Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Today the sky is blue. Does the future matter?

Today, I see a brilliant blue sky out my window. I can't tell that there' s more carbon dioxide up there then there was last year. It's tempting to think, "Why worry? Why change anything?"

I focus on local preparation for adaptation to a changing climate because I know, based on assurances by a preponderance of scientific investigation, that the impacts of climate change will come, probably sooner than we'd like to think. Most of us, it seems, choose to not think about it. And that spurs me further to do what I can to advance adaptation planning.

Who is responsible for educating and motivating the public about this stuff? There are countless other climate/green organizations, agencies and web sites. Al Gore got his Academy Award and Nobel Prize. The IPCC shared the Nobel and is now known worldwide for having substantiated the evidence of big problems ahead.

I have automatic web searches dumping more climate-related articleson my desktop every day than I can possibly read. The information to lead our actions is available and plentiful.

So why aren't things moving as they must to prevent catastrophic impacts in our future? You'll notice that none of the presidential candidates even mention climate change. Today's NY Times editorial urges Clinton and Obama to elevate their campaigns "to a serious debate about major issues," none of which happens to be climate related. This is absurd.

I'm thinking that the best way to penetrate the average U.S. citizen's crisis fatigue is to make the climate change threat a local one - to describe it in terms of what might happen in each person's back yard. The prospect of having to abandon one's lush landscaping or of upsetting one's ability to commute to work or of having high tide covering the local high school's athletic fields is a lot less abstract than presenting the threats as "global." Which is not to say that the global perspective deserves to be ignored; billions of lives are at stake.

And who should be bringing the challenge back home? I propose that it's our local elected leaders and public servants. Here in Marin, the local government has been very visible in promoting its Get Ready Marin initiative, which is aimed at elevating disaster preparedness across the county. Hundreds of weatherproof banners were produced and hung in high visibility locations, resulting in the training and recruiting of hundreds of neighborhood volunteers.

Marin should expand beyond emergency planning and bring the same level of urgency to long range planning. The future matters and for the first time in human history we have forecasting abilities that can warn us about emergencies long before they happen.


dan said...

Concerned citizen, father and grandfather. Specialist in online community and collaboration. Extensive background in actual sustainable living.

canna find your email but glad to have found yuour blog. can yiu blog one day about my polar cities adaptation proecjt, since youa re concerned with adaptation? thanks

email me danbloom AT



dan said...

By Stephen Leahy

Graphic depiction of a model polar city in the year 2500.

Credit:Han Xin multimedia co.

BROOKLIN, Canada, Jan 2 (IPS) - Dan Bloom thinks it's time to figure out how to build self-sustaining cities in the polar regions because climate change will eventually make most of Earth uninhabitable.

These polar cities may be "humankind's only chance for survival if global warming really turns into a worldwide catastrophe in the far distant future," Bloom told IPS.

Bloom isn't a scientist or any other kind of expert. A U.S. citizen in his late fifties living in Taiwan teaching English, he's lived all over the world as a reporter-editor, teacher-translator and author. And now Bloom wants to shake people out their everyday indifference to the great emergency of our age: climate change.

"Life goes on as usual here in Taiwan. No one is doing anything and they don't want to talk about it," he says.

And sadly inaction begets inaction.

"The inactions of others can make us underestimate threats to our own safety," writes Camilla Cavendish in a recent issue of the Times of London newspaper.

Cavendish cites studies that suggest a kind of herd mentality. If climate change is a problem, then people would be doing something about it. Since they're not, then there is no problem. However, once people are aware of this dangerous tendency to follow the herd over the cliff, we can break away and forge our own more sensible path, she says.

Bloom wants people to realise that the world is on a path that could possibly lead to a future where just a few hundred million people survive in specially-designed cities in the Arctic. Originally he imagined this might happen 500 years from now. But scientists tell him it could happen far sooner than that.

Bloom has contacted scientists, experts, reporters, and many others around the world about his polar cities idea. A few months ago, a Google keyword search for "polar cities" would have produced no results. Today, there are nearly 3,000 sites that feature or offer comment on Bloom's idea, including one with a series of polar cities illustrations.

Plenty of the comments are from Bloom himself, in a one-man-who-doesn't own-a-computer attempt to spread the word. Suffice to say he spends a lot of time in Tawianese internet cafes.

His Quixotic quest began less than a year ago. Having heard various conflicting news reports about climate change, Bloom decided to research the subject as thoroughly as he could. The genesis of the polar cities idea came from a dire op-ed by the eminent British scientist James Lovelock in January 2006 in the Independent newspaper.

Lovelock wrote that the Earth will heat up far faster than any scientist expects due to many positive feedbacks such as melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice. "... Before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable," he wrote.

Lovelock's viewpoint was widely criticised as excessively pessimistic fear-mongering by many experts. No stranger to controversy, Lovelock first proposed the "Gaia Hypothesis" of Earth as a single highly complex organism in the 1970s. Last October, with many leading scientists listening, he reiterated his claim that "global heating" is progressing very fast and was likely to produce an apocalyptic six-degree C. rise in the global average temperature before the end of this century.

"At first I was depressed, but I am an optimist," Bloom says.

If catastrophic climate change was a very real possibility, why not start now to prepare sustainable polar retreats just in case. More importantly, simply imagining that polar cities may be needed one day for the very survival of the human race might wake people to the threat climate change poses, he says.

"We're really in an emergency -- we can't go on normally," Bloom argues.

But polar cities is an idea that many climate change experts refuse to consider. Most of the climate scientists IPS contacted for this story declined to comment. Those who did respond said imagining such a future was not productive when humanity needs to focus on "how the world can drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions".

"It's silly to think 200 or 300 years into future, it's more useful to think 20 or 30 years out," said Ross Gelbspan, a former Washington Post-Boston Globe reporter and author of several books on climate change.

Gelbspan has done a great deal of thinking about the near future as the impacts of climate change take hold. There is no stopping the future deaths of millions of people from climate change, he believes. The only question is how many millions. His future scenarios range from a totalitarian nightmare in response to climate-driven mass migrations and social chaos to real world peace. His best guess today is we will see those extremes, and everything in between.

"We need to start talking about the kind future we want to have," Gelbspan told IPS.

Talking to young people is especially important, since it is their future. And it's important to offer alternatives and solutions. Wind farms, for example, could easily replace all of the U.S. energy produced by coal and oil, he says.

"What's the resistance to widespread use of renewables?" Gelbspan wonders.

In the U.S., he says the answer is to get the money out of politics. Oil, coal and other industries make major financial contributions in a country where presidential candidates spend tens of millions of dollars to get elected. As a result, the next U.S. president is unlikely to make the necessary drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Dan Bloom doesn't have answers. He knows there is a serious problem that we aren't addressing.

"Life on Earth is very fragile but we're screwing things up," he told IPS. "I'm going to spend the last years of my life pushing this idea of polar cities to wake people up. I don't care if people call me crazy."

dan said...

Today, I see a brilliant blue sky out my window. I can't tell that there' s more carbon dioxide up there then there was last year. It's tempting to think, "Why worry? Why change anything?"

SO TRUE! my words exacrlyt, even here in Taiwan, same blue skuy out my window..


Danny Bloom is a U.S. citizen and English teacher living in Taiwan who advocates for building "self-sustaining cities in the polar regions," since "climate change will eventually make most of Earth uninhabitable." [1]

"Bloom isn't a scientist or any other kind of expert," according to IPS News. "Bloom has contacted scientists, experts, reporters, and many others around the world about his polar cities idea. A few months ago, a Google keyword search for 'polar cities' would have produced no results. Today, there are nearly 3,000 sites that feature or offer comment on Bloom's idea, including one with a series of polar cities illustrations. Plenty of the comments are from Bloom himself, in a one-man-who-doesn't own-a-computer attempt to spread the word." [1]

Bloom identifies himself as a "visionary futurist" and the director of the Polar Cities Research Institute. [2]

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


For immediate release
Anytime after March 15, 3008

Green blogger uses "polar cities" as educational tool
to raise public awareness about global warming issues

NEW YORK -- A lone blogger in Taiwan is using the Internet in a novel
way to help raise awareness about global warming.

Green media activist Danny Bloom doesn't believe humans will ever have
to live in so-called "polar cities" (a term he coined in 2006), but he
is using a series of computer-generated blueprints of a polar city as
an educational tool to help raise help public awareness about the
climate crisis.

Created by Taiwanese artist Cheng-hong Deng, the polar city images
have appeared on hundreds of websites and blogs around the world -- in
English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French and Chinese, Bloom, a 1971
gradute of Tufts University in Boston, says.

The 58-year-old green activist says he is using the Internet in a
novel way to get his message across.

The message? "If we don't actively tackle the very serious problems
that confront the world now, in terms of global warming, then there is
a possibility that future generations might have to take refuge in
such polar cities. I never want to see these polar cities become
reality. So the images Deng has created for my project are meant to be
a warning about global warming."

Bloom says he has shown the images to internationally-acclaimed
climate scientist James Lovelock in Britain, who is known for his
pessimism and doomsaying about global warming. Lovelock told Bloom by
email: "It may very well happen and soon."

"I hope polar cities are never needed for survivors of global warming
in the far distant future," Bloom says. "These images are meant to be
a wake-up call for those who are still sleepwalking through the
climate crisis."

Bloom emphasizes that he has no agenda, political or scientific, in
terms of solutions to global warming, and says that he just wants to
participate in the global discussion about climate change in his own
personal way. "I am just using Deng's images to sound the alarm, a
visual alarm."

He says that his Internet campaign, which began a year ago with a
letter to the editor of several newspapers in North America and
Europe, has had the result he is looking for.

A young blogger in Tahiti saw the images, blogged about them in
French, and said that while he found the polar city blueprints to be
fascinating, they made him just want to work harder in his daily life
"to help fight the climate crisis so that the worst case scenarios
never happen."


dan said...


I saw this post on the DOT EARTH today: it's good! she says:

"I have been keeping track of global warming for several years now. The main thing that I have observed is that every one talks about it in very high tech and scientific ways. I see nothing in down to earth simple talk. I really don’t care how global warming got started or who’s most at fault, that won’t make global warming stop. What I would really like to see is straight out honest talk about what us humans can expect to see happen. Don’t waste my time whinning about some exotic animal that I never heard of. Give me some idea of how to adapt and survive it that even us working poor can afford. Don’t waste my time with suggestion for converting appliances that will cost an intire years pay!!!"

— Posted by Dee

dan said...


Global warming, what’s that? Not on this planet!

New Yorkers, who have some of the best senses of humor (and tragedy) in the world, might get a kick out of the newly-created Vaclav Klaus Climate Joke Awards, to honor “jokers” in the climate denial “movement”. We need some fact-Czechers to help this effort out, completely nonprofit and not funded at all by the oily indstries. Peek here. Safe for work. Created by a former New Yorker:

Diya said...

No guys.... when the sky changes into blue it because of the day is going to end and the night is going to start.I like to tell you that when the season changes,Like summer to winter.The diseases can able to attack us.. So we must be safe.. Take care have a nice day....

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