Swale and Pond Irrigation: A Regenerative Agriculture Technique for Mitigating Climate Change


The purpose of this paper is to introduce swale-and-pond irrigation (SPI) as a solution to topsoil erosion and precipitation retention within agricultural systems. After months of research and many sleepless nights, the evidence for agricultural adaptation abounds. Humanity should not hope for continuation with crop failures, increased natural disasters, and a growing global population. A case will be presented that establishes that current practices are causing added stress to our dying ecosystem. This case is meant to prove that current agricultural practices need to be abandoned in order for farmers to continue future crop production. Furthermore the case will demonstrate that SPI is a solution to these failing agricultural practices, as it works with nature to heal the already damaged systems. When SPI is properly implemented its regenerative nature can increase a site’s ability to resist climate issues better than non-adaptive sites. Not only is it regenerative it also becomes a better production system.

Keywords: swale, pond, irrigation, climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, micro-climate



An increase in floods, droughts, fires, and desertification due to climate change is affecting human food security. Intense storms are drowning crops, delaying time-sensitive harvests, and eroding topsoils. Longer dry spells are weakening nature’s ability to resist fires, pests, and pathogens, giving way to barren, unproductive land that once sustained abundant life. Humans either flee their new desert-like habitat to stress another system or stay to live out a bleak existence.

As a species, humans have no known genetic ability to control the weather, but we do have the ability to manipulate our environment to sustain our basic needs. According to an article from History.com (2018) “The Neolithic Revolution started around 10,000 B.C. in the Fertile Crescent, a boomerang-shaped region of the Middle East where humans first took up farming,” beginning with simple tools and limited knowledge the first steps in agriculture were taken. Those first steps have advanced so far, that now most people have no idea how to produce their own crops. Agricultural practices now rely mostly on machinery, chemical soil treatments, and good weather to produce enough food for the ever-growing population.

As the global temperature rises and the weather becomes less predictable, we have to ask ourselves if our current agricultural practices are going to sustain us? The introduction of machines for tilling and chemical applications has led to soil erosion and soil contamination, which we correct with more chemicals and deeper tilling. It is not sustainable yet we continue to produce this way because the demand for food grows yearly with population increases. So, how can we adapt our agricultural practices to fit our changing environment? We need to look back at what has worked for thousands of years, our practices need to become more natural and less disruptive to the environment. Just one of numerous regenerative agriculture techniques is SPI which can dramatically reduce erosion, keep precious topsoil where we need it, retain water, and build our soil fertility in a more natural way.

Diminishing Food Security

The agriculture industry is struggling to meet the needs of consumers as some regions receive less rain than is required for certain crops. Trnka et al (2019) conducted an international study on “severe water scarcity (SWS) and its effects on rain-fed crops particularly wheat, a major human food source. The study concludes that simultaneous (SWS) will increase from the current 15% to 60% by the year 2100.” This will lead to the increasingly growing global population to further food shortages.

Other regions face an overabundance of precipitation and early cold snaps from the changing wind patterns. Laura Reiley (2019) of the Washington Post, reports that “Idaho, North Dakota and Minnesota, as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Manitoba, experienced enough adverse weather from September to November to significantly affect this year’s potato harvest.” Reports like these are becoming far more common in news feeds, and concern more than just the food producers, as its implications affect the entirety of the human race.

Swale-and-Pond Irrigation 

Swales in action.SPI is a site-specific design system that harvests rainwater and snowmelt, allowing farmers some control over our second most important basic need, water. Swales themselves are trenches that slow gravitational water as it travels downhill, acting like a small dam, pooling water rather than letting it flow freely away. Swales are built on contour, usually on the sides of hills or slopes. They are dug into the soil at a consistent angle and depth so the swale fills at an even pace and only spills over once the entire swale is full to capacity. Once the swale exceeds capacity, the water flows into another swale, or into ponds for later use.

Ponds are the collection points for water, and, unlike swales, generally retain water indefinitely.  Ponds are typically located at the lowest points on any site. However, as we design the SPI we can strategically place ponds at different elevations on-site, which allows ponds to be used to pump water onto crops in times of drought. Both swales and ponds hold water, soaking it into the soil and effectively irrigating the area. With the increased water holding capacity of the soil, trees, shrubs, and groundcovers must be planted to slow erosion and eventually eliminate it altogether as the roots become established.An oasis

From the Ground Up

The first step in implementing SPI is site analysis, watching and recording how the water on-site moves and where it goes. This data is crucial for design because it gives the farmer a clear idea of how to utilize the water while still having room for crop production. At the same time, the farmer should take notes on micro-climates across the site. This analysis should not be rushed, each site has different climates. The region may receive little annual rain or it might have heavy snow in winter, time to observe each season may be needed. During this time the farmer should also assess what they intend to produce.

After the analysis is complete the swale can be dug by finding the contour of the slope with a map. The important part of digging the swale is making sure it is consistent across the base, a level is helpful for making sure the whole swale is level. Just like the site analysis, each swale will be site-specific. Digging can be done by hand or machine. All of the excavated soil will be placed downhill from the swale itself and be utilized for planting. To complete the swale, plants will be added to the berm to minimize soil erosion and become a productive part of the system.

PSI and Crop Diversity

Plant species will be chosen that have higher water requirements and functional agricultural use. Swales hosting plants with strong roots that will anchor topsoil in place, and ponds hosting the most aquatic plant species. Together the swales and ponds are a water harvesting, irrigation system, but because they host different plant species they also attract different species of wildlife. This relationship is known as biodiversity, and it includes more than just SPI. Most sites will include field crops such as wheat, potato, corn, etc. and these attract and provide habitat for other forms of wildlife. Some sites include wooded lots or are used for grazing. As biodiversity increases on a site, the system becomes more natural and requires less human input, while at the same time it produces a more diverse selection of food. In addition, ponds can be stocked with fish, swales can host apple, peach, and pear trees.

Established swales produce their own leaf mulch, helping to hold the moisture in the soil longer and return carbon to soil microbes and other soil organisms. Diversity in plant species along the swale will help return a diverse quantity of nutrients to the soil as the leaves drop. Shrubs and groundcovers can be pruned and left on the ground to supplement the leaf litter, a practice known as chop-and-drop. Some might say that this will increase pest populations but actually it balances out because beneficial wildlife also needs a food source.

Micro-Climate Options

Because sites have different slopes, soil types, amounts of precipitation, and climates, each site requires a close look during the PSI design process. A swale on the south side of a hill will resist frost and wind damage better than a pond at the base of the north side of the same hill. And that same swale will warm quicker in the spring. These two different areas of the same site are known as a micro-climate. As part of the design process, farmers have to consider micro-climates when designing the PSI system. Micro-climates can increase a crop’s growing season or production, and it can provide habitat that shelters livestock from extreme heat, wind, or cold weather.

Resilience through micro-climate options and biodiversity. The benefits of SPI multiply as the farmer selects and places plants that are resistant to drought, fire, disease, salt, or pollution. Each plant is given its own place on the site and a fire-resistant tree may be used along the property edge, where a neighbor may not be maintaining their property at all. The swales themselves build the resistance of the site to drought and fire by soaking the water into the soil making it more available to tree roots. In times of excessive rain, SPI will channel the water as designed and recharge ponds, possibly beyond capacity but not across field crops or pastures. One of the biggest benefits to resilience is that no matter if it’s a flood, drought, fire, disease, or pollution the biodiversity of the system, should leave the farmer with a harvest of some sort.

The Sad Truth of Our Future

What happens if we don’t implement SPI? Topsoil will continue to erode and contaminated runoff will further pollute freshwater sources. Eric Verso (2015) of Stanford University says, “Soil erosion makes it more difficult for the soil to store water and support plant growth,” gives a little perspective on where we were four years ago, and the progress we’ve had. Time is not in our favor as the global temperature continues to rise, lack of action on our part has pushed us closer to the end of the carbon countdown. Nick Evershed (2017) of The Guardian writes “Our countdown clock shows one estimate of how long it will take to reach an amount of greenhouse gas emissions beyond which 2C of warming will be likely,” the estimate is at 17 years and counting down.

Estimations should be taken with a grain of salt nowadays as researchers such as Jem Bendell author of Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy and Catherine Ingram author of Facing Extinction both deduce that the window for making significant changes is already closed. Their articles go into great detail about greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere and how they will continue to increase the global temperature for years to come. Differing opinions means that critical thinking and independent study is a personal responsibility that everyone should participate in.


Farmers who implement SPI are going to retain topsoil and water on-site allowing them to continue producing even during adverse conditions. The biodiversity will help keep the system healthy and ensures that the farmers don’t have all of their eggs in one basket. Farmers who chose not to adapt are going to continue to see yields decrease as topsoil erodes, precipitation becomes unreliable, and temperatures rise.



Bendell, J. (2018, July 27). Deepadaptation.pdf. Retrieved from http://lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf

Editors, H. com. (2018, January 12). Neolithic Revolution. Retrieved December 12, 2019, from HISTORY website: https://www.history.com/topics/pre-history/neolithic-revolution

Evershed, N. (2017, January 19). Carbon countdown clock: How much of the world’s carbon budget have we spent? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/datablog/2017/jan/19/carbon-countdown-clock-how-much-of-the-worlds-carbon-budget-have-we-spent

Horvath, W. (2017, April 17). Water Management For Every Permaculture Farm. Retrieved December 8, 2019, from Permaculture Apprentice website: https://permacultureapprentice.com/permaculture-water-management/

Ingram, C. (2019, February). Catherine Ingram, Facing Extinction, Facing Extinction by Catherine Ingram, 2019 Facing Extinction by Catherine Ingram, 2019-Facing Extinction by Catherine Ingram, Leonard Cohen, Dahr Jamail, Chris Hedges, Extinction, Extinction Rebellion, global warming, climate change, climate disruption, Deep Adaptation, In the Deep, Catherine Ingram podcast, In the Deep with Catherine Ingram, post, Extinction Facebook, near-term extinction. Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://www.catherineingram.com/facingextinction/

Reiley, L. (2019, December 4). As storms wreak havoc on potato harvest, shortages and price hikes could follow. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from Washington Post website: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/04/expect-potato-shortages-price-hikes-storms-wreak-havoc-potato-harvest/

Trnka, M., Feng, S., Semenov, M. A., Olesen, J. E., Kersebaum, K. C., Rötter, R. P., … Büntgen, U. (2019). Mitigation efforts will not fully alleviate the increase in water scarcity occurrence probability in wheat-producing areas. Science Advances, 5(9), eaau2406. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aau2406

Verso, E. (2015, December 9). Topsoil Erosion. Retrieved December 13, 2019, from http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2015/ph240/verso2/

Wikipedia. (2019). Oasis. In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oasis&oldid=929128949

A World in Trouble; Warnings and Denial

Climate change is creating difficult living arrangements across the globe, with habitats and ecosystems falling at an alarming rate. Mankind’s insatiable desire to rid the planet of all available resources seems to be playing a pivotal role in the destruction. We wake up each day drilling for more oil, precious metals, and water, drilling a little deeper than yesterday. Cutting acre after acre of the forest away, to make room for new buildings and roads that will be outdated in 50 years. Coming up with more and more clever ways to quickly strip Earth of all its life-sustaining features.

The cover of "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss
Cover of The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. This children’s story is about the power of a single voice to effect positive change for the environment (Johnson).

As materialistic people, we carry on as if there is no limit to Earth’s bounty even though we all should know better than that. At an early age, we are taught about litter, pollution, and waste. We are also taught to respect ourselves, others, and nature. We go on field trips to nature centers, recycling plants, wastewater treatment facilities, and we get trees to plant for Earth Day. Guest speakers from other counties, scientists, and conservation officers present relevant educational information from elementary school through high school. Yet we walk among the ignorant. Some are in full denial, others too frightened to face facts. Cathrine Ingram says “I also marveled at how oblivious most people are to the coming catastrophes.” So who is Cathrine Ingram anyway?

Cathrine Ingram is the author of an essay titled “Facing Extinction” in which she claims that “we are facing extinction in the near future.” Ingram’s YouTube channel showcases how well “Facing Extinction” has been received by the global population. Most people won’t give this essay the time of day. A lot more people will stop reading this essay in the first paragraph.  However, curiosity took hold of me, and I read it completely through. What I read made me angry at the human race, sad for the future and the children, and left me feeling hopeless. Catherine Ingram’s “Facing Extinction” will evoke anger, fear, dread, depression, and a plethora of other negative emotions within anyone brave enough to read it.

“Facing Extinction” is Ingrams’ attempt to bring awareness to an unpopular subject, the consequences of climate change. Her first section, titled “Dark Knowledge,” explains how humans have created the perfect storm for “the sixth mass extinction.” Ingram believes humanity has created a thick layer of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is heating our planet beyond homeostasis. She feels that this is melting the ice caps and releasing large quantities of methane into the atmosphere, accelerating the warming effects. Ingram explains that with the retreating ice caps, the ocean is being left to take the brunt of incoming solar rays, further warming the water and intensifying melting. In turn, as the ice melts, oil deposits are exposed to additional human exploitation.

Ingram thinks the world superpowers are locked in a race to take ownership of the potential oil deposits unlocked by this travesty. She is puzzled at how humanity has chosen to look away from these threats and continue filling time with trivial pursuits, even in the face of impending doom. We entertain ourselves with television and movies, which portray human extinction as a fiction rather than a true threat. Ingram writes, “there has never been a greater news story than that of humans facing full extinction, and yet extinction is rarely mentioned.” It amazes me that we can look at human extinction as a source of entertainment, and then turn a blind eye to scientific research and nature’s warning signs that predict our end.

Ingram wrote her essay, knowing it would only make an impact with a minute part of the population. She knew most people wouldn’t want to hear the words, that her audience would be small.  For those readers, she explains, “the words on these pages are meant only for those who are ready for them.” Ingram doesn’t want people to feel alone in this dark revelation, she wants them to know that other people are “awakening” to climate consequences.

However, she also knew that her constraints shouldn’t hold her back anymore.  It doesn’t matter if the topic is unpopular or if people are just in denial. Climate change needs a light shined on it because it is our reality. Ingram writes, “what we now need to find is courage.” She did just that publishing “Facing Extinction” in February, 2019, leaving her constituents to their own devices.

After reading “Facing Extinction” the exigence was clear. It doesn’t matter what your stance on climate change is, this essay will infuriate readers. While I find Ingram’s essay mostly accurate, I also find that I don’t completely agree with her. I was mad at Ingram for saying that hope is lost, and we are just going to die.  Then I realized it is what she wants. Ingram wants readers to connect with what she is saying. She wants people to feel something, anything.

To get a reaction, Ingram uses three appeals to try and hold us captive. Right off the bat, she begins with a pathos appeal, trying to get an emotional reaction with the use of bold statements by telling readers that she believes we are going extinct soon. Ingram points out that “150 plant and animal species are going extinct every day” and that we are also on the list. She tells us “I offer no hope or solutions for our continuation.” Cathrine Ingram wants people to feel bad, and its works.

At the same time, Ingram uses the logos appeal very well, causing readers to look at facts and determine if they are logical. Ingram explains how the gases CO2, methane, and SF6 are creating a blanket of gas in the atmosphere that is accelerating planetary warming. The warming itself is causing more issues depending on where people live. Floods, fires, drought, famine, disease, and more violent storms are already an observable effect. And these issues lead to economic problems, needing more resources, and wars for more resources. Ingram says, “The U.S., Russia, and China are now vying for the hegemony of the Arctic region.” Logically, if we know we are poisoning our environment and the ice caps are melting, we have a problem that deserves major attention. Instead, we are fighting each other, exploiting the planet, and destroying more habitats.

As these habitats disappear there is usually a journalist who writes up an interesting article for the world to largely ignore. Catherine Ingram started her career as a journalist in 1982, writing on social and environmental issues, publishing around 100 articles. Ingram has served on the editorial staff for several magazines, written a life advice column, and has been an organizer and co-founder for a few different activist groups around the world. She is also the President of Living Dharma where she leads Dharma Dialogues to help people learn to live ethically and happily. Ingram uses her credibility, or ethos appeals, to expand the sphere of influence past just scientific research publications, bringing more awareness through an enlarging network. She has compiled climate change data, available online, into one essay for anyone to read, with links to the data.

After reflecting on Ingram’s words, I can more clearly see the need to bring awareness to the ignorant. Catherine Ingram’s “Facing Extinction” is well written, it will get your attention, and it does ask you to face some harsh realities. I challenge anyone to read “Facing Extinction,” so that next time we meet we can engage in an intelligent conversation.

Work Cited

Ingram, Catherine. “Biography.” Catherine Ingram, 2019, https://www.catherineingram.com/biography/.

—. “Catherine Ingram, Facing Extinction, Facing Extinction by Catherine Ingram, 2019 Facing Extinction by Catherine Ingram, 2019-Facing Extinction by Catherine Ingram, Leonard Cohen, Dahr Jamail, Chris Hedges, Extinction, Extinction Rebellion, Global Warming, Climate Change, Climate Disruption, Deep Adaptation, In the Deep, Catherine Ingram Podcast, In the Deep with Catherine Ingram, Post, Extinction Facebook, near-Term Extinction.” Catherine Ingram, Feb. 2019, https://www.catherineingram.com/facingextinction/.

—. “Facing Extinction by Catherine Ingram (Read by the Author) – YouTube.” Youtube, 5 Apr. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9LI1Dv0DEg&t=2939s.

Johnson, Jayme. The Lorax | Teaching Children Philosophy. 29 Feb. 2016, https://www.teachingchildrenphilosophy.org/BookModule/TheLorax.

My Combat Cherry

View of drivers compartment.Fourteen tons of sharply angled steel encases us like a suit of armor. My vision is restricted much like that of a horse with blinders on. Three small periscopes are my only portal to the world. The scene is like something from the movies. Thick black smoke billows up from vehicles contorted in fire, tongues of flame igniting fuel and oil as it drips to the ground. Burnt rubber and cordite waft upward on a breezeless trajectory. Windows shattered by concussions have showered jagged shards of glass in every direction. On each side of the obstructed road, victorious Marines are betrayed by their faces. Faces that days ago were filled with smiles and youthful arrogance are now stained with muddy tears and an ancient humility. Their eyes speak a warning I fail to understand, my only experience with combat coming from Hollywood films.A company of Light Armored Vehicles.

Ahead lay the bridge secured to allow the advancement of forces to Baghdad. Command issued new orders: armor would be the tip of the spear, an exciting prospect. Light Armored Reconnaissance would lead the assault toward Baghdad, Alpha Company would lead, followed by Bravo Company and then HeadQuarters. I pressed the accelerator and the engine groaned as we crested the battered bridge. Along the river’s edge, grass grows taller than men and basks in the afternoon sun. From my vantage point on the bridge, I get a brief glimpse of the lush countryside. The Iraqi natives have created irrigation trenches called “wadies” to water their fields of wheat and barley. Palm trees dot the landscape and adobe homes are spaced out by twisting roads and trails that lead to the river, a goat pen, the market, and beyond.

Northbound for Baghdad that’s the plan nevermind the pleasant view. Far ahead is smoke on the horizon. Helicopters buzz by the eastern side of the convoy like track stars in a relay race, constantly unloading their payloads and then returning for more fuel and ammunition. We pass buildings that have been reduced to smoldering rubble by barrages of helicopter rockets. Secondary explosions cause me to jerk my head in their direction, anticipating the worst. The sun, my only clue as to the time, suggests it’s late afternoon.

The radio crackles with news of Alpha Company engaging enemies only a mile ahead of us. My heart starts pounding like a war drum. With the constant attack of helicopters and heavy rain of artillery shells, it’s hard to make out the “thump, thump, thump” of the 25mm cannon. Approaching a “T” intersection, I see a huge, dull-colored tile picture of Saddam Hussein on the eastern side of the road. Riddled with bullet holes, the dictators’ picture paints a new story as the broken tiles lay in a pile on the ground. A smile crosses my lips, and I feel a sense of justice for the Iraqi people. I turn West playing a game of follow the leader with the rest of the battalion. Alpha Company’s guns are pointing North, the barrels of their cannons glowing red as they spit round after round of high explosive ammo into an enemy stronghold. The firing stops and Alpha Company continues West.

Upon arriving, the damage becomes apparent. Bombs, rockets, and artillery have terraformed the landscape. Small craters have changed the road into something like a pegboard. A large building a thousand meters North of the road is or was the enemy stronghold. From the road to the building is a plethora of craters, some small like a pop can and others large enough to swallow busses. The soil has been overturned every which way, trees turned to splinters, and twisted chunks of shrapnel lay like mulch over the expanse. The Southern wall of this five-story stronghold is at the bottom of the largest crater. I can see into every floor, the walls inside have been mangled by bullets and charred by fire. Chunks of wall breaking away under the pressure of the enormous weight. The convoy doesn’t stop, and the demolished site is left in our wake.

We turn North again; the sun is fleeting. Palm forest and palm rows break the shrub fields into sections that remind me of hedgerows, and fields back home. Just off the left side of the road, an enemy truck is stopped. The vehicle is angled slightly away from the road, the driver still at his post. Head leaning against his window, eyes forward and open, a single hole in his forehead. The crimson blood running down his nose and eyes, matting in his kempt beard and finally slowly dripping onto his fatigue blouse. I feel sorry for him. Was he a father? How will his family deal with his death? How would my family deal with my death should it be my turn? He is the first dead man I’ve ever seen. Will there be more? Just up the road is another enemy truck, this one on fire and erupting with secondary explosions. The munitions it carried are now cooking off and sending projectiles in every direction.

With darkness settling in, the bright flashes and deafening booms create a spectacle similar to a Fourth of July celebration. I white-knuckle the steering wheel, listening to projectiles “ping” off the side of the vehicle. After a couple “pings,” I relax my grip and breathe a sigh of relief. My slight sympathy for the dead man had washed away immediately.

Alpha Company has taken up its defensive position along the road, covering North, East, and South. Bravo Company fills in the North, West, and South. HeadQuarters and the mortar vehicles take the center. With the defensive coil established, I can finally leave my drivers’ hole and piss. I open my drivers’ hatch and stand up, stretching my sore legs for the first time since morning, and a cool breeze hits my cheek. The Iraqi sky filled with stars creates an automatic night light, allowing me to make out the shrubs and the shape of some buildings a few hundred yards away. I take off my communication helmet and replace it with my Kevlar. It’s heavy and I’m exhausted but it’s the rule. I climb down and check the tires on the left. Go around the front and check the right, all the tires are good. I relieve myself and go back around the front of the vehicle, climb up and reluctantly slide back down into the cramped driving compartment. I close the drivers’ hatch and to my surprise, a burst of enemy fire hits the ground where I just stood. Adrenaline surges through my whole body, I can feel the hairs on my neck rise. The entire perimeter erupts with machine gunfire, and the dreaded sound of mortars whistling in the air and thundering to the ground, spraying sand, rocks, and chunks of plant material flying. Our enemy has been waiting for us, preparing a trap. The gunners waste no time and respond to the threat in kind. The noise is deafening and concussions rock the vehicle.

As the battle outside rages on, I sit trying to collect my thoughts. The visual warning from the bridgemen finally materializing into something I can understand; this is war. A fragile line is being walked between life and death, and it feels oddly exuberating. I sit here waiting for someone to call my name into action, or will it be a mortar that calls to me? The steel casing of the vehicle reminds me of the “whole armor of God.” Is he here? Somewhere, walking among us? No. But Death, yeah, he has to be here? With his icy fingers outstretched, waiting to quickly snuff out whomever he can. “Ping,” I snap back to reality as the bullet bounces off the steel. “Fuck.” I smile. This is war, the most noble death a man can have. Just outside my portal.

Potential New Beginning

Being an astronaut and going to outer space has always been a large amount of children’s future dream job, but what if they could live there. The thought of living on planet Mars is both exciting and frightening. Imagine starting a whole new life on a faraway planet and adapting to brand new surroundings. What if you don’t survive the trip? What if you run out of food and oxygen? What if the experience is too scary and you want to go back to Earth? In Catherine Ingram’s writing “Facing Extinction” she has a section called “Techno Fixes and Escape to Mars”. In this, she explains her thoughts about humans living on Mars, and somewhat failed trials that were done here on Earth imitating life on Mars. Are we really destroying earth so fast
that moving to another planet is an option?

Along with living on Mars, Ingram discussed other ideas that have been stirring around that seem more realistic when it comes to trying to improve the planet. Solar Radiation Management is one idea that’s been talked about. Reflecting the sun back into the atmosphere to block sunlight, how Ingram described in her writing. Doing so would modify all the clouds, plants, and ice making them reflective. The thought of saving the planet is wonderful, but the
thought of whether or not we are helping or destroying the planet in the process is frightening. Us humans are draining Earth so fast, we have resorted to the thought of moving to another planet, and altering the one we are on now to ‘fix’ things. We humans need to step up and change the way we treat our home. Soon it won’t be our home anymore. Although moving to another planet and altering the earth is not the best solution for our problems, it is a start.

When reading this section I get confused. Not because they discuss topics I’ve never heard of, but why has it come to this. Why are we having discussions about moving to mars, not because we want to but because that might be our only option in the future. Why are we talking about modifying clouds, and plants just to maybe reflect a little bit of sunlight back into the atmosphere? Why do we have to change the earth just to somehow survive? It blows my mind that humans are so careless. I haven’t thought of what I am doing to negatively affect the earth. Reading this essay opened my eyes bigger on just how bad all the situations in this dying earth have come to.

To go into a little bit more in-depth on what trials have been tested described in Ingram’s writing, I will now give details on what Biosphere 2 was. And how we know we are far from ready to go to another planet. Biosphere 2 was a large building tested if humans could survive an
earth-like environment in space. It is a three-acre facility that contains five different ecosystems: desert, rainforest, savanna grasslands, mangrove wetland, and an ocean with a coral reef.
Pictured below is what Biosphere 2 looks like.

Picture of Biosphere 2

The first experiment included four men and four women they were known as Biospherrians. These individuals were closed in the building for two years and were given tasks to grow and produce food on their own. The experiment was not a complete success, at the beginning oxygen levels were at 20.9 and decreased significantly within the first seventeen months. The Biospherrians also struggled to produce food this could have been because of a number of
reasons. In the first six months, the group split into two. This first experiment lasted from September 26th, 1991 to September 26th, 1993. From this first experiment, they made a lot of changes and tried to improve the experiment for the next group of seven. The group didn’t even last a year though due to disputes.

The Biosphere 2 experiment shows that we are far from being ready for life on Mars. Scientists failed to trial experiments on the Earth, which they were in an environment we are already used to, imagine going to a planet without any experience of life there. If people want Mars to be a living option, we would have to do way more studies and experiments to prove we are even capable of living on a different planet and starting life all over.

Ingram includes a part in her writing that talks about a man named Elon Musk which is the CEO of Tesla and Space X. Ingram talks about how Musk thinks humans could be part cyber part human one day. Musk is experimenting on a computerized neural mesh that would be
injected into our brains that could connect your brain to a computer. I don’t know about you but that seems pretty scary to me. I would not want to be the first to trial this. Ingram thinks Musk
gives off good ideas and finds him to be a smart man.

Musk is also one of many trying to colonize Mars. “He sees the possibility for humans to become a multi-planet species which he imagines will alleviate our problems on Earth”. A quote said by Ingram explaining Musk’s thoughts. She states that she doesn’t find him evil and she likes him. Throughout her essay she makes it clear that humans are ruining the earth, so to her, the idea of moving to another planet is going to help? I don’t think that moving to another planet will
change anything in a big way. It would take millions of people to move to Mars to even see a change start to happen. Or by the time it comes around to moving to Mars, it would be too late and Earth couldn’t be fixed anymore. No communication with the outside world, a closed-in facility, starting a new life. This all seems a little stressful for most humans. I don’t think this is the most logical way to go about saving the planet.

This goes into the next part discussed in her writing, Geo-Engineering. Solar Radiation Management is one type of Geo-Engineering I mentioned in a previous paragraph. Another type
is called Carbon Capture and Sequestration. Ingram describes it as “removing carbon from the atmosphere and building facilities to store it.” Although Ingram thinks that these are more realistic, she still finds these ideas scarier than injecting your brain with a chip and moving human beings to Mars.

Ingram seems more concerned about this now dying earth that will be hard to save, than a new planet that isn’t fit for humans to live on. The way she writes this section of her essay makes it seem as though she doesn’t care about ruining another planet or injecting human brains with potential extreme errors, just how bad we are destroying the one we are on now. Yes, I do believe it is a little scary to think of the earth being altered, but you never know if it could help save our planet drastically until you try.

When you think of moving to another planet, or research the ways that may alter this world we live in today, just think of all the harmful things you do every day. In Ingram’s writing, she describes how we are planning to pack all our belongings, and move to another planet. She discusses the ways scientists are trying to alter our world. Turning us into part cyber, part human. All of this is because we decided to treat our world terrible by trashing it. What would altering our already dying planet do? How will we treat a new planet if the decision came down to move there? Lastly, what are you going to do to make your current home a better place once again?

Works Cited
Arizona, University. “Biosphere 2 Scientific Research Facility.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Accessed October 25, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Biosphere-2.
Poynter, Jane. Life in Biosphere 2. Accessed October 25, 2019.

Rogers, Kara. “What Is Biosphere 2 | Biosphere 2.” Accessed October 25, 2019.

Travis White

My name is Travis White and I was born in Texas, but I moved to Michigan a year after my birth. I’m into a lot of different activities, but nothing specific. If I had to choose I’d probably say video games, poker, and disc golf. As of this moment, I’m living in Hamlin Town Ship with my parents. My family has always been relatively small, but my brother had his first child and my sister is expecting in October of this year. Hopefully, in the next couple of years, I’ll go to a University where I’ll finish my schooling and get my bachelor in Dietetics. This is was I’m banking on, but it might change down the line. I am not very talkative and usually stick to people I already know, but I’m always down to make new friends. I hope we all have a great first year at Westshore!
Contact me at Snowbeats3@gmail.com !!

Disastrous Outbreaks Due To Thawing Permafrost

Travis White

West Shore Community College


Permafrost is melting at an alarming rate with it bringing back diseases back from periods of time long ago. There are about 1,500 billion tons of carbon trapped under our world’s permafrost. Thawing permafrost is getting more worrisome by day with are worlds naturally temperature rising every year. permafrost keeps melting it could release smallpox back into the world that hasn’t had an outbreak since 1949 and was declared eradicated in 1980, according to the Centers for Diseases.  “An international team of scientists collected 13 permafrost cores and ran numerous tests for organic carbon, moisture, and mercury content”. “They estimate that permafrost holds about 793 gigagrams of mercury within scale equals more than 15 million gallons or 23 Olympic swimming pools”. If the arctic permafrost melts the mercury could be released into our atmosphere and cascade positions throughout our world, or it could be dumped into the ocean and destroy entire ecosystems of marine life.


Keywords: permafrost, mercury, thawing, world, trapped, Diseases, carbon, sibericum, frozen, warmer

Disastrous Outbreaks Due To Thawing Permafrost

Various scientists have hypothesized, conducted, and weighed the dangers of the thawing of permafrost and its enrichment to climate change. Scientists calculate that there are about 1,500 billion tons of carbon trapped under our world’s permafrost. In scale, that comprises almost double our current carbon levels. With our world getting warmer due to greenhouse gasses, Permafrost is melting at a distressing rate with it releasing more carbon and other sinister elements into the air making our atmosphere even warmer like a cataclysmic scale of dominoes. One main concern that always slips through the rifts is that thawing permafrost is bringing back diseases that we haven’t seen in decades.

The thawing of permafrost as a consequence of global climate change endangers humanity with long-vanished diseases. Diseases that have not painted our planet since the last ice age.

Deadly diseases

Thawing permafrost is getting more worrisome by day with are worlds naturally temperature rising every year. This past summer, a twelve-year-old boy in Siberia died from anthrax along with two thousand three hundred reindeer. This is the region’s first outbreak in 75 years. “According to Russian officials, thawed permafrost—a permanently frozen layer of soil—released previously immobile spores of Bacillus anthracis into nearby water and soil and then into the food supply.” Furthermore, there could be even greater diseases trapped under permafrost from organisms that lived with human settlers centuries ago. For example, in Siberia, there are clues that suggest that Neandertals and Denisovans have settled there and if the permafrost keeps melting it could release smallpox back into the world that hasn’t had an outbreak since 1949 and was declared eradicated in 1980, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention or CDC.gov. During my finding into permafrost and recent outbreaks. I came across Claverie and his colleague Chantal Abergel and their research on a chuck of Siberian permafrost that dates back thirty thousand years. During their studies, they found Pithovirus sibericum and Mollivirus sibericum still infectious frozen in the permafrost the extracted from Siberia. Even tho Pithovirus sibericum and Mollivirus sibericum are only harmful to amoebas. This proves that diseases can survive for thousands of years trapped in frozen permafrost. 


Furthermore, large quantities of mercury have been found in permafrost. A ragtag team of international scientists collect 13 permafrost cores and ran numerous tests for organic carbon, moisture, and mercury content. And they found an astonishing amount of mercury trapped under the Arctics permafrost. “They estimate that it holds about 793 gigagrams of mercury within scale equals more than 15 million gallons or 23 Olympic swimming pools” according to www.scientificamerican.com. If the arctic permafrost melts the mercury could be released into our atmosphere and cascade positions throughout our world, or it could be dumped into the ocean and destroy entire ecosystems of marine life. A question many people, as well as i, asked, “Is how does this affect the health of our environment, our aquatic systems, us. “Schuster says. “This has major ramifications” ” “Other experts concur: “It really reinforces the [idea] that climate change can make a lot of other environmental issues worse,” says Noelle Selin, an associate professor of data, systems, and society, and atmospheric chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” while I delve into more research about the mercury trapped under our worlds permafrost. I came across Paul Schuster and his findings into mercury trapped in permafrost. Schuster goes into depth about the dangers mercury can inflict and says “There would be no environmental problem if everything remained frozen, but we know the Earth is getting warmer, Schuster said. Although measurement of the rate of permafrost thaw was not part of this study, the thawing permafrost provides a potential for mercury to be released—that’s just physics.” 

Undoubtedly our world is getting warmer due to greenhouse gas emissions and every day that we don’t do anything is another day lost for the future people who will roam the earth after us. Thawing permafrost is going to have a huge part in making our once green, thriving planet a wasteland and with many scientists coming to the same conclusion as I have. If we don’t stop the thawing of our world’s permafrost, the consequences are going to be catastrophic.


Ignorance Could be a Start to the End

 I bet when everyone was young they were scared of something whether it was monsters, the dentist, or even the dark, but I’d guess that they were never terrified or even thought of global warming as something frightening which could be a reason it got out of control in the first place.  In “Facing Extinction” written by Catherine Ingram she explains about the disasters yet to come due to lack of information about global warming, overpopulation, and the overall human contribution to the next mass extinction on earth.   

 In Ingram’s first section, entitled “Dark Knowledge” she explains the terrifying truth for our up and coming future, but terrifying is only a small portion of emotion yet to come. First, Ingram explains that “in the last decade our carbon carbon graphemissions levels are the highest in history, and we haven’t experienced their full impact yet.” In addition, she states that even if we stopped emitting carbon into the air by tomorrow, we would still see an increase of heat for the next ten years. Secondly, Ingram says that we might be facing a full summer melt in the next five years which is the melting of the Arctic summer ice. The Arctic ice has cooled the northern part of the earth and tampers with climate throughout the world. Without the Arctic ice cooling the north it could rapidly increase not only the oceans but the overall temperature of our atmosphere. Furthermore, Ingram says that some scientists fear a methane “burp” of which will produce billions of tons of methane gas and could be a start to a mass extinction. With so much methane gas in our atmosphere and its ability to absorb heat from the sun. It would increase the temperature of our planet within months causing cataclysmic events starting the next mass extinction. Additionally, Ingram explains that the melting of Antarctica has increased by 280% in the last 40 years. According to Ingram, “each day, the extra heat that is trapped near our planet is equivalent to four hundred thousand Hiroshima bombs.” Moreover, Ingram goes on and writes that “ if we were to make it through this gauntlet of threats, we would still be facing starvation.” with grain being our main food supply and the average harvest being reduced six percent every one degree Celsius rise above the norm. 

Global warming, decreasing glacier levels, and humanity’s connection to it all is something truly something to be terrified of not only because it would be the end, but because it’s out of our control.

While reading Ingram’s writing I felt an overwhelming amount of anger and sorrow. On the surface, I brushed it off so it wouldn’t bother me, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. Ingram truly threw daggers at her readers to show the truth behind it all, and not only did those daggers pierce me but many others as well. Ingrams used many tactics that not only puts me and others mind in chaos but also makes us more intrigued with her writing. With only reading a few paragraphs into her article I could tell that this wasn’t just an explanation on global warming, but also a warning for what’s to come. Right off the back, Ingram uses pathos to twist our emotions by saying truly horrific details about our changing world. Personally reading this and understanding our situation makes me think if anything even matters anymore. Constant questions flood my mind like,” why am I even writing this paper if everything’s going to end sooner rather than later?”, ”Should I even finish my education?” I’ve always had a fear of dying young and not being able to do anything about it and I guess my greatest fear might come to fruition. Reading Ingram’s article has opened my mind to all the dangers and possibilities that are coming and to be honest I’m not ready for it. Something that really intrigued me is that Ingram said Antarctica has been melting 280% faster than normal, and I dove into more research on this statement.  Not only is Antarctica rapidly but a survey shows more than one million square kilometers below the previous record low which is very worrisome. Whilst reading Ingram’s article I was terrified, but I kept thinking that she might have exaggerated some parts. My father, I included, have always been skeptical of global warming with us not fully finding any evidence through our experiences. I later realized all the proof I needed was right in front of me with so seasons starting late and constant wet days with our farmers not being able to produce certain foods. I believe Ingram on the dangers of global warming but I feel like we have more than 5 years on earth. Altho many people believe in Ingram’s reason and evidence there are many who do not. An American climatologist by the name of Judith Curry is a climatologist who isn’t convinced of the damaging effects of climate change and believes the credibility of climate research to not be accurate. She’s written two essays with one of them being on the credibility of climate research.

Global warming is dangerously close to our front door and Ingram makes the certainly clear. With all of Ingram’s different styles of writing it’s not hard to believe her witting. Global warming is still not getting widespread recognition and is probably a big factor as to why is out of control. Throughout Ingram’s essay, she explains global warming in its darkest form and how we’re at its mercy due to humanity’s overuse of natural resources.


Leaving Once Hurt, Leaving Again is Unforgivable

Bright white lights beaming down, the smell of markers and crayons. Looking outside to see mothers and fathers taking their kids home after a parent-teacher conference. It always seems to go the same way. We’d walk in the room, sit down and be asked the question my mother always has to leave the room to explain, “Will the father be joining us today?” When I was young, not even a year old, my mom, sister, brother, and I moved to Michigan to start over away from my father. It was years later that I learned from my estranged relationship with my father that trust is not given but earned. 

Jump ahead seven to eight years, I’m about to start middle school where a lot of things in my life, past and present start to directly affect me as a person. At this time, I was finally understanding the situation about my father, which brought me to a very gloomy, and ominous place.  I felt trapped and more importantly, I felt alone. As time went by, the agony and unhappiness slowly started to morph into resentment. I was engulfed in rage every time I heard my father’s name or when I was told, “You’re your father’s son, you look just like him.” 

One day coming home from school my mom signaled me to come over with a wave of a hand as soon as I stepped through the front door. As I got closer she started to hand me the phone and says, “it’s your father.” Lost in the train of thought, I ignored her and just focused on what I was going to say. The more I Personal Picturethought about it, the more my adrenaline and irritation increased.  I picked up the phone and said nothing waiting for a response. Then finally, he said only two words, “ Hey Son.” All it took were those two words to convert all my anger into sadness. I started to cry and hysterically ask questions like, ”Where are you?” and “what took you so long to contact me?” We didn’t talk for long and he mainly just asked about me. Before long, he said that he was sorry and I felt warmth in his words as if I were in a blanket of sunlight. Finally, I gave the phone back to my mother.  

Happiness was something new to me at the time, and with my father’s somewhat abrupt entry into my life, I was peaceful. Not long after, I called my father many times, but I never once got an answer or a callback. I started loathing myself and all that dispersed bitterness and anguish started to flow back into me. Where’d he go? Am I not important to him? He left once, why’d he leave again?  Not long after I started to transfer all my rage back towards my father.  

A year after my last contact with my father, my mother got home and rounded up my sister, brother, and I.  I didn’t think much of this “family meeting,” but I started to get scared when my mother shed her first tear. The information passed down to my sister, brother, and I made everything obsolete, made everything cold, it made time refrain from running its course.  

I guess if I think back to that time. I was scared that it was true because I could never actually show him what he was missing. My father died that day my mom rounded us up, and I’ve never been the same. We truly don’t know how he died, whether it was a heart attack or he

overdosed on drugs. After his death, I’ve started to learn a lot more about my father and his drug addiction. When I was born, my father started to do coke and other drugs like pills, and that was why we left all those years ago. Even though it was my mom who was the one who took us away from my father, I still blame everything on him because I feel like he chose drugs over me and my family.

To this day I feel no devotion to my father. I only harbor resentment for the guy who abandoned me when I was one. For the guy who mislead me when I cried to him.  For the guy who left twice and didn’t bother to say his regards. 

Ever since that day, I’ve always had trouble trusting others and I took everything with a grain of salt.  Not having my father there when I needed him the most, and then having him die even before I even knew him was an eye-opener.  I changed how I looked at everything. I made three rules for myself after my father’s death. Number one: don’t make others feel the way you did. Number two: don’t trust everyone; only those who’ve earned it. Number three: take everything with a grain of salt.  


.5 Degree Difference


This paper compares global warming temperature limits 1.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius. The majority of this paper shows Robert McSweeny’s effort to gather data on the negative effects of global warming. This paper contains topics such as heatwaves and the probability of diseases increased by heat. Arctic sea ice and the amount that will be melted in less than 100 years. Comparison of a 1.5 to 2 degree limit sea level rising and heating of the ocean is also discussed. This paper will relate current events with data compiled to try and explain why lowering the limit to 1.5 is such a big deal. Explanation of the Paris Agreement and what it contains is also included in this paper. A study put together by Warren, Price, Graham, Forstenhaeusler, and VanDerWal showed the effects of insects, vertebrates, plants, etc.. in a 2 degree limit and 1.5-degree limit. Water scarcity and what will happen if we humans don’t have enough of it is also discussed in this paper.

Keywords: global warming, heatwaves, Paris Agreement, water scarcity


.5 Degree Difference

Someone may look at 2 degrees Celsius (or roughly 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and it may seem as if it isn’t a huge change in temperature. This is not the case when it comes to the Paris Agreement. 2 degrees Celsius will cause us to see a damaged and dying world sooner than we imagine. The Paris Agreement “sets out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C” (UNFCCC, 2019, p.1). While a 2 degree Celsius limit is the goal, we may need to further lower the limit to 1.5 degrees. When looking at the drastic changes in lowering the limit .5 degrees, it is pretty obvious we humans need to step up and make a change fast. At 2 degrees we will see major heat waves that will cause die-offs of animals, food supply, and even humans. We will experience melted glaciers and Arctic sea ice. We will see a large sea-level increase. This will all happen in less than 100 years. At a 2 degree Celsius limit, your grandchildren may not see the same world we live in today. Lowering the temperature limit to 1.5 degrees may seem like a small change, but will make a drastic difference in our future climate.

Changes Soon Becoming

Some believe that we are too late, we don’t have enough time, and think some places have already reached a 2 degree limit. It is possible though to stay below a 2 degree limit, but it involves a big step up. We all have to work together and try our hardest to save our world because if we don’t see any change, in less than 100 years we may not be happy with the result. While researching possible effects and dangers I came across an abundance of credible sites explaining why we need to lower the temp limit. Multiple diagramed charts and lists compare our world at 1.5 degrees to 2 and beyond. These charts showed drastic changes with water levels, heatwaves, damaged crops and so much more.


Map of Heat

Climate change is bringing in a huge effect on our weather causing extreme hot summer days. They are becoming more and more frequent pouring all over the world. In 2019 a heatwave hit Europe with record breaking temperatures up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Around 2100 or even sooner, the average percentage of heat waves will increase. Below shows the average human that will experience some type of heatwave every 5-20 years. As stated in my first paragraph, even though it may seem like a small change, .5 degrees causes a substantial difference.

2 Degree Celsius Limit 1.5 Degree Celsius Limit
Average human that will experience a heat wave every:
5 years 37% 14%
20 years 70% 50%

(McSweeney, 2018, p.3)

At 1.5 degrees, it is significantly lower at both 5, and 20 years when compared to a 2 degree limit. These heat waves will cause major issues with human health, sea levels, ice melting, and even crops. That is why it is necessary for us to find ways to prevent global warming from getting out of control.

Along with heatwaves, humans will also start seeing an increase in temperature in a few years. At a 2 degree limit, people will experience a 2.6 degree celsius increase for the annual maximum temperature. At a 1.5 degree limit, people will experience roughly a 1.7 degree increase. The average amount of days that will reach above the 90th percentile will increase as well. At 2 degrees it will increase by 25%, 1.5 will increase by 16%.

Diseases. Heat comes with a lot of troubles. In a study, scientists looked over the potential risk of increased malaria outbreaks in the coming years. Malaria outbreaks were typically studied based on land type (dry, humid, etc.). At a 2 degree Celsius limit, dry land percentages were up to a 27% increase compared to a 19% increase in a 1.5 degree limit. Wetlands, though we’re not as high. 2 degrees is still a bigger risk at an 8% increase compared to a 6% increase at a 1.5 degree limit (McSweeny, 2018, p.10). Dengue Fever is also becoming a concern about global warming. In one article it explained that lowering the limit to 1.5 degrees would reduce the number of Dengue Fever cases up to 3.3 million in areas such as Latin America and the Carribean alone. (UEA, 2018) Dengue Fever is mostly in warm and humid areas so the higher the temperature limit, the more cases of these diseases will occur.

Water Scarcity. Water scarcity is already a problem in some parts of the world. Heat in general will cause it to be more common for parts of the world to lack water resources. By 2100, the average amount of people that will experience water scarcity with a 2 degree limit is anywhere between 249 million to 527 million. At a 1.5 degree limit, people that will live with water scarcity is between 159 million to 353 million. (Naumann, 2018, p.1) A .5 difference will help to decrease the number of people that will be exposed to water scarcity. Water plays a big role in a lot of things in the world. If there is no water for people then they won’t have food, they won’t have drinking water, they won’t be able to keep livestock. Water is a big resource that we humans need to survive.


By 2100, sea levels will have risen over a foot high. Water levels with a 2 degree limit will rise 56 centimeters on average but could see as low as 28 centimeters to as high as 96 centimeters. When looking at a 1.5 degree limit though, the water level could be on average 48 centimeters (McSweeny, 2018, pg.6).

Hot zones are becoming more frequent as time goes by and will continue to be more common with these extremely hot days. These hot zones found in oceans have heated up to almost 3 degrees celsius warmer (Mooney, 2019, p.3). These hot zones are causing many clams and fish in the water to die. At a 2 degree warming, we will see an increase in marine heatwaves a day per year by 23 times more. At 1.5, it could be up to 16 times more.

Freezing and Melting

Arctic sea ice is beginning to melt at a faster rate than usual. Micheal Sigmond, John Fyfe, and Neil Swart put together an experiment that mimicked temperatures similar to the 1.5, 2.0 celsius limit and higher. Their experiment showed the probability of having an Arctic ice free summer under the given temp limits. The results showed that at a 2.0 degree warming, the probability of an Arctic ice free summer was 80%, following 1.5 degree warming at 10%. (Sigmond, 2018, p.2). This shows a significant difference in what to expect in the future.

McSweeny also gathered information about snow in the Northern Hemisphere. In his findings, again 1.5 temperature limit was lower than the 2 degree limit. Although they were different in numbers, it wasn’t by a whole lot.

2 Degree Celsius Limit 1.5 Degree Celsius Limit
Northern Hemisphere Snow Extent in 2080
Annual 11% decrease 8% decrease
Winter 7% decrease 5% decrease
Spring 10% decrease 7% decrease
Summer 26% decrease 20% decrease
Autumn 17% decrease 13% decrease

(McSweeny, 2018, p.2)

This data may surprise you. You would have figured that the temperature increase, heatwaves, ice melting would all factor in on the amount of snow we have. Even though there is a decrease in all numbers, they are both pretty close and don’t show a drastic change like the other data I have gathered through this paper.

Animals, Insects, and Plants

More and more animals are losing their homes, going extinct, and losing food supplies. In a study, four men looked at the effects on insects, vertebrates, plants, etc. Like other data I gathered, .5 degrees less makes a bigger difference than you would think. The table below shows which types of species are losing more than 50% of their climatic range in the year 2100.


2 Degree Celsius Limit 1.5 Degree Celsius Limit
Species losing over 50% of climatic range
Invertebrates 18% 6%
Vertebrates 8% 4%
Plants 16% 8%
Mammals 18% 6%
Birds 8% 4%

(Warren, 2018, p.1)

We will continue to see less and less of these species, but if we are able to maintain 1.5 degrees we may be able to save a lot of these species from dying and becoming extinct.


Lowering the temperature limit from 2 degrees celsius to 1.5 degrees will make a big change in the earth’s future climate. When looking at a 2 degree limit, you will see a lot of negative effects in our current world. Sea levels will rise significantly, we will see major animals dying and going extinct, heatwaves will flood the earth making it so a lot of our ice is melting more than before. A 2 degree limit is just too high for our world to handle. That is why we should lower the limit to 1.5 degrees. Although the data gathered showed that at 1.5 degree limit the topics discussed all showed a negative effect, it was a less risk compared to the 2 degree limit data. At 1.5 degrees we might be able to save our glaciers. We will be able to provide a more livable environment for animals and insects. Heatwaves won’t be as frequent, and water levels won’t be as high. Lowering the temperature limit in the Paris Agreement to 1.5 degrees should be a discussion. .5 degrees may seem like a small number but makes a huge impact on our future world.


Aerenson, T., Tebaldi, C., Sanderson, B., & Lamarque, J.-F. (2018). Changes in a suite of indicators of extreme temperature and precipitation under 1.5 and 2 degrees warming. Environmental Research Letters, 13(3), 035009. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326


Gonzalez, F. (n.d.). Limiting global warming could avoid millions of dengue fever cases. Retrieved December 6, 2019, from ScienceDaily website: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180528151914.htm

Irfan, U. (2019, June 26). 113 degrees in France: Why Europe is so vulnerable to extreme heat. Retrieved December 6, 2019, from Vox website: https://www.vox.com/world/2019/6/26/18744518/heat-wave-2019-europe-france-germany-spain

Mooney, C. (2019, September 11). Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world—Washington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/climate-environment/climate-change-world/

Naumann, G., Alfieri, L., Wyser, K., Mentaschi, L., Betts, R. A., Carrao, H., … Feyen, L. (2018). Global Changes in Drought Conditions Under Different Levels of Warming. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(7), 3285–3296. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL076521

Pearce, R. M. and R. (2018, October 4). Interactive: The impacts of climate change at 1.5C, 2C and beyond. Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/impacts-climate-change-one-point-five-degrees-two-degrees/

Sigmond, M., Fyfe, J. C., & Swart, N. C. (2018). Ice-free Arctic projections under the Paris Agreement. Nature Climate Change, 8(5), 404–408. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0124-y

Thesis statement. (n.d.).

UNFCC, T. (2018, December 12). What is the Paris Agreement? | UNFCCC. Retrieved December 4, 2019, from https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/what-is-the-paris-agreement

Wang, A., Xu, L., & Kong, X. (2018). Assessments of the Northern Hemisphere snow cover response to 1.5 and 2.0 °C warming. Earth System Dynamics, 9(2), 865–877. https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-865-2018

Warren, R., Price, J., Graham, E., Forstenhaeusler, N., & VanDerWal, J. (2018). The projected effect on insects, vertebrates, and plants of limiting global warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C. Science, 360(6390), 791–795. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aar3646

Putting the Future in the past

In Catherine Ingrams 2019 essay titled “Facing Extinction,” she makes it clear that the impressions and actions of the human race, both past and present will ultimately lead to our very own extinction. Ingram writes on various topics that us humans will most likely come face to face with while battling the reality of our existence. One of the topics that Ingram highlighted in her essay was “The end of Legacy,” in this section she advocates that it’ll be difficult to stop the act of future thinking, adapting to forget future aspirations, living with the idea of losing the past, being incapable of seeing your children develop, and lastly, finding relief in the realization that you no longer need to leave behind a legacy. Under the circumstances that Ingram projects the world will ultimately reach as human extinction nears, she makes it clear through the passage that creating a legacy will be illogical and one would be better off spending the remainder of their time wisely, without future goals. 

Though it is tough to truly accept the facts of our rapidly changing world, the reality of it all is that we must adapt to those changes if we wish to survive. Catherine Ingram writes on         “ The end of Legacy,” as one of the ramifications of human extinction. In the text she expresses that “people are often conditioned in the idea of leaving behind a legacy and they spend a lot of their lives in perhaps an unconscious dedication to that project” ( Ingram 24). For the most part, people who hope to succeed in life have goals and ambitions set for themselves in order to have a lucrative future. Those who don’t look toward the future and are very short term oriented are in luck, for Ingram claims that “ you will no longer need to consider what you might leave behind as there will likely not be anyone there to see or experience it, [or] at least not for long” (Ingram 24). Ingram generates the hardship of putting a person’s future behind them as part of the obstacle that will conclusively lead to one “ finding great relief and freedom in the irrelevance of [thoughts] [of] [the] [future]” (Ingram 25).  Who would have thought that one day the conflict that would arise in everyone’s life would be the troubles of forgetting the legacy you were never given the chance to leave behind.  

The notion of legacy can and should be tied to all humans. Everyone should have an idea of what kind of legacy they want to leave behind and it should be everyone’s goal to leave a mark when they’re gone.  Because Ingram believes that “ [everyone] is often conditioned in the idea of leaving behind a legacy” (Ingram 24), it could be easily said that she was targeting all humans as an audience. Although she does aim to target everyone, she has a select few types of people who she expresses will have a harder time coping with their loss of future hopes and dreams. These are parents, the individuals whose job it is to influence their offspring and prepare them for the crazy world we live in are one of Ingrams targets. Ingram describes children as “the most common and by far the most emotional charged form of legacy”( Ingram 24), and because there are hundreds of thousands of babies born each day, this makes parents a number one audience. Being a parent is a hardship in itself, you’d like to steer your kids in the direction of excellence, while also showing them what it takes to be great and do good. You have to provide and protect them from any harm, but what if the harm is something you can’t control? Like the well being of their planet, that will ultimately decide their fate as well. 

 Young adults and truly anyone who believes that climate change is occurring is also apart of Ingrams audience.  For most young adults without children, we have to worry about our parents who also worry about us. Those who hope and dream of having children in the future have to think about what exactly their children will go through, what kind of planet will they grow up in, and if they’ll even have enough time to see their kids develop. Having to ask ourselves these questions is sad. Wanting to create more children even though there are so many who are currently struggling is even sadder.  Having to settle for the realization that you wont need to create a legacy is relieving, heartbreaking and infuriating all in one.

Is forgetting something easy? Especially something you’ve been looking forward to all your life? We often find it easier to forget things that don’t usually appeal to us. But can we truly forget the legacy we plan to leave behind or the future we’ve been looking forward too? Ingram glorifies the feelings of “great relief and freedom” (Ingram 25), that people might feel after letting go of the legacy projects that were causing them “a lot of stress and strain”(ibid 25). However, she doesn’t go into depth of how exactly one can go about forgetting those important aspects of their life. Ingram doesn’t give instructions on how to forget, she only states how one may feel after they’ve forgotten. This causes a problem for all audiences, especially the younger generations. Fortunately, adults have had their time to make something of their life, see the world and possibly find their calling. The youth, however, have not. Which would make it difficult for them to“ [adapt] to ignoring [future] thoughts as they arise” (ibid 25), and forget future plans without having  relatively higher emotional trauma than adults. In the end, does the youth not deserve to know how we should go about this crisis? We will be paying the price of those who lived before us, those who decided to do nothing when the signs were clear that change was needed. This is not fair. 

Although Ingram doesn’t give us a true run down of how we can eventually forget future projections, she does do a good job of getting the reader to accept the idea that forgetting dreams of a legacy will eventually be best the best answer. Through the use of her prophecy, she explains that not leaving a legacy behind won’t be a problem because “there will likely not be anyone around to experience it” (Ingram 24). The first time I read this, I stopped to think of what I had in mind for my future and as I continued reading I couldn’t agree more with her. I came to the conclusion that if times were more critical I’d probably stop doing all the things that would make my future successful and focus on bucket list ideas. Thinking about these kinds of things would work anyone up and that was exactly Ingrams intention. This is how she was able to get across the idea that one needs to “ [let] go of the future and re-order [their] tendencies of thinking about the future” (ibid 25). Ingram is able to persuade us to believe that leaving behind a legacy is illogical. She does this by relating to reader, most people want to leave something behind and if others who were reading this essay were like me, they also read it thoroughly.

Throughout this piece of her essay, Ingram is well aware what the emotional response would be for her readers. Fear, anger and optimism would be reasonable types of responses, especially in regard to the way Ingram starts this section. She begins by saying that “ the because of the deadly threats ahead and the unlikeness of solutions, [we] might find a strange re-ordering of [our] thoughts and motivations” ( Ingram 24). Right off the bat we are aware that whatever we will be reading next will be eye opening, and not something everyone hopes to learn and read about. As Ingram continues to tell readers that we’d be better off forgetting the future, we find our way to the section that involves children as “the most emotionally charged form of legacy.” For most people, having kids is a dream they’d like to make a reality, however, Ingram quotes that “in facing extinction, you find yourself thinking, ‘what’s the point of all [the] effort; should [kids] even bother going to school? Maybe we should just find ways to enjoy whatever time is left with our children without any future goals’ ” (Ingram 24-25). For those parents who read this, I can imagine it was difficult to process. The thought of having kids that will grow up in a dysfunctional world would be difficult and you might find yourself asking exactly why you chose to bring them into it. In addition, I’m sure Ingrams intention was to make those without kids question themselves more and more about bringing them into what could be soon an uninhabitable planet. 

Living in a melting pot is hard. You find yourself not knowing what to do or continue doing. You find yourself questioning everything you do that is a step in the direction of your future, and whether is is worth it. Under the circumstances that Ingram projects the world will ultimately reach as human extinction nears, she makes it clear through the passage that creating a legacy will be illogical and one would be better off spending the remainder of their time wisely, without future goals. In the end, when the world is old, grey and unable to support those who live on it, will you strive to reach your goals? Or simply let life do what it wants and make the most of the time you have?




Works Cited

Ingram, Catherine. “Facing Exctinction.” Catherineingram, Feb. 2019, https://www.catherineingram.com/facingextinction/.