HOT . . .

. . LIVING THROUGH THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS ON EARTH, by Mark Hertsgaard

Mark Hertsgaard and the Climate Cranks from Mark Hertsgaard on Vimeo.

As I near the end of this book, I still find it hard to reconcile the joy that is Chiara with the climate disasters that loom before her. The older she gets, the closer those disasters come. The relentless momentum of the climate system assures as much, and the glacial pace of the human response to date only adds to my foreboding. I look at Chiara, at her cheerful countenance, her mischievous eyes, her blond locks, and there is a disconnect. Despite all the research I’ve done on climate change, I still can’t fully take in that this innocent creature, and millions more like her around the world, will have to suffer because grownups insisted on making foolish choices. In my father’s heart, I think there must be a way to stop this movie before it gets to what Chiara would call “the scary part.” But my journalist’s brain knows the truth: at this point, there’s no avoiding the scary part; our only hope is to prepare for it as best we can.           ( p 212 )

and so it is, mark, that you step aside from day-to-day journalism to address something that bothers you deeply, at the level of your little daughter’s future, focused & personal. and so, with HOT, i too am finally brought face to face with a subject that doesn’t go away, that refuses to accept its all but officially sanctioned lot of last place issue-of-the-day.

my first full-length treatment of the subject: truly a wide-eye opener! as expected of any journalist able to fill the bill, a rare enough accomplishment these days, the work’s packed with vital facts and thoughtful insights while all along progressing smoothly, an accessible read easy on the eye. you neither minimize an intricate subject nor in any way inflate your understanding of it. i’m happy to admit that yours, mark, has been one savored text for this barely initiated earthling undertaking at last his pre-req, climate change 101.

i’m especially grateful for your clear distinction up-front of proposed solutions -those mitigating the effects of climate change vs those addressing our adapting to a climate and environment already, irreversibly changed. and how at this late date we need to get on with realizing both of them.

there’s so much i’d like to say about your book, mark, so many places you go, so many people you talk to, such models you uncover, what some in particular are doing across the country to prepare their communities for planetary catastrophe, so many points that need to be made. but then they’re for you to make to future readers, not me, not here. can i leave them with these choice quotes, the way you do ? . . .

“We have one question for the political leaders of the world,” Kumi Naidoo, the international executive director of Greenpeace International, said at the huge climate rally held in Copenhagen halfway through the summit. “If you can find not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars to bail out the banks, the bankers, and their bonuses, how is it that your cannot find the money to bail out the planet, the poor, and our children?” ( p 287 )

“Being a good ancestor,” said ( San Francisco based NGO Global Exchange co-founder, Kevin ) Danaher, “means getting involved in all aspects of building a greener world: political engagement, grassroots economics, personal change.” I would add that it also means starting right away. We don’t know everything necessary to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable of climate change, but we don’t have to. As Ron Sims commented about his own efforts in King County, our job is to begin, do the best we can, and trust others to carry on after our work is done. This was the guiding principle of the Renaissance geniuses who designed the Duomo, Danaher pointed out. They deliberately built the cathedral with a hole in the ceiling awaiting the construction of a dome that was not yet technologically feasible. “The confidence of the Renaissance era was so great that they knew someone would come up with a way to engineer the dome, and the architect Philippo Brunelleschi did it,” marveled Danaher, who added, “Regarding our environmental situation on this little blue marble, I believe a certain percentage of humanity will survive the coming collapse, and it will be the local, sustainable green economy that will be the base of that survival. If we can get the foundations ( of that economy ) right, future generations will figure out how to put the dome in place.”              ( p 291 )

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