The release of the Pentagon report, “Imagining the Unthinkable,” illustrates that even in the most restrictive political administrations there are those who will do the right thing.
Andrew Marshall, an 82 year old Pentagon legend, found a perfect way to release troubling research. He chose an investment publication which is generally read by those with discretionary income to invest in the stock market. The information is common knowledge within climate research circles, but now, due to Mr. Marshall’s astute action, it is beginning to reach mainstream academics and will soon be available to the average Joe on TV and in newspapers. Thank goodness.
It is imperative that follow-up reports step away from the hard science and begin to better illustrate the concrete ways an average person’s life will change when this shift takes place. This information will help us prepare and train our children. Because Mr. Marshall is primarily tasked with forecasting military issues, the Pentagon report is narrowly focused and as such has shortcomings.
An internet search on Ice Age history in North America points to severe climate change north of the Carolina’s. This means that the U.S. population will not be immune and people who live in densely populated cities north of 35N are vulnerable. Internet records detail Appalachian rainfall at one fifth to one third of present values, periglacial steppe-tundra or polar deserts north of 42N, animal extinctions and tree survival pushed far south. It is apparent that the key to surviving an ice age is adequate food and water. Humans have previously adapted to the 5-10 degree temperature swings, common in an Ice Age, without air conditioning and central heat, but we have not learned to survive without sustenance.
It is not dramatic to imagine that oil and nuclear weapons could lose value rather than gain value. After all, you can’t eat or drink them and the production of both pollutes vast amounts of water. We will need the water to feed our populace. Furthermore, communities may find themselves surviving in isolated pockets without government support. Grocery stores will not have enough for everyone, so growing a garden and collecting or recycling water will be necessary to save our families. History shows that multi-climate agriculture allowed people to survive Ice Age climate shifts. Europe’s post Ice Age demise was only prevented because explorers landed in Mexico where vast Indigenous civilizations thrived and were consuming complex and varied foods Europeans had never seen.
Additionally, these foods were grown in both cold, high mountain elevations and in warmer valley climates. We need to learn from this history and empower our elementary school children who will be in their teens and 20’s when the shift occurs. Since many modern children have never grown their own food, grade schools might add lessons about foods that grow in the cold and heat, how to make a simple greenhouse and how much it takes to feed a family.
Science projects could be geared to feature simplified solar and wind energy, water filtration and reclamation. We can all experiment in our yards, or in pots, and practice the basics of intensive gardening and growing plant foods, like the Three Sisters, which provide amino acids and protein we normally get from meat. When those plants go to seed we can collect and store the seed for next years garden. A complimentary step would be community gardens, bringing neighbors together to set up systems that work for their region. Learning these valuable skills now will protect us when reductions in air flight, shipping, train and trucking transport make grocery store supplies decline.
One component overlooked in the Pentagon report, is our diminishing magnetic field and the magnetic reversals that have occurred during previous Ice Age periods. It is shortsighted to think that the current north/south pole will remain fixed during a thermohaline circulation collapse. The report’s authors paint other countries as the ones who will run out of food resources, when it may be the U.S. who becomes the disadvantaged neighbor, all the while leading up to the crisis by alienating the very countries that could save us.
The most ancient cultures in the world live in the America’s, Asia and the Middle East and they have all survived Ice Ages. Knowing this, the authors should have edited assessments from an archaeologist who suggested that military instigated decimation of Indigenous Americans by plague was a “success” in leading to peaceful times. His data ignores several thousand years of peaceful Indigenous survival before Europeans “raided” the America’s to replenish their depleted resources.
It is also well documented that Hitler studied the U.S. Native American genocide as a template for his plan to murder non-Aryans in Germany. To include intentional plague in the context of a climate shift assessment such as this is problematic from both a humane and a political standpoint. Many people worldwide would argue that Earth has never experienced peace since the introduction of plague as a military weapon. It only made it easy to take the next step and consider nuclear destruction excusable as well.
In fact, the greatest risk to surviving the coming Ice Age may be the pre-occupation with military weapons, especially biologicals and nuclear, which are notoriously unstable and pollute the very resources we need to grow food. Current storage methods that don’t account for ice age climate swings, magnetic reversal, volcanic activity, extreme tides and huge volumes of water moving from existing areas will destroy these nations before famine even has a chance to take hold.
Furthermore, the very existence of these weapons guarantees that some soft, weak human, intent on stealing another’s food, rather than doing the labor to grow his own, will take the easy way out. We should not be afraid of this challenge but should instead embrace it as a catalyst for change.
Every ancient tribal culture talks about the great flood. It is the reason that modern people developed the story of Noah. Further research shows that Indigenous peoples have chronicled these cycles for thousands of years and did so to survive these climatic shifts. Knowing that Indigenous people know the secret to Ice Age survival, one might ask, why do we still allow colonial policies which encourage the destruction of their cultures, when most modern scientists can only fantasize about the changes that are just around the corner? Global dialogue, peace and cooperation is the only solution.
We need an immediate worldwide forum to address a safe and stable means of isolating and destroying weapons that pollute water supplies. Let’s not be shortsighted and think that all will be as it has been. What if the magnetic shift causes man-made orbiting objects to fall? What if export and import are no longer part of the equation? Would solar on our roofs, better insulation and incorporating solar adaptors for computers, radio and television keep our society stable? Perhaps we should be planting trees and curtailing heat and CO2 producing activities to buy us time. Thinking outside of the box now will reinforce our natural human resiliency to address a challenge and find the most comfortable way to survive it. This is of course what we humans do best…adapt.
Kate DeVries is a Southern California researcher and Television Producer/Director.