Welcome to the Anthropocene

I LIVE IN A SUPERFUND site. So do you, no matter where you live. Despite environmental laws older than I am and the migration of U.S. heavy industry overseas, the toxic impacts of modern human life touch every inch of the U.S. And it’s not just the U.S., it’s North America, it’s Asia, it’s Antarctica, every inch of everywhere really — even the organic detoxification spas across California. Welcome to the Anthropocene, or “age of man.”

We move more earth and stone than all the world’s rivers. We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere all life breathes. We are on pace to eat to death half of the other life currently sharing the planet with us. There is nothing on Earth untouched by man — whether it be the soot from fossil fuels darkening polar snows or the very molecules incorporated into a tree trunk. Humanity has become a global force whose exploits will be written in rock for millennia.

We can think of our Anthropocene… Read the rest over at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

The Clean Revolution

Clean Coal?

I continue to work at a snail’s pace on my book (more literally my book proposal) on the slow-creeping tide of change in our energy supplies. I’m not just talking the current fad for wind farms and solar panels on rooftops, but an incremental but monumental effort to replace fire—mankind’s oldest technology, possibly—with some other way of harnessing energy for our needs. This is the work of decades if not centuries. After all, it took millennia for the harnessing of fire to bear full fruit in the form of the coal-fired power plant or an internal combustion engine.

Anyway, thoughts, suggestions, help welcome. The “green” revolution is dead, long live the clean revolution!

What we talk about when we talk about environmentalism


This little electronic missive is to plant a stake in the ground as well as serving as the proverbial cri de coeur: here I am, sucking up electricity on some servers somewhere and taking up the real estate that might otherwise be squatted by mine enemies. So, expect the occasional post, and a little bit of lightheartedness. The kind of thing I can’t do over at my day job: Scientific American.