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Sat Jul 31, 2021, 10:11 AM

Humans are adaptable. But can we handle the climate crisis?


(Grist) With all the extreme weather events that are happening in the world today, it can feel like the environmental changes that climate scientists have long warned us about are suddenly happening so fast. As such, I am sympathetic to a panicked reaction along the lines of: It’s all over, and we need to get in gear for our new Mad Max reality. But before you start recruiting a band of gauzy-gowned, machine gun-toting waifs, I think it’s worth revisiting the difference between climate mitigation and adaptation.

Climate mitigation includes everything we do to try to limit the amount of greenhouse gases that get into the atmosphere, in an attempt to avoid truly catastrophic levels of global warming: replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, constructing better-insulated buildings to conserve resources, reimagining our entire transportation system, and all that.

These are major changes, of course, and it’s proven deeply difficult so far to get humans to make them. In the stark words of a Brookings Institute analysis of the politics of climate change, “the dire warnings, the scientific consensus, and the death toll from unprecedented climate events have failed to move the public very much.” We have seen carbon taxes die on the ballot, politicians allowing oil and gas drilling to proceed on public lands, and — in quite recent memory — elected a president who openly denies climate change. Even the act of eating a hamburger has been framed as a sacred political right to protect.

....(snip)....

As far as a human’s biological capacity to adapt to a warmer world, it is possible that we could evolve to be more heat-tolerant. We might, for example, develop denser sweat glands and longer limbs to better dissipate heat. But those changes would take far longer than 50 years to manifest; as we know, evolution happens over generations through the process of natural selection.

Rick Potts, a paleoanthropologist and director of the Smithsonian Institute’s Human Origins Program, emphasizes that climate adaptation is about a lot more than biology, and evolution is not synonymous with progress. “The long course of human evolution shows that climate disruption, which is what we’re going through right now and in the foreseeable future, is associated with the demise of ways of life,” he said. When we see “the extinction of species, of certain kinds of technologies, out of the ashes of those ways of life can come new behaviors and ways of appearing.” ...........(more)

https://grist.org/ask-umbra-series/humans-are-adaptable-but-can-we-handle-the-climate-crisis/




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Response to marmar (Original post)


Response to Chin music (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 31, 2021, 11:09 AM

6. ☝️

This

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Jul 31, 2021, 10:32 AM

2. Yes . ...

Humans have been adapting since the beginning. Many will go forward, some will go backwards.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Jul 31, 2021, 10:35 AM

3. This is what scares me. The most vulnerable are not the ones who live

on large estates.

The logistics of that migration are, of course, incredibly complicated: How do you convince a community that their home will not be habitable? How do you make room for rural refugees to live in a crowded city? All of these, too, are adaptation questions, and they haven’t proven easy to answer.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Jul 31, 2021, 10:44 AM

4. Adaptation will include hundreds of thousands of deaths, and nothing we can do will prevent that. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Jul 31, 2021, 10:52 AM

5. The rich will migrate to the northern latitudes & Antarctica, & leave the rest of us

to duke it out over decreasing habitable space & scarce resources. Most of humanity is not looking at a very bright future, & that future is coming much faster than most thought.

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 31, 2021, 12:35 PM

7. time to buy property along Lake Ontario between Niagara Falls, Rochester and Syracuse.?

Also, in the Finger Lakes region with all its fresh water (as long as we keep the frackers out)

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Response to RicROC (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 31, 2021, 02:10 PM

8. Rochester was on my list of considerations.

I have friends from there & they liked it. That was a while back, though.

Ugh, frackers. They want to frack our public parks. Just what I want to see & smell when I'm hiking.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Jul 31, 2021, 11:28 PM

9. The climate is shifting 10x faster than any point in the past 65 MILLION years

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130801142420.htm

Previous climate shifts at least gave species tens of thousands of years to adapt and migrate. This one won't.

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