VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Ecosmocene CoCreativity
A. The Old World: Its Violent Critical Life Support Condition
Nolan, Connor, et al. Past and Future Global Transformation of Terrestrial Ecosystems under Climate Change. Science. 361/920, 2018. Some 39 coauthors at universities, laboratories and institutes across the USA, UK, France, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Chile, and the Netherlands, a composite planetary sapiensphere it might seem, achieve a retrospective, quantified survey of prior paleoclimates as the biosphere passed through cooling and heating stages. On this reference looking ahead, it is said that unless present uncontrolled levels of greenhouse gases, are brought under mitigated control right now, they will surely lead to drastic atmospheric, vegetative, and weather calamities.
Impacts of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems are imperfectly constrained by ecosystem models and direct observations. Pervasive ecosystem transformations occurred in response to warming and associated climatic changes during the last glacial-to-interglacial transition, which was comparable in magnitude to warming projected for the next century under high-emission scenarios. We reviewed 594 published paleoecological records to examine compositional and structural changes in terrestrial vegetation since the last glacial period and to project the magnitudes of ecosystem transformations under alternative future emission scenarios. Our results indicate that terrestrial ecosystems are highly sensitive to temperature change and suggest that, without major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, terrestrial ecosystems worldwide are at risk of major transformation. (Abstract)
Northcutt, Michael. A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007. The University of Edinburgh ethicist and Scottish Episcopal priest argues, in part, that the root of our deep dilemma is the vested, erroneous worldview of mechanical materialism, rather than a relational and holistic sense of a viable yet much stressed Gaia.
NRC, Committee on Abrupt Climate Change. Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Changes. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002. A major report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences on the potential for sudden, dramatic shifts in global weather.
The report does not focus on large, abrupt causes–nuclear wars or giant meteorite impacts–but rather on the surprising new findings that abrupt climate change can occur when gradual causes push the earth system across a threshold. Just as the slowly increasing pressure of a finger eventually flips a switch and turns on a light, the solw effects of drifting contentents or wobbling orbits or changing atmospheric composition may “switch” the climate to a new state. (v)
Oskamp, Susan. Psychological Contributions to Achieving an Ecologically Sustainable Future for Humanity. Journal of Social Issues. 56/3, 2000. An essay on the integral mental faculties needed to adequately face the danger from unbridled population, consumption and underconservation in time.
The most serious long-term threat facing the world is the danger that human actions are producing irreversible, harmful changes to the environmental conditions that support life on Earth. If this problem is not overcome, there may be no viable world for our descendants to inhabit….This article discusses major obstacles to this goal, describes a variety of motivational approaches toward reaching it, and proposes that we should view the achievement of sustainable living patterns as a superordinate goal - a war against the common enemy of an uninhabitable world.
Otto, Ilona, et al. Social Tipping Dynamics for Stabilizing Earth’s Climate by 2050. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 117/2354, 2020. Fourteen scientists posted in Germany, Ghana, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Scotland, mainly based at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research including Hans Schellnhuber put together a comprehensive array of planetary and practical energetic and metabolic aspects that need be addressed with popular synchrony over the next thirty years.
Achieving a rapid global decarbonization to stabilize the climate depends on activating contagious and fast-spreading processes of social and technological change within the next few years. Drawing on an expert workshop, and a review of literature, we propose interventions to induce positive social tipping dynamics and a real global transformation to carbon-neutral societies. These initiatives comprise removing fossil-fuel subsidies and boosting decentralized energy generation, building carbon-neutral cities, divesting from fossil fuels assets, strengthening climate education, engagement, and greenhouse gas emissions information. (Significance)
Overpeck, Jonathan and Julia Cole. Abrupt Change in Earth’s Climate System. Annual Review of Environment and Resources. Vol. 31, 2006. Global climate change is misrepresented by the “warming” word, for much more is going on as this critically poised complex system is increasingly stressed. As it has done before, it can suddenly shift on the order of a decade to a warmer or colder state, with great disruptions of biospheric life. Indeed, the variation in hurricane frequency from several major ones in 2005 to almost none in 2006 could be an indication of such extreme swings.
Many aspects of Earth's climate system have changed abruptly in the past and are likely to change abruptly in the future. Although abrupt shifts in temperature are most dramatic in glacial climates, abrupt changes, resulting in an altered probability of drought, large floods, tropical storm landfall, and monsoon rainfall, are all important concerns even in the absence of significant anthropogenic climate forcing. Continued climate change will likely increase the probability of these types of abrupt change and also make abrupt changes in ocean circulation and sea level more likely. Although global warming may have already triggered abrupt change, current understanding and modeling capability is not sufficient to specify details of future abrupt climate change. Improved adaptation strategies are warranted, as well as efforts to avoid crossing climate change thresholds beyond which large abrupt changes in sea level, ocean circulation, and methane-clathrate release could greatly amplify the impacts of climate change. (Abstract)
Pearce, Fred. Doomsday Scenario. New Scientist. November 22, 2003. The environmental effects of last two centuries of the “Anthropocene” era are now having a precipitous global impact. Expectation of a gentle warming are misplaced. The quite real danger is that sudden and irreversible climate change will make the planet much less inhabitable for humans. An integrated Earth Observation System is noted which hopes to study and understand what is going in time.
Pearce, Fred. When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. A British journalist reports that local and global water maintenance and husbandry is the critical, decisive factor in years to come with regard to a livable human habitat and survival. A survey article by FP, The Parched Planet, appeared in the February 25, 2006 issue of the New Scientist.
Pearce, Fred. With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change. Boston: Beacon Press, 2007. Our myopic, what-me-worry, mindset sees only a gradual warming of a few degrees over the next century, easily met by technical fixes. The actual scientific fact which needs a strident voice is that our biosphere is on the verge of an abrupt, catastrophic resetting of the global system to either a warmer or cooler state. Earth is a critically poised complex system, as Al Gore presciently wrote 15 years ago, which is now oscillating wildly out of control due to human impacts and may suddenly reset itself. The result will be not milder winters in the wealthy north, but erratic weather patterns which threaten the future fate of civilization. To climate expert Jim Hansen, for example, earth could become “another planet” not fit for human habitation.
Perkins, Sid. Sudden Chill. Science News. February 3, 2007. The danger exists that even a limited nuclear exchange, such as between India and Pakistan, could still precipitate a global weather calamity. The amount of combustible material in a large city like Bangalore, along with other mutually destroyed urban areas, could spew so much ash into the atmosphere as to darken and cool the whole planet.
That a nuclear winter could be triggered by a regional war is particularly ironic, adds Stephen Schneider, a climate scientist at Stanford University. A few decades ago, people were afraid that an all-out nuclear war between superpowers would trigger a climate catastrophe. Today, the United States and Russia could simply end up as helpless bystanders – who would nevertheless be left out in the cold. (74)
Porter, Eduardo. Planet-Cooling Technology May Be Earth’s Only Hope. New York Times. April 5, 2017. We enter this article among thousands to record the mounting distress that global climate has reached as a state of increasingly rapid, catastrophic change. Its basis is a Forum on U.S. Solar Geoengineering Research held in Washington in March which tried to gain some bearings and reasonable response.
Posner, Richard. Catastrophe: Risk and Response. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. A methodical working through the four main classes of potential terminal disasters: natural such as pandemics and asteroids, technology out of control, inordinate exhaustion of resources with a side effect of global climate change, and deliberate nuclear warfare, bioterrorism, and other niceties of a world civilization unable to realize its organic unity and purpose.
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