Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity
(Dr. James Hanson, Bloomsbury USA, 2010)
This is not a book review. It is also not an attack
on the work of Dr. James Hanson, perhaps, as
many before have said before me, the greatest living
climatologist. I certainly think so.
Rather, this is a first attempt to get a problem
I didn’t read Hanson’s book. I listened to it.
And under somewhat unusual circumstances.
It was as I recall last February, and I was at one
of my high winter camps, about two or three days
from the nearest road to anywhere, and sitting out
I wasn’t in one of my snow wikis (a quickly made
igloo). I was in a tent. It was about minus 10 c.
This sounds cold, but it really isn’t. I had more than
enough food & fuel, and I wasn’t about to go
anywhere. Just sit out the storm, maybe two or
three days, and then decide whether to climb
higher with my sled an gear, or ski out. I do this all the
time, and look forward to getting camp work
done. Writing. Sleeping a lot. A kind of meditation.
And I like to listen to books, radio programs from
Europe mostly, other stuff I’m working on, music.
So I packed STORMS OF MY GRANDCHILDREN
You might be able to imagine the setting. Distraction
of any kind does not exist. The world is cold & totally,
I mean, totally white. There’s about 2 meters of
solid snowpack. And mist. There’s not even the sound
of water about. Streams, and all other surface water
are completely snow-covered. You have to melt snow
for all your water.
And it is quiet. Especially at night, especially when there
is no wind. There are no electronic lights anywhere.
Not even on the distant horizon, maybe 50
k, to the south, and west, and north, and east.
At night I hear perhaps owls. And most
amazing of all, coyotes, calling back and forth
at great distances. Coming in close to my camp.
Then moving on. I see their tracks in the morning.
So you can imagine. I’m listening to Hanson. Taking
it in. Repeating sections. Learning, liking most of
what I hear, disliking the somewhat forced tone
of a great scientist trying to speak clearly to us
non-scientists. Perhaps a bit too much about the
corruption in Washington he has to deal with.
Tragic, but, well, yes, from a distance, obvious.
But then, after a few days of this, I hit the section
on what Hanson sees as the necessary development
of both 3rd and 4th generation nuclear power
plants as the only possible way to stop
dirty coal dead in its tracks.
I nearly melted through six feet of snow.
“What complete and utter non-sense,” I cried
out loud, ready to run with coyotes!
I’m not a scientist, but I do know something about
the poetry of power. The great risk of a leader
of the alternative energy movement coming out
so dogmatically, in my view, in favor of a throughly
discredited means of making energy. Just the
health effects! of living where this is being written,
120 k as the crow flies from the largest site of nuclear
contamination on the planet, HANFORD REACH, a
black vortex of death & destruction if ever there
was one. Hanford will take centuries to heal, if ever.
A change from the current fossil fuel path requires
intense focus of intention and purpose.
The paradigm of change I see before
is the Moon. One bright clear light in
the night sky. It is the clarity of the challenge.
Go to the Moon. Not because it easy, but
because it is difficult. And absolutely clear.
Remarkably, it is the clarity of image that
inspires, that brings the energy of creativity
together of an entire culture, as indeed
happened with the NASA Moon program.
Nothing less will do, will instantly change
the trajectory of our thought and action,
a change which follows resolutely the Sun,
not simply because it is technologically possible,
but because, as Dr. Hermann Scheer has
demonstrated with the Energy Autonomy revolution
he helped initiate before his untimely death
in November. In Germany, from individual
households, to small villages, to the federal
government, a radical transformation first
and foremost of thought and thinking about
right relationship with the Earth is underway. And
as Scheer frequently pointed out, it has the energy
of ethical imperative behind it.
And that will make all the difference.
These are the thoughts that I wrote down
in my camp journal up in the beautiful & austere
High Wallowas, listening to the beautiful &
heroic work of a great scientist who has perhaps
made an historic, and tragic mistake.
BACKGROUND LINKS . . .
MARIA GILARDIN’S wonderful resource
TIME OF USEFUL CONSCIOUSNESS tucradio.org:
STOP NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
Helen Caldicott’s Appeal to President Obama
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!
interviews Hermann Scheer . . .
„Der energethische Imperativ” - 100 Prozent jetzt - von Hermann Scheer
“Hermann Scheer, one of the world’s leading advocates for solar power, has died at the age of sixty-six. The German economist and politician helped make Germany a renewable energy powerhouse and inspired many across the world to expand the use of solar power. Scheer had been member of the German Parliament for three decades and was the president of EUROSOLAR, the European Association for Renewable Energy.”
“At the root of these developments is the German Renewable Energy Act, the EEG. It started as a one page act passed by the German parliament in 1990. It was simple and based on three concepts:
(1) Free access to the grid to all producers,
(2) the obligation for utilities to purchase,
(3) and guaranteed fixed prices for each producer in
accordance with their cost of production and state of technology.
The lead author of the Renewable Energy Act is Dr. Hermann Scheer, chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy, now serving his 6th term as elected member of the German Parliament.”
LIMITS OF SELF-PROMOTION?
Once every one & every thing is branded,
the nodes of a web become but tangled barbs
in mountains of useless wire.