Climate Disasters, Mutual Aid, and Fighting Fascism With Solidarity

Once upon a time, when I was but a lad, I had the fairly naïve notion that New England, being The North, naturally wouldn’t have anything like members of the KKK. In high school, I and some other members of my school’s naturalist program spent a week in the Smokey Mountains. It was a fun and interesting trip, but what’s relevant for today is that when we emerged from the woods, and descended upon a diner that served breakfast all day, we found ourselves witness to some sort of hot-rod competition. If memory serves, we were in or near Dollywood, and there was a long line of souped-up cars slowly parading down one side of the road, and then showing off their speed down the other. In amongst it all, there were a couple pickup trucks, packed with big white dudes, and covered with confederate flags. This would have been around 2001 or 2002, and in the moment I was immediately reminded of the part of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which Indy and his father go to Berlin to retrieve the grail diary; “We’re pilgrims in an unholy land.” At the time, I was a pretty devout Quaker, and I’d grown up learning about my religion’s role in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. Seeing those flags felt very uncomfortable.

Many years later, driving to the CSA near my old school, I saw a confederate flag in someone’s window in New Hampshire, which was also a surprise. I know better, now. Last I checked, the Klan had chapters in most states in the US, including every state in New England. That may have changed, but if it has, it’s only because there are other organizations furthering the same hate more effectively. Today’s example of that, from Tess Owen of Vice, is a group calling themselves the People’s Initiative of New England, or PINE. They’ve taken a leaf from the anarchist playbook, but rather than helping out to build community resilience and improve peoples’ lives, they’re doing it to build support, or at least sympathy, for the genocidal project of New England as a white ethnostate. I wish I was joking.

PINE describes itself as a “grassroots effort founded to advocate for and advance the interests of New Englanders,” which sounds innocuous enough—and that’s by design. But PINE is a new front for the neo-Nazi street gang NSC-131, which formed in 2019 and has chapters across New England. While NSC-131 brazenly touts Nazi symbols and throws up Hitler salutes during public appearances, PINE is intended as a softer, more socially acceptable mask. The goal of this is for NSC-131 to broaden their appeal, especially to those who agree with their messaging but may not want to publicly affiliate with an explicitly neo-Nazi organization.

In a recently released manifesto, first reported by Rolling Stone, PINE calls for New England to secede from the U.S. and establish a white ethnostate. And they think they can do that by drumming up local support, through “activism and community outreach.”

Hence: their flood relief efforts.

Extremists around the world typically seek to exploit moments of instability or chaos for their own gain, and that’s particularly true in the aftermath of natural disasters. 

Weak or muddled government responses to hurricanes, flooding or wildfires have previously created windows of opportunity for extremists to position themselves as reliable, trusted sources of aid—and show government agencies to be useless in a moment of crisis.

And, by ingratiating themselves in impacted communities, extremists are able to reach into a larger pool of prospective recruits.

This is a trend that experts say they expect to see more of in the coming years. As the effects of climate change grow more severe, communities that have been destabilized by natural disasters may increasingly find themselves leaning on wolves in sheeps clothing— extremists dressed up as good samaritans.

This is worrisome on two fronts. The first is the obvious – fascist groups recruiting and building support is a bad thing. The second is something that a lot of people have been worried about for a long time – the rise of ecofascism. While fascism in the United States is currently associated with a hatred of environmentalism, there’s plenty of room for the fascist version of environmentalism, which blames pollution and “filth” on minorities, and frames nature as a birthright stolen from their white audience. The more the climate destabilizes, and the more capitalism pushes people towards poverty, the more people will resonate with the idea that things used to be better, and maybe we really do need a strong authority to make the drastic changes we need, to reclaim what we once had.

What’s more, the message isn’t coming from some screaming bigot, it’s coming from a guy who you met because he gave your family a case of water, or helped clear a fallen tree out of your driveway. Like I said, anarchists – who are often considered extremists – often take a similar approach, but with the goal of making a better world for everyone, not just the tiny fragment of humanity that Nazis consider to be people.

As the Vice article says, this tactic isn’t unique to PINE/NSC-131 (“NSC” stands for National Socialist Club, in case you were wondering), and it’s something we should expect to see more of. Leaving aside the climate crisis for a moment, conservatives have a long record of running against government corruption and incompetence, and then using their power to increase both, while continuing to run against corruption and incompetence. One desired effect of this, is that the government is increasingly unable to help in times of need, which encourages people to vote for those who run against government corruption and incompetence. It’s a win-win situation, as long as you’re either indifferent to human suffering, or you actively enjoy it. It also means that people are open to new ideas, like not having governments or corporations, or – in the case of the Nazis, like seceding to form your own government, where this time you’re sure to get rid of all that corruption and incompetence!

It’s a con, like most fascist promises, but I think it has the advantage of feeling more familiar and safe than what anarchists tend to want. It’s easier for most people to imagine forming a new nation – we’re already familiar with what that looks like. A society without hierarchies, while a good idea (in my opinion), is something very different from the world anyone knows, and much harder to imagine, from within society as it exists.

So what can we do about this? Well, I suppose you could work to make sure that everyone knows who their local fascists are, but if those fascists are actively helping people, and you’re not, then all you’re really doing is telling people that they shouldn’t like the guys helping them when they need it. You could try to win elections and improve government response, but the deck is very much stacked against you on that, as it’s far easier to break societal infrastructure than it is to build it, and the capitalists don’t really want a government that works for the people.

Of course I don’t have anything that’s guaranteed to work, but to me it seems that your best bet, for individual action, is to provide aid without the side-helping of fascism. There may be fascists in your area, or there may not be, but in either case, helping out is probably the most effective thing you can do. Offer people a better vision for the future, but do it while attending to their needs in the present. Our best defense against fascism, and our best defense against climate change, is to build collective power through solidarity (not charity). Look for local mutual aid networks, or look into starting one yourself. There are times for fighting fascists directly, but none of that will matter, if we’re not also strengthening and uplifting our communities at the same time.

Adaptation and Mitigation: Food Production in a Rapidly Warming World

So I’ve been advocating a move to indoor food production for a while, and I often get pushback on it, some of which… seems to miss the point. Someone linked me an article from 2018 over on Bluesky (follow me, as a reason why vertical farming “won’t save the world”. It’s an interesting article, for what it is, but it crucially does not address the main reason why I believe what I believe. Before I get into that, however, I want to address one other issue, because whenever this subject comes up, and I mention indoor farming and microbial food production, people ignore that latter part, to focus on the former. My guess is that this is because most people don’t know much about microbial food production, and so don’t have much to say about it, in which case, I should probably do more to talk about it. I’ll give an overview here, but I’ll also just try to post more about it going forward.

Mass production of microbial food is, as I understand it, a fairly new field. It focuses mostly on yeasts, edible bacteria, and microaglae, all of which can be grown in more of a factory than a farm. In both cases, the focus usually seems to be on growing them as a source of protein, to replace animal agriculture and soy beans. Because of that focus, a lot of discussion around this stuff seems to focus on the inefficiency and cost of animal agriculture as a source of emissions, rather than about the fact that food grown in a factory setting is less vulnerable to weather and pests than food grown in fields.

The main concern I have at this point in time – something I’m emailing scientists about – is how well it could replace grains. There’s no question that finding better sources of protein is important, because while I didn’t mention it in my recent post about simultaneous crop failure, one of the likely effects of that is the mass culling or starvation of livestock, because that’s what we do with 77% of the soy we grow. People in the US, at least, could stand to eat considerably less protein, but I don’t believe that forcing that through crop failure is a good way to go about it. That said, humans do actually need carbohydrates, so if microbes can’t produce enough of that, then we may need to think about other options.

I think microbes are still a part of those other options, too. If we do actually need to continue relying on outdoor grain farms, then we should probably not be using that land for things that we don’t need, like mass production of beef. In that way, even if we can only rely on algae and bacteria for protein, we’ll be able to grow and store more grain to guard against famine, so it still seems worth major investment to me.

With all of that dealt with, let’s go back to this article about vertical farms, that was presented as a rebuttal to my belief that we should be moving food production indoors, to guard against global crop failures. My problem is that it in no way addresses my concern, but rather discusses vertical farming’s expenses, and vertical farming as a way to reduce carbon emissions:

First, these systems are really expensive to build. The shipping container systems developed by Freight Farms, for example, cost between $82,000 and $85,000 per container — an astonishing sum for a box that just grows greens and herbs. Just one container costs as much as 10 entire acres of prime American farmland — which is a far better investment, both in terms of food production and future economic value. Just remember: farmland has the benefit of generally appreciating in value over time, whereas a big metal box is likely to only decrease in value.

Second, food produced this way is very expensive. For example, the Wall Street Journal reports that mini-lettuces grown by Green Line Growers costs more than twice as much as organic lettuce available in most stores. And this is typical for other indoor growers around the country: it’s very, very expensive, even compared to organic food. Instead of making food moreavailable, especially to poorer families on limited budgets, these indoor crops are only available to the affluent. It might be fine for gourmet lettuce, or fancy greens for expensive restaurants, but regular folks may find it out of reach.

Finally, indoor farms use a lot of energy and materials to operate. The container farms from Freight Farms, for example, use about 80 kilowatt-hours of electricity a day to power the lights and pumps. That’s nearly 2–3 times as much electricity as a typical (and still very inefficient) American home, or about 8 times the electricity used by an average San Francisco apartment. And on the average American electrical grid, this translates to emitting 44,000 pounds of CO2 per container per year, from electricity alone, not counting any additional heating costs. This is vastly more than the emissions it would take to ship the food from someplace else.


Proponents of indoor techno-farms often say that they can offset the enormous sums of electricity they use, by powering them with renewable energy — especially solar panels — to make the whole thing carbon neutral.

But just stop and think about this for a second.

These indoor “farms” would use solar panels to harvest naturally occurring sunlight, and convert it into electricity, so that they can power…artificial sunlight? In other words, they’re trying to use the sun to replace the sun.

But we don’t need to replace the sun. Of all of the things we should worry about in agriculture, the availability of free sunlight is not one of them. Any system that seeks to replace the sun to grow food is probably a bad idea.


Sometimes we hear that vertical farms help the environment by reducing “food miles” — the distance food items travel from farm to table — and thereby reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

This sounds logical, but it turns out to be a red herring.

Strange as it might seem, local food typically uses about the same amount of energy — per pound — to transport as food grown far away. Why? Short answer: volume and method of transport. A larger food operator can ship food more efficiently — even if it travels longer distances — because of the gigantic volumes they work in. Plus, ships, trains, and even large trucks driving on Interstate highways use less fuel, per pound per mile, than small trucks driving around town.

Plus it turns out that “food miles” aren’t a very big source of CO2 emissions anyway, whether they’re local or not. In fact, they pale in comparison to emissions from deforestation, methane from cattle and rice fields, and nitrous oxide from over-fertilized fields. And local food systems — especially organic farms that use fewer fertilizers, and grass fed beef that sequesters carbon in the soil — can reduce these more critical emissions. At the end of the day, local food systems are generally better for the environment, including greenhouse gas emissions. Just don’t worry about emissions from food miles too much.

No shame to the author of this article, of course. He didn’t set out to discuss the merits of vertical farming as a guard against crop failure, so he didn’t do that. My problem is with the person who linked this article, because it doesn’t even acknowledge the main reason I want to move food production indoors, as much as we can. The article makes good points – building and operating something like a vertical farm absolutely is very resource-intensive, and the recommendations made at the end – that we focus on better farming practices – are 100% on-point. We need to do that.

But the question – for me – is not whether vertical farms are the most efficient way to grow food, compared to existing, more conventional methods, or whether they’re as profitable (accounting for subsidies). It’s whether they’re a more reliable way to grow food, in a rapidly warming climate. I don’t have a clear answer to that, in part because the focus in this sort of discourse is still mostly about reducing emissions and preventing the warming. That’s all important stuff to take into consideration, but I think we’ve reached a point where we also have to consider what it will take to keep people alive, because we haven’t actually made all of those changes to agriculture that everyone’s been talking about for the last few decades. The clear answer I do feel I have, is that the odds of global crop failure are increasing, and if we don’t plan for that eventuality, a lot of people are going to die needlessly.

The other point made on Bluesky, and I think it’s a good one, is the concern that a shift in food production would hurt people who are currently farmers. My answer to that is twofold. First, as with fossil fuel workers, we as a society have a responsibility to make sure that farm workers are not left destitute because of a societal change over which they had no control. I think nobody should be left destitute in a world with abundant resources, but we should also have dedicated programs to making sure farmers are taken care of.

Second, and I think this is more important, investing in indoor food production should not come at the expense of outdoor food production, at this stage. The reason I want to do it now, is that we don’t need it now, but everything I’ve seen about the rate of warming and the effects of warming suggests that we will need it in the not-so-distant future. I expect that if we make this investment, and shift away from animal agriculture, that will free up farmland, which can then be put to different use, but the first priority is feeding humanity, which means that at this stage, we still need normal farms, operated more responsibly as the article above suggests. We have the resources to do both, while also working to end fossil fuel use, and one of the downsides of so many decades of inaction is that we now also have a growing need to do both, as the temperature continues to rise.

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Climate Change is Heating Up, and We’re Not Ready

Ok, so I know that I post about a pretty wide array of topics, but this is still a global warming blog, more than anything else. That being the case, I have no choice but to post about recent developments in Earth’s temperature. You may remember when, back in April, I posted about a strange and frightening anomaly in global ocean temperatures, ahead of a growing El Niño. Among other things, I said that we should expect more extreme weather in the coming years, and while I would have predicted a new record “hottest day” some time in July or early August, I would not have expected that record to be broken the next day, nor broken again a couple days after that. Countries around the world are beset with floods, heat waves, droughts, and other climate-related problems, but that’s all with the background of a global climate that is warming off the charts:

Earth’s average temperature set a new unofficial record high on Thursday, the third such milestone in a week that already rated as the hottest on record and what one prominent scientist says could be the hottest in 120,000 years.

But it’s also a record with some legitimate scientific questions and caveats, so much so that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has distanced itself from it. It’s grabbed global attention, even as the number — 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17.23 degrees Celsius) — doesn’t look that hot because it averages temperatures from around the globe.

Still, scientists say the daily drumbeat of records — official or not — is a symptom of a larger problem where the precise digits aren’t as important as what’s causing them.

“Records grab attention, but we need to make sure to connect them with the things that actually matter,” climate scientist Friederike Otto of the Imperial College of London said in an email. “So I don’t think it’s crucial how ‘official’ the numbers are, what matters is that they are huge and dangerous and wouldn’t have happened without climate change.”

Thursday’s planetary average surpassed the 62.9-degree mark (17.18-degree mark) set Tuesday and equaled Wednesday, according to data from the University of Maine’sClimate Reanalyzer, a tool that uses satellite data and computer simulations to measure the world’s condition. Until Monday, no day had passed the 17-degree Celsius mark (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the tool’s 44 years of records.

Now, the entire week that ended Thursday averaged that much.

Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, called the 63-degree mark “an exceptional outlier” that is nearly 6 degrees warmer than the average of the last 12,000 years. Rockstrom said it will “with high likelihood translate to even more severe extremes in the form of floods, droughts, heat waves and storms.”

“It is certainly plausible that the past couple days and past week were the warmest days globally in 120,000 years,” University of Pennsylvania climate scientist Michael Mann said. He cited a 2021 study that says Earth is the warmest since the last age ended, and said Earth likely hasn’t been as warm dating all the way to the ice age before that some 120,000 years ago.

We are in uncharted territory. Not only is this temperature unprecedented, but the rate at which we’ve gotten here – in around two centuries – is far faster than it normally takes for this planet to go through that sort of temperature change. It may be that there will turn out to be some sort of error in the measurement equipment, but given the coincident rise in ocean temperatures, that seems unlikely. If the oceans are giving off more heat than usual, it stands to reason that the air would be hotter as well. As I’ve said before, the oceans have been absorbing the overwhelming majority of the last century’s excess heat, and it looks as though it might start releasing that heat in ways that we’ve not seen before.

As with El Niño, I expect that this temperature spike will be temporary. The oceans will “cool down” again, and we might even go back to something more resembling the more normal pattern of more gradual warming. That heat released into the atmosphere, though? That’s going to have lasting effects. It’s going to speed the melting of ice, and the decaying of matter. It’s also going to cause humans to burn more fossil fuels trying to keep cool. The heat may go away for a time, but it will, without question, add to the momentum of this warming.

It sure as hell seems like things are speeding up, which is bad news for all of us. It’s a bit ironic – the US, with all of its wealth and power, was perhaps the best-situated nation when it came to preparing for climate change. There is zero question in my mind that had it so chosen, the US could have maintained its colonial empire, kept using all that oil, but improved its infrastructure, and maintained a cutting-edge standard of living. The problem was that the same people who worked so hard to ensure that this climate catastrophe would happen, are the ones who’ve worked just as hard to ensure that people in the US would not be protected. Hell, just this past June, Texas governor Gregg Abbot banned cities from mandating that workers get water breaks. It’s like he’s trying to cause misery and death. Honestly, he might be – I don’t know if I’ve said it on this platform, but to a capitalist, any happiness among workers is proof that they could be working harder. The ill health and misery of workers is an indicator that they’re being fully exploited.

And that is the mindset of those leading us into this horrifying new phase of human existence. It does not bode well.

There’s every reason to believe that harder times are coming for all of us. It’s been well over a decade since I had any real expectation that we could avoid this, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to see. As I’ve said before, I think that people should be keeping a store of food, if they have the resources. It’s something worth doing before there’s a crisis, because there is actually a skill to be learned. Even shelf-stable foods don’t last forever, so if you want your emergency supply to be good to go when you need it, you should probably be constantly cycling through what you have. That way, you have fresh supplies, and you’re used to eating that stuff and making it taste good, rather than switching from your normal diet to “emergency rations”. Likewise, I think it’s worth having a first aid kit, the means to purify water, and the means to cook if the power goes out.

But more important that all of that, is other people. In a crisis, it’s people that tend to be your most valuable resource. That’s how we humans survive when things get tough. To that end, do what you can to build community around you. It can be hard, if jobs and housing costs keep forcing you to move, but as with the pantry, I think community is both a skill and a habit that needs to be developed and maintained. It’s something that I am still quite bad at, but I’m trying. Because of the importance of community, I believe that when you store food for emergencies, you ought to be doing so with the intent to share. The idea is to keep your community alive and well, so that they can keep you alive and well, and as a group, you can work to make things better.

Another thing I’m bad about is getting involved in left-wing political organizations, whether that’s a union, a political party – anything that’s focused on pulling people together, and uplifting ourselves through our collective power. In addition to building connections and helping with that community stuff I was just talking about, it’s through that sort of political organizing that I think we stand the best chance of forcing businesses and governments to make the changes we need, and of taking the power to make those changes for ourselves.

None of this is easy. As I’ve said, I’m far from a role model here, but I am fighting my inclination to be a hermit. From what little I’ve seen, and what I’ve heard from those with more experience, left-wing organizations are often chaotic and fraught with interpersonal conflicts. It’s worth getting involved anyway, because communities are often exactly the same, and it’s worth being able to navigate that terrain.

It’s hard to know exactly what’s coming. As previously mentioned, we’re in uncharted territory, and as this year has demonstrated, the unexpected will happen. Being aware of what’s going on is scary, depressing, and infuriating all at once, but the best we can do is to keep working to build our collective resilience, and trust that in doing so, we’re also building the power to build a better world.

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Record Ocean Heat Frightens Scientists, Threatens Grim New Era

For the last few decades, Earth’s oceans have been absorbing the vast majority of global warming – over 90%. This has resulted in declining oxygen levels, marine heatwaves, and a myriad of problems for marine life. Last March, I covered research from Monterey Bay Aquarium that confirmed that “extreme” heat is now the norm for a majority of the ocean’s surface. That would be alarming enough, even though the news is a year old, but now we’ve got more bad news to add to it:

Temperatures in the world’s oceans have broken fresh records, testing new highs for more than a month in an “unprecedented” run that has led to scientists stating the Earth has reached “uncharted territory” in the climate crisis.

The rapid acceleration of ocean temperatures in the last month is an anomaly that scientists have yet to explain. Data collated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), known as the Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature (OISST) series, gathered by satellites and buoys, has shown temperatures higher than in any previous year, in a series stretching back to 1981, continuously over the past 42 days.

The world is thought to be on the brink of an El Niño weather event this year – a cyclical weather system in the Pacific, that has a warming impact globally. But the El Niño system is yet to develop, so this oscillation cannot explain the recent rapid heating, at a time of year when ocean temperatures are normally declining from their annual March and April peaks.

Prof Mike Meredith of the British Antarctic Survey said: “This has got scientists scratching their heads. The fact that it is warming as much as it has been is a real surprise, and very concerning. It could be a short-lived extreme high, or it could be the start of something much more serious.”

The image shows the annual variation of ocean surface temperatures for every year from the present, dating back to 1981. April 2023 is far and away the hottest global sea surface temperature from that time period.

The image shows the annual variation of ocean surface temperatures for every year from the present, dating back to 1981. April 2023 is far and away the hottest global sea surface temperature from that time period.

That “something much more serious” is will happen, sooner or later. As the oceans warm, their capacity to keep absorbing the excess heat diminishes, which means that from our perspective, things are going to suddenly start warming a lot faster. Hotter oceans also have less capacity to absorb gases from the atmosphere, which increases the rate at which greenhouse gas concentrations increase. On top of all of that, there’s the fact that a hotter ocean creates stronger storms, which will set us even further back in this age of endless recovery. If the oceans are reaching some sort of thermal tipping point, that could also disrupt the big ocean currents that are so important to moving heat around the planet, and to bringing oxygen to the depths. A big change to those currents could have pretty immediate and dramatic effects on a global scale. It’s not just this year, either. Over the last 15 years, the oceans have apparently warmed as much as the previous 45 years; a finding that has been described as so disturbing that scientists don’t like to talk about it:

Scientists from institutions including Mercator Ocean International in France, Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the United States, and Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research collaborated to discover that as the planet has accumulated as much heat in the past 15 years as it did in the previous 45 years, the majority of the excess heat has been absorbed by the oceans.

In March, researchers examining the ocean off the east coast of North America found that the water’s surface was 13.8°C, or 14.8°F, hotter than the average temperature between 1981 and 2011.

The study notes that a rapid drop in shipping-related pollution could be behind some of the most recent warming, since fuel regulations introduced in 2020 by the International Maritime Organization reduced the heat-reflecting aerosol particles in the atmosphere and caused the ocean to absorb more energy.

But that doesn’t account for the average global ocean surface temperature rising by 0.9°C from preindustrial levels, with 0.6°C taking place in the last four decades.

The study represents “one of those ‘sit up and read very carefully’ moments,” said former BBC science editor David Shukman.

Lead study author Karina Von Schuckmann of Mercator Ocean International told the BBC that “it’s not yet well established, why such a rapid change, and such a huge change is happening.”

“We have doubled the heat in the climate system the last 15 years, I don’t want to say this is climate change, or natural variability or a mixture of both, we don’t know yet,” she said. “But we do see this change.”

It’s true, we don’t know for sure what’s going on. Maybe Godzilla is to blame!

In all seriousness, I don’t blame Shuckmann for being careful in the claims she makes. If I’m annoyed, it’s because of the people who love to jump on qualifiers like that to say, “See? They don’t even know what’s happening!” The reality is that even if this turns out to be a blip, and we’re lucky enough to get cooler sea surface temperatures over the next few years, that won’t change the trajectory we’re on. The heat in the oceans won’t just go away, even if it’s not at the surface. What’s more, when you have an unusually hot year, that adds to the momentum of the whole crisis. Ice melts a bit faster, permafrost thaws and rots a bit more, we get a few more fires, and now there’s just that much more CO2 in the atmosphere, and that much less ice to reflect sunlight back into space, and ecosystems are just that much less resilient.

As long as greenhouse gas levels keep rising, this can only go one way.

A study published earlier this year also found that rising ocean temperatures combined with high levels of salinity lead to the “stratification” of the oceans, and in turn, a loss of oxygen in the water.

“Deoxygenation itself is a nightmare for not only marine life and ecosystems but also for humans and our terrestrial ecosystems,” researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in January. “Reducing oceanic diversity and displacing important species can wreak havoc on fishing-dependent communities and their economies, and this can have a ripple effect on the way most people are able to interact with their environment.”

The unusual warming trend over recent years has been detected as a strong El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is expected to form in the coming months—a naturally occurring phenomenon that warms oceans and will reverse the cooling impact of La Niña, which has been in effect for the past three years.

“If a new El Niño comes on top of it, we will probably have additional global warming of 0.2-0.25°C,” Dr. Josef Ludescher of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research told the BBC.

It looks like we should expect more extreme weather in the coming year or so, but if we have reached a point where the oceans are going to be less effective at absorbing heat and greenhouse gases, then things up on dry land are probably going to start progressing much more quickly. I often talk about how the action that has been taken so far to end fossil fuel use is criminally inadequate, but at this point that’s only half the picture. It’s been a decade or two since we passed the point at which dangerous warming could still be prevented. The inaction of our leadership, which seems to be a gerontocracy still stuck in the mid-20th century, has meant that it will keep warming for the rest of my life, and the rest of your life, dear reader, and the lives of your children, and of their children. Absent a series of technological and political miracles that seems very unlikely, this is our future now.

That means that simply ending fossil fuel use, while absolutely essential, is not enough. We must do better to prepare for a hotter planet. We must change how we produce food, to protect it from the conditions that we have created. We must reshape our infrastructure to deal with higher temperatures, stronger storms, and rising seas. We must take measures to to help those countries that have been deliberately kept poor for the benefit of rich nations withstand the hellish forces that have been unleashed upon this world.

Well, we must do all of that if we value human life. If we want to weather this storm, and keep making the world better.

It is past time that we considered that “we” don’t really want any of that, when it comes to the aristocracy of global capitalism. Despite Biden’s words, his actions show that he feels no urgency to deal with climate change. I’ll probably write more about this soon, but the people who run our world seem to be deliberately driving us to destruction, while setting themselves up to rule what remains. Maybe they think that reducing the population will reset the timer on how long they can cling to a system based on endless growth. Whether it’s delusion, malice, or both, they seem poised to use global warming to kill off most of humanity, while they live in luxury and insist that it’s all for the greater good.

I think the oceans could literally be boiling, and they’d still insist that they know best.

We are running out of time and options, both as a species, and as the working class that makes up most of that species. I don’t know how much longer we can afford to wait for those at the top to go against everything they believe, and act for the benefit of humanity. I think we’ve already wasted more time than we had on that false hope, and we’ve yet to fully grasp the price that we’re going to pay for that. We need revolutionary change, and we need it as soon as possible. It is my hope that a combination of worsening conditions, and a general strike, might get the powerful to change their tune. I don’t know how to get there from where we are. I’ll look into it, but I feel like we need more than my current attempt at an organizing guide. Mass unionization is probably the most direct route to the kind of organization we need. It’s a concept that’s familiar to people, and unions are more popular now than at any time I can remember. While I still like the notion of organizing centered around communities, the reality is that work is a bigger part of people’s lives than community right now, so it makes sense on multiple levels to start there.

In the meantime, one thing that individuals can do, outside of organizing and agitating, is prepare for hard times. If you can afford to, make a habit of keeping a store of non-perishable food, not just because climate change may disrupt supply chains and lead to shortages, but also because in the event of a general strike, you and those around you are likely to need the supplies. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but a strike is a siege, and so success will depend on how well supplied we are.

At the same time, if you can, feed people who are hungry. Help people who need help. Economic desperation is the main weapon wielded by the rich in the class war, and undermining that empowers people, and builds solidarity. Those of us who want humanity to have a future have to come together and fight for that future. What I laid out above is the only path I can see that might lead to revolutionary change without war. As mentioned above, this big jump in ocean temperatures may just be a blip. We might have a rough year, then go back to a “normal” that’s still unacceptable. But we might not. Things have gone so far that it’s a real possibility that we’ve passed a major tipping point sooner than expected. If we don’t organize, prepare, and change course very soon, things will get ugly.

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If you want something to do this weekend, Atlanta forest defenders are asking for solidarity

I meant to write about this a couple days ago, but I just completely forgot about it until I sat down to go through my open tabs today. Still, better late than never, I guess? Last month I wrote about Atlanta forest defenders being arrested and charged with “domestic terrorism”, for the heinous act of sitting in trees that the cops wanted to cut down. The people working to stop the destruction of the Atlanta Forest for a massive, militarized police training facility are calling for demonstrations of solidarity around the country:

It’s Going Down has the following list of events being planned for this weekend, as of a day or two ago:

Roundup Of Solidarity Events

January 14th, Savannah, GA

Solidarity rally to defend the Atlanta Forest & Stop Cop City! Saturday, Jan 14 – 2pm – Wright Square. Atlanta is known to many as the “City in the Forest” for its extensive tree cover, which protects the city’s residents from flooding and extreme heat. Despite calls from residents to defund, demilitarize, and even abolish the police following the 2020 police killing of Rayshard Brooks, the Atlanta Police Foundation, Deklab County officials, and Blackhall (Shadowbox) Studios are attempting to bulldoze the city’s largest urban forest to build a militarized police training facility and Hollywood soundstage in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Brasfield & Gorrie LLC, the progect’s general contractor, has a construction site near Wright Square right here in Savannah. Amidst growing concerns of police violence and climate catastrophe, thousands of Atlanta residents have organized to protect the forest and stall construction of the facility for over a year! An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. Let’s show our solidarity with ATL forest defenders and demand that Brasfield and Gorrie drop the contract! Savannah DSA

January 14th, Brooklyn, NYC

January 15th, New Haven, CT

January 15th, Atlanta, GA

January 16th, Decatur, GA

January 28th, NYC

As you’ll note, some of these things are not happening this weekend. While having a lot of actions happening on the same day is a tactic to get more attention on the issue, demonstrations and other events happening spontaneously over time and across the country can also serve that purpose. This is a long-term fight, not just because the backers of Cop City are still intending to build it, but also because even if we do win this fight, there will be new ones for as long as we’re dealing with a system like the one we’re fighting to change. If we ever want to have real democracy and freedom, it will require this kind of sustained effort both to create, and to maintain the world we want.

On that note, I also think you should check out this interview that the Youtuber F.D. Signifier did with commentator and activist Kamau Franklin about the issue:

As Franklin describes, “Cop City” is intended to have, among other facilities, 11 firing ranges, and a mock city for police to train in crowd control. As he says, this seems far more about general control of the populace and of any movements for change, than it is about any concern for public safety. It sure seems as though the police and ruling class looked at the BLM movement, and decided that they had to be able to just outright crush anything like that. It wouldn’t shock me to learn, down the road, that some of this is about the increasing popularity of left-wing thought and political tactics in the U.S.. Bolstering this interpretation is the fact that U.S. police often train with the enforcers of Israeli apartheid, working to develop tactics for controlling the population through force. With worsening inequality, rising fascism, and a warming climate, this should worry you, as should the ever-increasing U.S. military budget.

The movement towards authoritarianism is not unique to the Republican Party. The Democrats have been on board every step of the way, from pouring cash into the Pentagon, to developing the humanitarian nightmare that is the U.S. carceral system. It is Democratic mayor Eric Adams that wants to declare houseless people insane and lock them up. I don’t think the Dems are full-on fascist like the current GOP, but they do very clearly value capitalism more than democracy or freedom. They have been on board through the bloody history of U.S. interference with left-wing governments and movements around the globe. They have been on board with supporting the genocide being waged in Yemen, and the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. This is why we need organizing that’s separate from political parties and the electoral system. This is why we need direct action like the work of land and water defenders – because both parties in power serve the ruling class, and actively work to suppress working class power. It’s evident in Democratic policy over the years, in the people from whom they seek advice, and in the many corporations supporting the development of this facility, to the tune of $60 million of the $90 million budget.

And white supremacy is absolutely a part of that, both within the United States, and in its actions around the world.

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but the communities in which this monstrosity is being built are majority black, and have not been consulted on this project that will destroy a forest for the sake of building what amounts to a military training facility for the same cops who have been brutalizing and murdering black people in Atlanta and around the country. Kamau Franklin and F.D. Signifier have a much better discussion of the racial issues here than I’m able to summarize, so I recommend you watch the video. It provides a good overview of the problem from a systemic perspective. If you want to help out, Franklin pointed people to the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, Community Movement Builders, and Stop Cop City, and even if you can’t do anything this weekend (sorry again for dropping the ball on this!), it still helps to get “stop cop city” in front of people, be it signs, bumper stickers, or you could even organize your own demonstrations just to get attention.

A video and some thoughts on the recent power grid attacks

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about an attack on the power grid of Moore County, NC, apparently planned and carried out to shut down a drag show happening at a theater in the town of Southern Pines. Attacking the power grid is not a new tactic, either for right-wing extremists in the United States, or for paramilitary and revolutionary groups around the world. In the time since that post, there have been several more attacks around the country, not all associated with particular events the way the Moore County attack was, and it seems like that pattern is going to continue. This video from Beau of the Fifth Column goes into the thinking (and lack thereof) behind these attacks, why they won’t work for their probable intended purpose, and why they’re a problem anyway. It also goes into some tips for preparing for this to happen to your part of the grid.

Basically, there are three goals that attacks like this have historically had three goals, which don’t apply to the current situation. I’ll try to summarize below for those who can’t watch the video.

  1. To provoke a security clampdown. This is designed to anger the general public against the government forces clamping down. It has been successful, in some places, in getting more of the local populace to take up arms against an occupier. The U.S., however, is not being occupied by any outside force. The U.S. is also extremely good at controlling its populace, and because security clampdowns would be done by many different agencies (local police, state police, national guard, state and local governments, federal government), there’s no single target against whom to unify the people. The U.S. also pioneered understanding of this particular tactic, and so has literal instructions about avoiding the kind of clampdown in question.
  2. To blame the people in power for the grid failures, to turn the general public against them. The problem with this is that it requires the propaganda/political wing of the movement to repeatedly blame the people in power for what’s happening, but given that the “mainstream” right and the “extreme” right in the U.S. are so intertwined that moderation algorithms may not be able to tell the difference, so very few people will buy that the Democrats are to blame for these attacks. It’s more likely that the GOP will be seen as being on board with the attacks. Beau mentions that as with the first goal, this goal usually applies to occupied countries.
  3. To do a “reset” – knock everything out, and use the chaos to take control of the country by force. This would require them to have popular support, which they don’t. Absent that, they’d need the numbers, resources, and organization to occupy and control the entirety of the “lower 48”. Beau said he’s not sure that the U.S. army, which is the one force on the planet that might be able to pull that off, would be able to. The U.S. is simply too big. Maybe they’re hoping that the military would do it for them, but in my own opinion, there’s no way that happens without the GOP already having total control of the federal government, or something very close to it.

The bad news is that these attacks still cut off power to thousands of people. Beau compares this to January 6th – virtually zero chance of success, but still very destructive. Lost power can mean lost heat, spoiled food and medicine, shutdown of medical devices, shutdown of municipal water systems, and much more, depending on where it happens and how long the damage takes to repair. That means that to whatever degree you are able, you should probably prepare for power outages if you live in the U.S..

You know how I’ve written about the synergy between the threats we face, and the actions we need to take to prepare or remove those threats? You know how my direct action post couples the dangers of a warming planet and rising fascism? In both cases, I think it’s reasonable to expect more power outages, which means doing what you can to prepare for that. At the more expensive end, that means getting a generator (which should always be used outdoors, even if it means you have to crack a window for the cable. Please don’t gas yourself), or having a solar or wind setup with a battery, as well as something for purifying water. Again, at the high end that might be a powered purifier, and at the low end, we have stuff like iodine tablets or the filters lots of people use for camping. At the low end for power, there are cheap cell phone backup batteries, less cheap solar chargers, or you can look into the devices sold to jump-start cars, and get one that has a normal outlet as well as the car cables. Beau also mentions car inverters, that let you use your car as a generator. I’m not providing any links because I don’t want to recommend any particular products, but if you’re reading this, I’m assuming you have the capacity to search the internet to see what’s out there.

Obviously, different people will have different needs, and in the U.S. it’s pretty common for those who need powered medical devices or refrigerated medicine, to also be short on resources to buy things like big backup batteries or generators. If you have the means to “overprepare”, you might want to consider doing so, expressly for the purpose of offering help to those around you who don’t have the means. If they’re open to it and you can, help others prepare. Also, in general, be on the lookout for random opportunities to help – it may well come down to luck and landscape. I have relatives who’ve been the only means of communication for their neighborhood, because their home just happened to be a bit more elevated, so the storm surge didn’t reach them.

It absolutely sucks that this is where we’re at, but in addition to extreme weather, we also need to prepare for the violent outbursts of a group of obnoxious people eager to fight to the death against largely imaginary enemies, in the name of the pettiest, most boring, and least stable fantasy of a utopia that bigoted cowards have ever devised. The danger is real, even if the effort is doomed to failure, and the overall threat of fascism is, in my opinion, still extremely high. The one silver lining, tissue-thin though it is, is that our course of action should be the same regardless. Build collective power. Organize, train, and prepare for disasters, both natural and man-made. It’s a very, very old formula, but it’s one that seems to be affective across the ages.

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The U.S. is about to freeze. Stay warm, and help others if you can!

It looks like the U.S. is headed for another devastating cold snap driven by the increasingly distorted polar vortex. I’ve seen no indication that places like Texas are any better prepared to deal with this than they have been for such events in the past. As is usual for this sort of thing, anarchist groups on the ground are doing what they can.



The infuriating reality is that even people with shelter are going to get hit by this, and I’m willing to bet a lot of people didn’t have the resources to do much preparation. In this age of endless recovery those with the means to make a difference at the systemic level clearly have no interest in doing so, and so it’s left folks on the ground with the time, energy, and tools to help both neighbors and strangers.

Try to stay safe and warm, and help others if you can. Remember to *always* run generators outdoors, even if that means you have to crack a door or a window for the cable. Far too many people die of carbon monoxide poisoning when cold weather hits and the power goes out, and we need you – yes you – to be alive, so no gassing yourself! I’ve always found enjoyment and a degree of beauty in cold weather, but that’s because I’ve always known I have the means to get warm. I want a world in which that’s the default (and *not* because of global warming), but we’re not there yet.

If you want more updates on this sort of thing, you can follow It’s Going Down on Mastodon.

The BBC has warned you – the giant water lilies have no mercy.

My recent fictional escapades have had me studying freshwater wildlife, which has led to my social media recommending me more such material. That’s how I came across this absurdly dramatic clip from BBC. It’s shot and scored like a horror movie, and narrated with the sort of bloodthirsty glee that’s usually reserved for predator/prey interaction. You may see a pond covered with giant lily pads, but to the BBC, it’s the post-apocalyptic aftermath of a monstrous, spike-filled alien invasion. You may or may not have pre-existing opinions about the giant water lily, but if David Attenborough has one message for you, it’s that you should be more afraid of them.

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, you’ll burn in the fire, if you don’t get fried.

Many years ago, in this blog’s toddler years, I wrote a little about the advantages of being motivated not just by fear of the future we want to avoid, but also by hope for the future that we want to build. While that fear is valid, if it’s our sole motivator, we’ll be too busy looking over our shoulder to pay attention to where we’re going. Most of the time, when I’ve talked about this, the focus has been on the kind of society we want to build, and how being proactive could head off disaster. At that point, I wasn’t thinking much about politics, economics, and power, but I I think the overall idea holds true there as well. What I hadn’t really considered was how literal the metaphor of running away could end up being.

I suppose it’s obvious, in hindsight, and it’s not like the subject of climate refugees hasn’t been discussed. I had assumed that if people were leaving an area because of climate change, if they had a choice in where to go, they’d factor climate change into their decision. After all, if you’re moving away from hurricanes and killer heat waves, you might not want to move to somewhere that’s having a problem with drought, heat waves, and an ever-worsening fire season, right? Right?

Oh dear.

Americans are leaving many of the U.S. counties hit hardest by hurricanes and heatwaves — and moving towards dangerous wildfires and warmer temperatures, finds one of the largest studies of U.S. migration and natural disasters.

The ten-year national study reveals troubling public health patterns, with Americans flocking to regions with the greatest risk of wildfires and significant summer heat. These environmental hazards are already causing significant damage to people and property each year — and projected to worsen with climate change.

“These findings are concerning, because people are moving into harm’s way—into regions with wildfires and rising temperatures, which are expected to become more extreme due to climate change,” said the University of Vermont (UVM) study lead author Mahalia Clark, noting that the study was inspired by the increasing number of headlines of record-breaking natural disasters.

Published by the journal Frontiers in Human Dynamics, the study—titled “Flocking to Fire”—is the largest investigation yet of how natural disasters, climate change and other factors impacted U.S. migration over the last decade (2010-2020). “Our goal was to understand how extreme weather is influencing migration as it becomes more severe with climate change,” Clark said.

‘Red-hot’ real estate

The top U.S. migration destinations over the last decade were cities and suburbs in the Pacific Northwest, parts of the Southwest (in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah), Texas, Florida, and a large swath of the Southeast (from Nashville to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.)—locations that face significant wildfire risks and relatively warm annual temperatures. In contrast, people tended to move away from places in the Midwest, the Great Plains, and along the Mississippi River, including many counties hit hardest by hurricanes or frequent heatwaves, the researchers say.

“These findings suggest that, for many Americans, the risks and dangers of living in hurricane zones may be starting to outweigh the benefits of life in those areas,” said UVM co-author Gillian Galford, who led the recent Vermont Climate Assessment. “That same tipping point has yet to happen for wildfires and rising summer heat, which have emerged as national issues more recently.”

One implication of the study—given how development can exacerbate risks in fire-prone areas—is that city planners may need to consider discouraging new development where fires are most likely or difficult to fight, researchers say. At a minimum, policymakers must consider fire prevention in areas of high risk with large growth in human populations, and work to increase public awareness and preparedness.

I want to say that I’m not blaming these people, as such. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding where to move, and very often the “choice” is no choice at all. You have a job in California? You move to California. We live where we can, not always where we’d like to.

am blaming the federal government, and the largely corrupt crowd that comprises it. This is the result of inaction. This is what neoliberal, laissez-faire policies, gets us. Why are there no programs to help people resettle somewhere with more water? Why haven’t we already been moving people out of the Colorado River Valley? Because it would threaten fossil fuel profits, of course, but also because most politicians in both major parties view government action as essentially evil. Some Democrats view it as a necessary evil, and a handful are mostly focused on the good it can do, but as a party, they mostly seem to serve the same agenda as the GOP.

We will be seeing more climate refugees as the temperature continues to rise. Literally the only way to prevent that would be to find a way to get them to move to a safer place before disaster drives them. Instead, we have a borderline useless federal government, and a disorienting fog of misinformation about the issue. People are left to figure things out while navigating a ruthless housing market that’s increasingly controlled by big corporations, with a government whose advisors are advocating an increase in unemployment. This kind of crisis is exactly what society is supposed to be for, but our world is run by people who want to convince everyone that society shouldn’t provide us with any real benefits.

Beyond the aversion to hurricanes and heatwaves, the study identified several other clear preferences—a mix of environmental, social, and economic factors—that also contributed to U.S. migration decisions over the last decade.

The team’s analysis revealed a set of common qualities shared among the top migration destinations: warmer winters, proximity to water, moderate tree cover, moderate population density, better human development index (HDI) scores—plus wildfire risks. In contrast, for the counties people left, common traits included low employment, higher income inequality, and more summer humidity, heatwaves, and hurricanes.

Researchers note that Florida remained a top migration destination, despite a history of hurricanes—and increasing wildfire. While nationally, people were less attracted to counties hit by hurricanes, many people—particularly retirees—still moved to Florida, attracted by the warm climate, beaches, and other qualities shared by top migration destinations. Although hurricanes likely factor into people’s choices, the study suggests that, overall, the benefits of Florida’s desirable amenities still outweigh the perceived risks of life there, researchers say.

“The decision to move is a complicated and personal decision that involves weighing dozens of factors,” said Clark. “Weighing all these factors, we see a general aversion to hurricane risk, but ultimately—as we see in Florida—it’s one factor in a person’s list of pros and cons, which can be outweighed by other preferences.”

For the study, researchers combined census data with data on natural disasters, weather, temperature, land cover, and demographic and socioeconomic factors. While the study includes data from the first year of the COVID pandemic, the researchers plan to delve deeper into the impacts of remote work, house prices, and the cost of living.

For most of my life, climate change has been talked about as some kind of future issue. It has also been talked about as something that will hit poorer countries first, and hardest. While there’s some truth to that latter point, I hope it’s obvious to all of you by now that it’s happening now, and it’s hitting everywhere. It will get worse, of course, but we have entered the Age of Endless Recovery, and part of that is the endless, weary movement of people trying to find that one place where maybe they can live in peace.

This doesn’t have to be our future.

We could, if we can build the collective power to do so, stop prioritizing endless war and the indulgence of bottomless greed. We could build quality public housing in places that are likely to have plenty of water going forward. We could pay people to do ecosystem support and management work, or to clean up pollution, or to work on indoor food production, or any number of a hundred other things that society needs people to do.

We could, in short, respond to this crisis by proactively building a better world, with the changing climate in mind. We have the resources and knowledge to do this, and we’ve had them for a long time. What we lack is political and economic power among those who actually want the world to get better, because the people who currently hold that power? They would rather see the world burn around their bunkers than allow for systemic change.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

Soggy Sunday: There can be no climate action without fresh water.

There are a lot of reasons why I keep stressing the need for ecosystem management as the core of our climate action. We have, throughout our history, been utterly dependent on the natural world, even as we have been destroying it in the name of endless “growth”. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the medicines that keep us alive, the materials we use to shelter ourselves from the elements – all of it ties back to so-called “nature”, because we are a part of it.

That means that as we work to end greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt to the changes we’ve already caused, we must also change how we do business in other areas. Ending our direct contribution to warming will mean little if we increase other forms of pollution as we do it. It’s not as simple as swapping out what kind of fuel powers our society, and if we pretend that the climate is our only existential environmental threat, then we will continue driving ourselves toward extinction through other means.

A holistic approach is going to mean a lot of things, but when it comes down to it, none of that is possible without continual access to fresh water. That may seem obvious, but it’s cause for real concern, as this report made for COP27 discusses:

The report titled: “The essential drop to reach Net-Zero: Unpacking Freshwater’s Role in Climate Change Mitigation,” released November 9 2022 at COP27 in harm El-Sheikh, is the first-ever summary of current research on the role of water in climate mitigation. A key message is the need to better understand global water shortages and scarcity in order to plan climate targets that do not backfire in future. If not planned carefully, negative impacts of climate action on freshwater resources might threaten water security and even increase future adaptation and mitigation burdens.

“Most of the measures needed to reach net-zero carbon targets can have a big impact on already dwindling freshwater resources around the world,” said Dr Lan Wang Erlandsson from Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University. “With better planning, such risks can be reduced or avoided.”

The report describes why, where, and how freshwater should be integrated into climate change mitigation plans to avoid unexpected consequences and costly policy mistakes. Even efforts usually associated with positive climate action – such as forest restoration or bioenergy – can have negative impacts if water supplies are not considered.

Done right, however, water-related and nature-based solutions can instead address both the climate crisis and other challenges, said Dr Malin Lundberg Ingemarsson from Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

“We have identified water risks, but also win-win solutions that are currently not used to their full potential. One example is restoration of forests and wetlands which bring social, ecological, and climate benefits all at once. Another example is that better wastewater treatment can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from untreated wastewater, while improving surface water and groundwater quality, and even provide renewable energy through biogas.”

That was when I decided I actually wanted to write about this a bit. “Nature-based solutions” are exactly what we need. As dangerous as heat waves and storms may be, one of the biggest dangers to our species is the breakdown of ecosystem services, of which most people seem to be largely unaware. I couldn’t say the exact numbers, but for all we must spend trillions on ending fossil fuel use, I think we should also spend trillions on ecosystem restoration and support. Even if we weren’t depleting both ground and surface water, and even if we weren’t poisoning what remains with reckless abandon, the melting of mountain glaciers around the world means that before long, billions could lose their primary water source. We need to be actively working to build up ecosystems, because they aren’t just affected by the weather, they affect the weather. Deforestation means less rainfall. That’s going to vary from ecosystem to ecosystem, but it’s not hard to understand.

Plants don’t just absorb rainwater, they also transfer it from the ground to the air. Trees in particular act as giant vaporizers, humidifying the air around their crowns. That, in turn, helps create rain downwind, or even sometimes right over the same forest. That movement of water, as I’ve discussed before, also moves heat around, which can help mitigate extreme heat, which affects everyone’s need for water. My insistence on viewing ourselves as a part of nature isn’t some spiritual feeling of connection, it’s a simple fact, supported by overwhelming evidence.

The report highlights five key messages on the interlinkage between water and mitigation:

• Climate mitigation measures depend on freshwater resources. Climate mitigation planning and action need to account for current and future freshwater availability.
•  Freshwater impacts – both positive and negative – need to be evaluated and included in climate mitigation planning and action.
•  Water and sanitation management can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More efficient drinking water and sanitation services save precious freshwater resources and reduce emissions.
•  Nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change can deliver multiple benefits for people and the environment. Measures safeguarding freshwater resources, protecting biodiversity, and ensuring resilient livelihoods are crucial.
•  Joint water and climate governance need to be coordinated and strengthened. Mainstreaming freshwater in all climate mitigation planning and action requires polycentric and inclusive governance.

“Climate change mitigation efforts will not succeed if failing to consider water needs,” said Marianne Kjellén, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “Water must be part of powerful solutions for enhancing ecosystem resilience, preserving biodiversity and regenerative food and energy production systems. In short, water security needs to be factored in to climate action,” she adds.

There’s a part of me that simply cannot believe that that last thought needs to be spelled out. How could anybody possibly think that we could respond to the threat of climate change without factoring in water? Hasn’t everyone been talking about “the coming water wars” for years? But, of course, action on that end of things has been woefully inadequate, just as it has been in every other area. Not only that, but the system we’re trying to change uses war not just to control people, but also to generate profit. Those of us still connected to our humanity hear “water wars” and think of the horrors of war, and perhaps the horrors of water scarcity. The rich and powerful, particularly in the United States, think of all the money they’ll make by converting raw resources into dead bodies, ravaged landscapes, and fat paychecks. There’s also a rather large portion of the population that is ideologically committed to the belief that a magical being put this entire cosmos here for “us” (which means the rich and powerful) to do with as we see fit. So yeah – it needs to be spelled out. For a lot of people, I’m afraid we’ll have to change the world around them, and hope their minds change afterwards, but in the meantime, it’s good to figure out what we should be doing about the water problem.

While I hope to go through the report more thoroughly, and write about its contents, I’ve had such intentions in the past. I’m approaching a year of daily posting (not counting the time I took off for Raksha’s death), which is a strange new experience for me, so hopefully I’ll actually be able to follow through this time. Still, maintaining work on my current novel is a more important right now, so in the meantime, here’s a link to the report, all nicely laid out by section. If you want me make this project (or any other) more of a priority, I’ll take that into consideration once you sign up at and send me a message about it.

It is a simple fact that on this planet, water is life. It’s also a fact that when we have tried to, we’ve been able to clean up polluted bodies of water, restore ecosystems, and bring species back from the brink of extinction. We do have the resources and understanding to make the world better, all we lack is a political an economic system that values doing so.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!