Dan Bloom Breaks Through on Polar Cities

Dan Bloom, a climate blogger and reporter working out of Asia, picked up a troubling fact from the great scientist James Lovelock–that soon we will see polar cities–and has worked relentlessly over the last eleven months to make the world pay attention. He’s beginning to make headway: a Chinese blogger picked up images he posted on his site, and he’s about to get a break from some major media here in North America. This has made me wonder: Am I getting too scattershot in my efforts on climate change? I talk about culture, music, science, politics…maybe I’m losing my focus. Feel free to comment. (Or not.)

But for now — congratulations Danny! As long as we think the climate will remain more or less the same, we are not likely to change our lives. Reminding people that polar cities are in our future, unless we make drastic changes, is to force people to pay attention to what needs to be done…now.

Here’s an image he helped bring into being, of a polar city circa 2500…

Polarcity

Comments (10) Add yours ↓
  1. danny bloom

    Kit, thanks for the post. It will help bring the “non-threatening though experiment” to more people, via the Blogopshere, and your words above and here: “As long as we think the climate will remain more or less the same, we are not likely to change our lives. Reminding people that polar cities are in our future, unless we make drastic changes, is to force people to pay attention to what needs to be done…now” — THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO WITH THIS ONGOING PROJECT. You hit the nail on the head exactly.

    One of my next steps is to make a list of hundreds of questions that must be asked about polar cities, how to fuel them, who governs them, who gets in and who is kept out, etc, and this link is my side-blog to the main blog. Feel free to ask this blogger any questions you think of re ethics, governing, agriculture, sleep, darkness in winter months, security, medical services in polar cities, etc: just purely theoretical of course! I hope we never need these polar villages/polar cities/polar retreats. If it really comes to that, it will be sad indeed, but we’ve got time to think about them, 500 years, and the time to act, as you so well said, is NOW. and yes, meanwhile we must enjoy the present life and remain happy and fulfilled with art, music, love, friends, travel, work, etc….so keep blogging the way you do. I feel your blog is one of the best online, and I mentioned your blog on Dot Earth last week… in this regard….

    100+ questiosn blog

    http://100qest101.blogspot.com/2007/11/1.html

    December 9, 2007 Reply
  2. danny bloom

    A climate blogger in the Midwest who works nights as a hotel auditor graveyard shift wrote me last week:

    “I think the food source for polar cities will be mold or fungus grown on recycled biomass (poop, leftovers, and bodies), but you can always say “hydroponics.” I doubt open air surface agriculture and husbandry will be practical.

    “I think the power source maybe nuclear, bio-electric, solar, or wind, but you can always say “renewable.” I doubt fossil fuel, wood, or geo-thermal will be practical.

    “I think polar cities will be constructed with stone and earth, but there is always the possibility that technological advances will allow it to be bio-materials. I doubt imported plastic, wood, or metal composites in large amounts will be practical.

    “As far as the social, economic, and political structure of the community, it will probably be communal with a strong restrictive authority, but you can always say “democratic” (i.e. consensus based), although I doubt that will be practical. Privacy will be minimal, and the individual would have to subvert themselves to the group. There are models for this, both successful and unsuccessful.

    “Obviously there will have to be draconian internal security, but less resource intensive external security, but you can always just let people think it will be like today’s nation/states. The bottom line is that today’s mindset would find such a stable isolated and resource scarce community obnoxious and prison like. Living on the surface of the Earth gives workable societies the luxury of personal freedom, but imagine such folly inside a self-contained structure. It sure would be nice if everyone in such a community was a model citizen, but individuals have free will, so expected deviance would have to be stifled harshly.”

    “I always thought that you citing the year 2500 was too conservative (why sugar coat it?).”

    December 9, 2007 Reply
  3. danny bloom

    Kit,
    I discovered a chap in the UK — Noel Hodson, [google] who wrote a sci fi novel in 2005 titled ”AD 2516 – After Global Warming.”

    He told me: “I admire your excellent conceptualistaion and illustrations of Polar Cities
    – which certainly will be built as melting of the permafrost makes it easier
    to exploit the vast, empty polar areas. People in Denver, Colorado, the Mile-High-City, seem to be
    disinterested in the problem and I suppose that goes for Madrid, Jerusalem,
    Moscow and other high ground cities. But global-warming will, as you
    foresee, cut off food supplies and disrupt global trade and supplies. The UK
    has about 2 weeks of food stores. When billions of people from the
    coastal-margins start walking to find food – it will bring chaos.

    I have written a much bleaker novel about London drowning, “Over the
    Rainbow”. Here is a free download you may enjoy and the htm is a more recent
    link to AD2516.

    http://www.noelhodson.com/index_files/novels-table-15FEB07.htm

    http://www.noelhodson.com/index_files/OTR3APR06.pdf

    December 9, 2007 Reply
  4. Kit Stolz

    I actually agree with your auditor correspondent — given how fast humans have evolved over the last 200 years, I expect we’ll see some form of polar cities before 2500. His rhetorical suggestions are clever, too, although I dare argue for my descendants that fungus grown on excrement will not be a popular food item…suspect we’ll find something better than that. Hope so!

    December 9, 2007 Reply
  5. Dany Bloom

    Yes, Kit, where he got that fungus grown on excrement :dish: is beyond my imagination… but who knows what the menu will be in 2300 or 2500 or 4500? Let’s hope things get fixed before that!

    December 10, 2007 Reply
  6. Danny Bloom

    If you would like to listen to a radio interview about ”polar
    cities”
    with Radio Ecoshock host Alex Smith, in Vancouver B.C., Canada, go to
    this link http://ecoshock.blogspot.com and hear the 10 minute
    interview which begins at minute 23:00 into the 59:00 minute radio
    show. The segment begins
    at minute 22:50 and ends at minute 33:15.

    December 22, 2007 Reply
  7. Danny Bloom

    Q. & A. with Danny Bloom

    [Interview with a reporter in India, not published yet[

    1. What motivated you to create the idea of polar cities to house
    survivors of global warming in the year 2500?

    I was reading an interview with the British scientist James Lovelock
    in which he remarked that if the world did not get climate change and
    global warming under control soon the future might be such that only a
    handful of “breeding pairs in the Arctic” would ensure that the human
    species would continue after the Earth cooled down again. His remark
    made me think that there would have to be some kind of towns or cities
    for these survivors of global warming to live in, and the idea of
    “polar cities” popped into my mind. I wrote some letters-to-the-editor
    to several newspapers mentioning the idea of polar cities and linking
    readers to a blog I created about them.

    2. What is your background or expertise in this field?

    I am not an expert in the climate change field, nor am I scientist or
    a meteorologist. I do not have a PhD or an MA. I am a freelance
    reporter and editor, with a college degree from Tufts University that
    I obtained in 1971. So I have no background at all in this field of
    climate change. I am a mere observer of what I have been reading in
    the newspapers about global warming for the past few years. But I have
    always enjoyed envisioning the future of humankind, and my mind is
    very flexible and quirky. Envisioning polar cities was very easy for
    me to do. Once I did it, I couldn’t keep quiet about what I has
    envisioned, so I created a blog and began a global public relations
    campaign to drum up support for the discussion of polar cities.

    3. How long have you been doing reseach into climate change and global warming?

    I had been aware of the issues of global warming and climate change
    for the past 10 years, but I never took it very seriously until I read
    an article in the Guardian newspaper in Britain in January 2007, just
    before the first IPCC report came out in February 2007, that explained
    how global warming was most likely caused by human activity such as
    burning fossil fuels. That’s when I had what I call my “Eureka!
    Moment”. That’s when I began formulating the concept of polar cities
    for survivors of global warming in 2500, if worst comes to worst. It’s
    just an idea of mine, what I like to call and what I hope is taken as
    a “non-threatening thought experiment”. Hopefull, mankind will never
    need polar cities. But one never knows. And why not just think about
    them now, discuss them, maybe even plan them and design them and even
    locate where they might be situated in the far distant future. Maybe
    we should even build a model polar city in the coming years so people
    can “visualize” what one might look like, if worst comes to worst.

    4. So you believe global warming is caused by humans or by the Sun?

    Humans. We have created a culture that depends on the burning of
    fossil fuel for energy and the resulting co2 emissions in the air are
    a major problem. Yes, I believe global warming is caused 99 percent
    now by human activity.

    5. Did James Lovelock influence you?

    Very much so. His books, interviews I have read with him in magazines
    and newspapers. Definitely. He directly influenced my concept of polar
    cities.

    6. How many polar cities will there be in the future year of 2500?

    I have no idea. Again, I am not an expert or an urban planner. My
    guess is that there might be about 2 million people left on Earth in
    the year 2500 and that maybe 200,000 of them will be admitted as
    residents of polar cities. It’s not a pretty picture at all.

    7. Are you trying to scare people with your idea of polar cities?

    Yes, in a way, I hope that publicity about polar cities will shock
    some people, who still need shocking, into taking action about global
    warming. My idea is a kind of theatrical device to frighten people in
    such a way that they realize humanity is in deep trouble now and that
    major changes in our lifestyles must be undertaken now, or else — or
    else polar cities might very well become a reality by the year 2500.
    So yes, there is an element of “shock theater” in my concept and
    blogging efforts.

    8. Where will the polar cities be located?

    In Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Finland, Sweden,
    Russia. Perhaps there might be a few in Antarctica, too, along the
    Vinson Masif mountain range there.

    9. Who will govern the polar cities and who will be allowed in as residents?

    Good question. A very complex question. I don’t know the answer, and I
    am looking to experts to fill us in on this. It could be the UN, it
    could be individual governments that own the land the cities are sited
    on. It could be a new world government in 2500. It’s a very good
    question.

    10. Is it fair to say that your idea a kind of non-threatening thought
    experiment to
    try to wake people up today regarding the very harsh reality of what
    global warming might look like 50 or 100 years from now?

    Yes. My main goal is to wake people up, wake up those people who need
    waking up. And my second goal is to, at the same time, begin making
    plans for such so-called polar cities. We have 500 years to prepare
    for the worst-case-scenario. So let’s just prepare, just to be safe.
    But the main goal, now, is to wake people up. I hope my proposal is
    seen as alarming, but not as alarmist. I am an optimist. I believe
    humankind will survive into the far distant future. I remain an
    eternal optimist, although things look very very bad right now.

    December 24, 2007 Reply
  8. Danny Bloom

    http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=40663

    Kit, Your blog was the first in the world to take notice of polar cities, and here is the first news article about the idea. step by step.

    January 2, 2008 Reply
  9. Steve Shaman

    I recently interviewed Dan Bloom on my radio talk show regarding his innovative work with the polar city concept, I believe I was the first radio show to bring this idea to the forefront. Dan’s ideas are very creative and should be recognized by the environmental community.

    The Earth Frenzy Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio

    January 25, 2008 Reply
  10. Steve Shaman

    I recently interviewed Dan Bloom on my radio talk show regarding his innovative work with the polar city concept, I believe I was the first radio show to bring this idea to the forefront. Dan’s ideas are very creative and should be recognized by the environmental community.

    The Earth Frenzy Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio

    January 25, 2008 Reply

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