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Changing weather patterns are forcing us to find new homes.  We have to relocate our farms, or find new ways to farm with limited resources.  Survival of the human race means that we have to adapt, migrate, or die.

So we're all thinking it.  What do we do, where do we go, when our little corner of the globe becomes uninhabitable?

I don’t know where you live, but I’m in Texas. The D/FW area is close to the center of the heat dome. As we have more melting of the ice sheet in Greenland and the Antarctic, it creates severe weather. What’s interesting to me is that the heat pushes much of that away, so we’re seeing increasingly severe weather in the areas outside the heat dome.

North Texas used to be more like the plains in terms of weather patterns. Tornadoes and straight-line winds in the spring, and hot temperatures between June and September. Freezing weather happened between December and March. In January, the Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth had the worst possible weather - sleet, freezing rain, temperatures around 20°F, and even snow. North Texas Irish Festival was unpredictable. Rain, hail, freezing rain, sleet, beautiful sunny days - we never knew what the weather would do. One year the whole place froze over. Another year it sleeted and snowed on Saturday, and on Sunday it was sunny and beautiful. “Don’t plant anything before NTIF!” was a rallying cry among the gardeners in Fort Worth.

Now north Texas, especially the D/FW area, is becoming a desert. Watering restrictions are in place most of the year. Trees are dying, especially the magnolias and spruces, which need cooler temperatures and more water. I’ve lost two pecan trees, and my neighbors have lost more. The farmers in our area are having a hard time growing food, and the food that they can get tends to be more bitter, because of the lack of water and the heat. Worst of all, we need water for power plants - some of them require cooling towers, and the nuclear power plant needs water to heat for its inanimate carbon rods.

Adaptation

First things first. We need to adapt to our environment, instead of forcing our environment to adapt to us.

Conserving Water

Water is the most precious thing in this area, and we need to start thinking of ways to reclaim it. The D/FW area is famous for spreading out like a blot across the northern plains of Texas. Instead of building up, we build out. Many unincorporated areas have water wells, where the residents are allowed to drill for their water. We need to rethink urban development. One way is to start building arcology-style residences within city limits that help conserve water and other resources. Another way is to create zero-out dwellings that conserve and recycle their own water. Fort Worth has made a giant leap - in the works is a plan to build a water recycling plant. It’s unfortunate that we’re doing this now, instead of ten years ago, but better late than never.

There are low-tech solutions to water recycling as well. Use your washer outflow for watering your yard - it’s a simple matter of relocating the tube to run outside instead of in your drain. Catch and reuse water from your shower. I have to run the hot water for a few seconds to get it warm, so I catch it in a bucket and use that water for my plants and shrubs.

Another major concern is the fracking in this area, which introduces chemicals into our water aquifer. With residents drilling for water, it leads to contaminated water supplies like the those flammable water videos. With water becoming more and more valuable, we can’t afford to contaminate it for cheap natural gas. Texas does not enforce its drilling regulations, very few drillers are inspected, and the financial penalties for violation are much less than the proceeds from a well.

Sustainable Food Production

With the drought and extreme heat, Texas cattle will become a thing of the past. It’s true, we’re going to have to eat less meat. Texas is one of the fat capitals of the US. Obesity rates in Texas are among the worst in the nation. With the high temperatures and the urban sprawl of D/FW, it’s impossible to walk anywhere. Stress is high, and nobody has time to cook. So we’re all becoming fat and unwell from eating at various high-calorie joints, whether it’s a restaurant or a fast food place. The rising cost of animal meat production is going to change that.

One thing we can do in Texas is encourage sustainable farming practices. We don’t have enough water for large-scale farms in north Texas. Farmers will have to drastically rethink the kinds of foods they can grow here, and how they can conserve water to get the maximum benefit.

In south Texas, it’s a different story. Being on the edge of the heat dome, they get much more rain and moisture in the air, and it’s easier to grow certain foods. It also gets more severe weather, so the chances of the crop being ruined by a hurricane are good. South Texas is also a great place for sustainable animal food production, such as catfish, bass, and crawfish. Catfish and bass aren’t picky about the water they’re in. You can have a rice field, which is flooded for much of the year, and catfish living among the roots of the rice. This is good for the rice, which get nutriets from the catfish crap. It’s good for the catfish, which eat the things living in the water among the roots. All this is possible in south Texas, without much infrastructure.

Staying cool - staying alive.

Let’s face it. Much of Texas would be uninhabitable without air conditioning. I think the first air-conditioning anywhere was in a church in Orange, Texas. Most of the strain on our power plants is during the summer, when our ACs are running. How do we reduce the need for air-conditioning when the temperatures are only going to go up?

One thing we can do is STOP building these ridiculous glass cubes. Fort Worth has a few, Dallas has more, but the most are in Houston. We’ve got to start thinking about buildings that are easy to keep cool.

Arcologies

Arcologies will help human beings survive the future. A single building with several dwellings inside can conserve resources, create its own power through sewage to methane gas production, use its graywater for sustainable farming practices, and cool each dwelling more efficiently. Solar panels and wind power can make the building a zero-out - nothing that goes into the building is wasted. Mass transit and a local bar - what more do you need?

Migration

And if we can’t live in Texas, then what? There appears to be a large land mass north of Canada. When the ice melts, who’s going to move in? For that matter, much of Canada is going to be more comfortable in twenty years. I have to imagine that our prehistoric ancestors had the same dilemma - migrate or adapt? All I know is, we can’t sit around and wait to see what happens. We know what’s going to happen. We have to be prepared for it when it does.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    Then those 47% comments came along and it turned out that cartoon caricature Mitt Romney was actually real Mitt Romney. - Josh Marshall

    by Jensequitur on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:44:00 PM PDT

  •  Had to look up "arcology" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    txcatlin, Jensequitur, divineorder

    but the concept has turned up before in my dreams: self-contained towns, complete with commercial districts and residences, all housed in a single "building," like a sky scraper. To leave home and take a walk "down the block" in such a settlement, is actually to walk into a huge indoor common space. Here is a helpful link: http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    A related thought: Here in America, our basic physical civic infrastructure has barely changed since the early 1800s. Roads in a grid pattern, houses surrounded by yards, perhaps some kind of town square. I suspect that part of the reason for this immutability, is that it has supported our traditional social structure, e.g., patterns of social inequality. Just an idea, left undeveloped here...  

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:18:19 PM PDT

  •  Force all commercial properties (4+ / 0-)

    to follow the same watering restrictions as residential.  I've seen gas stations in Flower Mound watering the grass with automatic sprinklers at 3 pm during conservation periods.

    Socialist? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    by Kimbeaux on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 01:44:54 PM PDT

  •  Migration (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, Visceral, divineorder
    And if we can’t live in Texas, then what? There appears to be a large land mass north of Canada. When the ice melts, who’s going to move in?
    Um, actually, there is no land mass north of Canada; there's just the 4,000+ meter deep Arctic Ocean.  But large parts of Alaska and Canada may indeed become more attractive dwelling places.  It's 90 degrees F. here in San Antonio this afternoon...

    When the solution is simple, God is answering. Albert Einstein

    by Carol in San Antonio on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:07:35 PM PDT

  •  Really missed the storms this year in North Texas. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    Didn't think I'd ever say that. The Pecan Tree planted in '76 had to be taken down this year. Have lost 2 Pines that were planted in '78. This drought is truly life-changing. Totally agree with above comment about Commercial Properties need to be more responsible water users.

    Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. Robert A. Heinlein

    by txcatlin on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:50:47 PM PDT

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