Playing For The Planet…Goes Online!

Mark your calendars for a unique and exciting musical event! 

On Saturday, May 9 at 7:00 (Eastern Time), please join us for the first Virtual Benefit Concert in the long-running Playing For The Planet series.

We’ll hear exquisite and heartfelt music from six different artists, representing six different musical traditions:

Durga Krishnan (South Indian Veena),
John Tyson & Miyuki Tsurutani
(European Renaissance music),
DoYeon Kim (Korean Gayegeum),
Ricardo Borsatto (Brazilian Choro),
Sunniva Brynnel (Swedish Folk), &
Ranjani Ramachandran (Hindustani khyal).

These semi-annual environmental benefit concerts started in 2009, and last December we celebrated our twentieth concert.  Now, we’re looking forward to bringing you more such virtual events in the months to come. 

To attend, simply make a donation of any amount ($20 suggested) at this link, and you’ll receive the log-in information you’ll need to join us on Zoom.

We at Playing For The Planet are excited to be bringing you these wonderful musicians, and very happy to be continuing this great tradition:
Great Music For A Great Cause.

Donate Here & Receive The Zoom Invitation


About the Artists:

South Indian veena master Durga Krishnan is a disciple of the legendary virtuoso, the late Dr. Chittibabu, whom she has accompanied in performance and on recordings, and is currently a student of Padmabhushan Sri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, one of the greatest figures in contemporary Carnatic tradition. She holds the degree “Sangeetha Vidwan” (Scholar of Music) and is a certified teacher of Carnatic Music. A performer, teacher and composer of international repute, she has taught and concertized extensively throughout the world and is a very popular veena and vocal teacher in the Boston area; several of her students have won prizes at the Cleveland Thyagaraja festival.


Miyuki Tsurutani received her Master of Music degree from Osaka College of Music where she studied harpsichord with Hiroko Motooka, recorder with Toru Kamiya, and piano with Toshiko Tamura. She has performed in Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Italy, France, and Germany, Canada and in the United States at the University of Hawaii, the University of California, Tulane University, Bennington College, Capitol Early Music Festival in Washington D.C., the Killington Vermont Shakespeare Festival and the Boston Christmas Revels.  She has been continuo player for the orchestra Boston Baroque’s residency at Boston University, The American Recorder Society and at masterclasses for The Boston Early Music Festival.

John Tyson is a winner of the Bodky International Competition, the Noah Greenberg Award, and a former student of Frans Bruggen. He has appeared as soloist in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England, Scotland, Chile, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia and throughout the United States, as well as with major ensembles in Europe and the US. Tyson has recorded for Erato, Harmonia Mundi, Sine Qua Non, Titanic, and Ventadorn Records, and with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society under Christopher Hogwood. His solo CD, “Something Old, Something New” features Baroque and contemporary music for recorder and strings. A recognized expert in Renaissance music and improvisation, Tyson is director of the Renaissance music and dance ensemble Renaissonics and is a member of the pop/classical/world music band Universal Village.  He is director of the Corso di Flauto Dolce in Tuscany, Italy and has been a director of the Université d’Eté; Vivoin, France and music director of the Historical Dance Foundation of New York. John has premiered concerti for recorder and orchestra written for him: “Ventania” by jazzman Hermeto Pascoal, “Triptych,” by Chilean-born composer and conductor David Serendero for the 30th anniversary of his orchestra Reinisches Collegium Musicum in Wiesbaden, Germany, and a Double Concerto by Giorgio Pacchioni.

Tyson is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music and has taught at the Corso Internazionale di Musica Antica in Urbino, Italy, and was Chair of the Department of Historical Performance at Boston University. He is also an Emerson Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In collaboration with The American Recorder Society and the National Endowment for the Arts, he produced an instructional video for recorder teachers entitled “Recorder Power!” Tyson has been Artist in Residence at Northeastern University, guest soloist at the Montréal International Recorder Festival and has taught at the Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory, Brandeis University, University of Connecticut, the National Center of Afro American Artists, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Institute.


Do Yeon Kim plays the gayageum, a Korean silk-stringed zither. Her dream since the age of 12 has been to widely introduce Korean traditional music to the world on an international level. Do Yeon has received numerous awards in her native Korea, She was selected by the Korean Department of Culture to be one of the few gayageum musicians to tour with a youth group to Japan. She is the first player of the instrument to be admitted to study at the New England Conservatory. She comes from a rich background in traditional Korean folk music, yet her current music projects are quite multi-dimensional. Over the past few years she has transcribed pieces from musical idioms such as tango, jazz, and Western classical music with remarkable results. An exceptional improviser, her musical vision and ability to adapt music forms not associated with her instrument is truly extraordinary.


Hailing from a musical family in his native Brazil, Ricardo Borsatta grew up hearing and playing the music of composers like Pixinguinha and Jacob do Bandolim. He studied with master guitarist Alessandro Penezzi, who would become one of his most important musical mentors. Subsequently, he was awarded the Latin American Scholarship at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, earning a Degree in Jazz Composition and Performance. In Boston, he founded the Choro ensemble “Os Bohêmios”, which became the most important Choro group in New England area at that time. With musicians from five different countries, the quintet was an important part of Ricardo’s dream of disseminating his Choro heritage in the United States.


Originally from Sweden, Sunniva Brynnel is an accordionist, vocalist and composer within jazz, improvised music and folk music, coming from a lineage of seven generations of female musicians. Her mother – a Swedish folk singer – is one of her major influences. Since coming to the Boston area to complete a degree in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory, she has collaborated and performed with many artists, including Night Tree, Blå Dager, and Druids & Androids.


Ranjani Ramachandran is a prominent Hindustani classical vocalist specializing in the khayal genre and has earned wide acclaim for her performances in India and abroad. Trained in both the Gwalior and Jaipur gharana gayakis, Ranjani is a versatile musician equally at ease rendering other forms such as thumri, dadra and soulful bhajans. She has also carved a unique niche with her active engagement in pedagogy and research in music. Ranjani was initiated into Hindustani music at a young age by her mother, Vijaya. She is a disciple of eminent artistes like Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, (Late) Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe, (Late) Pt. Kashinath Bodas and Vidushi Girija Devi. Ranjani has received numerous prestigious awards and accolades including the Pt. Ramkrishnabua Vaze Yuva Gayak Puraskar; Surmani award from Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai; Resident Scholarship of ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata; Fellowship for Young artistes; Junior & Senior Research Fellowship for doctoral studies instituted by the Government of India and Charles Wallace Research Grant (CWIT, UK). Ranjani has a Doctorate in vocal Hindustani music and is currently working as a faculty in the Department of Hindustani Classical Music at Sangit Bhavana, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan in West Bengal. She has also participated in inter-disciplinary projects with visual arts and has been engaged in collaborative research with ethnomusicologists in India and abroad. Ranjani is a graded artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan and empanelled as a performing artiste for ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations). Her noteworthy performances include Vishnu Digambar Jayanti Samaroha (New Delhi); ITC Sangeet Sammelan; Kalakshetra Annual Art Festival (Chennai); Pt. Kumar Gandharva Smriti Samaroha (Dewas); Nehru Centre (London); Palace Green Library, Durham University, UK; Basant Bahar, California, USA; “Sangeet Pratibha” of Sangeet Natak Academy; India Habitat Centre (New Delhi) and Goa Kala Academy amongst many others.


About 350MA.org and the Better Future Project

Co-founded by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, 350.org is the hub of a worldwide network of over two hundred environmental organizations, all with a common target: persuading the world’s countries to unite in an effort to reduce global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million or less. Climatologist Dr. James Hansen says, “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 400 ppm to at most 350 ppm.” (Dr. Hansen headed the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, and is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue.) Activists involved in the 350 movement include Rajendra Pachauri (Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Vandana Shiva (world-renowned environmental leader and thinker), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a global activist on issues pertaining to democracy, freedom and human rights), Van Jones, Bianca Jagger, Barbara Kingsolver and many more.


350MA.org is the Massachusetts Chapter of this worldwide advocacy group, and the hub for the Better Future Project, a Cambridge-based climate organizing nonprofit founded in January 2011. In spring 2012, Better Future Project staff began a series of meetings and conversations with fellow activists about the need for a grassroots climate network in Massachusetts. Those conversations grew out of many years of collaboration on 350.org actions and events, and they led to the creation of 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future as a volunteer-led, campaign-focused network.


December 7: Playing For The Planet — World Music Against Climate Change


The twentieth “Playing For The Planet” benefit concert showcases master musicians from three different musical traditions, in a benefit for the environmental advocacy group 350MA.org.

Featured performers include the cross-cultural violin master Beth Bahia Cohen, the Hindustani singing of Warren Senders, and the intimate jazz improvisations of Stan Strickland & Josh Rosen.


The music begins at 7:00 pm, at The Community Church Of Boston, 565 Boylston Street (Copley Square), Boston. Admission is $20; $15 students & seniors. For information, please call 781-330-8032, find us on our Facebook event page, or visit the event website at www.warrensenders.com.


Online ticket purchasing is available through Eventbrite.


About The Artists

Pianist/percussionist Josh Rosen and saxophonist/flautist/vocalist Stan Strickland are two of New England’s most loved and respected jazz musicians. They have been performing together since 2007, creating a intimate, spontaneous music that showcases their deep rapport with one another and with their listeners.

“Finishing each other’s thoughts and phrases as these tunes wend their way from churchy soul-jazz to more abstract precincts, Rosen and Strickland are more than just in sync — they often sound like a single musician playing two instruments.” – Boston Herald

“With the soul of an improv jam session, these two are one of the tastiest new treats to come along in a while.” – Midwest Record


Beth Bahia Cohen is of Syrian Jewish and Russian Jewish descent and has spent many years exploring the ways the violin and other bowed string instruments are played in Greece, Turkey, Hungary, and the Middle East. She plays several Greek lyras, the Turkish bowed tanbur and kabak kemane, the Egyptian rababa, the Norwegian  hardanger fiddle, and more. She was a Radcliffe Bunting Fellow and has been the recipient of many travel and research grants, including an NEA/Artists International grant to study the classical music of Turkey.


 In addition to performing throughout the U.S., she teaches workshops and ensembles on Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Greek and Turkish music in conservatories and universities throughout the U.S as well as teaching privately in her studio in Watertown.  She performs solo concerts of traditional and original music on various bowed string instruments from many countries (The Art of the Bow), as well as concerts exploring traditional Jewish music from all over the world.


One of the world’s great improvisational song forms is khyal, the richly ornamented classical singing of North Indian tradition. Accompanied by the harmonium of Kaavya Velivati and the tabla of Harsha Hampapura, Warren Senders weaves a hypnotic tapestry of sound in his renditions of traditional ragas.

Acclaimed as the foremost non-Indian performer of this beautiful idiom, Senders lived in India for many years, learning the khyal style from master teacher Pt. S.G. Devasthali. He has performed throughout the world, enrapturing audiences and critics with a unique combination of authenticity and originality.   


Online ticket purchasing is available through Eventbrite.


About 350MA and 350.org

Co-founded by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, 350.org is the hub of a worldwide network of over two hundred environmental organizations, all with a common target: persuading the world’s countries to unite in an effort to reduce global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million or less. Climatologist Dr. James Hansen says, “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 400 ppm to at most 350 ppm.” (Dr. Hansen headed the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, and is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue.) Activists involved in the 350 movement include Rajendra Pachauri (Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Vandana Shiva (world-renowned environmental leader and thinker), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a global activist on issues pertaining to democracy, freedom and human rights), Van Jones, Bianca Jagger, Barbara Kingsolver and many more.

350MA.org is the Massachusetts Chapter of this worldwide advocacy group, and the hub for the Better Future Project.


About The Community Church Of Boston

The Community Church of Boston is a free community united for the study and practice of universal religion, seeking to apply ethical ideals to individual life and the democratic and cooperative principle to all forms of social and economic life. We invite you to join us one Sunday for a thought-provoking and joyful time, or contact the church to find out more: info@communitychurchofboston.org

June 8: Playing For The Planet — World Music Against Climate Change

On Saturday, June 8, the nineteenth “Playing For The Planet” benefit concert will showcase master musicians from three different musical traditions in a rare and joyful pan-cultural evening, with all proceeds going to benefit the environmental advocacy group 350MA.org.  The lineup includes virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Lloyd Thayer; Swedish/Celtic music from Sunniva Brynnel & Yaniv Yacoby; and the brilliant young Hindustani vocalist, Samarth Nagarkar.  The music begins at 7:00 pm, at The Community Church Of Boston, 565 Boylston Street (Copley Square), Boston.  Admission is $20; $15 students & seniors.  For information, please call 781-330-8032, or email theclimatemessage@gmail.com.

“…Senders possesses a gift for assembling fascinating programs.” 
— Andrew Gilbert, The Boston Globe —

“Playing For The Planet: World Music Against Climate Change” is the nineteenth concert in an ongoing series of cross-cultural events produced by Boston-area musician and environmental activist Warren Senders.  These concerts were conceived as a way for creative musicians to contribute to the urgent struggle against global warming.   Their choice of beneficiary, 350MA.org, is focused on building global consensus on reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels — action which climatologists agree is necessary to avoid catastrophic outcomes. 


Because the climate problem recognizes no national boundaries, the artists represent musical styles from three different parts of the globe, and share key musical values: listening, honesty, creativity, and respect. And, of course, they are all committed to raising awareness of the potentially devastating effects of global warming.  It’ll be an incredible evening of powerful music — from some of the finest musicians in New England and the world.

Purchase tickets now from Eventbrite.






About The Artists

Lloyd Thayer puts the ‘multi’ in multi-instrumentalist, playing a mind-boggling assortment of stringed instruments including (but not limited to): 22-stringed Indian Chaturangui, Dobro and Weissenborn lap steel guitars, Turkish Oud, Saz and Cumbus, Ragmakamtar, Afghan Rabab and more.

Lloyd Thayer

A recovering street performer and determined songwriter, his indoor shows combine a mixture of American folk and blues with elements of Indian, Arabic, Turkish, and Southeast Asian musical ideas, sometimes all in the course of the same song!

“Thayer plays with prismatic imagination and an emotional depth that captivates. “
— Sing Out Magazine —


Accordionist/singer Sunniva Brynnel and bouzouki player Yaniv Yacoby met at the New England Conservatory, Boston. They have built a repertoire evenly divided between the folk musics of Sweden and Ireland, capturing the exquisite expression of both traditions with creativity, fidelity, and playfulness.

Sunniva Brynnel & Yaniv Yacoby

Originally from Sweden, Sunniva Brynnel is an accordionist, vocalist and composer within jazz, improvised music and folk music, coming from a lineage of seven generations of female musicians.  Her mother – a Swedish folk singer – is one of her major influences.   Since coming to the Boston area to complete a degree in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory, she has collaborated and performed with many artists, including Night Tree, Blå Dager, and Druids & Androids.

Yaniv Yacoby is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and computer scientist based in Boston. He graduated from Harvard in May of 2015, earning a B.A. in Computer Science and earned a M.M. in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory in 2016.  Yaniv has collaborated with numerous musicians in the Boston area, including pianist Chase Morrin, fiddler Eric Boodman, and ensemble Blue Thread.


Samarth Nagarkar is a Hindustani classical vocalist, known for his captivating performances and traditionally rich music.  One of the most creative khyaliyas of his generation,  Samarth was trained in the strict guru-shishya tradition at ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata, under Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar and Pandit Dinkar Kaikini.

Samarth Nagarkar

A torchbearer of his traditions, Samarth features in prominent music festivals and venues in India and abroad including The ITC Sangeet Sammelans, The United Nations, World Music Institute, Chhandayan All Night Concert, Ragas Live Festival at the Rubin Museum of Art, Kashinath Bodas Festival, The Winter Garden Festival and The International Fringe Festival.

He is a recipient of a Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and a President’s Award in the All India Radio National Music Competition. On June 8 he will be joined by Ramchandra Joshi (harmonium) and Naikaj Pandhya (tabla).


Purchase tickets now from Eventbrite.


About 350MA.org and the Better Future Project

Co-founded by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, 350.org is the hub of a worldwide network of over two hundred environmental organizations, all with a common target: persuading the world’s countries to unite in an effort to reduce global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million or less. Climatologist Dr. James Hansen says, “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 400 ppm to at most 350 ppm.” (Dr. Hansen headed the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, and is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue.) Activists involved in the 350 movement include Rajendra Pachauri (Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Vandana Shiva (world-renowned environmental leader and thinker), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a global activist on issues pertaining to democracy, freedom and human rights), Van Jones, Bianca Jagger, Barbara Kingsolver and many more.


350MA.org is the Massachusetts Chapter of this worldwide advocacy group, and the hub for the Better Future Project, a Cambridge-based climate organizing nonprofit founded in January 2011. In spring 2012, Better Future Project staff began a series of meetings and conversations with fellow activists about the need for a grassroots climate network in Massachusetts. Those conversations grew out of many years of collaboration on 350.org actions and events, and they led to the creation of 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future as a volunteer-led, campaign-focused network.


About the Community Church of Boston

The Community Church of Boston is a free community united for the study and practice of universal religion, seeking to apply ethical ideals to individual life and the democratic and cooperative principle to all forms of social and economic life. We invite you to read on to discover more about us, join us one Sunday for a thought-provoking and joyful time, or contact the church to find out more about our community: info@communitychurchofboston.org


Purchase tickets now from Eventbrite.

Singing The Long Now

Coming up at Tufts University, a free concert: I’ll be joined by the Strings Theory Trio in an afternoon of new compositions and arrangements.

Please join us.  It’ll be great.

Feb 5 Poster

SINGING FOR THE PLANET — CANCELLED

The concert scheduled for tonight has had to be cancelled due to the ongoing Boston lockdown.

We may be able to reschedule…stay tuned.

Year 3, Month 1, Day 31: Just The Facts, Ma’am.

The Milford-Orange Bulletin (CT) runs an article detailing the work of a new group, http://forecastthefacts.org/ , which has called out a local TV weatherdude on his denialist stance:

As if broadcast meteorologists didn’t have enough pressure to get their forecasts right during the season of ice and snow, an advocacy group is slamming them for denying climate change. And one of the perceived offenders is Connecticut’s Geoff Fox of WTIC (Fox Connecticut), who in turn calls the people behind the group “zealots.”

{snip}

The group says that’s because the majority of meteorologists don’t believe in it. The online group (forecastthefacts.org) asks the public to sign on to the campaign to hold weathercasters accountable. It has a petition urging the American Meteorological Society to take a position on the facts of climate change and make it known to members.

Fox, a longtime forecaster in the Hartford-New Haven market who also does a science segment for WTIC, said Wednesday, “I’m not a denier, I’m a skeptic. The people who are advocating for global warming treat it like it’s a religion. So it’s like blasphemy (to question it).”

Good for forecastthefacts.org. This one was fun and easy to write. Sent January 25:

When it comes to climate change, there’s one absolutely sure bet: when someone says, “I’m not a denier, I’m a skeptic,” it means he’s a denier. Skepticism is a philosophical stance in which claims without verifiable evidence are rejected in favor of those which can be confirmed. Genuine climate skeptics are extremely rare, because the plethora of available evidence has convinced almost all of them that rising atmospheric CO2 levels are triggering a greenhouse effect, with potentially catastrophic consequences for human civilization. Climate deniers, by contrast, are a dime a dozen. They can be identified by their fondness for unsupported categorical statements, such as Geoff Fox’s, “the people who are advocating for global warming treat it like it’s a religion.”

The comparison is upside-down. Those who ignore the sound science of climate change are rejecting robust but disturbing evidence, in favor of debunked but comforting platitudes. In other words, deniers.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 12, Day 9: That’s Taghyir Al-manakh in Arabic

The New York Times delivers the ghastly news:

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery.

Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.

I was only going to write to papers in the developing world while Durban was going on, but I just had to respond to this one. Sent December 5:

The inability of politics-as-usual to address the climate crisis is exemplified by the tired excuses for inaction on offer at the Durban climate conference. As the Global Carbon Project’s report makes clear, business-as-usual is well on the way to triggering a runaway greenhouse effect with consequences ranging from inconvenient to catastrophic.

Just over a decade ago, George Bush blithely disregarded a warning that Osama Bin Laden was planning attacks in the US, and on September eleventh, terrorists killed thousands and destroyed an architectural landmark. But failure to control greenhouse emissions will mean megadeaths; the loss of a building whose name evoked our global economy will pale into insignificance when that economy itself is shattered by the resource wars and political chaos sure to follow those rising temperatures. Even though they’ve been repeatedly warned of a real and terrifying threat, our politicians-as-usual can’t bring themselves to act.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 10, Day 5: Some Days These Letters Are No Damn Fun At All

The LA Times for September 30 reports on Rick Perry’s eagerness to embrace climate denial in all its forms:

At a New Hampshire town-hall style meeting, his first of the campaign, the Texas governor sparred Friday evening with a questioner who tried to pin him down on the issue. The man, whom Perry addressed as “Mike,” began by noting a 2011 report from a panel of experts chosen by the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded that climate change is occurring and “is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities.” The man noted that Perry had ducked—twice–when asked at the Reagan Library debate this month to name the scientists he found most credible on the subject.

Spending more than three seconds contemplating the vile opportunist that is Rick Perry is enough to send me screaming in search of a shower. Sent October 1:

Governor Perry’s rejection of climate change reflects the conservative base to which he must pander. In his public remarks on the subject, he’s frequently accused climate scientists of manipulating data in order to secure remunerative grants. Given the sordid history of Republican data-manipulation, this is projection at best, knowing hypocrisy at worst. Similarly, his readiness to accept the views of scientists when they bolster his preconceptions demonstrates that for Mr. Perry, like other GOP aspirants, ideology trumps reality.

Remember the Cheney doctrine that a miniscule chance of Iraqi WMDs was justification for an invasion? By all rules of logic, a similarly small probability that climate change is a genuine civilizational threat should galvanize us into action. However, since Republicans don’t “do” logic and are motivated only by nonexistent threats, the worldwide scientific consensus on climate change is sufficient only to trigger rhetorical posturing, and a grotesque rejection of genuine expertise.

Warren Senders

Year 2. Month 9, Day 8: Variations on a Theme (I)

The August 31 LA Times reports on the arrests of James Hansen and Darryl Hannah:

The arrest of actress Daryl Hannah at a protest this week outside the White House led to headlines. But it’s the detainment of NASA’s top scientist on climate change that’s generating talk.

James Hansen was arrested alongside Hannah and several other people at a sit-in to protest the Keystone XL project, a proposed $7-billion, 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast. Environmentalists fear the project will destroy pristine forests and pave the way for another devastating oil spill, but proponents say it will create jobs and reduce the nation’s reliance on oil from places such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

Hansen heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which examines such hot-button issues as climate change and humans’ effect on the planet. Before being taken away by authorities, Hansen used a microphone to urge President Obama to act “for the sake of your children and grandchildren” and stop the pipeline project, according to a Bloomberg report.

I want to shake Hansen’s hand. But this letter will have to do; it’s a variation on yesterday’s theme of “this ain’t no game.” Sent Sept. 3:

James Hansen’s assertion that burning the oil of the Canadian tar sands would mean “game over” for Earth’s climate is profoundly wrong.

Not because his science is faulty; if there’s anyone equipped to prognosticate about our planet’s future it’s the NASA climatologist, a man of enormous personal and intellectual integrity.

No — it’s because the future of Earthly life for the next million years is not “only a game.” There’s no replay button; we cannot shuffle and deal a second time. If anyone knows this, it’s Hansen; I’m sure he’s just trying to tell our political and media figures the scary truth in language that’s easier to grasp. While his words make the facts more accessible, they also deceive us into believing our species will get another chance to get it right. The scariest thing about this “game” is that humanity’s not going to get a mulligan: losing is forever.

Warren Senders