Oblivion

The storms weren't always hostile. Every afternoon in the late-spring and summer, around four or five o'clock, the thunder would start. The first raindrops were oversized and spaced far enough apart to miss you. You didn't feel them, but you heard them. Emphatic splats from the ones that made it through the tangle of live oaks and Spanish moss crisscrossing an electric blue expanse that never let on until the last minute. The downpours were impressive but not threatening. It wasn't a driving r

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13 thoughts on “Oblivion

  1. H, I think you have clearly identified the causes of the mild depression I have been suffering from for some time. Good luck in your new home.

  2. The 2020s is when climate change gets right in our face and screams “deny me NOW?”.

    To solve a problem, one must first realize it exists and that it matters. For many Americans (and others), the existing part has been deniable and the mattering part remote. This summer of choking smoke in the NE, suffocating heat in the SE-S-SW, and drought in the MidW is pulling away the comfortable blanket of unawareness and uncaring.

    For today’s youth, that point is already passed, and they are tomorrow’s voting majorities.

    When humanity is ready and willing to devote, say, 5% of global GDP to species survival, that’s $5 trillion/year for renewable energy, carbon capture, and climate mitigation.

  3. Sir. Once again you go beyond your previous best. How I remember those daily 5 PM air cleaners back in the 1960s. In those days the US had maybe 150 million population. Because I was an econ major in the mid 60s I had to remember stuff. Like a stock market with the Dow under 1000 on volumes of 5 mil shares a day. GNP (the really old guy) in the US was nominally something just over $400 bil (vs 25 tril+ today). That’s up 62x in less than 60 years!!! Wow. That’s all just to hang the background.

    On my shelves I have a so-so book about the social issues arising from the onset of the Industrial Revolution called Pandemonium, aptly named because that’s what was happening. Currently, America has 4% of the world’s population and has an annual consumption of 22-25% of all the world’s resources. I used to tell my students that the world is governed by two kinds of inevitabilities, those things that must happen (we are going to be hungry every morning) and those things that cannot happen (we won’t be allowed to hog the world’s resources much longer). We are outnumbered 25 to 1 and folks will be coming for us. Count on it. A huge reduction in what we take from mother Gaia is already a done deal. Pandemonium won’t begin to describe it. The estimate in the WSJ section on Electrification last Mon was a stunning expose of the likely outcome of our attempts to electrify stuff anytime soon. It just ain’t going to happen. Take a look. What I’d love to see is a smart person with guts work out what will happen as those of us using more than our share of resources are made to give them up. Main WSJ article at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/all-electric-energy-roadblocks-68c5f3b9?mod=Searchresults_pos1&page=1

    As to climate change. I, too couldn’t care less. What’s going to happen is inevitable and it is all ready happening. As usual everyone is arguing about the wrong stuff. It doesn’t matter if we are contributing to this or not. When the huge glacier hanging on by its toenails in Antarctica melts in the next decade, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, NY … will be underwater. Bet on it. We can’t stop it. The whole world is in on this. The two most populous nations, China and India, derive 50 of their energy from coal and won’t stop any time soon. They can’t. The Brazilians are still burning their trees, not building wind farms. None of these folks care what happens to us. To them, the more we suffer the better. Sure the world’s climate has cycled over the years but humans didn’t survive most of that. The biggest cycle was a goodie called the Siberian Traps. In that one, 20% of the world’s entire landmass began a continuous volcanic eruption that lasted 2 million years and nearly ending all life on earth. But all of this arguing today is just frou frou debate. We are getting hotter. We are going to keep getting hotter. We can’t fix that outcome, especially if we want to keep our dumb stuff. Siberia is bigger than the US and mostly permafrost. It is melting at an increasingly rapid rate and releasing huge amounts of Methane, a nasty greenhouse gas. The ocean is also releasing millions of tons of methane. We can’t change that. In 20 years the main source of water in the middle US will be dry and unfixable for 50,000 years. Crops won’t grow in KS, NB, ND, SD, MO, IL. We will be begging more temperate Canada for food. They may share but they will want our best minor league prospects and a lot of our stuff. We humans have gone too far progressing (read: taking) and can’t go back. If all carbon footprints in the world went to zero tomorrow (an impossibility, of course) the amount of harmful gasses just stays where it is, too high. No growth doesn’t mean we get better, it only means we don’t get worse as fast. Karma is just what they say it is.

    1. Well said Mr. Lucky! I keep thinking of that song “it’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong”. You don’t mess with mother nature.

  4. I’m beyond the point of caring since over a decade, given the complete ineptitude of the human species to tackle these issues so far. It’s 100% clear this is going to hurt, and not just future generations.

  5. All living organisms are driven to multiply and grow until they have consumed all available resources.

    Human beings are (unfortunately) no exception.
    We’ve consumed and grown with no more thought to the matter than any other of our less “intelligent” life forms.
    Indeed our consumption and growth has been sped up and multiplied exponentially by the dark magic of fossil fuels.

    Infinite growth on a finite planet is an impossilblity.

    So here we are. Makes one wonder if any species that gains “intelligence” ever makes it very far. Only took us 250 years or so to make a mess of things.

    Not believing in an after-life, knowing that humanity would go on beyond my lifetime, was something that I had held on to. A Carl Sagan-esque human quest for knowledge and understanding of the universe was beautiful and meaningful enough for me. Now I know that is not to be. We will not go on for thousands of year. We will not travel to other planets, let alone stars. We will not go to Mars but we might become Mars. I am okay with there being a near term end to me, but knowing there will be an end to human civilization and potentially humanity and most complex life on earth? That is not so easy. We’ve created our own asteroid.

    We set the corner of our house on fire and are just begining to feel the heat, just begining to feel uncomfortable. There’s no telling what, if anything, will remain after this fire is done.

    1. While many seem to believe technology will rescue our species and planet, I have put all my faith in two sources which need not be invented nor developed — more women in government, and more natural predators. We can talk things like small modular reactors or AI, but those are mere palliatives when what we really need is a good dose of humility and a new dose of equality. Unleash the women and the lions !

  6. The latest Club of Rome assessment that I read predicts that the world will exceed 2 degrees C by 2050 and will approach 2.8 degrees C by the end of the century. Of all the simulations they ran (over 20 years ago), the only conditions that would prevent a major decline in standards of living and a worldwide population decline would be for negative population growth to be achieved. That didn’t happen.

    So H you may be saddened to learn that many of your views expressed herein are consistent with those held by the Club of Rome.

  7. babeinwoods: I cannot imagine a world twenty years from now which has not experienced a moderate or major nuclear war and some form of nuclear winter (& massive death tolls). If civil war breaks out in Russia, a losing faction might start using tactical nuclear weapons. When Iran gets nuclear weapons and delivery systems, it seems inevitable to me that Israel, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah or someone else in the area will use nukes within the next 20 years. If China invades Taiwan (which seems unlikely), nukes could be involved. What about India vs. China or Pakistan? With the governments of France and the UK, can we completely discount nuclear war? Finally Trump or a clone as President might raise the odds of the US starting a nuclear war (“Really nice country(China)/state(California) you have there; it would be terrible if something happened to it.”) I hope I am completely wrong but the thought of Wagner forces with nukes started my serious consideration of this fear of nuclear war.

  8. I occasionally retrace the footsteps of N. American HGs. The drought of 2023 and subsequent flooding that followed allowed me down into mixed strata (a century of plowing and modern erosion even with good technique, against the climate onslaught), that I had never experienced before. I found new paleo through woodland era debitage/camps, and on this old, new (to me) horizon i found an efficient technique; scouting amongst the clods for shiny artifacts from the 1970’s and 80’s HG who had pursued the same ancient HG lithics as myself.

    My work and hobby led me to understand the impact of climate change a long time ago. My kind of climate knowledge is unacceptable to the right, so they call me a liberal (my voting record makes liars out of them. A significant part of right wing virtue signaling here is the virtue that being knowledgeable of climate change is for the unwelcomed.

  9. In themes and conversations of this sort I’ve always returned to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as an essential reference and contributor…best of luck with your move, H…hope you still can enjoy a best of both worlds potential and wish same for all in this community…

  10. H- you really need a woman in your life.

    Someone with whom you can find joy from sharing the simple daily pleasures of life; to counter balance the depressing realities of our world.

    A shared meal, a walk in nature, a middle of the night conversation, a loving pet, a shared carafe of French press and so on. Who knows- you might even discover that you like to travel if you have someone you enjoy spending time with.
    And, finally, someone who will gently tell you that those Balenciaga runners are some of the ugliest shoes around and that without vibram soles- you can’t even get anywhere “beautiful” in them.

    You are now earning more money from my subscription since I just recently upgraded to “Plus”, but I have a feeling you might decide that “degrowth” would have been your better strategy…..

    🙂

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