Interplanetary Travel

Interplanetary Travel

Ego Control

Ted Folkert – January 9, 2020

If you have any plans to travel around the universe soon you may want to consider some facts about distances and travel times.

Considering the vastness of the universe can be overwhelming and mind-boggling. And it can be humbling.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is said to be 100,000 light-years across, with an estimated 400 billion stars in it. 100,000 light-years would be 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 miles across. At the speed of our fastest spacecraft it would take 2 billion years to cross our galaxy.

The Andromeda galaxy, is said to be 2.5 million light-years away from Earth, and has one trillion stars. It would take 2.8 billion years to cross this galaxy and perhaps 50 billion years to reach it.

The IC1101 galaxy is said to be 1.2 billion light-years away from Earth and has 100 trillion stars, 50 times the size of the Milky Way, and would take 100 billon years to cross and perhaps more than a trillion years to reach it.

How our scientists figured all this out seems beyond conception for the unscientific mind, but this is what at least one of them tells us is the consensus of the cosmologists.

Realization of our importance in the universe as a country or a planet should provide some realization of the individual value of any one of the 8 billion of us on this tiny planet – providing ego control for all, even those with incurable narcissism.

Bon Voyage!

Voluntary Climate Action – Who wants to go first?

Voluntary Climate Action – Who wants to go first?

A rhetorical question – of course, no one does.

Ted Folkert – December 16, 2019

Climate change – the warming of the planet, the warming of the oceans, the irreversible threat to life as we know it, is real and progressing. The efforts to control or reduce it have not proven to be significantly successful and are being shirked in favor of pleasure, wealth and prosperity throughout the world. Talk is cheap, actions are insufficient, and solutions are expensive and uncomfortable.

We, the people of Planet Earth, ignore it as we explode everything we can find incessantly, be it a bomb for testing or as a display of power, or a gun for hunting or killing each other, or fireworks for celebration purposes. We ignore it as we drive thousands of miles per year to and from work, or for pleasure, or for unnecessary travel – burning life-threatening fossil fuels and exhausting the remains of such into the atmosphere which enables life on Planet Earth.

An example of no-one-wants-to-go-first is the fact that Russia continues to embrace fossil fuels despite concerns about global warming, as was pointed in the article “The Kremlin Shrugs at Climate Change” in Bloomberg Businessweek December 9, 2019.

“On September 20, 2019 the coordinated climate demonstrations swept to globe – 300,000 peoples rallied at City Hall in New York, 270,000 at Berlin’s Reichstag, 90,000 in Sydney, Australia. In Russia only a few dozen assembled near Red Square.”

They either didn’t get the message, simply don’t care or chose to deny their populace the facts about the demise which we face as a planet for the sake of preserving whatever semblance of a vibrant economy which prevails there. Russia is increasingly promoting fossil fuel discovery and production, choosing the burning of carbon and emitting it into the atmosphere over doing what scientific discovery tells us must be done to preserve human habitability on Planet Earth. The obvious reason – Russia is said to receive half of government revenue from taxes on carbon fuels. Again, money talks.

There is much discussion of the dangers and suggestions of necessary corrective measures for this fatalistic debacle. The consensus continues to be that Earth’s inhabitants must reduce carbon emissions significantly immediately. Some believe that the “too-late date” is fast approaching or has already passed.

But, as we declare Russia to be the selfish culprit, we should look in the mirror at our own behavior. The fact is that our president and our big oil companies are doing everything they can to exploit the rewards of carbon exploitation and ignoring the danger, as well. And who among us is forgoing pleasure and abundant lifestyle for the sake of planetary salvation? Everyone who is complying, please raise your hand.

It becomes more obvious every day that we need to listen to the voices, not only of our brilliant scientists, but of educated protesters, as well, even the voice of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden, who sounds more like an educated scientist than a mere school student. She is concerned for the plight of the planet which we plan to leave to her and her colleagues due to our unwillingness to sacrifice progress and pleasure for planetary survival.

The voluminous literature regarding possible voluntary actions to placate this crucial problem is readily available and increasingly advertised. However, the unfortunate fact which is not much discussed is that “voluntary” is not going to work. Voluntary simply means other people, not me, not you – just other people.

The only action which will make a significant difference will be mandatory compliance with corrective measures, such as reduction in automobile usage, reduction of the size or our homes, reduction of the comforts of our lifestyles, reduction in travel, reduction in food waste, reduction, reduction, and more reduction. It will only happen by limiting availability of such activities and significantly increasing the cost of such. It would mean increasing the cost of gasoline by a dollar a gallon every year and making public transportation free and readily available everywhere on the planet. It will mean more working from home instead of driving for an hour each way to and from work. It will mean increasing the cost of air travel worldwide through taxation. It will mean increasing the cost of environment-damaging activities beyond the financial reach of most of us.

All of the possible positive actions which we can render are going to be more expensive and less pleasant.

Let’s face it. Voluntary compliance simply won’t work. It won’t work because of self-interest. It won’t work because of finger-pointing from all directions. It won’t work because many other countries will expect to bring their populous along with economic progress comparable to the more economically developed countries. It won’t work because there will be no standards of conduct to which everyone will agree and adhere. There simply is no other way. Everything else is just empty conversation – worthless suggestions which will be too little and too late.

We need immediate action and we need mandatory action – just in case that the “too-late-date” is still in the future.

Think about it!

Think About This

Think About This

Ted Folkert – October 16, 2019

Just so you know, the owners of the gold in the business world are alive and well.

The Middle-Market Merger and Acquisition market lists 140 deals, each with purchase values of between $100 million and $1 billion in July 2019. These are companies buying each other. Don’t bother totaling up that equation, the total number is enormous. If we take the average of $500 million times 140, we get $70 billion. And if we project that number to 15 months, it exceeds $1 trillion. Which means that those who own the wealth are healthy and prosperous, they are doing just fine.

These figures are not meant to be verifiable for accuracy. But they are only a real-time example of the fact that a lot of companies have accumulated enormous excess capital which they don’t need. This may be due to their cutting-edge technology or an unwavering demand for their products and services, or it could be due to exemplary expertise in marketing, however, one could question the validity of their profit motives and the integrity of their manipulation of the general public by demanding unconscionable margins of profit just because they can.

We could have a discussion of book-length about the methods which have enabled the facilitation of such profits, such as barriers of entry, monopolization, patents, copyrights, and unlimited extensions of patents, but we know about all that. The discussion we need to have is, how do we change this potential demise of the free-enterprise system to bring the market for goods and services back in line with reasonable profit margins which keep money in the pockets of those who make these markets possible.

I am sure that all the companies in the country can justify their profit margins and declare with fervor that their pricing is fair and equitable. But one thing is apparent even for the non-economic thinkers, excess profit doesn’t just fall out of the air, it doesn’t just suddenly show up on the financial statements, it isn’t fictitious. No, it is real profits earned in excess of what should be considered reasonable, otherwise the amount wouldn’t be exploding their bank accounts to the point of constantly seeking acquisitions of other companies.

We have stretched the working-class of our society about as far as can be feasibly possible by changing society from one wage-earner per household to two or more. We have forced the working class to extend their credit to the point of no return and no way out. We have increased the cost of everything in relation to previous valuations, not only for non-essentials such as recreation but to include educating our children.

The working-class wage-earners are now stretched so thin financially that with the slightest recession we could be facing economic disaster. This has been discussed at length by many of our great economic authors such as Thomas Piketty, Robert Reich, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman, Tom Metcalf, Simon Kennedy, Peter Coy, George Monbiot, Thomas Sowell and many others. But it seems their writings fall on deaf ears when it comes to those who we have chosen to make the rules that we live by. Those who either don’t read, don’t listen, or are owned lock, stock, and barrel by the rich and powerful who finance their campaigns for elective office.

If the dreaded demise of economic disaster becomes a reality, those who have enabled the profiteers to operate without restraint will run and hide while pointing fingers at everyone else.

Election time is just around corner.

Think About This!

Living in Sin, Without Remorse

Living in Sin, Without Remorse

Ted Folkert, September 11, 2019

Associated Press correspondent, Lisa Mascaro’s recent article: Congress Marks 400th Anniversary of Slaves Arriving in US, discusses a much discussed and little resolved discriminatory period in our history.

She quotes Senator Nancy Pelosi as saying “We must tell the unvarnished truth,” and in the commemoration of Emancipation Hall: “…gave the world this beacon of hope.”

And she quotes Representative Kevin McCarthy as calling slavery “many shameful moments” in the country.”

And she quoted Senator Mitch McConnell as saying that in many ways it is our “original sin.”

And she states that Representative Karen Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called on colleagues to examine and embrace all parts of the nation’s history, and who stated “We are so fortunate to live in this amazing country with our incredible history,” Bass said. “All of our history is what makes this country a great country,” she said, and encourages all Americans to contribute to the “fight to build a more perfect union.”

Blah, blah, blah!

Similar statements have probably been cited by a long list of our leaders or would-be leaders over the last few centuries, comments which are probably well-meaning and well-expected. Such acknowledgements and apologies are certainly necessary and have been plentiful, at least in the last few decades, but how can they possibly placate and provide belated equality of opportunity for descendants of those who were dreadfully discriminated against for the last 400 hundred years. I say 400 years because the inequality of opportunity still exists in numerous ways for the descendants of slaves.

How about reparations for the descendants of the depressed people who can be verified as legitimate descendants of slaves? Not token reparations, but reparations adequate to compensate them for the combined deficiencies in education and opportunities which have evolved from one generation to the next over these 400 years.

When we hear serious suggestions such as this, we will know that this discriminatory activity is fully acknowledged and resolved to the largest extent possible.

We can’t make it right for those who are no longer around, but we can at least attempt to bring their descendants up to speed with society today.

Your Money of Your Life

Your Money of Your Life

Ted Folkert

August 21, 2019

Some who are my age may remember the Jack Benny Show in the early days of television. Part of his stage image was as a tightwad or skinflint. On one of his shows he posed as an individual confronted by a robber with a gun who stated: “your money or your life.” Benny hesitated in replying, so the robber repeated: “I said your money or your life,” to which Benny said: “I’m thinking about it.”

As we deal with life’s everyday issues, the myriad of daily concerns, such as – health, jobs, family, living conditions, religion, safety, retirement, recreation, etc., etc. – it is easy to lose sight of the big picture, the future of the planet for supporting human habitation. In fact, such a concern rarely occupies a large portion of mind-consumption for most of us, and naturally so. The reason being that it is long range compared to our other daily concerns and perhaps because we feel we can do little to placate such a travesty as individuals anyway.

It’s kind of like “your money of your life,” and it’s kind of like, “I’m thinking about it”.

Our climate scientists who focus on the impacts on the air and the ocean which are created by weather conditions concern themselves with the big picture, the projected lifespan of the necessary conditions to support human habitation of Planet Earth.

The big question is whether there is anyway of lessening such a travesty caused by global warming and how soon we may realize any life-threatening impacts from this festering and fatalistic reality.

One of the evidentiary measures that our scientists follow in analyzing, projecting, and predicting an ultimate demise for humankind is glacial ice melting, which is seen as troubling of late, particularly over the last few decades.

Seth Gorenstein of the Associated Press has published an article “Earth’s future being written in fast melting Greenland.” He follows the tracking of conditions by David Holland, New York University air and ocean scientist.

Some facts they share with us:

“Summer this year is hitting Greenland hard with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By the end of the summer, about 440 billion tons of ice – maybe more – will have melted or calved off Greenland’s giant ice sheet, scientists estimate. That’s enough water to flood Pennsylvania or the country of Greece about a foot deep.”

“In just the five days from July 31 to Aug. 3, more than 58 billion tons melted from the surface. That’s over 40 billion tons more than the average for this time of year. And that 58 billion tons doesn’t even count the huge calving events or the warm water eating away at the glaciers from below, which may be a huge factor.”

“Helheim, one of Greenland’s fastest-retreating glaciers, has shrunk about 6 miles since scientists came here in 2005.”

“Summit Station, a research camp nearly 2 miles high and far north, warmed to above freezing twice this year for a record total of 16.5 hours. Before this year, that station was above zero for only 6.5 hours in 2012, once in 1889, also in the Middle Ages.”

“This year is coming near but not quite passing the extreme summer of 2012 – Greenland’s worst year in modern history for melting, scientists report.”

“A NASA satellite found that Greenland’s ice sheet lost about 255 billion metric tons of ice a year between 2003 and 2016, with the loss rate generally getting worse over that period. Nearly all of the 28 Greenland glaciers that Danish climate scientist Ruth Mottram measured are retreating, especially Helheim.”

“It takes a really long time to grow an ice sheet, thousands and thousands of years, but they can be broken up or destroyed quite rapidly,” Holland said.”’

“Greenland particularly takes notice today since our ignorant and arrogant president decided that we should buy Greenland even though it isn’t for sale. He must see personal financial benefits in such an acquisition. Otherwise. It wouldn’t interest him whatsoever. And then he calls a Danish spokesperson rude for refusing his ridiculous indication of interest.”

“The Danish spokesperson didn’t even say: “I’m thinking about it.”’

No Where to go. No Where to Hide.

No Where to go. No Where to Hide.

Ted Folkert – August 5, 2019

We can’t describe it because we haven’t lived it. We read about it. We see it on the tube. But we haven’t lived it. We haven’t walked for hundreds of miles with our loved ones in tow, carrying whatever few personal items we can carry. We haven’t stood in line for hours and days waiting for our turn to beg for a chance for food, shelter, clothing, employment, education, healthcare, community, and all the other necessities and elements of human life. We haven’t felt so desperate for basic survival that we would consider such uncertainty, such discomfort, such pain and suffering. We can talk about it and think we understand it, but we haven’t lived it. We have no realization of the empty feeling that must occupy the minds of these thousands of would-be immigrants. We have no sympathy or feeling of responsibility in making room for those who have no comfortable life, no assurance of decent living standards, no hope for survival and opportunity for their children and other loved ones.

What evil thoughts must control the mindset of anyone who would just open fire and murder these helpless people seeking refuge? What evil thoughts must control the mindset of someone to open fire and murder innocent people because of the color of their skin or their status in life? How do they get so overwhelmed with the idea that there is a threat imposed upon those of us who have all these basic standards of living?

The reasons that drive these asylum seekers come under the heading of what I call the big three – helplessness, hopelessness, and despair. One of these conditions would be more than most of us could endure, but all three at once is what these desperate people must endure. They are not thieves, murderers, and rapists as our president declares. They are not seeking asylum so they can steal, rob, plunder, murder, or rape. They are just hungry, scared, and seeking a life worth living for themselves and their loved ones.

And our president, whose name I hate to mention, encourages racism, encourages violence against immigrants, uses any means available to deter or eliminate immigration. And his family members were immigrants, as were mine, and as were all our family members. We are a country of immigrants seeking a better life. It seems we have a responsibility to accept as many as possible instead of turning them away at the border without even the effort to determine if they are worthy of entry into our country.

As Pete Buttigieg stated recently, our president has some culpability and responsibility for these disastrous actions against asylum seekers. The frequency has increased significantly due to his careless banter which instills criminal acts on the part of his brain-washed supporters.

And now, as a result of our unprotective policies and the blasphemous statements of our pathetic president, and with the support of the right-wing conservatives who follow his protectionist traits and actions through their vociferous and misguided messages, he incites violence on the part of, mostly-young, misguided, ignorant, and/or mentally deranged provocateurs to murder and maim innocent people in mass-murder episodes, making all of us feel it unsafe to go anywhere. These sad events used to come about per decade – then, per year – then, per month – and now we get them daily – and, why? In just recent years we have had disasters at Charleston, San Diego, Pittsburg, Las Vegas, El Paso, and Dayton. It seems unsafe to go to a mall or to any entertainment venue. Any mother or father must be afraid for their children to leave the house. What a way to live – and primarily due to an ignorant, self-absorbed, narcissistic, uneducated, misguided, misinformed, racist president, a president who was elected, although he did not receive more votes in favor of his election than against. And, therein lies our undemocratic system.

The widespread dissemination of erroneous information is obvious to most of us as the biggest culprit of these sad episodes, but an even bigger culprit is guns, guns, and more guns – pistols, rifles, assault rifles, shot guns, and automatic weapons – weapons with multiple rounds and devices to enable rapid fire with one pull of the trigger. We are the only country in the world with more guns than people. We are the only country with weapons of mass destruction available for anyone to buy regardless of intent or mental condition. They can be bought online legally. Why does anyone need a gun with rapid fire, with a magazine holding dozens of rounds of ammunition? Obvious answer – to kill people. Automatic weapons are not made for hunting. They are made for killing people.

And, why do our laws render us unprotected from the harm of deranged or angry people? The answer is obvious – the National Rifle Association – the NRA. They buy many of our politicians who, although they will deny it to their death, are available to the highest bidder. And that highest bidder is the NRA, which organization is funded by most of the avid gun owners in America. Most of their members are game hunters who join because they feel associated with the gun mindset. The NRA is funded, not only by the hunting community, but to a large scale by the gun and ammunition manufacturers, who also provide campaign finance for our legislators. So, how can we expect protection from harm when we are outbid by those who make and distribute the weapons which fall into the hands of those who wish to harm us?

Now, there is an oxymoron for you.

Apparently, our craving for murderous weapons must have been exacerbated by the wild-west movies we watched all our lives from childhood on up. These gunslingers are portrayed as heroic, brave, good guys and bad guys. They are made out to be heroic and admired by all the viewers. As kids we walked around with our toy six guns on our belts. Apparently, this trend continues for some deranged people among us. We see it now every time we go to the movies or turn on the TV. We see explosions, guns firing – bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Single shots are no longer satisfactory, we need rapid fire and huge explosions, otherwise it doesn’t trip our trigger. We see people being killed with every type of weapon imaginable and for every cause imaginable – the bad guys getting killed and sometimes the good guys getting killed. If we don’t see enough gunfire and murder, we feel the urge to switch to another channel.

How do we stop this?

Well, we can’t.

But what we can do is start stopping it. We can ban assault weapons and make them unlawful to buy or to own. We can require all owners of such to turn them in and be reimbursed for the cost. We can require stringent background checks prior to gun sales. We can ban the sale of guns by anyone except authorized dealers who must comply with stringent rules enacted and who face loss of authorization to sell upon any violation of the law.

Other methods which could alleviate such episodes could include more concern for those who seem bullied, outcast, emotionally upset, or expressing tendencies to harm others. This would require family cooperation and neighborhood cooperation, as well as observance and acknowledgement by educational administrators who may have awareness of such mental states.

We must deal with the big three – helplessness, hopelessness, and despair. These conditions can occur with the bad guys, but they can also exist with those who need a helping hand, the immigrants. These conditions are not uncommon, and they are recognizable and treatable. They should be acknowledged for the benefit of the afflicted and for the benefit of any possible victim from the results of unmanageable frustration.

And if you don’t buy all this hyperbole, I’ll meet you at the OK corral and we can just shoot it out.

A Future of Clichés

A Future of Clichés

Ted Folkert – July 23, 2019

Remember what we used to call the Golden Rule? It used to be: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Now this name seems to be defined more correctly with a different saying such as: “The owners of the gold make the rules.”

It is difficult to downplay the reality of such a cliché. We allowed it to happen. We encouraged it, we cherished it, we stimulated it, we rewarded it, we set it into place and declared it the path to democracy.

We didn’t all do it. It was done by those who we allowed to wrest control of our future by writing our constitution and thereby wresting control of government. The constitution was written by those with prominence, those who had wealth and power, some of whom were slave owners. They created a government with fluidity, to enable advantage to those with wealth and power and to enable alteration of its framework to assure continuity of control. It’s like my mother used to say. “The proof is in the pudding.” Just read it. The truth is hiding in plain sight.

The enabling factors which assured control by the rich and powerful included the lack of campaign finance laws, the electoral college system which eliminated any possibility of democratic elections, and the laws regulating removal of leaders from office.

And the sad part of all this is that we are unable to change this system because of the above factors. It’s like my father used to say: “It would be like shutting the barn door after the horses are gone.”

To effect any significant change we would have to amend the Constitution. This would require submission by two-thirds of the states or by two-thirds of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and ratification by three-fourths of the states. Where would the funding for such a campaign come from? How would 50 states, many controlled by those now in power, be convinced to ratify such change which may alter their power in the legislature? Why would they? What would be their advantage? It would be like a friend used to say: “Like shooting yourself in the foot.”

With the complexity and improbability involved, the only bright light for effecting change would have to be like the cliché: “Like a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Perhaps the only positive culmination of these negative clichés could come about by the painful and undesirable culmination of the path of our distribution of income and wealth. Many of our leading economists now say that the distribution of income and wealth is reaching dangerous levels in maintaining a sustainable healthy economy. Those of us on the unfortunate side of these disparities have been forced into a burden of debt the likes of which we have never experienced. If these disparities continue and exacerbate, the insolvency which could prevail may bring the economy, which enables the rich and powerful to prevail, down with a crash defined by the old revolutionary war cliché: “Like the shot heard round the world.”

Well, the chance of amending the constitution are like the old cliché: “We have two chances, slim and none.”

The only thing we can do soon, is to change our would-be-monarch and change control in the U.S. Senate. We can do both in the next election and it is imperative that we do so to assure a more responsible government. We must ignore the old cliché: “Vote early and often,” and convince all the voters that: “Every vote, counts.”

Perhaps It’s Later Than We Think

Perhaps It’s Later Than We Think

Ted Folkert – June 17, 2019

“High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End Starting in 2050.” a report published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, a think-tank in Melbourne, Australia, describes climate change as – “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” – and sets out a plausible scenario of where ignoring the warnings could lead over the next several decades.

The paper argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than many assume, but difficult to verify because they are beyond human experience of the last thousand years.

The report warns that on our current path, “planetary and human systems are reaching a point of no return by mid-century, which increases the prospect of a largely uninhabitable planet. It warns that our current trajectory will likely lock in at least 3 degrees Celsius of global heating, which in turn could trigger the unleashing of further warming.”

“The results would be devastating. Some one billion people would be forced to attempt to relocate from unlivable conditions, and two billion would face scarcity of water supplies. Agriculture would collapse in the sub-tropics, and food production would suffer dramatically worldwide.”

Admiral Chris Barrie, former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, calls it the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, with a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on Earth may be on the way to extinction.

A new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General states that “capitalism as we know it is over. The main reason? We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources. And that economies have used up the capacity of planetary ecosystems to handle the waste generated by energy and material use.”

Words to which all of us should take heed, predicting likely threats which could be devastating for sustainability of human life on Planet Earth within the next few generations.

Kind of reminds one of the old song – “Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think.”

 

The Ultimate Debacle?

The Ultimate Debacle?

Ted Folkert – May 17, 2019

Consider this series of events and functions of society:

Prosperity for all of Earth’s inhabitants requires a thriving economy everywhere continuously. Without such, the provision of food, shelter and clothing for 7.7 billion people would not be possible. It would not be feasible or possible for every man, woman and child on the planet to grow their own food and provide the other necessities of life.

A functioning economy requires continuous production of goods and services and continuous consumption of Earth’s finite resources of raw materials and the continuous generation of energy to sustain the production required.

Our primary method of providing the required energy is the burning of fossil fuels which envelops the planet in a layer of carbon dioxide which alters the atmosphere and interferes with natural weather patterns, causing continuous warming of the planet. This warming further exacerbates weather patterns which will continue to limit the ability to provide adequate production of food and shelter for our 7.7 billion people. Furthermore, this carbon dioxide envelope, if not controlled, as many of our leading scientists tell us, will eventually render the planet unable to support human life.

Some of our leading economists tell us that capitalism, the system by which such resources are currently distributed, requires continuous growth to function properly. This requires continuous and increasing consumption of our finite resources, which causes a continuous and increasing impact on Earth’s ability to support human life.

Consequently, to provide food, shelter and clothing for 7.7 billion people it seems that we must eventually destroy the ability of the planet to support human life.

So, the question is, can we invent, discover, create, or engineer our way through this debacle? Or does every potential solution seem impossible to achieve?

What are the obvious considerations?

  • We now have 1.2 billion automobiles on the planet
  • Most of them burn fossil fuels, emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
  • It took 200,000 years for the population of the planet to reach 1 billion
  • It then took only 200 hundred years to reach 7 billion
  • The population is now 7.7 billion
  • The population is projected to be between 8 billion and 17 billion by 2100
  • There is said to be 333 cubic miles of water on Earth, of which only 2.5% is fresh water and only .3% is on the surface and available for consumption. Desalination is a possible solution but the cost is enormous and it would require an additional impact on the consumption of natural resources and the pollution of the atmosphere.
  • If everyone on Earth were to adopt the average diet of the United States, we would need to convert all our habitable land to agriculture, and we’d still be 38 percent short. For a New Zealand diet, we’d need almost twice as much habitable land as we now have.

These statements of fact are perhaps disputable, however, if they prove to be true, what does the ultimate ability of the planet to support life look like for future generations?

Could this be the ultimate debacle?

 

Save the Planet

George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian, shares this compelling article with us. It should be a must read for all of our climate scientists and officials who can help to placate the eventual dilemma for all Earth inhabitants.

Excerpts from:

Rewild the World

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 3rd April 2019

https://www.monbiot.com/2019/04/07/rewild-the-world/solutions.

Natural climate solutions draw carbon from the air through the restoration of living systems. They could help to solve two existential problems at once: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown. Their likely contribution is enormous – bigger than almost anyone guessed a few years ago – and it is still scarcely explored.

The greatest potential identified so far – as so much land can be used this way – is in protecting and restoring natural forests and allowing native trees to repopulate deforested land. The greatest drawdown potential per hectare (though the total area is smaller) is the restoration of coastal habitats such as mangroves, saltmarsh and seagrass beds. They stash carbon 40 times faster than tropical forests can. Peaty soils are also vital carbon stores. They’re currently being oxidised by deforestation, drainage, drying, burning, farming and mining for gardening and fuel. Restoring peat, by blocking drainage channels and allowing natural vegetation to recover, can suck back much of what has been lost.

These are the best-studied natural climate solutions. Others have scarcely been explored. For example, we currently have little idea of what the impact of industrial fishing might be on the seabed’s vast carbon store. By disturbing the sediments and lifting the carbon they contain into the water column, trawlers and dredgers are likely to expose it to oxygen, turning it into carbon dioxide. One study suggests that repeated trawling in the north-western Mediterranean has caused a reduction in carbon storage in the top 10 centimetres of sediments of up to 52%. Given the vast area trawled every year (most of the seabed on the world’s continental shelves), the climate impact could be enormous. Closing large parts of the seas to trawling could turn out to be a crucial climate strategy.

Scientists have only recently begun to explore how the recovery of certain animal populations could radically change the carbon balance. For example, forest elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia and tapirs in Brazil are natural foresters, maintaining and extending their habitats as they swallow the seeds of trees and spread them, sometimes across many miles, in their dung. White rhinos can play a major role in preventing runaway wildfires in African savannahs. If wolves were allowed to reach their natural populations in North America, one paper suggests, their suppression of herbivore populations would store as much carbon every year as between 30 and 70 million cars produce. Healthy populations of predatory crabs and fish protect the carbon in salt marshes, as they prevent herbivorous crabs and snails from wiping out the plants that hold the marshes together.

What I love about natural climate solutions is that we should be doing all these things anyway. Instead of making painful choices and deploying miserable means to a desirable end, we can defend ourselves from disaster by enhancing our world of wonders. However, nothing should be done without the involvement and consent of indigenous people and other local communities. Nor should damaging projects, such as monocultural plantations, be passed off as natural climate

Read the entire article: https://www.monbiot.com/2019/04/07/rewild-the-world/solutions.

 

We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both. Louis Brandeis