Skip to main content

What Lies Ahead


May 30, 2013 – We are offered so little worthwhile analysis by American mainstream media.  I had understood that the civil war in Syria was an outgrowth of the Arab Spring – an apparently spontaneous demand for freedom from previously abject populations.  After reading Joe Romm’s article Syria Today is a Preview of Memorial Day 2030, I’m convinced the Arab Spring was a catalyst, and nothing more.  Romm quotes from a Tom Friedman article, Without Water, Revolution:
“The drought did not cause Syria’s civil war,” said the Syrian economist Samir Aita,
 but … the failure of the government to respond to the drought played a huge role
 in fueling the uprising … after Assad took over in 2000 he opened up the regulated
 agricultural sector in Syria for big farmers, many of them government cronies, to buy
 up land and drill as much water as they wanted, eventually severely diminishing the
 water table.  This began driving small farmers off the land into towns, where they had
 to scrounge for work …
Then, between 2006 and 2011, some 60 percent of Syria’s land mass was ravaged by the
drought and, with the water table already too low and river irrigation shrunken, it wiped
               out the livelihoods of 800,000 Syrian farmers and herders, the United Nations reported …
 with Assad doing nothing to help the drought refugees, a lot of very simple farmers and
 their kids got politicized.”
It was not the drought, it was the response – or lack thereof – to the drought that caused Syria’s civil war.  Not ideology, not theology, not the Arab Spring.  How many other governments are equally as ill-prepared to respond to climate volatility and the accompanying loss of livelihood?  Thomas Fingar, an intelligence analyst, believes the chickens will come home to roost by the mid-2020s.  “Floods and droughts will trigger mass migrations and political upheaval in many parts of the developing world.”
Add to climate catastrophe the compounding factor of population growth and the concomitant rise in demand for food, freshwater and energy, and the outlook is bleak indeed.  My greatest concern in reading these projections for the future is the utter lack of willingness to admit that humans will live at a greatly reduced standard of living.  Writers insist that future generations will demand all the niceties of life during the late 20th century – and that their demands will be treated as though they were reasonable!  I keep wondering, where is the person brilliant enough to figure out that nothing could be further from the truth?
It’s time to tell ourselves and each other the true story of our diminished future, and of how life can still be good, even without overabundance.



Popular posts from this blog

We Are Still In

June 13, 2017 - Trump's announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Accord on Climate Change has produced a remarkable backlash: hundreds of cities, states, universities and colleges, and businesses in the United States have declared their collective intention to reach the country's 2025 emissions goals, with or without federal leadership. America stepped up to the plate when Trump stated that he was "elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," to which Pittsburgh's mayor responded "we [Pittsburgh] will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy and future."

Bill Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh, is a member of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, the creation of Sierra Club, to which Michael Bloomberg is a major contributor. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and a billionaire philanthropist, is also the United Nations Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.
In a letter written by Bloomberg to…

The SunShot Initiative

In 2007, the amount of solar power installed in the U.S. was 1.1 gigawatts (GW). As of 2017, that amount has increased to 47.1 GW. Enough to power 9.1 million average American homes. If you're thinking "we've still got a long way to go," you'd be right. On the other hand, increasing installed power by 4300% deserves some attention.  How'd we do it?

The Department of Energy played an important role. In 2011, they initiated a program called The SunShot Initiative. They set targets for the years 2020 and 2030, by which times generating solar power would have become more affordable. More affordable on a utility scale, more affordable on a commercial scale, and more affordable on a residential scale. Thus far, they've succeeded in hitting the 2020 goal for utility-scale generation. Needless to mention, they reached that goal three years early. The goals, it should be mentioned, don't take subsidies into account. It's the technology, in the case of util…