The Upside of Down – A partial review of Thomas Homer-Dixon’s presentation
Last night I attended the Illahee presentation by world famous Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of “The Upside of Down”. He is Director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, and has written a new book called “The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization.”
Homer-Dixon contends that five “tectonic stresses” are accumulating deep underneath the surface of today’s global order:
* energy stress, especially from increasing scarcity of conventional oil;
* economic stress from greater global economic instability and widening income gaps between rich and poor;
* demographic stress from differentials in population growth rates between rich and poor societies and from expansion of megacities in poor societies;
* environmental stress from worsening damage to land, water forests, and fisheries; and,
* climate stress from changes in the composition of Earth’s atmosphere.
I felt he left out religion, but I’ll give him a pass for presenting our future in such straightforward, mature terms. The crowd seemed to be sobered by being told without immediate change, we’re toast (which surprised me). The questions at the microphone seemed to be a mix of wishful thinking solutions and hopeful optimism swallowed with a side dish of reality.
While his presentation offered a diagnosis of the variety of ways we are about to off ourselves from planet earth, Homer-Dixon did offer some prescriptions such as “Use the Internet to communicate and learn”, “Change our thinking from economic growth to livability”, etc.
Where he is way off the mark, however, is in his optimism about Peak Oil. He projected the comforting number of up to 20 years out, while mentioning there are those of us in the peak oil community that believe we may have already peaked. Hey Thomas… I have news for you… global expert analysis shows that Saudi Arabia has peaked, which means the world has already peaked.
That means game over. No more time to prepare… you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish to have, right? That’s the reality given to us by our government, rather than the one we *should* have been preparing for when Jimmy Carter started his renewable energy program and big oil crushed it. Now, we don’t have the time needed to ween ourselves from oil and lots of people that wished and wished and wished upon a star that everything will be okay are going to be freaked the hell out soon. How do I know?
Because the wicked have been exposed, man.
Deep down, Americans understand their government has been completely overtaken by corporations and media manipulation. Democrats and Republicans alike are choosing to send Americans to fight over oil rather than tell our citizens the hard, critical truths they need to know about the end of modern living. It’s painfully obvious to everyone who chooses not to be an ignoramus that the Republican and Democrat “Good Cop / Bad Cop” routine in Washington is simply Bad Cop / Bad Cop.
September 11th was a trauma to American’s collective psyche, and citizens were brainwashed to follow marching orders to a war based on lies. “We must hit them back!”, rather than turning the other cheek and working to end poverty throughout the world while educating people about ecological balance and local systemic living. If you want to argue with me on this, don’t waste your breath, the lines have been drawn. We will never agree.
The truth is that we are at the breaking point, and Americans are not prepared for the hell about to be unleashed. Unless we have an alternative energy source to transport ourselves, grow and deliver food, provide electricity for our homes, and a plethora of other systemic life support systems for American living standards – we are toast. Our desire to cling to an ownership society has taken us to the brink of oblivion, we’re the monkeys that chose to get caught by trappers rather than let go of the salt lick.
So on and on the party goes. The devil and his cronies have actually entered the room everyone is partying in, announced his intensions, and everyone is still tuning in to see who won American Idol. I’ll tell you who won… evil. Evil has prevailed, because people are too selfish or ignorant to pay attention and comply with the rules of nature.
Now the question is how people will react when the first hellish outbreaks occur. Who knows how fast it will be. As always, I advise you to get to know your neighbors right now, and grow food at home.