Saturday, September 18, 2010

In the Midst of Abundance...on the Cusp of a Global Deprivation as the World Has Never Before Seen

This past week, I have been in California to help youngest daughter settle in to her new abode - and cook up lots of different soups for her freezer! - where she is beginning her graduate studies at UC Santa Cruz. While I was there I stayed with my dear friend Lynn, from decades ago when I lived in Berkeley, and her husband Dan. Thank you so much for the hospitality! There are chocolates coming your way - NO! They only masquerade as chocolates - actually they are unadulterated, sinfully decadent bliss. Seriously. Best. Chocolate. Ever.
I arrived home this morning on the red-eye, having accumulated dozens of pictures of the ravaged, withered landscape, which will take me a least a day to organize and upload. Like this ghostly, skeletal cedar with only remnants of green...
...and the wizened leaves of this stricken kiwi fruit tree...
...and miles of fields that I remembered as turning into a lovely glowing gold vista towards the end of the season - but now are solidly, unremittingly, hideously dun...and indubitably dead. It wasn't even a particularly dry summer. How any of these images can be interpreted as normal is incomprehensible to me.

Meanwhile, here is a joyful youtube! Even that giant among catastrophe prognosticators, SurvivalAcres (who was my very first introduction to unmitigated doomerism, devoid of any shred of maudlin sentimentality) recommends taking a little time out from apocalypse preparations to appreciate being able to see, breathe, eat, smell, dance, and love being alive.
We all need this because when Joseph Romm, who trenchantly analyzes the process of climate change politics with a death-defying comprehensive tenacity, is sounding warnings this dire, you know we are in trouble.


  1. Im only in high school and im so scared. Please do something to bring thiss to peoples attention. Make a chain email. This needs to go viral.

  2. Here's a thought:

    If ozone is reducing the effectiveness of photosynthesis by 20 - 30%, wouldn't that be nearly the same effect as shorting the growing season by 20- 30%?

  3. High Schooler - I am doing my best to bring this to peoples' attention - I write and call my legislators, local government agencies and NGO's, scientists, journalists...hundreds of attempts. If you have any ideas they are more than welcome! Most people really don't want to hear about this because you're correct - it's very scary.

    Anon2 - I'm not sure what the point of the analogy is however, I don't think it's very close. Ozone damage doesn't just mean yields are down because the plant isn't growing for as long a period of time - it makes the entire plant stunted, deformed from genetic damage, and reduces the amount and nutritional quality of seeds, nuts, grains and fruits. Cumulative exposure is killing trees at a rapidly accelerating rate. It's the direction and velocity of the trend that is important to consider. The direction is bad, and the velocity is exponential. If we don't reverse the trend soon the decline will be irreversible. The terrestrial biosphere is shrinking just as surely as phytoplankton are down by 40% in the oceans over the past 50 years.

  4. good share, great article, very usefull for us...thanks!


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