We’ve been watching this situation with a sort of grim determination.
The determination is to know the truth, the somber attitude because we know what the truth implies about the future of our civilization.
There is far more to be concerned about in those two images (above) than anything the Romans faced when the Visigoth‘s rebelled.
All those projections, about what’s going to happen in 2050? Those were based on theories about how we would act to stop Climate change. Well, we just broke the 2007 melt record, and we’re still melting.
The theories were too optimistic. There was always a worry about sounding an alarm, losing credibility. Well Climate Change is only a “theory” in the sense that “The Theory of Gravity” is a theory. Calling it a theory doesn’t invalidate it’s effects. If you let go of something, it still falls. Climate change is here, it’s real, and it’s happening right on top of you no matter what you call it.
The melting of the Arctic Sea Ice isn’t just about sea level rise. It means record heat, droughts, floods, it means rain when you don’t want it and none when you need it. It means winters without snow, and springs that happen too soon. That Sea Ice is part of the engine that drives the world’s weather, and losing it means our world must change along with it.
We know the cause, we know how to start fixing it, and we can easily do it. But we have to show enough sense, and enough care for each other to actually step up.
The time to step up is now. We best start steppin, or real soon there won’t be anywhere to go.
- An update on the Arctic sea-ice (realclimate.org)
- Breaking: Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Historic Minimum [Greg Laden’s Blog] (scienceblogs.com)
- New research from last week 33/2012 (skepticalscience.com)
Arctic sea ice appears to have broken the 2007 record daily extent and is now the lowest in the satellite era. With two to three more weeks left in the melt season, sea ice continues to track below 2007 daily extents.
Please note that this is not an announcement of the sea ice minimum extent for 2012. NSIDC will release numbers for the 2012 daily minimum extent when it occurs. A full analysis of the melt season will be published in early October, once monthly data are available for September.
Arctic sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles).
Including this year, the six lowest ice extents in the satellite record…
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Most of you will know that the name of this blog comes from the reference to Carl Sagan‘s observation about the Earth when viewed from space… since I recently found someone had uploaded the clip itself, it seemed to be a good thing to reference here.
If you watch this video, try to keep in mind what Carl was saying. We’re here, not somewhere else. We are tiny to the point of insignificance as far as the rest of the universe is concerned. And our pale blue dot is fragile.
Many times life has nearly been wiped from the surface of this tiny blue dot. One of the worst was the Permian Mass Extinction, which killed 95% of all species on the planet. If you haven’t heard of it, try watching this video from the BBC. This clip is the 5th of 5 parts of a show called “The Day the Earth Nearly Died”.
I’ve recently learned that the majority of humans don’t really react to things until something is in their faces, so I suspect the majority of people reading this will give it the “so what” treatment. So if you’re in that 95% majority then please do continue. For those of you who are being willy nilly dragged toward the brink of extinction by the other 95%, here’s some things to take a look at:
- A Pale Blue Dot (darkroomsuffi.wordpress.com)
- Pale Blue Dots: Iconic Images of Earth From Space (wired.com)
- One of Carl Sagan’s most pertinent messages for humanity (theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com)
- Via Nova: Carl Sagan Reads From Pale Blue Dot (spottybanana.net)
- New technique unlocks secrets of ancient ocean (physorg.com)
- When Neil deGrasse Tyson met Carl Sagan (boingboing.net)
Clearly people stumble across this blog, it’s not like it’s sitting out in the middle of the “information superhighway” with barricades and flashing lights.
So I became curious. What do the people who eventually arrive here actually think on my primary subject, that being Global Warming / Climate Change / Global Climate Disruption / Climate Weirding.
Why so many names? Because, with the possible exception of Climate Weirding, all of these names have been politicized and I’m not sure people realize which parts are scientific fact, which are politician’s wishful thinking, and which parts are lies spread to confuse the issue.
I think anyone who has read any of my posts knows how I feel about the subject. But I want to know, in simple terms, what the people who arrive here think about it. So I’m going to release several simple questions, and see if I get answers.
- 8 in 10 Americans Now Believe Global Warming Is Real – Majority Think Humans To Blame, Too (treehugger.com)
- Ethics and Global Climate Change (alternativo21.wordpress.com)
- Why will animals and plants be more affected than humans by global climate change (wiki.answers.com)
- Climate change influences disease pattern (chimalaya.org)
- What is your reaction about global warming and climate change (wiki.answers.com)
Some of us say what we believe, and believe what we say. Some of us even fight for what we believe. There are also those who claim to believe something or other, but won’t fight for it. That’s the way of the world. So let’s imagine a world only slightly different, with only the names changed to protect the guilty…
What If the GOP Was the Climate Change Party?
By James Thindwa
Imagine if you will, an alternative universe, in which the GOP believes in climate change, and the Democrats are the naysayers? How would a climate crusading Republican Party approach this most consequential issue?
In their customary hard-nosed fashion, the GOP would no doubt have made more progress on climate change—replete with tough regulations and high-minded international treaties—than we have seen so far. GOP politicians and talking heads would be making hay from all the horrible weather, beating the drums about the grave danger to our “national security” and way of life posed by climate change. They would be warning of gloom and doom and calling for—to hell with cap-and-trade—new legislation with stricter timetables for cutting greenhouse emissions, higher carbon taxes and stiffer penalties for polluters. And they would dare the president to veto it!
Republican politicians would be talking about climate change in town hall meetings, with obligatory reference to the increasingly ferocious tornadoes and hurricanes. “Climate change” and “green jobs” would become synonymous—a mantra seared into GOP political lexicon as Republicans declare that their legislation simultaneously creates jobs, limits greenhouse gases and stimulates the economy. Yes, Republicans would be ready to steamroll Democrats on this one.
For GOP leaders, Irene would be an opportunity to stoke the passions of environmentalists. They would urge activists to hold rallies in Washington and across the country. The GOP media machine—led by Roger Ailes at Fox—would parade environmental leaders on television and talk radio pontificating about local struggles to shut down polluting coal-fired plants, the imperative to raise CAFE standards for autos, insulate buildings and retrofit solar panels—the whole kitchen sink. Rightwing talking heads would be in full swing, prodding activists to hunt down “Democrat” lawmakers at “town halls” to demand they stop protecting Big Oil’s profits at the expense of our country’s future.
For GOP lighting rods like Michelle Bachmann and Sara Palin, climate change would be manna from heaven—red meat for the party faithful. They would be browbeating Democrats for standing in the way of strong regulations and shilling for corporate polluters (yes, they’d say it despite both parties’ footsy-playing with industry—they don’t care about the hypocrisy). Palin and Bachmann would be mocking Democrats for aligning themselves with a fringe element that hates science and would endanger our national security and the planet. Of course, GOP candidates would already have made climate change a central issue in the presidential election, and aiming to place it high up on the 2012 party platform.
As expected, GOP strategists would have learned how to capitalize on disasters from their successful experiment in New Orleans, where they quickly moved in after Katrina and expanded charter schools. Thus, a salivating GOP would seize this moment to remind all Americans affected by Irene that climate change is real and urge them to demand immediate congressional action.
For maximum impact, rightwing pundits would cite the Pentagon’s finding that climate change constitutes “a grave national security threat” and the military’s plans to cope. On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol would advise that invoking the military in this debate “is strategically brilliant” because Democratic are vulnerable on anything to do with “our men and women in uniform.”
On the O’Reilly Factor, Ann Coulter would taunt President Obama for lacking “the kahunas” to take on corporate polluters. She would point to Obama’s cozy relationship with the likes of Exelon, and his silence on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Sean Hannity would harangue the “liberal media” for ignoring the words “climate change” in their coverage of Hurricane Irene. Rightwing hothead and former UN ambassador John Bolton would announce on Fox his new campaign for a new international climate treaty. It would carry heavy sanctions—even military action—against countries that did not sign on.
Finally, GOP leaders would be all over the hypocrisy of Democratic governors for stoking hatred of government even as they, in this crisis moment, expect emergency relief from the federal government. On the campaign trail and in presidential debates, GOP candidates would use Irene to highlight the indispensable role of government not just in public safety, but in healthcare access, infrastructure investment, helping foreclosure victims and reining in predatory banks, and alleviating poverty—that silent but ongoing emergency for millions of women, men and children. They would forc efully explain to voters that paying taxes is not a subversive notion, but an act of patriotism.
Yes, sir, that’s exactly what the GOP would do if it were the party of climate change.
(Are you listening, Democrats?)
Fortunately, James Thindwa lives very much in the real world, where he is a Chicago-based labor and community activist. He also writes for In These Times and serves on its board of directors.
This needs to be spread around… if you like it, pass it on!
- Climate, evolution thorny issues for GOP hopefuls (sfgate.com)
- Study: Reducing Soot is Fastest Way to Slow Climate Change (chimalaya.org)
- Informational Governance of Climate Change Organisations (chimalaya.org)
- Green Party blasts Obama & GOP capitulation to corporate lobbyists on Tar Sands & axing EPA smog regs (wilderside.wordpress.com)
- Texas A&M prof says study shows that clouds don’t cause climate change (eurekalert.org)
- Journal Editor Quits Over Climate Change Hullabaloo (newser.com)
- Rural women in India fighting climate change (chimalaya.org)
- Towards a New Political Economy of Climate Change and Development (chimalaya.org)
@brainpicker on Twitter provided this excellent link at the Open Culture site openculture.com that calls for some intellectual honesty. I’m reposting via Posterous to get the post up in as many places as I can as quickly as possible.
If the video doesn’t show below, please go to the original site (link above) to watch! This is very definitely worthy of extra thought.
In the weeks before the US Congress passed major healthcare reform, select members of the political right (from “the base” on up to the leadership) repeated the claim that the Obama administration was turning America into a fascist/totalitarian/Maoist/Nazi state. The language was inflammatory and reckless, and it deeply trivialized the past. Now, it’s time for a little reality check. This is what fascism & totalitarianism actually look like. It looks like prison camps, torture, starvation, the bleakest of bleak conditions, and mass death, running into the millions. And take note: there’s not much healthcare going to the uninsured in this world (nor a strident political opposition, I can assure you). This wartime documentary, Death Mills (above), comes from the great director Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard). It was intended to educate Germans about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. But, apparently it still has educational value for Congressmen, pundits and tea partiers today. Unless, of course, these folks were just being cynical all along.
For those who opposed the healthcare plan intelligently and civilly, don’t take offense. This is not about healthcare per se. It’s about intellectual honesty … or at least setting the historical record straight.
Edit 2010 03 15:
It’s always difficult to show where my thoughts begin and end on these Posterous blog updates… perhaps I should stop using it and find a better blog distribution tool. For clarification, I found this post by Vurdlak over on the moillusions.com site and thought it depicted the Orwellian nature of our world reasonably well… after reviewing, the post again, I see it’s unclear that the words below were from another person. So I’ve added this comment just for context.
January 26, 2010 by Vurdlak
I don’t know if these shots were taken from an actual photojournalism, or were they just used as a theoretical example, but either way consider this a pretty powerful demonstration. See for yourself how our our perception can be easily shaped, and manipulated with by the media. I believe it isn’t necessary to explain this optical illusion. Photos speak for themselves. Imagine you worked for an administration that wants you to show how soldiers have no mercy when it comes to war. You would use the cropped picture on your left in that case. However, if you worked for the other side, and wanted to depict soldiers as human beings, you would crop the right part of the original photo. There you have it! Such powerful example amazes me, but in the same time scares the sh*t out of me. Which makes me think, should we be more skeptic to stories medias bombard us with?
For those of you who are intensely aware of this, my apologies for wasting your time and attention. For those who are unfamiliar with the idea that someone is making decisions about what you see, and what you know, please think hard about the implications of this posting. Especially when it comes to things like School Textbooks.
“we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex… Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” — President Dwight D. Eisenhower