I started this piece in a quick post under the same title, intended to be read in conjunction with my sharing of the recent speeches from the presidents of both Russia and China at the COVID-19 restricted virtual Davos conference of the WEF in January of this year – speeches which further revealed these men as literally the best hope of mankind for any kind of successful future for our species – and countering the praise I offered with regard to those speeches with my own views as to the reasons why even such messages of hope are destined for failure in a world already condemned to a future of disastrous consequences resulting from past abuses. However, recognising that I did not have the energy to even begin such a task at the time, I ended the post there, to be completed later. Well, it’s here now, errors and omissions excepted. Errors there may be, but I can’t bring myself to read through it one more time. Omissions there certainly are. Much has had to be left out and some inclusions are not directly connected with the subject, but it is what it is, for better or for worse. I hope at least some of it will be found useful.
I should add that irrespective of all that, no other national leaders of the leading nations appear to have even a clue as to the direction in which humanity should be treading, some actually advocating for a global ‘Reset’ – simply an excuse for a totalitarian world government under the auspices of major corporate controllers – little more than a literal prison planet or human animal farm.
So, those who think the views I am going to express here are too severe, way out, crazy or whatever, should also be listening to and advocating for and cooperating with the Russian and Chinese leaders plans for a future in a safe and cooperatively harmonised world which still retains independent and sovereign nations with their kaleidoscope of cultures, undominated by any particular philosophy or ideology. That is the best of all plans which humanity could consider, and if that is what the world actually wants, then I wish you luck with that, but sadly and realistically, that just ain’t going to happen. At least, not in any way that I can imagine. Let me tell you why, begining with a shocking statement…
All of us, living now, are likely to be dead within the next five to ten years – or maybe just a little longer. Yes, sadly, even the little, innocent ones.
I do not make that statement lightly, nor because death will almost certainly be my natural state sometime in that period, but because that situation is arguably forthcoming as a result of drivers already in motion, operating within our natural and social circles on a worldwide basis. I am, incidentally, not alone in this assessment. That view is also held by a great many scientists and others, though rarely expressed in these terms. I am not afraid – what have I to lose anyway – to openly express that position. This is a view that I think more and more people, informed people, people not afraid to examine and look into such possible futures, will come to accept as the next few years unfold.
Because this is such a bold statement I want to provide some background. The gist of the logic is covered in the image below, taken from a recent post of mine. General background (not yet widely known) comes from the Climate Emergency Institute – founded by Peter Clarke, an expert IPCC Reviewer who recently said in a video interview “1.5°C is a disastrous world” – meaning ‘disastrous to live in’, and “2°C is an impossible world” – meaning ‘impossible to live in’. He also said – may not be a direct quote – “Billions of people are going to die”. Now, you may not trust someone who speaks virtually without moving his lips (a rule I generally stick by), but in this case I’m pretty sure he knows what he is talking about.
[Click images to enlarge]
It is a prospect of billions of human deaths taking place over a short period of time, along with the deaths of billions of animals currently in the human food chain. And not necessarily pleasant deaths, natural deaths or quick deaths – though I am sure such an event will not come without the accompaniment of extreme violence and destruction of some kind and a great many people will also take the quick exit option in face of the prospect of lingering suffering.
Are you still with me on this, or have you already dismissed the possibility as loopy, loony, batty or cracked? If you are staying, then let me explain.
Let me first say that when this ‘die-off’ occurs (I can’t say ‘if’, since I don’t think an ‘if’ is on the cards), whether it happens through a sudden unexpected event or gradually rolls out over a protracted period, it will make obvious the situation that any kind of pseudo- or even real-world Utopia being delivered by any plan, good or otherwise, is actually no longer possible. At least, and at best, for a very very long time. Potentially a time spanning thousands or millions of years, depending on when the next ice-age cycle strong enough to overcome the extraneous conditions about to engulf planet Earth becomes effective.
I guess I have let the cat out of the bag now, with the previous statements. Yes, I am talking mainly, but not exclusively, about the planet’s natural environment, disturbed and disrupted as it has now become – in an ongoing process the half of which we have not yet seen – through grossly selfish and/or disdainful and ignorant human activity in recent centuries. There are of course also many other factors, some of which, both jointly and severally, could precipitate, exacerbate or work in conjunction with species-ending climate disasters. I expect to give some space to these things before this piece concludes.
And so, this is why I called the current writing ‘A Building Up and a Tearing Down’. I have built up and praised the fact that there are good men who have good, well intentioned plans and hopes for a better, more peaceful and cooperative world than currently exists, always recognising that this is a part of another great build-up – the coming and rise of modern humanity as the dominant species on planet Earth. This has been a kind of fairy-tale story taking place mostly over the past 11,000 years or so but also stretching back over several hundred thousand years – in any event a mere blip on the timeline of the history of our world. At the same time this has been a historic rise that seems to have gone to the head of a mankind which now thinks of itself as the Master of the world (and soon the universe) – foolish man.
Throughout human history, since ancient times, mankind has built up its cultural edifices to mark its presence – and its passing – some of which remain to this day though now beginning to suffer the ravages of time. And all of that activity, in general, without greatly effecting the natural world.
In more recent times, namely following the industrial revolution in its various phases – mostly over little more than the past 200 years (which can no longer be described as a ‘blip’ but is merely a ‘dot’ or ‘pixel’ on history’s path) – mankind has with rapacious determination and speed, built up the structures of an increasingly complex society. Though in doing so has completed not so many long lasting structures, in fact there has been little or no design for longevity at all in mankind’s structural projects which are aimed more toward short-lived utility. The consequence of that being seen in the early deterioration, collapse and a program of replacement of much of that infrastructure – little or nothing of which will remain intact for a further 200 years. Pouring instead his energy into the accumulation of wealth and the acquisition of power, through that wealth, over other men, peoples and nature, with never a thought or care as to what his actions were doing to the natural environment on which he so depended, still depends and, for as long as he exists, will continue to depend for the very breath and sustenances that are needed to survive.
Actions, of course, always demand a reaction. And so it is that man’s defective chickens (as the saying goes) are now coming home to roost in their defective coops. Both man and his chickens are now standing on the threshold, on the edge of a precipice, of a building (both euphemistically and in reality) in a state of collapse.
This then, in the ‘Building Up’ of both my glowing praise of the work of two great men and also the general achievements of mankind throughout history, is the preface to the phase of history I have labelled a ‘Tearing Down’, both as a fatal flaw in the plans of men (both great and small) – wherever they are – and in any further continuation of the societies and civilisations, the structural and technological enterprises, of mankind.
This ‘Tearing Down’ phase may well be the last in the long, largely unwritten, and grossly misinterpreted history of humankind. Once the ‘rocks have stopped rolling’ in the upheaval of this tearing down phase, I don’t personally see any bright new ‘building up’ ever happening again – though hope is a very hard human quality to quash. And it is equally hard to totally eradicate 8 billion people without a few ‘escapees’ who tough it out in some lost and far-flung place, long enough to be able to restart from scratch, with little or nothing of the past to aid or even to guide them – though it has to be said, species in decline rarely survive for long.
Ok, let’s look at some facts. I realise this has been long on projection but short on proof, although most of what I have said is based on published if not widely known or accepted facts. Well, I’m not going to give any definitive proof since all talk on the subject can only be based on past and present observations and there is plenty of literature, perhaps too much literature – most of it out of date within a week or a month of publication (because of changing circumstances) and most commonly published a year or more after it became relevant. The rest is pure conjecture, or projecture (if there is such a word), based on past facts. So, the accurate proof of the future lies only in the future and is therefore totally unknown. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But since my conjecture is just as good as anyone else’s conjecture (expert or not), and since my conjecture is based on many years of accumulated, filtered and percolated information amid a broad range of other interests and the fact that I have no axe to grind and no paymaster to please (all ensuring my impartiality), I will now get to the nub of the matter.
Allow me first to make the point that this is not a scientific paper. If it is anything it is a collation of generalised thoughts and knowledge culled from a wide variety of ‘scientific’ and other literary works, most of them provided by ‘experts’ in one field or another and all assembled and juggled inside my head. So do not expect to see much in the way of figures, numbers and rates. There is not much I say here that hasn’t been earlier said by someone with more authority than I, and not much which could be argued about that would make much difference to the inferences drawn here. Knowledge, in the current world at least, is never static for long, due to the fast pace of change, so quoting figures outside of a scientific paper, or even using scientific papers as a direct reference is usually quickly invalidated – other than as historic reference. I tend to use a more heuristic type of reasoning.
Heuristic refers to a practical reasoning method not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect but sufficient to meet immediate needs and ultimately to solve problems and also as a means to develop logic and critical thinking.
Heuristic reasoning, as I think I have said elsewhere, is the way to approach today’s issues (unless, of course, you are an engineer who builds bridges or barns). Not having a scientific background is therefore, I think, not a prerequisite for brainstorming likely future scenarios. Always remembering that even with the best of scientific modelling, the future will be what it will be, no matter what we now think it may be.
So, what does my heuristic reasoning tell me? In brief it tells me that everything that mankind has built in a series of failed civilisations, plus one that is currently beginning to fail – over the past, say, 11,000 years since we emerged as a new species of modern man from the last ice-age – but not necessarily the achievements of prior civilisations over the preceding, say, 200,000 years (though they may have all but disappeared) – will now, in front of our very eyes, be seen to collapse and join the remnants of all prior civilisations. It also tells me that this civilisational collapse is fairly unique in that it is the last in the long line of such collapses, at least for a very long time to come, and that it will be complete ie. irreversible. It will potentially take all 8 billion current specimens of the human family (with perhaps a small remnant that is likely to die out eventually anyway) along with most if not all other species related in the same way to the current planetary paradigm. The reason for this is that the current planetary paradigm is changing to something unsupportive of current life-forms, based on the short-sighted behaviours of the current dominant species – us. The planet will eventually correct itself naturally, whether through its own efforts or aided by some external cosmic force which may deliver new life-forms to repopulate the planet – as has most likely occurred previously. This may all take place in time periods unrelated to anything the currently dominant human species would care to understand.
While it may be of little use in the long run, what follows in the rest of this piece describes (not in any way completely) what the risks are and the basic needs of any part of humanity that may find itself emerging from the chaos of this tearing down of civilisation.
Man is an animal. He needs air (preferably clean, uncontaminated air) to breathe, water (also clean and uncontaminated) to drink, food (ditto) to eat for restoration and accumulation of energy, shelter (including clothing) appropriate for the prevailing conditions, the capability to make fire (for all sorts of reasons) and some means of protection against predators – of all kinds. There are other things man needs in order to make a go of self-preservation, for example companionship, but these are the basics. Take away any one or more of these basic necessities and man’s likelihood of survival for any length of time is slim. If you don’t believe me, try it out.
Let’s go through these basic needs to attempt to see which, if any, mankind may find most difficult to obtain at some point in the near future. I can make only a brief snapshot of what I could include here. In fact it was a difficult thing to decide what to include or leave out. In the end I decided to just start writing and allow it to be whatever it became.
The message I wanted to get over to you is, and I can’t state this plainly enough – Life is going to get tough – whatever happens. You need to be aware of that. Read this with that in mind.
Have you ever experienced what happens if some disaster affects say a city or other large population centre? Let’s say perhaps an earthquake, plague, or some catastrophe of war? No, neither have I, although all of these things and others have and do happen. If there are no survivors or even if there are, bodies are left where they fell, maybe for some considerable time. Normal waste is not dealt with. Food rots. Rodents proliferate. And if there is no-one to clear up the mess, or even – as would be the case in a plague situation – no-one is fit enough or has the energy to attempt such work. Very soon, perhaps sooner than we may think, the air becomes foul, with odours and airborne diseases. The same would eventually happen where people are shut up, locked up or trapped in confined spaces. Without fresh, clean air – and there are other ways that air may become contaminated, even outdoors – even a person otherwise unaffected by external events would soon succumb to illness and eventual death. So, clean air is vital, but may not be present in some circumstances in which we could find ourselves soon.
I could also mention respiratory diseases, an inability to uptake even fresh air or pure oxygen, but that is still an open wound, too sore to go into further as I write this while we are still in a global COVID-19 pandemic situation.
It is also a not too widely known fact that atmospheric oxygen content has been falling in measurements taken since 1985. See the two images below for more. While this is not at the moment critical, it is a trend, and 1) the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are still rising, while 2) we have not yet suffered a massive CO2/Methane surge that scientists have been warning about as a result of rapid permafrost melt. Just thoughts to ponder while we are still able to breathe without much concern.
[Click images to enlarge]
I should also mention, specifically, that there are those in the world who are depraved enough to deliberately contaminate the airspace over the lands or cities of those they consider to be enemies, with disease, virus or other weaponised airborne agents. This risk is especially acute during periods when it is considered that any form of supposed ‘victory’ for their causes has evaporated – such as a general collapse of society. I will even name the most likely suspects based on the proliferation of their supposed ‘medical research’ laboratories scattered around the world. They are the United States and the United Kingdom. Be warned.
In any sort of disaster, one of the first things victims (which may be everybody) would notice is the lack of water – a commodity most of us take for granted will be always ‘on tap’, just as is the air we breathe.
Clean, potent, uncontaminated drinking water is the most basic human need, after breathable air. A person can live without eating for many days but only for a few days without ingesting water. Dehydration is an unforgiving killer and will quickly deplete a person’s ability to function autonomously. No fresh water, soon no people.
Also in such times of upheaval when medical care of any sort may be in just as short supply as effective law and order, any and all potential illness or preventable physical weakness, arising from any source but particularly from the lack of such a basic need as water, is something to be strenuously avoided at all costs.
And while, undoubtedly, there will still be rains due to the natural water cycle – which would only cease if this planet somehow ceased to be a watery one – the patterns of rainfall are likely to vary in many areas and are not guaranteed to be of the gentle variety that nourishes the land and allows for water harvesting in lakes and reservoirs but, as we have already begun to see, the likelihood is tending toward more extreme rain events that remove soil through flood and damaging torrents that overwhelm our water management infrastructure – with resultant contamination and destruction. In a generally collapsing system, such damage will eventually become irreparable and irreplaceable.
You should know that a power-down of any sort will quickly result in loss of your supply of tap water and shop shelves will also very quickly empty of bottled water, assuming that you have either of those luxuries readily available in the first place. This is one item that you would be well advised to keep an emergency supply of at all times and ensure it is frequently refreshed by a system of ‘use and replace’. Even so, that supply is not going to last for ever and once the system has collapsed, for whatever reason, it is never going to come back. Ever. The realisation of that last fact is perhaps the most important concept and the least likely to be readily accepted, of any of which I could make you aware. And this applies to whatever circumstances precipitate the disaster which brings us to the point of systemic collapse. It may be something quick – an earthquake for instance – or it may be a long drawn out situation as is likely to form the end-note for most of civilisation through the overwhelming power of nature to destroy these our basic needs in any way open to such action – such as a gradual drying out of the lands we both live on and rely on as the source of production and/or supply for those needs. Rivers, lakes, arable lands, pasture lands, forests and plantations – the world over.
The expectation that somehow things will ever return to normal or even to anything that will be in any way benignly welcoming for you or helpful to you, will eventually kill you as effectively as a bullet to your temple.
Here are a few interesting points. No tap water means, no flush toilet, no washing/ cleansing, extra personal energy use for finding/transporting/filtering/boiling/debugging water from sources previously seen as unsuitable, depleted energy, increased susceptibility to illness, and of course the ever present threat of death.
I don’t want to prolong this, but what I have said so far, relates mostly to our personal need for fresh water. What about the food we eat. How is that to grow, without irrigation? What about the animals we keep – for food mainly (including freshwater fish), but also for transport, labour, protection and companionship?
“Man does not live by bread alone,” is an old saying, but will not live for long without it. ‘Bread’ being a catchall for food in general, and food being the next essential for long-term survivability, after water, for periods of time counted in days.
Food availability for much of the world, as a result of globalisation, has become of such variety and ubiquity that much of it is wasted while, in other parts, people struggle to either avoid or succumb to starvation. Much of the world’s food production is also now subject to industrial farming methods and reliant on chemical additives during the growing cycle of production and also in the processing and transport cycles – to the extent where much of the distributed product bears little resemblance to, and contains little of the content of, the original natural product. These things bear relevance to the current writing only because one of the first industries to suffer at the hands of any climate related or indeed any other type of system disruption, will be the practice of industrial farming – in conjunction of course with all other essential system components of our highly industrialised civilisation and social structures. In fact large scale food production will essentially cease in such circumstances, adding trauma to all the other problems also arising from whatever it was that turned life upside down.
Ok, ‘grow your own food’ is the message, and many people are already beginning to do that in response to the COVID disruption – and which has so far not made any noticeable impression on the annual global death toll for the past year nor had any significant effect on global industry or commerce – though there are rumblings beneath the surface that are likely to break ground in the coming weeks and months to demonstrate all is not well “down at t’Mill”.
Growing your own food is good advice and I have ‘been there, done that’ in the past and have a collection of seeds to do it again once I get the little patch I have now sorted out – though that may never happen given my age and sagging energy levels – but I’m ready to have a go, when and if the need arises and I’m still here. But, I have to say, It Is Hard Work to get a garden going – damned hard work – and even in a stable climate, results are not guaranteed to reach expectations – or needs – without supplement. But where will the supplement come from? Not from the supermarket, that’s for sure. Supermarkets will have probably been wrecked or turned into drug houses or work camps or brothels or worse – which brings me to a very important point and why I don’t currently have any great impetus to start a new garden (I spent 5 years and $,000’s building a productive garden which I had to leave behind 2 years ago).
There is no guarantee that either the climate or the social conditions will be amenable at your current place of abode at any point in the future, for growing food. It is quite likely that any attempt you may make to keep what is currently yours, where you are now, could result in your untimely and unnecessary death. If conditions become dangerous to your health, for whatever reason, any reason, do not hesitate to up roots (quickly if no other option, or a planned and readied departure if possible) and join the billions of others who will be doing likewise across the world. This is not a game and it will get worse as time unfolds. Agility and flexibility are the keys to survival at the level of disruption that can be envisaged when climate related (or any other) chaos erupts as it undoubtedly will. You could of course say “What the heck! If I’m going to die anyway, I will do it in the comfort of my own home.” That’s your choice. And that may well be, at my time in life, what I will do. But I will always consider my options and I still retain the means and the tools to effect a survival plan if I still retain the strength to do so. Making a quick exit from life is not part of those plans (though rights are reserved).
Another sound piece of advice would be to get yourself off the meat wagon – before the supply of meat, of any kind but human, becomes a reality. It is false propaganda, marketing propaganda, capitalist propaganda, which makes the claim that humans actually need meat (or animal milk) to survive or even to flourish. I have personally not taken any meat and very little dairy food (except cheese – cheese is different – but I always buy non-animal rennett cheese) for the past 18 years or so – and I am no sickly, weak specimen of mankind. I have had no reason, apart from a short illness in 2010 which has affected my heart ever since, and a suspect broken finger (wasn’t), I have had no reason to consult medical aid over that 18 years and longer. I have also not taken any medical drug in that time except a self-prescribed daily low-dose aspirin for blood-thinning purposes. So, folks, don’t wait, get your body ready for a vegetarian diet before it is forced on you by circumstances beyond your control. Feel the benefit now.
Shelter, Fire and Protection
I have decided to join the final three basic human needs under one heading as, on reflection, they all relate to one thing – they are all specifically human characteristics.
Ok, I know that nothing is ever completely black or white, and that certain of what we think of as the higher forms of life on earth also seek shelter in places like holes, whether ready made for takeover or self-constructed or excavated, and some also construct independent shelter, such as ant-mounds, bee-hives and otter dams, but that is quite distinct from what mankind does.
It is also quite clear to me, a sort of personal belief (so I will not labour the point), that we, the human life-form, are either an aberration of nature or we are not from here (an introduced species if you like). Even if the latter perspective is untrue (and I will say no more about that here), I think there can be no argument to the proposal that mankind is undoubtedly the most ill-equipped mammalian life-form to be found on the surface of this, perhaps the most generally benign example of a planet, suitable for the support of life, possibly to be found anywhere in the universe.
It is highly unlikely that we are the product of evolutionary processes, unless those processes are working backwards towards non-survivability under the prevailing conditions. Our skin is entirely unsuitable for keeping us either warm or cool and is not durable enough for rough labour or to offer any form of physical protection. We are also among the weakest of all animals. In any of the world’s climate conditions, if we could not construct adequate shelter or make appropriate clothing, provide fire for warmth and cooking, and equip ourselves with even basic defensive weapons to use against stronger creatures (or antagonistic others of our own kind), we would simply die. Yet most animals come already provisioned, almost from birth, with the solution to all of those needs – or the attributes to avoid them.
So, and to cut this discussion short, how are we to survive in a world where our ‘normal’ comfortable life is suddenly or as a realisation that such conditions are no longer supportable, taken away from us or have otherwise to be abandoned, and we are left with no alternative but to once again become nomads in a far less cooperative and friendly world than we have heretofore known, seeking new places where we can continue our lives – at the same time as most other humans are trying to do the same thing, in a world where patiently forming queues (also known as death-lines – a trait only of modern, highly indoctrinated humans) will be the last thing occupying people’s minds? That’s a single thought – don’t you just love long sentences?