Published Jul 14, 2014

“We are on the top of Niagara Falls” in a canoe,” says  scientist Ovid Byron in  Barbara Kingsolver’s  novel,  Flight Behavior. He’s  talking to a reporter  about climate change. “We got here by drifting,” but we cannot turn around for a lazy paddle back…  We have,” he says,  “arrived at the point of an audible roar.”

Everyone is wondering how climate change will play out, and when.

We need both science and  intuition to prepare for these changes. Below I present  the  visions that my students and I have had in recent months, as well as the best of the  climatologists’ projections for sea level rise by the end of the century.

The limits of scientific projections   Scientists’ predictions tend towards conservatism and underestimation.   The International Panel on Climate Change, the Bible on climate predictions,   didn’t even include polar ice melt in their sea level rise estimates until last year because they didn’t feel they had enough of a handle on it.  This is where intuition and intuitive visions can be helpful in filling in the blanks.  Intuitive visions take into account the whole picture, including the factors that we have no historical data for.  But inner  visioning is hard to interpret correctly.   So we use both– the inner visions and the science, to  get a more complete picture.

And that  picture is daunting.    First, the warming trends are upward and accelerating, and like all  natural systems, they will follow an exponential, not linear, progression.  Exponential progressions start very small, but once they  reach a certain critical mass, they accelerate rapidly.

Scientists’ Projected  Sea Level Rise Depending on which study you read, climatologists estimate sea level rise will reach an average of three to six feet by century’s end.  In a  survey   that  is the most credible of the climatology studies because it combines scientific knowledge with a subjective intuitive element, ninety top climatologists gave their gut estimate for sea level rise by century’s end. Those estimates averaged six feet, which  could mean twenty-four  feet on the Atlantic seaboard. Of those ninety  scientists, a dozen of them  estimated ten to twenty feet for the global average, which, if correct, could mean forty to eighty feet along the Atlantic coast.

How do those estimates compare to our  intuitive visions of the future?  

I’ve seen that the sea  will engulf  large parts of Florida,  and will also send people fleeing from New York City by  2100. Taken all together, our visions of the rest of this century fit Joanna Macy’s  characterization of  a “great unraveling” followed by a “great turning”  to a more sustainable world. Here are some highlights: [6/22/19 Update: we now have many more visions of the future which you can find here arranged by date, if you click and scroll down .]

  • An epic, game-changing  drought in the American heartland beginning 2026 to 2032’s.
  • Heat, polar  melt, drought and sea level  rise begin to surge around 2037.
  • The  American southwest runs dry and hot, prompting  migrations.
  • The collective nervous system shows volatility from 2017 to 2020. Then there is a return to a kind of peace and stability by 2028.  This development may show itself as a bear market or an emotional depression, it is hard to tell, or both.
  • Floods in  Boston, New York and the upper eastern seaboard of the U.S. as early as 2040 causing  many to migrate from those areas.
  • Around 2030 we begin to see  unity in leadership  based on everyone’s well being with more women in charge of government.
  • Presence  of a non sectarian world spiritual leader especially felt  in 2030-3.
  • In the mid to latter part of the century, the  Great Lakes region becomes a sparkling jewel center of commerce and prosperity.
  • Railroads see  a revival.
  • Life becomes more rural and peaceful.
  • There is a power shift from  male to female, from central power  to local and grass roots.
  • Small family  farms are revived, especially in cooler, northern  latitudes.
  • Minimum: By 2100 large parts of Florida  flooded; in a vision, I saw it as a playground  for sailboat enthusiasts.
  • I have had visions of 20 foot sea level rise for the eastern seaboard, and as high as 80 feet by 2100.
  • There are large-scale mass migrations all over the world, including in the U.S..

DETAILED YEAR BY YEAR VISIONS: (go here for a much expanded updated list).  [2019 update: go here for all future predictions to date]

2014 (as of June 10, 2014 when we did this reading):

  • Elephant  is in charge –  throwing its weight around  (Republican party).
  • Year of the Tiger, starting strong but getting a bit tired towards the end.
  • Air pollution, smog.
  • War that does not end.

2015

  • Nervousness and volatility in the Collective. Might be reflected in the markets.
  • Reflective year, angry protestors  in the news.
  • “No escape from reality” —  Queen song

2016

  • Bad drought in the American southwest.
  • Huge hurricane  Texas panhandle.
  • Great Lakes region gets positive attention.
  • Sideways landscape with trees (means trees are in trouble).
  • Sunshine, optimism, the star, belief in new ideals.
  • Light — sunrise as more people embrace change.

2017:

  • An epic storm in the Gulf area, many dead; palm trees blowing sideways. [update: Hurricane Maria killed over 3,000 in Puerto Rico].
  • The frog. (note: this became an Alt Right symbol)
  • More volatility and anxiety in the collective, which could also mean stock market volatility
  • Reality sets in for those living on the margin, unemployment lines, hunger, mass destruction, fires.
  • Guns, more shootings in the news.

2018:

  • Stars and lights over the Great Lakes region, a promising part of the U.S. for the future.
  • Hunger, poverty increasing in certain pockets
  • War on the rise around the world.
  • Climate related events, odd or extreme temperatures and fires.

2019:

  • In some countries where this is not been the norm, people living on the streets, stray dogs, people looking for food in trash (not the U.S.)
  • Serious market volatility.
  • “I told you so,” repetition of history, not learning from our mistakes.

2020:

  • Financial market downturn.
  • Tsunami, hurricane, natural disaster.

2021:

  • More market upset.
  • State of Texas in crisis.
  • Heavier than usual rains, mudslides, floods.
  • Barbed wire fences, borders, jail along the southern border.
  • Cars that drive themselves.

2022:

  • More war. Soldiers, guns.
  • 2022-24 market volatility.
  • People breaking down borders.

2023:

  • Europe upset.
  • Airplanes flying up above, looking for people to rescue.
  • Survival, disparities more extreme than ever.

2024

  • Crying, hungry babies, food rations. (not inside the U.S. but likely at the borders)
  • Wind gusts, rain, eruptions, Mother Nature rebelling.

2025:

  • Railroads revived.
  • No electricity, finding light.

2026:

  • Lazy in the yard, rakes, rural scene, some migration to farming areas.
  • Drought more severe around the world.
  • Refugees all over the place.
  • People coming together to thrive.

2027:

  • Market extremes.
  • Peace pigeon.
  • Mustaches in fashion.
  • Restructuring. (U.S.)

2028:

  • Awakening from bad dream. (U.S.)
  • Men in life vests doing work.  Is this a scene from a flood?
  • Power shifts flip.
  • Two women running for president.
  • Women in power.

2029:

  • Collective spirit revived, this may also mean the stock market goes up.
  • Arguing about new structures, people resistant to new way.
  • Women continue to dominate.

2030:

  • Righteous man in robes  preaching on hillside.
  • Crimes, military governments fall.
  • Leader emerges, unity, not centered on greed.
  • Success of round-table discussion.

2031

  • People migrating, like a biblical exodus.
  • Tibet – Dalai Lama in the news.
  • World leaders come together to step up, make decisions.

2032:

  • Right wing powers lose control.

2033

  • Positive changes, growth and light.

2034

  • Man and dog by big river – a rural scene.

2035:

  • New generation- technology.
  • Importance of China as a power.

2037:

  • Pacific Rim the focus of attention.
  • Tom Sawyer images in the U.S, –people living more rurally.

2038

  • Chance to recover.

2039

  • Women  leading.

2040-50:

  • Problem with trees, need for trees that can survive.
  • Chance to recover.

2050: Greenland turning green.

2051: Black cloud around the U.S. Capitol, as if the U.S. central government is disconnected  from the rest of the country.

2058: Small boat filled with people, some armed, crossing body of water, refugees.

2068: Mushroom shaped cloud ”“ (nuclear explosion to block heat from sun?)

2070-80: Peaceful scene of village  in forested mountain region. Homes high in the mountains. Look like tree houses.  Looks like ancient Japan.

2100: Large parts of Florida are flooded, becoming  a popular place for sailboating.