What I mean is this:
Things are going to fall apart – in a big way – fairly soon, I’m pretty sure
(though trust me, I’d love to be wrong about this.)
Now you’ll notice I didn’t say “start falling apart.” Things have been falling apart – the shit has been hitting the fan – for a very long time already.
Decades. Centuries. Thousands of years.
If you are/were unaware of this, you really haven’t been paying attention, have you??
Maybe you read the newspapers – but “the news” (the mainstream news media) will never tell you how bad things really are. Just not going to happen.
You kind of have to connect the dots for yourself. Most people don’t seem to … want to, pretty clearly (even most activists of my acquaintance). So the depth & number of the (series of) crises facing the HR (human race) in the daze ahead are liable to give you a bit of a shock.
Sorry about that! :( :(
Me, I’ve been paying attention for, oh, about the past 30 years or so.
I’ve been watching this “perfect storm” of crises now facing humanity build, knowing for many years now that A Big Cock-up would come. Was coming. Is coming.
Well. It’s here.
How bad is it?
Diagnosis = terminal.
The HR (human race) is facing our own extinction as a species, & the shitstorm(s) ahead (if you’ll pardon the expression)
don’t look to be any too pretty.
Abrupt climate change promises chaos for all living creatures & systems on the planet. In fact, what lies ahead is climate chaos, pure & simple. (& complicated.)
Regarding HB (human beans), it’s a pretty simple equation: if critters cannot eat, they cannot live. We HBs are critters, btw, though I suspect it is common to think of ourselves as a Big Brain on Legs.
& that Food Comes From Grocery Stores & the Grocery Stores Will Always Be There.
& Technology. Will. Save. Us.
But … if critters can’t grow food, they can’t eat.
& if the power grid goes down (& it will), those grocery stores will empty out … fast.
We’ve been determinedly destroying habitat (the air, the water, the earth) for a very long time now in all our busy-busy-busy plunderings. We’ve sent 1000s of species into extinction by destroying habitat – & in the process, have (of course) destroyed our own.
** I highly recommend this essay for a very thorough walk-through of the climate monster we’ve unleashed with human activity
Can You Make Peace with NTE?
NTE = near-term extinction (i.e. humans going extinct in the not-very-distant future)
I don’t know if you can (perhaps most cannot), but I did, I have – some years ago now. I call it a “rocky” peace; it isn’t as though I love the concept, you understand. It sucks. Big-time, it sucks. (This is a major understatement, of course. I’ve posted just recently about grief with respect to NTE, ‘cos needless to say, surely, there is plenty of grief associated with this acceptance. There are some pretty helpful resources listed in that posting.)
My years of activism (26 on the environmental front now, 30+ all told) have of course been all about an attempt to prevent the end of our species.
At first it was about stopping people & their bad habits. Good Lord I was naïve. I think I thought, without really thinking about it, that if everyone started recycling their cans, bottles & newspapers (back then we all still read newspapers) we would “save the world.” Oh dear God… (I had no concept, then, of the depth & breadth of the corporate rape & pillage that was/is going on all around us & has been going on for a very-very long time.)
I guess I also used to think a person could sort of outrun the shitstorm, with off-grid living, growing your own food, self-sufficiency; all that kind of thing. You know.
… but about three years ago (summer of 2012), I surrendered to near-term extinction – accepting that we might be “done” as early as 2020. (This essay ‘We’re Done’ on the Nature Bats Last blog gave me that time frame.)
& I found that it resonated for me. It just immediately seemed reasonable & possible & … quite likely, in fact (maybe sooner than I'd been thinking, but ... you know, how long can we all go on living in the cesspool we've turned things into?? What with climate change being a real rogue variable; by definition, not under any kind of human control?).
So then what?
Then I finally gave up on my long-time dream of the off-grid sanctuary idea – & moved to Toronto. ‘cos I decided that if The End was nigh (8 years at that point; down to 5 now – though let's be clear, nobody really knows for sure), I wanted to be living near & spending time with the people I love the most.
No regrets about this choice! :) :) :)
Over the past several years I’ve learned a ton about nuclear issues (sort of wish I’d never learned any of it :( ) & also about yet more (climate-related) problems I’d not known about, though I’ve been aware of “global warming” since the late 1980s. (It was actually dawning awareness of climate issues that got me off my butt way back when.)
- Electromagnetic pulse (EMP)
- Global dimming
- Feedback loops
- Methane bursts. Interesting YouTube here although I have perhaps not picked the best one on this topic. Which is a VERY big deal, btw...
(these latter 3 mentioned in that climate summary item on the NBL blog).
Then, in the past week or two I learned about yet another ocean-related issue: Canfield Ocean
Yikes! (what I already knew about the wreck of the world's oceans was terrible & terrifying enough, thanks :( )
& I already knew enough about a ton of other various & sundry environmental issues to choke a horse, or more to the point, break her heart.
I’ve been aware for a long time now that the grid – the power grid we rely on utterly to support human affairs large & small – is liable to go down at any time. Solar flares, climate-induced (too much draw on the grid during successive severe heat waves or cold snaps); whatever… Services we all rely on (you know, electricity, running water, flushing toilets, constantly-replenished banks & grocery stores) will go belly-up on us. Fast – and maybe soon. (There’s the whole unpredictable financial/economics angle to things too, right??)
When the grid goes down, nuke plants (400+ worldwide) unable to keep used fuel rods cool will fairly shortly thereafter begin to release scary & literally unimaginable quantities of radioactivity into the Earth’s atmosphere (the air, in other words; the air we all breathe).
From what I gather, the ozone layer could go pfffft at any time, & we HBs cannot get by without it. Don’t leave home without it! Heh heh. Anyway, look this up for yourself. No ozone layer? We fry … & fast.
Not looking real pretty. :(
What Am I Doing?
I knew when I moved away from “the country” & into the city that I was like a moth diving straight into the flame.
I let go any notions of “escape.”
Realizing that I am no more special, no more deserving of survival, than anybody else. When the species goes, I go. (Duh!)
It’s possible I will die of starvation (along with millions or billions of others). Or some new nasty killer virus.
Or of dehydration, perhaps, when the taps in my apartment stop serving up regular doses of that live-giving substance, water – without which we HBs cannot live for very long.
I can deal with this. (Doubtful I will have any choice! Once I’m dead, I’m pretty sure it won’t be bothering me at all. :) )
Don’t get me wrong, Gentle Reader.
I’m not exactly “looking forward” to this (maybe more imminent than we know) eventuality. I love life/Life as much as anyone – possibly more, even! I’m a pretty big fan & appreciator of Life….
At times I am fearful – just like any feeling, thinking HB is/would be, contemplating such an unpleasant (& possibly soon-ish) end.
But I’m convinced The End is coming to the entire species – not just me. It is not, shall we say, personal. So there is really no escape. (If folks somewhere else get an extra 2 weeks or 6 months or even year(s) or whatever, I can live with that, too. None of us gets out of this gig alive in the end, remember. Not one of us. & to be around under the conditions that will prevail? You/they can have it. A person has gotta know when to fold her cards … you know??)
There is a part of me that wishes I’d done that off-grid, self-sufficiency deal way back all those years ago, when I first got the urge. But you know?
I didn’t. It was not, apparently, my “path” in this life to do so. It just didn’t play out that way.
I’ve lived the life I’ve lived, & I have to say, it’s been a mighty, mighty fine one too. :)
It’s been good. I’m grateful … very very very grateful.
& I’ve made that “rocky,” reluctant peace with what likely lies ahead.
I keep some extra cash handy in small bills, & make sure there is always some food in the cupboards. Some extra water…
& I hope The End comes reasonably quickly & painlessly when it comes.
Death is not that big a deal. I know tons of people who’ve done it!
& they seem to be finding it very peaceful. (They’re certainly being very quiet about it!)
OF COURSE I think it sucks that we were given this beautiful precious stunning abundant planet, & being both ungrateful & … dare I say, stupid (there are many more adjectives I could add here, of course), turned it into a great huge gigantic toxic waste dump.
Duh. Duh duh duh duh duh.
I’m not sorry in the slightest about all my years of activism. We did not succeed in “saving the planet” (or saving humans) – but I for sure have had a very awesome time trying & so, seemingly, have the gobs & gobs of the planet’s very very very finest people I’ve been fortunate to hang out with.
(Also, as it turns out, as a species we went off the rails so very long ago now that there never was any chance we could “turn it around”; technological/industrial civilization was just a dumb route to go down, from the day we abandoned our hunting & gathering ways, &, well … here we all now are!)
So. RIP (Rest in Peace), dumb humans.
Not that we have earned peace, exactly, I would have to say.
We’ve had our day. Time to fade gracefully into the sunset (though I fear we will not do it gracefully; there seems to be precious little we do do with grace….)
I for one want to say that I am enormously thankful for every single minute I’ve been gifted with.
Wow. What a ride!!!!!!
It’s been all grace – nothing but grace, grace, grace, grace, grace – all the way along.
:) :) :) :) :) :)
p.s. some days near-term extinction is easier to think about than others. Some days it's scary. Other days, surreal. I guess it's a pretty big deal ... but you know? Death comes to us all. Extinction is part of the planetary landscape, & always has been, I guess. We can deal with this. Heck ... we don't have any choice!
p.p.s. it could be that I can be calm(ish) about this because I've spent time by the beds of a few people who were dying. Been present at a few deaths. It's actually a kind of quiet and calm and peaceful thing. Also, I've been watching this trajectory with eyes open for a long time now. All I know is, there's not much point in freaking out about it. We all gotta go through that door one day...
p.p.p.s. Guy McPherson (Nature Bats Last dude) says "we are all in hospice now." I think this is a very useful thought/insight. We are all in hospice. The disease is terminal. We need to behave accordingly. Lots of patience, kindness, compassion - toward others, toward ourselves. What is really important now, people??
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “I can say that it is time now to play ‘the end of the world’ symphony. I don’t know what instrument you hold, but you need to play it as best as you can, & find your place in the score. You don’t have to play a solo here. But this is our task now.” – Dr. Sandra Steingraber, in a 2013 & really great interview with Bill Moyer (a few more Sandra Steingraber quotes here)
This quote is great too: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” – from the Talmud
“Telling the truth is like making oxygen.” – Joanna Macy (in Toronto, June 19, 2009)
“There is not much truth being told in the world. There never was. This has proven to be a major disappointment to some of us.” – Anne Lamott in the prelude to Grace (Eventually) – Thoughts on Faith
Editorial comment: I believe the truth really DOES set us free. I really really really do.
** more quotes on truth here
** NTE resources on this blog (just hover over the heading up at top left to see the different sections/offerings):
P.S. just one more p.s. Regarding money, & hoarding, & what we do in the face of all this. We cannot take our money with us. I think many of us need to be reminded of this. I counsel generosity NOW with our financial resources. (& our time!) 'cos a) as previously stated, we cannot take it with us & b) there is much, much suffering, now, among human beings alive NOW. I say, spend generously now (money, time) to give comfort & necessary food & shelter to human beings (& other critters) who are here with us at this time. Pretty please! :) (Been doing some generous donations myself, folks, so am not advising anything here that I am not willing to do myself!)