Climate Change, the Market, Us and Beyond

23205446-homeless-man-family-beggar-jobless-stick-figure-pictogram-iconI just read an informative article from Rolly Montpellier at BoomerWarrior.org.  titled, Carbon Fee and Dividend. Its Time Has Come. Yeah its time has come, but thinking for the long term, I hope we see it go faster than we’ve seen it come. Of course, that’s only if we have replaced it with something much, much, better. I’ll get into that more later. First, we need to understand a few things about this market strategy and the system it stems from.

When I say the system, I am referring to free enterprise and its two main operators, self-interest and competition. These two functions of free enterprise are what built America and have since contributed to the growth of many nations in both the developed and developing worlds. It works like a charm, for a time at least. In America’s case it worked well for about 250 years. We became the most powerful nation in the world both economically and of course, militarily (funny how those two go together). Then long about the 1870’s, we began to see problems ranging from crime to corrupt governments and corporations, to pollution to wars.

You say, “Well hell, those have been around since the cave man days.” Yeah, I suppose so, but never have they actually threatened the existence of human life and many other life forms on our planet. The biggest threat here in the 21st century is climate change, which came right out of free enterprise. Now you’d say, “You can go straight to hell buddy, I got a comfortable home and a well educated family, don’t be knocking free enterprise around me, mister.” I understand that response. All in all free enterprise has been the most innovated system ever conceived for everything from medicine to military might (whoops, slipped that one in there again, sorry). Yeah I mean look around you, just look at that stuff out there: cars, boats, planes, artificial hearts, computers, radio, TV, telephones…all kinds of stuff … all kinds of stuff … stuff … and stuff.

Is this good? Sure it is, but only if you are a beneficiary of this system that brings this stuff about. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day; not gonna get a new heart on those wages. You say, “Hey dude, we are making gains on poverty, wake up man!” If you read that article I linked you’ll note that the gains on poverty are more about how many are not dying or how many more now make greater than $1.25 a day. But are they still poor? You bet they are. No, I’m not going to say this is good, better than nothing maybe, but good? No. The War on Poverty started in 1964. Fifty years of this fight and we’re gonna be happy that an African subsistence farmer can now buy seed from Monsanto? Don’t think so.

The reality of this is that when you throw in climate change, population growth and wars the future progress of our fight against poverty is going to fall by the wayside. If you look at what we call the improvement of humankind, you’ll see that it is quite artificial. That is because our means of gain have been artificial and they stem mostly from irrigation and chemical control of crops along with the utilization of cheap labor from starving countries. These gains are going to be reversing in just a few short decades.

From the National Ground Water Association:

  • About 60% of groundwater withdrawn worldwide is used for agriculture; the rest is almost equally divided between the domestic and industrial sectors.
  • In many nations, more than half of the groundwater withdrawnis for domestic water supplies and globally it provides 25% to 40% of the world’s drinking water.

  And this from Science Daily:

“In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled”

  As for uses beyond water, see this from the Pesticide Action Network:

“In 1940, we produced 2.3 food calories for every 1 fossil fuel calorie used. By industrializing our food and farming systems, we now get 1 food calorie for every 10 fossil fuel calories used — a  23-fold reduction in efficiency.”

 In the USA alone, without the use of agrochemicals. “U.S. food production would decline, many fruits and vegetables would be in short supply, and the price of food would rise. What’s more, America’s production of important fibers for clothing, such as cotton, would decrease as farmers would lose their harvests and livelihoods to crop pests and diseases”.

 So when I say the improvement of mankind is artificial it appears I am not wrong. Why? Because groundwater is disappearing and according to the United Nations agrochemical use is beginning to show problematic trends. In short, we cannot artificially improve human life on earth forever because if you can’t feed and water the population, then there’s no need to get excited about everyone having access to cars, boats and planes let alone artificial hearts—see what I mean?

So if you only want to look at those who have benefited from free enterprise, then you are not going to be looking at a very large group of people and certainly not a group that could be called representative of the human species.  But again, with no water and a planet full of doped up soil, well, you can’t eat your artificial heart. At some point in the near future this is all going to become apparent to these beneficiaries. And at that point they’re gonna go, “Free enterprise? Bullshit.”

Market Reality

Yeah OK let’s get down to it. I been saying free enterprise, let’s just call it the market in this segment, but it’s the same thing really. Yeah you see we’re out here, we climate activists, shitting our pants over renewables and carbon taxing and we’re damned determined that these are the answer to thwarting climate change, and maybe they will do just that and all by themselves no less. I rather doubt that, I’ll get into why in a minute. But let’s say they actually do fix the climate problem. How does life go forward from there?

Well since we could claim the market via carbon taxing fixed this deal, why couldn’t it fix the rest of our issues? Here’s why it can’t. If the market should actually save the day on climate change, for one we’d be so hyped by the success we’d claim the market to be God itself and therefore would dedicate our ways and means to it as never before. However, we’d soon find out a little numbers problem with applying market strategies to other issues like resources or population. That is because the market has this one little ditty it sings without ceasing, “I gotta grow, I gotta grow, I gotta grow…or I’ll die.”

Ever notice how the GDP is constantly tracked? That’s because if our growth rate does not average out to at least 3% a year we start to go into what we call recessions, and then if we keep that up enough years in a row we come to a thing called a depression. From there if it doesn’t get better we come to another thing called economic collapse and then we’re SOL. It’s the math folks, it’s the math. We been living by that math for nearly 300 years now, and guess what? We are collapsing. Not quickly mind you, but we are in definite decline and the only reason complete economic failure has not happened yet is because of our artificial use of water and chemicals that I addressed earlier. Yeah we haven’t run out of metals yet, we still have fossil fuels though falling, and we’ve gotten pretty innovative with synthetic materials, but again, you can’t eat or drink these. Without a completely new paradigm, food and water issues are going to collapse us. Look what’s happening in the middle east right now; their greatest issues are food and water.

It would seem that having ongoing reliance on the market system turns out to be very dangerous. You simply cannot grow economies forever. And the worst thing that can happen in growing them is that if the entire population of the planet found itself in the benefit category (will never happen), in no time we’d be out of not only food and water but materials to produce them as well. The planet does not have the resources to make us all middle class human beings and that is especially so when you throw in growing populations. I mean, isn’t that a big “dah”?  So why do we keep trying to make it so?

The Market and Climate Change

I said earlier that I doubted climate change can be solved by clean energy and carbon taxing alone. That is because dealing with climate change is about much more than reducing carbon emissions. And that is because we already have enough carbon in the air to lock in some pretty hefty climate impacts, some of which we are seeing already and in no small matter. Therefore we have a basket full of adapting to do, and soon. Personally, I believe we have as much or more to accomplish concerning adaptation as we do switching to renewables.

Outside of adaptation realities, using the market to deal with carbon emissions has this huge contradiction in it. We can’t continue on the path of endless economic growth, the planet won’t allow it. Yet we still think that the market is the answer to reducing carbon emissions; therefore, we must still think we can grow economies forever. Look at what’s in the article that Rolly Montpelier wrote concerning our market economies and going the carbon tax route.

–National employment increases by 2.1 million jobs after 10 years, and 2.8 million after 20 years. This is more than a 1% increase in total US employment we don’t get without a carbon tax

–$70-$85 billion increase in GDP from 2020 on, with a cumulative increase in national GDP due to F&D of $1.375 trillion

–Size of monthly dividend for a family of 4 with two adults in 2025 = $288, and in 2035 = $396. Annually, this is $3,456 per family of 4 in 2025 ($1152 per capita–children get ½ dividend)

–Electricity prices peak in 2026, then start to decrease. Real incomes increase by more than $500 per person in 2025. This increase accounts for cost of living increases

–Maximum cost-of-living increase by 2035 is 1.7-2.5%, depending on region

–Biggest employment gains in healthcare, retail, and other services (excluding public administration). This is because people have more money in their pockets to spend, and these industries are labor-intensive, responding to increased consumer spending by creating more jobs

–Regional Gross Product is steady or rising in 8 of 9 regions

Why do you think that the powers that be push for market solutions? Because if they don’t go that route, then they’d have to instead go the way of community interest and cooperation and forgo self-interest and competition. Get it?  This wish is not held only by conservative republicans, the developed world’s liberal camp including a good portion of its climate change advocates and activists are glued to that hope as well. It’s a huge threat to their ideologies and more so their bank accounts. They object strongly to the term sacrifice, they don’t want to hear it. And here’s the kicker, the majority of these folks are not only not poor, most of them are quite well off by global standards. Yet they are the ones primarily representing climate action. Do you see the picture here? The surest and ready to fight for continuing the free enterprise system of economics are those who are at or above lower middle class status in the developed world. Go ask somebody walking miles carrying vessels of water in Bangladesh, they’d say, “Free enterprise? The market? I don’t relate.”

Finally, using the market and carbon taxing won’t work, not to completion anyway. It’s processes are too slow due to the haggling of who gets what and who don’t. If we stick with this approach, it’ll be decades before it would have any impact on future climate disruption. By then it’s most likely to be too late. If any one of the mainstream scenarios for carbon taxing were implemented right now most would not yield any significant emissions reductions of CO2 for several decades. Emissions reductions start out slow in every case, the best call for 20 to 30 per cent by 2030, but that’s for current emissions, not concentrations of carbon that will be up there kicking our ass for hundreds of years. The proposals are much too weak. Put it this way, we not only need to reduce or basically eliminate emissions, we also need to sequester the existing concentrations to get to a stable climate of 350 ppm and we are at 400 ppm now. We ain’t even started to deal with this thing and we are concerned about growing economies? That’s nuts.

What Instead?

Well there is no instead just yet, not in the works anyway. So for now let’s do the damn carbon tax and hope for better judgment later and that is as long as we start this taxing immediately and heavy duty taxing at that. Otherwise, we’re sitting and staring in a blank haze.

I said there is nothing in the works but actually there is ‘one’. I’ve come across an organization that has just about all the right answers, it’s called The Climate Mobilization. I saw their mission and was floored to actually see what I been calling on for years, almost to the letter. It promotes taking a war time stance on climate change.  It’s strong language and ask for sacrifice not just from government, but citizens as well, more so actually. Check it out and pledge your support, it’s really the only way to go at this point.

I don’t know people, we’re in a shit load of trouble, and we’re locked in debate over what to do and on top of that we have the debate as to whether there is any trouble at all…hard to believe. Ask yourself if you want your future generations to look back and say, “A damn carbon tax is all? What were they thinking, it sure wasn’t about us.”

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Seeking an End to Chaos

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Let’s talk about climate change in relation to optimism, pessimism and realism. And let’s talk it about in today’s context, July 2014. Furthermore, let’s talk about it in the context of our current activism, deniers not included, just advocates and particularly mainstream climate activists. Essentially, where are we going wrong? Whoa! We got a lot to talk about!

There are two areas of concern I wish to discuss and analyze. The first concern is the current status of climate change and the second is our response to that and how that response is not only out of touch with reality, but is also in a state of chaos.

Concern 1

Alright, here’s a list that’s hard to deal with:

–The California drought happened and we were not ready for it.

–The middle-east crisis due to water shortage happened and we were not ready for it.

–Sandy, Katrina and Haiyan happened and we were not ready for them.

–The planet’s ice is melting beyond control now and we are not ready for it.

–The droughts in Russia, China, Africa, Australia and India happened and we were not ready for them.

–The floods in Boulder, Alberta, Pakistan and the Himalaya’s happened and we were not ready for them.

–The Ogallala Aquifer is dropping to the point of no use and we are not ready for it.

–The mudslide in China’s Sichuan Province happened and we were not ready for it.

–The record breaking 2011 tornado out-break in the southeast USA happened and we were not ready for it.

–The 2012 Bucharest blizzard happened and we were not ready for it.

–The European 2003, Australian 2009 and the Chinese 2013 heat waves happened and we were not ready for them.

–Oh, let’s do one more and it’s a biggy: The sea is going to rise by at least 3 feet by the end of the century and we will not be ready for it.

Uhhh…ya starting to see a pattern here? This is a small list, much more has happened with our climate and we have not at all been ready for any of it. Oh yeah, we got our FEMA’s out there, but they are a small band-aid in regards to “being ready” for the type of climate events we are seeing and will see. We are going to fall into a very large trap that we have been setting for ourselves unless we begin to see things for what they are and we begin preparing, mitigating and adapting now. Here are 5 things we know right now about our situation with climate change.

1. 97% of scientists agree that the Earth is warming and it is caused by humans

2. Science has determined we need to be at 350 ppm of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to stay clear of serious climate disruption; we are at 400 ppm and rising.

3. As of 2014 only 21% of global energy is renewable.

4. We already are experiencing serious climate change, and we are not ready for any of it.

5. Far more reports come out about climate change that say “worse then previously thought” than “not as bad as previously thought”.

The strongest indicator of our future with climate change is not the 97% consensus , nor the 400 ppm concentrations, that the sea is rising, that the ice is melting, that the weather is changing, nor our slow progress on renewables and emissions reductions, none of that. The biggest thing telling us where we are headed is that science is repeatedly conservative on their projections and is always saying, “it’s worse than previously thought”. THAT is what tells us where we’re headed. Considering that this phrase has been repeated for 30 years now, I’d imagined it would be safe to say that a good deal of the projections established at this point here in 2014 are likely to be conservative as well.

OK, let me ask again, are you starting to see a pattern here? I find it rather easy to conclude that these patterns are showing us that we are not in reality about our relationship to climate change, well, not even close.

Concern 2

Have you ever been caught in an emergency? For instance, say you were in a plane crash that fell deep into the Colombian forest and right next to a murdering drug cartel that kills anyone who does not belong in their domain. You don’t have any idea where you are at and how to get out of there, but you do know you are in grave danger of being shot and killed or worse. Let’s ask, what would the pessimist do, what would the optimist do and what would the realist do? The short answer is they’d all do the same thing; they would  look for help and someone to guide them out of there.  They would not take time to be concerned about optimism, pessimism or realism, they’d just move their ass and be looking for help. That’s what an emergency of a life or death situation does to you, it focuses you to act immediately on the issue at hand with no editorials going on in your head. You don’t pretend you are not in a serious situation, you don’t dwell on how they are going to kill you and you don’t stop and weigh the balances of what your situation is, good or bad. No, you run and you focus on that running.

Similarly, this is the case with climate change; it is an emergency, though it is an emergency on historic time scales and not in our immediate face. Normally when a climate change takes place it’s on geologic time scales, but due to our current trends this is not so with human caused warming, it’s a matter of decades.

So, we have the pessimist, the optimist and the realist all involved in summarizing our situation with climate change and to boot having many different levels in each category. Each of them not really considering they are in an emergency, that’s particularly so with the optimist, somewhat with the realist and never in the case of the pessimist. I’m going to average these categories out and state a general postulate to each one. Let’s start with the realist.

First off, let me say that I am in the realist camp so I have prejudices, but I’ll do my best to be accurate in my assessments. In the case of climate change the realist looks first at what are the dangers, or, what does the science actually say about it? The realist tends to take the science at face value with little doubting but at the same time does not go over board with that trust. They tend to find the most common denominators on scientific assessments and then associate that directly as to what should be done about it. In other words, they are number crunchers. So their solutions scenarios tend to be developed the same way, by the numbers. The only real problem with this is they are not giving any credence to the possibilities that the numbers could be wrong on both sides of good or bad in regards to outcomes.

The optimist has a tendency to acknowledge the dangers and the actual science, but lets that go quickly and immediately turns their attention towards what can be done about it. They spend little time on the problem and devote their focus on solutions. This sounds like a good thing. However, in the case of climate change this is not always so. To put it bluntly if you look at Concern 1 above and then look at the solutions scenarios of the optimists, they don’t match at all. In short, the optimists are way over doing their optimism.

The pessimist tends to ‘only’ look at the science and determines that we are dead and that the science tells us catastrophic warming is on its way and we can’t do a damn thing about it. The obvious problem here is that there is plenty we can do about it, we may still suffer some, but we have it in our means to reduce that suffering measurably if we act appropriately and do it soon.

Each of these positions on climate change can be demonstrated by the proposals they each put forward to cope with this issue. In the case of the realist their solutions scenario is quite drastic as the actual and by the numbers account from science on climate change is that without dramatic action our future becomes catastrophic.  The realist sees that assessment and so they propose huge and immediate cuts in emissions, like 80% by 2025, and say to do whatever is necessary to make that happen. Including reducing economic output and imposing government mandates on industry and citizenry. They promote a wartime stance on climate change and are not as concerned about replacing our energy systems with renewables as they are about just getting emissions down, if that means turning off the juice then that’s what it means.  Also, their focus is as much on adapting to as it is to mitigating climate change, actually more so.

The optimist sees climate change as an opportunity to make life better on the planet. They see that clean energy is the way to do this and that if we get renewables switched over soon as possible we can continue our lives as modern citizens with economic growth and employment actually rising. They tend to not talk so much about adaptation but stress mitigation almost exclusively.

The pessimist acknowledges the same solutions scenarios as the realist but everything taken down many notches to the near point of may as well shoot our brains out as try. They have concluded that there really is no solution and that only a miracle can save us now. Simply, they’ve given up and many are never heard from again about anything related to climate change.

I’ll ask again, are you starting to see a pattern here? If you look deep into this like I have, you’ll see the pattern is one of chaos. I want to go back to the list of five things we know about our situation with climate change. Review that now if you please and also check again the list of climate events we’ve not been ready for and are still not. Looking at those it’s hard not to go the way of the pessimist and one wonders that if you are a realist or a pessimist, how can the optimist think the way they do?? It is here that chaos begins because the focus as to what it is we should actually do gets lost in all the proposals of these many camps. Simply, we are all over the place when it comes to decision making.  We all have a voice and need to share it, but the ensemble get’s so loud you can’t hear a damn thing.

There is a lead voice that tends to overrule the others and that is the voice of optimists. I say overrule because most of the optimists come from the developed world and are also those in the developed world who have benefited by it through their successes. This also gives them a great deal more power as the modern world’s foundations and functioning’s are guided by economic conditions. And so governments respond accordingly as their job tends to be oversight of economic health. Given this, it is no surprise that the optimists are winning the day. This is evident in that the biggest push thus far has been the implementation of clean energy.  We hear very little about adaptation (though it is gaining a little ground the last two years, Mayor Bloomberg’s proposals for New York are an example).

I gotta say, that the optimists are our lead right now scares me, not as much as the pessimist would if they lead, but nearly as much. Looking at those two lists above and seeing that our lead is coming from a sector of society that thinks climate change is an opportunity…well, that’s scary. I acknowledge that being a realist has its draw backs while at the same time being a pessimist is quite understandable (though useless), but the current stance of the optimist just simply defies common sense and reality. It is the only thing that’s good about the chaos we are in because at least there are enough contrary voices to the optimists to have hope they’ll be slowed down enough to wake up.

I haven’t intended to promote the realist in this essay, but I admit that I clearly have. Yet, I don’t think it can be avoided when assessing our condition when we take off either our rose or black colored glasses. We can do that with the little things, the every day problems of the world, but with something that has the risk of committing us to the world’s sixth great extinction I believe looking at it squarely and realistically is the only way to look at it. Having done that, we act in direct correlation to our findings. We already have the findings via our science which is solid given there is 97% agreement on it in the field. Therefore, it is appropriate to be realistic and forgo our other tendencies of optimism and pessimism and decisively choose to be realistic and in doing that we end the chaos and get on with the proper action. It’s likely that realism may not turn out to be fun while it fights doom, but it also may be the only thing that gives us a chance to avoid catastrophic warming and its impacts.

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The Collective Decision

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I write a lot about the collective mind.  This article will be dedicated to that subject, but not in the way I usually talk about it.  I always state that we need the collective mind to wake up and help get us out of this mess, or at least help us to adapt to it. In this article I want to delineate just a bit on what this awakening actually is. I realize that my discussions regarding the awakening of the ‘collective mind’ may sound a bit ethereal, or something like mind reading or maybe something spiritual. If you have thought any of that, then hopefully this article will clarify the reality of it. It is none of these things, though they can be a part of it if we chose to do that; in our case making choices is what the collective mind is all about.

As societies we make choices now, even while our collective mind is in its catatonic state, or if you prefer a softer analogy, sleeping.  At present we make collective choices as a collective of individuals and as a result we get a collective impact of sorts, but not a waking collective consciousness. What we do get are laws, customs, traditions, etc. It’s kind of what I’d call a half-ass collective, which is why we also get a whole slew of unwanted byproducts, but that’s another article.  Suffice it to say we are not completely out of touch with ourselves as a collective, within national boarders that is, globally not so much.

The actual re-awakening of the collective mind is a different animal though.  It’s a different experience in that as an individual, you will experience the collective as if it were an individual. This is about as mysterious as it will get, that is, if we are only waking it up to help us out for a time, like a foxhole prayer. The experience will be about the same as when your home team scores a basket; for awhile, we’ll all sort-a smile the same way, maybe give a couple claps. In other words, it’s not all that magical. This is so because all that happens is that collectively we make a decision, a choice. It would be a similar experience to voting or democracy, but not quite either.

All this becomes clear when the collective itself becomes more or less tired of itself. We as a collective species will begin to give out, and as this steam lets off along with it comes an awareness of the collective.  In other words, somewhat simultaneously we’ll turn to each other and collectively we’ll know at least one thing, that we are all tired. This has to come first or we will not make a collective decision about anything. Until this happens, we, as a collective, will continue on relying on the miracles of science and the success of our policymakers; while we the people just vote and spend. But as you may have come to understand already, this isn’t working anymore…and we are getting tired of it.

So let’s say we finally get damn tired and are all aware of it to boot, then what? What does the collective mind (somewhat awaken) do next? Well, it will quickly come to understand that it has a choice, and that is to remain tired and on deaths path, or to find a new way to live.  Believe it or not, all of my discussions regarding the collective mind can be boiled down to this one point in time, this time of choice. I’ve never spoken to the choice of remaining as we are; I’ve said plenty about the results of that choice, but not the choice itself. Nevertheless, I hope that will not be our decision, in fact; I think it is ultimately ruled out as a choice. If we continue as we are…well, it might be we’ll have to get all the way down to ten people left on the planet, but eventually we’ll decide for a new way of living.  Yes, I suppose we don’t have to make that choice, but as for me, any other choice is ruled out.

So let’s say we go with Door No. 2 and we decide to live a new way (good choice). So while the collective mind is still awake, we can then decide on what that new life will be. It is at this point that leaders will step forward and lay out the path for how we will collectively make this decision on what our new world will be. And it is also at this point that the collective mind can choose to stay awake or go back to sleep, we will have made some choices and now we’ll just be carrying them out. We won’t need it anymore.  But hey, it can stay around as long as it likes as far as I’m concerned.

So you see, the awakening of the collective mind is a very tangible thing, it is something we do more than think or feel, it’s just making a decision—collectively.  And it will be a physical act, you can bet on that. We’ll probably have to vote or something similar. We are not going to be like the Borg, where suddenly we are all connected mentally as one mind. That’d be cool, but don’t wait for it in your life time.  No, there will have to be some sort of standardized communication effort, probably voting, but who knows? I couldn’t rule out a cognitive collective experience, these are powerful times; anything can happen, however, I don’t see us ready for that sort of magic yet. Of course this ‘stepping forth of leaders’ I referred to earlier will be sort of a magical kind of thing. It could be our existing governments, but that’s only if they have gone through major changes as a result of the awakening.  Or it could be some sort of emulsion from the collective, something that takes place organically, this could be from government or some other thing; a computer maybe?? That’s the best I can describe it, whatever steps forward to lead us, I’d imagine it’d be sort of magical.

A primer for this to happen is simply that we as individuals begin to at least think about the collective mind or the need for a cooperative decision to change. If enough of us get it into our waking consciousness that we need the collective mind to waken, then it becomes a powerful mindset that can get the ball rolling. I’d say we are doing that right now with things like CollapseNet, the TransitionTown movement and the Occupy movement; we are beginning to wake this gal up. It’s like she is aware in her dreams that the sun is coming up, but right now it’s only a dream. In any case, the sad truth is it all boils down to a numbers thing. We need more people aware that they are tired than people unaware that they are tired, and then she will sit up in bed. And then it will go like this: the more the numbers, the clearer her speech. Again, there is nothing all that magical about this, its math. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the biggest deal the human race has ever confronted. The question is, will we?

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Chaos Rules!!

Chaos-symbolHey, what’s your idea today? We all have ideas, and many of us use our idea brain to try and solve issues; issues like climate change. But there’s a problem in all that well intended effort: Chaos. Here’s a post I put up on Facebook today, It’s made me think about what I am doing  myself with all my great ideas. Maybe I should just shut up:

“I’m getting kinda discouraged about hopes for dealing with climate change. Chaos is the reason. Humans run about with their brains tucked safely away in their skull, each brain having it’s own purview to the world. So ideas form about ways to deal with climate change. I got a million of them myself, take that times 7 billion and you have chaos. As I read the comments of people who care about this issue it really becomes apparent. We have ideas ranging from solar hats to charge your phone to live under the stars and eat worms. And most of these ideas have good intentions and a select few of them will actually work. But in chaos, selection becomes phased out by the background noise of ideas that ram the air ways 24 hours a day. Seeing this, I realize that all my great ideas are nothing more that small tinging bell in a sea of blow horns. So my discouragement is not that no one listens to my ideas, it’s that the best idea out there will likely never be heard, let alone implemented.”

So anyway, this has got me thinking. And I’m seeing that this by itself may be the very thing stopping action. It’s a thing of…over caring maybe? Could that be? Could we actually be so concerned that it bottlenecks our efforts? Well, that’s how it appears to me. I scroll down through comments and postings on the net regarding climate change and I see solutions abound. In one ten minute run I read so many that if you ask me what I read I’d say,”I don’t know, a lot I guess.”

There is a reason for this and it’s not just ego. I think it has much to do with lack of leadership. When the captain is in his cabin getting drunk, his crew starts doing the pondering about the ship, “all” of them ponder while he sits drunk, but no one seems to have the loud enough voice as a seaman to out do the remain voices. So, groups start gathering and the same thing happens, one group wants to head south, the other west resulting in the ship wondering north with no purpose and a drunk captain with an arguing crew wrapped up in chaos.

So this is what we have in regards to climate change, drunk captains in every nation. And all those captains are so paralyzed they’ve forgotten what it means to be a captain. Somewhere, sometime, enough leaders are going to step up and tell us to shut up and just follow the leader. In this situation with climate change, we need a some type of tyrannical genius who has love as his or her guide. Is that gonna happen? I really do not know.

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Into Action

May 2011

You might be able to accuse me of all gripe and no solution.  That would only be partially true because in most all of my essays and articles I have been advocating specific changes, some in detail.  However, in this chapter I am going to exclusively deal with the issue of change and the tasks involved. Get ready to go to work. We did not get here overnight and we will not get out of here overnight.  The changes are massive in size and scale. They involve just about everything and everybody.

There are several other factors that are subject to cause collapse, but climate change and peak oil are the two that are set to happen as 100% certainties.  I will leave you to study and learn about these issues to make that determination of certainty for yourself.  However, only one fact is needed to tell the tale of peak oil; we have limited supply of oil, plain and simple; we will run out. As a result of peak oil and climate change we will see economic collapse, it is a simple and logical deduction.  The food and water shortages alone caused by climate change will cause this, but there are literally hundreds of other climate impacts that will disrupt our economic paradigm enough that they will bring about major collapses in our systems. Finally, I believe I can assume it is obvious that having no oil…well, you go figure.

So, we are headed for trouble; what are we going to do? Below is a list that deals with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of our change and is more or less chronological in its order. From there foreword I will deal with each item in detail. I say it is chronological but in reality much of it will need to happen simultaneously or will be overlapping.

  1. Awareness
  2. Planning
  3. Food and Water
  4. Shutdown
  5. The System
  6. Evaluate and Implement Technology
  7. Teardown and Rebuild
  8. Brace for Impact

Awareness

Awareness is the first step to saving our collective ass. Except that you might say to me, “Yeah of course we need awareness but don’t you think we have had awareness up to our necks, I mean c’mon, we’ve been having these issues shoved down our throats for decades now–I’m aware–give me a break!” Sadly you would be all too correct. The problem is we don’t know the depths of these issues; particularly climate change and peak oil.

The first clue to the fact we don’t really know about these issues is because when we talk of solutions we think we will be safe. And the solutions themselves are telling of our lack of awareness. No, we will not be safe. No, we are not going to solve these problems to the point of happiness, we won’t, we can’t. These issues are going to hurt us and they are going to kill many millions, likely billions of people and this is what we need to be aware of. Simply put, we have gone too far.

We need to know this so we can do the proper preparations for what is coming down the pike and so that at least “some” of us will survive with our lives. Changing to energy efficient technologies is a very good thing; we do need to do that. Green jobs are great, clean fuels are wonderful, reducing, reusing and recycling are very good intentions. But all these things are not going to stop these two monsters. They may weaken them and that is good, they will slow them down and that’s real good because time is very important. But we are still going to be slammed with no oil, and a climate that is lethal. Our economies will not handle the shocks and we will collapse. The life we know now is going to end.

Being aware of these realities is crucial. If we do not know what is going to “really” happen, then our preparations will be wrong. Let’s get it right and let’s get it right—right now. I emphasize ‘right now’ because timing is everything. These events are not going to wait on us to get ourselves together; they are coming on their own schedule, which is in about 20-30 years, and in many ways are here already. That is in terms of significant impacts, particularly with climate change. If we are not deep into adaptation efforts by then, we will never catch up and the consequences of that I don’t even want to go into.  Stop right here and check out the science if you do not believe me. Look for “climate change impacts”.

There needs to be awareness campaigns.  My writings here are my effort towards awareness. Don’t wait on the media, they are bought and sold already. Don’t wait on the government either, they too are bought and sold. If you feel the need to write your congressmen please do so, it can’t hurt. But real awareness is going to come from grass roots campaigns that are not political. We’ve been doing political advocacy for decades and we are no closer to awareness than we’ve ever been; misinformation maybe, but real awareness? No.

“So who are we supposed to talk to; if not the media and not the government, then who?”

You must talk to each other. Talk to your neighbor, your friends, your co-workers, your church, your non-profits, your schools, your kids, your relatives—every-freaking-body! I am not actually saying to not talk to media and government, especially media. I am saying don’t solely rely on them, that will fail. We need to use what ever media will listen and if your congressman will listen, by all means get his or her ear. But word of mouth is going to be where the real truth lies, especially if citizens inform themselves properly.

The important thing to remember is the message must be about adaptation.  We have to think in terms of protection and defense. The enemy has advanced too far; negotiations are no longer a viable solution. We must surrender and learn to live with the enemy. I know this is not what you want to hear, but you have to hear it and you have to shout it back to those around you.

“So what will all of “us” knowing this stuff do for us if you are not including the government? Don’t we need them to get these “preparations/adaptations” done?”

Yes, we will need some form of organization. I do not know what that will be. I do believe though that once awareness has truly peaked, then leadership will fall into place naturally. If that leadership is from governments, then great, because that will mean they have gone through major and vital changes. If it is not government, then that will mean something else has risen to meet the challenge. I do not know what that something would be, but do not, I repeat, do not rely on the status quo as it is now, it will screw your cookie.

Planning

The challenges ahead are so big and so complex that we will not even get close to accomplishing the tasks without very intelligent planning. As I said previously, once awareness has reached levels that truly motivate, then leadership will naturally evolve. Those leaders will see and know that the implementation of adaptation will take many years. The world will not look the same, operations will have taken on whole new concept; we will be living in a new paradigm.

The next several sections of this chapter tell what the planning will be about. But suffice it to say that commitment is key. Why? Once again, it is about time, we do not have time to start this and stop this for something new. We have to know what we are doing and be committed to seeing it through with no turning back. Therefore, concrete and well thought-out plans are imperative.

As you read on, you will see that though the changes are massive, at the same time in many ways they are actually simple and monothematic. It’s is all about survival, nothing more nothing less. It all boils down to food and water.

Food and Water  

It is hard to get our heads around these doom saying scenarios. We are not only instinctively inclined to not accept them; they are as ‘facts” not very believable. After all, there is no visible or obvious evidence for the average citizen to latch on to.  But nevertheless, just a little self study shows us that these scares are very real and are forthcoming. However there is one doom scenario coming that a person won’t need to have studied to make them a believer and that is food and water issues involving shortages, rising prices and contamination.

In 2010, both Russia and China suffered grain losses from drought and heat waves and at some of the highest levels in their histories.  Weird cold spells in the southern U.S. I’m sure have not helped anything either; massive floods in Pakistan; droughts in India and Africa, Australia the same for floods and drought. These type of events are going to increase in frequency and potency, count on it. How much and how often we will see the changes I don’t know, but they are sure to come. We can only hope their pace is slow but if the current pace is the ongoing trend, then we’d better hurry.

Water issues are the same, there is trouble a plenty. You can check these issues out for yourself as well. What I wish to convey is we need to get our collective ass in gear and begin to deal with this and get way ahead of it long before climate change destroys our chances to eat and drink—permanently. That is why this coarse of action is listed early in my to do list above. Getting started on this one is so critical that if we fail then it’s all over but the crying.  This is because this is where climate change is first going to have cataclysmic impacts. Well hell, I’ll just go ahead and say is having cataclysmic impactsright now. Just ask Africa, they’ll tell you it’s cataclysmic.

The answer is very simple but is equally difficult to pull off, and that answer is local farms. Better yet, subsistence farms. You need to get started right now growing your own food. If you have money to invest it in self-sufficient food production and water catchment (not wells) systems, then just do it, don’t ask, just do it. Talk your neighbor into doing the same thing; in fact, talk your neighborhood into doing the same thing with youIn fact, why don’t you just get your neighborhood to turn itself into one big “local” farm?

If you want to shout something then shout this, “CORPORATE FARMING CAN GO TO HELL”.  Corporate farms as opposed to local farms will not be manageable in the very near future, not without large oil supplies and not without very favorable weather. The other problem is distribution.  Again, there will not be fuel available to move the food, there will not be an economy for exchange of food and there will not be an infrastructure sound enough to deliver food. But with local farming all those issues are non-issues because there is no need for distribution systems, the food is already there; no need for exchange, it’s your own product, and the infrastructure is small, it’s about 1000 feet long and 200 feet wide.

“Hey asshole, you make this sound awful easy.  There are all kinds of things to do to make a neighborhood into a farm.”

That’s right dude, better get started. Be ready for some back breaking work.  You also got a lot of thinking and planning to do. You have to get organized. You have to study and learn some very new things. You have to learn how to take care of yourself and your family. You have to learn to think cooperatively and collectively.

I can’t delineate all that has to be done here in this chapter; it is a book by itself.  But I can tell you that it is absolutely vital that we citizens of the world accept the fact that we are going to have to go back in time a little, like it or not. That is, if you want to stay alive. Maybe it is not “you” that you need to worry about, especially if you are over 50, but maybe you need to think about you children and grand children, they are heading into a storm. It is your responsibility to help them get ready for it.

If you are able, start a farm, or find a farm to get involved with; build a greenhouse (very important); start a garden. But most important begin now to learn what it is you need to do to secure your relationship with food and water. Do not wait on the system to deal with this, it can not do it. Ultimately, it will be up to you and your clan, whatever and whoever that may be.

Shutdown

This part of this chapter is the most challenging of all. If the government or corporations thought I had any clout at all, then I’d probably would be killed for saying the things I’m about to say. But since I’m a nobody and would be pegged by the average citizen of the developed world to be a nut, then I have little to worry about.

Let’s shut it down folks, shut it down. The “it” I am referring to is the free enterprise economy and much of the systems that run and operate the modern world. Yeah I know, I know, “pretty drastic” you say, I know, “devastating” you say, “dangerous” you say, yeah I freaking know, OK?

The system is going to circumstantially shutdown anyway, why not do it ourselves andunder our control and not at the hands of climate change and peak oil. Let’s do a controlled shutdown. The electrical grid in America is about to fall even without these scenarios. It’s estimated it will take 2.5 trillion dollars to overall America’s electrical grid. It is way under capacity now and they say it will not handle expected future demand and will most assuredly start us having blackouts on a regular basis. This is before climate change and/or peak oil. With those it is a sure thing. And that is just talking about periodic blackouts. Which of course is nothing to sniff at but it doesn’t even compare to a permanent nationwide shutdown of the entire grid.

If we are smart we will begin to methodically, intelligently and over a long period of time start weaning ourselves off the systems that support this massive way of life we know in the industrialized world.  And here’s the thing, if we do this right we won’t have to lose allof it like we will if we go on as if we can go on forever. If we admit it is coming to an end then we can deal with that end and not let it be “the” end. In fact, with solar and wind power we can still have a communications system and lighting at the very least. We may not be buzzing around in cars, boats and planes, but we will be able to talk and communicate with each just as we do now.

But I have to admit, that’s about all we’ll have. There will be no Macy’s, Wal-Mart’s or Penny’s. There will be no malls, downtowns or resorts. Luxury life will be a thing of the past, as will yachts, sports cars and even motorcycles. These are not going to be omitted by choice if that’s what you are thinking; instead it will be the result of economic collapse. It is the free enterprise system that brought all this about because its foundation is growth and growth’s foundation is innovation and sales. With no economy there will be no free enterprise and therefore no product. But if we do this shutdown intentionally, we can retain some products. That issue is another book, but if you use your head, then you will know what I mean.

These are not pleasant thoughts, and they become nightmares when they are forced upon you with no mercy. If we don’t take shutdown into our own hands then it will come to us this way, hard and fast with no mercy. We will be caught with our pants down and bare assed to nature’s fury.  The only way to avoid that is to plan a shutdown that we can live with.

Just like the food and water situation, time is the absolute fundamental element to our success. We have to start now, right now. It will take at least 20 years to do this shutdown correctly. You need to also consider that we will be returning to an agrarian lifestyle at the same time. In one way, culturally that is, this will help but it will also be lots of work. We are going to be busy bees let me tell you. So again, time is vital because there is much to do. That is the nature of catastrophic events; they make life very hard, extremely hard. The more you accept and expect that the better off you will be. It’s war folks, quite literally. You thought WW2 was something, ha!

The System

It is natural to assume that we will need some sort of system for society to manage. We do this with the free enterprise system now in most of the developed world. In other words, economy sets the stage. And then there is government providing law, infrastructure and defense.

I am not going to pretend I can even begin to lay out what the system in this new world will be. But as I said in the first section of this chapter, once awareness of our needs have been fully realized; then leaders will step forward to organize our doings.  I believe the same goes for our system of operations. Remember, we are going to be a “society” of beings that are existing merely to survive. Economic growth and development, city planning, cultural development and the like will all be put on hold so to speak. We are going to just be trying to eat substantive food and drink clean water.

So given that scenario your guess is as good as mine. But just like with our shutting down the grid and infrastructure, the same goes for our societal systems. We will need to wean off of our systems as we know them now and gradually form new approaches to these needs. The trick is to acknowledge that the system as we know it is coming to an abrupt end when considering historical time. For 5000 years we’ve been developing civilization and suddenly we are going to be forced to start over and develop something new in just a few short decades. However, it isn’t like we don’t have much knowledge at our disposal to figure this out; that is not the problem.

Whatever happens in regard to the functioning of our new system, one thing for sure that will have to be its backbone is the collective mind. We are going to have to cooperate with each other, not compete as we do now. There will be no competition because there will be no jobs. At least not in the way we know them now. We will have to have an organized system of some kind for production purposes. For instance, we are still going to need salt. Get it? We will need clothing and other materials for everyday survival.  In other words, tasks for the greater good will have to be performed. This is where you sacrifice, you will have to give your time and energy to the greater good, or you and the rest of us will die. You will not do it for money, money will be passé. You will do it because you, just like the rest of us, will want to live.

Evaluate and Implement Technology

As I referred to in the section on shutting down, it is very likely that we can hold on to portions of our present life. Of course survival is the key word here. We are going to be faced with tremendous threats to our very lives; we must retain the technology and even develop new technology that will aid us in devising ways to protect us from these threats.

We will need heating and cooling for sure, we will not have the energy resources we do now, so we will have to get very clever. Perhaps we will retain nuclear energy, but personally I hope not and I also doubt it because I doubt that energy will come from grids. Instead, energy will be localized and maybe even home produced or neighborhood produced. There most likely will not be a grid to hook into.  However, there will be some sort of infrastructure in place, however crude. In this case there may be some sort of power grid for use of this infrastructure and perhaps it might be powered by nuclear energy. The question is can we maintain and oversee such a thing when people are just trying to eat?  All this becomes very dependent on the collective will and development of the cooperative spirit we talked about before.

Speaking of nukes, we have tons of them on this earth. Something is going to have to be done about them. They can’t just be left to sit and rot. We are going to have to nuke down. The same goes for other chemical and biological toxics. We won’t be using them but the damn things are still going to be around and they will have to be destroyed or stored for safety. The reality is we will need technology to deal with technology.

These things will hopefully be handled in the shutdown phase. But then again maybe they won’t, maybe we won’t have the time.  You see, we are in an emergency; most of us do not even know it yet. That being said, a smooth transition can not be at all guaranteed. In fact, count on lots of trouble and lots of screw ups.

Teardown and Rebuild

This section could really just be a rewrite of chapter 5 of my article Evolve Now. In that chapter I talk about all of us getting out our hammers and shovels and start tearing down our present infrastructure in order to make a new one. This and the next section are all about that.

Much of this phase can be dealt with during the shutdown phase. In fact, just like the food and water situation, it is really something we need to start on immediately. The main reason is for materials. We are going to need lots of materials to build an infrastructure and shore up our homes so that in both cases they become able to withstand the coming climate change impacts such as floods, extreme heat and cold and severe weather.

We will not have the big manufacturing and raw resource industries we have now. Remember, the grid will have been or will be in process of being shut down. So energy to get these things done will not be available. What will be available is muscle. Yes, we will have machinery for a time, but remember these projects will take decades. Climate change will be hitting us hard, oil supplies will be rapidly diminishing and also remember we will be intentionally weaning ourselves off these assets. We will use them as long as we can but no way can we depend on them for the duration of our transition period.

Again, this is where cooperation will become a life saving attribute. All able bodied men and women will need to be involved in this massive demolition effort. We will need materials. Remember, the seas are going to be rising within the next 50 to 60 years, perhaps much sooner.  That means a whole lot of people will need to be relocated all over the world and they will need homes. Get it? Even if we had the fuel to get this done, we still will not have the raw resources to manufacture enough building materials to deal with this mass migration we are going to see.  We are going to have to teardown and reuse our materials.

Brace for Impact

Let’s pretend that all this “action” as gone as good as it could go. That means that within the next 4 or 5 years, or by 2015, we will have gotten passed the awareness stage. We will be well in to growing our own food by 2020 and should also be finishing up our long term planning; starting our shutdown and our new system should be conceptualized and started. All these tasks will have needed to have been totally completed by 2040 while the teardown and rebuilding projects should also have been going all during this time as well and then be completed by at least 2050.

So, if all has gone right then it will be ready to go in 2050.  It better have, honey. Why? Because if it has not gone right, then we will most likely be out of oil and the climate will be kicking our ass all over the planet.  Our economy will have collapsed and our ability to extract raw resources and convert them to product will be long gone. We’ll be sitting ducks.

But can we actually depend on all this going right? That’s a big, big question if you look at where we are at right now.  I have to be honest; it sure doesn’t look like we are anywhere near ready for what I am calling for. But hey, god damn it, I gotta think we are going to wake up and kick it in the ass real soon. If we don’t, then all I can say is brace for impact.

 

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Water is the Deal

Drought-low-pond

No, I ain’t no kinda expert. But a little study and some everyday observation of the news can tell you a plenty. Let‘s go ahead and start of with some facts about water. These are from an organization called Changing the Present.

One sixth of the worlds population does not have access to safe drinking water.

 2.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to adequate sanitation.

 The number of people living in a water-stressed country is projected to climb from 470 million to three billion by 2050.

 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

 A child dies every 15 seconds from water-related diseases.

 World population has doubled since 1950. Our water consumption has increased six-fold.

 The average person in the developing world uses less than 3 gallons of water each day for drinking, washing and cooking. This is the same amount used to flush one toilet in the developed world.

 On current trends over the next 20 years humans will use 40% more water than they do now.

 40 billion working hours are spent carrying water each year in Africa.

 It would cost an estimated $16 billion more each year to halve the number of people without access to safe water and sanitation. Americans spent $15 billion on bottled water last year alone.

 1,300 gallons of water are needed to produce one hamburger.

 2.5 billion gallons of water are used every day to irrigate the world’s golf courses.

 In some parts of the world, a woman expends one third of her daily calorie intake carrying water for her family.

 Bottled water costs up to 10,000 times as much as tap water.

 Women and children in rural Africa walk an average of five miles a day for water.

2 million tons of industrial, chemical, agricultural and human wastes are dumped into fresh water sources each day.

 3600 children die each day from water-borne diseases.

 Makes you wanna just take a big dump right on main street, don’t it? No, no, it’s take a big dump right on your own freaking head, that is if you are living in the developed world. I am sickened by these facts; I am sickened that I am an American water consumer as I pit us against the rest of the world. IT’S SICK! Well actually, I personally only use on average about 3400 gallons a year, for everything including gardening. That’s only about 9.3 gallons a day. I have a compost toilet, shower only 6 times a month, reuse my dish and laundry water for digging trenches in hard pan ground, reuse my rinse waters from laundry for the next load, and more.  Don’t admire me, when you are catching and hauling your water, especially in New Mexico and in this drought, it’s pretty easy to get your usage down to 9 gallons a day.

Estimates vary, but according to the USGS per capita consumption in America is about 80-100 gallons of water per day. Remember this from the list above: The average person in the developing world uses less than 3 gallons of water each day for drinking, washing and cooking. This is the same amount used to flush one toilet in the developed world.  Get it? To flush shit down a damn toilet is extremely slipshod and equally stupid. And most of the time we’re only flushing about a pint of pee as we piss more than we shit. And all this with fresh clean water, IT”S SICK!

Now before I go on, let me say I’ve lived in the city, I have used water like the average American water glutton, I am noted for taking long hot showers, letting the water run while I talk to my girlfriend on the phone, taking too much time to fix drips, flushing nose wipe paper, all that. Yeah I am an American. And I only am doing good with water now mostly because I have to. So excuse me for my self-righteousness, but god damn it we gotta change, that means you and me. Hey, let’s look at some water projections.

Projections:

 From Science Direct:

By 2025, it is estimated that around 5 billion people, out of a total population of around 8 billion, will be living in countries experiencing water stress.

From the IPCC AR5 Report

Freshwater-related risks of climate change increase significantly with increasing greenhouse gas emissions

 Climate change is projected to reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions (high agreement, robust evidence). This will exacerbate competition for water among agriculture, ecosystems, settlements, industry and energy production, affecting regional water, energy and food security

 So far there are no widespread observations of changes in flood magnitude and frequency due to anthropogenic climate change, but projections imply variations in the frequency of floods(medium agreement, limited evidence)

 Climate change is likely to increase the frequency of meteorological droughts (less rainfall) and agricultural droughts (less soil moisture) in presently dry regions by the end of this century under the RCP8.5 scenario (medium confidence). This is likely to increase the frequency of short hydrological droughts (less surface water and groundwater) in these regions (medium agreement, medium evidence)

 Climate change negatively impacts freshwater ecosystems by changing streamflow and water quality (high agreement, medium evidence)

 Climate change is projected to reduce raw water quality, posing risks to drinking water quality even with conventional treatment (high agreement, medium evidence)

 In regions with snowfall, climate change has altered observed streamflow seasonality, and increasing alterations due to climate change are projected (high agreement, robust evidence)

 Well it’s sick already, and with these projections it’s only going to get sicker. I’m not gonna give you more quotes, you’ve heard enough with this. If you haven’t, you’re an idiot. Oh sure, some denier will say, “yeah but look at all those medium and low confidences the IPCC gives”. Yeah? Screw you. Those are from the IPCC of whom is very conservative in their estimates and extremely cautious with their projections since you dumb asses put the heat on Copenhagen with nothing but bullshit. How’d you get away with that anyway? I digress.

So, what the heck we gonna do about this? Well from the looks of things not much, but maybe thirst will change that? Sure it will, but that’d be too late. I mean, when you see some CEO buying a quart of water for 30 bucks you’ll know it’s too late for us commoners and likely too late for that dickhead as well. We can all do like I’m doing and massively reduce our consumption of water, but when it comes to water we’re all dickheads at some level here in the developed world. The likelihood the average American or European will sit on a compost toilet, outside in the open air with no walls around them, fighting flies and gnats while they wipe their ass is very, very slim. Many would rather die.

OK well I got an idea, but I’m not so sure of it myself; it’s all I got though. We catch the heavy rain and snow in areas that will have excess rain and snowfall and pipe it to the those areas suffering long-term drought. For instance let’s take Southwest America. Caught water can get there by gravity feed if the water catchment areas are in high altitudes, at least 5000 feet, the higher the better. In the in the north like Alaska, Canada or the Cascades you could get high enough to gravity feed to just about every part of the Southwest.

There are 7.48 gallons of water per cubic foot, so 12 inches of rain on a 500 acre catchment field at 43560 square feet per acre would produce over a quarter billion gallons of water. That’s just 12 inches of rain in one 500 acre area, think if it were 50 million acres spread out in 500 to 1000 acre catchment fields all over the north and eastern part of North America and catching water all year long. Fifty million acres is a pinhead on North America and so they’d never miss it. Remember, many of these areas will have yearly rainfalls of up to 48 inches, much of the southwest is lucky to get 12 inches and in the future it’ll be lucky for 4-6.  We pipe oil all over the god damn place, why not water? That water would be clean water as well. There are nearly 150 thousand miles of oil pipeline in the USA and 1.5 million miles of gas line. Pipelines for water would only have to run as far as the nearest resource river such as the Rio Grande, Colorado, the Pecos, the Green, the Sacramento and more and reservoirs too. There may have to be some minor pumping stations along the way using energy to get water over some mountains or something, but unlikely if done right. Unlike oil, we are not going underground, we are going to the sky starting at 5000 feet or better so most all the fluid will flow by gravity feed.

“Whoa!” you say, “hey bud, humans created this situation so humans gotta suffer the consequences. Don’t you think we’ve industrialized this planet enough and now you wanna do the biggest pipeline gig in history?” Oh sure, we created the problem, and the problem with that is we’ve created one so big that now to save a great deal of life on this planet besides our own, very drastic measures need to be undertaken. Understand, WATER is the only thing to be concerned about in regards to sustaining  ourselves and many other species. The life it would sustain in the southwest would be massive, everything from plants to humans, restored ecosystems, all that. The water would be coming from areas that will now have excess water due to climate change, get it?  See, it is that serious. And WATER is the only product (excuse the term) I would ever suggest to do this. Done properly it would not effect environments very much at all, quite the contrary, along the way it would help many environments. WATER IS LIFE.

By the time we would do something like this, our societies will have gone through many changes by just experiencing that every day is about survival now, you and I may not see this, but if we started doing something like this now our future generations would be very grateful for us to have amended this particular mistake. In their future, water will be the most precious commodity on earth for both thirst and hunger…let alone a bath.

So this project is something that would take decades, maybe a half century. Climate change is going to be screwing with us for many centuries. Even if you factor no major climate change but just natural variability, as the populations grow and agricultural lands decrease water will be the only thing keeping things afloat, no pun (etc.) and we all can’t be heading off to Greenland.

As fort the rest of the future conditions of the planet Earth and our societies, none of them will matter in the face of, “sorry son, no water”.  When water gets to the point of heavy rationing for both home and industry, the next thing that happens is we look like East Africa, very quick. If we get our attentions off the many, many products we consume (estimated to be 100 million) and the production thereof and instead think in terms of food, water, clothing and shelter, while recycling our cars into water pipeline, well yeah, if we start now we might make it. Do Not wait on high technology to fix this, it will be easier to land on Saturn than fix this water issue in an effort to maintain growing economies that support our present day standards of living; especially given our short recovery time window, as of April 2014, 15 years according to the UN. In short, the time for surrender and sacrifice is here, and time to let go of our toys.

We will ultimately become a water culture, we will have to. It will change our very perspective of life, from our daily involvements to our intrinsic values. What we own and enjoy now may look very different when we become a water culture. You think I’m talking some kinda spiritual crap? No, not really. Nevertheless, see it how you will because our force against nature is bringing us a change and by force of nature we will comply.

 

 

 

 

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Confessions of an Angry, Bitter, Old Fart Activist, Or Not?

by Danny Heim

Oh sure yeah this could be considered a confession, kind of. I mean I put it in the title didn’t I? Well yeah I’ll confess a few things here. Um, I confess that I’m an angry and bitter activist. And the only reason I confessed is because as you read this you will see that this is very much true. OK, confession’s over. So, this article is going to be about activism, strictly about activism and climate change activism to be specific.

Yeah, I have a ton of issues about 21st century activism. Actually it started back in the 20th century but it’s bad enough here in the 21st century so let’s just stick to that. I said bad enough, yeah it’s bad, 21st century activism that is. I’ll do a little list here so you’ll know why it’s bad.

  1. Reality
  2. Information addiction
  3. Elitism

Reality

I intend to be talking to climate activists here so if you’re not one then go watch TV or something. Ask yourself, do you really think you’re in reality? Well if you’re the typical activist then you’re not in reality, sorry. Yeah see that’s because of the climate science that’s right in front of you but you simply don’t want to look at it. Let me demonstrate. Go to the link below and look at the graphs there.

https://www.ipcc.unibe.ch/publications/wg1-ar4/faq/wg1_faq-10.3.html  (hit back button to return)

The graphs at this link are from the IPCC AR4 Working Group 1. The question is asked:  “If emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced, how quickly do their concentrations in the atmosphere decrease?” Well the answer is in these graphs. Here’s what you need to know about what it is saying so we can get you into reality. It deals with many different GHG’s but let’s just consider CO2 (graph A). It says that if we reduced emissions immediately by 50% then we would more or less only manage to level off CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Here’s an important quote to note from the IPCC report:

A 50% reduction would stabilize atmospheric CO2, but only for less than a decade. After that, atmospheric CO2 would be expected to rise again as the land and ocean sinks decline owing to well-known chemical and biological adjustments. Complete elimination of CO2 emissions is estimated to lead to a slow decrease in atmospheric CO2 of about 40 ppm over the 21st century.

Also note this quote:

“only in the case of essentially complete elimination of emissions can the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ultimately be stabilized at a constant level. All other cases of moderate CO2 emission reductions show increasing concentrations because of the characteristic exchange processes associated with the cycling of carbon in the climate system.”

And also note this quote that demonstrates the IPCC is talking about an “immediate” need in reductions in emissions:

“For each gas, five illustrative cases of future emissions are presented: stabilization of emissions at present-day levels, and immediate emission reduction by 10%, 30%, 50% and 100%.”

Are you getting the reality of this? See they are saying that an “immediate” 50% reduction in CO2 emissions will only give us less than 10 years of a stable level of 400 ppm (where we are now) and then the god damn CO2 things will start rising again. Now 350.org, Bill McKibbens group, says we need to be at 350 ppm to keep things safe and relatively livable. So by the IPCC findings we’d need a 100% reduction to decrease the current levels by 40 ppm in about 80 years and then have it stay there. That means we’d never be able to put human induced CO2 into the air and we’d need to get on that right now. Bill and the gang say we need to get to 350 ppm and stay there and the 40 ppm that the 100% reduction gives us will get us close, and maybe with carbon sequestration we’d get the extra 10 ppm needed to be at 350 ppm . Well then the IPCC scenario of a 100% is what we need. Of course we’d need to do that right now, that means immediately, see?

Now hey, do you really think that putting a price on carbon, practicing efficiency efforts and switching to renewables is going to get us to that 350 steady state? Now remember we gotta get on it immediately according to the IPCC. So if that is so, how immediate do you think getting a price on carbon is going to be, how immediate is getting the world adjusting to efficiency efforts going to be, and especially you gotta ask yourself how immediate are we going to get switched over to renewables? Please realize that by doing these slow and low level emissions reduction of 10 to 30 percent means we’ll still be increasing in CO2 concentrations.

Let’s pretend “immediately” means about 15 years or let’s just say 2025. The best and most bold proposals out there today don’t get us to an 80% reduction in emissions until about 2050. I think we safely can estimate that according to what the IPCC is saying in AR4 at that link above, I don’t think they are calling 2050 immediate, do you? I kinda doubt they are calling 2025 all that immediate either, but let’s say they are just to be safe. And really an 80% reduction ain’t the deal we actually need; it really needs to be 100% immediate reductions right now. Face the reality folks, today’s typical proposals don’t even come close to meeting the suggestions of the IPCC, not even close. Believe it, it’s is the science and most likely it is the conservative science as it doesn’t even include many of the feedbacks such as permafrost melt. I’m thinking that reality is a bitch, ain’t it?

There is hope, but slim hope. I’ll get into that later, right now I’d just like for you to think about what is being proposed in the climate advocacy movement today, and when you’ve given it some good thought and after you’ve studied that link I gave you above, then maybe you can think some more about the proposals we have now and say, “screw that, we need something way more dramatic”.

Information Addiction

Yeah see as activist promoting solutions to climate change the information we need to do that is not all that much really. I mean the IPCC is the premier source, ain’t it? And it’s safe because of how conservative they are; well, maybe too conservative but at least an activist wouldn’t be overstating things when they are convincing dumbshits about climate change. So really, the information I just gave you in that last section is one of only a few things you’d need; maybe all you’d need. If some dumbshit doesn’t believe you then fuck‘em; move on.

But no, we don’t do that, most of us don’t anyway. No, we seem to like to get our rocks off by staying with these dumbshits and argue till we are blue in the face. It’s like the favorite past time for climate activists and what kills me is they actually think they are doing some good by debunking the dumbshits. But the truth is once a debunk has been done, then there’s another lie gonna be coming right back at you to debunk. What a bunch of happy debunkers we activists are. And oh boy are we happy to debunk because we are fighting the good fight and staving off denial and all…that. The truth is we are in a spin cycle that never stops and all the while climate change gets worse and the possibility of resolving the matter gets ever further away.

Then there’s the obsession to do links. My god within the average thread in a comment section on the net of say 30 comments a guy could spend all day just to get the link sources read and not eat meals in the process. And here’s what I am seeing happening with this, or why it is happening I should say. I think maybe it’s an addiction. Yeah I think many people doing activist work wind up getting addicted to information, after all it’s the age of information is it not?

I remember when I worked with an environmental group in Missouri, and this was back in the early and late 90’s when the net was still getting introduced to society; the same thing then only without the internet so much. After a few years working there I began to see a pattern. I saw that what was actually happening in the environmental movement was really nothing more than an exchange of information. Yeah it was one study after another being traded around like commodities on the stock market or something, and the paper involved, whoa!  I mean this comprised at lest half or more of the work being done. One activist would send a study to another activist to read and said activist would send another back to the sender to read and so on. I’d get 10 to 20 emails and handouts a week asking me to read some new study or an article or some god damn thing. I quit reading the fucking things after awhile; it was bullshit as far as I was concerned.

See, I realized that for most issues I had just about all the info I needed to make a case with one or two studies and maybe a couple articles. And with science papers the abstracts and executive summaries were enough; I wasn’t a scientist and therefore did not need to understand the complicated computations within the papers, but I can tell you, there are activist a plenty out there who try. It became clear to me, the activist’s association with information that I was witnessing, and still do now with the net, is none other than an addiction. See, go to the airport or get in a crowd out in public and you’ll see at least 60% of them with their face in some kinda information injection device, it drives me fucking crazy. Oh by the way,  sorry for the vulgarity, I told you I was angry and bitter, and that’s no shit. Anyway, get help people.

Elitism

Now you’re gonna have to open you minds on this one, but you won’t like it. First let me get something clear, by the elite in this case I am talking about the liberal elite, and more specifically I am referring to the elites in the climate change movement and even more specific the activists in that movement. OK, now that we have our perimeters right let me ask you this. Do you think I am talking about the elite being those who are rich, who connect with senators and CEO’s and the like? And who also while being all that take trips to Europe and have large homes with swimming pools and a Mercedes Benz, an Audi and a Land Rover in their three car garages? And then these assholes have the audacity to be activists for climate change? You think I’m talking about them? Well…no, I’m not talking about “just” them. Yeah they’re included of course, but it doesn’t stop with them, no, it goes all the way down to the lower middle class school teacher who gets to every public hearing she can to do her part to speak out against those god awful elitist fossil fuels executives making those billions while she and her family are lucky to take a small vacation to the Rocky Mountain National Park once every few years; yeah her…that elitist bitch.

OK now let me define this group I am talking about just a little bit more. For the most part, not exclusively though, this group is comprised of mostly white, economically secure, educated and liberal citizens. Yes, even lower middle class people can be economically secure and usually are in the group I am talking about. This is probably about 85% of all climate activists. And if you add non-whites to the group it would go up to about 90% of all climate activists. Yeah, 90% of all climate activists have elitist issues. You say, “Go to hell, asshole.” Yeah, I get that a lot. But, give me a minute, OK?

So now that the demographic perimeters are completely established of the liberal elitist climate activist (there are not enough conservative elitist climate activists to be statistically significant) we can now move on to why I have made the distinction that such a group even exists.

Yes, what makes this group elitist? There are three main reasons; actually it is three of the four I mentioned above: economically secure, educated and liberal. I wouldn’t include race, whites are just those who have dominated the advantage side of the modern era. Other races would have done the same thing had they the opportunity.

The Economically Secure

There is one main definitive answer to the question of what makes for this particular elitism. First understand that the failure of the economically secure to recognize and face the realities of climate change, as mentioned in the first section above, is something that has not occurred without reason. As a matter of fact, the primary culprit is that these activists are economically secure, see? And how that relates to their elitism is that they do not wish to actually address these realities because to do that would undermine their economic security. In other words, sacrifice would be involved, even for the poor school teacher and her family hoping to get to RockyMountainNational park this year. Or even for that guy working for a propulsion laboratory as an entry level hydrologist assistant. Or for the mom and dad who do contract work installing water filtering systems for some god damn corporation that gets 80% of the contract income. To actually do something meaningful these people would need to be willing to sacrifice their comforts, however large or small, in order to do their part in assisting the movement so that climate change impacts would be thwarted or at least greatly reduced. And these are the actual activists of this movement; forget about the casual advocate out there who by comparison makes the subjects here look like proletariat enthusiasts.

The Educated

What does being educated have to do with the make up of this brand of elitism I am accusing these activists of having? Well, it has much to do with the second section above, information addiction. Only in the context of elitism it’s not as clear as simple addiction to information. There is actually an outright prejudice on the information involved, or as in information addiction, the amount of information involved. In direct terms, climate elitist think they know best and they think that because they feel they are more informed and because they actually are, at least in amount, they feel they hold superiority over those who have “less” information, but not necessarily inferior information, get it?

But there is an even more glaring aspect to this prejudice: communicative ability; whatever the fuck that means…yeah, they think there is only one way to talk and communicate climate change awareness and activism. Yeah you gotta sound educated, professional, politically correct, all that. Otherwise they feel you are not properly representing climate change advocacy. There are those who have this prejudice so bad they will denounce you outright and many times ask that your input be removed from forums and discussions, especially if there is any sort of formal setting involved. You may have vital input to add, but hey, if your grammar is off or if you sound a little too street like, well, please do the right thing and excuse yourself. In other words, “get the fuck outa here you white trash piece-a-shit.” Oh yeah, I’ve see this believe me, many times.

The Liberal

The liberal elite are actually a wide spectrum of people. It certainly is not a title belonging exclusively to climate activists. It is however a title that belongs to most liberals that begin at the lower middle class income levels and rises all the way up to the super rich. Most people believe the liberal elite are only those who are rich, or at least well off and of course educated, most likely professionals of some sort, but definitely wealthy. But because of the education prejudice most liberals have, then the status range of the liberal elite winds up being pretty far reaching; like I said, all the way down to the lower middle class.

Most people in 21st century America who are below lower middle income status, particularly those at the poverty level and especially if they are white, are usually not liberals. They mostly will be more or less non-political as they don’t give two shits about it because they’re just trying to get food on the table and the utility bills paid. But if they do happen to get somewhat political, at lest in America, especially since the cultural influence of Ronald Reagan in the 80’s, they will tend to be conservative; supporting republican policies and being very “American” or at the very least free market, independent, self-interest and competition oriented. There are many explanations for this, but the root causes are based in the need to be emotive, it gives them the sense of power they lack. I like to call these folks dumbshits as they are supporting the very people who are keeping them poor and stupid…I digress.

So as for the liberal elitist who is a climate activist it really comes down to prejudice, political, issue oriented as well as information and communication/education oriented prejudice. Liberalism, from the perspective of what’s wrong with it, comes out the strongest in the climate activism arena. I believe it is why conservative deniers and skeptics get so disgusted with climate activism. It’s that uppity, better than thou liberal personality that turns them off as much as the issue. Face it, liberal climate activists are an uppity crowd.

Conclusions

You may ask: “So what’s so important about this? Is it that big of a deal that climate activist are a little off on reality, they’re trying to do something ain’t they? Besides, to do much more than what they are proposing is most likely too much for the world to handle, the human species would not go for much more than what is currently being proposed and why should anyone be expected to sacrifice anyway, haven’t we been working to progress rather than regress? And who really cares that we like information so much, yeah maybe we’re a little overboard, but better to be over informed than under, right?  Yeah and so what about elitism too, so we get a little uppity sometimes, and hey, don’t we need people who are of higher mind, in fact, they should be our leaders shouldn’t they?”

Um, no, no, no, no…no to all accounts. Reality is reality, you can’t change it. And the reality is that we need a minimum 80% reduction in emissions by at lest 2025, and even with that we will still need to get ready to adapt to impacts, 80% by 2025 is “the” best we can do, we can’t do a 100%, therefore we’ll have some adaptation to deal with. But, anything less than an 80% reduction by 2025 is a recipe for calamity.

Over information is a problem. Why? Because we are spinning our wheels while we pass around information like candy, as if it’s going to make much difference how much more we know about this issue. For scientists yes, they need all the info they can get their hands on, but for us climate activists out here our addiction to information and information technology has become nothing more than a spin cycle to chew over and get into fancy debates with deniers that go nowhere. And as far as I can tell, these little debates that go on incessantly all day long on the net only serve to bolster the ego’s of those arguing, it’s a serious problem.

Yes it does matter if we get uppity and elitist. First off, it outcasts many people who may wish to be involved in climate activism but feel inadequate to do so and also fear repercussion from activists stuck on academia and the attitude of superiority that comes with it. Where in the history of the multiple millenniums of human experience did having the “proper form of communication and professionalism” be absolute criteria for being a leader or representative of any sort? Elitism is the greatest malfunction in climate activism to date, it must be thwarted.

I said earlier I would show that there is a slim hope. If you really are concerned about climate disruption, then you must be willing to change your advocacy message. We need governments to impose massive rationing programs, especially governments of the developed world. It is production of product as much as production of energy that has us using fossil fuels. We seek to have economic growth, and that is measured by our output of product and services. If we keep at that here in the immediate, we’ll never reduce emissions, not quick enough anyway. By the time we get all our energy ducks lined up in the way we are seeking at present, we will have most likely already passed the tipping points. Do we really want to take that chance just so we can keep these high standards of living? Are we willing to risk it all just for that?

To get the needed reduction of emissions in time and enough to thwart future catastrophic climate change we’ll need to back way off from economic growth; that means rationing. We won’t do that on our own, we’ll need to be forced, and therefore it is essential that climate activists promote government rationing. It’s not radical, it’s math.

Finally, in asking how all this matters, and very much in regard to facing reality, why should we care so much about correcting these problems in climate activism? More so, why should we care as activists so much that we would be willing to sacrifice our comforts and our standards of living for this issue; isn’t that asking a bit too much of 21st century humans? Isn’t it expecting people to behave beyond the scope of normal human compassion? Well no it is not. Why? Because this is not a normal human experience. This isn’t the case where your neighbor’s house has burned down and you get them a basket of food, or where your brother’s daughter has been found to have cancer and you offer to watch his house while he stays at the hospital. No, this is about the whole batch of life on earth! This is about whether or not there will be humans left on the planet in the next 100 years. This is about life itself, something that we have not found elsewhere in the known universe. Fuck you when you say, “well, humans deserve to die.” No we don’t, and nor does the many billions of other species that are threatened by this issue. Yes, it most definitely deserves your sacrifice of comfort and income. It deserves your very life.

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