Blog

Voicemails from the future

The Future Coast project is a truly impressive “audio” version of what we’re doing here. Check out their site (and your potential future).

There’s a lot we don’t know about our possible futures, but one thing we do: it’s got a software glitch in it, in the voicemail system, which is sending their voicemails back to our time. As these futurismo objects we call chronofacts. Huh. Weird.

During the Fourth Chronofall (Feb-May 2014), people helped the Coasters find these voicemails – hundreds of them. The Coasters published them on this site, where anyone can listen to them and imagine the futures they must have come from.

(In reality, FutureCoast is a storytelling project about possible climate-changed futures. Anyone who wanted to could express their ideas of possible futures by recording it as a voicemail on our phone line. FutureCoast is thus a way to listen to diverse ideas about climate-changed futures and to be open to crowdsourced wisdom about them. Learn more about the collaborative storytelling game at FutureVoices.net, read our national press, and watch our post-game video.)

The Bay Area’s future is wet

An interesting article via BK

Travis directed his staff to research the issue. In 2007 they handed him a report that foretold catastrophe. The agency produced maps with colorful, frightening flood projections and shared it with local policymakers. Trillions of dollars in public and private infrastructure were at risk, Travis told them. The time to prepare was now.

Yet the region’s elected officials and Silicon Valley’s cluster of high-tech firms were deaf to the urgency of his message. No one was planning for higher seas. Their problems were more immediate.

“What I heard a lot was, ‘I’m trying to get my kid into a good college, my wife wants me to lose weight, the car transmission is making a funny noise and you want me to worry about sea level rise?’ ” Travis said. “‘Yeah, I’ll get to that when I prepare my earthquake supplies.’”

[snip]

Global climate change is warming oceans and melting glaciers, raising seas higher and threatening the people and things that crowd California’s 1,200-mile coastline. Beaches are shrinking and bluffs are being pulverized. And the water’s rise, which had been somewhat steady in the past 100 years, is now accelerating alarmingly, 30 to 40 times faster than in the last century.

In as few as three decades, scientists say, some areas that are now dry will be permanently under water. Other places, miles from the ocean, will flood more regularly and more deeply, as warmer waters spawn more intense storms and the already swollen sea pushes farther onshore, unimpeded.

This winter’s lashing storms that took out parts of Highway 1 are an example of collateral damage: Rising seas are making flood-related events worse because there’s more water available to do damage. Flooding along roads is more frequent and lingers longer. Erosion from more powerful waves works away at bridge footings, undermining spans that are critical to transportation corridors, which themselves are strung along the California coast.

[snip]

The public cost of armoring the coast with sea walls and breakwaters — not always the right response but sometimes the best short-term option — of lifting up highways and defending airports, railways and power plants surely will be staggering. No one knows what it is. The exhaustive scientific analyses commissioned by the state don’t address cost.

State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat from Fremont who chairs the Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee, would not hazard a guess at the overall cost of shoring up state-owned infrastructure.

“That would be a scary number,” he said.

NASA raises max SLR to 2.7m by 2100*

The maximum (and “likely”) sea level rise numbers keep rising. Here are some potential impacts (from this article):

…and here’s what will happen to San Francisco’s airport (boat port?)

* These numbers — released in January — may explain why Trump wants to shut down NASA and science, so he can pretend that Washington will be dry… like his “record breaking” inauguration.

What a sad 4th of July for America, suffering under the rule of a mad would-be king who cares more about taxing them to help his friends than their health. Sad Pathetic.

H/T to FB

Call for submissions for volume 2!

We’ve just finished a successful Kickstarter that raised $660 from backers.  That money will fund prizes for authors who submit the best “visions” (short essays of 800-1,000 words) of how we might (not) adapt to life in a climate-changed world.

Visions are “fictional” because they take place in the future, but they are based on the storyteller’s imagination or practitioner’s knowledge.

Anyone can submit a story or perspective no matter the author’s background, qualifications or job.

There will be four categories of prizes:

  • Best story by a storyteller
  • Best perspective by a practitioner
  • Best story or perspective by an author under 26 years old
  • Best story or perspective by an author from an economically-developing country

At the moment, the first/second/third prizes will be $100/$50/$25 in each category. The prize will be higher if we get more donations 🙂

The deadline for submissions is 15 Sep, 2017. 

Read the free version of Life Plus 2 Meters (volume 1) for examples of visions. Read up on the science or some “food for thought” blog posts to think more about how climate change might affect us.

To read about format and submission guidelines, go here.

If you’re ready to submit now, then please send your vision, bio and photo to dzetland@gmail.com

Life plus 2,000 meters

Mark Newcomb writes: 

I’m a county commissioner for Teton County, Wyoming, which is a gateway to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone (97% of our land is federally managed), destination for the rich and famous and 4 million more people per year (here’s our local magazine). I was born and raised here. I’m passionate about our community, but I’m concerned about its trajectory.

Life Plus 2 m for those of us living 2,000 m above sea level has a much different set of implications. (I co-authored this report on local climate change impacts.)

One implication is that soon, apparently, our elevation will be 1,998 meters 🙂

Another is that the snowpack above 2,500 m that now reaches depths of 3+ meters and stores an entire reservoir (or two) of water is now coming down out of the mountains sooner and sometimes more rapidly than when water rights were established. Early, fast melt has implications for irrigated agriculture in the valleys, aquifers that drain into bigger rivers and streams (such as the Snake River), and water allocation.

Early summer runoff used to flood irrigate alfalfa fields at about the right time to get the crops off to a good start, and much of the water was utilized. Earlier runoff has reduced use by upstream farmers and helped downstream big ag expand. Upstream farmers are becoming less productive so they are more inclined to subdivide into sprawling, dispersed development that ultimately harms communities that want to preserve their character, open spaces and wildlife.

As a policy maker, I’m constantly pondering good policy in the face of these challenges we face. (Here’s an interesting example of how the right efforts in the right context can bring about good results.)

Please get in touch if you have ideas. I’ll reward you with a few stories from the “good ol’ days.”