin engine) has shown that the low
    temperature geothermal reservoirs may also be successfully
    used for conversion of heat into mechanical work or electric
    Another possibility is a new low ∆T Stirling motor having a
    classic cylinder, which presently is being developed at
    Saitama University (Fig. 7). According to the latest data it is
    reaching nearly 0,7 kW power under ∆T of about 80o
    This type of an engine is considered in further power calculations
    for geothermal field “Mladost” in Zagreb (Croatia)


    Taking a quick look at “Earth Temperature At Various Depths”, it seems like you’d typically have to drill down 4 km to get an 80 deg C temperature difference. Thus, using a personal Stirling engine is probably only practical, (in non-geothermal areas, let’s say) in hot climate areas, where the cool end of the engine is only 10 meters down in the ground, for a constant temperature of 25 deg C, and you used mirrors to focus solar energy on the hot end.

    See also Ground Source Heat Pump @ wikipedia for low energy input devices to heat and cool.

    “Efficiency is given as a coefficient of performance (CoP) which is typically in the range 3 – 6, meaning that the devices provide 3 – 6 units of heat for each unit of electricity used.”

  80. Ché Pasa

    Also, I have and use “Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land” as do several neighbors I know, and I have and use Roxanne Swentzell’s “Pueblo Food Experience Cookbook” — though we haven’t got to the point of collecting grasshoppers in the morning and serving them up for snacks later.

    Roxanne, by the way, runs the Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute and has long been offering insights and seminars into how to adapt and use traditional Pueblo means and methods to ease some of difficulties of living and growing things on this land — what is effectively a high desert.

    We’ve been using some of her techniques and advice (though she would point out where we live is not ideal) as well as using regional seed banks and many other local and regional growing and farming resources. We’re not pioneers by any means. Many, many generations have pioneered before us. Nor are we all that skilled. Still learning the basics really.

    So that’s part of why I say you don’t really have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the difficult conditions now and in the future. People have faced similar or worse conditions before and have built up a huge body of knowledge about how to deal with it successfully. Many are willing and able to share.

    We left an urban area in California years ago because for us it became unlivable and we wouldn’t want to go back. But we know people still there who are determined to make it work and work better. Despite the fires and floods and droughts and earthquakes and plagues. There’s no ideal location. Every place has its hazards, limitations, and problems. We thought through what we thought we would need and what we could do without and how easy or difficult it would be to adapt our lives to rural rather than urban living. We didn’t think of everything, and we’re still learning, but that’s OK.

    There’s nothing wrong with moving somewhere else, but there’s nothing wrong with staying where you are and figuring out how to live there and live better. People have been doing that for millennia. Sometimes they get it right, often they get it wrong. Not everyone can do it, either. And not everyone will get through the current and coming difficulties.

    There is no technological solution. We can’t buy our way out of it, either. We’re well beyond that. Our rulers have done their best to ensure their own survival come what may, and to ensure only enough of the rest of us survive to serve their needs. That’s reality, and there is zero “revolutionary” response to it. On the other hand, passive resistance is growing. We’ll see where it goes….

  81. Jason

    Che Pasa’s thoughtful, balanced, sensitive comment should be the final word here. Please close the comments for this thread. Thank you.

  82. Ché Pasa

    Right now we’ve got corn, beans, squash, grasshoppers, tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers (bunch of them came up after the rains; surprised the heck out of me because I thought we lost all of them I planted to the critters) and many, many invasive weeds, some of which are edible. Ha ha. Plants are doing well, but… there’s always a but. We’ve probably had more rain since July 1 than we had all last year. And there’s no guarantee the monsoon will last through the month let alone into August. We try to keep irrigation to a minimum, but that limits yield. Trade offs all the time.

    If we get a good yield, though, especially the blue corn, we’ll be fat and happy.

    Meanwhile the smoke from the world on fire keeps us indoors more than we like…

  83. Mark Pontin

    Jessica: “…resource depletion (drinkable water, farming water, soil, minerals, fossil fuels) and over-population will get us before climate change does and wonder why the focus is so exclusively on climate change.”

    Put aside the binary thinking. It’s resource depletion BECAUSE of climate change. The crops the human race depends on have been produced by tens of thousands of years of genetic engineering (through selective breeding). They’ll only survive within a narrow temperature band that we are about to exceed.

    That’s actually a problem that we can potentially do something about as there’s a second Green revolution (a la N. Borlaug) on the way with gene-edited crops (along with some other things).

    Water may be more of an intractable problem, however.

  84. Astrid

    Predictable climate change can be managed. The fear is that we’re tipping into an erratic climate regime where anything can happen. Too much rain followed by no rain followed by extreme heat followed by extreme cold. So far the weirding is not so wide spread to bring global food production below the amount to feed 8 billion people, but that can change quickly. Throw in a couple deadly plant/animal/human diseases and plant pests. It’s amazing that Rome and Byzantium survived for so long under this stress.

    Ways to manage would include granaries storing enough subsistence level food for 3-5 years and investigating growing food and fuel in tanks (algae and bacteria), consuming our waste (worm and insect protein, fungi), and growing plants under glass or under lights (hydroponics). That’s the organized response and best case scenario for humanity’s future. Probably mean substantial belt tightening and managed population decrease, and unimaginable impoverishment of the natural world is baked in.

    The NC linked story about looting in KwaZulu Natal suggest what we might have to look forward to. Sub Mercedes for F-350 with custom gun racks. This is before climate change really even gets started.

  85. Soredemos


    Musk is a charlatan. There’s precious little genuine innovation in any of his projects, and what there is of it is asinine. His endeavors range from outright scams (SolarCity) to terrible ‘solutions’ to real problems (Tesla, Starlink) to simply conceptually retarded (Boring Company).

    The only one of his programs that isn’t a complete dead end is SpaceX, which at the end of the day is a glorified contractor that hasn’t done much that NASA, the Europeans, and Russia weren’t doing decades ago (and most of its success is due to Gwynne Shotwell, rather than Musk’s ‘management’ style, which mostly consists of screaming at employees during his temper tantrums).

  86. different clue

    @Che’ Pasa,

    Thank you for the comment and the resource-link. Now that we know what you are in a position to already know, we (any random commenters) can avoid sending comments containing material that you probably already know, or can find out about.

  87. Willy

    Soredemos, thank you for confirming that humanity cannot get things done, in reality, and that we’re basically all fucked.

  88. Ché Pasa

    Those who want or need to reinvent the wheel will do so, or try to, over and over again. It’s their nature or karma. But I believe that in many cases it’s neither necessary nor helpful.

    We’ve been told so many times that the Southwest is a “dead zone” — or will soon become one — due to climate change, and since I live in the Southwest among peoples who have lived and survived here under extreme conditions for thousands of years, it might be helpful to share at least some of what we are experiencing and learning. Yes, we’ve had decades of drought, but there have been decades of drought many times in the past. The drought may get worse, and if it does and there’s no more water available then we have to either move or die. That’s likely to be the case in some areas of the Southwest, but not everywhere. We’ll use the coping strategies we know and can learn…. until we can’t.

    Meanwhile coastal areas are supposedly going to be inundated repeatedly by high tides within the next ten years. Flooding has been severe — devastating — already in the Midwest, Northeast and South, and the storms that cause floods aren’t abating. Are all those areas “dead zones” too? Some will be, no doubt. But many won’t.

    Millions have already died from disease, stupid warfare, starvation, and a multiplicity of natural disasters over the last couple of decades. The die off is accelerating, and there’s not a lot most of us can do to stop it.

    We mourn the losses. We help those we can for as long as we can.

  89. Pelham

    I see today the EU is pledging to cut emissions by 55% this decade. 1) Too late. 2) Much of their emission cuts to date has been a result of offshoring dirty production. So global emissions go up while EU countries get to preen over false emission savings.

  90. different clue

    Fellow readers might well considering rooting around in that link which Che’ Pasa brought us. Here is just one information easter-egg I found there and I am sure there are others.

  91. Willy

    The Navajo lived reasonably because nobody wanted their land, not even (and fairly importantly) the Comanches. It seems important to appear to have nothing which others may want to take.

  92. Stirling Newberry

    The US Congress is saying that we must tax foreign countries that pollute. Problem is we are one of the most polluting nations in the world.

    Politicians need to examine the facts.

  93. different clue


    Faking the appearance of “nothing to take” could be important in hard-times survival going forward. Looking gray, undistinguished, and sort of poorish.

    I may have a certain talent for that. I have been mistaken for homeless 3 different times in 3 different places by 3 different people . . . . one of whom was himself homeless at the time. Of course that talent won’t help one survive if the danger comes from roving gangs of hooligans hunting the homeless for sport.

  94. Ché Pasa

    The Navajo lived reasonably because nobody wanted their land, not even (and fairly importantly) the Comanches. ….

    Interesting. Wait. Whut?

    Nobody wanted their land? Is that so? The entire tribal nation was removed from their land in the 1860s and force-marched hundreds of miles to Bosque Redondo and left to starve and die on a military patrolled reservation-concentration camp.

    Though the remnants of the Navajo Nation were allowed to return to their land, its ores and resources have been coveted and extracted by whomever could do so ever since.

    It’s wrong to think that Navajos or any Native peoples in North America — or pretty much anywhere else — were left alone because nobody wanted what they had. In fact plenty of others wanted and want what the Navajo had and have despite appearances to the contrary. And they were never left alone.

    Climate change and the pandemic have had a severe effect on the Navajo Nation, one that compounds so many others — like uranium mining (for all those lovely nuclear weapons) which has left many Navajo sick and disabled, ruined rivers, and contaminated lands for generations to come. The drought in the Four Corners region has been among the worst effects of climate change. A Navajo friend (whose father died last year from the COVID) referred to COVID19 as “yet another genocide of our people.”

    She wasn’t exactly wrong, either.

  95. Astrid

    Not to mention all the really big dams white men keep putting in Navajo sacred spaces. And I imagine that the Navajo Nation would be in much better shape financially if they’re allowed to control tourism in their historical areas ( though the Park system certainly do better on mass access and hardware in the current set up). The Greater Four Corners area is the most beautiful and unique landscape in the USA.

  96. Willy

    So how do you do it Che? What climate change wont ruin, roving bands of mechanized warboys fronted by doof guitarists will. Not that Elon Musk will be driving the big electric car since he’ll be on Mars.

  97. Soredemos


    That isn’t what I’m saying (though it very may well be the case that we are collectively fucked). What I’m saying is maybe don’t put your trust in rich emerald mine brats.

    Musk is at best useless, and at worst is offering counter productive ‘solutions. His obsession with ‘better’ automobiles and tunnels for them is the biggest example. The actual solutions involve radically rebuilding our city and townscapes, as well as investing in public transport.

    If you think Musk is some beacon of radical innovation, you’re really just advertising your ignorance.

  98. Willy

    If you think Musk is some beacon of radical innovation, you’re really just advertising your ignorance.

    I’ve seen Musk’s speeches and interviews about climate change. His public speaking ability sucks. He’s no climate change Carl Sagan. Musk for all his faults, is routinely described by his own former employees (many of them clearly stating that they were burned out by his hyper-demanding, relentless assholish drive and tendency to take credit for others work), as having an ability to still and somehow, get things done quickly.

    I can certainly relate myself, having worked for people like that. But I know why little startups soar and giant corporations flounder.

    Sadly, what happens around here is that whenever I describe a concept such as humanity’s seeming need to have some Dear Leader lead them out of whatever wilderness we’ve gotten ourselves lost in, yahoos like yourself try to tell me that the
    Dear Leader you think I’ve chosen isn’t good enough.

    It’s like debating with children. Debating the concept was my point, not the choosing of any specific Dear Leader. Even when I capitulate to this mob, having given up trying to debate or problem solve anything global, to now be concerned with how we maintain and protect our own little lives in our coming “every man for himself” future, I still get people looking to score pathetic little self-serving psychological points.

    The Left goes nowhere because we’d rather nitpick over minutia instead of focusing on agreed upon goals and then problem solving whatever gets in the way. You know, the way conservative think tanks do. Hugh’s the only guy here who’s repeatedly recommended doing exactly that. But apparently we now need to peg him as a troll so we can keep scoring pathetic little self-serving psychological points.

  99. Ché Pasa


    I offered you a history lesson in order to help ensure that falsehoods like yours about the Navajos — even if meant in jest, metaphorically or ironically — didn’t gain currency. Of course you know what Comanches (Kiowa, too) wanted from Navajos and everyone else they raided: slaves.

    And they weren’t the only ones.


  100. Willy

    Che, the Commanche had historically been a loser tribe which contributed nothing to North American native culture and technology. Then the Spanish horses arrived. Then somehow, they rose to become so powerful that (for a time) they dominated all the other tribes around them, even white ones, which interestingly also had horses to ride. Historians say this is because the Commanches embraced the concept of “total war”.

    Total war means winning at any cost and genociding the enemy afterwards. The Mongols went pretty much the same way, with some variations which yahoos here will probably try to sidetrack any discussion with.

    I say that plutocratic libertarian types wage their influence wars the same way, on every possible front using whatever possible techniques are available to them, human morality be damned.

    But that all seems to be water under the bridge anymore since we’ve lost and so has the world as we know it. If we don’t want our hard earned stuff taken by some futuristic version of total war waging Commanches, then we might have to consider this possibility as well.

  101. Soredemos

    If you’re thinking some singular leader is the solution to our problems, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

    And I’m not even saying Musk isn’t a good enough leader. He isn’t a leader of any sort. He’s not even trying to be; he’s a cynical grifter.

  102. Art

    I have absolute confidence that the world will adjust. Remember that, according to a very clear geological record, at one time the earth had no atmosphere, and then one without free oxygen. But still life developed and grew.

    The default setting for this planet is to have regular mass extinctions. On the morality side: there is no morality. As far as any can tell the trend is that those suffering the greatest numbers of death are not, until now, the creators of their own demise. The bacteria didn’t bring about the release of oxygen that scraped the planet and brought about the age of plants. And certainly the dinosaurs didn’t call down huge rocks.

    We, the intelligent ones, are doing this. We willingly went down this path. We have long, since the 1800s, known the basics of how things work. But, true to form, we can’t seem to learn. We have to step into a gopher hole and break our legs to learn not to step into gopher holes. And, I’m absolutely sure, we will have to fight our own children over cans of beans we realize that having unlimited numbers of children isn’t an unalloyed good.

    I’m old. Over 60. I’m well away from the rising oceans. The prospect of this becoming ocean-front property intrigues me. High winds, even tornadoes, are, IMHO, construction problems. In an earlier time I used to play in coastal defense bunkers in Virginia and Hawaii.

    I don’t know about other nations going nuclear. Seem a very energy intense path compared to solar and wind. You have to guard the industrial droppings forever. Even a small regular expense is going to be substantial over the ‘fullness of time’.

    A friend suggests that if we can just plant more trees … Sounds like a practical plan but I don’t see the political or economic will. We are, as a species, the kid that can’t help but eat the marshmallow. We love our quick fixes and easy rewards.

    If two or three billions, or six, die will it change us? Will it be enough to correct our environmental sins. Our attitudes and assumptions. Is this going to be the Big One? The chaos of six billion dead taking the last billion with it. All gone? Or are we going survive only to become a species that multiplies uncontrolled but suffers mass die-offs when we reach a hard limit. Only to start over. I suppose we might learn something but we so rarely do. Then again we knew the game but failed to apply the knowledge. Like an alcoholic with a dying liver walking into a bar for ‘just one more’.

    Oh well, I’ve done well enough. I have resources. Enough for the few I deeply care about. For the remaining years of our natural lives. We don’t need much. I live in Florida and live a good life without fancy things. We don’t eat much, very little meat. I haven’t turned on my A/C yet this year. I’m quite comfortable sitting here at 87F. Given the grace of a couple of years I will have tied the knot on the end of my rope and we will sit back and “embrace the horror”.

  103. different clue


    You note upthread that . . . “Individual survival in many cases WILL SIMPLY NOT BE POSSIBLE in a collapsed society. It’s not going to be possible for anyone older or sicker or simply a person born with say Type I diabetes. In that case they need insulin to live.”

    This is indeed so. If a precondition of individual survivalizing for most people is the survival of the society whose joint collective survival makes their own personal survival possible, then part of a personal individual survival strategy will be to keep the smallest feasible part of society right around oneself surviving as a coherent little society where all the individuals co-help eachother keep themselves alive by keeping their society alive to keep eachother alive.

    I am not sure how many other people would see it that way. Wherever you are living, if you can find those people and if you and they can all keep your little society alive, then you and it can all keep eachother alive together through hardships and shocks which would kill most of you individually alone.

    That may involve moving to a place where people who think that way can out power and out-dominate those among their neighbors and “local rulers” who think survival can be an unassisted individual affair.

    As to people who need advanced industrial civilization products to even survive, like insulin for Type One Diabetics, a survivalist society would try to buy and stockpile as much insulin as possible to keep the diabetics alive as long as possible till the insulin factories all go dark and the insulin all runs out and the final tragedy is unavoidable.
    But people will feel less bad about eachother and themselves if they try to delay that inevitable death for diabetics than help speed it up.

  104. Hugh

    The shelf life of unopened insulin is about a year and about a month once opened.

    What is being described is not survival but a return to barbarism. Good luck with that.

  105. different clue


    Civilization was already civilized before the discovery of insulin. If insulin disappears, civilization will still be civilized. It just won’t be as fancy and pleasant as now. People who don’t wish to believe that and who choose to believe that a shakedown to the level of uneven ecotechnic civilization which John Michael Greer describes and predicts are free to excercise their suicide option.

  106. different clue

    Last night I heard an interesting report on BBC news about the disorder in South Africa.
    A professor from somewhere or other was giving her best understanding of the situation.

    In her opinion, the kickoff to the “riots” was planned and carried out very professionally in a counter-intelligence manner. All kinds of infrastructure facilities were destroyed. As many trucks as possible of the kind used to transport goods to stores were burned in the first couple of days. The goal was to create self-feeding fear and chaos from which order cannot be easily restored. The goal of that is to create a vacuum for some new power players to try filling.

    Who did that? In her opinion, it was organized Zuma supporters within the ANC to try and take over the ANC and purge it of non-Zumists. When they decided that might not be possible, they switched their goal to causing enough chaos in the country that the Zumists could leave the ANC and pretend to create a “new” political movement ( in fact a trojan horse full of Zumist corrupticrats) to conquer, gain and hold “space” within the South African political-social system.

    One presumes this would be for the purpose of conquering the country, completely Zumifying it, and making it an open field for Zumacratic looting and corruption at every level.

    One wishes South Africa the best of luck in getting all the Zumacrats found, rounded up and handled in an appropriate manner. Otherwise, if the Zumacrats are able to conquer the country, they will turn South Africa into another Zimbabwe.

  107. Hugh

    Modern civilization takes a high degree of social organization and knowledge held in and by it. If civilization or society begin to fall apart, we won’t get to pick and choose which bits we get to keep. That is a fantasy, a survivalist delusion.

  108. different clue

    @ Hugh,

    Well . . . . one of us is right and one of us is wrong. Time will tell.

    And the neat thing is . . . . many of us will live long enough to find out!

  109. StewartM

    Just as a latecomer to this thread, I bring more bad news:

    We have enough other Trumps in office in other places in the world to do us in.

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