It’s hard getting pdfs on here, so I’m just gonna make an endless page of links to interesting collapse related content that I don’t necessarily endorse or agree with. Enjoy!
- First off: if you’re grieving, angry, scared, depressed, anxious, or worrying about anything ‘climate change’ related – you can find parasocial support resources online, like r/collapsesupport and Michael Dowd’s ‘The Great Story‘ channel. (Note that I find Dowd’s metaphysics to be idealist, and his theory of history crude – but he has an immanent theology, which guarantees a minimal level of extinction-consciousness, and he’s nice about the autopsy). There’s also some facebook NTHE (near-term human extinction) support groups, but I don’t facebook so ymmv.
These are no replacement for irl, actual-social relations with collapse/extinction conscious people, but they’re better than nothing. You are not crazy, and there are no bad feelings or responses to what is happening to you or to us. If you are anywhere on this spectrum of climate/collapse/extinction related emotional processing – the only way to acceptance involves fully confronting and grappling with the truth about our current civilizational predicament. The sooner you can stare it in the face, the sooner you can get on with making meaning and perhaps finding purpose with the lives we have been given by our historical circumstances.
The wager here is that knowledge and understanding are healthier than ignorance and fear when it comes to finding acceptance.
- IPCC AR6 Full Report – almost 4000 pages of fubar. Pretty self explanatory.
Remember you gotta correct for these guys being liberals and careerists. We’re always hitting their worst trajectory, because their politics and shitty conceptual apparati always twist upward – the idealist hopium effect. Their concepts suck. Every IPCC report has indicated a consistent ‘sooner than expected’ acceleration relative to the last – because even our topmost scientific institutions, specialized for the task of monitoring the biosphere, are simply too slow and politically/cognitively limited to grasp the situation. It’s worst case scenarios, all the way down.
They also don’t understand how their own economic system works. Most pertinent recommendations they can make are structural impossibilities that could never happen without massive social upheaval and radical change – shit that nobody immediately benefitting from the situation will ever vote for, no capitalist politician would ever dream of, and no capitalist state is capable of implementing.
Our political apparati serve capital, not the people, and definitely not science. Even if our electoral systems weren’t completely broken ass garbage, ‘democracies’ have always been class dictatorships – autocratic oligarchies built for one purpose and one purpose only: to ensure capitalist social relations and accumulation cycles continue to reproduce themselves and expand.
Within weeks of this report coming out, both Trudeau and Biden approved new oil drilling projects. Doing this guarantees even more catastrophe, even more mass death, an even more imminent and rapid Post-Holocene phase change, and ultimately more probable biosphere collapse. It does not matter which party is in power – any party org will be confronted with the same material exigencies that state apparati are always facing. The same insane extermination projects will continue to be greenlit, because fossil fuel extraction is structurally necessary to keep the economic engine going. FF extraction will continue to get even more necessary as it becomes more energetically intensive.
The only way to ameliorate this ridiculous suicidal cycle (there is no ‘fix’) is by changing the social practices and structures the fossil fuels are maintaining – changing them into practices/structures capable of actually making low-energy lives a hegemonic (and strictly enforced) social good. If you care about the future of humanity or the biosphere, this wouldn’t seem like a sacrifice: because we would be (maybe) gaining a future we currently don’t have.
Existing social practices/structures and the modes of existence compatible with them are already going extinct, one way or the other. A mixture of both bottom-up grassroots organization + top-down direct action (the very basic structure of all minimally successful revolutions to date) would be the ideal political climate/system for dealing with the existential threat to ourselves and everything else that we are – but nothing like this exists, or seems likely to come into existence.
Instead, what we seem to be sliding towards are corporate-state class alliances dedicated to reproducing the existing state of affairs at all costs – against the larger geopolitical reality of food/energy scarcity splitting the world-system into a newly forming Core/Periphery|East/West contradiction. (The BRICs seem to be consciously turning themselves into the first real alternative to US-dollar imperialist hegemony since the post WW2 compromise – no matter what one might think of these countries, the end of USD hegemony is unequivocally a good thing for everybody). These corporatist allegiance blocs are similar structurally to 20c fascism, although now in wildly different historical conditions.
Without intervention, it will be these who have to do the first nationalizations of food and energy. There has to be a central planning agency in the Post-Holocene. That’s just how it is. It’s not negotiable. You can’t be letting something as fickle and brainless as market relations fuck with your most basic scarce resources.
If you want it to be democratic and egalitarian instead of elitist and racist – well, that’s what the struggle’s all about, isn’t it?
There has to be a plan.
- DieOff – Jay Hanson’s encyclopedia from his own journey towards collapse acceptance.
The Maximum Power Principle is an extremely useful thermodynamic/game theoretic principle for understanding our history and our current pathetic predicament. Suicidal extermination of ourselves and an entire biosphere wasn’t necessarily the only outcome for our species, but it was a highly probable one. Our fate was pretty much sealed when capital met fossil fuels – which I now consider to be the latest possible date for the end of the Holocene. Since then, only God, Aliens, Collapse, AI singularity or a Revolution could ever have saved us.
Everything that happened after that is turning out to be a dream an extinction event had.
To those who followed Columbus and Cortez, the New World truly seemed incredible because of the natural endowments. The land often announced itself with a heavy scent miles out into the ocean. Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 smelled the cedars of the East Coast a hundred leagues out. The men of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon were temporarily disarmed by the fragrance of the New Jersey shore, while ships running farther up the coast occasionally swam through large beds of floating flowers. Wherever they came inland they found a rich riot of color and sound, of game and luxuriant vegetation.
Had they been other than they were, they might have written a new mythology here.
As it was, they took inventory.Frederick Turner
While Hanson’s conceptual apparatus is blurry, and John Gray is a crypto-fascist asshole – we are clearly living through a timeline where the energy-maximizing overshooters won, won bigtime, and won’t stop winning until everybody loses.
Everybody has lost. We have sacrificed everything on the altar of capital, and got nothing back.
- Human Domination of the Biosphere – excellent summary of the thermodynamic situation over at PNAS by John Schramskri, David Gattie, and James Brown.
There’s nothing much to say about this. Simple, concise, and unequivocal: inhospitable, sterile, and final.
The logic presented above is indisputable, because the laws of thermodynamics are absolute and inviolate. Unless phytomass stores stabilize, human civilization is unsustainable. The battery paradigm highlights the need to continue to refine estimates of the global biomass degradation and its corresponding chemical energy contents and of recoverable fossil fuels. It emphasizes the need for greater recognition of the central importance of living biomass and the past, present, and future trajectory of decreasing phytomass…
The earth-space battery paradigm provides a simple framework for understanding the historical effects of humans on the energy dynamics of the biosphere, including the unalterable thermodynamic boundaries that now pose severe challenges to the future of humankind. Living biomass is the energy capital that runs the biosphere and supports the human population and economy. There is an urgent need not only to halt the depletion of this biological capital, but to move as rapidly as possible toward an approximate equilibrium between NPP and respiration.
There is simply no reserve tank of biomass for planet Earth. The laws of thermodynamics have no mercy.
Equilibrium is inhospitable, sterile, and final.PNAS – Schramski, Gattie, Brown
This guy specializes in systematic analyses of collapse. While he lacks a serious political economy, he’s generally pretty accurate.
Over the last 500 years or so, humanity has erected an ‘endless growth’ civilization premised on a particular patchwork of ideological worldviews, ethical values, political and economic structures, and personal behaviours. This is a paradigm that elevates the vision of human beings as disconnected, atomistic, competing material units, which seek to maximise their own material consumption as the principal mechanism for self-gratification. This is the paradigm that defines how we live in our everyday lives, and constantly bleeds into how we end up conducting our relationships with our family and friends, in our workplaces, and beyond. It is the paradigm that has cemented our current trajectory toward mass extinction.
This is not just about external systems. It’s also about the internal systems of thought with which the external is co-extensive, and through which we have imprisoned ourselves. Our entire reductionist, mechanical model of what we think it means to be human needs to be re-written.Nafeez Ahmed
Rewriting our internal systems is exactly why I wrote TTM! Of course, in addition to a drastic consciousness shift, we also need a totally uncompromising form of eco-socialism.
- Through the Eye of a Needle: An Eco-Heterodox Perspective on the Renewable Energy Transition – MDPI paper by Megan Siebert and William Rees.
They critique their way through every available energy generation solution we have, and conclude that it’s all going away. While they think that life after fossil fuels is going to be much like life before fossil fuels – Holocene agricultural practices themselves are becoming obsolete, so lol.
Actions to embark swiftly, judiciously, and systematically on the transformation will be of a far greater scale and level of effort than WWII mobilization and will involve unprecedented levels of global cooperation. In our view, two main conditions must be satisfied concurrently for such an undertaking to have any chance of succeeding. First, we must have politicians in office who care about people and the planet (i.e., who are not beholden to corporate, monied, or otherwise compromised interests) and who are willing to fight fiercely for ecological stability and social justice. This starts with whom we choose to elect (politicians do not magically fall into office—we put them there), holding them relentlessly accountable, and fighting to get money out of politics. Second, history shows that monied and ruling elites do not relinquish their power willingly—their hand must be forced. Virtually no important gain has ever been made by simply asking those in power to do the right thing. Unrelenting pressure must be exerted such that the people and/or systems in question have no choice but to capitulate to specific, well-thought-out demands.
We must reacquaint ourselves with the revolutionary change-makers of the past who, at great cost, delivered for us the better world we live in now through intelligent, direct action and risk-taking.
To adopt a biblical metaphor, it may very well be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for humanity to shift its prevailing paradigm and embark on a planned, voluntary descent from a state of overshoot to a steady-state harmonic relationship with the ecosphere—in just a decade or two. On the other hand, history shows that virtually all important achievements have only ever arisen from a dogged pursuit of the seemingly impossible. To contemplate the alternative is unthinkable.Siebert & Rees
Here, of course – we think the unthinkable. After living through our abject failure in dealing with Covid, itself just a symptom of collapse – it seems likely that any mass awakening event/revolutionary moment will only come after many more years of escalating disasters. I’m pretty sure it’s already too late. It may have been too late when I was born.
Geological timescales are a bitch that way, and we’ve managed to collapse a geological process into the lifespans of a few generations. Even the Cretaceous Meteor Extinction took between thousands and tens of thousands of years. We managed to do our Event in a few hundred.
- Ecological Survival – Frank Rotering’s gotta eco-socialist economics all figured out already. Step one – remove the capitalist class from power.
We, the young, have been ecologically betrayed. Older generations have a clear ethical responsibility to protect the environment for our present and future well-being, but the natural world is now being ruthlessly destroyed. The international community vowed decades ago to maintain greenhouse gas concentrations at safe levels, but concentrations have increased disastrously and now pose an existential threat.
We know that, as a result of this betrayal, we will suffer intensely and in many cases perish well before our time. We are also convinced that, under current political conditions, nothing of any significance will be done before the crisis spins out of human control. In brief, we understand that we have been abandoned to a grim ecological fate.
Based on this understanding, we have lost faith in the capitalist class and its allies as our social leaders. Although they have long known about the unfolding catastrophe, they have continued with business as usual to protect their power and privileges.
We therefore demand that they be replaced by leaders who will rationally tackle the crisis we face. To give us a chance at ecological survival, we demand revolutionary change.
WE REFUSE TO BE PASSIVELY SLAUGHTERED. We refuse to follow our morally corrupt leaders and their compliant supporters down the path of ecological destruction. We will fight to the last breath for our future, the future of our species, and the future of life on Earth.
We desperately ask all ethical and compassionate people to stand with us in this life-and-death struggle.Frank Rotering
- Julian Cribb – another systemic analysist of the Event. Also linked me to this Event-conscious site: Human Future.
- The Great Simplification – excellent podcast series with Nate Hagens. Lacks the political economy but still has an adequate systematic lens on the Event.
We have spent the last century harnessing enormous amounts of fossil energy to build a world of complexity like nothing seen before. In the coming century, humanity will experience A Great Simplification, beginning with the onset of financial and economic turbulence, followed by contraction. The ensuing simplification will be among the most significant events ever experienced by our species.Nate Hagens
- A Solution to the Fermi Paradox – From Michael Wong and Stuart Bartlett over at the Royal Society.
Previous studies show that city metrics having to do with growth, productivity and overall energy consumption scale superlinearly, attributing this to the social nature of cities. Superlinear scaling results in crises called ‘singularities’, where population and energy demand tend to infinity in a finite amount of time, which must be avoided by ever more frequent ‘resets’ or innovations that postpone the system’s collapse. Here, we place the emergence of cities and planetary civilizations in the context of major evolutionary transitions. With this perspective, we hypothesize that once a planetary civilization transitions into a state that can be described as one virtually connected global city, it will face an ‘asymptotic burnout’, an ultimate crisis where the singularity-interval time scale becomes smaller than the time scale of innovation. If a civilization develops the capability to understand its own trajectory, it will have a window of time to affect a fundamental change to prioritize long-term homeostasis and well-being over unyielding growth—a consciously induced trajectory change or ‘homeostatic awakening’. We propose a new resolution to the Fermi paradox: civilizations either collapse from burnout or redirect themselves to prioritizing homeostasis, a state where cosmic expansion is no longer a goal, making them difficult to detect remotely.Wong & Bartlett
Pretty straightforward. Few civilizations ever leave their gravity well because ‘ecosocialism or extinction’ is a universal necessity built into the laws of thermodynamics. Once you’re doing a minimally steady-state terraforming economy within your biosphere’s paramaters, you’re not going anywhere. Or maybe you would, just slower.
A hypothetical Kardashev 2 civ which has successfully built a dyson ring/sphere around its sun would presumably be advanced enough to not allow itself to be detected by pre-Great Filter civs. Obviously one shouldn’t bother initiating first contact with pre-sapient overshoot dieoffs.
Capitalism is a fail state for a civilization, not an opportunity for xeno cultural exchange.
- Our Hunter-Gatherer Future – Stanford paper by John Gowdy.
Predicts a post-agriculture capitalocene – the anprim afterparty.
Climate change has been a major driver in the biological and social evolution of the human species. For some 97 % of our existence we lived as hunter-gatherers in the Pleistocene, a geological epoch characterized by extreme climate swings from ice ages to warm periods. Agriculture, perhaps the major social evolutionary transition in our history, was made possible by the unusually warm and stable climate of the Holocene. That climate stability is already being undermined by the fossil fuel CO2 injected into the atmosphere by the industrial economy. The climate system will be overwhelmed if we continue to burn fossil fuels for just a few more decades. Without climate stability and the cheap, abundant energy of the 20th century it is unlikely that agriculture will be possible in the 21st century and beyond. Civilization will either collapse or gradually disappear over the coming centuries.
The fact that civilization is likely to end does not mean that we should give up on climate change mitigation, radically changing the world’s industrial agriculture system, social justice or the rest of a progressive political agenda. Our prospects for survival will dramatically improve if we hold temperature increases to 3 °C, rather than 6−8 °C, by instituting social and environmental policies to reduce the worst climate change impacts. In the long run, the vision of returning to a hunting and gathering way of life is wildly optimistic compared to the technological dystopias envisioned by many science fiction authors and social philosophers. Every characteristic that defines us as a species—compassion for unrelated others, intelligence, foresight and curiosity—evolved in the Pleistocene (Shepard, 1998). We became human as hunters and gatherers and we can regain our humanity when we return to that way of life.John Gowdy
Contra Gowdy we insist – there is no humanity to be regained. What we thought was human was an extinction event, so, in the Post-Holocene, humanity can only mean or be something that is built anew.
- Last Week In Collapse – substack newsletter that does what’s in the title. Draws a lot on stuff from r/collapse. Goes well with Indi.ca.
- Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy – A paper by Jem Bendell, painstakingly laying out how totally we have fucked ourselves.
There is no normal. There are no non-radical futures. An eco-overhaul of our civilization is not just necessary, it is being done to us already by our past selves whether we like it or not.
Disruptive impacts from climate change are now inevitable. Geoengineering is likely to beineffective or counter-productive. Therefore, the mainstream climate policy community now recognises the need to work much more on adaptation to the effects of climate change. That must now rapidly permeate the broader field of people engaged in sustainable development as practitioners, researchers and educators. In assessing how our approaches could evolve, we need to appreciate what kind of adaptation is possible. Recent research suggests that human societies will experience disruptions to their basic functioning within less than ten years due to climate stress. Such disruptions include increased levels of malnutrition, starvation, disease, civil conflict and war – and will not avoid affluent nations. This situation makes redundant the reformist approach to sustainable development and related fields of corporate sustainability that has underpinned the approach of many professionals (Bendell et al, 2017). Instead, a new approach which explores how to reduce harm and not make matters worse is important to develop. In support of that challenging, and ultimately personal process, understanding a deep adaptation agenda may be useful.Jem Bendell
This paper gets a little kooky when it mentions Clathrate Guns – the existence or efficacy of which hasn’t (to the best of my knowledge) been adequately demonstrated. Whether or not such MegaMethane eruptions are possible or likely is ultimately irrelevant – we’re fucked with or without any Clathrate Gun.
- On the Preservation of Knowledge – notes on trying to save something from the ruins over at energy skeptic.
Preservation of knowledge needs to start immediately, while nations are still stable and wealthy. Now is the time to consider how to preserve knowledge with a material that won’t decay, rust, mold, or shatter easily. We should leave our descendants knowledge they can use and be amazed by, information to fuel the next Renaissance.energyskeptic.com
Aluminum books. If we want to try to save the art and science or try to leave something of value for the future, we should be making aluminum books. Everything computer related is going to evaporate overnight. Paper only lasts a few decades at worst, a few centuries at best.
Energyskeptic itself is also fantastic compendium encyclopedia of everything and anything collapse related, not just the inevitable energy cliff.
- Doomer’s Cafe – ‘The most depressing blog on the internet’.
I’ll let them have it. I was going for ‘most metalcom blog on the internet’ anyways. The collapse of capitalism is only depressing if you don’t understand how and why it’s happening. It’s happening because that’s the only thing it ever could have done without intervention/transformation. We did it to ourselves!
Every possible advantage it has ever been proven to have has turned out to be hilariously temporary. Its disadvantages already dwarfed these advantages (to any honest ape with a conscience) – but now it is clear that it never had any advantages to begin with. It was just a pointless disaster from start to finish, a gruesome forced death march into an active volcano.
The end of capitalism is not a tragedy. It was always a one-time deal. No kill switch, no regulator – just a fully automatic extinction trigger. The biosphere is the only thing that matters, and it has non-zero (fingers crossed) chances of continuing to be a biosphere of some kind after capitalism collapses.
It is us – we are the tragedy. Our history and potential is the tragedy.
- Doom for Dummies – nihilist reactionary doomers pretending to be apolitical.
It’s a hoary old page but it’s gigantic, and has plenty of fresh links. There’s plenty wrong here, but it is a resource. This is one form acceptance can take.
The Green, eco-reactionary analysis locates the root causes of the Event in our carrying capacity population overshoot, often reduced to biology. The Red diagnosis sees both our overshoot and our carrying capacity as themselves a function of a particular matrix of social relations, technological infrastructures, and political/economic practices. Our biology is hooked into this matrix in historically contingent ways.
You’ll note that none of the Greens that I critique or list understand this, or how capitalism works, nor of the cataclysmic historical shift of its invention. Hence, the eternal Red thread running through this blog.
Eco-reactionaries do not read freedom and contingency back through our history and thus treat us as animals – so for them, this is often just a bio-deterministic extinction (or worse, some kind of karmic ‘revenge of gaia’). We insist on recognizing the irreduceable element of freedom in human existence (understood as the remainder of the failure of determinism/contingency to entirely overlap or sync – the causal matrix is incomplete, broken, chaotic, and probabilistic) – so for us this extinction is and will always remain political.
We didn’t have to blindly follow capital into the abyss unquestioningly, even if we did.
Capitalism is a mass extinction event. Humans never had to be.