I’m at another journalistic hardship post – Aspen, Colorado, at the Aspen Environment Forum, sponsored by National Geographic and the Aspen Institute.
It’s in Aspen, in case I forgot to mention that.
It’s supposed to be 70 degrees today, but I may go to the front desk and ask them to turn it up to 75. They’re very accomodating here.
The mountains are still covered in snow, and yesterday the chair lift was open and people were skiing and snowboarding at the top of the mountain. They had near-record snowpack here, something like 300 inches, much of it in April. The road at Independence Pass has a 25-foot snow wall on either side, the shuttle driver told us on our way in from the airport. So the rivers will be running full this summer, great for the whitewater rafters.
Maybe the folks in the Colorado River watershed should assume that every year there will be this much water, and then build some extra cities and a couple of thousand golf courses. Assume the best of all possible worlds and plan accordingly. (Kind of the way Congress made fiscal decisions when we briefly ran a surplus.)
This morning there’s a session on “9 Billion at Mid-century: Then what?” We just saw a video that says we’ll hit the 9 billion population mark in 2045. The United Nations is projecting 10 billion by 2100. Stewart Brand, the pioneer of whole-earth thinking (Whole Earth Catalog, Coevolution Quarterly, the Well, the Long Now Foundation) last night raised, in a passing comment, the prospect that at some point the global population will begin to decline (it already has been declining in a number of European countries due to low birthrates), which Brand said would present a whole new set of challenges.
I’m going to stop typing now and listen to what they’re saying because I need to figure out pronto if the big problem is too many people or too few. I always thought it was too many.
[Top facts: 13 percent of the population lacks clean drinking water, and 38 percent lack adequate sanitation.]
I’ll be posting more in a short bit but want to get this up and running right away...stand by...