Catabolic Collapse - A Discussion

David Trammel's picture

You should begin your introduction to Green Wizardry by reading John Michael Greer's original paper "How Civilizations Fall - A Theory of Catabolic Collapse" in the tutorial section of this site. Feel free to discuss it, or ask questions in this thread.

David Trammel's picture

Here is a link to the original post, at the ADR Archive site

"On Catabolic Collapse"


In a nutshell, we believe civilization has overshot its capacity and unfortunately is now facing a slow descent in standards of living until we get back into equilibrium with the world.

Its not the "Apocalypse " of fast crash and burn so popular now a days in many sections of the Internet, but a stair step down, of small crashes, conflicts, crises, that each time leaves us with less. After each will come some stability until pressures reach the tipping point and we crash again.

Green Wizardry is about relearning skills and habits which will help the individual, thats YOU, survive in a tightening world of constraint. We call it "appropriate tech", but its really just relearning all those thing our great grandparents did to survive on a day to day manner. They did it and had a wonderful life, we can too.

We don't go in for the "big fixes", which are discussed on any number of other blogs. Its all well and good talking about carbon sequestering with underground storage or thorium reactors to power civilization when times are good, but when you've lost your job, your kids are hungry and gas is $14 a gallon its a waste of your time.

Green Wizards do talk alot about food and gardening, skills you can learn now that will pay for things in the future, how to recycle and reuse, and all in all how to live better on less.

Bob Waldrop posted this on FB. Bob has been key in the Peak Oil Movement. If you are familiar with his work, I'll pass that he has just been diagnosed with cancer, and he will be starting treatment immediately.

Three Hard Truths About American Collapse - America Probably Isn’t Going to Make It. Will You?

David Trammel's picture

I ran across this long winded article about economics in an Age of Collapse.

(Though they didn't use those exact terms, lol.)

"Inside the new economic science of capitalism’s slow-burn energy collapse"

"New scientific research is quietly rewriting the fundamentals of economics. The new economic science shows decisively that the age of endlessly growing industrial capitalism, premised on abundant fossil fuel supplies, is over.

The long-decline of capitalism-as-we-know-it, the new science shows, began some decades ago, and is on track to accelerate well before the end of the 21st century.

With capitalism-as-we-know it in inexorable decline, the urgent task ahead is to rewrite economics to fit the real-world: and, accordingly, to redesign our concepts of value and prosperity, precisely to rebuild our societies with a view of adapting to this extraordinary age of transition.

A groundbreaking study in Elsevier’s Ecological Economics journal by two French economists, for the first time proves the world has passed a point-of-no-return in its capacity to extract fossil fuel energy: with massive implications for the long-term future of global economic growth."


I particularly liked their discussion on Energy Return on Investment (EROI) which they peg "Peak" fossil fuels at about 1960, as well as their point that complex societies actually force an acceleration of depletion in their later stages.