Tag Archives: ecology

Global Cooling

A. Earth heading for ‘mini ice age’ in just 15 years, scientists say
11 July 2015, upi.com, by Doug G. Ware
Pasted from: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2015/07/11/Earth-heading-for-mini-ice-age-in-just-15-years-scientists-say/2751436649025/

cooling iceSolar scientists predict that the Earth will enter a “mini ice age” around 2030 due to decreased activity by the sun, which will bring with it frigid cold winters. The last time the Earth experienced a similar situation occurred between 1645 and 1715. Photo: Albina Tiplyashina / Shutterstock

LLANDUDNO, Wales, July 11 (UPI) — Solar scientists, armed with the best data yet regarding the activities of the sun, say the Earth is headed for a “mini ice age” in just 15 years — something that hasn’t happened for three centuries.

Professor Valentina Zharkova, of the University of Northumbria, presented the findings at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales this week, Britain’s Independent reported Saturday.

Researchers, saying they understand solar cycles better than ever, predict that the sun’s normal activity will decrease by 60 percent around 2030 — triggering the “mini ice age” that could last for a decade. The last time the Earth was hit by such a lull in solar activity happened 300 years ago, during the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1645 to 1715.

Scientists say there are magnetic waves in the sun’s interior that fluctuate between the body’s northern and southern hemispheres, resulting in various solar conditions over a period of 10 to 12 years. Based on that data, researchers say they are now better able to anticipate the sun’s activity — which has led to the Zharkova team’s prediction.

“Combining both [magnetic] waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 percent,” Zharkova said. If the “mini ice age” does indeed arrive, scientists say it will be accompanied by bitter cold winters — frigid enough to cause rivers, like the Thames in London, to freeze over.
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  B.  Ice Core Analysis Shows Fastest Decline in Solar Activity for 10,000 Years
18 January 2014, The Daily Sheeple, by Chris Carrington
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/ice-core-analysis-shows-fastest-decline-in-solar-activity-for-10000-years_012014

Solar physicist Richard Harrison says he has never seen the sun this quiet in more than 30 years of studying it.
“If you want to go back to see when the Sun was this inactive… you’ve got to go back about 100 years,” he says.
At this point in the solar cycle the sun should be a hive of activity, popping off flares and dotted with sunspots.

cooling solar flareProfessor Mike Lockwood, a space environment physicist at Reading University UK has studied ice cores going back tens of thousands of years. He thinks there’s a very good chance that the Sun is heading for an extremely quiet period. Speaking to the BBC  he said that it was
“…an unusually rapid decline. It’s a very active research topic at the present time, but we do think there is a mechanism in place where we should expect more cold winters when solar activity is low.”

He went on to explain how Europe would bear the brunt of the change he believes is afoot.
“There are large meanders in the jet stream, and they’re called blocking events because they block off the normal moist, mild winds we get from the Atlantic, and instead we get cold air being dragged down from the Arctic and from Russia,” he says.

“These are what we call a cold snap… a series of three or four cold snaps in a row adds up to a cold winter. And that’s quite likely what we’ll see as solar activity declines.”

“If we take all the science that we know relating to how the Sun emits heat and light and how that heat and light powers our climate system, and we look at the climate system globally, the difference that it makes even going back into Maunder Minimum conditions is very small.
“I’ve done a number of studies that show at the very most it might buy you about five years before you reach a certain global average temperature level. But that’s not to say, on a more regional basis there aren’t changes to the patterns of our weather that we’ll have to get used to.”

The Maunder Minimum was a period of intensely cold winters during the 1600′s. If Lockwood and his colleagues are right this is yet another indicator that points towards global cooling. Although the effects of the jet stream are predominantly felt in Europe the overall temperature drops caused by a cessation of activity on the Sun will be felt across the Northern Hemisphere.
As the warnings about global cooling and it’s connection to lack of activity on the Sun continue to gather pace, we need to start thinking about a world where the summers are cooler, where growing zone boundaries are changing due to the weather.

The government, backed by their butt buddies at the IPCC are not going to warn us, they are not going to admit that global warming was flawed science at best and an out and out con at the worst.

C. The Number Of Volcanic Eruptions Is Increasing And That Could Lead To An Extremely Cold Winter
16 Sep 2014, theeconomiccollapseblog.com, by Michael Snyder
Pasted from: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-number-of-volcanic-eruptions-is-increasing-and-that-could-lead-to-an-extremely-cold-winter

The number of volcanoes that are erupting continues to rise, and scientists cannot seem to explain why this is happening.  In 2013, we witnessed the most volcanic eruptions worldwide that we have ever seen in a single year, and this increased activity has carried over into 2014.  In recent months, we have seen major volcanoes roar to life in Russia, Peru, Hawaii, Reunion Island, Indonesia, and all over Alaska.  It is highly unusual for so many volcanoes to all be erupting at the same time.  According to Volcano Discovery, a whopping 34 volcanoes are erupting around the globe right now.  This is sending a massive amount of dust and ash into the upper atmosphere, and it may explain why many parts of the planet are experiencing strangely cold weather at the moment.  If this trend continues, we could potentially be facing years of crop failures and widespread famines all over the world.

And what we have witnessed already may just be the beginning.  There are several more very large volcanoes around the globe that scientists are extremely concerned about right now.

For example, just check out what is going on in the Philippines…cooling volcanic activity
Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay was placed on “Alert Level 3” on Monday evening, September 15, after showing signs of “relatively high unrest,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.
In a bulletin issued at 10:00 pm, PHIVOLCS observed 39 rockfall events from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm on September 15, symptoms of the build-up of magma at the summit dome. At least 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded, indicating magma intrusion or volcanic gas activity.
PHIVOLCS-DOST raised the alert status of Mayon Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 which is equivalent to a “Critical Alert” in the agency’s 5-level alert system. This means that the volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest, magma is at the crater, and that an eruption is possible within weeks.

But of even greater concern is Bardarbunga.  It is the largest volcano system in Iceland, and a major eruption could potentially be absolutely catastrophic…
This time the threat of an eruption – potentially even more powerful than the one in 2010 – is posed by Bardarbunga, the biggest of Iceland’s 30 or so volcanic systems. Located roughly at the country’s centre, the volcano’s 10-kilometre caldera lies several hundred metres beneath Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier by volume.
Scientists are taking the latest rumblings seriously: roughly 8000 years ago, after all, the volcanic leviathan let rip with the largest eruption of the past 10,000 years.
“It is very difficult to predict exactly what will happen with an eruption,” says Monash University vulcanologist Professor Ray Cas, who is president of the International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth.

Scientists tell us that over the last 10,000 years Bardarbunga has produced “more lava than any other volcano on the planet.”
If we witness a full scale eruption at Bardarbunga, the cancellation of a few thousand flights may be the smallest of our concerns.
The truth is that we might be looking at the coldest winter that any of us have ever seen in the northern hemisphere.

But don’t just take my word for it.  The following is from a British newspaper article entitled “Icelandic volcano could trigger Britain’s coldest winter EVER this year”…
Depending on the force of the explosion, minute particles thrust beyond the earth’s atmosphere can trigger DECADES of chaotic weather patterns. Tiny pieces of debris act as billions of shields reflecting the sun’s light away from earth meaning winter temperatures could plunge LOWER THAN EVER before while summer will be devoid of sunshine. The first effect could be a bitterly cold winter to arrive in weeks with thermometers plunging into minus figures and not rising long before next summer.

If this did happen, there is nothing that we could do to change it. We would just have to deal with it.

This is a kind of “climate change” that everyone can agree on.  It is well known that volcanic eruptions can substantially lower global temperatures.  In fact, some global warming theorists are already blaming increased volcanic activity for why temperatures have not been rising in recent years…
“In the last decade, the amount of volcanic aerosol in the stratosphere has increased, so more sunlight is being reflected back into space,” said lead author Benjamin Santer, climate scientist at Laurence Livermore National Laboratory, in a press release. “This has created a natural cooling of the planet and has partly offset the increase in surface and atmospheric temperatures due to human influence.”

But if Bardarbunga fully erupts, we could be looking at something a lot worse than a little “global cooling”. We could potentially be facing winters that never seem to end. It has happened before in recorded history many times.  The following list comes from Wikipedia…
The effects of volcanic eruptions on recent winters are modest in scale, but historically have been significant. Most recently, the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo, a stratovolcano in the Philippines, cooled global temperatures for about 2–3 years.
In 1883, the explosion of
Krakatoa (Krakatau) created volcanic winter-like conditions. The four years following the explosion were unusually cold, and the winter of 1887-1888 included powerful blizzards.  Record snowfalls were recorded worldwide The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a stratovolcano in Indonesia, occasioned mid-summer frosts in New York State and June snowfalls in New England and Newfoundland and Labrador in what came to be known as the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816.

A paper written by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from Iceland, where the eruption of Laki volcano had released enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide, resulting in the death of much of the island’s livestock and a catastrophic famine which killed a quarter of the Icelandic population. Northern hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 1 °C in the year following the Laki eruption.

In 1600, the Huaynaputina in Peru erupted. Tree ring studies show that 1601 was cold. Russia had its worst famine in 1601-1603. From 1600 to 1602, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia had exceptionally cold winters. The wine harvest was late in 1601 in France, and in Peru and Germany, wine production collapsed. Peach trees bloomed late in China, and Lake Suwa in Japan froze early.

The possibility of volcanic eruptions substantially cooling our weather is the biggest “climate threat” that we are facing by far.
Without warm summers and plenty of sunshine, our crops will not succeed. And global food supplies are already stretched to the limit.  Just this week we learned that one out of every nine people in the world does not have enough food to eat. What would happen if global food production was cut by 10 or 20 percent for a few years?

So keep an eye on Bardarbunga and the other major volcanoes around the planet that are rumbling right now. They may just play a major role in our immediate future.

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D.  Global Cooling: Is an Ice Age coming?
7 Jan 2014, Scottnet, from YouTube
Pasted from: http://www.sott.net/article/271736-Global-Cooling-Is-an-Ice-Age-coming

YouTubeVideo: Global Cooling: Is an Ice Age Coming?

The climate is changing, but it’s not changing the way the climate change crowd predicted it would. Nature has made a mockery of global warming, so who are the real climate deniers?

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E.  Heaviest snow in 50 years blankets most of Iran
5 Feb 2014, Posted by EU Times
Pasted from: http://www.eutimes.net/2014/02/heaviest-snow-in-50-years-blankets-most-of-iran/

cooling Iran snowRescue operations are underway in different parts of Iran as the heaviest snowstorm in five decades has blanketed the country’s northern provinces, leaving many people without power and running water.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society says teams have rescued over 10,000 people caught in the heavy snow in 18 different provinces.
Rescue operations are also underway in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran. Thousands of people are reportedly trapped on the roads of the two provinces.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and army troops have been sent to help people. Water and power supplies were cut off in the remote regions, but reports say electricity is mostly restored. Schools and universities have been shut down because of the heavy snow. There have been no official reports of casualties. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has formed an emergency ministerial team to supervise relief assistance to provinces.

(News & Editorial/ Global Cooling)

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Dancing with viral dangers

A.  Smallpox: Will Human Error Cause the Next Global Pandemic?
11 July 2014, Viral Global News Reader, posted in Health
Pasted from: http://www.viralglobalnews.com/health/smallpox-will-human-error-cause-next-global-pandemic/11790/

Viral danger1

This past week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that they have discovered containers of smallpox vials in a cold storage room at the Maryland National Institute of Health. This is big (and scary) news in the health field because this National Institute of Health is unauthorized to carry such an infectious disease. The smallpox disease is so dangerous and deadly that nations around the globe have agreed to a mandate that states that only two labs in the world are allowed to possess it. Will human error cause the next global pandemic?

Authorities are not sure why the smallpox vials were in the Maryland facility, and experts were not sure how the smallpox avoided detection for such a long time. This is coming off the heels of a previous CDC announcement in which they revealed that another protocol breach may have resulted in 75 CDC employees being accidentally exposed to anthrax.

The good news is that neither incident has reported any inadvertent exposures to the infections during both accidental events. The bad news is that both incidents have exposed potential hazards and security holes in even the most safe health facilities and labs across the globe.

Many researchers have reported that Americans are quite lucky that accidental exposures and health “slip-ups” like these did not happen with a virus like the flu, but the discovery of the unchecked smallpox virus in Maryland has many asking: will human error cause the next global pandemic? In 1918, there was a strain of influenza that killed around 50 million people. That 1918 strain of the flu, and some other strains as well, are currently being studied and researched in medical research labs in the United States and in various facilities around the world. If any of those labs make a mistake or have a slip-up, the results could be deadly and disastrous.

Current detractors of this type of research are not saying that researching dangerous pathogens is not important – these types of experiments can often provide valuable insight into combating such diseases – but they are saying that the rationale that is used to replicate these dangerous pathogens does not necessarily justify the risk that is taken by creating them.

They mention how scientists have been able to create the vaccines for these pathogens without having to recreate the viruses themselves, meaning that developing new strains of the pathogen is not necessary for protection; and as a result, people in the United States and around the globe will be able rest with a lot more at ease at night,

One of the biggest concerns amongst detractors of the studies is a form of research called “gain of function” studies. In this type of study, researchers and scientists will take a strain of a deadly pathogen that humans do not have immunity to yet and make them even more contagious in an effort to find a vaccine and to see how it transfers itself to mammals. Currently, “gain of function” studies are going on in the Netherlands and in the state of Wisconsin.

Mistakes and slip-ups in medical labs are not just hypothetical situations; they have happened before. Most recently, it happened in 1977 when the H1N1 virus escaped from a lab in China, and an outbreak in China and Russia ensued.

Basic human error can waltz pass even the most strict of security and safety protocols. Yes, it is very unlikely to happen, but it is not out of the realm of possibility. After the smallpox discovery, many are wondering if human error could cause the next global pandemic. If an outbreak like this does happen, humans will be asking themselves, “Was it worth it?”

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B.  Movie Plagues Not Entirely Claptrap
13  Jul 2014, MedPageToday, by Correspondent, Michael Smith
Pasted from: http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/GeneralInfectiousDisease/46735

It’s a recurring theme — a plague threatens to kill us all and a few brave souls work tirelessly to prevent doom.
Think, The Andromeda Strain. Think, Contagion and Outbreak. On the small screen this year, there’s, The Last Ship. And the list could go on.
The consensus among MedPage Today staffers in a morning meeting a few weeks ago was that such fictions are just … well, fiction. Tinseltown trash. Hollywood hokum.
So we decided to ask the experts and found a consensus among infectious disease specialists that is considerably more nuanced. Such stories are overblown, yes. Sensationalist, of course. But nonsense? Not entirely.
We asked if it is even possible that a sudden pathogenic scourge could threaten to kill us all.
The scientific consensus: Yes, although it’s unlikely. But it’s likely enough that highly trained specialists spend their working days worrying about it.

Worst Case Scenario (Really)
We also asked: What’s the worst that could happen, assuming a novel pathogen, easily transmitted, with no pre-existing immunity anywhere?
The scientific consensus: It could kill a lot of people, but probably not everybody.
“Theoretically, such a pathogen is possible,” commented Gail Reid, MD, of Loyola University Health System in Chicago. “It does not need 100% mortality, just close.”
viral danger movie“Although in such a case not all humans would die, societal structure would most certainly be negatively affected,” Reid told MedPage Today.
And assuming a novel, easily transmitted pathogen, “a large portion of the population of the planet could be affected rather quickly,” she said. “Just one plane ride from anywhere in an initially asymptomatic individual has the potential to lead to a pandemic.”

“My Infectious Diseases fellows saw the movie, Contagion several years ago and were very scared. Need I say more?”

Such movies are “fictional, sensationalistic, and raise the specter of extinction events,” said Amesh Adalja, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a specialist in pandemic preparedness.
But “they do reflect the continual threat that humans face from emerging pathogens,” Adalja told MedPage Today.
He, like many other experts, cited HIV, SARS, the 1918 pandemic flu, and the recent flu pandemic as examples of novel diseases jumping to humans in recent times. But, as we all know, none has been uniformly fatal.

Lessons From History
“The popular fictional portrayals are not only possible, they have already occurred, “Adalja said, “and preparing, predicting, and attempting to mitigate the effects of this continual onslaught is of paramount importance.”

The 1918 flu pandemic “was a vivid example that a novel respiratory virus from another species can effectively mutate to evolve into a competent human pathogen with high potential for person-to-person transmission and virulence resulting in catastrophic illness affecting millions worldwide,” said Amar Safdar, MD, of New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

That’s just the most dramatic example, Safdar told MedPage Today. The “concern for alarm” comes from repeated epidemics and pandemics in the 90 or so years since then.
To fit its movie role, a novel pathogen would need several characteristics — it would have to be easily transmissible and eventually lethal but with a long incubation period in which the victim was asymptomatic but able to infect many people.
Luckily, we have yet to encounter such a bug.

Robert Holzman, MD, of NYU School of Medicine in New York City, told MedPage Today: “There is no question that infections can have a high death rate and major impact on human and nonhuman populations.”
The question, he said, is how likely such an event is.

“Over a lot of years of human existence we have not yet encountered a human pathogen combining the high fatality rate of, say, rabies and the high transmissibility of, say, norovirus or chicken pox or measles,” he said.

Possible, Yes. Probable, No
Such a bug is not impossible, he said, but it’s “very, very, …, very unlikely.”
“Fortunately,” agreed Talia Swartz, MD, PhD, of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, “the notion of a scourge that could instantly wipe out humanity is not a likely event.”

Indeed, “it would take an incredibly virulent and contagious pathogen in another species to jump to humans and still be both virulent and contagious,” argued Matthew Sims, MD, PhD, of the Beaumont Health System in the Detroit area.
“The big fear is we will hit a perfect storm of disease where all of the worst possibilities come true,” Sims said.

“It is very, very uncommon that a disease is so lethal that everyone who catches it dies,” commented Jorge Parada, MD, also of Chicago’s Loyola University Health System.

Parada, who was a medical source for the 2011 movie, Contagion, added that “even the devastating 1918 flu pandemic that killed an estimated 20 to 40 million people had a mortality rate only as high as around 20%.”
Indeed, regardless of the pathogen itself, commented Kevin Morano, PhD, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, some of us would be okay.
“In any population there would almost always be a small percentage of immune individuals, based on chance and genetics,” he told MedPage Today. “With a planet of six billion, a 1% survival rate still leaves 60 million.”
However, as Loyola’s Reid noted, that would still have a devastating effect on human society.

It Really Is a Small World, After All
One thing that worries experts is that we travel a lot more these days. As CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, is fond of saying, any pathogen is just a plane ride away.

Since the 1918 flu, medical science has gotten better at treating disease, but “the advent of air travel presents a new dilemma, as communicable diseases can now be spread across continents within days,” said Glenn Wortmann, MD, of MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

SARS in 2002-2003 “highlighted this risk,” he said — an initial outbreak in southern China spread to 37 countries, eventually causing more than 8,000 cases and more than 700 deaths.
SARS was highly virulent, but not completely so, Sims noted: “It stormed through the population but not everyone was affected even among those exposed.” But it’s very virulence meant that the outbreak burned out relatively quickly.

Put another way, some pathogens “kill so fast that the virus becomes self-limiting, unable to spread faster than it kills,” Morano said.
For SARS, there is still no established antiviral therapy, commented David Perlin, PhD, of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark — the virus was essentially starved of victims by quarantine measures.
(The same is true of the Middle East coronavirus (MERS), incidentally — there is no specific treatment and control is essentially a matter of good quarantine measures. When they fail, as they did this spring, outbreaks can occur.)

The 2009 pandemic flu, Perlin noted, “was not particularly lethal, but CDC estimated that in approximately one year, there were between 43 (and) 89 million cases.”
But a 10% or 20% fatality rate — like SARS or the 1918 flu — “would have killed many millions.”
Not all diseases burn out, of course. HIV spread for years before it was even recognized and has now killed some 36 million people. Luckily, it’s quite hard to catch.
The same is true of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu. It has a case-fatality rate of about 60% — still not enough to kill us all off — but only a few hundred cases have been recorded since the bug was first recognized.

“The major worry for scientists,” Wortmann said, “is that a deadly virus, such as Ebola, would mutate to become more contagious, and then spread internationally through air travel.”
“As there are few effective treatments for viral infections, this would represent a global challenge,” he added.
Ebola, now raging in West Africa, is a pathogen with an alarmingly high case-fatality rate but it needs close contact between a victim and another person for infection to take place.
Importantly, it doesn’t spread through droplets in the air, as do the flu and common colds. And in places like the U.S. with a highly developed healthcare system, simple barrier precautions and isolation would prevent a widespread outbreak.

Worst case scenarios involve either an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that kills quickly or a virus that kills more slowly or has a latency period where it can be transmitted but is not debilitating, argued UT Health’s Morano.
In either case, the rate of infection might be fast enough and the rate of death slow enough that the pathogen could spread by common means of transportation, he said.
It would be even worse if the agent was aerosolized and spread by coughing or sneezing so that many people could be infected by a single patient, Morano added.

The White Knight
But what about the heroes of the tale? What about the brave scientists who track down the pathogen and come up with a cure/vaccine/treatment?
Here the experts are more divided.
Loyola’s Reid said: “I think the most fictitious aspect of this is the rapid ‘cure’ that is developed.”
After all, she added, “we still don’t have a vaccine for HIV or hepatitis C or Ebola virus, and our vaccine for influenza has to be updated yearly.”

On the other hand, Beaumont Health System’s Sims said, “technology has come incredibly far in the last decade or so.”
It took years for investigators to identify HIV, come up with a test for it, and develop treatments (although no cure or vaccine so far), Sims noted. But it took only a month or so to realize that SARS was a new disease, and a few weeks more to identify the agent that caused it.

Research on possible treatments was underway when the disease had begun to burn itself out.
“Unfortunately, the scenario of an intrepid doc or scientist coming up with a cure or vaccine in the span of a few weeks or months is highly unlikely, especially if the infectious agent is poorly studied,” Morano commented.

“These things take a great deal of research, time and money — exactly what we’re doing now in medical centers across the globe.”

(News & Editorial/ Dancing with viral dangers)

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With electric power– Without electric power

A. 10 Things People Will Miss Most Without Electricity At Home
22 July 2014, Modern Survival Blog, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/preps/10-things-you-will-miss-most-without-electricity-at-home/#more-28882

With electric meter

To go without electricity for a couple of hours is a bad enough experience for most, but imagine the horror if the power grid were to stay down for days, or even weeks!

Can you imagine the unthinkable and challenge yourself to consider life without electricity for 1-year or more (e.g. SHTF after an EMP cluster)?

The resulting shock to today’s modern man (and woman) would not only be an emotional jolt, but could quickly turn into a life threatening reality for those who have not prepared for such an occurrence. It could be life threatening even for those who have prepared!

Without electricity (even for a short time), these ten things will be high on the list for most people; the things that will be missed the most based on the modern lifestyle of today. 

LIGHTS
The most basic of luxury that electricity provides is our light at night, and even during the day. How long will your batteries last in your flashlights? Then what? Do you have a plan for that?

CELL PHONES
Most of today’s communications revolve around our cell phones / smart phones. They are the lifeblood of our social networks and the primary means of communicating with our family and friends. How will you cope without that ability to communicate?

INTERNET AND COMPUTER
This category should almost go without saying… it is probably the most relied upon resource in our modern lives today. It is crucial to our communications, our finances, our economy, and our entertainment. Many people won’t know what to do without it.

TELEVISION
The average adult watches 4 hours of television a day while the typical child watches 6 hours TV per day including their video-games. It will be a shock to the (emotional) system without this distraction.

iPODS, STEREO, MUSIC
I mention this category due to the observation of so many people walking around with ear-buds attached to their iPod (and other) devices while listening to their music. There will be no recharging these little entertainment devices. Like television, music is a major part of the background (and foreground) entertainment for many people.

AIR CONDITIONING, FANS, AND HEAT
Many modern buildings will be completely uninhabitable without it, due to modern day HVAC design into large multi-story buildings. We have lived for many decades with the convenience of air-conditioning, and being without it will be a shock. Not sure how many could survive without it these days. If electricity were to fail in the winter, there will be even more grave consequences!

REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZER
This appliance is in its own category due to the important role it serves in keeping your food fresh longer and the ability to keep you supplied with fresh food for a time. Without electricity your frozen foods will be thawed within 24 hours and will need to be consumed immediately or tossed out. Then what?

KITCHEN APPLIANCES
How will you handle first thing in the morning without a cup of coffee brewed in your electric coffee pot? Think about ALL of your kitchen appliances that run on electricity and how you would manage without them. No dishwasher? No appliances to assist?

STOVE, OVEN AND MICROWAVE
The majority of people rely on an electric stove, oven or microwave for cooking their food. Let that sink in a moment…

CLOTHES WASHER AND DRYER
Keeping our clothes clean is something that we completely take for granted. It would not take long for this situation to become unhealthy.

Observations and considerations…
Entertainment. Some of the categories listed above are really subsets of “Entertainment”. It WILL be a major emotional factor for many people when they lose it because most people rely on it for daily distraction. When things go “quiet”, it will be jarring for most who have become accustomed to the constant ‘noise’. They will be forced to deal with the reality of their own life and circumstances, and may not know what to do. It could even result in a rapid escalation of social chaos, particularly in densely populated areas as tempers flare while people are forced to deal not only with the loss of their distractions, but they will be forced to deal with survival itself.

Communications. My observations of the world we live in today reveal that many people, if not most, always seem to be on a cell phone talking with someone else – everywhere they go. In the car, in the store, at home, on the street, at work… It seems to reflect an insecurity of sorts. The need to be in constant contact with their circle of friends. Without this emotional support structure of constant communication, these people will have a very difficult time coping (with real life). Even if cell towers are up for awhile during a power outage, when your cell phone battery drains, that’s it… Silence.

Kitchen. You better start thinking about how you’ll manage without your electrical appliances – your stove – your microwave – your refrigerator and freezer – even if only for a week. Do you have the ability to put food on the table without them? Do you have food that doesn’t require cooking? Do you have any food at all? Think of a power outage or grid-down scenario in terms of various lengths of time. While it’s pretty easy to survive a few hours or even a day or two, start thinking about a week or more – and what you would do.

Water. While this resource is pretty much #1 for survival, during short term power outages you will not lose your water pressure. This will only become a critical issue if electricity is lost for a significant period of time. All water municipalities have power generators for their pumps, and so long as they can get fuel for their water pumps, they can keep the water flowing. A severe enough disaster however could throw a wrench in the works. This is similar for sewage treatment. A long-term outage will prove disastrous in the water and sewer category.

Hopefully these thoughts have given you something to think about. If you are inclined to become better prepared for such things, spend a day keeping track of everything that you do and see how many of those activities involve the requirement of electricity. Then imagine life without it. Figure out ways to survive without it.

with electric tube vs solid state

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B. Off the Grid – Solar Power, part 1
3 August 2012, Prepping To Survive, by Mike
Pasted from; http://preppingtosurvive.com/2012/08/03/off-the-grid-solar-power-part-1/

The following article has been contributed by a fellow prepper named Mike. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.

“So, what happens if and when the grid goes down for an extended period of time? Aside from the aggravation of not being able to determine what is happening through traditional media channels, for the Average Joe, his problems have only just begun. Our dependency to the grid doesn’t just stop at lack of electricity in our homes to power our appliances or an inability to charge our cell phones; it is much broader and affects every aspect of our lives”.

Oh how true that statement is; most people could not survive a day without computers, refrigeration, cell phones and TV. Most people have never had to live off the grid unless they were primitive camping; and even then it was probably only for a weekend. But for some of us people planning to use our yachts as a refuge for when the SHTF, using solar is already being practiced. Some of us have already taken the steps necessary to keep the power flowing; we have built our own power grid. We have tested it in the actual real world environment and have been using it when we are away from the dock for pleasure, so we know the application and technology works.

Solar panels have been successfully used since the mid 1950s, originally used in manned space exploration. They have been dropping in price since about 2004 when their popularity really took off. And now with the Green movement afoot, solar panels are as popular as ever. After evaluating my yacht’s energy consumption, it was obvious that we must make some changes to be able to survive during and after the SHTF. So a couple years ago, I set out to research them and determine how to buy and install one; boy was I was in for a shock.

with electric pv1

You can find many retail suppliers online that will sell you a solar panel but nowhere could I find a detailed description of how to determine what to buy and how to install it; much less aboard a yacht. So these articles were born as I made my way through the process; thus was a truly a learn-as-you-go article. If you are thinking about installing one at your home versus on a boat, the principles are still the same.

 What is a Solar Panel and How Do They Work?
Solar panels are in theory any panel that uses the sun’s thermal energy to produce electricity. A solar panel can be described as a photovoltaic panel, the term used in the industry, for panels designed to produce electricity from the rays of the sun. Despite the category of solar panel being discussed, almost all solar panels are flat. This is because the face of the panel needs to be at a 90 degree angle from the sun’s rays for the most favorable angle to absorb the sun’s rays.

Solar panels are able to take in energy from the sun through an array of solar cells on their surface. Much like how a plant is able to soak up energy from the sun for photosynthesis, solar cells perform in a comparable manner. As the sun’s rays hit the solar cells on a photovoltaic panel, the power is transferred to a silicon semiconductor. The power is then changed into (dc) direct current electricity and then passed through connecting wires to finally enter a storage battery.

with electric a panelTypical 150 watt solar panel

 Types of Solar Panels
Types of panels most normally used in boating applications have either multicrystalline or amorphous thin-film cells. Multicrystalline panels are the oldest technology available and also the most powerful. When sized appropriately and matched to suitable batteries, these are the panels to use for operating large loads such as refrigeration.

Amorphous thin film solar panels are only about 50% as effective as multicrystalline panels, but can be bought in flexible forms so they can roll or fold, or correspond to the shape of a yacht cabin top or bimini. They don’t normally have enough output for significant energy replenishment, but can be used to trickle charge a battery bank.

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 C.  Off the Grid – Solar Power, part 2
7 August 2012, Prepping To Survive, by Mike
Pasted from: http://preppingtosurvive.com/2012/08/07/off-the-grid-solar-power-part-2/

The following article has been contributed by a fellow prepper named Mike. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.

This article is the second in a three-part series on off-grid survival using solar power. In the first installment, I talked about how solar power works and the types of solar panels available. In this article, I’ll share with you how to calculate how much energy you’ll need to support your home or boat. In the third and final post, I’ll share how to mount and wire your new panels.

with electric pv2

 How Much Power Do Solar Cells Make?
Generally, we measure solar panels by wattage and that is how we buy them. You can buy solar panels for boats as small as 10 watts to as large as 200 watts or even larger. But it is easier to understand when we convert watts to amperage.

We arrive at these values by multiplying the number of hours the panel spends in full sun (usually defined as 8 per day in Florida) times the panel’s wattage.
For a 195 watt solar panel the output would be 195 x 8 hrs = 1,560 watts/day. Taking it step further, 1,560 watts/12 volts = 130 amps per day.
Keep in mind that solar panels produce DC power which means that you will need a deep cycle battery bank to hold the charge. Batteries are rated by the amp hours they hold.

 So what is Needed in a Solar Panel Setup?
Obviously one or more solar panels are necessary to make the system work. In addition, you will need:

  • a large bank of deep cycle batteries, the bigger the bank the better
  • an inverter, choose between pure sin or modified (to be discussed in another article)
  • a controller and
  • proper wiring and fuses to wire the parts together.

with electric 500 Ahr battery bank

Energy Consumption – A
My guiding principle on how many panels to buy is simple; buy as many panels as your budget and mounting location will allow. You cannot have too many. But you should complete an energy audit to make sure you are buying enough for your needs.

Example, if you have 3 interior lights that draw 2 amps each and you leave them on for 4 hours per day, your consumption would be 3 x 2 x 4 = 24 AH/Day.

You can generally find the amp load for appliances on a label inside a door etc.

 Electrical Loads

Amps Hours AH/Day
House Lighting
Refrigeration
Freezer
Stereo
Other
Total Amp Hours

 

Inverter Loads – B
An inverter is a device that coverts battery DC power to household AC power; without an inverter, unlike on a yacht, your solar panel will have little value if used at a home. But with an inverter you can use your hair dryer.

Inverter loads use DC power but they are powering AC appliances and equipment. If you need to convert watts to amps use (12watts/12 volts = 1amp).

Amps Hours AH/Day
Computer
Microwave
Refrigeration
Freezer
Heater
Hair Dryer
TV
Other
Total Amp Hours
Calculate your total daily energy consumption AH/per day

 Solar Energy Production – C
Alternative sources of power such as solar panels can replace the amp/hrs drawn from the batteries. But like the energy budget that calculated your usage you will also need to calculate your re-supply of amp hours. Remember the formula – (12 watts/12 volts = 1 amp). But keep in mind, the formula is only a gage; absolute accuracy can only be where the panel output is constant and a solar panel may at times operate inefficiently due to shading by clouds.

Watts Amps X – Hours Sun Exposure = – AH/Day
Solar Panel 1
Solar Panel 2
Total Amp Hours Production

 Solar Panel Needs
Compare the daily energy consumption in AH/Day to the solar energy production. Your solar energy production ( C ) should be greater than the consumption ( A, B ). If not, select a larger wattage panel and recalculate. Always purchase more solar panel output than you will think you will need; some planners recommend at least 30% in excess.

We bought our panel from Sun Electronics in Miami, http://www.sunelec.com as they had the best pricing I could find anywhere online. But remember, panels must be shipped via freight as they are heavily packed to reduce the chance of damage so be sure to calculate those costs in your purchase.

(Survival Manual/ prepper Articles/With electric power–Without electric power)

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Yes, there’s “climate change”, its cooling

A. Sunspots 2015: Year of the decline
4 Jan 2015, Posted by azleader
Pasted from: https://informthepundits.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/sunspots-2015-year-of-the-decline/

Cooling1 sun Giant solar flare on October 27, 2014. Credit/NASA SDO spacecraft

Solar maximum has passed. What climate effects will come next?
Austin, January 4, 2015 – Solar maximum activity peaked in April 2014 at an exceptionally low 81.9 spots/day. Waning solar activity in 2015 will begin the long, inexorably journey towards solar minimum over the next half decade or so.

If solar physicists are correct, solar activity could be very low for several decades to come. How that will affect climate change is anyone’s guess, but low sunspot activity has already been identified by the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of the main causes for the 15+ year “hiatus” from atmospheric global warming.

cooling2 progressionSolar max arrived in April 2014. Credit/Steve Davidson-SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

The Royal Observatory of Belgium released December’s official monthly international sunspot numbers on January 1, 2015. Sunspots increased again in December, but the 13-month smoothed sunspot number that defines solar maximum declined for the 2nd month in a row. Given that solar maximum is a 13-month running average, no one knows maximum has been reached until at least seven months after the fact.

What does the downturn in solar activity mean for earth’s long-term climate change? One legitimate comparison of the current situation on the sun is to a cold period on earth called the Dalton Minimum. It happened 200 years ago.

cooling3 daltonCurrent solar activity is similar to the Dalton Minimum. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

There were three declining solar cycles leading into the Dalton Minimum, just like now. The third exceptionally weak cycle had a rare higher secondary peak than its first when the Dalton was reached, just like now.

That cycle was followed by a decline to zero spots. The period of zero spots lasted nearly two years before another weak cycle occurred. The match to current activity isn’t exact, but it’s eerily similar. There is modern supporting evidence that the sun will have an exceptionally weak cycle next time, just like the Dalton.

cooling umbralSunspots are becoming harder to see and weaker. Credit/Dr. Leif Svalgaard Research Page

Umbral intensity is a measure of how black the center of the average sunspot is compared to its surroundings. An intensity of 1 means the sunspot is invisible. Sunspots have been fading away since the late 1990s. In the last 3-4 years, though, the fading has leveled off.

Umbral magnetic field is a measure of the strength of the average sunspot, measured in Gauss. The lower the number, the weaker the sunspot. Strong magnetic fields are what cause giant solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that dramatically affect earth. Sunspots cannot form with a field strength below 1,500 Gauss. In the last 3-4 years the decline in magnetic field strength has leveled off, too.

When this data was first published in 2011 it caused quite a stir among solar physicists. Some predicted sunspots would totally disappear after the current cycle ended. It doesn’t look like that will be the case after all. It looks like the next cycle, Cycle 25, will be another weak one, just like during the Dalton Minimum.

Reliable global temperature data does not extend further back than about 1850, fifty years after the Dalton. However, anecdotal evidence suggests there were very cold winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere during that time period.

The current sunspot cycle most closely matches Cycle 12, which peaked in 1883. That one is within reliable global temperature records.

cooling monthly smoothedThe current solar cycle is best matched to Cycle 12. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

Both Cycle 12 and the current cycle have a rare secondary peak higher than the first. That has got to mean something.

According to IPCC data, the period of the 1880s to the early 1900s was characterized by a general decline in earth’s global atmospheric temperature.

 cooling trend1880-1910 cooling trend corresponds to low sunspot activity. Source/IPCC AR5 Report

Cycle 12 and the two cycles following it were exceptionally weak cycles leading into the early 1900s. It corresponded to declining global temperatures. Coincidence? Not likely.

Conclusions
Solar sunspot maximum was reached in April of 2014. That did not become known until recently because solar max is computed as a 13-month running average. You can’t know it has been reached until at least seven months after the fact. There have been two months of decline since then, so it is reasonably certain the maximum was finally reached. As it is, it was over two years later than originally predicted.

If the current cycle follows past solar behavior then 2015 will see a steep decline in solar activity as it progresses toward solar minimum in the next five years or so.
The current cycle (Cycle 24) has strong similarities to both the Dalton Minimum and Cycle 12 that peaked in 1883. Both time periods are associated with cold earth temperatures. Cycle 12 is more meaningful because it is supported by current United Nations IPCC data.
That being the case, it’s time to start thinking about breaking out the cold weather gear.
.

B. New Ice Age to Begin in 2014
23 Feb 2012, IceAgeNow.info, By Robert
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2012/02/ice-age-2014/

“Forecasters predict that a new ice age will begin soon,” says this article on russia-ic.com.

“Habibullo Abdusamatov, a scientist from the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences considers that the sharp drop in temperature will start on the Earth in 2014. “According to the scientist, our planet began to “get cold” in the 1990s. The new ice age will last at least two centuries, with its peak in 2055. “It is interesting, that the same date was chosen by the supporters of the theory of global warming. “The expected decrease in temperature may … become the fifth over the past nine centuries, reports Hydrometeorological Center of Russia. Experts call this phenomenon the “little ice age”, it was observed in the XII, XV, XVII, XIX centuries. This cyclicity makes the theory of upcoming cold weather in XXI century look like truth.” http://russia-ic.com/news/show/13717#.T0Q3Ms7rk9C Thanks to Thomas McHart, Stephanie Relfe for this link

Habibullo Abdussamatov is not just “a scientist.” Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, astrophysicist, is head of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and head of Space Research of the Sun Sector at the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I
’m inclined to take his forecasts seriously.
I’ve met Dr Abdussamatov, and posted other articles about him here: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/
And here: http://iceagenow.info/2011/11/russian-scientists-predict-100-years-cooling/

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C. New Little Ice Age ‘to Begin in 2014′
20 May 2010,IceAgeNow.info, by Bob
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/

cooling Habibullo AbdussamatovRussian scientist to alarmists: ‘Sun heats Earth!’ 20 May 10 – CHICAGO – Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, predicts that a new “Little Ice Age” could begin in just four years.
I sat just ten feet away from Abdussamatov as he made this startling assertion at the Heartland Institute’s 4th International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago just two days ago.
Jerome R. Corsi from World Net Daily covered the proceedings exceedingly well, and I am quoting or paraphrasing him extensively here.
In a two-part video recorded at the conference by WND (link below), Abdussamatov explains that average annual sun activity has experienced an accelerated decrease since the 1990s.

Habibullo Abdussamatov Head of the Russian-Ukrainian project “Astrometria” on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, Abdussamatov’s theory is that “long-term variations in the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth are the main and principal reasons driving and defining the whole mechanism of climatic changes from the global warmings to the Little Ice Ages to the big glacial periods.”

In his speech, Abdussamatov took on advocates of the theory of man-caused warming who want to curtail our use of hydrocarbon fuels. He contended, instead, that a reasonable way to combat coming cooling trends would be “to maintain economic growth in order to adapt to the upcoming new Little Ice Age in the middle of the 21st century.”

Sun’s activity determines temperatures
Abdussamatov argues that total sun irradiance, or TSI, is the primary factor responsible for causing climate variations on Earth, not carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is “not guilty,” says Abdussamatov. “As for what lies ahead in the coming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged temperature drop.”

Abdussamatov pointed to the English astronomer Walter Maunder, who noticed that sunspots had been generally absent from 1645 to 1715. That period coincided with the middle and coldest part of the Little Ice Age (see article D, below), which began around 1650 and extended through 1850.

“There is now an unavoidable advance toward a global decrease, a deep temperature drop comparable to the Maunder minimum,” he wrote. “Already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop.”

“The observed global warming of the climate of the Earth is not caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses, but by extraordinarily high solar intensity that extended over virtually the entire past century.” “Future decrease in global temperature will occur even if anthropogenic ejection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere rises to record levels.

“The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years.”

I have the utmost respect for the courageous scientists who presented at this convention.

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D. The Little Ice Age in Europe
Scott A. Mandia, Professor – Physical Sciences, S.C.C.C., Selden, NY
Excerpts pasted from: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating effect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Agriculture
Lamb (1966) points out that the growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millennium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times of the LIA, England’s growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values. The availability of varieties of seed today that can withstand extreme cold or warmth, wetness or dryness, was not available in the past. Therefore, climate changes had a much greater impact on agricultural output in the past.

Fig. 16 and 17 show the price of wheat and rye, respectively, in various European countries during the LIA.

cooling wheat pricesFigure 16: Prices of wheat expressed in Dutch guilders per 100 kg. in various countries vs. time. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Health
The cooler climate during the LIA had a huge impact on the health of Europeans. As mentioned earlier, dearth and famine killed millions and poor nutrition decreased the stature of the Vikings in Greenland and Iceland.

Cool, wet summers led to outbreaks of an illness called St. Anthony’s Fire. Whole villages would suffer convulsions, hallucinations, gangrenous rotting of the extremities, and even death. Grain, if stored in cool, damp conditions, may develop a fungus known as ergot blight and also may ferment just enough to produce a drug similar to LSD. (In fact, some historians claim that the Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria was the result of ergot blight.)

Malnutrition led to a weakened immunity to a variety of illnesses. In England, malnutrition aggravated an influenza epidemic of 1557-8 in which whole families died. In fact, during most of the 1550’s deaths outnumbered births (Lamb, 1995.) The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) was hastened by malnutrition all over Europe.

One might not expect a typically tropical disease such as malaria to be found during the LIA, but Reiter (2000) has shown that it was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. The English word for malaria was ague, a term that remained in common usage until the nineteenth century. Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400) wrote in the Nun’s Priest Tale:

You are so very choleric of complexion. Beware the mounting sun and all dejection, Nor get yourself with sudden humours hot; For if you do, I dare well lay a groat That you shall have the tertian fever’s pain, Or some ague that may well be your bane.

In sixteenth century England, many marshlands were notorious for their ague-stricken populations. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) mentioned ague in eight of his plays. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) died of ague in September 1658, which was one of the coldest years of the LIA.

Five indigenous species of mosquito are capable of transmitting malaria in England where they prefer the brackish water along river estuaries. The anaerobic bacterial flora of saline mud produces a strong sulfur odor that was widely believed to be the cause of agues in salt marsh areas (i.e. Shakespeare’s “unwholesome fens.”) The term malaria comes from the Italian term “mala aria” meaning “bad air.”

Impact on Economics
In addition to increasing grain prices and lower wine production, there were many examples of economic impact by the dramatic cooling of the climate. Due to famine, storms, and growth of glaciers ,many farmsteads were destroyed, which resulted in less tax revenues collected due to decreased value of the properties (Lamb, 1995.)

Cod fishing greatly decreased, especially for the Scottish fisherman, as the cod moved farther south. The cod fishery at the Faeroe Islands began to fail around 1615 and failed altogether for thirty years between 1675 and 1704 (Lamb, 1995.) In the Hohe Tauern mountains of the Austrian Alps, advancing glaciers closed the gold mines of the Archbishop of Salzburg who was one of the wealthiest dukes in the empire. The succession of two or three bad summers where the miners could not rely on work in the mines caused them to find employment elsewhere, which resulted in an abrupt end to the mining operations (Bryson, 1977.)

Not all of the economic impact was bad. The fertile fishing grounds of the present day Newfoundland Banks were thought to have been found by fisherman in the late 1400’s who were looking for the fish stocks that had deserted their former grounds as the result of the movement of colder waters from the north (Lamb, 1995.)

English fisherman benefited by the southern movement of herring normally found in the waters off Norway. This increase in deep-sea fishing helped to build the maritime population and strength of the country (Lamb, 1995.) The failure of crops in Norway between 1680 and 1720 was a prime reason for the great growth of merchant shipping there. Coastal farmers whose crops failed turned to selling their timber and to constructing ships in order to transport these timbers themselves (Lamb, 1995.)

Social Unrest
Conditions during the LIA led to many cases of social unrest. The winter of 1709 killed many people in France. Conditions were so bad, a priest in Angers, in west-central France, wrote: “The cold began on January 6, 1709, and lasted in all its rigor until the twenty-fourth. The crops that had been sewn were all completely destroyed…. Most of the hens had died of cold, as had the beasts in the stables. When any poultry did survive the cold, their combs were seen to freeze and fall off. Many birds, ducks, partidges, woodcock, and blackbirds died and were found on the roads and on the thick ice and frequent snow. Oaks, ashes, and other valley trees split with cold. Two thirds of the vines died…. No grape harvest was gathered at all in Anjou…. I myself did not get enough wine from my vineyard to fill a nutshell.” (Ladurie, 1971) In March the poor rioted in several cities to keep the merchants from selling what little wheat they had left.

The winter of 1739-40 was also a bad one. After that there was no spring and only a damp, cool summer which spoiled the wheat harvest. The poor rebelled and the governor of Liège told the rich to “fire into the middle of them. That’s the only way to disperse this riffraff, who want nothing but bread and loot.” (Ladurie, 1971)

Lamb (1995) reports the occurrence of cattle raids on the Lowlanders by Highlanders who were stressed by the deteriorating climate. In 1436, King James I of Scotland was murdered while hunting on the edge of the Highland region near Perth. The clan warfare grew so bad that it was decided that no place north of Edinburgh Castle was safe for the king so Edinburgh became the capital of the country.

In England, the effect of starvation and the poor condition of the country encouraged men to enlist during the War of the Roses (1455-1485.) As tillable land was converted to other uses such as sheep rearing, the landlords who organized the conversions became the focus of many hostilities.

One group in particular suffered from the poor conditions – people thought to be witches (Behringer, 1999.) Weather-making was thought to be among the traditional abilities of witches and during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries many saw a great witch conspiracy. Extensive witch hunts took place during the most severe years of the LIA, as people looked for scapegoats to blame for their suffering.

One of history’s most notorious quotes might have been due in part to a rare extremely warm period during the LIA. In northern France in 1788, after an unusually bad winter, May, June, and July were excessively hot, which caused the grain to shrivel. On July 13, just at harvest time, a severe hailstorm (which typically occurs when there is very cold air aloft) destroyed what little crops were left. From that bad harvest of 1788 came the bread riots of 1789 which led to Marie Antoinette’s alleged remark “Let them eat cake,” and the storming of the Bastille.

Art and Literature
Writers and artists were also influenced by the great change in climate. In 1816, “the year without a summer,” many Europeans spent their summers around the fire. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein, and Polidori, The Vampire. Both authors, together with Byron and Percy Shelley, were in Switzerland, near Lake Geneva where Byron said “We will each write a ghost story.” Percy Shelley also referred to a glacier in his poem “Mont Blanc” when he wrote “…and wall impregnable of beaming ice. The race of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling vanish…”

Neuberger (1970) studied more than 12,000 paintings in 41 art museums in the United States and eight European countries to test his hypothesis that paintings would accurately reveal the climate record. These paintings covered the period from 1400 to 1967. He categorized the blueness of the sky into a three-step scale consisting of pale blue, medium blue, and deep blue. Cloudiness was estimated according to the U.S. airways code: clear (less than 10 percent coverage), scattered (10 to 50 percent), broken (60 to 90 percent), and overcast (more than 90 percent cloud coverage.) In addition, the types of clouds were observed according to four families: high, middle, low, and convective (vertically-developed) clouds. Neuberger separated his data into three epochs. According to the data in Fig. 19 below, during the second epoch when the LIA was at its peak, cloudiness and darkness prevailed.

cooling sky paintingsFigure 19: Epochal changes in various painting features. (Source: Neuberger, 1970)

Neuberger suggests that the similarities between the second and third epochs have more to do with a stylistic change in the third epoch to impressionism which produced hazy atmospheres and also to an increase in industrial pollution.

Frequency of Storms
Fig. 20 shows the number of reported severe sea floods per century in the North Sea region.

cooling severe sea floodsFigure 20: Number of reported sea floods per century in the North Sea region. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

During the LIA, there was a high frequency of storms. As the cooler air began to move southward, the polar jet stream strengthened and followed, which directed a higher number of storms into the region. At least four sea floods of the Dutch and German coasts in the thirteenth century were reported to have caused the loss of around 100,000 lives. Sea level was likely increased by the long-term ice melt during the MWP which compounded the flooding. Storms that caused greater than 100,000 deaths were also reported in 1421, 1446, and 1570. Additionally, large hailstorms that wiped out farmland and killed great numbers of livestock occurred over much of Europe due to the very cold air aloft during the warmer months. Due to severe erosion of coastline and high winds, great sand storms developed which destroyed farmlands and reshaped coastal land regions.

(News & Editorial/ Yes there’s “climate change”, it cooling)

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On being prepared

On being prepared

A. How to Survive Societal Collapse in Suburbia
Excerpt pasted from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/magazine/how-to-survive-societal-collapse-in-suburbia.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&

Suburban1

Photograph by Dwight Eschliman for The New York Times

The Douglas Family Stockpile
1.  Staples in 6-gallon buckets include: rice, beans, nuts, sugar, salt, matches, wheat, flour
2.  Freeze-dried meals
3.  Assorted canned foods: cheese, butter and meat
4.  Water-bath canner
5.  Vacuum sealer
6.  Pressure canner
7. Pot
8. Canned meat: red is pork, green is turkey
9. Broth: beef and chicken
10.  Salt: 25-pound bags
11.  Aluminum foil
12.  Portable first-aid kits, lighters, U.V. light sticks, fast-acting glue
13.  Candles
14.  Sunflower seeds
15.  Cough drops
16.  Canned turkey
17.  Stackable containers of canned food
18.  72-hour backpacks
19.  Charcoal chimney
20.  Potatoes
21. Grill
22.  Solar oven
23.  Beef jerky
24.  Vinegar, white and cider
25.  Olive oil in cans
26.  Wall-mounted first-aid kit
27.   Canned staples: rice, dried carrots, dried onions
28. Powdered milk and eggs
29. Laundry detergent
30. The Douglas family
31. Heirloom seed bank
32. Bleach
33. Pasta
34. Dehydrated mashed potatoes
35. More assorted staples
36. Miscellaneous canned goods
37. Stackable containers of canned food
38. Powdered hot chocolate
39. GeneratorNot pictured: juice, apple and grape; fortified water; hand sanitizer; laundry bucket; jars of bouillon; canned apple-pie filling; filtered-water bottles.
40. Propane burner
41. Water filter
42. Hand warmers
43. Surgical masks
44. Empty Mason jars for canning
45. Jars of roasted peppers
46. Rifle, shotgun and pistol
47. Buckets of honey
48. Cans of sardines
49. Foldout tent
50. 5-gallon gas cans
51. Solar panels
52. Plastic hose

suburban2

B. Survival In A Big City After Disaster
12 November 2014, Modern Survival Blog, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/systemic-risk/survival-in-a-big-city-after-disaster/

The issue of survival in a big city following a major disaster is a serious one. In 1800, only 3 % of the world’s population lived in cities. Today, about half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and in developed countries up to 70 % or more live in larger cities. New York and Los Angeles are among the top 10 most populous cities in the world. There are 30 MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) within the United States which have 2 million people or more.

What could possibly go wrong?

Hopefully nothing… however don’t count on it. A microcosm of what could go wrong already happened years ago in New Orleans. Remember Katrina? What about Hurricane Sandy not that long ago in the heavily populated Mid Atlantic region of the Northeast? Does anyone remember the LA riots? What about Ferguson MO?

There are all sorts of natural or man-made events which could spell disaster for the big cities.

What about this one… There are approximately 50 percent of Americans who get some sort of government benefits and there are 82 million households on Medicaid. The amount of people on SNAP (food stamps) has nearly doubled since 2006. And this is only from 2011 Census data. There’s little doubt the numbers are even worse today. How many of these people live in the cities or metropolitan areas? I would suggest that the majority do.

What happens if government assistance is reduced via a financial collapse, or perhaps by a devalued dollar through price inflation – which buys less product? What happens if EBT cards stop working or are ‘worth’ much less than before? I will tell you what happens… The dependent class will revolt.

Without going further down that rabbit hole (I digress), let’s think about survival in the big cities. Let’s face it. There are lots of you who live in the cities or heavily populated MSAs.

When considering one’s preparedness and/or how to survive in the city after a disaster – the thought processes, the plans, and the resulting actions will depend (very much) on the circumstances that one is preparing for. In other words, how bad of a disaster scenario and how long might it go on. These are judgment calls which are made during the event and are preconceived “what if” scenarios based on your own risk tolerance.

The first thing that many people will think to do (following a disaster while living in the city) is to simply ‘bug out’, get-out-of-dodge, leave the city to greener pastures. The problem is, many people really do not have another realistic place to go than where they are now. Unless you truly have a willing friend who lives away from the city, then you will need to think about Plan B. Besides, who’s to say that you could even get out of the city during certain disasters? For an obvious short-term localized disaster you could certainly try to get out and stay in a hotel somewhere out of the region. Traffic will certainly be snarled.

Plan B is to face the very real possibility that you will be stuck right there where you are now. In the city. This is a very bad situation for some disaster circumstances, however for other scenarios it is survivable. Much depends on initial severity as well as the expected length of time in which you will be adversely affected.

If any of the city infrastructure is severely damaged, you will probably be facing a relatively long time to recovery and some very serious problems. If the water and/or sewage is affected, then you are in big trouble. This could be the result of physical damage (e.g. a major earthquake, attack, etc..) or it could be the result of regional (or wider) power outage. If it’s the later, then you will need to understand the cause of the power outage so that you can reasonably determine the expected length of time until it’s re-established (very important to discover and know). A battery powered portable radio is an essential item to get news and information about the disaster.

A major electrical grid power outage could be caused by storm damage. Ice storms are particularly notorious for this, as well ask hurricanes which wreak wide spread damage. Often these types of weather related outages will be resolved within days or weeks because the power company brings in multitudes of crews from other regions to help with the repairs.

On the other hand if the power outage has been caused by a worse enemy, such as a ‘Carrington Event’ solar flare & CME, or by an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack, then this could be a life-ending event for many millions. How will you know? Some or all things ‘electronic’ may not be operational (fried). An entirely different approach must be taken to survive this. But that’s another subject.

Having said that, I believe that the biggest (general) factors to survival in the city is:
– the condition of the electrical grid
– the condition of the infrastructure
– the condition of the distribution networks which bring food & supplies
– the condition of the chaos and your security

For starters, while considering how to prepare for disaster while living in the city, figure out how you will survive based on the four previously mentioned factors. Since most (typical?) disasters are relatively short lived (hours, days, maybe a week or two), then the foremost important thing to do is determine what you will need (in your city apartment or home) to survive without these things. In other words, you’re on your own (completely) for a day or two, maybe a week, or maybe even two.

We’re talking about some of the basics such as water, food, sanitation, keeping warm (during the winter) or keeping cool (summer), and your personal security. Although depending on exactly where you live, your personal security should not (generally) be an issue at first, given a short term disaster. Just keep in mind that when it begins to go on past day-3, then there will be increasingly desperate unprepared people – at which time security will become an increasing issue.

Water
Water can easily be procured and stored. Figure at least 1 gallon of water per day per person. More is (always) better in this regard. You can stock up on cases of water bottles and/or fill up some water storage containers. Get yourself a quality drinking water filter. Most people forget the water when thinking about preparedness. If you’re reading this, there’s no excuse now…

Food
Store some foods which do not require cooking (important). Remember, you can safely eat grocery store canned foods without cooking (even though you’re used to heating them up first). Don’t forget the manual can opener. There is literally no excuse for anyone not to have enough food storage to survive several weeks.

Sanitation
Imagine the scenario without running water. Consider keeping a quantity of ‘wet wipes’ or some such disposable cleaning wipes for hands or other duties. Know that you can flush a toilet without running water. If the power is out for long, this could become a big problem in the city if their generators are not working (or run out of fuel). Pumps are required to water to your faucets and to move sewage – which might ‘back up’ into buildings. Don’t laugh but a 5 gallon bucket (or your existing empty toilet) lined with a heavy duty trash bag (use kitty litter to pour over afterwards) is better than nothing. You could then tie and dispose of used bags somewhere outdoors (although it will be another difficult issue in the city).

Heating & Air Conditioning (Shelter)
A big issue for survival in the city following a disaster is the potential lack of HVAC (heating and air conditioning). Air (or lack thereof). Most apartment buildings (and large buildings in general) are designed to produce a climate controlled environment (which requires electricity). Many buildings do not even have windows which can be opened. Even if they do, it won’t be enough during the summer to prevent a virtual ‘cooker’ in such a building. And if during the winter, you will need to find a way to stay warm without the HVAC system (safely). Mostly, this means wearing warm winter clothes, jackets, hats, gloves, thermals, and having a cold weather sleeping bag. You can survive this way without heat – so long as you have adequate clothes and protection (shelter).

Personal Security
Your personal security will potentially be at risk in the city if the disaster looms long. Face it – most people are not prepared whatsoever for disaster. These people will be ‘screwed’ in a moderate or long term event. Coupled with the dangers of desperate people doing desperate things will be the city gangs of thugs who will take advantage of the chaos. Avoid confrontation by being prepared ahead of time and staying home while you secure your own perimeter and go about the task of survival. For anywhere it is legal, I suggest owning a firearm. Learn how to use it at the range (most people who’ve never shot a firearm before are surprised at how much fun it is when they finally do ). The longer the disaster scenario plays out in the city, the more dangerous it will become for you. Know this and prepare for it accordingly.

Apart from water, food, shelter, security, there are countless other considerations and supplies which will help during a time of disaster. Browse this site (http://modernsurvivalblog.com) and others for lists and ideas. Some of the ideas are obvious ‘no-brainers’ such as a flashlight and extra batteries, while other ideas may really help you in other less obvious ways…

In conclusion, let me say this… during a complete collapse of society and/or SHTF, the cities will not survive. Today’s ‘Just In Time’ distribution will collapse and leave the cities as wastelands of descending chaos. When the trucks stop, it’s over. IF you sense that the disaster is leading towards complete collapse, then I would do everything in my power to get out of there.

By the way, the top 30 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the United States are as follows:
1. New York
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. Dallas-Fort Worth
5. Houston
6. Philadelphia
7. Washington
8. Miami
9. Atlanta
10. Boston
11. San Francisco
12. Riverside
13. Phoenix
14. Detroit
15. Seattle
16. Minneapolis-St.Paul
17. San Diego
18. Tampa-St.Petersburg
19. St. Louis 20. Baltimore
21. Denver
22. Pittsburgh
23. Charlotte
24. Portland OR
25. San Antonio
26. Orlando
27. Sacramento
28. Cincinnati
29. Cleveland
30. Kansas City

(Prepper articles/ Readiness in suburbs and city)

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Modern Living: Part IV of V (Pollutants & Spills)

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Living)

Topic: Part I
1. What happened to the American dream?
2. Entertainment galore
Part II
3. Cigarette smoking

4. Illegal drug use

Part III
5. Antibiotics and super bugs
6. Antibiotics in meat
7. GMO in crops

Part IV
8. Household Pollutants and Chemical spills

Part V
9. Infrastructure deterioration
.

8. Household Pollutants & Chemical Spills

A. Household Pollutants
<
Household”>http://www.pollutionissues.com/Ho-Li/Household-Pollutants.html&gt;
Household pollutants are contaminants that are released during the use of various products in daily life. Studies indicate that indoor air quality is far worse than that outdoors because homes, for energy efficiency, are made somewhat airtight. Moreover, household pollutants are trapped in houses causing further deterioration of indoor air quality.

Hazardous household products fall into six broad categories: household cleaners, paints and solvents, lawn and garden care, automotive products, pool chemicals, and health and beauty aids. Many commonly used household products in these categories release toxic chemicals. As an alternative, manufacturers are introducing products, often referred to as green products, whose manufacture, use, and disposal do not become a burden on the environment.

Chemicals in Household Products and Their Effects
Many household products like detergents, furniture polish, disinfectants, deodorizers, paints, stain removers, and even cosmetics release chemicals that may be harmful to human health as well as cause environmental concerns (see the table below, “Household Products and Their Potential Health Effects”).

Insecticides, pesticides, weed killers, and fertilizers that are used for maintaining one’s lawn and garden are another source of household pollution. Their entry into the house could occur through air movement or adsorption by shoes and toys, which are then brought inside the house.

A common class of pollutants emitted from household products is volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Sources for these pollutants include paint strippers and other solvents, wood preservatives, air fresheners, automotive products, and dry cleaned clothing. Formaldehyde is a major organic pollutant emitted from pressed wood products and furniture made from them, foam insulation, other textiles, and glues. Exposure to very high concentrations of formaldehyde may lead to death.

Other household products that contain harmful chemicals are antifreeze, car cleaners and waxes, chemicals used in photo development, mice and rat poison, rug cleaners, nail polish, insect sprays, and wet cell batteries. Such household chemicals may pose serious health risks if not handled, stored, and disposed of properly.

Indoor Air Pollutants from Other Household Activities
From time to time, homeowners complete a variety of remodeling projects to improve the aesthetic look of their house. These include new flooring, basement remodeling, hanging new cabinets, removing asbestos sheets, scraping off old paint (which might contain lead), and the removal or application of wallpaper. Such activities could be a significant source of indoor air pollutants during and after the project. Asbestos, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene, chloroform, trichloroethane and other organic solvents, and lead dust are the main pollutants released during remodeling. Homes built before 1970s may pose additional environmental problems because of the use of lead- and asbestos-containing materials. The use of both materials was common in building construction prior to the 1970s (e.g., lead-based paint used to paint homes).

Table: Household Products and Their Potential Health Effects

Household products & their potential health effects Harmful Ingredients Potential Health Hazards
Air fresheners & deodorizers Formaldehyde Toxic in nature; carcinogen; irritates eyes, nose,throat and skin; nervous, digestive, respiratory system damage
Bleach Sodium hypochlorite Corrosive; irritates and burns skin and eyes; nervous, respiratory, digestive system damage
Disinfectants Sodium hypochlorite Corrosive; irritates and burns skin and eyes; nervous, respiratory, digestive system damage
Phenols Ignitable; very toxic in nature; respiratory and circulatory system damage
Ammonia Toxic in nature; vapor irritates skin, eyes and respiratory tract
Drain cleaner Sodium/potassium hydroxide (lye) Corrosive; burns skin and eyes; toxic in nature; nervous, digestive and urinary system damage
Flea powder Carbaryl Very toxic in nature; irritates skin; causes nervous, respiratory and circulatory system damage
Dichlorophene Toxic in nature; irritates skin; causes nervous and digestive system damage
Chlordane and other chlorinated hydrocarbons Toxic in nature; irritates eyes and skin; cause respiratory, digestive and urinary system damage
Floor cleaner/wax Diethylene glycol Toxic in nature; causes nervous, digestive and urinary system damage
Petroleum solvents Highly ignitable; carcinogenic; irritate skin, eyes, throat, nose and lungs
Ammonia Toxic in nature; vapor irritates skin, eyes and respiratory tract
Furniture polish Petroleum distillates or mineral spirits Highly ignitable; toxic in nature; carcinogen; irritate skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs
Oven cleaner Sodium/potassium hydroxide (lye) Corrosive; burns skin, eyes; toxic in nature; causes nervous and digestive system damage
Paint thinner Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons Toxic in nature; cause digestive and urinary system damage
Esters Toxic in nature; irritate eyes, nose and throat
Alcohols Ignitable; cause nervous system damage; irritate eyes, nose and throat
Chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons Ignitable; toxic in nature; digestive system damage
Ketones Ignitable; toxic in nature; respiratory system damage
Paints Aromatic hydrocarbon thinners Ignitable; toxic in nature; carcinogenic; irritates skin, eyes, nose and throat; respiratory system damage
Mineral spirits Highly ignitable; toxic in nature; irritates skin, eyes, nose and throat; respiratory system damage
Pool sanitizers Calcium hypochlorite Corrosive; irritates skin, eyes, and throat; if ingested cause severe burns to the digestive tract
Ethylene (algaecides) Irritation of eyes, mucous membrane and skin; effects reproductive system; probable human carcinogen of medium carcinogenic hazard
Toilet bowl cleaner Sodium acid sulfate or oxalate or hypochloric acid Corrosive; toxic in nature; burns skin; causes digestive and respiratory system damage
Chlorinated phenols Ignitable; very toxic in nature; cause respiratory and circulatory system damage
Window cleaners Diethylene glycol Toxic in nature; cause nervous, urinary and digestive system damage
Ammonia Toxic in nature; vapor irritates skin, eyes and respiratory tract

.
Avoiding Exposure and the Use of Green Products

There are several steps one can take to reduce exposure to household chemicals. The table below provides a list of alternative products. One can bring unused and potentially harmful household products to a nearby chemical collection center; many communities have such a center. Chemicals received at these centers are recycled, disposed of, or offered for reuse. One may also purchase just the amount needed or share what is left over with friends. In addition, one should always avoid mixing different household chemicals.

Most of the chemicals released during remodeling projects are toxic in nature, and some of them are even carcinogenic. Proper care, such as employing wet methods for suppressing dust, use of high-efficiency filters to collect fine particulates, and sealing the remodeling area, must be taken while remodeling to prevent the emission of harmful chemicals into the surrounding air. Reducing material use will result in fewer emissions and also less waste from remodeling operations. Another good practice is to use low environmental-impact materials, and materials produced from waste or recycled materials, or materials salvaged from other uses. It is important to avoid materials made from toxic or hazardous constituents (e.g., benzene or arsenic).

Indoor air quality should improve with increasing consumer preference for green products or low-emission products and building materials. Green products for household use include products that are used on a daily basis, such as laundry detergents, cleaning fluids, window cleaners, cosmetics, aerosol sprays, fertilizers, and pesticides. Generally, these products do not contain chemicals that cause environmental pollution problems, or have lesser quantities of them than their counterparts. Some chemicals have been totally eliminated from use in household products due to strict regulations. Examples include the ban of phosphate-based detergents and aerosols containing chlorofluorocarbons.

Alternatives to common household products Alternative(s)
SOURCE: Based on information available from various sources including the Web site of Air and Waste Management Association
Air refresher Open windows to ventilate. To scent air, use herbal bouquets, pure vanilla on a cotton ball, or simmer cinnamon and cloves.
All-purpose cleaner Mix ⅔ cup baking soda, ¼ cup ammonia and ¼ cup vinegar in a gallon of hot water. Doubling all the ingredients except the water can make stronger solution.
Brass polish Use paste made from equal parts vinegar, salt and flour. Be sure to rinse completely afterward to prevent corrosion.
Carpet/rug cleaner Sprinkle cornstarch/baking soda on carpets and vacuum.
Dishwashing liquid Wash dishes with hand using a liquid soap or a mild detergent.
Drain opener Add 1 tablespoon baking soda into drain and then slowly pour ⅓ cup white vinegar to loosen clogs. Use a plunger to get rid of the loosened clog. Prevent clogs by pouring boiling water down drains once a week, using drain strainers, and not pouring grease down drains.
Fabric softener Use ¼ to ½ cup of baking soda during rinse cycle.
Fertilizer Use compost and organic fertilizers.
Floor cleaner Mix 1 cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water. For unfinished wood floors, add 1 cup linseed oil. To remove wax buildup, scrub in club soda, let soak and wipe clean.
Floor polish Polish floors with club soda.
Furniture polish Mix 1 teaspoon lemon oil and 1 pint mineral oil. Also, use damp rag.
Insecticides Wipe houseplant leaves with soapy water.
Laundry bleach Use borax on all clothes or ½ cup white vinegar in rinse water to brighten dark clothing. Nonchlorinated bleach also works well.
Methylene chloride paint stripper Use nontoxic products.
Mothballs Place cedar chips or blocks in closets and drawers.
Oil-based paint, thinner Use water-based products.
Oven cleaner Wash the oven with a mixture of warm water and baking soda. Soften burned-on spills by placing a small pan of ammonia in the oven overnight. Sprinkle salt onto fresh grease spills and then wipe clean.
Pesticide Use physical and biological controls.
Silver cleaner Add 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and a 2″ x 2″ piece of aluminum foil to a small pan of warm water. Soak silverware overnight.
Toilet cleaner Use baking soda, a mild detergent, and a toilet brush.
Window cleaner Mix ¼ cup ammonia with 1 quart water.

.
B. Chemical spills
__1. Sick fish in Gulf are alarming scientists
Unusual number a ‘huge red flag’ to scientists, fishermen
< http://newworldorderreport.com/News/tabid/266/ID/7830/Sick-fish-in-Gulf-are-alarming-scientists-Unusual-number-a-huge-red-flag-to-scientists-fishermen.aspx>

Scientists are alarmed by the discovery of unusual numbers of fish in the Gulf of Mexico and inland waterways with skin lesions, fin rot, spots, liver blood clots and other health problems.

“It’s a huge red flag,” said Richard Snyder, director of the University of West Florida Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation. “It seems abnormal, and anything we see out of the ordinary we’ll try to investigate.” Are the illnesses related to the BP oil spill, the cold winter or something else? That’s the big question Snyder’s colleague, UWF biologist William Patterson III, and other scientists along the Gulf Coast are trying to answer. If the illnesses are related to the oil spill, it could be a warning sign of worse things to come.

In the years following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, the herring fishery collapsed and has not recovered, according to an Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee report. The herring showed similar signs of illness — including skin lesions — that are showing up in Gulf fish. Worried that same scenario could play out along the Gulf Coast, Patterson is conducting research on the chronic effects of the BP oil spill on Gulf fish. And he sees troubling signs consistent with oil exposure: fish with lesions, external parasites, odd pigmentation patterns, and diseased livers and ovaries. These may be signs of compromised immune systems in fish that are expending their energy dealing with toxins, Patterson said.

“I’ve had tens of thousands of fish in my hands and not seen these symptoms in so many fish before,” said Patterson, who has been studying fish, including red snapper, for 15 years. “All those symptoms have been seen naturally before, but it’s a matter of them all coming at once that we’re concerned about.”

He’s conducting the research with some of the $600,000 in BP money distributed to UWF from $10 million the oil company gave to the Florida Institute of Oceanography in Tampa to study the impact of the spill.

Higher scrutiny
As part of his studies, Patterson is collecting samples at targeted sites in the Gulf and from commercial fishermen. Samples from his targeted sites have shown fewer problems than those from fishermen. While Patterson is alarmed, he’s quick to point that the Gulf’s ecosystem never before has been scrutinized as closely as it is now, or by so many scientists. “Are we looking more closely, or are these unusual?” he said.

Sick fish have been reported from offshore and inshore waters from Northwest Florida to Louisiana, he said. Scientists are trying to figure out how prevalent these abnormalities are and their cause.

In that pursuit:

  • Patterson and Florida A&M University scientists are conducting toxicology tests to find out if the fish were exposed to hydrocarbons or oil. Results are not final.
  • Scientists at Louisiana State University’s veterinarian school are in the Gulf looking into what microbes might be causing the diseases.
  • Pensacola marine biologist Heather Reed is studying red snapper for a private client using broader testing methods than mandated by the federal government, which she says are not adequate.

“I’ve been testing different organs in game fish that have been brought to me, and I’m seeing petroleum hydrocarbons in the organs,” said Reed, the environmental adviser for the City of Gulf Breeze. “I was shocked when I saw it.” She is trying to secure grants to continue that research and is talking to federal and state officials about her findings, she said. All the studies are aimed at one goal: “To find out what is really going on and get things back to normal,” Reed said.

Solving the mystery
But both Reed and Patterson say it’s hard to determine just how many fish are being found sick because many commercial fishermen are reluctant to report their findings to state and federal officials out of fear fishing grounds will be closed and their livelihoods will be put at risk.

But at the same time, to protect the future of the Gulf, Patterson said, the fishermen quietly are asking scientists to look into what is happening.

Clay Palmgren, 38, of Gulf Breeze-based Bubble Chaser Dive Services, is an avid spear fisherman who has about 40 pounds of Gulf fish in his freezer. He has not seen sick fish so far, but he said many of his angler friends, both recreational and commercial, are talking about catching fish that appear abnormal. “I’m 100 percent glad scientists are looking at this,” he said. “I’m concerned with the health of fish, and I think it will take a couple of years for the (toxins) to work up the food chain. I think that’s a shame.”

Patterson’s studies and those of other scientists delving into this mystery of the sick fish are not trying to determine whether the seafood is safe for public consumption. “There is fish health and human health, and we’re concerned about the sublethal effects of the oil spill on communities of fish,” he said.
Findings so far demonstrate that studies need to continue far into the future, he said.

The $500 million BP has provided for long-range research on the Gulf oil spill will ensure “people will be examining the impacts for the next decade,” Patterson said.
The cause of the fish illnesses may be hard to nail down, Snyder said.
“Cause and effect is a huge problem for environmental work,” Snyder said. “You see anomalies in fish. Is it oil-related? How do we prove it? We can make the connection with economic stuff. But after the oil is gone, how do you definitely say the fish are sick because of the oil spill? “We may never know, and that’s the frustrating thing.”
.

__2. Top Military Brass Working With BP to Promote Gulf Seafood
8 Dec 2010, The Intel Hub
<http://theintelhub.com/2010/12/08/top-military-brass-working-with-bp-to-promote-gulf-seafood/>
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is pushing all members of America’s armed service to buy and eat as much seafood as possible.
This is as sinister as it gets! BP has destroyed the gulf and is now working with the U.S. military to get it in the homes of American troops (already poisoned by continued exposure to depleted uranium) throughout the country! Multiple scientists have declared gulf seafood toxic and for good reason. Over 2 million gallons of toxic dispersant has been sprayed in and around the gulf. The facts are so heavily documented that there is no logical way that any literate human being not pushing an agenda could believe otherwise.

This is common sense
To top it off, Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, is pushing for this toxic cocktail to be served in in school lunch programs nationwide! The children of this nation are already heavily medicated/poisoned and the last thing they need is Corexit seafood.

“He expressed what we wanted to hear; he is in favor of the federal government buying seafood from the Gulf,” said Smith, who said he would like to see Gulf seafood as the choice throughout the public domain, “whether it’s the military or prison systems or school systems.”

This is the America that we currently find our self in. An international company has been allowed to control their own massive oil spill, obliterate the gulf with Corexit, ban the first amendment on the beaches they littered with Wackenhut thugs, and use 30 billion dollars to promote their seafood to the American people.

The Times Picayune
BP is giving the Louisiana marketing board $30 million to spend over the next three years to promote Gulf seafood, and Smith said a request for proposals from agencies that would craft the marketing campaign will be going out shortly. The Louisiana board also will be getting a share of the $15 million the Commerce Department has given to the Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission to divide among the Louisiana board and its sister groups in the other Gulf states, including Texas.

Imagine the horror of being one of the families that had their lives destroyed by the oil spill and seeing a carefully crafted commercial promoting BP and gulf seafood. Where is the FCC when we need them?

I recently attended a forum at Seattle University that was put on by both Project Gulf Impact and students at the university who were so touched by the spill and its impact that they asked PGI to come to their school and put on an educational forum. What transpired was three hours of groundbreaking information including multiple fisherman who have had their businesses destroyed and families sickened by the disaster.

The American people are soon to be subject to a huge BP marketing ploy and we must do everything in our power to get the word out on the dangers of the gulf waters and seafood. Call me crazy, but a ‘smell test’ is just not adequate enough for a fish that has been subject to months of Corexit exposure.

We have documented the events of this disaster from the beginning and it has become undeniably clear that the waters, people, and seafood of the gulf were poisoned beyond belief.

End of Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Modern Living/Death by 1000 cuts/Part IV of V: Household Pollutants and Chemical Spills

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Modern Air & Water, Part 3 of 3

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/ Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Air & Water)

Modern Air & Water topics:
1.  Air pollution (it hasn’t gone away)
2.  Water, with chlorine, fluorine, pharmaceuticals and more.
3.  Berkey water purification system, Royal model
4.  Mercury in food & vaccines
5.  Pollution causes 40% of worldwide deaths

3.     Berkey Water purification system, Royal model

(The advertisement) The versatile Royal Berkey system (see arrow in picture below, 3.25 gallon capacity)  is the ideal system for use at home with large families, travel, outdoor activities or during unexpected emergencies. This powerful system purifies both treated water and untreated raw water from such sources as remote lakes, streams, stagnant ponds and water supplies in foreign countries, where regulations may be substandard at best. Perfect for outdoor activities and a must in hostile environments where electricity, water pressure or treated water may not be available. The Royal Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance. Constructed of highly polished 304 stainless steel, the system comes complete with two purification elements and utilizes the latest technological advances. This system has a storage capacity of about 3.25 gallons (12.3 liters) and when in use it stands 23″ in height with a diameter of 9.5″. The upper chamber nests within the lower chamber for transport and stands only 15.25″ in height. Configured with two Black Berkey purification elements the system will purify up to 4 Gallons (15.1 liters) per hour. This system can be expanded to use four purification elements and is capable of purifying up to 8 Gallons (30.3 liters) per hour.
Price: $283 + any additional Purification Elements.
[The Royal Berkey Water Purification System that I have and use continuously at home, see white arrow below.-lfp]

Black Berkey Water Filters
http://www.berkeywaterfilters.com/blbetesp.html
Each Black Berkey is able to filter up to 3,000 gallons per filter element, making it one of the most cost-effective filters on the market.
[My Royal Berkey using 2 Black Berkey elements can therefore filter up to 6000 gallons water-lfp]

We tested the Black Berkey purification elements with more than 10,000 times the concentration of pathogens per liter than is required by standard test protocol. This concentration of pathogens is so great that the post filtered water should be expected to contain 100,000 or more pathogens per liter (99.99% reduction – the requirement for pathogenic removal). Incredibly the purification elements removed 100%. Absolutely no pathogens were cultured from the effluent or were able to be detected, even under an electron microscope, setting a new standard in water purification.

Under normal conditions it is recommended that each set of two PF-2™ elements be replaced after 1,000 gallons. The Royal Berkey®system is about 3.25 gallons therefore the PF-2™ filters should be replaced after 1,000/3.25 or 307 refills. If the system is refilled about one time per day, the PF-2™’s should be replaced after 10 months, if the system is refilled about twice per day, the PF-2™’s should be replaced about every five months). Actual capacity is dependent on the presence of other competing contaminants in the source water. High levels of Fluoride, arsenic and heavy metals may reduce the capacity and efficiency of the elements.

The ‘Black Berkey’ purification/filter elements (a 7 Log device, 99.99999%) remove or reduce the following:
– Pathogenic Bacteria and Cysts (E. Coli, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Raoltella Terrigena) – Reduced to > 99.999% (100%)
– Viruses (MS2 – Fr Coliphage) – Reduced to >99.999%
– Parasites – Reduced to > 99.9999%
– Harmful or unwanted chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides
ChlorineRemoved to Below Detectable Limits (99.9999999%)
– Detergents

Organic solvents removal
– THM’s (Trihalomethanes – Bromodichloromethane, Bromoform, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane) – Removed to Below Detectable Limits (99.99999%)
– MTBE’s (Methyl tert-Butyl Ehter) – Removed to Below Detectable Limits
.
Table below: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) removed:

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Removed to below detectable limits
Alachlor
Atrazine
Benzene
Carbofuran
Carbon Tetrachloride
Chlorine
Chlorobenzene
Chloroform
2,4-D
DBCP
p-Dichlorobenzene
o-Dichlorobenzene
1, 1-Dichloroethane
1, 2-Dichloroethane
1, 1-Dichloroethylene
cis 1, 2-Dichloroethylene
Trans  1,2-Dichloroethylene
1, 2-Dichloropropane
cis l,3-Dichloropropylene
Dinoseb
Endrin
Ethylbenzene
Ethylene Dibromide (EDB)
Heptachlor
Heptachlor Epoxide
Hexachlorobutodiene
Hexachlorocyclopentadiene
Lindane,
Methoxychlor
MTBE
Pentachlorophenol
Simazine
Styrene
1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane
Tetrachloroethylene
Toluene
2,4,5-TP (Silvex)
1,2,4-trichlorobenzene
1,1,1-trichloroethane
1,1,2-trichloroethane
Trichloroethylene
o-Xylene
m-Xylene
p-Xylene

– Cloudiness, removed.
– Silt, removed.
– Sediment, removed.
– Radiologicals – Radon 222 – Removed to Below Detectable Limits
– Nitrates & Nitrites, Greater than 95% reduction
– Heavy metals: Lead, Mercury, Aluminum, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper  – Greater than 95% reduction.
– Fluoride- With PF-2 fluoride filter, Fluoride reduced greater than 95%
– Iron
Foul tastes and odor.

PF-2™ reduction elements are designed for use in conjunction with Black Berkey® water purification elements to absorb the following unwanted elements found in drinking water:
•   Fluoride
•   Arsenic V and pre-oxidized Arsenic III
•   Other residual heavy metal ions

Heavy Metals reduced by up to 95% by the Black Berkey Filter:

Contaminant Health effects
Lead kidney, nervous system damage
Mercury kidney, nervous system disorders
Aluminum respiratory, nervous system disorders
Cadmium kidney damage
Chromium liver, kidney, circulatory system disorders
Copper gastro-enteric diseases

 .My estimated filter change periods:

Use rate

(gallons per day)

Black Berkey   days/yrs

 Mfg Suggested      My Actual

PF-2   days/years

Mfg Suggested       My actual

1/2 12000/32                       4 2000/5                            2
1 6000/16                         4 1000/2.75                       2
2 3000/8                           4 500/1.36                         2

Change PF-2 every two years and change Black Berkey every 4 years (at every other PF-2 change) . Change more often if, even after cleaning, the filtration rate does not increase, but continues to become slower. Have one set each of  PF-2 ($55/pair) and Black Berkey Filters ($107/pair) on hand for emergency backup.

.
4.    
Mercury in food & vaccines

 A.   Dumbing Down Society Part 2: Mercury in Foods and Vaccines
July 9th, 2010, By VC
http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/dumbing-down-society-pt-2-mercury-in-foods-and-vaccines/
Even though mercury is known to degenerate brain neurons and disrupt the central nervous system, it is still found in processed foods and mandatory vaccines. In this second part of the series examining the intentional dumbing-down of society, this article will discuss the presence of mercury in common foods and vaccines.

The first article in this series – Dumbing Down Society Pt 1: Foods, Beverages and Meds – looked at the effects of aspartame, fluoride and prescription pills on the human brain. These substances all cause a decrease of cognitive power which, on a large scale, leads to a dumbing down of the population that is ingesting them. This second article focuses on another toxic product found in everyday foods and mandatory vaccines: mercury.

Mercury is a heavy metal naturally found in the environment. However, it is not suitable for human consumption, as it is extremely harmful to the human body, especially the brain. While some people say that anything can be consumed in moderation, many experts agree that no amount of mercury is safe for the human body. Despite this and the many studies concerning the negative effects of mercury, the heavy metal is continually added to mandatory vaccines and processed foods.

Mercury is known to cause brain neuron degeneration and to disturb the central nervous system. Direct exposure to the metal causes immediate and violent effects:

“Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.”

Most people do not come in direct contact with mercury, but are exposed to small doses at a time, resulting in a slow but steady poisoning of the brain. As the years go by, the effects of the substance impairs judgment and rational thinking, decreases memory and disrupts emotional stability. In other words: It makes you dumber.

Mercury has also the unfortunate ability to transfer from pregnant woman to their unborn babies. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mercury passed on to the fetus during pregnancy may have lasting consequences, including memory impairment, diminished language skills and other cognitive complications.

It has been highly publicized that mercury is found in dangerous quantities in seafood, such as tuna, swordfish and tilefish. This creates a rather ironic situation: Instead of making you smarter because of all the Omega-3 they contain, the fish produce exactly the opposite effect on the brain due to mercury poisoning.

Unfortunately, mercury is also found in other products: vaccines and high-fructose corn syrup.

“I think it’s absolutely criminal to give mercury to an infant.” – Boyd Haley, Ph.D., Chemistry Department Chair, University of Kentucky

Mercury is found in great quantities in mandatory vaccines. Before we get into the details of it, here are some facts about vaccines in America as noted by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny:
•  The U.S. government is the largest purchaser of vaccines in the country. In fact, nearly 30 percent of the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) annual budget is composed of purchasing vaccines and ensuring vaccination is completed for every child in the country.
•  Private insurance companies, which do the best liability studies, have completely abandoned coverage for damage to life and property due to: Acts of God, nuclear war, nuclear power plant accidents and … vaccination.
•  Laws have been passed to protect vaccine manufactures from liability, while at the same time, state laws require parents to inject their children with up to 100 vaccination antigens prior to entering school. If a vaccine injury–or death–occurs after a vaccine, parents cannot sue the doctor, the drug company or the government; they are required to petition the Vaccine Court for damages, a process that can take years and often ends with a dismissal of the case.
•  Each state has school vaccination laws that require children of appropriate age to be vaccinated for several communicable diseases. State vaccination laws mandate that children be vaccinated prior to being allowed to attend public or private schools. Failure to vaccinate children can not only result in children being prohibited from attending school, but their parents or guardians can receive civil fines and criminal penalties. Schools don’t usually tell parents is that in every state, an exemption exists allowing parents to legally refuse vaccines while still allowing their children to attend school.
•  The medical industry advocates vaccines, often demanding that parents vaccinate their children in order to remain under their doctor’s care. A sizable portion of a pediatrician’s income is derived from insurance reimbursement for vaccinations. The ever-expanding vaccination schedule that includes increasingly more expensive vaccines has been a source of increased revenues for vaccinating doctors.

Thimerosal
A child receives approximately 21 vaccines before the age of six and 6 more before the age of 18, for a total of 27 shots during childhood. Many of these injections contain Thimerosal, a preservative added to the shots, made of 49% mercury. The unprecedented use of mercury on children has created a generation of cognitively impaired children.

      “The symptoms experienced by children exposed to mercury are real and can be directly linked to the vaccines they were given as infants. It’s ironic that the vaccines given to these young people are meant to protect them, when in fact they are adversely affecting their neurological development.”
On top of causing an entire generation of babies to have their brains damaged, the use of Thimerosal in vaccines has been linked by many scientists to the staggering rise of autism in the past two decades. Did the dumbing-down campaign go too far?

      “In children who are fully vaccinated, by the sixth month of life they have received more mercury from vaccines than recommended by the EPA. There are many similarities in symptoms between mercury toxicity and autism, including social deficits, language deficits, repetitive behaviors, sensory abnormalities, cognition deficits, movement disorders, and behavioral problems. There are also similarities in physical symptoms, including biochemical, gastrointestinal, muscle tone, eurochemistry, neurophysiology, EEG measurements, and immune system/autoimmunity.”

Due to the suspected link between vaccines and autism, more than 5,000 U.S. families have filed claims in a federal vaccine court against the companies producing the vaccines. In most cases, the plaintiffs received no compensation and all correlation between the illness and vaccines was denied by the defendants. A public relations war has been going on for years, as studies and counter-studies have appeared, proving or denying the links between vaccines and autism, depending where they originate from. The studies claiming that vaccines are safe have often been funded by the very companies that produce them.

Despite the denials, Thimerosal is slowly–and silently–being phased out of vaccines for babies. Not too long after the phasing out began, cases of autism have sharply dropped in the country.

“Published in the March 10 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, the data show since mercury was removed from childhood vaccines, the reported rates of autism and other neurological disorders in children not only stopped increasing but actually dropped sharply – by as much as 35 percent. Using the government’s own databases, independent researchers analyzed reports of childhood neurological disorders, including autism, before and after removal of mercury-based preservatives.

According to a statement from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, or AAPS, the numbers from California show that reported autism rates hit a high of 800 in May 2003. If that trend had continued, the reports would have risen to more than 1,000 by the beginning of 2006. But the number actually went down to 620, a real decrease of 22 percent, and a decrease from the projection of 35 percent.
The phasing out of Thimerosal from vaccines intended for children is all well and good, but the preservative is still found in many vaccines intended for adults. Did someone realize that mercury in vaccines is too strong for children, making them sick and ultimately unproductive, but perfect to dumb-down fully developed adults? The ruling class is not looking to create a generation of autistic people who would need constant care, but a mass of “useful idiots” that can accomplish repetitive and mind-numbing tasks, while accepting without questioning what they are being told.

As of today, Thimerosal is still found in Influenza vaccines, commonly known as the flu shot. Those shots are seasonal, meaning that patients are encouraged to come back every winter to get their yearly vaccine/dose of mercury.

Makers of the Influenza vaccine say it boasts a “solid health record,” meaning the shot does not seem cause observable illnesses. What is NEVER discussed, however, is the slow and gradual brain neuron degeneration most individuals go through, year after year, due constant mercury poisoning. This process of slowing down brain functions is not easily observable nor quantifiable but it is still happening on a world-wide scale. If mercury can completely disrupt the fragile minds of children enough to possibly cause autism, it will, at the very least, impair fully developed minds.

Almost as if created to generate demands for vaccines, new diseases appear periodically around the world that, with the help of mass media scare campaigns, cause people to beg their officials for the miracle shot that they are told will cure everybody.

H1N1, also known as the Swine Flu, was the latest of those scary diseases that terrified millions of people for several months. When the shot became available, heavily promoted and massive vaccination campaigns sprung around the world. One fact that was not promoted: Swine flu was often easily curable, and not very different than the “regular” flu. Another fact that was not promoted: Most of the flu shots contained Thimerosal.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
A poison is a “substance that causes injury, illness, or death, especially by chemical means.”
Going by this definition, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is truly a poison. HFCS is a highly processed sweetner made from corn that has been used since 1970. It continues to replace white sugar and sucrose in processed foods and is currently found in the majority of processed foods found in supermarkets. Studies have determined that Americans consume an average of 12 teaspoons a day of the sweetner.

Here’s a graph depicting the rise of HFCS in our diets:

Due to its sweetening propreties, HFCS is obviously found in sugary products like jams, soft drinks and pre-packaged baked goods. However, most people do not realize that it is also found in numerous other products, including soups, breads, pasta sauces, cereals, frozen entrees, meat products, salad dressings and condiments. HFCS is also found in so-called health products, including protein-bars, “low-fat” foods and energy drinks.How can something that taste so good be so bad?
Here are some facts about HFCS:
•  Research links HFCS to increasing rates of obesity and diabetes in North America, especially among children. Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar. And being a liquid, it passes much more quickly into the blood stream.
•  Beverages containing HFCS have higher levels of reactive compounds (carbonyls), which are linked with cell and tissue damage leading to diabetes.
•  There is some evidence that corn fructose is processed differently in the body than cane sugar, leading to reduced feelings of satiation and a greater potential for over-consumption.
•  Studies by researchers at UC Davis and the University of Michigan have shown that consuming fructose, which is more readily converted to fat by the liver, increases the levels of fat in the bloodstream in the form of triglycerides.
•  Unlike other types of carbohydrate made up of glucose, fructose does not stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. Peter Havel, a nutrition researcher at UC Davis who studies the metabolic effects of fructose, has also shown that fructose fails to increase the production of leptin, a hormone produced by the body’s fat cells. Both insulin and leptin act as signals to the brain to turn down the appetite and control body weight. Havel’s research also shows that fructose does not appear to suppress the production of ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger and appetite.
•  Because the body processes the fructose in HFCS differently than it does cane or beet sugar, it alters the way metabolic-regulating hormones function. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream. The end result is that our bodies are essentially tricked into wanting to eat more, while at the same time, storing more fat.
•  A study in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggested that women whose diet was high in total carbohydrate and fructose intake had an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
•  HFCS interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium, copper and chromium.
•  HFCS has been found to deplete the immune system by inhibiting the action of white blood cells. The body is then unable to defend against harmful foreign invaders.
•  Research suggests that fructose actually promotes disease more readily than glucose. Glucose is metabolized in every cell in the body, but all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of test animals fed large amounts of fructose develop fatty deposits and cirrhosis, similar to problems that develop in the livers of alcoholics.
•  HFCS is highly refined–even more so than white sugar.
•  The corn from which HFCS is derived is almost always genetically modified, as are the enzymes used in the refining process.
•  There are increasing concerns about the politics surrounding the economics of corn production (subsidies, tariffs, and regulations), as well as the effects of intensive corn agriculture on the environment.

Many studies have observed a strong correlation between the rise HFCS in the past years and the rise of obesity during the same period of time.
Obesity, on top of being unhealthy for the body, directly affects brain functions. Some researchers have even questioned the role of obesity in brain degeneration.

Research scientists have long suspected that a relationship existed between obesity and a decline in brain power. New studies now confirm the contention that being overweight is detrimental to the brain. Researchers at the University of California in an article published in the Archives of Neurology demonstrated a strong correlation between central obesity (that is, being fat around the middle) and shrinkage of a part of the brain ( the hippocampus) fundamental for memory.

This does not mean that obese people are dumb. It does however mean that their brain is probably not processing as effectively as it could be. But even if HFCS does not make you fat, it will still affect your brain. Recent studies have shown that the sweetener contains … you’ve guessed it … mercury!
•  “One study – published in the journal, Environmental Health – shows mercury in nine out of 20 samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup.
•  The second study – by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) – finds nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury, especially dairy products, dressings and condiments. The brands included big names like Quaker, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smucker’s.”

Here is the table found in the IATP’s study called, Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup, detailing the amount of mercury found in everyday products found in supermarkets.

Of course, companies who produce HFCS deny the results of those studies, claiming the sweetner is “natural”. But this is coming from those who, y’know, SELL the stuff. Corn refiners have even produced some strange PR ads to encourage people to keep ingesting their toxic product.

In Conclusion
Despite the existence of many studies describing the negative effects of mercury on the human brain, governments still push for the increased vaccination of the population with shots containing Thimerosal. Furthermore, governing bodies have protected the pharmaceutical companies who produce the vaccines and foods containing HFCS against any type of lawsuits. The fact that many high executives of these companies also hold key positions within the government, might provide an explanation. There are indeed a restricted amount of persons holding positions of high power in both the private and public sector. These people, in what are clear cases of conflict of interest, collide at the top to form what this site refers to as “the elite” or “the ruling class.” Most of these people have never been elected to governmental positions, yet they create public policies that further their agenda, regardless of the political party in power. Look at the membership of the Bilderberg Group, the Committee of 300 or the Council of Foreign Relations and you will find the CEOs of companies producing your food and medication … and the same people who pass laws governing your food and medication.

Since no public official is likely to betray his peers and fund-raisers to become a whistleblower, it is up to each one of us to learn about what we consume. The cliché saying “read the labels” is quite true, but if you have no idea what “monosodium glutamate” means, reading the label will not help you. This series of articles aims to raise basic awareness of the most harmful substances found in everyday products. I personally cannot claim to have a perfect diet … I grew up in the 80s and love the taste of processed foods like candy, sodas … even Hamburger Helper. But as you find more information and as you begin to realize that every step in the right direction really does make you feel better, each subsequent step becomes easier. No one can do it for you: It’s up to you to take that next step … whether it is toward your detoxification or to Burger King.

B.  Health: Foods Containing Mercury
eHow, By Alexander Grouch
http://www.ehow.com/about_5376461_foods-containing-mercury.html

Foods Containing Mercury
Mercury is a heavy metal that exists in many places throughout the earth. As a result, some of the food we eat contains traces of mercury. Fish in particular absorb copious amounts of mercury as they swim in the water. This is due both to the natural occurrence of mercury and various human actions that exacerbate the situation. While slight amounts of mercury usually will not have a noticeable effect on the human body, prolonged mercury exposure through food may lead to serious health problems such as methylmercury poisoning, vision problems and neurological disturbances in fetuses and infants.

Foods That Contain High Levels of Mercury
Although many foods may contain traces of mercury, fish and shellfish are known to have the most mercury overall. As mercury enters the water supply, all fish absorb some of it into their bodies. Fish that are higher on the food chain have especially high mercury levels since they consume smaller fish. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the largest fish often contain the most mercury. High-mercury fish include swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tile fish. Certain types of tuna also contain mercury well above U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s limits of 0.1 microgram per 2.2 pounds of body weight.

Other Foods That Contain Mercury
While fish gets most of the bad press regarding mercury, other food products also contain mercury. In early 2009, Environmental Health Journal reported on a study conducted by a team led by Renee Dufault that found high fructose corn syrup had high levels of mercury. Many mass-marketed food products contain high fructose corn syrup due the prevalence of corn production in America and the government’s corn subsidy. Popular products sweetened with high fructose corn syrup include most sodas, ketchup and even bread.

In the Dufault study, samples revealed 0.57 micrograms of mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup. When you consider the large quantities of high fructose corn syrup that most American ingest, many people’s mercury consumption exceeds EPA or U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations. To find products free of high fructose corn syrup, read all the ingredients in food products. The earlier in the list you find high fructose corn syrup, the more of it that’s in the product.

Effects
In high doses, mercury wreaks havoc on the central nervous system. Pregnant women especially should avoid fish that may contain mercury. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mercury passed on to the fetus during pregnancy may have lasting consequences such as memory impairment, diminished language skills and other cognitive complications. If you are pregnant, look for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or EPA updates on what foods contain high levels of mercury and avoid them to prevent possible damage to your child’s cognitive development.

Mercury Poisoning
In rare cases, some people may consume so much fish and other mercury-rich foods that they experience mercury poisoning. One of the most highly publicized cases of mercury poisoning occurred in 2008 when actor Jeremy Piven had to drop out of a play due to mercury poisoning.
Symptoms of mercury poisoning include impairment to your sight, hearing and touch. Some people who suffer from mercury poisoning report ambulatory trouble and tingling around the lips. If you have a diet high in fish and suffer any of the above symptoms, visit a hospital promptly for evaluation.

Fish Low In Mercury
Since several fish contain such powerful nutrients and healthy oils, the benefits of fish may outweigh genuine mercury concerns. If you want to balance the health benefits of fish with mercury risks, eat fish further down the food chain. According to the FDA and EPA, fish low in mercury include salmon, catfish and pollock. Canned light tuna also contains a relatively low amount of mercury per serving. However, other types of tuna such as albacore have higher levels of mercury. As long as you keep track of your portion sizes, you probably will not suffer any ill effects due to mercury in food. For optimal portion size, eat no more than 12 oz. (about two meals) of low-mercury fish a week.
Read more: Foods Containing Mercury | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5376461_foods-containing-mercury.html#ixzz1MFy97JfQ
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5.     Pollution Causes 40 Percent Of Deaths Worldwide, Study Finds

Aug. 14, 2007, ScienceDaily
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070813162438.htm
About 40 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by water, air and soil pollution, concludes a Cornell researcher. Such environmental degradation, coupled with the growth in world population, are major causes behind the rapid increase in human diseases, which the World Health Organization has recently reported. Both factors contribute to the malnourishment and disease susceptibility of 3.7 billion people, he says.

David Pimentel, Cornell professor of ecology and agricultural sciences, and a team of Cornell graduate students examined data from more than 120 published papers on the effects of population growth, malnutrition and various kinds of environmental degradation on human diseases. Their report is published in the online version of the journal Human Ecology and will be published in the December print issue.

“We have serious environmental resource problems of water, land and energy, and these are now coming to bear on food production, malnutrition and the incidence of diseases,” said Pimentel.

Of the world population of about 6.5 billion, 57 percent is malnourished, compared with 20 percent of a world population of 2.5 billion in 1950, said Pimentel. Malnutrition is not only the direct cause of 6 million children’s deaths each year but also makes millions of people much more susceptible to such killers as acute respiratory infections, malaria and a host of other life-threatening diseases, according to the research.

Among the study’s other main points:
Nearly half the world’s people are crowded into urban areas, often without adequate sanitation, and are exposed to epidemics of such diseases as measles and flu.
With 1.2 billion people lacking clean water, waterborne infections account for 80 percent of all infectious diseases. Increased water pollution creates breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes, killing 1.2 million to 2.7 million people a year, and air pollution kills about 3 million people a year. Unsanitary living conditions account for more than 5 million deaths each year, of which more than half are children.

Air pollution from smoke and various chemicals kills 3 million people a year. In the United States alone about 3 million tons of toxic chemicals are released into the environment — contributing to cancer, birth defects, immune system defects and many other serious health problems.

Soil is contaminated by many chemicals and pathogens, which are passed on to humans through direct contact or via food and water. Increased soil erosion worldwide not only results in more soil being blown but spreading of disease microbes and various toxins.

At the same time, more microbes are becoming increasingly drug-resistant. And global warming, together with changes in biological diversity, influence parasite evolution and the ability of exotic species to invade new areas. As a result, such diseases as tuberculosis and influenza are re-emerging as major threats, while new threats — including West Nile virus and Lyme disease — have developed.

“A growing number of people lack basic needs, like pure water and ample food. They become more susceptible to diseases driven by malnourishment, and air, water and soil pollutants,” Pimentel concludes. He and his co-authors call for comprehensive and fair population policies and more conservation of environmental resources that support human life.

“Relying on increasing diseases and malnutrition to limit human numbers in the world diminishes the quality of life for all humans and is a high-risk policy,” the researchers conclude.

We are affliced by and bringing on ourselves, a global human condition tantamount to ‘Death by 1000 cuts.’, Mr Larry

End of article, Modern Air and Water
Read also the 4dtraveler posts: Modern Competition, Modern Foraging, Modern Freedom of Choice and, Modern Living.

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Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

Modern Air & Water, Part 1 of 3

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/ Death by 1000 cuts/ Modern Air & Water)

Modern Air & Water topics:
1.  Air pollution (it hasn’t gone away) .
2.  Water, with chlorine, fluorine, pharmaceuticals and more.
3.  Berkey water purification system, Royal model
4.  Mercury in food & vaccines
5.  Synopsis: Pollution causes 40% of worldwide deaths

1.    Air pollution

[Above: US Air Quality maps present a visual picture of air quality for more than 3,000 US counties. This map shows United States air quality by county.]

 [Above: The global map of air pollution compares closely with this map of Gross Domestic Product Density.]

[Above: When the dominant airflow came from south and east Asia, the scientists saw the largest increases in   ozone measurements. When airflow patterns were not directly from Asia, ozone still increased but at a lower rate, indicating the possibility that emissions from other places could be contributing to the ozone increases above North America. The study used springtime ozone measurements because previous studies have shown that air transport from Asia to North America is strongest in spring, making it easier to discern possible effects of distant   pollution on the North American ozone trends.
We’re All In This Together: I think the take home message here isn’t so much that Asian pollution is affecting the US, but rather that the Earth is a closed system (well, not literally, but when it comes to pollution, it mostly is) and what happens in one place has impact on other places.
A lot of that pollution coming from Asia was created because goods bought by people in the US were manufactured there. A lot of pollution from the US affects other countries  (f.ex., coal plant emissions going up to Canada). It’s not about pointing fingers, but about cleaning up the whole system. We can’t expect that we can simply ship off polluting industries elsewhere forever; developing countries won’t accept that indefinitely, and once they get out of poverty they’ll also   be interested in clean air/water/soil, but also, political borders don’t matter to the atmosphere and the oceans.]
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A.     Smog – Who does it hurt?
What You Need to Know About Ozone and Your Health
Airnow, http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smog.page1
In fact, breathing smoggy air can be hazardous because smog contains ozone, a pollutant that can harm our health when there are elevated levels in the air we breathe. This publication will tell you what kinds of health effects ozone can cause, when you should be concerned, and what you can do to avoid dangerous exposures.

On a hot, smoggy summer day, have you ever wondered:
Is the air safe to breathe? Should I be concerned about going outside?

What is ozone?
Ozone is a colorless gas composed of three atoms of oxygen. Ozone occurs both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level. Ozone can be good or bad, depending on where it is found:
•  Good Ozone. Ozone occurs naturally in the Earth’s upper atmosphere-10 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface-where it forms a protective layer that shields us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. This “good” ozone is gradually being destroyed by manmade chemicals. An area where ozone has been most significantly depleted-for example, over the North or South pole-is sometimes called a “hole in the ozone.”
•  Bad Ozone. In the Earth’s lower atmosphere, near ground level, ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight.

Should you be concerned about exposure to ground-level ozone?
That depends on who you are and how much ozone is in the air. Most people only have to worry about ozone exposure when ground-level concentrations reach high levels. In many U.S. communities, this can happen frequently during the summer months. In general, as ground-level ozone concentrations increase, more and more people experience health effects, the effects become more serious, and more people are admitted to the hospital everyone should be concerned about ozone exposure. Children and adults of all ages who are active outdoors are at risk from ozone exposure.

Scientists have found that about one out of every three people in the United States is at a higher risk of experiencing ozone-related health effects. If you are a member of a “sensitive group,” you should pay special attention to ozone levels in your area. z
This publication describes several tools that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with State and local agencies, has developed to inform the public about local ozone levels. These tools provide the information you need to decide whether ozone levels on any particular day may be harmful to you. When ozone concentrations reach unhealthy levels, you can take simple precautions to protect your health.

[Above: This photo shows a healthy lung air way (left) and an inflamed lung air way (right). Ozone can inflame the lung’s lining, and repeated episodes of inflammation may cause permanent changes in the lung.]

How might ozone affect your health?
Scientists have been studying the effects of ozone on human health for many years. So far, they have found that ozone can cause several types of short-term health effects in the lungs:
•  Ozone can irritate the respiratory system. When this happens, you might start coughing, feel an irritation in your throat, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in your chest. These symptoms can last for a few hours after ozone exposure and may even become painful.
•  Ozone can reduce lung function. When scientists refer to “lung function,” they mean the volume of air that you draw in when you take a full breath and the speed at which you are able to blow it out. Ozone can make it more difficult for you to breathe as deeply and vigorously as you normally would. When this happens, you may notice that breathing starts to feel uncomfortable. If you are exercising or working outdoors, you may notice that you are taking more rapid and shallow breaths than normal. Reduced lung function can be a particular problem for outdoor workers, competitive athletes, and other people who exercise outdoors.
•  Ozone can aggravate asthma. When ozone levels are high, more asthmatics have asthma attacks that require a doctor’s attention or the use of additional medication. One reason this happens is that ozone makes people more sensitive to allergens, which are the most common triggers for asthma attacks. (Allergens come from dust mites, cockroaches, pets, fungus, and pollen.) Also, asthmatics are more severely affected by the reduced lung function and irritation that ozone causes in the respiratory system.
•  Ozone can inflame and damage the lining of the lung. Some scientists have compared ozone’s effect on the lining of the lung to the effect of sunburn on the skin. Ozone damages the cells that line the air spaces in the lung. Within a few days, the damaged cells are replaced and the old cells are shed-much in the way that skin peels after a sunburn. If this kind of damage occurs repeatedly, the lung may change permanently in a way that could cause long-term health effects and a lower quality of life.
•  Scientists suspect that ozone may have other effects on people’s health. Ozone may aggravate chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis.
•  Also, studies in animals suggest that ozone may reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off bacterial infections in the respiratory system.

Most of these effects are considered to be short-term effects because they eventually cease once the individual is no longer exposed to elevated levels of ozone. However, scientists are concerned that repeated short-term damage from ozone exposure may permanently injure the lung. For example, repeated ozone impacts on the developing lungs of children may lead to reduced lung function as adults. Also, ozone exposure may speed up the decline in lung function that occurs as a natural result of the aging process. Research is underway to help us better understand the possible long-term effects of ozone exposure.

Who is most at risk from ozone?
Four groups of people, described below, are particularly sensitive to ozone. These groups become sensitive to ozone when they are active outdoors, because physical activity (such as jogging or outdoor work) causes people to breathe faster and more deeply. During activity, ozone penetrates deeper into the parts of the lungs that are more vulnerable to injury. Sensitive groups include:
1)   Children. Active children are the group at highest risk from ozone exposure. Such children often spend a large part of their summer vacation outdoors, engaged in vigorous activities either in their neighborhood or at summer camp. Children are also more likely to have asthma or other respiratory illnesses. Asthma is the most common chronic disease for children and may be aggravated by ozone exposure.
2)   Adults who are active outdoors. Healthy adults of all ages who exercise or work vigorously outdoors are considered a “sensitive group” because they have a higher level of exposure to ozone than people who are less active outdoors.
3)   People with respiratory diseases, such as asthma. There is no evidence that ozone causes asthma or other chronic respiratory disease, but these diseases do make the lungs more vulnerable to the effects of ozone. Thus, individuals with these conditions will generally experience the effects of ozone earlier and at lower levels than less sensitive individuals.
4)   People with unusual susceptibility to ozone. Scientists don’t yet know why, but some healthy people are simply more sensitive to ozone than others. These individuals may experience more health effects from ozone exposure than the average person.

Scientists have studied other groups to find out whether they are at increased risk from ozone. So far there is little evidence to suggest that either the elderly or people with heart disease have heightened sensitivity to ozone. However, like other adults, elderly people will be at higher risk from ozone exposure if they suffer from respiratory disease, are active outdoors, or are unusually susceptible to ozone as described above.

How can you tell if you’re being affected by ozone?
Often, people exposed to ozone experience recognizable symptoms, including coughing, irritation in the airways, rapid or shallow breathing, and discomfort when breathing or general discomfort in the chest. People with asthma may experience asthma attacks. When ozone levels are higher than normal, any of these symptoms may indicate that you should minimize the time spent outdoors, or at least reduce your activity level, to protect your health until ozone levels decline.

Ozone damage also can occur without any noticeable signs. Sometimes there are no symptoms, or sometimes they are too subtle to notice. People who live in areas where ozone levels are frequently high may find that their initial symptoms of ozone exposure go away over time-particularly when exposure to high ozone levels continues for several days. This does not mean that they have developed resistance to ozone. In fact, scientists have found that ozone continues to cause lung damage even when the symptoms have disappeared. The best way to protect your health is to find out when ozone levels are elevated in your area and take simple precautions to minimize exposure even when you don’t feel obvious symptoms.

How can I find out about ozone levels in my area?
EPA and State and local air agencies have developed a number of tools to provide people with information on local ozone levels, their potential health effects, and suggested activities for reducing ozone exposure.

Air Quality Index. EPA has developed the Air Quality Index, or AQI, for reporting the levels of ozone and other common air pollutants. The index makes it easier for the public to understand the health significance of air pollution levels. Air quality is measured by a nationwide monitoring system that records concentrations of ozone and several other air pollutants at more than a thousand locations across the country. EPA “translates” the pollutant concentrations to the standard AQI index, which ranges from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value for a pollutant, the greater the danger. An AQI value of 100 usually corresponds to the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for the pollutant. These standards are established by EPA under the Clean Air Act to protect public health and the environment.

The AQI scale has been divided into distinct categories, each corresponding to a different level of health concern. In the table below, the AQI ranges are shown in the middle column and the associated air quality descriptors are shown in the right column. The left column shows the ozone concentrations, measured in parts per million (ppm), that correspond to each category.

Though the AQI scale extends to 500, levels above 300 rarely occur in the United States. This publication and most other references to the AQI do not list health effects and cautionary statements for levels above 300. If ozone levels above 300 should ever occur, everyone should avoid physical exertion outdoors.

When pollutant levels are high, states are required to report the AQI in large metropolitan areas (populations over 350,000) of the United States. You may see the AQI for ozone reported in your newspaper, or your local television or radio weathercasters may use the AQI to provide information about ozone in your area. Here’s the type of report you might hear:

 AQI Colors. To make it easier for the public to quickly understand the air quality in their communities, EPA has assigned a specific color to each AQI category. You will see these colors when the AQI is reported in a color format-such as in a color-print newspaper, on television broadcasts, or on your State or local air pollution agency’s web site. This color scheme can help you quickly determine whether air pollutants are reaching unhealthy levels in your area. For example, the color orange means that conditions are “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” the color red means that conditions are “unhealthy” for everyone, and so on.

This map shows ozone  levels in the south central United States on May 15, 2011. Ozone maps are updated several times daily to show how ozone levels change throughout the day.

Ozone Maps. In many areas of the country, measurements of ozone concentrations are converted into color contours of the AQI categories (green, yellow, orange, red, and purple, shown above) and displayed on a map (see example below) to show ozone levels in the local area. The map is updated throughout the day and shows how ozone builds during hot summer days. In some areas, ozone maps are used to show a forecast of ozone levels for the next day.

What can I do to avoid unhealthy exposure to ozone?
You can take a number of steps. The chart below, Health Effects and Protective Actions for Specific Ozone Ranges,” tells you what types of health effects may occur at specific ozone concentrations and what you can do to avoid them. If you are a parent, keep in mind that your children are likely to be at higher risk, particularly if they are active outdoors. You may therefore want to pay special attention to the guidance.

In general, when ozone levels are elevated, your chances of being affected by ozone increase the longer you are active outdoors and the more strenuous the activity you engage in. Scientific studies show that:
•  At ozone levels above 0.12 ppm, heavy outdoor exertion for short periods of time (1 to 3 hours) can increase your risk of experiencing respiratory symptoms and reduced lung function.
•  At ozone levels between 0.08 and 0.12 ppm, even moderate outdoor exertion for longer periods of time (4 to 8 hours) can increase your risk of experiencing ozone-related effects.

EPA recommends limiting outdoor activities as ozone levels rise to unhealthy levels. You can limit the amount of time you are active outdoors or your activity level. For example, if you’re involved in an activity that requires heavy exertion, such as running or heavy manual labor, you can reduce the time you spend on this activity or substitute another activity that requires less exertion (e.g., go for a walk rather than a jog). In addition, you can plan outdoor activities when ozone levels are lower, usually in the early

Health Effects and Protective Actions for Specific Ozone Ranges
Ozone Level:
1. Good:   What are the possible health effects?  No health effects are expected.
2.  Moderate: What are the possible health effects? Unusually sensitive individuals may experience respiratory effects from prolonged exposure to ozone during outdoor exertion.
What can I do to protect my health?  When ozone levels are in the “moderate” range, consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion if you are unusually sensitive to ozone.
3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups:  What are the possible health effects? If you are a member of a sensitive group,(1) you may experience respiratory symptoms (such as coughing or pain when taking a deep breath) and reduced lung function, which can cause some breathing discomfort.
What can I do to protect my health?  If you are a member of a sensitive group, limit prolonged outdoor exertion. In general, you can protect your health by reducing how long or how strenuously you exert yourself outdoors and by planning outdoor activities when ozone levels are lower (usually in the early morning or evening). You can check with your State air agency to find out about current or predicted ozone levels in your location.
4. Unhealthy:  What are the possible health effects?  If you are a member of a sensitive group, you have a higher chance of experiencing respiratory symptoms (such as aggravated cough or pain when taking a deep breath), and reduced lung function, which can cause some breathing difficulty. At this level, anyone could experience respiratory effects.
What can I do to protect my health?  If you are a member of a sensitive group, avoid prolonged outdoor exertion. Everyone else-especially children-should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Plan outdoor activities when ozone levels are lower (usually in the early morning or evening).  You can check with your State air agency to find out about current or predicted ozone levels in your location.
5. Very Unhealthy:  What are the possible health effects? Members of sensitive groups will likely experience increasingly severe respiratory symptoms and impaired breathing. Many healthy people in the general population engaged in moderate exertion will experience some kind of effect. According to EPA estimates, approximately:
– Half will experience moderately reduced lung function.
– One-fifth will experience severely reduced lung function.
– 10 to 15 percent will experience moderate to severe respiratory symptoms (such as aggravated cough and pain when taking a deep breath).
People with asthma or other respiratory conditions will be more severely affected, leading some to increase medication usage and seek medical attention at an emergency room or clinic.
What can I do to protect my health?  If you are a member of a sensitive group, avoid outdoor activity altogether. Everyone else especially children should limit outdoor exertion and avoid heavy exertion altogether. This information on ozone levels is available on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/airnow.

What does exertion have to do with ozone-related health effects?
Exercise and outdoor activities can play an important role in maintaining good health. Physical exertion helps build up strength in the heart and lungs. But exerting yourself outdoors can actually increase your chances of experiencing health effects when ozone concentrations are at unhealthy levels. Why is this true? Think of it this way: Exertion generally causes you to breathe harder and faster. When this happens, more ozone is taken into your lungs, and ozone reaches tissues that are susceptible to injury. Research has shown that respiratory effects are observed at lower ozone concentrations if either the level or duration of exertion is increased. This is why EPA recommends decreasing the level or duration of exertion to avoid ozone health effects.

Examples of typical daily activities that involve moderate exertion include climbing stairs, light jogging, easy cycling, playing tennis or baseball, and stacking firewood. Outdoor occupational activities such as simple construction work, pushing a wheelbarrow with a load, using a sledgehammer, or digging in your garden, would also involve moderate exertion. Activities that involve heavy exertion include vigorous running or cycling, playing basketball or soccer, chopping wood, and heavy manual labor. Because fitness levels vary widely among individuals, what is moderate exertion for one person may be heavy exertion for another. No matter how fit you are, cutting back on the level or duration of exertion when ozone levels are high will help protect you from ozone’s harmful effects.

 What can you do to reduce ozone levels?
Ground-level ozone is created when certain pollutants, known as “ozone precursors,” react in heat and sunlight to form ozone. Cars and other vehicles are the largest source of ozone precursors. Other important sources include industrial facilities, power plants, gasoline-powered mowers, and evaporation of cleaners, paints, and other chemicals.

We can all help reduce ozone levels by taking the following steps:
•     Drive less. For example, instead of using a car, you may want to walk, use mass transit, or ride a bike.
•     Carpool.
•     Make sure your car is well-tuned. Take care not to spill gasoline when you fill the tank of your car or lawn or recreation equipment.
•     Make sure that you tightly seal the lids of chemical products-such as solvents, garden chemicals, or household cleaners-to keep evaporation to a minimum.
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B.   Air and Water Pollution an Increasing Threat to Human Life
Did you know: about 2 million premature deaths are caused each year due to air pollution in cities across the world? And over a billion people in the world do not have access to clean water?
Despite attempts by the United States and other countries to regulate air and water quality, pollution continues to present a major global problem. If not fully addressed over the next few decades, air and water pollution will continue to worsen the environment and endanger other living organisms.
It will also harm our health and ultimately threaten the existence of the human species.

Attempts to Regulate Air and Water Quality
The United States began regulating air and water quality several decades ago. While Congress began passing air pollution laws as early as 1955, The Clean Air Act of 1970 was the first legislation to establish comprehensive federal and state regulations that limited emissions from both stationary and mobile sources.
The Clean Water Act, enacted two years later, called for the restoration and maintenance of the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters.

The Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act have greatly improved environmental quality in the U.S.
These acts have greatly improved environmental quality in the U.S. For example, the six most common air pollutants have decreased by more than 50 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while air toxics from large industrial sources, such as chemical plants, petroleum refineries, and paper mills have been reduced by nearly 70 percent. New cars are more than 90 percent cleaner than they were in the 1970s, and production of most ozone-depleting chemicals has ceased. (Ceased in the USA, remember we transferred our most polluting industries-steel making to China, along with a lot of other manufacturing. lfp)
The rate at which wetlands are lost has declined some 90 percent since the early 1970s, and the amount of oil spilled annually into our waters has fallen to one-tenth of the level that once prevailed.

Worldwide Population Growth is Outstripping many of these gains
While substantial progress has been made, our worldwide population continues to grow, putting added pressures on the planet. The earth’s population has doubled from 3.3 billion to 6.7 billion in the last 40 years, and is expected to reach 9 million by the year 2040.

In the U.S. alone, energy consumption has increased by 50 percent since the 1970s, and vehicle use has increased by almost 200 percent, contributing to ever higher levels of pollutants in our air and water. 

Air Pollution Causes Global Health Risk
Studies have found that the risk of lung cancer and heart disease increases along with the level of air pollution. According to one study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the risk of lung cancer death went up by 8 percent for every 10 micrograms of fine particles in a cubic meter of air.
Air pollution is usually concentrated in densely populated metropolitan areas, especially in developing countries where environmental regulations are lax or non-existent. For example, in China, which has all 10 of the 10 most polluted cities of the world, air pollution is believed to cause 1.75 million premature deaths per year.

[Photos above: Beijing, China, air on a day after rain (left) and a sunny but otherwise smoky day (right)]

Even in cities across the U.S., air pollution is taking a toll on human life. For example, a recent study of the health impacts and associated costs of air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin and the San Joaquin Valley found that if Federal air standards were being followed the savings would be about 3,800 fewer premature deaths among those age 30 and older; 1.2 million fewer days of school absences; 2 million fewer days of respiratory problems in children; 467,000 fewer lost days of work and 2,700 fewer hospital admissions in the state of California alone.
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C.  The Major Sources of Air and Water Pollution
So what exactly causes our air and water to become contaminated? There are many sources of air and water pollution, both direct and indirect. These include emissions from power plants and factories; sewage and storm water runoff; oil pollution and motor vehicle exhaust; pesticides, fertilizers and chemical solvents; litter that makes its way into our waterways; and military weaponry.

Power Plant and Factory pollution release tons of toxic chemicals each year
Every year U.S. factories release over 3 million tons of toxic chemicals into the land, air and water. This hazardous waste causes us to lose over 15 million acres of land annually, and leads to respiratory complications and other health problems. It also makes our rivers and lakes too polluted for us to swim in and drink.

Power plants, especially coal-fired plants, are a major source of air pollution. Despite the fact that coal is responsible for nearly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., coal-fired plants continue to be used for about half of all electricity in the U.S, according to the Sierra Club’s Dirty Truth report.

[Photo at left: The Amos coal powered electric plant at Winfield, WV]

Other industries, too, including paper mills, chemical companies, mining companies and manufacturing firms emit acidifying gases such as sulphur oxide and dioxide, carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxide into the air. During precipitation, rainwater dissolves these gases, lowering the pH level and becoming acid rain.
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D.     Other forms of air and surface pollution
•  Acid Rain is reducing fish populations and decreasing biodiversity
•  Acid rain falls into lakes and streams, reducing fish population and harming plants and other organisms. A survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that acid rain caused acidity in 75 percent of the acidic lakes and about 50 percent of the acidic streams, reducing fish populations and decreasing aquatic biodiversity.
•  Acid rain also damages trees and forests by harming their leaves, limiting the nutrients available to them, and exposing them to toxic substances slowly released from the soil. In addition, acid rain takes a toll on human health. Many scientific studies have identified a connection between acid rain and increased illness and premature death from heart and lung disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis, according to the EPA.
•  Sewage and storm water runoff are also major pollutants. Every year, 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, stormwater, and industrial waste are discharged into U.S. waters.
•  Sewage pollution costs Americans billions of dollars every year in medical treatment, lost productivity and property damage, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
•  Stormwater runoff, caused when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over impervious surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, and streets, also presents a major problem. Along the way, stormwater can pick up oil from automobiles, pesticides, fertilizers from gardens, micro-organisms from animal waste, and other toxic substances, depositing them into our waterways, where they damage plants, fish, animals and people.
•  Stormwater runoff is among the top sources of water contamination in the country today, according to the NRDC.

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Oil Pollution and Motor Vehicle Exhaust are major sources of air and water pollution.
•  Another major pollutant is oil, which makes its way into the water from automobiles, ships, industrial sites and tanker spills.
•  Each year, more than 700 million gallons of oil end up in our oceans worldwide, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Roughly half results from used engine oil and oily road runoff, while about a fifth comes from bilge cleaning and other ship operations.
•  Other sources include air pollution from automobiles and industry, as well as oil spills due to major tanker accidents. Not only do motor vehicles leak oil; they produce a variety of emissions that can have negative effects on humans, plants, animals and the environment. Vehicle exhaust contributes up to 60 percent of carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S., and up to 95 percent in larger cities. Hydrocarbons, which are made up of unburned or partially burned fuel, are a major contributor to urban smog, and can cause liver damage and even cancer. Other motor vehicle pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates and sulfur oxide.

Agricultural Pesticides, Fertilizers and Chemical Solvents contaminate land and drinking water supplies
Pesticides, fertilizers and animal waste generated by the agricultural industry are another source of pollution. Americans use over 1 billion pounds of pesticides each year to control weeds, insects and other pests.
Pesticide contaminates land and water when it escapes from production sites and storage tanks, when it runs off from fields, when it is discarded, and when it is sprayed aerially. In a study by the U.S. Geological Service, one or more pesticides were detected in 90 percent of streams and 50 percent of wells that were sampled.
Pesticides have been shown to harm birds, fish and other aquatic life, and even amphibians. The use of pesticides also decreases the biodiversity of soil, reducing its quality over time.
In addition to pesticides and fertilizers, household products such as paints, paint strippers, and other solvents; wood preservatives; aerosol sprays; cleansers and disinfectants; insect repellents and air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; and dry-cleaned clothing emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may cause cancer in humans, depending on the amount and length of exposure.

 Litter especially plastics pollute our oceans and rivers
Every year, 15 billion pounds of plastic are produced in the U.S., while only 1 billion pounds are recycled, according to the non-profit Greenpeace. Some of this plastic ends up getting swept into the ocean, where it accumulates with other trash to form huge, swirling vortexes. For example, one huge vortex off the coast of Hawaii has now reached the size of Texas [See Post: Modern Air & Water,Part 2 of 3]. Animals often mistake the plastic for food, and die after ingesting the toxic chemicals contained within it.
Because plastic decomposes only very slowly, it remains in the ecosystem for decades. As the amount of trash increases in our oceans, it is creating a crisis of epic proportions.
An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and turtles are killed by plastic litter every year around the world. Large marine animals such as seals and dolphins sometimes starve to death when trapped by plastic litter.

 Chemical Weapons Production, Testing and Use leach into the soil and waterways
Chemical weapons also pose serious threats to the environment. Despite numerous efforts to reduce or eliminate chemical weapons, many nations continue to research and stockpile them.
To date, about 70 different chemicals have been used or stockpiled as chemical warfare agents by several countries ranging from the U.S. to Russia to Iran.
In addition, nuclear weapons release enormous amounts of radioactive materials when they are exploded during testing, while the production of nuclear weapons generates large quantities of waste material and contaminates surrounding areas.

Millions of gallons of Radioactive Waste has made its way into soil and water
In the U.S. alone, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lists more than 4,500 contaminated sites.
Nuclear weapons production and energy research have generated “millions of gallons of radioactive waste, thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and special nuclear material, along with huge quantities of contaminated soil and water,” according to a five-year DOE environmental management plan.
Pollution from weapons programs has been associated with millions of deaths, most of them cancer-related. For example, a 2003 report by the European Committee of Radiation Risk, an international body made up of 30 independent scientists, concluded that pollution from nuclear energy and of exposures to global atmospheric weapons fallout accounted for 65 million deaths through the year 1989.

Continued in Survival Manual/ Social Issues/Modern Air & Water, Part 2 of 3.


[1] Members of sensitive groups include children who are active outdoors; adults involved in moderate or strenuous outdoor activities; individuals with respiratory disease, such as asthma; and individuals with unusual susceptibility to ozone.

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Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

Our Future, Part 4 of 4

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Our Future, Part 4 of 4)

Section VII  considers reactions to the Energy Descent Scenarios

A.  Global and Local Perspectives
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/32/47/>
The scenarios as described are biased towards looking at the future for the billion or so relatively affluent persons who mostly live in the long industrialized nations mostly of Europe and North America but including Japan, Australia and New Zealand. For many people outside these countries the promise of benefits from global industrial culture are just that; promises. The general history tells of local and self reliant economies and communities decaying or collapsing as they are displaced by monetary economies, media and consumer ideologies. This is a process often associated with migration from rural to urban areas. The debate about the balance of benefits and disadvantages from these changes has been intense for thirty years.

Very few proponents or even critics of conventional economic development are yet considering energy descent scenarios, or the increased vulnerabilities to them which result from this loss of self reliance. Poor people crowded into barrios around super cities completely dependent on meager cash flows to maintain access to food and fuel are less able to provide for themselves when these systems fail. Five months in Latin America has given me cause to think deeply about these vulnerabilities that are already unfolding in many places where, compared to wages, fuel prices are ten times more than what they are in Australia.

It is not just the ability to cope with deprivation but more the pyscho-social capacity to accept life as it happens On the other hand one cannot experience life in many poorer countries without also considering how recent the changes have been. In many places people still know how to grow food and some cases can return to their home villages as soon as economic conditions suggest this will be more rewarding (even if it is only to labor on a relative’s farm) than hustling in the city for a dollar. Even when this is not possible, the sense of how resourceful and flexible people can be in what we might think extreme conditions, is a strength.

It is not just the ability to cope with deprivation but more the pyscho-social capacity to accept life as it happens without fixed expectation that lead to inevitable disappointment. While teaching a course in Mexico I was summarizing the energy descent scenarios session with reference to the house fire insurance analogy, that it was not necessary to believe your house would burn down to have fire insurance. The mostly middle class Mexicans laughed at my analogy because most Mexican homeowners don’t have fire insurance. It is this easy going acceptance of life that may be one of the characteristics that enables Mexicans to weather the storms that are surely coming.

In Australia many generations of steady growing affluence and high expectations have created a psychological and social brittleness.

On the other hand, in Australia and other long affluent countries, many generations of steady growing affluence and high expectations have created a psychological and social brittleness that suggests we may not weather the storms as well as we should. As a teenager I came to the conclusion that Australia was vulnerable to the attractions of fascism if and when social and economic conditions became much tougher. This early insight provided a foundation for the Brown Tech scenario.

In some nations, economic collapse and sustained conflict over the last few decades have simulated some aspects of energy descent. Most of the evidence is not good, with breakdown of law and order, food insecurity, falling life expectancy and mass migration. Russia, Argentina, Cuba, Zimbabwe and North Korea are examples of relatively affluent and industrialized countries that have experienced sustained conditions analogous to those possible from more general and global energy descent. An increasing amount of research and analysis within the Peak Oil network has focused on these countries to gain greater understanding of the hazards and opportunities of energy descent futures. Most notable is the Cuban experience that is remarkably positive and has provided a great boost to permaculture and other activists trying to show the opportunities from energy descent.

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B.  Cuba: Brown Tech, Green Tech or Earth Steward?
During the crisis of the “Special Period” in the early 1990’s the power of strong central government did not weaken, let alone fail. In some ways the government lead by Fidel Castro represents many of the elements of the Brown Tech world. On the other hand Cuba is not a very large country and can be considered as one bioregion with Havana as its capital so the scale of governance is more akin to that proposed for the Green Tech scenario. Further, many of the strategies for coping with the crisis from urban agriculture to bicycle and public transport are emblematic of the Green Tech scenario. Health and education statistics for Cuba also rule out the more severe conditions associated with Earth Steward, let alone Lifeboat. However while in Cuba in 2007 I became aware of some aspects of the crisis that did give insight into likely conditions in the more extreme scenarios.

During two trips in the countryside I observed extensive growth of Marabou (a spiny leguminous shrub) over large areas that appeared to have been farmland. The rapid spread occurred during the crisis and today cover about 20% of the farmland.  These species were previously common in the landscape mostly as a component of living fences and hedges. When the crisis hit, supplies of grains to feed the industrialized dairy industry collapsed and many of the dairy cows died in the dry season.

My hypothesis is that prior to dying, the cows would have eaten the dry pastures to bare ground and the living fences to sticks. The seeds of the Marabou consumed by the cows pass through in manure so in the succeeding wet season a complete crop of thorn shrubs would have emerged and dominated the recovering pastures. Despite the desperate need for food, the absence of fuel to plow the land for crops or resow pastures, allowed the shrubs to take over the land. This example illustrates how valuable resources can lie idyll in the face of desperate need.

The process of recovering the land from the thicket forests is a slow one even with better economic conditions but it also has produced benefits that are slow to be recognized. Increased carbon sequestration has been substantial and plant diversity and wildlife is increasing as the shrub legumes mature. The soil rejuvenating characteristics of these spiny legume shrubs may be building an asset that will be more valuable to Cuba as global energy descent begins to impact. Two low energy pathways to more productive and sustainable use of the land are possible. One is to use goats to reclaim the land back to pasture. Alternatively, accelerated succession to mixed food forest by selective seeding and planting could create agroforestry systems that continue to increase the woody biomass and food production both from fruit and nuts.

It is significant that both of these changes would require further changes in Cuban eating habits. This is connected to another sobering impression in the otherwise quite positive picture, that Cubans remained reluctant to change their traditional food habits even during the crisis and mostly have gone back to those habits after the crisis. The fact that a diet with less meat and dairy and a greater diversity of tropical vegetables, fruits and nuts could be more easily and sustainably produced will require continued efforts on many fronts and/or a longer cycle of deprivation to shift the deeply entrenched European food culture heritage in this tropical country.

Perhaps more relevant to countries with less government controls over the economy, Argentina provides some interesting examples of revitalization of local economies as central currencies and economies broke down, although most of these stopped once the monetary economy was re-established.

One of the uncertainties that emerges from reflecting on these examples of economic contraction is how different the situation will be when the dominant economic powers experience these problems. While this will create some more general global conditions it will also dramatically reduce the capacity to project power through globalization. Consequently we can expect conditions in local bioregions and nations to increasingly reflect the local resources, economy and culture, and be less driven by remote and global forces. As always this will precipitate new threats but also opportunities.

The next section considers how these scenarios can be both depressing and empowering, and can help us direct our energy towards positive change effectively.

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C.  Depressing and Positive Scenarios
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/48/67/>
Another reaction to the scenarios by some participants on courses is that the Brown Tech scenario seems a depressing but realistic assessment of the situation in many affluent countries while the Green Tech scenario looks more utopian and unrealistic, but one that could be almost be “sold” as a desirable future by Green parties of western democracies.

The argument that the distributed power provided by resurgent rural economies will ameliorate the centralized and inequitable structures that lead to the Brown Tech world may be seen as a weak one, especially for people who are suspicious of the concept that fundamental energy and resources drive economic, social and political systems. Similarly the relative positive nature of Earth Steward compared with Lifeboat is partly predicated on the distributed rather than concentrated nature of resources and wealth (and of course the gift of a relatively benign climate).

We can better shape our responses to each of the scenarios if we recognize the constraining forces that are beyond our control.

It is possible to see some good and bad potentials, depending in part on our philosophical bent, in all four scenarios. Perhaps as an act of faith in human values and maturity, I believe we can better shape our responses to each of the scenarios if as individuals and as communities and nations we recognize the constraining forces that are beyond our control. We can then consider how basic human values and needs can be sustained without wasting resources on projects or objectives that may have little chance of altering the fundamental dynamics of our world.

Of course this reaction can be seen as negative, defeatist or even contributing to the realization of these undesirable scenarios. In the ad hoc internet community of Peak Oil activism that has sprung up the last few years, the divide between the “doomers” and the “optimists” has been a notable one. Since 2005 the worsening evidence on climate change has led to more of the experts in that field moving towards a “doomer” perspective on the climate front. Part of the process of moving beyond this simplistic and mostly counterproductive debate, is to see some of the positive potentials that exist in energy descent scenarios.

Permaculture activism has a long history of being informed by a negative view of the state of the world. But these perspectives drive an optimistic opportunity-based response.

Permaculture activism has a long history of being informed by a negative view of the state of the world. But these perspectives drive an optimistic opportunity-based response that can empower people to creative action and adaption in the face of adversity. The fact that permaculture activists privately and even publicly look forward to some aspects of these scenarios may be seen by some as naive or even immoral. On the other hand, an increasing number of people around the world find permaculture an empowering focus for ethical and practical action.

My recent experience from presenting the Energy Descent scenarios in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Argentina on permaculture courses as well as other gatherings of sustainability professionals, is that they can be very empowering, although I recognize the risk that they still pose, in triggering denial or depression and paralysis.

The next section considers how different regions look likely to tend towards different scenarios.

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D.  Different Scenarios in Different Places
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/46/68/>
Australia and New Zealand provide examples of two very similar affluent countries in the South Pacific that may already be on very different trajectories and that reflect the dynamics of these scenarios. As the previous Prime Minister John Howard, proclaimed, Australia is one of the new energy superpowers. This claim is supported by the fact that Australia is the largest global exporter of coal, one of the largest exporters of gas with the seventh largest reserves, and has the largest reserves of uranium as well as many other minerals.

Australia exhibits the essential conditions for the emergence of the Brown Tech scenario. On the other hand climate change modeling suggests Australia is perhaps the most vulnerable of OECD countries, a vulnerability highlighted by the recent and continuing drought. These are the essential conditions for the emergence of Brown Tech. The “debate” about nuclear power initiated by the Australian government and the rush to build desalination plants and super-pipelines to address the water crisis are emblematic of this trend. The change of federal government to the Labor Party is likely to further concentrate power at the federal level and could lead to a more rapid abandonment of free market capitalism, further entrenching the Brown Tech scenario.

New Zealand looks like a strong candidate for Green Tech. New Zealand on the other hand has very little in the way of minable energy and resources, but, relative to its population, has extremely rich biophysical resources to support agriculture, forestry and renewable energies. The local impacts of climate change are predicted to be much less severe, allowing New Zealand to take advantage of these distributed rural resources. This looks like a strong candidate for Green Tech.

Without going into a detailed analysis of the emerging trends in the Australian and New Zealand economies and politics, it is sufficient to say Australia and New Zealand have been diverging for some time. This suggests that these underlying differences between the energy and resource bases of these two countries may have been contributing to the emerging differences at the political and even the social levels.

The next section looks at how planning for these scenarios occurs at different scales.

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E.  Stepped Energy Descent Pathways Linking the Scenarios
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/51/73/>
As previously mentioned, energy descent may not be a continuous gradual process. Instead it could be characterized by an initial crisis that sets the conditions for a new order that is stable for some time before another crisis leads to further descent. The growth of energy and resultant technological complexity over the last two hundred years has involved varying rates of change, plateaus and even regressions during wars and depressions, but energy descent is likely to be much more variable than energy ascent. This is consistent with our common sense understanding that growth is a more consistent process than decline.

Natural ecosystems tend to maintain homeostasis under stress through the allocation of stored resources. If the conditions continue to deteriorate, then further stress can fracture the homeostasis. If the stress involves a reduction in energy availability, the system may collapse. But total collapse and system disintegration is rare, at least in the short term. More typically a re-stabilization at a lower level of energy processing and organizational complexity occurs. The new homeostasis will typically be stable for some time before declining energy availability precipitates another crisis. This may also be a model for how human societies respond to the crisis of resource and energy decline. It also makes sense that natural disasters, or a crisis such as war, rarely continue for very long but they shape the new state that emerges in their aftermath. If crisis does persist at an intense level for years then psychosocial systems reorganize around the crisis as the new normality.

The following conceptual graph shows these two pathways from Hubbert’s Peak of Oil (and net energy production). The discontinuities are periods of extreme crisis, conflict and/or breakdown. Each scenario represents a homeostasis that tends to be self-maintaining until further stress precipitates a further unraveling.

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F.  Energy Descent Pathways
The red pathway is more extreme after continued growth leads to a precipitous drop through natural disasters, economic depression and/or war. Brown Tech emerges as the new world order allowing recovery and modest growth before further natural disasters/climate change and oil depletion precipitate another discontinuity leading to a Lifeboat world. The green pathway is less extreme with a lower peak and a gentler decline through the first discontinuity to the Green Tech scenario while the descent to Earth Steward is even more continuous driven by on-going depletion and decay of infrastructure from the Hubbert’s Peak and Green Tech worlds.

The chart also shows the relative levels of net energy availability per capita. This is much more speculative than the general concept of the stepwise descent or the relationships between the scenarios, because it depends on many variables. I’ve shown the Brown Tech and Lifeboat scenarios as processing more net energy per capita than the Green Tech and Earth Steward scenarios respectively. A range of factors contribute to this speculative maths, and hide some harsh realities. Depending on how net energy is understood and evaluated, a higher total energy base in Brown Tech may maintain greater organizational and technological complexity but Green Tech may be more energetically efficient at providing real human services.

A harsher discontinuity leading to Brown Tech may produce a higher death rate in the more urbanized populations while more severe controls on births may further reduce populations. The numbers of people the energy base needs to support strongly affects the per capita level so a higher per capita figure may reflect lower birth rates and/or higher death rates rather than a more energy rich society. Alternatively the lower death rate during the gentler discontinuity leading to Green Tech combined with a higher birth rate to tap the more distributed rural resources of the Green Tech world may result in overall higher populations. Although net energy per capita is lower, life may on average be better than in the Brown Tech scenario.

Similarly in the second discontinuity crisis, the death rate increases but more so in the red pathway to the Lifeboat. The lack of community capacity in the midst of massive material salvage opportunities, combine with the lower population, to deliver relatively high net energy per capita even though life is very harsh. The more abundant distributed renewable resources of the Earth Steward scenario leads to a higher birth rate (to tap those resources). Combined with the lower death rate, the higher overall population gives a very low net energy per capita. Efficient communitarian economies and a spiritual rather than material culture may make for higher wellbeing despite limited resources per person.

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G.  Nested Scenarios
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/34/29/>
Yet another way to consider these scenarios is as all emerging simultaneously one nested within the other. The following figure shows the scenarios nested with their associated organizational and energetic scale. This suggests that the four organizational levels represented by the scenarios from the household to the national will all be transformed as global systems weaken and contract but none will fail completely. In a sense this is implicit in each scenario in any case and resolves the difficulty in imagining the Earth Steward and Lifeboat scenarios with a complete absence of city and national level power structures even if their functions and influence are very weak or attenuated away from the centers of power.

In explaining this on the afore mentioned course in Mexico, I suggested that in the Earth Steward and Lifeboat scenarios there could still be a government in Mexico city issuing edicts, but that no one, outside the much reduced city, would hear or take any notice. Like the reaction to my insurance example, my Mexican students laughed and suggested that no one took any notice of the government in Mexico now. This humorous response actually reflects an ongoing process of fragmentation in Mexico where autonomous movements in some regions and drug lords in others already rival the central and state governments in the provision of security, extraction of taxes and provision of services.

It is natural for national governments and large corporations to implement the systems that characterize the Brown Tech scenario. The other reason for considering that aspects of all scenarios will simultaneously emerge in all regions is the structural commitment of each level of governance to systems that can work at their respective levels. It is natural for national governments and large corporations to implement the systems that characterize the Brown Tech scenario because these systems are commensurate with the organizational scale in which they work. Similarly it is natural for city and bioregional (state) governments to implement the somewhat more distributed, diverse and smaller scale systems of the Green Tech scenario. Middle sized business using regional resources and serving regional markets will naturally work to reinforce this scenario.

[Energy Descent Scenarios nested by scale of related system]

 Any planning for Lifeboats is mostly a private activity of people who lack total faith in the stability of our economy and society Following this logic we can see smaller forms of organization (small business and local government) could manage many of the strategies applicable to the Earth Steward scenario while the household or closed community is the natural level of organization to contemplate the Lifeboat scenario. This nested hierarchy of scenarios explains why any planning for Lifeboats is mostly a private activity of people who lack total faith in the stability of our economy and society. Similarly many community activists work towards strategies that level the playing field, develop communitarian cultures and would be potent in an Earth Steward world, just as earnest middle level managers and planners work towards the Green Tech world as the best progressive evolution from what we have. Many of the elite “movers and shakers”, often from long established wealthy families in affluent countries, who move between the upper levels of corporations, governments and global governance organizations, believe the Brown Tech world is the hard reality that must be worked with (although this can hardly be acknowledged publicly).

I think this is one of the most insightful and empowering ways to think about these scenarios because it helps us understand the apparent contradictions between different perspectives and motivations of different groups in society and even contradiction within our own thoughts and behaviors. For example, it is common for people to have private thoughts about the Lifeboats or perhaps Earth Steward futures, while most of people’s public behavior as workers and consumers reinforce Brown Tech or perhaps Green Tech. The private thoughts are often internally critiqued as anti-social or at least naïve, while the public actions are often internally critiqued as driven by powerful outside forces. This nested model can help us better integrate these different aspects of ourselves.

Section VIII – The assumptions of current mainstream sustainability
efforts and  their relevance within the four Energy Descent Scenarios.
  

A.  Relevance of Mainstream Sustainability to Energy Descent
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/47/69/>
Mainstream approaches to sustainability tend to assume stability if not expansion in the energy flows available to humanity even if there are major transitions in the nature of the energy sources. Consequently, continuity of many of the structures underpinning current social and economic systems is assumed.

For example, modern affluent urban life in a society dominated by service economies may be transformed by revolutions in efficiency but will remain the norm for future sustainable society. Further, it is widely assumed that food production and management of biological resources to provide for human needs will remain a minor part of future economies, and that geopolitical stability will allow globalised trade and other global governance regimes to become increasingly effective as instruments to establish sustainable systems.

These are not so different from the business as usual assumptions about constant growth, but they require not only herculean efforts to build a new energy infrastructure before energy becomes too expensive and unreliable, but also massively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions today, if not yesterday.

There is also the small problem of reforming the monetary system away from dependence on perpetual growth without inducing financial collapse. I say “small problem” with irony of course because growth in economic activity is essential to support the debt based currency which is the very foundation of our money and banking system stretching back to the beginnings of capitalism and its economic precursors.

For these reasons I feel the Techno Stability long-term future has even less prospects than the default future of Techno explosion. Maybe this also helps explain the deep resistance and antagonism in the centers of political and economic power to questioning of the logic of growth. Whether it comes from an ecological or sociological perspective questioning economic growth threatens the very basis of our economic system. The lip service to environmental sustainability – so long as it can maintain essential growth – reflects this understanding.

Consequently more idealistic notions of steady state green economics are automatically rejected as throwing the “baby out with the bathwater”. While I have been as critical of the concept of continuous economic growth as most environmentalists and scientists, I also recognize that attempts to avoid the ecological precipice by reducing economic growth could bring down the whole system just as Gorbachev’s Glasnost contributed to the unraveling of the Soviet system. The economic hard liners could be right. There is no way to stop the train of global industrial capitalism (other than by crashing).

[Relevance of Mainstream Sustainability to Energy Descent Scenarios]

Despite these doubts about the logic behind many mainstream approaches to sustainability, they have contributed greatly in spreading new environmental thinking. For example the Natural Step concept64aims to protect biophysical systems by creating closed loop industrial manufacturing through continual improvements in performance. It has been very influential in Scandinavia and has been adopted by some of the more progressive manufacturing corporations. Rapidly rising costs of energy and commodities will reinforce many of the Natural Step strategies but these will also increase the costs of adopting some of the more elaborate environmental technologies that have been used to ensure no contamination of natural or human environments.

Natural Step might work to some degree in the Green Tech world but would seem futile in the Brown Tech, technically and organizationally impractical in the Earth Steward, and meaningless in the Lifeboat. The vast majority of sustainability concepts and strategies to reduce ecological footprint and greenhouse gas emissions could be similarly analyzed as having uncertain relevance at best to energy descent scenarios.

In general, fundamental principles will have more utility than specific strategies and technologies The following table quantifies my view that mainstream approaches to sustainability have quite low relevance to energy descent scenarios. Low scores do not mean that these ideas will completely disappear but that they will tend to shift from their current status as the innovative cutting edge of the economy to reflecting a past era – rather than their objective of becoming the norm within a sustainable society. The table also shows that in general, fundamental principles will have more utility than specific strategies and technologies that are currently being applied as good examples of these concepts.

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B.  Examples of  Relevanced Principles

_1.  Renewable Energy Sources
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/49/70/>
A good example of likely greater relevance of environmental principles when compared with specific strategies and technologies can be seen in relation to future energy sources. In fossil fuelled global industrial systems, energy supply has been generally concentrated in a few big powerful sources. A common principle in sustainability thinking is that a greater diversity of smaller and more distributed power sources will replace current fossil fuel, large hydro and nuclear sources.

The current roll out of wind power and to a lesser extent solar electric are technologies that illustrate this general principle and are widely recognized as central to the Techno Stability future. But energy descent may see growth in these particular energy sources slow or fail while older distributed sources such as wood and small scale hydro could grow rapidly. In a rapidly changing world appropriate design principles provide more guidance than specific strategies and technologies.

_2.  Biodiversity in Natural Resource Management
In the field of natural resource management the general principle of valuing biodiversity is likely to persist to some degree, at least in the Green Tech world, but the examples of vegetation management exclusively focused on local indigenous species, which are common today, will seem very dated as reflecting a world of rising wealth and constant climate.

Arguably, the principle of valuing biodiversity may even grow in strength as the current economic drivers favoring monoculture in agriculture and forestry weaken and are overtaken by viral forms of polyculture better able to use soil and water resources without inputs, and better able to serve mixed local markets. This process will allow the principle of valuing biodiversity to spread from the relative “cultural ghetto” of conservation management in affluent countries, to a more powerful expression of the permaculture version of the principle “Use and Value Diversity”. This very change may be experienced by those wedded to the current dominant views within the field of Conservation Biology as heresy to be resisted.

Energy descent demands that we consider more radical approaches to achieving environmental and social objectives.

[Relevance of Permaculture to Energy Descent Scenarios]

This is just one example of how energy descent scenarios will challenge some cherished beliefs within the environmental movement, while making others natural and obvious. Energy descent demands that we consider more radical approaches to achieving environmental and social objectives.
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_3.  Permaculture Design Principles
Permaculture as an environmental design concept with a long and evolving lineage of action around the world provides one such framework for developing new and reinforcing existing strategies that should be adaptive in energy descent scenarios.

In Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, I explain the importance of design principles as the basis for generating new strategies and techniques in a world of change and uncertainty. The following table shows how permaculture, especially when it is understood through its design principles more so than currently applied strategies, has a closer fit with energy descent scenarios than many other sustainability concepts that have achieved more mainstream acceptance in affluent counties. While the numerical scores compared with those for “Mainstream Sustainability” can be taken with a grain of salt, the broad thrust is clear.

This table may reflect a claim of permaculture’s central relevance to energy descent, but it also suggests an equal challenge to permaculture educators, activists and designers to more effectively use design principles to identify strategies, techniques and working models that are tuned to emerging rather than past conditions.

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_4.  Meta-scenarios of Permaculture
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/50/71/>
Each scenario presents quite different opportunities and challenges including ethical dilemmas for permaculture and related environmental and social activists. The analysis of the relevance of permaculture to the energy descent scenarios makes it possible to imagine meta-scenarios of how permaculture and related activism might influence society in ways different from today. Clearly these meta-scenarios are even more speculative than the energy descent scenarios, but provide a stimulus, especially for young people, to imagine oneself in the
energy descent future.

I imagine that permaculture – by principle and model, if not in name – will become the dominant paradigm in the Earth Steward scenario. I imagine that permaculture – by principle and model, if not in name – will become the dominant paradigm in the Earth Steward scenario. Those with a long track record of achievement will become the natural leaders within new emergent power structures, primarily at the local level, that will be more effective than higher levels of governance and organization. The ethical and design challenges will be those associated with leadership and power. Because “power” at this (and all levels) will be very weak, it will be more characterized by inspiration and wise council than the capacity to make binding decisions. Transparent and collaborative leadership that draws from the whole community and accepts slow evolutionary change and avoids the imposition of ideology is likely to be most effective in conserving resources and continuing to build a nature based culture.

•  In Lifeboats the focus of permaculturists is on provision of basic needs first and maintenance of seed and skills. Permaculture is also highly relevant to survival in the Lifeboat scenario. The focus on provision of basic needs first and maintenance of seed and other genetic resources and skills to salvage and ‘make do’ will all be essential. Those with considerable knowledge, skills and ability to provide for others, as well as having good communication and organization skills in difficult conditions, are likely to become natural leaders of lifeboat households and communities. The ethical and design challenges are less those of broader and collaborative leadership and more those represented by having to decide who to let into the lifeboat without threatening the survival of those already on board. The ability to integrate and defend the group without sentimentality while providing for the community and maintaining knowledge critical to long-term cultural survival, is the task of those able to think beyond everyday survival.

•  In Green Tech, the dominant paradigm is still focused in the economic and technological domains rather than the ecological. In the Green Tech scenario “sustainability” has become the dominant paradigm of more localized city and bioregional governance structures. Permaculture and related concepts have high status and receive resources from government and businesses to help further develop local food production and community economies that can buffer against further energy and ecological crises. For the permaculture activist this is a more familiar condition where there is ongoing, even rapid growth in influence but where the dominant paradigm is still focused in the economic and technological domains rather than the ecological domain as the source of wealth and meaning.

The primary ethical dilemma is that of comfortable co-option by the new sustainability elites, in the context of their heroic successes in avoiding the worst impacts of energy descent. Should permaculture activists quietly accept the status and resources that flow from these sustainability elites and focus on the slow change of society through practical works or should they critique the new elite for not accepting that energy descent will precipitate further crises unless we localize and simplify our economies further? The ability to lead by example and provide clear and persuasive articulation of values and goals beyond the prevailing mainstream lead to progressively more influence as the ongoing realities of energy descent unfold.

•  In the Brown Tech scenario the challenges for permaculture activists are somewhat analogous to those working in some poorer countries today. In the Brown Tech scenario, permaculture remains marginal to the mainstream, although it provides hope and some solutions for the increasing numbers of disenfranchised and alienated who reject, or are rejected, by the systems controlled by powerful central governments. The challenges for permaculture activists are somewhat analogous to those working in some poorer countries today; trying to assist the disadvantaged with simple technologies and solutions while avoiding threats from repressive central power.

Too much structure, organization and prominence could see such activism ruthlessly crushed as a threat to the system. Anarchistic and invisible modes of activism are likely to be more effective. Of course there are also those attempting to use ethical and design principles to reform the system from within (with all the attendant contradictions). Quiet and persistent collaboration between these two levels of activism could see a graceful descent to Earth Stewardship while failure could lead to the Lifeboat as the last option for the salvage of civilization.

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C.  Conclusion
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This exploration of energy descent scenarios has been an organic one which began with a didactic intention to highlight how large scale energetic and environmental factors shape history more than ideologies and the heroic actions of individuals. But my purpose was to empower those committed to ecological values and social justice to be effective in their quest to create the world we want, rather than just resist the world we don’t want. Finally it has become about telling a story that can help bring that world to life, an apparent contradiction to the premise I began with. Although the primary lesson about the large scale forces that control the course of history may be true for the long periods of stability, during periods of ecological and cultural chaos, small groups of people have been instrumental in those transitions.

In nature, disturbance events (such as fire, flood or drought) or eruptive disturbances from within an ecosystem, such as insect plagues or fungal disease, are often understood as examples of system dysfunction. Alternatively they can be understood as either initiating another succession cycle that brings renewed life or a novel force that deflects the ecosystem in different directions determined by the chance arrival of new species or other factors. The ecosystems that emerge from these periods of disturbance can be quite different from those that preceded them and these changes can be characterised from a systems ecology perspective as either degradation of biophysical resources and productivity, and/or ones involving new evolutionary pathways. The lesson from nature is that evolution of life works in strange ways that cannot be fully predicted.

The historian William Irwin Thompson’s67 interpretation of creation of the world’s “first university” by Pythagoras suggests similar processes at work when civilization finds itself in a cultural dead end or design cul de sac. Pythagoras had been an initiate of the Egyptian mystery schools that were part of a decaying theocracy in the 6th century BC. Pythagoras and his followers secularized some of the hidden and arcane knowledge but his school in Calabria was burnt to the ground in some local political dispute. Pythagoras died a broken man but his followers, the Pythagoreans fled to Greece where they found fertile social conditions for their ideas and values. This was the beginning of the flowering of classical Grecian culture that we recognize as the origins of western civilization. In a similar story Thompson describes how the penniless monks of Lindisfarne converted the British Isles to Christianity in the 6thcentury AD. They had no power but their spiritual message shaped to reflect the Celtic traditions, was transformative in a country in the aftermath of the collapse of the Roman empire and where no one any longer knew the function of Stonehenge. For a couple of generations a form of free anarchic Christianity provided spiritual meaning, but the monastery was burnt to the ground by the Vikings.

Like Pythagoras and the monks of Lindisfarne we live in a world of collapsing culture where we have to choose what is worthwhile at this great turning point in history. We are faced with the mixed pieces of the myriad of broken traditional cultures of the world and the novel and shining bits of unraveling industrial modernity. All of this will end in the dustbin of history. Our task is to choose which pieces of these jigsaw puzzles will be useful in creating an energy descent culture, the boundaries, features and colors of which, we can scarcely imagine. What is worth saving? What are the limits of our capacity? We have little time to decide and act. We must commit to concrete actions and projects. We must stake our claim, not for ourselves but for the future. In committing to our task we should remember the stories of Pythagoras and the monks of Lindisfarne. It is not the project but the living process that will be the measure of our actions.

Let us act as if we are part of nature’s striving for the next evolutionary way to creatively respond to the recurring cycles of energy ascent and descent that characterize human history and the more ancient history of Gaia, the living planet. Imagine that our descendants and our ancestors are watching us.

End of article: (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Our Future, Part 4 of 4)

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Our Future, Part 3 of 4

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/ Our Future, Parts 1-4)

Section V considers the interaction of peak oil and climate change to consider four distinct energy descent scenarios.

Descent scenarios 

A.  Scenario Planning
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/26/40/>
The systems approach to the energy descent future can be taken further by using a scenario planning model that combines two fundamental, and largely independent variables that generate four scenarios, one for each of the quadrants of a conceptual graph. Scenarios in this context are plausible and internally consistent stories about the future that help organizations and individuals to achieve a broad and open-ended adaptability to inherent unpredictability.

In classic corporate scenario planning the two variables might be the growth rate in the wider economy and the regulatory framework that constrains or encourages business. Climate Change and Oil Production Decline are the variables I use as the primary drivers in creating the four energy descent scenarios because I believe these are the strongest forces shaping human destiny over the 21st century and beyond. Consequently they are central to consideration of the energy transition across nations and cultures and in both urban and rural environments.

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B.  Interaction of Peak Oil and Climate Change
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/42/52/>
Although both variables are caused by collective human behaviour and potentially can be ameliorated by human behaviour, they arise from geological and climatic limits beyond human control. The debate over amelioration vs adaption to climate change is often portrayed as a potent moral choice between burning coal and accepting a changed world, or a shift to renewable energy to save nature. The emerging evidence suggests that this choice was one that humanity collectively fudged in the 1980’s.

Similarly the actions necessary to make an orderly transition from oil to other energy sources has been assessed as taking at least two decades. Again society had the evidence from the peaking of US oil production in 1970 but with the return of cheap oil in the 1980’s the energy problem appeared to have simply gone away due to “better” economic policies. Now climate change is accelerating and peak oil is upon us.

As well as having to adapt to both of these new realities, we also grapple with the interactions both positive and negative. The accelerating shift to increased dependence on natural gas is often portrayed as a positive reduction in carbon intensity but this is simply accelerating the depletion of our children’s remaining inheritance of high quality transport fuel. Similarly projects developing tar sands and other low-grade sources of oil massively increase greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps more surprising to some, the huge push in the US and Europe to make biofuels from corn and oil seed crops is increasing land degradation, resource consumption and contributing to driving up the cost of grains and oil seeds. Many authorities are a warning of global famine due to climate and energy crisis factors (including biofuels) coming together. The low ERoEI of biofuels, especially corn-based ethanol, suggest biofuels may be a way to deplete natural gas while degrading agricultural land and starving the world’s poor.

[Chart showing Average Per Capita Energy consumption going forward from Peak Oil]

On the other hand, radical reductions in consumption due to transformative lifestyle change, creative reuse of wastes generated by industrial and consumer systems, and a shift to truly productive work within revitalised home and community economies, show how we can both build local resilience and capacity to adapt to the destructive change at the same time as we make the greatest contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel depletion rates. While this strategy would be most productive and effective in the most affluent countries, it has increasing relevance world-wide.

The reluctance to seriously consider positive reductions in consumption in public debate about climate solutions could be swept away by the unfolding global energy and food crisis. Developing some of the harder and longer term ecological and modest technological adaption’s to ongoing and relentless energy descent will take decades to have widespread impacts (as do all high energy, high-tech centralized approaches) but radical and rapid human behavioral change is possible and even likely (given the right psycho-social conditions). The emerging energy and economic crisis will make these reductions a reality with or without a planned and creative response.

The alternate scenarios I have constructed provide more detail about how the Energy Descent future might evolve over the next few decades rather than the hundreds of the years of the long-term scenarios. As well as combining the effects of slow or rapid oil production decline, and slow or rapid global warming, they cover a very broad spectrum of human possibilities that can be recognized by various symptoms and signs in different places in the world today. They are all energy descent scenarios in that they depict possible futures with progressively declining net energy. This must be understood against the historical background in which energy use per capita globally has been on a bumpy plateau for thirty years after the previous thirty years of rapid growth per capita from the end of World War II. The graph below from the previously mentioned study suggests per worldwide capita energy use may continue to rise to about 1.7 tons of oil equivalent (toe) by 2020 before falling to 0.9 toe by 2050.

However when we use net energy ratios to convert these undifferentiated joules of energy, I believe that we are already into a global decline in net energy per person and will soon be into absolute global net energy decline.

C.  The Four Energy Descent and Climate Scenarios
Four Energy Descent scenarios are considered, each emerging from a combination of either fast of slow oil decline and either mild or severe climate change over the next 10-30 years:
1.  Brown Tech: (slow oil decline, fast climate change)
2.  Green Tech: (slow oil decline, slow climate change)
3.  Earth Steward: (fast oil decline, slow climate change)
4.  Lifeboats: (fast oil decline , fast climate change)

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D.  The Four Global Climate Change & Energy Descent Scenarios
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/27/46/>
While the characterization of the four scenarios is difficult and inevitably speculative, they do provide a framework for considering how Peak Oil and Climate Change could interact to reshape global and local energy resources, settlement patterns, economy and governance. They also provide some insight into what could be effective responses for aware activists to secure their own and family’s future while contributing to society in a positive way. Those responses might include potentially effective policies that could be adopted by relevant forms of government that might be functional in each of these scenarios.
Finally they clarify the relevance of permaculture principles in a world of energy descent and focus our attention on the strengths and weaknesses of various strategies in adapting to the differing scenarios.
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Section VI considers the first scenario, Brown Tech.

1.  Brown Tech: Top Down Constriction
(Slow energy decline rates, severe climate change symptoms)
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/28/48/>
The Brown Tech world is one in which the production of oil declines after a peak 2005-2010 at about 2% per annum and the subsequent peak and decline of natural gas is also relatively gentle, but the severity of global warming symptoms is at the extreme end of current mainstream scientific predictions. In this scenario strong, even aggressive, national policies and actions prevail to address both the threats and the opportunities from energy peak and climatic change. The political system could be described as Corporatist or Fascist (which Mussolini described as a merger of state and corporate power).

The tendency in existing systems for massive centralized investment by corporations and governments, give priority to getting more energy out of lower grade non-renewable resources (eg. tar sands, coal and uranium) and biofuels from industrial agriculture and forestry. “Breakthrough” technologies provide the constant promise of a better future but much of the investment in energy harvesting accelerates global warming, at least in the short term.

At the same time the cost of defending or replacing urban infrastructure threatened by storms and future sea level rise consumes more resources, while droughts and chaotic seasonal changes reduce food production from broadacre and small scale agriculture.

Flows of energy from more expensive sources such as tar sands, deep ocean oil, gas to liquids and coal to liquids slow the decline in fuels from crude oil. This transition requires a huge mobilization of the technical and managerial capacity held mostly by global corporations, along with the financial, legal and military security that only sovereign governments can provide. This resource nationalism by government  breaks down free trade and the faith in international markets that underpins the global economy.

By 2007, we had already seen the shift from a buyers to a sellers market for energy cascading through all commodities markets and reshaping geopolitical relations. The profits from both non-renewable resources and large scale industrial agriculture rise on the back of high commodity prices, reversing many of the economic patterns and trends of recent decades. The wealth of farmers and miners as well as corporations and nations in control of these resources increases even as depletion reduces the flows of resources and climate change causes chaos in farming and land management.

The demand for biofuels in affluent countries reduces world food stocks and raises prices to levels that result in famine and chaos in many poor countries unable to sustain subsidies for staple food. In other countries, food riots by the poor force government to pay for escalating subsidies. The wealth left over for education, health etc. collapses. Wars to secure fuel and food increase and refocus public attention on external threats. In richer countries, consumer led economic growth falters or is actively shut down by government policies to focus limited resources on food, fuel and climate security. Some type of global economic depression unfolds from the combined effects of high energy and food prices, superpower contest, resource nationalism and the fragility of the financial system.

Rapid onset of climate change also tends to support centralized nationalist systems for several reasons. First the consequences of chaotic weather, food supply problems, radical land use change and abandonment of marginal land, leads to demands for strong government action to protect people from high food and fuel costs, natural disasters, the consequences of strong action by other nations, and mass migration by displaced people. Rates of urbanization increase as climate change impacts and withdrawal of government supported services in more remote rural regions accelerates.

A decline of the middle class already evident in many western countries accelerates leading to discontent and suppression by government including internment camps either for migrants or homeless people. Strong approaches to population control, even forced sterilization are introduced in some countries.

A series of short but intense international conflicts confirm major shifts in global power balances while accelerating resource depletion. Control of non-renewable fossil fuel and mineral resources remains critical, while the (relative) importance of distributed renewable wealth from agriculture and forestry continues to decline as the climate deteriorates especially in my home country of Australia where greater severity of droughts hit hard. With food supply under threat, fossil fuels and other resources are redirected from personal mobility and consumption to intensive factory farming in greenhouses and other controlled environments, mostly clustered around urban centers and managed by agribusiness corporations.

Desalination and other high energy ways to maintain water supply systems are built at huge cost and further increase demand for energy. The threat of sea level rises leads to large scale urban redevelopment driven by strong government policies. Some very bold initiatives for energy efficient medium density urban development and public transport infrastructure are funded. A key characteristic of this scenario is the sense of divide between the reducing numbers of “haves” dependent on a job in the “system” and the relatively lawless, loose but perhaps communitarian “have nots” with their highly flexible and nomadic subcultures living from the wastes of the “system” and the wilds of nature. Security of the “haves” is a constant issue with gated communities, and apartheid style townships and barrios for the “have nots”. While economic depression and reduction in consumption slow greenhouse gas emissions, the rapid expansion of strategic investment by government in new energy and urban infrastructure more than replaces the reduced private consumption, leading to a positive feedback loop that accelerates global warming.
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[Photo: Left half of picture sprawling slums of  The Poor. Right half (beyond wall) with swimming pool terraced apartments, community pool and tennis courts of The Rich. Many wealthy neighborhoods in Brazil are gated and heavily secured to keep out the poor.  In many cases wealth and absolute poverty are only separated by a thin division as seen in the photograph above.

Pasted from <http://www.doctorhousingbubble.com/brazilian-style-living-in-southern-california-%E2%80%93-mls-inventory-creeping-up-section-8-vouchers-for-granite-countertops-and-california-budget-going-mayan-in-2012/>]

While the elites continue to be driven by a commitment to super rationalist beliefs, a sense of hollowness and lack of purpose characterizes the shrinking middle class, while fundamentalist religions and cults plays a stronger role in the lives of the working and unemployed classes partly through genuine reactions to the failures of modern humanism and partly manipulated by the elites to deflect anger and disenchantment. The Brown Tech scenario could be dominant and even more or less socially stable for many decades until ongoing climatic breakdown and reduced net energy return drive a shift to the Lifeboats scenario.

Top down constriction” summaries the essence of this scenario in that national power constricts consumption and focuses resources to maintain the nation state, in the face of deteriorating climate and reduced energy and food supply.
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2.  Green Tech: Distributed Powerdown
(
Slow energy decline rates, mild climate change symptoms)
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/29/49/>
The Green Tech scenario is the most benign, in that adverse climate changes are at the low end of projections. Oil and gas production declines slowly as in the Brown Tech future, so the sense of chaos and crisis is more muted without major economic collapse or conflict. This allows resources to flow to a greater diversity of responses at the global, national, city, community and personal level. In some already densely populated poor countries, conditions worsen.

However higher commodity prices allows some poorer producer economies to escape their debt cycle while programs to empower women result in rapid reduction in the birth rate. The gradual reduction in capacity of countries to project power globally due to rising energy costs, increases national security and redirection of resources away from defense and resource capture to resource conservation and technological innovation. The consolidation of the global communication systems maintains global outlooks and understandings if not global economics.

As in the Brown Tech scenario, electrification is a key element in the energy transition but the renewable energy sources of wind, biomass, solar, hydro, tidal, wave etc. grow rapidly developing a more diverse and distributed mix. The relatively benign climate allows a resurgence of rural and regional economies on the back of sustained and growing prices for all natural commodities including feedstock for biofuels.

The principles behind organic agriculture and ecological management and resource allocation become the norm in many farming systems, helping to stabilize agriculture challenged by increasing cost of energy inputs and (albeit mild) climate change.

The accelerating conflict between biofuels and food is stabilized if not resolved by government subsidies to support food supply from agriculture, with biofuels coming mainly from forestry wastes. In many regions with prime agricultural land and small populations, wealthy farmers and agribusiness corporations are the main beneficiaries employing both high technology and cheap labor from migrant workers. In some regions, with poorer and steeper land and more diversified land ownership, smaller scale polyculture systems designed using permaculture principles spread wealth more evenly through local communities.

Continuous contraction affects large sections of the economy but the energy, resource and agriculture sectors along with recycling and retrofit industries experience rapid growth based on high commodity prices that are sustained despite economic recession in the main consuming economies. In some affluent countries, reform of monetary systems lowers the scale of financial collapses and refocuses capital on productive and socially useful innovation and investment.

Information technology continues to yield gains in energy and resource management; from real time pricing and self-healing electrical grids, to internet based ride sharing systems and telecommuting. Conservation yields the greatest gains with major public policies to change personal and organizational behavior. In other countries, especially the USA, the apparent opportunities for continued economic growth, combine with political policies to support a low carbon economy, leading to a renewable energy investment bubble followed by a severe recession.

State and city governments responsible for providing services are able to lead much of the restructuring to more compact cities and towns with increasing public transport infrastructure. Growth in large cities (especially in coastal lowlands) is reversed by public policies ahead of the worst effects of energy cost and global warming, while regional cities, towns and villages see modest growth on a compact urban model that preserves prime agricultural land and develops mixed use neighborhoods with more local work and radically less commuting.

The placing together of many of the more optimistic aspects of energy descent may seem artificial, but there are reasons to believe that the Green Tech scenario will tend towards a more egalitarian structure with the relative shift of power from control of oil wells and mines to control of the productivity of nature via traditional land uses such as agriculture and forestry and more novel renewable technologies.

The inherently distributed nature of these resources will lead to more distributed economic and political power at the level of cities, their hinterlands and organizations focused at this scale. For example, successful large scale farmers who have reduced their dependence of energy intensive inputs through permaculture strategies and organic methods may find new profits in more localized markets with prices sustained by policies that encourage regional self reliance. Any profits beyond farming are likely to be invested into local energy systems that generate more employment and further reduce economic dependence on central governments and large corporations. It is possible that these same processes could lead to highly inequitable, even feudal systems. However the universal focus on more sustainable production and reduced consumption that is not forced by remote and arbitrary central power, has the tendency to foster more egalitarian responses than in the Brown Tech scenario.

The substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that result from this scenario keep climate change impacts to a minimum, thus stabilizing and reinforcing the scenario’s basic characteristics for at least several decades.

The success in radically reducing consumption of resources while sustaining modest growth in some local economies combined with stabilization of the climate, encourages a new “sustainability” elite to consider further changes to consolidate these achievements in the face of ongoing net energy decline. The worse excesses of consumer capitalism are controlled by restriction and reforms of advertising and other dysfunctional forces.

Civic culture strengthens where further transition towards a non-materialistic society combines with the maturation of feminism and environmentalism, and a resurgence in indigenous and traditional cultural values. These trends stabilize the accelerating loss of faith in secular humanism allowing the evolution of more spiritual “cultures of place”. Over time an evolution toward the Earth Steward scenario seems an obvious and natural response to the inexorable decline of non-renewable resources. “Distributed Powerdown” summarizes this scenario by emphasizing both the distributed nature of resources and power, and the planned contraction involved.

At their extremes the Green Tech and Brown Tech scenarios also describe many of the elements that could be expected in the Techno Stability Long Term Scenario where new energy sources manage to replace fossil fuels without the stresses that lead to system wide contraction. The current levels of ecological, economic and socio-political stress are the indirect indicators that we are entering the energy descent scenarios rather than simply a transition from energetic growth to stability. Relative insulation from those stresses and the persistence of faith in the monetary accounting “house of cards” by the upper middle class (if not the global elites) continues the confusion. The lack of understanding of net energy accounting and disagreement amongst the experts on appropriate methods, combined with political pressures from the unfolding crisis lead to energetic descent being mistaken for “business as usual”.

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3.  Earth Steward: Bottom Up Rebuild
(
Rapid energy decline rates, mild climate change symptoms)
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/30/50/>
In this scenario the decline in oil production after a peak in total liquids production before 2010 is at the extreme end of authoritative predictions (about 10%) and is followed by an even faster decline in gas production plus a simultaneous peak in coal production. The shock to the world’s fragile financial systems is overwhelming, resulting in severe economic depression and perhaps some further short, sharp resource wars.

This economic collapse and these political stresses, more than the actual shortage of resources, prevents the development of more expensive and large scale non-renewable resources that characterize the Brown Tech scenario or the renewable resources and infrastructure of the Green Tech. International and national communications networks break down.

Electricity grids become non-functional as cost and availability of fuels and spare parts reduce production and lack of paying businesses and customers reduces revenues. International tensions remain but capacity of stronger countries to use military force is constrained by unreliable energy and parts supplies and the strong evidence that war uses more resources than it captures. Global warming is slowed dramatically and reversed by the collapse of the global consumer economy and absence of large scale investment in new energy infrastructure.

There is a radical reduction in mass mobility of both people and goods. The food supply chain is severely affected both on farms and through the distribution system. Energy intensive large scale farming supplying central marketing chains is the worst affected leading to abandonment of even highly productive land. Shortages lead to rationing, black markets, and riots for food and energy.

Increases in crime, malnutrition and disease lead to a rising death rate accelerated in some countries by epidemics and pandemics that have a major impact on social and economic capacity. The collapse in the tax base available to national and state governments reduces their power and even city level restructuring of infrastructure is difficult, but local government retains some degree of effective services, decision making and possibly democracy.

Collapse of larger businesses and the difficulties in maintaining urban infrastructure leads to a hollowing out of the cities. Loss of jobs and houses leads to migration of people out of cities to smaller towns, villages and farms with more robust local economies able to take advantage of the influx of labor. Impacts and demands on local soil, water and forest resources increases, to severe levels in many poor countries as people move out of the cities to harvest fuel, wildlife and restart food production. In long affluent countries, the underuse of local biological resources in the late 20th century provides some buffer against these impacts.

Large numbers of homeless exurbanites form a new underclass lacking even the skills of poverty.

Large numbers of homeless ex-urbanites form a new underclass lacking even the skills of poverty. They provide basic labour in exchange for food and accommodation on farms needing the labour. Surviving structures of power may adapt to impose a more feudal structure based on concentrated control of productive farms and forests and built assets in large farming estates.

Organic and small farmers, close to markets and able to make use of labour and animal power, thrive (to the extent security allows) in a context of relatively benign and slow climate change. An explosion of home businesses based on building and equipment retrofit, maintenance and salvage starts to build a diversified economy. Further afield biofuels from crop waste allow farmers to continue to use machinery while wood and charcoal gasification based on regrowth forest resources near settlements and towns provide an increasing proportion of limited transport fuel. This small business growth in turn provides a new tax base for some form of effective local government. In some places new bioregional governments institute land reform and debt cancellation following collapse of financial institutions and central banks, allowing people to stay on their properties.

Suburban landscapes around smaller cities and regional towns with greater social capital are transformed with a booming and relatively egalitarian society sustained by bio-intensive/permaculture farming and retrofitting and reuse supported by resources from both the immediate rural hinterland and inner urban salvage.

This ruralization of suburban landscape to produce food on all available open space, private and public provides most of the fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy and small livestock products. Local currencies, food, car and fuel co-ops, community supported agriculture all grow rapidly. Informal and household economies provide an increasing proportion of basic needs as corporate and government systems fail to deliver.

Around the larger cities especially in countries where social capital and community capacity is severely eroded, most of these new developments are in gated communities providing the basic needs and security of their residents with trade outside the community being more difficult or dangerous. Outside the gated communities salvage, fuel harvesting and animal husbandry are the main economic activities with trade controlled by gangs and local warlords.

While the impacts on people and local environments of this scenario are severe there is also a cultural and spiritual revolution as people are released from the rat race of addictive behaviours. While the impacts on people and local environments of this scenario are severe, in previously affluent countries at least, there is also a cultural and spiritual revolution as people are released from the rat race of addictive behaviors and begin to experience the gift of resurgent community and the simple abundance of nature to provide for basic needs.

The biggest difference from the Green and Brown Tech scenarios is that the rebuilding and stabilization is no longer based on dreams of sustainability or restoring the old system. Instead people accept that each generation will have to face the challenges of further ongoing simplification and localization of society as the fossil resource base continues to decline. This simplification in the material domain is seen as the opportunity for growth in the spiritual domain. There is a resurgence in leadership by women and a celebration of the feminine in nature and people. “Bottom Up Rebuild” summarises this scenario by emphasizing the new growth from biological and community foundations. In some ways this scenario might be considered as the archetypal one of the Energy Descent future and the one in which permaculture principles and strategies are most powerfully applied.

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4.  Lifeboats: Civilization Triage
Rapid energy decline rates, severe climate change symptoms.
Pasted from <http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/31/51/>
In this scenario, supplies of high quality fossil fuels decline rapidly, the economy fails and human contributions to global warming collapse, but lag effects and positive feedbacks in the climate system continue to drive an acceleration of global warming. As of 2007, an increasing number of scientists believe it may already be too late to avoid catastrophic climate change. In the Lifeboat scenario the adverse symptoms of the Brown Tech and Earth Steward scenarios combine to force a progressive collapse in most forms of economy and social organization. Local wars, including use of nuclear weapons accelerate collapse in some areas but the failure of national systems of power prevent global warfare. Successive waves of famine and disease breakdown social and economic capacity on a larger scale than the Black Death in medieval Europe leading to a halving of global population in a few decades.

New forms of oasis agriculture that are low input versions of the Brown Tech intensive systems evolve that stabilize food production as chaotic seasons make traditional field agriculture and horticulture almost impossible. Forest and rangeland hunting and harvesting become the predominant use of resources over large regions supporting nomadic bands. Warrior and gang cults provides meaning in a world of grief and violence, leading to the development of new religions and even languages that attempt to make sense of people’s lives.

Urban areas are largely abandoned and dangerous but remain valuable as quarries for salvaging materials especially metals. Suburban landscapes become ruralized into defensive hamlets making use of salvaged materials, urban storm water and surplus building space for mixed household economies.

The impacts are very patchy with worse effects in high density previously affluent and urbanized countries. In the most remote regions remnants of hunter-gatherer and pioneer farmer cultures are better able to weather the changes. The relative abundance and ongoing availability of high quality metals and other materials make a critical technological distinction from that of ancient traditional hunter gatherer cultures.

Mountain regions, especially with surviving glacier fed rivers allow hydroelectric systems to be maintained and rebuilt on a smaller scale. Nutrient rich glacier fed rivers also sustain intensive irrigated agriculture. In some localities, especially in favorable regions with accessible energy and agricultural resources, communities analogous to the monasteries of the early medieval period provide basic knowledge and skills to their surrounding communities and are thus protected by the locals from the ravages of local warlords and pirates. These communities, mostly in rural and suburban areas, and based on pre-collapse efforts of intentional communities or rich benefactors, pursue the task of saving and condensing knowledge and cultural values for the long dark ages ahead.

“Civilization triage” refers to the processes by which remaining social capacity (beyond meeting immediate basic needs) are focused on conserving technology and culture that could be useful to a future society, once energy descent is stabilized after a precipitous but limited collapse process. This is not the dominant process of the scenario but the most significant in terms of future cultural capacity. The Christian monasteries that saved many of the elements of Greco-Roman culture and later provided the foundations for the Renaissance of Western civilization is one historical example that could serve as a model for understanding how this process might work.

At its extreme, this scenario describes many of the elements of the Collapse Long Term future in which there is a complete breakdown in the lineage of industrial civilization such that future simple societies retain nothing from what we created through industrial civilization. Drawing a distinction between this scenario and total collapse may seem pedantic but the reasons are important. In the Collapse Long Term scenario, any future civilization that could emerge only learns from the lessons of ours via archeology and perhaps long attenuated mythic stories. In the Lifeboat scenario the retention of cultural knowledge of the past combined with a moderately habitable environment allow new civilizations to emerge that build on at least some of the knowledge and lessons from ours.

Three factors may prevent the continuous free fall to a very low global population of hunter gatherers surviving on the fringes of the Arctic of a hotter planet.
_1)  The first is the wild card created by the mixing of the world’s biota, most notable the large numbers of tree and other species that exhibit what foresters call “exotic vigour”. This allows new recombinant ecosystems to stabilize many environments that climate scientists are now saying will become uninhabitable in extreme climate change. The release of critical minerals, most notably phosphorus over the last 200 years into the biosphere may allow these new ecosystems to ultimately achieve biological productivity exceeding that possible from pre-existing systems.
_2)  Secondly the flooding of large areas of coastal lowlands complete with complex reef structures from flooded cities and infrastructure may also create the conditions for highly productive shallow waters and estuaries. These types of ecosystem are some of the most biologically productive ecosystems on the planet.
_3)  Thirdly, the precipitous drop in human numbers and their initial tendency to remain relatively aggregated to make use of the huge resources from industrial salvage materials (and for security) should see very large regions able to recover without harvesting and other impacts from people.

If the knowledge of ecological processes and their creative manipulation using minimal resources are retained and developed in the Lifeboat communities, then survival and resurgence of a more than minimalist culture may allow global human population to be sustained at perhaps half, rather than one tenth, of current levels. More importantly it may be possible to embed the wisdom of the lessons learnt so that unconstrained human growth does not repeat such an intense cycle. Clearly these last thoughts are highly speculative but build from the same linage of permaculture thinking developed over the last thirty years that informs the rest of the scenarios.

Summary of the Four Climate/Energy Descent Scenarios
The following table summarizes the main elements and characteristics of the four scenarios.

Continued in (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Our Future, Part 4 of 4)

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