Be of service. You are taking your degree into a society dominated by concentrated poverty and a vulnerable middle class, a society where it is harder to pay for education, harder to find a job, harder to buy a house and harder to hold onto those things even if you manage to get them. You are entering adulthood during a period of mass incarceration and near constant war. There is a lot for you to do. Service is the rent you pay for the space you take up on the earth, and as a relatively privileged American you take up a lot of space. We are the most consuming, polluting, wasteful nation on earth. So your rent is steep. Pay it with service.
Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry’s advice to Class of 2013 (Via)
The premise may be true - that US taxpayers are 1) paying via taxes for disasters at unprecedented rates and 2) insurance companies are increasingly pulling out of vulnerable coastal and agricultural areas. These are wicked problems. They need to be addressed. But the solution proffered is utterly false.
To make the leap that both of these complex problems will stop - that lives will be saved if only Obama cuts emissions by x amount - is scientifically inaccurate (even manipulative).
Every major oil company has a climate change division. Most have active climate change plans aimed at reducing emissions, managing environmental risks, and experimenting with alternatives to reduce climate impacts. Importantly, these are voluntary efforts.They chose to manage and discuss climate risk.
Here are links to the biggest oil and gas companies’ climate pages:
Do you notice anything about the farmers being featured in the commercial?
Yeah, 100% Americana. An America that seems to be stuck in another time. Last time we checked, the commercial overlooked a few other farmers, the over 3 million workers who contribute to the country’s $28+ billion fruit and vegetable industry. Or what about the fact that “the majority (72%) of all farmworkers were foreign-born, with 68 percent of all farmworkers were born in Mexico?” We are guessing that displaying the REAL FACE of farming in the United States would that have been way too uncomfortable to show? By the way, we know you showed only two Latino faces for a second, but that didn’t cut it, Chrysler.
So, a remake is in order. Doing so above is the award winning investigative reporter Issac Cubillos,
^^^^^^^^^^^^^ All of this. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
I know a lot of things, but I certainly didn’t know this stat: 72% of all farm workers were foreign born. Incredible statistic. Big thanks to the Future Journalism Project.
Eaten to extinction: ”If you crossed an anteater with a carp, you might get something similar to a pangolin. Thai custom agents at a checkpoint in Chumporn seized 138 of the endangered animals hidden in a truck. Officials said they were being smuggled out of the country to be sold and eaten. In China, pangolin is a regarded as both a delicacy and the source of several purported “cures.” Often the animal suffers a slow, painful death before it’s boiled and its “medicinal” scales removed.”
Photo: Apichart Weerawong / Associated Press
Great population growth comes horrific destruction. Maybe they can make a conservation zoo program, call it “education,” and charge a fee.
just-breezy asked: Really like your blog. I somewhat agree with your "climate adaptation" message, however, merely adapting to the consequences of global climate change does not seem satisfying to me as an environmentalist. Conversely, given our current trajectory, it might make the most sense (unfortunately). Cheers!
Adaptation is tough, but it responds to the reality that people are too busy living as consumers rather than civilians. People are overwhelmingly disengaged in government decision processes (when was the last time you went to your city’s city council meeting?). But by golly, we all have an iPhone…
We are told - by all sides - that we can buy or click our way out of our environmental problems. Recycle. Sign x petition. Go organic. Deregulate. These are consumer oriented arguments. Where are the arguments to go to town meetings or comment on a water permit? Not only do the majority of people don’t know, they don’t care because they’re taught not to care on a daily basis.
I fundamentally disagree with this approach. Ideally, from my point of view, people would be more active in all government processes. Rather than buying crap with a hokie label to solve environmental problems, we’d understand what the permitting process is for any project, from a bike lane to a mall redevelopment to new apartment buildings. We’d understand how our governance choices impacts ecosystem processes. We’d understand how to use the damn Federal Register. And we’d actually write (or <gasp> call) our local representatives.
Most people don’t know the names of their local representatives. Nor do they know what the heck these reps do day-to-day. I’ll bet that they’ll know where the closest Gap or Best Buy is.
In that context, I’m a realist. I accept that we’re not going to change. I accept that people are consumers and don’t nor won’t care about governance. People are not going to wake up and start participating in government. We’re not going to learn where the water goes when we flush. Nor will we learn how to comment on a local EIA/EIS permit.
So, people will continue to buy homes on beaches, along quake faults, in tornado alley… We’ll insist on building suburbs in the parched southwestern deserts. We’ll continue to give away - for free - public oil drilling and mineral mining rights to private, foreign companies.
In response, NGOs and advocates will continue to plow our boards with petitions to save the beluga/polar bear/fish/river-of-the-week. They won’t, to my ire, educate the public on civic duty.
Have a look here. It’s south Florida. You’ll see tens of thousands of homes surrounded by water. There are three main climate impacts happening here - sea level rise, aquifer salinization, and drought (yep).
Which action will help protect their homes - Buying organic carrots or participating in local government? (OK, moving is the right answer, but remember, let’s stay in reality.) Same applies to New Orleans - no one should live below sea level in a hurricane prone area on the banks of one of the biggest, floodiest rivers in the world. But, they do. And my tax dollars clean up their stupid decisions. “Rebuild! Redevelop!” Is what we’re told, rather than “No, you can’t build in dangerous areas.”
So, I opt to adapt. I begrudgingly accept that people aren’t going to change. If people insist on building their homes on the riparian banks of the Mississippi or in tornado alley or in the middle of the desert, then fine. At least build to be disaster proof so my taxes don’t pay for their stupidity.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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