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Topics - Shared Humanity

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Policy and solutions / Adaption to Climate Change (Natural Ecosystems)
« on: November 11, 2017, 05:08:19 PM »
I have been here since February, 2013 and due to the wealth of data and information available, I have come to the conclusion that, like it or not, we are headed to a much warmer planet no matter what we do. While I firmly believe that prevention and mitigation are the two most important responses to the climate change crisis, we need to begin now to study and implement adaptation strategies, assist our natural and built environments to deal with the inevitable warming that is baked into the system. This thread is not intended to be a venue for discussing whether we are heading to a 2C, 3C, 4C, 5C warmer world. Warming is happening, what kinds of adaptation techniques are needed to adjust to this fact.

Humans have always altered the surrounding environment, adapting it to meet our needs, usually ignoring the impacts on ecosystems as a whole. Given the global nature of warming, we now need to aggressively alter this environment with the intent of maintaining the health of the global ecosystem and ensure the continued survival of human built ecosystems.

The good news? We are already doing this across the planet. Initiatives everywhere exist that are designed to adjust to our changing climate. The problem is that these efforts are occurring in fits and starts with insufficient study and there is not enough effort to identify best practices. Also, most of these initiatives address a very local concern and we now find ourselves at a place where the impact of global warming on large ecosystems must also be addressed through adaptation.

(Example) The entire Rocky Mountain ecosystem (U.S. and Canada) is under attack by climate change. Studies proliferate that indicate dramatic shifts are in store in snow cover, precipitation (droughts and excess rainfall) proliferation of pests. Huge swaths of forest, Aspen, fir etc, are dying and fueling wildfires of an intensity never before witnessed. This is just one simple example. They exist across the planet.

With large ecosystems, this is actually a natural process, has occurred for hundreds of millions of years. The real problem is that natural adaptation is far too slow to deal with the rapid change that is occurring due to our burning of fossil fuels. Never in the history of the planet have temperatures risen so rapidly. Our adaptation strategies for large ecosystem impacts ought to involve studying and understanding the natural impacts that global warming will have on weather (studies already furiously underway) as well as understanding the natural adaptations that are likely to occur as a result of these weather changes.

We have one thing going for us. Humans have always done this to our natural environments. We simply need to shift the intent of these efforts. We no longer approach this issue of adaptation with the intent of solely bending nature to suit our needs. We must now employ every bit of knowledge and engineering know how to adapt our natural ecosystems to ensure the ongoing health of the planet.

This thread is also intended to focus on only adaptation efforts to address natural ecosystems as opposed to built ecosystems like cities. Another thread should be started to address this.

Examples: (I would like to make the point that these examples are being suggested by me from a position of relative ignorance of ecosystems in general and therefore may be poor examples. I only ask that individuals far more informed than I approach this by defining a problem and exploring potential interventions for assisting the process of adaptation.

Forest management: Climate zones are shifting north. There are studies in Arizona that show that specific species of trees are slowly marching north and being replaced by other species more suited to the new environment as a natural adaptation process. Unfortunately, this natural adaptation does not prevent massive fires of existing stands, the resulting inevitable soil erosion followed by the far too slow colonization by other species.

Coral Reef Destruction: Bleaching due to elevated water temperatures. Could identifying locations where coral reef might thrive and introducing a wide array of species serve to protect this vital ocean ecosystem?

Flooding due to excess precipitation: Wetland restoration and/or creation. Short article on natural rocky weirs...

Finally, we must be careful not to think that we are trying to replicate the existing natural ecosystems. This will inevitably cause some consternation for environmentalists who wish to perfectly reestablish prairies to the state that existed before we plowed them over. Yes, prairie restoration is worthwhile but we need to accept the fact that species, formerly considered invasive, belong in these new environments.The simple fact is their are no ecosystems on the planet that are not disturbed ecosystems, significantly altered by man over the millennia. We instead should focus on sustainable ecosystems that can survive and adapt moving forward.

We had better get going. Absent assistance, it takes an Aspen forest quite a while to move north.

Policy and solutions / Formal Declaration of War
« on: December 18, 2016, 07:34:59 PM »
No war should be entered into lightly, without sober analysis and not before weighing all other available options including doing nothing at all. Why? Because all wars are destructive, cause great hardship and self sacrifice and hurt innocent people. I would argue that no war is justified unless the enemy presents an existential risk. Then and only then should we enter into such an endeavor and this decision must be made without any doubt that it is worth fighting and must be won. We are at just such a point in human history.

And thus.....

"Without any equivocation and firm in my belief that this is a just war like no other, a war engaged not only to defend ourselves but to defend the generations to follow, I formally declare a total war on the Energy Industrial Complex."

We, those who are in the know and it is a larger percent of the American population than we realize, need to crash the system of energy production. We need to start with fossil fuels but, in a broader sense, all energy consumption. We need to wage war, as consumers, on the consumption of energy. We have in our hands, the only weapons we need and our enemies are defenseless on this battleground that we have chosen. We need to use every available resource we have within our possession to reduce our consumption of energy. Consumption drives capitalism. Every single unit of energy that is produced is because a consumer has demanded it. We must drive a dramatic reduction in energy and prices and production will collapse. We need to deliberately and quite consciously cause a massive wave of bankruptcies in the fossil fuel industry, destroy their ability to produce and wipe out the moneyed interests who provide the financial resources to produce it.

Someone might argue that this costs money and that most Americans do not have the resources to wage such a war. The simple fact is that the first initial and dramatic reduction, the first overwhelming and devastatingly effective salvo fired by human beings against the Energy Industrial Complex does not cost any money at all. It, in fact, saves money. Money that can then be used to wage a vicious, scorched earth war. Every battle waged and won, every single one of them, will reduce the resources available to the enemy and increase the weapons we have available to win the war.

As consumers, engaged on a consumption battlefield, we are the only ones with weapons. It is a war that can only be lost if we choose not to wage it.

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