What collapse looks like…

29 01 2013

Two years ago when Egypt’s so called “Arab Spring” event occurred, articles sprang up all over the place talking about Egyptians rights to freedom and democracy.  I wasted no time in telling all and sundry over at the Drum that this was all bullshit, what Egyptians really wanted was affordable food…  which was of course met with derision.

Egypt had its revolution, got rid of Mubarak, had an election…….. and nothing changed?  Why? Because Egypt is screwed.  It’s well on its way to collapse, even MSM is now saying so…

Egypt’s military chief warns of collapse of state

Protesters in Tahrir Square

Egypt’s military chief has warned the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state.

Tuesday’s warning from defence minister and military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi came as thousands of people defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52.

“The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations,” the general said on his Facebook page.

So then, what is causing all these problems?  A classic case of Limits to Growth…..

I actually visited Egypt way back in 1963 on my way to Australia.  Our ship berthed in Port Saïd before going down the Suez Canal.  I was only 11, but the memory is seared into my tintinegyptold brain forever, because at the time I had never been outside Europe, and even though we lived in poverty there, nothing prepared me for what I saw, not even Tintin books!  There were virtually no cars for starters, but what really sticks in my mind were the poor horses (or were they donkeys?) that dragged their loads everywhere, skinny as hell with their skin sticking to their skeletons, looking half dead already.  And the kids swimming around the ship waiting for its occupants to throw coins at them.  I even threw a few worthless aluminium Lira coins into the Mediterranean for them (the Flavia was an Italian ship)…  but Egypt didn’t look crowded, really

So when at the onset of the revolution articles revealed that Egypt’s population was 80 million, I nearly fell off my chair!  In 1963, it was only 23 million….  so it had more than tripled.  You have to understand Egypt’s geography to understand where I’m coming from.  Outside of the banks of the Nile and its delta which flows into the Mediterranean, the whole country is a desert.  So where on Earth do you fit 80+ million people?  All over farmland is the answer…

The rot really set in when the Aswan Dam was built.  Wikipedia says:

The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in AswanEgypt. Since the 1950s, the name commonly refers to the High Dam. Construction of the High Dam became a key objective of the Egyptian Government following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, as the ability to control floods, provide water for irrigation, and generate hydroelectricity were seen as pivotal to Egypt’s industrialisation. The High Dam was constructed between 1960 and 1970, and had a significant impact on the economy and culture of Egypt.

Before the dams were built, the Nile River flooded every year during late summer, when water flowed down the valley from its East African drainage basin. These floods brought high water and natural nutrients and minerals that annually enriched the fertile soil along the floodplain and delta; this had made the Nile valley ideal for farming since ancient times. Because floods vary, in high-water years the whole crop might be wiped out, while in low-water years widespread drought and famine occasionally occurred. As Egypt’s population grew and conditions changed, both a desire and ability developed to control the floods, and thus both protect and support farmland and the economically important cotton crop. With the reservoir storage provided by the Aswan dams, the floods could be lessened and the water stored for later release.

That’s all very well, except that Egypt’s breadbasket relied on more than the water, it needed the silt to replenish its fertility.  And now all that silt is filling the dam up.  Which means its days are numbered.  Worse, the decrease in fertility of the southeastern Mediterranean waters caused by the High Dam has had a catastrophic effect on marine fisheries. The average fish catch declined from nearly 35,000 tons in 1962 and 1963 to less than one-fourth of this catch in 1969.

Of course, way back then, Egypt was still an oil rich country.  Oil was found there way back in 1883, and by 1994, Egypt was producing an average of 866,000 B/D of crude oil, equal to Australia’s consumption.  Which is of course when Peak Oil occurred there.

As the population grew, and the flooding was controlled, more and more houses were built on the less and less productive farmland now starved of its silt.  The oil and gas was used to make replacement fertiliser, and “progress” was well on its way.  But as less and less oil revenue was available and less and less food was produced, the inevitable happened, Egypt started to import food, and had to borrow more and more to do it.  At first it doesn’t seem like a problem, but growth has a bad habit of catching up with the unwary, and with the price of oil rising after 2004, so did the cost of food, and as Egyptians got poorer and poorer, the cost of food relentlessly rose and rose. And now they’ve hit the wall.

Want to see what collapse looks like?  Turn on your TV and watch what’s happening in the streets of Cairo……

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SINCE writing the above, Morsi has been taken out by the army in a more or less bloodless coup.  They’re calling it ‘Revolution number two’.

And finally…….  someone else is calling it as I do in Mainstream Media…

Egypt’s new age of unrest is a taste of things to come

Mass street protests are symptom of unsustainability of IMF model in the face of environmental and energy challenges

Last night’s ousting of President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army comes as no surprise. Despite being Egypt‘s first freely elected leader, his attempts to override democratic checks and balances while grabbing unilateral executive power fuelled widespread simmering grievances. Although Adli Mansour, the new interim leader sworn in today by the army, promises to pave the way for new democratic elections, the fundamental drivers of Egyptian rage remain overlooked.

Morsi’s key problem was that he had spent most of his energies on consolidating the reach of his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, rather than dealing with Egypt’s entrenched social, economic and political problems. Indeed, Egyptian unrest is the consequence of a fatal cocktail of structural failures rooted in an unsustainable global model of industrial civilisation – addicted to fossil fuels, wedded fanatically to casino capitalism, and convinced, ostrich-like, that somehow technology alone will save us.

Egypt’s oil production peaked in 1996, and since then has declined by around 26%. Having moved from complete food self-sufficiency since the 1960s, to excessive dependence on imports subsidised by oil revenues (now importing 75% of its wheat), declining oil revenues have increasingly impacted food and fuel subsidies. As high food prices are generally underpinned by high oil prices – because energy accounts for over a third of the costs of grain production – this has further contributed to surging global food prices.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jul/04/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-morsi-unrest-protests

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It’s still raining…..

26 01 2013

No actually, it isn’t still raining…..  it stopped raining yesterday; today it’s pissing down…! The driven rain is incessant, the wind’s kept me awake nearly all night, and the news on the internet this morning are not good….  it’s going to get worse..Image

This ex-cyclone Oswald might as well be the real thing.  We’ve had tornadoes up North (TORNADOES…??  This is Australia for Pete’s sake, not Kansas…) and more are predicted for this area though I expect they will be confined to the coast like they were in Bundaberg, where one of my nieces happens to live….  I hope she and her daughter are OK.

Near Gladstone in central Queensland, 400 homes have been evacuated ahead of unprecedented flooding in the area.

There has been tornado activity in the Hervey Bay and Bundaberg regions today, after at least five tornadoes caused widespread destruction in the Wide Bay yesterday.

More tornadoes are expected south to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane today.

A storm surge is also threatening to cause flooding in the Moreton Bay region.

Some of these places have reportedly received over 1000mm of rain in 48 hours!  That’s the entire year’s worth in most places…..  and if you’re not metric, it’s three feet….

The ground here has gone from tortured and cracked to quagmire, in just four days.  Go outside now, and an inch of water is flowing down the hill on top of the dead grass.  Six Mile Creek, the one that cuts us off from civilisation in a big wet, is fast approaching the moderate flooding level, and it’s only a matter of a couple of hours before we’re flooded in.  I’m not exactly sure if the ducks are enjoying this weather, but at least they seem to be coping.  The chooks are hiding.  At least it’s reassuring to have the AGA lit again, perfect weather for it, and it keeps the water hot, which is just as well because let me tell you, it is so dark, the panels are flat out running at 5% of capacity in the middle of the day.  I’ve never seen it this dark in daylight hours….  and the power is constantly going on and off, thank goodness for the backup batteries.  It’s moments like these I really wish I also had a wind turbine, because whilst one would not be of much use most of the time, right now it could completely replace the solar energy we are not getting.

Never in a million years would I have thought the ground could regain full saturation and then runoff capacity this fast after basically 6 months of no rain at all….

Just back from a quick drive “downtown” to get a loaf of bread and a litre of milk…  it’s normally a 2km joyride, but today the main road’s cut, and a tree was across the detour, which a couple of other residents and I moved so we could all get on with whatever it is we were doing.  Further down the road, a fire truck was parked across a side street because a large tree had fallen over power lines which were strewn all over the road.  The local shop was crowded with more people stocking up (some buying ice, obviously expecting power cuts).  Our little bridge down the road is just starting to get submerged, we won’t be out of here for a few days I’d hazard to say….

Just measured another 195mm from the rain gauge in under 24 hours for a grand total of 377mm since the rain started a few days ago… and we could easily get that much again because Oswald is not exactly moving fast…

Now, to those people who still deny climate change….  which part of EXTREME WEATHER don’t you understand?





Will fracking postpone Peak Oil?

24 01 2013

Much has been said both here and and elsewhere on the internet about the capacity for the fracking frenzy to defer Peak Oil as a threat.  I’m far from convinced, but these latest news which just arrived today on the ABC have made me make the most of the wet weather to write another post!

Major oil discovery in outback SA

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-24/major-oil-discovery-in-outback-sa/4481982SAshaleoil

Brisbane company Linc Energy says it has discovered up to 233 billion barrels of shale oil in the Arckaringa Basin in South Australia’s far north.

The company says independent consultants have confirmed the finding after drilling and seismic explorations in shale rock.

Linc Energy holds rights over more than 65,000 square kilometres of land around Coober Pedy.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange, the company said reports from US-based consultants Gustavson, and DeGolyer and MacNaughton indicate underlying rock formations “are rich in oil and gas prone kerogen.”

Shale oil is costlier to extract than conventional crude and involves ‘fracking’ in which water is pumped in to break up the shale.

South Australian Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis says the value of the finding could be worth $20 trillion and could turn Australia into an oil exporter.

“What they think they’ve found, or they have found but whether it’s economic to recover or not is still the question, is vast reserves of shale oil,” he said.fracking

“It’s basically oil which is trapped in low-permeability, clay-rich rocks so it’s within the rocks and you fracture-stimulate those rocks to release the oil.

“There are processes now where you can unconventionally retrieve these reserves.

“If the reserves and the pressure was right over millions of years and the rocks have done the things they think they’ve done they think they can extract vast reserves of oil out of South Australia which would have a value of about $20 trillion.

“South Australia is blessed with abundant resources but there are a few setbacks and those setbacks are that they’re remote and they’re deep.”

The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy says it is much to early to say if the reserve can be profitably tapped.

Chief executive, Jason Kuchel, says major works would have to be carried out in order to access the oil.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure that needs to go particularly if there’s a lot of gas to be had rather than liquid,” he said.

“Up in the Cooper Basin where we have a lot of gas, of course it requires a lot of pipelines to be able to get that product to market whereas at least with oil you can pull that out of the ground, put it into a truck and get it going to market relatively quickly.”

So there you have it…….  we’re saved…!

However, at almost the same time I viewed this news item, I was also made aware of this article http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/121744-mark-anthony/1354531-the-real-bakken-shale-well-decline

I urge you to read it, even if only to check the maths….  The author, some chap called Mark Anthony, writes “In a previous article “The Real Natural Gas Production Decline“, I discussed a simple and effective way of estimating the real declines and realistic EURs (Estimated Ultimate Recovery) of shale wells based on two things that shale gas and oil producers can not lie about: number of wells added during a period of time, and the total daily productions.”

The idea is simple he says…. “All shale wells are in steep decline. Thus as the producers put new wells into production, a considerable portion of the new production merely compensates the decline of existing wells. If we assume producers add just enough wells to exactly compensate for the decline, then the EUR times number of wells added equals the amount of production during the same period.”

He then goes into the maths, the basis for which are indeed fairly simple….

Let the combined daily decline of existing wells be D, and IP being the Initial Production rate per well:

Total Production x D = IP x Well Additions

EUR = Total Production/Well Additions = IP/D

I don’t particularly want to copy/paste the rest of this blog, I’ll let you establish how he achieves the numbers, but the outcome is that Shale oil costs $65 a barrel to produce, that each well costs $11.60M to establish, and that at $65 a barrel, the oil companies barely make $11.65M, just breaking even for the well capital spending….  But, Mark Anthony adds,  “the capital spending is not the only cost. We have not calculated the production and maintenance costs, the General & Administrative costs. Thus, at the current oil price, [they are] not making any real profit in developing Bakken shale wells.”

So then, how do they manage to report positive profits for the quarters?  Creative accounting is how I would describe what Mark Anthony divulges…  Is a business profitable, if it continues to borrow more debts quarter after quarter, and it continue to spend many times more on capital spending than the revenue it takes in? “This is neither profitable, nor sustainable” says Mark.  He can see that when the banks get suspicious and stop lending money, then the shale industry will collapse.

But consider the effect on the economy of continued investing in the “drill, baby, drill” program.  Over-production lowers fuel costs at the pump, it employs people instead of them being on welfare, and it even allows politicians to deny Peak Oil and claim the US will be self-sufficient in oil in the future.

And what does it really cost?  The investment banks probably get their funds at low rates from the major banks, who get their funds at ultra-low rates from the Fed and then leverage it up 8-fold through fractional reserve banking, and the Fed creates the funds out of thin air and books the lot as solid assets.

As long as the supply of money doesn’t run out, it cannot fail – the usual Ponzi scheme.  And Bernanke has said again and again that he will always print money to avoid deflation.

So, maybe, just maybe, this whole sordid system may continue for years yet.  Only net energy will put an end to it…….

Michael Lardelli, a friend of mine from the Yahoo list Running on Empty wrote this very pertinent letter to the editor of Indaily following this article’s publication:

Kevin Naughton is correct in adding a dash of scepticism in his report on shale oil discoveries in SA’s north (Black Gold Fuels Boom-Sayers, InDaily 24 Jan. 2013) . Reserve figures of 100+ billion barrels sound extremely impressive when the entire world “only” uses 30 billion barrels of oil per year (1000 barrels per second). However, the critical issue for Australia’s future will be how rapidly this oil can be produced, not how large the reserves actually prove to be. There is growing scepticism in the USA in the wake of the huge claims that have been made there regarding shale oil. Shale oil wells are expensive to drill and require (and pollute) large amounts of water per well (not so plentiful in SA’s north). But the greatest concern from an economic viewpoint is that, unlike for conventional oilfields, the production volumes from shale oil wells typically are lower and drop off rapidly. This means that, to maintain any significant level of production, a high rate of continuous drilling of new wells is necessary. This is extremely expensive and has huge environmental impacts. The real profitability of much of US shale oil production is in doubt and the current drilling frenzy (which appears to be abating) is driven more by financial shenanigans rather than oil sales. So we should indeed remember the lessons of Olympic Dam when hearing all this good news. And what about SA’s fuel security? Well, we no longer have a refinery so any oil from SA’s north will have to be sent elsewhere ….

Watch this space……….





The truth about the lies re the Big Australia

23 01 2013

Joe Bish notes that the growth lobby have given up on getting Australians to like Big Australia, and are falling back on the discredited Ageing Population Scare.

Note former treasurer Peter Costello’s comments below, and his incorrect claim that “having a high percentage of retirees meant fewer taxpayers paying crippling tax rates.” This has been repeatedly shown to be false.

See the Sydney Telegraph’s
Can there be too many Australians?

  • JESSICA MARSZALEK
  • From: News Limited Network
  • January 24, 2013

 

PEOPLE are overwhelmingly against a bigger Australia, almost three-quarters of us hoping the population does not hit the 40 million mark projected by 2050.

In a Galaxy poll of 1000 people for News Limited, the majority of respondents nominated 30 million people as the preferred mark.

There are currently 23 million people living in Australia.

One quarter of people said they wanted things to stay the same while 8 per cent wanted the population to shrink.

Only 13 per cent voted for 40 million citizens – the mark likely to be hit by 2050 – and 70 per cent hoped that wouldn’t happen. Less than five per cent hoped for 50 million countrymen.

But former Treasurer Peter Costello, who famously urged parents to have a child for Australia, said people weren’t considering the makeup of the growing population.

“When I encouraged families to have one for mum, one for dad, and one for the country, what I was drawing attention to was the fact that we are an ageing population,” he said.

“To me one question is whether it should be a big Australia or a small Australia.

“A more important question is should it be a young Australia or an old Australia.”

He said having a high percentage of retirees meant fewer taxpayers paying crippling tax rates.

The country would not be able to afford all its services like healthcare and welfare and economic growth and living standards would decline, he said.

“Whether the population is 20, 30, 50 or 100 million, what we need to do is we need to get a higher proportion of younger people,” he said.

“We’ve got to keep our birthrates up if we want to have a balanced population of young and old people.”

Mr Costello said the problem had been on the Howard Government’s agenda but had been forgotten by Labor.

A spokeswoman for Population and Communities Minister Tony Burke said the Gillard Government did not have a population target but was working toward a “sustainable Australia”.

“Population change is not only about the growth and overall size of the Australian population,” she said.

“It is also about the needs and skills of our population, how we live, and importantly, where we live.”

The right mix of services, jobs and education opportunities, affordable housing, amenities in cities, outer suburbs and regional areas were all an important part of that, she said.

The article raises interesting questions about the so-called minister for environment and population, as represented by his unnamed spokeswoman.

In a perhaps similar area, Andrew Glikson, in “The Conversation” today, quotes the climate change scientist James Hansen in  Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

as saying:

Ladies and gentlemen, your governments are lying through their teeth. You may wish to use softer language, but the truth is that they know that their planned approach will not come anywhere near achieving the intended global objectives. Moreover, they are now taking actions that, if we do not stop them, will lock in guaranteed failure … The problem is that our governments, under the heavy thumb of special interests, are … pursuing policies to get every last drop of fossil fuel.__”

–and every last dollop of media support or donation-support out of those businesses that profit from growth?

Cheers,

Mark O’Connor

For those who want more info. on why the Ageing Population Scare is plain wrong, as shown in my book Big Australia? Yes/No, Pantera Press 2012 here are some sites with further information:
Dr Ben Spies Butcher, “The myth of the ageing ‘crisis’”, The Conversation, 26 April 2011.
http://theconversation.edu.au/articles/the-myth-of-the-ageing-crisis-1113.
cf. Ben Spies Butcher, “What ageing crisis?”, 31 January 2011. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/lifematters/stories/2011/3124413.htm.

Similarly, in the UK, the Select Committee on Economic Affairs of the House of Lords concluded that: “Arguments in favour of high immigration to defuse the ‘pensions time bomb’ do not stand up to scrutiny”. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200203/ldselect/ldeconaf/179/179.pdf
For a list of “myths” the committee rejected, see Sir Andrew Green, “Devastating demolition of the case for mass immigration”, Daily Mail, 31 March 2008.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-552449/Devastating-demolition-case-mass-immigration.html#ixzz1KV3RDTYm e.g. “The Government’s key claim that immigration increases Britain’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) is dismissed as ‘irrelevant and misleading’ – even though, as the report points out, it is a claim that has been ‘persistently emphasised’.”

See also Jane O’Sullivan, “The downward spiral of hasty population growth”, On Line Opinion, 8 March 2010. She argues that the costs of population growth are 30 times larger than the savings that might be made on old age pensions.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=10137&page=0. Jane N. O’Sullivan, “Submission to the Issues Paper on a Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia”, 2011, pp. 16-19

Wiliam Bourke of the Australian Stable Population Party wrote recently: In 1901 when life expectancy was in the 50s and there was an average of four children per family, there were about 1.5 people aged 15 to 64  (i.e. of working age) for every person aged under 15 or over 64; in 2051 (and 2100) there will still be around 1.5 people aged 15 to 64 for every person outside this age bracket, regardless of how many migrants we bring into the country (migrants also age!).





It’s raining………..

23 01 2013

Who would’ve thought that one day I would write a post titled “It’s raining………..”  I’ve got to say I have become obsessed with rain lately.  Or the lack of it to be closer to the truth.  On his Gourmet Farmer blog, Matt Evans writes “It’s dry. Very dry. Puggle Farm’s house garden, once watered by a pump, is suffering the worst I’ve seen. The pump now lives on our big farm, watering the vegie garden, keeping one small patch of green on the place. Without it, we’d have no food of our own, except meat.”  I don’t think Tasmanians have any idea what a real drought is like…….  lack of rain when it’s 24° is one thing, but when it’s 32°, plus a half dozen forays in the forties for two months straight, you can see your water just disappear.  And it did.  The garden tank, all 22,500L of it has been empty for two months.  When I last blogged about rain, woken up in the middle of the night by the now unfamiliar clatter of rain on the tin roof, we got 26mm.  The biggest rain event in over six months.  Yes it put some water in the tanks, but it was all used up in one day….

rainatlastTHIS is what real rain looks like…..  Ex Cyclone Oswald reformed the monsoonal trough that has been AWOL in the tropics all Summer so far, crossed Cape York, turned into a rain depression over the Coral Sea and is making its way down the Queensland coast towards us.  The forecast is for heavy rain over the weekend.

It’s the total absence of the monsoonal trough for so long that has caused the continental heatwave Australia has been experiencing.  Whenever a Summer high pressure cell sits on Australia, winds circulate around it in an anti clockwise pattern.  When the monsoonal trough is present, those winds bring rain to Queensland which rarely reaches southern Australia.  That’s why it’s wet in the tropics, and dry down South through Summer.  Like Tassie.  But without the trough, those Northerly winds are not cooled down by the rain, and as they blow over the inland deserts they get mighty hot, causing the worst heat wave on record.  This was not a weather event, it was a climatic one.  It’s the monsoonal trough that anchors the tropical (and our sub-tropical)  climate…. and it’s very very late.  Better late than never though, we avoided buying water by the skin of our teeth……

Unless you catch all your water off your roof like we do, you can’t appreciate the importance of a bit of rain.  Our catchment area of ~190m² (including shed) harvests 190L for every mm of rain that falls on it.  So to refill our 45,000L tanks, we need 237mm of rain, give or take.  Will we get that over the next four days?  We can only hope….  it would take all of that falling on the garden to replenish the soil to a decent depth in any case.  People who have lived in Cooran all their lives say they have never seen the place this dry, ever…

What’s really galling is that it rained so much this time last year we could have filled our tanks five times over as they overflowed at the sight of clouds.  Had I had any inclination of what was to come this dry season, I might’ve been tempted to stretch the budget and put a third tank near the shed somewhere to double our garden watering capacity.

And now comes the real question…..  will I be game enough to replant the garden with anything that will grow before Winter….  Buying food from the shops is really starting to piss me off, I gotta tell you…!  Fingers crossed.





It’s hopeless….. enjoy it!

22 01 2013

pollardDave Pollard, whom I introduced to Damnthematrix some time ago, is at it again……  it’s so so nice to run into a good blogger every now and again…

At his website, Dave posted Ten Things To Do When You’re Feeling Hopeless. This resonated with me so much, I’m going to discuss it with you here…..

  1. Give up hope: That’s right, get off the hope/despair roller coaster and realize once and for all it’s hopeless! You should have known when a US presidential candidate won an election on a platform of mere ‘hope’ that it was time to give it up. Derrick Jensen explains how and why to get Beyond Hope:

    The more I understand hope, the more I realize that all along it deserved to be in [Pandora’s] box with the plagues, sorrow, and mischief; that it serves the needs of those in power as surely as belief in a distant heaven; that hope is really nothing more than a secular way of keeping us in line… People sometimes ask me, ‘If things are so bad, why don’t you just kill yourself?’ The answer is that life is really, really good. I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time that life is really, really good. I am full of rage, sorrow, joy, love, hate, despair, happiness, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and a thousand other feelings. We are really fucked. Life is still really good… Many people are afraid to feel despair. They fear that if they allow themselves to perceive how desperate our situation really is, they must then be perpetually miserable. They forget that it is possible to feel many things at once. They also forget that despair is an entirely appropriate response to a desperate situation.

    Years ago, after giving one of my very first Peak Oil presentations to a branch of hopeful Greens Party members, I was told in no uncertain terms by an older member of said branch that my presentation was deficient in that it gave no hope for her teenage daughter who was present…..  I admit, I had not given the issue any thought, because, frankly, I had already reached the stage where I thought there were actually no solutions to keeping business as usual going, and surely members of the Greens Party already knew this…..  Now of course I realise that most people who vote Green do so because they believe in false hope, that the world can be run on wind and solar power.  I don’t know how to fix that.  In many ways, “hopeful people” are actually as intransigent as climate change deniers!  They’re hooked on HOPIUM…..

  2. Explore your gifts and passions with someone you love: Get together with someone you love and tell each other what you really care about, what you have real passion for, and what you think really needs to be done in the world, that you think you could actually contribute to usefully, and would really enjoy doing. Then tell each other what you think each other’s gifts to the world are, the things that other person is, in your view, uniquely good at doing. I bet you’ll feel things starting to shift, in ways that are practical, and intentional, instead of just desperately, uselessly hopeful.

    I do this with my wife constantly……  I can vouch it works…

  3. Be good to yourself: If you’ve been reading the previous points, you should now appreciate that it’s perfectly understandable, even sensible, to feel hopeless. We’re fucked, and you know it, but still you’re doing your part, taking responsibility, doing important work to mitigate or help adapt to the hopeless future we all face, right? So ease off. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Give yourself a break. Pamper yourself. Have a long hot bath by candlelight, with your favourite music playing. Go for a walk in the moonlight, or sleep under the stars. Play something, or just play around, by yourself or with those you love. Have chocolate by the fire. Celebrate the fact that you’re smart enough, informed enough, strong enough, sensitive enough, to feel utterly hopeless. You have to love that!

    He’s right you know…. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  I celebrate with chocolate, beer, espresso coffee (not all at once!!), and loads of good cooking….  you really need to do this.  I remember a couple of years ago totally shocking a friend of Glenda’s when she asked me what goals I had set for the year and answering…  none!  I’ve already achieved everything, I don’t want anything else…  of course now I have the Tassie experiment as a new goal to look forward to.

  4. Cry (like an elephant): Research suggests that crying is a natural response to stress and grief, with enormous therapeutic value: “Tears aren’t just salt water; they contain leucine enkephalin, an endorphin that modulates pain, and hormones such as prolactin and adrenocorticotropic hormone, released at times of stress. Tears [might] be the body’s way of flushing out excess stress hormones… a safety valve.” Elephants, with exceptionally large brains and memories, visit the sites of pack-mates’ past deaths or suffering every day for years, to remember and to cry, according to research by Jeff Masson. It’s natural, it feels good, and it’s good for you. So why does our culture not want us to cry when we feel hopeless? Hmmm.

    I don’t do this anywhere near enough.  I think I’ve become so immune to the whole catastrophe that I no longer even feel bad about it…  Not even death makes me cry anymore.  Even when my goat died last year, I was upset, but I didn’t cry.  I accept it as inevitable, I’m ready for it, I don’t even care.  I think.  I won’t really know until either my mother or Glenda’s mother dies.  Maybe it’ll come back to me..

  5. Listen to kids talk about what they care about: Kids are hopeless. By that I mean that, until their parents, peers and the education system brainwash them to start planning and hoping for their future, and living inside their heads, they live in the present, without hope. By listening to them we can relearn what it means to live without the need to hope, to just accept and be.

    I have young nieces and nephews.  All they seem to care about is what’s on the nearest screen.  It’s all they appear to care about these days as far as I’m concerned….

  6. Learn to be “present” like wild creatures: Like young children, wild creatures don’t live in hope. They too live in the real world, in the present. They have much to teach us about the First Principles of living, hopelessly: Be generous. Value your time. Live naturally. Learn to be present, your own way — meditation, exercise, walks in the woods — whatever works for you. Hope and hopelessness are both about the future. When you are present, neither has any hold on you.

    You can’t live like us and not do this.  One thing’s for sure, I need to learn to meditate.

  7. Talk with other hopeless people: We’re all part of the Earth organism, and it’s hopeless for all of us, so acknowledging that and starting to talk about it knowingly and honestly is the first step in making peace with our hopelessness, and with our collective grief. Perhaps it’s time to challenge the taboo in our culture that we must not admit to, or talk about, the hopelessness of our situation, and our feelings of hopelessness. You might start with someone you care about who you haven’t talked with in a long time. Right now, yeah, leave a message if you have to, and persevere. When you do converse, forget about catching up on old news or talking about future plans. Talk about what you’re doing and feeling right now. Including the feelings of hopelessness. Bring them into your present and they’ll bring you into the present in return, and out of the “hopeless” future.

    As it happens, I do know lots of hopeless people, but most of them live rather far away, so the only way I can talk to them is over this piece of technology.  It’s better than nothing, but I have to admit to looking forward to having more hopeless people around me in Tassie…..  it’s definitely one of the reasons I want to go there….

  8. Avoid unactionable news and “self-help” books: The media don’t have a clue, and the “news” is all about what has already happened, dumbed down, sensationalized and oversimplified to the point of meaninglessness. And skip the “good news” pap and the technophiles’ gee-whiz “future’s so bright and green I gotta wear shades” new invention news, too. It’s all designed to make you feel hopeful, so you don’t rise up and do something dangerous or appropriate to the worst of the perpetrators who have, in fact, made everything hopeless. And while you’re dispensing with hopeless reading, throw out all those so-called “self-help” books with their glib prescriptions for you how you should live. There are gazillions of them out there, clogging the aisles of bookstores everywhere. Most of their readers will tell you (even as they buy more of them, stupidly, hopefully): They don’t work! Things are the way they are for a reason. You are the way you are for a reason. Accept what is. Appreciate it. Make peace with it. It’s all good. It’s absurd to hope that some stupid book is going to change it. Donate your “self-help” money instead to those who truly embrace hopelessness, like the local homeless people, or your local food bank, or animal rescue centre, or radical activist group. And when you’re picking what to read, choose poetry and stories about the present, not nostalgic or traumatic stories about the past or cautionary tales about the future.

    A friend actually invited us to a “self help” seminar recently…..  I was appalled.  What was the matter with her?  All she needed to do was talk to ME!  Obviously we declined…  I toss religious belief in with that self help crap…  doesn’t do you any good.  Can’t understand what happened to critical thinking, must’ve gone out the window with whatever is on TV.  Speaking of TV, I almost never watch commercial TV…  can’t stand the ads for starters, but the quality is also appalling.  And even when watching what’s on the ABC or SBS I’m choosy….

  9. Dream: Dreams are alternate realities, and they are realities we can create and control. When you give vent to your imagination, it can manifest, ‘real-ize’ wonderful inventions — works of art, with amazing healing, communicating, inspirational and transformative power. Your dreams are clues to your gift to the world

    I only have one dream right now…..  moving to Tassie of course.  At my age (it’s obvious Pollard is much younger than me!) , you should’ve achieved pretty well everything you needed or wanted to.

  10. Fall in love: I have no advice at all on how to do this. All I know is that it works. It’s risky and addictive, for sure, and for most of us its most blissful effects wear off too fast. But nature has given us this wonderful state of foolish, invincible, chemical-induced grace, and it makes us immune to both hope and hopelessness.

    This one……  I don’t think my wife of 35 years will allow!  I can remember (dimly….) being in love…  go for it!





20 01 2013

Earth First! Newswire

Why Earth and Atmospheric Scientists Are Swearing Up a Storm and Getting Arrested.

By Jonathan MingleSlate, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012

NASA scientist and climatologist James Hansen takes part in a mock funeral parade during Climate Change Campaign Action Day in 2009 in Coventry, England

Many of us have wondered at some point in almost precisely these terms: “Is Earth Fucked?” But it’s not the sort of frank query you expect an expert in geomorphology to pose to his colleagues as the title of a formal presentation at one of the world’s largest scientific gatherings.

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