Twilight of Civilisation as we knew it… 

Everything… society, countries, economies, politics, institutions, cities, businesses, politics, technology, AI, humans, human relationships, children, environment, nature, animals, fish, flora and fauna, climate have entered the twilight stage of existence.. the meaninglessness of all things is getting deeper and deeper…it is as if it’s one gigantic fish bowl zombie Matrix existence ….where everything is going through its paces and lines … as if part of some existential drama is being enacted in its last act and scenes… humans like the walking dead are lurching on blindly…looking without seeing…hearing without listening… a veritable theatre of the absurd… conditioned to the power infinity…living or dying dreams within dreams existences..

As the great anthropogenic era draws to an apocalyptic ending … planet earth has starting weeping…. unheard of and unprecedented geoclimatic events are occurring with increasing fury, frequency, pace, intensity, amplitude, standard deviation… a tiny sample of these recent surreal magic realism climate events are:

  • ·         Wild fires in the Antarctica, Canada, Siberia, Greenland caused by exposed methane after melting of permafrost..
  •  ·       High temps of 41 to 44 c over huge swathes of Southern Europe…
  •  ·       Rain bombs…. Unusually high precipitation (sometimes three times of high averages of 1” per hour for say 4/5 hours), storms and flooding in US, Europe, gulf, south east Asia, South America
  •  ·        Heatwaves and rain in Australia during winter..
  • ·         Increasing drought and famines in Africa…dry and weak micro cloud rains…

The surreal magic realism is present in all spheres of existence… The recent antics of a paranoid prez in White House …. Managing by tweeting….singing praises of white supremists ….country tottering precariously on a financial precipice ….being responsible for after putting the entire globe on a rich carbon diet… Through Hollywood…SUVs…coke…Levi’s….malls…consumerism….fossil fuel…

Everything seems to be spinning out of control….terror…financial decline of Europe …wars….stand off with North Korea….migrants streaming into Europe….conflict within Islam in several countries….

These are indeed epochal times…inflexion point of human civilisation…it’s very clear that everything seems to be falling apart…especially for some one born in the early 50s…for whom this is the seventh decade on this planet….for someone who has seen the best decades of the world …the 50s…peaking during the 60s….the first signs of decline were perhaps the 70s….the start of the oil crises….crude prices shooting up…rise of the petro power and Arabs…in fact the greed and the avarice of the Americans for crude…contributed to the turn of events…this was around the time the gold standard was abandoned…

Maybe the decline of the western civilisation began with the oil crises…ironically….though tech and innovation kept increasing productivity and GDP still the first signs of economic weakening…debt started creeping up….Reagan was gov of California and he opened the floodgates of deficit budgets and debt…then when he became president of US ….he introduced reliance on debt with help of treasury secretaries from Goldman Sachs…

one of the main triggers of the burgeoning debt was the long string of wars being fought by USA on foreign soil…starting with Korea….these costly wars and covert wars / operations were necessary to ensure American hegemony over the world…most civilisations when they peak, they need extensive armed forces to police their territories….apart from the external wars USA was also waging a war internally with the economically lower segments like the blacks, Hispanics…in order to control them into submission…in the inner cities.. the level of incarceration very high…in fact highest ratio in the world ….most of the prisoners framed for minor misdemeanours like possessing marijuana….which has no logical reason to be illegal …..white supremacy dictate runs high…

In this manner the world’s greatest ever society or civilisation…had peaked in the 60s…and there after declined…the very seeds of its destruction…like a being mass consumer throwaway society…prisoner of the capitalistic system wherein the corporate sector must keep on increasing its valuation as indicated by the gigantic stock market casinos….a quarter to quarter existence ….focus on short term gimmicks to impress analysts with express intent of flogging profits and share prices…..but no focus upon intrinsic long term wealth creation through real customer satisfaction and loyalty…

Thanks to globalisation, technology, Internet, media, tv, aviation, shipping, international trade….america’s socio-economic model was exported and copied all over the world…sale of bigger cars, consumer durables, air-conditioning….Hollywood, rock n roll…..high energy intensive lifestyles….malls, high rises……rest of the world’s impressionistic youth wanting all the so called American way of life…now…the world has become full of American clones..blended with each country’s culture….one can detect various planes of Americanisms in the developing world….be it Asia, Africa, South America….this way all of us became fossil fuel dependent junkies…

For one brief shining moment there was Camelot…the magic of America… Kennedy…the peak of human civilisation in terms of pomp and grandeur…then the decline began in almost all spheres…the decline was in real debt adjusted terms…though in terms of technology, IT, AI, etc a lot of advances have been made….but in terms of the big critical parameters like societies, economies and climate….definitely there is a cause of alarm as all indicators are in decline inspite of all the apparent glitter and glamour which is desperately trying cover the stench of dying flesh putrefying …..there is just too much to worry about…we have morphed since the 60s….into a has been society.. civilisation…..

Finally climate is going to be the biggest game changer….will level the differences between the rich and the poor….probably only the ultra-rich and robots will survive the looming CLIMOCALYPSE….which maybe about 10,000 days away…..

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Why strategies for carbon reduction will not succeed? 2 little 2 late… 

(published 17th August 2015 in newgrammaroflife.blogspot.com)

Earlier in the 20th century, there was a consensus among climate experts the 350 ppm co2 emissions would be the upper limit beyond which green house gasses would lead to significant climate changes.This level was breached by 1980. Then the next target was pegged at 400 ppm, with liberal fallback to 450 ppm depending upon the differential impact on climate pattern in different places. Based upon these end goals, varying carbon emission reduction targets have been assigned to all countries.
According to the Presidential Climate Action Report, “In order to stabilize CO2 concentrations at about 450 ppm by 2050, global emissions would have to decline by about 60% by 2050. Industrialized countries greenhouse gas emissions would have to decline by about 80% by 2050”. The thumb-rule applied is the each year a 2 ppm co2e is acceptable. Recently in march 2015, the 400 ppm milestone mark was breached. This has sent the climate activists and environmentalists into worried huddles. At this rate by 2050, the co2e levels would probably reach 470 ppm, which would be in the red flag territory. Already climate change and extreme events are increasing exponentially. The list of extreme events during the past two years beggars all imagination spread across all continents.
The unusual freak occurrences are the severe storms which battering the US east coast, unprecedented hurricanes and twisters, flooding, earthquakes, soaring temperatures, plummeting temperatures, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, sinking cities. Climate refugees have trying to gain toehold in developed economies. Most of these refugee are from Africa which is reeling from extreme weather and dwindling agricultural production which has provided a fecund ground for breeding fundamentalists and terror.  These climate events also have to be viewed against a background of weakening global economy. Most of Europe is mired in deep debt. Except Germany and a few more economically strong economies like in Scandinavia and relatively UK, the others are just too weak to implement strong green measures or even absorb climate refugees.
We are too deep into our hyper energy intensive lifestyles. Everyone is talking of a transition process where gradually fossil fuels will be, Apart from the high cost of reducing carbon emissions and adopting other green measures, there are a host of factors which are impeding a wholesale rewind of the high energy intensive lifestyle moat which humankind has built around themselves in the blind pursuit of  so called highly developed and technological societies which now are stifling their very creators ie humans.
All pointers are towards a sixth mass extinction.No strategy for replacing by greener sources like solar with no finite time frame. No one is talking of:
  1. Voluntary reduction of energy use and energy guzzling gadgets.
  2. Reducing and eliminating fossil fuel based energy in say five years or so.
  3. Walking to work and fulfilling all chores, thus reducing production of cars, and instead only permitting green public transport.
  4. Staying in small eco friendly self sufficient green communes, thus changing the very structure and design of cities away from high energy intensive high rises ones These monsters are soak-pits which consume copious amounts of energy for lifts, air conditioning, pumps…
  5. Not wearing suits in summer which hikes up AC costs. This list can go on ad infinitum.
The intrinsic problem or crux of the matter is that the growth of these monstrous multi hydra so called icons of human development forms the very foundation of capitalism. The continuous development of new products, some based upon minor incremental improvements, is the principle of competition which demands companies have to continuously innovate in order the survive the hyper competition. With technology changing so fast in these nanosecond times, product life cycles are shortening. And humankind is forever being tempted to buy the latest gadgets and models. Inspite of all the advancement and better quality of life, humans are always craving for more. Retail therapy is the best way 90% of upper middle class and above realise their instant nirvana.
What i am trying to drive at is we are too deeply entrenched in all the goodies capitalism offers us. Any attempt to stop, reduce or ration the goodies would be unacceptable to the populace. They would rise in revolt. The need for these goodies is too deeply ingrained like the addiction of heroin. Hence the problem of reducing co2 emissions is not as simple as only curbing fossil fuel. There are just too many vested interests and lobbies in the coal industry. There are enough reserves of coal and crude to last out perhaps another 100 years. Hence from the supply side, it is too alluring a proposition to make profits for another three generations even though margins are declining both due to over supply and the fact that best quality crude and coal, generally the low hanging fruit, has already been exploited. Too add to this grim supply side scenario US has has commercially exploiting shale gas which is fraught with its own nemesis ie the fracking method leads to earthquakes…which in some US states has compounded 1000 fold! To literally… add oil to fire… speaking tongue in cheek…US has recently repealed a 40 year old ban they had on exporting oil…hence the supply side solutions are not easy to effectively implement.
Apart from the doublespeak on supply side, there a hilarious double chaos on the demand side. On one hand, rampant urbanisation has lead to chocking roads and highways which are further being clogged by ever increasing population of cars which are the toys of doom of the human race. Now all the best car companies are manufacturing in india and china to meet the bottomless appetite for cars by the rising nouveau riche. Even though several eco friendly cars have come out, but the overwhelming suicidal demand is still for the petrol and diesel versions. On the other hand, ironically city planners and administrators encourage mass rapid transit systems. Even though high proportion of commuters use the public transport systems, many of which in the developed countries are technologically advanced hybrid vehicles, still the march of cars is unabated. Cars have symbolically become the mascot of advanced humans, even though are hastening increase of co2 ppm levels to dangerous levels.
Plus the automotive industry, which has powerful lobbies, still feels that more fuel efficient cars can still drive the car sales for at least another 25 years. Habits die hard. By and large people still yearn for fuel based cars over electric cars. To add to the mounting crisis now driverless cars are emerging. Even if we transition to hydrogen cars one day, though co2 emission is minimal and limited to production of hydrogen varying upon process, still we will need steel for the bodies and alloys for engines production processes of which are carbon intensive also. There is no respite from co2 emissions.
The demand side is too chock full of human comfort and luxuries which have become necessities and essentials such as monsters like air conditioning (emitting hydrofluorocarbons), heating, lifts, cooking gadgets…..yes indeed we are slaves to electricity. Except solar power, all the rest have harmful greenhouse gas impact. There is no way we can significantly reduce these emissions within the next 30 years. The post modern industrial structure will not allow it since it will deal a death blow to capitalism apart from our conditioned needs and wants.
There is no turning back the clock since we are too conditioned and deeply dependent upon our energy intensive lifestyles. What we are experiencing today in terms of:
1)  global warning,
2) extreme climate,
3) melting glaciers and poles,
4) rising sea levels,
5) unprecedented floods, storms, droughts,
6) drying rivers,
7) depleting aquifer levels
…is the cumulative effect of so called called progress since the industrial era started about 300 years ago. The momentum created will be impossible to arrest by the slew of half baked measures we are adopting. The root causes are not being addressed or even articulated. Too much doublespeak… double-think…. schizoid….. head buried in the sand ostrich like behaviour. Cars air conditioning are bad while new factories are being set up all the time for the rapidly growing emerging markets.
Where are the viable alternative lifestyle solutions and strategies which can wean away humans from this morass of energy intensive urban nightmare existence? The bright lurid neon lights of mega cities are drawing them like veritable moth.  There is an urgent need for more integrated solutions like New Grammar of Life (newgrammaroflife.blogspot.in). Such solutions would seem so austere and horrifying to the celluloid sensibilities and shallow culture youth and others today living on an energy intensive digital plane, the entrenched lobbies will never let their control over the masses go. Too much is at stake. They are not at all bothered about the mid and long term impact of such profligate living. Its almost like a Sodom and Gomorrah redux.
Apart from the above, there are many more environmental degradation issues:
  • Millions of tons of plastic under the oceans rendering mutations in fishes and endangering species
  • Disposal of nuclear waste and submarines is reaching nightmarish proportions…rivers and oceans have been converted into radiation zones, which over time are spreading and leaving in their wake dead fish and flora
  • Energy inefficient structures, buildings, cities guzzling copious energy
  • Global garbage disposal crisis. Capitalist throwaway societies will malls spewing forth goodies for forever greedy consumers, now online amazon adding more cartoons to be disposed.
  • High co2 emission industries like steel, metals, energy, transport…which are compounding exponentially…
Capitalism is in its death throes. Negative interest rates, debt spiraling out of control in country after country. But nobody is questioning the root causes. Its lurching from side to side…veering precariously towards nether-land. But the show must go on…. Continuous innovation…excess capacity…eternal sales and discounts…companies failing…mergers…and so on…the virtuous circle goes on….
In a crazy scenario like this there is no coherent policy for saving the planet from the ravages of changing climate. There is a babel of voices. Paris 2015 may achieve some contrived consensus…which may be too little too late…we are already attuned to the unthinkable changes…accepting them numbly as the new norm…there no other option….
The hypocrisy still goes on …getting stronger all the time…thick skinned…orange is the new black…most in a opiated world…still repeating like parrots…that we should be able to contain global warming to under 2 deg C by turn of century, while the likely figure could cross 3 to 4 deg C.. The truth is always juggled around for convenience. The masses must not know the truth. Daily stories of fresh new highs / lows being reached at various places. Falling upon deaf ears.
Now at the rate at which climate is changing….it will be very difficult to delay the cataclysmic impact which is forecast by NGL to happen by 2050 to 60….35 to 45 years from now. need to work out alternative scenarios. Likely scenario:
  • No more glaciers and poles…sea levels up by 3/4 meters….many major coastal cities under water…climate refugees
  • Vast tracts of arid land in tropics…agriculture severely affected….famines…climate refugees and wars and slaves
  • change of all major seasons….severe precipitation all the time…flooding…more climate refugee
  • Most severe winter storms…snow 12-15 ft high…rendering more uninhabitable areas…again climate refugees…
  • Severe pollution…killing millions….dying cities…
  • Dry major rivers..port cities..cradles of civilization…becoming history and memories…
  • precipitation all the time…flooding…more climate refugee
Indeed a surreal clifi future at hand…thin blur between fact and fiction…another 35 years of humanity before it becomes a frightened weak species (whatever survives) dominated by robots and AI….yes the surreal contours of a future stranger than scifi and clifi is close at hand…civilization is entering its most tempestuous times….a surreal movie unfurling before us day after day…with dream like vividness……

NGL’s Radical Core Manifesto for averting Climocalypse: Survival Kit

 This contains the most radical measures of New Grammar of Living which are needed to be implemented if we need to become in one year’s time zero carbon and environmental degradation.

Climate objectives:

Try to halt and reverse the relentless march of climate change through back to nature movement…

Strategic climate policies

All government, education, commercial, manufacturing, infrastructure, logistics, agriculture and food, environment, transportation, administration bodies/organisations/social groups/etc will need to recast their strategic objectives / action plans in terms of priorities aligned with the needs associated with coping and combating and reversing rapid climate change, environmental degradation….

Climate Measures

  1. Stop using air conditioning and heating for temperatures between 10C and 30C in cold countries and up to 35C in warm countries across the world.
  1. Running hot and cold water to be stopped except in hospitals.
  1. Stop using internal combustion engine cars, SUVs, vans, and all kind of trucks except for food transport, medical needs.
  1. Ban usage of washing machines, dryers, dish washing machines due to their intensive use of water and power.
  1. Stop usage of fossil fuel and other non-renewable energy production except in hospitals.
  1. Strict family planning and population control / reduction through one child limits and no child rules in required cases.
  1. Closure of all non-essential manufacturing units. All products to be subject to strict water and carbon limits. Products to be water and carbon positive.
  1. Planned and sparing use of lifts.
  1. No neon and bright lighting.
  1. Strict water control and caps on uses. Rationing of potable water.
  1. Limiting cloud usage of all social network websites.
  1. Ban on smoke emitting activities.
  1. Clamp down on non-green conspicuous consumption.
  1. Reduce high carbon agriculture.
  1. Reduce air travel by 75%. Permit only essential and humanitarian travel.All other travel by bus, train, etc to be based up urgency, essential services, critical industries…
  1. No new coal plants. Phased closure of existing coal plants in one year framework. Stop new hydel projects.
  1. No ironing of clothes. Ban on suits above 20C.
  1. Phase out non-vegetarian food. Water intensive meats first.
  1. Climate police, surveillance, information, networks, etc to be set up for ensuring strict implementation with stringent 360 deg punishment process. Existing departments in these areas to work closely with climate bodies and report to them.
  1. Ministry of Climate with overarching powers to eradicate the root causes which have led the present climocalypse state….

Strategic Initiatives

  1. Top priority to climate, environment studies and research at all educational, technology institutions.
  1. Climate change mitigation plans for top 1000 cities of the world.
  1. Map all major geographical locations, especially those which could be safe in terms of potential climate changes and events, and prepare historical grids of temperature, rainfall, flooding, aquifer levels, storms, etc. Then applying auto regressive models make projections for next 30-50 years. Arrive at best places to stay during 2050-2100.
  1. Similar research for top cities and try to find out their respective breaking points in terms of becoming inhabitable due to action of one or more of climate perils / hazards as they increase exponentially.
  1. Prepare action plans for shifting/ migration population from collapsing cities when clichange intensifies to the safe places identified from above research.
  1. Climate proof ratings for cities, buildings, complexes, organisations, homes.
  1. Green action plans for cities, buildings, complexes, organisations, homes.
  1. Deurbanisation action plans.
  1. Decarbonisation action plans. To include reducing cars on roads. Stop producing internal combustion engine cars.
  1. Rehabilitation and restructuring action plans for implementing Climate Action Plans under which many carbon intensive products and industries are going to be banned, controlled, phased out, remodelled, merged, closed for individuals, companies, sectors, industries.
  1. Universal income scheme of Zuckerberg especially since several industries like car, fossil fuel based, etc would need to close.
  1. Carbon and water values for all consumer products, food, buildings, manufactured items.
  1. Carbon and water monitoring and meters for homes, offices, buildings, complexes, organisations and cities.
  1. Above points 6 to 13 to be linked to salary structures, individual and company tax rates, GST, interest rates both for deposits and loans.
  1. Processes and systems for all above.

Strategic Coping Plans for Climate Change

Espouse, write, help in implementing radical or moderate versions of the following action points:

  1. Heat Action Plans for cities and rural areas.
  2. Flood action plans.
  3. Sea level rise action plans
  4. Back to nature and roots movements for urban people.
  5. Integrated climate plan for alternative lifestyles and eco systems for Zero carbon societies.

The above list is not a comprehensive or exhaustive one. Further details of the above will be published in this blog periodically…each of the above points need to be expanded and fleshed out into draft action plans….then maybe with the collaborations of educational and research institutions these drafts can be finalised….next get in touch with agencies which can implement these and convince them about the usefulness of these action plans for combatting climate change… we must try to minimise the ravages of climocalypse by being better prepared….

Inexorably being sucked into climocalypse….

As I write this blog…there are unmistakable signs that disruptive unusual and extreme weather and climate patterns have started breaking out over all continents and oceans… added to this are similar disruptive unusual and extreme patterns of economic and societal trends… everything seems to be spinning out of control… future shock magnified almost infinitely… some of the major non-climate trends of this veritable theatre of the absurd are:

  1.   Debt at country, corporate, local govts, individual levels mounting much beyond all safe levels… leverage assuming bubble proportions…4x of global GDP, 15-20x including derivatives…
  2. Inequalities increasing sharply over most societies… the inherent greed and avarice of humans coupled with the overarching full-blown features of capitalism…are accentuating the divide between haves and have nots…
  3. Violence at all levels is spiralling out of control…countries, urban, family, individual…
  4. Terrorism at various planes…religious, predominantly Islamic, unhinged dictators like Kim, cyber, ethnic, nationalistic…. becoming more terrifying with the ease of owning dirty bombs (nukes), biological pathogens, hacking financial systems, power grids, sewerage and water systems….
  5. Digitisation, robots, TV, entertainment, internet and AI gaining total control of our lives… with humanity morphing towards singularity…dehumanisation….
  6. Family breakdown with traditional marriage fading out as an institution, more wanting to live alone, divorces, same sex living/marriages, rising promiscuity, robot partners, three/multi-some marriages…
  7. Rampant urbanisation stressing out infrastructure of cities, power woes at peak demand, heat stress with global warming where temperatures get upto 8C higher than normal due to concrete heat sinks, flooding due to vanishing urban green covers and run off surfaces…
  8. Food shortages over vast tracts of humanity coexisting with excess food in affluent pockets…due to inequalities, climate change induced famines….
  9. Migrants from war, terror, genocide, famine infested areas like Syria, Africa….rising immigrants into cities, rich countries…

The above are a few of frightening trends which are getting stronger…but finally as I have often written and lamented about is that climate is going to be the ultimate game changer… most of us are watching the onslaught of climocalypse like zombies …. too deep into the trance, addiction and morass of modern life to react… satisfied with the few puny incremental measures being taken up by countries, corporates to make our world less carbon intensive …..

A few of the future shockean climate change trends which are ravaging the planet with increasing intensity, frequency, amplitude, standard deviation are listed below:

  1. Rising number of heat records over all continents, oceans, poles, ice caps in terms of highest temperature ever, no of days of high average temperatures…
  2. Extreme climate events which used to occur once in hundred years now occurring 2/3 times per decade….
  3. Melting poles shrinking to lowest levels for max no of days..icebergs and glaciers breaking away from ice shelves…
  4. Increase in storms, tornadoes, precipitation
  5. Flooding
  6. Sink holes
  7. Drought and famines
  8. Wildfires…
  9. Rising sea levels
  10. Rivers drying up
  11. Pollution, garbage
  12. Acidification of oceans and water bodies
  13. Extinction of animals, fish, fauna and flora.

Multiple theatres of extreme climate events like heat and flooding, heat and storms, heat, wildfires and flooding are being enacted simultaneously in all continents and also in several countries like USA, Peru, Portugal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Spain, UK….. Need for a site to report on all these in a dashboard format. Predictive engines need to be designed for all countries and top say 1000 cities of the world starting with top 100. Constant coverage of these climate stories will only help in mobilising awareness.

On a time bound basis  in addition to the action points under the Paris Accord, all countries, top 1000 cities, all coastal cities, all cities which have currently reached 40c for 7 days a year, experienced above 3” per hour rain for more than 3 hrs at a stretch or more than 15’ in a day events in a year, experienced extreme climate events should prepare and implement action plans for: climate, heat, storm & flooding, drought, coastal sea level. New Grammar of Living action plans for some of these will be published in these blogs within the next few months.

Coping and survival guides, kits and training should be implemented in all countries. It has reached a stage where one can safely state that no country is safe anymore. There was a theory that tropics are most affected and temperate regions are going to be safe. But that is no longer true in view of the recent climate events in Canada like wild fires, rain, flooding… Even the Antarctica has been plagued recently by of all things wildfires!!!