Tag Archives: population

The real worst and best cases of climate change

What do you want? The planet Venus? The current degraded Earth? Or a better world we know how to create?

What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?
Joel Pett, Lexington Herald Leader, 18 March 2012, The cartoon seen ’round the world

Mostly I post about solar and wind power winning, which is what I think is happening. But sometimes it’s worth a reminder of what could happen if we do nothing about climate change, and I posted on my facebook page a story about that. Which actually didn’t go far enough to the real worst case. Nonetheless, that story has been attacked by numerous parties of all political and scientific and unscientific stripes for being too doom and gloom. Yet none of the attackers bothered to mention a best case beyond “the same world we have now”. I have news for you: the world we have now is an ecological catastrophe, and we can do a lot better. So here’s the real worst case, the current case, which is far from the best of all possible worlds, and the real best case, as I see it. Plus what we can do to head for the best case.

grinning fossilized skull

First, the story I posted: David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 9 July 2017, The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. Notice that word “could”, which a lot of his critics seem to have ignored. He didn’t say “will”, and he clearly labeled what he was presenting as worst case scenarios.

In case anybody thinks he was making any of that stuff up, Wallace-Wells has also linked to an annotated version with footnotes for every substantial assertion. The annotated version notes at the top: Continue reading

Gilchrist County, FL pop. 16,815; Lowndes County, GA pop. 114,552

Apparently it doesn’t take size for elected commissioners to represent the people, or to choose not to. There’s still time for local governments to choose to do at least those things FERC and NTSB say they should do about pipelines, especially the proposed Sabal Trail Transmission methane pipeline.

Google Population Chart


Why south Georgia actions start in Lowndes County and Valdosta

The biggest population center for 80 miles around is Valdosta and Lowndes County.

Map of population around Valdosta and Lowndes County Albany to the northwest actually has more people than Valdosta, but Dougherty County has fewer than Lowndes County. Beyond Albany it’s Columbus and then Auburn is about the same size as Valdosta.

Farther north it’s Warner Robins and Macon. Due west Dothan it’s Dothan. The closest bigger place is Tallahassee and Leon County, Florida to the southwest. Farther south it’s Gainesville, then Orlando and Tampa. East it’s Savannah, and of course Jacksonville.

History of population around Valdosta and Lowndes County

On this handy interactive google population comparison chart, you can see in the 3-6,000 range: Adel, Ashburn, and Lakeland.

14-20,000: Americus, Brunswick, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Waycross.

55-60,000: Auburn and Valdosta.

67-80,000: Continue reading

Lee County has its agenda packets online

Lee County has 28,575 people; Lowndes has 111,885 (July 2011). Yet tiny Lee does what mighty Lowndes doesn’t: it puts its agenda packets online. I’d bet it doesn’t even waste county resources putting them into a fancy printed binder. When will Lowndes County move into the 21st century?


Flood control measures encourage settling too close and provoke severe flooding events

Flood control to keep water out of houses seems like a good idea, but it turns out that it causes the flood control measures to keep needing to be raised higher, and it encourages people to build too close to flooding areas, plus “rare and catastrophic events take place”. Like the 2009 “700 year flood” and the four or more floods this year that have overflowed the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant. In our case, there are also the issues of widespread clearcutting and buildings and streets with impervious cover. The local runoff containment requirements in the various local government zoning codes may be like levees: “flood control structures might even increase flood risk as protection from frequent flooding reduces perceptions of risk”.

This encourages human settlements in floodplain areas, which are then vulnerable to high-consequence and low-probability events.
Much simpler just not to give out building permits for flood zones. Or we could put medical buildings right next to a creek, assuming because it’s never flooded it never will….

Socio-hydrology: conceptualising human-flood interactions, G. Di Baldassarre, A. Viglione, G. Carr, L. Kuil, J. L. Salinas, and G. Bloschl, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 3295–3303, 2013 doi:10.5194/hess-17-3295-2013, © Author(s) 2013. CC Attribution 3.0 License.

Abstract. Over history, humankind has tended to settle near streams Continue reading

Community Assessment Group and Internet access @ LCC 2013-07-22

Valdosta Mayor Gayle was standing next to the video ghetto after the county’s rather rudimentary SPLOST VII presentation Monday morning, so I asked him why I hadn’t seen anything about Internet access either Valdosta’s or Lowndes County’s SPLOST lists? He said that was because it was being handled by the Community Assessment Group (CAG). What’s that?

Mayor Gayle said CAG is a group of representatives from the county and all the local cities, the two school districts (Valdosta and Lowndes County), VSU, Wiregrass Tech, the Industrial Authority, the Chamber, and he may have said others. It’s an attempt at better local cooperation, specifically about issues that cross all the various local governmental and non-governmental groups. So far they’ve had two meetings, Continue reading

How to make a rural economy desirable: beyond retirees

Basing a local economy on attracting retirees may not work so well anymore. Fortunately, there are plenty of things we can do here to provide jobs for our graduates and to attract non-retirees.

Jim Galloway wrote for the AJC Saturday, Rural areas a less populated place as Baby Boomers shy away,

This week, the U.S. Census Bureau issued 2012 population estimates showing that, for the first time ever, the rural population of America has suffered a measureable drop.

“First time ever”? I guess Galloway has never heard of Continue reading

Plant the seeds for viable water future

This AJC op-ed is about coastal wetlands, but much of it applies to wetlands such as cypress swamps and streams in Lowndes County and the rest of central south Georgia, especially since our state water plan for the Suwannee-Satilla Region points us at County-Level Population Projections from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget that project 45% growth in Lowndes County population in 20 years to 156,650 people by 2030, which means near doubling in 30 years to 2050. -jsq

David Kyler wrote for the AJC 29 December 2006, “Plant the seeds for viable coastal future”,

Recent population projections for the Georgia coast issued by 2010-2030 Change in Population of Georgia Counties Georgia Tech say nothing new. We’re growing at almost 20 percent a decade, meaning a near doubling every 35 years.

The Center for a Sustainable Coast projected a population of about 1 million by 2030 for the 11 counties in the coastal region as defined by the Department of Natural Resources, somewhat higher than the 844,000 predicted by Georgia Tech. This compares with a population of 538,469 reported in the 2000 Census report.

But the accuracy of projections is not the point. Increased population will result in more land clearing and environmental disturbance than in the past—there will be larger homes, bigger lots and fewer people per household.

National studies show up to twice as much land is

Continue reading

Valdosta rank in Georgia cities

Increased population is using increasing resources Recently I saw someone speculating online that Valdosta’s rank among Georgia cities was rising because its population is growing. And its population is indeed growing, as you can see in the graph on the right or the Census Bureau data in the table below right. (Compare to similar information for Lowndes County.) But not as fast as some other Georgia cities, so Valdosta’s rank is not increasing. In fact, the opposite: Valdosta has been dropping in rank.

Census Pop.
1860 166
1870 1,199 622.3%
1880 1,515 26.4%
1890 2,854 88.4%
1900 5,613 96.7%
1910 7,656 36.4%
1920 10,783 40.8%
1930 13,482 25.0%
1940 15,595 15.7%
1950 20,046 28.5%
1960 30,652 52.9%
1970 32,303 5.4%
1980 37,671 16.6%
1990 40,135 6.5%
2000 43,724 8.9%
2010 54,518 24.7%

Here are city ranks for the censuses from 1980 to 2000:

1980 7 Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah, Macon, Albany, Warner Robins, VLD.
1990 11 passed by Augusta, Athens, Roswell, Marietta
(Augusta and Athens cheated by consolidating with their counties.)
2000 14 passed by Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, and Alpharetta
2010 14 Sandy Springs passed Macon and Marietta dropped two,
but Valdosta remained #14

So actually Valdosta has been decreasing in Georgia city rank over time, because cities in the Atlanta metro area have been growing faster.

Now I don’t consider that a bad thing: population growth isn’t the same thing as economic growth, and economic growth isn’t the same thing as prosperity or well-being. But it’s an interesting bit of history.

1 Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta
2 Columbus Augusta Augusta Augusta
3 Savannah Columbus Columbus Columbus
4 Macon Savannah Savannah Savannah
5 Albany Macon Athens Athens
6 Warner Robins Athens Macon Sandy Springs
7 Valdosta Albany Sandy Springs Macon
8 Roswell Roswell Roswell
9 Marietta Albany Albany
10 Warner Robins Johns Creek Johns Creek
11 Valdosta Marietta Warner Robins
12 Warner Robins Alpharetta
13 Alpharetta Marietta
14 Valdosta Valdosta


Mickey Tillman recognized @ LCC 2012-06-26

As an unscheduled item at the 26 June 2012 Regular Session, Lowndes County Chairman Ashley Paulk and County Manager Joe Pritchard recognized the many years of service of Mickey Tillman. Here's an excerpt from what Joe Pritchard said:

Mickey was hired in 1975. Lowndes County was referred to as the Commission of Roads and Revenue. and the county had a population of approximately 60,000 people and was served by 150 employees. Today of course Lowndes County serves nearly 110,000 citizens with an employee base of 575. Mickey has been a part of this historical growth and he has been instrumental in the early development of several key services that continue to meet the needs of the citizens today.

Then the Commissioners posed for photographs with Mickey Tillman.

Here's the video:

Mickey Tillman recognized
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 26 June 2012.