Surf's Up!

Nothing seems right anymore.

In whichever direction we choose to look, things are unraveling at a quickening pace.

Welcome to the Fourth Turning; and with it, a profound loss of trust in institutions and government.

Such lack of social cohesion is a hallmark of a Fourth Turning. Sadly, it’s happening at a time when society desperately needs to pull together, set aside our differences, and make some really big decisions.

Dirty Hands Everywhere

For my own part, my loss of trust in what is termed the 'mainstream media' (MSM) is nearly complete. Its sins of omission and commission have piled up too high to forgive – the bank of trust I once had in it has lost every penny and is now in deep overdraft.

In my opinion its gravest sin is the willful and deliberate fracturing of society into many disparate warring camps. The MSM has a lot to answer for in that regard.

Similarly guilty is our political system. The core power players are unable to hold each other accountable, revealing that we don’t have two parties after all, but rather a uniparty organized around power and money.

The rules are increasingly re-written to benefit a smaller and smaller group of elites at the expense of everyone else – and that’s now becoming increasingly crystal clear to the 99.9% who are getting screwed. The corrosive effects of that are going to take decades to resolve.

As a result, the social fabric is rending apart. Stress is epidemic with more people than ever reporting being unhappy, unfulfilled, isolated and alone. Suicide is the second leading cause of death. It’s worse than just depression, it’s something far more insidious – it’s demoralization. There’s no hope left any more for too many of us.

A Dying Ecosphere

Even more alarming to me is that the world’s ecosystems are no longer stable.

I started off my professional career as a biological scientist and the current apocalyptic fires in Australia are too brutal for even this hardened information scout to digest. The reported loss of animal life there (at least a billion!) a punch to my gut, my heart grieves for the loss of beauty and life, so I turn away in horror at the unfolding death and destruction there.

More locally, here in New England in January 2020, my bird feeders are mostly devoid of the usual (once) common species. A few chickadees, half the usual blue jays, and a small smattering of juncos. Some sort of bird apocalypse has occurred, almost certainly connected directly to the great insect apocalypse that has roared across the landscape over the past ten years. Turns out, wiping out the bottom of the food pyramid is bad for life. Who knew?

The insects and everything above them on the food chain are now victims of neonicotinoid (“neonics”) pesticides. Apparently, the need for Bayer and Syngenta to make a few bucks on neonics, and the desire of lazy and careless famers to apply these persistent biocides, exceeds any and all other considerations.

Nobody has a good answer for how we managed to feed ourselves without using neonicotinoids for thousands of years prior to their invention. Now, we’re told, they are utterly essential. Again, mainly by the lazy, the careless, or the economically greedy. I’m sure to receive some angry letters from farmers explaining how they couldn’t survive without them and I’m being insensitive to their plight. But I’ll predict that none of these angry emails will explain how the world’s food production system managed to survive prior to 2008 when the neonics came into common use.

If we can’t even get this simple part of the story right – not using something 10x worse than DDT – how are we possibly going to get the far more complex and complicated stuff right?

If we can’t even protect the bottom of the food chain (stupid easy to grasp why this is relevant and important), how are we going to manage to peacefully share the remaining dregs of oil without launching missiles at one another?

How are we going to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, which is going to happen with or without our willing consent, when doing so will require upending our current living arrangements, enormously complex supply chains, and re-directing a vast portion of our economy away from consumption and towards energy infrastructure?

Spoiler alert: We’re not.

That’s what people are beginning to register in their deep animal bones. It’s part of the anxiety we all feel but maybe can’t articulate. The prime narrative by which we live is false, and if that’s not being registered by the cortex, it will be felt in the gut.

To put it visually:

Welcome To The Club

Meanwhile “the economy” has been replaced by stock worshiping; which itself is propped up by wave after massive wave of central bank money printing.

Each day for the past 3 weeks I’ve awoken to discover that the Federal Reserve has poured into the “markets” anywhere from $45 billion to $120 billion overnight.

If Band-Aids could cure cancer, I’d be 100% in favor of what the central banks are doing. But since ‘symptom masking’ serves only to make things eventually worse, I am very much not in favor of the Fed’s actions.

Geopolitically, the tensions in the Mideast are almost certain to lead to calculation error, some sort of mistake that boils over into something even more tragic than has already occurred (and that’s saying a lot).

If all of this sums up to a fair bit of worry on your part, well… welcome to the club. You’re not alone.

Though you might feel as if you are. Especially after the ‘cheerful’ holidays, when there’s pressure to put on a happy face. Maybe even a family member gave you an advance warning not to bring up any of your ‘doomer’ talk at the holiday table.

It may be that you find that the most important things in your mind are not up for discussion among your friends and family, no matter which season we’re in. Again, you are not alone.

In fact, if you want to experience the amazing catharsis that comes with being surrounded by folks who very much value discussing these topics – of finding out just how “not-alone” you really are – come to the Peak Prosperity annual seminar in Sebastopol CA this May 1– 3, 2020.

We have an amazing roster of expert faculty lined up, too. These are great minds to learn from and have a beer with. The roster includes NYT best-selling authors Peter Boghossian and Bruce Buena de Mesquita, and experts like Mike Maloney, Charles Hugh Smith, Wolf Richter, Axel Merk, John Rubino, Richard Heinberg, Jeff Clark, the farmers from Singing Frogs Farm and Joe Stumpf.

Spending the weekend your ‘tribe’, with conscientious like-minded truth-seekers of goodwill like you, is one of the most restorative and invigorating cures for those feeling trapped and isolated in a world gone mad. We hope you can join us in May.

The Hope In This Story

We can’t choose when we're born.

Here we are. Here we all are, facing this particular wave, and we need to choose whether to stand up and surf it or lie down and be pummeled.

For those choosing to stand up and surf, we must focus on controlling what we can while releasing the rest.

I cannot control the Fed’s printing sprees. But I can buy gold, silver, and land to preserve and grow the purchasing power of my wealth.

I cannot prevent industrial agriculture from ruining the vast bulk of the soils. But I can build the soils of my garden sustainably, as well as buy from local farmers who do the same.

I can either choose to be aggravated and demoralized by the daily nonsense I see. Or I can choose to serve as a model who inspires others by boldly doing what needs to be done.

The hope I have in this story comes from the vast awakening I see (finally!) beginning to emerge among the masses.

People are starting to rebel against the insanity and inanity of the consumer culture. People are approaching me all the time seeking to get involved in something, anything, that can offer a sense of meaning and purpose.

We all want to do good and to do better. To start, we must first bring our actions into alignment with our beliefs.

The good news is that this is often just a matter of putting things into practice. All over the world, people are exploring and sharing their incredible hard work building sustainable systems and engaging in regenerative practices.

The technology is already there. We don’t have to wait for some magical breakthrough to emerge from a lab next week.

We just have to apply what’s already available.

The one thing I’d like to leave you with is this: if you want a future worth having, get busy. Take that first step. Don’t wait.

It’s time.

Why? Because the next 8 – 10 years are going to completely reshape everything we think we know about ‘how things work.’

Once the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet really sinks in, vast new opportunities will open up and just as vast avenues of standard operating procedure will close down.

Broadly speaking, anything dependent on squandering cheap energy will be out. And anything offering more efficient ways to produce and distribute goods and services will be in.

Sorry malls. Goodbye McMansions. Sayonara to endless debt-fueled growth. The future will be all about living within our means.

Each of these and countless other changes will rock the very firmament of how people live, work and play. The new opportunities will be nearly endless, while many things you now see about you will be decommissioned and dismantled.

In Part 2: Taking The Leap Into The Unknown, we explain why the strategies for success in the coming years will look extremely different from the ones we’re familiar with today. The entire playbook is being re-written, and those who learn and adapt to it now, before the next crisis, will have a tremendous advantage.

The wave of change is finally here. Are you ready?

It’s time to surf.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I’ve never believed the deflationists and always believed the Fed would print money to the very end to prevent a crash. But I was too timid and didn’t put my money where my mouth was out of fear of some stock market crash that never happened and probably never will. I think of all the money I could have made in the stock market to pay off debt as my pm’s languished for the last 10 years and I was stuck working 40 hours a week. When all along I knew the stock market would keep going up and up.
After the “not-crash” in early Jan from the Iran conflict I actually said on a forum that gold would get hammered down again and it was a good opportunity to buy into the darling stocks. I didn’t do it because I was too busy and surfing a wave in Mexico at that time. Look what that darling Apple did.
Think of all the money to be made buying Apple calls over the next year if the money printing lasts. And why wouldn’t it? Seems like a no brainer.

The past 6 months have been very challenging for a whole variety of reasons but primarily due to moving my 93 year old mother 1,100 miles cross country to move in with us. I looked into assisted living but finally came to the conclusion that no one could take care of her as well as my wife and I and we had the room in our home. It was a bit of a challenge but more of a blessing in ways that are too numerous to go into here. Unfortunately, a few days after New Years, she passed away suddenly due to a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. Both in the process of getting her affairs in order to move and now getting her affairs in order after her death, I’ve made hundreds of phone calls. I’ve called banks, credit unions, insurance companies of every stripe (health, life, homeowner’s, annuity, etc.), Medicare, ambulance, hospital, doctors, funeral home, Social Security, government entities (municipal, state, and federal), utilities, phone and cable company (the worst and it starts with a V……), etc., etc. As I said to my wife, I’ll need the phone surgically detached from my ear once this is all over (which won’t be for months). What amazes me is the incredible INCOMPETENCE found in almost every organization and entity I’ve dealt with. It seems NO ONE can get things done right the first time. It’s absolutely unreal. I even found two errors on her death certificate. One of my new “rules” is that if you’re going to have anything done by a corporate or government entity, simply assume that it will NOT be done correctly the first time and plan and act accordingly. The vast majority of the times, this will be the case. I guess it’s all part of the general dissolution we see of society.
That being said, an unexpected possible side effect of this dissolution (that I’ve experienced at least) and perhaps because we’re all going through these trying times together, is that I’ve run into a surprising amount of human kindness and compassion (as long as I stay away from politics and religion, lol). It’s an odd mix that still has me scratching my head in confusion.
On another note, reinforcing what Chris said, I’ve seen fewer birds this winter than any other I can remember. And yet, there was one exception. My Mom’s favorite bird was the cardinal. She bought into the folk lore that when a cardinal comes to you, it is a sign of a loved one who has passed who has come to visit and let you know they’re OK. She recently commented that we haven’t seen any birds in our backyard for a couple of weeks and I agreed. None. My Mom passed at 8:15 AM. That night, I didn’t sleep very well, even though I had been up over 40 hours without any sleep. In the early hours of the morning, with a hint of the pre-dawn barely beginning to lighten the overcast sky, I heard a bird calling … loudly. I got out of bed, walked downstairs, and went to the back sliding glass door and opened it. There was a cardinal, singing its heart out in the near dark, by where her room was in the house. I hadn’t seen a cardinal in months. And I haven’t seen one since. You may say it was a coincidence. But I don’t believe in coincidences.


Chris wrote,

I started off my professional career as a biological scientist and the current apocalyptic fires in Australia are too brutal for even this hardened information scout to digest. The reported loss of animal life there (at least a billion!) a punch to my gut, my heart grieves for the loss of beauty and life, so I turn away in horror at the unfolding death and destruction there.
Thanks for this profound and eloquent empathy. I feel exactly the same way, but I am unable to turn away. While the world has been diverted by the shenanigans with Iran, my beautiful, precious, unique country has been ablaze as never before in living memory. The huge losses are keenly felt by many, many. The shock is working its way through the public mind. I eagerly await the start of the climate denier trials. Dream on. TPTB are showing every sign of ignoring the catastrophe, picking themselves up after having stumbled over the truth, and hurrying on with BAU. I am sorely tempted to describe the lot of them as out-of-touch, unreachable psychopaths — but Peter Boghossian's book, which I am devouring now, suggests that a way ahead is possible. In times of stress I find meaning in music, and in this connection I love Brian Eno's 1981 track, "America is Waiting," which features the voice of Ray Taliafero. Substitute "Australia" for "America" and the lyrics help me sort out how I feel. Music and Lyrics

Think you inadvertently made the case, Chris, that our ecological problems (insect/bird apocalypse, primarily cause by pesticides, along w climate change, not to mention a host of other environmental catastrophes in the making) will cause our demise before we run out of cheap fossil fuels. That’s what I’m expecting to happen, anyway.
On a related subject, it blows my mind that the wealthiest people on the planet, who are in a position to do more than anyone to enact positive change in the world, are doing the exact opposite (promoting business as usual and leaving huge carbon footprints), all while having more money than they could ever spend in several lifetimes.

However, I wonder often if we’ve already run out of affordable oil. Is it just the technology of fiat currency that makes it look otherwise? Well, that and energy source arbitrage I suspect…

This made the news a few days ago: Australia will slaughter 10000 feral camels because they threaten villages and people.
Australia to cull thousands of camels
Instead of addressing the root causes of the drought, sapiens do their business as usual and declare these animals (evident victims) a nuisance that deserve to be shot in order to protect “our” water and fields.
These camels did nothing to the climate (although we conveniently accuse them of farting methane) and we are denying them the right to survive.
Today… the camels.
Tomorrow… us?

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Ao, I am sorry for your loss. I have been into more than 100 retirement homes over the years, and I can tell you that your choice to keep family with you was a good one. You are good people for not sending your family away.
I believe your story about the bird. I’ve seen too many animals do things that can’t be explained with reason. Nature is amazing when you get out in it.

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I lost about 75% of my farm to fire in November, however the fire was low and slow, so I only lost fences and leaf litter. It was low and slow because my neighbours and I did a hazard reduction burn in winter. It was unapproved and probably illegal, one of my neighbours got a fine for it. The thing about burning in winter is that the fire is small, and contained, and it means that in summer when a wildfire starts that it too is small. We burn different areas each winter, it’s called mosaic burning, burn small sections each year and the animals can flee and survive, and when the fires get bigger in summer lots more animals can live. There are wrens, crows, magpies chirping at my window right now. The kangaroo’s are helping themselves to my veges now.
There are large amounts of Australia that have burnt, some parts had huge 180 feet crown fires that nothing could survive, other parts like mine, the fire was barely 1 foot tall and everything lived. It’s not as bad as the media is telling you, well at least not everywhere. In some areas is worse beyond imagination, and in others it’s just a normal summer fire.
On the other hand, Kangaroo Island, my god, I’ve never dreamed it could be as bad as that.

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I appreciate those sentiments. I also agree with your experience. The care in the two assisted living homes I had initially narrowed down my selection to was very good but I knew what we could do at home would be even better. Later on, I heard a horror story about each of those homes confirming that I made the right decision.
P.S. I just read your post about your farm. So sorry to hear that but glad it was not as devastating for you as some others and that you are safe.
P.P.S. How is Tasmania with these fires? I visited there a couple of years ago and was charmed by the place. It somewhat reminds me of an Australian version of where we live in the U.S., both being off the beaten track.
There were other signs besides the bird specifically related to my mother but I won’t get into them here. I will mention one other though related to the situation in general. Years ago, just before he died, my father made me promise that I would take care of my mother. I was faithful to fulfilling that promise and did so gladly. My father was a Marine and proud of his service and lived his life by their motto, “Semper fidelis” (Always faithful). His nick name was “Dutch”. Two days after my mother passed, a friend in Australia (not named Dutch) forwarded me an e-mail from another friend. At the end it was signed, “Semper fi, Dutch”. Again, you could say it was coincidence but I’ve experienced enough in my life to think otherwise and I thank God for his love, grace, and mercy that are always available to us if we simply open ourselves up to them.

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blackeagle wrote,

Instead of addressing the root causes of the drought, sapiens do their business as usual and declare these animals (evident victims) a nuisance that deserve to be shot in order to protect “our” water and fields.
Sorry, disagree strongly. Camels are an introduced species and have multiplied in numbers in ecologically fragile areas until they have become a damaging nuisance. That said, some kind of equlibrium is being reached, and for some years we have been exporting some of these camels back to Saudi Arabia for breeding stock. Camels do not and never did belong in this country, and I would not be upset by their complete removal from the landscape. The real issue here is the usually unintentional derangement and destruction of our ecosystems (and those of other countries) by careless, hasty, poorly-researched mismanagement of the land. Australia's biosphere has been badly damaged over the last 200 years, since the European invasion, by the importation of unsuitable species, imported for a variety of reasons, some making sense, others idiotic. A partial list is sheep, cattle, fallow deer, water buffalo, (wild) pigs, rabbits, foxes, cats, dogs, cane toads (Bufo marinaris), Indian mynahs, starlings, pigeons (Columbia livia), placental mice and rats, and a horde of plants and other biota. North America has its own very long list of mistakes. With very few exceptions, every introduced species damages the biosphere and makes life hard if not impossible for native species. Feral cats are hugely destructive of native wildlife Australia now is quite paranoid about introducing new species, and rightly so.

ao asked about Tasmania. Tassie has suffered too, and in some areas that used to be verdant, lush, seemingly fireproof.
Some pictures here.
Lies and misinformation about causes are being spread worldwide. Infuriating, especially when Trump Jr latches onto it.

We live in rural North Central Illinois in a beautiful river valley. Less than a decade ago our area was brimming with birdlife…including cardinals, woodpeckers, small songbirds, orioles, morning doves, hawks, and even eagles. My heart is breaking as I share with you that we have No birds left except an occasional hawk or turkey buzzard. I’m surrounded on three sides by natural habitat, mostly woods but across the street is a farm field that alternates “plastic” corn and soybeans. Our bees die every year. I counted 5 lightening bugs last June, I haven’t seen a ladybug for years, and the June bugs have been gone for a decade.? What’s next?

@ Ezlxq1949,
Your point is entirely true.
We always introduced (and will continue as long as we exist) alien species for whatever reason at a rate far exceeding what nature usually do. The effects can be subtle or dramatic depending on the cases. In the case of Australia, we see what happens in 200 years to a continent isolated since 50 millions years. This is really brutal.
I am not competent to tell which species can stay or must be eliminated. My point was to say that, us, sapiens, when we put our hands on any resource we covet, we kill whatever or whoever is getting too close to them.
The BBC article did not go into solid facts as you did. The sentence about methane, a dubious argument, renders the whole thing suspicious. (Edited paragraph).

I understand repo market, just can’t understand where all that money is going? With all advantages the banks have, there has to be a disaster on it’s way!

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