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#183  Lifeboats and Volcanoes: part 3 of our series with Simon Michaux

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If we’re using too much power, how much do we need? And how much can we reasonably expect to produce in the near term as we phase out fossil fuels? What will our energy infrastructure look like and what are our options?

This week’s guest is fast becoming a friend of the Podcast. In the first part of what is now an ongoing series, Dr Simon Michaux outlined for us the nature of the materials crisis – the fact that there is simply not enough stuff, not enough copper or cobalt or lithium to continue to manufacture at the levels we have been – and there’s not even enough to make the renewable (or, as Nate Hagens would call them, rebuildable) technology to replace the fossil fuel power we’re going to have to stop using.

If you haven’t listened to these two, please do, because lot of this conversation is predicated on that one, and on our second podcast where we looked at Michaux’s hierarchy of needs and really delved into power generation in more depth.

I had planned that we’d look more at the remaining five of Simon’s hierarchy of needs in this conversation, but – like most of these podcasts – the plan went out of the window when I asked how he was doing and it was clear that he’d been having some really interesting conversations. And so we went with this – because it seems to me that if the people who get it are multiplying, then it’s useful for us to know this – we can support the narratives that unpick the ‘business as usual’ dynamics and begin to look forward to what will work. That’s the core of this podcast – what can we do, how can we do it – and how can we ensure that enough people get this to create a global movement. We had to cut off faster than we’d like, so there will be (at least) a podcast four!

In Conversation

Manda: In the first part of what is now an ongoing series, Simon Michaud outlined for us the nature of the materials crisis in very stark numerical terms. He put data onto the fact that there is simply not enough stuff, not enough copper or cobalt or lithium or anything else really to continue to manufacture stuff at the levels we have been. And there’s not even enough to make the renewables or as Nate Hagens would call them, rebuild balls to replace the fossil fuel power that we’re going to have to stop using. If you haven’t listened to that podcast, please do, because lots of this conversation is predicated on that one. And also on our second podcast with Simon where we looked at Michaud’s hierarchy of Needs and then really delved into the first of those, which is power generation. I will put links to each of those in the show notes. Really, if you haven’t listened to them, just go back and listen to them now because this conversation will make a lot more sense in the light of those and all that being the case, I had planned that we were going to look more at the remaining five of Michaud’s hierarchy of needs in this conversation, and then like most of these podcasts, that plan went straight out of the window when we logged on and I asked Simon how he was doing, and it became completely clear that he’d been having some really interesting conversations and so we went with that instead, because you can work out the hierarchy of needs.

It’s basically power, water, getting rid of sewerage, feeding ourselves, finding enough shelter, and then how do we get enough stuff to make the things that we actually need? That’s it. I would say there’s a lot of social glue needed in there, but that’s a different conversation. Simon is a material scientist, so we went with what Simon’s been doing recently, and as you’ll hear, there’s a lot of talking to people at really high levels of impact. And it seems to me that if the people who get this are multiplying across the globe, then it is really useful for us to know that because we can support the narratives that unpick the business as usual dynamics and begin to talk up the ideas of a different world that will actually work.

We did hit a time constraint at the end of the podcast and had to cut off sooner than we had imagined, and Simon very kindly has agreed to come back for podcast number four, which will I think, end up becoming a bonus podcast at some point because I’m booked through till October and we have a podcast a week mapped out until then, and I am not holding this back until I can slot it into a free slot. So at some point in the not too distant future we will have podcast number four and we’ll continue to explore Simon’s ideas. Because having somebody who is pointing out the actual logistical constraints in ways that are being heard and beginning to work out solutions in ways that we can all tap into, that seems to me to be gold dust and is definitely what this podcast is for. And so people of the podcast for the third time, please do welcome Dr. Simon Michaud. Simon, Welcome back to Accidental Gods For the third time, I am enormously grateful. How are you? How is Finland and what is most alive for you in your life? Because I’m sure stuff has been changing since we last spoke.

Simon: So Finland’s good. The snow has melted. Spring is here.

Manda: Politics in Finland a little bit dodgy?

Simon: Um, the we’ve had a more benign reaction compared to other parts of Europe. We have had a recent election. Some of the decisions being made, I think have been made… lots of countries in Europe are making decisions that are not necessarily in their own best interests, and that are under coercion from larger geopolitical alliances. And I think Finland has recently joined NATO has been subject to a bit of that.

Manda: Does Finland have an equivalent of Fox News or Sky or GMBTV, right wing media?Simon: They have a state backed media called YLE. And they’re actually pretty good. They’re actually pretty impartial. There’s a lot of trust in Finland, so there’s like six political powers in part in power, and they all collaborate and cooperate.

Manda: Talk to each other. Yay!

Simon: And everything, Like the weather in Finland is very benign compared to Australia, but the people are much calmer. You don’t have the aggro, you don’t have the anger. And there is a very high trust in government and the police are respected, and government is respected to the point that when it’s election season, lots of people turn out to actually run for election at all levels of government. And it’s sort of seen as a honourable thing to do.

Manda: Wow. 

Simon: And get this: corporations line up in the street to pay their tax. They’ll happily and proudly pay their tax, and all the money that goes into the government coffer then goes back out to the community – and you can see where the money goes. But there’s a social contract at the centre of that that is based on trust and respect.

Manda: It’ll be interesting to see if the media companies manage to destroy that in the way… Because I’m guessing that in the UK, the US, Australia, we had something like that maybe 40, 50 years ago, but we don’t anymore.

Simon: The Finns won’t wear anything else. In their history, they’ve dealt with some fairly serious problems historically and there is a strength and discipline here. And the recognition that that everything must be looked at in an honest way, because challenging things do happen.

Manda: And living with a very long land border with Russia must sharpen one’s capacity for genuine democracy, I imagine.

Simon: Everyone here is reliving what happened in the late 1930 when the Soviets tried to invade and were pushed back. So that is actually colouring everyone’s sort of thinking. And the Soviets did do some appalling things back then, which is just not helping anything at all. But anyway, so there’s just been an election. We have moved, I think the centre right is now sort of in power, but what you call centre right here in Finland would be different to elsewhere because everyone’s very respectful. And there’s actually genuine dialogue, and things do tend to get done. It’s not perfect. But but the circus I see in the Anglo world, from the United States to the UK, none of that happens here.  

Manda: Yeah. I remember in the Corbyn years somebody saying if he was standing for election in any of the Nordic countries, he would be considered centre right. So, it is a very, very different space. Let’s not dribble down the political path, because we could and I would enjoy it, but it’s not quite what we’re here for. We’re here for your mining expertise and your materials expertise. So is there anything that has arisen? My original plan was we were going to look through the rest of Simon’s hierarchy of needs, but still, I think I gathered from our pre-talk that exciting things were afoot. Let’s talk a little bit about what’s most alive for you in this moment.

Simon: So currently there’s a job going on in Hawaii. So the question was what would Hawaii have to do to phase out fossil fuels, and what are the possible solutions? And what would things look like? I wrote a similar report for Finland, but Finland already has like 80% of its electricity, at the time, was non-fossil fuel. And so they had a lot of heavy industry here that was already running on non-fossil fuel systems. So our big challenge is what do you do with the transport fleet? So but Hawaii, on the other hand, the reason I like this idea is they’re an island in the middle of the Pacific. If it doesn’t come by boat or by plane, it doesn’t happen.

Manda: What’s their indigenous production? Is it just they can produce food and presumably housing timber for housing and that’s it?

Simon: Not really. They do present a little bit of biomass. They produce some food. Um, about 40, 50% of the food they consume. Some food source is produced locally. The rest is imported. They’ve got a population of 1.2 million and they’ve got 1.2 million vehicles in their transport fleet. But their electrical power generation, most of it is oil. And that oil is coming from Libya and Russia. They’re not even getting it from Alaska.

Manda: Yeah, and they are an American state. So that’s kind of interesting.

Simon: It’ll be an economic thing. But so if the ships stop coming, what happens? And so in a post fossil fuels world, how does Hawaii become a more stable economy where you can see to its own needs?

Manda: Can they follow the Cuban model at all, or is their geography just so completely different it doesn’t work?

Simon: So you’ve got a series of islands that are completely dependent on the tourist industry. And there’s a US military base there that’s quite impactful. There’s nothing, there’s no industry really.

Manda: And the US military is never going to decarbonise. There is no such thing as a decarbonised military, unless we’re using sticks and stones.

Simon: That are moves afoot actually at the moment where that’s actually not necessarily the case, but they will weaponize certain things so they can still function. You know, the concept of peak oil does mean that they need to look at this carefully. Even their tanks run on jet fuel, which is very, very highly refined, you know, but now they’re sort of looking at the turbines in those tanks. That’s what they run on. I believe that is the case. But they don’t run on diesel fuel, which everyone else does. So what I think is happening is they’re looking at things like biofuel, but biofuels cannot produce enough energy to replace petroleum. So it will become a sort of thing where they’ll produce something where they can operate, but they may be the only ones around. You won’t have as many vehicles.

Manda: Or as many people because you’re growing land to produce fuel. You’re not growing food.

Simon: So the sorts of things we’re looking at is how much land is in Hawaii, how much food is being grown. If you were to actually do things differently, how much food could you grow? So that’s one thing. What is the energy consumption? What are the options to actually replace that energy consumption with non-fossil fuel systems? And we’re looking at things like solar, okay, how much solar will you need? How much wind power would you need if you were to go that direction? And now you’ve got an interesting opportunity in Hawaii of waves, because the waves that hit Hawaii are so much stronger than anywhere else in the world because you don’t have a continental shelf to slow it down. So if you did have a wave system, how much power would it produce and how much coastline is suitable for that? And that gives you an upper ceiling of how much wave power.

Manda: How are you going to mess up the surfing? Because I’m guessing that would impact your tourist industry a little bit. But anyway, I’m sure we can get wave power where there’s not surfing.

Simon: So if there is a thing where we’re getting to the point where we’re having to look at this, there’ll be less tourists coming anyway because it’ll be much more expensive to go there. We’re looking at boundary conditions and in the end, hybrid solutions. And the other one would be, well, if you went nuclear, how many nuclear plants are we talking about? The opportunity that is quite controversial is geothermal power. I mean, there are multiple live volcanoes there, so they are in an excellent position to tap into energy. But the indigenous population there views those volcanoes as a religious deity.

Manda: Okay. They’re sacred. 

Simon: Yeah. Drilling a geothermal hole is considered drilling into the heart of Kahuna. And so there is a population on Hawaii that are vehemently opposed. And so what we’re trying to do is to try and in a data based fashion, put all options on the table. If you were to go this, that’s what it would look like. If you were to go that, that’s what it would look like. And what implications do you have at the end? Most people in Hawaii haven’t actually thought this through.

Manda: Most people on the planet haven’t thought it through, have they, really?  

Simon: Right. And so the original plan was to do this in Hawaii. So then I was going to test my ideas out and I was going to do every Nordic country, you know: done Finland. I was then going to go Sweden, Norway. I was going to look at Denmark, and then I was going to look at Iceland.

Manda: Which also has volcanoes. But they’re not considered sacred there? Or are they?

Simon: They’re already using geothermal energy to the point where they’re making aluminium out of geothermal energy. And Iceland probably will be a very wealthy economy in the in the post fossil fuel world for a number of reasons, because they could be using geothermal to make hydrogen or ammonia and transport that ammonia to every shipping hub in the region and that will become the basis of the hydrogen economy for the entire region.

Manda: Wow.  

Simon: They are literally, um, the local Saudi Arabia, uh, who will be feeding multiple Singapores.

Manda: Until the Americans, the Russians or the Chinese walk in and take them over. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Simon: They need to maintain the ability to do that, but it would be a valuable resource. And we humans do tend to like to fight over such things. So the idea was to actually develop the ideas in an environment away from the Nordic frontier, and it was like a stress test. I’m now actually go into a tropical environment where we don’t have to have heating. We have a completely different profile, because if I do Finland and Sweden, they’re going to be very close to each other. And one of the things I routinely pull myself up over is do I believe my own PR? You know, do I think I’ve got all the answers? And so I’m constantly putting myself in a position where: put your ideas out there and look at it. Do they work? And then cross-validate them against something else that’s completely different. And every now and then it blows up in my face and my eyebrows get singed. But it does mean that the ideas are much stronger that come out the other end.

Manda: Yeah, you learn something with every time it blows up, for sure. So what’s blown up in Hawaii, besides the fact that drilling into the crust of the earth is not going to be acceptable to the indigenous population?

Simon: They’ve got a culture that’s very materialistic. They’re consuming more energy per capita than most other countries in the world. They are very luxury driven. And so the cultural changes that are required that will be suggested in this report will not be politically correct at all. And so this has to be done in a way that is data based and well supported, and all solutions have to be looked at and all solutions have to have some kind of databases. And so it’s actually quite an important litmus test. One of the things is oh, let’s just go buy fuel. Hawaii is a very green place, but if they strip the place to make biofuels or food or whatever…

Manda: It won’t be green for long.

Simon: It’ll be ecosystem collapse. And so you have some uncomfortable choices there. My role is not to suggest what choices should be made, but to put the data on the ground for what each choice actually is and then let them do it. Now I’m writing this in collaboration with some locals. This is a report about Hawaii, but it’s also written by Hawaiians for Hawaiians. So it is a Hawaiian led initiative  that I just happen to be part of.

Manda: Brilliant. And is this at governmental level? Or is it being produced and then the government gets to see it after?

Simon: So I’d like to do the collaborative approach where while I’m going to release this through GDK, I want everyone locally, that we’re going to write and we’re going to get them to review it. And if they can come back and say, You are wrong, they’ll be doing us a favour. The risk is if they come back and say, We don’t like this but can’t say why and then cause trouble. That’s a risk. And so we’re going to see how we go with that. But if we can do it where everyone’s sort of involved, has had a look at this and, Yeah, it’s all  okay. All right. It’s all very challenging, but we’ve had a look beforehand. So I’m outside the American system. I can say things that they can’t. The responsibility I bear for that is extraordinary. And so I’m working very, very diligently to make sure I honour all responsibilities and requirements. And we don’t leave anything else out. So no one can say, oh, you haven’t thought of this or you didn’t do that or what? You were most disrespectful when…

Manda: And I’m thinking that the the social technology of this is really important. I was listening to Asa Ruskin and Tristan Harris on their podcast, Your Undivided Attention the other day, and they were quoting a blogger whose name I’m sorry, I can’t remember, but she had pointed out that within the tech industry in the US, you could present all of the tech people with technical problems that were almost insoluble. Everybody believed they were impossible, but they could see that such a thing might be done if they could work out how to do it, and they would all throw themselves at this. And in the acknowledgement that the end result would completely change the nature of human experience on this planet. But when you said to them, what we really need is to get the heads of all the big six companies and some governmental people in a room together, and basically keep them in the room until they can all agree on a method of regulating what we’re developing so that it doesn’t destroy all life on Earth, they’d go, no, that’s too hard. And so what I’m hearing with you is you’re already beginning to address the That’s too hard bit of how do we get the people who are basically a bunch of limbic systems, quite primed to be triggered by the nature of the world at the moment, into a place where they’re capable of sober reflection and interaction. And I’m wondering how you do that, how Simon gets into a space where that’s possible. You mentioned Buddhism and Chinese martial arts in a previous podcast.

Simon: So what I do is, I’ve been put in a few situations in the past where… very difficult situations and I’ve learned that the opinions of others are not necessarily as important as I thought. And there’s been a number of things along those lines. The period for me of 2014 was a very, very black year. That was when my career fell apart. I lost my second marriage and everything went horribly, horribly wrong and all my normal things I would fall back upon that that I would rely upon were gone. So you had to actually fall upon inner reserves. And I learned very, very well that when a community will take the time to tell you you’re wrong, and do a bit of character assassination, behind the curtain, it’s rubbish. They’ve got nothing. And so belief in self, with the understanding that what those beliefs are have got to be the strongest link in the chain. What do I think and why?  

Now, one of the people who were mentoring me professionally made a point of telling me once that: Simon, what do you think you’re doing, huh? You’re so young and naive. One person can’t change the world. This was like when I was first trying to develop this work back in 2010. And my response to that, and I didn’t say it out loud at the time, but if someone told me that now says, all right, one person can’t change the world. But one person can be at the right place at the right time when the world fragments into little bits. And so that’s what’s happening. And so if we are all dependent on a system, right, but that system breaks apart: instead of running around like a headless chicken, going ah, the world will end, what are we going to do? So you now sort of think, well, hang on, understand what’s happening and why, understand what might actually work. And so you be at the right place at the right time and what might actually work. And all the people saying it’s not going to work. Uh huh. Bye. So what’s happening now is the best way forward. And you might recognise this book.

Manda: I do.He’s holding up. Be More Pirate, which is one of my favourite books. Sam Conniff Allende.

Simon: Manda kindly sent to me a couple of books, and this was one of them. But it actually happens to capture perfectly what needs to happen while the system still runs and while there’s multiple narratives telling us what we should think. And what we should do. A number of us should just ignore that and do what we what our own hearts and minds are telling us to do. Now, there are lots of us and we could get it wrong. But if, let’s say a thousand people thought in these terms and they came up with a thousand different solutions, some of us will come up with the goods. So I would rather be one of those thousand people. Then the lemmings that get told what to do are: You must think, you must do what you’re told.

Manda: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Simon: I still get that. There are people around me professionally who are deeply displeased that I keep brutalising the rules or brutalising the norms. So go back to the 1950s and how things were then, and how they were working then. And I just smile and nod, and ‘terribly sorry. I can’t help being so mysterious. This is what we have to do, though, all of us. And what’s interesting is you’re doing the same thing with your tools, the tools in your hands. You don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. You’re just going to do it. One of us or some of us are going to come up with the solutions that need to happen. And it’s right across the whole spectrum.

Manda: Yes. And there isn’t going to be just one solution. There’s going to be a whole series of solutions, and it’s our job to interdigitate them together. So Hawaii sounds amazing and it’s an American state. Tell us what else you’ve been doing since we last spoke.

Simon: Okay.So I’m presenting my work now to many different groups and it has created a debate in a number of areas. I’ve come up against a series of blind spots that have proven to be quite uncomfortable. I’ve been contacted by a number of groups who are not. Someone will see one of these podcasts or a presentation, someone in the background, and some of them are at official conferences and some are in the background, will see it and they’ll go away and think about it and I’ll be approached later. So we need you to present this to our group, right? And I’ll do that, and I’ll take the information and they’ll go off and, and then they come back and say, an official group will approach me and says, Right – now we need to actually sort of take this further. So the Finnish infrastructure has been quite good in that they still don’t know what to do, right, but they are at many different levels, they’re trying to get their arms around this. And what’s interesting is groups that, this is something that only happens in Finland, groups that traditionally disagree with each other are approaching this problem the same way.

Manda: Together? Or just coming at it from slightly different directions, but in the same way?

Simon: Slightly different directions. But they’re talking to each other.

Manda: Okay. Wow.

Simon: And I’ve not seen this elsewhere. So something interesting can happen here in Finland. There’s an Overton Window, it happens in Finland, that does not happen elsewhere. It might be in other parts of the world. Like the same thing might happen in Sweden and Norway. But I know I’ve seen it for myself. What I am seeing is it would not happen in Belgium and it would not happen in Australia.

Manda: Or the UK or the US or Germany or anywhere where there’s any of the places where you have opposing political parties.

Simon: Yeah, well. There’s opposing political parties here, but they tend to treat that opposition differently. There’s more collaborative debate here where, okay, we might disagree, but ultimately we want the same thing. Whereas elsewhere, like in Australia, I’m seeing the need for payback. And it’s aggressive and it’s nasty and it’s intellectually deceitful and there seems to be no innocent parties in this. Every single one of them are rubbish.  

Manda: There’s a really good book in the UK written by the political editor of The Spectator, I believe called Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. And I’m sure it’s not just the UK, it’s the process of electing this kind of people means that we get the psychopaths. So let’s leave them. Finland, you said they’re not getting to answers yet, but they’re presumably they’re getting their head around the fact that there isn’t enough stuff, and that we haven’t got the time to produce enough stuff to have exactly the system that we have now rolling forward, and that we need a new system. Is that more or less where they’re getting to?

Simon: They’re getting to that, and they’re also sort of what could we do? And so there are multiple groups that are actually looking at that. And even the solutions they’re putting on the ground, they’re flawed with assumptions as well, but they’re going for it.

Manda: And have they got someone like you, or someone within their own group in case you’re not there, to point out the assumptions? Because what you need is someone who’s standing from the outside going, guys, you’re just resting this all on a whole, you know, bed of sand. It’s not going to last.

Simon: There is now 4 or 5 of us around the world that are putting out the same message that I am. Lars Schernikau wrote a very nice book about the Unpopular Truth about Electricity. There’s Mark Mills in the United States. 

Manda: Yep. Good podcast.

Simon: Harald Sverdrup in Norway – he actually evolved the Club of Rome system into a modern system and he’s actually got a very, very nice piece of work showing essentially the same thing. There’s quite a few people out there that are actually now saying this out loud and we’re starting to connect together. But then there’s people like Alice Friedemanne who’ve been talking for years: ‘When the trucks stop running’.

Manda: Yeah, you mentioned her in the last podcast. I put a link in the show notes there. 

Simon: And Gail Tverberg has been doing some excellent work about what happens when the music stops financially, and how everything relates to together. And there’s lots of people who have been sort of pointing out the obvious. So what’s happening now is I’m talking to every now and then officials within the American government.

 Manda: Wow.That’s big,Simon. 

Simon: So what they want to know, they’re trying to get to the bottom of – I basically pointed out the blind spot for, first of all, storage. They’re looking at the storage, stationary power storage needed for wind and solar. They did their own assessment in the United States across across two sections in 2022. And they found basically what I said was conceptually correct.

Manda: It’s more than 48 hours of storage that’s needed. Tell me they got to that.

Simon: They got way past that.They don’t know how much storage is needed. But it is much, much more. They think even 28 days may not be enough in some circumstances, but wind and solar underperformed, but they also dropped off at the seasonally worst times.

Manda: Which is massively predictable but amazing that you had to point it out to them. But never mind. Let’s let that go. Where does that take them then? What are they doing with that information?

Simon: So, all right. And so they’re also now coming to terms with that there is no… we don’t have enough minerals in in the mining capacity, and there are shortfalls and bottlenecks there. And they’re looking at, for example, the MIT study that came out, MIT put this out, basically saying we’ve got plenty of minerals, it’s fine. But when you actually look behind in the fine print, they didn’t look at any storage technology at all, batteries at all, in cars or stationary storage. And so what that meant was 95% of the calculation did not happen.

Manda: Right.

Simon: And then there was the Elon Musk presentation that actually came out recently. And  they’ve actually found that to be deeply flawed as well. And they’re looking at it, and they’re using my work and Mark Mills’ work to do it. And they’re talking to us every now and then about what to do. And they need to get to the bottom of it, because all future plans they’ve actually made have been based around the Princeton University’s Net zero America project.

Manda: And that was the one that made the assumption of 48 hours battery.

Simon: They wanted 5 to 7 hours.

Manda: That’s insane. You wouldn’t even keep your bike on 5 to 7 hours battery storage. 

Simon: No, what they’re doing there is the difference between supply and demand on a day to day basis. And sometimes it’s a little bit more, sometimes it’s a little bit less. And if that’s all you’re doing, you’re keeping 5 to 7 hours storage for a couple of days at most. So they didn’t look at the long term variations.

Manda: Yes. Or even the basic seasonal variations?

Simon: No, not at all. That never actually entered their their calculus at all. And that’s the source of the problem. Right. Anyway, so we’re now having those conversations. And again, there is an enormous responsibility to get that right. And there’s a number of things that are happening in the background where I’m dating my data sets to actually meet specific questions that they have asked.  

Manda: Right.

Simon: And so the other piece of work I’m now looking at has yet to start, but we’ll see if I get to it. But what does coal do for the manufacturing industry? Uh, most of this happens in China, but they’re consuming vast amounts of coal to do our manufacturing, and there’s a lot of heat involved. If you knock coal out, what do we replace it with? To make a solar panel, you’ve got a solar wafer. A silicon wafer. You’ve got to heat the silicon to 2200°C at the moment. We use coke and coal to do that. And it’s only done in China. And the Chinese are unlikely to do what we suggest. But if you were to knock coal out and replace it with something else, what would that be? And the options are things like biofuels where that’s obviously not going to work. Hydrogen, or an electric arc furnace. And all three of those options work in a small scale. But when you scale them up to the amount of coal that’s being consumed, we’ve got a very serious problem. Orders of magnitude worse than what we are dealing with in my existing calculations.

 Manda: So the first thing that I get to with that is we have to shift to a system that needs less stuff.Simon: Yes.

Manda: We just have to. So is anybody doing the calculus of what stuff do we need as opposed to what stuff do we want?

Simon: Yeah, I don’t know. Surely I can’t be the only one. Most people I’ve come across so far have been pointing at the problem in abstract terms, and doing quite well. Even people like Mark who’ve done an excellent job. But he’s done it on macro scale markers, which is quite valid. What he’s done. Right. But but it’s very hard to unpack at a resolution that we can actually say how many solar panels or how many wind turbines. Now, I released my first study in August 2021. Here we are halfway through 2023, and I was expecting 7 or 8 people to pass me by by now. And maybe they are operating in the background, but I just don’t know who they are. I’d like to think people are looking at my work and replicating it because what I did was a very simplistic, um, tour of duty through this topic. And I’m just one guy with a cheap computer and an internet connection. If you had a proper research centre dedicated to this idea and a team of 20 people and the resources backed by a government or a corporation, what would they come up with?

Manda: Right. And as far as you know, that’s not happening.

Simon: I’ve not seen it.

Manda: So the officials in the US government, are they putting any resources that you know of into doing exactly that?

Simon: They have done a study on wind and solar power generation in the United States, and they showed me some of the results. I do know that the Department of Homeland Security is actually looking at some of this, as is the Department of Energy. What that is, I don’t know. And they’re unlikely to tell anyone.

Manda: Or even each other. The turf wars between the departments of West Wing is correct are pretty vicious.

Simon: So, yeah. I do like to think that the people who are actually in charge of the long range strategic planning are aware of what’s happening.

Manda: Right? Yeah.

Simon: Anything as sensitive like this probably will be remain confidential. What does all that mean? I don’t know. But if they’re not going to share now, they’re not gonna. So I would say we would replace them by doing it ourselves.

Manda: So where have you got to in this question of what does coal do for us? I interrupted. And you were on the way to telling us.

Simon: Okay, so I’ve only mapped it out conceptually. I’ve mapped out, for example, the amount  of coal that we’re consuming, but then break it up industry by industry, like who’s doing what. Like steel chews a lot of coal, but they’re not the only one. You know, any metal casting or metal smelting, you know, anything that needs heat. And there’s a lot of chemical manufacturing that does all that. And what are our options there? We need things like 2 and 3000°C, but the heat in say a nuclear reactor is only 500 degrees.

Manda: Right.So you said earlier that Iceland is smelting aluminium using geothermal. Are they getting, does that take the same order of magnitude of heat or is it just much cooler?

Simon: Aluminium is like solidified electricity.

Manda: Okay.

Simon: Right. It was very expensive a long time ago, for this reason. They have actually managed to generate a system where they can make aluminium on renewable power. And so they’ve got that kind of heat. The problem is that they’re an island out in the middle of the ocean and they’ve only got so much. They’re not going to be able to produce enough for the rest of the planet.

Manda: It’s not going to be like China. Is there anywhere else in the world that has access to that kind of geothermal that could become another hub?

Simon: I believe Hawaii has something like that, but they I don’t think it will ever be a situation where they’ll use that kind of geothermal. What could happen, for example, is Hawaii could use geothermal to make ammonia. And then ammonia could then be transported to all these other uses of shipping fuel. And so it could be the next Singapore. Ships will want to go to Hawaii to refuel. And then the fuel that is made there can then be sent elsewhere. Because if you can’t make ammonia without heat, and it’s now very expensive to do so, and fossil fuels check out, all of a sudden Hawaii is an extraordinary, valuable frontier.

Manda: Provided they’re happy with drilling into their sacred volcanoes, which they may well not be, for perfectly good reasons.

Simon: The indigenous population won’t like that. One of the things that I’m mapping out here is if this does exist, one of the things is, Hawaii was conquested by the American military. They didn’t ask, they didn’t collaborate. They just turned up and said, it’s ours now.

Manda: Great. 

Simon: They could pull a stunt like that again. So the idea is to actually get the data out for this and have that discussion early instead of having it in a shocked transition kind of way. No one knows. So, as for anyone else, I don’t know. Off the top of my head, but  Canary Islands has a volcano that goes off every now and then. But it’s not consistent like Hawaii or Iceland.

Manda: Okay, So this is taking us down a track that I wanted to go, which is I exist in a world where 350 parts per million of CO2 was a safe level. And we are now way, way, way beyond it. We’re nearly at 420. And that CO2 output is one of our rate limiting steps and that if we continue to burn all the coal, and/or do anything else that emits huge amounts of greenhouse gases, then we’re going to hit climactic tipping points beyond which everything else just becomes moot point. Because if we hit 10 degrees C, we’re not here. It doesn’t matter how much money we’ve got or how clever we’ve been. 10 degrees C is not inhabitable. In our first podcast, you said that you didn’t think CO2 was a rate limiting step and that ecological breakdown was more of a rate limiting step. Can we unpick that? And then through that lens look at global manufacture a bit?

Simon: So carbon was the thing we all focussed on years ago, right? I now see it as a Band-Aid on a bullet wound, if we were to look at carbon and only carbon. Remember, I’ve got training in geology, and in our geological past the planet has been through quite a few serious changes in terms of climate. It has always been life systems on the planet, which has pulled us back from the brink and stabilised the planet again. Change is the only constant through all that. But it has been life itself. Now our life systems are in deeper shit than usual. Look at a lens of say, 500 million years. What’s been happening in, say, the last 10,000 years? And in that sort of scale… Bill Reece is very good at describing all this. The ecosystems on the planet that we call the living biosphere, the way I see this is through James Lovelock’s Gaia theory. It’s a system, the planet is a system and everything interacts with everything else, right? So the food system that we talk about, it has a foundation from the very small animals to the very large. The very small animals make up the bulk of the biomass.

Simon: We’re talking about the bacteria in the soil, the proto plankton in the seas, the insect populations, the small birds and the marsupials. You know, they’re the foundation for everything. They’re the thing that actually holds everything together. We don’t see any of that in the way we actually operate. And so what’s happened is, trouble has happened in two sectors. One is our industrialisation, and the other is food production. So if we’re going to fix this, it has to come through those two vectors. So ocean acidification has become a problem. And that’s building, and we’re hitting the tipping point where the carbon absorbed by the ocean is not being consumed and turned into shells by the proto plankton. And then you start having feedback loops. Land degradation through industrial agriculture, that has shrunk to about a third of what it was in 1960. But there’s all sorts of other metrics, like fish populations are collapsing and insect populations are collapsing, right? If the entire bottom of the food chain in size is collapsing, what does that suggest for the complex organisms like large vertebrate mammals like us?

Manda: It’s not great.

Simon: We tend to see things only in like a generational view, like ten, 20 years. That’s about the limit of our imagination, but in an ecological context, the resolution lens we should look to should be in a scale of, say, 10 to 20,000 years. And that relates to everything else. If we are in a situation where the system is going off the rails and it’s going into correction, our ability to do anything about it rests with the living biosphere of the planet. If the living biosphere of the planet is actually being being damaged, then it cannot correct. It’s like taking the damping tools off an oscillating system. We’re going to keep swinging back and forth till something breaks. So while you could actually sort of bang on about carbon, I think the most important thing… because we could stop producing carbon tomorrow. But let’s say we did, but we did nothing else. Would anything actually change? So the problem in terms of the actual stability of the planet would be in just as much trouble because we are harvesting and devastating multiple life systems on a planetary scale. So the overloading of the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles comes back to our industrial agriculture. So the amount of plastics we’re dumping in the seas.

Manda: We’re great fans of the GOES report on this podcast. Yes.

Simon: Who thought this was a good idea? Because Oh, that’s not our problem. That’s not our responsibility. And so on and so forth. So I believe that If we’ve got limited time left, what do we actually do to try and actually sort of mitigate our long term? Ability to survive?

Manda: Yep, That’s… Yes. Please answer that question for us. Simon. That would be good.

Simon: Well, I think our efforts have got to go to first of all, change our industrial profile so our footprint withdraws from the natural environment. We stop dumping large amounts of pollution into the system through the seas, through our waterways, into the soil, like our industry systems are actually quite small in terms of area. It’s only about 1 or 2% for cities and industry where for the whole planet. But the waste plume that comes off these things is humongous.

Manda: Yes. Right.

Simon: We’ve got to get to the point where we stop doing that. We work out a way where we’ve got to live. If we don’t maintain some kind of industry, we’re not going to be able to maintain the existing population. And we’re not going to be able to maintain dense population cities.

Manda: Can we do that? So it seems to me that that’s a self-evident thing, that we we can’t keep maintaining the industry and we can’t keep maintaining dense centres of population if we are going to make the leap. So I have in my head, and I think you said it on Nate Hagens podcast, not ours, that we have 19 rolling terawatts, five would be better. Five is not compatible with having cities. It’s not compatible with having the scale of industry that we have at the moment. So the scaling down has to happen. What seems to me the metric that I’m wondering how do we get to it is, how do we scale down in a way that takes everybody with us, and doesn’t cause global war and / or global famine and / or any other catastrophic loss of all species life?

Simon: So if we started this conversation in 1972 when the Club of Rome report was actually released and we could actually possibly discuss this, we might be able to correct over a period of time. We didn’t.

Manda: But it’s 2023.

Simon: Yeah, who would have thought so? We didn’t. That’s the simple answer. The vast majority of the people around us are not interested in these ideas, so they’re not going to do any given solution that we might put together. However, the system is under unprecedented stress. Now, I like the idea of biomimicry and actually looking at how does the natural world solve its problems? And when we have a badly behaved species, what happens next?

Manda: Species die off.

Simon: So what’s going to happen is I think the system is going to fragment. Like our ability to operate the 19 terawatt society is contingent on cheap, abundant energy and cheap, abundant credit. Both of those are going sideways. We also will have problems with raw materials availability. Once both of the other two check out as well, and we’ve got, you know, declining grain and all that, making life more difficult. The system is going to fragment. So it’s not going to be a case of planning to go from 19 to 10, or 19 to – is it two? Is it five? I don’t think anyone knows. But the system will fall apart and our ability to maintain that system will be the contraction.

Manda: Is anybody – you’re talking to people within the US government. Are they having this level of conversation? Are they even thinking it behind closed doors, do you think?

Simon: I think under the continuity of government protocols, there are plans. And I think FEMA in particular are actually looking at that. They will never tell us what they’re really planning. These are personal opinions that I’ve personally put together. This is the way I think we’re going to go. And so when the people who talk about, we must work out a way to save humanity, we all often think we’ve got to save everyone together. But now what I’m sort of seeing is, well, that’s actually never going to happen. We are never going to get to the point – and that’s simply by virtue of, not everyone wants to engage. And in fact, the very people who don’t want to do it will take the time to try and stop you, and take resources from you, if you try to tell them about this.

Manda: Is there no way to get through? Do you not think? I mean, a lot of people, certainly the people that I meet who don’t get it, it’s because they’re being told not to get it.

Simon: But think of humanity instead of 8 billion individuals, as one organism.

Manda: Okay – Nate Hagens.

Simon: One obese organism that’s addicted to crack.

Manda: Okay.

Simon: Lose some weight, kick the habit. Right. So humanity will get through this. How many of humanity get through? This sets another conversation that most people find very stressful and are not interested in partaking.

Manda: It’s a very hard one because everybody wants ‘me’ to get through this. You know, the person who’s having the conversation, plus the people they know and like, and actually six degrees of separation means that’s the entire planet. And nobody wants to be going, okay, so that nation over there, that can all go. Because that’s not a conversation that we can have. How do we have an intelligent conversation about this?

Simon: That’s what our biology tells us to do. And we consume as much resources as we possibly can. And that’s just… you watch, for example, what a possum does, or a bush turkey. In Australia we have a species called a bush turkey. It’s like it’s this ugly looking chicken that looks rather anaemic, but it’s amazingly resilient and will strip an entire area and make a nest. And that nest, it’ll put it, for example, right in the middle of the path. And if you say, ‘Turkey move’, the turkey just ignores you. You know, if you take the time to dig the nest up and hope that it will go away, as you’re packing the tools up to walk away, the turkey is rebuilding its nest. They’re the most resilient animals I’ve ever seen. So anyway, I think it’s going to be a case of discussing boundary conditions. The very fact that we are having this conversation 50 years after we could have done it, we’ve got to recognise the fact that we’re running out of time and what does that actually mean? No one can actually predict the future, it’s futile to do so. What we can comfortably say is the wheels are going to fall off in multiple sections. And so what is the human capacity to put the wheels back on? And if we do, will they be the same wheels?

Manda: My assumption is they can’t be the same wheels.

Simon: Well, they can’t be the same wheels. No. So people think someone will come up with something. Human innovation. Okay, human innovation. I’m actually part of that group. Yeah, human innovation. Yeah, let’s do it. But it takes time. Let’s say I came up with an amazing idea that was the solution to all our problems. How long would it take for me to communicate it to everyone else? Get it funded, get it scaled up to industrial levels, get it manufactured and distributed so everyone on the planet can access it?

Manda: That is presumably, I would think, a function of the first question. And we have a global Internet now. For the first generation in the entirety of human history. We can communicate with the entire planet pretty much in real time. If we can build a narrative, a story, of this is Simon’s vision of the future. And guys, this is a future that is actually better than the present you’re in at the moment, and you would like to get to it. And here are a reasonable set of steps that will at least move us in the right direction. And any innovations you can come up with that get us faster, that’s a good idea. Would you not then get… this is probably a rhetorical question, because if you say no, you just destroyed the entire meaning of my life. So please don’t! Because I’m writing the novels that’s trying to do this. Because it seems to me if we have logistical issues – I’ve completely got all that you’re saying of there isn’t enough stuff. So we’re going to have to have a lot less stuff, and to have a culture that is based on a tiny fraction of the amount of things that we are making at the moment, we have to somehow envisage enough of a door opening to a future in which that is true, and yet people are living resilient, fulfilled lives with agency and that sense of being and belonging that everybody craves. And if we can produce a vision of that, people will gather and go to it. It’s not that we lack creativity, it’s that we lack direction and vision and what we are here for. Because at the moment we’re just here to consume, and that’s not useful anymore. Sorry, that was a bit of a rant, but do you see any way to get to that? Because you know, you’re the guy, you’re my go to guy for ‘Simon knows what’s happening’.

Simon: Um Simon says, excellent game that!

Manda: Yes.

Simon: There are solutions that you can actually sort of do, they’re like lifeboat solutions. And because they haven’t been built yet, they’ll take time to build. The problem is the system as it is now. Like if we have a big power station, like a coal fired power station, that takes about five years to build and that’s something we know we’re doing. If we start building these alternative systems that have supply chain issues and we need to build 600,000 of them, how long would that take? And that’s what I’m seeing: buy time. So if we come up with a solution, how do we apply that? So it’s applicable to everyone. What you’re suggesting, and I believe this is what must happen is the social contract around society of how do we actually use stuff, how do we use it, what for who, when, why? All that stuff has to change, because we’re a very wasteful society at the moment, that operates on the principles that there are no limits to any of this, and we have no responsibilities at all. So if we get to the point where we live much simpler, and we have a radically different footprint, and we decentralise all systems and where everything we actually need to live, it happens more locally and / or regionally. And this will happen as a thing of attrition when the global systems break down. And for our own well-being and survival, we will make the regional systems. It will just happen. It’ll just be one damn thing after another. And the golden era of the last 50/60 years will come to a close. What we keep talking about – first world problems – we’ll now come down to, how do I get enough food to eat?

Manda: Right. Which is familiar to a lot of the rest of the world all the time.

Simon: So we have to have a social contract where we don’t turn on each other. Because if we do turn on each other, then our ability to do anything is severely hampered and we will see examples of that, but it will become apparent very quickly that it just doesn’t work. You know, the script says you’re supposed to lose. Right, no more script! Let’s write a new one.

Manda: Yeah. Yeah. Because we’ve all seen the disaster movies. We all know how bad it goes when everybody picks up a gun and decides everybody else is the enemy. But it has always seemed to me… We didn’t get to Simon Michaud’s hierarchy of needs. But water is right near the top, after power, and three days without the capacity to get clean water and clear the sewage in a city, and you have a typhoid outbreak and it doesn’t matter how many guns you have, you’re all dead. So that I don’t want people going down the dystopian route because I don’t think it’s a useful vision to have. And where you put your energy is where you get to. But I would be really interested in how you think we foment a social contract when we still have a population that largely denies that this is even happening. I ended up in the midst of a flame war on Twitter last week with a woman who denied that we were in the middle of the sixth mass extinction. And it’s manifestly… you just need to walk outside and it’s obvious. So with that level of denial, getting a social contract that isn’t ‘every man for himself’ seems quite hard to me.

Simon: I’ve gone through a series of evolutions of how I approach all this. And there was a time when I was trying to get the word out. And if you have the idea that, as long as I present the facts, people are intelligent, they may not like it, but they’ll come to terms with it and then they’ll have their own response to it, and they’ll start developing solutions because their own survival is dependent on it. That’s not how the world works. There’s now a thing where I will go and find like-minded people, I will work with those like-minded people, and us like-minded people will actually put a plan out, or we’ll put some ideas about what are the boundary conditions. We might start talking about, what might work and what might not. And then I want to be part of a group that goes and does it. When things get difficult, the people who were arguing with me before will realise their existing ways of doing things aren’t working so well, and sort of look around and say what is still working? And then they’ll observe people like myself. Why are those people still standing? And then the information comes, Oh, we did it this way, this, this and this. So the people then can understand a vector path. And at the moment, most of these people are unaware of the true nature of the problem. Food comes from the supermarket. I exchange food for this bit of plastic we call a credit card. So if that breaks down, where does my food come from and what is our leadership? And, you know, the people who are leading us at the moment: One, do they know what they’re doing? Two, can they be trusted?

Manda: And if the answer is no to both of those, can we create a different system where we do have people who know what they’re doing that we can trust? And what does it look like?

Simon: There’s a step in the middle. Human species at the moment is being thrown crisis after crisis after crisis at the moment. And what tends to happen is an apathy sets in, where people just can’t make choices and decisions any more, and they’re very susceptible to suggestion.

Manda: Yeah, because we’re in sympathetic overload, right?

Simon: And so while people are in that state of paralysis, there’s not a lot you can do with them. The people who then say, Right, enough of this, we now have to sort of do something. They’re the people who can say, here is the information, here is what might work. Go.

Manda: Okay.  

Simon: But a new society has to now come out according to the boundary conditions of what we’re dealing at the moment.

Manda: And those boundary conditions are…

Simon: Energy is checking out. Our finance systems that we believe are the formation of reality are based on illusion.

Manda: It’s been the case for a long time. I know I said in the last podcast I didn’t want to go down the economic route, but I heard and I haven’t checked this up, that the Credit Suisse went down, I think about three weeks ago on a Friday. The Federal Reserve, the American basically Bank created more money in one day than it had created in the whole of its previous history. And it seems to me that money hasn’t been tethered to anything real, at the very least since Nixon cancelled the gold standard.

Simon: That’s correct.

Manda: What is to suppose that at any point it’s actually going to have to relate to reality? Because it seems to be managing not to quite well.

Simon: This is the path of Zimbabwe. 2008, Zimbabwe got hip and hyperinflation. Zimbabwe was a closed system. The current system has been able to keep a lot of the money creation off books.

Manda: Giving it to the bankers to put in tax havens. Yes.

Simon: And so they’re actually, when they’re printing money, they’re doing an increasingly large sums. It’s getting to the point where the numbers don’t mean anything anymore. So we’ve been kicking the can down the road. It’s taken 50 years to get to this point, but it’s all the way back to 1913 and the formation of the Federal Reserve Bank in America and the institution of the fractional reserve banking system that is actually sort of, things have spiralled out of control. But it’s taken this long to get to the point where that system locks up and falls over. Because it’s like an empire, which means that system is ubiquitous. It is everywhere. And there are no alternatives that are allowed. All currencies are fiat. All currencies are tied to each other, including the US dollar and the European euro, the British pound, Japanese yen. They’re all entwined with each other. And so Bitcoin’s another problem again, and I believe the purpose of Bitcoin was to educate the public what a cryptocurrency was. So when the Fed releases their own version of the cryptocurrency, like the – what do they call it? The central bank digital currency. There it is, the CBDC.

Manda: And so the Fed has made one of their own.

Simon: So the European Union has, and the Fed. and they’re actually sort of talking about releasing it and rolling it out. I believe it will have the same structure as Bitcoin and that’s their plan. And so the whole point of Bitcoin….

Manda: But the point of Bitcoin is that it’s mined, and there is a limited amount of it and they’ll stop mining it after 40 years. And how can anyone get away with: we’re just making this stuff now, guys?

Simon: So if it’s actually coupled with, say, a social credit system, if it’s also coupled with, say, a carbon credit management system like the ESG system, and if it’s coupled with a ubiquitous surveillance system. We ARE TRAPPED in all these ways. So we’re not just tracking…

Manda: We’re hitting really dystopian science fiction states. Now, do you think this is…

Simon: It’s happening though, that this is actually the fourth industrial revolution where they actually want to merge humans, the human society with technology. But it’s a control mechanism.

Manda: Okay. So the good thing is we’re all going to become extinct before they actually get to this.

Simon: No, the the good news is, humanity at large will say, screw you hippie, we’re doing something else.

Manda: Oh, I hope so.

Simon: And we leave the cave.

Manda: If this were a novel, though, Simon, my editor, would be saying, there’s a bit of a jump cut there. How do we get from a society that we’ve established, as in sympathetic overload, is in, its moved beyond fight and flight and it’s gone to freeze, fiddle about, freeze, all of the things that happen down the sympathetic chain. You need a degree of getting back to resilience and a sense of agency and being and belonging before you can have the creativity to say, Screw you hippie, I’m not having this anymore. Also, you need to not feel that you have to earn the money to pay the mortgage and / or the rent, because otherwise you’re going to be under a railway arch with a handful of plastic bags, sleeping in a cardboard box.

Simon: So freezing will only work for a short period of time. When, for example, the basics of Why can’t I get the basics anymore? Why can’t I have enough money to pay my rent or get food for my family? Freezing will work for a period of time: don’t know what to do. Don’t know what to do. We can just hold it with, they’ve stopped trying to solve problems, and they’re just trying to get by. But what happens when you can’t get by either? And that’s when freezing is no longer an option.

Simon: And then, which I do think in terms of the collective human consciousness, we’re individuals, but we also have an identity as a group and as a group. We are now actually sort of moving to the point where now we can actually talk about this. And so, you know, and so instead of thinking you’re on your own, hang on, everyone around me has got the same problem. What do we do about this? And so we’ll see some very human behaviour. But things like politicians and people in charge will be required to explain themselves. And when they can’t, they will be replaced.

Manda: Yeah. We just need a whole new system that’s part of the novel. How do we get to that? So everybody listening? Simon has to go. We’ve managed to get through to 6:00 in Finland. I don’t quite know how we managed to do that, but we just agreed that we’re going to do podcast number four and explore further and deeper. The boundary conditions that we’re hitting and potentially then what the rest of us can do to be part of the readiness for the fragmenting. So, Simon, thank you. Is there anything you wanted to say this time around as you head off to your next engagement?

Simon: Let’s see… that you’re not responsible for the safety and saving of everyone else around you. If you can concentrate on you and your immediate extended family and go and find like minded individuals who think in a positive fashion.

Manda: Sounds good to me. Yes. Persuading the rest of your family that this is a useful thing, and then finding those like minded individuals, is an interesting task. But maybe that’s podcast number four. Simon, head off into the wonders of Finnish conviviality. Thank you so much.  

Well, that’s us for another week. Thank you, Simon, for taking the time. And really what is sounding like a very, very busy schedule to talk to us and to explore some of the less data based ideas and where we might go. And as he says. Really reaching out to the people who get it and beginning to form communities does seem to me at the heart of what we’re doing communities of place, obviously, but also of purpose and of passion. And those are the ones that don’t need to be geolocated exactly where you are within walking distance of your house. You can build communities of people who get it and begin to work out what would happen if the supply chains began to break down. I’m hoping, having listened to some of Simon’s plans for the future, that we have at least five years, but we might not, and having interim plans that we can adjust and correct and see how they work is never going to hurt.

Manda: As most of you know, we’re on a small holding and we had two lovely people come and do some consultancy this morning on holistic planned grazing. Thank you, Lizzie. Thank you, Rob. And one of the really interesting ideas that I hadn’t heard before was that you decide what your baselines are, decide why you’re doing what you’re doing. That’s obvious. Make your decisions as best you can and assume that they are going to be wrong. That’s the bit that I thought was interesting. If you assume that you’re going to be wrong, you take the pressure off having to be right and then you can just watch and see what the indicators are and see are things growing as you wanted them to. This is a farm, but are things developing as you wanted them to? And if not, can you tweak some more? Assume that you’re making it a mistake, that you’re getting it wrong and see what happens. And as we go forward into an increasingly uncertain world where change is the only baseline. That capacity to assume that we’re getting it wrong. But still to make the changes and see what happens is probably one of the greatest helps to resilience that I can imagine.

Manda: So if you do one thing this week, have a look around you think how you want the world to be. Think how you want to be in it. Is it like you want? If it’s not, what changes can you make assuming that they will be mistakes, but you can correct them. And see what happens. That feels pretty good. That being the case, we will be back next week with another different conversation. In the meantime, enormous thanks to. Thank you for the sound production and the music at the head and foot. Thanks to Faith Tillery for the website for wrestling with the search function. Please use the search function people. It took a lot of work. It looks lovely to me and for the conversations that keep us going. Thanks to Anne Thomas for the transcripts. And as ever, an enormous thanks to you for listening. We so appreciate you being there. And if you know of anybody else who really wants to get to grips with how the world is changing and what we might be able to do with it, then please do send them this link. And that’s it for now. See you next week. Thank you and goodbye.

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Our guest today is the author of ‘The Story is in our Bones: How Worldview and Climate Justice can Remake a World in Crisis’, a genuinely beautiful book on every level, full of living mythology, opening doors to how the bones of our language make the world around us, offering other perspective, other ways of being, living stories of where we came from and who we are and who we could be.

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