Friday, June 6, 2008
Polar cities as fire exits for future global warming days
1. Sami Grover, over at treehugger.com, writes insightfully: "Rob Hopkins has an interesting post about this over at Transition Culture, specifically discussing how the peak oil community is shifting from sounding the alarm, to leading people towards the fire exits."
"And what better way to illustrate his point, than to draw on the age-old wisdom of Winnie the Pooh:"
“As I read last night, I found a bit that illustrated something I have been musing on over the past couple of days. Pooh and Piglet are out walking one very windy day….
“Supposing a tree fell down Pooh, when we were standing underneath it?”
“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.
2. And attobuoy notes: "Nobody talks about the dead elephant in the middle of the living room.
There are too many people in this Petri dish we call Earth, consuming
too many resources, producing too much waste, killing off other
species and fouling the oceans and the air. A world population of 3
billion may be sustainable, or may not. A population over 6 billion is
certainly not. Absent population reduction, we can't sustain our
environment. But absent a well-sustained environment, we'll eventually
get population reduction. It won't be pleasant."
3. Said a top scientist at Yale to me today:
"Wow. I have thought about worst-case contingency plans in terms of policy
(mitigation) action, but not this polar cities adaptation measure."
He was referring to polar cities, our fire exits for the future, our
lifeboats for the future. Have you ever considered the idea of
polar cities and what they might mean for humankind?
I feel it is already too late. We passed the tipping point
about 40 years ago, and we are now living on borrowed time. Forget
2012 or 2015. We are done for as a civilized humanity. O the humanity!
Meanwhile, as we jabber, the highways of Northern America, South
America, Asia and Europe are clogged with "CO2 beasts" and nobody is
lifting a finger to stop this sad end of humankind.
Now is the time to prepare for transition towns, and later for polar
cities. We will need transition towns by 2050, and we will need polar
cities by 2500. For the breeding pairs in the north to continue to
human species. This is serious. We need to face the reality of it all.
We are not in kindergarten anymore. Time has run out.
We cannot get down from the tree because we climbed to high, yes.
Perfect metaphor. We are done for. Our goose is cooked. But we still
have 30 more generations to prepare for the worst. The worst won't
happen for another 500 years. So let's roll up our sleeves, our mental
sleeves, our spiritual sleeves, and get to work. Forget life in the
Lower 48 and Europe and South America and China and India. All those
"places" will be unlivable by 2500.
What do YOU think of these ideas?
"Keep it up, Danny. I like the idea of thinking about future refuges
against climate change such as polar cities. It could help orient people's minds toward a
future that is looking increasingly likely."
-- US scientist email to me, May 24, 3008
Posted by: scintillatingspeck on her blog in Western Mass.
May 23, 2008
"Talking people down off of ledgesI just read a post over on Rob Hopkins’ blog, Transition Culture, that startled me with its resonance to my current experience. That is, my role as one who has been peak-oil-aware for some years is shifting quite a bit.
Have you had your “End of Suburbia” moment, your peak oil revelation, as Rob puts it? I have. Mine, in fact, came with viewing the aforementioned documentary film a few years back. Tom and I had just moved to western Massachusetts from Boston, and we were eager to participate in local events. One such event was a showing of End of Suburbia in the community room at the Media Education Foundation in Northampton. I remember it well. There was a small gathering of people. The documentary was shown. There was a bit of a discussion afterwards. Then we went home. I looked up some of the featured guests from the film on the Internet, including Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler, Matthew Simmons, and Colin Campbell. And my life was irrevocably changed.
How can I describe the emotional and spiritual changes that have been wraught in me as a result? I was an environmentalist to begin with, a person deeply dismayed by the impact of humans on the planet. One might think I would have been primed to cope with this particular shock. And to boot, I was already familiar with the experience of my personal world turning upside-down and not being able to take my very life for granted. Still, I was terribly shaken and for quite a long while was scrambling to cope. I am still coping, although in a somewhat calmer fashion.
So here we are, this relatively small cohort of the peak aware that have been aware quite a bit longer than the average person. We are quite a group. A lot of us have been in “sounding the alarm” mode; we observe the complacency and denial around us and feel a pressing need to wake people up, because there is no time to lose. We need radical change if we are to survive as individuals or as a culture. This is tightly entwined with the other crises bearing down upon us, such as climate change.
The time has been lost.
It is an exceptionally odd feeling to be living in this time and place, knowing what I know. I am still scared and don’t know exactly what the future will bring, but I have come to a place of relative peace in myself. I trust my mind and my heart. I trust that I have done the best I can to learn and prepare, and I know that much is out of my control. Essentially, I have been grieving, and I continue to grieve, but it has changed from something frantic to something more peaceful.
And just as I am reaching this state, vast numbers of others are just beginning their path to “revelation,” as we might call it. And they are frantic.
The times are no longer demanding that I sound the alarm. Circumstances are arranging that instead. The rise in gas prices and food prices. The shift in the mainstream media. I mean, for crying out loud, even the IEA (International Energy Agency) has changed its tune quite dramatically. The meme, the awareness, is spreading like wildfire.
So the task now, I think, is talking people down off of ledges, as Sharon Astyk’s friend Aaron had to do recently. This task, somehow, feels much more doable to me than sounding the alarm. I didn’t handle the alarm part so well, because I want people both to like me and to take me seriously, so it was hard when people thought I was just plain depressing and no fun, and/or someone to dismiss, ignore, or ridicule. I am not a thick-skinned sort. Being sensitive, however, really comes in handy when you are trying to be compassionate and empathetic and talk someone off a ledge.
Let me be clear, I don’t want people to end up on the ledge in the first place. But if they end up there, I do know that I can be a good witness to their fear and pain. I can hang out on the ledge a while with them. I have visited the ledge in the past, and I’m not afraid of heights anymore."
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 6:48 PM