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  •  Life as we know it (44+ / 0-)

    It's clear that so much of life that we have taken for granted is going to be lost. Irrevocably.

    And I can't escape the feeling that it's happening faster than we thought. It's going to be a bumpy century.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 01:29:37 PM PDT

    •  Modern version of Industrial Revolution (19+ / 0-)

      The Industrial Revolution caused tremendous upheaval. Even though it was at the base a change in manufacturing/production/etc., the political ramifications were immense. The 19th century was quite "bumpy" because of it.

      One measure of the scale: in 1800, in North America and much of Europe, it took approximately a week's worth of wages or actual work to buy/produce a yard of fabric for the average person. In 1840, it took an hour's worth of work for a yard of fabric. (Source: an excellent exhibit on textile at Old Sturbridge Village, and since seen in various reading). It's stayed at about an hour's worth of work since then, give or take a bit. If you go into a JoAnn Fabrics, most fabrics will cost $5 to $20 per yard ~ still approximately an hour's worth of work (at least post-tax) for the average American.

      The reduction in time needed to clothe a family let women do other things ~ including getting involved in the women's rights and abolition movement on a larger scale and ~ on a smaller, more personal scale ~ allowed girls to stay in school longer and mothers to spend more time with their children and doing other household chores, and so on.

      It's also why a house built in 2014 will have much bigger closets than one built in 1814 ;-)

      My (considered but not necessarily expert opinion): we are facing another such dramatic change. Between changes in technology and climate, this may even be bigger than the Industrial Revolution. Water issues are just one part (although a hugely important) part of these changes.

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 02:27:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What century HASN'T been bumpy? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayim, 4Freedom, skymutt, skohayes, DocGonzo

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 03:02:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True ;-) (12+ / 0-)

          But... think of it this least when dealing with the Americas and much of Europe.

          If someone living in the year 1650 (or even, to a great extent, 650...) was transported to 1750 ~ he/she would basically recognize most things about the world and how it worked, both politically and technologically.

          But put someone from 1750 into 1850 ~ no longer true. Telegraph and railroad on the technology side, while on the political side there are significant changes. The gap from 1850 to 1950 is even wider.

          And the gap from 1950 to 2050 will be much, much greater ~ if civilization survives....

          A friend of mine, in an effort to get her high school students to step outside their own lives, has them write an essay explaining the frustration of a slow Internet connection to Thomas Jefferson. She used Abraham Lincoln the first time she gave the assignment but realized that the telegraph was a conceptual leap that was too easy to build on for what she wanted to accomplish with the assignment.

          It's easy to see and describe the technological changes, but the political fall-out from those changes and from climate change will be dramatic, as well. Water is a basic human need ~ changes in availability are going to drive lots of bumpiness over the next few decades.

          The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

          by mayim on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 03:27:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you guys seriously (0+ / 0-)

            think... ah heck with it, this is just normal change then you are going to have a horrible surprise coming.

            There probably isn't any point in me saying this, but I'll say it any way.

            Our agriculture is going to take a massive hit, and starvation will become an issue in a few decades. Yes... us fat, happy Americans will potentially face starvation.

            I'm not even saying anything unusual in this. Despite the fact that people think they need to argue with it. ALL of the scientific research shows severe food loss coming up and massive droughts hitting our most prosperous farm land, eventually leading to dustbowl conditions or worse.

            You guys are progressives... and the truth is even most of you tune out these reports. It's not like you say they are wrong, the reality just doesn't hit you.

            We are going to go off a cliff soon, and it won't be pretty. And the reason is that nobody can be convinced to take this seriously. Not even the people on this site. If people simply took the reports seriously and acted accordingly, there is a lot we could do.

            But we aren't.

            Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

            by martianexpatriate on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 08:49:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I think you're being optimistic (14+ / 0-)

        Yes, the Industrial Revolution caused a large amount of disruption. But the macro picture was a large-scale enrichment of society as a whole, even if the distribution of gains was highly unequal.

        But climate change seems almost certain to unleash many large-scale natural disasters. It seems highly likely that the cumulative effect of these disasters will be impoverishing. Impoverishment easily slides into a vicious circle where the effects cause yet further impoverishment. In the extreme case it can lead to a collapse of society. We already have a distressing number of nascent failed states. What happens when failed states are the rule rather than the exception?

        "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

        by Demi Moaned on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 03:22:18 PM PDT

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        •  Likely.... (4+ / 0-)

          Very likely. I'm definitely an optimist ;-)

          Unfortunately, I think you are right about the trend toward impoverishment rather than enrichment. I'd like to think that human ingenuity will figure out ways to not have that happen, but.... the cynic in me says the profit in dealing with it is less than the profit maintaining in the status quo, at least for the people who have the money to invest in potential change :-( so that ~ combined with denial not only being a river in Egypt.... ugh!

          Yeah, collapse of society is quite possible; the scale is definitely change on the order of the Industrial Revolution to societal collapse ~ but too much of the world still thinks that there's more to the scale closer to status quo :-(

          The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

          by mayim on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 03:36:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think the problems are beyond ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cai, mayim

            human ingenuity. But ingenuity takes time and that's what seems to be running out.

            I have a hard time seeing who really benefits from a collapse. Sure some super-wealthy people may be able to take refuge in their compounds in Paraguay or wherever it is their building them. But even if they do survive for a time in some degree of comfort, how is that an improvement over living at the top in a highly prosperous society?

            "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

            by Demi Moaned on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 03:45:05 PM PDT

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            •  Honestly (0+ / 0-)

              I think its simplyt hat nobody can bring themselves to believe it. Even people who listen and nod their heads just sort of tune it all out, then go home and grab a beer and turn up the air conditioner.

              Our kids will hate us for that.

              Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

              by martianexpatriate on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 08:51:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  On the downside, peasants could make their (12+ / 0-)

        own shoes, with hide from their own animals, in about half a day.  To earn enough money to buy shoes, they'd have to work for weeks in a factory in the city.

        In England, many small farmers had no interest in leaving their villages, where they could grow or make or trade for all they needed, and where they could schedule their own work, to go to dim, dirty, dangerous factories where they could be worked 12-16 hours a day for a pittance.

        Thus, the enclosure movement.  Make the common lands in the villages private, so that people could no longer graze their animals there.  Some of the early industrialists/capitalists were quite frank about the need to drive the peasants from their "lazy" lifestyles to make them work in the factories.

        © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 03:43:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was days, not weeks, but here you go: (17+ / 0-)

          Everyone knows the lower classes must be kept poor or they will never be industrious:

          Yep, despite what you might have learned, the transition to a capitalistic society did not happen naturally or smoothly. See, English peasants didn’t want to give up their rural communal lifestyle, leave their land and go work for below-subsistence wages in shitty, dangerous factories being set up by a new, rich class of landowning capitalists. And for good reason, too. Using Adam Smith’s own estimates of factory wages being paid at the time in Scotland, a factory-peasant would have to toil for more than three days to buy a pair of commercially produced shoes. Or they could make their own traditional brogues using their own leather in a matter of hours, and spend the rest of the time getting wasted on ale. It’s really not much of a choice, is it?


          Perelman outlines the many different policies through which peasants were forced off the land—from the enactment of so-called Game Laws that prohibited peasants from hunting, to the destruction of the peasant productivity by fencing the commons into smaller lots—but by far the most interesting parts of the book are where you get to read Adam Smith’s proto-capitalist colleagues complaining and whining about how peasants are too independent and comfortable to be properly exploited, and trying to figure out how to force them to accept a life of wage slavery.


          If having a full belly and productive land was the problem, then the solution to whipping these lazy bums into shape was obvious: kick ‘em off the land and let em starve.

          © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

          by cai on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 03:51:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  1814 house probably doesn't have ANY (13+ / 0-)

        closets, beyond the pantry off the kitchen! even our 1950's house has tiny closets! We hardly had a linen closet (sheets, quilts, blankets, towels) before we built one in "found" space (after we had to take the old oil furnace chimney out).

        there's a reason unmarried women used to be called "spinsters" -- because they could devote ALL their time to cloth production to clothe the rest of the family.

        It's why you see all those cute photos of ethnic folks who aren't yet industrialized, why all the women, all the kids old enough for the hand-eye coordination, all the old folks of both genders.... ARE SPINNING when they're not doing some other WORK with their hands! drop spindles you can use while walking, moving the flocks, going to market, sitting and watching the children who are too little for work yet (that's a major grandparent job...)

        I remember my mother, b 1922, telling me that HER mother had 2 dresses when she was little, and 6 pinafore aprons. She changed her pinafore every day, but wore the same dress under it. That would have been around the 1890's. And I just saw some Depression Family photos here on Kos -- several of them show children in clothing made from printed flour sacks - quite nice clothing, actually.

        PS about JoAnn's fabrics still being about an hour's worth of work per yard? Not unless you can find JUST the right stuff! 95% of modern cloth is nowhere near the quality of what was being sold in 1840. The weave isn't as tight, it won't last as long, etc. IF you can find European suiting weight wools, which approximate the quality of the "olden days", those cost over $100/yard, easily. Medieval wills regularly passed on garments, sometimes to more than one generation!

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 04:04:53 PM PDT

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        •  I was raised part by my sis (7+ / 0-)

          and part by my grandparents. They were born in the late 1800s and went thru the depression. I had dresses made out of flour sack material, I remember them well.

          My grandma made her own soap, I have her recipe. She had a wringer washer and I remember helping her with it (and ironing sheets!)

          I also had the misfortune of learning what the being "on the rag" can be literal.

          Some humans ain't human some people ain't kind. They lie through their teeth with their head up their behind. You open up their hearts and here's what you'll find - Some humans ain't human some people ain't kind. John Prine

          by high uintas on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 04:50:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yup ;-) (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terabytes, Orinoco, chimene, Ice Blue

          Spinning and other parts of the fabric making process were constants for all but the wealthiest women.

          Most modern people are surprised to hear I learned to knit at 5 or 6 years old ~ but that would have been normal for my Scottish ancestors.

          Oh, true about the JoAnn's fabric ~ but it's a good illustration (I think) for people who have never questioned modern consumerist society and its values. Less good in the fiber community or among people with any real knowledge of history like you find here at DKos ~ but for low-information voters and such, I've used it to good effect as a good place to start poking at their assumptions.

          The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

          by mayim on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 04:54:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And wealthy women spent their time (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mayim, chimene, BlackSheep1

            embroidering their clothing, to show they had the excess time they didn't have to spend spinning and weaving the plain stuff.

            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 07:10:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of women made workday clothing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          out of flour sacking in the late 1800s and early 20th century. Waste not, want not. Once mills figured that out they began selling flour in bags of printed calico.

          It is still possible to find quality fabrics, such as Guatemalan hand wovens or Harris tweeds, by the yard but they will cost you. And you certainly will not find them in JoAnn, Walmart or any other big box store.

          You forgot about the cost of lace when it was hand tatted rather than machine made.

          “You think You're frightening me with Your hell, don't You? You think Your hell is worse than mine.” --Dorothy Parker

          by Ice Blue on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 09:20:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I wore feedsacks in the 1960s & 70s (1+ / 0-)
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          chicken feed sacks, carefully washed (hot water and bleach; chicken feed has a very distinctive smell) and taken apart. My mom made everything from mattress covers to pillow slips and pullover shirts out of 'em.

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 10:17:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Things will be different, but I am not sure worse. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrY10cK, NoMoreLies, mayim, mightymouse

      The use of energy at the rates we have done has allowed every man and woman to become an island unto himself, and ignore the cooperative nature of human economies. We will rediscover each other and our assets and talents when resources must be shared, again, as they used to be.

      This is not a tragic development. It is different than now, but we wont be flying around in jets or cruising to the store for ice cream any more. We will have to live closer to our jobs, if we even have one, and we willl have to pay attention to how much we use, collectively.

      I think many of our modern complaints are a result of the intense Me-Firstism and resulting isolation of cheap energy to do things for us. I am not worried about adapting to the future.

      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

      by OregonOak on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 04:07:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's the spirit! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrY10cK, mayim, JPax

        But forgive me if it sounds naive.

        It sounds like saying our jets will just have to operate at lower speeds. But at lower speeds they just don't fly. There are huge population centers in our country that are basically uninhabitable without the full brunt of modern technology. What happens to all those people? It won't be pretty.

        "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

        by Demi Moaned on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 04:15:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Trains. High and Slow speed. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Demi Moaned, NoMoreLies

          Of course technology will be essential. But this time, lets wrap our mind around EFFICIENT and sustainable technology instead of the fastest, highest, most expensive forms we can think of.

          Jet travel is doomed, and I am sorry about that. I like to fly, but I have realized recently that it is the single most effective thing an individual can do to cut my earthly carbon footprint in half. No place is uninhabitable because you cannot fly. Well, may be a few places are, but we are so used to CONVENIENCE that we do not think of the obvious things we are going to have to do to save our planet's life support systems. Start with the biggest bang for the carbon buck. Dont fly.

          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

          by OregonOak on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 04:27:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Phoenix, Palm Springs (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mayim, Orinoco, JPax

            I was (probably confusingly) using the analogy of an aircraft to your proposal that we should make do with less.

            Air travel per se does not make a place habitable. But production and transportation of food and water rely on huge amounts of resources.

            Even the San Francisco Bay Area where I live is not even close to self-sufficient for our population in terms of nearby food and water. I don't see how you get to scaling down consumption without massively scaling down population.

            "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

            by Demi Moaned on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 04:46:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You would have to scale down population (0+ / 0-)

              But farming would be more labor intensive, and some of the population would go back to the countryside to replace tractor plowing with basically large scale gardening.

              "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

              by Orinoco on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 07:14:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Actually. I believe the "biggest bang for your (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrY10cK, Demi Moaned

            carbon buck" is to go veggie. Or at least stop eating large mammals and salt water fish.

            The water and energy required to raise the larger livestock is huge. And then you must also raise the food for the livestock (using land, energy and water that could be used for human food production). And the large livestock also makes lots of CO2 and methane gas. (I don't have the numbers to crunch to compare the amount of greenhouse gasses produced globally by cattle vs cars, but I'd be willing to bet the cattle emit more.)

            And our oceans have been radically over-fished, such that the catch size  (length) of our prey fish has noticeably shrunk even over the past 50 years. The lack of normal ocean fish populations has caused huge algae blooms off the coast of Africa (because there's no fish to eat it) and this in turn has caused methane to form (from the rotting algae) which has caused huge eruptions of methane from the ocean there. Also, as humankind has depleted many species of fish to the point where they are no longer fished (such as cod), we have turned to other target species of fish, and now those are also becoming endangered.

            And consumption of animal ingredients really isn't that healthy anyway. A Vegan diet is best for a low carbon footprint, healthy lifestyle, and ethics.

            (I haven't gone completely Vegan yet myself - I haven't been able to give up honey or cheese or the occasional ice cream - but I have switched primarily to sheep and goat cheeses instead of cow dairy, and try to eat sorbet instead of ice cream. But every once in a while I just gotta' have that chocolate-chip-mint Klondike bar in a bed of warmed Nutella! I'm sooooo bad!)  

            •  I'm in the same boat. (0+ / 0-)

              I cut beef out of my diet, and only rarely eat chicken. I mix a little in checken in with my brown rice to season it, and still occasionally eat an egg.

              I also find that I need to eat a little chocolate now and then, but I eat a lot healthier than I used to.

              Ignorance more frequently begets confidence then knowledge. Charles Darwin

              by martianexpatriate on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 09:03:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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