Eugene Linden
home   |   contact info   |   biography   |   publications   |   radio/tv   |   musings   |   short takes   

Lastest Musing
VITAMIN C FOR OUR FEEBLE RECOVERY

[THIS ESSAY ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN QUARTZ]

As our feeble recovery shambles on, the question arises as to whether the United States economy is being dragged down by forces, some decades in the making, beyond the power of central banks and policymakers to reverse. Workers, for instanc...
continue

Featured Book

The Ragged Edge of the World
Buy from Amazon

more info

Articles by Category
endangered animals
rapid climate change
global deforestation
fragging

Books

Winds of Change
Buy from Amazon

more info
Afterword to the softbound edition.


The Octopus and the Orangutan
more info


The Future In Plain Sight
more info


The Parrot's Lament
more info


Silent Partners
more info


Affluence and Discontent
more info


The Alms Race
more info


Apes, Men, & Language
more info


center content

TheOctopusandtheOrangutan

Buy The Octopus and the Orangutan at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, or BookSense. THE OCTOPUS AND THE ORANGUTAN From the publisher's press release: Award-winning writer Eugene Linden returns to the animal kingdom in this eagerly-awaited follow-up to The Parrot's Lament. In The Octopus and the Orangutan, Eugene Linden takes readers on another unforgettable journey into the minds and hearts of animals. The Parrot's Lament, his acclaimed previous book, explored the animal intelligence revealed as different creatures negotiated with, fooled, and teased zookeepers, trainers, and each other. Now, in a wide-ranging collection of real-life anecdotes that offer further compelling evidence of animals' higher mental capabilities and their awareness of the needs and feelings of others, Linden goes beyond these everyday encounters and takes us deeper into their minds through this new window on intelligence. The Octopus and the Orangutan finds intelligent behavior in surprising new places, ranging from the octopus' garden to the crow's nest. Amazing feats of stealth, deception, and larceny are balanced with unexpected acts of kindness and friendship. Animals show they are cagey bargainers and tough negotiators both with their human keepers and with one another. And, for the first time, we observe an astonishing new behavior previously thought to be exclusively human. The animals themselves are our guides in this fresh look at the question of animal intelligence. From the beloved pets we think we know to the remarkable creatures in the wild, Eugene Linden once again shares his wonder and joy at the infinite variety of animal behavior that continues to inform, amaze, and touch us all. The author will donate a portion of his royalties to the Humane Society of the United States and to Traffic, a branch of the World Wildlife Fund dedicated to stopping the trade in endangered species. Eugene Linden is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Parrot's Lament, The Future in Plain Sight, Silent Partners, and other books on animals and the environment. He has consulted for the U.S. State Department, the UN Development Program, and he is a widely traveled speaker and lecturer. In 2001, Yale University named Linden a Poynter Fellow in recognition of his writing on the environment. He lives in Nyack, New York. Buy The Octopus and the Orangutan at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, or BookSense.

contact Eugene Linden

Short Take


 On Wednesday, April 9, the New York Times published one of the most exasperating op-eds I’ve yet read on climate change. Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger wrote that articles that link global warming to the rash of extreme weather events, hurt rather than help efforts to rouse the public to the scale of the threat by alienating conservatives. Instead they recommend focusing on how mitigation might make a better society, and on promoting nuclear power and geoengineering.
           

Where to begin! Let’s start with the fact that one reason conservatives have hardened their opposition even as the evidence that climate is changing has become overwhelming is that there has been an extremely well-funded campaign to spread confusion and disinformation on the issue going back to the 1990s. This is never mentioned in the op-ed.
The unmentioned campaign has been remarkably effective. National newspapers like the Wall Street Journal give discredited scientists and peddlers of specious arguments – e.g. that there has been no unusual rise in global temperatures -- a pulpit and a patina of legitimacy. If you accept the arguments of the deniers that those scientists who spread alarm about global warming are twisting the facts and have a self-interested agenda, then of course you are going to see items linking extreme weather to climate change as further proof of their perfidy.

But the absurdity of this op-ed really comes into focus if you accept its premise. Let’s say the scientific community and the media made a concerted effort to avoid linking disasters to climate change (actually they are already doing that – most of the articles and news items I’ve seen have stressed the uncertainties), what then? We Americans have proven time and again that we only act when there is an emergency, as for instance after 9/11 or the financial crash of 2008 (not that the reactions to either of these crises should be a model for how to respond to climate change). Without a sense of urgency Americans are going to continue to do what they’ve been doing since the threat first gained attention twenty-five years ago: nothing.

In the U.S., we are becoming more carbon efficient as companies and individuals become more cost-conscious and alternatives gain appeal. The problem is that climate is changing faster than this conservative-friendly transition. In effect, Nordhaus and Shellenberger are saying: Don’t acknowledge what is staring you in the face because it’s going to cause conservatives to stick their heads deeper into the sand. Thanks guys! 



read more
  designed and maintained by g r a v i t y s w i t c h , i n c .
Eugene Linden. all rights reserved.