Welcome to the Jungle

A reader recently commented that he had moved to the coutnry and taken steps to arrange an independent and sustainable life. His reason: that he expects, when the climate shit hits the fan, that people may place their own survival above the rules of ethics, that we may attempt to scratch and claw our way to the top of the heap at the expense of others, that life for most people will become a “law of the jungle.” He was providing for his own escape from what he viewed as a future not unlike the post-apocalyptic nightmare of a Mad Max movie.

I sometimes have similar thoughts.


Then I remember hurricane Katrina. There was some selfishness and ruthlessness evident, but most of it that I remember was on the part of “officials.” Like the Bush-appointed head of FEMA, who considered finishing his meal at Denny’s more important than quick response to the emergency. I also remember that Bush’s FEMA subsequently held a fake “press conference” designed to deflect criticism by having fake “reporters” ask soft and gratuitous questions.

I also remember the story of a teenager in New Orleans who stole a bus — not so he could escape by leaving others behind, but so he could help others escape to safety when “official” procedures were gridlocked by stupidity.

I remember the devastating wildfires in California during 2007. In this case the “official” response was good, active, even proactive. Governor Schwarzenegger especially distinguished himself. But not as much, in my opinion, as the common man. When citizens were made refugees by the loss of their houses to fire, people took then into their own homes to help them get through. Some of those who lost their homes were friends of mine. Some of those who helped were too.

My point: don’t be so sure that when the shit hits the fan, people will revert to “every man for himself.” Sometimes that happens, but it also happens that people revert to “we must all hang together or surely we will all hang separately.” And it’s that very quality — the practice of helping each other — which has prevented us all from hanging separately. Including the scum who step on someone else to get to the last scrap of remaining food.

When people talk about the “law of the jungle,” they sometimes use the excuse that it really amounts to “survival of the fittest.” This is nothing more than an attempt to justify unethical, selfish behavior designed to save one’s self at the expense of others, by suggesting that their survival is justified by their “fitness.” But “survival of the fittest” really refers to survival of the fittest species. One of the many things that has contributed to our survival, as a species, is our inherent tendency to help each other. It makes us stronger, not weaker.

I suspect that some of the corporate CEOs who talk about how we’ll have to adapt to climate change do exactly that. They justify their own selfish greed by believing that they should do better than the mass of people because they are more “fit” — essentially, superior — so their prosperity at the expense of others is only right.

In my opinion, the “law of the jungle” is not “survival of the fittest.” It’s kill or be killed. And it’s evil.

It’s not just evil, it’s foolish. If you don’t realize that cooperation is more powerful, more fit, than selfishness, then you haven’t been paying attention. When the climate shit hits the fan, no amount of wealth or isolationism will guarantee survival. The only hope we have is cooperation. Truly we must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately.

Instead of abandoning society to seek refuge in your own private island of sustainability and independence, I recommend we become more involved in society. And I truly believe in our ability to bring about change, change in our idiotic and destructive environmental practices, as a society. There’s plenty of selfishness and greed which will make it a lot harder. But don’t underestimate the ability of a society to come to its senses and work as a team. The power of unity is far greater than the power of greed.

And, don’t underestimate the power of one, or of a small group, of individuals to organize that unity and to bring about that change. It’s the only thing that ever has.

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39 responses to “Welcome to the Jungle

  1. We moved to a rural area about five years ago, after I became disabled (it’s much cheaper to live in the woods!). But we don’t expect a mad max world. We’re working to make our community more resilient, through local food and power production, on the individual and community level. Our latest project we just got started on is a community kitchen that can get a state license and allow our members to create food for sale.

    I recommend reading John Robb’s blogs. Global Guerrillas, his old blog, is great, but for this subject, check out his Resillient Communities site.

    http://www.resilientcommunities.com

  2. Hear Hear- are ability to cooperate is what makes humans the fittest species. My self interest sees a joint effort as the best survival strategy.

  3. Thanks for an excellent short essay on ethics and climate change.

    I have a similar perspective; my response is to work hard for more democracy along with self-reliance and resilience at the local level. Not individual, but community, as in neighborhood and city (I’m in Seattle).

    I love living in a politically liberal, culturally vibrant city, and I won’t give it up out of fear. We just need to prepare as best we can…

  4. Like your commenter, Tamino, I did the same in 2001 — moved to the countryside to become as independent and self-sufficient as possible. Perhaps the difference is that I was doing this not just for myself and those nearest and dearest, but with the intention of being part of a larger, co-operative of like-minded individuals. And I’ve not turned by back on the rest of society, as I still work, vote, pay my taxes, involve myself with local politics and generally do as much as I can to spread the world about climate change and other similarly pressing problems which I’m convinced will converge to bring this civilisation to its knees as we know it.

    As far as I can anticipate, the future is likely to be one best dealt with by numbers of relatively small, resilient, self-sufficient, autonomous village-sized local units, who understand the benefits and satisfaction of working together to help one another. These local units could well co-operate as part of a larger society; I don’t know. That’s not something we can control.

    In the meantime I’ll fight to improve the chances of everyone through a process of education and leading by example. If we can overcome problems en masse, as you describe, I’m right behind it. But I’m also trying to stay flexible by preparing for a plan B. Only time will tell how it works out.

    • Theo van den Berg

      For me, plan A is eco-farm-stay and showcasing sustainability at a village community level.

      Then there is also plan B, which happens to need all those facilities.

      As it turns out, the planning for and the doing of A & B, is a most enjoyable and very satisfying activity.

    • “the future is likely to be one best dealt with by numbers of relatively small, resilient, self-sufficient, autonomous village-sized local units”

      The problem with this vision is that most people could not possibly transition to it; we live in cities of hundreds of thousands and millions. Where do you think we’re going to go? If we haven’t figured out how to be economically self sufficient on a local and near-by regional (i.e., a hundred miles/major watershed) basis, you’re going to have starving hordes all over your “village-sized local units.”

      • You could well be right, loup. So what do you suggest I do? Move to the middle of a city—which would frankly send me crazy? I’ll take my chances living frugally and as sustainably as I can in an environment which makes me happy, thanks.

        Theo van den Berg reflects my views entirely.

      • JR–Nope (move to city); just be aware. I was reacting (instead of responding?) to the insular tone and apparent lack of awareness of where most people live and will likely continue to live. A significant portion of 7 or 9 billion people are not moving back to an agrarian or small town life. Flow is still hard the other way.

        I am concerned about the tendency of rural areas to be reactionary politically, while progressive policies come from the cities. E.g., in my state (WA) we have the “Cascade Curtain;” even in western WA many people in smaller counties resent urban counties (Everett-Seattle-Tacoma) because we outvote them consistently. It’s a huge long term problem because it makes rational decision making in response to increasingly difficult resource issues very polarized and difficult.

        The same dynamic plays out nationally in the U.S. The forces of reaction (tea bag Republicans, religious fundamentalists, Ayn Rand libertarians) have maintained sufficient control of enough state legislatures to prevent the House of Representatives from being democratic. (The Senate, which is not even intended to be democratic under the Constitution, ends up being more liberal!) If enough people like you could move enough rural and small town populations toward a more reasoned position, that would be very helpful.

  5. “When the climate shit hits the fan, no amount of wealth or isolationism will guarantee survival. The only hope we have is cooperation.”

    All very well said, and I agree. However… having an independent, sustainable, resilient lifestyle is beneficial to society as a whole, not just the individuals who do so. For one thing, those people will be less of a burden on emergency services, welfare systems, food supply, the electrical grid and many other aspects of society’s infrastructure. They should be able to act as examples to others – they can be leaders in showing the world how to reduce our impact on the planet and cope with the consequences of the climate chaos we’ve set in motion. Aiming for independence and sustainability doesn’t necessarily mean withdrawing from society – although some people might have that in mind. If we’re going to have to change the way we live quite radically, then we’ll need people to show us the way.

    Personally I’ve moved uphill (I used to live at sea level – would like something to leave my children when I die) and started to grow my own food. My biggest worry is that it may simply be impossible for 7 billion people and more to live on this planet in a way that is even remotely sustainable.

    • Aiming for independence and sustainability doesn’t necessarily mean withdrawing from society

      Indeed, it’s rather withdrawing from the system that forces us to be victims as well as accomplices. Unfortunately, people think that the system IS society. It’s difficult to think outside of the comfortable box of consumer culture. It’s also difficult to realize that true selfishness is to cooperate with others and assure that a maximum of people have it good.

      My feelings towards cities are ambivalent. On the one hand I realize that almost all improvement on a technological and cultural level comes into being through city life. On the other hand the city (and civitas->civilsation) is the product of the concept that lies at the root of our predicaments: large-scale agriculture.

      At the moment it’s difficult to return to horticulture in cities. Which is also why I’m opting for village life. It’s healthier too.

  6. And of course survival of the fittest actually refers to reproductive fitness, i.e. the capacity and actuality of reproduction. So, as I see it, the law of the jungle is not so much nature red in tooth and claw, but lots of sex.

  7. Littlerobbergirl

    http://www.transitionus.org/
    http://www.transitionnetwork.org/initiatives
    http://gen.ecovillage.org/
    I’m too old for that ‘me against the world’ survivalist stuff anyway

  8. I suspect the cooperation versus every man for himself depends on HOW scarce the resources are. When they’re scarce but most people aren’t actually dying as a result, cooperation is likely beneficial. If, on the other hand, large percentages of a people are starving and dying, it becomes every man for himself. I suspect this would happen anywhere, despite good intentions. Ecology / animal behavior in action.

    The question is whether or not our environment will get that bad in our lifetimes, which I doubt. I think it will be a long-slow dive into chaos, so social systems will fall apart without us really noticing. Unless we can get our act together. Which we shouldn’t discount just yet.

  9. Either way, I’d die. But I applaud your sentiments, tamino. Incidentally, I understand that in the Nazi camps, those who hoarded food and acted selfishly were more likely to die than those who helped others. Not sure of the source for that, though.

    • Bernard (the other one)

      Oh dear, BPL, now you’ve invoked Godwin’s law… I’m expecting a post any minute now on WUWT or somewhere similar about how the “climate alarmists want to herd everyone into Nazi death camps”…

      I agree with Tamino, though – homo sapiens has risen so high because of cooperation, not brutal competition. I wonder how many of those “law of the jumgle” survivalists know how to make their tools & weapons from lumps of ore in the ground?

    • I think Eugen Kogon described these mechanisms – basically, individualists had a tendency to rely on the contacts they gained in the oppressive system. The oppressive system, of course, did not wish to keep them for too long, as it would have been too “counterproductive” to them – you can imagine what happened to them.
      On the contrary, resilient groups were formed around the socialist/communist structures which were already used to clandestine action, and the capacity to have enough organized people in different services made them the best to gather information (sometimes even more efficiently than the SS guards themselves) and take preemptive actions accordingly – with lots of limits, of course.

      I think I read that in Kogon “the SS State”, but I’m not sure, I will check again. But this author is a must-read nonetheless.

  10. Agree with all you say except But “survival of the fittest” really refers to survival of the fittest species. I’d suggest reading something by Richard Dawkins, best of all The Selfish Gene.

    • Agreed, although it is worth noting Richard Dawkins is of the view that the title The Selfish Gene may have resulted in a bit of misunderstanding:

      One of the main points in the book is that genes in a sense do cooperate; not that groups of genes prosper at the expense of rival groups, but rather each gene is seen as pursuing its own self-interested agenda against the background of the other genes in the gene pool, the set of candidates for sexual shuffling within a species. Those other genes should be thought of as part of the climate, part of the context, part of the environmental background against which genes are selected, rather like the weather. Natural selection under those conditions will see to it that gangs of mutually compatible genes arise, each one selected for its capacity to cooperate with the others that it is likely to meet in bodies, which means the other genes of the gene pool of the species, that’s in the case of a sexual species.

      The Selfish Gene Turns 30, Richard Dawkins interview on ABC in Australia, April 22, 2006

      • There’s a more important caveat that Dawkins puts on all this. It’s in a sort of appendix to one of his books, sorry can’t remember if it’s The Selfish Gene but maybe it’s in The Extended Phenotype as a result of misunderstandings of the first book.

        It’s that describing how nature does work is not the same thing as saying how a human society should work.

        A lot of people seem to have difficulty with this distinction, both those who want to use theories of evolution to justify their selfishness and those, coming in the opposite direction, who want to use ideas about how the world “should” work to criticise those theories. There seem to be quite a few who do both without much sense of irony.

    • I’ve never been happy with the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’, because I think it tends to be misinterpreted and then misused to support the wrong attitude in people. I’d prefer the phrase, ‘demise of the least appropriately-equipped'; which won’t catch on but I think better describes the slow evolutionary process that produces a change towards the best adaptation.

  11. Excellent thoughts, Tamino, and thanks for posting them. People seem to forget that we are by nature social creatures and our successes as individuals are products of the success of our societies.

    • I 96% agree with tamino. It’s not so much survival of the fittest as the preferential mortality of the weaker and the less able to form cooperative bonds. Social order can remain even under great privation. Consider the siege of Leningrad in this regard, for example. Survivors weren’t so much the fittest as the least weakened, less supported.

      Actually there is no reason you cannot view all of Darwin from this perspective in which case the CEO tamino speaks of is a lucky member of a much larger preferred group, but not generally more “superior” in any respect at all to most members of that group. Hunting predators, for example, don’t generally discriminate between good and superior when seeking prey, only between weakened and nonweakened.

      The clinker 4% might be the case of a sudden, complete societal breakdown with great mortality, great shortages, and no outside support (e.g., an urban core suddenly struck with great mortality and then with no food for some reason over an extended period together with some sort of a national breakdown preventing bringing in help). Basically, say, a city not bombed for some reason in an all out nuclear war left on its own with no resources. I suspect Mad Maxx might arise in that sort of contrived case.

  12. I always find it weird that man, the most cooperative of all large animals, individually tend to see themselves as “rugged individuals”, even though most of us have zero chance of survival on our own.

    Society makes rules, both formal and informal, that are designed to maximise the welfare of everyone. Yet no set of rules can be perfect, and there are always people who will play within the rules, but against their spirit, to gain at the expense of everyone else.

    Right now, those with wealth who are collectively “gaming the system” are also producing propaganda explaining why what they are doing is for the common good. We need scientists (like Tamino), economists, educators, etc etc to stand up and call out the liars. We need to make sure that the “system” (the set of rules we play by) actually does maximise the welfare of the masses.

  13. Funnily enough, this came up in a different discussion elsewhere yesterday. My view is that what makes survival optimal for a social species like us, with infants who are helpless for a very long time, are the instincts and habits of nurturing and protectiveness. If we are to support children, our habits of cooperation and sharing food and other resources with others, not just children – and teaching others about the best ways we’ve found to do this – are what makes every individual’s chances of survival better. Hey presto! Species survival.

    Of course, in bad circumstances our protective instincts and behaviours can result in classic mother cat hissing, spitting and clawing – at everything, rather than just specific threats at specific times. So long as we maintain good habits of hospitality and generosity alongside willingness to protect the circumstances that make such generosity possible, we can be okay.

    As for cities being unable to support the community / village style behaviours, I’m not so sure. If buildings can be designed or retrofitted to be net resource producers rather than net consumers, I don’t see why many couldn’t get the occupants to turn into cooperative, or at least supportive, groups. There’s no *good* reason why apartment dwellers can’t be good neighbours – they don’t have to be isolated residents who ignore or violate the needs of other occupants.

  14. Sorry to x-post here Tamino, but your thoughts resonated so closely with mine that I felt the need to repeat a [slightly edited] comment I left beneath a Grauniad story a couple of days ago. As you’ll see, I took exception to only one paragraph in the story, but an important one:

    When our modern infrastructure falters, social chaos and breakdown can soon follow – as was vividly demonstrated after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. An often-quoted estimate is that we are just four foodless days away from anarchy, and a few days of electricity blackout away from widespread looting.

    Sadly, in this one paragraph of what is actually a well put together article Harvey once again feeds the myth of disaster leading to social breakdown.

    What >50yrs of social science has shown is that far from needing to control “anarchy”, a major problem faced by the coordinating authorities will be the need to manage the spontaneous convergence of volunteers…wanting to help the affected.

    The ‘Therapeutic Community effect’ has been written about and documented for decades (e.g. Charles Fritz, 1957; Allen Barton, 1969) yet still, every time these things occur the myths of looting and social breakdown get repeated. Unfortunately, this means that every time another disaster occurs the inevitable ‘Oh, how heroic the members of the public were in rescuing and caring for the affected’ stories are breathlessly reported as though the phenomenon was unexpected.

    Social response to disaster is predominantly altruistic (NB. yes, and that includes the majority of activity after Katrina**). How about we appreciate that [thank goodness] the overwhelming human instinct when seeing others in peril is to put a hand out to help them, and not to point a gun at them.

    **RODRIGUEZ, H., TRAINOR, J. & QUARANTELLI, E. L. (2006). Rising to the Challenges of a Catastrophe: The Emergent and Prosocial Behavior following Hurricane Katrina. ANNALS, AAPSS,, 604, 82-101.

    Original story here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/02/floods-disaster-waiting-to-happen?INTCMP=SRCH

  15. Actually, selection is neither at the species level, nor, as Dawkins would have it, at the gene level, but at the level of individuals. Genes mutate, individuals are selected, species evolve.

  16. I am afraid that sustainable life in the country as a way for future is impossible as a general solution. It may be less so in USA, but certainly in Europe or Asia the population densities are much too high for that.
    The big cities are much more energy efficient – simple geometry shows that big multi-flat buildings are more energy efficient than individual hauses. Public transportation is much more efficient than private cars, moreover distances to cover are much smaller. But this needs to be a city proper (say New York) not a city like Los Angeles.

  17. Horatio Algeranon

    “Unchanging Climate is Changing Climate”
    — by Horatio Algeranon

    They scratch and claw
    Their way to the top
    And when they get there
    They don’t stop

  18. it is true that too many people assume that human nature at its worst will come out of the woodwork in the case of some sort of large-scale ‘adjustment’ of our lifestyle. why wouldn’t they, every situation of that sort in movies and TV is portrayed as a complete breakdown of social order etc.

    on the other hand, while it’s very true that people did a good job banding together in the aftermath of disasters like katrina (as you mention), part and parcel of that is the belief that ‘this is only temporary’. people don’t start cracking each others’ skulls open and feasting on the goo inside knowing full well that law and order will be back in full swing in a few days.

    things and attitudes may change in a situation where people think that the crazy things they have to deal with are no longer anomalous, but are some sort of ‘new normal’. i can imagine more people would in fact drop pretenses toward collective behaviour that assumes everything will be back to normal soon when they become convinced that nothing will be the way it was ever again.

    course the only way to know is to experience it and i’m not too excited about that.

  19. While there is altruism in the initial state of local disasters the situation changes radically when the disaster is extended or you have multiple disasters one after the other.

    The Bubonic plague epidemic of the 14th century is an example. Altruism ran high at first but after the first wave of the disease it was everyman to his own.

    It’s good to get a community started for protection and other benefits but assuming that altruism will blossom everywhere and maintain itself throughout the entire population is unrealistic.

    Self reliant villages like Arco-Santi are the wave of the future – I hope.

    http://www.arcosanti.org/

    • The Bubonic plague epidemic

      Point taken, but there are examples of selfless behaviour adopted by communities even in the face of plague.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyam

      NB. Okay, okay…obvious caveats for this one are that it a tightly bonded, deeply religious rural community and that this wasn’t the 14thC pandemic – but still?

    • Villabolo,
      Yes, fear got the best of the population during the plague–however, it seemed an easy thing to simply leave the city. In this case, the “plague” we confront is indeed global, and while I realize there are some loons advocating leaving Earth, I think most will reject this as an impractical solution. The only question then is where we will make our stand. In that sense we are far more like the Algerian city in Albert Camus’ “The Plague”. People initially try to flee there as well, but eventually, everyone comes together, and at great cost, the plague is vanquished.

      Humans are, ultimately, social mammals.The individual rarely lasts long against the ravages of nature, and even if they do persevere, their existence still remains nasty and brutish. Our lot is with our fellow men and women.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        “The individual rarely lasts long against the ravages of nature [unless you're the guy in "Man Vs Wild"], and even if they do persevere, their existence still remains nasty and brutish” […and grubby and rancid

  20. On the issue of eBooks, I’ve been looking around as well for a suitable way to release a book. It’s a complicated world out there, especially without benefit of an editor, which is more or less implied with many ebook methodologies. I’d be interested in hearing more about what you learn.
    There’s quite a bit relating to fiction (see especially Joh Scalzi’s blog discussions), but issuing a primary-source reference or a textbook is a different critter.

  21. Thanks for this post, Tamino. It’s true that this ‘individualist’ mythology is um, resilient, and not particularly helpful. Individuals function best in communities, by and large, and depend upon them for multiple life functions. We forget this at our peril.

    IMO, if your neighborhood feels insecure, it’s a more radical (and adaptive) response to get to know your neighbors, than (say) to buy a gun. (Although it’s true you can do both–and doubly true that one of the “functions” communities serve so brilliantly is the defense of individuals, as Thomas Hobbes famously pointed out, and as a couple of the comments above also evince.)

    • Susan Anderson

      Thanks. I also enjoyed your assay into WWJohannsebastianDo, though if I could respond contrapuntally, I wouldn’t know how to put down the notes on a computer. Don’t know if that relates, but I too dislike the idea that firepower should be escalated; that would end badly.

  22. Lewis Cleverdon

    Tamino – a fine post, and timely. The imperative of co-operation can scarcely be overstated, despite the prevalent delusions of individualism in the most massively complex interlinked society the world has yet seen.
    Yet alongside the dire consequences of society’s disregard for the ecosphere’s dynamics, with climate destabilization as just the most pressing concern, there is also a rising brittleness as society’s complexity has increased. Just in terms of basic life-skills this has to be the least skilled generation in history, for all the specialists in many fields can perform extraordinary feats. This implies that far from raising society’s security and resilience, we passed a zenith at some point and actually began raising our vulnerability to societal collapse.

    Serial global crop failure appears the proximate threat of geo-political destabilization and national disintegration, and it is no longer an unquantified distant future possibility – its probability is advancing by the year. For an account of the prospects in Asia, “Food Security: Near future projections of the impact of drought in Asia” ( at http://www.lowcarbonfutures.org ) may be of interest. The press-release remarked:
    “Research released today shows that within the next 10 years large parts of Asia can expect increased risk of more severe droughts, which will impact regional and possibly even global food security. On average, across Asia, droughts lasting longer than three months will be more than twice as severe in terms of their soil moisture deficit compared to the 1990-2005 period.
    Dr Lawrence Jackson, a co-author of the report, said: “Our work surprised us when we saw that the threat to food security was so imminent; the increased risk of severe droughts is only 10 years away for China and India. These are the world’s largest populations and food producers; and, as such, this poses a real threat to food security.”

    Given that Munich Re reports that catastrophic climate impacts continue to increase far faster in the US than anywhere else, it would seem that there is not much time to avert a crisis that is global, not regional, in extent.
    In this light my interest in co-operation is not in trying to pick up the pieces after a collapse (under a climate getting increasingly extreme for at least many decades) but in getting past the nationalism that has thus far obstructed the requisite global agreement of commensurate mitigation.

    The ‘received wisdom’ has it that the obstruction is the fault of the fossil fuel lobby, when in reality there is cogent evidence that it is actually only a bit-player in an underlying Sino-American rivalry over who will wield global economic dominance after 2020. US climate policy switched when Cheyney took power to what I’d call a ‘brinkmanship of inaction’ with China, with the aim of serving the bipartisan paramount priority of maintaining US global economic dominance, by means of awaiting the China’s climatic destabilization, food shortages and civil strife. Back in 2000, such a policy was backed by the common expectation that developing nations, such as China, would face far worse climate impacts than developed nations like America, while the US would be far better able to afford the damage costs and food price rises than China,

    That expectation of relative US advantage under climate destabilization has proven wholly false under the Jetstream’s disruption, implying that the policy is actually counter-productive to its goal, and may well be vulnerable to exposure, opposition and replacement. The critical concern, which to my mind should be the key focus of discussion, is just what that bipartisan policy is to be replaced with: a co-operative constructive input to the UNFCCC negotiations, or an attempt to accelerate the destabilizing pressures on China’s government ?

    For those who find the notion of Cheyney committing the US to the very ancient tactic of disrupting a rival empire’s food supply just a bit far-fetched, there are many points of confirmation available. Two in particular are worthy of note.
    First, while Washington’s paramount priority since WW2 remains unchanged, in a stark contrast with the vast costs and existential risks of the nuclear arms race that was applied to crush the USSR’s bid for dominance, neither Cheyney nor Obama have mounted any comparable measure against China’s rise, apart from the ‘brinkmanship of inaction.’
    Second, intensifying crop failures in China are now the predictable outcome of the obstructionism launched by Cheyney and maintained by Obama. If this was merely an accidental outcome, it would probably be the first time in history that a fading empire accidentally shattered the food security of its upstart rival empire.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  23. Since the Keystone thread appears now to be closed to comments, let me point out that I’m looking to see what happens with this:

    http://news.yahoo.com/huge-climate-change-rally-targets-keystone-xl-pipeline-200500820.html

    I do think that what happens with the rally, the Administration response to this pressure, and the larger issue in the next year will be quite significant in setting the US political climate (no pun intended) and hence, emissions trajectory, over the next few years (decades?)