Monday, April 16, 2012


In Die Zeit, I came across an article on Germany's shrinking market share in the global photovoltaic boom.  The word above the headline, Energiewende, caught my attention. "Energie" is energy, and "Wende" is 'turn'.  "Energie-Wende" is the switchover to renewables.  Which is happening in Europe and Asia, but not here.  There's a broadening of the energy base in America, but no switch.  The crazy part about this is that there's no English word for it.  At least I couldn't think of any.  Is it me?  Or is it America?  I fear the American Disenlightenment just deepened to a linguistic dimension.  It's scary how the US is falling behind.  Now they're not even keeping up with words anymore.  Well, maybe they'll be turning Energiewende into a loanword.  Like Kindergarten.

Friday, April 13, 2012

things happen

"Things Happen" Video 5 May 2012 Climate Impacts Day

I am groaning under the weight of information received for the Newsletter.  This is really quite amazing.  This year's annual bibliography will be triple the size of that of the last one.  Philosophical research on climate is exploding.  This time around there are also conceptual crossovers, at the philosophy interfaces of theology, sociology, anthropology, critical theory, and science, as well as, of course, world philosophy and civil evolution, the stuff I like to write on.  I hope to be done with the Climate Philosophy Newsletter by next Friday.

Bill McKibben's produced a great new video, which exemplifies the conceptual challenge of moving beyond purely analytic and postmodern approaches, both of which emphasize dissecting and deconstructing information at the expense of rationally making sense of it.  Moving beyond these approaches is to head towards a new paradigm of thinking: synthetic philosophy, as in "synthesis," Greek for "connecting the dots."

Below is the transcript from McKibben's "Things Happen" clip.

"Things happen. 

"They always have. A storm. A heatwave. A downpour.

"But now they happen differently. 

"More frequent, and more intense.

"We're changing the Planet's climate, and all across the world people are paying the price.  But because it's a big world, we don't make the connections we should.

"When Thailand has the worst flooding in its history, only a month after Central America has the worst flooding in its history, a month after Vermont has the worst flooding in its history, in the same year the Mississippi river has the worst flooding in its history, and Queensland in Australia, a few months after Pakistan floods so badly that twenty million people are forced from their homes, it's connected.

"Connected to the fact that warm air holds more water vapor than cold air, loading the dice for deluge, and loading the dice for drought, too, since more water evaporates into the atmosphere.

"So it's really no surprise that we've seen the worst drought in the American Southwest, and the hottest fires in Australia, and the crop-withering heat in Russia, and the staggeringly dry famine across the Horn of Africa.

"We're going to connect the dots on climate change and extreme weather literally.  On May 5th, we will rally at hundreds of sites around the Planet afflicted by climate change.  We'll show the world how the pieces of this puzzle fit together.

"You'll forgive us if we're just the littlest bit angry.

"It's not fair what's happening.

"The fossil fuel industry, in pursuit of ever more profit, is making life impossible for many of us.  We should be mad.  We're hopeful, too, though.  Hopeful that if people begin to make the connections, they'll draw the obvious conclusion.  The time has come to move away from coal, gas, and oil. And we'll only do that if we start to connect the dots."

"Join us on May 5th."

Fifty-six months left.