Posts Tagged: climate change


22
Aug 19

ARE YOU THE CANARY IN THE COAL MINE?

There are so many canaries in so many coal mines.

This summer, I’ve noticed only a small fraction of the butterflies we used to have. Last year, experts said butterfly populations have dropped by fifty per cent. Half. Around here it seems less than half. Honey Bees also–very few here. There used to be a grand summer buzz of bees. Not now. Down 40% since last year, the experts tell us. Even the hardy, ubiquitous wasps are few. I’m not fan of wasps but it’s spooky when they vanish. Frogs are vanishing from creeks. I could quote dire statistics on sea mammal deaths. Whales, dugongs, sea lions. Salmon are dying from the  heat increase in northern seas. Here’s the latest headline from the American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences: “Neonicotinoid insecticides cause rapid weight loss and travel delays in migrating songbirds”…What do you suppose that augurs for songbirds?

The causes? Habitat loss, anthropogenic climate change, pesticides, too much land given over to industrial agriculture and meat mega-ranches, herbicides –which harm more than weeds–and other wonderful innovations of humanity. A new giant plastic garbage patch has turned up in the North Sea. Oceanic Dead Zones proliferate. Recently rain and snow has been found to be suffused with tiny plastic particles. Plastic particle pollution is found  in “extreme concentrations” in the Arctic, I read. NINETY PER CENT of fish stocks are used up. “Bird population in steep decline in North America” the headline says.

It’s all the same cause–humanity. No, more specifically, human greed.

Greed! Greed is behind the mindless use of pesticides, and herbicides; it’s behind the fires in the Amazon destroying the forests needed to clean the air, and destroying the animals, the butterfly and bird habitats there; it’s behind denial about greenhouse gases causing climate change; it’s behind over-fishing and the over-production of plastics and the destruction of habitats needed for …butterflies.

We humans are interconnected with the animal world. I wonder who’s next?

Me? You?

You may as well take another Prozac and turn on the latest tragic superhero fantasy. What else would you do?


20
Aug 19

Climate Change? Ha ha, they said, most amusing.

 “A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.”

Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or pt. 1 

(Thanks to Jim Baldwin for the quote).


5
Aug 19

Why the uptick in Shark Attacks? Why the Increase in People Losing Limbs from Flesh Eating Bacteria?

“Two people bitten by sharks minutes apart at Florida beach” – that’s the headline. Well here’s another headline: “Thousands of whales are dying”. What’s the connection? Because we, humanity, are overfishing the ocean, and taking away the creatures sharks and whales normally feed on? Partly. But there’s more. We are all the sponsors, the promoters, the cultivators of climate change which causes widespread death amongst sea creatures, wrecking their normal ecosystems, reducing populations even more than overfishing. Climate change, which displaces and kills sea lions and seals and other prey of sharks and orcas. We’re also killing whales and other sea mammals with plastics flushed into the oceans.

More and more people are stricken by flesh-eating bacteria. Necrotizing Fasciitis. Their limbs are rotting off them because a deadly quick-acting antibiotic-resistant bacteria got into them, sometimes through a break in their skin during a visit at the beach or a lake. Some of it is spread by mosquitoes, carrying pathogens normally restricted to the tropics, moving North because of climate change–climate change caused by greenhouse-gases pumped out by human beings. Dangerous bacteria are encouraged in increasingly warm seas and beaches and in the wild; pathogens cultivated by the heat of climate change.

As for the sharks–they have to feed on something. Mother Nature apparently thinks it’s only fitting that she nudges sharks to feed on the causes of their famine.

Swimmers, surfers, more than ever attacked by sharks. Rotting whales piling up on our beach.  People are getting sick as never before from ordinary contact with the wild.  We get the oceans and the beaches we deserve. And today, a new headline. This is for real, from KHOU 11 in Crystal Beach: Shark bite victim is now fighting flesh-eating bacteria.


2
Jul 18

13,000 refugees marched into the Sahara–Will be a Norm

“Here in the desert, Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 people in the past 14 months, including pregnant women and children, stranding them without food or water and forcing them to walk, sometimes at gunpoint, under temperatures of up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit…. Untold numbers perish along the way; nearly all the more than two dozen survivors interviewed by The Associated Press told of people in their groups who simply could not go on and vanished into the Sahara.” – CBSnews

This is just the beginning. Climate change, population pressures, wars, social corruption, force the poor to emigrate. Climate change especially–droughts, extreme weather, consequent famines and social chaos–will displace vast numbers of people, quite possibly more than a billion. They will seem unmanageable; resettlement will seem impractical.

Algeria’s response will become the norm in most places. We *should* instead be preparing to help displaced people now. Building decent shelters, storing food, training rescue agencies. But more likely–what you see in this article will be how it’s “handled”. Women with babies are among those forced to march without food or water into the Sahara…


5
Sep 17

Everything is so yellow.

The sky is yellow, like you’re wearing lightly yellow-tinted sunglasses, here, the sun is a red disk, and the air is hot, in the upper nineties, unusual temperature for September in this area. There is yet another enormous wildfire here in the pacific NW, this one about 40 miles from me on the Columbia Gorge, and it’s snowing ashes here. They’re much the texture and size of cigarette ashes tapped into the wind. You can feel them in your lungs and must clean them from the windshield before driving. About every fifth person on the street is wearing one of those white ten-a-penny face masks. I see them schooling their children on wearing them, keeping them on, during this. One wildfire is tamped down, another flares up, and they’re all big, thanks to the ubiquity of dryness in the countryside. I wonder if the local libertarians understand that only government infrastructure, subsidies, emergency funding, stands between us and our houses burning up? Is this what it’s like? Climate change accelerating? We were warned that big, out of control fires would be more frequent. Our glib dystopian writing seems quaint now, blandly real. The future has caught up with us, in our old age, as time seems to go faster, and it’s laughing, mockingly–the future is always young.

Looking out my office window, right now, everything is so disturbingly…yellow.


15
Aug 15

” Haze from wildfires seen over Bay Area”: the Scent of the Dystopic Future

Yes we’re smelling it, tasting it–seeing the haze. The smoke is making my eyes itch, and the back of my throat. The wild fire is many miles from here; though nearing containment, it has burned a huge area, and one can smell the sap of trees, the scent of a burning field, wood and grass together in it. It’s a hot day and the heat together with the smell is oppressive, ominous. It smells like the reek of the climate-crashed future is gusting to us, here, in its past.

http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Global-Warming/Global-Warming-is-Causing-Extreme-Weather/Wildfires.aspx


13
Sep 14

Is An Apocalypse of Violence Coming?

Just a soothing thought to help you sleep…I am very much afraid that by 2035, the social pressures from populace displacement in the wake of rising seas and droughts and other famine-inducing climate problems, along with ever proliferating weaponry, confrontational cultures, xenophobic anxiety, and simple survival fears, will be magnified by crisis level population growth. Population density, past 8 billion, will amplify all those stresses, more crowding increasing tension and competition for scarce resources…leading to a peak of volatility. In short–the chances of violence will be vastly increased.

Violence, en masse and small scale, will reach a dramatic historic peak, a tsunami of bloodletting, a paroxysm of catharsis.

Just waves of violence rolling around the world…and then the population will be much reduced. What a miserable way to do it.

Some glibly cite reports that population is diminishing but in fact it’s only the *rate of increase* that is starting to diminish. According to reports from the UN and other groups, overall population will continue to increase across the globe until around 2050. Meanwhile, we’ll get up to 9 billion people halfway through the century.

If you want to do something about the risk of increased violence from all these factors, work to reduce carbon pollution and thus slow climate change. Education, too, can work against violence so support education and outreach where you can…

Conservation and education, taken together, comprise the best hope for our grandchildren and great grandchildren.


28
Jul 14

Could we just BUY OUT Climate Change?

There should be a list, and we should go down it, worst to least offenders–and the worst climate change offender worldwide is probably COAL. And the only reasonably rapid way to get rid of the coal industry in the USA is to buy it out. (We could try to outlaw it, sure–but that won’t happen. Political realities). It might be possible to spend billions, federal money, here in the USA for starters, buying out coal companies. Simultaneously we’d subsidize the switch-over at utilities buying coal for power, change them over to, for example, natural gas burning for now, till we can get solar and other sustainable sources in place. (You don’t have to use fracking to get natural gas.) The billions we spend doing this can be used to provide fresh starts for coal industry workers, as well as providing enough profit motive to get control of coal…and shut it down.

I theorize that we’ll save trillions–because if we can mitigate anthropogenic climate change significantly we won’t have to deal with all the incredible costs that will arise from it. If we set an example in this country, it may propel imitation in places like China


9
Feb 14

The REAL Collective Guilt

Wikipedia: “Original sin, also called ancestral sin,[1] is the Christian doctrine of humanity’s state of sin resulting from the fall of man,[2] stemming from Adam’s rebellion in Eden.” Was there ever a more unjust or absurd belief? Oh I think our descendents will indeed suffer from a kind of original sin–the sin being carbon pollution, general indifference to the biosphere, our over breeding and sprawl…As mismanagement of the land led to the dust bowl in the past, we’ll see the “curse” of our environmental original sin afflict our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Nothing supernatural about it–it’s just the closest thing to real original sin around, unless you want to explore themes akin to Greek tragedy, father committing murder ruining lives of his offspring…

The real collective guilt is not because a primordial woman ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge but because men and women lost their knowledge of trees…


11
Jun 11

The Whole World’s DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

I’m optimistic because everything’s going to be terrible.

The middle-late 21st century will probably be hugely troubled, on a global scale. Climate change, famines, overpopulation, refugee crises, WMDs. But I’m optimistic as I believe these ravages will spur social transformation; that the human race will learn from this. That we’ll achieve progressive consciousness as a result of these revelatory shocks. We’ll learn we can’t treat Spaceship Earth as a party cruise ship. We’ll learn to take care of the planet and to make social justice a priority.

It makes me think of the “Dark Night of the Soul” of St John of the Cross. According to wikipedia, “The journey occurs during the night, which represents the hardships and difficulties the soul meets in detachment from the world and reaching the light of the union with the Creator… The main idea of the poem can be seen as the painful experience that people endure as they seek to grow in spiritual maturity.”

The process isn’t likely to be a Christian union with God–it’s more likely to be a union between human beings. A collective dark night of the soul leading to a collective transformation.