Transition or not?

I read your very interesting transition thesis — (if that is the best description of it), via the link above, and I can only agree with most of what it says. I desperately want it to be right and possible, because the alternative is too awful to contemplate.

Though I fear we will have to contemplate it, and soon, because despite many lines of thought on this, I always seem to arrive at the same conclusions:

1, the survival instincts of our species

2, the denial that there’s anything wrong

3, the certainty that our ‘now’ is forever.

4, humankind will embrace most of what you set out, not through choice, but when everything else has been tried, (and fought over)and our numbers will have been culled to the point where we have no other options. Impossible to put a date or cause on that of course, but our projected population cannot reach 9bn + by 2050, so something will prevent that happening. And it won’t be birth control.

Our now

I reach those conclusions after much (reluctant and pointless) discussion with people I would judge to be highly intelligent. So much so that I begin to doubt myself; that things are going to be OK after all.

In any exchange of ideas on this subject, one cannot leave politics out of it. Though most do. As they do with the real problems of energy depletion, population and climate change. (My “Triumvirate of Chaos”)

“Specialists” go into lengthy discussion about how to deal with one, as if the other two do not exist, or are someone else’s problem and of little consequence. Try to fix one, and the other two will rear up and bite you.

The future

Some things I must take issue with, because they put a false premise on our future:

All current employment functions through the burning of fossil fuels. And I do mean all. As does our support infrastructure. To suggest most industry will be closed means no employment . We can’t all take in each other’s washing and mend each other’s shoes. That industry will close is not in doubt. But the unemployment will be catastrophic. That cannot be casually dismissed as a side issue.

Each strand of industry is interlocked with all the others. You cant unravel one strand because you don’t like the pattern — -the whole thing comes undone.

This is obvious to the dimmest of the dim. I dont see how work will somehow transition to other areas. In a de-industrialized ‘’economy’’ work will have to produce food, just as it did pre-1800 . We need energy to survive, food is the only source of it. The reason we get free food now is because someone somewhere uses oil to get it for us. Virtually no one can understand or accept that. They will understand it when supermarket shelves are empty. Pre 1800 food was at subsistence level for most people.

We wont be sitting around waiting for the next farmers market.

So the majority vote for whoever promises infinite prosperity, even though the one making the promise knows it can’t be done. (or maybe he’s dimmer than most). Governments need commerce to survive, so they will violently resist any transition away from conventional business models.

Right now our business model equates with that of a hamster: We go around endlessly on our industrial wheel, our food and water is delivered and our wastes removed — -all by an unseen hand.

At least we agree on one thing: At this point in time our chances of a successful transition would seem to be very poor.

Not saying something won’t or can’t be done, just that things are going to get very unpleasant in the doing.

co-author of The End of More, in paperback and kindle on Amazon email

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