Sunday, March 18, 2007
Water: The world becoming prepared for things to come?
This article appears to be likely the least biased and most on-target, regarding global warming and its impact. It breaks down the amount that global warming is likely to happen over time, and how much each icy area of the world will likely melt, and then contribute to sea-level rises as the temperatures go up.
It seems that a few of the big ramifications of this are:
1. Flooding of ALL oceanside cities, towns, villages, and recreational areas
2. More water where there used to be ice means MORE absorption of heat from the sun
3. Less glacial run-off, combined with more brakish/salt water invading into fresh water lakes and inland seas will mean less drinking water
4. Everyone will be sad about the devastation we've wrought upon ourselves. It's hard to fully realize the potential magnitude to our shared psyche at present. Although maybe people will just get used to it, like they've gotten used to buying water in bottles and not trusting tap water. IOW, "Oh, another city getting flooded by the ocean? Tell me when there's news..." (I do earnestly hope that doesn't happen.)
So what must we do?
Regarding #1, we should be planning on either: A) Following the example of the Netherlands and learn to make some really sound levees that will withstand the predicted rises (note: these levees should be built with green-friendly/electric earthmoving machines, so we don't further contribute to greenhouse gasses in the process; or B) Building intentionally-designed cities that are efficient, socially-oriented, and Earth-friendly. They should be built several meters up from sea-level. They should be nodally-designed, with several mini-downtowns within each city, where there is a train/maglev stop, a good grocery store, and homes/condos surrounding each node with a radius of ~1 mile (2km). All of the other usual city stuff -- parks, industry, entertainment centers, etc -- gets distributed around.
For #2, to mitigate these effects, we need to pay attention to that Inconvenient Truth movie, and make the carbon-dioxide creation changes happen at levels that only government and large industry can make happen. Individuals can try to make change happen for themselves, but that only goes so far, especially in an economic system that doesn't reward, even penalizes, people for doing the right thing. That said, it's important for individuals to do so. Large industry and government need to make electric cars, solar power, and electric trains a reality AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The sooner these changes are made, the less we'll be behind the eightball come trouble-time. To try and reverse some of the effects of the absorption, we need to figure out ways to A) Reflect more sunlight as it comes into the atmosphere, before it even has a chance to warm the earth (this will unfortunately add to global dimming, and may decrease the performance of solar electrical systems, so some smart minds should figure out impact analyses before something like this would happen.) Perhaps this could be as simple as causing more cloud cover, so we'll have more mostly-cloudy days, or it could involve something more. B) PLANT MORE TREES THAN ARE BEING CUT DOWN! Significantly more for the next few decades. C) This one is outlandish, but could there be a way to exhaust heat from the Earth, in some manner similar to how a refrigerator does? When/if we have one or more space elevators, could a system do that? D) Change away from fossil fuels ASAP. Not only do they contribute to global warming and pollution, but what if we find out 100 or 200 years from now that we could've used petroleum for some other use other than internal combustion engines in cars and power plants? This means any/all alternative fuels -- solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, even nuclear for a while (I really don't like nuclear power, but it beats out fossil fuels.)
For #3, we need to work on A) Conservation -- shorter showers, less flushing and more efficient waste-disposal, better-designed faucets (with digital presets for flow amount, pattern, and temperatures), and more efficient use of water in industrial production processes; B) Desalinization, made more efficient with newer processes, either in large-scale operations, or preferrably on a smaller-scale for communities or domestic households; C) Acknowledgement of water as a publicly-shared commodity. And for Christ's sake, stop already with the water being sold by private companies in plastic water bottles! If water is in short-supply, it will only hinder goodwill and add fuel to the fire of avarice for those given the privilege to control it, were that control to be private, rather than public. I am so not-excited/uneager about having water wars. :| and D) get our population down. The world's population is about triple what it should be. When our population gets down to 2 billion people (hopefully the EASY way, not this HARD way or this HARD way), we will put much less demand on the Earth, and will be able to share the plenitude, instead of fighting over scarcity. If there are enough resources on Earth for 3-4 billion people, if we have more people, we scramble. If we have less, we share in prosperity.
For #4, I pray in my heart of hearts that a crisis like this is what will bring us together. Generations just being born into the 21st century may scorn the generations of the 20th century or they may forgive us, but they will need to come together, commiserate and provide answers and care for each other. What is it like when humanity awakens and realizes its psychological problem, and the issues of understanding who and what WE really are, and where we need to work on humanity's development of self? I'd sure like to be in on that counselling session.
lyrics: Theme from Katamari Damacy. (I'm too busy to play it right now, but not too busy not to think about it.) Moo!
colors: green, blue, brown, white - colors of the Earth from the sky
chant/prayer/mantra: let peace reign o'er the day.