I'm not a doomer.
...said Ah-nie in Kindergarten Cop. (I'm paraphrasing.)
In a slightly different universe, Eva would be a prepper, one of those people with a fully stocked bunker. She spent a week marooned on an island with a crazy old woman when she was in her early teens, and that experience shaped her in profound ways. She would strongly prefer never to be caught in such a helpless situation again, and to that end she has read up on and honed her survival skills. We have, here in this house, what we refer to as a "scram shelf". It's next to my computer, on the way out the door, and it has a collection of books: THE SELF-SUFFICIENT LIFE AND HOW TO LIVE IT; THE S.A.S SURVIVAL HANDBOOKS, SMALL BATCH PRESERVING, a few others. They come with us if we have to leave this place.
We don't obsess over this kind of thing--don't get the wrong picture here. But it's something that is in the back of our minds. It's only come to the forefront once in 21 years: on September 11, 2001. That was a Tuesday morning, we were both at work, and she called me when the second tower was hit. I told her, "if you hear anything about missiles flying, come and get me and Armageddon out of here." We have a place to go to if the fit ever does hit the shan (depending on exactly what sort of fit, of course:
No missiles flew, unless you're a 9/11 truther, which I am not. So the scram books have stayed in place, taken down and skimmed through every few years, and we too have stayed in place.
I am the Designated-Payer-Of-Attention-To-Current-Events in this house. The current, how shall we say this, is quickening.
There have been bugs, each one announced in the media as if we should Kiss Our Asses Goodbye. MERS. SARS. Several Ebola outbreaks (now that virus is terrifying. Covid-19, which despite the 99.7% survival rate the maskholes and anti-vaxxers like to chirp about, has been the worst of them by far. This is the bug I'm currently keeping a weather eye on.
For a virus, you isolate, of course. Depending on what it is, it might be safer not to scram at all, just hunker in place. But if it's really bad -- contagious and virulent -- I'd feel better getting to somewhere not quite so...peopley. Someplace where we can grow food in sufficient quantities to feed us and our loved ones. We do, in fact, have such a place, well outside urban areas but reachable on one tank of gas.
I'm not overly worried about viruses or bacteria.
The two things that concern me a great deal more, the things that make scramming an eventual certainty, are a lot slower acting. So slow, in fact, that they don't even register for much of the population.
1) POLITICAL COLLAPSE
This is where most of you think Ken's train has run right off the rails of reality, right? Canada's still a fully functioning country, after all. No signs of collapse here.
We are always a couple of electoral terms behind the United States. Our Obama is still in charge: a man of "sunny ways" who has accomplished a hell of a lot less than he told us he would. Our Trump is coming, and possibly as soon as later this year. The hatred of Justin Trudeau in this country is every bit as deranged as the hatred the Q Klux Klan has for Pelosi and Clinton. I don't like the guy much, but there are many people here who want him dead.
What's making political collapse inevitable here: among other things, the real estate market.
talk about your beautiful for spacious skies
it's about uranium, it's about the water rights
Put Mother Nature on a luncheon plate
Carve her up and call it "real estate"
Own all of the resources and all of the land
They make a war over it, blow things up for it
--Buffy Sainte-Marie, "No No Keshagesh"
"Keshagesh" is Cree for "greedy guts". It's what you call a puppy who eats his own food and wants everybody else's too. It's also what I call a billionaire. You know the thing every billionaire has in common? At one point each of them had nine hundred million dollars. And at no point did they say "I'm rich enough". Greedy fucks, the lot of them.
Their next move is to wait for the housing crash, which will come. That's not doomer thinking, that's just history. No bubble inflates forever. When this one pops, they will swoop in and buy houses by the thousands, then rent them out to us peons for the absolute most they can get away with. This is what you get for letting them and their corporations know you don't want to own anything anymore.
Think about what you gave up physical ownership of. You pay a monthly fee to stream your music now. Same thing with your movie collection. The gig economy made it so you don't have a job, just a series of precarious short term contracts. Owners have discovered it's much more profitable to turn their house into an Airbnb than to sell it. Trust me, this is the last generation to see widespread home ownership.
What do you think happens when people grow up aspiring to own a home, told it's how you know you've Made It in our society, and then they find out they'll have to save for six lifetimes just to get a downpayment? Do you think it might be similar to what happens when a couple of generations realize they've been sold a bill of bullshit with education, that the university degree so many of their parents held up as an absolute requirement turns out to be nothing more than another profit-milking scheme? Or how about the professional world, where only the Big Boys get bonuses and nobody actually gets raises because those would cut into the profit margin? (Cost of Living Allowances, if you're even lucky enough to see those, aren't raises. They just keep you standing still.)
These are signs of a society in catabolic collapse. 'Catabolic' is a ten cent word meaning 'gradual'. I'm not for one second suggesting we're headed off a cliff next weekend. But social unrest is coalescing, and once that genie's out of the bottle, he doesn't go back easily.
This happens to all societies sooner or later. The quicker we drop the arrogant conceit that "it's different this time", the easier it will be to navigate the shoals and whirlpools of reality. It isn't different this time, it's just bigger.
Political collapse is generally a slow process, and such is very much the case here. It starts with growing distrust in institutions and elites, both of whom are seen as serving their own interests and nobody else's. Eventually the government loses legitimacy, which has already happened with a goodish chunk of the population to our south. You can see instances of the next phase already: a mutual loss of trust between those who enforce laws and the rest of us. The police call it FIDO: "Fuck It, Drive On." They know that at this point, no matter what they do, they'll be deemed villains. That's not right.
Once that trust is fully gone, it's but a hop, skip and a jump to roving war bands.
For this, you have time -- but you also should consider getting yourself as far away from cities as possible. Our safe place may not be safe enough, in time. I may not live to see this, but then again, I might. What makes me think I might:
The coming political collapse dovetails neatly with
2) ECOLOGICAL COLLAPSE
This is harder to deny when a billion sea creatures cooked to death last week on the west coast of North America. More than a thousand humans and countless land animals died as well. The world population of insects has declined by EIGHTY PERCENT in the last century. We are in the middle of a mass extinction, and as more and more of these 'heat domes' happen, a growing swathe of the planet will no longer support human life. That will trigger mass migration on a scale you can't even imagine, with its attendant resource wars and such. This is expected by 2050, by the way. Well before that -- by 2030 -- more than half a billion natives of India will lose easy access to drinkable water. There are cascading failures and irreversible feedback loops already triggered and engaged.
For this, no safe space is good enough. You're looking at relocation to the High Arctic. There's no point in speculating any further. Oh, and by the bye: the "permafrost" that is suddenly neither perma nor particularly frosty is almost certainly harbouring viruses that make Covid-19 look like a mother's kiss.
Now, every one of these predictions could be wrong. I have been proven wrong many times, sometimes spectacularly wrong. One for-instance that doubtless had many rolling their eyes at me: I repeatedly predicted mass unrest in the United States from the millions of people I expected to be evicted at various points. That never happened, partly because I lacked a critical piece of information: I didn't realize unemployment benefits had been increased. All I heard about was that $1200 stimulus cheque that Republicans thought should last people three months. In my defence: violent crime has risen considerably, and you don't usually go wrong betting against the compassion of the U.S. government in taking care of its non-millionaire citizens. But the kind of widespread lawlessness I expected has not materialized, and I have egg on my face.
I would love to be proven wrong with the rest of this. I don't think I will be. At most, I might be off in my timing by ten or twenty years. I will say this: every reputable climate change prediction has been found to be wrong.... too conservative. Make of that what you will.