Jun 172011

It’s been awhile since we’ve reviewed the news about how things are reaching a breaking point. (Spoiler alert—not good reading for anticollapsitarians)

There’s rioting in China.

Lots of the rich Chinese are leaving China which is driving a mini-housing boom in Vancouver. Perhaps the Chinese will return to Lummi Island. There’s some good deals here.

There’s rioting in Greece too.   Is the US in worse shape than Greece? This guy thinks so.

Famous investor Jim Rogers says US heading towards a financial crisis worse than 2008.

Denial of Peak Oil becomes more dangerous every day.

Maybe Bellis Fair won’t be quite so busy in the future and maybe you will be able to find a parking place at the airport.

One of our leading collapsitarians says it’s coming.

Glad I’m already retired because it doesn’t look good for the next few generations. Wait. I might have spoken too soon.

We’re pretty lucky we don’t live under a volcano.

Things are going down, not up.

Collapsitarian spokesman gives his weekly address.

The great Roubini says the world economy is facing the perfect storm.

Cancer cures are being suppressed  (film viewable free until June 20).

On the bright side, So You Think You Can Dance is shaping up as the greatest season ever.


  8 Responses to “Collapsitarianism”

  1. They’re rioting in Vancouver too. Peak puck……

  2. Isn’t Mt Baker a volcano?

  3. Obviously a failed attempt at irony.

  4. Collapsitarianism, as I have seen it defined, is the belief, fear or hope that modern society will collapse in apocalyptic fashion. If one has the belief or fear that collapse will happen based on the mentioned items in this post, it is wise for that person to prepare for such an event. A more conflicted moral dilemma is for the person who hopes for collapse. In some ways a total collapse of modern human life would be a godsend to the Earths ecosystems and every other species besides humans. In fact, an earlier non-total collapse would would probably give humans a better chance of long-term survival by having more of us survive to reproduce. The longer it is before the collapse, the better chance there is for a more complete the destruction of our species (imagine the movie “The Road”). I can not but help to believe that the vast majority of humans will not change our genetic instinct of high reproduction and domination of our environment do do this reproduction. Therefore, it is in the interest of the Earth and her ecosystems, and indeed the long-long-term survival of the human species that a collapse happens that resets our population to about 0.1 percent of what it is now. This is where the moral dilemma come in. Am I willing to hope for a 0.1 percent collapse (and to live like “The Road”) and sacrifice my nice cozy modern existence for the long-long-term survival of humans? Hmmm, probably, but I doubt anyone else is. So I really should not try to push that on anyone else.

    So which is more likely to happen; a total collapse or a partial collapse. Like Randy and many of the Trasitionalists, I agree that oil is the keystone to our modern society and without it a collapse of some sort would likely happen. As a geophysicist in the upstream petroleum industry I can tell you that inside industry predicts a 25% increase of exploration spending next year. I agree that we may have reached peak oil PRICE, but not supply. In the 1950’s the household expenditure for oil products was fractions of what it is today. Our relative expenditures for oil and oil products will continue to rise and we will continue to pollute the Earth to fuel our lifestyles for decades to come. The oil is out there, and we will pay more and more to get it. This is unfortunate, for both the near-term non-human species and the long-term humans. But for the long-long-term humans, and the 0.1 percent idea, this may be the way forward. So a morose long-long-term collapsitatrian is not an anti-collapsitarian, just a more thorough one.

  5. Ha. I thought I made up “collapsitarianism.” I’m not sure what it means except that the news is bad (like the news blackout on the Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Plant being surrounded by flood water and perhaps having experienced a meltdown of some type, or the crooked Supremes http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_06/clarence_thomas_abe_fortas_pro030372.php ruling that corporations no longer have much to fear from class action suits).
    The best case scenario no longer seems possible so what will happen is probably somewhere between “not so good” and “worst” making it prudent to be ready for anything.
    I understand that Peak Oil means that half the original oil still remains in the ground but don’t you think that Nicole Foss is right that the cost of pumping this remaining oil makes it significantly more costly and less attractive to go after? Do you think there are vast fields of oil that have yet to be discovered? My knowledge of this is completely academic based on reading from internet sources. Would appreciate any educational links.

  6. Unfortunately, I don’t have any data about my claims of the amount of oil out there that I could link to for this site. But if I do come across any I will post them here. My view comes from mostly anecdotal experience, such as how many times I have seen reports saying that they did not expect to find as much oil as they did. Also, the methods and technology used to look for oil are advancing tremendously and are close to following Moore’s law. I can point to areas such as offshore Tanzania, Guinea and deep water Gulf of Mexico that I have had personal experience with that are just starting to be explored and look to have massive reserves, but I only see maybe 7% of the potential fields. When estimates of global oil reserves are calculated they do not include the reservoirs that have not been discovered, and when they do guesstimates (like with the arctic) they usually guess low. Only in the last decade have we started to believe that we can recover the deep water stuff, and they are just now figuring out how to get good images of those areas.
    The remaining oil is, yes, significantly more costly to go after, but whether it is attractive or not is in the eye of the beholder. To an addict, the next fix becomes more and more attractive relative to the level of addiction and the scarcity of the product. The price the addict pays is usually inconsequential to him and will continue to rise because that is the nature of addiction; you become so focused on getting the scares product that you fail to see the costs of using it. I doubt humans will voluntarily give up the crack pipe to spend a day enjoying the sun and fresh air. …until there is absolutely no more crack.

  7. While I generally prefer to nurture hope, our junior County Council member, Ken Mann, has an interesting link posted on his Blog, concerning The Growth Ponzi Scheme: http://newurbannetwork.com/news-opinion/blogs/charles-marohn/14889/growth-ponzi-scheme-part-5-finale

  8. http://newurbannetwork.com/news-opinion/blogs/charles-marohn/14889/growth-ponzi-scheme-part-5-finale

    Ed, that is a great link and worthy of much more discussion on how the concepts outlined specifically apply to Lummi Island as an unsustainable “suburb.” I will try and reframe this material into a blog post although the nice weather is pulling me away from the internet.

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