Solutions please (can the crap!)


Enough with the problem recitations, please. Article after article, in all sources both print and electronic, all we get is descriptions of problems, admonitions to face the reality (whatever it is at the moment), and the advice that we should do something.

But hardly anyone offers concrete steps to be taken or solutions we should implement to solve our problems.

Typical of the proliferation of such articles is this one: “Are we prepared for a climate crisis in the middle of a pandemic?” by Olivia Aguilar. According to Dr. Aguilar, we are not. So what should we do about it? Form committees. In about 1100 words that is the only concrete step she recommends.

Articles of little merit or value are generated by the score every day in colleges and universities that pressure their faculty members to publish something, anything, whether they have anything to say or not.

So-called think tanks are also prolific factories of shrieking calls to do something without even a scintilla of solutions offered. I’ve read article after article, watched countless mind-numbing Youtube videos, and listened to a few podcasts, all about how we need to prepare for this or that problem: global warming, swarms of climate refugees, the Coronavirus epidemic, food shortages, overpopulation, and on and on. The list of problems facing or about to consume us is endless. The list of solutions is, well, pretty much blank.

What follows are a few of the problems that need solutions, at least in rough format, that come to my mind without a lot of thought (which is my preferred mode). They could be fleshed out with a little research and high-powered thinking on the part of these people who have sinecures in academia and think tanks. With more of a project-orientation—solution centered as they like to say—they could actually earn their money by giving us some steps to follow.

  • Lawn to gardens. For at least eight years there has been a push in some quarters to convert our ridiculous lawns into gardens, especially vegetable gardens. Food supply is going to undergo serious threat so we need more how-to instruction on things like:
    — Getting municipal codes changed to accommodate gardens in place of lawns.
    — Psychological methods for breaking homeowners away from their grass fetish.
    — Protection methods against natural pillagers and human thieves.
    — And while we’re at it, canning procedures to store the produce from those gardens.
  • Golf courses to affordable housing. Golf courses are going to rapidly become a thing of the past. The areas they occupy could be converted to affordable housing. Focus on:
    — How to bring about forced change of ownership from private golf course owners. Municipalization?
    — Political action to achieve conversion of municipally owned courses.
    — How to incorporate the renting of small garden plats for individuals on former golf courses.
  • Farmland conversion. The dominance of beef and corn production are extremely problematic aspects of agriculture that must be radically changed.
    — Alternative crops appropriate to particular areas and circumstances.
    — Debt amelioration for farmers heavily invested in equipment and land.
  • Wind and solar acceptance. Over 70 percent of the American public supports alternative energy sources. But when it comes to actually implementing them the public wants them anywhere but in their own vicinity.
    — What influence techniques or methods would bring better acceptance of local installations?
    — What financial incentives or other benefits could be generated, and what would their sources be, to gain acceptance?
  • Propaganda remediation. Talk radio, social media, and Fox News have been seriously and in some cases almost entirely subverted to propaganda machines for contemporary populists and other rabble.
    — How can these media be effectively neutralized without censorship?
    — What methods could be employed to undo years of biased influence in people who have willingly subjected themselves to the relentless barrage of right wing misinformation and anti-social ideas?
  • Education rejuvenation. Starting in the late 1950s the far right-wing segment of the Republican party began to advance a policy of influence over the educational system to bring it into alignment with their warped values and focus on personal, financial wealth. Their strategy included gaining control of school boards, state departments of education, and educational legislation. They have in large measure been successful.
    — What kinds of political strategies will be necessary, and effective, in returning school board representation to the broader swath of the public?
    — What will be required to bring about truly free education from preschool through college?
    — State legislatures need to step up and fund higher education. How can that be achieved?
    — How can organizations like parent teacher organizations be more empowered to help bring about substantive, positive changes in public education?
  • Enlightenment values. The United States was once the proud embodiment in the world of higher enlightenment values. That is no longer the case with our incessant, never-ending wars and interference with foreign governments everywhere. What would it take to get back to a positive moral stature?
  • Freedom. It would be difficult to enumerate all the losses of freedom and liberty that have occurred just in my lifetime. This must perforce be the broadest and most difficult topic on this list. In brief, how do we regain our liberty?

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This is a list I conjured up in just a few minutes. Certainly they are among those topics I think about frequently, and they are really only a small subset of the possible topics people could be studying, researching, and writing about.

And of course some are doing exactly that. Do an Internet search of any of the terms of this list and many sources will come up. But they are often, as is this one, isolated and relatively obscure websites. What we really need is for those with the biggest megaphones to stop dithering with resume or CV padding crap and produce something meaningful and useful.

Getting ready for power grid failure

power line with red background

Wife Chris and I have decided to install a natural gas powered 16 kWh stand-by electric generator.

Natural gas powered generators are quieter than the smaller, portable, gasoline powered types of generator. The location we have chosen for the generator, plus its quieter sound, will make it minimally obtrusive. We do not like noise and assume others feel the same way. The only time the generator will be running–other than when there is an electricity outage, of course–will be for periods of 10 minutes or less, once a week, which is part of the maintenance program. We will schedule this for a time during the middle of the day.

You might be wondering, why? Natural gas powered generators with their permanent installation are not cheap. Plus they require maintenance and upkeep. So why did we decide to do this?

Given the tenor of the times and the ways in which so much of our contemporary world is clearly breaking down, I have been giving a lot of thought to just how our quality of life is most vulnerable. It did not a lot of thought to conclude that one area in which a catastrophe would be most devastating is electricity.

Almost every aspect of our lives depends on the electricity being on. In the past we have lived in places where electrical outages were commonplace. Loss of power for even an hour is pretty inconvenient. It never happens at a good time.

We were living in New York during the Northeast blackout of 2003. When that struck we were without power for several days. That made us outage sensitive, so we subsequently invested in an emergency generator (portable, gasoline powered) and electrical transfer switch wiring. That made a world of difference in our quality of life during those frequent times when the electricity went off, sometimes for many hours.

The Achilles heel of that system was the fact that it was gasoline powered. In a widespread blackout, like the one in 2003, gasoline was hard to get because filling station pumps require electricity to work. We had to either drive outside the blackout area (too far) or find a filling station that had its own backup generator (and had not run out of gasoline to sell).

An added inconvenience was the limited number of household circuits we could power with our portable generator. We could power some of the basic circuits but we were nowhere near whole-house coverage.

With our electric-outage experience in mind I contacted the local electric utility before moving to the Madison area in 2013 to see what the outage history was like. I was told there had been only one brief outage, lasting less than an hour, in the previous ten years.

Great! I thought. We won’t be needing an emergency generator.

In the six-plus years we’ve lived here there have been a few brief outages. More than I expected from what I had been told, but nothing to get seriously bent out of shape about. So I was feeling pretty secure about our electricity supply and the unlikelihood of experiencing a serious outage.

That is, until I stumbled across a report prepared last year for the U.S. Department of Energy called An Assessment of Threats to the American Power Grid.

It detailed the four most likely ways in which the national electrical grid is vulnerable to prolonged collapse:

  • Geomagnetic storms
  • Electromagnetic pulse attack (EMP) via a high altitude nuclear detonation.
  • Cyber attack.
  • Kinetic attack. (Structural damage resulting from acts of terrorism; nature, such as lightning; vandalism, such as someone shooting at transformers; etc.)

The DOE Assessment makes for some bleak and scary reading, especially when you consider that we the public are usually fed feel-good nonsense that paints a rosy picture. If these people are bad-mouthing the situation, then it must be really bad. Everything is not hunky-dory.

“Even if all the recommendations of the Congressional EMP Commission were implemented, there is no guarantee that the [national electrical] grid will not sustain a prolonged collapse. There should therefore be contingency plans for such a failure.” (Emphasis added.)

Evidently there are no contingency plans: “There should be an actionable plan in anticipation of a possible prolonged collapse of the grid—a retro-structure and a skill set to provide a framework for survival. Our sense is there is no plan.” (Emphasis added.)

So just how bad is it? I wondered. How likely is it that the national electrical grid could go down, that there could be a “prolonged collapse”? How long would the collapse last if it did? After all, in modern times we have never experienced a complete collapse of the national electrical grid. But if is possible, and there is no plan . . .

I looked into the four “postulated mechanisms” that could potentially cause grid collapse:

Geomagnetic storms. According to Science Daily, a “geomagnetic storm is a temporary disturbance of the Earth’s magnetosphere. Associated with solar coronal mass ejections, coronal holes, or solar flares, a geomagnetic storm is caused by a solar wind shock wave which typically strikes the Earth’s magnetic field 24 to 36 hours after the event.”

Often called solar storms, these magnetic disruptions can wreak havoc on electrical equipment of all sorts, especially the essential components of the national grid. In March 1989 a geomagnetic storm blacked out large parts of northeastern North America. In 1921 there was a solar storm several magnitudes stronger than the 1989 storm. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has estimated that if a storm of the 1921 magnitude were to strike today it would take down the entire U.S. grid. (There was no grid in 1921 like there is today.)

The 1921 Solar storm was not a unique, one-time event. NOAA is confident that a storm of that magnitude, or even greater, will eventually strike us.

Electromagnetic Pulse Attacks (EMP). An EMP of sufficient magnitude damages electrical equipment. The most likely EMP vehicle would be a high altitude nuclear detonation. From what I can gather this is the least likely thing to happen, but that might just be wishful thinking on my part.

A lightning strike is an EMP. As a result of global warming, storms are getting more frequent and more powerful. A few unluckily placed lightning strikes could leave us in the dark a long time.

Cyber attacks. A cyber attack is an assault launched against computer networks and systems. As might be expected, the electric grid is managed by computers from stem to stern.

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Not long ago Russian hackers took down a large part of the Ukrainian electric grid. The damage, destruction and loss was enormous. It has been suggested that the Russians could take down the U.S. grid whenever they want to.

A power company in the Midwest hired a group of white hat hackers known as RedTeam Security to test power company’s defenses against hacking and sabotage. The team was able to break into buildings and hack into the power company’s network with relative ease. They were able to gain full access and could have easily done serious and permanent damage, plunging the entire region into darkness for an indeterminate time.

Kinetic Attacks. These are old fashioned methods like bombs, fire, bullets, and so on. A few years ago in California someone with a high powered rifle took down a large power transformer by simply shooting at it. Much of the region was without power for months.

Speaking of transformers, they are a critical component of the transmission system. They adjust the electric voltage to a suitable level on each segment of the power transmission from generation to the end user. They are essential to the transmission of electricity across the grid.

High voltage transformers (HVTs), sometimes referred to as large power transformers (LPTs), are big and heavy. They weigh between 110 and 410 tons, and cost millions of dollars apiece. They are all uniquely designed so they cannot be mass produced, and it can take up to two years to make one.

There are approximately 80 to 90 of these LPTs in use across the country. They are essential to the U.S. electric grid. Because they are huge, transporting them from the point of manufacture to their destination in the grid is costly and expensive.

Making them is even more problematic. It can take up to two years to make one of these LPTs. That is, if the materials required to make them are immediately available. (Don’t even get me started on the problems associated with electrical steel, a special steel that is an essential ingredient of all LPTs.) Keep in mind there can be no economy of scale with these things because each one is unique. They must be designed and built for the particular requirements of where they are to be used.

It would seem reasonable to make a large power transformer in place, where it is needed. But that is impossible. There are only a couple of manufacturers in the world capable of making the largest LPTs. One is in South Korea and the other in Germany.

The German manufacturing firm is Siemens. In an impressive 568 page company publication they state that LPTs have a lifespan of around 35 or 40 years, and approximately 70 percent of the LPTs in the U.S. are at or past their end of service date.

The publication cited above says the entire U.S. grid would go down with the loss of no more than eight or nine LPTs. Yikes! Think about it. Around 60 of our LPTs are outdated and could fail at any time. And most of the rest of them are approaching that point.

Call me Chicken Little, but I find that more than a little scary.

From what I have learned over the past few months there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to experience more frequent and longer lasting electric outages. (I haven’t even mentioned the aging, inadequate, and sorely neglected infrastructure of our national grid of which the LPTs are a part.)

What to do? The first thing I wanted to know was if the electric utility had any kind of program, or perhaps suggestions about how to deal with outages, especially an extended outage which might even be nationwide, and might last for months or even years.

The utility’s manager courteously responded to all my questions in a timely manner, but what he had to say was not comforting. In his words, they were a small electric distribution company. It has little to no control over the supply of electricity to them. If they can’t get electricity, game over for them.

So! If an extended power outage is a real possibility, what’s to be done? Do we really want to make a sizable investment in time and money to install a permanent, natural-gas fueled stand-by electric generator? After all, the national electric grid has never totally gone down, and local outages have never been very long-term. It’s never happened; maybe it never will.

First I looked at it from an actuarial perspective. We have paid and lot in premiums over the years for life insurance, even though neither of us has ever actually died. Same with fire insurance, auto insurance, health insurance, and so on. We’ve had some claims over the years but we’ve certainly never recouped the total cost of the insurance premiums.

The way we’ve usually looked at it was that we were insuring against catastrophe. The ramifications of a possible catastrophic event were far more horrendous than paying the insurance premiums.

I believe the same applies to electricity. To be without it is one of the most disruptive and potentially dangerous conditions I can imagine. Or in some ways, that I can’t imagine. Things can happen that were undreamed of just the day before.

Like the sudden appearance of a new virus for which no one has immunity. As I write this Chris and I have isolated ourselves at home due to the Coronavirus outbreak. I don’t know how long we are going to have to be holed up here, but I would not want to do it without electricity.

We finally decided to get the generator if we could be confident there would be gas to power it. I wanted to hear from Madison Gas & Electric as to whether or not they could continue to provide gas in an extended power outage. It was difficult to get them to answer my questions but I kept badgering them until they did. Their answer: Their ability to provide gas is not dependent upon electricity from the grid. They do have to power the gas pumps with electricity, but they have some very large stand-by generators for that. I have to take their word for it that they can continue to deliver gas even with the electricity is off.

I did ask, a couple of times, just how long they would be able to provide gas with the electricity off. That question never got answered.

So we decided to install a permanent stand-by generator. One that is capable of powering our whole house. As long as there is natural gas we will not have to be without heat or air conditioning, refrigeration, light, hot water, computers, charged cell phones, CPAP, and so on.

Solar panels and whole house batteries would be a better solution but that option is not presently available to us because the homeowners’ association voted against allowing solar panels. We would prefer solar because it is renewable. But instead we will have to burn fossil fuel. (I have wondered how many of the homeowners’ association members who voted against solar own MG&E stock.)

Wind power is out of the question for the present circumstances. That just leaves natural gas

By the way, potable water was of concern to me in case of an outage. Local water company told me they have natural gas powered generators that back-up several of their water-well pumps. They can continue to supply water as long as there is gas.

We have run out of time

melted clock indicating we are out of time

Scientists have been telling us for several decades that we were running out of time to do something about global warming. Last year (2018) the consensus of scientific thinking gave us twelve years. Now, in 2019, we’re down to eleven. That is, we have eleven years to change the ways we live and do business to drastically reduce our global carbon footprint. The objective is to keep average global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The baseline average is based on NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) for the years 1951-1980.

According to NASA/GISS the global temperature annual average for 1951-19800 was 14 degrees Centigrade (57°F). What happens when the global average rises to 1.5 degrees warmer? If you have to ask, you have not been paying attention to what is going on in the world. Here’s the way Astra Taylor put it writing in Laphams Quarterly:

[There will be] the annihilation of coral reefs, greater melting of the permafrost, and species apocalypse, along with the most dire consequences for human civilization as we know it. Food shortages, forest fires, droughts and monsoons, intensified war and conflict, billions of refugees—we have barely begun to conceive of the range of dystopian futures looming on the horizon.

Get it? Pay special attention to that part about how “we have barely begun to conceive” of the horrors that lie in wait for us. Clearly it would be in our—humanity’s and the rest of the world’s—best interests to get our collective butts in gear and mitigate the effects of global warming. And mitigate is the best we could hope for because we have already done things that will negatively affect our climate for at least several hundred years.

We were told 30 years ago what we needed to do to avoid most of the problems of global warming. We did nothing. Nothing significant, anyway. A relative handful of the world’s population began doing a few constructive but insignificant things, like recycling paper and plastic, most of which somehow ended up in landfills or the ocean. Out of sight out of mind, I guess.

(Please don’t mistake my tone. I have been no better than almost everyone else.)

There have been activists all along, trying to draw public and governmental attention to the problems of global warming, but recently there has been an uptick in public awareness. Most notably there is Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old Swedish environmentalist who has roused students and adults alike to demonstrate for global action against climate warming. Someone has referred to her as the tiny Swedish climate devil.

The worldwide attention now being drawn to global warming has many people hopefully asking, and speculating, about whether or not the world is finally going to meaningfully tackle the problem. Is there reason to hope that we will now do what is required to avoid at least the most serious effects of global warming?

The answer, I very much regret to say, is no.

As I see it there are some fundamental reasons that nothing is going to be done. There will undoubtedly come a point when there will be a scurrying to take action, but it will be far too little and pathetically late. Americans always do the right thing but only after they have tried everything else.

The corporatism which rules today is composed of and fed by many attributes, not the least of which are personal greed for wealth and power of the ruling elite. Corporations rule the world as proxy to a small group of ruling elites, the oligarchs who continue to profit from ecological extraction. The standout examples of this are the numerous companies and activities of the infamous Koch brothers. Make that Koch brother (singular). One of the brothers died this year; so sad. Their immense fortune was derived largely from the extraction of coal.

It is the burning of coal which has contributed more than any other single cause to global warming. Because the Kochs successfully used their wealth to stymie any meaningful attempts to stop the burning of coal, they stand out to many as the worst enemies of the future of Earth, especially any future that presumes to include humans.

For life on Earth to continue in any semblance of how it has been, coal and oil extraction and emissions would have to be lowered to virtually zero and replaced with renewable energy sources. That would require corporations to forfeit trillions of dollars in assets. Stock markets would crash. American politicians would be cast adrift without their regular infusions of cash and direction (by virtue of being told how and when to vote). There is no question that the ruling elites and the politicians they own—in America that includes almost all Republicans and most Democrats—would continue to fight tooth and nail to prevent any change in the status quo.

The well known human aversion to change has never been more evident than in the national debate (weak as it is, considering the stakes) about global warming and what to do about it. By my tally, thirty-three percent of the American public have thoroughly deluded themselves with their denial that there even is such a thing as human-caused global warming. The excuses they give for their position are ludicrous and, were it not for the seriousness of the consequences, laughable. But they will not change.

I suspect that this group is roughly the same as the thirty-three percent of the American population who support and believe in Donald Trump. I know a thing or two about brain washing and I want to tell you something about those Trump supporters. They are the Americans who have voluntarily exposed themselves to years of right-wing, populist, narrow-minded propaganda. That is how they became the political and educational retards they are. The kind of mind control-slash-brain washing to which these people have voluntarily subjected themselves does two things. It creates a mindset in line with the objectives of the oligarchical, capitalism-loving plutocrats; and it makes it extremely difficult to change that mindset to another direction. It is mind control with built-in inoculation against other ideas and values. Especially those of the Enlightenment sort. It is highly unlikely they will ever change.

Here is how you can spot these folks. As you already know (probably), they tend to spout misogynistic, white supremacist, anti-science, illiberal claptrap. But what really gives them away are the expressions, phrases, even whole articulated arguments, that are repeated verbatim over and over. Especially on right-wing talk shows and that conservative propaganda machine, Fox News. I know because I lurk and listen to them.

Here is an example. This is a phrase that I first heard from Rush Limbaugh, whom I occasionally listen to when my stomach feels particularly strong:

Greta Thunberg thinks she has it figured out at age 16, when she has no concept of the long term cycle of climate change which is thousands of years.

This phrase was repeated almost verbatim over and over in the right-wing conservative echo chambers. No credit given, no one saying they heard it from so-and-so. And each hearer absorbs it as their own. So when they spout it later they really believe they are speaking a wisdom that is their very own.

I most recently came across this particular phrase in an email from an old friend. He has been listening almost exclusively to Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk programs and Fox News for decades now. In his email to me he repeated the above Greta disparagement almost verbatim. When I challenged him on it he back-peddled and said that maybe the statement did not actually represent his own thinking. But I suspect he was being disingenuous with me. Most people like him will not budge, or if they do, they sooner or later return to what is for them the more comfortable (brainwashed) position.

The brazen Criminal in Chief, President Trump, has publicly and loudly stated that global warming is a scam. His mindless followers think they know it is a the-sky-is-falling scam, although all they really know is what they have heard him and his servile minions say. But what would happen, you might wonder, if President Trump were to do an about face and declare global warming real? After all, since he is one of the most corrupt people on the planet, he could easily contradict everything he has said about it.

If that were to happen every brainwashed Trump junkie would experience cognitive dissonance. They would deny the reality of what Trump was saying, convinced that the evil, conniving forces trying to bring Trump down had somehow taken control of his brain and made him say it. Or even deny that he actually said whatever it was he is reported to have said, and indeed that they may even have actually heard him say. “Fake news,” they would say. They would remain loyal to the real Donald Trump and continue to believe global warming is a scam.

As for the rest of us, polls show that sixty-six percent of the American public believes that global warming is real and that it is caused by human activity.

gallup poll global warming

A majority of Americans are clearly concerned about the problem but here again we see the effects of denial and cognitive dissonance. People are not filling the streets screaming for action. The only people coming close to that are students activated by Greta Thunberg and her Friday for Climate actions. The adults are determinedly not bestirring themselves except to pat her on the head (figuratively speaking) and tell her how nice it is to see young people taking an interest in things.

The fact is, most humans don’t function well in the face of impossible odds. And that is what we face now with global warming. The thought of getting ruling elites, oligarchs, and governments to back massive change and expense for the sake of the planet is just too daunting to even contemplate. It is clear to most people that there just is not much that can be done.

Except hope! And maybe pray among those who are religious, although most of the religious factions don’t seem to place much confidence that we can pray our way out of this mess if they even acknowledge the mess to begin with.

As for hope, as Chris Hedges has often pointed out, hope is for suckers. In “Our Mania for Hope Is a Curse,” he said:

The naive belief that history is linear, that moral progress accompanies technical progress, is a form of collective self-delusion. It cripples our capacity for radical action and lulls us into a false sense of security. Those who cling to the myth of human progress, who believe that the world inevitably moves toward a higher material and moral state, are held captive by power. Only those who accept the very real possibility of dystopia, of the rise of a ruthless corporate totalitarianism, buttressed by the most terrifying security and surveillance apparatus in human history, are likely to carry out the self-sacrifice necessary for revolt.

“…to carry out the self-sacrifice necessary for revolt.” Indeed. The problem, though, is that there is no time left. The UN has told us that oceans are already so warm we will not be able to avoid the dire consequences already set in motion. That in itself, I believe, deprives us of the eleven years we thought we might have in which to do something about climate.

Add to that the possibility of at least seven potential tipping points that, once any one of them is tipped, will cause a vastly sped up runaway greenhouse effect. The seven I refer to—melting of the Arctic permafrost, burning of the Amazon, marine ice sheet instability in West Antarctica, melting of huge methane clouds in the deep ocean, things like this—are only the large scale tipping elements. There are also many regional or smaller-scale tipping points. The faith (or even hope) that none of these will be tipped is beyond my ken.

The faith in a scientific miracle is also beyond my ken. I am a scientist and have always respected science and scientists but expecting a miracle at this point and and in this time frame is beyond irrational.

Our time is growing extremely short. For the first time in my life I am fatalistic about our chances for survival. It is best, if possible, to not worry about it. If even one of those tipping points is triggered we are probably done for.

In the meantime I believe we have an obligation to maintain a moral position in keeping with the highest ideas of the Enlightenment. If we have to go out we should go out standing tall, caring for one another and easing suffering of people and animals as much as possible.

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I personally intend to do as much as I can to head of what looks like our guaranteed end. Not from any senseless hope but out of principle. And celebrate my good luck for having lived in this best and worst final stage of humanity.

Pliocene here we come

Graph showing atmospheric carbon dioxide by year

We are now at the same atmospheric carbon dioxide level as Earth was during the Pliocene three to five million years ago.

That’s it! We are headed toward the same conditions that prevailed during the Pliocene and there is no way to stop that. Temperatures are rising rapidly above 80° north and south which will result in continuing rise in sea level, which in turn will create ever more flooding along the coasts of the world.

Where are the people who live there to go? If you are a coastal dweller you can be certain that within a very few years you will be looking for somewhere inland to live. If you live inland, prepare to be inundated by climate refugees.

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Climate disruption is here. We were told 30 years ago this was coming and everyone pretty much ignored it. Up until about 10 years ago we could still have done something about this. But now it is too late.

Global warming is a topic that demonstrates the human capacity for denial of reality. The imbeciles who continue to deny that there is a problem are the ones who deserve to be global warming’s first victims. With any luck …

Climate Change Claims Its First Mammal Extinction

In a Scientific American report dated March 21, 2019, the Bramble Cay melomys, a tiny island rodent, has gone extinct according to the government of Australia. The species was a victim of sea-level rise.

small rodent eating plant
Bramble Cay melomys (also known as the Bramble Cay mosaic-tailed rat, Melomys rubicola. Picture by Ian Bell, EHP, State of Queensland WikimediaI (CC by 3.0 AU)

Never to be seen again. Scientific American claims this is the first mammalian species wiped out by global warming.

These little guys lived on a small reef island at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, near Papua New Guinea.

They didn’t have much territory to begin with because the cay only measures about 1,100 feet by 500 feet and its highest elevation is three feet. Extreme weather events killed all the vegetation which was the melomys’s only source of food.

This is going to sound more and more familiar as mass extinction number six, now ongoing, continues.

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At least this rodent species gets a passing thought upon its official demise. We will not get any attention when we’re gone because there won’t be anyone left to notice. That is, other than all the remaining species who will likely rejoice greatly.

Adios, Kemosabe

extinction-desolation image

The recent Camp Fire devastation and loss of life in California is just a small sample of what is in store for us on this planet because of human-made global warming.

Even if global warming could be limited to just two degrees Fahrenheit (2F), we would still be in for unimaginable misery which we are already seeing in climate-related threats to our health, safety, social upheaval, and economic wellbeing.

But let’s get real here. There will not be significant reductions in global temperature rise. Given this dismal probability, as the UN’s recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report spelled out, we are headed for a “totally different world.” So says Michael Oppenheimer, a premier climate scientist at Princeton University.

Faced with this near certain catastrophe, people – most people – are unable to bestir themselves away from the mundane and ultimately meaningless daily routines of their quotidian lives. Hence the problem of global warming is likely to be solved by the elimination of its cause: humanity.

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The human race is headed straight for the cliff of extinction. It will happen. The quasi-religious belief that profit trumps (!) all, that the planet will take care of itself, is clearly a form of insanity whose seed was planted with the industrial revolution of the 18th century.

Too bad the insanity will take all of us down with it.