Welcome Mark Hertsgaard, and Host, Bill McKibben.

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth

Bill McKibben, Host:

Mark Hertsgaard is one of America’s veteran environmental journalists, a forceful voice for two decades. His important book, Earth Odyssey, was an early attempt to help Americans understand the underlying dynamics that would give rise to, say, the Chinese economic explosion, with its attendant environmental implications. His work in the Nation and elsewhere has been an essential part of the dialogue about climate change, the most pressing of our environmental issues.

Now, in Hot, Hertsgaard advances the discussion again. He acknowledges what is now obvious: that we can no longer prevent at least some of the effects of global warming. Instead, we’re going to have to learn to deal with some of those troubles, even while the fight continues to staunch the flow of carbon into the atmosphere.

But it’s not just his writing that is pushing the message forward. A father of a young daughter, Hertsgaard has increasingly become an activist in the climate fight. Later this month he’ll journey to DC to “confront the climate cranks.” So this is a great opportunity to ask questions not only about his book but about the future of the climate movement; please join us, questions at the ready, on Saturday evening for a robust dialogue?

140 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Mark Hertsgaard, Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth”

BevW January 22nd, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Mark, Welcome to the Lake.

Bill, Thank you for returning and for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:00 pm

hey everyone, very good to be with you.

Mark–I hear you did something very brave for the cliamte today. Care to report?

dakine01 January 22nd, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Mark and Bill and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Mark, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but do have a question.

How do you explain to your daughter the lunacy of people who think that things like Climate change don’t exist or that the use of fossil fuels are better for the environment because of “jobs”?

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Mark, talk to us for a moment about the way the world has changed since Earth Odyssey, your epic earlier book. For instance, back then China was on the cusp of industrial explosion; now it’s one of the world’s central facts

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:03 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 2

Hey Bill, thanks for taking the time to do this, and hi everybody. Please be gentle with me, I’m a virgin at this online book chat. But it sounds fun.

As for doing something brave today, Bill, it was not I who did it, though I did witness it and will be reporting on it for TheNation.com. Here in Washington, DC, Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland joined about 200 vlimate activists to plunge into a very frigid Potomac River in a “Polar Bear Plunge” to urge action against global warming. Water temp was 34 F, air a chilly 19 F. So it’s Rep. Edwards and the 200 plungers who did something brave!

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:03 pm

What climate movement?

I ask, not because I don’t know there is one, but rather because there seems more backward than forward momentum, esp in the U.S. Anyone care to assess the overall progress or lack thereof?

And why no tech breakthroughs? Case of GM buying up the electric car analogy?

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:05 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 3

I don’t try to explain that stuff to my daughter yet, as she is only 5 years old. But in general I tell folks that many people have been brainwashed about climate and many more simply don’t want to believe it because believing it, they fear, would mean taking actions that they disagree with on political or ideological grounds, such as more government regulation of and intervention in the market economy.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:05 pm

eCAHnomics– no movement might be a bit much. There are hens of thousands of people passioantely engaged, but not yet a match for the power of the fossil fuel industry. Mark, tell us about yur upcoming Confront a Crank plans

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:07 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 4

Yeah, since Earth Odyssey was published in 1999, it seems like all the stuff it reported has come true in spades, I’m sorry to say. China’s emergence as the dominant climate superpower is perhaps the most powerful example. You could see it coming back then, and now it’s here. Now, China is adding more greenhouse gas emissions on an annual basis even than the US. And it’s even harder to get China to agree to limit emissions when the US still–STILL–is refusing to do anything meaningful at the federal level.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:08 pm

You spend a good deal of time talking about places like parts of NY planning to deal with one meter rise in sea level. What did you think reading Jim Hansen’s new paper this week indicating that we are probably looking at multi-meter sea level rise before the century is out?

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:09 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 8

So how do you match, let alone outmaneuver, the moneyed interests, esp now that they are in just about complete control of the USG? What are the tactics? What are the strategies? Petitions? Marches? Ballot initiatives? Don’t make me laugh.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:09 pm

The book has a wonderful account of our agricultural dilemma, and in the months since you finished writing up food prices have soared. Want to give the short explanation of why climate change and farming are so tough to reconcile?

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:10 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 6

It’s true the climate movement has not accomplished enough in the US, but there have been great strides in some other countries. And even here, the movement has one great achievement to its credit, though few outside the movement seem aware of it. I’m talking about the de facto moratorium on new coal fired power plants that has been put in place in the last few years, mainly by local activism though with a big national support from Sierra Club. That’s huge, and I know that activists are working this very week at taking the fight against coal to the next level.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:10 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

Well, at 350.org I think one tactic this year may be to challenge the US Chamber of Commerce as directly as we can. They’re the biggest lobby on the other side of this

hackworth1 January 22nd, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Listened to a panel on Climate Change on NPR last night. As expected, the host did a great disservice to the seriousness of the issue. He just wanted to know where he would get his Chilean Sea Bass after all the oceans’ fish populations migrate to the poles to be eaten by the influx of voracious crustaceans.

Good thing the NPR host likes to eat crabmeat, too.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:11 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

But tell us what you’re doing here to help. Or what you suggest

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:13 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 10

Shit, I hadn’t read Hansen’s paper yet. That is very discouraging news to hear about multi-meter sea level rise by 2100. Previously, the high end estimates, as you know, were for 2 meters sea level rise by 2100. So, if Hansen’s new estimates turn out to be right, we could actually end up seeing 1 m slrise by the time my 5 year old daughter is old enough to have her own kids.

What does that mean for adaptation and specifically the plans of governments like New York City’s to prepare for 1 m sea level rise? Obviously, they’ll have to revise their planning. But it’s definitely to their advantage that at least they already have a planning process in place to confront those issues. The bigger challenge, I expect, will be finding the money to pay for all this.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:13 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 16

Not all problems have solutions. I do my personal best, of course, which makes not a bit of diff.

Unlike you, I’m not a leading figure in the field, so I find it interesting that you turn the Q back on me.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:13 pm
In response to hackworth1 @ 15

global warming–always good for a rueful chuckle!

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:14 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 18

oh, always jsut interested in new ideas. because so far we’re losing.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Talk about geoengineering a little bit–we’re clearly already starting to hear more aobut it, in a kind of break-the-glass-and-pull-the-lever way. what quetions should we be asking right now?

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:19 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

The only way any progressive movement has matched moneyed interests is with people power. They have more money, we have more bodies. And we have to make politicians understand that we will vote out of power those who do follow the money rather than the public good. The specific tactics for doing that? Everyone can and should find their own answers to that. Just today I covered a demonstration in Washington. In a few days, I and some young people are going to Capitol Hill to confront Speaker John Boehner and the other climate cranks who are planning to put climate science and scientists on trial. It’s because our government spent the last 20 years listening to these cranks as much as to real scientists that my daughter and the rest of Generation Hot and indeed all of us are now condemned to spend the rest of our lives coping with a very serious amount of climate change that cannot be avoided, no matter how quickly we might eventually lower emissions. The cranks need to be called to account for that, and the media needs to stop giving them a pass, as if they simply hold a different opinion on a legitimate matter for debate. When every major scientific organization in the world, starting with our own national academy of sciences, says that climate change is real and extremely dangerous, only a crank keeps insisting it’s all a left-wing hoax.

hackworth1 January 22nd, 2011 at 2:21 pm

NPR Panel cited a one inch rise in sea level per year. Bone crushers (crabs) are already found in waters that were previously too cold for them.

Interesting that the spin becomes: We can still get fish, they’ll just be at the poles. And all the delicious lobsters! Yummy.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:22 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 12

Very briefly, the climate food dilemma is that humanity has only been able to feed the enormous current human population to date through a highly carbon intensive form of industrial agriculture. Climate survival will require a shift to a much less carbon intensive form of agriculture. There are ways to do that–biochar is a particularly promising possibility, and organic ag in general is more productive than mainstream accounts usually admit–but there are definite production slow-downs in the transition period. How do we keep people fed, which can actually be restated as, how do we keep food prices from skyrocketing, during that transition period? That’s the dilemma.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:22 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 20

Now, I could agree with that. :-(

My general problem is that environmentalists and progressives of all other sorts, just refuse to acknowledge what they’re up against and tend to be pollyannish.

As you can tell from my screen name, my area is economics, and I’m damned if I know how FDR got the New Deal thru Congress. Seems to have been a serendipitous combo of real lefties & biz interests who, when faced with disaster, joined to do the right thing. Plus a few pols with courage.

Don’t see anything like that today, in economics or environmentalism. Disasters are used to advance corp, not public, interests. $$$ reign supreme over moral courage.

I hear that the moneyed interests have infiltrated environmental groups. Is that accurate? I did notice that in the Gulf oil disaster, Sierra Club, Green Party, etc., all ignored it on their website front pages for a long time, which is some evidence that their anti-environmental donors told them to shut up.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:24 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 25

No, I think the Sierra Club is fighting as hard or harder than ever. Their new executive director, Mike Brune, is fantastic–in the David Brower mold. He was down in the gulf working round the clock for about a month to mobilize public opinion

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:25 pm

and of course we have to do it while dealing with the friction caused by erratic weather–i think this is going to be one of the first, and nastiest, ways that climate change bites us

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:25 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 21

I think we have to keep an open mind about geo-engineering, indeed about any plausible solutions. But we have to be VERY careful not to make things even worse, which many geo-engineering schemes could easily do. And the break-the-glass analogy hints at why: when one is desperate, one often doesn’t think things through as carefully as they should. So that’s the first question I’d ask of geo-engineering: what are the risks of making things worse by doing this or that method of geo-engineering? And, conversely, what are the co-benefits? Biochar is a form of geo-engineering, broadly defined, and it has enormous potential co-benefits.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Moneyed interests more powerful than people power. Think S. Africa in modern times, or any empire historically.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:26 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 26

I agree re Sierra Club and Mike Brune. They’re fighting hard, and at grassroots level, which is where real change tends to originate.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I asked a Q earlier that got overlooked, more general than geoengineering: Why is it that tech has not contributed more to possible solutions to climate change? Energy corps buying up promising research & trashing it? Or something else?

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Can we do things like biochar on a local, community scale and still have them matter? Or does it need to be industrial to make any difference?

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:29 pm

You say one ray of good news is that glacial melt may not be catastrophic for those downstream. We could use some good news about now, so elaborate!

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 31

actually, there’s a ton of great technology out there. the problem is, the price of coal (cheap) acts as a barrier to any of it getting it fully implemented. hence the big focus on raising the price of carbon

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 14

The Chamber of Commerce is one of the 3 main targets of our Confront the Climate Cranks action in Washington later this month. The other two targets are Fox TV and the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives. We want to change the conversation about climate change inside the Beltway and discredit the cranks from continuing to hold our government’s climate policy hostage. We plan to show, through face-to-face on camera confrontations with Speaker John Boehner and other climate deniers, that they have no more credibility on climate science than did the tobacco industry on smoking, and as such they should not be taken seriously when they claim climate science is all a fraud. My teammates at Confront the Climate Cranks include the Sierra Club, Grist, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and other activists and we’re inviting people to get involved with us by visiting the Facebook page for Generation Hot, which should be up and running by Monday morning, if it’s not already. Folks can read more about the action in my article currently posted at TheNation.com, “Confronting the Climate Cranks.” Come and join us!

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:35 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 31

I think there HAVE BEEN techno advances, what’s been lacking is DEPLOYMENT of those advances. That is, we already have in hand most of the technologies we need to slash emissions, ranging from solar to increased energy efficiency and wind and biochar and on and on. What’s been lacking is deployment. And THAT’S where the power of status quo corporate and government power puts the brakes on….

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Bill,

I do have one suggestion. It’s the messaging one. Those on the “right” (moral & people) side of the issue really suck at it. S-CHIP instead of Meds for Kids.

If the corps & USG can lie their way into ‘reality creation,’ surely the fact-based side of the issue can figure out a better way of getting the message across.

Not that is a soln. It’s probably more of a symptom. Of the way reality-based peeps think. Still, when you’re losing so badly, thinking of how to propagandize should be ONE of the items on the agenda?

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Hooray for this! Very important stuff to be doing

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 32

Local biochar can definitely make a big difference in the lives of local people and communities. It does NOT have to be at industrial scale. Again, that will be much of the challenge: keeping this promising technology from being co-opted by industrail interests that will inevitably want it at industrial scale.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:38 pm

At one point in the book, you suggest that the insurance industry could turn out to be a white knight here. They’ve got more money than anyone else on earth–what should they be doing with it?

dakine01 January 22nd, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Mark, how do you respond to the religious types who claim “Aftr the deluge, God promised that the next time he destroyed the world he would do so with fire rather than water, therefore Climate Change and rising sea levels cannot be a problem”?

(My response is to point out that God didn’t say it would be a fast and furious fire but could well be a long slow burn)

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:39 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 38

Glad to hear you like the Confront the Climate Cranks idea. Would be wonderful if 350.org joined the team for it. I’ve emailed May and Jaime and Phil about it, they seem interested. Let us know, will you?

emptywheel January 22nd, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Mark, Bill, welcome.

I’ve started but not finished the book. And while it does a good job of speaking to individuals–I think teh focus on your daughter is great–I think one thing we need to do w/climate change is coopt the fearmongering of national security people. Climate change is a bigger risk right now than terrorism (at least Islamic terrorism in its current state). Plus, climate change will contribute to such threats.

So how do we take the lessons from your book and magnify it, get some good old fearmongering types out there, to make this a political liability if people don’t back it 100%?

And why aren’t people like Frank Gaffney and James Woolsey, who are precisely these kinds of fearmongering nuts but who have also talked about climate change, doing just this?

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:42 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 40

Insurance industry DOES have more money than anyone on earth, even than banks. Which means that where they do and do not direct their trillions of dollars in annual investments has an enormous effect on what choices our civilization makes about energy, agriculture and other climate-critical economic sectors. At the same time, the insurance industry stands to lose BIG as climate change causes more and more extreme weather events, with the enormous damages pay-outs they bring. So, it’s in the insurance industry’s own interest to shift its investment dollars AWAY from climate-destructive activities like coal and TOWARD climate-healing investments like solar. Alas, so far that is not happening much, aside from a handful of exceptions within the industry….

Tammany Tiger January 22nd, 2011 at 2:42 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 41

On a related note, much of the opposition to climate legislation is not based on science (though some opponents trot out the likes of Fred Singer) but on emotion. I’ve seen opponents bring everything from 1960s hippies to world government to the Book of Revelation into the case against doing something about global warming. Sadder still, these fact-free arguments appeal to the public.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:43 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 34

Aha. Great point to make to an economist.

Now I’ll peel the onion back a layer.

How cheap is coal, really? Even if you don’t take into account any environmental externalities? I’m referring to tax breaks (among other factors) that coal companies get. From state & local govts (to keep “local jobz”), to USG that gives accelerated depreciation to those gigundo mining equipment. IOW, have environmentalists done good studies on the corp welfare that coal mining corps get from govts?

A relevant aside on my earlier messaging point. A local acquaintance (mid-Hudson), who used to be active in politics when she lived in Oregon but is not in a position to do that here, worked on a mining ballot initiative. Her version: “Mining corps must return land to original condition.” Polled 80% positive. By the time the environmentalists got their teeth into it, the text that appeared on the ballot was 2 pages long in 7-point type, with all kinds of detailed regs. Mining corps demagogued it (job losses, etc) and it lost by double digits. As she had already pulled all her hair out, she gave up.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:44 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 41

Everyone is welcome to their own religious beliefs. But no God I know would want us to destroy the earth, either quickly or slowly.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:45 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 43

Actually, Woolsey DOES talk about climate change quite a lot. And I talk more about the national security types and concerns later in the book. Problem is, the contemporary Republican Party has been captured by ideological nut cases and it’s very hard to get them to hear reason or fact about climate change.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:46 pm

If ins ind loses big becuz of climate change, can’t they (TBTF) rely on the USG to bail them out? So why not adopt a “What me worry?” attitude?

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Maybe worth pointing out to your friend that the Gospel enjoins us to love our neighbors (not, when you think aobut it, to drown them, spread mosquito-borne disease, etc). As a Methodist Sunday School teacher, this has always seemed a powerful argument to me. And sometimes it works with others!

dakine01 January 22nd, 2011 at 2:47 pm

But no God I know would want us to destroy the earth, either quickly or slowly.

But you’re rational. Many of the people who would use the variations of religion as an excuse to do nothing (or continue to destroy things) are anything but rational

brodie January 22nd, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Mark, it seems like the global warming/climate change advocates have been losing the public education/PR battle roughly since not long after Al Gore and his team won an Oscar® for their fine film An Inconvenient Truth. Since then the polls I’ve seen show a dip in public acknowledgement of g.w.

Meanwhile, Gore has sort of disappeared, going off on his endless speechmaking around the world, and has only been in the news lately for negative, personal reasons — huge house(s) with huge energy needs, massages, divorce.

Is there a future role for Gore, and a different one which could change around the current negative trends towards public ignorance?

Does our side lack for a strong public persona who can carry the banner with passion and authority?

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:49 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 46

or, more importantly, how cheap is it if it’s going to destory the planet;s ecology, which among other things will be expensive. we’ve been making this point as hard as we can–but we need more volume. so join in at 350.org, help mark confront the cranks, etc–h’es right when he says that we’ll never have enough cash to beat the other side, it’s going to require a different currency–i.e., bodies.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:49 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 45

I’m not so sure the anti-climate science arguments appeal to the public. Rather, that is the impression we are being given by Big Media’s coverage of the climate issue. The facts suggest that there is a hard-core right wing in this country that accounts for about 30 percent of the adult population and that not only disputes climate change but a whole range of other litmus test issues for the right: no taxes, increased military spending, etc. It’s not that they have a bigger share of the public with them, it’s that their side’s (ludicrous) arguments benefit from a media echo chamber–led by Fox but then amplified by a lame and cowardly mainstream media–that climate science has not had but needs urgently.

Danno11 January 22nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 43

Emptywheel does bring up an excellent point though. Much of the new neuroscience research says that emotional appeals are much more effective than logical argument.

Personally, when I discuss climate change with people, I bring up the national security interest of being able to feed everyone. What happens if it’s too hot to grow wheat in Nebraska or there are lines at empty supermarkets. Food prices are going up as it is & I find this is an approach people can relate to and connect with.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 46

Definitely true that environmentalists, like progressives in general and the Obama administration in particular, have been TERRIBLE at messaging. It’s one of the main deficiencies that need to be corrected asap.

greenwarrior January 22nd, 2011 at 2:53 pm

How do we keep nuclear energy from rising zombie-like from the dead now that we’re putting a moratorium on coal? There is still no solution to the long-term storage of nuclear waste.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Africa will be the site of the next big climate talks–Durban, in December. What role is the continent going to play in the climate drama? Victim merely, or source of new ideas, as Hot suggests?

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to brodie @ 52

I wouldn’t blame Gore for the resurgence of the climate cranks. If anyone, I’d blame the media. And the resurge didn’t really happen until right before the Copenhagen summit of Dec 2009, when some cranks started passing around stolen emails from the U of East Anglia in England that they claimed showed that climate scientists had faked data. Of course, a careful analysis of the documents themselves proved nothing of the kind; see the fab Associated Press story that Seth Borenstein and his colleagues wrote after reading all 1 million pages of emails. But the rest of the media didn’t bother to check out the cranks’ claims, they just published them as if true. And the media kept doing that throughout the following months as Senator Inhofe took the occasion of a record cold and snowstorm in Washington to mock Gore’s claims of global warming. The media swallowed that too, showing just how much scientific illiteracy still exists in America’s elite newsrooms. Because of course extreme weather events like big snowstorms are EXACTLY what climate scientists project we’ll see as global warming continues.

The media is a big part of the problem, a big part.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 2:56 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 53

My job used to be economic forecasting. It took me decades to realize that people do NOT understand the future. They have to be staring reality in the eyes to “get” it. And climate change is such a drawn out process, with every cold snap being a gotcha opportunity for deniers to use, that I think it’s fruitless to use that as a rallying cry.

Think it would be much more useful to point out how much mining corp welfare is stealing from hard-working taxpayers NOW. Heck, Reagan did it with welfare queens, when welfare was rounding error in fed budget. Why can’t environmentalists play the same game, only harder.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 2:57 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 60

a smart idea.

greenwarrior January 22nd, 2011 at 3:00 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 26

David Brower is my all-time favorite hero – he pretty much single-handedly saved the Grand Canyon from being dammed and flooded. As Sierra Club Executive Director at the time, he did what he knew would work even though the Board of Directors said, “No, we can’t afford a full-page ad in the New York Times.” He took out the ad, public opinion was aroused, the Grand Canyon was saved. He was fired. He was happy with what he’d accomplished.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:00 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 58

Great question about Africa, Bill. I think the answer is both. As HOT shows, AFrica is already the source of some of the most innovative approaches to coping with the crushing amount of climate change that is already locked in to the pipeline over the coming decades; what farmers in the west Sahel are doing by growing (not planting, but growing) trees amid their fields of millet and sorghum, thereby raising water tables and tripling food production by providing shade and mulch, is one of the most practical success stories I’ve come across in my four years of reporting for this book. Unfortunately, it is equally clear that Africa, even under the best of circumstances, is going to suffer tremendously from climate change, particularly from rising temperatures and shrinking water supplies. So we need to help Africans dramatically scale up the existing success stories and thereby minimize the amount of victimhood to come.

RevBev January 22nd, 2011 at 3:01 pm

How interesting….Im not sure I had heard the corrected information…must have been pretty well hidden.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:01 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 62

not only that, he went on to found friends of the earth, and then earth island institute!

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:01 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 57

Nuclear energy is a financial catastrophe, and virtually every major investor knows it. So the only way the nuclear industry can revive its fortunes, so to speak, is through massive public subsidies–not just direct R&D monies but, even more important, shielding them from liability in the event of any accidents. So, to keep nuclear dead, you need to keep the flow of government money turned off.

Lorraine Watkins January 22nd, 2011 at 3:03 pm

just one person’s opinion, but I think we are looking at the need for a whole shift in how we view life and the planet that sustains us. We simply must abandon the notion of living through extraction of finite resources and move to a way of life that replenishes what is used.

RevBev January 22nd, 2011 at 3:03 pm

We need Oprah to make that Africa outlook part of her new network.

spocko January 22nd, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I LOVE your “Confront the Cranks” plan.

We have a local crank here in SF. He wants to be confronted. He is sure he would win. You might consider confronting him. B rian S ussman he has a web page where he is demanding our former VP to debate him.

He has a book out where he shows that humans didn’t cause global warming.

I don’t confront him in this area but someone like you might. Which leads me to my next question. One of the ways that the mainstream media keeps getting played is when they quote a crank who has been discredited.

Envision one of your confronting team to follow around a crank. Go to the media who are talking to the cranks, in advance their book tour schedules are known. “By the way, you will be talking to “Dr. X who has been discredited here, here and here. If he tries these lines on you ask what his response is to This article that disproved him.” This technique is used by the right wing PR firms when people who write books they don’t like are on press tours.

greenwarrior January 22nd, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Can you describe what is biochar?

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:05 pm

What did you make of the Hu-Obama summit? Were there any, er, tea leaves re climate in their comments? Or are they willing to basically give each other a convenient pass?

greenwarrior January 22nd, 2011 at 3:05 pm

That’s just it – the Depart of Energy is ready to make loan guarantees with taxpayer money.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:06 pm
In response to RevBev @ 64

Interesting that you, obviously a well-informed person, had not heard about the Associated Press story. After all, the AP is the biggest news organization in the world in terms of reach; its dispatches are available to virtually every newspaper, TV and radio station, and online news outlet in the world.

I think the reason you weren’t aware of AP’s story is that it came and went in one day and, crucially, the rest of the media didn’t internalize its message–that the cranks’ charges were groundless–and make that message part of the media’s continuing narrative about climate science. Again, it gets back to the power, and irresponsibility, of so much of Big Media.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to RevBev @ 68

Sounds good. Anyone know how to get to Oprah?

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:08 pm

You spent some serious time in New Orleans. Amazing spirit of rebuilding there. In the end, is it defensible against what we know is coming, between slr and hurricanes? How should we be thinking about its future–and of course it’s merely a proxy for an awful lot of the other places we inhabit?

Lorraine Watkins January 22nd, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Here in Geogia the Southern Company got the public service commission to get rate payers to pay prosepctively for the development of new nuclear plants and guarantee an increase in profits to make borrowing more easy.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:08 pm
In response to spocko @ 69

Thanks for SF suggestion. But we want Confront the Climate Cranks to start in Washington, DC, because that’s where the cranks have been and continue to be so influential over our country’s climate policy.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:09 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 70

Biochar is a fancy name for charcoal. The idea is to insert biochar back into the soil, thereby extracting carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the earth, where it will also raise agricultural productivity.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:11 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 72

Well, DoE may be ready to make nuclear loans, and that’s why it’s so important to pressure Congress not to go along with that. See the work of the Nuclear Information and Resource Services (NIRS) to get involved.

RevBev January 22nd, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Thanks…and the story of the fake data was so hot. I am sure I have friends who still quote it;)

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:12 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 71

I thought it was mildly encouraging that Obama and Hu at least agreed to make climate change one of the items they both talked about during their joint press conference the other day. But the statements themselves were too opaque for us to know, yet, what may or may not have been agreed.

AitchD January 22nd, 2011 at 3:13 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 67

just one person’s opinion, but I think we are looking at the need for a whole shift in how we view life and the planet that sustains us

Many agree: I required Mr. McKibben’s books The Age Of Missing Information and The End Of Nature in my college research-writing courses (late 1980′s/eary 1990′s). Knowledge evolves slowly like life itself.

Blogs like this can also inch the awareness forward…

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Excelon (nukes) is one of O’s biggest campaign contributors. One of his first acts as prez is to give them a $9 billion taxpayer gift. Think there was another one after that, too. And now admin leaks suggest SOTU is going to address renewable energy, expect Excelon to be getting plenty more.

On another book salon, the author had the figures on how much tax benefit the corp got for its campaign contributions. I figured it was something like an 8,000% return on investment. Now do you see what you are up against?

spocko January 22nd, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Good point. How the media cover these stories is somewhat predictable, especially when it comes to retractions. They don’t like ‘em.

Since Fox News has gone to court to prove they don’t have to tell the truth, it’s tough to get them to not lie.

I’m not really a confronting kind of guy, but my buddy Mike Stark is. One of the things that you might want to consider is doing a training session with him where he teaches your staff and an volunteers how to call into local radio shows. The journalists don’t bother to confront the cranks, it would require them to know stuff, so usually they wait for an “expert” to do it or a non-expert caller. And then they watch while the crank destroys the non-expert caller like a used car sales man going up against a first time buyer. Asymmetric knowledge and experience will win everytime.

Tammany Tiger January 22nd, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to spocko @ 69

The editorial page of the Detroit News is a haven for climate cranks. One of them is Frank Beckmann, a play-by-play announcer and sports talk show host who has absolutely no credentials in the field (in fact, he might not even have a four-year college diploma).

spocko January 22nd, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Well if you want to have your team do a warm up on him it might be fun.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:18 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 75

Yes, I’ve been lucky to spend a good deal of time in New Orleans since Hurricane katrina, including a very encouraging visit right before Christmas, when I reported for The Nation.com about a “second line” street parade that celebrated the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood’s revival on the fifty anniversary of Katrina.

But it’s a tricky question about the future of New Orleans. Much has been done since the storm to increase flood defenses, and good people there, like John Barry of the local levee board, say the core of the city is now protected to about a 1-in-200 year storm level. Which is MUCH better than things stood pre-Katrina. And more can be done in the years to come.

But, getting back to your earlier reference to Hansen’s new paper, New Orleans is in very, very serious trouble if there is more than 5 feet of sea level rise in the next 100 years, much less 5 meters of it. The specific reasons for that, and the limits on how much adaptation can be put in place, are complicated, and I talk about them at more length in HOT. I guess the main point to stress is that New orleans illustrates how adaptation alone is a completely insufficient response to global warming. We absolutely have to halt and reverse global warming, precisely because there are real limits to how much of it our civilization can cope with, and we are already in danger of surpassing those limits with today’s emissions levels, let alone further increases in the future.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:18 pm

So give us some snappy talking points to confront climate change deniers. What are the placards gonna say?

All the wingnut callers on cspan in the morning have gotten their email talking points for the day. Why are we lefties not supplied with such ammo?

One of my side amusements is to reduce every important issue to a 15-sec sound bite. (When I worked on Wall ST I used to do that on biz cable channels as a small part of my job.) You’d be surprised how often it can be done.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:19 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 76

Sorry to hear that about Georgia and the Southern company. Sounds like citizens need to increase the pressure on the public service commission.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:20 pm

At one point in Hot you say that you gave some thought as to where your five year old should choose to live when she grew up. (Not, speaking as the father of a 17-year-old, that you’re going to have much say…) But it’s an interesting thought exercise; take us through it?

greenwarrior January 22nd, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Thanks. I’ve got it bookmarked. Will check it out later.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:21 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 83

I’m quite familiar with what we’re up against. But I prefer not to use the power and perfidy of the corporations as an excuse to retreat into despair and passivity but rather as a spur to more aggressive opposition to them.

spocko January 22nd, 2011 at 3:25 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 85

Is he getting behind the scenes money? Is it the kind of deal that can get him fired? An ethic violation of the paper’s HR policy? Has he plagiarized others in the paper without crediting them?

I often look at policies that the right violate without even thinking, because they think nobody will check. I look into HR policies and other corporate policies that are in corporate governance documents. Hold them to their own stated principles. If nothing else it is embarrassing to them when they find out that the are being defrauded or buffaloed by their employees. The whole way they got to Ollbermann with political donations? BS, but it might apply to their own organization.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:26 pm

But your followers are not so infused with your knowledge or energy. If you want to do people power, you’ve got to place yourself into your followers’ shoes, not yours.

greenwarrior January 22nd, 2011 at 3:27 pm

What would you say are the worst effects we can expect from climate change and in what kind of time frame? I’m looking for the talking points here.

spocko January 22nd, 2011 at 3:28 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 88

Great point. Love it.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:29 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 95

LOL. Good try.

AitchD January 22nd, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Except that our schools and religions suck just like the perfidy of corps and gov’ts — yeah, K-PhD.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:32 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 95

You got an early taste of what global warming in its inital stages feels like in 2010, warmest year on record. Huge arctic ice melt; wild heat and drought and fire across Russia (and the Krelin suspending all grain exports, helping jack the price of grain through the roof), and at least five big mega-flood events–something that will be much more common because warm air holds more water vapor than cold, loading the dice.

and that’s with 1 degree of global warming, not the 4 or 5 scientists promise us are coming unless we get our act together mighty fast

lsls January 22nd, 2011 at 3:32 pm
greenwarrior January 22nd, 2011 at 3:33 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 95

Alternatively, can you give us a link to a fact sheet with the info?

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:33 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 90

Bill, of course you’re right about fathers not having much to say about their daughter’s decisions once they reach teenage years. I find it hard enough to influence my five year old’s decisions!

Still, I hope that when she makes her own decisions about where to live that my influence will at least get her to consider how profoundly the new climate realities will affect her life. We live in California now, and the science says that it’s going to be a tough new world by the time Chiara is a young adult–that is, by the year 2025–and even tougher by the time she’s my age in 2050. By then, California will have lost much of the snowpack on the Sierra Nevada mountains, which is the source of about half of the state’s fresh water. So we either take steps now to prepare for that–and HOT outlines some of the best options–or my daughter and her kids are not going to have enough water to drink. And there’s plenty of other difficulties in store as well.

Which is why in HOT I start thinking about whether Chiara should perhaps move to a place that is likely to be better prepared against climate change–which means, in large part, a place that is already starting NOW to get prepared by putting in place protections against the climate impacts that are unavoidable. About the best ex of this I found in the United States was up in the Seattle area, where the municipal government of King County, Washington, which includes Seattle and its suburbs all the way east to the Cascades mountains, has been doing cutting-edge climate change adaptation work for years. They face much the same water shortage potential that we do in California. But rather than build more dams to catch the snowmelt (dams having a great many other environmental drawbacks), King county took the clever route of buying some 100,000 acres of forest in the Cascades and using that forest as an underground storage facility for the extra water. We must make our forests act like sponges in order to adapt to climate change, said former county executive Ron Sims, who is now Obama’s #2 at the HUD in Washington. The forests (and their soil) need to soak up and store excess water from snowpack melt and then release it over time if and when droughts strike.

That is the essence of the new thinking we need in the climate fight: we must adapt to climate change even as we fight to reduce the emissions that drive it.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:34 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 99

Climate change=droughts, floods, skyrocketing food prices! We all pay now.

Didn’t even take 15-sec.

spocko January 22nd, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Here’s one for the hybrid cars of religious environmentalists on the coast:

Stop Global Warming, because only Jesus can walk on water.

/needs work
//I tried
///You come up with one!

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:35 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 94

Yes, agreed, and I try to do that. And I think most people in this country get it that the corporations and monied interests are screwing them, so if we can blend that analysis with suggestions for taking concrete political action then we can get somewhere.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:35 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 103

nice

ralphbon January 22nd, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Mark, you’re citing the media as central to the problem of manufactured false balance regarding global warming, and so much else. That was true back when you wrote “On Bended Knee” — I can’t believe it’s 2 decades since I read it. The media complacency and complicity that allowed Reagan’s crimes to go unpunished predated Fox News and have abetted the climate-change deniers, no to mention the deniers of the world-historical crimes for which Reagan’s were just a rehearsal.

It seems something more fundamental is needed than letters to ombudsmen, donations to Democracy Now!, etc. Even innovative efforts like Pro Publica seem like too little too late. I despair. Do you see a path?

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:36 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 103

OR

“Wanna see your grocery bills jacked up? Then ignore climate change.”

You don’t even need to point to the evidence, just the pocketbook & emotional (can’t feed my family) outcome.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:36 pm

yes. it always seems to me that, maybe more than natural advantages, we’d be wise to build communities that were…communities, where people cared a good deal about each other. i live in a place like that, and it makes me feel more secure, i think correctly.

greenwarrior January 22nd, 2011 at 3:36 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 99

Thank you. That’s something that’s been happening and is simple for everyone to understand.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:37 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 106

And this is just a sideline for me. Surely you experts can do better.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:38 pm
In response to spocko @ 104

I actually think this is pretty good for a bumper sticker, though I’d edit it as follows:

Stop Global Warming. Only Jesus Can Walk on Water.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:38 pm
In response to spocko @ 104

very good, that!

RevBev January 22nd, 2011 at 3:39 pm
In response to ralphbon @ 107

Thank you….the heart of the problem as I see it…Values, leaders, pushback….thank. The collective effort we should be voicing.

lsls January 22nd, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Jesus wants you to stop global warming, so he can walk on it.

RevBev January 22nd, 2011 at 3:40 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 111

They are doing better; you won’t see it.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:41 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 109

Exactly. That’s my final advice to my daughter at the end of the book, where I include as an Epilogue a “Letter to Chiara in the Year 2020.” When deciding where she should live, above all look for a place where people look out for one another (and where they have a reasonably secure water supply).

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:42 pm

As we get toward the end here, we may be in need of a little refreshment. You use the wine industry as an example of adaptation–tell us what we can expect in our glasses in a few decades

Phoenix Woman January 22nd, 2011 at 3:42 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 14

Indeed, a number of state Chambers have broken off from the national group over this and other issues.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:42 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 108

OR

“Winter heating bills driving you out of house & home? Then don’t ignore climate change. Contact your blah blah blah”

For running ads in southern U.S. change “winter heating” to “summer cooling.”

It doesn’t matter how much sense it makes, though either of my statements are defensible. The point is to tie climate change to bad financial outcomes for real people in the most threatening emotional way.

An acquaintance rejected advertising over 4 decades ago becuz he realized (at Pratt) that it meant being as obnoxious as possible. So get the female with the most grating voice to do the voice over while showing pics of a Dickensian family being evicted by Scrooge.

AitchD January 22nd, 2011 at 3:44 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 108

Like someone wondered, there are some problems without solutions. Food prices will rise drastically and worse will happen no matter how conscious, aware, and careful the populace become. The threshold was passed long ago. The issue of Mr. Hertsgaard’s study appears to be survival now.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:45 pm
In response to ralphbon @ 107

The media is my lifelong obsession and mystery. I’ve considered and attempted many ideas for remedying the media’s manifest shortcomings but the situation keeps getting worse. I’m reminded of what my late lamented mentor I. F. Stone once said, “After a lifetime as a journalist, I still don’t understand the American media.” I do know this: as long as corporate power continues to determined what kind of news analysis reaches the broad American public, it will be very difficult to make progress not just against global warming but on virtually every other progressive issue out there.” So I think that building alternative media institutions and delivery systems is critical, even as we keep hammering at the mainstream institutions to remember their public duties.

spocko January 22nd, 2011 at 3:47 pm
In response to ralphbon @ 107

You know the part in Inconvenient Truth that struck me the most? When Gore pointed out how the water was muddied. That didn’t happened by accident. The brilliant book “Trust Us We’re Experts” explains a lot about how it is done.

Not a lot of people think about how to convert and use the water muddiers. But like we saw with Wendell Potter in the health insurance issue, they have a lot of insight how to beat them at their own game.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:47 pm
In response to RevBev @ 116

They are doing better; you won’t see it.

What do you mean? That such ads have been produced, or such talking points have been distributed but can’t find media outlets?

Phoenix Woman January 22nd, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 53

Exactly. It’s a poor business manager who only sees up to the next quarterly balance sheet. Or who doesn’t realize that coal’s not cheap when you count the costs of cleaning up the Superfund sites and other money pits that mines all too often become. Pennsylvania’s lost an entire town, Centralia, to an underground coal mine fire that has burned for decades and cannot be put out.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:50 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 118

Perfect timing, Bill. My friend Denny actually just poured me a glass of Pinot Noir to help fuel me for the rest of this session. Unfortunately, Pinot Noir is one of the varieties that is going to be in real trouble as global warming accelerates. As are most white wines. To oversimplify terribly, white wines need cooler temperatures, as do some of the “lighter” red wines such as Pinot Noir. The faster temperatures go up, the harder it will be for grapes and grape growers to adapt. One of the most disappointing discoveries I made while reporting HOT is that even in the wine industry–which because wine grapes are SO sensitive to even small temperature change amounts to an early warning indicator for society as a whole–even in the wine industry there is VERY little understanding of how much the industry is threatened by climate change, much less are producers actively taking steps to prepare and protect themselves from those threats.

So you folks out there who like white wine and Pinto Noir–drink it now, while it’s still around.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:51 pm
In response to AitchD @ 121

But an integral part of survival is to figure out how to stop making it get a lot worse quickly.

Sorry to sidetrack so much on messaging, which is only a small part of the problem. I do it becuz I think it’s one part that might be fixable, but even on that small side issue, I despair.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Please give Denny my best, and tell him thanks for braving the waters of the Potomac today! And his better half as well!

BevW January 22nd, 2011 at 3:53 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon,

Mark, Thank you very much for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with is discussing your new book and climate change.

Bill, Thank you again for returning to the Lake, and for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone if you would like more information:

Mark’s website and books

Bill’s website and books

Thanks all,
Have a great evening!

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:55 pm
In response to spocko @ 123

Again, this is why we’re launching the Confront the Climate Cranks initiative: because somebody has to stand up and say in public what the media should but doesn’t–that the politicians and talking heads who dispute climate science are the modern equivalent of the Vatican theologians who forced Galileo to recant his discovery that the earth moves around the sun. The cranks have no scientific credibility and the media should stop giving them a pass on that, starting with the news peg offered by the congressional hearings that House Republicans plan to use to put climate science on trial in the coming weeks.

Bill McKibben January 22nd, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Friends, as the host of this gathering, I guess it’s my duty to wind it down. As it turns out, we’ve all got lots of work to do anyway, helping Mark with Confront the Cranks, and building 350.org–a true global-scale movement which could use help from all of you. No one is is pollyannaish about this being an easy challenge; right now it’s pretty clear we’re losing, and badly. But as Mark makes clear in the remarkable Hot, the stakes are much too high (worth buying just for picture of Chiara!) for us to despair. In a sense, a final exam for a species. So–many thanks to all for participating, especially Mark. Onward!

AitchD January 22nd, 2011 at 3:56 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 127

I don’t care about feeling guilty b/c I won’t feel guilty: We never had a chance. We’re living in scorched earth times, it’s everywhere and in every thing.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:56 pm
In response to Bill McKibben @ 128

Shall be done! ANd thanks again for taking the time, Bill. Let me know offline about 350.org maybe joining us at the Confront the Climate Cranks team?

spocko January 22nd, 2011 at 3:56 pm

“Two Buck Chuck to become Two Hundred Buck Chuck, details in our Climate Report at 11. Now to Sunny Storm for the weather…”

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 3:57 pm
In response to spocko @ 134

Poifect.

Mark Hertsgaard January 22nd, 2011 at 3:59 pm
In response to AitchD @ 132

No, we must never despair. That way lies disaster, guaranteed. If we cling to hope, and remember that hope is a verb and go out and take action, at least we have the chance of avoiding disaster. And, I would argue, the duty.

eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 4:00 pm
In response to AitchD @ 132

Gotcha on not feeling guilty. Only in context of limited resource of book salon, not larger life, do I apologize.

TheLurkingMod January 22nd, 2011 at 4:01 pm
eCAHNomics January 22nd, 2011 at 4:01 pm

O made hope into a 4-letter word.

AitchD January 22nd, 2011 at 4:06 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 137

You lit up the night sky here in the east.

W.S. Merwin is our Poet Laureate. He composed this some 30 years ago (fear not, it ain’t a poyem).

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