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I’m currently working on a film about solutions for climate change. The work and ideas of Jeremy Rifkin are leading for now. Every social change requires a new narrative, and Rifkin’s narrative of the Third Industrial Revolution has brought him to be an advisor to the European Union and recently even to Chinese premier Li Keqiang.

If CO2 emissions remain unchecked, global warming will probably kill our children and put severe pressure on the survival of the human race. Big words but it’s simple math and complex science that leave not much room for uncertainty on these conclusions.

But doom stories – true or not true  – only lead us to despair.

To bring about a change, a Better and More story is far more effective then the ‘we should do less’ message that the environmental groups have been massively pushing. Look at Tesla’s highly successful strategy: make a car that is better, faster, cooler and greener than the old fossil fuel things. New buildings should be better and more comfortable and cheaper than the old not-so-well insulated buildings without solar roofs.

The new film will probably have the ‘look and feel’ of a nature documentary. Think David Attenborough meets Elon Musk meets Jeremy Rifkin meets 2001 a Space Odyssey. 2050 – an earth odyssey, could be an option.

Please let me know if you want to help with funding or in any other way.

Here you find the Global Crisis Guide.

Universal Declaration of Human Direction

An ideology for the 21st Century

In what world do we want our children to live?

PREAMBLE (concept of humanity)

Whereas:

Man is a social being. Individual development is always dependent on social development. Man is empathetic and able to love. This is the basis of human community;

(Continued)

State of the Climate

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, CO2 levels have increased 40% and methane levels over 250%.

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations over last 2000 years. Source: IPCC AR4.

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations over last 2000 years. Source: IPCC AR4.

Greenhouse gasses have the effect of preventing heat leaving the planet. Over 90% of the extra trapped heat is absorbed by the oceans.

Global temperatures have risen 0,8C in the last century.

The Arctic ocean is losing ice at about 3000M3 per decade since 1979. Back then there was about 17,000 cubic meters of Arctic ice in September (just after northern summer). If the trend continues then it takes only 17,000/3,000 = 5.6 decades since 1979 before the arctic will be free of ice in summer. In about two decades, in 2034 the Arctic might be free of ice. Given the variance, it will probably occur somewhat sooner.[1].

Source: Polar Science Center, Washington DC. http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

Source: Polar Science Center, Washington DC. http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

 

The Arctic is warming up more rapidly because ice reflects heat (albedo) much better then water. This extra warming of the Arctic region, called Polar Amplification, is currently the largest positive feedback in the climate system.

Source: Sam Carana, http://arctic-news.blogspot.com

Source: Sam Carana, http://arctic-news.blogspot.com

A second albedo change comes from darkening of the snow cover, due to black sooth from increasing forest fires and old particles that emerge from the melting snow, collecting in the top layer.


Source: Dr. Jason Box, www.darksnow.org

Methane eruptions in the Arctic are increasing because of the heating Arctic. Russian scientists Nathalia Shakova and Igor Semiletov estimate that methane clathrates (gas molecules frozen in water) in the shallow ocean north of Siberia can be destabilized in a matter of decades, saying “It might happen today”.

Feedback loops like albedo and methane clathrates have the potential of leading to an abrupt change in global climate.

Sea levels rising indicate rising temperatures, because two sources contribute to sea level change: water temperature and melting land ice.[2]. Projections of sea level rise are uncertain, because the feedback loops seem to be highly unpredictable. Estimates for ‘business as usual’ range from about 1 meter by 2100 [3] to about 7 meters by 2070[4]. The last number is based on Paul Beckwiths observation that glacial melt rates have been doubling about every 7 years in the last few decades.

Extreme weather events are increasing rapidly. For people in coastal regions, like Miami, Bangladesh or the Netherlands, that means it will be even more difficult to keep the rising water out. The 90% of extra warming energy going into the oceans means more energy for storms and tornadoes is available. Other areas face increased drought, heat or cold.[5]

  1. [1] http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/
  2. [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise
  3. [3] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379113004381
  4. [4] http://arctic-news.blogspot.nl/2014/10/where-we-are-a-climate-system-summary.html
  5. [5] http://www.climatecommunication.org/new/features/extreme-weather/overview/

Documentaries on Climate/Energy

This film aims to convey how human behavior and the threat of climate change and environmental problems are strongly interlinked. A description of the problems humans have in taking the future into account and favouring short-term gains rather than considering long term consequences are discussed.

The Collective Evolution III is a powerful documentary that explores a revolutionary shift affecting every aspect of our planet. As the shift hits the fan, people are becoming more aware of the control structures that prevent us from experiencing our full potential.

(Continued)

On the Psychology of Climate Change

How do people psychologically deal with knowledge of climate change?
This is an excellent overview of recent research.
It seems that alarming messages are counter productive. There has to be  an action perspective, or things will be too much overwhelming. More precise: there seems to be a double bind (psychological catch-22) between (a)  deep concern for planet and (b) deep concern for own lifestyle.
The result of this double bind is apathy and shifting baselines, because the changes are too slow on a human scale.
“Anxiety and helplessness, argues a report published last week by the American Psychological Association, rather than ambivalence or apathy are the biggest barriers to individuals taking action.”
Krosnick and his colleagues at Stanford University. Their study about attitudes related to global warming, published in 2006, found that ‘people stop paying attention to a problem when they realize there is no easy solutions for it”.
“To motivate deniers’ pro-environmental actions, communication should focus on how mitigation efforts can promote a better society, rather than focusing on the reality of climate change and averting its risks.
“Positive Rather than Fear Based Appeals More Effective Among Skeptics”
“Catastrophic Climate Rhetoric Increases Climate Skepticism”
“Fear-Based Climate Appeals Fail”

Arctic Methane and the Mind

In the chaotic process of global warming, methane release from permafrost is a wildcard. The possibility of a sudden release of huge quantities of methane seems to be increasing. Russian researchers Igor Semiletov and Natalia Shakova have found indications of increasing methane release off the coast of Siberia. If such a sudden release were to happen, a mass extinction event on earth is likely.

This is a short video, “Arctic Methane and the Mind” showing some evidence and questioning the way the human psyche deals with this intangible news.

 

Arctic Indicators

The Arctic can be considered the canary in the coal mine of climate change. The region around the North Pole tends to heat up much faster than the rest of the earth. This results in rapid ice melt. Much faster than the UN until recently anticipated.

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Arctic Sea Ice is melting much, much faster than even the best climate models had projected. The reason is most likely unmodeled amplifying feedbacks. Image via Arctic Sea Ice Blog: http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2012/09/models-are-improving-but-can-they-catch-up.html.

(Continued)

Lyubomirsky (2007). The How of Happiness

Lyubomirsky, Sonja (2007). The How of Happiness. London: Sphere.

Based on years of research about happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky concludes that:

  • 60% of differences in (personally experienced) happiness are due to external and genetic circumstances
  • 40% of happiness can be explained by specific thinking and behaviour patterns.

So the good thing is: almost half or your well-being can be somehow influenced, and the other half of it just asks for acceptance. It will be useful to teach yourself to think and live in ways that make most people happy. What are these patterns in thinking and behaviour that seem to make people happier?

“Below is a sample of my observations, as well as those of other researchers, of the thinking and behaviour patters of the happiest participants in our studies.

  • They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.
  • They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.
  • They are often the first to offer a helping hand to co-workers and passers-by.
  • They practice optimism when imagining their futures.
  • They savour life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment.
  • They make physical exercise a weekly – and sometimes daily – habit.
  • They are deeply committed to life-long goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values).
  • And, last but not least, the happiest people do have their share of stress, crises and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in such circumstances as you or I, but their secret weapon is the pose and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge.”[1]

 

  1. [1] Lyubormisky 2007: 23.

Rifkin (2009). The Empathic Civilization.

Rifkin, Jeremy (2009). The Empathic Civilization. New York: Tarcher/Penguin.

“Empathic extension is the only human expression that creates true equality between people.” p. 160.

Will empathic extension grow fast enough for humanity to save the planet – and thereby our species?

(Continued)

Will world population explode?

“There are just too many children in the world. People in developing countries get too many babies. World food production will not be able to keep up, and there will be no space for all those people.”

True? No. The number of babies per woman has been overwhelmingly decreased towards two. Two babies per woman clearly means population will grow no further.

So now we are with seven billion, and growing, because there are relatively many young people. But in 2050 the world population will stabilize at about ten billion.

Human population is large but not growing out of hand, at all, anymore.

Hans Rosling, Swedish doctor and statistician, gives a face to the data in a TED talk of April 2012.

How to deal with dictatorship?

Vision 1. We are born into a safe and secure social environment…
Vision 10. Government and parliament are democratically elected…

So what if you live under dictatorship? You start a non-violent revolution.

Gene Sharp has already inspired generations of revolutionaries worldwide. His book, From Dictatorship to Democracy[1], is a guide with over 180 means of non-violent resistance. The book can be read free online or downloaded as pdf.

  1. [1] Gene Sharp (1993)