Author: Matthew Bopp

Final Audit

To be honest when I did any writing for the blog, I did not approach it any differently than I would have if I were writing an essay for any class. I have a fairly analytical mindset to begin with; so reviewing these books came quite easily to me. I tended to just sit down after finishing the book, and in a stream of consciousness style, writing my thoughts in one sitting. I really tried not to put too much thought into how my reviews sounded. When I think about what a review should be, in my mind, it is simply the author’s personal thoughts and interpretations of the given work. I think this is what was intended by starting a class blog, which was simply to have a way for everyone to put down his or her initial thoughts on each weeks reading.

 

I think that parts of the blog could be useful for future readers. Obviously roughly 20 reviews of the same book does not serve much purpose, but there are definitely some interesting points and thoughts on the blog that could be of some use. I think, overall, the blog was a success and it certainly helped me get a sense of what everyone was thinking before we got to class. I truly would not have changed anything about it.

Here’s One Example of How we can Fight Climate Change

http://www.vice.com/read/the-australian-government-thinks-it-can-pay-polluters-to-fight-climate-change

I feel like many times in class we had a cyclical conversation about how there is absolutely nothing we can do to reverse the process of climate change. Here is one such example that could actually stand to do some real good. That is, granted our politicians can get their heads out of their asses. Fat chance right?

There’s a Hurricane Fever going around and you’d better get used to it

Hurricane Fever is unlike any of the other books that we read this semester. While it has some ties to a number of the other more complex cli-fi books we have read, it is largely a crime novel that focuses on storytelling. My first thought when I started reading the first chapter was that it reminded somewhat of the classic noir crime novels from the 1930’s and 1940’s that revolve around the Sam Spade or James Bond type. It had some of the same dark and gritty qualities that dominate books like Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon. The aspect that makes these types of novels so gripping is the raw realism and frightening plausibility of the world created by the authors. There is typically nothing particularly deep or intellectual about these types of books, but the storytelling is always attention grabbing. In Hurricane Fever, we follow a retired agent from the Caribbean Intelligence Group who is trying to live a simple life on the waters of the Caribbean so he can raise his orphaned nephew. Much like other books or movies following an agent who tries to retire, the protagonist is in someway or another forced out of retirement to do one last job. In this case, Roo needs to get revenge on the hatchet men/terrorists who murdered his teenage nephew and are trying to start a second black plague. Somehow, however, amongst all the murder, torture, blood and guts the most terrifying part of this book remains the issue of climate change and increased natural disasters.

In this book, climate change was the foundation of the story that is Hurricane Fever, and the focal point is the well-formed plotline and story that follows Roo. But for the sake of this review, seeing as it is the last one I will write for this class, I find myself needing to focus on the climate aspect of the book. This may be due to my personal interests and concerns about climate change, but in my mind while reading this book, the idea of increased climate related natural disasters never left my mind. The implications of this kind of world are horrifying to me and they should be for everyone. Hurricane Fever shows us a world where the domino effect of climate change has ramped up to the point where massive hurricanes are regular occurrences. This is perhaps the most frightening part of climate change that many people do not fully understand or terrifyingly enough choose to ignore, and that is the fact that if we do not curb our increasing use of fossil fuels, natural disasters will become more prevalent and more severe. As we release more carbon into the atmosphere and the temperature of the ocean rises steadily, we will absolutely begin to see more hurricanes because they feed off of warmer water temperatures. The world that Roo lives in may not be something that only appears in fiction novels in the near future. If you look at recent disasters such as the tsunami that hit the Philippines in 2009, you can see that many nations simply do not have the resources necessary to recover from such an event. The Philippines are not a wealthy nation, so can you imagine what would happen to a country such as this if tsunamis started to hit once or twice a year? Even here in America, the wealthiest nation in the world, we are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster that struck 10 years ago. It is a simple fact that we as humans do not have the capability or the money to deal with such an increase in natural disasters. As humans we truly need to grasp the gravity of the situation at hand, which is that if we do not change our behavior, we may push the world’s climate to a point where humans can no longer survive.

This concept can be overwhelming to some and hard to comprehend, and I found an article that I attached below that I think effectively describes how this pattern works. One of the most eye opening segments is the statistic on the number of hurricanes, tsunamis, draughts, and typhoons that happen during a year and how much they have increased. “According to the EM-DAT, the total natural disasters reported each year has been steadily increasing in recent decades, from 78 in 1970 to 348 in 2004.” The thing about this pattern is that it starts off increasing steadily and then begins to increase exponentially, so in another 30 years one can only imagine how prevalent they will be. I definitely appreciate that books such as Hurricane Fever bring this issue to light. When scientists describe this process, it is easy to get lost in all the numbers and facts, but when an author who has the skill of vivid and artful storytelling it makes it easier for people to wrap their minds around. And in the end this is exactly what the world needs: widespread understanding of the issues we face as a species.

 

http://www.livescience.com/414-scientists-natural-disasters-common.html

http://lareviewofbooks.org/review/shock-new-normal/

The Year of the Flood

I have to say, leading up to this week, I had never read anything by Margaret Atwood. At first, I found her writing style to be somewhat confusing as the jumpy nature of her narration was slightly difficult to grasp in the beginning, but after about 50 pages I was able to jump right into the story. Much like some of the other books we have read this semester, the author jumps around from character to character. However, unlike all the other books we have read she leans heavily on the use of flashbacks as to allow the reader to get a fuller understanding of the characters. I found her writing style to be interesting, as I personally have never encountered an author who is able to jump from perspective to perspective while shifting time periods, and then effectively weave the stories together. From a literary standpoint, it is quite impressive. While this book did not stand out to me more than The Windup Girl, it is still nearly impossible for the reader to forget the characters and the world that Atwood creates, and in many ways this is the sign of a talented author.

 

The story mainly follows two women Toby and Ren in a dystopian world where corporate greed has destroyed the environment (thanks Gordon Gecko). Greed is good? Well apparently it is not in Margaret Atwood’s world. I think one of the most powerful aspects of this book is Atwood’s take on corporations. The companies in this book that do disgusting and unspeakable things comically parallel many corporations that we have today. Much like other effective works of science fiction, Atwood is critiquing and describing the world that we live in by simply giving things different names and making it clear to the reader that the story takes place in the future. Much like The Windup Girl, the effectiveness of the book comes from giving the reader just enough detail so that they can create the world in their own mind. Our main characters are members of an environmental cult/movement that correctly predicted an incoming waterless flood. Their preparedness for this plague allows them to be among the few who survive. I found that the book dragged at certain points, but, again, similar to The Windup Girl the part that made even the boring parts interesting was just how established and believable Atwood’s world was.

 

I really did not expect to like this book, but there is something indescribable about it that seems to stay with you. She supplies the reader with a powerful message, and I think she successfully conveys the selfish manner in which humans live on this planet. I am sure that many would say that she is simply another hippie liberal that loves trees, animals, and the environment, but she does make many eye opening points that in my mind cannot be argued. I definitely connected with the book, and I would certainly recommend it to people.

The Windup Girl

In a world where energy companies rule the world, which is not hard at all to imagine, Anderson Lake works as a calorie-man in pursuit of the seedbank that has seeds for new types of foods that he hopes to profit off in a highly corrupt society. In Bacigalupi’s bleak, dystopian world where calories and energy are at the profit centers, fossil fuels are no longer used and the most successful companies produce large springs that supply the world’s energy. The corruption is a disease that has spread from business to government and all the way down. We follow a diverse cast of characters as we watch Bangkok fall into civil war and eventually drown as the levees are destroyed in a time when climate change has impacted the sea levels. This book is interesting from beginning to end as we watch the tone go from miserable to depressing to somehow unbelievably hopeful.

 

I found The Windup Girl to be the most intriguing book we have read as a class so far. Strictly going off of the story, I found it to be an incredibly captivating book that was able to effectively weave a number of stories and characters together into one overarching plot. As a person with a very short attention span and who has only recently, like within the last 5 years, fallen in love with books and reading, I am somewhat new to science fiction. For the most part, I am the kind of reader who has trouble focusing on the overall story and getting immersed in a book when the characters have names that do not exactly stay in my mind. At first I found characters’ names like Akkarat and Hock Seng to be difficult to remember. I had to make a conscious effort to either try to commit these names to memory or write them down when I first see them. However, I simply cannot critique this book based on my own limited comfort zone of what proper names should be no matter how confusing or hard to remember they might be.

 

In my limited experience with science fiction novels, I have learned that one must enter into the story with the understanding that names, places, events, etc. may not register in your mental Rolodex. The winding and weaving style of storytelling also had me a bit lost in the beginning. I read the first few chapters thinking that the book would simply follow Anderson Lake as the protagonist and that would be that. This threw me off at first, but I found by chapter 10 the confusing names and weaving plot line started to become more of a positive aspect to the book because it added a certain unfamiliar mood that I think must be established in science fiction. I believe that an aura of the unknown must be present for your imagination to fill in the gaps in the societal differences. For instance, I suppose it would be harder to get your imagination rolling on a futuristic book when as a reader you simply follow along a character with a recognizable name living in a recognizable city working for companies we have all heard of.

 

With this being said, I found whatever issues I had with the book easy to get passed. The more thought I put into the world that Bacigalupi created, the more it started to take form in my mind, and, for me, the book really took off from there. The author created a work that encompassed basically everything from politics, friendships, relationships, sexual slavery, to climate change. While it was a difficult read at first, I am definitely glad that I persisted through and finished the book. I think the true sign of an effective piece of literature is that it makes you think during and after the read. The Windup Girl does just that.

 

 

Forty Signs of Rain: Effective Boredom

             Forty Signs of Rain is a clearly well written novel about the scientific/ political landscape through which the issue of climate change must navigate. As far as my knowledge goes, this is a very realistic and scarily plausible account of what could happen in real life. As I read this book, I could not tell if it was intended to be a warning or simply a story told by a concerned author. Kim Stanley Robinson’s ability to combine plot, character development, and science is quite effective. In many instances, people who do not have much prior knowledge about climate change can be put off by overly scientific language. I cannot say that I disagree; often times scientific literature can be as interesting as reading an Ikea instruction manual. In many ways, books such as Forty Signs of Rain are exactly what the scientific community and the regular population needs. People need a solid blend of relateableness and raw facts. Robinson begins each chapter with a page or two of scientific information before continuing with the story. We get to know and like a wide array of people who have some sort of presence in the scientific/environmental field. In my opinion, this is the vessel that may potentially get people to the destination of understanding the seriousness of climate change. It can be truly difficult to describe this phenomenon because in reality we cannot know which forms it will take. It is because of this that the climate deniers can poke holes in the issue. They can say “see, even the experts don’t know what will happen.” This is exactly the kind of short sighted, simplistic mind state that is preventing us from achieving any progress. While it is true that we do not know how climate change will play out, we do know that it will affect the overall climate of Earth. In many cases people confuse the idea of climate with weather, when weather is really just a part of the overall climate. When people talk about impacting the climate, they are talking about how as humans we are directly influencing the very fragile chemical and systematic equilibrium of the Earth. The Earth in essence is its own living entity, and when you alter one aspect of it, say the chemical composition of the atmosphere, this throws out the overall balance, which can in turn affect weather, pressure patterns, overall temperatures, oceanographic flows, and many, many other aspects. In a way, the climate is like an ecosystem in that if an outside party does something to one particular species, it disrupts its entire dynamic. While impacting our climate is a rather broad and somewhat incomprehensible idea in and of itself, through books like Forty Signs of Rain we can all picture how it will affect everyone’s lives when the planet as we know it is out of balance. Forty Signs of Rain describes one such possibility, which is that eventually we will be forced to face extreme weather events, and this is an inevitable result of climate change. This is something that we are already seeing. While the book is set in the near future most likely, we are already starting to see such events.

I think that Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a very effective book. His point definitely gets across to the reader by the end. I do think, however, that it could have been about 200 pages shorter. After I finished reading the first 200 pages for class last week, my first thought was, geez, I just read 200 pages of a book and absolutely nothing happened. I truly thought if someone asked me what was the book about I could not have come up with an answer. From those first 200 pages, I think he talked about Anna’s breast milk and Charlie getting Joe to drink it more than anything else. I couldn’t for the life of me think of how this served any purpose to the overall story. Part of me wanted Kim to be a female author to reduce this level of oddness. Nonetheless, Kim turned it around in the second half. You realize that by the end, all of the boring droning done by Charlie and other characters was simply to illustrate how these things work in Washington. If one has a passion for a certain topic or issue he or she must do a bunch of horribly boring and tedious work to get any type of progress. I think that democracies such as ours are able to pass some truly evil bills and suspicious legislation because it is masked by dry, old politicians droning in what they would claim to be English but resembles more 18th century legal language on the CSPAN network. Most people could watch a politician try to pass a ban on breathing, and not even know that its happening let alone stay awake long enough to hear them say more than two sentences. I think that in the end Robinson created an interesting and realistic work. I also think that he is taking the stance that something terrible must happen first in order for people to care, but as a student studying this, I like to remain more hopeful in that we can take some real action soon.

Audit

Overall, I think that the blog has been a positive experience so far. As a person who has great interest in climate change, I am always pleased when I see that people are learning about it and having open discussions. It is the most important problem that our generation and generations to come will have to face. Presently, we stand at a very crucial point where our actions can still have a positive impact. In my opinion, any type of change must first be started with a simple conversation, which is exactly what our class and the blog are achieving. While our discussions are not on the world stage or anything close to it, it is important to take whatever knowledge we can take away from the class experience and to share it with anyone who will listen. It is in this light that we can claim that as a class and as bloggers we were successful.

 

I have not taken many writing or English courses in my time at Temple, but the ones that I have taken were quite different from this class. I have written on discussion boards for classes but never on a blog. I find this platform to be interesting as it allows for a broader conversation. Most English classes I have taken have been largely writing oriented, which makes a lot of sense. I do think that when diving into a whole new genre such as cli-fi the discussion based class makes sense as well. I think that in terms of basing a class around the cli-fi genre, a blog is a perfect way for the class to communicate. In my opinion, I am not sure that much has to be done to make the blog better. It definitely sets up our class for better discussions and it allows us to inform each other on topics that we might not have time to discuss in class. I think that as long as everyone feels comfortable commenting on peoples’ posts and reviews, as everyone should, nothing has to be changed. I hate to be that person who has no suggestions for improvement and who says that everything is fine, but in my humble opinion, as long as a discussion is happening we shouldn’t mess with success.

 

 

Nuclear Energy and Fukashima

I thought this video would be fitting after our brief discussion of Chernobyl. This shows you just some of the dangers that we risk getting ourselves into by using nuclear energy as an energy source. Nuclear energy can be extremely unstable and comes with numerous problems that we still don’t know how to solve. It can become a very serious problem as it has today in Fukashima, Japan.

Parable of the Sower

I did not know what to expect when I began this book. As I moved through the first several chapters I thought I would essentially be reading a story that was exactly like Earth Abides in that it would simply be a slow, crawling storyline of people trying to survive an apocalyptic scenario. This proved to be dead wrong as the storyline really explodes with amazing detail and vivid storytelling. The book follows Lauren Olamina as she is forced to abandon her life in a semi-safe walled town in California as savages eventually come and rape, murder, and defile her friends and family. She must find her own path in a Road Warrior type world where all social structures and norms have disappeared. Octavia Butler weaves larger topics such as race relations, global warming, pollution, and most importantly, at least in my interpretation, religion in with a sometimes painfully realistic and explicit storyline. I found it quite interesting that the author, in many ways, portrays the protagonist as a religious figure. Beyond becoming a leader of a band of survivors and coming up with her own philosophy and way of seeing God/religion, she also personally feels the pain and pleasure as others around her do. I found this to be one of the most intriguing aspects of the story, as she is essentially one with the people around her. This is not a very good condition to have when the people around you experience nothing but pain and suffering, but because of this condition she cannot help but to impact change around her. This poetically goes right along with one of the main ideas of Earthseed, which is that God is change. This book is a disturbing yet accurate insight into the more animal and sadistic side of human nature. It shows just how fast humans can lose all sense of civility and compassion and return to a barbaric, medieval mind state. Butler’s insight into humanity’s evils holds nothing back. This book is slightly over the top and extreme, but the author raises many important questions that we could, at some point, have to face as a species.

Drilling in the Arctic

http://greenpeaceblogs.org/2015/01/15/cleaning-arctic-oil-spill-impossible/?_ga=1.160316861.1854246140.1424642655

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_spills

As we discussed in class, the oil industry plans to profit off of the loss of polar ice by drilling for oil that was previously unattainable. This idea is shocking for a number of reasons. For one, climate change is already an issue facing humanity and with a brand new untapped goldmine of oil slowly becoming more and more accessible it will be even harder to convince companies to move away from fossil fuels. Beyond this problem, we do not even have the technology to safely and effectively drill in deep sea oil fields. This was seen in the Gulf of Mexico, and oil companies continue to downplay how little control they actually have over these spills. As if drilling in deep waters wasn’t difficult enough, companies will be drilling in the much harsher arctic which is harder to quickly get to if a spill occurs. To add even more negatives to the list we do not have effective ways of cleaning up such spills. Currently we only really have three solutions for spills. One of our three possible solutions is simply to burn it once it spills. Intelligent right? Essentially, as we continue to look down the barrel of the gun that is climate change we continue to find more ways to make the situation worse. The scary part about all of this is that many oils spills happen around the world. In America, where we only get news that pertains to us, we do not even hear about these spills. I have attached a wikipedia list of oil spills that have been recorded, and I can guarantee most of us haven’t heard of more than one or two of them. As citizens, we really need to stay informed about these kinds of things. Share this with anyone who will listen.

Leading Climate Denier Found to be Funded by Fossil-Fuel Industry

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/ties-to-corporate-cash-for-climate-change-researcher-Wei-Hock-Soon.html?_r=0

This is a perfect example of what we discussed last class and what we saw in the documentary Merchants of Doubt. This story reveals that one of the leading “respected” figures on climate denial, Wei-Hock Soon a professor from Harvard, has been taking money from the fossil-fuel industry and specifically from Koch Industries. As we talked about in class, the Koch brothers are a leading force in the industry’s push to ignore climate change, and this story is an example. It is people like this that stand in the way of progress and they are utilizing the same playbook that the tobacco industry used a few decades back. These handful of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals are helping to set up humanity for a most epic downfall, and they are doing it right in front of our faces. My question is, how are there no repercussions for this kind of stuff?

 

“Knowledge Did Not Translate Into Power”

            The Collapse of Western Civilization is a short book that describes one of the most complicated yet simple problems that humanity faces. In a modern age where everything has become globalized, industrialized, commercialized, and commoditized, we face one of the first true global and communal tests that will largely determine how secure our species’ future will be on this planet, which we like to think we have total control over. The authors describe the paradox of our situation perfectly on the very first page of the book: “Even today, two millennia after the collapse of the Roman and Mayan empires and one millennium after the end of the Byzantine and Inca empires, historians, archaeologists, and synthetic-failure paleoanalysts have been unable to agree on the primary causes of those societies’ loss of population, power, stability, and identity. The case of Western civilization is different because the consequences of its actions were not only predictable, but predicted (1).” The most advanced empires and societies in human history have fallen at some point, but if they were to be resurrected at least they could claim ignorance. What is our excuse? Historians will look back at this time period and they will either say this is the point where a society made a change, or they will say nothing because there are no historians to even look back because we could not get our act together. The US and the world have a chance to utilize knowledge and power to make a real difference. Can we get past inertia and complacency? In this situation can knowledge translate into power?

Simply put, the issue boils down to whether we as people can help ourselves. Can we do ourselves a favor and carry out what we know or ought to know to be necessary? Part of the problem comes down to a question for each and every industrialized nation: can we rethink our entrenched mindset so that we can make aiding humanity’s survival profitable? There seems something inherently wrong about needing to make survival and protecting our one and only planet profitable in order to make changes. But, alas, this is the world we live in, and this is the economic system we have adopted. For the most part, momentum must begin here in America, a nation that is all too comfortable in claiming that it is the land of the free and the leader of the free world. In modern culture, advanced nations must place emphasis on science, math, and education as a whole in order to excel. This is how it encourages and builds a population from the ground up. In order to be the leaders of the free world, America must first lead. It cannot continue to be a self-proclaimed title. One could compare our nation’s situation with the story of Narcissus. As a culture we love to look back at our great accomplishments. It is safe to say that from the mid 20th century to present day America has had great influence in shaping what the world has become. We spread our sphere of influence across the world, impacted real change, and our economy reached unparalleled heights. We continue to stare lovingly and narcissistically at our own reflection as we reminisce to a time when we can say that we stood for freedom and progress. America has reached a point where gridlock cripples Congress and politicians become further and further entrenched in ideologies that do nothing to advance our nation. Meanwhile, life continues and nations pass us without looking back. America has fallen behind in mathematics, science, reading, graduation rates, and education as a whole. I am not quite sure how much longer America can claim to be the leader of the free world when our country ranks behind Iceland, Poland, and Czech Republic in math and science. Not to say there is anything wrong with these countries, but it is hard to ignore the fact that we are losing our grip on leading the world. Much like Narcissus, America is drowning in its own self-affection, as it loses focus on what made it great in the first place. It is a scary concept to think that America is the first domino that needs to fall in order to start the progress on climate change, yet we continue to slip in educational standards.

Many countries have attempted to get America to cooperate in global efforts, but seeing as the coal and oil lobby has a stranglehold on our economy we cannot participate. America is largely one of the only advanced nations where politicians regularly claim that climate change is a myth, despite the fact that the science proves otherwise. When asked about it, politicians such as Marco Rubio and John Boehner say things like, “I am not a scientist. I’m not qualified to make that decision.” Well maybe its time to start listening to the people who are actually qualified. We have a large-scale, behind the scenes war going on in America that no one can see on the surface. Industrialists have an enormous amount to lose if America and other nations decide to move away from fossil fuels, so studies are funded solely for the purpose of discrediting a close to unanimous idea that climate change is real and happening all around us. Lobbyists and Super PACS pay off politicians to say that it does not exist. It is almost like a slight of hand trick that oil lobbyists and industrialist play, particularly in America, even though it does happen in other countries as well. They say, “okay there are these studies saying that we are slowly and steadily suffocating ourselves, but ,WOAH, hey look over here, if we move away from fossil fuels we’ll lose jobs. And let’s not forget there’s no real proof climate change is even real. I’m not a scientist, but I mean, come on people, do you really not care about your countrymen’s livelihood?” This issue should have nothing to do with jobs. While jobs at coal mines, oil rigs, fracking stations, etc. may go away, it is the role of the economy and any country that hopes to advance to create new, better jobs in more advanced fields. The way this is done is by creating a culture where education can be easily accessed by any and all citizens. Advancement lies in an educated populace. In the end, the scales should balance out or even create more jobs than before. The genius of the Industrialists’ media campaign is that they recognize that they don’t have to prove or show you anything real; they just have to plant that seed of doubt in your mind, and then buy influence in Washington so they can have assurances that their interests will be protected. In the latest Rolling Stone issue, Jeff Goodell talks about how, prior to 2008, Republicans and conservatives in America were able to at least discuss climate change. This was at a time when The Pentagon continued to release reports saying that it would eventually become a military, infrastructure, and migration problem. At a certain point lobbyists found this threatening. Goodell writes, “This kind of talk vanished from the party after 2008, when the GOP turned into a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Since then, Republicans have worked hard to undermine any connection between climate change and national security.” The Koch brothers are part of a family that owns Koch Industries, a company that works to produce oil and other fossil fuels. They have used their money to buy influence in government. And their money has gone a long way. The Pentagon continues to write reports warning Congress and our government as a whole of the threats that will come with climate change. What is Congress’ response? Climate deniers in the House of Representatives and Senate threaten to cut their budget. They also passed a bill that prohibited any Pentagon spending on implementing any recommendations from any U.N. panels on climate change. Out of these restrictions comes a political paradox. Conservatives feel the need to throw obscene amounts of money at our defense budget and military complex. It is known that they try to prevent any efforts to curb climate change, but at the same time climate change threatens nearly every Navy and Air Force base along the East Coast, and this is just due to sea level rise. Other bases will surely be at risk as well. Chuck Hagel, the Secretary of Defense, recently called climate change a “threat multiplier that has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today- from infectious disease to terrorism (Goodell 51).” He was later blasted in conservative media for this statement. During the years that Bush was in office, there was a clear and concise effort on the behalf of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and the Bush administration to prevent any information on climate change from being released. Their goal was to mislead the American public from the facts. A side note that cannot be ignored is the fact that Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice and other members of the Bush administration have personal ties to the oil business. There are endless examples of a conservative effort to completely smother any partisan efforts to slow down climate change, not by proving anything with facts but by creating an aura of confusion around the topic in general. In an economic system where money reigns supreme, how can an industry that equals much more than most nations’ GDP not have an incredible influence on governmental decisions? Oreskes and Conway provide an example of this: “Then legislation was passed (particularly in the United States) that placed limits on what scientists could study and how they could study it, beginning with the notorious House Bill 819, better known as the “Sea Level Rise Denial Bill,” passed in 2012… Meanwhile the Government Spending Accountability Act of 2012 restricted the ability of government scientists to attend conferences to share and analyze the results of their research (11-12).” I am not sure about anyone else but I do not want my governmental officials, many of who personally claim they are not scientists, telling scientists what should and should not be analyzed and shared. That is a blatant violation of the first amendment of the US Constitution.

In conclusion, if America cannot begin to gets its bloated, ideological system in check, we as citizens must educate ourselves about this topic that, if not now, will later influence our lives. We have amazing resources at our fingertips that did not exist 20 years ago; people can teach themselves new topics at the click of several buttons. The information is out there, and progress must be made if we have any hope of slowing climate change down. It will become our personal responsibility to educate others and ourselves. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” We cannot sit back and wait for disasters to force our hand. Knowledge can translate into power if we learn to think for ourselves and remove ourselves from political boundaries.

 

 

Goodell, Jeff. “The Pentagon & Climate Change.” Rolling Stone. 26 February, 2015: page48-55. Print.

Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Print.

Weisenthal, Joe. “Here’s The New Ranking Of Top Countries In Reading, Science, And Math.” Business Insider. 3 December 2013. Web. Accessed 2 February 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/pisa-rankings-2013-12.

Froomkin, Dick. “Cheney: Neither here nor there.” Washington Post. 21 June 2007. Web. Accessed 2 February 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/06/21/BL2007062101075.html?nav=hcmodule.

 

Climate Change in Greenland

This is a truly eye opening story and example of how climate change is in effect. This story is done by the news company Vice and reported by Shane Smith as he does to Greenland to witness the visual effects of climate change. This kind of stuff does not happen because of natural atmospheric patterns. Climate change is happening people and here’s some proof. The episodes of Vice on HBO are done in half-hour bits and they typically contain two different stories. The second story here does not relate to our class, but it is an eye opening story of modern day slavery in Pakistan. I would recommend this show and company to anyone who is tired of not getting real news from CNN, FOX, etc.

Humanity Abides

The Earth Abides is unlike any other post-apocalyptic novel or story that I have ever read. Many times when you read these types of stories, the author focuses on narrow ideas. Usually the majority of the story revolves around fending off various attackers and simply finding a place to repopulate the Earth while dealing with personality clashes, like in Walking Dead. While George Stewart brings up these concepts, he also focuses on much larger issues and uses the idea of the end of human existence as we know it as a platform to show the reader some of humanity’s flaws, hypocrisies, and injustices. The story begins with the protagonist Ish as he travels throughout America, experiencing a world without humanity. In his journey to discover what life has become, Ish witnesses the ugly side of the human condition after the convenient, organized walls of society come crashing down. He meets a man drinking himself to death, a couple who seem to have gone insane, a fearful woman who ran at the sight of another human, and a couple who still pretend that nothing has changed. Once back in California, Ish and his wife Em form a “Tribe” as they attempt to repopulate the world. Ish states numerous times in the book that he feels like an observer as opposed to a participant in life. He finds himself slipping into the “darkness” as he puts it, until his son Joey is born. Joey is what he had been waiting for, which was someone to continue his line of intelligence. As Joey dies, so does a part of his hope for the future of mankind as humanity resorts back to a more superstitious and simplistic state.

 

The author uses the absence of a regular society to show us some of the hypocrisies that cultures tend to adopt and to take for granted. He highlights racial injustices, issues that arise from organized religion, sexual stereotypes, the importance of reading and education, the impact society has on the environment, in addition to showing just how blind people can become when survival is not a day-to-day concern.

 

Perhaps his most important theme is the insignificance of the human race. This is the first thing I noticed as he talks about the various impacts the lack of humanity has on animals, plants, and the overall x. People tend to think that we have this firm grasp on our environment, but in reality we are just as close to extinction as many of the animals he highlights in the book. This is shown on the page before the introduction with the quote from Ecclesiastes, “Men go and come, but Earth abides.” This is the message that I took away from the book, which is that life on Earth should not be taken for granted. We are a part of life and nature; we do not control them. We get back what we put forth into the Earth. AKA Earth Abides.

 

Climate Changed: An Important Lesson Learned

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science is an extremely effective piece of work. The reader is along for the ride as Phillippe Squarzoni takes a personal journey to understand an extremely significant and inevitable natural phenomenon called climate change. He weaves details from his own life in with larger topics that are pieces of the complex web of the human effort to curb the effects of climate change. He is doing important work that is arguably as crucial as the scientific work done by professionals, which is effectively making climate change approachable and understandable to people who may find the scientific explanation confusing. The author does not come across as preachy in ways that scientists can be on occasion. He enters the topic with a purely curious and open mind state, which is something everyone should be able to appreciate. It is important to understand that climate change is not something we can ignore or forget about, and Squarzoni takes an extremely complicated idea that takes shape in numerous ways and shows us how it can and will effect us on a personal level. We do not know exactly in which ways as no one can predict the effects of the climate, but he shows us how climate change will become a part of everyday life. We are all a part of this issue, and when one begins to see real, tangible ways that it impacts our day-to-day lives, climate change becomes less of a thing to shrug off and more of a threat to our species’ existence. Even if you do not like his story or approach you still have to appreciate how effective he is at getting his point across