Timing is Everything

SUBHEAD: The jig is up. We have played out the resources and energy that supported the easy growth and easy living.  

By Juan Wilson on 11 June 2012 for Island Breath -  

Image above: "Oh, crap! Was that today?" The cartoon was done for a Hallmark card in 2010 by Dan Regan. From (http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/nannalee/397582/).

 I write this with a sense that the second half of this year will be crucial to your ability to set up for life in a very different world. To the degree you can it will be best to create the circumstances that allow you to be free of large networked systems that use external sources of energy. For us here on Kauai that means being less dependent on KIUC, the Gas Company, the Water Department, Hawaiian Telecom, Time-Warner Cable the banks and even your local supermarket.

Their utility in your life will dwindle - perhaps quickly. THE DILEMA Between the human and natural catastrophes we face, some people are getting a little down in the mouth about the future. Some who have had their antennae up are experiencing clinical depression or are turning to drugs, magic or even Fox News.

Anything to get away from the truth. The truth is that the jig is up. We can no longer expect that the negative waste from our activities to be absorbed by planet Earth, or the consequences outsourced to the Third World across the sea. We are quickly becoming the Third World. It's true that the cheap energy run petrochemical activities of the past century-and-a-half have created a perfect storm of human overpopulation, environmental degradation and resource depletion. We've had the energy and material to really fuck things up. There is no route back to a growth economy based on consumption.

One with higher education, jobs and homes available for all. One with all our needs satisfied by many brands of solution just a jaunty drive away. We are caught in the dilemma of not having the energy to back up our money. And that is a crucial nub. Money in one sense is the promise to do work or provide a valued resource. Some would have money be based on the inherent value of the means of exchange; like gold, copper or silver coins. Others have suggested that money be an exchange of time between parties.

But that is not what we practice now. As long as there has been plenty of cheap fossil fuels we have had the ability to spend more than we have, and devil take the consequences. We can print more money and then back it up with ever larger energy expenditures (aka growth). That's how the jig is up. We have played out the resources and energy that supported easy growth and easy living. Our money isn't even paper anymore. Our money is now merely an electronic record - a wisp on the grid - about to be snuffed like candles in a future electrical brownout.

The solution has been obvious for over 40 years. It is simple: Stop poisoning the planet, get our population under control and achieve a no growth economy. We've known it since Rachel Carlson wrote Silent Spring in 1964. We've known it since Paul Erlich wrote The Population Bomb in 1968. We've known it since The Club of Rome wrote The Limits to Growth in 1972 and Mankind at the Turning Point in 1974. We've had the solution since Bill Mollison wrote Permaculture: A Designer's Manuel in 1979. Instead we chose to be led by Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. There was that brief fling with Jimmy Carter, but that ended when he suggested we turn down our thermostats and enforced a 55mph speed limit on the interstate.

But we don't want to face any of that bullshit. We've got people to see; places to go and way too much to do to deal with it now. Maybe later. "I got a project to finish and a big payment due". Just about everybody has been putting on the blinders and going ahead with business as usual. That includes the Sierra Club committee chairperson and the Monsanto corporation board member. One watches MSNBC while the other watches Fox News. Bottom line - it's all just cable TV brought to you by industrial civilization.

The most critical thing our mass media/culture does is embed like flies in amber within the unreality of our anthropocentric world view. It used to be the job of religion. But, by and large, they couldn't keep up with the technology. Where's that iPhone app for Catholic confession anyway? The mantle of our belief systems has been passed on to the New Age bloggers and Techno-Optimist pundits. They use the media to create a fake future that alleviates our angst through either apocalypse or nirvana. In either case it won't take much work on our part - and that last part is why it sells - both promise golf-carts in Heaven.

At a recent conference on The Age Of Limits several of the people we follow closely came together. Among them Dmitry Orlov, Carolyn Baker, and John Michael Greer. We posted articles by several of them. A new theme seemed to be emerging from them. On one hand there was a turning to the spiritual aspects of our lives here in this moment of time. It was combined with an acceptance of industrial civilizations collapse. Together they pointed to a personal strategy that if acted upon could be important. John Michael Greer made a presentation and was asked afterwards in the Q&A;
"So what you’re saying is that what we need to do, individually, is to go through collapse right away." "Exactly," he said. "Collapse now, and avoid the rush."
His point is that;
"The skills, resources, and lifeways needed to get by in a disintegrating industrial society are radically different from those that made for a successful and comfortable life in the prosperous world of the recent past, and a great many of the requirements of an age of decline come with prolonged learning curves and a high price for failure. Starting right away to practice the skills, assemble the resources, and follow the lifeways that will be the key to survival in a deindustrializing world offers the best hope of getting through the difficult years ahead with some degree of dignity and grace."
Many people have sensed the change needed in their lives and have made plans to do something about it… later than sooner. There is not a lot of time left to get something done and be ready in place. You are likely yo see a further degradation of the world economy through this year. The Chinese and Indian economies are stalling. The economic malaise in Europe is contagious.

The train-wreck effect of the Greek, then Spanish and Italian economies will have a worse effect on our economy than the crash of 2008 (when oil hit $147 a barrel). The US economy is much more feeble than it was then and will not bounce back. No amount of printed funny money will fill the gorge. If there is a worldwide bank crash you likely will not be able to use credit to buy those solar panels you've been planning on. You may not even have a job. You may not be able to relocate easily. By the end of this year (or sooner) you may have to face the future where you are, who your with and with what you have now. And that's if your among the lucky ones.

My advise to all is to act accordingly. Besides taking care of shelter and food - that means discovering the work you can do to support yourself without a job or computer. But you know all this. You've heard it before from me. In fact you've heard it too many times. I've been kind of a One-Note-Johnny since I read James Kunstler's "The Long Emergency" in 2006.

In fact, if what I say is true I need to pull back from doing this blog everyday with its heavy dependence on the necessary home equipment, telecommunications systems, server farms across the mainland and all the required grid connections to reach the screen you are reading now. Maybe I should pick a date to stand-down.

My first pagan instinct is to stand-down at a solar solstice or equinox. The summer equinox is coming up… maybe it should be then… June 20th 2012… just stop publishing this blog and spend that time in our garden. On the other hand, I could keep playing this song until the last lifeboat leaves the Mothership on December 20th 2012.

What do you think?

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: The Titanic or Noah's Ark 3/4/12
Ea O Ka Aina: We are still aboard the Titanic 2/18/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Winter Solstice 2011 12/21/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Top-Down and Bottom Up 10/11/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Infallible, Unsinkable & Inconceivable 2/2/11
Ea O KA Aina: Only one kind of sustainability 2/9/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Welcome Aboard! 12/9/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Here's the Deal 7/5/09


Alan Zulch said...

As a fairly recent subscriber to your blog, but a long-time reader of these topics, I have to leave it to you to decide whether to continue blogging or not, but since you asked, I think you'll be more of service to continue doing so, because what you do is valuable and, frankly, needed. You aren't just preaching to the choir, even if you reach just one new person. We need numbers, not to magically transform, but to build awareness and resilience. Your voice matters.

Dharma Sanctuary said...

keep posting until the signs are more in your face. In the meantime, continuing having fun with being the reporter you are. No reason to terminate at any time, if there's somebody listening. This kind of communication might forestall mass depression in the future - now that's a contribution!

Juan Wilson said...

Alana and Dharma;

Thanks so much for the comments. Sometimes blogging seems useless. However, I know a few voices out there have given me inspiration and renewed me. You are two of them.


Dharma Sanctuary said...

Let it rip. There's nothing to lose and everything to gain. Minds are won by degree, and we can never know what our real influence is. Maybe we can even create empowerment through etheric osmosis, who knows?

god is listening, whoever she is, so maybe you'll win some points at least.

Posting in a blog, on FB, Youtube or wherever is an act of beating the doors down. It all adds up. At least you can rage against the machine, which feels satisfying at the end of the day...

Fuck the FED and the rest of the fiat money criminals. Their day is nearly up and they are going to jail. I'm salivating at the public spectacle and am planning to stay drunk for days, maybe tie up some traffic on Kuhio Highway with my revelry...

Juan Wilson said...



Got your back!


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