Jonathan Rosen's very lovely piece in the upcoming issue muses on the gray moral shades of extinction -- why we get so upset when we hear about certain species (dolphins, spotted owls, etc.) dying out, but don't bat an eyelash for the less fuzzy ones. Rosen begins his piece with a meditation on John James Audobon's bird paintings, all of which are available here for those curious about the Manks Shearwater, the Hairy Woodpecker, or the Surf Duck. -- Britt Peterson
Last week, when Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection launched a $300 million public awareness initiative, I belived it would be influential in helping to build the political will needed to confront the energy crisis. As Gore said: "The elected officials in both parties are going to be timid about enacting the bold changes that are needed until there is a change in the public's sense of urgency in addressing this crisis." Sure. It appears, however, the campaign's first brush with the body politic hasn't gone so well.
April 7th marks the beginning of Public Health Week 2008. Since they began under Bill Clinton, PHWs have focused on issues like disaster relief, infrastructure, and eldercare. This year's campaign, themed "Climate Change: Our Health in Balance" is tackling the environment. A special partnership between the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) and the American Public Health Association is promoting an interdisciplinary approach to the health needs of the planet and its citizens.
Earlier this year, while doing this piece on John McCain's environmental record, I talked briefly with his policy guru, Doug Holtz-Eakin, who noted that McCain's approach to climate policy would be more "conservative" than Clinton's or Obama's, insofar as he'd push for a cap-and-trade bill but not a whole lot more besides. I figured this was worth hashing out further, especially in light of this recent interview that Holtz-Eakin did with E&E, where he emphasized the point.
Discounting time in aircraft, what person has spent more time above the altitude of 18,000 feet than anyone else in human history? The answer is widely believed to be Ohio State University glaciologist Lonnie Thompson. (He's also, incidentally, surely the only glaciologist ever featured in an ad during college football's BCS championship game, which he was last year.) Along with his wife Ellen, Thompson has made a career out of drilling for data-rich ice-core samples in tropical glaciers--and to find glaciers in the tropics, you have to get up pretty high.
A quick intro: This is TNR's new energy & environment blog, set up to coincide with our second annual environmental issue. --The Editors