Climate Change

Fire in the Valley below at dusk. Photo by Vernon Wolf.

Letter from Bend: No More Denial

September 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm

The fires are still burning here in Oregon. There are eight confirmed dead with almost 5.000 structures lost. Whole towns were substantially destroyed (look up Detroit, Gates, Blue River, Phoenix, Talent). Forty-thousand people were evacuated. This was not an ordinary year and although there was a terrible nexus of conditionsRead More

P.S. 58 - Carroll & Smith Sts. Bklyn. hold a "take cover" drill practice Here youngsters crawl under their desks, 1962, photo by Walter Albertin

Confronting the Actual Existential Threats

May 6, 2020 at 11:34 am

“The unease and fear are appropriate and can be useful, all the more so as the self is liberated from convoluted efforts at falsification and denial.” — Robert Jay Lifton, The Climate Swerve   On February 8, as COVID-19 fast-approached a slow-moving British government, BBC World News aired a discussionRead More

Overview of Detroit Industry, North Wall, 1932-33, fresco by Diego Rivera. Detroit Institute of Arts. 
Diego Rivera

“In Seasons Such as These,” A Word on Socialism

April 15, 2020 at 11:04 am

  “Not even the apparently enlightened principle of the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ can excuse indifference to individual suffering.” — Aneurin Bevan, In Place of Fear   “Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides…defend youRead More

Students reading in class, Leflore County Schools. (Carl Albert Research and Studies Center, Congressional Collection / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Educated for Life?

March 8, 2020 at 12:35 pm

As of this writing, elementary and high school teachers in Ontario are embroiled in an escalating dispute with Premier Doug Ford’s government. Teachers have held a number of one-day strikes and, I understand, have many more planned. While the government has been putting forward a narrative that consists of theRead More

Two trams, Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Henk Graalman - From the photographer, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79354067

Pros and Cons (and Future) of Trams

February 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm

Writing in the Guardian in 2015, Sean Marshall dated the rebirth of the tram (which he, being a Toronto native, calls a “streetcar”) to the 1980s, although initially this took the form of “vintage” lines “mimicking New Orleans’ famous St Charles Streetcar line.” These heritage streetcars use antique or replicaRead More

Are We All Climate Change Deniers?

Are We All Climate Change Deniers?

February 12, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Last month, I discussed the work of an ex-student of mine, Caitlin Heppner, who recently defended a very interesting thesis on the epistemological dimensions of climate science. Caitlin explored both the question of why some people might be skeptical about the validity of the science and the motives of theRead More

Detail from Ekistics Sydney Harbourfront Conceptual Vision & Design

Doublethink on the Waterfront

January 29, 2020 at 1:10 pm

“Doublethink,” a term coined by George Orwell in 1984 (the book, not the year), is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “believing two contradictory ideas at the same time” and I think it describes the CBRM’s approach to waterfront development. This past week, I had reason to have aRead More

Talk About Action: Climate Change & the CBRM

Talk About Action: Climate Change & the CBRM

January 22, 2020 at 1:51 pm

I watched most of Monday’s almost four-hour Climate Change Municipal Action Plan Update and will recap some of the highlights for you, but I have to begin. with District 7 Councilor Ivan Doncaster’s contribution to the proceedings which consisted largely — I could not make this up if I triedRead...

Building Near Water

Building Near Water

January 20, 2020 at 1:47 pm

Jennifer Henderson at the Halifax Examiner has been following plans for a new provincial art gallery on the Halifax waterfront from a (to me) very reasonable angle — the “when are we going to talk about sea rise?” angle. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (TIR) has issued a requestRead...

Why Do Climate Skeptics Distrust the Science?

Why Do Climate Skeptics Distrust the Science?

January 15, 2020 at 1:32 pm

Last month, I argued that, when we think in Marxist terms about the contradictions of capitalism, perhaps the most striking and important contradiction of all is that to make the goods bought and sold to keep the capitalist machine running we are destroying the very planet we depend upon forRead More