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The climate consequences election

(10/06/20 4:00am)

An election can be “about” a number of different things. Identity, policy, justice, conspiracy theories, voter suppression, debates, grab-a-beer vibes, whatever. Our elections are chaotic, reframed daily based on the noise of a 24-hour news cycle. But regardless of the reasoning that compels hundreds of millions of people to bubble in names, when the votes are tallied, we shall hand power to a new state and federal government. Power means real, physical, long-lasting consequences, no matter how trivial or foolish the campaign may be. An administration that ignores national security threats and sidelines science killed hundreds of thousands and put millions out of work as we entered the workforce. We need departments staffed by ambitious and competent professionals who are able to navigate a crisis. And we need long-term planning to ensure our lives are not throat-punched by some predictable disaster. As the West burns (and burns), as our cities and farms flood, as grim thousand-page reports from thirteen major national science agencies call for urgent climate action, we have a chance to choose a new government. 

Duke needs a climate school

(09/02/20 4:05am)

The climate crisis is often framed as just another “social issue.” Well, it’s one hell of an issue. Here are some fresh new highlights: we are currently living through an incredibly fast mass extinction, the rapid destruction of ecosystems critical for human survival and permanent shifts in the water systems civilization is built along. For those not particularly concerned about other species, sea level rise alone is projected to force hundreds of millions of people from their homes in the next thirty years (around when your kids start college), swallow our most valuable cities, undermine breadbaskets of the world and spark dangerous social cascades resulting from the cumulative weight of the chaos. Not to mention, if we keep chugging recklessly forwards, we can unlock climate tipping points that will unleash fun new horsemen of the apocalypse, like trillions of locusts triggered by increased cyclones. Or melting permafrost awakening ancient plagues from their icy cocoon. To complicate matters further, the eco-fascists (and regular fascists) are here—both the Christchurch and El Paso shootings were motivated by an alt-right ideology that incorporates population control for environmental purity. I honestly was bored watching the last “Mission Impossible” because the stakes seemed lower and the mission more possible than the project of stabilizing our biosphere while also dealing with the endless pile of existential garbage.