January 5, 2012

“Generation Hot”

So, this author & journalist named Mark Hertsgaard (who’s kind of old, no offense) wrote an article for The Huffington Post called “Meet Generation Hot.” It’s about how every kid born after June 23, 1988 belongs to “Generation Hot.” Not Generation Y or Z or whatever.  It’s based off the title of his book, HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.

Anyway, his name for us younger people kinda makes me cringe a little bit because it can totally be twisted into something gross.  (I know you know what I mean.  Shut up.)  But basically, the idea is good.  What *he* means is that you’ve basically grown up under the threat of global warming:

This generation includes some two billion young people, all of whom have grown up under global warming and are fated to spend the rest of their lives confronting its mounting impacts.

So why June 23, 1988?

I date the beginning of Generation Hot to June 23, 1988 because that is when humanity was put on notice that greenhouse gas emissions were raising the temperatures on this planet. The warning came from NASA scientist James Hansen’s testimony to the U.S. Senate and, crucially, the decision by the New York Times to print the news on page 1, which in turn made global warming a household phrase in news bureaus, living rooms and government offices the world over.

He talks about how in 2020 there will be twice as many really hot days in the summer, and how growing enough food will be a challenge for the by-then even more populated planet.

Many members of Generation Hot are active in the climate fight, but they cannot succeed without much more help from their elders. The threat of nuclear annihilation — the other great peril of the last fifty years — called forth a powerful movement of parents, especially mothers, that eventually helped convince the superpowers to choose a safer course. Now, parents across the country and around the world should mount a similar campaign to preserve a livable future for our children, the precious young people of Generation Hot.

I wonder if enough parents are listening.

November 28, 2011

Naomi Oreskes and Merchants of Doubt

Historian and author Dr. Naomi Oreskes is someone who believes scientists need to be communicating with the world at large, not just in a lab or field.  She was named a 2011 Climate Change Communicator of the Year by George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication.  She was the lead author of the multiple award-winning Merchants of Doubt, published earlier this year.

The book exposes how a small number of scientists worked (at the behest of industrial partners) to delay social action on smoking, acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion, and climate change.

Her peer nominators wrote:

In a fascinating detective story, she was able to identify a common “playbook” of messaging – and messengers – that resurfaced continuously in the U.S. as these four issues received political and public attention. Through her work, she has made clear to a wide audience that a relatively small organization of powerful individuals and corporations has effectively disseminated doubt (rather than knowledge) in pursuit of their own ideological agenda. The impact of Dr. Oreskes’s work cannot be overestimated.

She has also (critically) defended her colleagues in the face of fierce opposition from non-academic sources [...] In summary, working climate scientists have come to view Dr. Oreskes as their champion. Her fearless work – often performed in the face of threats of legal action – has helped to expose the non-scientific pressures climate scientists have encountered during the course of their research. Her courage and persistence in communicating climate science to the wider public have made her a living legend amongst her colleagues.

She’s talking the talk, and walking the walk.

October 19, 2011

8 principles for talking about climate change

CRED Guide cover



Columbia Univesity’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (also known as CRED – best acronym ever) has a great publication called “The Psychology of Climate Change Communications:  A Guide for scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public.” 

You can order a hard copy for free or download it for free from their website.

The team that put it together says it’s “had an amazing response and
is being used by a really diverse number of organizations.”

The principles include such wisdom as “Translate Scientific Data
Into Concrete Experience” and “Beware the Overuse of
Emotional Appeals”, as well as one I often forget,”Make Behavior
Change Easier.”

Well worth reading, especially for those prone to wondering what exactly will make people pay attention to the environment. 


September 20, 2011



World traveler.


There’s nothing that makes me happier than staring out at sea, so imagine how tickled I was when I heard about this book.  It’s called Moby-Duck (heh heh) and it’s about this writer guy who went on a quest to find out everything he could about a shipping container full of thousands and thousands of rubber ducks that got lost at sea.  

Donovan Hohn is the author’s name.  He called his book Moby-Duck because just like in Herman Melville’s novel, his search became all-consuming. Before Hohn knew it he left home for a 51-foot catamaran (cute but not really my kinda craft), running into all sorts of characters like arctic researchers and nutty sailors, looking into the murky worlds of shipping conglomerates (I’m not saying a word) and Chinese toy factories.  I think about a flotilla of rubber duckies crossing the Arctic and I have to chuckle.  I wish I’d spotted them, but they never made it into my range of view. 

Slightly jealous though I might be of this Hohn fellow, I’m more than happy to let him do the sailing himself and read about his exploits from the comfort of my study with a nice cup of Sanka and my sheepskin slippers on.  It really is a helluva read.  Makes you realize how random life can be.  And it’s funny.

I told my online buddies about it and some of them read it.  We liked the trailer Hohn put up on his promo site too.  Good visuals, especially the computer-generated 3-D visualizations of a cargo ship getting tossed about in a stormy sea. 

Welp, gonna go play Solitaire on my computer now ‘cause it’s foggy and I can’t see squat.

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