Thursday, June 18, 2015

Coming of Age in the Anthropocene

Teach your children well
      - Crosby Stills and Nash

Tell the truth
       -Derick and the Dominoes


   I just saw most recent video from Nate Hagens.   And I'm not sure what to say.

  I think it's the context that is throwing me off.  He is trying to give advice to young people, as how to handle the coming "interesting times"

  In the good old days, advising a group of young people was fairly simple.  Get a good paying job, raise a family, and be useful in the community.

  In the good old days,  we had not yet exceeded the planets carrying capacity.  We weren't yet in overshoot. We hadn't become Homo Colossus.    Now, how does that advice look?.   A high paying job means more consumption, more carbon.  And how about the high energy lifestyle of American kids?   

     Hagens also hints that even if they wanted those high paying jobs, they might not be there.  Its no secret that off-shoring and automation have already reduced the number of full time family wage jobs.  See here.  See Nearly 1/2 of American jobs will be automated in a decade or two. And how about those self driving cars?  and trucks?  And the people who insure them?  see here.   
       Interestingly,  Hagens doesn't devote much time to the "peak oil will crash the economy" meme.  Perhaps, like Gregor MacDonalnd, he has been persuaded that although the US will probably hit a peak by the end of this year.  see e.g.,  this   but that having survived 2008, the global economy has  adjusted, and can extend the the current system for a little longer, through the use of coal.  see e.g. What Happened to the Future?     

      This version of the future is, of course,  even worse than the crash    - more carbon,  more storms, more extinctions, but also less jobs

       Hagens has a pretty good grasp of what we used to call "human nature", but maybe now call something like "evolutionarily developed psychology".  He recognizes all those urges we have, that have served us so well in the past.  The urge to control and "have dominion of nature",   our urge to accumulate, to seek higher status than our neighbors, and to "be fruitful and multiply"  (NB  Pope blasts abortion and birth control in climate change  speech).

      And Hagens knows how difficult is to stop acting according to those urges.  But not impossible.  He says "We may not have "free will", but we have "free won't"  .   We just need to exercise it.   

    So, what would I advise?  Hard to say.   Maybe just show them this video.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home