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Americans Are Stressed About the Future. Here’s Why That’s Promising


Americans Are Stressed About the Future. Here’s Why That’s Promising

Sarah van Gelder

The era of empire, white supremacy, dirty energy, and global capitalism is coming to a close

women with flag


"as Audre Lorde said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”


Aside from the contradiction here – “dancing to battery-powered speakers” vs “spending less time on their devices” – is it fair to say that religion has been supplanted by the internet as ‘The Opiate of the Masses’ ??

All religion is based on fraud (and the other F-Word, force) to a greater or lesser extent — is it possible that
an internet based on truth might lead to the salvation of (at least part of) humanity?


Actually, I think all substance abuse is a substitute for the real thing - the natural high of living dangerously on the land.

Being something of an internet addict these days, I can relate to what you say UncleFester.

Yes magazine - David Korten is a co-founder I believe, and I have his book “Change the Story, Change the Future” (2015 - actually a Report to the Club of Rome, as was the MIT “Limits to Growth” (1972).

I do believe that we need to redevelop our real face to face social skills, as breakdown unfolds - and, as this article demonstrates, the people of Puerto Rico are now doing.

No matter how clumsily - this truly is progress, for in my view, we are now solidly within the target zone of tipping points, both in the Earth System and politically.

The Larsen Ice Shelves are going - soon to be followed I think by the now unstable state of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which when it goes will contribute four or five meters to sea level rise.

Politically, 2008 was the equivalent break in the Ice Shelf, followed by Greece, 2010 to now, and as we speak, many other political failed entities, be they Puerto Rico or the United States of America - all are going - just at different stages.

To be stressed, as this article suggests - is hopeful - we are waking up.


It’s also been predicted that the ice sheets of Greenland and Iceland will be melting faster & faster in the next few years, which will add measurably to sea level rise.  The disappearance of arctic sea ice won’t contribute to sea level rise, but it’s nonetheless a tipping point as the much darker water will absorb light (heat) much faster than the reflective ice.  And as the arctic permafrost melts it is likely to release large amounts of methane into the atmosphere (CH4 is a much more potent ‘greenhouse gas’ than CO2).  I’m an old fart, and probably won’t witness the worst of it, but my daughter & grandson will . . .


Well, I am no longer young myself UncleFester. Our son just turned thirteen (I’m a late bloomer I suppose !).

But I wonder, really, who is seeing ‘the worst of it’ ??

It is us, our generation, which saw this coming, very clearly, and did nothing. Not that this is unusual, or the way it was always supposed to be, destiny, as it were. But true nonetheless - and disturbing to a man of action, used to reacting to a situation in a timely manner.

Here in Calgary today - it was one of those really special days - under a western sky, gorgeous chinook clouds high above against the backdrop of the now snow clad Rockies - mild and with only light airs, melting snow dripping from the roofs - bare hands and just a ball cap - in short - the very reasons that I came West, from Montreal, so long ago it seems a dream - and the West was all and more I ever thought it would or could be.

Our descendants are going to wonder what we were thinking - or rather - how it came to be that we didn’t think - about their future ?

For a true mountaineer or climber, movement is everything.

Not that the summits are unimportant, or that the views are jaw-dropping beautiful, but it is the movement itself - each step chosen with thought and care, backed up by a world of past experience - Zen like dedication to movement.

So - to look around and see the 99% walking thru these same times, zombie like - neither seeing not understanding nor feeling their responsibility to the future - that is disturbing.

Apparently only a small percentage of a population is required to get major change underway, something like three or four percent.

And I don’t think we are even close to this small percentage yet - where you really know what needs to be done - and do it - never mind this pathetic awareness ?

I believe I am in the process of switching gears - from alerting a somnolent citizenry to real and present danger - to active preparation for collapse - living simply - less is more - yet in this finding more than any amount of money can buy.

The Navy Seals apparently have a saying:

‘Salt water destroys everything; rust never sleeps.’

Substitute ‘money’ for ‘salt water’ and ‘rust’, and you have a new way of viewing the world.


Back in the late sixties I was teaching mostly chemistry (plus a little general science and a bit of math) at the high school level in Los Angeles, and tried to make it clear (among other things) that the complete combustion of gasoline (using pure octane as the example) used up oxygen and created water & carbon dioxide (the latter, though appreciated by trees, being not exactly supportive of animal life).  Of course gasoline is not pure octane – and even if it were, when it’s burned under high compression with ordinary air (not pure oxygen) a certain am­ount of oxides of nitrogen, a major component of our lovely brown Los Angeles smog, is also produced.  I also railed against electric cars as a flim-flam, since all they would do is move the smog from L.A. to Lake Powell where more coal would be burned to produce the supposedly clean electricity.

IIRC, Hitler instituted a major, though quite negative, change with only three to four percent of the population of Germany behind him; ditto Stalin in Russia / the USSR.  I would assume that of the 35% of the voters who still back Tweetle-Dumb, at least enough are sufficiently ‘hard-core’ to comprise three to four percent of the U.S. population, and their gun ownership is significantly higher than that of us (semi-)progressives.  So brace your­self — It ain’t gonna be easy taking our country back . . .


Money is the “root of all evil” but money itself does not have a personality.


The detribalization of a society or less cohesion of community leads to authoritarianism which is what we are seeing now in the US. When people were told in the 1970s and 1980s that more people had to work ( mainly women) and leave their kids with babysitters that lead to a high divorce rate which in turn lead to a more stressed out and detribalized society that is not unified in a purpose but just individualized causes.


You know its more than interesting that you mention this - and the women out to work and the kids in daycare…

It can be a touchy topic on a progressive site such as Common Dreams, because I think it is a common view that this is a good thing - empowering women.

My wife is also a climber, very independent, yet we chose a lifestyle where she stayed home, nursing on demand for three and a half years, and today our son is thirteen and a bit, in grade eight, all home schooled by my wife - and all three of us wouldn’t have it any other way, despite some obvious drawbacks.

And I agree - society has been de-stabilized as a result, along with any number of other de-stabilizing influences.


And I am a woman saying this and a progressive. In other words there are trade offs- and it is very good that more men are taking this role as well. However in the late seventies and early eighties more jobs were outsourced. There are people who are double earners who never had kids, and of course single people. In the eighties companies also took advantage of the fact that more people were working so some actually lowered salaries. Isn’t that nice? It took awhile, but look at where that got us to today- with some our most needed professions being disrepected and not paid well while the Wall Streeters continue to want more and more like a psychotic machine.
Going back to the kids in daycare- good for you- you made a decision that works for you. I have worked in education , and have actually seen and heard about very young kids being left with strangers while the parents work. In our culture, politicians talk about “family values” but they do not value families except their own ! For instance family leave was supposed to be paid for until Newt Gingrich and his crowd took that away. So… people who have kids often return to work after only a few weeks. In other countries ( I think Canada for instance) people are granted at least a year and it’s paid). What are we doing, and what have we as a society doing for a long long time? People give in, and do what they are told without questions until someone finally comes along who is persistent. We need MORE of that! America gets involved with all of these wars, but I think we are number 37 ( not number 1 or 2 anymore) when it comes to healthcare.


I wanted to also thank you for your post! You might want to read a book called Tribe ( if you haven’t already) by Sebastian Junger. He also wrote The Perfect Storm and lives in coastal MA. He has been a war time correspondent and research journalist as well. I read the book several months ago, and it is quite intense. He talks about the destabilizing forces including corruption, and greed, and the general dismantling of communities. There are quite a few people for instance who cannot live in their original neighborhoods due to lack of work- so they move far away and hence add to destabilization.


Yes, I have “Tribe” on my bookshelf - very nice book indeed !


I intend to read it again- wonderful and very truthful and necessary read. Thank you.