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PREPARING FOR CIVILIZATION’S COLLAPSE
Finally It’s OK to Talk About Civilization’s Collapse: This blog is mostly about preparing for the collapse, later this century, of our fragile, unsustainable and overwrought civilization. It took me awhile to be honest about this, because you won’t hear any debate about this in any of the mainstream media, or even in most of the alternative media, and it’s certainly not polite conversation at the dinner table or the political rally. But slowly it’s becoming respectable, if still a bit eccentric, to argue that we’re too late to save the world (if it were ever possible) and to start to talk about what comes after civilization. The Transition movement deserves much credit for this. This week, there’s an astonishing dialogue in the Guardian between George Monbiot and Paul Kingsnorth about whether civilization’s impending collapse should be mitigated (Monbiot) or encouraged (Kingsnorth).
Artists Begin to Document the Story of Civilization’s Collapse: The aforementioned Paul Kingsnorth has started a movement — the Dark Mountain project — of writers and artists to tell the story of civilization’s current demise, and to imagine possibilities for the world that will follow, a world with a much smaller, Uncivilized human population. Thanks to Vera B for the link. Here are the project’s 8 Principles of Uncivilisation:
What I’m hoping to do is to find a few people willing to try and put together model neighborhood groups, and try out different strategies and tools – help figure out what issues are best to organize around, how best to approach this in as inclusive a way as possible, how to offer responsive solutions now, etc… I want to figure out how to get busy people who haven’t thought much about whether our societies can continue, to show up and start working together – not just in places where there is a local charismatic leader or where the neighborhood was always cohesive, but everywhere. Of course, I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m doing…
I personally believe that the municipal level is too large to get the numbers of people we need engaged. When you want to make change in a city, you go neighborhood by neighborhood, you get down directly in the community, at the block level if needed…
We must do it in community, we must work with people we once did not need, we must adjust our way of life – we must, ultimately, settle – in the sense of finding a home in places we thought we were only resting momentarily in, and settle, in the sense of finding a vision that accepts what is viable in a settled way of life, rather than the lost and destructive dominant discourse, and settle, in the sense of go out among people we did not choose, whose common ground is that they to, have entered the process of Settlement with us.
POLITICS AND ECONOMICS AS USUAL
Obama Approves Tar Sands Pipeline: If anyone had any reason to believe Obama planned on doing anything real about climate change, you can give it up now. Another capitulation to the oil industry and the corporatists. Guess it’s up to us now.
US Municipalities Sell Overdue Tax Receivables to Corporate Vultures: Miss a payment on your local taxes and you may find that instead of owing the town money, you now owe it to a brutal corporate moneylender who will charge usurous interest rates and penalties and would sooner evict you than try to settle, because it’s more profitable for them.
Changing the Corporation: Why we urgently need to rein in corporate power, and why we will never do so.
Why Progressives Lost the Health Care Debate: George Lakoff does a great study of how incompetent progressives are when they come up against the brilliant PR strategists of the extreme right. This lengthy and smart “it’s not too late” memo is directed right at Obama and says we need to reframe the debate in these terms:
A Nuremberg for Guantanamo?: The idea of an international tribunal for detainees of the US’ offshore and secret torture prisons has merit, provided the US can stomach acknowledging to the world that it has flagrantly violated international standards of law and decency for eight years.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy, You’re in the Army!: Psychologist Martin Seligman (Authentic Happiness guru) has been hired by the Pentagon to counsel the military rank and file on mental stress so fewer of them will commit suicide.
HOW TO SAVE THIS BLOG
The End of Salon Blogs, and the Story of Julie & Julia: Alas, Radio Userland, once a credible player in the blog market and the platform on which this blog has sat for six years, is folding December 31, taking with it Salon Blogs, all my articles, and reader comments on the comments server that never worked right. So watch for a new home for this blog later this year. We were quite a community when we started in 2003 — a couple of hundred of us commenting on each other’s blogs and wondering if anyone else would ever read them. Then there was a breakout success — Julie Powell’s Salon Blog containing the story of her attempt to copy all the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook. The rest is history.