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Environment

Existentialist Collapse Chatter

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I've become increasingly fascinated with the "collapse" meme in environmental and energy circles. It's really become the secular equivalent of End-Times. I don't say that to denigrate the peak oil crowd or climate change advocates, because I happen to think the energy/climate intersection is quite serious and may well lead to widespread socio-political turmoil. Still, I can't help but be amused by how the debate sometimes plays out on intellectual and pop culture levels. For example, here's a recent post over at the Oil drum, in which the writer shares a common refrain of her friends, who work in environmental NGO's:

In brief, many now admit openly that human overshoot has gone way too far and that the programs they run are like band aids when the wound calls for a tourniquet. They lament the rise of expectations for a narrowly defined version of progress that will only deepen our predicament.

Evidently, the writer's friends are starting to "turn inward" and get in touch with their inner survivalist. Hey, might as well make provisions for that collapse, right? Sounds like a good idea if you think it's just around the corner and nobody else sees it coming. So the Oil Drum writer wonders if anyone else is getting the same vibe in their doomer circles and asks six questions to ponder, of which this is tops:

Are you noticing similar conversations, where well-educated and generally well off people are worried about the security of very basic needs, such as food and water.

I gotta admit, that one hasn't come up yet in my own privileged circle. But I do love this comment in the SF Chronicle, which is in response to a review of a new movie called, "Collapse: A documentary about our scary fate":

Our whole house of cards is falling, and I believe this version of civilization is about to collapse. That said, I don't waste any time or energy complaining about it - how would that change anything? Have a cocktail, smoke a big fatty. Sit back and relax. Keep your shotgun handy and loaded, and maybe you'll sneak through to see what rises from the ashes. And then again, maybe you won't. It's out of our hands.

Hot damn, if that isn't Northern California fatalism at its finest!

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