This week I address a listener’s question about a fascinating subculture arising in the environmental movement: the “post-doomers”, people who, as she writes, “hold the idea that the collapse of civilization as we know it is already well underway, is unstoppable, and will be felt by us here in Comfortable Land through disruption of many kinds in the not-too-distant future.”
Post-doomers find meaning in surrendering to this inevitable doom, much as a hospice patient might find peace – even joy – in the acceptance of their death. Or that their loved ones might find in reconciliation and morning.
I’m not a doomer. I’m an “I-think-we’ll-muddle-througher” and a chronic both-sidesist. I am allergic to alarmism as well as to those who dismiss their opposition.
But might I be a post-doomer? Can one get the transmission without swallowing the doctrine? Yes, there is no end to environmental suffering, and any path to sustainability will continue to be painful and frightening. Witnessing and grieving this along the way makes us worthy to create a new and better world.
Evolution proceeds through destruction and creation. Fortunately, since the Big Bang, at least, creation wins. I have not only hope but faith that will continue.
Enjoy the episode! – Jeff Salzman