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I've been reading a book lately,
the title is

living through the next fifty years on Earth
Mark Hertsgaard

I bought it for six dollars,
and it came to my mailbox
a few days after I bought it,
very fast.

Here is a website where you can buy it
for about the same price,

I want to review this book,
even though I'm not quite finished,
and spell out some things
I keep forgetting to spell out.

Below the squiggly:

The worst chapter in the book,
in my opinion,
is chapter 7,
In Vino Veritas:  The Business of Climate Adaptation

The best chapter is chapter 8,
How Will We Feed Ourselves?

The two main things missing from the book
are the same things missing from any book or article
or movie
about global warming
I've ever watched or read:

1.  Exactly how will humans suffer and die?

2.  What would be a sustainable number of humans on Earth,
a number who could easily avoid
the massive suffering and death?

The reason I don't like chapter 7,
is that it deals with the wine industry.

I want to know what it is,
about global warming
that will cause the suffering and death
of millions of humans,
and the author wants to tell me that
"The Character of Our Wines Was Changing"
(that's the title of a section of the chapter)

The reason I like chapter 8
is that the author tells us to build a chicken coop.

Not really,
but almost.

He tells us to follow the leadership of the First Lady,
and plant a Victory Garden....
Victory Garden was the term used by a different First Lady,
Eleanor Roosevelt.

He writes about that,
as well.

He writes about the Western Sahel,
a region in Africa,
South of the Sahara Desert,
and North of the rain forests,
a region that sounds a lot like Kansas,
reasonable amount of annual rainfall,
but often in the form of a few hard rains,
with long dry spells,
months long.

The small scale farmers
of the Western Sahel
figured out that they could grow trees,
from seeds,
by fertilizing between the rows of crops
with manure from livestock,
because the manure has tree seeds in it,
and the trees grow
between the rows of crops,
which makes the land hold the water
during the long dry spells.

I already noticed,
years ago,
that even abandoned houses
in Kansas,
because of trees planted decades before,
plus volunteer trees,
growing along fence lines,
plus the houses themselves,
all these factors cause the yards of these houses,
these abandoned houses,
to hold water well.

With no one watering the yard,
for years,
these houses had lush vegetation,
all around.

The bushes
and trees,
and houses themselves,
hold the water,
by providing shade
and roots
and encouraging microbes in the soil.

This means that we,
here in Kansas,
can grow plenty of crops,
with a high yield per acre,
in our yards.

In our yards.

And the chickens,
or ducks,
can eat some of the crops,
and the bugs that infest our crops.

since farming between rows of tees,
just as in yards,
will not allow giant farm machines,
the people must return to the land,
and there must be plenty of land for them to return to.

Which means we need way less humans,
brought about by voluntary contraception,
such as surgical sterilization of four out of five of us,
for two or three generations,
so that each of us will have plenty of good land.

If my hometown of Wichita, Kansas
had 5,000 humans in it,
instead of 500,000,
then we could do this:

My wife and I,
for example,
along with her four brothers,
and her sister,
and a few of her uncles and aunts,
and great aunts,
if we had about
25 to 50 yards,
plus empty houses,
to use for growing crops,
and raising livestock,
we could feed ourselves easily.

Imagine all of us,
more than ten but less than twenty of us,
living in two or three of the houses in our neighborhood,
next door to each other,
and all the other houses,
for about ten houses out in all directions from us,
if those houses were simply empty,
we could use the yards to grow vast amounts of
green beans,

And we could use some of the empty houses to raise
and hogs,
maybe dairy cows,

We need to remember,
the list of reasons feeding ourselves is better:

(I'm sure others have longer lists,
but just off the top of my head:)

1.  We would have food security,
since we would not be forced to work at some job,
such as I work hard,
at a Walmart Supercenter,
and then get some money,
and then pay for huge expenses other than food,
then hope I have enough money left over for food.

2.  No transporting of food from far away,
to my local store,
then from the store to my home,
using fossil fuels,
and increasing global climate change,
every step of the way.

3.  We could use no pesticides,
no herbicides,
and still feed ourselves.
The chickens and ducks could eat all the bugs that try to eat the crops.
If the bugs are so numerous as to reduce the yield of a crop,
it would be okay,
since the chickens and ducks would be making insect protein and fat
into egg protein and egg fat.
Or, we could eat the insects ourselves.

4. We could fertilize our crops with animal manure,
including human animal manure.
That would increase our crop yield.

My wife just started watching the movie,
Wall E.

Which reminds me of another movie,

The Waterworld variant trailer
shows the Earth,
as seen from space,
and it zooms in on the North polar region,
and it shows the ice melting,
and the land vanishes,
submerged underwater.

The plot in the movie is based on the idea
that if all the ice on Earth melts,
the only dry land would be a small island
that was the top part of Mount Everest.

This link gives more accurate information:

With the loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet, additional sea-level rise would approach 10.5 metres (34 feet). While the current generation of models predicts that such global sea-level changes might take several centuries to occur,

Here is another site:  

 The main ice covered landmass is Antarctica at the South Pole, with about 90 percent of the world's ice (and 70 percent of its fresh water). Antarctica is covered with ice an average of 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) thick. If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet).  

I'm having trouble finding a simple article
at any website
that points out that most of Earth's ice is on top of
East Antarctica,
and when the greenhouse gasses
reach a much higher level,
and stay there for a few hundred years,
all ice will melt,
including East Antarctica,
and the sea level will rise,
about 200 feet.

I found a map a while back,
it was bookmarked on my old computer,
but I'm having trouble finding it now.

But I remember much of it,

With no ice on the planet,
Florida is gone,
Louisiana is gone,
much of the East coast land is submerged,
and the Gulf of Mexico
reaches North to the boot heel of Missouri.

That is drastic enough.

And that's why I hate that part of Waterworld.

It gives the Conservatives and the fossil fuel businesses
a way to ridicule us on the left,
accusing us of ridiculous exaggeration,
with just the top of Mount Everest
the only dry land?

It makes me furious
at all those involved with the movie.

I like my fiction
based on reality,
rather than insane bullshit.

Wall-E is another movie that's over the top:  

The story line is that the Earth becomes so toxic,
that no one can live there,
for 700 years.

Then the plants come back,
and the humans return,
from a multi-generational pleasure cruise,
and they start farming,
and everything's okay.

I don't like that story,
because it seems that it's very far-fetched
that things would take place in that manner.

Billions will starve,
before a tiny percentage of humans
could ever escape on the pleasure cruise.

But it's a Disney kids movie,
and it might inspire kids to join us,
and the First Lady,
in planting Victory Gardens,
and building chicken coops,
and raising ducks and chickens,
and goats and hogs.

I'm tired of working on this diary.

Thanks for reading.

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Comment Preferences

  •  BYC'er here (Back Yard Chickens) (9+ / 0-)

    We've had chickens for almost two years now. They're awesome. So much good comes from small scale farming and agriculture. A personal connection to the food we eat has been lost and that's not a good thing.

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:45:20 PM PST

  •  Go solar and wind, too. (5+ / 0-)

    Get off the oil roller coaster.  We garden, raise our own beef and pork, have our own chickens for eggs.  Yeah, baby, become self sustaining!

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:49:26 PM PST

    •  Can we really all be self-sustaining though? (6+ / 0-)

      Is an agrarian world the only world possible in the future? What about the doctors who need specialized training and equipment? Do you want your physicians to spend a couple of hours each day farming or reading up on the latest techniques to treat arthritis?

      I don't think we need to run on the consumer society we've got right now, but I like my computers and antibiotics so who will feed and care for the scientists or the construction worker who builds the laboratory they work in?

      Division of labor is a good thing. But we've clearly got to find a better way to run the system in the future.

      To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

      by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:55:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who would have that answer? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, bigjacbigjacbigjac

        Individuals can make those decisions for themselves.  How self sustaining do you want to be, or can you oe?  If you live in an apartment, obviously you have limitations.  We're doing what we can and our decision is to be as self sustaining as possible.

        being mindful and keepin' it real

        by Raggedy Ann on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:10:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's one of the most important questions (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ontheleftcoast, Avila

        we need to answer.

        I start with the idea
        that feeding ourselves,
        as much as possible,
        may someday be necessary,
        to avoid brutal famines,
        with billions starving.

        I ask myself exactly what you just asked,
        how many hours per day will
        factory workers,
        electronics techies,
        and so forth,
        how many hours per day should these professionals spend
        on producing their own food?

        I think most days,
        at least one or two,
        maybe three or four.

        We now have the assumption
        that one farmer or rancher
        will feed 300 of the rest of us,
        and we turn our backs on them,
        and they do what they must,
        to stay in business,
        and we are forced to eat
        whatever they send us.

        I think a compromise,
        in which everyone helps,
        everyone lives on a farm,
        and everyone does what they can
        to produce food,
        I think that's what our descendants will do,

        by the way,
        Tonia's a nurse,
        and she confirms,
        there is no magical treatment for arthritis.

        Exercise helps as well as anything.

        I know,
        that was just an example.

        But I tend to think that our descendants
        might need to accept
        less prompt emergency medical treatment
        in the world I imagine.

        If we're spread out over the land,
        it may take too long to get to a hospital,
        even with aircraft,
        landing on a road or field.

        Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  •  delightful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the way you have with words, bigjac, is so artful and clever.

    •  My dear Avila, you have brought up a subject, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, brillig, Steveningen, Larsstephens, deha

      which I feel is the most important subject
      in my personal life,
      the subject I must deal with,
      every day.

      For the last few years,
      I've discovered
      that I have some degree of talent,
      a way with words.

      I know arrogance is annoying,
      so I hope folks don't feel I'm expressing arrogance,
      when I say that as others say they like my writing style,
      I look back at what I've written,
      and I feel,
      very deeply,
      I truly like my own work,
      the way I choose my words carefully,
      keep it short and simple,
      I enjoy reading it myself.

      Not all of it,
      but most of it.

      But then I look to the future,
      the future of humankind,
      the future 500 years from now,
      1,000 years from now.

      And I see famines,
      and I see no way to avoid those famines.

      But I feel a powerful desire
      to plant a seed,
      here at the servers of Daily Kos,
      so that hundreds of years from now,
      after the famines,
      after billions are dead,
      someone will access these words,
      along with the words of many others,
      words that could help our descendants
      rebuild a new system,
      a sustainable system.

      There is a temptation
      to give up on the chicken coop diaries,
      and just write slice of life diaries,
      and maybe even become famous
      as some kind of revered poet.

      But I cannot turn my back on our descendants.

      I want to help them.

      As I actually build our chicken coop,
      I intend to combine the two things,
      my slice of life diaries
      will be about our chicken coop,
      and about sustainability,
      both together.

      But I'd feel terrible if,
      towards the end of my life,
      (and I'm already 57)
      if I perceived that I was going to be remembered
      for my artsy way with words,
      but my message,
      my overpopulation alarm message,
      seemed to be lost.

      But thanks again,
      for the compliment.

  •  Farming is the greatest experiment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac, Avila

    humans have ever undertaken... and the verdict it still out as to weather it is sustainable. By favoring certain species over others, do you throw the whole balance out of whack? It will not happen in our life time, I hope, but it is possible that the whole system of human farm will come crashing down.

    Not...not to be a downer or anything....

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:32:20 PM PST

    •  So true! If we look back 100,000 years, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UFOH1, northsylvania, se portland, Avila

      as far as we know,
      our ancestors fed themselves by
      and eating
      and fruit.

      Domesticating plants and animals,
      such as
      and hogs,
      all that domesticating and mass producing
      makes us dependent on our farms and ranches
      having just the right soil,
      and just enough rainfall,
      at just the right times,
      no severe droughts,

      The stone age hunting and fishing,
      with no cities,
      allowed all of our ancestors
      to simply migrate away from droughts,
      and towards plentiful game and fish.

      Our cities,
      with all food shipped in,
      seems like a house of cards to me,
      setting ourselves up for famines.

      That's why I keep writing these diaries.

      And that's why I feel we need to have only
      100 million humans on the planet,
      so that there is so much land per family group,
      that the families can migrate
      away from droughts,
      and move onto land that has rainfall,
      and no one is already there,
      fighting them off.

      Thanks for the input.

      •  Having watched (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac, Avila, qofdisks

        the recent problems with the catastrophic demise of trees due to invasive pests brought in from around the globe as food and other things are shipped from hither to yon, my opinion remains...there is no free lunch.
        In wayback days, drought, locusts, floods, too much cold, too little cold, made local crops fail. Local farming is not easy if you count on it for all your needs every year. On the other hand, some obscure beetle carrying an even more obscure fungus can come in on that pallet of flour from when food from exotic locations is introduced by necessity or preference. I'm with bj3 here. It's a house of cards.

        "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

        by northsylvania on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:25:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That was really very good (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac, Avila


        The fact that the text itself is skinny and under feed at the top is awesome. And I really do mean that mean that sincerely.

        I was afraid you might be the new edscan, but I am happy that I am wrong. :)

        It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

        by se portland on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:01:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've been compared to edscan, a few times (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          here and there,
          so this one more time finally got me curious enough
          to do a search for edscan.

          I was hoping to find a diary by him,
          or at least some comments in the threads
          of diaries by others,
          but the search engine either does not go back for enough,
          or all his diaries are deleted,
          and his comments hidden.

          But my search got hundreds of results,
          mostly Saturday hate mail-a-palooza diaries,
          by kos.

          At first I was confused,
          then I caught on;
          edscan sends e-mail to kos on a regular basis.

          I bookmarked this diary:  


           George thinks edscan is insane.
          Edscan thinks George is insane.

          Finally! Something we can all agree on.  


          I suppose I should be mildly insulted
          by the comparison,
          since I think I'm noticeably smarter
          than edscan.

          But at least I have a familiar spot
          here at Daily Kos.

          I'm the guy who's writing
          reminds folks of edscan,
          but I'm not.

          I would change my username to
          "I'm not edscan,"
          but then I'd have a much higher UID,
          and we can't have that now,
          can we?

          •  quite so (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            not merely smarter than, but a lovely person, generous, gracious, thoughtful in word and deed.  

            all this and a revered poet.  

            i remember your first diary here.  do you remember?  i think i knew then someone of a special significance had opened a window with perspectives i could learn from, and i have, and continue to learn from you.  

            you must not doubt yourself or or your talents, please.  from my earliest memories, adults (my parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents)  conditioned me that all Cuban Americans are blessed with an extra bit of charm and manners.  you are undoubtedly an honorary Cuban American, bigjac. ;)

            •  It's been a very long time (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              since I went back and read
              my first diary.

              In fact,
              when I read it just now
              may be the first time I read it
              since the days just after I wrote it.

              I vaguely remembered it as clumsy,
              and not well received.

              After reading it again,
              just now,
              I've changed my opinion
              on how clumsily it was written.

              Taken together with my own comments in the thread,
              I truly feel that I made my case,
              as well as I can ever make it.

              here is the link:


              By the way,
              the diary was inspired,
              in part,
              by a rant about opinions,
              spoken by my new bride Tonia.

              You see,
              in June of 2006,
              my first wife,
              was still alive,
              and your tax dollars was paying my now second wife,
              to take care of Pam.

              Tonia had a grandmother who said a lot of things
              that she was probably not certain about,
              and Tonia told me
              that everything everyone says
              is just an opinion.

              That made me think,
              and I argued with her,
              and that discussion
              led to that diary.

              It's so amazing
              that a woman who was so annoying
              is now my wife.

              (We still have arguments
              about the correct usage of the word,

              Thanks again.

            •  I know very little about my ancestry, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but I'm probably
              and Irish,
              at least.

              I'm excited and pleased
              to be an honorary Cuban-American.

              I'm certainly an honorary black American,
              since my wife uses,
              with affection,
              some variations of the
              'n' word,
              to refer to me.

              You almost need to be in the room,
              to understand.

              Thanks again.

  •  I say 2.7 billion. (0+ / 0-)

    That is about the population of 100 years ago. There was plenty of hunting. I heard a long time ago perhaps on npr that was a sustainable number. Makes sense. I don't think we would have to give up a modern life. Modern but very different than the way we live now.I propose a sustainable slower modern lifestyle.x

    •  Thank you very much. (0+ / 0-)

      I simply want everyone
      to do what you've done.

      I want everyone
      to state a number,
      and try to work towards that number.

      I state one hundred million,
      simply because I feel safe with that number,
      since it seems so low that all cities
      would be mostly ghost towns,
      and plenty of land per capita
      for growing crops
      and grazing livestock.

      Did Al Gore state a number,
      and urge folks to get sterilized
      to reach that number?

      Yet he got a Nobel prize,
      and an Oscar.

      Without a number,
      you're pissing in the wind.

      Thanks again.

      •  We need population control and it can be all (0+ / 0-)

        on a voluntary basis.  We need to make it cultural norm that is celebrated and honored to control reproduction by any means.  

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