When Will the Dying Begin?

When will the dying begin? I put it at less than ten years.

Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, will die in some kind of environmental disaster. It could happen anywhere.

From the Los Angeles Times --

A National Research Council Report says that “the planet is warming so quickly that the world should expect abrupt and unpredictable consequences in a matter of years or a few decades.”

The summer fires and the winter storms that disrupt our lives, destroy homes and businesses and cost so much? And the hurricanes? And the droughts? It’s going to get worse and worse.

The party is over, folks.Three massive hurricanes back to back will destroy the East Coast.

Colorado will burn. The Mississippi rivers will have a mega-flood and destroy cities.  In California, the water will run dry in the middle of the state, while the coast will go underwater. San Francisco will not be a city of hills, but a city of islands.

As federal and state disaster funds get eaten up and there’s not enough time, money or manpower to address every issue, eventually there will be a disaster that we won’t be able to contain. Food, water, medicine and shelter will run out.

Civilization will break down.

 We all feel it.  That’s why zombie apocalypse stories are so popular. We all feel that we are just one flashpoint away from chaos.                        

Soon we will reach a tipping point with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere where no amount of retroactive action will reverse the forward motion of climate change, at least not for thousands of years.

Once there are one or two massive death events, we will try to geo-engineer our way out of the problem, by shooting chemicals into the sky to block the sun and cool the planet, or by building gigantic sequestration plants to pump CO2 into the ground, or we’ll build nuclear, as fast as we can. These may create worse problems, but we’ve been geo-engineering the planet for hundreds of years already, we just did it blindly and without purpose.  People will demand that something be done, and we’ll be desperate enough to try anything.  The unintended consequences of our good intentions will certainly surprise us.

Meanwhile, the acid levels in the ocean are increasing, killing coral and plankton, and there’s a zone of plastic garbage the size of Texas swirling slowly in the middle of the Pacific, like a toilet that you can never flush.

At one time, the nuclear arms race and the potential for war was what I constantly thought and worried about. That seems like such a quaint fear now, compared to this.

This way of life that we have may be gone soon. I think about it every day. No more gluten free cookies, stem cell research, Amazon.com or Superbowl halftime show.

There’s also no way to predict which region will have the massive disaster. There’s no way to prepare for it, except to be ready to escape if you have to -- to leave your life behind and be ready to start new somewhere else.

I also wonder what life will be like after the massive paradigm shift.

As resources dwindle, as problems mount, governments will control access and limit consumption. There will be rationing. Democracy and freedom will suffer.  It may disappear, and be replaced by some regulated system of government dedicated to controlling intake and doling out resources.

What can I do?

I keep two quotes on my desk, scribbled on a tiny note pad.

It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” 

This is an ancient Chinese saying, which made it into Poor Richard’s Almanac, and Eleanor Roosevelt used as well.

So shines a good deed in a weary world...

This is what Willy Wonka says to himself when Charlie gives back the amazing Gobstopper, and is reassured that there is good in the world.

I try to keep life small, and my consumption small. I try to stay in Tier 1 in all my utility bills. I recycle. I eat meat once a week. I’m looking into the solar panels and getting rid of the lawn. I try to be a good example to my daughter. I also try not to get attached to anything, because it may be gone. It may not make any difference, but it’s my candle, for now.

I think about what role I’m going to play when the paradigm shift happens. I’ll probably be a teacher, a coach, a cook, and a farmer. If I’m required to do more, I hope I can rise to the occasion. It may all end anyway, but I have to try.

The truth is, I despair. How do you battle despair?

I realize the solution to despair is to take action. I have great ideas about how I can save the world, but I realize I haven’t take action on any of them. And guess what?  Other people already have.

I was thinking of a way you could use solar powered garbage collection scoopers to gradually gather garbage from the Pacific Gyre. Then I researched it and found out that Boyan Slat from the Neitherlands already has an idea to clean the Garbage Patch, using the swirling currents themselves to gather the trash.

It’s engineering on a big scale, but not complicated, and we should try this before other grand scale geo-engineering projects.

Check it out:


I also have a solution for global warming. We require millions of massive bio-engineering devices that suck carbon out of the atmosphere, and spew oxygen. But we already have them -- Giant Redwood Trees. Coastal Redwoods are thriving with the higher CO2 levels in all the forests on the Pacific Coast. They are nature’s wonderful geo-engineering marvels.

If we are going to bio-engineer the planet...

If we are going to mobilize millions of people because of disaster...

If whole regions are going to be lost because of tragedy...

We can plant redwood trees everywhere where they will grow.

We can plant trees of all kinds, everywhere.

And of course, Million Trees LA is trying to do just that, planting a million trees within the city, thus changing our ecosystem. Check out:


That’s the only sure-fire system we have right now to battle the problem, along with drastically cutting energy consumption.

We’ve had a Dark Age before. We may be heading for another one.

All I can do for peace of mind is to light my candle, be thankful for what I have, do what I can, and hope the light stays on.

And maybe take more action...

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