Off the keyboard of RE
Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 21, 2014
Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner
Since I have been involved in Doom Prognostication and Analysis since 2008, floating around various websites from PeakOil.com to Market Ticker to The Automatic Earth to The Burning Platform, as well as my own Yahoo Group of Reverse Engineering and now the Doomstead Diner, I have of course been exposed to probably every possible Doom Scenario that you could conjure up as plausible.
Besides that, since I am a confirmed Full Doomer, I also periodically review the latest in Graphs and Charts that Financial Bloggers post up, or that Climate Bloggers post up. Overall, just about all this graphology is uniformly depressing newz. You have to be a believer in Fairy Dust and Skittle Shitting Unicorns to accept any of the MSM Charts which show “Economic Recovery” anywhere, as my friend Jim Quinn from TBP demonstrated once again recently tracking the Collapse of Retail Sales here in the FSoA.
Hard to imagine how folks will be doing too much Shopping as they drop out of the Labor Force by the Millions:
While both Economic and Geopolitical Doom are both present in Copious Quantities, the current scariest long term possibilities come from progressive deterioration of ecosystems and climate change, which by Guy McPherson of Nature Bats Last’s analysis are not too far off and lead to the Uber Doom scenario of Near Term Human Extinction.
Trying to make sense of the ongoing Collapse and where it might lead requires more than just Graphs & Charts, it requires a narrative which makes sense, is plausible based on current known parameters and trends, and it has to be “accessible” to most people in language and imagery they can understand and relate to their own lives. Most folks are not Economists, Climatologists, CPAs, Petroleum Engineers or Nuclear Physicists, and any of those are virtually never expert in any other field than their own. So even experts need a cross-disciplinary narrative to get a good global picture of what is going on here.
Ugo Bardi recently brought up in a few of his blogs on Resource Limits how Science Fiction informed the late 19th, 20th and 21st Century narrative that most people accept as true, that Technological Progress will continue in perpetuity and that the Industrial Culture we have lived under for the last 200 years will not just continue, but become ever more complex and pervasive across the globe. This type of Sci-Fi permeated its way right down to the Cartoons many of us Science Buffs watched as children.
There are numerous other ancillary narratives that go along with this, for instance that Modern Medicine and Science can cure any disease, that Standards of Living will continue to improve for everyone as they join the Industrial Culture, and that Human beings are too small to affect the earth and its ecosystems.
Just about all those narratives are demonstrably false now. Country after country falls off the Economic Cliff, basically on a daily basis, and the smaller ones with little access to central credit creation find it ever more difficult to access the energy necessary to keep running an Industrial society. Standards of Living aren’t improving anywhere, even here at the center of Credit Creation of the World Reserve Currency of the Dollar they are falling as more people each year fall out of the tabulated “workforce”, fewer well paying jobs are available, more McMansions go into Foreclosure and fewer miles are driven in the Happy Motoring lifestyle. Ecosystems are collapsing everywhere, phytoplankton are down 50% over the last 30 years in world Oceans and species are going Extinct at a rate unprecedented in the Geological Record, even faster than the mass extinction even of the PETM, or Pleiocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, which took out the Dinosaurs.
EBOLA GOES EXPONENTIAL
Access to advanced Medical care isn’t improving, Obama-care is a joke, anti-biotics are failing as drug resistant “Super-bugs” evolve, higher percentages of people are born with Autism and other neurological and physiological problems and food becomes ever less nutritious and ever more dangerous as GMO foods are introduced into the food supply. Besides that, you have the specter of the Ebola Virus spreading Exponentially in Africa, a disease for which there is no cure and a 40% mortality rate at least these days that is what the WHO is reporting.
Denial is rampant through the society of Homo Industrialis, in large part because there isn’t a good narrative to compete with the Sci-Fi Narrative of never-ending Progress and a better life in the future.
In this Podcast, Ugo Bardi, Jim Laughter (author of Polar City Red) and I chat up ideas around one type of New Narrative, “Cli-Fi” or Climate Fiction. Through Fiction, you can explore ideas and make comprehensible what is not generally comprehensible just by reading charts and tables, which in fact most folks never look at at all, they just take the word of “experts”, and every possible side in every scenario has some expert they can enlist to justify their POV, so the hoi polloi tends to believe the side with the viewpoint and outcome they WANT to believe is true.
Cli-Fi is only one of the possible Fictional Variants that can be explored here, Econ-Fi is another one since it still looks like Economic Collapse will lead Climate Collapse by some margin. Energy-Fi is another one, since how we might adapt to a lower per capita energy world of the future has many possible narratives attached.
This podcast looks mainly at Cli-Fi scenarios, both Medium and Long Term. Hopefully at a future date we will explore some of the other ones as well.
In any event, break out the Microwave Popcorn, sit back and contemplate TEOTWAWKI with me, Ugo Bardi and Jim Laughter.