Wednesday, December 30, 2009
2010 - We Can Do This
Feeding the birds
Good grief. Several of my “go to” writers have published their dire predictions for 2010. From James Howard Kunstler in this week’s Clusterfuck Nation, first, he rather colorfully summed up 2009 this way:
“2009 was the Year of the Zombie. The system for capital formation and allocation basically died but there was no funeral. A great national voodoo spell has kept the banks and related entities like Fannie Mae and the dead insurance giant AIG lurching around the graveyard with arms outstretched and yellowed eyes bugged out, howling for fresh infusions of blood... er, bailout cash, which is delivered in truckloads by the Federal Reserve, which is itself a zombie in the sense that it is probably insolvent. The government and the banks (including the Fed) have been playing very complicated games with each other, and the public, trying to pretend that they can all still function, shifting and shuffling losses, cooking their books, hiding losses, and doing everything possible to detach the relation of "money" to the reality of productive activity.
But nothing has been fixed, not even a little. Nothing has been enforced. No one has been held responsible for massive fraud. The underlying reality is that we are a much less affluent society than we pretend to be, or, to put it bluntly, that we are functionally bankrupt at every level: household, corporate enterprise, and government (all levels of that, too.)”
Well put, I’d say. Then he goes on to surmise what may happen next year in terms of continued bailouts, peak oil, and the continuation of failed policies. He thinks the heightened misery index will not be well received by the citizenry.
“… One wild card is how angry the American people might get. Unlike the 1930s, we are no longer a nation who call each other "Mister" and "Ma'am," where even the down-and-out wear neckties and speak a discernible variant of regular English, where hoboes say "thank you," and where, in short, there is something like a common culture of shared values. We're a nation of thugs and louts with flames tattooed on our necks, who call each other "motherfucker" and are skilled only in playing video games based on mass murder. The masses of Roosevelt's time were coming off decades of programmed, regimented work, where people showed up in well-run factories and schools and pretty much behaved themselves. In my view, that's one of the reasons that the US didn't explode in political violence during the Great Depression of the 1930s - the discipline and fortitude of the citizenry. The sheer weight of demoralization now is so titanic that it is very hard to imagine the people of the USA pulling together for anything beyond the most superficial ceremonies - placing teddy bears on a crash site. And forget about discipline and fortitude in a nation of ADD victims and self-esteem seekers.
I believe we will see the outbreak of civil disturbance at many levels in 2010. One will be plain old crime against property and persons, especially where the sense of community is flimsy-to-nonexistent, and that includes most of suburban America. The automobile is a fabulous aid to crime. People can commit crimes in Skokie and be back home in Racine before supper (if supper is anything besides a pepperoni stick and some Hostess Ho-Hos in the car). Fewer police will be on guard due to budget shortfalls.
I think we'll see a variety-pack of political disturbance led first by people who are just plain pissed off at government and corporations and seek to damage property belonging to these entities.”
The Survival Acres Newsletter contains a very dark scenario that begins in 2010, but includes an over-all view of the coming decade and beyond. It is not pretty:
“The next decade will see catastrophic changes of such scale and
magnitude, that this decade of human history will forever be
remembered as "the time of troubles". There will be little parallel
in past human history for comparison in scale, scope, size and
significance except the decade following this one which portends to
be even worse.
Many of us will probably be dead by 2020. This will be primarily the
result of the following factors: internal strife, war, disease,
plague, famine and extreme religious fundamentalism and widespread
violence. These events will begin immediately -- starting in 2010 and
continuing for through the following decade.
Root causes of these factors will be energy collapse, environmental
collapse, resource collapse and financial collapse affecting every
country of the world in the decade ahead. These are the collapsing
dominoes that underpin our entire civilization. All have been widely
abused and depleted even now, the next decade will see them falter
further and undergo full-scale collapse.”
He goes on to imagine worse and worse consequences of our collective mistakes, a sampling of which I quote here:
”… Entire countries will be abandoned to their own devices for their
survival as nations desperately hoard increasingly critical resources
for themselves. Primarily water and food will be the resource needed
most as the climate continues to spiral wildly from the norm and crops
collapse all over the world. But energy resources will be in
increasingly short supply and will precipitate the collapse of entire
2012 will be early and especially worrisome, as cultish behavior
among various groups and individuals replaces common sense in the
run-up to December 21st. Rage and riots will be replaced with despair
when prophecy proves false. Suicides will be at an all-time high among
easily influenced groups and people.
Hysteria within government, media, celebrities and pundits will
create a frenzy of hatred and froth towards groups, governments and
even individuals deemed 'responsible' for the growing crisis’s around
the world. In America, this hysteria will even achieve federal status
of protection, as lawmakers "protect" the practice of hatred and
xenophobia. Other countries will follow, believing themselves to be
under attack from within. Symptomatic responses will be the earmark
of this decade.
Politicians of all flavors will find it increasingly dangerous to
remain in office and more then a few will be forcibly removed and
assassinated. Political campaigns will resemble military conquest and
domination as contenders "vie" for the prize they seek, armed to the
teeth from the very people they claim to support. "Voting" will
become a highly manipulated and controlled affair, as increasing
privacy restrictions make simply being a citizen an unending
Privacy and rights will be completely gone by the end of the decade,
as fascist polices are layered higher and higher. Travel, purchasing,
possession and even ownership will become increasingly restricted and
controlled. The Internet will have been absorbed entirely into a
Total Information Awareness network whereby all activities, browsing,
buying and shopping will be highly controlled and manipulated. The
free press will cease to exist except underground and through
"monitored" outlets (manipulated)….”
Dmitri Orlof, on his site, “Club Orlof” sees, among other things, sophisticated attacks including aerial bombardment of isolated doomsteads attacked for their stored supplies in places like Montana by Russian mafia gangs! Good grief.
Of course, then there is Clif High at Half Past Human and his reportage of predictions based upon his advanced linguistics techniques of searching the world wide web for clues to the collective consciousness of our rather questionable species. His scenarios include much of the above with a lot more emphasis on natural disasters or occurrences of a planetary nature, like pole shifts, tectonic plate splitting, possible coronal mass ejections from the sun, and other life-as-we-know-it ending events in the not very distant future. His advise? Build a boat.
OK, OK, alright already. I get it. We’re doomed. But, is that all there is? Just a non-stop march into the worst possible problems and responses that anyone can imagine? I don’t think so. I respect each of these writes. And, I don’t discount the projections that they envision. But, in terms of my life and the lives of the people that I value (my tribe and community), my experience tells me that something is missing in these projections.
Maybe it’s because I am female. After all, for most of our experience, females of our species have lived and died with very little money, independence, or control over geo-politics, One could argue that collectively, women have been living a “post collapse” lifestyle for a thousand years. I am reminded of the quote from the movie, “Starman.”
“Would you like me to tell you what we find the most beautiful about your species?” the Starman asks of the SETI scientist. “It is that you are at your best when things are the worst.”
Let’s face it, women have made an art form of comfort in the face of brutality, powerlessness, and adversity. So, let’s not panic. Let’s break it down into manageable units, rather than get overwhelmed by the doom-o-sphere all at once. Take it day by day. Take a little time at least to focus on what is beautiful around you. Add to that beauty by making more lovely things – from simple flower arrangements or working with clay or wood or textiles. Look at the wonderful things produced by peasants with more time than money. Nurture other living things – from houseplants to animals and people. Even if you have nothing else, you will still have a lap to crawl up on and arms to embrace those around you. You have your face to smile into the faces of those you meet. You have your sense of humor to bring out a laugh from someone who needs it. You will have the music of your heart to cheer and soothe those around you. We will have our imaginations to create stories to tell to those who need encouragement and inspiration. We will have our gardens and our animals and our friends and our partners to love and to cherish even more each day. We will feed our families as creatively and nutritiously as possible. And, we will continue to add to the happy memories that children will carry throughout their lives.
Those of us who have been preparing are in a position that allows us to be somewhat more centered in the face of economic or resource collapse. Hopefully, we have kicked around these issues enough to have built up a store of emotional stability in the face of circumstances that might lead others to panic. I think it falls to us to lend a hand, lead by example, and help to extend a sense of kindness as well grace in the face of adversity in the coming year.
We can do this.