Divestment Transparency

We like to think we can see the true nature of the world around us, or at least, that we have a chance of understanding it. In February, the Irish government took a big step towards revealing how the fossil fuel infrastructure really works. How? By halting all public investment in fossil fuels like coal,…

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Stone Cold Facts

Switzerland just experienced its coldest winter in thirty years; back in October, several meteorologists predicted this winter would be Europe’s coldest in a century. From my vantage point on the Franco-Swiss border, where temperatures didn’t get above freezing and were further chilled by a strong northerly wind, I can testify that January was desperately cold…

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Clepsydra Elegy

It should come as no surprise that one of the earliest tools humans used to tell time was water. After all, it’s what we are, what we need to live. A clepsydra is an ancient clock system that, at its most basic, uses two bowls, one nested inside another. The outer bowl is filled with…

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Looking Forward, Looking Back

We were recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, where we viewed an exhibition called You Say You Want A Revolution. It was a compilation of materials and installations that illustrated the upheaval in popular culture and music from 1966-70, and asked whether they impacted the way we live today and think about…

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Waiting For Rain

I was running my loop the other day when I came across this delicate specimen in the middle of the road – a damselfly that was flitting around two weeks later than the very end of the usual damselfly season, probably because it still feels like high summer. I shooed it off the asphalt as…

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Rare Snow, Rare Rant

It’s one of those days that confirm the thinking of both climate change deniers and the other 98% of us. I wanted to go out for a run, and ended up wearing my spring running tights, a winter running jacket, and gloves. A fierce wind has been blowing from the north-east. The sky looks like…

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End of Year Buzz

Everyone’s talking about the unseasonable weather. Too hot, too cold, no snow, too much rain. Here in eastern France, after a glorious autumn and then a first snowfall that was properly timed and then quickly melted, it’s been warm. So warm, in fact, that a few of the bees under the eaves left their protective…

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Reclaiming The Stuff That Matters

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to read the results of a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showing that three-quarters of Americans are not very worried about the effects of climate change. After all, a lot of money and energy has gone into sowing doubt when it comes to climate…

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Patch Job

A study published earlier this year pointed to a decrease in the size of the ozone hole over the Antarctic. This healing process indicates the success of the Montreal Protocol, the 1989 treaty intended to limit the production and use of ozone-harming chemicals. Ratified by all United Nations Members, as well as Niue, the Cook…

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Glacial Flight

My visit to Alaska last week, to attend a memorial for a young friend, was marked by both tears and laughter. Tears because of his tragic and early death, laughter in memory of his brilliant and raucously funny spirit. In the midst of this, I was offered a chance to take a flight over the…

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