David Brower was the most prominent, influential and controversial environmental leader of the second half of the 20th century. He was a visionary, a brilliant publicist, and also prickly and demanding. This and much more comes through clearly in a new book published by Heyday of Berkeley to celebrate Brower’s 100th birthday.
Bill McKibben, who first alerted the non-scientific world to global climate change two decades ago with The End of Nature has a new piece in Rolling Stone that he says is the most important thing he’s written in the past 20 years, and he’s written hundreds of articles and books during that period.
As I write this, ships are being prepared to steam northward from several ports to begin poking holes in the floor of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in search of oil.
Thanks to legal action by Earthjustice over the last few years, and thanks also to a one-year time-out called in the wake of the catastrophic blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the drilling has been forestalled, but it could finally begin this July. Legal challenges are still pending, but the odds seem long against them.
That said, this is closer to the beginning of this struggle than to its end.
I'm going to stand back and just give you a taste of a report from the Earth Policy Institute. Scary. I recommend you read the whole thing and send it around. There are still people who should know better denying climate change. They are welcome to believe whatever they like, but they shouldn't be playing any role in setting policy. Here are the excerpts:
The New York Times describes Joe Nocera as a business columnist, but a quick scan of recent columns is very heavy on pieces about the woes of the NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association. If today’s column is any indication, we’d all be better off if he stuck with sports.
Last Sunday, Dec. 4, the weekly review/opinion section of The New York Times carried a sober and sobering piece by Robert Semple, a Times editorial writer who seldom gets to sign his pieces. He wrote of the climate meetings taking place this week in Durban, South Africa, where no one seems to think much progress will be made.
“Wall Street owns the country…. Money rules…. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us.” So sayeth the pupulist firebrand Mary Elizabeth Lease in 1890. "She should see us now," comments Bill Moyers in a ringing speech reprinted inThe Nation.
<In a major victory for Earthjustice and its supporters, today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated The Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 50 million acres of National Forest lands against exploitation. Tom Turner, who literally wrote the book ("Roadless Rules") on the case, provides some background here.>
There’s an interesting piece in the latest Earth Island Journal titled “Ready or Not: Climate Change is Coming; Time to Adapt.” The author, Maureen Nandini Mitra, argues that, whether we like or not, the climate is already on the way to significant changes and we have no choice but to figure out how to adapt—as we continue to fight to reverse the trend.