Without mystery, without curiosity and without the form imposed by a partial answer, there can be no stories—only confessions, communiqués, memories and fragments of autobiographical fantasy which for the moment pass as novels.
John Berger, ‘A Story for Aesop’, from Keeping a Rendezvous

Isn’t this all we will ever have: the form imposed by a partial answer? If you are at all interested in the arts, please take the time to explore The Dark Mountain Project. Here are the eight principles of uncivilization as published in the Manifesto of The Dark Mountain Project:

‘We must unhumanise our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.’

  1. We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.
  2. We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.
  3. We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilization: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.
  4. We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.
  5. Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.
  6. We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.
  7. We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.
  8. The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.

Tragedy in the Heartland: The American Farm Bureau and Climate Change

On March 16, a bomb cyclone slammed the Mid-West, flooding over a million acres of farmland.

“We’re talking about an event here of historic proportions, circumstances that nobody ever recalls ever happening in their lifetime,” said Steve Wellman, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture director and third-generation farmer.

Many farmers are still not able to work their land, and many will not be able to plant their crops this year because the land is too wet or still underwater. It may be years before the situation returns to normal—for some, perhaps never.

Unfortunately, when it comes to climate change, most farmers have been hoodwinked by the Farm Bureau and the fossil fuel industry. Inside Climate News published a thorough discussion of this tragedy HERE.

“In this series of articles, InsideClimate News explores how the farm lobby has wielded its influence to undermine climate treaties and regulations. In tandem with fossil fuel allies, it sowed uncertainty and denial about the causes of global warming and the urgency to bring it under control. Embracing taxpayer-funded subsidies to insure farmers against the mounting risks, it has nurtured an unsustainable consolidation of agriculture that discourages climate-friendly farming.”

Inside Climate News is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering climate change, energy and the environment.

There are always two voices

“At the advent of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the human heart: one very reasonably invites a man to consider the nature of the peril and the means of escaping it; the other, with a still greater show of reason, argues that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger since it is not in man’s power to foresee everything and avert the general march of events, and it is better therefore to shut one’s eyes to the disagreeable until it actually comes, and to think instead of what is pleasant. When a man is alone he generally listens to the first voice; in the company of his fellow-men, to the second.” — Tolstoy in War and Peace (1849, 886), on the consequences for Russia of the French invasion of 1812.

As found in “Facing Up to Climate Reality: Honesty, Disaster and Hope,” John Foster

North American drilling boom threatens major blow to climate efforts – report

The Guardian reports today that “More than half of the world’s new oil and gas pipelines are located in North America, with a boom in US oil and gas drilling set to deliver a major blow to efforts to slow climate change, a new report has found.

“Of a total 302 pipelines in some stage of development around the world, 51% are in North America, according to Global Energy Monitor, which tracks fossil fuel activity. A total of $232.5bn in capital spending has been funneled into these North American pipeline projects, with more than $1 trillion committed towards all oil and gas infrastructure.”

“If built, these projects would increase the global number of pipelines by nearly a third and mark out a path of several decades of substantial oil and gas use.” Read more . . .

Download report HERE:

“From 2011 to 2016, following a period of heady optimism and over-expansion based on expectations of surging Asian demand, coal mining company values plummeted and bankruptcies decimated the sector. . . . Today, investors in the booming expansion of oil and gas infrastructure appear headed for a similar shock, as boom-fueled optimism runs into climate realities and fiscal limits . . .”

Climate Change and Health in Colorado

credit: The Colorado Health Institute

In the coming weeks, I will be examining climate change in the state of Colorado, my home state. (I live in the top right-hand corner of Boulder County.) In this first post, I focus on climate change and health, drawing on a new report published April 22, 2019 by The Colorado Health Institute. (The report uses data from 2017.)

In terms of health, Southeastern Colorado is the most vulnerable to climate change. This includes the following counties: Kiowa, Crowley, Otero, Bent, Prowers, Huerfano, Las Animas, Baca. The total population of these counties is 68,000.

The report states that Southeastern Colorado is the most vulnerable because:

“This region had the state’s highest rates of emergency department visits due to heat-related illnesses, as well as 60 extreme heat days in 2017.”

“Area residents had high rates of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Residents also were more likely to lack a high school diploma, live in poverty, and be uninsured.”

“The region lacks climate-related action and adaptation plans. The southeast had no public health, county-level, or city- level plans that are addressing climate change.”