Saturday, April 26, 2008

Peak Civilization

More and more folks seem to have come to the conclusion that the world as we know it is well, "not long for this world". Oil is at 120.00, food is going up dramatically, and even Sam's has set quantity limits on flour. Costco doesn't have rice.

Is our civilization at a Peak?

This piece by Carolyn Baker seems to make the case. Here is a small part of it.

By Carolyn Baker
Thursday, 24 April 2008

Something is festering in the psyches of the formerly middle class of this nation-something far more ominous than burgeoning public assistance and food stamp applications or mushrooming meth labs. If the subprime mortgage massacre had occurred in a vacuum, the dirty little secret might have been kept a bit longer, but juxtaposing it with Peak Oil, skyrocketing food prices, wacky weather and debilitating droughts, not to mention proliferating pink slips, it daily becomes embarrassingly obvious that Jim Kunstler was spot-on when he uttered his infamous declaration in the documentary, "The End Of Suburbia" that "the entire suburban project is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world." clip

What Peak Civilization Really Looks Like

Peak Civilization by definition means the disappearance of public education, healthcare, government-issued currency, commercial food production, public access to regional water supplies, interstate commerce, the North American energy grid, and the very infrastructure of the United States.

Yet one need not succumb to fatalism.

While long-term revitalization cannot be realized now, its seeds can be and are being planted by the proliferation of vibrant relocalization movements erupting and evolving around the world, many of which have been spotlighted at the Truth To Power website. As Duane Elgin emphasizes: "A revitalizing society is a decentralizing society, with grassroots organizations that are numerous enough, have arisen soon enough, and are effective enough to provide a genuine alternative to more centralized bureaucracies."

The first headlines of food rationing in America are buzzing across the internet as I write this article. They underscore the unequivocal reality that collapse is going to compel us to feed ourselves or quite simply, we will perish. I believe that food security is the most urgent, the most immediate issue to which we must attend at this moment of Peak Civilization.

For months, this website has been informing readers about food storage and preservation and other aspects of preparedness. It is now time, if you have not already done so, to organize groups of citizens in your neighborhood, schools, churches, and community centers to plant and maintain gardens. In addition, collapse is compelling us to rapidly mobilize our neighborhoods and communities to not only accumulate our own supply of stored water but to organize citizens to work with local public water utilities to ensure that they remain public and are not privatized.

Our challenge at this moment in history is to recognize and intentionally connect with the evolutionary season of winter in which Peak Civilization finds itself because as Duane Elgin admonishes us: "It is time to begin the next stage of our human journey."

As I witness most of humanity's current "solutions" to its climate-energy-food-water-population-economic dilemmas, I see only myopic, psychotic strategies, and I have to ask myself whether or not it will be necessary for us to annihilate ourselves and the planet in order to transition into a more advanced evolutionary paradigm that will not permit the human race to ever again engage in anything like the current madness.

Tragically, I see almost nothing that suggests otherwise.

It is crucial that we comprehend that not only have we entered winter, but that that particular season is going to last a long time. As we navigate that winter, we are allowed our discontent, but we dare not permit ourselves to disconnect from current reality.

Simultaneously, it is imperative that we hold a vision of revitalization and plant its seeds everywhere at the same time that we honor more the changing of the seasons than our addiction to springtime. "

Sharon Ask of Casaubon's Book adds this in her "OK Breathe" post.

- the answer to how to do deal with a fast crash or a slow crash is the same - live differently, help other people adapt to living differently, grow food, enrich soil, share, talk to the neighbors, help each other out, take care of yourself and your own, give what you can to those in need, meet as many of your own needs as you can, keep services alive for those who are most vulnerable, speak out against injustice, do what good you can, and try and stop what evil you can, love one another, take pleasure in what you have and find a way to hope for the future. "more

As I look out the arched kitchen window, I see a soft mist above the great dome on the 200 year old church. Last night, in the zocolo, I watched 2 dozen young boys dressed in 16th century European clothing sing to an exhuberant crowd. Some of the songs were from the broadway show Man of La Mancha, finishing with the Impossible Dream.

But I think it would be far better for us to dream the possible dream,

a vision of revitalization.

I have a hard time imagining
that humankind is anywhere close to Peak Civilization.

Rather, it seems more likely



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 26th of April 2008

Hello my skeptical friends,

I believe in Barack Obama, who do you believe in? All my life I waited for the mythical grass roots candidate that arises from among the common people and truly represent us rather than some monstrous political ego. Obama has said he is not perfect, who is, but for me, he is the last best chance for us to get out of this dark age of fear and self destruction that the country and the whole world is now suffering.

We are in the midst of climate collapse, but deny it. We have debased our currency and think that the problem can be fixed by printing more money and giving it away to people so that they can buy more foreign cars, foreign oil and Chinese toys. Our economy is on a daily dissent ,unemployment is rising, and we are in the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel age. What is your remedy, what is your hope to turn this around? These are serious question not a rhetorical questions. We need hope now do you have any?

The grass roots movement that I have waited for is here and I am part of it. To all the above, we say yes we can, yes we can create a green economy that can employ us all. Yes we can create what the world needs most, clean, sustainable, efficient energy. Through robust activity based on a green economy we can again have surpluses instead of deficits and we can save the dollar and make it strong again. We can make our nation and our military strong again by stopping the ill conceived, ill planned war without end that should have never been. We can denounce torture in any form at anytime for any reason and take our rightful place among nations again.

Hope and enthusiasm breed action which gives birth to more possibilities and more hope. The Obama movement has this hope.
It has given me something concrete to do something other than buy gold and guns and gobs of rice and hide out at the ranch waiting for the end. Instead I can ride my bike, plant my garden, catch the water from my roof, give money to green causes to lobby congress, write my congressman, write letters to the editors and blogs, buy solar panels and send more money to the Obama campaign. Am I a naive, fool hearty dreamer? Perhaps, but I am alive with hope and the prospects of a brilliant future for us all. I prefer being as I am rather than being prematurely dead and egging on the end so it will finally all be over.

Foolishly yours
I remain as ever your friend,

12:49 PM  

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