All over the world, trees are dying. This first story I read today, at Desdemona Despair, is a report about Namibia.
More Wildfires Are Predicted as well. The tendency of most scientists, if they're not blaming insects, disease, or invasive species, is to blame warmer and drier conditions caused by climate change - which no doubt, will eventually spell extinction for many species. Note, however, that it is pure speculation on their part (see the Namibia story, which says: "Scientists found this is most likely caused by drought, with weather data showing that average temperatures have increased over past decades across the tree's range." In other words, they think it is most likely, but they really don't know. I have seen this conclusion in geographically disparate locations many times, and I believe it misses the big picture.
I think there is a distinct possibility that a more immediate cause for dying trees worldwide is the actual pollution from toxic greenhouse gases. If true (and I am not alone in this analysis -remember this?) it's quite significant because it means we could buy some critical time for forests to recover if we stop releasing said gases through burning fossil and biofuels - precious time to allow for mitigation and adaptation. Without that, we are looking at total ecosystem collapse in a very short timeframe.
The slower but inexorable march of damage, of droughts and floods and extreme temperature swings from climate change is now unstoppable, thanks to already passed tipping points such as a summer ice-free arctic. But if we can pull back from losing the carbon sinks of forests, it would at least allow some leverage to develop other life-support techniques (maybe!). Without the forests, there is no outcome other than runaway heating, and an uninhabitable planet.
With permission (THANK YOU!) from the elusive and prescient and instructive administrator of Survival Acres, I am going to paste excerpts of his most recent newsletter, below. Survival Acres was once a blog but he converted to sending newsletters, and it's easy to subscribe, just go to this link at Survivalacres.com. You can get a good idea of his outlook from the following exchange, first is an email from one of his readers, followed by his response:
From his reader:
Another Reader Writes
Hi, as much as I sympathize with the notion of disconnecting from theThe response:
train of destruction and to go homesteading I don't think it is going
to be a solution. Not for the world and not for you either. Why?
First of all: disconnecting from the economy and industrial
civilization will not shield you from the effects of climate change
and the coming post peak energy resource wars. Fall out from nucleair
explosions will not limit itself to cities. Neither do heatwaves and
droughts. Nor are you save in your homestead from hungry hordes and
oficials confiscating your harvest.
I sympathize because here in Europe I have tried to do something
similar: living in one of the most industrialized and most densely
populated countries in Europe I decided after realizing what kind of
predicament the world is in to buy a house in one of the least
populated countries in the north of Europe, just to have a way of
escape. But I realize that the whole operation may have been futile
for the reasons already stated. (Still I will keep the house, learn
the language (yes that is an additional difficulty in Europe), grow/
store food and try to socialize with the natives, just in case).
But there is a more compelling reason I think that disconnecting from
industrial society is not good: because it will disconnect you (and
other people like you) from power. You will be even more powerless
than you already are while fully suffering the consequences of the
actions of greedy powerfull people. You will be happily discarded by
the power elites. One person less..
You see that is the problem: to counteract the enormous forces of
mass destruction (in terms of nature and resources) called
'corporations', at the very least you need something equally
powerful. Only governments might be - just - powerful enough to tame
them IF they would be serving the general interest of the people
rather than the special interests of the rich as is usual.
I see roughly two possible scenario's for the onset of the coming
1) The one I think will happen: as most humans, incapable of
understanding what is happening and why it is happening, will easily
fall prey to a number of dark characters that will show up leading
them into more acts of religious or other induced terrorism, fascism,
escapism, resulting in riots, wars (including nucleair wars), a world
where the survivors wish they were dead.
2) The one that I wish would happen: that the people somehow keep
their heads cool, and for one time don't let themselves be tricked
into war "because we need the jobs NOW and the economy comes before
ecology", expose the real criminals, take the government back
democratically in order to have the power to bring corporations under
control. Remove all special interests from government and make
lobbying unlawful. Base economic decisions on science rather than the
pseudo-science with is taught at Economic faculties of Universities.
I only mentioned option 2 because I know of one occasion were the
people of a country were able to resist a totalitarian government
that seemed to be impossible to overcome but they succeeded just by
protesting in the main square. First there were a 1000 then there
were 10000, then it grew to more than 100000 and they stayed there
day and night week in week out until finally the regime gave itself
up. This was the Romanian revolution of 1989. This regime under
dictator Ceau_escu was so violent and so determined not to relinguish
power that nobody thought it possible that the crowd would succeed but
You don't have to agree with me but do you see my point? Although I
understand you, to vanish into the countryside or the woods will not
help, not even yourself as you will get your share of pollution,
violence and global warming effects anyway. (Even the North pole is
not safe any longer..) Instead people would need to go to the
financial centers of the world: London, New York, Tokyo, Beijing to
protest en masse. They would have to show up with hundred thousands
(millions?) in Wallstreet and demand real change and refuse to go
away. For days on end, weeks if need be. Until they give in. Now that
would be the nice option.
This of course can only happen if the effects of post oil peak and/
or global warming have become so obvious and so devastatingly
damaging that everybody feels them, nobody can deny them AND somehow
it would still be not too late to mitigate them. (That is the weak
part, I admit..).
I guess I should not be surprised that there are still people, even
among my own readership, that do not get it yet. They don't
understand the overall picture and where this is all headed. I'm
going to take this letter and the opportunity it provides to address
each of the issues this brings up.
1) The economy and industrial civilization is shutting down. We are
doing this right now in stages, what I long ago wrote as 'plateaus'.
This is the slipperly slope of energy decline, mixed in with economic
collapse and climate collapse. Nobody, any place on the planet will
remain immune from these effects.
2) Disconnecting from the dependency and fracturing of civilization
remains the only true answer for what you can actually do, and what
will be left after civilization's collapse. Otherwise, by remaining
plugged in, you remain totally dependent upon civilization and
industry and all the multinational and mega-corporations, large and
small, for your sustenance and livelihood. If you stay "plugged in",
you are in fact, continuing to feed the beast, the voracious
destructive monsters and institutions of society that are factually
destroying us all (and all future hope for the planet and human
generations to come).
The future outcome of civilization as we know it today is already
well known. Civilization is the driving engine of climate collapse,
resource collapse, fisheries collapse, deforestation, acidification,
soil degradation, air and water pollution and all of the rest of the
many ills affecting man and beast alike.
It is civilization itself, that engine we depend on to keep us alive
(daily), that is destroying this planet, bite by bite, by enabling
and harnessing the destructive power of 7 billion humans to
voraciously consume everything (plant, fish, animals, minerals,
resources) through their industry and exploitation for money.
Remaining plugged in to civilization as you suggest is the same thing
as giving your permission for this engine to continue to engulf you
and everyone else, including ALL future human generations, ALL living
species and the entire biosphere. You are not only giving your
permission, you are giving your support in terms of time, labor and
finances to help make this destructive force viable.
There is absolutely no question nor debate on this issue in reality.
It is civilization that is destroying everything while pretending
that it is 'providing for our future' when in reality, it is
destroying all hopes of a livable future because of its present form
and practices, leading us all over the cliff edge of overconsumption,
exploitation, overproduction, pollution and environmental degradation
(and many other issues, such as declining health and debilitating
3) A homestead creates an independent livelihood and sustanance for
your survival. While this is not completely disconnected from
civilization or society (nothing is), it is far better then remaining
plugged in and doing nothing. This also empowers you to become
self-educated in personal survival skills and techniques, such as
growing some of your own food, working for yourself, and developing
the necessary skills and experience to take care of yourself, and
helps you disengage you from the failing support systems of a failing
4) Nobody will be 'shielded' from the effects of climate collapse,
nuclear war or any other disaster, not even the homesteader, but
especially those that are still depending upon civilization and
industry to take care of them and keep them alive.
The many points of failure that civilization has today, such as "just
in time delivery systems" of everything from food, water, energy, oil,
gasoline and a highly integrated delivery / transportation system has
a million failure points built in, all of which are going critical
Examine how ice storms or hurricanes (disaster examples) today strip
the stores bare in a matter of hours, and then people go hungry, cold
or even freeze to death because 'civilization / society fails them'.
The real failure is you and how you have chosen dependency over
personal responsibility for your life, and the autonomy that this
actually gives you.
You don't have to live like that and be the victim of collapse when
it happens to you. To suggest that this is "better" ignores all the
5) The comment on 'people in power' assumes several points: That you
have a voice, that it is respected, appreciated and listened to, that
your vote actually counts, that individuals and groups of individuals
can actually effect that halls of power by protest, by voting and by
Almost every one of these points is patently false and no longer
true. Here in America, voting is irrelevant. The candidates are
pre-picked (pre-selected, what I have coined years ago as
(s)elected), voting discrepencies and abuse of power / candidacy are
absolutely legendary, and even after a candidate is put into office,
these slugs wind up doing whatever the hell they want (witness what
Bush did and what Obama is now doing, despite the demands of the
people and all the protests taking place).
I contend without reservation that voting is a total waste of time in
today's world. We do not live in a democratic society where the people
have any direct influence over the halls of power. The Romanian
revolution was far, far different then the ballot box "demands"
people are accostomed to using and practicing. But whatever we do, we
ALWAYS wind up settling for less then what we are promised in any
case, and far, far less then what is actually needed.
The fact is, the people are entirely disconnected from the powerful
people. There is ample evidence of this fact throughout the world.
The illusion however, remains: That 'voting' empowers you and gives
you voice, and that participating in the democratic process 'makes a
difference' and that this is your only real means of voicing your
opinions, dissent or wishes.
None of these are true. They all belong to that illusion and
make-believe reality promoted by media and of course, government and
politicians. They WANT you to remain powerless and totally dependent
upon their direction and influence and to keep you ignorantly
believing that you are actually empowered.
By playing into this game (voting for example, but there are many
other examples), you are in fact, giving credibility to this sham and
giving your consent to be governed by these tricksters.
Finally, if voting or 'participating' in the democratic process could
save us or change our world for the better, then we would have already
done so by now and we would in fact, be living in a very different
What the people want, and what the politicians / governments /
corporations give us are two entirely different things now. If we
could have had it "democratically" -- we would have already long
since had it, but we don't, ample evidence that the democratic
approach simply does not work. It is an illusion, pure and simple,
promoted by media, all of our institutions and by government
themselves. The last thing that they want you to figure out is that
you are living in the Matrix.
We remain on the inexorable decline of collapse no matter what we do.
Government, politicians and industry aren't listening to our protests
-- this should be dead obvious. If they were, they'd stop their
destruction, but what are they actually doing instead? They are
continuing on the same paths of self-destruction and exploitation for
all of humanity and all life on earth.
They are pursuing profits, period, pure and simple, and always will,
and until that changes or we collapse, there is nothing we can do in
the voting box that is going to make a lick of difference. It does
not even matter if we get a new (s)election of pre-approved
'candidates' -- nothing is going to change now. Again, if we could
have changed it by this method -- we'd have done so already.
5) The reality is, to 'counteract the forces of industry' you have to
stop supporting industry altogether. As long as you continue to remain
dependent upon their production and output (which is really
environmental depletion and destruction), you will be forever
empowering industry to retain control over you and the planet.
YOU must become personally powerful by taking charge of your own life
and divorcing yourself from dependency. You cannot do this
'democractically' within the confines of society, not how it is setup
today, because it is designed from the bottom up to protect itself,
insulate itself and destroy any opposition that may come against it.
This is why Senators and Congressmen and city councilmen and anyone
who attempts to work against the status quo consistently fails.
It is also why there is such widespread failure with indigenous
tribes who have tried to stay independent and free. They represent
the last truly free societies on earth and they are a direct threat
to the status quo despite their small size and stature. They have no
power, but what they represent is deadly to the status quo.
Their small successes are noteworthy, and I am NOT discounting them,
but they are still losing ground despite these milestones. Until they
are left the hell alone and these evil corporations pack up their
pollutive crap and depart from their lands with profuse apologies and
sincere offers of help to restore the damage that they have already
done, the indigenous peoples of the earth will remain a persecuted
people and will forever, vote or no vote, be at risk for these
6) I have not advocated 'vanish into the countryside or the woods'. A
homestead is not this at all, but a part of a growing community of
self-sufficient and independent peoples who are providing for
themselves. If there is more then one in a local area, they can
barter, exchange skills, labor, supplies, materials, produce,
livestock and / or cooperate with gardening, projects, fire
suppression, safety, protection or any number of things, if they so
choose. Even larger groups can setup their own bartering systems,
including a country store or warehouse with an exchange of goods or
labor, whatever is needed for the community.
This is in direct opposition to our present society, which requires
you and fully expects you to drive to various stores over vast
distances to exchange your money (read: job), time and labor to
purchase goods from large stores (box corporations) and small
suppliers, and drive home. In this equation, almost zero locally
produced products are offered or created for you to choose from. This
has gigantic impacts upon resource consumption, oil depletion,
pollution and of course, your total dependency.
Your every effort in this reality they've created is based upon
competition, not cooperation, and your job, consumption and even
personal production that you are engaged in is entirely oriented
towards the further exploitation of resources and the capitalistic
enterprise. This is insane, yet it is the world we are being forced
to live in. There is a better way.
It is these things and our mythical belief that we are 'bettering
ourselves' by continuing our participation in, that is significantly
contributing to our destruction and collapse. The root problem here
is we have been literally conscripted into this 'army' of
connedsumeristic capitalism, literally forced to participate against
our own best interests.
We're dumbed down by our schools, media and government into accepting
this form of 'lifestyle' as being better or more healthy or somehow
beneficial to all, sold this lie throughout our entire lives, when
the ugly truth is exactly the opposite. We are destroying this
planet, our only home and everything that it is (or was) by
continuing to support this predatory lifestyle.
7) There are other people who have fallen for the notion that they
can disappear in the woods and live on the land, but I have long
pointed out that this will result in their total failure (death) in
Except for highly skilled primitivists, who are fully experienced and
prepared to live off the land like this in extremely remote regions,
this is a terrible idea. Many will try it, I get calls and email all
the time from people who think they're going to go live off the land
by their wits and 72 hour kits. They will die, very quickly when they
try this, or flee back to civilization if they can. Refugees are among
the most impoverished, desperate people on the planet, don't let this
happen to you.
8) Mass protests do not work. Witness the World Trade Organization
protest, the G8 protest, the Hopenhagen protests, ad infinitum. It
would not matter if 100,000,000 million people managed to show up,
protest do not work, they do not change outcomes, they do not succeed
in redirecting society or civilization towards a sustainable (and the
only 'hope' there is) future, they only succeed in creating a
totalitarian police state and knee-jerk response to public dissent as
government and political leaders and industry react in mock 'horror'.
It's a rigged game, from start to finish, anybody playing into this
is only playing by the well-established rules and responses already
Witness the crackdowns, the batons, the water cannons, the tear gas
and the crowd control machines deployed against peaceful protesters.
Talk to the jailed protestors and survivors of police beatings,
shootings and bogus arrests. What did they actually accomplish other
then venting some anger? Fifteen minutes of fame? A five-second sound
byte on the national news? They accomplished nothing, and are quickly
forgotten by a world that simply doesn't care.
Stay home and protest by abandoning the elements of civilization that
are destroying you and everything else. This is the most effective
action plan you can take, because it is real, it's peaceful and it is
personally empowering in ways that I have only begun to describe. Your
homestead gives you the opportunity to do that like nothing else will.
If that isn't good enough for you, then take up arms and physically
stop what you can no longer tolerate. Nothing less then this will
9) The entire premesis of the letter above is to work within the
system to effect change; that such efforts will actually work; and
that we can somehow prevent our collapse of environment, resources
and climate by doing so. None of this is true.
Furthermore, nothing can stop collapse now, this is something that
I've also long pointed out. It is much too late now for that. We have
huge truly insurmountable problems now, such as overpopulation and
environmental destruction and resource depletion. No city, state,
region or homestead will be immune to this, and there is nothing we
can do but prepare for it. Again, nothing is going to stop our
If you don't plan / prepare for this, then you are simply tossing
your lot and your life in with everyone else and their fated outcome,
and you don't care enough about your own future to do anything about
it. You are also exercising your belief, demonstrated by your lack of
action, that you do not care about your children and their future
either, because you are still giving your support to the destruction
by participating in it, daily. You do have a choice. Make it and
No doubt some who do not prepare will survive by sheer luck or by
opportunity, but witness the ongoing collapse happening right now in
Australia and Kenya for example. There are already millions of
climate refugees that are losing land, homes, jobs, possessions,
livestock, employment and are now homeless, destitute and starving.
They were totally unprepared for their personal collapse and when it
happened to them, they had made no options for their survival, they
expected civilization to save them, and all of them were thrown back
upon civilization to keep them alive (and many of them didn't make
it). And civilization cannot handle them. The influx of refugees is a
gigantic problem and they are barely able now to keep them alive. What
will happen when there are even more refugees as there will surely be?
A hundred-fold, a thousand-fold? More environmental collapse? More
resource depletion? There is no doubt that a gigantic die-off will
10) The two scenarios in the letter above are worth a final mention
here. Scenario 1 will come true and is already happening.
Scenario 2 is not going to come true, because it forgets that:
a) people will do absolutely anything for food, money, security and
the notions of "safety" (including sacrifice their own children to
senseless wars), or relenquish their freedoms for the illusions of
safety and protection, or destroy entire nations or even an entire
world in their pursuit for material possessions, food, power, wealth
b) the notion that we can "take back control of the government" and
do anything better / different is baseless even if we actually could
take government back (that will never be permitted to happen), we
would in point of fact probably wind up doing the same exact things
that are being done now, because our society, institutions and even
civilization itself is not adaptable to these kind of changes like we
c) corporations are now nation / states unto themselves, truly
accountable to no one, and are the true powers in the world today,
superseding even that of governments and (s)elected politicians.
Nothing is going to change this in this present world which deems
money and power more important then life itself, and they will
viciously defend themselves to the death (taking your life) if
d) special interests and lobbyists and all the backroom
jerrymandering going on will undoubtedly continue as long as people
continue to serve money as their primary self-interest no matter who
or what is in charge;
e) real science is taking a back seat right now in our superstitious,
fear-mongering, knee-jerk Fox news "reality show" catatonic society
and will stay that way for some time to come.
I too would like to see a democratic, wise-response to our ongoing
self-induced collapse, but it is not happening. I do not count the
greenwash promotions of industry as the answer, nor do I count the
growing public awareness of this multifaceted crisis as the answer
either. Effectively, unless we actually STOP doing what we are doing,
we have done NOTHING AT ALL that will slow down or prevent our
It is the height of hubris to assume that humans can control the
earth, but that is exactly what we're being told we can do. If that
were actually true -- then it is also true that we can inflict
terrible damage upon the biosphere and the atmosphere -- something
that is being vehemently denied by the deniers that "can't be done".
We can't control the earth, but a thousand years of exploitation and
a hundred plus years of petroleum extraction, burning and pollution
have in fact done some pretty terrible things now. It will take a
very long time to undue the damage -- and there is absolutely no
clear assurances that we can.
The only way we can "fix" what is wrong is to abandon what we are
actually doing. Now. Not next year, not ten years from today, not
next century. NOW. And even then we will have to figure out how to
live with one thousand years of climate change and perhaps more.
But of course, this will never happen, which is why it is now up to
you, each and every one of you to personally make the adaption
strategy necessary. The homestead is the answer. Given enough people
/ participation, these will become local communities, even villages,
cooperating and working together to provide for a pathway, a return
to local living.
Local living IS the answer and it is exactly what is being promoted,
albeit in a high mindness kind of way today, by government. Most of
this is whitewash / greenwash, but the message is there.
Another Reader Writes
Hi ya,Here is the response of Admin at Survival Acres:
I don't e-mail much as im still working in the Arctic, and only get
back to Ontario once every couple of months. I've been up in the
Arctic for 18 months now, and even in that short period of time I
have seen climate changes. We fly over Churchill on a regular basis,
and the ice pack last spring broke up way early and this year the ice
still hasn't formed as much as it should. I teach Survival skills, and
last fall I had the chance to talk one on one to the locals, some the
typical young teenagers others in their mid to late 80's.
The elders, regaled me of hunting stories and how they used to
travel, great stories, but that's not why I'm writing this e-mail.
What has come about, is that in the last ten years there hunting
patterns have had to change by almost 90%, ice, snow and extreme
weather systems are all taking a toll on the wildlife.
In fall I took 18 rangers on to the tundra to exchange survival skill
techniques, I think I learnt more from them than they learnt from me,
but we all had a great time, Arctic char is the local fish and I have
to say that after we caught a few and cooked them fresh, I have never
tasted fish that great, BUT they told me that the taste of fish and
game has changed so much in the last ten years that some of the
elders can't eat the meat anymore, as they find it tastes acidic!!
What this e-mail is all about is that in the last six months, the
reality of our dire situation has hit home, I can no longer waste the
time educating those who are too stupid or blinkered to see what is
happening, here is a great example:
Last month I had a class of 10 people age range mid 20s to late 40's,
I was covering the usual items when I suddenly asked "Who here has
stores and provisons to carry them through for a year? No reply... I
kept asking until I got down to a week!!! Then one person said they
had some pasta and
I asked "What would you do if the stores ran out of food this
afternoon? One woman who was serious said "Well, if the stores run
out of food, I will just order in Pizza or KFC" !!!!!!
SO what can one say apart from a few swear words. Anyhow just thought
I'd drop you a line, I will send pics of the Arctic when I can get
access to a better internet connection, maybe when I get home at the
end of the month etc. keep well
This is of course, nearly laughable, but not. It's sad. It reminds me
of another story I heard: A woman was asked "What will you do when the
farmers run out of food?" and her answer was, "I'll just go to the
store and buy some".
It's hard to believe that there are actually people who don't know
where food actually comes from, or how it arrives in the stores. Just
to be clear, food is grown from the ground (soil), most often because
a human (farmer) planted it, harvested in season (when ripe),
processed (cleaned, packaged) and shipped to stores, which is then
bought by consumers. No place in this process does the store,
resteraunt or factory actually produce food. All this requries
tremendous amounts of energy (oil), fertilizer, sunshine, water and
Food production requires soil, oxygen, sunlight and water (and most
often, fertilizer as our soils are severely depleted) and seeds. If
any of these are degraded by climate, shortage, overabundance
(flooding for example), pests, vermin or disease, then production
declines or is wipe out.
The United States has a 3 day food supply on hand in the "just in
time" delivery network. We no longer have a strategic reserve, you
can thank your politicians for that fact. Most food is already
pre-sold long before it's actually grown and China is buying up vast
contracts for US food production.
Finally, Pizza Hut and KFC both get their food from distributers,
which buy them from wholesalers who in turn get the food from farmers
who are struggling like mad to have sufficient production (crops) and
stay in business. Without farmers and productive farms, we would all
be long dead. The same can be said for climate, water and even
There are many weak points in this chain from field to plate, which
is why I have long advocated self-sufficiency. Almost nobody is
totally self-sufficient, but you can make a huge impact in your own
life by learning how to grow some of your own food.
I am in the process of ordering and assembling some rather large
raised earth boxes (nearly 1800 sq. ft) to grow some of my own food
-- and I have a ten year food supply now on hand. It is not enough,
not for what is coming. I will supplement my food stores with my own
food production. I will build these boxes myself, from raw materials.
I wish my neighbors would do the same, but I already know that I will
be feeding more then a few of them. And when that gets out of hand, I
will be defending my food stores / production and am making plans /
preparations for that too. Make no mistake -- this will not be a
free-for-all kitchen, I do not suggest anybody do this either as you
will be overwhelmed rather quickly, and then you will lose
Is all of this necessary? You betcha. We are facing a global food
crisis, the likes which the world has never seen before. It is being
worsened by climate collapse with farmers losing entire crops, and
energy decline as petroleum once again spikes up in price and
availability issues with entire countries going "dark" to save on
energy. We will see other factors very soon too, as new diseases and
pests migrate farther north affecting food production.
On the petroleum front, all the world's major oil fields are now in
severe decline. Since food production (planting, harvesting,
transportation, processing and distribution) all require gigantic
quanties of petroleum, the world looks to a future of declining food
harvests no matter what we do.
The same is true for fertilizer, a critical component in food
production (made from natural gas). There are also critical element
shortages such as phosphates looming ahead. And do not forget fresh
water supplies either, available fresh water is in critical stages
throughout most of the developed and "undeveloped" world, a problem
that is getting worse as we continue to warm up.
Aquifers are in severe depletion and river, stream and glacial runoff
is in decline world wide. It all adds up to a future of severely
diminished food production.
A return to local growing and breaking the chain of dependency and
"1500 mile salads" is going to be absolutely necessary. In a world of
declining resources, collapsing economies and catastrophic climate
change, local living is the only answer there is.