The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris. (CC-BY-ND-2.0 Daxis / Flickr)

Prior to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, Marie Antoinette — Queen of France — infamously remarked, “Let them eat cake,” upon hearing that her subjects had no bread. The quote has come to symbolize the disconnect between those in the top echelons of power and the ordinary people.

The recent “yellow vests” protests that have shaken France in recent days bring to mind Marie Antoinette’s words. Protesters — largely coming from rural areas and barely earning enough to get by — have accused Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron of disregarding their economic situation, calling him the “president of…


Unmitigated climate change sets the conditions for more frequent and devastating wildfires in places like California. In this photo, the Rim Fire approaches the Groveland Ranger Station in the Stanislaus National Forest in 2013. (CC BY 2.0 / USDA)

The most important contribution of the recent National Climate Assessment to our conversation on climate change may very well be its focus on risk assessment, allowing us to shift the conversation away from a singular focus on not “knowing” the future toward a more useful focus on the probable risks associated with unmitigated climate change.

Those unwilling to accept the strong scientific consensus on climate change have long insisted that we simply need to attain a greater degree of knowledge before taking action. In response, scientists have done more research, written more reports, and presented more evidence. …


The recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment emphasizes the need to take immediate action on climate change to prevent economic instability and “growing losses to American infrastructure” while preserving “the health and well-being of the American people.”

The report makes it clear that the benefits of acting now far outweigh any reasons to delay. Ignoring the risks of climate change in the face of widespread scientific consensus on the evidence would be like a gambler ignoring the odds stacked against them in a high-stakes game of chance.

Now more than ever, we need political leaders to act like responsible data-driven…


Let’s say you go to your doctor and she tells you that you have cancer. She says it is metastasizing but you can treat it with an aggressive course of action.

Naturally, you want a second opinion, and so you go to a cancer specialist. They tell you the same thing. Perhaps a third opinion wouldn’t hurt?

So, you seek out another expert oncologist who comes back with the same prognosis and recommends you begin treatment right away. But, what if these doctors were wrong?

You insist you need more evidence before taking action. So, you seek a fourth opinion…and…


It’s often said that you don’t realize what you have until you lose it. For over a week now, those of us living in the Bay Area have been forced to grapple with losing that one thing we all rely upon to live healthy and productive lives: air.

As you know from news reports, a devastating fire — ironically named the Camp Fire — wiped out the town of Paradise at the foot of the Sierras in Northern California, claiming over 70 lives with over a thousand people still unaccounted for as of this morning.

Smoke from the fire has…


The US is in the middle of an unprecedented oil boom leading to rising fortunes in the global energy economy. According to a recent article in the New York Times, “This year, the United States is expected to surpass Saudi Arabia and to rival Russia as the world’s leader [in oil production], with record output of over 10 million barrels a day.” This prosperity arises from technological advances that make new shale fields accessible at lower investment costs. Places like North Dakota and New Mexico are becoming “world class petroleum hubs” and the building of new pipelines allows energy companies…


Trump’s travel ban hurts educational and cultural exchange. (Milosh Kojadinovich / 123rf.com)

Mike Pence was right. So was Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, Mitch McConnell, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and even Dick Cheney. Sure, a few have now changed their tune as part of a Faustian pact. But all of these Republican leaders at one point rightly denounced Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban.” During the campaign, Gen. James Mattis said that implementing such a policy would indicate that “we have lost faith in reason.” Indeed, there is no compelling reason — even from an “America first” perspective — to implement the arbitrary restrictions put in place with President Trump’s executive order last Friday.

Whether…

Adam Hodges

Writing about environment and society.

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