Links of the Week ending October 1, 2005 — The Armageddon Edition

Map from NASA ; if you want to keep track, there’s a new NOAA index of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. A change of 10 degrees Celsius equates to 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

Five vision of the journey to the end of civilization. If you think the future is bright, just skip this article.

IMF Getting Very Nervous Over US Debt: An excellent and thorough article in the Guardian describes what will happen if the US takes aggressive steps to behave in a more fiscally responsible manner, and what will happen in the much more likely situation that they continue to try to mortgage the future to prolong the unsustainable. Bottom line: global recession, starting simultaneously in the US and China.

The End of the Wild: MIT professor Stephen Meyer explains why it is too late to preserve biodiversity on our planet, and why, paradoxically, we must redouble our present efforts to do so. His conclusion: “We have lost the wild. Perhaps in 5 to 10 million years it will return.”

Timeline for the Slow Crash and the Long Emergency: Steven Lagavulin at the engaging Deconsumption blog outlines what he thinks will be the timing for the coming meltdown. Typically, I think his sequence of events is plausible but I believe it will take almost exactly twice as long to unfold.

A Planet of Weeds: Blogger David Quammen talks with paleontologist Simon Jablonski about the consequences of the loss of biodiversity. As other scientists have written, they believe the biological impoverishment of our planet will lead to a world dominated by opportunistic species that flourish in post-catastrophic (floods, fires etc.) environments — weeds, rodents, etc. Not pretty. Jablonski however thinks our species will survive, though in smaller numbers and desperate circumstances.

Lessons from Katrina: Ron Prieur, the author of the Slow Crash says the people who stayed behind in NOLA who depended on authorities fared badly while the self-sufficient did much better, and that the system isn’t as fragile as many think. Conclusion about society in general: “Even though the system is overstressed and breaking down in almost every way, it has great inertia, a huge mass of habit that can absorb hard blows and channel them into many slow changes.” Thanks to reader Dale Asberry for the link.

In other words, party hardy everyone, the end is coming, but not on your watch. Some day, the world will be forest, again.

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3 Responses to Links of the Week ending October 1, 2005 — The Armageddon Edition

  1. kerry says:

    To my dismay, I’m finding myself becoming increasingly fundamental in my opposition to fundamentalists! Can I leave the past behind me? Will I ever stop rebelling against authority? I’ve transferred my lack of respect for the world I grew up in to anyone and everyone in an authoritarian position. I’m not talking about my parents, I’m talking about the whole world in general. I mean, think about it. I grew up in apartheid South Africa. The holocaust was recent enough to have had an impact on my mother. Echo’s of vietnam was still being reflected in the media and on top of it all, nuclear threat and the ‘cold war’ provided constant tension! Mine was the first generation to start becoming aware of the environmental impact of human ignorance. What model can I possibly draw on that gives me hope for the future? What person in authority can I possibly respect? I experienced a few brief years of hope with the new South Africa, but now my buttons are being pressed again by the American media. There is an eerie similarity in the Bush administration to the old SA apartheid government. All my alarm bells are ringing. I just cannot witness anymore pain. Please, please stop repeating the cycle! Someone, somewhere, give me hope that it doesn’t have to be this way.

  2. Wissbegieriger says:

    Well, understand that Dave is both exciteable, and trying to excite the rest of us not to become boiled frogs (those who don’t notice heat rising). Try here, for example, to see that many other people are hard at work on these things. Read some stories of Ursula Le Guin, to restore your human sense (she even has some concerning apartheid – with colours reversed – Four Ways to Forgiveness). A smile to you to day, Kerry.

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Kerry — I’m with you. We seem doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes. But there is still much we can do as individuals to make the world better, and to at least mitigate the folly of the rich, ignorant and powerful. Life is too short to dwell on the pain. While not ignoring problems we cannot solve, we mustn’t become preoccupied to the point that they deaden or paralyze us.

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