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This Time We’re Taking the Whole Planet With Us

Posted on Mar 7, 2011
AP / Mahesh Kumar A.

People collect scraps from a garbage dump in Hyderabad, India.

By Chris Hedges

I have walked through the barren remains of Babylon in Iraq and the ancient Roman city of Antioch, the capital of Roman Syria, which now lies buried in silt deposits. I have visited the marble ruins of Leptis Magna, once one of the most important agricultural centers in the Roman Empire, now isolated in the desolate drifts of sand southeast of Tripoli. I have climbed at dawn up the ancient temples in Tikal, while flocks of brightly colored toucans leapt through the jungle foliage below. I have stood amid the remains of the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor along the Nile, looking at the statue of the great Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II lying broken on the ground, with Percy Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” running through my head:

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“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Civilizations rise, decay and die. Time, as the ancient Greeks argued, for individuals and for states is cyclical. As societies become more complex they become inevitably more precarious. They become increasingly vulnerable. And as they begin to break down there is a strange retreat by a terrified and confused population from reality, an inability to acknowledge the self-evident fragility and impending collapse. The elites at the end speak in phrases and jargon that do not correlate to reality. They retreat into isolated compounds, whether at the court at Versailles, the Forbidden City or modern palatial estates. The elites indulge in unchecked hedonism, the accumulation of vaster wealth and extravagant consumption. They are deaf to the suffering of the masses who are repressed with greater and greater ferocity. Resources are more ruthlessly depleted until they are exhausted. And then the hollowed-out edifice collapses. The Roman and Sumerian empires fell this way. The Mayan elites, after clearing their forests and polluting their streams with silt and acids, retreated backward into primitivism.

As food and water shortages expand across the globe, as mounting poverty and misery trigger street protests in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, the elites do what all elites do. They launch more wars, build grander monuments to themselves, plunge their nations deeper into debt, and as it all unravels they take it out on the backs of workers and the poor. The collapse of the global economy, which wiped out a staggering $40 trillion in wealth, was caused when our elites, after destroying our manufacturing base, sold massive quantities of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities to pension funds, small investors, banks, universities, state and foreign governments and shareholders. The elites, to cover the losses, then looted the public treasury to begin the speculation over again. They also, in the name of austerity, began dismantling basic social services, set out to break the last vestiges of unions, slashed jobs, froze wages, threw millions of people out of their homes, and stood by idly as we created a permanent underclass of unemployed and underemployed.

The Mayan elite became, at the end, as the anthropologist Ronald Wright notes in “A Short History of Progress,” “… extremists, or ultra-conservatives, squeezing the last drops of profit from nature and humanity.” This is how all civilizations, including our own, ossify and die. The signs of imminent death may be undeniable. Common sense may cry out for a radical new response. But the race toward self-immolation only accelerates because of intellectual and moral paralysis. As Sigmund Freud grasped in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” and “Civilization and Its Discontents,” human societies are as intoxicated and blinded by their own headlong rush toward death and destruction as they are by the search for erotic fulfillment.


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The unrest in the Middle East, the implosion of national economies such as those of Ireland and Greece, the increasing anger of a beleaguered working class at home and abroad, the growing desperate human migrations and the refusal to halt our relentless destruction of the ecosystem on which life depends are the harbingers of our own collapse and the consequences of the idiocy of our elite and the folly of globalization. Protests that are not built around a complete reconfiguration of American society, including a rapid dismantling of empire and the corporate state, can only forestall the inevitable. We will be saved only with the birth of a new and militant radicalism which seeks to dethrone our corrupt elite from power, not negotiate for better terms.

The global economy is built on the erroneous belief that the marketplace—read human greed—should dictate human behavior and that economies can expand eternally. Globalism works under the assumption that the ecosystem can continue to be battered by massive carbon emissions without major consequences. And the engine of global economic expansion is based on the assurance that there will always be plentiful and cheap oil. The inability to confront simple truths about human nature and the natural world leaves the elites unable to articulate new social, economic and political paradigms. They look only for ways to perpetuate a dying system. Thomas Friedman and the array of other propagandists for globalization make as much sense as Charlie Sheen.

Click here to check out Chris Hedges’ new book,
“The World As It Is, Dispatches On the Myth of Human Progress.”

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Vicki_in_Greece's avatar

By Vicki_in_Greece, March 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Hi, I’m pretty new here and wonder if someone could
help me out with some of the English.  I understand
dictionary English but the inside jokey ridiculing
labels popular this new millennium are strange to me. 
For example, What is a “social reactionary” now-a-days?

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DavidByron's avatar

By DavidByron, March 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Pointlessly over pessimistic when there’s enough real shit to worry about.  Malthusians have been proven wrong for centuries.  “If things stay the same for another XX years….” but things never stay the same.

Currently the biggest things effecting human population growth are to do with how much conditions are improving.  That is less and less death from disease and hunger and at the same time fewer children per family due to increased social security and stability.

Projected deaths from eg water wars are an order of magnitude smaller in scale and largely limited to developing countries, so the elites are certainly not screwing their own children.

Things can’t keep going on this way is true, but then in recent decades the rate of change has accelerated so much that has always been a given.

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By truedigger3, March 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

Any attempted solutions to earth problems that don’t include strict birth control is futile and doomed to failure.!
It is ironic that the poorer the people are, the more kids they bring to this world.
I know this is not politically correct, but there is an urgent need for some sort of intervention and coercion in that matter. How this could be accomplished, I really don’t know and I leave that to the experts.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, March 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment


Spectacular article (again) by Chris Hedges. Kind of a damning warning for us too.

So yet again, the deep and meaningful discussion, debate, counter debate goes
on. Just how many angels dance on the tip of the pen of Chris Hedges. Or the tip
of a needle.

No wonder I stopped visiting here.

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By radson, March 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie: I am not looking for an argument.

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By Patt, March 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The first four sentences of this essay MUST be read as a man on his knees
begging, pleading and perhaps weeping. Otherwise the tone is misconstrued.

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By Antichrist, March 8, 2011 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have always been fond of the following mental
Let us assume that every word and every suggestion
that Chris has written is true.  What comes next? 
The sun will continue to appear to rise and set with
the same regularity for approximately 5 billion
years, give or take a few months and days.  The earth
will still be here without us and more than likely
will try a rebound of plant and animal life…this
time without republicans and other brutish,
nihilistic, caustic life-ending neoconservatives.
Without a thinking, logical entity to be found on the
planet, it will not occur to any organisims that
anything unnatural needs to be tried or adhered to. 
Nature without us will blindly go about it’s
business.  Molten rivers and oceans, volcanoes and
earthquakes, CO2 laden air, fouled waters and even a
lack of life will not disturb the goings and comings
of inevitability one whit. One positive note:  when
we go, so go All the gods and devils…every single
one.  So I cling to the ole sayings of those who came
before me.  “After me, the deluge.”  “A coward dies a
thousand deaths, the valiant only one.”  “If one man
can stand tall, there would be hope for us all.”  “We
just didn’t seem to like it here.”  “He who dies with
the most toys does not win.”  “Life is meaningless,
so why not do something extraordinary while you are
here?”  “I can’t imagine the world without me.”
“Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead.”

Chris, is it really necessary to tell everyone they
are going to die…that this all ends badly?  Have we
not known this from day one?  It is doubtful that
there is one alive today who will be the last one. 
If it is to be that we self destruct, let’s lift a
beer to the fact we did what humans do!

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By radson, March 8, 2011 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Leefeller :The last time that I consumed tequila or is it ‘to kill ya ’ was with my father ,you see my sister had travelled to Mexico for a vacation ;back when the CIA backed drug trade was less apparent .Now upon receiving the traditional travelers gift which ;as you may have guessed was a bottle of the cactus juice I partook -new word- in the consumption of the mind altering substance .The challenge was to empty the bottle
in order to share the worm ;which for whatever reason remained elusive until the contents was nearly consumed ,upon the realization of the goal ,with the worm remaining I did the noble duty of splitting the worm in half and sharing it with my father ,which in essence lead to my biological rejection to the substance-it was a classic case of giving the weather and not the news-.How you manage to drink Tequila and take care of your cats simultaneously is noteworthy.

ps I haven’t touched the stuff since then

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By RobertH, March 8, 2011 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, some quick thoughts. 1) Humans are responsible for about 40% of the CO2 in the atmosphere. In 1850 the concentration of CO2 was 280 parts per million; we’re currently at 391 ppm. 2) Depending on other variables CO2 contributes from 10% to 25% of the radiative forcing of the greenhouse effect. 3) Al Gore’s mansion in Montecito is on a hill; he doesn’t have beachfront property (at least not yet), he has an ocean view. 4) You say there’s no evidence 1000 ppm CO2 would cause global warming. Surely you jest! Rather, say there’s no evidence you’re willing to accept. Most (all?) climate deniers with training in climatology acknowledge that increases in CO2 affect the temperature. If you check periods in the climate record you will recognize that when CO2 is up so is the average global temperature and when CO2 is down the temperature decreases. There is a direct correspondence between the two. 5) You believe that 1000 ppm CO2 would be fantastic for this planet. Rather, it would be devastating and a death sentence for billions of humans, to say nothing of the other life with which we share this planet. Take a look at the number of crop failures worldwide in the last 10 years and then see how many are correlated to climate.

Good luck to you and to all of us.

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By Ted Swart, March 8, 2011 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

To: RayLan,
Your latest contribution and my comments:

” all I can say is that I have arrived at my view from extensive reading both pro and con.”
That took a degree in Science?
Wow that’s telling the scientific community - beyond and scientific doubt.

* * * Of course you don’t need a science degree to read and digest both the pros and cons.  I merely mentioned my scientific qualifications because you went off on a tangent by suggesting that I might have some crazy religious anti-science attitude. The trouble is that most people—including you it would seem—have not been exposed to the cons. I suggest that—for starters—you read the excellent contributions to this forum by Chris Smith and Warsong who have covered some of the many reasons why some extra CO2 in the atmosphere is a good thing rather than a bad thing.  * * * * 

I also hold a degree in Mathematics. But then you’re not talking about qualifications but character. Scientists that believe in AGW are liars. Case closed.

* * * Am glad you hold a degree in mathematics which is more than adequate to understand the pros and cons. Of course character is all important and it is sad to have to point out that the behaviour of the climate scientists has been less than admirable and they have deliberately done everything they can to denigrate and quash to con voices. * * *

There’s a big difference between the possibility that scientific theory might be wrong, and a conspiracy theory that presumes the collusion of a significant number of scientists without any mercenary motives.

* * * Perfectly true but facing the fact that a scientific theory “might be wrong” is exactly the right starting point.  And if this leads to the realization that there has been a collective deviation from the norms of science then so be it. * * *

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By gerald spezio, March 8, 2011 at 11:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, you are a classic philosophical idealist/ideaist.
You posit that beliefs & ideology condition behavior.
You were trained in religious ideaism. - thoughts, ideas, ideologies, beliefs, & religions drive behavior.
I do not think that even you would dispute my claim.

You idealist causal position, complete with the offending ideologies & belief systems, is clearly stated;

“Globalization is the modern articulation of the ancient IDEOLOGY used by past elites to turn citizens into serfs and the natural world into a wasteland for profit. Nothing to these elites is sacred. Human beings and the natural world are exploited until exhaustion or collapse. The elites make no pretense of defending the common good.” 

“The desperate islanders DEVELOPED A BELIEF SYSTEM that posited that the erected stone gods, the moai, would come to life and save them from disaster. This last retreat into magic characterizes all societies that fall into terminal decline. It is a frantic response to loss of control as well as despair and powerlessness.”

First you posit ideological causation, then the explanatory power of your idealist theory is filled with vague “seems.”

“Human beings SEEM CURSED TO REPEAT these cycles of exploitation and collapse. And the greater the extent of the deterioration the less they are able to comprehend what is happening around them. The Earth is littered with the physical remains of human folly and human hubris. We SEEM CONDEMNED as a species to drive ourselves and our societies toward extinction ...”

Your inductive observations about the sad state of the human caused destruction of out planetary life support system are sound inductions. I wholeheartedly agree with them.

I vehemently disagree as to the causal chains of the human destruction we both observe.

Sir, I beg you in the bowels of science, the best tools ever devised by mankind, to consider that you may be fatally wrong about the CAUSES.

If ideology drives behavior as you posit, then what drives the ideology?

This is the heart of your argument, but you don’t tell us about the origins of the all powerful conditioning thoughts, beliefs, & all powerful ideology.

Your unscientific position is no better than the angels or the space aliens are doing it.

If we can have a sound scientific understanding of how species originate, it is reasonable to ask for a sound scientific theory about how the ideas & all powerful & all causative ideologies originate.

” We SEEM CURSED” is pure literary wordsmithing.

“We SEEM CONDEMNED” is more wordsmithing fudge & dead end unscientific reasoning..

Either you understand the causal chains, or you don’t!

If it only SEEMS to be the case, then you might consider revising your causal hypothesis?

The spontaneous generation of destructive ideas is NOT a scientific answer!

If ancient elites used ideology to bugger the proles, what caused the “elites” to do so.

If this is learned behavior, lets consider answering the basic question of how we learn it.

Did the ideologies spontaneously generate in the minds of the elitists, like the spontaneous generation of maggots of prescientific times?

If ideology is the causal force; please Sir tell us where the ideologies come from.

You are an intelligent & decent fellow.

You have one-half of it correct.

Many of us have suffered the severe brain damage of idealist fluff, & this is a fine time carefully consider that idealism is more anti-scientific fluff designed to keep us mystified with angels, space aliens, & spontaneous generation of destructive ideas causing it all.

Using Freud as a source of evidence is more shameful anti-science.

Chris, if you are correct, there is no hope.

If a good man like you can play into the idealistic bamboozle, I despair.

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By Anarcissie, March 8, 2011 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

‘Nyaah, nyaah,’ Radson?  I can’t argue with that.

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By Leefeller, March 8, 2011 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Dweller in the woods Leefeller here! I am still working on my last bottle of Tequila,  I may be able to stomach reading Hedges newest installment on his doomsday scenario by Wednesday! (like everyone gives a crap)

Anarcissie,... not T H E social reactionaries?,..... I saw one of them once and all the horror stories I heard turned out to be true, would never believe how lethal they can be with a Turkey Baster,  they make the Republicans or even the Tea Baggers look like wimps, I cannot even comprehend what they would do with a pork barrel!

Hey! I think of Easter Island all the time too! Like where did all those big heads come from? ...Makes me wonder if they they had Republicans back then?

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By radson, March 8, 2011 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Interesting; Hedges’s hysteria now seems to be attracting social reactionaries.

Which includes YOU

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 8, 2011 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Interesting; Hedges’s hysteria now seems to be attracting social reactionaries.

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Vicki_in_Greece's avatar

By Vicki_in_Greece, March 8, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Responding to “By Chris Smith, March 8 at 2:18 pm
Link to this comment
Do you realise how tiny an amount 1000 ppm CO2 is?”
Hi Chris, I have some good idea as I have worked on a
project developing ways to measure very small
amounts. I wanted to ask you about a couple of
different fields of science and the finds they have
reported. Measurements from ice cores and
measurements from the atmosphere both show a steep
rise of the pollutant at the beginning of the
Industrial Revolution. Other fields of science have
independently corroborated the data. How do explain
away their proof?
But more importantly : Does it matter?  We are here,
in a place, in a moment where we have work to do,
improving our surroundings in order to improve our
health and that of our children’s. Could be a fun
ride with fast trains; new ways to build; building
community ...
Perhaps the idea that believing in weather being only
a whim of Mother Nature (when one says “believe” then
one is talking about faith not observation) . . .
perhaps that idea of change is more frightening to
some people than their adoration of the international
oil companies cutting lives short as I write this.

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By radson, March 8, 2011 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

The heroes are bemedalled

the saints are few

the fools are many

the blue-blooded rule regardless of the cost

for chaos is the definition of progress

where profit is prime

regardless of crime

for crime it is when innocence is robbed of time

the cries go unheeded

for the children of the damned have no voice

or is it no choice

when capitalist greed spreads a seed is born

though at first it is unbeknown to most

yet after time it requires an insatiable thirst

that rapes the land and also the hand

the hand which toils until it falters

yet there are few alters

for progress needs none

still progress needs the son

to blind the one’s who die for naught

as we witness what is wrought before our eyes

and innocence dies

we laugh and drink as societies sink

into the quagmire of ruin

where history is lost or rewritten with poisonous

to what end will this lead us

perhaps to the path of perdition

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By Chris Smith, March 8, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Do you realise how tiny an amount 1000 ppm CO2 is?
CO2 has been “elevated” at “dangerous levels” for
decades now, we have been told it was causing
warming… but now the same folks are saying it is
responsible for the recent harsh winter.

Fact is, humans are responsible for only about 1 to 3
% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere and CO2 is only
one of many Greenhouse Gases - in total it
contributes only about 1% of the total Green House
Effect which keeps this planet from being a frozen
ball of ice. So human CO2 is not causing *any* effect
at all. Surely you can see this just from the

1000 ppm CO2 would be fantastic for this planet.
Crops thrive in such an environment and there is no
evidence to suggest that it would cause Global
Warming. Have you not heard about Climate Gate? Look,
if Al Gore really believed it - would he have built
his mansions right by the sea where he claims there
will be many metres of sea level rise? No, of course
he wouldn’t.

Higher temperatures would also be fantastic for life
on the planet. How many farms have been ruined by the
recent cold? in warmer climates food drops out of the
trees and hits you on the head!

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By vermonta, March 8, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

So who survives when the civilization goes down? The peasants. The tough, the lucky. The dwellers in the woods.

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By Vicki_in_Greece, March 8, 2011 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Yes, I think of Easter Island often these days,
  Commenting that this is an opportunity in which we
must become innovative isn’t particular viral at this
time especially compared to the competitor “fatalism.”
  Always enjoy your essays, articles—- so wonderful
to have someone who knows lots of “big words” too. wink

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By Brian Routh, March 8, 2011 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

here is am interesting movie

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By Warsong, March 8, 2011 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

By Gulam, March 8 at 7:30 am:
”...but from whatever religious tradition one
comes they all regarded taking women out of the home as social suicide. This
blunder alone accounts for half the pollution, no small thing, and the lack of
home cooking produced these hoards of industrially-fed hogs that waddle
about Western cities, fattened on corn and soy.”

True, Gulam, but not from the perspective you perceive. There are “20 Markers of the End of a Golden Age,” and, “Marker #1” is (paraphrase): “When the Noble, Aristocratic and Great Ladies of a nation begin rising to Positions of Great Power, brandishing their Weapons of Genderbat, promoting their primal, biological imperative to build Nests (expensive, exotic, enviable Nests: Mansions, Baronial Estates, Palaces, Fortresses, and Castles).” It has nothing to do with children because many of them will never have children, and may in fact hate Children: it has to do with feminine Prestige and Power among other women, which requires a great, and, ever growing source of wealth.

If you want to know what is happening within a society, ignore the fat old man in the fancy chair, look to the women behind the Thone, swishing their skirts and flipping a Hip, with flashing, beckoning Eyes…Ach, I’ll flip for it everytime.

God knows I love the Ladies, but, I’m wary of most that attain positions of “Great Power”: like those in Congress…particularly those that really hate it if you do not use their “Quasi-Noble Titles,” like the “Great Lady,” SENATOR Boxer.

Which, doesn’t stop me from working to ensure that the Kenyon is replaced by Sarah. Some Ladies appear more capable when it comes to knowing what to do with the Power accruing to High Office: and, have the Experience of Bitch-Slapping the Exxon Tiger…and, walking away with it staggering along behind, simpering and complaining that she doesn’t fight fair.

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By redslider, March 8, 2011 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

I think Hedges’ report a fair summary of today’s world situation.  I would only differ from his not-too-cheery estimation in one respect;  I’m not certain the globalization of planet-death can be predicted with a certainty at this moment.  Much will depend on whether the American engines which are fueling the race to lay waste to the earth can be resisted and stopped by the rest of the world. For the moment it’s a toss-up.  America is, of course, hugely invested in globalization. Even those who see this planet as their personal larder are aware that the United States will soon exhaust it opportunities for more looting at home, on its own streets and of its own people and environment.  $40-trillion wasn’t just vaporized paper that was looted from our economy, it was the economic muscle and bone of the country that was intended to support the social body of future generations.  Public commons (our parks, our state and local preserves, our civic structures and the very processes of civic life)  will all soon bear ‘corporate sponsor’ names as a prelude for staking future claims to the last of what is left of the public legacy.  I do agree with Hedges that looking toward some ‘technological savior’ to deliver the cornucopia of all good things is a type of magical thinking that can as easily accelerate the process of self-destruction as relieve it.  In the wrong hands, it certainly will, and its first application will to bring as many under its spell and a superstitious faith in its managers.  It’s agenda will certainly be to create a worldwide cult-worship of its own idols and monuments.

As we undergo the current adjustments in the U.S. economy, that will move the median of middle-class life somewhere to the bottom third of what it once was,  the looting continues: in union busting, in foreclosures and in the general dismantling, “privatization” and deregulation of public projects and programs of every kind - our health, education, natural resources, food=supply, libraries and culture.  But the pickings get slimmer with each passing ‘gold rush’ and even the public trough will soon have little to offer appetites that require an infinite source of supply.  The miners have already spread elsewhere and move as quickly as they can to outsource their rapacious greed, as well as their quest for new exploitable governments and labor to fuel their engines.  Still, the world has an opportunity to resist and, perhaps, reverse the policy of easy acquiescence to the American flim-flam man.  Whether they will or not, remains to be seen (are there already too many correspondingly greedy and self-serving ruling class members within their own ranks?)  If they can say “NO!” and resist for awhile, then perhaps it is only America that will need to be isolated and contained from doing further damage.  Perhaps the American empire builders miscalculated, and began their campaign to own the earth just a moment or two too late.  I am fairly certain, one way or another, the American experiment is drawing to a close.  There are multiple indicators that we are also witnessing the last chapter in the 3,000 year cycle of the current civilization.  But whether the species is also about to join the extinctions of other species, ones that might have equally well have gone on to invent computers and build hadron colliders; of that I am not so sure.  We can only hope that isn’t so.

Charles Pellegrino recently reminded me in his “Ghosts of Vesuvius” that we are not the “stewards of the earth”, not really.  Events on planetary and cosmic scales are little persuaded by our intentions, gods or self-ascribed potentials.  Still, I’d like to see this little trick of evolution hang around long enough to at least get out of its cocoon.  Slim chance, but I can imagine some butterfly at the end of our season; pretty enough to be worth the effort, even if it only lives for a day.

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By Ken, March 8, 2011 at 3:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Colin, your very wrong that C02 doesn’t affect a planet. Look at Venus its’ a C02 magnet,  the earths gravitational field pulls the c02 from escaping the atmosphere where it has no where to go except for the oceans and in the atmosphere.  Your correct that it may not destroy the earth, but it may destroy the conditions that are species can live in peacefully.  Unless you want to live in a series of ice ages or worst yet 140 degree temperatures which will kill off or drive populations to other regions of the earth.  Yes this won’t happen over night, but should we really tempt nature?  Isn’t it better to just put the gun down instead of hoping it isn’t loaded when the trigger is finally pulled?

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By Warsong, March 8, 2011 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

Chris, great article pointing to past civilizations and their demise, but, I’ve got a few picks to nit, about your references to “Global Warming” (shiver).

I’m joining this Comment Stream late, and, I would hope that others have taken you to task about the Carbon Dioxide Scam…but, if such is not so, the higher the Carbon Dioxide concentration, the greater the proliferation of Plant Life. In fact, without high concentrations of CO2, there would never be enough Oxygen to sustain life on this Planet, period, let alone Human Life to destroy themselves, in an endless Cycle.

FYI, Horticulturalists and Farmers inject CO2 into their Greenhouses (to higher concentrations than you fear) to supercharge the growth of whatever crop they’re raising: it grows faster, in greater abundance, yielding more fruit, releasing more Oxygen into the atmosphere, and, requires less of everything except CO2 to reach maturity.

And, the Greenhouse effect cannot be duplicated in the Atmosphere (in nature): even in the presence of Heat Inversion layers CO2 permeates the atmosphere, and, has never been known to ‘settle out’ into a “Greenhouse layer” under any conditions, except within an enclosed space…like a Plastic Greenhouse.

As to our ‘contribution’ to Climate Change: compare the total Mass of the Earths Atmosphere, 3.5 to 5.0 Quadrillion Metric Tons, to the total amount of CO2 contributed by all the Animals on this Planet every year(inluding Human from all sources) ...and, it would be the equivalent of a ‘Sea Chigger Bite’ on a Sperm Whales Tail. If we compare the CO2 contributed by the Human Race, alone, to that pumped into the Atmosphere every year by Volcanoes and natural vents of all kinds, it would compare to a ‘Chigger Bite’ on an Elephants Tail.

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By textynn, March 8, 2011 at 2:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I was a little girl, the local firemen came to my school and showed a film of a terrible fire in a high rise school in NYC.  This fire was in the fifties some time. The video was shot by firemen and was not edited like most things shown to kids. 

A terrible thing had happened.  This event was what started the practice of fire drills. The fires were finally extinguished but the children had not been allowed to leave their classrooms. The teachers had forbid the kids to leave not knowing what to do. The film strip showed classrooms of dead kids slumped of desks dead from inhaling smoke. There were floors of these classrooms full of dead kids.  All dutifully minding, all dying because they were not brave enough to stand up to an ignorant authority that should have been ignored, stood up to, shoved aside.

WE are like these kids minding people that don’t know what they are doing. We don’t know the time to stand up to authority and say no is long over due.  Will we die to please our authority that is taking us down the same road?  Will we stand together and push aside the ignorant and corrupt power that demands we sit conveniently while they comfortably leave the building

The fireman told us all point blank something none of us had ever been told before as good little Catholic school kids in the early sixties.  He told us to never allow anyone ever to command us to stay in a dangerous situation. Never mind someone to this extent. In a life or death situation, the correct thing to do is to disobey such an authority displaying no concern for you.

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By Gulam, March 8, 2011 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

Yes Colin, that is it exactly. Chris Hedges just uses the Christian connection as
a social prop, an add-on. His real logic comes straight from the Enlightenment
and the American political lexicon. We never learn anything about Islam in
depth, because they almost never ever mentioned Islam when he was in divinity
school at Harvard. Yes, those who own America are tearing up the planet more
than anyone else, but what important institution in America is more in bed with
the neo-cons and the Zionists and Wall Street than Harvard University? 

The big gas user is the American consumer, and when they put American
women into the work force, where they had never been before, they doubled an
already careless energy usage and more, and since most of the best of the new
jobs created by the boom went to the wives of men already high on the pecking
order, and together these couples could afford to do silly things that take a lot
of energy, this meant that the gender revolution was a big killer of the
environment, a huge factor. Nobody can talk about. It is not politically correct
to mention it even though it was arguably the biggest social change in modern
human history. It just happened. Hollywood and the Ivy League professors had
nothing to do with it.

When that issue came around, when Americans should have been discussing
putting women into the work force, the religion professionals in America like
Chris Hedges chose their Enlightenment values over their religious ones without
blinking. The religion industry in America rolled over and followed a plan that
had been specifically and consistently denied for three thousand years and
more, by religious tradition in every successful civilization. It is very uncool in
American intellectual circles to challenge this change that has been pushed
through with relatively little debate, but from whatever religious tradition one
comes they all regarded taking women out of the home as social suicide. This
blunder alone accounts for half the pollution, no small thing, and the lack of
home cooking produced these hoards of industrially-fed hogs that waddle
about Western cities, fattened on corn and soy.

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By soulsource, March 8, 2011 at 2:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges:
Have you figured out how to grow food where you are living?  Do you and your
neighbors have a plan for cooperating with each other for the purpose of
surviving the degrading of your access to essential commodities?  Will you have
a decent sewer system, water supply and public safety should the banking
system take a surprise holiday or an extreme weather season take out
something vital in the workings of the three former things taken for mostly

Like the man that managed ferrying the raft and a grammarian across the river
who said to the grammarian who was proudly displaying his skills, “Sir, it is true
that you speak much better than me and it is a loss to my life’s enrichment, but
if you haven’t learned to swim, I am afraid your whole life is lost.”  The storm ist
a cumen in.

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By katsteevns, March 8, 2011 at 2:19 am Link to this comment

Wikileaks for Nobel wrote: 
“If we don’t force the scumbags who are doing the planet to death, to do something else—and sooner rather than later—all the other issues are going to be as moot as cinders, moot as ash.”

Hedges is totally against violent action. How do you propose we “force the scumbags…to do something” without….... “force”?

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By Anarcissie, March 8, 2011 at 2:01 am Link to this comment

colin2626262, March 8 at 6:37 am:

‘... The reason we have all these social evils is that the people, not just the so called elites, are themselves evil.  We have to return to God….’

We can’t ‘return to God’ because we can’t get away from God in the first place.

But regardless, we have had monstrous social evils under a great variety of theological assumptions for several thousand years now.  You would have to point out exactly which God to return to, and give a detailed roadmap of the route, for your suggestion to have any chance of success.

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By DCambly, March 8, 2011 at 1:57 am Link to this comment

Why does every article on Truthdig turn into a religious debate?

Religion only requires blind obedience without use of the brain to a few scraps of paper.

It does take real courage to change the destructive course as explained by the article.

The CO2 levels will be of little significance without clean water.

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By plainsman, March 8, 2011 at 1:55 am Link to this comment


Religion is the antithesis of spirituality.

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By plainsman, March 8, 2011 at 1:52 am Link to this comment

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again. Alexander Pope

To all the arm-chair scientists arguing both sides of the AGW fence: You fail to see that we live in a world of mis- and disinformation where the primary purpose of those dispensing it is to keep those receiving it fighting among themselves. Apparently it’s working.

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By colin2626262, March 8, 2011 at 1:37 am Link to this comment

One person writes: “Please Chris—-can you write on something beautiful…something triumphant, at least once in awhile?”

Another person writes: “Chris Hedges is making a serious mistake to turn from the profundity of the religious tradition.”

Hedges himself writes of “the defeat of rational thought and the death of humanism.”  As if rational thought and humanism will save us.

The problem is that Hedges can only write about the crazy Christian right and warn about them.  But he doesn’t warn his readers, at least not in this article, about what happens when people give up religious belief and lead wholly secular lives.  If we really want a radical change, it has to start on the spiritual level. 

The reason we have all these social evils is that the people, not just the so called elites, are themselves evil.  We have to return to God, the source of all goodness.  Only then will we see any progress, any compassion, any love for one another and for the planet.

Hedges makes a living now by writing provactive, doomsday scenario books and articles.  So I don’t expect him to let up.  The next column will be just as bleak.  Some people, however, don’t think of their faith as “magical thinking.” They feel, and they know, that it helps them survive.  They also are aware that this life is only temporary and everything in the world is as transitory and fleeting as our own flesh. 

If you really want to change the world, change your soul, start becoming a person of faith and remain that way.  Don’t become a cynic.  Don’t lose sight of what you’re truly doing on earth.  Remember God.  You will be judged not on the basis of your righteous indignation at “the elites” but on how you live, whether you’re a good person yourself or not.

If you have love for God and for other people, you will be saved, even if the world ends.  If you deny God and have only “rational thought”, you will die.  This is my warning to anyone who reads this.  God bless.

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By plainsman, March 8, 2011 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

Thanks TAO Walker.

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By sallysense, March 8, 2011 at 12:58 am Link to this comment

world’s fare…

again goes the world to rush its richness…
into what it’s been brainwashed to do…
stripping nature for friday’s black market…
and leaving the remnants to rue…

no continence left… for man does strive on…
to turn all that he can into gold…
the hounds on the trail… sniff for the fragrance…
of lust breeding greed in the fold…

the booths are set for tomorrow’s fare…
and man works round the clock…
promoting and picking… pushing and sticking…
absolute needs for the items in stock…

he displays in traits of illusion…
calling his inventory goods…
and lures to liquidate the delusioned…
who buy into his scheme by the brood…

man barters his bargains for profits…
and piles supplies to his goal…
of insatiable omnipotent stature…
in a flustering spawned to control…

what comes of this circus of circumstance?...
who gets the final gain?...
man withers away with his power…
like the trees plucked from sun and rain!...

best wishes’n'ways for today to dawn upon!... smile

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By Litl Bludot, March 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

Hedges sees clearly what is happening.  This time, it’s not just the collapse of civilization but the end of the biosphere, the end of life.

He does NOT see that there are exceptions to the examples of pathological, toxic cultures that he lists.  These exceptions are the cultures that live within the web of life. Their language, customs, beliefs do not allow deviance from this idea.  The indigenous Australians, living for fifty thousand years in symbiosis with the biosphere. There are those in the Amazon, desperately hiding from creatures that they see as embodying the antithesis of life;  these are from the western, anti nature, war god in the sky capitalist culture.

So, there are examples for us to follow.  Simple critics will respond as though I’m suggesting becoming “primitive” again.  In fact, there are ways to live that are healthy, comfortable, intellectually satisfying and honest, yet symbiotic with our fellow creatures and the biosphere.  Technology, in general, is only to be used for the benefit of life, no other consideration should be involved.  Symbiotic cultures intrinsically understood this and could not create anti life technology.  Their thought processes did not allow it- literally, they would not think of doing it.

Here we come to what Hedges has so far missed.  Greed, power, etc. are NOT causes, they are symptoms, infective mechanisms of a PARASITIC IDEOLOGY.  Like biological parasites (bacteria, viruses, malaria, etc.) ideological parasites infect humans (the only species susceptible to them)  and have the ability to change our biology and behavior in ways beneficial to their replication, and transmission of their lifeless entities.  Hedges gave examples of doomed cultures infected with ideological parasites, which doomed them, eventually. 

A parasitoid is particularly virulent and deadly form of parasitic infection, in that it quickly kills its host. 

Disaster Capitalism is a parasitoid ideology, in that it kills its host (us) rapidly, along with the biosphere.  It is a malignant, mutated form of the more benign, but still destructive regulated capitalism of the New Deal. Those of you who are infected with parasitoid disaster capitalism will not understand this post.  It has altered your ability to see a reality inimical to its existence.  You have gone anti life berserk and don’t know it.

Those infected should be diagnosed, isolated and treated. This is the only way to stop the infection before it culminates in a “global death trap”, as Hedges correctly sums up.  Let’s start with the CEO’s of financial firms, oil company’s, war profiteers, etc. and of course, politicians who work for them but pretend otherwise.  For example, the most virulent carrier at present is Obama, a superbly designed and camouflaged parasitoid vector, carrying a particularly lethal mutation of the capitalist parasitoid ideology.

The most damaging vectors with the most virulent infections should be removed-  democratically, peacefully and nonviolently, of course-  from positions of authority.  Our lives depend on it, as does what is left of the incredible beauty of this planet .

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By Leefeller, March 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment

All this yin and yaning is giving me a headache! .....Social security is a Fonzie scheme, it isn’t…. yes it is! Unions are thugs! No they aren’t, ....yes they are! There are more polar bears now then there was before! Not so,..... yes so! Global warming is not real! Yes it is real, it isn’t real!  .....Most Republicans are compassionlesw cockroaches…...?????

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By Ted Swart, March 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

To: kerryrose

From: Ted Swart

“I don’t care what you are interested in quite honestly.”
That is quite unnecessarily nasty.

“Follow the money. If a scientist is taking it from a corporate entity, you will find the source of his results.”
Whilst there is some truth in the “Follow the money” tag it is also rather cynical by no means foll proof.

Can you not at least see that in scientific issues it is ultimately the truth that matters not political or religious leanings or sources of funding.  Science in action is supposed to be freely shared, reproducible and open to being falsified. The climate science saga has fallen very far short of these scientific norms. At very minimum this casts grave doubt on the veracity of the AGW hypothesis.

You may not care what I am interested in but everyone ought to care when the norms of science are perverted. I am not sure what you are interested in but if it involves sticking to the AGW hypothesis no matter what the evidence indicates this sounds to me like a dead end.

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By RayLan, March 7, 2011 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

Ted Swart
” all I can say is that I have arrived at my view from extensive reading both pro and con.”
That took a degree in Science?
Wow that’s telling the scientific community - beyond and scientific doubt.

I also hold a degree in Mathematics. But then you’re not talking about qualifications but character. Scientists that believe in AGW are liars. Case closed.

There’s a big difference between the possibility that scientific theory might be wrong, and a conspiracy theory that presumes the collusion of a significant number of scientists without any mercenary motives.

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By 2shareisjoy, March 7, 2011 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

To Ted Swart,
While I agree with: “A little bit of extra CO2 in the atmosphere is a good thing…”
We have reached more than a little bit, as most scientist seem to agree that 350 ppm. is the stated and achievable goal and we are past such numbers.

The suggestion was not mine but came from: The Master ? is a senior member of the Hierarchy (not Maitreya) of the Masters of Wisdom.

I also strongly agree with you on:
“As I have already suggested the truth will come out in the end but unfortunately a lot of damage has been done and will continue to be done in the mean time.”

“To achieve this goal, men must change dramatically the present way of life, and embrace simpler forms of living and working. Gone are the days in which men raped and ravaged the planet at will, without a thought for the generations still to come, neither seeing nor caring ought for the environment which has gradually and inevitably decayed.
Each year, and for many years, huge areas of ancient primal forest are cleared of life-giving trees for purely commercial benefits. Commercialization indeed bodes ill for humanity as it tightens its grip on the throats of men. Commercialization, says Maitreya, is more dangerous to men than the atomic bomb, and is showing its destructive power in the economic chaos which rules in the world today.”

By The Master

“Changes in weather patterns are already occurring and will continue as a result of the earth’s warming.
“Even mind, spirit and body will be changed.” The earth will be full of food, and no one will be able to understand the process fully.”

From: Maitreya’s Predictions

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By HurryUpEvolution, March 7, 2011 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

weylguy, March 8 at 2:42 am
Okay, a lot of trash talk out there about BTUs and carbon dioxide, so here’s a short quiz ...

Your question has nothing to do with CO2…what is your point?

Oh, the answer of course is that the room gets warmer, unless you have demonstrated a theory that supersedes the laws of thermodynamics.

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, March 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

I believe that some of the readers of this article don’t grasp that the collapse Mr. Hedges is writing about is the collapse of all human civilization, not just the US of A.  Furthermore, given the ecological driver underlying this process, it is not recoverable.  What we are living is the death throes of the human species.  Not just one society, not just part of society, but all.  All. 

Look at the little kids running around having a great time at the playground by the school.  Do you know what future we are providing for them?  Literally—and increasingly—it will be hell on earth, with no prospect of anything but it’s getting worse.  Thanks mom and dad, I know you were busy.  Want to go for a drive and join the funeral procession? 

That’s what we have every day on the highways—a funeral procession for the human species.  Chris is right to invoke Freud, for he had us dead to rights:  we have a death wish that has Eros reeling on the ropes. 

This crisis—unfortunately named, because of all the positive associations people have with ‘warm’ and ‘warming’—trumps all other concerns.  It trumps the self-promoting bloggers who drop by here to get people to visit their narcissistic ramblings; it trumps our sectarian nonsense about “the workers”; it even trumps real-life tragedies like the Bradley Manning atrocities.  If we don’t force the scumbags who are doing the planet to death, to do something else—and sooner rather than later—all the other issues are going to be as moot as cinders, moot as ash.

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By TAO Walker, March 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment

This Old Indian will try to respond to the request below from “plainsman” to describe what is meant by what he sees, accurately, as a couple of fundamental ‘terms’ in the Original Natural Language.  The Organic Functional Integrity of any Living Form refers-to the intrinsic health and wholeness of a given Organ, say a Heart, being essential to the adequate fulfillment of its given vital function.  The relative Integrity of all its various vital Organs determines the overall health and wholeness of whatever larger Organism they all, in-concert, comprise….say a Human body.  It is a Living Virtue in the sense that, just as its sufficiency shows in wholeness and health, its deficiency manifests as what is commonly called a disease condition of some kind….the lack, to greater-or-lesser degree, of what is commonly seen and experienced as health and wholeness.  Diminished Vitality is a common symptom of disease.

The Human immune system, for another example, is made-up-of several components, at least one of them a “separate” symbiotic Organism similar (in its relation to a Human body) to the fauna and flora in our digestive tract.  Among the vital components in the immune system of our Mother Earth is a “separate” supposed-to-be-symbiotic Organism whose Sentient faculties include a rather minor (but grotesquely over-valued) one called “reason”....and whose frequently overused capacity for vocal expression has many of its members calling their own Kind (in a multitude of languages, of course) “Human.”

It appears that AIDS is a disease condition occurring in a Human body when the elusive retro-viral entity thought to be its initiating agent infects the particular component in that immune system which is a “separate” supposed-to-be-symbiotic Organism, co-opts its function to CONtrary purposes, then turns it against the host body….with all those grim symptomatic manifestations of its presence that’ve become much too familiar to so many, here in these latter days.  The elusive retro-viral tormenting entity that invaded the living body of our Mother Earth and initiated the “civilization” disease process in Her Living Body, Her Organic Living Arrangement, has infected most of the Human component of Her immune system and co-opted these “individual”-ized Humans to the service of its own ends, turning them against the very Living Being who brought them to Life….with such devastating effects (and many more and much worse) as are cataloged above by Chris Hedges.

The severe organic dysfunction of the domesticated peoples, indicating a serious deficiency in them of the Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity, deprives our Living Arrangement of the necessary immune function they’re supposed to provide.  So the Organic Integrity of the entire Living Arrangement is also seriously compromised….which is then visited inescapably upon those same dysfunctional Humans, with their own already dysfunctional immune systems, as a kind of biological “blow-back.”

Just as the AIDS agent process suppresses the immune function in a Human body, so as to prevent its being neutralized (rendered harmless), as it would be by a whole healthy fully-functioning immune system, so does its macro-counterpart operate to do the same within the Living Body of our Mother Earth….for the same purpose.  Both depend on there being some already somewhat compromised part of an immune system susceptible to exploitation.

Massive “medical” tampering with Personal immune systems gave the AIDS agent that opening.  Several earlier ‘bouts’ of the “civilization” disease did the same ‘job’ on our Mother’s.  So here we are.

The Natural Organic Form of Humanity (Call this, oh….Community.) holds all of the Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity available to Humanity.  The compromised and co-opted “individual” simply can’t get at it.  So….

The Tiyoshpaye Way….?


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By lewb, March 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

It’s “US” the 99.9% of the population versus
Until all of us realize we have to stop “Them” from
leading us down th path to destruction.The game is
up. If we don’t realize it pretty soon we’ll be past
the tipping point and many will suffer needlessly.
  Capitalism,money,banking,commerce,all are based on
that religion whose God is Greed. These tenets of
that religion govern all things. I believe man is a
mutation,not blessed with those instincts needed to
to be in harmony with nature. We as a species didn’t
addapt to our environment,we sought to change it. In
doing this we will probably become extinct and the
earth as it has for eons will hurtle through space
with or without us.Eventually there won’t be a trace
left. A fitting end to a species that doesn’t

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By Mr. Baabuur, March 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“To tell you the truth I am not particularly interested in the funding side of the AGW issue”

- A real critical thinker, this guy…

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By weylguy, March 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment

Okay, a lot of trash talk out there about BTUs and carbon dioxide, so here’s a short quiz for you armchair scientists:

You’re given a room that’s completely insulated from the outside; no heat can enter or exit the room through the walls, floor or ceiling. Alright? Now, we place a single 110-volt outlet in the room, plug in a refrigerator, and turn it on. Got that? Okay, now open the freezer compartment and leave it open.

Question: what will happen to the temperature in the room? Will it get hotter (after all, the refrigerator’s running) or colder (cold air is escaping from the freezer into the room).

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By kerryrose, March 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Ted Swart

I don’t care what you are interested in quite honestly.  Follow the money. If a scientist is taking it from a corporate entity, you will find the source of his results.

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By gerard, March 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

“What would it take to have an alliance of us world wide, no matter what language, to help nurture our planet so we have a healthy place to live?”

DCambly:  Try Facebook. It worked for Egypt, apparently, and other places as well.  Some farfighted people see the possibility that it could save the world because it reaches the young in huge numbers, and they are the ones who have hope, energy and love of life.

Proof of how effective it is?  It scares the U.S. government so bad they put Bradley Manning, naked, in solitary confinement at a military brig before he’s even been tried—for allegedly releasing the WikiLeaks Cables, a large number of revealing memos etc. that embarrassed the State Department because they show what a farce “diplomacy” is and how bombing Iraqis and Afghanis is stupid and cruel—which is no secret at all to anybody with a grain of sense.

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By Gary Mont, March 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Climate Change thru human pollution.

I’m not sure how to measure this, but it occurs to me that every volcano, active on the earth today, spews forth more pollution in an hour than we humans can do in probably a year worldwide. There are a number of volcanoes actively polluting the atmosphere right now and there has been such active for some time.

While I believe that we are in no way helping the situation by dumping our wastes into the air, land and sea, it appears to me that nature is the true cause behind climate change and that our two cents worth is insignificant in comparison.

What might be a better avenue of research is determining what exactly is causing the increase in volcanism and plate shifting, since the pollution these volcanoes produce absolutely affect our weather.

Another worthy area of research might be seeking methods of surviving climate change.

On the other hand, the level of social, industrial and military pollution being created today can be nothing but detrimental to world health and should be curtailed for this reason alone, whether or not it also impacts on climate change.

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By Ted Swart, March 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

To kerryrose,
From Ted Swart
You ask:
“Don’t you find that McIntyre’s involvement with CGX Energy Inc, an oil and gas exploration company, may be either a conflict of interest or actually the paymaster for skewed results?”
To tell you the truth I am not particularly interested in the funding side of the AGW issue and am much more interested in whether or not the hypothesis has any legs to stand on.
There are some who go out of their way to point out that the clique of self-styles climate scientists have enjoyed a hugely lucrative gravy train from both governments and funding agencies and that this is why they don’t want anyone to rock the boat.
As far as I can tell McIntyre is a competent and scrupulously honest statistician and that is all that matters as far as I am concerned. Moreover, his critique of the hockey stick graph is superbly done.  As I have already suggested the truth will come out in the end but unfortunately a lot of damage has been done and will continue to be done in the mean time.

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By DachshundUberAlles, March 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

“This time we’re taking the whole planet with us”.

That pretty much sums up the mindset of humankind. The examples are there for
us to see and we don’t care. Why is this? Because we are a right selfish lot.

It is a good thing for this universe that we are so consumed with our own greed
that we will never make it out into the cosmos to pollute any other worlds.

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By prosefights, March 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

Playstation and Xbox360 apparantly triggered concern about these devices electricity consumption.  More than the city of san diego consumes we read.

According to a study by Australian consumer group Choice, video game consoles such as Sony Playstation 3 consumes five times more energy than a medium sized refrigerator.

They found out that a medium sized refrigerator of about 12 cu. ft. volume (60 inches in height) will cost $50 a year while Sony Playstation 3 will cost $250 a year even if it is not in use and only turned on. Microsoft XBox came second behind Playstation 3.

This may have caused the electronics industry to hit the panic button?

And the electronics industry HAS hit the panic button.

LED backlit computer monitors and TVs.

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By DCambly, March 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

What could we have possibly done to change everything about our planet?

We exploded over 3000 Nuclear Tests in the Air, Water and Ground.

We destroyed most of the Amazon forests and often forget the forests we devastated in the U.S. and Canada. (other countries are doing the same)

We flush our waste water into our waterways world wide. Raw sewage is dumped directly in the Oceans world wide. I want to pick on Vancouver and Montreal Canada for doing it.

We use systems such as “fracking” to get one more ounce of gas from the land. We dig up and squeeze the last barrels of oil from the Canadian Oil Sands.

Guess where Ocean Liners dump all their waste?

We need millions of airplanes flying daily and never think of the environment cost.

We are out maneuvered into buying vehicles from other countries when we could have build great ones right here.

The “talking heads” blast away at giving a few 100 million to a country devastated by an earthquake. They never add up the cost of building fighter jets that will never go into production.

Our children are barely able to read while we let them be entertained by 30 second video clips on the Internet. You would not believe the look I got last week when I said I was going to the Library!

Rather than volunteer for a group to clean up some of our city creeks, valleys, rivers, people spend up to 10 hours a day, in front of an even bigger TV screen. We have to have every new electronic gadget when the one we have works fine.

Don’t bother reading both sides of the climate argument until we can no longer breath the polluted air.

When the Code fishing collapsed in 1992 we went on taking the smallest fish from the Ocean. Now that the Salmon are disappearing we build fish farms. It’s alright they have been genetically modified along with most of our food.

When our politicians provide us with a Patriot Act or Anti-Terrorism manual we stay quiet. Sadly I know how to read and find any of that material offensive.

Why did we stop talking to each other and take up this new “you must be a Nazi” tactic? When will we start doing rather than talking about building cooperation with each other? President Kennedy was able to talk to Khrushchev (those evil commies) while we are unable to talk to those in charge of Iran.

Chris is painting a picture of a planet that rarely agrees on anything. I enjoy the way he writes and the way he holds himself during public speaking. 1000s of people now go down along the river valley that runs through our city and clean up the garbage. We pushed the city leaders to make sure waste water did not go into the river and now have a complete 3 level filtration system.

It takes a little to get me inspired so let me finish this by sharing one of them. On July 4, 1776 a group of brave people took on the British Empire by writing and signing a Declaration of Independence. (Today’s Patriot Act would consider them terrorists) Forget the colorful painting we see today of them and put yourself in their shoes. (It was a lot more than taxation without representation)

With that in mind what would be the best way for us to face things as they are today? What would it take to have a alliance of us world wide, no matter what language, to help nurture our planet so we have a healthy place to live?

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By Robert Riversong, March 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Beside the understatement of current CO2
concentrations (which are already well beyond the
tipping point), there were several other evidences of
Hedges own myopic worldview (as perceptive as he is
within the conventional thought paradigm).

“The Mayan elites…retreated backward into

Since the Maya continue to thrive as an earth-based
people (there are about 6 million today). It would be
more correct to say that they returned back to right
relation with the land.

“…retreat into magic characterizes all societies that
fall into terminal decline.”

The examples Hedges offers are of peoples already
occupied and contaminated by modernist beliefs,
against which the remnants of their ancient “magic”
have little power. But it was a form of “magical” or
mystical or sacred living which kept indigenous
societies thriving for hundreds of thousands of

“…science and technology, which are morally neutral…”

No system of thought or tool is morally neutral. Each
constrains and determines how we perceive the world
and the scope of use and range of effect. Science –
and its handmaiden, technology – is the orthodoxy
which has led us to the brink.

“…the defeat of rational thought and the death of

What allowed science to become the modern substitute
for religion was humanity’s idolatry of rationalism
and its self-centered humanism. Like the surviving
Maya, we must return to a more sacred and wholesome
paradigm that puts reason in service to altruism and
maintains a balance between the head and the heart
and our own essential animality. We must, in other
words, return to our senses.

“Human beings seem cursed to repeat these cycles of
exploitation and collapse.”

Not human beings, but civilized human beings.
“Primitive” earth-based peoples represent the only
historically sustainable paradigm, made up 95% or
more of our evolutionary past, and continue to exist
and sometimes thrive on every habitable continent. As
the story of the Garden of Eden should have warned
us, it is only when we turn our backs on the
providence of nature and arrogantly assume that we
know better than the gods that we become doomed to
the rewards of “sin”.

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By kerryrose, March 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

Ted Swart

Don’t you find that McIntyre’s involvement with CGX Energy Inc, an oil and gas exploration company, may be either a conflict of interest or actually the paymaster for skewed results?

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By Ted Swart, March 7, 2011 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

To: 2sharelsJoy
You suggest that:
“If men are to save this planet from the results of global warming they must do infinitely more than is planned to limit carbon emissions”
I am sorry 2sharelsJoy but there is no need to save the planet from global warming. A little bit of extra CO2 in the atmosphere is a good thing not a bad thing—since it increases crop yields—and its effect on climate is minimal. That is not to say that the planet does not need saving but the saving exercise cannot afford to waste time energy an money on a false alarm.
I like the idea of a world wide Manhatten style project but how to get it under-way is a huge problem.

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By Gerald Sutliff, March 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why I hate being a liberal.
Thank you Chris.

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By Axmed, March 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Societies colapse because of the wars and destroying the nature etc. We can draw the conclusion that the uprising, economic crisis, unemployments, celebrity culture obsession and abusing power elites will lead us to disaster. The damage is already done but it’ll get worse and worse. It’s inevitable if we continue in this direction. We’re lucky to have Chris Hedges to tell truth and risk his life because truth and honest are the biggest threat to the western world as it’s apparent. Cheers Chris and may Allah bless you!

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By Ted Swart, March 7, 2011 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

To RayLan:
From Ted Swart (not Stewart)

Your suggestion that I might have some “elaborate politically or religiously skewed view of scientists as co-conspirators in league with the Devil” is way off the mark.  It so happens that I have a D.Sc in physical chemistry and a Ph.D, in math/computer science—so I am pro science and not against it.  And, as far as my religious beliefs are concerned I have no religious connection and am perhaps best described as a agnostic/pantheist. The fact that I fully accept the occurrence of evolution ought to have alerted you to both my scientific and religious leanings.
You go on to ask:
“On what scientific basis have you decided that the scientific consensus is ‘dishonest’?”
And part of the answer is that there is far less of a consensus than is commonly accepted to be the case. And, if you want to know the “basis” for my decision to reject AGW(anthropogenic global warming) all I can say is that I have arrived at my view from extensive reading both pro and con.
If you are in the category of being incapable of “conceiving it possible that you may be mistaken”(a paraphrase from Oliver Cromwell) then any further interaction between us is pointless. If you are open to at least the possibility that you may be mistaken I can refer you to three websites that have played a major role in enlightening those with an open mind regarding the flaws in the AGW hypothesis.
Steve McIntyre has played a major role in uncovering the flaws in the hockey stick graph.
Anthony Watts runs a very lively award winning web site which is definitely on the skeptic side.
Judith Curry is a climate scientist who leans in the pro AGW direction but is highly critical of the manner in which the AGW believers and the UN’s IPCC have conducted their business.
Have a good day.

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By Gary Mont, March 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well said Chris.

It is unlikely in the extreme, that anyone will ever conceive of a civilization format which eliminates lucramania. Our addiction to wealth accumulation is almost as strong as the sexual drive.

If everyone was a share-holder in the planet earth, perhaps the at-birth automatic wealth might be enough to prevent the chronic addiction to wealth-accumulation that has destroyed every prior attempt at civilization.

I doubt it however, as people will always consider the simple truth that more wealth, in a wealth based system, always equates to a greater ability to control others and the human mind will inevitably work out ways to steal the wealth of others in order to achieve such control.

Aside from royalty, who are raised knowing the truth, the Elites of today are just commoners who have learned the lesson of the royals; once you accumulate enough wealth, the methods of that accumulation no longer matter. Enough wealth moves a person beyond the law and beyond all morality. Enough wealth allows a person to dictate what the law and morality are for others, while being immune from both.

As long as human civilization and human society are based upon personal accumulation of wealth, this cycle is absolutely doomed to repeat until such time as the “elites” do indeed bring the entire world past the brink of complete destruction.

Sadly, there is no hope that such a system of social existence could ever be considered let alone established, since fascism by the elites to protect the accumulation of wealth will never be seen as the cause of human social dissolution.

In a wealth based system, the only relief from slavery and poverty, is to become as corrupt and immoral as those who are already willing to use every possible means at their disposal to gain wealth, regardless of the consequences of those actions.

In a wealth based system, the only people capable of initiating change, are those who want to maintian things as they are.

Humanity will never grow out of this childish need to use wealth to control others and use the law, deception, propaganda and war, to protect their right to accumulate wealth without restriction, because we won’t fix it if we think it aint broke.

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By prosefights, March 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

Heat Rates

A heat rate is “a measurement used in the energy industry to calculate how efficiently a generator uses heat energy.” The average nuclear plant heat rate is about 10,000 Btus/kWh. But only 3,412 Btus are needed to generate one kWh of electricity. Thus, for every kWh generated by a nuclear plant, 6,600 Btus are not used. What happens to all those Btus? It is dissipated through cooling towers, lakes, rivers or oceans as steam or hot water.

3412.14163 to be more precise.

Before 2006 we had no idea how many BTUs one pound of coal generated. Power River basin about 8,600 we discovered.

Coal Heat Rate is about the same as nuclear we read.

Our energy learning quest revealed that the US imports 93% of the uranium is comsumes.

The electronics industry and home building industries are making significant efforts to reduce BTUs consumed to fuel their products, we’ve discovered.

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By Bruce, March 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Ted Swart and all other human-caused global warming deniers:

Have you read Naomi Oreskes? Of course you haven’t. Oreskes exposes the economic/political agenda supported and promoted by a small handful of physicists to discredit the science behind AGW. The analysis done by these physicists (none of whom are climate specialists) depends on a public with a faulty idea of how science works. These physicists’ home office is Washington’s Marshall Institute, an ultra-right, free marketeer think tank founded during the Reagan administration. Their talking points—disseminated via their literature and website—are the exact same talking points reiterated and promoted by right-wing propaganda outlets such as Fox and its corporately-controlled media cronies.

The Marshall Institute are the same people who challenged the idea that cigarrettes cause cancer—on behalf of their tobacco company clients. Go figure.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

Albatross, if we don’t work with Nature, Nature will crush us as it is doing in response to our actions.

Unlike in the past, we are doing what was regional before, is now global. The destruction has already begun and maybe the richest among us will weather it best. But the billions of others, most of them poor, will not. However many of them will fight to live before they die and that is another danger to the richer countries. The poor will pay first for what the rich have done. The richest will pay last even if they are in comfortable luxury because that human infrastructure will be gone. But then by then robots will be very useful to them for defense and manufacturing.

They may even want harsh climate change because in the past when that happened democracy disappeared and iron hand dictatorships rose to “maintain order” and “protect” everyone who must “sacrifice” except for the rulers that is.

Stephanie McMillan “Minimum” understands this however simply collapsing the system early doesn’t bode will for the millions that would die from its premature failure. Yet if we wait and do nothing the collapse will come later and even more billions will die. So we need another way or else the horrors will be for many years.

We did it so we either change how we do everything or we fall and then someone else will have to pick up the pieces and all our work over the past 6,000 years will have been wasted. Maybe next time. Maybe not.

And yet Ted Swart the same means and groups are involved in both. They use doubt and the ignorance of their audience to make their pseudo science stick in their minds. It is something I too have observed in how they work.

Maitreya won’t be coming around for over 300,000 years and it is Hindu not Christian. So get it straight,Alturn.

What we need is the eqivilent of the Manhattan Project but for the entire world and all of its peoples and ecosystems. Now is our test to survive or die off slowly. Estimates are it would take 10 million years to recover from the worse case scenario which is coming sooner than previous predictions had shown. Its happening faster than previous thought!

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By TDoff, March 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

All may not be as bad as it seems, there may be a couple of rays of hope: 1. We could all, atheists and agnostics too, get together and pray for The Rapture. As soon as ‘god’ snatched-up all the good CrazyChristianConservative EvangelicalFundamentalist BornAgainBoobs to his bosom, the GOPers and TeaBaggers would be decimated, and common sense and reason would have another chance of prevailing here on Earth. Or 2. Some big drug company (or some doper on a trip) could invent a ‘Sanity’ pill, and slip it into the nation’s drinking water as a public service. This would bring about the same result as 1., above.
‘Course, if this takes too long, we’ll all be reduced to eating dog food. And we run the risk of running out of dogs if we don’t get this turned around pretty soon.

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By Alan MacDonald, March 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

This column clearly demonstrates Hedges’ understanding that Empire is the ultimate cancer to be confronted.

“Protests that are not built around a complete reconfiguration of American society, including a rapid dismantling of empire and the corporate state, can only forestall the inevitable. We will be saved only with the birth of a new and militant radicalism which seeks to dethrone our corrupt elite (Empire) from power, not negotiate for better terms.”

The disconnect here is that millions of other good, honest, working/middle-class Americans genuinely ‘feel’ that the system is drastically wrong, broken, fraudulent, etc., but that too few ‘understand’ how these crimes of Empire are being perpetrated and how totally uncaring the ruling-elite’s global corporate/financial/militarist Empire is to the ‘collateral damage’, and to the ‘negative externality destruction’ that they are knowingly causing to our world.

Hedges gives a sense of the difference between ‘feeling’ the pain, and ‘understanding’ the existential depth and potential extinction that is being visited on our only fragile world by these sociopathic pricks of this final global Empire:

“The collapse of the global economy, which wiped out a staggering $40 trillion in wealth, was caused when our elites, after destroying our manufacturing base, sold massive quantities of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities to pension funds, small investors, banks, universities, state and foreign governments and shareholders. The elites, to cover the losses, then looted the public treasury to begin the speculation over again. They also, in the name of austerity, began dismantling basic social services, set out to break the last vestiges of unions, slashed jobs, froze wages, threw millions of people out of their homes, and stood by idly as we created a permanent underclass of unemployed and underemployed. “

We can ‘feel’ all the pain imaginable in this crime against humanity, but we must ‘understand’ and achieve solidarity against the arrogant deceit of EMPIRE to do anything about it.

The criminal is Empire. The cancer is Empire.

The cure of excising that cancer of Empire must involve a “Multitude” of doctors, surgeons, who can diagnose the cancer and have the combined societal skills to actually excise the tumor of Empire.

The name of the disease, ‘Empire’, must ring throughout the land before the operation can be successfully performed.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine
“Liberty over violent empire”
Party headquarters

PS. I would only add to Hedges’ concluding comment of “This time when we go down it will be global. There are no new lands to pillage, no new peoples to exploit”——that the phrase, “No One Left to Loot” is an appropriate short summation of this Empire’s global crime.

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By notexactlyhuman, March 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

It does not take an astrophysicist or even a
climatologist to know better than to shit where one
eats. Anyone arguing for the detriment of our planet is
a greedy dupe or a corporate shill . . . or both.

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By 2shareisjoy, March 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

To those who hide their heads under the sand to avoid facing the imminent reality of climate change, it only takes a few seconds to get a few answers, like such obtained by the hundreds of real scientist members of the IPCC, NOAA, or NASA to get started;,

But to me the most obvious proof is:

The Master’s article for
Share International magazine, May 2009
The curse of commercialization

by the Master –, through Benjamin Creme, 17 April 2009

If men are to save this planet from the results of global warming they must do infinitely more than is planned to limit carbon emissions, and in a shorter period of time than is generally accepted as necessary. Men have been slow to recognize the dangers, and even now many refuse to take the problems seriously. Such attitudes, there is no doubt, put in jeopardy the future of planet Earth. At most, men have ten to fifteen years in which to establish a balance before irreparable damage is done.

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By katsteevns, March 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

Is Chris Hedges not a Christian whose prayers would be for the return of his messiah and all the gruesome events that would lead up to that day as clearly stated in scripture?

Shouldn’t he at least mix some joy among his doomsday rants communicating that hope, or is he hiding something?  If so, just what is it that he is trying to communicate here? Whose feathers is he trying to ruffle and why? Why is his “faith” not incorporated into his work? Is he still trying to “find himself”? Or, is this just a paycheck for him?

Is the religious question simply one that no one dares to touch with a 10 foot pole?
Minimally, at least, you should ask yourself why you would look to him for an objective critique in a world he believes will destroy itself in all out war.

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By RayLan, March 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

@Ted Stewart
“Honest science as opposed to dishonest science”
You just gave me what is called a ‘question begging” or loaded answer.
On what scientific basis have you decided that the scientific consensus is ‘dishonest’?

Accusing that many scientists of being liars is a huge claim and needs some major justification. It sure aint’ because they are hired by Big Corp -whose vested interest is too deny environmental responsibilities.

This crime of falsification lacks a motive, unless you have an elaborate politically or religiously skewed view of scientists as co-consipators in league with the Devil.

Of course one way to refute evidence is to deny that it is evidence - (lies).

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By bogi666, March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After reading some of the comments it’s evident that no one has ever experienced the collapse of a society. I have and it’s very depressing. It was a much smaller society so its collapse was fast. Anyone who doesn’t realize that American society is collapsing is an ignorant buffoon and just talking out of their asses. Their are films of the collapse of societies during the 1930’s so the choice to be ignorant and to convince others to be ignorant is characteristic of a society in collapse, denial. Falling back on religious superstitions as a means to be deluded from the facts and being instilled with mindlessness, the inability to discern thoughts from facts,propaganda of happy talk, sociopathic, psychopathic, optimistic psychobabble replaces reality. Americans , like to be lied to, the rest of the world knows it only Americans don’t. They don’t like the truth.

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By Tom Dolan, March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great work as usual, Mr. Hedges, and a great discussion, too.  If anyone’s in the mood to check out an essay I just put up exploring the link between Mr. Hedges’ ideas as expressed in “Empire of Illusion” and Charlie Sheen (and what his collapse might augur), swing on over to and let me know what you think.  Cheers!

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By Michael Kleiza, March 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I must admit that Mr. Hedge’s piece is compelling but to write:

“We will be saved only with the birth of a new and
militant radicalism which seeks to dethrone our
corrupt elite from power, not negotiate for better

indicates to me he is following the adage: “desperate times call for desperate measures.”. What will happen if this comes to pass is the unleashing of civil wars and finally a global conflict that when over, will simply keep the powerful in power. What is needed is unviolent protest by the general population—general strikes, work stoppages by concerned citizens who wish their children and grand children, and all children for that matter to have a decent life and a future. As individuals we all have to step up and show responsibility and compassion. The solution is in each one of us to create a groundswell of change. The solution is not in militarism.

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By Connor, March 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges for President; absolutely spot on. Progressives for 2012.

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By Eric Pasternak, March 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you are old enough to have grandchildren, you are probably old enough to have benefited from the boom times of the post-WW II years. But your grandchildren are going to face a very grim future, as multiple problems cascade, driven by gross overpopulation of the planet.  And in keeping with what CH says about denial, not those who work furiously to deny family planning assistance.

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By plainsman, March 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker

Articulate though you are—even though you say English is not your “Native” tongue—why can you not flesh out your two key phrases: “The Living Virtue” of “Organic Functional Integrity”? And please don’t say you did so already, ‘cause if you did I wouldn’t be asking you to do so now. Plus, when any of us (generally speaking) tries to pin down what you mean, you dis us in some way.

“Love one another,” you finish off with. Seems it’s time for some tough love with respects to those who drive the “bus”.

Once again Chris Hedges gets some of the details wrong—as some here have already pointed out—and thereby constructs a flimsy argument. Plus he goes over the top: “This time we’re taking the whole planet with us,” he says. What a grandiloquent expression of human conceit. The planet will remain, whether we as a lifeform also remain is very much in question. And the biosphere—which is what humans are making a mess of—is not generally referred to as an ecosystem; it is comprised of many ecosystems.

For anyone doubting the precariousness of “civilization”, this is a must watch: END:CIV ( )

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By Ted Swart, March 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

You ask:
“On what science do you base the dogma that human-caused global warming is a ‘phoney notion’?”
The answer is quite simple. Honest science as opposed to dishonest science.
The well known Michael Mann “hockey stick” graph completely hid the medieval warm period which was hotter and longer longer lasting than the current warming and likewise hid the subsequent mini ice age—which has perfectly naturally been followed by some warming. Worse still, in the leaked “climategate” emails, the self styled climate scientists involved deliberately “hid the decline” in the apparent temperatures using tree ring proxies.
According to those who believe in human caused runaway warming the last 12 years are supposed to have been accompanied by ever increasing temperature rises.  Yet there has been no further rise in temperature for this period.
Moreover, the polar bear population has gone up not down and the supposedly rapid shrinking of the Himalayas glaciers has not been occurring.
By the time another 12 years has passed the truth will out. What is really most unfortunate is that there are many human assaults on the Earth’s environment in urgent need of attention which tend to get sidelined by the overweening emphasis on a non-problem,

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By alturn, March 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

Daily the signs of the rotting pillars of the old structures and obsolete thoughts become increasingly apparent.  It is true that civilizations have risen and then vanished as that which causes calcification - greed and selfishness - sets in. And it is true that the future holds other cycles of creation, sustenance and ultimate destruction as taught in the Hindu tradition of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as much is reincarnation, despite the protestations of many, is a fact.  We go through these cycles in creation yet in a time like this it is good to remember that everything that is blocking us from a most glorious, golden age is coming to the surface so that we can reject that which does not ring true and build the new on a strong foundation.

“All that I say tonight pertains to the creation of a new living structure for mankind. A new civilization must be built on the ruins of the old. That which is precious and worth preserving will be so preserved, but all that hinders the manifestation of man’s true greatness must be discarded. A time is coming, My friends, when you will see around you cities of beauty, glowing creations of Love, and all the manifestation of man’s dreams of himself as God. Thus will it be.”
- from Messages from Maitreya the Christ

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By TAO Walker, March 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

At the top (when this Old Savage looked last) of the comment thread to last week’s Chris Hedges lament, “plainsman” asked whether that discussion should stay ‘there,’ or move over ‘here.’  After reading this week’s installment (and appended comments so-far), though, it seems fair to at-least wonder out-loud:  What’s the point…either way?

As Hedges, along with most everybody ‘else’ mired so deeply in the virtual world-o-‘hurt gulag regime, still shyies-away reflexively from facing-up to the lethal presence here of the alien retro-viral pathogen generating all these horrifyingly debilitating and degenerative effects, with most of these sleep-walkers also remaining shackled helplessly to the symptomatic “self” that is the thing’s barbed hook in ‘each’ of the “individual”-ized members of the “huddled masses” of the collective sub-species homo domesticus, it’s getting to the point where the chances of their living through the terminal phase of the tormenting entity’s process, for several thousand years pretty slim anyhow, have (as Hedges at-least implies) just tipped-over irreversibly into the DEAD END realm of “none.”  His desperate plea today for the sudden rise of some kind of “radical politics,” as Humanity’s now last resort, the last chance to salvage something, anything, out of the already-in-progress cascading catastrophic failure of the thing’s eCONomic ‘operating-system,’ puts Chris Hedges hisown"self” completely within the delusional framework of those same “idiotic elites” he CONdemns so acerbically today for their inveterate “greed.”

Yet, The Medicine specific to healing ALL-concerned, of this otherwise dead-certain-to-(soon)-be massively fatal CONdition, remains even at this late date within (admittedly not at-all easy) reach of our co-opted Human Relations.  The Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity is still present, if more-and-more tenuously every moment, in what’s left of the diminishing genuine Humanity resident in our terrified Sisters and Brothers who’re being systematically crushed by the relentless “progress” of a disease process altogether untreatable except by the generous ‘application,’ through (ironically?) Earth’s presently-massively-dysfunctional Human Children, of exactly that specific remedy. 

To ‘access’ it, though, hooked Humans must first spit-out the deadly “self.”  Only then, as “recovering” Natural Persons ORGANized spontaneously into genuine Living Human Communities, will they be able to tap, and pour into Earth’s Living Arrangement, a sufficiency of the inexhaustible well-springs of Organic Functional Integrity essential to adequate fulfillment of Humanity’s given Organic Function as vital components in Her natural immune system.

Chris Hedges seems to be saying today that this particularly virulent outbreak, this “western” strain” of the always ultimately fatal “civilization” disease, has just raced head-long (and -strong?) past the last EXIT on its own peculiar ONE WAY superhighway to Hell.  This Old Man, looking-on from Free Wild Indian Country, sees nothing at-all to contradict Hedges’ grim assessment.

Our Sisters and Brothers trapped on “the bus,” perhaps now right to the bitter end, can prepare as best they might for the inevitable crash by letting-go their fear-ridden “self,” and taking-hold of their hapless fellah ‘n’ gal “passengers.”  As an itinerant rabbi is said to’ve said to do, a couple thousand years ago, when all else fails:  Love one another.

Maybe that’s not “the easy way,” but it’s sure-as-hell The Tiyoshpaye Way.


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By KG, March 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More rehashing & focus on the problem, not the SOLUTION!!!!!

Must like horror stories…

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By RayLan, March 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

@Ted Swart
” The difference between the phoney notion of human caused global warming”

On what science do you base the dogma that human-caused global warming is a ‘phoney notion’?

Fossil fuel and agriculture have drastically increased greenhouse gasses (GHG).
“Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years. The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture. The IPCC has a very high confidence (representing at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct) in this conclusion.” An IPCC chart showing the increase in these gasses is available here.

The radiant forces of increased GHG is warming the planet.
“A warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level. At continental, regional and ocean basin scales, numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed. These include changes in arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts,heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns.” An IPCC chart showing the impact on pact on temperature is available here.

This warming will continue, and accelerate if we do not take action.
“For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.” An IPCC chart showing the forecasts is available here.

This warming will have severe consequences.
The IPCC has identified far ranging and drastic consequences of climate change, to both humans and the environment including:

• Increasing species extinctions
• Reduction of coral reefs, mangrove forests, and tropical rainforests
• Threats to small island states in the Pacific as sea levels rise
• Increasing drought threats in Africa
• More severe flooding in densely populated river deltas in Asia
• More severe weather in hurricane prone zones

Ok so now what is your counter-evidence? ...Out with it.

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By Dan Strutzel, March 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Chris and Friends:

Having now read this week’s submission of “doom” by Chris Hedges—a man who’s intellect and concerns I respect greatly—I have to ask Chris why he continues to write with such a fatalistic and morbid tone.  While you can certainly argue that global warming is a greater issue now than it was 20,30 or 40 years ago, nearly every generation has looked worse up close (meaning, while you are living through it) and better from a distance.  The way Chris writes about our world today, one would assume that we have never been more narcissitic, war hungry, socio-economically divided, etc. than we are today.  That is simply not true.  War is hell—-but it is far less hell today (in terms of fatalities and brutality) than it was in the Civil War era.  Human rights atrocities of the past make today’s human rights atrocities look pale by comparison.  As far as Corporate control—-yes, it’s terrible.  But, is it worse than (particuarly prior to the Renaissance) most of the world’s history when we were controlled by dictators, kings and queens?  I’m sure Chris would call this is a stupid argument—-almost like saying “since slaves had it better in the 18th Century than the 17th Century, that’s still no argument for slavery”—and he may be right….I’m certainly not saying the status quo is acceptable or desirable.  But, like Chris, I am a former seminarian—-and my seminary training taught me that truth is paradoxical—-that human beauty and triumph, can co-exist with human depravity and defeat.  Please Chris—-can you write on something beautiful….something triumphant, at least once in awhile?  And I don’t just mean the beauty of constant protest.  I mean the beauty of democracy at work….and, God forbid, the beauty of some corporations that actually DO contribute to the greater good—-they are out there.  I respect your intellect Chris, but I am beginning to lose respect for your fatalism.

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By bobcatg, March 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

So Women’s Lib was the death knell for someone’s version of ”Little House on the Prairie” and therefore Western and world culture?

I think maybe the inability to address WHAT work is worth doing has been much more of a problem.

The idea that perhaps there needs to be limits on personal wealth has been “off the table” for far too long. (Can we even speak of the malignancy that concentrated corporate wealth, and it’s legal “personhood”, has become with a straight face?)

The real intellectual dead end seems to be our way of living. Whatever mighty storehouse of intellectual gold the climate change deniers have as their resource seems at least as specious and idiotic – and speculative- as that of any excess they would accuse those they deride. What do those people have to offer at all?

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By Ted Swart, March 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

Whilst there is much truth in what Chris Hedges says he undermines the coherence of his diatribe by speaking of “the denial of global warming and evolution” in one breath.  The difference between the phoney notion of human caused global warming and evolution is as large as the difference between night and day. The hypothesis that the human burning of fossil fuels is causing runaway global warming is increasingly being shown to be nothing more than the biggest sham in the history of supposed scientific investigation. The occurrence of evolution is, on the other hand, scientifically well substantiated.
There is a huge difference between us and the Easter Islanders when it comes to the level of our understanding of the Earth on which we live.
If there is any hope of our avoiding the collapse of human life in Earth our decision making needs to be based on sound scientific information and not on the mythical notion of human caused global warming—which has already resulted in huge wast of time, energy and money that we can ill afford.

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By Bird48, March 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Not only is this country incapable of learning the lessons of ancient history it seems equally incapable of learning from recent history—like 3 years ago. I already hear the drumbeats of the “drill, baby, drill” crowd marshaling their troops because gas prices are going up again. What happened to all that pious austerity that was so wide-spread the last time this occurred? Where are all those tiny new fuel-efficient, hybrid cars that everyone was supposedly buying?

Putting aside for the moment where we could be if the lessons of the ‘70s were taken seriously, why are people still driving new, huge trucks and fast, flashy cars that are now as “in” as they were years ago? I have seen no evidence of a new, austere America. The BP oil disaster was only a year ago and already there is more deep-water drilling being started. It’s worse than the movie Groundhog Day.

This country is totally incapable of learning one damn thing about the limits of resources on the planet so it is up to Mother Nature to cleanse the planet of humans and start over again with a higher life form such as lichen which lives in harmony with its chosen environment.

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By D.R. Zing, March 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

The planet will be fine—give or take a few hundred millions years to recover.  We, however, are screwed.

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By RayLan, March 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Being a poet, I am always moved by Chris’ lyrical and ominous prophecies. The Shelley quote gives centuries old eloquent evidence that his
apocalytpic anxiety is not just a crackpot delusion.

here is an excerpt of a poem I wrote on the BP oil spill.

bubble headlines
of graphic novel history
Creature from the Black Lagoon
despoiler of sea-birds
you can carry home for lunch
fluted wisps of bone now clung
to the World’s Wide Web of cares
non-Icarus ascending bridges of breath
raised until further notice
feathered arches dropped
as though the sky
had cancelled rainbows”

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Arthur Schopenhauer

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, March 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

Being a poet, I am always moved by Chris’ lyrical and ominous prophecies. The Shelley quote gives centuries old eloquent evidence that his
apocalytpic anxiety is not just a crackpot delusion.

here is an excerpt of a poem I wrote on the BP oil spill.

bubble headlines
of graphic novel history
Creature from the Black Lagoon
despoiler of sea-birds
you can carry home for lunch
fluted wisps of bone now clung
to the World’s Wide Web of cares
non-Icarus ascending bridges of breath
raised until further notice
feathered arches dropped
as though the sky
had cancelled rainbows”

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Read more:

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By Leefeller, March 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

I cannot stand watching horror movies, I am the guy in the theater who’s popcorn always ends up flying through the air.  So for this week I am good spirits right now and plan on keeping it that way until hump day, (I have a new supply of Tequila) and will read Hedges Apocalypse 2012 horror story later.

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By Gulam, March 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

After the Second World War had Americans simply carried
on with traditional ways, no enemy could have touched
them for generations. The oil that Americans had under
their own land would have lasted many decades had it not
been consumed in an orgy of material excess.
Instead of following the standard model supported by of all of the world’s
major religions, modern capitalists chose, like their fellow materialists the
Communists, to use the Enlightenment rhetoric of liberation to rearrange the
social order. By “liberating” women, putting them into the work force, the West
embarked upon an unstable course of continually increasing consumption that
could only be sustained by taking by force the resources of the rest of the
world. This made their need to dominate other nations inevitable, their
destruction of the environment was accelerated, and their family structures
were undermined. Feminism is the key to bringing on rapid decline; it opens he
door to destruction by radically undermining the remarkable efficiency of the
home as the primary social structure.

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By prisnersdilema, March 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

The climate change deniers will be clinging to their faux news delusions, even as the
population continues to alternately boil or freeze. Living a life in the future is a problem
when that future becomes uncertain, even more so when that future becomes a present
full of uncertainty and chaos. The record snow falls, the rising ocean levels, the
hurricanes, crop failures, record floods, all these things mean something.  Even to the
the wealthy plutocrats whose corporate sponsored disinformation campaigns
squandered twenty years that could have been used to make a difference, all the while
hypocritically preparing themselves in record number by buying bunkers, and shares in
underground survival habitats, with many years of food storage to protect themselves
from the coming ecological collapse.  It didn’t have to be this way, but now it’s here. All
that can be known for sure is that we’ve been ruled by madness and greed for the last
40 years, and that madness will kill us all. It’s so much easier to believe in pretty dreams,
that’s what delusions are.

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By pyrrhon, March 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

General Omar Bradley wrote a nice speech about man‘s failure to act responsibly. It went something like this—Our technological knowledge and skills have developed to a point where we can easily destroy the planet.  But, we have not even come close to develop a code of moral wisdom and responsibility.  We do not have the ability to control our technological advancements for peaceful purposes.  We are technological geniuses, but ethical morons.  We spend billions on perfecting our military might and next to nothing on real peace initiatives.  We have not learned the art of living together in peace.

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By fearnotruth, March 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

taking down the entire world?  extreme? not at all - e.g.

Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War
by Leuren Moret


The fact is that the United States and its military partners have staged four
nuclear wars, “slipping nukes under the wire” by using dirty bombs and dirty
weapons in countries the US needs to control. Depleted uranium aerosols will
permanently contaminate vast regions and slowly destroy the genetic future of
populations living in those regions, where there are resources which the US
must control, in order to establish and maintain American primacy.

Described as the Trojan Horse of nuclear war, depleted uranium is the weapon
that keeps killing. The half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, the age of
the earth. And, as Uranium-238 decays into daughter radioactive products, in
four steps before turning into lead, it continues to release more radiation at
each step. There is no way to turn it off, and there is no way to clean it up. It
meets the US Government’s own definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

After forming microscopic and submicroscopic insoluble Uranium oxide
particles on the battlefield, they remain suspended in air and travel around the
earth as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust, contaminating the
environment, indiscriminately killing, maiming and causing disease in all living
things where rain, snow and moisture remove it from the atmosphere. Global
radioactive contamination from atmospheric testing was the equivalent of
40,000 Hiroshima bombs, and still contaminates the atmosphere and lower
orbital space today. The amount of low level radioactive pollution from depleted
uranium released since 1991, is many times more (deposited internally in the
body), than was released from atmospheric testing fallout.


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By samosamo, March 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment


Chris, I would say it is genetically hard wired in humans to do
so, evidenced by the charade of what is considered valuable,
important and essential today from what was considered ‘so’
long ago by much more nobler people than the people of
today. Obvious, too, in the very poor way of being the so
called ‘stewards’ of this planet.

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By reckoner, March 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

These arguments are so fraught with confusion and denial. On one hand I’m encouraged by CH alarmism, as I agree and have been writing for years; civilization is hanging in the balance with not much hope of retrieval. CH is one of the few commentator to link the global eco-crisis with the global greed psychosis. And it’s a late but welcome observation that our collective unconscious has bred the denial, willful ignorance, and resistance to the truth of the dangers, which both hide and perpetuate the many interactive crises. It’s also sad to find willful blindness and denial among the commentators here (mf). Only sudden increases in the eco-disasters will bring a larger contingent to the realization that only radical re-thinking of the whole system will turn us in a sustainable, survivable direction. And alas, that increase is all too likely. And will all too likely be too late.

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By peteb91, March 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

I agree totally, we have long passed the point of no return, 6.9 billion people on earth and growing. The unrelenting exploitation of earths resources, it seems inevitable that the next mass extinction is underway. I am glad I have no children to face our future. It sure looks bad and those who we choose to lead us seem more disassociated from reality than ever they have been. It sure looks bad.

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By mf, March 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges has joined a long line of catastrophists. Sorry to see this, because he will now enter into a downward spiral of seeing wrong, decline and end of days in everything.

1. there is no human induced global warming which will kill the planet. Please, left wing, do us all a favor and lay this particular nonsense to rest. You can do a lot of good by focusing your energies and social conscience on real issues that can be attended to, not this non-problem. The most likely catastrophic weather event is return of an ice age.

2. We are currently facing a problem of population explosion, particularly in “third world” countries. This is unintended consequence of successes of western civilization in reducing childhood mortality. Typical pre-industrial mortality from birth to adulthood was ~50%, compounded by wars. Under this mortality rate an average woman must bear ~4.5 children just to keep the population constant. The result is a patriarchal society which consigns women to child bearing and child rearing roles. When such culture collides with almost overnight (culturally) drop in mortality to ~10%, population doubles in every generation. This is what has happened.
3. These multitudes want better life. Better life can not be granted to them easily using currently commercialized means at western civilizations disposal because these means are too resource intensive.
4. The West is suffering its own internal crisis because it drew all the wrong conclusions from the fall of the Soviet Union and abandoned managed capitalism. It is thus facing a marxist crisis of political economy, namely collapse in demand.
5. The answer to 3+4 is redirect the west from financialized economy back into productive economy, commercializing new sources of energy. The survival of civilization depends on commercializing new sources of energy while maintaining the social order.

The fact that we are having this discussion means that the global awareness is greater today than it has been in the past. There is hope, and there are technologies that can be deployed to provide a decent standard of living.

Catastrophism easily feigns wisdom, but it is ultimately an intellectual dead end.

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By TDoff, March 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

This whole scenario is crazy. DOOM AND GLOOM, DOOM AND GLOOM!! WTF!?
The solution is simple. All that is needed to assure a rosy future for the Earth and all of us inhabitants, and avoid the apparently inevitable impending disaster, is a change in human nature.
So hey, we’re a ‘christian nation’, aren’t we? So c’mon, ‘god’, DO SOMETHING!
Let us pray.

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By Albatross, March 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

Either we take care of Nature, or Nature will take care of us.

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By lasmog, March 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

I think that global CO2 levels are currently estimated at 390 ppm.

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