THE UPSIDE OF CLIMATE CHANGE COLLAPSE : 20 GOOD THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IF THE SHIT GOES DOWN.
For the past few weeks I’ve been reading and watching a lot of material to do with climate change and the related ecological crisis that is predicted to not only to bring about societal collapse, but more worringly, make it extremely difficult for us to upload selfies onto instagram of ourselves burning to death while it happens.
After several visions of the apocalypse I’d had while doing a bit too much plant medicine last year, I decided I had to do a little scientific research, as yelling at people in the street to turn vegan and stop fucking because interdimensional plant spirits showed me visions of magic mushroom clouds, tended to make them think that I was crazy and throw change at my twitching face. While I appreciated the free money, the sound of the coins bouncing off my bible-quote-bearing sandwich boards triggered a realisation within me, that not only was it time to take a bath, but it was also time to look at more solid evidence before deciding to yell at strangers in the street again.
While I’m no climate expert, I’ve personally experienced the climate a number of times over the years and I can safely say that all the articles I read were definitely written by climate experts. I could tell they were climate experts with opinions I could trust, not because of all the scientific research they’d done, but mainly because they had all those little letters after their names which meant that they were smarter than me and hadn’t dropped out of university to go to clown school like I had (I later dropped out of said clown school). Not only that, but they were wearing clean, well-ironed collared shirts or blouses and had respectable haircuts. Some even wore spectacles and ties. As if that wasn’t enough to convince me of their authority on the subject, to top it off they even had lots of these little graphs with jagged lines that either went up or down in their presentations and research reports. Needless to say, whether these graphs went up or down, in their complicated scientific terminology, it all meant that things were going to shitty shit shit and if we didn’t do something soon, we were most likely, totally fuckedy fuck fucked.
Some of these reports say that we have around 10 years to turn it all around, others say 5 years and a few even say that we are totally fuckedy fuck fucked already and we should all run around screaming and jabbing each other with needles, trying our best to avoid letting the urine soak through our pants onto the other person’s knee in the process (which in case you are unaware, violates basic climate change needle jabbing etiquette). One leading climate authority even came up with a process for psychologically preparing for the collapse, which according to his evidence seems very certain, though he is English, so culturally predisposed towards pessimism as much as I am culturally predisposed towards being racist against the English. (Check out Jem Bendall’s work — http://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daRrbSl1yvY).
Other perspectives try to find optimistic meaning and oppurtunity within the pessimistic forecasts. Some view the predicted collapse as an unconsciously manifested mass initiation event or intense birthing process, that will force us to reach a new level of maturity and lead to the next liberal, Utopian phase of humanity as long as we don’t all die in the process (Check out Daniel Pinchbeck https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVXqOUGXRF0, https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/548838/how-soon-is-now-by-daniel-pinchbeck/9781786780867/ , Daniel Schmachtenberger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BofVO-4yNc ), other’s view it as an exciting oppurtunity to shift away from the dominant capitalist economic matrix that’s majorly responsible for climate change and towards the next liberal Utopian phase of humanity as long as we don’t all die in the process (Naomi Klein — https://thischangeseverything.org/), while others view the current times as a liminal space where the old story based on seperation no longer works (nor will the solutions that come from this old story) and where we must find a new story and new way of being based on inter-connectedness and cooperation in order to survive, thus leading to the next liberal, Utopian phase of humanity as long as we don’t all die in the process (Charles Eisenstein — https://charleseisenstein.org/books/climate-a-new-story/ ).
I checked out some of the climate denial research, but I couldn’t really find anything substantial and it all seemed to be influenced by right wing conservative politics funded by the extractive industries. Who would of guessed? Granted, I didn’t explore this side of the argument nearly as much, which brought attention to my own biases. At the moment there is so much evidence and counter evidence for and against each view point, it’s hard to really be sure. Who can you trust? Besides, chances are, whether you are a climate change believer or a denier, you have already made up your mind before you selectively look at what evidence to confirm your view. Research has shown that people who are climate deniers by and large align with the right wing conservative end of the political spectrum, therefore are quite content to have things the way they are, whilst I see climate change believers as people who are sick of the way things are and are looking for some kind of shift towards a more integrative way of being. Climate denialists claim that climate change is some kind of manipulation and the science is rigged, I’m not sure who is doing this manipulation and for what end. Climate change doesn’t seem to profit any form of industry that is funding the current status quo. If anything, it calls for the dismantling of the current economic system and all the extractive industries that control a lot of it. Even if it was being pushed by the renewable energy industry, I don’t think that is such a bad thing, I mean who doesn’t want to stop environmental destruction? (Clearly a lot of people outside of my social media echo chamber.)
You don’t have to have a science degree to see that our species is non-consensually fucking the natural world right up the poo pipe in a number of very measurable ways. 50% of the Great Barrier Reef (which is the size of Italy- well half of Italy now- and an estimated 25 millions years old) has died off in the last few years due to ocean temperature increases, increasing rates of Arctic/Antarctic/global glacial melt, 20 of the hottest years on record occurring in the last 22 years, measurable rises in CO2 content in the atmosphere and the fact that we are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction as we speak — the first of the mass extinction events to have been attributed namely to the doings of a single species (i.e. Us).
Having said that, in lieu of the overwhelming amount of evidence that says that we’re fuckedy fuck fucked, you can never predict what is going to happen and I am a bit tired of everyone crying wolf about the end of the world and then it not happening. Remember Y2K? Fukushima? Peak oil? Swine flu? Bird flu? The multiple threats of WW3? Revelations? It seems like we have been predicting the end of the world since the beginning of the world. It’s the same story : Some threat looms, it gets amped up by the media, everyone gets riled up, and then of course nothing happens. Then there’s this massive let down and everyone becomes increasingly desensitised. It’s a bit like watching a snuff porn that cuts out right at the climactic scene, right at the point where the crying boy is about to finger the wolf to death and you are about to blow your load, leaving you with your pants down and a deflating hardon in your hand like a dead bird, feeling glad that you didn’t go all the way, but also tense and frustrated.
So I guess that’s where I am at on the climate change issue. I’m the guy watching the snuff film once again but trying my best to not jerk off over it this time. It’s a very convincing snuff film, even more convincing than every other one that came before it, but having been burned so many times before, I’m half expecting the movie to cut out before it ends, just as it has every other time before. Part of me hopes that I am not wrong, while another part of me hopes that I am wrong, because I do want to see some change to the current system, and I don’t think this will happen until our current sleepwalker lifestyle here in the developed world is severely affected enough to shake us out of our collective slumber and make us think that maybe it’s not such a good idea to dig massive holes in the ground, constantly burn toxic crap, chop down swathes of forests and basically be the species that behaves like the guy at the christening party who shits in the punch and writes his name all over the wall repeatedly in his own faeces.
The climate warnings in the media are alarmist in nature and according to the science backing them, it is warranted, but I feel people have already had their amygdala juiced by the media so many times, it just leads to more generalised anxiety, helplessness and anhedonia. It’s hard to know what to do about it all. When faced with the capitalist consumerist death machine, one is filled with this sense of powerlessness, this sense of impotence, like a Palestinian toddler throwing a pebble at an Israeli tank. What can you do? Post angry things on facebook? Give high dose psychedelic plant medicine to as many people as you can in order to shift the collective consciousness? Write a funny blog about it, even though it’s not really that funny and will only appeal to people who already agree with you in your social media bubble?
(Please click like and share this article with people who already agree with you btw).
I think that for the majority of people, climate change just isn’t a reality to them yet. It’s just another ambiguous threat that buzzes around them like a cloud of mosquitos that may or may not carry malaria. They just wave it away, annoyed, and then go eat ice cream and watch TV again. Fair enough, I understand, sometimes looking at the bright skies I wonder if it’s real too. The weather changes are subtle to most of us living in urban areas cut off from nature, and even then, it’s hard for us to attribute these shifts to climate change. I mean we are just the masses who haven’t done climate science degrees trying to get on with our lives. I guess it’s a bit like boiling a frog. If you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will try and jump out straight away, but if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and slowly bring the temperature up to boiling, then I think there’s something wrong with you and you need to get out more you sadistic anti-frog weirdo. At the end of the day, people can still get clean water, lattes, gelato, beer and netflix, so it still doesn’t really seem that bad, unless you are on the front lines of climate research or environmental conservation, live in a developing country where the crops have died out after too much drought, drunk enough Ayahuasca to feel the Earth crying at night like a dirty hippie, and/or if you have the time to go into a month-long climate change binge hole like I did.
In the interim, while I lay on my bed weeping over the possible decreasing chance of getting good Japanese takeout at odd hours of the night on any given day as well as the predicted future death of our oceans, I decided to turn lemons into lemonade, and come up with some positive sides of the whole predicted collapse, to help lift those post-climate-collapse blues that seem to be going around at the moment. (Granted these positives are purely from an anthropocentric perspective — there will be no upside for the millions of species that we are taking down with us.)
1. You won’t have to go to work anymore/The death of the consumer-capitalist-military-industrial-banking-pharmaceutical-dominator-dark-force-matrix machine.
The capitalist economy has done many great things. On some level it’s unified the world, allowed incredible technological advances to happen, and most importantly, allowed burritos to be available in almost every city on Earth. I mean just the other day I got a burrito in Darwin, the most Northern Australian town, and there aren’t even any Mexicans up this way. Having said that, you can’t support an economy based on infinite growth on a planet with finite resources with an exponentially growing population, and from what I understand, for climate change to be averted, this whole system will have to go. If we can’t avert the crisis, this system will definitely collapse anyway, mostly because people won’t be able to afford to buy string cheese, cocktail umbrellas and lava lamps and all those other things that are nice but aren’t particularly necessary, when they’re trying to defend their water tanks from marauding looters with firearms all day. This is bad news for people who are winning in this system at the moment and who have quite a lot of wealth and power to lose, but this is quite good news for those of us who aren’t particularly good at being part of the existing system and who have dreams of living in a never ending music festival permaculture community that runs on hugs and not money like the bunch of hippie commie scumfucks that our square parents were afraid they’d spawned. Provided our costumes are sexy enough, our sales pitch word perfect, and that we don’t all get prematurely rounded up and shot to death by the violent, power-hungry, totalitarian fascists who will probably try to take advantage of these tumultuous times and attempt to fill the resulting power vacuum, we will have a chance to recruit the growing mass of disillusioned people to join our radical eco-socialist-compulsory-vegan-born-again-zen-extremists-pagan-polygamist -trans-lesbian-vampire-survivalist-tribal-plant-medicine cult founded on a gift economy and psilocybin tofurkey-fuelled gangbangs.
2. Relax, you don’t have to worry about getting old now.
Yep, there was a moment when this fact struck me, where instead of feeling fear and anxiety about the collapse, I actually felt relief, like a whole weight was lifted from my shoulders. Like most people right now, I do entertain a certain amount of anxiety about the uncertain future, but if we in fact have no future, than this problem is solved! I’m not the best at long term planning and at the moment I have no real career trajectory, no superannuation, no nest egg and no real prospects in the existing system. What better way to avoid having to deal with the harsh realities of growing old in an atomised society bereft of community, than just to have everyone die roughly at the same time as you?
Having worked at a retirement village, I can say that for most of us, it does not end well my friends. That whole fantasy of living out the rest of your life in a beach house surrounded by friends and family as you have never ending dinner parties into the sunset of your life, just is not really what happens for most of us. In fact it’s a bit like a movie that just kind of starts going downhill about three quarters of the way through while the audience slowly begins to file out. If the cinema burns down half-way through the film, at least you won’t have to sit through the really tedious, depressing, drawn out last bit.
3. If you are a climate change believer and you survive, you will get some smug satisfaction from telling surviving climate change deniers ‘I told you so’ while you scrounge for tinned food in the wreckage of civilisation.
Imagine that feeling, that empty moral victory resonating in the hollow of your chest as you walk around gloating to everyone as they grunt in the dirt, looking for worms to eat… ‘Thought I was crazy remember? Just because I was wearing sandwich boards with bible quotes hmmm? Well look who was right? Look who has egg on their face now? Don’t you miss eating eggs? Fuck I miss eggs. I think someone owes someone an apology! Wait — what are you doing with that big rock? That’s not an egg! No! Wait I promise I will stop gloating, even though I already have and didn’t — AAAARRRGGGHH!!’
4. I’m learning to not take things for granted.
I am beginning to relish the little luxuries of living in this current incarnation of civilisation with the full knowledge that this may not last much longer. Next time you eat an acai bowl with coco yoghurt, dragonfruit, sprouted buckinis and cacao nibs, eat Mexican food for lunch and Korean for dinner, or drink clean water without being shot at, meditate on the transitory nature of these luxuries and feel how the flavours intensify and the gratitude for the abundance of the moment flows.
5. I’m learning to live in the present moment more.
I was once constantly planning for a future where I’d be old, but now that there might possibly not be such a thing, this idea has really helped me slow right down and just try and occupy the present moment as much as possible. Echkardt Tolle was all about the Power of Now and I guess the looming climate crisis is a bit like being forced into the present moment at gunpoint. Being in the moment makes pleasant experiences last longer, like say when you look at a bird in the sky and think, ‘Wow, I wish I was that bird so I could crap in my eye right now.’, or say when you are making out with your hand and thinking, ‘I wish this was a real horse and not just my hand right now.’ .
6. It’s making me understand the buddhist principle of impermanence faster.
By all means don’t give up without a fight, but on the other hand, nothing lasts forever does it?
7. If the shit goes down, most of the problems with this current civilisation will no longer exist anymore.
There are a lot of good things about this civilisation, like for example toilet paper, cartoons and burritos, but as Gandhi once said, ‘With too much cartoons and burritos comes malaise, fat chicks, purposelessness, meaninglessness and torrential diarrhea. Toilet paper is always pretty good though, who wants to go to the stripclub?’ I feel this is mostly due to how disconnected so many of us feel from ourselves, from nature, from community, from something larger than ourselves. Imagine if civilisation suddenly crumbled and those of us who survived were forced to rebuild civilisation? Suddenly our lives would be imbued with purpose, meaning and community (hopefully a community full of people we like, although let’s face it, I’m sure there will be a couple of people you won’t be able to stand). Life wouldn’t be about trying to shove another tasty thing into our mouth or up our ass to avoid feeling how empty we are with being alive in these atomised, alienated modern times, it would be about how do we build a protective wall to keep the nasty stabby people away from our grain bins? (The answer is together, while someone stands watch with the crossbow).
8. A whole bunch of annoying jerks will die.
It’s sad that many of us cool people may perish, but fear not! It is important to remember that for every good person who dies in the collapse, there is sure to be a greater number of insensitive jerks who will also no longer be. That’s kind of winning right? Right? Right?? Next time you get cut off in traffic by some self-centred asshole with zero self-awareness, just remember there is a good chance that his genetic line will possibly no longer exist soon.
9. The phrase, ‘Don’t worry it’s not the end of the world.’ will no longer be in use, at least not without a certain level of sarcasm.
Imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel when say you’re trying to fix a water pump and the handle breaks, you lose your cool, and the guy watching your back to make sure you don’t get gangraped by zombies says offhandedly, ‘Don’t worry it’s not the end of the world.’. You seize the moment, finally able to say, ‘Well actually, I don’t know if you have taken a look around the crumbling world right now, but it ACTUALLY IS THE FUCKING END OF THE WORLD YOU IDIOT AAARRRGGHHHH!!’ (This is your cue to run around pulling your hair out and making out with your hand until someone slaps some sense back into you).
10. Traffic will eventually get a lot less intense.
There will be a lot less cars on the road, or perhaps more cars on the road, only none of them will be moving. Ever again. Either way, there will be no traffic on the road, I believe because once the economy collapses, there won’t be much of a point trying to get into your IT job in the morning on time, because petrol will no longer be available and money won’t mean anything anymore.
11. You will be liberated from the first world prison of endless choice.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I just lie there, paralysed by choice. I don’t know whether to become a ballerina, eat lollies for breakfast in bed again or dedicate the rest of my life to liberating those flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. If all bets are off and the system starts collapsing, there will no longer be any haunting doubts about whether you should be pursuing a career in PR or entertainment law, or whether you should become a youtube pop star or buy another speedboat and move to tropical Germany. The only choice will be between whether you should run around screaming like a panic stricken idiot, or whether you should do your best to beef up your survival skills, grit your teeth and continue the species.
12. You won’t get bored as easily.
There is always lots to do in a crisis situation and sitting around complaining about not having enough phone reception to watch youporn won’t be one of them. Finally, you will be forced to use your own imagination when you need to whack off.
13. We may have a chance at experimenting with radical new ways of existing.
People are looking for new ways of living but are torn between the allure of the new alternatives and the security of the old but ailing way of living. Sometimes it helps to have something push you to jump to the other side of the wild river, even if that means having the bank you were standing on, sink into the river.
14. A common crisis will force a lot of differing groups of people to finally put aside their problems and attempt to work together in order to not die (in theory).
Possibly the best way to finally resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict would be having the looming climate crisis put a jackboot through the face of their ongoing argument. Like that future history documentary ‘Independence Day’ taught me, nothing brings people together like a common enemy, especially if they look different from us and speak a different language (this makes it easier to kill them without having to question your moral conscience and still feel like you’re the good guys). While the climate crisis is not exactly the same thing as an extraterrestrial invasion, it’s the same end. Not only that, but once temperatures rise above a certain level, it will probably just be too hot to be at war all the time, you might just prefer to put down your gun, take off your flak jacket and hang at the beach instead, drenched in three layers of sunscreen (*Note: unless there is war over dwindling resources, which of course would majorly blow massive dicks).
15. Dating will be easier.
There is going to be a lot less options about who you can go out with. The fact of the matter is that couples will come together for one of the best reasons of being in a couple together, and that is to help each other survive the post apocalypse. I think this will help a lot of commitment phobes including myself, bite the bullet and just go ‘fuck it, let’s give it a shot.’ After all, sometimes the most attractive thing about someone is the fact that there aren’t many other options around.
Tinder and all the other dating apps will no longer be operating when the networks are down, so people might have to hook up the old school way — pashing someone after drinking too much radioactive potato peel moonshine at the permaculture community hoe down, or eventually plucking up the courage to ask them out on a date after watching them tend the failing carrot patch for several weeks from the bushes like a weirdo.
I have a hard time talking to girls that I’m attracted to, usually I wimp out and don’t approach them because they are so pretty they strike the fear of god into me. If it’s the end of the world though, I don’t think I will give as much of a shit and will probably be more likely to ask them out. Not only that, but because money won’t mean anything anymore, I won’t have to impress them by taking them somewhere fancy, I will just be like, ‘Hey gurl, do you want to hang out in a ditch, drink some of this here rancid orange juice concentrate I found buried in the ground and make out for a while to help take away all them bad feelings about not being able to get burritos no more?’
16. I will no longer be losing my life to screentime and social media.
Wifi is going to be hard to find after the ship goes down. This will of course make it harder to keep in contact with friends all across the world about how their post collapse experience is going, but on the upside, it will stop people posting overly simplistic life advice, inspirational quotes and annoying pictures of food on facebook all the time. Hell people might even be compelled to go seek real community in person. After all, nothing brings a community together like mass poverty.
16a. Petty complaints on social media be eclipsed by more serious matters.
Sometimes people complain about really petty crap on social media and it drives me crazy. It’s my fault though that I’m on social media in the first place (see #16.) I can’t help but feel the collapse will put a lot of things into perspective, enough to shake people out of writing negative yelp reviews about how the service at the Cuban restaurant they were at left them wanting.
17. Levelled playing field.
Hypothetically, in a post money world, no one will give a shit if you are rich, own lots of property, or if you are a movie star, or anything. The game will be reset and everyone will go back to square one. I’d like to think that it will be more utilitarian and egalitarian, at least in the beginning.
18. A lot of fat people will lose weight.
There are predicted food shortages when the climate feedback loops start accelerating global warming and negatively affects harvests. Is this really that bad? For skinny people hell yeah. For other first world fatties like myself who do have a few emergency ration rolls around our bellies, this will be a good chance to go on a forced diet, at least not before gorging guilt free on whatever leftover food is around that’s not yet rotting. While it’s true that people who are dying of starvation aren’t that attractive, there is a window of a few months to a year, where some of us will look better than we ever have. Hell, we may as well all line up in the abandoned shopping centre like a bunch of dirty-faced Cinderellas and take a stroll down that catwalk to a chorus of imaginary wolf whistles.
19. It will make all those whiny millenials shut up.
Aside from a flood dose of Iboga, nothing has the power to put an end to the myopic Peter Pan narcissism that characterises this current generation like the mass starvation that will come with the predicted climate change induced crop death. I wrote that last line thinking it sounded like a punchline, but then I just reread it and realised that it wasn’t LOL ROFL #YOLO.
Many people will see this as a negative feature of societal collapse, but I’ve always dreamed of taking part in a riot, it’s somewhere near the top of my bucket list next to beheading a zombie with a fencepost whilst telling a climate denialist conservative voter to suck my dick an inch from their face. I mean think about it, a riot is just like a shopping spree, only you don’t have to pay for anything and you also get to throw chairs through department store display windows and break shit that isn’t yours. It will be so chaotic you might even be able to finally punch an asshole cop really hard in the back of the head and get away with it. (Try not to punch a nice cop in the back of the head.)
You know, after writing this article, I actually find a part of myself looking forward to the collapse, that is if it isn’t just another doomsday prick tease. I might find myself regretting saying these words, but there will be bigger fish to fry than this blog if it happens. Don’t forget, everyone will need comic relief in the post apocalypse, please don’t eat me!
In the meantime though, we still do exist in a money-system so until that burns to the ground and I’m forced to dig roots out of the ground like a sweaty caveman, I wouldn’t mind having money to buy food and pay rent. Please become a patron and for a measly $2 a month I will continue to live this weird life and write these kinds of articles until someone brains me with a rock for being a smug prick.
You may also join me on facebook until the collapse puts an end to social media: