Cline Family Narrative: It's later than we think

I've been watching things for awhile now:

  • I'm not alone, of course: R. Buckminster Fuller takes a view that I share in his book Earth, Inc. In an essay originally published in 1970, he says that "World society is lethally shortsighted. Subconsciously reflexing to the as yet mistaken concept of an infinite plane, men have felt that they could dispose of annoyingly accruing substances with which they did not know how to deal by dispatching them outward in some cosmic direction, assumedly to be diffused innocuously in infinity. 'I spit in the ocean. So what?' Humans as yet cerebrate secretly and hopefully that — inasmuch as yesterday's exhaustion of customary resources has always been followed by discovery of alternate and better resources — the great infinity is going to keep right on taking care of ignorant carelessness and waste. 'So what the hell?' say the 'down-to-earth- status-quoers. 'Pump all the fossil fuel energy-depositing of billions of years out from the Earth's crust. Burn it up in a century. Fill all your bank accounts with ten-place figures. To hell with the great grandchildren. Let them burn up our space vehicle Earth's oceans with hydrogen fusion. Let them do the worrying about tomorrow." source, p. 89
  • Overpopulation and Carrying capacity: E. Coli in a petri dish
  • Things I discovered at the Joint Meetings of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society:
    • Copper is in limited supply (thefts of metals is on the rise — even power lines are being stolen), and could be exhausted at present rates in my lifetime.
    • The Ogallala aquifer is being drawn down.
  • Our lifestyle — The American Lifestyle — is not sustainable (2.5 Earths).
    1. Wasteful of resources
    2. Believing in limitless resources
    3. Centralization of power (wind power replaced by the TVA); decentralization of movement (cars replace mass transit, e.g. LA trolley system ripped up by Standard Oil, Firestone, etc.)
    4. Unequal Distribution of Resources: (Potato Soup for the Soul): candy for kids
    5. Unequal use of Resources: US emissions versus Haitian emissions….

Nature is non-linear

  • The straw that broke the camel's back
  • Small changes can have dramatic consequences (e.g. walk the wrong way at the Grand Canyon)
  • Singularities
  • Intricate web of nature

Dramatic changes are on their way

  • Biodiversity disaster (50% of species lost in the next 100 years)
  • Miami under water
  • Dramatic storms
  • What happens in a densely crowded area when Kroger runs out of food?
  • IPCC report
    • best science available
    • considered conservative by some of the experts with the best track record (Jim Hansen)
    • The IPCC doesn't make policy; it just summarizes the best research available, and gives its conclusions.
    • Key Findings:
      • Water and other resources
        • Ice: melting globally.
      • Energy
        • Coal isn't cheap: we just don't pay the true cost (in dollars, up front — we do pay in the end, with global warming, asthma deaths, coal miner deaths, floods, Lost Mountains, etc.).
      • Temperature
        • Increasing temperature sounds good, but it isn't that easy; in particular, we're expecting more variability in the temperature, and in the weather more generally.
      • Food and Agriculture; Disposable lifestyle
        1. Giant Dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico;
        2. Giant trash zone in the ocean.
      • Sea Level Rise
        1. Chance of catastrophic singularities (e.g. coastal flooding world-wide).
        2. Big Storms + Sea Level Rise => big problems.

So what do we do?

  • What have we done in the past? Our Family Background
    • The Walker family background
      1. Scotch-Irish background
      2. Into the Piedmont
      3. when the going gets the tough leave town (Joseph Walker)
    • Delong Farm
      • cistern,
      • wells,
      • chickens,
      • orchards,
      • coal-powered (boo!), etc.
    • Canada Farm:
      • Farming,
      • Community,
      • Self-sufficient.
    • Community is essential. Togo farmers work by family: everyone works on everyone else's farm, and so the work gets done.
  • Economically
    • #s in a computer — of what value?
    • IRA/401K - how many years out?
    • The High Price of Cheap Food (and everything else)
    • Jobs disappearing overseas in the name of low prices?
    • The High Price of Cheap Coal
    • We will have to spend more to pay back the "loan" our parents, grandparents, etc. have taken — without thinking about it.
  • Physically
    • Food, clothing, shelter
    • Security
    • food security
  • Life style
    • Relearn to live simply, sustainably — not like Americans — not like we've lived in the last 50 years.
  • Time line — Bad news within 15 years…. my guess is famine.
  • It's not nice to fool mother nature — and we're not fooling her! She's going to be mad…. Entergy CEO Warns Of Humanity’s Extinction If Climate Legislation Not Passed
  • How do you adapt to the world (Eaarth) that we believe may be coming?
    1. Taking a page from The Westering Man, do we move to North Dakota, or Manitoba?
    2. What are the functional abilities we would need to live on Eaarth?
      1. Canning,
      2. Brewing!;),
      3. Fixing things,
      4. Handling livestock,
      5. Aquaculture,
      6. Agriculture,
      7. Health Care,
      8. etc.
    3. Wind/Solar/Geothermal energy
      1. Distributed energy, rather than a grid:
      2. Geothermal is pretty cheap
      3. Wind and Solar can assist (especially solar water heaters)
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License