Environmentalists have warned of the dire consequences of climate change

James Lovelock died last week on his 103rd birthday. Mr. Lovelock was a scientist, inventor, and ecologist who predicted that by the year 2100, there will be a few hundred thousand people on the planet, most of whom live near the poles. Global warming will be so severe that the food supply will dwindle to almost nothing.

He later backtracked on that prediction – but as recently as 8 years ago, he predicted that by 2100, there might be at least 20% of us. For anything non-human, their ability to survive climate change isn’t very exhilarating.

James Lovelock is best known for the Gaia theory. He viewed the Earth as a living system. Semi-believer in his approach – his argument was that everything is connected – everything is living and non-living. Earth is alive from Lovelock’s point of view. The earth corrects itself. After all, it is a living organism.

James Lovelock was one of the few environmentalists in favor of nuclear power. In his view, the fossil fuel industry has teamed up with the Greens to dump a technology with a much lower carbon footprint than traditional fossil fuels.

He founded an organization called, simply put, Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy. Within environmental circles, this was considered near-blasphemy. But few other environmentalists agree with him. Specifically, fellow British and environmental expert writing for the Guardian, George Monbiot, agrees that nuclear power is needed to reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

By the way, the Guardian from England is a great newspaper to read. In my opinion, it is on par with the New York Times and Washington Post. It’s only worth reading for George Monbiot’s column alone.

But back to Lovelock. James Lovelock said that food production will decline in Europe and around the world by 2040. If you think you’re seeing mass migrations going on now, wait until food production is cut off because we can’t grow enough grain to feed billions of people. Climate change has already caused thousands of Guatemalans to flee their country due to crop failures. But you’ll never hear Trump followers talk about it.

Or, as the founder of 350.org, Bill McKibbin said, “Just wait until we can’t grow corn in Iowa because it’s too hot.” Three hundred and fifty parts per million are considered the safe level for the Earth’s persistence into the Holocene, the beautiful place of interglacial climate, which is why McKibbin chose the name of the organization. Today, I checked the CO2 level, it was 416.

McKibbin’s position on the nuclear issue is somewhat slippery. He says there is no way we can quickly build enough nuclear power plants to make a difference. We need to cut CO2 emissions now.

Out of nostalgia, I watched “No Nukes” over the weekend. This was a 1979 movie that went a long way in stopping the nuclear power movement in the United States. The show included music stars such as Jackson Brown, James Taylor, Dobby Brothers, and Carly Simon. This concert was held after the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania.

After Fukushima, Jackson Brown, Bonnie Wright and others did the same. They put up a handy concert to point out the dangers of nuclear energy. Fukushima is still pouring radiation into the ocean, just like Chernobyl, there is an uninhabitable zone around Fukushima of 311 square miles.

Around Chernobyl, in Ukraine, there are 1,000 square miles of uninhabitable land as a result of that devastating accident in 1986. The official death toll from Chernobyl was 31. The United Nations said the death toll would be 6,000. The Union of Concerned Scientists and Greenpeace have announced that the death toll will be between 90,000 and 200,000.

Let’s not forget that the Russians bombed a large nuclear plant in Ukraine, which had the potential to emit more radiation than Chernobyl. War is not something people think about when they build nuclear power plants.

However, countries like Germany, which decided to dismantle their nuclear power plants, had to ignite their coal plants during the recent heat wave in Europe because the Russians cut off their natural gas supplies.

The world is getting hotter. There is no doubt that it happens. How we respond to crises, or our lack of response to crises, is the problem.

Two years ago, I flew to Phoenix, Arizona. This sunny city gets an amazing amount of sunlight. However, it was difficult to locate a solar panel on any of the rooftops. The story is different here in California.

It takes a decade or more to build a nuclear power plant. It takes two weeks to put solar panels on your roof. For me, the quickest and safest solution to the CO2 problem is through the electron and not through the plutonium.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party has decided that climate change is not a problem. All these wildfires in the United States, France, Spain and Russia are solely due to poor forest management. Just ask Doug Lamalva. Does he really think that forests are poorly managed around the world, or is there something else at play?

At the end of his life, James Lovelock had very little hope of civilization. I’d rather listen to his experience than some hack politician like Doug Lamalva who accepted nearly $200,000 from the fossil fuel industry between 2013 and 2018.

Alan Stelar is an RN and freelance writer who moved to Red Bluff after the Camp Fire. He can be reached at Allan361@aol.com.

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