“a very strange argument” for global warming

From David Wallace-Wells’ just published The Uninhabitable Earth: “Over the last few years, as the planet’s own environmental rhythms have seemed to grow more fatalistic, skeptics have found themselves arguing not that climate change isn’t happening, since extreme weather has made that undeniable, but that its causes are unclear — suggesting that the changes weContinue reading ““a very strange argument” for global warming”

“a permanent loss of normal”: CA climate today

A couple of years ago I worked hard on a story about a hugely important study from Daniel Swain et al on the all-too-likely re-occurence of the Great California Flood. For personal reasons nothing came of my story, but eventually the news did break in a big (Los Angeles Times) and accessible (Science Friday) sortContinue reading ““a permanent loss of normal”: CA climate today”

Precipitous insect decline: collapse of nature?

This week a Dutch cartoonist with beauty dramatized a horrifying new study warning of “the collapse of nature.” Yes, that statement seems extreme, but the art contextualizes it as form of suicide. Or even worse, as a form of ecocide-suicide. First our species exterminates the insects, and then their decline unravels nature. The study, freely available fromContinue reading “Precipitous insect decline: collapse of nature?”

Sisyphus and climate activism: the surprising truth

In December, the scientist who — probably more than any other individual — brought ocean acidification to the attention of the world, Ken Caldeira, gave a named lecture to the huge science conference known as the AGU (officially, the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union). He spoke on the legacy of Carl Sagan, andContinue reading “Sisyphus and climate activism: the surprising truth”

“Radical Distraction” by Saul Bellow

From Saul Bellow, in an essay from 1975, published in Critical Inquiry: “We are in a state of radical distraction,” he writes in “A World Too Much with Us,” an essay for the journal Critical Inquiry, in 1975, the same year Humboldt’s Gift appears. “I don’t see how we can be blind to the politicalContinue reading ““Radical Distraction” by Saul Bellow”

Performative Cruelty in the Presidency

The best essay on our very stable genius from last year, it is clear to me now, came from The Atlantic and Adam Serwer: The Cruelty is the Point. Let me quote the “nut graph” as they say in journalism, the simplest possible outline of the argument to be made in the piece. The crueltyContinue reading “Performative Cruelty in the Presidency”

Don’t Push Me Because I’m Close to the Edge: 2019

A generation ago Grandmaster Flash had a huge hit with The Message, with a chorus that went like this: Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge I’m trying not to lose my head It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder How I keep from going under That was 1982, twenty-seven years ago,Continue reading “Don’t Push Me Because I’m Close to the Edge: 2019”

A wild perspective on the government shutdown

  My name is Randy, and I’m the raccoon resident of the dumpster enclosure at Yellowstone National Park’s Bridge Bay Campground. The park rangers refer to me as a “nuisance raccoon.” I’ve lost my fear of humans and ability to forage for natural food like fruits and nuts, the stuff that non-nuisance raccoons eat. ImagineContinue reading “A wild perspective on the government shutdown”

Eating the Thomas Fire (sort of)

A little over a year ago the Thomas Fire, powered by the strongest Santa Ana winds in memory, roared through Upper Ojai on its way to surrounding all of Ojai, rampaging into Santa Barbara county, killing two people, destroying 1,000 structures, and burning over 200,000 acres of land. The fire visited our property on theContinue reading “Eating the Thomas Fire (sort of)”

Climate change hits ag in Ventura County

Proud to have published this story recently in a prominent Ventura County publication. With the help of Ben Hatchett of the Desert Research Institute, we showed I think that avocados, though now a substantial part of Ventura County agriculture, will in the not-too-distant future be a much more risky proposition…but that other crops, such asContinue reading “Climate change hits ag in Ventura County”