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The Home of Evolutioneers

Universe Spirit Blogs

  • To Hope or Not to Hope: How Fearful Should We Be of Climate Destabilization and Catastrophic Climate Destabilization?

    Catastrophic climate destabilization. Sounds scary, right? Well, quite frankly, most of the projected impacts of our changing climate are, in fact, very scary. But is fear useful to us in this situation? To be honest, when Lovelock says in The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning that “it is too late for us to try to save our familiar world,” the effect for me is that hope and optimism quickly dissipate. It’s hard to act when failure is guaranteed.

    In Ondi Timoner’s documentary Cool It (based on his book by the same name) Bjorn Lomborg addresses the fear issue when he says that “the scare tactics used to motivate people have gone too far. The hysteria blocks clear thinking, diverts money to the wrong solutions.” This video takes a good look at the argument put forth by Lomborg, author of Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming. Lomborg fits Craven's definition of a skeptic because he doesn’t support the idea of making drastic, urgent carbon cuts. But he does believe that “global warming’s real, it’s man-made, and it’s an important problem,” and that we ought to invest in solutions that are both environmentally and economically viable. His message is even somewhat uplifting: the world is actually the best it’s ever been; we’ve never before had things so good. Plus there is a bevy of possible solutions, from water splitting to wave power, and if we would fund research, we might be able to actually enact change on the climate destabilization issue. The overall effect of this particular video was that I felt much more hopeful about our ability to address the climate change issue and to solve many of the world’s other problems in the meantime.

    Waves Beenbane Beach

    (harnessing the power of waves could help our climate, according to Lomborg.)

    After all, that’s what we’re really hoping for here at Universe Spirit. We feel we must first address the catastrophic destabilization of the climate so that humanity can continue--but in a new direction, with sustainable prosperity for all. This would mean that all humans have the same basic level of access to food, shelter and health care, for example. And and it appears that these are some of the issues that Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus Center are also trying to address.  

    Please feel encouraged to leave comments, subscribe to our RSS feed and join the Job One journey!

    ***photo by Barbara Walsh, who is unaffiliated with our organization.

     

    Click this Join/Subscribe link or the one at the top of the page and we will keep you informed of Universe Spirit events and important updates. Also subscribe to this Universe blog separately by clicking here.

    If you would like to see a realistic comprehensive and systemic approach to global warming and climate destabilization, click here.

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  • Warnings of Catastrophe: Consequences of Climate Destabilization

    So, on the advice of Greg Craven, we ask the question: what’s the worst that could happen? Looking to sources we believe are highly credible, we find James Lovelock, fellow of the Royal Society, former NASA consultant and author of The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning, who tells us that “we do have to take seriously the possibility that global heating may all but eliminate people from the Earth.” A solemn response to our question.

     

    In addition, and for the more imminent future, he suggests that “the droughts of summer will intensify. In the United States, memories of the 1930s Dust Bowl will be revived. Australia has already suffered eleven years of continuous drought; Europeans will recall the awful summer of 2003; and in China, Africa and Southern Asia, famine is a familiar enemy. Like the foot of an elephant on an anthill, global heating will crush life from the continental plains.”

    NRCSDC01008 - Flickr - USDAgov

    (Dust Bowl, circa 1930s. By U.S. Department of Agriculture (NRCSDC01008) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

     

    James Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who is also well known for his 1988 testimony to the United States Senate committee and subsequent years of activism around mitigating the effects of climate change, is, in our mind, another very reliable source of climate information. His new book, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, was written despite the fact that he would really prefer to “to just do science.” In the preface of his book he writes that “If it hadn’t been for my grandchildren and my knowledge of what they would face, I would have stayed focused on the pure science, and not persisted in pointing out its relevance to policy.” But because he does understand the issue and feels compelled to share that information for the good of future generations, he continues to propose that action be taken.

     

    Quite early in this book Hansen provides one possible answer to our question of what’s the worst that could happen. “The startling conclusion,” he writes, “is that continued exploitation of all fossil fuels on Earth threatens not only the other millions of species on the planet but also the survival of humanity itself--and the timetable is shorter than we thought.”

     

    Such admonitions are part of the reason why we will henceforth refer to the issue commonly known as global warming--or climate change--as catastrophic climate destabilization, a term used by Craven in his book, What's the Worst That Could Happen?: A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate. The other labels just don’t seem to adequately describe what we are actually facing here. The term “global warming” is potentially confusing to people, since, as the average global temperature increases, some places on Earth could actually become much colder. And predictions for six degrees of overall warming include the possibility of “devastating massive extinction” and the breakdown of traditional social systems. So we think that with such catastrophic potentialities, “climate change” doesn’t quite cut it either. Of course, you’ll see all of these phrases used in this blog as various sources use different terms. But given the concern of such prominent scientists, we do feel that catastrophic climate destabilization is the most apt way of phrasing it.

     

    Click this Join/Subscribe link or the one at the top of the page and we will keep you informed of Universe Spirit events and important updates. Also subscribe to this Universe blog separately by clicking here.

    If you would like to see a realistic comprehensive and systemic approach to global warming and climate destabilization, click here.

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  • What's the Worst That Could Happen As the Climate Destabilizes?

     

    Greg Craven, the high school science teacher who created The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See 2, also wrote a book called What's the Worst That Could Happen?: A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate. A quick, easy, and fun read, this little book explains the platforms of the "warmers" and the "skeptics," or those who support the idea that we should take significant action to cut carbon emissions and those who oppose this idea, respectively.

     

    Electricity power plant, Kozani, Greece

    In this book, Craven doesn't attempt to decide who's right, but seeks instead to equip everyone with thinking tools that are actually helpful in deciding upon a course of action. In his view, it's all about "changing the question from, Is it true? to, What's the worst that could happen?" So he introduces  the decision grid and the credibility spectrum, two concepts that get us thinking for ourselves about the evidence that we do have, who's providing this evidence, and how to make a decision with it. As he points out, "part of the strength of the credibility spectrum and the decision grid is that they don't require perfection. You do what you can with the time you've got, make a provisional decision, and then remain open to new information."

     

    This is important, since scientists are telling us that we haven't actually got much time left in which to take decisive action before feedback loops kick in and we reach a tipping point in our climate system. Such a tipping point would mean irreversible changes, potentially catastrophic. In fact, although he uses "global warming" throughout his book to refer to the climate change issue, Craven frequently mentions "the risk we run of triggering abrupt and catastrophic climate destabilization." His advice for immediate action: get the word out. This blog is our attempt to do just that: to circulate the facts that we have, to facilitate discussion and to motivate policymakers to action.

     

    Please feel encouraged to join the discussion; share your comments and subscribe via RSS to our blog!

     

    ***Photo by Lisa Murray: Electricity Power Plant, Kozani, Greece

     

    Click this Join/Subscribe link or the one at the top of the page and we will keep you informed of Universe Spirit events and important updates. Also subscribe to this Universe blog separately by clicking here.

    If you would like to see a realistic comprehensive and systemic approach to global warming and climate destabilization, click here.

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  • Join Job One for Humanity: Resolving Climate Destabilization and Catastrophic Climate Destabilization

     

    As is evident from our previous call to action, Universe Spirit believes that Job One for Humanity is to reduce the impact of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate destabilization--a real threat to humanity with potentially catastrophic consequences--and that we must act quickly in order to mitigate and adapt to these consequences.

     

    But despite our certainty that action of some kind is required, we recognize that the climate destabilization issue includes a good deal of uncertainty--and some controversy. We plan to look at both sides of the debate as we search for a fuller understanding of the issue, for as John Stuart Mill points out in his classic essay On Liberty, “since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.” That is why we’ll be researching--and inviting input from--the climate “skeptics” on our site. Even though we’ve already come to certain conclusions, we are aware that life in this universe is a constant learning process, and we welcome every point of view that may add to our search for solutions.

     

    Aurora Composite Image

     

    As we continue to learn about this issue (and share that learning with you through this blog) we will approach the problem from a multidisciplinary, universe-scaled evolutionary systems perspective, applying our knowledge of the Universe Evolutionary Principles and the new Universe Evolutionary Worldview at points along the way. We invite comments from anyone whose approach or opinion is based on a sincere desire to contribute to our mission with their particular version of the truth. We’re looking forward to making this site a forum for collaborative learning. We’d love for you to join us on this journey! 

    Please feel encouraged to share your comments and to subscribe via RSS in order to join the journey. 

     

    *** Thank you to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, whose flickr photostream provided the above image. It beautifully illustrates how much we have learned about the universe in which we live. This is a composite image of a coronal mass ejection on the sun and the aurora it produces on earth--seen from space and from the earth itself.

     

    Click this Join/Subscribe link or the one at the top of the page and we will keep you informed of Universe Spirit events and important updates. Also subscribe to this Universe blog separately by clicking here.

    If you would like to see a realistic comprehensive and systemic approach to global warming and climate destabilization, click here.

    Tubular Doom Sock

  • A Climate Deastabilization Call to Action: Job One for Humanity

    Our world is at a turning point; revolutions are happening everywhere, and the push for change is in the air. Yes, change is literally in the air. Human activity is causing carbon in the atmosphere to increase about 2 ppm per year. As of this writing, we are at 393 ppm, so if we continue with business as usual, it won’t be too long until we’ve reached 450 ppm. According to Jeremy Rifkin (referencing James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies), 450 ppm would correspond to a temperature increase of six degrees Celsius in this century, and “the end of human civilization as we’ve come to know it.” So now’s the time to harness the revolutionary energy that is sweeping the world in order to save this planet and all of its beauty, to save all the glory of humanity’s existence.

    If we do not curb our greenhouse gas emissions in a timely manner, we will be dealing with dire consequences that will affect us all. In fact, we are dealing with consequences already; tropical storms are taking paths never seen before, causing surprising flash floods in the southern Phillippines. And according to Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, if global temperatures continue to increase—even just two degrees Celsius—it would mean that “Miami would disappear entirely, as would most of Manhattan. Central London would be flooded. Bangkok, Bombay, and Shanghai would also lose most of their area. In all, half of humanity would have to move to higher ground.”

    Recognizing the scope of the potential calamity, the Maldives has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2020. As President Nasheed said at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in 2009, “If things go business as usual, we will not live, we will die. Our country will not exist.” Tuvalu also will cease to exist, should we be unable to curb the emissions that are causing temperatures and sea levels to rise so dramatically. How unlucky the citizens of those island nations would be if their homes just vanished completely. But truly, if these parts of our world disappear, it will be the loss of every inhabitant of Earth. Are we going to sit idly by and watch Earth’s various beauties sink and melt away in coming decades?

    Tuvalu - Funafuti - Beach #4

    The effects of climate change are perhaps not so visible to all of us at the moment, but if we give it enough time, they will be. If the Greenland ice sheet melts completely, we all lose something. This planet is full of so many treasures, treasures that we may not get back after they’re gone. So it is time for us to come together as global citizens in order to solve the problems associated with severe climate change, ahead of time, before it’s too late. If we bring our energy, attention and intelligence to finding the best solutions to this complicated issue, we could potentially solve many of the other problems humanity faces in the process. But if we fail to deal with the increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, we won’t be doing much of anything at all. For, according to Mark Lynas, if we let our planet’s temperature increase by as much as six degrees Celsius, “it would cause a mass extinction of almost all life and probably reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles." Thus, it’s time to make things better—not just to prevent the worst, but to really make everything better—for everyone on this planet.

    For more information on what you can do to resolve climate destabilization and be a part of the Job One for Humanity team, click here.

    *** thank you to Stefan Lins, from whose flickr photostream we got the beautiful photo (above) of Tuvalu!

     

    Click this Join/Subscribe link or the one at the top of the page and we will keep you informed of Universe Spirit events and important updates. Also subscribe to this Universe blog separately by clicking here.

    If you would like to see a realistic comprehensive and systemic approach to global warming and climate destabilization, click here.

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  • Welcome to the Universe Spirit Blog

    Welcome to the Universe Spirit blog!

    We've recently been working hard on redoing the Universe Spirit website so that it's lovelier to look at and easier to navigate. We hope you enjoy the new design--and we'd most definitely love to hear your feedback!

    We've also been refining our mission as of late, and are excited to report that Universe Spirit has a new focus. Alongside open-source personal spirituality and the new Universe Evolutionary Worldview, we're here to promote Job One for Humanity. We believe, of course, that a universe-informed type of spirituality will make the world better, but unless we act quickly to reverse the damage we've done to our planet--the damage that is now wreaking the worldwide havoc that we call catastrophic climate destabilization--there may be nary an environment left in which to practice and pursue spiritual aims.

    Human being and World...

     

    That's why we're putting "first things first" and asking that everyone in our spiritual community get on board with Job One for Humanity. The time has come for us all to do everything that we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent dramatic increase in our earth's average temperature. The experts agree that there's not much time left before positive feedback loops begin to kick in and we're left with a straight-up climate catastrophe.

    In this blog we'll be exploring the issues and potential solutions to the climate situation, as well as the ways in which a universe-based spirituality can help to inform our understandings and our actions in the Job One for Humanity endeavor.

    We look forward to sharing with and hearing from you more soon!!

     

    ***photo by CLUC on flickr (this person has no affiliation with our organization, but we thank them for the artwork, which we feel illustrates a bit of the essence of Job One for Humanity).

     

    Click this Join/Subscribe link or the one at the top of the page and we will keep you informed of Universe Spirit events and important updates. Also subscribe to this Universe blog separately by clicking here.

    If you would like to see a realistic comprehensive and systemic approach to global warming and climate destabilization, click here.

     

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