Climate Change: Adaptation / Relocation
Thanks for your reply and for explaining the risks of climate re engineering. I am certainly not advocating that we do something like this, it is that I have read in a few books books lately that geoengineering could be used as a stop-gap measure to keep global temperatures down. And to possibly mitigate some of the harmful effects of climate change such as slowing the methane release from the thawing arctic tundra. But considering the risks and pitfalls that you have described it sounds to me that doing somethig like this would likely only make our already dire situation worse. J.
I am making the assumption that at some future date a significant portion of our food will have to be grown. The problem is that even our heirloom heritage seeds are no longer suitable for our environment, and every year it has been a reign of plagues. The first yaer it was the tent worm invasion. The next year it was ladybugs. The next what we call presbyterian bugs around here, box elder beetles. Then came the stink bugs in horrifying numbers. We were vacuuming up hundreds every few hours at peak season in the fall. This year its is spider and stink bugs.
The plants alos got a new dizzying variety of blights. We were aiming for organic and education for ourselves. This year we have a huge crop of pumpkins. But they got downy mildew and many of the gourds are rotten before they ripen. The rest are ripe now, well before expected. Potatoes came in early and well, but the next sowing never grew. My tomatoes grew beautifully and then refused to ripen until now. But, I am losing about 1/2 to bugs and blight. I will admit my grapes were luscious this year, but the apples are sour. I lost my fig, not sure why and the mulberry crop was short and bland. I am keeping copious notes. I am starting to face reality and am beginning to abandon ideas for things that grow here and starting to look at areas that are hotter and wetter. I cannot get a good grip on what our precipitation will look like. The pattern is simply not clear. What looks clear is too much of either for long stretches. Too wet and then too dry. We’re assessing water storage solutions and have built water drainage systems that both move the water, give it somewhere to go and store it. They are works in progress. What we are getting is tornadoes in an area that had had 1 in the last 50 years. We’ve had three in the last two years. We’re constructing a safe room in the basement.
We’re also building a bartering community one slow step at a time. It is relationships……
13 years ago we went to Alaska and camped on a glacier. This year a cruise ship was sitting on the GPS coordinate where we had camped…… I cried. Each eyar when it snows I make a big deal out of it and we enjoy sledding and building snow men, each year there is less snow and it snows less often. The years’ “big storm” is smaller. I am worried, but working. It seems to be all I can do.
I was really moved by what you said about the glacier, Land 2341.
I am not a master gardener, I just have a small community garden plot. But it sounds to me, Land2341, that we want fast-growing, resilient plants. And we likely will want to start with seedlings so only the healthiest are transplanted and they grow vigorously before larvae and insects get a chance to wake up and start getting busy.
Here’s what’s worked for me:
Radishes, transplanted tomatoes that are vigorous growers, fast-growing vine crops, continuously producing Chinese long beans. lettuce sprouting in pots by the window, strawberry root balls started in newspaper pots with organic soil, then transplanted. The idea is to quickly have stuff growing before the larvae and insects and diseases wake up and start getting busy. I noticed that one year we had cucumbers going really early from seedlings, and we got probably a month of continuous, large cucumber production from just one vigorous plant last year (the other died to a rabbit chewing on the stem). But someone who started a month after us, just one garden plot over, their tender cucumber plants’ leaves were wiped out by disease/insects before they had a chance.
So happy to have found this thread – Poet, thank you for making the space for “acceptors” (prefer this term to “believers”) to freely share their ideas, it is already helping me get more specific in my plans.
As I am Australian I will refrain from discussing “regions” (unless anyone specifically wants to know of course) – but I would love to do a “reality check” with all here regarding the areas we need to work on for successful(?) adaption. I am fairly new to thinking about it in this manner so will appreciate any feedback as I am in the planning stages of moving back to Australia from Japan.
It seems to me that the 3 things we will have to work hardest for are secure water supplies, food suplies and shelter that can help us withstand extreme temperatures / weather / flooding – am I missing anything?
Water – both for drinking and food growth. The obvious things that come to mind are – rainwater tanks, dry-composting toilets, greywater recycling. I have only just started learning about permaculture methods, but it seems that mulching rather than tilling can help reduce water usage?
Food – does anyone have an opinion on whether Aquaponics is a method that could help provide a stable source of food over periods of uncertain weather (obviously water permitting)?
Shelter – remembering the thousands of people who died in the heat waves in Europe last decade and hearing about the hundreds of old people here in Japan who died in their houses from heat exhaustion just this year, having shelter that incorporates passive solar design to whatever extent possible seems really important. Has anyone gone down this road?
Thanks in advance.
So training fruit trees to metal trellises makes management easier, improves yields… and protects against Category 5 cyclones (hurricanes/typhoons)…
Tully Farmer Blown Away By Cyclone Success (September 27, 2012)
“Mr Salleras said he came up with the idea to replant the crop using protective trellises after Larry when he saw the technique used on fruit trees in other regions to increase yield and improve management.“
Great post land2341!
Interesting notes on the successive plagues. I don’t think that anyone will be able to be passive and just keep doing the same things that their grandparents did. Not only will there be a need for shifting crop rotations to different species or cultivars there will also need to be more expectation of crop failures due to the too wet/too dry sequence you mention, often in the same season. Permaculture holds some promise in ameliorating this as it provides numerous microclimates that you can attempt to exploit.
I feel your pain about the glaciers. I worked 3 years in Antarctica, sailed the fjords of Chile to the glaciers there and even made the furthest south of any ship since at least 1911 in the Ross Sea. All of those locations are now drastically different. A couple of years ago I took my family to see Glacier National Park before it becomes glacier-less national park. It’s worth also going up to Banff to enjoy Moraine Lake and Lake Louise as these jewels will fade as their glaciers recede.
Well stated but the one thing I would stress is the need to better prepare where you choose to live. The majority of humanity, especially you Aussies, live on or near the coast. They will be living ever closer to the caost each year. Tidal influences can proceed well inland along river basins. We were 100km up river and had to ork around the tides in Indonesia. Also, we aware of your topography and seemingly benign small streams as they may turn into flash flood conduits as rainfall intensities increase over time. Areas that never flooded will do so.
I am hoping myself to have a go at aquaponics once I can get settled. It seems an ideal system which undoubtedly means full of challenes.
The heat wave deaths are very real. Over 30 thousand in Europe in 2002, mor than 50,000 in Russia in 2010. I had not heard of the Japanese suffering this year.
Thanks for your comments – glad to know that I’m basically headed in the right direction!
I am from (and heading back to) Canberra – inland Australia (one of the minority!) so I’m covered in terms of ocean levels. Even before climate change, Australia was “a land of droughts and flooding rains” (words from our most famous poem “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar), all of which has been exarcerbated in the last few decades, so as much as it is hard most of the time to imagine our pitiful streams flooding, I will be very careful of not moving too close to any!
As DTM stated back at the beginning of this thread, other than being aware of rising ocean levels, it does seem to be common wisdom that staying within the range of the ocean’s temperature (climate?) moderating effects is a good idea. Can anyone give me an idea what, other than more extreme temperatures, climate change might do to inland areas that it wouldn’t do to seaside ones?
Part of my reasoning of moving back to my home city is to help my parents as they face the difficulties of old age. They don’t want to move away from their friends and life (fair enough!) so I want to help them prepare their home as best as is possible for the expected increases in number of extreme heat days and anything else I should be considering for them (and my family) for the next 1, 2, 3 decades…
The thought of caring for frail parents in 10 years or so as the climate gets more extreme and presumedly oil gets more and more scarce is really quite daunting.
Two articles. One in-depth, one giving short outlooks for several cities in the United States.
Goodbye, Miami (June 20, 2013)
"South Florida has two big problems. The first is its remarkably flat topography. Half the area that surrounds Miami is less than five feet above sea level. Its highest natural elevation, a limestone ridge that runs from Palm Beach to just south of the city, averages a scant 12 feet. With just three feet of sea-level rise, more than a third of southern Florida will vanish; at six feet, more than half will be gone; if the seas rise 12 feet, South Florida will be little more than an isolated archipelago surrounded by abandoned buildings and crumbling overpasses. And the waters won't just come in from the east – because the region is so flat, rising seas will come in nearly as fast from the west too, through the Everglades."
Rising Seas: A City-By-City Forecast (June 20, 2013)
"A recent study estimated that a three-foot sea-level rise would put $49 billion in property in the San Francisco Bay Area at risk of flooding, as well as 1,460 miles of roads, nine power plants and the region's airports. Also in trouble: headquarters of Silicon Valley icons like Facebook and Google, which sit by the edge of the bay and are protected by old levees that could easily fail."
I continually find that Rollingstone has the best articles on everything from climate change to our country's financial woes. I would have never believed it when I was reading the music articles 30 years ago. What does it say when this austensibly music journal is now the best source for real news?
Climate change is not an event, it is a constant drum beat of greater and more frequent problems. Climate change does not bring new problems, it just makes worse all of our environmental issues from drought to flooding, invasives species to diseases, more persistent and frequent.
Normalcy bias has perhaps its greatest expression in our expectations that after any particular event that things will soon get back to normal. What we aren't good at recognizing is that 'normal' is no longer steadily predictable conditions but steadily changing conditions.
People have no idea how much we take for granted with climate. Buildings, bridges, crops planted, infrastucture for water and sewage among many other things are all designed for 'normal' conditions with a reasonable safety range around expected average conditions but these design parameters are becoming increasingly dated for the changing conditions. Fifty year flooding events are now twenty year events or maybe 10 year events. Do you build new bridges to yesterday's expectations, todays' conditions, or expected climates 30 years or more from now?
Food for thought.