Wednesday, July 11, 2018

CHESC 2018

I enjoyed presenting today at the annual CA Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) on the UC Santa Barbara campus.  The session was "Sustainability Through a Humanities Lens," and also featured Kristin Hogue, Student Engagement Fellow, UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative, and Juan E. Campo, PhD, Professor, Religious Studies, UC Santa Barbara. The moderator was David Braun, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.  I showed how my Honors Climate Change Poetry Seminar links students' personal lives with global themes like climate change.

The audience of about 50 professors and others had great questions and participation.  Overall, it was a wonderful conference with many professors, education leaders, and business leaders bringing their best gifts to the table of sustainability, health, planning, and resiliency.  California State University, Monterey Bay, gave an impressive presentation on their "Living Community Challenge." 

Scenic beach walks and bike rides also made this trip memorable.  CHESC noted, "This conference attracts close to 1000 attendees from 80 campuses, [and was] jointly organized by Independent / Private Colleges, California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and the University of California." I met wise elders, a trickster, insightful and committed students, and a friendly community. Mia Lopez, former tribal chair of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, said the area was a tribal gathering place for teaching and learning along with diverse cultures.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Remembering Celilo Falls

Some say nearby She Who Watches pictograph
is about looking over her children.
Others say it is a death mask about diseases brought by settlers.

Maybe it will take tearing down some upriver dams
to get young people to stop killing themselves.

This poem/film is from my forthcoming book Carbonfish Blues (Fomite, 2018), and is about loss of natural world and teen suicide epidemic which, according to a March 19, 2018 USA TODAY article  “was up 70 % between 2006 and 2016 [. . .] for white children and teens [and] 77% [. . .] for black children and teens.”  I heard one Millennial say recently "Nothing matters." which was an honest feeling, but I wonder how her feeling would change in presence of wild salmon ascending undammed rivers, or at least river sections.  I understand need for flood control, but our society must be more in balance with nature.  I recall Ed Abbey wrote, “One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Mark Twain Saw

"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain wrote prophesying Rep. Mo Brooks (R) Alabama. Read this article about a May 16, 2018, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Hearing.  It was, according to Carly Cassella of, "a Circus of Absurdist Climate Denial."

Brooks' claim suggesting "rocks are causing sea levels to [significantly] rise," as titled in the CNN video, is ridiculous to mainstream scientists. Climate deniers, fronting for oil companies, must be desperate in the face of overwhelming evidence to reduce carbon and methane emissions now.

It has been widely reported if Greenland melts, seas will rise "6 meters (20 feet),"  and if the Antarctic Ice Sheet melts, "60 meters (200 feet)."  Greenland melting, in other words, is enough to qualify as a major global disaster for coastal cites, even if Antarctica were stable, which it is not, as I will show below.

Brooks' focus on Antarctic land ice and Antarctic "total ice quantity" are distractions from the Arctic/Greenland melt crisis.  However, he was only partially correct about the land ice issue, and completely wrong about recent Antarctic "total ice quantity." This is similar to the reported exchange Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the Committee, had with physicist Dr. Duffy, President of the Woods Hole Research Center and former senior adviser to the US Global Change Research Program:

"The rate of global sea-level rise has accelerated and is now four times faster than it was 100 years ago," Duffy told Smith in response to the charts.

"Is this chart inaccurate, then?" Smith asked.

"It's accurate, but it doesn't represent what's happening globally; it represents what's happening in San Francisco," Duffy said.

In fairness to Rep. Mo Brooks' Antarctic claims, he clarified, according to, "You've got to make sure you're careful in terminology [ . . .] I'm talking ice quantity. He's [Dr. Duffy's] talking about surface area. Two entirely different things. [ Brooks added] total ice quantity, which is what affects sea levels, has been increasing." also reported "[Brooks said] the ice is growing in quantity on the interior of Antarctica."

As I wrote above, the immediate concern is the Arctic/Greenland melt crisis. However, after that, what matters from a climate/sea rise perspective is the total amount of ice melting or being added in Antarctica, not just the interior. "Antarctica," according to Leeds University researcher Dr. Anna Hogg, is "still losing ice mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass from snowfall" (see below).

According to, NASA Goddard’s chief cryospheric scientist Jay Zwally, author of the a 2015 study showing increasing Antarctic ice, has updated his research. According to this May 16, 2017 post by Eric Betz, "Zwally still stands by his 2015 study, but in an interview last week, he said nature has recently changed the equation. His team is crunching numbers from the past two years, looking at ice melting and snowfall rates in Antarctica. And they found something startling. [par break] The melt rates in West Antarctica just increased significantly. His calculations now show that the continent is in overall balance. The findings haven’t been peer reviewed yet, but he plans to present them at a science conference later this year." In the article, Zwally noted, “In our paper we said that might happen in two to three decades, [instead of what happened in two or three years . . . ]. Well, this is an unpublished result, but now we’re very close to the zero line.”

More importantly, an April 9, 2018, article by Jonathan Amos, "Big increase in Antarctic snowfall," reported "The BAS researcher [Dr. Liz Thomas] is keen to stress that the increases in snowfall do not contradict the observations of glacial retreat and thinning observed by satellites over the last 25 years. Although the extra snow since 1900 has worked to lower global sea level by about 0.04mm per decade, this is more than being countered by the ice lost to the oceans at Antarctica's margins, where warm water is melting the undersides of glaciers."

The article also cites Dr Anna Hogg, from Leeds University, UK.  Hogg, using "radar satellites to measure the shape and mass of the ice sheet" said "Even with these large snowfall events, Antarctica is still losing ice mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass from snowfall, mainly due to the regions of known ice dynamic instability, such as in the Amundsen Sea Embayment which includes Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. [par break] The Antarctic 4.3mm contribution to global sea level since about 1992 is still our best estimate."

Brooks' misunderstandings may be based on an observation predicted by climate change models. Aforementioned Dr. Liz Thomas, cited in the above article, said "Theory predicts that, as Antarctica warms, the atmosphere should hold more moisture and that this should lead therefore to more snowfall. And what we're showing in this study is that this has already been happening."  However, reading in context shows this increase is negated by the aforementioned "warm water [ . . . ] melting the undersides of glaciers."  Therefore, close observation of Antarctica does not equal humans having less to worry about with sea rise, predicted by NASA to be "0.2 meters to 2.0 meters (0.66 to 6.6 feet) [ . . . .] by 2100."

The danger of Brooks' overgeneralizing into error reminds me of a paragraph in David James Duncan's book My Story As Told By Water, where a politician sees cans of Alaska salmon in stores, and doesn't understand the need to protect Idaho's genetically-different wild salmon from extinction.

With science, as with poetry, understanding is based on specifics. For example, the difference between H 2O (water) and just H (hydrogen) is the difference between a scenic alpine lake and fiery Hindenburg disaster.

I thought U. S. representatives and senators had staffs to look up basic science BEFORE hearings, but maybe not.   Alan Neuhauser reported May 10, 2018, at "The percentage of Republican voters who believe humans are driving climate change jumped by 9 points in only seven months."  After the "circus" May 16, 2018, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Hearing, expect that number to rise.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

What is the Source of 2017s Increased Atmospheric Methane?

A 2014 article in Scientific American reported "Levels of the potent greenhouse gas continue to rise and scientists aren't sure where most of it is coming from, though likely suspects include fracking, increased coal mining in China and a melting Arctic."

Regardless of source, or sources, humanity is moving in the wrong direction, and it's time to reverse course whatever the cost. As I noted below, "the climate effects now are from emissions about 10 to 30 years ago, and we have poured in much more carbon [and methane] since then. We can expect conditions to get worse until long after this problem is solved."  Still on the fence about whether climate change is real?  Watch this giraffe video on Kubler-Ross' stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) to identify where you are.  As this Psychology Today article by David B. Feldman Ph.D., notes, "We may race through them or drag our feet all the way to acceptance. We may even repeat or add stages that Kubler-Ross never dreamed of. In fact, the actual grief process looks a lot less like a neat set of stages and a lot more like a roller coaster of emotions. Even Kubler-Ross said that grief doesn’t proceed in a linear and predictable fashion, writing toward the end of her career that she regretted her stages had been misunderstood."

Thanks to visitors this week from United States, United Arab Emirates, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, Portugal, Canada, India, France, and United Kingdom.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

"Troubling to the truly hair-raising" Methane Release Reported, says The Economist

I am sometimes asked how bad climate change will get, and how fast.  I don't know specifics.  I can show you data, reasons for concern, and one study that claims an Arctic methane threat was greatly overrated.

However, as a reminder, President Niinist√∂ of Finland said in a Joint Press Conference with President Trump, August 28,2017, “If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.”


The Economist reported today "In the past decade methane levels have shot up (see chart), to the extent that the atmosphere contains two-and-a-half times as much of the gas as it did before the Industrial Revolution. Earlier this month America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed another sharp rise in 2017. [ . . . .] Of [an annual] 50bn-tonne total ["of 'carbon dioxide equivalent' of heat trapping gasses], 70% is carbon dioxide itself. Half the remaining 15bn tonnes is methane. [ . . . .] The explanations put forward by scientists range from the troubling to the truly hair-raising."


Overrated threat?

As I reported before,  The U. S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester noted in a recent study the Arctic-methane issue may not be as dire as some scientists imagined. That study claims "most of the methane released by gas hydrates never reaches the atmosphere. Instead, the methane often remains in the undersea sediments, dissolves in the ocean, or is converted to carbon dioxide by microbes in the sediments or water column. [ . . . .] Professor Kessler explains that, 'Even where we do see slightly elevated emissions of methane at the sea-air interface, our research shows that this methane is rarely attributable to gas hydrate degradation.'[ . . . .] The authors’ sober, data-driven analyses and conclusions challenge the popular perception that warming climate will lead to a catastrophic release of methane to the atmosphere as a result of gas hydrate breakdown.”

The study continues, "The review pays particular attention to gas hydrates beneath the Arctic Ocean, where some studies have observed elevated rates of methane transfer between the ocean and the atmosphere.  As noted by the authors, the methane being emitted to the atmosphere in the Arctic Ocean has not been directly traced to the breakdown of gas hydrate in response to recent climate change, nor as a consequence of longer-term warming since the end of the last Ice Age."

Natalia Shakhova, ("Expertise: chemical oceanography") Research Associate Professor at International Arctic Research Center at The University of Alaska Fairbanks, seems to disagree. She says in the above video, "As compared to the mid-depth of the world's ocean which is few hundred meters, up to kilometers, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf mid-depth is only 50 meters."  She notes this is a problem because the more-shallow waters allow greater amounts of methane to rise into the atmosphere.  The other major concern she has is quantity. She says the total amount of methane in Earth's atmosphere is "about 5 gigatonnes. The amount of carbon preserved in form of methane in the  East Siberian Arctic Shelf is approximately from hundreds to thousands of gigatonnes. And, of course, it's only 1% of that amount is required to double the atmospheric burden of methane."

As a reminder, an October 4, 2016, Siberian Times article quoted Professor Igor Semiletov, of Tomsk Polytechnic University, Shakhova's colleague speaking in the above video.  Semiletov said "We have reason to believe that such emissions may change the climate. This is due to the fact that the reserves of methane under the submarine permafrost exceed the methane content in the atmosphere [ . . . ] many thousands of times. If 3-4% from underwater will go into the atmosphere within 10 years, the methane concentration therein (in the atmosphere) will increase by tens to hundreds of times, and this can lead to rapid climate warming. This is due to the fact that the greenhouse effect of one molecule of methane is 20-30 times greater than one molecule of CO2."

The good news is that even though methane has a much stronger effect than CO2, the life of methane in the atmosphere is shorter.  Duncan Clark's January 16, 2012 article in The Guardian noted "Between 65% and 80% of CO2 released into the air dissolves into the ocean over a period of 20–200 years" while "Methane, by contrast, is mostly removed from the atmosphere by chemical reaction, persisting for about 12 years."

In other words, depending on how much Arctic methane is released how fast, it could be a difficult time for humans and other species if Shakhova's and Semiletov's concerns become reality.  Creon says in the Greek tragedy Oedipus "Time is the one incorruptible judge."

Friday, April 27, 2018

"Why a paid climate doubter switched sides" -- Yale Climate Connections

"Jerry Taylor once worked for a libertarian think-tank, where he was paid to dispute the seriousness of climate change. Now he argues for climate action." Listen here.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Toby and Springer

Elk dog.
April 21 brought my first springer of the season.
Toby, my Jack Russell, kept trying to take down an elk. I had to yell "No. Bad dog! Elk are out of season you fool!" Anyway, here is some fresh salmon for you Bonnie ZoBell. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018


Here is my fishing/climate change bumper sticker I designed at in 6 minutes (Click Signs & Posters then Bumper Stickers.). I bought two for about $12 which included postage.  Here are my other ideas, or invent one: He > google (God Is Greater Than google); Yoga = Resilience; Love Anyway; I Am More Than My Metal Exoskeleton; The Wise Ape is Not a Mistake, It's Only How We Live.

Below are updates on fishing, climate change, and ecolit.


On the way to looking at Idaho land to buy, I caught two steelhead and released a 6 pound bull trout which, like humans, are an endangered species.

Climate Change

More bad news arrived with Antarctic ice melt far worse than thought, and a plan to "sunshade" warming areas of the world.  An April 11 update notes "Gulf Stream current at its weakest in 1,600 years, studies show."  For those who understand the AMOC, this is major news. For those who don't, you will soon.


The Coachella Review at The University of California, Riverside published my ecoplay The Dome. I'm grateful because this journal has "a relationship with the Palm Springs International Film Festival." Maybe someone will make The Dome into a short film. According to Wikipedia, "It is noted for its Award Ceremonies where such actors as Brad Pitt, Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Hathaway and Leonardo DiCaprio have appeared."  However, for the lead role (only two roles, a man and a lizard) I vote for Canadian First Nations actor Graham Greene nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Dances with Wolves (1990).  A Native American drama judge voted my play first place at the Tucson Presidio Theatre Company Playwriting Competition in 1994 where the Committee gave it second place and a cash award.

My Hawk on Wire was selected from over 1,500 books as a Montaigne Medal Finalist sponsored by Eric Hoffer Awards for "the most thought-provoking books." There are many writing scams, but my research showed the Eric Hoffer Awards are legitimate, widely known as "one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses."

Thanks to visitors this week from United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Pakistan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Indonesia, Netherlands, and Peru.  This is a free site with no ads. If you want to support me, order my last book, Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems at Kindle, Amazon, or Barnes & NobleThe YouTube of my book launch reading, attended by about 50 people, is here. It has 179 views as of today. I misspoke "glaciers" when I meant to say "icebergs."  I like what Bill McKibben twittered today, "Oil has become a kind of moral poison."  Sometimes concise truths like that are the most powerful.

I will teach Honors Climate Change Poetry Seminar fall term Thursdays at 6:35 p.m., World Lit. I Wednesdays at 6:35 p.m, and Creative Nonfiction Tuesdays at 6:35 p.m.  Creative Writing Program students are now able to take courses twice as A and B sections.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

"[Chevron] representative says the oil industry accepts that humans are the driving force of global warming"

On March 21 CBS San Francisco (CBS SF) reported in "Judge Calls For Tutorial While Hearing Climate Change Lawsuits" "the [Chevron] representative says the oil industry accepts that humans are the driving force of global warming but oil companies argue that they can't be held liable for emissions that are indeed government regulated." The oil companies' response is laughable because, as Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse noted, after the Supreme Court passed Citizens United in 2010 providing limitless "dark money" in politics "virtually instantly all republican work on climate change stopped." To give human and nonhuman species a fighting chance, the Supreme Court must overturn Citizens United as soon as possible. Scientist, polar explorer, diplomat, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Fridtjof Nansen, known for helping hundreds of thousands of refugees, said to a group at the 1925 League of Nations "The wonderfully eloquent speech which we have just heard reminds me of the definition of the difference between the difficult and the impossible. The difficult is that which can be done at once: the impossible is that which takes a little longer." If recent climate trends are an indicator, time is short to massively reduce carbon emissions because, as some scientists note, the climate effects now are from emissions about 10 to 30 years ago, and we have poured in much more carbon since then. We can expect conditions to get worse until long after this problem is solved.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Big Oil Knew: Part 1

Update: "On Wednesday, a federal judge [ William Alsup] will hold a 'climate science tutorial' as part of San Francisco’s and Oakland’s nuisance cases against five oil giants for damages related to sea level rise" according to Ann Carlson and Peter C. Frumhoff of the San Francisco Chronicle.  I wonder What is the dollar value of Earth's coral reefs, and Pacific Northwest salmon?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Former California Governor "Arnold Schwarzenegger Accuses Oil Companies Of Murder"

Cornel West's Great Essay "Brother Martin Was a Blues Man"

This morning I enjoyed Cornel West's great essay "Brother Martin Was a Blues Man" in Boston Review, which is also a podcast.  The essay notes, "72 percent of Americans disapproved of Martin when he was shot in Memphis and 50 percent of black Americans disapproved of Martin when he was shot. We should never forget that. We all love him now that the worms got his body. But when he was speaking the truth, he was radically unsettling folk. [ . . . .]  The New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, exemplary liberal [ . . . ] pushed Martin aside. [ . . . .] For him, a Vietnamese baby has the same value as an American baby. That’s when they said, 'You ain’t nothing but an extension of Radio Hanoi. You are a communist.' And then what happened? Black preachers turned away from him, didn’t allow him to speak at the pulpits anymore."  Poets, that is our job in the tribe -- to speak the truth, and as Joy Harjo noted, "to sing" while we are doing it.

Thanks to visitors this morning from Ukraine, Germany, Spain, Philippines, Pakistan, and Russia, and recently from Japan, South Korea, Poland, Portugal, and, Australia.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Climate Change Effects Are Local and Global

© 2011 Ruth Wallen. All Rights Reserved.
I enjoyed meeting artist Ruth Wallen, a lecturer at the University of California, San Diego, with an art exhibit Listen to the Trees at San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery from March 12  - April 3, 2018. The hours are MTW 11 am - 4 pm, TH 11 am - 7 pm, closed Fridays, weekends and college holidays. Visitor parking info is here, and a map is here.  It is in building D1.

The ad for the Exhibit notes, "Since 2010, over 100 million trees have died in California alone--ravaged by beetles, drought, fires and more. Humans and trees are bound in reciprocity.  In addition to shade, shelter and food, trees produce oxygen and take up the carbon dioxide that we increasingly spew into the atmosphere.  In many cultures, trees are a symbol of life itself.  What does it mean that the trees are dying?"

My favorite part was "A tree stump with an ipad display[ing] diagrams of trees rings with historical data and models projecting climate to the year 2100. Tree rings are often labeled with historical events and pressing on selected rings reveals information about a local ecological event that has occurred or might occur in that year."  This science-based show was revealing and haunting. Check it out by visiting the Gallery or clicking the Listen to the Trees link.  Her exhibit began at the Weather on Steroids project at La Jolla Historical Society, the same group that sponsored my book launch of the climate change poetry collection Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems.

Update: All are invited to a 4 p.m. March 22 poetry reading complementing Ruth Wallen's Remember the Trees art exhibit at San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery, room D101. 

Students from the first two terms of Scott Starbuck's Honors Climate Change Poetry Seminar 247 / 247B will read ecopoems, and other poems.  The students' book Earth-Rent is in the LRC, and the course will be offered fall term 2018 Thursdays at 6:35 p.m.

Coffee and cookies! [ . . .]

Alessandra Moctezuma, Gallery Director

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"Warning System Down: California’s Deadliest Fires"

Thich Nhat Hanh taught to focus on what is helpful. It is helpful to listen to this Reveal radio broadcast to ask for systems planning and AMBER-style alerts that can be used in regional emergencies: "Warning System Down: California Deadliest Fires" ("Last October, more than 170 wildfires ripped across Northern California. It was the deadliest fire incident in the state's history [and cost 44 lives]") (Click the  LISTEN  button under the title.)

Thank you to 99 visitors from Japan this morning (3/12/18) as well as many other visitors from Ukraine, Russia, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Portugal, Canada, and Indonesia.

The "Red Team, Blue Team" Climate Change Debate E. P. A. Chief Scott Pruitt Wanted, and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly Rejected, was Clarified in a 2011 Debate, and Eco and Political Situations Have Grown Much Worse

Click here for the 2011 debate.

A New York Times article by LISA FRIEDMAN and JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS reported yesterday "The E.P.A Chief Wanted a Climate Science Debate. Trump’s Chief of Staff Stopped Him."

United States' leadership is the only leadership on Earth rejecting science that human-caused carbon is the main thing heating Earth and acidifying oceans. If you care, now is the time to contact elected officials, and join others like working on solutions. Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave a good overview of climate disasters in 2017.  March 6, 2018, the Chicago Tribune published an article by Seth Borenstein updating the heating situation in the Arctic.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Is a human life worth $450 to you?

I went to hear "the Pope's advisers" on climate change March 2 at a UCSD panel called "Climate Change. What Can Be Done About It?" attended by about a hundred students, professors, and concerned citizens.  The advisers were Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dr. Richard C.J. Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Congressman Scott Peters who serves California's 52nd Congressional District.  The highlight was when, as noted elsewhere, "Dr. Ramanathan said it would take $450 per person per year in the top one billion people to change from our carbon economy to renewables" saving over 3 billion people that may otherwise die from exposure to 130 degree plus heat 35 years from now if humans fail to convert energy sources from coal and fossil fuels to "solar, wind, hydro, and possibly nuclear. [ . . . . ] We have 10 to 15 years to solve the problem."

Dr. Somerville noted "human behavior" in responding to climate crisis is the main unknown factor, and lamented lack of enough leaders on the issue. I asked what they thought about nonviolent civil disobedient climate action.  Congressman Peters said he thought it was ineffective, but Dr. Ramanathan mentioned Gandhi made it work in India, and Dr. Somerville reminded everyone of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights movement. I would have suggested Bill McKibben as a leader, but had already taken my turn to speak when there were no hands in the air, and at that point, there were many hands in the air. Prior to that I mentioned Dr. James Hansen but received no response.

San Diego County has about 3 million people who need to be involved.  The hundred in the room asked good questions about what to tell people concerned about climate change solutions, and how society can get gas and diesel cars off the road in the next ten years.  Listening, I recalled William Stafford's poem "Serving With Gideon" read by his son Kim.

Congressman Peters talked much about the need to get evangelicals involved.

The last question was about carbon removal from the atmosphere, though my reading indicates that may not work (see last four paragraphs).

Click here for a Southern California perspective.

Monday, February 26, 2018

"climate and weather events displaced more than 1 million Americans from their homes last year"

I appreciated Rolling Stone contributing editor Jeff Goodell's recent article from which the quote above was taken.  The article "Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration" gives news that is needed. He is also the author of an interesting book The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World praised by Bill McKibbenElizabeth KolbertSenator Sheldon Whitehouse, and others. Goodell gave me permission to use a quote from his book as an epigraph to introduce my new book Carbonfish Blues (Fomite, 2018), a collaboration with English artist Guy Denning providing sketches, murals, and paintings of activism, refugees, human vulnerability, and realism. Goodell wrote "Fish will school in classrooms. Oysters will grow on submerged light poles."

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Four Horsemen of Distraction vs Peace Pilgrim

These are the four horsemen of distraction:


Funding Sources,



Here is what Peace Pilgrim taught:


evil with good,

falsehood with truth,

and hatred with love."


(The Peace Pilgrim link above is part of a film about her more than 25,000 mile walk for peace to prevent nuclear war. Instead of money, she carried "a pen, a comb, a toothbrush and a map" walking, she said, "until given shelter, fast[ing] until given food." Thanks to
visitors from Russia, Portugal, France, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea, Peru, and Thailand. Your interest motivates me to write these posts.)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Happer vs MacCracken

One of my longtime friends (47 years) sent me a Happer video disputing the ability of climate models "TO PREDICT THE FUTURE [overall] TEMPERATURE OF THE PLANET" due to too many variables, and too much unpredictability of direction over time. Happer used Hurricane Irma as an example, noting with just two days out, the forecast it would hit Miami and the east coast of Florida was wrong. The Feb 5, 2018, video "Can Climate Models Predict Climate Change?" has 1,920,989 views in four days so it seems people are interested in this topic.

Here was my reply: "'You do your best to disprove your own findings.' -- Isaac Asimov. I watched the entire Happer video, and to put it kindly, he seems sincere but is too narrow in reading outside his field. To put it unkindly, there is too much at stake for him not to [respond to] the best arguments on both sides. I have two resources to consider. The first is an approx. five min. video from former skeptic Richard Muller which you can judge yourself: [reposted below]. The second is a list of specific refutations to Happer's arguments": 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

WTF (What the Fish?)

In case you missed it, here is what President Trump said Jan. 28, 2018, in an interview with Piers Morgan:
“There is a cooling and there's a heating—I mean, look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming. That wasn't working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt. They were going to be gone by now, but now they're setting records, okay? They're at a record level.”

The President is wrong. The overall globe has been heating, and ice caps have been shrinking.  This ridiculous situation reminds me of the Norwegian Blue Parrot Scene from Monty Python "To celebrate The British Comedy Award nomination for 'Best Comedy Moment of 2014.'"  I think historians will recall this moment too.  To clarify on a more serious note, according to NASA "Sixteen of the 17 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. The year 2016 ranks as the warmest on record." and "Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September. September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13.2 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average." NASA also noted, according to, "2017 was the second warmest year on record since 1880."

I have many republican friends and relatives, and I wish some of you would tell the President you care about climate breakdown and, for the sake of your children, and theirs, want global carbon emissions reduced.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Rivers and Stories" by Robert Hass, and global oneness project

Today I read the excellent essay "Rivers and Stories" by Robert Hass.

It was in my morning email from the global oneness project I subscribed to a few years ago. It came with the usual lesson plan for professors and teachers who care about human and nonhuman communities on spaceship Earth.  The global oneness project is a gem in the mines of the Internet.  The Lesson Plan of the Week - January 26, 2018, quoted Hass: “I tell my students—and this is a time when they come in very worried with a sense of ecological catastrophe, which an earlier generation of students didn’t have—I tell them that part of their job is to have more fun. They’ve got to get out and enjoy themselves in the world. The first part of that job of reclaiming is to walk in the world. Look at this creature life. Watch the sunrise, watch the sun go down. Look at the stars and smell wet earth after rain and stand by a river. Stand by a living river and then go stand by the Huangpu or some other river, and you have to notice that there are no birds there to understand what’s happened, and that takes some experience.”

There are too many great lessons from global oneness project to list here. Here are some my students enjoyed: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking on the reality of being "interdependent [, . . . . ] interrelated"; Earthrise film trailer and historyInto the Middle of Nowhere film and lessonWelcome to Canada (about "a young Syrian refugee granted asylum in Canada in 2014, who is now counseling newly arrived refugees"); Wright's Law (a high school physics teacher talks about empathy and love); On the Verge of Displacement [in Ethiopia] which cites recently passed elder Ursula K. Le Guin: "Through story, every culture defines itself and teaches its children how to be people and members of their people—Hmong, !Kung, Hopi, Quechua, French, Californian…” [ . . . ] “What a child needs, what we all need, is to find some other people who have imagined life along lines that make sense to us and allow some freedom[ . . . .]; and "Lesson Plan Witnessing Icebergs".

Another good one is My Enemy, My Brother which I used with the prompt "Write about a surprise ending."

The global oneness project reminds me of a quote by Albert Camus: "The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." and another by Chief Arvol Looking Horse: "Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending."  For those just getting started, or helping students understand, watch this seven and a half minute PBS NewsHour video Why 2 degrees Celsius is climate change’s magic number.

Thanks to many visitors this week from Ukraine, Canada, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Climate Activists Need Balance

For balance, I enjoy time with my wife, dog, rivers, world literature classes, and creative writing classes. Meditation, prayer, yoga, and Pacific Northwest hikes also help. Thanks to many recent visitors from Ukraine, Russia, South Korea, France, and Germany.
Hidden River Two Days Ago