Every year Nate Hagens gives a talk on Earth Day. I missed the announcement of his talk a month ago, perhaps because I killed my social media accounts, but better late than never.
Nate’s presentation as usual is excellent, and this year he provides thoughts on how the virus may influence our overshoot predicament.
Here are a few of Nate’s predictions and ideas I thought were noteworthy:
- The virus gave our economy a heart attack, although it was already sick.
- The Great Simplification has begun: a GDP decline of 12-20% is likely this year.
- Global peak oil was, with no uncertainty, October 2018.
- Diesel availability is at risk because of surplus gasoline (my note: big problem because diesel powers everything we need to survive: tractors, combines, trucks, trains, and ships).
- The financial system has been nationalized: central banks are now both the lender AND buyer of last resort.
- Global debt/GDP, which was before the virus already unsustainable at 350%, will now rocket to 450+%, which sets us up for another more acute crisis in the not too distant future.
- Poverty will increase in all countries.
- Renewable energy is in trouble.
- 25+% of higher education institutions will go bankrupt.
- The experts don’t have answers: they do not understand energy or how our system works.
- We need humans to have better bullshit filters: if we don’t use science to help us going forward we have no hope.
- We should nationalize the oil industry and drain America last.
Nate concludes with many constructive and positive ideas on how we might respond to our predicament.
Unfortunately Nate did not mention the most important response needed: rapid population reduction. Yes I know that reality denial and the Maximum Power Principle, which govern our behavior, make voluntary population reduction highly improbable, but so do they make improbable all of Nate’s suggestions.
I’m thinking that since it’s unlikely we’ll do anything except react to crises as they unfold we might as well focus on the one and only action that would improve everything: population reduction. It simplifies the conversation, and makes it (theoretically) effective. Much better than talking about many things that we also probably won’t do, but even if we did wouldn’t address the core issue: overshoot.
Imagine this political platform: “We only need to do one thing, and there’s only one thing we need to do, don’t have children unless you win the lottery, so there can be future generations.”
You can find other excellent work by Nate that I’ve posted in the past here.