Sampling growing public fear and official pessimism, Alex reveals his best sources and tips on the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19). Then Dr. Mark England reports half of Arctic warming comes from CFCs. Scientist Xiao Yang: rivers are not freezing over and why that matters. New song from Eliza Gilkyson.
I begin the show with the results from a simulation pandemic. The multi-million dollar exercise was run by John Hopkins University and funded by the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation. Complete with simulated breaking news, representatives from government and industry participated in panels, featuring an outbreak of a Corona virus. “Event 201” was held in New York City on October 18th, 2019, just two months before a real new Corona virus broke out in Wuhan China and spread around the world.
There is a growing chance this virus, and public fear, could cripple the global economy, bring down large business and banks, change politics even further toward totalitarianism, and toss you either into home quarantine for weeks, or into a wait-and-see-who-survives camp. I’m going to tell you what I expect, some good sources for daily updates, and tips to prepare.
Normally here on Radio Ecoshock, I carry interviews with scientists about the developing climate catastrophe. But first: I am tired of hearing soothing pronouncements by big institutions like the World Health Organization. They kept saying it was safe to fly to China, even as the disease raged. Financial talking heads don’t want us to panic. They don’t want us to sell stocks, or divest from retirement plans. Just keep going to work, just keep shopping.
While the cable channels drone on endlessly about far-off elections, and Trump kills off justice in the United States, we wait and wait for real news from the real world. Here it is:
Get ready for a viral shock around the world!
I don’t want to talk about this. You don’t want to hear about it. But we have a duty to recognize reality. My comfortable life with all kinds of cheap labor across the ocean, all kinds of mechanical energy slaves, and thrilling Reality TV – my comfortable life does not want to be disturbed. We are fine, leave us alone. Do not enter our space with strange bad news that could spread here.
WE ARE NOT ALONE
We are not alone on this planet. The unseen micro-world teams with trillions of living and half-living things that want to express themselves, reproduce, and dominate atop colonies of other cells. Some of those host cells to be used are in our bodies – in this case, in our lungs. A predatory pattern, the virus cannot reproduce itself, except by co-opting reproduction in our cells, or the cells of other animals. Predictably, this stew of microcosmic living competitors evolves into more perfect forms, that is, perfect for them. Disease, as we call it, improves by becoming more transmissible, and yet not too deadly to kill off the host before reproducing into more bodies.
A slew of microbiologists warned us about this for decades. Concurrently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began donating their billions of Microsoft profits into saving lives in the developing world, where medical systems do not exist. The Foundation went heavily into vaccinations as the way to save the most lives for the dollar spent. That brought them into contact with microbiologists and disease specialists who warned the risk of a major outbreak was very large, and preparation by governments and hospitals was very small.
In October 2019, just two months before the novel Corona Virus appeared, the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation created an elaborate, multi-million dollar game where a Corona Virus breaks out into a pandemic. They mounted fake news reports about this outbreak, watched by actual representatives from the insurance industry, travel industry, and many other business, government and medical institutional representatives. The panel discussions, peppered with “breaking news” about the fast-developing pandemic, were filmed. You can watch them at Event 201. But be warned: this is big industry and government talking to itself, almost in their sleep. They expect corporations to respond and provide for us. Do you?
Watch selected events, with real-time news announcements created for the event, in this 12 minute YouTube video.
In the show, I play a clip of Eric Toner from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation speaking on CNBC January 24, 2020.
This Event 201 game simulation was so close to our present reality that some conspiracy sites now blame Bill and Melinda Gates for the current pandemic. “They knew”, they say. Of course they knew. Anyone listening to warnings coming from the scientific and medical communities knew humanity was horribly exposed to microbial diseases. The public was not aware. Any of us could have found out, but it was technical, not always easy to grasp – too scary to allow into our lives. Now here it is. A scientist at Johns Hopkins last year modeled what would happen if a deadly corona virus reached a pandemic scale. His simulated scenario predicted that 65 million people could die within 18 months.
CLIMATE CHANGE THE SAME
Climate change is just the same. We are ignoring that as well. The climate problem is too huge and too big a threat to our mostly pleasant lives in borrowed fossil time. In January we heard from Chinese scientist Zhenzhong Zeng that the climate of southern China has changed. It is hotter and wetter there. That affects agriculture and peoples’ lives. It affects the animals. How do those climatic changes affect the microbiological world? We don’t know. Are animals stressed by changing climatic conditions more open to a new disease, one that could transfer to humans? We don’t know. Changing the climate of the world changes everything.
We do know that mass air travel, and global tourism, are major factors in the greenhouse gas emissions heating up the planet. If those emissions are reduced, even for a few months due to this pandemic, that provides a slight period of relief to the atmosphere. As it was, we just reached a new high for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the last million years: 416 parts per million. It seems like just yesterday CO2 levels passed the 400 ppm mark. Five hundred parts per million will come quickly enough.
DO WE NEED A CRASH TO SAVE US?
If the pandemic causes a major market crash and collapse of global trade, and people stay home, our children may have a chance of surviving rapid climate catastrophe. I don’t think that will happen this time. I personally would be better off it an economic crash did not happen. But everything that lives in the climate humans have known for the past million years will have a better chance to survive if we don’t heat the planet by three, four, or six degrees Centigrade, within one of two hundred years.
A couple of years ago, scientist Tim Garrett calculated that only a collapse of our current global industrial system could save us from climate catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands more scientists warn we cannot keep dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Either we have to stop, by agreement, or something else has to stop us. Is it invasion by an alien from the micro world? Can the plague slow us down as we rush to mass extinction?
Bio-Safety Labs which are multiplying across the U.S., Europe, and around the world. Research on pathogenic bacteria and viruses are like missiles which can be used in defense or offense. Search for this article: “Inside the Chinese lab poised to study world’s most dangerous pathogens” by David Cyranoski, published February 23, 2017 in the journal Nature. It’s an eye-opener about an undeclared biological cold war ramping up.
We don’t know really what the Chinese spies took away from the Canadian Bio-safety Level 4 lab in Winnipeg, before they were kicked out in July 2019. The Canadian government recently denied Internet rumors of a connection to the Corona virus and the China’s first biosafety lab which recently opened in Wuhan China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Was there an accident in China’s lab? We will probably never know whether this novel Corona virus crossed from the animal world, or was inadvertently man-made. But a new scientific study suggests this one did evolve naturally.
Remember that even with up to 100 million people dying during World War Two, world population actually grew during that time. We could lose 100 million now, and keep wrecking the planet. The oligarchs see the advent of robots and artificial intelligence. Are they secretly saying there are too many “useless mouths” – as Hitler put it. There are people, thinking of themselves as realists, who accept that several billion people are no longer necessary to their wealth.
How long before one wealthy maniac, or even a poor genius, decides it is their role to enforce a massive population reduction, by releasing a more perfect germ, with the only vaccine provided to a small group of supporters? Or just because someone is psychotic and angry? It’s going to be difficult to keep medicine on the path of saving lives, instead of the path of erasing them. So we need to prepare, in business, governments and as individuals, just in case.
A month ago, I told my family my guess on the possibility of a global pandemic reaching us was about 5%. That is not nothing, but not much. Now, with recent news, I would say 10%. But we can be 100% certain that big business and big bankers are starting to sweat. The 2008 crash is still with us. We barely avoided a global financial melt-down then by pretending to create new money. Since then, governments and households have continued to pile on more and more debt. Nobody planned for a massive withdrawal of workers in a pandemic, a parts shortage, or stay-at-home consumers.
Specialist Michael Osterholm on NPR’S Science Friday, January 31, 2020 said that within six months the rest of the world would be like China. The disease has already escaped, he said.
The just-in-time factory supplies are no longer leaving the world’s workshop. Major ports like Shanghai had 100 giant container ships leaving China daily. That has trickled to almost nothing. Be aware that parts are going to run out. Eventually, the global glut could turn into empty shelves. You or yours may be too sick or scared to go shopping anyway. Businesses may be weeks away from closing. From China to America to Europe, governments and central banks are already pouring out emergency funds and promises. Even if this COVID-19 somehow miraculously stays mostly in China – your world may never be the same.
Because so much of what you buy comes from China, we should expect shortages of common parts to appear, at least for a little while. Many times on this program I encouraged listeners to have at least a month’s worth of basic food in your home, if you can afford the price of rice, beans, and soup. Now is definitely the time. There is a small but growing possibility you may want to self-quarantine in your home, or be ordered to do so, for up to a month or more. Please think about what you could need and prepare now.
The irony is, as we heard from our guest Jonathan Richards in February 2019 – the survival food industry had crashed. There are hardly any suppliers left, and their stocks were minimal. Companies canning food for long-term storage went out of business. The few that survived are now totally sold out. Their online order sites are empty. Even prepper foods on Amazon are mostly out of stock and we don’t know when it will be back. The food panic is already developing. Will the American stock market take a dive soon, as big companies from Apple to Ford shut down their lucrative Chinese factories and stores? When will companies in North America and Europe run out of Chinese parts?
Regarding climate, halting air travel to the world’s largest population, and seeing empty streets in Shanghai, means less carbon pollution. Maybe fewer people will fly around for fun or take vacation cruises. Even social change is possible. Perhaps when one door closes, another opens.
There is short-term survival, and long-term survival. You need the short-term first, or long-term never arrives. But keep in mind, most people who get this illness get better, without medical care. For some people it is nothing, for others just a flu. Somewhere between 1 and 5 people out of 100 Corona virus infections die. Many but not all of those are elderly.
It would be foolish not to try to stock up to ride out this illness, if it comes. If disease pops up in your area, officials will try to declare a quarantine, just like they did in China. We have been using that to fight epidemics since the Middle Ages. Let’s go through a few first steps of preparation.
Number one is water. Get some. Get lots. We don’t know if the workers who keep the water running, sewage flowing, and electricity on – will show up. Would you, if it meant acquiring an illness endangering your family. You can live for up to a month without food, but only a few days without water. Store water.
Number Two is food that will keep, and can be eaten without heating or electricity. This might include rice, which can be soaked overnight and eaten without cooking, peanut butter, honey, cereal, canned fish, any pre-cooked canned food, or canned vegetables that can be eaten raw. You could likely buy a few weeks worth of food for less than two hundred dollars. Start with a bag of rice, if that is all you can afford today.
My friends and I ordered a lot of seeds. These can become sprouts in a week or two, or vegetables to plant next summer, in an emergency garden, or even in pots on your balcony.
In third place is protective gear. The lowest standard are masks rated N-95, meaning they stop at least 95% of germs. Of course, that only works if they fit tight. No beards allowed when the virus comes. Men: do you have a razor that does not need electricity? In the most serious cases, the mask should be taped to your face using “medical tape”. The cheaper surgical masks offer practically no protection for you, except they keep your fingers out of your nose and mouth. That is a key habit we all must learn. Surgical masks are better than nothing.
Good luck finding any. Most protective gear is made in China. They won’t be shipping those out to other countries while their disease rages. In fact, one producer shipped half a million N-95 masks back to China last week. A few vultures have popped up on Amazon and eBay advertising masks at four times the normal price. You can try stores that supply painters and maintenance workers, who use masks at work. I bought mine a year ago, to use when forest fire smoke makes it hard to breath outside.
There is no medicine for COVID-19 at this time. You could have some old-standbys ready, like aspirin to control high fever, or cough syrup. But some doctors say the fever and cough are the body’s defenses at work. Something for diarrhea might help, although that appears in less than 10% of cases. The great fear is pneumonia, which was found in all 41 patients admitted to a Chinese hospital Intensive Care Unit on a single day in January.
I’m sure you have heard hand-washing is key. Watch a few doctors show you the best way to wash hands, on YouTube. It only works if done right.
Here are some SOURCES I LIKE to keep up with the pandemic.
The World Health Organization spends too much time warning us about fake news and disinformation, while downplaying the reality on the ground and handing out their own fake news. Sure there is Infowars, blaming the Corona pandemic on dark figures who too-often turn out to be Jewish bankers. Others say it was Bill Gates himself. Those Net harpies are horrible people who want to sell you gold, or guns, or expensive vitamins sure to protect you from disease. When I wonder what the Russians want me to think, there is always the Zero Hedge blog.
But there are alternative sources I find really useful. For example, there is Chris Martenson, host of the Peak Prosperity blog and podcast. I notice as Chris posts his daily updates on COVID-19, about147,000 people watch it on YouTube within 5 hours or so. That is a higher viewership than MSNBC cable TV gets outside prime time. Chris thinks the worst will probably happen, but he gives out facts and figures for your assessment. Here is a quick sample from Chris Martenson recorded February 13, 2020.
Another favorite source that I check daily is Dr. John Campbell, a physician from the UK. Watch John’s videos from early February to understand how this novel Corona virus affects our bodies. That understanding can help you decide whether home treatment is still possible, or only intensive care in a hospital can save the sick person. Of course, if a disease hot spot develops in your city, the hospitals cannot possibly cope, as they did not in Wuhan. Dr. Campbell’s videos could also help you understand options to treat a loved one at home, possibly without getting the disease yourself.
Check this one for sure! “Protect self and family”
Feb 14, 2020
Another good source is from a doctor broadcasting on YouTube as MedCram.
Finally, if you want to know about protective equipment, which masks to use, and how to lay away food in case of an extended home quarantine – I like an unlikely source called “The Canadian Prepper” on YouTube. For example his video “Coronavirus: The Numbers No One is Talking About…” had over 100,000 views when I checked last week. He has over 300,000 subscribers. Check out his video titled “PREPPER LORE: 10 Steps to Survive a Global Pandemic”.
I have done Radio Ecoshock shows about preparing for social or economic breakdown. Check out our archive at ecoshock.org. When the real pandemic comes, next month or a few years from now, we come to the crisis that Nate Hagens talked about on Radio Ecoshock. From that flex point, we descend into primitive violence, or a better society, or something we cannot now imagine.
When we return, two scientists join us to further explain the slow catastrophe that is climate change.
MARK ENGLAND: CFCs ARE WARMING THE ARCTIC
Why is the Arctic warming so rapidly, with disappearing sea ice and thawing permafrost? Of course it is due to increasing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. We all know that. But new science shows another unsuspected major cause of Arctic warming: ozone-depleting chemicals. Yes, it’s refrigerants like CFCs; yes they are still up there; and yes they are still being produced illegally. This adds a whole new villain to rapid heating in the Arctic.
That surprise comes in a new study by American scientists, titled “Substantial twentieth-century Arctic warming caused by ozone-depleting substances“. It was published in February 2020 in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Dr. Mark R. England is a co-author and our guest on Radio Ecoshock. Find Mark at his web site markrossengland.com.
Mark R. England
Listen to or download this 12 minute interview with Mark England
In various interviews, other scientists have outlined how the ozone hole over the Arctic, and the Antarctic, can change the dynamics of the atmosphere leading to changes on the ice below. It can be complex. But there has been less investigation of the role of a class of chemicals that were used as refrigerants, like CFCs and now HFCs. The 1987 Montreal Protocol banned CFCs because they destroy the ozone. But CFCs and other refrigerants are also powerful greenhouse gases. When they accumulate over the Poles, they lead to regional heating.
England’s team discovered those super-greenhouse chemicals are likely responsible for about half the warming we see in the Arctic today. The other 70% of heating there comes from carbon dioxide we emit. But that does not add up to 100%! How is that possible? The formula works because a completely different factor, global dimming caused by pollution, is cooling the Arctic at the same time.
Put another way, without CFCs the Arctic could have warmed up about .75 degrees C, instead of just over 1.5 degrees C of warming over pre-industrial times, we measure today. I had no idea these long-lasting refrigerant gases were so important to the huge changes we are seeing in the Arctic. This includes the disappearing sea ice, the shorter snow season on land, melting of the surface of Greenland, and heating in the Arctic ocean.
All that would have been much worse without the Montreal Protocol. It turns out that historic agreement is also an important milestone in the battle against global warming. Yes some factories in China have been spotted making illegal refrigerants. And the burden of all the super-warming gases made up to the 1990’s is still up there. But eventually, likely some time this century, the warming caused by CFCs will diminish. That might help us slightly when we need it – although our carbon dioxide emissions are still growing at a record rate.
Way back in 1975, V. Ramanathan published his ground-breaking paper “Greenhouse effect due to chlorofluorocarbons: climatic implications”. It took another 45 years to realize the big impacts this team uncovered.
LESS RIVER ICE AS THE WORLD WARMS – XIAO YANG
We know glaciers around the world are in retreat. Summer sea ice in the Arctic crashed in 2007 and has never recovered. Now a young scientist reports that river ice is also declining. There are consequences for the human economy, wildlife, and climate change. This is new knowledge.
We reached the lead author of the study “The past and future of global river ice”. He is Xiao Yang, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Listen to or download this 12 minute interview with Xiao Yang
For centuries, northern humans took the annual freeze-up of the river for granted. Now cities like Ottawa Canada are seeing less time for their great river skating festival. Some communities in the north use frozen rivers as highways for supplies. What has changed about the way rivers freeze, in these times of a warming Earth?
A study from the Alfred Wegener Institute says, “For the past 70 years, the Danube has almost never frozen over”. Historically people expected to skate on the Danube almost every winter. But now that seldom happens. Something is disappearing from the culture in Central and Eastern Europe. Holland the same.
According to a press release with this new Yang paper: “A new study from researchers in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Geological Sciences found that annual river ice cover will decline by about six days for every one degree Celsius increase in global temperatures.”
“We used more than 400,000 satellite images taken over 34 years to measure which rivers seasonally freeze over worldwide, which is about 56% of all large rivers,” said Xiao Yang, a postdoctoral scholar in the UNC-Chapel Hill geological sciences department and lead author on the paper. “We detected widespread declines in monthly river ice coverage. And the predicted trend of future ice loss is likely to lead to economic challenges for people and industries along these rivers, and shifting seasonal patterns in greenhouse gas emissions from the ice-affected rivers.”
In October 2019, the Guardian newspaper reported on a related discovery about rivers flowing from Arctic glaciers. Journalist Leyland Cecco writes: “In the turbid, frigid waters roaring from the glaciers of Canada’s high Arctic, researchers have made a surprising discovery: for decades, the northern rivers secretly pulled carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a rate faster than the Amazon rainforest.”
Here is a video of Xiao Yang, with some useful info and images of world river info.
At the end of this program we hear a new song from a friend of the show, Eliza Gilkyson from Texas. The song is “Sooner of Later” from Eliza’s new album “2020”. Check it out on YouTube here. It’s hot activist music. Go to http://elizagilkyson.com for updates.
Here is a bit about Eliza’s new album, from the producers:
“Produced by Eliza’s son, Cisco Ryder, 2020 features songs that are designed to be audience sing-a-longs in the Pete Seeger tradition of motivational political anthems, from the call for unity of “Peace in Our Hearts,” to blistering condemnations of the current regime’s policies with “Sooner or Later” and “My Heart Aches.” Along with these new songs (including two co-writes with students from her summer songwriter workshops in Taos, NM), she has recorded two folk favorites: Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” Gilkyson’s timely new song, “Beach Haven,” was drawn from a letter written by Woody Guthrie in 1952 directed to Beach Haven Apartment’s landlord Fred Trump (POTUS’ father) regarding his racist, segregationist renter policies. The song is Woody’s joyful invitation to Trump to “open your doors” and “rip out the strangling red tape” that keeps the apartment from embracing all races.
“One More Day” finds Gilkyson reflecting on the sobering realities of climate catastrophe while celebrating her commitment to life, love, community and Planet Earth with the songs “Beautiful World of Mine,” “We Are Not Alone” and “Promises to Keep.”
THANK YOU TO LISTENER SUPPORTERS!
I produced this week’s show on the new studio computer purchased with donations from you the listener. It uses Windows 10. I still have some bugs to work out, some of them provided by Microsoft. They sure don’t make it easy. Thank you to everyone who signed up for $10 a month to support on-going production free distribution of this show. You help get the word out there!
These are tumultuous times. Next week we talk with senior scientist Diana Liverman about Future Earth.