An advertisement for autos in 1957 displays the same consumer values that drive the market for electric cars. Click to open an larger image in a new browser window.

Where do you find yourself, having worked through the solutions to global warming being so actively implemented worldwide? Is this a good time to remind you of the “shutting down” phase of a paradigm shift, when a person simply feels so overwhelmed by the incoming tsunami of changed perceptions that they . . . well, you get the point. Is that where you are? If it is, remember that I’ve told you all along there’s hope here. But it doesn’t reside in “green” cars that can successfully drag race cars with combustion engines, or in CO2 solutions that merely exchange one set of climate impacts and emerging system fragilities for another. Such “solutions”, and the fixation on global warming that drives their frenetic implemention, are part of the paradigmatic shell game Western culture plays on its own self. What we need to do here is find the cultural pocket the pea’s been hidden in. That pea is the actual paradigm that’s created all these problems, even global warming, to begin with. The clue we found in our explorations of CO2 solutions that really aren’t solutions at all is this:

When people in Western culture start to run out of energy, water, or raw materials, they don’t ask how they can reduce their use of these resources.

They ask where else they can go to get what they want.

This is what drove, and still drives, colonization.

Mining other Lands for solar and wind power, then running that power to cities through enormous transmission lines, is colonization in precisely the same way that it was colonization to harvest timber, food, and ore resources in other lands that were sent home to Europe on ships. Colonization is and always has been an end-run around the actual, natural limits on resource consumption that exist in a sustainable society. And make no mistake: current plans for solar and wind farms do not plan for reduced energy use in the future, or even for energy use that stays the same as it is now. The plans being made are for increased future energy use. So even though solar and wind farms seem to have lower environmental impact than do fossil fuels, the fact is that any environmental impact that happens on a big enough scale is going to pile up small changes until they’re big ones. If we keep increasing our energy consumption, that’s going to happen even faster. And if you’re thinking nuclear power gets around all this (as some are starting to do), think again. Resources are finite. And a world that can absorb small amounts of deleterious impact has finite capacity to do so. There are limits. So . . .

There is no free lunch. Colonization behavior only makes it look like there is — right up until payback. At which point it’s too late to change things.

On the prairie lands of the Great Plains, colonization began with intentional destruction of the ecological system that had made prairie lands so productive that early historical records tell of buffalo herds that stretched from one horizon to the other and took days to go past. The 12-minute video below tells the story of Winter coming to the prairie, and connects it to the Winter of our times. It’s part of the presentation whose beginning you saw when you started this exercise.

When you finish this page, please go to the next page, the Gift of North.