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Feb '05

From the Jordon Cooper Blog….

Below is a post by Jordon Cooper that I thought was amazing. Jordon Cooper’s Blog can be found at http://www.jordoncooper.com/

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
I am reading Jared Diamond’s large book Collapse. Excellent book and I have been learning a lot about societal collapse, both ancient (Easter Island) and current (Montana of all places). Here are my early observations….

It is always a combination of factors that start with a reliance on a particular activity that other factors turn unsustainable.

What seems sustainable now will often have long term consequences later (mining in Montana has had a terrible impact on water quality and a legacy of now decrepit dams full of toxic waste).

We living in a much more complicated and integrated world that we can imagine. The downfall of some of the Polynesian Islands was not just environmental factors of their own land but also their trading partners.
Radical shifts needed to survive are often ignored in favor of war.

While reading about Montana, I realized that in their efforts to save their traditional way of life, they are actually going to kill it as the world changes around them. It was reminiscent of a line from former Saskatchewan Finance Minister Janice McKinnon’s book that in the Devine’s government’s efforts to preserve the rural way of life, they may have accelerated it’s demise.

I also kept thinking of the church. The decline of the church culture (or church civilization) reminds me of Montana. 100 years ago it was at the top of the (western) world and through a combination of several factors things started to unravel (some as a result of the church and others as a change in the enviromental factors). In efforts to save it, we may end up speeding its demise. While Baptists and Methodists are hardly at war, the war between conservative and liberal Christians increases, not to say with the battle between conservatives and Sponge Bob

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