October 2009 Archives

Our Children and Their Future

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The first thing to do with the future is prepare our children for it.

We have formed a general picture of global warming changes ahead.  A toddler today, living to the year 2100 could fully experience the horrific scenarios predicted.


The science says the range of possibilities are somewhere between harsh incovenience and outright human extinction.    Any other descriptions of future prospects - are poorly described, based on religion, or politics, or pure fantasy.  We have to stick with the scientifically plausible.

We must stop ignoring, denying or apologizing to our children and start preparing them for their unique future.

Parents think wonderful thoughts for their child’s future — but by protecting their family, parents may unintentionally impart a bias against seeing a grim future.   The family structure itself acts to separate the family child from all other children world wide.

Some people will go without, in an effort to change the world voluntarily.   But almost no people will let their children go without, so the world changes only involuntarily.

This is perhaps the trap in intelligence: it requires long parenting, which requires strong bonding.   So it all ends up being run for, as is by, children.     R. Bready Oct 2009

The picture and place of our world in 2100 is totally without human precedent - climate models and  scenarios all project astounding changes ahead while our education is stuck in another era.  This is now the Anthropcene - a period where humans are making a significant global impact on climate, ecosystem and geology

Projections usually describe a future in terms of degrees of temperature warming (global average).   So far 2 degrees is the unavoidable minimum projection - and six degrees is catastrophic and cannot be ruled out.   We move inexorably into that zone between discomfort and demise - and we are not ready, and we are not making our children ready.

Move beyond anxiety.

Apologizing is a nice start  “Sorry that your world will not be as nice as we want for you.  We don’t seem to know the solution.  You will need to learn the answers.  But you can and will make your own life solutions.”  We need to speak clearly.  We need to give them all the tools they need. 

College is not working - future studies as a new curriculum.

The liberal arts education may no longer be the best idea.  My friend Gail, tells me that her daughter is dropping out of college.  She says, “it will save us $100K, but I am not sure if it is the best for her future.”   It may be time to re-evaluate the purpose of education. Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Edward Sarachik, says we should completely redefine college curricula as “future studies.”   A great idea; all courses would be derived from future studies: history, math, bio-sciences, law, medicine, architecture, to engineering and psychology - everything we need to prepare students for their changing world.

My neighbor, John Roberts says he knows what kind of education is needed for young kids.   “I would head to the woods; fishing, farming, camping, nature, water, sky, everything is an education - introducing them to the world around them”.  He wants to impart an understanding of change, adaptation, living off the land.  

Of course, every child needs a basic education to interact in a technical world.   But noticeably missing is the training and practice in how humans are most weak:  thinking and deciding skills needed in future planning, evidence evaluation, risk analysis and smart social interactions.  Our tragic flaw is that we are an emotionally gullible species that is too easily swayed by advertising and opinion-makers.


The year 2100 is not the end

Most science predictions seem to have a boundary of 2100, but we know warming will continue way past that date.  We are ill-suited to face our  future and need serious lessons in adaptation, mitigation, civility, sustainability.  Pity is that parents, schools, universities are so slow to come out of climate denialism…children today need serious preparation.  Otherwise, what kind of world are we preparing them for?  

Everyone should view the famous comic routine by the late George Carlin, in which he castigates those anxious “Save the Planet” campaigns.  In his deeply philosophical rant Carlin reminds us that the earth is fine, it is humans that are in trouble.   Despite all the charts and graphs that seem to end at the year 2100 — the earth will continue well beyond the year 2100.   But our children may not.

We are creatures of cycles.  Our species has deeply ingrained the 24 hour day/night cycle, and less so the monthly, seasonal and yearly cycles - but we directly feel few cycles beyond that.  Even births and deaths must be marked by unique celebrations rather than moments in accepted cycles of a longer time scale.   The further we gaze into the future, the more difficult it is for us to comprehend.   But we should expect there will be a world, and that humans have a chance to dwell on it.  It is time to prepare our children for the future we are giving them.

========  some links  ========================

The Anthopocene   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropocene
George Carlin   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw 
Thinking and Deciding by Jonathan Baron  http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Deciding-Jonathan-Baron/dp/0521680433/ref=sr11

Climate models… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKP-SV3suhM
EPA offers school curricula on climate change http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/school.html

Why We Are Doomed - The only hope is...

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News is grim, and negative rants abound, the science suggest there is only one way for humans to survive:

Manifesto for Human Survival   Our species must first decide that we want to survive, preserve civilization, and we are willing to halt all GHGs [greenhouse gasses] and even sequester existing GHGs.
The only solution lies with the embracing of brutally strong global government, Government as an enforcer - a hive mind, Orwellian, totalitarian, and global.   Governmental power is derived from the universal commitment to human survival for both today and the future,
The anarchist, neo-con, wishing-to-destroy-government will not work to promote survival (unless all humans spontaneously decide to reduce GHGs).  Only a well-organized government, whether a democracy, or a benign dictatorship, or totalitarian regime can bring about the ruthless adherence to physical rules required to radically reduce GHGases in the atmosphere.  

This must be a 50 to 500 year process to begin and more like thousands of years to prove.  So this will need to be rigidly sustainable and answerable to atmospheric levels.  Social structure and social decisions must fit with environmental reality.  (Does anyone think that everyone on the planet will all agree voluntarily to these changes - without strong enforcement?)

Immediate, total power.  Ruthless to all matters of atmospheric engineering
Assign tasks, delegate specific responsibility.. including enforcement that extends globally.

First - all corporate charters amended to adhere to progressive strictures of no carbon output.  All consumer products & services will have  CO2 and GHG and energy expenditure figures.

 If no compliance, then no sale, if no co-operation, then no permission to exist.
       Carbon tax will extend to all this

Advertising must include these numbers.
Advertising cannot promote superfluous carbon or CO2 exhaust
- A packaging council to regulate & dictate packaging to be minimal, non-toxic, recyclable.

All energy use with warnings of environmental damage.

Energy efficiency enabled, enforced and enhanced  (e5) 
     Inefficient power consumption super taxed

Water, Electric and heating for minimal use = no tax, beyond minimal survival — heavily, heavily, heavily taxed.
Assign enforcement by neighborhoods watch people
Carbon tax,  Swift and immediate.  For all carbon consumption… building a car, fuel, bottled water, etc.
    Carbon tax rebate, relief for objects that are carbon sinking or efficiency producing

For gas cars.. 10 gal/month no tax.. each gallon above that is $5/gaL TAX…above 10 gal/ month super tax

         Mileage tax = good mileage=low tax, bad mileage= supertaxed

Immediate and ruthless efficiency to energy usage
           halt all carbon stupid product mfg now.  ie No incandescent bulbs ever again,
          Develop or subsidize LCDs
        Insulation, heating, water, building codes all gold standard

            Exisitng housing insulation ..

Sponsored Resource sharing.  or heavy taxes on not sharing resources.
rideshare, shipping, commerce.

All Airline flights over land are immediately prohibited
        Only flights over water allowed  - large bodies, full planes,

All land transit by train subsidized $ govt supported by taxes.
Railroads subsidized and run as a national public utility 

All coal plants shut down immediately, pending solutions.
All energy companies nationalized public utilities,

Immediate research projects:
Research into clean coal.
Research into superconductivity

Research into Fusion power
Solar, Wind, tidal, geo thermal,

Communications will be run as national public utilities, non co-operation means nationalization
Population: ZPG and less 
       One child/family immediately.   birth control widely available and fully provided

       Single child family
       Women bearing more than one child taxed heavily, 
       Bearing 3 children means enforced sterilization, men in a multi-child relationship snipped.

All Conflict resolution must be carbon free.  No combustibles, no engines. Wars and violence will be carbon free.   This is to be rigidly enforced.  If violent then bows and arrows and spears

Severity of these restrictions increases as CO2 fails to decline

Too severe?  Then return to first premise - to  Live or to Die?

Richard Pauli
Sept 2008

author’s note:  I started to write footnotes and set links, then I figured it would just invite arguments over sources and data.  All this is based on easily discoverable science, mostly from the IPCC reports.  The political science conjecture, is just that - conjecture.  But it should be beyond policy, it should be global law

Harvard Happiness Scientist warns of Climate Doom

Dan Gilbert is a professor of Happiness at Harvard who is very worried about global warming.  He notes that humans are particularly ill suited to meeting the climate change threat.

Human brains uniquely UN-suited to detecting long term threats.
Most all threats have:

1.  Face-reading in other people.  Not climate change 
2.  Intentional acts provoke reactions. (not climate change)
3.  Moral outrage.. visceral emotions lacking  (atmospheric chemistry, antisocial, murdered puppies)
4.  Clear and present dangers.  Humans have very little brain capacity for pondering the future.
5.  Humans sensitive to relative changes, not absolute  (boil the frog) hard to accept slow changes

AGW not happening fast enough.

“I think good things are happening to me and will continue. I am not optimistic about the rest of the species, but I’m so blessed, it’s almost scary. I’m sorry to
disappoint you, but I have a wildly sunny disposition. I love to laugh. My book is full of jokes.”

Gilbert is the happiness science guru.. offers a wake up warning: