Category Archives: current events

Oh the humanity!

Rex Tillerson, Exxon CEO

A Mahatma Gandhi for the 21st century?   Not exactly. Even so …

For one shining moment in Houston, Rex Tillerson, head of the world’s most powerful corporation,  asked a Gandhi-like question.  Speaking about climate change at the ExxonMobil annual meeting last week in Houston,  Tillerson asked:

‘What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?     The statement strikes you right away on about a dozen levels:   First, obviously, without a planet,  we wouldn’t have to worry about suffering humanity.  Secondly, the possibility of a “saved” planet seems rather unusual, coming from Tillerson, since it begs the question: “from what?”  Continue reading

State of the Union addresses
are often paved with green intentions

By Peter Dykstra, Publisher
Daily Climate and Environmental Health News

An aura of excitement and predictability surrounds the president’s annual State of the Union speech: A few days of hyped drama and TV punditry builds to a political Woodstock featuring generals, justices, senators, cabinet secretaries and Congress, all under one roof. Up in the balcony, the First Lady plays host to a few iconic, symbolic taxpayers who recently shared a heroic moment of fame with America.

If the past is prologue, the green talk and pageantry may be the only things delivered on the president’s lofty words this year on Feb. 12.

Environmentalists are on higher-alert than normal this year, after President Obama made a sweeping inaugural promise to tackle climate change, an issue he’d largely avoided during his first term…. More

Corn pone pols push plan as porn in tinfoil

By Bill Kovarik

Occasionally, the Great Question of America’s august place in the global order is best elucidated in a location far, far from the glare of kleig lights and the stares of Washington wonks.  We then see the wisdom lurking within statehouse committees and cracker barrel country stores and signs painted on the sides of tobacco barns.

And the message:   Get the US out of the United Nations.  Look out for blue helmets in black helicopters. Most of all, these days:  Beware of Agenda 21.

Continue reading

New documentary on Environmental History


Fierce Green Fire is a long-awaited documentary based on the best-selling book by New York Times environmental journalist Phil Schabecoff.

Abraham Lincoln and climate science

The Leonids of 1833

By Bill Kovarik
Published in Appalachian Voice

Abraham Lincoln used to tell a story during the darkest days of the Civil War.  Although the story was omitted from a recent movie about Lincoln, is still worth recalling.

The story goes like this:

When Lincoln was a young man in Illinois, in 1833, he was roused from his bed late one night by his frantic landlord.  “Abe! Abe! Wake up! The day of Judgment has come,” the landlord shouted.  Lincoln  threw open the window  and saw fearful neighbors in the road and, above them, a spectacular sky lit up by the Leonid shower of meteors. At first he shared their dismay.  “But looking back of them in the heavens,” Lincoln said, “I saw all the grand old constellations with which I was so well acquainted, fixed and immoveable and true in their places. 

Thirty years later,  Lincoln would tell this story to his generals and say, “No, gentlemen, the world did not come to an end then, nor will the Union now.”

After the contentious media-driven politics of 2012, it often seems that nothing in our own times is fixed, immoveable or true in place. But that would be a misperception.  We only need to look behind those falling stars to see so many of our grand old constellations still fixed and true in their places. Continue reading

Climate change and the Republicans

The moment when presidential candidate Mitt Romney provided millions of  US Republicans with a belly laugh at climate science — Aug 30, 2012 — is destined for a place in the history books.

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans,” said candidate Mitt Romney, pausing as the audience of Republicans howled with laughter at the absurdity of the promise. Romney continued: “… and to heal the planet. My promise — is to help you and your family.”

It’s one of those remarkable moments that speaks to the spirit of an age — in this case, an age of denial, of superstition, and of reckless, deliberate ignorance in the face of  facts.   It is a 1938 Munich moment, a stroll on Titanic’s ice-strewn deck in 1912. To use environmental history analogies, it’s like the Donora smog of 1948 or  the Cuyahoga river fire of 1969 in that it could be a wake-up call.  Continue reading