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Tom's Hypotheses of Doom: What's Your Assessment?

If you’ve read Irregular Times articles for any length of time, you’ll know that the writers here can be fairly dour, glum, down in the mouth, pessimistic, cynical, jaded and bleak at times. But next to our regular visitor and commentator Tom, we’re downright rosy. Seeing some of the same trends we see, Tom has extrapolated forward to predict the collapse of ecosystems and civilization as we know it.

June 29 2010:

How can rational people live in complete denial of reality? What is this, mass psychosis?

Surely you realize, by now (and if not, soon enough), that this hole in the Gulf gushing crude, methane and other noxious, formerly sequestered carbon by-products, will be looked at as the Big One that took us down to less than a billion people on the entire planet, living brutal, wretched, HARD lives and dwindling with the cascading systemic collapses happening world-wide, not least of which is the food chain.

June 30 2010:

This will take a while (maybe the same “blink of an eye” you cite above for our peak), but it will only get worse as time goes on. Again, i sincerely hope i’m wrong.

March 6 2011:

Since the whole system is going to collapse from within due to economic mal- and misfeasance, the failure of Obama to prosecute anyone for all the fraud that got us here (and the last bunch of clowns in the White House who openly lied to us to get us into this long series of wars and who admitted to torture), and finally because the environment is going to close us down as a species – i don’t care who you vote for (in fact i’m surprised the Republicans aren’t voting for Obama who gave them almost everything they wanted), nothing is going to change for the better for humanity from this point on (unless you’re one of the “connected” – and that will only last a short while)

August 1 2011:

The deterioration and collapse of our infrastructure, the standard of living of our society, health care (including dentistry), jobs, business, education, real estate (both private and commercial), auto sales, food production and transportation and eventually civilization itself for the human species will pick up speed now and will be only too apparent for all to see, feel, and live through (or die by). Notice i didn’t mention the environment. That’s just a confounding factor at this point.

Now we’ll see people resorting to ridiculous measures to stay alive including pets being abandoned, children and the elderly being abused, starved and/or neglected and abandoned, crime of every kind going way up, and then it will be all out civil war. The cops and military won’t be able to keep the country together because they’ll all be part of it too (like in the French Revolution) – while you’re out “protecting and serving” some roving hungry and angry mob will be attacking your neighborhood/house/family. Watch for more snipers taking out their anger on the miles of cars using the roads (especially the interstates).

March 8 2013:

Soon it will become all too apparent that climate change is killing all the vegetation and that there isn’t enough food to feed us all, then they’ll leap into action by executive order taking over everything an assigning us all to a local gulag for “processing.” There’s not going to be any revolution unless and until it’s too late, then it’s basically suicide. So much for America (and most of the rest of the world).

March 31 2013:

Look around. Soon you’ll be able to see that all the trees are dying and most vegetation will not grow due to all the pollution we’ve packed into the air. Hopefully not this year, but it’s surely going to happen in your lifetime, pal. You can keep your head in the sand or stay distracted your whole life, but what’s happening is irreversible and unstoppable. It’s going to get worse every year until it will be impossible to ignore, then impossible to live on this planet. Enjoy your days.

Tom has mentioned many measurable markers of doom, and declares that they’re going to get worse with every additional year. In your assessment, is this what’s actually coming to pass?

7 comments to Tom's Hypotheses of Doom: What's Your Assessment?

  • Bill

    You know, it just occurred to me, Jim…isn’t environmental defeatism a kind of End Times belief system?

  • Tom

    i posted a comment but it didn’t show up! Is it because i linked to 3 different sites?

    As far as responding to Bill’s statement: i’m not with the CHRISTIAN end-times crowd, in fact i lean more toward the Hopi. Hey look, i’m just trying to raise awareness. If you don’t want to hear it, that’s fine. i certainly don’t WANT this to be the case, but we’re doing exactly NOTHING to avert certain environmental catastrophe by continuing to live the way we do. i’m not making any of this stuff up either – it’s all based on (actually conservative) scientific papers, from the IPCC to other informed papers.

    Here’s an update:

    http://guymcpherson.com/2013/04/human-extinction-without-a-squeak/
    (references included)
    If environmental problems are so serious, if we are really threatened by global ecological collapse, why is no one doing anything about it?

    Before I explain why, it is important to state that (1) ecosystems do not react linearly to change, but abruptly switch states (Schaeffer 2001), (2) that the global biosphere, or global network of ecosystems, is threatening to shift states (read: collapse) if just 7% more ecosystems shift states (collapse at 50% and we are currently at 43%) (Barnosky 2012), (3) managers, planners, and politicians are not coordinating with scientists or experts (Staudinger 2012), and (4) evolution is far less likely than extinction (Schwartz 2006).

    So, why is no one doing anything about the very real issues threatening long term human survival? I think it is safe to qualify the situation as an emergency, and thus we should look at research into how people react in emergencies, or why they do not.

    A 5-step process for helping during an emergency was first characterized by Darley and Latané in 1968.

    The 1st step is to notice the emergency itself, which can be hindered by distractions or preoccupation. The 2nd step is to classify it as an emergency, meaning to recognize what is really going on, and this can be hindered by pluralistic ignorance — when a group of people do not notice an emergency because those around them are simultaneously not noticing or reacting to the emergency: it is thus assumed there is no emergency.

    The 3rd step is to take responsibility in the emergency. Studies show that the more people present at an emergency, the lower the chance is that someone will help. This is known as the bystander effect and creates a diffusion of responsibility, which leads the individuals to feeling less responsible for what is going on: “not my problem.” This means that a lone individual is far more likely to help you than that same person within a group.

    The 4th step is to know what to do, and the 5th step is to do it. But, even after taking responsibility and knowing what to do, it is possible someone will not help due to social inhibition. This is where the social context, or social norms, prevent or dissuade helping in the situation.

    Most people are busy: they do not have time to think about world problems, let alone world problems which have yet to manifest. Most people do not realize how serious environmental problems are: they think the only problem facing us is global warming, and picture this as it becoming a little warmer in the summers. Most people feel like a faceless member of humanity with no reason to help solve these problems, and refrain from taking responsibility, even if they know what is going on.

    Many people who know what is going on and have taken responsibility for helping, do not know what to do. They do not realize that even communicating with others about these problems, helping making others aware, taking the time to discuss this with people experiencing dissonance (will be explained in a different text) makes quite a difference.

    When just 10% of the population holds an unshakable belief, then it quickly spreads to almost everyone (Szymanski 2011). If people understood what was going on then there would be more people taking responsibility, more people brainstorming over solutions, and more work being done to avoid global ecological collapse.

    The only step left is to do it. So talk to others about these issues, to learn about them, and start taking steps towards solving problems. Taking steps towards preventing our own demise, taking steps towards pulling our collective head out of the sand.

    • Tom,

      Thanks for writing. Yeah, we have an automatic spam filter and sometimes if you post multiple links in a row it might think you’re selling fake Nigerian oil stock or something. Sorry about that.

  • Tom

    No problem Jim (especially since we’re not going to be around all that long, eh?), i’ll try to remember that and limit myself to one link per comment.

  • Dave

    Tom, it’s good to hear from you that all is not lost. I remember saying somewhere else on this site that if people who are serious about environmental issues would (metaphor alert) stop just preaching to the choir and begin to include the many who, though they may be leprous with the wrong opinions on social matters, are nonetheless on your side when it comes to a quality environment for living. I suggested that environmentalists are actually quite “conservative” when it comes to land use issues, etc. and that conservatives were the first people to confront our industrial society with the mess it was making, that it’s OK to use the C-word, especially if one wants to be inclusive of those who share their concerns and thus broaden the political base needed for action.

    A number of people responded with “not my tribe” kinda stuff. Conservatives are creepy.

    So it goes. If you really want to wake people up, Tom, start with the drum circle. They seem to think that, when it comes to environmentalism, it is owned by the neo-socialist progressives and others need not apply. Oh, waking folks up is hard? Ha! Try getting them together.

  • Tom

    Yeah dave, now you see why i’m convinced that humanity will continue on this omnicidal ride until we can’t! Lots of people hear the message about climate change, but few link it to near term extinction (NTE), which is happening as we speak. Remember, these things start slowly (like the exponential function) and then suddenly the entire facade of civilization collapses and all hell breaks loose. Though it’s too late to actually do anything about NTE, i’m trying to prevent local (statewide) environmental degradation of our water, air and land to preserve (conserve) what we have as long as possible and in the meantime stress the need to decommission all the nuclear power plants and somehow store the spent fuel in some “safe” way. That would (hopefull) prevent the very real possibility of all life on earth being destroyed as humanity exits.

    Don’t confuse the Republican version of “conservative” with the environmental one – totally opposite ends of the spectrum as you can see by their corporate actions. This includes Obama, true “moderate” Republican that he is, after signing the Monsanto Protection Act into law recently (and also fast-tracking oil drilling in the Arctic this past year).

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