Rain in Dubai: How climate change and dangerous technologies demand an end to nationalism

Rain on Roke may be drought in Osskil
-Master Summoner, Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin)

One of the most common tropes in discussions of the natural world is that of “balance”. When approaching the topic of using magic to control the weather, most decent fantasy authors include at least some discussion of how meddling with a system that’s “in balance” can have unpredictable, and sometimes catastrophic side effects. When it comes to dealing with the ways in which humans affect our surroundings, there’s a clear history of “cures” causing a great deal of damage all by themselves. One clear example of this was the misguided effort to combat an invasive cane beetle problem by introducing cane toads to Australia. You can learn more about that particular debacle by watching Cane Toads: An Unnatural History. I recommend watching it with friends and intoxicants if that’s your thing. There’s real knowledge to be gained from this film, but the entertainment value is what made the documentary something of a cult classic. Back to the main topic.

Throughout most of human history, we have been largely at the mercy of whatever weather the planet tries to throw at us, and so the notion of using technology to control the weather has long been both a goal eagerly sought, and the source of many cautionary tales. The notion of the world being in some perfect natural harmony has always been more of a romantic fantasy than anything else, but even if one was inclined to put stock in the idea, I think it’s clear that that “balance” has been broken. If nothing else, this entire crisis is being caused by an imbalance between energy entering the planet from the sun, and radiating from the planet into space. Everything is being thrown into chaos, so… what’s the reason to avoid trying to modify the weather again?

Well, there are still some reasons; chemical cloud seeding, for example, can trigger rain by altering atmospheric chemistry, but there are downsides, especially if it were to be done as often as would be needed to keep hot places habitable. Even so, the ability to turn ambient humidity into rain could be extremely useful for emergency disaster relief – like cooling a city if the power goes out during a heat wave. That means getting better at figuring out both what’s effective in triggering rainfall, and what the side effects may be. It’s probably because of the worries surrounding chemical cloud seeding techniques that The UAE has taken an energy-based approach:

Footage recently released by the UAE weather agency shows heavy rain falling in the desert. The fat droplets falling were reportedly the result of a pilot test of the drones. Using unmanned drones that discharge electricity may sound a little foolhardy in the midst of storm clouds, but that electricity could be a key ingredient in getting rain to fall.
Clouds are made up water droplets, which are too tiny to fall out of the sky (hence, clouds exist). The electrical charges essentially encourage those small droplets to collide and condense into bigger ones that do eventually get heavy enough to fall as rain. In a country like the UAE, however, even drops that are big enough to fall as rain can often evaporate before reaching the ground owing to the very low humidity. The electrical charging technique could help fatten those droplets up enough to reach the desert floor and replenish a water table that’s been sinking due the region’s rapacious growth.

 

This is nice for as far as it goes. It’s a way for a dry region to catch moisture that might otherwise pass it over, and using electricity as the catalyst avoids the issues of doing it with chemicals. I think it’s also worth noting that with higher temperatures will come faster evaporation and more water in the air in general, which means this may actually become an increasingly viable technique. I think it could also be extremely useful for supporting or altering ecosystems. That said, I don’t believe that this will be anything close to a solution to the problems that come with extreme heat. There’s a limit to how much a rainstorm can cool a place, and I worry about the dangers of increasing ground-level humidity. I think this is an important tool to have available to us, and I’m glad that it’s being tried, but by itself it’s the proverbial band-aid on a bullet wound. What matters most is how and why it’s used.

Air conditioning, for example, will likely save all of our lives before too long, but it doesn’t just make heat go away – it displaces it. It moves energy from one location (the inside of a building) to another location (outside the building). That’s why an A/C unit only works if it can vent to the outside.

Spending energy on relocating heat within our climate system can, without question, save countless lives, but without addressing the larger crisis, not only will any form of artificial cooling be inadequate, it will cost more and more energy to get the same results as the temperature rises. As I’ve said before, we’re going to need to rely on air conditioning, but the more efficiently we can do it, and the more we can rely on “passive” temperature control like shade, reflection, and insulation, the better our long-term results will be.

Cloud seeding, as with more conventional air conditioning, moves heat around. Most of us learned about the water cycle as being how water moves around the world, but every stage of that cycle also moves energy. In order to stay in the air as vapor, water requires a ratio of pressure and temperature. If you take the time, you can watch clouds form and dissipate on a clear day. That’s not water fading in and out of existence – the same amount of water is there regardless. What’s happening is that the water is moving in and out of pockets of cooler, or lower pressure air. For this discussion, I’m going to focus on temperature. As the cloud forms, heat is transferred from the water vapor to the cooler air, condensing the water into droplets. If a cloud hits warmer air, it absorbs that heat, turning from a cloud of droplets into invisible vapor.

That heat transfer is also going to be happening, to some degree, as we use technology to create clouds and rainstorms, and in a climate that’s already too hot and chaotic for comfortable living, it’s hard to know what side effects we might get from widespread use of this sort of weather modification. I’m really not sure, but it seems like extensive use of this technology in one location could create an artificial heat wave nearby. The UAE, or the United States, or any other country could well make local conditions better through weather modification, but even with the climate thrown into chaos, moving heat around like that could worsen conditions in other areas. If the world is still operating as a collection of nations in competition with each other, then it’s almost guaranteed that countries with the power to do so will improve their own conditions at the expense of populations who’re unable to protect themselves.

It always seems to come back to this, but the risk/reward analysis is always going to be different depending on who’s calling the shots. As the planet becomes more dangerous, and the actions taken to survive become more drastic, I think nationalism and nationalistic tendencies will become also much more dangerous.

There’s already a long-standing problem of more powerful nations using those with less power not just for cheap labor (or slave labor) but also as dumping grounds. When we’re dealing with any form of artificial cooling, heat is what is extracted and discarded. With much of the world coming ever-closer to the limits of human heat tolerance, for at least some parts of the year, I think that the concept of heat as a waste product is going to become much more familiar.

If we’re going to avoid the same old pattern of enriching a minority by making huge parts of the planet worse, then we need to view nationalism (and fascism in particular) as an immediate existential threat to the entire species. If we’re going to get through climate change, it will be by helping each other on a global scale as various parts of the world become uninhabitable, or suffer crop failures or unexpected disasters. The way the United States responded to the COVID-19 pandemic may give you some insight into how well that “cooperation” thing will work out under a nationalist framework.

This is my worry for virtually every aspect of climate change. The Pentagon rightly describes global warming as a “threat multiplier,” and I would say that includes the threats of nationalism, capitalism, and fascism. Economic and political philosophies that view parts of the population as either expendable or as targets for mass murder already actively hinder international cooperation, and cause massive amounts of death and misery. Many of the refugees at our southern border are fleeing the combination of US-generated political instability and the warming climate. There is zero question in my mind that Guatemala, for example, would have been far more able to cope with its climate disasters had the US not deliberately plunged the country into decades of brutal civil war and genocide. The same goes for Nicaragua, El Salvador, and numerous other countries in Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and we’re kinda running out of parts of the planet. At the same time, U.S. officials involved in those atrocities still hold influence in the United States – go through this tiny list of indictments for the Iran-Contra Affair and see who, of those still alive, still have sway on corporate boards, political campaigns, and administrations. And remember – those are just the ones who got indicted, in a country now famous for protecting its war criminals.

In the coming decades, we will need to make a planetary effort unlike anything in the history of our species. We need to work together for the benefit of all humanity, and of every other species on the planet that we can save. We will need weather modification technology for cooling, or watering entire forests, or helping to grow crops. We will need nuclear power. We will need to build new infrastructure. We will need to develop the means to relocate large amounts of goods and large populations without using fossil fuels. We will need to radically increase the efficiency of the technology we use, and we will need to end profit-driven overproduction.

The politics of nations and national borders are an impediment to all of that, and will increasingly undermine our ability to do anything as the situation gets worse. Everything I just listed can be used or misused to harm people, if used for that purpose. It can also harm people if used neglectfully. I like the anarchist approach to political change not because I necessarily think that we’ll achieve an anarchist society in my lifetime, or because I think such a society would have an easy time dealing with global warming, but because I see it as the best means for people to build collective power and resilience to take collective control of decisions that affect all of us.

Our ability to influence the weather isn’t magic, but I see no reason why the precautions that might be taken by a responsible wizard would not also apply to weather manipulation via technology. In either case, the consequences of doing it for the benefit of a tiny ruling class could be as disastrous as the results of doing it for the benefit (and with the consent) of all humanity could be wondrous.


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It’s 10pm. Do you know what your government’s up to?

I’m posting this for a couple reasons. The first is just that shockingly few Americans actually know about what their own country has been doing over the last few decades. It shouldn’t shock you to learn that I don’t think a violent global empire crushing every left-wing movement it can touch is good. I don’t think it’s good for democracy, I don’t think it’s good for freedom, and I definitely don’t think it’s good for dealing with climate change. Ending this horrific pattern authoritarianism and mass murder will not be easy, but without a broader understanding of what’s actually going on, I think it will be impossible. At this point, absent radical change at the imperial core – the United States of America – every effort to put human life and wellbeing ahead of the ruling class’s power will come under assault, even as U.S. citizens suffer and die for lack of the resources being used to murder people in other countries. We will face violent opposition from the government and from the U.S. fascist movement, as every struggle for justice has in the past, but if Americans don’t find a way to reign in their own government, it will continue to fund violence, terror, and right-wing authoritarianism around the world, holding everybody back.

Important historical context for events in Haiti

With the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, I think it’s important for people – Americans in particular – to have at least a basic understanding of Haitian history and political dynamics. Fortunately, the folks at the Majority Report got Pascal Robert to give an excellent overview:

If we’re going to have a global effort to deal with climate change in anything resembling a just manner, we will need this kind of historical perspective to ensure that we’re truly working to save all of humanity. We need to end this cycle of exploitation, destruction, and betrayal.

We’ve known for decades that a climate refugee crisis was coming. Now it’s here, and we aren’t ready.

About a decade ago, I was part of a Quaker climate action group that was trying to get New England Quakers to take a leadership position – both in political activism and in direct action – to deal with the problems of climate change. We started with putting together a presentation that we’d do at various Quaker Meetings around the region. I don’t remember the exact format, but the basic approach was to simultaneously try to drive home the scale of the horrors we face, and then follow that shock up with discussion of constructive action that could be taken at the community level. We showed a video, and then the 3-5 of us there (it was a small group) would give our own presentations/perspectives on the issue. Mine centered around a discussion of the iguanas I got to help study in college, the dangers presented to them by sea level rise, for example. The video we used, called Wake up, Freak out, then Get a Grip, and I think it’s still worth watching now. The animations are well done, and I expect most of you will be able to see where we’re at in the series of events they forecast:

I think we have passed that point of no return. We can slow the warming, and maybe we can reverse it, but even if we do manage to end fossil fuel use by 2030, I think the temperature is going to keep rising, absent any new actions by humanity. In fact, as we stop using fossil fuels, the corresponding drop in particles in the atmosphere is going to cause a brief increase in temperature, as less sunlight will be reflected back into space before it can heat up the planet. There are proposals to deliberately increase particulate pollution to cool the planet, but they are likely to have bad side effects, and will really only kick the can down the road.

As I’ve said, we’re at a point where we need to work out how to live on this hostile new planet, while we work to make its conditions more hospitable to us and the ecosystems of which we are a part. That means infrastructure that’s either extremely resilient, or that’s designed to be very, very easy to relocate.

It also means finding new homes for billions of people, because where they currently live is fast becoming uninhabitable.

Apparently this hasn’t been clear to all of my readers, so I’ll say it outright – my goal is for humanity to thrive. That obviously requires survival, but more than that it requires that we keep fighting for a more equitable, democratic system. There’s little chance that this struggle will be over at any point in the next couple centuries, and if people try to set aside any issues of social, environmental, or economic justice “until we get climate change dealt with”, then not only will that mean billions will die never seeing justice – even if they all die of old age, which they won’t – it will also undermine or even destroy our efforts to deal with climate change. People who are oppressed will always fight their oppression. The more that work has to be done to deal with immediate survival, then less we will be able to pull together for the good of the species. Likewise, we need to take care of the ecosystems around us, and take action to reduce the scale of the mass extinction we’re currently causing.

As with slavery and genocide, simply ceasing is not enough. Reparations are needed.

And as with those other issues, reparations are not – and never have been – about punishing people for doing bad things. One can argue whether or not there’s a place for that, but it’s a separate issue. The point of reparations is not to harm the perpetrator, but to heal the victim. Material harm has been done, and that requires a material response. Simply apologizing for stabbing someone will not solve the problem – the wound must be cleaned, the damage repaired, and the attacker must be prevented from harming others. There are a whole host of actions that need to be taken before anything can be considered “resolved”.

For the rest of our lives, the fastest growing human crisis is going to be that of those killed by climate change, and those fleeing lethal conditions. To stick with the earlier metaphor, the wounds caused over the centuries by colonialism and capitalism never received treatment, and are now badly infected.

The way we have dealt with refugees historically is not acceptable. It has never been acceptable, and on a rapidly heating planet, incompetent and inhumane management will turn into outright extermination.

If you’ve paid attention to the current fascist movement in the United States, you will have gotten a taste of this already. Refugees are fleeing north from Central America. They’ve been forced out of their ancestral homes by colonialism and the neoliberal atrocities it birthed, but also by the changing climate. The response by American fascists has been not just a closed border, but an impenetrable wall (or the fantasy of one), with proposals to electrify the wall, shoot people who approach it, or even lay down landmines. In reality, all of that “active” violence is secondary and in service to the “passive” violence of an impenetrable border wall.

The goal is a desert full of the bones of those who reached the wall and died unable to cross it.

That’s also why they’ve been caught destroying supply drops meant to help refugees survive the already brutal conditions; in keeping with the long history of governments using the elements as a tool of mass murder, and the tradition of treating refugees as undeserving of life, they want anyone trying to flee to the US to die in the effort.

Even if we ended fossil fuel use tomorrow, that problem would not go away. No approach to this problem will succeed without simultaneously working to keep as much of the world habitable as possible, through the use of technology and through land management, but also to ensure refuge for those living in areas that are no longer habitable.

And more than refuge, we need to ensure that they have a say in decisions that affect their lives. The top-down approach has been a consistent failure, and in this new world, things like refugee camps, concentration camps, and “detention facilities” will all become death camps. Refugees need to be able to control their own lives, same as anyone else, especially because it’s a virtual guarantee that anyone in the position of being classified as a “refugee” was not responsible either for the warming climate, or for the decades of misinformation and obstruction that brought us to this point.

Those who are responsible should be held accountable, stripped of all power to harm others, and their resources should be used to help humanity, but that is a secondary concern to ensuring that their victims are made whole to the greatest degree possible. If we are fighting for a better world for humanity, then we must also be fighting for better a better world for those in it right now, not just for those in the future. That’s not to say that no sacrifices will be made. I don’t think that the ruling class will give up their power willingly, and cutting off access to vital resources has always been a favorite weapon of theirs.

I agree that we absolutely need immigration and refugee policies that value human life, but I’m pessimistic about our chances of getting that from the political systems we currently have, not just in the United States, but in many other places around the world. We need to take matters into our own hands, and work to aid and empower people all around the world. The one silver lining is that there’s so much work to be done, that there’s guaranteed to be a role that’s well-suited for just about everyone.


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Privatization of food, water, shelter, and power kills people. We need to take back the world.

I sometimes feel like a bit of a broken record when it comes to climate change and capitalism. It’s clear to me that dealing with climate change in a way that tries to reduce suffering and needless death will be impossible under a capitalist system. Everything about the way our economy is designed pushes the rich to keep accumulating wealth, and to keep hurting other people to do it. With the ubiquity of the internet in our everyday lives, the ways in which capitalists (or any other rulers for that matter) can directly interfere in our lives are ever-growing. I’ve posted recently about the dangers of heat, and I think it’s clear to most people that some form of artificial cooling is becoming as necessary as heat is in the winter. Under those circumstances, a privatized power grid can turn into a sci-fi nightmare:

Apparently this is a shocking statement in some circles, but I do not believe anyone should have the power to play with people’s lives like that. This is a big reason why I favor solar and wind power – they can be decentralized and integrated throughout the areas -in which humans use power, which makes it more difficult for anyone to control access to electricity.

It’s important to understand that this is not limited to electricity, or even technology in general. It has been done with the housing market for ages, creating and maintaining a large homeless population. Homeless people have always been killed by exposure to the elements, but by now it should be clear to you that those numbers are going to start climbing rapidly. People are already willing to accept worsening labor conditions and debt in an effort to keep a roof over their heads. How much more will we put up with in a world where being denied shelter almost guarantees death?

Corporations (most famously Nestle, but there are others) are also in the process of creating a similar circumstance with access to water around the world. As with the question of shelter, access to potable water is going to become increasingly important as exposure to higher temperatures puts both people and crops at risk of dehydration and overheating. I hope it doesn’t need to be said, but if your access to water depends on being able to pay, then you do not have a right to stay alive in any functional sense.

In a similar vein, it should alarm you that Bill Gates, who has killed a lot of people for money by insisting on corporate control over vaccines, has been buying up vast amounts of farmland.

There is a very real, very immediate danger posed to humanity, not just by climate change, but by the combination of climate change and capitalist hegemony. I don’t know whether it’s malice or pathology, but it seems pretty clear that the capitalists of the world are happy to consume all of humanity, and they should no more be allowed to do that than a serial killer should be allowed to murder at will.

We need to organize, protect and empower each other, and take all power away from those whose “leadership” has brought us to this point.


If you like my work, please share it with others who might find it interesting. If you’re willing, please also consider contributing as little as one dollar per month to my patreon. For various reasons, this is my only source of income right now, and it’s less than we need to break even. Doing so will get you access to some extra content (science fiction and some nonfiction), and give you some influence on what topics I write about.

“Wet-bulb temperature” is a concept you need to know as the planet warms

As previously discussed, we’re the point at which going outside without a cooling suit can be lethal in growing regions of the planet, for growing parts of the year. Wet-bulb temperatures are the condition under which that’s happening currently, and as the video says, they’re becoming more frequent. Keep an eye on the humidity as well as the temperature, because it’s literally a matter of life and death.

Rethinking society: How can we redesign our lives and infrastructure to survive the rising heat?

From time to time, politicians are accused of taking the “don’t let a good crisis go to waste” approach, and while crises are often exploited by disaster capitalists and demagogues, they can also be exploited by people who want to make the world a better place for everyone. In that vein, I want to take advantage of the current crisis (or the current tiny part of the larger climate crisis), to ask you to imagine a different world.

Summer has arrived in North America with infernal temperatures, and the wildfires seem to be getting worse every year. Between the heat and the smoke, going outside is increasingly dangerous in growing parts of the continent, at least for part of the year. It appears that the bleak reality of climate change is setting in for more people every year now, and I think that makes this a good time to really think about the dangers facing us in a warmer climate, and how our infrastructure, lifestyles, and even clothing may need to change.

These changes have already been underway, at a reactive level. The COVID-19 pandemic may have caused a global increase in mask usage, but the areas affected by the growing wildfire problem have had masks on the list of recommended household safety gear for a while now, because of the problems caused by smoke inhalation. As temperatures rise, many chemical reactions will become more common. Air pollution in general is going to keep getting more dangerous, and wildfires make that problem worse not just by having more smoke in the air, but by burning human structures, waste, vehicles, and so on and releasing those chemicals into the air as well. We’re expected to have more pandemics in the near future, simply because of habitat destruction and climate chaos bringing humans into contact with new animal populations, but we’re also going to want to have masks around because hotter air is more likely to be poisonous.

It’s becoming harder and harder for anyone to believe that life as we’ve known it is ever going to return. We’re gazing into the unknown, and it’s natural for our minds to conjure images – to make spontaneous guesses for what might actually be out in the darkness. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and the shape of what follows has yet to be determined.

Let’s continue thinking about masks, for example. I’ve been wearing one in public spaces for 16 months now, and I generally dislike them. I don’t like the close, muffled feel or the way the masks press against my beard. They’re uncomfortable, but also necessary. I think that as the temperature rises, and the necessity for masks increases, I’m going to want to make a re-usable mask that fits more comfortably, and that’s not going to make me feel like I’m suffocating if I have to wear it during a heat wave. I’ve toyed with the notion of a mask with a rigid skeleton, washable filters, and maybe even a battery powered air pump or fan for circulation. If we’re gonna have to deal with a dystopian hellscape of climate chaos and late-stage capitalism, we might as well get a cool cyberpunk aesthetic to go with it, right? Guess I’d better add some infrared LEDs to mess with surveillance equipment while I’m at it.

Aesthetics aside, with the temperatures we’re starting to see, I honestly think we’re approaching a point where going outside is going to require a full-body cooling suit on some days. Liquid-based thermal suits have been around for a while – they’re most famously used by astronauts for the under-suit worn inside a space suit. The basic principle is that the clothing holds a tube against the skin, through which water or some other fluid is pumped, drawing heat away from the body. According to Wikipedia, garments like this are designed to

…remove body heat from the wearer in environments where evaporative cooling from sweating and convection cooling does not work, or the wearer has a biological problem that hinders self-regulation of body temperature.

For the rest of our lives, a growing portion of humanity is going to live in those conditions for at least part of the year. Hopefully the fact that parts of Canada are approaching those conditions has disabused most people of the notion that anywhere on the planet is going to be guaranteed to avoid those conditions. People are going to need to have reliable shelter from the heat, and are going to need protective gear for going outdoors, especially for things like emergency services. What remains to be seen is how easy it’s going to be to build and maintain such garments as the heat continues to rise.

Even if it turns out we can make temperature-controlled clothing easily and safely, we can’t simply exist in full body suits for our entire lives – we’re going to need places where we can just exist, without protective gear, which means not just air conditioning of one form or another, but also common spaces that can be accessed without going outside, or without spending more than a couple minutes between buildings. I think there are a lot of forms this could take, but probably the most familiar would be dormitories, apartment blocks, and “co-housing” setups like this Norwegian project: 

In Vindmøllebakken, the units are arranged around a central core of communal

Vindmøllebakken Cohousing Project by Helen & Hard Architects interior courtyard

Sindre Ellingsen

spaces, which are equally and jointly owned by residents. The main entrance is through a lofty, light-filled courtyard space with an amphitheater, all built with spruce timber and insulated with hemp, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for residents to sit or to chat.

For those who want to skip this area of socializing, there is a more direct path from the street to residences that is available as well.

Adjacent to the courtyard, we have a communal kitchen and communal open-plan dining area, providing a space for residents to cook and eat together if they so choose. There is also a lounge and guest rooms. Further up, we have open walkways leading to a library, greenhouse, and workshop.

The architects say that: “The sequence of rooms is designed to create visual connections between spaces and people and to provide freedom to how much and when to engage in communal life.”

Another thing that is already the norm in some areas is to have grocery stores build into apartment buildings. The AirB&B we stayed at in Frankfurt on our move across the Atlantic had a full grocery store in the basement. I’m sure the residents of that building aren’t the only ones who shop there, but if they’re ever faced with conditions that require them to stay indoors as much as possible – like a killer heatwave – they’ll be able to get necessities without ever setting foot outside. Add in things like the monstrous floating cities used by the cruise industry, and subway stations built into the lower basements of skyscrapers, and it’s clear that we have all the pieces we need for cities that can function pretty well with a majority of people never needing to expose themselves to lethal outdoor conditions.

At the same time, the conditions we’ll be trying to avoid are likely to cause problems for both agriculture and freight, all of which brings us back to my long-standing belief that we’re going to need to invest heavily in indoor food production. That can be hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, algae or bacteria farming, insect farming, or even giant, artificially lit underground fields for all I care, but our food crops can’t survive these heat waves and fires any better than anything else can, and the cost of irrigating them is going to start rising exponentially as groundwater continues being depleted and temperatures continue to rise.

It may not be everywhere, and it should not be how we spend all of our time if it can be avoided (I think we need to maintain a broad personal connection between the state of the climate and the general population), but it will be necessary for survival in most parts of the globe at least some of the time. As we look into things like high speed rail networks, I think we might want to consider spending the extra resources to build those underground to protect our transit network from the rising climate chaos. The current above-ground arrangements for mass transit are currently melting, warping, or buckling.

But all of this is just what’s going on in my head, and I think we need as many people thinking about this as possible. How can we adapt ourselves and our society to the way climate change is affecting your region? What would be needed for that change?

What are the obstacles, and how might they be overcome?

What changes could we make at the same time to foster community building and organizing, and to improve everyday life, particularly for those at the bottom? How could we rebuild society to increase everybody’s free time?

We are in uncharted territory in a number of ways. The people in charge know the harm they’re doing, but they’re lying when they say they know what’s best for humanity – they don’t, and they never have. It’s up to us to figure out what needs to be done, and to make that happen.

Anyway, I’m curious what thoughts other people have on how we might change things to survive what looks to be a very tough time.

The image shows a portion of what looks to be a round, multi-story room. On the bottom story, and closer to the foreground, are shelves of plants growing under artificial lighting. The level above has cafe-style chairs and tables overlooking what appears to be a garden with a small tree or a shrub in the middle of it. It looks like both a pleasant bit of greenery, and a small source of food.


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Update: Lytton has burned.

On June 28th, I mentioned the incredible heat record in Lytton, BC. Two days later, and the entire town was on fire.

One day after it set Canada’s all-time heat record, a British Columbia village was devoured by flames.

A fast-moving wildfire roared over the village of Lytton on Wednesday evening, which shocked climate scientists when temperature there surged to 121 degrees on Tuesday, breaking Canada’s national heat record for a third straight day.

The blaze was a sobering symbol of a hellscape in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, where hundreds have died and wildfires are erupting as temperatures climb to astonishing heights. One location in Canada’s Northwest Territories, hit 103 degrees Wednesday, the highest temperature observed so far north.

‘Our poor little town of Lytton is gone’: Village at center of Canada’s heat wave devastated by ‘catastrophic’ fires

The Lytton blaze prompted a mandatory evacuation order at 6 p.m. local time for the village of 250 people about 150 miles northeast of Vancouver.

“The fire, it took maybe 15 minutes to engulf the whole town,” Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman told NEWS 1130, a news radio station in Vancouver. “People, basically they just grabbed their keys, and ran out the door. That’s how quick the fire happened.”

Canada’s Global News reported that several buildings were destroyed and that an “unknown number of injured residents” were taken out of the village by ambulance.

“The town is about a kilometre [0.6 miles] long and there were flames from one end of town to the other,” Polderman told NEWS11. “I saw it with my own eyes.”

Lytton burned as more than a dozen wildfires erupted in British Columbia amid the most extreme heat wave recorded in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada.

This is what global warming looks like, and it is just the beginning. The areas that burn every summer are going to keep growing. I hope I’m wrong about this, but I think it’s likely that areas that were historically too wet for fires like this are going to burn as well. As always, there’s a long list of things we could be doing as a society to respond to this emergency, but we’re not going to for as long as the current system remains in place.

They’re welcome to prove me wrong by using their wealth and power to solve the problem, but rather than hoping they’re going to do that, we should be working taking away their power.

How corporations go about the business of causing death for profit

As I hope you are all aware by now, the United States has a bad habit of pretending that any problem that existed in the past is no longer a problem. White supremacy, misogyny, abuses of power, genocide, colonialism, and the list goes on. All of these things are treated at various times, by various people, as being “in the past”, in the same way that Ancient Greece is in the past. It’s facts we might learn about, but we shouldn’t let it interfere with working on the future!

It’s all bullshit. It always was. The “former” colonies are all still being plundered and oppressed, it’s just that the tools and tactics have changed. Misogyny still exists at a systemic level. White supremacy still holds power at a global level, and causes countless deaths every day. The feudal dynasties whose abuses led their apparent loss of power are mostly still wealthy and powerful. Slavery continues. The same goes for corporate abuses within capitalism. There’s a long and bloody history of both the lethal working conditions imposed by capitalists, and the literal battles fought for workers’ rights. There’s also the horrific record of industrial pollution, and the ways in which it has killed, maimed, or otherwise harmed people all around the world. These things happened in the past, but they are not of the past. They never went away, they just made some cosmetic changes, and spent a lot of money repeatedly telling people that all that is in the past.

The same is true for the crimes of the fossil fuel industry. The fortunes they spent misleading the public and buying politicians are how we got to the point we’re at today, but they’re also why we continue to see a total absence of any real urgency in government. You could barely even call it a conspiracy – it’s almost completely in the open. At the same time, it can be a bit jarring to actually see and hear what actually happens as these people work hard to ensure that more people die, so they can keep getting richer:

These problems will continue to plague us, and continue to drive us closer to extinction for as long as anyone is allowed to hold that kind of power. For the survival of humanity, we need to eliminate the power of the ruling class, and not replace it with new rulers. It won’t be pleasant or easy, but it needs to be done.