Known unknowns, unknown unknowns...
We at the Institute for Endogenous Technology apprehend as utterly consequential the sage words Donald Rumsfeld stated in his president’s second term:
There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.
It was the folly of our media and progressives that they derided this assessment as comically stoopid doublespeak. But Rumsfeld was a disallowed source; no truth, no matter how blatant, could be accepted from him.
How often have We the People ignored the obvious because we disallow the source, because ‘it can’t come from you?’
It is in the unknown unknowns the Institute diagnoses as concealed the true dire and mortal threats to our species. These urgently need most imaginative anticipation, most daring investigation, and most innovative preparation enacted with a collective public effort exceeding any march to war or space.
Alas, no such agency is visibly affected in private nor public domains. Indeed, our leaders’ heads are willingly stuck in the sand, while ours are stuffed inconveniently yet comfortably in warm derrière darknesses...
We can only anticipate the climate disasters we are familiar with today— the known knowns and known unknowns...
What our leaders and the reported scientific community neglect is the obvious:
As these so-far-named disasters repeat themselves and increase their severities, their cycling will spawn more of kinds that were never on our radars.
New types of catastrophic weather phenomena and aggressive pandemics present most immediate threats, and require most urgent mobilization.
Geologic phenomenon must not be ruled out, especially in the Pacific Ring.
This is to say nothing of distortions, such as methane lakes and plumes, only beginning to peek from the thawing poles…
Without appropriate investment in infrastructure beginning with powerfully strengthening not merely the civic response infrastructures but more consequently the individual persons that compose our populations, we will be laid low by these inevitable catastrophes and the surprises they spawn.
That Western civil societies are in rapid, fractious unraveling all but guarantees human pandemonium at any individual catastrophe’s onset.
The indifference of a blatantly self-serving executive federal leadership in America guarantees that the unfavored least among us will be swept beneath the rug in any calamity.
That successive and mounting catastrophes, such as the last few years’ Caribbean hurricanes, will not broker sufficient recovery periods for the effected may yield social cohesion out of sheer necessity is hopeful; however, it is ill-advised now to count only on hope.
What patterns do we see in these storm cycles? Can we at this point reasonably expect them to relax? Especially now that the Arctic ice cap is nearly gone?
How can communities hit by just one of these superstorms find sufficient time to recover before the next hits? And the next?
Who will offer refuge to those who flee increasingly unsettled regions? When could we ever reasonably expect them to return to their homes?
Will there be sufficient resources to maintain the health of those in those camps?
Couldn’t these refugee camps, such as those in Bangladesh harboring Rohinga, become footholds for pandemics?
Would the historic city slums not also be far behind as pandemic petri dishes? And those, too, growing around America’s cities, such as in LA, the Bay, Seattle, and Portland?
By virtue of climate disruptions alone:
Our food production grows increasingly threatened year over year.
We should anticipate, for example, that land based storm cycle disruptions will grossly affect growing seasons.
Mountain forest fires will remove vital anchors from slopes, allowing greater erosion in snow melt and rain. Increased flash flooding will erase vital beds of topsoil. Erratic winter warming disturbs the slow snow melt necessary to replenish our draining aquifers.
We see pests rapidly adapt to counter the GMO crops, engineered against their advances and increase our yields. We see fracking spoil aquifers. We see industrial feed lot slurries poison still more ground water, while their drying fields of shit pollute the breathable atmosphere, and the methane of their livestock accelerate the warming of our atmosphere.
What declines to nutrition would result from the mounting losses of top soil?
What would happen to yields should tensions between nuclear powers erupt and cause even a season of nuclear winter?
How could we possibly resist common diseases, let alone pandemics, if fresh water supplies, food, and nutrition dwindle?
We obsess about sea level rises as a matter of averages, but the truth is wilder and more dangerous:
As the global volumes of our oceans only ‘slightly’ swell from ice melt, the power and number of storms they spawn seems to increase considerably.
And in these powerful storms this seeming-modest increase in oceanic volume shows it’s ugliest potential:
The storm surges, truly their most devastating arms, become increasingly high and deep, their appetite for destruction explosive.
And so they lay greater waste to life and land, sucking sand and property in equal measure into the tangled deep.
Yet a far greater threat brews deeper in our seas, farther offshore…
Our oceanic biomes are in free fall. Complex, interdependent, body-rich coral reefs have spontaneously collapsed the world over— most of the Pacific’s reefs bleached in just two weeks of May 2016. Untold trillions of fish— many friends of Nemo, Dory, and Marlin— died in two short weeks— due to changes in temperature, salinity, and chemistry entirely caused by us.
Aren’t less-complex, more-homogenous colonies of aquatic organisms, such as the food-chain foundational plankton, also direly threatened?
We at the Institute for Endogenous Technology boldly diagnose the most urgent threat to all surface life on our planet is the collapse of oceanic phytoplankton colonies.
These massive blooms of prehistoric micro-organisms refresh our atmosphere annually with as much as 80% of its breathable and combustable oxygen.
In the first decade of this century, MIT reported a 40% decline of the overall phytoplankton population from the 1950s to present.
We boldly declare: the likelihood of phytoplankton colony collapse the single greatest threat of our time.
When we consider the mass devastation of Pacific coral reef colonies during spring of 2016 due temperature, chemistry, and salinity changes to the oceans, coupled with the relative homogeneity of the cellular constituents of phytoplankton blooms, and their rapidly declining yields, multiplied by the very real phenomenon of colony collapse (as most visibly evidenced in honeybee populations, and which defined the coral bleaching tragedies of 2016) world-wide surface hypoxia is a very real threat to all life, whose likelihood only continues to mount by gross orders of magnitude so long as we persist in belching carbon and methane into our biome.
Most direly, were we to halt all carbon and methane emissions today, the disruption to oceanic chemistry from volatiles remaining still in the atmosphere would persist for decades of increasing risk before tapering off at last. And we know not the state of the oceans should that gentle solution find purchase now.
It should be noted: hypoxia is already well in-effect in the waters Gulf of Mexico as well as other small, now stagnant water bodies. This is not doomsday speculation nor a ‘that can’t happen to us,’ and certainly not a ‘maybe.’ This is a very real and growing phenomenon that is happening in multiple bodies of water on our planet right now.
Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in our oceans does not…
And then: There are those unknown unknowns…
Only imagination at its most robust could even fathom possibilities of what might come to pass. All we can be certain of now: That what seemed impossible is only increasingly more possible.
Perhaps the impossible becoming increasingly possible signals a greater opportunity to quite literally turn this tide?
It is down this path The Institute for Endogenous Technology fearlessly treads.
Unknown unknowns, YouTube, https://youtu.be/GiPe1OiKQuk
New science suggests the oceans could rise more— and faster— than we thought, The Washington Post, http://wapo.st/2gFURfr
Climate change will bring major flooding to New York every five years, The Atlantic, http://theatln.tc/2xjkwkz
2017 hurricane season, What the hell just happened? Vox, http://bit.ly/2gDXaj8
A 5,000 mile long ‘river in the sky’ targets the Pacific northwest, Washington Post, http://wapo.st/2iCgrFy
Coral bleaching events, Wikipedia, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_bleaching
The coral die-off is a climate crisis and Exxon fired the Gun, McKibben, Bill, The Guardian, http://bit.ly/2brJDqOx
Ocean acidification may cause dramatic changes to phytoplankton, MIT News, http://news.mit.edu/2015/ocean-acidification-phytoplankton-0720
New Jersey-sized ‘dead zone’ is the largest ever in the Gulf of Mexico, National Geographic, http://bit.ly/2lize9X
Southern California stews in most extreme heat nation has ever seen so late in year, http://wapo.st/2y77A0S
Pandemic and epidemic diseases, World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/csr/disease/en/
Trump administration is ill-prepared for global pandemic, Washington Post, http://wapo.st/2i7jKRA
World leaders rehearse for a pandemic that will come ‘sooner than we expect’, Washington Post, http://wapo.st/2y1h9hH
Hepatitis A outbreak among homeless a byproduct of California’s housing crunch, Washington Post, http://wapo.st/2z6mutg