Posted by: ithacaisdoomed | December 31, 2009

The Ithaca is Doomed 2010 Predictions

As the old year wanes, I have just finished reading what should be declared “the best environmental writing” of the entire decade—Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man.  Having read the book, the popular press coverage of it looks all the more disappointing.  Every article seemed to characterize the book as “gimmicky” and merely emphasized such superficial details as “the toilet paper” question over the substantive.  Colin’s book is extremely humane and soul searching.  He asks the really tough questions about how we live our lives, why we do the things we do, and how we really want to live.  I haven’t read a book this inspiring in quite a while.  One thing I really appreciate about both the book and The No Impact Man blog is how down-to-Earth Colin is in his writing—his unassuming lack of self righteousness is so refreshing.

I am inspired to do more myself—not only for the abstract entity called “the environment” but for my own life, to really make sure I’m living the kind of life I want and for goodness sake, using resources to further my connections with my family and community.  The book also got me thinking about this blog:  Every environmental writer seems to have their gimmick, even if the gimmick isn’t the real point, as is the case with No Impact Man.  Should I have a gimmick for Ithaca is Doomed?  The 100 mile diet is taken.  The no impact idea is taken.  Maybe I could compost my own bodily wastes for an entire year, even what I produce while at work—you know, save it in a container and bring it home.  Extreme Humanure Man!

Maybe not.  What I will do though, is try harder– to generate less trash, to save more money, to prepare better, to connect with others, and in the blog, to share my successes and any good ideas that come along the way.  Now on to the 2010 Doomer Predictions for Ithaca, New York!

Every aspiring peak oil pundit worth his or her seawater collected in a bucket and evaporated into salt tries to make an educated guess as to how the next year will shake out.  Could anyone have guessed just how shitty the past decade would be?  Who could have known that our military would be bombing two middle eastern nations back to the Stone Age while here at home, we reduce many in our country to living back in the 19th Century?  The whole Y2K thing seems quaint in retrospect, as laughably naïve as the millions who huddled in churches on the eve of the year 1000, expecting the Antichrist.  As 2009 gives way to 2010, the collapse of industrial civilization is starting to seem palpable, even to the common man.  One more round of $4.00 a gallon gas and we’ll see the “sheep look up.”

What does this hold for Ithaca and why do I consider myself qualified to guess?  Here’s just a sampling of my prognosticator’s resume:  Correctly predicted that the Bush administration would use 9-11 for political ends ON THE NIGHT THAT IT HAPPENED!  (Who could have predicted that?)  Predicted that the “big pants” phenomenon would last forever and that mullets would become popular again.  Predicted that houses would not continue to rise in value forever.  (Again, who could have predicted that?)

Mullets became popular again mid-decade.

For Ithaca, New York, I see mostly more of the same.  I don’t envision anything drastically bad happening to our little corner of the world just yet.  The education industry often fares better during a ReDepression, and that will continue for Cornell, Ithaca College, and especially TC3 (our community college) because of programs such as the nursing school that can help people gain marketable skills fairly quickly and economically.  The collapsing economy won’t drag all of the new hotels and condominiums being built downtown into its gaping maw for another few years so the aim of urban revitalization will be accomplished to some extent.  Unfortunately, this will later prove disastrous, as the capital and resources for these projects will essentially disappear down a rat hole and most will bemoan the fact that we could have used the space and time for better, more utilitarian ends. Here’s some concrete predictions:

1)      Owning a new Volvo, if you can afford it, will become totally uncool.  With Ford expected to sell Volvo to a Chinese company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, in the first quarter of 2010, the Volvo brand will become cheapened (Ford bought Volvo for $6 billion and it’s being sold for $2 billion) and associated with all things un-Ithacan, e.g. human rights abuse, environmental exploitation, etc.  The 2010 Volvo Ballet in the Ithaca Festival Parade will take on decidedly Maoist overtones, with the Communist party ChairmanVolvos whipping along their exploited slave workers. 

2)      Hipster kids will take up deer hunting.  Wresting the “sport” away from the rednecks who formerly tormented them, urban hipster deer hunting clubs will overspread the nation.  Lured by hunger, authenticity cred, and the chance to ironically wear Oak Moss Camo, urban deer hunting leagues will attract a strong membership amongst young males. It is only a matter of time before bloodsmeared hipsters, Goths, and even the occasional Emo youth gather at local hotspots such as Gimme! Coffee to compare kills and trade recipes.

Black tape for a Blue deer?

3)      Local Conservatives will petition to have a street named after Ronald Reagan. In an apparent backlash against the whole “Martin Luther King Jr. Street” clusterfuck, a group of Ithaca High School Student Republicans (all 5 of them) coerced by a group of Ithaca College Young Republicans (all 8 of them) will petition Common Council to name a street after their hero, Ronald Reagan.  Citing Grover Norquist’s Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, the group will whine, cajole, backstab, and propagandize until Mayor-for-Life Peterson agrees to grant their request just to get them to, in her own words, “shut the hell up.”  Instead of a prominent thoroughfare, Common Council will dually designate Sears Street as Ronald Reagan Way, “since it essentially leads nowhere, just as the Republican Party has led the country nowhere.”

4)      A Great Cayuga Lake Garbage Patch will be discovered.  In a scene reminiscent of the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, a smaller Cayuga Lake Garbage Patch will be found whirling in a gyre off the coast of Aurora.  It will turn out that these bits of suspended plastic from Pez Dispensers and take out containers have been wafting out of the many garbage trucks that roar up Route 89.  Many studies will be commissioned, but until a Bald Eagle vomits up a wad of plastic confetti onto Chuck Schumer’s lapel, not much will be done about it.

Canoes get snared in the Cayuga Lake Garbage Patch.

5)      Beneath the self-aggrandizing din, many Ithacans will continue to do good things.  Instead of agitating for symbolic, but empty causes, many locals will keep on with the quiet work of preparing the community for The End of the World as We Know It.  You won’t see them grandstanding outside City Hall or brandishing papier mache puppets, but you will find them: working to ensure all Ithaca children have access to healthy food, planting edible forest gardens, and pulling the garlic mustard out before it overwhelms our native ecosystems.  For those about to rock in 2010, Ithaca is Doomed salutes you!  Now I better get off my duff and join up!  Happy New Year!




  1. Hey —

    I got a good giggle about the hipster deer hunting clubs. Sure because its funny, but also because of dear old Urban Scout. Have you run into him, yet? Long time doomer, rewilding proponent, artist, filmmaker and forager/hunter scavenger extraordinaire! And total hipster, dude 🙂


  2. Hi Glen,

    Just discovered your blog — great stuff!

    You may be interested to know that a group of local residents concerned with peak oil has been actively planning for energy descent since November 2005. For the last several years, we have been researching and publishing articles on relocalization at our web site, — check it out. We invite people to comment on these articles using the comment form at the bottom of each one (click “archives” for a complete list).

    The primary objective of our effort is to educate local policymakers on the challenges we face and to get them starting to think about possible responses. If you or any of your readers are up to putting in some in-depth research and writing, we’ve still got a lot of topics that haven’t been dealt with yet; you can find a list of them along with contact info and a description of the way TCLocal is organized from the “Who we are” link on the home page.


  3. the hipsters deer hunting had me. good stuff.

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