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Friday, November 4, 2011

Okay, it really is time to start work on that ark. Pack up your belongings. Head for the hills. Forget buying gold or finding that elusive “safe” investment on Wall Street. Accumulate heirloom seeds. Tools. Simple technologies for moving water and generating power. The end is near.

Yes, folks, in the latest chapter of our chronicle of the end times, confirmation comes from two widely disparate observers. First, from the trenches, we have the wisdom of a veteran of the climate change wars in New Jersey after this week’s freak early snowstorm snapped power lines and plunged the Northeast into darkness. He says we must have made Mother Nature angry (or, ahem, words to that effect). How else to explain last year’s brutal winter, followed by spring floods and the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene?

But if the word of the man in the snowbank isn’t good enough for you, consider the results of a two-year study by physicist and noted global-warming skeptic Richard Muller. Guess what? Muller says. The Earth really is getting warmer, not just in the cities and not just because of unreliable data. As a result of his study, Muller has come over from the Dark Side and joined the vast majority of the scientific community in pointing out that the changes in the Earth’s climate are not only measurable, but comprehensive and accelerating.

As Jerry North, the Texas A&M University atmospheric sciences professor who headed up a National Academy of Sciences climate science review in 2006 puts it, “After lots of work he found exactly what was already known and accepted in the climate community.” Um, yeah.

Meanwhile, things are just getting hotter here on Planet Earth. New figures for 2010 show the largest jump ever in the world’s production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. We can thank China and India, with their reliance on coal-burning, and ourselves, too, since the U.S. is also one of the top three producers of the heat-trapping gases. All in all, the factories and vehicles of the world pumped six percent more carbon into the atmosphere in 2010, a “monster” increase that’s unheard of, according to Gregg Marland, professor of geology at Appalachian State University.

And this in a year when the world was in a slowdown economically, when people were supposedly driving less, when factories were idle.

Would it be too much to ask to envision a recovery that does not require that we cannibalize ourselves to feed its growth? Have we truly forgotten how to dream of a future that creates without destroying?

Think fast, all you geologists and climatologists. Think outside the box, all you inventors of whatever branch of science. May you be inspired, whether you work in a lab or a garage or on a computer in your basement. We need ideas.

Time is short.

(Data and quotes taken from “Scientist changes tune, agrees world is warming,” and “Biggest jump ever in warming gases,” by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, THE FREE-LANCE STAR, Fredericksburg, VA, November 1, 2011, November 4, 2011.)


Donna’s Journal

Action!
Okay, okay! The deadline for entering the 2012 RWA Golden Heart contest is November 15 and I have OFFICIALLY ENTERED! I went all out and put in both my finished manuscripts--who knows, maybe the third time will be the charm for Unchained Memory. If not, Trouble in Mind may catch someone's eye. Fingers crossed!

Ping Pong


It has been tremendous fun thinking through all the questions posed by Sharon's recent postings on genre (The Writer's Journey) and the SF/R debate (Who R We Really?)and carrying on a great ongoing discussion with Sharon and others in the comments section. If you've somehow missed out on all that, scroll down and catch up. We'd love to know how you think about all this, too!

Cheers, Donna

10 comments:

  1. Good for you, Donna! Go for it. I think you have an excellent shot at the big GH!

    And I totally agree on global warming. What's really scary is that as our atmosphere heats up, things could happen that speed up the process, such as the release of massive amounts of methane trapped in the ocean floor (an even more devastating greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide), and/or disruption of the ocean conveyor, either of which could result in catastrophic climate changes.

    We have the technology to curb the impact to Earth's ecology, but are we willing to live with the changes to our daily lives and pocketbooks required to implement them?

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  2. Good luck in Golden Heart, Donna!

    You bring up some great points on global warming. Heck, we as SFR authors don't have to create other worlds that are in trouble-- we have all the fodder we need right here.

    It seems we've created a cushy monster and we like to be cushy. As a society are we even willing to give up a few creature comforts in order to save our world?

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  3. That's a great question, Kaye. I think the decision is clear--pay now or pay later. The choice is ours.

    Have you heard the news that one of the possible casualties of global warming will be...coffee! Seriously, if that doesn't smack millions of people with a wake up call (uh...so to speak), nothing will. And that's not all. Chocolate may go extinct, too. Imagine a planet without coffee and chocolate! And that's only the begining...

    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/10/23/345071/cbs-abc-joke-about-global-warmings-effect-on-coffee-when-will-the-media-start-talking-seriously-about-food-security/

    We can be a very short-sighted species. We tend to laugh things off in denial and refuse to react until something impacts us personally and permanently. Unfortunately by the time we encounter the irreversible damage that's happening to our climate right now, what we take for granted today could soon be a part of our history.

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  4. Thanks, all of y'all for your encouragement! You're the best! :-)

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  5. Oh my, my! No more coffee or chocolate? What would we do?? I am reminded of the scene from SGU where Rush (main scientist character) goes a bit crazy. It turns out he is having withdrawals from not having his coffee. They are stuck on an ancient spaceship with no comforts at all. Survival is the key and that's basically it.

    You are right, Laurie. But it is my view that we as a species will probably not fix it in time. Ruled by greed, there just aren't enough people, especially the ones in high places, interested in the future of the Earth. Let's hope I'm wrong.

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  6. Unfortunately, Kaye, I fear you're right.

    We're taking the equivalent of baby steps to fix a global problem when we should be running marathons to find solutions. It's the Scarlet Syndrome: "I'll worry about it tomorrow."

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  7. FIngers crossed, Donna! I think this is gonna be your year.

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