Tagged: elizabeth kolbert

Climate Change, Clean Coal, and Dirty Propaganda

In the days preceding the storm of the century, two candidates running for President of the United States strenuously assured voters that they would pump more crude, frack more natural gas, and burn more coal than the other guy. Whether or not an energy policy built on a fossil-fuel paradigm could or could not be...

Doing Something vs. Doing Nothing

Pick your favorite platitude: You can only do so much. You’re not going to change the way everybody else behaves (or thinks). You’re only one person. Comforting, aren’t they? You are hereby excused from culpability in the grand disaster that is human civilization. May your acquittal be an abiding relief from that weird sense of...

Taking Responsibility for the Gulf Oil Disaster

We’re all angry and disgusted and possibly horrified and shocked to see the destruction wrought by the oil spill bespoiling the Gulf of Mexico. Witnessing incontrovertible evidence of death by petroleum has got us in the mood for persecution and punishment. The bad people who did this — British Petroleum is the acting villain in...

Getting There

Ford announced that they’ll stop manufacturing their biggest cars and will delay the release of their new F-Series truck.  The Metropolitan Transit Authority in Los Angeles announced that last week’s ridership on the commuter rail was the highest they’ve ever recorded. Gasoline prices eclipsed $4.50 at many stations around the city. United Airlines is raising...

Learning to Live Under Water

For some time now, a small but vocal group of ostriches — some of whom occupy seats in the United States Senate — have described the phenomenon of global warming as one of the most pernicious hoaxes perpetrated on the American people (as well as other less important occupants of this planet). They say that...

Why Global Warming Tends to Go Unnoticed

Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, explains how our brains abandon us when the fate of the planet is at stake: He says that no seems to care about the upcoming attack on the World Trade Center site. Why? Because it won’t involve villains with box cutters. Instead, it will involve melting...

An Inconvenient Truth

Global warming is not a speculative theory. It’s a proven syndrome, despite what so-called “skeptics” (read: those with financial interests in carbon dioxide producing industries) claim. Former vice-president of the United States, and possibly the rightfully elected president in 2000, Al Gore, has toured the world for years giving a power-point slide show that cogently...

Dealing With the Energy Crisis by Driving Trucks

A gallon of self-serve unleaded regular gasoline in Los Angeles costs an average of $3.20. In a weird, painful way, the high cost is a blessing, because (theoretically) it reduces demand, and when we drive our automobiles less we pollute our environment less. Our new Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, declared last month in his State of...

Self Destruction

Depending on one’s quotient of Puritanical self-abnegation, the follies of other less disciplined souls often inspire the pensive equivalent of a scoff. Of the fatty we think, “Surely he knows that a diet of doughnuts and fries will only make him more obese.” Of the smoker we think, “Surely she knows that smoking causes an...