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Saturday, 14 December 2013

We're back

It's been a bumpy ride and what's a little store to do against the noxious spread of corporations in to every corner. Well, we'll be what we're meant to be. Underground but tasty for those with a mind to take a little look.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Oil Shock

Surprised, the beach met the slick,
Quickly it leached and was sick
Agonized the ritual became,
Blacker than the slow spreading stain,
A tower tall, a symbol,
Want meets want you understand the angle
Soon all our islands will be ocean
A unity to replace isolation

Incision, the skin of the woods,
A hemorrhage of profitable blooms.
Those rivers run with crude in their veins
Over run with a fast flowing shame.
A fraying flag, a symbol,
Need leads need you understand the angle
The land gifted from the ocean
You look for patterns and only feel separation

The explosion, the body is ripped,
A confusion calls the core of the breach
Yet willingly the torrents unfold
Answering fast to the challenge imposed.
A might profit, a symbol,
Like finds like and will circle around to find you,
 No blood promise stain to hold you

The rupture, the gape of the mouth,
A grizzly jaw sucks deep from the spout,
Machinery for the mineral dance
A choreographed breed and advance.
A highway long, a symbol
Coast to coast the greedy engines rumble
Encroaching web, industrialization

Corrosion, the bubbling of rocks,
A gaping yawn of fracturing blocks
Cast aside, the kingdom became
Toxified for a paper exchange.
An exiled mother, a symbol
A clearing in the woods the fractured kingdom crumbles
Boom follows bust as oily claws tears the dust

Consumer, the shock of the mouth
A yawning hole below an insatiable snout
Gulping quick from the emptying trough
Picking clean from the fields to the shops.
The latest trend, a symbol
The fallacy of wealth, the junk that gets you tangled.
The land uttered slowly bound and strangled

Delusion and the grandeur of growth
Oily spills paid from the sea where they float,
Monetize for the profit today
Swallowed whole from the table we’ve laid
A company logo, a sigil
Branded approval, you understand the angle
It’s all about you and the want that you’re tangled.

Dan O’Neill © 2013 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Interview with John Michael Greer

John Michael Greer is prolific author, independent scholar, historian of ideas, cultural critic, Druid leader, environmentalist/conservationist, blogger, novelist, and occultist/esotericist.

BB recently discussed with him the issues surrounding his latest work:

BB Thanks for taking the time to talk to Beetroot today; we're very enthusiastic about your work - particularly the weekly Archdruid Report.

JMG Thank you!

BB You've written much on the apparent decline of industrial society and provided many examples that illustrate the shocking point that this process is now underway. Could you summarize one or two of the ones you deem undeniable?

JMG Well, "undeniable" is hardly the right word, as denial is one of the few growth industries the industrial world has left. The ongoing frenzy in the US media, insisting that the trickle of petroleum coming out of shale deposits marks the beginning of a new age of US energy independence, is a case in point. Still, it bears remembering that ten years ago, predictions
that the price of crude oil would rise about US$100 a barrel and stay there, landing most of the world's industrial nations in permanent economic crisis, were widely disparaged in the media as ridiculous.

BB In Not The Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and The Myth of Progress, you discuss our current paradigm as one underpinned by an unwavering belief in progress. Could you talk a little about how we express that on a societal scale?

JMG Literally every plan for the future made in industrial societies, from the smallest to the largest scale, presupposes growth. Pension funds assume that economic growth will allow their assets to make money; local and national governments plan for new housing, new roads, and increased population; business assumes that a year-over-year increase in gross income and profits is normal -- well, I could go on for pages. Nobody, anywhere, is making plans for a future of long-term contraction, and yet as fossil fuels slide down their depletion curves, long-term contraction is the future we're certain to get.

BB How unaware do you think most people are of the predicament facing us? Certainly it's not in general discussion in the media.

JMG "Unaware" doesn't even begin to touch the depth of our collective blindness to the future staring us in the face. The most basic assumptions we absorb from our culture make it all but impossible for most people to think about the possibility of decline, and I suspect that most people will continue to insist that prolonged decline and contraction can't happen for decades after it's become an inescapable fact.

BB Do you think this notion of progress is disempowering, that perhaps we've been deliberately encouraged to believe that someone else, some clever scientist or whatever, will inevitably 'come up with something'  to solve our myriad crises or might there be something else behind our seeming inability to act?

JMG It's certainly disempowering, but I think it's simplistic to assume that that comes out of a deliberate decision by somebody or other. During the heyday of cheap fossil fuel energy, it really did make sense to rely on technological progress to solve collective problems, as a lot of collective problems did in fact get solved that way. The difficulty is simply that we became dependent on that sort of thinking, and remain dependent, even as the cheap energy that made such thinking adaptive has begun to go away. As so often happens, overreliance on a set of strategies that worked in the past has become the primary barrier to finding new possibilities for a very different future.

BB Much of your work has a spiritual element, and anyone who's familiar  with it would also know that you've been involved in many Western mystery traditions, do you believe that any possible solution to these crises should recourse to spirituality in some form?

JMG I'm going to take issue with the way this question is stated, because there are no solutions to the present spiral of converging crises. Nothing, that is, can make the crises go away, or keep our current lifestyles intact as we pass through them. Adaptations, not solutions, are what's needed at this point -- that is, ways of adapting ourselves and our lives to the implacable changes breaking over industrial civilization now and in the future. Spirituality can play an important part in those adaptations, but it can't do the job alone; we also have to change our lives on the most practical, nitty-gritty level. You can meditate or pray to Gaia all you want, and if you still insist on driving an SUV and living an SUV lifestyle, you're going to be on the wrong side of the changes as they hit.

BB Finally, are you personally optimistic or pessimistic about our immediate prospects - as in do you see an easy transition as a possibility?

JMG We tossed the prospect of an easy transition into history's dustbin at the time of the Thatcher- Reagan counterrevolution, when all the hard work toward sustainability that had been done in the 1970s was scrapped in the name of a vacuous free-market ideology that put short term profit and political advantage ahead of the long term survival of industrial civilization. As the Hirsch Report pointed out in 2005, preparations for peak oil would have had to begin twenty years before the peak of conventional petroleum production in order to prevent massive discontinuities.

The peak of conventional petroleum production, by an interesting irony, happened in 2005, right as that report was being leaked to the press. Thus we're at least 27 years too late, and the massive discontinuities are already baked into the cake. Individuals, families, and communities can still take constructive steps to prepare for those discontinuities and get through them with as little suffering as possible, but one way or another it's going to be a very rough road down from the peak.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Write and publish through Beetroot Books

If you're a writer who would like to share and distribute your work why not sell it as an e-book on Beetroot Books? We want to help more voices enter the debate about climate change, Peak Oil, pollution, species extinction and all the other challenges we face. 

Your voice needs to be heard now.

Get in touch via our page on Project Dirt or email or @BeetrootBook on Twitter. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Creative block

Of late I have had a complete writers block, a dry barrel for music composition and meager threads for writing verse – not a very good period.

I’ve been wondering what’s responsible for this particular malaise. Last year I finished my degree in French – a qualification that kept me permanently at the creative pump as I had to turn out an essay a month. I thought as soon as I didn’t have to do that anymore my creativity would fly back into the room on easy wings of inspiration! Not quite!

Since then we’ve had the end of the Mayan calendar (nothing), Christmas and many days when I thought I’d be able to get started.

Oh, I could blame the permanent rain, the dreadful commute to my current day job or some other lack but I have happily written over these kind of blocks before.

I’ve always believed that you have to keep creating to be creative. That is, rather than expect something to jump in to your mind randomly you have to cultivate a habit, create space for the seed to land and prepare yourself to recognize it when you get it. With that in mind I’m going to attempt to stamp on my tiresome self censorship and just write any old stuff to get the wheels turning. As Allen Ginsberg says: ‘we’re free to write anything we want as long as we don’t show it to anyone…’.

Here I go….