Tag Archives: environment

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

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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

Plans Being Made to Feed 9B People in 35 Years – What Will They Do for 10B? 11B?


This article from Wired magazine shows the weakness of American popular culture.  It is good that the authors see potential problems from the population explosion, and try to come up with a way to feed the 9 billion humans expected to live by 2050, but this is a very shallow consideration.  Certainly much thought and work should be applied to this issue, but do the authors think time and the population explosion will stop there?  What do they expect to do when the population – enabled to have even more children by the plentiful food supply – continues to explode and reaches 10 billion, 11 billion, and then 12 billion? Continue reading

Worst Disaster of 2015 Was Missed by Many


The news media report many problems and disasters, but they can miss much.  Dr. Jeff Masters Wunderblog for October 13, 2015, brought to my attention a disaster worse than any others I’ve seen this year, in which smoke from forest clearing fires in Indonesia has covered an area thousands of miles across and is causing the premature deaths of thousands of people.  This is made worse by a developing El Nino weather pattern that is increasingly keeping parts of the tropics much hotter and drier than usual.  This is clearly a huge problem, but what interests me most is what it suggests about the next century as the population explosion “detonates”.  The climate changes we’ve seen so far have been worrisome, but I’m more worried about what will happen as the planet warms, the population grows, and the weather changes still more.  Continue reading

An Excellent Explanation of Our Climate Prospects in 2015


An excellent article recently appeared at Spiegel Online International titled “The Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our Planet?” and I highly recommend reading it through to the end.  In it the authors give in-depth information on the current status of the global climate, relating it back to human activity and national and international politics.  (Millions of tons of CO2 going into the atmosphere every day has to have an impact, sooner or later.)  The politics of various key nations and the negotiations at past climate conferences are described, and a lot of the latest climate science is brought forth.  The topic is a bit frightening but of such critical importance to us that, really, every adult should have to read this article (whether they believe it or not).

Then, better informed, we need to take action, vote for politicians who are deserving, and “clean up our acts” by making many changes in our selves, our decisions, and our lifestyles in order to preserve a reasonably habitable world for our kids.  The trouble is … it might already be too late.

Thanks for reading — Tim

Humanity Almost Vanished 70,000 Years Ago, and Can Again


A number of studies described in a recent NPR article agree that slightly over 70,000 years ago, after a supervolcano eruption much larger than any we’ve seen in recorded history, total human numbers were reduced to a few thousand or less.  Now we find ourselves in a heavily overpopulated situation where we may surpass the Earth’s capacity to provide food and energy within the next few decades, and we need to think ahead as to how to survive the coming period of extreme volatility.  Still, there are supervolcanos in the world that are centuries and millennia past their normal eruption cycle, just ready to blow.  Surely we are smart enough as a species to think ahead and prepare for such calamities, aren’t we? 

I leave this as an open question.  It has meaning well beyond the immediate topic.  Thanks for reading – Tim

Organic Farming Will Replace Current Farming Methods as the Population Peaks


Food systems are going to be of primary importance as population peaks.  If, as the UN says, population will reach more than 9 billion in the 2040’s before beginning a steep decline, the causes of that decline are important to consider today.  A historical review of population reductions shows that neither war nor the natural disasters we’ve seen so far make a noticeable difference, but suggests that famine and possibly disease have the potential to make major reductions in the population.  Decades ago I expected that we might pollute our world so badly that average lifespans would fall, but there has been some progress on preserving the environment and it appears that energy and food shortages created by overpopulation are bigger concerns.  (Of course, the primary concern SHOULD be overpopulation itself, as these other problems are results of it.)  If organic food and farming methods are more costly than agribusiness’ methods now, why would they replace the hugely productive methods used to produce most food in the developed world today? Continue reading