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“Talking with those farmers in the Tenosique train yard felt, in a way, like a scene from a sequel to the movie The Road in which a father and son walk across a post-apocalyptic North America devastated by an unknown cataclysm. In reality, though, I was just in a typical border zone of the Anthropocene, the proposed new geologic era characterized by human activity as the dominant force on the climate and environment.” – , Greeting Climate-Change Victims With A Man-Made Dystopia 

At times, I feel like and identify with the father in “The Road.” He shows the same contradictions that I have: Feeling incapable, he can’t help others like the woman and her child captured by the cannibals, but he shares his food with an elderly dying man one night as an act of kindness. He also strips a younger man down to nakedness (thus dooming him to die) and takes back all that was stolen from himself, things needed to keep his son and himself alive since there is not enough of everything for the three of them to survive.

So he is all over the place in his reactions. It is, unfortunately, a familiar state for me!

Accordingly I battle inside of myself about the unified direction that I should take since I know about the complex mess that is coming due to climate change, overpopulation of humans, resource depletion, biodiversity loss and other factors converging together. Then I write about these sort of happenings — not because I like to do so, but as a form of “bearing witness” and an attempt to personally come to terms with circumstances beyond one’s control.

Here, for example, is a small piece of my contradictions and an exchange with a friend. These contradictions run deeply and not just for me, apparently, as is evidenced with my exchanges with a number of my friends, such as Se, who wrote me:

Cannot complain about or object to even one word you have reported. The Road is a much closer approximation of what could somehow become real……. perhaps sooner than expected.  But how soon remains a legitimate question, as I see things. Guy McPherson has been inconsistent in his reporting about “how soon.“ But he does appear to believe ‘the end of the road’ for Homo sapiens sapiens, other large mammals and much of life as we know it could occur in the mid-2020s. Any thoughts?  Also, what do others you respect report? It remains distinctly unclear to me if humankind will survive somehow The Sixth Extinction Event by passing through a “bottleneck”, as E. O. Wilson has signified it. At the moment I am on the fence: 50/50 chance.

I replied:

Okay, here’s the scoop as some others and I see it. Perhaps there will be pockets of humanity here and there where there exists an adequate resource base relative to climate, weather, population size, temperature and so on. Yet that positiveness could change in a flash if all of the sequestered methane is released, if the ocean conveyor almost comes to a stop or we lose much of the Amazon rain forest and sea life that provide oxygen.

So our task at this point is to convince people of the main issues that will shape life in the future, and help them to think that they can and should pitch in to make changes. Of course, this is a hard task since people, as E. O. once told me, need immediate danger to respond (i.e., we are great at dealing with house fires). He went onward to add that we are less good at identifying and responding to slow moving dangers (like overpopulation, climate change, resource depletion, etc.). He thinks that it is an evolutionary caused issue or so he said at the time to me. I would suppose that he still holds the same view now. (???)

Lots of reasons to be joyous despite that we are in increasingly perilous times! 🙂

Se replied: Yes, things appear to me just as you see them. Happy Holidays.

I don’t think that I am getting rid of my contradictions during any time soon despite that wrestling with them brings no answers and can leave me emotionally exhausted at times. So it goes and I periodically write of my dilemma, i.e., in Human Population Size, Density And Biodiversity Loss. Doing so helps me come to terms a bit or at least to concretely and consciously identify the sources of my disturbances.

 I have to get used to the idea that this disparity in perspectives is the “new normal” for me — this state of being torn — as it was, apparently, for the father in “The Road.” Oh, we are so mixed in intentions and resolve as we face our personal demons and conflicts — the ambiguous incongruities that shape us all to become the identities that we hold as representative of our outlooks on life and about ourselves.

Thankfully, we have people like Binu, editor at CC, willing to chronicle our turmoils, ceaseless struggles and the travails — the facts about where the world is heading. Without this being the case, we would be less equipped to prepare for the coming environmental, social, cultural, peak oil and other hard changes that are coming down THE ROAD to impact us all everywhere across the Earth.

Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA.


  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Contradictions arise because of ‘ conflicting ‘ interests of corporates and common people. As long as these opposing forces remain, problems of ecology and environmental degradation will remain

    • Sally Dugman says:

      The corporations exist, friend, because we support them. They respond to the dictates of the huge common populous in terms of the types of products that they make and sell to provide profits for their companies. Thus, our tasks become one in which we help humanity to stop shopaholic madness. … Good luck with that task. You ought to see the demented shopping fervor where I live at this time of year.