News of the Moment

֎ Did the reader see Apple’s new ad selling an Apple credit card that “doesn’t need a bank”? Cryptocurrency is here to stay.

֎ Did the reader read that Jakarta, a city larger than New York by 2 million residents and is the capital of Indonesia, is sinking into the Java Sea? So they are building a brand new city from scratch on the island of Borneo. The downside is that it will house only 1.5 million residents – mostly government workers. Other nations should watch and learn how to do this so that when their home town sinks below the waves, they’ll know what to do.

֎ Mariner surmises that PBS news must read his blog. On Wednesday night’s broadcast they covered a children’s program in Oakland, California where a group of children are taken to a nature park on a regular basis. The program leaders believe that being outside (and not on a sidewalk leashed to a parent’s hand, is good for the general health of the children. One of the leaders had a good tag line: “You can’t click anything in nature.” (see mariner’s “The Child Park” published August 19)

֎ From Dave Chappell’s new Netflix show: “I want to see if you can guess who it is I’m doing an impression of.” He adopts a Homer Simpson–like tone and flails his arms: “Uh, duh. Hey! Durr! If you do anything wrong in your life—duh!—and I find out about it, I’m gonna try to take everything away from you!” Chappelle whines. “And I don’t care what I find out! Could be today, tomorrow, 15, 20 years from now. If I find out, you’re fucking—duh!—finished.” The audience doesn’t have much time to guess which dullard Chappelle is imitating, as he reveals the answer almost immediately: “That’s you!”

֎ Hazrat Inayat Khan appeared on the Zen daily calendar today saying “There can be no rebirth without a dark night of the soul. A total annihilation of all that you believed in and thought that you were.” He died in 1927. How did he know what it would be like in 2019?

֎ The Tongass National Forest in Alaska spans nearly 17 million acres, and its wilderness of old-growth cedar, spruce and hemlock trees makes up the world’s largest temperate rainforest. President Trump is pushing his agriculture secretary to lift logging restrictions in this cool-temperature preserve.

Ancient Mariner

 

 

 

Earth Overshoot Day

Yesterday, July 29, was Earth Overshoot Day. Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) is that day in a calendar year when humans have consumed what the planet can restore in one year. With very few exceptions, each year since 1969 a new record has been set in that EOD happens earlier in the year. In other words, during 2019 humans have consumed in seven months what it takes the planet a year to replace.

Do the math. This can’t go on forever. In 2019 humans consumed planet resources at 1.7 times what the Earth can provide. All the environmental programs in the world can’t keep up at that rate. Even mariner’s beloved Chesapeake Bay, a cornucopia of sea life, is threadbare from excessive fishing.

Many of the resources similar to those in the Amazon rain forest cannot be restored even over generations. Fresh water, that is at least somewhat potable, is becoming too scarce for society to survive in certain regions; the fastest growing landscape around the world is desert.

It’s not just creatures and environment. Bauxite, the principal ore for aluminum, has about thirty years left at today’s consumption rate. Even Helium provokes concern not that it will be depleted but that the availability already is close to consumption. There may come a day when one will not be allowed to fill balloons with Helium!

In the United States and perhaps in all the industrially developed nations, consumption has spoiled a majority of the citizens. Mariner remembers in his childhood the first time he had three different fresh berries in his cereal at one time. Folks get used to abundance. It is interesting, too, that part of the role of progress is to keep abundant consumption easily available.

EOD, among many issues, has made citizens aware of wastefulness. The use of cows to provide protein is a popular issue. Raising cattle requires land, machinery, feed, and time that far outweighs the cost of “ourselves eating the grass in the first place”; using the grain family to provide protein is immeasurably more efficient – why let the cows eat it first?

Large corporations like Proctor and Gamble are actively looking for a replacement for single-use plastics. There is so much waste in the US that it has been shipped to a half dozen other nations for processing. The volume is so great that these countries have stopped receiving US trash. What will the US do with it? The sensible answer is to stop producing it.

Other than surrealistic agronomic solutions to offset wasteful consumption of the environment, other than preventing mining, deforestation and excessive entrepreneurship to abuse the biosphere, EOD can be extended purely by self-conscious conservation. Is someone enjoying being too fat – beyond normal body types? Contribute to extending EOD by eating less and stop consuming frivolously – that includes all of life’s purchases not just food. In mariner’s town, every family seems to own at least five gas or electric yard toys. Could a little more elbow grease push the EOD later in the year?

Mariner’s mind wanders speculatively. Today, environmentalism, eliminating gourmand behavior in everything, and commitment to a better world by every definition can significantly delay the Armageddon of a world consumed.

Ancient Mariner

 

 

Thoughts on Economics

Mariner is not an educated economist. Nevertheless, he seeks common sense relationships that make an economy work and he flavors the numbers with human reality. This flavoring is important to regular human beings who, not being career economists, are not bound solely by interpretations of profit, loss and growth.

An economy flows in a long, somewhat circuitous river that starts in rural areas and small businesses everywhere and like the mighty Mississippi River, feeds into larger and larger economies that eventually reflect the generalized circumstances of a national economy. If the economy dries up at any point, the ‘flow’ stops; words like depression and recession prevail; an example is the coal industry in West Virginia. On the other hand, the economy can flow too fast, which is like the flooding of the Mississippi after significant rainfall; the word becomes inflation – a condition where investment values drop, as in a flooded home; a dollar in hand this morning will buy less tomorrow morning. A few insights:

  1. There are several relatively independent branches of the economic river, e.g., manufacturing, agriculture, investment (stock market, cash savings), services (very large including restaurants, health, transportation, etc.), engineering, and telecommunications. Not a complete list but one gets the idea.
  2. At the state level, economics is fifty separate branches of the economic river. Each state is responsible for the flow of economics within its borders. Modern economic times have altered this independence as corporations grew and merged and as population has shifted, taking income with it.
  3. The Internet has had a profound impact on the relationship of a region, with its geographic ties to productivity, versus the imposition of production from elsewhere, even beyond national borders. Two examples are Walmart and Amazon. Local businesses are disappearing very rapidly. Further, the profits from local sales are not recorded in the local region but reflect income at the home office of the corporation.
  4. What provides current in the economic river is something called Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Typically, one learns about GDP for the nation during news broadcasts. Actually GDP can represent something as small as a neighborhood or small town. GDP consists entirely of how much income is generated within a defined region – including businesses and all residents (AKA jobs).
  5. Until the late 1980’s when computerization and new US economic policy shifted dramatically, GDP was tied almost exclusively to actual production, that is, stuff that is made or grown. A significant shift in how to generate income was launched during the bountiful years of the nineties: investment became as important as making things. The US went from manufacturing to investment.

Suddenly it was more profitable to ship production overseas where production costs were lower than it was to stay in the US. In the abstract, this new economy opened an era of international GDP, e.g., Trans Pacific Partnership, but at the same time reduced the job security that was had in the days of ‘made in America.’ (One can speculate whether this was the source of Donald’s base) Adding insult to injury, many corporations and capitalist-minded entrepreneurs invested their profits in offshore banks to avoid paying taxes – and to forego investing in the US economy.

 

Given these insights, that is the state of affairs in the US economy at present. But as the street-wise aphorism says, “The times they are achangin.” Two huge areas of new history are upon the citizenry and upon the responsibilities of government policy and business practices: Cloud technology and climate change.

֎ Cloud Technology[1]. Awesome. Beyond imagination. It is hard to imagine how Cloud technology (CT) will change everything without exception. Will a ‘job’ exist after CT? Will GDP be measurable in any geographic manner? Will any governmental border matter? Google has always had a stated goal: to know everything there is to know in the world. This includes one’s privacy not just in the home but wherever one is, whatever one is doing, and what one had for breakfast. CT will know when one needs new shoes or an oil change – if there is ‘oil’ in future machines. On New Year’s Eve, CT will pick one out of the densest crowd in Times Square in New York City.

CT, coupled with a faster Internet, will not need to be aware of time zones; all data around the world will be instantaneous. Mariner could go on with matters of awe but the big question is, what will CT do to economics – not just in the US but everywhere? Today, investment strategies count on the delay of stock markets opening in a staggering fashion as the world turns. This single strategy will not be available in the world of instant data. International stock exchanges will, in fact, be one giant stock exchange. It will be impossible to keep anything secret – even perhaps what one will name their newborn baby (Has the name been discussed in hearing distance of Alexis? Can one imagine receiving promotions for babywear that already has the unborn baby’s name on it?).

Still, the main issue is jobs. Another aspect of CT is artificial intelligence. Middle management will take a big hit. So will truck drivers, factory workers, fast food employees, and tens of thousands of person-to-person jobs like tax preparers, retail salespeople and primary care physicians. Further, the role of cash will change. Don’t underestimate cryptocurrency; if properly instituted, one will no longer need cash just as, increasingly, one will no longer need storefront shopping.

CT requires a mountain of economic policy change in the federal government. For this reason alone, voters must not be distracted by party shenanigans, racism, incompetent elected officials or plutocratic domination of ‘our’ government. Without starting another post, vote sensibly in 2020.

֎ Climate Change. Naysayers take advantage of the slow pace of Planet Earth compared to the lifespan of a human being. In January, “Where is global warming now?” or “There have been hot Junes as long as I remember” or “Fossil fuels aren’t the cause.” Well, actual, Donald-proof evidence says it is happening; it has been happening; it will accelerate throughout the rest of this century.

For the sake of brevity, mariner will describe just one issue raised by climate change: rising sea level. There are other ramifications like increased volcanic and earthquake occurrences, extensive extinction of life including plants and especially the ocean environment, and severe changes in drought and rainfall across all regions of the planet that will significantly alter agricultural economies and threaten sufficient food to feed a population approaching 11 billion people.

Rising sea level is the most disruptive and expensive phenomenon associated with climate change – even though it is within the capability of humans to manage it. Today there are those who gripe and complain about immigration around 100,000 to 150,000 at one general location in the US. Consider this issue as practice for relocating people, jobs, homes, churches, factories and specialized services for 11.6 million citizens of the larger cities at sea level from New York to New Orleans. Of course it will be a lot easier because the US has about a decade to pull it off . . . mariner jokes.

What makes population migration scary is that these massive relocations of entire societies will happen around the world. London: 8.9 million; The Indian Sundarbans in India: 13 million; Hong Kong: 7.4 million; Tokyo and Yokohama: 11.8 million. And this is just a sampling.

It will be expensive. So expensive that many smaller economies will become bankrupt. Even the US is in danger of economic instability as it helps pay for relocation of new homes, businesses, health services and other important social functions. How about interstates and airports? Must they be relocated and rebuilt? On and on. Sadly, many island nations will be gone.

These are mariner’s thoughts on the US economy. Nevertheless, enjoy a warm, warm summer.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Cloud technology: cloud computing is storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of accessing private computer hard drives. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet but is paired with banks of very high speed computers that can share processing. Limits to data storage and retrieval virtually do not exist; response is instantaneous anywhere in the world.

Democratic Debates – 2

Kamala Harris won the ‘remember me’ contest with her impassioned description of being bussed to school. It also pointed out something about Joe. Joe is an old school politician. His career was in a time when legislators were collaborators and in public, at least, dialogue was polite. Make no mistake, Joe is a seasoned politician but his perspective on the realities of Congress does not match the Congress of the 21st century. Today party politics is a dirty business devoid of statesmanship. What counts is raising lobby money and voting a hard line in an effort to beat the other party.

Donald doesn’t help. He provides no reasoned leadership to help balance the agenda of Congress. Congress is no more sophisticated than dodge ball. One could legitimately say that the Federal government is in disarray – including the Supreme Court who, similar to the political parties, produces decisions that don’t help the nation.

Many sociologists blame all this dysfunction on the high speed shift of world politics, technology, the Internet, morphing economics, and an over extended era of out-of-date mores. In the gap between yesterday and tomorrow, plutocracy and authoritarianism grow like nasty weeds in the garden of democracy.

It is a good sign that 15.3 million people viewed debate number one. The electorate has a degree of awareness that the 2020 election is not just another election. With a single election, a broken government must be repaired and a new leader must be found to steer the ship of state into the troubled waters of tomorrow.

Simultaneous to the time of the election, Congress must, must create a new economic direction. At the moment, the only concept on the table is the Green New Deal. It will restore honest jobs and wages to a lean working class; it will set an agenda for technology; it will redirect energy resources away from fossil fuels; most importantly, it will focus the nation’s attention on a war greater than any in history: climate change.

22 republican senators face reelection in 2020. Even more important than defeating Donald – if that can be imagined – is to take the Senate out of the hands of republicans. Republicans need time to reflect on how the world has shifted the concept of conservatism – else they will only increase the pain of dealing with rapid change.

Ancient Mariner

 

Climate

Climate change isn’t just an issue in the western hemisphere or in big cities.

The Indian Sundarbans—a 4,000-square-mile archipelago that has been designated a World Heritage site[1], sits on the Bay of Bengal and is shared by India and Bangladesh. The region has a rich ecosystem that supports the world’s largest mangrove forest and several hundred animal species, including the endangered Bengal tiger. It is home to approximately 13 million people.

All of this could disappear in just a few decades. The Sundarban archipelago is one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change in the world; 70 percent of the land is just a few feet above sea level. In some parts of the region, the sea already is advancing about 200 yards per year. Mousuni Island, in particular, is experiencing the worst effects of the changing climate. Coastal erosion, floods, salinity ingression, and increasingly violent storms have rendered most of the land barren.[2] [Atlantic video]

How does one relocate 13 million people?

Further . . .

According to a new report from the United Nations, the population of the planet could rise from its current 7.7 billion to 10.9 billion by the year 2100. [Fivethirtyeight.com]

It occurs to mariner that climate change is extremely pervasive not only to physical stuff like buildings, roads or financial stuff like economic stability but to the scale of managing humans – moving them around, feeding them, housing them, sustaining social functionality – is a massive problem governments haven’t thought about. It makes the current global immigration issue look miniscule.

It occurs to mariner as well that individual governments are charged first with the wellbeing of their own population and economy which automatically creates political conflict when addressing the hardships of other countries in the same bind. Let’s hope the United Nations is up to overseeing a truly global confrontation above and beyond national sovereignty.

And last . . .

Permafrost in the Arctic is not so perma anymore. A University of Alaska Fairbanks team on expedition in the Canadian Arctic was “astounded” to find that permafrost there was thawing 70 years earlier than predicted. The permafrost — “giant subterranean ice blocks” — had been frozen solid for thousands of years. [The Guardian]

Ancient Mariner

 

[1] a natural or man-made site, area, or structure recognized as being of outstanding international importance and therefore as deserving special protection. Sites are nominated to and designated by the World Heritage Convention (an organization of UNESCO).

[2] To view video, see https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/591832/climate-refugees/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=video-series-editors-picks&utm_content=20190618&silverid-ref=NDkwMjIzMjA1Mjg2S0

In the News

֎ [Newsy] New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that would eliminate religious exemptions for children’s vaccinations amid an ongoing measles outbreak. Under the new law, children who attend school or daycare can only be exempted from vaccine requirements if they have a medical reason. In a statement, Cuomo said: “The science is crystal clear: Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe. This administration has taken aggressive action to contain the measles outbreak, but given its scale, additional steps are needed to end this public health crisis.” Opponents of the bill say it violates religious freedoms and that they’ll continue to fight for their rights. The U.S. is currently facing one of the worst measles outbreaks in decades. In Rockland County, New York, there have been more than 260 confirmed cases since June 12.

Vaccination is a classic example of confrontation between freedom of religion and freedom of state. The largest religions address the common good in their doctrine but there are uncountable variations and assumptions in religious practice. The same is true of most governments; they are founded on principles of common good but the interpretation of common good runs to irrational extremes.

Common good must prevail else humanity may not survive. At its simplest, humans are a tribal species. Sans an available vaccine, the black plague wiped out sixty percent of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century. Regarding the issue of vaccination, whose freedoms take priority? Solutions require some doctrinal or legislative adjustment; whose common good is more important? Can one imagine a Venn diagram solution? Mariner leaves this issue with the reader to reconcile.

Ancient Mariner

Are Government Budgets Adequate?

Mariner, like many citizens, notices that the 114th Congress (January 3, 2017, to January 3, 2019) left the nation $21,683,971,652,591.44 in debt. For clarification, that’s 21 TRillion; it’s a record; Republicans held both houses, which is ironic. Despite this indebtedness, Republicans along with Donald fight to keep tax policies in place that guarantee insolvency without even considering new costs related to infrastructure et al. However, the grenade in the well is not any current budgetary conflict. It is the cost of climate change. The next paragraph is the latest assessment and targets thirty years from today:

֎ [curbed.com] A growing body of work underscores the dangers facing coastal real estate. In addition to the “Underwater” report, the U.S. government’s most recent National Climate Assessment found that between $66 billion and $106 billion of real estate will be below sea level by 2050, and that within an eighth of a mile of U.S. coastline lie businesses and homes valued at a total of $1.4 trillion [will be below sea level].

That’s current value. What would it cost for mariner or the reader to trash their current residence (who wants to buy a home underwater?), purchase new property in an increasingly competitive real estate market, and build a comparable home at three times the original cost? If mariner figures rightly, the cost is more like $4.6 trillion. These stakes are too rich for state governments to even imagine what could be underwritten by a state tax base.

Racist conservatives are discontent with the rate of immigration on the southern border. Wait until they realize that a wholly American emigration of 280,000 citizens will encroach on everyone’s backyards. Housing, already a troublesome topic, will suffer its own tidal wave of space, cost and adequacy.

Mariner’s assumption is that the US will suffer severe solvency issues (spelled ‘depression’) if the tax code is not seriously retargeted to garner trillion dollar amounts to cover costs above and beyond infrastructure and discretionary spending – to say nothing of building a wall and going to war with somebody, anybody will do.

Ancient Mariner

We must talk

Everyone is aware of the topic ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’. The difficulty is that there is no actual definition, experience or data that defines these terms. Clouding the dialogue is conflict between naysayers, entrepreneurs, ostrich heads, unprepared government representatives and science. The casual attitude by most around the world is, “Well, maybe. But it’s too far in the future for me to worry about.”

The reality is that climate change officially began with the first report of atmospheric modification back in 1853. The primary culprit is known today as burning fossil fuels. What is hard to accept is the gradual change – ever so slight – of weather, planet behavior, environmental degradation and other subtleties such as the effect of eliminating forests, open chemical drainage and destroying estuaries and tidal plains in the name of real estate development.

A record-setting amount of damage has occurred across the planet – including the United States – that no longer can be denied. Something is different. It is destructive, expensive and takes lives. Storms are stronger; rain is heavier; drought is prolonged; atmospheric quality affects health. If mariner may use an analogy, visiting with a cow and calf is pleasant until more cows come running; and even more cows come running. A pleasant interlude with one cow becomes a life-threatening stampede. Since about 1970-90, the rate of change has shifted slowly from arithmetic to geometric, that is, the rate of change was moving along at 1,2,3,4,5,6…. Recently, the rate of change has shifted to 1,2,4,8,16,32….

Even the US Congress, bless them, is preparing a disaster relief bill with a budget in the billions and both parties are collaborating. Climate change must be serious!!! The cost of climate change perhaps is the most threatening aspect, capable of bringing the nation’s economy to its knees.

USNews just released an article that begins to provide measurable data. A summary is below; remember that when the term “in the next century” is used, that doesn’t mean it will start in the next century; it indeed already has begun. Metaphorically, the cows already are multiplying.

[USNews] A report released Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that the homes of nearly 3.9 million Americans are at risk of flooding by the next century if the sea level rises one foot, as many climate scientists have predicted. While usual suspects such as New Orleans, southern Florida and the Manhattan section of New York City are at great risk, some more surprising areas also have large populations living less than a meter above sea level. Ben Strauss, director of the Program on Sea Level Rise at Climate Central, told us which states are most at risk of devastating floods during the next 100 years.

Georgia – 28,000 people living in 127 square miles of low-lying land are at risk of being flooded.

Massachusetts – Only about 32 square miles of Massachusetts is vulnerable to being flooded, but it’s a dense area, with about 52,400 people at risk.

North Carolina – 58,000 people living in more than 40 towns and municipalities in North Carolina are in danger of flooding, according to Strauss’ report. The state is prone to hurricanes, although it has largely avoided major damage in recent years.

South Carolina – In 1989, hurricane Hugo pounded downtown Charleston with five-foot high walls of water, damaging three quarters of homes in the historic district. Strauss says the area is especially vulnerable to flooding. In the state, 60,000 residents live in dangerous low-lying areas.

Virginia – Strauss says Norfolk is at the most risk in Virginia—about 75,000 people live in the state’s 120 square miles of low-lying dry land.

New Jersey – New Jersey only had 67 square miles of dry land in the “danger zone,” but more than 154,000 people live in those areas, putting the Garden State at risk.

New York – Last month, a researcher said that storm swells could easily devastate Manhattan over the next 100 years, and Strauss wrote that the city had a “one-inch escape from Hurricane Irene.” Manhattan has sea walls, but with 300,000 people living less than a meter above sea level, they’re at risk, Strauss says.

California – “In southern California, you never think of coastal floods,” Strauss says. Southern California often gets storms that push the high tide line three feet above sea level, but it rarely goes above that. “By middle century, when you have a foot of sea level rise, they’ll be seeing water to four feet regularly. There’s a lot of development and assets between three and four feet,” Strauss says, adding that relatively flat areas such as Huntington Beach and Long Beach are at the most risk. More than 325,000 people live less than a meter above sea level.

Louisiana – “The odds for extreme coastal floods have already increased dramatically for most locations we’ve studied,” says Strauss. No one knows that better than the people of Louisiana, who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More than 888,000 people live in the 1,180 square miles of dry land less than a meter above sea level, by far the largest vulnerable area in the United States.

Florida – More than 1.6 million people live in the 638 square miles of Florida’s coast that are less than one meter above sea level. Strauss says South Florida will likely have to migrate to higher ground, because the bedrock off the coast of Miami is “like Swiss cheese,” making it impossible to build a sea wall.

Globally, there are ten nations that may not survive economically:

Bangladesh – Climatic changes: A tropical monsoon country, Bangladesh is prone to floods, tropical cyclones, and tornadoes, which occur almost every year, and now the low-lying country is suffering increased rainfall, cyclones and rising sea levels. Over the coming decades it is estimated that 20 million climate refugees will emerge from Bangladesh.

Guinea Bissau – Not to be confused with Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, or Papua New Guinea, Guinea Bissau is soon to be placed on the map in its own right, no longer to be mixed up with other similar-sounding countries.

Guinea Bissau experiences a monsoon-like rainy season alternating with hot, dry winds blowing from the Sahara. Rainfall has become irregular and unpredictable. The coastal lowlands are exposed to increasing rising tides due to thermal ocean expansion, which in turn increases the risk of flooding. Damage to infrastructure and loss of water security are already felt keenly, as is the loss of food security due to the loss of fish stocks and coral reefs, soil degradation and decreased agricultural yields. Guinea Bissau already is heavily dependent on foreign aid.

Sierra Leone – Sierra Leone’s climate is tropical, with a rainy season and a dry season which brings cool, dry winds from the Sahara. The population is now threatened by climate change-related droughts, storms, floods, landslides, heatwaves and altered rainfall patterns. Crop production is highly vulnerable to prolonged droughts interspersed with heavy rainfall, rendering Sierra Leone another country at high risk from threats to food and water security.

Haiti – Haiti’s climate is characterized by two seasons: the wet and the dry. Heavier rainfall is now occurring in the wet season, hurricanes are more frequent and less predictable, and sea level rise is a major concern. Climate projections, however, indicate a hotter and drier future for Haiti with decreased precipitation overall. Unseasonable droughts have caused widespread crop failure in recent years. Less than 2% of Haiti’s forest cover remains since the 1915-1934 US occupation, which oversaw the majority of deforestation due to concentrated land ownership for plantations.

South Sudan – South Sudan’s climate is tropical equatorial with a humid rainy season – with vast amounts of precipitation – and a drier season. However, climate change has delayed and shortened the rainy season, and drought has become an increasing concern.

Nigeria – Nigeria’s oil-based economy is set to suffer greatly, likely impacting the funds required to address climate change. Nigeria is already experiencing drier weather, particularly in the northern Sahel region, and droughts are increasing in frequency and severity.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – The DRC is the richest nation on earth in terms of natural resources, and the most biodiverse African country, yet one of the poorest nations on Earth, with 70% of the population living below the poverty line. The predicted increase in frequency of floods, droughts and heatwaves, is expected to impact agricultural productivity and livelihoods. Deforestation and land degradation due to mining are exacerbating these climate-related disasters

Cambodia – Climate change is expected to amplify already existing problems of water scarcity, agricultural failure and food insecurity. Extreme flooding is predicted to endanger the agriculture that supports the majority of the population. Extreme heat is also predicted.

Philippines – The term super-typhoon is set to become a fixture in climate-related vocabulary. Rising sea levels place the Philippines in a particularly vulnerable position, and increase the threat of storm surges that inundate vast coastal regions, threatening their populations who will be forced to migrate en masse if they are to escape the effects of food insecurity and loss of shelter and livelihood that result.

Ethiopia – Small-scale farmers – which make up 85% of the Ethiopian population – are expected to bear the brunt of climate change-induced drought in Ethiopia, resulting in water scarcity and food insecurity. Crops have failed and cattle are dying; it is probable that Ethiopia will experience more famines on the scale for which the nation is famed.

Mariner is confident of two situations occurring: Even as the world has not figured out how to deal with emigration, emigration will continue to worsen especially in a decade or two when the effects of climate change dramatically change weather patterns; migration of US citizens will cost billions and affect everything from housing to jobs. The second is a global depression. GDP will suffer significantly at the same time the cost of climate change is beginning to affect national economies.

Thanks to USNews, Shift Magazine and Maplecroft.com for providing much of the detail in this post.

– – – –

OF NOTE

Barbara Res, a construction manager in the early 1980s, recalled:

“We met with the architect to go over the elevator-cab interiors at Trump Tower, and there were little dots next to the numbers. Trump asked what the dots were, and the architect said, “It’s braille.” Trump was upset by that. He said, “Get rid of it.” The architect said, “I’m sorry; it’s the law.” This was before the Americans With Disabilities Act, but New York City had a law. Trump’s exact words were: “No blind people are going to live in this building.” [June Atlantic]

Ancient Mariner

Did you know?

Day to day, we forget that if the billions of years of life on Earth were scaled to a twenty-four hour day, our settled civilizations began about a fifth of a second ago. [Falter, McKibben]

This implies that the existence of humanity, regardless of many years of human life ahead, is but a microscopic blip in the history of the Planet. The dinosaurs (during the Mesozoic Era inclusive of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods) existed for over 170 million years. So far, the Homo clan has existed for 2.2 million years; modern humans, the troublesome sapiens kind, have existed only for 200,000 years.

There is scientific debate about the cause of extinction for dinosaurs. One or the other or both a large asteroid and/or excessive volcanic activity blocked the sunlight and caused atmospheric gases that made life impossible for dinosaurs – although virtually every other creature made it through this catastrophe in one way or another. The survival of other species suggests that the end of the Cretaceous Period was a slower change in the environment. Some scientists think while both catastrophes may have contributed to the extinction, they suggest the real cause was a more gradual shift in climate and changing sea levels.

Does that sound familiar? Humans are not blessed with asteroids but from time to time, large volcanoes have disrupted daily life around the planet. Just to be sure, though, humans have fossil fuels to create a warming climate and changing sea levels.

Another study suggests that the dinosaurs were overpopulated and suffering from disease and malnutrition during the end of the Cretacious. Humans have that covered, too, with excessive global population and intentional starvation across much of the Planet.

Mother Nature is not deterred from her strict laws for survival. Mother Nature is the spirit of the Planet – not of any life form per se. As to troublemaking humans, she says, “Capitalism, shmapitalism; profit, shmofit; AI, shmai – humans have never been in charge and never will be.”

Humans snub their noses and say they will leave Earth and live elsewhere in the cosmos. Where? On another planet?

Ancient Mariner

 

Oh My, Oh My

Not enough to worry about? Here’s more:

֎ A new paper, based on highly detailed observations taken using the Hubble Space Telescope, appears to confirm that everything in the Universe is expanding too fast – 9 percent too fast. [LiveScience.com]

֎ According to an annual Gallup poll of more than 150,000 people around the world, Americans are among the most stressed-out people on Earth. Fifty-five percent experienced stress during “a lot” of the previous day. That’s compared with 35 percent of stressed-out folks globally. [The New York Times]

֎ If you weigh the Earth’s terrestrial vertebrates, humans account for 30% of their total mass, and our farm animals for another 67%, meaning wild animals (all the moose and cheetahs and wombats combined) total just 3%. In fact, there are half as many wild animals on the planet as there were in 1970. [Falter, Has the Human Game begun to play itself out? Bill McKibben, Henry Holt]

֎ Earth Overshoot Day marks the date by which all of humanity has used more of our natural resources than the planet can renew in the entire year. In 2018, it fell on August 1. This means we are using the resources of 1.7 earths at present. We are using more resources than the earth can provide, largely through overfishing, cutting down our forests, and other unsustainable practices. [The Royal Gazette]

֎ Will we still be able to visit Treasure Island in the Bahamas when 80% of the islands will be under water by 2100? [Bahamas Association of Young Professionals]

֎A survey of nearly 800 top business leaders around the world listed global recession as their biggest concern for 2019. [Chicago Tribune]

֎The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sounding the alarm on a potentially life-threatening super fungus spreading across the United States. The deadly yeast fungus is called Candida auris and it’s lurking in hospitals and nursing homes. Nearly 600 cases have been confirmed across the United States, the CDC reports. While a majority of those cases are in New York, Illinois and New Jersey, several other states have each reported at least one case. More than one in three people with an invasive Candida auris infection can die, according to Illinois health department officials.[KCCI8, Des Moines]

Ancient Mariner