The U. S. military, always alert to threats facing our country, has been studying the alterations we humans are making to the biosphere, our life-support system. Military leaders have concluded what I have been saying for some time: The threats to our future from global warming and other serious human alterations of the planet are far more dangerous than any terrorist threat.
“This March, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of the United States Pacific Command, told security and foreign policy specialists in Cambridge, Mass., that global climate change was the greatest threat the United States faced — more dangerous than terrorism, Chinese hackers and North Korean nuclear missiles. Upheaval from increased temperatures, rising seas and radical destabilization ‘is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen…” he said, ‘that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’
“Locklear’s not alone. Tom Donilon, the national security adviser,said much the same thing in April, speaking to an audience at Columbia’s new Center on Global Energy Policy. James Clapper, director of national intelligence, told the Senate in March that ‘Extreme weather events (floods, droughts, heat waves) will increasingly disrupt food and energy markets, exacerbating state weakness, forcing human migrations, and triggering riots, civil disobedience, and vandalism.’ “
So wrote Roy Scranton, U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, in an eloquent statement, recently published in the New York Times. Even the World Bank, no bastion of liberal do-goodism, presented a surprisingly dour assessment of the human predicament in its June 2013 report, “Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience.” Jim Young Kim, President of the World Bank Group, described the conclusions in a 4 minute YouTube video. Continue reading
There is so much information on the web about stresses to the biosphere, it’s difficult to keep up. From time to time I plan to offer a few internet links to material of interest and relevancy. Here’s my current installment, several more below it.
Hooked on Growth
Added 12 NOV 2013
“Join GrowthBusters to find the cure for the silent killer of growth addiction. Unending economic growth, pursuit of population growth, perpetual urban growth, and increasing consumption are not the model for a sustainable culture. The GrowthBusters movie is now finished.”
Al Bartlett has Died
Added 10 SEP 2013
Prof. Bartlett died Saturday at the age of 90.
Here are two articles:
Al’s website is at www.AlBartlett.org
The Kahn Academy
Added 3 SEP 2013
Thanks to TV I found the Kahn Academy. It is a remarkable approach to offering short video nuggets or lessons for free on a variety of subjects. The platform chosen is well-suited to learning simple things in geometry, for example, but has been and continues to be extended to very much more involved subjects on its knowledge map. Of interest to this web blog are these three lessons:
These are contained in a Kahn Academy “Crash Course on Ecology.”
Once you start watching these relatively short videos, it is difficult to stop watching them.
Typical 10 minute lesson using Sal Kahn’s original presentation model: The Beauty of Algebra.
How Keystone Flunks The Climate Test
From Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, AUGUST 29, 2013
In June President Obama set a climate test for his decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. He said he will not approve the pipeline if it would significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. Today the Sierra Club, Oil Change International, and 13 partner groups have released a report that settles the issue unequivocally: Keystone XL would be a climate disaster.
Our report, “FAIL: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test,” spells out the full consequences of building the pipeline.
Start with the one fact that the State Department, the U.S. EPA, climate scientists, and even Wall Street and industry analysts all agree on: The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will create massive amounts of carbon pollution. Tar sands, after all, are the world’s dirtiest and most carbon-intensive source of oil. Oil Change International estimates that the pipeline would carry and emit more than 181-million metric tons of carbon pollution each year. That’s the pollution equivalent of adding 37.7 million cars to U.S. roads, or 51 new coal-fired power plants.
The State Department, though, tried to ignore this 181-million metric ton elephant. It argued in its environmental review of Keystone XL that tar sands development was inevitable, regardless of whether the pipeline is built. That’s not true for several reasons.
Arithmetic, Population, and Energy: A Tribute to Dr. Albert A. “Al” Bartlett, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder
As Al Bartlett nears the end of his life, I wish to honor him with this posting.
If you have not already encountered the indomitable teachings of physics professor Bartlett on the arithmetic of human population, or in his classes, below are some quotes from his work, a link to his first and most important contribution, and a few additional links.
I encourage you to share this posting and his teachings with anyone you think might be receptive and who might not already know of his work.
Text: Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.
Occasionally I find myself spending some time with a teenager or young adult. Once in a while, I ask them a few basic questions about the world around them, how things work and what kind of lives they expect to be living as adults. I’m sometimes struck with an apparent lack of important basic information. I once was invited to speak with an elementary school class about solar energy. Rather than lecture them, I simply asked some questions and was pleasantly surprised to find that in a class of 30, usually at least one or two of them would have a fairly good answer. It seemed the kids were more interested and willing to listen when a classmate tried to answer a question. I usually amplified on the answer, in some cases steering it toward more correct information.
Thinking about this recently, it occurred to me that, on issues affecting the long term viability of the human species, few people are sufficiently informed and seldom very interested in such an important topic. While that might be understandable in youngsters, the sooner we can help them understand how the world on which they live works, the better will they be able to cope with future challenges. You might have a chance for a mini “world dialog” with the young people you know or are in your family. If so, here are some suggested questions.
Next time you are able to spend some time with a young person and are able to engage that person in conversation, you might like to ask a few questions about basic principles of nature. Here are some suggestions.
The Millenium Alliance for Humanity & the Biosphere (MAHB) of Stanford University is a collaboration of natural scientists and social scientists working together to implement behavioral, institutional and cultural changes necessary for humans to “ensure a sustainable and equitable future for everyone.”
The process is called foresight intelligence. It seems that this particular kind of intelligence is innate in humans but not well developed on a large scale. MAHB’s goal is to better tap into our foresight intelligence to reduce humanity’s ecological footprint and social inequities, moving toward true sustainability on a global scale, before it is too late.
The political class in much of the world has barely scratched the surface in pursuing this goal, leaving what MAHB calls the Civil Society to try and make a meaningful contribution.
According to MAHB: “The term ‘civil society’ includes scholars, non-governmental organizations, businesses, social activists, and individuals who share a vision for a sustainable world, respecting the rights and prosperity of all humanity. While the MAHB is pluralistic in its acceptance of differences and diversity a generally accepted core set of values has emerged globally and constitute the public good: that all humans should be able to live peacefully, securely and sustainably.”
Happy Earth Day 2013
I encourage you make some time in your schedule to watch the new Bill McKibben/350.org video about global warming which premiered on the web today. It’s called “Do the Math” and is available for free viewing at the link below. It is very well done and compelling. You might like to watch it a little at a time if you’re busy.
Here’s the link to the Movie Trailer for “Do the Math”
And here’s the link to the Movie “Do the Math”
And don’t forget my earlier posting today:
In honor of Earth Day 2013, the award winning film, Mother: Caring for 7 Billion is available for free internet viewing from now until the end of May. Some of you may be familiar with this film, but the current temporarily free streaming offers a golden opportunity to see it and to urge your friends and colleagues to watch a remarkable, modern engagement with the global population issue. I strongly urge you to see this film. –RM
News Release from “Mother: Caring for 7 Billion”
Denver, CO – Even though sex and global warming are rarely discussed in the same sentence, much less in the same film, the long ignored connection was recently explored in the award-winning environmental documentary Mother: Caring for 7 Billion.
In celebration of Earth Day, the filmmakers of Mother announced the Internet release of their “Director’s Cut” that will stream online for free from April 19 until the end of May. To view the free online streaming of Mother go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdEspxlq3bo
Christophe Fauchere, director and co-producer of Mother stated, “We want Mother to be viewed by as many people as possible for Earth Day because Mother holds up a mirror and shows people a very different way to look at their role on this planet.”
Lisa Hymas, co-founder of Grist.org says “This is not your father’s population documentary… Mother takes a feminist/humanist view as it explores the issues of our exploding numbers.”
Carbon pollution is not only disrupting lives, it’s costing us money. Comedian and musician Reggie Watts shows how, laying out the billion-dollar connection between fossil-fuel energy and dirty weather events like Superstorm Sandy caused by carbon pollution.
We’ve all been paying for this, for years, but now it can stop. We can start by telling our leaders that it’s time to put a price on carbon and make the polluters pay. It’s just that simple
“Not so simple,” you say? Well, consider this: The CIA has made it easy. They publish and update an online directory of Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments regularly.
A book has even been written about how to do it. Titled How to Contact World Leaders, it was written by Rick Lawler and published in 2002.
Here’s a list of names and addresses of U.S. leaders.
Recently I was reading Andrew Revkin’s “DOT EARTH BLOG” on the NYT web site dated 18 February 2013 and came across a link to a remarkable lecture by the late Dr. Richard Smalley, physicist, chemist, and winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Smalley’s talk, titled “Our Energy Challenge,” was presented by him at Columbia University in 2003, apparently having been delivered on multiple occasions around that time, as Smalley struggled with the cancer that ended his life in 2005.
His thesis was very interesting. He began by showing a slide on “Humanity’s Top Ten Problems for the next 50 years” and explained that during the Q & A at his previous Lectures, he had asked his audiences to contribute their suggestions for the list and wrote them down.
On this day of the big climate change demonstration in Washington, organized by Sierra Club and 350.org and supported by Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International, and others, I’d like to offer some useful tidbits on the subject, plus a call to the President for leadership on the issue.
Dr. Cameron Wake, a climate researcher at the University of New Hampshire, points out that the complex nature of climate change makes it much easier to sell the lie than it is to sell the truth, of which climate change skeptics take full advantage.
My first global warming tidbit comes courtesy of Mike Bellamente, the Director of Climate Counts,who has offered some tips for responding to climate skeptics. One tip is to “Know Your Stuff,” meaning have some fundamental facts to counter the mis-information coming from the climate change skeptics.