Not the Monthly Post

Whispers of the Fall

It’s been sixteen years now since I first started posting these weekly essays to the internet. Though I didn’t originally intend them to focus on the crisis of industrial society, that theme was impossible for me to evade, and I soon gave up trying; there was too much that had to be said about the future of our age, and too few people were saying it.  Over the years that followed, I watched (and joined in) the peak oil movement as it rose and fell, watched (and kept my distance from) the parallel movement of climate change activism as it rose and fell, watched (and dealt in my own life with some of the consequences of) the slow twilight of America’s global empire and the vaster twilight of Western civilization as a whole—and all of those got discussed in blog posts.

It was never going to last forever, you know.

I sometimes get asked by readers what happened to all the fuss about peak oil, and now and again someone brings up one of the other topics I’ve talked about over the years and wonders what’s up with those. A glance back over those four themes thus seems appropriate just now. Partly, a retrospective look is a useful thing from time to time, and partly—well, we’ll get to that.

We can start with peak oil.  Starting in the middle years of the twentieth century, a handful of petroleum geologists began to point out that building a civilization on the breakneck extraction and consumption of nonrenewable fossil fuels would have an awkward downside once the fuels began to run short. Their concerns were brushed aside by almost everyone else.  When the United States—the first nation on earth to start extracting oil commercially—ran out of new conventional-oil reserves to extract in the early 1970s, and got hammered by the oil shock of that decade, a slightly larger number of people started paying attention to the risk that industrial civilization might literally run out of gas. (One of them was iconic science fiction author Isaac Asimov, whose vivid if inaccurate 1977 essay “The Nightmare Life Without Fuel” first got me thinking seriously about the subject.)

The energy crisis of the 1970s ended with a flurry of short-term fixes that temporarily flooded the market with cheap crude oil again. By the last years of the twentieth century, those fixes were past their pull date, for a simple if awkward reason summed up by petroleum geologists in a memorable phrase: “depletion never sleeps.”  In any human timescale, petroleum is a nonrenewable resource; every barrel of oil that’s pumped out of the ground and burnt today is a barrel you can’t pump and burn tomorrow, or any time in the next fifty million years. The short-term fixes that drained the Alaska North Slope, North Sea, and Gulf of Mexico fields dry kept prices down for a few short decades, at the cost of leaving much less oil to cushion the impact when the next crisis hit.

And there we were again.

That happened around the time I started blogging. The price of oil spiked to previously unthinkable levels, the global economy sagged, and those warnings from the 1970s suddenly looked prophetic again. Peak oil accordingly got its fifteen minutes of fame. By and large, people who paid attention to the subject reacted in two ways. They insisted that some new energy source would pop up in the nick of time so that business as usual would continue, or they insisted that industrial society would crash into ruin sometime very soon and everyone would die. There was plenty of debate about which energy source would show up just in time to save the day, just as there was plenty of debate about just how the apocalypse would arrive and kill us all, but very few people took the time to question the dichotomy that undergirded these debates.

There were some of us who raised dissenting voices. We pointed out that all the “new” energy sources that were being brandished around so freely by the business-as-usual crowd had been tested in the 1970s and had proven hopelessly inadequate to support an industrial society. We pointed out that all the canned cataclysms being brandished about with equal enthusiasm by the apocalypse crowd had been predicted repeatedly in the past, too, and had failed to show up. We looked at what happens to civilizations that exhaust the resources on which they depend, and pointed out that this predicts a future nobody was talking about:  the future of ragged irrevocable decline that Jim Kunstler called the Long Emergency and I called the Long Descent.

Then, just as in the 1970s, a flurry of short-term fixes temporarily flooded the market with cheap petroleum and drove prices down again for a while. Those fixes didn’t involve any of the new energy sources that had been brandished around. They involved taking a well-known oil extraction technology called hydrofracturing (“fracking”), using it on well-known shale reserves that weren’t economical to drill and pump, and having the US government cover the costs by printing money at a reckless pace and funneling it to the fracking industry by way of a flurry of dubious financial gimmicks. (That orgy of money-printing is a large part of why we have runaway inflation now, in case you were wondering.) That was never going to be more than a temporary gimmick, and it lasted only a dozen years:  the price of oil was already skyrocketing again before the Russo-Ukraine war broke out.  The next stage—well, we’ll get to that in a bit.

Anthropogenic climate change was another theme I started talking about nearly as soon as I started blogging. That was a known risk even before peak oil had come up for discussion—the brilliant Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius identified it as a problem in the late nineteenth century—but it didn’t get a lot of attention in the first half of the twentieth century, since global temperatures at that time moved down more often than up. (That’s why up until the 1980s, quite a few reputable climate scientists predicted we were heading toward an imminent new ice age; that’s easy to document, but try getting climate scientists to admit it these days.)  In the second half of the twentieth century, however, global average temperatures began to climb as the postwar boom hit and fossil fuel use skyrocketed worldwide, and we started hearing about “global warming” in the media.

The mother of all heat engines.

It was a lousy phrase to choose, by the way. Adding carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere does increase the average global temperature to a modest degree, but that’s the least significant of its effects. As James Watt showed back in the 1780s, the more you insulate a heat engine, the more work you can get out of it. The atmosphere functions as a gigantic heat engine, greenhouse gases are a source of additional insulation, and the work the atmosphere does is called “weather.” Thus the most visible result of anthropogenic climate change isn’t general warming; it’s an increase in extreme weather events of all kinds—cold, hot, dry, torrentially wet, you name it—combined with a more efficient transfer of heat from the tropics to the poles, which is changing rain belts and climate zones all over the world.

That wasn’t what you heard about in the public debate, of course. What got splashed around on the media was the same dichotomy we saw around peak oil. On the one hand, people insisted that some exciting new technology would save the day and allow business as usual to continue forever. On the other hand, people insisted that the climate would spin out of control sometime very soon and everyone would die. Since big corporate interests had plenty to gain by angling for climate-based government handouts, the apocalypse crowd got much more traction here than they did in the case of peak oil, but that was the one noticeable difference between the two debates.

Shifts in plant hardiness zones over 25 years. That’s the signal you need to watch.

Once again, there were some of us who raised dissenting voices. We turned to paleoclimatology as a source of guidance, and pointed out that fast, drastic changes in global temperature have happened before many times without wiping out life on the planet.  We pointed out, on the other side of the balance, that all the loudly ballyhooed climate treaties and green-energy investments hadn’t even slowed down the rate at which greenhouse gases were being dumped into the atmosphere, and that the people who were making the most noise about global warming were the people clinging most frantically to carbon-intensive lifestyles while insisting that everyone else had to use less carbon.  We predicted a future in which there were winners as well as losers, as rain belts and climate zones shifted implacably across continents, and the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps raised sea level worldwide by some 300 feet, drowning most coastal cities.

The climate change movement turned out to have more staying power than the peak oil movement. That was mostly because the global climate didn’t send fuel prices spiking to politically risky levels, and so nobody even pretended to fix climate change with a flurry of short-term gimmicks. What happened instead was that the climate change movement kept going through the same hapless motions while greenhouse gases kept pouring into the atmosphere. It’s entertaining in a bleak way to watch the way that each year’s climate protests insist that something has to be done this year or we’ll all surely die, often in the same words they used the year before, and the year before that, and so on. Meanwhile nothing is done, and the global climate year after year shifts further into territory not seen in recorded history. The next stage—well, again, we’ll get to that in a bit.

There wasn’t a big movement discussing the twilight of America’s global empire. The few times the waning of American power abroad got into the media at all, it evoked a little nervous laughter here, a little blustering there, a few carefully evasive articles somewhere else for intellectuals to read, and then everyone in the political classes of the United States and its clients abroad went on pretending that the Pax Americana was still firmly in place and would last for the foreseeable future. The humiliating collapse of the US puppet state in Afghanistan showed anyone who was paying attention that America had lost it, but too few people were paying attention.

Put it all together, it spells “failure.”

So it wasn’t a matter of a few of us raising dissenting voices amid a busy debate. Those who spoke of the decline of American global hegemony were exiled to the fringes of contemporary discourse, serenely ignored not only by the cheerleaders of empire but also by those who claimed to hate US empire and everything it stood for. That didn’t slow us down much, of course, because we were used to talking to small audiences about the things that mattered. We explored the factors that drive the rise and fall of empires, showed how the United States has followed in lockstep through all the usual patterns, and now is caught in the inevitable blowback of empire, when the imperial tribute economy no longer covers the costs of empire and the resulting crises start to drag the imperial nation down into a familiar spiral of economic collapse and political disintegration.

I can’t speak for the other writers and bloggers who explored that subject, but I didn’t suffer from any illusions about changing the course of history. My goal was simply to help individual readers to brace themselves for a difficult future and make preparations that might get them and their families  through the opening rounds of crisis intact. Meanwhile American global power dwindled steadily. It’s indicative that when the Russo-Ukrainian war broke out and the United States and its client states responded with what were intended to be worldwide financial sanctions, the rest of the world shrugged and kept trading with Russia as though American edicts didn’t mean a thing. May I point out the obvious?  That’s not the kind of thing that happens to a global empire in the days of its power.  The next stage—well, yet again, we’ll get to that in a bit.

Finally, all three of the processes I’ve just surveyed—the end of the era of cheap energy, the slow destabilization of the global climate, and the twilight of America’s global empire—are all motifs in a much vaster picture. That broader perspective is the decline and fall of modern civilization. That’s not something poised off in the distant future, by the way. European thinkers in the last years of the nineteenth century watched history unfolding around them and recognized all the familiar signs of impending decline in their own societies.

Every civilization thinks it’s irreplaceable.

Historians now talk about the Decadent movement and the Fin de Siècle, but they miss a crucial point about those terms, which is that the people who created those names were correct in their diagnosis; they lived as modern civilization was beginning its descent toward a new dark age. Technology is a lagging indicator—it’s quite common for a civilization in terminal decline to push its technologies further than ever before, while its economy turns into a hollow shell propped up by fakery and graft, its political system grinds to a halt in bureaucratic paralysis and hopeless incompetence, and its grip on its outlying regions becomes increasingly fictitious. In every way that matters, modern civilization is more than a century into decline, drawing toward the end of one of the eras of relative stability that reliably punctuate the downslope of history.

Here, too, it wasn’t a matter of a few of us raising dissenting voices in the midst of a lively debate. The very notion that modern civilization might not last forever and conquer the stars themselves is still wholly outside today’s collective mindset. The nearest most people are willing to come to that idea is the same refuge we’ve seen already, the dream of a sudden apocalypse that will wipe us all out and make the whole issue moot. That modern civilization might lose its grip a little at a time—that its technologies might be abandoned due to soaring costs of energy and raw materials, that its proud coastal cities might be swallowed by the oceans at a rate of a few inches a year, that five hundred years from now the title of President of the United States might be claimed by a successful warlord in the Ohio River basin, the Charlemagne of a deindustrial dark age—is unthinkable to most people. That won’t keep it from happening, of course. It just means that most people will be blindsided by the changes on the way.

The decline and fall of a civilization is not a fast process. Neither is the twilight of an empire, the restructuring of a planet’s climate, or the exhaustion of that same planet’s once-extensive fossil fuel reserves. All of these happen over a scale of multiple lifetimes, and they also happen unevenly. Just as the movement of the tides is obscured in the short term by the ebb and flow of waves, the fall of a civilization is obscured by the ordinary vagaries of politics, economics, and culture. Only now and then, when several crises pile up together and disrupt the ordinary rhythms of business as usual, does it become possible to gauge just how far down the slope we’ve already come.

That is to say, the reality of decline becomes most visible in times like the present.

Like this, but not quite as fast.

Look around you, dear reader, as you go about your daily life, and compare what you see now to what you saw a decade or two ago, or longer if your memory reaches that far. Here in the United States, it’s been more than two years since grocery stores have reliably had fully stocked shelves; the same condition, all but unthinkable in the industrial world just a few years back, has spread to Britain and more recently to several European countries as well. If you live in or near a big city, compare how many homeless people there are now to how many there were in the past; compare the state of streets and sidewalks and infrastructure now to their condition in any earlier decade you care to name. Consider the impact of product debasement and the general crapification of the conditions of your life. Notice what civil rights you can actually exercise, as distinct from those you have in some theoretical sense. Notice the general texture of life.

Do I need to state the obvious? This is what decline looks like.

I’m sorry to say I can’t offer you any hope of general improvement in the near future.  Quite the contrary, the cascading impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian war have shown us just how brittle our civilization has become and how little resilience it has left. As the next round of crises hits—and there will be a next round, very likely before this year is out—we can expect to see more disruptions.  And peak oil, climate change, the twilight of America’s empire?  Those mark critical fault lines around which the foundations of modern life are cracking.

Lake Mead in 2011, under what then counted as serious drought conditions.

It’s worth considering these one at a time. As I type these words, the price of oil has been above US$100 a barrel for months. Other energy sources have risen comparably in price.  Rising energy costs act as a tax on all economic activity, as wealth and resources that might otherwise go into different economic sectors have to be diverted to the energy sector to keep lights on and gas tanks full. The result is stagflation—a witch’s brew of rising prices and shrinking economic activity.  We’re already seeing that: US GDP shrank in the first quarter of 2022, and prices are up 8.8% year-over-year.  I expect stagflation to get considerably worse before it gets better, though the official media can be counted on to do its level best to obscure that fact.

As I type these words, furthermore, much of the western half of the United States is facing another year of extreme drought conditions. Reservoirs are emptying out fast as snowpack over the winter just past was a small percentage of normal, and increasingly harsh water restrictions are having to be imposed over much of the Southwest. Here in Rhode Island we’ve had plenty of rain but the maples are leafing out a month early.  The global climate is changing as rain belts shift in ways familiar from paleoclimatology; there will be winners as well as losers, but the economic impacts of the changes will have a hefty price tag.  The possibility that Las Vegas will have to be abandoned to the drifting sands because there will be no water available for its residents is being discussed quietly in a growing number of places.

The same view this year. If you look very hard you can see a little water down in the lower right hand corner.

As I type these words, for that matter, the United States and its European client states seem to have decided that Ukraine is the hill they want to die on. War is always a risky thing—as the saying goes, no plan anywhere survives contact with the enemy—but confident predictions by Western pundits that Russia would run out of munitions and have its economy wrecked by sanctions haven’t exactly played out well so far. Nor is the outcome of the war at all clear yet.  It bears remembering that we’re only three months into the war; three months into the American Civil War and the Second World War respectively, the Confederacy and Nazi Germany looked certain to win.

No matter who wins the Russo-Ukrainian war—if anyone does; stalemate is always a potential outcome—the enormous strains the war has inflicted on the global economy are not going to be repaired easily, and will likely never be repaired at all. As China, India, and a growing list of other countries pay for Russian exports in currencies other than the US dollar, decades-old arrangements are coming apart, and wrenching shifts can be expected as economies adjust on every scale from households to continents. And of course all these changes—the end of cheap energy, the shift of the planet’s climate, and the crumbling of America’s empire—are hitting their stride at the same time, as elements of the broader arc of decline and fall.

Welcome to the future.

When I spent the last sixteen years discussing these things, in other words, I was talking about now.

Over the next few months, accordingly, I’ll be revisiting each of those themes, explaining what to expect, why the technofixes won’t work and why the changes ahead don’t amount to the end of the world. I’ll assess some of the flashpoints and fissures where crises seem most likely to break out soon. I’ll also revisit what individuals, families, and community groups can do to respond to the crises ahead. Hang onto your hats, folks. We’ve got a wild ride ahead.


  1. I like Gail Tverberg’s definition of Peak Oil, where as you contends it’s more of an economic rather than a supply issue. She believes that if you can continuously grow the debt levels, you can always come up with more oil but obviously at a much higher price, hence the debt bubble requirement.

    As she states, Peak Oil has become an economic issue in that we are at a point where oil is priced far too low for the energy producers and is priced much too high for the consumer. It becomes highly evident as when the price at the pump begins to creep up, consumers cut back and the economy goes into reverse. Lower the price and the economy begins to grow.

    Eventually we will get to the point where those lines will meet in the middle and it will be purely unprofitable for the producers to extract out of the ground and far too expensive for the consumers to buy. Hence at that point the oil becomes useless and stays in the ground.

    That said, I like this author, he’s got his thinking cap on !


    Reader of JMG for over twenty years. Hardly ever comment.

    Reading last week’s comments reminded me of a personal experience. I apologize that this is coming out of the blue. I don’t know why I feel cheeky, at the moment, to write this up now. (This awkward account may be for JMG’s eyes only — I don’t know if he will pass it along.)

    I turn 70 soon, from upstate New York, lived in Northern California from 1992 to 2020, am Nordic by ancestry. Shorthand: Nordic-white.

    Starting about 2012, I noticed a growing discomforting sensation within my body. It felt like the land of Northern California was spitting me out.

    It felt like I didn’t belong.

    I was getting ‘eroded’ by not seeing anyone who looked like me. I felt like how a black person, for example, must feel at not seeing other blacks for twenty years — is it homesickness?

    Whatever the feeling, it applies to whites too.

    This feeling within me grew critical.

    I had to find a way to live with my own kind, my own clan — or die.

    Living thirty years among brown people did nothing for me emotionally. I was not ‘of them’ nor could I ever be. Browns are not my people.

    In 2020, I migrated east of the Mississippi River. Now I am among my own people — other Nordics. I fit in — a primitive, protective instinct.

    This feeling, whatever it is, is legitimate, no matter what one’s ethnicity. Just because a person is Nordic-white doesn’t mean (s)he doesn’t have “the same craving everyone has” to be around people whom (s)he looks like.

  3. Hello JMG and kommentariat.
    I can say: Peak oil is “dead”, but long life to peak oil!
    Today I’ve seen the prices at gas station, and they are still expensives. It’s “strange” (ahem-maybe the russian s**t ) that diesel was more expensive than gasoline…I’ve think that diesel is the heavy machines blood, trucks, dumpers, and so on. Bad thing to the near future…

  4. I’ve always thought that “global warming” was a bad name for the phenomenon of climate change for another reason: it sounds too positive. If you had never heard of climate science before, and heard the phrase “global warming”, it’d sound harmless. I remember reading a suggestion to rename the phenomenon to “radiation entrapment”, which would not only get across what’s actually happening better, but also be a lot harder to try and make seem harmless. The fact that climate change doesn’t always lead to warming in every area is definitely a bigger reason, though.

    (Side note: While I was reading through the first few paragraphs, I was worried you were going to shut down the blog. I’m very glad that that isn’t the case…)

  5. Great post JMG. I found your writing at the moment of greatest need. Thanks for your hard work, very much enjoy reading your output.

  6. @ JMG – We’ve returned to the three horsemen of the (not-quite) apocalypse. Hooray!

    I’ve noticed a few changes, and come across some tidbits I think you, and others, might find interesting:

    1 – Over the last year or so, Oklahoma has been exceptionally dry, and as a result, armadillos, rarely seen in the eastern corner of the state (where I live), are now showing up with increasing regularity. I won’t travail you with all the details, but this could be a bellwether of permanently dried days to come. I do expect to see the western half of the state abandoned, due to lack of water, by most people currently living there, during my lifetime (assuming i live another 30 years or so). Does that seem like a reasonable timeline to you?

    2 – I asked an economist friend of mine, what he thought the value of the dollar, as world reserve currency, was to the US. His back of the envelope estimate of the value of the subsidy put it’s worth between 5-15% of annual GDP, with the most likely value being somewhere around 10%. So I asked him the logical follow on question; what happens if that subsidy goes away, and he said, without missing a beat, “something like the Great Depression. Maybe not quite that bad, but certainly worse than any recession since world war two.” Given the brittle nature of the US body politic right now, I don’t think we could survive a second, slightly less ‘Great’ depression, as a unified country. What do you think?

    3 – With regards to the Russo-Ukrainian war, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I cannot believe that a chess master like Vlad, would take such a risky move, without moves two, three, and maybe four, planned out ahead of time. Or course, that does not mean that move one will go off without a hitch. I’d say what appears, so far, from quite a distance, to have happened with Ukraine shows that move one did not go according to plan. For our purposes, I assume Russia tried to decapitate the Ukrainian government with a week-long overwhelming show of force, and the Ukrainians chose not to cooperate. But either way, a good chess player knows, that the sacrifice of a pawn or three can open up opportunities elsewhere one the board. My guess, and it is just that, is that Russia and China have a second front planned. Where do you think that will happen? Taiwan? Korea? Central Asia?

  7. I’ve been reading your posts regularly for sixteen years with great appreciation for your sense, wisdom, and ability to clarify complex subjects in coherent fashion. Thank you for all you have done up to now and best wishes to you and Sarah for continued good health and peace of mind.

  8. What privileged few are we who,
    with eyes open at the peak,
    can gaze down into the trough.

  9. Hi JMG- I’ve been reading your blog for over a decade, so I consider myself well warned, thanks. At my age (60) I guess I shouldn’t get too exercised about the decline of IC, I should be grateful that I have had a relatively easy and prosperous life, compared to some.

  10. I’ve just gotten hold of George Friedman’s book The Storm Before The Calm. I haven’t finished it yet but he agrees with you more than I expected. The technocrats are off in some alternate universe and the real world is going the deliver a rude awakening.

    The Medieval Drought Period is back. I saw a news item that they are seriously thinking of giving up on Lake Powell and sending all the water to Lake Mead simply because that would have less evaporation losses than two 30% full reservoirs.

  11. Hi JMG,

    I live in Canada, in Southern Ontario. Typically the rule of thumb here is that you shouldn’t plant before May 24th (Victoria Day holiday weekend), as frosts can still happen prior to that. Since I’ve been trying to use seeds more I risked starting earlier than that last year, and this year planted some seeds in April. Because I was just seeding directly I figured it didn’t really matter much of only some things survived, but there has only been one small snowfall in all that time. On the other end, I was still harvesting beans and tomatoes into November, and kale into January.

    I am going to save a few mango pits and other seeds from tropical fruits that still make their way up these parts, even though the likely hood is low that they’ll be useful, because who knows. Maybe my grandkids will be able to make use of them some day.


  12. My shtick is, each civilization is different, and we have never gone quite this far with math, science, technology, archaeology, history, etc. What Rome might have thought of Christianity is not what we will think of an incoming modality. I do acknowledge resource depletion and the devastating effects of chemicals especially, but there is more wild card here.

  13. 2005 The Oil Drum seems like yesterday. There were a bunch of them then. None as good.

    When Charles The Great of Ohio emerges maybe the White Mountain region of New Hampshire will become some rebel Scottish Highlands.

    Mike Rowe on Fox TV was talking about the impact of truckers paying $600 for a tank of diesel now paying $1200. Add that to every tractor, harvester, machine in the food production and transport process… Yikes!

    Don’t forget the biggest single fuel user in the world – the US military.

    Thanks for your perseverance over the years with your message – in every area. Den

  14. Hello Mr. Greer . Brilliant post as usual.
    Is current Supreme Court anti-abortion ruling leak an upcoming crisis point? Will this be the issue that really opens fault lines be between the states and the Federal state?

  15. “What happened instead was that the climate change movement kept going through the same hapless motions while greenhouse gases kept pouring into the atmosphere. It’s entertaining in a bleak way to watch the way that each year’s climate protests insist that something has to be done this year or we’ll all surely die, often in the same words they used the year before, and the year before that, and so on.”

    Well, how do you see Greta Thunberg future?(ahem)

  16. JMG, you must have been asked this before, but I haven’t seen it, and I’m sure others have the same question, which is: if you’re concerned about sea level rise, what’s with selecting Providence?

    –Bofur, fellow coastal dweller

  17. Hello JMG,

    Good to revisit this theme.

    I have heard we have been in the Aquarius age for about 20 years now, and consciousness is different than in the previous Pisces age that lasted 2000 years.

    Is that connected to the collapse of modern civilizations? Is consciousness rebuilding a new world more in line with Aquarius characteristics, and what will that look like?

  18. I would just like to add the nitpick that while the last official statistic about inflation in the USA stated it was at 8.5%, there is a consensus that the real rate of inflation is more like 17% and food inflation is something like 20% if not higher.

    Living in slow-and-steady Wisconsin will probably insulate my brother and I from the more drastic things that will happen for a little while (whether that’s months or years, I don’t really know). But I do know from how much time I spend online and from the fact that my brother travels extensively for his work, that the USA is becoming more and more like a third-world country all the time, not helped by the fact that our urban coastal elites are bound and determined to hold on to their jet-setting lifestyles regardless of what they might outwardly pretend.

    One way in which I can imagine Wisconsin experiencing a changing impact in the near future is if many of those Millennials who fled the state in order to get PMC jobs in the big blue cities of the coasts and other places, find themselves returning home with hanging heads once those jobs start drying up. Even before this year, it occurred to me that these folks have probably been experiencing an increasing cost of living in those glamorous areas (or glamorous for those who have PMC jobs, anyway) that probably have been making their cushy lives seem less and less enviable as time goes on.

  19. Timely JMG….kudos!

    I want to throw out this word, suggesting it ought to be used much more frequently: CONCATENATE.

    In the oil drilling end of things, we are seeing:
    1) fewer resources found
    2) smaller fields
    3) manpower declines as boomers leave industry
    4) knowledge loss due to boomers leaving
    5) steel shortages from COVID lockdowns (required to drill oil wells)
    6) sanctions damages in ultra-hard materials (man-made diamond)
    7) rig cannibalization due to supply chain issues
    8) cement shortages due to supply chain
    9) increasing regulation and other political games increasing lead times & expense
    10) ESG movement restraining capital
    and perhaps the largest issue… GOVERNMENT DYSFUNCTION in Policy

    These are just within the upstream world of O&G, not the mid or downstream. All of these are here now.

    I am sure most industries can easily muster similar lists. In particular, mining guys ought to compare ore quality today to 1970 for an idea as to how much more petroleum is required to remove the reduced ore qualities and maintain product flow. If we are not already at Peak Lithium or cobalt, pushing the EV madness will have us there shortly.

    Not sure which swan will darken the sky next, but for many it is likely to be the bursting of the real estate bubble we have been in for several decades, as this will strike anyone owning a home. Rising interest rates will make a “quick prick” of this bubble, and they must rise to keep the illusion going. I would ask readers to consider I bought my first home in 1986, and thought an interest rate of 13% was a great deal – most people currently cannot even fathom this.

    I am thinking that a possible marker for things to actually stabilize may be the death of “news propaganda”, as there is no longer any real news, just competing narratives. Ukraine is likely to bring this into full view as Russia heads towards their goals.

    I want to urge readers to minimize their material footprint – none of the things one acquires can be taken on that final journey. Of far more value are the friendships, loves and memories we build over our lifetimes. Friendships will become ever more valuable when times grow harder – the same with honesty becoming a character strength instead of a weakness (as it feels in the current world).

    I am looking forward to these next few weeks of discussion…

  20. Spring has been a little cooler than usual but not by much. Raking back some leaves, I’ve found that one of the lavender plants from last year is beginning to put out shoots at the base. This in a part of New Hampshire that maybe 30 years ago would have wiped it out beyond hope of revival. Too soon to know how summer will be turning out but the growing season here is at least several weeks longer now than it used to be. I cold stratified some apple seeds these past few months. Now let’s see if they grow. When in doubt, garden.

    I’ve just started rereading Bruce Sterling’s novel Distraction and am struck by how disturbingly familiar some of the imagery in it is. We don’t have Moderator and Regulator nomad gangs yet but we may be getting there. And maybe the Air Force isn’t holding shake-down bake sales yet, but give them time…..

  21. The 9/11 attacks were a strong signal of the end of empire, I think. They moved me to start preparing to be able to feed my family from our one-acre property. That has served me well as we move forward with inflation, crop failures, expensive fuel, and all the rest. Your guidance has been invaluable for me as I’ve made this journey, and I thank you effusively!

  22. At the same time, we have more control over our own lives than we think we do (or want to admit we do).

    So much of it is choosing to live on less; modeling the behavior we claim we want, and just getting on with things and getting done what can be done. You know, boring, simple, common-sense responses.

    Another great essay. Thank you. You’ve been a beacon of light to me and helped me change mine and my family’s lives.

  23. I look forward to this series of essays!

    Regarding the U.S. domestic scene, what better time to drop in the possibility of repealing Roe v. Wade!

    For my non-American comrades, Roe v. Wade is the U.S. Supreme Court decision from 1973 which legalized abortion nationally. This made abortion a constitutional right on par with free speech and removed it from the political process for two generations. Believe it or not, Roe v. Wade is arguably the most divisive issue in American politics. If this case is repealed it will send the issue back to individual states. Expect things to get….interesting.

    I might add, I’m a middle-aged man with no kids and don’t have a dog in this particular fight – a position sure to enrage both sides 😉


    Lothar von Hakelheber

  24. Dear Mr. Greer,

    I read somewhere a very interesting observation: “The apocalypse already started, it’s just not evenly distributed.” Growing up in post Yugoslav-war Sarajevo, I experienced first-handedly the collapse. The infrastructure that was built during the socialist period is impossible to run now. The trams are 60 years old and are falling apart (no one knows how to repair them anymore), the streets that were designed for far fewer cars are permanently clogged, the frequent breaking down of the water supply (we had water restrictions from 10pm till 5am) the general collapse of the education system, and, in my opinion, the biggest problem of all, the absolute lack of any vision for the future. Young people from working class families as myself have only one dream, to emigrate to a foreign western country.
    Now I am living in Germany for the past 8 years, and funny enough, I see the slow collapse even here. Two highway bridges in my are closed because they are at risk of collapsing. They are closed since 2019 and they haven’t even begun tearing them down. The whole process is locked down in a bureaucratic quagmire. My girlfriend and I earn pretty good (according to the German statistical office we are in the top 14%), but we can’t buy an apartment or let alone a house. The collapse of the inner cities is widespread in Germany, and the no-go areas are slowly spreading outwards. In our town, many stores including even McDonald’s had closed it doors in the city center, and the spaces they occupied are vacant now. Various clashes from left and right wing groups are getting frequent, and aren’t even reported anymore. There are also around 12000 unreported cases of police violence every year. All my friends and colleagues (a really wide spectrum) are against any escalation with Russia, but somehow the mainstream narrative in our news portrays the opposite. The Russian news TV channel is banned now. Isn’t the freedom of press supposed to be sacred in the west? But what I see here is also an absolute lack of any vision for the future. I really think that we as a society in the west maneuvered ourselves in a position of no way out. I honestly see very dark clouds gathering on the horizon.
    I know this is all anecdotal, but I just wanted to share my 5 cents. Looking forward to the next post.

  25. JMG said:
    “I can’t speak for the other writers and bloggers who explored that subject, but I didn’t suffer from any illusions about changing the course of history. ”

    Thank you for this retrospective. It helps me to remember what I was thinking and doing 13 years ago when I first discovered you (JMG) via the peak oil internet groups.

    And what I realize is that yes, you did have a huge impact on my life. It took me many years but I got over my fear of failure and anxiety and I actually did something in the here and now.

    My life then was like this: working long hours, always fearful of what people might say or do to me, unable to enjoy life because I was scared of an apocalyptic future.
    Now, I have a family and a farm that I prioritize well above any work stress. If I ever get a stressful day, I just think about the long descent of the future and counterintuitively I feel better.

    You taught me philosophy – how to put my life and my feelings in perspective and feel th thrill of being part of an uncaring universe and huge cycles of life and civilization.

    It’s amazing how bright and happy a spring day can look like when I accept who and where I am!

    So thank you for that, and you did change the course of my life history.

  26. John–

    Just to address one aspect of one of the threads you discussed, it seems to me that we’re witnessing the not-so-slow but certainly steady erosion of the centralized institutions of US governance and a rise in efforts by individual states to push into roles previously reserved for federal power (at least since Reconstruction). TX (and possibly other border states) trying to deal with unauthorized immigration, just as one example.

  27. I heard you say you are 60 now! Congratulations!
    When I first read the Archdruid report you were a spry 45.
    As you said it’s been a wild ride and your theoretical construct of decline and fall kept me level, while everyone around me has that deer in the headlights look as they struggle to adapt.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to blog for free all these years, and to entertain our often inane comments.

    Tom Colbert

  28. (A) Thank you. This fresh essay is exceedingly helpful, although I do wish there had been more of an effort to discuss Ukraine from the standpoint of morality rather than solely of Realpolitik. Ukraine aside, I think many of us will particularly value that pair of hardiness-zone maps, as a data point in the investigation of climate change.

    (B) Perhaps we can hope for continued coverage of Las Vegas from your desk? Although you live far away from that unfolding climate disaster, you will be able to appreciate the municipal details of what is happening better than we European people can. Always, in every age and in every place, municipal politics is of interest. “All politics is local,” say some analysts. It will be useful to see to what extent City Hall in Las Vegas begins restricting the use of lawn sprinklers, swimming pools, and the like. – We had an excellent phrase here in classic administrative Soviet Estonian, “kodanlik eputis”. There is no exact translation in modern English. “Kodanlik” is “bourgeois”, in the sense in which this term was used in those tendentious Radio Moscow English-language shortwave broadcasts so readily audible in 1960s North America, and “eputis” would have been translated as “frippery” in the English of the Mayflower Compact or the Salem witch trials. So lawn sprinklers and swimming pools are “kodanlikud eputised”, “bourgeois fripperies”, in Las Vegas. It will (I reiterate) be useful to see how City Hall deals with them in Las Vegas, and you may be in a position to do some reporting.

    (C) As the Descent continues, radio will become increasingly important. A couple of weeks ago, I drew attention here at Ecosophia to a first-rate tutorial in impedance matching (antenna tuning), the essay . Now I would like, once again in the spirit of promoting a relevant civic-resilience topic, to draw attention to what on a quick glance seem to be first-rate tutorials on topics often discussed, and yet not often discussed with suitably detailed examples and suitably clear explanations. Both are from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). On the one hand is an ARRL tutorial on the concept of a decibel, locatable by Googling on the phrase “ARRL decibel tutorial” or by pointing one’s browser directly to . On the other hand is an ARRL tutorial on transmission-line reflections (as when an antenna system harbours an impedance mismatch), locatable by Googling on the phrase “ARRL another look at reflections” or by pointing one’s browser directly to

    Finally, I would like to put out a plea for anyone who happens to be conservatively mainstream Catholic and is addressing the encroaching Dark Age from the perspectives of Saint Benedict of Nursia, Servant of God Catherine de Hueck Doherty (Екатерина Фёдоровна де Гук-Дохерти, née Колышкина), or Charles de Foucauld (to become Saint Charles from 2022-05-15 onward), to make contact: Toomas[dot]karmo[at]gmail[dot]com, toomaskarmo[dot]blogspot[dot]com . – Most relevant to the matter of Catholic responses to the Dark Age is my paramonastic-scientists essay at . For the concept of “kodanlik eputis”, cf further . Both blogspot postings were composed a little before my 2018 relocation from Canada (my country of birth) to Estonia (my country of ancestry).

  29. On the topic of climate change, I want to repeat here my approach for many years:

    While I can validate the changes in multiple parts of the world (where I live and where family lives), I don’t even bother to mention it to people.

    The global oligarchs that are trying to control all our lives have turned this bit of science into such a horrible propaganda and control tool that even mentioning it makes me rebel – and I see a lot of people have the same reaction.

    Just think of all the non-sequiturs that are associated with AGW: carbon credits (giving money to the banks helps the climate how?), ban plastic straws (while the industrial and agricultural uses of plastics runs in millions of tons) or eat vegetarian (because destroying tropical jungle for palm oil or soy is “green”).

    At this point, I am absolutely certain any “solution” that is supported by MSM is actually intended to enslave or empoverish regular people.

    That does not mean I gave up on this. Instead of abstractions, I am trying to focus on local issues that anybody can understand and do something about. For example in US, forest companies spray herbicides on the forests to eliminate competition for their trees. Can we push local politicians to at least slow that?

    More than that, growing my own food or buying from local farmers is the best way to help – factory farms are not only horrible places for people and animals, they also contribute a lot of pollution and greenhouse gases.

  30. The last month or two I seem to be reacting to months I seem to be reacting to disaster with Nero’s infamous solution: play more music!

    Never mind that this was reported by Nero’s enemies… and I’m not in charge of responding to the disaster. Anyway.

    I’m also growing food, and working on my cooking and drying skills. I think I will end up drying more food this year than in the last 10 put together. Not that that’s all that much, but still. Improvement. I have a lot of kale I need to do something with at the moment.

  31. I think I’ll enjoy this series. It is very timely, even if I’m very familar with, and agree with the thesis heartily.

    I’ll be interested to see if anything has changed in your analysis with time.

  32. None of this is new to me. However, I continue to be surprised by just how locked in to normalcy bias the average joe is. I felt that the whole, “if you’d like to see what the collapse looks like, just look around” was starting to border on glaringly obvious a few years ago, if you chose to just look around.

    At this point, I feel like it is glaringly obvious whether you’re barely paying attention or not. Someone (it may have been JMG) said, “the unthinkable becomes normal and the normal becomes unthinkable and no one really notices”. The level to which we are there now continues to impress me. Just as pointed out in this article, grocery store shelves have had two years of spot shortages, even in the ’08 recession such a thing was utterly unimaginable for the average American and now no one even seems to notice. Similar examples are legion in the US just now.

    A couple days ago I was driving down the I5 corridor in WA with a work colleague from out of the area. She was asking me about the state of things and I was giving her a general rundown of the slide that Seattle and Portland are leading but that is apparent all over. “Why is that?” she asks “is it the drugs? the homelessness?”
    “Well, I think those things are symptoms, you could really say that for nearly all these people the American dream is completely dead.”

    She was clearly deeply shocked. This intelligent, thoughtful, well educated girl had no response beyond something that amounted to, “that’s not ok to say”.

    It IS going to be a wild ride.


  33. Dear Mr Greer,

    I read “The Nightmare Life Without Fuel” here in France, in 1978, in the library of an EDF (the French state-owned electricity company) research center, where I worked as a part-time employee while studying in college. The text hadn’t been translated in French, but some EDF researchers had found it interesting. I photocopied it for my own use, and I still have the copy. Decades later, I adhered to the Peak Oil movement. Asimov’s text got me to think seriously, like it did to you…

    Back in 1978, if Russia and Ukraine had been at war, that would have been a civil war within the USSR… a local civil war ravaging a part of the USSR. I don’t think Western Europe would have felt threatened, quite the reverse, since the USSR was a dangerous adversary, and therefore anything that weakened it was good for the Western world. Besides, back then the USSR was a net importer of food, from the US mostly, and the world could have done very well without Soviet oil or gas.

    But that was 44 years ago, when the global economy was strong. Now, a distant war in the Ukrainian steppes means no more sunflower oil on the shelves of European supermarkets right now, and the very possibility of famine in North Africa and elsewhere before the end of the year, as well as the likely collapse of the European economy for lack of gas if the war doesn’t end rapidly (which looks unlikely). What is happening now is another evidence that decline has been underway for decades.

    In my opinion the war in Ukraine is an accelerator of the Long Descent. It has taken us almost overnight to where we would have been in 2025. I dread the coming winter.

  34. IMHO the US empire will fall faster than those of the past , the grifters in government have nothing in the game accept the love of money , there is no patriotism amongst them , sons have not died for empire they became wall street spivs ,money changers in the temple , once the going gets tough they will be gone to their retreats to watch the fall in CNN .

  35. If the fossil fuels had been handled well, how long could they have lasted?

  36. Beautiful summary. I’ve been reading your work for decades and despite your clear forewarnings still find myself at times on an emotional rollercoaster as the now becomes the really now. Thank you for reminding us in almost all of your posts to continue our connection to the spiritual-mystical, and for keeping us out of the political ditch.

    We all know what is ahead.

    I cannot help but think that it all comes down to how to be of use; how to serve. Living as if we are dying changes everything. My body is winding down and my brain is not as adept as it once was, but my learning experiences of loving, grieving and connection, my life work, will live on. There will be a human surviving remnant, which will not include me, but I’m thinking that my small contribution to the subtle energy sphere will live on. This, I think, is our true survival fuel: One another, connected in our various ways to Source, with love and respect. It’s been quite a journey.

  37. The perfect representative picture of an empire in steep decline are the recent photos of Zelensky with Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff. To help it sink in, compare it to pictures of FDR, Churchill and Stalin at Yalta in WWII. Even if you know nothing about the three meeting in Kiev ( or pretending to), just the looks on their faces tell you all you need to know about where we are headed.

  38. Dear JMG,
    I am expecting the second set of lambs in my pure-bred East Frisian milk sheep flock. I am a celebrated cheesemaker but really it is so easy to make cheese from fresh, raw sheep’s milk. The garden is ready for planting and I have a new 28 by 10 foot greenhouse, stuffed with transplants. We are getting ready to grow more of our animal feed this year. We live a happy and fulfilled life.
    All of this is largely due to your guidance. May you live long and prosper.

  39. I expected that another oil price spike would bring attention back to fossil fuel depletion and the limits to growth as the price spikes in the 1970s and 200s did. So far that doesn’t seem to be happening. I should clarify, there are plenty of people talking about high gas prices, inflation, shortages etc. but it hasn’t led to the sort of discussions that were happening in intellectual circles in the prior examples or any movements similar to the appropriate technology on the 70s or the transition towns of the 2000s.

    Do you have any thoughts about the reason for this phenomenon? One thing I can think of is that the failure of the apocalyptic predictions from some in the peak oil movement of the 2000s has led to the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario in which people ignore the possibility of fossil fuel depletion altogether, but I don’t think that’s all there is to it considering the failure of similar apocalyptic predictions about climate change and plenty of other issues haven’t stopped them from getting air time.

    Other possibilities are that it’s just looking so close that for some people, it’s just too scary to think about, as in the study that showed people living directly below a dam refused to consider what would happen if it failed. The way society has changed in general in the last couple of decades has just made it harder to talk about issues like these, especially for those catering to leftist audiences. Topics that would spark a lively debate in the 2000s in such circles would often now just lead to being accused of triggering people and probably somehow lead to allegations of racism and transphobia or the like even if the discussion had nothing to do with such issues. The religion of progress has grown more fundamentalist and people may just be too afraid to be branded a heretic to actually talk about natural limits.

  40. Yes, I’d believe you, but, cellphones have become enormously complex & powerful. So you’re wrong. QED. Seriously, this is a beautiful picture, actually, because it paints the collective dream in a way that allows (some to) exit from it, the nightmare, into, not a Tabula Rasa, exactly, but something like it, or as close as we could wish. Would you say that we are close to being officially into The Salvage Economy Era? Real close? It sure feels like it, personally. I haven’t done all I should to get ready, but thanks to you (and others), am much closer than I would have been. Rain water collection system, biggest garden I’ve ever done (still not very big), fruit trees in the ground, compost bin, wood pile, an old pottery wheel and plans for pit firing (clay pots for plants), herbs planted around the house and the woods, chickens, and an enormous stack of old books for a library. And a few other things. God bless you.

  41. Gail Tverberg’s ( view’s on declining oil supplies and extraction costs on world economies was not mentioned, which I think her posts add more clarifications to our current predicament stated in today’s post.

  42. You touched on a point that I think is of great importance and interest: the idea of technology being a lagging indicator. By any other metric except for technological process, we seem to be well into something of a dark age. There are certain absolutely glaring pieces of evidence of this, although they seem entirely unacknowledged in the general narrative.

    One is the drying up of the Western high-arts tradition. Just as an example, when Igor Stravinsky died in 1971, the composer George Perle remarked that for the first time in six hundred years the world was without a great composer. That was half a century ago and nobody has turned up. And where are the towering writers and poets? Or painters? The post-World War II era in Europe and America has been one of remarkable stability and prosperity – not to mention availability of information and education – and yet the Western artistic tradition has all but disappeared.

    The political discourse is another piece of evidence. Has anyone noticed the impoverishment of the speech of today’s politicians versus those of a hundred years ago? Read the speeches and letters from the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, just to take one example, and compare them with what our current political class produces. Put aside the views being expressed and simply look at things such as syntax, range of vocabulary, richness of expression, capacity for original thought and knowledge of history. It is an exceedingly rare politician today who can transcend the current practice of deploying stunted vocabulary in prefabricated blocks of emotionally laden but vague cliches.

    For many years, I have been pulled to the art and literature of the early 20th century. This was a fascinating time when the civilizational decline had begun but there were still people of sufficient sensibility and rootedness to appreciate what was happening and portray it. And they did so in dire tones. What is paradoxical is that as the decline has progressed, there are fewer and fewer voices capable of describing it. The more it happens, the less it’s noticed. The world described by T.S. Eliot – “the heap of broken images” – is infinitely more coherent than today’s. And yet, to understand where we are now, we must go back to the artists and poets of a century ago.

    Nevertheless, here we are with life expectancy much higher than a hundred years ago and infant mortality much lower; we possess countless gadgets that allow us vastly more leisure time and more comfortable living; we have fantastic means of communication and travel. These truly are lagging indicators that conceal a tremendous rot that has been both comprehensive and underappreciated.

    So what I think is that the historical anomaly of cheap fossil fuels has allowed us to go way further down the path of civilizational decline without really noticing it than should be otherwise possible. The lagging indicators are lagging further than perhaps they would be.

  43. @JMG, at this point in the decline, are we going to see even more environmental destruction or will that stall from economic stagnation? When will the frantic pillaging of the environment be forced to slow?

    I ask because right around when I moved to Europe, there as a local gas pipe explosion. I learned this country was dependent on Russian natural gas, and assumed there was a quiet pillaging of Russia’s natural resources happening out of sight.

    I’ve heard much of Canada is a beautiful oasis of forests and prairies. Is chopping those forests down what we’ll see next? (This is an honest question; I’m not trying to sound dramatic.) I’m just wondering how bad the ecological pillaging is going to get before things slow down enough for nature to take over.

  44. Thanks for all the blogging and writing you’ve done over the past 16 years on many topics, and the many flora and fauna that have come out of your writing and this milieu. I look forward to reading the post every Wednesday, and as I have time, the comments. It’s been great to be a part of this wonderful commentariat too, different from so many other places on the interschlebs. A lot of good in my own life, and I know in the lives of others here, have come from reading these druidical dispatches!

  45. I’ve had the impression that we face a collapse on par with that of the Bronze Age. I’d be interested to hear from JMG and commentariat if that seems possible or maybe even probable. Were there any societies of that time that escaped the consequences or who benefited from that event?

  46. We talk about fossil fuel, and forget that the agricultural revolution is driven by fossil fuel. The fertilizer needed to support big yields is produced by the Haber-Bosch process using natural gas. Most of our equipment for planting, harvest, and transport is based on diesel fuel.

    Regardless of the outcome of the Ukraine invasion, fuel supplies are being destroyed, fertilizer costs are up, farmers are soldiers, and the breadbasket of Europe will not be plowed or fertilized at an acreage needed to feed the World. Hunger is a by-product of war. This will be a famine year.

  47. I’ve noticed, as soon as war broke out between Ukraine and Russia, that a lot of the Substack writers I read started calling for increased oil drilling. They noted correctly that the Green Energy Revolution has been a flop – industrial civilization runs on oil coal.

    But there’s no awareness that oil is a limited resource. It doesn’t seem to occur to them to ask “And then what?” el gato malo in particular called for more fracking, declaring that the United States can achieve energy independence. He seems to have fallen in the shower, conked his noggin, and blacked out for all of the 2010s. We already did that. The fracking boom was always a disaster for investors (or so I’ve read) and it was falling apart well before Biden ever got into office.

    On the matter of failing empires, I founnd myself getting spitting mad about this Disinformation Governance Board and its executive director. Then I realized, that’s probably the point – it’s entirely conceivable that the Biden Administration is trying to provoke intemperate responses on the part of dissidents.

  48. Cloven Kingdom #39: The artists, musicians, painters, poets, and writers are still here – we just fly under the pop-culture radar. Old-fashioned classical representational painting has been working on making a comeback in visual arts.

    JMG- As for this week’s writing: I am one of your “newer” readers, having finally found you at the wrap-up of the Green Wizardry series in 2011, which spoke to the child inside of me who once dreamed of being a farmer. We got so lucky and bought this property for less than what my father-in-law paid for his RV that is parked here, although we have had to build the homestead/farm infrastructure to turn this from just a small vacation home in the woods to a place with chickens, rabbits, dairy goats, and three pigs we still have not put into the freezer yet. It was another mild winter with only one hard frost, and we have the mosquitoes to prove it. My “final frontier” is still gardening. What little the deer and wild turkeys and myriad insects don’t eat, my first bottle-baby goat does (she’s six years old now – and still inflicts damage on the fruit trees). At least some of the first fruit trees planted are producing.

  49. I called my uncle and aunt for Easter. They are in their late ’60s, I am 40. Ever since I have known them, they have been pretty aware of things slowly getting worse around them. We talked about inflation and the Ukrainian war, their generation’s pensions, the laughable Dutch schools and how my children’s life will be harder than mine has been, and how unprepared they are for it.

    My aunt agreed, and said something like “who could have thought a few years ago that we would be worrying about the basic necessities of life now?”.

    I did not mention your work, but of course, you did figure it out. Thanks to your blog, the past few months did not surprise me very much.

  50. Nice to look at the big picture. One of the amazing things in the modern world is the way rhetoric evolves to hide obvious facts when it doesn’t suit powerful interests to note those facts. From my viewpoint, one of the biggest questions about the next few decades is whether hiding from facts with post-truth rhetorical games will continue to be celebrated or whether the mainstream media swings back toward more reality based messaging. I suspect we’ll stay in crazy land for quite a while.

    This may be only tangentially related to your post, but is a good example of how the beginning of the long descent coincides with rhetorical innovations to hide reality. The left in the US is closer to being rooted in rationality right now, but several of its pet progressive projects make no sense and so require a certain degree of hiding with words to keep itself together. The abortion brouhaha right now is a good example. It is simply patently obvious that the US constitution says nothing about whether the government can regulate abortion. Logically, if the government can regulate child abuse, it can regulate abortion. But rather than face logic and build a movement to pass laws with good abortion regulation or pass a constitutional amendment to add protection of a right to abortion, the left has resorted to word games and power plays that act as though they can find a right to abortion in a document that obviously doesn’t contain it. It is fascinating how this irrational approach to language became popular just as the peak of American prosperity was arriving and the downslope became too uncomfortable to face. It was pioneered by post-modern academics and the political left, but has taken over the Republican party and right now has its most damaging effects through the irrational rhetoric of the right. There is a certain balance in the forces of irrationality if the right succeeds in using Trumpian post-truth gaming the media to gain enough power to overturn Roe-vs-Wade which itself was a post-truth gambit.

  51. Rod, Gail’s certainly got hold of one crucial element of peak oil, but there’s another — the point at which pumping more oil no longer breaks even in energy terms, when it takes more than a barrel of oil equivalent of energy to extract a barrel of oil. At that point economics give way to physics, and the petroleum sector makes about as much sense as buying dollar bills for $1.50 each. Some supposed resources are already on the far side of that line, and more are heading that way…

    Northwind, hmm. I’m certainly not going to tell you what to do with your life, but I’m sorry to hear about your choice. I live in an ebulliently multiethnic and multicultural neighborhood, where you hear Portuguese on the street nearly as often as English, and I prefer that. That is to say, when you say that everybody has some kind of craving to live around people who look like them, you’re wrong.

    TJ, I ain’t arguing!

    Chuaquin, good — you’re paying attention. Diesel is spiking because Russian oil fields are predominantly heavy oil, which is where you get diesel, and US “oil” fields these days are predominantly fracked shale, which produces a very light petroleum substitute not at all suitable for making diesel fuel. I suspect we’re going to see a lot of trouble over that in the near future.

    Ethan, you read about “radiation entrapment” on the Archdruid Report — the wife of a friend of mine came up with that, and I thought it was brilliant.

    Steve, you’re most welcome and thank you.

    Ben, I thought some of my longtime readers would cheer! I think your timeline is quite reasonable; we’re within a few years of the point at which mass migration out of the desert southwest will be unavoidable, because there won’t be enough water to sustain current populations. Your economist friend has rattled my cage a little, since I’ve never before encountered an economist who could add 1 + 1 and get 2, as he has. As for the Russo-Ukrainian war, that’s a good question; you’re certanly right that the initial invasion was a relatively mild show of force, and the Russians clearly expected Ukraine to cave; now that NATO is eager to use the fighting as a proxy war, I could see Russia upping the ante considerably by launching an all-out assault on the remaining Ukrainian forces. Meanwhile, the US and its allies are running seriously short on munitions — and China may well be watching that, rubbing its collective hands together, and preparing to snatch Taiwan when we no longer have the resources to stop them. But we’ll see.

    Susan, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Andrew, it’s a privilege many people seem desperate to avoid.

    Danaone, you’re most welcome. If you’ve made suitable preparations you should be able to get through the rest of this incarnation in decent comfort, too. Rome wasn’t sacked in a day…

    Siliconguy, interesting. Friedman’s been impressively wrong in the past — I recall his book The Coming War With Japan, which looks very quaint just now — but it’ll be interesting to see what he says. As for the reservoirs, they’re going to have to give up both of them eventually; they just haven’t realized that yet.

    Johnny, sensible of you! Rather than tropical crops, you might look into what perennials grow in the American South right now, because your grandkids will very likely be seeing that set of climatic conditions, and if you can get some trees in the ground now, they may be bearing bumper crops then.

    Whippet, many other civilizations have followed the same process of decline and fall, whether they were confined to a single region and used stone tools, or continental empires with advanced metallurgical technologies and robust traditions of literacy. No doubt all of them also said, “But in our case it’s different!” I’d point out that we’re making all the same mistakes and seeing all the same symptoms of accelerating decline that they did, and the claim that we’re somehow exempt from the common fate is not exactly standing up too well right now. Still, faith in progress is the established religion of our time, and I know it’s hard to get past that ideology and look at the end of progress in our time!

    DenG, yep. The diesel issue is going to be huge — and the US military is emphatically not in a good position to deal.

    Mohsin, good question. My guess is that leaking the memo is a desperation move by the Democratic party, trying to stave off a crushing electoral defeat in the midterms, but we’ll see.

    Chuaquin, nothing’s sadder than a child star who’s had her fifteen minutes of fame and then spends the rest of her life wondering what happened.

    Bofur, I live 80 feet above mean sea level. Given the levels of melting that can reasonably be expected over the next century, I’ll be long gone before it’s any kind of problem here. Mind you, one of the reasons Sara and I settled in East Providence is that it’s on bluffs over the Seekonk River estuary, well above any risk of significant flooding in our lifetimes; there are other parts of Rhode Island that won’t be so fortunate.

    Tony, we’ll just have to wait and find out! By my calculations, btw, the age of Aquarius began at the end of 1879, so we’re well into the transition; over the next couple of centuries, the shape of its influence should become clearer.

    Mister N, oh, granted. The price of quite a few foodstuffs where I live has doubled. I cited the official number purely because it’s a low-end estimate.

    Oilman2, thanks for this! A fine summary of the impending mess — and yes, concatenation is a crucial concept. For want of a nail…

    Jeanne, no surprises there — much of New Hampshire has gone from zone 5 to zone 6 in the last few decades, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see zone 7 climates showing up in the southeast of the state if they haven’t gotten there already.

    Michelle, you’re most welcome and thank you!

    Teresa, you’re most welcome, and thanks for this. Of course we have immense power — all we have to do is claim it back from the corporate system, and that’s a choice most of us can make any time we’re willing to do so.

    Lo, it’ll be interesting to see just how that pans out. I notice that abortion rates in the US have been trending steadily downhill for decades, and it may turn out that abortion on demand was a Boomer issue that doesn’t have the same cachet for younger generations. But we’ll see.

    Sasha, many thanks for the data points! The word “anecdata” has been coined for this sort of thing; at a time when freedom of the press is a fiction, freedom of speech will get you thrown off social media, and governments and big business are spewing disinformation from every orifice, anecdata is one of the few ways we’ve got to find out what’s actually happening.

    NomadicBeer, you’re most welcome and thank you!

    David BTL, yep. That’s a huge issue, and I expect it to become the defining political debate of our time.

    Dashui, not quite yet — my 60th birthday is a little more than a month out — but thank you, and you’re most welcome.

    Toomas, I thought this post would bring you back into the discussion! I’ll leave the moral dimension of the Ukraine situation to others, since my religious convictions deny me any right to claim that my moral judgments are superior to other people’s. I’ll definitely be talking about Las Vegas and other future archeological sites — my forthcoming post on climate change will include some discussion of that. Thank you for the ham radio material, also — that’s going to be of immense use as we proceed.

    NomadicBeer, oh, trust me, I get that. To my mind, however, all of that sums up why it’s crucial for someone with a public presence like mine to point out that both sides in the official debate are dead wrong, and present a third option — turning the binary into a ternary — that makes more sense than either extreme.

    Pygmycory, I’m suddenly struck with great amusement at the thought of a book titled The Nero Option, a sort of counterweight to Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, in which playing lots of music features heavily. I hope you enjoy the series of posts.

    HippieViking, I think everyone realizes what’s happening. It’s just that they desperately don’t want to admit that it’s happening, and it’s not just them or the people and places they know. They’re frantically clinging to the belief that it will all turn out the way they were taught it would, because the alternative isn’t something they can bear consciously thinking about.

    Horzabky, I think that’s a fair assessment — and I’m very glad I won’t be spending this coming winter in Europe.

    Diogenese10, I’d encourage you to read more history. The grifters in power during the twilight of every other civilization were just as corrupt, just as clueless, and just as prone to flee to some refuge or other when the going got really tough.

    Yorkshire, William Staney Jevons’ 1865 book The Coal Question raised the issue of energy resource depletion in Western economic circles for the first time that mattered. If governments at that time had taken the issue seriously, fossil fuels could have been stretched out for a thousand years or so, while still providing many of the benefits and very likely allowing the development of energy-efficient technologies that would make for a gentle taper at the end of that period instead of a crash. Unfortunately, as a species, we’re not that bright.

    Jenny, many thanks for this. Yes, exactly — all the way down the centuries-long slope of industrial society’s decline and fall, the resources of the spiritual plane are the ones that matter most.

    Clay, I tried to find a picture of that and couldn’t. Can you point me to one?

  52. JMG, congrats on the 60’th Birthday and 16 years writing. It’s been an honor to read.

    One glimmer of hope is that the new right wing seems to be developing or reviving some of the older lines of thought that you laid out here. With the neoconservative Baby Boomers nearing retirement, and the Gen-X libertarians chastened by reality, there seems to be an opening for something new on the right. One more informed by studies of the classics, of history, of empirical observations over white-board abstraction, as well as by the embrace of magic and absurdism that you’ve discussed on your work on 4chan. There seems to be a reawakening to the fact that humans are limited creatures, with both divine and animal spirits, and our social systems should be designed to take that into account. On the other hand the drive to create or embed oneself into a “Nanny State” still seems to be happening apace, but the intellectual seeds of the next decades seem to be being sown now. Your oeuvre seems like it may have some lasting impact on the direction things take, even beyond the practical ideas taken by readers of this blog.

    @ Sasha, very interesting perspective! Here in NYC, there also seems to be no “vision.” Just an endless carnival of dreams for those who come for a while, and then drift away. Violence seems to be on the rise here, especially among the street people. You can feel the “mass psychosis” taking over. With the “Woke Agenda” having taken it feels a bit as though we live under the Stasi. Most people just parrot the cliches from the news. They may have different feelings deep down, but are too anxious to acknowledge it. “Unapproved thoughts” are spoken only in whispers when in public.

  53. Thank you JMG. Here’s an observation from history

    Since R. M. Nixon took the USA off the gold standard, the only thing that backs up the USD is the reputation of the US government. The reputation of the US government.

    Tell people that simple fact and watch for the significance to hit home

  54. “I’ll also revisit what individuals, families, and community groups can do to respond to the crises ahead.”

    Thank you, this is exactly what we need. Do you feel there is still enough time for individuals, families, and communities to prepare for the crises ahead, especially if they are only now beginning to come into collapse awareness?

  55. I was wondering what you might have to say about the current spiraling crises. There is a reason I have been following much of your work since I was first introduced in 2009.

    I sold my house and greenhouse and my 20 fruit trees, 200 species of plants and mushrooms, and 300 sq ft of garden beds in the city, the Friday before Beltane. I am moving to the rural Minnesota place I was born, to help manage what remains of my famly’s assets, and to help take care of my parents. There will be better water, air, hunting and fishing and more freedom there. I intend on expanding on the concept of my city garden.

    I purchased my house about 12 minutes after the peak of the market in 2006. I was under water for a decade. I think I sold it about 12 minutes before this peak.

    I have changed so much living here. I have so much gratitude.

    And I am also very thankful for your work. It has helped me maintain equilibrium through all of this.

  56. I look forward to the advice part of this series. I’ve read much of this and your previous blog, and I understand practical advice like insulating and weatherproofing your home, trying to grow your own food, and developing practical skills that allow you to work outside the money economy.

    However, I don’t know how much of that can apply to me. I feel like I was born too late and too poor to take many of these steps. I’ll likely never be able to pay off the student loan debt from the college my parents had me go to, I work 6-7 days per week just to keep myself and my disabled sister alive, and even then we’re only managing because our elderly grandparents are willing to charge us less for rent than anywhere else in the city. And they’re not likely to live much longer.

    I don’t have any of those practical skills, and I’m not sure how to acquire them without time and money I don’t have. I work as a security guard, which for unfortunate reasons is probably going to remain in demand, but I can’t see much of a way to disconnect from the economy.

    At this point my plan is pretty much to keep going until we go broke, then die.

  57. Dear Mr. Archdruid;
    Your writings still bring me joy even after all these years.
    As you notice “all three are taking stride at the moment”, it brought to mind the following conjecture: Since fracking has been done more and more, and since it seems to leak methane more than other extraction methods, and since this leakage is not really tracked or accounted for, could this account for an apparent acceleration in climate change in the last years? I understand the question lacks substance, being mostly hand-waving, but still, what do you feel about this?
    Thanks for everything.

  58. Excellent synthesis, I’m afraid. Not that Gaia isn’t ready for a break from the abuse, but I’ve just kind of gotten used to life in the “first” world. Thankfully, I’ve also done some first-hand research on life in the second world along the way…

    As I sit here shelling dried green beans from last season for seed, to try to catch the Gemini window (and if I miss there’s nothing wrong with Cancer…) I can’t help but be grateful for so many years of your guidance. In so many ways.

    I wish I could get more of the people around me to wake the frack up.


  59. It’s interesting reading ‘the Nightmare Life Without Fuel’. Very different from Isaac Asimov’s usual ‘man, conqueror of the UNIVERSE!’ tendencies, and rather more plausible, if you shift his timeframe forward by 50 years or so. What he describes in this essay is earlier and so far much more severe than is happening in real life, is occurring at lower populations, and is substantially less disorderly and confusing than real life so far.

    I doubt we’ll see any shortage of war on the way down, with or without fossil fuels to fuel it. I’m expecting plenty of fighting over diminishing resources, with the victors often finding that the war has cost them more than they gained, and people are now eyeing them with envy in their turn. Meanwhile, the losers lost even more in the fighting. The peace after the war is less prosperous than the one before. I think fighting, whether between nations, civil war, cyber, economic, or hot, is going to be a significant mechanism in how catabolic collapse occurs.

  60. CS2,

    Canada’s forests have been being chopped down for decades, and of late they’ve catching on fire and burning in substantial amounts as well. It grows back, but the amount of old growth is now pretty small.

    There’s a lot of different estimates of how much of BC’s forest is old growth (I live in BC) – there’s a good deal of disagreement on what constitutes old growth – but I’m seeing numbers between 1 and 10% when I google it. I think something closer to the higher number is probably correct, if you include areas where trees are slow growing due to altitude or latitude, the lower number if you’re only including high productivity areas.

  61. Seeing that graph of hardiness zones and how it shows the climate in my home state almost completely shifting really shows just how much things have changed. When I was young, winter snows were fairly regular. We’d go sledding pretty often, and it seemed like there’d generally be a decent amount of snowcover for a good chunk of winter.

    I remember by high school consciously noticing that we never really got that much snow anymore, save for the occasional downpour. Winters kept getting milder. Back then I figured it was just a little pause, but after this last year, when we virtually got no snow in drought conditions, it makes me really worry for the future. Not just in the big ways – “Will my state be habitable in the next 100 years?” – but even just in the little ways, like “will my kids get to go sledding more than once a year?”

    Also, maybe a small criticism, but I notice you regularly assert the gas crisis of the 70s was the result of the US’ peaking oil production. I’d hate to be that “UMMM, SOURCE!” guy, but is there any chance you’d be interested in doing a post showcasing sources for your history and theories? I’m largely in agreement, but I think it’d be good for others who are skeptical or unconvinced.

    @Gawain: I’d be interested as to why you think our collapse will be like the Bronze Age, and how you think that will play out. As for societies that survived, Assyria got out relatively unscathed. Egypt, while greatly weakened and reduced in power, managed to survive. The Phoenician city-states also managed to get by as well, and one of their distant trading colonies emerged as one of the great powers of the Mediterranean.

  62. I have lived in the far western suburbs of Chicago my entire life (around 50 years) and it does seem like we are changing from Zone 5 to Zone 6. Everything pops out of the ground about 2-4 weeks early in Spring and lasts 2-4 weeks later in Autumn. Maybe I’ll be able to plant my lemon trees and my fig tree in the ground towards the end of my life!

  63. The Nero Option. LOL. Literally. Thanks for that, JMG.

    But seriously, playing acoustic musical instruments and singing both alone and with others seems like a fairly decent thing to do in the midst of huge slow moving disaster. Just so long as one remembers to weed the garden, plant and harvest the produce and do all the other needful things as well…

  64. I did a quick search to see if Phoenix is getting ready for any water troubles. This was one of the first things that popped up:

    Granted, Phoenix has engaged in a range of preparations. But a fair amount of their answers seem to amount to “Our water comes from mountainous water sheds very far away, so don’t worry.” Overall, the tone seems to be that everything is wonderful and will continue to be wonderful.

    Here’s a choice quote:

    Restrictions might include watering on certain days, banning the use of outdoor water features, and stringent enforcement of water wasting laws. More severe restrictions may include using child safe pool covers to reduce evaporation, banning turf irrigation (letting lawns go brown), and banning car washing. Phoenix would only ask you to implement such drastic measures if it is really needed to protect the public health and safety. We will give you plenty of notice and we will end restrictions as soon as we can to make as little impact on your life as possible.

    I don’t think they get it. Maybe I’m wrong, and Phoenix will just keep chugging along forever. Certainly it seemed to be cooler and rainier than Seattle, last summer.

  65. WRT your response to Lo, the “morning after” pill that triggers a spontaneous abortion when taken right after conception has been a major factor in reducing the number of abortions.

  66. If the US were not held hostage by OPEC, what should the US have accomplished by now? I’ll suggest there is no shortage of money or credit.

    What governor will offer incentives or Universal Basic Income to Americans who DO NOT drive? Looking at you, Gavin Newsom, as California adopts bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

    The US people who have switched to EVs: what percent have returned to gasoline-only autos? I speculate zero.

    We have nearly zero political will to ask about the Data Staring Us Right In the Face: People who have switched to EVs: what were their utility bills before the switch? what are their utility bills after the switch to EVs? asking because the WorldWide Forum in 1990 published a study that said if only 25% of autos were EVs in the US, the electricity use would increase only 7%. Don’t mistake a gallon of gasoline and diesel for a gallon of electrons.

  67. #2 Northwinds Grandma,

    In your defense, Obama felt the same as you. I think this is similar.
    “Barack Obama wrote about his own alienation when he visited Europe. “It wasn’t that Europe wasn’t beautiful; everything was just as I’d imagined it,” he wrote in Dreams From My Father. “It just wasn’t mine. I felt as if I were living out someone else’s romance.” He was.”

    Apparently Marthas Vineyard is OK with him though.

    There is a rising aggression forming and being pushed by woke politics in public, social media, and the work place. It is certainly not something I feel a part of. Actually I feel more like a target.

    Also my Massachusetts residence area is way louder now with more unmuffled cars, motorcycles, mopeds, dirt bikes on the street, loud offensive racist and misogynistic music. Not all vehicles but definitely a significant increase. Talking with a local cop he said the DA and chief are telling them to lay off these ‘quality of life’ issues. I spend less and less time here and more in a less crowded conservative area.

  68. This resonates, JMG.

    I think it was a year or so ago that there was a discussion on one of your blogs (this or Dreamwidth) about how there had been a decided “shift.” I felt it then, but I’m also noting other, shifts, each deeper and coming more quickly on each shift’s heels. As a Gen Xer who grew up during the last decades of a cold war, I figured that if the end was going to come, it would come totally, quickly, and completely in the form of nuclear war or, later on, The Rapture(TM).

    Now, of course, I see that things are likely to happen very differently. Predictably unpredictable, I expect, with a quality of a frog being boiled. Already my fledgling media studio here in Chicago has had to alter its programming due to demonetization and shenanigans (including “fighting” between competing creators). My radio station project has accelerated: Legacy technology has its advantages.

    Aggression and outright violence is likely to become more commonplace and even the most peaceable among us are going to find ourselves far more on edge than we have been in the past. This does not bode well for mental health, civic engagement, or hopes of a more graceful descent.

    As for myself, I find that I am changing old habits (more easily than one might expect!), including morning routines, use of technology, and even the people I associate with. I expect that more changes are afoot.

    I look forward to hearing more from you, and others, as this wild ride accelerates.

  69. Ah, the heady days of the peak oil movement. I first found my way to peak oil and then to the Archdruid Report through another movement – the 9/11 truth movement – via the works of Michael C Ruppert. Back in the mid to late 2000s scouring the internet for the smoking gun proof that it was an inside job, feeling like a detective, desperate for the eucatastrophe that would one day blow away the evil forces ruling the earth and finally usher in a golden age where without overlords mankind could finally set about renaturalizing the world, living in local communities within our means and finding meaning in life once again. (And of course I would be proven right and all the people who ridiculed me would crawl to me needing help to get the bearings in the new order).

    Or – if no golden age was in the cards, just as well, once the peak came, the store shelves would empty, the riots would start, the hated murderous government would come apart eventually, and the lampposts would get repurposed. (And of course I would be proven right and all the people who ridiculed me would starve and beg for my help and my food if they weren’t too busy gnashing their teeth.)

    There was an essay that you wrote back then that asked something like “If we found out exactly who perpetrated 9/11, tried them all, put them in jail or worse and justice was served, then what? We’d still be facing all of the same issues of resource depletion etc….” I remember reading that and feeling offended at first, and then like I’d been awakened from a trance. What then, indeed? The dawning realizations of how I was projecting the shadow, engaging in conditional thinking, picking and choosing my beliefs based on what would give me an excuse to continue my life as is and blame others for everything… they were yet to come, yet it all began in that moment. I owe you a tremendous amount of gratitude for that.

    As the crises mount and the decline accelerates that a younger me secretly hoped for to validate himself as right, I feel none of the “I told you so” pleasure I was counting on. I just hear the question I now often ask to those who remind me of my younger self, whether harping on conspiracies, extraterrestrials, the impending arrival of a murderous comet or whatever it may be.

    “Well… what are you gonna do about it?”

    Thanks again for all your work over the years,


  70. Maxine, huzzah! I’m delighted to hear this.

    Kashtan, I think it’s partly that the decline has gotten so obvious that people who were happy to treat it as a fun make-believe game are backing away frantically now that it’s real. Partly, too, as a result of all that make-believe, a great many people in the peak oil scene back in the day used the future as a dumping ground for various fantasies, and as it becomes increasingly clear that those aren’t going to happen — that there won’t be any sustainable ecovillages where coteries of middle-class people can ride out the decline in comfort, for example — the spectacle of the long, slow, gritty decline I’ve been talking about all along has spooked a lot of people. As for the left, it was always too wedded to the religion of progress to handle this well; take away the fantasy that the world can be endlessly improved, and what do they have left? So they’ve become the most fervent defenders that the status quo has, and peak oil is anathema to them.

    Celadon, you’re most welcome. We’re not quite to the salvage era yet — the era of scarcity industrialism is dawning around us hard right now — but those countries that fail to make the transition in good shape will be catapulted into salvage economics sooner than they expect.

    James, you haven’t been reading this blog long, I see.

    Cloven, you’ll hear no argument from me. The historical accident that made the exploitation of oil as an energy source lag so far behind the exploitation of coal made the twentieth century extravagantly prosperous without reversing any of the trends of decline that were already well established in European society. The twilight of art and music — well, I’ve discussed that at great length elsewhere; the short form is that any set of art forms, such as Western classical music, has a finite creative space, and when that’s used up, there are no longer any further options for new creative work, other than the deliberate pursuit of bad taste — that is to say, modern art. That’s when a civilization changes from its creative phase to its performative phase. That can last a long time and give rise to great beauty — Egypt spent most of its recorded history in performative modes of art, aside from the brief outburst of modernist bad taste during the time of Akhenaten — but Western civilization isn’t likely to endure anything like so well.

    CS2, it’s going to be a mix, of course — frantic pillaging in some places balanced by the collapse of the mechanisms of pillar in others. Eventually the latter will win out.

    Justin, you’re most welcome and thank you.

    Gawain, of course there were. The late Bronze Age collapse was sharply geographically limited to the eastern Mediterranean coastal region. Assyria further east was in fine shape, and the Elamite Empire in what’s now western Iran had its period of greatest wealth and power when nations were imploding further west. The Indus Valley civilization was in rapid decline by then but the Vedic Aryan culture was rising fast, Shang dynasty China was in full flower, and the Olmec civilization was rising in central America. Most of the world didn’t even notice the collapse in far-off Khatti and Akhaia, and the great wars between Egypt and the peoples of the sea passed them by completely.

    John, er, maybe the people you know forgot about that. I’ve been writing about it for more than a decade and a half. There are alternatives to fossil fuel agriculture, and there are also emergency workarounds that will doubtless get put in place, but yes, a lot of people will go hungry or get a lot poorer due to food prices, and some will starve.

    Cliff, excellent! The only hope the Biden administration has at this point is to make its rivals look even worse. That’s a tall order, but trying to force intemperate reactions and political violence is probably the only chance Biden has at this point. As for the Bad Cat et al., well, yeah. It’s a weird detail of life these days that everyone seems to have at least one topic about which they can’t think clearly.

    Kmgunnart, welcome to the journey! It’s a long challenging road, no question, but I’m glad to hear that you’ve proceeded along it.

    Discwrites, I’m glad to hear this. The more people think in those terms, the better a chance there will be of doing something useful in the face of crisis.

    Ganv, it’s absolutely standard in societies in terminal decline for the language of the elites to detach itself completely from the grubby realities on the ground, and this is a good example. One comment I’d make, though, is that most forms of child abuse are regulated by state governments, not the federal government — and so was abortion until 1973. Roe vs. Wade was one product of a period of uncontrolled centralization of power in the US, using whatever word games seemed useful at the time. Look into the role of executive orders in today’s politics as another example; nothing in the Constitution gives the president the power to enact laws by decree, and yet that’s what executive orders amount to. Now that our imperial era is over and the costs of centralization outweigh the benefits, expect a lot of things to be turned back over to the states.

    Emhyr, thanks for this. One thing I hope to see, and am trying to help bring about, is a resurgence of exactly the sort of moderate Burkean conservatism that would fill the bill you’ve outlined — a conservatism that actually knows how to, you know, conserve, and that recognizes that no human being has the wisdom to tell everyone how to live their lives. I hope I can help make that happen.

    Clay, thanks for this. You’re right — not an impressive spectacle.

    Raymond, ouch. Yeah, that’s worth reflecting on.

    Popmythology, there’s always time to stop making things worse for yourself, and that all by itself is a huge step that most people won’t take. Since we’re facing a long descent and not a sudden collapse, furthermore, there’s much more room for improvisation on the way down, and there’s certainly time to start gearing up for that and to lay in some preparations that’ll help cushion the rough spots. I’ll be discussing all this as we proceed.

    William, you’re welcome and thank you! Congrats on the new adventure and I hope everything goes splendidly.

    Luke, there are a lot of people just now who feel trapped the way you do. I’ll be discussing that as we proceed, because there are ways out of the labyrinth.

    Marcio, yes, that could be one of the factors at work. It would certainly be worth looking into.

    Grover, trust me, I know the feeling!

    Pygmycory, I wish I could disagree with that. You’re right, though — the Downfall Wars are just beginning.

    Ezra, consider the following graph:

    (That spike toward the end is the product of fracking, of course.)

    Now consider this one:

    It was the gap between rising consumption and faltering production that made it possible for the Arab oil embargo to send prices skyrocketing. Before then? The US could simply have ramped up production further, the way it did during both World Wars.

    Kimberly, you might be able to plant a peach tree right now.

    Pygmycory, it sounds like a good idea to me!

    Cliff, ouch. That’s just sad.

    Mister N, interesting. Okay, so noted.

    Jenxyz, um, I have bad news for you; one in five people who buy EVs end up going back to conventional cars. EVs have plenty of downsides, and the most important is that those electrons don’t come out of thin air; most of them are generated by burning fossil fuels, and the inefficiencies involved in converting heat to electricity are such that there’s very little net savings in carbon output, if any. If you want to push for people driving less, I’m all for that — I have never owned a car, and never intend to — but don’t get caught by the hype that claims we can keep a modern lifestyle if only everyone adopts some technogimmick or other.

    Lainie, the one thing I can think of to say in response is “shift happens!” 😉 Yes, it’s going to be a wild ride, and it doesn’t have to be entirely negative by any means — but it’ll be rough in places. Welcome to the journey…

  71. Here in Sydney I’ve been enjoying oranges and lemons from our small front yard. I grow apples, passionfruit and figs too which the possums like so don’t get to eat many of those, and don’t want to net them and deny a possum a meal. This would all be very cosy for the long decent. However China is doing its best to build bases in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands which is very unsettling. Without USA to save us, the future is not looking great. Living on an island has its difficulties if attacked. Not possible to walk, drive or catch a train across the border to another country.

  72. On the US dollar, although I’m a Canadian, I used to tell a joke about how the $1 should have an M-4 on it, the $5 a tank, the $10 an F-35, the $20 a B-52, the $50 an aircraft carrier and the $100 a mushroom cloud. I don’t think that joke is going to fly in respectable circles these days

  73. “Look around you, dear reader, as you go about your daily life, and compare what you see now to what you saw a decade or two ago, or longer if your memory reaches that far.”

    I can remember back to the Kennedy era and I’ve been witnessing the decline you speak of all my life. The roads used to be smooth but have not been repaired in any serious way in over 20 years. The new schools that were built are closing for lack of students. Good decent paying jobs have been disappearing, at least for the working class. The “bad” neighborhoods -I’m not talking slums necessarilly, just down at the heels places- are now the norm and the “good” neighborhoods the exception.

    Yet there are millions who have trouble seeing it. Their lives are comfortable. Their neighborhoods are new, or at least not old. Their cars are new, or at least not old. Their kids go to good schools. They still plan trips to Disney. They see the deline, if they see it at all, as a series of isolated incidences happening only in certain places. They are blithely unaware that the decline is much larger than the “growth” they enjoy.

    This is just the built environment being observed. It’s even harder to see the other things you mention. I’d put the end of the American empire further back, to at least Vietnam. The energy supply will be ok, we’ve got dilithium crystals coming soon. Climate change is dealt with by denial. It’s hard to see what one refuses to see.

    I wonder how long it will take to reach the tipping point where the majority see the deline ? I wonder if it will mae any difference?

  74. Given the persistant and severe low water levels in many of the reservoirs, Phoinix seems dangerously blase. And how do they not have summer watering restrictions? Vancouver had (mild) summer watering restrictions back in the 1990s.

  75. #64 Kimberly Steele,
    “Maybe I’ll be able to plant my lemon trees and my fig tree in the ground towards the end of my life!”

    You are in luck! I just bought 2 Chicago Hardy Fig trees. Mine are small but you can buy bigger. They claim hardy for zones 5-9. Boston area is 6-7. Plant in protected south facing area to survive deep cold snaps. Zones are just averages after all. Dark fruit, my favorite, medium size.

  76. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks for not being lured to either the bright side, or the dark side in this discussion because the future is far more nuanced and inevitable. 🙂

    Hey, rising costs and flat incomes says one thing to me: increasing poverty. And yes, I too expect economic ructions sometime this year, but what, how and when is something of a mystery. But it’ll happen for sure. Of late I’m reading stories of reckless lending practices and the consequences thereof as interest rates rise (i.e. costs rise) and incomes remain the same. Interestingly (please excuse the pun), deposit rates have not also risen. I’m uncertain that it is such a good look for the banksters to crow about record profits at such a time. Crazy times.



  77. @JMG, As a student who is getting ready to graduate and enter the workforce I find myself unsure what the best thing to do with my money. I’m interested in investing it, but if the economy tanks (which it seems is inevitable) there goes the money. I currently reading your Green Wizardry and plan on investing in food storage and other options for when the economy goes belly up but was wondering what suggestions do you have regarding investing or where to put money?

  78. Also, if you have any book suggestions on dealing with money/investing would love to hear them! Thanks

  79. Reggie, I remember that essay well! I was living in Ashland, Oregon in those days, and I knew people who talked a great line about peak oil who were also 9/11 truthers and the rest of it. I’m very glad to hear that it helped get you out of an unproductive set of narratives.

    Lou, either you’re going to have to commit to some serious military investment in alliance with India and Japan, or you’re going to have to get used to your new Chinese overlords. Life in one of the client states of a declining empire is a rough road to walk.

    Justin, funny. Accurate, too.

    Christopher, a century from now, when the United States has a quarter of its present population numbers, most people work in subsistence agriculture or scavenge metal from urban ruins, electricity is something that only rich people have, and those last bootprints on the Moon are being covered bit by bit by an undisturbed and ever-thickening layer of meteoritic dust, there will still be people who insist that the decline isn’t happening and we’ll be on our way back to 20th century levels of prosperity any day now. Other people will call them Old Believers and think of them as religious fanatics — which, after all, is what they will be.

    Chris, the same thing’s going on here, except that home sales are dropping already. It’s anyone’s guess what will break first, but I suspect we’re going to see some serious economic convulsions shortly.

    Alex, invest it in learning useful skills. Money as such — that is to say, the set of abstract tokens we now use as a medium for the transfer of real goods and services — has no intrinsic value at all, and the money system these days is the rigged casino to beat all rigged casinos; learning useful skills that will enable you to function outside the money economy, either by producing your own goods and services or by exchanging directly with other individuals, is a better bet. As for book suggestions, please do yourself a massive favor and read John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Great Crash 1929 — that’ll teach you to recognize speculative bubbles and save you a world of hurt.

  80. Northwind Grandma (#2)

    There’s that old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together”. I think it’s natural for a person to want to be with others who are like them, especially in times of stress. The person may define that by race, or class, or maybe just whoever was around when they were growing up with no other qualification. FWIW,
    I experienced that once when visiting another country. No one was actively hostile but I felt different and not welcome at all. Before that I’d read books by brown and black people. But this I felt in my gut. Alienation maybe, combined with a quiet edge of danger? A sense of standing out and not belonging. I live in rural New England…it’s very white here (like me) so I hadn’t experienced this before.

    The thing about CA wanting to spit you out…do you think it wants to be part of Mexico again?

  81. JMG said:
    “It’s a weird detail of life these days that everyone seems to have at least one topic about which they can’t think clearly.”

    I think this is something worth mulling and meditating on.
    I have noticed the same thing almost everywhere. Like rebel journalists that didn’t buy the coflu hysteria but immediately jumped on “kill the wabbit!” russian dance. Or people that predict the coming of the global corporate dictatorship but never doubt the power of AI to control us.

    Can I offer one simplistic possible explanation?
    We live in times of decay, decadence and collapse. Any person that is open to understanding can see that most people will never learn and behave more or less like automatons having their buttons pushed by their owners.

    For people like me, I can accept that. I am concerned only with my family and my local environment. Yes, it’s painful to let go of my illusions about the capabilities of the human brain or the greatness of the human soul, but I will survive.

    For someone that is trying to reach people, the combination of the unstoppable decline and the realizations about human nature must be a big shock.

    So we have selection going on (in evolutionary sense). People that accept they cannot change the world just give up trying. So the only people left are people with enough blind spots to keep them hopefully chugging away at their keyboard.

    Which makes JMG even more interesting. I know you have a certain optimism about humanity’s future (ecotechnic societies) but I think what keeps you goins is a certain realization of the grandness of the cycles of life in the universe and a dedication in sharing that vision. Like I mentioned above – I am glad you are still doing this!

  82. Alex S., re: investing

    If I may, a little land wouldn’t be a bad idea, for starters – somewhere you could have a garden, cut firewood, plant fruit and such. We lived way off-grid for years, but now live on 0.2 acre in town. Even that gives me a fair-size sunny garden patch, though, and solar access for PV and passive heating – potentially another thing to think about.

    Otherwise, I like to imagine what industries will prosper as descent rolls on. Think about what will be indispensable as we get poorer – woodstove manufacturing, for example, or tools for working the land, Ball canning jars, for that matter. Avoid anything that requires an economy of scale, or an expanding middle class.

    Something to think about anyway.

    I don’t know what you studied in college, but think about developing a fall-back skill along the same lines. My primary income is a regular job, and one that won’t weather very well at that, but we have a great little herbal products company that my wife runs in addition to our household economy and homeschooling our two children. I’m hopeful I can come back to it when the time is right.

    Cheers, and best of luck.

  83. @Mister Nobody

    “WRT your response to Lo, the “morning after” pill that triggers a spontaneous abortion…”

    Whatever your feelings about abortion might be, if you take a pill and it triggers an abortion, it is not ‘spontaneous’ in any sense. Calling it that is an abuse of language.

  84. Global Peak Oil apparently occurred in 2018 (unless we have another production spike, which seems unlikely).

    Several people (Rod, no. 1; James Aranda. no. 42) have mentioned Gail Tverberg, who has two basic insights about all this. One is that rather than purely a supply problem, as in Peak Oil, oil pricing also faces limits of affordability, since the oil-based global economy tends to slump when oil prices are high, forcing them down again (possibly below what would be profitable for the oil industry). Her second insight has to do with the complexity and interconnectedness of the global economy (her Leonardo Sticks metaphor)–and this is where the Seneca Curve / Cliff vs. Long Descent debate will be decided.

    Tverberg argues that economies must continue growing in order to survive (but ours is stagnant at best), much like sharks must continue swimming in order to breathe, or a bicyclist must move forward in order not to fall down; and that in our globalized, interconnected world, the collapse of regions or sectors threatens to bring down the whole system. On one hand, this seems to match what we are presently observing with food / fuel shortages, supply chain problems and so on. On the other hand, Tverberg has been predicting immanent doom for as long as I’ve been reading her, and it has not happened yet. Perhaps the apparent gulf between the Seneca Curve and Long Descent models would narrow if each side could be more specific about what it expects, and when, but such a degree of prophetic precision is probably unrealistic.

    Ben (no. 7), or his economist friend, asks what would happen if the US dollar loses its status as the global reserve currency. In fact it has been declining at a fairly steady rate of about one percentage point per year, and is presently about 59 percent of global trade. Is Ben’s economist friend calculating what would happen if the percentage falls to zero? But that hardly seems plausible, especially when one considers the present range of alternatives to the US dollar. If the US economy can keep expanding (as Tverberg doubts), this could offset any decline caused by a shift to euros or gold or Bitcoin or what have you.

    Predictions of an immanent Ice Age were based in part by the fact that we are living in an interglacial period (which is expected to continue for tens of thousands of years more).

    On rising sea levels, “300 feet” would take centuries. While the answers to “how much? how fast?” are still unclear, a figure of several meters per century would be reasonable. This is still quite a lot, especially when one considers how much of the world’s most important real estate is located at or near this elevation.

    CS2 (no. 44), Canada’s forest cover is apparently 40 percent of its land base, and prairies another 20 percent. For the sake of comparison, Taiwan is 60 percent forest and zero percent prairie.

  85. Well, it seems that quite a few good minds are on the same track this week! Just minutes before I turned to this blog, I was watching the latest video of Chris Martensen (Peak Prosperity) which is entitled “Will You Starve To Death This Year?”
    Despite the alarming title, Chris goes through the ugly truth about the combination of high fuel prices (especially diesel – the “workhorse” of the global economy, which we need to power farm equipment, trucks, trains, heavy machinery, etc.), severe shortage of fertilizers, and other factors that pretty much guarantees that there is going to be a severe global crop shortage this year. For years Chris has been advising people to “plant a garden” and as he lives in rural Massachusetts he has a big garden himself: his message has special potency this spring. The things I like about Chris are that he presents a lot of good data and he “gets it” regarding petroleum being THE resource that drives the global economy.

    Strangely enough, I seem to be going ‘backwards’ this year. Last year I was maintaining 500 square feet of vegetable gardens split over 3 suburban properties and was able to donate over one tonne of food to the local food bank (besides feeding my own family); while this year, for various reasons, I am limited to my own smallish backyard garden. That’s the way life goes sometimes. I hope that it is only a one-year setback. Fortunately, my numerous spinach seedlings survived the winter under coldframes despite being buried under huge amounts of snow for more than half of the season – and now in early May we are having abundant harvests!

    Of course, there is more to the crisis ahead than “just” food and I am relieved that we will be returning to some of the familiar themes from more a decade ago in upcoming posts. Back then there was a feeling of preparing for an eventual crisis or for the long-haul; this time there is a feeling that the Grim Reaper is casing the neighbourhood and could knock on our door any day now!

  86. @JMG:

    “I live 80 feet above mean sea level.”

    And so do I! Even though the sea is not far away, I’m on a hill, locally called a “mountain”. But, I don’t see how this helps matters much, if most of the local infrastructure is lower down.

    As I said, I’m sorry if this is repetitive – surely others have had the same question – but I’m trying to figure out how quickly this all becomes a problem.

  87. Ahoj JMG! Early in the essay you describe the Alaska North Slope as being “drained”. How so? Isn’t there a substantial amount of untapped oil remaining? That’s what I took away, anyway, in seeing Biden and Trump differ on whether to drill 50% of the land versus 80%, respectively. I’m not justifying doing so, by the way, I’m just confounded by the North Slope because Republicans always claim there are loads of oil left to drill while Dems vehemently defend it (for whatever their scheming reasons—environmentalism obviously the token one).

    Sending power.

  88. Have you seen the data that fed into the USDA’s plant hardiness zone averages? I suspect it is the same tampered data used by the climate Armageddon alarmists to create the hockey stick charts. Tony Heller at Real Climate Science has done some amazing work outlining the corrupt science behind the global warming/climate change agenda as well as digging up historical records of extreme climatic events that counter the prevailing narratives: As a computer scientist, he wrote a little piece of software that scrubs all national weather stations databases and allows one to analyze the entire dataset (many going back to 1880’s) using a myriad of parameters. Upon an analysis of all of the weather stations in my state, looking at mean temperatures, high, low, spring, summer and fall averages and extremes, I’ve concluded that the whole narrative is BS and something nefarious is at play.

    A friend of mine in VT shared a photo of the wall of a local sugar shack where multiple generations have recorded their first boil, going back to the early 1900’s. The average first boil was within a 1 week margin of all the dates listed… a far cry from the, “the maple syrup industry will cease to exist in [insert major maple syrup producing region] in [insert politically convenient timeframe]!!!” message I’ve heard so many times.

    Just some food for thought.

    Lastly, have you seen the work of Walter Jehne?

    His work illustrates that there is a direct correlation between localized and regional weather/climate and soil carbon content (healthy and robust water cycle) of said region. I don’t have the link handy, but one of their larger research ranches in Western Australia demonstrated that (using holistically managed cattle primarily) they could alter rainfall across a large swath of land by restoring soil carbon content and biological activity and fostering timber and riparian buffers. I forget the figures, but from the ranch under study to a neighboring ranch, yearly rainfall amounta were orders of magnitude in difference–granted Western Aus is one of the driest places on earth, it was something like 30cm vs 5cm.

    Here in central VA, I’ve seen this phenomenon first hand at a micro scale. Our farm has been holistically managed for well over a decade, and rarely suffers the extreme impacts of a heat or dry spell–say feeding hay In June for example. Head south about 12 miles where square mile after square mile is over grazed and bush hogged to oblivion, and the soils are rock hard, 1-3% organic matter, and can barely absorb a 1/4″ rainfall event without severe runoff, if they get the rain in the first place. Obviously geology plays a part, but just from a water holding and cloud seeding standpoint, the difference is noticeable, if not stark.


  89. Great post! I’ve been reading your blog since 2011, and it’s definitely helped prepare me for what’s happening now and what’s to come. It’s nice to see a review like this.

    The thing about growing zones is that the climate really does seem to be going more extreme. So yes, we have spring two weeks early, but then a frost two weeks late! Warmer highs, but random, weird lows too. This is making it difficult for a lot of plants. I know many orchardmen who are having a tough time, losing crops to late frosts and so on. Even with crops like pawpaws which evolved in the fickle eastern US springs. I am trying to grow a wide variety of crops, perennials and annuals, with the old motto of “throw enough mud at the ceiling and some of it sticks”. So, growing plants from further south (mostly stock from northern populations though) as well as very hardy plants. This is the time for opportunistic generalists. 🙂

    Oh, and for the person wanting tropical fruits in Canada: try pawpaw(Asimina triloba) and American persimmon(Diospyros virginiana) Both are from southern USA but are hardy far to the north, are difficult, if not impossible to find at stores, and are absolutely delicious!

  90. @cliff (and others) regarding lake mead

    Here is the current level
    Here is a doc that shows the “tiers” of cutbacks,Arizona%20must%20cut%20400%2C000%20AF.

    so, they are 4 feet away from tier 2 cuts — from what I hear the farmers get cut first — but eventually it gets real. How real? Gradually, then suddenly 🙂

    I just read (here that lake powell (upstream) is reducing it’s outflow as well to conserve power generation. They say it won’t affect lake mead…. yah, right

    It will be interesting to watch!


  91. JMG,

    Given the hysterical state of the public discourse these days, what’s your view about how this will play out psychologically moving forward? Is the current psychosis only going to get worse or can we expect some kind of re-normalisation even if only for brief periods of time?

  92. Nice to return to the peak oil/catabolic collapse topic, which is what drew me in to your sphere initially, though the Arch Druid part was a real attraction as well. About the year 2000 a friend, Antony Boys, whom I first met then and now live in biking (or a half-day hike) distance was speaking to an audience of people attracted to green politics in Tokyo. He said the kind of society the collapse resulting from oil depletion was likely to produce in Japan was what we could see then in North Korea. I think that was very perceptive. Japan and Korea are both Confucian societies and likely to respond similarly to resource constraint, war and international isolation. Tony’s speech had enough of an impact on me that I was motivated to pay attention to collapse as something in the relatively near future and start taking steps toward more resilience. You’ve done a lot to help guide me and others on that journey, and I want to thank you for that.
    All the events now and the attention to Elon Musk and his goofy Mars project must have had its impact on me. The other day I dreamed that the authorities were rounding up dissidents like me and sending us off to Mars–the cruelest punishment imaginable.

  93. NomadicBeer, but it’s not as simple as that. Many people have one thing they can’t think clearly about, but think with fine clarity about other things. One news aggregator website I follow regularly is completely cuckoo about Covid-19 — the people who run it seem to have convinced themselves that it’s deadlier than bubonic plague and can only be stopped by running every breath you take through air filters — but they’re consistently skeptical and thoughtful about the corporate media’s hype over the Russo-Ukraine war. There are other people who have no time for Covidiocy but are convinced that Donald Trump really, truly is Adolf Hitler. That’s what makes it so weird.

    Ecosophian, thank you.

    Bei, one of the reasons I tend to be rather skeptical of Gail’s logic is that she’s predicted the imminent collapse of the global economy getting on for a dozen times now, and been consistently wrong. Meanwhile decline continues on its steady path.

    Bofur, here the infrastructure isn’t lower down. I’m not on a hill; as I noted earlier, all of East Providence is on bluffs overlooking an estuary, and critical infrastructure is all up here too. Since very fast glacial melting is measured in inches of sea level rise per year, I’m not too worried.

    Ryan, the North Slope isn’t completely drained but production has been dropping steadily for years, despite ongoing drilling:

    MA, it’s always possible to massage the data to get the results you want, and that’s just as true for climate science critics as it is for the corporate-government orthodoxy they claim to challenge. I’ve lived in four different parts of the US, and in every one of those places, climate-zone recommendations based on data from the mid-20th century were hopelessly inaccurate in the same direction: the climate was warmer than those sources predicted. I’ve also heard from hundreds of other people (being a minor internet celebrity has its advantages) who talked about how the growing season is lengthening year over year, annual highs creeping up, and so on. Thus my belief that both sides in the current canned debate are wrong, and the climate is changing but not in an apocalyptic manner.

    Isaac, that’s exactly what you’d expect from increasing the insulation value of the atmosphere. Robust crops that can handle variable climate are worth your while; have you considered buckwheat?

    Simon, I don’t think there’s a single answer to that. I think some people will shake themselves out of it and some will ride the crazy train all the way to its destination. Depending on where you are, and who you have to deal with, it may get very weird indeed.

    PatriciaO, you’re most welcome! I’m sorry to say that the North Koreanization of Japan is all too plausible as things proceed.

  94. I’ll take it that I’m acclimating reasonably well that in your last picture my first thought was, ooh, there’s a nice home for someone if you can find a glazier. Although here in Australia, you’d need to go through so much damn bureaucracy that you’d probably never get it officially approved as a dwelling anyway 🙂 And neither would your hempcrete house, probably. The sooner bureaucratic control withers the better – although maybe I’ll be ruing that when the good obedient liberalfascist citizens go Mad Max when Daddy’s not there to tell them what to do. Or maybe I’ll be wrong and I’m underestimating the depths of change that can occur in a citizenry the most locked down in the world (yay, we won!) I hope I’m wrong and I look forward very much to this series. You are deeply appreciated 🌻🙏 (if and when I begin earning money again I will be glad to support your work but unfortunately I can’t at present).

  95. @JMG: Thank you for the graphs.

    Also, I forgot to mention, but I took your recommendation and began reading the Druid Handbook. It’s been fine reading so far, and I’ve enjoyed the history provided – had to get a specific notebook to keep up. Looking forward to the information on rituals and holidays.

  96. @Isaac Salamander Hill – Johnny is in better luck than that – pawpaw is already native and grows wild parts of southern Ontario 😉

    I have a few friends who have been introducing it here on Vancouver Island with success as well (we also successfully grow olives on the drier gulf islands now, figs, and watermelons and cantaloupe. My neighbours almost got bananas a couple years ago – never fully ripened).

  97. In response to Kashtan’s question about the lack of current interest in peak oil, and in addition to JMG’s very perceptive answer, I would add that since the peak in 2018/19, we have had covid, supply chain issues, and now the war. I am not implying any conspiracy, but these events have made it quite easy to pretend that the oil decline is just a temporary event and we will go back to ” normal growth” when they are over.
    The right also says that all we need to do is drill/mine more and everything will be fine, whereas the left says that all we need to do is stop using fossil fuels completely and use “renewable “energy and everything will be fine. I think actually admitting peak oil and the need for a contracting economy would tank the financial markets, and many of those in power are aware of it. I think one reason many in the west favor prolonging the war is that it gives a cover for peak oil, in addition to providing huge profits for the war industry.

  98. JMG (no, 97), if you and Gail could somehow quantify what you respectively mean by “decline” and “collapse” (i.e. “how much, how soon”?) your positions might not turn out to be that different. (Venezuela looked like what I would call “collapse” several years ago, and yet there is somehow still a Venezuela.) I am less interested in predictions for their own sake, though, as in the reasoning behind them.

  99. Dear John Michael Greer,

    I really appreciated this article. The past few weeks, I’ve frankly been kinda upset with all the talking about the Russia/Ukraine War. (I think it’s important to keep in mind it’s like the War in Twilight’s Last Gleaming) It’s a comparison I haven’t seen heavily mentioned yet but it’s worth noting. I’ve stopped reading Howard Kunstler’s Blog because he’s too off the rails on the War topic.

    I think moving forward it’s important for the United States to keep in mind what will keep us a viable nation here on this continent…. How the US could deal with it’s own overpopulation/energy usage etc. IDK just thinking out loud.

  100. I have a relative that lives in Las Vegas. He likes the dry heat there better than the Midwest humid summers and snowy winters. He hasn’t said anything about water shortages, or moving yet, though as a Pentecostal Christian he has quite a different twist on events than those of us here at Ecosophia. I don’t doubt he follows some of the beliefs swirling within the charismatic/evangelical Christian community. Presently, many of these groups are ratcheting up the warnings of how close the rapture is, when they will be snatched away out of the mess to leave the rest of us writhing and howling through the Tribulation and Second Coming. This is because of an interpretation of some Bible verses indicating that in the end times Russia and China will march upon Israel, so the Russian-Ukrainian war is spiking their attention. Of course, there was a lot of talk about end times and how close was the rapture back when I was a Christian in the 90’s, so this could just be a common cycle within a branch of the Christian church. They have some leverage among conservative politicians however, so there beliefs will be felt by all.

    I found these pictures of the Zelensky-Pelosi-Schiff meeting. Are they the ones Clay had in mind?

    Oh, and even though food shortages have been going on throughout the pandemic, it’s now all Russia’s fault.

    Of course things are worse because of the war, but please don’t pretend everything was rosy previously!

    Jenxyz (#68) says: “The US people who have switched to EVs: what percent have returned to gasoline-only autos? I speculate zero.”

    I know of one that is planning to. He was disappointed in the limited range and lack of charging stations for interstate trips. Plus, he had the type that they recently warned you not to park in the garage or near other vehicles or buildings, as it could catch fire. But switching to a gasoline vehicle doesn’t protect you from spontaneous combustion, as a recent warning for Hyundai and Kia cars shows:

    Joy Marie

  101. These reflective essays are always appreciated JMG, like a good sermon at church stating the things we’ve heard a million times but always need to hear again because it makes a person reflect on how they’ve lived their life.

    I started reading The Archdruid Report 15 years ago, the spring of 2007 when my life was in tumult after having suffered an assault in the prior fall that left me with some brain injury and a bunch of damage to the face, which I’d mostly recovered from. I quit my computer internship with a steel company, which would have either let me go a few months later as the economy took a big dip, or may have helped lead me into one of those PMC positions and lifestyles which would have largely made me ignore the things gleaned from your essays. My life continued taking all kinds of twists and turns, from a radio station, to China and marrying a Russian, through the task of finding a job in this area which had long ago begun the process of living in decline so that I could have the help of family and some stability so that I could then go through the process of immigration paperwork submitted in conjunction with signs of the moon and prayers so that luckily my wife and son got here from China in November of 2019, months before the pandemic. We’ve since welcomed another one into our family and have managed to get by despite my having decided to leave my job so I could help with the child and give my wife some opportunity to try earning some money through her passion of painting. There’s been all sorts of twists and turns personally, but your writings have been always helpful in considering how to proceed next and what to look out for. In fact, I credit a lot of my leaving China when I did with a combination of what was suggested in your writing with what I was seeing taking place there, namely that the laws for foreigners to enter and stay were getting stricter because we weren’t as desired.

    Now, it’s looking very likely that I’ll have a job with one of the Class 1 railroads in the near future, which for some reason I’ve felt a bit called to and am a bit amazed how everything fell into place for this opportunity. Hopefully, despite the insanity of our elite classes, they continue to recognize the importance of rail for transporting goods and continue encouraging rail opportunities. We’ll see. I suppose a lot depends on the next crisis that hits and if people continue trying to ignore the realities around them. The ability to ignore reality really has been the most entertaining part of all this spectacle. People around me seem even more determined to go on with life as normal, especially those boomer folks. The ones my age, 40ish and younger, seem a bit more willing to discuss the economic issues and sort of developing loose knit community in times of need.

    Anecdotally, the weather in Northeast Minnesota has by and large been pretty normal after a late start to winter. We finally lost the snow on the ground about a week ago and the lakes are just beginning to open up. Maples here will be blooming about on time and my allergies are kicking in now as about usual. If this had been last year though, the snow melted at the end of February and we’d been as dry as West Texas by the time mid-June came around. That is to say, the weather is following some patterns but has been unpredictably extreme. I’ll personally enjoy shorter winters like we’d had the years prior to this one, but the cost for that unfortunately were some of the worst fires around here in decades. It’s really hard to imagine what things are going to be like, especially for my kids. The best bit of wisdom I can hope to pass on to them is to learn to enjoy changes because they’re likely in for some wild ones.

  102. I have been thinking about various trade or craft niches that might do well in the era of decline and also allow an opportunity to use todays digital tokens of money to buy supplies that can enhance these undertakings. This is in responses to folks on this blog asking about things they can do to prepare for the future while putting the money they might have in to something safer than stocks.

    Option 1 : Learn to braze and solder well using a basic acetylene torch. Many things can be built or repaired using low temp soldering, brass brazing or silver brazing. I have built 10 excellent bikes using nothing but a hacksaw, files and a torch with both silver and brass brazing. I have made furniture hardware, a throttle linkage for a boat and appliance repair parts using the simple but skill intensive process. With modest funds decades of brazing rods, and flux as well as hacksaw blades and good quality used files can be stockpiled in a fairly small space and they will all last for a very long time.

    Option 2, Become an expert at sharpening both wood and metal drill bits, and collect quality sharpening tools and grinding wheels and stone. . Dull Rusty or just unwanted drill bits can be had very very cheaply in many places. While ordinary drill bits may be cheap and easy to get now, they will be considered technical wonders in the deindustrial age. Also collect hand drills ( which are also very cheap now in the era of battery drills) .

  103. Jeanne, I hadn’t heard of Distraction. Would you say it qualifies as “deindustrial” in the way Into the Ruins and now New Maps have used the word? And if it is, and if you see this comment — would you have any interest in possibly reviewing it for New Maps? If you’re the Jeanne I’m thinking of, I really enjoyed your stories in Into the Ruins and I’d love to be in touch. Here’s a page with contact info for me.

  104. I used to have difficulty understanding how we could be experiencing a decline in physical infrastructure when technological capability continues to improve. E.g., why are the streets in my city becoming more and more potholed every year considering that asphalt paving is not rocket science? Then I realized that what we are losing is not technological know-how (yet), but instead the social and political capacity to maintain basic living standards for the population at large. It must have been the case that the Romans did not wake up one morning suddenly no longer knowing how to maintain aqueducts, but instead the elite decided to keep resources to themselves rather than share a diminishing pie with the larger community, and so the technological know-how was slowly forgotten.

  105. Ever-wise and stimulating Archdruid, when you have brought up the climate change movement in the way you have done in this essay (and on other occasions), I go to my bookshelf and extract the browning pages and crumbling-spined copy of “The Weather Machine” by Nigel Calder, copyright 1974. It stands up surprising well. The final sentence of the book struck me as particularly apt this time through: But my dogged optimism flags when I think of one man’s shipwreck being another man’s harvest, and of climatologically well-informed nations gaining money or strategic advantage from other nations’ disasters.


  106. One further aspect you’ve mentioned in the past of a state of decline is when the proletariat become sufficiently dissatisfied and no longer support the elite nor subscribe to their views and, in fact, go off in a different cultural directions. Recent evidence, for example, shows that there was no violent invasion of Britain by Saxons, that the number of Saxon migrants was quite small. One historian put it, the ordinary people just decided that Saxon culture was cooler and adopted it and became ‘Saxon’ in much the same way, across the nations of the former Soviet Union, youth have been adopting western fashions and culture; no invasion, but to an historian in the far future it might look like one.
    But I’m struggling to figure out when, in the decline and collapse of an empire or a civilization of the past, has the elite itself decided to commit cultural suicide the way our “woke” elite is doing?
    Case in point: The dehabilitation of one Eggerton Ryerson. The full version is here:
    The short version is that this 19th Century Methodist minister and educator who did as much as anyone else ever did to help the indigenous people retain their culture and defend their land against intrusion by a tidal wave of European immigration, has officially been declared persona-non-Grata by indigenous hactivists using the kind of half-factual, half-made up history beloved of the Wokesters to justify their righteousness. The university which was named in his honour+ 70 years ago has just renamed itself “Toronto Metropolitan University” after a decade of persistant and increasing violence and anger directed against him, blaming him for the residential school system that was so horrible (and deadly) for so many indigenous people over the past 100 years. He had nothing to do with this system and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report explicitly says so. Nevertheless, it has become almost holy writ amongst all Woke Social Justice Warriors that he was responsible and so, finally, the cowed elites submitted to the browbeating and moral righteousness, with the board of governors embracing the fake history as true. (What this says about them as educators is an whole ‘nother issue.) Ryerson is guilty of being white, male, and in North America and therefore is officially a bad person.
    What I’m seeing here is, as David Starkey said recently, almost a replay of the Reformation at the beginning of the 16th Century with Twitter filling the role of the movable-type printing press in producing fake-news pamphlets for wide dissemination which side-step facts and rational discussion in favour of a howling self-righteous mob.
    But I can’t map this kind of self-destructive action onto the collapse of Rome or any other empire or the collapse of a civilization. I see many cases when the elites failed to adapt to change clinging to their ways until the bitter end, but I can’t see where the elite have aided and abetted the wholesale rejection of their own culture, the way our elites are currently disparaging everything European (especially those of European descent), can you? Because this is surely contributing to an acceleration of the social decay: we have education system that does not educate but indoctrinates from kindergarten through post-secondary. Heads of corporations enthusiastically embrace the frankly insulting claims of the “anti-racist” activists. Governments producing social policy based on fantastical re-imaging of history.
    Maybe Constantine adopting Christianity as the official state religion?

  107. Wer here
    well a rather uncomfortable example here. I have allergies to a grass pollen and I have to take the antihistaminians (Am I writing this correctly?) and I went to the local pharamacy to buy some.
    They told me it will be 78 złoty, I palled it was less than 30 złoty 2 mounths ago. I have to look around to find cheaper ones ASAP. On a belated note I read the newspaper were the head of the NBP (polish central bank) said the the nominal inflation rate is 11%. I knew the statistics are fumbled but this much It is not even funny.
    There are problems with medicine on the Polish German border because the germans are coming to poland buying up whole pharmacies. Even with higher prices in Poland the richer german citizens can afford to buy up things, the Euro is droping in value but still much higher than złoty
    There are even comments flying around to ban the german citizens from buying up medicine in Polish pharmacies (if they buy up enormous amounts the resulting shortages will drive up prices even higher here)
    is there anyone from germany here to describe what is the situation with prices there?
    Nobody in the goverment is doing anything about this everybody is too preocupied with the boogeyman in the East. I noticed a lot of young Ukrainian men in the area (did they bribed the guards they are newcomers here)
    The pensioners are going to have a bad time here, there is problem with waloryzacja?? (can’t find the right word) the problem is that the amount of real stuff that you can buy is dropping per capita despite rising minimal wage. I assume that similar things are happening in outher countries of the EU. Is there someone in the comments that can describe the situation in detail?
    Stay safe everyone Wer

  108. Well, I’m probably toast. Even though the Gypsy Witch cards keep turning up predictions of long life and robust good health. They also keep turning up Amor, and if anybody’s looking at me with great love and longing, it’s news to me. My daughter says I’m in good health, just old, but she’s postulating a Comfortable Class lifestyle and level of medical care – which, granted is available to me right now. and her mantra is “The technology’s so much better now!” Granted. I can walk and I can see because that’s true, and being restored to functionality was a blessing.

    However, I’ve made my wishes known about giving up and just making me comfortable and when. I think she’ll abide by them. Mam Gaia is shaking off us parasites. So be it.

    Blessing on all you gardeners and people doing useful things.

    I didn’t know East Providence had the same geography as – is it Natchez? A comfort in times of rising sea levels, yes.

  109. Another comment if I may, this time to add to the conversation.

    I’m in Christchurch NZ and the scariest thing in my immediate vicinity is, paradoxically, how little it feels like we’ve been affected by many of the crises of the past decade. I have friends who didn’t notice the 2008 crash. We had a sequence of earthquakes starting in 2010 which has brought some infrastructure renewal through insurance payouts along with the most swampy land being abandoned. Our national economy is also substantially based on farming (we grow about 10 times what our population needs) Since the covid restrictions we now have record low unemployment because of the difficulty in getting overseas workers.

    I’m sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m on the local sole parent benefit (single dad), which luckily pay’s me enough to live simply but comfortably if I supplement it with part time work tutoring at the local uni.

    I’m trying to prepare for “I don’t know what”. I’m learning to cook cheap, healthy meals for my son and I. And trying get enough of a ham radio set up that I can talk across an ocean semi-predictably without the gid, learning Morse and trying to set up a computer connection for it too.

    Any idea why NZ may be doing so well? Am I just not seeing the local problems, my expectation that it would be worse may be hiding the local aspects of the crisis from me.

    Sea Spray

  110. John Michael: most excellent and appropriate posting. Thank you.

    We live in the Irish midlands. Over the past few years (well, since the ‘collapse’ of 2007/8) we have increasingly been noticing two strange things.

    One is that cars, vans, lorries/truck, and tractors are all getting bigger. I mean really bigger. An overweight couple (yes, couple) bought a new suv some months ago and told us how happy they were that they easily get into the car.

    It is not only that all vehicles are getting bigger, but they seem to be faster and they are everywhere.

    A big question is: where does anyone go from here? Will vehicles get bigger (remember, rural road with no footpaths); will they easier to climb into; will they get faster? I cannot help but sense an impencing doom approaching in the…future?

    Second is the now constant use of digital devices. We have something called ‘bogband’ for our internet service. Use of phart smones is spotty at best (line of sight–area is hilly and out of reach). However, the number of people with fast and faster broadband; smaller phones and pads and all that comes with it is expanding rapidly.

    The number of drivers (of all types of vehicles) using such devices is also growing. Now some vehicles appear to have screens in them for navigating where the driver is going. Oh, I have also been told those screens assist the driver reversing into a parking lot space (in a space that was never built for the size of vehicles in the first place).

    We seem to be in a place where vehicles are getting bigger and going faster; where digital technology is getting smaller and people are demanding faster and faster internet speed; but where does it end?

    I do not expect a crash tomorrow or the next day…necessarily.

    But combine peak oil (your posting and many comments); and climate catastrophe (your posting and many comments); and decline of empire (your posting and many comments) and combine them with the points I am making here and the big question is: how in the world can things continue as they are?

    Maybe my glasses are just fogged and I cannot see the truly odd future seemingly on the horizon.

    Keep up the great work, John. I need to head out to the donkeys; and then spend an hour weeding in the vegetables; and then, hopefully, I can get out for a 10-15km run before setting in to lunch (pitta and carrot and fennel sauerkraut).


  111. It seems to me that we are committing collective suicide on many fronts.

    Take the pandemic. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that the virus was
    originally a laboratory escapee; in other words our own creation. And regardless of
    its origins the response has certainly been a display of shooting ourselves in the
    feet over and over again. It is clear to me that we’d be better off right now had
    absolutely nothing been done apart from common sense things like staying home when sick.

    The Russo-Ukrainian war follows the same pattern. To me it was always a result of
    western actions and direct provocation starting from the fall of the Soviet Union. Now,
    as European countries are facing very cold winters devoid of Russian gas, the United States
    is facing losing the dollar’s reserve currency status and a smorgasbord of general misery has
    been set one can only marvel at the sheer magnitude of stupidity that has brought us here.
    Here at home we are busy tying up our nooses as Finland is breathlessly preparing to fill in
    the Nato application form.

    And of course, what is building an entire civilization on the foundations of a non-renewable
    resource but a drawn out suicide attempt?

    I suspect that the overall wisdom-intelligence ratio of our species must be at an all time low at
    the moment.

    To be honest, sometimes it is difficult not to burst out laughing at the absurdity of it all
    (and sometimes I do)!

    Looking forward to this series of posts!

  112. Greetings all!

    A really good essay!

    Although in Mauritius shelves of food stores are still well stocked, food prices have rocketed and there have been a few riots here and there but thankfully not much damaged. Lots of families in the lower income bracket are feeling the pinch. Gasoline and diesel prices have been hiked up and soon its going to be electricity prices.

    Just this week a private power generation company informed Government that it was ceasing operations due to high coal prices. Government is not happy as this one power station represents 17% of electrical power consumed here. Government has said it is ready to step up power generation from publicly owned stations.
    Well, we’ll see soon enough. It also appears that another power company may also soon cease operations due to rising costs.

    It’s our turn to experience interesting things…


  113. The kind of American Dream, and the act of people not responding, not preparing during the present and certain future of shortages and high prices, same thing: They no longer have control of their environment. They are allowed to do nothing. Park an extra car in the drive, paint the house a new color in the HOA, walk, bike, garden. Doesn’t matter what. Either it’s outright illegal, or some busybody will harass you out of it for reasons no one can imagine. That’s what happens when “you own nothing”: You’re deeply unhappy. You’re a renter, with no sense of ownership in your house, community, state, or nation. Why do anything? Why get involved? You have no dog in this fight. Watch some Netflix and let it go.

    Put another way? Slave mentality. The plantation owners wanted slaves? Now they’ve got them. But they’ve got no hustle anymore since everything is stolen, and nothing is produced without more beatings that are very expensive but barely effective. Never try to enslave the natives, they just slip off into the woods. What is a “Great Resignation”? If you’re running a prison system, a plantation? Sounds like collapse to me. Go beat yourself. I won’t do it for you.

  114. >that Russia and China have a second front planned

    You assume Russia and China are buddies instead of being forced into working with each other by the retards in the deep state. What I’ve seen out of China, they don’t want to get directly involved with anything that could be tracked back to them but are happy to take advantage of everyone’s misfortune (including Russia’s) to increase their power.

    I think at some point China will take back their backyard. The last real choice was those artificial islands, once those got built, it was game over. The question now is when where and how much.

  115. I wish I could remember the name of the book in which I first learned about 3 emblematic individual responses (during the 5th-6th centuries) to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. They were:
    (1) Contextualisation and consolation – St Augustine and Boethius
    (2) Partial recovery of power – Justinian
    (3) New institutions – St Benedict
    It would be interesting to speculate on what modern equivalents of these might arise. You, JMG, seem to be providing the ideology for (1). I wonder who might do (2) and (3)…

  116. This post felt like coming home and the beginning of a new journey at the same time.

    In Reggie’s reference to the 9/11 trials and your response of “so we punish the guilty parties and then what?”, does that apply to big pharma and what they’ve just done too? It really feels like if what has been forced on people the past two years isn’t address directly at the national level with trials, jail time, and other such measures, it’s the end of the country. I mean everyone expects the government to exaggerate and outright lie, but now it looks like lies have led to immense suffering at all levels, and death. I don’t see how we patriotism our way out of this one with Freedom Fries and American flag lapel pins.

  117. Greetings JMG,

    I count myself blessedly lucky to have stumbled across a copy of The Long Descent about 12 years ago. Truly, that book probably had more effect on me than any other. Over the next couple of years I read everything I could about Peak Oil, and all the rest of it, and even blogged about it for a few years.

    Equally importantly, it taught me to take action and get the hell out of the PMC lifestyle I’d found myself sleep-walking into. A radical move out of the city and back to a small market town in my home country ensued, along with the acquisition of some skillsets I never dreamed I’d have possess. For example, I can now coax mushrooms out of mouldy logs and used coffee grounds, make charcoal using old oil drums, and harvest fruit from a variety of unusual trees I planted.

    The old adage about waiting ages for a bus to show up, and then three come along at once seems to apply to civilisation shocks too. I personally had expected the type of things we are currently experiencing – food/fuel shortages, mass hysteria, inflation and war – to have showed up a few years ago. But here we are.

    In the meantime, I’ve stepped back (temporarily) into the workplace I thought I’d left behind forever. That’s one of the benefits of being able to work online. I know it can’t last, and I’ve already done my preps, so I figured I may as well scoop up some of those temporary benefits to make the long descent a bit less bumpy. I have to say, my work colleagues are wholly unprepared for the future, with many still stuck in an ‘everything is awesome’ frame of mind.

    Nevertheless, I think they are becoming increasingly uneasy. Mainly, it’s due to the elephant-in-the-room side effects from you-know-what (one had a cerebral blood clot, one suddenly developed advanced arthritis and others complain of constant brain fog and dizziness), and also the slide to war. It’s a Norwegian company, and many of my colleagues have been issued with iodine pills by the government, with some even having to potentially hand over their cars – so it’s getting harder for them to ignore the oncoming freight train.

    I expect things to get even more ‘interesting’ from here on in. With two teenage daughters on the verge of adulthood, my main concern as a parent is how they will adjust to the future that’s heading our way. I can but advise and chivvy them along with encouraging words, but I know that at the end of the day they’ll have to make lives for themselves in whatever way is available to them.

    Thanks again for setting me and others on this interesting path – and for anyone who has only just discovered said path I’d say: it’s not too late, but it’s best to get a move on.

  118. @Ezra, pardon a poorly formed question. My interest is centered around the observation, (by whom I dont recall) that it was the palace and religious centers that were destroyed while the common neighborhoods were largely left intact, that may imply the rejection and annihilation of the existing oligarchy of the time. I could envision a similar response to the failure of the current cult of progress, its priesthood (oligarchy of technocrats and labcoat priesthood) and their monuments. Perhaps Russia will mirror Assyria in this current iteration?

  119. Fair points. That anyone believes the climate does not or is not changing is just as bizarre to me as the people screaming about how in 50 years we’ll all be dead due to “catastrophic climate change”–which is an annoying amount of people in the circles I run in. My overarching point was that I hypothesize that a significant majority of the the problems we see getting associated with “anthropogenic climate change” have their root in the degradation of land and ecological processes, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to prove the point. Brad Lancaster’s work in Tuscom Arizona comes to mind, where he created a desert oasis by intelligently harvesting the rainfall. His books Harvesting Rainwater for Drylands and Beyond are profound.

    Are you familiar with Randall Carlsons work? His paleoclimatology pieces have been really eye opening to me, especially the correlations between atmospheric Co2 and relative prosperity of humanity e.g. low Co2 during the dark ages and high Co2 during the Renaissance etc.

    I have you, in large part, to thank for fostering a mindset thag breaks through binaries and takes in information irregardless of how fashionable it may be. I know too many people entrenched in whatever their political or social class affiliation dictates. My late uncle loved to joke, “I’m making headway on my self-improvement: I used to be close-minded, now I’m narrow-minded.”.

  120. JMG, your description of the progressing degeneration of Western civilization leads me to the question, how it will play out in the political sphere when the responses to the current crisis by the current elites totally fail on the one hand and the political opposition in form of right-wing populist parties are and remain minority parties, and don’t themselves manage to get anything done either?

    And, secondly, is there anything in your view about suitable ways to adapt to the current crisis which has changed since the days iof the Archdruid Report?

  121. Thank you for another thought-provoking article, JMG. I was wondering what you thought about how much solar activity influenced the Earth’s climate? In the alternative corners of the internet, there are some commentators predicting “Ice Age 2030” ahead of a dip in solar activity due from the 2030s to the 2070s (IIRC), to a level unseen since the Little Ice Age Maunder Minimum of the late 17th/early 18th century. While I doubt any perceivable effects would be quite as dramatic as some of them are predicting, I am certainly open to the possibility. I wonder if you think that this dip could effect the climate in any significant way.

    I would also be interested to know if you have any thoughts on the impact of geoengineering on the Earth’s climate? At the very least, tampering with the atmosphere at such an intimate level with everything that is going on seems like a very, very bad idea…

    @Johnny and others regarding planting with the future climate in mind:

    Vermont permaculturalist Ben Falk recommends planting a range of perennials adapted to climates varying ten degrees (C) either way of the local average. In southern Ontario, 10 degrees below average might have you looking at Arctic shrubs I guess, but it’s a useful model to bear in mind regardless of how closely you follow it. The climate can throw curveballs and even if the average temperature does continue to rise over all, there might be freak cold snaps in which your cold-weather perennials would turn out bumper crops, while the others were ruined.

  122. @Northwind Grandma

    I know some people would read what you wrote and inwardly shout “Thats raaaycist!” but I think that would (hopefully) be a misunderstanding of what you are really saying.

    I was born and raised in a small midwestern town of almost entirely people of European immigrant stock. I was part of that community, the blood, the traditions, the culture the people, it was my tribe and felt like home. But there were few job opportunities so I left to move out West.

    There was more work out West but little community. I did what I could to integrate myself and make myself a life. Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s my city rapidly grew until my part of town was over 80% immigrants from South of the border.

    The immigrants and their families were good people who were honest, ethical and trustworthy. I made many friends with them and formed a lot of good memories. But in the end they were not my tribe. Their cultural conventions, traditions and folkways were different. Not bad or wrong, just different. And my culture was increasingly absent. More and more there was this underlying feeling of alienation and homesickness.

    So I moved back to a small town in the rural Midwest and I can tell you that it was the best decision I have ever made. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be among people who share your own culture and traditions. It’s like you intimated, people of Asian or African descent or any other group who wants to be among people who share their own culture are celebrated but when people of European descent feel the same way they are all too often demonized.

    Northwind Grandma, I think where you went wrong is where you wrote “Browns are not my people.” At that point I can see why someone might interpret your sentiment as an ugly one. I will be charitable and assume that it was just a poor choice of words on your part.

  123. Where our farm is (East Texas), the weather has been more extreme – not necessarily heating up. We bought the farm during a local drought in 2012, enticed by a spring fed stream flowing mid-drought. What we have noticed is that weather extremes have increased, as in more severe thunderstorms, increased tornado activity locally, higher winds, snowfall where there was none in the immediate decades and higher rainfall averages.

    I have not taken the time to research this – it is simply what we see on the ground while working the land. When we began building, we planted a freeze hardy satsuma orange and a Meyer lemon, which was locally hardy for the last few decades. They began bearing after a couple of years, and then we had a great freeze and snowfall which killed local citrus off to the rootstock. Our home in Houston experienced the same thing – all citrus killed by freezing, even those on the southern side directly next to the home.

    I suspect shifting climate related to the current western drought, as that plays havoc with rain/snow falls and pumps heat right back into the regional air masses. I have no proof, and paleo-climatologists are loathe to predict anything in the current scientific atmosphere. Solar cycles must fit into this as well….

    We opted for this location due to flora and fauna, with the border of the central TX plateau 40 miles west, where the vegetation changes to more drought tolerant species (mesquite, live oak, etc.). We are still seeing rainfall increasing, but it now comes in deluges rather than easy rain.

    What do you use as a paleo-climate resource for your theorizing?

  124. “…that five hundred years from now the title of President of the United States might be claimed by a successful warlord in the Ohio River basin, the Charlemagne of a deindustrial dark age—is unthinkable to most people.”

    Sounds like the plot to a great novel! Deindustrial fiction has quickly become my favorite genre. I’ve had a subscription to New Maps since they first started publication.

    “The possibility that Las Vegas will have to be abandoned to the drifting sands because there will be no water available for its residents is being discussed quietly in a growing number of places.”

    During my last trip to Vegas (a miserable trip that will never repeated, ever), I told my sister, who had come along with me, that I didn’t expect there to be anything other than sand-covered ruins there in a hundred years. Step a single foot outside of the well-maintained Las Vegas Strip and the area looks like an expanding slum. I can’t imagine the area can be maintained for much longer. Even my sister noted that there were fewer tourists in the Strip than last year.

    We went about the same time last year, and the place had recently reopened after the lock downs. It was bustling. Not so much now, though there were still lots of folks. But the conversation with my sister helped me to realize just how depressing people find this coming future, and they simply don’t want to talk about it. Or to even think about it. Too depressing, as my sister said. Seems rather shortsighted to not consider what the future holds for us.

    That, more than anything, is what alarms me. The evidence of what is coming is clear and convincing, yet the average person wants to ignore it. That will surely make the Long Descent even more difficult. Waiting until the Titanic is nearly sunk is a bad time to consider how to get more lifeboats.

  125. Christopher Hope, #75… I think there will be horror and shock, and great clutching of pearls, whenever ‘collapse,’ however that looks, reaches those folks, who will wail plaintively that “Nobody could have seen this coming!”

    MA #92, regarding agricultural zone shifts. I have lived in Western Massachusetts for 46 of my 56 years. The other 10 were south of I-10 in the service, but my parents still lived in the family home where I grew up. I can say for certain that the generally accepted Last Frost Date here was Memorial Day (~May 30th) when I was a kid. Now the ‘official’ date is May 15th, and looking at the local ten-day forecast, I’m confident that our last frost was on May 1st. If your response is “So what?” then I say to you that my peaches are blooming earlier, my perennials are coming up earlier, and the almond trees I planted several years ago are thriving. Without making grand claims about climate change, I can state with certainty that the growing conditions where I am have changed substantially over the past fifty years.

  126. For me, the decline of civilisation is best represented by the decline of the Buile Hill Park Glasshouses, Salford, England. You can see a picture of the ruined glasshouses here, taken in 2011:

    When I was a child in the 1960s, I used to visit the glasshouses every week with my grandmother. They were fascinating to a small child, filled with tropical plants and fish and lovingly tended by a team of gardeners. Next door was an equally fascinating eclectic museum.

    Starting in the 1970s and accelerating through the 1980s and beyond, the glasshouses and museum declined. The gardeners were dismissed, the museum was boarded up, the glasshouse windows were smashed, the plants and fish died. It was obvious to me, even as a child, that something was wrong. If we could afford to maintain the glasshouses and museum yesterday, and our society is becoming more prosperous, why can’t we afford it today? I even wrote to the City Council with my question, but never received a clear answer. The answer, of course, is that since the 1960s we have been in decline, but nobody wants to admit it.

    I don’t have any faith that our political and economic leaders can solve our problems, or even that they can identify the problems. I’m concentrating on what I can do for myself, my family and my neighbours: learning to grow food, learning to play music (my instrument of choice is the button accordion or melodeon), learning to grow medicinal plants (I blog about this), taking an active part in my community.

    Thanks for the blog JMG, and good luck.

  127. The thing that most worries me is the decline in simple skills that everybody had when I was young. We grew vegetables in our back garden (hangover from the War) and my father could fix household machinery and our battered old car himself. My mother was at best an indifferent cook, but she did understand the basic principles. We had no refrigerator so she went shopping every couple of days, and knew what would and would not keep in the larder. The milkman delivered dairy products every day, and the postman made three deliveries.

    Recent studies in Europe have shown that most younger people can’t cook and have no understanding of how to prepare food, let alone grow it. Almost none of our household machinery is repairable in situ. For most people, communication requires a network of some kind, which requires power. Indeed power distribution (rather than generation itself) is the key to many of our fragilities. A town with no electricity for a week will be uninhabitable. (I was peripherally involved in planning for major flooding in London, before the Thames Barrier was built. The likely consequences of losing power, even in the 1980s, were terrifying.)

    You may know Joseph Henrich’s excellent book The Secret of our Success. It’s about cultural evolution, or how knowledge and expertise are transmitted and refined between generations, to provide skill sets that enable us to survive and develop. I fear that, for probably the first time in over a millennium this process is going into reverse: our society is actually losing accumulated knowledge, which will be hard or even impossible to recover. Knowing how to make a Twitter post is not the same as knowing how to tie a knot to hold something down.

  128. I think that someone is paying attention to our host.

    Granted, there is quite a bit of snark outlining the problems that will happen, but the truth of the matter, the guy is paying attention to what has to happen.

    While I adore the thought behind “Collapse now and avoid the rush”, I think that I would like the slope (n) of the line to be a lot closer to zero than it is looking to be right now. This kind of things will help with that.

  129. Sorry to come back, but I did have another thought.

    I find it telling that the author (an economist) sneers at the skill sets of workers using older technologies. He seems to feel that “old” methods were performed by stupid people. Only smart people used the “modern” methods.

  130. Hello JMG

    I believe you at one stage foresaw the Democrats losing decisively at the mid-terms. Do you still foresee that? I’m wondering if they will in fact somehow not lose, causing widespread accusations of election fraud and associated political turmoil.


  131. Individuals and some people who depend on them can do quite well during times such as you describe.
    The slow development of Villa culture during and for a while after Imperial Roman time, is one example.
    I have a feeling that some cultures will adapt and make out like bandits.
    Some in the literal sense.

  132. I think the most important skill to be developed NOW in anticipation of decline is a mindset of resilience, optimism, and opportunism. Opportunities abound and will continue to do so as established global business models and regulatory burdens unhinge and more localized economies emerge. Leverage existing skills or develop new skills that people will need and pay for. Knowledge is easily accessible for free online NOW (YouTube any topic you want to learn about, and library doors are still open). The Amazon/Walmart/Harbor Freight global supply chain model is still functioning NOW and relatively low cost tools/goods are still widely available. I see a fair bit of victim mentality in these comments, especially along the lines of “I’m poor and can’t develop/afford new skills so woe is me.” The limiting factor there is mindset, not material wealth. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, NOW. Can you afford a $5 bag of flour? Probably. Great! Bake 5 loaves of bread with it and sell them to your neighbors for $5 each and you’ve netted $20. Parlay $20 worth of hardware store vegetable seeds into living capital. Use these meager outputs to start building social capital within your community. By selling your bread or veggies or whatever and engaging with customers, you can find out who raises chickens, who is a handy carpenter, who can sew, and who will pose a liability if times get really tough. Opportunities!

  133. John–

    Re power struggles between state and federal governments

    It occurs to me as well that, as things continue to deteriorate and those centralized institutions of our imperium erode further, we may see an uptick in interstate compacts among neighboring states as a means of dealing with issues either too large for one state or common to a group of states (e.g. southwestern border states). Groupings that might develop out of such arrangements may be early indicators of what a post-US North America could look like.

    It will be interesting to see what happens as states push into spheres “traditionally” reserved for federal action. Will the reaction be much shrieking and dismay, or a whimper and a “meh”? I think it begins with the former and ends with the latter.

    In thinking over the trajectory of decline and the role played by government, I keep coming back to the Duke of Chu’s theory of the “mandate of Heaven.” What the elites forget, of course, is what can be granted can also be withdrawn and one must demonstrate to the people that one is worthy to rule.

  134. Relevant to this week’s topic in that spikes and crashes become more commonplace as things come apart

    Just wanted to toss out a general heads-up to folks in the US. While nothing is guaranteed until it happens, it’s looking like we may be in for an interesting summer with regard to the electric markets. For those who may recall the two weeks of insanity that hit power markets in Feb 2021 with the TX freeze event, preliminary indications are suggesting that we may be seeing summer power pricing at similar levels.

    For those in the biz, quotes for summer pricing came in >$100/MWH ATC and >$150/MWH on-peak. This is nuts.

    But then again, nuts is the new normal.

  135. How timely; the Bank of England announced that it expects a recession with inflation peaking at over 10%.

    Feels just like old times.

  136. In the 1930s, a British citizen could travel by train from Alexandria to Jerusalem, then Haifa and Damascus without much hassle. Today, you might need two different passports. In the 1970s, people I know travelled with a van from Germany through the Balkans, Turkey, Iran into Afghanistan. Then Afghanistan became all but inaccessible to Western tourists and hippies, then Iran, later Iraq. In the 1990s, a housemate visited Syria as a tourist, a female acquaintance Yemen. Not recommended today for Westerners. For some decades, it was easy to travel to any part of the former Soviet Union. Just now, it has become much harder.

    The parts of the globe open to Westerners, and where Westerners can count on being treated better (by the police and other state organs) than the locals – these parts have been shrinking since the 1940s and will presumably continue to shrink.

  137. For Luke the security guard, you have my deep respect for doing what you can in a difficult situation. Back in the long distant 70s we used to say start where you are with you have, and that is what you seem to be doing. Security is a profession for which there is now and will be an increasing need; if you have a reputation for competence and integrity I suspect you and those who depend on you need never suffer want. For right now, have you learned whatever you can from the grandparents, who would likely love to pass on what they know about old skills? If you can’t afford further training in security, what about picking the brains of whomever around you knows more than you?

    Sooner or later, let us hope it is sooner, idealistic farmers and gardeners are going to realize their farms and fields are targets for thieves. Agricultural theft is already a growing problem in CA. Guys like you might be called upon to at least suggest and recommend physical barriers. AKA ‘Prison Bars” For warm zones only. This beautiful and fragrant rose makes a viciously thorned bush that no one gets through. I

  138. The desire to label everything racist in the West is baffling to an outsider’s eyes. It looks like degeneration of thought.

    Here’s a list of things that were proclaimed racist in 2021:

    1. Tamarisk trees in Palm Springs, California.
    2. The ice cream truck song.
    3. Credit scores.
    4. Car insurance.
    5. Crime statistics.
    6. Halloween costumes.
    7. Calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”
    8. Most of the better Disney movies.
    9. Dr. Seuss.
    10. White flight.
    11. Reversing white flight.
    12. White chefs who make burritos.
    13. Milk.
    14. Tanning.
    15. NFL owners.
    16. Being mad about NFL national anthem protests.
    17. Mathematics. (See also here.)
    18. Science.
    19. Yale requiring English students to study Chaucer and Shakespeare.
    20. All white people.
    21. Proper English grammar.
    22. Patriotism.
    23. The iPhone X’s facial recognition technology.
    24. Makeup.
    25. Emoji.
    26. Amy Schumer.
    27. To Kill a Mockingbird.
    28. The SAT.
    29. Military camouflage.
    30. Electronic music.
    31. The August solar eclipse.
    32. Bitcoin.
    33. The “okay” sign.
    34. Having a white person box against a black person.
    35. The pornographic industry.
    36. Apu from The Simpsons.
    37. The white nuclear family.
    38. Algorithms.
    39. Artificial intelligence.
    40. “Jingle Bells.”
    41. Lucky Charms.
    42. Deporting people.
    43. Bernie Sanders supporters.
    44. Pumpkin spice lattes.
    45. White people celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
    46. Lacrosse.
    47. The Betsy Ross flag.
    48. The Gadsden flag.
    49. Expecting people to show up on time for things.
    50. Cartoons of frogs.
    51. Nostalgia.
    52. Soda taxes.
    53. Coca-Cola (but not Pepsi).
    54. Wendy’s.
    55. Aesthetics.
    56. Star Wars.
    57. Hollywood.
    58. The Oscars.
    59. Democrats.
    60. Republicans.
    61. The Nightmare Before Christmas director Tim Burton.
    62. Walmart.
    63. The Hindi loanword “thug.
    64. Babies.
    65. Bulletproof glass.
    66. Referring to “canoes” and “paddles.
    67. College football.
    68. The NBA draft.
    69. Referring to ethnic food as “ethnic food.”
    70. The White Privilege Conference.
    71. Abbreviating the word “guacamole”.
    72. Property taxes.
    73. Tax cuts.
    74. New Jersey. The whole state.
    75. School grades.
    76. Canada.
    77. American Airlines.
    78. Not renting your home to criminals.
    79. Criminal background checks.
    80. Art history.
    81. Atheism.
    82. School discipline.
    83. Saying you are English.
    84. English-only education.
    85. Othello.
    86. Capitalism.
    87. Socialism.
    88. Karl Marx.
    89. Highways.
    90. Diabetes.
    91. Climate change.
    92. Accurately describing criminal suspects.
    93. Pollution.
    94. Not wanting white people to leave a college campus.
    95. The Bible.
    96. McDonalds.
    97. Craft beer.
    98. The British monarchy (but NOT the royal family).
    99. The Washington Redskins.
    100. Everything.

  139. Woods Hippie @ 139, possibly you have not considered that folks who have seen their rent, transportation and utility costs rise don’t have an extra $5 laying around for a loaf of bread that they can make themselves or buy at a discount outlet for less? One of my reasons for leaving CA with its’ wonderfully salubrious climate was that I got tired of being treated like a walking ATM machine. No, I am not going to spend book buying money on your GS cookies, tamales, cute jar with cookie dough in it, ill made apron, nor will I pay your kid/uncle/neighbor/cousin to do yard work I can do myself.

    There are very good reasons now for fearfulness, and I see that emotion as a necessary first step to realistic appraisal of the dangers we will all face. There are plenty of mean folks around who think that societal decline means they get to be in charge and, no, relentless optimism won’t stop them.

  140. Deringolade @ 135 &6, I think I am detecting a note of panic in the article to which you linked. Us important, educated people might not be needed much longer!

  141. Hi John, As you have been saying, we are going to have to start learning to live with less/pay more for it. Huge changes are coming and we are going to become more localized, cheap crap from China isn’t coming anymore, California is not going to be able to be our top producer of food. I read this interesting article about the 1978 Ford F-100 electric vehicle. Reminds me of retrotopia, keeping old things running due to the resource availability issues.

    Although, I’m not too sure if we’ll be doing too much of the electric motor things. We’ll probably try to keep the internal combustion engines working.

    I also can see rickshaws become popular, like in Kolkata, India, in more western cities and for everyday usage, not just tourist attractions. Definitely as the economy starts to contract and more people become “hustlers” to provide for ourselves and families.

  142. “I find it telling that the author (an economist) sneers at the skill sets of workers using older technologies. He seems to feel that “old” methods were performed by stupid people. Only smart people used the “modern” methods.”

    Economists have a thing for increasing specialization and increasing division of labor. The economy, as measured by GDP will be highest is everyone and every country is extremely good at one thing and hires out every other function. Of course, this efficiency is at the cost of resilience, and the economy becomes very brittle.

    As the old saying goes, one can know more and more about less and less until you know absolutely everything about nothing 🙂

    And as my Ph.D. Is in metallurgical engineering, and I finished my career basically as a stainless steel metallurgist, I am qualified to weigh in on this. Can I forge and heat treat a sword? No. I could figure it out given time, but today, no. I can discuss in detail corrosion resistance of a dozen different stainless steel alloys, and that paid the bills, and paid them well.

  143. @renaissance man #110 – any links to articles or search terms to use to learn more about Saxonization by cultural choice? I’m interested in people choosing another future/culture – like the blue jeans in communist Europe, perhaps future archeologists will wonder where the “Eggnog” culture of backyard poultry and home brewing migrated from. Thanks.

  144. Sues, don’t worry about that — I appreciate the thought.

    Ezra, glad to hear it.

    Stephen, that’s doubtless involved — but there’s also the flipside, which is that societies stressed by resource shortfalls are more likely to go to war to settle their disputes. Look at the role of resource politics in setting off the Second World War, as one example out of many.

    Bei, whereas I find predictions important, because I want to have some idea what’s going to happen before it happens. Appealing reasoning that leads to false conclusions doesn’t interest me.

    Austinofoz, exactly — it’s very easy to get caught up in the passions of the moment and lose track of where we are in the bigger picture. The US will have plenty to do right here…

    Joy Marie, I tend to think of the Rapture-Ready brigade as the exact equivalent of all those true believers in the cult of progress who insist that this next round of fusion experiments or nuclear reactors or what have you will bring on the wonderful future they think they’ve been promised. It’s an appealing schtick, as long as you don’t mind always waiting for something that will never arrive.

    Prizm, thanks for the retrospective! Spring of 2007 — oof. What a long strange trip it’s been for me as well.

    Clay, thanks for these! Those are both fine options.

    Tortoise, exactly! Also, to an even greater extent, the resource base that made it possible to continue building big architectural projects drained away, and so the knowledge was lost because the resources to put it to use were no longer available.

    Bryan, now there’s a blast from the past. Yes, exactly — and one of the things that no one, but no one, is talking about is which nations will benefit, in some cases hugely, from global climate change. Did you know, for example, that when the earth was warmer than it is today — during the Hypsithermal, the warm period that followed the end of the last ice age — the Sahara was savannah, with annual rains like those that now sweep over East Africa? Here’s a source for that. Yes, it’s quite likely to happen again.

    Renaissance, I see that as one of the last-ditch attempts to maintain blind faith in progress in the teeth of the facts. Since today’s elites are corrupt, selfish, and dysfunctional, they have to vilify and denigrate the entire past in order to pretend that they and the system they run aren’t a woeful degeneration from something better. The 1619 Project here in the US is another example of the same thing: frantic cherrypicking and embarrassing historical malpractice in the service of a failing elite’s bruised collective ego. “They were so much worse than we are!” That’s their mantra these days.

    Sea Spray, thanks for this.

    Wer, this is one of the reasons I’m glad I don’t use conventional health care! Waloryzacja in English is “valorization,” a fancy way of saying “price fixing.”

    Patricia M, ahem. It’s called the Long Descent. It’s quite possible that you’ll be well on your way to your next incarnation before conditions become particularly difficult where you are.

    Sea Spray, one advantage of being in an isolated country — and as far as I know there is no other country on the planet as isolated as yours! — is that most of the trouble goes on far, far away. It’ll come to your doorstep eventually, but that could be a while; since NZ is a food exporter, it’s in everyone’s interest to keep conditions relatively stable there.

    Brian, given what the price of oil is doing, I suspect you’re seeing the last hurrah of the industrial age. But we’ll see.

    Tommy, I think it was Arnold Toynbee who said that the death certificate for every civilization should read “died of self-inflicted injuries.” Ultimately, our species just isn’t that smart, you know!

    Karim, thanks for the data points! I’m glad to hear that you’ve still got plenty of food and other products — that strikes me as a very good sign.

    Eduardflo, I was on another podcast with the same hosts, so this isn’t too surprising!

    Jasper, good. Very good. I wonder — does the Latin phrase secessio plebis mean anything to you?

    Robert, I hope you can remember the title or author — that seems like a very sensible trichotomy.

    Denis, er, I think you’re misunderstanding what I said. My point was that figuring out what happened on 9/11, and trying, convicting, and punishing those responsible, wouldn’t stop the industrial age from ending. The same is true of Big Pharma and its government enablers. The Long Descent will happen whether or not Anthony Fauci faces the criminal charges he’s arguably earned.

    Jason, thanks for this — and also thank you for the data points. As for scooping up temporary benefits, in the immortal words of Justin Martense, I get that; that’s why I place books with big publishers from time to time…

    MA, fair enough. You’re quite correct, of course, that climate change is a constant in the history of the planet — the land beneath me as I type this was covered by half a mile of ice 18,000 years ago, and had a semitropical climate 100,000 years before that — and that the anthropogenic climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions are only part of a much broader picture, in which land use also plays a large role. As for the rest — why, we’ll discuss that in an upcoming post on climate change.

    Booklover, don’t assume that current politics will remain in place in a time of serious crisis. As for adaptation, I do have some different ideas, which I’ll be discussing as we proceed.

    Luke, the solar “constant” is of course not at all constant, but there’s zero evidence that we’ve got a new Maunder Minimum on the way — just a lot of wishful thinking. Doubtless, though, we’ll get some climate variability from that source as well as all the others. As for geoengineering, fiddling with a complex system we don’t understand is a bad idea, but inevitably popular. Maybe we need to put this famous sign on the atmosphere:

    Oilman2, yep. The work done by the atmosphere is weather, and there’s more of it all the time. As for paleoclimate resources, I’ve been grabbing articles off the web from every source that’ll let me download; has a lot of good papers, for example.

    Brenainn, I’ve been to Las Vegas twice, both times to speak at alchemy conferences — how’s that for an irony? It’s the one place I’ve ever been that made me think about whether the Christians might possibly be right about Hell. What a ghastly place.

    Toxic, thanks for this — a fine if bitter microcosm of the Long Descent.

    Aurelien, there are still young people who know such skills, or are relearning them. I’m not surprised that few of them are in Europe, however. For more than a century now European cultures seem to have been in the grip of a collective death wish.

    Degringolade, heh heh heh. One of the things that I always find amusing to watch is the way that ideas from the fringes where archdruids lurk find their way by circuitous routes into the mainstream dialogue.

    SMJ, it still looks that way to me, but we’ll see.

    Valiant, of course! The fall of one civilization is always a gain for other cultures, and especially so if the civilzation in question has been draining resources from every other part of the world in reach.

  145. @HippieViking #33
    That your intelligent, thoughtful, well educated colleague responded to a thesis that clearly merits discussion with “That’s not OK to say” tells us pretty clearly where we are in this story. The first step in dealing with a problem is admitting that there is one. If that’s the prevailing attitude among the younger generation, it’s later than we think…

  146. Mary (148) and SiliconGuy (150)

    I think that what our frightened economist is seeing is that the change will not be on one of his beloved straight lines reaching out to infinity.

    The cognoscenti like SiliconGuy and myself (Ph.D. Molecular Biology) made a tidy living on a model that wasn’t built to last. In my chosen field, the high holy ones with degrees sneered at the minions with mere BS’s and AA’s who actually made the product, but in the end, it was the Hoi Polloi that made the product and profit and were outsourced for greater profit and lower quality product.

    Mostly, it is going to be those people who provide window dressing (read here: Economists and their ilk) who will be suffering. I have a sneaking hunch that downshifting from complexity will leave them high and dry.

  147. I accept that the industrial age is ending, my preference would be to do it in an intact country with leaders who are responsible for what they do. Too much to ask? Oil is running out and everything is crumbling and I get it would do that no matter how well-behaved our current leaders are. I’d just love some accountably for the harm. I don’t mean to sound like a Karen asking for better customer service so ideas on how to get it?

  148. You’ve given me a run-up of 13 years to that moment in early 2022 called Now, and I can’t thank you enough.

  149. Every time I read one of these blog posts, I want to lay out and die on the New York Times. Of course, getting covered in newsprint doesn’t really solve anything.

    I live in a working-class neighborhood in old condo buildings. Nobody has electrical cars or anything like that. In fact, several of us spent a Saturday discussing the price of gas and electric cars. We decided that the powers that be live on Pluto since obviously none of them figured out how to keep a battery from dying in the cold winter. Also, there is no infrastructure for everyone to go electric.

    We have a 22-year-old Chevy, which got a rebuilt motor. It was cheaper to have a motor than to buy a new “used” car. The mechanics were telling us that with more computers in cars, etc, the harder they are to maintain. They like working on our Chevy since it has few computers in it.

    What I have discovered in my sojourn on “When Appliances Go Bad,” is that repair people are frustrated with all the new computer gizmos in the appliances. Also, the bigger the company, the more they are incompetent in fixing anything.

    My limited sense of things is that the first thing to go will be all those computer gadgets in toasters and the like.

  150. I am not sure if this will pass through to the comment session.

    When the draft opinion on abortion was leaked, the Washington Post and every Neo-Pagan in a hundred miles from me all screamed. And they are still screaming. I found out that everyone are stamp savers – i.e. McConnell should have let Obama have his Supreme Court pick and it flows from there. People have been angry since gosh going on six years.

    My person belief is that everyone is fighting over style instead of substance. No one seems to feel they have any power to accomplish anything. They are helpless against the economic tides. Their world is collapsing around them, and all they can do is scream loudly and long. I believe all this blather about abortion is a cover for how powerless they feel. (I do take abortion seriously, but that is for another post at another time.)

    It fits right in with them trying to nail Trump’s hide to the wall. If the Bad Orange Man will just go away…… then we will have paradise. In the meantime, everyone is flailing their arms ranting away at everything.

    So I guess the long descent has arrived with bells on.

  151. Luke,
    I don’t know your situation but I do understand the feeling. I felt like that when I was out of school in a post-collapse communist country.
    I hope that you can get out of the slump, like I did (with a lot of help from other people).

    One note about your job: Dmitry Orlov mentioned that one of the favorite jobs of the dissident intellectuals before the collapse of USSR was night guard or furnace stoker. The point was for jobs that give you time to learn and study but you don’t participate in the system.

    So can you find a job like that? With a small investment in a Kindle you can get a great free classical education and even learn practical skills.

  152. Brother Greer,

    “It’s a weird detail of life these days that everyone seems to have at least one topic about which they can’t think clearly.”

    This is of interest to me. Of course everyone believes they are thinking clearly about their topic: every rabid fanatic I have met was convinced they had thought everything through, researched it all, considered all the possibilities.

    How, then, can a person determine her own blindspot? Obviously, whatever it is, I’m sure I’m completely correct, but I should very much not like to be stabbed in the back by it!

  153. John,

    Suppose the physics was different and CO2 was making our climate colder with snowy winters becoming commonplace in the Southern states. Since most people prefer warm weather to cold do you think climate change would be a more important issue to more people?

    I am very concerned about climate change but feel protesting is not the answer. After all I’d create carbon emissions traveling 600 miles down to Washington D.C. To me the answer is that we all need to look at our lives and determine the changes we can live with. My wife and I now drive two sub-compact cars, we ditched the clothes dryer for the clothes line, turned our heat in winter down from 68 to 60, don’t use AC in summer and are letting much of our lawn return to Nature.

  154. Another extraordinarily lucid piece, JMG…I learn as much from your writing style as your content! I would only add that, as I’m sure you have pointed out many times before, it doesn’t matter how much funny money the Fed issues, the true cost of windmills, oil wells, and solar farms is the energy cost of manufacturing, maintaining, and distributing the resultant energy vs. the energy content produced…For wind, for example, that ratio appears to be greater than 1.0, and ratios greater than 1/10 aren’t going to maintain a high civilization….But I take comfort in your gradualism, and hope that our posterity will be able to transition to the late 18th century civilization that actually worked pretty well…

  155. Wer here
    Well what can I say, the people dependent on fixed income comming from the goverment are really in bad shape, this is why valorisation is such a big buzzword here. Well the polish national health Care did not perform well during the whoile COVID thing. The largest hospital in the region in Piła had people with cancer dying because someone was occuping the bed with flu (I am sorry COVID), they did not made a great job before that is:
    And there were other nasty things like that salmonella outbreak in 2017 (couldn’t find a link).
    The GP’s in Poland are also demanding a rise (for not keeping people healthy i persume)
    With this whole situation, rising prices etc. Healthcare will be a problem, a lot of folks still think this will be temporary but it could stay that way and never come back.
    I personaly never tried alternate medicine. More religious folks here scoff at the idea. Think it’s paganism,
    (strange that some really old folks are practitioning old traditional folk remedies- they will be in a better situation)
    The owners of the pharmacies are happy for now, rich foreginers are buying stuff in large quantaties and the income is flowing for now. And it is not just medicine.
    Well someone has to finally take control of all of this….

  156. Woodshippie, I think those count as three different skills, but you’re right that they’re useful ones.

    David BTL, the rise of interstate compacts seems quite plausible to me. As for electricity, why, yes — with the price of natural gas spiking and everything else coming quietly unglued, I expect it to be, well, colorful. (And “nuts is the new normal” is a keeper.)

    Andy, a recession with inflation. Gosh, there ought to be a word for that. 😉

    Aldarion, of course. The age of European empire is over. You could travel all over the Roman empire quite easily, too, in its heyday.

    Justin, I’m sorry to see shortwave being used primarily for propaganda broadcasts, but of course it was ever thus. I’d like to see more independent SW stations!

    Ecosophian, I keep on imagining a choir of sticky sweet 1970 voices belting out: “Everything is ra-a-cist, in its own wa-ay…”

    Sean, yep. Here comes relocalization, like it or not!

    Denis, it would nice, wouldn’t it? It never happens that way. Literally, it never, ever happens that way. Decline and fall always includes a nice big double helping of governmental venality and incompetence.

    Michaelz, you’re most welcome.

    Neptunesdolphins, surely you can find something less tacky to die on! 😉

    Sister BoysMom, I wish I had an answer to that!

    Peter, protesting does nothing about climate change. We know that now, beyond a shadow of a doubt; we’ve had huge climate change protests, and the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere has kept rising. I tend to think that this isn’t an accident; people go to protests so they can tell themselves they’re doing something about the climate, and then go back to lifestyles that depend on dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    Pyrrhus, thank you. We’ll be talking at great length about net energy in upcoming posts.

    Wer, you might want to learn a little about those folk remedies, because I doubt the situation will get any better…

  157. @JMG Re your answer to my comment at 101: I am well aware that countries lacking resources are apt to go to war for them, as in WWII. I think one could make the point that the current Russo/Ukraine war was started by the Americans pushing their empire and bases to the Russian border to maintain their uni polar/dollar world hegemony to control, amongst other things, the world energy markets. They can then blame any shortages on the” evil “Russians, not on actual physical limits.Who knows: maybe they thought the Russians would just cave in without a fight and let them do it. It does seem to have deflected public attention away from actual peak oil though.

  158. >My person belief is that everyone is fighting over style instead of substance. No one seems to feel they have any power to accomplish anything. They are helpless against the economic tides. Their world is collapsing around them, and all they can do is scream loudly and long.

    Like with the accepted theory that cats wake you up because they want to get fed, I don’t think this is quite accurate either. Just like I claim that cats LOVE MORNINGS, I claim these sorts LOVE SCREAMING, and they want to SCREAM ABOUT SOMETHING. Doesn’t really matter what it’s about, just something they can really put their lungs into.

    There’s no rationality at the bottom of it, they’re doing it for its own sake. A search for reasons, I claim is ultimately pointless.

  159. Some day 16 years ago I stood outside a lecture hall during a break talking with my fellow students. I don’t recall how we got to the topic but I expressed my deep pessimism for the future of our society. They could not understand and I could not explain since it only was a vague feeling. I doubt they had agreed with me had I been able to provide an explanation. A long time has passed and many things have changed. I am able to explain my position much better today and I can say that your work has played it’s part in this! What’s more, for the first time I notice that people begin to understand. Time has come. This thing is finally here – it was always there, but now it has gained so much momentum that it becomes hard to ignore.

    These days I think a lot about the way the past shapes the present and how good things were born out of the miserable pits of the past. Had my mother been born if her to-be aunt hadn’t been killed while fleeing from the allied bombings? Had my father been born if is to-be sister hadn’t died as a one year old while her parents were fleeing from the allied advance? And if they had been born, would they be the ones they are? Would I exist today? Who would I be if I hadn’t been imprinted with the horrible experiences my ancestors made? Slowly I seem to get a feeling what’s meant by the “web of karma”…


  160. Luke,

    They say that every cigarette you smoke takes 7 minutes off your student loans…

    Something to think about.

  161. Hi John Michael,

    16 years of writing is quite the achievement, and may we enjoy another 16, or more, years to come – in whatever form that takes. 🙂 I’m fully expecting to eventually read your words via the delightful form of regular newsletters received in the mail. I used to write for the hippy-press myself back in the day and it was always exciting to receive the publications in the mail. I’ve often chucked around the theory in my mind that a reduction in supply, will most certainly increase the perceived value. And how much fun will be the occasional frothing and spitting reply from some incensed reader suggesting that the interweb will be back before you know it, the electricity supply will soon be restored to its former glory, blah, blah, blah! 🙂

    I do wonder if anyone has yet to realise that you need diesel fuel in order to transport and distribute the lighter fuels which are used by the public, military and industry? You did mention the suites of technology issue back in the old Archdruid Report days.

    Incidentally I much prefer this current blog format over the ADR as there is a week off the spit flecked comments, although you have to admit such comments tend to lack the force they once had as reality becomes harder and harder to ignore?

    You didn’t take your month off this year (says he who has not had a week off work for a few years now), and I must say that I’ve rather enjoyed the extra words from you. You have to admit that it has been a rather interesting year?



  162. Brain Donovan,

    I’ve been laughing for years about these titanic pickup trucks all around me in the SE USA. They have to keep coming up with new gimmicks so you can access the interior of the bed, like built-in stepladders in the tailgate!

    Why not just make them smaller? I have a “compact” 2013 model pickup, and even at 6’2″, I can barely reach the middle of the bed over the sides. So this has been happening for a while, but it sure seems to be getting worse exponentially at this point, doesn’t it?


  163. I wouldn’t normally bring up a movie on this blog, as like JMG I generally tire of conversations about TV and movies, but I hope bringing up one is fine in the same spirit as Star Trek has been discussed here, as it fits in quite well with the topic of this post and some previous discussions here as well.

    Circumstances recently led me to see the movie “Don’t Look Up” which did provide a window on how climate change activists see themselves. I”ll say right now “SPOILER ALERT” stop reading if you care, the ending of the movie is what’s most interesting to me in terms of cultural changes so I’m discussing it.

    The movie’s plot is about a comet on a collision course with Earth but was made with the intention of being an allegory for climate change. The comet plot makes it able to conveniently ignore most of the nuances associated with climate change. Since humans’ lifestyles don’t lead to incoming comets, any discussion related to that could be ignored. Also, the only possible solution to an incoming comet is a response using high technology that only governments or huge corporations are capable of doing, so the only thing ordinary individuals can do to help remedy the situation is to be on the right political side and support the right powerful people who can save the planet. Nothing can be done on the small scale incrementally. A comet is a problem that fits well with the worldview of industrial civilization, avoiding any of society’s blind spots that make climate change and especially peak oil the looming issues they are.

    The plot revolves around a pair of scientists who discover the comet large enough to bring Armageddon and have six months to convince the US government of the reality of the situation and act to save the world. The other countries of the world are notably absent other than one failed mission by Russia and China that is briefly mentioned. It’s a very US-centric film even though it deals with a global event. The plans to redirect the comet’s orbit and save the world are derailed by evil capitalists who want the rare minerals inside and instead come up with a risky plan to try and break up the comet so it falls to Earth in pieces and they can harvest the minerals. It’s strictly a case of the heroic scientists trying to protect the common good versus evil selfish capitalists and spreaders of misinformation.

    All this was nothing I didn’t already expect, but there was one thing that did surprise me a certain amount, a turn toward religion near the end. After having no luck convincing the government and the media what needed to be done, the young scientist who discovered the comet drops out of the limelight and finds herself a punk boyfriend who it turns out is a Christian although he rarely admits it to others. Near the end, the comet is bearing down because the world didn’t listen to the scientists. The main characters are eating a dinner with family and friends, and the Christian character leads a prayer for the (previously non-religious) group.

    Seeing that made me think of the Second Religiosity that has been discussed here, and wondering if it might be closer than I thought. It also made me think of the discussions that the technocrats of the world might be in the process of changing their strategy and drawing more inward, relinquishing the dream of controlling everyone in favor of creating exclusive bubbles. The protagonists in the film failed in their goal of saving the world. I see that as an allegory for the technocrats starting to admit failure in their ambitions goals of domination. In the real world, since we have no apocalyptic comet bearing down on us, that will likely lead to a gradual change for the believers in progress toward a more inward focus both in the material and spiritual senses. The religion of progress has enough similarities with Christianity that I bet a lot of the true believers in Progress will end up turning back to Christianity as Progress increasingly fails.

  164. BoysMom #160,

    “How, then, can a person determine her own blindspot?”

    I’ve noticed a few signs in myself that point to those topics:
    – any topic I’d describe as “triggering” or feel that it deserves a content warning (specifically for myself)
    – anytime I say what I think or feel about something, and then feel defensive – like heat is rising inside me – if someone disagrees in a dismissive way
    – any topic that I notice myself having emotional difficulty saying “I can be wrong” about adjacent facts

    All of which may seem obvious, but have taken me at least a decade to realize.

  165. The U.S as a third world country, other than the coastal areas.

    It depends on how you define “coastal area”. Bill and I did Malice Domestic and afterwards, drove from Bethesda down U.S. 50 across the Bay Bridge to Wyoming, DE, where my widowed mother lives.

    I haven’t been down this road in 20 years. I recognized NOTHING from the beltway to the Bay Bridge other than the Red Hot and Blues barbecue restaurant adorned with guitar-playing quisling pigs. U.S. 50 must have been 5 lanes wide per side. Then the bridge, which looked the same other than cameras instead of toll booths (I’m expecting a bill in the mail from the state of Maryland for crossing the bridge).

    Kent Narrows was seriously built up. Then comes the split between U.S. 50 and 301. We turned off on 301 and things got instantly emptier and quieter. Then MD 304 and we drove through another world.

    It looked even poorer and more desolate than it had 20 years ago. Rundown houses with trailers behind them housing the kids and grandkids, rusted out cars, no industry or businesses, no farming that I could tell other than horses in pastures; not so much as a gas station between MD 301 and Camden-Wyoming, DE. A 30 miles or so trip?

    You’d swear you were hearing banjos every foot of the way.

    I didn’t think the Eastern Shore of Maryland could get poorer but it did. It’s within easy driving distance from the center of power and the million-dollar per acre Delaware beaches. It has to be seen to be believed.

    Yet, because the DC/Baltimore traffic takes U.S. 50 to Ocean City, the movers and shakers from DC never see the real Eastern Shore.

  166. @Aurelien,
    I’m an early millenial. I learned some of the kind of skills you mention growing up, but much less than my parent’s generation.

    However, since leaving home, I’ve learned far more than I did as a child and a teenager. It is very possible to gain skills you don’t have as an adult. Knitting, weaving, spinning, food growing, much-improved cooking, mending and sewing… and it’s fun learning them. Yesterday I started my first jar of lacto-fermented kale. I’m currently learning crochet from a friend. I’m teaching her to play the recorder. She’s a grandmother, and is still willing and able to learn new things and enjoy it.

    Not everything works out – I doubt I’ll ever be a decent woodworker. But the other skills worked out.

    So an unskilled 18 year old may well not stay that way.

  167. Aurelien and JMG about young people in Europe, traditional skills and a death wish:

    I don’t know much about W. Europe but in Eastern Europe and maybe parts of Central Europe, there is at least 50% of the population that either learned those skills growing up (even if not using them now) or is busy learning them now.

    Only a generation or two ago, most people knew how to grow a garden, raise and butcher chickens and pigs and basic carpentry and construction skills.

    Just one example, in my birth country of Romania, more than 1% of the population moved out of the cities and back into the country in the last 2 years. Yes the fake pandemic was a big incentive but the trend started long before.

    I expect this trend to continue as the gas gets more expensive (equivalent to almost $10 per gallon) and the cities start getting rolling blackouts or heat-outs (no gas).

    Unfortunately, it’s not all happy news: the people that lead the country, control all levers of power and own most of the money are brainwashed, westernized and almost insane due to a PMC life. The latest scare (real or not) is the possibility of sending troops into Moldova to fight Russians, because that worked out so well the last time!

    (In the second world war, the country lost 5% of the population, first fighting the Russians with the Germans, then turning around and fighting Germany).

  168. The past 16 years (15 for me) have been a wild ride, and we’ve gone through a lot of virtual popcorn watching events unfold. Most importantly for myself and many others is your advice, which allowed us to be in a position to sit back and eat that popcorn, instead of getting swallowed up by events. Thank you JMG.

    If you’re a new reader to this blog and you’re concerned about navigating the future, stick around. Or even dig through the old archives. JMG won’t steer you wrong.

  169. Been reading you and the commentariat for 12+ years and never had the nerve to to speak. But this post means a lot. After raising my 4 til they were safely out of the nest I moved onboard full time liveaboard on my renovated old sailboat. It’s a sublime, close to Nature, and very modest overhead lifestyle. Not roughing it by any means. So for those who can’t afford the land and homestead for our upcoming spicy times you might want to look at this option. There are 1000s of barely used fibreglas ships to be had for the price of a used car. Check out Matt Bracken short story “30ft and go!” Kindle. “This old boat ” how to . Go crew on weekend racers ( you’ll be welcomed w/open arms- trust me)
    Rivers, lakes and oceans. Winter is do able if ya insulate. I use 1.5 litres of diesel/day in my furnace with a small electric floor fan to circulate. 20 lbs propane tank cook/hot water lasts 3 months. You get handy. I learned to sew, repair the diesel engine, sail tricky tidal passages, free dive spearfishing and enjoy a utterly calm and quiet cove watching the sea otters play. Two months of no Internet does wonders. Found a excellent book on harvesting seaweed for food and medicinal I’m going to learn during this year up coast wandering. Passing my ship, the self reliant/seamanship skills and a 1000+ book reference library to the clan.
    So thank you kindly, Mr. Druid, for all your thoughts that got me on this path.

  170. Wer,
    About allergy medicine,
    With all the required caveats that this is not medical advice.

    In other countries around you (e.g. Romania) there is still a strong traditional of herbal medicines. For example, my wife has some allergies and we found herbal teas in pharmacies (yes, right next to the expensive antihistamines). One that worked very well for her is a tea made of all parts of the plant “Viola tricolor”.

    So I suggest asking in pharmacies or natural stores or (if you’re lucky!) some old person might know the folk medicines.

    Unrelated but some studies showed pure natural honey being as effective as expensive medications for that too. If you have a chance to get your own bees, I can tell you – it’s an amazing experience and honey and beeswax have many, many medicinal uses.

  171. @JMG

    Ouch. You’re right. I was diverting my real fears of what a belly xray might show, onto pseudo-apocalyptic fears.

    Which leads me to a theory of why the war fever. Monkey mind understands war. Big enemy attack band, bad, bad, bad. Easier deal with than shortages, shoddy products, “the insolence of office and the law’s delay” and all the rest. War provides an easy answer. “kill, kill, kill.” And IIRC, in 1914, in England at least, young men whose bravery had never been tested wanted a chance to be heroes, and signed up in droves. A cause to fight for!

  172. @ JMG & Reggiemello #71

    I’m an Official 9/11 Truther – I signed the petition from Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth at least a decade ago. I tried to convince people with facts, I read the NIST report on WTC7, I asked why they didn’t reassemble the steel building frames like they did with MH 17. No one wanted to listen.

    I didn’t believe in Russia Gate. I tried to convince people with facts, I read the Mueller report, I asked why the murder of Seth Rich was never resolved. No one wanted to listen.

    I refused Boosters after brain fog set in after my initial jab. I take Ivermectin every fortnight, I take lots of vitamins, I suffered a 6 hour bout with Covid. Some people listened.

    I study Eliphas Levi, I tend my garden, and I now try to keep silent. Maybe they will listen.

  173. Stephen, I see it as somewhat more complex than that, though it’s still based on resources. What’s been going on in Eastern Europe since 1991 is a high-stakes poker game in which the big prize is Russia’s still immense oil, gas, coal, and mineral resources. The goal of the US and its client states is to see Russia disarmed, dismembered, and “integrated into the global economy,” i.e. plundered ruthlessly to maintain the lifestyles of the elites in the US and its client states. The goal of Russia is to avoid this fate and keep control of its own resources, so its elites can prosper while the US and Europe twist in the wind. The Russo-Ukraine war is yet another round of fighting — there have been several previous rounds in the Balkans — in this ongoing struggle. There will be more rounds before it’s over.

    Nachtgurke, I’m delighted to hear that reality is finally beginning to sink in among people you know. As for the web of karma, it’s dizzying to reflect on, isn’t it?

    Svea, well, as a Texan friend of mine likes to say, “Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit.” I hadn’t expected to see that much honesty any time so soon.

    Chris, the reason I didn’t take a January vacation this year is that things seemed to be heating up so fast — and indeed they did. Doubtless I’ll take a break before too long — though things may not have slowed down much. I don’t know that they’ll slow down again for years.

    Kashtan, yeah, that sounds painfully like what I’d expect. from a modern American movie I think you’re right about the Second Religiosity — it’s already picking up steam, and I expect to see a lot of people turning back to older religions as we proceed.

    Teresa, thanks for this. I’ve seen the same thing in quite a few other corners of the US, and it doesn’t surprise me at all to see it accelerating.

    NomadicBeer, I’m delighted to hear that people in Romania are heading back to the countryside. That’s a good sign for national and cultural survival.

    Blue Sun, you’re welcome and thank you. Let me get some more popcorn going!

    Longsword, I considered the liveaboard approach at one point in my life, and though things didn’t work out that way, it’s certainly an option. You’re most welcome, and thank you!

    Patricia M, positive energy en route for a totally bland and uninteresting belly x-ray. You’re right about war, of course — it’s so much easier than facing one’s problems…

    Peter, somehow I end up thinking of the fine old Don McLean song “Vincent”:
    “They would not listen, they’re not listening still,
    Perhaps they never will…”

  174. Sea Spray #114 “Any idea why NZ may be doing so well?”
    As a fellow NZer, but up in Auckland these days, I can tell you that Auckland house prices (what people are actually getting, not what they are asking for) have already dropped 10% since the end of last year. Finding skilled workers in the IT sector is extremely difficult too, and supermarkets up here have lots of near-empty shelves. The pain is starting to hit up here. Prices are going up, not just of imported stuff, but also services where the businesses are having to claw back their losses from the lockdowns. A lot of sports associations and clubs are down-sizing their permanent and part-time staff because the funding is no longer there. And whilst we produce 10x what we consume in terms of food, that also means we pay the international prices. When meat and dairy prices go up internationally then so do our local prices, because otherwise the producers would export it. It is only a matter of time before the pain flows through from Auckland to other parts of the country, though the high house prices here mean that the increasing mortgage interest rates will bite more here than elsewhere. Also remember that the Labour government froze rents during the lockdown, then removed mortgage interest deductibility for rental housing investors – that will bite sooner or later. That freeze and the lockdowns have papered over how badly NZ is doing outside of the agricultural sector and delayed a lot of the effects. The farming sector was subjected to a lot of attention by the banks after 2008, as they tried to make sure they were more resilient to interest rate rises (over-valuation of farmland was almost worse than Auckland housing) – the benefits of that conservatism is now starting to show as rates shoot up.

  175. @ Drew C #151
    I found this item which gives an overview of the discussion:
    Basically, the usual story is marauding bands of Saxon warriors terrorized the shores of England, scared the native British away, and set up colonies. Recently, scholars have pointed out there is no actual evidence that supports that history. There is, however, a lot of evidence which suggests that, while the Saxons did achieve dominance as the new elites, their migration took place over 100 years or more and the population basically stopped thinking of themselves as British.

    @JMG #152
    Now that makes sense: they are not clinging to their real history or culture, but to their civil religion which requires eternal “progress”, especially in social terms. Right now, that “progress” requires a repudiation of real culture and history, with, of course, the exaggerated claims of perpetual victimhood by the seven sacred groups and a denial of any mitigating behaviour by the designated bad people. So, in a way, they are refusing to acknowledge an unacceptable reality, just as every elite has, in every past decline.

  176. @ Mr. Nobody @ Sgage

    Morning after pill : The morning after pill ( also called emergency contraception) does not trigger any kind of abortion. All the morning after pill is is a large dose of birth control pill type hormones, and that used to be what they would prescribe, and the woman would take a certain number of them at once. ( not just one), now they make one pill with the large doseage. Birth control pills, the usual ones, do 2 things keep eggs from dropping and keep implantation from happening. So, taking a large dose the morning after is done to keep implantation from happening. It doesnt always work, the internet right now says it works 95% of the time taken within 24 hours. In any case, wether taking birth control pills regularily or by taking a large dose “the morning after” sex , it does not always keep pregnancy from happening, but it will certainly reduce the odds significantly. It is certainly something someone who has been raped could request to take. Or in many states, she or someone supporting her can just run to the pharmacy and buy it over the counter.

    If someones birth control pills are 95% effective, that statistic means that each year, 5 out of 100 women on them will get pregnant. So if a group of 100 women are on them for a number of years, lets say 10 years, from age 17 to 27, then there will be 50 pregnancies. The lie that is told to the young women and men is that this is a fluke or something that should not happen, and they are not told how common these pregnancies realy are as it is an annual statistic, not a lifetime statistic. It used to be called family planning, an acnowledgment that the pregnancy rate is reduced, and somehow now people talk as if they should not happen at all, and if one does, what an extreme unlucky fluke instead of that pregnancies are expected, a certain percent. So then they are shocked and have not thought about the concept they can still get pregnant and what that would mean. I just looked this up, planned parenthood site now says in common usage it turns out to be 91% effective meaning 9 out of 100 women will get pregnant a year. (Yes, taken together this means that condoms with a morning after pill bought and in the medicine cabinet in case of an accident/break is more effective than taking the hormones daily, or rather trying to remember to take them daily )

    There are pills that cause abortion. They are something usually taken once a woman misses her cycle and then goes and takes a pregnancy test, so by then at least 2 or more weeks pregnant, usually more, and I do not know what the time limit is, so a month or …. pregnant and this is a medical abortion. I looked it up, so it said up to 11 weeks, ( which is likely realy 9 weeks gestational age, at least in pregnancy they usually time weeks from a womans last mentrual cycle and not from the conception date, and this is usually a 2 week gap. I do not know what it means in terms of the law saying 11 weeks)

  177. Thanks JMG,

    I will look into that! I want to join the ranks of people happy you have found some more things to say about peak oil too! Like maybe other folks here, nothing that is happening in the economy at the moment seems outside my expectations, but I wasn’t expecting it happen quite so fast! 2 years ago I was talking to neighbours about the possibility of gardening becoming essential, at the time I thought it might be a decade or more before it started to become critical, but now that time is starting to seem like it will be this year!

    Since things have picked up pace I’m going to get a project taken care of this year, which is to set up a few rain barrels on the side of our place. I wanted to get them in before any laws change around collecting rain water (currently it is encouraged, but I could see that potentially changing). I wanted to get it all in so that if moods (and laws) change I could get grandfathered in

    Also thanks to Isaac (and Pixelated, and Luke!): persimmon I haven’t looked into. Paw paw I have a little, as it already grows up here. A neighbour across the street has a fig tree that he wraps every year (his dad was doing the same thing decades ago). I heard there’s a guy in Toronto who has a banana tree that he moves inside for part of the year. No idea if it fruited though.

    I might still save a few things that there is no reason to think will be useful, just because the cost to doing so is rather low, but the upside might be big.


  178. @JMG, #152:

    LOL! Maybe somebody can convince Elon Musk to paste that “Lookenspeepers” sign on one of his satellites. We could pitch it to him as a means of trolling his big rival Bill Gates. 😉

  179. Jenxyz (#68) says: “The US people who have switched to EVs: what percent have returned to gasoline-only autos? I speculate zero.”

    There are three EV swaps-back-to-conventional that I personally know of.
    1) a taxi driver who signed up for a test vehicle for 6 months (no cost to him), decided at the end of the test period that that it would not work for his business needs (I’m not sure of his exact reasoning, but I think the car’s charging needs proved too inconvenient for him – and that when there was no financial cost to him).
    2) an early EV adopter, whose car’s battery failed just after it came out of warranty. She discovered the pricetag for the battery alone would buy her a very nice conventional car, and decided that is what she would opt for.
    3) a family who purchased an EV recently (because of rising petrol/diesel prices), quickly swapped it back after receiving their first post-EV electricity bill. The electricity costs far exceeded what they estimated they would be paying at the petrol pumps, even taking future rises into account. (and bearing in mind that petrol pump rises are going in tandem with electricity unit prices.)

    I think this speculation might not be a good one to bet on at the bookies.

  180. A bit of humour…

    @ Clay Dennis said “This is in responses to folks on this blog asking about things they can do to prepare for the future while putting the money they might have in to something safer than stocks.”

    And I read the last phrase as “safer than SOCKS”… Lol!

    PS, I have a pair of tightly woven woollen boot socks that are just about as safe as the boots themselves… 😉

  181. To Wer #112:
    You said
    “On a belated note I read the newspaper were the head of the NBP (polish central bank) said the the nominal inflation rate is 11%”

    There is 9,8% inflation this year in Spain where I live. It’s the highest rate in 40 years.

  182. We have just moved to a (rather run-down) apartment in a turn-of-the-century tram suburb. I hadn’t expected how happy I would feel seeing people on the streets talking, sitting around, strolling, many more than in the smaller city we were in before.

    I think smaller cities and towns used to enjoy much more social contacts on the street before TVs came along. In a small and quite charming town I lived in a few years ago, it seemed like it became a as ghost town at 6pm, everybody in their cocoon.

    Will smaller towns regain their late-afternoon walk along the Main Street? Dostoevsky‘s Demons is full of people meeting randomly on the streets.

    It seems one of the attractions of big cities has been that they still maintain some social life on the streets. Here’s to the end of TVs and cars!

  183. @teresa I live in Salisbury MD, on Hwy 50 to Ocean City as you mentioned. It is exactly the same down on the lower shore. Everything looks fine on the way to OC and Salisbury is an okay place to live, but I drive the stretch of Hwy 13 south to North Carolina often, and it’s a completely different story. I’ve been to many poor countries around the world, and the poverty and lack of resources on the lower shore of MD and VA looks as bad or worse. It really is quite a depressing drive.

  184. @JMG: I agree about the shame that SW is being used mostly for propaganda stations… but there are a few independents out there. Alan Wiener’s WBCQ in Monticello, Maine has some interesting shows. They broadcast on 7.490 MHz, 9.330 MHz, 4.790 MHz, 3.265 MHz, and 6.160 MHz. I heard Tiny Tim tiptoeing through the tulips on a show called “Cruising the Decades” on Wed. on the 7.49 frequency.

    Also, there are some good shows also on WRMI, aside from the propaganda broadcasts. There is one interesting show there dedicated to “Imaginary Radio Stations” that is very interesting. It airs every Sunday on 9.395 MHz at 2200 UTC, that is 1800 EST. In fact I have this recent press release from them, that I’ll post if I may:


    Click on the radio, turn out the lights, and let the sounds carried on waves from distant towers carry you away to places that never were, but might yet be. There is so much in radio that hasn’t yet been done. The medium is still in its infancy, compared to other artistic endeavours such as poetry, painting, sculpture and the novel. Much work is yet needed to bring into being the full artistic potential radio has for program creators and listeners. This is the broad unmapped territory these explorations in imaginary radio stations set out to explore.

    One of the first steps in such an exploration is getting out to a location where the electrical interference is low or non-existent to search the dial for existing signals. With a sensitive receiving system new call letters for stations yet unlogged and potential themes are zeroed in on. Next comes the collecting phase. The musical archives are scoured, the listening libraries plundered, the media channels scanned, sampled, and soundbites selected that fit into the intuitive flow of the theme. These are then taken into a tripartite playground, where radio is still a fun game, able to be played with relish. After each mix is concocted from the plethora of available materials, a version is then created by our chief engineer at a secret laboratory near the 45th parallel, and when decanted into an audiofile, is ready for broadcast and transmission on any and all stations who wish to insert these imaginary stations into the flux of their respective feeds. Once in the shows have been produced, the PR department begins the process of managing the social media massage. Graphic Design is handled in-house at our London based location, while copy is cooked up, often potboiled, in a rented office space in an underground mall somewhere in the Midwest.

    While these shows were initially created as a way to revivify the static-prone ionosphere of shortwave broadcasting, imaginary stations aren’t picky on who, where or what part of the spectrum they are broadcast. Part 15 station, go right ahead. Low power or community FM, please do. AM, we won’t say no. Shortwave, we’ll thank you kindly. Beamed down from a satellite, sure, and it can even be on the backhaul. Pirate, we won’t tell you no.

    Some of the imaginary station IDeas we’ve received are quite different from others. This is because they are in a way, somewhat Cubist in their approach. The entire project is an array of disparate parts, fragments and angles of view thrown together, but from station to station, and episode to episode, they form a single work.

    Has your studio had enough of talk shows rehashing the same shopworn and talked over tidbits, with their divisive politics, their outdated mentalities? There is none of that here! Top 40, adult contemporary, “young” country, the alternative-that-is-no-alternative? These fussy formats have all been thrown out the window. Cobwebbed classical, warmed-over jazz? None of these matter when imaginary stations are waiting to be born, playing the freaked out flavors the commercial and corporate sets who monopolize the airwaves are too afraid to touch. Fiercely independent remains a moniker of choice for those whose tastes remain forever “outside”. Our innovative radio procedures may normally be shunned by the meek and convention bound history of radio-formats, yet these imaginary stations prove just how good “wrong” radio can be!

    So much programming to be heard is now all the same. It doesn’t seem to matter if you live in California, southwest Ohio, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Coventry, England or even in Tasmania! We see it as complete and thorough waste of time to not only listen to Clear Channel programs, and the like, but even worse, to make programs that sound as if they came out of some corporate schlocks studio. There is enough of that in existence already. We now know the answer to “How was radio done?” So now we have the chance to go back to the roots and ask the question “What still can radio be?” This requires a voyage into the very ether itself. We hope that when you listen to one of our imaginary programs that it evokes a resonating response and evokes a sense of wonder as to the magic of the electromagnetic spectrum and the mystery of all creation.

    To get a taste of all the great imaginary radio stations we’ve already created, check out our KMTS Radio Mixcloud page which now has over 23 original imaginary radio station flavored episodes. These programs now also air every Sunday evening at 6 PM/1800 EST, 2200 UTC, on 9395 kHz WRMI.

    This is only the beginning of the voyage into a radio spectrum populated by a variety of imaginary stations.

    We invite you, your station, whatever kind of station it may be, and your listeners to join us on this path of exploration. Our shows are available free of charge for download and broadcast. Please visit or visit and search for “Imaginary Stations” to acquire these shows to play on your transmitting and streaming services. Or please write DJ Frederick at for more information.


    The KMTS & The Real Imaginary Radio Station Crew ”

    It’s an interesting group, of what seems to be three dudes, with DJ Frederick at the helm, who try to keep something of an airy of secrecy to the shows, but from what I hear, they are being received well in both senses of the word.

    There is also Channel 292 which gets coverage mostly in Europe but they do some interesting programming as well. I’m sure there others.

    The HF Underground Forums are also a good source for more clandestine, pirate & free radio activity:

  185. 1. I’m originally from Minnesota. I noted the plant hardiness map above with interest. Camping trips and such have taken me all over the state; in recent years I spent a lot of time in the southern parts of the state, so I came to know these areas well. Looking at the map for MN, what I can see is that the lower-lying areas have basically shifted into another climatic type over the past 2-3 decades. The black earth prairie and some zones along the Mississippi and St. Croix river valleys now resemble climates farther south. Those blue regions in the southern parts, extending into other states, are upland areas — the Driftless Area/Paleozoic Plateau, a large area of limestone karst hill country, and the Prairie Coteau, a very distinctive hilly grassland region. Every part of the state has been ecologically disrupted in a short time. The Coteau was once treeless, while the hemiboreal woods in the northern part of the state are now being invaded by hardwood forests that were never there in the past. Cardinals used to be a species only seen farther south, now they are found as far as central MN, and the blue jay is often found in areas where the whiskey jack/gray jay used to be the common bird of the woods.

    Anecdotally, the winters of my youth were much more severe. This past winter was quite frigid, but those sorts of winters come only every few years now. In the 1990s they were almost every year. Springs are very unstable, often flipping to summer unpredictably (as it’s forecasted to do in the coming week), while falls linger on longer than they used to. Last year there was a catastrophically dry period all summer and into the fall, after 2020 was quite dry also, and that has suddenly reversed with a spring of snow and rain so abundant that the nearby St. Croix river is as high as I’ve ever seen it. North Dakota had a blizzard that dropped over 2 feet of snow in the second half of April, and the meltoff from this caused the Red River of the North to swell such that Grand Forks was inundated. Blizzards up north fed our own rivers as well. This speaks of great instability in the climate.

    Also anecdotally, wildlife is more common and brazen now than in my youth. There are a good deal of wild species that seem to be adapting to urban and suburban sprawl, at all levels of the food web.

    2. Too often discussions of coming collapse in recent years didn’t make clear just what “collapse” is supposed to mean. I’m glad that JMG says it explicitly in this post that *this situation right now* is what was meant by all the prognostications over the years. Basically, this is how I envisioned it too. Yet I think it will get worse also. Since I’m on the theme of anecdotes: just yesterday, driving through St. Paul, MN, a place I’ve been many, many times (though less since the pandemic), I noted a sharp increase in homelessness and urban decay. The same is also true of Minneapolis when I’ve been there recently. More and more of the USA begins to take on the character of an impoverished Latin American republic circa the 1970s as described by writers like Paul Theroux.

  186. @JMG and the commentariat

    A question about energy resources – could anyone point me to a good book on geothermal energy that takes a realistic stance, especially regarding the EROEI of the same? I ask because recently, our PM was in Denmark for the India – Nordic summit, and there, the Icelandic PM mentioned that geothermal energy is Iceland’s specialty, and that they could help India with acquiring the necessary know-how. Now, I realized from her interview to our national broadcasting channel that she’s a firm member of the Church of Progress (in all aspects), but I still think there’s something of value that could be gleaned from her conversation. If geothermal energy can power the Himalayan states of India, especially given their low per capita energy consumption, it would be a worthwhile investment. Much better than building large dams on the Ganga and its tributaries IMO.

    @Bei Dawei

    I intended to ask you this in last week’s open post, but I’m instead asking you now – you mentioned that some of your family members applied for Indian passports. I’m curious as to why – I mean, considering that you’re from Taiwan, which has a better standard of living than India, why would your family members (assuming they’re Taiwanese too) want to apply for Indian citizenship? Sounds somewhat counter-intuitive to me. Hope you don’t mind me asking this:)

  187. About finding a newspaper to die on. I don’t have many choices since most newspapers are now digital. Because of my brain injury, I need a paper copy to read. I have visual problems with screens. What I do with blogs etc is to print them out and read them.

    So, that is another sign of decline, I suppose. The lack of basic materials such as paper and forcing everyone onto technology.

    People don’t read newspapers. They read blogs, etc. So facts are lost and opinions become facts. Ignorance is another sign of decline.

  188. Has it only been sixteen years since you started writing these essays? To me, it feels like much longer, probably because of the profound effect your writing has had on my life.

    I remember the somewhat unusual way I found out about Peak Oil and the decline of modern industrial civilization. I was sitting at work at the Public Dreams Society in Vancouver circa 2004, minding my own business, planning a dance class I was going to teach, and being otherwise completely ignorant about declining resources or any of the other warnings of the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth. Out of nowhere I heard two distinct words in my mind: “Peak Oil.” I don’t normally tend to hear a lot of voices, but because of the few times it has happened in the past that turned out to be quite significant I have learned to sit up and take notice. I happened to be sitting in front of a computer and did a quick web search for Peak Oil, which led me to Matt Savinar’s Life After the Oil Crash, and eventually through him to the Archdruid Report. I remember that moment so clearly as it was the moment my life completely changed direction. I suppose the strange voice I heard was something along the lines of the universe’s way of letting me know there was something big coming down the pipes that I would do well to take notice of.

    Gradually I have grown into quite a different person, someone that would probably be unrecognizable to the person I was sixteen years ago. Accepting the fact that having less resources and energy available would mean more work required on the part of the humans, I have gotten to work and picked up quite a few different skills that will hopefully be relevant in the kind of future that is shaping up: managing a small flock of 200 laying hens, producing commercial-quality vegetables and fermented foods, designing and building basic farm structures out of largely salvaged materials, passive greenhouse growing, designing irrigation systems, fertilizing with livestock, food preservation, running a small locally-based business…and so many other things. This year I’m learning how to raise pigs, putting up a 48-foot winter greenhouse, starting vermicomposting, starting to select and save seed, mixing my own feed with grain purchased from a local organic farmer, and as many other things as time permits. The list of projects is virtually never-ending – there is just so much interesting and necessary stuff that needs doing.

    But all the practical physical skills aside, the biggest change I have noticed in myself lies in my thoughts and beliefs – the mental plane aspects. My first reaction to the realization of decline (possibly due to spending too much time reading LATOC) was of the doomer apocalyptic ‘we’re all gonna dieeeee’ variety. Thankfully I also kept reading the ADR where I gradually came to appreciate the middle ground of your more balanced perspective, due to your generous-sized serving of historical cycles combined with a perhaps smaller but concentrated measure of occult philosophy. I came to accept that our civilization would not last forever no more than I would, that fossil fuel energy could not last forever within the limitations of a finite planet. I came to appreciate the true meaning of the word ‘predicament,’ which for me meant accepting the fact that ultimately there is no amount of practical skill or preparation that will allow me to avoid the future of climate change, declining resources and fading empires. The best I can do is to hopefully cushion the blow a bit and become more resilient and adaptable in the face of what will almost certainly be a long line of unpredictable challenges and changing circumstances. I have come to look at decline as something inevitable which is completely in harmony with the cycles of rise and fall, of creation and destruction that are constantly at play in our world.

    My apologies for the long and rambling comment, although hopefully you appreciate hearing from someone who has taken your writings to heart. I echo others’ sentiments in wishing for another sixteen years (at least!) of your writing. Thanks for all that you do.

  189. @JMG – thanks for the good wishes and good energy. The xray showed “no obstructions,” which is a great relief. The antibiotics prescribed for possible (or probably) infection have left me more debilitated than the aftermath of the illness, but with the dietary restrictions somewhat lifted, I can eat more, which helps offset those effects. Just nothing heavy, greasy, or spicy. Lab reports not back yet; will see what they showed.

    And thanks for this blog. I was able to tell my co-grandmother that I doubted the war in Europe would touch American soil, and quoted you about fighting it to the last European. She’s Canadian, and had thought about moving the family to Canada in case of WWIII. However, neither she nor my daughter nor I think we’d stand up to Canadian winters. Two old women thriving in Florida? Nope. Best stay in a favorable climate.

  190. “Jenny, many thanks for this. Yes, exactly — all the way down the centuries-long slope of industrial society’s decline and fall, the resources of the spiritual plane are the ones that matter most.”

    Cyberpunk was looking like the future we are heading in. Along with many “Transhuman” Dystopian nightmare possibilities.

    I am personally glad that it is going away. Along with all the dystopia we created for ourselves.

  191. Thank you, John Michael Greer, for this latest essay, I found it a pleasure to read and thought-provoking as always.

    Commenter Ecosophian, your list is wild! It occurs to me that one could pluck any 3 items and make the demonic equation (2 + 2 = Petunia).

    For example:

    Tamarisk trees in Palm Springs, California + The ice cream truck song = Credit scores

    or, say,

    Karl Marx + Highways = Diabetes

    Well golly, I sure am having fun with this. I conclude with my fave:

    Democrats + Republicans = The Nightmare Before Christmas director Tim Burton

    Oooo, but one more:

    The Gadsden flag + Expecting people to show up on time for things = Cartoons of frogs.

  192. This ties into COVID. If you aren’t afraid of COVID, how do you explain empty shelves and supply chain issues? On the other hand, holding on to the COVID fear gives you a rationale for believing decline is temporary, at least until that morphs in the Russia fear, the string of fears will never stop, because the decline will never stop, but at least if you buy into the fear du jour you can pretend it is a temporary problem that will resolve itself.
    My wife hasn’t bought into either fear and now can admit, it may never get better.
    We aren’t going back to 2019.

    I’d like to point out that the woke crap has affected hiring, especially in government and tech sectors. It serves a function of dealing with reduced opportunities, you can just justify whites, especially white males, being left out in the cold because it’s supposed to help systemic racism, while simultaneously not hiring as many people overall.
    I see job vax mandates the same way, reduce hiring by excluding people on ideological grounds and make up the gap between promise and reality.

    @Kerry Nitz:
    I am in IT and used to want to move to NZ. Between not being young and NZ mandating the vax it’s not something that will happen now.

    Somebody is going to use nukes at some point, and then that will likely turn global nuclear exchange? There is no such thing as limited nuclear war. I am not sure the apocalypse is as far fetched as it might seem?

  193. Wer here
    nomadic beer thanks for the advice. well some old folks here still practice older forms of healing.
    I think people will go to them with their problems. Our healthcare is in bad shame, let’s not even talk about COVID. And the general practicioners Union “porozumienie Zielonogórskie” did not improve the situation much.
    They protested demanding a pay rise during the heigh of the COVID thing (it was disgusting Hipocrate’s oath anyone?). I am afraid that this mess in Ukraine will escalate into a nuclear war.
    As people said in the comments “crazy is the new normal” or some trigger happy ukrainian soldier with a new shiny toy from NATO decides to “test it” on a Russian city near the border and things will escalate from there.
    The balkanisation of Ukraine is moving on, the Russians were suppoosed to run out of ammo long before this date and apparently are now bombing infrastructure in the West of the nation.
    I am wondering what will be done with the bridges in our area, they were constructed in the 1970s and did not see a serious refit on all of this time. There are holes in them they are trying to do something about them soon but with the shortages…
    With infrastructure in bad shape and with problems with supplies, a few more years and they might be dangerous, the refit discussed was in plans since the 2000s and hasn’t been done yet.
    In outher nations there are the same problems I suppose- decline is bitting us all in the (undruidly word)

  194. @Helix #153

    That is my thought exactly. I don’t think that JMG is wrong with his assertion that folks ARE aware of what is going on but through my work I often interact with a large swath of folks from across the US strata I still think that just how conscious that awareness is is quite limited. The lengths that folks will go to ignore reality and bury themselves in comforting abstractions is nothing short of awe-inspiring to me.

    I often feel as though I’m standing with someone on the deck of a ship, “well, we’re sinking” “NO, NO we clearly aren’t this is totally normal, why would you even suggest such a thing?” is the reaction I regularly get. It’s just that we are standing on the weather deck and our toes are getting pretty wet at this point.

    I will say though, my colleague’s reaction of just classifying something as completely off topic as if it were a religious taboo to even mention was a bit next level. Not the fact that she asserted that but the fact that she asserted it without the slightest attempt to deny that the topic was just plain morally unacceptable.

    The level of denial is simply breathtaking. I have come to the understanding that generally people just won’t wake up, the world will change around them and they will never notice. We are watching this in real time. Having said that, I think the vaccine fiasco introduces a curveball in that, if things get bad enough, a whole lot of folks may get shocked into reality in a very short amount of time. I am still far from convinced that such a thing will happen, but if enough of the zealot’s worldview gets abruptly demolished by something like a mass death event that came from well documented foolish mistakes on the part of the religious authorities…

    If that comes to pass, I’m not sure there is enough popcorn in existence to cover it.


  195. Scotlyn just singlehandedly convinced me that these vaunted electric vehicles are not really going to be a thing to any extent whatsoever.

  196. John–

    I’m admittedly curious as to lack of push-back with re to the decline and fall of the US empire, at least on the same scale as the decline of Progress and Technology. Partly, I wonder if it isn’t that the powers-that-be consider themselves sufficiently mobile that so long as a techno-progressive power exists *somewhere*, they’d have access?

  197. Renaissance, exactly. They have to pretend that we’re still progressing, no matter how fast the decline proceeds. If they remain in power for another century, which seems unlikely to me, I could see them pushing textbooks that flatly deny that we ever had a nationwide power grid or highway system, just to maintain the fiction that progress is happening.

    Johnny, rain barrels sound like an excellent idea. You might see if you can do something to camouflage them from casual observation, so if laws do change you might not be noticed.

    Luke, funny. I like that.

    Aldarion, excellent! That’s one of the things I like about my current small-city digs, too.

    Justin, many thanks for this!

    Deneb, fascinating. Thank you for the very detailed set of data points.

    Viduraawakened, I don’t happen to know of such a book. I do know that Iceland is almost uniquely well situated for geothermal energy, since it’s a chunk of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that happens to have been pushed to the surface and thus has magma welling up all over the place. I don’t happen to know India’s geology well enough to know whether it’s got any similar regions.

    Eric, thanks for this! He got the timescale wrong, of course.

    Neptunesdolphins, I suppose it’s a sign of our decline that we’ve gone from looking for a hill to die on, to looking for a newspaper to die on…

    Stefania, I do indeed appreciate this. Thank you for a nuanced look backwards.

    Johnny, well, will wonders never cease! Some actual common sense from a mainstream media outlet.

    Patricia M, glad to hear it.

    Info, the thing that struck me about cyberpunk was just how dated it was, even when it was new. I read Neuromancer and yawned; I was living in Seattle at the time and everything in it was just a slightly more gaudy rehash of the hacker-and-slacker culture that I saw every day around me. Now people are finally noticing that it’s about the past, not the future.

    Millicently, funny! I like that.

  198. @David, by the lake #208

    As an on and off member of the PMC I would say that the leading members in the US are more loyal to their global peers than the US, they also have an assumption that if the US isn’t driving things, things will still be the same under people like them from elsewhere. How soon they will realize that is incorrect is to be seen.

    @Renaissance Man #185 – Thanks!

  199. The Water Knife is a 2015 science fiction novel by Paolo Bacigalupi. It takes place in the near future, where drought brought on by climate change has devastated the Southwestern United States.

    Verdict: Not bad.

  200. @kashtan

    “The religion of progress has grown more fundamentalist”

    A short contribution of mine to that:

    The climate gets more competitive as existential problems increase I guess.
    I can only relate to my ~88′ born generation of the upper middle class in Austria:
    it was “social consciousness” at about 2004 for us.
    SO I came to the agricultural university in 2006, and met many of the ~5-10yrs older semesters of
    hippiedom. I can’t broadly judge their generation, from what I have seen however, they were much less
    uptight about sex and often positively adventurous.
    There were stories of some people who chartered a big sailing boat down to africa buying beans
    and bringing them to Austria to make chocolate, for the benefit of both sides.
    An anecdote. But I saw that many of these older time Hippies had grown up as children playing outside,
    and we know that kind of childhood started to vane slowly in 1980 and ever faster in Europe.
    Those were rather vital and laid back people as I remember them: Think they also often profited from
    their rural background and more traditional skills they took and could use.
    In the 1990s there was one last Punk generation of often basically working class and rural people.
    I met such a one who is 6 years older than me in 2006.
    He was the first to study in his family; he had 5 brothers and they used to own an Inn.
    And with my generation, these hands-on crafting skills vaned, the DIY inspirations. Not entirely of course,
    but it is more computer jobs than anything else now.

    Plus of course the accelerating decline of our time;
    When I was in Uni in 2006 the University was widely unknown amongst the people in my generation and it was bucolic, relaxed and some of the professors taught as about ecological and economic limits much like we do on ecosophia.People were from the most different corners of life and the general atmosphere was friendly.
    Of course the dislike between Hippies and conservative agricultural students was already starting to simmer, but quietly so.

    In 2008 I was drafted to civil service, because I did not realize that in 2006 the law changed from: study now – draft service later to draft service once they need you at any time. So then 9 months of service in medical transporting and emergency ambulance service later I got to Uni again in 2009.
    The financial crisis of 2007 was much a 2008 thing in Austria I’d say, so the crisis year I was out of Uni.
    When I got there again in 2009, enrollment numbers started to soar at my University, curricula stiffened, but what caught my mind was this new, coldish, robotic generation of students that now appeared.
    That was quite a turn. Times had tightened, it wasn’t directly visible for the middle class but it was visible in the institutions. There were still idealistic and proper attempts by fellow students at a humble lifestyle and an alternative to corporate jobs. But the Hippies in the 90s from the richer nations like Austria had a still more pristine traditional planet to travel with their generous energy budget, with a bigger budget gradient to other nations like spain for example. I guess at that time there was still much more space to experiment and try different lifestyles and ideas.

    With 2009, I definitely felt that belt tightening. As for the popular youth culture in Austria and Germany, that got dark by 2001 and running. Just talking about the average MTV or otherwise music broadcasting programmes. (Not only I say so)

    In the social science of cultural history, that’s a remarkable event.

    Some other guy from Mexico on ecosophia mentioned in a post how in the early 1990s there were different regional styles of folk pop music, at the end of the 1990s it was all “Narco corridos”, war-band music basically.

    regards, Curt

  201. DT, exactly. Blaming Trump, or Covid, or the Russians is a way to pretend that there’s nothing actually wrong with the system, the problems we’re all seeing are purely a product of external events that nobody could have foreseen. The fact that some of us did foresee them, and predict them, isn’t a popular subject of conversation. As for nukes, people have been saying that since before I was born. What do you think has changed that makes the use of nuclear weapons inevitable now, and not earlier?

    Wer, thanks again for the data points. If you want a good Druidly word for that, “rump” is perfectly safe to use in polite company!

    David BTL, oh, quite probably. They’ve convinced themselves that their power no longer depends on keeping the United States intact under its present system of government. They’re likely to have quite a few unpleasant surprises, but that’s one of them…

    Martin, interesting. Glad to hear someone’s paying attention.

  202. @ Kwo #193

    I’ve done the same; long, long ago. I was stationed in Norfolk and regularly drove across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, up U.S. 13, to visit my family in Wyoming, DE. Once across the bridge and away from the bright lights of Virginia Beach, the deep south returned with a vengeance. The tip of the Delmarva Peninsula must be the poorest part of Virginia.

    I’ve never understood why Delmarva was divided into three states. Geographically, emotionally, physically, and agriculturally, it’s one state.

    Maybe some day, Delmarva will become a state as it always should have been.

  203. @JMG
    How time flies. I think I first came across the ADR in the summer of 2008. As oil prices zoomed past $100 I found myself again wondering about the foundations of civilization and finally finding some theory to guide me.
    Here we are again. Thank you.

  204. Oh, About 10 days ago I was looking at an empty fuel oil tank and weighing the future of oil prices. I decided to fill it that day. Today it would cost me an extra $300 to do the same fill. I worry about next winter.

  205. @Aldarion, if you don’t mind me asking, in which country or region do you live? A tram suburb sounds like an interesting idea, provided that the suburb isn’t the current expansionist type. I live in a city in Central Europe with lots of trams, so I’m a big fan!

    Indeed, here’s to the end of TVs and cars, as well as McMansions and parking lots, hopefully! We have a very spacious 70m2 apartment that has high ceilings and is lovely to live in. If we were to move somewhere that had a garden, I wouldn’t want anything bigger than this apartment. A “cottage” would be more than enough for me, an attached townhouse/row house, or something a person might find at the Shire!

    @JMG, Pygmycory, and Bei Dawei: thank you for your responses!

  206. @JMG Collapse Chronicles, San Francisco Bay Area edition

    Downtown San Francisco is a ghost town, only 1/3 occupancy. It’s strange and silent, last decade’s new skyscrapers awaiting… somebody, anybody. The bad parts of town are as bad as ever, just like you saw on the news. But contrary to perception, the nice to middling parts of town are nicer than ever. After 30 years of gentrification, it seems every sorry little bungalow within city limits has been renovated to Architectural Digest standards. The outer neighborhoods are bumping with street life while the core rots.

    The generational housing shortage has collapsed boomer resistance to greater density. In the suburbs, aging strip malls are being replaced left and right by much needed but very ugly apartment blocks. Backyard ADUs are all the rage. The YIMBYs won.

    There’s been a multi-year rash of violent crime targeting Asian-Americans. Local progressive leaders keep chanting “Stop AAPI hate” but for some reason criminals don’t listen! They must’ve skipped the workshop. In response, Asian-Americans have been organizing self defense classes, foot patrols, security cameras, buying guns and guard dogs, creating their own de-facto police force. I’d redirect my tax dollars if I could. I’ll settle for making some new friends.

    I’ve noticed a climate shift. The wildfires of course, but those only reach the coastal counties in the form of smoke. It is a bit warmer overall though. Less fog. And when it rains, oh boy it rains hard for a week. And then doesn’t rain at all for months. On the bright side, my stone fruit trees, which never had enough heat, are producing edible fruit.

    Sometimes I go to the pier to catch a rock crab or two. I notice more people than in years past. I notice people living in boats, illegally. I notice RVs lining the road, also obviously live-in. I notice more “normal” people when I go to the Dollar Store. And so on. Not huge shifts, but little by little, I can see the future coming into focus.

  207. @Aldarion #152; i think you’re the first person I’ve “met” who has actually read Dostoevsky’s “Demons.” I read it, based on Valentin Tomberg’s” recommendation in “Meditations on the Tarot,” and thought it was quite underrated amongst FD’s works.

  208. @Millicently Lurking re: “Democrats + Republicans = The Nightmare Before Christmas director Tim Burton.”

    This one almost makes sense! But love your equations. Surrealism lives!

  209. JMG,

    Thank you for this, and your many years of providing education and excellent books – I very much look forward to this series.

    Regarding our medical system, with US longevity having peaked in 2014, I suspect many question the supposed “progress”, at least workers within our “healthcare” system.

    The increasingly monetary/marketing skew in medical “research” is well appreciated by many (?most) in the field, with numerous scientific articles documenting bias, sometimes to the degree that fraud seems a more appropriate term. Somehow, the idea that for-profit corporate medicine thrives best when no one is cured, and participants require ongoing and progressively more expensive treatments for a lifetime, does not relate to “free market” true believers.

    I found the “Rethinking Aging” book recently recommended, to be quite well researched, full of common sense, and helpful. As a recently retired-for-now MD, I have personally taken a deep dive into some of the discussed areas, and found he was quite accurate and refreshingly honest.

    Do you have any suggested books or websites for alternative medicine? Or perhaps selecting nutrition/dietary priorities (in agreement with suggestions that one-size-fits-all may not work out so well)?

  210. Regarding rain barrels – some areas welcome them. In my relatively large mid-atlantic city, with a stormwater processing system badly in need of updating (includes civil war era elements), water bills are reduced for those who implement rain barrels or rain gardens. Even so, paperwork and approval is involved, so it may be more a benefit for those with means…

  211. An article on Cinco de Mayo reminded me that when Mexico won its independence, the first thing President Benito Juarez did was default on all foreign debts.

    Of course, France & Britain invaded – can’t let them get away with that! Well, you know who won in the long run.

  212. Friedman (The Storm before the Calm) sounds oddly similar to the themes here;

    Page 105
    “The idea that emerged from the New Deal and World War II was that a state managed by experts dedicated to solutions without an ideology would do far the country what it did for the war: it would breed success, But of course, this became a principle, the principle became a belief and the belief became an ideology. The ideology created a class who felt entitled to govern and who were believed to be suitable to govern.

    It brought scientists a degree of power, but this class comprised not only government experts: There were corporate experts and academic experts, graduates of journalism schools, business schools, and law schools. It had once been possible to sit on the Supreme Court having never gone to law school. Now Supreme Court justices were legal experts, rather than people chosen for their wisdom. The financial community was controlled by experts. Technocracy is the concept that emerged early in the twentieth century that argues that government should be in the hands of nonideological and apolitical experts whose power derived from their knowledge. Technocracy was not primarily about wealth. It was about merit regardless of the rewards. Thus, tech billionaires and assistant professors held the same core belief in expertise and merit and above all the credentials that certified these things—degrees from the right schools.

    Page 114
    “The crisis is this: institutions built on expertise are no longer working. The federal government is increasingly diffuse and entangled and cannot operate in a timely or efficient manner. Universities are increasingly inefficient, with tuition and student loans at staggering levels, making the cost of acquiring credentials increasingly out of the reach of much of the population. The Internet is increasingly incoherent, and newspapers can no longer maintain needed staff.”

    It’s an interesting book so far. He’s more optimistic than our host, but he’s also looking at a shorter time frame.

  213. viduraawakened (no. 196), did I write “passports”? Weird–I meant “visas.” They’re all Taiwanese, and wouldn’t be eligible for Indian citizenship anyway (which requires something like 12 years of residence in India, and dual citizenship is barred by the Indian constitution). We enjoyed our several visits very much, though. (One was our honeymoon! We went to Kashmir and Ladakh.)

    Taiwan may have a high standard of living, at least for now, but as you know, there is one major threat on the horizon which could change everything, and force us all to seek out greener pastures (if we can).

  214. @Ben #7 and all:

    I beg to differ on the presence of armadillos in E OK. I’ve lived in the MO/OK/AR region for nigh unto 40 years, city & country, and armadillos have been here the whole time. They were locally known as “possum on the half shell” in southwestern MO. As late as 1985, conservation agents insisted that armadillos could not establish in southcentral MO, because the animals couldn’t tolerate the cold winters. Apparently the armadillos brought their ski togs with them. They not only established, they just about took over.

    Prior to the Younger-Dryas event around 11,600 years ago, armadillos — the really big ones the size of a VW bug — were everywhere in the midwest. Multiple bits and remains continue to be dug up in fields and found sticking out of hillsides. Of course, it was warmer then, too.

    Also, desert road runner birds are now commonplace around here, as well. I guess the constant rain deluge here doesn’t seem to bother them.

  215. Thank you for putting up with my whining. I was feeling ….. oh how does one say it? Deserving? ….. of something better. Several things over that past two years of crises have been really hurtful personally.

    However, I am still here and I’m wiser and not bitter (thank you OSA work again). And I mourn 2019 but at the same time I get to create something new now. And the best part is when people say “well what are you doing that for?” I can blame it on covid, or Ukraine, or The Current Thing. “This is how I’m dealing with it. I’m finding it works for me. Want to do it with me? I’ll show you what I know.” And just live. Really live.

  216. @Bei

    “On rising sea levels, “300 feet” would take centuries. While the answers to “how much? how fast?” are still unclear, a figure of several meters per century would be reasonable. This is still quite a lot, especially when one considers how much of the world’s most important real estate is located at or near this elevation.”

    Thanks for this. I’m not trying to be obtuse or contrary but it seems a bit glib to say, “I’m not worried about sea rise because my side of town is on a hill.” Well, okay. What if the port side of town is flooded, collapsing the local economy? But if the thing is to be measured in inches per year, feet per century, that makes more sense.

    @Northwind Grandma:

    I congratulate you for having the boldness to be politically incorrect and controversial. JMG’s response to you reminds me of a different thing that I used to hear, and have trouble believing, which is, in my job I would meet people, usually older men, who would tell me about how they loved their work and couldn’t wait to get back to work.

    (I did a stint in Northern Ontario once and met a 90-year-old who said, “You gotta get me back to work, doc, work is my life!!”)

    I used to have trouble believing that these folks could be serious. “They’re self-deluded.” “They must be rationalizing.” But over the years I have met enough of these people that I’ve concluded that yes, this is a real thing, there really are people out there who really like and enjoy their jobs. All I can say is that if this is you, you’ve won the lottery in life.

    JMG’s response reminds me of this. I have heard sufficient numbers of people say that they enjoy living in a multicultural environment that I believe them, clearly there are people who feel this way. But I also think the feeling that Grandma describes, of wanting to “belong”, to be among “one’s own people”, is common, and therefore falls into the same category as climate change or resource exhaustion or anything else that people don’t want to admit is real, but IS going to shape the coming decades.

  217. Anyone who thinks we have run out of stupid, take a look at Ugo Bardi’s latest post at about the lockdowns in China. Glad I don’t live there. The fine line between black comedy & horror.

  218. Hi John Michael,

    Oil prices are again on the up. It’s sure going to be a wild ride, and it is very possible that these are only the early days. Thanks for your thoughts about the next few years, as lately I had been contemplating that very issue. So, you could say that it is a marathon and not a sprint and the prudent person needs to pace themselves. I can do that, and have been making moves in that direction of late anyway, although it required a drop in income – but no matter (at this stage).

    I’d be curious as to your thoughts in the supply shortages issue because what I’m noticing is that most people I speak with are making excuses about the situation. Like: it’s a shortage of chips, or containers are just in the wrong ports, or I don’t see it happening etc. I’m yet to encounter anybody outside of the interweb who calls it as it is: It’s geopolitics playing out combined with hard to ignore resource depletion. That seems really weird to me that people would want to pretend that things are normal when they’re far from it. Of course that blind-side provides breathing room for me to act, but you know, it’s not good.

    We’ve got both a Federal and State election coming up this year, and the two main parties appear to have abandoned the centre. Hmm, I see history repeating. However I’m thinking about giving the other parties a go, they can after all capture government via capturing a majority in the Senate (Federal upper house) or the Legislative Council (State upper house). Dunno, but the two main parties are no longer talking sense – the left mob praised the Chinese economy recently (holy frack!). That frightened me, especially after the left leaning party in this state chucked us into the longest lock down on the planet. Some things I cannot forgive. Anyway, what do you reckon? Historically speaking, is it a bad idea to support the minor parties?



  219. Hi JMG,

    Thanks for the advice, again. I think where I wanted to put the rain barrels is actually fairly hidden, not visible from the from the front of the house, and not easily visible from the back either. We have one of those Victorian style houses that are long and thin and right up next to our neighbours.

    With regards to good advice, a few times I’ve seen mainstream sources give at least reasonable advice with regard to the current/coming situation. I don’t want to get my hopes up that we’ll actually approach things even close to optimally, but the world is a strange place.


  220. Piper, time flies indeed. You’re most welcome.

    Brian, many thanks for the data points! That’s about what I’d have expected, but it’s useful to hear it from someone who’s on the spot.

    Susie, I’ve seen a fun little poster that says, “Remember — a patient cured is a customer lost!” As for alternative medicine, hmm. I don’t happen to know of any good general books, other than Matthew Wood’s historical survey Vitalism, which is a fine intro; if you’re interested in the specific alternative modalities I use for home health care, start with this article and then try this volume on cell salts — you might also want to read a basic intro to homeopathy along with it — and any of these on acupressure.

    Patricia, oh, granted, but it took a while…

    Siliconguy, good heavens. He actually said that.

    Denis, not a problem. I think we’ve all been there.

    Chris, here again, I think that people are desperately trying to pretend that nothing is wrong, because they know better. They know that the world is changing irrevocably and we’re all going to be a lot poorer soon, and admitting that the supply problems aren’t simply temporary hiccups in the glorious upward march of progress means dealing with the fact that said glorious march is over and we’re now frantically trying to retreat to safer ground.

    Johnny, glad to hear it. Houses built before the age of cheap energy will be well worth having as that age closes, so you’re in luck.

  221. JMG & Johnny & People RE: Rain Barrels in the burbs…

    If your city or HOA prohibits unsightly rain barrels, realize that the ‘enforcers’ are doing drive-by’s, looking for any code violation they can ticket. In most places, they cannot even stray from your sidewalk IF they wanted to, and 99.9% of them never leave their vehicle.

    One of my neighbors has a slant roof, pitched towards the street – hence his runoff has to be caught in the front yard. We got together and dug in 6 rain barrels, all piped together. These were buried and then covered in large gravel once they were seated in the ground. The gravel had a rubber liner under it (used to make koi ponds) and routed any rain water into barrel #1. Barrel #6 was the one the water was pumped out of, letting barrel #1 be more for settling solids.

    This was 10 years ago – and the plastic barrels out of the sun do not degrade – plasticizer is just fine and intact even now. They have had to pump the silt out of the settling barrel a few times, but overall this works great.

    Out of sight, out of mind, eh? Oh! The water temp coming out of barrel #6 is actually chilly even in dog days of August!

    To make it instantly potable, a 1″ diameter chlorine tablet in barrel #6 should do great, even if you may need to let the water sit in the open air a bit when you draw it up…LOL

    The average soil temp at 3-4 ft depth beneath a shade tree is normally 20 degrees or more cooler than the surface. Not so much unshaded… Plant more trees!!

  222. I have an easy solution to our global warming, stagflation, war, civilization collapse and resources depletion problems: half of humanity will soon move to Mars in Elon M’s rockets.

    Or we could just all eat one meal a day
    And blissfully sing OMMM the rest of the time.

    Just joking:)

  223. @ JMG – Consider longtime readers appreciative!

    1 – Oklahoma, for now, to be going through a legitimate bifurcation of climate. Since we moved back (2014), the state has bounced back and forth from ‘normal’ to ‘dry’ (only 2019 was ‘wet’ per the Mesonet folks). Within that data, the split between ‘west’ ‘central’ and ‘east’ has been striking and consistent. The west portion of the state has rarely been out of some stage of drought over the previous decade. The central portion has seesawed, but mostly been dry to moderate drought. The eastern portion (where i live), bounces between dry to average. So far, the eastern portion still gets enough gulf moisture to keep spring and fall rains falling.

    2 – My Econ friend is a fairly straightforward “give me good data and I’ll give you good analysis’ type, and always has been. Based on our conversations as of late, the subtext suggests that it is not a coincidence that his mindset has a lot to do with his recent decision leave academia. He has his biases, for sure, but he is, and has always been intellectually honest. He and i disagree about wether ‘substitution’ will be enough to move industrial society to renewables before serious problems set in. I’m sure you can guess who lands on which side of that issue… 😉

    3 – My early guess, and my remaining ‘odds above’ bet remains that in the current proxy war, Putin would like keep upping the ante, until some moron in Congress, the media, or the security state, pushes Biden to send a pair of carriers to the Black or Baltic Seas. At that point, Russia uses hypersonic missile to (if they are as accurate as recent strikes advertised), to sink those carriers. Yes, that risks nuclear war, but, I’m genuinely concerned that’s a gamble Putin is willing to make. On top of that, if Russia can detach the US from it’s European allies, by making the North Atlantic a killing zone, then, well, I think the results at that point are mostly foregone, unless Britain, France and Germany want to do something about it….

  224. “Northwind, hmm. I’m certainly not going to tell you what to do with your life, but I’m sorry to hear about your choice. I live in an ebulliently multiethnic and multicultural neighborhood, where you hear Portuguese on the street nearly as often as English, and I prefer that. That is to say, when you say that everybody has some kind of craving to live around people who look like them, you’re wrong.”

    Unfortunately those how sow racial hatred. Nowadays against White Europeans in a lot of cases. Seek to create a prison situation.

    Where people like yourself are forced to congregate with only Whites for the sake of safety and not be killed by both the white(for being a traitor) and other racial groups charged with hostility towards each other.

    With a few exceptions even in prison like religiously grouped inmates predominantly and a few other people who make common cause across multi-ethnic lines.

    We are lucky to have the outside world where multicultural societies in your area can exist. But those stirring division wants us to be like the inmates of a prison.

  225. @Brian

    “There’s been a multi-year rash of violent crime targeting Asian-Americans. Local progressive leaders keep chanting “Stop AAPI hate” but for some reason criminals don’t listen! They must’ve skipped the workshop. In response, Asian-Americans have been organizing self defense classes, foot patrols, security cameras, buying guns and guard dogs, creating their own de-facto police force. I’d redirect my tax dollars if I could. I’ll settle for making some new friends.”

    Remember the Rooftop koreans:

    That’s how to counter those violent criminals. Aside from executing murderers after death row. As an Asian myself. I support the 2nd Amendment.

    If they try to kill us. I’d rather we kill them first.

  226. On inflation as mentioned by Chuaquin #191 – much of the West seems to hae a similar picture. Here in the UK the official rate is about 7.5% at the moment and the Bank of England forecasts it will exceed 10% by the end of this year. If you happen to have money you can put in savings, the most interest you can get securely is about 2%. Food price inflation is much higher and will likely be more like 20% soon, with a few basic items like eggs and chicken – from what I’ve seen on food and farming blogs and videos – set to nearly double in price. Four million people – about 7% of the population – are expected to depend on food banks at sometime this year. Meanwhile, gas and electricity prices are expected to rise another 32% in October, after a 53% rise last month. What sort of political fallout this may cause by the start of next year, I really don’t know.

  227. There’s a lot of people relieved that they aren’t in China or other places with hard restrictions. Digital control over you is coming to the U.S. this year. Apple, Google, and Microsoft have joined together to create single log-in using facial recognition or fingerprint and it sounds like passwords will be eliminated. The only way to use these services will be to use biometrics. This article explains how groundbreaking and wonderful it is, but really this kind of log-in on a phone is how they could finally get a unique ID for each person and then control people that way

    I don’t see either party stopping them in the U.S. I hope it fails but I expect it to act as a further wall of access to goodies that the PMC will keep for themselves at the very least. At the most it will be the dystopian future most feared.

  228. @ Bei Dawei #87

    “a figure of several meters per century would be reasonable.”

    Current sea level rise is about 3 mm per year, i.e. 300 mm per century, or about one foot every 100 years, so no need to hit the panic button yet.

    Of course, as things get hotter the ice will melt faster, and there is always the possibility of an ice shelf collapse leading to a sudden surge in sea levels, but I think it is irresponsible to make alarmist predictions that don’t come true, which gives ammunition to climate change deniers that sea level rise is just a hoax. Sea level rise is real and long term planners need to to factor it into their plans.

  229. Hi John Michael,

    That sounds right to me, although I do wonder where exactly ‘safer ground’ is? 🙂 We’ve spoken over the years about the ‘reach’ of our respective societies, and that has always been something which has bothered me – but then I love living where I do. Oil seems to have cracked the $110 mark, again. It’s extraordinary, and so poorly managed.

    I re-read your essay this evening to ensure that I correctly understood your words, and just for a data point which may be of interest to yourself, the area where the farm is located has droughts for sure, but on a longer term trend, the rain appears to be increasing and I’ve got the records for the past 140 years.

    On a side related story: Last year we even received a very strong storm originating from the south east, and that never happens. Many of the tall trees in the wider area where not braced against the possibility of strong winds from that direction, and they blew over. And even more significantly, the local indigenous folks (the Dja Dja Wurrung clan) have teamed up with the government timber agency to clean up the forests, harvest the fallen timber and importantly reduce the future fire risk and provide more feed for the forest critters. I reckon it is a good idea, but others have different ideas… Here are two different sides to the same story:

    Community ‘outraged’ over forest salvage

    Opinion: Karen Stephens – false claims about Wombat Forest further an agenda.

    I find it fascinating that people were protesting. To my mind, the clean up of the forest is a good idea for all the reasons I mentioned above, and as a society we’ve failed at managing the forests abysmally for the past 170 years. You would think that this brand new approach of the timber folks working with the traditional custodians would have the support of the activists? The protesters don’t seem to have a good grasp of the underlying ecology of the environment. Maybe I expect too much?



  230. New York Times headline today “The Era of Cheap and Plenty May Be Ending.”

  231. Wer here
    What is this fuss over this Disinformation Bureau? people here talk in superlatives about it- apparently it will finally stop thoose dammed Russians or something. I don’t know how long the supply of LNG in Poland is going to last. The way this war is going it would seem the soon we might have problems with energy and everything. How are we supposed to fight them.
    I noticed an alarming change here, about comparing the situation to the USSR.
    When the Soviet union collapsed everybody around the former eastern block was going around thinking that only shinning days are ahead, no seriously even folks in the rural areas thought that.
    Nowadays we memes going around saying “nic się nie zmieniło” and empty store shelves (analog to Soviet Time)
    The main change is that everyone was looking up to the West as a place where everything is possible and the nascent EU was seen as a green pasture of democracy and plenty, nowadays after everything this is dissolving.
    To me this is the most important and shocking thing that the Western powers are now treated the same as PRC and Russian Federation, (A foreign hostile power that wants to exploit us) the unconditional support for the managerial class is dying off rapidly as we speak.
    i often hear that the Soviet Union collapsed because nobody belived in the narrative that was spoken there,
    We are uncomfortably close to this here, the problem we do not know what to follow next when that happens.
    Bei- you should really watch out, our nations are too reliant on everything American, in poland the idea that the US and EU will collapse is litterally unthinkable (they will give us gas and everything we are being told)
    stay safe everyone Wer

  232. I’m relatively new to your blog, so you may have talked on this topic and I’ve just not seen it yet.

    Do you have any thoughts or opinions on an underlying spiritual reason for the descent? I don’t mean in a “punishment for mankind’s sins” kind of way (unless that is your opinion), but is there a parallel state going on?

    Maybe I’m not even sure what I’m asking. I want to know if you see any intersection between your magic research and your ecological research. If you’ve blog posts on this, I’d love to see them, but I don’t know what to search.

    Thanks for all your effort.

  233. “Piper, time flies indeed.”
    Brought to mind one of my favorites:
    Time flies like an arrow……..fruit fly’s like a banana

    Many blessings to you and yours JMG, and to all here who help maintain this oasis of sanity amidst the crashing of worlds.

    As a Cosmic Chant says, sung to the Divine;

    “Though my sea is dark
    And my stars are gone
    Still I see the path
    Through Thy mercy”

    There may be no brighter future ahead but that doesn’t mean absence of light.

  234. @Priszm#105, you talk about being helped in your life by doing things in conjunction with the signs of the moon. Can you, or JMG, or anyone else in the commentariat please recommend any books on living according to the signs of the moon? I find it a most interesting topic and it might prove helpful to me. And I need all the help I can get, from whatever source, in my life right now. Thank you all very much, and especially to you, Mr. Greer for being such an enormous influence in my thinking all these many years. I was always kind of the odd one amongst my sisters in our family, but after reading you for so many years I can barely talk to them about so many things! If it’s not in the New York Times, it probably doesn’t exist, at least for them. So thank you so very very much.

  235. JMG:

    I am working on collapsing and I am getting moderately good at it. My next collapse is getting rid of the wireless internet that I pay too much for and revert to using my phones data connection. Doing so will save around $60.00/month.

    To do so, I have to start thinking like I did in the old days of 1200 baud modems. Call in once a day, get connected, automate the data collection, and get out.

    So, I am tuning up my Thunderbird and trying to get this blog entered so it can fetch things. But for the life of me, I can’t find what the RSS is anywhere on your site. Maybe I missed it, and if it is obvious, be gentle.

    In the words of Bill Murray in Stripes “little help here”.

  236. Going to be all over the place today.

    One of the things I’ve been thinking about is this kind of constant back and forth and how conservatives haven’t changed in the least bit but independents are slowly realizing that the people they thought supported them (liberals), don’t actually care, and policies continuously go further left to the point where it could be justified that leaving stuff underground was probably a better choice in the first place to prevent the rise of certain classes of people from hopping on the bandwagon (particularly those that prey on the vulnerable). I do believe that peak oil is a thing, when the movement became a big thing when I was a little one however, it was hijacked by environmentalists and became a politicized issue that no one wanted to talk about so it just naturally went back into hiding before it was brought up by Obama or some clueless politician who needed the brownie points to get elected. Now I understand why my mom did what she did and why I felt so angry at my friends for attacking me for not having an opinion on a cultural issue not relevant or outright confusing to me and why i felt so uncomfortable in school. Win for a relatively apolitical spiritually minded household.

  237. @JMG

    Thank you for your reply. I do think the geothermal projects can be used in Himalayan States like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, it would help improve the quality of life of the locals there.

    @Bei Dawei

    Thank you for your reply. Ladakh is a beautiful place which I definitely want to visit. As for the major threat on the horizon, yes, we too have to deal with it from time to time on our northern border. I’m sure you must have heard of the Doklam standoff in Bhutan, and the Galwan Valley clash. I’m afraid there will be a war between China and India over the dams they’re building in Tibet.

  238. @CS2: Montreal. The suburb was built along the tram lines, but those don’t exist anymore. But now it does have underground.

    @Phutatorius, I still haven’t finished the second book of Demons, and it is taking me longer than any book I have read in my life (I read LoTR in a week at age 9). If I hadn’t bought it new (which I do very rarely), I think I might have given up. I am also reading it in French, which is not my strongest language. The first book seems to me entirely dispensable, and the snark at the liberals is sometimes just too heavy. But I do recognize incredible foresight and profound psychological analysis in the book. The vision by the socialist who “proves” that the greatest freedom requires unlimited despotism foreshadows Brave New World by ~ 60 years…

  239. @Drew C, if I may:
    – Medieval Archaeology, 55, 2011 Anglo-Saxon Immigration and Ethnogenesis By HEINRICH HÄRKE
    – Northern Britain and the Fall of the Roman Empire by Guy Halsall
    – Tealby, the Taifali, and the end of Roman Lincolnshire by Caitlin R. Green

  240. Oilman2, thanks for this! A good clever workaround.

    Tony, and in the years immediately ahead we’ll see plenty of proposals far crazier than those, presented by allegedly serious people as allegedly serious solutions. Stay tuned!

    Ben, thanks for these data points. I’m not at all surprised about Oklahoma — I suspect the lines between semitropical wet and desert dry will become even sharper in the years ahead. As for Putin, I hope you’re wrong, since the US is likely to freak out completely once it discovers just how antiquated and useless carriers are now, and mushroom clouds are only too likely.

    Info, and that’s why it’s so important that those of us who don’t share Northwind’s attitude, and enjoy spending time with people who aren’t culturally or ethnically identical with them, should speak out and remind one another that there’s another way.

    Robert, many thanks for the data. Not a recipe for political stability!

    Denis, the two-tier tech future is already well on its way — there are a growing number of amenities only available to those with smartphones — and I expect this to accelerate the process. I don’t mind — if the privileged want to isolate themselves further in a technological bubble increasingly detached from the real world, let ’em. That leaves more space for the rest of us to build a future without their interference.

    Chris, that’s a huge data point — storms coming from a new direction can indicate a major shift in climate belts. Do you happen to know roughly what your local climate was in 8000 BC? You may be getting that again. I’m delighted to hear about the indigenous involvement — sounds to me like a step in the right direction — but it doesn’t surprise me that the left is protesting; here in the US, certainly, the left admires Native American just precisely as long as they do whatever lily-white leftists tell them. If the Native peoples don’t follow orders, it’s quite another matter.

    Wer, I’m really glad to hear that Poles are losing their blind faith in the West. If Poland’s going to have a future, it’s got to recognize that none of the big power blocs has its best interests in mind.

    David BTL, I trust the Portuguese to do the smart thing and rob the Americans blind. As for the news from California, why, of course they do. They’re not going to get it, but of course they’ve got to whine about it.

    Nicole, I’ve talked about this at some length in various posts, but it’s been a little while. Human societies are like individuals; they’re born, they grow up, they get old, and they die. As they get old, they generally have to deal with the consequences of their actions; an individual who spends his life guzzling booze and smoking cigarettes is going to have to deal with liver trouble and lung problems; a civilization that spent its life guzzling fossil fuels and pouring smoke out of smokestacks is going to have to deal with energy shortages and climate change. So what’s going on now is simply the logical result of the way our civilization chose to live. Messy? Sure, but so is dying of cirrhosis of the liver and lung cancer.

    JeffinWA, thanks for this.

    Heather, if you can find a copy of the original Foxfire Book it contains a good chapter on doing things by the signs of the Moon. I don’t know of a better book, though there’s certainly a call for one.

    Degringolade, I’m glad you found it — otherwise I’d have had to ask someone else for help. Computer stuff is not my strong suit.

    Copper, oh, the conservatives have changed too. In 1950, anyone who went into a GOP caucus and proposed some of the things that Reagan put into place would have been thrown out so hard they’d have left dents on the sidewalk. Now we’ve got a wave of post-Trump populist conservatives who are embracing anti-corporate ideas that would have given Reagan conservatives the screaming meemies. Every political viewpoint is constantly changing and constantly being contested; that’s one of the things that keeps politics from getting dull.

    Viduraawakened, if they’ve got good geothermal sites there, by all means. Many other locations don’t, alas.

  241. Chris @ 241, If protesting storm clearance were happening in the USA, I would say that the locals are sore about not getting to help themselves to free wood.

    David BTL @ 244 Right about now, or after the Rs take over in DC, would be a really good time to outlaw dual citizenship and raise taxes on foreign owned real estate.

  242. JMG – Thank you for your reading suggestions. I suspect you realize that acupuncture/pressure sites match the “trigger points” of more recent Western medical literature, for which insurance no longer covers MD costs to treat.

  243. Compared to other long-time commenters who have specified dates, I seem to have arrived at TADR on the late side, in 2010, with little prior awareness of the Peak Oil movement. But I also never really un-learned the 70s, so I’d always assumed a limited supply and consequent future problems. One of the great revelations of TADR was that a few other people, at least, thought the same thing and were willing to talk about it and its logical implications. Still and all, a long strange trip indeed, and like others I’ll express my gratitude for it once again to you and to the commenter community.

    (I wish I had a short descriptive name for all of us, though. I sometimes refer to the “Ecosophia commentariat” but that’s 59% of a haiku. For those who know the background I can say “Archdruid group” or similar phrases instead. But for people I meet just about anywhere else, in person or online, there’s no good term. There are a fair number of short but vaguely pejorative and/or actively misleading terms, such as “doomers,” which I avoid. “Age-of-limits types” isn’t too many syllables, and some will occasionally recognize or look up the title, but for most it’s pretty obscure.)

    One of the more interesting experiences over the past twelve years has been how others react when I talk about this stuff. From the start I’ve been able to make a good enough case that I don’t usually get shouted down or dismissed outright. I think, in a limited way, I’ve been getting through. The difficulty is keeping discussion going. Outright contradiction or heated controversy, like I’d get if I posted racist theories or either side of an “is astrology real?” argument, can go on endlessly, with each side just reciting their familiar parts. But when I make them think about slow collapse, they fall quiet, going off to either think about it or forget about it.

    It seems to me that many people are more willing now to think about de facto economizing (including the surprisingly difficult realization, “I can afford this but I still shouldn’t spend it”), resilience, and LESS. How much does really it matter if such thinking is based on the “pretext” of Covid or war or “the times” rather than resource limitations explicitly?

  244. Hi John Michael,

    It’s an intriguing question as to what the climate here looked like in 8000BC, and I wouldn’t know where to begin looking. It is possible that this topic has not even been studied. Of course I did numerous Gargle searches, but to no avail – and there was nothing even close. The library here closes early, and the message is that it is not for working people.

    However, I have travelled widely across this country, and plants and their patterns are something of an interest. What I am aware of is that dotted throughout this forest here around the farm, are many of the rainforest species which dominate the much wetter (Yikes! Once I thought that living in such an environment would be a good thing, but not now) parts of the state. The plants bide their time waiting for their day in the sun, or rain as it may prove to be. And the rainforest plants are very well adapted to the occasional bout of dry – clever plants. And of even greater interest is that flows of water can be very detrimental to the dominant Eucalyptus species – even Blind Freddy can see that tall old Eucalyptus trees below dams or in diverted drainage channels die.

    I heard a reference years ago that one third of this continent was once rainforest.

    As to the protests, the people doing so are wrong. Yes the fallen trees are a natural process, but the same could be said about the fate of the protesters. They have such an odd notion of ecology as the protesters see themselves as apart from nature – they’re wrong to do so. But possibly they might be being used by politics, I’ve heard some weird ideology coming out of that lot over the years, and some of those people paint themselves green.

    Thought you might be interested in how some people coped after that unexpected storm from mid last year: What the Dandenong Ranges extended power outage teaches us about backup battery power. They had it pretty bad in that nearby mountain range. Here the power was only out for five days (and we hadn’t noticed, but that’s another story).



  245. “Current sea level rise is about 3 mm per year, i.e. 300 mm per century, or about one foot every 100 years, so no need to hit the panic button yet.”

    True with one exception. The ‘8200 year event’ was caused by the last big glacial lake blowing out. As near as they can figure sea level went up 6 feet pretty much instantly, possible over a couple weeks. The geological record is unclear. The caveat of course is that lake would have been rather obvious from a satellite. There is no such lake now. If one starts to form there will be enough time to get out of its way.

    I finished Friedman’s book. Quite interesting. He’s expecting a riotous decade.

  246. Thinking more about how peak oil has become anathema to the left, I ran across Richard Heinberg’s latest, He’s one of the left-leaning people that still takes peak oil seriously, others that were leftist peak oilers ten or fifteen years ago have tended to either distance themselves from peak oil or from the left. His post shares many similarities with what’s been discussed here, but it still seems to me there’s some crucial part of what’s going on that he either just doesn’t understand or refuses to consider.

    While Heinberg routinely considers things that are generally heresies to the religion of Progress, it does seem to me that he’s still attached to the ideal of a centrally controlled technocratic state, even if he also admits its failing and that, in his words “The best strategic response for ordinary people would probably be to build grassroots horizontal power networks and get out ahead of the failing elites by doing whatever will minimize the crisis ahead”. Heinberg has made many comments like this in the past that advocate localization, yet he went all in on the mainstream COVID narrative and the centralization of power that it entailed.

    The difference may just be that Heinberg overestimates human intelligence and while he rejects much of the religion of Progress and its dreams of infinite expansion, he still is a proponent of the “Man as Conqueror of Nature” ideology. Even though he accepts limits to grown, he still hopes to maintain the mindset of modern industrial civilization at a more contained level. While pre-COVID I used to think of Heinberg’s views and those discussed on this blog as pretty similar with just some difference in the details, now it looks to me that there’s a huge gulf between them.

  247. JMG: I recently ran across a working petroleum geologist while buying homebrew supplies at the local brew shop.

    He was complaining about how, since the Russians are blowing up the Azovstal steel mill (lets leave that particular set of politics aside), apparently the supply of casing for oil drilling just took a huge hit (estimates of 25% of world supply). Apparently they were the main supplier for the middle east.

    Apparently the steel for the casings and the rigs are being bid up in a serious way by the middle east producers and supply is pretty constrained.

    Thought you might be interested, though you probably already heard.

    Have a good one.

  248. On technical skills and scale of execution peaking later than culture in general: Augustus built a rather modest monument, the Altar of Peace (ara pacis). Trajan built an enormous victory column, which I saw in Rome, and also huge therms. It is somewhat appropriate because under his rule the empire reached its largest extent.

    What doesn’t make as much sense is that Constantine built a victory column just as tall as Trajan’s, but in the New Rome, which was brought down by an earthquake a few centuries ago. Constantine also built a huge victory arch. But his military successes were basically only in civil wars.

    In the northwestern capital Trier, construction on the imperial palace continued right until the year the emperors left forever, 380CE, a few years before all that part of Gaul was lost to the empire.

  249. David, by the lake (no. 244), I’ve kept up with the “offshoring” and CBI / RBI industry over the years, and am rarely satisfied with the mainstream media coverage of it.

    The guy from Henley names ” COVID-19, climate change, cryptocurrency, and conflict” as the main drivers of CBI / RBI. I agree with three of these, but don’t quite believe there are climate refugees involved in this just yet. The major motivation he doesn’t mention (except obliquely, with the reference to crypto) is US taxes. Unlike most countries, the USA taxes its citizens on their worldwide income (although there are often tax treaties preventing some double-taxation), even if they don’t live in the US. Overseas financial institutions often don’t want to deal with American citizens at all, since the US has managed to force most countries to require banks and such to file reports on their American customers (with steep fines for any errors). By giving up their US citizenship and acquiring another, a wealthy American might manage to save whatever they were paying in taxes (depending on the tax regime of the country they move to, and the sources of their income).

    There is a tendency to confuse CBI programs which essentially sell citizenship (the Caribbean ones and Vanuatu)–or grant it in return for investment (these plus Turkey), often real-estate investment–with RBI programs only offering long-term residency (Spain, Portugal, Greece). “Golden Visa” was a marketing term from Spain and Portugal, which quickly came to be applied to other, similarly marketed programs. “Golden Passport” is mainly used by critics of the system, who object to the rich being able to buy citizenship. Actually many countries–including the USA and Canada–offer residency by investment, and thus paths to citizenship, and differ from the likes of Spain and Portugal in such details as cost, tax regimes, and residency requirements. Other countries presently lack formal CBI programs, but allow their presidents or prime ministers to naturalize people “by exception” on the grounds of national interest, including economic interest. So the number of countries involved in this is difficult to calculate, but quite large.

    A big chunk of the market consists of people who want another citizenship, without having to live in that country. (Possibly a “Plan B,” possibly a multiple-flags type of approach.) The five Caribbean programs (St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua, Dominica, and Grenada) plus Vanuatu offer their citizenships for USD 100-200k, if paying on a fee basis (as most do, the real estate options being widely regarded as a ripoff). They used to have visa-free access to Europe, but the EU has recently kicked out Vanuatu (which had the worst reputation–they were letting in criminals), and threatened to kick out the others.

    Turkey offers citizenship in return for real-estate investments of USD 400k or more (recently raised from 250k). You get to pick the property or properties yourself, so it’s potentially a good deal. Note that Turkish citizens do not have visa-free access to Europe, so it’s very much a third-tier passport. (Tier A–gets you into the USA; Tier B–gets you into Schengen; Tier C–everybody else). It’s mainly attractive to Middle Easterners and Russians (who are banned from most programs).

    Spain, Portugal, and Greece sell “Golden Visas,” i.e. long-term residency in exchange for investment (often real estate). If you reside for long enough (six years for Portugal)–and learn the language, manage to stay out of jail, etc.–you can *apply* for citizenship, but Greece will probably reject you, and Spain is very bureaucratic and difficult to deal with. That’s partly why so many people have been picking Portugal. You don’t have to use the CBI program, you can also move to Portugal on a retirement visa, student visa, etc. The thing is, these Golden Visa programs don’t require you to actually live there (unless you want citizenship down the line), and most people who do these programs don’t end up moving there–for them it’s just a nice option. Actually living there (residency being variously defined) would expose them to local taxes, which can be quite formidable. (Greece offers 10 years of tax breaks, but I still wouldn’t trust them.)

    Cyprus and Malta used to have CBI programs (at about 2 million euros each), but were pressured by the EU to stop. (Cyprus’s program was the subject of an expose by investigative journalists.) Bulgaria had a good RBI system (cheaper, but took about years to upgrade citizenship), but faced similar pressures, and its parliament recently voted to end the scheme (which may have been the reason for Bulgaria’s longtime exclusion from the Schengen Zone as well as the US visa-waiver program). Montenegro is ending its CBI program this year, under pressure from the EU, which it aspires to join.

    There are other programs (Jordan and Egypt have God-awful ones), but these are the main players whose programs are marketed, and who actually have markets. Again, wealthy people are often most concerned about avoiding high taxes. For them the ideal would often be to maintain tax residency (this is a complex subject) in a low- or zero-tax jurisdiction like Dubai, but make frequent trips to Europe or North America. Their passport could be acquired separately (perhaps from a Caribbean country), and combined with a European residency of some kind to give them EU access.

  250. Reading the comments, I am always shocked by how many posters here know mostly folk who cannot think outside of the progress box. It feels to me that a huge fraction of my county as long since jumped ship on those ideas. Granted thinking outside of the schema of progress takes time, and I catch friends making “superstitious” assumptions even while talking against progress, or falling back on dumb cliches from old movies or video game plots.

    I’m where the Rocky Mountains meet the Desert South West. Because the Western Rockies were late to colonize the always feel out of time with the rest of the country. I grew up in the 90s. When I compare the family customs of my home town, its culture and all that to folks from other parts of America and other generations I feel like my lil cow town was 10-40 years slow. Progress was late to get into our bones, relative to the midwest or the coasts, or even alot the rest of the west, heck even the Eastern side of the Rockies is in a different time.

    But now we got the drought, it’s kinda bad, I mean for the modern irrigation based ranch economy I think it could be lethal sometime this side of 2030 or so; something kinda like that. The thing is our percipitation ain’t dropped too much, sno-tel reports show our average snow pack ain’t droped tooo much, but the hot spring winds take much of it away more years than not, and that wasn’t as common before.

    Even with the drought I’m a market gardener and a subsistence farmer surrounded by ranchers. 1 acre foot of water don’t raise enough hay or pasture for a week’s expenses to them. 1 acre foot of water, as a market grower, it’s a year of labor to put to use. As a subsistence grower, 1 acre foot makes more bean and wheat calories that my family need. I have access to water rights such that even the most extreme drought yet I can keep growing. And I’m working on techniques so I can move into old fashion wadis gardening like the ancients did.

    Progress was late to get here, but I feel maybe its eager to leave. The colony on this harsh land will go down early and harder than average. I think it could get real bad out here.

    But you know, its red clay is in my marrow, and I’m inclined to stay. I don’t figure I gotta out run the bear, just the folk dependent on colonial life. I read an old book about the Toubou people, who live in the Tibesti mountains. A populated mountain range smack in the Sahara.

    Anything that can drought me out of gardening wound need be something that would flat shut down the Colony full dust bowl. I’m working to be more resilient still, and even establish some private holdings of water, and training to go full herder if need be. Training young friends to garden and shepard and cowboy. The youth of the hicks out here are basically chattle in the eyes of the Colonial legal system; many pay much of their income in legal fines, often from drumhead trials.

    The areas that ain’t been messed with by colonials are beautiful, desert or mountain alike, but every place frequented by colonists have a tacky ugliness, the culture of progress was never more than too many fly bots in this place’s skin.

    The cultures that were here before are still here, though changed deeply, and maybe something beautiful will grow out of the ruins… cannot be worse than gravel roads to kentucky lawn grass dashed with uranium mines and dollar generals.

    If this place gets poor, but its already in me, then all the better to dig in, try to be a planting seeds in Spengler’s Seedling house.

  251. I first came upon you around 12 years ago from Kunstler’s site; while Kunstler has become a harpie of sort who’s seen a part of what he’s supported become so depraved that he wants to see it destroyed you’ve kept things calm enough to keep a path in view.

    Also, a data point: had to buy a blue jean due to pants falling apart, and for the first time in over a decade I saw origin tags from Mexico amongst the selections. There were still Bangladesh tags, but methinks some of the supply chains are shrinking – at the very least, those selfsame chains that were the first to jump out of the nation thanks to NAFTA and GATT.

    (And yes, I know of American producers. I hope to visit one of them in a couple weeks.)

  252. @ JMG & Degringolade RE: casing

    I can affirm that there is a global casing shortage – I am currently designing some very odd diameter drill bits and tools to accommodate “orphaned” casing sizes. The big SNAFU in China shipping has worsened this as well.

    Once this steel is cemented into the rock, there is no recovery or re-use – it is mostly permanent, the exception being offshore where some can be recovered.

    Two projects I was on have recently changed to smaller hole diameters in order to drill and meet lease deadlines in the face of no available 13-3/8″ & 9-5/8″ casing.

  253. @Northwind,
    Your comments re returning to ones own tribe are very similar to those made to me recently by my dad’s wife (remarried). She’s been a part of the family for thirty years but as dad declines, and she not far behind, she has decided that she will return to her family and to her ethnic/cultural origins, to a familiar ethos as she put it. I’ve noticed alot of older folks “move home” in their sunset. All of this coming from a fairly famous and effective proponent of multiculturalism really shocked me but I completely understand.

  254. Ben #235
    RE: Your economist friend and substitution

    He is actually correct, just not in the way that he thinks that he is. He is thinking that if animal meat becomes expensive we can substitute soy protien or beans and rice, but replacing high ERoEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested) fossil fuels with low ERoEI alternatives is more akin to substituting starving to death for a 2,000 calorie diet.

    I know that I’m preaching to the choir here, but allow me to explain as it might be helpful when discussing it with him. Hydrocarbons are fuel for the economy in the same way carbohydrates are fuel for the body. So extending the analogy to something that is easy to understand a map back onto the economy is instructive.

    If a farmer can grow enough rice to feed himself and 9 other people (ERoEI 10:1) then only 10% of the population needs to be farmers. The other 90% can be priests or soldiers, craftsmen or bloggers, whatever. That 90% produce the parts of society that we will call the economy. If the farmer can only grow enough to feed himself and one additional person (ERoEI 2:1) then half of the population must farm and the “economy” has just contracted by 44.4%.

    It works the same way for the economy and energy as it does for humans and calories. If 10% of the available energy is used to produce the energy supply then 90% can be used for driving cars or manufacturing silicon chips or whatever economic activites we find valuable. Going from 10:1 to 2:1 gives us the same 44.4% reduction and unless those economic activities can conserve enough to take the haircut and still do their assigned role the economy will contract. Somethings can conserve enough like switching from cars to trains, but making silicon chips, manufacturing, server farms, and industrial chemistry aren’t amongst them.

    It gets much worse if you compound the two problems because modern agriculture uses a lot of fossil fuel as inputs. Or if you include the inequalities that exist in society and the economy where corporate like Lockheed Martin, Goldman Sachs, Google, etc. have greater access to the available energy supplies than the county workers who fix the potholes in much the same way that their executives get lobster flown in from Maine while the rest of us are eating beans and rice.

    Your economist friend is thinking of this as an economic problem with dollars, costs and alternatives, but it is a thermodynamic problem with chemistry, heat engines, and work.

    Unless the alternative energy supplies can produce 10:1 ERoEI or better (and hydroelectric is the only one that I know of that can, and it is already mostly exploited) or the same job can be done with much less energy (trains instead of cars) then “substitution” should be substituted with “demand destruction.”

  255. Suzie, indeed I do. One of the reasons I encourage people to learn acupressure is that you can do it to yourself, rather than getting an MD to do it — that way no money has to change hands at all.

    Walt, oh, I have no objection if people want to do the right things for foolish reasons, so long as they do the right things. It’s just that so often people who insist that it’s all just Covid or Russia or some other bogeyman du jour use that as an excuse not to do what needs to be done. As for a term for this odd little fringe group, that’s a good point. I don’t have any suggestions offhand.

    Chris, I did some search engine blasting and got some details from the abstract of a scholarly paper:

    “We suggest that the period 8—4 ka BP in the sedimentary record at the fluvial sites reflects the early to mid-Holocene climatic optimum independently recognized in proxy climate data in the region. It was a period of enhanced water discharges, stable well-vegetated catchments and low sediment yields, and therefore greatly limited sediment sequestration, and it has been termed the Nambucca Phase.”

    That is to say, in 6000-2000 BC you had plenty of rain well distributed through the seasonal cycle, leading to abundant vegetation and very little erosion. So I think you’re quite correct that you’ll get rain forest conditions in the post-climate change future; the question I’d have is whether the rains will extend further west across the continent and green the Outback.

    Siliconguy (if I may), not so big a lake as that, certainly, but there’s some risk of very large amounts of water pooling under ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, and then flowing into the sea, taking big chunks of ice with them. That could pop things up a few inches in a hurry…

    Kashtan, Richard and I have a lot of ideas in common but some basic presuppositions dividing us. He embraced the values of the liberal intellectual elite, and I rejected those, and that’s the great barrier that separates us.

    Degringolade, no, I hadn’t heard. Oof! That’ll add to the fun and games for the next few years.

    Aldarion, exactly. Judge by the size and grandiosity of the monuments, and you get a completely false idea of the trajectory of Roman power. The same is true today, mutatis mutandis.

    Tidlösa, hmm! Interesting. If that spreads, well, that’s good for everyone.

    Ray, and it’s precisely in those mountain areas that still get some rain that human communities will survive. The Toubou are a good example.

    Godozo, thanks for the implied compliment, and also for the data point.

    Oilman2, hmm! Thanks for the additional data. Fun times all around, I see.

  256. “A more efficient transfer of heat from the tropics to the poles” translates, in practice, to stronger winds and a more vigorously meridional (north/south) jet stream, which is more or less what we are seeing.

    Given all the fertilizer and food production issues we’re seeing this growing season, I have to wonder if this year might actually see the peak in global population. Of course official statistics/estimates – even if they’re 100% honest – would lag behind this, because censuses aren’t continual and in the meantime they’re going off of birth/death models that have suddenly become outdated – but I wouldn’t consider it out of the question…

  257. @Walt F #257 and commentariat
    Maybe Long Descenters? Catabolics? Progressaholics anonymous? Peakniks? The possibilities are endless 😉

  258. Indeed. This is also why I am very supportive of immigration controls and making sure criminals and terrorists don’t get into my host country in which I am a guest.

    I will even vote for pro-Nationalist Conservative parties to make sure that happens in addition to being the only Parties that remains racially neutral for now.

    Those sowing racial hatred against White Europeans which I often encounter especially from left-wing activists also pose a danger to us minorities in Western countries. By causing this undue polarization and creating that prison situation.

    Coincidentally those left-wing values are against many of the values that many minorities have in terms of conservative values.

  259. Wer here
    Well the people in the comments might have missinterpreted my words.
    Poland like most other countries is almost segregated based where do you live. i live in a rural town so people here have a different mindset from the folks in Poznań (multi culti, pro EU and everything) it is just that the great god progress and his promisses did not come true for us at all. Since joining the EU folks in the countryside had suffered for the benefit of folks living in the cosmopolitan cities, me and my brother had to work in germany for 3 seasons to help the rest of our familly. When we were there we heard enough comments for “open-minded” and “liberal” Germans about our country of origin that we became disillusioned about the whole thing.
    For example there are people in my work that have bizzare points of view, one person an older gentleman is a rampant Russophobe and openly belives the MSM (Russian atrocities etc.) but at the same time he raged about Macron being reelected claiming that: “that insane Jew will hand Europe to the Muslims”.
    Many people openly dislike: the EU and Putin here, and Angela Merkel there were so many un-druidly words flying about her that I can hardly remember all of them. Many Polish politicians are like: we are not joining eurozone and not helping build the EU army but please keep sending subsidies here.
    Me and my familly and other people here just want to live out our lives in peace, I never had any big dreams just a normal stable life and for the sitution to remain stable.
    All of that went down after the pandemic, when as everybody knew we were stuck in our own homes and forcibly vaccinated agains our own will, for many people and me that was the breaking point disillusionment was palpable ( political cartoons were showing EU politicians next to Mao and Stalin).
    The main purpose of this whole Russia thing right now is in my opionion to desperately rekindle some sort of proEU stance in our increasing anti EU stance (common enemy) but if the econmy gets even worse and LNG from somewhere is not comming then the tide will shift rapidly.
    At this rate our economy will crash much faster than Russia’s (it was already bad before the pandemic, and it is not comming back for what it is worth)
    Stay safe everyone Wer

  260. Hi, again, John Michael.

    Actually, the points I was trying to make about bigger vehicles (going faster on rural roads) and smaller technologies (going faster and getting smaller) lead me ask: is there an end point to such a cultural and technological drift?

    Limits to growth some decades ago focussed on resource allocation (water; rare minerals and fossil fuels), but if we focus on those things that people are addicted to in daily life (transport, which uses fossil fuels; and addictive technologies, which demand increasing amounts of rare minerals) how would people adapt to limits to how big their car/van can get; or how small and fast their phone/pad/computer can be?

    So, if cars and other vehicles all of a sudden got smaller (such as in early 1970s in the states due to price of oil) and phones/pads started getting bigger and slower, what would be the public reaction?

    Forty years ago, I was working in high-tech. I gave that up nearly 30 years for education. Over the past 25 years I have taught in community centres, inner-city schools, inner-city drug centre, and universities. I have not met a single person will, or able, to discuss such topics as these. Some years ago, I gave an academic conference on ‘pedagogies of collapse’ and half the audience walked out.

    If we cannot talk about them, how will people respond/react when things go?

    It could be back again to the importance of imagination in our daily lives.

    Keep up the great postings, you are a voice of sanity for me.


  261. Well, well. Things are getting… interesting.

    The EU decided to punish Russia by refusing to buy its oil. The result has been an increasing economic crisis in EU economies while Russia made money hand over fist from higher prices. The EU, in response, decided to buy even less Russian fossil fuels because, well, that’ll show those Rooskies, or something. Good luck with that.

    The US, meanwhile, was egging the Europeans on, and also making money by continuing to buy oil from Russia whilst selling its own shale oil products to the increasingly-desperate EU. A reasonable person might think that this was quite a good outcome for the US, but it seems that Washington does not agree.

    It turns out that the rest of the world has been insufficiently deferential to US authority, and needs to be put firmly in its place. India has already been alienated by the lecturing of US diplomats, but that wasn’t enough. Washington has looked at the EU’s policy to Russia, and wants a bit of that. So now, it seems Congress is returning to NOPEC: a bill that instructs the OPEC oil producers, and particularly Saudi Arabia, that they are to do as they are told and sell their natural resources on America’s terms. Otherwise, they’re going to find their assets confiscated, much as Russia has.

    What if OPEC members look at the way Russia has weathered EU sanctions, and decide to take the hit? What if they, gulp, decide that maintaining national sovereignty and ownership of their fossil fuel reserves is more important than keeping their US-based assets?

    Cost of living crisis? It could be that we ain’t seen nothing yet…

  262. “if the privileged want to isolate themselves further in a technological bubble increasingly detached from the real world, let ’em. That leaves more space for the rest of us to build a future without their interference.”

    This is why I love you. Immediately I pictured the green grass and being out in the garden and then I pictured a man sitting head hanging down on over his phone frantically tapping it for the next notification. Stark contrast!

  263. Hi John Michael,

    The outback is a funny place. It’s not quite a desert, but more of an arid land, and for your interest I spoke with a bloke I know last week who had recently returned from travelling through the area and noted how green it was. Interesting huh?



  264. Perhaps the time to really start to worry about the implications of climate change is when the people in power decide to get fair dinkum about doing something.

  265. @Wer,

    I enjoy reading your comments. They give a different perspective on events, which is necessary for a more holistic view of the situation in Europe.

    What do you think of Gonzalo Lira’s prediction that Poland will invade Galicia (a former Polish territory) in western Ukraine while the Ukrainian army is busy fighting Russians in the east.?
    Video link: 2022.05.07 Poland Will Take A Bite Out Of Ukraine

    Regarding your comment “i often hear that the Soviet Union collapsed because nobody belived in the narrative that was spoken there,” I have to agree with this. I recently finished a biography of Gorbachev, and it is clear that the system was collapsing but everyone had to pretend that Marx and Lenin were correct and socialism was the way forward, while it was obvious that socialism (as the Communists understood it) was the problem, not the solution. People just lost faith in the leadership.

    The same thing is happening in the States. The narrative is falling apart regarding Covid, regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop, regarding American prosperity, regarding trust in the CIA etc, and with plenty more to come. America today is reminding me more and more of 1980s USSR, i.e. the last days of the Soviet empire.

  266. @ Bei #263

    Thanks for your response; I appreciate the deeper dive. It makes sense that taxation would be a key factor. I did find it interesting that the author noted fear of the future US political situation as another cause, which made me think of elites fleeing the populist resurgence. Perhaps that is overstated, but notable in that I don’t think one would have seen it on the list before.

    In any event, it does help to explain why there seems to be less pushback on the notion of the US empire folding. The elites will simply move. (Or try to.)

  267. Another interesting article.

    “The great explanatory narratives demand our trust, and trust, in my framework, is a specific relationship to the available information. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out why distrust is so prevalent today. The story-tellers – public officials, the media, scientists: the elites – live in an entirely different information universe from the rest of us. They behave as if we were still in the 20th century, and information is still their monopoly, which they dispense as they see fit and which we will accept on authority. They pretend that they alone have escaped Plato’s cave: they know. So their stories strike a mathematical pose, and seek to explain, from on high, how they will apply their expertise to “solve” political, social, or health “problems.”

    In fact, the public, which swims comfortably in the digital sea, knows far more than elites trapped in obsolete structures. The public knows when the elites fail to deliver their promised “solutions,” when they tell falsehoods or misspeak, when they are caught in sexual escapades, and when they indulge in astonishing levels of smugness and hypocrisy. The public is disenchanted in the elites and their institutions, much in the way science disenchanted the world of fairies and goblins. The natural reaction is cynicism. The elites aren’t seen as fallible humans doing their best but as corrupt and arrogant jerks.”

  268. Hi JMG,

    This blog has certainly provided a path and action plan over these last years. Even recently the series on imagination has been helpful in planning the continued organization of a small farm holding in my extended family. We spoke of the potential of forming a co-op most recently with others living on and near the property. Also we are in the midst of planting an apple orchard there.
    I have also built a small front yard garlic planter with my kids in hopes of inspiring neighbours in my place in the city. I think I have enough Druidry material to work on for the next several years at least. If I just keep turning the corner with crafting and writing I might be toasting it all with an authentic cold cider!

    Yep we are certainly in the midst of obvious, in your face, decline currently. The hard times are here, and so it seems are the end times for the globalists as the beginnings of another world war are presenting all over the world.
    Following this calamity I am hopeful to witness the sparks of a greater awakening; hopeful new takes on North American culture.

    Thanks you again for all the work!

  269. Info and JMG about racial division or preferring “own people”,

    As a proud descendent (at least spiritually) from the great Roman empire, I have never felt any of that fear of different people.
    Yes, part of it is that I come from the part of Europe that the westerners look down on, and US used to block immigration from since we were not all blond with blue eyes. Did you know that as late as 1930s, US was still limiting immigration from southern Italy and Eastern Europe for racist reasons? They actually had a paper with different gradations of beige and compared people’s skin with that to make sure it’s lighter than a certain threshold.

    But we should be realistic – most people I know are subconsciously preferring other similar to them – it’s not racism it’s a very deep instinct.
    There have been studies that show for example that most husband and wives share a huge set of physical features (like earlobe shape and other) which nobody pays attention consciously, so there is something deeper going on.

    That explains why the people in power can successfully use that instinct to stir division. Unfortunately I have no idea on how to fix that – I am one of those abnormal people that is actually attracted by physical differences as my wife can attest.

  270. @ Brendhelm #271

    Global wind speeds are quite a complex phenomenon. Wind speeds over land dropped about 10% between 1980 and 2010, but have subsequently picked up. Exact figures vary depending on who you read. Google “Global terrestrial stilling” for more information.

    I believe it was someone investigating global evaporation rates who first proposed that wind speeds must be dropping because rates of evaporation were falling, and he didn’t know how else to account for it.

    Back in 1978 I was working for Water Affairs on an irrigation project and used to see the officials measure evaporation every morning on standard evaporation pans. They were two square metal pans set into the ground with their rims at ground level, located on a flat open graveled area.

    Evaporation is very important in determining the safe yield of a dam, as I learned to my cost. Next year in Namibia I was one of the few engineers who could program our brand new Hewlett Packard 9845 (in Basic!) and the boss told me to write a program to determine the safe yield of a dam they were planning. They had already calculated the yield using manual methods, but the computer was expected to give a much better answer.

    No problem. The hydrology dept gave me the expected rainfall figures for 50 years, the survey dept gave me the cross-sectional areas, and it was a simple matter to calculate input-output-storage for a range of yields to determine the maximum you could extract without the dam running dry.

    I triumphantly announced that the dam would yield two to three times more water than they had expected. The boss shook his head. He knew from experience that their manual methods were pretty accurate, and told me to do it over. That’s when I realized I had neglected to account for evaporation, which In that part of Namibia was about 3.5 meters per year. The result was devastating. The computed yield shrank drastically, more or less to what the manual methods had estimated. Cue shamefaced junior engineer reporting revised calculations to the boss.

  271. @JMG

    A question regarding the decline and fall of civilizations – what do you think of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel? I ask because I’ve seen quite a few negative reviews of the book, focusing on the ‘deterministic view of environment dominating human history’, but we also need to keep in mind, that the Faustian view of history, in which the non-human part of the world is simply a blank slate on which Man writes his story instead of being actors in the story, dominates historiographical research and writing, as also the perception of history by most people? Or is it indeed a case where Diamond has gone to the other extreme and given the environment a larger role than it actually plays in history, as a minority of environmental historians do? I’m curious to know, could you help me out?

  272. Brendhelm, that’s one of the things it means. As the increase in heat transfer accelerates, it could result in the breakdown of existing patterns of global atmospheric circulation — the division of the atmospheric circulation into Hadley cells, Ferrel cells, and polar cells may be an artifact of current conditions, for example, and we could quite plausibly see radical changes in where those cells meet, or even the collapse of the three-cell structure and its replacement by some other pattern, completely changing rain and desert belts. (It’s occurred to me more than once, for example, that the green Sahara and desert western North America in the hypsithermal could be the product of a two-cell structure in which the desert zone moves hundreds of miles north and the poles become convergence zones with plenty of rain. As for peak population this year, it’s quite possible.

    Wer, fascinating. Thank you again for the data points! Here in the US, certainly, it’s not easy to get a view on the ground in eastern Europe.

    Brian, I have no idea what the public reaction would be. I gave up trying to figure out why people think what they think when I got my Aspergers diagnosis.

    Bogatyr, nah, it’s not just that the rest of the world is being insufficiently deferential to the US. The only thing that’s kept the US out of national bankruptcy and traumatic political change for the last half century has been the agreement on the part of OPEC to take payment for oil exclusively in dollars. That’s what allowed the US to print limitless stacks of unpayable debt and stave off the day when the US would openly revert to being the third world country it’s actually been all along. Now that Saudi Arabia is looking at pricing oil in yuan, the US ruling class is freaking out completely, and trying to find some way, any way, to maintain a collapsing system. That’s quite understandable, because when the petrodollar system comes unglued, their power is gone, and I wouldn’t give two Zimbabwean dollars for their chances of survival once that happens.

    Denis, thank you. It’s a great image!

    Chris, and that answers my question, too.

    JillN, well, there’s that!

    Siliconguy, thanks for this. That’s a very useful way of thinking about the current mess.

    Ian, you’re welcome and thank you.

    NomadicBeer, I’m with you, but yes, I know it’s far from universal.

    Viduraawakened, I didn’t think much of it. The problem was not that it was deterministic, but that it was shallow and superficial, and heavily dependent on ad hoc hypotheses. To my mind a really good book on the role of environment in history has yet to be written.

  273. You know the revolution’s here when Northern Ireland votes Sinn Fein!

  274. Hi JMG

    I would like to show two phrases from two very different persons that talked sincerely:

    This is an act of truly sincere declaration of intention by George W Bush Jr on how a Dominant Minority destroys its population:

    “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”—Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

    And another phrase form Rudoplh Steiner from his notebook entry in 1918:

    “The Ukraine is the Anglo-Saxon Battlefield for the Russian cultural germ. The Ukraine is no more and no less than the current theater of the struggle against Central Europe that has been going on since 1914”

    It seems Rudoph Steiner saw the “Russian cultural germ” as a counter-weight of the Faustian World in its anglo-saxon expression, but now this cultural “germ” is a threat to the whole World-Cities (Spengler) and the trans-human way they see the world and the future.


  275. So I checked out a new book from my library that has turned out to be even more eye opening than the title suggested to me. It’s Price Wars: How the Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World [ISBN: 978-0385545853 – publication date: Feb. 2022]

    While I’m still early in the book there is one section that made me sit up and take note. Turns out a group of researchers from Nunsell College, Oxford mined a lot of data to see if they could see anything illuminating about the Brexit vs. Remain vote.

    In short, they did.

    Turns out after all their mining of various data they saw that ONE number almost perfectly correlated with who voted Remain and who voted Brexit.

    Housing prices. Specifically, the price of your own house. If the price of one’s house was stagnating or even falling that person voted Brexit. If your house price was rising that person voted Remain. This means that you could literally look at each street…see the house prices on that road and know in advance (if they’d known at the time where to look) how the vote was going to go. It was stunningly accurate. Housing price rises in turn strongly correlated with upper middle class jobs. Not just middle class jobs. UPPER middle class jobs. They were flabbergasted.

    So the researchers got curious. If it’s this way for the UK might this explain Trump winning the Presidency in 2016? So they flew to the U.S. and in collaboration with other universities repeated the experiment. Mining tons of house pricing data keyed with street addresses, zip codes and precinct 2016 voting records.


    Exactly the same. EXACTLY. Their Big Data mining showed you didn’t need any other number – just housing price alone. That one number – is that voter’s house value rising or falling – all by itself strongly correlated with streets that had previously voted Obama flipping to Trump instead.

    It makes me wonder if they decided to repeat their examination if they might find similar voting correlation in France and Germany too. Maybe if you’re French and you’re seeing the value of your home sinking ever more year after year you are more willing to give Le Pen serious consideration?

  276. John–

    Setting the broader trajectory of industrial civilization aside for a moment, what immediate or near-term consequences for the ruling elite do you see from the collapse of US hegemony?

  277. David, by the lake (no. 281) ” I did find it interesting that the author noted fear of the future US political situation as another cause” (of interest in CBI / RBI programs)

    This is true, Most of the market is actually non-Americans (esp. wealthy Chinese citizens, Middle Easterners, and Russians), who are also concerned about the future political situations of their countries (or simply wish to be able to travel). Also, we have to distinguish between those who actually relocate overseas, versus those who just want the option. For Americans, the first group seems dominated by those who seek to avoid US taxes, but crypto traders (mentioned in the article) are another big group–most crypto exchanges bar Americans because of extraterritorial regulations. Among the second group (the ones who don’t relocate, rising taxes is often one of the apocalyptic concerns they wish to prepare for!

    Around Y2K and 9-11, when the industry was a lot smaller, you saw one-off sales conferences promoting various schemes that broadly drew their appeal from dissatisfaction with America–not only CBI / RBI (with a somewhat different list of countries), but also offshoring, international banking, tax evasion, libertarianism, and even foreign brides and the ancestor of the PUA (pick-up artist) movement. (Participants in the subculture were overwhelmingly male.) Flag Theory / Perpetual Traveler was perhaps the biggest inspiration, but “doomster” influences were very much present, and sentiments were often voiced to the effect that the USA might be on the verge of becoming a dictatorship, and that the thing to do was to escape it while one could. When Bitcoin got started, it fit seamlessly within this subculture.

    It’s interesting to see how mainstream many of these industries have become, particularly CBI / RBI. Back in the day, before visa-free travel and “passport indices” were a thing, people used to promote getting a quick citizenship in Paraguay, for instance (google “Claudia Bettina Müller”), without actually residing there as required.

  278. Up until just now, I was the only person I knew who was unimpressed by Guns, Germs, and Steel. 🙂

  279. OT: Memory Palace stuff, courtesy of Timothy McFadden on the S.M. Stirling fan list:

    “…Marilu Henner (remember “Taxi”?
    People who remember every second of their life | 60 Minutes Australia

    Yeah, that’s a visual synesthesia similar to “S.”

    Essentially she was born with her mind wired to store memories using the method of loci. High intensity visual imagery applied to a location STICKS. Use the full six potential sensoria (including kinesthesis) and that’s a LOT of detail pasted onto a location. If your mind does it spontaneously… killer.

    You can learn it, though that is a LOT slower and more deliberate than “lucky” wiring of this sort.

    The memories she mentions coming more slowly are probably the ones badly encoded in the first place, so those recollections are more syntheses of actual events filled in with imagination.

    Actually, the natural form of human writing is probably pictograms, not alphabets. Pictograms are a direct abstraction of encoding memory with imagery, which is probably what Homer(s) was doing back c. 1000 BC or so. The texts of the Iliad and Odyssey are full of details that are perfect for mnemonic storage.”

  280. @Chris and JMG in regards to storm directions. I live about 100km from Chris and have been an avid weather watcher here since I was a young one.

    The clouds go from the west to the east 99% of the time, occastionally from the north during a particularly hot periods. That was until about 5 years ago where big systems from the north east have been able to break through and make it down even to southern Tasmania with a lot of punch in them.

    I have spoken with with local meterologists about it and they are aware of it but do not have a though explanation. The best they said is that the climate is weirding so fast that once they have a model built it is already incorrect.

  281. Speaking of techno-fixes that won’t work, I keep hearing about electric cars in my social circles. I don’t hear about where the lithium and cobalt to make the batteries is going to come from or the source of electricity to charge them. Maybe we’re hitting peak magical thinking (and I don’t mean the good kind of magic).

  282. @Chris, or anyone Australian, or anyone
    I just read a twitter post that Dan Andrews, premier of Vic, had introduced a bill’ that is going for its second reading. that would ban people growing their own food for “bio security” reasons. Is this true? Could he get away with it? After the lockdowns it doesn’t amaze me that he would try. What a hideous thing to do.

  283. Re: “Viduraawakened, I didn’t think much of it (Guns Germs and Steel) by Diamond. The problem was not that it was deterministic, but that it was shallow and superficial, and heavily dependent on ad hoc hypotheses. To my mind a really good book on the role of environment in history has yet to be written.”

    Dear JMG, I’m wondering if you’ve looked at Yuval Hariri’s work e.g. ‘Sapiens’? He seems to be the upcoming darling of the PMC/western intelligentsia re this broad topic area of human-environment interaction viewed thru a historical lens. I find his stuff (which arcs to a transhumanist future all the time) to be creepily personally ambitious and ultimately misleading/pretty much wrong. As a public speaker he seems to be coming out more and more in favour of depop (target = low income people unlike himself) and government ownership of the human body (referencing the ‘pandemic’ etc) as the undeniable way forward for us here on Earth. This seems to me to be a detestable kind of false intellectualism, but i wonder what you and others in the group think re this fellow.

  284. p.s. Hariri has in the past flagged the arrival of ‘Guns Germs and Steel’ as his great inspiration to write.

  285. “I don’t hear about where the lithium and cobalt to make the batteries is going to come from or the source of electricity to charge them. ”

    Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries do not need cobalt, and are less flammable. Their capacity is slightly less, but probably good enough.

    The bad news is the lithium will likely come from strip mining Bolivia. The other bad news is the power to charge it doesn’t exist unless the wind is blowing at night.

    One group says the EVs can be charged with base load power at night, but they are also shutting down the fossil fuel power plants that run at night. Another group says you can recharge your EV with the solar panels on your house, overlooking that while you are at work you are not home, and when you are home the sun isn’t up.

    Work from home could actually improve the second situation. Or a large scale shift to night shifts for “knowledge workers”.

  286. Your Kittenship, thanks for this. I kind of doubt it, but here’s hoping.

    Patricia M, Catholic families have more children than Protestant families, so demography was always on Sinn Fein’s side.

    DFC, that Dubya quote is a keeper!

    Panda, thanks for this, though I’m not at all surprised. Housing price change is a fine proxy marker for the economic condition of a neighborhood, too; it might be interesting to do a deep data dredge and find out how many other figures have the same exact correlation.

    David BTL, the current US elite gets its power and wealth from US government spending, bribes from foreign countries angling for US government spending, and financial flows that depends on the US dollar’s primacy. Once the dollar is no longer the world’s default currency and US hegemony is over, all those cash flows are gone forever. Since none of them have any marketable skills, and their assets can easily be seized either by other countries or by a new US elite, they’re up the proverbial river of compost without a shovel.

    Your Kittenship, great minds clearly think alike!

    Patricia M, interesting. I’ll quibble with one thing — not pictograms, but oral poetry laced with visual imagery. Rhyme clings to the memory like nothing else. I bet you can still remember some of the nursery rhymes you learned when you were a toddler, for example.

    Michael, thanks for the data point. Stay tuned to this — there’s a very real chance that within our lifetimes, weather patterns will have changed drastically over much of the world.

    Chris, I tend to think of that as economists’ thinking. Mages don’t believe you can get something for nothing, while superstitious economists clearly do!

    Greg, Hariri’s transhumanist babble is sufficiently nauseating to me that I’ve never read any of his work beyond a few articles, and I found those embarrassingly facile and simplistic. So I don’t have a detailed response to his ideas.

  287. I hardly comment because I read slow and by the the time I finish reading all the comments the week is ended.

    This time I am commenting just after reading 150 comments.

    Rain here in my area of Malaysia is weird since end of last year:

    Machine-gun rain few times a week, 1-2″ in just 15 minutes and wipes out my young vegetables. Soil drains off along with seedlings.

    Hardly made any money in the farm which I rented in 2019 (just in time for the lockdowns!). I have only clay soil because the good soils are already taken so have to think of some low-cost solutions.

    Beware those trying to go into small-scale farming. At least have another source of minimum income.

  288. For something that might be important in the current situation. Just bullet points.

    Like many ex-colonies, India teaches a skewed history in school where they were all a happy family until the Anglos came and ransacked them. They even imply technology as the reason.

    1. There was no tech advantage for the western Europeans until after 1870 (see Siege of Jhansi 1857). Turkish guns and muskets were common. Robert Clive (1725-1774) was considered a sort of involuntary saviour by many Tamils and it is he who created British-rule in India, which Britain was not really ready for.

    2. The relationship of the normal Indians with British rule was symbiotic. They had a break from high taxation while the Brits managed to grab a lot of gold from the previous rulers, who grabbed it from previous rulers, who in turn got it from the Romans for spice. (Old English books mention they were terrified of losing India like they lost their American colonies)

    3. The plundering started around the time of the creation of the middle class. I always wondered why I hate America more than UK. It must be because the middle class are like the tiny but innumerable locusts who consume everything and nothing is enough – and the modern American empire is trying to feed these locusts.

    4. British India had a big army. In WWII, two million were mobilised. Thus Nehru or Gandhi were never fighting the British. Their fight is to convince the Indians that independence is worth it. The British never had the strength to conquer or hold India.

    5. Indians were just as good in manipulation and divide-and-rule. Look at a map of the Chola empire & the British Madras Presidency and see the similarities; or ask the Burmese what the Tamils did to them.

    6. It is true India had 2% of the world economy in 1947 but it doesn’t consider fossil-fuels. What was the income of Thais, who were independent all along? I would guess the average Indian improved his lots from 1750 – 1880. Then the plundering began and he lost 1/4th his living standards.

    (1750-1950: the Anglo were stuck in the coal mines to make clothing for the world and then went to Somme. The Germans dined in Verdun & Stalingrad. My ancestors lazed under the coconut tree.)

    7. While S.C Bose went to meet Hitler and finally joined the Japanese, Nehru got along with the British in WW2 mainly due to his admiration of Soviet Union rather than being an anglophile.

    8. In the 1971 war, the U.S carrier group threatened India and USSR responded with nuclear submarines. USSR/Russia gives their latest equipment first to India and also does joint production.

    9. India was unable to solve the Kashmir issue as long as the U.S can instigate the Muslim world. This was finally solved by “aligning” with the U.S against China. Likely with Russia’s understanding.

    India of course has brutal problems which I am sure all westerners have learnt since they are toddlers.

    We have our share of anglophiles but India is strongly aligned with Russia AND Iran. Thus Russia has Belarus, Kazakh, Iran and India as reliable buddies. China is a good partner too if you know how to handle them.

  289. @Greg #300 re: Yuval Harari

    A few years back, I was listening to a lot of podcasts by folks out of the Silicon Valley scene, and they kept raving about *Sapiens*, so I read it. After reading it, I was a bit like “is this what impressed folks so much?” After some reflection, I realized that all of the people who had raved over it were tech guys – people who knew computers and a not a lot else. On the other hand, I was a classics major at a college where one of the leading lights of the evolutionary psychology field taught (David Buss), and I had learned to love historical linguistics from an early admiration for Tolkien. In other words, the kind of humanities-focused interdisciplinary approach Harari presents was the kind of stuff I read for fun, but that engineers wouldn’t have ever encountered before.

    I share this just to say that I can see how many of the threads he drew together would be new and fascinating to folks who never learned to think about humans from those standpoints, but for folks with a more liberal arts bent, he might come across as less interesting. Without touching on any of his transhumanism, which I hadn’t encountered to date, so I don’t feel qualified to comment on.

    As a bit of an aside, if you found the cross-disciplinary approach of *Sapiens* interesting, but you’d like to go a bit deeper, *War in Human Civilization* by Azar Gat and *The Horse, the Wheel, and Language* by David Anthony are great choices. Gat is great if you like military history, and Anthony is fantastic if you prefer archaeology and linguistics, but both draw on very many fields and cover wide swaths of human history.


  290. Hello,
    I used to go to the Archdruid Report to read spectacular statements about the doom of our industrial civilization… Now I just check the mainstrzam news, and this blog sounds tame (almost optimistic in a weird sort of way!) in comparison.

    Not sure if this is relevant or just a rehashing of what’s already known here… In France the situation is going to get worse throughout the winter I think. And there are signs that are… unsettling:

    This one is in French, it reports an increase to resorting to pawn shops in order to feed one’s family:
    Having to pawn your heirloom jewelry…

    Some people have sabotaged fiber optics cables in various parts of the country:

    I have seen some news reports complaining that the deployment of fiber optics in France was often done with low quality, and errors of the small local operators deploying it:

    The industry is now expecting shortages on mustard, glass bottles for wine (those were made abroad!), the glu for the labels on the bottles, some other parts for the winemaking industry… All those things relying on parts or raw materials shipped from abroad.
    Crazy as hell…

    Drought expected in the Southeast of France, where people are already producing less tomatoes than before

    Next winter could be interesting but not in a way that will interest many people.

  291. Hi Stephen Pearson,

    Can you point to the Twitter post?

    The only change to biosecurity laws surrounding farms I’ve heard debated this year have to do with ensuring activists can’t trespass on farms. And the law presents the argument from the biosecurity perspective.



  292. Hi Michael,

    Hope you are doing well. Weather watching is a top notch sport, if I may say so myself. 😉

    The storms originating from the north east are the so called ‘east coast lows’. The storm from the south east mid last year (which knocked out the power in some parts of the Dandenong Ranges for many weeks) was unprecedented as I presume it arrived via the Tasman Ocean – the flattened trees in the wombat state forest provide all the evidence anyone needs. It’s still a mess in some parts.

    The north west storms come from the Indian Ocean and pick up heat over the continent.
    The west and southerly storms come from the Southern Ocean and they’re cold!
    The north and north east storms come from the Coral Sea and they’re warm and humid.

    There’s heaps of options, thus the four seasons in one day biz. But the south east was something new – always exciting!

    One Christmas Day many years ago we got hit by a minor Tornado. Not fun, but quickly over.



  293. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah well the most recent Mad Max film instalment was filmed in Africa because the outback was too green. Bizarrely the original film was filmed not all that far from here way back in the day on what looks to me like the back roads of Werribee (it was quieter then) and also along the drier parts of the surf coast, so the desert aspect of the story came in later instalments. I have not followed that story line closely, but have seen the original film (and amusingly can understand what the actors are saying!)

    Spotted an article which ponders the realities of the mining side of renewable energy technologies. It has some very useful and easy to grasp statistics and is well worth the brief read: The rush to renewable energy means a new mining boom. But first, Australia needs to make some tough choices . It also just happens to answer many questions your readers are asking like: where’s this stuff going to come from?



  294. My hands are full holding beers from the one ups-man-ship of the crazy regimes. Looking for some verification from Australian commenters here over the likely new law over not growing food.

  295. Hi Oilman2,

    Thanks for the info. In our area rain collection is actually encouraged by the city. The neighbourhood I’m in has far more unsightly displays than rain barrels. I’m right by Lake Ontario too, so technically I may never need to worry able fresh water, but, who knows what might happen, maybe water will become privatized and the lake will get sold. I rank that scenario as pretty unlikely, but I don’t rule anything out.

    Also unlikely to be important, but I learned about solar water disinfection, where you can leave clear plastic water bottles in the sun to kill dangerous microbes. I’m sure over the long term you end up taking in a fair amount of plastic this way, but I think if it gets to this I’ll have other more pressing concerns.

    Here’s a little bit of info in case it’s useful to other people:


  296. Hi JMG and any readers,

    Possibly many/most of you know this, but if not, something I have been meaning to try making for a few years (and I think will need to get around to this year!) is a solar heater made from old cans. There are a lot of youtube videos showing the construction of them, and they seem relatively simple all around. Supposedly they can raise the temperature of the room they vent into by about 10 degrees Celsius.

    Obviously this is only going to work during the day time, but a night time trick I learned about might be useful here, which is using a tent indoors so you/your family become their own heater.


  297. Wer here
    Well regarding the comments I sincerely don’t know, me and a lot of folks here literally stopped watching the damned MSM after the Covid fiasco. I will tell you this our nation is in really bad shape economically and I don’t know for how long we can have fossil fuels here. We have runaway inflation, the official numbers say one thing but the price tags in the supermarket say otherwise. Poland has a toy army compared to Ukraine and almost all of our equipment comes from Western nations (if there is a supply shortage of ammo in the West, then we are not getting any here, all electronic components of modern Polish armor come from somewhere else, if A leopard tank breaks down we have to wait for parts, the same about Rosomak APC which is a leased design only assembled here not manufactured) We are hopelessly dependend on outher NATO powers especially the US
    All Soviet era equipment was either scrapped or given to Ukraine a mounth ago (200 mouthballed T72 and all ammo to then).
    Well I can’t say what the rich folks here say, again I would like to remind you that i am from a rural town in Poland not one of the largest cities like Poznań or Gdańsk. people there were going crazy during the pandemic like it was ebola or burbonic plauge (children in suits etc.) i can’t imagine what is going through their head’s right now. Shiver, I really hate the social media it made some people really stupid and cause them to behave like complete idiots just for fame I never understood that and during Covid many people objectively went nuts.
    But there are bright sides the COVID nonsense and hysteria greatly destroyed people’s faith in the stablishment and MSM here some maybe some are waking up.
    Still have some hope Stay safe everyone Wer

  298. @JMG

    Just wanted to thank you for the last 16 years of blogging. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from your writing. I found you via the Oil Drum after reading Crossing the Rubicon, been a faithful reader ever since. Prior to that I had never heard the phrase Peak Oil or even considered resource depletion, the collapse of the US and what it really means for those of us who are not “elites”. However alot of us gen Xers grasp it intuitively since we remember the 70s even if we were just children. Unfortunately the last 16 years have brought alot of changes in our national life, and none for the better. Wish we could rewind to ’89 with a few less idiots in charge.

    One question, do you think the adventurous/pioneer/independent spirit of Americans will return or will we remain the scared obedient rabbits we’ve seen for the past 2 years? Here on the Oklahoma boondocks, the craziness just meant you saw masks occasionally but not often. You’re more likely to step on a rattlesnake or black widow out here. At the office of course, complete hysteria. The contrast between those who can work with their hands and those who can’t was quite fascinating.

    The fad/MSM/advertising driven culture of contemporary American life always bothered me since it always seemed so artificial. Turned out it was. Lets hope we can muddle through the next 16 years and can put in place something lasting or maybe even just the 1st brick in the foundation. Again, thank you for all that you do.

  299. @ JMG – let’s hope I’m wrong about Russia’s next move then.

    I’m a bit surprised the cyber warfare hasn’t ramped up much. At least, in public. I’d guess there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

  300. JMG:

    Your wrote, “Chris, I tend to think of that as economists’ thinking. Mages don’t believe you can get something for nothing, while superstitious economists clearly do!”

    Nice! I’ll have to adopt “economists’ thinking’.

    Speaking of previous discussions on this sight, I remembered of a previous post you did where you introduced the term ‘thoughtstopper’. ( The good thing about giving something a name is that it more readily allows you to identify and discuss the thing thus named. I think the woke have turned the phrase ‘white supremacy’ into a thoughtstopper, used to shut down any dissent or discussion. I wrote about this on my substack (click on my name above for the essay).

  301. @Aldarion #253 – Thanks, and everybody is welcome to educate me on the topic

    On looking to re-locate to other countries, I’ve always thought that if you expect the financial system to fall apart, it makes no sense to move farther away from your support system and expect finances/saving/investments to support you.

    If you expect it “just” to get worse, but still muddle through it might make sense to move somewhere cheaper if that works for you.

    I’m definitely convinced that skills and relationships are the best insurance.

    Of course if where you currently live is at great risk of war, crime or other risks, then that is sufficient reason to move.

    Expecting Babylon to fall but Bitcoin to hold value makes me think of Russian nobles in exile after the revolution – and that they might have to work as servants in France, but still a better option than staying in Russia.

  302. @ Bofur and @ Northwind Grandma – actually, taking pleasure in the proximity of one’s people should not be controversial at all.

    What I think is both confusing, and also makes for great, and maybe needless, controversy, is the way that people assume that, when in the presence of strangers, you can identify “your people” by something as arbitrary, and as abstract, and as devoid of information concerning a person’s outlook, experience, cultural attitudes, etc, as skin colour. I have experienced feeling myself to be entirely alien in a room full of white skinned people who share my skin tone, but not my outlook, experience or cultural attitudes, and have experienced feeling comfortable and at home in a room full of people of various skin tones (many of them related to me by blood and or marriage), with whom one can talk easily without having to explain much.

    This is as much as to say that while I entirely understand the sense of comfort and pleasure that can be had in the presence of “one’s people”, I have never understood what skin colour has to do with figuring out who your people ARE.

  303. Hi JMG,

    I thought I should say, the main reason I wanted to set up the rain barrels was actually just to use them to water our garden. Partially to conserve water, but mostly because rain water and tap water are not the same thing. It always seems that the plants respond far better to the former so it’d be good to give them that all the time. The potential as a fall back source of drinking water is just a useful bonus.


  304. @chola3 #305

    About rain washing out your vegetables: you might try using the ridge and furrow method, and planting in the ridges. I found that it was the only thing that worked when I lived in Tennessee. We had this stuff that the locals called rain. It was like turning a shower to max and pointing it straight down right on your head.

    You have a soil building project ahead. The Chinese method is to mulch the furrows with anything available, vegetable thinings, outer leaves, straw, wood chips, also including chopping up trimmed branches with the leaves on them. Over the season, the water soaks in and breaks down the mulch. Just don’t include noxious weeds in your mulch. After the growing season was over, the Chinese farmers would move the ridges into the furrows and make new furrows where the old ridges were. King, Farmers of 40 Centuries, available free on line.


  305. Chola3, I don’t think you were explicitly seeking advice, so if this is unneeded, please ignore: re rains taking both soil and seedlings, you might consider putting in (fast-growing, of possible) perennials that, once established can protect the soil with leaf cover and root structure and serve as nurse plants for tender varieties. I have no idea what’s adapted to your region, but perhaps some fruiting or medicinal or crafts-supply providing bush? There are permaculture practitioners in the tropics who might have good ideas for multi-story, mult-species plantings.

  306. @JMG 254

    Thats what I mean. Political Conservatives back 250 years ago vs 100 years ago vs. 50 years ago vs. Now? I think most of the founding fathers of America, if they were revived, would probably have not so nice things to say. A LOT has changed as far as what policies would have been engaged and voted on, but cultural and economic conservatives have been far more consistent in principle and thought in the last 250+ years, serving as a necessary reference point, than many of the self proclaimed liberals who eventually joined the establishment and only treated things as a popular trend, a tool, not something actually worth preserving. But that’s just my thoughts.

    As for more books. Knowledge and Decisions is the sequel to The Vision of The Annointed that breaks down certain thought processes and brings up uncomfortable realities within people that many elites simply do not understand nor want to understand. Really interesting stuff in there though it is a long dry read.

  307. @Ecosophian:

    Any soothsayers here know what it means?

    My top three guesses:

    “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.”
    “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”
    “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.”

  308. JMG,

    In response to Walt F at #257 regarding names for our most excellent and diverse group of participants in your Ecosophian endeavor, I respectfully submit that we all comprise a Dissensus of commenters.

  309. @JMG (and Walt),

    This post is such an excellent summary of what you’ve been saying for the last 16 years (and what I have been saying for the last three – ever since I found your blogs in 2019 and quickly became converted to the idea that decline is gradual and not sudden).

    And I also totally get where Walt is coming from re the difficulty of getting other people to imagine any futures besides continued upward progress, and sudden apocalypse. Most of my friends’ beliefs about the future fall neatly into one of those two categories, and it is very hard to get them to consider any other option. (Though harder with the progress people – in my experience the doomers are fairly open-minded, whereas trying to convince a believer in progress that the things discussed on this blog and the Archdruid Report really matter is like trying to argue with a rock).

    It’s amusing, sometimes. For instance, I might hear one of my friends say something like: “We don’t know whether the American Apocalypse will come now, or a decade or two in the future. But either way we need to prepare, so I am buying guns and ammunition, and stocking up on iodine pills in case there is a nuclear explosion near my home.”

    And I will say: “I am preparing for America’s decline and fall by eating lots of rice and beans, learning to grow my own vegetables, and joining a Masonic lodge” – which sounds very confusing to somebody who isn’t already familiar with the idea of the Long Descent and the need for incremental steps toward self-sufficiency.

    But I’ll end on a positive note. Shortly after you posted this essay, I sent it to one of my friends (on the apocalypse side of things) who thought it was one of the most insightful essays he had ever read, and who was baffled that he had never heard of you before and that you seemed to have no mainstream exposure. When I told him that this was probably because you are an astrologer and a druid, he was even more flabbergasted, and finally said something like: “It has not made me change my view of astrology, but it has made me realize yet again that people are complicated.”

    Yes they are!

  310. Expanding on my observation:

    Went to another nearby store, found other brands of pants and shirts with El Salvador and Guatemala origins, same with socks and undies. So I can say my observation from before wasn’t a fluke.

  311. chola3 @ 306: Can you recommend a good book available in English on the history of India. I prefer comprehensive and detailed histories, but at this point, I will take what I can get.

    You stated above that China is a good partner if you know how to handle them. Could you maybe elaborate on that? I think it is something we Americans urgently need to learn how to do. I notice India does not participate in belt and road, nor, I believe, have you welcomed Chinese only compounds into your country.

  312. @JMG

    A question regarding the Long Descent – what do you think of the Miyawaki method for forest plantation? Could it significantly help mitigate climate change, if done on the mass scale, or is it too little too late?

  313. @Mary Bennett

    Regarding: recommendation for a good book on Indian history

    I know you asked chola3, but I’d like to recommend Alain Danielou’s A Brief History of India. Concise, informative and well-written IMO.

  314. Ecosophian, a face, certainly. It didn’t look all that much like Putin to me.

    Chola3, many thanks for the data points. I hope you can find a way to make the farm work! As for Indian history, that’s an interesting perspective, so thank you for that also.

    Jean-Vivien, thanks for the update. That’s harrowing, and the drought in the south is worth watching closely — as climate belts shift, it’s entirely possible that southern Europe could end up with a North African climate while the Sahara does what it did 10,000 years ago and turns into savannah.

    Chris, I didn’t know that about the Mad Max films! That’s very good news for Australia — given adequate rain, you’ve potentially got a huge new agricultural region, and as other countries suffer disastrous droughts, it’ll be needed. Thank you for the mining article; I’d love to see that information get more traction among those who think that renewable energy comes without ecological costs.

    Johnny, thanks for this! A nice classic passive solar heater made from salvaged materials — now that’s a technology that could genuinely make people’s lives better. The same basic structure with a few different materials will give you a batch solar water heater, which is another very simple, useful technology. The fact that this sort of thing is in circulation right now makes me feel a little more hopeful about the future.

    Wer, thanks for the update. It seems to be Poland’s fate to end up squeezed between the powers to east and west — I hope it turns out better this time than it did the last several times.

    BobinOK, you’re most welcome! The pioneer spirit was always a minority thing in America. The frontier made it look more central to the national character than it was — but it helps to remember that for every family that piled into a covered wagon and headed west, there were dozens of families that stayed put, or moved further west only after there were roads and jobs and somebody waiting from the Chamber of Commerce to welcome them. What’s happened for the last two years is that the scared obedient majority hogged the media limelight for a while; there were still plenty of people who rolled their eyes and ignored the panic, even in big cities on the coasts. Which way will the pendulum swing next? We’ll have to wait and see.

    Ben, I don’t expect it to do so. The Russians have nothing to gain by escalating outside of Ukraine; the less disruption they cause, the sooner the West will get bored and distracted, and forget all about the war.

    Chris, good! Yes, “white supremacy” and “racism” are both classic thoughtstoppers these days. It’s a pity, because racial prejudice is of course a real thing — it’s just that the label is being used to shut down any criticism of the managerial class and its nitwitted policies.

    Johnny, either way, it’s a great idea.

    Copper, interesting. I’ll put it on the look-at list.

    Will1000, a dissensus of Ecosophians, perhaps!

    Athelstan, oh, I know. All I can do is keep reminding people that there’s a middle ground — in fact, a vast and complicated range of possibilities — between “we all go to the stars” and “we all die,” and the essence of that middle ground is the thing that both ends of the false dichotomy are intended to obscure: that life goes on more or less in the trajectory it’s already on. The myth of progress and the myth of apocalypse are both frantic attempts to claim that the future won’t follow in the track of the present.

    Viduraawakened, I’ll have to look into it and get back to you.

  315. Thanks JMG,

    I actually learned about these solar heaters a while back, but thought since things are getting a bit dire I should spread the word a bit! I haven’t tried to make one, but I have started on a solar oven. I have a plan to talk to a neighbour who makes a living with odd jobs to see if he will make more of them with me and maybe try to sell them on the street during these street festivals that happen a couple blocks from here. It’s sorta grassroots, and so people just set up tables and sell stuff with the city’s blessing as it’s a bit of a tourist draw. Maybe have some rice and beans cooking in one =)

    I thought a sign like “cook without gas or electricity” might get people’s attentions. When I’ve used my solar cooker (a professionally made one I bought) to cook stuff for friends/family it’s really blown people’s minds, and made me realize that people simply aren’t at all aware of this kind of technology exists (or is something we could make ourselves). My intention isn’t really to make money, just to get the idea out there so people maybe end up making them themselves, and just get thinking this way generally.

    I gave some thought to how I could conceivably help out with these hard times we are heading for, and this was the best I could come up with – it struck me as better than nothing!


  316. Hi JMG,

    Also about the passive solar heater – I thought you might be interested to know (since I know you don’t do video) that there are loads of results if you search for these on youtube. The top one has one and a half million views, and the vibe is very DIY and kinda funny, “How to build a SOLAR HEATER with BEER CANS” (etc), which makes it seem like people are actually making them and putting them to use. It’s not all just theoretical interest!


  317. A very small data point, that most ecosophian readers are unlikely to hear from the time being.

    This morning our president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, announced he will not attend to the Summit of the Americas this year unless Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are also invited. This is a purely symbolic move, as he hedged his declaration by stating that Chancellor (of Foreign Affairs) Marcelo Ebrard is to attend in representation of Mexico if that were the case.

    This development is not unnatural, as current Mexican government leans much leftwards that Americans think is possible without going full hog communist. However, I also see an opportunist streak at this: when the cat’s fast asleep, mice party.

  318. @ Stephen Pearson, Denis, Chris

    Here is the bill you are referring to –

    As I live in Victoria and grow a lot of backyard food, I had a skim through. The key phrase is this “An authorised officer may at any reasonable time enter and inspect any place, other than a place occupied as a residence”.

    Unless I have missed something, the bill seems entirely aimed at commercial agriculture. I’m not really sure how this business about backyard gardens got started.

    As the saying goes: “a lie travels halfway round the world before the truth is lacing up its boots.”

  319. Here in the IT side of things… cybersecurity is starting to take up an inordinate amount of resources (time and money). I just keep thinking that while fraud has always been tempting to some, the increased ROI of fraud was offset by the increased risk of prosecution, both relative to the effort and risk of attaining prosperity by normal means.
    It seems to me now, that the ROI of fraud has quite distanced itself from that of legitimate business, primarily because the ROI of legitimate business has dropped. Law enforcement and financial regulators in all countries don’t have the resources to increase prosecution.
    Two related ponderings:
    1) I wonder if growing cybersecurity burdens will be an initial driving force behind drawdowns on IT. If making our systems electronic is going to expose us to $X risk, is that more or less than the $ we save by automating our business processes. Even more granular, what specific IT systems save more $ than the risk they create? Are we going to witness a shift to IT only when necessary?
    2) Bitcoin (because all the ransomware wants you to pay in crypto). I have come to the conclusion that Bitcoin is stock. Bitcoin is stock in the BTC blockchain, ETH is stock in the Ethereum blockchain, etc. To the extent that people believe in blockchain, or a particular blockchain, the crypto attached to that blockchain goes up. It is a bubble, a mania, and it’s why Dogecoin and everyone else is to the moon. Now I will not deny that blockchain may be important going forward, but the cryptocurrencies are no better than tech stocks. In fact, cryptos tend to track the stock market, particularly tech stocks. And now you know why. The actual use of any of the cryptos for financial transactions is literally the equivalent of buying stuff with stocks… USD conversion services, fees, and processing time all make real-world crypto transactions super full of friction.

    @JMG: As far as nuclear… we are just a few codes and buttons away. There have been close calls in the past. I guess I just don’t see any of the world’s great powers giving up access to resources without first fighting to the nuclear death. America’s various major wars tend to be dominated by weapons that were in their infancy in the last conflict.

  320. @Ecosophian, JMG, and others re faces in flocks: I don’t know the answer, but this event reminds me of one of Al Stewart’s last and strangest studio songs, “Elvis at the Wheel.” The song begins with a description of a surviving independent bookstore, then shifts to Elvis driving a car in Arizona, and suddenly having a vision:

    “He’s looking up; the sky has something to reveal…
    It is the face of Josef Stalin being formed by drifting clouds
    Above the sleeping Memphis Mafia and unsuspecting cows!

    This is a sign from God! It’s plain
    This is a sign that nothing he does for the rest of his life will be the same

    It’s a medieval moment, a religious episode
    He is shaking in his footsteps on the dusty desert road…”

    I was surprised to learn later that this was an actual event in Elvis’s life, as related in the book Careless Love (that Al Stewart saw in an independent bookstore). Maybe there’s something about Russian (or Georgian?) faces that makes them resemble shapes in the sky.

  321. Happy Panda,
    I wonder about the application of this to renters? Our rent increasing is not good for us. We also aren’t typically in upper middle class jobs, and at least some of us vote.

  322. Chris at Fernglade Farm (no. 311), speaking of Australia-based apocalypticism, I was amused to learn that “Night of the Lepus”–a 1972 B-movie featuring malevolent giant rabbits–was actually based on a novel which satirized the Australian politics of the time by depicting the response of local politicians to the mutant pestilence (non-native rabbit populations being a very real problem in Australia).

  323. @Mohsin Javed, Mother Balance, and Will (and JMG),

    The possibilities are indeed endless. Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve sometimes used “slow-collapse doomers” because people at least know approximately what doomers are, and “slow collapse” is at least a bit self-explanatory.

    Other times I’ve used the term “Ecosophians” but of course I then have to explain what that means, because the outlook and perspective here, as diverse as it is, trends in much more specific directions than “pro-ecology” or “ecologically aware” as the word construction by itself might imply. And yeah, a bracket of yuppies, a wunch of bankers, a dissensus of Ecosophians; that works!

    A few downvotes, though. “Catabolics” sounds like something else, though I’m not sure exactly what. And I can just imagine JMG’s counterpart in some other milieu referring to us as the “soi-disant ‘Realists.’”

  324. @ everyone who mentioned the importance of friendship – you are absolutely right. We had to leave our house for a week during the recent floods in Australia. Having multiple people willing to put us up for a night or two made everything so much easier. It was much better staying with friends than in a hotel.

    Part of my decline preparation is hosting people regularly for dinner and board / card games. I get practice at making good meals on the cheap in quantity, see our friends regularly and have low-energy fun.

  325. @Simon, Chris, Denis,
    Thanks for your answers. The Twitter article seemed too weird to be true, even in these weird times. There is so much rubbish going around these days, it can be a full time task sorting through it.
    Thanks again. Cheers, Stephen

  326. @ Simon S and compatriots:

    Beware this bill. Knowing nothing else about it but the sentence Simon posted, I can tell you how the bureaucrats will interpret it.

    “any place, other than a place occupied as a residence”.

    A ‘place occupied as a residence’ is a *building*. A back yard is not a building. Therefore, the back yard is fair game as far as the enforcers are concerned.

    And that bit about ‘any reasonable time’? Here in America, 2am has been claimed to be ‘reasonable’, depending on what the enforcers were trying ensnare.

    Not saying that they will, just that with the way this is worded, they could if they chose to. Typical obfuscating legalese.

  327. Dear Jeff (#307)

    Thanks so much for your insights re Hariri. What you say makes a lot of sense. I can see what you mean re the fascinated readership of the book among techs at the time. He kind of makes them and their wares seem so much more relevant to the potential thrust of human history going forward. This would surely make their hearts glow lol. I will pursue the 2 book suggestions you kindly offered (neither of which was i aware of) with great interest. Best wishes Greg

  328. Johnny, delighted to hear this. I learned about those in the 1970s, but that might be the Hyborian Age for all that people remember these days.

    CR, many thanks for it. Stick a fork in American hegemony; it’s done.

    DT, that makes perfect sense to me. There were claims some years ago that intelligence agencies were going back to typewriters and file cabinets because they’d ascertained that there is literally no way to make computers genuinely secure. As hackers get more skilled and the means of extracting value from computer crime accelerates, abandoning the web is a winning gimmick. The computer I use for my writing is never connected to the internet — and I have a typewriter, a lovely Olivetti Lettera 32 in fine condition, for when that’s not enough. As for nuclear war, we may be further away from it than that. Nuclear weapons are fantastically expensive to maintain — each warhead has to be remachined every six months because uranium and plutonium are both very soft and won’t hold the tolerances for long — and it’s by no means certain that there haven’t been corners cut. Who would know?

    Walt, hmm! I’ll have to play that one again sometime.

    Laserbrain, already disproved by paleoclimatological evidence — you can track carbon in the atmosphere by a variety of proxy measures, and spikes in carbon correlate very nicely to spikes in atmospheric average temperature. Of course you can manipulate abstract measures and ideal gases to get the results you want, which is why data from paleoclimatic sources is so crucial for understanding the real world. Please keep in mind, however, that paleoclimatic evidence also disproves the apocalyptic fantasies being brandished about by corporate-funded climate change activists. I’ll be having fun pointing that out in an upcoming post.

  329. @Simon S I’m surprised after all that has occurred that you believe what is written in law will be followed by authorities. Aren’t we in a post-law society now where in whoever holds the power creates the law to be what they need it to be to reach their goals?

    I skimmed through the bill you posted and it reads like one we have similar in regulations in my state (not law, just bureaucratic dictates). Nothing I’d be scared of either on paper, but I don’t trust any level of government to stay to the letter of the law anymore.

  330. @Justin Patrick Moore Amusingly, I contribute to the Radio Angela block that runs on one of WBCQ’s stations. I read poetry that serves as an intermission on the Concert Hall program that runs on Sunday nights. There’s a group of us trying to bring quality programming to shortwave.

  331. Some love from Paul:)
    What’s been notable to me is how much this has obviously begun to happen in the thirteen years since that manifesto was written. Back then, ‘collapse’ was an abstract notion. Now we can see it all around us, in supply chain shortages, rising food prices, runaway greenhouse gas emissions, record levels of deforestation … well, you name it. The American eco-druid John Michael Greer does a good job of naming it in his latest essay, in which he reflects on the same obvious pattern. I have read Greer’s work for many years; he’s read mine too, and sometimes we’ve had our arguments. But we’ve always seen eye to eye on this subject, on which he was something of a pioneer.

  332. Scotlyn, this may be too late to be read here, but I loved your take on who your tribe is. I so deeply concur; skin colour is nothing to do with it: are minds and hearts aligned? My tribe may include trees or animals, too; who says we have to stay loyal only to our species, let alone race?

Comments are closed.