Mobbs sees writing on the wall….

29 09 2019

I met Michael Mobbs some 10 years ago, when I still believed all the happy fantasies of solar power and energy efficiency saving us from Armageddon, and even wrote an article a couple of years ago when he ran into difficulties with a Lithium battery packed off grid system he bought. No idea if it’s been fixed. The latest story about Mobbs is fascinating, however, because he’s finally seen the light, and he’s going prepping!

photo courtesy The Guardian

Mobbs, it turns out, is a couple of years older than me; in 1996, he converted his two-storey 19th century Sydney terrace into one of the world’s first inner-city “self-sufficient” homes. He is selling his famous passion project and moving to an as yet to be determined remote coastal location to prepare for what he predicts will be impending societal collapse induced by climate change.

I hope his batteries work properly now! His website shows no sign of this being fixed… Or that he hasn’t left his run too late; even I sometimes run out of puff and sure am glad I’m not starting all over now…..

According to The Guardian, “Selling his four-bedroom, off-grid Chippendale property that he purchased in 1978 for $23,500 and is now valued at $2.2m is proving more difficult than he thought. He’s had it on the market since March, but wants to sell it to someone who won’t convert the back yard into a car space, who wants to maintain the Saturday morning house tours that have attracted some 30,000 eco-curious visitors, and who will appreciate the home’s unique perks: two resident Australorp chooks named Pesky and Blanche d’Alpuget; less than $300 a year in water and energy bills for a family of four and a leafy street blooming with edible verge gardens.”

I can relate to some of that, selling Mon Abri four years ago to ‘someone suitable’ was not easy, and we may even have made a mistake, but I’m not going there, we have truly moved on as you will soon find out in another update soon…….

Initially, I thought good on him, but then I realised his asking price will probably never attract someone like me, say, because how many greenies have a spare 2.2 million? And if he’s not careful, the real estate market could realistically go pear shaped leaving him stranded in Sydney, one of the last places I’d pick to see out the apocalypse…!

No doubt he’s invested a lot of emotional capital into the place, but does he even need 2.2 mil? Is he being greedy? Just asking of course……. Trust me, it doesn’t cost 2.2 mil to start a sustainable lifestyle in the country. If I was him, I’d take whatever and run…….

Mobbs, states the article, “is in no massive hurry to sell – he’s yet to acquire that crucial plot of coastal land for his bolthole-to-be. However he does have a new abode in the works that is due for completion in December – a prefabricated, bushfire-proof, fully sustainable home constructed with recycled materials that he’s creating in partnership with Melbourne-based modular housing specialistsFairweather Homes and Lismore-based renewables company 24 Hour Solar Power. Mobbs’ new home will be the prototype the trio use to take on the mainstream building market, showing that sustainable can be both “beautiful and elegant” and “cheaper than business as usual”.

Prefabricated means no thermal mass. Don’t know how you make something like that bushfire proof… and if it’s cheaper, what’s he going to spend 2.2 mil on? I can never get over how money rules everyone’s lives. I’d be surprised if his house is cheaper than mine.

“My guess is water, energy, food, the seasons and economies will collapse in the next three to five years,” he says. “Am I certain of these things? No. But like someone diagnosed with a cancer expected to kill me in the next five years, I am now preparing for my personal circumstances over the next few years. The star I steer by is an article by Catherine Ingram, Facing Extinction.”

People seem to believe that if they have superannuation, climate change won’t apply to them The audience – who were hoping for a side of hope with their vegan meal – appear stunned. Mobbs, on the other hand, looks relieved.

Will anyone want to buy his house after hearing that? I think he’s just told his potential buyers to all get the hell out!


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10 responses

29 09 2019
Andrew Jeeves
29 09 2019
The Polychronic Polymorph

Typical psychological response to “the system is unsustainable”- straight line to “the system will imminently collapse”. A well worn path. To a 69 year old baby boomer , this is probably true because he will be dead in ten or so years regardless of what happens with the climate. Anyone who reads The Guardian regularly is going to end up chronically anxious and fearful.

The other flaw with this elitist type of wealthy lawyer thinking is that you can just go set up a fortress in a desirable location and hold the masses off with your shotgun while continuing to enjoy a priveleged and luxurious lifestyle.
Aside from how the locals will view an influx of priveleged octogenarian wankers invading tneir town, their is the issue that in this type of doomsday scenario the masses with nothing let to lose will just stay in their cesspit four hours down the road.

Check out RM Williams or Sid Kidmans autobiography if you want to see what happens. A constant stream of walking men , just walking, walking looking for anything, food, work, shelter. And these were more civilised people, mostly religious , used to working hard not chronically anxious, dissociated, entitled drug addicted or violent, and there were far less of them.

Tne reality is the system will continue to muddle along for decades and longer, with wet years, dry years, financial collapses and recoveries, elites who go on ruling from behind the scenes, corrupt pollys promising a return to the good old days. This has been well explored by Greer, Orlov, Kunstler et al

There is no need to panic , we should be alert and realistic but not alarmed, and the damaged future belongs to the young, not to the baby boomers. No one cares about them except them , she’ll be right , we’ll take it from here , thanks very much.

30 09 2019
mikestasse

I can’t agree the system will muddle along for decades….. yes it’s been in slow motion collapse mode for ten years now, and the so called recovery was no recovery at all, everything’s gotten worse, the climate in particular. And we only have one GFC left, and then the economy will be terminal.

The whole fracking boom is about to go belly up, oil shortages are now imminent; in any case, there’s not enough surplus energy to keep the Matrix running.

I have no idea of how this will all pan out, but we’re past the “this is as good as it gets” point.

29 09 2019
Danny

Hmm, he left me cold after a few conversations and his (then) penchant for concrete … unlike yourself Mike, he was never ‘self-sufficient’ orientated …
I think his kids aren’t too fused because he isn’t either … reminds me of the monkey and the peanuts

30 09 2019
mikestasse

I have quite a bit of a penchant for concrete, when used correctly…….. my impression was that he was leaning toeards what is coined n my circles at least “the esky principle”, ie a well insulated lightweight box not connected to the Earth, which believe me doesn’t work anywhere as well as my projects have until you get out of climate zones where winters never give you frosts.

29 09 2019
Lloyd Morcom

Hi Mike. It’s like the last reel of ‘Downfall’ isn’t it, when everyone’s considering their options in an atmosphere of increasing hysteria and madness. Poor old Michael Mobbs.

As for Catherine Ingram, I read her article via a link from Jim Kuntsler’s site (link since gone missing) and she made my hair stand on end, for all the wrong reasons. I kept thinking of Frau Goebbels, having trouble seeing a viable future for the children if there was to be no National Socialism. Each to their own I guess, but spare me the egotistical old groupies.

I too was part of the Technophilia, back in the day. Not any more. I agree with your comments about the house idea he’s chasing. As someone who has had lots of time in the alternative house scene, I think we need something along the lines of noise cancelling headphones, but which would be house cancelling glasses. We’re all experts on off-the-grid-what-evers, but we seem to be completely blind to the massive infrastructure which is enabling all this nonsense. We really don’t need to build more sh*t using the latest technology from Scandinavia.

What we need is to become different sorts of people. I think this is the real problem. We all (or a hell of a lot of us) want to keep playing games the way we always have, and the thought of having to make strange new friends who mightn’t think we are completely wonderful just as we are, brings on attacks of the horrors.

My view is a bit grim, but we will have a new future all right, which will arrive one funeral at a time. Young people see the world they come into after leaving home as just the way things are, and they adapt. Much harder for these old codgers, who want to drag all their material and intellectual rubbish along with them.

Let go and start again, if you can!

29 09 2019
Jeff

The 69 year old guy is delusional if he thinks our society will collapse before his health fails and he asks for health care from our advanced modern system.
He is just bailing out on the impracticality of going off grid in a small inner city terrace. He is admitting it was a failure, like using water from a neighbor’s hose when his rainwater tank runs dry.

3 10 2019
Harquebus

My plan is outlast as many as I can until things, hopefully, turn again. The pollution problem should be greatly reduced by then.

Acquiring gardening skills without the use of pesticides and fertilizers takes time. Especially if, as in my case, soils were degraded. It has taken years for what was an inherited manicured garden to return to health.
Those gardening gurus on the telly are gardening wimps. Can not do without shops.

I have acquired hand and garden tools, water tanks and have learned to improvise and make repairs.
Most think that I am crazy however, my closest friends and family are starting, perhaps too late, to follow my example.

Even with these precautions, I expect to be taken out, like most will be, by disease or illness. I have no defense for this. If it wasn’t for modern medicine, I would have died years ago from infection.

Evolutionary forces will decide who lives and who dies. My opinion is that it will be the luckiest of the smartest adaptable ones and perhaps a few from primitive cultures.

There is a myth or story, The Shit Knife, that goes something like this:

An elderly Inuit or Eskimo man did not want to move from his village. After the move, his family took away his possessions so that he could not run away.

One night in the freezing cold, he sneaked out and laid a dump into his hands. As the shit cooled, he shaped it into a knife and with spit, created a sharp edge. With his shit knife, he killed a dog, created a small sled out of the bones and carcass, stole another dog or more and disappeared into the twilight.

That’s what I call a survivor. How much of this is true I do not know. If anyone can shed more light on this story, it would be appreciated.

Cheers.

7 10 2019
Mark Campbell

Agreed !

8 11 2019
amoeba

He is trying to offload the risk of his investement upon some moneyed idiot/useful idiot who will have to die if his scenario fulfills.

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