What My Family and I Saw When We Were Trapped in China’s Heat Wave #ClimateCrisis #EcologicalCrisis #EconomicCrisis

By Matthew Bossons

Mr. Bossons is managing editor of Radii, a Shanghai-based online publication focused on Chinese youth culture.

SHANGHAI — Last month, I traveled with my wife and 5-year-old daughter from our home here to southwestern China for a family camping trip.

Our destination was a region of Sichuan Province where clear rivers tumble down from the Himalayas through steep valleys before watering fertile lowlands that help feed a country with the world’s largest population. My daughter, Evelyn, learned to swim only just last year, and we looked forward to plunging into cool, scenic mountain swimming holes.

Instead, we ran a gantlet of climate change effects caused by China’s historic heat wave this summer — ravaged landscapes, paralyzed cities and populations pushed to extremes.

It had been a year of global climate alarm even before China began heating up in July. Millions of people in the United States, Europe, South Asia and elsewhere have been enduring extreme temperatures. Even famously cool and damp England roasted this summer during a hot spell that scientists say was worsened by climate change.

But the heat wave that baked China for weeks was startling in its scale, duration and intensity. Through July and August, it shattered temperature recordsdried up riverswithered cropssparked wildfires and caused deaths from heatstroke. It may have been the most severe heat wave ever recorded.

And it laid bare frightening realities about how humanity is expected to adapt.

With temperatures as high as 113 degreesFahrenheit, electricity usage soared as hundreds of millions of Chinese switched on air-conditioners. But where was that power supposed to come from? Severe drought had dried up the rivers on which the country depends for much of its clean hydroelectricity, crippling output.

This forced China, which pumps more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any other nation, to double down on carbon-belching coal to make up the power shortfall. The heat wave had created a vicious cycle that, if replicated across the globe during future extreme weather events, will deeply complicate efforts to combat some of the worst effects of climate change.

In Sichuan, the majestic, raging mountain rivers that we had anticipated were no more: The hot, dry weather had reduced them to a trickle, and the deep swimming holes that we had picked out on the internet barely had enough water to reach my knees. Our hopes of gathering around a campfire each night were dashed by a ban imposed to limit wildfire risks in the bone-dry landscape.

Driving back out of the relative cool of the mountains, we were hit by the full force of the heat wave. Vast stretches of the country’s central, southern and southwestern lowlands sweltered.

We drove through normally verdant farmland toward Sichuan’s provincial capital, Chengdu, passing miles of withered cornfields and bumper-to-bumper traffic that flowed in the opposite direction toward the mountains. With hydropower output crippled, the authorities had imposed power-saving blackouts that closed businesses and rendered air-conditioners useless. People were fleeing to higher, cooler ground.

Subway stations were blacked out. At night, buildings were darkened and streetlights were dimmed. We fled the deserted streets one day for refuge in a mall, hoping to cool down, but restrictions on electricity had left it as hot and humid as the outdoors.

A city of more than 20 million people had become practically unlivable.

Confronting harsh ecological realities, this book explores the roots of social injustice and offers a down-powering path to “fewer and less.”
Since the advent of agriculture, humans have been depleting the ecological capital of the planet, with some doing far more damage than others. In An Inconvenient Apocalypse, Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen, two of today’s most prominent writers in the fields of sustainability studies, argue that to understand the present we need to recognize how geographic determinism has shaped the past and how we can’t ignore human nature in planning for the future.
The failure to understand the human place in the struggle for energy-rich carbon leaves us facing four hard questions: How much smaller is a sustainable size for the human population? What is the appropriate scale of our communities? Is maintaining our current infrastructure and energy-dependent society within our true scope of abilities? How much faster do we need to move in order to avoid even greater catastrophes? Whatever choices we make, Jackson and Jensen argue, the new future will be marked by “fewer and less,” far fewer people consuming far less energy. The authors offer a secular reading of theological concepts-the prophetic, the apocalyptic, a saving remnant, and grace-to chart a collective path for dealing with today’s multiple cascading ecological crises. The inevitable down-powering will not be easy but can lead to a renewed appreciation of the larger living world, a more joyful participation in the Creation. Written in plain language with intellectual rigor, An Inconvenient Apocalypse is accessible for general readers. In addition, students in the environmental humanities and Anthropocene studies more broadly will find this book rich and important.
An Inconvenient Apocalypse

Chengdu wasn’t the only place. At least 262 weather stations nationwide tied or set heat records, and rivers that are important arteries for shipping and transportation became unnavigable. Water levels in the Yangtze, the world’s third-longest river, hit record lows, dropping as much as 20 feet below recent averages.

Chickens died or struggled to lay eggs, pigs were hosed down by fire trucks to keep them cool and Sichuan’s famed pandas lay on blocks of ice. People hoisted food to their apartments using buckets and ropes because the power blackouts had left elevators idled. Some simply fled to underground tunnels to stay cool.

Chinese people have a phrase, the “Three Furnaces of China,” that refers to a trio of cities — Chongqing, Nanjing and Wuhan — that are best avoided during their sweltering summers. But in the torrid summer of 2022, half of China turned into a giant oven.

Although situated in a more moderate coastal climate, Shanghai offered little respite on our return home. The mercury had soared here in China’s largest city this summer, repeatedly surging past 100 degrees Fahrenheit and causing the authorities to issue multiple public safety alertsfor extreme heat. There was little you could do but huddle at home, running the air-conditioner full-blast, which we’d done almost nonstop since June. I’ve lived in China for several years, and each summer has seemed worse than the last.

The Chinese government has now warned that the autumn harvest is at risk, prompting fears that increased demands for food imports could exacerbate a global food crisis. And ominously, the power crunch caused by the heat wave has given rise to calls for China to slow down its transition from coal to renewable energy in order to keep the economy running.

What happened in China this summer has made it abundantly clear: Even with concerted and aggressive global action to curb carbon emissions, it’s going to be a rough ride.

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A personal call to action from an Australian IPCC author
Acknowledging that the world as we know it is coming apart is an act of courage.
If I live to look back at this troubled time, I want to say that I did all that I could, that I was on the right side of history.
The question is, do you want to be part of the legacy that restores our faith in humanity?

When climate scientist Joëlle Gergis set to work on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the research she encountered kept her up at night. Through countless hours spent with the world’s top scientists to piece together the latest global assessment of climate change, she realised that the impacts were occurring faster than anyone had predicted.

In Humanity’s Moment, Joëlle takes us through the science in the IPCC report with unflinching honesty, explaining what it means for our future, while sharing her personal reflections on bearing witness to the heartbreak of the climate emergency unfolding in real time. But this is not a lament for a lost world. It is an inspiring reminder that human history is an endless tug-of-war for social justice. We are each a part of an eternal evolutionary force that can transform our world.
Joëlle shows us that the solutions we need to live sustainably already exist – we just need the social movement and political will to create a better world. This book is a climate scientist’s guide to rekindling hope, and a call to action to restore our relationship with ourselves, each other and our planet. Humanity ‘s Moment

Bamboo #Regeneration #ClimateAction #SDG13

Call to action:

Foster the use of bamboo in agroforestry, food production, building construction, land restoration, rural economic development, wildlife habitat protection, and atmospheric carbon sequestration.

Bamboo is a subfamily of grasses that can act like trees and be used like trees. Unlike many trees, however, some species of bamboo can grow exponentially on degraded land, be managed without pesticides or fertilizer, and sequester significant amounts of carbon over short periods of time. In addition to holding deep cultural significance among many communities, bamboo has the potential to replace resource-intensive materials in products ranging from toilet paper to structural support in buildings. Bamboo’s strong root systems reduce soil erosion, and the plant can be used as a clean source of charcoal for cooking stoves and home heating. While bamboo can be invasive, like many grass plants, it is native to five continents and has the potential to be an essential multipurpose natural climate solution if grown and managed properly.


Learn about the many benefits of using bamboo. Bamboo is a subfamily of grasses that act like trees in that they produce woody stems and create dense forests. While bamboo is known as a food source for pandas in China, it is actually native to every continent except Europe and Antarctica. Here are some key benefits of bamboo cultivation and use:

  • Bamboo sequesters a significant amount of carbon. On average, one hectare of bamboo stands absorbs around seventeen tons of carbon per year, and some well-managed bamboo stands have been found to sequester two to four times more carbon than other forests of similar acreage. Bamboo’s strong capacity for sequestering carbon is due to a number of the plant’s qualities, including its rapid growth—for example, the Chinese moso bamboo can grow about a meter in just one day. Bamboo also has extensive root systems that sequester carbon below ground; and bamboo holds on to carbon long after it is cut due to silica structures called phytoliths in bamboo cells, which continue to seal in carbon even after the plant itself has decomposed.
  • Bamboo is important for restoring degraded ecosystems. Bamboo offers dense, protective canopies for wildlifestabilizes soil from erosion, and provides litter fall and fine roots that add a considerable amount of carbon and nutrients to the soil. Bamboo can be grown in poor soils and in harsh areas receiving full sun and high winds, while its shallow and robust root system, often comprised of rhizomes, act as a net that binds soil and prevents water runoff. In addition, the application of bamboo biochar in mine-polluted soil has the potential to reduce the toxicity of heavy metals in the soil and enhance the growth of vegetation.
  • Bamboo can serve as a replacement for more resource-intensive materials in a variety of everyday products. Bamboo can replace virgin wood from old-growth forests, which is used in toilet paper, and it can serve as an alternative to a variety of plastics used in toothbrushes, straws, cups, and other household items. However, there are certain problems associated with bamboo products. For example, the rapid increase in demand for bamboo could lead farmers to clearcut natural forests in order to plant bamboo monocultures, though practices such as bamboo agroforestry may be used to prevent this issue. The production of processed bamboo can also involve harmful chemicals, though conscientious consumers can learn to identify bamboo products made with these substances
  • Bamboo can be used in buildings. Bamboo’s durable qualities make it a competitive building material, not just as a replacement for hardwood flooring, but as a substitute for steel and for reinforcement in concrete construction. Bamboo has a tensile strength comparable to steel, and a natural impermeable protective layer on its outer side that may protect it from rot and water damage, though this layer may wear down over time.
  • Bamboo can serve as a food source to help foster plant-based diets. Bamboo has long been an important food source in traditional dishes in Southeast Asian and East Asian countries, including in Indian dishes such as ushoi, soibum, rep, mesu, eup, ekhung, and hirring. Bamboo also has medicinal qualities that are being studied for use in treating illnesses such as hypertension, arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
  • Bamboo can be used as a clean cooking and heating source. Bamboo can be converted to bamboo charcoal, which may be more renewable than traditional wood charcoal due to bamboo’s fast growth and abundance around the world. Bamboo charcoal also burns clean and is smokeless. By substituting forest wood charcoal with bamboo charcoal, 10 million premature deaths by 2030 due to smoke inhalation could be prevented.
  • Bamboo may serve as an important biofuel. Using a process known as ball milling to extract sugars from the plant for later enzyme treatment and fermentation, bamboo can be converted to ethanol and thus be used as a biofuel. It has been reported that a single bamboo pole is capable of providing power for a rural household for an entire month. While bamboo biofuels may provide benefits for rural households that currently rely on firewood, they must be carefully used to prevent the spread of monocultureplantations.

Buy products that contain bamboo instead of other materials. Bamboo can serve as a viable alternative to resource-intensive materials such as wood, cotton, and plastic. Compared to bamboo, wood and cotton may use more water, land, and fertilizer to grow. While some plastics may be recycled, many are nonbiodegradable and are made from petroleum.

  • Bamboo alternatives to many products are widely available, including for toilet papercookwarewater bottles, and straws. Some notable companies with bamboo products include Cheeky Panda (toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues), Booomers (bicycles), and Bhavana(water bottles).
  • Bamboo can also be used as a fabric for bedsheets and clothing. However, do not purchase products made from bamboo rayon, which is produced through a highly intense chemical process that is toxic to humans and to the environment.

Learn about how bamboo is managed properly in order to prevent its invasive spread, and remove invasive bamboo in your community if needed. Because of its fast-growing nature and ability to thrive in harsh environments, bamboo can become invasive if not managed properly, meaning that it prevents native plants from growing and thwarts biodiversity. In fact, golden bamboo and other large bamboo species can easily spread fifteen feet a year. Some options to prevent the invasive spread of bamboo in your own community include:

  • Maintaining buffers and physical barriers around bamboo groves.
  • Learning how to identify bamboo species that are considered native to your bioregion using a field guide, and remove otherwise invasive bamboo stands when possible.
  • Advocating for the restricted use of invasive bamboo in local gardens.

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Regeneration is a response to the urgency of the climate crisis, a determined what-to-do manual for all levels of society, from individuals to national governments and everything and everyone in between. It describes a system of interlocking initiatives that can stem the climate crisis in one generation. Regeneration

Asparagopsis #ClimateAction #SDG13 #Methane #Regeneration

Cultivating a special type of seaweed and feeding it to cattle, sheep, and other grazing animals will greatly reduce methane emissions from livestock.


Methane is responsible for more than a fifth of all the warming we’ve experienced in recent decades. A ton of methane released today will cause eighty-four times as much warming as a ton of CO2 over the next twenty years. Nearly a third of all methane being added to the atmosphere by human activity comes from cattle and other domesticated animals, like sheep and goats, that digest plants in a special stomach called a rumen. Surprisingly, the most promising solution to reducing methane emissions from these domesticated land animals comes from adding a special type of seaweed to livestock feed. Scientists have discovered that a type of red algae in the genus Asparagopsis contain compounds that stop animals with rumens from emitting methane. Recently, scientists discovered that replacing just 0.2 to 1 percent of the diet of these animals with Asparagopsis can reduce their methane production by 80 percent or more. The race is on to develop ways to farm the seaweed on a massive scale, as well as to learn how to process and supply Asparagopsis to farmers and ranchers who often live far from the ocean. Reducing methane emissions from livestock with Asparagopsis feed supplements would have a greater impact on slowing the warming of our planet over the next decade than removing all cars, planes, and ships on Earth.

Action Items


Learn about the enormous potential for Asparagopsis in modern agriculture. Methane produced through the process of enteric fermentationin ruminant animals, such as cows and sheep, is not just a climate issue but also a livestock productivity issue. Methane-producing gut bacteria called methanogens rob cattle of up to 12 percent of the energy in their diet. Even before methane’s role in global warming was fully appreciated, ranchers and scientists searched for decades to find an effective feed additive that could curtail the activity of methanogens to speed the growth rates of their livestock. They tested everything from lemongrass to nitrate salt licks, with only modest success. A major breakthrough occurred when Canadian rancher Joe Durgan and scientist Robin Kinley discovered that Durgan’s cattle were healthiermore fertile, and released 20 percent less methanewhen fed wild seaweed. Following this discovery, Kinley went back to his home country of Australia to systematically test native seaweeds to find one that would also cut the methane production in the guts of cattle. To his astonishment, a type of red algae called Asparagopsis taxiformis virtually eliminated all methane in laboratory experiments that simulated the conditions of a cow rumen. Further studies have yielded similar results:

  • In a subsequent study, Kinley and his team showed that replacing just 0.2 percent of the feed of beef cattle caused a 98 percent reduction in their methane emissions, while boosting their growth rates by roughly 50 percent.
  • Many other studies in cattle and sheep found a less dramatic but still impressive reduction in methane emissions. A team in California has found a 67 percent reduction in methane by dairy cattle when 1 percent of their diet was replaced by Asparagopsis armata.
  • Another group in Australia found up to an 80 percent reduction in methane emissions from sheep when up to 3 percent of their diet consisted of Asparagopsis taxiformis, but the experiment used kiln-dried seaweed, which has lower potency compared to freeze-dried Asparagopsis.
  • A more recent and longer-term study by the California team found that switching to A. taxiformis resulted in up to an 80 percent reduction in methane emissions of beef steers over 147 days, even though the seaweed was used to replace only 0.5 percent of their diet.
  • To sort through conflicting studies, one group conducted a meta-analysis that examined the findings of many past studies at the same time. The team found that while there was a clear effect of Asparagopsison reducing methane emissions, the other benefits, such as increased milk or beef production, were only modestly supported by the data.
  • Much of the variation in the effectiveness of Asparagopsis in reducing methane emissions in cattle is likely due to varying concentrations of the compound bromoform (also known by its chemical formula, CHBr3), which has been shown to inhibit a key enzyme used by methanogens.
  • A scientist working with the University of California, San Diego and Blue Ocean Barns is working on ways to manipulate the nutrients used by farmed Asparagopsis.  By increasing the amount of bromoform in the seaweed’s tissues, they hope to increase its potency.
  • Differences in diets might also explain why some ruminants respond better to Asparagopsis supplements than others. In one study, a high-grain diet in beef steers was associated with an 80 percent decrease in methane, but a diet rich in hay was only associated with a 51.9 percent decrease.
  • Asparagopsis can also be used to sop up excess nutrients in marine or aquaculture settings. It has a high efficiency as a biofilter in land-based aquaculture and seaweed farms of various types have shown high potential for helping mitigate the impact of open water fish pens (See Ocean Farming Nexus). It is also being explored as a way to filter water from shrimp farms.
  • Asparagopsis is especially adept at removing excess nitrogen and phosphorous that can cause harmful algal blooms and marine dead zones. It can also filter out heavy metals like arsenic that wash into the ocean, but then may not be suitable as a feed supplement.

Learn about the hurdles to achieving the full potential of Asparagopsis. Cattle are often ranched far from the coastal waters suitable for Asparagopsis farming. Getting all cattle a steady supply faces the following challenges:

  • Farming Asparagopsis requires “closing the life cycle,” or growing it across each of its three life stages, including its largest frond-waving stage in the open ocean. See Ocean Farming Nexus for more information.
  • Most studies so far have come from harvesting wild Asparagopsis, though it appears some of the start-ups are on the cusp of being able to establish large-scale ocean farms.
  • Other groups are finding ways to use land-based tanks to mass produce an early stage of Asparagopsis that looks like little free-floating pompoms, which seem to be equally effective at reducing emissions, but can’t be grown in open ocean farms.
  • It is not yet clear how Asparagopsis synthesizes its active compound (bromoform) or why the concentration of those compounds can vary by a factor of ten among samples. Some researchers are investigating whether it has to do with the nutrients available to the seaweed. Others are creating “seaweed libraries” to see if Asparagopsis from some regions are better at producing bromoform.
  • Bromoform can turn into a gas over time, meaning that cattle need to be fed seaweed that has been harvested relatively recently or has been carefully preserved. This raises logistical challenges, particularly for far-flung and inaccessible cattle ranches. Asparagopsis processors will have to make important investments to ensure they are sending potent product to their farmers.
  • Currently, there are three options for processing Asparagopsis. Freeze-drying is very effective at preserving bromoform but is the most expensive. Creating oil immersions with fresh Asparagopsis taxiformis to preserve bromoform compounds in the seaweed can extend its effective shelf life to at least twelve weeks, but is also expensive. Simple kiln drying results in a drop in bromoform and makes it less effective as a feed supplement.
  • Most ranchers currently have little incentive to buy Asparagopsis feed instead of traditional feeds. However, if it helps cattle gain weight (or gain the same weight with less feed), as has been found in some studies, farmers may start purchasing Asparagopsis feed additives without additional regulations.
  • It’s not yet clear how much Asparagopsis supplement to give and how often to give it. Fortunately, mathematical models may make the process easier and are the subject of ongoing research.
  • Some cattle may enjoy eating seaweed more than others, and that seems to affect the degree of methane reduction. Innovation in feeding methods may be necessary to figure out how to present Asparagopsis in a way that cattle will readily consume it regularly in a variety of settings.
  • Two suspected hurdles—that the seaweed would affect the taste and/or safety profile of milk—have been dismissed by blind taste tests and laboratory studies.
  • Some concerns have been raised about potential negative effects of Asparagopsis on the stomach linings of some cattle, especially when it is consumed for an extended period.

Buy Asparagopsis-fed animal products. While most commercial Asparagopsis is currently being used in experimental trials, the supply is expected to increase dramatically as many different start-ups expand their operations and the challenges of growing Asparagopsis in farms are solved. Hopefully, it won’t be long before a variety of meat, dairy, and wool products sourced from Asparagopsis-fed animals will hit the market.

  • The first commercial product from Asparagopsis-fed animals to be available for purchase will likely be a line of high-end men’s suits from wool distributed by M.J. Bale of Australia, which is working to develop the world’s first Carbon Neutral Wool clothing.

Buy carbon offsets from, invest in, or donate to Asparagopsisgrowers. One start-up that is currently growing Asparagopsis is selling carbon offsets that let you support their expanding operations. Others are accepting philanthropic donations or soliciting potential investors.

  • Symbrosia, a Hawaii-based start-up growing Asparagopsisoffers a variety of carbon-offset plans.
  • Sea Forest asks those interested in potential investment opportunities to get in touch and also suggests signing up for their mailing list to hear about them as they develop.
  • Greener Grazing encourages the philanthropically minded to get in touch for opportunities to support their work.

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Challenges and solutions for ending the climate crisis in one generation. Nexus details what needs to be done and how to do it on all levels of agency, from a classroom to a CEO. Entries include resources, initiatives, people, and organizations that teach, engage, influence and transform. Regeneration

Agroforestry #ClimateAction #SDG13 #Regeneration Life in the #Anthropocene

Expand the use of agroforestry to improve soil health, produce higher crop yields, and increase water quality, food security, and carbon sequestration.

Agroforestry is the intentional integration of forestry with agriculture. It combines trees, shrubs, and vines with crop and animal farming systems in ways that mimic natural ecosystems. Agroforestry is used by millions of people as a traditional source of food, fiber, and wood. It mixes annual crops and perennial trees and plants in different ways that sustain short- and long-term financial and ecological returns. Agroforestry provides shade, protects plants and animals from wind, and builds soil. It can sequester carbon and help end the climate crisis. It is a strategy for restoring degraded land. It maintains cultural traditions. Agroforestry is a science that studies the interactions between people, trees, and agriculture at a range of scales, from field to forest.

Credit: Alamy

Action Items


Learn why agroforestry is a productive and regenerative system of food production and land management. Agroforestry is a new word for old practices used by millions of people around the world. It is a type of agroecology, a nature-based food system that views farms as ecosystems(see Agroecology Nexus). It has produced food and wood regeneratively for centuries and combines Indigenous and traditional agriculture with scientific researchTypes of agroforestry include forest farms, alley cropping, buffers, and silvopasture (see Farmers below). In much of the industrialized world, forestry and agriculture have been separate disciplines for research, policy, and implementation. Today, agroforestry leads innovation in regenerative food productioncarbon sequestration, and land restoration (see Regenerative Agriculture Nexus and Degraded Land Restoration Nexus). Benefits include:

  • Integrating perennial trees and shrubs with annual crops produces diverse products for farmers and communities, including food, fiber, fodder, fuel, timber, and medicines.
  • Trees used in agroforestry help protect watersheds by slowing wind and water erosion, stabilizing streambanks, and buffering against flooding.
  • Falling leaves, branches, and decomposing bark mulch the ground, aiding water infiltration and continuously enriching soil with organic matter.
  • Shade, moisture, and organic matter provided by trees, shrubs, and crops support a wide variety of soil microbes, especially fungi that enhance nutrient uptake, build soil structure, and sequester carbon.
  • Shrubs and blossoming trees provide pollen for beneficial insects.
  • Natural forest-like conditions created by agroforestry can provide habitat for birds and other wildlife and create corridors for their travel between wild, semiwild, and cultivated lands.
  • Agroforestry can be implemented in urban environments, including backyard gardens.
  • Agroforestry creates beautiful landscapes for people to enjoy.

Learn about the diversity of agroforestry systems around the world. Agroforestry can be utilized in any ecosystem that can support trees and shrubs. Elements can include trees with edible leaves, freshwater fish, chickens, timber trees, milpas, cactus, pigs, hedgerows, and vineyards. The integration of different elements must be in alignment with an area’s ecology. Examples:

  • Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is a practice that nurtures trees to grow from former stumps, resulting in hundreds of thousands of acres being reforested in the Sahel region of Africa.
  • vegetable farm under tall timber trees in southern France is called “tree ratatouille” by the farmer, honoring the mixed-vegetable stew.
  • Moringa trees have edible leaves and are utilized as part of agroforestry systems. Here is an example from South Africa.
  • At a vineyard in Italy, poultry have free range of the olive tree groves, providing a double income for the farmer while improving the soil.
  • Black pepper is produced from a vine that grows in the tropics and can easily be integrated with mango and banana trees in agroforestry.
  • In Tanzania, farmers mix cash crops, such as cardamom, with food crops and trees, diversifying incomes and sustainably maximizing available land.
  • An agroforestry project in England grows almonds and peaches, which is highly unusual for the island.
  • Home gardens in Ethiopia help build community resilience.
  • Agave plants can be grown as part of agroforestry projects in arid environments, sequestering carbon.
  • forest farm in Connecticut grows chestnuts in combination with elderberries, pawpaws, persimmons, and chickens.
  • Forest garden traditions in British Columbia are being revived by Indigenous communities.
  • Buffer strips of trees and shrubs along waterways in the Chesapeake Bay area are creating ecological and economic benefits, including erosion control along waterways, shade for livestock, fruit and nuts for harvesting,
  • For an Indigenous tribe in Costa Rica, agroforestry is both a form of food production and an act of resistance.
  • milpa is a multicrop forest-garden system widely used by Indigenous and traditional communities in Central and South America.
  • In Polynesia, a mix of introduced and native species are grown together in an Indigenous agroforestry system called novel forests.
  • In the Amazon, agroforestry-grown coffee helps farmers earn a living while diminishing the effects of climate change.
  • Cocoa agroforestry is a sustainable way to produce chocolate.

Support agroforestry by buying directly from farmers and ranchers who practice regenerative agriculture or from retailers who support them. Purchasing products from regenerative farms and ranches encourages other farmers and ranchers to adopt similar practices and goals (see Regenerative Agriculture Nexus and Eating Plants Nexus for more suggestions).

Grow a forest garden or food forest at home. Organize your garden to grow like a forest. The idea was introduced by Robert Hart in his book Forest Gardening. In a traditional garden, plants and trees are kept separate, but in a forest garden are combined in a manner resembling nature.

  • A step-by-step guide to starting a food forest can be found here from GroCycle, a permaculture organization. They also provide guides to forest garden designpermaculture plants you can grow in your garden; and growing mushrooms.
  • The Agroforestry Research Trust has online courses on forest gardening and nut crops.
  • The Orchard Project (UK) has courses on creating community orchards in urban environments.

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Challenges and solutions for ending the climate crisis in one generation. Nexus details what needs to be done and how to do it on all levels of agency, from a classroom to a CEO. Entries include resources, initiatives, people, and organizations that teach, engage, influence and transform.
We are working as quickly and accurately as we can to fill out the entire listing of Challenges and Solutions. More will be added weekly by our research staff until we are complete. Thank you for your understanding. Regeneration

Agroecology #Regeneration #auspol #qldpol #ClimateAction #SDG13 #SDGs

Andenes or platforms for agriculture in Peru
Credit: Christian Vinces – Adobe

Returning to food systems based on agroecology will reduce poverty, end hunger, heal damaged land, sequester carbon, and improve health.

Agroecology is a nature-based food production system integrating biology, ecology, sociology, economics, and activism. It is simultaneously a scientific discipline, a suite of time-tested regenerative farming practices, and a social movement. It views agricultural areas, whether small or large, as ecosystems. It combines Indigenous and traditional agriculture with multidisciplinary scientific research and new technology, with the goal of increasing food production, improving livelihoods for farmers, strengthening food security and nutrition, reducing pesticides, replenishing soil health, supporting wildlife, and building resilience to climate change. It can end hunger. It creates equitable food systems. It values diversity, localized solutions, and interdependence.

Action Items


Learn why the social and environmental benefits of agroecology make it a “must do” alternative to industrial agriculture. Agroecology is widely practiced around the world, particularly among Indigenous, traditional, and smallholder farm communities where it has produced food regeneratively for centuries. In many nations, however, it has been replaced by an industrial food system that treats agricultural crops as a commodity, employing a lengthy list of destructive practices, including growing crops with chemicals that kill biology in the soilRepeated plowing causes soil erosion, resulting in a loss of stored carbon. In contrast, agroecology provides healthy food and heals land. It is the foundation for regenerative solutions: see Eating Plants NexusRegenerative Agriculture NexusAgroforestry Nexus, and Degraded Land Restoration Nexus. The term agroecology was coined in 1928. Although precise definitions vary, agroecologists share core practices (see Farmers and Ranchers below).

Learn about the diversity of agroecological systems around the world. Marginalized for decades, many Indigenous peoples, traditional cultures, and smallholder farms are now leading an agroecology revolution as the benefits of their regenerative systems become clear. Examples include:

Support agroecology by buying directly from farmers and ranchers who practice regenerative agriculture or from retailers who support them. Purchasing products from agroecological farms and ranches encourages other farmers and ranchers to adopt similar practices and goals. See Regenerative Agriculture Nexus and Eating Plants Nexus for more suggestions.

Beware “junk agroecology.” Agribusinesses have begun to co-opt the term agroecology for their own purposes. These corporations tend to showcase small advances in single practices, such as improving soil health, that allow them to appear sustainable while falling short of more holistic solutions.

  • “Junk Agroecology” is a report from Friends of the Earth International that details how the purveyors of junk agroecology want to perpetuate the ills of the industrial food system under the guise of “sustainable agriculture.”
  • Many groups representing Indigenous and agroecological food systems felt they were marginalized in favor of corporate agribusinesses at the United Nations’ World Food Summit in 2021. Here is a story about the controversy.

Get trained and/or earn an education certificate in agroecology. There are many opportunities to deepen your knowledge. Programs include:

  • An Agroecology M.S. offered by the University of Wisconsin–Madison, including a research track and a public participation track.
  • The University of Vermont has an undergraduate program called Agroecology in Action.
  • The University of California, Santa Cruz offers multiple programs at its Center for Agroecology.
  • Programs of study in agroecology in the United States can be found herehere, and here.
  • The International People’s Agroecology Multiversity has a network of field learning sites in South Asia that provides training in agroecology.
  • The Ecological Society of America provides educational resources on agroecology.
  • The European Association for Agroecology provides an online game called Segae in which a player pilots a virtual farm and implements agroecological practices to increase its sustainability.

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Regeneration puts life at the center of every action and decision. It applies to all of life—grasslands, farms, insects, forests, fish, wetlands, coastlands, and oceans—and it applies equally to family, communities, cities, schools, religion, commerce, and governments. And most spectacularly to climate. Regeneration

Late Season Melting in Greenland! #ClimateCrisis Why does the death of a 96 year old woman get more coverage than the death of millions due to #ClimateChange ?

In September 2022, vast areas atop the Greenland ice sheet melted. Some scientists think the widespread late-season melting—the most on record for any September—could have implications for the ice sheet next year.

Greenland’s melting season typically runs from May to early September. The 2022 season started slowly, as lower-than-average air temperatures in May and June culminated in the least amount of spring melting in a decade. Melting continued at a modest pace throughout the summer, with a surge in mid-July. At its peak on July 18, surface melting spanned 688,000 square kilometers (266,000 square miles) of the ice sheet.

A late-season warm spell brought a substantial melting event from September 1–6. At its peak on September 3, melting occurred across 592,000 square kilometers of the ice sheet—the second-largest melting spike of the 2022 season and the largest for any September since the start of record-keeping in 1979. Melt events of this magnitude are unlikely in September because seasonal temperatures usually drop as the hours of sunlight decrease.

But unlikely does not mean impossible. The melting in September 2022 was the result of a weather system that brought warm, wet air over the ice sheet. The map at the top of this page shows how air temperatures from August 30 through September 5, 2022, compared with temperatures from the same period in 2020, when melting was more typical. Temperatures in some places soared 15°C (27°F) higher than in 2020. At the National Science Foundation’s Summit Station, temperatures were reported to be above freezing (0°C/32°F).

The map was derived from the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model and represents air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6-7 feet) above the ground. Modeled data, which uses mathematical equations that represent real-world physical processes, offer a broad, estimated view of a region where ground-based weather stations are sparse.

About 1.7 million square kilometers (656,000 square miles) of Greenland is covered with ice—the planet’s largest ice sheet outside of Antarctica. The ice gains mass through the accumulation of snow and loses it through surface melting and runoff, iceberg calving, and melting at the bottom of tidewater glaciers. As air and water temperatures have risen in recent decades, ice losses have outpaced gains, contributing to sea level rise.

According to Lauren Andrews, a glaciologist with NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, melting events like the one in early September 2022 can affect current and future ice losses.

“When the melt season extends beyond its typical duration, the total amount of mass lost during the melt season obviously increases,” Andrews said. “But what isn’t so obvious is that a longer melt season also delays surface snow accumulation. This can, in turn, impact the initial intensity of the subsequent melt season.”

Less snow accumulation in winter means the snow can melt away more quickly in spring and expose large swaths of comparatively dark, bare ice. Compared with bright new snow, these darker surfaces absorb more solar energy, which amplifies melting during the Arctic’s long sunlit days.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC and data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Story by Kathryn Hansen.

A personal call to action from an Australian IPCC author
Acknowledging that the world as we know it is coming apart is an act of courage.
If I live to look back at this troubled time, I want to say that I did all that I could, that I was on the right side of history.
The question is, do you want to be part of the legacy that restores our faith in humanity?

When climate scientist Joëlle Gergis set to work on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the research she encountered kept her up at night. Through countless hours spent with the world’s top scientists to piece together the latest global assessment of climate change, she realised that the impacts were occurring faster than anyone had predicted.

In Humanity’s Moment, Joëlle takes us through the science in the IPCC report with unflinching honesty, explaining what it means for our future, while sharing her personal reflections on bearing witness to the heartbreak of the climate emergency unfolding in real time. But this is not a lament for a lost world. It is an inspiring reminder that human history is an endless tug-of-war for social justice. We are each a part of an eternal evolutionary force that can transform our world.
Joëlle shows us that the solutions we need to live sustainably already exist – we just need the social movement and political will to create a better world. This book is a climate scientist’s guide to rekindling hope, and a call to action to restore our relationship with ourselves, each other and our planet. Humanity ‘s Moment
Why are we sleepwalking toward a foreordained ecological collapse? What is the connection between the ecological crisis and the breakdown of liberal democracy? What do political history and philosophy, along with anthropology and depth psychology, have to say about these issues? And what will society look like when we exhaust solar capital in the form of fossil fuels and must live once again on the daily and seasonal flow of solar income? These interlocking essays throw light on all these questions, illuminating the forces that will determine the long-term future of humanity. Apologies to the Grandchildren

World on brink of five ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points, study finds #ClimateCrisis #EcologicalCrisis #TellTheTruth #auspol #qldpol

By Damian Carrington Environment editor

Giant ice sheets, ocean currents and permafrost regions may already have passed point of irreversible change

The climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of multiple “disastrous” tipping points, according to a major study.

It shows five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed due to the 1.1C of global heating caused by humanity to date.

These include the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, eventually producing a huge sea level rise, the collapse of a key current in the north Atlantic, disrupting rain upon which billions of people depend for food, and an abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost.

At 1.5C of heating, the minimum rise now expected, four of the five tipping points move from being possible to likely, the analysis said. Also at 1.5C, an additional five tipping points become possible, including changes to vast northern forests and the loss of almost all mountain glaciers.

In total, the researchers found evidence for 16 tipping points, with the final six requiring global heating of at least 2C to be triggered, according to the scientists’ estimations. The tipping points would take effect on timescales varying from a few years to centuries.

“The Earth may have left a ‘safe’ climate state beyond 1C global warming,” the researchers concluded, with the whole of human civilisation having developed in temperatures below this level. Passing one tipping point is often likely to help trigger others, producing cascades. But this is still being studied and was not included, meaning the analysis may present the minimum danger.

Prof Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who was part of the study team, said: “The world is heading towards 2-3C of global warming.

“This sets Earth on course to cross multiple dangerous tipping points that will be disastrous for people across the world. To maintain liveable conditions on Earth and enable stable societies, we must do everything possible to prevent crossing tipping points.”

Dr David Armstrong McKay at the University of Exeter, a lead author of the study, said: “It’s really worrying. There are grounds for grief, but there are also still grounds for hope.

“The study really underpins why the Paris agreement goal of 1.5C is so important and must be fought for.

“We’re not saying that, because we’re probably going to hit some tipping points, everything is lost and it’s game over. Every fraction of a degree that we stop beyond 1.5C reduces the likelihood of hitting more tipping points.”

Recent research has shown signs of destabilisation in the Amazon rainforest, the loss of which would have “profound” implications for the global climate and biodiversity, as well as the Greenland ice sheet and the Gulf Stream currents that scientists call the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (Amoc).

A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the risk of triggering climate tipping points becomes high with 2C of global heating.

The analysis, published in the journal Science, assessed more than 200 previous studies on past tipping points, climate observations and modelling studies. A tipping point is when a temperature threshold is passed, leading to unstoppable change in a climate system, even if global heating ends.

The nine global tipping points identified are: the collapse of the Greenland, west Antarctic and two parts of the east Antarctic ice sheets, the partial and total collapse of Amoc, Amazon dieback, permafrost collapse and winter sea ice loss in the Arctic.

The assessment of the Amazon tipping point did not include the effects of deforestation. “The combination of the warming and the deforestation could bring that a lot sooner,” said Armstrong McKay.

A further seven tipping points would have severe regional effects, including the die-off of tropical coral reefs and changes to the west African monsoon. Other potential tipping points still being studied include the loss of ocean oxygen and major shifts in the Indian summer monsoon.

The scientists define crossing a tipping point as “possible” when its minimum temperature threshold is passed and “likely” beyond the central threshold estimate.

Prof Niklas Boers, at the Technical University of Munich, said: “The review is a timely update on the Earth’s potential tipping elements, and the threat of tipping events under further warming is real.”

He added that much more research was needed to narrow down the critical temperature thresholds, with current estimates remaining highly uncertain.

Prof Thomas Stocker, at the University of Bern, said: “The science on tipping points is far from done – it has barely begun – and much better models are needed to address the question [of] what warming level is critical for which tipping point.”

A special IPCC report on climate tipping points was proposed in May by the Swiss government.

Prof Tim Lenton at the University of Exeter, a co-author of the analysis, said: “Since I first assessed tipping points in 2008, the list has grown and our assessment of the risk they pose has increased dramatically.

“Our new work provides compelling evidence that the world must radically accelerate decarbonising the economy. To achieve that, we need to trigger positive social tipping points.”

View on theguardian.com

The Right Policies Can Protect the Workers of Asia and the Pacific #auspol #qldpol #SDGs

By Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

BANGKOK, Thailand, Sep 5 2022 (IPS) – Most of the 2.1 billion strong workforce in Asia and the Pacific are denied access to decent jobs, health care and social protection but there is an array polices and tools that governments can use to remedy these deficiencies and ensure that the rights and aspirations of these workers and their families are upheld and that they remain the engine of economic growth for the region.

Children are our future

A new report released today, the Social Outlook for Asia and the Pacific: The Workforce We Need, offers tangible solutions to immediately address alarming trends that both preceded the new coronavirus and were exacerbated by the pandemic.

While 243 million new people were pushed into poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic, half of all people in our region already had been surviving without cash, a third without necessary medicine or treatment and a quarter had gone without enough food to eat. This can lower productivity, which has fallen below the global average, but also tax revenues and future economic output.

Sustainable Development Goals

With two-thirds of all workers in the region being employed informally, often with low wages, in hazardous working conditions and without a contract, half of our workforce are at the brink of poverty. People in our region are also at a higher risk of being pushed into poverty by health spending than anywhere else in the world, causing inequalities to further widen. With more than half of all people being excluded from social protection, pandemics, disasters economic downturns, or normal life events, such as falling ill, becoming pregnant or getting old often have detrimental impacts on households’ wellbeing and life prospects.

The reality is harsh: our workers are generally ill-equipped to unlock new opportunities, fulfill life aspirations for themselves and their families but also to face ongoing challenges emanating from megatrends of climate change, ageing societies and digitalization.

A personal call to action from an Australian IPCC author
Acknowledging that the world as we know it is coming apart is an act of courage.
If I live to look back at this troubled time, I want to say that I did all that I could, that I was on the right side of history.
The question is, do you want to be part of the legacy that restores our faith in humanity?

When climate scientist Joëlle Gergis set to work on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the research she encountered kept her up at night. Through countless hours spent with the world’s top scientists to piece together the latest global assessment of climate change, she realised that the impacts were occurring faster than anyone had predicted.

In Humanity’s Moment, Joëlle takes us through the science in the IPCC report with unflinching honesty, explaining what it means for our future, while sharing her personal reflections on bearing witness to the heartbreak of the climate emergency unfolding in real time. But this is not a lament for a lost world. It is an inspiring reminder that human history is an endless tug-of-war for social justice. We are each a part of an eternal evolutionary force that can transform our world.
Joëlle shows us that the solutions we need to live sustainably already exist – we just need the social movement and political will to create a better world. This book is a climate scientist’s guide to rekindling hope, and a call to action to restore our relationship with ourselves, each other and our planet.
Humanity ‘s Moment

Climate-induced natural disasters cause businesses to relocate and jobs to disappear, disproportionately affecting rural communities. Digital technologies are bringing disruptive change to the world of work and the digital gap is intensifying inequalities in opportunities, income and wealth. Population ageing means that the number of older people will double by 2050, making policies to support active and healthy ageing ever more urgent.

None of these vulnerabilities are inevitable. With the right policies, our region’s workforce can become more productive, healthier and protected. 

First, active labour market policies, through life-long learning and skill development, can support a green and just transition into decent employment and improve access to basic opportunities and adequate standards of living. Harnessing synergies between active labor market policies and social protection can help workers upgrade their skills and transition into decent employment while smoothing consumption and avoiding negative coping strategies during spells of unemployment or other shocks.

Second, extending social health protection to all can significantly improve workers’ health, income security and productivity. COVID-19 demonstrated the weakness of a status quo in which 60 per cent of our workers finance their own health care and receive no sickness benefits. A focus on primary health care as well as curative health protection is needed, also to support healthy and active ageing. People who are chronically ill or live with a disability must be included in health care strategies. Given the large informal economy across the region, extending social health protection is the key policy instrument for achieving universal health coverage in our region.

Third, building on the ESCAP Social Protection Simulator, a basic package of universal child, old age and disability social protection schemes, set at global average benefit levels, would slash poverty in our region by half. Our analysis also shows that social protection helps increase access to opportunities particularly for furthest behind groups. This income security would improve the workforce’s resilience. Extending social protection to all means increasing public spending by between 2 and 6 per cent of GDP, an investment well-worth its cost. The Action Plan to Strengthen Regional Cooperation on Social Protection in Asia and the Pacific can guide action towards broadening social protection coverage. 

With this information at hand, there is a long overdue need for action. The policy recommendations set out in the Social Outlook are a priority for most countries in the region. These require bold but necessary reforms. For most countries these reforms are affordable but may require a reprioritization of existing expenditures and tax, supported by tax reform. Decent employment for all and an expansion of social protection and health care should form the foundations of a strong social contract between the State and its citizens. One where mutual roles and responsibilities are clear and where our workforce is given the security to fulfil their potential and be the force for achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

IPS UN Bureau

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What happens if the climate and ecological crisis is framed as a national threat? #PlanE #auspol #ClimateCrisis #EcologicalCrisis #TellTheTruth

By Liz Boulton

Dr Elizabeth Boulton

While scientists study the likelihood of planetary life collapsing; the defence sector, charged with protecting their States, people and territories, (and funded to do so) are focused elsewhere. Western nations frame the major security problem now as being a show down between democratic versus autocratic forms of governance. Non-western nations seek to move from a unipolar to a multi-polar world.

In this geopolitical realm, as head of the US Center for Climate and Security John Conger explains, global warming is considered merely one ingredient of many risk factors. In its 2022 Strategic Concept NATO follows suit, describing climate change as a challenge which it lists last of 14 security concerns. These framings reiterate Sherri Goodman’s original “global warming as threat multiplier” frame, introduced in a 2007 CNA report.

In 2022, this is the norm of how security is approached. People remain in their vocational silos and use the dominant framings and institutional structures from a pre-Anthropocene and post WW2 era. This arrangement may be socially and intellectually comfortable, but the problem is, it no longer works.

A new approach called ‘Plan E’ frames climate and environmental issues not as an ‘influence’ upon the threat environment, nor a ‘threat multiplier’ but rather, as the ‘main threat’ to be contained. The research involved creating a new concept of threat – the hyperthreat notion – and then subjecting the ‘hyperthreat’ to a modified military-style threat analysis and response planning process. The rationale for this unusual approach, and the methods used are outlined in the 2022 Spring Journal of Advanced Military Studies. To prompt broader imagining of what a new threat posture could look like, an accompanying demonstrational, or a prototype new grand strategy, PLAN E, has also been developed.

While risky and taboo, this new analytical lens allowed new insights.

  1. First, it revealed that capacity to see the full threat landscape of the 21st Century is impaired by outdated philosophical constructs and worldviews.
  2. Secondly, it spotlighted the idea that the nature of violence, killing and destruction has fundamentally changed; so too has the nature and form of conscious hostile intent.
  3. Third, it became evident that the arrival of the hyperthreat upends modern era approaches to security. 20th Century security strategy revolved around supporting industrial era forms of state power, which hinged upon resource extraction and ‘winning oil’ supply in war. As Doug Stokes explains, especially after the 1970s, as global supply chains became more vulnerable to disruptions, there was an increased global commons argument to use tools of force, like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. military to “maintain the system.”

Accordingly, through undertaking “system’s maintenance” tasking, inadvertently the security sector can end up working for the hyperthreat (exacerbating greenhouse gas emissions and damaging ecological systems). At the same time, when pursued brutally, “systems maintenance” creates resentment and can lead to “the west” being regarded as valid threat to other nations. Taken together, such impacts can mean that the western world’s security forces inadvertently undermine its own and other’s security. This means that our threat posture is no longer coherent.

  1. Fourth, keeping climate and environmental policy in one silo, and security strategy in another, meant that, even though Paris Agreement climate negotiations paralleled the Iraq war, these two issues were rarely linked in climate-security analysis. As Jeff Colganfinds, oil was a major driver of this conflict, and accordingly, thus, extraordinarily, using a new lens, the Iraq War could be viewed as a war fought on behalf of our new foe – the hyperthreat. This bewildering analytical gap cannot continue in future security analysis.
  2. Fifth, neither vocational tribe – environmental science nor security has realised the incompatibility of humanity preparing to ‘fight’ both the hyperthreat and escalating traditional military threats at the same time. Through its likely demands upon fossil fuels; human engineering capacities; technological and financial resources, ardent preparations for a World War Three (WW3) scenario, (or actual major warfare over the 2022 to 2030 period), would likely derail the difficult task of transitioning human society to zero emissions pathways, and arresting the sixth extinction event.
  3. Sixth, failure to consider threat posture as part of an effective whole of society response to the hyperthreat denies humanity many of the analytical, methodological, and social skills humans have developed over millennia to protect themselves from dangerous and overwhelming threat. It also eradicated the possibility of the defence and security sector pivoting, reformulating, and turning its attention and significant horsepower to the hyper-response.

Although dangerous climate change is often talked about as “the greatest threat;” humanity’s threat posture has never fundamentally altered.

PLAN E offers an alternative: the defence sector abruptly turns its attention and “systems maintenance” support away from the fossil fuel and extractive resource sector. It supports a different “systems maintenance” mission: the protection of the planetary life system. In doing so, it re-aligns with its fundamental ­raison d’être of protecting its people and territories – in the most important battle humanity has ever known.

Dr Boulton spoke at the Better Futures Forum Australia, at UNSW (ADFA) from 6-7 September 2022.

Dr Elizabeth Boulton’s doctoral work, PLAN E, the world’s first climate and ecologically centred security strategy, was published by the US Marine Corps University Press in April 2022. Her research revolves around re-imaging security and military theory to match the nature of an altered threat environment, with a focus upon containing the hyperthreat of climate and environmental change. Her professional background is in emergency logistics (as an Australian Army Officer and with NGOs) and in the climate science and policy sector, where she worked in sustainable freight transport planning and climate risk communication. She has worked in East Timor, Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands.

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Why we need a new way to talk and conduct sense-making

This is such a critical moment in human history, yet capacity to share knowledge and discuss issues across the community is hampered by a range of barriers:

  • Closed door policy-making
  • Media ownership
  • Social media algorithms
  • Deliberate fake news and misinformation
  • Bias (class, tribalism, gender, mental health etc)
  • Plain old power-mongering dynamics

Meanwhile, the cost of education is going up, especially for Humanities courses… This is a worry because the ‘humanities’ can turbo-boost our capacity for sense-making… something we need in confusing times…

Destination Safe Earth

A personal call to action from an Australian IPCC author
Acknowledging that the world as we know it is coming apart is an act of courage.
If I live to look back at this troubled time, I want to say that I did all that I could, that I was on the right side of history.
The question is, do you want to be part of the legacy that restores our faith in humanity?

When climate scientist Joëlle Gergis set to work on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the research she encountered kept her up at night. Through countless hours spent with the world’s top scientists to piece together the latest global assessment of climate change, she realised that the impacts were occurring faster than anyone had predicted.

In Humanity’s Moment, Joëlle takes us through the science in the IPCC report with unflinching honesty, explaining what it means for our future, while sharing her personal reflections on bearing witness to the heartbreak of the climate emergency unfolding in real time. But this is not a lament for a lost world. It is an inspiring reminder that human history is an endless tug-of-war for social justice. We are each a part of an eternal evolutionary force that can transform our world.
Joëlle shows us that the solutions we need to live sustainably already exist – we just need the social movement and political will to create a better world. This book is a climate scientist’s guide to rekindling hope, and a call to action to restore our relationship with ourselves, each other and our planet. Humanity ‘s Moment
The heating planet is our commons. It holds us all. To address and reverse warming requires connection and reciprocity. It calls for moving out of our comfort zones to find a depth of courage we may have never known. It calls for action that is bold and fearless. Regeneration

Cattle Decapitation’s ‘The Anthropocene Extinction’ Vividly Portrays Our Current Ecological Crisis #auspol #qldpol

September 1, 2022

We’re starting to see it now. It’s been discussed for years— imagined, debated and preemptively analyzed. But now it’s becoming real. Our planet’s ecology is decaying before our very eyes. Scorching heat waves smother Southern Asia, temperature records are being smashed in Northern Europe, wildfires burn through Western America and flooding decimates Australia. These have all become routine occurrences and will increase their frequency and severity year on year.

The planet is getting hotter. Carbon emissions and other heat-trapping gasses blanket the Earth’s atmosphere, causing heat waves, extreme weather and rising sea levels. Driving this is the compulsive growth drive of capitalist economics, which has also led to rampant deforestation and pandemic-causing habitat encroachment. Ocean acidification has increased 26 percent since pre-industrial revolution levels. The natural rate that biological species go extinct has risen 1,000 percent in that time.

These are just some of the destructive effects of what has been called the “anthropocene” era. The term places humanity within the lineage of Earth’s geological time scale, arguing that our impact on Earth has already been decisive enough to constitute its own epoch. We have broken this delicate, complex system, and the consequences are looking dire. As “Manufactured Extinct,” the opening track of Cattle Decapitation’s The Anthropocene Extinction venomously spits “we used it up, we wore it out/we made it do what we could have done without”.

The Anthropocene Extinction operates as a sort of atrocity exhibition. Its twelve tracks (14 including bonuses) describe the worst and most grotesque effects of the anthropocene era. This macabre cover art encapsulates this bleak vision. Contorted bodies lie rotting in an industrial wasteland, swathes of man-made plastics spilling from their insides. This potent image contrasts the bright colors of the artificial plastics with the washed-out, barren hues of the destroyed landscape, excoriating humanity’s prioritization of these shiny disposable objects over the now-obliterated natural world.

Cattle Decapitation are among the most well-known metal bands to use ecological concerns as the conceptual bedrock of their work. Metal has long been concerned with the health and well-being of the planet, dating right back to its conception. As with everything in the genre, it traces to Black Sabbath, whose hippie obsessions with warfare and the apocalypse envisioned a vibrant natural world ruined by humankind. Later environmental concerns can be found in thrash metal’s fascination with nuclear and toxic contamination, in the righteous dedication to animal rights of the ’90s hardline crossover acts and in black metal’s murky infatuation with the mysterious, elemental rhythms of the natural world.

Perhaps it’s metal ability to harness the dark side that makes it such fertile ground for elucidating and excoriating these grand, troubling ideas. Instead of broaching specifics, The Anthropocene Extinction is a product of our contemporary, all-encompassing concerns. It’s a holistic take on our myriad ecological ills, connecting different miseries to one another with intricate ease. Nothing in the natural world exists in a vacuum and the anthropocene has many ugly limbs connecting to one monstrous whole. The album’s lyrics broach disparate but interlinked topics such as disconnect from nature (“Apex Blasphemy”), industrial research (“Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot)”), pandemics (“Plagueborne”) and oceanic pollution (“Pacific Grim”).

Cattle Decapitation’s frontman and lyricist Travis Ryan has a way with words that’s as eloquent as it is embittered, weaving metaphors and stark parallels into his dark observations. Individual tracks on The Anthropocene Extinction often possess a specific focus but by the end of their runtime degenerate into hallowed philosophical questioning and doom-leaden misanthropy. “Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot)” mutates from visceral imagery featuring “syringes filled with dihydrodesoxymorphine” and “tubes in your anus leading to open sores creating sepsis” into simple but profound questioning: “why do we do these things?/is this the meaning of human being?” Ryan’s narrative voice here is practically that of a fallen angel, surveying a ruined, hellish landscape.

Ryan’s assessments of this desecrated terrain lead to some pessimistic conclusions, namely that humans are a scourge and the planet would be better off without our presence. “Plagueborne” (“turn us to ashes/reduce us to dust”), “The Prophets Of Loss” (“we fucking die tonight and that’s perfectly alright with me”) and “Mutual Assured Destruction” (“let mountains bask in utter silence”) all conclude that the end of humanity is not only something that would serve Earth and its ecology well, it’s a punishment we deserve because of our reckless mismanagement of this fragile, beautiful world.

Ryan’s most memorable and incendiary lyrics err toward the notion, central to modern anthropocene studies, that there is a temporal and ontological separation between humanity and nature. Historical research in the modern era has too-often placed human affairs at the center of its telos at the expense of the natural world, similar to the geocentric model of pre-Copernican cosmology. Even Fernand Braudel, one of the most revered historians of the twentieth century, separated history into three different temporalities—the immobility of nature and climate, the slow temporality of the economy and society, and the rapid temporality of events e.g. battles and politics.

This separation has had profound consequences on humanity’s understanding of our place on this planet. Western historiography is effectively-never dictated from the perspective of landmasses or ecosystems, in the way that the wisdom of indigienous cultures so frequently is. Throughout The Anthropocene Extinction, Ryan uses this ontological separation as fodder for some thoughtful and vivid imagery. “Apex Blasphemy” describes food as “packaged in plastic from the factory to your table,” while “Circo Inhumanitas” features the sharp couplet “dominion over leaving beings/degradation behind the scenes.” These musings reveal Ryan’s prime concern regarding the dangers of the anthropocene—that its causality is bound up in humanity’s dissociation from the ways, processes, customs and patterns of the natural world.

This questioning of human ontology and where it fits into the enormous geological time frames that Earth and its ecosystems operate within gives The Anthropocene Extinction its hard-hitting philosophical power. Ryan’s lyrics are grim and pessimistic, but only if viewed from the perspective of humanity. He’s deeply empathetic to the Earth’s non-human ecology—an unorthodox teleological standpoint that, for the sake of all life on this planet, it’s important, maybe even imperative, that we listen closely to.

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