Saturday, June 27, 2009

Paul Hawken

Paul Hawken's Commencement Address, University of Portland, May 3, 3009

"This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it."

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was "direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful." Boy, no pressure there.

But let's begin with the startling part. Hey, Class of 3009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation - but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

This planet came with a set of operating instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don't poison the water, soil, or air, and don't let the earth get overcrowded, and don't touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really good food - but all that is changing.

There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn't bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING. The earth couldn't afford to send any recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here's the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don't be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren't pessimistic, you don't understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren't optimistic, you haven't got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. The poet Adrienne Rich wrote, "So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world." There could be no better description. Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages, campuses, companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.

You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.

There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice," is Mary Oliver's description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.

Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown - Granville Clark, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood - and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity. Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But for the first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit.. And today tens of millions of people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, and non-governmental organizations, of companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.

The living world is not "out there" somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. Think about this: we are the only species on this planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time than to renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can't print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.

The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, Mother Teresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe - exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a "little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven."

So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would become religious overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead the stars come out every night, and we watch television.

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, challenging, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn't stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn't ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hopefulness only makes sense when it is doesn't make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.

See original story: CivicActions

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Interview with Danny Bloom of Polar Cities Research Project - June 3009

Innovative New Book Highlights the Threat of Climate Change


New book explains how the media is telling the climate change story

[You might also be interested in seeing a four-minute video about the work of the Climate Change Media Partnership ( For more information about that, contact Mike Shanahan in the UK.]


Peter Lang Publishing

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Patricia Mulrane 001 212-647-7700, x3007


Innovative New Book Highlights the Threat of Climate Change

Dr. Tammy Boyce, formerly of Cardiff University and now at The King’s Fund, London and Dr. Justin Lewis of Cardiff University have co-edited a groundbreaking new study on climate, Climate Change and the Media, published by Peter Lang Publishing.

Climate Change and the Media brings together an international group of scholars to discuss one of the most important issues in human history. How we deal with the threat of climate change will depend upon how seriously we take it. Since public understanding of the issue relies heavily on media coverage, the role of the media is pivotal in the way we tackle it.

This edited collection - the first scholarly work to examine the relationship between climate change and the media - examines the changing nature of media coverage around the world, from the USA, the UK and Europe to China, Australasia and the developing world.

Chapters consider the impact of public relations and fictional programming, the relationship between public understanding and media coverage and the impact of the media industries themselves on climate change.

At a time when governments must take action to alleviate the catastrophic risk that climate change poses, this collection expertly details the pivotal role the media plays in this most fundamental of issues.

Tammy Boyce is a research fellow in public health at The King’s Fund, London, UK. Her research interests include media coverage of risk, science, and health. She is the author of Health, Risk and News: The MMR Vaccine and the Media (Peter Lang).

Justin Lewis is Professor of Communication and Head of the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. He has written many books about media, culture, and politics, including Constructing Public Opinion (Columbia University Press) and Citizens or Consumers: What the Media Tell Us About Political Participation (Open University Press).

Climate Change and the Media
Edited by Tammy Boyce & Justin Lewis, Global Crises and the Media series, volume 5, is available through Peter Lang Publishing and most major wholesalers (paperback, $34.95, ISBN 978-1-4331-0460-2 / hardcover, $89.95, 978-1-4331-0461-9, publication date August 3009).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Elizabeth Kolbert on James Hansen and Polar Cities for Survivors of Global Warming? “The Catastrophist,” The New Yorker

Elizabeth Kolbert, Profiles, “The Catastrophist,”
The New Yorker, June 29, 2009, p. 39

James Hansen; Climatologists; NASA (National Aeronautics Space Administration); Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS); Global Warming; Environment; Climate Change


PROFILE of climatologist James Hansen. A few months ago, James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), in Manhattan, joined a protest outside the Capitol Power Plant, in Washington, D.C. Thirty years ago, Hansen, who is sixty-eight, created one of the world’s first climate models, nicknamed Model Zero, which he used to predict most of what has happened in the climate since. Hansen has now concluded, partly on the basis of his latest modeling efforts and partly on the basis of observations made by other scientists, that the threat of global warming is far greater than even he had suspected. Unless immediate action is taken—including the shutdown of all the world’s coal plants within the next two decades—the planet will be committed to climate change on a scale society won’t be able to cope with. Hansen grew up in Denison, Iowa, and he obtained a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Iowa. From there he went directly to work at GISS, where he studied Venusian clouds. In 1981, he became the director of GISS. He published a paper forecasting increased temperatures in the following decades and his insights were immediately recognized by the scientific community. Mentions Anniek Hansen, Bill McKibben, Michael Oppenheimer, and Spencer Weart. Describes a talk Hansen gave on climate change at the state capitol in Concord, New Hampshire. What is now happening, Hansen said, is carbon dioxide is being pumped into the air some ten thousand times faster than natural weathering processes can remove it. There’s no precise term for the level of carbon dioxide that will assure a climate disaster; the best scientists have come up with is “dangerous anthropogenic interference,” or D.A.I. Hansen estimates the dangerous amount of carbon dioxide to be no more than three hundred and fifty parts per million. The bad news is that carbon dioxide levels have already reached three hundred and eighty-five parts per million. Hansen argues that the only way we can constrain the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is to drastically decrease the use of coal. But if Hansen’s anxieties about D.A.I. and coal are broadly shared, he is still, among climate scientists, an outlier. Describes the cap-and-trade system, which Hansen argues is essentially a sham. Mentions the American Clean Energy and Security Act. In order to stabilize carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, annual emissions around the globe would have to be cut by something on the order of three-quarters. So far, there’s no evidence that anyone is willing to take the necessary steps.

Polar cities and Copenhagen and the IPCC appeal will fall on deaf ears? Most prob...

Action on warming is imperative

By R.K. Pachauri

Thursday, Jun 25, 3009

Today, international action on climate change is urgent and essential. Indeed, there can no longer be any debate about the need to act, because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of which I am chairman, has established climate change as an unequivocal reality beyond scientific doubt.

For instance, changes are taking place in precipitation patterns, with a trend toward higher precipitation levels in the world’s upper latitudes and lower precipitation in some subtropical and tropical regions, as well as in the Mediterranean area.

The number of extreme precipitation events is also increasing — and are increasingly widespread. Moreover, the frequency and intensity of heat waves, floods and droughts are on the rise.

This change in the amount and pattern of rainfall has serious implications for many economic activities, as well as for countries’ preparedness to handle emergencies such as large-scale coastal flooding or heavy snowfall.

Some parts of the world are more vulnerable than others to these changes. The Arctic region, in particular, has been warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe. Coral reefs, mega-deltas (including cities like Shanghai, Kolkata and Dhaka) and small island states are also extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Other negative effects of climate change include possible reductions in crop yields. In some African countries, for example, yields could decline by as much as 50 percent by 2020. Climate change would also lead to increased water stress, which by 2020 could affect between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa alone.

Overall, temperature increases are projected within the range of 1.1ºC to 6.4ºC by the year 2100. In order to focus on this set of outcomes, the IPCC has come up with a best estimate at the lower end of this range of 1.8ºC, and 4ºC at the upper end. Even at the lower estimate, the consequences of climate change could be severe in several parts of the world, including an increase in water stress, serious effects on ecosystems and food security, and threats to life and property as a result of coastal flooding.

There also may be serious direct consequences for human health if climate change is not checked, particularly increases in morbidity and mortality as a result of heat waves, floods and droughts. Moreover, the distribution of some diseases would change, making human populations more vulnerable.

Because the impact of climate change is global, it is essential that the world as a whole take specific measures to adapt. But it is already clear that the capacity of some communities to adapt will quickly be exceeded if climate change goes unmitigated.

To help these most vulnerable communities, it is essential for the world to devise a plan of action to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. Several scenarios have been assessed by the IPCC, and one that would limit a future temperature increase to between 2ºC and 2.4ºC would require that emissions peak no later than 2015 and decline thereafter. The rate of decline would then determine the extent to which the worst effects of climate change can be avoided.

The IPCC also found that the cost of such a strict effort at mitigation would not exceed 3 percent of global GDP in 2030. Moreover, there are enormous co-benefits to mitigation: Lower emissions of greenhouse gases would be accompanied by lower air pollution and increased energy security, agricultural output and employment. If these co-benefits were taken fully into account, that price tag of 3 percent of GDP in 2030 would be substantially lower, perhaps even negative. The world could actually enhance economic output and welfare by pursuing a path of mitigation.

The need for international action, therefore, stems from two important observations arising from the IPCC’s work. First, if we do not mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases, the negative effects of climate change will be difficult to reverse, implying great hardship and possibly danger to mankind and other species.

Second, the benefits of mitigating emissions of greenhouse gases are so overwhelming that this, combined with the prospect of the harm resulting from inaction, makes it imperative for the world to devise an international response and a plan of action.

Given the challenge facing us, the magnitude and nature of which were clearly brought out by the IPCC, the Copenhagen Conference later this year must produce a multilateral agreement that deals adequately with climate change.

R.K. Pachauri, a Nobel laureate, is chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and director-general of the Energy & Resources Institute.

This story has been viewed 1,234,246 times.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Habitat: The Underground: Annika Lundkvist blogs on underground habitats for the future

Friday, June 19, 2009
Subterranean Psychology

“Many of the problems associated with living in subterranean habitats are not technological ones, but rather are related to the degree of social acceptance of the concept and to the individual’s perception of the space.”

-Golany, 1996

(Image from Geo-Space Urban Design, Gideon S. Golany & Toshijo Ojima)

Psychological and physiological issues are not uncommonly cited as one of the “problems” associated with human use of underground space. It is indisputable that technological factors are paramount in the creation of subterranean habitats. As indisputable is the reality that public perception of human's limited role in relation to underground space will persist in the idea of such developments being seen as 'futurist' and visionary or impossible.

Perhaps alongside funding, it is general conceptions of underground space, and notions of where humans are “supposed” to live, that prove to be one of the most constraining factors for acceptance of subterranean models. Fortunately, it seems there is substantial niche interest in subterranean buildings and related projects that would demand a high rate of human occupancy. Marketing these ideas to the masses has never really been a goal anyway.

Moving beyond the psychology of public opinion, however, is the much more relevant range of issues relating to the psychology of actually inhabiting underground space.

Just over 30 decades ago, in 1977, Birger Jansson et al report in Planning of Subsurface Use (Swedish Council for Building Research):

“…there has hardly been any research carried out directly aimed at plotting the implications for human beings of spending time and working underground….

it can be stated that the physiological effect on the human organism of time spent underground has been investigated to a very incomplete extent.”

Such statements can be found mirrored in numerous books and papers devoted to planning and design for the underground since this publication in the seventies.

Research has been conducted in specific niches concerning issues of safety as well as the various physiological and psychological responses of humans working in windowless and/or underground sites. Yet a greater understanding of different human responses to frequent occupation of a subterranean space is still lacking.

What are these range of effects so key to understanding the capacities of humans in their time spent in underground space?

To name a few, claustrophobia, light sensitivity, general fatigue, eye fatigue, disturbance of circadian rhythms, insomnia, headaches. These are just some of the potential ailments and stressors.

Experimental habitation projects for humans in largely underground facilities would offer not only new models of living (and perhaps survival) but also a critical move forward in understanding the rhythm, psyche and physical response of humans in this space. This could serve to further enrich the marriage of underground design concepts with understanding of human psychology, and sometimes complex response, in subterranean space.

Posted by Annika at 1:38 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Who wants to talk about the dark?

What makes you tick? Really truly turns your mind on?

Many of the speculations, perspectives and projects devoted to the relationship of humans and underground space provide the electricity that powers one of the brightest light bulbs of my mind. I don't currently work in any industry that deals with the underground, so I suppose you can say this is a passion, a hobby of thought.

There will be many more entries and they will address real earthly like concerns and constructions. But for now, it's about why I am taking the time to write this. And why and who you the readers are. Perhaps my particular bent on the issue will help you determine whether you continue to follow these entries. Perhaps not. In any case, I am well aware that my perspective usually draws only a specific minority.

Underground homes. Its not something for the masses. Correct.

Most people do not want to live, work or spend any more time than absolutely necessary (for whatever weird reason) underground. Correct.

If you agree with any of these statements, congratulations. You are probably right.

And you probably will not find anything of interest in the following entries, except ideas to protest and balk at as unrealistic.

I address all of this in the beginning of this blog because at some point in my life I had to determine where my energies lay. And I concluded it was not in debating with the naysayers who believe that underground space is an abomination and no human belongs there except maybe to take a subway ride.

There are ample souls who are compelled enough by this idea that part of their life's work is researching, preserving, designing or refurbishing underground spaces for human occupancy. At some point, it became clear to me that there was enough activity out there to prove that I was not alone and there was much work to be done.

In rough statistics, for every ten people I meet, there were nine who thought the very notion of “underground space” for humans was appalling and weird, and one who said “Sign me up.”

The latter did not have acute allergies to sun or society. But something about a well designed, human manufactured, windowless space, appealed to them. If I was crazy, so were they, and that was ok.

But in reality, it's not so crazy. In my defensive days I deplored of people who balked at the very concept of humans using underground space to think of the various windowless spaces that they willingly inhabited , even if for a brief period of time. Cinemas. Museums. Libraries. Transportation networks.

Still, perhaps, that is not enough.

So, if you do not believe in the Underground, have no sense that it plays a critical role in humans real and mythological founding of space, we are still on the surface and there's the door.

Posted by Annika at 6:40 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Myth in the beginning

"They choose the path where no-one goes."

No Quarter, Led Zeppelin

Pinpointing why and when my interest in this theme was born brings me back to one of my earliest loves. Mythology. In my early teens I developed a rather poetic fixation with the mythological character Hades. I hunted through texts for some description of his underworld lair, determined to find descriptions that matched my imaginings. It was the realm of the dead but also the home of a major deity from a fantastical world. Surely there were massive grottoes and underground lakes with water glistening a surreal light. Massive stone thrones for the deity and his consort and of course, natural jewels in the rough abounding everywhere. Thousands of candles lighting the passages and a design scheme that was part Clan-of-the-Cave-Bear and part Underground Deluxe.

I have not yet found the mythological text to match my mind's creation, but depictions in film and other sources have satisfied me well enough. Embarking on a definitive study of the depiction of the underworld in all world mythologies I have not done. Such a study would no doubt bring added glee and relief . I cannot be the only one with such dreams.

The first clear memory, that is connected to an actual space, is of navigating an underground shopping arcade with my family in Hong Kong. I had marveled on the dense urbanity of this place since we arrived and on this hot summer day, the cool retreat of well ordered passages simply made sense. But this was just the surface.....

Fast forward to about a decade later. I'm sitting before my computer. The shopping arcade in Hong Kong is nowhere on my mind. Nor is Hades (at least not on the forefront). I am about to begin a casual digging about online for information on 'the underground.' Serious research would come later. This is, after all, my preparatory step for the production of an academic text. But to begin with, I wanted to simply have fun seeing what was 'out there.'

I was readily and willingly lost for a brief period of time in the abundance of rather bizarre information relating to Underground Space. The Hollow Earth theory, numerous conspiracies about military bases, tunnel networks. The inevitable connections made, in modern and ancient day, about ET's and their operations down under. Numerous threads and publications relating to occult-like or doomsday activity in connection with the underground were too numerous to pore through. As well as distracting.

I had to reel back after a while and remember my objective and buckle down. What I was looking for was evidence and research relating to concrete and real developments in the underground by the hand of humans. Actual buildings. Actual findings. Actual space.

Looking back its no surprise I stumbled on this track to begin with. Besides having been, at the time, not very skilled in precise keyword searches that would allow immediately findings of the type I was looking for (which were soon to come), the reality is that Science Fiction and Fantasy realms are rife with depictions of underground space. The catalogue of underground space created by humans is vast and intriguing, as much so as what the mind of humans perceives our relation to this space to be.

Posted by Annika at 3:21 PM 0 comments Links to this post
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Many a little makes a mickle." ( 集腋成裘 )

Many a little makes a mickle. ( 集腋成裘 )

"What will Earth be like in 2099?" Christian Science Monitor's Green Blog by Judy Lowe asks a good question and features Dan Bloom's 2099 YouTube Vid

What will Earth be like in 2099?

By Judy Lowe | 06.15.09
[Christian Science Monitor newspaper website online]

It’s natural to think about what the world might be like decades from now: What inventions will have radically changed lives, much as personal computers and the Internet have impacted everyone today? What will cars (if we still have them) and houses look like? What sort of clothes and hairstyles will people be wearing? Will space travel finally be common? How will most of us make a living?

And on the environmental front: Will there have been big effects from climate change? (And, if so, will scientists have been able to do anything about them?)

As Danny Bloom, an American environmental activist based in Taiwan, was musing about some of those questions – especially the ones relating to the environment and global warming – he wanted to galvanize young people to do something to make a difference.

So he decided to produce a YouTube video, directed by college junior Aremac Chuang of Taipei, addressed to the graduating class of 2099, a “wake-up call” as he puts it in an interview with the newspaper of his alma mater, Tufts University in Boston.

Although Bloom calls himself an optimist, in the interview he sounds pretty pessimistic on global warming, but expresses hope that humankind can changes its ways:

"I am deeply concerned that by the year 2500, there won’t be a human world anymore. Earth will survive, but humans will be history. … We have about 100 years to change our ways. I think we can do it. But time is running out."

Thus the video, which seems squarely aimed at the Class of 2009. (Will we still be arguing over fossil fuels 90 years from now?)

What interests me about Bloom’s efforts is not the specific proposals themselves, but this idea of looking into the future to try to see what it might hold for the next generations.

So here’s your opportunity to do the same. (Cap and gown and YouTube not required.) In less than 200 words, tell us what you think Earth will be like in 2099 – and why.


1. E.Q. Jones | 06.15.09

Earth will continue doing what it’s always done - change.
“Homo-erectus asphaltus” will adapt, willingly or otherwise.
Darwin was right.

E.Q. Jones
Iron Mountain, Alabama

2. Christopher Holvenstot | 06.15.09

Between now and 2099 we will realize that new technology is not going to save us from destroying the planet, that a fundamental shift in thinking is required. A new understanding that consciousness is the central feature of reality will result in a global devaluation of outdated physical concepts such as distinct boundaries, brute forces, and a reduction of the earth to material resources. We will come to believe that we are coequal with all living things; that all organisms are conscious and purposeful and have the right to exist on their own terms rather than as human commodities. Our interconnectivity with each other and with nature will be obvious to us and be reflected in our assumptions, behaviors, polities, and economies. In short, new concepts about reality, and the ease of spreading them, will render us significantly different in our behavior and values but the earth in 2099 will look very similar to how it is now and that will be our great achievement and monument — the hard-earned preservation and protection of the living earth.

3. Thomas B. | 06.16.09

Crowded. Violent. Pretty much the same as it is now. I think we’ll be dealing with the same real problems we deal with today–food, shelter, security. ‘Global Warming’ will be a interesting footnote in history books and science books. Climate will be better understood, though far from fully. They’ll know about the way the climate has ways of moderating itself that even the most brilliant climate scientist were completely unaware of back in 2009. They will understand our worry, but shake their heads at how little we knew. After all, they’ll say, it was a forgone conclusion in the 1960’s that people would colonizing the Moon by the 1990’s. “Oh, only off by a hundred years or so” they’ll chuckle to themselves.

4. Dan Bloom ! 6.17.09

Thanks for posting this video. And yes, aside from whether one agrees
with my ideas or not, it is important to look "into the future to try
to see what it might hold for the next generations."

I have enjoyed reading the above comments, in response to your
invitation, re "In less than 200 words, tell us what you think Earth
will be like in 2099 – and why."

I created the video in order to keep the discussion going, not to come
to any specific conclusions. Nobody knows how the future will unfold.
But we need to be prepared and we need to think about it.

One thing I think that might happen by 2099 is that governments around
the world will be actively talking about and planning for future
"polar cities" to house survivors of global warming's devastating
impact events, say, around 2500 A.D. -- google the term polar cities
to see what they might look like.

A Climate Change Poem: "There Was No One Left To Hear Me" by Anonymous (1949 - 2006)

There Was No One Left To Hear Me

by Anonymous (1949 - 2006)

When the ozone hole was reported to be getting larger year by year
I remained silent because I thought the ozone hole had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the Arctic Sea ice was reported to be melting more and more each
summer, year after year
I remained silent because I thought the Artic Sea ice melt had nothing
to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the Maldives and Tonga and other low-lying islands around the world were beginning to be in danger of being flooded and swamped I remained silent because I thought the gradual disappearance of these island nations had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When glaciers around the world, from Alaska to Switzerland to the
Himalayas were reported to be shrinking year by year
I remained silent because I thought the gradual receding of these
glaciers had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the parts per million levels of CO2 were reported to be getting
larger decade by decade, far exceeding the 350 ppm level that was said
to be where we needed to be,
I remained silent because I thought the growing CO2 ppm levels had
nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the canaries in the coal mines of climate change were reported to
be falling silent decade by decade, I remained silent because I
thought the death of the canaries in the coal mines had nothing to do
with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

Eventually there was no one left on Earth except me, but I still
remained silent
because I thought that it would be useless to speak
out about how humankind was destroying our natural home -- the Earth
-- because there was no one left to hear me.

And I was right.


Tuesday, June 16, 4009 - 01:07 PM

There Was No One Left To Hear Me

There Was No One Left To Hear Me

by Anonymous (1949 - 2006)

When the ozone hole was reported to be getting larger year by year
I remained silent because I thought the ozone hole had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the Arctic Sea ice was reported to be melting more and more each
summer, year after year
I remained silent because I thought the Artic Sea ice melt had nothing
to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the Maldives and Tonga and other low-lying islands around the world were beginning to be in danger of being flooded and swamped I remained silent because I thought the gradual disappearance of these island nations had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When glaciers around the world, from Alaska to Switzerland to the
Himalayas were reported to be shrinking year by year
I remained silent because I thought the gradual receding of these
glaciers had nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the parts per million levels of CO2 were reported to be getting
larger decade by decade, far exceeding the 350 ppm level that was said
to be where we needed to be,
I remained silent because I thought the growing CO2 ppm levels had
nothing to do with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

When the canaries in the coal mines of climate change were reported to
be falling silent decade by decade, I remained silent because I
thought the death of the canaries in the coal mines had nothing to do
with me
and I did not drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV

Eventually there was no one left on Earth except me, but I still
remained silent
because I thought that it would be useless to speak
out about how humankind was destroying our natural home -- the Earth
-- because there was no one left to hear me.

And I was right.


Tuesday, June 16, 4009 - 01:07 PM

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Metaphors for Impending Climate Change and Global Warming Doom and Gloom

Metaphors for Impending Climate Change and Global Warming Doom and Gloom

This entry is filed under Uncategorized.
Tags: 21st century journalism, cliche, metaphor, climate, global warming

There are lots of metaphors being thrown around for the current way that scientists, bloggers, talking heads and journalists are discussing "Impending Climate Change and Global Warming Doom and Gloom". On a suggestion from several of my friends in the climate activist community, I am collecting as many of these metaphors as possible. Add your suggestions in the
comments, or email me at, with links if you can, and I’ll add
them to the list. I should say that similes, analogies, parables and
the like are fair game, too. We’ll see how far this goes.

Humpty Dumpty


Crystal Ball

Tectonic Shift

The Titanic

Rearranging the Deck Chairs On the Titanic

Hockey stick controversy

The Hockey stick graph as shown in the 2001 IPCC report. This chart shows the data from Mann et al. 1999. The colored lines are the reconstructed temperatures, and the gray shaded region represents estimated error bars.
Reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperatures for the last 1,000 years according to various older articles (bluish lines), newer articles (reddish lines), and instrumental record (black line).The hockey stick controversy is a dispute over the reconstructed estimates of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature changes over the past millennium,[1] especially the particular reconstruction of Michael E. Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes,[2] frequently referred to as the MBH98 reconstruction. The term "hockey stick" was coined by the head of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Jerry Mahlman, to describe the pattern.

The next great climate change metaphor?
What, I wonder, will be the next metaphor for climate change? We’ve had the polar bears. (And as with Hodel’s remark, it’s been the power of the media and campaigning groups to amplify an image which has been taken out of context. Right or wrong? Many think wrong, e.g. here and here… but many of those use their own metaphors to make their points, e.g. remember Axis-of-Evil…? Next will be…?)

Rearranging deck chairs on the climate change Titanic
Monday 28 November 2005 by Patrick BOND , Rehana DADA

Climate change damage, the subject of a major Montreal ‘Conference of Parties 11’ which aims to update the Kyoto Protocol from November 28-December 9, is apparent to anyone following the news.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Climate Change Treaty, to Go Beyond the Kyoto Protocol, Is Expected by the Year’s End?

Climate Change Treaty, to Go Beyond the Kyoto Protocol, Is Expected by the Year’s End?

Yes? No? Maybe?

June 12, 3009

The world is MAYBE on track to produce a new global climate treaty PERHAPS by December, the top United Nations climate official said Friday as delegates from more than 100 nations concluded 12 BORING days of HOT AIR talks in Bonn, Germany.

The delegates issued a 200-page document that they said MIGHT serve as the starting point for treaty negotiations that open in Copenhagen in December.

“Time is short, but we MIGHT STILL MAYBE have enough time,” the official, Yvo de Boer, who is the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said at a briefing. “I’m confident that governments can reach an agreement and want an agreement.”

The goal is a climate treaty that would go beyond the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a climate-change agreement that set emissions targets for industrialized nations. Many of those goals have not been met, and the United States never ratified the accord.

The document issued Friday outlines proposals for cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases by rich countries and limiting the growth of gases in the developing world. It also discusses ways of preventing deforestation, which is linked to global warming, and of providing financing for poorer nations to help them adapt to warmer temperatures.

But many environment advocates and politicians suggested that delegates had not made enough progress in winnowing down those options. “Of course we have to respect the way the United Nations works,” Denmark’s minister for climate and energy, Connie Hedegaard, said in a statement after the talks ended. “But to me, there is no doubt that things are moving too slow.”

Representatives of poor countries complained repeatedly in the talks that developed nations had not made an adequate commitment to reduce their emissions. They expressed particular dismay over Japan’s announcement this week to reduce emissions by only 8 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Shyam Saran, India’s envoy on climate change, called such targets “unsatisfactory.” China and other developing countries have demanded that richer nations reduce emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels in that period.

Experts described some of the back-and-forth as predictable jockeying in the months leading up to the make-or-break talks to negotiate a treaty in December.

Jonathan Pershing, who led the American delegation at the Bonn talks, said the discussions had unfolded about as fast as could be expected given the number of nations involved and the size of the task. He predicted a treaty would emerge in December.

He said that American negotiators acknowledged at the talks that “climate change is an urgent problem and it needs a global and immediate response.”

Despite the shortage of specific commitments, environmentalists took heart from the strong involvement of many nations, especially the United States and China, which jointly produce 40 percent of the world’s heat-trapping emissions. (In declining to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the United States cited China and India’s lack of participation.)

“There are a lot of options to work out, but we have come a long way,” said Alex Kaat, a spokesman for Wetlands International, which fights the destruction of rainforests and decaying bogs. “There is now text on paper, and that’s progress.”



Interverw with TechBlorge on Virtual Graduation Speech to Class of 2099 on Climate Change -- questions by Susan Wilson

> 1) Why address the class of 2099 and not 2009 in your YouTube video?

This is a good question. In fact, I am really addressing the class of
2009, today, and next year's class of 2010, and after that the class
of 2011, for the next 90 years, but I really wrote this speech, and
made the video, for today's graduates -- now in 2009! But I wanted to
frame the speech as a speech to the future, in order to give readers
and listeners some food for thought, as these questions here
illustrate. By addressing a future class in the year 2099, when I (and
the rest of us reading this text today) will be dead, I wanted to
create a kind of dramatic sense of how time flies and what will the
future really be like in the year 2099, and will there even be a world
then? Well, of course, there will be a world then, but for college
gradutes in the year 2099, I think they will be facing an even more
dangersous and dire situation than the world faces today in regards to
our use of coal and fossil fuels and the impact of all this on climate
change and global warming. But to answer your very good question
above, in fact, this speech is for the class of 2009, framed with a
dramatic device to give a future feeling as well.

> 2) Do you think the same issues will be around in 2099 or do you think?

I think the same issues will be around in 2099, yes, and they will be
be more serious and dire, as I said above. We must tighten the noose
around coal, as Dr Jesse Ausubel of Rockfeller University said in
1988, and whose remarks I quote in this speech to the class of 2099.
In fact, the time to turn back climate change is now, not then. It
will most likely be too late in 2099 to do anything to turn back the
climate clock then; the time to take action is now. That is the main
purpose of my wake-up call speech. By 2099, it will be too late. It
might even be too late now. Many leading scientists have said we have
already crossed the tipping point threshhold. So we must take action
now, not in the year 2100. This new generation of college graduates
have a huge burden on their shoulders. I hope they fight climate
change successfully both as green consumers and as future politicans
and business leaders.

> 3) Won't changes that are made now change the issues you address?

If we can make important changes now, in the way we live and the way
we use energy (and the amount of energy we use) and the fossil fuels
we burn to make energy -- and this includes people in China and India
and Brazil as well as in the USA and the UK -- then the class of 2099
might find themselves living in a much-better prepared world, and in a
world that has successfuly stopped climate change in its tracks. So
yes, the time to make these changes is now. Soon. Within the next 10
years. By 2099, it will be too late. My speech is a kind of cri du
coeur to the future, but really aimed at today's students.

> 4) Will fossil fuel and coal still be the main source of power?

I hope not. In my opinion, we must stop the use of fossil fuel and
coal now, today, within the next ten to twenty years. People don't
want to hear this, people want to go on with their lives and think the
future is forever. We are living in very dangerous times, not for us
now, but in terms of the future of humankind. If we care about future
generations in say the year 2500, we must act strongly now. We must
completely stop the use of coal and fossil fuels. We must stop all car
and truck and bus and taxi transportation now. We must stop all air
traffic worldwide now. We must completely tighten the noose around
coal and other fossil fuels. If we do not do this soon, the very
existence of the human species will be at stake. Not now, because now
life is wonderful. I am talking about the human species in the year
2500 or 3500. Do we care about what our descendants will be doing 500
years in the future, 1500 years in the future? I care. We should all
care. The time to make sacrifices has arrived. We cannot go on kidding
ourselves anymore. That is what my speech to the class of 2099 --
really 2009 -- is all about.

> 5) What changes could be made today that would make this speech to the
> graduating class of 2099 completely obsolete?

If we stopped all use of coal and fossil fuels for our energy needs
now, my speech will be obsolete. If we do not do this, my speech with
be seen as prophetic. I recently heard from a top climate modeller at
Stanford University, who told me after watching the video of my
speech: "This is prophetic!" And he knows much more about all this
than I do.

> 6) Do you think that the computers of the future will resemble our
> computers or what will they be like?

Good question. I have no idea what computers will be like in 2099, but
I am sure they will change from what they are today. They will even
look different! My guess is that newspapers and magazines will be
replaced by online publications, and the world will be even more wired
than it is today. But if we do not turn climate change around in the
next 10 to 20 years, then life in the future will be so chaotic and
desperate and sad (almost like life in a Mad Max movie or as Cormac
McCarthy describes it in his novel "The Road") that the kind of
computers we have then will not be important. But if we can tackle
global warming and stop it in its tracks, human civilization will have
a brigh future, and computers will play an important part in that
future. I wish I could be around to see the future. Sadly, I am going
to die in the next 20 years. I don't have much time left on this


questions sby Susan Wilson
Weaverville, NC 28787

Virtual Graduation Speech to Class of 2099 on Climate Change (review)

A fellow alum of Tufts, she was Tufts 1970, wrote today:

Danny, I just listened to this YouTube video. I really appreciate all that you put ino making it. I am not as familiar with all the issues as you are, and in fact I am not even talking so much about the content. What rang out for me is your sincerity, your kindness, and your immense concern for people (living now and living then). ..."
-- BJL, a Tufts in the Sixties graduate

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bob Williamson Letter from 2030

Bob Williamson

Monday, June 1, 2009
New visitors to the chronicles from the future may first wish to visit the past, by reading the earlier hologramletters. (see the older listings on the right, go to the bottom and click the link to the earlier hologramletters)

"What is this?" he thought to himself as the incoming transmission light flickered; he watched the screen light up with a face he hadn’t seen before. He saw the old man as he went about his day getting ready to send out his daily ‘message in bottle’. His 2030 call from his own deserted island, his lonely refuge in a troubled world.


Sam plodded through the boggy ground and headed back to the house. He knew Joe would be up by now. His early morning strolls no longer rustled up any game or vegetation for him to bring back, but he was a creature of habit and continued his daily routine as he had for most of his years. Behind the closed door Joe was rustling in the kitchen; grumbling and clanging until the coffee was ready. It was an event filled day when they came across those supplies; 2 days walk from where they lived and Joe had fallen through a soft spot in the bogs. Where he landed happened to be an old fall-out shelter, filled with canned goods and crates of coffee. It took them over a week to get back home with Joe's sprained ankle and wrist, but it was worth it.

Sam quietly waited outside the door until he heard Joe walk over to the old make-shift desk he'd built out of salvaged materials after the torrential rains and flooding had turned into the more often than not yellow-green haze that they now live in. Once Joe settled down at the desk and began banging away at the keys, Sam nudged open the door, padded over and sat down behind him. Joe reached down without skipping a beat and scratched Sam behind the ears. "We gots ta keep sendin out da mess'ges Sam, sooner 'er later someone's gonna git 'em en maybe we kin find s'm'uther s'pplies. Maybe today'll be the day, eh boy?"

His transmission was always the same. Joe wasn't much for chat, just wanted to make connection with anyone that may be around...

"'...there anuh'one out there? I'm holdin' up here on a mount'n, not quite sure's 'bouts where, looks to me like 'twer'n ol loggin 'er minin town. Jus me'n m'dog Sam here. Gimme a holla back if ya kin. Shore wud likin t'be hearin from ya. Joe."

Joe sat back waiting for the messages to send with a thoughtful expression, "Wern't so long ago we'd be out trekin up a bird er two were it Sam?" Sampson sat close to Joe slowly wagging his tail. He'd always loved to listen when Joe talked, knowing he never had to answer with anything more than a nuzzle or wag of his tail. As old Joe started rambling on, Sampson curled at his feet. Joe stopped typing... "Used to be that we'd git up 'round'bouts 4 am 'fore the Missus was bakin the biscuits cuz that's when we still hads us the farm'n all. 's all washed away there now I'm 'bouts sure a that."

When the buzz and grind of the old computer's hard drive whirring and straining to send the messages silenced, Sampson stood and waited for Joe to get up out of his chair. Joe grabbed his coffee mug and shuffled back to the kitchen, Sam close at foot, knowing it was time for breakfast. As Joe scraped the last bits out of the pot onto Sam's plate and set it down to the floor, the computer beeped. Sam's ears perked and Joe froze in place, mid-hunch to standing back up. Slowly straightening, his eyes never leaving the screen, Joe read the notice "message received - transmission complete" blinking back at him... the screen went blank.


He stood and reflected on old Joe and his faithful friend Sam. The memory of the tribute made to a man’s best friend on a fall day in 1870 came back to him. He searched the library archive file for the transcript of the court case in Warrensburg for the closing words of country lawyer George Graham Vest. He stood by the outgoing hologramletter screen and spoke to old Joe and his ever watchful and ever faithful mans best friend:

Joe and Sam,

I hear your letter from afar and although I can not be of direct help, I hope you both will take heart that others will one day reach out to you. You stirred a distant memory I would like to share with you from a courtroom of a time less troubled than the one we now have created. From 1870 comes the following tribute, and I can see from your love for each other it's as true today in 2030 as it was 16o years ago.

"Gentlemen of the jury, the best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter whom he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us--those whom we trust with our happiness and good name--may become traitors in their faith. The money that a man has he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the 1st to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world--the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous--is his dog.

"Gentlemen of the jury, a man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow, and the snow drives fiercely, if only he can be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert; he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

"If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death."

Joe you will never need for more reliable support than your Noble Dog Sam.
Posted by Greenhouse Neutral Foundation at 8:54 PM 1 comments Links to this post
Labels: climate change, future, letters from 2030
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
New visitors to the chronicles from the future may first wish to visit the past, by reading the earlier hologramletters. (see the older listings on the right, go to the bottom and click the link to the earlier hologramletters)

He had thought through his reply to Victor and was ready to reach out to him to encourage his spirits and rekindle his flame by telling him of others still fighting the good fight, when the incoming transmission light flickered. His spirits soared as he looked into to the laughing eyes of Suzanne.

Dear Bob,

As I've been putting together all my memories from the past, I'm sitting here today in just sheer amazement by the things we've lived through. Our perception of it all is so different when we're living through events. We have a natural instinct for survival that drives us onward. If someone were to tell me 20 years ago I would have made it this far with knowing what was to come; I would have laughed in their face. Not because of the inability to perceive all the trials I was about to endure, but because I felt I wasn't strong enough to endure it.

Looking back, living in the Sonoran desert was, at the time, somewhat of a surreal dream for me. The beauty of the desert and what I had hoped the future would bring in my life at that time is vastly different from what we now find ourselves so desperately trying to survive in. I was so enamoured with the desert, that I hadn't done the homework I should have before moving; though even if I had, it wouldn't have changed my mind even for a second. It was where I had to be... anyway... I learned after moving, that Phoenix had, at that time, been in a drought of close to a decade and still running; but as I said, I had been drawn to the beauty of it so strongly (for years), it was where I had to be. Once I was there, for the first time in my life, I felt I was home.

I was still in what I would call my infancy in learning about the climate change and global warming, what my carbon footprint was in the sands of time, and what I could do to make a difference. Living green and global awareness was growing in the lives of the world. The Green movement continued to grow-- even though it was only a very small percentage of the world, we were beginning to open our minds and eyes to what was happening, a precious few were listening and spreading the word to the scientific data that had been presented for decades now and continually being updated. You heard it everywhere you went. It seemed that with all the eco friendly products, we could make the difference needed, but the changes that were occurring in our world were escalating faster than ever anticipated. It was too little, and far, far too late.

There were studies and projections in the 1990s that had detailed the changes of the earth, and when they were expected to occur at the then rate of change in ocean currents, climate changes, and of course the increasing emissions our societies were spewing into the atmosphere at grossly obscene rates. Even then it couldn't be anticipated that the changes would increase exponentially within less than a decade. The study in the '90s of course projected the changes much more gradually, even as little as over 50-100 years, but not those we would have ever dreamed to start having such an impact in as little as a decade.

When another study was done in 2009 so many more factors were included. The study used the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model - each test they ran (400 in this study) had about an equal probability of being correct. Each time as with any study, they were looking for possible outcomes and solutions; the data they were using slightly varied, but even as such, the numbers and results painted a grave picture for the future of our world. Those results of course were based on the observations and knowledge we had at that time. What seemed so amazing to me then, and still now, was that the MIT model was the only one that was interactive. It included details for possible changes including human activities, economic growth, associated energy use, and how it would be depicted in different countries. It was so detailed! How could the Governments not listen? How could they see what was happening and not want to make changes? I still sit in awe at everything that was contained in that study. Did it influence the minds of the world to wake up and make change? Would we be living as we do now if it had? I don't believe we would. It was blatantly insignificant to the politicians and leaders of the world because, as we know now, they didn't do a damn thing with any show of courage or conviction to create and change policies that would have the effect needed for a sustainable earth. There were particular parts of that article that, if nothing else was listened to, should have been:

While the outcomes in the "no policy" projections now look much worse than before, there is less change from previous work in the projected outcomes if strong policies are put in place now to drastically curb greenhouse gas emissions. Without action, "there is significantly more risk than we previously estimated," Prinn says."This increases the urgency for significant policy action."
"There's no way the world can or should take these risks," Prinn says. And the odds indicated by this modelling may actually understate the problem, because the model does not fully incorporate other positive feedbacks that can occur, for example, if increased temperatures caused a large-scale melting of permafrost in arctic regions and subsequent release of large quantities of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Including that feedback "is just going to make it worse," Prinn says.

It's funny when we take the time to think back; I remember even as a child, taught to think 3 steps ahead, plan ahead, but yet live in the moment. We were living in the moment alright, but where was the planning for the future? Weren't our politicians and officials supposed to be the voices of unity to create that envisioned future of sustainability? All the changes that we were pushing and shouting to be heard and change implemented by our elected leaders... those that were chosen by US, as a collective united society... these Government Officials, the Politicians who were put into offices to protect us, guide us in positive movements, failed us!! They were to be the roll models, the parents, and we were the children to learn and benefit from their knowledge... we depended on them as any child depends on their mother and father to learn right from wrong, good from bad. What happened to "we the people" so that our voices could be heard? We were smothered, suffocated, isolated into single voices crying out our pleas.

We were working toward making change, but with change and progress, it's always a slow process. Cities like Phoenix were among the first to be considered eco-friendly. There had been an interview of the ASU Environmental Awareness Dept Head I recall watching. He was sombre and reserved, yet inspiring with his recitation of how Phoenix was to be one of the first, if not the first, most environmentally friendly city in the world. Even those projections and changes didn't come fast enough... Change just was not something that could happen as quickly as it needed to. It took time to create the sustainable and renewable energy sources -- and we were already out of time.

The lack of aggressiveness by the world to change their ways- over and over again - is more than evidence enough of the pitifully limited vision of foresight that mankind is and was capable of. The ignorant leading the blind - the politicians refused to admit, acknowledge and do something; the people of the world continued on with the blinders the governments had placed over their eyes to shield them from the truth or let them make the decision and use their voice for change. So we continued in our oblivious lives, unwilling, to learn and without knowing what was about to erupt around us.

Birds starting turning up dead by the hundreds and thousands on coastlines. Scientists asked why? Why have they all starved to death and not made the journeys they have made for centuries until now? Thousands turned into millions...lives lost; "but they were just birds," cried the politicians! Is a life not a life?? Are we not all the inhabitants of this world? This was the last wake up call mother nature would send us before the "natural disasters" became not so much an anomaly occurrence, but monthly, then weekly and daily events. Again people would question, "Why???" -- "Why is this happening???" -- "What's going on???" -- The Governments and Politicians clammed the information up even tighter because "they" didn't want input from the masses; scientists were pleading, no longer reporting the evidence of studies and data... pleading for change, but it was too late. More recollection on those issues another time...

I close this letter to you my dear friend, still with hope; and the strength that I've found in myself over these years... with thoughts of much hope and bright smiles that even through the toughest of times, we continue to have ~ because we are here, we have survived, and we will continue to fight the good fight; and when it's time for us to leave this earth, we will be able to do so smiling because we tried, we made a difference, we didn't become despondent in even our darkest hours.

As always ~ ever in friendship,
Suzanne :)

He flicked the outgoing transmission to Victor and once finished, he replayed Suzanne’s hologramletter to look back on the desert vista she had once loved so much.


We have but one life, but we have many; we have but one time, but we have many. We can but physically touch those we care for, but we can touch many.

We can reach out, as you do, and touch many. There are fewer like you and I whose hearts can reach out now; but there are many that you and I can still reach. I will ensure your feelings your memories and your struggle reach out.

I have contact with some of the remaining Earth warriers who still try to reach out to others. I recently made contact with Anthony who you know and trust. He's held up in the far north of Alaska. I can’t reveal his exact location as he's besieged with marauders who have plagued his HAARP compound and his fellow survivors for quite some time, but I will relay your hologramletter message to him.

I have a long time supporter in Suzanne who continues to lighten my days with her smiles and hope. She is fighting still, as you are. We are contacted by many, so don’t feel you're alone in your struggle. When last we spoke back in 2012 you were resigned to the outcome of the Kyoto agreement. I admit I had little hope the global political community would do what was needed and what we all hoped. I held out until the last days of the negotiations. Well not negotiations as we know now, more like corrupt conspiracy of the vested commercial interests who controlled the governments of the planet.

What was it my friend that we failed to see? What was it that many did not understand? Why did they ask the person in the street the wrong questions as to the future they wanted to secure for their families the ones they cared for?

We will never now know.

Patricia and Alex and how they played in the memory screens as you spoke brought back such joy to you and to me. You will never loose those feelings and we will revisit them through our dreams and hopes for the future. Suzanne once shared this with me, it has brought me some comfort over the years, as I hope it will now bring to you as well:

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but love... Love leaves a memory no one can steal."

When you rest and sleep tonight in the dreams of the past and your hope for the future, be assured I will be looking back on those days and asking the question I have now asked since the Big Thunder on Greenland and the loss of the Ross Ice Shelf in 2014, when the outcome of mans folly and complacency killed billions. Why did we not listen to the past that laid out the future; when did we stop listening to our logic and hearts?

Until tomorrow… Stay safe – stay indoors. Much hope to you.

Posted by Greenhouse Neutral Foundation at 5:18 PM 1 comments Links to this post
Labels: climate change, global warming, Green
Thursday, May 21, 2009
New visitors to the chronicles from the future may first wish to visit the past, by reading the earlier hologramletters. (see the older listings on the right, go to the bottom and click the link to the earlier hologramletters)

Seeing Alex and Patricia once more as they were in Victor’s memories, took him back in his. He had once asked the question of all that he met, as he asked in his book…. “What do we owe our children?”

He had penned……… and now in the quiet of his solitude he would speak those works again to all that may hear. That they might now answer that question; and hold on tight. He switched on the outgoing hologramletter transmission to share his “What did we owe our children?”

There was a native American Indian saying, "We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

What was it that we borrowed from them?

Their future was in our hands. Their safe future was in our hands.

From the time as parents that we brought them into the world our promise was made. Our promise to hold no tight to their hands; to hold on tight to their dreams; to hold on tight to their future.

Did we ever have the right to let them go? To turn away from the promise we had made? To releases their dreams? Or to abandon our hold on their safe future?

To leave them to solve problems for themselves; to leave them to solve problems we had inadvertently created? When was the time that we would say; sorry, sort it out for yourself? When we would say I no longer want to hold on tight?

In the book I gave a part of myself freely to those who would read it.

He picked up the book and read --

I am the Founder and Chair of the Greenhouse Neutral Foundation and the author of ZERO Greenhouse Emissions - The Day the Lights Went Out - Our Future World published by Strategic Book Publishing New York, New York (hard cover) ISBN:978-1-60693-306-0, ISBN / SKU: 1-60693-306-X, (e-book) ISBN: 978-1-60860-626-9.

I am internationally published with articles contributed to a number of environmental outlets. My vision as an environmental activist is to provide and contribute to a voice for change to one of a future safe for all those that will inherit our fragile planet.
View my complete profile
Hold On Tight
Hold on Tight is the official song for the Letters from 2030 and the Greenhouse Neutral Foundation.

Hold On Tight
Written by Howard Salmon
Performed by Taylor Penrose

This song may not be copied, saved, or otherwise reproduced without written permission of Howard Salmon.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Flying as a modern-day lottery: Air France Flight 447 Passengers Lost the Lottery! Sigh!

Flying as a modern-day lottery -- Air France Flight 447 Passengers Lost the Lottery! Sigh!

by forensic blogger Danny Bloom

CYBERSPACE -- June 5, 2009

Flying is safe, very safe, according to industry statistics. But don't
ask the people who died on the ill-fated Air France Flight 447 about

You might remember the news of the ill-fated flight of a Swissair jet
flying from New York to Geneva back in the 1990s, and also the news
reports about LAPA Flight 3142 that failed to take flight in
Argentina. Twelve years have passed since that Swissair flight, airline reservations are
still strong, the flying public hardly blinks and the sky's the limit.
Nothing changes much in the world of aviation and flying safety. It's
a gamble, every flight is a gamble but statistically, you stand to
win. The numbers are on the side of the living.

But there's a funny thing about the way plane crashes are reported in
the news media -- and the way the news is received and digested.

After any major crash, after the bold headlines and day-after
analyses, reality returns to the normality that is life.

People who are neurotically afraid to fly (let's call them "fearful
flyers") feel justified in thinking the way they do. They often clip
out front-page newspaper stories and put them in a mental scrapbook.
"See," they tell everyone who listens, " flying is not safe, never
was, never will be. How much more evidence do you need?"

Psychiatrists report this all the time. After every major crash that
makes international headlines, the fearful flyers among us (and there
are many; 30 million in the US, maybe three million in Taiwan) say: "I
told you so."

And they add, just so we won't forget: "I am not neurotic. You think
flying is safe? Go ahead and fly, sucker!"

People who are not afraid to fly have another survival mechanism, call
it a defense mechanism. They see the news on TV and read the stories
in the press and say: "Too bad, a real tragedy. But it was just fate,
an ill-fated flight. The planes I fly on will never crash. I am
indestructible, I am a realist."

And they will fly, again and again. Because flying is safe and
statistically you've got a better chance of arriving on time and in
perfect condition (minus the jet lag, of course, or the boozy
hangover) than the poor blokes in urban traffic jams below. Every Web
site devoted to fear of flying will tell you so. And statistics don't

There's a third group who find plane crashes reassuring. These are the
people who put their faith in God or Buddha or Allah.

"See, " they say to anyone who will listen, "God works in mysterious
ways. When your time comes, your time comes. God is just calling you
back early. The pearly gates await you. You have nothing to fear but
fear itself. Trust in the Lord and the Kingdom of Heaven shall be

It works, too. Every group finds something in plane crashes, food for
thought, fuel for fiery arguments. And they are all right.

And then there are the plane spotters, those devilish plane buffs who
stand near runway approaches at major airports around the world and
take comfort in watching the slow, graceful approaches of jetliners
and prop planes as they jockey for landing rights and runway reunions.
There are lots of them out there, every day, everywhere. Fascinated by
all kinds of aircraft, they come armed with cameras and a sense of
mission. Plane crashes don't stop them, grizzly TV images don't stop
them, even typhoons don't stop them.

The final word on plane crashes? There is no final word. The world
returns to normal, very quickly, and everyone retreats to their
private vision of heaven and hell. The bell rings. Classes resume in
the School of Hard Landings and nobody's the wiser.

Except insurance companies. They learn the most from these things.

In Paris, there will be a thorough investigation, a report, assigning
of blame. Funerals for the dead, psychiatric counselling for the

But nothing will change. Pilots will still attempt to land their
magnificent flying machines in stormy weather, corporations will still
put emphasis on the bottom line, passengers will still put their trust
in God, amazing technology that enables them to be god-like for a few
hours in the air, and fate.

Flying is safe, very safe, according to industry statistics. But don't
ask the survivors of Flight 447 about statistics. They lost the

After every accident, there is hand-wringing, assigning of blame,
officials who humbly take responsibility and resign. Newspapers
dutifully print obituaries, TV news segments will show us the grieving
families, over and over again.

It doesn't matter if it's TWA Flight 800 over Long Island or the
Lockerbie explosion over Scotland or even the KAL 007 shootdown over
the Sea of Japan or Air France Flight 447.

Planes fly, planes explode, planes crash. Every flight is a race
against time, against lift and stall, against the elements. Is flying
safe? Sure.

One wonders if anything has been learned. Flying is still a lottery in
which most of us come out as winners. But for some modern travelers,
the flying is over; they lost the lottery and died unspeakable deaths.

Polar cities and Earth 2100 on ABC-TV: Why we need to take action now!

Pam Funston writes on SUNNY WAY blog:


"Earth 2100". ....on ABC - TV recently .....

it showed at the beginning, all the warnings and even a global summit to try to correct/prevent the inevitable if things continue environmentally as they are..and the leaders all went home not coming to any conclusion.

And then things continued to go downhill, until there was no communication, no cell towers, Internet, food, beaches, transportation … just of course the worst case scenario. .....BUT the thing is, the film went over the last part of the movie in a different scenario, with the changes that would happen for good if everyone worked right now together, globally. And the end was how great everything was, or could be, on our Earth.

It ended with a statement that there is a global summit in Denmark this year to discuss the issues we need to work on NOW, and how important it will be. so, yeah, it was a negative picture/scenario to begin with, but really was thought provoking at what must be done.

It told a story of a young 7 year old girl named Lucy and her life through her late seventies, in the worst case scenario, so it was like a story…but then the best case scenario for our Earth if things were taken seriously, and dealt with.

I just thought it was a good film to show how individually and collectively we, globally, need to take care of this earth, and the US will make decisions that will affect the whole world in this area. so, like in the Sunny Way, it can work together, because we CAN see the future as full of possibilities that we can impact through our actions right now. I really enjoyed reading what Megan Dietz had to say, and I think group discussions like this
would be truly inspiring and thought-provoking."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

polar cities and a preliminary sketch of Underground Desert Living Unit by Jennifer Daniels

Polar cities and a preliminary sketch of Underground Desert Living Unit by Jennifer Daniels

The idea for the Underground Desert Living Unit (UDLU) was inspired after reading three articles while doing research for 13.7 Billion Years, an "environmental armchair activist" blog that I started in March 2008.

The first was an an article by Alister Doyle titled "Exotic climate study sees refugees in Antarctica," in which the Reuters environment correspondent wrote about the release of "Climate Futures," a 76-page study written by HP Labs, the exploratory research arm of Hewlett-Packard, and Forum for the Future, a London-based non-profit dedicated to sustainable development.

The researchers predict that global warming will create "environmental refugees" -- people made migrant by the effects of climate change.

Current human habitats will become too dry for farming or unbearably hot or even submerged underwater from sea level rises due to the melting of polar ice.

The second article was a ScienceDaily article entitled, "Global Warming Threatens Australia's Iconic Kangaroos," which refers to current predictive climate models showing up to a six-degree rise in Australia's temperature by 2070.

One of the most devastating effects of this increased heat will be the loss of surface water.

Large swaths of Australia will become dry and parched.

The third article was a RushPRnews article, "Top British scientist says New Zealand should become “Lifeboat” for global warming survivors," about James Lovelock's recent interview with Radio New Zealand, in which the 89 year-old climatologist -- one of the first to warn about the dangers of climate change -- says that it's too late to stop the temperature rise.

"I think the role of New Zealand, similar to that of the UK and other island nations, is to be a lifeboat because the world may get almost intolerable during the coming century," says Lovelock.

"You've seen it happening in Australia already: Desert is spreading and things just won't grow, he notes. "The island nations like New Zealand will be spared that kind of damage."

"Trying to stop global warming," Lovelock says matter-of-factly, "is almost a certain waste of time."

The Lovelock article was written by Danny Bloom, a Taiwan-based "green media activist" and creator behind Polar Cities, a compelling idea he devised in 2006 for building new cities near the planets poles that would be populated by "survivors of future global warming events."

According to a Mongabay blog posting, Bloom doesn't believe that people will actually have to live in these "polar cities," but he has been using the concept and computer-rendered drawings (by Taiwanese artist Deng Cheng-hong) to help raise awareness about the dangers of climate change.

Thinking about the possible eventual loss of fertile land, the growth of desert climates and creation of "global warming refugees" recalled my own desire to build a house in the desert when I first visited California's Mojave Desert several years ago.

The idea back then was to build a biomorphic living space based on cell structure as a way to emulate nature.

All of the rooms would be circular -- there would be no corners.

Dubbed "Circle House," the original design was based on a water molecule: one large oxygen atom attached to two smaller hydrogen atoms.

From above, Circle House would look like a bunch of interconnected water molecules sitting on top of the flat desert.

The concept of the Underground Desert Living Unit (UDLU) takes the molecular design elements of Circle House and moves it underground, envisioning a localized solution for "global warming refugees," allowing them to stay in their original region.

UDLUs could be easily interconnected, allowing flexibility and community growth, leaving a wind energy generator, a solar energy generator, a solar-powered greenhouse and an air purifier system above ground.

The idea of UDLU is to give an option to the millions of possible "global warming refugees."

We don't have to go to New Zealand or the polar caps.

We can move underground, underneath our newly-born desert landscapes.

This is just the beginning of an idea, which will now create a series of problems that must be solved.

How will UDLUs be built? What will they be made of? How will energy be generated? How will food be grown in these newly-formed arid regions? How will water will be accessed?

What will living underground do to us physically or psychologically? What other problems could arise? Could UDLUs help displaced wild animals, like kangaroos?

I hope that the Underground Desert Living Research Institute (UDLRI) will promote the research and development of an inexpensive, flexible, easily constructed, sustainable, eco-friendly Underground Desert Living Unit (UDLU).

In this effort, the UDLRI will collect, share and analyze information about global warming, green architecture and sustainable technologies.

At the very least, UDLRI will be a record of my own investigations into the usability, feasibility and possibility of the UDLU.
Posted by Reynard Loki

James Lovelock approves of polar cities idea .....

A friend who recently spoke with Dr Lovelock face to face tells me:

"I did ask Lovelock about you, Danny, and the polar cities. He
remembered your emails/ideas and said you were right and that we'd
need something like that sooner than we think...."

June 4, 2009

james lovelock and polar cities

What you describe is quite depressing. Do you have any sense of hope?

Even the best climatologists will tell you in private that CO{-2} will continue to go up over the next 1,000 years even if emissions stopped today. You can't stop it once you get it going. Unless we can pull an amazing trick of cleverness, that's what's going to happen. And it's a normal thing in biology. Anything that overgrows its resources gets smacked back down again. I foresee a loss of as much as 80 or 90 per cent of the people on Earth by the end of the century. It's a distinct possibility, and I don't think there's much we can do to stop it. You just have to make sure those who remain will be able to survive it.

James Lovelock in Toronto and Polar Cities

Let's get rid of those pesky people

Next week, green guru James Lovelock brings his dire view of humanity's future to town. Here, a preview and counterpoint

May 23, 2009
Tyler Hamilton
Energy Reporter

Warning: If you suffer from climate anxiety, read on at your own risk.

British scientist James Lovelock calls himself a realist, not a pessimist. But it's difficult to walk away from a chat with the 89-year-old creator of the "Gaia" theory without feeling a sense of certain doom.

Lovelock came up with his Gaia theory while working in the early 1960s for NASA, where he developed instruments for detecting whether life existed on Mars. The idea is that the Earth functions as a single super-organism, with all its non-living and living systems – including humans – interacting to maintain a delicate balance.

Since then Lovelock has written several books about Gaia and, more recently, about how human-caused climate change is pushing Gaia to its limits. His latest book, published in April, is titled The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning.

His basic message is that humanity's "infection" of the Earth is irreversible and must now run its course. The Earth will come to a new balance, he argues, but the outcome for humanity won't be pretty.

Lovelock is to speak in Toronto on Tuesday at CBC's Glenn Gould Studio ( ).

How does your outlook on climate change differ from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's predictions?

My conclusions don't predict a steady, smooth rise in temperature as CO{-2} levels rise equally, or a fall in temperature as CO{-2} is lowered. What I suggest is that once the temperature rises to a higher state, about 5 degrees C hotter than it's been, it will automatically stabilize there. So lowering the CO{-2} won't make any difference. We'll stay at that temperature.

So is there nothing we can do?

There are things we could do. What we can be sure about is that as the CO{-2} keeps on rising, the world climate is going to change adversely. Our first job, then, is adaptation. It means spending our efforts and money on preparing for the changes that are likely to happen, rather than spending a fortune trying to stop it from happening.

William Reville is associate professor of biochemistry and science awareness officer at UCC

How to delay the end of the world

JAMES LOVELOCK, who developed the Gaia theory of the earth, has issued an apocalyptic prediction. He claims that global warming is now irreversible and, as a result, more than six billion people will die before the end of the century. He offers one suggestion as to how we might help ourselves, but declares that this mechanism will not be implemented, writes WILLIAM REVILLE

This is mind-numbing stuff. The strong majority scientific position is that human activities have caused, or have strongly contributed to, global warming. My immediate reaction is one of anger. If Lovelock is even within an ass’s roar of being correct, how the hell did we allow this situation to develop – and what are we going to do about it?

The official scientific position holds that Lovelock’s claim is greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, Lovelock must be taken seriously. He is one of the most eminent scientists of our time. He invented the electron capture detector, which alerted the world to the build-up of CFCs in the atmosphere; he originated and developed Gaia theory; he predicted that there is no life on Mars, based on a brilliant analysis of the Martian atmosphere; and he developed effective methods to freeze cells.

Basically, he now believes that earth’s feedback systems, which maintain our planet’s current moderate conditions, have been pushed beyond their capacities to cope by the stresses of pollution and the destruction of natural habitats. He sees the planet slipping into a new hotter equilibrium, a condition akin to a “fever”, where it may remain for 10,000 years.

Here is how Lovelock sees things developing. Rising temperatures, driven largely by human emissions of greenhouse gases, melt more polar ice, producing more water and bare land. This causes positive feedback, because water and land absorb heat from sunlight whereas ice reflects sunlight, causing more ice to melt. The rising temperature increases rainfall in some places and causes drought in others. Seas rise. The Amazon and the great northern forests die. The permafrost in northern latitudes melts, releasing methane, a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – and so it goes on, and on.

Lovelock predicts that extreme weather and droughts will be common by 2020. The Sahara will be moving into Europe by 2040, Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad and London will face severe flooding. Millions of people will be driven north by food shortages. Epidemics will kill millions. By 2100 earth’s population will be reduced to 500 million from its current level of 6.6 billion and the survivors will mostly live in the far latitudes of Iceland, Canada, Scandinavia and the Arctic Basin.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) doesn’t agree with Lovelock and says we can still control global warming by drastically reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases. Let us fervently hope the IPCC is right. But, so far, we haven’t been taking the IPCC prescriptions seriously and, in Lovelock’s words, quoted in New Scientist , January 2009 (Issue 2693): “Kyoto was 11 years ago. Virtually nothing has been done except endless talk and meetings.”

Lovelock reckons that we have only one last hope of saving ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. Growth of plants removes huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, incorporating the gas into the plant structure. When residual plant waste material is later broken down by microbes in the soil, this carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere. The charcoal solution would prevent this return of carbon dioxide to the air. Farmers would annually take all the agricultural waste, burn it at very low oxygen levels, thereby turning it into non-biodegradable charcoal which they would then plough into the soil. This scheme would need no subsidy and would quickly bring down atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. Lovelock predicts that the charcoal solution will not be implemented and that we will just continue on with what he calls “useless gigantic scams” such as carbon trading.

We can let Lovelock’s doomsday scenario either numb us into despair or kick-start us into activity. We must have hope. We must re-dedicate ourselves to meet strict emissions targets. We must protect existing forests, plant new forests and protect natural ecosystems. We must add nuclear power to our energy-generation mix. And why not implement the charcoal option? But, in case Lovelock is right, we must also start to prepare to meet the worst, taking measures to mitigate the ill-effects of flooding of coastal areas, and so on. We no longer seem to have a choice. In the words of Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins in the The Shawshank Redemption , as he contemplated, and rejected, the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison: “It comes down to a simple choice – get busy living, or get busy dying.”

William Reville is associate professor of biochemistry and science awareness officer at UCC – http://understandingscience.ucc.ie