Sunday, June 19, 2011

Surviving the Ice Age

I'd like to welcome author A. R. Norris as our guest blogger today on Spacefreighters Lounge.  A.R. just released her SFR novel, Duty and Devotion, on June 15th from Desert Breeze Publishing.

It's coming. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. Will humans be ready? Today I want to outline my thoughts on the Ice Age planning. It won't be quick, thank goodness. But, the key is seeing the signs. *sigh* The old adage of "hindsight is 20/20" takes on a very depressing twist.

Of course, at what point do you shift from warning to planning to implementing? And who's doing this now? *Deep breath* Okay, okay. Enough drilling you. You probably don't know these answers any better than I do.

The ice age, when it officially is declared, will last at least twenty thousand years, minimum. It will creep up on us. The weather will become weird, with each year more extreme and recovering less than the last. Deserts will start to reforest, Amazon will change into a desert and those countries north and south of the equator will began to transform into permafrost wastelands.

Two or three generations later our descendants will look around and go, "Hey...uh oh."

How much will the ice age cover the Earth? Well, the ice age 850 million years ago (and lasted a couple hundred thousand years) was glaciated to the equator. Yup, full blown ice planet.

Now, I'd like to keep a positive mind (shhh...quiet) and believe the best in humanity (SHHHH). Our ingenuity, perseverance, and...okay, face it, the need to self preservation will drive us into survival mode. So, what do we need to do?

First, cover the basic human requirements: food, shelter, water, warmth/heat. Okay not too bad. Already there is science being developed to regenerate food: through cloning, algea based growth, and hydroponic vegetation techniques. And there are viable architectural drawings already created by futurists for civilization domes...just waiting for good incentives and approved permits. Having icicles growing on your local politician's bum should rush those along easily enough. It'll be tight and we'll have to factor in the thickening ice sheets, so we don't end up buried. As for water...we can just develop a water system that processes all the ice outside. Easy peasy!

Shelter and energy will answer the warmth/heat part of survival. Now what?

*Groan* Oh yeah, social infrastructure. Every city needs to run smoothly. That means things like energy, transportation, communication, waste processing, financial, manufacturing/business, and cultural.
All right, we also have well established alternative energy techniques such as solar panels and exploratory techniques, such as capturing movement energy (where floors are built with energy capturing technology). Transportation, same thing, we have energy efficient transportation systems and vehicles. Waste will be a little more difficult, but I think with the right vehicle and processing system we can overcome that with a little effort and a huge decomposition campaign. With the whole green movement in the last few decades we should have that down like rock stars.

The biggest issue I see humans facing is the financial, business and cultural aspects of a new Earth. Financially we'll break, completely. Those who are poor will get poorer and those who are richer will get richer. That's the way of human nature, unfortunately. Hopefully, society will immerge from this without ruining the safety of their shelter and infrastructure...and throw us into some kind of dystopian and/or utilitarian society.

Thankfully, sisters Nettie and Rinny from Duty and Devotion were not around when the ice age first hit...or during the rough transition period. In fact, humans have thrived and seeded out to populate the Solar System. Earth as become the equivalent of Washington D.C., but on a solar system level.

Unfortunately for them, humans have populated the System enough to begin fighting over territory with the neighboring outer government. Now, the two are heading to war. Their father, a corporate dignitary wouldn't have it any other way. Due to the fact that the story is set in space, I didn't get a chance to explore the Earth society, but the excerpt does give us Nettie's departure from the planet.


The discussion died away and after a small pause, Nettie again looked out the window. Windmore City's dome began its simulation of sunrise in the distance, cascading yellow to burnt orange from the base of the dome up. The temperature dropped to a crisp and cool midfifty to complete the program. The tall glass buildings, in reflection of the dome, turned from blackish silver to various hues of red, pink, and orange.

Hard to believe, just beyond the protection of the dome was frozen land. Earth, a barren ice ball for over five hundred years, stayed in a state of constant blizzard. The domes recreated the old surface, but it wasn't real. No one could even be quite sure of its accuracy.


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Hope you liked the excerpt. If you want to learn more about me, stop by my blog: Adventures of a Sci-Fi Writer or email me at

Duty and Devotion is available at Desert Breeze, All Romance Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and the Apple iBookstore.

Image sources:
Ice Age Planet Image source:
City Dome Image


  1. Well another ice age is going to happen one day, I'm sure. I just wonder if the planet will survive that long! Everything would go under the ice, I think. It would be blinding on the surface. And yes, the rich would be fine as they always are and the poor woulnd't get into the shelters anyway. They couldn't survive without a complex infrastructure but how many nations could afford that. Then again, by the time it cools down, maybe there would be no nations, just world citizenship!

  2. Thank you Sharon, Donna, and Laurie for having me on today. I loved expanding on this idea.

    @Barbara. LOL, yes, who knows what kind of condition the Earth will be in when it hits. Thankfully (for the Earth anyways) the ice age will reset everything. I agree though, most likely our governments (or government if we're combined by that time) won't give enough thought into the sheer complexity of what we'll need. My feelings? The poor will be "sacrificed"...which will lead to unprisings and conflicts (rightly so).

  3. I believe in the best of humanity too. Some of these types of inventions are already being made. Just yesterday my hubby sent me a link to a news story about a Japanese man who has successfully created artificial meat using...human excrement. Yep. His tasters said it tastes like meat. How does one come up with an idea to do that? I can hear Bill Engvall joking in my head. LOL. "Hey, that crap looks mighty tasty. Wonder if I can make that into a real sausage?"

    Seriously, I can imagine domed cities with limited animal protein sources using an invention like this.

    Me? I think I'll diet that day. LOL.

  4. ROFL! Anna...I'm...speechless. You have blew my mind. (I guess that answers the main concern I had about waste management.)

  5. I just saw an article a couple of days ago about sunspot activity disappearing. This happened before back in the 1600s and lasts about 70 years. For yet unknown reasons, this creates a mini-ice age effect. We have documentation and the observations of scientists last time around. Even if not a full-blown, glaciers, etc., the colder weather will mean crop failures and starvation in the less mechanized parts of the world. It ain't going to be pretty. However, we will have some practice for a few decades contending with a massive change in the weather. The only mitigating factor in the 21st C. is that the global warming we are experiencing might actually save our butts. Ironic, eh?

  6. Oh wow, Anna. I think I'll diet that day, too! But I can see how...uh..."recycled foods" might be in our future. Our age of plenty may be coming to a rapid close. With the backslide of our space exploration program, our only option may be to find a way to survive insurvivable climates on Earth. Domed cities, underway cities, and cave cities may all be solutions, but the way we eat and consume resources will change drastically.

    If, as Barbara mentioned, we even survive as a species that long.

    Thanks for a fascinating and thought-provoking article, A. R.

  7. @ Marva - a test run. You're right, that might be our saving grace.

    @Laura - In this instance, let's just hope it's a government-kept secret. I don't imagine how the world will be too accepting of it if it were public knowledge.

    Space exploration program...argh! I was so frustrated by the deterioration of our space program (even before the recent decisions). All that hard work and progress, down the tube. However, my hope now is that the private sector will kick in and start making headway where NASA left off.

  8. I saw that article about the mini ice age, too. If i had to eat meat made of poo, I'd become a vegetarian! LOL! And I too have been mourning NASA's slide. So sad. I recall the first venture into space, etc. (Yes, I'm that old!). The book sounds fun! Congrats on the release!

  9. OMG, Anna... Most definitely, I'll become a vegetarian!! Perhaps I'll be long gone and dead by the.

    Great post AR! Love it. I'm heading over to Amazon now to get your book.

  10. Sorry, I was feeling a bit silly yesterday. LOL.

    I was really saddened by the decline of the space program. So was my son who wants to fly the Shuttle someday.

    Another global ice age definitely wouldn't be pretty.


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