Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Image credit:  A home in El Salvador being fumigated to prevent the spread of the Zika virus. Photograph: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images

 
I have long said, agreeing with others like Bill McKibben in this Guardian article, that the ravaging of our environment and climate which continues unabated (Paris agreement?  Pffft!) after a century or so of profligate abuse, will lead to conditions where the viability of the human species is in question and there is a real danger of us being killed off by a variety of possible catastrophes.  One of those species ending conditions is pandemic outbreaks of bacterial or viral illnesses which we have largely no hope of surviving, and even less hope as our access to resources to combat such outbreaks decreases over time.

Again, that is but one of a number of dangers that we face, but that’s another story.

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Sk(r?)ewing The Climate Picture

This post (un)inspired by  –  2° Challenge: Try to Avoid Disastrous Climate Change , a quiz that allows you to choose from certain levels of action that are said to result in reducing climate change.

These people are misleading you, both in the effectiveness and relevance of the questions that they pose.  There is no possible way to stop climate change anywhere near 2°C, especially the measures presented in this quiz.

We have already reached 1°C of warming and there is another 1-1.5°C already fixed in the pipeline from our past activity that has yet to arrive and the current proposals or government commitments at the Paris talks this month will only, it is estimated, bring about a limit of 2.7°C.

The quiz is skewed in the wrong direction (and whoever put it together must know that).

Let it be known that anything even close to a 2°C rise in world ambient average temperatures will result in a wild and uncomfortable future for every person, every being, and all life-forms, wherever they exist all around the planet on which we live.  Upwards of 2°C rapidly increases from dangerous to unlivable.

None of the options that I list below are choices given in the quiz for you to choose and, by definition, only the first three question hold any relevance to the subject in any case.

Here are the only answer options to the quiz questions that might, in my opinion, limit temperature rises to perhaps 2.5°C.  But only if they are implemented today and only if we are very lucky.  The choices that I suggest here, are unpalatable and extreme, and will result in a total shutdown of modern society, but time will show, I believe, that anything less simply   W-I-L-L  –  N-O-T  –  W-O-R-K.

1 of 8
Would you use less electricity?

Burning dirty fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and oil — for electricity is the biggest contributor to climate change. One way to cut back on pollution would be simply to use less electricity. Would you like to see global per person electricity use decline by 2050? If so, by how much?

Only Viable Answer:
Stop all production and use of electricity other than from the renewable sources that we have currently in place or in the pipeline and as those sources deteriorate and break down we do not replace them. Result: No electricity in use in ~25-40 years time.

2 of 8
What kind of electricity should we use?

Electricity from sources like wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear emit little or no greenhouse gases, meaning they don’t contribute much to climate change. Right now, about 30% of electricity comes from these cleaner sources. Would you like to see the world use more clean electricity by 2050? And how far would you like to see that transition go?

Only Viable Answer:
As for question 1, we produce no further questionably ‘renewable’ new electricity installations other than those in the process of being built, and allow all such installations to fulfill their useful life-cycle only, before being scrapped.

3 of 8
Would you be willing to drive and fly less?

Transportation — mostly burning gas to drive cars — accounts for about 20% of global warming pollution. Would you be willing to travel less to reduce your contribution to climate change? The options below are shown as the average distance a person would travel and commute by car, plane, train and bus in 2050.

Only Viable Answer:
All personal, commercial, government and military motorised travel to cease immediately. All personal, commercial, government and military legal commitments cease with immediate effect, freeing everyone up to pursue worthwhile pursuits commensurate with living and producing locally all necessities to sustain life within the individual’s walking, cycling (pedal cycle), animal riding, rowing or sailing (wind driven) distance from their place of residence. Anyone who wishes to operate somewhere else in the world must travel using one of the methods listed above.

4 of 8
What about advanced biofuels?

More than 95% of the stuff that powers cars and trucks today is oil, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. Would you like to see non-food biofuels — like those made from crop waste, grasses or algae, and which pollute significantly less than oil — replace the petroleum that we currently use to drive our cars?

Only Viable Answer:
This question is irrelevant. See Q3.

5 of 8
And what type of vehicles do you want to drive?

From electric cars to hybrids to gas guzzlers, there are many types of vehicles on the road today. Cars that travel farther on a gallon of gasoline, of course, contribute less pollution to climate change. Electric cars, when powered with renewable energy, create almost zero climate pollution. And bikes, which don’t contribute to warming, are increasingly popular in many cities. What kinds of vehicles would you like to see on the road by 2050?

Only Viable Answer:
This question is irrelevant. See Q3 and Q4.

6 of 8
What vehicles should we use to move stuff around the world?

Moving freight across the globe accounts for 40% of all climate change pollution associated with the transit sector. Trucks pollute about 13 times as much as trains. Which vehicles should we use for overland shipping of goods by 2050?

Only Viable Answer:
This question is irrelevant. See Q3 to Q5..

7 of 8
What about heating buildings and running factories?

There are plenty of uses for fossil fuels aside from electricity production. These high-polluting fuels also are used to heat buildings and power industries. These sectors could use less energy, though. They might do so by adjusting their thermostats, making industrial processes more efficient, including more insulation or cutting back on construction and output. Would you like to see buildings and industries use less energy by 2050? If so, how much?

Only Viable Answer:
This question is irrelevant. See Q3, which puts the concept of industrial buildings, and therefore their heating, outside the scope of human activity. Everybody will be too busy sustaining themselves to perform any other ‘job’.

8 of 8
What kind of energy should be used to heat buildings and run our factories?

The energy that heats our buildings and powers industry can come from fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change; or from cleaner, renewable energy sources, like geothermal heat, solar energy, or biomass. Would you like to see buildings and industry switch to less-polluting renewable energy sources by 2050? If so, to what degree?

Only Viable Answer:
This question is irrelevant. See Q3 and Q7.

I Am An Abject Failure

I am an abject failure.

I do not say this from some depressed state, some suicidal thought, some tendency to self-flagellate.  It is not some morbid attempt to heap shit on myself.

It is simply that I recognise my own limitations, my unfulfilled hopes and desires.  It is an acknowledgement that my vision is greater than my capability or strength to describe it or to bring it to a state of realisation.  It is an acceptance that the task is too great and I am not among those great persons who have taken on insurmountable tasks and somehow accomplished them.

Taking a stand on anything that lays outside of the normal, restrictive and increasingly shrinking thought patterns of a society intent on pursuing fatuous and frivolous goals of personal happiness, comfort and wealth, carries consequent risk of being perceived as raving lunacy, perversion, or some dangerous threat to the status quo, which should be extinguished or removed from sight to avoid unnecessary disturbance to the flow.

To these charges I must plead guilty.  I must also from time to time re-evaluate my reasons for taking a stand on ideas that are not generally held but which I see as being of great importance for me and all humanity.  Does ridicule or ignorance (in the sense of being ignored) bother or hurt me or sway my views?  Am I expecting to achieve some sort of success?  Or do I do this simply because it seems the right thing to do, whatever the consequences?  Should I continue, or just sit back quietly and watch?  Should I respond to my feelings, or suppress them?  Should I try to fit in, or continue to be some kind of mysterious and awkward enigma?  Essentially, do I care what other people think of me?

I will answer only the last question here, by saying “Some, but not much.”

The dashboard here on my blog is littered with unfinished and unpublished posts that I was at some stage influenced or inflamed to begin but for some reason did not complete or felt the need to withhold from publication.  Then again, so many of my aroused thoughts and so much of my accumulated knowledge never gets to the point of actually being committed to writing in the first place.

Diligently pursuing an idea or project to conclusion is quite exhausting and there is only so much that an individual person can do.

But I do what I can.  Failure, or not.

What happened to bring me to this place?

Well, I guess it was a confluence of many things culminating with my reading this morning the latest article from George Monbiot, ‘Loss Adjustment’ here on the Permaculture Research Institute website.

George begins the article with a very pertinent question –

When people say we should adapt to climate change, do they have any idea what that means?

That is my problem.  I am privileged to be among the few who do have a clear vision of what that means.  To take just one aspect, simply stated, it means that even with the best will in the world, climate change is not something that can be adapted to whilst still retaining a semblance of modern life.

How on Earth do you go about explaining that concept to people in particular and the world in general?  How?  Even if people and the world wanted to know, the message is not something that they would willingly and wholeheartedly accept.  The concept itself leads to a turmoil of world upheaval such as no-one would ever have contemplated in their wildest dreams or nightmares.

That in essence is my dilemma.

George quotes the great conservationist Aldo Leopold, as I also did, somewhere, recently –

“An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

George further partially quotes Leopold in saying that –

One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.

I also feel something of that world of wounds, that agony, that torment, of watching on a daily basis the inevitable events not only of climate collapse but ecological collapse, economic collapse and societal collapse, playing out on the world stage in front of my very eyes.  Expecting soon to add to that exposure the dreadful, awful, sight of population collapse as a direct or indirect result of those events.

Sometimes the enormity of it all becomes quite overwhelming and one feels infinitesimally small and insignificant in comparison.

Climate Change Adaptation?

Climate Change Adaptation?

Is there really nothing we can do?

It is true that we can do some tinkering around the edges.  At least the wealthy nations may be able to do that.  But what about everyone else?

There is the possibility of constructing a few sea walls, strengthening structures, making homes more ‘climate resilient’, rolling out more ‘renewables’, among other things that may have been placed under consideration.  However, all this activity displays is a basic inability to grasp the parameters of what climate change means for our world.

Whatever adaptation activity is undertaken, there remains the dual-headed dilemma of 1) do we attempt to stop or reduce the human activity feeding climate change first, or at the same time?  And 2) if we do either one of those things, or even if we don’t, where is all the wealth and physical resources going to come from to enable us to effectively adapt current systems, if effective adaptation were in fact possible?

Take one example.  Two thirds of all the world’s cities with 5 million or more inhabitants, lay in coastal regions that will be effected by sea level rise and will need to be relocated at some stage, whether that be in the next few years or before the end of the century.  Can you imagine the enormity of that task?  Abandoning land and infrastructure, re-housing the population, perhaps several billion people, and rebuilding the very valuable and costly infrastructure on which many more people have previously relied.  The potential cost is literally staggering.  Another description would be ‘impossible’.  There is just not the wealth and resources necessary to accomplish such a task.

Take another example.  How is the world going to feed itself?  Pretty much all of the global food growing regions will become incapable of producing food, either at all or in such reduced amounts as to render the total food supply grossly inadequate for even current population levels.  Many of these regions are already feeling the impacts of climate change.  One in eight people already have inadequate access to food.  Then there is the question of more migration away from these areas with consequent loss of land and infrastructure and these ‘food bowl’ areas include much of central US, most of Australia, central Africa, southern Europe and parts of China.  Desertification will become a huge issue over time and is already under way.

There is no means of adaptation to these issues.  They entail a getting out and a going somewhere else.  If a somewhere else can be found, is acceptable to those already living there and, importantly, is capable of sustaining the influx of additional souls.  On top of that, unless this process occurs very soon while transport infrastructure is still available, for most it will be undertaken on foot, carrying whatever they can on their backs.

Does that make the picture a little clearer?  Well, it is not the whole picture of course.  Many other perils await, such as diminished availability of water, increased risk of disease, resource conflicts, slavery, abuse and death.

On the whole I think a policy of adaptation, in the terms that it is currently viewed, stands little chance of any success and will most likely be seen to be a complete waste of time, energy and resources in the long term.  Although, building infrastructure appears to be the new flavour of the month among politicians who continue to seek means of resuscitating their ailing economies and increasing jobs.  They could better spend their time dismantling the complex societal structure we have built and preparing for something much smaller and simpler.  They won’t of course and future history will play out as it inevitably will as business continues as usual.  Any other course of action would require them to face full on to what portends to be a very insecure and perilous period ahead.

Perceived inadequacy and failure

Reviewing these supremely important concepts causes a certain overshadowing of my feelings of inadequacy and failure to communicate them effectively.

I remain undaunted by my inadequacy and unafraid of my failure to do so.

One day, soon, I expect to see a vindication of my feeble attempts.  May they have assisted someone, somewhere, to be more ready for that day than they otherwise may have been.

The Economy, Post GFC

For all who think that the GFC of 2008 is something that has passed, is in the past, is over and done with, things are now looking up again, and we can soon look forward to everything getting back to normal, here is a quote from an article I just read,

“The economy isn’t coming back. On the contrary, it’s a patched-together mess on its way to the crapper.”

The article also revealed this related cartoon:

The-EconomyThe serious article this is referenced from is titled The Economy Isn’t Coming Back and it can be found posted on Resilience.org.  It is penned by none other than Mr Chumpy, aka Eric Krasnauskas, author of the Science Pope website.  It takes a refreshing view of the seriousness of the situation confronting our global society today and is well worth reading.

So who is Mr Chumpy?  A scientist? Climate Change expert? Economist? Well known author or leader in the Peak Oil field?  None of these, but nonetheless deserving of being listened to for his down to earth rendition of the way things are.

He is actually an ex game designer.  I personally find his arguments uncluttered by the obtuse logic, arguments and other paraphernalia often associated with the discourse of experts, yet containing the ring of truth and veracity of relative youth.

Take a look.  You might agree.  And it might be just what’s needed to change your world-view.

The Mad Scientists At AMEG Are At It Again

It has been a while since I blogged here last.  I have been continually observing of course and have been posting some brief and interesting news items on my Facebook page but have not found the need to write an extended piece here.  That has now changed.

On April 12 I posted this on Facebook:

Well, it looks like we are well over the peak of northern hemisphere ice building for this year (courtesy of the National Snow & Ice Data Center graph of Arctic Sea Ice Extent) and about to embark on the annual melt season. I wonder if it will be another record breaking year for ice melt? Chances are good that it will be. Some scientists are expecting to see ice free Arctic Summers in the next 2-3 years. Not good news for you and me or the critters we share the planet with.

I accompanied this post with a link to the latest NSIDC graph at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/ and added a couple of comments:

Let me explain a little about this graph. If you look at the pinkish line for ice build up in 2013 you will see that none of this ice is more than 3-4 months old. That means it will be no more than 1 metre thick. Not much when you consider it is riding on a warming ocean of water. The Arctic region is gathering heat faster than any other part of the planet. Where is the heat going? Not too much into the air, or ice would not form. It is going into the ocean and this is why we now see killer whales hunting up there in recent years. 1 metre ice is going to break up and melt real fast. Next look at the green dashed line for last year. A record low ice cover in September at the height of the melt season. This shows over 80% of existing ice had melted since the previous winter. Meaning that less than 20% of existing ice is now more than one year old and even this ‘old’ ice is being weakened by the relatively warmer water beneath it. Every year there is less and less of this ‘old’ ice remaining. A complete collapse of Arctic Sea Ice is imminently (within a few years) inevitable.

and

Here is another graphical view of the Arctic Sea Ice scenario, this time courtesy of The Cryosphere Today and the Polar Research Group of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The picture is much the same but they show less ice (about 1 million sq kms less) year round than in the NSIDC chart, presumably because they have a different definition of just what constitutes the area of the Arctic region.http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html

8 days later, on April 29,  the Arctic News blog posted this, saying much the same as my earlier post: http://arctic-news.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/arctic-sea-ice-in-steep-descend-more-than-four-days-earlier-than-in-2012.html using data from the Cryosphere Today site.

Today,   I find that The Guardian has news that the US Government is beginning to sit up and take notice of the situation at the northern end of our world, in the article:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/02/white-house-arctic-ice-death-spiral with the headline:

White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral 

National security officials worried by rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice overlook threat of permanent global food shortages

I suggest you read the whole Guardian article for yourself but here are a couple of interesting quotes from it:

“The loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the rapid warming of the Far North are altering the jet stream over North America, Europe, and Russia. Scientists are now just beginning to understand how these profound shifts may be increasing the likelihood of more persistent and extreme weather.”

and

“The weather extremes from last year are causing real problems for farmers, not only in the UK, but in the US and many grain-producing countries. World food production can be expected to decline, with mass starvation inevitable. The price of food will rise inexorably, producing global unrest and making food security even more of an issue.”

These are the sort of things that I have been warning about for some time now.  It is beginning to get real folks.  The wise will even now be taking steps to prepare and protect themselves as much as possible from these effects.

My greatest concern  is that the calls from the mad scientists at AMEG and certain others for, to quote the Guardian article again:

The AMEG statement adds that governments should consider geoengineering techniques – large-scale technological interventions in the climate system – to “cool the Arctic and save the sea ice” in order to avert catastrophe.

Madness in the extreme.   Interfering with nature is not the answer.  We have been interfering with the balance of nature on this planet for the last few centuries.  This is why we are on the edge of disaster already. More of the same, but different, is not going to help in any way.  We just have to stop what we have been doing.  And do that really quickly.  At this stage of the game, even if we all went back to stone-age living conditions it is doubtful whether the worst of the ‘inevitable’ outcomes that are foreseen can be averted.

I have said that before too, but it bears repeating.  I will probably say it again before too long.

Latest News: “Prepare for a three to five degree C warmer world”

Permafrost_pattern

Crack patterns in Arctic permafrost as viewed from a helicopter. Credit: Brocken Inaglory/cc by 3.0

Here is the text of a post I just made on my Facebook page:

This confirms what I have been saying for some time now.
Quote: “(Now) all the promises in the world, which we’re not likely to realise anyway, will not give us a world with only a two degree C rise.”.
Quote: “Prepare for a three to five degree C warmer world, said Sir Robert Watson the former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Speaking at a symposium in London Tuesday, Watson, the science director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the world has missed its chance to stay below two degrees C.”.

…and the IPCC are notorious for underestimating the effects of climate change.

You wouldn’t be comfortable in a +2 degree C world. In a +3 to +5 degree C world it may be impossible for humans to exist.

Quote: “In 2011… research showed that the “tipping point” was just 15 to 20 years away. …that will now have to be revised. The only question is how much sooner.”.

…I am personally estimating, from my readings, sometime in the next two or three years.

The post linked to this article http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/02/thawing-permafrost-may-be-huge-factor-in-global-warming/

Just another nail in the coffin of the human species.  The human experiment is almost over.

Electricity Consumption

Here is a picture of my household electricity consumption over the last two years, extracted from my most recent utility bill.  This represents my total power usage since there is no gas installed at the property.

Consumption Profile

Please note that I post this merely to show that it is possible in these times of soaring energy usage where the trend is towards global planetary warming, to personally reduce our impact on the environment.  This is not to set myself up as some paragon of virtue in this regard when I fully know that is not the case      …but I am trying to limit the damage to the Earth for which I am personally responsible.

Three factors have changed over this period, which have had a marked effect on power consumption this year from the previous year.

  1. I changed my power plan from a 15% renewable energy one to 100% renewable energy around August 2011.  This means that I am paying more per kWh but I have a reasonably clear conscience regarding  my energy usage effect on global climate.  The energy supplier is supposed to purchase my equivalent energy usage from a supplier producing electricity using only renewable resources.  Yes, I know that ‘renewable energy’ is really a complete misnomer  and is just as unsustainable in the long term as fossil fuel based energy, but it is better than doing nothing except of course for reducing our energy use to only basic essential levels.  This is what the remaining changes are all about.
  2. I installed Solar Water Heating back in March 2012.  I did this even though I am living in rented accommodation on twelve month renewable leases.  I figured that if I were to remain where I am for several years then the savings in power consumption would go at least some way towards paying for the installation and even if I was forced to leave for some reason, then someone else plus the planet would still benefit.
  3. I decided not to install solar power generation tied into the national grid because I wanted a level of security around me that, should I need to move house, or for other reasons require a more mobile lifestyle, I would continue for some time at least to enjoy a level of independent, ‘portable’ power generation capability under my own terms.  To this end I have built a 1 kW, solar fed, battery backed power source that I have been able to use to take up some of my daily electricity requirements over the last 6 months or more.  It is usable even though not in a finished state at this time.  I will at some stage post a detailed review of my system and as I am not an electrician, look out for any helpful hints from others on the way it operates.

A season on season comparison of my power consumption is not easy to make because in 2011 there was an estimated meter reading in July followed by an actual reading in August, resulting in an additional consumption bar for that year.  These two bars need to be combined.  Also, of course, the differing weather patterns over the period would have had some impact.  The May quarter (Autumn) shows around a 50% decrease in consumption.   August (Winter) shows at least a 50% drop (2 bars combined).  Oct/Nov (Spring) shows not much difference.  I can’t explain why that is.  February/current (Summer) shows around a 30% drop.  Very pleasing overall, with an annual reduction of around 40% average.

Of course the cost of power has increased over that period, meaning cost to me stays much the same regardless.

 

Point of No Return

Point of No Return

This post highlights the new Greenpeace report of the same name.  A worthy document giving a comprehensive account of the dangers to our way of life from known planned expansions of the fossil fuel industry through increased CO2 emissions by 2020.  Just seven short years away.

How old will you be in 2020?

While the report is quite comprehensive, well written, well presented  and carries an important message, it, like many such documents that aspire to a level of academic authenticity (which it has), is lengthy,  hard to read and digest for the average person in spite of the excellent illustrations.  I am not sure who the intended audience is meant to be but I doubt if many, even interested people like myself, will get around to reading it thoroughly.

The chart below, extracted from the report, illustrates the situation quite simply.  It is, if anything, a conservative view of where we are now and the possible future effects.

Passing the Point of No Return

As an Australian citizen I am ashamed and saddened to find from this report that my country will by 2025 be second only to China in responsibility for the increase in amount of CO2 emitted worldwide.  You will need to open the report to see relevant visuals but here is a revealing quote:

“Australia: by 2025, coal exports would increase to 408 million tonnes a year above 2011 levels, pushing associated CO2 emissions up by 1,200 million tonnes a year once the coal is burned. By then, the CO2 emissions caused by Australian coal exports would be three times as large as the emissions from Australia’s entire domestic energy use.”

So much for the Australian Government’s fabled stance on Climate Change.  So much for the vaunted Carbon Tax.  Smoke and mirrors. Smoke and mirrors.

Apart from saddening me that this action is being done in my name, though without my consent or approval, it does not change my view of things generally.  I am also aware of what the alternative is for my country if we stop exporting coal.  It is a good, grand and glorious alternative.  To use their own words, the government focus would have to shift from ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’ to perhaps ‘People, People, People’ which is what democracy was always meant to be about, is it not?.

People, People, People

letter-green-jobs

  .

-or-

Forget jobs.  Jobs are passé.  We don’t (or won’t) need jobs.  Jobs are only needed to sustain the current Global, National and Personal economy.  Jobs are there to occupy the people so that they don’t think too much but continue to buy stuff, to hold debt, to consume and be entertained, in order for the government to have a raison d’être and the means to sustain the current system of power.  The problem with that is that if the current economy continues the way it is going, there will soon be no economy, and therefore no jobs.  I repeat, jobs are passé.

People need a sense of purpose, not jobs.  

There is no greater sense of purpose than staying alive, living, breathing deeply, experiencing and interacting with the beautiful and terrifying world of nature, being responsible for your own well-being and nurture.  Oh, of course, and caring for others, the world around you and sharing.  

Please note:  This has nothing to do with jet-skiing, sky-diving, partying, holidaying, accumulating riches or property, entertaining or being entertained.  That, is not living.

I wonder how many people who claim to support action on climate change, quite realise that the logical extension of what they desire to achieve in this regard will result in far-reaching effects in the way that they live ie. that they will have to give up most if not all the ‘perks’ of modern living.  Their nice house, their car(s), their iphone, travel, holidays, entertainment (by others), shopping (except by barter), packaged or frozen food, dining out, etc., etc.

Either way, voluntarily or by force of circumstance, that is what is going to be the situation going forward.  Climate action or no climate action.  Government policy or no government policy.  Climate, Resource Limits or Our Own Fiscal Folly; These are the Game Changers and one or all of them are about to change the game.

So where does that leave us?  I have accepted that no genuine attempt is going be made by humanity to alter the trajectory of human industrial and commercial progress.  I also accept that no amount of huffing and puffing by activists and environmental groups or the publishing of beautifully presented reports like ‘Point of No Return’, however true and virtuous their content, will be allowed to affect the eventual outcome.  Take any metaphor you like:

The brick wall is looming and we will drive straight into it.  

 The cliff is approaching and we will rush headlong over it.

Que Sera Sera.

 

“Humans are a plague on the Earth”

“Humans are a plague on the Earth”

Who said that?  ‘Twasn’t me, although I have recently and independently come to the same conclusion myself.

No, it was (at least for the most recent utterance) none other than that internationally known and revered, highly honoured and decorated naturalist, named among the 100 Greatest Britons, Sir David Attenborough.  Sir David Attenborough

Sir David made the statement in an article for the current edition of Radio Times magazine as reported by Population Matters.  So we should, merely by dint of whose words they were, approach and contemplate the matter with a serious degree of thoughtfulness and not dismiss the warning outright.

Possibly less seriously, but proving that the concept is not unprecedented, you may remember that this was also the opinion of Agent Smith in The Matrix movies.  Please don’t let this little ‘aside’ diminish or divert your thinking on the important issue raised here. I just thought it a little ‘amusing’ and something that may have been missed by viewers of the movie.

In his statement Attenborough warns that this (over-population) is a problem which is coming home to roost in the next 50 years or so and even now is seen to be in operation in places like Ethiopia where there are just too many people for the land to support.  To which I would add that the situation in Ethiopia is likely to be repeated in many other places around the world as climate forces increasingly continue to wreak havoc on food production.  Places like North America, Europe and China.

I don’t see any equitable solution to the issue.  There is not, nor will be, enough food to go around to sustain a population at current levels let alone future projected levels, even though this has often been mooted to be just a problem with distribution.  Globalisation, the Green Revolution and ceding control of production to Big Agriculture, is and will continue to be seen as having been a monumental failure.

All things considered (climate change, resource limits, Earth capacity to renew itself, systemic collapse), the safe global carrying capacity before too long will fall to something less than 1 billion human lives.  Perhaps considerably less.  The future does not look too rosy for at least six out of seven folk now alive at this present time.  I expect that conditions will be less than ideal for everyone now living as we progress through the next few decades and perhaps for considerably longer than that.

I despair for what the current younger generations, those who have known nothing other than the greed and avarice of ‘the consumer society’, are about to face and would urge young women everywhere not to have (more) children until a safe future can be assured for those unfortunate to be born into the world in these troubled days.  At this time, the future is anything but certain.

The people of the world will not lay down, perish, starve and die quietly.  There is much turmoil, movement and conflict ahead.  Immigration policies will not stand in the way of mass migrations of hungry, desperate peoples.  National borders will very soon count for nothing.

Pre-knowledge of such events is why I have personally, in the twilight years of my life (may they still be many, healthy and fruitful) moved away from centres of population, why I have learned the principles of permaculture, why I am learning how to grow, cook and prepare food and why I have shed all ownership of property/debt and why I am continuing to gather resources around me in preparation for basic survival living which will hopefully equip me to see better times.

Take some time to consider these things for yourself.  Beware the crowd mentality.  Don’t dismiss David Attenborough’s warning lightly.

Humans are an introduced virus on this planet.  You know what happens to viruses within the confines of a limited environment such as a laboratory Petrie dish or a ball of rock floating in space.  They consume all available resources (the food medium in the Petrie dish example) and then die off completely.  On a planet that is continually renewing itself we don’t have to suffer the same fate.  We just have to learn to live for as long as we are able to within the renewable limits of the planet.  That means a lot of us living very simply (few comforts, basic low technology, simple tastes) in a steady-state (zero growth) economy, or a relatively small number of us leading basic but fairly comfortable lives in a truly long term sustainable (zero growth) way.  That is the best we can hope for.

Eventually of course, we will inevitably go the way of all species.  But life, in some form, will go on.

As online sales outlets are apt to say, ‘Recommended For You’.

This post is simply to recommend to anyone who has the slightest interest in the weather, climate, eating, personal safety, plans, ambitions and pretty much anything else to do with life in general…   this article and its embedded video.

This is the best of the best I have seen so far, in terms of the clarity of its message, both visual and explanatory.

It does however stay away from the most controversial and potentially most dangerous aspect of this situation, the question of catastrophic release of methane deposits from melting permafrost and Arctic sea-bed.  For that sort of insight you would need to go to, for example:  Arctic News or AMEG