A couple of alternative readings on carbon

Below are a couple of what can best be described as ‘alternative’ takes on the carbon crisis. The first from Darren Allen acknowledges the role of carbon in climate change but questions the narrow focus on that while highlighting that we are heading for system collapse. Not because of global warming per se but because of the reliance of our ‘civilisation’ on non-renewable and increasingly harder to extract resources. Allen sees system collapse as inevitable with the only question being how it will come about and how to survive it. A content note of sorts – this isn’t an easy read.

The second piece from Denis de Bernardy is more of a maverick piece, questioning the role of fossil fuels in the carbon crisis, instead focusing on over long and over complicated food supply chains and the need to localise food production. Localising food production is something that with our Grassroots Alternatives https://grassrootsalternatives.uk/ hats on, we’ve been banging on about for some while. Denis de Bernardy argues that localising food production can go hand in hand with habitat preservation, enhancement and creation.

We’re putting these two pieces out, not because we want to engage in intellectual grandstanding or even start a row. We’re genuinely interested in long term, sustainable solutions. We’ve got grandchildren so we have skin in the game on this one. The thing about these solutions is that they will require system change. When we live in a system that delivers us this kind of disjointed, no dots connected thinking such as this: Set up to fail 24.10.22 and this: Talk to each other? Apply a bit of joined up thinking? 29.10.22, it’s pretty obvious things need to change.

This is just an initial stub. There’s quite a lot we’ve written and published about system failure, the bankruptcy of our ‘civilisation’ and the need for system change over the last year that we want to pull together and synthesise in a longer piece. It will involve a fair bit of work and may not be ready until the end of the year.

It Really Doesn’t Matter – Darren Allen 1.9.22

Climate change, or global heating, is almost certainly happening, and it is almost certainly caused by man-made activities, specifically our prolific production of carbon dioxide, although even if neither of these statements is true, it doesn’t matter because our civilisation is still doomed, for the same reason that every civilisation is doomed; we have outrun our resource base. The hyper-complexity of our technological system depends on fossil fuels; gas, coal and, most of all, oil. Everything we use is made from oil, transported with it, our food is effectively grown on a layer of it and our economies are entirely dependent on petrochemical products produced from oil which, very soon, will be too expensive to extract. When this happens – when the energy required to extract coal, oil and gas approaches that which they provide – it will be game over.

The Science Is Wrong: It’s Soil, Not Oil – Denis de Bernardy 17.10.22

The decision seemed natural at the time. An economic storm was looming once again. This one looked really bad. The time was now or never, I figured. The financial rat race was sterile. So was the associated environmental destruction. I had long wanted to work on environmental issues. I set out to grow food in harmony with nature.

The honeymoon period with the environmental activist groups I latched onto was short. Meetings seldom seemed to get anywhere. Neither did petitions or protests. You’d be hard pressed to find anything less effective than this if you were a propagandist tasked with setting up a controlled opposition psyop. It’s basically all shout and no do.


  1. Allan’s piece is basically right, I’m afraid. I’ve been trying to get this across: it looks like oil peaked in 2018. The economic collapse was evident by 2019, then the emergency money printing (repo loans from the Fed) began, then came COVID, to suppress demand across the west and keep the collapse out of sight a little longer. It’s all very logical when you understand the resource crisis.
    I disagree with him on a few points. I think it will be relatively quick. When the trucks stop, that’s it, so watch the dwindling of the diesel reserve. We’re falling back into nature. I have a more optimistic outlook about our ability to adapt than some people do. After all, everyone with kids or grandchildren will strain every sinew to make a viable future. There’s a lot of willpower out there.


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