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Historic Opportunity

SARP 2011
June 22, 2011 George Seielstad g.seielstad@nserc.und.edu

If we are not careful, we will end up where we are going.

Chinese adage

John R. Taylor, An Introduction to Error Analysis University Science Books (1997).

Rare Historic Opportunity


Economy

What we have before us are some breathtaking How? opportunities Future disguised as insoluble problems.
How Fast? John Gardner, Pres. Johnsons

Present

Secy. of Health, Education, Welfare

Environment

Business as Usual Equity

Sustainability: Where We Must Head


Meeting needs and values of todays generation of humanity. . . and all its relatives. Preserving planets life-support systems so needs and values of future generations can be met.

20th Century Assumptions


Energy and water are cheap and abundant. Human Population must grow. Economies must grow even faster. Resources are unlimited. Earth can absorb unlimited waste. The climate will always be stable.

Finite Home
Earth

Finite Home

Moon

Earth

Three Critical Questions


If everyone lived as we in the West do, would we be leaving a better world for our children? Inter-Generational Ethic

Can Westerners live as we do, while denying others the same opportunities? Intra-Generational Ethic
Can extinctions without limit preserve a habitable planet? Inter-Species Ethic

Inter-Generational Ethic Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children

Sitting Bull

Population: Any Limits?

Population Peak

You may live at time when human numbers are their largest.

Replacement Rate

Replacement Rate

Earth

Human Changes to Land

N. Jones, Nature 329 (2011), p. 133

Irvine Ranch, 1959

Agricultures Trends
Fertilizer
Land

Pesticide Imports Pesticides

Tilman et al., Science 292: 281-284, 13 April 2001.

Soil Degradation

Crop Growth Rates

Alston et al., Science 325 (2009), pp. 1209-1210

Need for Another Ag Revolution


FAO Food Demand Forecast 2050 vs. 1995
Population Increase Changing Eating Habits TOTAL 1.76 x 1.25 x 2.25 X

Consumer Society

Photographer: Ernest Wright

6 million years for Nature to carve 50 years for Humans to fill


Wilkinson, Geology 33: 161-164 (2005)

2,000,000 Plastic Bottles every 5 minutes.

Artist Chris Jordan, 2007 Running the Numbers http://www.chrisjordan.com

106,000 Aluminum Cans every 30 seconds


Artist Chris Jordan, 2007 Running the Numbers http://www.chrisjordan.com

28,000 Barrels of Oil Every 2 Minutes

Alberta Tar Sands

http://www.travelbbb.com/web-alberta-tar-sands/

Worlds Water

Human Domination--Water
Humanity uses >50% of surface freshwater

In U.S., only 2% of rivers run unimpeded. Many rivers no longer reach the sea.
528 gallons to produce 1 days food for 1 person.

Freshwater Withdrawals

By 2050, 45% of worlds people will live where water supply is less than daily requirement!

Water, Giver of Life

Nile River

Sea Level Projections


6 ft

2.5 ft

Vermeer and Rahmstorf, PNAS 106 (2009), pp. 21527-32.

Tuvalu

Tuvalu
Main Island, Funafati

Spiegel Online, 9/14/2007

High Tide Floods

http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/pages/rising-seas.html

Ocean Acidification

In 2100: Offscale, -0.355 (45% more acidic) 20% more acidic in 1990 , 1700-1990

Pacific Science Association

Ocean Acidification

K. Richardson et al., Climate Change Synthesis Report, University of Copenhagen (2009)

More Acidic

Coral Reefs

Coral Reefs

Air (Atmosphere)

Air (Atmosphere)

Historic Good Fortune


Epoch of Human Civilization Coincident with Sweet Spot
0 T E M P E R A T U R E

-4

-8

100000

80000

Years before Present

60000

40000

20000

Bowles, Science 314: 1569 (2006)

Ill pause for a moment to let this information sink in.


The New Yorker, Dec. 6, 2010

21st Century Climate Communications


Global Warming

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snPdEl0Duoo

Fire (Energy)
World: 2 hopper cars per second US: 1 hopper car every 4 seconds

CO2 per kilowatt-hour

Science 329 (2010), p. 787

Electrical Energy Efficiency

Available Energy

100 years

200 years

300 years

Science 329 (2010), p. 786

Oil: Civilizations FoundationNow


800,000,000 light vehicles worldwide 2,000,000,000 gallons gasoline burned daily

24,000,000 tons CO2 emitted daily


US Fleet Efficiency: 14 mpg in 1920 23 mpg in 2010

5 Generations

Inter-Species Ethic
Life creates the conditions that are conducive to life.
Janine Benyus

Miguel Covarrubias (1939) DeYoung Museum, San Francisco

Fundamental Messages
You are part of Nature, not apart from Her. Your existence depends on services provided by the Web of Life, to all of whose organisms you are related.

Nutrient Recycling Water Purification Climate Moderation Pollination Soil Stabilization Radiation Protection Med & Ag Gene Pool

Only multicellular organisms

Present Pace of Extinctions


About 30,000 extinctions per year 80 per day 3-4 per hour
http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/eldredge2.html#primer

1001000 x Background Extinction Rate

Intra-Generational Ethic
The genetic makeup of any two humans is 99.9% identical. We are a single human family.

California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Age Distributions

Future Human Family


"Out of every 100 persons added to the population in the coming decade, 97 will live in developing countries."
Hania Zlotnik

Spaceship Earth

Global Shrinkage

Travel Time in hours and days


European Commission Global Environmental Monitoring http://gem.jrc.ec.europa.eu/gam/index.htm

World Wide Web

Near Speed of Light Travel Times

Voices from the Dark

Pressure on Planet = Population + Affluence

You are writing the History of the Future.

New Basic Philosophy


Transform:
From: Exploit natural resources of planet to support human wishes for immediate wealth and glory.

To: Exploit human resources to support social justice, ecological integrity, and economic health.

Consumers World

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. M. Gandhi

2005 International Comparison Program World Bank (Dec. 2007)

Think beyond your brief time on this planet.

New Core Values


Accept Responsibility for:
Several generations into the future

Disadvantaged within present generation Other species

Your Most Needed Contributions


Commitment to Sustainability Strong Moral Convictions CREATIVITY, IMAGINATION, INNOVATION Sense of Urgency

Think Long-term, Act Now


Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.
Theodore Roosevelt U.S. President, 1901-09

The End