Holy shit, Catie! I had no idea. Whereabouts are you?
Yeah, it's bad. My feeling is, we really need to step up things like the widespread planting of diverse species of trees with a view to making sure that the diversity is a positive vehicle for change, whatever the climate does. If it becomes seasonally warmer, the climate of, say, 500km south, and what we plant includes tree genetics from 500km south, we suddenly have climate-appropriate trees to succeed what we lose; if we leave a mosaic of what is currently hanging on, those genetics will be in the soil seed bank, and the living strata, should our local climate shift the other direction.
Honestly, the only thing about warming that I have heard that suggests a positive outcome is that more energy
in weather systems means more moisture in the air, and a wetter climate overall, especially downwind of larger bodies of water. I have long been a proponent of the idea of creating a Great Lakes Rainforest project
. I know our winters still get cold enough to kill some species that require mild winters, and so it would look more like a boreal/temperate hardwood transitional forest, but we could still choose species near waterways, like cottonwoods, that pump moisture into the air when it's dry, to manipulate humidity in the surrounding regions.
Dr. Redhawk has suggested that the original giant trees of the east side of the continent, chestnut and white pine, among others, could stand in for the giant redwoods, doug fir, and western redcedar, among others, that make up the rainforests out west. I am torn, because I love white pine and chestnut, but I still think that it would be amazing to get something like the western redcedar, which can grow a metre tall for every year of the first 75 years of its life, on average, to both act as towering, beautiful carbon
sinks, and to generate cloud systems through tree sweat.
This is just a big example of the type of projects I think should be looked at with regards to permacultural geoengineering. I also think tweaking typical hydroseeding operations, as seen on roadside construction for soil stabilisation, to include more diversity for pollinators, and more nutrient-trapping and soil-generation properties, and for the purpose of making our society drought-hardy, including drought-hardy species in the seed mix, would be an excellent small-scale adjustment that would yield huge results. Xeriscapes, even though their water needs are extremely low, still keep the soil from becoming hydrophobic, allowing pathways down through the soil, so as to infiltrate water better.
One other big idea I think appropriate in light of the huge structural changes that might be required to climate-harden us as a civilisation is the reworking of our military into not only a peacekeeping role, but also a brown permaculture
role. Imagine if the Canadian Forces, beyond operational specialisations, were all trained, in the same way as the american army corps of engineers for engineering, to observe, design, and implement permaculturally-aligned water infiltration projects anywhere it would alleviate drought, and implement similar measures to deal with even extreme seasonal flooding in applicable areas, or really any climate or systemic adaptation that would help people help nature to fix our situation.
Think about giant on-contour swales throughout the plains, and really anywhere convenient to increase aquifer recharge at the cost of seasonal floodwater damage, and thousands of happy little uniformed Canadian Beaver Corps helping their namesakes spread the love of little dams and slowed water everywhere. Imagine the Canadian Beaver Corps marching in line across thawing landscapes, adjusting hydrology and replacing ruin with poplar and boreal ecology, and perhaps relocating beavers from around human habitation to keep turning the land
from melting methane source to poplar-capped carbon sink, or (carefully) advancing up critical salmon spawning runs, naturalising and adding reed-bed plantations anywhere possible to counteract eutrophication and to stop excess sediment run-off, planting willows on riverbanks to shade the water and keep water temperatures cold and capable of holding enough oxygen.
I'd sign up, especially if the culture was shifted from a combative, militaristic-style of discipline to one that maintained the amount of stoicism and adherence to order necessary for large groups of people to function efficiently to achieve singular great works. I think we're certainly in a position where such changes would benefit us all. Granted, all those jobs created in the Canadian Beaver Corps would be government jobs, but I think it emminently practical that the government adopt people-dependent systems where such work is both better accomplished by a person and is better for the person to do, in light of workplace automation, whether we're talking about automated cash-out at the grocery, or remote-piloted fleets of tarsands dumptrucks (a bad example for permaculture
, but a good example of thousands of jobs lost to automation while the industry was still booming).
But yes, drought. When I have time, I will try to find a chart I was looking at that showed levels of precipitation year-over-year for different regions versus earlier historical norms. I was shocked.