The above graph is adapted from Limits to Growth, Revisited. It is not a hard and fast prediction, but rather the product of a model with 40 years of high correspondence with developments. We are, at present, at the top of the growth curves, many of which have already begun to plateau. Slopes of decline do not factor in such worst-case scenarios as widespread urban- or domestic nuclear facilities collapse consequent to economic collapse.

I've added the shading and 'crossover' circle' (coincident with 'peak everything') to indicate my best guess as to the high probablility zone for global, economic collapse, triggering the onset of TEOTWAWKI.

I fear a hard landing... no 'reboot' or 'transition' to a lower functioning economy. I urge high priority preparation now.

I've got a short glossary of terms at the bottom of this page... if you come across an unfamiliar term, please scroll down and check it out.

Information I'm including or pointing to doesn't mean I necessarily agree with it. Rather, I've found it to be stimulating and worthy of consideration. I'm sure you'll exercise your own judgement... we're nothing if not independent! 8)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Soft vs Hard Landing

Most Believers in TEOTWAWKI fall into two broad categories, depending on whether they see the Curve of Collapse as being abrupt or relatively gradual.

Soft Landing folks foresee a relatively gradual decline stabilizing at a lower but functional levels of society and economy. Not to say that this will transition without dislocation and trauma, but cultures and societies can remain largely intact throughout. Notable examples are Howard Kunstler's scenarios set forth in A WORLD MADE BY HAND, and the Happy Ending scenario from THERE'S NO TOMORROW.

Hard Landing folks foresee a spectrum ranging from the ELE (Extinction Level Event) for our species to a traumatic return to Dark Ages which in turn transition to neo-neolithic modes. Notable examples are Dmitry Orlov's Five Stages of Collapse (I don't meant to imply that he is a Hard Lander, but his Fifth Stage of Cultural Collapse classifies the hard end), and Derrick Jensen's writings around ENDGAME.


I hope for a soft landing, but expect a hard one.

The effects of infrastructural and supply collapse on dense, urban populations will be dramatic in either scenario. I believe that the actions of distributed masses of desparate people will feedback on the collapse curve, steepening it to near vertical (Senaca's Cliff aka House of Cards Efect).

In their throes to survive, urban areas will burn. Suburban and neighboring semi- and fully rural areas will be flooded, overwhelmed and stripped bare. As mob densities will diminish, probably rather abruptly - through violent death, absence of critical life-support (meds and  interventions), starvation/malnutrition and geographic dispersal.

Throughout, a steep process of natural selection will be hardening survivors into trends of subsistent (hunter/gatherer)  or parasitic behavior. Likely a mix.

This will also be a time of forging of symbiotic relationships in both modes. It is one of the areas I see pre-collapse communication and preparation having an influence. By linking individuals into communities, and working toward a core population of better prepared persons and groups, we stack the deck toward a favorable outcome, preferably limiting parasitic modes.

Overlaying all this is the ELE problem.

The threat, as I see it, is from the wide distribution of nuclear power sites, especially in the northern hemisphere. They are located on watersheds (which provide coolant), many to most of which are dammed.

In the event of Collapse, these nukes go untended. Even if workers stay by their posts, the end of grid power, material and service support mean that virtually all plants will begin to experience systemic failures within a very short time. These failures, untendend and unremediable, will move toward criticality events. Think Fukushima without workers, fire departments, navy and airforce times hundreds. Safety in Depth presumes on-going, high tech maintenance, possible only in a functional, modern economy.

You do the math.

Regardless of whether aggregate nuclear melt-down will take us with it, it is clear that our quality and chances for life will be diminished. Rebound of the natural environment around Chernobyl gives me some hope, in this regard. Not sure how much.


This would all be academic, were it not for the questions concerning preparation.

I think we can rule out ELE as something for which we can reasonably prepare. At least I'm not interested. Nuclear scenarios may warrant geiger counter, isolation gear and stores to avoid intermittent, high-level exposure. But it's an on-going nightmare. I'll probably just liquify my material assets in that case, and call it a good run.

Strategy, tactics, logistics and  location are all founded on some assumptions about the future. An expectation of soft landing involves a different set than those for a hard one.

I propose discussion of a pyramidal approach to preparation, with hard scenario preps at the broad base, shading up to softer ones toward the apex.

Basic needs are common to both, and provide a solid footing in either scenario. Pre-arranged alliances, infrastructure and stockpiles for a soft situation are all fine things, but vulnerable to hard landings, locally hard events or even hard luck.

To strategies with hard prep at their foundation, softer situations are gravy.

Let's DO this!

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