Why We're Ready For This Moment

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Thursday, December 31, 2020


I've said in several places on this website that it was built for this moment. 

The work here at Counterfear.com and at Shift the Country is totally set up to help us deal with several enormous crises happening all at once. 

Several. (Longer summary of the crises here, or in the whole white paper here.)

The work here was set up to help hold civil society and institutions together, to help people help each other through several crises happening at once, to get people engaged in doing all of that, and to make transformation along the way.

But we're not ready for it because I'm some kind of magical mystical shaman seer type with mad precognition skillzzz.

We're set up for it because of science, analysis, risk analysis, and attention to history.

The Journey

There are some longer back stories here, but the short, short version of that is that I have been getting ready for a moment like this since, well, college.  In 1992. 

That's the first time I studied system science and ecology enough to understand that we were likely to have a population collapse at some kind of scale in my lifetime.  Because we were likely overshooting the carrying capacity of this planet.  Ecological systems often respond to overpopulation with disease.  A pandemic from a previously undiscovered zoonotic element is not unexpected as humans push farther and farther into the few remaining wild areas left on the planet.

Skip forward like a decade or two to 2010 when I confirmed with certainty after years in federal disaster policy and systems that the US would not be ready for multiple simultaneous catastrophes... and especially not ready for a scenario where one or more catastrophes occurred during a pandemic. 

In 2012, the group doing the same system science I'd studied in 1992 updated their analysis, and it was announced in an event at the Smithsonian that the world would face some kind of human population collapse at some point.  Soon. 

Not might.  Would.

Not long after in 2012, I came across a newly released book called "The Great Disruption" by Paul Gilding based on the same systems science and ecoloogy. 

One of the suggestions in the book was that those who knew such a collapse or disruption was coming could be ready to help humanity make good decisions and big pivots once it was clear that the moment was upon us.

Partly because chaos, disruption, and overwhelm often lead people to panic and it's helpful to have people around thinking clearly and making good decisions.

Partly because humanity waits until the last minute when a threat is literally bearing down on it to make huge, enormous changes but yet can pull off big things fast when appropriately motivated at scale.

And partly because people who recognized that such a risk of disruption was coming could be ready to help with problem-solving and solution-finding when that moment hit, essentially to help us make big pivots or a great transformation to help us survive.

I'm paraphrasing Guilding's work (and there was more to it), but those points heavily inform the work here. 

Adding The 2016 Election To The Mix

One of the things I've spent a ton of time on in my career is tracking risk to the US - whether for wildfires, for disasters, or for terrorist attacks.  I've done some pretty heavy work on all of that in major operations centers, in major metro areas - and also on the policy side.  I've sat for years in briefings and approaches for understanding terrorist, white supremacist, and other security threats, and also worked on mechanisms inside government to help understand those threats better, and to increase our security poster to be better prepared.

That's a lot of government talk, but the main point is that I've had my ear to the ground on what's out there on the threat horizon.  I'm trained to watch for signals and signs that trouble could be out there, and to assess how significant it is.

So in the fall of 2015, I had just moved to Iowa from DC, and it was the run-up to the Iowa caucuses.  Trump was ramping up his run for office, and it was very, very noticeable the backing he had from white supremacist groups, and especially for those advocating for civil war - whether or not he won.  Especially if he didn't.  Other former homeland security colleagues noticed similar risk on the horizon.

By March 2016, I understood more about the threat that a demagogue could bring to the US.  The damage from the demagogue alone could be catastrophic, and would be worse and likely amplified massively if any additional catastrophes or large-scale disasters occurred while the demagogue was in power.

In the 2012 talk at the Smithosonian that I mentioned above, Lester R. Brown was one of three keynote speakers.  He had worked with the CIA over a number of years on earth systems and related national security concerns.  At that event, he declared the following 5 threats to national security for the US based on that work:

  1. The increasing world population
  2. Climate change
  3. Increasing competition for food
  4. Increasing competition for water
  5. The increasing number of failed nation-states.

By March, 2016, I'd added my own 6th threat to that national security threat - a demagogue in the White House.

Russia, 2016.

2017, getting into tyranny.  Why dems aren't doing anything... like on healthcare, etc...

2018, "do something"

And here we are.




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THIS WEBSITE WAS CREATED FOR THIS MOMENT.  Patreon and GoFundMe support help us help people through, hold this country together, get people engaged in everything doing all of that, and make transformation along the way.  We also have inclusive pricing for coaching, and do consulting & training.  Help us share this stuff everywhere with everyone you know & totally raise an absolute ruckus.  Thank you.  Good luck.  Try not to get dead.

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