Sunday, March 18, 2018

Big Oil Knew: Part 1

Update: "On Wednesday, a federal judge 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 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

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Good Time to Pray

Today I saw James Temple's  December 6, 2017 article "Global Warming’s Worst-Case Projections Look Increasingly Likely" in MIT Technology Review citing a paper in Nature that claimed "under the the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s [IPCC's] steepest  prediction for greenhouse-gas concentrations [ . . . . ] the odds that temperatures will increase more than 4 [°C over pre-industrial level . . . ] by 2100 in this so-called 'business as usual' scenario increased from 62 percent to 93 percent." For context, consider the newly complied data means a prediction "15 percent hotter than the previous estimate" following a pattern of the situation being much worse than thought.

Consider what an increase of 4 °C over pre-industrial level means. In a December 31, 2013, article in The Guardian by Damian Carrington, Professor Steven Sherwood, at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, said "4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous [ . . . ] For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet."

If Greenland melts, it has been widely reported seas will rise "6 meters (20 feet),"  and if the Antarctic Ice Sheet melts, "60 meters (200 feet)."

Below I wrote we need a modern Alan Turing (invented computer) with enough vision to matter. However, the more one looks into the scale and trends, the more obvious it is that social engineering is needed as much as technological geoengineering, especially since, as was noted below by Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam University Professor of Physics of the Oceans, speaking at the 2017 Bonn Climate Conference, geoengineering is unlikely to work. Many people cringe when they hear the term "social engineering" so how about "global social awakening"?

Robert Bly's book The Light Around the Body quotes Jacob Boehme (1575-1624): "For according to the outward man, we are in this world, and according to the inward man, we are in the inward world…. Since then we are generated out of both worlds, we speak in two languages, and we must be understood also by two languages." and

"Dear children, look in what a dungeon we are lying, in
what lodging we are, for we have been captured by the spirit
of the outward world; it is our life, for it nourishes and
brings us up, it rules in our marrow and bones, in our flesh
and blood, it has made our flesh earthly, and now death has us."

It is possible the IPCC is wrong, but probably not.

If you are a prayerful person, now would be good.  I recall in Leonardo Dicaprio's Before the Flood, he met with my favorite Pope, Francis. Dicaprio noted "He said that as far as the Paris Conference is concerned, he felt was a step in the right direction, but certainly not enough. He feels we all need to keep speaking out about this issue as loud as we can, and that we must immediately take action. But more than anything, he said to pray for the human race."

If space aliens are watching, children of the same God, I hope they don't follow a Star Trek-like "Prime Directive" or "Temporal Prime Directive."

If they are following those, or aren't watching, it's up to you, me, and anyone willing to help.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

[2017 was] "The Year Climate Change Began to Spin Out of Control" (MIT Technology Review) / ArtCenter SOUTH FLORIDA Residency

[2017 was] "The Year Climate Change Began to Spin Out of Control" (MIT Technology Review)

ArtCenter SOUTH FLORIDA is offering a one-year Miami residency with free housing, a $25,000 stipend, and "$7,500 in production funds" from April 1, 2018 – April 1, 2019 to help develop a 500 million dollar climate change "resiliency plan that incorporates the voices of residents and experts [that] will prepare the city to survive, adapt and grow as it faces a warming climate [ . . .]." Issues include "coastal flooding to affordable housing and public transit."  The residency is "based on the premise that art can drive social and political innovation." ArtCenter SOUTH FLORIDA is seeking "candidates who can connect their artistic practice to other fields of knowledge, like architecture, science, public policy and urban planning, in order to create new models for public action."  The deadline is January 22, 2018, 11:59PM  with notification on February 14, 2018.   The announcement noted "results of the residency could have far-reaching impacts, as the work will be shared with other cities around the world facing similar challenges." See the art/ecology/activist coral bleaching video below:

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I Imagined the Spirit of the Lord

moved over the waters, once rainbowed coral reefs bleached white as deer antlers, melting poles, and said to the man and woman,"You are so lost." Judas politicians took "thirty pieces of silver" from oil companies to send us and our children into the abyss if we allow it.
Pūliki used by permission of Sean Yoro with limited edition prints at

Monday, December 25, 2017

For My Christian Friends Who Say to Relax About Climate Change

In the King James Bible, Revelation 11:18 says "and [God] shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth." Is that us?  Our family? Our community? How much carbon are we burning taking out coral reefs, forests, and many species? In a post below, I noted Robinson Meyer in 2016 reported at, "The Average American Melts 645 Square Feet of Arctic Ice Every Year."

Fiona Harvey wrote in The Guardian June 28, 2017, "[Hans Joachim] Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, added: [Earth] may be fatally wounded by negligence [to reduce carbon emissions] [before] 2020.'"

Genesis 2:15 says "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Being a good steward means reducing carbon emissions.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Back in Portland, Oregon, Working on Carbonfish Blues

Turtles in Portland, Oregon's Legacy Emanuel Children's Garden by unknown artist.
I'm back in Portland, Oregon, for the holidays, and grateful to Fomite Press in Vermont for accepting my next book of climate change poems Carbonfish Blues featuring cover and internal art by English artist Guy Denning, whose Jophiel Watches was on my last cover. Denning's focus on activism, refugees, human vulnerability, and realism make it an honor to work with him.

I'm guessing the book featuring his art and my words will be out in 2018.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Just Fight It (Climate Breakdown)

Tonight the Thompson Fire, the third largest in California history [Dec. 22 Update -- now largest in California history] according to Reuters' reporter Caroline Anderson, continues to spread. Anderson wrote, "It has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and threatened 18,000 more [ . . . . and]  charred [ . . . ] 267,500 acres (108,253 hectares) [. . . ] fewer than 100 miles (160 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles. [ . . . . ] Nearly 8,500 personnel [ . . . .]  970 fire engines and 34 helicopters [ . . . . have the fire] 45 percent contained. [ . . . . ] Bakersfield Fire Department Captain Tim Ortiz described the fire as 'like nothing I’ve ever been involved with before'."  This story is being updated, and so quotes are changing.

When I was a commercial salmon troller / charter captain, my deckhand Tattoo fought large fires and described the work as exhausting.

Now, students fairly ask me "We know you wrote books about climate change, but what else have you done about it?" I say to them, as I will say to my nephews' and nieces' children, short of violence against against corporate and political climate criminals, I did what I could.

I gave climate change science / poetry readings, and question / answer sessions, at colleges, and other places, in Washington, Oregon, and California; wrote letters and articles for newspapers, wrote "Manifesto from Poet on a Dying Planet,"; held a fundraiser for Houston Food Bank after Hurricane Harvey; marched with other climate activists, served as a member of SanDiego.350's coordinating committee for the Road Through Paris action; edited for SanDiego.350; taught a Climate Change Poetry Seminar with more scheduled; used climate breakdown themes 14 years in English 205 Critical Thinking courses; made a Website to inspire young people; invited a climate writer to Mesa College for a public and YouTube presentation; gave a public showing of Chasing Ice followed by question / answer / discussion session; answered climate questions from other anglers; posted climate videos by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Francis, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the band Coldplay, and Morgan Freeman; participated in, and presented at, a UCSD Faculty Climate Change Curriculum Workshop and Networking Event; called TV news stations on behalf of San Diego area tribes in solidarity with water protectors near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and later called former North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple's office and argued for rights of water protectors; made other phone calls; sent letters; attended other climate marches in Los Angeles and San Diego; held a sign to President Obama as he rode a few feet away on his way to a La Jolla fundraiser; sent climate change books to Governor Jerry Brown; gave radio, newspaper, phone, and email interviews in the U. S. and Australia; read to over 500 climate activists at a December 12, 2016, Rally for Climate Justice in San Diego’s Balboa Park; rescued wild salmon and steelhead smolts trapped in stone pools away from their drought-affected rivers in Oregon and Washington; researched San Diego Mesa College investments then unsuccessfully fought the College to divest from coal and/or oil sands industries as UCSD did along with many other colleges worldwide; deleted emails from people posing as relatives, childhood friends, and colleagues while attempting to crash my four computers; met with other writers and artists working to reduce climate change; in official meetings asked the college where I teach to convert the entire curriculum to climate breakdown preparation for students; and helped honors students publish a book of climate breakdown poems.

Speaking of climate breakdown, Abby Rabinowitz and Amanda Simson a week ago published a Wired article "The Dirty Secret of the World’s Plan to Avert Climate Disaster" in which they noted, "without emissions cuts, global temperatures are projected to rise by 4°C by the end of the century. Many scientists are reluctant to make predictions, but the apocalyptic litany of what a 4°C world could hold includes widespread drought, famine, climate refugees by the millions, civilization-threatening warfare, and a sea level rise that would permanently drown much of New York, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai, and other coastal cities. [par] But here’s where things get weird. The UN report envisions 116 scenarios in which global temperatures are prevented from rising more than 2°C. In 101 of them, that goal is accomplished by [geoengineering also known as] sucking massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—a concept called 'negative emissions'—chiefly via [ . . . . ] “bioenergy with carbon capture and storage” [also known as . . . . ] BECCS. And in these scenarios to prevent planetary disaster, this would need to happen by midcentury, or even as soon as 2020. Like a pharmaceutical warning label, one footnote warned that such 'methods may carry side effects and long-term consequences on a global scale.'"

Uh-huh. Three days ago I watched a YouTube of Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam University Professor of Physics of the Oceans, speaking at the 2017 Bonn Climate Conference. He said regarding carbon in the atmosphere, "We are now about 400 ppm. This increase is entirely caused by human activity. CO2 levels are now higher than at any time in at least three million years. [ . . . . ] Now, the diagnosis, though, is not very good. [ . . . ] We are filling the atmosphere with CO2 like you would fill a bathtub with water. [ . . . ]  If we wait [ . . .] until 2025 [to significantly reduce carbon] we are basically facing a cliff and we won't make the Paris goals [of 1.5 to 2.0 above pre-industrial levels to save some of Earth's coral reefs]. [Regarding avoiding climate disaster through aforementioned geoengineering, he said] "I'll believe it when I see it."

Given the reality of this situation, my advice is to rest your Twitter, Facebook, and iPhone. Next, ask parents, uncles, aunts, mayors, governors, senators, representatives, priests, pastors, other religious leaders, and elders what they have done to reduce carbon. Join a local group, or some other group such as Olympic Climate Action, working on solutions. You will meet great inspiring people.

Coleman Barks' translation below of "An Empty Garlic" by Rumi notes, "You miss the garden,/[. . . .]  joking with an old crone./[. . . .] Death will open your eyes/to what her face is: Leather spine/of a black lizard." Replace "a black lizard" with "an oil industry" and you get the idea.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

I Don't Want to Rock the Boat of Industrial Civilization. I Want to Capsize It


with a focus on sustainability.

Each new car must post
"Square Feet of Arctic Ice Cost Per Year."

The same goes for refrigerators,
air conditioners, heaters,

Each airplane flight,
pound of red meat,
hour of TV
and cell phone.

U. S. leaders,
the only on Earth rejecting
the Paris Climate Conference,
will decide

how we want to appear
before God or conscience
and blue jewel gift
we mostly destroyed.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Beware of Grandma (most creative property sign)

Wading an Oregon coastal river, I saw a property sign "Beware of Grandma." I couldn't stop smiling.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Earth Rent [Paid]? Well, No

Earth Rent, written by my Honors Climate Change Poetry students, will soon
be in the San Diego Mesa College Library.  The class will be offered again Spring 2018.
Most people I meet are unaware of the likelihood of an ice-free Arctic by 2050 for the first time since humans have been on the Earth which has been about 300,000 years. Sir Ken Robinson, at the end of his excellent TED video "Do schools kill creativity?," cites Jonas Salk: "If all the insects were to disappear from the Earth, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish." That is because insects are in alignment with ecosystems, and Homo sapiens are not.

People sometimes ask, "We're going to be okay, right?"

I want to reply, as one comedian asked, "Is there air conditioning in your cave?"

All governments, corporations, and colleges must lead the way in carbon reduction, and carbon reduction alternatives for citizens, and most are not doing anything close to what is needed.

The Earth Rent book above has this dedication:

This book is dedicated to survivors and victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, especially those from islands of Barbuda and Puerto Rico, as well as Californians affected by fires, and millions globally enduring floods in Bangladesh [widely reported as 1/3 underwater], Peru, Nepal, India, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Canada, Iran, Norway, England, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand,  Vietnam,  Zimbabwe, and other places. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

“If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.” -- President Niinistö of Finland in Joint Press Conference with President Trump, August 28, 2017

St. Sebastian
Andrea Mantegna, 1490
Panel, 210 × 91 cm
Ca' d'Oro, Venice
The artist's intentions for the work are explained by a banderol spiralling around an extinguished candle, in the lower right corner. Here, in Latin, it is written: Nihil nisi divinum stabile est. Caetera fumus (‘Nothing is stable if not divine. The rest is smoke’).” -- Wikipedia
Which carbon arrows are we shooting right now into future humans?
Transatlantic flights? Meat-based diet?
Having children? Silence about oil companies?
Silence about U. S. Congress?  Silence about climate refugees?
Silence about 2000-year-old sequoias dying from drought?

Silence about an ice-free Arctic? President Niinistö of Finland said
“If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.”  

Last night I watched The Imitation Game about British codebreaker Alan Turing deciphering the Nazi's Enigma machine code.  The code was considered "unbreakable" because of huge obstacles including, as the linked Enigma video notes, "If you had 100,000 people with 100,000 Enigma machines, all testing different settings [ . . .], test a different setting once a second 24 by 7, it would take twice the age of the universe to break the code."  In other words, as multiple sources noted, it would take finding "one of these 15 billion billion settings."

However, Turing's team broke it using a "flaw" that no letter could be itself, and then invented the first computer which operated much faster than human minds. Jack Copeland, professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, wrote in a 2012 article, "If U-boat Enigma had not been broken, and [World War Two] had continued for another two to three years, a further 14 to 21 million people might have been killed. [par break] Of course, even in a counterfactual scenario in which Turing was not able to break U-boat Enigma, the war might still have ended in 1945 because of some other occurrence, also contrary-to-fact, such as the dropping of a nuclear weapon on Berlin."

Very smart people recently told me there is no way humans are going to avoid abrupt climate breakdown.  We need modern Alan Turings to find solutions in the ever-decreasing time allowed.

The beautiful "flaw" (feature, not a bug) is conscience.  The Internet offers speed. Reducing carbon use is the goal. Robinson Meyer wrote in 2016 at, "The Average American Melts 645 Square Feet of Arctic Ice Every Year." An October 25, 2017 Guardian article cited IMF managing director Christine Lagarde: "'we will be toasted, roasted and grilled' if the world fails to take 'critical decisions' on climate change."  Regarding ice loss, here is a good summary.

Lines from The Imitation Game noted "Some people thought we were at war with the Germans— incorrect. We were at war with the clock." and "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sabertooth Salmon?

Someone left this monstrosity in one of my favorite salmon holes.  A sabertooth salmon? The article notes, "Imagine a six to seven-foot sockeye salmon jumping up a waterfall or coming to its end in a calm mountain pool." Black bears would have to do a 180 turn and run to escape the jaws. With this beast staring down the salmon, if you catch a fish here you are a great angler indeed! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

North Atlantic / Southwestern United States' Archaeological Records Show Flexibility + Resiliency = Survival

The vast majority of global scientists agree climate breakdown is caused by overuse of fossil fuels which must be quickly reduced to restore natural trends and overall long-term eco-stability. Location-specific climate breakdowns in the North Atlantic (Norse) and southwestern United States (Mimbres,  Mesa Verde, Hohokam) show Flexibility + Resiliency = Survival.  In other words, oil and coal must go.  Solar, wind, and water energy likely identify blue planets where biodiversity survives.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

"Communicating climate change through poetry" (Yale Climate Connections Interview)

Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy (Hawk on Wire book cover and promo video screen capture).
Thanks to Yale Climate Connections for an interview.

Thanks also to Ross Cagenello for a Fomite Author Spotlight interview.

Update: I received notice my book is a 2018 Montaigne Medal Finalist sponsored by Eric Hoffer Awards ("awarded to the most thought-provoking books").  The results of that contest will be announced about May 14, 2018. 

I appreciate great book reviews at Amsterdam Quarterly, and Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics. I received emails that other reviews of my book are on the way.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and Weather in Washington, D. C.

Last night in class someone asked if climate change caused recent hurricanes. Scientists agree the answer is no.  Instead, scientists note, climate change influences hurricane damage in three ways: 1) sea-level rise means higher storm surges are possible; 2) increased moisture produces higher floods; and 3) storm intensity increases from added heat energy.  Looking at data, it's obvious these scientists make sense.  However, in Washington D.C. acceptance of reality of climate breakdown seems to be like this giraffe YouTube with most in the first three stages. Of course, acceptance must be followed by meaningful action.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers for the People of Florida

The Guardian has some of the best coverage of Hurricane Irma updates.  The video on top of their page shows damage in the Caribbean islands.

I'm not sure why my blog is getting thousands of visits from Russia, but thanks.  I appreciate your interest. One of my favorite films is Burnt by the Sun by Russian director and screenwriter Nikita Mikhalkov and Azerbaijani screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov.  In the United States, the film received an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1995.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Black Knight and Climate Change

It looks like the planet has had enough of us, or maybe most of us.  Those crying climate scientists are starting to make sense.  As one noted in a radio interview in the above-linked article, "I love the oceans, [ . . . ] I feel passionately about what we are doing to them and I’m worried that they will be irreversibly damaged."  As someone who has spent over 1000 days at sea, many as a commercial/charter/whale watching captain, I can relate.  Look around. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has parts looking like sun-bleached deer antlers.  Harvey in Houston. Irma on the way (185 mph winds at this time). My blog post below.  Montana, British Columbia, Oregon fires. Regarding climate change, world leaders are acting like the stubborn knight in Monty Python's The Holy Grail (first scene) fighting King Arthur (in this case, Earth).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houston Food Bank

Some readers may want to know how to help those most affected by Hurricane Harvey.  There are many good organizations.  My choice is the Houston Food Bank because: 1) It was rated high by and 2) It was recommended by which noted "please consider Houston Food Bank [ . . . ] located in the most-affected areas and [ . . .] providing support to individuals and animals."  I understand flood waters are hurting operations there, but their Facebook page noted "When it is safe to travel to our Portwall location, we will need volunteers and donations." The page also noted "The Houston Food Bank has a strong track record of supporting the community during floods, hurricanes and other emergencies, and we want you to know that we are committed to providing food, water and other help to the people who need it most."

I saw CBS News updated today "The storm was generating an amount of rain that would normally be seen only once in more than 1,000 years, said Edmond Russo, a deputy district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers."  The video at the top of the page has a good overview of the situation.  This once-rare kind of storm, leaving an estimated 30,000 homeless, complements the recent worst storm to hit New Zealand in 500 years,  and 700,000 recently homeless in Peru from floods. It was reported "millions of people are being affected" from floods in Bangladesh where multiple sources note "one third of the country is underwater."

The physics are simple. James Hansen made the links to climate change clear.

Other scientists noted as the oceans warm, the extra energy adds power and moisture to storms. This problem has affected many, and will affect many more.  Another CBS News report noted, "While scientists are quick to say climate change didn't cause Harvey [to form] and that they haven't determined yet whether the storm was made worse by global warming, they do note that warmer air and water mean wetter and possibly more intense hurricanes in the future. [ . . . . ] When Harvey moved toward Texas, water in the Gulf of Mexico was nearly 2 degrees warmer than normal, said Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters. Hurricanes need at least 79 degrees F as fuel, and water at least that warm ran more than 300 feet deep in the Gulf, according to University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy."

This global situation reminds me of a quote by Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), a Protestant pastor who spent seven years in Nazi concentration camps:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

This is not to say Mother Nature is a Nazi.  Instead, it is to say get involved while you can.  I will offer a Hurricane Harvey Benefit Poetry Workshop Sunday, September 3, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at PB Yoga in Pacific Beach, California with all proceeds going to Houston Food Bank.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Venus II or Eden II?

Venus II or Eden II"What can we do about climate change?" someone asked me again yesterday. Start here.

The Atlantic posted a July 10, 2017 rebuttal to Wallis-Wells' article above I linked as "Venus II."  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. However, what I like about Wallis-Wells' article is how it rightly notes difficulty in implementing catastrophe-avoiding social change planet-wide on the ever-shorter time scale required. It's like a huge boat trying to avoid hitting smaller boats in the fog (in this case "smaller boats" are island nations and low-lying areas). Regarding the contrast between scientists' and publics' perceptions, Wallis-Wells noted "the most credentialed and tenured in the field, few of them inclined to alarmism and many advisers to the IPCC who nevertheless criticize its conservatism — have quietly reached an apocalyptic conclusion, too: No plausible program of emissions reductions alone can prevent climate disaster."  Wallis-Wells' article continues, "Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade." The Atlantic didn't respond to this important argument. Additionally, I was amused by The Atlantic's rebuttal "Carbon-dioxide levels only get high enough to seriously depress brain function in indoor spaces, though he implies it will become a global problem."  With already locked-in temperature increases, are we all supposed to forever work outdoors?  
The Atlantic piece cites Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University. “The NYMag article is the climate equivalent of being told that everyone in the world’s life will end in the most grisly, worst-case possible scenario if we keep on smoking.” My response was to read it again. Wallis-Wells' article noted, "In between scientific reticence and science fiction is science itself. This article is the result of dozens of interviews and exchanges with climatologists and researchers in related fields and reflects hundreds of scientific papers on the subject of climate change. What follows is not a series of predictions of what will happen — that will be determined in large part by the much-less-certain science of human response. Instead, it is a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action. It is unlikely that all of these warming scenarios will be fully realized, largely because the devastation along the way will shake our complacency. But those scenarios, and not the present climate, are the baseline. In fact, they are our schedule." In short, instead of Wallis-Wells' article being like "the most grisly, worst-case possible scenario if we keep on smoking," it is more like a detailed account of a smoker on life support with the legal right to ask for and receive more cigarettes on his deathbed.

On the plus side, Professor Hayhoe has an excellent article, "I was an Exxon-funded climate scientist."

I may be a simple Oregon fisherman but I think The Atlantic has some explaining to do. 

Susan Matthews, Slate's science editor, has one of the most honest responses to Wallis-Wells' article.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rumi's Poem "An Empty Garlic" from about 740 Years Ago is like Our Outdated Carbon Addiction

An Empty Garlic

You miss the garden,
because you want a small fig from a random tree.
You don't meet the beautiful woman.
You're joking with an old crone.
It makes me want to cry how she detains you,
stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,
putting her head over the roof edge to call down,
tasteless fig, fold over fold, empty
as dry-rotten garlic.

She has you tight by the belt,
even though there's no flower and no milk
inside her body.
Death will open your eyes
to what her face is: Leather spine
of a black lizard. No more advice.

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.

(Used with permission of translator Coleman Barks, author of The Essential Rumi, p. 50)  Another great Rumi poem is "The Snake-Catcher’s Tale."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems Book Launch at Vanguard Culture May 2, 2017

This is part of my May 2 book launch reading sponsored by La Jolla Historical Society's project WEATHER ON STEROIDS: THE ART OF CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE.  About 50 people attended. Many stayed after to ask questions and share concerns and ideas about climate change. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hawk on Wire Published by Fomite Press in Vermont

This book was a July 12, 2017 "Editor's Pick" (along with The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury) at, and is available at or BN.comThe Kindle price is $4.99.

Climate change science and prophecy explored in poetry are themes in my new book. Many thanks to The Yale Center for Environmental Communication's Climate Connections for distributing an interview about my book throughout the U.S. via a syndicate of more than 340 radio stations and online via podcast and internet radio.  

I also appreciate cover art from English artist Guy Denning, and endorsements from John Shoptaw, John Keeble, Daniela GioseffiAnne ElveySimmons B. Buntin
Gail EntrekinMichael Spring, Thomas Rain CroweTeresa Mei Chuc, Senior Research Scientist at IPAC Caltech Yun Wang, Prartho SerenoEric Magrane, and Daniel Hudon

Thanks to ASLEThe Oregonian, San Diego Reader, Amsterdam Quarterly, Split Rock Review in Minnesota, and POETRY MAGAZINE's Reading List: July/August 2017 (Part II) for promoting the book (from Craig Santos Perez).

New York University and City College of San Diego sent notices they will be using my book in their Nature Writing classes. Maybe a generous donor will send my book to all professors/teachers receiving the bogus mailing from The Heartland Institute (Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming) so students can explore head/heart poetry informed by real science and real scientists. 

The following libraries added my book or gave notice they will add it: UC San Diego Library, University of Arizona Libraries, University at Buffalo Libraries in New York, University of Wisconsin - Madison General Library, Portland State University Branford P. Millar Library, Eastern Washington University JFK Library, Library of Congress, Sno-Isle Regional Library System, and Newport Public Library (Oregon). If you like my book, please ask your local library to order it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Oregon Springers

Car top egg cure.
My first three nights back in Oregon I sat on a river rock under the stars all night to clear my head.

One morning, at a restaurant near the river, a waitress asked me, "Where's your wife?"

"She's working so I can fish."

"You're an Asshole," said the waitress.

The best fishermen I knew were all good men, but not too good if you know what I mean.

With low returns, fishing is tough.  I caught these 17 and 16 pound spring chinook alone in a remote canyon.  How remote? There was a Bigfoot photo like a lost dog flier at the campsite.  "Lost. If found call . . ."

Monday, May 29, 2017

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's 5 Minute Apr. 26, 2017 Video "Politics of Climate Change [Citizens United]"

Used with permission of Future historians, if there are any, will trace the beginning of the end to Citizens United, a slap in the face of all those we remember this Memorial Day including my grandfather who fought as a U. S. Marine in WWI in the trenches of France. The question remains: Will this country belong to families of those who fought and died for it, or oil companies

Monday, May 15, 2017

Uh-Oh, "Columbia spring run prediction sliced in half" according to

Broken Ritual
One year salmon didn’t return to the river
and men said maybe they got lost
even though in millennia
it had never happened
to an entire run.

Wind rapped the old wood door
saying to anyone listening
"They didn’t get lost.  You did."
(from my book Hawk on Wire)

Today, Bill Monroe at reported "Instead of 160,400 fish to the river's mouth this spring, biologists now predict the run will be closer to 83,000 at the river's mouth. That translates to a much lower 75,000 at Bonneville Dam." (June 21 Update Count: 121, 058 chinook have passed over the dam this spring / summer, and Bonneville noted a "spring chinook" total of 83, 624.)

This is bad news for a guy that grades papers eight months a year so he can salmon fish every day in June. It's worse news for tribes and others depending on salmon for physical and cultural survival. Northern California Yurok Tribe Member Thomas Wilson said in an OPB article about his tribe's lowest-ever allocation of 650 fish, "That’s not enough for us to live. The Yurok people are fishing people. It’s our identity. Without fish we are nothing. We cease to exist."

While some salmon runs appear to be okay, poor ocean conditions, due to warming, meant many salmon runs in the North Pacific crashed in Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California. Oregonlive reported poor runs in 1994, and from 1995 to 1999. Regarding the 1994 crash, The National Marine Fisheries Service noted "The natural disasters triggering this resource disaster include an extended period of drought, floods, and warm ocean conditions." Sound familiar?

A writer friend said something like, "So maybe half of Earth's species will go extinct this century due to habitat loss, climate change, and other matters. There will be new conditions to adapt to. Everything changes. Get over it." This is like asking wild apes, bears, and tigers to adapt to zoos. Many don't. They go insane.

Martin Luther King Jr. taught "The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him." I've been telling myself and others this. That being said, it's vital to recognize the cause of increased climate change, and therefore, the personal action needed.

I read a recent email noting the worst California drought in 1,200 years is over. This was supposed to make people feel better.  The problem is climate change means extreme weather, as in droughts and floods. Get it?  Do what you want, but act from an informed place.  For my Republican friends, here is why Ted Cruz is flat wrong about alleged significance of his satellite data.  The book from The Heartland Institute that your children's science teachers and professors recently received, Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming, has been thoroughly debunked.