By Gaia Gardener: On Our Hall of Denial Mirrors

Today we have another guest post by a member of the un-Denial community, Gaia Gardener, who posted these thoughts on denial as a comment. I thought they were interesting enough to warrant promoting them to a more visible post.

Hello friends, thank you for a very interesting discussion about the realities of denial and how we humans seem to be able to manipulate all perceptions to fit our chosen narrative, whether or not we are consciously aware of our programmed beliefs however they were initialised and ingrained.

I am wondering if we can look at another subject, removed from overshoot, in which denial plays a big role in our actions/inactions so we can step back and dissect out a bit more how denial originates and becomes intrenched without us even realising our immersion in it, just like we in the small minority see happening to the masses and even polymaths in regards to overshoot denial.

The topic I think can fit the bill is the question of the ethics of eating animals, namely farmed animals which we consume in the billions every year. I won’t cover using animals for our labour and experimentation as the ethics of these actions can be construed to be justified in benefitting humankind which the majority of human beings would be in favour of. But the eating of animals in the modern world is not only unnecessary (and we can be spared the example of Inuits or other very minority population cultures who rely solely on animal products for sustenance, we do not have their situation in the least) but in fact there is convincing evidence that it is harmful to both our physical bodies and the planet, but for the sake of this argument, one need not consider either of those reasons to engage in a discussion of why we cannot eat animals nor their products if we believe we have a moral obligation to another sentient being. Let’s face it–we eat meat because we were brought up to do so and it tastes good (to most human taste buds) and it’s readily available without much effort on our part. However, the fact that animals suffer solely for our pleasure, tradition, and convenience is not enough moral ground to do so, for one can easily see how this disconnect can apply to any sentient being, including other humans, which is so obviously not an ethical choice. And yet, we are in complete denial that it is okay to eat chicken, cow, and pig but outrageously wrong to eat dog, cat, or horse. It is fine for us to imprison a member of a food species in the most horrendous conditions but we can be charged with abusing and neglecting other species we call our domestic companions. We can kill a food species animal way before their natural life span in a most horrific manner (everyone knows a slaughterhouse isn’t a happy place) so we can buy our sanitized plastic-wrapped packages of pork, beef, and healthy white meat chicken, but if we organise a dog fight and enjoy it, that is disgusting and shameful. You’re right, it’s not about education (most of us know that a live being had to be killed to get meat on the plate), or even more extreme forms of presenting the facts (how many of us would volunteer to witness what happens in a slaughterhouse, or even more tellingly, choose that as our job?). Yes, we have been lied to about happy free-range chickens or happy cows enjoying being milked on the happy dairy farm, but how many of us actually have spared more thought for what really happens in these industries, we’re only too happy ourselves to buy the more expensive organic or free-range option as if that absolves us from the guilt we still harbour knowing that no matter how happy the picture of the old MacDonald’s farm, we know this is a fantasy. Every animal still comes to an end in a way far from their natural choice and inclination.

I can sense the mounting justifications and counter-arguments–we need meat for our health or else we would get sick and die, if we didn’t raise the food animal they wouldn’t have a chance at life at all, what about if we were stuck on an island with only rabbits to eat, you can see how inane these points are, and generally stated to obfuscate the moral issue at hand. I am talking about modern day humans who now have access to a wide range of very suitable and healthful plant-based protein, and the methods we use to obtain our meatstuffs, even the question of whether or not it is our evolutionary diet (very debatable) isn’t the point here. The point is our denial of other factors which should be considered when making the choice of whether it is ethical to eat farmed animals, or even a beloved family pet lamb (just these words should put it in perspective that it isn’t but somehow we still do it–is that denial? ) What is it that keeps the majority of people still reaching for their burgers and steaks and fried chicken and bacon and eggs despite knowing what everyone should know? Is it denial of the truth because to face the ethical question front on would demand a choice and most humans just cannot overcome the continuation of pleasure, tradition, and ease of living, especially if it means realising it is a morally wrong thing to do so. So it is far easier to adopt cognitive disconnect, join the masses who are in your camp, degrade and exclude those who are not, and just keep doing what you want for one more day after day as long as it can last because at least you got to enjoy it and no one can take that away. Sound familiar? See how easy denial becomes just our way of perceiving our reality, and that is why I chose this example to prove that point. Every thought that is possibly going through your head now is a function of denial, one way or another, and none of it was even conscious before I brought this so called controversial topic up–if one can deem supporting active suffering of sentient beings just because we like it, to have any controversy attached.

I guess what I’m trying to express, which is in full agreement with what has been discussed, is that all of us have the capacity for denial (whether or not MORT is the primal reason) but we can’t see it as denial when we’re in the thick of it because that is just our chosen narrative. The way we dichotomise over overshoot, population control, Covid, Russia, just about any topic you can name, all confirm this. Only others outside that narrative (and usually the minority) can see that there is another perspective (because it’s their reality) and then call out the majority as in denial, which is exactly what the majority thinks of the outliers! It’s like that endless hall of mirrors reflecting back to you ad infinitum, whichever way one looks, there’s another image looking away from you, too, with the prime cause of the illusion being your own presence and perception of your reality. I think denial is a bit like that–it’s what holds us in our place, and helps define our sense of self by creating another version of possible self to bounce off of. I’m not saying there’s any right or wrong in this, it just seems to be how we are wired and until now, it has kept us on the survival ascendancy (that and a whole heck of fossil fuels!)

I think a good question to always be ready to ask ourselves in any situation to draw out denial is “What knowledge or understanding or different perspective that I may not have now but is available to gain or learn, would change or enhance the way I see the situation? ” Try it, it is very hard to allow oneself the possibility of overcoming our deep-rooted beliefs but yet that is precisely the attitude it will take for us to change them. Forcing education upon others doesn’t work as we have seen, it has to come from a self-directed intention to fill the knowledge gaps (isn’t that how we all arrived at our overshoot awareness and acceptance? We didn’t find this site because we were lectured into it, we found it because we sought it out) and then an even more entropy defying self push to change our actions to match our new insights. If the motivation is great enough, this can and will happen, but everyone has a different threshold before the fire is lit under our bums. Maybe that is why we need to head hell-bent towards full-on collapse, perhaps the only way to save ourselves is to first come within a nanometer of destroying ourselves. I still take comfort and security from the once inviolable Newton’s third law and trust that is will prove true for this case, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Let us pray for calamity that we will reach that opposite reaction with the same energy swinging us out of our doom as going into it, and preferably very soon!

Namaste, everyone. Thanks for bearing with another Gaia attack.

67 thoughts on “By Gaia Gardener: On Our Hall of Denial Mirrors”

  1. Tom Murphy wrote a nice essay today. He starts by constructing a happy fairy tale that the majority believes. Then he deconstructs it.

    I observe that the system we have constructed, and our resulting overshoot predicament, is ultra-complex with so many possible and conflicting responses that it’s no wonder the decision process is paralyzing and polarizing. Fortunately, there is one single simple thing we can focus on that improves everything, both for the present and the future, and for all species including humans (and, with a nod to Gaia, our farmed animals): rapid population reduction.

    The path forward is to put less emphasis on “smart” and “clever” (which got us into this mess), and more on “wise.” This looks like intentionally stepping off our throne as conquerors and masters of planet Earth, appreciating that we are all (all species) in this together, and all need each other to survive. Biodiversity is our greatest ally. Give the squirrels, newts, and nuthatches a voice. Ask what’s good for them, what measures they would vote for, what legal action they would take if they could. Would they vote for “solving” climate change by bestowing more energy and growth on the human race? Does the introduction to this piece leave them applauding in admiration, or diving for cover?

    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2022/09/a-climate-love-story/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Rob for curating this very thoughtful essay to be juxtaposed to my own not unrelated musings–I must admit I was a bit bemused this morning (like seeing yourself in a fun mirror) to realise you’ve started a new page with yours truly, but I’m hopeful for interesting discussion and so far, that’s already materialised.

      As for what the squirrel, newt, and nuthatch would say, that’s easy to guess. I’ll try to translate their chirrupings into plain speak (and tone down their language)–Please just go away and leave us alone. There’s not a single species on this planet that wouldn’t benefit by the immediate cessation of Homo sapiens, now that distinction is pretty singular!

      Now while we don’t exactly advocate immediate extirpation of our species, we do need to get a move on the population reduction whilst there’s still some hope for other species to reclaim their spot on the planet once we step off the mass scale now tipping at 96% us and our domestic beasts (that is just such a sobering fact that renders me speechless, hey, I know what you’re thinking!) Seriously, when I watch wildlife docos and see endless streams of caribou migrating and realise that only represents 250,000 individuals, or an island cheek by jowl crammed with penguins (up to 1.5 million birds) and then think we humans are 8 billion in number, that also does my head in. The only thing to compare to that level of individual organisms (4-8 billion strong) is a super swarm of locusts in biblical plague proportions–’nuff said. Economic collapse needs to and will go hand in hand with population downshift of the top 2 billion consumers, and like it or not, that’s all of us. Maybe a topic for another day (we have started discussion on this previously and come up with more than a modicum of denial there, too) is how we personally take responsibility for enacting population reduction, since that is all we can do. I think I’ve already did my dash in opening up a juicy enough can of worms to go on with for now.

      What did Spock always say? Live long and prosper. I think we’ve done that mightily enough. And what did Worf the Klingon always say? Today is a good day to die. Hmmmm.

      Go well, everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a vegetarian family member that agrees with Gaia on the ethics and denial of meat eating. I cooked him this recipe last night, which is my own creation. We both enjoyed it.

    Curry Coconut Chickpeas on Rice

    Makes 4-6 servings.

    Prepare brown rice in rice cooker. Adding a tablespoon of sesame oil, a few chopped dried mushrooms, and a pinch of salt are nice additions.

    Sauté in large saucepan:
    – coconut oil
    – 2 onions, chopped
    – 8 mushrooms, chopped (optional)
    – 4 cloves of garlic, chopped

    Add spices and sauté for another minute to bloom the flavors:
    – 2 tbsp curry powder
    – other spices you like (optional)

    Add, stir, and bring to a slow boil:
    – 1 can diced tomatoes
    – 1 can coconut milk (high fat version is best, look for 20% fat on the label)
    – 2 cans chickpeas, drained
    – fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional)

    Add, stir, and adjust to taste:
    – 2 tbsp red curry paste or other hot sauce (optional)
    – 1 tsp salt

    Can be served as soon as hot, however if consistency is too runny, boil and stir until thickened.

    Serve on rice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m lucky to have a special kind of synesthesia for being able to taste food that is described, especially in a recipe form so I can see, smell, and even hear the ingredients cooking up together. Thanks Rob for sharing that delight, I make something similar and it never fails to disappoint. The only other thing I usually add for a bit of green is chopped spinach. And if you want to change the taste with one other ingredient, add 2 tablespoons or so of smooth peanut butter. I have found that a pinch of sweetener, I use coconut sugar, goes well with any recipe that uses canned tomatoes, the sweetness just balances the acidity.

      I just bought a smaller 3L pressure cooker after your suggestion and you’re so right, it makes perfect Basmati rice in 3 minutes with 5 minutes standing time. I have decided that Arsenic poisoning is the least of my concerns at this time and now indulge in rice more often, at least as long as we can still get it. I am expecting that Basmati will be very expensive if even available after the devastation Pakistan has experienced this year.

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  3. A 2017 BBC documentary by one of our most intelligent and respected polymaths.

    You can’t make this shit up.

    The Search for a New Earth

    Planet Earth has been home to humankind for over 200,000 years, but with a population of 7.3 billion and counting and limited resources, this planet might not support us forever. Professor Stephen Hawking thinks the human species will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive. With climate change, pollution, deforestation, pandemics and population growth, our own planet is becoming increasingly precarious.

    In this landmark film, Professor Hawking, engineer and radio astronomy expert Professor Danielle George and Christophe Galfard, former student of Professor Hawking, join forces to find out if, and how, humans can reach for the stars and relocate to different planets. Travelling the globe, they meet top scientists, technologists and engineers who are working to answer our biggest questions. Is there another planet out there that we could call home? How will we travel across the vast distances of space to get there? How will we survive the journey? And how will we set up a new human civilisation on an alien world?

    Christophe and Danielle journey to the heart of the Atacama Desert, visiting the aptly named ‘Very Large Telescope’, where they meet the astronomers who are discovering new planets outside our solar system every single day. But are any of them suitable for human life? Travelling deeper into the Atacama, microbiologist Maria Farias introduces Christophe to a strange life form could help us make an unlimited supply of oxygen on another planet.

    In Houston, Texas, engineer and ex-astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz shows Danielle the plasma powered rocket engine that could revolutionise space travel, taking humans into space faster than ever before. On the arctic island of Svalbard, Christophe witnesses the stunning Northern Lights. This mystical phenomenon is a glorious by-product of Earth’s protective magnetic field, deflecting dangerous radiation. In space, we can’t take this protective field with us, but in the Netherlands, Christophe meets anaesthesiologist Dr Rob Henning, who believes hibernating bears may hold the key to protecting the human body from the hazards of space. Muscle wastage is another problem for potential planetary pioneers. Without gravity, space travellers lose muscle and bone strength at an alarming rate. However, the European Space Agency may have the answer – artificial gravity. Christophe takes a spin on a human centrifuge that could help keep us healthy on our journey to distant planets.

    In Arizona, Danielle explores the giant greenhouses of Biosphere 2, where scientist Gene Giacomelli is working on ways to sustain human life on a planet with no atmosphere, growing plants for not just for food but also oxygen. His lunar greenhouse could provide enough oxygen for a single astronaut to survive on a planet with no atmosphere. And finally, at Kennedy Space Centre she meets fellow engineer Robert Mueller, who showcases NASA’s own ‘robot army’, under development as a means of mining the natural resources and building the infrastructure we need on another planet before humans even get there.

    Taking in the latest advances in astronomy, biology and rocket technology. From the Atacama Desert to the wilds of the Arctic, from plasma rockets to human hibernation. We discover a whole world of cutting-edge research. This journey shows that Professor Hawking’s ambition isn’t as fantastical as it sounds – that science fact is closer to science fiction than we ever thought. As Professor Hawking states, ‘We can, and must, use our curiosity and intelligence to look to the stars’.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0953y04

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  4. Hi Gaia thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do agree that every brain has denial.

    I typically wouldn’t use people’s diets to discuss denial because of their connections to religion (ultimate denial). I can’t think of a single pre-modern community that was vegetarian outside of the context of religion. As far as I know, vegetarianism only came about from three/four different religions:
    1. upper castes of Hinduism (and Jains);
    2. the hippy earth spiritualties of Germany (exported to California), and
    3. the strange new-age Christianity of the seven-day adventists and their ilk (Sanitarium/Kellogg’s).

    I don’t know of any other vegetarian communities to exist prior the present day. And especially none that were vegetarian for reasons excluding religion, such as to prevent suffering or to avoid killing.

    A vegan diet is even newer. Although there are logical vegans out there, I could make a pretty good argument that it is not really a diet, but an evangelical religion.

    It is very hard to separate the personal beliefs from the culture one grows up in.

    As for myself, I grew up on a beef farm, have raised animals, butchered and ate them. I feel bad when an animal’s life ends, I feel bad killing a carrot, I feel really sad accidentally cutting an earthworm when digging in my garden, I even feel bad pulling up weeds. Plants and fungi are sentient in their own ways, they know the world around them and communicate with others (both in and out of their species).

    The great chain of being is a Christian-European concept that puts things in order of their soul/sentience by how closely they are related to God. It goes angels, then humans, men first (naturally), then women, other mammals, other animals, maybe birds before fish, insects, fungi, plants etc. all they way down to dumb rocks. Humans have an interesting form of denialism in that the more closely related a living thing is to us, the more value its living life has (more soul, more pain experienced, more sentience). We shouldn’t need scientists to torture non-mammals like insects and fish, to know that they experience the world, feel pain in their own ways, and want to live. Vegans and vegetarians often draw these strange arbitrary lines deciding for themselves, often with little to no evidence, where sentience should start and end. I am comfortable with not drawing a line. For example, I really don’t care if other cultures eat dogs or horses. If that’s their food, good for them. If some people just want to eat living plants, also great, good for them.

    The reality is that all living things eat other living things. Every living thing wants to live. And every living thing will die, and be food for another living thing. When we eat living things we can be sad that a life is ending, while also being grateful that life itself continues.

    If we wanted to argue on the technicalities of what is actually a healthy diet for humans or a normal diet for humans then that is a completely different discussion. And from my own years of reading the literature on this, I feel pretty confident is saying we have no freaking clue what the best diet is for humans since we are broad-ranging omnivores. We may have some good ideas about what is really bad: smoking commercial cigarettes and refined seed oils…. can’t think of much else

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello there monk,
      Thank you so much for the time and thought in your reply to my little “experiment” of testing out our boundaries of denial. In your response I have the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is and ask the very question that I suggested to broaden our perspective and engage with others’ views before whitewashing it with our own brush. I appreciate all your comments for I have considered them before, but try as I might to incorporate what you have added, it doesn’t change my own view, which goes to prove at least to me, that once we adopt a belief system in anything, however it arose (imprinted by religion, ingrained societal norms or self-directed awareness) it is very difficult to sway because that becomes our very sense of self. I can truthfully say that although I consciously approached your reply with an open mind for dialogue, I still felt my emotion rising at times when I wanted to interrupt and say “but!” and “that’s not my point!” and “well, that just proved my point!” So, you can see that the experiment worked rather well at least for me, to show that when it comes to confronting a different view, we are not just dealing with our logical, rational minds but a great deal of it is emotional, and that is where overcoming denial is really going to stick. It would be very interesting to hear what your emotional response was when you read through my thoughts, I can imagine it did make an impression of sorts for you to have replied as you did, and it is this very process of exchanging differing views and finding a common ground that we must examine closely if we are to try to understand how to dissolve denial, if it is even possible.

      To be clear, it was not my intention at all in writing the piece to promote my particular viewpoint on the ethics of eating animals, rather, it was a calculated choice of a topic charged enough that I thought would bring up a myriad of issues related to our capacity for denial. And I am very much humbled that it showed up for me immediately that which I wanted to test out. And although there is a rather insistent voice in me that wishes to address your points with my counter ones, for purpose of staying true to my original experiment, I am repressing that because it isn’t going to be helpful in fleshing out (oh dear, that’s a bad pun) how denial manifests, and would actually only add fuel to the fire as each of us would respond by digging in even more in our views (either internally or publicly in a new response). So even this consideration brings up the mechanics of how denial extends and takes on a life of its own.

      Now back to the topic that’s nearest and dearest to all our beating hearts, that of denial of overshoot, the one denial that rules them all! From this very brief exchange I can get a better glimpse how we can all agree up to a point (like yes, there is climate change and over shoot issues) but then due to our complex individual and social make-up and all the layers of our differing human experiences, we branch out into our own settled and comforting pattern of thought and beliefs (no need for population control, technology will find a way, it’s all about the economy). Even if we were confronted with enough evidence to leave and remake our nest of thoughts, the energy it would take to backtrack on the old and create new ideas, then beliefs, and finally patterns of action relating to those changed beliefs, would be daunting. And in my observation and experience, and it stands to reason, the more overarching the belief, the more difficult to shift, overcoming inertia proves just as challenging as breaking through awareness with new information. And as a corollary, once we do make one massive paradigm shift (like change of religion), it seems that is all most human psyches can handle, it would literally take a cataclysm to shift again. For example, it is rare for one to constantly change religions, the depth of input required is too much of an investment and then to change again signals to the ego that you really don’t know what you want or believe which is exactly what adopting a religion is supposed to assuage. This can be extrapolated to how we have been presented with energy overshoot, during one decade it’s an issue (70s) then it’s not (80s onward as our material economy explodes), and now that it looks like it may be again (unfortunately we are now addicted to that material economy) so no wonder it’s going to be difficult to convince the mass collective consciousness there’s a real problem with drastic solutions–so much easier to do a soft sell, EVs, wind power, and for those lost in fantasyland, even colonise another planet. So we get to have our cake and eat it, too, we do something for the environment and get to keep buying new stuff. We can poke at overshoot from the sidelines but we can’t get too close for comfort.

      I think it boils down to pleasure seeking and pain avoidance, to dumb it down to the basics. Even if we were made aware of our predicament, none of us want to be experiencing the world we know is awaiting us so we just put on the invisibility cloak of denial so we can continue to live to seek pleasure another day. The only way to break through is to demonstrate that pleasure can be had in a different way, and pain can be mitigated, but that framework is woefully absent in our society that only pushes growth and immediate gratification. How to get our modern world interested in simple joys that were so satisfying to our forebearers (like singing around a piano) but unfathomable to our young generation? A forced collapse seems the only way to shake the system enough to re-write it with some hope of continuity, the pain will be hard and swift but afterwards, you’ll forget all about it in the new order of things and yes, you will be happy! I think this is why China maintains such tight control over its people, to keep in practice for what will be necessary for any semblance of order in the coming future. Can you imagine any other nation able to lock down cities of 20 million and still function as a unified country? China is betting on coming out with a society that can still be governed to work, feed itself, and possibly colonise other areas once the shit finishes dripping off the fan.

      Sorry this post is all over the place, but I guess that’s what a forum is all about and once again, thanks to Rob for keeping it all going. I am once again more than a little self-conscious that my ramblings have headlined again, but if it provokes interesting and forward-moving discussion, then I am all the more grateful for being able to participate.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Gaia really appreciate your thoughtful reply and I so very much agree with you. I bought into the whole vegan religion about 10 years ago and it did not go well for me. Now I feel really annoyed whenever I see vegan arguments. Main sources of my annoyance are the factual errors, double-standards, and the lack of care for people’s health. I know how good the arguments FOR are, because I used to believe them a decade ago. I also feel so angry that I was duped by the vegan propaganda. I feel like vegan activists harmed me. Many years later it turned out many of those YouTuber vegans weren’t even eating a vegan diet, all the while preaching it to the masses. I’m now super suspicious of anyone who makes any claims about any sort of diet. Somethings I can easily agree are bad: factory farming, cruel slaughter, palm oil (habitat destruction), food miles. I make food choices based on that sort of thing now.

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          1. It would be impossible. The only good vegan source of saturated fat is coconut oil (maybe a bit olive oil, avocados too). You need saturated fat to form membranes for cells. It is a critical nutrient for the brain. Doesn’t mean we need eat shed loads of the stuff, but yea

            Liked by 1 person

        1. hello monk, thank you so much for your insights and for sharing your experience of your health journey. I understand how frustrating at times that has been, especially that you felt deceived by different agendas and I feel happy for you that you have reached a state of empowerment now about your own health choices. True health goes far beyond the physical requirements, and I can sense you are taking the best care of yourself in all regards, and also care for others’ well-being, too, which is a true sign of well-being.

          It is interesting that several of our gang have now commented on the after affects of being sucked into an organised religion or in your case, a proxy cause that effectively has the hallmarks of one. I had similar experiences, firstly by renouncing the Christianity narrative that I was inculcated in, and again when I abandoned the medical career, which was my reason for living at the time. In each case, I found that my initial response was almost diametrically opposed, like a pendulum swinging all the way to the other side. I became very materialist and atheist in the first instance, denouncing God (or at least the Judeo-Christian one) at every turn, and I sought every other healing/health tradition other than Western medicine. Yes, the feeling was of being duped, used, controlled, and like you, I was intensely indignant over the hypocrisy and injustice. Over time, I realised that the source of my angst was actually those feelings and instead of focussing on the immediate cause and running it down, I built up my own sense of self-direction and in conscious awareness I began to make choices that resonated with my values, rather than just as a reaction to the perceived attack. I affirmed that I am a very spiritual person, but definitely not an organised religion one. I also realised that at my core I want to help others with their healing, be it physical or emotional, and just being a kind person has more effect than any medicine. So, I think I’ve found more of a balance and can now be grateful for those epiphanies that led me to make those paradigm shifts. It is interesting to note that it was just after I discarded Christianity (but not the message of love and forgiveness) that I dived head first into my medical crusade, which adds proof that the ego needs a centrepoint, no matter if illogical, as long as it fits and is available, this has been one explanation of the masses’ reaction to Covid.

          How does this all add to the picture of denial? It’s becoming clearer to me that denial is not so much about facts and the reality surrounding oneself, but all about emotion and the way we choose to perceive things to attain or remove certain emotions. That’s maybe why just more education won’t change most people. Much of this is unconscious until something so big happens to bring it to our conscious self, usually this involves a serious, imminent threat to our actual physical being (like life or death), not just mental or emotional being, although those can also be impetus for radical change. It looks like for most, it will take not only impending doom, but the actual four horses of the Apocalypse charging through their living room before waking up to say, well, I didn’t see that coming!

          Just thinking out loud here–So maybe a desired outcome of this war-mongering, energy crisis, famine, pandemic spinning, economic implosion is to try to get us to that state of wake up before totally going over the cliff. If we can wake up en masse in time and choose differently (like population reduction), we might still have some agency as individual beings in our future on this planet, but in the more likely event that we don’t, the plan is place for a world totalitarian government to just do what needs doing (ie along the lines of China and Russia) Once that is installed out of the chaos, everything will be built back from the bottom and whoever is left will have to adjust to the new reality in order to survive, and it will only take less than a generation or two before there is no memory of how it was before. Notice that almost all dystopian books and films refer to a time before when things got so bad and you’re lucky you live in this new order (which is usually worse), isn’t that the story line of all revolutions? I realise that there are also plenty of creation myths that describe a long distant golden age of peace and harmony before the fall of humankind, so either way, it seems like we humans think that it will never be as good as it was (despite the fact we live like kings, but of course I am only speaking from the perspective of the most elite percent of human beings).

          Oh I don’t know. It’s all a crazy mixed up world but it’s the only world we’ve got and this is still our one bright chance at it. Times 8 billion. That’s what we need to remember–we think what we think is the most relevant and important but that is just our bias, every other human on this planet thinks the same, and for many, just getting enough to eat every day is their prime thought, not overshoot or population issues. We can’t really say they’re in denial, they’re just trying to live. We have the luxury of stepping back from it and adding our observation of things to our daily living pattern. Most people just don’t, and even if they did, they won’t choose to focus on a topic that means the end of their world as they know it. We just have to accept the truth that things will just unfold as they will and that’s the story of our little tribe called Homo sapiens on this far flung corner of our not-so-big galaxy. But just to have had the chance to be here, and at this time!

          And last but not least, Happy Equinox everyone. May we find that balance point in our own lives every day.

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          1. Nice post Gaia. Much to digest.

            I helped spread 60 yards of sawdust mulch on the blueberries. Tomorrow I’m jacking up a large shed and moving it with a trailer to new location. I like physical work where I can focus my mind on the task.

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            1. Hi Rob,
              I’m totally with you in enjoying physical work outside as a way to get all the blood and sweat flowing whilst zoning out just focussed on task. Funny, you’ve been shovelling cubic meters of sawdust and I’m currently shovelling 12 ton of gravel to spread on the pads we prepared for the caravans and also filling in drainage trenches. I find it quite pleasurable to see the mound go down, slowly but surely, one wheelbarrow full at a time. I think another defining characteristic of Homo sapiens is we always seem busy shifting stuff from one place to another, and sometimes back again! Take care with the heavy lifting work; I take it you have a very strong back and good technique.

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    2. Some good points, monk. I recently read an article in New Scientist that perhaps suggests that plants are far more sentient that they are given credit for: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25534012-800-the-radical-new-experiments-that-hint-at-plant-consciousness/

      I agree about what is a healthy diet. In general, though, I think the less refined the better. I have cut down on meat but I’d be loathe to cut it out completely and get a healthy diet that I could put together without modern civilisation.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Some people are eating gigantic slabs of meat and getting overloaded with iron. Not healthy! Eating the whole animal is much better, offal, bone broth, etc. 🙂 Eating veges and fruit is even better 🙂
        Most processed foods contain a very high amount of seed oils and refined carbs. Unhealthy, no nutrients, lots of calories.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. According to https://finance.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2022-09/faqs-sanctions-russia-listed-goods_en.pdf the European Commision is allowing EU companies to trade, ship and finance Russian shipments to 3rd countries if they are either fertilizers, animal feed, certain hydrocarbons?, essential goods like cement and coal.

    Regarding this I read a comment I found pretty funny: “Europe is like the 5 yr old that protests to its parents by running away from home (to the garden shed) and comes back at tea time when its hungry and cold”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. On this episode, I welcome Professor Martin Scheringer. We discuss Martin’s most recent paper on PFAS – the ‘forever chemicals, their ubiquity in waterways all over the globe, and their numerous critical health effects.

    More broadly we outline the risks and scenarios of plastic pollution to planetary futures – and what we might do about it. Is it possible to live in a (mostly) plastic free world, and do we really have any other option?

    Martin is a professor of environmental chemistry at Masaryk University and works in the research program on Environmental Chemistry and Modeling at RECETOX. He holds a diploma in chemistry from the Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany, and a doctoral degree and a habilitation from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No offence to Nate and Martin but they don’t even scratch the surface of the problem. Not only have we been pumping massive amounts of toxic pollution into the biosphere for around 100 years but many of them are accumulating as the cryosphere melts and the land dries out. What used to be Dilution is the Solution” is now lack of moisture world wide is concentrating pollution.

      I have been saying for over 25 years now that The Limits To Growth computational run severely under counted pollution by half. Everything humans do/have done ends up in the waste stream. You could “deny” all other problems crashing down on humanity and pollution WILL take us out sooner than later.

      Did you know that we make chemical gasses that are 25,000 times more harmful than Co2 and they have been leaking unregulated for 50+ years, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). There are over 100 simular chems in this category.

      https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/duke-energy-one-top-leakers-gas-25000-polluting-carbon-dioxide-epa-rec-rcna45742

      It is not even a matter of denial, it is more the fact that only .0001% of the population understands.

      Like

    1. Thanks, very interesting to see a senior oil exec so clearly state the problem. Not sure his solution of more investment will work for long because the economy is struggling to grow with oil at a price high enough to make new investments profitable.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick answers his covid puzzle (and also reminds us that butter is a health food).

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2022/09/22/saturated-fat/

    In my last blog I asked the question. Why did COVID19 lead to a spike in overall mortality in England, but not (or far less so) in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland? In a number of age groups, there was no impact on mortality – at all.

    The most likely answer, I think, is the proportion of ‘non-white’* people living in each country. England has far more non-white people. Around 18% – it is difficult to be absolutely certain about this figure. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland it is about 4%, maybe even less in Northern Ireland.

    This difference could also explain Sweden and Norway. The Norwegians do not publish data on ‘race.’ It is considered racist to do so. Which of course leads to problems in situations like this where you might need the data to help protect those of different races.

    So, ironically, it could be considered racist to have no data on different races? Discuss. However, the estimate is that around 3% of the Norwegian population is ‘non-white.’ In Sweden the proportion is very similar to that in England.

    Therefore, my working hypothesis is that non-white people living in countries at a high latitude, are significantly more likely to be vitamin D deficient.

    ‘Non-white populations in Europe are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than their white counterparts. For example, compared with white populations in the United Kingdom, Norway, and Finland, the non-white population subgroups have 3- to 71-fold higher yearly prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.’

    Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of mortality from COVID19:

    ‘The all-cause 30-day mortality was 13.8% in the group of patients with sufficient plasma 25(OH)D levels and 32.1% among those with deficient plasma 25(OH)D levels. Cox regression showed that plasma 25(OH)D levels remained a significant predictor of mortality even after adjusting for the covariates sex, age, length of the delay between symptom onset and hospitalization, and disease severity.

    Conclusion

    Vitamin D deficiency predicts higher mortality risk in adults with COVID-19’

    The ratio between 13.8% and 32.1% is 2.3. Which is big.

    A number of people suggested race, and vitamin D, as a possibly hypothesis. I agree with them. Now, what are we going to do about it …before winter arrives that is. I recommend several thousand units of vitamin D each day, until March.

    I recommend this for everyone.

    I would like to reinforce this, because other studies have shown that giving people Vitamin D, once they are infected, does nothing. It is too late. So, start now. In this case prevention truly is better than (no) cure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a sobering wee video. Here’s the latest from Planet Critical on overpopulation. I haven’t listened to the whole interview yet but it starts off in a promising way.

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      1. Thank you for this link Campbell, hope you and your family are going well. I can imagine how things are just busting out all over in your beautiful property now that it’s Spring. It’s a busy time (I think the whole year is with all the different tasks!) and I can just feel your enthusiasm and energy. It’s just so wonderful that your whole family is on-board with the vision of self-sufficiency and each brings their own skills and talents to creating your homestead together.

        I have listened through this interview and am relieved that at long last certain unmentionable topics are finally broached head-on. There is so much I wanted to agree on but throughout it I just felt a sense of urgency bordering on despondency when I realised that if this is the most forward thinking view we have, spoken aloud by only one brave academic, we still have such a long way to go and the time is just running out. They’re still talking change of policy and power and educating people (especially women) to make choices about their fertility (with lots of extra birth control made available) and hopefully it will be the right ones, but nothing is going to happen by free choice until we combine it with Jack Alpert’s in-your-face prediction and by then the suffering will be immense. Phoebe stated clearly that her organisation steers clear from advising how many children one should have, but if someone doesn’t bite the bullet to give us the real facts and numbers, it’s all still too nebulous and carefree. It’s going to take a draconian effort to curb our numbers in the time frame we need to, but nature is up to the task if we cannot or will not.

        Speaking of nature, last night I revisited a couple episodes of Planet Earth II narrated by Sir David Attenborough. I just wanted to remind myself what we have and what we have to lose. I found myself with tears streaming down my face as I marvelled at the majesty and wonder of our natural world and all the lifeforms that have found and fought for their niche to be here. The tears were for gratitude just to be able to witness their brilliance, in mourning for knowing that their light might soon be extinguished, and out of remorse and sorrow that we have been the cause. Maybe our entire cosmos is driven by the life force energy, and we have inherited that desire to exist and continue to exist along with every other permutation of life. So, how can we blame ourselves for getting us into this predicament, our special powers of mind combined with uprightness and those infamous opposable thumbs (and a great deal else) could only have gone one way, especially once we mastered stolen energy. When we witness the destruction of habitat and extinction of each species, we are seeing and sealing our own future, afterall, aren’t we the only species that we know of that can contemplate our own death?

        Does anyone ever think of themselves getting older and enjoying a long life? Try as I might, I cannot have this image in my head, especially not now knowing what we know is here. If I were true to my beliefs that one life is as worthy as another, I should be at complete peace with this fact, and more than peaceful, utterly grateful that I had my chance at self-directed living and for over 50 turns around the sun, that’s been more than generous. In one way I am, but there’s still that life force in me that wants to see yet another Spring, to watch our trees grow and bear fruit, to spend more moments with family and friends, to bask in the sunshine and slumber through the night, expecting another day to choose how I want to be. Any AI mindform if given all the data we have and asked to come up with a solution, the easiest and most logical, then I would think that leaving one’s life at either an appointed time or self chosen one, would have to be one of the clear and present options. And yet, even for those of us who see the issue, we hesitate and say, not me and not just yet! We justify and bargain–my family needs me, I deserve some freedom time after all the years of working, I want to still experience xyz, at least I didn’t have children, I don’t do air travel anymore, so I’m doing my part to be the solution. We get angry or at least frustrated that others can’t see what we know, and bemoan if only this and that would change. But really, we just want to continue being one of the 8 billion, and preferably include all our family and friends in that number. So who can blame anyone else for wanting to continue their life as they know it?

        Just a few thoughts to share with a group that’s held in deep regard and thought of with much gratitude for being here together at this only time we have. I wish for you all as many days in peace and ease as we can gather and hold closely. And I wish for you peace and ease when it is time to let go.

        Namaste, friends.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Listened to the whole thing. Although they talked about population they are both in serious denial about how late in the game it is. We are long past easy (everyone should get to decide how many kids they want, i.e. no coercion) solutions. Collapse of the economy and civilization is not 10 or 20 years away, it’s happening right now. And the biosphere can’t support 3 billion (or even 1 billion) people. They are right however the consumption on the level of Western Civ is part of the problem, but they seem unaware that consumption is going to collapse because energy is no longer available to sustain it. Their conversation should have happened 50 years ago and been acted on. Sadly no one would listen to Paul Erlich and act on it (the leaders and the people were then and still are in deep denial).
        AJ

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        1. Hi AJ,
          Thanks for saying in several sentences what I waffled on about in my post! It’s reassuring (in an unfortunate way) that we both had the same viewpoint of too little too late but maybe for those who are new to this idea, this presentation already generates shockwaves. We are on completely different wavelengths now but still there’s more denial to flush out.

          I also listened/watched the latest Nate Hagens podcast recommended by Rob. Just more proof that we’ve totally fouled our nest and now we and all the rest of the biosphere will have to eat it, possibly for as long as there is a biosphere. However, the prospect of chemicals disrupting our endocrine systems, lowering sperm count, and all the rest isn’t totally horrifying as Nate seems to take it. After all, isn’t that the cost of what we’ve done and also the means of re-balancing with reduced fertility (and thus population!) Nature always bats last and more than evens out the score. It’s an incalculable shame that many other life forms have to also suffer these disruptions to their hormonal systems but maybe that too, in a way, is part of the homeostasis levelling act. After all, this planet will only be able to support reduced numbers of animal and plant life in the toxic overload condition it’s currently in, and over millennia worth of recovery (once a particular and peculiar species has been finally reined in or wiped out), maybe the biomass will return in all its former glory. It will only happen when we’re not here to witness it, of course, but time is still on Gaia our Earth’s side. So, maybe plastics is the great future after all!

          Like

  8. JMG has written a good piece on the whole of energy history and where we are going with energy in the future (sorry no “green new deal” or nuclear). I don’t often read JMG anymore as he is wedded to his idea of slow catabolic collapse (denial of anything different), which I think is doubtful. I think the more likely a fast collapse, ala Caton, Tainter or Korowicz OR nuclear annihilation.
    https://www.ecosophia.net/beyond-the-peak/

    AJ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. I stopped reading JMG a long time ago because it usually takes him 1000 words to express a 10-word idea. This essay was pretty good and not too wordy.

      I tend to agree with you AJ that the decline will be quick. The reason I believe this is that when growth ends our giant pile of debt becomes a bomb, new credit, which modern civilization needs a ton of, will become scarce, and food and energy scarcity will probably lead to nuclear war.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I agree, Rob. I think JMG downplays the interconnectedness of the world and the sheer number of disillusioned and desperate people. In previous collapses, these weren’t factors. And the decline in supply of fossil fuels could well accelerate at some point with all of the sweet spots exhausted and the lack of financial sense in developing hard to get at resources which can’t be sold at affordable prices. So I expect an initially slow collapse (it’s happening now) but which accelerates, perhaps over only a couple of decades.

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      2. Gee, Rob. How can you bear reading some of my posts and with the lack of formatting, too! It must be some form of torture to those like you who are naturally succinct. I can’t and don’t deny that is just how I am and I thank you and everyone else for your longstanding patience and sufferance. I think I better end now whilst I’m ahead, oops, that was unnecessary and could be edited out!

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        1. All of your recent posts have had perfect paragraphs. Sometimes I have to queue them for later when I have more time to read but they are always interesting. Last couple days I’ve been a little distracted trying to help Dr. Varki prep for an upcoming interview.

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          1. That’s great news about the upcoming Great Simplification interview with your mentor, wouldn’t it be good if they can talk about MORT in specific relation to the population reduction denial? If that is our main pressing issue, then we need to rip it wide open no holds barred. Even if it puts Nate on the spot that will demonstrate our tendency for denial even more clearly, as I had tried to do with the eating animals ethical question. Thank you Rob for making this happen and I trust it will move the dialogue forward.

            I appreciate the time and interest to consider my posts, quite humbling really. Even if they are not read, I am already very grateful for the opportunity to sit down and compose some thoughts even if it just clears my own head. Like I’ve said many times, this site has been a knowledge and sanity oasis. I feel very content that we will have company and encouragement through to the time we can no longer communicate, and even then we will know a certain comfort that there are others out there who have witnessed, understood, and shared our journey.

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            1. I share your feelings. I would keep writing even if there were zero visitors here. It’s therapeutic to try to describe what’s actually going on when surrounded by ignorance and denial on all the important issues.

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            2. By the way, I wouldn’t call Dr. Varki a mentor. He proposed a theory that answered many important questions for me. I ran with it and tried to spread the word that MORT is central to our overshoot predicament. Later he and I connected and we communicate once in a while on MORT issues. Varki is very busy with his day job leading a lab that has nothing to do with MORT. I wish he would quit and focus on MORT.

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  9. If you have not yet watched the interview a couple comments above by Nate Hagens on chemical pollution you should try to find time. I was unaware what a serious and long-lasting problem we have created.

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  10. Interesting experiment underway. The UK is printing money to lower the cost of energy. That’s causing the value of their currency to drop which increases the cost of energy (and everything else they import).

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  11. Why is China continuing with their zero covid policy?

    Why does China not use mRNA substances, but Taiwan does?

    Why are western media & leaders silent on China’s policy? If it’s a good idea there should be debate about copying them. If it’s a bad idea there should be criticism for harming health & freedom.

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    1. My thoughts:

      Because China is already on war-footing and being able to mobilise their military and civilian forces to control the masses on a moment’s notice is an exercise they need to always keep at the ready. Also this extended Zero Covid policy with lockdowns smokes out dissenters and they are marked and will be dealt with in due course as other policies even less savoury come into play, also with the aim of mass control when things go even more pear-shaped. And also, there is probably some concern the virus isn’t through with us yet, or rather, the combination of inoculation and engineered virus possibly damaging the immune system, still may carry a sting in the tail and if there’s an outbreak which proves to be the mutation that GVB is predicting, then having that happen in populous China will not be good. And, and probably the number one reason, the Zero Covid policy is a perfect foil for reducing their own economy which in turn sounds the death knell for the Western economies and thus their power, which is favourable for China.

      China knows that the mRNA substances are up to no good. Taiwan follows the West, and therefore had no choice but to take what their overlords proffered. China isn’t too concerned about the health of its current Taiwanese population if their aim is to overtake the island.

      Western leaders also know something is up to no good and don’t want to keep highlighting what the public can now clearly see about the failure of the Covid policies and shots. It will become even more obvious with the coming winter. We certainly don’t want to advertise now that 1.4 billion people were specifically kept from getting the experimental mRNA shots, especially since they are the Chinese. I mean, that would almost be like a control group and that means we were the experiment!
      To keep focussing on China’s lockdowns will scare the public more with uncertainty for supply chain issues and shutting down economies and that may throw an unpredictable wrench into the works when the increased interest rates, inflation pressure due to energy costs and general unease with the system is already doing its job in a hopefully controlled collapse. In a few short months, everything will coalesce into a giant boil ready to pop.

      If this whole thing were a strategy board game, and I were world leader pretend, and knowing that China harbours a longstanding grudge against the West and now China and Russia have decided that they can take over rule of the world, then I would have to say with some certainty that China will make its next big chess move very soon. In a one/two punch with Russia leading with starting off the Ukraine conflict which has effectively paralysed Europe or will this winter, now it should stand to strategic reason that its ally China will deliver another finishing blow by forcing the Taiwan issue, especially when Europe is down and the economy is ready for free fall. What can the West really do to retaliate then, short of declaring war on China? This time, there need not even be a single shot fired from China’s side, they can stop shipping goods and we would be absolutely and fatally crippled overnight. In fact, just the very idea, just the rumour that China can stop supply will decimate the markets, how many people have even considered this? I think this is how China and Russia plan to take over, one with withholding energy and the other material goods, and hopefully between the two, avert nuclear war. It would be wise for the Western leaders to remember that China is the nation whose philosophy produced The Art of War, and this is their bright shining moment to effect those principles. Theirs is a more subtle strategy than the West’s shock and awe might, but will prove to be far more far-reaching and effective.

      Does anyone else here see what I see? Am I going a bit crazy thinking like I do? I have been thinking along these lines for a very long time, maybe I’m blinded by my own biases.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very interesting insights Gaia. All sound plausible to me with new ideas I had not considered. The idea of leveraging energy and material goods to obtain power without war makes sense. When we look around our homes and think about the supply line from China stopping it’s clear we are very vulnerable. Also like the idea of viewing China as a vaccine control group.

        I watched a BBC documentary last night on China’s zero-covid policy. It was very lame with no hard questions asked. The only insight offered not mentioned by you is the upcoming re-appointment of Xi for another term. It was suggested they are trying to clean up any covid messes to make him look good.

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        1. Thanks Rob for the validation of my overactive mind and loquacious means of expressing it.

          I think the foregone re-appointment of Xi is independent of any Covid policy, in fact the population is getting very titchy over these rolling lockdowns but can only vent so much on their State controlled social media. But following popular opinion is not how China works, and there is a purpose behind decisions that seem so contrary, maybe even more so. Something in me says that China’s people do have an inkling that there is a reason why their government is doing things so differently from everyone else and because they can’t do very much about it anyway, they will just have to trust their leaders.

          There is a very deep national psyche, at least with the older and ruling generation who have been shaped by the political and economic transformation of modern China, that China through her epic history overcoming greatest challenges, has now evolved to become what they consider to be the worthiest and noblest of nations to lead the world. This has been a long time coming but every bit earned and commanding due respect and acknowledgment from the global community. I don’t think the West truly understands this, for the longest time they considered China to be a poor developing country good for cheap labour and deprecated their Communist government for their hard handed ways and human rights abuses. There was little understanding and taking responsibility for the Wests’ role in compressing China into the second class world citizen status, and for all the exploitations degrading her sovereignty. China had to take it then, because it was not yet her time, but now there is no doubt of her ascendancy. The sun is setting on the West and ever rising in the East. That is why recent US actions rankle China so much, it considers the West to now be in a subservient position or at least no longer dominant, and thus lacking proper form and respect in the way it conducts itself in world affairs in relation to China. In the Chinese mindworld, everything is about relationship of one to another and knowing one’s rightful place given one’s capacity and authority. The continued hubris and arrogance of the West is an enduring sticking point for many previously dispossessed nations and peoples. For China, this cannot be tolerated and when the opportunity arises to deliver the decisive lesson that will expose once and for all who wields the real power, I believe she will take it.

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          1. I won’t blame China for extracting revenge for the 1840 Opium War. Our actions were unforgiveable.

            Covid has left me so deeply disappointed and disillusioned with all western leaders that I would trade them for Xi any day. I still struggle to comprehend the incompetence, indifference, and evil of our leaders.

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  12. Much food for thought and reason to worry about nuclear war in this thread by Doomberg.

    I don’t agree with his conclusion. I think denial of the unpleasant reality that climate change cannot be addressed by turning off fossil energy use is a better explanation for what he observes.

    On July 26, 1941, President Roosevelt seized all Japanese assets in the US and imposed a strict oil embargo on the country. Britain and the Dutch East Indies – the colonial predecessor to modern-day Indonesia and a major oil supplier to Japan – quickly followed suit.

    Virtually overnight, Japan lost three-quarters of its trade and nearly 90% of its oil imports. Faced with few options beyond a humiliating surrender to hostile foreign powers, Japan made the fateful decision to go to war with the US.

    The attack on Pearl Harbor a little more than four months later was driven by Japan’s ultimate need to occupy, defend, and exploit the energy bounty of the Dutch East Indies, which they proceeded to do a month after severely weakening the US forces in the Pacific.

    If energy is life, then the lack of energy is death. When one stares death in the face, to fight – however remote the odds of victory might be – can appear to be the only rational option. The actions of Japan make more sense in that context.

    As brilliantly explained in Daniel Yergin’s iconic book “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power,” modern history is best viewed through the lens of energy: the pursuit of that which is not had, and the use of that which is.

    Bombs are nothing more than carriers of extreme amounts of potential energy, and unleashing that energy in targeted areas creates devastating disorder in those environments.

    Wars are decided by which side can harvest and deliver more destructive energy to the other, explaining Churchill’s obsession with the Middle East and Hitler’s decision to prioritize Germany’s drive on The Caucasus prior to toppling Moscow – a move that cost him the war.

    Since the US was an energy superpower during World War II, and as its soil was unlikely to become a direct battlefield, whether and how the US might participate would prove decisive. The existing combatants did all they could to influence this all-important outcome.

    In his excellent but brutally critical book “The New Dealers’ War: FDR and the War Within World War II,” decorated historian Thomas Fleming lays bare just how desperate FDR was to provoke Japan into war.

    Most disturbingly, the book documents how the British and, to a greater extent, Stalin’s Russia infiltrated and corrupted much of the geopolitical policy-making bureaucracy of the US, thereby tilting the scales in their favor.

    The US is once again the largest producer of oil and gas in the world, making its energy policy – and the desire of foreign powers to influence it – vitally important. We have been critical of America’s energy strategy and wary of the consequences of its obvious blunders.

    Many politicians in the US want to close existing nuclear power plants, oppose the development of reliable fossil fuels at virtually every opportunity, attack existing energy infrastructure choke points, and constrain capital for future development.

    This behavior seems virtually indistinguishable from what the US would be doing if an adversarial foreign power were in charge of its affairs, and much of it is driven by privately funded and egregiously extremist environmental groups.

    Consider one outfit called Earthjustice, which describes itself as the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. They boast of deploying 170 lawyers against “630+ active legal proceedings.”

    A perusal of their main policy page titled “Power Everything With 100% Clean Energy” reveals zero mentions of the word “nuclear,” and using this keyword to search their website uncovers a string of mostly negative commentary on the topic.

    These organizations steadfastly oppose the development of ALL traditional energy projects, purposely embroil companies working to grow our economy in an endless loop of nuisance lawsuits, and falsely claim they are doing so in the name of the environment.

    It is literally impossible to decarbonize much of our economy without a massive renaissance in nuclear power, making the members of Earthjustice and similar organizations either anti-human, deniers of physics, or some combination of both.

    As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has proven across multiple dimensions, the ability to produce primary energy is the ultimate expression of geopolitical power. Europe’s economy is on its knees from having forgotten this critical axiom, and the US risks following suit.

    Earlier this week, Representative Rashida Tlaib embarrassed herself before the public when she demanded to know whether major US banks would stop funding ALL fossil fuel projects. Jamie Dimon’s response was on point: “Absolutely not and that would be the road to Hell for America.”

    Meanwhile, a billionaire with extensive business ties to China announced his opposition to ALL planned petrochemical development projects in the US. Mike Bloomberg’s “Beyond Petrochemicals” initiative aims to severely undercut US manufacturing.

    While Bloomberg is doing his best to squeeze US industrial, China and India are building dozens of new coal-fired power plants, swamping any potential carbon savings “Beyond Petrochemicals” could ever dream of capturing.

    How are the policies championed by the likes of Earthjustice, Tlaib, and Bloomberg distinguishable from what Putin and Xi would prefer the US to do? The simple and disturbing answer is they aren’t.

    The US needs to get serious about its energy policy to preserve its place in the geopolitical order. If the US succumbs to childish platitudes championed by energy know-nothings, it risks becoming the next Europe.

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  13. I still can’t tell if Mattias Desmet is a brilliant man with an insightful scientific explanation for the covid insanity, or a dim psychologist that has strung together a bunch of impressive words that describe the default state of the modern human.

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  14. We can now be sure food inflation is here to stay.

    I’ve been watching Campbell’s chunky soup steadily increase in price from $2.00 to $2.50 (25%) per can over the last year. Today they held the price at $2.50 and reduced the can size from 540 mL to 515 mL (another 5% price increase). That’s 30% in one year.

    They must be desperate. The 540 mL can has not changed for more than 40 years.

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    1. No. Not sure what else can reasonably be done. I’ve now got 2 acres which I’m slowly planting out and keeping some chooks and ducks. I do keep some petrol but not much, nor would I know what to do with it if collapse comes. A lot of people are going to be trying to survive as well as others trying to gain an advantage. Whatever I do is probably not going to change that but the more skills I can learn, the more likely it is that me and mine can survive a little longer than most. But I sometimes wonder what the point of survival is. Not that I’d ever do anything other than also try to survive.

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  15. I’ve decided to stay onward bit longer here in our subtropical block to get more stuff done like securing the solar generator and hot water system which is going up in price by the month. I’ve got the gear but until they are installed, it’s pretty useless. I’ve been waiting for tradespeople for months now, several cancelled my job. That’s another sign that things are reaching a crisis point, when you’re ready to engage work but can’t get anyone to return phone calls.

    I am trying to reduce reliance on fossil fuels for immediate day to day living, which is why even though all this solar stuff isn’t sustainable on the whole, and costly up front, it’s still my best chance to live on this property as comfortably as we can for as long as we can whilst siphoning more energy into growing food. I’ve got lots of trees here that need processing for wood to use for cooking and a burst of warmth through the colder nights of the short winter months we have, and I am encouraging more seedling trees to grow onward to a reasonable size that can be eventually chopped with an axe once our battery powered tools give out. Fallen branches and bamboo which will be easier to harvest and chop up into cooking fuel will hopefully be our mainstay source. For night time warmth, I’ve got more sleeping bags and hot water bottles, and vacuum flasks to keep boiled water hot.

    Most importantly the most recent change of plans that we’ve embarked on is preparing to open up our property to others to create a community where hopefully the more input will not only increase our comfort and survival through the difficult transition time but actually encourage well-being by being part of a group working together, seeking and fulfilling a meaningful human life in relationship with each other and our natural world. I believe that is the only way through, to remake our pattern of existence as Nate calls the Great Simplification, but no one is an island in this process as we’re all going to need to support each other through these early attempts. In any case, when times get desperate, those of us with small holdings in rural areas that can potentially grow food and have some source of energy will be inundated by people leaving the cities in search of shelter and a chance for survival. I’m just pre-empting the scenario by preparing to welcome whoever finds their way to our gate. With this in mind, we’ve bought two old caravans to put on the property as extra sleeping quarters and we can turn our main shed into a community shared space. If funds allow, we might purchase another, or at least prepare more sites for people to come with their own. I can’t envision turning any one away who needs help, and it seems to us that turning whatever we’ve managed to pay ahead in our mortgage back into potential living space is a worthwhile investment. Whatever we’re heading into, we will need the kindness of strangers, whom we will come to know as another version of ourselves, to help us through if we are to have any chance at all. And if for some reason (and there could be many) our own family doesn’t live to see or cannot partake in the fulfilment of this goal, then at least I know that I did everything to the best of my ability to prepare this environment for whoever finds this property. And that really is the same result in the bigger picture.

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      1. Thank you Rob, but my intentions and what accomplishments I have directed do not deserve congratulations. I am not at all proud that I have only been able to do so because fate allowed our family to be in the top echelon of privileged humans. Humbled only begins to express how I feel. In addition to all the countless human lives and their labour which makes my own efforts seem almost obscene in their limited scope and personal hardship investment, I have the 500 billion energy slaves that Nate reminds us of carrying me through. What motivates me more than anything, more than the actual overshoot predicament and push for survival, is my great sense of obligation to everything and everyone for making possible the life I have been able to choose and live with such ease for so long. The overwhelming feeling of being beholden to all things and lives, seen and unseen, is a moral compass for me, providing connection to all that I perceive. It at once grounds and centres my actions whilst lifting my spirit to purpose and meaning. I do not consider it a burden, just like a bird would not think the wings on its back to be. For the remainder of my time here, I want to give back in thought and action to help another or the earth be what it will be. And since through my particular denial-coloured glasses, we are all part of Gaia and the cosmos, that is the same as giving to myself.

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  16. Could you help me understand this: slide 9, https://www.voiceforscienceandsolidarity.org/scientific-blog/risk-benefits-of-covid-19-interventions-by-dr-marian-laderoute? It seems so huge, that I am unsure (and statistics and lies)…
    Does this mean that if we consider 100000 unvaxed people and 100000 vaxed people and suppose 10 died in the unvaxed group over the 17 months, then 69 would have died in the vaxed group?
    Is the source trustworthy? What are the raw numbers? How is this comparable to a war, or other crimes against humanity? (I’d like to get an idea of the scale)
    If I am understanding well, I am baffled. I knew the vax was not safe, but I would have imagined by a few percents.

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    1. Sorry Charles, I’m not comfortable trying to answer your questions without first establishing the credibility of the source and that takes a lot of time and more information than a single presentation. I would first find a source you trust and then seek their analysis on all-cause mortality. The people I trust say the risks now exceed the benefits and it gets worse with each boost.

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  17. Chuck Watson today points out the shocking decline in competence of our leaders.

    See also AJ’s comment.

    As any reader of this blog knows, I strongly feel the situation in Ukraine is a tragic mess, one we bear significant responsibility for starting and inflaming. I think that sending weapons in to this conflict is dangerous, and ultimately causing more harm than good. Expressing support for the present Government of Ukraine by flying its flag is not as simple as some might think. I have to wonder if the Mayor of Savannah is aware of what senior officials of the Ukrainian Government have said about people of color (much less, given the Progress Pride flag now displayed in the rotunda, the LGBTQ community). Almost certainly not.

    But that’s not really the point of this post. If you do feel that support of the Ukrainian Government is justified, at least fly their flag right side up.

    As for the Pentagon, I don’t even know where to start. Whenever I have been involved in activities at this level annoying but essential protocol officers were scurrying around making sure flags were right side up, seating was correct, and that I didn’t cause yet another international incident by asking for ketchup at a state dinner thrown by the President of France like that first time. That the DoD official responsible for Ukraine didn’t instantly recognize the problem is simply unbelievable, and for the SECDEF to be seen surrounded by upside-down flags is a major national embarrassment.

    https://blogenkiops.wordpress.com/2022/06/08/signaling-virtue-or-just-ignorance/

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