FUTURE FOSSILS

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159 - Michael Dowd on Post Doom: Life After Accepting Climate Catastrophe

Season 1, Ep. 159

2021 comes in hot with Michael Dowd, ecumenical Christian preacher turned climate grief advocate, whose Post Doom Conversations are a well of wisdom for anyone prepared to stop fighting the inevitable* and start celebrating what actually can be done in these weird, scary, precious years to come. We discuss his time as an evolutionary biology evangelist and his friction with techno-optimists, what it means to live sustainably within a mature religion of place, urban scaling and collective action problems, a general theory for the collapse of market-based civilizations, and how to reorient one’s faith to planetary and secular values that allow us to accept reality as it is and avoid doing further evil to the Biosphere and each other. (*We spend a lot of time in this encounter digging underneath the surety to ask not “Is there hope,” but “Where am I still doomed by my conditioning?”)


Please rate and review Future Fossils on Apple Podcasts! And if you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, support Future Fossils on Patreon. Patrons gain access to over twenty secret episodes, unreleased music, our book club, and many other great things as they spill out of my overactive imagination.


We’d also love to have you in our thriving little Discord server, if you’re interested in meeting other members of our awesome scene. (And if you’d like to help edit transcripts, please drop me a line at futurefossilspodcast@gmail.com.)


Intro and outro music by Skytree.


Further Reading:


My appearance on Post Doom Conversations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d2VX3cx-zM


“Irreversible Collapse: Accepting Reality, Avoiding Evil”

https://youtu.be/iQeK04WOGaA


Rafe Brown at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum

https://biodiversity.ku.edu/herpetology


“What if preventing collapse isn’t profitable?”

https://www.postcarbon.org/what-if-preventing-collapse-isnt-profitable


“Six ways to think long-term” by Roman Krznaric

https://medium.com/the-long-now-foundation/six-ways-to-think-long-term-da373b3377a4


Gordon White and James Ellis on Accelerationism, Meaning, and Exit

https://runesoup.com/2020/08/accelerationism-meaning-and-exit-rune-soup-hermitix-swapcast/


John Michael Greer’s The Long Descent

https://www.amazon.com/Long-Descent-Users-Guide-Industrial/dp/0865716099


Neil Postman’s Technopoly

https://www.amazon.com/Technopoly-Surrender-Technology-Neil-Postman/dp/0679745408


Zach St. George’s The Journey of Trees

https://www.amazon.com/Journeys-Trees-Forests-People-Future/dp/1324001607


Further Listening:


MG on cultural mutation rates, network latency, and the collapse of civilizations:

https://shows.acast.com/futurefossils/episodes/139


MG with Geoffrey West on Complexity Podcast re: cities and scaling

http://complexity.simplecast.com/episodes/35


MG with Scott Ortman on Complexity Podcast re: even ancient rural human settlements obey “urban” scaling laws

http://complexity.simplecast.com/episodes/48


MG with Tim Kohler and Marten Scheffer on The Future of The Human Climate Niche

http://complexity.simplecast.com/episodes/33


MG with Mark Nelson on Biosphere 2 and the yoga of optimism

https://shows.acast.com/futurefossils/episodes/95


MG with Lydia Violet on deep ecology and community as medicine

https://shows.acast.com/futurefossils/episodes/82


MG with Jamaica Stevens on crisis, rebirth, and wisdom

https://shows.acast.com/futurefossils/episodes/61


Kevin Wohlmut reads The Next 10 Billion Years according to Ugo Bardi and John Michael Greer

https://shows.acast.com/futurefossils/episodes/116


And if you just need a breather, here's my music and my recommendations on Spotify.

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Ep. 187
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185 - What Good Is Conversation? Jonathan Rowson, Bonnitta Roy, Jason Snyder, Ashley Colby, & Stephanie Lepp Play Liminal Lingo Bingo Amidst The Metacrisis

Ep. 185
Don't waste another minute here. Go read the full show notes on Patreon!Be forewarned: This latest episode is some extremely heady stuff. But thankfully, it's also full of heart and soul...Back in February, Jonathan Rowson posted two clips (here and here) from his latest in-progress writing tlimito Twitter, where it succeeded in baiting a bunch of the folks with whom I regularly interact as members of the so-called "Liminal Web" into reflecting on the value of partitioning a global boil of loosely-associated "sensemakers," "meta-theorists," and "systems poets" into well-meaning but ultimately dubious cultural taxonomies.I had plenty to say about this (here, here, and here) from my awkwardly consistent stance of being both enthusiastic and skeptical about apparently everything. But so did numerous other brilliant and inspiring people, including Bonnitta Roy, Stephanie Lepp, Ashley Colby, and Jason Snyder –all of whom I've wanted on the show for a while (with the exception of Stephanie, with whom I had a great chat back on episode 154). So I took it upon myself to press for an on-the-record group discussion about the virtue and folly of putting labels on sociocultural processes and networks that are defined by their liminality: Is this ultimately a good thing, or does it just kill the magic in a foolish servility to economic pressures and the desire to be recognized as A Movement?When we finally met at the end of March for our call, the conversation turned to issues with more urgency and gravitas —namely: Is it even helpful to spend all of our time talking about crises and metacrises when there is so much work to be done?What transpired was easily one of the more profound and inspired conversations I've ever had the good fortune to host on this show, although it was also more beset with insane and infuriating technical problems that getting it ready for release took over thirty hours of excruciating editing. I am so immensely glad I am finally done and can get on with my damn life! But also that I get to share this with you and hear what the rest of our scene(s) have to contribute to this discourse.

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