20 January 2017

Seeing into and beyond our Trumpian moment

So I've got a lot of journalism covering our Trumpian moment from multiple angles. This body of work isn't the type of stuff you're going to find anywhere elsewhere in the MSM or even the alternative press - it's in-depth, it's interdisciplinary, and it'll demand you to take a breather from the crazy video clips, to reflect, to think things through. But if you work through this material, I promise you, you will come away with a richer, deeper understanding of how the Trumpian moment has arisen; you'll have resources to formulate what you can/must do to act in response to this present moment.

Yesterday, I put out a piece for VICE anticipating the Great Orange Face's 'America First Energy Plan', and bringing together a body of cutting edge science on why Trump's fossil fuel madness is doomed to kill the economy. It simply won't work. It will backfire. And it will backfire economically before it even has time to backfire planetarily. You'll be hearing a lot of outrage, rightly so, about the cleansing of the White House website of climate information, and the promotion of this madcap anti-science scheme to burn our planet to hell. You'll hear less about the science of global net energy decline, which proves decisively that this scheme can simply never work.

I did a major feature for openDemocracy today on the big complex systems picture of how we got to this point, and what the rise of Trump really means. This issue breaks across left-right political paradigms, and builds on my own recent journalistic, academic and scientific work looking at the risk of states failing in the context of deeper, systemic crises (like an earlier story I did for VICE interviewing a renowned futurist who foresaw the collapse of the USSR, and offers a similar prediction for the US under Trump). And guess what. Under Trump, America is well on the road to becoming a failing state on a business-as-usual trajectory. But it's not all doom and gloom. The Trumpian moment is, equally, an unprecedented opportunity - and the time to mobilise to create the new world that can arise after Trump is right now.

And then I wrote this via Insurge intelligence in solidarity with the arising people's movement in the form of the worldwide women's marches, tying together how the Trumpian moment represents at once the culmination of a global structural war on women, which is simultaneously a war on the planet. There is a deep, fundamental but little-understood connection between white supremacist patriarchy and misogyny, and the interlinked environment-economic crisis. This piece is perhaps the most important - because it highlights the real symbolic meaning of the women's marches: a planetary declaration of intent to #buildbridgesnotwalls. And it is, indeed, up to us to make the decision in our own lives as to how we intend not to just march with our brothers and sisters across illusory ethnic, national, gender, class divides, but to act on this declaration in our own lives by creating a change in our way of doing and being, living and working that tangibly builds the bridges that break through the walls.

And finally, through some strange serendipity, look at what's just happened today. The New York Observer has just run my massive #longread viral science investigation warning of the probability of a converging oil, food and financial crash in or shortly after 2018. I originally released this story through my crowdfunded platform Insurge intelligence hosted at Medium, where it went viral, hit the top 20 stories on Medium for several days (at one point hitting number one), and giving me 'Top Writer' status on 'energy' and 'climate change' there. That story, anticipating potential scenarios for business-as-usual (which Trump plans to radicalise, consolidate and accelerate), was picked up the liberal anti-Trump AlterNet. That it's also been picked up by the NY Observer too - which is owned by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law (which is why the magazine actually endorsed Trump's candidacy) is at first glance bizarre, but on further thought, sort of interesting.

Something about this quite radical story has hit a nerve on both sides of the fence. And somehow, this has culminated in a publication linked to the Great Orange Face of the Crisis of Civilisation picking it up and running with it on the very day of the Face's inauguration. Even while a site like Alternet which opposes Trump runs the same thing. This is a WTF moment that speaks to the hidden but very real possibilities of the present.

It is amidst moments of acute crisis that we uncover the potential for truly radical transformation and mobilisation, that we reach deep into what the human spirit is capable of doing. We're in that moment now.

You're in that moment. Watch as unprecedented bonds of solidarity across a fraught and divided landscape become possible. They were always possible - but it took staring into the Great Orange Face to realise just how possible, if not necessary. Remember that as the Face of the Crisis stomps over what we know and love. Remember that and reach across the divide in solidarity with and support for what you know and love.

I hope my recent work can help you develop an anchor in this time of great uncertainty and fear, by which to reach for a new world of possibility as we walk together into the inevitable post-carbon future. Now let's stand together and #buildbridgesnotwalls


  1. It does Nafeez, it does. My and my family really do get hope from your work, all the way from our first encounter of your articles in The Guardian many years ago. Thank you!

    The family Arvidsson in Sweden who have changed their lives and moved to the country from the second lagest city in Sweden. We ARE bracing for impact and publishing the first handbook of permaculture in Swedish to help others to do the same.

  2. Thank you YIva, that is truly inspiring and amazing.

  3. You may not have seen this?

    "“Why hasn’t it worked? Because real growth today is constrained by real resource shortages, while in the 1930s traditional Keynesianism’s assumption of unemployed resources was reasonable. There is still unemployed labor to be sure, but not unemployed natural resources, which have become the limiting factor in today’s full world.”


  4. Beautiful article, and it touches on many of my highest hopes for this transition.

  5. Thanks Nafeez for an illuminating and well researched piece. I haven't read your work before and was lucky to have asked an unrelated question on the Guardian website.
    Why don't we ever see Glenn Greenwald's work on there any more? I asked. (Possibly because they have become overly aligned with Deep State manoeuvring.) Anyway, someone mentioned your name and here I am. A random comment leading me in a worthwhile direction.

    I still find it hard to fathom why economics has such a feeble understanding of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is no wonder it is called the 'dismal science'.
    When I try to talk to people about EROI or even EROEI they mostly seem to subscribe to some kind of magical thinking. 'Elon Musk will save us!'

    Ahh well, I imagine that my idea trying to do less with less will never quite catch on.

    Thanks again.


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