Death and Breath

Maureen recently posted about the despair she sometimes feels over how we are running ourselves and this planet over the edge of a cliff — using up all the resources, destroying fragile habitats, clogging the air with carbon dioxide. How sometimes she wishes we weren’t here, because we can’t seem to control our behavior in order to keep from our headlong rush toward, not only our own extinction, but the extinction of many other species we are dragging to the brink with us.

I share her worry about the fate of the planet. I wish we were better able, as a species, to act in concert for the common good. But I see two things that make me, if not more optimistic (OK, maybe a little more optimistic), at least a bit more sympathetic to our plight.

The first I don’t want to spend much time on today; perhaps I’ll come back to it later in more depth, but I want to at least note it. We are not incapable as a species of making serious moral progress. For example, the 20th century was the first century in which there was general, global agreement that war and slavery are bad things, in and of themselves. This doesn’t mean we’ve eradicated them, by any means, but there has been progress.

We’ve only had real environmental awareness since the 1960s. Remember the litter commercial with the crying Indian?Crying Indian from 1974 litter commercial

Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, was the first widely popular book that publicized the impact of human activities on our natural environment. This sort of sea change of public opinion may happen more slowly than we’d like—it may be not happen quickly enough to save us (and the rest of the planet) from destruction. But it’s something we can at least hold onto. Change is possible.

But the second thing, and what I wanted to write about today, was the question we all have to ask ourselves, what if we can’t? What if there is no way for us to correct course in time to save ourselves and the planet from a catastrophic collapse of the ecosphere?

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Apologies For Not Updating

Apologies for not updating
1 December 2006

I have obviously not been keeping thing s up to date. For information about the current movie stuff, the best place is IMDB and the message board behind the movie. I have been working on the novel that is Griffin’s (Played by Jamie Bell) back story. And I will continue to work on that very dilligently (See Ralph? See Beth?)

In the meanwhile, I have started a group blog where you can find out much more about what’s going on with me and some others at:

7 writers 7 days a week

Where you will find me blogging with (In alphabetical order) Bradley Denton, Rory Harper, Morgan J. Locke, Maureen F. McHugh, Madeleine E. Robins, and Caroline Spector.

There 7 of us and 7 days a week. Each of us can blog as often as we want but we must blog on our assigned day as well, so there will be new things every day.

  • Monday: Steven Gould
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Check it out. Especially the Vultures.

Somebody Needs A Mommy

Chief Justice John Glover Roberts Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States of America (sounds impressive when you throw the whole thing up there) “echoing the Bush administration’s view, wondered why the United States should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions if China’s output of gases will rise sharply in coming years.” sfgate.


Mad Robins, in her Live Journal Running Air, cuts through this argument with the logic and insight that the court is sadly lacking.


She says:

“When I’m China’s mother, they’ll reduce their greenhouse gases. In the meantime I expect my government not only to keep its room clean, but to set a good example for the other kids on the planet.”


An update:  at Slate Magazine has noticed the same thing:

“Now, maybe it’s because I have a toddler at home, but the EPA’s argument, presented by Deputy Solicitor General Gregory Garre, quickly sounds very familiar. 1) I can’t clean it up; 2) Even if I could, I don’t want to clean it up; 3) You can’t make me clean it up; and 4) China is making an even bigger mess. How come China never has to clean it up? When and if all that fails, the EPA, like my son, just puts its hands over its eyes and says there is no mess in the first place.”