As We Enter 2017, Keep The Big Picture In Mind

A big, gigantic, heart-felt Thank You! to everyone who supported this website and our activities in 2016!

Really. Thank you.

We did a lot of great things in 2016 in terms of reaching new audiences and extending our message into new places.

While I am constantly driven to do more, and achieve more, this is a great time of the year to look back and ask how we did.  It bears repeating that Adam and I are a two man shop, with awesome direct support from Jeanine Dargis and Les Pierce (Saxplayer00o1) with the Daily Digest, Jason Wiskerchen on content loading, and a different Jason as moderator.  All in all a very small team given what we accomplish, our global reach, and the sheer variety of things that we also accomplish that are largely out-of-sight (and out-of-mind) for most people.

On that last point, Adam recently brought some of those behind-the-scenes efforts to light in the post title Shifting Into Higher Gear.  Thank you to everyone that took the time to appreciate our efforts to make the site run faster, better, smoother.  We do it all in the interest of serving you better and reaching more people.

Our mission is to create a world worth inheriting, and we do that by educating, informing and activating people to first understand the world’s various problems and predicaments, and then doing something about them.

In 2016, we were very busy spreading the messages of the Three E’s (economy, energy & environment) and being emissaries for the twin ideas that big changes are coming and that we can do something to prepare for them.

2016: By The Numbers

An important role of mine is to reach out to the world and make our views here at Peak Prosperity more widely available.  A second role, no less important, is to produce content for the Peak Prosperity site generally, and for subscribers specifically.

Here’s some of what got produced/delivered in 2016:

  • 46 full-length Featured Voices podcasts
  • 51 public blog pieces
  • 89 Insider content pieces (from all authors, combined)
  • 15 podcast interviews given (to other sites)
  • 46 radio interviews
  • 3 video/TV spots
  • 11 print media interviews (magazines and newspapers)
  • 2 College class lectures given (Harvard and Berkeley)
  • 1 Rowe conference (4 day duration, plus time in preparation)
  • 3 UN events attended as part of an advisory panel
  • 1 Crash Course event delivered on mainland China
  • 4 speaking events at wealth conferences
  • 1 new book written and published (Prosper!)

And those are just the highlights. There were an enormous number of other events, phone calls, consultations, video updates, planning sessions, and even swanky parties and fundraisers where our mission was present and accounted for.

From a global standpoint, the Peak Prosperity website reached 231 separate countries in 2016 (with the US being the dominant one, by far):

And that does include, proudly, one log-in from Antarctica.  We are aiming for at least a 100% improvement in that metric for 2017.  :)

Yes this has been a busy year, but 2017 promises to be even busier.  There is much to do and we are really just getting started.

A Terrible, Awful No Good Year

The ‘meme’ circulating the internet and among my personal friend group is that 2016 was something of an awful year.

Between a poisonous US election cycle, horrifying acts of senseless violence caused by refugees driving trucks in Europe, nightclub and other shootings, and high profile celebrity deaths it all conspired to create a sense of 2016 having been a bad year.

Truthfully, there’s a lot about which we should all be concerned, and I think that people’s sense of unease heading into 2017 is well-deserved, if sometimes misplaced.

What do I mean by that?  Well, it is misplaced to be worried about symptoms instead of causes.  The fever is worrying but it is not the cause of the illness.

At Peak Prosperity we are always and ever trying to determine what the root causes are, and burrowing around in the evidence to see if we can detect what is really happening and why.

As difficult as this is for some people to ingest, let alone digest, I view Trump as the inevitable symptom of a nation that has for too long ignored its own people, especially those who are not in the protected classes.  The populist uprisings all over the world are merely the beginning symptoms of a very long period of disruption that are precisely what we were speaking to when we said “The next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the last twenty years” way back in 2008.

The inevitable consequences of the confluence of many expensive trends all on this relatively tiny window of time (yes, I view 20 years as pretty short given what is likely to transpire during them) are going to be highly disruptive.

Some of those disruptions will be positively directed and some quite negative.  Whether we rise to the challenges and make the best of what will come remains an open question, but I remain 100% convinced that each additional increment of time spent pretending that the prior direction remains the right direction represents wasted time and resources.

As bluntly as I can say it, anybody who found the level of disruptions on 2016 overwhelming is going to have a hard time navigating the future.  The period of adjustment has only just begun.

2017  - A Sea of Exponentials

 "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."    ~  Al Bartlett

Perhaps the most vexing challenge remains how to more effectively communicate the various predicaments and problems we face.

It’s not having more numbers, or more data, that’s for sure.  If numbers and data ‘worked then we’d have taken a very different path sometime back in the 1950’s.

As Admiral Hyman Rickover said in a speech to a group of doctors in 1957:

“I think no further elaboration is needed to demonstrate the significance of energy resources for our own future. Our civilization rests upon a technological base which requires enormous quantities of fossil fuels. What assurance do we then have that our energy needs will continue to be supplied by fossil fuels: The answer is - in the long run - none.

The earth is finite. Fossil fuels are not renewable. In this respect our energy base differs from that of all earlier civilizations. They could have maintained their energy supply by careful cultivation. We cannot.

Fuel that has been burned is gone forever. Fuel is even more evanescent than metals. Metals, too, are non-renewable resources threatened with ultimate extinction, but something can be salvaged from scrap. Fuel leaves no scrap and there is nothing man can do to rebuild exhausted fossil fuel reserves. They were created by solar energy 500 million years ago and took eons to grow to their present volume.

In the face of the basic fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite, the exact length of time these reserves will last is important in only one respect: the longer they last, the more time do we have, to invent ways of living off renewable or substitute energy sources and to adjust our economy to the vast changes which we can expect from such a shift. Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank.

A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance. A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare.”


His logic was as irrefutably sound then as it is today.  Such information was known at the highest levels throughout government and academia.  But there was no, and continues to be no, sustained and well-funded efforts to grapple with the basic dilemma posed by increasing population as dramatically as we have all the while living on, literally eating, fossil fuels to encourage that rapid population growth.

"Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?"  ~ Al Bartlett

The American Museum of Natural History recently put out an amazingly good and informative video on human population growth over time.

As they noted, it took 200,000 years for humans to reach the first billion, and only 200 years more from that moment to reach 7 billion.

Here it is – try hard not to notice the similarity between the clicks denoting each new million people and the sound of a Geiger counter:

If you overlaid human’s exploitation of fossil fuels with the final population curve in the above video they would overlay to an astonishing degree.  Not astonishing because it’s some sort of mental leap requiring acute intellectual agility,  but because of how little attention the tight relationship between the human organism and its primary energy (oil = food) source receives practically anywhere in the halls of power or academia.

Again, Hyman Rickover linked the population and economy firmly to energy and prosperity way back in 1957.  He was extraordinarily influential.  President Carter took a few important steps but then something happened.  The idea of limits and thoughtful planning gave way to something else… a headlong rush into endless growth and a profound, almost pathological aversion to facing the simple math that says “exponential growth on a finite planet is impossible (and irresponsible).”

The rapidity of population growth has not given us enough time to readjust our thinking.   I suggest that this is a good time to think soberly about our responsibilities to our descendants - those who will ring out the Fossil Fuel Age. ~  Hyman Rickover, 1957

The predicament we face is really quite profound.  I submit to you that people know this in their guts and the fact that they do goes a long way towards describing the feeling dread many people report they are carrying here at the start of 2017 and cannot seem to shake.

And of course they are.  Not having a plan for how to even feed 7.4 billion people, heading to 9 or 10 billion people, without massive fossil fuel calorie subsidies is a troubling thought.  If it’s not troubling, then more thinking needs to be applied.

Here’s the one chart that should sober everyone up.

A complex chart, so let me break it down.  The top line is the assumed rate of growth in energy use given the amount of economic growth that the world expects/desires/wants and that the financial system needs.  Without that growth our entire financial system will become unstable and probably collapse.  Not the smartest system to saddle ourselves with, but there you have it – it’s either expanding or collapsing (or threatening to do so).

With a functioning economy, all of our high-tech dreams can come to pass.  Without a functioning economy, you can forget about them.  It’s binary.  If you doubt this, just go visit Greece and check out their high tech industries, new product development, and public investment and deployment of new technology and infrastructure.  Or lack thereof, as is actually the case.  Ditto for Venezuela. 

So we care about that top line continuing to grow smoothly, but as I’ve noted extensively, one of the most linear and durable relationships of them all is that between economic growth and growth in energy consumption.  If you want more economic growth, you are, by definition, asking for more energy growth.  That’s what the top black line is charting.

The bottom blue line in the above chart is the total amount of primary energy that fossil fuels will be able to deliver.  As you can see, someday, as Admiral Rickover noted, those finite fossil fuels cannot deliver any more energy, they plateau for about a decade, and then slowly disappear from the human experiment.

I have no doubts that the gap between the top black line and the bottom blue line can be reasonably filled by alternative energy sources until about 2030.  Solar, wind and the like, can almost certainly fill the void.  But I have severe doubts about the next 25 years, where the equivalent of 100% of the 2030 fossil fuel energy will have to be replaced…by other means.

First, humanity has never transitioned from one energy source to another in anything less than 50 years.  And that was always in the context of moving from a lower density (worse) energy source to a higher energy density (better) one.  Solar and wind are far less dense than oil.  Moving from wood to coal was easy and made sense because coal is a superior energy source compared to wood.

To drive this point home, here’s a fascinating map of world shipping traffic.  Stare at the number of dots plying the waters (each day is ~ 4 seconds of your time):


(Created by London-based data visualisation studio Kiln and the UCL Energy Institute)


Do you know how important shipping is to the world economy?  It’s enormously important.  Do you know how many of those dots are currently powered by electricity?  Zero.

Fast forward to 2030 when humanity has to figure out how to begin running at least half of those dots by other means over the next 25 years, and suddenly (I hope) the scale of the issue begins to take shape.  Wishful thinking isn’t going to cut it. 

Same observations but for air travel:

Again, the number of planes in the above map running on electricity is zero, unless the map coincidentally happened to encompass the few days when the one solar plane in the world trundled across the screen slowly with a single person on board.

Second, the chance of having a smoothly functioning economy and financial system during the 25 year period where 100% of tasty, high net energy fossil fuels have to be replaced by other means, is pretty much zero.  It is highly irresponsible to be merrily sailing towards that future without any serious planning.  Someday people will look back on the people of today and wonder what were they thinking?

And yet here we are, in the finally days of 2016, without any obvious governmental attention to these important, vital matters.  Worse, the central banks are doing everything possible to deny that anything matters at all, besides highly elevated and rising financial asset prices. 

These are really big issues and the question, as always, is what on earth is any of us to do about any of this?

How to Have A Positive Impact

Here’s where we need your help.  Of course we strongly advocate that you get your own resilience plans in order first and attend to those before anything else.

For some this will be a lengthy process, for others much shorter or already mostly done or in progress. 

It is through our own examples that we have the best chance of changing others.  If we lead, some will follow.  Indeed, unless or until we change ourselves, there’s no point at all in trying to reach others to convince them to change. 

For example, it fell more than a little flat for me when Al Gore was out on his Inconvenient Truth tour when his own utility bill for his 20-room Tennessee ‘home’ (mansion?) was $30,000. Authenticity matters.

Next, we need help reaching more people and organizations, and the more influential they are the better.  As Malcom Gladwell wrote in his book The Tipping Point, the moment of critical social mass happens not when 51% of people are activated, but when the right 8% get involved. 

Adam and I have a very aggressive plan for 2017 that will include lots more efforts at expanding the reach of our message.  We need your help.

Finally, my personal themes for 2017 is about how to write better stories and to use narratives to convey my points more concisely and more powerfully.  I have a stack of books on my bedside table that are about storytelling, persuasion, selling, and the psychology of decision-making. I need to learn more, and quickly!

To this end, we’re going to be using more video, and joining forces with other organizations that have reach and will afford the possibility to reach new audiences.  The UN and Glenn Beck are two examples from 2016 that show just how agnostic we are in terms of trying new things.  What matters is maximizing the impact we can bring to bear.

An important part of this storytelling will be elevating the positive things that are happening to greater prominence.  People need to know what works and what is working.  Problem and predicament definition alone only works for a very small sub-set of the overall population.  Everybody else needs to have a direction to head, a model to follow, and a vision that comports with reality.

So I’d like your help in identifying and promoting these positive developments.  While I will be the first to jump up and down if/when we solve the battery problem, which will change everything, it also need to be said that there are already a thousand things we have in and that we are not using or doing already, which brings us back to the storytelling and narrative angle.

It is my view that if we had the right story in place, we’d already be using solar thermal to heat water for every building on earth.  The reason we don’t has nothing to do with economics or rational arguments.  It is as simple and as difficult as having the wrong stories in place which all summarize to We don’t have to do this, so we’re not going to.

I have some really big ideas in my head for how to go about recrafting our narratives and getting people involved in and engaged with charting their own futures.  I don’t want to jinx any of them, so more on those later.


As much as we accomplished in 2016, there was also a sense of treading water.  Brand new bubbly highs in the stock market blunted many people’s sense of urgency, while the various populist movements took a lot of energy from a lot of people that would otherwise have been directed at the sorts of issues outlined above.

The profound lack of investment in oil development will have a future impact on supplies so look for a big upside movement in oil prices somewhere between 2018 and 2021 (with war/conflict in the Middle East or with Russia being an immediate upside catalyst that could happen at any moment).

Those high oil prices will shock the heck out an over-leveraged system with well over $230 trillion of outstanding debt.   All of that and more is coming and there’s nothing to be done about it except carry on as best and as with as much daily joy as we can.

The social and political divisiveness that has appeared and seems destined to increase is a certified tragedy because we need to work together on these many issues and predicaments.  We need the opposite of divisiveness. 

With a shared understanding of the problems, we have a chance to rally our resources around effective responses and solutions where those may exist.

I remain deeply grateful to be able to serve in this role, to have your support as I use my unusual gift as a translator (of complex ideas) to help create a world worth inheriting.   At the same time, I am aware that I have been at this for ten years now, and my wish that more progress had been made. 

This is going to be a pivotal year, and I want to inspire and challenge this community to find new ways to work together to help more people understand what’s truly at stake – the future prosperity of the entire world.

Thank you for your help in the past, and the future.

Your faithful information scout,

~ Chris Martenson

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The second paragraph under Conclusion should probably read "2016 and 2021", it certainly shouldn't be "20121"
Admin:  Fixed.  Thank you.

Not sure why there is a constant reference to how finite oil is the problem, when scientists have told us we cannot afford to burn the proven fossil fuel reserves that we have (oil, coal and gas). The finiteness is not the problem.

This is a bit misleading:
"…horrifying acts of senseless violence caused by refugees driving trucks in Europe,…"

given that the driver of the truck in Nice, the mostly deadly attack, had been resident in France for over ten years (and was not a refugee).

The most accurate phrase would've been "self-identified Muslim jihadis." But that might have ignited a firestorm that would've served mostly as a distraction from the main point Chris was making.

Thank you Chris, Adam and all for what I consider to be the best and near perfect information source for anyone beginning their search for a better path. While your efforts could be spent on more and better information and improved presentation, you will be fighting against the law of diminishing returns. Your information content and presentation is second to none, it really can't get much better. Where I believe your energy would reap the greatest returns would be to continue to expand your base of followers. Whenever anyone asks me for some insight I simply refer them to Peak Prosperity. I insist they digest the Crash Course before I share my time and energy with them.
I sometimes wonder, will the experiment of civilization ever evolve to a point where the likes of Chris would be offered as a choice for leader?

Keep up the good work.

PP Team, great job working the plan and striving to achieve the mission. I'm grateful for your unusual gift of translating the complex. I look forward to more influential narratives and the 8% tipping point.  Happy new year.

As if I haven’t been traumatized enough by the general condition of the world to this point, Chris’s excellent recapitulation of our current global predicament has only highlighted the trend. The benevolent actions of my youngest son added to my discomfort when I received a copy of Jared Diamond’s book, Collapse , as a coincidental addendum.  While the subject matter was decidedly academic in content and tone, part one of his book, on the state of Montana, should be read with an eye towards the fact that, the individual actions of humans must be seriously addressed at the personal level. To bemoan our collective, detrimental effects on the planet from the comfort of our PC’s does little to mediate the results. Awareness – Yes; but a daily attention to number of times and quantities of fossil fuels I use or the amount of water I waste brushing my teeth are the minutiae that will make all the difference. Paramount to this is how we communicate our actions to our children and the example we set. The old adage, “each one, reach one” , should be the concrete focus of all of us visiting and contributing to the PP website. Though I may come across as an apologist for Chris and company, we, reading his messages, do not support and encourage their efforts enough on the personal level. If there is one thing we all can do to make a difference it is to share PP’s message and/or the Crash Course with one individual every chance you get and set an example. Our little picture IS the BIG PICTURE! Thanks again for your timely message, Chris. Happy New Year!

I get it we are going the oil like drunken sailors, and the hell with the hangover in the morning. When will this change I do not know, but some day it will change. Hangover are a bitch. 

Prosper! was an excellent book. I appreciate that the leadership of PP is doing specific things to broaden the audience. I'll be subscribing for another year - not because I understand all the posts, not because I enjoy snarky comments, but rather, because Chris and Adam have a correctly focused message AND they have the integrity to live it, I mean they "walk the talk." I'm supporting PP because it is the right thing to do.

[ "Finally, my personal themes for 2017 is about how to write better stories and to use narratives to convey my points more concisely and more powerfully." ]
Thank you Chris and Adam for the work you do. As a reader of PP for many years, I will be enrolling first thing in 2017 to get more access and move closer to this uniquely well-informed, mindful, 'heartful' community. I've been following 'E' trends (ethics, energy, economy, environment) for many years, have read (and reviewed) Prosper!, and made my own contribution to the storytelling cause in 2016 by writing "Lua's Way: Ten Tips on Health and Well-Being for Mainlanders" ( inspired greatly from having read and taken to heart the message of Crash Course several years ago (how time marches on!).

As a writer and musician, I subscribe to the notion that stories really matter. We need new stories for a new chapter in the evolution of human civilization where the numbers have flipped: many resources, few humans has become many humans, rapidly diminishing resources. I believe this story has something to do with the emergence of 'islander consciousness' as we slowly (too slowly!) but convincingly move away from a dominant worldview of debt-created virtual-wealth and exploitative global markets—and a severely skewed emphasis on corporate products, profits and power—and towards diverse, self-reliant, small-scale, local, lean economies that value healthy people, happy places, a habitable planet, and a world worth inheriting.

These local lean economies can be described quite accurately as ‘island cultures,’ because they are characterized by broader and deeper ecological intelligence, acknowledgement of clear environmental limits and boundaries, and cognizant of their embeddedness in Earth’s web of life and their direct connection to the natural world—and to its fate!


I love that you posted as soon as you joined! Although I tend toward the snarky that Pyranablade mentioned, I’m impressed that your passion of songwriting resonates with Chris’ desire to become a more excellent storyteller. I look forward to your contributions as we proceed into whatever 2017 has on offer. I was reminded in a recent comment by an acquaintance that everything is in motion, from the obvious cars and birds to the rocks and roads whose atomic activity carves out a space in the universe. Being still is an illusion. Welcome to the ride we are on together.

Chris, Adam and Team
Your content is fabulous and has been since I signed on years ago.  Your posters are marvelously informed and articulate.  Your 3-E message is sound and easy to articulate.  But what I love most is the ongoing, honest, personal development of your vision and what your progress brings to the website.  I'm happy you will keep pushing outside comfort zones in your commitment to shifting our cultural narrative.  Of course I'm very curious about what you have up your sleeve now too!

I notice how fascinating it is to spend time snorfeling around the remains of the old paradigm, or pushing gingerly on that impossibly balanced stone wedged underneath some edifice critical to the continuation of life as we know it or another.  There are good reasons to want to clearly recognize our global predicament. This website is an excellent place to get up to speed.

Still, I keep thinking we preppers need to get a least as much energy pointed at creating a new story of human beings on planet Earth as we have tied up with the old story.  Is there a way to open a door to that on the website?  Maybe a "new story" series of podcasts?  A "new paradigms" creative writing space?  Just thinking out loud.  So far the best way to break the awful spell of the consumption and dominion paradigm is learning to grow my own food.  But there's a hungry place in my heart and mind for telling and hearing the new story of human beings.  I suspect the more we tell it the less impossible it will seem. 

With appreciation to All -


A little off topic, but touched on in the article.


I installed PV and solar thermal in 2010 based on my 3E and carbon concerns.

After seeing both systems in action over the past 6 years, my vote would be to use a hybrid heatpump to reduce the energy needed to heat hot water, and then install more PV to create the electricity for the Hybrid hot water heater.  I felt this way back in 2010 when the panels were $2.50/watt.

At $.75 a watt, it think the story is even more compelling for much of the country.

I live in KY where my garage ( where the HW heater lives) stays >32 most of the time in the winter and there is a decent amount of cloud cover in Dec - March .  The thermal system doesnt provide much for about 5 months per year.





Sorry to continue the tangent to this great article, but I agree with the jturbo68 post on solar hot water systems. My house (and farm) is located in Virginia, and is the one mentioned in the Material Capital section in the book, Prosper! I originally planned to install a solar hot water system for my house, but after investigating the need to continually pump a transfer liquid between the panels on my roof and a storage container within the house, decided the potential maintenance problems were not a good solution. Instead, I have electric PV panels on the house (that function during the same time periods as would hot water panels) that utilize electricity production to power electric hot water heaters. No pumps, no electricity to power the pumps needed, and no potential leaks from the recirculating pipes - a simpler solution.

I confirm that cheap solar panels provides a simpler, more reliable way to heat hot water for showers, cleaning etc.
I have 4 hot water tanks (two under sinks) that are electrically heated directly from cheap solar panels and WITHOUT the usual expensive and burn-out prone electrical equipment that is hawked everywhere.
I dont have a lot of money to spend so I avoid the cost of a 1500$ hybrid water heater (I buy cheap 200-300$ tanks from Lowes) and avoid the 1000$ cost of a 3000watt (or more) power inverter by DIRECTLY connecting the solar panels directly to water heater via a simple circuit that interrupts the DC periodically to avoid welding the thermostat. I have enjoyed all solar electric hot showers the last 4 years and have not even bothered to clean the solar panels. I am surprised at how reliable this has been, I admit that in the Wintertime after 2 or 3 days of no sun, the shower gets lukewarm (not a problem in other seasons).
If you are handy with soldering circuits as do-it-yourself, I could provide the circuit to you at cost, if you are a PP member. Why pay more?

Hi Chris,
Thank you for yet another wonderful article educating on us on where we are. I appreciate your dogged determination to figure out how to get the message across as quickly as possible. You mentioned a couple of times in the post that you need our help. Can you share with us specifically about what help you need and want from the PP community?

Gary Reysa at has a plethora of information about his solar hot water system that he built for under $2000 (approx. 60 square feet of collector area), although it does require time, DIY skills as well as land/property that allows such a system to be built (He claims you can build a 160 square foot collector for around $3,000 including the balance of systems needed). Here’s a link to that piece on Solar Thermal. He says he was able to install solar thermal for 1/8 the cost of a commercial installation and his payback time is a little over 3 years. Talk about an investment. But the best part of a project like this may not be the monetary savings, it may actually be developing DIY skills and problem solving. Imagine building a system like his, with an additional 100 sq feet of collector space for radiant floor heating as well. Now, imagine natural gas quintuples in price. Do you think your neighbors wouldn’t love to have a system like yours, and the best part is, you can show them how to build one. Or, maybe you can start a business building them, who knows.
I know some people don’t have the DIY skill set or the time to install such a system themselves, but what better time than now to develop the skills while we don’t have to rely on them, because when we do, it’s going to be too late.
Full disclosure, I haven’t built a system like this mainly because the next door neighbors house blocks the sun in the winter time. I could build one, but I’d need to elevate the collector at least 4 feet off the ground to capture the sun in the winter, but then it interferes with windows and my wife would not approve of that.

Chris - thank you for finding that population video. Since viewing it, the recent history of humanity feels so much more real and connected to me today. I can just imagine 200,000 years with less than a million of us spreading slowly across the globe. 125,000 years ago there was another interglacial like today, but our technology and culture hadn’t developed to the point where agriculture was a possibility. We continued to live as hunter gatherers intimately in relationship with the living earth around us. In the few tens of thousands of years before the current interglacial began and humans began to experiment with agriculture and pastoralism, our culture and technology evolved to the point where along with our expanded range allowed our population to increase to perhaps 2.5 million - 1/3000th of today!
Even after many of us had taken up agriculture 6000 years ago - halfway through the agricultural period, there were still only 5-10 million of us - about 1/1000th the numbers of today. But then we reached 25 miilion 4000 years ago (1/300 today), 40 million 3000 years ago and 170 million 2000 years ago (still only 1/45 of today). We all know the rest.
Knowing these numbers, I can stand outside giving my morning gratitude and really appreciate those ancestors way back in deep time, so few compared to today, but so connected to what is real and lasting and in alignment with our biology. I can also feel the inevitability of agriculture which developed independently in numerous places in the new and old world all within a few thousand years of each other. I can feel the unique peril and power of this moment in history. And whatever happens in the next 50 years, societal conflagration or a more peaceful transition, something will grow out of the fertile ground of the ashes or composting remains of today seeded by what remains intact after the turbulent times that are now gathering.