Existential Climate-Related Security Risk
June 4, 2019 10:03 AM   Subscribe

On our current trajectory, the report warns, “planetary and human systems [are] reaching a ‘point of no return’ by mid-century, in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order. (Report)
posted by Memo (141 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
 
I’ve been preparing a climate change FPP but here are the links

As long as we keep imagining one future climate catastrophe, we can ignore all the ones already here (The Outline)

The Climate Change Apocalypse Has Arrived. You Can Hear It on the New South Wales Country Hour. (Daily Beast)

River of No Return :How austerity and climate change put northeastern Nebraska underwater (New Republic)

What does the decarbonized city of the future look like? Maybe it looks like the cities of yesterday (Current Affairs)
posted by The Whelk at 10:26 AM on June 4 [29 favorites]


the man of twists and turns and I have also been preparing a climate change FPP. But, we have too many of those, and ours took a similar tack as this one (civilization cannot last, act accordingly), so here it is.



Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush:
One of my presentations to [the Age of Limits] conference was a talk entitled "How Civilizations Fall;" longtime readers of this blog will know [that I was talking about] the theory of catabolic collapse, which outlines the way that human societies on the way down cannibalize their own infrastructure, maintaining themselves for the present by denying themselves a future. I [started fielding questions,] and somewhere in the conversation that followed one of the other participants made a comment[:] "So what you’re saying is that what we need to do, individually, is to go through collapse right away."

"Exactly," I said. "Collapse now, and avoid the rush."
How to Ride the Slide: Apocalypse Lite:
First, some problems simply don’t have satisfying solutions and I believe it’s important to be honest about that. Second, in the absence of a solution there are often perfectly good responses to how to live with a predicament without resolving it per se. Third, when I describe a rational work-around for an obvious dilemma I’m typically informed that I sound crazy for thinking there’s a problem in the first place. Fourth, when too many people agree that there is no problem when there really is, failure ensues and eventually fixes itself—although usually in a messy and unpleasant fashion. So why not get ahead of the curve as an individual even if no one else does?
The Most Important Climate Change Graph You'll Ever See:
We are not going to start mitigating at 5% this year.

We are not going to start mitigating at 9% in 2029.

These are political non-starters. They will not happen. For whatever reason, probably because most decision makers are old and will die before the worst, and the rest are rich and think that their money will protect them, we have not and will not do what is needed until there is widespread catastrophe[. ...]

If you are not yourself old, and likely to die in the next 10 to 20 years, or if you have dependents you wish to protect, you need to take this seriously and make plans.
The Climate Change Story is Half True:
If the world economy is headed toward near-term collapse, climate change shrinks back in the list of things we should be worried about. [...] One of the problems with the climate change model is that it overlooks the huge number of limits we are reaching simultaneously. These issues will surely change how the economy functions in the future, in ways that are not reflected in today’s climate models. [...]

The climate story we hear tends to give the impression that climate change is a huge problem compared to all the other resource and environmental problems we are encountering. Furthermore, a person gets the impression that simple solutions, such as wind, solar, carbon taxes and voluntary cutbacks in fossil fuel use, are available.

This is a false picture of the situation at hand. Climate change is one of many problems the world economy is facing, and the solutions we have for climate change at this time are totally inadequate. Because an increase in energy consumption is required for GDP growth worldwide, even voluntary cutbacks in fossil fuel usage tend to harm the economies making the reductions. If climate change is to be addressed, totally different approaches are needed. We may even need to talk about adapting to climate change that is largely out of our ability to control.
Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy:
With each of these framings—collapse, catastrophe, extinction—people describe different degrees of certainty. Different people speak of a scenario being possible, probable or inevitable. In my conversations with both professionals in sustainability or climate, and others not directly involved, I have found that people choose a scenario and a probability depending not on what the data and its analysis might suggest, but what they are choosing to live with as a story about this topic. That parallels findings in psychology that none of us are purely logic machines but relate information into stories about how things relate and why. None of us are immune to that process. [...] Reflection on the end of times, or eschatology, is a major dimension of the human experience, and the total sense of loss of everything one could ever contribute to is an extremely powerful experience for many people. How they emerge from that experience depends on many factors, with loving kindness, creativity, transcendence, anger, depression, nihilism and apathy all being potential responses. Given the potential spiritual experience triggered by sensing the imminent extinction of the human race, we can appreciate why a belief in the inevitability of extinction could be a basis for some people to come together.

In my work with mature students, I have found that inviting them to consider collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable and extinction as possible, has not led to apathy or depression. Instead, [...] something positive happens. I have witnessed a shedding of concern for conforming to the status quo, and a new creativity about what to focus on going forward. Despite that, a certain discombobulation occurs and remains over time as one tries to find a way forward in a society where such perspectives are uncommon. Continued sharing about the implications as we transition our work and lives is valuable.
We must face the ecological realities of the world we’re creating:
We have reached a point in the human experiment where it is impossible to see ourselves apart from what we once called nature. This has been true for a while, but it is becoming more and more obvious. The realization that humans are an inseparable part of the natural world (a powerful, often destructive part) has major implications for how we think about ourselves as members of an ecological community.

Our actions carry consequences. Just as a beaver dam is a part of the beaver’s being, and just as a hole in the ice is the sign of an otter’s passing, we humans are composed of the world we inhabit. There is no separating us from the place we live. How we deal with this reality is another matter, and entirely within our control. The world, in other words, is yet what we make it.
A Conversation With Myself [YT, 40 min], Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4:
We have lamentably one track minds in an infinitely many track universe. And we may have to come to the alarming conclusion that the universe is smarter than we are. [...]

In some way or other the human race has to learn how to leave the world alone and let what is called the natural homeostasis, that is the self balancing process of nature, take care of the mess. [...] This is the moment of which it is said, "man’s extremity is God’s opportunity," because we have to stop. And when we stop, we find a world that is "happening," rather than "being done."
How Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Got Everyone to Listen:
When I grow up, I want to be able to look back and say that I did everything I could. I think that more people should feel like that.
posted by ragtag at 10:59 AM on June 4 [49 favorites]


Post now, and avoid the rush.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:06 AM on June 4 [7 favorites]


Between the Devil and the Green New Deal
We cannot keep things the same and change everything. We need a revolution, a break with capital and its killing compulsions, though what that looks like in the twenty-first century is very much an open question. A revolution that had as its aim the flourishing of all human life would certainly mean immediate decarbonization, a rapid decrease in energy use for those in the industrialized global north, no more cement, very little steel, almost no air travel, walkable human settlements, passive heating and cooling, a total transformation of agriculture, and a diminishment of animal pasture by an order of magnitude at least. All of this is possible, but not if we continue to shovel one half of all the wealth produced on the planet into the maw of capital, not if we continue to sacrifice some fraction of each generation by sending them into the pits, not if we continue to allow those whose only aim is profit to decide how we live.
Plan, Mood, Battlefield - Reflections on the Green New Deal
These are real obstacles, real constraints, and real concerns. I argue, however, that a politics of pure negation—a politics that, in light of both the power of our enemies, and the limitations of the Green New Deal as currently conceived, positions itself primarily in opposition to the Green New Deal—is neither empirically sound nor politically strategic.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:16 AM on June 4 [4 favorites]


Just came from the whelk’s post about open borders, and now I’m thinking that the only way to survive without genocide is (somehow) benevolent authoritarianism that seizes from the rich to help the poor and middle class with the transition to a decarbonized economy, plus a social mobilization for migration and resettlement that makes WW2 look like a children’s birthday party.

So that’s maybe enough internet for today.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:25 AM on June 4 [13 favorites]


One of the things about which I worry a lot, and on which my husband and I agree despite the fact that my politics are generally way further left/more radical than his, is that ecofascism is an impending danger. Borders are going to shut down (in and out) and scarcity caused by the global north is going to give authoritarians cover to enact regulations to protect "our citizens" (largely but not exclusively wealthy white cishet people) and a lot of scared, well-meaning liberals will go along with it. Hell, one of my good friends with whom I am in the DSA is convinced that the national org is going to be willing to accept an ecofascist future if we get Medicare for All, and I'm not sure she's wrong. It is absolutely vital that we work together to build positive, intersectional structures of support in the face of this threat. There are children, many of them indigenous, in cages because their families are migrating due to issues like drought and instability, some of it climate-related, and this is only going to get worse. Ecofascism is basically already happening and we need to recognize that and work together to stop it, even if that feels uncomfortable. We can't let climate-related panic blind us to oppressive or authoritarian policies and that's really hard because there actually is a crisis.
posted by an octopus IRL at 11:26 AM on June 4 [30 favorites]


In my work with mature students, I have found that inviting them to consider collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable and extinction as possible, has not led to apathy or depression. Instead, [...] something positive happens. I have witnessed a shedding of concern for conforming to the status quo, and a new creativity about what to focus on going forward.

Really? Really? When I consider collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable, etc, my only thoughts are about how I and my loved ones will die, how long it will take and how much it will hurt. I will spare you the exact nature of these dark thoughts, but I can tell you that they are very dark indeed - dark enough to keep me awake nights and send me spiraling.

I really do not understand how anyone maintains any kind of optimism in the face of the scale of disasters that are coming unless they individually are rich and healthy. I know that everyone always gets all "we're all gonna die" in these threads and then it is conventional to say "become politically active! make changes! despair is a sin!" but I've tried that for the past few years and I'm running out of up.
posted by Frowner at 11:26 AM on June 4 [48 favorites]


I don't really know what to do. I'm gardening, I'm learning physical skills like welding, keeping my collection of woodworking tools and extending into machine shop tools. I don't know what to do and I'm just. Yeah.
posted by odinsdream at 11:28 AM on June 4 [7 favorites]


When I was a young warthog, I remember coming to the realization that I would see major political/ecological shift. People have been warning about climate change and the collapse of capitalism for my entire life. I can understand the urge to just sort-of sit back and watch what happens, but I try to keep that kind of Millennium nihilism from making me TOO insufferable.
posted by shenkerism at 11:35 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


The article about Nebraska is the very definition of "penny wise, pound foolish." The levees were locally managed and they didn't want to spend the money to keep them up, so they washed out destroying federal roads. Now, even though the feds weren't managing the levees, they have to clean up the local mess (which I guess is GOP-run states in a nutshell, not that Dem-run states don't also have infrastructure problems).
posted by kokaku at 11:39 AM on June 4 [6 favorites]


I really do not understand how anyone maintains any kind of optimism in the face of the scale of disasters that are coming unless they individually are rich and healthy.

Being completely serious: I am neither of those things, but I’m having some luck with the whole “no death, no fear” type of meditation. It’s not out of choice, obviously, and it took a while, but I’m starting to see how it can be calming and stabilizing and allow for a life beyond silently screaming while waiting for the inevitable.

So, that’s my way. So far. Maybe other people have others that work for them.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:48 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]


I mean, of course they've been talking about it your whole life. It's been known to the scientific community for a long time. The time for panic hasn't just drifted into the future as you've aged, though. If anything, it's been moved closer to now since the original estimates, because scientists have been able to feed actual data into their models where they previously had only estimates.

It's absolutely clear that absent significant change we're in for a disaster of unimaginable proportions.
posted by odinsdream at 11:49 AM on June 4 [5 favorites]


It seems like this is a good time to talk about worst case scenarios.

Because nobody believes that the Earth is going to just absorb a few million years' worth of stored solar energy in a couple of centuries and enjoy a nice calm slide into a new climate equilibrium. We all know about tipping points and feedback loops and how those affect complex systems, but somehow we've come to believe that a geological event on a human timescale is going to be... manageable?

I'm entirely in favor of keeping the biosphere habitable, and will support any efforts towards that end. But we have to acknowledge that the unthinkable is becoming increasingly likely with every passing year. We no longer know for certain that the planet is going to be habitable in a hundred, or two hundred years. We don't know if we'll be able to have healthy children in the new atmospheric mix we're creating; between rising CO2 and N20 and tropospheric ozone and particulates and dwindling oxygen, there are health effects that we're seeing already. We're rapidly discovering that humans are really sensitive to changes in our atmosphere.

If there's even a small chance that this will happen, that our planet will no longer be able to support us, then we have a tiny window of time in which to develop the technology to keep our species alive. We can colonize our newly alien planet in the same way we're planning to colonize Mars. We can survive this and go on to learn from it.

We have to do so many impossible things in order to keep our planet human habitable. Build giant carbon-sucking machines. Store unthinkable amounts of carbon forever. De-acidify the oceans. Compensate for global ice loss. Compensate for the loss of the coral reefs. Figure out what to do about topsoil loss. Transition to alternative energy sources without emitting enough carbon to make the process moot.

I mean... yes, I hope we do all those things. But given the difficulty rating of this particular challenge, and the success we've had with plans like these so far, and the fact that the stakes are the continued survival of the only intelligent life in the known universe...

Maybe we should have a backup plan.
posted by MrVisible at 11:49 AM on June 4 [6 favorites]




Yeah, that’s the scariest link in the thread.

In the US I’m hoping the left can get ahead of that because of all the American Right’s climate change denial, but...

I mean it’s an all out fight to decide who gets to choose how we react to this.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:02 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Vilsack said that when the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered materials helping farmers prepare for global warming, only 20 percent requested information. When the same materials were offered as guidance on preparing for weather variability, the response jumped to 80 percent.

Humans are morons. Conservatives especially so, apparently.
posted by maxwelton at 12:06 PM on June 4 [23 favorites]


Thanks all for posting so far.

I was thinking, maybe we need an ongoing/rotating climate change/crisis thread (similar to the politics threads). I personally think it's far to broad and complex an issue to boil down to a few links and a short summary in an FPP.

Thinking about suggesting this idea to Metatalk for comments and feedback, but as a cautious soul I'd like to gather a few thoughts here first.

Anyway I hope to post a bunch of stuff to this thread this evening.
posted by carter at 12:07 PM on June 4 [21 favorites]


I mean, I don’t trying of it in terms of optimism or oressimism, I take a more KSR view that this is just the work we have to do. Even if that work is advocating and informing others or warning of the far right’s movements on the issue.

As a member of the 9% Income percentile I feel a very real responsibility because it would be so worth me to ignore this. This is the task we’ve been given.
posted by The Whelk at 12:08 PM on June 4 [10 favorites]


Time to settle in with a bottle of wine and a nice panic attack.
posted by Reyturner at 12:08 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


I mean, I don’t trying of it in terms of optimism or oressimism, I take a more KSR view that this is just the work we have to do. Even if that work is advocating and informing others or warning of the far right’s movements on the issue.

See, like, I get that...but then I think about financial collapse precipitating my family into homelessness, or dying of a really painful cancer or infection either because I can't access treatment or antibiotics don't work, or getting beaten or raped to death (forgive me for saying this but I want to illustrate clearly that these are my fears) by a homophobic/transphobic mob as society deteriorates.

It's not that I don't want to "do the work" - it's that I am personally, individually afraid of being killed or dying painfully or watching my family die painfully during future events. And no, the "correct" left response of "but other people already die horribly, how selfish and privileged of you to worry about being the victim of a fascist assault when other people are already being assaulted" does not in fact make me feel even one tiny bit less afraid. I've witnessed people suffering quite a lot as conditions have deteriorated here in my city and I am not at all eager to join them or under any illusions about how well I will do if that happens.

I'm not afraid of things just being less comfortable or easy; I'm afraid of physical agony, drawn out suffering, "the living will envy the dead" stuff, etc etc.
posted by Frowner at 12:31 PM on June 4 [29 favorites]


Whether we end up with chaos or fascism, it seems likely that democracy won't survive, and it may even be fundamentally ill-suited to addressing the climate crisis. Example: residents of wealthy coastal California towns who are losing their yards to rising tides, yet whenever a local official tries to change zoning they get voted out of office. In an authoritarian society like China, the folks at the top of the political pyramid who don't like their children being required to wear air masks on their way to and from private school can force large CO2-reducing changes to happen.
posted by PhineasGage at 12:33 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


And I add that "the work" which needs doing is not going to be done fast enough, IMO, to prevent truly enormous and desperate human suffering. As a queer/gender non-conforming person who has been hassled a lot and had occasional dangerous encounters - and who has had an absolute boatload of "activist" "solidarity" - I just feel pervasively unsafe right now and only see it getting worse.
posted by Frowner at 12:34 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


I was thinking, maybe we need an ongoing/rotating climate change/crisis thread (similar to the politics threads). I personally think it's far to broad and complex an issue to boil down to a few links and a short summary in an FPP.

I'd love if that happened but I'm not sure how it'd survive. How to avoid triggering the "don't post dystopian speculation" rule when it's all bad?
posted by Memo at 12:36 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


memo - personally I think that rule might have to go for any rolling thread.
posted by carter at 12:39 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


i think it would be great if we did not ever have any other threads like the hellthread for any reason at all whatsoever.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:40 PM on June 4 [23 favorites]


[Just to answer that question, we're really not looking at expanding the "ongoing umbrella megathread" treatment to more topics; it's already unsustainable in uspolitics.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:40 PM on June 4 [9 favorites]


Everyone needs a hug ...
posted by carter at 12:41 PM on June 4


I mean, at some point they'll become the same thread. Problem solved.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:44 PM on June 4 [18 favorites]


OK, thanks lobstermitten.
posted by carter at 12:45 PM on June 4




Oral arguments in the Juliana youth climate lawsuit start at 5:00PST today. Livestream here for anyone who'd like to know whether an environment capable of sustaining human life is a right guaranteed by our constitution.
posted by haricotvert at 12:59 PM on June 4 [6 favorites]


I think I am a reasonable person, who is politically engaged and pretty knowledgable. I'm not much of a gardener and I can't really fix anything. I write for living. I am not in peak physical or mental health, nor are any of the people I love. I try to read this stuff, because I'd rather know than not know, and take it in and find some shred of, if not hope, than at least possibility that is not millions of people dying painfully, slowly and needlessly. There's this weird , I dunno, excitement that comes with envisioning worst case scenarios and pre-planning survival collapse that very much feels like a healthy, young person, tough guy game. Like watching a disaster movie or reading a dystopian novel can be fun and thrilling because you get to identify with the protagonists, not one of the bajillions that didn't make it. And, like, I don't want to go into this thing (end of the world, death of everything I've ever loved, mass genocide, horrors without compare, whatever you call it) blindly, but for real, I genuinely don't know how to make sense of this stuff without sinking into overwhelming, crippling, existential heartbreak and despair. I mean, storing extra couscous might keep me alive for a couple of weeks, but what about everybody else? Is the end game being last one out gets the lights? What about community? What about culture? What about the stuff that actually makes life worth living? Anyway, I make jokes about wanting to go out in the first blast. I don't really mean them. I'd like to figure out a away to engage with this stuff because it's not going away. But for now I guess I am a little jealous if you can think and talk about this without slipping into impossible darkness.
posted by thivaia at 1:11 PM on June 4 [25 favorites]


What about community? What about culture? What about the stuff that actually makes life worth living?

My plan, both for survival and for end-of-life concerns, involves a lot of psychedelics and meditation. The only way I can see through this without living every day in despair is to try to cultivate a sense of boundless consciousness, of which I am just a particle, and try to enjoy my day as much as I can.

I'm not saying I've nailed it or that I do a great job, but it is the only thing I've found that will help me live as productively as I can--until the day comes that I can't, and at that point, if all goes according to plan (lol), I'll die with a sense of peace. I find a lot of hope in all those trials with terminal cancer patients and psilocybin, for example, in terms of grappling with The End.
posted by witchen at 1:22 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


Oh, god, yes, I failed to mention the cannabis. Wow, is the cannabis absolutely fucking vital to this whole coping thing.
posted by odinsdream at 1:28 PM on June 4 [12 favorites]


I'm afraid of physical agony, drawn out suffering, "the living will envy the dead" stuff, etc etc.

Right, so maybe the prospect of global climate change is the thing that gets you personally, and based on the history of such discussions here many other mefites as well, to confront and perhaps eventually accept your own mortality, and by extension the impermanence of all things. Many people don't get around to doing it until they're well into the process of dying of whatever horrific disease is going to kill them, as something or other eventually does to all of us, so perhaps it is for the best that you're starting the process earlier than that. There are many ways of dealing with it, I hope you find a healthy one.
posted by sfenders at 1:30 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


ecofascism is an impending danger.

This is what terrifies me. I can't shake the images coming from Gaza writ large across the globe, with the same self serving justifications of a right to self defense being chanted by the ever shrinking population behind the machine guns.

Between homelessness, "working poor", the gig economy, voter purges, ICE, automated weapons, "social credit" systems it seems like a lot of human imagination is being directed towards regulating and writing people off without having to replace them.
posted by Reyturner at 1:41 PM on June 4 [16 favorites]


Well, of course it is. Unfettered capitalism is one of many unsavory characteristics of modern conservatism. Dehumanization of "inferiors" is another. Belief that race, upbringing, religion, political thinking and money place you in a privileged caste is a third. And privileged castes are not in the habit of growing.

When they tell you precisely what they think and who they are, believe them.
posted by delfin at 1:55 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


I mean, storing extra couscous might keep me alive for a couple of weeks, but what about everybody else? Is the end game being last one out gets the lights? What about community? What about culture? What about the stuff that actually makes life worth living?

My thoughts exactly. I feel like eventually, we'll have to admit that the prepper fantasy of going "off the grid" to a life of subsistence agriculture (perhaps with your 1 nuclear family, perhaps not) is about as realistic as hiding under a plywood desk when a nuclear bomb hits.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:03 PM on June 4 [11 favorites]


I really do not understand how anyone maintains any kind of optimism in the face of the scale of disasters that are coming unless they individually are rich and healthy.

I just try to avoid doing the worst things, like driving, flying, eating meat. I know I'm just a drop in the well (the commonest sort of excuse for bad behavior), but I try to be a drop of water, not a drop of poison.

If I am optimistic about anything at all, it is that I might encourage just one or two people around me to do likewise. I don't expect to prevent global catastrophe all by myself, but maybe this old man riding his bicycle to work in the winter or eating vegan food or enjoying local vacations will make it easier for someone to do something similar.

It's optimism on a personal scale: if catastrophe comes, I might at least die a little easier.
posted by pracowity at 2:07 PM on June 4 [12 favorites]


Amazing post, will take me ages to read more of - forgive this muddle here I've got to go and do my Capitalist thing for the day.

I'm in the KSR camp, but there are too many of us and we're destroying our home. I had a dark epiphany realising we'll have to manage the planet as a whole - and decide on what species live or die - I recorded it while walking around and broke down - it is a horrifying future if we don't act. Even if there is a collapse it'd be good if some culture survives.

We'll need new niches for ourselves (especially if we need filtered air*). The concept of geographical cold spots¹ is a good place to start. There's a lot of evidence wildlife is shifting to colder places - How to shelter mountain streams in a changing world - but no on-the-ground solutions. I tried to insert some of this thinking into the NZ Landscape conference as they were just going to go somewhere pretty and do the usual Utopian thing. So we took them to potential climate refuges around Dunedin and asked them to do a workshop. But few seemed to treat it as a serious problem.

We need to redesign from houses to cities so we have somewhere to escape. We'll also need low CO2 growing conditions, or plants that don't lose nutrients when CO2 rises. High CO2 changes so many things directly tho' that it's daunting - soil water changes = flooding, lignin:carbohydrate shifts = fire ....

There's some writing on urban wildlife protecting as heat events increase but it's very interdisciplinary and even many landscape folk don't seem that interested in solutions. And then we look at mass human deaths: Moscow 2010, Paris 2003.

¹ Hard to search on as it's used in biodiversity research. It's also a phrase in spatial disease modeling. I have a lot of links if anyone is interested.
² We urgently need a way to make anecdote robust enough to bring it to a peer-equivalent level. Academia is too protracted for meaningful response. We need a cadre of holistic practical planetary climate managers.

* I can't find what the safe ambient CO2 level is, I've seen several things that imply 515ppm which is probably only 30 years away, but I know that buildings often run at 900ppm (altho' we do get sick and tired in buildings but that is lots of causes - be interesting to see which is the greatest contributor).
posted by unearthed at 2:20 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Europe seems to be making some steps to tempering their emissions-- the UK's CO2 emissions are lower then they were in the 1960's emissions by 25% (2014 numbers), similar is true of France, Germany etc, etc. I do wonder how much of that is because manufacturing shifted over to Asia, but the USA is about double their 60's emissions, and I /feel/ they would have shifted in a similar way if it was just manufacturing. (China is up by over ten times their 60's emissions, India 20x). We can only hope our leaders see sense in helping accelerate that decline.

The World Bank data sets are interesting to click around in if you want to see how your country is changing over time.
posted by Static Vagabond at 2:50 PM on June 4 [7 favorites]


I can't find what the safe ambient CO2 level is, I've seen several things that imply 515ppm which is probably only 30 years away, but I know that buildings often run at 900ppm (altho' we do get sick and tired in buildings but that is lots of causes - be interesting to see which is the greatest contributor).

I'd really appreciate links to your sources on the 515 number, and to whatever you have on geographical cold spots as well, please.

This is the part that bothers me; I don't think anyone is certain what the safe level of ambient CO2 is yet. The experiments most people refer to were done in the 70s on fit, young male sailors exposed to high concentrations for limited times, and even those specifically said they wouldn't apply to vulnerable populations. Conditions on a submarine are one thing, conditions when an entire planet is over 600ppm every single hour of every day... and then 800, and 1000, and so on.

We don't know what level it will stop at, and we don't know what our tolerance as a species, or even as mammals is. It seems like the sort of thing it'd be worth sacrificing a few generations of lab rats to find out, but I can't find anyone doing that sort of experiment.

I've been accumulating links to reliable sources on the health effects of our changing atmosphere for a couple of years, though, and what I've found out indicates that we're a lot more vulnerable than we've been assuming.

What I'm most worried about is the interaction of the atmospheric threats; the damage done by inhaling volatile organic chemicals is exacerbated by high levels of CO2, which is made worse by tropospheric ozone, etc. We're making significant changes to the atmospheric mix we breathe, and I think we're already starting to see some effects.

Will we be able to survive in the world we're making? We should probably find out. And if the answer is no, we should probably start making plans for that eventuality.
posted by MrVisible at 2:51 PM on June 4


Anxiety can be deeply isolating and petrifying - I'm anxious too, but I've been trying to couple it with the moral imperative to act, the knowledge that I have and can wield power, and that by working strategically together, we can all wield the power needed to effect change. Ever since I've started working in the sustainability industry, my climate catastrophe anxieties have been less incapacitating, because if we're going down, then at least I'm going down fighting with the best damn people in the world.

This is a great Vox editorial on the need to shift perspectives, and it ends with an optimistic little capper.

We need to broaden our definition of personal action beyond what we buy or use. Start by changing your lightbulb, but don’t stop there. Taking part in a climate strike or showing up to a rally is a personal action. Organizing neighbors to sue a power plant that’s poisoning the community is a personal action.

Voting is a personal action. When choosing your candidate, investigate their environmental policies. If they aren’t strong enough, demand better. Once that person is in office, hold them accountable. And if that doesn’t work, run for office yourself — that’s another personal action.
...
Here’s my confession: I don’t care how green you are. I want you in the movement for climate justice...I’m not here to absolve you. And I’m not here to abdicate you. I am here to fight with you.

posted by facehugger at 3:08 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


We don't know what level it will stop at, and we don't know what our tolerance as a species, or even as mammals is.

Or of a lot of other living things. Say, birds, fish, insects, little things that are also part of the equation. Or grains, green plants. Or bacteria, viruses, algae, I could go on...

I'm reminded of a thread from a couple of weeks ago about a sealed ecosystem, a large glass bottle garden containing plants, soil and water that has remained in balance for decades.

Now take that delicate balance, which represents a very long series of chemical reactions that work together in much-needed harmony, where small changes can have many ripple effects. Uncork it. Then, over a comparatively short period of time in its history, multiply one of the elements sevenfold and increase its expected lifespan and dramatically multiply the ways in which that element can affect everything else in its environment.

Good luck!
posted by delfin at 3:13 PM on June 4


This is the part that bothers me; I don't think anyone is certain what the safe level of ambient CO2 is yet. The experiments most people refer to were done in the 70s on fit, young male sailors exposed to high concentrations for limited times, and even those specifically said they wouldn't apply to vulnerable populations.

High levels of CO2 seem to be associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

And as ambient levels rise, there will likely be an addon or even a multiplier effect on vulnerable populations like little babies.
posted by jamjam at 3:26 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


What gets me is you know the rich are onto this shit and doing something for themselves. Zuckerberg, Tesla, everybody that's made grotesque fortunes selling shit to the plebes. They are no doubt cooking up plans for, like, a snug ocean-floor biosphere to hang out in while the rest of us pop and crackle and 'splode in the heat like a panful of frying crickets.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:43 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]




It doesn't comfort me much that they're all going to die of some equivalent of an unsanitized telephone.
posted by clew at 3:58 PM on June 4 [11 favorites]


Oh, God, poor Tesla. I mean Musk, of course.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:59 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


So much for Pure New Zealand a 350% increase, great for comparison shopping! Great link static vagabond
posted by unearthed at 4:03 PM on June 4


What gets me is you know the rich are onto this shit and doing something for themselves.

I sure hope so. At the moment, I think it's the best hope humanity has. Surviving this is going to take a ton of resources.

But the more the billionaires succeed in creating the technology needed for these habitats, the more accessible that technology becomes. Perhaps if enough research gets done, we can start planning habitats of our own; maybe millions of people can come together to save thousands.

I think we're going to need an unthinkable amount of effort and a ton of luck to survive this at all. I'm not particularly picky about which individuals get through this bottleneck; I'm sure life isn't going to be particularly pleasant for anyone once the biosphere gives out.

I'm very keen on the whole survival of the species thing.
posted by MrVisible at 4:27 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


I'm very keen on the whole survival of the species thing.
yeah, that would've been cool. It would've been really nice had anybody with the capacity to do anything to make that happen done anything to make that happen back before the sea ice all started to melt and the methane time bomb got tripped off, or, like, eight gajillion nukes were stockpiled everywhere or before the oceans turned to vinegar and killed the coral reefs or bla bla bla bla bla, all which was a while back, unfortunately, and instead of doing anything effective, they launched these crying indian campaigns to try to get individual persons to think that they could fix it if they didn't litter and always turned off the water when they brushed their teeth.

So the purpose of a system being what it does, it seems that the purpose of our global capitalist hegemony is to cause human extinction. That's the purpose of the system, but is it the purpose of the few people who control the system? Nobody's thinking that, afaik, they're just thinking what I'm thinking that anybody with ridiculous money is probably trying to spend it on protecting himself and his way of life and maybe some progeny. But what if it's more actively malevolent than that? What if they looked at it and thought: "There's too many of us in this species. And we kind of suck. For instance, we have no long-term planning ability whatsoever. Look at the mess we've made. Obviously this beta version of humans is too stupid to survive. And anyway, we can't all live on the dwindling planet, eating and shitting up the ocean and burning everything in sight. What if a select few of us movers and shakers can deliberately break the flyoverland parts of the planet, though, so that the rest of them who are not us can't keep living and burning up all the resources? And we Dr. Strangelove it for a few millennia in, like, Alaska or what have you? Raise animals and slaughter them, windsurf, build another of those sweet indoor snowski slopes like the ones we had in Dubais before the ambient temperature there rose to 150 degrees and we had to flee? And all the while we kick it with some tech-assisted eugenics until we speed-evolve into another, smarter, better version of Homo sapiens?"

Seems crazy, sure, but what also seems crazy is the thing where the whole survival of the species thing has very clearly been getting less and less possible and even Al Gore noticed but the pack of Shkrelis with the stranglehold on the power to do anything about it have striven with every fiber and devoted every effort every waking moment to make it worse, as efficiently and rapidly as possible. Why would they have done that if not on purpose? Just a crazy thought I had the other day when I was looking at the thermometer and wondering how it was 105 already and barely even into the month of May.
posted by Don Pepino at 4:50 PM on June 4 [13 favorites]


I respectfully propose separating discussions of the climate crisis into facts threads and feels threads. Most of the discussion here (again, due respect) seems entirely focused on feels and I’m more interested in sorting out the facts.

Europe seems to be making some steps to tempering their emissions-- the UK's CO2 emissions are lower then they were in the 1960's emissions by 25% (2014 numbers), similar is true of France, Germany etc, etc. I do wonder how much of that is because manufacturing shifted over to Asia

This was thoroughly covered in The Climate Change Story Is Half True link posted by ragtag in the second top comment. The post overall reminded very much of those Peak Oil posts on The Oil Drum etc from ~2005, seems like a typical engineer’s ‘data is beautiful’ semi-autodidact perspective, but then again I can’t really point to any specific flaws in their argument other than my hope that the tech on renewables and especially energy storage will develop rapidly enough to make a difference.

Anyway the tl;dr is that Europe’s reductions being offset by Asia’s massive increase in emissions is accurate. The author specifically points out how admitting China to the WTO in 2001 led directly to a significant surge in global emissions.

I’d say, touching more on the feels side of things that I do have hope for revolutionary social and economic change being the one independent variable that could turn things around. I do have degrees in the field generally and I don’t think the level of uncertainty in our projections is really touched on so much. (I also found that KSR link very hard to follow, mostly seemed to be very sci-fi focused and not so much general philosophy but I was skimming tbh, is it possible to get a tl; dr? Respect.)

However ultimately I feel like as some of the leading lights here already touched on, one’s feelings about climate collapse are the same as the feelings about mortality. Is my life/society so valuable to me in the big picture that I can’t handle contemplating that all things pass in time? Ashes to >ashes


.
posted by viborg at 5:03 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


But the more the billionaires succeed in creating the technology needed for these habitats

The End of the World (which, let's be humble here: the Earth, and life, and even "advanced" vertebrate life will still be around, and probably even humans in some numbers, so really we're talking about "The End of Industrial Human Civilization") won't be anything as romantic as rag-tag groups of survivors living in high-tech habitat domes to protect them from the Poison Air, but rather the grim reality of civilization tearing itself apart in violence as displaced billions starve from reduced agricultural yields.
posted by Pyry at 5:05 PM on June 4 [7 favorites]


Previous posts (OK, at least one) on the climate calamity were deep-sixed because of catastrophism. I get that and mostly support it: despair is no help to anybody.

But the thing is we are in a desperate situation.

Prevention is mostly a lost opportunity, though the more prevention we can implement the better off we will be. So, our thoughts must turn to mitigation and that probably means geoengineering.

I'm no fan of carbon capture; it requires an expenditure of energy equal to the cost of burning (although this energy could, possibly, come from subterranean chemical processes). It's also not clear how reliable sequestration will be.

Albedo manipulation is not completely crazy, but it doesn't do anything for ocean acidification.

Of the available approaches, I'm most keen on ocean seeding. A recent Vox article talks about a renegade who attempted an experiment and was slapped-down for taking matters into his own hands. Yet he may be onto something.

The problem with geoengineering is, who decides? I think we have no choice but to assume that we can solve that problem. Even not solving it is probably better than forgoing the option. In the meanwhile, we need some small-scale experiments to see what works and what doesn't. In the end, we will need a global, concerted, and coordinated effort to address the problem. There are a lot of reasons this is difficult, but I refuse to believe it's impossible.

We need to be looking well beyond prevention. That ship has mostly passed.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:21 PM on June 4


I respectfully propose separating discussions of the climate crisis into facts threads and feels threads. Most of the discussion here (again, due respect) seems entirely focused on feels and I’m more interested in sorting out the facts.

Respectfully, my comments here are grim because the data is grim. That's not a Feeling.
posted by odinsdream at 5:25 PM on June 4 [14 favorites]


I'm very keen on the whole survival of the species thing.

I just can't behind the worst of humanity saving themselves at the expense of the 99% just to make sure the species survives.
posted by Memo at 5:44 PM on June 4 [13 favorites]


@odinsdream

Sure, using cannabis and gardening help get me through my day too, so if you're mainly interested in talking about that then by all means...

I'm simply proposing separating one thread for discussing the emotional and psychological ramifications of the crisis, and another thread which is explicitly evidence-based. Obviously in my original comment I touched on my feelings too which is a bit hypocritical, but overall this is probably me just pissing in the wind anyway. Metafilter needs a complete site redesign or is otherwise destined for obscurity. With due respect, it's a decent alternative to Reddit for now. That site has really gone to shit.
posted by viborg at 5:55 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


I just can't behind the worst of humanity saving themselves at the expense of the 99% just to make sure the species survives.

So make sure more people than that survive.

Personally, I can put aside my opinions of the winners of this little king of the hill contest in order to make sure that there are children in the future. That things like music, and art, and literature will still exist, and what's been created will still be understood. That we will have a chance to learn from our (incredibly egregious) mistakes.

If the 1% can survive, then survival is possible. I'm suggesting we all try and survive just as hard as we can.
posted by MrVisible at 5:57 PM on June 4


[If there's a metadiscussion to be had about whether and how MetaFilter handles a given kind of discussion, the thing to do is start a MetaTalk for that, not do it ad hoc in a thread on the blue. Please let it be in here at this point.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:05 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


The 'Great Dying' Nearly Erased Life On Earth. Scientists See Similarities To Today (NPR June 4, 2019)
Wing, the curator, says making the connection between the Great Dying and what's happening now is a message that needs to be heard. "We have exceeded the frame of our own history," he says of the human race. "Because we are so powerful, we are basically a geologic force now as well as a human force."

A force that's changing the conditions for life on the planet.
posted by MrVisible at 6:42 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Toga!
posted by thirdring at 7:19 PM on June 4


Here's a few links to some recent random articles etc. Caveat: they're intended to be informative starting points, not pessimistic end points (although the warning signs are very clear). They may have been posted before.

Latest data shows steep rises in CO2 for seventh year. Readings from Hawaii observatory bring threshold of 450ppm closer sooner than had been anticipated. One thing that's important here is that the rate of change itself seems to be increasing.

Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science.

Because of climate change, Aedes aegypti and Asian tiger mosquitoes will move north in large numbers, a new study finds. Habitat modification and shifts in species range have implications for the spread of disease vectors.

Greenland is falling apart. Since 1972, the giant island’s ice sheet has lost 11 quadrillion pounds of water.

‘This is a wake-up call’: the villagers who could be Britain’s first climate refugees.Local impacts of (lack of) climate policy in the UK.

The Methane Detectives: On the Trail of a Global Warming Mystery. The amount of heat-trapping methane in the atmosphere seemed to be leveling off when, in 2007, it began rising again quickly. Nobody yet knows why. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 although it also dissipates from the atmosphere much faster. Methane release from various sources could trigger a spike in global warming temperatures.

Nathaniel Rich - Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change Looong article in NYT that became a book.

Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace Biodiversity loss is not just triggered by climate change but this belongs here anyway.
posted by carter at 7:46 PM on June 4 [6 favorites]


If we can’t address the crisis of climate change without resorting to authoritarianism then we’re better off extinct.
posted by um at 8:02 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


One thing I've been doing to try and win over the non-believers is to ask them questions, i.e., do you know what the Greenhouse Effect is, and when do you think climate change was first noticed, and then hit them with the information that the science is over 100 years old. Here is my cheat sheet:
Prelude:
1754 Joseph Black discovers carbon dioxide
1775 Joseph Priestly discovers oxygen
1824 Joseph Fourier (of Fourier Transform fame) discovers the Greenhouse Effect.

Science:
1896 Svante Arrhenius calculates that a doubling of CO2 would raise Earth's temperature by 5-6C.
1934 US Weather Bureau detects warming trend in its records since 1865.
1956 Gilbert Plass performs first computer-based calculations based on modern atmospheric science. They show adding CO2 will raise temperatures.
1960 Dave Keeling accurately measures global CO2 and shows it is increasing.
1963 Rise in CO2 levels prompt first scientific conference on the topic -- it warns of melting glaciers and sea level rise.
1965 Report to LBJ predicts 25% increase in CO2 by Y2K. The actual increase from 1965 to today is 30%.
1967 Best computer climate model to date predicts 2C temperature rise if CO2 is doubled.
1982 Analysis of historical temperatures show 0.5C warming in recent decades.
1985 Ice cores prove historical relationship between temperature and CO2.
1990 First IPCC report predicts 1.5-4.5C warming by 2050.
1995 Second IPCC report data shows warming is unmistakably human-induced.
2001 Third IPCC report confirms global warming patterns match existing computer models.
2007 Greenland and polar ice found to be melting faster than predicted
2018 Mean global temperature is 14.7°C, the warmest in tens of thousands of years. Level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 405 ppm, the highest in millions of years. Latest IPCC report shows us on track for "catastrophic" 3C temperature rise by 2100 even if Paris Accord targets are meet.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:12 PM on June 4 [19 favorites]


The time for panic hasn't just drifted into the future as you've aged, though.


I might be projecting, but I thought that comment was saying it had drifted into the past.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 8:16 PM on June 4


1824 Joseph Fourier (of Fourier Transform fame) discovers the Greenhouse Effect.

Science:
1896 Svante Arrhenius calculates that a doubling of CO2 would raise Earth's temperature by 5-6C.
1934 US Weather Bureau detects warming trend in its records since 1865.


Some details you missed:

1856, Eunice Foote, Philadelphia resident with no other paper trail, confirms Fourier's hypothesis and experimentally demonstrates the CO2 warming effect for the first time.

1864 John Tyndall, member of the Royal Society, using more sensitive lab gear, also confirms the hypothesis quantitatively and tests it against several dozen other gases.

1937, Guy Stewart Callendar, steam engineer and meteorologist, publishes the first estimate of how Co2's warming can be amplified by water vapor. (More CO2 -> warmer air -> more water vapor -> more warming from the water vapor -> warm air -> more water vapor ...) That comes to be known as the Callendar Effect, which is the only aspect of climate science that requires computer model. Callendar relies on two computers for his calculations: himself and his wife.
posted by ocschwar at 8:33 PM on June 4 [9 favorites]




So much content; so many links... Don't tell anyone, but I believe this has become the GlobalWarming/ClimateChange Megathread.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:50 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


I feel the despair and the hopelessness of course too, of course, but I also feel a strange, bitter, anger-driven determination that gives me energy. I will not lie down, I will not let those responsible off the hook. If all I manage to do is help slow things down by a year over fifty, or drag a couple of rich people down with us, then that will be something. I'm not interested in saving some fraction of society with biodomes, I'm not comfortable with the weighing of lives that that inevitably involves.

A couple of climate threads back someone made a joke about revolution as a climate solution along the lines of "oh yeah right and they seize the factories just to shut them down hey". Now I'm not overly sanguine about our chances of success, but I'm far less confident in our chances if we don't. I found that a really odd joke, because as far as revolutionaries I know, that's exactly what we want.

I often repeat "socialism or barbarism", but noting what schadenfrau said about benevolent authoritarianism... Maybe I do believe that fascism or state capitalism might constrain capital's inherent conflicts enough for climate action. It's sort of irrelevant though, because that's just not a price we can pay. It's not acceptable. So for me, the only solution left is socialism, and of that, the "democratic" varieties seem unlikely to be able to enact necessary changes in time, even if I'll support them along the way in case I'm wrong.

As climate crisis continues - when we see the refugee crisis swell by orders of magnitude, agricultural regions made infertile and the like, I expect that both fascism and socialism will continue to rise in popularity as more and more people recognise the utter incapability of liberal democracy to resolve its own tensions. So I think there is hope - hope that in five years, or twenty, there might be the numbers and will required for immediate and radical action. There is at least an equal if not larger risk of people heading towards fascism, of course, and there is a certainty, in my eyes, that our current path will not only ensure that but offers no solutions of its own, but that just means that regardless of it's probability, socialism is the only path which offers any hope that I can see.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 10:13 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


pracowity: I know I'm just a drop in the well (the commonest sort of excuse for bad behavior), but I try to be a drop of water, not a drop of poison.

Quoted for Truth, Beauty, and Hope.
posted by bryon at 10:22 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]




Oh hey it's a megathread of nightmare fuel. Here's some more:

“But what about the many millions of people directly threatened,” I went on. “Those living in low-lying nations, the farmers affected by abrupt changes in weather, kids exposed to new diseases?”

He gave a sigh, paused for a few seconds, and a sad, resigned smile crept over his face. He then simply said: “They will die.”
--Interview with an anonymous IPCC member from 2011

I've been reading the /r/collapse subreddit for a while. Not recommended if you want to stay sane, but they post a lot of interesting climate change news. One thing I've noticed lately is that mainstream news, and mainstream subreddits, and even MetaFilter, are starting to sound more like /r/collapse. I think the grim reality of climate change is setting in for a lot of people.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:58 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


This was thoroughly covered in The Climate Change Story Is Half True link posted by ragtag in the second top comment. The post overall reminded very much of those Peak Oil posts on The Oil Drum etc from ~2005, seems like a typical engineer’s ‘data is beautiful’ semi-autodidact perspective, but then again I can’t really point to any specific flaws in their argument other than my hope that the tech on renewables and especially energy storage will develop rapidly enough to make a difference.

Gail Tverberg used to write for The Oil Drum.
posted by atoxyl at 11:03 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


If the 1% can survive, then survival is possible.

we have had this conversation before and i still think we should eat them
posted by poffin boffin at 1:15 AM on June 5 [17 favorites]


If we [humans alive today] can’t address the crisis of climate change without resorting to authoritarianism then we’re [the human species] better off extinct.

This is bollocks, as should be apparent from the above. Who are you (or we) to make the decision that future generations shouldn't exist, and have the chance (and the obligation) to do better than us, just because they have the misfortune to lie on the other side of an authoritarian shitshow they had no part in creating?

As long as the species survives, there are options. It'll be a while before any of those options are good ones, but throwing up your hands and saying 'fuck the species' at the prospect of a few hundred years of bloody dictatorship is shortsighted. By that standard humanity should've topped itself centuries ago.
posted by inire at 3:07 AM on June 5 [7 favorites]


You know what this world needs? more people.
posted by some loser at 3:29 AM on June 5


I think the grim reality of climate change is setting in for a lot of people.

It makes my eye twitch that the media did not start reporting about climate science with any notable seriousness or frequency until we got a President who is dedicated to inflaming racism and isolating the US. And the message is almost universally some version of "catastrophic" or "apocalyptic." Well, you can't do anything with that! It kills hope, and it kills activist energy. And how convenient that is for this administration.

We have a moral imperative to act. But facehugger's vox link is correct--you're not the enemy, so don't beat yourself up. And don't just give up. Humans have solved a lot of problems that we thought were unsolvable before. I mean, capitalism in the US is about as well-entrenched as it could possibly be, yet there are plenty of American MeFites not shrugging their shoulders about that, and instead fighting on and contacting their reps regularly to try to change the system and make things better. This is another political problem. Get angry. Do something, do anything.
posted by heatvision at 4:00 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


I think the grim reality of climate change is setting in for a lot of people.

I think a lot of people who don't intend to change are moving (at least in conversation) directly from "it's not happening (so we don't have to do anything)" to "it has already happened (so we can't do anything)" without the inconvenient "it is happening (so let's try to mitigate the effects)" intermediary phase. It's a tactic to justify inaction to others and themselves.
posted by pracowity at 4:13 AM on June 5 [6 favorites]


The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) has a series of 6 intro lectures to climate change, Making Sense of Climate Change. These are good 45 minute lectures, but audio/video quality is not the best, so headphones help, and you can download the slides. I think this is a good intro to some of the major issues. Presented by Bert Drake.
posted by carter at 4:29 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


CarbonBrief has a lot of useful background, they use a web visualization tool to make some good online graphics of climate and environmental trends. This is a great gateway portal for info and self-education.
posted by carter at 4:34 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


There's this weird , I dunno, excitement that comes with envisioning worst case scenarios and pre-planning survival collapse that very much feels like a healthy, young person, tough guy game.

I see a lot of this, too, and I think it's a symptom of people looking to survivalist preppers as a model, rather than looking to indigenous peoples as a model. I consider this a tragedy.


It's a tactic to justify inaction to others and themselves.

I read this passage in Roger Swain's Field Days earlier this morning:
Let those who go to Florida from December to March wax eloquent about the beauties of autumn, with all the leaves turning color and dropping off. Those of who who have to stay behind and shovel snow look at a sugar maple turning orange and see a prophecy of doom.
I think there's a lot of figurative snowbirds (online, in media, etc.) who are making it hard for the rest of us to get busy battening down the hatches.
posted by ragtag at 4:52 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Jay Inslee has a plan!*
  1. 100% Clean Energy for America
  2. An Evergreen Economy for America
  3. A Call to Action for a Climate Conservation Corps
also btw... Sunset for Oil Is No Longer Just Talk :P
posted by kliuless at 5:55 AM on June 5 [7 favorites]


I think a lot of people who don't intend to change are moving (at least in conversation) directly from "it's not happening (so we don't have to do anything)" to "it has already happened (so we can't do anything)" without the inconvenient "it is happening (so let's try to mitigate the effects)" intermediary phase. It's a tactic to justify inaction to others and themselves.

You know, one of the things that really, really does not help is being told that my real, deep-seated, very difficult to manage fears about my future are "a tactic" to justify "inaction"....and yet that's the inevitable response when people say, "hey, I am a vulnerable person, it feels like there is no solution to this that does not involve the vulnerable dying in vast quantities and I feel pretty confident that I am just an average person, the kind who dies".

It basically turns into "talking about your fears is proof that you are ideologically bad because only lazy selfish people pretend to be afraid or let themselves be afraid - the only good response is to chant 'despair is a sin' whenever anyone expresses doubts or fear".

I became politically active at fifteen. I'm not sitting around. I get very, very tired of the messaging that anything except iron-jawed grinning optimism about the inevitable revolution is somehow just selfish lying.
posted by Frowner at 5:58 AM on June 5 [13 favorites]


For whatever it's worth, Frowner, I didn't read pracowity's comment as a response to you in particular.
posted by ragtag at 6:07 AM on June 5 [8 favorites]




If the 1% can survive, then survival is possible.

we have had this conversation before and i still think we should eat them


You would need to eat your way well down the income distribution for that to be sustainable. Unfortunately I think the majority of us here at MF would be in the “meat” side of that deal, rather than enjoying the tasty meals.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:29 AM on June 5


Little Yellow Boots—A Story for the Future (.mp4) a documentary about climate change and its attendant scientific and social issues, in the form of a man's letter to his hypothetical great-granddaughter born in 2063.
posted by XMLicious at 7:04 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


You know what this world needs? more people.

Friendly reminder that "there are too many people!!" is racist and counterfactual.
posted by odinsdream at 7:18 AM on June 5 [4 favorites]




Friendly reminder that "there are too many people!!" is racist and counterfactual.

Often, yes, but some loser's comment reads as future-focused and is correct to that extent. Continued rapid population growth is not a good thing and isn't going to help our predicament (although it's way down the list of not-helpful things and doesn't need to be anyone's focus right now).
posted by inire at 7:35 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


You would need to eat your way well down the income distribution for that to be sustainable. Unfortunately I think the majority of us here at MF would be in the “meat” side of that deal, rather than enjoying the tasty meals.
Well, naw, because once the owner of a vast fortune has been eaten, the vast fortune can be spent on emergency nutrition for everybody starving followed by reclamation of rapacious-industry-destroyed land and water so that it will support sustainable small farms and fisheries and so on, and then family planning resources for everybody. When one vast fortune runs out, we eat the next-largest resource hoarder, and so on. We might not even have to consume more than one or two of the 1% before they get the idea and start shoving their money into the public coffers without anyone even having to nibble on them!
posted by Don Pepino at 9:04 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


"Friendly reminder that "there are too many people!!" is racist and counterfactual.

There are too many people. The fact that racist people also use it doesn't make it not true. The single most helpful thing you can do on a personal level to counter climate change is to not have children.

Now when racists use it, what they mean is 'there are too many of *them*", when them is mostly poor brown people who have much smaller individual carbon footprints. The issue is (for now) that there are too many of *us*, that is first world living a carbon-intensive lifestyle. But even if those were all eliminated, it wouldn't solve the situation, because quite reasonably people want their kids to have a more comfortable life than they did -- thus, for example, the savings from less use in Europe being entirely countered by increases from Asia. So along with trying to develop a high-quality lifestyle that doesn't produce as much carbon, it is absolutely a necessity to empower women to entirely control their reproduction. And equality so that they have full options of life choices so that if they choose to be a mother, it isn't just because it is the only respected role in their society.
posted by tavella at 9:43 AM on June 5 [20 favorites]


cromch
posted by poffin boffin at 10:11 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


We are social mammals who are sensitive to status. In our current form of materialistic civilization, high status is associated with wealth and high levels of conspicuous consumption. With other nations following the US model this is a huge part of the problem as people everywhere (outside of the poor and homeless of course) find status in going shopping. That's what drives the whole economic merry-go-round of manufacturing, transportation, and consumption of materials and energy which is at the root of climate change. We need a new economy, religion, mythology, story in which high status is accorded to people who live simply, while people who have hundreds of designer shoes and solid gold toilets (for example) are looked down on, not admired or envied. The future could actually be a lot better and more enjoyable if we all stopped chasing wealth and lived by the Epicurean philosophy: moderation in all things.
posted by binturong at 10:20 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


This is bollocks, as should be apparent from the above. Who are you (or we) to make the decision that future generations shouldn't exist, and have the chance (and the obligation) to do better than us, just because they have the misfortune to lie on the other side of an authoritarian shitshow they had no part in creating?

Not bollocks at all. You know goddamn well what people are like. You know exactly who is most likely to bear the brunt of suffering if humanity decides to totally jettison democracy in the interests of preserving the species. You cannot be so naive as to assume that there will ever be an ‘other side’ of the crisis that led to an authoritarian takeover, or that authoritarians would ever relinquish their grip on power if there was.
posted by um at 5:45 PM on June 5 [6 favorites]


Democratic regimes sometimes descend into authoritarianism... and also arise from authoritarianism. The fact that there are democratic regimes today, imperfect as they may be, is proof of this point.
posted by sjswitzer at 6:02 PM on June 5


This thread just made me seriously wonder how I would react if I was somehow to find myself in a situation where I was offered a plate of "rich ham"

I'm afraid the first viral video of an elon steak au poivre would just drive the rest of the billionaires underground.


Not sure how that would affect the taste
posted by some loser at 6:12 PM on June 5


The Case of Juliana v. U.S. — Children and the Health Burdens of Climate Change (New England Journal of Medicine, May 30 2019)
Exposure to extreme heat in utero is associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications and birth defects.4 Climate-sensitive infections are on the rise because of the spread of vectors, such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika virus. The 2015–2016 Zika outbreak in the United States was linked to a 21% increase in birth defects in affected regions.4 The combustion of coal at power plants produces mercury, a known potent neurotoxin for fetuses that can lead to reduced cognitive ability and motor function even at low levels of exposure.4 Infants are especially vulnerable to the effects of heat in the first week of life, and one study found that infant mortality increased by 25% on extremely hot days.4

As children grow into toddlers and begin school, their developing organs remain vulnerable to insults.4 Their higher respiratory rates and increased outdoor exposure as compared with adults make children especially susceptible to air pollution, including particulate matter from fossil-fuel combustion and ozone, which forms more rapidly at higher temperatures. Exposure to air pollutants has been linked to increased mortality, school absenteeism, asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits and admissions, and cognitive and behavioral effects.4 Early-life exposure to such pollutants increases a child’s likelihood of developing asthma and of having diminished lung function as a teenager.
posted by MrVisible at 8:02 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


the recipe blogs of our dystopian future are going to be weeeeird
posted by um at 8:59 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]




Eat the rich. Another plan that's been around since what, the 1980s? The 1760s? How's that working out so far?

What's the next step after eating the richest person in the world? Hell, I'll spot you the richest ten. You chow down, then what? They don't have heirs? Competitors waiting to take advantage of the power vacuum? Corporate succession charts? When the next wave of eager contestants take their place, are you going to eat them too? Do you think they won't have contingency plans for that?

Why should I believe our new cannibal overlords have a better solution than their non-human-flesh-eating corporate overlords? Why would the advent of cannibalism as a tactic then be limited to the poor? What good, specifically, is eating the rich going to do?

See, this is why I'm saying we're going to need bunkers. If this is the kind of planning going on right now, if 'eat the rich' is seriously your mantra here, then you've got nothing in the way of actual answers. The worst case scenario is barreling towards us, and the people who claim they have all the answers are mired in petty revenge fantasies.

How about we make sure a few hundred thousand people can actually get through what's coming, and then you can worry about who you're going to kill? There's going to be plenty of death for even the most bloodthirsty of us soon enough.
posted by MrVisible at 9:29 PM on June 5


you're right we shouldn't frighten rich people it'll ruin the meat
posted by um at 1:04 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


MrVisible I've been collecting links too, mainly in plant science as that is one of the things I do. So I have a lot of info relating to flammability, herbivore effects (invertebrates to mammals), mycorrhiza effects, soil water changes, allergens, nutrition changes - none of it is good news, frankly it's a terrifying package of mostly peer-reviewed info.

I don't know what it is about eCO2 and human health but almost anything I've found looks sketchy\amateurish or is hosted somewhere odd, or when I go to a site it's been hacked.

So, this looked interesting:
Health effects of increase in concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Current Science 90, 12, 25 JUNE 2006, Indian Academy of Sciences (Don't go looking on IAS as site has been hacked). Speaks of "Change in blood serum pH leading to acidosis" with 'effects measurable from 426ppm'. But authors cites his own prior paper as a data source, altho' data had been worked out from blood chemistry values.

I got a pdf fom http://alfaintek.com/ which is an air filtering company. The IAS site didn't show a matching issue date so I suspect the whole thing is a fraud.

A slightly better one is
"Carbon dioxide toxicity and climate change: a major unapprehended risk for human health.
P.N. Bierwirth, PhD. Faculty Australian National University" - I see it's on your site. It is worth reading tho' as it has some refs that go useful places like:

Seppänen OA, Fisk WJ, Mendell MJ. 1999. Association of Ventilation Rates and CO2-Concentrations with Health and other Responses in Commercial and Institutional Buildings. Indoor Air 9: 226-252. Discusses where sick building syndrome effects fell sharply <800ppm.

There is a knowledge gap between now ~415ppm and 600ppm - and very little research below ~900ppm. A few studies start at 600ppm, most start at approx 900ppm
posted by unearthed at 1:47 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


In case you skipped over it, the link to the podcast about “the Copernican principle” is a pretty great primer/refresher of a very soothing idea - we (and our time) is more likely the middle of any event than the beginning or end of one.

Highly recommend a listen.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:24 AM on June 6


I don't know what it is about eCO2 and human health but almost anything I've found looks sketchy\amateurish or is hosted somewhere odd, or when I go to a site it's been hacked.

unearthed, that's been my experience too. I can't find much reliable research into this, and it's frustrating; it seems like a pretty important set of questions to be asking. I think it would be possible to design multigenerational lab rat experiments to get some idea of what mammals will be facing, but as far as I can tell no-one has done anything like that.

There's some evidence that carbon dioxide has an effect on anxiety:

Carbon dioxide-induced anxiety. Behavioral, physiologic, and biochemical effects of carbon dioxide in patients with panic disorders and healthy subjects.

Carbon Dioxide “Alarm System” Might Help Explain Anxiety Disorders

And our schools are starting to recognize that they're having carbon dioxide problems, with levels as high as 4000ppm in some cases. Keep in mind that limestone caves have to close to tourists when CO2 levels get above 2400, because it literally starts dissolving the stone.

My big worry, though, is how the CO2 levels will interact with the other changes happening in the atmosphere.

Effect of low-level CO2 on innate inflammatory protein response to organic dust from swine confinement barns

Carbon dioxide may worsen hog farmworkers’ breathing problems.
New research points to a far more immediate impact, particularly for the workers tending to those animals: elevated carbon dioxide in confined pig farms may worsen dust-induced lung problems in farmworkers.

Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center exposed mice to dust taken from hog farm barns and housed them in boxes with several different CO2 levels. The higher the exposure to CO2, the more inflammation the mice experienced.
Thanks for the paper on ventilation rates; I've added it to the collection. I agree that there's a huge knowledge gap around this subject, and given that our survival as a species depends on how we react to the atmosphere we're making, it seems like there are some important experiments we need to run.
posted by MrVisible at 5:47 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


ramez naam:*
My feed is full of climate doom porn today.

What I see is a world on path to roughly 2.5C in 2100, with serious problems, and yet a likelihood that humanity of that time will be better off than today, and thriving, even with the warming.

>2C doesn't mean "end of the world".
(collective ;) human agency is a thing -- i guess! -- and you can take a dim or not-so-grim view of it. then your alarm/despair miles may vary? we don't know if it is foreordained:* "humans are intelligent beings, capable of innovating their way out of shortages through greater efficiency, increased supply, and the development of substitutes."

of course, we can also be ignorant, venal and capable of great (self-)destruction, which can also be qualities launching some into high office! land of contrasts :P
posted by kliuless at 6:09 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


The 75th anniversary of D-Day and this interesting NYT article about Ernie Pyle has me wondering: who do you think is doing the best journalism about climate change? Elizabeth Kolbert and David Wallace-Wells are of course on the list. Are there other periodical journalists to recommend who are reporting uncommonly creatively and well on the climate crisis?
posted by PhineasGage at 10:43 AM on June 6


Isn't it called Soylent Green because the meat providers have all the money (green)??
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:53 AM on June 6


On eco fascism
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on June 6


On eco fascism

Semi-derail (and not that I imagine anarcho-primitivism is especially common compared to garden variety fascism) but as someone who flirted with some of those beliefs, if you do know anyone wandering down that path, The Anarchist FAQ has a good short critique you might use to talk them off the ledge:
Primitivism confuses two radically different positions, namely support for a literal return to primitive lifeways and the use of examples from primitive life as a tool for social critique. Few anarchists would disagree with the second position as they recognise that current does not equal better and, consequently, past cultures and societies can have positive (as well as negative) aspects to them which can shed light on what a genuinely human society can be like. Similarly if "primitivism" simply involved questioning technology along with authority, few would disagree. However, this sensible position is, in the main, subsumed within the first one, the idea that an anarchist society would be a literal return to hunter-gatherer society. [...]

Until such time as "primitivists" clearly state which of the two forms of primitivism they subscribe to, other anarchists will not take their ideas that seriously. [...] Ultimately, we are faced with the fact that a revolution will start in society as it is. Anarchism recognises this and suggests a means of transforming it. Primitivism shies away from such minor problems and, consequently, has little to recommend it in most anarchists' eyes.

This is not to suggest, of course, that non-primitivist anarchists think that everyone in a free society must have the same level of technology. Far from it. An anarchist society would be based on free experimentation. Different individuals and groups will pick the way of life that best suits them. Those who seek less technological ways of living will be free to do so as will those who want to apply the benefits of (appropriate) technologies. Similarly, all anarchists support the struggles of those in the developing world against the onslaught of (capitalist) civilisation and the demands of (capitalist) progress.
(A few sections up on that same page, "What kinds of green anarchism are there?" might be profitable as well.)
posted by ragtag at 4:52 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Corporations say they'll lose nearly $1 trillion to climate change
  • 215 of the world's largest companies predict they stand to lose $970 billion to climate-change-related disruptions over the next seven years.
  • Risks include paying more for insurance, writing off facilities in threatened locations and customers shifting to more environmentally friendly companies.
  • The same companies say they could make $2 trillion from adapting to climate change.
World's Biggest Companies Forecast $1 Trillion Risk From Climate Change
The report from the international non-profit CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, is based on data from 366 biggest companies, representing a market cap of $28.7 trillion as of February 13.

CDP is an influential charity that campaigns for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, safer water resources and protection of forests.

More than 80 percent of these companies expect major climate events such as extreme weather patterns, rising global temperatures and higher pricing for greenhouse gas emissions, the CDP report said.

Companies reckoned that $500 billion of costs are virtually certain and a significant risk would be the higher operating costs linked to legal and policy changes.

They expect to see $250 billion in losses due to write-off of stranded assets that can include fossil fuel assets, which may loose market amid a transition to low-carbon economy. Assets can also become redundant due to significant exposure to the physical impacts of climate change.

Meanwhile, companies assessed that the potential value of climate-related opportunities is nearly 7 times the cost of achieving them. They valued opportunities at $2.1 trillion and costs at $311 billion.
report (pdf)

also btw…
Germany announces proposal to phase out coal by 2038, further changing its generation mix
posted by kliuless at 6:54 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Europe's Green surge matters more than the rise of the far right
Last month’s European elections saw the Greens scale new heights across northwestern Europe. They triumphed in the EU’s three biggest economies. In Germany, a national poll has for the first time ranked the Greens first in a federal election. The Greens are performing strongly across the Nordic and Benelux countries, as well as Austria and Ireland.

This Green wave gives parties making climate change their top priority a strong hand at the European level and in the national politics of more than half the EU’s population. Enormous consequences hinge on how they wield that influence...

That is because environmental policy lands right in the middle of the faultline between those who support and those who oppose liberal democracy and the rules-based international order. Put very simply, the policies needed to make our economies sustainable are also ones that pile new burdens on the losers from the economic changes of the last 40 years.

For a greener economy, there is no way round making carbon-intensive products and activities much more expensive, through an outright carbon tax or policies that mimic its effects. According to William Nordhaus, the 2018 economics Nobel laureate, the global price of emitting carbon is less than one-tenth of what is needed. Even in Europe the level is far too low.

But as the French government’s independent Conseil d’Analyse Économique documents in a recent note, the left-behind lose the most from higher carbon costs. Energy needs take up more of their budgets; they live in places more dependent on car transport; and they are less well placed to invest in energy-saving vehicles and heat sources.

The gilets jaunes protests are telling, not just because they were triggered by the rising cost of fuel, but also because they quickly degenerated into a general attack on liberal values.

The Greens are alert to this challenge: the need for a “just transition” to a low-carbon economy is at the centre of their campaigns. But what does it mean in practice? There are two broad answers.

The first is to combine carbon pricing and similar taxes with radical redistribution to favour the vulnerable. The “carbon tax and dividend” model, where levies to discourage pollution are returned in lump sums to the population rather than funding government budgets, is gaining support across Europe. The German Green party has endorsed it, as has Ska Keller, the European Green party leader. The French CAE economists recommend a geographically differentiated version that could make virtually everyone below the median income benefit financially from higher carbon taxes.

The second is the notion of a “Green New Deal”, which is also energising parts of the US left. The basic idea is to pursue sustainability with massively increased public investment in green infrastructure. Europe’s shocking investment gap, sluggish growth, and remaining underemployment mean an investment boost would be badly needed even in the absence of the climate challenge. It also means a greening of the economy can contribute faster demand growth, which would benefit (and could be targeted on) those on the margin of the economy.

Both would represent huge policy transformations. A carbon dividend would radically change the way we use tax systems, essentially combining drastic tax increases on carbon use with a universal basic income. A Green New Deal worth its salt would require a regime change in terms of governments’ willingness to invest. This is a tall order but a just climate transition requires nothing less.
posted by kliuless at 9:41 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


NYT CDP writeup...
Companies See Climate Change Hitting Their Bottom Lines in the Next 5 Years - "Some of the world's largest companies estimate they face roughly $1 trillion in climate-related risks, with most of that looming in just the next five years."
posted by kliuless at 11:47 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]




The dreaded “Wet Bulb” temperature. Here’s a lovely Guardian article. I’m not positive this is accurate but it sure is worrisome WBT in map form - some of these areas are in the ‘danger zone’ temp wise.
(I did not think I would actually see this in my lifetime...)
posted by From Bklyn at 9:47 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Michael R. Bloomberg: Our Next Moonshot: Saving Earth's Climate - "The Beyond Carbon initiative sets ambitious goals for switching to clean energy, and for building the political coalition necessary to do so."
posted by kliuless at 8:32 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


> The 75th anniversary of D-Day and this interesting NYT article about Ernie Pyle has me wondering...

fwiw...
Martha Gellhorn, The Only Woman Who Landed in Normandy on D-Day - "In fact, she was one of the best war correspondents of the last century, telling stories of conflicts for readers of Collier's from Spain, London, Finland, and China. In addition to being the only woman to land in Normandy on D-Day she was the first reporter to land, period."
posted by kliuless at 8:42 PM on June 7


Where Our New World Begins: Politics, power, and the Green New Deal
A solution to this crisis was found, even in the worst of times and in the hardest of circumstances, and even though many experts and learned commentators assured us that such a solution would be prohibitively expensive, or intrusive, or unconstitutional, or contrary to everything that was best in our American way of life. It was called the New Deal, but that was just the political rubric for putting into action ideas that many people in America and elsewhere had been advocating for a long time—ideas that showed we didn’t have to go on doing things the old, destructive, senseless way that had brought us to such a state.

Like every other human endeavor, the New Deal did not work perfectly. The men and women who put it into motion made mistakes, and they were not always able to overcome the opposition. They were forced to compromise and improvise and rethink what they were doing. But they made it work. They controlled a seemingly uncontrollable crisis—a series of existential threats, really, in the United States and the wider world—and in so doing they expanded human liberty at a time when so many others were trying to do away with it.

We find ourselves today in much the same place, confronted by an array of emergencies—seemingly disparate, but in fact closely connected—­that threatens to destroy us. Braced against them is a set of ideas put forward in a congressional resolution by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (the notorious AOC), a twenty-nine-year-old freshman congresswoman, and her young, ad hoc brain trust. They have put into words the growing convictions of many over the years that we cannot go on the way we have been if we are to survive and continue to keep our liberties. It is altogether fitting and proper that this effort has been named the Green New Deal, for it seeks to draw what worked best from the original New Deal and to learn from its mistakes. How well we do in putting its ideas, goals, and promises into effect will determine what our world will be like for a very long time to come.

But I don’t wish to sound so grim about the endeavor. Here is where our new world begins.
Via.
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]








Oh
posted by odinsdream at 3:11 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]












One of the things I think about a lot is how last year a man named David Buckel self-immolated himself in response to the climate crisis. I would not have expected this to be talked about for more than a few days in the mainstream news, but what shook me to my core was the fact that this event did not turn into a sustained discussion in the world of climate change activism.

There is a lot of discussion about processing grief in the climate change activist community, and even climate scientists are beginning to publicly process their emotional pain around their work. And yet - when this awful tragedy of someone who died in such a public and tragic way happened, just silence. Complete silence. I wonder if the reason why no one has dared to talk about Buckel's death is a fear of encouraging copy cat actions among people who know all too well what the future might look like.
posted by mostly vowels at 8:00 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


That emotional pain link is powerful, FPP material all on its own.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:56 AM on June 13




Social collapse and climate breakdown
Society did not disintegrate. It did not come apart. Society intensified. Power concentrated, and split, and those powers had us kill each other. It seems reasonable to assume that climate social collapse will be like that. Only with five times as many dead, if we are lucky, and twenty-five times as many, if we are not.

Remember this, because when the moment of runaway climate change comes for you, where you live, it will not come in the form of a few wandering hairy bikers. It will come with the tanks on the streets and the military or the fascists taking power.

Those generals will talk in deep green language. They will speak of degrowth, and the boundaries of planetary ecology. They will tell us we have consumed too much, and been too greedy, and now for the sake of Mother Earth, we must tighten our belts.

Then we will tighten our belts, and we will suffer, and they will build a new kind of gross green inequality. And in a world of ecological freefall, it will take cruelty on an unprecedented scale to keep their inequality in place.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:34 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Temperatures leap 40 degrees above normal as the Arctic Ocean and Greenland ice sheet see record June melting

The picture that goes with the article is surreal, the caption is "Steffen Olsen, an Arctic researcher with the Danish Meteorological Institute, and dogs set out to retrieve oceanographic moorings and a weather station over meltwater topping sea ice in northwest Greenland on Thursday."
posted by peeedro at 2:17 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


What an amazing post! I missed it because I had a lot of both work and family stuff, so I'm just reading all the links and comments now, and I'm far from finished. But I just want to chip in about the ecofascism fears and general fear. In reality the good news is that the best way to deal with this is democratic and based on communities.
The best way to make the world more sustainable is to make local communities more sustainable, wether they are city boroughs or country villages.
The best way to make this happen is to empower women, to give them educations and help them be self-sufficient. Sorry guys, I think you deserve education too, but when you support women, the sustainability dividend is higher.
The best way to support that effort is to spread knowledge, instead of propaganda.
The best way to fund the necessary change is to tax the rich. They can't take their money with them into their graves, so they shouldn't worry.
The best way to encourage change is politics. Not the markets, not religions. What works is politicians making decisions to tax and regulate and reform. And the best way to make politicians do what you want is to vote. And the best votes are people's votes. The majority of people, everywhere in the world, want a future. In countries where democracy isn't safe and reliable, it's really important to get out the vote and demand transparency. The places where voters are suppressed or bribed are horrible, but the first thing is to show up and vote, only then you can blame them for not listening.
In places where there are no votes to give, the more fortunate among us need to help that to happen. But we have to clean out own houses first.
posted by mumimor at 3:23 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Didn't Americans manage to elect someone who doesn't even believe in climate change? I don't have a lot of hope for the democratic process to fix this, even if everything you mentioned is important.
posted by Memo at 4:47 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


If more people in the US voted, there wouldn't have been a crime family in the White House. Or a Republican majority in the Senate. I don't know, where I live, voting isn't mandatory, but it's seen as odd not to vote. Everyone across party lines work to get out those remaining 15% or so who don't vote. My mother is too disabled to get to a polling place, so the officials came to get her vote at home.
For democracy to work, people have to participate.
posted by mumimor at 1:47 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


I think this may have appeared in the omnibus US politics thread, but I'm not sure how many people outside of the Midwest realize how bad the rain has been and what effects it's had on planting crops.
posted by mostly vowels at 8:34 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


mostly vowels - We get a little US non-trump news but our press is 95% Murdochian\denialist.

At least our government is firmly on the ball - it's not just the US for off-weather Australia cuts wheat forecast by 11% as drought threatens for third year or 20% down depending on where one reads.
posted by unearthed at 10:38 PM on June 15


posted by kliuless at 11:48 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]






« Older The cake is a lie 🍰   |   National Park Typeface Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.