Year 3, Month 8, Day 8: But The Fossil Fuel Companies Are Always Right In The Beginning!

More on ozone layer destruction, this time from the Christian Science Monitor:

Global warming could open new holes in Earth’s ozone layer at latitudes that until now have seemed immune to the ozone destruction that recurs over Antarctica and the Arctic, a new study warns.

The underappreciated keys to this conundrum: water vapor and temperatures in the lower stratosphere, where the ozone layer appears. Both, the researchers say, reach summertime values over the continental US known to encourage ozone-destroying chemicals that are already aloft to attack ozone.

The team makes no attempt to project when significant erosion might be expected to occur. And researchers have yet to make the measurements that would confirm that the reactions the study describes are occurring. Rather, it points to conditions that are appearing and are known to stimulate stratospheric ozone destruction.

The hippies were right then, and they’re right now. Sent July 28:

Any American over a certain age remembers the discovery some decades ago that flourocarbon emissions were destroying the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. At the time, outraged columnists claimed that changing our spray-can habits was an assault on our traditional values; those who sensibly pointed out the benefits of a life without skin cancer were mocked and derided. Eventually, we changed our spray-can habits (without harming traditional values), and since then, fortunately, that scary hole in the stratosphere has been shrinking.

While we already knew that greenhouse emissions are triggering runaway climate change, the news that water vapor from severe thunderstorms poses a renewed threat to the ozone layer is unpleasantly nostalgic. Transforming our entire culture’s energy economy won’t be easy; it’ll be much harder to give up fossil fuels than it was to shift away from CFCs, but there’s no longer any time to waste. Let’s get started.

Warren Senders

Year 3, Month 1, Day 14: Do The Right Thing?

County legislators in New York are scared to do the right thing, because they might look like they’re agreeing with (gasp!) hippies:

CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators liked much of what they heard Monday about saving money through energy changes, but stopped short of wanting the projects included in a Climate Action Plan that was shelved earlier for discussion until at least February.

Legislators voted 7-7, with Legislator Vernon D. “Sam” Burns, D-Ogdensburg, absent, not to refer the draft county Climate Action Plan back to staff for revision and then disagreed over whether that meant they wanted to proceed with some of the measures.


Some legislators who voted against revising the climate plan — which has been tabled twice — said that the county would be wise to move ahead with cost-saving proposals but that they did not need to be part of a plan they find over-reaching.

The breakdown of the vote was almost exactly along party lines. Sent January 10:

The Republican party’s incessant politicization of science over the past four decades has led to a lot of bad policy decisions. It’s also made it harder to implement good policies. St. Lawrence county lawmakers’ unwillingness to include energy saving strategies under a rubric of climate change adaptation is an excellent example of this phenomenon.

On the face of it, energy efficiency is about the least objectionable policy goal imaginable. But because the word “conservation” has become anathema to conservative legislators and media figures, any move to increase efficiency and reduce waste must be framed in purely financial terms if it is to have any hope of success. Furthermore, any suggestion that such a fiscally sensible policy is in fact consistent with climate change response strategies is ipso facto a kiss of death in the electoral arena.

On the grand scale, Monday’s dispute in Canton may seem small — but it is symptomatic of our broader national inability to act in our own best interests for fear of political consequences.

Warren Senders

A Few Words About Hippies and India

Anyone who’s spent time in India knows the phenomenon of the hippie.  Hippie participation in Indian music started thanks to George Harrison and Ravi Shankar; while many professional Hindustani musicians earn healthy teaching fees from these questing souls, most of them regard “hippies” with a justifiably skeptical eye.

About ten years ago, members of the USENET newsgroup for Indian classical music ( engaged in a lengthy and vociferous discussion of “hippies in ICM.”  As a former hippie and a full-time professional Hindustani musician, I was in a unique position to clarify matters, and I assembled a post which, it was agreed, shed some light on the matter.  I thought I’d share it with you, only slightly revised.

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