Archive for the Climate Change Category

Final Thoughts

Posted in Climate Change, Religious Roots on April 28, 2010 by ajtriplett

We’ve had lots of different topics, lots of different readings, and tons of discussions about eco-collapse.  What is the cause?  How can we change it? What does the future hold?

Well, this is my idea— ethics.  I think the way we (Americans)  treat our little section of the world falls back on our ethics, or lack of.  Over time which we don’t have, we need to change our ethical view.

Ethics–a system of moral principles

If we start to raise our children with a different set of ethics that actually incorporated a positive worldview, things WOULD change.  We would raise our children not to immortalize people like Britney Spears, LeBron James, and Paris Hilton.  Instead they would know about Wangari Maathai and John Muir.  Images of pollution-free oceans and flourishing summer garden would fill our heads instead of Kate Gosselin getting voted off Dancing with the Stars. People would start to care about how we live.  Religion would change— everything would.

Patience, persistance, commitment– that is what Wangari believes.  The problem with that  idea–time.  Time is not our friend.  Will it be too late if we change our ethical view?  Will it be too late if we are patient, persistent, and stay committed?  For some ecosystems it will be too late.  An although by changing our ethics now we are only postponing the inevitable ending, it’s worth a try.

We won’t be back

Posted in Climate Change, Natural Disasters on April 28, 2010 by ajtriplett

Rebecca Solnit’s article Judgment Day in Copenhagen brings up some great points– but these are all points we’ve heard over and over and over.  Our leaders, the ones we elect to run our great nation, are being blinded.  Well, I wouldn’t even say blinded, more like ignorant, stupid, greedy and so many more words of choice.  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Obama, and every other Joe Schmo who says that something must be done about climate change and they are the ones who are going to do it are full of crap.

Like Solnit stated, the agreement that was discussed in Copenhagen suggested that we limit the temperature increase to about 7 degrees F.  Really? I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that limiting 7 degrees will still destroy the environment. Although the temperature increase would be over time (by 2100), that 7-degree increase will kill the coral reefs, devastate farms, make the Amazon non-existent, and cause a slew of other problems.  Why can’t we make drastic changes now?  Make carpooling and recycle mandatory.  Limit the number of cars people can own. Force square footage limits on the houses people build…. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg for solutions, but something major needs to be done.

and I feel fine

One of the comments a reader made on the Solnit article back in 2009 was about 9-11 and how  leaders across the world  “were all one, and would stand together against a common threat; yet tens of millions around the globe are now facing death by starvation and disease due to climate change, and those same governments can’t even agree to an agreement.”  Ding ding ding!!!!  Major disasters will continue to happen, people will continue to die, landscapes will perish until we just blow up.  The people who can really make a difference in the world—those who can make laws—need to do it now. Today.

Solnit said there are no superheroes but us….. superheroes aren’t real……

Charles’s Job IV

Posted in Climate Change, Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 28, 2010 by Conor

Charles watched his screens, observed his computers, interrogating their square faces, watching for ticks and twitches that would hint at a hidden truth his instruments could be hiding from him. Finally satisfied that the world was still fucked up beyond his stone chambers, he turned and walked to the nursery. As he walked in, he looked up to track the simulated sun as it passed across the ceiling. The ceiling, actually a giant screen, ran a program that simulated the passing of day and night and it was seasonally sensitive. During winter, the photoperiod was shorter, the night longer, and the ambient temperature of the room dropped a few degrees. Even though it wasn’t in the original programming, Charles eventually rewrote the program to include clouds, snow, rain, all with a simulated appearance on the man-made sky. He would spend hours in there, watching as the clouds floated across the ceiling, looking for shapes, trying to ignore the fact that it was on a loop and every twenty minutes, the same shapes would crawl above him. Although he could program the ceiling to simulate storm clouds, to make it seem as though he was looking up into a pouring sky, and even as the recording of rain drops throwing themselves into the soil played over the speakers, his face still remained dry and he didn’t feel the tiny liquid bombs exploding on his forehead, on his closed eyelids, the flowers of H20 blooming from their tear shaped buds across his cheeks and the shrapnel and spent petals rolling down his face finally leaping from his chin towards the soil. Nothing touched him, though the phantom memory of rain did brush his skin, phantom spray from a childhood sprinkler. Despite the absence of rain, his cheeks were still wet when he opened his eyes.

Charles continued through to the second chamber of the nursery, partitioned off by one revolving door immediately followed by another. As Charles passed into the gene nursery he stood and waited for his eyes to adjust. In the previous room the light was changing constantly but here it was a consistent low, red glow bathing everything in an ominous light. The sound was just as different. Where as the patternless, chaotic patter of rain filled the previous room, this one was filled with a deep throbbing. When Charles closed his eyes he always felt as though he was inside a giant bass drum. He opened the cabinet in the corner, donning gown and mask and gloves. Charles stood for a moment and gazed down the gene nursery, more like a wide corridor than a room. On each side of the room were vats, the size of trash cans, filled with a clear liquid. The vats nearest the door appeared to be empty but as he walked down the room the contents changed. A small dot, or speck for the first few vats, then larger and larger objects. As he progressed down the room, each vat was filled with a more recognizable shape. A fetal curl, the neck, bent as though in prayer, a thoughtless lump asking forgiveness for sins not yet enacted. Moving down the aisle, toes became distinct, ears, a nose, after a certain size umbilical cords tethered the fetuses to nourishment, which was precisely regulated. After passing to the rear of the chamber, he turned to the last vat. A fully formed human male, his DNA donated by healthy Government employees that had passed the genetic screening. He had Charles’s nose. And Dr. Daniel’s mouth.

Charles wheeled over a stool, locking it in place so that it wouldn’t skitter out from under him as he brought his fragile son into the world. Charles unclasped the grips holding the glass womb in place and manipulated the hinges attaching it vertically to the wall, extending its support arm like a boom, bringing the second to last human he knew for sure was alive to a rest, a few degree from horizontal. Opening a vent in the base of the container, the amniotic fluid began to flow into the drain in the floor, a torrential flood of viscous goo. As the last of the fluid drained out Charles gave the base a sharp twist, unlocking it with a wet click, letting it fall clattering to the floor. Instead of reaching in to grab the new-born, he simply let it slide slowly out of the tube that had been its home for the last nine months, the amniotic fluid turning the beaker into a slide. As the child’s weight settled into his hands, he pulled a rubber ear cleaner out of the cradle, squirting two quick burst of air at each nostril, and immediately this bundle of cells, this wet bag of miniature organs, tiny bones, and enormous potential, began to wail. Charles wrapped him in a blanket, and held him close. Leaning in to the baby’s ear, Charles chose his words very carefully.

“Hello Kael, my name is Charles. I’ve waited a long time to meet you. Welcome to the New Earth.”

where isTerminator?

Posted in Climate Change on April 28, 2010 by briannichols

 

Rebecca solnit’s article “Judgment Days in Copenhagen” portrays how a summit on climate change includes only the polluters and not the people affected by the pollution.  For example, she states how “Danish police became increasingly brutal as activists from everywhere, representing the poor, developing, and most affected nations, the Arctic, small farmers, indigenous nations, and the environment demonstrated” (Solnit 5). While inside only government and big business went through negotiations. Whose voice is not heard here? Solnit answers this question by clearly showing that it is the same people who have always been marginalized as governments and corporations work together to increase their profits. Solnit asks where are the heroes like Miles Dyson, in the movie Terminator 2, who recognize that he engineered the death of humanity with his creation of intelligent machines and so attempts to get rid of them for the benefit of humanity (Solnit 3). She cites how  Arnold Schwarzenegger was sent to the conference by the “Climate Action Reserve [which] is backed by Chevron and Shell” and suggests that Schwarzenegger is cyborg like advocating for lower greenhouse gas emissions but not so much as to affect industry profit. Solnit, then, suggest that there can be no real solution to climate change without considering the voices of those who are affected by it.

“Natural” disasters

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters on April 14, 2010 by rudweiser

It’s understandable that humans have always placed the blame of natural disasters on external forces completely out of our control. We can’t even begin to conceive the possibility that something so radical, something believed to be solely caused by natural cycles on Earth, could be triggered by human activity. It’s not only wrong to think we don’t play a role, but pure ignorance to not consider ourselves as a factor. Earth’s environment is incredibly fragile and can easily be manipulated through the seemingly smallest activities of humans (i.e. burning fossil fuels, introducing alien species, oil drilling, etc). The real trouble arises when we try to change the environment to suit our needs rather than adapting to it. As we try to manipulate it to conserve our current lifestyle, unforeseen consequences are inevitable as we change Earth’s natural ways.

Adapting to the natural environment or ourselves?

How about our on-going race to secure resources? Everything from mining, logging to solar panels and hydro-electricity are being utilized to capture energy and will be used more extensively as the population continues to grow. These are all unnatural and have adverse effects on the natural environment, another way of changing it to our needs.

Three Gorges Dam

According to National Geographic, the Three Gorges Dam could hold enough water that the weight could tilt the Earth approximately 2 to 3 degrees. What effects could this have on the climate? How this climate shift effect natural disasters?

It’s difficult for me to have an optimistic look on the future. We are the smartest organisms on Earth, yet we cannot figure out how to adapt like all other organisms. We’ve dug ourselves in so deep with trying to maintain our current way of life that we have made natural disasters unnatural. Complete restructuring of our political and economic systems to adapt to the environment is a utterly perplexing and seems altogether impossible, yet the only permanent solution.

Gotta get Mine

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Apocalypse, Rhetoric, Risk & Fear, War on April 8, 2010 by Taylor Manuel

Through exploring the connections between war and the environment, there seems to be an  overwhelming voice speaking to an escalation of conflict in the interest of securing increasingly diminishing  resources. I think that in carrying on discussion in this area it is important to note that though there seems to be an increase in such conflict, securing environmental resources and conversely using them in war has been an aspect of conflict from the very beginning of war itself. Though technology certainly magnifies the impact and feasibility of environment both as weapon and reason for war.

Geo-political interest in foreign occupation has become just as permanent as the basses we have established.

If securing oil and gas resources is the major motivation for military occupation and national security, why do we put boots on the ground in the name of “Democracy and womens rights”? I suppose the answer is an obvious one, but is securing access to dwindling resources not just? As selfish as it may seem. Not to mention, profitable!

Unrelated to this theme, its interesting to think of Natural disaster being used as a covert weapon. Both in  cause and or response.

Gordan J. F. Macdonald was a visionary professor in Geophysics. In 1968, he wrote a book entitled, “Unless Peace Comes: How to Wreck the Environment.” He writes:

Man already possesses highly effective tools for destruction. Eventually, however, means other than open warfare may be used to secure national advantage. As economic competition among many advanced nations heightens, it may be to a country’s advantage to ensure a peaceful natural environment for itself and a disturbed environment for its competitors. Operations producing such conditions might be carried out covertly, since nature’s great irregularity permits storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes and tidal waves to be viewed as unusual but not unexpected. Such a ‘secret war’ need never be declared or even known by the affected populations. It could go on for years with only the security forces involved being aware of it. The years of drought and storm would be attributed to unkindly nature and only after a nation were thoroughly drained would an armed take-over be attempted.

This strategy of covert war, coupled with the securing of resources and invasive population control presents an interesting dynamism…

Short Truth of War

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Uncategorized, War with tags , , , , , on April 7, 2010 by jessicabarranco

As nature triumphs over wilderness that has been devastated through war, society becomes enamored with the anthropocentric idea that through our actions, nature is given the means to survive.  People live in a constant state of war.  It challenges our assumptions that nature will succeed, regardless of how many people we kill, or how many are impoverished or living in degradation.  It seems that if humans can’t live there, it would be unexpected for any form of life to strive or even flourish.  Why is this the case?

War can be viewed as humanity’s natural state; poor, nasty, brutish and short (Hobbes quoted in Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology).  If the world’s greatest percentage of people fall under these categories of being poor, they must also entail the other qualities as well.  In the chapter on War and Peace, there are a number of civilizations that are in constant, militarized state of war.  In these areas, nature flourishes, even to the extent that in some places, tigers are remediating the clean-up of blood shed and death in combat zones.  “Tigers rapidly move toward gunfire and apparently consume large numbers of battle casualties.” (Environment, p. 230)  Naturally, wildlife is able to find a use for those we find disposable; the dead.  What nature has a hard time surviving is the constant pressure of incessant population growth.  Since we separate ourselves from nature in our mentality, we have this idea to digest: “The worst degradation is generally where the population is highest.  The population is generally highest where the soil is the best.  So we’re degrading earth’s best soil.” (Environment, p. 221)

What role does society play, if the idea of war is natural, and the thought that nature can survive this tension? Western society gives us the false notion that we are secure in our system of government, and that in times of need or chaos, it will step in to mediate the relationship between man and nature.  But at what point are we responsible for our individual role in this relationship?  It is wrong for us to assume that society is maturing in its knowledge of natural systems, and to instead, we should find the means for survival elsewhere.  I suggest an approach similar to Lauren’s ideas for survival from Parable of the Sower.

Civilization is to groups what intelligence is to individuals.  It is a means of combining the intelligence of many to achieve ongoing group adaptation.

Civilization, like intelligence, may serve well, serve adequately, or fail to serve its adaptive function.  When civilization fails to serve, it must disintegrate unless it is acted upon by unifying internal or external forces. (Butler, p. 101)

It is up to the individual to recognize his limits.  It cannot be guaranteed that those with the inability to succeed will be protected from the government.  It would be ignorant to wait for a superficial entity to have the answers in times of chaos, when this same structure struggles to unify its people under one system on a daily basis.  As Simon Dalby writes in Environmental Security, “the point is not simply that knowledge is power, but that knowledge and power are imbricated in each other in complex discursive formations…” (p. xxv).