Posted by: atowhee | July 26, 2021


“Amidst global slowdown and risks of depressed future growth potential from climate changesocial unrest, and geopolitical instability, to name a few, responsible leaders face the possibility that growth will be limited in the future. And only a fool keeps chasing an impossibility.” –Gaya Herrington

Can we or can’t we? Will we or won’t we? If Florida’s current covidiocy is any indication much of the world’s current population will stubbornly refuse to change in the face of danger, be it covid, wildfires or the rising seas. The drive for more of everything, especially economic growth, plastic production and human reproduction could make sustainability into inability.

Ms Herrington has recently completed a study of forecasts made a half century ago as researchers then tried to see what economic growth and its environmental damage would do to people and their lives. She found that many of their forecasts for planetary and social disintegration are already playing out.

That study came out in 1972 from MIT, along with Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb, it helped fuel that decade’s environmental activism. In 1974 a Republican American President signed into law the Environmental Protection Agency. Now that half-century old report haunts our present and may presage a bleaker future than Wall Street and Beijing will admit.

Social unrest–what’s that like? Failed states, famine, civil war. Guatamala now is a source of refugees from famine, just one example, not far from the U. S.

In my personal microcosm, a neighbor today described to me a pair of Barn Swallows nesting on his porch. The female was brooding when the first heat dome of this summer hit, temps here topped 115F, and the mom was roasted to death. In our garden the number of living squirrels was reduced. Many of our plants suffered, burned leaves, blown blossoms, early die-back. Not only the living world was affected. We have a motion-sensor light on the front of the garage to aid late night dog walks. It stopped working. The owner’s manual for the light says in bold-face type it is only good up to 104 Fahrenheit–well, we blew past that. There may be a warranty good for replacement. Yet, clearly our control of the world, that is often passed off as civilization, is a fragile veneer.

The heat and drought are bringing death to more than just that one swallow and a sensor light. Waterless rivers become a curse upon fish, Utah’s “Great” Salt Lake is keeping its salt, but losing the “great” as it shrinks to a new low in recorded history. Here in Oregon we are familiar with disappearing lakes: Silver Lake, Lower Klamath Lake, Lake Chewaucan, Fossil Lake (Christmas Valley).

Here is comment from a man who’s been my frtiend since we were room-mates as frosh in 1963! His career was dedicated to atrmospheric science…ozone hole, climate change so he knows what can and can’t be done: “Unclear if we can cope but not doing our damnedest is no longer an option. Who to bless and who to blame is time wasted. Why is clear. GOP is gone. Trump may or may not be alive in a couple of years but his damage  remains. He has let the haters emerge from the shadows. They feel empowered. Negotiations with fascist racists lunatics are unlikely to bear fruit. In a world where truth and science are not accepted as truth. Highly dangerous. Time to be deeply, actively involved anyway we can. Son A and love C have a beautiful child, B. Lordy, I want my beautiful grandchildren to live in an open, caring, beautiful world. It is slipping away. Time is short. Aging is not easy. Often it sucks. But we are still kicking. We know how the fight goes. We have some experience, knowledge and many some money. I sleep better when something good happened today. Sometimes I can contribute to that. Many of us can.”


  1. You can move north, I suppose but it does seem like merely postponing the inevitable. Only the rate of decline seems worth debating. Sorry, kids. Sorry barn swallows. Sorry Gaia.

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