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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Astropocene CoCreative Future

A. The Old World: Its Archaic, Polar, War Torn, Rapacious Critical Life Support Condition

Lovelock, James. The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning. New York: Basic Books, 2009. Once more the July 2009 nonagenarian provides one of the most lucid diagnosis of the biosphere’s critical condition. Due to dire, unprecedented human impacts, a palliative geophysiological (Gaiacare?) medicine and ethics is recommended. But is it his British mein that inhibits even such a visionary from allowing any special place or innate purpose to human beings or earth? People are another “transient Darwinian species” without seeing how this dour surmise undercuts and saps any such valiant remedies.

Martin, James. The Meaning of the 21st Century. New York: Riverhead Books, 2006. An authority on how technology can impact society contends that a pivotal moment of global closure has been reached when the convergent course of evolution and history can pass into sustainable, respectful human management. A good survey of the many environmental and cultural dilemmas, along with practical pathways toward resolution. We need to be aware there is a problem, a plethora of challenges, which can be addressed if humankind applies itself. But the book makes much of technological fixes without a sense, the very idea, of an abiding cosmic creation as a source and guide.

Mason, Colin. The 2030 Spike: Countdown to Global Catastrope. London: Earthscan Publications, 2003. An international diplomat and author sees this decade as the time when all bills come due. The book surveys the usual areas such as energy use, famine, disease along with an indulgent, misinformed culture unable to cope. Part Four: “The New Society?” cites an evident response if humans are to survive.

The decade from 2030 will see a remarkable and dangerous confluence of world events and trends – a spike on the groph paper of life that will influence humanity for good or ill as never before. Combatting the worst effects of this will require urgent action, informed by the clearest possible understanding of where we are now and where we might go. (3)

Mathias, Jean-Denis, et al. On Our Rapidly Shrinking Capacity to Comply with the Planetary Boundaries on Climate Change. Nature Scientific Reports. 7/42061, 2017. We cite this entry by Arizona State University environmentalists as an example of worldwide research projects to quantify what human beings are doing to the biosphere before it is too late. We are cutting it much too close, and even such analysis will need a public awareness and concerted efforts to remediate. For another entry see Sustainability, Collapse and Oscillations of Global Climate, Population and Economy in a Whole Earth Model at arXiv:1702:01050. In addition the journals Earth System Dynamics, Ecological Economics, Global Change Biology, and Sustainability Science contain many more contributions.

The planetary boundary framework constitutes an opportunity for decision makers to define climate policy through the lens of adaptive governance. Here, we use the DICE model to analyze the set of adaptive climate policies that comply with the two planetary boundaries related to climate change: (1) staying below a CO2 concentration of 550 ppm until 2100 and (2) returning to 350 ppm in 2100. Our results enable decision makers to assess the following milestones: (1) a minimum of 33% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2055 in order to stay below 550 ppm by 2100 (this milestone goes up to 46% in the case of delayed policies); and (2) carbon neutrality and the effective implementation of innovative geoengineering technologies (10% negative emissions) before 2060 in order to return to 350 ppm in 2100, under the assumption of getting out of the baseline scenario without delay. Finally, we emphasize the need to use adaptive path-based approach instead of single point target for climate policy design. (Abstract)

Maycock, Tom, Editor in Chief. Assessment Report 6: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. International: United Nations, 2021. This is the preeminent scientific basis and policy response document about the dynamic state of the global environment. Its prime conclusion in mid-year is that we are cutting it much too close as the precious bioplanet reaches a critical, life support condition (which cannot be put on a ventilator). All the while, nations, political parties, militaries remain obsessed with and locked in mortal military combat over archaic tribal, cultural, religious disputes from centuries ago which we cannot get release from.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations mandated to provide objective scientific information relevant to understanding human-induced climate change, its natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options. The IPCC undertakes a systematic review of all relevant published literature to provide a comprehensive update on climate change, its effects, and potential strategies. Thousands of scientists and other experts volunteer to review and surmise the data from tens of thousands of studies.

McKibben, Bill. Eaarth: A Guide to Living on a Fundamentally Altered Planet. New York: Times Books, 2010. The environmentalist author has stayed on message from his 1989 The End of Nature to this latest volume. His prescient warnings posted some two decades ago have been surpassed by extreme weather events and climate variabilities, along with spiking CO2 levels, temperatures, and the litany of other monitors. Our home biosphere is stressed to such a degree as to result in a different world, why the provocative title, whereupon continued insensate growth is suicide. To offset, the range of sane energy, lite living, local agriculture, and so on approaches are advocated.

McKibben, Bill. Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? New York: Henry Holt, 2019. The environmentalist writer whose 1989 work The End of Nature first broke the news of imminent climate change three decades later chronicles in studious detail, drawn from world travels and many interviews, how this catastrophic crisis is now far along. The first step is to move from denial to admission – most nations such as China and across Europe have done this, but America is bent on going backward and Brazil on burning rain forests. Yet across Africa, wherever possible, millions of trees are being planted. Only total, drastic changes such as gas to electric cars, cleaning up ocean pollution, no plastic waste, the whole litany, will begin to mitigate. But the wild card is whether individual and governmental decisive action can be mustered and coordinated in time. But a curious theme is the author’s use of a game and sport metaphor. In final regard, a meaningful valuation of Earthly ecospheric sustainable life and futurity set within a conducive cosmos is most important. McKibben also wrote the lead piece How We Survived Climate Change for Time magazine’s September 23, 2019 Climate Issue.

Meadows, Donella, et al. Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2004. An assessment of the historic 1972 computer analysis of how trends of population, energy usage, oil reserves and many other factors might play out under different scenarios. Its initial projections of overshoot and collapse are found to be validated, but still go unheeded to our great peril. Donella Meadows, one of the original authors, passed away in 2002 at age 58, but had mostly finished her contribution to the work.

We wish, once again, to stress that humanity is in overshoot and that the resulting damage and suffering can be greatly reduced through wise policy; offer data and analysis that contradict prevailing political pronouncements that humanity is on the correct path for its twenty-first century….. (xix)

Millennium, Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2005. A fact-filled executive summary of the large five year program, initiated by the United Nations, to inventory and evaluate the state of global and local ecologies as a basis for corrective planning.

Moore, B., et al. Global Environmental Change. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999. A survey of atmospheric chemistry, paleoclimate studies, human impact, as if the planet were assessing through a sentient species its own life systems as it struggles to keep them viable.

Mora, Camilo, et al.. Broad Threat to Humanity from Cumulative Climate Hazards Intensified by Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Nature Climate Change. November, 2018. A 23 person team mainly from the University of Hawaii with others in Sweden, the UK, Japan and the USA summarize an immense study of historic deleterious impacts upon some 100 food, water, health, economy, infrastructure, security concerns. See also “Like a Terror Movie:” How Climate Change Will Cause More Simultaneous Disasters about this study by John Schwartz in the New York Times for November 19.

The ongoing emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is triggering changes in many climate hazards that can impact humanity. We found traceable evidence for 467 pathways by which human health, water, food, economy, infrastructure and security have been recently impacted by climate hazards such as warming, heatwaves, precipitation, drought, floods, fires, storms, sea-level rise and changes in natural land cover and ocean chemistry. By 2100, the world’s population will be exposed concurrently to the equivalent of the largest magnitude in one of these hazards if emissions are aggressively reduced, or three if they are not, with some tropical coastal areas facing up to six simultaneous hazards. These findings highlight the fact that GHG emissions pose a broad threat to humanity by intensifying multiple hazards to which humanity is vulnerable.

Nicholson-Lord, David. Planet Overload. New Statesman. March 9, 2009. An intensify of environmental warnings fill magazines and newspapers today, and rightly so. But a topic once at the center of debate, that of human population levels, is now out of favor, off the table. Amongst so many cries, we note this article because it marks a deep dilemma. At its base are religious reactionaries who claim that life and human liberties are sacrosanct, thus no limits should constrain. A fine sentiment for the first millennium when it was not known the earth was finitely round. But we remain locked into that mindset, for it has not been repealed or advanced, such is our urgent task.

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