This Changes Everything

I’ve read Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller “This Changes Everything.” It’s long, dry and times, and often depressing. But no one can argue that it’s well-researched and and accurate portrayal of the world we live in and its plight with respect to global warming and climate change.

A new documentary based on the book will be shown at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. It was filmed over 211 days in nine countries and five continents over a span of four years. It was directed by Avi Lewis and presents seven powerful portraits of various communities that are on the front lines of dealing with climate change, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands to the coast of South India and Beijing.

Naomi Klein does the documentary’s narration and does a great job of connecting the carbon dioxide emissions in our atmosphere to the economic system that put them there. As in her book, she gradually builds a controversial but exciting idea: we can seize the crisis of climate change and transform our failed economic system into something radically better (at least better for 99 percent of us).

Watch the trailer and see what you think. I for one cannot wait to see this very important film, perhaps one of the most important of our time.

John Oliver Puts it in Perspective

John Oliver is a funny man. And he still manages to make you chuckle on his television show “Last Week Tonight” as he points out how serious the issue of climate change is, and how badly we as a civilization are dealing with it. He even brings Bill Nye (the Science Guy) along to illustrate how poorly the media usually cover the issue.

At least John gives it the proper perspective that it deserves. If only the “real” media would do the same thing.

How Are We Going to Deal With All This Carbon?

It’s not enough to reduce emissions. For many years I’ve believed that we have to do something to get rid of the carbon dioxide we’ve already added over the the last two and a half centuries. Since carbon dioxide persists for centuries, it’s not enough to reduce what we put into the atmosphere now. Even if we brought our emissions down to zero overnight, those emissions we’ve already put into the atmosphere will guarantee that global warming is a problem we’ll be dealing with for the next millennium.

But if we could find a practical way to remove some of the carbon dioxide that we’ve already emitted, that would be worth something. This video offers an idea. It may not be the final solution, but I believe it’s along the right track. Watch it and see what you think.

One for the All-Time Record Books

If you follow my blog regularly, you know that I frequently post about the record-breaking temperatures our planet has been breaking, particularly with alarming regularity this last couple of years. Well last month was one for the ages. Yes it was the hottest July ever recorded. But it turns out it was the hottest temperature for any month we’ve ever recorded.


Since accurate records started being kept back in January 1880, last month was the hottest of the 1627 months ever since. This doesn’t bode well for a few things. First of all, 2015 is on track to beat 2014 as the hottest year on record, and not by a little but by a lot. also, anyone who is still on the “Global warming stopped in 1998” bandwagon really doesn’t have any credibility any longer.

For the sake of completeness, here are some of the other records our hottest-July-ever helped to break, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

  • this was the hottest first seven months of any year ever recorded
  • Austria recorded its hottest July ever as well, and their particular dataset goes back to 1767

It really is time that we stop simply documenting the plight of our planet and actually do something about it. Here’s hoping that such in-your-face records help contribute toward real solutions at COP21 in Paris this December.

Climate and Weather: What's the Difference?

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”
Mark Twain

Weather vs. climate. It’s the age-old debate. “That was a cold winter!” “That was a huge snowstorm!” “The temperature in my part of the world last year was even colder than the year before!” These are the kinds of points used to try to argue that global warming isn’t happening.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has done a good job of promoting science as the tool, the crucible we should use to remove the impurities and be left with the truth. In this clip from his reboot of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos,” he uses a good analogy to consider when thinking about weather vs. climate.