Talking with Carolyn Baker, Discerning Info-Sifter

100322_carolynbaker_200.jpgWe just videotaped a conversation with Carolyn Baker in Boulder, Colorado from our home in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I’ve wanted to tape Carolyn for over a year, hoping to do so when we traveled east, but it wasn’t meant to be. Fortunately for us, software has recently showed up which enables internet video communications of sufficient quality to be usable for our shows.

Carolyn Baker is the author of Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse, and principal of Speaking Truth to Power website. I first read one of her essays three or four years ago in Michael Ruppert’s From The Wilderness site, and was impressed by her attention to our psychological and emotional experience as collapse touches our lives (and that was before the mortgage meltdown and 2008 financial crash!).

In our conversation, Carolyn shared a concise, well-thought-out summary of her perspectives. As a historian with ten years of college-level teaching, she has a sharp eye for current events that are leading indicators of the collapse we’re feeling and seeing, but which is mostly absent from mainstream corporate-owned media.

But, as she pointed out, the recognition of these times is coming into the mainstream. Commentators are using words like “collapse” and “unprecedented.” Even the New York governor recently stated that “we’ve crossed the Rubicon” and “we’re dealing with something much bigger than a recession.”

I think of Carolyn as a premier collapse-watcher. Her daily email digest is an ongoing chronicle with links to multiple changing collapse indicators — economic, political, financial, homelessness, greed, corruption, spin, inequality. They’re examples of what she calls the Old Story that is no longer working, a story based in separation from nature and each other, a story in which the vision of endless economic growth is now hitting the wall.

If this were all her digest included, it could be pretty dark and depressing as a steady diet. But she also includes links to those preparing for the collapse — like the Transition movement, local food producers, permaculturists, communities creating alternate currencies and more.

Such people are living out aspects of the New Story, a culture based on reconnection to nature, including a reclaiming of our indigenous selves. We may not live to see that new culture in its fullness, but many people are finding it meaningful to plant seeds for it.

She provides her perspective on why the demise is sacred, starting with a definition of sacred as “set apart, part of something greater.” This big picture can help counterbalance watching institutions crumble all around us. We are in a process unlike any that humans have experienced. Part of something greater.

But Carolyn is not just a historian. She’s also a psychologist. The heart of Sacred Demise is psychological and emotional preparation. She asserts, with support from Carl Jung and Victor Frankl, that having meaning is essential for humans. In the book she provides reflective exercises to enable our seeing how we’ve responded to prior losses, initiations, and challenges in our lives, and how to carry that learning into what lies ahead. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the book are the well-chosen, soul-touching poems sprinkled throughout.

Like Psyche sorting all the seeds, Carolyn shines as a discerning sifter of information, sharing the essential and life-giving seeds with her readers.

Check out her website Speaking Truth to Power, where you’ll find plenty of essays, her books, daily email digest subscription (my primary information source for what’s going on in the world), transition counseling services, and online courses for navigating the collapse. I think you’ll find a seed or two worth pursuing there.

Watch the video conversation.


  1. hi Janaia,
    am interested in the video-internet software you are using ?
    we have tried various software for Permaculture.TV and would be interested in learning what works for you?

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