Someone I love very much appears to have come face to face with doom despair. I wrote them this letter:
I came up against doom despair in 1987 when my work with Soviet scientists convinced me that nuclear fission’s main product was the inevitable heating and poisoning of everything. Period. They gave me a letter and about three hundred pages of math to smuggle to Francis Barron, then head of the U.N. Environmental Programme. I did that and two weeks later she showed up in my office in San Francisco very excited and ready to convene an international conference. I went back to Moscow to tell the scientists and they had all three disappeared. Their “Institute of Unique Devices” (read, “nuclear reactors”) no longer existed in the Academy of Sciences. I called Francis Barron at the UN and was told she had been transferred to Kenya doing field work where there were no telephones. Sorry…. It took awhile to sink in… I fought another three years, losing ground and credibility at every step. Couldn’t get anybody to listen… they either believed me and couldn’t handle it and so shut it and me out or they just didn’t believe me and believed the endless bath of propaganda supporting nuclear projects.
So for me, we were already here in the late 80s; not here exactly, but doing all the things that made this moment inevitable…
You must not let this destroy you. Yes, it certainly looks like we are utterly ruined, rubbed out by our own actions. Nobody I know sees any escape from this trajectory. So here we are. What do we do about it? What we are doing here is hunkering down together and stocking up… If we have time, we will get a place together in the wettest place we can find, probably the Olympic Penninsula where survival seems a little more possible for a little longer. If not, we’ll do what peasants like us have done forever; bear it… and some of us will survive.
AND we are not giving up in spite of the massive evidence because there really are miracles and there really are utterly unexpected events that change the course of history and there are a lot of Arnolds* in the world who never give up no matter what.
We have each other here. I pray that you have solid people by you during this. Of course I wish you were here and of course I believe you’d be better off here because of our deep familiarity with hardship and of course I understand that your life has prepared you for a very different future than the one we’re looking at.
Building pantry shelves, got the fridge moved, taking veggies out to the giveaway box, putting new strings on a guitar. Fuck fear, fuck death. I am alive and will live flat out until you guys throw dirt on my box. I urge you to step out and do some service for somebody less fortunate as the only sure way I have of disappearing symptoms of depression in myself… but it works every time.
*Arnold Schroder, activist retired from mainstream activisim to do something more effective, who knows the canoe has gone over the waterfall with all of us in it while our so called leaders have committee meetings to debate turning to shore, knows it better than most and whose notable podcast, Fight Like An Animal, is still in there punching to find a way out of this absolutely catastrophic shit storm.