Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Climate-driven desertification

"The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state." --Dr James Lovelock, August 2008

Alternet: Australia faces collapse

Tom Dispatch: Burning Questions

Extreme drought means desertification, especially if it lasts for hundreds of years, as the recent NOAA-led study found (see NOAA stunner: Climate change "largely irreversible for 1000 years," with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe). The regions that NOAA identifies as facing permanent Dust Bowls:

* U.S. Southwest
* Southeast Asia
* Eastern South America
* Southern Europe
* Southern Africa
* Northern Africa
* Western Australia

To visualize this, here's a map from the World Resources Institute, Information and Analysis tools

The point of this map is to show that not only is desertification happening, which destroys water resources (watershed and aquifers) and food production for human societies, it is spreading across that horizontal global band of historical development of civilization. Understanding the biggest threat to industrialized countries that are overdrawing their local resources is to view this through Jared Diamond's chronicle of the expansion of human civilization that took place because of plentiful resources across the millennia, in his book "Guns, Germs and Steel".

It will hit the highly developed societies the hardest, endangering not
only human civilization but planetary systems of life. Diamond further documents the consequences of human depletion of resources in "Collapse", as well as the choices that human society must make very quickly. Humanity now faces the unwinding of the civilization bubble, and our choices lie in how we manage this without further devastation across the globe. Further discussions of "far-ahead" thinking is at the Long Now Foundation.