As written in Peak Oil: Are We Heading Towards Social Collapse?:
Certainly, reality does not conform to fanciful hopes and dreams regardless of the degree that they are compelling due to familiarity or any other reasons. A willful adherence to past choices and whimsies just won’t help under the circumstances. As John Adams suggested, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
At the same time, our current standard of living clearly is provided by our ability to burn through unimaginable amounts of fossil fuels, including an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil a year whilst roughly 40 percent of global energy consumption stems from petroleum. Conversely, people without access to such rich energy sources, whether in developed or developing nations, rightfully equate prosperity and access to material goods with fossil fuel use.
After all, no “green” substitute can even come close to the energy density obtained by their derivatives. As such, Robert Bryce, managing editor of “Energy Tribune” and author of the newly released Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy, and the Real Fuels of the Future, points out in Let’s Get Real About Renewable Energy at online WSJ: “We can double the output of solar and wind, and double it again. We’ll still depend on hydrocarbons.”
In his view, the reason is that we can never, in a reasonable amount of time, reach the colossal scale needed to supply sufficient energy by alternative means. Likewise, “[renewables] cannot provide the baseload power, i.e., the amount of electricity required to meet minimum demand, that Americans want.”
Consider the places in the world that have to bring in their food and water supplies for their current and growing population size. Consider that much of California is sinking due to the underwater aquifer being drained. Consider the same for the Ogallala’s fossil water. (Oops, there goes the US bread basket of the world between California and these other states.)
Nov 28, 2015 – As people dig ever deeper to find water, nearly 1200 square miles of California is sinking 2 inches a month – destroying roads, bridges and …
Jul 30, 2015 – It’s called depletion, and it occurs when the rate of water loss … from wells fed by the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies portions of eight states, …
Consider, too, that around a fourth or more of our crops are dependent on honey bees (on the way out). Consider overshoot stats. Consider about how much more your region can subsume people-wise whether legal or illegal immigrants, born of families that like lots of children, migration from other regions or whatever else may propel the additions.
… I had a nightmare a few months ago. It was about cascading dominoes. … X population went to Y town to find food since X’s lost their homes and food supply to climate change. They quickly used up Y’s food. … Then both groups trekked to the next town and did the same action. … So the group of trekkers kept exponentially growing and was a huge mass by the time that they got to New England. Oh-oh!
I live in New England. What am I supposed to do, I wondered in the dream. Am I suppose to stand with a gun and shoot some mother, who’s raiding my garden to feed herself and the baby strapped to her chest. … Yet my own family needs that food to stay alive.
In “real” life, a former next door neighbor, dying of cancer, used to raid my garden. She’d go out at night with a flashlight and pick my crop.
Of course, I noticed, but let it go despite that it was my labor that created the vegetables. Afterall, she was dying and I wanted her to have healthy delicious organic vegetables during her end-days.
Yet, would I be as charitable if I and my family needed that food to literally stay alive? … Consider:
Maslow’s (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. … Maslow (1943) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs, and that some needs take precedence over others.
The first order of business is, obviously to keep your family fed, sheltered, clothed and supplied with sufficient water. Nothing else takes precedence and in societies that do well, they can move onward to creating art, dance, music, etc., due to not having to consume all of the time just scraping by on the most fundamental level of providing for basics.
My friend, long dead, discovered this being the case the hard way. An only child born of elderly parents on a Russian farm, Josh Lieberman was lonely much of his childhood. His parents noted it and gave him a lamb to raise, whose mother had died in birth.
He slept with the lamb in his bed, played with it every day, fed it and tended it. What a joyous time they had together. They had bonded so well!
Then Stalin’s Pogroms started. They were ruthless:
R. J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus at the Univerisity of Hawaii, estimates the true number of deaths attributable to Joseph Stalin. He is the author of Death by Government, and his website provides the evidence in detail for what he writes here. For more information on the death toll from communism, see “The Red Plague“. He blogs regularly at Democratic Peace. By far, the consensus figure for those that Joseph Stalin murdered when he ruled the Soviet Union is 20,000,000.
Josh’s Jewish parents, rather than seeing their family slaughtered, let their animals loose out of barns and pens except for ones traveling with them. Then they fled with a donkey pulling a wagon filled with vegetables, a few caged chickens, jugs of water, Josh and his best and only friend, the lamb.
They traveled “off the radar” while hiding from Stalin’s forces. They mostly moved through wilderness.
With no helpers in their deliberately isolated locations, eventually all of their food was gone. So they ate the donkey. Then the donkey was gone.
The next day, lamb was served. Josh was not told about what he was eating.
He figured it out while very hungry and with lamb still in his mouth, he promptly vomited. Then he forced himself to eat the meal as a last-ditch measure to stay alive. Indeed, he ate his friend for several days.
Eventually he made it to the USA, opened up a fresh-air summer camp in Massachusetts, along with his wife Leah, for poor children, such as Jews out of Hell’s Kitchen.
He also was a die-hard vegetarian. Considering that his traumatic childhood tragedy of eating his best friend always haunted him, how not?
To learn more, please feel free to check out:
Jun 30, 2012 – Josh and Leah in 1940. Josh immigrated to New York when he was 11, from an impoverished shtetl in Russia. He knew no English when he …
Apr 5, 2014 – You will see and hear stories about Josh and Leah Lieberman and learn some very unexpected information about their family backgrounds …
Dec 16, 2012 – The camp was founded in 1929 by Joshua (“Josh“) and Leah Lieberman. In 1931, Josh’s book “Creative Camping” was published.
Yet, let’s go full circle here. What are we going to do with immigrants fleeing deplorable conditions in their own lands? How many more people can the world subsume with climate change conditions and fossil fuel depletion on the way?
If you think for a moment that the Pogroms were an isolated set of incidents, look at at present-day Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Rwanda and so on. Look, too, at what’s slated for Florida and Boston while speculating outcomes:
Is this scary coming vision science fiction? I think not:
Scientists say coastal cities around the world are all but certain to face catastrophic flooding in the coming decades.
Here’s What the World’s Cities Would Look Like After Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise
Some of the details from the above link: Final data confirms record-breaking temperatures for third year in a row –Earth has not been this warm for 115,000 years | 18 Jan 2017 | 2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change. The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies — the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US — and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century. Direct temperature measurements stretch back to 1880, but scientific research indicates the world was last this warm about 115,000 years ago and that the planet has not experienced such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 4m years. In 2016, global warming delivered scorching temperatures around the world.
Then combine this climate change information with the end of fossil fuel and imagine that our world is supposed to possibly be able to subsume this scenario in our respective regions that didn’t flood, turn to waterless deserts, etc.:
May 14, 2011 – In May 2011, the United Nations released their new worldwide … carry us to a collision between our planet and 15.8 BILLION of us by century’s …
I just can’t assimilate the vision. I’ve already watched species diminish or disappear from my region of Massachusetts. It saddens and alarms me when I watch forest after forest cut down to build condominium unit after condominium unit.
I guess that the whole situation can be summed up like this:
“Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” ~ Kenneth Boulding
“A human population approaching 7 billion can be maintained only by desolating the Earth. If wild habitat is given over to human cultivation and habitation, if rain forests can be turned into green deserts, if genetic engineering enables ever-higher yields to be extorted from the thinning soils—then humans will have created for themselves a new geological era, the Eremozoic, the Era of Solitude, in which little remains on the Earth but themselves and the prosthetic environment that keeps them alive.” ~ John Gray
followed by a population bottleneck, which in turn derives something like The Road (2009) – IMDb? Should we try to correct our collective and individual trajectories now?
May 29, 2012 – The Seventh Generation Principle is based on an ancient Iroquois philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future. … The Great Law of Iroquois Confederacy formed the political, ceremonial, and social fabric of the Five Nation Confederacy (later Six).
There are no easy answers. However, we have to be like Josh and Leah, who always tried to uplift life and not just their own lives regardless of whatever came their way. What viable other alternative is there for any of us?
Sally Dugman is a freelance writer