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Adapting to Global Warming

 
pioneer & author
Posts: 145
Location: Hessle, North Yorkshire, England, Uk
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I have been noticing with communities around the shores of the world a growing concern regarding rising sea levels. Of course this is entirely reasonable. Locally the authorities are doing their best to shirk responsibility, it seems they haven't really even thought about it in any serious way.  All they tend to say is, tough, you will have to relocate.  I cannot understand why no one has even suggested the possibility of staying in the same place and look at more inventive methods of building and living. It could be an opportunity to live in a way that works in a more sustainable way, although I understand that not everyone wants that and it won't be easy.  There is considerable technical understanding worldwide to building on stilts it's a viable possibility. There many examples Venice being the most obvious to me.  Below is a pic of Santa Cruz del Islote, Colombia. It's rather crowded now (!), I wonder what it would have been like if permaculturalists had evolved it - potential nirvana ?
crowded-islands-santa-cruz-11.jpg
[Thumbnail for crowded-islands-santa-cruz-11.jpg]
Time for some building ? - The most populated Island on Earth
 
Posts: 74
Location: Cape Town
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Actually the worst problem is saltwater infiltration of wells, that is why the people are moving from Vanuatu. Apparently Miami is having the same problem.  Nature abhors a vacuum. The more groundwater being extracted the faster it happens. Obviously one can desalinate, but it is costly and creates a waste problem with your leftover salt. Bottom line is that the economics of climate change tend to trigger a crisis long before environmental extremes occur.
 
gardener
Posts: 927
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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I certainly see this as an area where both simple and high tech approaches can work cooperatively.

Water: Simple approach - Many coastal areas get either reliable rain or fog which can be harvested to replace underground water sources. Simple sand and charcoal filters can be used for safety of the water. Australia done great work in some areas on catching, conserving and reusing the water they've got.
High tech approach - there are solar run desalinators that could be made cost effectively without that much more research.

Food: Simple approach - polyculture ocean farming of seaweed, shellfish etc. with an emphasis on plants that actually improve habitat and densities of animals/fish that are low enough that disease and artificial feeding regimes are not degrading the ecosystem further. Artificial reefs have been shown to increase biodiversity.
High tech approach - there may be uses from the management perspective, but I don't think tech is needed to run a "permaculture" farm on the ocean.

Housing: Simple approach - any new housing in expected flood zones needs to be built on stilts and preferably out of materials that can tolerate getting wet! Typical North American housing with insulation in wooden walls with drywall interiors don't tolerate being flooded and don't survive hurricanes well either. As much as styrofoam isn't my favorite product, everything has its place, and certainly it can get wet without becoming mildewed or moldy. Concrete has a high embodied energy, but if a house is designed and built to last 200 years rather than 60, that energy is amortized over a longer period. If the housing is built with suitable supports for a green roof, food crops could be grown on rooftops to make up for salty land.
High tech approach - Who knows! An inflatable house that floats if the ocean rises? Houses built as "houseboats on land" so if a storm comes they raise on their anchor points.

I live in an earthquake zone and far too many people seem to think, "it won't happen in my lifetime" rather than looking for the simple, cheap, basic preparations they should have available to them. Humans aren't that good as responding seriously to problems that "might" happen. It's not easy for elected officials to buck that trend, but there are places it's being done. At the very least, we with permaculture knowledge need to lead by example, showing that even if the problem is too big for an individual to fix, many individuals can at least be demonstrating positive solutions.

 
pollinator
Posts: 299
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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I am astonished at the level of collective ignorance on a daily basis, i see no rising concern regarding rising sea water, let alone disappearing bio diversity, continuous destruction of forest, the collapsing food chain etc,etc. I know people who are very concerned about these things indeed, who do choose, while having the means, not even to spend the money on biological food to change the situation for the better. I can't see remotely how you expect people to start building on stilts, we won't do away with polluting cars on any significant scale. We fly more then ever. I believe people don't want to change because it's not easy. We want other people to change.
We are being taught from a very young age we should embrace an easy life style, that having more possessions gives meaning to our life. Basking in luxury without any concern about future is what most people strive for. People will only go living on stilts if they would see rich, beautiful people on the television doing that, living an easy lifestyle, maybe the family would have something like a little private jet/ helicopter sitting on the rooftop to commute to work, something stylish, concerning trade and computers, far away from dirty hands and above the common folk.
I am not trying to put anybody down, i just can't see how an inaccurate projection of were we are as a species is going to help us forward.
 
gardener
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It's science fiction, or perhaps in the genre of climate apocalypse futurism they call "cli-fi", but I have persistent fantasies of a floating/drifting structure (perhaps of use to would-be seasteaders) that collects and reprocesses ocean plastic, and using solar energy reformulates the plastic into structural materials to expand the floating structure.  These wouldn't have to be fancy; imagine a solar plastic smelter that melts everything and extrudes it into rough planks two inches thick, 14 inches wide, and however long.  With clever design these could snap together like LEGO bricks, and built into flotation structures filled with little balls (or cubes or whatever shape) of plastic with air pockets inside.  

The tough part would be in the design; you'd need something that at whatever size functions in the maritime environment like one of those deep sea lifeboats, that simply can't sink no matter how bad the hurricane gets.  I imagine that sections (hexagonal?) could moor together like a floating city in placid weather, but come the hurricane they'd all get tossed thither and yon.  

What I like about this vision is that it's self-sustaining for as long as the oceans are filled with plastic.  I have a fascination for ways of building and living that do not depend on participation in the money economy.  I feel that, no matter how arduous and difficult life aboard might be, people -- especially climate refugees with a poor set of options -- would flock to any solution that offers a safe place to be.  
 
master pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Jay Angler wrote:
Water: Simple approach - Many coastal areas get either reliable rain or fog which can be harvested to replace underground water sources. Simple sand and charcoal filters can be used for safety of the water. Australia done great work in some areas on catching, conserving and reusing the water they've got.
High tech approach - there are solar run desalinators that could be made cost effectively without that much more research.



In the longer term (approximately a decade after installation), might water retentive landscapes recharge the aquifers and push the sea water back out?

 
Jay Angler
gardener
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Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

In the longer term (approximately a decade after installation), might water retentive landscapes recharge the aquifers and push the sea water back out?

I totally believe that water retentive landscapes *coupled* with less pumping of water out of aquifers will allow aquifers to recharge, although I have read different opinions about the time scale required which may be based on the particular aquifer in question. It's always amazed me that my friend had a shallow fresh water well less than 5 ft above sea level out on a peninsula in Nova Scotia - water is amazing stuff!

That said, if the land is sinking or the sea level is rising, I don't know if those wells will loose the saltiness that has developed. If saltwater is able to infiltrate the wells, would good water retentive landscapes be able to dilute the infiltration sufficiently? Would the fresh water "flush" the saltiness out? I read recently that supposedly there is fresh water in a rock formation *under* the ocean floor on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, so I repeat, water is amazing stuff! I think I know barely enough to know how much I don't know.
 
gardener
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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I am ignorant on the subject. What runs through my simple mind is the continual decrease of river water making it to the ocean. Seems like the ocean would be shrinking.
 
So I left, I came home, and I ate some pie. And then I read this tiny ad:
Native Bee Guide by Crown Bees
https://permies.com/wiki/105944/Native-Bee-Guide-Crown-Bees
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