Category Archives: ecology

How Fast Will Sea Levels Rise? No one Really Knows


Messing up our climate with excessive CO2 emissions is taking huge risks.  With the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere rising faster every year, and massive releases of stronger greenhouse gases like methane (natural gas), it is likely that sea levels will continue to rise worldwide.  What people don’t remember is that small changes in sea level have happened all along, and that it wasn’t that long ago when, because we were still emerging from the last ice age, sea levels were several feet (or tens of feet) lower.  Now humanity has built so heavily in areas near sea level that almost any rise is reflected in an increased frequency of damaging floods.   In some areas the flooding already happens from a high tide, and no storm or other weather event is needed.

There is a lot more ice (and potential sea level rise) than most people realize.  Another thing people don’t realize is that there is enough ice on land in just Greenland and Antarctica to increase sea levels by 200 FEET!  If some portion of this increase happens quickly, in less than a month, for instance, humanity will be completely surprised and “caught with our pants down” as famine and pandemic result.  So much of our food reaches us via container ships that, when the container ports are shut down by a sea level increase of a foot or two, shiploads of food will spoil at sea, grocery store shelves will get sparse, and there is a danger of people panicking and making runs on the grocery stores and banks.

I certainly hope humanity comes to its senses soon.   Thanks for reading — Tim

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How Long Can We Afford Our Weather Disasters?


2017 was a record year for the cost of weather disasters, and this article reviews them in detail.  Infrastructure has become critically overdue for repairs during the last few years. Can we afford to fix the outcomes of weather disasters in the future?  When will we no longer be able to afford to cope with weather disasters or fix our infrastructure?  Can that time be far away?

I hope to stick around and watch, and hope that Americans will get smarter (and more principled) soon.

Thanks for reading — Tim

Agricultural Practices Can Mitigate Global Warming


This article from the Weather Underground folks pulls together several study results to show how farmers around the world are finding new methods that reduce the negative effects of climate change and provide sustainable, productive agriculture.  We need a LOT more of this kind of thinking, and hopefully it will help buy us time until we can see our way to controlling the population explosion.  We will never be safe and our civilization will never be sustainable in the long run without that.

Thanks for reading — Tim

Weather Disasters Appear to Be the Wave of the Future


As the planet warms, and as scientists have predicted for decades, weather events have become more severe, more quick to develop, and the costs have skyrocketed.  This past hurricane season included two with over a billion dollars in damage.  Our infrastructure is already in bad shape generally, and rising sea levels are compromising more and more of that infrastructure in the most populated areas of the planet.  What next? Continue reading

As Population Peaks There is One Certainty: Things Will Be Messy and Complicated


We humans are clearly overrunning the planet, but few understand or will face what is happening.  As population hits an all-time peak later this century, life on the planet will get much tougher and there will be no simple answers to the problems that will arise or simply increase in severity.  While it is hard to see ahead with any detail, past experience says there will never be a single crisis that challenges humanity like overpopulation does (barring an asteroid impact, a global volcanic surprise, or the sun doing something unexpected).  This is because human nature drives us to want to live better and have more children.  Can we successfully change ourselves to have less offspring and live more sustainably?  Continue reading

Remembering the Monarch Butterfly Migration


Yesterday as I walked outside the building where I work, a single monarch butterfly was working its way up wind across the parking lot, heading South.  The day before in the afternoon a single monarch butterfly was working its way south, slowly flapping up and over my house, also headed south.  Was it always like this? ( It was not!) Continue reading

Mixed News and Misconceptions Regarding Our Future


Awareness of humanity’s biggest problems is rising.  While there appears to finally be a slow groundswell of popular understanding and alarm about what humans are doing to the planet (which is quite late but very good), there is still a lot of mishandling (and often misrepresentation) of the news. This results in persistent widespread misconceptions about our position and probable future on the planet.  So what kinds of things are we “not getting”? Continue reading