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Turning 21 in the Anthropocene

On Earth Day Eve 2015, Nate Hagens presented Turning 21 in the Anthropocene: An Invitation for Young People to Participate in their Future at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Dr. Hagens’ talk was co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education and the UW-Stevens Point Office of Sustainability.

8 Comments on "Turning 21 in the Anthropocene"

  1. BobInget on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 12:12 pm 

    “Mother” Strikes Back

    one hour ago:

    A line of severe thunderstorms packing hurricane-force wind gusts rumbled across the Midwest on Monday, damaging homes and farms, downing trees and destroying an airplane hangar.

    The Weather Channel classified it as a derecho, a weather phenomenon that can do as much destruction as a strong tornado. A derecho is a line of especially powerful winds that causes damage for at least 240 miles.

    The National Weather Service posted a severe thunderstorm watch for Chicago and Milwaukee as the storms pushed east. More than 400 flights were canceled into and out of Chicago airports, according to the tracking site FlightAware.

    Storm damage was reported in Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Near Sheldon, Iowa, a hangar was demolished and planes were damaged from winds gusting to 95 mph, The Weather Channel reported.(30)

    It’s too early but Crop Damage should be a concern.

    If portions of our conn crops are damaged, it’s too late to replant. This could drive up both gasoline and meat prices.

  2. Apneaman on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 7:00 pm 

    So yesterday was the official start of summer in the northern hemisphere. How we doing so far?

    “Worst Fire Conditions On Record” — As Heatwaves, Drought Bake North American West, Wildfires Erupt From California to Alaska

    “There are 146 wildfires burning in Alaska today. A total that is likely to see at least another dozen blazes added to it by midnight. A total that has already absorbed the entire firefighting capacity of the State and has drawn hundreds of firefighters from across the country in places as far away as Pennsylvania.”

    “Deadhorse, at the center of North Slope oil fields above the Arctic Circle set an all time record high of 82 degrees (Fahrenheit) on Sunday. That’s 3 degrees hotter than the previous all time record high of 79 degrees set on August 16, 2004. The hottest reading for June at that location was a 68 degree measure set in 2007. So, basically, Deadhorse just shattered the all-time record for June by 14 degrees (F) and the globally record hot summer of 2015 has only now gotten started.”

  3. Apneaman on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 7:12 pm 

    Here in BC we have vast tracts of dead forest (bugwood) from the pine beetle that has been just waiting for a spark. POOF


    B.C. burning through wildfire budget
    B.C. Wildfire Management Branch has already spent $52.5 million of its $63 million budget for this year

    Mountain pine beetle

    Scientific research

    Climate change and range expansion of an aggressive bark beetle: Evidence of higher reproductive success in naïve host tree population.

    The threat of mountain pine beetle to Canada’s boreal forest

    “The current MPB outbreak started in British Columbia in the early 1990s. The insect has since killed about 50% of the total volume of commercial lodgepole pine in the province.”

  4. Apneaman on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 8:04 pm 

    Alaska’s climate hell: Record heat, wildfires and melting glaciers signal a scary new normal

  5. Apneaman on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 8:55 pm 

    Climate change may destroy health gains: panel

    The Lancet – Health and climate change: policy responses to protect
    public health

  6. Makati1 on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 9:44 pm 

    “Sustainability’ is a joke, as all of the references in the comments above prove. The idea that, because today some country has ‘resources’, does not mean that they cannot be gone in a flash of lightning or the passing of Mother Nature in the form of a cat 5 or bigger, storm or two or two hundred.

    I would not want to be 21 today because I would be lucky to have another 21 years to live. For the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, we are on the brink of self destruction. And if the mushrooms don’t appear, the heat, drought and famine surely will.

    And yes, I have family, but it is too late to change the course we are on. All we can do is prepare to make it as painless as possible with our resources. I buy them backpacks and wind-up emergency radios and other prep items instead of toys and I-junk for birthdays, etc. That is all I can do for them, or myself.

  7. Davy on Tue, 23rd Jun 2015 5:18 am 

    The way to solve our problems of overpopulation and overconsumption that are responsible for ecological failure and social decline is easy. It is so simple as to be a no brainer. Where it becomes hard is the classic analogy of having cake and eat it.

    Nowhere in any significant numbers is anyone ready for sacrifice even a less difficult relative sacrifice. Nowhere is this further from a possibility then with the top global 1% and especially the 1% of the 1% who are the real drivers of the global economy. Nations are not interested in polices of sacrifice. There is good reason for this because even a decline in the rate of growth is very dangerous as witnessed in the 08 crisis.

    The vast majority of peoples globally striving for a better life for themselves and their children is difficult to change. At this level it is small increases in living standards yet with such a large population small gets dangerously magnified. This is a duel problem of the rich overconsuming and too many poor wanting to consume just a little more. This is basically a population predicament and which makes any consumption rich or poor magnified and in excess.

    Consumption from the rich or the multitude of the poor in a fossil fuel based global economy further allows magnification of the consumption and population predicament. Fossil fuels are energy intensive and allow destructive activity that would be much less possible in a world without fossil fuels. Population has been allowed to grow in excessive numbers because of fossil fuels. Consumption, and technological progress to the degree we see today is only by fossil fuels.

    We are clearly at limits in most areas. We are seeing diminishing returns to our efforts to try to have cake and eat it. We can solve our problems of climate and ecosystem but at the expense of economy and social fabric. There are only tradeoffs when you reach our level of complexity from consumption and fossil fuel fueled population levels. The tradeoffs is excess deaths over births and unprecedented economic contraction. How friggen simple is that? It is simple much of the world must die off and the economy must be destroyed as we know it. That seems simple to me. I agree not pleasant but it is simple.

    We can even buy ourselves time by practicing relative sacrifice per your economic situation and local but we can’t have cake and eat it. The reason we are feeling these problems of population, pollution, and climate are so difficult is because you can’t have your cake and eat it. The longer we try to have your cake and eat it the quicker the cake is shrinking and the number of people wanting cake growing.

    This is a simple solution and it is descent. This is not prosperous descent or steady state economy that is just more of the cake and eat it fantasy. This is the good old fashion economic collapse with the corresponding population die off. This is not your granddaddy’s crash. The great depression or other depressions were tough but nothing like some areas are going to experience. This will be a human die off bottleneck.

    How can it be anything else? Consumption will have to fall to a level pre-fossil fuel because a fossil fuel economy will fail with a failure of growth. You can’t have our type of economy after an economic descent. The duration and the degree of the descent can be debated. The point of an economic level and population stabilization can be debated but I feel you can’t debate the end of a complex global society with a descent.

    Population will and must decline to 500MIL to 1BIL globally. That number will vary by region especially with and how the descent proceeds. This will depend on climate change. Some locals may become uninhabitable even after they decline from economic descent.

    This is all so simple as to be complex and the reason is you can’t have your cake and eat it. The laws of nature tell us this. We feel exceptional so we think we can use markets and technology to solve this unsolvable problem. This only makes it worse. We can only buy some time even with sacrifice before the inevitable destructive descent takes over.

  8. Kenz300 on Wed, 24th Jun 2015 7:33 am 

    For Faithful, Social Justice Goals Demand Action on Environment – The New York Times

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