Rise Up and Roar – New book!
The peoples of the world are standing now at two major tipping points, one planetary, one human.
As the Arctic ice cap melts at an accelerating rate, the Arctic Ocean is increasingly exposed to the summer sunlight, which heats it. The Arctic Ocean warms the Arctic winds, which warm the surrounding land and thus thaw the permafrost at an increasing rate. The thawing permafrost is already releasing methane into the atmosphere. Methane is far more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and will thus wrap a much thicker blanket around planet Earth, greatly increasing the rate of global warming. Methane is the monster. Once the Arctic goes beyond the tipping point, we are doomed to struggle for centuries on a very different planet.
The second tipping point, which we ourselves control, can take us in a very different direction. We have the clean energy technology to tackle the great challenges of global warming; we have already made an excellent start in the transition from coal and oil to the sun and the wind. But we are still taking baby steps, when we need to be taking long bold strides toward harnessing the sun and the wind.
If the Arctic tipping point comes before the human tipping point, then we will be too late.
And we are very, very close to too late, now.
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Photos from Sognsvann
Perfect ice on Sognsvann in January, 2017. Sognsvann is a lake at the edge of Oslo, wrapped by forest, at the end of a train line. Bring your skates, bring your skis, bring your baby buggy, bring your happy dog.
Meet the author
While the other twelve-year-olds were roaring around in a gang, John Slade, usually a solitary kid, was snorkeling in a lake with myriads of fish and tadpoles and turtles. He discovered a freshwater sponge, which he brought back to the dock to show everyone. No one was interested. It was limp and green and it smelled.
Over the following half-century, the snorkler watched as hundreds of fish become a scattered few, because acid rain ravaged the lake. When fishermen overstocked the lake with six-inch bass, year after year, the snorkler watched the smaller fish and frogs and crayfish vanish until the lake was nearly barren of life. The bass flourished for a while, then ate their own young. When John tried to talk with the fishermen, they gave him the finger.
John knows, today, about poisoning and plundering a lake. He knows that the same can be done, on a global scale, to planet Earth. While the other young teachers were seeking tenure-track positions, John Slade, with a doctorate in literature from Stanford University, taught English further and further from home. He taught West Indian students on an island in the Caribbean, Norwegian students above the polar circle, Sami students (the reindeer people) at their new college on the tundra, and Russian students at a university in St. Petersburg. The solitary kid found his best friends in the international classrooms.
Who Would Be Reading John Slade?
If Herodotus were here today, he would be reading John Slade.
If General Washington were here today, he would be reading John Slade.
If Benjamin Franklin were here today, he would be reading John Slade.
If Abigail Adams were here today, she would be reading John Slade.
If Abraham Lincoln were here today, he would be reading John Slade.
If Dwight Eisenhower were here today, he would be reading John Slade.
If Rachel Carson were here today, she would be reading John Slade.
If your great-grandchildren were here today,
they would insist that you read John Slade.