Skip to main content

The Most Important Subject

November 22, 2010 – My long-ago introduction to caring about the world around me was bird watching. From there I quickly moved on to conservation. At some point during the late ‘70’s I learned about global warming and its attendant problems. Jimmy Carter made his famous malaise speech. I kept on reading. By the early 80’s, it had been made apparent to anyone who cared to pay attention that Ronald Reagan had no intention of doing anything about global warming, other than (allegedly) studying it. I began writing letters to elected officials, insisting upon the urgency of the matter. It was at about this juncture that I discovered an amazing organization called The Worldwatch Institute, and decided that I wanted to subscribe to their papers. My global warming education was truly underway.

Before going on, let me urge anyone reading this blog to avail themselves of this treasure trove of information. The Worldwatch Institute can be found on the web at http://www.worldwatch.org/. These days, they not only continue to publish their invaluable papers, they also issue a magazine every other month, along with their annual State of the World volumes. These publications are essential reading for anyone concerned about the state of the natural world, and about our place in it.

Lester Brown, founder of the Institute, was and is the most prescient of men. Today, anyone who has followed the subject of climate change for longer than a year or two is unsurprised by titles such as Renewable Revolution: Low Carbon Energy by 2030, or Global Environmental Change: The Threat to Human Health, two recently issued reports. But back in 1985, papers with titles like Six Steps to a Sustainable Society and Whole-Earth Security: A Geopolitics of Peace were regarded as forward looking indeed. By 1990, those of us who followed the Institute’s research came to regard Alternatives to the Automobile: Transport for Livable Cities, Discarding the Throwaway Society, and Taking Stock: Animal Farming and the Environment as merely logical. It was easy to lose sight of how unprepared the vast majority of Americans remained for the colossal changes ahead.

Most of these papers remain available for purchase. They average about 50-70 pages, and cost $9.95 each. The papers are numbered; no. 183 has just been published. To further whet your appetite, here are some intriguing titles from the last five years:

#144 Mind Over Matter: Recasting the Role of Materials in our Lives
#153 Why Poison Ourselves? A Precautionary Approach to
Synthetic Chemicals
#158 Unnatural Disasters
#162 The Anatomy of Resource Wars
#171 Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry

Educate yourself about this most important of all subjects. You’ll be doing yourself, and future generations, a big favor.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The SunShot Initiative

In 2007, the amount of solar power installed in the U.S. was 1.1 gigawatts (GW). As of 2017, that amount has increased to 47.1 GW. Enough to power 9.1 million average American homes. If you're thinking "we've still got a long way to go," you'd be right. On the other hand, increasing installed power by 4300% deserves some attention.  How'd we do it?

The Department of Energy played an important role. In 2011, they initiated a program called The SunShot Initiative. They set targets for the years 2020 and 2030, by which times generating solar power would have become more affordable. More affordable on a utility scale, more affordable on a commercial scale, and more affordable on a residential scale. Thus far, they've succeeded in hitting the 2020 goal for utility-scale generation. Needless to mention, they reached that goal three years early. The goals, it should be mentioned, don't take subsidies into account. It's the technology, in the case of util…

Book Review: Irrevocable Acts

July 30, 2017 - Before I begin, let me mention that Jonnie Hyde is a member of the writing group I belong to, here in Vancouver, Wa. I took a stab at writing a novel about climate change awhile back; it wasn't very good, and subsequently went nowhere. Irrevocable Acts, on the other hand, is deserving of attention.

The beginning of Hyde's book is, perhaps, its only weak point: it's a bit confusing. All becomes clear as the book unfolds, and the characters are interesting, so there's no question of remaining involved. The characters hold your focus because they live their lives differently from most, yet the Sanders are a family, with three generations living under one roof: Anna, Kate, and Gracie. That family begins to unravel when the matriarch, Anna, decides she must embark, finally, on the life she was meant to live.

Anna, Danny Shepard, and Mac Caffrey have been friends most of their lives. Products of Berkeley at a time when the name Berkeley was believed to mean o…