Donna Lisenby in Ecowatch:

I landed in China safely. Shortly after I arrived in Nanjing, we went sight seeing at a site with a coal plant, a coking plant and a cement factory all next door to each other and along the Yangtze River. The air and the water surrounding the site was not very pleasant.

The next day, Hao, Qingwei and I spoke at a school and then later we gave a presentation to a group of people living in a gated multi-million dollar green development. Sixty percent of the property was wooded. It had forests, ponds and trails. The least expensive house was about 3 million dollars.

in China, only the very rich can afford to live in “green” developments. Clean water and slightly cleaner air is something you have to pay a lot of money to get. They are selling points and treated like amenities for marketing purposes. I felt like I was a character in a dystopian novel. I started my travels in the poisoned air, land and and water of the coal facilities—a horrifically ugly, toxic industrial wasteland. From there I went to a school where 6th graders were learning about environmental stewardship in a country that doesn’t do that very well—a little sea of hope for the future. And then to the rich green development where the elite have their own little 600 acre green reserve all to themselves.


The uniformed guards at the gates snapping to attention to salute all who enter and keep those out who can’t pay the price to have trees, clean air and water. Only it wasn’t a novel. It was just two days in my real life as a warrior for our only planet home.

As I sit here this morning at a desk in the office of our Qiantang River Waterkeeper, I find myself wishing I could speak Chinese so I could talk to the people who are not rich and who can’t afford access to a green enclave. I want to ask them whether this is the future they want for their children. Where the haves and the have nots are segregated into those who get trees, clean air and water, and those who are slowly and systemically poisoned.

The Language of Science Denial

September 27, 2014

Governor Bobbie Jindal, a possible presidential nominee, gives a demonstration of the current state of science denial in right wing America.
A nice example of what we can expect in the coming political season.

This event took place before last week’s gigantic climate demonstration in NYC – which may change the calculus for some politicians, in some states. We’ll see.
On display here, more of the “I don’t know, we’ll let the science boys decide” meme, with some additional wrinkles.  Some particularly ironic statements about the teaching of evolution from a self-described biology major.


In a bravura performance of the “I Know You Are but What Am I” suite today, Louisiana Gov. Bobby “Volcano Monitoring Is Dumb” Jindal attacked the Obama administration for being a big bunch of “science deniers” who don’t have the good sense to drill for oil everywhere and get all the oil and coal and burn it up quick quick for prosperity, and so we’re all going to die in the cold and the wolves will get us. We’re summarizing a little, there.

At a breakfast panel of potential 2016 Republican candidates sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, the exorcism enthusiast and creationism enabler explained:

The reality is, right now, we’ve got an administration — the Obama administration — that are science deniers when it comes to harnessing America’s energy resources and the potential to create good-paying jobs.

Jindal then went on to outline his own very special energy plan, which bears the Luntzian title “Organizing Around Abundance: Making America an Energy Superpower.” The completely unique plan, which is unlike any other and is Bobby Jindal’s alone, calls for building the Keystone XL pipeline, pursuing “responsible development of domestic energy resources,” and only working to address climate change if all other countries agree.

And if scientists and job creators disagree, why not split the difference and let scientists employed by the job creators make the final decision? That’s the kind of reasonable approach we can all get behind, where “we” is a subset of the petrochemical industry.

Some smartass troublemaker reporters kept trying to get Jindal to explain whether he accepts the scientific consensus on climate change, and so of course he went with the great “who knows?” stupid answer and said he believes that the climate is “always changing”:

“It’s not controversial to say human activity is contributing” to changes in climate, he said, but he said he would “leave it to scientists to decide how much, what that means…”

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Need a Mob? Rent a Mob.

September 27, 2014

Last week, 400,000 people showed up in  NYC to demonstrate their concern about fossil fuel development, and attendant climate change.

Well, hey, that’s not the whole story. Oil companies have their supporters, too.  In this case, a hearing on tracking drew a large number of anti-frack commenters, as well as a busload of supposedly “pro” attendees, and their creepy handler.

Ashville Citizen-Times:

 Homeless men unfamiliar with fracking were bused from Winston-Salem to a state hearing Friday on the controversial technique for extracting natural gas, an effort to bolster a pro-fracking turnout, according to an environmental group and a published report.

“They were clueless,” said Bettie “Betsy” Ashby, a member of the Jackson County Coalition Against Fracking. “At least two of them I met definitely came from a homeless shelter. One of them even apologized to me and said, ‘I didn’t know they were trying to do this to me.’ One said, ‘I did it for the…’ and then he rubbed his fingers together like ‘for the money.'”

Several of the men were wearing turquoise shirts or hats that said “Shale Yes” on the front and “Energy Creates Jobs” and “N.C. Energy” on the back.

The hearing about hydraulic fracturing took place at Western Carolina University and attracted about 600 people. Opposition to fracking was overwhelming in comments made during the four-hour hearing, hosted by the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission.
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Dark Snow Project on CBC

September 25, 2014

Posted today.

CBC interviewed Dr. Jason Box at a climate conclave in Bristol, UK, earlier this week. Guess a lot of heavyweights were there.

Look fast and you’ll see time lapse footage I shot on the Greenland Saddle in 2013. ( see post below)

A Look Back: Dark Snow 2013

September 25, 2014

Last year after returning from the first Dark Snow mission,  I put together 2 “Dark Snow Log” videos.

I wanted to review them in light of what’s happened in the last year. Occurred to me that somebody else might, as well.
I think they’re kinda good, in a low key way.
I got so caught up in  other paying projects that I did not complete anymore, but they make an interesting prelude to recent events.

The videos outline our last dash up the coast of Greenland in the hope of retrieving the samples we wanted. After being frustrated with our flight provider for a week, we finally elected to go with an Air Greenland Chopper. After an initial miscalculation that took us to Nuuk, the capital – Jason Box orchestrated a pirouette – we jumped into a small cab bulging with drills and cameras and met a chopper at the overcast airport.
What followed was about the God damnedest Helo ride imaginable, through utterly bleak and beautiful coastal mountains.
We stopped to refuel in Kangerlussuaq, and ponder the next steps.

I met filmmaker Robby Kenner at the American Geophysical Union conference a few years ago. He was already at work on a climate themed film, and zeroed in on “Merchants of Doubt”, Naomi Oreske’s definitive dissection of the climate denial<->tobacco denial cabal.  Her lecture, the American Denial of Global Warming, summarizes the shameful history, above, and my own riff on this, “32,000 Scientists”, has been one of my most popular uploads.

A friend tipped me off that Kenner’s film is making its way thru the festival circuit, and added: Read the rest of this entry »

If you have not yet seen this, drop everything now and make time.

Comedy Central seems to have learned from  John Oliver and HBO that posting bits to YouTube, instead of keeping them bottled up on their hard-to-embed-proprietery viewer, makes sense.

Oliver was hugely successful with his Bill Nye the Science Guy Climate Denier clip a few months ago. This piece by Stewart went up this morning and has 150k + views. already.

Below, see Oliver’s piece, which has over 4 million views.

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