Open thread

The last edition of Good Planets for 2006 once again is full of great nature photography.  Go check it out.

I can’t recommend enough December 31, 2006, PM by Chris Clarke.  It’s heartfelt and a wonderful read.

Middle Stance Emerges in Debate Over Climate: “The discourse over the issue has been feverish since Hurricane Katrina. Seizing the moment, many environmental campaigners, former Vice President Al Gore and some scientists have portrayed the growing human influence on the climate as an unfolding disaster that is already measurably strengthening hurricanes, spreading diseases and amplifying recent droughts and deluges. Conservative politicians and a few scientists, many with ties to energy companies, have variously countered that human-driven warming is inconsequential, unproved or a manufactured crisis. A third stance is now emerging, espoused by many experts who challenge both poles of the debate. They agree that accumulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases probably pose a momentous environmental challenge, but say the appropriate response is more akin to buying fire insurance and installing sprinklers and new wiring in an old, irreplaceable house (the home planet) than to fighting a fire already raging.”

It’s an interesting position to take, one of reason and calm attention to action, and I think it’s about time this segment of the community made its voice heard.  Unfortunately, and a bit on the devil’s advocate side of the fence, I also believe downplaying the severity of the situation is as bad—yes, AS BAD—as denying it altogether.  Look at what’s happening around the planet: ice is melting at an unprecedented rate, droughts are plaguing many areas (e.g., Africa and the western U.S.), birds are no longer migrating, bears are no longer hibernating, species after species is going extinct while we watch, NASA has shown the increase in ocean temperatures is destroying the bottom of the oceanic food chain: phytoplankton, extreme weather is being seen around the globe, and the list goes on ad nauseam.  And yet some want to stare such data in the face, deny them altogether, and say there’s no need to panic but there’s reason to take action?  I have to disagree on this stoic approach to global cataclysm.  I’m sorry, but did they not notice whole islands have disappeared due to rising water (e.g., Lohachara Island)?  I believe the time to study and plan and build support for action is long past.  Now is the time for governments to take action and to tell the people they’re going to have to deal with the hardships and disruptions such actions cause.

Via Biomes Blog comes a video called Spectacular UFO Crash.  Well, I can’t say whether it’s a UFO or not, but it’s cool anyway.

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