May, 2022


Much of my climate news comes from The Daily Climate, whose wonderful subscription service clues me in to what's going on each day. Another great source of stories (and commentaries) comes from my friend Jim Poyser, at Apocadocs. Unfortunately he and his pal Michael stopped collecting news at the election of U.S. Unindicted Co-conspirator Forty-Five, which was a frickin' party pooper of a day, I'll tell ya. Their recovery scenario is perhaps more progressive than the Green New Deal (and their book is darkly inspirational, and terribly funny — and free).


  • James Baldwin:
    • "People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction…." — Notes of a Native Son
    • "It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." — No Name in the Street
    • "Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced." — As Much Truth As One Can Bear
  • "If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there's no progress. If you pull it all the way out that's not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven't even pulled the knife out much less heal the wound. They won't even admit the knife is there." — Malcolm X, TV interview, Mar. 1964
  • "… all you can talk about is money, and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!" — Greta Thunberg (address to the UN, 2019)
  • "Poverty is the worst form of violence." — Mahatma Gandhi
  • "The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands." — Genesis 9:2
  • "[Y]ou cannot postpone a rendezvous with reality forever." Nick Cohen, Observer columnist
  • “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” — Voltaire
  • "Any course in US history is inauthentic — worse, is a lie — if it doesn't teach the experiences of people like Fannie Lou Hamer." [ael: me, late to the game…:(]
  • "I want to be a great ancestor…." Overheard on an ACLU zoom call….
  • "A question ain't really a question if you know the answer too." John Prine (Far from me)

And Now for the News:

May, 2022


  1. Report Catalogs Abuse of Native American Children at Former Government Schools: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland called for a review last year, after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of children who attended similar schools in Canada.
    • An initial investigation commissioned by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland cataloged some of the brutal conditions that Native American children endured at more than 400 boarding schools that the federal government forced them to attend between 1819 and 1969. The inquiry was an initial step, Ms. Haaland said, toward addressing the “intergenerational trauma” that the policy left behind.
    • [ael: just don't try to teach this in our schools — it will make old white males feel bad… causing intergenerational trauma for those frail egos.]
  2. A clean future or merely greenwashing? Critics claim Coalition's hydrogen plans are a 'fig leaf' for fossil fuels:
    • About $500 million has been earmarked for hydrogen hubs for industrial centres in places including Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania. But the spending has drawn fire amid claims much of the money would be invested in so-called blue hydrogen, which is made using natural gas rather than renewable energy.
    • "At the end of the day, if you are going to make hydrogen from fossil fuels, you might as well just use the fossil fuels," Mr Buckley said. "Why go through the extra processing steps, the extra cost, to use hydrogen?


  1. Scientists believe beavers can build resilience in Northwest waterways: They think returning beavers to our floodplains should be a part of our climate action plans.
    • Jordan: By making a living in those streams and floodplains, they’re making more plants because that’s their food. We think of them as ecosystem engineers, but they’re also really good rotational crop farmers. They’re chewing down plants that respond by being more productive and growing more vegetation. And now those plants are storing carbon because the plant material is built of carbon dioxide taken out of the atmosphere.


  1. Texas toast: Heat crushed records Saturday and will swell northward: Much of the central U.S. faces an extended May heat wave in the coming week
    • Temperatures as high as 112 degrees shattered records in Texas on Saturday, setting off a prolonged heat wave that will expand through much of the central United States.
    • [ael: stupid is as stupid does….]
  2. How climate scientists keep hope alive as damage worsens
    • [ael: some of them just don't…:(]
    • “I think half of the battle in my job is learning to take what could be a very overwhelming anxiety and turn it into productivity and resilience,” Goff said. “You just have to focus on these little areas where you can make a difference.”
    • The coping technique these scientists have in common is doing something to help. The word they often use is “agency.” It’s especially true for climate researchers — tarred as doomsayers by political types who reject the science.
    • Gill, who describes herself as a lifelong cheerleader, has also battled with depression. She said what’s key in fighting eco-anxiety is that “regular depression and regular anxiety tools work just as well. And so that’s why I tell people: ‘Be a doer. Get other there. Don’t just doomscroll.’ There are entry level ways that anyone, literally anyone, can help out. And the more we do that, ‘Oh, it actually works,’ it turns out.”
    • She and her family cut their personal carbon emissions 80%. She doesn’t fly on planes anymore. She went vegan, composts, installed solar panels. She works on larger climate action instead of her more focused previous research. And she bikes everywhere, which she said is like mental health therapy.
    • NOAA’s Arndt said the climate of the 20th century he grew up with is gone forever. He grieves the loss of that, but also finds mourning what’s gone “weirdly liberating.” With climate change “we have to kind of hold hope and grief at the same time, like they’re kind of twins that we’re cradling,” Maine’s Gill said. “We have to both understand and witness what has happened and what we’ve lost. And then fiercely commit to protecting what remains. And I don’t think you can do that from a place of hopelessness.”
  3. The World Has No Choice but to Care About India’s Heat Wave: How the country meets an escalating demand for energy is a problem the whole world must reckon with.
    • After the hottest March in 122 years of record keeping, the scorching temperatures continued through April, with the nationwide high averaging more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. During my recent stop in New Delhi, the mercury topped 110 degrees for two consecutive days, overwhelming the air conditioner in my rental apartment. The maximum temperature last month in the capital, home to more than 30 million people across the metro area, averaged more than 104 degrees. Even higher temperatures have been reported elsewhere: 111 in other regions of India, and to the west, in parts of Pakistan, above 120.
    • The only saving grace, as I write now from the northern state of Punjab, is that the unseasonable spring heat has come before the monsoon rains. Although that’s led to drought conditions in some places, it has also kept humidity levels low enough for India to largely avoid a national spike in deaths from heatstroke. For the country’s health and climate experts trying to plan for global warming, the “wet bulb” temperature is the danger they fear most. This deadly combination of heat and humidity, which prevents a human body from cooling itself by sweating, is a huge looming threat for South Asia’s wet season, experts say. Although climate scientists are still puzzling out the precise details of global warming’s role in India’s current heat wave, the correlation is clear enough: Spells of blistering heat such as this are becoming a regular feature of South Asia’s weather, rather than a once-in-a-decade-or-more crisis.
    • During a visit to the sprawling Sundarbans mangrove swamp, part of the world’s largest tidal estuary, where several great rivers meet the Bay of Bengal, I saw for myself how rising sea levels and more frequent and intense cyclones are helping destroy what is not only a complex and sensitive ecosystem but also a major carbon sink. One island in the estuary, Ghoramara—pounded by four major cyclones from 2019 to 2021—has lost about half its landmass and more than half its population in recent decades. A tropical storm last year submerged the entire island under several feet of churning water. Thousands of residents were forced to take refuge in a school shelter. Though inches above the floodwaters, they escaped with their lives but lost practically everything else, including personal effects and the school’s textbooks.
    • Wherever I go, I expect to encounter more signs of climate change. In the northern Himalayas, rapidly rising winter temperatures have thrown snowfall patterns into disarray and are causing glaciers to melt. Down south, cities such as Chennai are plagued by both drought and flooding, depending on the season.


  1. ‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’: Margaret Atwood on the right to abortion: The US supreme court draft ruling on abortion is an assault on fundamental individual freedoms. The Handmaid’s Tale author reflects on the issues at stake
    • Women who cannot make their own decisions about whether or not to have babies are enslaved because the state claims ownership of their bodies and the right to dictate the use to which their bodies must be put. The only similar circumstance for men is conscription into an army. In both cases there is risk to the individual’s life, but an army conscript is at least provided with food, clothing, and lodging. Even criminals in prisons have a right to those things. If the state is mandating enforced childbirth, why should it not pay for prenatal care, for the birth itself, for postnatal care, and – for babies who are not sold off to richer families – for the cost of bringing up the child? [ael: Supreme court Justices Amy Coney Barrett/Alito's Draft, said US needs a “domestic supply of infants” to meet needs of parents seeking to adopt. Perhaps we'll sell them off to the highest bidder.]
    • No one is forcing women to have abortions. No one either should force them to undergo childbirth. Enforce childbirth if you wish but at least call that enforcing by what it is. It is slavery: the claim to own and control another’s body, and to profit by that claim.
  2. The secret world beneath our feet is mind-blowing – and the key to our planet’s future: Don’t dismiss soil: its unknowable wonders could ensure the survival of our species
    • Beneath our feet is an ecosystem so astonishing that it tests the limits of our imagination. It’s as diverse as a rainforest or a coral reef. We depend on it for 99% of our food, yet we scarcely know it. Soil. Under one square metre of undisturbed ground in the Earth’s mid-latitudes (which include the UK) there might live several hundred thousand small animals. Roughly 90% of the species to which they belong have yet to be named. One gram of this soil – less than a teaspoonful – contains around a kilometre of fungal filaments.
    • Soil is fractally scaled, which means its structure is consistent, regardless of magnification. Bacteria, fungi, plants and soil animals, working unconsciously together, build an immeasurably intricate, endlessly ramifying architecture that, like Dust in a Philip Pullman novel, organises itself spontaneously into coherent worlds. This biological structure helps to explain soil’s resistance to droughts and floods: if it were just a heap of matter, it would be swept away.
    • It also reveals why soil can break down so quickly when it’s farmed. Under certain conditions, when farmers apply nitrogen fertiliser, the microbes respond by burning through the carbon: in other words, the cement that holds their catacombs together. The pores cave in. The passages collapse. The soil becomes sodden, airless and compacted.
    • We face what could be the greatest predicament humankind has ever encountered: feeding the world without devouring the planet. Already, farming is the world’s greatest cause of habitat destruction, the greatest cause of the global loss of wildlife and the greatest cause of the global extinction crisis. It’s responsible for about 80% of the deforestation that’s happened this century. Of 28,000 species known to be at imminent risk of extinction, 24,000 are threatened by farming. Only 29% of the weight of birds on Earth consists of wild species: the rest is poultry. Just 4% of the world’s mammals, by weight, are wild; humans account for 36%, and livestock for the remaining 60%.
    • It’s not just the quantity of production that’s at risk, but also its quality. A combination of higher temperatures and higher concentrations of CO2 reduces the level of minerals, protein and B vitamins that crops contain. Already, zinc deficiency alone afflicts more than a billion people. Though we seldom discuss it, one paper describes the falling concentrations of nutrients as “existential threats”.
    • Soil degradation is bad enough in rich nations, where the ground is often left bare and exposed to winter rain, compacted and wrecked by overfertilisation and pesticides that rip through its foodwebs. But it tends to be even worse in poorer nations, partly because extreme rainfall, cyclones and hurricanes can tear bare earth from the land, and partly because hungry people are often driven to cultivate steep slopes. In some countries, mostly in Central America, tropical Africa and south-east Asia, more than 70% of the arable land is now suffering severe erosion, gravely threatening future production.
    • Climate breakdown, which will cause more intense droughts and storms, exacerbates the threat. The loss of a soil’s resilience can happen incrementally and subtly. We might scarcely detect it until a shock pushes the complex underground system past its tipping point. When severe drought strikes, the erosion rate of degraded soil can rise 6,000-fold. In other words, the soil collapses. Fertile lands turn to dustbowls. Some people have responded to these threats by calling for the relocalisation and de-intensification of farming. I understand their concerns. But their vision is mathematically impossible.

5/5/2022 — Happy 97th, cousin Lila Oster!

  1. ‘We are living in hell’: Pakistan and India suffer extreme spring heatwaves: April temperatures at unprecedented levels have led to critical water and electricity shortages
    • For the past few weeks, Nazeer Ahmed has been living in one of the hottest places on Earth. As a brutal heatwave has swept across India and Pakistan, his home in Turbat, in Pakistan’s Balochistan region, has been suffering through weeks of temperatures that have repeatedly hit almost 50C (122F), unprecedented for this time of year. Locals have been driven into their homes, unable to work except during the cooler night hours, and are facing critical shortages of water and power.
    • The heatwave has already had a devastating impact on crops, including wheat and various fruits and vegetables. In India, the yield from wheat crops has dropped by up to 50% in some of the areas worst hit by the extreme temperatures, worsening fears of global shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has already had a devastating impact on supplies. In Balochistan’s Mastung district, known for its apple and peach orchards, the harvests have been decimated. Haji Ghulam Sarwar Shahwani, a farmer, watched in anguish as his apple trees blossomed more than a month early, and then despair as the blossom sizzled and then died in the unseasonal dry heat, almost killing off his entire crop. Farmers in the area also spoke of a “drastic” impact on their wheat crops, while the area has also recently been subjected to 18-hour power cuts.
    • Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate, told the Guardian that the country was facing an “existential crisis” as climate emergencies were being felt from the north to south of the country. [ael: they're always "existential crises" — until they're not anymore….] Rehman warned that the heatwave was causing the glaciers in the north of the country to melt at an unprecedented rate, and that thousands were at risk of being caught in flood bursts. She also said that the sizzling temperatures were not only impacting crops but water supply as well. “The water reservoirs dry up. Our big dams are at dead level right now, and sources of water are scarce,” she said.
    • Experts said the scorching heat being felt across the subcontinent was likely a taste of things to come as global heating continues to accelerate. Abhiyant Tiwari, an assistant professorand programme manager at the Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management, said “the extreme, frequent, and long-lasting spells of heatwaves are no more a future risk. It is already here and is unavoidable.” The World Meteorological Organisation said in a statement that the temperatures in India and Pakistan were “consistent with what we expect in a changing climate. Heatwaves are more frequent and more intense and starting earlier than in the past.”
    • [ael: meanwhile, the usual ironic response:] In a bid to speed up the transport of coal across the country, Indian Railways cancelled more than 600 passenger and postal train journeys to make way for transportation of coal to power plants.


  1. West’s megadrought delivers another blow: Saving Glen Canyon Dam: Lake Powell releases cut by nearly a half million acre feet
    • “Today’s decision reflects the truly unprecedented challenges facing the Colorado River Basin and will provide operational certainty for the next year. Everyone who relies on the Colorado River must continue to work together to reduce uses and think of additional proactive measures we can take in the months and years ahead to rebuild our reservoirs,” said Assistant Secretary of Water and Science Tanya Trujillo.
    • At present, Lake Powell’s water surface elevation is at 3,522 feet, its lowest level since originally being filled in the 1960s. The bureau said critical elevation at Lake Powell is 3,490 feet, the lowest point at which Glen Canyon Dam can generate hydropower.
    • Related: One congressman says ‘we are a special kind of stupid’ when it comes to drought: Officials rail on lack of new infrastructure to store water
      • [ael: a lot of irony in that title, since it's the CongressCritters who are displaying their own special-kind-of-stupid.]
      • “The water shortages in this state are caused by policy decisions. The fact that the water year is dry and there is not a lot of water, that is weather [ael: my emphasis],” he said. “But the fact that hundreds of thousands of prime farmland this year are going to be left fallowed or ripped out of the state and the farm-based communities throughout will be left with little to no drinking water, that is caused by policy decisions.” [ael: like ignoring human-caused climate change?]
  2. How the oil and gas industry is trying to hold US public schools hostage: Fossil fuel interest groups are telling New Mexicans: let us keep drilling or the state’s education system will collapse
    • The oil and gas industry wants to play a word-and-picture association game with you. Think of four images: a brightly colored backpack stuffed with pencils, a smiling teacher with a tablet tucked under her arm, a pair of glasses resting on a stack of pastel notebooks, and a gleaming school bus welcoming a young student onboard. “What do all of these have in common?” a 6 April Facebook post by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), asked. “They are powered by oil and natural gas!”
    • In a video spot exemplary of this strategy, Ashley Niman, a fourth-grade teacher at Enchanted Hills elementary school tells viewers that the industry is what enables her to do her job. “Without oil and gas, we would not have the resources to provide an exemplary education for our students,” she says. “The partnership we have with the oil and gas industry makes me a better teacher.”
    • Johnson remembers being told as a child that the schools she attended ranked second worst in the nation. If New Mexico’s education system is indeed that bad, she said, how can officials continue to think that accepting a funding structure that delivers such a consistently poor result is a good idea? “At the end of the day the system that we have now that is being paid for by oil and gas doesn’t work, and we know it doesn’t work,” Johnson said. “It’s the whole ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ kind of mentality,” she said, linking the industry’s patronizing messaging around its support for schools to a direct legacy of colonization.


  1. He Spurred a Revolution in Psychiatry. Then He ‘Disappeared.’: In 1972, Dr. John Fryer risked his career to tell his colleagues that gay people were not mentally ill. His act sent ripples through the legal, medical and justice systems.
    • For the next 10 minutes, Henry Anonymous, M.D. — this is what he had asked to be called — described the secret world of gay psychiatrists. Officially, they did not exist; homosexuality was categorized as a mental illness, so acknowledging it would result in the revocation of one’s medical license, and the loss of a career. In 42 states, sodomy was a crime.
    • The 10-minute speech, delivered 50 years ago Monday, was a tipping point in the history of gay rights. The following year, the A.P.A. announced that it would reverse its nearly century-old position, declaring that homosexuality was not a mental disorder.


  1. ‘A worldwide public health threat’: Rob Bilott on his 20-year fight against forever chemicals: Chemical companies hid their knowledge of the damage caused by PFAS for decades. With a new class-action lawsuit, Bilott intends to hold them accountable
    • Last month, an Ohio court certified a class action lawsuit brought by lawyer Rob Bilott that would cover 7 million people – and at some point possibly everyone living in the United States – who have been exposed to certain hazardous “forever chemicals” known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. The chemicals have been linked to cancer, birth defects, kidney disease and a range of other human health problems. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down, persisting indefinitely in the environment.
    • Two types of PFAS – PFOA and PFOS – have been found to be so harmful that they are being phased out of use. In addition to US multi-national company 3M, the class action lawsuit names 10 other companies that produce PFAS, which are used to make cookware, food packaging, water-resistant fabrics, firefighting foam and other products. The Biden administration last year pledged to undertake a massive PFAS mitigation strategy at a cost of more than $10bn.
    • We first uncovered the existence of these chemicals in litigation against DuPont, which had been purchasing a chemical called PFOA from its manufacturer, 3M, and using it to make Teflon. We slowly started to realize that we’ve got not just PFOA but this bigger group of PFAS chemicals now being found in the environment, and in blood. But we were told that all the science that had been done was only on PFOA and that nobody had done similar research yet on these other chemicals. The companies said it was up to the exposed people, it was their burden, to prove that these other PFAS chemicals were causing harm.
    • It’s very eye opening when you start digging into the internal files of what these companies knew, what information they had access to going back decades, that they simply didn’t share with the rest of us. For example, one of the things we found in the internal files of the main manufacturer of the chemical PFOS, was that this company was well aware by the 1970s that PFOS was being found in the general US population’s blood and was being found at fairly significant levels. In fact by the 1990s, 3M’s own scientists had sat down to calculate what a “safe” blood level would be for PFOS.
    • At the time, they knew that the level of PFOS being found in the general US population’s blood was around 30 parts per billion. And when this internal 3M scientist sat down to calculate a safe blood level, the number he calculated was 1.05 parts per billion. Some 30 times lower than the level that was actually being found. Why weren’t the rest of us told that? Why weren’t we warned? We only find out about that decades later.


  1. A Government Scientist Warned About Climate Change in 2001. Exxon Mobil Sought to Have Him Removed.:
    • For MacCracken, the takeaway was clear. In archival footage from 2000 that appears above, he said, “If we really want to do something significant to slow this, so that our grandchildren don’t face a changing world, we’re going to have to do a substantial movement away from the key fossil fuels of coal and oil, particularly.”
    • A company lobbyist sent the Bush administration a fax, as previously reported by Inside Climate News, recommending McCracken and several others who worked with the IPCC be removed. The letter accused them of scientific bias and described some of them as “Clinton-Gore carryovers with aggressive agendas.” “Exxon didn’t like the science that was coming out. And so, was basically calling for a complete replacement of those who were leading the scientific enterprise,” MacCracken says. Within two years, the scientists Exxon Mobil had named — including MacCracken — would retire or be replaced.
    • MacCracken did not go quietly. When his term ended, he sent Lee Raymond, ExxonMobil’s CEO at the time, a pointed letter of his own: “While my departure may be satisfying to Exxon Mobil,” he wrote, “I can assure you that this will not make the scientific challenge of climate change and its impacts go away. That 150 countries unanimously agree about the science of this issue is not because of some green conspiracy but because of the solid scientific underpinning for this issue. … To call Exxon Mobil’s position out of the mainstream is thus a gross understatement.”
    • In response, MacCracken received a letter from a VP at the company, saying: “we regret that you apparently don’t understand the company’s actions and activities related to this complex issue. Possible human induced climate change is a long term risk that we at Exxon Mobil take very seriously.” “They had to say something,” MacCracken says, chuckling.
  2. Justice Department challenges Alabama law criminalizing transgender health care for minors: The agency asked a federal court to issue an order stopping the law from taking effect.
    • Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed the GOP-backed bill into law this month, making it a felony for parents and medical professionals to “engage in or cause” gender-affirming medical care to minors in the state, including puberty blockers, hormones and surgery. In a statement, Ivey said she signed the bill because she believes that “if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl.” [ael: Kay Ivey is clueless, and doesn't know that kids have been assigned their genders by doctors for as long as there have been doctors. Sometimes the Good Lord leaves things a little ambiguous; sometimes he forgets to assign brains to Governors.]
  3. Global heating risks most cataclysmic extinction of marine life in 250m years: New research warns pressures of rising heat and loss of oxygen reminiscent of ‘great dying’ that occurred about 250m years ago
    • The world’s seawater is steadily climbing in temperature due to the extra heat produced from the burning of fossil fuels, while oxygen levels in the ocean are plunging and the water is acidifying from the soaking up of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
    • This means the oceans are overheated, increasingly gasping for breath – the volume of ocean waters completely depleted of oxygen has quadrupled since the 1960s – and becoming more hostile to life. Aquatic creatures such as clams, mussels and shrimp are unable to properly form shells due to the acidification of seawater.
    • All of this means the planet could slip into a “mass extinction rivaling those in Earth’s past”, states the new research, published in Science. The pressures of rising heat and loss of oxygen are, researchers said, uncomfortably reminiscent of the mass extinction event that occurred at the end of the Permian period about 250m years ago. This cataclysm, known as the “great dying”, led to the demise of up to 96% of the planet’s marine animals.
    • But even in the better case scenarios, the world is still set to lose a significant chunk of its marine life. At 2C of heating above the pre-industrial norm, which is forecast as likely even under current climate pledges by the world’s governments, around 4% of the roughly two million species in the oceans will be wiped out.
    • Bruno said that while mass extinctions are likely from extreme heating in the future, the current impacts from climate change and other threats should be concerning enough for policymakers and the public. “Personally, I’m a lot more worried about the ecosystem degradation we’re already seeing after less than 1C of warming,” he said. “We don’t need to look to a world so warmed over humanity has been wiped out – we’re already losing untold biodiversity and ecosystem functioning with even the relatively modest warming of the last 50 years.”
  4. Yes, Wages Did Go Up. But Now We’re Back to the Crap-Job Economy. Covid initially drove wages up, especially for working-class people. But that’s over—another illustration of capital’s dethronement of labor.
    • Perhaps you don’t feel any richer today than you did a year ago. That’s probably because of inflation. Real average hourly earnings were down 2.7 percent in March compared to the year before and down 0.8 percent compared to February. Real average weekly earnings, a yardstick for workers a bit further up the income scale, fell even further: down 3.6 percent compared to the year before and 1.1 percent compared to February. Georgetown economist Harry Holzer reports that as recently as 2020, real wages grew 1.64 percent. By the middle of 2021, inflation was swallowing all wage gains and then some. The reason, again, is Covid-19, but Republicans are blaming President Joe Biden, who became president just a few months before real wage growth vanished.
    • Perhaps you think employers can’t afford to pay workers more because inflationary pressures are eating into their profits. Dream on. Corporate profits are so high right now that Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute last week proposed a short-term windfall profits tax. From the start of the Covid pandemic to the end of 2021, corporate profits rose 53.9 percent, Bivens reported, while labor costs increased only 7.9 percent. By comparison, during the previous four decades, corporate profits averaged 11.4 percent and labor costs increased 61.8 percent. So now is hardly the time to break out the violin for corporate America.
    • The same corporate executives complaining that you simply can’t get good help these days are paying that help a smaller share of company revenues.
    • In effect, we’ve seen a restoration of the Crap-Job Economy that displaced the economy of a generation earlier. As Daniel Alpert, Jeffrey Ferry, Robert C. Hockett, and Amir Khaleghi of Cornell Law School’s Job Quality Index project have noted, as recently as 1990 high-wage jobs accounted for 47.3 percent of all jobs and low-wage jobs (what I call “crap jobs”) accounted for 52.7 percent. Since then, high-wage jobs have fallen to 37 percent of all jobs created and crap jobs have risen to 63 percent. (In case you’re wondering, the definition of a high-wage versus a crap job is fairly simple: A high-wage job pays above the median weekly income, and a crap job pays below it.)
    • The Great Resignation, meanwhile, is rapidly turning into the Great Letdown, according to an April 25 “Managing Your Career” column in The Wall Street Journal. Citing a survey of 2,500 adults from The Muse, “a job-search and career-coaching company,” the Journal’s Kathryn Dill reported that nearly three-quarters of people who quit their jobs during the pandemic to take another one “said they felt surprise or regret.” Almost half said they intended to try to get their old job back, and more than 40 percent said if things didn’t get better in two to six months, they’d quit again. There is no balm in Gilead.
  5. Still hopeful : lessons from a lifetime of activism: Maude Barlow.
    • [ael: I had to buy the pdf of this book on-line, and I'll be dropping snippets, I know….]
    • Recently, however, it has been getting harder to remain hopeful against the relentless tide of negative information that threatens to drown us in a sea of despair. It is hard to pass a day that we don’t read of more fires, hurricanes and drought, each year hotter than the one before; the mass melting of the planet’s ice cover; the sixth great extinction; the devastation of insects, bees and birds; the destruction of rainforests and watersheds. We are entering a time of great economic uncertainty and devastating hardship for many millions of our fellow humans. Even before COVID exacted its terrible toll, the UN announced that three-quarters of the world’s workers are in precarious jobs, without pensions, security or even a livable wage. Now, with whole industries collapsing and countries facing alarming drops in their GDPs, fear is setting in for those who face a compromised future.
    • After the event, a high school student came up to me in tears and thanked me for my hopeful words, saying she and her friends had sat devastated and paralyzed throughout the panel discussion until I spoke. What could they do in the face of such overwhelming evidence of ecological collapse, she asked. I had many ideas. On my walk home, the air fragrant with apple blossoms and lilac trees and the evening too lovely to feel anything but joy, I made a vow to help that young woman, and my grandkids, to find the path ahead.
    • Standing under a newly leafed tree silvered by a new moon, I remembered the words of a PEI farmer friend who always said that when he is overwhelmed, he stops thinking of the enormity of the challenges he is facing and instead asks himself one simple question: What is the next appropriate step to take? Then he takes it. Well, for me, the next appropriate step to take was to write this book. I offer it to you, with hope.

What's going on: 2022

What went on: 2021

What went on: 2020

What went on: 2019

What went on: 2018

What went on: 2017

What went on: 2016

What went on: 2015

What went on: 2014

RClimate Examples

  • Here's the 10-day weather forecast for Mattawa, Ontario, where we have a farm, away from the noise of that blowhard tRump, the once-and-always-liar-in-chief. I try to spend as much time as I can on the farm.
  • Public News Service - Environment
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    • Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world. HANNAH ARENDT. From the Introduction to “Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism”, by Henry Giroux.
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