Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Polar Cities Reprised, Tsunami, tsunami, tsunami...

A few years ago, February 22, 2008 to be specific, I posted an article on my now good friend, Danny Bloom (journalist, philosopher, scholar and activist). The article focused on his premise that climate chaos will ensue in the next few centuries and he posited that in the long-term future—several centuries and many generations from now—our planet might look quite different.

In the vein of Lovelock’s “Revenge of Gaia” and Shane Joseph’s “After the Flood”, both based on predictions of an unprecedented rise in water level due to global heating, Bloom believes in being prepared for what may come. He founded the Polar Cities Research Institute, intended to create modular polar cities designed to house post-climate chaos affected communities.


Well, it’s today: March 16th, 2011. And the entire world is focused on the present, horrified, on the immediate wave of perhaps one of the world’s most disastrous natural events—an earthquake and tsunami that took thousands of lives in highly populated Japan—and we remain poised in hushed anticipation of what may yet transpire at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant (a direct result of the earthquake and tsunami).

I woke up that day between 3 and 4 am PST, startled and disturbed by a nightmare of CHAOS. I can’t describe it any better than that. I felt more than saw people in despair, fleeing, frozen in horror as something tossed them into chaos. That was right when the tsunami battered the coast of Japan (at 3: 15 pm their time), scattering buildings like they were doll houses and killing thousands of people. When I was visiting my printer that morning and commented on the inclement weather, he said, “The world is angry.” That was when I first discovered what happened in Japan earlier that morning.

I had another dream once, a dream of a climate change disaster. I pray it doesn’t happen. The dream was clearly a metaphor. But, was it possible that I’d tapped into the larger consciousness, like my friend Paco Mitchel, dream analyst, suggested? Is it a warning about impending climate chaos? Danny talked about it a while ago…

I wanted to update the ongoing dialogue on climate change with some poignant observations and opinions by Danny, three years after his initial promotion of this idea regarding changing our scope and perspective—something we are in dire need of now.

Danny says:

I finally figured out why most people do not want to look at or think about the distant future—say 500 years from now, 30 generations from now—in terms of climate change and AGW, to top what ails the planet and the alleged runaway climate change that COULD lead to climate chaos in 2500....

The reason most people do not even want to engage with me on what I am talking about from my cave in Taiwan is this: most people are heavily invested in the present, and the very near future,iqw/TYJN5-wb6eI/AAAAAAAAETM/tjV01qAycIQ/s320/japan-earthquake-rms of owning property, having a wife or husband, children, grandchildren, inheritors of their DNA and their financial holdings and property, so Most people are so heavily invested materially and financially and property-wise and career-wise [think PHD dept, think job promotion] and also invested so heavily emotionally in their kids and grandchildren and spouses that they simply CANNOT and DO NOT WANT to go where DANNY BLOOM is pointing.

And of course, people like James Lovelock and George Monbiot and Mark Lynas and Fred Pearce and Tim Flannery and James Hansen and Jesse Ausubel simply don't wish to look at my ideas of polar cities for survivors of climate chaos in the year 2500, do not even want to imagine it, so they go into denial. Even good climate activists tell me to piss off.

The reason I can go there is because I myself have no wife, no kids, do not own a home, do not own a car, own nothing, have no financial investments or property holdings, no career, no job promotion wanted, no DNA heirs and no financial heirs and no property heirs. So while I am a sensitive person with a good EQ and an emotional attachment to my life and work and friends and climate acquaintances, there is nothing really holding me my mind back from looking at Lovelock’s future and imagining we might need POLAR CITIES for the 200,000 survivors of climate chaos in 2500, with 15 billion humans perishing in massive die-offs......I can go there and accept this, even as a mere thought exercise, which is, of course, because I am not invested in the present. Most people are heavily invested in the present and very near future so they cannot even hear me.

I realized this yesterday, when speaking with a very smart Indian thinker and urban planner in Singpore with wife and kids and good job and wonderful future ahead of him and great present now in his life, he simply did not want to even think about what I was saying: that India will cease to exist as a nation in 500 years because all Indians will have moved north to polar settlements, he did not even want to imagine this, because he was too emotionally and DNA-invested in the present India to want to go where I wanted to take him—even as a thought experiment. We had a good chat. But he simply would not budge. That is when i realized that I can do this , not because I can see the future, but because I am not invested in any way in the present and therefore can put ALL my mind into poking into future climate scenarios as a warning and wake up call. Interesting insight, no? Thanks, Sanjeev, for leading me there!

13 comments:

dan said...

Wow...that was a very powerful and TIMELY post, dear blogger
Nina......wow.....it even scares ME!

let's see reactions say here and there..... it's good to get people thinking OUTSIDE THE
BOX, especially re Japan now.....scary

yourr dream story makes it SO REAL

Mitsuko in Tokyo writes to me just now,, today: she is married, 45, has one child, 12, is very very worried about her country's future now. she writes:

Hello Daniel,
Just now, a helicopter has started the discharge of water over Fukushima Unit 3 of the
power plant.
Hope this operation will be successful...

What is "THE WORST" in your mind? The start of the nuclear criticality
situation??

SF Girl said...

Yes, it IS scary... particularly as it pertains to future scenarios around the world...

If we don't learn from the sad and terrible events in Japan, the world is doomed.

It's really all about scope and perspective -- as you pointed out in your discussion about looking into the future -- we are a global community, linked and interacting through our visions of the world now and in the future.

Right now, what Japan--and the rest of the world--needs is prayer.

dan said...

deep deep prayer, yes........

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I saw the top picture in my paper a few days ago. I thought it was absolutely stunning and summed the horror up completely

SF Girl said...

I agree with you, Jean-Luc. I thought the very same. In fact, for that reason, I almost didn't use it: it seemed too visceral, too personal. But its personal quality pulls our hearts right into this tragedy, to feel it personally too.

dan said...

I know that girl in that girl in that top photo! Really.

A friend in USA, originally from Brazil, read your blog post above, Nina, and told me:

[Ana Luiza J Loureiro]

''Dear Danny,

I saw the post by SG GIRL and it called my attention the phrase " polar cities for survivors of climate chaos "...

Well, Danny, we all know that the poles are melting and that the magnetic field of earth is changing some kilometers year by year and that CLIMATE CHANGE is mounting up do disaster in some areas - one of them the POLAR CIRCLES.

Therefore, your idea of polar cities does not seem the best option in my opinion. I think that mountain cities could be a better option for the short to mid term time.

In 500 yrs from now we humans will be SO different from what we are NOW that it seems to me a waste of time to think o it. See, from the middle agest to now humankind has evolved a lot in technological terms...therefore, as times goes by, people will be finding ways to cope with the brutal changes our mother earth is preparing for them...AND MOST OF THE CHANGES ARE PART OF THE NATURE OF OUR MOTHER EARTH, not plain responsibility of us, humans... :o)

dan said...

That girl in that top photo, her name is Akiko Watanabe, 16, and she is crying for all that she has lost and all that she cannot see and all thatr she can see, and for her lost grandmother and grandfather in the sands of time, and for a Japan she no longer recognizes, a Japan that once gave your succor, and now gives her a heartache of unspeakable and immense proportions. What once was...

SF Girl said...

... my heart goes out to Akiko and all that she has lost... for the Japan that is no longer...

SF Girl said...

Danny, thanks for sharing Ana Luiza's communication with you...

What she says is interesting and well thought out... and I am tempted to agree with some of it...

SF Girl said...

As for Akiko, judging from the number of places that her picture is appearing, I'd say that she has (whether she likes it or not)become "the little girl in the red coat" for many of us, watching Japan's catastrophe from afar... to feel her pain and Japan's pain...

A friend of mine lives and teaches in Tokyo and I think of her daily, poised on the edge of chaos...

SF Girl said...

My friend in BC is getting daily news from my friend in Tokyo. Here's what she said as of today:


"She has evacuated from Kashiwa to Okayama - managed to get the first bullet train into Tokyo on the 18th before another aftershock hit and shut down the train system - and then caught a train to Okayama - the school that she works for has headquarters in Okayama and has rented a place for their teachers - She hadn't been set up yet so doesn't know the state of the accomodations....

"She said that she had a quick glance at a radiation report map and she was in one of the higher areas ... prevailing winds and all that.....so she was glad to leave....

"She's keeping a close eye on things and is ready to leave the country (has taken her most treasured items with her and has all her paperwork in order)....she said that she would fly out from Osaka or some other southern airport rather than Narita (close to Kashiwa) or Tokyo as those airports are jammed....

"I am tracking the news daily and look forward to getting her update usually every morning.....

"We are just so fortunate...."

Cathy P. said...

TEN THINGS TO LEARN FROM JAPAN-

1.THE CALM - Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.


2.THE DIGNITY - Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.

3. THE ABILITY - The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.


4. THE GRACE - People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.


5.THE ORDER - No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.

6.THE SACRIFICE - Amongst others, 50 workers who stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors, exposing themselves to massive radiation.


7. THE TENDERNESS - Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.


8.THE TRAINING - The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.

9. THE MEDIA - They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.


10. THE CONSCIENCE - When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly!

ringater

SF Girl said...

Thanks for sharing this with us, Cathy!