Welcome to Problems, Predicaments, and Technology

Welcome to my new blog - titled Problems, Predicaments, and Technology - because that is the title to a short article I wrote over a year ago to point out the difference between problems and predicaments (often called dilemmas) and explain the role technology use (and the culture surrounding it) has had in creating most of the predicaments we face today. While this blog is mainly focused on Ecological Overshoot, Abrupt Climate Disruption (ACD) and Energy and Resource Decline (generally associated with peak oil and collapse), there are a myriad of other predicaments closely associated with these three that will also be covered. Many scientists focus a large amount of their lives trying to figure out how to solve these predicaments as if they are problems in the hopes of coming up with a way to at least mitigate some of the harm society is doing to life on this planet. My efforts here are to point out that in a very real sense, this has been rooted in denial of reality and optimism bias and ignores our lack of agency.

In an effort to better define certain words commonly used in this blog which can be misinterpreted, the difference between problems and predicaments is frequently explained, including in this article. Technology is defined here. Degrowth is defined here and here. Collapse can have several meanings, but civilizational collapse, sometimes combined with economic collapse and/or ecological collapse, is most often used in this blog. If you see a word that you don't understand or you think should be defined better, please drop me a line to let me know.

I'm adding a special note regarding publishing comments on this blog, as recently I've come across some comments which I found to be more or less irrelevant or about subjects other than the subject material. Along with this first post, I also added thousands of peer-reviewed studies which prove all points contained within the blog. While I generally attempt to post more than sufficient evidence of the claims I make in each article, these claims are based upon the scientific evidence I am familiar with and is contained within the confines of this blog. Comments not grounded in reality or which are outside the scope of a particular article will probably be deleted without being published. Comments which veer into conspiracy theories will likewise be deleted. Comments or claims which are evidence-free may or may not be published and/or may be partially published. Thank you in advance for adhering to these guidelines.

I have published a new post (6-17-21) regarding suggested reading (to help those interested in these predicaments gain a thorough understanding of basic premises before going into more indepth detail further into the blog) and tips on how to navigate this blog. This particular article that you are currently reading (the Welcome article) is recommended to be completed before venturing into further articles, as subsequent articles delve into topics using the information contained in this post and comprehending this post will make further reading easier to understand. For those wondering who I am and/or what this blog is all about, please read the About Me post.

I have spent a great deal of time on social media pointing out these issues and as a result, I have accumulated a large library of links to articles, studies, and other media such as videos to help others comprehend precisely where we are as a species here. Most of this blog will be to post these files and updates publicly, as the groups they are currently contained within are mostly private. One of the overwhelming troubles any activist faces is the huge resistance offered by those with a pre-existing belief or worldview that doesn't coincide with his or her own. Being human, it is almost impossible to not be biased in one way or another. This is precisely why I generally let the science speak for itself by quoting a small portion of an article to introduce it. Still, the science is true whether one believes in it or not - belief is optional, participation is required. As I frequently point out, the laws of physics, thermodynamics, nature, etc. don't care whether one believes in them or not.

Most everyone now is familiar with the constant stream of "faster than expected" and "more than previously thought" when reading climate change articles. This is mostly due to the human predicament of an inability to understand the exponential function, as explained by Al Bartlett. Hopefully, you will be able to find articles pertaining to specific topics easily here that will be useful in explaining the situation to others. The topics of each file are categorized by a particular predicament, although many of the articles contained in each file cross over into other predicaments as well. 

Since the topic of this blog is actually contained in the article I wrote some time back, here it is to introduce those unfamiliar with it:

Problems, Predicaments, and Technology

We often see people bring out certain ideas that they claim are some sort of "solution" or that "they work" and I want to try to explain why (once again) these ideas are nothing more than ideas and not "solutions" of any sort. One of the things I most would like to get others to see is the bigger picture. Many people focus on reductionist ideas such as non-renewable "renewable" energy, or alternative energy ideas such as hydrogen, or technological ideas; but fail to see how those ideas don't really change anything and only allow for continued environmental destruction (and consolidate capital in the hands of the elite) instead.

Before I go any further, I should make it clear that climate change (and most of the topics in our files) is a predicament. A predicament has an outcome, not a solution or answer. Solutions and answers are reserved for PROBLEMS. Many people get these two mixed up and tend to see predicaments as problems. Wikipedia calls a predicament a "wicked problem" but this doesn't change the simple fact that predicaments or dilemmas do not have solutions.

One of the first things I constantly harp about is technology. Technology has been great for those of us who can afford to use it, but it came at a huge cost to the environment AND to us over the long haul. It is our use of technology which CONTINUES the exponential expansion of the predicaments we face and it is our insistence upon not only using existing technology but on developing NEW technology to "solve" the predicaments technology caused to begin with that is itself one of the biggest parts of our predicaments.

Technology REQUIRES three things: mining (extraction), energy use (fossil fuel burning in most cases), and industrial civilization (the entire system we are embedded within and live within). Because these three things (along with technology use itself) are unsustainable and are killing all life on this planet, it is technology use which itself is unsustainable. This makes ANYTHING requiring technology under today's conditions only capable of further destruction of our biosphere. Technology includes the wheel, fire, and agriculture, and modern agriculture combines all three of these. Agriculture is precisely what has caused global population numbers to skyrocket, and it is the overpopulation combined with consumption which have caused ecological overshoot. Ecological overshoot (see this article) is the parent predicament causing climate change and most other predicaments we face. Some people have brought up regenerative agriculture as one of these so-called "solutions" that they believe will help. Regenerative agriculture can indeed work to do things like sequestering small amounts of carbon in soil, but what these folks have forgotten is that it does nothing to stop industrial civilization upon which agriculture is the bedrock of to begin with. As long as industrial civilization continues, so too does the continuing worsening of the biosphere upon which we depend. Why is civilization unsustainable? Because it relies on agriculture (technology). This makes agriculture of ALL types guilty of allowing the continuation of the very system destroying us. In addition, as the climate changes and extreme weather events worsen, ALL agriculture will suffer as a result. What would it take for humanity to experience radical transformation? Visit this link to find out more!

This is where the fault of logic is - it is similar to the smoker who decides to treat his addiction to nicotine with more nicotine in a different form (such as a "patch" or "lozenge" or e-cigarette or chewing tobacco). The same thing can be said of utilizing different energy sources to "replace" fossil fuels. We are simply treating our addiction to energy with more energy in a never-ending vicious cycle. As long as we don't recognize our addiction, we wind up continuing the hamster wheel in a slightly different form while continuing to cause yet more damage.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't to throw the baby out with the bathwater and claim that none of these ideas have any redeeming qualities, as many of them do. Provided the right conditions are met with regenerative ag, for instance, it CAN sequester carbon in the soil. In the nicotine example, reducing nicotine intake by utilizing other sources and then reducing the amount of nicotine gradually CAN help a smoker quit permanently. Ocean fertilization CAN help promote phytoplankton growth if several other conditions are met at the same time. But none of them stop industrial civilization or technology use, so the ongoing damage to the environment continues unabated.

Until society realizes that technology itself is part of the predicaments in and of itself will people come to realize that technology can never solve what it has caused - it can only make conditions worse:

Last but not least by any stretch, don't
forget to Live Now!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. What if the Singularitarians inadvertently save us by developing an AI so smart that it hacks everything so none of it works anymore?

    1. Hahaha! In reality, we are ALREADY doing this, and probably far more effectively than AI could achieve. I think that we have been extremely clever at removing negative feedbacks which would naturally limit our overshoot condition, but these have only been possible with the power of the energy that fossil fuels have provided. As energy decline removes more and more of this energy from the picture through depletion and climate change destroys more and more of the infrastructural platforms we depend upon, in a very short amount of time, a large portion of life as we know it will come tumbling down as collapse deepens.

  3. Brilliantly written


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