Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gimme Shelter

NOTE: A FULL BLOG WITH ALL THE LINKS WILL BE POSTED THURSDAY APRIL 1ST

Unless you are a farmer or one of the last rugged outdoors adventurers, 90 percent of your time on Earth is spent inside buildings. We are snails who don't know we are snails.

Naturally, we dream of the perfect home. That's a cheap day-dream. It's expensive to really do it. But the biggest cost, whether you build, buy, or rent - is the energy needed to run all these buildings. Eighty percent of the long-term cost of a building is energy use, not construction. And that is before peak oil and climate pressures really kick in.

Our electricity provider has already announced an increase of 25% over the next three years. Given the new oil demand from China, and more oil use by exporting countries, the cost of oil is just going to go up and up. Will it reach a point where you have to decide between heating or cooling your home or office, and eating? For some of our poorest citizens, that's already happening.

For you personal security in troubled times, and for national security, we need to slash the energy used in buildings. Did I mention that numerous studies show buildings contribute more than a third of carbon emissions to our overloaded atmosphere?

I'm Alex Smith. This Radio Ecoshock program is all about solutions. You will hear a prominent pioneer in the "Passivhaus" technique - buildings that use as little as 10 percent of the energy guzzled by our current structures. I'll interview architect Guido Wimmers, and tell you where to download two free passivhaus workshops. You'll get ideas that can revolutionize new building, and help guide renovations to existing ones.

We'll talk to another construction pioneer, Tom Pittsley. He's testing a super-low energy house in Massachusetts, where the windows grab solar power to heat the home, even in New England winters.

Then we'll listen in to another workshop, this time on a Net Zero building project in Ontario Canada. Jamee DeSimone explains how to use planet-friendly materials, including lots of straw, to make long-lasting energy misers. Again, you'll be able to download the full workshop, for free.

The building industry has been key to the economy in many countries. But many of the sky-scrapers and carbon-copy mansions won't survive Peak Oil and climate disruption. Already, as I explained in the Radio Ecoshock Show for June 6th, 2008, some of the old structures built during the cheap energy era are being torn down or retrofitted at a huge cost. I'll put a link to the program, called "Building Madness" in my April 1st blog for this show.

We can't afford to keep wasting massive amounts of energy, and we can't live in the future climate if we do. Join me, in this exploration of new ways to go, from the ground up.

Alex

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dark Optimism

You know we are going to run out of civilization's life-blood: fossil fuels. And if we burn what's left, the climate will tip into a mass extinction event. Meanwhile, barking madness seems to be the only growth industry. Is it time for more pills, booze, or end-time religion?

Our first guest says there may be some hope left. Shaun Chamberlin's blog is called "dark optimism" - and that may be as good as it gets. Shaun is part of the "transition movement" in Britain. He's the author of the new book "The Transition Timeline, for a local resilient future," ...and, part of an upcoming report for the British Parliament, on a scheme to give everyone an energy quota.

Read more, to get info and links on

1. getting your energy quota (TEQ’s)
2. the transition town movement around the world
3. new hope for renewable energy (from Lester Brown)
4. Americans expect collapse (Fox News trails Radio Ecoshock…)
5. student action to replace lawns with food plants at the University

Don't miss this one.

Alex

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Waves of Trouble - Really! The re-send

So sorry I sent last week's show. Just a slip of the old finger, typing in the wrong date.

This really is the Radio Ecoshock show released March 19th, called "Surfing Waves of Trouble."

Enjoy.

Alex

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Surfing Waves of Trouble - Links and commentary

This is Radio Ecoshock - on the triple threat. Peak Oil, climate change, and the crumbling economy. How will you respond?

KURT COBB

Time after time, Kurt Cobb gets those questions ahead of the curve. Kurt is an independent writer on energy and the environment. Find his features on Energy Bulletin or The Oil Drum, and more. Kurt is a founding member of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas - USA. His work is published in Europe as well.

I've been running a series of interviews about collapse. Scientist Tim Garrett told us a massive economic breakdown might be the only way to save the climate. We've heard from Keith Farnish in the UK, and both Dmitry Orlov and John Michael Greer in the USA.

Last week, we used a gentle definition of collapse from Dennis Meadows. He said "'collapse' is a process where things go down, out of control." We get Kurt's take on collapse, and what to do about it.

Like Dmitry Orlov, Kurt looks at the example of the former Soviet Union, and Russia today. One sign of collapse, he says, is the breakdown of the public health system.

But is that just in Russia? Consider this: AIDS deaths in Russia are frightening. Americans think that's all in the past. Now we find out, the leading cause of death for African American women, aged 25 to 34, is HIV/AIDS. It's at epidemic levels in the nation's capital, running at about 3 percent. Few of those people have health care. Is it possible Americans could also experience a climbing death rate, as the economy deteriorates?

I think the current American pre-occupation with health care, and all the Obama capital tied up in it, could be a recognition of greater social difficulties, perhaps even of collapse.

Find Kurt Cobb's blog here.

We'll hear more from Kurt Cobb next week, on Radio Ecoshock.

In this week's program, I play a sample from the remarkable end-of-career conversion by Professor David Goodstein. He's the American physicist, until recently the Vice-provost of the California Institute of Technology. Out of the blue, in 2004, Goodstein produced the seminal book "Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil".

Two short sample clips of David Goodstein, recorded for the film "Crude Awakening, The Oil Crash" from Lava Pictures. Get your taste, at oilcrashmovie.com or on You tube.

Time to move on. I interview Carolyn Baker.

CAROLYN BAKER - SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER

Our whole system is built on dwindling fossil energy, pollution, economic bubbles, and fraud. Now what are we supposed to do?

Looking for answers, we find Carolyn Baker. She's been a psychotherapist, and adjunct professor of psychology and history. Carolyn has been searching ahead since the 1990's. Her latest book is "Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse."

Check out Carolyn Baker's blog here.

http://www.carolynbaker.net

For one thing, we talk about an article posted in April, 2009 - titled "Economic Recovery - No Thank You".

I have to agree, with regrets. On our program, we recently had a scientist, Tim Garrett at the University of Utah, who explained we either collapse the fossil economy, or face deadly climate change. It's time for a new sustainable civilization to arise. The longer we wait, the greater the pain, and the less likely we will succeed in doing it.

Carolyn is offering a new online course, to help people prepare for rising energy prices, climate disruption, and economic hard times. It's called "Navigating the Coming Chaos of Unprecedented Transitions". That's something they don't teach in the Harvard Business School.... Find out more at peakliving.com.

Carolyn's vision is much bigger and more real than digging a hole, and filling it full of food, guns, and gold. We talk about real-world skills, and building community.

CANADA'S SHAME

This is Radio Ecoshock, trying hard to be a world-class English language show. Last week we heard from Australia, of course we do American, and listeners from the UK is our number three audience. Now it's Canada's turn - and what a black eye for the Beaver tails.

While his government was full of green promises, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been caught slashing climate research funds, appointing climate deniers to key government funding positions, and ... just like in the dark old Bush days, scheming to muzzle the country's top climate scientists.

The best article on all this is by Stephen Leahy.

We run an exclusive interview by Stephen Leahy with Graham Saul of Climate Action Network.

Ugly stuff. Climate Action Network, as you heard, represents about 60 citizen groups and NGO's worried about our climate. Support Stephen Leahy as he brings us this great audio. Contribute at stephenleahy.net.

Canwest ran a story saying climate coverage from government scientists was down 80% since Mr. Tar Sands went to work in the Canadian capital. And expensive reports get released at crazy hours, after the press has gone. Anything to sweep it all under the rug, while our North melts, while our species go under. The rest of the planet doesn't get to find out what is happening, in one of the largest and most heavily impacted parts of the globe.


That's it for me this week. We opened with a song from 350.org, "350 the People's Priority" by Daisy May and Seth Bernard. We'll go out with another, "350 Get Down" with May Erlewine.

Alex

Surfing Waves of Trouble

This is Radio Ecoshock - on the triple threat. Peak Oil, climate change, and the crumbling economy. How will you respond?

Hear indie journalist Kurt Cobb ask and answer some of the embarrassing questions. We start out with collapse, and try to recover, just like everybody else.

Our second guest, Carolyn Baker, has already moved into post-peak reality. Her books, her blog, and her seminars help people prepare, physically and psychologically. Living in the slump, and coming out whole.

We'll round up with the big cover-up in the North. Canada's oil patch prime minister appoints climate deniers to key research boards, slashes research, and muzzles top scientists.. Shades of George Bush! How they keep Canadians, and the rest of the world, in the dark. That is Graham Saul, of Climate Action Network, interviewed by Stephen Leahy.

All to 350 tunes, let's go.

Full details, with links, in the next blog entry.

Alex

Thursday, March 11, 2010

DOUBT IS OUR PRODUCT - the blog

NOTES AND LINKS FOR THIS WEEK'S SHOW:

Why do media run "scandals" about climate science? They get full page ads from car and oil companies, and they don't give a damn about our future. It's all in the latest ratings, the quarterly profit statements.

But why do we accept it? You know why... today, there's a good chance you got in your car, turned on a coal-fired light bulb, ate an agro-business meal. We want to believe we are not guilty of polluting the atmosphere.

Some people need to believe that so badly, they are ready to shoot the messengers. Literally. Our climate scientists.

And this anger (at unemployment, declining health care, degraded nature, who knows what all) - is developing from a cult of the few, into a mass movement. The madness of crowds, as we head into the greenhouse world.

That is what this Radio Ecoshock program is all about.

CLIVE HAMILTON

We go to Australia, to talk with Clive Hamilton. He's a Professor of Public Ethics, supported by Australian National University, and the University of Melbourne. Clive is lighting up the media, with a fantastic new series on climate denial. Plus his controversial new book "Requiem for a Species, Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change."

His previous books include Affluenza, Growth Fetish, Scorcher, and Silencing Dissent.

I've been reading about harassment and death threats to climate scientists, most recently in an excellent 5 part series by Clive Hamilton. The most recent installment, published in Scientific American, has the sub-head "Researchers must purge e-mail in-boxes daily of threatening correspondence, simply part of the job of being a climate scientist."

Clive Hamilton is a Professor of Public Ethics, supported by Australian National University and the University of Melbourne. Previously, he founded and ran a progressive think tank called the Australia Institute.

His five part series includes:

February 22, 2010: Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial
February 23rd: Who is orchestrating the cyber-bullying?
February 24th: Think tanks, oil money and black ops
February 25th: Manufacturing a scientific scandal
February 26th: Who's defending science?

- all published on the ABC National web site.

I wouldn't have believed the death threats and low blows, if I hadn't heard Stephen Schneider's own story. If I hadn't talked with other climate scientists who say the same.

As we heard from Clive Hamilton, the world's best climate scientists, and green activists, are under attack.
Now we'll hear directly from one of them.

STEPHEN SCHNEIDER

Stephen H. Schneider is Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University. He's a Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Schneider has advised the federal government during the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations. He is one of America's pre-eminent climate scientists, one of the driving forces behind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We'll hear an exclusive interview with Stanford's famous climate scientist, Stephen H. Schneider. His latest book has been frozen out by major media. His teaching has been harried by attacks from climate deniers. Schneider talks candidly about death threats, and attempts by some in Congress to charge him as a criminal. Shades of Joe McCarthy, as humanity reacts to the bad news - with more madness.

The interview comes in a telephone conversation between Professor Schneider, and one of the few independent environmental journalists left on the planet - Stephen Leahy of IPS, independent press service. Dr. Schneider opens up with news of his alleged crimes against the nation.

[Schneider-Leahy interview]

That was Stanford's Stephen H. Schneider talking with Stephen Leahy. Find links to Schneider's web page in my Radio Ecoshock blog entry dated March 11th. And you'll find links to Stephen Leahy's IPS article "Violent Backlash Against Climate Scientists," as published on the Tierramérica network, hundreds of papers, on March 8th.

Canadian climate scientist and IPCC contributor Dr. Andrew Weaver told Leahy "'We're in a bizarre time, powered by greed and fear. The general public is more confused than ever,' 'And good scientists are saying to themselves, 'Why would I want to participate in the IPCC?'

The newspaper world is falling into bankruptcy, due to debt-laden mergers and acquisitions, competition from free information on the Internet, and a generational move from print to audio and video. Hordes of good reporters have lost their jobs - and would you believe it, newspapers tend to let environment reporters go first. Are they protecting their big-business advertisers? Of course not. It's just co-incidence.

You can help. Stephen Leahy may be the new model - a journalist who works directly for his or her readers. Stephen is off on a whirl-wind tour on three continents, covering conferences ranging from forestry to the oceans. He is your reporter - but Stephen needs help to keep going. Please visit his web page at stephenleahy.net, where you can "Adopt An Environmental Journalist" with a small donation by PayPal. Steve has two kids to feed, and we need to keep him going. Do it.

--------------

This is the last gasp of the fossil fuel age. The men who make billions every quarter, the longer they can stall, are buying whoever they can in the media, the blogosphere, and the houses of government.

And this is all tied into a long-standing conspiracy that goes deeper than mere money. It finds a home in Libertarians and ideologues who fear big government, or hate it.

A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center says disgruntled Americans are being whipped up by well-known media figures like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Somehow, in muddled minds, the science of climate change has been deftly attached to 911, unemployment, and the new extreme "patriot" groups. That report is called "Rage on the Right."

The militias, and the haters are back. They fly planes into the IRS, or attack the Pentagon single-handedly. Both Leahy and Schneider worry it's just a matter of time before a climate scientist is shot as well. I hope they are wrong - but just imagine the coming madness of crowds after a series of strange climatic events. After a heat wave kills thousands, after a mega-storm wipes out another city. After the crops fail, again. Our picture of society may fall off the wall, as anger takes over.

NANCY ORESKES: MERCHANTS OF DOUBT

We'll go now to a real conspiracy. Three scientists who frightened the world, who morphed from cold-warriors to anti-environmentalism. The founders of the current climate denialism. The institute they founded, named after World War Two warrior general George C. Marshall - took tobacco money, and then oil money, to stop government action, to endanger millions of lives, and future generations.

We'll get the story from the author of a new book "Merchants Of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscure the Truth About Climate Change". Naomi Oreskes is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego. She spoke at the University of Rhode Island, on March 2nd, 2010.

You'll hear 15 minutes from that speech. Find the whole thing on the climate 2010 page or our web site, ecoshock.org.

1 hour speech as mp3, CD Quality 56 MB (recommended, only mediocre audio quality)

Or Lo-Fi 14 MB(for telephone or slow download locations).

[Oreskes clip]

That was Naomi Oreskes, on a tour for her new book "Merchants Of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscure the Truth About Climate Change". The recording comes from the Vetlesen Lecture series, at the University of Rhode Island, March 2nd, 2010.

I remember battling Frederick Seitz back in the early 1990's, on a whole series of environmental fronts. If there was an evil chemical needing regulation, something killing off people or the biosphere, Seitz and his industry backers were against taking any action.

Now the three old men have finally almost faded off the horizon, but their George C. Marshall Institute was taken over by the American Petroleum lobby. The web site exxonsecrets.org lists grants by the Exxon Mobil oil company to the Marshall Institute totaling $840,000 since 1998. The Institute funded and published a who's who of climate deniers, including the late Sallie Baliunas, Frederick Seitz, Patrick Michaels, Stephen McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, and Richard Lindzen. The tiny crowd who continue to mislead the public about climate science, while whipping up anti-government feelings.

According to Wiki, the executive director of the George Marshall Institute helped develop the doubter's strategy for the American Petroleum Institute. Wiki continues, quote:

"The institute's CEO William O'Keefe, formerly an executive at the American Petroleum Institute and chairman of the Global Climate Coalition, is a registered lobbyist for Exxon Mobil."

So there is the real conspiracy - not by climate scientists to take over the world -but by industry hacks and cold warrior ideologues - to keep us upset and stupid, while the world burns. Beware the doubters and deniers.

But that was history. Now, in 2010, the anti-science belief system sprouted by three American scientists, has grown into a cult for now, and threatens to become a popular movement.

Nature - and physics - don't care what you believe. What is coming will come.

I'm Alex Smith. As always, I appreciate you taking time to listen to Radio Ecoshock. Write me any time, radio at ecoshock.org.

Opening music from Thamnos. Great new duo from Germany and England. Green aware. Check out their sample audio and video.

Songs: In the Year 2525, two versions: the original #1 hit from 1969 by Zager & Evans, album Exordium & Terminus, RCA End version from Venice Beat, featuring Tess Timony, released 2005.

DOUBT IS OUR PRODUCT - the show

This is the Radio program, "Doubt Is Our Product".

Apparently, Blogger/Feedburner can't reliably send the enclosures any more, if there are links in the posting.

Find all the links for this show in the following blog entry.

Alex

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

EXPECTING COLLAPSE - re-send

Once again, the Blogger/Feedburner combo failed to send the actual radio program.

So, once again...here it is.

Alex

Thursday, March 04, 2010

EXPECTING COLLAPSE

Collapse is the new in thing. Columnists in collapsing newspapers write about it. Historians tell us it's coming. Prominent economists predict it. We all expect it.

What is collapse? Definitions vary from uncontrollable downturns, all the way to great culls in our population.

Lets start gently, with mild-mannered professor Dennis Meadows, one of the original authors to "The Limits to Growth". Here is a clip from a film prepared September 2009 for leaders and billionaires at Davos, Switzerland:

"The Danger of Collapse

Technically speaking "collapse" is a process where things go down, out of control. For example, if a building collapses, it falls down not under the control of anybody. Societal collapse is for the key indicators of our society--material standards of living, peace, trust in the government, and other things, to fall, without control.

Collapse is Near

The situation for us is kind of like living in a city which has earthquakes, let's say Tokyo or San Francisco. I can tell my friend in San Francisco that with 100% probability there is going to be another really big earthquake in San Francisco-absolutely, no uncertainty about it. But when, that is the question. And how big? These are really important questions. We don't have any idea when. It could be tomorrow; it could be thirty years from now. The same thing with collapse. I know that the current growth in population and in material use cannot continue--absolutely, with 100% probability, that it is going to stop. When? How? How seriously? We have no scientific way to make predictions."

[end of Meadows transcript]

Fine. It's like a building in Chile, if you expect it and prepare for collapse, or a concrete pancake in Haiti, if you don't. Next week we'll look at a more dangerous definition of collapse.

In this program, we'll hear two of the most prominent voices. Dumb media calls them "collapsniks". I have much more respect. Dmitry Orlov keeps piercing the veil with his insights, gained partly from his bridging the gap between the former Soviet Union, and the increasingly dysfunctional United States.

John Michael Greer has moved from the edge of mysticism, into a thought leader for alternative culture. You won't find either one on your father's radio stations. This is Radio Ecoshock.

[Dmitry Orlov interview, 25 minutes, available separately as an mp3 on our Peak Oil page]

Many people take their lead on collapse from the work of Joseph Tainter, the Head of the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University. His book "The Collapse of Complex Societies" was published in 1988. Tainter looks at past civilizations, from the Maya to the Romans, to see they fell down. To quote from Wikipedia:

"Tainter argues that societies collapse when their investments in social complexity reach a point of diminishing marginal returns. He recognizes collapse when a society rapidly sheds a significant portion of its complexity."

Let's hear a short clip from Joseph Tainter, found at archeologychannel.org

[Tainter reading]

"Modern society, doom-sayers tell us, may be destroyed by pollution, over-population, global warming, energy shortages, or collision with an asteroid.

Economists argue the opposite: that as long as we remain entrepreneurial, we can overcome all challenges. Most of us hope the economists are right, but wish we could understand better why societies succeed or fail.

Societies regularly face wars, catastrophes, changes in climate, and economic distress. We respond to problems today much as people did before, and from these commonalities we can learn about collapse, resiliency and sustainability.

An illuminating collapse was that of the Western Roman Empire in the Fifth century A.D. The Romans found conquest highly profitable at first, as they seized the accumulated wealth of the Mediterranean lands. But for a one-time infusion of wealth, Rome took on responsibilities to administer and defend the empire. These responsibilities lasted centuries, and had to be paid from yearly agricultural production.

When there were extraordinary expenses, usually during wars, the government often found itself short of money. The usual strategy was to stretch the currency by adding copper. This was inflationary, and by the middle of the Third century A.D., the empire was bankrupt. The government would not even accept its own coins for payment of taxes.

In the half century from 235 to 284, the empire nearly came to an end. There were foreign and civil wars, almost without interruption. Cities were sacked and provinces devastated. In the late Third and early Fourth centuries A.D., the emperors Diocletian and Constantine responded by designing a government that was larger, more complex, more highly organized, and much more costly. They doubled the size of the army at great expense. To pay for this, peasants were taxed so heavily that they abandoned lands and could not replenish the population.

In the late Fourth century, the Barbarians forced their way into the Western empire. They overthrew the last Emperor in Italy in 476 A.D.

I call this 'the Roman model' of problem solving. The Romans responded to challenges by increasing the size and complexity of their government and army, at great expense. Fiscal weakness, and exploitation of the population undermined the effort, and made collapse inevitable.

The Eastern Roman Empire survived the Fifth century crisis. We know it today as the Byzantine Empire. It was constantly at war, and in the early Seventh century, a twenty six year war with Persia left both sides exhausted. Arab armies seized the wealthiest parts of the Byzantine realm, and destroyed the Persian Empire entirely.

Soon the Arabs were attacking Constantinople itself, the Byzantine capital. Yet the Byzantines made a remarkable recovery. They settled their professional army of farmlands across the Empire. Soldiers now provided most of their own sustenance, and the government paid them a much lower salary.

Byzantine government and society simplified also. Cities contracted to fortified hill-tops. The economy became organized around self-sufficient manors. Literacy declined.

The simplification rejuvenated Byzantium, which not only halted the Arab advance, but eventually doubled the size of the Empire. Unlike the Romans, who met challenges by increasing the complexity and costliness, the Byzantines show us what may be history's only example of a large complex society systematically simplifying. I label this 'the Byzantine model.'"

[end quote from Professor Joseph Tainter, University of Utah.]

Personally, I find Tainter's explanations a bit too business-oriented, a little too convenient for slashing employees and government help. And our understanding of collapse has come a long way from 1988, when his seminal book came out, I'm sure he would agree. Now that we're closer to it, some of the dirt has been wiped off the lens. But Joseph Tainter continues to be a great source for those interested in collapse.

When Radio Ecoshock continues, we'll go further, with the Arch druid, John Michael Greer. Stay tuned, while you can.

[interview with John Michael Greer, available as a separate interview on our Peak Oil page]

In 2005, John Michael Greer published a scholarly paper titled "How Civilizations Fall: A Theory of Catabolic Collapse."

Greer finds Tainter's explanations lack some positive feed-back loops, the self-reinforcing drivers of decline emerging from things like limited resources, and failing biosphere. In the later stages of a civilization, most of the capital is converted into waste. Can anyone spell junk bonds or credit default swaps?

There has certainly been a downturn in media expectations. After the year of green shoots and drum beats of recovery, there are a slew of experts gently warning we're still in the crapper. You may feel a little pain.

From the OECD economists, to J.P. Morgan, capital experts see another slide coming. Investigations into Goldman Sachs' padding the books of entire nations, like Greece, Italy and more... are leaking out the awful truth. We fixed nothing in the banking system or our economy, and we've faked our way through another year.

Recalling the models from history, as presented by Joseph Tainter, we find that collapse isn't all bad for everyone. For those toiling under the yoke of impossible imperialism, it is a relief when the war economy ends. For those eating industrial agro-garbage, real grown food tastes sweet and good again. The cynicism of our present failures morphs into new beliefs, as the old is cleaned away.

The wild Germans and Celts longed for the Fall of Rome, though they kept using some of their technologies and symbols. In Byzantium, simplification and self-sufficiency led to centuries more civilization.

I'm also reminded of Roberto Vacca's 1973 book, "The Coming Dark Age". As a computer architect, Vacca predicted modern complexity would over-reach, and fall apart. The dreaded system break down.

A version of that book, updated by the author in the year 2000, is now free on the Net.

Back in the '70's, Vacca couldn't foresee how much computers would help humans organize beyond their individual capabilities. Once we survived the urge for atomic self-annihilation, we got another thirty years out of computer assisted living. Until Windows and the mega-servers hit the virus they can't swallow. Or the power goes out in a mega storm. Richard Heinberg warns most or our ready-to-click knowledge could disappear in a day, without the machines.

Meanwhile, you can feed your worries with the new article coming out this week in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. The Harvard historian Niall Ferguson calls it, "Complexity and Collapse: Empires on the Edge of Chaos." See what I mean? Everybody's on to it.

Find an accessible, shorter version of Niall Ferguson's warning here in the L.A. Times, the article titled: "America, the Fragile Empire."

We don't know where collapse is taking us, or when. Only that it's coming. Get more in next week's Radio Ecoshock on-going coverage. As Niall Ferguson writes, we may not have time to figure out the theory, if collapse comes quickly, and without warning.

I'm Alex Smith. Find lots more free audio, at our web site, ecoshock.org Thank you for listening.

Program Notes:
Our background music is "Open Up You Eyes" by Awake. The band dedicated another song, "Industrial Cemeteries" to our guest, John Michael Greer. The album is "Dark Matter".

You also heard the bull-horn overlay from London, England found in this You tube montage titled "Everything Is OK"