Month 7, Day 1: Day 182! The Halfway Point!

Submit YOUR comment against expansion of offshore drilling to the MMS Five-year Oil & Gas Program EIS here. I did.

What America (and the world) needs is not more offshore drilling. What we need is a transformation in our approach to our energy needs. Our priorities must be shifted: conservation, frugality and efficiency need to be first priorities.

More drilling is guaranteed to lead to more spills. We’ve already extracted the easily found oil; what’s left is going to be harder and harder to extract. As the recent revelations about major oil companies’ complete and pathetic lack of disaster preparations shows us, there are no effective strategies for coping with events of the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

With our explosive growth in carbon emissions already beginning to radically transform the planet into a place much less hospitable to humans, do we really want to continue the destructive behaviors that have brought us to this pass? To continue burning ever more oil in heedless consumption puts us in the position of a heart patient who continues to smoke heavily.

Our nation and the world can no longer afford it. Looking at an oil-soaked pelican, a drowned dolphin, or a burned sea turtle in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s evident: oil is the most expensive fuel of all.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 30: Oh, How I Wish Martha Coakley Had Been A Better Candidate!

Scott Brown doesn’t want to help out a climate bill.

Scott Brown is my junior Senator.

Scott Brown is an idiot.

Dammit.

Dear Senator Brown –

As the home of many important research centers and universities, Massachusetts is one of the nation’s scientific focal points. Consequently, our elected officials owe it to themselves and to the people they represent to understand enough about science and scientific method — not a lot, mind you, but enough that they’re not an embarrassment to informed citizens of the Commonwealth.

As one of your constituents, I am outraged that a Senator from Massachusetts is embracing an anti-science position. There is no significant scientific dispute over global climate change; ninety-seven percent of the world’s climatologists concur unanimously that the world is warming, that humans are the cause, and that the results will be catastrophic. The other three percent, for the most part, think more studies are needed. A few of that group are on the payroll of oil and coal companies.

If you went into a restaurant, and ninety-seven out of a hundred food inspectors told you that the kitchen was filthy and unsanitary, would you still eat there? If you were looking at a house, and ninety-seven out of a hundred home inspectors told you that it was a dump, would you still make an offer? If you found a lump, and ninety-seven out of a hundred oncologists told you to start therapy immediately, would you wait?

It appears that only in the area of climate science is the testimony of experts so irrelevant. Whose testimony is meaningful to you, Senator Brown? That of oil company representatives, coal lobbyists, FOX News commentators and your Republican leadership?

I thought you were supposed to be representing the citizens of Massachusetts, who overwhelmingly want you to support robust climate legislation that includes a price on carbon emissions.

I guess I was wrong. Funny how that happens.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 29: Harry Reid, Mensch.

Well, this is looking better and better. I finished faxing my Friday letter to all the Senators over the weekend (there were four senatorial fax machines out of order, so I didn’t quite make it), but if that DK article is on the level, Harry Reid is really sticking his neck out here. So I wrote him a letter of support.

Dear Senator Reid,

I write to express my enthusiastic support for your plan to get a strong climate bill passed before the August recess. The facts and figures from around the world tell a terrifying story: the climate has reached a serious “tipping point,” and there is absolutely no time to waste in bringing about very serious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Even with emissions reductions at the highest level that is politically possible, we (all of us on the planet) are looking forward to a world that will be drastically less livable; a world in which a steady climate cannot be taken for granted; a world with more unexpected torrential floods and more sustained droughts. We’re past the point where we can get back to the climate you and I grew up in.

But if we act soon, and act strongly, we may be able to give our children’s children a world they can grow up in. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that a strong climate bill get passed in the Senate as soon as possible — and that’s why I’m writing to support you.

Thank you for what you are doing. Please don’t let denialists and cynical opportunists weaken this bill. We can’t afford inaction, we can’t afford delay — and we can’t afford Republican obstructionism. Stand firm.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 28: Honoring A Voice In The Wilderness

Well, James Hansen got another important prize. Meanwhile, he continues to be (shamefully) ignored here at home. Another letter to POTUS? Why not?

Dear President Obama,

This is the second time this year that climatologist James Hansen has been awarded a major international prize for his work in environmental science. Dr. Hansen has just received the Blue Planet Award, considered to be Japan’s version of the Nobel Prize. Earlier this year he was given the Sophie Prize, perhaps the world’s most prestigious award in climate science.

But there is one form of recognition that has eluded Dr. Hansen, and it is the one which would probably make the most difference to him. His work was silenced and censored by administrative fiat during the previous administration, because his warnings about global climate change and the effects of atmospheric CO2 ran contrary to what President Bush and Vice-President Cheney wished to believe.

It is time for the United States Government to recognize Dr. James Hansen as one of the world’s experts on the science of climate change. To be a genuine rather than symbolic recognition, this needs to take two forms. First, Dr. Hansen should be invited to the White House to meet with you; second, he should be invited to be a core participant in your administration’s decisions on environment and climate issues. All the international prizes don’t mean much to a man whose life’s work is ignored in his native land.

James Hansen has been sounding the alarm on global climate change for well over a decade. His predictions have been proven accurate over and over again. Isn’t it time that you and your administration took him seriously?

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 27: The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, or just a Pack of Twits?

The LA Times ran an article about the Senate Democrats’ attempt to get a good climate bill. This is a pretty generic letter; I’m very tired and kind of groggy. Overslept; didn’t write it last night.

As extreme weather becomes the norm around the world, the position of climate-change denialists is becoming harder and harder to sustain. Unfortunately, quite a few of those denialists are U.S. Senators, and their obdurate refusal to recognize the facts of nature is imperiling their fellow citizens and the rest of the planet. Senate Democrats are to be commended for working towards a meaningful climate/energy bill. While a restricted carbon cap is a disappointing half-measure, it is certainly better than nothing. What we really need, of course, is to put a price on carbon. If we can find the political strength and the national readiness to start paying for our pollution now rather than later, we’ll spare our descendants a crippling burden of shattered ecosystems and weather-related destruction. We need a robust bill from the Senate; let us hope that the denialists don’t make it impossible.

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 26: It’s going to be hot.

Please read this. Make sure everyone you know reads it.

This one is short enough that I’m going to write it by hand and send it to him. Why don’t you do something, too?

I’m going to Revere Beach mid-morning for “Hands Across The Sand.” How about you?

Dear President Obama,

I write to emphasize the urgency of the crisis. According to recently released NOAA data, atmospheric CO2 is now at 393 parts per million. That number by itself is bad news, for it’s well above the safe maximum for a climate suitable for humans. But it’s not the worst news. The worst news is the increase in atmospheric CO2 is getting faster and faster.

Americans need to relearn a lot of habits of conservation and frugality with respect to nature’s resources. The BP disaster and the hundreds of other oil spills around the world are a sad testimony to the pervasiveness of waste. At this crucial moment in history, we cannot continue our profligate ways — for we are turning our beautiful blue planet into a greenhouse gas chamber.

The problem of carbon emissions must be tackled with all the resources available. Of all the things we cannot afford to waste, the most precious is time.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 25: Okay, I’m In.

Well, I just read this story by RL Miller at DK. She shows signs of optimism that Harry Reid will be able to pull something off. I sure hope so. Friday and this weekend I’m going to try to send this as a fax to every senator. All 100 of ’em. If Harry’s ready to gamble, so am I.

UPDATE, FRIDAY 3 PM: I’ve faxed forty (40) senators so far. Looks like I’ll be done by tomorrow. Yay me.

Dear Senator — I sent a fax earlier this week, urging your support for a genuinely robust bill that addresses the terrible threat of climate change. This fax is going both to members of the Democratic and Republican caucus. I will address each party separately.

Republicans: Now is not the time to play politics. Now is the time to be attentive to a genuine threat to our nation’s security. The U.S. Military and the C.I.A. both recognize the potential dangers of a world transformed by catastrophic global warming — why doesn’t the Republican Party? I know Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe it, and I know James Inhofe doesn’t believe it. The thing is, they’re wrong. Climate change is real, it is caused by human behavior, and the question our country faces is whether to address it now, or wait for it to reach horrifying extremes. Do we deal with it when it shows, or when it blows? Please support a strong climate bill.

Democrats: A climate bill is a jobs bill. The technologies needed to get the American people and the world off fossil fuels once and for all can be developed here in the U.S.A. Where is our faith in American initiative, innovation and inspiration? When did we go from being a “can do” society to being one that complains, “it’s too hard”? A powerful climate bill will effect an economic transformation. Please support such a bill.

Whether we pass this bill or not, “Business As Usual” is no longer an option. Our ways of energy consumption are going to change. The only question is whether we change them voluntarily, with enthusiasm and a spirit of national unity and optimism — or whether they’re changed for us, by an out-of-control climate and a poisoned ocean. The choice is yours.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 24: Another Day, Another Dullard

The Boston Herald ran the same AP story on Feldman’s ruling blocking the drilling moratorium. For a dose of idiocy, check out the comments. The Herald has yet to run one of my letters. Or maybe they have, and don’t bother to call or confirm. How would I know?

Judge Feldman’s opinion is logically flawed. The government wants to stop exploratory drilling until it figures out what caused the catastrophe in the Gulf — and the judge decides that the platforms are safe, because nothing’s happened to them yet. Well, maybe that’s it’s done in Louisiana, but I learned that if something’s broken, you stop using it until it’s fixed. If my mechanic thinks my brakes are bad, it’s irresponsible to go back on the road, even if I haven’t had an accident. We don’t know all the factors that brought about the catastrophe on the Deepwater Horizon, and it’s a grotesque blunder to assume that because other drilling platforms haven’t yet exploded and sunk, they must be safe. I suspect the judge’s substantial investments had an influence; I have observed that oil, among its other malign side effects, appears to make people in positions of power act stupidly.

Warren Senders

Month 6, Day 23: The Dolphins Are Full Of Oil. Why Should Federal Judges Be Any Different?

So the judge who overturned the drilling moratorium turns out to own a bunch of stock in oil and drilling companies. Gosh! Who could have expected it?

Time Magazine ran an AP story on the injunction, but didn’t mention the Judge’s questionable investing practices, so I sent them the following:

It should come as no surprise that Judge Martin Feldman, who just blocked the administration’s proposed moratorium on deepwater drilling, appears have substantial investments in companies involved in the offshore oil industry. Judge Feldman, according to 2008 reports, even owns stock in Transocean, the owners of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon platform. That Mr. Feldman did not immediately recuse himself from the case is revealing; it suggests that such a level of financial intimacy between the oil industry and the judiciary is not particularly remarkable. Oil kills pelicans, dolphins, fish and whales. It ruins ecosystems and local economies. It is destroying the atmosphere. It sullies everything it touches — including, apparently, the administration of justice in America. Even leaving aside the threat of catastrophic climate change, that alone should be reason to shift our consumption patterns — why continue giving money to the corrupt and undeserving?

Warren Senders

Singing For The Planet: Warren Senders’ Set

Here is my complete set from the “Singing For The Planet” concert. Priti Chakravarty – harmonium, Akshay Navaladi – tabla, Harriotte Hurie – tamboura.

Raga Puriya – three-part khyal performance.

Vilambit Ektaal: Eri malaniyaa begi gunde laawori phulan ke harawa / Bela chameli gulab daru bane ke garawa (traditional composition)
Madhya Tintaal: Main to kaari aayi piya sanga rangaraliyaa / main vaari jaat pan ghat ke ghaat // Ek to dar mohe saas nananda ko / duje duraniyaa jaitaniyaa sataave / nisa din Prem Piya ki baat hai (composition by Ut. Faiyaaz Khan)
Drut Ektaal: tarana (composition by Pt. S.G. Devasthali)

Jyuda Kinjo Dolna (“How My Heart Sways”) – Pahadi folksong
Jyuda kinjo dolna ho manda kinjo bolna / karle mane diyo mauja jinde // Harapur, Nurapur thandiyana chhavaa / maaya balocheda yaar balocheda, hai thaan thaan ho // Chhand mhara chadaiyaa pipari ne ohale / chhand mhara dole, chhand mhara bole, nai aan aan ho