Year 1, Month 1, Day 16: The Gray Lady

The New York Times has a length limit of 150 words; I managed to get it down to 149. Tomorrow I’ll be out most of the day making calls for Coakley at a local phonebank. I hate doing it, but it’s not something I feel a lot of choice about. My voice will be wrecked by the evening…with luck I’ll recover before a full day of teaching on Sunday.

Another of the Times’ stipulations is that letters have to explicitly address an issue discussed in a recent article. Fortunately, a few seconds of searching their site found me a recent piece on the possibilities of post-Copenhagen progress on climate, and I framed my letter around that. It was fun getting it trimmed to fit a 150-word maximum; I’ll try again in another week or so.

If you have suggestions for other journals, papers, magazines or forums I can write to, I will be interested in hearing them!

American climate change negotiator Todd Stern’s is cautiously optimistic (“U.S. Official Says Talks on Emissions Show Promise” – John M. Broder, January 14). Unfortunately his caution is more reality-based than his optimism. Stern’s statements are full of conditionals, as witness the end of the first sentence: “…if countries followed through on its provisions.” The dilemma lies, as do so many of our problems, in the Senate, where a significant number of lawmakers have abandoned any notion of crafting policy around scientific consensus, basing it instead on poll numbers or ideological opposition to the current administration. And because our mass media has for years downplayed the threat posed by global climate change, the public has not grasped the terrifying reality of anthropogenic climaticide for what it is: a planetary emergency of unparalleled scale. Our failure to address this crisis with the requisite urgency may be the final failure of our species.

Warren Senders

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