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The Extinction Conundrum


Audio Only:


(audio-only MP3 provided in case you want to multi-task and listen while sitting in traffic on the way to work in your cubicle or digging post holes for your fencing on the Doomstead or kneeling by the throne and Praying to the Porcelain God.  mp3 Audio can be downloaded from Diner Soundcloud.)


Discuss this Video at the Collapse Morning Wake-Up Call Table inside the Diner



Extinction has moved from the dark corners of the Collapse Blogosphere into the consciousness of the mainstream.  Just a few short years ago the discussion of human extinction was relegated to a few fringe websites, but not so anymore.  Now it has become Topic #1 in the discussions on many websites that concern themselves with topics of collapse.  Sometimes this comes to the exclusion of many other collapse related topics in economics, geopolitics, energy and social psychology that are impacting more directly right now.

Generally my focus over the years has been on the economics and energy end of the spin down we are immersed in, and I don’t dwell too much on the issues of extinction.  However, here on the Diner we have treated the subject to analysis on a few occasions, most notably the Human Extinction Survey, which we ran a couple of years ago.  It garnered the most respondents of any survey we have run at around 350 submissions until recently, when our Collapse Projections Survey brought in responses from over 600 Kollapsniks.  The extinction survey also inspired a month long email stream between various bloggers and pundits which was quite interesting.

I generally tend to avoid extinction discussions though for a few reasons.  First, I have discovered over the years that it attracts a certain type of reader/commenter who is often nihilistic, misanthropic and sometimes suicidally depressed.  The blog becomes consumed with the discussion of the topic while more proximal problems get ignored.  Who cares if the monetary system is going to crash if we’re all gonna die anyhow, right?  It also sometimes inspires people toward counter-productive behaviors.  If we’re all destined to inevitable death here no matter what, let’s just Party like it’s 1999!  It leads to inaction on problems we still can have an effect on as we move forward in collapse.

The timeline question becomes very important here, because if extinction is indeed going to happen, when will it actually occur?  If it’s in the next 5 years say, that has one set of problems and responses, if it’s going to happen in 50 there’s another set.  Nobody can really finger this accurately, it’s all speculation but some true believers hammer down on anyone who doesn’t buy the whole ball of wax on Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE) is in denial and shooting up too much Hopium.  Amongst this crowd, hope is a bad thing to have.

Recent events however compelled me to discuss this subject in detail, which I do in today’s Collapse Morning Wake-Up Call.  The first is the rise of the Extinction Rebellion movement, which recently held a week long series of often very theatrical demonstrations in London to raise consciousness and hopefully get some real ACTION out of governments to combat this problem, which looms larger each day as more climate related calamities strike in more places with incresing ferocity and frequency.all over the globe.  The second is a corollary issue of Population Overshoot, and the fact that many Millenials are now choosing to remain childless, for one reason or another.  What kind of difference will this make to our society as time marches on here?

All in all, Extinction is a difficult conundrum to deal with, a Wicked Problem.  Hopefully I clarify some issues with this discussion, or at least lay out my position on where I stand on these issues.


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11 Comments on "The Extinction Conundrum"

  1. Cloggie on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 1:21 am 

    (The British wouldn’t dare making a similar sketch with an African or Asian or Muslim, but a continental European “Hun” just fits the bill [*])

    Britain, the new Spain:

    “‘Spanish plume’ to bring Britain an 82F heatwave with higher-than-average temperatures predicted all the way until July, Met Office says”

    [*] Not that there is that much imperial confidence left with “Basil”:

    Now how is Brexit working out for you, dear John?

  2. jawagord on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 9:44 am 

    3 month heatwave???

  3. Sissyfuss on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 1:26 pm 

    Scotland just declared a Climate Emergency. Labor in UK working on their plan. It’s getting realer with each uptick of the Keeling Curve. Watched the video of Scotlands declaration and the standing ovation didn’t know that the reality of what they were applauding deserved none. Heroes of the Predicament, that’s what we shall be.

  4. Cloggie on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 3:39 pm

    “Nicola Sturgeon declares ‘climate emergency’ at SNP conference”

  5. Sunspot on Mon, 29th Apr 2019 4:42 pm 

    The big question is will there be a Blue Water event this fall??

  6. forbin on Tue, 30th Apr 2019 10:38 am 

    Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE)

    with Kim K would be better entertainment


  7. Sunspot on Wed, 1st May 2019 5:43 am 

    …would you get a better view of extinction sitting on her ass…..???

  8. DMyers on Wed, 1st May 2019 9:29 pm 

    Can we parcel out extinction? Cause I’m thinking the modern human that exists in modern civilization could go extinct, while humans in remote areas of the world carry on, self-sufficiently.

    I dare say mass suicide could easily play a part of this selective extinction, as modern man lacks the will to face primitive conditions, post collapse. The reasons for living, in scenario one, are simply missing in scenario two.

  9. makati1 on Wed, 1st May 2019 10:58 pm 

    DMyers, I agree with your thought that many will not be too “inconvenienced” by the lack of luxuries expected by the 1st world as necessities. The areas don’t even have to be “remote” but they definitely will not be in developed countries. You can drop into many Asian, African or South American countries and find millions living just above subsistence levels. The entire global supply chain could vanish and most of them would not even notice. Of course thse in the cities are another matter. They will need to get out and adapt or die.

    I live in a small town in the Philippines. My next door neighbor lives in a Nipa Hut. A small one room house made of bamboo and palm fronds. No electric. No running water. No phone. He is 73 years old. Cannot speak English. He has lived that way for years. Now, he has electric for a light, a small radio and a fan using an extension cord from our house. He has access to the water system outside the house also. We see to his basic needs and he keeps the yard clean and watches the house when we are gone. He lives on less than $50 per month. Will he notice the change? Not likely. He grows most of his food in the land around our house. He is not the exception here. Most Filipinos are self sufficient in the necessities.

    Can I live that way? Yes, if necessary. We are building a larger, concrete and masonry house, but it is designed to be livable without electric. Water is rain from tanks on the roof. (Rainfall there is about 10-12 feet per year.) We have been planting a lot of perennial food sources in a permaculture style. Prep for the worse and hope for the best. Our motto. I hope it is yours.

  10. Davy on Thu, 2nd May 2019 3:42 am 

    “Can we parcel out extinction? Cause I’m thinking the modern human that exists in modern civilization could go extinct, while humans in remote areas of the world carry on, self-sufficiently.”

    Sure you can think that way makato because it is fantasy. If there are people who survive it is not your binary prejudice of human differences that is the reason. There are tough and lucky everywhere. If we have any survivors it will be more based on location and luck. At your age you will not be one of them.

  11. Davy on Thu, 2nd May 2019 3:46 am 

    “Most Filipinos are self sufficient in the necessities.”

    BS, makato, the P’s has 90MIL people too many and an ecosystem in decline and localized failure. You are in a delusional world of believing you have the fountain of youth and a sanctuary there. You are in the crosshairs of climate change makato. Earthquakes and Volcanos all around you. The South China Sea threatens to blow up beneath your feet. Besides you are pushing 80 so time is not on your side.

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