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The Earthship Titanic

At one end of my garden I have a tree, don’t know what it is but it has red berries and the birds love them. It usually stays full of berries until it gets into the icy grip of winter when the birds use it to get them through hard times. Over the last few weeks I have watched as the tree has been stripped of berries and so far we have not had any snow yet. I foresee a hard time ahead for the birds in our area in the next few months.

This is nature at its most brutal. Too many mouths after a reducing amount of food keeps numbers in check. Mother nature is wasteful and is out to kill you. Yes, even you. Natural rules apply to all life forms.

Most people understand this at a basic level and plan ahead. Some of us have considered what we would do if there was an asteroid strike, a tsunami, earthquakes and a multitude of other things but most of us don’t think about these things at all and rely on others to do the thinking and the planning.

Humans are smart. We can see long term and plan ahead. We developed preservation techniques to make food last longer, store longer and provide resilience to parasites. These techniques we have used for centuries to allow our species to grow and make sure that these were no major die offs through famine during the lean times. Lately, we have used technology to perform these tasks much more efficiently and this technology has almost completely replaced the preservation techniques used in the past due to simplicity and ease of use. This technology enables us to ride out the lean months with produce kept back from the bountiful months in a way that means that we have expanded our numbers beyond the numbers able to be supported using the preservation techniques. It has also allowed us to change our supply chain processes to reduce waste and have less items stored at remote sites where it may not be used. Everything is centrally stored. Isn’t technology great.

Well, the answer is Yes and No. This reliance on technology is a double edged sword. If anything happens to our technological capabilities it means that we cannot feed our population. With the change in the numbers to feed we have now put ourselves in the position that even in the fruitful time of year we may not be able to cope with any issues and feed our population. You would not think this is a problem as once something has been developed it will always be there. Unfortunately it is a risk because of one key fact, technology depends on energy. Energy is used to manage the supply chain, keep the freezers and fridges going, the loading and scanning of bar codes as well as the transport between the supply depots and the shops. If anything happens to our energy supply in any of those areas for more than a short period then we are in for a hard time. If anything major happens to our energy supply then we have a major issue as foodstuffs start to run out.

This shouldn’t be a problem but for the fact that we have lost our edge. Too much easy living and not having to worry has made us think we are invulnerable. That nothing can happen to us that we can’t handle. We are unsinkable. So we sit back and do nothing despite all the signs that things are not right. Everything has to have an immediate feel good benefit or we just don’t do it. It can even be detrimental to us as a species but if it sounds good and ticks PC boxes then it gets done. Hard stuff like critical infrastructure is simply not Green and hurts bunny rabbits so it gets left.

For example, ten years ago it was predicted that as our nuclear power stations became end of life and as there were no new power stations planned then the UK would experience brown outs in the mid to late 2010s. This is where the power generated did not meet demand and the power would be reduced. This means your lights dim and heaters will output less power but our computers and more critical equipment would fail. Things have moved on since then. Our power usage has increased and we still don’t have any new power stations planned because we decided to invest in wind because of namby pamby PC reasons. Oh dear.

It isn’t just the supply chain, our transport system relies on technology to keep going. No longer do we have the capability to repair and maintain our own cars for example. Almost everything has microprocessors in and needs manufacturing support to keep going and garages don’t keep any more stock than the food stores, just common parts and with the cars not being designed to last long term in our replacement society we can’t go too long without replacements and spares. The same goes with almost everything. Your home boiler, Your cooking facility. Your sanitation facilities. Even the clothes on your back. No longer are things designed to last but designed to last till the next upgrade or version release, just a few years at most. One negative trait of a capitalist society which thrives in a socialist society.

Despite claims to the contrary we are nowhere near the maximum population capacity for our planet although at this level of population we do depend totally on technology to keep going and thus as it is this technology that allows us to keep our growing population fed, watered and maintained we need to ensure it runs smoothly and is kept fed with energy. Energy that would could easily find in short supply in the not too distant future and without this steady supply of energy our society will simply collapse. We have simply too many mouths to feed without that technological advantage. Most of our society has never suffered real hunger and had to do without. Even those on the breadline now do not appreciate that it will be a lot worse, life or death in fact. It will not be a pleasant experience whilst the population adjusts to the level that can be supported without technology and by adjust I mean dies off. They won’t go easily.

Just like it appears the birds are in for a hard time this winter I can see a hard time ahead for us too.

For those of us looking at the risks in the future we see this reliance on energy being a major risk. That or a hundred other economic issues could stall the economy and the supply chain would collapse. In most of our minds we see the risk of an economic collapse exceeding any risk from mother nature despite all the environmental issues we have had over the last 10 years.

I see this being similar to the voyage of the ill fated Titanic. Doomed by our misunderstanding of risk as understood as the ‘risk compensation effect’. Those in charge assumed that as the ship was designed much better than other ships, which it was, and the words unsinkable were used they decided to take it into areas they would have considered too risky normally. Thus the much safer ship compensated and took on more risk than they would have with a normal ship and we all know what happened there. One person used the word unsinkable as a marketing ploy and everyone thought it was unsinkable, even those that knew better. It is a common theme for our species. The Volvo effect as it was known back in the 1980’s, and there were others going back centuries although none with the potential for destruction that this

So, we know we are predicting a shortage of energy. We know we cannot build enough power stations in time to stop that. We know that our shops don’t keep more than a few days stock and requires constant replenishment. We know that our technology relies on energy instantly available at the point of requirement. We know that the powers that be are incompetent and still most of us carry on as if there is nothing to worry about.

This risk is now being publicly discussed within our society although the general feeling is that something will happen, the economy will take off, our governments magic wands will suddenly activate or our government will do something right. (In order of likelihood) Some people are now rubbing the sleep from their eyes and actively starting to prepare for this event. This site is here to help them do that.

The worse part about it is that even if every one of us was fully prepared for this event the fact remains that we simply cannot sustain the current level of population. We are out on a limb while our politicians hack at the root of the branch. Only so many can survive without technology and no matter how much we prepare when it all comes tumbling down we just won’t be able to sustain the numbers we have now.

I have been asked why I spend so much time introducing others to the risks and providing advice when ultimately these new people will be in competition with me for finite resources.

My answer is simple. Most people will just bury their heads in the sand and will not prepare. They will wait until it is too late waiting for someone to fix the issue. Kept in place by false assurances and a media with an agenda to keep people compliant. The very few, relatively speaking, that reject the managed presentation and do prepare will be mainly be of a similar mindset to ourselves. I’m helping as many with a similar, self reliant, mindset to my own by supplying data to help them prepare, reduce the risks, think about their own situations and take actions to improve their chances.

Even so many of us will be swamped and overran with those that have not prepared as they desperately try and survive another day. Sometimes no matter what you do you just don’t make it. All we can do is improve our chances. So, make the most of the time and the information you can acquire.

Bear in mind though that this is not a certainty, magic wands could activate, for example, and luckily there are a million other more realistic inputs to our society that could change and impact the economy positively. So don’t light up the rocket and head to Alpha Centauri yet.

Learn, plan, prepare, watch and wait until you need to light the blue touch paper.

3 comments to The Earthship Titanic

  • Kenneth Eames

    Hello SD, Fortunately I’ve always been a Luddite. I’m still living in my mind, in the early 1940’s. I never learned anything about electricity or radio or any modern things. I struggle with the PC, my wife keeps it going for me. If my wife dies before me, there will be no TV, no computer,no carpets. Most people would think that I am very poor. I shall live a life of frugality. When I think about things, one of the things I think about is true freedom, freedom from clutter. My life was a very busy one, work in the day and run a Practice in the evenings and week-ends. I also had a garden to keep Maintained. I had very little time to do many other things. What spare time I had was spent in reading. This was my life, to many of you ‘Very Boring’. To me, a born Luddite,’Paradise’. Thank you for your article. Kenneth Eames.

  • kiddsy

    Hiya KenI am agreeing with you, It has now got to the stage I am thinking ‘less is more’ in so much as the more simple I can live the better in that if it isn’t complicated I may be able to keep it going, as an example my Motorcycles have got to the stage it takes a fully equipped work shop to keep them on song, so have now gone and changed for older models that I have acquired spares for to keep them going for the next 20 years as long as no accidents, they may not be as good looking or fast, but as you cannot use the speed these days it makes no difference, my house is now warmed by a log fire burner which if necc could be cooked upon, little things but may be the diff between life and death.

  • half_pint

    That tree might be rowen/mountain ash, high in vit c. You can make jelly with it for game, sort of like cranberry.

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