Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XXXIX

Tulum, Mexico (1986) Photo by author

Another contemplation prompted by an email my mum sent me. This is a lengthier article than usual (and intended) since I added further points each time I proofread it…

“This was sent to us from a college friend of XXX’s but I think he has a valid point!

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I’ve always doubted mankind’s impact on the issue of climate change. After all, earth has had two ice ages that were followed by two warming cycles, all before humans left their caves. So, to me, the debate is whether there is a new natural, million year warming or cooling trend. If there is, there is nothing we can do about it. The following is a mixture of pictures and political comment on the matter [not included]. I am disappointed no one has followed the money and identified all those who gained notoriety, wealth, and power over the past 20 years of fear mongering.

I will begin by stating there are a growing number of people who have (and for some time) been following the ‘money’ and have uncovered growing manipulation by the ‘elite’ in a variety of areas and ways (it goes far beyond global warming/climate change). G. Edward Griffin, for example, talks about this entire situation of environmental concerns being leveraged by the ‘ruling class’ to profit from in some detail at the end of his in-depth and biting critique of the U.S.’s central banking system, the Federal Reserve, in The Creature From Jekyll Island (1994) — given the world reserve currency status of the U.S. dollar, the Fed is perhaps the most pernicious institution currently on our planet, for it those who control the creation and distribution of ‘money’ that are amongst the most powerful on the planet.

Most of those who have done this type of research, however, do not have the platform or finances for disseminating their ideas in the way that the mainstream media and/or politicians do, and for the most part their concerns have been overwhelmed by the constant propaganda of the ruling class and suppressed (and increasingly so given the expanding calls for censorship amid accusations of ‘fake news/misinformation’ by ‘the-powers-that-be’). I believe that’s changing but the impediments to revealing those manipulating the dials behind the curtain are huge; and when one does throw light upon the dark corners of our elite, more often than not if the challengers of mainstream narratives cannot be ostracised or marginalised, they are increasingly ending up like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange.

Regardless, here’s my spin on things ‘environmental’ and the connection with those who would use them for profit.

Global warming/climate change is real. There is simply too much documented evidence that it is happening to deny it. It is quite possible to cherry pick evidence/data to support diametrically-opposed perspectives on its implications, but this is true for almost all ‘science’ — it is in the ‘interpretation’ of observable data and their meaning where we get most ‘disagreements’. The overwhelming majority of evidence, however, shows that it is occurring and trending in the wrong direction as far as human society is concerned (let alone all the other species impacted by such environmental shifts; human exacerbated or not). In fact, given how fragile and vulnerable our increasingly complex systems are (especially food production), a move of the climate even marginally in any direction will be catastrophic for humanity — particularly for regions that do not or cannot produce their own food.

How global warming/climate change will unfold in the future is even more controversial as complex systems with their non-linear feedback loops and emergent phenomena make them virtually impossible to model accurately; even very minuscule input errors can have oversized impacts on future states within predictive models. So, the ‘hothouse Earth’ extreme being predicted by some may or may not turn out to be accurate; only time can be the ultimate arbiter. As physicist Niels Bohr is credited with stating: It’s hard to make predictions, especially if they’re about the future. For better or for worse, that’s science modelling (and, naturally, this opens the door to those who wish to steer the narrative in particular directions).

This being said, there is far more and increasing evidence that human expansion is having a significant negative impact on the planet and its various sinks (processes/systems that absorb and cleanse pollutants/toxins), not just atmospheric overloading of greenhouse gases; how can the processes of resource extraction and industrial production, along with basic living requirements of almost 8 billion apex predatory humans, not? We have expanded into virtually every available ecological niche on the globe, displacing and exterminating countless others species in the process (biodiversity loss being an even more cataclysmic predicament than climate change) and using increasingly complex technology to extract dwindling and progressively marginal resources to support this — resources that are finite in nature.

On top of this obvious impact humanity is having on the planet are the sociocultural structures human societies have developed to organise themselves and their increasingly complex existence. Primary among these are the ‘power’ structures of politics and wealth (monetary/financial). Every large, complex society develops a ruling class of some type that tends to sit at the top of such structures.

Regardless of whether those in this class of people have come to their positions through some ‘democratic’ process or by way of hereditary tradition, they (or at least their financial supporters) tend to hold ‘ownership’ of the most influential aspects of society such as: military/security, monetary/financial, industrial, energy/resource, media/information, etc.. Their primary motivation tends to be to hold onto and/or expand the ‘power/revenue’ their privilege provides them using whatever means are available to them and are necessary, but especially war (both hot and indirect) and propaganda/narrative control (for they still require acquiescence of their ‘citizens/subjects’ even if it is just passive since they are significantly outnumbered).

It is my firm belief that the ruling class has taken the very real and increasing evidence that there are devastating environmental/ecological consequences for humanity’s expansion, chosen one in particular, and are leveraging it to create a narrative that serves their primary motivation. They have latched onto global warming/climate change/carbon emissions and are using it to increase taxes and market/sell products (e.g., ‘clean/green’ renewables, electric vehicles, etc.), while also justifying the creation and distribution (primarily to themselves) of trillions of units of fiat currency because of this ‘crisis’ (something they’ve done even more dramatically than usual during the Covid pandemic, to say little of the huge surge in this currency expansion following the 2008 Great Financial Crisis when quite a number of financial institutions were ‘bailed out’).

Simply put, they are pushing a narrative that serves to enrich themselves: we can be ‘saved’ from climate change by appropriately-assigned taxes and funneling humanity’s wealth and resources into specific industrial products (the production and distribution of which they own and profit from).

I won’t dwell on the evidence that such industrial production actually makes our situation even worse (refer to this site for more on this), but suffice it to say the fundamental predicament we find ourselves embroiled in is not global warming/climate change/carbon emissions but ecological overshoot. The overloading of sinks (including the dispersal of greenhouse gases — that is far more than just carbon dioxide) is but one of the various consequences of our overshooting the natural carrying capacity of our planet. There are simply far too many of us for the planet’s natural resources to sustain; and this is especially true for the living standards of so-called ‘advanced’ economies that are responsible for the lion’s share of resource extraction (especially but not exclusively fossil fuels) and all the negative consequences that flow from this.

We do have a very devastating predicament impacting our planet, but it’s not the one the world tends to be focused upon (and we can thank the ‘marketers’ of the ruling class for this: politicians and the mainstream media). I believe the primary reason the focus is not on our fundamental existential threat is because the means of addressing it is the exact opposite of what the ruling class needs/wants to meet their primary motivation: abandonment and reversal of the pursuit of the infinite growth chalice, especially for ‘advanced’ economies. The elite do not want to kill the golden goose (perpetual growth) that feeds their appetites for more power and wealth — they also need growth to keep the various Ponzi-like systems they’ve created from collapsing.

I have asked rhetorically over the past decade or so in one form or another the following: what could possibly go wrong with the strategy of infinite growth on a finite planet? Well, a lot actually. We can expect things to go even further sideways as the decline we are in speeds up and the-powers-that-be attempt to maintain their privileged positions in a decaying/contracting world — I expect a dramatic shift towards totalitarian/authoritarian political systems as the elite attempt to maintain and possibly expand their slice of an ever-shrinking pie amidst an increasingly disenfranchised and impoverished population.

The evidence of all this is building and has been for some time, but our tendency towards denial is making it next to impossible for most to see. A further complication is our tendency to defer to authority and ‘trust’ our various institutions. When politicians and economists speak of ‘confidence’ and needing to maintain this, it’s primarily because that’s all that keeping the blinkers on right now: our faith in and belief that the systems we increasingly depend upon will forever and always be there.

There is no ‘solving’ our predicament of overshoot, however. Biological and physical processes and the consequences that flow from them cannot be ‘solved’. Overshoot has occurred and species that experience such a phenomenon have but two paths for their future: ‘collapse’ back to a level that the environment can support or extinction.

There may be ‘hiding’ some of the consequences of human overshoot for a time. Currently this is done via debt/credit expansion in order to steal from the future, but also through narrative control and distractions that help to take the focus off the pillaging of the treasury by the elite — war being a favoured one since it helps to funnel funds/resources as well to the ruling class. There is also the additional help of a temporal lag between cause and effect as pollutants can accumulate for quite some time before the impacts are recognised or connected to our activities. We are capable of addressing some of the effects but only inconsequentially at the margins; the momentum is far too large for us to have any significant effect. This is all that can be done, however. Nature and physics always bat last no matter our belief that we exist above and beyond them.

We also have built-in psychological mechanisms that help us to reduce our stress/anxiety when confronted by conflicting information, especially that challenges our beliefs/wishes. We tend to ignore or reinterpret data that increases our cognitive dissonance so as to confirm/support our beliefs and feel less anxious. We additionally cling more forcefully and fully to our beliefs when they are challenged — it doesn’t matter whether our interpretation of the world reflects ‘reality’ or not.

We are not special in nature, however, and every complex society that has existed in pre/history has eventually succumbed to decline/collapse — the reasons vary, but they always do. Our belief that we are unique or that our technological prowess and ingenuity will somehow ‘save’ us is all part of the denial/bargaining that comes with the grieving process when loss is imminent or happened.

Coming to grips with our own and/or society’s mortality is difficult and not everyone makes it to the acceptance stage of grieving. We want to believe it won’t happen but no one, not one of us gets out of here alive. Everything and everyone comes to an end eventually.

The maddening part of all this is that there are individuals/institutions that are leveraging our fear and anxiety about all these factors and uncertainties to their own nefarious and self-serving ends. The ruling class enriching themselves as we begin the collapse that always accompanies overshoot is perhaps one of if not the most exasperating aspect of all this since they are not only benefiting (at least for the short term because they will experience the same collapse that we all will) but they are cheerleading the very aspects that have led us here.

I happened across this article a couple of days ago that does a great job of listing some of the most notable reasons our global complex societies are experiencing an apparent coalescence of crises, with the underlying issue being ecological overshoot. Here is a link to my most recent article on the coming ‘collapse’ that is similar in its messaging, and my personal summary notes for a number of books but especially William Catton, Jr.’s Overshoot.

Please consider visiting my website where you can find a growing collection of relevant articles/research/opinions/current events/links that tie into our impending ‘collapse’. You can also help support the continuation of my work through the purchase of my ‘fictional’ trilogy, Olduvai.

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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...

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Steve Bull (https://olduvai.ca)

Steve Bull (https://olduvai.ca)

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...

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