I spend my time more concerned about my grandchildren than myself. I’ve had a decent life, the best of our current era by my reckoning ; though that has probably been said by people in any time who have survived in reasonable shape, physically and financially. But both of those factors have been a result of the productive time I’ve lived through plus a bit of luck. At least I think so.
My grandchilden on the other hand look on my ramblings as way of keeping grandad free of altzheimers for a few more years; they certainly get on with their successful lives without much concern for my way of thinking, which is only natural I suppose. They are helping to consume the last of our resources because they are locked into the same system as everyone else. Maybe they do think about it but don’t tell me.
Forecasting our collective demise isn’t easy . I first began my concern in 05 regarding imminent doom ; wrong of course. But then what is “imminent”? Though I did write a piece in 2011 forecasting “a Trump” for president in 2016 or 20, (as did Chomsky, so maybe great minds think alike). My exact forecast was a theofascist dictator, which I still think is likely.
As to answers, I’d like to think there is one. Because whatever line of thinking one follows, the three hurdles of overpopulation, climate change and energy shortage appear, coupled with the collective certainty that prosperity can be voted into office or looted from elsewhere. They are the facts we face right now. This is why I wrote the critique of Ahmed’s lecture. I’ve read numerous books on the subject, few examine those aspects as a single entity, which is what they are; most seem to offer a future of benign bucolic peasantry where we are nice to each other. (gentle downsizing etc). We have a population of 7.4Bn, 6Bn of whom are here because hydrocarbon fuel allowed it. As I see it, without hydrocarbon input, those 6Bn don’t have a future at all. The UK population is 64m, we might feed 20 m if we’re lucky.
Or maybe we will enter some kind of utopia where we drive/use electric cars to go places. (where and why exactly? Heinberg in particular seems to have a transport fixation). Wheeled transport is a particular bugbear of mine, because our current civilisation is entirely dependent on converting explosive force into rotary motion.
Few accept that democracy has been the product of cheap surplus hydrocarbon fuel. Without surplus available energy, our democratic system will vanish. Resource acquisition/depletion/shortage gives rise to violent fascist dictatorship. Current history appears to confirm that on many levels, from Germany/Japan in the 30s/40s onwards to our present. The EU was founded on the basis of common access to European mineral resources to prevent fighting over them (Iron and coal federation of the 50s). The EU itself is now breaking up because that ongoing prosperity is no longer there; politicians pretend otherwise, but that is the reason for the resurgence of popular fascism.
The USA exists as a single entity because of the vast quantities of mineral resources contained within its borders. The nation was created as an energy economy (primarily oil), it is now trying to function as a debt economy, so collapse is inevitable because all debt is a function of surplus energy availability. But they have been in oil deficit since 1970, which explains their ongoing problems (45m on food aid among other things). They are in denial of course, but this is a reason for the rise of “alt-right” as they term it supported by those who see themselves impoverished by circumstances beyond their control.
But the USA will still devolve into separate nation states as hydrocarbon energy goes into depletion, because insufficient resources will exist to hold it together. The breakup will result in military intervention and necessary suppression of democracy. Their dictator is already waiting; if not Trump, then whoever follows him. When social breakdown occurs, dictators appear and democracy goes out of the window. Personally I’d be more worried about Pence taking over after Trump is impeached.
Transition Kingston is interesting. I know Kingston well (including the leaning phoneboxes). Obviously the TTK group are doing the right things, but what concerns me is food supply and proximity to London. Kingston as a transition town seems to leave a lot of questions about survival. There is a growing awareness of future survival everywhere, but the certainty is still there, that ‘they’ will fix things. A lot of people I know seem to be decamping from London to the west country if they have the means. They don’t make a fuss about survival and stuff, but their concern is obvious. ( I live in the West Midlands).