“I looked down the barrel of the future and saw a dark, empty hole.”

By Chris Wood 

Some time back a friend of mine and I were sharing a coffee in downtown Vancouver and worrying at the problem of journalism before the apocalypse. Not the Biblical one; the biological one. It’s hard to look most of the trend lines in our society, our economy, our biosphere, in the eye, and feel happy about where they point. If everything’s going to hell and no-one much is paying attention (because the mainstream media has turned itself over to celebunews), what are a couple of ink-stained wretches from the old school to do?

My friend found part of her answer starting up Facts and Opinions—dedicated to taking clear-eyed, candid, and, if called for, lingering looks at the many dark and wonderous processes of life unfolding around us. I found part of mine contributing occasional thoughts on our fraying natural security, and how we might hold on to a little of it.

But this essay, “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene,” may be the most eloquent meditation yet on the central problem of our age, the one we gnawed around the edges of that morning, and the one that no thinking person can escape if they honestly look about them. Writer Roy Scranton, a former United States Army Private, is now a doctoral candidate in English. His essay appeared in The New York Times’ philosophy blog, The Stone.