PEOPLES NEWS issue no. 100 Date: 3 – 3 – 14 22:06 Mar 04 1 comments
Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Declare that Power Comes Out of the Barrels of their Guns 12:55 Mar 01 8 comments
Israel said planning to deport African migrants to Uganda 10:51 Feb 24 0 comments
Clashes in Ukraine signal escalation of US-EU intervention 12:33 Feb 19 9 comments
NSA and GCHQ spying on WikiLeaks 11:01 Feb 19 0 commentsmore >>
For Lefties too Stubborn to Quit
What if: The Fianna Fáil/Labour government of 1992 hadn?t collapsed in 1994? 14:46 Fri Mar 07, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Ooops? 10:43 Fri Mar 07, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
The CLR Political Quiz?. Number 68 07:33 Fri Mar 07, 2014 | irishelectionliterature
This Week At Irish Election Literature 06:52 Fri Mar 07, 2014 | irishelectionliterature
He may have a point? 01:54 Fri Mar 07, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
CAMERON ON THE PHONE 09:22 Thu Mar 06, 2014
Irish Political Economy, Class 5: Austerity, Tax Avoidance and Privatization 15:57 Wed Mar 05, 2014
CORPORATION TAX DEBATE IN IRELAND 08:48 Wed Mar 05, 2014
Capitalism, Class and Inequality 21:20 Sun Mar 02, 2014
ENDA AND ALAN 09:20 Sun Mar 02, 2014
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
Irelands? Bank Guarantee: A Lesson In Class Power Thu Mar 06, 2014 16:49 | Irish Left Review
Normal Euro zone Countries Don?t Export Their People Thu Mar 06, 2014 15:11 | Michael Taft
The Eighth Amendment Must be Repealed Wed Mar 05, 2014 13:29 | Alison Spillane
Marx was right all along, says investment bank Wed Mar 05, 2014 13:14 | Michael Burke
Jesus, Mary & Joe Duffy Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:55 | Julie Goo
The constitutional right to legal advice after arrest Fri Mar 07, 2014 09:46 | Liz Campbell
UCD Event: Mr Justice Albie Sachs on Justice, Memory & Art Fri Mar 07, 2014 09:12 | Liam Thornton
Bureaucratic Bob and Weave: Troika Austerity under the Spotlight Thu Mar 06, 2014 06:05 | Darren O'Donovan
PILA Conference 2014: Using the Law to Challenge Injustice Tue Mar 04, 2014 19:58 | admin
UCC Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights Annual Graduate Conference: Call for Papers Tue Mar 04, 2014 00:16 | Anna Marie Brennan
Links to Alternative Media Podcasts
en-us Indymedia On Air
RSS Feed for 'Indymedia on Air' from the LA Indymedia broadcast on LA KPFK
Indymedia On Air - Tue, January 28, 2014 Mon Jan 27, 2014 23:00
Indymedia On Air - Tue, January 21, 2014 Mon Jan 20, 2014 23:00
Indymedia On Air - Tue, January 14, 2014 Mon Jan 13, 2014 23:00
Indymedia On Air - Tue, January 7, 2014 Mon Jan 06, 2014 23:00
Indymedia On Air - Tue, December 31, 2013 Mon Dec 30, 2013 23:00
en-ie Hosted by Tom O'Brien this podcast hopes to feature in-depth interviews with leading figures in the fields of Economics, Peak Oil, Democracy, Politics, Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Complex Systems, Agnosticism, Permaculture, Collapse, and the Environment.
RSS Feed for 'From Alpha to Omega' podcast
#046 Engines, Entropy, and Value Sat Feb 22, 2014 09:42 | Tom O'Brien
#045 Dollar Hegemony Fri Jan 31, 2014 23:16 | Tom O'Brien
#044 Sins Of The Father Wed Jan 15, 2014 23:37 | Tom O'Brien
#043 The Falling Rate of Learning Tue Dec 17, 2013 16:27 | Tom O'Brien
#042 Oh So Reserved Sat Nov 23, 2013 23:43 | Tom O'Brien
Analysis of the geopolitical headlines
RSS Feed for 'Stop Imperialism' podcast
The Reality Principle #13 on Boiling Frogs Thu Jan 17, 2013 04:50 | ericdraitser
Stop Imperialism - Episode 55 Tue Jan 15, 2013 06:17 | ericdraitser
The Reality Principle #12 on Boiling Frogs Thu Jan 10, 2013 06:09 | ericdraitser
The US and the Privatization of El Salvador Tue Jan 08, 2013 19:27 | ericdraitser
Stop Imperialism - Episode 54 Fri Jan 04, 2013 07:33 | ericdraitser
en Latest science, authors, issues - from climate change, oceans, forests, pollution, Peak Oil, the economy, and peace. Ready for re-broadcast, computer, IPOD, or mp3 player. No copyright. As heard on CFRO Vancouver, and over 75 college & community radio stations, WPFW Pacifica in D.C. plus KNEW 960 AM, San Francisco & Resonance FM London. Published Wednesdays.
RSS Feed for 'Eco Shock' podcast
California Drought: Is this the big one? Thu Mar 06, 2014 01:37 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
Our first guest is Dr. Peter Gleick. He's president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, one of the world's leading independent think tanks on water issues. Peter is also a scientist known around the world.
Peter introduced the term "Bellwether Drought" for this event. We know climate change threatens the water cycle. Scientists believe the wet areas (like the UK!) will get wetter, and the dry areas like California, will get dryer. So the dice are loaded for more droughts to occur in this major food producing area.
Dr. Gleick points out we could say this drought started in at least 2006. There have been several drier-than-normal years since then. Scientists have found records showing California has experienced droughts lasting more than a hundred years in the past, in the 1100's for example.
So we may be asking if human-induced climate change has triggered this drought cycle. The causes of regional weather events are complex. We have ocean currents, natural cycles like El Nino and El Nina, and changes to the Jet Stream. All of those, especially the Jet Stream (as shown by the work of Jennifer Francis et al at Rutgers) can be influenced by climate change.
It's a Bellwether event because whether or not we can nail down direct causation by climate disruption - it's a sure test of what is likely during the coming decades. As in Australia, it is possible Euro-humans arrived in California during a cyclical wet spell that was bound to end. But have we hastened that process?
I also talk with Peter about desalination, it's promises and obstacles. A new desalination plant has been build to feed the San Diego water system. But really, it's so energy intensive and expensive that desalination cannot save the whole California agricultural system.
Peter Gleick is an influential scientist in many places. He talks about the global work his institute is involved in, and it's heavy-duty stuff. It's cool he Tweeted this program link out to his 11,000 plus followers.
You can download or listen to this 18 minute interview with Dr. Peter Gleick in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.
DR. JAY FAMIGLIETTI: Looking at the drought from space.
When the rains don't fall in California, every one checks their wallet for rising food prices. But rain or not, cities and farmers are pumping out California groundwater at an alarming rate. Thanks to new satellite science, now we know how much of that unseen wealth has been depleted. It's a problem for farmers and all humans all over the world, as we grab water stored over the ages, to keep us alive right now. At some point, the water runs out.
Dr. Jay Famiglietti is a Professor of Earth System Science, and Director of the Center for Hydrologic Modeling at the University of California, Irvine. He's an expert's expert.
When the federal government, and state agencies cut off water supplies, as they did just this past month, farmers don't just roll over and die. All those who can start pumping up groundwater furiously. They've been doing that for decades, always at an increasing level. You may think ground water gets replenished with rains, but some of it was captured and contained over millions of years. When I have a glass of water in my village, that water is 100,000 years old.
So just like oil, ground water is a limited resource. When you run out, that's it.
Amazing to tell, scientists can measure the rate of groundwater depletion in California from space. The twin GRACE satellites have shown the loss of mass in Greenland as the glaciers melt. Now scientists at the University of California Irvine report that California is setting new records for groundwater loss. The state is literally getting lighter.
Find out about the GRACE satellites here. Oh, and by the way, one of their top stories is the discovery that climate change is causing the Earth's poles to migrate. Don't believe that? Read about it here.
One result is the land starts to sink, once the water below is removed. That's serious in the Sacramento delta, where so much of North America's fruits and vegetables are grown. Once it goes too low, a rush of salt water, say from a storm surge, can take thousands and thousands of prime acres out of production.
Jay Familietti describes what we know. He says the average of prediction of when California will run out of groundwater at current rates is 60 years from now. After that, the glory days of big populations and big cities may be done. Some experts say it will come sooner than that.
That same story is being repeated, even worse, in countries like China and India. India is pumping out the water tables at an alarming rate. In both countries, as thousands of wells go dry, they drill deeper, and burn even more energy with bigger pumps, just to keep up. Some places are already out of water, and out of production.
Keep this story in mind as you build the big picture: peak groundwater. It's coming.
By the way, I ask Dr. Famiglietti what happens to all the water we pump out for our fields and cities. Some of it goes into the ocean, to become salt water. The warmer atmosphere can hold 4% more water vapor already, since 1970, and that's a huge amount. Other water ends up falling in those places that are already wet.
Don't miss this 12 minute interview with Jay Famiglietti. It's short but powerful. Listen or download in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Read a key article by Dr. Famiglietti "Epic California Drought and Groundwater: Where Do We Go From Here?". And check out his LA Times Op-Ed from 2013, "California's water house of cards".
DR. REAGAN WASKOM - Feeding the western food supply
I was referred to Dr. Waskom by Michael Cohen of the Pacific Institute. Even though Waskom is the University of Colorado in Fort Collins, he's one of the country's wisemen when it comes to water supplies and our food system.
Reagan Waskom is the Director of the Colorado Water Institute, and Chair of the Colorado State University Water Center.
It turns out Colorado supplies much of the water to Southern California. We are not talking about the big food production areas, but more the heavy populations in places like Los Anglees. So what happens in Colorado matters a lot to California.
The good news is there is a heavy snow pack this year in Colorado. How useful that is depends on how fast the snow melt is, among other factors.
I ask Dr. Waskom what happens if California really is in a long-term drought. Could we replace all that food with farming somewhere else in the country?
Dr. Waskom has also been studying the big use of water by the fracking industry. We touch on that.
My final question is more personal: "You've taught a lot of students, and graduate students. Do you think young people are more disconnected from natural reality than when you were growing up?"
I learned a lot just talking with the man. You probably will too. Download this 17 minute interview in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.
DAVID SCHROEDER on the ground outside of LA
I wanted to get you some reporting from right on the ground in southern California. Acting on a tip from a Radio Ecoshock listener, we've reached David Schroeder. He's a Water Conservation Specialist with the Chino Basin Water District. That's based in Montclair California, right on the edge of one of America's biggest cities, Los Angeles.
We talk about where water for southern California comes from, and what to do when it doesn't. Dave specializes in getting the public involved in tearing up grass to install natural vegetation, to use less water in the home, and so on. There isn't much farming left in the south of the state. Now the challenge is huge cities and endless suburbs.
Dave lives in the mountains that used to be white with snow in winter, when I lived in L.A. many moons ago. No snow there this year he reports. That's not good news for the coming fire season, for anything.
Download/listen to this 10 minute interview with David Schroeder in CD Quality
That wraps up my Radio Ecoshock special on the California drought, 2014. I hope you learned, as I did, about where our water comes from, where it's going, and the dangerous tightrope we walk trying to feed a growing world population during climate disruption.
Radio Ecoshock is provided free to more than 75 non-profit radio stations. I depend on your financial help to keep going. Find ways to support this program in this blog, and at the show archive and web site, ecoshock.org
I'm Alex Smith. As always, thank you for listening, and caring about your world.
READY TO SCRAMBLE TO THE POLES? Wed Feb 26, 2014 21:56 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
Giles Slade is an award winning author with his works about consumption and planned obsolecence. From his home on the West Coast of Canada, he joins us now, to talk about his book "American Exodus: Climate Change and the Coming Flight for Survival"
Giles is pretty well known for two previous books: "The Big Disconnect ? How our long affair with ever-new technologies has undermined interpersonal relationships" and "Made to Break, Technology and Obsolescence in America." That last one captured the International Publisher's Gold Medal (IPPY award) for best Environment/Ecology/Nature book of 2007.
We talk about previous migrations, starting with the "OKies" who fled Oklahoma and surrounding states during the Dust Bowl in the 1930's. Giles' message: don't expect to be welcomed as a climate refugee. The OKies were treated as second class citizens, harassed by local police, and got the worst jobs, if any.
It was a little better for what may be America's first climate refugees, the thousands who fled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. But there was still a tendency to blame the victims. Plus, there was a reasonably functioning society around them.
You know it's been a rough road for the millions of Mexicans and Latin Americans arriving in the U.S., legally and illegally.
We discuss a Canadian preoccupation: if the weather gets too bad or too hot, will millions of Americans cross the border into Canada? Strangely, the American military has looked at possibilities, but the Canadian government has it's head buried firmly in their .... climate denial.
James Lovelock, picturing Britain as an island somewhat cooled by surrounding seas, proposed the government get a start now, building schools and hospitals to serve the millions of climate refugees coming. Indeed, there are more people from the dry, hot Middle East and Mediterranean moving to the United Kingdom. Should Canada prepare as well? Is any preparation possible?
A lot of Americans are very patriotic. They love the place where they live. It would be heart-breaking to leave. It's going to take a lot to make them move to another country. People will only leave their homes when they have no other choice.
I think the rich will move first, perhaps establishing a base to run to, with lots of preparation. Poorer people will just set out on the roads driving or even walking north. That could end up with like Cormac McCarthy's book "The Road".
Download/listen to this 25 minute Radio Ecoshock interview with Giles Slade in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Keep track of Giles Slade at his web site.
ARCTIC ICE MELT WARMS WORLD BY ANOTHER 25% - PAUL BECKWITH
When there's big news about the Arctic Sea ice, and there is - who else to call but Paul Beckwith. He's the double-Masters man, working on his Doctorate in climatology at the University of Ottawa. Paul has been watching the Arctic ice closely for years.
A newly released study by NASA, the National Atmospheric and Space Administration, has calculated the difference in reflection of the Sun's rays, due to less sea ice in the Arctic during summer. It doesn't sound like a big change, being about 4% more heat absorbed now, compared to 1979. But NASA says that is huge, accounting for 25% as much global warming as all our human-made fossil fuel burning put together.
The Journal reference for this new study is: PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1318201111
Until this study, we had no idea. That means there is now a force for warming well beyond human control. It's not our tailpipes or our factories, but simple loss of sea ice (which melted due to our tailpipes and our factories over the past few decades). This is just the loss of bright reflective surface, and does not include the extra heat pumped into the darker ocean below. It's big, big news, and Paul Beckwith is just the man to bring it into perspective.
Listen to this 18 minute Radio Ecoshock interview, or download it, in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
As a member of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, which includes Arctic ice specialist Peter Wadhams at Cambridge - Paul has been ringing the alarm bells about the importance of dwindling ice cover on the Arctic Ocean.
The group thinks we should enact emergency geo-engineering to halt the ice loss, or maybe even restore it somewhat. They would do that by spraying sulphate particles to reflect the sun, as the ice did before. The sulphates would just be sprayed in the Arctic. In a previous interview, Paul said the particles would stay in the Arctic for a long time, due to prevailing wind patterns, but would eventually mix across the whole planet.
It's risky, but this latest NASA study does add weight to the AMEG position. I'm not ready to advocate that yet, but I'm wavering.
I think this new study will also change climate science, and maybe climate activism. Climate scientists, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been busy calculating so much change for so many barrels of oil, or tons of coal burned. Now we find out there's a huge feedback from the emerging dark surface of the Arctic Sea. Will some climate activists need to bring more focus on what is happening in the Arctic?
We also talk a little about the Polar Vortex, the relationship between melting Arctic sea ice and the rotten winter in North America and the UK. It's a wide-ranging interview.
Follow the prolific Paul Beckwith at his Facebook page here. And don't miss his regular You tube videos.
THE NEW AMERICAN METHANE THREAT - NATHAN PHILLIPS
In past shows, going back a year or two, I've covered the many ways methane leaks out of the supply chain, before it gets burned in your stove or furnace as natural gas. My ground-breaking interview with Robert Howarth of Cornell is still important, along with his speech recorded at ASPO 2011. That's all in this Radio Ecoshock show on fracking from 2011.
The natural gas industry, mainly the frackers, keep telling us on TV, newspapers and online how their clean fuel is so much better than coal. They don't tell you their fracked wells blast methane into the sky, leak methane from storage, and leak still more methane all along bad pipelines and worse city distribution systems.
Last year a team of scientists drove a truck-full of measuring equipment around Boston and found literally thousands of natural gas leaks. Now the same team has released a new study showing thousands more leaks in Washington D.C.
Some of those leaks were so serious they posed a hazard for explosion. The scientists reported a dozen or so of the worst, and checking back 4 months later, found at least 4 had not been fixed! There is a whole You tube genre of videos with nothing but huge gas explosions. We just had a major line blow in Kentucky. According to press reports, more than a dozen people are killed every year in gas explosions, and the damages can be huge, over $100 million dollars.
But the real danger is simple: "natural gas" is methane. Methane is at least 100 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas during the first dozen years or so in the atmosphere. After that it begins to degrade into carbon dioxide and other substances, so the 100 year outlook for methane is perhaps 25 or 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. It's the short-term (10 year) risk that is most important for us. Adding the new methane that is fast becoming America's fuel of choice for heating and industrial use, to the new methane coming from the Arctic in places like Eastern Siberia - we could see a sudden up-tick in warming from methane alone.
The natural gas companies are using antiquated pipe systems to deliver in the cities. In the East, those systems are up to 100 years old.
We are joined by one of the principals in these studies, Dr. Nathan Phillips, a professor at Boston University. Dr. Phillips goes over the nature of the study, the risks to trees and human health, and the climate change risks.
Download or listen to this 20 minute interview with Nathan Phillips in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
I didn't know trees were endangered by natural gas leaks, but apparently their roots need oxygen just as our lungs do. "Natural" gas also helps more smog form, posing a human health risk.
The gas companies know how much they have been losing. They can just calculate the amount coming into a major metropolitan market, versus the actual amounts they bill for. Now those figures are publicly available in the U.S. but the public hasn't shown much interest yet.
There are similar problems, or worse, in the older cities of Britain and Continental Europe, where natural gas really got started lighting cities. Some European experts are getting in touch with the team of Nathan Phillips and his co-author Rob Jackson, formerly of Duke University, but now at Stanford.
Eastern cities like Boston have taken a winter pounding this year. Americans are burning more natural gas this winter, and that means even more is leaking out directly into the atmosphere, although it varies from city to city.
Nathan Phillips is co-author of the papers "Mapping urban pipeline leaks: Methane leaks across Boston" and "Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks Across Washington, D.C.," That one was just published in the January 16th edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
There has been another national study into gas leaks in the United States, with a measurement of the climate change potential. I'm going to interview that scientist as well. We can't let this story go, even though mainstream media is giving it the big yawn. Aside from the people and property blown up every year, the line that natural gas is a good bridge while we get off coal is a lie. Joe Romm at the Climate Progress blog calls Natural Gas "the bridge to nowhere".
Maybe if I keep yammering about this science, and you pass it on, some other reporters will start covering the leaky and dangerous natural gas game.
Next week I'll have a special for you on the great California drought. Is it climate change? Will food prices go up in North America, or the whole world?
Readership in this blog has really picked up in recent months. We had over 8,000 reads last week, and more than a thousand extra downloads from those readers. Please pass the word on to others.
My special thanks to all the listeners who support this show, and their non-profit community radio stations.
Find out more at the web site, ecoshock.org. Your support makes my reporting and broadcast possible.
I'm Alex. Thanks for listening again this week.
CLIMATE CHANGE = EXTREME WEATHER DISRUPTION Wed Feb 19, 2014 21:22 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
Maybe you see our way of living is in big trouble, starting to self destruct it's economy, and even the whole world ecosystem. You don't want to be part of that, but what can you do?
Maybe you should Walk Out and Walk On. That's the title of a book, and a movement, co-authored by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze. The web site linked above is more than a book promo. It's also central to a world-wide movement, with lots of inspiring examples and resources.
Part of the reason I called Deborah is the future of climate change and extreme weather events. It looks like millions, maybe billions of people will find themselves in an environment that is no longer liveable. Climate refugees may be in coastal cities that flood over, in valleys where hill-sides collapse or burn.. Others will be hit by persistent long-term drought that kills off agriculture. Many of us will have to judge when it is time to just walk out.
In the meantime, Deborah's book is really helpful at the personal level. It offers guidance and examples of people who have left the untenable to find lives that really matter. That works for those of us in the developed world who have choices. But the idea actually came from India, where the example of high school dropouts was found to be people who went on to form whole new lives.
I ask Deborah how this movement differs from the counter-culture of the late 1960's, when Timothy Leary advised us to "Turn on, tune in, and drop out"? She says the days of protest are not what she's talking about. Almost like David Holmgren on Radio Ecoshock a couple of weeks ago, our guest suggest withdrawal from a deadly system, to create a living and sustainable one instead. Perhaps "play" is a better answer than protest, she suggests. I'm not so sure.
Deb herself dropped out of the high tech industry in 2001, to become an alternative lifestyle teacher, then head of the Berkana Institute for some years. Now living in Boston, Deborah is deeply involved in forming local community there, and supporting other resilient community efforts around the world. Find her web site here.
Walk Out Walk On was written with Margaret (Meg) Wheatley. I wrote to Meg, but found she is on a two month retreat of silence, completely withdrawn from the world.
Listen to/download this interview with Deborah Frieze (25 min) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
And please pass those links on to anyone you think would be interested. All links posted in this blog are permanent. People download these interviews for years.
THE COMING SUPER COST OF RISING SEAS - DR. JOCHEN HINKEL
As great storms pound the British coast, after other massive storms washed over the Philippines and New York City, we can only wonder what the costs and damage from sea-born flooding will be, as this century goes on. A new paper published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal tries to calculate just that.
The paper is titled "Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise". This global projection was created by a team of scientists from Germany, several from British Universities and the Tyndall Center, with more from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria.
The Press Release for this report is here in English
and here in German
From the Berlin offices of the Global Climate Forum, I'm pleased to welcome the lead author of that paper, Dr. Jochen Hinkel.
We discuss the critical problem of estimating sea level rise. The paper suggests a big range of possibilities by the year 2100, from 23 centimeters, say 10 inches, all the way to 123 cm, or four feet. Why such a big difference in projections? Mainly because no one is certain how fast the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers and ice sheets will melt.
We also know the sea is not level. For various reasons, water tends to pile up in some regions, and not others. Dr. Hinkel agrees.
The problem of rising seas has two major dimensions: 1. the seas will rise due to climate change and 2. hundreds of millions more humans are moving toward the sea coast (and so becoming more exposed to things like high storm surges as sea levels go up).
We may think that European or American countries, or at least major cities, will defend themselves from sea flooding for several decades. But if Asian cities, that have become the factories of the world, don't make it, we still all suffer the economic consequences. Does this global problem of sea flooding force us to into some sort of global response?
The paper estimates sea level rise will cause 100 trillion dollars damage EVERY YEAR by the end of this century. Rising seas, the authors find, could be the most costly aspect of climate change.
Hinkel warns: "if we do not reduce greenhouse gases swiftly and substantially, some regions will have to seriously consider relocating significant numbers of people in the longer run."
That can be reduced if countries take some action now to build things like big protective dikes, and tide gates for major cities. Dr. Hinkel and the Global Climate Forum are pushing governments to take such adaptive actions.
Is there a point where the costs of defense, like tide gates or maintaining sea dikes - coupled with the impacts of some storm damage - will be too great to maintain major cities near the sea? Can we try to project such a tipping point?
All this makes me wonder, could a major and long-lasting economic depression come out of this problem alone? We don't get that deep, but you can find out more from this new scientific paper.
Web link for this paper on rising seas.
The full text of this PNAS article is here.
Listen to/download this 15 minute interview with Dr. Jochen Hinkel in CD Quality (only)
ALEX - THE MEANING OF GLOBAL EXTREME WEATHER
We humans were not made to comprehend the whole globe. Our DNA interprets the forest or plains around us. Lately, the Brits must think we are drowning, the Aussies are burning with heat, and Americans feel like the Ice Age has returned.
Buried in all that, and in the places major media ignores, is a very serious development. It's simply this: climate disruption has arrived much sooner than anyone, including the gloomiest scientists, and the doomiest doomers thought possible. The beast is here, now.
We must expect a bumpy ride. So called normal years may return to some places for a year or three, but we are entering a period of severe climate disruption that may extend for the rest of your life, and that of your children.
The ultimate destination may be a much hotter world, where the Arctic sea is tropical, and the skies placid, but we have a long road before that comes. It is the great disruption.
Before we consider what that means, I'd like to tie up some reporting from parts of the world that big television networks and newspapers ignore, or bury in the back pages.
To start with, if anyone tries to sell you on the myth of global cooling, just because of snow-storms on the East Coast, or relentless cold in Wisconsin or Winnipeg, the planet is much too hot in other places. I'm not going to cover the big storms hitting the North east. Major American media have flooded the world with that stuff, or you lived it personally, so you know. I do cover a bit about the amazing heat wave in California this winter.
DEATHS IN AUSTRALIAN HEAT WAVE
In past weeks, I've told you about Australia. Day after day over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, 38 degrees Celsius. Nights that don't get much cooler. The resulting bushfires spread became so big they created their own weather systems complete with dry lightening storms, causing more fires - a positive feedback effect of the worst kind.
Newspapers admit at least 400 people have died from this recent heat wave, with more to come. Heat is now a leading cause of death in Australia. That this could happen in a developed country should be no surprise. Estimates for the number of people killed in the European heat wave of 2003 range from 40,000 to 60,000 dead.
There are two lessons there.
1. Climate change will kill a lot of us directly.
2. Yes those most vulnerable, kids, the elderly, and people with existing medical conditions die first. But before that comforts you remember that sooner or later that will include you.
Before we leave Australia, there's one bit of good news. Despite that country digging in to flood the world with coal, solar power is really picking up in Australia's sunny south. A new report by the Australian Energy Market Operator says the power from roof-top mounted solar panels saved residents from the blackouts that usually accompany a gush of air-conditioner use. In 2009, Australia had those blackouts. But just four years later, there was enough solar power to shift the peak demand, and save the system.
It just makes common sense to install solar in a hot, sunny country. Why isn't Arizona listening?
RECORD HEAT IN ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL
But let's move on to a heat wave that is hardly reported. I'm talking about the monster heat striking southern Brazil and Argentina during December 2013 and January 2014.
It's a pathetic commentary on the news machine that when I searched Google news for reports on the South American heat wave, most of the reporting was about how it would affect the price of your coffee. It's all about markets for us, isn't it?
You have reason to be jittery about the cost of coffee I suppose. The drought in Brazil has already raised wholesale prices. The other major supplier, Indonesia, has the opposite problem. They are drowning in near record rain.
Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo experienced its warmest January on record with a daily average maximum of 31.9 °C (or 89.4 °F) . Normal is about 28 degrees C for that time of year. Then it got hotter in Feburary, around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or 35 degrees C every single day for the first week. That's before you figure in the high humidity which made it all unbearable.
In Buenos Aires, it was above 30 degrees C, at least 86 degrees Fahrenheit, every day of December, and most days of January. With the humidity, it felt like the mid-40's, or 113. In late January the temperature adjusted for the humidex reading was 47 degrees, or 116.
Only Al Jazeera TV got right down into Buenos Aires Argentina to document what it's been like for people there.
Al Jazeera clip
Here is a short video on this heat wave from BBC.
It isn't pretty. Listen to grandmothers liking on the 15th floor, after the electricity went out for a couple of weeks during big spikes of demand for air-conditioning. Her elevator isn't working, so climb all the way with groceries and water.
For me, that's an important lesson for the future. How will you cope with heat when the power goes out? Just a few solar panels could at least keep the fans running that could save your life.
Of course whether you are in a hot zone, or prone to ice storms, don't live higher than you can climb with groceries and supplies. James Howard Kunstler figures that is the seventh floor for most people, lower for seniors. If you live higher than that now, you may want to consider moving, preparing for the coming disruptions to our energy grid.
And finally from South America, the well known fact that over-heated humans get grumpy and socially unstable. Just look at the violent riots in Rio de Janairo over a hike in transit fares. Sure South America has a reputation for some riots. But I think we can presume the heat stokes emotions and discontent even higher.
If we experience a relatively sudden jolt in temperatures, and in a few minutes I'll explain how that could happen, you should expect social unrest as a consequence.
SIBERIA, THE ARCTIC AND ALASKA
Now we'll travel to the least expected, least reported places experiencing record high heat. If the temperature is below zero, can we call it a heat wave? We can if we are talking about the Arctic circle in winter.
You probably heard it was warmer in Homer Alaska one day in January than it was almost anywhere in the lower 48 states. The same Polar Vortex that brought snow storm after storm to the central and eastern part of North America - kept a big sweep of Hawaiian air running over Alaska.
World-known dog sled races were cancelled or shoved somewhere else. Forget about snow-mobiling in Alaska. A series of avalanches - that's melting unstable snow in January - closed down major highways. Places like Nome, Seward, and Homer hit all-time record highs. Kids all over Alaska were out in shorts. Backyard barbecue parties returned. That's nutty stuff that could only happen during climate change.
That was all part of the same weather system that delivered the drought to California, and oh yeah, another series of record high temperatures there. San Francisco was more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than a normal January. On the 15th and 16th, the temperature rose to 73 degrees, 22 C. Sacramento set more record highs in January 2014 than at any time in it's history.
It was the same in January on the other side of the world.
For this I thank Christopher C. Burt, weather historian for the wunderground blog, posted February 12, 2014.
"All-time-record monthly warm temperatures have been observed at many sites in the Siberian states of Yakutia and Kamchatka. In what is normally the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth, Oymyakon (various spellings) saw its temperature rise to a February record high of -12.5 °C (9.5 °F) on February 9th."
On Feburary 7th, Oymyakon rose to 2.9 degrees C, or 37 degrees F - the "first time this site has ever risen above freezing during the month of February." That is mind-blowing. Put that in your mental calendar. Consider what that may mean for extra permafrost melting, and even more methane into the Arctic atmosphere, if this kind of weather action continues.
Christopher Burt goes on:
"The normal high temperature at this time of the year should be around -48 °C (-55 °F). Oymyakon also holds the world record (along with Verkhoyansk) for the coldest temperature ever measured on earth at an inhabited site: - 67.7 °C (-90 °F) set on February 6, 1933 (almost exactly 80 years ago)."
This is the key to whatever nasty weather you have been experiencing. The world has not warmed by much, as a global average. But the poles have warmed way more than anywhere else. When there is a smaller difference between the poles and the equator, there is less to drive the Jet stream from West to East.
Instead the Jet Stream takes huge bends, almost blowing north to south. It gets stuck in those bends. Depending on which side of the stream you are, your weather gets stuck in a pattern which could be record warmth and drought, or record cold and snow. Lucky you, but it's all due to climate change, no matter what Rush Limbaugh or any net idiots tell you.
Before I wrap up with my main point, we can't leave this extreme record report without talking about Great Britain. I've seen satellite photos that make my jaw drop. One huge single storm just swept over the whole of the islands, burying England, Scotland and Ireland in a wild pool of grey. Another satellite photo shows a series of giant lakes where the southern English countryside used to be. Then that system connected with the whole giant storm in Eastern North America, making a half-global, intercontinental storm. I warned about that several years ago.
You can imagine, or if you live there don't need to imagine, the mental costs to the average person. Day after day of gray wet skies, the worry of floods, the reality of floods. It must affect the economy as well.
Right now I'd like to point out a single aspect. The intense storms, with high winds and record-setting storm surges, are changing the British Coast line forever. Just a couple of weeks ago, an amateur fossil hound uncovered the remains of 200 year-old diosaurs, formerly embedded in a sea side cliff.
It was just last year evidence was found on the coast of humans living in Britain at least 800,000 years ago. Two weeks later, after those footprints were collected, the rising tides swept even that away.
The interesting sidelight on that discovery is the ancient climate was quite different as well. At 800,000 plus, it would have been quite cold, begging the question whether humans that early had managed to capture fire. But at the 700,000 year mark, people there would have experienced a climate hot like the Mediterranean. In my mind, that discounts theories raised lately that humans will go extinct soon. It may be possible we'll experience a major die-off, especially due to our overpopulated dependence on fragile global food supplies. But humans have and will adapt to big changes in the climate. It would be awful, but not necessarily extinction.
I'll have more to say about the coastal damage in future shows.
The British coasts are tumbling into the sea as these storms track into Britain, as they have done for the last half dozen years. Winter storms, and soggy summers, may be the new future of England all during the long period of climate disruption.
Everyone from Dame Julia Slingo, chief scientist for the UK Met office, to economy whiz Lord Stern acknowledges Britian's turn toward awful weather is driven by climate change. Lord Stern warns such destabilization applied to the whole world may well lead to military conflict.
In another amazing development, the British government has thrown in the towel, admitting that no government can cope with such massive storm damage. They apprently propose to abandon parts of the coast and inland to flooding, and will spend what little money they have protecting major cities like London. That's a song you will hear in many parts of the world.
Our whole landscape could change. River floodplains may expand. Other lakes could disappear due to lack of water. Major cities will go underwater. The Canadian and Russian north have already seen major geologic-level changes as permafrost melts.
NEW SCIENCE AND THE COMING HEAT
All this disruption of the weather and human lives is before the major change which scientists expect.
I know a couple of weeks ago I worried out loud that lower sunspot activity could mask the heat until a new period of high solar storms. Since then I've been advised by listeners that the sun is not so quiet as the mainstream media has been reporting. Anyway, I went back and listened to a couple of previous Ecoshock interviews to remind myself that the amount of solar activity is not the primary driver of what happens here on Earth. Our emissions are.
This week I came across two new scientific studies which show that we may very well be setting ourselves up for not just a gradual increase in global temperatures, but for a series of heat waves around the world.
No doubt you've heard some climate scientists have been puzzled why Earth isn't hotter already, considering the physics of the gigatones of greenhouse gase we've stuffed into the atmosphere, at an ever-increasing rate. We should be hotter than we are.
What caused this so-called "haitus"? - as dangerous as our current levels are, as we've just seen.
From sweltering Australia, and the University of New South Wales Climate Research Centre, scientist Matthew England just published a study that explains a lot. Dr. England was a Radio Ecoshock guest in 2011.
It boils down to this. The Trade winds blow across the Pacific Ocean, from East to West. These winds have been stronger than usual in the last decade. They have roiled the ocean surface, burying more carbon than we expected into the ocean.
The Trade Winds rise up now and then, it's just a natural cycle. But then they quiet down. When they do, all that heat energy buried in the upper Pacific waters will rise up, possibly in a period as short as a year, or a few years. We'll taste all the warming our emissions really add up to. More people will suffer and die. I'll have a lot to report on.
Here is Professor Matthew England, a guest on Radio Ecoshock in January 2011, talking about his new work:
[England video, audio in the show]
Professor England's study has been tested against climate models, and indeed just the trade winds could account for the missing heat. When those winds go quiet, you better have your living situation ready, if you can. It's going to get even wilder.
Finally, the tipping point for me this week was a fairly quiet release of another scientific paper from Germany. Armin Bunde and colleagues of Justus Liebig University predict 2014 could be a record-hot year, again. How do they know? It comes down to whether we have an El Nino or not. The Eastern Pacific ocean has an oscillation between the cooler La Nina, which we had for the past few years, and the heat-generating El Nino, which brought the last record setting heat monster of 1997-98.
Until very recently, no one could predict when an El Nino would come. It's an important thing to know. By studying weather and ocean patterns, the German researchers and their Chinese counterparts realized it all hinges on the connection of two regions in the eastern Pacific. If connections are made, and the atmosphere behaves in a certain way, there is a 75% chance an El Nino will come.
The scientists say we crossed that threshold in September 2013. That gives us a 75% change, pretty high in science terms, that 2014 will see an El Nino.
That paper is titled "Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming" published in the journal Nature Climate Change in January 2014.
And if the trade winds go quiet in the same year, Earth and it's inhabitants of all kinds could experience a jolt of heat from all our past emissions. We don't know what the trade winds will do this year. There is a 25% chance El Nino won't come.
But sooner or later, these and other boogies like melting methane clathrates and a whole series of positive feedback loops, could bring on the big warming jolt, decades before those predictions made just a few years ago by the IPCC scientists. Scientists are already suggesting 2014 will be the hottest year ever.
Hang on to your hats for that.
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
I'm Alex. Please support this program at our web site ecoshock.org - and download all our past programs as free mp3s.
Thank you for listening to Radio Ecoshock.
VOICES IN A FOG OF EXTREME CLIMATE Wed Feb 12, 2014 03:37 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
For the past two years, Dr. Peterson helped gather up scientists to examine the links between human influences on the climate, and the extreme weather events that dominate the news and millions of lives.
Here is a helpful article about this: "Global Warming, or just the weather?" by Revecca Lindsey, published at climate.gov September 3, 2013
The new report we discuss in this program is here: "Special Supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 94, No. 9, September 2013."
The 2011 version of this paper was among the most read articles in the American Meteorological Society Bulletin.
Download/listen to this interview with scientist Thomas Peterson in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.
We talk about Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. drought of 2012, floods in Northern Australia and England, extreme weather in China, and their connection to climate change. In some cases scientists concluded warming made the event worse or more likely. In other cases, they were unable to find a link, chalking it up to "natural variability".
I want to add a footnote to my conversation with Dr. Peterson. He explained it's early days trying to narrow down the climate influence on crazy weather events. It's also hard to find scientists who can devote more time to short-term projects like the WMO annual survey of extreme weather.
Still, I came away from that report with some doubts. Too many times, the authors decide climate change was not an important factor.
For example, the paper on the record wet summer of 2012 in Britain concluded there was no link to the concurrent record melt back of Arctic Sea Ice. The paper was titled: "Are recent wet northwest European summers a response to sea ice retreat?" ed by F.B. Simon. Their conclusions that melting sea ice was not a factor directly contradicts other published science. I'm hoping to interview a British expert with a different opinion.
The case of extreme rainfall in Northern Australia in 2012 was even more bizarre. First that paper says climate change models show only a 10 to 15% influence on rainfall in that region. Since the 2012 rains far exceeded that, the authors say it must be natural variation, and not climate change. If it doesn't fit the models, or is more extreme than we expected, that's not climate change?
Remember none of the climate models predicted the early melt-back of Arctic sea ice in the first decade of this century either.
Other papers find climate had little influence, whereas the real causes were things like higher ocean surface temperatures. But why were the oceans so hot? That falls beyond the study.
I think there are just too many loose end in this WMO report. That's partly because this project is so new, and doesn't have massive funding that is needed, perhaps with a full-time team of experts. Like the volunteer IPCC project, we only get part of the picture.
No doubt, as this WMO extreme weather survey becomes better known, it will get more support, and get better at attributing and predicting extreme weather. We need that.
What is the future of this branch of science? There was a September 2012 workshop on "The Attribution of Climate and Weather Extremes: Assessing, Anticipating and Communicating Climate Risks" at Oxford University. People from disaster management to lawyers and insurance companies are interested in the results.
NEIL YOUNG SINGS FOR MOTHER EARTH
Before we go to our New England permaculture guest, let's hear rocker Neil Young. This song "Mother Earth" was performed live in December 2013, as part of the Honor the Treaty tour, which highlighted severe problems with the Canadian Tar Sands.
Watch the video on You tube of "Mother Earth" recorded live. Find out more at Neil's web site.
JONATHAN BATES ON "PARADISE LOT"
Chances are you are not living on an ideal homestead of 20 acres, ready to feed yourself and your family, come what may. What if you are on a normal city lot, maybe even in a northern climate? What can you do?
Quite a bit. We're going to visit with Jonathan Bates. With fellow permaculturalist Eric Toensmeier, Johnathan has turned his one tenth of an acre yard in Holyoke Massachusetts into what they call "Paradise Lot". That's the title of Eric's best-selling homestead book telling you what works, and what doesn't. The blog for Paradise Lot is here.
As it happens, I've seen a video tour of this yard, with Permaculture promoter Geoff Lawton. The place really looks fantastic, stacked with greenery and food.
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock interview with Jonathan Bates in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Jonathan and Eric also figured out a way to supplement their income from their project, which is important. We are not going to home-stead without any income. In addition to the books, Jonathan has specialized in his nursery, called Food Forest Farm. That started when people wanted cuttings from the many perenial hardy plants grown on their property. Why cast out the cuttings as "weeds" when they could be sold? Find that home business here.
Paradise Lot has also branched out into tours, workshops and community education.
We also discuss Northeast Permaculture, the informal network of permaculture people in and around New England. Pretty well every state there is represented. Find out more here. This may also give you some ideas on how to organize in your region, if that isn't happening yet.
Eric also has a really useful book out entitled "Perennial Vegetables" (check out http://perennialvegetables.org/) and is currently writing a new book on "Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices".
MORE ON "CRASH ON DEMAND" WITH DAVID HOLMGREN
I got a lot of emails and comments about our last show with permaculture leader David Holmgren, and his new essay "Crash on Demand". Some of his long-time followers say David has not changed his basic position: we need to create a permanent culture that does not depend on fossil fuels, and is compatible with the long-term survival of the ecosystems.
I wrote David to clarify whether he was really calling for a mass effort to crash our economic system.
Holmgren has published a condensed version of "Crash on Demand" (see link below) which confirms he is sticking with the original version of permaculture. If enough people leave the industrial death system, and it crashes, that is just a side effect of doing the right thing, he says.
Keep up to date on this discussion on David's web site. There is lots going on, including this:
"In the follow up email exchanges, Alex Smith from Ecoshock Radio raised a further question which was not covered in his interview.
Is David saying that the system will crash anyway and by scaling up permaculture activities will fasten the inevitable, or is he really calling for non-violent efforts to crash the economic system, to save the planet, or is not calling for that? To answer that, he has compiled what could be termed as a concise summary of ?Crash on Demand?. You can download the text here. We recommend you to read the whole essay first, though."
Crash on Demand, a concise version
If you missed the original interview with David Holmgren, download this .mp3
Or you may want the whole 1 hour program which includes a very insightful response by Nicole Foss. Download the show here.
Other listeners question whether such a passive approach can possibly save us from the developing climate catastrophe, much less a severe energy crunch. Personally, I don't see permaculture growing fast enough to tip us into survival mode. It will help those involved, people like you and I.
But it seems the death culture can go on for a long time, consuming the planet even while billions of people drop off the wealth machine. The minority will still emit more greenhouse gases, kill off more species, drag more out of the sea and land.
The real answer is.....[drum roll] [splat]. OK, I don't have a good answer for our future. That is why I keep calling up the best I can find, searching for clues. I hope that is why you keep listening.
Lately our situation feels surreal. All over the web and social media, people call this the Wylie Coyote moment. It's that impossible time when the coyote has run off the cliff, and is still suspended in mid-air, before he plummets into the canyon below.
Outside a tiny conference in December at the Tyndall Institute in Britain, there is practically nothing going on about climate change. The cold winter in North America may persuade people this isn't a problem. But that same cold means we are burning a record amount of fossil fuels, adding still more to the blanket that will eventually burn us out. It doesn't matter what we think about climate change. It only matters how much we change the atmosphere.
Find the videos for that Tyndall conference here. I specially recommend the 15-minute presentation by scientist Kevin Anderson. Hats off to Chris for that tip.
It's the same with the economy. Everyone from top bankers, some of them committing suicide, - to the person in the street, afraid to invest in the rigged stock markets - everyone knows we're living on borrowed time. The giant ponzi scheme of debt and derivatives will tumble. We just don't know when.
We are living in deep fog now.
YOUR HELP AND SUGGESTIONS APPRECIATED
If you have suggestions of people you want me to interview, guests with vision even in darker times, please send me an email. The address is radio at ecoshock.org
I value your input, even if I can't answer each and every email. Your support for Radio Ecoshock has been essential, thank you.
Don't forget to educate yourself, to arm yourself with knowledge, from our years of past programs, all available as free mp3 from my web site, ecoshock.org
Music is going to play a greater role in Radio Ecoshock, speaking to the heart instead of the brain. If you are getting this program as a Lo-Fi podcast, why not switch to the CD Quality podcast instead? Subscribe to the high quality podcast here. You'll get the full sound package, free as always.
I composed the music for the introduction in this show. My new hobby is combining royalty-free music loops with synthisizer music that I write. We'll head out with another short sample, where I completely remix audio with a vocal fragment by Lokka, called Into The Blue. Find her original on this page, by playing the first sample under the title "Vocals with Lokka 3".
Listen to my short version (2 min 30 seconds) here on Soundcloud
Alternative address: https://soundcloud.com/radioecos...
Along those lines, I want to thank John "Skippy" Lehmkuhl, the "Plug-in Guru" for his help. John answers emails, and has a series of great free videos, and cheap courses, to help anyone wanting to make your own music. I've bought several plug-in packs for synthesizers like Massive from John. He's really got a handle on the sound we want for dance music.
I also got some help, and some loops from the folks at producerloops.com. The Swedes produce some killer dance tunes. Check out the Swedish Pop series here. Press the arrow for the demo - it's happiness in one little tune.
Finally, props to Steve at ADSR Massive in Hong Kong. On You tube, Steve gives out tons of free training on the Massive synthesizer. I get his weekly newsletter with free training videos here.
Be your own band! We can do it now. Be happy, make music. I do it, for Radio Ecoshock, and for my own sanity.
I'm Alex. See you next week.
CRASH ON DEMAND Thu Feb 06, 2014 02:26 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
Despite the hopes and warnings of the last generation, humanity is heading for the darker path of more fossil fuel development. Today's politicians are all about new pipelines, fracking, tankers, super coal mines and super coal ports, and of course endless oil.
It didn't have to be that way. We had other choices, but now the co-founder of the Permaculture movement says "Welcome to the Brown Tech Future". That train to climate disaster must be derailed for us to survive, he says, in a provocative essay called "Crash on Demand".
When it comes to David Holmgren you've either heard of him in an almost reverent way, or you haven't a clue. Along with Bill Mollison, David started the permaculture movement back in the 1970's. He's experimented with it ever since, from ecovillages and food forests to retrofitting suburbia. David is not a huge self-promoter. Outside of Australia, he's known mainly by people seeking alternatives to the system of endless growth, and pitiless pillage of the land. Find his web site here.
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock interview with David Holmgren (25 minutes) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
So what are we talking about? The co-founder of Permaculture is saying we can't prevent a horrible collapse of the climate unless the current industrial-economic engine crashes. The only previous example of massive greenhouse gas reductions was when the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990's. That's what it takes, Homlgren says.
This essay is part of a longer train of writings by Holmgren. He began with the book "Permaculture One" published in 1978, when David was 23, at the College of Advanced Education in Hobart, Tasmania. After experimenting with permaculture, from his own consulting firm, Holmgren updated the vision with the 2002 book "Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability". That's still the best book on the subject, and fundamental to the permaculture movement world-wide.
In 2007, David published a long essay, which became a book, "Future Scenarios". Based mainly on the expectation of peak oil, that work has the four descent senariois: Brown Tech, Green Tech, Earth Steward, and Lifeboats.
Future Scenarios, combining Peak Oil and Climate Change, was developed into a web site which fully explains his views. It's a good place for anyone to start. Future Scenarios is also available as a book from Chelsea Green.
You can buy the book "Future Scenarios" here. Or read it free online at this web site.
The next link in Holmgren's deep work came in 2009, with an analysis of the fatal marriage of the financial system to the fossil fuel energy industry.
Download David's 2009 essay, which is part of this train of thought, and this Radio Ecoshock interview, "Money vs Fossil Energy: The battle for control of the world" from this web page.
Now we have "Crash on Demand, Welcome to the Brown Tech Future".
Find "Crash on Demand" at this web site, or download it as a .pdf here.
In our interview, David says he suggested the four scenarios as short-term futures, possibly covering decades. Now he finds humanity has chosen one of the paths, the most deadly for the climate and ourselves, the "Brown Tech Future". In it we find desperate measures like the Tar Sands, Oil Shale, and fracking.
Meanwhile, Holmgren explains these four scenarios can exist at the same time, nestled within one another. For example, while the Brown Tech future dominates the world financial system, more and more people are opting out either as Earth Stewards, or building personal and local "lifeboat" economies (like permaculture).
The founder of Transition Towns, Rob Hopkins, is critical of this new Holmgren stance. Rob thinks we can work through the existing system. For example, he wants to make sure local governments continue, so we have the organization needed to change in stages.
SHOULD WE BRING IT DOWN?
But is Holmgren really calling on us to actively cause a crash of the world financial system? He says the great weakness of the world economy is it is built on faith - our belief it is real and keeps on going. If enough of the world's billion-or-so Middle Class stop believing, and remove their money and their working lives from the system, it will crash. It wouldn't take much of a trigger to destabilize such a fragile system. Perhaps if just 5 percent of people opted out, it may go down, Holmgren postulates.
People close to David say he is not really calling for us to destabilize the current economy, other than to change away from it - toward the things he has been advocating for decades: form local economies, and change to "permaculture" - a permanent culture. It's hard to nail David down on what he really means. I'm told he will be publishing a boil-down and clarification on his site in the next week or two. Look for that.
Meanwhile, in our radio interview, David points out he is far from alone in saying the system will crash, or need to do so. I've interviewed climate scientists, like Professor Tim Garrett from the University of Utah, who also calculate only a financial collapse could save us from unstoppable climate change. We talked about others in last week's interview with Albert Bates. But there are also a huge number of bloggers and financial experts who say a severe correction is coming.
Here is just one example, from a thousand, of a middle class person who wants to help the system down, without any mention of climate change or peak oil.
If you want to know more, here is a You tube video series with David Holmgren.
Also, find another recent (Feb. 2014) interview with David on the show "21st Centruy Permaculture" on Shoreditch Community Radio (serving East London).
Read a response to David's Crash on Demand article by Dmitri Orlov, author of "Five States of Collapse". If we want to avoid "the climate cooker" as he calls it, David Holmgren says citizens can help tip the financial system over, by withdrawing money and investments, while living outside the consumer economy. Orlov does the math, and says there aren't enough activist citizens to make any difference.
Part of the tumultuous reaction can be found in this article by KMO, host of the C-Realm Podcast (and check out the comments below the article)
NICOLE FOSS on HOLMGREN
Can we save ourselves from the worst of climate change by helping an unstable economic system to collapse? That's the idea put forward by permaculture founder David Holmgren in his paper "Crash on Demand".
Our next guest wrote a deep and provacative article about Holmgren, climate change, and a crash. She travels the world, from New Zealand to Europe, giving lectures - which are now available as a 4-hour DVD set.
Nicole has been a specialist in nuclear safety in the UK, and editor of the Peak Oil journal "The Oil Drum Canada". Now she is co-editor at one of the Net's more popular financial blogs, theautomaticearth.com, where she writes as "Stoneleigh".
From her homestead in Ontario, Canada - we welcome Nicole Foss back to Radio Ecoshock.
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock interview with Nicole Foss in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Read this essential essay about David Holmgren's "Crash on Demand" by Nicole Foss.
Nicole knows David Holmgren well. Later this year, in July, she will tour Australia with him, in a series of lectures. In our interview she explains very well the "Crash on Demand" paper and the four scenarios.
Foss raises a two-fold objection to David's idea of "Crash on Demand". First, she says the system is so corrupt and unbalanced it will fall over by itself; and second, when it does, some people will blame the permaculture movement, for wrecking the system.
In her essay, and our interview, Nicole points us to a European expert on systems analysis and large-scale economics. That's David Korowicz.
He's written a paper titled "Trade-Off, Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in global systemic collapse." How does Korowicz fit into our future? I hope to talk with him soon.
Essentially, Korowicz explains how a relatively simple trigger, whether it's a deadly virus hitting Asian factories, or a combination of extreme weather events, could bring down everything we take for granted, much faster than anyone thinks. It could cascade into a major economic slow-down in a matter of weeks.
DON'T TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?
In her response to Holmgren, and almost as an aside, Nicole Foss suggests maybe we should stop talking about climate change:
"The economic contraction that is coming is very likely to have a far more substantial impact on emissions than any deliberate policy or collective action. The combination of this contraction and constructive collective action could be very powerful indeed, but achieving the latter action is not best done on the grounds of climate change. The same actions that would best address climate change in the aggregate are also the prescription for dealing with financial crisis and peak oil ? hold no debt, consume less, relocalize, increase community self-sufficiency, reduce dependency on centralized life-support systems.
The difference is that both financial crisis and peak oil are far more personal and immediate than climate change, and so are far bigger motivators of behavioural change. For this reason, addressing arguments in these terms is far more likely to be effective. In other words, the best way to address climate change is not to talk about it."
At first that seems outrageous. But you must read the full essay, and listen to this interview.
Essentially, Nicole worries that fear of climate change, once realized by the public, could drive us towards even worse outcomes. For example, we may demand immediate action to save us from the (drought, heat wave, floods, fires) - leading to geoengineering pollution that hides emissions and makes everything worse. Or we may demand/allow a new type of eco-fascism - command and control state regulating every part of our lives (perhaps combined with the new spy state). And, as now, we can count on a gang of billionaires to cook up schemes that don't work but enrich themselves.
Why risk all that, Foss argues, when people can move toward a more sustainable lifestyle driven simply by concerns about a collapsing economy and peak energy? I disagree of course, and will continue to communicate about climate change in the Radio Ecoshock show.
Humanity is up against a novel and horrific set of problems, (energy, economy, overpopulation, nuclear disaster,climate change). We need a wide range of proposals and thought before we find any way out. That means tolerance and respect among ourselves, for a diversity of speakers and opinions. People who are so sure they are right, and everyone who disagrees is wrong, to the point of calling others "traitors", "idiots" and the like - are just weakening the whole discussion, and our possibilities. It's sad to see intellectual tyrants ranting at low levels, but I suppose the stress of our unwinding makes this inevitable from some people.
YOUR PART IN RADIO ECOSHOCK
I close out this program with my pathetic attempt to write new climate music. It's called "Burning Down the Future". If you missed it, download it here.
I've already received on email from a listener begging me to never sing again. As a compromise, I'll put my future songs at the end of the show, so you can turn it off!
I have several reasons for taking up "climate music" as a hobby.
First, there is a real need for it! I hope to inspire better artists to get active in climate change by writing better songs.
Second: it's apparent that just talking about these grave threats can never reach enough people, or bring action. The arts have always been needed to complement the rational mind.
Finally, I need the outlet to save my own brain from the stress of dealing with these stories. Sorry, you'll have to put up with more "music" from Alex in the future.
Perhaps better musicians will do a re-mix or perform one of my songs. (I was a pro-musician decades ago). I encourage anyone out there to take a shot at it and send me your results.
We are talking about whether humans will have a future, and what it will be. I encourage you to download this program from my web site, ecoshock.org. Listen again, and please, pass on the show, or the links, to everyone you know. This has to get out far and wide, while there is still time, if there is still time. I count on you to make this particular show sing on the Net, on social media, and through all personal contacts. You can use this "tiny url" in Tweets or Facebook posts: http://tinyurl.com/lqcbd8h
At the very least, please "Like" the show Facebook page?
My special thanks to the non-profit station relaying Radio Ecoshock to you. Please support your local community station.
You make Radio Ecoshock possible through your financial support for this program, via my web site, ecoshock.org or my show blog at ecoshock.info. Please come back to this blog, published Wednesdays, so you can follow up and grow with me.
I'm Alex Smith. Thank you for listening and caring about our world.
Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.
RSS Feed for 'Gary Null' show on PRN
The Gary Null Show - Putting the Ukrainian crisis and coup in the context of int... Thu Mar 06, 2014 20:31 | progressiveradionetwork
The Gary Null Show - 03/05/14 Wed Mar 05, 2014 19:42 | progressiveradionetwork
The Gary Null Show - 03/04/14 Tue Mar 04, 2014 21:52 | progressiveradionetwork
The Gary Null Show - 03/03/14 Mon Mar 03, 2014 20:36 | progressiveradionetwork
The Gary Null Show - 02/28/14 Fri Feb 28, 2014 18:57 | progressiveradionetwork
See also Videos page