Switch to Renewable Energy

Storm Coming (NASA)

GR–Ode to concerned scientists: They see the danger, they blow the horns and clang the bells, and they wait. But the ramparts remain empty. They turn to their family and friends, but dreamlike their voices are too soft and none respond.

“Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a dire warning to humanity about impending collapse but virtually no-one takes notice. Ultimately, our global systems, which are designed for perpetual growth, need to be fundamentally restructured to avoid the worst-case outcome.

“For a moment, the most important news in the entire world flashed across the media like a shooting star in the night sky. Then it was gone. In November, over fifteen thousand scientists from 184 countries issued a dire warning to humanity. Because of our overconsumption of the world’s resources, they declared, we are facing “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss.” They warned that time is running out: “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory.”

“This is not the first such notice. Twenty-five years ago, in 1992, 1,700 scientists (including the majority of living Nobel laureates) sent a similarly worded warning to governmental leaders around the world. In ringing tones, they called for a recognition of the earth’s fragility and a new ethic arising from the realization that “we all have but one lifeboat.”

“This second warning contains a series of charts showing how utterly the world’s leaders ignored what they were told twenty-five years earlier. Whether it’s CO2 emissions, temperature change, ocean dead zones, freshwater resources, vertebrate species, or total forest cover, the grim charts virtually all point in the same dismal direction, indicating continued momentum toward doomsday. The chart for marine catch shows something even scarier: in 1996, the catch peaked at 130 million tonnes and in spite of massively increased industrial fishing, it’s been declining ever since—a harbinger of the kind of overshoot that unsustainable exploitation threatens across the board.” –Jeremy Lent (What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse?).

How Many of You Switched to Renewable Energy?

In recent posts, I described the warnings of impending disaster. I didn’t expect to have an impact, and I wasn’t wrong. As Jeremy Lint points out in the article above, the media avoidance of unappetizing topics is too complete. And of course, our leaders in power avoid the subject in their subservience to wealth. My first hint that good advice for avoiding collapse would be futile was the minimal response to my discovery of the simple and inexpensive means for everyone to switch their homes from fossil fuel energy to renewable energy. Like Pangloss, I’ve remained hopeful. But I read that book, and now I’ve turned to a more practical concern; the post-anthropocene survivors, the weeds, have absorbed my attention. Today’s weed is Shepherdspurse, a foreign but familiar little mustard that feeds butterflies and yields medicines for us humans.

How Broadcast Networks Covered Climate Change In 2016

GR: So focused on our navels last year, we had no time for the building climate disaster. The Media Matters story below included fine graphics with full commentary. Here’s a sketch and some of the graphs. Once again, Bernie Sanders showed his broad perspective on critical issues. He brought up climate change four times as much as hosts did on ABC, CBS, and NBC Sunday shows. Mainstream media failed, but there was certainly good coverage of climate change across the Internet. I reported on it on this blog more than 200 times. Here’s an example (https://garryrogers.com/category/climate-change/). Other blogs have mentioned the poor 2016 coverage.

“In 2016, evening newscasts and Sunday shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as Fox Broadcast Co.’s Fox News Sunday, collectively decreased their total coverage of climate change by 66 percent compared to 2015, even though there were a host of important climate-related stories, including the announcement of 2015 as the hottest year on record, the signing of the Paris climate agreement, and numerous climate-related extreme weather events.

“There were also two presidential candidates to cover, and they held diametrically opposed positions on the Clean Power Plan, the Paris climate agreement, and even on whether climate change is a real, human-caused phenomenon.

“Apart from PBS, the networks also failed to devote significant coverage to climate-related policies, but they still found the time to uncritically air climate denial — the majority of which came from now-President Donald Trump and his team.” –Media Matters (Continue reading:  How Broadcast Networks Covered Climate Change In 2016.)

GR: Kate Yoder of Grist covered this story too:

“The networks can’t claim there was a shortage of important climate stories to cover. Hurricane Matthew, the Great Barrier Reef’s continued slow death, record-shattering heat, and the official beginning of the Paris climate deal all took place last year.

“Other insights from the study:

  • “Together, the networks aired five segments of climate science denial from Trump and his team — without rebuttal.
  • “No network covered climate change’s impact on national security or the economy.
  • “And none of them aired a single segment on the effect a Trump or Clinton presidency would have on the climate — until after the election.

“Great to know that TV news is taking the defining issue of our time so seriously.” –Kate Yoder.

Planet at the Crossroads

GR:  The short-term focus of our news media reflects the short-term focus of news consumers.  Reporters often omit critical elements of a story in order to meet the need for brevity.  For instance, an NPR story yesterday gave a glowing report on an unexpected discovery of a great new oil reservoir in west Texas.  At a time when most of our scientists are on the verge of losing hope for the survival of our civilization due to greenhouse gas production, it would seem that the danger implicit in a major Texas oil discovery should have been mentioned in the story.  But no.  The story below covers the brevity problem quite well.

From Animalista Untaimed:  “The ecosystems that underpin our economies, well-being and survival are collapsing. Species are becoming extinct at unprecedented rates. Our climate is in crisis. And it’s all happening on our watch.”

“The Rio Olympics went out in a blaze of colour. The Para-Olympics are off to a spectacular start, in no way diminished by the booing of Brazil’s new president, and a pro-Russia demonstration by Belarus athletes at the Opening Ceremony. And yet another four-yearly summer event is drawing to a close right now in the southern hemisphere – the World Conservation Congress Hawaii Sep 1st – 10th 2016

“The what? Who knew? Have we had so much as a whiff of this in the news? Considering the Congress is bringing people together “to discuss and decide on solutions to the world’s most pressing environment, climate and development challenges” – in other words, matters of supreme importance to the fate of Planet Earth, the health of its land and oceans, the survival of its flora and fauna (which are facing the 6th Mass Extinction), and of the human race itself – the media appear to have greeted the event with an almost deafening silence.

“While those other two events, held for (comparatively speaking) the entirely frivolous purpose of establishing who can run, cycle or swim fastest, and jump furthest or highest, are splashed across the headlines day after day. Little wonder the Earth is in such a sorry state.

“OK, so let’s fill in the blanks.” –Continue reading:  Animalista Untaimed.

Source: Planet at the Crossroads – Animalista Untamed

Climate change has dropped off the political radar (and this is a big problem)

“The aversion to talking about climate change during the election campaign reflects a wider problem: our concern for this issue has fallen even while it has become larger and more urgent.”  From: www.abc.net.au

GR:  During Friday’s Democratic Presidential debate, Sanders said we needed climate action “yesterday.”  He received huge applause.  I’d say that keeps the topic on the radar.  Unfortunately, more familiar concerns–economy, war, and human problems–receive more media presentation.  We need more organizations like The Guardian to help keep critical issues out front.