McPherson was interviewed by Barry Vogel for Radio Curious on 13 December 2015. The result was described on Tuesday, 15 December 2015 and can be accessed here.
Key Events of 2015
by J. Z. Colby
To those of us who are living through it, the current year may seem like it is moving slowly, compared to the pace of events in movies and television shows where an entire crisis and resolution must unfold in two hours or less. But compared to most of human history, the year just passing has been a frenetic blur.
As many of you may know, I maintain a timeline of key events concerning Climate Change, which is, in my opinion, the most important thing happening in the world today. I also keep an eye on Peak Oil, Resource Depletion in general, and of course The Economy, but none of those will directly affect the Earth and the many other creatures on it; they are human concerns. Climate Change, on the other hand, affects everyone and everything. For that same reason, in my timeline I primarily list physical processes, and only include the very most important human political events.
It is always a challenge to know where, in the timeline, to put a process that has roots in the past, and will continue to evolve in the future, without getting into lengthy expositions and histories. But since I most often write for young adults, I aim to keep things as concise as possible. Hence, I have to pick a year in which to stick each item that will allow easy understanding, without bending the truth too much.
So, enough said. Here’s my list of the key Climate Change events of 2015, with the chance, I admit, of needing to squeeze in something else later on. I welcome any opinions on the items I have included, or omitted, the wording of each, and the placement. Anyone who needs to threaten me with jail time for informing young adults about Climate Change can, of course, do so. After a life spent as a mental-health therapist, my skin’s pretty thick.
CALIFORNIA DROUGHT: The drying of southwestern North America enters a critical phase in which rivers no longer provide enough water for drinking, irrigation, and hydro-electric power.
OCEAN HEATING: Excess ocean heat is creating an “El Niño” (or worse) condition in the Pacific Ocean, normal up-welling of nutrient-rich deep water is being disrupted, and large marine animals are starving as krill, anchovies, sardines, etc., vanish. From heating and acidification, about half the coral reefs of the world are now dead or dying.
LAUDATO SI: The encyclical of Pope Francis clearly draws the battle lines between those who want a livable planet and a just human civilization, and those who would sacrifice it all for short-term comfort and profit.
MASS MIGRATIONS: Displaced by wars, droughts, and increasing general poverty, large numbers of people begin to leave the Middle East and North Africa for Europe and other destinations.
ARCTIC: Although the Arctic Ocean did not become ice-free this summer, almost no thick multi-year ice remains. With the global Methane level at 1846 ppb, and readings over the Arctic up to 2629 ppb, evidence mounts of a Methane spike that could easily trigger abrupt climate change.
PARIS UNFCCC COP-21: At the 21st Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, most countries agreed to vague and non-binding greenhouse gas emissions cuts that are believed to limit global heating to about 3°C. The conference’s main contribution may have been a broad recognition that 1.5°C is a meaningful target, not 2°C.
Special note about OCEAN HEATING: I’m not convinced it’s just an “El Niño,” which is why I put “(or worse)” after it.
The entire timeline, which starts in the year 2000 and includes future items grouped roughly when I think/fear they might happen, can be seen at: www.nebador.com/Future.html
NEBADOR Book Nine: A Cry for Help, a fictional work about Climate Change that is the last book of the NEBADOR young-adult science fiction series (except for an anthology coming out next year) can be downloaded free (by order of the Muses) at: www.nebador.com/Where9.html
I will receive comments posted here, and anyone who wishes to correspond may see my email address at: www.nebador.com/Contact.html