Monthly Archives: August 2010

Floods

Floods usually happen after massive storms. The most publicized floods in recent times — Pakistan today, Katrina, Aceh — certainly follow that pattern. The human toll is terrible. But extreme weather of the sort we’d better be primed for as … Continue reading

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The Individualist Fallacy

I admit it: I am one of those people who likes to make himself feel environmentally virtuous by using less stuff. Most of my trips are taken on foot, on bicycle or by bus. I don’t buy much at all, … Continue reading

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The Right Questions

The good intentions of so many notwithstanding, the global environment has been getting worse for centuries. If anything, the downward spiral is speeding up. And I suspect this will continue to be true even if we manage to do things like pass … Continue reading

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Geo-Engineering

Now that all the big governments and even most pundits have convinced themselves (and us?) that we can’t possibly stop emitting greenhouse gasses, you’ll be hearing more and more about geo-engineering. This is the idea that having unintentionally altered the … Continue reading

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Where Are the Hotheads?

Remember this past February, when for a few weeks it was really cold and snowed a lot? Places like my town, Pittsburgh, got buried, as did Washington, D.C. And all the deniers of climate change came out crowing that the … Continue reading

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Why the “Barrenlands” Aren’t

Last summer I took a guided group canoe trip in Canada’s Barrenlands — that half a million square miles of Arctic and sub-Arctic tundra west of Hudson Bay and roughly 1,000 miles north of North Dakota. It’s just as remote as … Continue reading

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Life in Backwards Land

In Backwards Land, there’s stuff buried in the ground that should stay there. It’s toxic. Instead, we dig it up and burn it, so it can harm everyone. In Backwards Land, there’s stuff we use that should stay aboveground with … Continue reading

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Tiny Creatures Far Away

Every Saturday, our local daily performs a valuable service with its page A-2 “Earth Diary,” a roundup of environmental news from around the globe. The items are only 100 words long, but some of the snapshots are valuable. An item last … Continue reading

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The Price is Not the Cost

While we green types yearn for a culture-wide shift away from obsessive consumption and toward sane conservation practices, as long as energy, water and other basic resources are priced the way they are now, there’s little chance of people actually changing their … Continue reading

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A Couple Examples

Here’s an example of what I mean by rethinking everything on the environment — reframing the way we talk about it. Human health IS the environment. Even when we talk about them together, it’s usually as two separate if overlapping things: … Continue reading

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