Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh LXII

Steve Bull (
3 min readJul 31, 2022
Athens, Greece (1984). Photo by author.

Magical Thinking About the Energy Transition

A really short contemplation prompted by an article posted in from The Rapid Transition Alliance regarding sustaining long-distance trade via electric ships.

The entire narrative around ‘electrifying’ everything is primarily about the marketing of ecologically-destructive and completely unsustainable industrial products while leveraging human emotions about well-meaning care and compassion for the world and fellow species.

I believe the reasoning is simple: those who own the industries and financial institutions that are required for such a transition stand to profit handsomely from the belief that we can have our cake and eat it too, so let’s pour all remaining capital into ‘transitioning’ to something ‘green/clean’.

Only this is a fantasy.

The denial of reality required to believe in this tale not only serves to reduce the anxiety from the cognitive dissonance created when we realise that we live on a finite planet that has blown past the natural carrying capacity for humans and have hit significant diminishing returns on the most important resources to support our various complexities, but also leads to significant magical thinking about our ability to ‘transition’ from fossil fuels (that underpin virtually everything in our complex societies, especially food production, transportation, and adequate shelter) to something equally effective but non-destructive and sustainable.

There is nothing ‘resilient’ about this narrative. Humanity (at least in the form of complex, industrial societies) is not going to ‘recover quickly’ from the energy cliff we have likely already begun our descent from. It seems a misguided and misinformed story that serves to dish out ‘hope’ as opposed to the harsh ‘reality’ that we are in significant ecological overshoot and the primary resource that has led us here (fossil fuels) is in terminal decline with no substitute available[1].

We seem to be flailing about telling ourselves and others comforting tales while deferring to our ruling elite who are hell bent on leveraging our various crises to their economic and political advantage.

It’s past time we stop looking for magical solutions and face the looming hardships that are before us.

Let’s divert our remaining energy and resources towards safely decommissioning those dangerous complexities we’ve created (e.g., nuclear power plants and their waste products, biosafety labs and their dangerous pathogens, and chemical production and storage facilities) and relocalising as much as is possible the procurement of potable water, food production, and regional shelter needs.

Telling ourselves and believing in lies and fairy tales is a sure recipe for the consequences of our well-meaning but ecologically-destructive ways to be significantly worse than they could otherwise be. Ramping up our industrial production of unsustainable technologies not only expedites the negative consequences of our overshoot but worsens our plight by further reducing the planet’s carrying capacity.

Please consider visiting my website and helping to support my work via the purchase of my ‘fictional’ collapse novel trilogy.

[1] This avoids the even more difficult discussion that even if we were to stumble upon a ‘green/clean’ energy substitute for fossil fuels, there are a host of other significant impediments to sustaining an 7+ billion population on a finite planet.



Steve Bull (

A guy trying to make sense of a complex and seemingly insane world. Spend my days pondering our various predicaments while practising local food production...