The Climate: Too Important to Ignore

Since launching our series of Politics and Prose teach-ins, we’ve hosted three on subjects of great public concern: civil liberties, women’s rights, and immigration. Next up is climate change, a worrisome reality with profound consequences for the environment, the economy, and our way of life.

Three people who have worked on various aspects of the climate change threat have graciously agreed to participate in the discussion, scheduled for Sunday, April 23, at 7 p.m. They include:

The panelists will examine the science and politics of the climate debate and offer suggestions for citizen action. As with the previous teach-ins, we hope the session will further inform and educate our community and encourage more thought and dialogue about a complicated and urgent global issue.

The discussion will take place the day after the March for Science, where P&P also will have a presence. We’re supporting the #PoetsforScience project, which will be run by the Wick Poetry Center in collaboration with poet Jane Hirshfield. For more information, or for the opportunity to participate, visit: science.travelingstanzas.com. In addition to the March for Science on April 22, another environment-related march, The People’s Climate Mobilization, will take place on April 29.

In concert with that week of events in Washington, and to promote books about the environment and climate change, P&P has set up a table in the main store appropriately dubbed “An Inconvenient Display.” We invite everyone to check out the selections before attending the teach-in. Here are some recommended titles:

Eaarth by Bill McKibben, author, teacher, and founder of 350.org, whose earlier book The End of Nature warned 20 years ago of the damage being done to the planet. His new book sadly observes that much of what he predicted has come to pass and makes an even more urgent case for building resilient communities for survival.

Coming of Age at the End of Nature, edited by Julie Dunlap and Susan A. Cohen and featuring essays that both describe stark present-day environmental realities and offer potential solutions for improving humankind’s relationship with nature.

Great Tide Rising by Kathleen Dean Moore, a nature essayist who sees a groundswell of public sentiment against complacency and the status quo. While describing the planet in all its beauty, she makes the case for a clear ethical duty to protect it.

Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality by Pope Francis. Not everyone welcomed this papal work on the environment when it was first issued in 2015. But with an audience in the billions, the pope has helped to make climate change a matter of global concern and reinforced the notion that action to protect the environment is a religious obligation as well a scientific imperative.

The Seasons Alter by Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Keller, a new book structured as Socratic dialogues aimed at persuading even the most stubborn skeptics why there is a need to act now.

Climate Change and the Health of Nations by Anthony J. McMichael, a renowned epidemiologist and a pioneer in the field of how human health relates to climate change. In this recent work, he analyzes how human societies have been shaped by climate events.

Earth in Human Hands by David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist who contends that the task of humankind now is to accept that we live in a changed world and must become better at surviving in it.

We hope you’ll find these works helpful, and we encourage you to participate in the upcoming teach-in.

— Brad and Lissa