Thursday, January 31, 2008
"Thanks, Danny, for all the links -- fascinating idea and drawingsof your polar cities concept, but
surely things aren't that urgent, are they?
If average world temperatures rise by
1.8 to 4.0 degrees Centigrade in the U.N. Climate Panel's "best
estimate" this century ..... Longyearbyen, Norway will still be
cold in 100 years' time, let alone in a couple of decades. Looking at
the Norwegian weather forecast, for instance, it's -18C today in
Longyearbyen (...and the sun doesn't rise there until early March after
the Arctic winter).
I'd guess that with a severe warming, Stockholm might be more like Paris
is now by the end of the century -- that might persuade some more Swedes
to buy summer homes by the Baltic Sea, but not move to the polar regions
unless they were cross-country skiing fans upset by a lack of snow in
[EDITOR'S NOTE: I think this reporter, like many others, still doesn't get it. He doesn't sense the ''long emergency'' we are in now, nor does he sense the ''urgency'' of what is happening.....He thinks I am talking about real estate in the northern Sweden, and cross-country skiing fans...... NO SIR! I AM TALKING ABOUT THE FATE OF HUMANKIND! of course, it stands to reason, who am I to speak of such things, no PHD, no research institute employing me, no VIP status, no scientific credentials, a virtual nobody!]
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
How many readers around the world have had dreams (or nightmares) about climate change anxiety or global warming panic?
A well-known science fiction author from Canada recently noted a nightmare she had recently, early 2008, and it went like this:
"A few days ago, I had a very weird experience: I gasped awake from a dreadful nightmare. This is weird, because I never remember my dreams. Well, this one was vivid and had me roiling in emotional turmoil. It began vaguely with me and my family in a restaurant in some unrecognizable part of town…it was midday and we were watching an alarming news release about linked turbulent weather patterns all over the globe.
The tension that emanated from everyone was palpable, as though I could feel the tension of every person on the planet.
I noticed that the sky looked queer, strange.
It had grown dark like a deep sea storm and I noticed the clouds flaming with crimson.
Drawn by curiosity mixed with dread, I slipped outside to get a better look and walked up the hill a bit to see beyond the building.
What I saw was spectacular at first then terrifying: the flame-rimmed clouds were racing across the sky at breakneck speed and against them in gold ochre shades I could make out the silhouettes of the continents, as though the burning sun had flung them up there (okay, so this is a dream, folks!)…
As I stared up, dumbfounded, at the clouds speeding across the dark sky, I suddenly realized with gut-wrenching alarm that it wasn’t so much the clouds racing across the sky as the planet speeding up!
I could actually feel its rotation speeding up! I could feel the centrifugal pull of its motion unbalancing me.
When I awoke, a dark heaviness and foreboding clung to me that I found hard to shake. It stayed with me the rest of the day."
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
1. Who will govern these polar cities?
2. Who will protect, guard and maintain them?
3. Who will pay for these guard services, and how will money to pay for such armies be generated in those far distant days?
4. Medical services?
5. Who will be the teachers, and what will they teach, how will they teach, what materials, textbooks, will they use?
6. Religion: will a new religion arise with new kinds of pastors, or will the old religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Shinto, Hinduism, Taosim, Buddhism, etc, survive and endure in these polar cities?
7. What kinds of counselling services will be provided?
8. ADD YOUR QUESTIONS TO COMMENTS BELOW
"I never heard of polar cities before. But it's a very interesting idea, if nothing else."
[A couple of times in the course of my lunch with Professor James Lovelock......our conversation......"Humanity will be reduced to a few breeding pairs." -- UK reporter Fiona Harvey]
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Danny Bloom's bloomin' polar cities
Danny Bloom, who's commented on my blog a few times, is trying to get people to think. It seems he's trying to nudge us to consider how serious climate change just might be by imagining a possible future need for special communities in the polar regions for those who survive global warming. Environmental writer Stephen Leahy reports on Danny and his polar cities idea. In email, Danny told me he's completely serious, but [on another level his non-threatening thought experiment] is also “...a kind of guerilla theater public awareness wake-up call kind of way.” His idea is sometimes dubbed “quixotic,” but if it fosters discussion that can only be good.
-- John Feeney
"Many thanks, Danny, for your thoughtful images [of polar cities]. It may well happen and soon."
But what I have discovered from this thought experiment is that most people simply cannot get excited or worked up or even interested in something so remote as the year 2500. So I have decided to revise my guessimate and change the date of moving into our first global, multi-national, democratically-run and "open admittance" for all people POLAR CITIES to .......ready for this? ......2121 A.D.
If anybody is reading this, what's your take on the new date? Better? Too soon?
I think that in future interviews with the media I will give out the date of 2121 instead of 2500.
I want people to get involved in this issue of polar cities, pro or con, and I now feel that the date 2121 is a much better "take" on what might happen and when.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Recently, a man named "BillD"posted this comment and it's scary, but quite a few people express the same ideas and feelings now worldwide:
"Currently we continue to spiral down our path to a dystopia led by our vanity, ignorance, and deniability. Some people have done the calculations on how much energy and resources it it would take so that everyone currently on this plant had the same standard of living and waste as the average American, and it came out to to the equivilant of a world population of about 75 billion people. The fact is, we have to change how we are doing things, however, I don’t believe that this going to happen voluntarily or in a nice way..."
[-- Post No. 28 ]
"Dear Danny -- I seriously doubt if any humans will be alive on Earth in 2500 A.D. or so. I really don't have time or energy for speculating about this. My work is to prepare for collapse, talk about it, encourage other people to talk about it, feel their feelings about it, and make their own preparations. Speculation about life on Earth 500 years from now is a 'crap shoot' for which I have no time, energy, or interest."
Filed under: "Has it really come to this? department"
"Hooked on Growth" is a documentary in production now, which Dave Gardner is producing. http://www.growthbusters.com/
John Feeney introduces: "Humanity's greatest challenge is upon us. It's a converging set of ecological problems. No other difficulty we now face has the potential to impact the human future as profoundly as the convergence of climate change, peak energy, mass extinction, groundwater depletion, and a slew of related environmental catastrophes in the making. People need to know about it. It needs to saturate the media, to be in the headlines, in best-selling books, and on talk shows. And we need feature length films about it. By now, there should have been many theatrical documentaries on the subject.
...."Hooked on Growth" the works and this one promises finally to awaken the public to the challenge ahead. It's called Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity and it's from Dave Gardner, one of a handful of people in the world with the training of a filmmaker and a solid grasp on the global sustainability crisis.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
sent to: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Washingston Post
Blueprints of the future ?
A recent editorial in your newspaper about global warming was timely and insightful, and I hope your editorial writers write more editorials about climate change. It is an important topic to address.
I am glad to see that your paper is indeed taking global warming seriously. In an effort to show what the distant future might look like if global warming events turn out to be disastrous for humankind, an illustrator named Deng Cheng-hong, has come up with a series of computer-generated blueprints of what an envisioned "sustainable population retreat" (or, polar city) to house survivors of climate change in the year 2500 A.D. or so might look like.
Deng's artwork is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and can be viewed online at: http://pcillu101.blogspot.com/
His illustrations are both reassuring and ominous. Reassuring, because they speak of survival and hope; ominous, because time seems to be running out.
-- Danny Bloom
Northward Ho! blog
LINK: to published letter in Taipei Times
A major researcher on global warming, based at a research center in California, wrote to me today, re my polar cities PR campaign and images online:
I think it is nice to have creative visions of the future, and thinking about polar cities certainly raises a host of interesting issues.
If we think of your work as an exercise in prediction, then I think it somewhat lacking.
If the goal is to get people to open up their vision of possible futures, then it seems as if you are having some success.
I am not sure if it is the most efficient way to focus discussion, but it is another novel way of focusing discussion so adds to the overall mix. Good luck with your quixotic venture !!"
Having just seen your Polar City illustrations (meant for 2500 AD), I am now in a position to comment briefly:
1. The fundamental concept of SPRs (polar cities) is futuristic.
2. You and your assocites who are behind the idea deserve full credit for doing the hard creative thinking even now on how to meet the consequences of the climatological challenges humanity will be confronted with soon.
3. So you already have prototypes of SPRs for Northern Norway, Russia, Alaska; Norther Russia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska; Canada, Russia, Alaska.
4. A single SPR can house 200,000 people. My understanding is that one unit will be SELF-SUSTAINING--meaning inhabitants will have everything they will ever need for existence, entertainment, health care, sanitation, disposal of the dead, government, et cetera, etcetera, etcetera ad infinitum.
5. l wonder how an SPR which houses 200,000 will cost in terms of today's US dollars.
6. Who will finance the cost of these SPRs?
7. How long typically will it take to build a complete SPR?
8. Will the public get to see DEMO SPRs, in the same way the public is able now to see DEMO HOMES? If so, where and when?"
Thanks for the recent IPS news update about your polar cities PR campaign. As I have mentioned previously, under present-day conditions and those predicted by climate models for the next few decades (which is the time frame that I would argue is of most immediate concern) life in the polar regions as you envision it will continue to be more expensive and energy intensive than in most other regions on the globe.
Whether a thought experiment such as the one that you are promoting can help focus the discussion is an interesting question, and I'm not sureabout the answer.
Clearly mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are key issues but on much shorter times cales and probably using different approaches than what you are advocating.
One aspect that I do think is interesting and important to stress is that people in East Asia generally appear to be much better at what Iwould call compact living, i.e. little use of space and energy resources (compare average per capita energy use in Japan with that in the US), than we are over here in the USA. Creating awareness and fostering international communication and exchanges on such issues (i.e., what you are working on) appears to be important here. Good luck with your work."
"Relating to M. Oppenheimer’s point about the need for local and personal relevance, I am pushing for hyper-realistic visualizations to help us ‘experience’ what our neighborhoods might look like as a result of global warming. Imagine 3-D Google Maps of the future. Nature can help also, and although the scientific evidence linking recent natural disasters to global warming is still subject to much debate, like M. Oppenheimer, I see the occurrence of such disasters as opportunities to shock people’s brains into taking climate threats more seriously........Lastly, unless the majority of people understand the pernicious nature of global warming, and why it is fooling them into non-action, very little will change at the individual level. So far, Al Gore’s boiling frog analogy has failed to capture the world’s imagination. It is a powerful image, but one that has not been supported by any substantial ad or PR campaign."
[Blog note: Thus: the power of the POLAR CITIES images online and elsewhere, to shock people's brains into taking global warming more seriously. Exactly. We need more hyper-realistic visualizations, yes. Ms. Rao is on to something here. Bravo!]
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
"Hi Danny, .......I know you are heavily promoting your idea of polar cities on the Internet, but who exactly is going to live in these "polar cities"? I'll tell you who: rich, white people with power and weapons. Not ordinary people, not even people who deserve to survive; the people who will take the survival strategy will be the people who don't care about letting everyone else die. That sounds like business as usual to me, and if you are comfortable with that thought then I wish you luck with your idea. For my part, I'm going to do my best to make sure we never need polar cities." -- KF
Tuesday, January 8, 4008 @ 12:51 PM
[Ed. note: KF has a good point. I agree with him there.]
Monday, January 7, 2008
* Letter to Editor
Boston, Mass., USA
Webposted: January 8, 2008
In a recent column, Jeff Jacoby noted that "[climate] science isn't areligion, and those who dispute its leading theory are not heretics". Good point. Jacoby added: "Much remains to be learned about how andwhy climate changes, and there is neither virtue nor wisdom in an emotional rush to counter global warming - especially if what's comingis a global Big Chill".
We need all the humor we can get when it comes to the issues of global warming and climate change. However, in the event that global warming is for real, and that in the far distant future, perhaps in the year 2500 or so, survivors of climate change have to live in "polar cities" along the Arctic Circle, it won't be a laughing matter anymore. We need to put all of our heads together and find a way out of this mess, no matter which side of the political aisle we are on. You never heard of "polar cities"? Google the term and see what the future might hold. It's not a pretty picture, and it's not funny.
That's fair enough. Np harm in asking. I was just wondering if he might be interested in doing an article one day since he has a blog that covers global warming issues and he seems very concerned about climate change.
So I wrote back to him a second time and asked him "why" he was not interested in doing a story about polar cities as a concept for future adaptation, if worst comes to worst in the far distant future, and he again politely wrote back:
"The main reason I am not interested in this point in doing a story about polar cities is that your idea hasn't passed what I call a "seriousness" test -- that is to say, being taken seriously by someone [an expert on global warming or a scientist with a good reputation in the field] who could place it on a path to fruition."
Talking about polar cities to skeptical reporters is not an easy row to hoe! [SMILE] But thanks to Stephen Leahy at IPS in Canada who wrote a very good introduction to the polar cities concept here:
Sunday, January 6, 2008
* Two friends in Tokyo, Satoru and Mitsuko, who I have known for 15 years, wrote to me today:
"After having spent the New Year holidays at our parents' homes in the Tokyo area, we returned home to find your postcard! Thank you!..... About the global warming counter-measures, your "polar cities" project seems to collect more and more media attention. For those people who do not yet have a sense of crisis about global warming, it may be difficult to understand the necessity of polar cities, but we think many people should start thinking about the future of the Earth not only within the scope of "their life" but also to the extent of the future generations' life. We always learn a lot from you; your project is a good one!"
Saturday, January 5, 2008
As Mario Prieto and others have stated elsewhere, the use of strong visual images, such as melting glaciers, rising sea levels, Arctic sea ice melt photos, or even envisioned "polar cities" can have a strong impact on public awareness and individual actions concerning climate change. In my work promoting the concept of polar cities in the far distant future, whatever its worth, I have found that reactions are pronounced and varied, ranging from 1. shock 2. dread 3. denial 4. surprise ("I had never heard of this concept before" is a common email reply to this blog) 5. agreement ("Interesting ideas. Keep sounding the alarm, we need all the alerters we can muster") 6. outright dismissal (You're a nutcase, cease and desist!") and 7. resolution to change one's lifestyle to leave less of carbon footprint and cherish a simpler life more.
Among the many comments received over the past 12 months were:
"These images of polar cities gave me pause to reconsider the way I live now and to try to do more to combat global warming."
"Although those images of polar cities at first provoked shock and disbelief and denial in me, not to mention laughter, the reality of the emergency we are in finally sunk in after thinking about those images for a while."
"Humankind can never survive for long in such polar cities, no matter how well planned they are; the time to act on global warming is now. Your vision of the year 2500 is outlandish and impossible. Get real!"
"Those graphic images of polar cities scared the hell out of me. Is that what it's going to come down to? Include me out!"
"A picture's worth a thousand words, as they say. Those polar city blueprints by Mr Deng scared the shit out of me! Well done, sir!"
"I hope it never comes to that, but maybe we should start planning such polar cities, just in case. One question is who will be admitted to them, and who will guard them, and how long will people have to live in them? One hundred years, 500 years, 1000 years?"
"We must never allow polar cities to become a reality on Earth!"
"Is this where James Lovelock's 'breeding pairs in the Arctic' will live? Scary. Who would want to live there?"
"When I first saw those images, I cried inside for the future, and for the present. It's not something I want to think about. But those images touched me deeply, in a frightening way."
NOTE: I have received over 100 emails in the past year about my polar cities project, from both scientists involved in research on climate change, both pro and con, and from blog readers who are concerned about global warming. Some emails are dismissive, some of approving, some understand what the images are trying to convey, others are at a loss for words. And some people just laugh and make a joke about ''buy real estate in Greenland" or "Ha-ha, very funny!"