Hi everyone, thanks for coming to check out the site. You are my best and brightest…those that by blood or common history are caught up in this strange endeavor. A few quick notes:
At your earliest convenience, read through the content links at the top. (CLIMATE CHANGE, LIMITS TO GROWTH, etc.) These are the bones of the site, and they constitute my pitch to the public on climate change and what needs doing.
Please comment! Comment on posts, comment on core content. Comments are good for two reasons. First, this project only works with your participation. Action on climate change can’t happen until the threat is internalized and everybody is thinking about it. Second and perhaps more importantly, when I open the site up to a broader audience it makes me look less pathetic if there’s some evidence of traffic on the site.
You’ve probably noticed: things are a little ugly right now. What’s rolling here is a beta…I’m learning WordPress and getting in to the flow of blogging. If you want you can share the site with people, but it might be better to wait a week or two until the site moves out of beta.
If anything sets this blog apart from the rest it will be the involvement of friends and family. So one last time and for good measure: THANK YOU. Seriously.
We believe in what we can touch, smell, observe or prove. These are truths, these are the building blocks for a basic understanding of our world. You refuse them at your peril…because without them you endanger yourself and others. Only madmen step off a building believing gravity holds over them no sway.
“This is not some gentle monthly wake-up call, it’s the same global alarm that’s been screaming at us since 2008”
The above was quoted by Colin Roche of Oxfam, noting that the drought could lead to food shortages for millions of people worldwide. Corn prices have surged 49% since mid-June. And since corn is in everything these days, conscientious shoppers in developed nations will notice their grocery bills going up 10% or more. In poorer nations, where people already spend 50-70% of their income on food, these increases mean people simply go hungry.
For Americans it’s a hit to the wallet. For poorer people around the world, it’s a punch in the gut.
As the ABOUT section details, a big component of this site will be me giving the “climate talk” to my friends and family. This is for practical reasons (these are people I love and I want them to be prepared) and because personal encounters are more relatable than scientific reports. Here is the account of my first recorded talk, given to my family on 8/23/12 in Chatham, MA.
Only a week prior I had quit my job to pursue this project, and I did what any recently employed person would do: I went on vacation. I spent a few days in Provincetown with friends, and then met up with my family down in Chatham. Right away I’d like to give a shout out, because this was one of the best vacations of my life. I think that was because it was so different, at least for us. My mom, my sisters and I all lived together until the kids went away to college, and I don’t think any of us saw that situation as idyllic (to put it mildly). Things were frequently hostile, and I think we all had come to associate living in proximity with anger and frustration.
College to the rescue! In addition to all its other magic, college gave us the space we needed to breathe and relax. Since then we’ve been drifting back together, learning to appreciate eachother as adults, and reincorporating family time as a result. This trip was really the culmination: all of us in close proximity, for an extended period of time, for the first time in more than a decade. And for the most part, things were great…those associations with frustration and anger were replaced by much more positive ones. I think a big part of that has to do with my two newly minted nieces (ages 1 and 3), who are actively changing everyone’s brain chemistry to make us love and appreciate family more.
The intended targets of the climate talk were my sister Jill and her husband John, and after some coaxing they agreed to listen to me on Thursday. It was a nice night so we went out to the deck, they settled in with some wine, and I got ready. But then, surprisingly, most everyone else in my family came out to join us. We had a really good mix of people: my sister Jill (stay at home mother with balls of steel), my brother-in-law John (affable, works in finance), my mom (smart, no-nonsense), Jay (mom’s boyfriend, Fox News devotee), Hildur (John’s charming mother), and Margaret (John’s 11 year old niece).
The full video of the talk (~20 min):
Overall I thought things went pretty well. I didn’t stammer too much, and I knew what I wanted to say without relying overmuch on my notes. The one thing I clearly need to do is figure out what to do with my fucking hands. This video has been edited to soften the banging each time they hit the table, because it was almost unwatchable before.
After the talk we got in to the Q&A, which was fantastic. Everyone seemed curious and asked good questions, and things carried on for quite a while. More wine was poured and people blended in and out of the conversation as it was getting late and people were getting ready for bed. Jay was giving me the business, and John chimed in with doom and gloom every now and then. Below are video shorts for the Q&A portion that came after the talk. I only caught some of what was probably 45 minutes of talking on tape, but here are some highlights:
Jay explains that we’re all doomed.
I beg to differ.
Mom chimes in.
I get the last word.
Once again I just want to say thanks to my family for listening to me and getting this whole project kicked off. Thanks family!
This is my first post. It’s hard to express my feelings at the moment, which are split in several different directions. I feel responsibility, warranted or not. The consequences of climate change are so large and dramatic that I feel an obligation to sound the alarm and do what I can to help humanity cope.
I feel genuine apprehension, as well. Do I actually have the ability to blog every day in an interesting way? Will the content of this site resonate with anyone? Will anyone even show up in the first place?
The enormity of climate change also fills me with awe – I stand before it in gaping wonder like the first people to view the Grand Canyon. When you stand in front of something big, it can make you feel awfully small. Climate change science has opened my eyes to the complex beauty of the world and enabled me to take the long view on humanity’s path.
But chiefly I feel excitement, embodied best that phrase “a new chapter begins”. I’m remaking my life; employment, knowledge, priorities, and hopes for the future are all under active revision. This century is going to be a defining one for people. It’s going to be an interesting ride. And like a roller coaster I’m pushing and shoving to get a seat in the front car.