Discover more from The Dandelion Report with Julie Chenell
Post Doom & The Case For Hope
Welcome to the first edition of The Dandelion Report!
In This Edition of The Dandelion Report…
🔥 The Hot Take
Climate Denialism, Activism, Doomerism, or IDontKnowism?!
✏️ Some Tactical Advice
Emergency Savings, Say What?
❝ Quotes + Biteables
A Bad Day Is Still Only 24 Hours
🔥 Hot Take
Section: The Natural World
Title: Climate Denialism, Activism, Doomerism, or IDontKnowism?
Who could blame anyone for being confused. Just dip your toe into the climate convo and you’ll find four types of people.
Denialists: Planet’s gonna planet. Climate change is a hoax.
Activists: We can fix this! [insert new technology and community campaign here]
Doomerism: Nothing we can do, it’s all going to shit. Drink up.
IDontKnowism: I don’t know and it’s depressing either way so I’m going to ignore it
Casting aside the denialists (sorry guys - but it’s the group I’ve not invested energy in and can’t speak in any intelligent fashion to their arguments), I do have something to say about the other three categories of people.
Side note: Since I am your author and curator, today’s hot take will collapse the last 2 years of my study into one short manifesto about where I stand in the climate conversation. Of course you do not have to agree with me, but it’s the lens through which I see and make meaning of the climate change conversation.
Let’s start with the “I don’t know-ers”. I believe the majority of people land here because the climate discussion is SO BIG, it feels hard to get your hands around.
And whether the doom & gloom is true or not, it’s such a big issue, the most common thought is, “What could I possibly do anyhow?” So into the sand our head goes. This is the “I’d rather not think about it,” camp.
The activists don’t like this of course. Because there is SO MUCH TO DO!
“Get your head out of the sand!”, they yell.
“Our future and hope depend on solar power, electric vehicles, plant based eating, planting trees, all the things!!!”
And in a way, it feels good to feel like you’re a part of the solution.
Activists never stop with the “it’s not too late” rhetoric. And honestly, the hardest part about this is that the BIG companies, governments, and corporations that should be taking action aren’t, and the little people are - but it’s like throwing a grain of sand into the ocean and expecting it to part the sea.
Doomers just laugh. They are off in the corner drinking. What does it matter. We’ve gone beyond the tipping point and we’re headed for mass extinction. Might as well enjoy the end before it comes.
But there’s another category missing. It’s the one I am actually a part of, and weirdly - have found peace and acceptance in it.
I remember the first time I heard the term “post doom”. It was a phrase meant to describe people who believed - according to the science - that yes, the planet is heading into a change so significant that it will wipe out civilization as we know it (not total extinction or obliterating humans permanently, but climate change will significantly alter our current way of life), and that these post-doomers were crafting a life of grief, acceptance, and hope in a post-doom state.
I admit that prior to hearing this term, I was squarely in the camp of “I don’t know” and then into “Activism”. I’m not great with the feeling of helplessness and since we humans have figured out how to get ourselves out of most messes we’ve gotten ourselves into, why couldn’t some technology and plastic clean ups reverse our course?
Until I heard this talk by Michael Dowd1.
Here are two of his most comprehensive talks on YouTube.
They are a bit long, but very good. And they are the two most critical pieces of content that explain why post-doom is where I’ve landed on the discussion of climate change.
For those that are TL:DW (too lazy didn’t watch), the moral of the story is that we have overshot our planet’s resources by a LOT. We’ve also separated wealth from the health of our planet.
Think about older civilizations. They defined “wealth” or a good year as what? For example, when it rains and there is a healthy crop harvest. Wealth was tied directly to the health of the natural world.
We’ve separated it in our current time.
Because of this, we’re headed towards collapse and there’s nothing that can reverse it because we’ve crossed too many tipping points already. In order to limit warming, we’d have to tear apart the entire structure of civilization, commit to degrowth, and return to harmony with the land (and even then, many of the consequences would still befall us since much of the warming is baked in to things we did decades ago).
And all the nice “it’s not too late” writing from the IPCC and other organizations is washed and carefully edited by lobbyists, politicians, and corporations. Partly to prevent panic. Partly to move big players to do what they can to limit at least some of later consequences we still might be able to stop if we radically changed everything today.
But there is a marked difference between a doomer, a post doomer, and really… a denialist (since on the outside, all three appear to not engage in the activism side of the topic).
A stereotypical doomer might take on the role of a prepper. You can usually spot one because nothing they have to say is positive when it comes to the future. Doomers believe the worst about people (and honestly not without just cause).
A stereotypical denialist is usually mocking the activists.
But what I’ve found in the post-doom conversation? Is a lot of grief yes, but hope too. An understanding that there isn’t a whole lot we can do to change the outcome, but there is a lot we can APPRECIATE & ENJOY.
Knowing that overshoot is going to cause a collapse of our way of living over the next 30-50 years, means there’s a lot we can do TODAY to make every day we live, more meaningful.
A lot of people wonder how climate change will actually cause collapse.
The primary means are weather disasters, food shortages, sea level rise, large populations migrating away from areas that are too hot causing border conflicts, scarcity of resources, biodiversity loss, and an increase in viruses. All causing major changes to our way of living.
In future editions, I will curate more content around this specifically because I believe acceptance requires true understanding.
But about this idea of “collapse”…
Collapse2 means the following:
Financial collapse: institutions become insolvent, and faith in predicting financial trends disappears
Commercial collapse: money is devalued, shortages, faith in the market ends
Political collapse: faith in the government dies, legitimacy is lost
Social collapse: a loss in faith that your people or community will have your back
Cultural collapse: a loss in the faith of the goodness of people, and hoarding of scarce resources increases
Here’s the part most people miss:
Instead of saying, “Holy shit this is the most depressing thing I can think of!” Dowd encourages us to think in terms of post doom.
1. What opens up when we remember who we are and how we got here, accept the inevitable, honor our grief, and prioritize what is pro-future and soul-nourishing.
2. A fierce and fearless reverence for life and expansive gratitude — even in the midst of abrupt climate mayhem and the runaway collapse of societal harmony, the health of the biosphere, and business as usual.
3. Living meaningfully, compassionately, and courageously no matter what.
I encourage you to review the videos above if you’re interested.
Recommended Reading: Overshoot
It may not be the best news of the day, but once you’ve come to accept the idea, there’s a whole world of possibility in terms of planning for the future.
The Dandelion Report is my way of contributing to a hopeful future amongst great grief and collapse, and future editions will give more tactical and action tips for how to manage (the things I’m doing, reading, thinking, etc.).
I am not a prepper (though some thoughtful planning is a good idea).
I aim to be really alive in these days. To think critically, understand deeply, and find community and enjoyment in the goodness of our Earth and what it provides.
✏️ Tactical Advice
Section: The Economic World
Title: Emergency Savings, Say What?
As an entrepreneur (with a ton of entrepreneurs following me), I know many of us are thinking, How do we stay profitable in this changing world?
One very simple action we can take today is to create an emergency savings. And yes, we can argue whether it should be cash or crypto, but the idea is to get a “sleep well at night” account up and running.
Good ol’ Dave Ramsey recommends $1000. And even though I don’t like most of what he says, I agree this is a good place to start.
But ultimately you probably want a few months of emergency savings set aside. We can say another goal after the initial thousand might be to get $10k stashed away.
For those of you who are students inside of Future Fund (a course I co-authored with wealth architect Aryeh Sheinbein), we use Parkinson’s Law to help build money to invest.
Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion.
It works for money too. Whatever money comes into your bank account, usually gets spent. Which is why, if you syphon off money before it lands there, you’ll magically figure out how to use what you have, even if you thought you couldn’t live without the extra few dollars.
My recommendation is to open up a high yield savings account in a bank that isn’t your regular bank.
The best high yield savings accounts I’ve found are:
“But what about the banking drama?” It is true that in March 2023, we saw the HIGHEST amount of money ever removed from the banking system. Where did that money go? Mostly into money market accounts and treasury bonds.
source: Nick Gerli @nickgerli1
If you are a business owner carrying a high balance in an account, there was a lot of discussion on Twitter during the Silicon Valley Bank run that suggested that even though the FDIC stepped in to insure depositors with amounts over $250k, that moving money around was probably a good idea to reduce risk.
I opened up several accounts (and also keep some of my money in a bank that’s classified as “too big to fail”). Ally Bank was one bank that had a similar “look” to SVB in terms of risks and liabilities, so I’m no longer recommending it to hold high $$ amounts above $250k.
Yes, it makes no sense that the FDIC insures all your money if it’s spread across five banks but not if it’s one. But we’ve lost all semblance of logic really.
After 2008, FDIC raised their insured limit from $100k to $250k, where it stands today. For the purpose of an emergency savings account, the average person should feel comfortable adding money to their savings accounts for an emergency savings… since the idea is, you want to be able to access it quickly.
How to find money easily + quickly
Why not think of some creative ways to “fund” your emergency savings? Remember that the point of this is to create this account, not spend it.
Sell things you no longer need on FB marketplace
Pocket away $100 a week off of your paycheck or $400 a month off of your owner’s distributions and have your savings account filled to $1k within 2.5 months
“Earmark” the next client or launch as an emergency savings client/launch
Use part of your tax refund (if you’re getting one)
Enter the gig economy (pet sitting, uber driving, search craigslist, upwork, and other places)
Rent out your land, car, RV, garage, a room, etc.
Negotiate a lower bill for cable or internet (and pocket the difference)
There are really endless ways to create an emergency savings account, but the most important thing to remember is this:
If you BELIEVE it’s important, you will make it happen. And once the account is funded, you’ll be less likely to sneak money out of it when you’re hankering for a Cancun vaca.
Given the instability we see happening in financial markets, having an emergency savings account is a must. A top priority even in good stable times, a necessity when things are unsure.
*Here’s my obnoxious disclaimer that none of this is financial advice. You shouldn’t listen to me since I know nothing. Take all of this with a grain of salt and listen at your own risk.
❝ Quotes + Biteables
Section: The World Between The Ears
Title: Take Heart, A Bad Day Is Still Only 24 Hours
All this talk about change and chaos can bring up some pretty powerful emotions.
And let’s face it… emotions are terrifying, and also… completely harmless. They cause pain yes, but they always fade. No emotion is permanent.
Nonetheless, I personally will do ANYTHING to avoid the feelings of grief or anxiety. In fact, I mount massive defenses against both of them on the regular, and it’s only when I stop treating them like enemies of the state… that they actually GO AWAY.
Some quick thoughts on being emotionally present.
Take heart, a bad day is still only 24 hours.
The best way to get rid of emotions that are painful? Simply feel them… with a friend… and oreos.
A Final Thought… What Stories Would Make Headlines In Your News?
Look at the things you’re feeling and stressing about right now. Note the difference in what you would share if you were updating a friend once a day vs. once a month.
If you are talking to your friend daily, everything is making headline news in your text exchanges right? You’re giving emotional weight to a lot of small and large events.
But… if you only talked to your friend once a month, what moments would make the cut?
A quote from Johan Galtung (who was a leader in news values)
“If a newspaper came out once every 50 years, it would not report half a century of celebrity gossip and political scandals. It would report momentous global changes such as the increase in life expectancy.”
Zooming out and remembering that life is big, emotions move, and most people aren’t paying as close attention to us as we are, will help you give importance to the things that truly matter.
Michael Dowd is a bestselling religious naturalist “geologian” and TEDx speaker whose work has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Discover, and on television throughout the U.S. and Canada.
I have never tried using ChatGPT to browse the internet. It’s something that’s coming (and only Alpha and Beta users have it). Also, please note that the man who wrote that thread is the CEO of DoNotPay which is a robot lawyer. It’s an interesting service, but I haven’t used it so please do your due diligence.