Climate Shake-Out With Dahr Jamail—The End of Ice & Climate Disruption

Weather extremes and uncommon danger erupting are around this warming world. We need a tough investigative climate journalist. Indie-journalist and author of "The End of Ice" Dahr Jamail covers the climate threats and how to cope. From the Arctic to the Amazon to middle America we globe-trot through the latest science and what it means for our common future.

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“The reporting in this [new] book has turned out to be far more difficult to deal with than the years I spent reporting from war-torn Iraq”. During the course of writing, what he found tipped him toward personal depression. The book contains excellent black and white photos of Alaska and glaciers and important guests.

Dahr Jamail publishes regular articles at Truthout, an index to the latest news and science about climate disruption. His climate dispatch articles provide all the links to original sources in his reporting. He really shows how to publish using online media.

“As a species, we now hang over the abyss of a geoengineered future we have created for ourselves. At our insistence, our voracious appetite is consuming nature itself. We have refused to heed the warnings Earth has been sending, and there is no rescue team on its way.”

The book (and the interview) are not all about the ice. He travels to many parts of the Earth to document the unraveling of life on this planet. For example, he visits with Dr Thomas Lovejoy, the Godfather of Biodiversity, in the Amazon Base 41 station.

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds...” Aldo Leopold

Last week another punishing round of strong tornadoes hit the southern US, part of a long string of extreme storms that frightened Oklahoma, flooded Houston again, and cut agricultural planting in key mid-West states in half. These tornadoes, floods and storms signal the new climate paradigm.

All of us will have to learn what an atmospheric Rossby Wave is. We’ve just seen what can happen in the southern US with hundreds of tornadoes a week, flooding rains, and slow-moving powerful storms when we get stuck in a weather system between two big meandering paths of the Jet Stream.

Paul Beckwith has been talking about waves in a stalled Jet Stream for years. Patterns of land and seas in the Northern Hemisphere are starting to form relatively predictable zones of extreme weather. Are we starting to glimpse a new “normal” for the Anthropocene?

Some people worry the economy will crash as weather violence, rising seas, and other stresses just break civilization down. I worry that this fossil economy will not break down until we wreck everything beyond any hope of repair. As more serious disasters develop over the coming decades, I think two awful developments are inevitable: millions of climate refugees will flood over borders and at some point, hundreds of millions of people will die, likely of famine or disease.

Industrial humans are ruining the world not just for ourselves but for millions of other species. Dahr’s coping mechanisms could help our listeners. He talks about Stephen Jenkinson who helps people with palliative dying who says about climate change: “If you awaken in our time, you awaken with a sob.” We can learn about dying.

Dahr writes “PTSD—we all have it now, as the biosphere of the planet is perpetually being assaulted by the industrial growth machine.” As soldiers returned from the endless Middle East wars, we all learned about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Years ago I suggested those who know about the bad times yet to come are developing Pre-Climatic Stress Disorder. Millions of people all over the world suffer climate trauma directly.

Dahr recommends that people travel to the wilderness, including to places only realistically available by airplane. That is my one small criticism of his work. Beyond that, Dahr has made many changes to reduce his impact on the atmosphere and the planet. He also talks about “living right” or “living angry”. Meditation has played a big role in his ability to cope as he documents the climate nightmare unfolding.

He found a tree in the Olympic Mountains that clings to life in the most hostile high peak. I think we're tough like that tree. Some people will hang on. Dahr agrees that very near-term human extinction has been overblown.

He's let go of the idea that he can change the federal government or awaken the public, instead becoming hyper-local, being the change & caring for the land where he lives. He hopes his changes will be explainable to a young kid 30 or 40 years from now: “I did everything I could.”

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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

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