Leaves of a tree
“We are all but recent leaves on the same old tree of life and if this life has adapted itself to new functions and conditions, it uses the same old basic principles over and over again. There is no real difference between the grass and the man who mows it.”
In his 2007 bestseller “The World Without Us,” Alan Weisman expands on a thought experiment published in a 2005 issue of Discover magazine: What if we considered the human impact on the planet by removing the humans?
Everything we’ve built, dumped, dammed, spilt, or pulled up out of the ground remains; but there are no longer any people keeping all those balls in the air. The human endeavor comes crashing down. Earth and its surviving inhabitants are left to digest what remains of civilization, as all the great structures of Man come crumbling back into dust, leaving a scarred but resilient Earth. Continue reading “Earth Day Without Us: Human conceit, resilience, and finding our place in the Anthropocene”
Fight another day
The first COP climate conference of the Trump presidency wrapped up last week. True to form, the final gavel fell in the “wee hours” of Saturday morning.
Lacking the excitement of COP21 two years ago, COP23 is nonetheless one more step in the long road of transforming into reality the global aspiration expressed in Paris.
That reality is by no means assured. Despite the political upheaval of the past year, we survive to fight another day.
A race to where?
Continue reading “COP23 Wraps : The Long Journey Continues, Nobody Said It Was Easy”
Bridging the gap
I tried this last week on a post I promoted on Facebook expressing my concern with changing federal environmental policy in Alaska.
That I was paying Facebook a modest sum of cash in exchange for increased exposure, I anticipated raucous participation from the comments section. Just preaching to the choir gets boring. My keyword-laden commentary, including “liberal bubble,” should be an easy target.
Continue reading “Going to Common Ground”
A new, cross-disciplinary white paper authored by three prominent international climate experts for the US-based Universal Ecological Fund refutes the notion that taking proactive actions to mitigate and adapt to rapid climate warming runs contrary to U.S. domestic economic interests.
It was precisely that contention that President Donald J. Trump used to justify his intention to back the US out of its commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, to which then President Barack Obama committed the US in December 2015.
In contrast to numerous other studies that have sought to assess the multitude of impacts and effects climate warming has and will continue to have over the course of the 21st century, the FEU-US study, “The Economic Case for Climate Action in the United States,” zooms in on economic losses resulting from extreme weather events, and on health costs of exposure to air pollution that result from burning fossil fuels. Continue reading “Leading Experts Make the Case for Climate Action in the United States”
A Harbormaster’s Reflection on a Life Watching the Sea
From Doc Ricketts to Mack to Dora Flood, Monterey is the stuff of legend, the iconic fishing town hugging the Pacific Coast of central California.
Brought to life by the characters of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, the abundance of Monterey Bay fueled Steinbeck’s imagination. More than just characters in a novel, Monterey is quintessentially a community of people and their relationship with the sea.
Continue reading “The Sea is Confused”
A corrupted creation myth
The scientific debate whether we call our geologic epoch the Anthropocene is yet to be settled.
What is less debatable is the planetary-scale impact of human activity. As we posit throughout PlanetWatch, we live in the Age of Man. Our presence is felt in every corner of the Earth. Dominion over the Earth, what was once we imagined, an ageless myth, is our reality. We reap the benefits for a time.
Continue reading “Looking for Tomorrow: Reasons for Hope in a Troubled World”