There is no point in holding out hope for a species of mammal that cannot take a reasonable measure of its own deficits, habits (both good and bad), tendencies and nature.
We are a mammal. A story-telling, tool-making, energy-devouring, myth-believing, fantasy-brained humanoid monkey-ish mammal, who does not live within its means.
No one knows why any of life is here; it is a mystery. Blaming evolution for life is like blaming thought for ripe peaches. You can think them, you can imagine them, you can remember them – but they’re here by virtue of a cosmic wave of will that no religion, no science, no mathematical code can unwind in a ten page algorithm on the dustiest blackboard in the recesses of the most genius mind.
That said, we are here. We are a mammal. We have habits. One of the habits is to use as much as we can. The other is to be immensely skilled tool-makers and exploiters of any and every environment.
Our tool-making has allowed us to dig dusty rocks out of bloodied quarries, thus smashing and refining the tiniest dust motes into handfuls, then burial chambers, then endless bank vaults – of gold, silver, copper, iron, platinum – what we call precious metals.
We bartered these metals for human labor, and used our wood fire – then coal fire – then oil fire – to build churches to gods we imagined, then skyscrapers to the god of money – and finally, a nation, then another, then another – of intersecting winding highways that carry our blood – our food – from fields a world away on the back of oil burning machines.
We burn so much of this stuff that if we were to suddenly lose just HALF of it for a few months, everyone in the western industrial world would suffer extraordinary deprivation, and many tens of millions would die. Everyone save those living the most hand-to-mouth existences, that of the subsistence feudal farming that “we” the modern world so gleefully and gratefully left behind.
In our oil madness, we learned to mine not only for iron and gold, but for radioactive elements, which we’ve stuffed into four hundred witches cauldrons waiting to leak – and presently spilling – into the lands and waters, the fields and animals and people, that live around them. One is poisoning the Pacific Ocean daily since 2011. No one does a thing, because the human imagination tells us that the next Star Wars movie is more important than life on earth.
And that is the end of the riddle.
We will be collapsing into manageable numbers worldwide in this quarter and half century. Our food system, entirely reliant on oil and natural gas to grow it (that’s planting, fertilizing, picking, threshing, processing, shipping and putting on store shelves), can only fail in a a staggering push-and-pull, cascading disaster.
Our roads and rail lines are generally rated as a “D” on a child’s report card. Our train systems are decayed, but will carry coal – which will be the lifeblood of the surviving economy.
In the light of an oil crash, all calls to fear global warming will be buried under violence in threat and in deed; we will revert, as well as we can, to a way of life called “survival.”
In some places, survival will seem bright and more optimistic, where rain is abundant and fields are fertile and lush; and where individuals can be made to abandon the digital age for the age of grain and grape, turnip and goat, and whatever else can be grown to save a town. I’d recommend fish, frogs, ducks, hemp, guinea pigs, greens, cabbage, seeds, beans, olives, nuts, shellfish, small birds and root vegetables, myself. You could try some aquaponic systems – just be sure your electricity and pumping mechanism is driven by windmill or can be hand cranked if other energies are too intermittent.
In most places, where the ground is infertile and soil is dry sand and clay; where the sky is as dry as the brown hills, or the rain meets only white sand – (or where the population so overwhelms the limits of the local terrain) – then there will be no resilience after an emergency, and the desert or beach or urban island will easily return itself to its ancient face.
This election cycle – this four years in America – should demonstrate to all paying attention that nothing will be getting better. No technofixes will insure “our way of life,” whatever that abysmal phrase actually is supposed to indicate (obese diabetics shopping at Wal*Mart at midnight is not a “way of life”); that is, we will not be saved my a deux-ex-machina. We have nothing waiting that will solve this oil die down for us.
For Those Who Can Still Adapt
If you want to live, I’d strongly recommend getting to higher ground, fertile fields where rain falls and sun shines. I’d avoid large cities. I’d avoid any town overly involved in politics. I’d gravitate (or run) to any place calling itself a “transition town.”
If you will be honest enough to consider whether you are too old or infirm to survive a very hard and prolonged period of deprivation and violent change, you might consider giving those “rainy day” items to those younger, stronger people you know who stand a chance of adapting to a changing world.
I do not count myself in the group of people who will likely survive a long, prolonged economic turn down caused by a petroleum-decline. I have too many debilitating health issues since some aspect of my health was destroyed or robbed after months of dentistry with a supposed ‘biological dentist’ in Southern California. I make no promises to survive any longer than I can tolerate the often invasive and extremely debilitating symptoms. I’m doing my best to be here, but it’s hard. Without my loved ones, it would be impossible, so my love to them.
Question: How will the American century land, how will it vary from zone to zone, and which regions have a better chance of pulling through the violent decline and fall of the military-industrial petroleum whore that has become the place we used to call America?
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