Jan. 10, 2021


Unstoppable Collapse: How to Avoid the Worst (Dowd: Jan 2021)


I watched this Youtube video yesterday in furthering my exploration into Deep Adaptation and post-sustainability. Here are my takeaways from the video.


I love his definition of sustainable which is simply faithfulness to the future. And to be faithful to the future we need to focus on ecological integrity, social coherence and personal wholeness.


Dowd claims there are 10 certainties.


Massive denial, blame and grief of the reality of our situation.

   Melting of ice reservoirs and permafrost which releases methane

      Chaotic and deadly jet stream

         Intensely unstable weather

            Loss of forests

                Ocean acidification/inundation

                   Mass extinctions

                      Population bottlenecks

                         Mass migrations and political conflicts

                            Nuclear meltdowns


We should prioritize reverence for life by:

  • Sparing the future our deadliest toxicity
  • Saving forests
  • Learning and applying regenerative wisdom
  • Whatever is soul-nourishing


Dowd states we should: Thrive with less and nurture community ecoliteracy, compassion and resilience.


At some point, we need to recognize that nature should be our primary reality. It is the source of all life on the planet. We should understand the interrelations between systems and how feedback loops can instigate exponential changes. As the ice melts, it reflects less sunlight back into space. It will also cause disruption of the jet stream causing more extreme weather. More insidiously, melting of permafrost releases methane which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. In addition, we have acidification of the oceans which affects photosynthetic organisms that produce 70% of the oxygen supply. The heat is causing desertification and driving unprecedented wildfires, which add more carbon dioxide to the environment. Less forests means less uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Overuse of petrochemicals in our soils kills the soil which could act as a giant carbon sink. These toxic chemicals are ruining our soils, water and our health. Natural processes are being thrown into feedback loops that will prove to be more than just an inconvenience. The confluence of these feedback loops could throw our species into genetic bottleneck and even extinction. Delusional denial only exasperates the problem. Many are beginning to believe we are past the point of no return. Social coherence is part of the solution, but our country is so polarized, I have little faith in that happening. Without social coherence we will never achieve ecological literacy nor ecological integrity. Indeed scientific literacy, the ability to critically evaluate evidence to formulate reasonable explanation, is a problem in our nation. We also do not pay enough attention to our human history. No civilization has survived more than a couple of centuries. Without a complete reimagining of our political and economic systems, neither will ours.