For the Trees

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For North American tree lovers, October is a special month: the time of year when the trees get dressed up in their fanciest finery and show off just how wildly beautiful they are.

I pay attention to trees in all seasons, and have ever since I was a girl who loved to climb them, as high as I could go, and drape myself over a branch to feel the wind swaying us both gently.

My very first short story, written in pencil in a nondescript notebook when I was about 8, was about a tree nymph named Estrella, who gathered the animals around her in an urgent council, and set off on a quest to try to save her forest from destruction by humans. I never finished that story, mostly because I could not imagine a solution—how could a tree nymph and some forest animals stop the men with their bulldozers and chain saws?

Estrella haunts me now, prodding me to return to her story and persevere to the ending. Since those long ago days of my childhood, the pace of forest destruction has only increased.

According to National Geographic, if the current pace of deforestation continues, the planet’s rainforests could “completely vanish in a hundred years” (italics mine).

The fate of the northern boreal forests is no less dire. The Canadian boreal forest, an area more than 14 times the size of California, is being scraped away relentlessly for tar sands oil production, as well as being steadily logged.


In the first 13 years of the 21st century, according to a report from the World Resources Institute and Global Forest Watch, “Canada lost more than 26 million hectares of forest, mainly in its boreal region. More than 20 percent of the boreal forest region (more than 150 million hectares) is now covered by industrial concessions for timber operations, hydrocarbon development, hydroelectric power reservoirs, and mineral extraction.”

A hectare is equal to about 2.5 acres. The scale of this deforestation boggles the mind. In fact, I think one of the reasons this vast destruction is continuing is because it’s so hard to wrap our minds around it. Outside of photos, very few of us tree lovers ever see a fresh clear-cut or a mine. We don’t see what passes for “reforestation,” the planting of millions of trees in straight lines, with herbicide sprayed below them to prevent “weeds” from growing, and not an animal or bird or butterfly in sight.


Yet so many of us love birds and butterflies and animals. We put out our bird feeders in the winter and ooh and ahh over a sighting of a deer or a bobcat.

How can we be so loving on the one hand, and so callous on the other? How can we allow the relentless logging and scraping and dozing and burning to go on???

We seem to live with constant cognitive dissonance, whereby we know what’s going on, but resolutely shut out the knowledge. At least, that’s what I do. I know that every time I get in my car I’m being part of the problem. But I continue driving, nevertheless. We all do.

Human beings are profoundly social animals. The more I think about our behavior, the more I see our resemblance to ants, bees and termites. Especially ants, who are also wizards at reshaping the environment to suit their own needs. But no other species on Earth destroys its own habitat—and knowingly, at that!

A long, long time ago, the Earth was an anaerobic environment; there was no oxygen in the atmosphere. Then the plants came along and started turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, paving the way for all of us oxygen breathers who followed them.

Without the plants—without the algae, grasses, trees and all the other carbon-dioxide breathers—the Earth would become uninhabitable for us, just as it became uninhabitable for the anaerobic creatures millions of years ago.

So when we’re thinking about the trees, we owe them some gratitude. Some reverence and respect.


I love trees because they seem majestic and wise to me. They live a long time, far longer than humans, and they exist both above and below ground in ways I can hardly begin to fathom. They are also patient and resilient. When you cut down a tree, its roots still feed the soil, and if left alone (ie, no herbicides), it will soon regenerate, calmly sending up hundreds of new saplings to take the place of the one who fell. It has time. There is no rush.

It’s human beings who are in a rush, all the time. In a rush to “harvest biomass,” policy code for cutting down forests. In a rush to figure out how to “manage ecosystem services,” ie, learning how to cut down, replant and cut down again at the fastest possible rate.

All this rush is sending us pell-mell off the cliff of climate change. We know this, but try not to think about it. It’s so much easier to go along with the flow of our dominant, fossil-fuel-based, wood-hungry culture than to try to resist. Especially when it seems like that’s what everyone else is doing too.

Charles Eisenstein says that “enlightenment is a group activity,” meaning that it’s almost impossible for us humans, social creatures that we are, to change our mind-sets alone.

What’s truly exciting about our time is that now, we are more networked and communicative than ever before, just like our cousins the ants and the bees. Our Internet has made group enlightenment (otherwise known as social change) possible at a speed and a scale never before possible for humans.

It’s no longer possible for us to simply not know when millions of acres of forest are being clear-cut. That kind of innocence is gone, and with knowledge comes the responsibility to act, to live up to our values. Happily, there are some potent actions going on right now on behalf of the forests and the waters—the lifeblood of our planet.


Not surprisingly, it’s indigenous peoples, the ones who have stayed closest to the land throughout the whole horrendous onslaught of “Western civilization,” who are leading the way.

If you haven’t been following the protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where a massive pipeline project is underway, please inform yourself. The powers that be are trying to muzzle the media there, but that always backfires in the age of social media, doesn’t it.

Amy Goodman’s video report of dogs attacking peaceful protesters (they prefer to call  themselves as “water protectors”) has gone viral with more than 14 million views in just a couple of weeks. The more the oil moguls try to stamp out resistance, the brighter the glare of public awareness and outrage shines.

I’m also heartened by the response to the Million Trees Campaign started by Treesisters, an organization inspired by the Pachamama Alliance, which was itself sparked by visits with the Amazonian Shuar people who were reaching out to northern allies to try to save their forests.

Treesisters is funding local reforestation projects, focusing on the tropical rainforests that are so essential to the stability of the climate worldwide. Currently they are half-way to their goal of funding the planting of 1 million trees in the coming year—you can join in here.



Estrella the tree nymph is never far from my mind these days, her great love for the trees and forests fueling her implacable determination to change the hearts and minds of the human beings that would destroy them.

One day I will finish her story. And I hope I can find my way to a happy ending.





Of Oil, Honey and the Future of Human Civilization

do_the_math_image_1I have been reading Bill McKibben’s new book, Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist, with a group of students in a course called Media Strategies for Social and Environmental Justice Advocacy that I’m offering for the first time this semester at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Oil and Honey tells the story of how McKibben founded with a group of his students at Middlebury College in 2009, and how together they went on to become the most visible American environmental organization of our time, leading the U.S. protests against the Keystone XL pipeline and creating an international movement to put pressure on governments and policy makers to quickly and decisively address the mounting threats of climate change.

Most recently, McKibben has been focusing on divestment as a tactic to push the fossil fuel industry to shift into cleaner forms of energy production.

Taking its cue from the successful anti-apartheid divestment campaigns of the 1980s, the strategy is to awaken enough ordinary citizens–including college students, church-goers and workers of every stripe–to the perils of climate change, and get them to press their hometowns, companies, churches and colleges or schools to divest their endowments, retirement funds and other collectively held investment portfolios from the fossil fuel industry.

It seems like a good strategy, and yet it did not elicit much enthusiasm from the students in my class.

They were more interested in thinking about how to educate younger kids about the beauty and value of the natural world, and moving from that basic platform out into activism.

Kids today spend so much time indoors, in front of screens, that they have little sense of connection to nature, my students said.  And without that connection, it’s very hard to understand why it’s important.  What’s all the fuss about?

This is what it’s about.

Bill McKibben asks us to “do the math” and understand that if we were to actually succeed in burning all the fossil fuels that are currently in the ground, we would heat our planet to a level not seen for millions of years.

It would definitely be game over for human civilization, and it would take millions of years for the planet to restabilize.

What it is about this simple math that human beings today do not want to see and understand?

Part of it is simply that we’re so easily distracted.

The big news yesterday was that Federal Aviation Administration will now allow airline passengers to use their computers and tablets right through take-off and landing.  We can be in front of our screens to the very last second of the day!

Meanwhile, while we’re busy on our computers, not paying attention, the fossil fuel industry is going around the resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline by massively investing in railway terminals, lines and cars for carrying its tar sands oil down to refineries and tankers on the coasts.

B3029FCC-5228-4E57-B879-F8A83ABF036B_mw1024_n_sAnd up in the darkness of the Russian tundra, 30 Greenpeace activists are languishing in cold solitary prison cells, held without trial for the crime of trying to raise awareness about the destruction of the Arctic by Russian and international oil drilling.

Where is the outrage?

In the book Oil and Honey, McKibben ingeniously compares corporate behavior to bee behavior.  Corporations are like bees, he says, in being relentlessly “simple” and focused on their one crucial task—for bees, making honey; for corporations, making profit.

They don’t change their focus, no matter what.

But humans are more complex than that.  We can change and adapt to new circumstances.  We can recognize and act upon moral imperatives.  We don’t have to follow suicidal corporations blindly over a cliff of their own making.

Although it’s true that the alarming dependence of Americans on screens of every size can get in the way of a connection to the natural world, on the other hand, the fact that so many people are networked together through the media presents great opportunities for activism and change.

With my students this semester, I’ll be thinking about how to harness the power of the media to create a different kind of swarm—not following our current corporate leaders, but moving in an entirely different direction.

We’re not alone—there are many groups working on this now, from the Transition Town movement to the Pachamama Alliance to even such formerly mainstream organizations as the Sierra Club.

The task: to awaken a critical mass of people, worldwide, to the reality that we are living in an end-time of biblical stature; and to get them to understand that we have the power to change the storyline from doom-and-gloom cataclysm to a positive shift into a whole new relationship of humans to our planetary home.

Working cooperatively, bees are able to turn small grains of pollen into vast tubs of honey.  Human beings can do that too–when we work together for a common cause we can do almost anything.

So what are we waiting for?


Don’t be fooled…now is no time to relax

Usually there is one image every week that burns itself into my memory and won’t let go.  That’s the one I have to write about.

This week, this is it:

Beijing, January 17, 2013

Beijing, January 17, 2013

It’s coupled with a small, unheralded story, which I’m sure many people missed, about how soot is a much more dangerous contributor to the greenhouse effect than had previously been estimated.

I paid attention to this because I remember soot well.

In the luxurious enclaves in Manhattan where I lived as a child and young adult, soot was omnipresent.

It lay, black and unrepentant, on the white painted windowsills of our apartments.  It got into your eyes when the wind blew.  It came off black on the cotton balls I’d use to clean my face at night.  It gradually turned the white starched window curtains and the elegant rugs and carpets a dingy gray.

Looking at the images from Beijing this week, I can hardly bear to imagine how heavily besmirched with soot everything in that city must be.

air pollution in Beijing, China

I have vivid memories of standing on the corner of 86th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan as a child, and being totally engulfed with the hot black diesel smoke belching out of one of the public buses that ran the crosstown route.

It happened on a daily basis, and never failed to disgust me.  I felt some small, inner part of myself wilting, just like I saw the spindly trees planted in iron cages on 86th street gradually giving up and dying, a little more each day.

I also had to contend with cigarette smoke at home.  I remember long winter car rides in which my parents would pass a lighted cigarette back and forth between them in the front seat.  I detested the smell of cigarette smoke, it made me feel like I was going to either faint or explode.  I did neither, of course; just cracked my window in the back seat and sat there miserably with my nose to the wind, grateful for the short periods between cigarettes, when I could relax.

I’m in one of those short periods now.

Hurricane Sandy did not hit us here in the interior Northeast, and the weather has been relatively mild so far this winter.

Food prices are going up, for sure, but there are no shortages, no bread lines as of yet.

IMG_1160When I look around me the air is clear, the sun is bright, and everything still seems rather “normal.”

Except that every year there are fewer and fewer songbirds at my bird feeder.

Every summer fewer butterflies make it to the butterfly bush in my garden.

Every fall the leaves on the sugar maples get a little smaller and less shapely.

It’s a slow, steady decline that many people, less tuned into the natural world, probably don’t see at all.

But it’s there.

I don’t know if we in the US will ever get to the dramatic, disgusting air pollution levels of Beijing.  But there will come a time when we can no longer count on the kind of abundance we’ve become accustomed to in the supermarkets.

Floods, droughts, lack of pollinators and an increase of superbugs will take their toll.

The climate thermometer will creep ever higher.

It will all accelerate—don’t think that we won’t see the beginnings of destabilization in our lifetimes.  We are seeing them now.

Chris Hedges recently interviewed Ronald Wright, the author of A Short History of Progress and other books, and here is what he had to say about the juncture at which we find ourselves:

“If we continue to refuse to deal with things in an orderly and rational way, we will head into some sort of major catastrophe, sooner or later,” Wright said. “If we are lucky it will be big enough to wake us up worldwide but not big enough to wipe us out. That is the best we can hope for.

“We must transcend our evolutionary history. We’re Ice Age hunters with a shave and a suit. We are not good long-term thinkers. We would much rather gorge ourselves on dead mammoths by driving a herd over a cliff than figure out how to conserve the herd so it can feed us and our children forever. That is the transition our civilization has to make. And we’re not doing that.”

What we need now is a rapid evolutionary acceleration of consciousness, so that we become the kind of long-term thinkers that can size up the terrible circumstances in which we find ourselves now, and do what needs to be done to successfully solve the problems.

We have the technology, we have the know-how, we have the ethical framework.  We just need the will and determination to make it happen.

I am happy to see President Obama forging ahead on the gun control issue in the US.  That is important work.

But it will be irrelevant and forgotten when climate destabilization leads to deprivation and social chaos.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again til I’m blue in the face: there is no more important issue to work on now than shifting to renewable energy and ending our cultural addiction to fossil fuels.

Not later.  Now.

Help Wanted: Strong Leadership on Climate Change, Starting Immediately

Now if only President Obama could show the same leadership on climate change as he has just demonstrated on the divisive same- sex-marriage issue.

The same narrow-minded interests that made same-sex marriage such a boogeyman for the President are also controlling the GOP-dominated boardrooms of Big Oil, from Mr. Cheney on down.

These people seem to be motivated by one thing only: the bottom line.  And they seem to be able to think only as far as a quarter or two ahead.

They don’t see that they are driving us as fast as possible over a cliff from which there will be no recovery.  Or maybe they see, but just don’t care.

It was with great appreciation that I opened up The New York Times Opinion pages today and saw the indefatigable James Hansen offering the lead op-ed, once more displaying his vision and leadership in 1) insisting that the comfortable NYT readers pay attention to the imminent and grave threat of climate change, and 2) offering a practical solution for bringing about the swift change of course we need to avert disaster.

Those of us who have been thrown into gloom by the prospect of Canada scraping down the boreal forest to exploit their tar sands will be somewhat heartened by the strong language Hansen uses to condemn this approach to “solving” the peak oil crisis.

Alberta, Canada: from boreal forest to tar sand devastation

“Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.”

This is not some crazy Armageddon-spouting evangelical talking here.  This is James Hansen, senior scientist and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The way to head off this catastrophic scenario, as Hansen and many other scientists have been telling us now for at least a decade, is to reduce our use of fossil fuels.

It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense, and Hansen has an easy, no-nonsense solution for forcing Americans to change our ways and start doing what we have to do to save our planet and our civilization.

“We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny,” Hansen says. “This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.”

As Hansen observes, in practice what we have been doing is just the opposite: “instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world’s governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. This encourages a frantic stampede to extract every fossil fuel through mountaintop removal, longwall mining, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands and tar shale extraction, and deep ocean and Arctic drilling.”

These subsidies must stop.

Canada and the US must stop playing poker with the future of our children and our planetary epoch.

All of us, from President Obama and Prime Minister Harper right on down to each one of us ordinary folks who drive cars, heat our houses and run our air conditioning, need to stop pretending that business-as-usual can continue any longer.

Climate Change Denial at the NY Times

I opened up Joe Nocera’s column in today’s NY Times, “The Poisoned Politics of the Keystone XL,” with anticipation, thinking that at last the Times was going to deliver a column roundly critiquing the pipeline and the oil-drenched politics from which it sprang.

My expectations could not have been more disappointed.

To put it mildly, Joe Nocera does not know what the hell he is talking about.  And I have to wonder whether some clumps of sticky tar-sandy dollars might have found their way into his pockets in return for the little PR gift he just gave, with flourishes, to the Canadian oil industry.

You will have to read Nocera’s column for yourself–I really can’t bear to summarize it.  Suffice it to say that he believes that:

  • 1) extracting the Canadian tar sands will make the US, and North America generally, “energy secure”;
  •  2) there is no point in pushing for energy conservation or a shift to renewable energy;
  • 3) Canadian tar sand oil “may be a little dirtier than the crude that pours forth from the Saudi Arabian desert…but is hardly the environmental disaster many suppose”;
  • 4) the US is foolish to cede our interest in this oil to the Chinese.

To which I (and some 300 other respondents to his column on, as of this writing) have to say, Joe, are you out of your mind????  Or are you just being willfully blind?

Yesterday I was writing about the holocaust of harp seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where for the past decade global heating has been melting the ice at an alarming rate, leaving newly born seal pups at the mercy of thin, fragile ice floes.  I have also been thinking a great deal about the Little Ice Age that seems to be occurring in Europe this winter.  While we here in New England are enjoying springlike temperatures and a total lack of snowfall, Europe is getting dumped on with snow, and frigid temperatures to boot.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find solid information about this in the NY Times or other mainstream press outlets, but if you look hard enough, it’s there.  Climate scientists are pointing to the steadily melting Arctic ice cap as the culprit in the change in wind and weather patterns that are bringing more extreme weather to Europe–remember the 2010 hot spells that cost hundreds of lives?  This severe cold is also to blame for hundreds of deaths.

Let’s connect the dots.  Tar sands extraction can only be done by burning lots more fossil fuels.  That’s why environmentalists oppose it.  Not so much because of the destruction of millions of acres of pristine wildlife habitat, though that is generally acknowledged as sad collateral damage.

No, the main problem with extracting the Alberta tar sands is that doing so will speed the heating of the planet.  Heating the planet will lead to melting polar ice, rising sea levels, and ever more bizarre and destructive weather patterns.

Heating the planet will lead to death and destruction on a vast scale.

As the authors of a recent Royal Society special issue on climate change put it, if temperatures rise 4°C , “the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world. Hence, the ecosystem services upon which human livelihoods depend would not be preserved.”

This is science-speak for a basic premise I think anyone could understand: if the temperatures continue to rise, human beings, and the ecosystems that have evolved alongside us, are TOAST (expletive deleted).

Going full-bore at the Alberta tar sands is signing the final death sentence for millions and millions of living beings on this planet, including millions of human beings.

Humans in heretofore privileged spots on the globe, like Europe and the USA, will not be excepted from the general ecocide.

Do you have any children or grandchildren, Joe?

Can you really in good conscience assure them that selling the Alberta tar sands, to the US or the Chinese, will contribute to their “energy security”?

If you answer yes, then my original hypothesis is confirmed.

You are out of your (expletive deleted) mind.

Human beings are not lemmings–so let’s get organized and get away from that cliff!

This happens to be my 100th post on Transition Times, and to mark the occasion I want to reflect on where I’ve come with this blog project, and what themes have emerged along the way.

When I started Transition Times, back in mid-July, I was away in Nova Scotia, trying not to think about the crazy shenanigans going on back home, where the Republicans were threatening to shut down the U.S. government and destroy our credit rating in the world, rather than negotiate reasonably towards consensus with the Democrats (otherwise known as “the debt-ceiling crisis”).

I was also reading Mark Hertsgaard’s Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years On Earth, along with Bill McKibben’s Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, both of which paint a stark portrait of how the climate change crisis will be affecting our lives in the foreseeable future.

All in all, I was in a pretty gloomy state of mind.

But then surprising things started to happen.

In the middle of the dog days of August, Bill McKibben and began a sit-in next to the White House, protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline and the development of the boreal forests of Alberta (otherwise known as “the tar sands”).

A month later, the Occupy Wall Street movement sprang up seemingly out of nowhere, protesting the government’s collusion with the super-wealthy (otherwise known as “the 1%”) and abandonment of ordinary Americans (otherwise known as “the 99%”).

The Occupy movement spread like wildfire, and the Keystone XL protest succeeded in at least postponing the pipeline and American support of Alberta tar sands extraction, giving the nascent climate change movement a boost and more of a chance to grow.

Along the way a historic hurricane ripped across the Eastern Seaboard, and a freak snowstorm dumped a good two feet of heavy wet snow on leafy trees in southern New England, knocking out power for some folks for days, and even weeks, and reinforcing the unavoidable reality of climate change.

Most recently, public awareness of the militarization of American policing has suddenly taken a giant leap forward, thanks to images of police brutality inflicted on old and young white people of the well-dressed, college-educated variety.  Over in Europe, the debt crisis threatens the dissolution of the euro zone, something unthinkable just a few months ago.

All in all, it’s been a dramatic few months, and blogging my reactions to and thoughts about all this has been a rewarding experience.

I’ve been struck by the power of the World Wide Web as a vehicle for social communication and movement-building.  Just as the Arab Spring showed us how cell phone texting technology could be used to ignite and build, at lightening speed, an effective resistance movement, the Occupy movement has demonstrated the extent to which Americans are plugged into the vast collective consciousness we call the Web.

While the captains of industry sold us smart phones and tablet computers intending to make us more agile shoppers and financial traders, they unwittingly put into our hands the tools of our liberation from the capitalist machine that has dominated us for the past 50 years or so.

Marx predicted long ago that the very instruments that enabled capitalism–globalization and technological prowess–would also be the instruments with which the bourgeoisie would dig their own graves.

In the age of global warming and climate change, this has never seemed more prescient.

But Marx also imagined that out of the ashes of the old world a new order would arise.  He believed that it would be possible for the proletariat, the working class, to create a better world, based on collaboration and compassion rather than ruthless competition.

It seems like Americans are finally awakening out of a long, dark sleep of obliviousness to the ways in which our corporate capitalist economic and governmental system has been leading us down a blind alley, at the end of which, it turns out, is a steep cliff.

Are we waking up in time to back ourselves out of that alley, away from that fearsome cliff?

It is too soon to tell. But those of us who are aware of the gravity of the situation today not just for our society, but for our species and the planet as a whole, need to be out there on the frontlines, both physical and virtual, making the connections that may enable us to successfully build a movement for change and avert disaster.

Human beings are not lemmings, but we are indeed susceptible to being led.  We want to believe that our leaders are competent and have our best interests at heart.  We hold on to this belief even when all evidence points to the contrary.

It’s time now to stop putting our faith in our elected officials and their paid enforcers, and listen instead to our own hearts and minds.  We know what needs to be done to bring the ecological web of life on this planet back into balance.  It is time to reach out to each other and find the determination to get the job done.

Pipeline put off, but I’m not celebrating, are you?

Bill MicKibben: We won a temporary victory on Keystone XL, but the fight goes on | Grist.

It’s hard to feel elated about President Obama’s decision this week to kick the can of the Alberta tar sands extraction down the road a ways, until after the 2012 election.

Yes, any victory is a good victory, and the environmentalists who took the trouble to go to Washington and raise a ruckus in opposition to the proposed pipeline deserve our accolades and thanks.

The cranes who use the Nebraska Sand Hills refuge will have another year or two of peace.  The Ogllala aquifer is protected for the moment.

But it’s discouraging to see how the Administration is trying to limit discussion to the pipeline, as if it, in itself, were the problem.

No, the pipeline is just a symptom of a much larger problem: the potential destruction of the Canadian boreal forests, with their countless species of flora and fauna, and their tremendous carbon-trapping properties.

Without the Alberta forests, global warming is a done deal.

Does anyone there in Washington understand what that means?

Earth to Washington: do you copy?

Go ahead, Earth.

We haven’t got much time left.  The temperature is rising.  Once the climate destabilizes, we won’t be able to turn things around for a long, long time.  We’re talking geological time here.

Copy that, Earth.

So can we get some serious action there, Washington?  Can we light a fire under those politicians and get going with solar energy already?

Copy that, Earth.


Washington to Earth, connection is down.  Can you repeat?  Over.

Yes, that’s right.  Over.

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