Stable climate is the absolute foundation of our social processes and system. It is what limits our risks to a range that make "extreme events" both rare and profitable to insure against. What we have previously thought of as extreme events are going to become the norm, affecting everything about our way of life in western civilization (which as a substantial side note, isn't sustainable as it is and becomes positively volatile under abrupt climate change). We are already moving into this period of time and far too little is being done to prepare for or mitigate the risks.
Radical departures from stable conditions usually result in loss of habitat. Most extinction, throughout the history of life on Earth, has been caused by “loss of habitat”. The effect of climate change on all elements of life is completely dependent upon each lifeform’s available habitat. For most lifeforms that occupy the solid surface of the planet a relatively stable climate is a necessity to maintain habitat. Any sustained departure from the required stable condition must either be overcome by changing external factors (adaptation), by changes to the actual lifeforms or their life functions (evolution), or the loss of habitat results in death (extinction).
Your Goldilocks Zone is comprised of the range of internal temperatures that we must maintain to stay alive, as well as the availability of air (aka correct level of oxygen), water, functional food, protection from the elements, and rest to sustain a meaningful life. To be specific that means 5 critical factors. These factors define the human Goldilocks Zone
1. Oxygen - People can begin to experience brain damage after as few as five minutes without oxygen. For humans and many animals to sustain normal functions, the percentage of oxygen in the breathing environment must be within a relatively small range. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, determined the optimal breathing range to be between 19.5 and 23.5 percent oxygen in air.
- Several things may prevent you from getting the oxygen you need. Environmental risks such as high altitude, dense smoke, or carbon monoxide can prevent you from getting enough oxygen.
- Some medical issues may prevent your body from receiving oxygen like cardiac arrest, stroke, drowning and others.
- Without a consistent supply of oxygen, you can experience a condition called cerebral hypoxia which affects our brains.
- At levels at or below 17 percent, your mental abilities become impaired.
- When levels drop to 16 percent or below, noticeable changes to your behavior will occur
- Levels under 14 percent will cause extreme exhaustion from physical activity.
- Once levels drop below 10 percent, you may become very nauseous or lose consciousness.
- Humans won't survive with levels at 6 percent or lower. After 10 minutes without oxygen, the brain damage can be so severe that most people will die.
- Higher-than-normal oxygen levels in air aren't as harmful to life, however there is an increased fire or explosion risk.
- With extremely high concentrations of oxygen in the breathing zone, humans can experience harmful side effects.
- Very high levels of oxygen causes oxidizing free radicals. These free radicals will attack the tissues and cells of the body and cause muscle twitching.
- The effects from short exposure can usually be reversed, however lengthy exposure can cause death.
2. Water - Other than the air we breathe (and it's approximately 21% oxygen), water is the most essential component for human survival. The body’s functional chemicals are dissolved and transported in water, and the chemical reactions of life take place in water.
- It is estimated that an average person cannot survive for more than 3-4 days without water. The daily requirement is about 3 liters (approx. 3.2 quarts). Ideal drinking, sanitation, and hygiene needs can be met with approx. 50 liters (13.2 gallons)/day
- During hot weather it is recommended that the average person consume more, if available, to replace the amount lost due to sweating, respiration and excretion to maintain a balance of body fluids. In moderate climates you may be able to get by on less.
- When the hydration balance is unable to be maintained the body will start to go through the dehydration process.
- A 2.5 percent loss in water volume in a person leads to a 25 percent reduction in blood volume. This means the blood gets thicker and the heart has to work harder to pump nutrients throughout the body.
- This lower blood volume also reduces flow to the extremities, leading to numbness in the fingers and toes.
- The thicker blood also has a harder time making its way through the small capillaries in the brain. The lack of oxygen to parts of the brain can make it impossible to concentrate or focus for any period of time.
- The length of time one can survive without water depends on activity level and environmental temperature. Higher activity will invariably reduce life span, as will higher temperatures.
- With no water, the maximum length of time a person can survive is 10 days. Starting at 80 degrees Fahrenheit life expectancy is reduced to 9 days. With every five-degree increase in temperature, the life span decreases a day.
3. Food - sustenance, a source of biological "fuel", or what we call food, is the next most important factor after oxygen and water.
- A body that does not have food can survive for quite a long time by subsisting on the fat reserves in the body and the glycogen reserves in the liver and, eventually, the proteins in the muscles.
- The first two to three days without food, the body will depend solely on the fat reserves to run the muscles of the body. These fatty acids can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. The body can survive for as much as two weeks without intake of energy rich foods (fats & carbohydrates)
- The brain relies on the glycogen reserves to send glucose to the brain. After day three, the liver begins to synthesize ketones (short strand fatty acids) that can cross the blood-brain barrier. The ketone stage can last for up to two weeks.
- Once the fat reserves are used up, the body will begin breaking down the musculature into proteins that can be converted into amino acids that are then transformed into glucose. Muscles break down quickly, within one week.
- Once this process has completed there is no other internal source of energy and the body dies. Signs of starvation include apathy, listlessness, withdrawal, changes in hair color, flaky skin, and massive edema in the abdomen and lower limbs, all of which lead to a higher chance of infection.
- Most individuals who experience starvation don’t die directly from it. Most die due to infectious diseases that attack the body as it consumes its own defenses.
- When a person is exposed to "the elements", water and temperature loss is increased.
- Cold temperatures and high winds can strip away valuable moisture as quickly as high temperatures can cause sweat related loss.
- A shelter should consist of a place to make fire to create heat as well as protection from the wind and rain.
- Without the ability to keep a constant temperature and hydration, a person runs the risk of hypothermia or heat stroke.
- A person’s normal temperature in 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit. If the core temperature drops to 91.4, a body will go unconscious. At 86.0 degrees, the body loses the ability to control internal temperature. At 82.4 degrees, there is complete muscle failure.
- On the other end of the spectrum, a temperature of 107.6 degrees results in a breakdown of the central nervous system. At slightly over 111 degrees, the brain overheats and causes death.
- Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause hallucinations and illogical behavior, which can cause a person to fail to take the proper steps to keep himself alive.
- Sleep deprivation can cause a myriad of problems ranging from decreased body temperature to cognitive impairment and hallucination.
- Although the mechanisms of sleep are not well understood, the problems associated with lack of sleep are.
- Headaches can begin as soon as 24 hours after missing sleep.
- 72 hours in, memory is impaired and temporal and spatial distortion start to occur.
- After 96 hours without sleep, cognition is markedly impaired.
- After 144 hours, hallucinations ensue and there is a considerable loss of attention and manual dexterity.
- The longer a person goes without sleep the less coherent thought patterns become.
- This lack of clear thinking can be detrimental on its own, if coupled with a lack in any of the other basic needs areas it could be life threatening.
Think about it! Be prepared! Keep your powder dry and your candles lit!