Meanwhile, in the US. . .

But the preppers — the people who just buy their generator and their guns and store food for three months — I’m worried about them. In America where there’s so many guns, we’re going to shoot each other, and it’s very scary to me. It’s a very individualistic, survivalist approach, whereas the Dark Mountain project and Jem Bendell’s deep adaptation are actually doing some of the deep psychological and social work required to get to a different place.

— Susanne Moser, climate scientist and adviser to governments on climate issues. German by birth.

Story: Despairing about the Climate Crisis? Read This.

Societal collapse will look very different around the world. In Europe, it will look like the closing of a large department store. People will queue up in lines for the last merchandise and be given shovels and instructed how to dig – dugouts, crops, graves, whatever. It won’t be any fun and a lot of people will die but there’s a chance a new society, one far less complex than the old one, will emerge. That is, of course, unless the certain nuclear powers bring the curtain down on all of us.

With Boris Johnson now PM in the UK, and Brexit beckoning, all bets are off. But whatever happens in the UK or Europe or the rest of the world for that matter, nothing will come close to the apocalypse of the USA.

And it’s all about the guns. And the loss of the commons which breeds social isolation and distrust. And the racism. And the petty hatreds and insecurities fostered by our particular form of capitalism. In fact, one can say with a straight face that societal collapse is already happening in the US, with climate change playing a very small role – for now.

Americans are generally only dimly aware of the lands beyond its’ shores. Ask any American three basic questions about Canada and they’ll look at you dumbfounded. But maybe you’ve heard about Extinction Rebellion and their actions in the UK and Europe and that of 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

As opposed to the thousands that rallied in the UK and Europe, a few days ago a handful of Extinction Rebellion Americans glued themselves to the front doors of the Capitol and received zero mainstream media exposure. Reactions from legislators were pretty much the usual:

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., former vice chair of the House Subcommittee on Environment, mocked the group on Twitter, posting a video of himself appearing to duck under a protester’s arm to get through with the note, “…Supergluing yourself to a door is a very dumb way to protest.”

from The Intercept

Recently a half million people in the American protectorate, Puerto Rico, took to the streets to demand the resignation of their President. They were successful.

Activists in the US bemoan these developments, asking ‘why can’t we do that here?’

You know why.

Here’s part of the reason:

Here’s the other:

First photo: the people who want to protest can’t risk being away from their jobs or arrested since most of them are in a precarious financial position. The system keeps you tied to your desk and dependent on whatever scraps you can get to eke out a living. They have neither the time, money or energy for protest.

Second photo: American cops can pretty much get away with anything nowadays and know it. A severe beating could send you to the hospital (good luck with the bill), to jail (good luck keeping your job) or the morgue.

But what if things get really bad and so many people have nothing to lose? Then the last system of social control comes in: psychological. This is the greatest country in the world – what the Hell are you protesting about? Also: protesters are probably a bunch of Communists and anti-American. If they get in the street, maybe we can run them over in our cars someday. We’re expected from childhood to be very obedient and do what we’re told. We see people losing their livelihoods and futures because of Trump’s policies and they’ll still come back and vote for him because: racism and: owning the libs.

We’re an interesting people, we Americans.

So who will we turn on? Ourselves, naturally.

So when collapse happens in the US, expect scenes right out of every dystopian movie you can think of from ‘The Road’ to ‘The Postman’ to ‘Soylent Green.’ Why do you think Hollywood is so good at making those kind of movies anyway?

You and your society are doomed! Or, my cynical self

The one part of me that has never changed, even since childhood, is my deep and abiding cynicism; mostly concerning human nature.

– Me
Me, 4th grade. Already deeply cyncical

I tend to lean toward catastrophic thinking and I think part of that is my Borderline Personality Disorder. Add in a fair dose of leaned mistrust and paranoia and you have a big part of my personality.

So it’s probably no surprise that, when it comes to climate prediction, I tend to lean toward the doomsayers like Dr. Guy McPherson. Not McPherson specifically, but doomsayers like him. I have looked at his stats and justification and continue to look at those of other climate scientists and, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, I think it will be amazing if civilization, as we currently experience it, still functions at 2050.

There are middle position people like Dr. Rupert Read and his defense of Extinction Rebellion (UK). Dr. Read believes that society “will go to shit” and its too late to mitigate the damage from climate change. He talks about transforming society into something different but I can never quite put my finger on what ‘transformative adaptation’ will look like. He mentions creating natural wetlands or mangrove swamps as a flood defense rather than constructing seawalls.

This is where my cynicism comes in. Such things are simply not going to happen. I do not share any of Dr. Read’s hopefulness in the ability of human society to adapt. A ‘mass transformation of consciousness’ is not in the cards. Perhaps in the UK where Extinction Rebellion operates but not in the United States where I live. Americans don’t give a flying fuck about creating swamps where development cannot occur and money cannot be made.

Look at the government. Look at what people are driving, living. We are locked in to a fossil fuel society an it’s the only thing we’ve known; the only way of living. Not to mention that a large percentage of Americans believe the whole thing is a hoax.

Americans are emphatically NOT into sacrifice. I would also mention I don’t think most of the Western world, despite protestations to the contrary in the European Parliament, is ready for this as well. France without air conditioning is bad enough but France having to pay more for petrol sends mobs into the streets for weeks.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

I’m going to make a number of predictions in the course of the next few years here on the blog and on my upcoming podcast but this one you can take to the bank: when the shit really hits the fan, Americans will not turn into community organizing altruists. They will go for their guns.

As many as 15 years ago when people would ask me what I envisioned the future of America I would say, “imagine a world where you shoot your neighbor for the food left in their refrigerator.”

I would then offer to put money down (in a safety deposit box) with people who doubted this could ever happen. You will never lose money betting against the baser instincts of human nature especially in times of crisis. The nicer version of what I said above is the adage that we are three meals away from anarchy.

So there you have a bit of my philosophy, dark as it is. I will leave you with one more example of my ability to predict the future. The day Donald Trump came down the escalator to announce his candidacy for President, I listened to him and told my wife “if he’s serious, he’s the next President.”

Why? he was the right person at the right time for all the disaffected in America. Also: I know my people (Americans). I know what they say when they are among a small group of friends. I know what they tell each other when they think no one is listening. I know what they think in private is much different than what they will say in public.

I know my people. And I am terrified.

Ever notice the women at Trump rallies look like they all sell Arbonne or Lularoe. But be not deceived: if provoked, they will rip you to bloody shreds.