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Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp

 

Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp

Anyone with even a passing interest in the global environment knows all is not well. But just how bad is the situation? Our new paper shows the outlook for life on Earth is more dire than is generally understood.

The research published today reviews more than 150 studies to produce a stark summary of the state of the natural world. We outline the likely future trends in biodiversity decline, mass extinction, climate disruption and planetary toxification. We clarify the gravity of the human predicament and provide a timely snapshot of the crises that must be addressed now.

The problems, all tied to human consumption and population growth, will almost certainly worsen over coming decades. The damage will be felt for centuries and threatens the survival of all species, including our own.

Our paper was authored by 17 leading scientists, including those from Flinders University, Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles. Our message might not be popular, and indeed is frightening. But scientists must be candid and accurate if humanity is to understand the enormity of the challenges we face.

Do experts have something to add to public debate?

Girl in breathing mask attached ot plant in container
Humanity must come to terms with the future we and future generations face. Shutterstock

Getting to grips with the problem

First, we reviewed the extent to which experts grasp the scale of the threats to the biosphere and its lifeforms, including humanity. Alarmingly, the research shows future environmental conditions will be far more dangerous than experts currently believe.

This is largely because academics tend to specialise in one discipline, which means they’re in many cases unfamiliar with the complex system in which planetary-scale problems — and their potential solutions — exist.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Gaia is Responding to our Actions. Will We Act Differently in Time?

Gaia is Responding to our Actions. Will We Act Differently in Time?

The Earth is not dying.
Gaia is not changing.
Gi is responding.

So often we hear the phrase ‘save the world’ or the ‘save our planet.’ We may even use it. But sometime back in my career someone wise corrected that, explaining that the planet is not dying but changing—and through that change many species, including our own, will probably die. But the Earth, in all likelihood, will not die.*

But to say the Earth is changing, just as to say it is dying, is passive, like, saying ‘Oops, too bad, we were born on a sick old planet–just our bad luck.’

No, Gaia is responding. Responding to our actions. Whatever metaphors you want to use here, feel free: You want to make Gaia into a finely-balanced aquarium filled with exotic fish, and us a wild child dropping soap in the tank to ‘clean’ it? You want to make Gaia a partner suffering from domestic abuse who finally lashes out on us, her abuser, after years of mistreatment? You want to make Gaia a complex planetary system that holds heat from space with a thin coating of co2—a layer that has increased to a level not seen in 23 million years, higher than even three million years ago when global temperatures were 2 degrees C warmer and sea levels were 15-25 meters higher? While the last isn’t artful, it is accurate.

Gaia is responding. To the altered conditions we have unleashed—with our profligate burning of fossil fuels, our cutting down of forests and ravaging of oceans, and our sheer numbers (us and our pets and livestock).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Escape to Mars after we’ve trashed the Earth?

Escape to Mars after we’ve trashed the Earth?

find-another-planet-climate-change

The idea that we can go to Mars is touted by NASA, Elon Musk, and so many others that this dream seems just around the corner.  If we destroy our planet with climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, soil erosion, aquifer depletion and more, no problem!  We can go to Mars.

Though not if peak oil arrives, which it may have in October 2018, there won’t be fuel to get there, and certainly none to return to Earth.

But as Ugo Bardi points out in his book Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet we already have gone to another planet by exploiting Earth so ruthlessly that we have changed our planet into another world.

“The planet has been plundered to the utmost limit, and what we will be left with are only the ashes of a gigantic fire. We are leaving to our descendants a heavy legacy in terms of radioactive waste, heavy metals dispersed all over the planet, and greenhouse gases—mainly CO2—accumulated in the atmosphere and absorbed in the oceans. It appears that we found a way to travel to another planet without the need for building spaceships.  It is not obvious that we’ll like the place, but there is no way back; we’ll have to adapt to the new conditions. It will not be easy, and we can speculate that it will lead to the collapse of the structure we call civilization, or even the extinction of the human species”.

***

Go to Mars?  Really?  Been there, done that on Earth, and it didn’t work out: Biosphere 2

Remember the $250 million 3.14 acre sealed Biosphere 2 complex near Tucson, Arizona?  It was built to show how colonists could survive on Mars and other space colonization but they only made it for 2 years ON EARTH.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NASA Warns Two Asteroids Could Cause Atmospheric Explosion Over Earth This Week

NASA Warns Two Asteroids Could Cause Atmospheric Explosion Over Earth This Week

Yes, we are now dealing with multiple asteroids hurtling towards Earth. 

NASA Two Asteroids Explosion

(TMU) — As if 2020 weren’t overwhelming enough, in addition to the potential start of World War 3, the massive fires in Australia, the locust plague in the Middle East and Africa, and the novel coronavirus, we are now dealing with multiple asteroids hurtling towards Earth. One of the asteroids may even collide with Earth’s atmosphere resulting in an atmospheric explosion tonight!

Two asteroids following Earth’s intersecting orbit known as 2020 EF and 2020 DP4 are approaching the planet, and information collected by NASA indicates the space rocks are big enough to create violent explosions in the atmosphere if they come too close to the Earth.

The asteroids are being closely monitored by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

According to a report by IB Times, CNEOS estimates the 2020 EF asteroid has a diameter of 98 feet, making it a little longer than the distance between baseball diamond bases, with a velocity of 10,000 mph.

CNEOS sates that 2020 EF is what is known as an Aten asteroid, which means the object follows a normal orbit that crosses Earth’s path. NASA’s orbit diagram for 2020 EF shows the asteroid mimics a very wide orbit around the sun and almost follows the exact same path as Earth. The good news is NASA states in their diagram that the asteroid will have multiple near-approaches between 2020 EF and our planet—but it won’t hit us.Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

According to NASA, as a result of their size, 2020 EF will most likely not cause an impact event. Instead, it will break up into pieces if it enters Earth’s atmosphere. However, it will still cause an explosion in the sky that could be dangerous.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Is Earth For?

What Is Earth For?

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendell Berry

Author Wallace Stegner once said every book should try to answer an anguished question, an instruction that I took to heart at a tender age. For over thirty years, I’ve tried to answer a number of anguished questions in my writing, photography, and activism, ranging over the fields of archaeology, history, conservation, the radical center, regenerative agriculture, resilience, and climate change. Although the questions were often daunting and suffused with urgency, in my answers I tried to be creative, hopeful and, above all, a good storyteller. It’s my nature to see the glass as half-full, even if the glass is large and intimidating! 

Slowly, a general anguished question began to reveal itself over the years, linking my various concerns and creative efforts: what is land for? Why do we do what we do to land, including its plants and animals? Why do we treat it so poorly at times and yet magnificently at others? Why are we so obsessed with its beauty and bounty and yet so harmful and destructive to its health? We are possessive of land and possessed by it, but we are also deeply conflicted about what land is for – Food? Wilderness? Mining? Inspiration? Recreation? This anguished question lies at the heart of The Sun. In my story, a young doctor inherits a large, beautiful property and must decide: what is the ranch for? Oil-and-gas? Houses? Cattle? Fish? Wolves? A casino? A spiritual retreat? Complicating things, there’s a dead body and a mystery to solve as well!

Hurricane Katrina

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Large Solar Storm Will Hit Earth On July 31 Or August 1 At The Same Time That The “Black Supermoon” Happens

A Large Solar Storm Will Hit Earth On July 31 Or August 1 At The Same Time That The “Black Supermoon” Happens

An absolutely massive hole has formed in the upper atmosphere of the Sun, and our planet will align with that hole later this week.  Once the alignment happens, Earth will be bombarded by a “solar storm”, and nobody is quite sure yet how bad it will be.  If the storm is relatively minor, we could just experience a few disruptions to satellite communications and see some pretty lights in the sky.  But if the storm is really severe, our electrical grid could be fried and we could experience widespread power outages.  According to the Express, “the solar storm will hit Earth on July 31 or August 1″…

Earth’s orbit around the Sun will soon align with a coronal hole – a hole in the Sun’s upper atmosphere – and solar particles will subsequently bombard the planet after they have made their way through space. Experts predict that the solar storm will hit Earth on July 31 or August 1. People in the northern hemisphere are likely to be treated to northern lights – or aurora borealis – as the solar winds bombard the upper reaches of the planet.

Of course North America is in the northern hemisphere, and so we could be in for a direct hit.

Since our satellites are outside our atmosphere, they are the most vulnerable during a solar storm.  If some of our satellites get fried, that could affect GPS navigation, cell phone communication, and satellite television services

For the most part, the Earth’s magnetic field protects humans from the barrage of radiation, but solar storms can affect satellite-based technology.

Solar winds can heat the Earth’s outer atmosphere, causing it to expand.

This can affect satellites in orbit, potentially leading to a lack of GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV such as Sky.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Extinction is Stalking Humanity

Extinction is Stalking Humanity

I have previously written a summary of the interrelated psychological, sociological, political-economic, military, nuclear, ecological and climate threats to human survival on Earth which threaten human extinction by 2026. See ‘Human Extinction by 2026? A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival’.

Rather than reiterate the evidence in the above article, I would like to add to it by focusing attention on three additional threats – geoengineering, medical vaccinations and electromagnetic radiation – that are less well-known (largely because the evidence is officially suppressed and only made available by conscientious investigative activists) and which, either separately or in combination with other threats, significantly increase the prospect of extinction for humans and most (and possibly all) life on Earth by the above date, particularly given the failure to respond strategically to these interrelated threats.

Before doing this, however, let me emphasize, yet again, that it is (unconscious) fear that is driving all of these crises in the first place and fear that underpins our collective failure to strategically address each of these interrelated threats in turn. And, as I have explained elsewhere and reiterate now, if we do not address this fear as a central feature of any overall strategy for survival, then extinction in the near term is certain. See, for example, ‘The Limited Mind: Why Fear is Driving Humanity to Extinction’.

So, beyond the usual issues that are considered imminent threats to human survival – particularly nuclear war, ecological collapse and climate catastrophe based on dysfunctional political, economic, legal and social institutions – let me briefly outline some of these other threats and, once again, invite a strategic response to each and all of these threats so that we give ourselves some chance of surviving.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Weakening Of Earth’s Magnetic Field Has Greatly Accelerated, And That Could Have Apocalyptic Implications For All Of Us

The Weakening Of Earth’s Magnetic Field Has Greatly Accelerated, And That Could Have Apocalyptic Implications For All Of Us

Earth’s magnetic field is getting significantly weaker, the magnetic north pole is shifting at an accelerating pace, and scientists readily admit that a sudden pole shift could potentially cause “trillions of dollars” in damage.  Today, most of us take the protection provided by Earth’s magnetic field completely for granted.  It is essentially a colossal force field which surrounds our planet and makes life possible.  And even with such protection, a giant solar storm could still potentially hit our planet and completely fry our power grid.  But as our magnetic field continues to get weaker and weaker, even much smaller solar storms will have the potential to be cataclysmic.  And once the magnetic field gets weak enough, we will be facing much bigger problems.  As you will see below, if enough solar radiation starts reaching our planet none of us will survive.

Previously, scientists had told us that the magnetic field was weakening by about 5 percent every 100 years.

But now we are being told that data collected from the SWARM satellite indicate that the rate of decay is now 5 percent per decade

It’s well established that in modern times, the axial dipole component of Earth’s main magnetic field is decreasing by approximately 5% per century. Recently, scientists using the SWARM satellite announced that their data indicate a decay rate ten times faster, or 5% per decade.

In case you didn’t quite get that, 5 percent per decade is 10 times faster than 5 percent per century.

If the rate of decay continues at this pace, or if it speeds up even more, we could be looking at a mass extinction event that is beyond what most people would dare to imagine.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Molestation of Earth

The Molestation of Earth

Photo Source Sam Beebe | CC BY 2.0

This past year’s reckoning against powerful men in the United States whose alleged abuses have been reported on nearly every day by the corporate media has made me reflect on a performance by artist Marina Abramovic done in 1974. Filmed on camera, she stood in a room for six hours and allowed the audience to do anything they wanted to do to her body without resistance. It was a piece that left me shaken. As the hours progressed the artist endured humiliation, torture and even near death as individuals, mostly men, cut off her clothes, groped her and even made her point a loaded gun at her neck.

Of the experience Abramovic observed:

“This work reveals something terrible about humanity. It shows how fast a person can hurt you under favorable circumstances. It shows how easy it is to dehumanize a person who does not fight, who does not defend himself. It shows that if he provides the stage, the majority of ‘normal’ people, apparently can become truly violent.”

The performance piece was a powerful display of the lengths human beings, particularly men, will go to degrade, violate and even mutilate other human beings, particularly women, whom they view as powerless or inferior. This had nothing to do with a harmless, consensual fetishism, it was about the ruthless and merciless patriarchal power that pervades our culture. And I found it to have even broader implications. On some level it exposed a latent animus on a micro-scale that echoes how most women and children are treated day in, day out largely throughout the global south thanks to a system of exploitation imposed by the global north. But it also speaks to the way industrial capitalism has long treated the living earth which is often portrayed as a mother and as “not fighting back” against her assailants

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘The Expanse’ is a story about systemic ruin

‘The Expanse’ is a story about systemic ruin

“The Expanse” is a popular science fiction television series (based on a book series of the same name) that at first seems to follow a predictable storyline: essentially the Cold War revisited, only in this case with warlike Mars (previously settled by people from Earth) pitted against Earth as the two planets vie over the resources of the asteroid belt (which is a stand-in for today’s so-called less developed countries).

But quickly we are drawn into a mystery that implicates a non-state actor with interests so important that that unknown actor has its own warships which are superior to those of Earth and Mars. While I made some fun of “The Expanse” previously for its assumptions about energy, after watching the entire series I’ve come to appreciate the nuanced manner in which it deals with the systemic risk that unfolds as the story progresses.

Here I must issue a spoiler alert for those who have not seen the series and wish to see it unhindered by foreknowledge of the plot.

Those who’ve seen the series know that the systemic risk results from the discovery of what comes to be known as the “proto-molecule,” an alien life form first encountered on one of Saturn’s moons. The proto-molecule has the miraculous power to transform anything living that it touches, remaking and reorganizing it from the ground up. (Later it learns to transform inanimate matter as well.)

The life form is initially controlled by a large conglomerate which immediately sees the proto-molecule’s potential as a weapon, one that could be sold to the highest bidder in the solar system. (The parallels to current-day genetic engineering and bioweapons seem obvious.)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Today we’ve consumed more resources than the planet can renew in a year

Today we’ve consumed more resources than the planet can renew in a year

Our economies are operating a giant planetary Ponzi scheme: borrowing far more from the Earth’s ecosystems than they can sustain. 

Photo by Jenny Tañedo

Today is Earth Overshoot Day, the date when we have taken more from nature than it can renew in an entire year. Unsustainable extraction is occurring on a planetary scale: we are using natural resources 1.7 times faster in 2018 than the Earth’s ecosystems can regenerate this year. Critically, this year is the earliest date that we have gone into ecological deficit, the only deficit that truly matters.

Earth Overshoot Day is a clear and growing signal that our economies are, in the words of the Global Footprint Network, operating a giant planetary Ponzi scheme: borrowing far more from the Earth’s ecosystems than they can sustain. But we are already having to pay the price. From deadly heat waves to mass extinctions, soil erosion to dwindling water supplies, we are entering a new era of accelerating environmental collapse.

And on current trends, this is only set to worsen. Critically, those most likely to bear the violence of climate and other environmental change will be those with least past responsibility for our current situation.

The continued reliance on carbon to power our economies means that we are highly unlikely to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the ambition agreed at the Paris climate summit, increasing the chance of severe climate disruption and the resulting social stress. Meanwhile, the global food system has destroyed a third of all arable land and, at current rates, global top soil degradation means that there may only be 60 global harvests left. The collapse of ecosystems means we are in the age of the sixth mass extinction – the last being the dinosaurs – with nearly two-thirds of all vertebral life having died since the 1970s.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Biggest analysis to date: Cutting out animal products is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

Biggest analysis to date: Cutting out animal products is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

The Guardian reports on a new study out of the University of Oxford:

Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet.

The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world.

Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

…even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems,” he said. “Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”

The comparison of beef with plant protein such as peas is stark, with even the lowest impact beef responsible for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land.

 

 

 

 

Subsidies for sustainable and healthy foods and taxes on meat and dairy will probably also be necessary.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Cosmogenic Isotope Record and the Role of The Sun in Shaping Earth’s Climate

The Cosmogenic Isotope Record and the Role of The Sun in Shaping Earth’s Climate

The defining division between “climate sceptics” and “greenhouse gas warmists” is the role of the Sun in causing Earth’s climate to oscillate. The anecdotal evidence for a significant solar role comes from the observation that during the Little Ice Age (LIA) sunspots were virtually absent from the Sun for a few decades – and in Europe at least it was periodically very cold. The HARD scientific evidence that backs this up comes from cosmogenic isotope variations that provide a record of solar geomagentic activity. It is surprising therefore that The Geological Society of London’s (GSL) 2010 position statement on climate change does not mention the incredible cosmogenic isotope record at all.

The omission was corrected in the 2013 addendum but unfortunately the addendum  does not fully represent what the cosmogenic isotope record tells us. This post is a response to the GSL’s addendum, at 3,700 words too long to include as a comment on the original post.

The original post on the GSL 2010 statement and 2013 addendum is at the following link:
The Geological Society of London’s Statement on Climate Change

The GSL 2013 addendum is at the following link:
An addendum to the Statement on Climate Change: Evidence from the Geological Record

[Inset image at top, an Inuit canoe that was paddled into the estuary of the river Don, Aberdeen by an Inuit, year 1728. Extensive sea ice and northerly winds must have played a role in the common visits of Inuit to Scottish shores at these times. He was accompanied by ice bergs that drizzled sediment on the ocean floor leaving an amazing record for geologists to study.]

The Isotope Revolution

Measuring isotope variations in geological materials revolutionised geology and our undersatnding of The Earth.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Challenges of Choice

CHALLENGES OF CHOICE

Even before permaculture vernacular had become commonplace to us, my wife Emma and I were active in our pursuit of living more in keeping with how we wanted to treat the planet, its animals, and our fellow humans. We were already ardent boycotters, believers in fair wages, in animal rights, in corporate responsibility. We signed petitions. We were vegans who mostly cooked from scratch. We even shopped locally, utilizing farmers’ markets and small businesses.

Otherwise, we spent modestly. We felt comfortable in a one-room house with a single-digit appliance list. We bought secondhand clothing, more for the socially ethical implications, but nonetheless saved serious cash doing so. We patched that clothing when it got holes. We traveled on public transportation. Our computer, bags, tents, and whatever else all came used. As much as it saved us money, it was the principle that we were after: We didn’t want to waste the planet’s resources or create more trash when it wasn’t necessary.

To us, even if these decisions on their own didn’t effect a greater change, they kept us honest and accountable for our own choices. Permaculture has only further inspired us along this path, pushing the effort further as we learn or become more capable. One of the common misconceptions, I think, about living with these kinds of limitations is that it comes from a place of sacrifice, but for us, it hasn’t been. These options (or lack thereof) are what feels right and, ultimately, exactly what we want.

AN OLD PLACE ANEW

Photo: Courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm

After nearly a dozen years of backpacking, usually in less developed places, Emma and I have just moved to the United States, where I’m from. While certain conveniences—bulk bins, thrift stores, and local microbrews—excited us about the move, by and large, settling in an advanced industrial nation filled us with fear.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Climate Change & Its Link to Soil Organisms

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE & ITS LINK TO SOIL ORGANISMS

When people think of the consequences of global warming, most jump to the melting ice caps and death of beloved polar bears. We know that as our Earth undergoes climate change, it’s adversely affecting the ecological balance in complex ways. For the first time, however, a study done at the University of California Berkley, has linked climate change to the downfall of microbial species that are considered essential to ecological systems. Previous studies have identified the use of chemicals as harmful for soil organisms, insects, and birds, but never has climate change been pinpointed as a threat to these species.

The study states that “models predict that up to 30% of parasitic worms are committed to extinction, driven by a combination of direct and indirect pressures.” With this, species that are adapting to the climate change will allow them to “invade and replace” native organisms resulting in unpredictable, but most likely negative consequences.

Dr. Colin Carlson is the lead author of the study and estimates that we will see a huge extinction rate within the soil organisms as time and climate change continues. He blames this effect on the loss of habitat and the implications of trying to coexist. The end result of this could be detrimental to the human species, requiring lively soil to live.

Carlson explains that the effect of climate change on soil organisms has gone unnoticed for so long because our research focuses on the impact of the change on animals like vertebrates. Most people see microbial organisms as pests, rather than a crucial part of the ecological system. Since the modernization of agriculture, we have seen soil as a medium for holding plants, as Jenny Hopkins, author of “Can American Soil Be Brought Back To Life”, likes to put it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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