Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Future Earth aka Hades

Hell in a handbasketSo, here I was, mindlessly enjoying my blogging vacation, filling my spare time with painting, playing the guitar and reading, when I picked up the latest issue of the New Scientist and made the horrific mistake of reading the lead story, How to Survive the Coming Century.

Up until that point I was unmotivated to write anything since I haven't had much to say and I am still having problems with fevers and headaches (and am now on a new antibiotic). But this story has simply rocked my concept of the future that I'm not sure what to do with it.

Essentially, the article covers what the Earth will look like when we hit a 4 degree C temperature rise. It could happen around 2100, but many are speculating it will be here by 2050 and the crux of the matter is that there's not much we can do about it now. We'd need to reduce our carbon output 70% by 2015 to do anything useful and right now we are adding 3% per year.

So, geoengineers are drafting out "Plan B". In other words, how to deal with the coming geoclimate catastrophe and, more or less, where to "store" people. I don't mean like Walt Disney's head, but where people will be living since all of the current U.S. (except Alaska), most of Europe, Africa, Central America, and South America will be uninhabitable either due to desert conditions or because of fierce weather. Yes, I said, uninhabitable.

Please take a look at this graphic (thumbnail at top) and study it closely. Let me forewarn you that it will give you a huge sinking feeling in your stomach and as you absorb it you will come to the understanding that the Earth as we know it now, and all its biodiversity, will never exist again. Ever. And I'm not even talking about a potentially massive decrease in human population.

Am I being overly melodramatic today? Maybe. Do I hope this article is totally wrong? I sure as shit hope so. I hope someone out there has a great argument as to why this is all wrong, because at this point I don't see much contradictory evidence.

So, don't mind me. I'll be busy packing for my upcoming move to Alaska. Although I'm sure that Western Antartica has some great deals on property. For now.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

fuck.

Tel said...

Ever read Ben Elton's 'Stark' or 'Blind Faith'? Scarily predict this sort of future.

Stacy S said...

The only bright spot for me is that I live in Canada....sucks otherwise eh?

Mrs. Money said...

That is so scary and depressing

Jaimee said...

So I'll be underwater...yikes!

This is in-line with what my dh is reading right now, Thomas Friedman's "Hot, Flat, & Crowded." This book has changed his view on the earth. I have been trying to get him to look into greener ways of living for some time now and after just reading a few chapters, he is totally on board. We are using our tax refund to go solar this year. He is suddenly really into recycling.

I hope enough people get the wake up call and start respecting our earth.

Greenpa said...

Well. Yeah, it could get this bad. Which is why, oddly, I've been working to do something serious about it for decades now. And living as if it all matters.

But- New Scientist is a bit "sexed up", to sell. There are plenty of hard scientists who don't think it's going quite this far (not that THEY know, either) - and- there ARE things that could happen to change the directions.

Not necessarily the geo-engineer's plan B, either. Just stuff that's not on that writer's radar.

Is it serious? uh, yeah. Are we all dead? Not yet.

fernwise said...

Actually, most of Hades is a perfectly adequate, if boring, place to be dead. Could be argued that it would be better with some high-nitrogen fertilizer (which would explain the crowd that Odysseus got when he slaughtered a sheep and let only a select few drink the blood and therefore be able to talk ...

But I agree with Greenpa here - while climate change seems certain, there isn't yet enough data to say what changes are going to hit what areas. Climate change in ANY way is going to cause upheavals, I'm not minimizing that. It's just too early to move to or from any place (with the exception perhaps of low-lieing islands).

I also don't understand what makes for an 'uninhabitable desert' by their standards, but perhaps that's just me.

Fern

blondeoverboard said...

lately, every time i drive along the massive freeways in the 4th largest city in the empire..ummm..nation...all i can think of is "what will this look like when we have no choice but to walk out of the city? what will it look like when we're gone?" we're not the first species to stare at the end and we won't be the last.. we're just cognizant of it. the sickening part is we caused it for nothing more than a few dollars in a few pockets.

Green Bean said...

Well that sure brings thing into perspective. Mind staking out a spot in Alaska for me. I'll move in next door.

Live Simply Love Strongly said...

Ha, good luck staking your plot in Alaska. If all that happens, the land prices will be so expensive that only the elite few will be able to afford. The rest of us will be dead. Sigh. We can only hope these predictions are exaggerated.

Crunchy Chicken said...

GB - I don't think there will be a "next door". I'm fairly sure we'll all be packed in together. So, I'll save a room for you to share with 20 of your closest friends and family members.

Greenpa said...

Alaska?? They elected Palin, remember? Good grief. Try Canada; they have grown-ups there. Mostly.

Meanwhile, Crunchy, take a look at my blog today; it'll cheer you right up. :-) Maybe. Ok, probably not. But.

http://littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com/2009/02/seven-cent-cotton-perspective.html

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

So, we have choices (or maybe scenarios is a better term): an immediate economic collapse causing job losses, malnutrition, starvation, and homelessness but perhaps cuts in industrial emissions; immediate voluntary and controlled carbon reduction which would ask people to "give up" things that are convenient and cheap; or a future of uncertain but increasingly gloomy proportions - potentially the frying of the planet?

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

It's 100% right CC!

Greenpa said...

Ok. Some extreme doomer porn, for those so inclined. Personal experiences in Argentina, during their collapse.

http://tinyurl.com/4mbst

Courtesy of the gang at The Automatic Earth.

Theresa said...

I'm glad I already live in Canada, although if this scenario holds up my nice little acreage I moved away to, to have some land to grow food on, will be a high rise city. Well, like Greenpa says, we're not dead yet. I'll just keep on keeping on.

Greenpa said...

Sorry; my bad. I mis-pasted that link.

http://tinyurl.com/4mbstb

Farmer's Daughter said...

So my area will either be flooded, OR be plagued by drought? I'm not going to be too concerned yet, as I'm not one to succumb to sensationalism.

I think it's much more realistic for people in my area to worry about hurricanes, as we average one every century that does considerable damage. The only difference between now and 1938 is that we can see it coming and get people out... remember Katrina? I'm not going to be too optimistic about that possibility. Perhaps the rich folks on the CT shoreline will be better protected by the government. Either way, my home is high enough to be safe from the 20 foot storm surge if it hits at high tide, but I'm going to have to be prepared to take people in. That is of course unless the reservior at the top of my street doesn't burst through the dam with all the rain and wash my home right down the hill. And this could happen next hurricane season.

I think it makes more sense to the general public to worry about this type of disaster, which has happened before and will happen again, than to worry about the threats of climate change. Preparing for one will help them to be prepared for the other (storing water, food, preparing to live without electricity, etc.)

Also, I'm always worried when articles say that we can't change these climate change consequences no matter what they do, because then it minimizes the reality that we need to change our ways. I, for one, have hope that we will be able to survive climate change.

Finally, I would suggest Mark Lynas's book "Six Degrees" if you really want to be scared.

LisaZ said...

Oh shit, and I thought I was safe in Minnesota. Well, oh well...What else can I say?

Kristijoy said...

the earth has been much warmer before with lots of life on it (granted it was the Jurassic). And might be again. "Might" is used all over that map. They don't know. New Scientist it better than say Discover mag for current science but it's still a glossy mag designed to sell.(we get it here at work, but it's definitely not Science or Nature.)
Scared fearful people are easy to control. Don't let 'em get to you.

So. I'm not going to hop on the worst case scenario bandwagon yet.
Plus, humans have survived a lot in 1.5 million years, as have hominids for much longer and we're pretty damn good at migrating and adapting.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Kristijoy - Yes, but humans weren't around in the Jurassic and the continents were placed quite differently on the planet both in early and late Jurassic. Small mammals and pre-mammals adapted easier to higher temperatures than the larger critters which explains their later population explosions.

And, as for moving human populations around - doing so with a few hundred thousand or millions of individuals is one thing. Arranging 9 billion people on a shrinking habitable planet will be a whole different beast.

RC said...

I guess this means the Freeze Yer Buns competition will go the way of Sadie Hawkins Day.

Imzadi said...

....bummer.


Try balancing that out with National Geographic. They had an article about a couple's adventures in carbon reduction.

Sharlene said...

While that is in fact terrifying if it is true and not sensationalism, I have to say my immediate fears are for the time before 2050. We are spiraling out of control as a country and it scares the crap out of me. Maybe Canada is in my future after all.

kat said...

Thanks for posting the links & information. It's hard not to go all doomer with so much (different) research and information and media hype and and and... I got caught in a bit of a survivalist/doomer attitude for a while & now.. I'm not really sure where I'm at. I'm pretty sure that there will be quite a few major catastrophes in the next half-century/century, but as for predicting how global warming will really impact different zones/countries/continents.. difficult, very very difficult..

Thanks for makin us all think, though! That's the root of change. Keep it up, hope you're feeling much better very soon

Kristijoy said...

Crunchy:
Oh I know WE weren't around, but abundant lush life was. I think the cretaceous was slightly hotter actually... Anyways, my point was more like, life will go on. Just not as we know it. If we are experiencing an extinction event ( which I think we are) it sets the stage for a whole new world of life to evolve into. Even if we don't make to see that world, I bet it will be pretty amazing.

When we were showing up on the scene, it was from hot arid regions. Many of us still live in hot arid regions.

I can't say that it would be a bad thing for millions, even billions of people to die. That doesn't mean I want it to happen. especially not to me ;) But the chances are pretty good.

There are way to many people and if a major global warming event that we caused kills a bunch of us off, it kind of makes sense.

One way or another, I have been waiting for nature to do a number on our numbers. (since I was in middle school I think.) Lot of people will die. I just see that as a fact. Might be you, might be me. We all die.

But humanity will most likely carry on and adapt like we do so well. If not climate change, a flu or new plague or major war or something.

People in many parts of the world live in poor cramped hot crowded conditions. It's not what we consider 'success':, but all success is really, biological is raising your children to reproductive age and them having children. Everything else is gravy!

If the gloom and doom of New Scientist proves true, well, we just better get used to doing without and living like we're in the 3rd world. And that's not a bad place. It can be pretty amazing. We don't need much to get by.

I donno the future, whatever may come, doesn't scare me. And I guess all my studies in anthropology just make me see us as likely to figure out a way to keep on truckin'. =) I like change. I think an apocalyptic future, if it happens, will be an adventure. If it happens in my lifetime, I embrace it. But I am skeptical things will pan out as bad as we think it will. We like our gloom and doom too much!

Hope you feel better.

Mazzajo said...

Oh, for heavens' sake, Western Australia is going to be reafforested?? In what? Salt? This is very clear sign to me that this map is someone's wild imagination, it simply isn't based on any hard science.
Any of you notice how much more green there is where there wasn't before? Antarctica, Siberia...

Not worried.

Mazzajo said...

Wanted to add: of course I'm worried about carbon emissions, I'm not worried about total catastrophe by 2050 or even 2100.

jewishfarmer said...

Well, umm...yeah. I do think that NS article is definitely far too heavy on the tech solutions, but this is why I'm the doomer chick I am. Because we've got a really, really deep problem - and it isn't climate change. It isn't even carbon - the combination of energy depletion and climate change. It is us - and our sense of what the world should look like, the need for constant growth - more economy, more security, more...

That said, I'm not moving out of the Northeast yet - maps, by necessity are imprecise. And green spaces can be two degrees cooler than urban ones - so we're going to need all the people adapting and maintaining green places that are possible. Preventing desertification is something we probably can do - if we work at it.

Sharon, who will be 77 in 2050, and is planning on being around.

Julie Mason said...

I shared this with the members of my post-carbon group, and wanted to share back with Crunchy, Sharon, and all the readers one comments I received back from a very spiritual and serene member:

"I have been looking at future earth predictions by people with psychic ability for the last 15 years. None of them see anything like the map below. It appears to be the result of a left brain 1/2 complex computer model. These are the models I learned to distrust 40 years ago as they are too complex to test and there is no way to determine what critical factors were left out.
I would agree that the earth will be difficult for those that remain in this dimension. That is why it is extremely important to work on our spiritual development at this time, so CHEER UP!

Another thought. Fear is the biggest thing the dark has going right now. They thrive on it, that is they actually derive some of their energy from the fear they create in us. Don't empower them by going along with their garbage.

Love and Light,"

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Not to be flip, Crunch, but kaka occurs. We weren't meant to be here forever anymore than the dinosaurs were(if anything was 'meamt' to be in the first place. I am certain that we are contributing to this climate change in a major way, but given the climate history of the Earth, its going to happen sooner or later. This is sort of like dying from lung cancer for a smoker or cirhossis for a drinker. They could have lived longer, maybe happier lives, but mortality is a fact of life regardless. Hope this isn't too fatalistic and I don't mean to imply that we shouldn't take all possible steps, but, you know, its bound to happen.

Billie said...

Thank goodness I have Canadian citizenship. I can head back to Canada! That part of it is reassuring.

It would be good if there was something that would help my husband get on board. So far nothing yet. He does not impede the things that I do and the kids even know what I am referring to when I ask them to put something in the recycling box. Little steps... little steps.

Anonymous said...

@ greenpa

Actually watching our politicians makes me wonder if your grown-up comment is too generous. We've got a lot of wonderful individuals living in canada, but as a country, we could be doing a lot more to pull our environmental weight.

~kt
(a canuck in england)

Natalie said...

Well that's disturbing!

Roger Hamilton of the Climate Leadership Initiative has been doing some interesting work on applying data from climate change models specifically to the Rogue River Basin here in Oregon. He's amazingly pragmatic and practical.

No one can predict the future. And climate models are only as good as the data and techniques that they use. But I find Hamilton's approach reassuring, at least compared to the New Scientist version.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-12/uoo-orr121208.php

Allison said...

Oy. Glad we're getting our kid dual citizenship also in Canada so he can move up there easily if the US does indeed become uninhabitable. (I am American, my husband is Canadian.)

jimbolini23 said...

Oh, don't get stressed over the verbal vomitings of these circus clowns. These economists and scientists didn't predict the environment or economy that we're living in now; likewise, they have no clue what will happen in the next three years. So, why worry about what they say about 50 years or more from now?

I look forward to going to bed tonight, after having lived a meaningful (okay, not totally squandered) day.

Correne said...

I can't help being a little snarky here. The scariest thing about that map for me, as a Canadian, is that a whole LOT of Americans are going to try moving North as a solution. We love you guys as neighbours, but don't necessarily want you to move in with us, you know what I mean?

Anonymous said...

i'm with kristijoy...
and this is why my husband and i have decided not to procreate.

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