26 December 2009


It has been harder than usual for me to feel festive this Christmas season.

First, I heard recently that a large group representing business, industry and commerce in the United States (I will not dignify them by giving them free publicity here) is suing some youth who staged a phoney press conference. Ya know, when the old farts who care only for money start attacking the young people who are desperately trying to safeguard their own future — that's when my gloves come off. My generation has no right whatsoever — NONE — to give the younger generations a hard time when we are 100% responsible for the mess their future (heck, our future!) is in.

Second, a local newspaper defamed my husband — by name — and then gave him only one sentence in which to show the weight of evidence that we are in a global climate change emergency. Peter spends 8 to 18 hours of every day reading and synthesizing the global warming / climate change research, so to be insulted for caring about future generations (heck, today's generations!) was hard to bear. Not to mention it was also a sign that our small community isn't the entirely intelligent, supportive and caring place we thought it was.

(Those in Canada will appreciate this farce: CBC's crank commentator Rex Murphy was one of the "experts" quoted to "prove" that my husband's stance is "extremist." I did not know that Murphy is a climatologist when he's not on radio and television. These climate change deniers are very busy people — busy memorizing all the latest denialist drivel it seems they have been asked to spout and spread at every opportunity. And the world continues to heat up. Don't believe it? Let's compare your so-called "facts" to what is actually happening in the Arctic.)

And third, the sense of failure and progenycidal disaster coming out of the Copenhagen climate talks hangs over me like a black cloud of betrayal. It seems that our human world is so entrenched in borders and boundaries and sovereignty that the negotiators and leaders just could not view the Earth as one planet, its atmosphere as the same atmosphere for all nations. The only thing that has been nearly globalized is our addiction to economic growth through fossil fuel use.

Reading this view of China's role in the final hours of the talks sealed that realization for me — and gave me a shudder. The government of China wants to develop — at all costs. Given what I've seen recently of the devastation in that once beautiful country, I'm not sure the Chinese people impacted by this not-sustainable development would choose it over living off the land, given the choice. (Photos by the very courageous photographer, Lu Guang.) Remember "economic globalization"? It seems we've created a monster that's come back to bite us in the butt.

18 December 2009


Yes, it's true. Despite the foolish United Nations rule that all nations party to the Framework Convention on Climate Change must agree on an agreement to safeguard the future, it turns out that only a handful of bully nations can create an agreement to condemn humanity and the rest of life on Earth to extinction.

And so we have it. A default agreement out of the Copenhagen climate talks. An agreement that our species is not worth saving. An agreement to foreclose on our children's future. An agreement to carry on committing progenycide. An agreement to exterminate life on the planet. An agreement to be our own executioners.

Something about transparency versus sovereignty got in the way at the final hour. Guess those folks have never heard of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Aren't we smart. Good luck eating your transparency and your sovereignty when the climate #!@$ hits the fan.

Time for a revolution, folks.

12 December 2009


The talks in Copenhagen have been suspended because (a) they have this crazy ass rule of 100% "consensus" (which is actually unanimity; consensus is something completely different), and (b) usually it's the USA standing in the way of consensus but this time it's a little guy country who is refusing to budge. And good on them! (See below.)

Yet there need be and should be no impasse in Copenhagen. The negotiators should simply do the obvious and ethical thing: consider and discuss the needs and requests of the most climate-change vulnerable populations. Put the neediest first.

In fact, this is the clearly stated requirement under the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Convention specifically requires that small island states be protected from adverse impacts of dangerous interference with the climate system, and specifically requires Annex 1 nations (the developed countries) to provide all manner of assistance (also specifically listed) for the protection of the small island states.

The 2001 Third IPCC Assessment (reinforced with additional evidence in the 2007 Fourth IPCC Assessment) said that small island states are exceptionally and extremely vulnerable to many inevitable adverse impacts of global warming, climate disruption and ocean acidification. The committed global temperature increases already constitute the grossest of crimes against humanity for small island states and the other most climate change vulnerable nations (whose populations number in the billions of our brethren).


Tuvalu wants a legally binding agreement that might save their small island nation in the Pacific. Other small island states and poor African countries (indeed, close to 130 nations) are supporting Tuvalu's call for a "Copenhagen Protocol" — complementary to the Kyoto Protocol but, it seems, for those major developing countries not bound by the Kyoto Protocol (you know, the ones George W. Bush kept bitching about). Tuvalu wants a CO2 target of 350 ppm, and a global temperature increase target of 1.5ºC. (We're almost at 400 ppm now and with the warming already in the pipe, pretty close to 1.5 already, too.)

Folks, this is an easy one. Oh, so easy — if you negotiators have any heart and any regard for your children's future, that is.

Tuvalu is going to disappear — literally — if we don't do something urgent to halt greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Human decency, compassion and plain old common sense would dictate that we move to help the country that's in the most trouble, first. It's what we do in our communities, right? We help out those in trouble. We give, we make sacrifices, so that the situation of those worst off is somewhat alleviated.

What is happening to Tuvalu will, before too very long, happen to us. They're among the first to be impacted, but they're by no means going to be the last. It is only a matter of luck and timing. This is NOT a time for selfishness or greediness, obstinacy or pretending that the atmosphere respects national borders. It certainly is NOT a time to put our economies ahead of our humanity.

(Note to China and India: Dudes, relax. It's climate disruption that's going to "constrain your economies." Racing to achieve zero carbon emissions, making the transition to renewable energy and saving ourselves from climate chaos is going to fuel your economies, pardon the pun. You've got to get that through your heads!)

This is a crisis of heart and of imagination. I've said it before, and I'll say it again — only now, it's playing out in real life at the Copenhagen climate negotiations:


07 December 2009

How to Follow the Climate Talks in Copenhagen

Here are some links to follow if you want to watch what's happening in Copenhagen at the COP 15 climate talks.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change homepage.
Here you'll find press conferences, live webcasts, schedules, news briefs and links to side events in Copenhagen.
Stakeholder Forum will produce a daily Outreach report.

Greenpeace is reporting from Copenhagen.

Third World Network is offering news updates and briefing papers on the talks.

For a busy take on what's happening in Copenhagen, visit the Grist.

In several countries, you can Adopt a Negotiator. But it's worth visiting their website no matter what country you live in.

I'll add more as I hear about them.

Also, we have three friends there who have promised to send us reports. Stay tuned.

06 December 2009

0 Days to Copenhagen - The Power of One (+ 3,741,952 Others)

(Lovely photo by David Faintich)

Well, my friends, this is it. My last Compassionate Climate Action blog post. The Copenhagen climate talks begin tomorrow, and since this was a countdown blog, well, there's nothing left to count down to.

Writing about climate change and global warming every day for two hundred days has meant that I've had to read about this crisis and learn the science when I would rather have been doing crossword puzzles or going for walks or watering my tomato plants. It's not been an easy time for me ... I'm immensely sad to think that these talks will not lead to dramatic and compassionate climate change action.

However ...

If you don't think you can make a difference, if you don't think you have power, if you think your voice is too small to be heard, then you've never been in a tent with a mosquito.
— African proverb

And so, I would like to leave you with this story (adapted from the book Synchronicity, by Joseph Jaworski), which has stuck with me since I first read it. My very best wishes to you all.


"Tell me the weight of a snowflake," a sparrow asked a wild dove.

"Nothing more than nothing," was the answer.

"In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story," the sparrow said.

"I sat on the branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk, when it began to snow — not heavily, not in a raging blizzard — no, just like a dream, without a wound and without any violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd snowflake dropped onto the branch — nothing more than nothing, as you say — the branch broke off."

Having said that, the sparrow flew away.

The dove, since Noah's time an authority on the matter, thought about the story for awhile, and finally said to herself, "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for humans to live with all species in harmony on this Earth."

05 December 2009

1 Day to Copenhagen - Things to Remember

We're almost done together. One more day. Thanks so much for joining me on this journey. I want to leave you with some things to remember....


A large proportion of the people who don't "believe in" global warming are probably amongst the scientifically and ecologically illiterate. For example, about 30% of Europeans and Americans think the sun revolves around the Earth. Keep that in mind when you read or hear denialist drivel online and in letters to the editor and on TV and radio.

Global warming causes climate disruption. It doesn't mean everywhere is going to be warmer all the time. Disruption = chaos, unpredictability in the climate system. And that, along with droughts and some scorching summers too hot for agriculture (leading to crop failures), will be what ruins human civilization (we're an agricultural species dependent on a stable climate), killing our chances of surviving as a species.


Some deniers say things that are just simply bonkers, to wit:

"The anti-western intellectual cranks of the left suffered a collective breakdown when communism collapsed. Climate change is their new theology. But the heretics will have a voice in Copenhagen and the truth will out. Climate change is being used to impose an anti-human utopia as deadly as anything conceived by Stalin or Mao."
— Nick Griffin, British National Party, 29 November 2009 in
The Guardian

Others are really good at bamboozling people by sounding really scientific. And since a whacking huge proportion of us are scientifically illiterate, we sort of fall under their spell (well, I don't). Remember that they are doing this on purpose, to sway public opinion in order to maintain the status quo so that they don't have to change anything. If they were real climate scientists, you probably wouldn't be reading them because their findings would be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that we don't read.

And then there are those even more evil deniers (the Bjorn Lomborgs of the world) who spew platitudes like safeguarding the future from climate chaos will shortchange all the poor people in the world today. And people fall for that fake sanctimonious claptrap. Remember, never believe anyone who says the poor people will lose out if we spend money now on combatting climate change (they're already losing out) ... the Cybjorns have no intention of giving that money to the poor people or poor nations. Or they would have done so by now, keeping the commitment they made in 1992 when they signed onto the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

When you read or hear a comment from a skeptic/denier/ignorer/delayer, think money. Think greed. Think investments in fossil fuels. These people have nothing to gain worth gaining, but they don't view it that way. Life as a fundamental value means nothing to these people. Money is everything to them. It's all a game and money is the prize. If you look at what they have to say through this lens, it will usually make sense and their evil will be quite evident.


  • The most important number in the world is zero. The most important number in 350 is that zero at the end. Zero carbon emissions. We can achieve that. But it means that any more use of fossil fuels is for helping us get to zero carbon (building solar arrays and wind turbines and public transit systems).
  • Hey, just leave the coal and tar sands oil in the ground. It's not like it's going anywhere. Once we've got this whole thing figured out, you can go find it again.
  • Global warming is the science of physics. And if you're scientifically illiterate, then you're going to want to go with someone who isn't, like a scientist who studies global warming.
  • What's happening to the children in climate-ravaged parts of Africa today will soon be happening to our children. How much do we love the children in our lives?
My husband, now retired, was a family physician for almost 40 years, and a busy one at that! He had to deliver sad news and bad news to hundreds if not thousands of people throughout his career. Never, he will assure you, never once did he have a patient who received news of a terminal illness and shut down, overwhelmed. No, they all fought. They all did what they could. They all did something. Some got better. Many died. But none of them gave up.

I, for one, will never give up, despite the diagnosis — and the prognosis. I love this sacred planet and its children too much. If we're going down, I'm going down fighting for what I cherish.

We have to continue to be the town crier.
— Richard Habgood

We still have a long way to go so we must be brave and of good cheer and keep the good energy. That takes work, too! No point being grumpy about all this — life is too good and not worth spending in a funk.
— Elise Houghton

Instead of shaking our heads at the difficulty of this task and saying, "Woe is us, this is impossible, how can we do this?", we ought to feel a sense of joy that we have work that is worth doing, that is so important to the future of all humankind. We ought to feel a sense of exhilaration that we are the people alive at a moment in history when we can make all the difference."
— Al Gore

Inscribe this single word on your heart:
Whenever you are confused, keep heading in the direction that leads towards deepening your love and care for all living beings, including yourself, and you will never stray far from the path to fulfillment.
— Sam Keen
[My note: I would like to substitute "survival" for fulfillment.]

I still believe that compassion will be what saves us. Remember to open your heart and allow yourself to feel the pain of what's happening already in the world and what is to come. Feel compassion for those already losing their lives and their livelihoods, their food security and their water sources, their homes and their entire homelands. Feel compassion for your children and grandchildren, for all future generations, of all species.

And then start writing those letters to your government leaders, attending those meetings, talking with friends and family, learning what you need to learn to counter the lies and procrastination. (Learning is a form of action.)

The world is still in our hands.

04 December 2009

2 Days to Copenhagen - Alarmist versus Alarming: What Legacy Are We Choosing?

Alarmist: someone who is considered to be exaggerating a danger and so causing needless worry or panic.

Well, I don't consider myself to be exaggerating the dangers of continued global warming and climate disruption. Only precious time will tell, of course, and I am now reduced to hoping beyond all hope that I (along with thousands of climate scientists) am wrong. Better me than the deniers, cuz if they're wrong, we're up that famous river without a paddle — and no time to save ourselves before we head into the abyss.

So, let's pray that the laws of physics go wonky on us, or that the Americans and Chinese decide to go renewable (dragging most of the rest of us with them) next year, or that all the deniers, skeptics, ignorers and delayers suddenly see the light (or the climate chaos beyond their own backyards) and get all their cronies into action.


Versus alarming. Who's to judge? All our descendants. All future generations. Posterity. Wanna talk about going to heaven or going to hell? Whether you believe in those concepts or not (personally, I've made my peace with becoming compost), I've come to believe that we make our heaven or our hell right here on Earth — and if there's a higher power overseeing this whole grand experiment, then you'd better believe that we are judged by what we leave behind as our legacy: a sort of intergenerational golden rule.


By the way, see that pretty coloured map at the top of this post? It spells the end of agriculture (which spells the end of us, since we're now an agricultural species). It's the first time that climate modellers have been able to predict regional temperature increases given a globally averaged temperature increase. For this map, the global increase is 4º Celsius above the average temperature in 1890.

Why 4ºC when everyone is saying we have to stay below a 2ºC warming? Here's the rationale for a September 2009 conference at Oxford called the Four Degrees and Beyond International Climate Conference:
"Despite 17 years of negotiations since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise. Since 2000 the rates of annual emissions growth have increased at rates at the upper end of the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] scenarios, presenting the global community with a stark challenge: either instigate an immediate and radical reversal in existing emission trends or accept global temperature rises well beyond 4°.

"The immediacy and scale of the reductions necessary to avoid anything below 4°C, and indeed the human and ecosystem implications of living with 4°C, are beyond anything we have been prepared to countenance. Understanding the implications of 4°C and higher temperatures is essential ...."

So please note that with a global average increase of "only" 4º Celsius (it just doesn't sound like much at all, I know, but consider that the Arctic's permafrost is already thawing with an increase of only 0.78ºC), all the bread baskets of the world — all the prime agricultural areas — will increase 6 to 12 degrees Celsius (yellow to red regions).

Holy flying mother of pearl! If a temperature increase of a measly .78ºC is thawing the permafrost, melting the Arctic summer sea ice (our summer "air conditioner"), destabilizing methane hydrates (those pesky frozen methane deposits along our continental shelves that could move us into runaway global heating if they continue emitting into the atmosphere), acidifying the oceans, killing the coral reefs, desertifying vast swaths of land around the world, causing worse droughts, floods and famines, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. (trying to make a point there), then 6 to 12ºC increases are going to be downright deadly — indeed, exterminatious (just made that word up).

We won't be able to grow food, our water sources (for drinking and irrigation) will dry up, and the heat waves will kill our populations off slowly if nothing else does. How much more do the deniers et al need to see and hear before they start to give a damn for their children's future?

So go ahead: how would you vote? Alarmist or alarming? Remember that it's only alarmist if it's not true. And if we're not sure (and there's still perhaps time for miracles), then surely for the sake of our children and grandchildren, the precautionary principle — rather than our pocketbooks — should be what motivates our actions and choices.


You see, we're already experiencing catastrophic climate changes and we've only reached +0.78ºC. This seemingly small temperature increase could tip us into runaway global heating any time now. Why in heaven's name would we want to "wait and see" and not alarm people when the situation is downright alarming? Be afraid! This is scary!

We need to cut our emissions to virtually zero FAST if we want to ensure a future for life on Earth. Let's have no more talk of 2ºC and 4ºC and 2050 and 2100. Let's get to ZERO as quickly as possible, because life depends on it.

Zero carbon emissions is a legacy worth leaving.

03 December 2009

3 Days to Copenhagen - For Shame ... Shame on the Lot of Them

Vultures play an important, nay, a vital role in the web of life. As scavengers who clean up corpses left behind by predators, by disease and by old age, vultures are among the "caretakers" who maintain the health and beauty of the natural environment.

Climate change deniers play a very dangerous and damaging role in the web of life. They are scavengers who first go around killing so that they can have something to pick on. They are not caretakers — they rape and pillage and to hell with the consequences. They don't maintain anything but their own worldview, and their sick, sadistic lies are killing the health and beauty of the natural environment. It is so very obvious that deniers want their children and grandchildren (and mine) to roast in the hell that they are creating on Earth — otherwise they would not have wasted the last 15 to 20 years — they would be enjoying the fruits of their investments in renewable energy by now.

Let us be very clear. To call these evil people vultures would be a gross insult to the vultures. (My post tomorrow will explain what we now know about the possible impacts of "business as usual" global warming and why the obfuscating of the deniers is a true sin and a crime.)

This post, then, is my very clumsy, but sincere, effort at offering a tribute to Professor Phil Jones, now resigned head of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK. Dr. Jones was picked on and attacked for years by the climate change deniers, who have now hacked him, eaten him up and spit him out. (In this case, it's no coincidence that "hack" has a double meaning.) As vultures, climate change deniers suck. Dr. Jones, I will light my vigil candle on Saturday for you.

When I explained the Hackergate situation on Day 10, I never imagined that the evil deniers would win this oh-so-obvious smear campaign when they still have found no improprieties in the hacked emails (despite all their hysteria). My sadness knows no bounds, just as their evil knows no bounds.

Climate change deniers and idiots make me want to believe in a hell, so that they can burn there. I have reached the limit of my compassion ... alas, it is not as boundless as I thought (and hoped) it was six months ago when I began this blog.

No, the climate change deniers and idiots do not deserve my compassion. They have made victims of Phil Jones and so many other serious and dedicated climate scientists; of much of Africa, the Arctic, and the Pacific Islands; of the pine forests in northern British Columbia in Canada, and of the beautiful cedars in my front yard. They have threatened my (yes, my) food security and the water sources for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. They have foreclosed on the future of all the children — of all species — living today. They have committed the very worst kind of murder: progenycide — the genocide of future generations — knowingly, willingly, deliberately, eyes wide open and with smug smirks on their faces, like this is some kind of game instead of a deadly planetary emergency.

They do not deserve forgiveness, for they know what they do. The deepest shame on them all. I send out my compassion to their children and grandchildren.

02 December 2009

4 Days to Copenhagen - Time to Charge the Predators with Crimes Against Humanity?

Had a wonderful talk last night with like-minded and like-hearted friends who do a lot of thinking about the climate change emergency. Well, wonderful, hmmm. Talking about the end of the world is not wonderful. But these guys are smart and thoughtful and thought-provoking.

One of our friends, Brian, has set up a petition urging the people and president of the Maldives and other climate-change-vulnerable nations to charge fossil fuel corporation CEOs such as Rex Tillerson (ExxonMobil) with crimes against humanity. These people and their corporations have been knowingly funding a denial campaign that has wasted the last 15 or 20 years — time that we could have spent solving the issue rather than debating it. Tragic and disgusting.

You can read about the petition here: http://www.briangordon.ca/stand-with-the-maldives/

and sign it here:

One of the things we discussed last night was the fact that the "other side" is winning because winning is everything to them and they don't care what tactics they use in order to win — or what gets crushed or killed along the way to winning. The side that cares about life just can't ever become like that, so we can't beat the "predators" and hence life stands a good chance of ending on this planet. It's a giant irony, isn't it?

For Brian's essay, The Predator Morality: Might Makes Right, visit http://www.briangordon.ca/2009/12/the-predator-morality-might-makes-right/.

Prepare to have your thoughts provoked!

Afterthought: This blog has been all about compassion and compassionate climate action. For the last six months, I have tried very hard to include everyone and everything on this precious Earth in my circle of compassion. This post, I realize in rereading it, breaks with that tradition. I no longer invite the deniers and their funders into this circle of compassion, though I do hold it wide open for their children and grandchildren. Indeed, it's probably not going to be compassion that saves us, but these young people who will soon rise up and become extremely — and righteously — angry with their future-destroying parents and grandparents. (I am reminded of the story of Jesus and his lack of compassion for the money changers at the temple. He is even said to have used a whip!)


Tears for Fears
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Welcome to your life
There's no turning back
Even while we sleep
We will find you
Acting on your best behaviour
Turn your back on Mother Nature
Everybody wants to rule the world

It's my own design
It's my own remorse
Help me to decide
Help me make the most
Of freedom and of pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world

There's a room where the light won't find you
Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
When they do I'll be right behind you

So glad we've almost made it
So sad they had to fade it
Everybody wants to rule the world

I can't stand this indecision
Married with a lack of vision
Everybody wants to rule the world
Say that you'll never never never never need it
One headline why believe it?
Everybody wants to rule the world

All for freedom and for pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world

01 December 2009

5 Days to Copenhagen - Compassion Tune-Up: Hard Rain

Mere days now before the Copenhagen climate talks ... friends everywhere are asking if we're going. Nope, we're going to stay home and keep working to get the science out there. 

One neat thing that's going to happen at the talks is the release of “Hard Rain: Our Headlong Collision with Nature” by Mark Edwards and Bob Dylan. It's a DVD based on Dylan's song and Edwards' photographic display. Below the video is a moving description of the DVD project, from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

In this video, the Mystic Revealers give Bob Dylan's prophetic classic a reggae beat. (See lyrics below.)

The film, released in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), combines a rare live recording of Bob Dylan performing “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall” with the photographs from Hard Rain and an extended illustrated commentary, in a moving and unforgettable exploration of the state of our planet and its people at this critical time.

The global issues highlighted in Hard Rain are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that define the 21st century. While each problem is understood to some degree by decision-makers, they are typically addressed as separate issues. Hard Rain puts the pieces together and shows that the world has little chance to solve any one of them until we understand how they all connect by cause and effect.

The DVD is accompanied by a specially commissioned essay by Lloyd Timberlake. The “Urgency of Now” cuts through the muddled thinking and failed policies that have delayed a radically new worldwide approach to climate change, poverty, the wasteful use of resources, population expansion, habitat destruction and species loss. The essay title was inspired by a response to Hard Rain from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"If Hard Rain is a photographic elegy", said Mr. Brown, "it is also an impassioned cry for change. Forceful, dramatic and disturbing, it is driven by what Martin Luther King called 'the fierce urgency of now' - and I believe the call for a truly global response to climate change is an idea whose time has finally come."

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "The dark and evocative lyrics of ‘A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall’ echo the kind of impacts the world faces if climate change continues unchecked. But Bob Dylan had another song. One that reflects a strong and positive Copenhagen outcome that puts the world on a low-carbon path – ‘The Times They Are A-Changin'."

Lloyd Timberlake's essay focuses on a key dilemma facing the climate negotiators. "Right now", he writes, "we have two huge challenges to life on earth. One is living and consuming within planetary means. The other is helping billions of people toward safe, fulfilled and dignified lives, meaning that many people need to consume more, not less, to have a reasonable standard of living. These would seem to be contradictory goals. Yet we must manage both, and we cannot manage one without managing the other. Poor countries will not accept a climate change treaty that prevents them from developing."

[Note from me: In the same way that many developing countries leapt right over television and telephone technologies straight to internet kiosks and cellphones, those same developing countries must leapfrog over fossil fuel development and go straight to development with renewable energy technologies. They can even pass Go and collect $200, which is a throwback to the game of Monopoly but also a reminder to developed countries of our financial commitment through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to help developing nations make this leap to the Golden Era, the solar age. This can happen and must happen.]

"We have to give governments a constituency to reinvent the modern world so that it's compatible with nature and human nature," says Mark Edwards. "Political change comes only when people form a movement so large and inclusive that governments have no choice but to listen — and act. The last verse of Dylan's song begins 'What'll you do now?' It's a question that cannot be left hanging when the Copenhagen talks come to a close."

The exhibit is part of a UNEP display, open free to the public for the duration of the UN Climate Talks, which will feature a Climate Maze that people can come and "negotiate" their way through.

The walls of the maze are made from cloth banners stamped and signed by thousands of citizens around the world in support of the UN-led Seal the Deal! campaign, which asks world leaders to conclude a fair and effective climate agreement in Copenhagen. Complementing the Hard Rain commentary, the maze also contains climate change facts from UNEP in order to raise awareness about climate change.

Check out the project at http://www.hardrainproject.com.

Contact Mark Edwards at MarkEdwards AT hardrainproject.com. Contact Bob Dylan at, well, your guess is as good as mine.

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Bob Dylan, 1963

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin',
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin',
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin',
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin',
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

30 November 2009

6 Days to Copenhagen - Oh No, Not the Noodles, Too!

Some people can't live without their daily bread. But that's not me. I often describe myself as a potato person (it's the Irish in me). But if you really want to make me happy, feed me noodles. I am so renowned for my love of pasta that my stepson calls me Noodle.

Imagine, then, my angst at reading this headline: Global warming threatens to rob Italy of pasta

It was in

And not only that. Poland will lose its ability to grow potatoes, Spain will become mostly desert and lose its place as a major producer for Europe of fruits and vegetables, and France — France will no longer be able to produce champagne.

Threats to agriculture have been ignored for too long, probably because of specious early "research" (obviously not in the field) that said plants would grow better with the higher concentration of carbon dioxide, completely forgetting about heat and water and weather and stuff like that. It's that old reductionism again.

We are an agricultural species now and have been for many thousands of years. What we call civilization is dependent upon systematically growing our food, versus hunting and gathering. Indeed, many of our cultures and societies are based on agricultural food systems. Think France and its wines, Italy and its pastas, Mexico and its corns, India and its lentils, and so on.

India this year suffered a huge lentil crop failure due to lack of rains ... rains that traditionally used to come at the same time each year.

That's the thing with climate change: it's the lack of stability and predictability. Agriculture is based on a stable climate and being able to predict what to plant when and where. That's what we're losing with climate disruption. (Bozos who say they had a cold winter so that means there's no global warming just don't get it.)

Especially if we allow the Arctic summer sea ice to melt away, agriculture in the northern hemisphere is going to be in big trouble. Already we're seeing droughts and desertification and unreliable rains and wild weather events lowering crop yields. Already we've lost our reserves and "buffer stocks," so it's estimated that we're only one bad year of crop failures away from a real food crunch. And because we're so globalized nowadays, our food supply could be impacted by lack of monsoon rains half a world away.

The problem is not just increases in temperature and sea level but also increased climate variability and extremes, including more intense floods, droughts, and storms. Plus, it's not just about what we eat. It affects livelihoods and whole economies, as well.

"An abnormal monsoon can result in the loss of seasonal employment, shortage of food and income due to crop failure; a spread of diseases, and have an impact on industrialisation, economic activity, government saving, inflation and overall market sentiments," according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

I'm sorry, but this is enough to make me want to stuff my face with spaghetti.