Do we possess sufficient courage...?

Submitted by lmcshane on Sun, 10/05/2008 - 09:30.

"Do we posses sufficient courage, compassion, and creativity to stave off chaos in defense of a just, sustainable society?"

These are not my words--this is the final question posed by Guy McPherson, School of Natural Resources and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, and Jake F. Weltzin, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. These guys have degrees, but we don't need degrees to understand what they are saying here. Please google their article,

Implications of Peak Oil for Industrialized Society in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. June 2008.

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Winston Churchill on Americans...

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. Winston Churchill


Thank you Peter.  Have we tried "everything else," yet?

It's like the movie "the matrix"

We are all perpetuating a world in a kind of sleep. Our energies, our actions serve to maintain what we are living in now. Every once and a while an awakened soul sees the real situation, starts a  conversation, protest, critique, or a blog. One by one others awake and start talking. First stunned ignorance, then great resistance, then........... somebody finds the courage to try something. Takes quite a bit of inner stiffness by bypass the present world perpetuating machinery and dare to change things for real.

It seems when a soul awakens we try to enlist them at the front of keeping the old order. We are obsessed with leadership to that end, to lead us in going back to sleep.

In a corner unnoticed, among souls disconnected from the system, an idea sustains itself and produces visible results. And we wonder why the purveyors of our sleep-state didn't come up with this idea or prepared us for this idea. They keep telling us, things are fine, go back to sleep. But we can't sleep now, must deal with this new idea. In our backyards, garages, basements and attics, we ponder, we tinker, we devise and invent because the necessity has energized us. Then comes the big question, how do you awaken a whole nation? or even the city where you live?

Sleep state

I believe you have accurately labeled the condition, now, how do we cure ourselves?

Jeremiahs and Cassandras

Have we passed the tipping point?  If James Kuntsler is a Jeremiah, then I must be a Cassandra. I am working on my placard.  The end is near.

still wiping the sleep away

History has played this scenario a few times, but with new generations who have not lived through these times, we think we can bear it. Also I think we are use to waiting for folks in power to do something, we will even ask what should we do, as if they have the answers. The leaders tend to apply fixes to broad and general concerns and not specific problems. Everyone focused on banks making bad mortgage deals, only few talk about jobs to pay for them. The tip is melting because the base is feeling the heat.

Single impact solutions are not doing it anymore. Multifaceted solutions are required. We are still wanting top-down approaches, global thinking and one solution fits all. We need to focus on smaller practical regional solutions on the level we are on. What works in California won't fit us here in Ohio, what works in Cleveland is unsuited for Lorain and the eastside and westside have differences in the same city. Like block watches, we can't see the whole city, but we know what's on our block, yet we are participating in a larger security concern.

While the higher ups are making pronouncements out from their kind of talk, we should be talking on our level also, ask why and how and what if. You want high tech to come here, it will come because you bring it here by your talk. Freely trading conversation stirs you up, creates excitement, involvement and a culture. I see a group of Pokemon gamers in the library every time I go there. They sustain themselves. High tech/green tech will not come to northeast Ohio because some company gets a tax break, but because local people are engaged, interested and ready to do the work, other wise to fulfill this dream you have to import folks who do.

We should remember our grassroots, find ones like minded, trade ideas, do stuff together. We are use to isolation, suffering in silence and trying to make it on our own. Open source is about community. 


Get busy

Maria with help from Case Western Reserve University is taking the mantra to heart.  We can create a sustainable community.  Get busy!

not gloom and doom but a way out

Kuntsler's article I think hints of a way out with an extreme contrast, an end result vision. An over night transition will not happen. Will it look like that when we get there? Don't know.

I would think a stack of business cards and a printed tee shirt is more suitable than a placard.

In this last presidential debate when asked how to proceed to engineer the technology we need for the future, Mr. M said immediately to enlist the big institutions (big corporations, defense department, etc,). Ideas like big anything is what got us into this mess. The overhead of bigness is why we pay large farmers not to grow and subsidize them when they do. Some are capitalist with imperialist intentions and most of us are subjects in a financial feudal system. The market is propped up by speculation on the idea of value, not actual value. If there was a trickle down, there would be prosperity in the streets, not potholes.

Maybe we should apply Asimov's three robotic laws to the global idea, because globalization at the expense of localization is destroying the fabric of America, it's taking us apart.

You big corporations who say we are competing with the world, if we are not working, who is it who is competing? And what if we refuse to or can't buy your products, your services? Are you so big that you have out grown us? So specialized that you must people yourself with folks suited to your corporate kingdom's spread. You big banks who hold our mortgages, insist we pay over and over, layers of funds and so nicely convince us that we are home owners, yet you destroy the very means we use to pay you. Will you require us to give our souls to do your bidding also? Who is our country the US or the banks? If half of us are unemployed, take lower paying jobs, who will shelter and feed us, the gov, the banks? Might have to let us stay without............

If the communist idea is bad and the capitalist idea becomes the polar opposite, it's bad also. Then we need to redefine things and find a workable solution in the middle.  And yes, you must call it something so that folks can get a handle on it, tweak it.

Another thing, gov intrusion is as bad as gov dependence. This is why we have documents that provide a framework upon which we can exercise our freedoms. It's the gov job to insure we are able to exercise without killing each other. So the process to redistribute wealth may seem to be evil, but only to folks who have a lot. But if it does not take place, then those who have not will find other values and what the wealthy have will become worthless. You will have to grow your own potatoes, like the rest of us.

Not being a self reliant survivalist kind of person, I have depended on what the gov or business provides. My dad lost work and we were evicted from our home when growing up. The gov stepped in and helped, but friends made the difference. Today there is no gov support of worth, no security blanket and we are strangers to our neighbors, our families are spread across the country. As I am not working I have time to ponder what's wrong. I am glad to see others making valant local efforts at solutions, even growing their own potatoes.

Made by hand

Why do I feel the futility of blogging?  I am reading James Howard Kuntsler's World Made by Hand.  Add it to your list of books to read before we enter the new post-oil era.

look how they try to woo us back

Noticed how the price of gasoline has dropped to record lows for the recent past? Consumer Prices Fall on Drop in Energy Costs Are we trying to save the big 3 or what?

Ohio could read Kunstler and get ahead of the curve. Anyone want to place bets on that possibility? OK. Just kidding. This is the real casino - Washington.

On a local front, remember how our commissioners have decided that they will beat out NYC on the medcon front by saying, "We have the money" (we passed a quarter cent sales tax increase without asking you). It will be interesting to see just how much cash is raised in the coming years to fund this project as consumers cut back to the bone. What will transpire if we don't generate $42 million a year in sales tax increases to pay for a big party room? They may have to reconsider if there is an architect locally who could figure out how to make meeting rooms in the IX Center. Or maybe medical equipment buyers will simply decide that they are happy doing business as usual and don't need to have drinks and dinner with that purchasing decision.

I agree with one commenter to Kunstler's post - if only elected officials were reading his posts every Monday morning. We might be making corrections now instead of waiting for the floor to collapse. Oh... it is already collapsed. It reminds me of what Kunstler points out in The Long Emergency. We will not recognize that the peak in peak oil has passed until after the fact.