Skip navigation

dé·jà vu: (dā’zhä vōō’) n. An impression of having seen or experienced something before

Last year, at the Earth Dialogues Summit in Jerusalem, I rediscovered my past.
The summit was essentially a series of talks given by some very interesting people, including Mikhail Gorbachev, Noel Pearson, Tim Costello and many more. Their message was clear – if the civilisation we all inhabit continues the way it’s headed, a crash is inevitable. Which is a message I’d been receiving from Will for years. About 20 years actually. But like most people when confronted with such news, I denied it.
Will, for those who haven’t met him (and that’s most of you), has two modes of belief when it comes to this topic. When he’s an pessimist, he thinks Mother Nature is gunna come along, slap us down, and put us in our place. And it’ll be fucken ugly. When he’s feeling optimistic, he thinks we’ve got the potential to avoid the ugly bits, if we extract our digit in a manner rapid.
For a long time, I tended to fall into the mindset of most people who Will talks to – I’d give some of his ideas credence, but most of them are so stark raving mad that I’d ignore them. But Will talks. And talks and talks and talks. Being his friend for twenty years means I’ve learnt to switch off when he’s going on, and on, and on. But even though I turn off, and most of what he says washes over me, the way the waves wash over a rock on the shore, what he says must soak in. Because sometimes, the larger world will throw up something and it’ll register in my brain “Will predicted that ten years ago”.
So here I was at the Earth Dialogues last year, and people of the calibre of Gorby were speaking Will’s words. And executives of large companies. And high-level politicians. And bureaucrats. All saying things Will had been saying for years, and had been scoffed at for.
Since then, and it’s been almost a year now, the message has begun to be reinforced. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. ABC’s Four Corners’ report on Peak Oil. Numerous media articles.
So I’ve been revisiting twenty years of talks with Will, and what they mean. And the direction my life’s gone, and where it should go next.


  1. A tip for the future. Write down Wills words, put them into print form, and sell them to the highest bidder.

  2. That’s the thing. My cousins have also been talking about Global Warming for nearly 20 years and for so long they have been scoffed at and ignored.

    Back then it seemed that it was just a line that hippies took and no credence was given.

    Scientists, Politicians and finally, The Media has turned everything around…

  3. We have disrupted just about all the global biogeochemical systems. The disruption to the phosphate and nitrogen cycles is as serious as the problems of climate chaos. Nitrate and phosphate are plant fertilisers, so we dig up Islands of bird shit and produce industrial products that contaminate the soil with heavy metals and cause serious soil acidification, collapse of the biota (living organisms) of the soil and collapse of the physical soil structure.
    Desertification is endangering cities, agricultural land, tropical forests, rivers and lakes.
    Air pollution is causing some lakes to be so acidic, their food chains have collapsed and the ponds and lakes can NEVER return to what they were, in hundreds if not tens of thousands of years
    We have overfished some ocean systems such as the Cod of the Canadian Grand Banks that there is no longer an ecological home for them at the chemical or predator/prey interaction levels. Recovery of this ecosystem is on the order of 5 million years.
    We are losing species at around 92,000 times the background extinction rate.

    get informed
    change your ways
    redesign you life, your house, your food and water supply chain,
    study as if your life depended on it
    Permaculture authors Bill Mollison and/or David Holmgren
    Organic and Biodynamic farming and gardening.
    Dont bother heading for the hills, there aren’t enough of them, there are no real lifeboats, only changing the management, speed and course of the SS Titanic.
    Join a green non-government organisation, Greenpeace, your local community organic gardening group
    work to change others
    see my new Blog for practical stuff and links, and for ideas, concepts and sustainability information and education


  4. It’s what Bill Mollison and Permaculture teachers everywhere have been on about since the early 1980s

    Our Leaders and Institutions have failed us in their short-sighted and self-serving behaviours. Our educational institutions are the worst as they have not looked at history and the present and then prepared the majority of their students to create the future we need, and certainly in the majority of cases at tertiary level we have not been providing the knowledge and skills people will need for this very troubled century, such as how the planet operates from the global climate systems through to the local level of sustainable communities and growing our own food.

    The first scientific paper on climate change due to burning coal was by Sir John Tyndall in the late 1860s to the Royal Society in London

    Unless we radically change our ways…. By 2100 if not by 2050 we are facing the likelihood of collapse of the ocean food chains; extinction of 60-80% of the world’s largest wild species, further biodiversity crises and extinctions in the domesticated species that support us, such as peas, pigs and chooks, wheat and tomatoes; collapse of broadscale chemically farmed agriculture; 22 tipping points of climate change, non-returnable and sudden exponential changes happening with small catalysts leading to sea level rises which could under worse case modelled scenarios rise 1 metre per year;

    Dangerous climate change of 8-12 degrees global average,
    3-5 degrees at the equator, tropical plants and entire forests unable to cope,
    desertification of the Amazon, and
    40-50degree rise at the poles, extinction of the polar ice dependent species, melting of Greenland & a 5-6 metre rise in sea level.
    West Antarctic Ice Shelf is also unstable with a 6-7m rise if it breaks up and floats up like the Larsen B in 2002.
    Science is now starting to question how unstable the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is, as if and when that melts we’re looking at a 65-75m rise.

    Climate chaos is leading to:
    higher winds, (wind power/damage is the cube of the speed)
    more storms,
    longer and more frequent droughts,
    heavier rainfall and floods,
    agricultural inspect pests and parasites out of control,
    spreading tropical diseases parasites & viruses;
    millions starving to death,
    millions of environmental refugees.

    Peak Oil, the mid depletion of the liquid fossil fuel reserves is probably happening now, so get used to doing without and only buying locally produced items, and get ready for $4 a litre+ for petrol.

    I explain it to kids as “ever had a really wild party at home, and everybody leaves and you have to clean up the mess afterwards and it takes days. Well 21C is the start of having no choice but to start cleaning up the devastation of the last 4,000+ years of civilisation.”

    The world is changing, by pulling our finger’s out +++, we may have a chance of the future we want and need, rather than the very simplified, bleak dystopian, hell hole we are heading for on the present course.

    We no longer have 10 years to make big changes. Every delay now means deaths and extinctions somewhere in the near future.


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] some of you will know from this post where Will responded quite extensively, Will is of the opinion that our western culture is facing a showdown against Mother Nature, and […]

  2. By The Swindle « Aurelius’ New Direction on 13 Jul 2007 at 5:23 pm

    […] Posts Deja VuGeographyAboutDramatis Personaeтемная […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: