What are we supposed to do while we wait for the collapse to happen ?

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 21, 2018

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It is commonplace for any group of people with similar views to call other people "sheeple", because THEY don't understand what WE understand.  At Doomstead Diner we understand there is an important energy shortage problem coming up.  There is no solution to this problem, because the next best option after fossil fuels is wind turbines, and there are only a few good windy places to put them, and they are an intermittent source at best.  PV and nukes are way behind wind in terms of the ERoEI of the technology. 

So the energy cost of building the wind turbine infrastructure, and upgrading the grid to handle the extra amount of electricity being generated, as well as all the electric cars and trucks and trains and planes is gigantic, and must be done using current energy sources, fossil fuels. And that's on top of keeping everything running in the current world.  The transition should have been started 30 years ago, and now cannot be completed, not even close.   

Ahead lies economic collapse, because without more energy every year, the world's manufacturing base cannot keep growing, and neither can profits, so debts cannot be repaid with interest, and that will lead to an implosion of the financial system, and an end to trade.

So if there is no solution, what are we supposed to do while we wait for the collapse to happen ? 

March in the streets in protest?  We have been doing that for 30 years without effect and we know what will happen – either it will be peaceful and we will be ignored, or it will be violent and we will be confronted with a militarised police force, backed up by the courts and prison system.  If we attempt to outmatch them with guns, they will use the armed forces with drones and hellfire missiles, or even full on aerial bombing and attacks with tanks, like in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. Then we would be driven into the hills to live in caves and be slowly starved to death, while the sheeple will be herded into FEMA camps and fed on soylent green biscuits, becoming slave labour for the food gardens.

So I'm suggesting the only thing left to do is to try to achieve a lower energy standard of living, like what our future is going to be, and getting some experience while having some independence.  This will require we effectively drop out of the system, and since there is no way to live like this in any first world country, I would suggest you move somewhere else where there is already a low standard of living.  While the system continues, it should be possible to live some kind of existence.  Forget about owning land, big house, motorised transport, internet, education for your kids, and three square meals a day – that will not be possible.

It is likely you will not want to do this, or the wife and kids won't want to, but anything else only helps the current system continue and brings a worse future on the planet.  Fortunately, while the system undergoes its final death throes, you don't have to go to zero all in one go.  This is how I planned it, your ideas may be different.

The places which have the most bearable climate in a low-energy society are tropical islands.  There are basicly two kinds of these islands, coral atolls, which are low-lying, with little water and no good soil, and volcanic islands with good soil and high rainfall, these invariably have rainforest growing on them.  You can usually get to these islands by ships delivering first world materials. Usually you can't buy land, but can lease it fairly easily, especially if it has a house with a garden on it.  No heating needed, water is collected off the roof, sewerage is via septic tank.

Transport is by walking and buses for most people, but I have a car that was imported second-hand from Japan. I give everyone lifts, and they are always very pleased.

Definitely DON'T start by chopping down the forest or removing all vegetation from the soil.  Start with your compost heap, a simple loop of mesh fencing, and then clear your garden area and plant your base crops, bananas, sweet potatoes, paw-paws, and tarot. Most familiar vegetables and fruit won't like the conditions, visit local markets to see what does.  Heavily mulch everything because you don't want the soil washing away in heavy rains. Mulch breaks down very quickly when hot and humid/wet for weeks at a time. Chickens are ideal to have around the house, but must be locked up in snake-proof cages at sundown.  Snake-proof means half-inch mesh, with larger cages needing heavier 3×2" mesh underneath, all held together with C-clips.

They produce eggs, occasional meat, and fertiser, which needs to be collected up fresh and applied daily to the garden.  I feed mine grains to supplement their free ranging diet and to teach them where 'home' is.  If you throw a handful of grains on the ground, rice, millet and sorghum will grow by themselves, but you might want to fence the area off at the start.  Gathering in the forest can add to the fare, but you have to walk a lot, and have books to identify everything, as there will be plenty of poisonous things.

Electricity is very handy, even if it is unreliable – I get black-outs frequently.  It was off for over six weeks after the last cyclone, so having a small gasoline-powered generator as a back-up is worth it. I have computers with a satellite dish on the roof, giving good internet access and a VoIP telephone connection to Australia and beyond.  Another satellite dish and a set-top box brings me more TV channels than I can scan through.

Hospitals are a bit of a challenge, mostly in understanding the doctors.  I used to have a mower to keep the drive edges clear, but it was rusting away and then snapped its drive belt.  I left it until the ambulance refused to drive in during an emergency, and then I had to pay to have someone else do it.  Old age is a challenge itself, definitely be young and fit when you start off.

Alternative suggestions welcome.

14 Responses to What are we supposed to do while we wait for the collapse to happen ?

  • paul says:

    Learn how to brew some sort of alcoholic drink. Makes observing the spectacle a lot more tolerable.

    • InAlaska says:

      As well as some type of an alcoholic beverage, learn to grow some marijuana as it will be one of the only locally available medicines/pain killers after collapse.  It is used for cancer patients now in 1st world countries and there will be plenty of cancer worldwide for generations to come with all of the toxins being released.

      Islands sound good now, but how will they be with significant sea-level rise?

    • Palloy says:

      paul,

      Brewing beer is difficult when the overnight temperatures don't go below 27 °C.

      23 -25 °C is optimum.  Digging some kind of cellar might achieve it.

      inalaska,

      Cannabis sativa is a heavy feeder like tomatoes.  So they need special attention, like watering and fertilising.  As soon as you get a nice plant growing it will be attacked by bugs – insects that feed on its sap.  They stick out like beacons in the surrounding forest which is actively competing for resources, water and nutrients.

      It is also illegal, which is why I have never done it.

      Sea level rise is why you shouldn't choose coral atolls but volcanic islands, as I explained.

  • Morongobill says:

    Do you have a website or blog with more information on your homestead? Very good article, very good read.

  • Anti Troll says:

    I’ve held back commenting for a while but just gotta chime now. First I must express my disappointment at the scarcity of good quality articles in the Diner the past several months which I attribute to RE’s poor health, which makes me doubly sad.
    Regarding Palloy’s article, advising people to move to the tropics in this age of runaway global warming is simply nuts.
    I know your arguments: that the poles are heating disproportionately to the tropics and the tropics will “somehow” (?Gaia theory) stay within liveable temperature range at least till the end of this century. Well the “tropical thermostat” theory has been disproved and is nothing more than wishful thinking.
    https://phys.org/news/2017-03-evidence-tropical-thermostat-theory-global.html
    Furthermore nowadays, estimated median global average temperature rises to 2100 are around 5 or 6 degrees C, which is way more than the outdated IPCC AR5 median estimate and we are in fact tracking their worst case scenario of RCP 8.5. This means intermittent severe heat waves could become a magnitude greater than what we are seeing nowadays, depending on location.
    Even though absolute temperature rises are indeed greater toward the poles, the relative margin of safety for livability in the tropics is much narrower.
    So if you live in coastal Washington State and the current maximum wet bulb temperature goes to 20degreesC during a heatwave (see map: http://www.city-data.com/forum/weather/1391165-highest-wet-bulb-temperatures-around-world.html ), you have a big safety margin of 15C wet bulb degrees before you reach the lethal 35C wet bulb temperature (which humans cannot survive for more than a few hours). In maritime landzones in the north atlantic, where the ocean is kept cool by Greenland melting ice, such high temperatures simply will not happen until the Greenland iceshield has completely melted, which will not happen for at least a couple of hundred years.
    In a tropical island, a heat wave nowadays may already be, say, 30C wet bulb temperature, which allows only for a slim margin of 5C wet bulb degrees rise before becoming lethal and such heatwaves can easily happen in the next few years (we are talking heatwaves here, not global average temperatures).
    Another problem: the AMOC, which releases heat into the North Atlantic, is slowing and may very well stop completely this century. That heat originates from the Pacific ocean and stagnation of the oceanic “conveyor belt” will lead to massive build up of heat in the Pacific ocean and heat deaths affecting many tropical Pacific islands eg around New Guinea.
    The only other self proclaimed climate pseudoexpert (also not a climate scientist), who moved to the maritime tropics (Belize) that I know of is Guy McSerpent and we all know he is a dumbass idiot, maybe trying to hasten his own demise. If he dies of heat stroke in Belize before 2026, a suitable inscription on his tombstone might be “my personal climate extinction by 2026 – see, I told you so”
    But what are the personal preferences of proper, actively publishing climate scientists? Here is a small sample and guess what? None of them advocate tropical islands:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIy0t5P0CUQ
    Apart from one person choosing Canberra (mainly because her options were limited by job requirements I suspect, because she admitted the summer days will be too hot), the preferences were for Tasmania or Britain ie. temperate maritime locations (and we can include Kiwiland in that category). Of course, Britain is a bad idea for other, non climate, reasons.
    For us non-experts, it will be much wiser to follow where proper climate scientists would themselves personally prefer to go and not to listen to the mistaken ideas of self proclaimed pseudoexperts who are not actual climate scientists. That could be fatal.
    If the Diner is to maintain credibility, it will be best to stick to proper evidence based recommendations.

    • RE says:

      I’m not a big fan of tropical climates myself, but here on the Diner we try to give a breadth of opinions.  I wrote one on Bayou Bugouts now up, which discusses some of the problems with this type of location.

      Far as general quality goes, sorry you feel that way, I don’t think it’s much different.

      RE

    • Palloy says:

      Antitroll, I believe Climate Change is real, but I also believe the IPCC's forecasts of the amount of fossil fuels that will be burnt are quite wrong, as they don't believe in Peak Fossils, and I do.  My forecast is for Oil, Gas and Coal to be curtailed by Peak Fossils and the ensuing debt collapse, and the CO2 emissions will end up being lower than RCP-2.6, which corresponds to a temperature rise of +1.6 °C (±0.3) in 2045 and falling slowly after that.

      That will be very uncomfortable everywhere but probably not fatal.  The Energy Collapse will be turn out to be more fatal than Climate Change.  As a self proclaimed pseudo-scientist, who was an expert reviewer of AR5, since Peak Fossils changes everything about Climate Change results, when interviewing climate experts on where to live in a Peak Fossils scenario you need to mention the new scenario.

  • Anti Troll says:

    The best thing about this blog is that the opinions of most of the main authors, although varied, are based on realistic ideas and good evidence. But Palloy’s views on climate change are not. He is extremely forceful in his wrongheadedness. That is part of the decline of the quality here. A blog which offers dangerous misinformation loses credibility.
    IPCC reports are not and never have been reliable, their median estimates have always been shown, from subsequent real world data, to underestimate global warming realities. They are politically distorted documents which cherry picked publications with the ridiculously lowest warming estimates. The latest AR5 was out of date even when as it was published in 2013. Assessment reports are usually published at 5 year intervals. Do you know why they chose not to publish one this year and postpone it? Because even the most watered down estimates now show that disaster is inevitable. Not good to panic the sheeple.
    Yes, we face a fossil fuel curtailment “whenever”, but the momentum of existing greenhouse gases + the loss of global dimming when that happens + adverse feedbacks (heaps of them – methane from the arctic and tundra and peat, out of control forest fires etc) will easily push us way beyond 3, maybe 4 degrees C average temperature rise by 2100, there is no “carbon budget” remaining, another bullshit idea. This is a fact based on paleorecords when CO2 was around 400+ppm. More than 3degC rise, even if all emissions had stopped 2 years ago. Peak Oil and industrial collapse will not prevent that “locked in” warming.
    Did you know that the RPC 2.6 scenario to keep us under 2degC depended on massive carbon sequestration to reduce CO2? A “scientific” model based on pure science fiction!! This was pointed out by an alarmed Matt Watson way back then:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8akSfOIsU2Y
    Kevin Anderson said that all IPCC survivable scenarios assumed massive application of geoengineering and carbon sequestration ie technology which has not been invented yet, much less being able to scale up.
    Hugh Hunt made the point that the scale of carbon sequestration assumed by RCP 2.6 and even 4.5 were impossible, humans have never done anything on such a huge scale.
    So even in 2013, RPC 2.6 was totally unrealistic and proper climate scientists knew that it was total bullshit. However, politically, the IPCC needed to offer some optimism to the sheeple and Palloy swallowed wholesale that out of date propaganda and continues to believe it today, long after things have moved on and become much worse. Massive carbon drawdown will never happen while the system remains intact because the system is based on short term profits and there is no profit pursuing carbon drawdown, which is energy hungry and hence expensive, with no economic “returns”. Even if attempted it will reach nowhere near the scale required. It will never happen after the system collapses because we will not have the social organisation to do it, there will be chaos. People will be cutting down the remaining trees to burn wood for fuel.
    Right now, five years after publication of AR5, after year on year of even more emissions and not the slightest hint of any carbon sequestration, it is just silly to cite the hopelessly outdated lowball estimates of AR5 as a credible model for our future (it was silly even 5 years ago). Reality PROVES we are tracking RCP 8.5, without taking into account global dimming which should add at least another 0.5C to the future estimates. Proper scientists change their views when real world data and updated computer modelling forces them to do so. Nowadays many scientists are using a median rise of around 5degC by 2100 as a best estimation in their models https://www.ecoshock.net/downloads/ES_180124_LoFi.mp3
    and sensible people should do so also.
    Actually, “median” means that half the estimates now are MORE than 5degC warming by 2100. Think about that. The precautionary principle states that we should prepare for the worst possibilities ie. plan for >>5degC average temperature rise. The tropics will definitely become dead zones.
    As you know I am far from being a McSerpent nihilist and I think he is an idiot. But hopeless underestimation of global warming can be just as dangerous to your future planning.
    I reiterate: it is best to follow what qualified, actively publishing climate scientists, the real people in the know, would choose for themselves. You should ignore self proclaimed amateur pseudoexperts who stubbornly adhere to discredited models and cite hopelessly out of date, watered down, science fantasy bullshit assumptions. I do not expect Palloy to be persuaded by any of this as he is a rigid minded non scientist, but I offer food for thought for readers who need a more realistic and honest understanding of the future, no matter how scary it is.

    • RE says:

      Well, if nothing else the article inspired you to write a long rebuttal in the commentary. 🙂

      Palloy is a regular contributor to our forum inside the Diner.  You do not participate or contribute inside the Diner.  He has his opinions, many of which I do not agree with, but he has earned the right to express those opinions on the blog. You can object to his conclusions in the commentary.

      RE

    • Palloy says:

      I didn't say our future would be the actual scenario RCP-2.6, I said it would be something else with LESS emissions than RCP-2.6, which shows three times as much natural gas being burned in 2070 as now.  There is no need for massive geo-engineering projects (CCS) as is forecast in RCP-2.6.  The fossil fuel companies will simply be bankrupted by their debts and stop functioning. Yes, there will be "momentum" from the cumulative impacts of past emissions, RCP-2.6 shows a rising temperature for 30 years, but the only way to calculate this is by running the models on the new scenario, not simply declaring they "will easily push us way beyond 3, maybe 4 degrees C".  That is the scaremongering of the non-expert. 

      Of course you can always count on this particular non-expert to overdo the scaremongering.  Hence to be safe, we have to not only use the mean of 30 IPCC models, but also prepare for higher than the highest of all the models.  Don't be fooled by the handle "Anti Troll", he should be called Stark Raving Looney Extremist.

      Here is the forecast temperatures produced by all 30 IPCC models under the 4 scenarios:

  • Anti Troll says:

    I thought the motto of this blog was “save as many as you can”?
    Wait a minute, maybe I have made a terrible tactical mistake. By encouraging people to move to the last habitable places on the planet, I may cause those places to become overcrowded, which will cause a lot of strife. You wouldn’t want hordes of wanky bankers and pigmen and their security teams flooding into coastal Alaska now, would you?
    So I take it all back, it was all an April fool’s joke in advance, I was wrong and Palloy was right, you all need to move to the tropics right now.
    So all USAnians with the dough please take note: the best place to move to is tropical Belize because they all speak English there, but please be respectful of their local customs which are a bit different. For example their friendly greeting is not our our customary handshake. If you see Guy McSerpent there, the friendly greeting you must give him is the middle finger salute accompanied by words which mean he is a good soul in the local creole:
    “You are Soul” spoken very quickly three times.

  • Joe Bloggs says:

    Hey Anti Troll, you arsehole, only the Brits will get your joke. American assholes will not. Knowing how dumb Americans are, they may actually do what you suggest. Quite funny when they insult Guy McSerpent, but not so funny when they get beaten up by the locals….

    ……Well, OK, maybe that will also be funny.

  • Joe Bloggs says:

    PS: Methinks RE may be operating an elaborate double bluff here. Promote Palloy's dumbass advice to move to the tropics (where the dumbasses get killed by heat stroke, malaria, snakes etc) so less people may move to coastal Alaska. If so, that is a cunning ploy indeed…

    • RE says:

      Stop giving away my plans! lol.

      I’ve never agreed with Palloy that the Tropical Rainforest is a good choice.  It is however better than the Big Shity and most of Suburbia too.  If you are comfortable with hot, humid sticky weather in the near term it’s not going over wet bulb temps anytime too soon.  It is a low population zone and there are good food resources around even without farming.  You don’t need much if any fuel to heat with.

      By the time any of the IPCC predictions play out longer term, say 2050, both Palloy and myself will be long dead.  For the next decade at least, I suspect the Rainforest will be a good hole at least if you are not on a real low lying island.

      For myself, I prefer the cold.  I also don’t like the idea of sharing my digs with SNAKES.

      Related image

      RE

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