John Shirley


Of course we want to avert the worst of climate change by radically reducing our carbon output, ending the tyranny of oil / coal corporations and the pollution they wreak, and building up alternative power and transportation sources. But most experts are clear that at this point–having failed to take significant steps to moderate the climate change threat–civilization everywhere is going to have to deal with at least some serious level of climate change consequences. So…Hence…Thus…You’re wondering…

What’s coming for you, personally, in the climate-changed future? Here are some initial thoughts on how to plan for it.

When I think about adapting to climate change, I think of the following climate-change outcomes:

  • Increased risk of house fire. When temperatures are consistently unusually high, trees and brush dry out–and so do houses. They all become more combustible. But  some neighbors still insist on burning trash or setting off roman candles for July 4–and the danger of that becoming a spreading fire, going from house to house, will be high. Lightning strikes on houses and nearby trees will be be more frequent because climate change means extreme weather. Insurance companies are going to be more reluctant to cough up the goods for house-fires because there’ll be so many. They may drop housefire coverage entirely. What can you do? Monitor wooden elements of your house, replace where you can with inflammable elements, buy or rent houses with more brick and stone, have a fire extinguisher in every room, clear brush away from house. Start implementing this now!
  • Ever More wildfire air pollution. Wildfire smoke has been found to be especially ruinous to the lungs–and it can cause cognitive problems. Fire fighters call it “smoke brain”. It can increase your risk of stroke and  heart attack because it means your heart is working harder. It’s especially dangerous for the elderly and people with lung disease. What can you do? Monitor air quality at local government websites, and stay inside when you can. Get an effective hepa type air filtration device for every room. Get gas masks with good filters and other kinds of filtration masks for the most extreme conditions. Move to areas less prone to wild fires. Start implementing this now!
  • Collapse of the electrical grid. This one is very dangerous in times of extreme heat or cold. The general population’s electric heaters and AC, in day after day of extreme cold or heat, burden the electrical grid so that it becomes overwhelmed. A catastrophic failure of the grid would lead to an end to AC, which could lead to health crises and deaths of elderly and disabled folk, and small children, and people suffering from illness. What can you do? Set up alternate means of powering your AC. Generators are expensive and only as good as the fuel you have for them. But they might save someone’s life. Better would be equipping your home with solar power. It can be expensive. The subsidy isn’t large. Possibly sell that bloated oversized absurdly obese pick-up truck, if you have one, and use the money to pay for solar power…Start implementing this now! Another option is to work  out the route and transport to someplace cool enough to survive till the season’s change. A permanent move, in advance, to a place where the grid is not likely to be so burdened by sudden usage could work too, but moving house is expensive and onerous. More on American climate migration later.
  • Climate change’s extreme weather conditions: freezing and flooding and hurricanes in places that haven’t had them before. The dangers are fairly obvious, with respect to hurricanes or floods. You could lose your house, and your life. Sudden, unprecedented freezes could knock out powerlines, and cut off electricity to your household, as happened across Texas a few years back. If electricity is your source of heat, its loss could subject you to sudden extreme cold. If you’re elderly or otherwise weakened, too much heat or cold could be an existential threat. What can you do?  Prediction is your friend. Take reports of major storms very, very seriously. For storms, you can prepare by reinforcing your house’s substructure as best you can, setting up trenches and sandbags, if extreme weather is predicted. You can work up evacuation routes ahead of time and use them in advance, taking with you what you practically can. People who have RVs or vans can more easily get out,  carrying vital items with them!  Start implementing this now! As time goes on we’ll see more and more housing that’s heavily protected and newly designed to resist hurricane level winds. It’ll tend to be largely underground, and will only have one story above ground, and that one will have rounded edges, like a fast car to shed wind resistance. It’ll have thick walls of concrete or new materials, and steel-shuttering windows. Yes, it’ll be rather like a bunker.
  • Sea level rise from melting polar and Antarctic ice. Dealing with this will take the cooperation of entire communities; cities, states, nations. Dikes will be built, stilt communities and floating communities organized, canals will be dug. But what can you do, besides support these efforts? In many areas, after all, these methods of adaptation won’t come to fruition in time. And it’s as simple as moving inland. But inland is going to be getting a bit crowded, so pick somewhere…way inland. Just think about doing it in advance. Watch for the signs. Keep asking the questions. How much has coastal water risen near you? How far is it from encroaching on your community?
  •  FAMINE IN THE USA and EUROPE and other nations who haven’t known it in modern times.  What can you do? Climate change is already driving increased hunger in many places around the world. Oxfam has released a new study that in ten countries the number of hungry people has already doubled as a result of climate change. More droughts than ever before; more extreme weather than ever before–the first one makes agricultural all but impossible, the second makes the work of agriculture frequently  untenable even if you have good growing conditions. Climate-change droughts are showing themselves in the USA–bigtime. Climate change has further altered the natural pattern of droughts, making them more frequent, longer,  more severe. The US Geological Survey reports: “Since 2000, the western United States is experiencing some of the driest conditions on record. The southwestern U.S., in particular, is going through an unprecedented period of extreme drought. This will have lasting impacts on the environment and those who rely on it.” And that’s in recent years–what about in the future? There’ll be more and more of it as average temperatures continue to go up; as extreme windforce drives dust storms and creates dust bowls. It’s naive to suppose it won’t happen here. What can I do about this? I can stock up food, of course, in freeze dried form, and canned. I can try to raise my own crops in a greenhouse. (Might be undoable outside…) I can advocate for community food sharing and ending food waste…Start implementing this now!
  • WHAT ABOUT MOVING TO PLACES LESS IMPACTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE?  There are two factors in choosing where to emigrate to, in order to avoid climate change disasters. One is the necessity of a place that’s well organized, civilized, reasonably friendly to outsiders–it’ll need those qualities to do with emigres, food shortages and rising seas. A consensus seems to center on Scandinavia as the best choice. (I can imagine Scandinavians reading this, shouting, “No  no! Don’t send them here!”) Quartz suggested that the NE United States, New England, would suffer less climate change impact than  many other areas of the country. Better do it soon, if you can relocate to these places, as everyone’s going to have the same thought when things get really bad…Start planning for this now!
  • What did I forget? Tell me! Make a comment by registering and using our form. You won’t receive any spam from us–but we’ll let you know when there’s a new  issue of Instant Future! We won’t give out your information.
  • Meanwhile think about supporting political candidates who want to push for a sustainable society–who’ll lead real efforts to avert the worst of climate change’s effects. In the USA, the Democratic Party is the best we have in this department.

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Rather think about something else? How about this:
SubOrbital 7 by John Shirley
Space Combat is Coming!

SDA Layered Network of Military Satellites Now Known as “Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture”

Its mission to deliver needed space-based capabilities to support terrestrial missions through development, fielding, and operation of a proliferated low Earth orbit (pLEO) constellation of satellites. Now integral members of the U.S. Space Force, SDA continues the integration of its space acquisition and operations into the overall national defense hybrid space enterprise, including advancements to support no-fail missions such as end-to-end missile warning, missile tracking, and missile defense.—Space Development Agency

The Space Development Agency’s mission is guiding and keeping watch over “terrestrial”—ground—missions, but there’s no reason it couldn’t support actions taken in orbit. We may assume that there are classified plans for such actions, backed by this technology, that we’ll be seeing played out in the future. These actions could include attacks on enemy satellites and space stations—if those space stations are for military purposes. It could also be used to coordinate orbital troop transport vehicles using orbit on a trip to the ground.

For more on how this works, I cheerfully refer you to my near-future technothriller novel from Penguin Titan books, SubOrbital7, which dramatically describes such actions and the technological tactics that may be necessary in orbital combat. The novel is extensively researched and contains considerable futurist prediction, at a high level of confidence.




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