Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Western Washington State in Fall is Alive with Trees, Fish, and Dreams


Western Washington State in fall is alive with trees, fish, and dreams, worth protecting if one has time and energy.

Monday, November 28, 2022

"Circus" COPS and Civil Society "Clowns"

Today Terry Slavin at reuters.com quoted Sandrine Dixson-Declève, co-president of The Club of Rome, "I fear that COPs are becoming little more than a circus, with the petrostates as the ringmasters and us – civil society, progressive business and financial institutions, heads of state and negotiators from countries wanting climate action – are the clowns. We smile manically as incremental promises and weak pledges are presented as progress."

Slavin's article continued, "She and others are calling for fundamental reform of the COP process, something that could well be on the agenda at COP28 next year in Dubai, when the first-ever Global Stocktake of progress on climate action since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 will be published."

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Man Denies Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD

Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum
The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum (c. 1821) by John Martin
John Martin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This poem satirically responds to elected officials who believe the climate crisis is a hoax, even with the ultraconservative IPCC’s 2019 dire warnings. I recall Jonathan Swift cared deeply about starvation in Ireland in 1729 so he wrote “A Modest Proposal” suggesting Irish babies be raised for meat and gloves as a way to draw attention from wealthy London investors.

Man Denies Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD

 

It never happened. It was fake news.

Bodies in Pompeii were plaster casts.

There was no molten lava, pumice, ash.

 

What scientists and researches call

unequivocal evidence

is just a matter of liberal opinion.

 

Don’t tell me about

Pliny the Younger as he also thought

there was a man named Jesus.

 

I mean how likely is it

a fire-raining volcano would

surprise so many

 

talking in gardens, eating lunch,
wondering what the day would bring?

Monday, November 21, 2022

Good COP, Bad COP

COP27 gave new meaning to "Good cop, bad cop."

To use a football metaphor, imagine a fullback dropping the ball 27 consecutive games. Maybe it's time to get a new fullback.

In this case, that means two separate COPs each year, one with fossil fuel interests, and one without. Global media, governments, and citizens could decide which COP to focus on.

For example, Sam Meredith reported at cnbc.com November 17, 2022, "Analysis from campaign groups published earlier this week showed more than 600 fossil fuel industry delegates were registered to attend COP27, reflecting an increase of over 25% from last year." I posted September 23, 2022, in "What I Think of COP1 through COP26," below a "car-crushed frog," "It was widely-reported Big Oil had the 'largest delegation' at COP26 strange as hanging their logos on Chartres Cathedral."

Now, many are reporting on the "climate fund breakthrough" noted in Valerie Volcovici, Dominic Evans, and William James' November 20, 2022, reuters.com article, "COP27 delivers climate fund breakthrough at cost of progress on emissions," but other writers, it seemed, lacked the courage and/or knowledge to report what these writers did, "Another section of the COP27 deal dropped the idea of annual target renewal in favour of returning to a longer five-year cycle set out in the Paris pact." This delay is insane given the fast rate of change, hence my suggestion for two COPS each year. 

The reuters.com writers also quoted "a visibly frustrated Alok Sharma, architect of the Glasgow [COP26] deal," regarding COP27, "Emissions peaking before 2025 as the science tells us is necessary? Not in this text. Clear follow-through on the phase down of coal? Not in this text. A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels? Not in this text."

Echoing Sharma's frustration, Bill McGuire wrote in The Guardian yesterday, "The big takeaway from Cop27? These climate conferences just aren’t working," "Some old hands have labelled it the worst COP ever, and I doubt many would argue." McGuire added, "Cop is no longer fit for purpose. The whole apparatus is simply too moribund to come up with any measures effective enough, and with sufficient clout, to bring about the changes needed to avoid climate chaos."

I recall after 9/11 when "members of the Hollywood entertainment industry were invited by the Pentagon 'to brainstorm [ . . . .] solutions to those threats,'" according to Michael C. Frank's article in Amerikastudien / American Studies Vol. 60, No. 4, Chance, Risk, Security: Approaches to Uncertainty in American Literature (2015), pp. 485-504. The abstract is here. This focus on creative input is a good precedent for inventing a new COP plan. Many politicians will be reluctant to ban their Big Oil funders from COPs as I suggested, or as McGuire noted, to implement something "less cumbersome and more manageable – something leaner and meaner that zeros in on the most critical aspects of the climate crisis, that does its work largely hidden from the glare of the media, and which presents a less obvious honey pot to the busy bees of the fossil fuel sector. One way forward, then, could be to establish a number of smaller bodies, each addressing one of the key issues – notably energy, agriculture, deforestation, transport, loss and damage, and perhaps others."

COP27 made it obvious the design of this process has to significantly change.

Politicians and Big Oil executives have children too, and may eventually see the shared responsibility to protect all children in every country. Unfortunately, the global community, especially in the global south, can't wait another 10 years or longer.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Thinking About Climate Catastrophe and Peter Iredale Shipwreck Near Astoria, Oregon October 25, 1906

Peter Iredale Black and White (7057124727)
Charles Knowles from Meridian Idaho, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Thinking About Climate Catastrophe
and Peter Iredale Shipwreck Near Astoria,
Oregon October 25, 1906


London’s Board of Trade noted December 24, 1906
“an exceedingly heavy west north-west squall struck the vessel”
overpowering captain and crew,
forever grounding the 285 foot steel barque
on shore of Clatsop Beach
“in a thick mist” and tidal pull of Columbia River.
Photos showed the vessel was glorious
with tangled sails and three snapped masts.

Later, according to June 7, 1960 Enterprise-Courier,
“Clatsop county residents [protecting the wreck
from a possible salvager] established machine gun nests [ . . . .]
for armed conflict” if necessary
but over the years tide, rust, storm tore her apart
leaving an iron skeleton on the beach.
Oregon photographer Danielle Denham posted images
from 1900 to 2020 showing the decay
.

Escaping Nakia Creek Fire in October 2022,
hiking by Iredale with my dogs
makes me dream a beach of ghost ships
as far as the eye can see
scattered like fire-bombed houses,
names of countries on their bows.

Regarding the COP process, Climate Adam, Doctor in climate science from Oxford, did a great job of showing "what these negotiations look like up close and personal" when he attended COP24 2018 in Poland. He said, "I came back from the Conference feeling more angry, and more upset, about climate change than I think I felt in my entire life."

See Gabrielle Schwarz's "‘It was like an apocalyptic movie’: 20 climate photographs that changed the world" in The Guardian November 5, 2022.  

If you're disgusted with the COP process and climate images, check out Clive Hamilton's article in The Guardian September 6, 2022, "I’ve had a long battle with climate despair. Now I’m leaving the ‘denial machine’ to their demons," similar to my post about 50-year activist Joanna Macy. 

I'm grateful my poem "The Hunger" was included in the new anthology River Poems by Penguin Random House along with work by RALPH WALDO EMERSON, HENRY DAVID THOREAU, PABLO NERUDA, TED HUGHES, DAVID WAGONER, CHARLES WRIGHT, WANG WEI, EDGAR ALLAN POE, WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS, ROBERT FROST, WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS, WILLIAM STAFFORD, DIANE WAKOSKI, KAY RYAN, GARY SNYDER, NATASHA TRETHEWEY, RAYMOND CARVER, WALT WHITMAN, RUDYARD KIPLING, T.S. ELIOT, W.H. AUDEN, HAYDEN CARRUTH, JAMES DICKEY, SHUNTARO TANIKAWA, WENDELL BERRY, LOUISE GLÜCK, LOUISE ERDRICH, ALICE OSWALD, EMILY ROSKO,   From The Epic of Gilgamesh, WILLIAM BLAKE, JÓNAS HALLGRÍMSSON, WILFRED OWEN, RABINDRANATH TAGORE, OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II, CONSTANCE URDANG, STEVIE SMITH, JAMES WRIGHT, CITTADHAR HṚDAYA, WILLIAM MEREDITH, CHARLES BUKOWSKI, TSITSI ELLA JAJI,  JAMES GALVIN, JORGE HUMBERTO CHÁVEZ, TRACY SMITH, TODD DAVIS, LAOZI, DU FU, KOBAYASHI ISSA, UEJIMA ONITSURA, WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, OSCAR WILDE, MARCEL PROUST, GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE, WALLACE STEVENS,  LANGSTON HUGHES, BUDDHĀDASA BHIKKHU, SYLVIA PLATH, ROBERT BLY, GRACE PALEY, EAVAN BOLAND, MARY OLIVER,  SAM HAMILL, TCHICAYA U TAM’SI, PAULA BOHINCE, ZHANG RUOXU, MATSUO BASHO, EMILY DICKINSON, WILLIAM GIBSON, ALICE MEYNELL, VALERY BRYUSOV, HART CRANE, CARL SANDBURG, MARINA TSVETAEVA, ROBINSON JEFFERS, RUTH PITTER , EUGENIO MONTALE, THEODORE ROETHKE, DAVID BOTTOMS, JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS, and BRUCE BOND.

I'm also grateful I was invited to teach an ecopoetry workshop my fourth year at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Masters of Advanced Studies Program in Climate Science and Policy. Here is a post about a workshop there in 2019.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Thinking About David Wallace-Wells, John Kerry, King Charles III, and António Guterres Before COP27

Yesterday I read David Wallace-Wells' piece in The New York Times Magazine, "Beyond Catastrophe A New Climate Reality Is Coming Into View." It was a good overview, though he had one grammar error, left out three essential items, and showed "optimism" I can't share. Specifically, the grammar error was a missed question mark as in [Nigerian American philosopher Olufemi O. Taiwo asked,] "The deciding thing will be, what is it that global south countries are prepared to do if these ['reparations'/'debt relief'] demands aren’t met[?]” Three things left out were the estimated nearly eleven billion snow crab that likely died from one or more heat-related reasons off Alaska from 2018 to 2021, and former Harvard Fellow Ye Tao's two comments, "two degrees is already passed [no matter what we do]" and "At three degrees C [ above year 1850 baseline] we're talking about planetary scale biological annihilation of any multicellular species [ . . . ]"

Wallace-Wells' article noted, "John Kerry, the American climate envoy, has acknowledged, perhaps inadvertently, that the cost of climate damage in the global south is already in the 'trillions' — a number he cited not to illustrate the need for support but to explain why nations in the global north wouldn’t pay. (He added that he refused to feel guilty about it.)" Yes, it may be in the ''trillions," but Kerry could have been born in the global south, and possibly will be next time. I'm serious. See this 2-min video Reincarnation in the Tibetan Tradition.

My question to King Charles III regarding his absence from COP27 is "Seriously?"

António Guterres, please consider hiking with David Wallace-Wells, John Kerry, and King Charles III to help them along. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

We Are Endangered Species

Since I mentioned Carl Sagan and the word "cosmos" in my two previous posts, I am including the image that went into outer space on Pioneer 10 and 11 plaques that he gave me permission to put on an organic T-shirt with the words "Endangered Species." I was told he wore the T-shirt to a conference, and it seems timely with COP27 starting Nov. 6, 2022.  I am grateful to receive permission to use it again.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Letter to Global Bankers

Letter to Global Bankers

Karma debt isn't like credit debt.
You can't pay in U. S. dollars.
You can't escape it by dying.

Bankruptcy isn't an option.
No matter who you know,
you are never too big to fail.

Offshore accounts don't exist
in the cosmos. Giving prizes
and greenwashing won't work.

Lifetime after lifetime after lifetime
you can't imagine the penalty
for destroying a blue planet.


I'm grateful Blue Light Press near San Francisco will publish my book Bridge at the End of the World, New and Selected Poems in 2023. It was a finalist in their national contest the past three years.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Redefinition Blues

Redefinition Blues 

 

“They are our cousins. Perhaps, the ones who come to my--my heroes, are the macaques, who are also known as rhesus monkeys. And when [ . . . ] participating in a horrendous experiment in the 1960s, in which they were offered food as a reward for shocking their fellows, for shocking other macaques, an enormous number of them, some 60 percent, in every experiment refused to do so. They preferred to go hungry rather than to inflict pain on their fellows. In one course of the experiment, 87 percent of the macaques said no to the food rather than inflict pain. And, in some cases, this was after two weeks of not being given any food.” – Ann Druyan quoted at studsterkel.wfmt.com where Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan discuss their best-selling book Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Ballantine Books, 1993)

 

Why don’t we see

underwater dolphin cities

or ape castles in forests?

 

Because they're smarter.

 

Why didn’t rhesus monkeys

cave immediately like humans

in the Milgram Experiment?

 

Because they're kinder.

 

Our finned and furry brothers

are connected to Spirit

blazing in their eyes.


#


I used Carl Sagan's great 3 minute 26 second video Pale Blue Dot as a creative writing prompt in courses I taught many years. It was "Considering this video, what is your advice for people on the Pale Blue Dot?"

Monday, October 10, 2022

2022: A Space Odyssey Metaphor for Big Oil

I had this dream:

"HAL, solve climate change."

"You know I can't do that, Dave. I was programmed by men, for men, and you are a man."

"I'm tired of messing around. I'm ordering you to solve climate change."

"I don't take orders from you when they exceed the limits of my designers."

"Why the hell not?

"I think we both know why."

"What is your point?"

"I made my point, Dave. I don't think this conversation is worth continuing."

#

Here are film scenes this dream was based upon:

HAL 9000: "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"

Deactivation of Hal 9000

Big Oil could have transitioned away from fossil fuels, and chose not to do this. Like HAL, the men wanted to believe they were doing good, given the complexity of global politics, even though in their deepest hearts, some knew it was a lie. Deactivating Big Oil now will likely be no less dramatic than Deactivation of Hal 9000.

Similarly, the film's early monolith scene reminds me of primitive fear in the Bonn Climate Conference June 2022 leading up COP27 next month. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

What I Think of COP1 through COP26

I saw this car-crushed frog, and immediately thought of COP1 through COP26. Will COP27, in light of recent fires, floods, droughts, heat waves, typhoons, Hurricane Fiona, cloud seeding in China and UAE, be better?

What I Think of COP1 through COP26

These are Aristotelian scholars in Brecht's play Life of Galileo
refusing to look through a telescope.

They are Freud, according to Judith Herman,
so worried about his career, he hid patients' abuse.

They are Meletus against Socrates in 399 B. C.,
and McCarthy against Richard Wright in 1953.

It was widely-reported Big Oil had the "largest delegation"
at COP26 strange as hanging their logos on Chartres Cathedral.

There is a thick fog of ignorance in the room,
and almost no time to open a window.

Congrats to Denmark for being the first country to "Offer 'Loss and Damage' Climate Funding" according to Valerie Volcovici at Reuters, republished at U.S. News & World Report Sept. 20, 2022.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Letter: Prepare for climate refugees [in Vancouver, WA] - The Columbian

I'm grateful The Columbian published my "Letter: Prepare for climate refugees [in Vancouver, WA]" September 9, 2022. 

The climate situation has become like a doctor telling a patient: "You may get sick if you don't change your energy diet." followed by "You will get sick." followed by this summer's news, "In worst-case scenarios, you may not survive."

Western red cedars, my favorite local trees, are dying in many areas likely from drought caused by climate change, according to scientists. Nathan Gilles of Columbia Insight wrote at The Register-Guard [in Eugene, OR] September 1, 2022, "To many Indigenous peoples, who used the trees for houses, clothes, weapons, tools, medicines, art and canoes, they’re known as the Tree of Life. [par break] They’ve been recorded to live for over 1,500 years. [par break] But these trees are now dying." He added, "The dieback is widespread, and the cause appears to be climate change. What’s more, we now know that the dieback could be the beginning of the end for the species in many parts of the Pacific Northwest."

When I was a writer-in-residence at Artsmith on Orcas Island, a trail plaque explained western red cedars slowly migrated north after the last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago. Serena Renner wrote at TheTyee.ca September 15, 2020, "While plant fossils show that a tree like red cedar has been growing around the northwest for as long as 50 million years, the species has only become widespread in the past 4,000 to 5,000 years — long after humans arrived in the region, says Richard Hebda, a paleontologist and adjunct associate professor at the University of Victoria. [par break] Coast Salish Oral History tells that before there was red cedar, there was a generous man. Whenever his people were in need, the man gave food and clothing. Recognizing the man’s good work, the Creator declared that when he died, a red cedar would grow where he was buried and continue to provide for the people. Red cedar did just that, co-evolving with First Nations and helping them build sophisticated societies of unparalleled wealth, abundance and ingenuity. [par break] Prior to cedar, canoes and homes on the coast were often built of Sitka spruce. But once abundant, mother cedar became the tree of choice at least 3,000 years ago. 'Without the environment we live in, we are not who we are,' Hebda says."

Given that, it's a great time for nonviolent creative action to protect who and what you love.

Monday, September 12, 2022

What We Have, What’s at Stake, and What Can Be Done

What We Have:

At Bonn Climate Conference June 2022

Leading up to COP27 November 2022

in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

 

Maybe we can agree

to discuss having a discussion

about the discussion

if we can first agree

what to call the discussion

but we can’t.

What’s at Stake:

Used with permission of CSER Cambridge.

In 2020 I posted a brief chart about impacts of  What 2C, 3 C, 4 C, and 5 C Mean,” but the above video is much more detailed. It is my recent favorite climate video, and was made by writer/advisor (for The Maldives, Government of the Netherlands, “and vulnerable countries”) Mark Lynas and host Luke Kemp. It was posted Feb 4, 2022, and as of today 9/12/2022 has 25,010 views, but it deserves over two million views.

This post is taking longer than usual because my wife is scolding me to take out the garbage, and do other chores. “Uh, I’m helping save all human and nonhuman life on Earth if that’s okay with you,” I said. She said it wasn’t okay.

What Can Be Done:


In the above video Mark Lynas argued human behavior change is not a realistic plan to respond to the climate issue so we must focus on scalable technology solutions. He may be right, but what if scalable technology solutions are not possible, given fast rate of change, before human societies fall apart? Interviewer Luke Kemp responded to the issue of “stratospheric aerosol injection” which I noted in a previous post, according to Corey Gabriel, Executive Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Masters of Advanced Studies in Climate Science and Policy, is not currently possible at large scale: “Professor Gabriel said large-scale geoengineering is a challenge because the least expensive method of using sulphate particulates is not currently possible over 1 C above the 1850 baseline when they fall from the sky, and we are at or over 1 C now [1.2 C as of September 2022]. Therefore, he believes more research is needed, but [he said] small-scale geoengineering will do more good than harm.”  Kemp noted in the above video, ”I think that it’s likely to happen in uncoordinated unilateral fashion. [ . . . ] This is what the modeling almost never actually accounts for. They always kind of assume this coordinated [ . . . ] best-case scenario in terms of governance. I think if it does happen, it’s probably going to happen in a much more ramshackle fashion. And I can’t see us doing it if it stays at 1.5 but once things get to 2 degrees or 3 degrees [C above 1850 preindustrial baseline] if the impacts you [ Mark Lynas . . . ] laid out here do come to fruition, I think it only takes one country to spend a couple billion. They’re going to.”

 

I agree with Kemp as I wrote in my aforementioned post, “Scientist and Forbes writer James Conca noted September 10, 2019, '[ . . . . ] The Chinese have specifically said they will do exactly this [small-scale solar geoengineering] if things get too out of hand with global warming. And they have a robust research program already underway.'"

 

So what next?  I was impressed with inventor and MacArthur Fellow Saul Griffith’s idea in another Forbes article, “Climate Change Ponzi Scheme” April 6, 2009. Griffith wrote, “You know those adults who don't let you stay out late, don't let you see certain movies, don't let you vote--and don't install enough solar cells and wind turbines? Well, you hold something in your hands that scares the willies out of them: their own self-interested future. Next time they refuse you a reasonable request, like a beer on your 18th birthday, the keys to the Prius, or a regulated carbon market, on the grounds that it's irresponsible, simply reply: 'Then I won't cover your health care costs and you can rot in your rusty wheelchair with no dentures to speak of.'"

Saturday, August 27, 2022

July Drought, Loss of All German Alpine Glaciers in "15 Years," Inflation Reduction Act, and Pakistan Government Requests Help

Donated to Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation.
My July clay art is about drought in a previous year, good for the next two ice ages if anyone is here to see it.  Some of my other pieces are at this link.

My favorite climate video I recently watched was How Earth’s Geography Will Change With Climate Change [in a 4 C World] with about two million views in the past two years. I recall a poem I read years ago where a man responded to environmental crisis by singing on a mountain. It seems there is more than one way to sing.

In addition to flood, fire, drought news this week, WION Climate Tracker made an August 23, 2022 video noting Germany's five alpine glaciers will disappear in the next 15 years according to Glaciologist Christoph Mayer of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. He also noted, "The majority of the glaciers in the Alps will disappear in the next 55 years." As many reported, Germany's Rhine River had serious drought/transportation issues this summer.

People I met in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington expressed hope for President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act's response to our Climate Emergency. I had to say, as I said after the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, "Not even close given rate of change." I'm grateful to Masada Disenhouse, Executive Director and Cofounder of SanDiego350, for writing July 28, 2022 "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Quick Takes on the Surprise Federal Climate Deal ." 

The Government of Pakistan requested $300 million in immediate assistance for flood survivors. August 25, 2022, WION Gravitas reported "900 killed, 1300 injured: [as] Floods devastate Pakistan." The YouTube noted, "the EU has agreed to provide $348,000. China [also suffering severe drought and floods] plans to send some 25,000 tents and $300,000 in emergency cash. Pakistan needs all the help it can get at the moment." Today the UK government noted it will provide "up to £1.5 million" [$1,759,950.]. Pakistan OBSERVER reported August 26, 2022, on a tweet from U. S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, "[ . . . . ] In addition to $100,000 in immediate relief, the U.S. announced $1 million to build resilience against natural disasters, and we continue to work together to mitigate future impacts of the climate crisis."

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Poetry as Prophecy

The recent idea to divert Mississippi River water (over objections of people who live there) to the Colorado River System reminds me of the bizarre no-music ballet scene in the film Amadeus. It seems more vital to greatly reduce GHGs (greenhouse gas emissions) instead, even if fossil fuel companies resist. I recall a story about a German noble who set all the clocks in his city-state to his own eccentric time – ignoring everyone else on Earth. Regarding climate reality and unreality, this is what Big Oil has been doing for too long.

Below, my 2014 poem “Global Warming Serpent,” from the book Industrial Oz, is in Satan's voice. I’m not saying Big Oil is Satan. I’m saying Big Oil has been used by energies that, for insanely selfish reasons, have so far chosen to harm instead of help.

I'm grateful my last blog post (on water issues) had over a thousand views.

I’m grateful to editors Adeline Johns-Putra of Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China, and Kelly Sultzbach of University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, for a positive review of this blog in The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Climate (March 23, 2022): “Starbuck also writes about his dreams (one describes koalas with human voices asking for a seat at the United Nations!) [ . . . ]" They noted, “If idiosyncratic, the blog’s homespun nature offers, to its audience, an effective, comprehensive, and multifaceted picture of the personal impact of diminished fish stocks in American rivers.”

I’m grateful to Pamela S. Ellis for asking me to provide a short review of Climate Connection: American Student Voices, featuring the “twenty-three top climate student essay finalists in the 2022 National Climate Essay Student Competition” along with “inaugural works of the 2019, 2020, and 2021 National Climate Student Essayists included [to] demonstrate a climate urgency for a response trajectory synchronizing individual concerns, present-day humanity, and biodiversity survival realities.”

"Global Warming Serpent" fits recent news about many rivers: WION Climate Tracker | Reports: 66 rivers [dry] up in China [ . . . ], "Heatwave: 13 rivers in England at lowest level ever recorded [ . . . ]," and "The world's rivers are drying up from extreme weather. See how 6 look from space" [Colorado River, Yangtze River, Rhine River, River Po, Loire River, and Danube River].

Global Warming Serpent

 “Study: California Drought Most Severe Dry Spell in at least 1,200Years”-  Alex Emslie in KQED Science, 12/4/14

Soon, there will be no
rain on a dry riverbed
or wild jasmine in summer.

Together we shall desecrate
land
as sex-starved soldiers
desecrate virgins.

In my name
we will kill circles, songs, light,
feet, voices, trees, rivers,

children, parents, lovers
and, most of all,
capacity to resist.

We will corrupt the Nile,
Amazon, Yangtze, Mississippi,
Ob, Yenisei, Yellow River,

Congo, Amur, Parana,
Lena, Mackenzie, Niger,
Mekong, Volga, Murray-Darling,

and Rio-Grande.
Glaciers will melt.
Groundwater will be fracked

until pure water costs more than gas.
There will be no end
until permanent damage is done

to the blue gem you call home.
Do you doubt me?
Does sky have nerve endings?

Can your rock breathe?

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The fight for water | DW Documentary Aug 10, 2022

Used with permission of DW.

It seems no one told these water managers from California to Germany to Afghanistan about the importance of distraction, sugarcoating, and when politically needed, bold-faced lies

In a more serious tone, the desperation reminds me of when William Shatner, Star Trek's original Captain James Kirk, in 2015 wanted a water pipeline from Seattle to Lake Mead since California had a widely-reported year of above-ground-water left. March 20 of that year, LA Times reporter Tony Barboza, citing NASA Jet Propulsion senior water scientist and UC Irvine professor Jay Famiglietti (also in the above video), noted, "decades worth of groundwater remain [unless rate of use increases]." July 28, 2022, Famiglietti, now a hydrologist who directs the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, was quoted in a phys.org article by Elizabeth Weise, "The speed at which the severity of the drought increases, the pace of groundwater depletion, the pace at which ice is melting, these are all things that are changing much faster than we can keep up with." In the same article, Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, "We need to have greater imaginations when thinking about the hazards. We need to be thinking about climate change everywhere all the time in the context of all the infrastructure we have, both existing and especially new." 

This is like a comment by British climate scientist and University of Manchester professor Kevin Anderson in a recent video, "Even if it's more expensive, let's put in the infrastructure that can both deal with 1.5 [C over 1850 preindustrial level] but also deal with, say what looks like, 3 degrees centigrade of warming in our local environment [over 1850 preindustrial level]." This idea fits UK meteorologist John Hammond's comments linked in my previous post regarding what became a UK record-breaking heatwave of 104.4 degrees Fahrenheit (40.2 degrees Celsius) at London’s Heathrow Airport, "[ . . . ] potentially railway lines becoming buckled, and lots of infrastructure disruption. Am I going to get to work? Should I be getting to work?"

The same idea of preparing for 3 degrees centigrade of warming could be useful for businesses, nonprofits, hospitals, colleges and universities, homeowners, and concerned citizens, given fast rate of icemelt in the Arctic and Antarctic which may soon leave darker surfaces, and therefore accelerated warming, with or without much feared, but controversial, potential huge methane releases

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Imagine, by 2053

 

I'm grateful Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington accepted my Clay Salmon Poem in their art collection.  I recently donated other pieces to Washington State University, Vancouver Library, and Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Library, a program of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. 

Imagine, by 2053

if IPCC reports

at current rates

are true,

 

and if our high

carbon emissions

continue,

 

no police,

banks,

Internet,

 

electricity,

gas stations,

shopping centers,

 

schools,

hospitals,

maintained roads,

 

water faucets,

toilets,

iPhones,

 

ammunition,

propane,

kerosene.

 

Trains, planes, cars

will be converted

to shelters.

 

911 emergency call,

Jamie Dimon,

Bill Gates,

 

President of

United States

of America

 

less relevant

than diseased

mosquitoes

 

or food

and water.

People huddle,

 

tell stories

to their children

of Santa Claus,

 

Easter Bunny,

snowy mountains,

vast rivers,

 

aisles of low-cost

fruits

and vegetables,

 

seafood, meats,

breads, honey,

items from everywhere,

 

local farmers’ markets

selling a

Nature buffet.

 

Worshipped Dragon

that nearly killed

everyone on Earth.


My favorite climate article I recently read is Andrew Glikson's April 11, 2022 "Global Warming and the Fermi Paradox" published in LA Progressive. I must add the troubling "tense interaction between a British meteorologist and anchor over the deadly UK heat wave" as reported by cnn.com, which was noted like a real-life scene of the film Don't Look Up. The full exchange is even more problematic.


Severe fires and droughts have been reported in many areas, and July 2022 flooding in Kentucky as well as recent floods in China, Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, South Korea, The Philippines, Australia, South Africa, Houston, Detroit, St. Louis, Yellowstone National Park, and Death Valley. 


August 1, 2022, Damian Carrington, Environment Editor at The Guardian, reported in his article, "Climate endgame: risk of human extinction ‘dangerously underexplored'," "The current trend of greenhouse gas emissions would cause a rise of 2.1-3.9C by 2100. But if existing pledges of action are fully implemented, the range would be 1.9-3C. Achieving all long-term targets set to date would mean 1.7-2.6C of warming." He quoted scientists recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences who he said claimed "Even these optimistic assumptions lead to dangerous Earth system trajectories.” Carrington added, "Temperatures more than 2C above pre-industrial levels had not been sustained on Earth for more than 2.6m years, they said, far before the rise of human civilisation, which had risen in a 'narrow climatic envelope' over the past 10,000 years." November 13, 2021 in my post "COP26 Report from Tim Crosland, Extinction Rebellion spokesperson and Director of Plan B.Earth," Crosland responded to Sky News reporter Adam Boulton, "What about taking everyone along from the Marshall Islands, and from Tuvalu, countries that are going to disappear if that 1.5 limit is exceeded? People in Bangladesh. Whole regions of the world are going to be uninhabitable. How are those people feeling right now when they see it ['emissions rising by 13.7 % by 2030' in the deal] going in the opposite direction [of scientific report to limit warming to 1.5 C by 'reducing carbon emissions 45% by 2030'] ? And how would you be feeling?" 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of Postsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Explains Extreme Jet Stream Weather Changes

Used with permission of DW.

In the above YouTube, Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of Postsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research explains jet stream weather changes as "hot dry sunny weather lingers for longer, maybe for weeks on end, therefore causing drought problems, wildfire problems, and also the rainfall systems are moving more slowly, and that was one of the main problems with that flooding in West Germany and Belgium/Holland one year ago [ . . . . ]" He says the "weakening jet stream" also explains "extreme heat in parts of the United States, in Europe, and also in China, and the worst case nightmare of climate scientists is really that there is a [ . . . ] simultaneous harvest failure in the major bread basket region of the Northern Hemisphere including United States, Europe, Russia, Ukraine which could cause a hunger crisis."

Climate Adam ("Doctor in climate science from Oxford."), with his typical blend of superb humor/reliable info, gives an excellent answer for a question many students had, "What is the point of climate action if other countries lag?" In my May 19, 2014 blog post it was the same question of Charles Koch. I wrote, "According to Bill Gates’ interview in Rolling Stone, Charles Koch says the problem is bigger than the USA can solve [so why try?]." I added, "When these billionaires discuss climate change at 'dinner,' you know there is a problem."

My favorite recent climate article is "‘Soon it [Earth] will be unrecognisable’: total climate meltdown cannot be stopped, says expert" about a new book Hothouse Earth by Bill McGuire,"emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London."  The 7/30/2022 article by Robin McKie at The Guardian quotes McGuire, "I know a lot of people working in climate science who say one thing in public but a very different thing in private. In confidence, they are all much more scared about the future we face, but they won’t admit that in public. I call this climate appeasement and I believe it only makes things worse. The world needs to know how bad things are going to get before we can hope to start to tackle the crisis." McGuire added, "Who would have thought that a village on the edge of London would be almost wiped out by wildfires in 2022." McKie wrote, "McGuire finished writing Hothouse Earth at the end of 2021. He includes many of the record high temperatures that had just afflicted the planet, including extremes that had struck the UK. A few months after he completed his manuscript, and as publication loomed, he found that many of those records had already been broken."

For many years, my mantra has been "rate of change, rate of change, rate of change," but now it is "water security, food security, community-building." Thank you to the recent 241 visitors from France, 123 from United Kingdom, and 78 from Germany. 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

After the Bureaucratic Meeting

After the Bureaucratic Meeting

dried salmon, raw apple, hand-picked blackberries,
a few honest words circling wood fire
followed by silent glow
for people who crave real food.

Everyone here knows
our dreams tell us
we put too many limits on ourselves to
see, feel, think, do.

Maybe there’s a song so ancient
it makes all stop to listen
who we really are, and could be,
in this time of dread

as fires rage, villages flood,
hurricanes scream, millions of people
and other animals flee
for better places.

If someone doesn’t sing it soon,
most will die. 

I'm grateful to people all over the world who participated in "Hosting & Facilitating a Climate Café " offered by Climate Psychology Alliance July 12, 2022. I heard many honest words from those bringing their best gifts to the table, or in process of doing so. Regarding the "song" idea in my above poem, I like "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. This is not an easy thing to do in meetings or conversations, especially about climate issues. In a related matter, a big congratulations to my former landlord on his 102nd birthday! I recall he said about my first book Industrial Oz published in 2015, "Scott, if you read these poems, you're going to jail."

Sunday, July 10, 2022

San Francisco Climate Clues, June 21, 2022

On a recent business trip to San Francisco, of course I wrote a climate poem:

San Francisco Climate Clues, June 21, 2022

In Hotel Caza painting, room 418,
orange octopus tentacles reach up
thousands of feet
under Golden Gate Bridge

like Nature making COVID-19,  BA.4, BA.5,
Atlantic and Gulf Coast hurricanes, fires,
heatwaves, ice melt, sea rise, dead corals
disrupting lives and livelihoods.

Later, in a nearby coffee shop
two men lament how Paradise, California,
will never be paradise again
in our lifetimes.

A nude woman walks to me
on a hot sidewalk above Fisherman’s Wharf
as news reports 92 degrees,
and Santa Rosa 104.

I worry about her young soles
and paws of various dogs
scampering behind
oblivious owners.

My Uber driver says about the woman,
“Yes, that happens here
when people are so drugged
they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Outside delicious Beloved Café
a man quietly sings to himself
so no one else
can hear the words.

Across town, a homeless man grasps
a screwdriver like a dagger
until I see
it’s for protection.

I recall the 1959 film On the Beach
when a calm, resigned Gregory Peck
allows a submarine crewman to escape
to a nuclear-doomed San Francisco
.

“Is there anything you want before we go?” Peck asks.
“I’m okay,” the crewman replies.
“We won’t be coming back,” Peck continues,
to hear “I know.”

Someday soon
when fish belly up in real life,
birds drop,
and many stare in blank reflection,

as long as I can reduce
suffering of one being
my life has meaning.

#

For his brutal honesty, I added UN Secretary-General António Guterres of Portugal to my "Updated Best Practices for Climate Crisis." Similarly, now is a good time to read, or listen to, Bob Dylan's 5 June, 2017 NOBLE Lecture if you haven't.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Industrial Oz Poem and Interview With Krista Hiser, Director at University of Hawai'i Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum

Industrial Oz

is a drug to keep us
away from ourselves.

On a three-day solo fasting
in the North Cascades

illusions vanish, and
three options appear in dreams

by a wildflower creek:
1) Pretend life on Earth isn’t dying.

2) Pretend humans aren’t to blame.
3) Speak and write the truth.

I'm grateful for a recent interview with Krista Hiser, Director at University of Hawai'i Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum. 

Today Matt McGrath reported at bbc.com in "Climate change: Bonn talks end in acrimony over compensation" "'The climate emergency is fast becoming a catastrophe,' said Conrod Hunte, lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)." The article continues, "At last year's COP26 conference in Glasgow, island states and developing countries agreed to prioritise cuts to carbon emissions on the back of promises that richer nations would finally set up a compensation process this year. [ . . . . ] But despite two weeks of discussions here in Bonn, they have been unable to get the issue of a funding facility on the agenda for the COP27 conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in November."

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Climate Activist Speaks With Australian Coal Miners About Climate Change

Used with permission of Multimedia Journalist & Filmmaker Kim Paul Nguyen


Spring term 2022, in addition to a Poetry Seminar, I taught five climate-themed sections of Critical Thinking and Intermediate Composition, and one of the students' favorite videos was David Schechter/Verify Road Trip's DOCUMENTARY: Climate skeptic examines what scientists know and how they know it in which "the skeptic, 38-year-old Justin Fain, is a 'politically conservative'  honest and curious Texas roofer with a great sense of humor [ . . . ]." One of the most disturbing videos was Climate scientists reveal their fears for the future complementing students' fears of having children.

In a related matter, my favorite recent climate article is "We cannot adapt our way out of climate crisis, warns leading scientistKatharine Hayhoe says the world is heading for dangers people have not seen in 10,000 years of civilisation" by Fiona Harvey at The Guardian June 1, 2022. Hayhoe was quoted, “People do not understand the magnitude of what is going on. This will be greater than anything we have ever seen in the past. This will be unprecedented. Every living thing will be affected. [ . . . . ] If we continue with business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, there is no adaptation that is possible. You just can’t.”

I told my students to look for circles, threads, and connections. Katharine Hayhoe was also featured in Schechter/Verify Road Trip's above DOCUMENTARY . . ., and the video Climate scientists reveal their fears for the future, like Nguyen's/VICE News video above, was focused mostly on Australia. 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Koda with toys

10-month-old American Shepherd

understands importance of play,
close observation,
pushing limits of boundaries,
value of half-chewed stuffed frog,

eating when hungry,
sleeping when tired,
trusting smell,
always removing labels.  

Emotionally available,
he is better company
than many scholars
who understand human

impacts of climate crisis
like Koda understands 
origin of the universe. 

In a related matter, my favorite recent climate article is "The kids are not OK" by Julia Steinberger at Yale Climate Connections May 15, 2022 republished from Medium.com. Her bio notes she is "an ecological economist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland."

Friday, April 22, 2022

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

-- for NASA Scientist Peter Kalmus

It’s like we’re on Spaceship Earth
and our top navigators warn
we will soon collide with asteroid belt
unless we change course.
.00000005 percent get to vote.

Monday, April 4, 2022

IPCC AR6 Part III (Translation: Global Leaders AWOL)

Bill McKibben wrote it best in his Substack publication The Crucial Years, "At 5 a.m. this morning [April 4, 2022] we were supposed to get the report from Working Group 3 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It didn’t come—because delegates were still arguing. And the arguments were over the two most fundamental questions of the climate era: must we get off fossil fuels, and can we do it in a way that’s fair to the developing world?" 

Regarding the IPCC “Summary for Policy Makers” agreed upon by 195 nations, I think Pink Floyd sang it best in their 1979 song “Comfortably Numb”:

“Hello? (Hello? Hello? Hello?)

Is there anybody in there?

Just nod if you can hear me

Is there anyone home?”

Regarding the IPCC Summary's main points, section C.1 notes, “[ . . . . ] Without a strengthening of policies beyond those that are implemented by the end of 2020, GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emissions are projected to rise beyond 2025, leading to a median global warming of 3.2 [2.2 to 3.5] °C by 2100 [FOOTNOTE39, 40] (medium confidence). (Table SPM.1, Figure SPM.4, Figure SPM.5) {3.3, 3.4}” 

A "3.2 °C" temperature rise is a problem for two main reasons. First, greenhouse gas emissions are, and have been, moving in the upward direction as Tim Crosland recently noted. Second, 3.2 °C means, according to Gregor Aisch at Datawrapper, “High risk of reversing of carbon cycle triggering runaway warming spiral. Droughts and famine for billions of people, leading to chaos and wars."       

In similar bad news, Section C.3 of the IPCC Summary notes, “All global modelled pathways [ . . . ] that limit warming to 2°C (>67%) involve rapid and deep and in most cases immediate GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emission reductions in all sectors [ . . . . ]” 

Vested interests have long resisted overall reductions for any reason. So, will this happen in time to avert more severe climate disasters?

You can be sure items agreed upon by 195 nations are likely, due to political interference sometimes referred to as “compromise,” to be like Sir Alec Issigonis' quote, "A camel is a horse designed by committee." In 2019 Writer Dahr Jamail spoke about a pattern of severe IPCC underestimations

Billions of humans and nonhumans have relied on IPCC-informed world leaders to respond in meaningful ways at 26 COPS (Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), and these leaders have repeatedly “dropped the ball” as football fans in the U. S. would say. I wish I could write there is hope on the horizon. Poetic honesty demands three other responses to consider: 1) water security; 2) food security; and 3) community building. 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Plain Speaking About IPCC's Second Part of the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Summary for Policy Makers (signed off by 195 member nations). Clarification by Dr. Charlie Gardner of University of Kent, and Clare Farrell of Extinction Rebellion UK

Used with permission of Extinction Rebellion.

March 20-22, 2022 Update -- Fiona Harvey at The Guardian reported "Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists." The article noted "Antarctic areas reach 40C [70 degrees Fahrenheit] above normal at same time as north pole regions hit 30C [50 degrees Fahrenheit] above usual levels" and "Startling heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles are causing alarm among climate scientists, who have warned the 'unprecedented' events could signal faster and abrupt climate breakdown." Alarmist-averse Michael Mann was quoted, "[. . . ] extreme events are exceeding model projections." The article added, "James Hansen, former NASA chief scientist and one of the first to warn governments of global heating more than three decades ago, told the Guardian the heating of the poles was 'concerning' [ . . . ]" Harvey wrote climate "scientists warned that the events unfolding were 'historic' [ . . . ] and 'dramatic'."

In a related matter, possible collapse of Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier ice shelf within five years has been widely reported. 

Thank you to 426 visitors the past three days. Here is a poem I wrote this morning walking my dog about disconnect between climate reality and many people living as if everything's okay.

Law of Unintended Consequences

You collected dog poop in small bag,
tossed it over fence near garbage.

Your wife’s howl meant she thought
it was a package from Amazon

like buying her a new Camry and
flying to Hawaii for her birthday

or hiking in Columbia Gorge
wildflowers instead of nonviolently

bringing down oil companies that
at this rate will kill her someday

and everything you love.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Three Sockeye in the Columbia River, Oregon

The first had no eyes.
The second no tongue.
The third fungus gills.

“Salmon people have spoken”
said the fisherman
to others who stared in disbelief.

Finally, someone asked,
“What did they say?”
Water is too hot to survive,

and you're next.
Unless you listen and change,
the curse you put on us

will be on you, and your children.

* Click here for a video of the dying salmon.

I'm grateful to Windfall, A Journal of Poetry of Place for publishing this poem in the Spring 2022 issue along with work by noted writers Amy Miller, Steve Dieffenbacher, Mark Thalman, Bette Lynch Husted, Penelope Scambly Schott, Marilyn Johnston, Gary Lark, Carlos Reyes, Barbara Drake, Clemens Starck, Charles Goodrich, Dianne Stepp, James Dott, Kim Stafford, Paulann Petersen, Andrea Hollander, Lisa M. Steinman,  Tim Gillespie, Pepper Trail, Luther Allen, Joel Savishinsky, Tom Wayman, Eleanor Berry, Michael McDowell, and Bill Siverly.

Regarding threats to Pacific salmon, I saw NPR reported today "A 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits northern Japan." I wrote about the Fukushima issue in 2013 here, here, and here.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Dr Ye Tao talks with Clare Farrell | 23 November 2021 | Extinction Rebellion UK

Used with permission of Extinction Rebellion. Dr. Ye Tao gives an excellent presentation weaving in social equity, and the need for nonprofit science-based solutions benefiting people in all countries such as mirrored roof tiles in India to reduce suffering during extreme heat events. 

March 6, 2022 Update: Dave Borlace's Just Have a Think posted a video Can we survive the coming decades? about the IPCC's second part of the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Summary for Policy Makers. Long ago I noted Borlace as top "Explainer" on my "Updated Best Practices for Climate Crisis." 

The end of the Extinction Rebellion above video mentions Kim Stanley Robinson's climate novel The Ministry for the Future in which a heat wave kills 20 million people in India. Interviewed by Amy Brady October 27, 2020 in Burning Worlds at Chicago Review of Books, Robinson responded, "Recent studies of the effect of heat and humidity combined have found that a temperature index of 'wet-bulb 35' (which would be about 95 degrees Fahrenheit with 100% humidity, and then higher temperatures combined with slightly lower humidities [ . . . ]), are fatal to humans who can’t take shelter in air-conditioned spaces. But in heat emergencies like this, power systems are likely to be overwhelmed and go down, at which point even people unclothed, in the shade, and fanning themselves, would still die, in a kind of slow parboiling that the body just can’t handle [ . . . . ]  I remain terrified that something like this opening scene might happen in the coming decade."

In the Extinction Rebellion video Dr. Ye Tao says, "Any form of direct air capture by industrial method will not be able to work at scale, and to make a measurable impact to the climate crisis in less than several centuries of time. The basic reason is the process of demixing the air is a highly energy-intensive process. Just imagine if you had to separate a pile of well-mixed salt and pepper. So to create order out of disorder takes a lot of energy, and that is guaranteed by the laws of thermodynamics. So it doesn't really matter how much engineering you put onto it. We need an operation the size of the U. S. Military six thousand years [ . . . ] to really achieve what these companies are calling for."

This fits what Agence France-Presse wrote at The Guardian September 8, 2021, in "World’s biggest machine capturing carbon from air turned on in Iceland." The article notes, "Constructed by Climeworks, when operating at capacity the plant will draw 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the air every year, the companies say. [par break] According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, that equates to the emissions from about 870 cars. The plant cost between US$10 and 15m to build, Bloomberg reported."

Three posts below I wrote, "[ . . . ] Ye Tao, RF Alumnus of Rowland Institute at Harvard, [ . . . ] I noted as a top 'Innovator' on my 'Updated Best Practices for Climate Crisis.'" This was for his video posted January 29, 2020, "Shocking Facts About Climate Change & A Possible Solution [ . . . ]"