near-term extinction

The Rose-Colored Glasses Brigade

Oceans dying.

Heating

Acidifying

Rising higher with melted glacier water

Creatures poisoned, toxic … dying

Coral reefs decimated

Plankton disappearing

Garbage patches multiplying

Plastic-choked ocean creatures & territories

Oil slicks

Chemical contamination

Radioactive waste.

 

On land?

Similar assaults of a 1000 shocking, appalling, unimaginable kinds

Bees facing extinction

Species extinctions reaching a shocking crescendo

As we kill mine torture poison experiment invade destroy corrupt.

The Earth itself poisoned, toxic

Our food growing in toxic soils

Watered with polluted water

(There is no clean water left on the planet)

 

The plants, critters (& we ourselves)

Breathing carcinogenic air

 

Protective ozone layer shredded.

 

Climate chaos breathing hotly down our necks

Very very hotly & heavily indeed.

 

But here come the members of the Rose-Colored Glasses Brigade!

Ever cheerful

(Ever deluded)

 

Everything will be fine!
Somehow, it will all work out!

🙂 🙂 🙂

If we just do this

If we just change that

(no sign anywhere of ANY of these massive changes needed, mind you

Changes that have been called for, for decades now…)

 

Nattering nonsense

Proffering platitudes

 

(fooling no one, I’ll warrant, least of all their very own selves)

 

Truth?

Plain speaking?

Unwelcome.

Not. Wanted. On. The. Voyage … thank you very much

 

 

Biggest elephant in the room EVER

In all the millennia of our species’ history.

 

Fie on you, Rose-Colored Glasses Brigade

Fiddlesticks.

(note my considerate, & considerable, politeness here. No harsh swear words, though trust me, they tempt me)

 

 

Please!

Please please please please please

 

Spare me.

 

Please.

NTE (near-term extinction) categories on this blog:

  • NTE-related postings
  • NTE resources
  • Relevant Graphics
  • Relevant Quotes

Grief! Here & here
& hospice, here
Joanna Macy on How to prepare internally for whatever comes next

Quote of the day’ with this post:

“But what it comes down to is that we are here now. So the choice is how to live now. With the little time left, we could wake up more. We could allow this whole experience of the planet, which is intrinsically rewarding, to manifest through our heart-minds—so that the planet may see itself, so that life may see itself. And we can bless it in some way. So there is some source of blessing on us, even as we die. I think of a Korean monk who said “Sunsets are beautiful too, not just sunrises.” We can do it beautifully. If we are going to go out, then we can do it with some nobility, generosity and beauty, so we do not fall into shock and fear.” – Joanna Macy on how to prepare internally for whatever comes next

p.s. & yes. I’m STILL an activist… Why?       ‘cos activism rocks!

Being Realistic in the Face of NTE

I think a dose of realism (a daily dose) is probably a good idea as we face down near-term (human) extinction (NTE or NTHE). It’s kind of a shitty prospect (if I may say so), & I think that having a bunch of unrealistic ideas at this time is not going to be particularly helpful to any of us.

This little essay was prompted one day when a Facebook “friend” who accepts that we humans are on our way out posted a little rant about why didn’t such-&-such a politician (we are in federal election campaign mode at this time in Canada) say bleah-bleah-bleah … the kind of thing no politician is ever going to say. It got me musing…

Here are a few things I consider to be realistic/relevant:

Politicians will continue to act like politicians. These people have a public image to maintain, & I think no one need expect any party leader to acknowledge NTE. Expect lies, half-truths & obfuscation to continue. These are the everyday things of the world of politics, after all. (some great quotes about politics here, btw).

Ditto for most public figures. People who have a certain public "image" to maintain are not likely to do a sudden 180 & start saying things that don’t fit with that image. So don’t hold your breath waiting for certain high-profile environmental activists/big thinkers (I need not name them) to stop talking about “solutions.” It’s what they do. (An upcoming post will explain my own weird little dance in this crazy game, & I guess what it amounts to is this: most of us just keep on doing what we do. It's what we do. If you see what I mean.)

The media will continue to paint a very partial picture of the true nature of what is taking place all around us. I remember Paul Hawken saying in The Ecology of Commerce “the problem we face is far greater than anything portrayed by the media.” It was true then, & it’s still true now.

Many men will continue to have oversized egos that seem to prevent them from seeing much past their own noses/thoughts/plans/penises/obsessions/blazing self-regard. By the same token, many women will continue to seem petty &/or bitchy and self-absorbed, incapable of thought beyond make-up, shopping, fashion & decorating schemes. Some people are simply best avoided, if possible, hmmm?

Patriarchy will continue to plague us. It’s been around for 1000s of years & it’s not going to suddenly go away overnight. (Of course it’s far too late for it to make much difference even if it did miraculously implode. Which it's not about to.)

Drivers of 2-ton (& larger) pollution machines (cars, vans, trucks, buses, airplanes) will almost certainly continue to delude themselves that they are more powerful & maybe more special & important than those around them on foot/bike/in smaller vehicles/of lower income/social class. (I’ve long thought people in positions of power are much like these drivers of large pollution machines. They feel separate, they feel bigger & better & badder – & they behave in line with their self-delusions of grandeur.)

People, we’re on our own. We are a communal creature, we humans. We need our fellow humans like crazy. We need our communities & families & friends & loved ones like fish need water. The institutions we rely on cannot be counted on to “look after us.” (Take note: all the municipal governments have been producing emergency planning booklets in recent years. They have been trying to tell us something.) We are on our own. Brace for impact.

Finally, mothers/most women will continue to try & look after their children/partners/families/grandchildren/the world right up to the very last possible moment. Bless us. It’s what we do. Motherhood trumps EVERYthing.

& isn’t that a lovely thing?

:)

Janet

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “I propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?” – Guy McPherson in GOING DARK

Another interesting & perhaps slightly relevant quote:

"When asked why the cellist is risking his life every day to play his cello on the street in the spot where 22 people were killed while waiting at a bakery to buy bread, the character Dragan says to Emina, “Maybe he’s playing for himself. Maybe it’s all he knows how to do, and he’s not doing it to make something happen.” ‘And he thinks this is true. What the cellist wants isn’t a change, or to set things right again, but to stop things from getting worse. Because, as the optimist in Emina’s mother’s joke said, it can always get worse. But perhaps the only thing that will stop it from getting worse is people doing the things they know how to do.’” – from The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway <pg 126>

** NTE section on this blog up at top left. Hover over the heading to see the various items available, e.g. resources, posts, quotes, graphics.

 ** TONS of great quotations gathered up on this blog!!  :)  Check out this page for a great whacking selection of quotations in a large # of different categories.

 

Brace for Impact

What do I mean by this? To me it’s a super-useful phrase, super … bracing! (Right off the top, not mine! All credit to Dahr Jamail ... & he’s written lots of great stuff, so check him out!)

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 that sustains us) 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! :) :) :)

What Now?

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.)

 

(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?

For starters…

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.

Now?

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.

:) :) :) :) :) :)

Janet

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 (or can be; I guess it isn't always!). 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 propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?” – Guy McPherson in "Going Dark"

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

On truth-telling:

“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

  • Graphics 
  • Posts (are no longer all gathered up in 1 tidy, neat fashion :( )
  • Quotes  
  • Resources
  • NTE: quick & dirty (dunno where this post went........)
  • Grief

 

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!)

Near-term Human Extinction: quick & dirty

This is going to be short & … well, not sweet, exactly. Contemplating/facing up to/accepting our own extinction as a species is not exactly a pretty topic. Heck, most of us can’t even handle the idea of our “own” death, let alone that of the entire species!? But I’ve written tons elsewhere, as have others, on this topic, & other duties call.

This is being put together as a short & dirty for close friends/colleagues/family members who stubbornly cling to the idea that we 2-leggeds are going to be around for a while.

Me? I think not a very long while at all at all at all.

I want to challenge you to put a little time & effort into this.

** Human beings going extinct: is this not worth an hour of your time? To do a bit of reading/researching?

If not, then I guess you just really don’t want to know. Fair enough. We all gotta do what we gotta do, & you are certainly not alone if you are unable/unwilling to face this very difficult topic head-on. Denial is rampant & ubiquitous. I am certainly more than used to that by now!?

Information Sources I Recommend

Guy McPherson’s Nature Bats Last blog is where I first encountered the term ‘near-term extinction.’ I’d already accepted that we humans are on our way out (as an environmental activist for 26 years now, I’m uncomfortably familiar with how bad the big picture is), but an essay I read on the NBL blog in 2012 put a real serious time frame on things. (To be specific, the ‘We’re Done’ essay.) This made things become much less theoretical for me, shall we say. The topic went quickly from my head down into my guts. This was helpful for me at that particular time for a variety of personal reasons I needn’t go into.

The NBL essay Climate-Change Summary and Update is updated frequently, & from it you will get a very full picture indeed of the true state of things. You’ll likely learn about some you’d not even heard of, such as clathrates, methane bursts & self-reinforcing feedback loops. Very thorough, very hard-hitting.

Seemorerocks is a blog with many postings about climate/weather events. This summer has been just plain wild & wicked with drought, heat waves, torrential rainfalls/floods, people dying during aforementioned heat waves in places all over the globe, glacier melt, etc. Oh. I almost forgot the forest fires. But people in Alaska, Washington, California, B.C., Alberta & Saskatchewan (& Siberia, I think? & other places??) have likely not forgotten about those…

The Lifeboat Hour is a radio show now hosted by Carolyn Baker that I mean to listen to weekly, but somehow (to my own regret) don’t manage to. The interviews are fantastic; the interviewees people of great intelligence & heart & wisdom. I was particularly struck by the recent interview with long-time New Zealand activist Kevin Hester. Hester conveys climate change facts in the context of years of experience as a sailor who has watched the ocean change in front of his eyes. But he also goes into heart matters in this interview. He explains how & why he is passionate about informing young people of the true situation; apologizing to them, even, for how we now-older generation humans messed up. He talks about grief, & about being heartbroken about the state of things. It’s a very informative & moving interview; of interest, I’d say, to anyone – NTE-accepter or denier alike.

This essay about the financial scene may be helpful to those whose ears perk up at the subject of the stock market. Another sobering read...

The picture is not, shall we say, too rosy, dear Reader.

Not a pretty one!

Can we not at least tell the truth to each other about the unprecedented events actually taking place around us??

Janet

p.s. perhaps you still believe "science can save us." Science & technology, perhaps, hmmm? I have 2 words for you: Hiroshima. Chernobyl. Fukushima. Okay okay, so that’s three. Here’s two: nuclear energy. That was supposed to help save us, hmmmm? How’s that worked out for us, eh?? (Go here for a really daunting list of nuclear accidents/incidents, most of which you have almost certainly never heard of. Horrifying, actually. Keep scrolling; that is one LONG list!?) Of course there are hundreds or thousands of other examples of technology being the problem, not the solution. Just trying to be succinct here, okay?

Neither science nor technology can save us, people. We’re already halfway down the bloody cliff!

Nor can religion. I believe both religion & science/technology have elevated us far too much inside our own minds. We think we are at the tippy-top of some very very very special pyramid scheme that has us oh-so-special humans perched right up at the tippy-tippy top. We’re so smart! We’re so clever!! We’re so special!!! [** see Douglas Adams quotation down below; right on the money, in my opinion!]

Ego. Ego, ego ego & hubris. In my opinion.

Damn. :( :( :(  We really really really screwed up, people!          Yikes.

p.p.s. For myself, I'm still an activist. Still loving the world, & life/Lifeone day at a time. Trying to move through this time of The Great Dying consciously, with eyes wide open. Yes, there is plenty of grief. Much joy, still – & also plenty of grief. Challenging times to be a human being on Planet Earth, no question about that.

& yes, I too am heartbroken. Over & over again, I find my heart breaking, & aching. Might as well be honest about it!

p.p.p.s. NTE section on this blog: hover over the heading at top left to find more info: posts, graphics, quotes, resources. Next up here? A summary of helpful items on the subject of grief.

p.s. # 4: a posting on this blog, here, provides a hastily-thrown-together collection of recent articles on the very very very sorry state of things. It is neither comprehensive nor complete. But I have to say, it’s quite the list!? :(

 

‘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 2014 interview with Bill Moyer 

** small collection of NTE-related quotations here

Puddle Theory: Douglas Adams musing on “intelligent design”: “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”

End of the World Stuff

p.s. on Aug. 5 & 14 & 19/15: adding in a few more items up at the top of the list below. I tellya - the bad news is piling up so thick & fast I cannot begin to process, or share, anywhere near all of it. :(  

OK. So. This is a pretty hastily-collected smattering of items I’ve come across recently about the state of the world – our dying world.

I’m fairly long out of the closet now about believing our species doesn’t have long to go. Near-term extinction or near-term human extinction – NTE or NTHE, take your pick. Either way, I’ve made my rocky peace with it (which took years, btw; it did not happen overnight). No one’s saying I like it, okay? Please don’t feel any need to shoot the messenger.

So, I belong to a Facebook support group for people who’ve accepted the reality of NTE. This is not a group for people offering “solutions” – those of us in the group are long past buying into any of those.

The group's page is where I tend to see most of the news items about the desperate state of our species. Most of the items listed below are climate-related, though as we all know, there are plenty of other problems to keep you up at night (nukes for example: don’t even get me started!?). Heck; a positive plethora of problems! But abrupt climate change seems to be pretty much heading up the parade.

Many of us in the NTE Facebook support group have come to think of ourselves as “in hospice” now. The image makes sense to me. Hospice workers: we are all hospice workers, now. Kindness & compassion are called for. (I need to remind myself of this often; sometimes anger prevails, though usually only briefly. :) :(  Sadness & grief? Frequently.)

At the bottom of this posting, a list of suggested resources.

The news items, btw, are in no particular order. It’s a mish-mash, date-wise (or if it’s in some kind of order, this is only by fluke).

Top-most items are in date order - undated ones are not.

Make of it what you will!

[Aug. 28/15.] Awakening the Horrors of the Ancient Hothouse — Hydrogen Sulfide in the World’s Warming Oceans (this issue brand-new to me!?)

[Aug. 19/15.] See More Rocks blog latest post: partial compilation of climate news from around the world (July 2015 was very likely Earth's hottest month on record)

[Aug. 18/15.] Apocalypse Soon: 9 Terrifying Signs of Environmental Doom and Gloom

[Aug. 15/15.] Climate Change: Have We Reached the Point of No Return? (20 minute YouTube interview with Dahr Jamail & Guy McPherson) (still trying to watch this myself!? Internet impossibly slow at my place today!? :( )

[Aug. 11/15.] The Earth's Battery is Running Low

[Aug. 5/15.] The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here (Rolling Stone magazine)

[Aug. 4/15] Earth’s Ice Is Melting Much Faster Than Forecast. Here's Why That's Worrying.

[Aug. 3/15]  Dahr Jamail | The New Climate "Normal": Abrupt Sea Level Rise and Predictions of Civilization Collapse

Mass Extinction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It

Hundreds displaced and two dead after floods, landslides in Nepal; one foot of rain in 24 hours

Climate Mayhem Update Part 1

NZ set for 'a battering' from storms

Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists

Our time is running out - The Arctic sea ice is going! Exclusive interview with Professor Peter Wadhams, leading Arctic scientist Cambridge University - Filmed by Judy Sole, the University of Earth - www.theuniversityofearth.net

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xdOTyGQOso&sns=fb

 

Dahr Jamail | Experts Warn of "Cataclysmic" Changes as Planetary Temperatures Rise

Climate Engineering Still Not A Viable Option

Earth Changes Summary – June 2015 collection of (June’s) extreme weather events   ((YouTube = 24 minutes))

Radical Predictions

7 Climate Records Broken in 2014 Reveal Earth Is ‘Gravely Ill’

Amid epic drought, California farmers turn to water witches

California Needs 8 Californias To Support Itself At The Rate It's Using Up The Earth

 

The Great Grief: How To Cope with Losing Our World

7 Things You Can Do to Stay Sane as the World Self-Destructs

 

NTE/NTHE RESOURCES:

  • NTE = near-term extinction; NTHE = near-term human extinction (same diff. :(  )
  • Quite a few listed here - these include Web sites & radio shows where NTE & grief are discussed
  • NTE section on this blog – hover over the heading up at top left of the blog to see the categories underneath (there are graphics, quotes, etc.)
  • Facebook support group

 

Janet

p.s. the denial all around us about the true state of things is stubborn & deep. I do not discuss the topic with family members, who won’t hear of it, nor with most of my friends & colleagues (ditto) - though I will say, this is changing gradually.... It also explains why the Facebook support group is such a wonderful resource for so many of us. There, we are free to speak our truth, share our feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, grief – whatever! Ahhhhh… such relief, always, when one is able to speak the truth. :) :) :)

p.p.s. a continually-updated & VERY long essay about the climate scene here, on the Nature Bats Last blog.

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: "4 Rules for Life: Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. Don’t be attached to the results." – Angeles Arrien, U.S. teacher, author (1940 - )

Very close runner-up: “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

More great quotes about truth

Puzzling Paradox (wrt NTE)

<NTE = near-term extinction> On the one hand, knowing all I know about

  • Nukes, that is everything nukes, from A – Z (too much, too much, far too much, enough to crush a person’s spirit, to be perfectly 100% honest with you)
  • Climate change (that is, everything climate change, A-Z, & including recent revelations about methane & melting of Arctic/Antarctic ice: yeah, enough to scare the crap out of a person)

:( :( :( :(

& then, on the other

Here I am, still washing plastic bags. :)

Still can’t bring myself to just toss ‘em in the trash.

(& no, I know far too much about plastics recycling to have any naïve faith in that)

 

I personally have been suspecting this little human gig was going to end “badly” for a lot of years already, maybe a couple of decades now, to be honest

So it’s not really news, not to me (nor to a great many others, I am sure, including many-many-many who will not admit to this publicly…)

 

It’s the seemingly-ever-accelerating imminence of the threat of our likely extinction

that has me a little rattled.

 

I had the thought today that

I’m not really afraid of it.

Only when I think about it.

 

Heh heh. :)

 

When I’m out having a great walk (the daily walk saves my ass)

 

Or writing something

Or having a really good conversation with someone

Or listening to some great music (especially when I’m singing!)

Or being helpful in some way, to someone

 

When I’m fully immersed “in the moment,” in other words

 

I’m fine.

 

But when I consciously think about how this extinction gig is likely to actually go down

 

Well, let’s be honest, it scares me more than just a little.[1]

I wonder how long I’ll go on washing plastic bags??

Heh heh.

:) :)

 

Janet

p.s. now I did give up recycling beer bottle caps some time ago now. A big deal at the time, believe it or not. :) So this is an ever-evolving situation, I guess…

p.p.s.

  • NTE section on this blog here
  • NTE posts listed/linked here
  • NTE Resources here
  • Graphics here
  • Quotes here

 

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “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

** tons more great quotations about truth here

Some other possible/relevant quotes:

“…the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers.” From "Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith," by Anne Lamott

“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox, full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said, ‘Do the best you cando with these, they will have to do.’ And mostly, against all odds, they’re enough.”   From "Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith," by Anne Lamott

“I have learned to live each day as it comes, and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow. It is the dark menace of the future that makes cowards of us.” – Dorothy Dix

“When asked what he would do if the world were to end tomorrow, Martin Luther reportedly answered, I would plant an apple tree today.” ~ “Caring for creation: Vision, Hope and Justice,” A Social Statement from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Singing in lifeboats!

Nature Therapy

 

[1] Fortunately, I am pretty good at living mostly “in the moment”; I think it may be one of the enviable traits of Aries people; & for this I am eternally grateful!

Motherhood/Parenthood (in the face of NTE)

I do know what it is to be a parent, ‘cos I am one. But I’m not just a parent, I’m a mother. & I’m not just a Mom, I was fortunate enough to become one the most “natural” or “easy” way (i.e., I became pregnant fairly readily, pretty much when I wanted to). Very fortunate indeed. Gave birth to two beautiful, healthy children.

Was married to a very nice man, & the two of us were a pretty good team as parents, I think it is quite truthful/accurate to say, for our children’s first 10 or 12 years (shit happens, eh?? :( ).

So whatever I say about motherhood has to be qualified, I guess, by all these variables & circumstances. & by my own childhood, genes & life experiences.

I am rassling with this topic right now because of NTE – the near-term extinction that I firmly believe is looming in our (i.e., humanity’s) not-too-distant future – & the fact that the other day in the posting ‘What do we do now?’ I made a comment to the effect that having children now seems to me a little … ill-advised.

How can I say this, you may ask. How dare I say this??

I, who have been a mother for almost 34 years now. Who wanted parenthood, chose parenthood, stayed home with my children when they were young (unpopular decision in those years, but never once regretted on my part), & still, to this day, enjoy motherhood to the max. I’ve been known to say “motherhood trumps everything,” because for me it does, & always has (well, not always, but ever since that day in 1981 when I gave birth to my first child).

But … now??

Now, the world is not as it was.

It is not the same world it was – used to be – when we all still believed (foolishly, perhaps, misguidedly perhaps, but never mind) that problems were solve-able, solutions possible.

Does anyone now really believe it is possible that we will “solve” the deadly threats posed by climate change & the awful confluence of climate & nuclear nightmare impacts likely to occur when the lights go out? (Not to mention all the other dreadful sticky messes we have made, here, on Planet Earth?)

Really??

Come on, people. Our air is now literally carcinogenic. Actually, this is so astonishing I am going to repeat it. Our air is now carcinogenic. All of our water bodies toxic, poisoned. Oceans full of plastic, radioactivity, nuclear waste, oil spills – aquatic life polluted, industries vacuuming up whatever life remains, for corporate profit (what else?). Coral reefs damaged beyond repair & plankton decimated by acidic deposits of carbon, thanks to over-the-top greenhouse gas emissions. You may not have heard about this, but our oceans have become “acidified.” (Fascinating book called Sea Sick, by Alanna Mitchell. 19-minute TED talk here. Full disclosure: I’ve read the book, twice in fact, but have not seen the TED talk.)

There is not only lead in your lipstick (& very likely in my drinking water) but our babies are now born pre-polluted. There is lead in your body (many toxins in your body) that you will unwittingly, & not by choice, you understand (for you have no choice in this matter) pass along to your unborn child in the womb. (Lead is very very nasty indeed; feel free to read lots about it in the postings collected up & linked to in this posting.)

Our babies are now born into a world in which, due to hormonal disruption – caused by chemical/pharmaceutical toxins released into bodies of water; a huge horrible topic; ugh, to say the very, very least :( , male frogs morph into females … or is it vice versa? Surely it is so horrible & beyond the pale that it hardly matters which way the genders are being bent???

& children born into the parts of the world most severely affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster – 28 years ago now, April 26, 1986 – are being born with serious heart defects… Still. Today.

& now Fukushima has been belching radiation into sky & ocean 24/7 24/7 24/7/365 every day every day every day since March 11, 2011; almost 4 years now! (Understand, people, Fukushima & Chernobyl are both forever.)

& so on & so on & so on. And of course we ought not to forget all the wars & conflicts

& the increasingly right-wing political leanings, actions, politics of the so-called “leaders” of our so-called “democracies,” & the militarization of our police forces

& so on, & so on, & so on.

We human beings are (or can be) wonderful & loving, creative, clever & fun!

But those of us who are not very thoughtful or far-thinking (we have been rather thoughtless & the opposite of far-thinking as a species, after all, have we not??)

Have made such a mess of this beautiful, abundant, incomparably generous, life-giving planet

Have trashed our surroundings with such reckless abandon & relentless rapacious destructive energy & greed

That we have come nearly to the end of our tenancy here, now.

So.

I look out the streetcar window (I’m scribbling this on the streetcar) – on a dreary day, & reflect that I am still grateful – every single day – for life – for my life, & those of my children & the people I love, & the incredible beauty of this Earth – grateful for Life, period!

& I know that young people continue to experience that amazingly powerful urge to reproduce; remember, I too had that incredibly overwhelming impulse; I too, from instinct, ached to reproduce, to have babies

& now I ache for young people, on very many counts indeed.

& parenthood is awesome – awesome, awesome, awesome – & I would never have missed it for the world!

but…

& although I am in principle utterly disinclined to advise people on deeply personal matters

I believe now that having children (bringing forth new children, that is, as distinct from those who are already here, among us, already born) does not strike me as a wise course of action, at this time in human history.

I know we are not really “allowed” to discuss near-term extinction in most circles, or situations (it remains surely the biggest “elephant in the room” there ever was??), & we are not really “allowed” to advise others not to have children.

It is a very very very personal decision, clearly; that much is certain, & highly influenced, as I say, by simple basic instinct.

But I just don’t think that this is really a very excellent time to be giving birth to brand-new babies on our planet.

Janet

p.s. you see, I am thinking things might be going to get just a little ugly...

p.p.s. just read an item about near-term extinction in which NTE man himself, Guy McPherson, takes a very different point of view on new parenthood from that I've just expressed. Read it here. (I had kind of meant to say this, so here it is belatedly: people will do what people will do. Heck, I've been dishing out advice (about how we could "save" the Earth, & ourselves) for 25 years now. I've seen very little evidence that any of it has made a durn bit of difference to the outcome!) So........ I'm just saying my piece here. I personally would not want to be embarking on motherhood right now, at this juncture in human history, & not just for "environmental" or NTE reasons. Just take a good look around! Is this a world into which you care to bring, & then raise, innocent children??

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “The shit is no longer hitting the fan. The fan is covered in shit. The shit is hitting the shit.” – Guy McPherson

** am keeping a list of my NTE-related postings here, in the NTE section of the blog. (these 2 links are now dead. The Collections posting has many of my NTE-postings listed.)

What Do We Do Now??

I’m totally “out of the closet” now about being what some people apparently call a “doomer.” (This is not a term I really associate with myself, btw. But you know, whatever. A rose by any other name, & all that.)

I’m a person who believes, who has come to accept, that the human race is on its last legs; will likely become extinct in the not-very-distant future. Not a hundred or hundreds of years from now, as so many people seem to think. Hmmm. Seems like most folks accept we’re ultimately doomed, come to think of it. So maybe we’re all “doomers” & it’s just the timeline that varies??

Anyway, soon. Within a decade or two. (or, um, sooner even.)

Near-term extinction. (NTE or NTHE – near-term human extinction – is discussed all the time on the Nature Bats Last blog, & this is the place/site where I learned the term & the near time frame, if not the concept of human extinction.)

Clearly, we don’t all believe the same things, we humans. Duh. We don’t all share the same “faith” – whether you’re referring to religious faith or really, any kind of faith whatsoever, deity-based or non-deity-based.

I can’t discuss near-term extinction with most of the people I know. It’s just quietly a topic not permitted in “polite” company. (I am frequently impolite, though, & have a # of friends with whom I do discuss it. There is also a Facebook support group for those who have accepted NTE: it’s here, & I enjoy it a great deal! It’s a closed group, but feel free to check it out.)

So, here I am. Still an activist, mind you – only because nuke issues continue to compel me to continue to act. (I live relatively close to 2 rather large nuclear generating stations. They’re old, they’re creaky, & I don’t trust them a bit.)

I’m not freaking out about NTE, mostly – though there are times when it all makes me feel anxious. Truth? Sometimes I do feel a bit freaked out. (But then, I am merely human, merely fallible, after all, hmmmm? Wiping ourselves off the face of the planet – having turned it all into a vast gigantic toxic waste/garbage heap, causing vast #’s of species to be wiped out, the very oceans filled with radioactivity & acidic, from climate change; well, it’s quite a job we’ve done here, is it not??)

Now? It is what it is.

Right?

You can’t really argue with Reality. (Well, you can, I guess, but is there any point??)

Let me explain that I did not come to this view easily, impulsively, or overnight. (My road to this mental place is explained in the post ‘Dear Margaret.’)

So … now what?

Well.

I’m still

 

Much of what I hear other people talk about these days (sports, TV shows, technology predictions, scientific inquiry, plans to go to Mars, “the future” etc. etc.) sounds absurd to me. I hear people express worry about the mess they are leaving for their grandchildren (people who don’t yet have grandchildren), & I hear people still encouraging young people to have children, to “raise a family.”

???????   Really??  **** see note added in below

These things ring very absurd in my ears. Just saying.

In fact, I know people who have relatively young children who have said to me that, had they known the depth of the climate crisis now all-too-evident in our world, they would likely have chosen to remain childless.

Well. Again. You can’t really argue with Reality. We each live in whatever situation we live in. We have to make our peace with whatever that is … right? Otherwise, it’s going to make you/me/us crazy. (The times are crazy enough without more of us losing our marbles, hmmm? Please don’t lose your marbles! We're really going to need those marbles!!)

I’m a writer. A writer & an activist. These two things make me feel very alive. (I am very alive!) So, I continue to do both writing & activism. I am finding now that some of the stuff I write (& have written) seems kind of beside the point now. A lot of things in general, now, seem rather irrelevant in the face of the abrupt climate change already underway, & in light of the climate impacts coupled with the possible nuclear nightmare(s) likely to be unleashed in the daze ahead.

Much that one hears discussed among one’s fellow humans now seems not terribly relevant or compelling.

But here we are, hmmm? Here we are, now.

I’ll likely keep right on

  • walking
  • singing
  • being grateful daily
  • doing fun things with my peeps
  • protesting
  • & worthwhile work

 

& trying to be a decent, thoughtful, kind person.

As long as humanly possible.

Not sure that anything else really makes sense!

 

Janet

p.s. going to put some useful graphics on a separate page in the brand-new NTE section of the blog. Also, some useful resources, helpful quotes. Off the top I do highly recommend Pauline Schneider's documentary Going Dark. 30 minutes long. Very, very well done. (later note: NTE-related postings & resources can be found collected up in this posting.)

p.p.s. the Dalai Lama says that kindness alone could be our religion. No churches, no dogma, no fighting over who believes what. Just kindness. Many quotations from him here.

**** a p.s., really, 3 days after posting this: regarding having children. I feel I must add this: I never lie to ANYone about how much of a high motherhood has always-always-always been for me. I have never in my life done anything that has caused more joy, ever, than being a mother. Okay? I have grown children, & as I recently said to someone, "Motherhood trumps everything." So let's just be 100% clear about that. Parenthood is awesome & wonderful & I would never in a million years have missed out on it, not for ANYthing. However, having said that, the world was not in the parlous state it is in now when I embarked on parenthood, OK? This simply cannot be denied. I could not now, in good conscience, encourage anyone to become a parent in the world that exists today. I simply could not. That's all. I thought I ought to explain this. & of course, people will do with it as they will. I cannot live anyone else's life for her/him.

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “We are here to help each other through this, whatever this is.” – Dr. Mark Vonnegut (son of writer Kurt Vonnegut), when asked “Why are we here?” (Kurt Vonnegut’s last speech can be found here. For the record, I’ve been a KV fan for lo, many a decade now. Probably since about 1974, or thereabouts. The incomparably wise, witty, cynical, “old fart” Kurt Vonnegut. Bless him…)

Dear Margaret: about near-term extinction...

Dear Margaret: Remember I shared that Alan Watts YouTube on Facebook the other day, & you asked, more or less, why keep on doing anything, activism-wise, if we HBs (human beings) are “checking out,” as it were?

It’s funny. I’ve been meaning to write a lot more (or should I say post a lot more; I’ve got tons of stuff written, languishing in notebooks, not-yet-posted) about NTE/NTHE (near-term extinction, near-term human extinction) & related thoughts, & your question gives me the perfect opening to explain myself, my beliefs about what the heck is really going on here on PE (Planet Earth), & how I came to be at the point I’m at, in both my thinking & my activism.

It’s sort of an “evolution of an activist” story.

Here goes!

Activist History

I got into – dove headlong into – environmental activism exactly 25 years ago now (the fall of 1989).

Had already done 5 years of odds & ends of other community work (I was at home, full-time, with young kids) & the environment as an “issue” had been sort of calling to me, nagging at me.

(Personal history = long-time desire to “save the world” – typical “wounded healer” story from a dysfunctional childhood/family. World history = there was starting to be a lot of talk in the news about environmental issues. In 1988 James Hansen had told the world about the “greenhouse effect” & there were stories of drought & so on, as I recall.)

I figured I’d better roll up my sleeves & help make the world a better place for my children.

So, in I plunged. With the naïve belief that, if I worked hard enough, wrote enough environment columns (which I did for several years & in several communities, all told, over the years), I’d help inform & motivate people to change, & we’d all change the world together, clean up the air & the water & the earth, and then we’d all live happily ever after. :)

Yes. That kind of naivete.

So. Years of work on waste/waste reduction, then years on pesticides (convincing people to stop spraying poisons on their lawn, & after all, the 1000s of us who worked on this issue in Quebec & Ontario did achieve some impressive victories; provincial by-laws are nothing to sneeze at!).

A growing interest in climate-related work – energy conservation, you know, all that stuff. So, some years on that too. Then, finally, nukes. & gradually, along the way…

Hope Left the Building

Somehow it came over me during the Renfrew County phase of my life (2003-2009), while I was being quite active on pesticides, cancer prevention, energy conservation work + a major local food initiative (post-peak oil issue awareness), that we HBs were done. That all of our efforts were far too little, much too late.

It came to me that we were (are) living in the “dénouement” phase of human existence.

Toast.jpg

During this period of my life, I was in a quite unstable relationship. I spent significant amounts of time alone, & many hours walking in beautiful surroundings by the Ottawa River.

I encountered the work & writings of Eckhart Tolle & Pema Chödrön (both of whose work, books, audiotapes, you name it! I recommend highly). & later, also, the fascinating palliative care-related work of Stephen Jenkinson (his Orphan Wisdom Web site is here. This may sound like a non-sequitur, but I’ve had friends with cancer, & dying, so dying & palliative care are not a non-sequitur).

I remember meeting a young man at a very memorable 2007 John Seed workshop on ‘Despair & Empowerment’ who said to me “Even when there’s no hope, there’s still action!” (The Derrick Jensen article on this subject, ‘Beyond Hope’ has always seemed spot-on to me.)

& I did walk away from hope. I had already walked away from hope. Or more accurately, hope had already walked away from me. I didn’t ask it to leave, after all; I just noticed one day it had ever-so-quietly departed.

I remember writing a dreary essay called ‘Momentum’ in which I articulated that the sheer momentum of destruction was simply too great to put a stop to the disastrous planet-destroying mission we human beings had/have been engaging in for thousands of years. (I have scores of notebooks with similar dreary essays in them; my kids are under instruction to just burn all that stuff when I croak.)

Solidarity!

While I was living in Deep River, I attended my very first Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hearing. Now that was an eye-opener!! An eye-opener & life-changer, as it all played out. (Of course I had no idea whatsoever then how things would proceed from that point for me.)

I was living in a nuclear town where I never breathed a word about nukes (no desire to be tarred and feathered, thanks!), but I’d made friends with some people from Pembroke who’d spent years fighting a disgusting little tritium-spewing company called SRB located down the river in Pembroke.

I decided to go to a CNSC hearing in Ottawa with them one time, out of solidarity. Just to keep them company. Be there as moral support, if you will.

The avalanche of events & life-changing that grew out of that hearing in 2006 is a whole long story in & of itself, but it’s not the story of this essay.

The point of it, the crux of it all, is solidarity.

When I look back now on 25 years of life as an environmental activist, I see that solidarity is the lesson. The lesson, & also the reward.

People waking up.

Getting off their butts.

Living out the advice in one of my now-favourite quotations:

4 Rules for Life: Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. Don’t be attached to the results. – Angeles Arrien, U.S. teacher, author (1940 – )

I have

  • belonged to/co-founded/been on the boards of any # of activist groups
  • organized gobs of projects & events & attended scores of conferences & workshops & protests
  • sat on a logging road (failed to get arrested, though I intended to; a fun story)
  • been arrested on Parliament Hill, & in the federal finance minister’s office
  • worn a kangaroo suit to make a point at nuclear hearings
  • written letters (more than I could ever list)
  • lobbied
  • signed petitions (more than you could count)
  • written “interventions” for nuclear hearings (more of them than I strictly care to remember)
  • sat in front of the NBC (Nuke Boyz Club) & told them to their faces their business is evil
  • read hundreds of books
  • watched 100s of videos
  • written reams & reams of essays, columns, brochures, you name it
  • learned far-far-far more than I ever really wanted to know, to be perfectly honest

about the state of our beautiful, beloved, beleaguered Earth.

& even though I now accept the likely possibly-rather-imminent demise of our species

I am still an activist.

It’s all about solidarity. Hanging out with other conscious human beings, people who not only care about stuff, but who care enough to get up off their butts & DO SOMETHING about it. I've met the most awesome, inspiring people in my career as an activist :)

Head to Guts to Heart

It’s true that I have always loved my work!

I love being an activist. The work is compelling, the rewards many (if often somewhat, um, intangible, shall we say) & the company of other activists inspiring & fun.

Turns out protesting is good for you!

My grasp of the coming end of our species hit me in the head, first. Years ago already, as I’ve said.

I’d say at first, then, it was in an academic, somewhat distant way that I came to accept the likely (& perhaps not terribly far-off) demise of our species.

Then, in 2012, two friends introduced me to Guy McPherson & the Nature Bats Last blog.

My intro came with this posting, ‘We’re Done

That brought the term near-term extinction/NTE term into my vocabulary.

And, I guess you might say, it brought NTE from my head down into my guts. It wasn’t just my own vague if persistent fears & suspicions anymore. Here was someone with an understanding of the world of ecology/biology, who was saying our species cannot long survive all the myriad assaults in the form of the climate chaos impacts that our activities have unleashed on our world.

As it happened, at that time I was nearing the end of a short, somewhat ill-fated experiment with living “in community” (an interesting lesson or two learned along the way, naturally).

It came to me recently that it was probably when I started throwing beer bottle caps into the garbage that I knew I had finally, really gotten it right down in my bones. That sounds silly, of course.

But you see, I’ve been a manic, obsessive recycler since the late 1970s; a fierce adherent of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) hierarchy, & of composting. (Once on the Hill in Washington, D.C. I dodged the various police-looking types to sneak a banana peel under a hedge rather than putting it into the garbage. I won’t bore you here with the reason why organic materials do not belong in landfill sites; I don’t suppose any of that kind of thing matters a tinker’s dam anymore anyway, especially in a world in which radioactive garbage is routinely being incinerated &/or stored in leaky landfills by major rivers/lakes/oceans and dumped in water bodies and … Never mind, I know you don’t want to know these things. & you know what? I don’t really either!! But now I am stuck knowing all this awful stuff. Ack. Ack Ack. Ack. Ack.)

So, yes, the beer caps, which I’d always, up until recently, carefully saved up to return to the beer store for recycling.

(For the record, I continue to do a good many other probably equally meaningless things, simply due to now-ingrained, long-standing habit. Another essay written & not posted: Good habits = hard to break.)

At any rate. Sometime in the past 2 years, or year, or… whatever, NTE has come right into my heart. Gone from the head into the guts & is now lodged very much in my heart. This may be the posting where I came out of the closet about it. Not sure. Hardly matters now, really.

WTF? What Now?

So the questions, WTF? What are we supposed to do NOW? inevitably arise.

For me, it continues to be about solidarity.

So. I’m still an activist. I still go to protests, like the big Climate March held in New York City only 6 or 7 weeks or so ago now, ‘though it feels like much longer (my blog postings on that start here, & for the record, I was there to be part of the nukes-are-not-a-solution-to-climate-change presence, as you know).

& I still work on nukes. ‘cos the nuke plants I live too close to for comfort are still spewing their so-called “routine emissions” into air & water, creating waste that will remain toxic for millennia, & for all we know, may one day go postal on us in a big dramatic way; who knows? (I don’t have a crystal ball, & can’t say for certain which of the bullets in the end-of-the-world arsenal, or in what possibly synergistic combination, will take us out for good.) Nukes are nasty, & they’re very much part of the whole big sad scary picture we’re facing, & I am pretty sure you didn’t hear that here first.

Lives of Excellence

Guy McPherson, Mr. Nature Bats Last, has answers for you, for me, for us all.

He recommends that we pursue lives of excellence. He says we humans are in hospice now, all of us, in hospice.

In his book Going Dark he says:

“If we’re headed for the exit gate in the near term, the question then arises: What shall I do? How shall I live my life? In other words, now that we have knowledge of the near-term demise of our species, then what? There are more than seven billion responses to the latter questions. Recognizing that birth is lethal and that we have an opportunity to demonstrate our humanity on the way out the door, I’ve chosen an eyes-wide-open, decidedly counter-cultural approach. I’ve opted out of empire to the maximum possible extent, and I practice and promote a gift economy. Beyond my own actions, I suggest individuals take actions they never previously imagined. I promote resistance against the dominant paradigm, even though – especially though – it appears too late to save our species from near-term extinction. I propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?”

Makes sense to me!

I like to believe I am living a life of excellence.

  • I don’t run after or obsess about money, material goods, status or power (never really have. Truthfully, I’ve never given a rat’s ass about money, though like everyone, I do have bills that must be paid).
  • I’m still an activist, & believe I’ve done some good, some worthwhile, work over the years.
  • I have many wonderful people in my life whom I try to love & treat well.
  • I believe I’m a pretty decent mother, & a good friend.
  • I’ve signed on to work as a volunteer for the Red Cross, as I’m firmly convinced there will be many climate-induced crises in the years ahead, & one might as well make oneself useful. [this did not work out, btw, though I bashed away at it for about 10 months. Long story. Met some lovely volunteers! :)  ]
  • I try to keep my ego in check, to be kind, to be compassionate, to help, to be of use.

Finally

I think many HBs (maybe most??) cannot accept (even face) the diagnosis of near-term extinction.

Like people with a cancer, a terminal cancer – who cannot, will not, accept the inevitability of death. Who go through, or expect loved ones to endure, brutal & painful procedures & treatments & misery – all to prolong life a wee tiny bit longer (in many cases, more miserable than they might have been if they’d all just been able to say “uncle” a little sooner).

Even though we all know (surely we do all know??) that none of us gets out of this gig alive, in the end.

I understand that some of us find it all too hard to take on. I suppose we all have things that are too hard to think about. & I do understand that parents of young children, or perhaps too, grandparents of young grandchildren, must find all this just too unpalatable, too nasty to digest.

Fair enough. I get that. (I myself could not & likely would not have faced it head-on when my own children were small. Luckily for me, I was not obliged to, then.)

As for me, I am stuck, always (if sometimes belatedly, being, like so many of us, sometimes a slow learner), with the truth.

What I believe to be the truth.

& yes. It sucks.

It’s horrible.

Believe me, there are times when all I really want to do is howl. Howl & cry & kick & scream.

We did this to ourselves!!! (Not to mention all the other innocent species we have decimated & continue to decimate to the tune of 200 species per day.)

It is a comfort to me to know that I am not alone.

(Solidarity again, hmmm?)

There are more & more people to whom, with whom, I am able to speak honestly about what we see coming.

& too, after all

this is still a very very very beautiful world!

I revel in that daily, give thanks for that daily.

I still love

  • people
  • Nature
  • worthwhile work/tasks
  • books/reading/writing/finding & sharing inspiring quotations
  • gratitude
  • walking (& bike rides)
  • music
  • food & drink

I firmly believe, with Guy McPherson, that we are all in hospice, now.

We need to be kind to the people who are here on the Earth, now. And the creatures – the ones that remain, the ones we have not (yet) rendered extinct.

We need to be of service. Of use.

There is still plenty to do!

Janet

'Quote of the day' with this post: “The shit is no longer hitting the fan. The fan is covered in shit. The shit is hitting the shit.” – Guy McPherson

p.s. I’ll do a posting soon with some quotations & resources potentially useful for those of us making a rocky peace with near-term human extinction. Even a minor blog re-org, with a new section on NTE.

p.p.s. I think we humans, with our big brains & correspondingly outsized egos, just get/got a little too wrapped up in how supposedly awesome & great & powerful & wonderful we are – & this excessive view of self (& species) importance (to which all of our supposedly marvellous inventions & technologies & I guess our religions, too, have contributed) has led us to think there is nothing we cannot do.

But really, you know, we are simply one species like any other, like all of the others, & when any species chooses to set out & destroy, lay waste to, its own abundant, beautiful & precious habitat, as we humans have quite clearly done (& continue with great energy & enthusiasm to do, & what other species has ever, ever done this??), whatever can we expect?

This lovely (short; 3:34 minutes) YouTube “The most astounding fact” I also shared on Facebook the other day can help us put ourselves into some kind of perspective, perhaps. Another item to induce humility & a sense of perspective, here.

p.p.p.s. You know, Margaret, I think about some of our human concepts, & the things we choose to believe. About our origins, our purpose. God, technology, religion, meaning, death. Forces we are subject to, whether we think about them or not. Many of us have rather odd worlds built up inside our heads, you know?? Many ideas that, frankly, positively imprison us. Limit us from seeing things clearly. Such odd creatures, we humans! We are subject to gravity, whether or not we “believe” in it, or ever give it a thought. Whatever we may conceive of God (or the non-existence of any kind of deity) to be, or not to be, near-term human extinction is poised to overtake all of us, all the same. We are marvellous creatures, full of beauty, promise & potential. But just like any animal, we must have habitable habitat, & food to eat!

And, finally, we are all obliged to suffer the consequences of our actions. Do we somehow think we can magically escape the effects of our raping & ravaging of this beautiful world, our only home??

p.s. # 4 You know, & this is really rather poignant, to me: I think all any of us really really want, at bottom, in this life, is to matter. To belong, to be included, to be loved, to help. To matter. So very, very simple, really – yet such a gargantuan cock-up of it all we’ve made.

Sigh…

p.s. # 5 & yes, Margaret, of course my heart is broken by, & about, all this. Grieving is part of all of this, part of the picture, for sure. Crying is not a bad thing to do; somehow, it helps. <later post on grief here>

& there is still so much to do, all of us, as long as we’re still here!

(& you & I, lucky, smart us, we are both walkers! Resurrected, daily, by the simple act of walking. Good for both body & soul, yes? So essential, so essential.)

Blessings on us all! These are challenging, challenging times…

Service - Andrew Harvey.jpg

Near-Term Extinction/NTE

** NTE is the acronym for near-term extinction. NTHE = near-term human extinction. Take your pick!

*** Note on March 23/19: Some of what used to be in this posting is no longer relevant. My blog was migrated to a new site in 2016, & the old NTE section got blown apart. Yeah, bummer. I have un-done the OLD links, ‘cos they don’t work anyway. Links you see here now DO work.

*** NTE postings on this site are (now) mostly contained in the COLLECTIONS posting, under N for NTE. Graphics are here. Quotations here. Resources here.

** Recent quote from Guy McPherson, the NBL guy: “The shit is no longer hitting the fan. The fan is covered in shit. The shit is hitting the shit.”  

There is of course the ‘Nature Bats Last’ blog – where I first encountered the term “near-term extinction.” (My 1st encounter on that site was this posting.) Lots & lots of stuff to read on NBL! Super-thorough & frequently updated 'Climate Change Summary and Update' posting here; must-read! [no longer true, of course. GM is not writing or updating any more. His only postings now seem to be about interviews he’s done. Life goes on! Still, that old Climate Change Summary & Update post is an impressive piece of work.]

& then also… these.

** Most recent items up top. Read from the bottom up if you want to read them in the order in which they were published. I’ll add in more as I come across them.

** added note on Feb. 6/15. I've seen an absolute avalanche of new stuff lately, but am unable to post links to them all; no time to add them all in. I get most of them via the NTE Facebook support group to which I belong. I recommend it highly!! [still true!]

** added note on July 24/15: another collection item, End of the World Stuff

Life on Earth now officially at risk, scientists say, Oliver Milman [Grist, Jan. 16/15.]

The Dreaded Methane Veil, Robert Hunziger [CounterPunch, Jan. 16-18/15.]

The Methane Monster Roars, Dahr Jamail [Truthout, Jan. 13/15.]

As climate disruption advances 26% of mammals face extinction. Dahr Jamail [Truthout, Jan. 6, 2015]

It's the end of the world as we know it, Randy Malamud [Huffington Post, Dec. 8/14.]

Are Humans Going Extinct?, Dahr Jamail [Truthout, Dec. 1/14.]

As Casualties Mount, Scientists Say Global Warming Has Been "Hugely Underestimated" Dahr Jamail. Oct. 20/14. Not about NTE, per se. Unless you connect all the dots, that is.

Climate Change and Human Extinction – A Personal Perspective (based on an interview with Guy McPherson on Feb. 23/14). Quite interesting. (Just found it now. By fluke. Really a good read!)

Near Term Human Extinction? [Sept. 7/14.]

"Peak Water," Methane Blowholes and Ice-Free Arctic Cruises: The Climate Crisis DeepensDahr Jamail [August 18/14]

Staying Sane In A Suicidal Culture: Spotlight On Joanna Macy, by Dahr Jamail  [June 3/14]

Melting Polar Ice Caps A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ for Earth’s Climate System [May 29/14]

When Surrender Means Not Giving Up [no date on it. Late April 2014, pretty sure]

It’s the End of the World as We Know It . . . and He Feels Fine  [April 17/14]

How We Should Live In The Face Of Catastrophic Climate Change, A Conversation With Carolyn Baker. [April 16/14]

Paul Beckwith & Guy McPherson talk climate change [April 10/14]

Human extinction: is it possible? [April 2/14]

NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And it's not looking good for us [March 18/14]

The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency’ [Dec. 17/13]

 

Some Relevant Quotes from Joanna Macy:

“This may be the last gasp of life on Earth, and what a great last gasp, if we realize we have fallen in love with each other. If you are really in the moment of experiencing our reality, you don’t say “Oh I won’t experience this because it’s not going to last forever!” You’ve got this moment. It’s true for now. We can have a reasoned concern about what is down the track, without necessarily getting hooked on something having to endure.” ~ Joanna Macy

“Yes, it looks bleak. But you are still alive now. You are alive with all the others, in this present moment. And because the truth is speaking in the work, it unlocks the heart. And there’s such a feeling and experience of adventure. It’s like a trumpet call to a great adventure. In all great adventures there comes a time when the little band of heroes feels totally outnumbered and bleak, like Frodo in Lord of the Rings or Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress. You learn to say ‘It looks bleak. Big deal, it looks bleak.’” ~ Joanna Macy

“From news reports and life around us, we are bombarded with signals of distress—of job layoffs and homeless families, of nearby toxic wastes and distant famines, of arms sales and wars and preparations for wars. These stir within us feelings of fear, anger, and sorrow, even though we may never express them to others. By virtue of our humanity we share these deep responses. To be conscious in our world today is to be aware of vast suffering and unprecedented peril.” ~ Joanna Macy & Molly Young Brown

“Our culture conditions us to view pain as dysfunctional. There are pills for headache, backache, neuralgia and premenstrual tension—but no pills, capsules or tablets for this pain for our world. Not even a stiff drink really helps. To permit ourselves to entertain anguish for the world is not only painful, but frightening: it appears to threaten our capacity to cope with daily life. We are afraid that if we were to let ourselves fully experience these feelings, we might fall apart, lose control, or be mired in them permanently.” ~ Joanna Macy & Molly Young Brown

* NTE quotes page here [this link IS current!]

p.s. thanks to JE for pretty much all the content in this posting! John did not introduce me to the 'Nature Bats Last' blog (it was either KL or LJ who did that a couple years ago) - or to Joanna Macy's ideas -- but he does seem to dig up these great articles & Joanna Macy quotes!

Wicked Problems

Someone asked me the other day if I’d ever heard the phrase “wicked problems.” I had to say I’d not heard the phrase ... ‘though the idea of some problems being “wicked” is not a big stretch, exactly.

In fact I can think of so many wicked problems right off the top of my head that maybe I should just hop on my bike right now (I’m in a coffee shop after doing errands a medium-ish bike-ride away from home) & head out for some more bike & outside time.

Ugh!

& shoot, I totally get that my own life is quite frankly a cakewalk, pretty much. Sure, I’ve had a problem or challenge or awkward period or year or two along the way – but really? A cakewalk.

But OK. Rather than “chicken out” (no offense meant to any chicken lovers), I’ll mention one of the “wicked problems” or issues I am rassling with right now.

(Not the work I do – anti-nuclear activism – which even on a “good” day can send one down a rabbit hole of frustration or even despair – but you know, a person enjoys a challenge, hmmm??

Not some of the personal stuff on my plate these days. Like everyone, I’ve got a thorny challenge or two to deal with.)

It’s this one:

It’s this really really REALLY big elephant in the room.

NTE (near-term extinction) or NTHE (near-term human extinction). More & more people think our species is down to its last legs, pretty much.

I’ve been an activist for 25 years now. Got into it believing that if enough of us did enough work, rolled up our sleeves, as it were, informed enough people about the problems, everyone would “wake up” & fix things up.

I was soooooo naïve.

Gradually, after working on a variety of issues over a decently long period of time, I had to accept that “fixing things up” was a little beyond us. I’ve heard some say “civilization” has been like a run-away train, & that this outcome was inevitable. Must say, this view now seems utterly plausible to me.

Many activists of my acquaintance have not embraced the idea of NTE/NTHE (publicly, at any rate), & for sure I know we all gotta do what we gotta do. (I for one gotta continue doing anti-nuclear work. Living in the shadow of 2 gigantic nuclear plants? I just gotta keep at it.)

I do get that NTE doesn’t make for easy “cocktail conversation,” to say the very least – or even everyday conversation.

Bit of a bummer, the topic, eh??

Heh heh.

NTE is definitely one of those “wicked problems” – or hmmmm. Maybe only to spiritually un-evolved types like me. Maybe it’s a cakewalk to the spiritually evolved. I dunno. Whatever. I am clearly not “spiritually evolved.” Whatever that may mean.

Anyway. Listen.

I’m going to hop back on my bike & enjoy this great day.

Not all days seem “great” – but this one sure does!

Off I go to enjoy it.

NTE/NTHE can wait.

It will still be with us tomorrow.

Heh heh.

Janet

p.s. lots of thoughtful discussion about NTE on the ‘Nature Bats Last’ blog. This particular posting is the one that first introduced me to the topic. Well. Not the topic, exactly. The term, shall we say. When I look back through old blog postings & other writings over the years, I can see that my fears about the human race not making it are, shall we say, not new.

p.p.s. I see more & more thoughtful pieces being written on this topic. I’m going to post a listing with a goodly # of them, & then I’ll keep adding to it as time goes on. (You see, it seems that for some of us, not talking about NTHE is the only way to go. For others of us, sheer simple truth-telling is very compelling. & helpful. Even & simply necessary.)

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Hoard each joyous moment that comes to you. No one knows how it will all end.” – Háfiz

** lots of great quotations in a large variety of categories gathered up under the ‘Quotation Central!’ heading!

 

Let’s Be Honest

Now, I lay claim to being a truth-teller (it's right up there in my job description) – but let’s face it, I hold back a fair bit…in my writings, as in life. Most of this is due to simple getting-along-with-people politeness. Some of it, the fear of laying myself a little too bare. How will I feel if I scrape off yet another layer of skin? Well. Here goes:

  • 18 years into a divorce, divorce still sucks. I guess I knew from the start it would always suck, given that there were/are children involved, and even though you could probably call ours a “righteous” & “very civilized” divorce. Probably an unavoidable one? Nonetheless, it has been (still is, for me at times) a gutwrenching experience/life circumstance. Why? Hmmm. That’s another essay altogether…
  • Sometimes, often, I’d say, most of us “pull our punches.” Hold back from telling deep (or even rather minor!) truths that might better be articulated. On the personal level, on the cultural/societal. Maybe we all need training in some new language/communication skills. Maybe a course called ‘How to Tell the Truth Politely, Diplomatically, & with the Least Amount of Painful Fallout for All Parties Involved 101.’ Something like that, maybe.
  • Loneliness can be very brutal. It cuts like a knife. But I think alienation & anomie are much, much worse – & I suspect that many suffer from these much more nasty & pernicious feelings/phenomena.
  • Solitude is a balm & a blessing. I know that without a decent bit of solitude & silence, my spirit pretty much shrivels right up. I don’t think most of us get anywhere near enough of either in this very noisy, device-addicted, device-driven world.
  • Truth is sometimes (often) painful, disturbing, shocking, even. I suspect we all need that kind of jolt from time to time.
  • A lot of HBs (human beans), I think, are not really adults. We’ve never really grown up. We’ve never “recovered” from the various & sundry debilitating assaults of childhood. We are never satisfied, never at peace. Driven by emotions buried so deep we don’t (I think) begin to understand the impulses that drive us. Sentenced to lives of self-absorption, over-sensitive emotionally, easily flayed. Consumed by pettiness. All quite tragic, to say the very least. Tragic & very, very poignant.
  • The state of the world is pretty terrifying. Increasingly terrifying. Floods, storms, exploding factories/tanker cars, burning factories, grotesque social inequities/exploitations of all kinds. Etc. As Don Henley sings in the brilliant ‘Goodbye to a River,’ “The captains of industry, & their tools on the Hill, they’re killing everything divine, what will I tell this child of mine?”   Perhaps we middle-class Canadians, a tad too smug & self-absorbed, thought none of this nastiness would ever land on our doorsteps. But alas & alack, it’s definitely arrived. It was always here, of course, in one form & another – now, we can no longer avert our eyes.
  • Here’s a possible truth that is no walk in the park, Readers, gentle or otherwise. There is a suspicion now that we humans have only a rather short time left to run. They’re calling it Near-Term Extinction (inevitably, NTE for short; several links listed below in the p.s. section). Most people I know won’t hear of it, won’t talk about it, shut me down if I attempt to do so. Me, I rather suspect we ought to acknowledge it as a possibility…consider it, & start talking about it. (Maybe in sort of the way that the family of a terminal cancer patient needs to get real, in the palliative phase, & stop pretending a “cure” is in the offing.)
  • Let’s be honest. It isn’t as though I like the idea of near-term extinction. (Big duh, hmmm??) I just think I’d rather take off the rose-coloured glasses & deal with (what looks to me to be) the truth. It kind of renders a lot of our usual pursuits & preoccupations a little … moot, wouldn’t you say? I wonder what it might mean if more people started telling the truth about NTE. Quietly, you understand. “The powers that be” will never do so – we have to do it for ourselves. But I wonder what it would mean. People might begin doing some sensible things with the time that is left, possibly. I really don’t know. I’m curious.

 

A little shout-out here to 2 people for helping jump-start this little essay. New acquaintance AJ lent me her copy of the very lovely Starting Out in the Afternoon – a Mid-Life Journey into Wild Land, by Jill Frayne. This writer grabbed me powerfully within the first few pages (I’m only on page 19 as I write this). Her disarming honesty disarmed me, utterly!

It’s so liberating when people are honest about their feelings. Especially the ones we all share, but have trouble admitting ... even to ourselves.

It’s occurring to me that right now, I have very little patience for people who are still living completely up in their heads.

I often reflect lately that I am heartbroken – about personal “stuff,” & about the state of the world.

“Head” stuff just doesn’t interest me very much at all right now.

Let’s be honest.

Janet

p.s. earlier this week I watched a Stephen Jenkinson lecture entitled ‘The Skill of Brokenheartedness: Euthanasia, Palliative Care & Power.’  It struck me as powerful & very timely, & I’m delighted to have come across it by “fluke.”

p.p.s. here is something Jill Frayne said in her book: “People think that because it’s common for families to break up, children must weather it okay, but I don’t think they do. I work with families for a living, and for their sake and for mine I’ve held out against the idea that breakups are apocalyptic―but they are. For children, it’s an atom bomb going off, no matter how tactfully parents manage it. Family life, whatever the quality, is the medium children live in. They’re not separate from it. An individual self that can prevail, that can withstand change and loss, is a wobbly construct at the best of times. It’s theoretical or, if it exists at all, must come sometime later. Maybe by middle age we have a self. In a child it doesn’t exist. A child has no skin. When the adults come asunder, the child does too. They just do. I know this mournfulness in Bree [her daughter].” – from Starting Out in the Afternoon – a Mid-Life Journey into Wild Land, by Jill Frayne.

p.p.p.s. links for relevant items regarding NTE from Guy McPherson's ‘Nature Bats Last’ blog:

Nov. 9/11 -- Three paths to near-term human extinction

Aug. 10/12 -- Not even a spoonful of sugar could help

Aug. 23/12 -- Conspiracy Theories or Conspiracy Facts?

Aug. 30/12 -- What are we fighting for? 

Sept. 19/12 -- Let go, or be dragged

Jan. 6/13 & frequently updated -- Climate-Change Summary and Update

April 28/13 -- The Irreconcilable Acceptance of Near-Term Extinction  [Daniel A. Drumright]

May 6/13 -- Preparing for Near-Term Extinction  [Carolyn Baker]

May 21/13 -- On the Acceptance of Near-Term Extinction [Gary Gripp]

July 17/13 -- Can We Really Walk Away from Empire?  [Carolyn Baker]

Sept. 5/13 -- Fukushima, Climate Change, Near-Term Extinction: Resignation vs. Surrender [Carolyn Baker]

* & no doubt many more!

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein (quoted in Voltaire’s Bastards, by John Ralston Saul)

Runners-up:

“You can describe the predicament that we’re in as an emergency, and your trial is to learn to be patient in an emergency.” – Wendell Berry

“So long as I breathe and have the strength to do it, I will not cease philosophizing, exhorting you, indicting whichever of you I happen to meet, telling him in my customary way: Esteemed friend, citizen of Athens, the greatest city in the world, so outstanding in both intelligence and power, aren’t you ashamed to care so much to make all the money you can, and to advance your reputation and prestige – while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your soul you have no care or worry?” – Socrates, Greek philosopher, 469-399 B.C.

“What magnifies a voice is its human character, its compassion, honesty, and intelligence, and against the weight of things as they are the best resource is the imaginative labor of trying to tell the truth.” – Lewis Lapham, Harper’s Magazine [more truth quotes]

“When in doubt, speak the truth.” – Mark Twain [more MT quotes]

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” – JFK (John F. Kennedy, U.S. President assassinated in 1963)

“The world is too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but love.” – William Sloane Coffin

“We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us from seeing it.” – Blaise Pascal in Pensées, quoted by Chris Hedges in the article on ‘The Careerists’) 

“Once you know the difference between right and wrong, you have lots fewer decisions to make.” – Joseph Campbell, quoted in the fascinating biography A Fire in the Mind – The Life of Joseph Campbell by Stephen and Robin Larsen [more J. Campbell quotes]

Dog Daze

<July 31/12.> ('Dog days' being a reference to the hot hot hot weather we've been experiencing…)

I have not been blogging faithfully of late. My life has been quite…hmmm…is the word rocky? roller-coaster-y?? lately. For the past few months. There’s been a lot going on. There is a lot going on.

Right now I’m house-sitting for a friend & must admit, feel a little as though I may have died & gone to heaven. Her house is on the river (a river polluted with tritium & other rather nasty radionuclides, being downriver &/or in the neighbourhood of 1 or 2 nuclear facilities, but let’s lay that aside for the moment, shall we?? I’m not aware of the existence of any pristine bodies of water on this still-quite-lovely planet of ours, & I darn well enjoy being beside this one).

So I came here from noisybusysmoggy Toronto yesterday, Toronto being a city I quite enjoy, often or even mostly, actually, but maybe only when I am not contemplating living there, which I am at the moment… I’ve always said it is a great place to visit but…you know…I wouldn’t want to live there.

It’s this awful off-the-charts summer of 2012 of high temperatures & drought & millions of people in India as we speak being without power (i.e., without electricity, but what a funny phrase, “without power” – we are never really without power, are we??)

& last week I read a blog posting that suggests/predicts we HBs (human beans) may be on our very last legs as a species – not that this ought to be “news” exactly (tho’ I can pretty much guarantee you will not be hearing it on tonight’s TV news or weather, or anywhere in the newspapers)

& what’s in the “news” (if we may call it that) at the moment (good lord but the mainstream news media make me tired) is the Olympic spectacle & people speculating (apparently) as to whether a royal baby is on the way (give me strength).

I, meanwhile, am rassling with my own personal accommodation/moving issues, & now I hear that our demise as a species is liable to occur rather sooner even than I had supposed likely (though I’ve long thought well hooey, how long, realistically, can our species hang in, when all the living systems all around us are dying? I mean...)

& this blog posting or rant or whatever it is that it is is not meant to be about despair, 'though I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the occasional little tapdance with despair myself lately

& so in these troubled times (speaking of understatement) both personal & species level I am grateful to have this peaceful interlude at my friend’s house, where the sounds are mostly bird or insect ones (though I am hearing a train whistle as I write this) & it is not at all likely that I will encounter any humans trying to steal my belongings or harm or cheat me (apart from that impersonal poisoning of one of Canada’s most iconic rivers, as I say, with nuclear leftovers: that does not feel really personal, you might say, not the way a thief at my door would be, say)

& you know it also isn’t as if predictions of the end of our run are unheard of. I’ve been re-reading one of my very favourite books, Broken Open – How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser, a gem of a writer & person, clearly, to whom a psychic once said “…human beings were coming into ‘the last days.’ This period of time could extend for a decade, or a century, or more.” Etc.

but for sure I feel a little lately as though I am, & have been, spinning

so I’ve returned to Eckhart Tolle (am listening once again to some of his awesome audiotapes) & now Pema Chödrön (in book form, as it happens, tho’ she too is available in audio form from the same source)

& these two wise-wise-wise modern spiritual teachers are helping me calm down, take a breath, return to the present moment, stop spinning out, & just … breathe.

& I’m really glad I joined the small group of Americans, led by Buddhist nun Jun-San Yasuda, on their walk the other day (they are walking around Lake Ontario, taking a month to do it, to bring attention to the dangers of nuclear power), & I was with them when they passed by the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, a place I kinda love to hate (I know, I know, hate is a very un-spiritual thing to admit to, but then I never ever ever claim to be even remotely spiritual, now, do I???)

& our walk – their walk – will not likely cause the nuclear behemoth to fall, THAT I’m pretty sure about, but I’ve always found in my own wee personal life that action is an almost surefire antidote to feelings of despair 

& despair or near-despair could very well be more frequent companions in the daze ahead, given these oh-so-sobering-well-let’s-face-it-unprecedented times we are living in…

so I’ll have to keep right on reading &/or listening to Pema & ET

& taking action…& walking daily

& knowing that I don’t have to know what’s going to happen next…‘cos none of us can know or control what’s going to happen next

all we can really do is remember to be fully present right here, right now, right here, right now

& that’s the best – the very very best way…the only way, actually…to be fully ALIVE

*****

& so, thus endeth this weird little … whatever it is that it is.

Janet

p.s. not long after I typed this up (no Internet access where I am right now) a humdinger of a storm blew through. Hooey!! It was scary, actually. It was like a mini-hurricane. Lots of debris afterward – some trees down, the screened-in porch area trashed with water & pine needles & twigs. Quite the storm it was, & there sure do seem to be a lot of these happening lately. As in, 3 weeks in a row now I’ve been hanging out in eastern Ontario & have witnessed 3 humdinger storms passing through. Can you say climate change??

p.p.s. last week was an interesting week for me both personally & in terms of what came through my e-mail Inbox.

Couple of interesting links here:

Bill McKibben – 350.org – climate change – his article in Rolling Stone Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math (& his later 350.org messages which I am guessing you can find on the 350.org site)

‘We’re Done’ - Guy McPherson ('Nature Bats Last' blog)

‘2012 – What do you mean the 3rd dimension is going away?’ 

‘World in Serious Trouble on Food Front’ (Earth Policy Release)