Category Archives: Global Change

One Lesson NOT to Take from France’s “Yellow Vest” Protests

One narrative about the Yellow Vest protests in France is that politicians should not adopt energy taxes to change behaviors that lead to climate change.  In this telling, the political costs of wise energy policy are too high.  This is an overly simple reading of the French experience and is a convenient excuse for those […]

What Climate Change and the U.S. Federal Deficit Have in Common

Let’s start with two facts. First, the human population continues to change in unprecedented ways how the Earth’s systems function.  Originally this was called global warming.  The realization that changes in the global climate included more than just temperature changes led to use of the term climate change.  Now we understand that more in nature […]

The Northern Bobwhite Calls for a New Ethic

For the past few weeks we have heard a Northern Bobwhite singing in our neighborhood. This is a bird we associate with Southern New England, so we were surprised to hear it in Eastern Maine.  My first thought was,  here is yet another bird whose range has moved north in response to climate change, a […]

Lessons from Japan for Imagining Sustainable De-growth

Cornell University ecologist David Pimentel and colleagues estimated that the earth might be able to sustain only 2 billion people by the end of the fossil fuel era.  There are about 7.5 billion humans on the planet right now.  It seems counterintuitive that there is nearly 4 times the sustainable population now living on the […]

Disdain for the Future

I first encountered the idea that the future was something one could study in 1971 from historian Roger Howell Jr.  In one way or another, thinking about the future informed much that I have written about since, including here in Stirring the Pot. In my way of thinking about the future, I believe there should […]

What It Means When Humans Impoverish Nature

In Henry Beston’s eloquent classic of nature writing, The Outermost House, he worried about the decline in birds he was seeing on the Great Beach of Cape Cod.  Even in the 1920s when he spent his year on the Beach, humans were adversely impacting birds and other parts of nature.  Beston identified a “new” danger:   […]