Stop and think about it for a minute, we have polluted the Earth so badly that it is no longer safe to drink rainwater. A look at mitigation and climate change and how things have changed in six years.
More about that near the end of this article, but it is true, rain anyplace already contains dangerous levels of “forever chemicals.” most of which are carcinogens.
This article contains exerpts from my first book on climate change several years ago. It did not attempt to place blame, on anthropogenic (man-made), Gaia-made (Intelligent planet), or “solargenic” (caused by the sun).
I wrote this just 6 years ago when 99% of Republican politicians were claiming there was no climate change. The districts in the South and mid-West which they represented are still supporting them at least when they aren’t fighting drought, flood, or heat stroke.
At the time I wrote volume 1, I disagreed with The Union of Concerned Scientists and all the other groups pushing for political change. (I’m a member of the UCS.)
Based on 25 years in local emergency management I knew since massive political and economic changes would have to take place in the matter of a few years just to stay even with the rapidly approaching heat death of society, it was already far too late to attempt to change society and past time to begin mitigation, that is, since we can’t stop climate change, at least we can stop buying beachfront vacation homes and 15 mpg pickups.
Today, with 1,000+ year droughts drying up all the agricultural land in the West, massive flooding in places such as Kentucky which have never flooded, and even former President Donald J. Trump admitting there definitely IS climate change and it is a big threat, banks are still writing 30-year mortgages on beachfront properties along the U.S. East Coast in the full knowledge (of the bankers at least) that in a decade or less they will be regularly underwater.
Banks, insurance companies, municipalities, and homeowners will all be bankrupted by this foolishness but the local Chambers of Commerce and other “civic” groups are so focused on growth at all costs that the costs will, in fact, actually be astronomical.
(Of course, we all know that the banks will be bailed out by the government and the homeowners will take it in the neck as usual but since we can all see the water rising I have little or no sympathy for people who want to live by the ocean, any ocean.)
(Mitigation – RENT, don’t buy beachfront property.)
Mitigation and Climate Change Acceleration
The only real surprise about what has happened with climate change is that what we thought to be wildly pessimistic predictions for the 2030s made even two years ago have already been surpassed.
That’s right, the scientists were almost all wrong, climate change will be much faster and much, much worse than the average analysis had projected.
The recent surge in summer temperatures in the UK were expected due to climate change analysis BUT they were expected to occur in 15 years, not 2022.
So the deniers were correct, all the wild projections of disaster were incorrect. Unfortunately for the human race, the mistakes were all on the conservative side.
Scientists are now scrambling to understand just why their most pessimistic projections were far too optimistic.
Within years, not decades, many parts of the U.S. will either be too hot or too dry for comfortable human habitation, especially when you remember that most Americans demand total comfort whether it is fresh fruit in February or a green lawn and weekly car washes, or just that giant 12 mpg SUV or pickup which you need to drive to Walmart on Saturdays.
Some fools are suggesting that $5 gasoline will finally convince people that it is better to get 40 mpg. They forget, perhaps intentionally, that given inflation gas prices really aren’t any higher today than they were 20 years ago and many still buy pickup trucks because they lack safety and fuel standards required of passenger cars and are therefore a bit less expensive. And gas prices are already falling below $4/gallon here in Central PA.
The Republicans in Congress and the new Supreme Court fought hard to block the Biden administration from implementing pollution or mileage mandates which are relatively easy to achieve. And they succeeded.
(For those who think you have to go big and get poor mileage to get comfort, even my 2014 Mercedes-Benz 4×4 diesel SUV gets 35 mpg city – you would be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable SUV.)
As climate change hits harder each year the most unusual things will become luxuries. For example, Spain is suffering a drought of biblical proportions. Why should that matter if you live in Atlanta or, perhaps more appropriately, Boston and use olive oil? Half the world’s supply is grown in that drought-stricken region of the Iberian Peninsula – that very healthful food, olive oil, will double in price or more and be hard to find by next Summer.
So, unless you don’t think the planet is already giving you enough clues, here are some ideas about the preparation that I compiled BEFORE COVID hit and turned the world upside down.
Unless you believe God will never let bad things happen to your family or religious community (conveniently forgetting that the Bible says we are all descendants of Noah’s family because everyone else was drowned by God, even babies), it is your duty as a responsible parent and even church member to take steps to learn about what is going to happen and prepare for it as best you can.
Those who rely on religion to fix everything without the need to take personal action should remember the parable of the man on the roof of his flooded house – God sent a boat and a helicopter but the man died blaming God. Those who rely on religion to protect them should remember God has already sent science.
You don’t expect your home to flood or burn down or that someone will hit your car at the next intersection, but sensible people buy homeowners/renters insurance and car insurance even if not required by a bank or the law.
My book was intended to give you the tools to help you think about what may happen as the earth warms and how you can prepare your family and yourself, perhaps even your community, for the changes that are almost certainly on the way.
As North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said after Hurricane Florence, “When you have two 500-year floods within two years of each other, it’s pretty clear it’s not a 500-year flood.”
You don’t need to understand or even believe the reasons the planet is warming or whether humans (that is, politicians) can possibly cooperate quickly enough to stop it when it could cost their comfy sinecures. (Remember that almost exclusively in the U.S. you can give politicians thousands or even millions of dollars expecting them to vote to your benefit yet this isn’t considered bribery.)
Ninety-eight (98) percent of the hottest days in the last 500 years have occurred this century.
The hottest summers since the U.S. broke free of the king have all happened in the past few years.
As I write this introduction to my book, another record-breaking heat wave is hitting the U.S. West and Northwest.
Governments are still concealing the real impact of global warming on individuals. Only recently has it been revealed that the EU heat wave of the early 2000’s actually killed nearly 100,000 people in countries where many elderly lack air conditioning.
20,000 people died just in 2003.
(Old data from the book is included, things are already much, MUCH worse but I am leaving this in as written to show just how fast changes are occurring.)
Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
On June 28, 2019, France saw the hottest day in the country’s history. In 2019, France is reporting the hottest June in history. Last year was the second hottest and killed 7,000 people just because of the heat. Many elderly in French cities don’t have air conditioning.
(UPDATE In July 2022 it was 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit in France, the waterway at the heart of much of European commerce, the Danube, is the lowest in recorded history, including warning stones dating from Roman Empire times.)
Excessive rains and extreme flooding in America’s central region where much of the world’s corn and wheat is grown (UPDATE, worse today what with Russia destroying both the Ukraine and Russia’s own corn and wheat fields) delayed planting by more than a month and some farmers report that they won’t be able to plant anything in 2019.
Paradise, a city of 27,000 in California, was wiped off the map by the worst wildfire in California history (2018 Camp Fire).
(June 16, 2022 in Mexico City a severe hail storm destroyed houses.)
Central Pennsylvania had 10 times the average number of tornadoes by June 2019. Fortunately, most were in the lowest category and caused little damage but almost every following year is predicted to be worse.
(UPDATE, leaving the original to show how fast things are changing, this year Central Pennsylvania is having wonderful weather, perhaps a tad warmer than usual but an extended growing season and the fields (mostly corn and soybeans) are all looking great as I drive around. The second cut of hay (pasture grass) took place last week. Hay is the largest field cash crop in PA.)
Climate Change Mitigation Examples
In addition to the obvious flooding problems faced by coastal cities, we will face food shortages, shortage of drinking water, the spread of exotic diseases, global unrest, local wars as people fight for food and water, and much more.
(Mitigation? MOVE while you still can get a decent price for your coastal property.)
The Pentagon ranks climate change as the biggest threat the US military will face in this century, not only because Navy ports will become useless unless completely rebuilt, Army bases will need to be moved or rebuilt, and some Air Force installations will flood, but also because food and water shortages will cause forced migration across borders around the world, causing many local wars.
(UPDATE: 2021 DoD Climate Risk Analysis. See the PDF)
People will tolerate gangs and drug wars, even oppressive governments, but when their children and elders drop dead due to heat stroke, there is no clean water, and they can’t get food even if they have money, the flood of people on the southern U.S. border will make this year’s expected million look like the line at a Disney World ride.
(Mitigation, 2022 cities in Mississippi lack enough water pressure to flush toilets. Homeowners should purchase 400-1,000 gal farm water tanks to catch rainwater – while people can’t get tap water in Jackson MI, the city is under flood threat from more rain.)
Food and clean water scarcity are a far more critical concern than other problems and all experiments show that crops will fail more often as the climate generally changes. Rice and corn, which between them feed a large portion of the planet’s residents either directly or through meat animals fed grain, are dependent on certain weather conditions.
An unexpected food problem was discovered two decades ago when some people increased the CO2 level in greenhouses and also in open fields. As expected, the crops grew more quickly. Unfortunately, it turned out that the fast-growing food crops were less nutritious than their slower-growing cousins.
(MITIGATION develop new food crop varieties that can tolerate changing conditions. But the seeds will cost more, making it impossible for subsistence farmers to use them. and, in any case, little work in developing new strains is now being funded and, especially in the US and the Euro Zone, “scientific” farming has reduced the varieties of food crops that are widely planted to just a few so any disease attacking one variety could cause starvation.)
There are many other concerns that worry planners in civil defense as well as the Pentagon planners.
It is true that as the Midwest breadbasket becomes too hot and alternately too wet or too dry to continue feeding a third of the world, areas further north will become warmer and can be farmed.
Unfortunately, there are already people living on that land who will object, perhaps violently, to being displaced from the land they own, and even if they move it takes years to turn a forest or wilderness or abandoned shopping mall parking lot into highly productive farms.
It is simple enough to see if you just think about changing regions of drought, increased drought in some areas, and flooding in others. No matter whether other regions will see consistent or even increased rain because the threat comes when millions or even billions of people begin to starve and look for a place to move.
It also matters not a whit whether the increasing temperature is due to human activity or just a natural cyclical occurrence.
Just as sea level changes are not evenly distributed, temperatures don’t go up evenly.
In the U.S. the cities getting hotter the fastest are unfortunately the very ones in the Southwest and Northwest, some of which are already very hot.
Las Vegas, El Paso, Tucson, and Phoenix have all gotten a minimum of 4.3°F hotter since 1970 (the year of the first Earth Day).
(UPDATE Today, August 30, it is 107 degrees in Las Vegas, Lake Meade which provides both water and electricity is at dangerously low levels. Due to low water levels at the giant dam, the power needed for all those casinos and air conditioning for all the residents, is likely to fall short of need. July 18, 2022 the level at the Hoover Dam was 1,041 – at 1,000 ft there isn’t enough water to run the power turbines.)
There are multiple ways to mitigate climate change.
(MITIGATION? Reducing the permanent population would seem to be an obvious move that could be enforced by changing building codes or simply refusing new housing permits. Unfortunately, the casinos that “own” Las Vegas want more workers and clients so the Las Vegas population has been growing at more than 2% each year including this year.)
But nearly every U.S. city has gotten warmer since 1970. and at least ten have gotten 4°F hotter – Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Houston, along with 55 other cities, are 3°F warmer.
A total of six out of about 240 cities in the U.S. have gotten slightly cooler or are unchanged (as of 2018).
Find details about most cities here, at this link.