Archive of Articles

Wrong Problem,
Wrong Message,
Wrong Tree

“Replace fossil fuels with renewables” is the theme of almost all the broadly publicized campaigns of more than thirty years of public education about climate solutions. And while wind and solar are the fastest growing energy sources, we still watch greenhouse gas emissions mount.

I have no advice about how to make the message more effective, but I have a growing concern about the campaign. I’m afraid we’ve been barking up the wrong tree.

This Ship Is Sinking

Is there time to rearrange the deck chairs as in the Paris Agreement, or should we just start passing out lifejackets? Many people still hope we’ll make a manageable transition to a low-impact economy. I’ve pretty much lost hope for that outcome, primarily because two factors now must be included in a realistic forecast—currently discernible collective human will, and already-appearing climate impacts...

On the Practice of Growing Food

I’ve kept a food garden most of my adult life, and by now that would be more than fifty years of practice. Through all the years of raising children and going to my day job forty or fifty hours a week, the garden was my primary passion and exercise. What I like best is raising plants from seed, and therefore wherever I’ve lived my basement, laundry room, hallway, or porch has always been set up with shelving and grow-lights; and if I didn’t have sun or space for a garden on the grounds of my residence, I asked friends to let me share theirs. My parents raised food, but as a child I didn’t have any role in the gardening. I believe I assumed that gardens were a grownup pleasure, and once I was grown, I indulged...

The Trees of Our Lives

It is appropriate to think about trees as we enter this particular holiday season. They hold an important symbolic place in religious and secular traditions, and now their role in nature is rising to prominence. “Of all the solutions to climate change, ones that involve trees make people the happiest,” writes Bill McKibben in a recent article...

Love in a Time of Ruin: Looking at Four Recent Books on Climate Disruption

Although I keep up with the latest climate research as I’ve done on a daily basis for nearly twenty years, until recently I had stopped reading book-length appraisals of where we are and what we should do about the climate problem. “What more need be said and what more do I need to know?” was my position. Then friends put into my hands the books I’ll survey here, and in reading them I formed a new position—a new standard for judging which books on the topic merit my time and attention...