Greece offers a useful example, as that nation's economy staggers around a financial drain. Today come stories of Greeks stripping the country of metals.
The thieves are accused of stealing industrial cable, power-line transformers and other metal objects – triggering blackouts and massive train delays. The profile of the metal thief is also changing, authorities say, from gypsies and immigrants living on the margins of society to mainstream Greeks who have fallen on hard times. A group of men were caught trying to take apart an entire bridge and droves of immigrants can be seen pushing shopping carts around Greek neighborhoods looking in recycling bins.Economic misery driving people to socially destructive acts: this isn't a new thought, but it's useful (and sobering) to see specific instances occur in realtime.
burn stuff other than oil and gas.
The Greek environmental ministry has warned families to not use their fireplaces as furnaces, but "families have lost workers and can barely make ends meet," said Tsaroucha, who has lived in Athens since she was born. "The increase in the price of heating oil ... and the increased amount of taxes that each household has to pay" have contributed to families' decision to heat their homes with old-fashioned fire from practically anything that will burn -- not only wood, but also lacquered furniture and old doors.Call it austerity smog.
Across the Atlantic another country is experiencing a different crisis. The Honduran government has plunged off its own fiscal cliff, meaning it can't pay for a variety of public goods and services: teachers, surveillance cameras, some medical supplies, road repairs, various government offices.
Taken together, the Honduran and Greek crises offer a palette of catastrophic forms, a menu of collapse items. We've seen these elsewhere, even in the US - Detroit and Flint have enjoyed service declines, metal theft, and despair fires for some time. And more to come. As one friend observed, "I think there will be plenty of ash in our future."
Do these signs of collapse ring true to you? What other ones should we watch for?