August 20, 2019
The poet T.S. Eliot once said, “It is ours to do the work. The results are none of our business.” As Joanna Macy observes, “Those who move and encourage us rarely understand the impact they’ve had on our lives. Nor do we but rarely know the effect of all our work on others.” This week we examine ways in which our work is done, and done whether we think there is a snowball’s chance in hell it will help or not – It just needs to get done.
But first the news.

The Banner’s Fund Drive

A number of readers have responded to our fund drive. And we are currently about $200 from our goal for the next twelve months’ operating expenses! If you’d like to make a small-ish donation to support the work of The Banner you can use Paypal to send funds to If you prefer to send a check or money order, write for my mailing address. And now the news!

Climate Leaders Call for Massive Public Turnout
at Upcoming Global Strikes

Climate Leaders Ask for Massive Public Turnout at Upcoming Global Strikes

“Young people have been leading here, but now it’s the job of the rest of us to back them up.”

Organizers of upcoming global climate strikes hope their demands for a rapid end to business as usual and a swift start to climate justice will be too loud to ignore.

The strikes, which are set for Sept. 20 and 27 — with additional actions slated for the days in between — are planned in over 150 countries thus far, and over 6,000 people have already pledged to take part.

It has the potential to be the biggest climate mobilization yet, said organizers.

“Our house is on fire — let’s act like it,” says the strikes’ call-to-action, referencing the words of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. “We demand climate justice for everyone.”

Thunberg echoed that call in a just-released video promoting the upcoming actions.

“Everyone should mobilize for the 20th and 27th of September,” said Thunberg, “because this is a global issue which actually affects everyone.”

It’s been the world’s youth, though, that have played a driving force in recently calling attention to the climate crisis with protests and school strikes.

“Young people have been leading here,” co-founder Bill McKibben said in the Thunberg video, “but now it’s the job of the rest of us to back them up.”…—Andrea Germanos, “Climate Leaders Ask for Massive Public Turnout at Upcoming Global Strikes,” EcoWatch, 7/25/19


Join New York City Youth to Strike for Climate on September 20th

Join New York City Youth to Strike for Climate on September 20th

New York City’s youth are striking on September 20th in Manhattan to demand radical improvement in the way our world’s governments are managing the climate crisis. The strike will specifically exert pressure on the September 23rd UN Climate Summit. The strike will address local, national, and global climate issues. We will call on governments to advance real, just climate solutions to achieve our goal of halving CO2 emissions by 2030. No longer can we allow the fossil fuel and agricultural lobbies to control the climate change debate. Instead, we are holding our governments morally accountable to youth and the already numerous victims of the crisis.

Mild, ineffective, and unjust solutions to the crisis are no longer excusable. Global temperatures have already risen one degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. According to the IPCC’s report in 2018, if global temperatures rise even another half degree, the results will be disastrous. Sixty-nine million more people could be exposed to flooding. 70% of coral reefs will die. We are already suffering from more severe natural disasters and mass heat waves, the effects of which constitute an emergency. The Institute of Economics and Peace reported that in 2017 alone natural disasters displaced 18 million people.

“I was born and brought up in Bangladesh, a country heavily impacted by climate change. If nobody does anything, my home will be underwater by 2050. I would like to do everything in my power to protect this planet and its people from corporations that are blinded by greed.”- Fariha Mahjabin, NYU student

One reason for the sluggish rate of reform is that those affected have tended to be economically disadvantaged, politically unempowered, and marginalized. As the IPCC maintains, “Climate change is projected to be a poverty multiplier, which means that its impacts make the poor poorer and increase the total number of people living in poverty.”

For more info: Lindsay Meiman,, (347) 460-9082

Youth will meet around midday in a Manhattan location. Adults are welcome to march with them and/or join them in the afternoon rally where Greta Thunberg and others will speak. More details will be included in our August 20th Newsletter.

The goal of the strikes is not to solve the climate crisis, but to set in motion the political, and social mechanisms that can. We have seen evidence of this potential before: youth strikes on March 15th, May 3rd, and May 24th resulted in the declaration of Climate Emergencies by 670 governments, including New York City’s. This strike hopes to build on past successes by reaffirming the international scope of the climate crisis. Striking before the UN summit will demonstrate not merely the importance of decisive action, but multilateral cooperation. Nothing so accurately embodies this message as Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s choice to join the strike. Not only is Thunberg credited with starting the Fridays for Future Movement, but she will also be making the trip to New York in a carbon neutral sailboat! Along with Greta and Fridays For Future, we have representation from other organizations in the Climate Strike Coalition, such as Earth Uprising, Zero Hour, Sunrise Movement, XR Youth, Earth Guardians, US Youth Climate Strike, Future Coalition, SustainUS, and more.…—Lindsay Meiman, “Join New York City Youth to Strike for Climate on September 20th,”, 8/8/19


Government Delays First Big U.S. Offshore Wind Farm.
Is a Double Standard at Play?

Government Delays First Big U.S. Offshore Wind Farm. Is a Double Standard at Play?

It ordered an expanded review for Vineyard Wind at the same time Trump is weakening environmental rules for fossil fuel projects that contribute to climate change.

As the Trump administration takes steps to expedite fossil fuel projects and reduce environmental regulations, it has veered in the opposite direction on offshore wind, delaying a highly anticipated project in Massachusetts.

Vineyard Wind was set to be the country’s largest offshore wind farm, with construction expected to start this year on a project that could power more than 400,000 homes. But this month, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said it was expanding its review of the environmental impacts of the project to include a “more robust” analysis of the potential cumulative impact if other offshore wind farms are built.

The expanded review is potentially broad, with ramifications for Vineyard Wind and several other projects. And yet, the office has provided almost no details on the scope. The project developers said that they had not received any documents showing parameters of the review.

Vineyard Wind was to signal the arrival of the U.S. offshore wind industry, the first in a line of large developments. This delay threatens to slow the progress of an energy source that is vital for East Coast states trying to move away from fossil fuels and meet ambitious climate targets.

Vineyard Wind’s developers—Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of a Spanish energy company, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, a Danish investment firm—were racing to begin construction before the end of the year so the project would qualify for a tax credit that is set to end at that time.

While the developers say they are still committed to the project, the potential loss of the tax credit could lead them to rethink their plans.

Environmental advocates and other stakeholder groups have long called for regulators to fully consider cumulative effects of related energy projects, including environmental and global warming impacts. The problem, some critics say, is that there appears to be a double standard in this administration.…—Phil Mckenna Dan Gearino, Dan Gearino, “Government Delays First Big U.S. Offshore Wind Farm. Is a Double Standard at Play?InsideClimate News, 8/19/19


DEC again denies Northern Access Pipeline
NFG says FERC ruling gives OK

DEC again denies Northern Access Pipeline; NFG says FERC ruling gives OK

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation doubled down last week on its opposition of the proposed 97-mile Northern Access Pipeline that would carry Pennsylvania shale gas north to

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation doubled down last week on its opposition of the proposed 97-mile Northern Access Pipeline that would carry Pennsylvania shale gas north to interstate pipelines in Erie County and to Canada.

The DEC issued a 20-page letter to National Fuel Gas, saying the project would damage too many streams to meet state water quality standards by churning up sediment.

National Fuel Gas continues to disregard the DEC finding that it could not grant a water quality certificate due to the crossing of 192 state-regulated streams and 73 acres of federally-regulated wetlands.…—Rick Miller, “DEC again denies Northern Access Pipeline; NFG says FERC ruling gives OK,” Olean Times Herald, 8/13/19


New York judge rejects Exxon ‘fishing expedition’ in climate fraud case

New York judge rejects Exxon ‘fishing expedition’ in climate fraud case

A judge rules that Exxon’s demands that witnesses produce documents is overly burdensome in the state’s investor fraud case against the oil giant.

A New York state judge has rejected Exxon’s attempt to force third-party witnesses to produce documents in New York’s climate fraud suit against the oil giant, calling it a “gigantic, burdensome fishing expedition.”

Exxon had demanded third-party witnesses provide the documents prior to submitting to depositions in the case, which the New York attorney general’s office said was effectively pressuring those witnesses not to testify. The AG’s office filed a motion opposing Exxon’s demands, saying it imposed  “disproportionate burdens” on the witnesses and was in violation of an agreement that allowed Exxon to take depositions from key witnesses but mentioned no document requests.

New York Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager agreed with the attorney general that Exxon overstepped their agreement by sending letters to witnesses informing them that if they were to testify, they would need to turn over documents in addition to being deposed. Exxon attorneys also reminded witnesses that they cannot be compelled to testify and asked if they would still make themselves available for the trial.

Ostrager ruled on Thursday that while Exxon is entitled to a wide array of documents and it can’t go on a “gigantic, burdensome fishing expedition” to obtain documents that are not related to the case. Ostrager said Exxon must first depose the witnesses in order to establish a “factual predicate” for its request, which includes communication between the witnesses and the attorney general’s office.

“You’re not entitled to burden these third-party witnesses,” Ostrager said during a hearing Thursday, as first reported by Law360.…—Karen Savage, “New York judge rejects Exxon ‘fishing expedition’ in climate fraud case,” Climate Liability News, 8/9/19


Trump administration Seeks to end Clean Water Act Provisions

Proposed Regulation Erodes Vital Health and Water Protections to Benefit Polluting Corporations

 On Friday, August 9, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under Donald Trump’s direction, announced a proposed rule that would drastically undermine the bedrock protections set forth in the Clean Water Act. With this rule, EPA would significantly curtail authority granted by the Clean Water Act for states to protect their water quality. The rule change would severely limit the time and tools available to states to properly evaluate the effect federally permitted projects, like pipelines or fossil fuel facilities, would have on waterways. Namely, it would limit states’ ability to request additional information on the negative effects of proposed projects and would limit their review of water quality impacts to only point source discharges, instead of all potential sources of pollution, including from sediment, runoff, or erosion. Point source discharges are defined as coming from “any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance…from which pollutants are or may be discharged.” 

Prior to the rule even being finalized, attorneys general from across the country have voiced concerns about efforts to undermine states’ ability to protect their water.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“It’s simple: the Trump Administration is undermining and attacking the Clean Water Act because it’s more interested in padding corporate polluter profits than ensuring communities have access to safe drinking water. This attack on one of our most fundamental clean water protections seeks to severely limit states’ ability to protect their water, at a time when climate change, water scarcity, and pollution make access to clean water more important than ever. It’s expected that we can’t trust the polluting corporations behind these dirty, dangerous projects to protect our water, but it’s disastrous that we can’t trust our own president to do so, either.”

Docket: This is not yet open and the comment period has not begun. The Environmental Protection Agency page on proposed rule is

State and Tribal Listening Sessions

The EPA will hold state and tribal listening sessions on the proposed “Updated Regulations on Water Quality Certifications” rule.

  • The first series of listening sessions will take place at the Salt Lake City Public Library, 210 E 400 S, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111.
    • The tribal listening session will be held on September 4, 2019 from 1 pm to 5 pm (Mountain Daylight Time).
    • The state listening session will be held on September 5, 2019 from 9 am to 12 pm (Mountain Daylight Time).
  • The second series of listening sessions will take place at the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 offices at 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.
    • The state listening session will be held on the morning of September 16, 2019.
    • The tribal listening session will be held on the afternoon of September 16, 2019.

Public Hearing

The EPA will hold a public hearing session on the proposed “Updated Regulations on Water Quality Certifications” rule on

September 5, 2019 from 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Mountain Daylight Time)
September 6, 2019 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (Mountain Daylight Time)
Salt Lake City Public Library, 210 E 400 S, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111.—Doug Jackson, “Trump administration Seeks to end Clean Water Act Provisions,” Sierra Club, 9/16/19


Doing The Work
Climate Activists Set Sights On Ending Fossil Fuel Exports

In Pacific Northwest Once And For All

Climate Activists Set Sights On Ending Fossil Fuel Exports In Pacific Northwest Once And For All

Climate activists rally outside State Capitol in Salem, Oregon to urge Gov. Brown to reject Jordan Cove LNG. (Photo: Backbone Campaign)

Climate activists have defeated coal, oil and gas terminals up and down the Pacific Northwest coast. One of the largest remaining hubs may be the next to go.

When federal regulators came to Southern Oregon in June for hearings on a massive gas export project, they were greeted by a grassroots resistance movement 15 years in the making. About 800 people attended a series of four hearings put on by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC. Those speaking out against the gas project represented rural landowners, local governments, fisheries interests, tribal governments, and climate activist groups.

“This project has brought people together from across the political spectrum,” said Rogue Climate campaigns director Allie Rosenbluth. “Whether people speak out against the threat of eminent domain or climate change, we all know it isn’t good for our communities. That’s why so many people have been coming out year after year for over a decade to oppose it.”

Southern Oregon is one of the most important remaining battlegrounds for a movement that has defeated coal, oil and gas terminals up and down the Pacific Northwest Coast. The region is home to the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal (LNG being short for liquefied natural gas) and the Pacific Connector pipeline that would connect to it. Together, they are among the last major Northwest fossil fuel export proposals still moving forward. With permitting processes for these related projects entering a critical phase, the resistance is ramping up for a decisive battle.

The stakes are high both for the climate and locally impacted communities. The 229-mile-long Pacific Connector pipeline would span four counties and cut through hundreds of private landowners’ property, leading many rural residents to join hands with climate activists in fighting it. The pipeline would also cross land owned by the Klamath Tribes, which formally oppose the project because of impacts on the environment and ancient burial grounds. Other tribes whose ancestral territory would be affected — including the Yurok, Karuk, and Tolowa Dee-ni’ nations — have also spoken out.

In a letter to FERC announcing the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Tribal Council’s opposition, Council chairperson Denise Richards-Padgett highlighted threats to the Rogue River headwaters, writing, “Water is a life source to the Tolowa people and the integrity of any water flowing into the Tribe’s aboriginal lands and territory may not be compromised.”…—Nick Engelfried, “Climate Activists Set Sights On Ending Fossil Fuel Exports In Pacific Northwest Once And For All,” PopularResistance, 8/2/19


The Work That Reconnects

Joanna Macy Ph.D, author & teacher, is a scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking and deep ecology. A respected voice in movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with learnings from six decades of activism.

Her wide-ranging work addresses psychological and spiritual issues of the nuclear age, the cultivation of ecological awareness, and the fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and postmodern science. The many dimensions of this work are explored in her thirteen books, which include three volumes of poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke with translation and commentary.

As the root teacher of The Work That Reconnects, Joanna has created a ground-breaking framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application.

Based in Berkeley, California, close to her children and grandchildren, Joanna has spent many years in other lands and cultures, viewing movements for social change and exploring their roots in religious thought and practice.

“Of all the dangers we face, from climate chaos to nuclear war, none is so great as the deadening of our response.”

Since the early 1980’s her travel was governed by invitations to teach the group work that she and a growing number of colleagues were developing. Many thousands of people around the world have participated in Joanna’s workshops and trainings. These methods, incorporated in the Work That Reconnects, have been adopted and adapted yet more widely in classrooms, community centers, and grassroots organizing.

Further study: Part 1: Welcome – The Work That Reconnects with Joanna Macy, YouTube

In the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, this work helps people transform despair and apathy into constructive, collaborative action. It brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger living body. This perspective frees us from the assumptions and attitudes that now threaten the continuity of life on Earth.—Joanna Macy, “The Work That Reconnects”


U.S. Shale Is Doomed No Matter What They Do

U.S. Shale Is Doomed No Matter What They Do |

With financial stress setting in for U.S. shale companies, some are trying to boost production in order to improve cash flows, while others are cutting costs, but neither strategy seems to work out

With financial stress setting in for U.S. shale companies, some are trying to drill their way out of the problem, while others are hoping to boost profitability by cutting costs and implementing spending restraint. Both approaches are riddled with risk.

“Turbulence and desperation are roiling the struggling fracking industry,” Kathy Hipple and Tom Sanzillo wrote in a note for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Further reading  Will The U.S Gas Glut Cap Oil Production?
Bakken oil wells and the Red Queen’s revenge, 2015

They point to the example of EQT, the largest natural gas producer in the United States. A corporate struggle over control of the company reached a conclusion recently, with the Toby and Derek Rice seizing power. The Rice brothers sold their company, Rice Energy, to EQT in 2017. But they launched a bid to take over EQT last year, arguing that the company’s leadership had failed investors. The Rice brothers convinced shareholders that they could steer the company in a better direction promising $500 million in free cash flow within two years.

Their bet hinged on more aggressive drilling while simultaneously reducing costs. Their strategy also depends on “new, unproven, expensive technology, electric frack fleets,” IEEFA argued. “This seems like more of the same – big risky capital expenditures.”

EQT’s former CEO Steve Schlotterbeck recently made headlines when he called fracking an “unmitigated disaster” because it helped crash prices and produce mountains of red ink. “In fact, I’m not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change,” Schlotterbeck said at an industry conference in June.…—Nick Cunningham, “U.S. Shale Is Doomed No Matter What They Do,” OilPrice, 7/21/19


Workers Seize the Shipyard That Built the Titanic,
Plan to Make Renewable Energy There

Workers Seize the Shipyard That Built the Titanic, Plan to Make Renewable Energy There

The closure of the last shipyard in Belfast would end centuries of ship building in the city. A group of workers are demanding the U.K. nationalize the yards.

Late last month, 130 ship builders, steel workers, welders, and riveters seized control of the storied Belfast shipyard that built the Titanic in 1909. More than two weeks later, they’re still there, and say they won’t be leaving until the docks are nationalized and are used to produce renewable energy infrastructure.

The docks had moved to shut down after their troubled Norwegian parent company, Dolphin Drilling, failed to find a buyer, but militant workers have refused to relinquish the site, including its two towering yellow cranes, known as Sampson and Goliath—landmarks that dominate the Belfast skyline.


The closure of the shipyard, once an emblem of Britain’s industrial power with over 30,000 workers, would mark the end of centuries of shipbuilding in the city. But workers from Harland & Wolff are demanding that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson nationalize the shipyards and create new jobs in renewable energy there.

“I was there yesterday. These workers are going to sit there until they get a result,” a spokesperson for Unite, which represents Harland & Woolf workers, told Motherboard. “There’s massive potential in wind turbines and tidal energy. They’re saying they could create thousands of jobs, and that we need a just transition to renewable energy.”…—Lauren Kaori Gurley, “Workers Seize the Shipyard That Built the Titanic, Plan to Make Renewable Energy There,” VICE, 8/14/19


How your flight emits as much CO2 as many people do in a year

How your flight emits as much CO2 as many people do in a year

Even short-haul flights produce huge amounts of CO2, figures show

Taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year, a new Guardian analysis has found.

The figures highlight the disproportionate carbon footprint of those who can afford to fly, with even a short-haul return flight from London to Edinburgh contributing more CO2 than the mean annual emissions of a person in Uganda or Somalia.

2019 is forecast to be another record-breaking year for air travel, with passengers expected to fly a total of 8.1tn km, up 5% from last year and more than 300% since 1990.

Taking one return flight generates more CO2 than citizens of some countries produce in a year

According to figures from German nonprofit Atmosfair, flying from London to New York and back generates about 986kg of CO2 per passenger. There are 56 countries where the average person emits less carbon dioxide in a whole year – from Burundi in Africa to Paraguay in South America.

But even a relatively short return trip from London to Rome carries a carbon footprint of 234kg of CO2 per passenger – more than the average produced by citizens of 17 countries annually.

The figures are averages taking into account which aircraft models are typically used on flight routes, and the estimated occupancy of seats on board those planes. The figures include only the CO2 generated by burning jet fuel, not any emissions embedded in the construction of the plane or any other greenhouse gases that might be produced, such as water vapour.…—Niko Kommenda, “Carbon calculator: how taking one flight emits as much as many people do in a year,The Guardian, 7/19/19


Why Growth Can’t Be Green

Why Growth Can’t Be Green

New data proves you can support capitalism or the environment€” but it’s hard to do both.

Warnings about ecological breakdown have become ubiquitous. Over the past few years, major newspapers, including the Guardian and the New York Times, have carried alarming stories on soil depletion, deforestation, and the collapse of fish stocks and insect populations. These crises are being driven by global economic growth, and its accompanying consumption, which is destroying the Earth’s biosphere and blowing past key planetary boundaries that scientists say must be respected to avoid triggering collapse.

Many policymakers have responded by pushing for what has come to be called “green growth.” All we need to do, they argue, is invest in more efficient technology and introduce the right incentives, and we’ll be able to keep growing while simultaneously reducing our impact on the natural world, which is already at an unsustainable level. In technical terms, the goal is to achieve “absolute decoupling” of GDP from the total use of natural resources, according to the U.N. definition.

It sounds like an elegant solution to an otherwise catastrophic problem. There’s just one hitch: New evidence suggests that green growth isn’t the panacea everyone has been hoping for. In fact, it isn’t even possible.

Green growth first became a buzz phrase in 2012 at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. In the run-up to the conference, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Environment Program all produced reports promoting green growth. Today, it is a core plank of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

But the promise of green growth turns out to have been based more on wishful thinking than on evidence. In the years since the Rio conference, three major empirical studies have arrived at the same rather troubling conclusion: Even under the best conditions, absolute decoupling of GDP from resource use is not possible on a global scale.

A team of scientists led by the German researcher Monika Dittrich first raised doubts in 2012. The group ran a sophisticated computer model that predicted what would happen to global resource use if economic growth continued on its current trajectory, increasing at about 2 to 3 percent per year. It found that human consumption of natural resources (including fish, livestock, forests, metals, minerals, and fossil fuels) would rise from 70 billion metric tons per year in 2012 to 180 billion metric tons per year by 2050. For reference, a sustainable level of resource use is about 50 billion metric tons per year — a boundary we breached back in 2000.…—Jason Hickel, “Why Growth Can’t Be Green,” Foreign Policy|Medium, 9/17/18


Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.

Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.

The Batagaika crater in eastern Siberia, half a mile wide and growing, is the largest of many across the Arctic. As permafrost laced with buried ice thaws, the ground collapses, forming craters or lakes.

As the frozen ground warms much faster than expected, it’s reshaping the landscape—and releasing carbon gases that fuel global warming.

Sergey Zimov, an ecologist by training, tossed a woolly mammoth bone on the pile. He was squatting in mud along the cool, wide Kolyma River, below a towering cliff of crumbling earth. It was summer in eastern Siberia, far above the Arctic Circle, in that part of Russia that’s closer to Alaska than to Moscow. There wasn’t a speck of frost or snow in sight. Yet at this cliff, called Duvanny Yar, the Kolyma had chewed through and exposed what lies beneath: a layer of frozen ground, or permafrost, that is hundreds of feet deep—and warming fast.

Twigs, other plant matter, and Ice Age animal parts—bison jaws, horse femurs, mammoth bones—spilled onto a beach that sucked at Zimov’s boots. “I love Duvanny Yar,” he said as he yanked fossils from the muck. “It is like a book. Each page is a story about the history of nature.”

Across nine million square miles at the top of the planet, climate change is writing a new chapter. Arctic permafrost isn’t thawing gradually, as scientists once predicted. Geologically speaking, it’s thawing almost overnight. As soils like the ones at Duvanny Yar soften and slump, they’re releasing vestiges of ancient life—and masses of carbon—that have been locked in frozen dirt for millennia. Entering the atmosphere as methane or carbon dioxide, the carbon promises to accelerate climate change, even as humans struggle to curb our fossil fuel emissions.

Few understand this threat better than Zimov. From a ramshackle research station in the gold-mining outpost of Cherskiy, about three hours by speedboat from Duvanny Yar, he has spent decades unearthing the mysteries of a warming Arctic. Along the way, he has helped upend conventional wisdom—especially the notion that the far north, back in the Pleistocene ice ages, had been an unbroken desert of ice and thin soils dotted with sage.

Instead, the abundant fossils of mammoths and other large grazers at Duvanny Yar and other sites told Zimov that Siberia, Alaska, and western Canada had been fertile grasslands, rich with herbs and willows. As these plants and animals died, the cold slowed their decomposition. Over time, windblown silt buried them deep, locking them in permafrost. The upshot is that Arctic permafrost is much richer in carbon than scientists once thought.…—Craig Welch, “Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.National Geographic Magazine, September, 2019


And That’s A Wrap! Thanks to everyone who sent in news, action announcements and comments this week. Send kudos, rotten tomatoes and your story ideas, your group’s action events, and news of interest to intrepid climate change and environmental justice warriors! Send to