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Archive for November, 2016

November 8, 2016

All those who know me well know that I’m a big picture guy. I see our current world as the convergence of climate change and the end of the fossil fuel era, with all the economic and political dislocations that follow from these epochal historical changes. So it follows that I interpret this presidential election in the context of those transitions.

Ever since I read “The Limits to Growth” back in the mid-1970’s, I’ve believed that as we approached the limits of our resource consumption, there would be a reactionary fascist response from the American people, who would not accept a reduction in their lifestyles and a diminishing in their belief in the American cultural myth of inevitable “progress”. That is what just happened tonight.

No one can predict the future with any precision. But given that the American people just turned to an ignorant demagogue to lead their government, it’s pretty safe to anticipate four years of complete economic and political chaos, which will only accelerate the momentum of the fearful forces that brought Donald Trump to power. The fate of the nation we call the United States, two and a quarter centuries old, now hangs in the balance.

How should we proceed? What can we do? I have two suggestions. First, become involved with your neighbors and local governments to help prepare for the hard times ahead, by creating local resilience on the model of the Transition Town movement. (http://www.transitionus.org/transition-towns) Second, prepare for the increasing dysfunction and failure of the federal government, and the possibility that to assert and protect its supremacy, that government may become increasingly tyrannical.

I take no pleasure in painting such a grim picture. But history offers many examples of civilizations that collapsed into anarchy as a result of resource constraints. The difference is that today we live in a world civilization, so the collapse with not be only local but global. Of course Donald Trump understands nothing of all this, but he is all too eager to lead us off the cliff. Each of us must make our own decision whether to follow him or oppose him.

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