“Ordinary” People and Global Warming

by Alton C. Thompson

Global warming dwarfs—by far!—all other problems that we Americans—we humans, in fact—face today. Yet one would never guess this by conversing with others, reading a newspaper, watching television, etc.  If anything, in fact, one is more likely to encounter adamant “deniers” more frequently than passionate “believers” (in global warming).  Perhaps Sigmund Freud was right in asserting that we humans have a “death drive”!

We encounter “deniers” in large part because officials/investors in the fossil fuel business tend to be “possessed” individuals, with a fixation on the short-run “bottom line.”  They are individuals who are somehow able, evidently, to ignore the fact that “we are all in this together.”  As a result of their determination to continue in the fossil fuel business, they buy spokespersons—in politics, “journalism,” etc.—who are able to convince people in a certain category that they are hearing the truth.  (Their susceptibility to this propaganda may directly reflect some of their personal characteristics, but the nature of the society—along with their “position” within it—may be more decisive in explaining this susceptibility.)

So far as “believers” are concerned, they tend to fall into two categories.  On the one hand are those who are optimistic—overly optimistic, I would say—about our ability to overcome the problem of global warming; and on the other hand are those who realize global warming’s utter seriousness—the likelihood that it will wipe out most members of our species in a matter of years, with the possibility that it will render our species extinct (along with numerous other species, of course).

Those in the first of these two categories seem to be more numerous than those in the second category (perhaps because it is so tempting to be in “denial” regarding this problem!)—and to have a larger audience.  These two facts—their over-optimism, combined with a larger audience—do not, needless to say, bode well for the future of our species!

The general public’s ignorance about global warming is undoubtedly a function of (a) a lack of media coverage, (b) media coverage that downplays the seriousness of the global warming problem, and (c) efforts by the fossil fuel companies and their lackeys to suppress accurate information about global warming, while publicizing misinformation regarding the subject.

There may, however, be an additional factor at work here.  With individual problems—e.g., obesity, illness, unemployment—the problem is easily observable (with unemployment being somewhat of an exception).  That fact does not, however, mean an accurate explanation can be given for the problem in question.  In fact, the tendency, in explaining problems associated with individuals, is to use a “blame the victim” approach (which, of course, is exactly what one would expect in a “Christian” country!).

That is, if a person is obese, the explanation likely to be offered is that the person not only eats too much, but eats the wrong foods.  If a person is ill (e.g., has some form of cancer), the explanation likely to be offered is that the person has chosen to engage in bad habits (e.g., smoking cigarettes, getting insufficient rest, bad eating habits, insufficient exercise).  If a person is unemployed, “average” people may explain this by referring to the person’s alleged “laziness,” while employers may argue that the person lacks the proper training/education to obtain a job.  In short, the onus—the blame—is placed on the individual involved:  An individual with a problem is held responsible for having that problem.

Despite the fact that most in our society tend to use a “blame the victim” approach in explaining individual problems—which conveniently excuses them from trying to do anything to help those with problems!—a more accurate explanation in many, if not most, such cases would be that the society within which one lives is the real culprit.  Such an idea is implicit in the phrase “diseases of civilization”—which suggests that the diseases unique to civilized societies are caused by the nature of those societies.  And as a recent study argues forcefully, the inequality that is becoming such a prominent feature of our society is itself a major causal factor in explaining many of the health problems that currently exist in our society.

Most people in our society will not become aware of that study; and even if a person does become aware of the study, the person may find it incomprehensible, and so let the study’s findings “go in one ear and out the other”—i.e., have absolutely no impact on the person’s thinking about disease.

I suspect that the same is true regarding global warming—a problem for which we can identify real-world individual culprits, with a more realistic explanation, however, being that our way of life is the culprit, with virtually all of us being guilty parties.

Global warming is a relatively easy phenomenon to deny—which fact makes it easy those who assert vociferously that global warming is a “hoax” to be believed by many.  After all, global warming is not immediately observable, for it has both temporal and geographical “dimensions.”  Its existence is inferred from instrumental observations made at various locations around the world (the Mauna Loa Observatory in particular—with the late Charles Keeling beginning to make measurements there in 1958), over a period of time, in conjunction with a knowledge of physical laws.

The average person can observe vagaries in the weather from year to year at the location of that person’s residence, but relating those vagaries to “global warming” is another matter:  Unless one has a certain level of education and reads some of the relevant literature—such as Prof. Guy McPherson’s “Climate-Change Summary and Update”—one will lack an understanding of global warming.  As a consequence, if one hears one’s favorite “talk show” host state, with confidence, that “global warming is a total hoax,” and that host then quotes “experts” to support his claim, one will tend to believe what the host has said.  And given that one doesn’t really understand what it is that one is accepting, one will tend to cling to that belief, and be resistant to claims to the contrary.

When it comes to perceiving a problem as having a societal, rather than an individual, cause, most people will have difficulty perceiving the problem from that perspective.  Likewise, when a problem has a global scope—as global warming does (the reason for the “global” in the term!)—they will not only have trouble perceiving it as such.  Because of that fact, in conjunction with difficulties they have in understanding the phenomenon, they will be rather easily convinced that global warming is a “hoax” being perpetrated on them by “pointy-headed—and also communist!—intellectuals.”

This is an unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless—and another reason why it is difficult to have any degree of optimism regarding the human future.


Just aired: McPherson’s radio interview with Species Barrier recorded 17 February 2014. McPherson’s voice can be heard beginning at the 10-minute mark.

Just aired: Michael Welch’s radio tribute to Michael C. Ruppert. McPherson was interviewed a week ago for the show, which is linked here. McPherson’s comments begin at the 45-minute mark.

Also just aired, and embedded below

Comments 85

  • “Global warming dwarfs—by far!—all other problems that we Americans—we humans, in fact—face today. ”

    um…. economic collapse wont be too fun either.

  • Why is the spam filter blocking my posts for hours? Anyone else experiencing this pain in the ass?

  • Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find money cannot be eaten.
    ~ Cree Prophecy

    Or, Guy’s version: “Try holding your breath while you count your money.”

    Fuck the economy.

  • Tod Cory writes: “economic collapse wont be too fun either.”

    Bring it on! Economic collapse is likely to be the only thing that can slow global warming.

  • The problem is also one of scale. A cold, long winter and people figure “global warming” isn’t happening, despite the cold long winter being caused by the rapid heating in the Arctic. The focus is always local too. It is after all, Global Warming, not warming in your backyard on any given day. It also a problem of time. The “worse effects” are set for the end of the century by most media reports. Hell, that’s 86 years away — even the kids will be dead by then! But if you roll back the clock and say that NTE is possible by mid-century or even within 10 to 20 years that’s “impossible because it should be much worse now if that’s the case.”

    There is absolutely no reason to argue with deniers — they will have reality come to them eventually. The real problem is the rationalist who think there is some fix –be it political, technological, social or all three — to global warming as if all that is missing is the right idea to put into place. But methane release in the Arctic circle doesn’t concern itself with any hopes and plans. Melting ice sheets don’t worry about the economy. Drought blasted farm land isn’t concerned with the next election. We can’t stop runaway global warming with money or weapons, so we ignore it. And then we die.

  • Guy’s version: “Try holding your breath while you count your money.”

    You’re in a space-suit, orbiting the earth. It is stuffed with billions of dollars of securities, jewels, precious metals, and ten minutes of air.

    How much of that fortune will you have to spend to get an additional minute of air?

  • Destruction of the environment for all living forms, not just humans, dwarfs any human problems.

    When I’m feeling optimistic, I think that after disaster maybe something will be left for other species to make a go of it. We’ve certainly not shown ourselves competent to continue “managing” the planet into ruin.

  • oops — let me rephrase: We’ve not shown ourselve competent to manage the planet out of the ruin we’ve brought on.

  • Shouldn’t be much longer now (before everybody “gets it”):


    Triple Digits Expected In California And Texas In Early Spring Heat Wave


    Strongest sandstorm in decades sweeps China


    Sunday, 27 April 2014
    Siberian wildfires

    A Dangerous Dance of Frost and Flame: More Than 100 Wildfires Now Raging Along Siberian Melt-Freeze Line

  • The most important right now is the radiation continuing to come from Fukushima, polluting our oceans and lands. Currently, right now, in Ontario they’re seeing rain 1000 x background radiation. HOT RAIN. It’s also in the snow you’re outside in, making snow cones for your children to eat cuz it’s fun and cool. It’s also deadly. Until people understand that this incident is killing us NOW and we MUST shut down all nuclear power, we will continue to be showered with radiation. As a species, we will not survive this.

  • Desmodia is right. Climate change is a mere symptom of the process of humans snuffing out other life forms. Oh well.

  • I’ve tried to post comments but I’ve been CAPTCHAed.
    Everyone knows how important my comments are to the 11 Dimensions.Let’s get this clusterfuck fixed,everyone is waiting to read my brilliance. roflmao

  • t is not entirely beyond the realms of possibility that capital could survive…It could do so, for example, by a capitalist oligarchic elite supervising the mass genocidal elimination of much of the world’s surplus and disposable population while enslaving the rest and building vast artificial gated environments to protect against the ravages of an external nature run toxic, barren and ruinously wild. Dystopian tales abound depicting a grand variety of such worlds and it would be wrong to rule them out as impossible blueprints for the future of a less-than-human humanity…Clearly, any such social order could only exist on the basis of fascistic mind control and the continuous exercise of daily police surveillance and violence accompanied by periodic militarised repressions. Anyone who does not see elements of such a dystopian world already in place around us is deceiving herself or himself most cruelly.

    David Harvey – The Revolt of Human Nature from “17 Contradictions And The End of Capitalism”

  • Grant Schreiber says: “There is absolutely no reason to argue with deniers — they will have reality come to them eventually….And then we die.”

    Don’t Argue With Deniers

    Don’t argue with the deniers—
    Whether just misinformed, or liars:
    We don’t have much longer
    Before doom gets stronger
    And everybody expires.

  • Desmodia, I tend to agree with your sentiment.

    There’s an article in the NY Times today about what we we owe our future generations (which begs the question: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/29/science/what-does-today-owe-tomorrow.html?ref=science) but I think we have a responsibility not just to future generations, but other organisms and the entire earth system itself. Yet as I’ve often said, the system has gone through other major catastrophes and it will survive this one, and it’s an issue of what collateral damage there will be and what the final judgement will be in terms of humanity’s role in perpetuating this catastrophe, and whether such a judgement will actually be even possible.


  • The problem with speaking of “economic collapse” is that the “economy” referred to is the tertiary economy, that of SYMBOLS – green pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents, magnetised particles on iron rust-coated aluminium disks, etc. All of these are purported to be exchangeable for RESOURCES (the primary economy) and PRODUCTS (the secondary economy).

    Because the symbols give their holders a claim to resources and products, the holders are able to manipulate the distribution of the resources and products and the conversion of resource into product. A collapse of the “economy” would be a loss of faith in the symbols’ ability to command, procure and manipulate the resources and products.

    As long as resources are still existing, alternate methods to control and convert them will remain in the realm of possibility. Climate disruption hits the biospheric resources, of primary import amongst these being food, sans which, not only do the symbols lose their meaning, but alternate methods to access, distribute and convert resources will also have nothing to work with.

    “Economic collapse” allows the possibility that resources and products may still be around to be accessed by alternate means.

  • The problem with speaking of “economic collapse” is that the “economy” referred to is the tertiary economy, that of SYMBOLS – green pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents, magnetised particles on iron rust-coated aluminium disks, etc. All of these are purported to be exchangeable for RESOURCES (the primary economy) and PRODUCTS (the secondary economy).

    Because the symbols give their holders a claim to resources and products, the holders are able to manipulate the distribution of the resources and products and the conversion of resource into product. A collapse of the “economy” would be a loss of faith in the symbols’ ability to command, procure and manipulate the resources and products.

    As long as resources are still existing, alternate methods to control and convert them will remain in the realm of possibility. Climate disruption hits the biospheric resources, of primary import amongst these being food, sans which, not only do the symbols lose their meaning, but alternate methods to access, distribute and convert resources will also have nothing to work with.

    “Economic collapse” allows the possibility that resources and products may still be around to be accessed by alternate means.

  • Cognitive Dissonance

    People tend to seek consistency in their beliefs and perceptions. So what happens when one of our beliefs conflicts with another previously held belief? The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.

  • Ok I do read posts from this site and yes I am educated (PhD, MSc, BSc in Math and Physics) and yes I understand the science behind climate change, but here is what I don’t get. How can anyone say that in 20 years or so we will all be extinct or even close to that. There is no way that anyone can declare this with the degree of certainty I see written here. Oh, and hand waving arguments and pseudo theories that don’t include quantitative analysis don’t count. I know some climate models predict significant temperature deltas this century but I work with models all day long and I know how far off they can be and the earth is a very complex physical system. So help me out here, I am one of the second group of non-denier deniers.

  • It is the first time I heard of asubha meditation as such, and it brings to mind how fortunate I am to have learnt even a little bit of Bengali the extant descendant of ancestral Sanskrit, even though the Bengali I learnt was mostly suited to eliciting the symptoms of disease from illiterate village folk.

    The root “shub” means good, auspicious, pleasant, and is found in Bengali equivalents for “good morning”, “good wishes”, etc. while “ashuba” is the opposite.

    The tradition is ancient and wide, and is well developed in the Tibetan tradition.

  • @Grant Schreiber

    I totally agree. The problem with the majority of people is that we don’t understand that Climate Change is not linear. Everything that is underway is exponential. Like you say, it’s because of this that people are going to “get it” very soon. And THAT’S when (I believe) global panic will set in, causing crisis after crisis to play out… economic collapse being one of them. I work for an airline (no.. I’m not a pilot.. just a lowly rate agent) and I fear that we are in the last ten to twelve years of civilian aviation. The future of aviation is reserved only for the military and government. We’ll see if I’m wrong. Check back around 2025….

  • “When it comes to perceiving a problem as having a societal, rather than an individual, cause, most people will have difficulty perceiving the problem from that perspective”

    As is very, very, very common, this seems to be confusing ‘people’ with ‘North Americans’; due to the peculiarities of US society, you do have an astonishingly pervasive blindness to sociological or collective explanations but this is not a feature of humanity in its entirety. That’s not to say that this isn’t a problem elsewhere but outside the Land of the Free, the problem is often many orders of magnitude smaller.

  • A great book, in my opinion. I’ve always enjoyed end of the world thrillers. The first half of the story centers on the foibles of our political system as narrated by a past US president who loses his office because he tries to awaken America to climate change and other looming disasters. His son is totally awake to what’s coming and over the course of a decade prepares a refuge in the mountains of W. Virginia.

    The second half deals with the daily impacts of survival. Farming, farm animals, security, relationships and the value of good planning. I liked the way the group of survivors was leaderless and all decisions were made unanimously. Preparation paid off when the group was attacked. Also, one of the characters left the farm to rescue his wife. The authors description of the outside and what had become of the few survivors was chilling to say the least.

    The book depicts a 95% die off with an immediate return to the stone age after an economic collapse alone! Add the methane bomb to that. Then try to figure out where your food’s coming from!


  • @ Robin Datta

    It is the first time I heard of…

    There is much that you do not know.

  • Eric says: “…the earth is a very complex physical system.”

    Do The Math

    The heat, no food to consume,
    The nukes, lots more reasons for gloom:
    Put ‘em all in one pot
    And what have you got?

  • Welcome aboard Eric.

    What’s killing us in 20 yrs (or probably less, since all the models being used fail to account for the self-reinforcing feedbacks that we’ve kicked into play: see climate-change summary and update at the top of this thread, on the right – and have also been woefully conservative, as in off by decades in some cases, in their estimates of when temperature rise, for example, will occur).

    The primary problem isn’t our adaptation – it’s loss of habitat: at a few degrees C above where we are now plants can’t grow (in fact vegetation, especially trees, is/are already having serious problems because of tropospheric ozone and other pollutants), so there’s no food from land; while at the same time we see the oceans becoming so acidified NOW that plankton, the base of the marine food system, are dying off as a result (there are other contributing factors here – like radiation being steadily dumped into the Pacific Ocean, which will spread throughout the world), so there will be nothing to eat from there either. i’m sure you’re familiar with how potable water is becoming scarce.

    Secondly, once the economic collapse happens (I’ve heard it may come as soon as this year or in the next few) and the electrical grid fails we find ourselves with Fukushima x approx. 450 in emitted radiation – which, last I heard isn’t a good thing in large quantities.

    The details i’ll leave to your astute observation, but that’s the short version.

    Hope that helps.

  • Who cares if extinction is 30 years away, or 70 years, or more?
    5-10 years until we fight for food and water.
    13-20 years until unstoppable irreversible climate runaway.
    30-40 years until cascading extinction collapse.

    Why this is the least of your problems right now. China’s 15 trillion debt bubble is biggest ever, to explode in 2-3 years. It took 5 years for China’s banks to grow that big. It U.S. banks 100 years. It took the U.S. economy 100 years. Economic collapse is a big joke until someone loses an eye. That’s when your own personal extinction matters more than the rest of the world put together.

  • This website will go extinct if comments aren’t fixed.
    Consider going with Disqus. Control isn’t worth the headaches.

  • BTW, good article, Alton. Denial is definitely a major spoke in the wheel that’s crushing us.

    Also, http://www.dailyimpact.net/

  • @ Kirk Hamilton
    Thanks for the good words about my book Tribulation. Would you consider posting it to Amazon? I’m just a voice in the wilderness trying to go viral, before it gets dark.

  • @Kirk Hamilton – Thanks for the pointer; cannot wait to read his book Tribulations (which, BTW, means great suffering – the opposite of what many assume).

    From his blog…
    Thomas A. Lewis – About Hope
    (edited for brevity and clarity)

    We who live in am industrialized society are enjoying a life of luxury unprecedented in history. All but the poorest among us enjoy access to food, water, shelter, energy, transportation and entertainment undreamed of by yesterday’s kings, shahs, czars and presidents. We who enjoy the life hope it continues. Those who do not yet have the life — the rising masses of Africa, China, and India, for example — hope to have it very soon.

    (Echoing Mike Ruppert)
    1. For every ton of food or fiber produced by industrial agriculture in the United States, an average of seven tons of topsoil has been lost to wind and water requiring even more fossil-fuel derived nitrogen fertilizer to grow future crops.
    2. Over-fertilization of farm fields and lawns, along with inadequate treatment of sewage, has poisoned waterways and created estuary dead zones.
    3, Confinement, force-feeding and mistreatment of food animals has sickened the animals, contaminated the food and created superbugs and toxins that endanger the human population.
    4. Peak oil, the moment of maximum possible economic extraction of oil (energy return on investment – EROI) followed by an inevitable and irreversible decline, is here. No agency of our government, no leader of our people, has admitted it or has begun work to avert the certain disaster that is about to begin.
    5. Our aquifers — the only water safe from the pollution mentioned above — are being exploited for agriculture and development without concern for their limits. The Ogallala Aquifer, for example, that underlies the north-central United States, is fossil water deposited by glaciers that is replenished by rain at a rate of fractions of an inch per year. We are extracting it at rates of many feet per year.
    6. (@Eric) More than 30 positive feed-back (exponential) warming mechanisms have been identified leading to no summertime Arctic ice by 2016, and a pending methane bomb.

    In the face of these rising, vast and ominous threats we as a country have no awareness, no discussion and no plan. In other words, no hope.
    (Echoes me ;)
    That is called natural selection. And that is why I feel so much better now that I have given up hope.

  • Eric wonders “How can anyone say that in 20 years or so we will all be extinct or even close to that.”

    And if Eric would read what’s happening right now in California where most of the US vegetables are grown, he would begin to understand. Despite all the wonders of technology and science, if it doesn’t rain or rains too much, crops fail. If crops fail there is less food. If crops continue to fail and keep on failing there is only food for the very wealthy. If there is only food for the very wealthy, civilization itself collapses.

    That’s sure a lot of “ifs” and yet crops are failing. The weather isn’t acting in a manner that farmers can predict any more. Food prices continue to climb. Speculators make millions fixing the price of rice, wheat and corn. And then crops fail. The “Arab Spring” was brought about in part by high food prices and low amounts of water. Governments were toppled. It turns out that food is more important than money and power. Now we know.

    Pilot: Yeah, over on Seemorerocks, Robin has been documenting the collapse of the aviation industry. Prices so high, that not flying is the best option, jet fuel so high, less flights are flown and that oddly enough hurts airline profits… United Airlines has been bailed out so often by the American people, we should have nationalized it. Yet instead United management robbed people of their pensions and gave themselves huge bonuses. 2025 is a highly optimistic guess on when most airlines will be gone.

  • On the farm beef prices have doubled and tripled in the past few months. Milk is up about 60-70%.

  • @Eric,

    I’ve posted a reply to yours on the Forum. As others have pointed, getting past the CAPTCHA can be problematic. The Forum works much better.

  • Inescapable hard-nosed empirical evidence of runaway Arctic heating & accelerating climate & weather catastrophes, social breakdown, & eventual near term extinction.
    The Inuit are on the runaway climate change ropes, NOW.

  • First they came for the Pteropods… re: Marine ecosystems in the Pacific


  • @TemplarMyst
    Thanks for your response. I am not sure how to use the forum, I think I have to regsiter etc. so I am replying here. I am going to check out the documentary you mentioned, sounds interesting.

  • Eric says: “…the earth is a very complex physical system.”

    Hi Eric! Yes, lots of moving parts. Accepting extinction can be a real challenge. FWIW, here’s how I do it:

    Step #1: Read the “Climate-change summary and update” (link in upper right corner).

    Step #2: Poop pants.


    Do The Math

    The heat, no food to consume,
    The nukes, lots more reasons for gloom:
    Put ‘em all in one pot
    And what have you got?

  • I don’t believe the fact that the majority of people are in denial should be unpredictable, I believe it is a universal manifestation for any intelligent life in the universe.

    I believe any animal which evolves to acquire the ability to store memories, i.e. language, and thus make predictions as to better organize their environment to survive and [more-so] to stimulate positive emotions will eventually doom their environment. This may apply to humans or to any intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. I think the emotional feedback which used to be required primarily to influence behaviours which would increase the chances for survival and reproduction are also the drivers of behaviour in intelligent beings. Humans still seek to “feel good,” i.e. to shoot emotional responses by some stimulus they have predicted will do so; logic itself is unusable without a goal defined by survival needs or emotional wants, we tend to emphasize satisfying our emotional wants, which perpetuates industrial civilization on the most discrete level, or at least from what I have observed.

    As far as avoiding situations which shoot “negative” emotional responses, these are the forces which influence behaviours which have us turning our back on problems, the force of ignorance which, when compounded with our “need” to satisfy our wants, e.g. via industrial civilization, we ensure our doom.

    The reason why I believe this would apply to all intelligent life in the universe is because [from what I have observed] the behavioural influences of emotions would develop in the animal prior to developing the ability to hold memories, e.g. via developing language (or more specifically, the by-chance development of the brain structures to allow those functions), etc. Thus, once the animal gains the ability to make predictions which allow for logical organization of the environment, the reason being to satisfy the survival needs and emotional wants of the the animal (or alien), then the animal will inevitably do so.

    If this theory were to hold, then the issue of ignorance may be remedied by a better understanding of the implications of our evolutionary reality; however, the idea that humans are so calculated in our behaviour may force people to want to be ignorant to a higher degree.

  • @BnejaminTheDonkey
    Thanks for the tips and humor.
    I appreciate you not jumping all over me for not being an NTE believer.

  • Tom said:

    ‘Why is the spam filter blocking my posts for hours? Anyone else experiencing this pain in the ass?’

    I couldn’t get past the first hurdle last time I tried; the system blocked entry and deleted my comment.

    Hence I have pretty much given up commenting on this site.

  • Benjamin the Donkey – the poet laureate of NBL and NTE! Great job, as usual.

    Eric: nobody’s jumping all over you – just read the science that Guy has put together for us all (and continues as more tipping points are crossed) and educate yourself – you’re intelligent. The hard part is coming to terms with it.

    “What egotism, what stupid vanity, to suppose that a thing could not happen because you could not conceive it!”
    — Philip Wylie


    The warming trend that we provided predictive analysis for yesterday has barely even begun and we already have visible dark, open water off Point Barrow, Alaska as of late Tuesday evening on April 29. A large polynya that had opened up off the northern Alaskan coast has now extended well past Barrow and landward toward the near-shore waters. By late evening, the open water had invaded to within about 200 yards of shore along and past the Point Barrow coastline.

    In broader summary, the open water polynya stretches from Cape Lisburne to past Point Barrow and measures between 20 and 50 miles in width. General trends show this large polynya continuing to expand northward into the Chukchi Sea, a motion that is likely to continue for at least the next few days.

    Some cooling will likely return after the currently building Arctic heatwave, but it is questionable if it will be enough to result in a refreeze given the prevailing and much warmer than usual conditions.

    Sea ice break-up at Point Barrow typically begins in mid-to-late June. It often involves both the formation of open water offshore as well as sea ice motion near-shore. Though the polynya removed ice from the off-shore waters of Point Barrow today, the near-shore ice still remains grounded, so this admittedly impressive event cannot technically be considered a break-up. That said, it appears that we are seeing a very early initiation of melt conditions for the Barrow region.

    With warmer weather settling in, heat stresses to the local and regional sea ice will likely continue to ramp up. So, in other words, this early season melt event has only just begun.

    [check out the pics]

  • I’m with you TemplarMyst – our system also has ways of self correcting and I think some of it is happening. All this does though in the long term is buy us time to get our act together but as some of these tipping processes finish and more feedbacks start, then it becomes more and more obvious. But until then our inability to model multiple complex systems (which is really one big integrated system) is going to lead to some seemingly educated guessing. I think your guess is as good as anyone else’s, to be frank.

    My plane is taking off… time to sign off.

  • ‘Self-correcting’ for the human system means that when it gets infected by a disease organism it raises its metabolic temperature which kills the bacteria or viruses.

    The Earth system maybe does the same. Gets rid of us. With your typical anthropocentric hubris you seem to assume that ‘self-correcting’ works in the interest of humans.

    There is no evidence of any ‘self-correcting’ feedback loops going on that I know of. Got any examples ?

    What I see is that the whole system flips into a completely new chaotic state, minus us, wobbles about for a few hundred thousand years, plus or minus, and then settles back into some new stable state.

  • You’re incorrect about anthropocentric hubris on my part – I assume no such thing. There’s absolutely no reason to think any self-correction will benefit humans, but there’s no reason to think it won’t either. It could go either way (not necessarily with equal probabilities) and we are influencing it. Since we are, that influence could be done adaptively if the process was thought out and understood. Short of that, it’ll be whatever works to perpetuate the system generally unless there is complete collapse which I don’t see happening with regards to climate change at least (I mean collapse of the entire Earth System, not humanity—I think the System will adapt to any influences of ours). You could call it a “new chaotic state” (it’s ALL new chaotic states) but I just think of it as an ongoing chaotic/complex system following different attractors.

    There are a large number of self-correcting feedback loops in biology and they’re constantly ongoing. An example is the pathogen wars humans have been having with microbes – first, second, and third generation antibiotics are the result of self-correcting feedbacks on the part of the pathogen and host responses (i.e., we develop antibiotics and use it widely, the resistant bacteria evolve and come back in full swing, which is where the first self-correction becomes obvious, at which point we develop a new generation of antibiotics, and so on). Disease resistance by itself, as well as (and followed by) evolution of symbiotic relationships, are what I’d call self-correcting feedbacks (particularly the latter, where microbes and their hosts have entered into a symbiotic relationship).

    Humans need to enter into a symbiotic relationship with the Earth System or, as you say, the self-correction will wipe us out. This is what the previous catastrophes have taught us, that the System comes back in full swing correcting for the consequences of the previous catastrophe.

    That’s my two posts today – rest will be in the forum…


  • Tom said:

    ‘Why is the spam filter blocking my posts for hours? Anyone else experiencing this pain in the ass?’

    Kevin adds:
    “I couldn’t get past the first hurdle last time I tried; the system blocked entry and deleted my comment.

    “Hence I have pretty much given up commenting on this site.”

    Not sure why one needs to see their posts the split second you hit the submit button other than instant gratification. Sometimes I’ll post something that doesn’t pop up for a couple hours too, but it’s not that big of a deal to me. It’s not as if my thoughts have changed over the “delay” nor is it likely that anyone beyond me reads any of my posts anyway. That’s the nature of the internet.

    Ulvfugl: “Stable state” has allowed the growth of civilization and now that various greenhouse gases are knocking us out of it, this may be the end of civilization. Whether or not the earth falls into a new “stable state” of acidic oceans and heat waves for 200-500 thousand years before sliding back into a living world is entirely possible. It is not nature getting rid of us, of course, it is us in global suicide all for the sake of a handful of coins.

  • u,

    …and then settles back into some new stable state.

    Or maybe not ?

  • hello everyone – just got back, been gone a month.

  • The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • I have a short thesis about climate change denial.

    In order to explain my thesis I need to say something about Hunter Gatherer tribal life.

    H/G tribal life is where many of our robust adaptive psychological strategies developed, not just our physical forms.

    H/G tribal life treats the adolescent generational cohort as a self organising group, growing to maturity, on the ancestral lands, and working out their own social dynamics without a great deal of interference from adults, who are never very far away. (Adolescents being beyond infancy needs)
    This is particularly applicable to Indigenous Australians, though I claim no comprehensive academic credentials here. Just heard and read stuff over time.
    The reasons for this seeming ‘autonomy’ and ‘separation’ of a kind is twofold, (at least).
    First is that adolescents are held with some skepticism, (but much love), by adults because adolescents are still not fully adapted to the energies in their world, and cultural obligations. They do, therefor, make cultural mistakes, which get sorted out over time. As such they approach initiation and maturity, and become reliable as H/G and in cultural terms as well.
    During their adolescent time, their unique experience of country, conditions and seasonal phenomena, gets encoded in their way of living, but is counterpointed to that of the adult populations, and can be culturally assimilated as they age as a cohort.
    I say all this to point to a very robust system of changing with the changes that occur in the biosphere. Indigenous Australians have been living all over Australia for upwards of 60,000 years, perhaps much much longer in places.
    If their traditional cultural systems were more interventionist, regarding adolescent group dynamics, I posit, they would become more rigid in their adaptive ability, socially, in terms of responding to the biosphere. That would promote extrinsically motivated Alphas creating self serving hierarchies, and greater competition. That would be a selective negative for long term survival of a peaceful culture.

    Elders do have extensive knowledge, however, it is adolescents and the cohort that is emerging into adulthood, traditionally seeing the country for the first time, or times, that has the keenest eyes, the most fresh and open ‘look’ and take on their present reality.

    I think the elders could understand this, and thus with minimal existing bias, while learning about all manner of survival and cultural skills, customs, etc. the adolescents come through updating their world, as it were, for the entire culture, in step with the changes in the biosphere.
    Were it not so, rigid older ‘takes’ on what is there would quickly become incorrect and mal-adaptive, in the long term.

    If we look around the world now, by and large it is the quite young ones who are on board with climate change, (and ‘smart’ tech- is it really that smart?), and the older cohort is where the denial is. Some youngins are heavily conditioned into denial from denial-family and denial-community rigidity, so it is not all one way traffic there.

    Alphas in the big ‘civilisations’ still bleat and promise to supply the ‘good times’, aka water in the tap, food at the supermarket, electricity at some affordable cost, to their age/class identified cohort, aka, the middle classed, who in the main do the jobs in the institutions of civ. That’s what has become so hard to shift in this extremely important, but now almost too late to matter, issue. As Elizabeth Warren and others have shown, and anyone looking can see, the middle classes in Europe and North America are disappearing.( Will that wake them up?)

    Call it persistance bias, or whatever, it doesn’t much matter – comfort zone bias works better for me. If one is conditioned to experience the relative ‘good life’ coming from a specific set of supply systems, in fact a very complex set of system today, and one is also oblivious, by and large, to how that works, and works in your particular favour regarding life needs, and those aspirations you may have for offspring, then a very big disruptor to those systems, at the pyramid base, so to speak, like climate change issues, will not register on the older as significantly. Not until those systems of supply cannot deliver anymore to one’s satisfaction. The World Oil Wars, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars have been an attempt to keep the energy supply to serve those complex systems, so the sleeping ‘olders’ won’t notice.

    As a conclusion, in corollary to my brief thesis on adaptation and ‘denial’ psychology, I posit that those who are ‘older’ AND also ‘get’ climate change, and broader ecological issues, (Nuclear etc), are:
    Young at Heart,
    Still looking at the Real World, as it is!

    So most here can get a pat on their own back…
    No really a consolation prize, sorry folks.

  • “Tom said:
    ‘Why is the spam filter blocking my posts for hours? Anyone else experiencing this pain in the ass?’

    Kevin adds:
    “I couldn’t get past the first hurdle last time I tried; the system blocked entry and deleted my comment.

    “Hence I have pretty much given up commenting on this site.”

    Not sure why one needs to see their posts the split second you hit the submit button other than instant gratification. Sometimes I’ll post something that doesn’t pop up for a couple hours too, but it’s not that big of a deal to me. It’s not as if my thoughts have changed over the “delay” nor is it likely that anyone beyond me reads any of my posts anyway. That’s the nature of the internet.”

    Thanks, Grant. I’m sorely tempted to turn off the filters for a few hours so people can experience what Guy was dealing with prior to a few of us volunteering to help out. Monday was a busy day for spammers – they tried to post 1,059 times. The filters caught 9 legitimate comments in it’s net, a little under 0.9% of “ham” in the “spam” – a ratio of meat to offal that’s lower than a fast food burger.

    Earlier this year, this site exceeded the lifetime limit on the free anti-spam service from akismet. They wanted $ 49.00 a month to continue to filter, and put everything, spam and non-spam, into a “moderate” status, increasing Guy’s workload extensively. I put in a free trial for an alternative which is not perfect, but it brought the level of spam back to a manageable level, and I’ve been paying for it since the trial expired; my gift to support Guy.

    I don’t come to the “back end” of the site very often, only when I’m alerted to a problem or I see something in the traffic reports that is out of the ordinary. Usually I just surf here and read the articles and stay up to date with climate change news – this site is the best news aggregator for the topic anywhere. So if people are bitching about problems in the comments, sorry, but I’m not seeing it unless Guy notifies me there’s a problem. There’s nothing of interest for me in the comments, I’m an Hopium addict, and although I have no interest in trying to foster that opinion on anyone else here, simply holding opposing views makes one unwelcome.

    Day to day administration is handled by Guy himself, with RE helping from time to time, I imagine. Guy approves any messages that get caught in the filter, so when he’s travelling and getting the message out, he’s not always able to approve the messages caught in error as promptly as everyone would like. I’m sure a little patience would be appreciated.

    I was alerted of the false positive in the spam filters today, and I’ve made some changes to the settings, including to one that did a match between the original post and the comment and tries to identify spam via a semantic algorithm; considering the amount of thread-drift that occurs, I turned that feature off. It was accounting for most of the false positives, as far as I could tell. I also reviewed the logs for the last few days and flagged the “ham” where I found it to improve future filtering.

    Email addresses will have an impact on the chance of being flagged as spam. Free email sites, most notable hotmail.com and outlook.com, are used to register and post comment spam by the millions, so they will get flagged more. Nothing we can do about that.

    I have just turned off all the captcha settings, since the anti-spam seems to be working sufficiently well, and I’ll be watching for false positives in the filters. The removal of the captcha may let more spam though, but I’ll be looking for that as well and if gets out of hand, we’ll look at other alternatives.

    I believe Guy is travelling extensively right now, and I’d question the motives of anyone who is adding pressure to his schedule by demanding he be online constantly to approve any messages of theirs that might get caught in the filters.

    – Captcha is back on the register screen, the site was flooded with 3-5 additional spam registrations a minute, each of which generate emails, etc, slowing the site down. That’s how it was taken offline in the past, DADDoS Dumb Ass Denial of Service attack…

  • OzMan –

    I really like your short thesis. Very insightful!

  • mo flow

    Cheers, thanks.

    As an addendum, in the vain of my little thesis above it is clear from all the computer based virtual content – games, chat rooms, virtual shopping malls …. enjoyed mostly by under 35’s (I guess), from every nation, I ask the question:

    “If they get the chance to live long lives at all,(90-110?), to what extent is this level of ‘adaptation’, and ‘experience’, (hours clocked in a virtual world), going to help those generations survive in the REAL WORLD ? Eh … when the grid is down, no water in tap etc. etc. etc…. till then…. dreaming.

  • I don’t have a problem with the failure to post a comment due to spammers. It’s too bad that they don’t realize they are all going to die in the NTHE party. Oh wait! They only have to hit the “any’ key to avoid “The End”. Their brilliance makes them immune.

  • Reminder to Batters here, if you Register on the site and are logged in, your posts go up pretty much right away all the time. Plus no CAPTCHA, though DS says he turned that off now.

    Deal is NBL is a SPAM magnet, this is why it has had trouble for so long, even before we became aware of it. At this point, there is so much each day it overwhelms the autobot that checks for spam, and you get a few False Positives all the time.

    The only real solution to this problem is to have some Human Eyeballs monitoring the SPAM filter all the time and watching for kickouts of False Positives. I suggested to Guy that he enlists some assistance to do this task when he is not around to do it.


  • Reminder to Batters here, if you Register on the site and are logged in, your posts go up pretty much right away all the time.

    Doesn’t work that way for me. I guess I must be a pitcher. :-P

  • @RD

    You should volunteer to be a SPAM Checker for Guy. You’re certainly online enough to keep the Spammers in check and let the real Batters through. :) It will give purpose to your life before you go Extinct.


  • RE: hey, thanks for the explanation, but compared to many other sites I visit and comment on, this one has the most erratic and time-delayed response system. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t know how to fix it so I can’t comment about the inner workings (not a tech guy). It isn’t “instant gratification” either, by the way, it’s knowing your post isn’t lost in the ether when it appears within about 30 seconds on other blogs as opposed to maybe not at all here. Ok?

    meanwhile, up in the Arctic Sea


    The melting polar icecap is creating waves the size of houses

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    |MSN News

    video clips
    first world war anniversary

    The melting polar icecap is creating waves the size of houses

    Canyon cut by meltwater stream on an icecap Tony Waltham – Getty Images
    Canyon cut by meltwater stream on an icecap Quartz 1 day ago | By Gwynn Guilford of Quartz






    Compared with the monster seas of the Pacific, Arctic waters are a picture of calm—whipping up, at their most violent, into lake-like chop. Or, at least, they were. New research shows that something is whipping up waves that reach five meters (16.4 feet).

    “That’s a big wave—that’s a house-sized wave. And that has never been observed before in the Arctic,” says Jim Thomson, a physicist at the University of Washington who led the study (paywall).

    So why is it happening now? “As the ice retreats in the Arctic, which it is doing in a very remarkable way, we’re finding more and more waves,” says Thomson. “And we’re finding a very direct relationship between the height of the waves and the retreat of the ice.”

    He’s talking about the sheet of ice that blankets the Arctic, which melts a bit in the summer and re-freezes throughout winter. Toward the end of the last century, the summer sun typically peeled it back at most 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the coast. Now the edge of the Arctic ice cover recedes thousands of kilometers.

    Every summer, in other words, the planet gets a whole new ocean. And with a new ocean comes new waves, it turns out.

    Wind is the major force creating waves. While it makes smaller waves locally, swells—those big, rolling waves that can rear up out of the sea in storms—come from much further away. That explains why, until recently, the Arctic had whitecaps, but no swells. But the polar icecap’s recent peel-back is opening up the huge spans of water needed to make waves big.

    Take, for instance, the Beaufort Sea that skirts northern Alaska, which Thomson and his colleague Erick Rogers were researching. As late as April, that gap between the north pole and Alaska is completely blanketed in ice, and whereas it once retreated hundreds of kilometers each summer, now the ice disappears almost entirely. That’s why heavy winds in September 2012 kicked up these waves:

    ​This is worrisome for a couple of reasons. First, there’s simply safety. The new Arctic waterway is exciting to commercial shipping companies, which see it offering a shorter trade route. China, for example, estimates that by 2020, up to $500 billion worth of its trade could transit through the new waterway.

    New transit routes opening up for two major vessel types: current routes (left) vs. those possible in 2050 (right). Smith and Stephenson, PNAS, Early Edition

    The tradeoff, as Thomson and Rogers’ research suggests, is that more open sea means bigger waves—and more risk of danger. Between 2009 and 2013, the annual average of ships lost or severely damaged (pdf, p.3) in Arctic waters rose to 45, up from the 2002-7 average of seven ships, according to Allianz. And if the Arctic starts looking more like the rest of the ocean, that could get worse; storms caused three-quarters of all shipping losses last year, reports Allianz.

    More ominous still is that the emergence of big swells is very likely accelerating the disappearance of Arctic ice. Swells carry much more energy. The force they deliver when they slam into the icecap breaks off floes, hastening the retreat—and creating ever-bigger swells.

    On top of that, the huge amounts of foam created by big waves flushes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the ocean, says Thomson. Though scientists aren’t clear how those gases get dissolved, that’s going to shake up Arctic chemistry in a way that is hard to anticipate.

    [but maybe it’ll keep the oil teams away]

  • Paul Kingsnorth examines the collective fear of the future and the progressive concept of space colonization. He urges us to deflect the delusions created by our techno-industrial society.


  • The trouble with us ‘oldies’ is that we remember the times when there was no limit on postings, no trolls and no filters. It all flowed along nicely.

    The current delays and ‘gates’ come hard, but are clearly a sign of the times and the generally more difficult conditions we face in practically all aspects of life.

    The thing that I found frustrating was to compose an comment and then submit is, only to find the system reject the code I had so carefully typed into the box, perhaps a timing issue whereby the code displayed did not match the code required at the time of clicking.

    Of course, we ‘oldies’ went over so much stuff so many times in the past there isn’t much to say nowadays anyway.

    The fuse has burned a bit more and there is less time left before the explosion.

  • The new Adult Children of Civilization recovery group met for the first time on a Phone Bridge Monday evening. It was deemed a worthwhile venue for talking to others about Peak Everything Collapse Awareness and NTE.

    I will be hosting the group the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at 6:30 pm CDT. Please contact me at macinminn@gmail.com for details. This is an email I set up just for the ACC activities.

    Also, this is a test message to see if I am able to post since the filters have been modified. As I have not been able to do so for sometime. And, I haven’t been successful in registering.


    Mac in MN

  • “The thing that I found frustrating was to compose an comment and then submit is, only to find the system reject the code I had so carefully typed into the box, “-KM

    This is the oldest piece of Internet Wisdom I have keyboarded out more times than I can count now. Predates my doom blogging by a long shot.

    NEVER post up a long post without having a Copy of it, usually I do it in Notepad, but any word editor is fine for this. Once you compose your reply, Copy/Paste into the Upload Box. If it goes to the Great Beyond because the CAPTCHA or Internet Gremlins fuck with you, you have it to POST AGAIN. If it does not go up after 2 or 3 times, either you have an IP problem where you are getting sent to spam, or the proprietor of the blog does not like your posting and is trashing it.

    If you think you are getting trashed, set up your own blog or forum. That is what I did.


  • @RE

    I had been trying to type up longer posts in Notepad and paste them into the comment box, and followed suggestions regarding waiting time, making sure to do some keyboarding in the box, but everything kept generating a 404 error.

    Then this week nothing would go through.

    Additionally, I have tried to register several times with no effect. No confirming email with the next steps.

    I get that this blog used to be sort of under the radar, but that we are clearly in the second stage of Shopenhauer’s truth theorem.

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Mac in MN

  • There are over 4,500 unreviewed membership applications, it’s likely some authentic registrations are lost in that sea of spam. Based on the hostility towards our help here, I stopped reviewing the user list. Like with the Diner, I’ll here to help out with technical issues, but I’m not handling administration or participating in the comments/forum.

  • @ Doomer Support

    Based on the hostility towards our help here, I stopped reviewing the user list…

    Well, that is infuriating, because there was and is no hostility towards HELP, is there, the hostility is towards fucking RE trying to change this blog into what HE wants it to be, a branch of his evangelical crusade at the Diner, that’s what’s caused the antipathy, because WE are all quitters and we don’t want to live in concrete domes with people like him and he may as well get that message and stop trying to colonise NBL with his crap, then there’ll be less friction.

  • Doomer Support –

    IMHO –

    WordPress is a powerful blogging platform used by about 20% of the top 10 million web sites. It powers 60 million blogs. WordPress has been around for 11 years and in those 11 years has developed quite robust spam blocking features. For instance – by checking the box “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” – creates a sort of whitelist of repeat comment authors. But, unapproved comments still end up in moderation. So…

    To prevent the flood of spambot spam, there are at least 2 new spam blocker plugins that are small and powerful. Using js and cookies, they block 99.9% of bot spam without registering or captcha for users. The only users inconvenienced would be those with js and/or cookies turned off – they would be asked to turn js and/or cookies ON.

    I would deal with registration spam by turning OFF registration! This is done by UNCHECKING the box “Anyone can register” and setting “New User Default Role” to “Subscriber”. Since Dr. Mcpherson dosen’t sell his books, I doubt he has need for the database of users registration creates.

    That’s just my 2 cents. I would think the object of a spam filter was to cut down on Admin workload – not make it so cumbersome and complicated that Dr. Mcpherson must recruit an army of spam moderators to eliminate most spam.

  • DiggingIntoWordPress
    by Chris Coyier & Jeff Starr:

    15 Anti-Spam Plugins for WordPress

  • Doomer Support & RE — Thanks for ALL your efforts on our behalf.

  • @ Eric, my pleasure!

    @ Tom, thank you!

    It’s A Good Day

    It’s a good day for watching doom spread,
    Working hard, and getting ahead;
    For picking up clues
    You can’t win, only lose—
    It’s a good day for staying in bed.

    It’s a good day for reading this thread,
    For working to fix your doomstead,
    Or to drink up your booze
    On a terminal cruise—
    It’s a good day for waking up dead.

  • “I would deal with registration spam by turning OFF registration! This is done by UNCHECKING the box “Anyone can register” and setting “New User Default Role” to “Subscriber”. Since Dr. Mcpherson dosen’t sell his books, I doubt he has need for the database of users registration creates.”-BS

    We will happily turn over the Admin of NBL to you and migrate the DB wherever you wish to host it. Let Guy know you are taking over for us.



  • I surely do wish ya’ll would take ALL this tech gripe and banter to one of the Forum thingies. Lots of us don’t have the time or inclination to wade through all the ups and downs of what’s what in techieworld. Boring, boring, boring!

    Here’s what I like, stuff like this.

  • And this!

  • Actually, there has been hostility towards help, with accusations from the instant gratification crowd that we must be doing something nefarious every time their comments doesn’t post immediately.

    RE and I don’t see eye to eye on a number of things, including whether or not to try and encourage hopium over here. I’m against it, there’s plenty of vendors of that elsewhere, including the diner and where I contribute the most, the Sun4living site. We do, however, like most here, agree that climate change is serious, that Guy does a better job than anyone else of collating the disturbing news, and lifestyles have to change. He and I think a small percentage will make it through the bottleneck, which is where we diverge from the group think here.

    The “Domes” project is a joint effort I’ve been leading for a while – RE joined myself and a few others on the course to learn those skills. Not sure why you think he wants you to live in a dome with him, thought, I don’t think you are his type. I have no intention of trying to convince anyone here to live in a dome, they are for people who have hope that their kids and grandkids will shelter within one as our planet finds a new equilibrium from the mess we’ve made.

  • Good suggestions, Bob – the anti-spam feature I installed recently uses the js engine. The only reason we opened up registration was the instant gratification crowd who had hissyfits when their messages got caught in the filters, sometimes resubmitting it a half-dozen times or more, then complaining about censorship when Guy didn’t remove it from the filter in seconds.

  • Regarding Fukushima : That apparently at least one of the cores has been showered upon Japan and beyond… here’s a brief overview of some of the expected medical outcomes from exposure to ionizing radioactivity.

    “According to every version of the BIER study by the National Academy of Sciences, up to and including the most recent in 2007 – The Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation No. V11 (BIER VII), no dose of radiation is safe. Each dose received by the body is cumulative and adds to the risk of developing malignancy or genetic disease.” ~ Dr. Helen Caldicott, The Medical Implications of Fukushima

    For anyone who doesn’t know: Doctor Helen Caldicott is an MD. She is among the most well informed people on the planet on the health impacts of radiation. She has been viciously attacked by the nuclear industry and right wing propaganda machines for her efforts to share confirmed medical facts. Ionizing radiation is a vector of illness.

    That which seems stunningly obvious apparently isn’t being noticed by some: Like birds, radioactive materials are not constrained by cosmic edict to respect national borders or any other conceptual scheme. Chernobyl and Japan are not enclosed within invisible containment vessels or imaginary force fields. The stuff will spread. It will be bio-concentrated up the food chain. No dose of radiation is safe and each dose received by the body is cumulative. It causes genetic damage and cancer.

    From the report above: “In 1986, a single meltdown and explosion at Chernobyl covered 40 percent of the European landmass with radioactive elements. Already, according to a 2009 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences, almost one million people have perished as a direct result of this catastrophe, yet this is just the tip of the iceberg because large parts of Europe and therefore the food will remain radioactive for hundreds of years.”

    Here’s a brief list of some of the substances that were released in Fukushima and their associated illnesses. (Quoted and paraphrased from the report linked to above.)

    Strontium 90
    Bone cancer and leukemia. Radioactive hazard for 300 years.

    Cesium 137
    Brain cancer, muscle cancers (rhabdomyosarcomas), ovarian or testicular cancer, mutates genes in eggs and sperm causing genetic diseases in offspring. Radioactive hazard for more than 300 years.

    One millionth of a gram will induce cancer if inhaled into the lung. It causes liver cancer, bone cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma. It concentrates in the testicles and ovaries where it can induce testicular or ovarian cancer, and it can mutate genes in the egg and sperm causing genetic diseases in offspring. It also crosses the placenta where it can kill a cell that would form the left side of the brain, or the right arm- like thalidomide, the morning sickness drug, did years ago. There are medical homes full of grossly deformed children near Chernobyl never before seen in the history of medicine.

    The half-life of plutonium is 24,400 years, so it can cause medical diseases for at least the next 250,000 years, inducing cancers, congenital deformities and genetic diseases for virtually the rest of time. All plants and animals develop cancer and genetic abnormalities.

    Plutonium is also fuel for atomic bombs. Five to 10 pounds will fuel a weapon that would vaporize a city. Each reactor makes 500 pounds of plutonium a year. It is postulated that one pound of plutonium, if adequately distributed, could kill every person on earth from cancer.

    There are over 100 such elements each with its own characteristics and pathways in the food chain and the human body.

    Pioneering research conducted by Dr. Tim Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist, in the exclusion zones of both Chernobyl and Fukushima has documented very high rates of tumors in birds, genetic mutations in birds and insects, many of the male barn swallows are sterile and many birds have smaller than normal brains. What happens to animals will happen to human beings.


    Including extinction.

  • I am not convinced of human extinction. A huge die off undoubtedly. Probably most, but life is tough, we are tough even with all our faults. A bottle neck could happen. There may be children to carry on. I never had kids, but I am related to every person, good or bad and everyone in between. I am related to every living thing. That is awesome.

  • i’m going to try to puzzle out my reaction to Guy’s often-stated “humans have never existed at 3.5 above baseline.”

    What he’s implying is that humans cannot do so, will not be able to exist in a habitat at that increased overall temperature. He usually states it, then moves on to other details, though it really touches on the crux of the NTE case.

    But, so stated, it might confuse the average listener with an average uptake on science facts, who could think, “Well, those are two different time periods he’s talking about. No overlap, as yet. Humans evolved at a lower temperature, sure, but that’s not conclusive about it being impossible.”

    So, in a few more sentences, Guy would need to add, for them, “Humans evolved as hunter-gatherers, and slowly built up a survivable population. Then, they developed agriculture, and petro-ag, and so grew their numbers beyond any sustainable bound.”

    “The collapse of a habitat for mass agriculture bodes mass die-off, but to negate extinction, you are going to have to posit either a new hunter-gatherer-type food source, a specialized small-scale agriculture under immensely difficult conditions, or a third food source we know nothing about today.”

    “And, you are going to have to convince me that one of these three will be possible for the length of 1000 years minimum, under 1000 ppm carbon. I think that 1000 year requirement is going to be the toughest part to get over. That’s a lot of error-free generations eking out survival in a growingly precarious habitat. So far, my imagination just isn’t up to that.”

    I think that would be my first take at trying to put it together, the actual mechanics of how we get from here, via all the feedback loops that reduce habitat, to there, the daily-advancing probability of NTE.

    Once more, I’ll say that the idea (and likelihood) of mass die-off complicates peoples’ thinking, raises a hurdle to consider the special sub-case of extinction, and so they never dissect it correctly. The horror of it blurs our view of that next and maybe final stage.

    They flail about in “arguments” against they-know-not-what, and so fail to apply even the average available human intelligence to the predicament.

    That’s why it sounds so incongruous to them, when it comes to a conclusion such as Guy’s (stated well on the Hartmann interview), to (paraphrase) “live well, be kind, uphold your values, etc.”

    They don’t like being told that the horse is not only out of the barn, but has been captured, cooked and eaten. So they turn the hay, polish the saddle, send in their application for the next rodeo.

    Taking most of life at the personal benefit level, extinction can’t even be gotten to, for mass die-off (99pc) is surely going to include them, too.

    Deer in headlights time, with a touch of random panic as sauce to the roadkill.

  • Apneaman

    I like your ‘I am related to every living thing’ statemant.Reminds me of the brilliant insight in the book titled:
    ‘Life Comes From Life’ by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
    found here:


    Swami Prabhupada, far from misunderstanding Science, knows it well, and is able to discriminate decisively, telling like he sees it.

    The master points out that nothing alive now, (includes you and me), has experienced Death in the chain of cellular growth, (embryo to adult), and contraction(seed, sperm/egg)…
    Absolutely no Death, only life.
    Haploid germ cells recombine to form Diploid new individuals, but those Hapliod cells, in us as sperm and ova, are alive! but just have one set of chromosomes, not two.
    The two cells that constitute a new individual at the moment of fertilisation, were generated in the testicles and ovaries of a living being, are themselves alive, and combined , give rise to a new living individual.
    I ask anyone, where is the Death?
    Life still carries itself from the first emergence here of life.

    Mutation, sexual divergence, mutation and ‘natural’ selection have played their part in diversifying FORMS of that life, but not the life!

    Blows me away still, and brings me rushing back to when I first ‘got’ this reading the Masters book, which in a traditional form is derived from conversations with devotees, on a beach, (of Doom?- who knows.)

    Life, all forms of life, is and are sacred, special and transcend any valuation system we can conceive or use in our everyday lives In my opinion because it is life that harbours the confluence of unique functional abilities that manifest the energies of the universe(which is itself not ‘dead’).
    Nomenclature in this post enlightenment, post scientific revolution age hampers the clear distinction here but let me be clear, we exist as living beings in a living matrix we ordinarily have manifold conceptions of- but, all is alive!

    That is how I express the actual esteem, respect and absolute awe I feel for this living planet, perhaps not entirely unique in the expanse, but certainly the only close by crucible for the perfect realisation of the energies existentially present ‘HERE’, wherever here could actually be(after (Einstein or Zen).

    And most here know and feel in our heart just what we are seeing dying- the rock that, at least with this round of permutations, provides a sanctuary for little things to grow.

    Most here feel the loss.
    I credit Guy as being truly courageous enough to go there, when the writing appeared on the wall, (or screen – Plato could get a laugh there perhaps),in his data, complex though that it is.
    If his testimony is truthful, which I have no reason to doubt,he didn’t flinch, but sat in his chair and cried, as he puts it, mourned.

    Some think Carolyn’s emphasis in her writings on hospice etc is a bit ‘New Agey’ and defeatist. Maybe. However, if you feel and value to infinity, life, then you have to go on the solitary journey in saying goodbye to the great mother that is this living planet, not to mention all those you love. Further you have to also see that that place one would ordinarily reincarnate to, will no longer ‘take’ you, for no living substrate, matrix will remain to give you a viable form. I use the term ‘you’ here loosely, not endorsing a ‘personal’ ideal of separate subtle vehicle often associated with some traditions.
    I have attempted to make the point elsewhere in earlier posts here that the crossover between accepting the reality of one’s own mortality, and NTE, (all life), is large, and of the same cascading terrible realisation train.
    The difference is only one of scale.(I think)
    I credit Guy for seeing the mark, feeling the deep draw in his hear like the draw prior to a massive Tsunami near the beach, and going for it anyway.
    Not lionising him, not deifying him, but respecting his commitment and courage to push off, and set sail on that journey.
    A journey we are also on in our own ways, and we are sharing some of here.
    Guy is just a guy….;)

  • http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2014/05/earth-changes.html

    University of Washington launches effort to prepare Northwest region for 9.0 magnitude quake

    Scientists fully expect that the coast of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and part of northern California to see a magnitude nine subduction zone earthquake again. It’s been 314 years since the last one in January of the year 1700. Scientists know of this quake because of written reports from Japan that recorded a tsunami. The reports of a giant wave also correlate with rings in old trees killed when marsh land along the Washington coast dropped several feet, allowing sea water to envelope their roots. This week, scientists with the University of Washington gathered 55 experts from around the region. Their goal: to step up efforts to prepare for the next magnitude nine earthquake in the Northwest and the ensuing recovery. “That’s the critical part. To be prepared and then to bounce back.” said John Vidale, Washington state’s seismologist and head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Vidale moderated the event. The project is called M9, as in magnitude 9. But the lessons learned from it could be applied to any major natural disaster in Washington, a state that’s currently recovering from the landslide near Oso on March 22 that killed at least 41 people.

    In addition to earthquake scientists, M9 participants included structural engineers, transportation experts, and representatives from the insurance industry, social scientists, oceanographers, tsunami specialists and emergency managers. The plan is to update the science to better prepare everything from skyscrapers to bridges to people in their own homes for when a mega-quake hits. “People may not be preparing themselves adequately for the kind of disaster that’s going to happen,” said Ann Bostrom with the U.W. Evans School of Public Affairs. But she added that the big quake is just one scenario that threatens people and homeowners. “I do think about insurance, about the preparations people can do. I think about the mental preparations people have to do in order to plan for all kinds of hazards, and what we can do in our risk communications projects to help people do that,” Bostrom said. Interdisciplinary efforts have happened before, at meetings and conferences. But this time it’s a bigger commitment to work together: a three year, $4 million project financed by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The risk from violent shaking and a tsunami is not just confined to coastal communities. The Seattle area is also considered at an elevated risk. The city and some of the surrounding area sits on a basin of softer soil and rock surrounded by harder materials. That could trap earthquake waves and cause them to resonate for a longer period of time, creating more damage. An area of further study is how those earthquake waves, particularly ones of certain frequencies will effect tall downtown buildings. -KREM


    Northwest Magma Chambers “Re-pressurize” — Mt. Saint Helens showing rise

    The Pacific Northwests magma chamber reservoirs are “Re-pressurizing” according to a new report released by the USGS.

    Summed up, the magma chambers associated with Mt. Saint Helens have been now verified to be building in pressure, causing a rise in the area around the Volcanoes caldera.


    Yes, Tornadoes Are Getting Stronger

    [ends with]

    A tornado-power equation that actually gauges a twister’s kinetic energy would be more useful to scientists who are also examining the effects of climate change, so that’s what Elsner built. He looked at the length and width of a storm’s damage path, correlated that to the amount of damage, and then used the result to estimate wind 1.0 speed. A little more crunching and bam!—integrated kinetic energy of a storm. Non-linear upward trend estimated values of kinetic energy Elsner’s analysis suggests that since the turn of the century, tornadoes have packed a more powerful punch. Which, if you live in Tornado Alley, totally blows.

  • Some updates about phytoplankton. Boyce, et al, have a new paper out. There conclusions are much watered down from the 2010 paper that so many here jumped on as being definitive:

    We conclude that average upper ocean chlorophyll concentrations have declined over the past century but that the absolute magnitude of this change remains uncertain (global averages from local and regional models were both negative, but varied by a factor of 7).

    They report statistically significant declines in 60% of the areas study, with increases in the other areas.

  • accepting the reality of one’s own mortality

    By definition, reality is that which is (“trikala abaditam”) not negated in the three time periods (past, present & future). A mortal does not meet this criterion, and as such belong to the empirical, conditional reality (vyavarika satta): “all composite things are transient”, the first feature of existence. Yet it can have real effects in its domain, just as a misperception of a snake in a dimly lit rope can have real effects such as causing a heart attack.

    No part of, nor the entirety of the individuality survives the cessation of vital functions of the body, and none of it is part of unconditional reality (paramarthika satta). Mortality is part of the realm of conditional reality, and with respect to unconditional reality, conditional reality is about as real as a mirage.

    With regard to phytoplankton, they have a doubling time of hours to days, depending on environmental conditions. Even if we take one doubling per day, when compared to humans with a generation time of 25 years (25×365=9,125), one human generation equals 9,125 generations of phytoplankton. By implication, their evolution can proceed 9,125 times faster. Whether the rest of the ecosystem can stay in synch is quite another matter.

  • I’ve posted a new guest essay. It’s here.

  • The “blame the victim” vs “don’t blame the victim” is not a nuanced idea. Obesity, for example, is a disease. Sometimes it is from the person overeating, sometimes it is genetic. What’s important is not who is to blame, but that there is a problem.

    Just as I hear “victim blaming”, in the case of obesity, I generally hear fat people say, “it is genetic and outside of my hands!” While that may be true, it may not be true, so there shouldn’t be this argument occurring, except that obesity is a disease and needs to be treated.