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July 13, 2021


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Phoenix has many issues, but it is difficult to see how it is more at risk from climate change than Miami, New Orleans, or many other cities that face catastrophic flooding risks in the near future. Engineering solutions for extreme temperatures and water supply seem much easier than the prevention of massive fires or flooding (see recent NYT article on Chicago). Of course, the relative risks are only relative, and it would be nice to seem some actual leadership on this issue from the local governments, even with simple steps like planting more shade trees, white paint.

One of the strange things about the build up around the Valley is that the high(er) rises are in fact heat traps. They are clustered in prime areas for example around Central in Phoenix, Apache and Rural in Tempe and now blossoming on McDowell and Scottsdale Road. A particular sorrow for me is the encroachment on Papago Park. It's thoughtless in a critical time of climate crisis. And still they come....

This is not Phoenix problem, anymore so than anywhere else. People were dropping like flies in the Pacific Northwest and BC with the recent unprecedented heat wave. I've seen no more data on that, but at the time it was hundreds of people dead, on a par with a Phoenix summer. Would the grid going down be any worse than it was in Texas this winter? What if the grid went down in Minnesota when it's 20 degrees below zero?

My friends in ID, MT, CO and WY are mighty sick of breathing smoke all summer, every summer, with the attendant health issues. The fact is, we are well past the tipping point on climate change. There are more greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere from uncontrollable wildfires than any other source. Unless someone brighter than I am can figure out how to tax the carbon and reduce that source, we are already into the future that was forecast.

The American West is currently burning up while the East is drowning in rising sea levels and too much rain. Maybe we can imagine all of this as an anomaly in which life as we once knew it will return, we pray, next year. This kind of denialism is now the go-to strategy for a country that lives in a fever dream of unhinged anger and anxiety.

It's already too late. Whatever we do in the future will be insufficient to stem the tide of environmental catastrophe. We did this to ourselves while gorging on Netflix and pizza. Maybe we can imagine a smarter, saner nation patiently building a future that can endure for centuries instead of a few decades. It's a nice fantasy if you ignore the evidence all around you.

We were shocked by the conditions our military had to face in Iraq, but they stayed for 20 years. I suspect it's the lobster in the pot, turn up the heat slowly, don't toss into boiling water.

Downtown Voices Coalition is kicking around another conversation on the state of the city and inviting Andrew to either come out or join us virtually. Some kind of panel. You interested in attending/participating?

Are city leaders taking any action on the fire captain's letter?
It makes sense to me to close the Piestewa and Camelback summit trails when temperatures hit 105 (or maybe 110 degrees as an alternative). They should make it a misdemeanor, punishable by a hefty fine, to be on those trails when they're closed. They would have to pay part of the cost of being rescued. This would be similar to the "stupid motorist" law about driving into flooded water crossings and needing rescue.

The first rule of search and rescue is to not expose more people to the same hazard. For example, in avalanche country, you just don't go until it can be done safely. Perhaps harsh to some, but if the captain feels so strongly about the danger--then don't go until you feel you are not endangering your rescuers.

I also couldn't help but contrast these supposedly fit, hale firefighters with wildland firefighters who work in that extreme environment every day, all day long. I have been involved with that in one way or another for decades and not seen anything like 12 people going down.

Oh, and last night the City Council agreed to a "pilot" project to close a couple of the more difficult trails, while encouraging people to go to other trails...I'm not making this up.

Flaming in Phoenix
During WWII US bombers deliberately started Fire Storms in human highly density populated Germany.
Today human activity brings us many killing fire storms.
ED Abbey burnt Phoenix down in his novel, The Good News.
Charles Bowden and many others have pointed out the consequences of building cities in places that will be temporary.
Around 200 AD, Tertullin of Carthage "Suggested pruning the Luxurince of the human race.
About 1800 Thomas Malthus wrote about outgrowing resources.
In 2017 50 Nobel prize winning scientists said that, "human over population and environmental degradation are the two greatest threats facing mankind."
But today Billionaires Eldon Musk and Jack Ma contend that "by 2039 the biggest issue will be population collapse, not explosion."
Maybe? Seems like that will require a lot of dead people!

INMHO Human activity is driven by the desire to exceed that needed for reasonable survival but reaches the absurdity of suicide by amassing ridiculous consumption.

and then there is these thoughts

I watched for a comment by Cal Lash and knew it would be a wider look at what is going on. Cal can find opinions that make the pessimists look like optimists. I won't be around to see it, but I'm hoping the pendulum will swing back the other way, that Somebody will come to the rescue, that our planet will stay livable.
Maybe Branson, Bezos, Musk, possibly the Chinese will find a new world for us to start all over again. This 93-year old will volunteer for a ride on a rocket.
Mariam, author of "Stories About the Hotel Westward Ho."

I try to keep on the sunny side but on climate change I can't see one, other than the fact that I'll probably be gone when the bill comes due for how we've been living.

@Mariam, I've been reading a lot of science-related articles and listening to science-related podcasts. I figure that while many Americans slouch toward fantasy and darkness, I'd drift toward rationality and listen to people who are smarter than me and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Neil Degrasse Tyson has regularly addressed the possibility and peril of humans colonizing space. In short, we're stuck on our little blue rock.

The first challenges are of leaving Earth. The practical economics: If we look at space launches of satellites and the space station, we're just talking about orbital Earth. It costs about $10,000 per pound of matter to achieve orbit. You start with the fixed costs of the vehicle (tons), fuel and crew (hundreds of pounds each). Then you add the payload.

Then there are physiological concerns. How do carbon-based life forms adapt and survive when the biological and chemical interactions beyond Earth are different and likely nonexistent?

Re-creating a biome beyond Earth runs into the economy problem.

Once, Degrasse Tyson had on a ethicist on his podcast to weigh the ethical implications of space colonization. The guest wasn't Cal Lash, but sounded like him. He says world history is an argument against space exploration, because humanity would just take our bad habits (war, resource exploitation, social stratification) to our celestial frontiers. If we haven't figured out how to abolish war, prejudice and exploitation here, we're not any better as colonizers no matter our ideals.

One more time!
We are screwing ourselves of a place to stand.

A nice illustration of the cancer that is 'sustainable growth':

Recently an article came out that highlighted that homes that were being built or had been built could not be habitable as a result of PFAS and PFOA forever chemicals that were found in the groundwater in the area. Those chemicals came from Luke Air Force Base that was nearby.

ALSO nearby, something the company I work with helped put in place, is Red Bull, White Claw and another bottling facility. All mine groundwater to provide everyone with their drinks of choice. I asked someone with direct connections to them if there was a concern that these chemicals were in their wells as they were right next door to these homes. The answer was an acknowledgement that it was a good question and a valid concern but hey- they were 2 miles away. How bout them Suns eh?

I see so many in the water industry that are jaded and have given up. They realize they sold out our resources for pennies on the T-Bill and now simply tell me when I challenge them 'Well, it's legal'.

I feel like I'm losing my mind when no one cares about the train wreck approaching that everyone is doing all they can to ignore.

Hello Bobson - Although my favorite will always be Asimov, I'm disregarding the science part of sf. We are going to lift away from this planet with our minds, forget about the dollar per tonnage. We could all go on the same channel and will ourselves to High Barbaree. Lots of choices on that one, but we would be writing a book on Jon's dime. So all we can do now: Look at the problems with Jon's research and Cal's digging further and try is protect what we have left.
from Mariam, author of "The Alternate Safe World of Sanctuary," written in 1972

The “Extinction Prevention Act” Is Not Enough
The Human Population Needs To Be Stabilized in the U.S.

Bobson, I had to look up ethicist. HA!

Arizona is also “Ground Zero” in the Border crisis. For decades Arizona insiders used Illegal Labor to harvest crops and to build infrastructure. Arizona Project 1977 article "Bob Goldwater's Ranch Uses Illegal Aliens." https://www.newspapers.com/image/105881980/

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