On giving up

5 05 2013

On the weekend, I had a friend over to help her put a powerpoint presentation together.  She’s been pre-selected to run for the Greens in our seat of Wide Bay currently held by the leader of the Nationals, Warren Truss.  Of course, she has zero chance of winning, but she wants to educate the electorate on energy and greenhouse issues, especially as the fracking bonanza is snapping at our heels (as an electorate) with drills going into action just North of Maryborough.  They are closing in…..

Joy obviously thought of me with my expertise in matters of energy, and I know how to massage a PPT file and sex it up to stop people getting bored.  I couldn’t help thinking how ironic it was that we were using software originally designed for Micro$oft on a Macbook and a Linux laptop!  But I digress….

As I dragged and dropped images of solar panels, wind turbines, gas fields, charts explaining this that and the other, from my laptop and hers into her presentation, I just felt it was all a waste of time.  You can’t have the deep understanding of collapse in the manner I do and not realise this.  Anyone who’s read my last post about Pedro‘s views on Pvs will know what I’m talking about…..  and all those fracking companies will simply go tits up once their source of finance disappears in the looming GFC Mk II.

After some while, I could stand it no more, and I told her so.  To which she replied, “I’m just not prepared to give up”.

It was neither the time nor the place to start an argument, we had work to do…. but it’s haunted me all weekend.  Have I given up?  Surely anyone seeing all I’ve done here couldn’t really believe I’d given up?

I stood in seven elections for the Greens myself at the turn of the century.  Did quite well considering, garnering some 16% of the votes twice and getting national coverage in the media during a particularly high profile bi-election when the Labor Party (with my preferences) snatched a safe Liberal seat off them, even if only until the following election.

Back then, I believe, it was still the good fight.  Back then, there was still a chance of maybe, just maybe, changing enough minds to avoid the collapse……. a chance of doing something about Climate Change while there was still some ice in the Arctic…

But no one’s minds were changed.  I even started campaigning internally within the Greens on the issue of Peak Oil, and ended up castigated.  I left in disgust.  Christine Milne temporarily took up the issue, but I suspect she too was eventually told to shut up about it, there are no votes in collapse.  And besides, it’s too late.  Back then I had no idea let alone understanding of the debt problem.  I still believed we could run civilisation on renewables.  But slowly all the pieces fell into place, and I realised it was too late.  The fight itself had to change.

So have I given up?  No…..  I have merely changed fights.  I’m no longer fighting for just change, I’m fighting for survival, and a lot of people are going down with the ship.  I have to tell you though, I have given up on people who refuse to listen.  I don’t even have to tell them to go to hell, because they’re going regardless of what I say.

As we approach an election that looks set to be won by the dark side, it will be every man and woman for him/herself.  Nothing will change until the monetary system we currently follow is dumped, and a new world order like that written up earlier is adopted.

As usual, I’m three steps ahead of the herd.  I’m used to it, and people are getting used to me!  But I’ll be proven mostly right.  I was ten years ahead of the pack when we installed the first grid tied solar power system in Cooran, I was miles ahead of Noosa Shire Council when I tendered the plans for this house to be built, and I was years ahead of the Greens when I campaigned on Peak oil.  I’ll still support and vote for Joy…..  but I hope she forgives me if my heart’s not in it.  Because it’s time to change the Greens too!

IF you’ve got loads of time, read The Simpler Way.     It’ll keep you busy for weeks!

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19 responses

5 05 2013
Don

To be ahead of one’s time is an uncomfortable position. Everyone thinks you are a nut and when you are proven right they hate hearing “I told you so” by which time you have moved on to the next “ahead knowledge”. I’ve been there where I worked for many years. One senior engineer once turned around and insisted that I did the very practice he had been stopping me from doing for years (as if it had been his idea in the first place).

I share your despondency, however a complete collapse of our current system is possibly the only thing that will save some of the human race. While the cost may be terrible I feel we must keep trying and enjoy each day that we have.

Keep enjoying life Mike.

5 05 2013
Terry Wall

Mike; I know exactly where you are coming from. The thing is that you can be proud of your efforts, your ability to think and to get off your butt and do things, but most of all to be able to change your mind. We forward thinkers cannot get too serious, we have to put a considerable effort into enjoying the moment, smelling the flowers, ensuring that your relationship is rewarding by pouring effort into that: the more love you give the more you get back and that also goes for critters and plants. i try and organise social get together s and get a little pissed and often as possible.

Over the last 13 or so years I have been selling a all inclusive mineral supplement that works so well it is almost unbelievable and of course, that is part of the problem. I can talk to people about it and they are convinced enough to try. But try doing something (marketing) through the mainstream media and you find yourself pushing shit up hill, well almost. The other part hits on what you have discovered. Recently I read a well written and convincing article that stated “Most people do not like change: change means uncertainty, risk and they don’t want that.” They will accept change eventually but to us it will seem like a bread pill and never say I told you so. Easy way to loose friends.

Stay cool bro!! Yes I am a Kiwi.. 70 years at xmas.

5 05 2013
Barnaby Is Right

“Nothing will change until the monetary system we currently follow is dumped, and a new world order like that written up earlier is adopted.”

… and in the meantime, to avoid both the energy-sapping stress and wasted time of arguing with minds that are closed through greed or fear (and often a little of both), remember what my dear Nanna always used to say –

‘A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.’

Anyone who is not already searching for the truth, is generally unable to hear it.

5 05 2013
Michael

I empathise Mike – there go I. That said, if people are “getting used to you”, you are winning – just not in the numbers and time frame required.

There is little comfort in being first amongst lemmings – the view on the way over the cliff is poor compensation for a visionary. But take heart, as John Maynard Keynes said, “In the end…..we’re all dead.”

6 05 2013
trixie

Don’t know why I can’t email you…..I have an important question to ask you. I have been following your blog for a long time, proud to be an Aussie, tho I’ve lived in Canada for 40 years…..my son is ‘trying’ to get off the grid too. Ecological awareness was well embedded in my kid’s lives. Hope you will reply….thanks in advance, trixie

6 05 2013
lemmiwinks

The trouble with the Greens (well, one of the troubles anyway) is they’re only selling BAU (Business As Usual). I.e. we’ll run on renewables (fail: do the maths) etc etc. The other problem is people; they are glacial in speed of accepting change and flat out refuse to accept anything other than BAU.

What’s going to happen is, BAU will continue until it doesn’t. There’s a famous quote about how people go bankrupt I think, that goes along the lines of “Slowly, and then all at once.” Rather apt here.

Mind you, I’m just re-reading Ben Elton’s STARK and it’s still not all as bad as that (yet ;-))

6 05 2013
Jac

Mike, I understand how you feel. I have given up on hope and being optimistic about the future especially considering how the human race is growing exponentially. Infinite growth on a finite planet does not make any sense. Well, at least there is a party in Australia that makes sense to me and every country in the world should have a similar one- The Stable Population Party of Australia. They might be small, but they make a lot of sense!

I would have more confidence in optimism if the optimists lived wisely! A pessimist is a well informed optimist!

6 05 2013
Michael

btw the unsw link is kaput. Can anyone post the correction? Thanks

6 05 2013
mikestasse

I don’t understand what’s going on here. I have that page open in my browser as I write, I’ve refreshed the page, and the URL is correct, and it works. I cut’n’pasted it into the page above, but as you say it doesn’t work. I added it to the blogroll at right, and that works fine! I tried to edit the page by re copying the URL and lo and behold, it still refuses to work. And if I copy the URL from the page above into a browser window, IT WORKS…!

Beats me…… I’m flummoxed.

Anyhow, I’ve replaced the URL with linked text, “The Simpler Way”, and that works fine. Bloody computers………….

6 05 2013
Michael

Got it thanks. I have read much of Ted Trainer’s writings previously – all good.

6 05 2013
foodnstuff

Well said, Mike. “….no longer fighting for just change, I’m fighting for survival, and a lot of people are going down with the ship.”

That’s about where I’m at, too. The rest of the comments show we’re not alone, but there’s so few of us it no longer matters. Watch it all go down, grit your teeth and be glad the planet will survive sans Homo sapiens.

6 05 2013
Graham

Good blog Mike, but don’t get too pessimistic, that is, unless your move to Tasmania is part of a planned retreat to them thar hills with the well stocked larder and firearms to protect your family. Rather, I would hope something like the Transition movement will gain greater foothold and common sense will eventually win the day.

I refer to a blog ‘Fear won’t do it’ http://bigthink.com/age-of-engagement/study-finds-that-fear-wont-dont-do-it-why-most-efforts-at-climate-change-communication-might-actually-backfire and other links. Pessimism also serves little purpose and I am guessing or hoping that the inevitable break down in the energy and financial systems will not occur overnight anytime soon. It is going to linger in its present forms, gradually deteriorating, but hanging on for dear life to everything it possibly can. In that period the broader population must get the message that they have to change and that it will be positive, certainly when compared to the alternatives.

Change must come from below; it won’t be imposed from top down as our ‘dear leaders’ have too much to lose so don’t be too hard on the Greens. They are on a hiding to nothing with their present position on Climate Change without even suggesting we have to reduce let alone stop our present wasteful lifestyle.

I listened to Tim Costello on the wireless late last night and he described the Australian electorate as being in a state of belief that they were becoming impoverished when in reality they live in one of the richest nations on earth. How can any politician talk about the realities when anything that threatens improvements in their lifestyle next year and year on year after will virtually guarantee getting wiped out at the next election?

Having said all that I share the pessimism as I try in vain to even broach the subject with my own children and others who just brush me aside as some sort sad crank. It’s lonely being ahead of the game, believing you are right on one hand while hoping that you are totally wrong on the other.

6 05 2013
mikestasse

Don’t know that I consider myself a pessimist……. after all, a pessimist is a well informed optimist, and I’m well informed!! I prefer to think of myself as a realist.

The move to Tassie is more of a move to colder climes as I just cannot tolerate Qld Summers anymore. Otherwise, I would never leave this place…. we’re about as ready as we could make ourselves, so it is in fact with mixed feelings that I’ve decided to part with this place. Whoever buys Mon Abri is getting a bargain I reckon…..

6 05 2013
Glenn

Mike,

To come to terms with and know deep down in the belly we are in the midst of collapse is a surprisingly liberating place to find oneself. When and how it unfolds is anyone’s guess.

But I do know less time spend in the head and more time spend doing things of the heart seems a better use of our time.

QUESTION for you. We are looking to start building mid next year. I don’t want to do the ‘solar’ thing. I would prefer to make our own bio-fuels and natural gas from any surplus organic waste to fuel a generator, tractor and car – on a large rural property. Do the numbers add up? Is this realistic or even possible? HooRoo

6 05 2013
mikestasse

Hi Glenn…….. I don’t know that I would go the generator way to make electricity… too many things to go wrong methinks. A diesel tractor running on gas is doable, though storing the fuel could be tricky, as compressing it becomes an issue. Personally, I’m very tempted to convert my ute to electric drive, I think it’d be simpler. In any case, eventually whatever you devise for non petrol transport will fail. Things wear out, and replacement parts will be unavailable….. so in any case anything we do will be short term, even if it’s as long as 15 or 20 years.

Solar power is elegantly simple, but if you go off grid, you’ll need batteries, and they have a limited life. I’m actually hoping to somehow go the micro hydro way, but they have bearings (which you could stock up on), but no matter which way you go, nothing will last for a long time.

Gas is great for cooking and heating though. No moving parts, no electronics…. but even the jets in stoves wear out.

Entropy rules.

6 05 2013
Paul Handover

New to your readership but just had to applaud the passion you expressed in this post.

6 05 2013
Rapideffect

Good blog Mike and good comments from everyone. Since everyone has said what I would have said, i’ll just give some quotes from Einstein:

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and i’m not sure about the former”.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”

“The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive”.

“We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive”.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”

“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them”.

6 05 2013
Robert LePage

Hi Mike,
Just to bring you up to speed on the Greens in Tassie situation, they are about to self destruct.
This agreement that has been signed by SOME of the green groups with the forestry crowd is going to be disaster for the greens. They have sided with labor and allowed it to be passed, saying that is the best that can be expected.
At the same time they are carrying on a campaign for gay marriage and also beating the drum for boat people and how badly they are treated.
I think that a lot of people are a bit fed up with the Gay marriage and boat people subject and feel that there are more important matters on the agenda.
They are also saying that the Greens have been conned by the Labs and are getting used to a taste of the trough.
The situation will most likely end with the Libs winning the next election here and with a lib fed gov this will totally change the state of play here.
The labs are already getting ready to privatise the power company and anything else that will sell, the feed in tariff is going to be just about scrapped as in the Northern states. So the ,libs will carry on with the same old, same old.
In other words it will not be good.
I know you will go “off grid” when you get down here but do not expect any support from the Greens.
All the best , from Cygnet.

16 05 2013
Graham

Sorry to hear of your disaffection with the Tasmanian Greens, Robert. It could be seen as a sign of maturity in political terms to allow disagreement within their own ranks or just a realisation that this agreement was all that could be achieved. For myself I am beyond trying to understand it all but feel there has to be an end to the ‘forest wars’ and a need to move on as there are now far bigger battles to wage.

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