Skip to main content

The Future Has Arrived

September 4, 2017 - Wildfires are burning throughout the Pacific Northwest. Hurricane Harvey has decimated the greater Houston area and parts of Louisiana. Hurricane Irma glowers out in the Atlantic. In other words, forecasts made decades ago are proving accurate. Four hundred parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was regarded as a tipping point, the point at which climate change would take on a life of its own. If no one ever drove their car another block, if farmers never used another ounce of chemical fertilizer, if not so much as one more acre of land was cleared with fire, climate change would continue on its way, wreaking havoc.

We passed four hundred ppm this year. I'm not sure where we stand right now; we were supposed to be at around 410 by spring. I'm not advocating giving up. Of course not. We must still - and at this point, will, whether we want to or not - consciously lower our standard of living, and stop enjoying the conveniences for which we are now so dearly paying. Mass transit, here we come. Our roads are falling apart anyway, and we can't afford to fix them. New buildings? A thing of the past. As Jim Hightower points out in the latest edition of his newsletter, The Lowdown, the world has reached peak sand mining. That's right: sand. And it turns out sand is a vital component of concrete and glass.

Food production? With the dramatic shifts in climate we're experiencing, coupled with flooding and drought, depending on where you live, it's looking uncertain. Everyone who has access to land should have a garden, that's for sure. Farmers' markets and community gardens will become more and more important. Obsolescence? Isn't it funny: it's obsolete. We're repairing and recycling like never before, and that will be a permanent feature of our lives, going forward. Health care will once again become a family affair, as cost continues to spiral out of control. I believe life expectancy is going to decrease, which is just as well. Living with aches and pains for which the only palliative is addictive painkillers stinks. On the other hand, herbs, hemp oil, and naturopaths will become main stream. Who knows - you may one day grow your own weed.

Family and friends are your support network. Talk now about the role each of you will play in a Houston-like scenario. The Great Plains, Midwest, and South have been flooding like crazy this year. It's only going to get worse. Have emergency stores of food to get you through the initial few weeks. At some point, the government will no longer be able to keep up with the demands placed on it. Yes, other countries will lend a hand, but that's not a permanent solution. Start living with less now. The cure for what ails us is going to be a very tough pill to swallow.

With thanks to the Jim Hightower Lowdown, and the Post Carbon Institute.


Popular posts from this blog

B is for Benefit

March 9, 2019

We've just read about the worst of the worst: Monsanto. Monsanto is huge and powerful; nevertheless, there are corporations that want you to know that their standing with workers, the community, and as stewards of the environment, matters to them.  They've come together to brand themselves as B corporations. The B stands for benefit, and for a better way of doing business.

What exactly makes a B corporation better? It must have a legally binding commitment to sustainability, and to treating workers fairly. Generally, this means their commitment is spelled out in their charter. B corporations must report on their social and environmental impacts every two years, thereby qualifying them for certification as a B corp (certification provided by non-profit B Lab). The ultimate goals of certified companies are lower levels of poverty and inequality, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and high-quality jobs that support human dignity. You will find a list of …

To Bee or Not to Bee - Update

July 8, 2018

I like to walk around each day to look at the flower beds I've planted, always in the morning. It's been an unusual growing year; our weather has been cool and overcast, the lack of sun slowing plant growth considerably. One plant that has kept me guessing since I planted it two years ago is a Blue Sea Holly, which I have in a flower bed facing south. It took forever, but this year it produced flowers - unusual, spiky-looking things that are still, gradually turning a dusty-looking gray-blue. One of the most notable features of the plant has been its ability to attract bees. For the past few weeks I've seen swarms of them hovering around the 3 foot tall mass of clover-like flowers each day.

This makes me happy, because - like all of you, I suspect - I'm aware of the trouble bees are in. In past years, I've seen wooden boxes full of the creatures delivered to various farmers' fields in the area. This year, there were no deliveries; the fields have b…