I forwarded this to several friends, all of whom give me a hard time when I send around 'depressing' or 'negative' information. So, in the spirit of trying to keep my friends and maybe open communication, I don't do it as often as I'd like. I've never NOT believed in the urgency of the climate crisis -- maybe I'm just predisposed to high anxiety -- and I could no more pretend that it's not happening than pretend that I can no longer go outside often for months at a time in south central Texas... Here's what I said as an intro to your (per usual!) excellent piece of writing:

"I choose Bill McKibben most often to read about climate. While he echoes other writers with his message, he's a little bit less frantic; I suspect that's because he's been in this field, trying to get people to take climate change seriously, for 35 years.

I hope you'll read this as it's a marker of where we are. I believe that we are obligated, particularly to future generations, to at least make note of that and to take it in regardless of how frightening it might be. In the spirit of end-of-the-year summaries, he starts out:" [and then I quote most of your 1st 2 paragraphs].

Thanks for this great piece; I hope something will click into place in time within our collective consciousness.

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Good stuff Bill. As a journalist writing on climate change since 1985 - including for The Times from 2000 through 2016 - I strongly endorse your critique of how news media hyperfocus on novelty (new science, which is implicitly provisional) and conflict - the battles through which science progresses, which are often interpreted by the public as, "Oh they don't really know, move on." A few weeks ago I tried to nudge #SustainWhat readers past the debate on the Hansen et al acceleration paper and will continue to press the case that #realityisbadenough: https://revkin.substack.com/i/138517402/heat-around-a-stark-new-climate-paper

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When I read the title of your article I thought the silence you were referring to was the silence of the environmental movement about the horrors occurring right now in Gaza.

Lots of labour groups, indigenous groups and, of course, peace groups have spoken up, but I've heard very little from environmental groups.

Besides being highly immoral, military activities are the most environmentally destructive things humanity can do.

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I think you've touched on one of the key obstacles. Human evolution prepared us for immediate problems - where will I sleep tonight? What will I eat? What's trying to eat me? True long-term thinking is more rare than perfect pitch. The challenge is as great as Cassandra's. How do we persuade people to act?

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I find some comfort in reading these comments from like minded people. I have none amongst friends and family. I waste energy in trying to figure it out. I said to one friend in a related discussion about the mid-East war, that I think our differences are that we get our news from different sources. Kudos to Bill McKibben for his persistence.

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I think the hardest subject we all need to address in the area of climate change is the fact that little or nothing will change our behaviour at present, unless it is forced on us. To lesson the impacts of climate change, we collectively need to drive our vehicles less. We need to slow the activities of business which in its self will create havoc, less profit, less pay, less consumerism, so less ‘stuff’. All this is not exactly a vote winner, so collectively, we need to look at our personal choices. Imagine if a group of people, maybe green voters or like minded people such as us choose a month and said, ‘we will not pay our taxes, we will shop as little as possible, we will drive at little as possible, etc, etc.’ I am sure far brighter minds than mine can design a campaign. (Ironically as I type this, our recycling collection vehicle has just stopped as it empties our kerbside bin. Its message on the side of the vehicle is “Let’s waste less.” How about that for timing!!)

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Dec 28, 2023·edited Dec 28, 2023


Here’s some novelty, for those of us in the hyper-privileged world: skiers. In past “bad snow” seasons (usually attributed to El Niño or La Niña, depending on where you looked), there was always somewhere around our continent that had good conditions. Not this year, at least so far--conditions suck just about everywhere. There’s been plenty of precipitation, but it’s tended to be rain, or snow followed by warmth followed by freezing followed by more rain.

Here in Oregon, the heat dome of 2021, following the Portland fires of 2020 brought home to more people that the climate situation is spiraling out of control. The winter of 23-24 could be the one that gets that message across to those wealthy influencers who partake of snow sports. Several ski areas now make more money from summer mountain bikers than from winter skiers and riders. There will no doubt be improvements in conditions over the next month or so, but this may become the recognized benchmark for the end of a set of activities that have allowed many of America’s and Europe’s wealthier residents to commune with the great outdoors.

As you and others have pointed out repeatedly, the awareness of climate change’s impacts will likely be segmented and sequential. At some point soon, hopefully, the cumulative realization will be widespread enough to translate into more rapid political and policy change.

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How to cultivate the long view in a population weaned on conspicuous consumption?

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Thank you for your work. Below is our info-ad to the NYT 12/31 (please consider, there is no time for piecemeal gradual progress and we do not need a billion new electric cars and trucks.) I had also info-ads in the 12/10 NYT, p. A18. and in the 12/24 NYT magazine). And PLEASE RESPOND - work with Humane Civilization Worldwide [humanecivilization.org]

Heinz Aeschbach, MD, co-founder and president of HCW, Austin, TX, 512.689.6142



Scientists, activists, NGO leaders, science writers – please help educate the people about alternate paths forward and demand corresponding government actions. We are on a destructive path!

· Dire consequences have been predicted, if global temperatures surpass 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. But in spite of COP28 pledges, we are now on a trajectory to reach the 1.5°C point before 2040 and 2.5°C or more by 2100. Still, always focusing on some “good news,” few want to visualize scenarios of the 2040s and beyond: worsening, deadly heat waves, droughts, storms with flooding, wildfires and crop failures; probably hundreds of millions dying or having

to migrate, and much violence with war-like conditions at borders. Do we really want a gradual ‘energy transition’ while promoting profit-driven, greenhouse-gas-spewing economic growth?

· Like the human body, the world’s ecosystems are very delicate concerning temperature and mineral balances. “Our world has a fever, and we keep covering it with thicker blankets!” Polar ice, glaciers and permafrost are rapidly melting;

CO2 acidifies the oceans, vicious cycles are worsening; we are overstepping points-of-no-return.

· Efforts to lower emissions only slow the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels - we must lower levels from presently 420ppm to about 350ppm to prevent further worsening of climates.

· Where are we growing trees, bamboo, algae and other fast-growing plants for carbon absorption, reforestation, and for commercial uses? Where are we building ultra-light, slow, electric mini cars? and trains, high-speed and a dense network of light rail lines, most small, narrow track, 100cm and less, many on existing roads? As feasible, we must replace steel and concrete with wood, bamboo and recycled materials, in buildings, light vehicles, rail cars, bridges, etc. Radiative cooling paints, shade trees, and geothermal heating and cooling must minimize buildings’ energy needs. In

addition, our diets must become mostly vegetarian, rich in legumes.

· We must durably sequester huge amounts of carbon: any organic material, particularly plants that were grown for carbon sequestration may be buried and covered with stagnant water, kept dry, or prevented in other ways from decomposing.

· Our government must severely restrict bank lending to curb consumerism and inflation; it must create new money to fund public-private partnership nonprofit enterprises that will reform industries and land management. We need high taxes on all greenhouse gas releases and on wealth. Governments must take care of people’s needs and establish comprehensive safety nets.

Living simpler and healthier, more leisurely, closer to nature, with more interpersonal connectedness, people will be happier.

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AN ODD (Not so odd) SILENCE

Have you read, "Don't Even Think About It" by George Marshall? It explores why human beings are hardwired to ignore climate change. I've read it twice now and it not only strikes a chord (very disconcerting to find echoes of my own thinking/emotions in his explanations) but makes me wonder how we can get past this ingrained denial. Given Marshall's findings, I'm not surprised that the media has no interest in reporting on or calling people's attention to something their readers are unable to face and need to pretend does not exist. I read your work because I admire and respect you, even if what you have to say often dismays me. But what about those who have no interest in exploring difficult realities and have bought the lie that climate change is either a hoax or will not affect them? I am sharing with my tribe in hopes our collective smarts can help. Thank you for cross posting @Revkin and for all you wisdom and insights @billmckibben

Here's the Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J5ED8CE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Ecological grief. 💔

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An odd silence? I tell you I can base load wind turbines without chemicals and you don't even ask me how? Typical useless apes.

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I am favorable to doing things to lower greenhouse gases because they will also improve air quality. However, I still haven’t seen good data on how much manmade CO2 is responsible for the T rise compared to natural cycles for example Milankovich Cycles. Can you suggest some studies?

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Is there some sort of problem with the idea of starting to replace the actual sources that are polluting the atmosphere with non-polluting electric sources?

And I don't include batteries - because of al of the pollution caused during the mining and manufacturing of them.

We know what the problem is -- but have yet to see anything concerning directly replacing retrofitting / repowering these existing sources.

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Thanks for your consistent focus on the need for humanity to wrap our collective focus on this almost intangible crisis that threatens our very survival as a civilization. I had been sucked into the fallacy of hopeful thinking, (facilitated by the media coverage of the Hansen paper) that maybe the warming isn't accelerating, despite the oddity of the landscape right outside my window. That was before reading your post, which had the sobering effect of good mental medicine.

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How can I upgrade my subscription to PAID without ApplePay?

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