David Holmgren: A Baby Boomers’ Apology


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    Raphael The miraculous draught of fishes 1515     There are days, though all too scarce, when very nice surprises come my way. Case in point
    [See the full post at: David Holmgren: A Baby Boomers’ Apology]


    Thank you for shinning the light.
    I thought that I was aware. (Not enough)

    “…. in 1988, just as we were beginning to get our hands on the levers of power, ….”

    So eloquently said,

    We dropped the ball.

    Therefore, I cross my fingers and hope …

    Finally, the task ahead for our generation is to learn how to downsize and disown before we prepare to die, with grace, at a time of our choosing, and in a way that inspires and frees the next generations to chart a prosperous way down.

    I hope that this gets read by all the elites.
    One day, the children will get the levers of power. Maybe those children won’t drop the ball like we did and the peon will not take retributions on those who could and didn’t.


    I hope that this gets read by all the elites.

    No, that is not what they should read.
    They should read the excerpt of a 1928 book I have sent to Ilargi by email.
    He knows what I’m talking about…

    Eternal Student

    I’m the 1970 generation, and I fret for the future of my offspring indeed. The ecological and cultural bombs are frightening.

    Between the lines, it’s obvious who is to blame really: big government, the military industrial financial complex, and agriculture on a large scale.

    V. Arnold

    David Holmgren: It is time for us baby boomers to honestly acknowledge what we did and didn’t do with the gifts given to us by our forebears and be clear about our legacy with which we have saddled the next and succeeding generations.

    Indeed, guilty as charged. Born 1945.

    We have met the enemy and he is us.

    Dr. D

    Boomers inherited Mayberry and we inherited the Hunger Games. Congratulations, you died with all the toys, and thanks to that, your children will too.

    But not enough, as they still have the assets, and because of it, all the political power they made follow money alone with their generations’ rule changes. So unlike this article, apologies are not enough: do something. The other generations are, but can’t break your obstructionism. But they won’t because if they meant to, they would have by now, and every day is worse. But I ask: you changed the world. Is this who you wanted to be when you started out? Is this the dream of 1960 come true?

    Hold that thought while I work two jobs and pay for your free health care, while you flit between the 4 houses we don’t own and never will. #Winning #StarkRavingMadeness

    Sort of a #NotBitter, but #YouShouldKnow moment.

    Charles Alban

    I would submit that we are actually victims of a dark agenda rather than guilty perpetrators. There are hidden forces that set this agenda for their own benefit. This goes back a long way into the past. We are pawns to be manipulated through the education system, the financial system, the religious system, the media, the entertainment industry, the internet (unless you search very deeply), social media ,the medical industry, the military and security industries, the pornography industry, and so on and so forth. it takes long and diligent research to identify this malevolent influence but once it is identified it is visible everywhere.


    Now, baby boomers are have their last chance, retired, have levers of power, rich, powerful, influential, knowledgeable.

    Be good mentors to the grand kids (within your abilities).


    I remember reading an article few decades ago in one of “weekly” about, then young boomer in prime of working age heading to work while his millionaire uncle and aunt (from golden generation) were arranging golf clubs in the cart. Mentioned pair would not give up receiving their SS, even barely noticed arriving into huge bank accounts. Ross Perot anybody?
    As far, I find generation blame (of any era in the history for that matter), ridiculous. As if everybody born 1965 and on would have, if they were born few decades earlier, “stop the world” if you will, and like some crazy Savonarola of our era burn the shops selling backpacks, block the entry to Woodstock and Studio 54, tell the the girls to “dress up” and cut the crap with those mini skirts…
    Now is the time to pay the bills and only being pressured by external “few things” that we also reflect on the system that tells you that to be NORMAL member of society you HAVE to have late model car, DETACHED house, all the goodies and job to make all those happen.


    Friends, Don’t fret or recriminate. Go outside and grab a handful of soil. In that bit of dirt reside organisms, too numerous to count, which need not fear humankind. Indeed, we are an emergent manifestation of the microbiota living in, on, and around us. They care not for corporations or political machinations, and if we succeed in self-annihilation, we just might thereby fulfill our ultimate purpose. Who knows? Today we celebrate Saint Patrick.


    Thanks for running this. Brilliant.
    As a boomer who opted out of the program decades ago, I see D Holmgren’s apology more as manifesto. He has been doing such important work for so long, attempting to bring people with him on a saner path. I don’t think he has as much to apologize for as the rest of us. I know many aging practitioners of permaculture. They ALL revere the work of Holmgren.

    I do not dismiss any of the criticism leveled by DH against our generation. I would just point out that this generation was the target of the most massive propaganda machine ever unleashed. It was neither accidental or with benign intent. In this matter I agree with the comment of Charles Alban.

    How many boomers own 4 houses Dr D.? I don’t know one. I do however know several who are not getting enough nutrition or proper health care due to poverty. Many suffer from chronic disease as a result of workplace toxins or conditions. Your bitterness is misplaced.

    The snow is finally melting. I go now to tap some maples, prune more fruit trees and butcher a turkey. Just one more Holmgren/permaculture inspired boomer trying to leave something worthwhile for those who follow.


    Right after placing my post I stumbled on “Torches of freedom” documentary about Edward Bernays, if the darn thing knew what I was writing about. Our life is shaped in many ways by invisible forces.
    While I opted of rat race long time ago I understand the sentiment that american life style was the envy of the world to be emulated.

    Dr. D


    Dr. D



    This article provokes the image of Trump, while being elected by Boomers to try to rectify all the problems and injustices of the world that his generation allegedly created; apologizing to the 95% antitrump media, HolyWood, “academia”, corporations, the Deep State, the War Machine, and the un-elect Kakistocracy for upsetting their applecart.

    Although a retired architect, I had no more power to advance good ideas to change an evil world than you did. And since they weren’t part of the ‘born elect’, our parents, grandparents and further ancestors had no more power to change the generational inbred oligarchy’s plans than your typical family pet. Get real.

    Debt burden? Srsly? Boomers individually fight the Money Changers century long campaign to abolish saving and teach us – beat into us – that their issued debt IS money? Though counterfeited into existence and one step concealed? Debt IS money? Debt IS good? Borrow more. Rinse and repeat. Their economy – and survival – depends on it.

    And for those that went into PolyTICs (Many Thugs In Charge), where is the admission of their acquiescence to the establishment via ‘Plata o Plomo’? Could Boomers – or Silent’s, or Greatest, or X’s, Millinals or Z’s accept – or even see – the idea the USA.guv was and is merely a Rent-A-Cop for hidden interests and stakeholders beyond the law? Neither serving or responding to our interests?

    Climate change? I do have to fault the Boomers for not ridiculing and smashing the conversion of science to religion. Didn’t Maurice Strong write the directive at UNFCCC 1992 to ONLY label ALL weather changes as anthropogenic? To establish a new industry of big.gang.guv + big.gang.biz fascist merger to tax profit themselves Trillion$ or Quadrillion$ by ignoring the Sun and the galaxy and blaming then looting us? My SUV causes Globull Warming on Uranus? Sanity lapses … conformity rules. Boomers failed to abolish that conformity too.

    Could any generation in history have accepted and enacted Molyneux’s Maxim: “If people are good, you don’t need a government. If people are bad, you can’t have a government.” ??? The Boomers overturn millennia of man’s tribal nature: conform or die?

    Has humanity only reached the cultural/social maturity of a passive/aggressive 13 year old girl? Those in charge having abolished violence by “de-testosterone-ing” men? Women and the ‘oppressed’ rule! Does it get any better than this?

    What sort of collective gang or majick juju does the author think ‘we’ Boomers have? So powerful that ‘we’ can abolish forced public Propaganducation? So powerful that ‘we’ can overturn the existing order? So powerful that ‘we’ can reverse the weaponized anthropology / cultural demolition ‘experiment’ of C_A SubProject 58? If ‘we’ were powerful enough to abolish democracy, then at least ‘we’ could avoid the effects of the defining characteristics of MPTBAGs (Men Pretending To Be A Government): Projection displacement disorder and blaming the victim. Why should ‘we’ accept blame for every evil we had no part of, and actively opposed? Apologize to not-yet-responsible young people who also have advantages undreamed of by any generation in history, even ours?

    As the apology moves focus to the future, we Boomers do have to take the lead as Conservators. Dave’s skills, and the rest of ours, will have to be transferred to following generations via re-localization regardless of the Rulers and THEIR current failed paradigm. We will have to stick around healthy – ‘live life ’til we die’ – to fix things, physical, technological, and philosophical. Where are the Milli’s or Z’s with the initiative, skill and dedication to help, then replace us?


    Now we’ve been shown that some older people are wealthier.
    We at 15 years old scrimped and saved and invested for 50 years.

    Hmmm. Thought this would post as a reply under the charts.

    Dr. D

    It IS misplaced, for every nation or people is tempted, and every one succumbs. My experience was watching as a child all adults fretting about the deficit, about latchkey kids, about the environment, a wide discourse in Congress and on national TV, and unremittingly, each time look in my eyes and say, “screw you kids, I want mine.”

    So they got the deficit, the divorces, the utter social destruction, the shattered environment. And we got the bill, but without a party or enjoyment of any kind, since, like children, all we could do was pull on pant legs and plead with those named “adults” to please put down the bottle. Now, even as we have some power, the wealth as charted above is STILL largely in the hands of our parents [twice as wealthy] and thanks to 40 years of institutional inertia and rule blocks, it takes a coalition of X and Y to put them aside even a little. Surprisingly long, I don’t think any generation since King Edward has refused to cede power and vision so well, and look what happened then. The horses of archaic kings ran face-first into the trenches and machine gun fire, and the world as they knew it, knew it since Charlemagne, was destroyed. Europe itself faltered and ceded power to the West, finally running down and after a brief, predictable intermission, another 60 million dead. The young quite expect that will be us, and being so, not a recipe for hard work and savings for a tomorrow we don’t expect.

    …All for a delay. …All for the lack of a little change, of preparing, of thinking of others within the system. Of saying, when each thing in turn stopped working, maybe we should change courses.

    If it means anything, a recent poll said Millennials believe themselves more likely to marry an A-list person like Brad Pitt than to own a house. …And that’s in the U.S.: home prices are multiples higher in other nations. They believe it more likely the world will end in 12 years than they will retire. And children like me watched as they said, discussed, implored, “you know these [social, economic, political, environmental] debts will enslave our children and generations yet unborn” and “they are against everything America stands for, as Jefferson warned,” and they said, “So let it be.” And every year since then they renewed their vow over the same warnings and objections. Who? Trump, Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, Boehner, May, Merkel, Draghi, Junker, Powell. Here people have to beg just to have candidates under 80, anything, ANYTHING different than the old guard for the love of God, which is how Trump (and Obama) got in.

    But lesson not learned. They are going down with the ship fighting for a collapsed economy, a ruined wealth system, and predominantly for attacking a USSR that hasn’t existed in 30 years. Except they won’t be doing the fighting, I will. Their determination to break the economy and restart a first-strike nuclear war will cut perhaps 5 years off their lives and 45 years off ours. And if not, if I am wrong, then why would a coalition of Boomers, X, Y, and now Z, and who all want a Green future as Y so aspires, why aren’t the empty houses being used? Why aren’t the retail purchases running down to Gen-Y levels, a generation with no money? Why haven’t policies changed with Pelosi and the Progressives joining hands? No, the struggle between generations continues, and the forces of X, Y, and Z are sadly divided.

    Don’t know what to say: did this not happen? Did we not watch this happen every year since 1979? It’s an aggregate, a guilt-by-association, but is this not so?

    Dr. D

    So this always happens?

    “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” –Thomas Paine.

    I believe the same sentiment was felt in 1941, safe here between two oceans, fully able to let’s Europe’s troubles stay in Europe for a generation. …And at some times and places and not others. But also for some generations and not others. Maybe we are helpless before the 4th turning and the Visionary generation must fall. But that absolves human responsibility altogether, would it not? Although history challenges us, surely it must be that we either rise to the challenge or fall.

    Perhaps our generations too, will fall, and it does seems likely. But that book has not yet closed. Such is the unfairness of time: their book is now written, and ours, not quite.


    I want to thank all the points of views expressed.
    My circle of life were born wearing earmuffs.

    Will new gun laws prevent the next slaughter?

    Are the gun mfg dreaming all the way to the bank?


    “What ever happened to that peace, love, hippie shit anyway?” -Pete Townsend
    I have no apologies as a baby boomer. I retired over 25 years ago, bought the farm/homestead, and have been commuting by bicycle for over 35 years year round. I can set an example, but these kids don’t want to contemplate it.
    The young don’t have any idea that it is not climate change that will screw them, although it will give them a big dope slap. Fiat currencies will screw them, someday there will be a realization that the growth that keeps those currencies afloat is massive debt, their debt.
    I have no children, I could not imagine bringing one into a world that is hell bent, never near as good as I had as a child, or a young adult.
    For so long I’ve wondered why the young do not revolt, but they don’t want that peace, love hippie shit, they want all the shit, and sorry they are not going to get it. A young guy said to me, (because of my outlook) life must suck for you.
    I bit my tongue, thinking that no it hasn’t sucked for me, but it will for you.
    My nephew just got a perfect score on his SAT’s, every fourth word out of his mouth is technology. And what is the essence of technology? Finite energy.


    There is a problem demonstrated by the comment on this article at ZH.

    A lot of people were born with earmuffs.


    I was incredibly lucky to be born in 1943 in the USA. Life has been abundant and peaceful except for one year. I survived 37 years of a two-hour commute back and forth. I accepted it to get by. Now that this is over, life is rather unpleasant with old age infirmities and the Democrats restarting the Cold War all over again. Don’t apologize for surviving. The problem is human greed and our hatred of others – the original sins. The human tragedy is that to survive we must face the problems that come from living on a finite planet in the middle of nowhere and rationally plan for the future. Mitigate the evils in ourselves. Can we?

    Doc Robinson

    Such apologies seem commendably humble. But regarding the state of the world, a more fitting apology would be from the 1% to the 99%. But what difference does an apology make, in either case, if it’s not followed by a change in behavior, and a renunciation and redistribution of ill-gotten gains?

    By the way, you’re in the top 1% worldwide, judging by income, if you make more than US$ 32,400 per year.
    That’s little more than minimum wage in some places in the USA.
    If you rank by “wealth”, you’re in the top 1% if your “net worth” is at least US$ 770,000.


    At least some good comments here. Commenting on comments at Zero hedge is useless; they exist in a parallel universe only, with different laws of physics and everything.

    Let’s take Charles’ contribution to summarize things.

    There are hidden forces that set this agenda for their own benefit. This goes back a long way into the past. We are pawns to be manipulated through the education system, the financial system, the religious system, the media, the entertainment industry, the internet (unless you search very deeply), social media ,the medical industry, the military and security industries, the pornography industry, and so on and so forth.

    Exactly the reasons why the Automatic Earth exists, Charles. Well put.

    One thing, though, and it applies to quite a few of the comments: be careful about blaming third parties for what’s wrong, because that tends to rob you of the ability to do something about it. First look for what you yourself have done wrong, and seek to change that.


    A picture and a 1000 words.

    Doc Robinson

    No matter which generation you’re in (Boomer, X, Millennial…),

    If you have just $4,210 to your name, you’re still richer than half of the world’s residents.


    Someone in the richest half of humanity is probably consuming more of the Earth than someone in the poorest half.
    By the way, the chart in the comments above shows that Millennial households have a median net worth of $12,300.
    So it looks like most Millennials are still richer (and probably consuming more) than at least half of the world’s population.


    I am of the same generation as Holmgren, and I feel the same need to apologise to the younger generations for what my generation has done and is still doing today. I have tried apologising to my daughter, but she says she cannot be so negative about life and is quite confident about her ability to cope quite well.

    What have I personally done wrong? Consume, of course. I have learned how to manage without much of the stuff my generation consumes, but computers have been my biggest weakness. I have never thrown anything remotely useful away, so have boxes and boxes of old computer gear in my storage room, which no one will ever use or even understand. I have been thinking of labelling it all as “E-waste: don’t throw this in the standard waste stream”, but there is no E-waste stream in this part of the world. TV tells me most E-waste streams simply go to India, or some other third world sweatshop for partial dismantling, while the rest is burnt.

    Anway, I’m sorry, I really am.


    I know Dave and live not far from him and I can tell you he has NOTHING to apologise for. Every bit of endowment bestowed on him has been used beyond it’s highest EROIE and I reckon his son Oliver is potentially even more hardcore in his reuse/recycle way of living (and it it fricken awesome btw). If they have a dirty old boot to throw out – it won’t get thrown out – it’s getting used as a planter for winter veg or holding hand made lard or something – I mean it’s insane.
    . The ‘apology’ is a very helpful take on the path we have tread and a caution to what’s ahead and I guess it’s a bit of a lament. My take is it’s crap that we haven’t organised ourselves into a better world and there is a power pyramid but like the ice age – waves of death and rebirth crash against these shores. The best you can do is to buy as little as you can (within’ the bounds of sanely navigating the technosphere), hold your friends close and enjoy the journey of aiming for more of a sustainable existence.
    Peace out Homies.


    Many good thoughts. As a 1946 vintage boomer I note that Bill Clinton was the first boomer President. That didn’t go so well. As a Whole Earther since 1968 & since 1972 accepting of The Limits to Growth as a function of the Natural Environment, not the spreadsheet environment of the Masters of War (Dylan) and the masters of debt who have pillaged the future. Nature is in the process of resetting imbalances that the spreadsheet doesn’t care about. It just balances debt with valuations that give some absurd net positive. Though we could have cooperated post WW-II, the West promoting democracy for the colonies, rather than favoring military dictatorships to fight Communism. Economic growth by theft and enslavement remains the game. Can a technological society deliver happiness? Data points to no. Be still and Know is the spiritual wisdom of the ages, a truth found in all inspired religions. We appear to be at a new level of our so-called Civilization. A New Message from God might be useful. We all can pray and contribute to the World based on our decades of study and experience. After apology, get on with the work. Our better angels, as always, will give hints. If you think back, there are times you actually followed it, and thus have lived so long. Let not Humanity be a failed race on an experimental planet in this dimension.

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