Forum Replies Created
Dr. D you seem to a specific hate for anything related to socialism. Do you think full blown capitalism will solve our problems? I am not at all convinced that pure capitalism would help. Do you think our environmental problems would be eliminated with pure capitalism? What do you propose as a better solution? I can see issues with pretty much any of our human approaches to running society but we need some kind of system as imperfect as they are. The US with its for-profit health care delivers for the non-rich pretty poor results in terms of outcomes and cost. Studies have shown this
Canada’s socialized system, as imperfect as it is, delivers by comparison better outcomes at less cost. Again, I acknowledge no system is perfect but we need some kind of system and I can’t understand why you give capitalism a free pass.
Seeing 2 elderly parents thru numerous health crises currently and over the past 5 years in Canada, it never ceases to amaze me how horrible health care is in the United States compared to our socialized, government-run, health care in Canada. While there most certainly are gaps in our Canadian system (which I am well aware of due to my spouse having worked in health care for 20 years), for the average non-wealthy person you would hands-down be better off in Canada. Nothing I am hearing about the American system has convinced me otherwise. The money you folks have to pay for health procedures gives me nightmares.
So true V. Arnold. So much “expendable” humanity – everyone is just trying to find their way in this crazy world – some have been graced by a better chance than others. For the rest, selling trinkets it will be.
Great commentary as usual Dr. D – you simplify and make understandable a lot of info. Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts.
Congratulations Ilargi! I start just about every day with your blog. Your environmental and humanitarian articles help remind me what matters most. I wish I knew how to address your copyright issues. All the best to you.
V. Arnold I always enjoy reading your impressions of the art posted here – enriching the beautiful works even to unartistic folks like me!
I guess the problem I have with much of the discussion of American politics is that the disgust towards Trump (which I share in many ways) is not paired with an acknowledgement of the contributions of Obama and other prior leaders who seem to have created the angst and inequality which enabled Trump (and similar populist leaders around the globe) to gain ascendency. Too much focus on the now and not enough focus on how we got here. There are Trumps popping up everywhere. We need to understand why.
Re the bees: there are about 2500 types of wild bees in North America and some of these are far more efficient pollinators than honey bees. Bee keeping has become an integral part of industrial agriculture. However non-native hone bees in North America out-compete the wild bees for food.
If our agricultural practices created a steady food supply for wild bees (ie with different plants flowering throughout the growing season instead of having hundreds of hectares of one crop blooming all at once and then nothing for the rest of the time) wild bees would be all we would need. I know orchardists with a good mix of fruiting plants and these folks removed honey bee hives due to excess pollination. In our mixed fruit orchard we rely exclusively on wild bees and we plant a mix of wild flowers between our trees and shrubs- we have a beautiful variety of pollinators. Farmers are now being encouraged to interplant their crops with pollinator friendly plants. IMHO big ag bee keepers have done a great PR job that is perpetuating an unsustainable model.
Great article and great commentary. I am trying to better understand the workings of central banks and this helps a lot. Always find it confusing when central bankers are described as incompetent-seems absolutely unlikely although maybe this appears to be the case because these bankers ultimately cannot control all that they would like to control. At the same time the central banks appear to have massive vested interests in areas not related to overall public good, and are very competently protecting these interests.
Dr. D I hear where you are coming from-well said. So much is missing from what we hear in the media on this issue.
Our farm region used to be cleaner (because the land is so margunal in quality) but in the past couple of years one guy in the area approached a bunch of farmers om our road,convinced them that corn and soy are the way to go. Massive machinery now rides up and down our road and hay fields are disappearing while we can now smell glyphosate in the air some days. The only saving grace is that some parts are just so rocky that no one would bother with them.
I installed a bat hotel last year but have not seen any guests checking in yet. Lots of snakes and frogs and good pollination from wild bees but I think the endangered swallows got scared off and a more common song bird has overtaken the abandoned nesting house.
Hi V Arnold
We are in Canada (eastern Ontario). Sounds like you have lots of wildlife also. We too use no synthetic chemicals and rely to some extent on permaculture principles. Michael Philips is the guy we follow for how we look after our trees and shrubs. This year is looking quite good so far although our biggest challenge will bw getting to the fruits before the 4 legged fellows do. This project is without doubt the most satisfying thing I have done in my life-very hard work in all types of weather but there is nothing I would rather do.
Happy to report the snakes and frogs abound in our perma orchard. Also I discovered that a threatened species is now nesting in one of our bird house boxes. Lots of wild bees are doing the pollination work-we opted against honey bees because of their negative impact on wild bees through competition for food.
Tabernick the story of Aboriginal people in Canada us much more complex than what you have described. Take a look at the book The Inconvenient Indian for a start. How would you justify the experimentation on Aboriginal children as described here? How do you justify the government forcing Aboriginal people onto reserves located on the worst land which was highly contaminated? This is not just a question of the inconvenience of accommodating a small sparse population. The explicit government agenda was to extinguish Aboriginal culture.
Bugs gaining resistance to the one-trick pony pesticides may mean a boost for organic production except we will have to deal with these stronger bugs. Herbicide resistant super weeds are also becoming an important issue in my region.
I appreciate reading the comments here- a good variety of perspectives and I appreciate the effort this represents.
So now they are putting Assange in solitary confinement effectively. Horrifying.
I don’t know where to look for a solution other than waiting for the whole mess to fall apart and, if I am “lucky” enough to survive start picking up the pieces with whatever bits and pieces of life that make it thru the storm. Out to prune the grapevines-the birds and raccoons loved them last year!
Fantastic. Looks like you and Dr. D were in the same nightmare.
v. arnold wonderful limerick!
Amen on the krill problem. We can’t engineer a solution without creating new problems. That is how we inevitably get into trouble unfortunately.
I agree that the whole shebang will have to come down first which is not a great illustration of our capacity as a species. I hear some people expressing fear about what will replace our current existence but I am far more concerned about the damage being inflicted by the current system.
Truly heart-breaking what we are doing to life on earth. I see almost no willingness to stop the pillage.
Yes oxymoron we have joked about harvesting grape-fed wild turkeys. At least we know the quality of the inputs. I just read a meta study concluding that none of the scare tactics work long term including ultrasonic because the animals eventually habituate. My next thought is solar powered electric fencing that we would have to move around the orchard as various types of fruit are ripening. We did not plant in a totally mixed fruit configuration in some areas and these are really the only areas we can protect. We are in Canada and so far water issues have not been as severe for us in our region.
oxymoron I totally hear you on issues related to wildlife eating fruit etc. Our mixed orchard is in a hay field surrounded by forest home to all manner of wildlife. We have gotten some yield off our plants but wildlife has a significant impact. We continue to experiment but have not yet resorted to lethal means. One thing I have looked at is a gidjet that makes ultrasonic noise that apparently animals hate. I am just waiting to hear that it causes brain cancer or some other awful thing.
I first saw Nicole’s presentation in a community centre in downtown Ottawa. People were playing soccer in the gym next door and so the presentation was punctuated by the sound of the ball hitting the wall. I went home that night and told my husband that I had heard a presentation that was a game changer. Thanks to you both and Happy Birthday!
I saw a comment on ZH mentioning the massive energy footprint of cryptocurrency. Is the suggestion that the benefits of this currency to humanity outweigh its necessary harmful impacts on the rest of the planet?
My sincere3 sympathies on the passing of your Mother.
“There’s a lot of political interest in downplaying the danger ebola poses. There’s even more economic interest in doing that, but then the two are Siamese twins. As of today in America, and last week in continental Europe, that attitude has become a threat to potentially millions of people.”
On the contrary, there remain people who are experts in the health and infectious disease field who have nothing to gain financially from over-playing or downplaying the risk of ebola who are on the record as saying that for the western world this is not a significant threat but that it is a serious threat in West Africa. If anything, these people suggest that TPTB have much more to be gained from fear-mongering, to gain public support for the production of ever more pharmaceuticals.
Additionally, the threat represented by ebola is not equal in all areas in the world and this needs to be acknowledged in the analysis of this threat in order for people living in different areas to properly assess the risk it represents to them. I am not suggesting that people living in less-affected areas should not provide support for those where the illness is hitting hard.
Here are links to articles written by alternative health leaders who subscribe to this position.
Re Ebola, from Jon Barron, a leader in alternative health, says that ebola risks outside West Africa are being hyped:
The maleficent, monger-miners of morbidity are at it yet again, looking to whip people into a frenzy of fear and spread misinformation in the name of the CDC. In case you haven’t seen it, there have been an abundance of headlines over the last couple of days saying things like:
CDC report predicts as many as 1.4 million cases of Ebola by January
And although the CDC report literally says that, it doesn’t actually mean that. The statement is taken out of context. I encourage you to read the actual report and not just the stories about it. But if you don’t have the time, let me explain what the report actually says.
First, this is not an actual prediction; it’s the presentation of two different scenarios based on an Ebola Response modeling tool developed by the CDC. The 1.4 million figure represents one scenario. To quote from the report.
“Extrapolating trends to January 20, 2015, without additional interventions or changes in community behavior (e.g., notable reductions in unsafe burial practices), the model also estimates that Liberia and Sierra Leone will have approximately 550,000 Ebola cases (1.4 million when corrected for underreporting).”
However, the second scenario in the report states:
“If, by late December 2014, approximately 70% of patients were placed either in ETUs or home or in a community setting such that there is a reduced risk for disease transmission (including safe burial when needed), then the epidemic in both countries would almost be ended by January 20, 2015.”
In other words, if you weren’t into fear mongering, you could just as easily have run a headline based on this report that read:
CDC report predicts Ebola will be over by January
So which scenario is more likely? Well, the last three sentences in the report clearly state the opinion of the researchers themselves.
“Officials have developed a plan to rapidly increase ETU capacities and also are developing innovative methods that can be quickly scaled up to isolate patients in non-ETU settings in a way that can help disrupt Ebola transmission in communities. The U.S. government and international organizations recently announced commitments to support these measures. As these measures are rapidly implemented and sustained, the higher projections presented in this report become very unlikely.”
Unfortunately, many news services have decided to transform into fear-mongering the CDC’s express effort to motivate the international community. As the Washington Post pointed out in its version of the story, CDC Director Tom Frieden, commenting on the report, said, “This presents a what-if case — the nightmare scenario if nothing is done.” He added, “It is still possible to reverse the epidemic, and we believe this can be done if a sufficient number of all patients are effectively isolated, either in Ebola treatment units or in other settings, such as community-based or home care. Once a sufficient number of Ebola patients are isolated, cases will decline very rapidly — almost as rapidly as they rose.”
Link to the whole article: https://jonbarron.org/colds-flus-infectious-diseases/ebola-14-million-cases-not-reallyMay 23, 2014 at 2:56 am in reply to: Physical Limits to Food Security: Water and Climate #13088
I think your assessment of water remaining in a never-ending cycle is theoretically true but in real terms not necessarily true. In Canada, we have huge man-made “lakes” that have for all intents and purposes been permanently removed from a usable water cycle as a result of being terribly polluted in the extraction of tar sands. Flocks of birds die when they land on these lakes because they are so polluted. Researchers have been trying unsuccessfully for decades to find ways to clean these “lakes” up, but they remain in a polluted state. As a second example, I have also read that, in the case of underground aquifers, once they are pumped out, they collapse, such that they are no longer able to store water, which again effectively removes a portion of water from the usable water cycle. A third example is the sallination of water from agricultural use which, owing to the high energy requirements to remove the salt, effectively means a loss of usable water contained in the water cycle. While at some time in the future, these problems may be resolved through technological improvements, this is not a given.
” I intend to design a curriculum of information with regard to limits to growth, workshops for working through the necessary decision tree for moving forward and classes in all manner of practical skills for adaptation. There’s so little real, relevant education available at today’s educational institutions”
I find this hard to believe, and maybe you need to look beyond “educational institutions”. There are permaculture organizations popping up all over the place, including Eastern Ontario for example. There are also vocational schools teaching all manner of skills. Organic farmers provide workshops on soil health and how to maintain it (we took one such course from a fifth generation farmer — quite compelling). This year I have taken a tree pruning workshop and I’ve recently attended a workshop on how to grow grapes. We are planning to attend a workshops on raising bees. And on and on. There are ample examples of these practical skills in my backyard and I don’t think my circumstances are unique.
I also spend a fair amount of time in a rural area, and my experience is that many of these folks have a lot of practical knowledge of how to manage their physical environment and get things done to a much greater extent than do city folks. I’d think my time would be better spent trying to learn from these folks.
I very much appreciate Nicole’s skills in the area of providing an excellent big picture overview but, from what I glean from her writings here, I have yet to see sufficient experience with the practical skills to be an effective and convincing teacher in these areas. I would not be interested in learning about something like permaculture, for example, from anyone who has not actively practiced it for at least a decade, with enough time to have experienced a sufficiently wide range of climate challenges. In areas such as this and other practical undertakings, my experience is that there is a huge divide between “book learning” and real world application.
I’m wondering if the gas flaring is similar to the depression-era farmers dumping their milk in the ditches. I’m also wondering how bad it is for the energy companies to be taking these write-downs – if they can claim losses for tax purposes, does this preclude the possibility of the companies going back to fracking at some point when the price is right? (I’m no fan of fracking, just wondering about this scenario.)
I agree that the youth of today are completely screwed. However, it is not clear to me that it would help the youth if people with pensions/paycheques should simply refuse them. With all of the “excess claims” I’m not sure that this money would end up where it should. I’m also thinking that there would be such a miniscule number of people who would agree to do this, because of high debt levels, that it would make no difference. I agree that this is setting up for a huge intergenerational fight, but I don’t see a way around that.
What should the youth do? I really don’t know. Nicole seems to suggest a few things ( don’t get into debt, don’t buy a house, acquire useful skills (ie carpenter), don’t acquire an expensive education or education leading to a job based on continuation of our highly complex society).
What should the older generation do? I don’t have an answer to this either. Again, I think Nicole suggests some similar things to what is suggested for youth (ie stay out of debt and don’t own a mortgaged house). As long as people are somehow preparing for collapse and intending to help those in their community, I think Nicole would see the continued acceptance of a paycheque of some sort (including a pension?) as being a transfer of wealth from the 1% to the 99%. She has also said at one of her presentations that living in the current economy is quite expensive, such that my sense was that she was not advocating “dropping out” and leaving one’s day job as it were.
I am personally trying to interest the youth in my sphere to come along for the ride to explore the old world of living off of the land, an activity that we have made some progress on. However, there are no takers even among those who are somewhat marginalized in the current economy.
Hi South Ozzie, I understand your confusion and I had similar concerns here in Canada. I don’t know the definitive answer to your questions, but I can tell you what I have done – maybe some of it is applicable to your context. First, in Canada the government sells bonds once per year (in November and December). Bonds are sold through the banks here so, in November, I went to the bank and told them I wanted to buy bonds. I gave them money and a few weeks later they gave me the paper bonds. These I am keeping at home. I stand to be corrected, but I understand that these bonds can be cashed at any bank. In Canada, our federal bonds can be cashed at any time without penalty. As for mortgage deeds, there is a government registry in Canada that indicates who owns properties. In addition, I have a copy of the deed to my house that I keep in my possession in a safe box. As for where to keep your cash, TAE recommends keeping some of it “in your possession”. This is where you have to use your imagination and think about protection from fire and flood (and don’t put it inside an old fridge and then sell the fridge…). Good luck to you and hope this helps!
This is a really timely and useful messsage. Here are the signs of the times in my world. First, neighbours had a relative help with re-roofing. The relative fell off the roof (fortunately survived but multiple bones broken in wrist and several vertebrae cracked). The insurance company is dragging its feet — started by repeatedly cancelling apointments event to come for the initial assessment. Second, we recently had a robbery in our town involving 4 people waving down a car and trying to rob occupants. They say that banks have such good security setups (quality surveillance images) that now robbers have moved to street crime. Third, in my circle of friends, many of their kids just can’t get anything other than Mcjobs and that isn’t even guaranteed.
Was it Stoneleigh who said that people move to majical thinking when things become too tough? Speaking from personal experience, at times I find it is an effort to stay in the gritty, tough world of rationality in spite of the havoc we here are all so very highly atuned to in our world. I hope you will continue to spend some time with us Ash on this rational journey because you have much to offer and we need all the help we can get.
I liked the spirit of the article very much, but the intro left some questions.
“we distort our ability to truly empathize and understand the humanity of those who preceded us and in doing so we distort our ability to understand our own position in history and relationship to those that will follow us.”
Your basic position seems to be that we are incapable of truly understanding history, but you then go on to try to do just that….
“it is important that we work to empathize with their reality as best we can so that we might understand our own more fully.”
Can you name some examples in which empathy with the reality of forbearers led to a fuller understanding of current reality? It sounds like a platitude. On the contrary, there are many examples in which we don’t learn much from our errors, such that, in trying to predict the future, we often quite confidently and reasonably assume that the same errors will be repeated.
Did anyone see the Martenson post at ZH on June 5 “The Pernicious Dynamics of Debt, Deleveraging, And Deflation”? It seemed very much like he is moving into the deflation camp.