Friday, February 04, 2011

eddies and swirls

A new climate events post is at the data bank.

Most shocking: temps at Baffin Island near the magnetic Pole were thirty-nine (39) degrees Fahrenheit above "normal" for more than a month.

Most troubling: last year's drought (second or third this decade) killed one billion (1,000,000,000) trees in the Amazon. The predicted biome flip of jungle to savannah may now have begun.

Most breath-taking: while it took years of scholarly wrangling plus a 2010 public statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon before anthropogenic climate change was identified as main driver of the Darfur genocide, this time around it took no time whatsoever to identify climate change as indirect culprit of the revolutions in Tunesia and Egypt. Shrinking world harvests and extreme global food prices are the causal links in between.

Most dispiriting: in the context of discussing Confucius' insights on how societies succeed or fail, forty hard-thinking students needed half an hour to make the climate-food-revolution connection -- even though they're highly intelligent, dedicated, and attentive. Misinformation by corporate media works.

Most encouraging: Asuncion Lera St Clair (Sociology, University of Bergen, Norway), a Turner-student and USF Ph.D., gave a great lecture to the Philosophy Graduate Student Organization on "tasks for philosophy and social sciences in a changing climate." Asun is a lead author of AR 5 at the IPCC, appointed to working group II, and has done pioneering work in climate ethics, most recent with Climate Change, Ethics, and Human Security (Cambridge 2010). Her campus visit highlights the new career paths for professional Philosophers after the paradigm change.

The era of science fiction weather has begun. The palm trees in front of Cooper Hall are frozen, brown, and brittle.

Seventy months left.

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