Tag Archives: hurricane

Prophecy and Inconvenient Truths

Those of you who saw An Inconvenient Truth may remember the bit where Al Gore was showing simulations of sea level rise, and he showed us this:

Well, the sea level hasn’t risen enough the put those areas permanently under water, but here’s what the 9/11 memorial looked like last night thanks to a few millimeters of sea level rise, and a couple degrees of warming.

Credit to the NJ Weather Authority

This was the first time. It won’t be the last. Soem folks have called this the “storm of the century”, and maybe they’re right, if they’re talking about the LAST hundred years, but if they’re talking about the century from 2000 to 2100, we’re going to look back and see this as the first, and by no means the worst, of many.

Climate vigil

Hanging out in the outskirts of the hurricane in Boston’s Government Center. The vigil, which was supposed to go through noon tomorrow, was called off, but I wanted to make an appearance anyway, so I’m here with one other brave soul who’ll be spending the night out. There were a few others here earlier, and we went down to the Long Warf to see high tide combining with the storm surge. There are a couple buildings and a parking lot down there that only have a couple more years before they’re probably going to be flooded on an annual basis.

It’s very windy here, and I’m glad there aren’t any trees to fall. Doesn’t look like the power’s going to go out though, so that’s good.

On changing our perspective

When I first watched this TED talk, I thought “yeah! we should totally change things and conserve and build windmills on our houses and stuff!”

While that’s not entirely wrong, it’s not what he was talking about. We really do need to change how we look at the world, and that call for change includes those of us who are trying to address global warming.

We are facing conditions that haven’t existed for millions of years, that our species hasn’t ever come close to experiencing, and we’ve got nothing to go on – no precedent, no experience, not tales or folklore. This is entirely uncharted territory, and that means that we must be willing to let go of any or all of our certainties about the world, if it turns out they are no longer effective. Continue reading

Why I give a damn

There’s a lot about climate change that is depressing, and a lot about it that’s frustrating, and every once in a while, it’s important to remind myself why I don’t just give up, shut it out, and live day to day.

There are a lot of reasons, obviously, but one of them is that my life is richer because of the current diversity of life. I’m not talking about medicines discovered in the disappearing Amazonian rainforests, or about the rolling landscapes in movies, or the joy of “just knowing they’re out there”, though those are all nice, I’m talking about my personal interactions with wildlife. As someone who has been obsessed with animals from a young age, I’ve sought them out, and so I’ve had a number of opportunities to see the diversity of life firsthand. In Tanzania, I got to watch lion cubs playing in the bushes, and I had a tiny bird basking on a rock a couple of feet from me in the frigid sunrise on Kilimanjaro. At Yellowstone I got to wake up in -10F weather to go out and watch wolves running across a snowbound field.  There have been many, many other experiences, both exotic and commonplace, at home and abroad, but for now I’m going to talk about just one in particular. Continue reading