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LATEST STORIES

An Ode to Seasons for Peter Matthiessen
by Subhankar Banerjee, 6 April 2014

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Do you know about Peter Matthiessen?

Maybe you’ve read one or more of his many unforgettable books. Snow Leopard, perhaps? Or maybe, Shadow Country? Both, one non–fiction and the other an epic novel, had won the National Book Award. The list of books he wrote is rather long. You may have read more of his books than I have.

Peter Matthiessen passed away on Saturday, at his home in Sagaponack, New York. He was 86. I’m sure you will read about him in many places now.

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Beautiful Sunsets (and Sunrises) in Art
by Subhankar Banerjee, 31 March 2014

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Many people have, over the years, told me that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But no one ever told me that I shouldn’t judge a sunset (or sunrise) by its beauty. After all these years, a group of scientists finally pulled the curtain off of the golden lights of dawn and dusk.

On March 25, the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal published an article that addresses pollution in art. Soon I’ll talk about that, but first a bit about the Arctic.

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On Climate Impasse: Appetite and Substitutes
by Subhankar Banerjee, 27 March 2014

This piece is part II of a multi–part exploration on ‘climate impasse’. Most nation states are not interested in solving the climate crisis. This state of collective global inaction is what I call climate impasse. … In part I, I had discussed mass consumption that you can read here. Let us now move forward, with Progress. … For the purpose of interpreting the climate impasse, however, I’d frame Progress, not as a myth, but as a paradox. Progress is as real as an apple, and it can also hold contradictions.



At this juncture, I’d note that an attempt to get rid of fossil fuels, without also addressing the appetite, and believing in efficiency and substitutes to solve the climate crisis—is eventually a road to Mordor.

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Interpreting the Climate Impasse: A View from Indo–America
by Subhankar Banerjee, 26 February 2014

The two countries I know best are India and the US. I spent the first 22 years of my life in the former, and the following 24 in the latter, where I continue to live. Recently I returned home, after spending three months in India. The combination of what I saw there in plain view, and what I see here in America, may shed some light on—why we have arrived at the climate impasse.



The climate impasse is rooted, not simply in our dependence on a fossil fuel economy, but more broadly, in our love affair with mass consumption, made possible by global capitalism, and in our faith in Progress—that science and technology will forever improve the conditions of human life.

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Destabilization of Arctic Sea Ice Would Be Game Over for Climate
by Subhankar Banerjee, September 27, 2013

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The Arctic sea ice is the most famous visual indicator of climate change. This year the climate deniers took the lead to explain what’s going on with the Arctic sea ice. “And now it’s global COOLING! Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year,” by David Rose in the Mail on Sunday, and “Global warming? No, actually we’re cooling, claim scientists” by Hayley Dixon in The Telegraph—both published on September 8—led the parade. Quoting all these irresponsible disinformation, on September 10, Greg Gutfeld of Fox News put an end to global warming with these words: “Global warming? Yes, it’s finally dead.”

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Let Us Now Sing About the Warmed Earth
By Subhankar Banerjee, July 29, 2013

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On July 25 the journal Nature published an article about the “Economic time bomb” that is slowly being detonated by Arctic warming. Gail Whiteman of Erasmus University in the Netherlands, and Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams of the University of Cambridge suggest—based on economic modeling that the “release of methane from thawing permafrost beneath the East Siberian Sea” would come with an “average global price tag of $60 trillion.” The news should have sent a shock wave through the media. But instead, predictably, the public were encouraged to celebrate—again and again, and again—the birth of the royal son.

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The Real News Network: UN IPCC Climate Assessment Report 2013
Jaisal Noor interviews Subhankar Banerjee, 27 September 2013.
In this two–part conversation Subhankar and Jaisal discuss the IPCC Assessment Report 5, the campaign that climate change deniers are launching to attack the report, and the significance of the Arctic sea ice. The first part is about seven minutes long and the second part is about five minutes.

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Part I: UN IPCC Climate Assessment Report 2013. VIEW PART I ONLINE  

Part II: Why Climate Deniers Are Plain Wrong: Arctic sea ice, Greenland ice sheet, Arctic methane are all key to climate change. VIEW PART II ONLINE  .

The Real News Network: Colorado’s Thousand–Year Flood
Jaisal Noor interviews Subhankar Banerjee, 19 September 2013.
In this two–part interview Subhankar and Jaisal discuss the September 2013 historic floods in Colorado, media’s role in reporting climate change, and the US energy policy. Each part is about five minutes long.

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Part I: The media has utterly failed its responsibility to inform the public of the link between climate change and worsening natural disasters. VIEW PART I ONLINE  

Part II: The Obama administration’s focus on oil extraction and emphasis on fracking is not addressing climate change.
VIEW PART II ONLINE  

Uprising Radio: Colorado Flood
Coloradans Struggle to Survive “Bibilical” Levels of Flooding, As Global Warming Reality Hits Home
Sonali Kolhatkar interviews Subhankar Banerjee and Jim Pullen of KGNU Community Radio in Boulder, 16 September 2013
LISTEN ONLINE  

Colorado’s Thousand–Year Flood
Repeated assaults culminate with epic floods in Colorado
By Subhankar Banerjee, September 16, 2013

In the last decade and a half Colorado (and its neighbor New Mexico) has gone through three major assaults—massive tree deaths, massive wildfires, and now massive floods—each in turn has been called “the worst natural disaster” the region has seen. Each in turn has also made the next one worse—millions of dead trees made the wildfires worse, and we are now learning that the wildfires are making the floods worse.

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Boulder Flooding: Remembering Warnings from Weather Report
By Subhankar Banerjee, September 13, 2013

Weather Report did “deluge the populace with artwork” exhibited all across town in numerous venues and outdoors. I surmise that no one in Boulder had imagined then that the real “deluge” would arrive—so soon.

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Independence from Terror
By Subhankar Banerjee, July 4, 2013

Two recent disasters: one in Uttarakhand, India and the other in Arizona, US show us—that not only ecological devastation but also human casualty—arise from climate change. In both cases, those who tried to save lives—lost their lives. On June 25 an Indian air force helicopter crashed on a steep hillside in Uttarakhand “while on a mission to rescue people stranded in monsoon floods,” the Times of India reported. Twenty people died in that crash. And last Sunday nineteen firefighters died in Arizona “as they were overcome … by the swift, erratic Yarnell Hill Fire,” the USA Today reported.

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Mass Protest, Not A Speech, Is Needed To Address Climate Change
By Chris Williams, June 27, 2013

Before we get teary eyed with joy or scoff with derision, we should take a closer look at President Obama’s June 25 speech on climate change, and set it within the context of his five years in power. This is a position he himself argued for during his speech when he said that we need to “be more concerned with the judgment of posterity” than short–term political considerations.

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FEATURED BOOK

ClimateStoryTellers founder Subhankar Banerjee edited the anthology, Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point (New York: Seven Stories Press; hardcover: 3 July 3, 2012; updated paperback: 22 October 2013).

The book includes writing by several ClimateStoryTellers contributors, including Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, Chie Sakakibara, and Christine Shearer.

Rich in the incredible diversity of animal life, the long human history of its indigenous peoples, and the vast reservoirs of oil, natural gas, and coal, the Arctic is the tipping point, the place where we will see the first glimpses of the future that awaits us, and also where great battles are now being fought that will determine whether our future will be that of survival or destruction, recovery from the brink or departures beyond the point of no return. The thirty–nine voices assembled in Arctic Voices […] attempts to change how we look at a part of our world that we now know so little about and with a new awareness will awaken our moral obligation to help its continued survival against industrial destruction and the greed of a few. After you have read Arctic Voices, Banerjee hopes, “You will begin to think and talk about the Arctic differently than you did before. And perhaps you’ll find an answer to the question, ‘Why should I care about the Arctic?’”—from Arctic Voices back cover.



In the Beautiful, Threatened North
By Ian Frazier
The New York Review of Books, Volume 60, Number 4, March 7, 2013
Frazier’s generous essay is a review of Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point.
READ IAN FRAZIER’S ESSAY ONLINE  


Can Shell Be Stopped?—A Letter to the Editors
By Subhankar Banerjee
The New York Review of Books, Vol. 60, No. 10, June 6, 2013
READ SUBHANKAR’S LETTER ONLINE  


Keep the Arctic Cold
By Subhankar Banerjee
Seven Stories Press, May 17, 2013
ALTERNET | COMMON DREAMS | COUNTER CURRENTS | SEVEN STORIES


FEATURED CONVERSATIONS

Dr. James Hansen with Subhankar Banerjee
Lannan Foundation lecture series In Pursuit of Cultural Freedom
Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, February 20, 2013 (SOLD OUT)

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HANSEN LECTURE WITH BANERJEE INTRODUCTION; FOLLOWED BY CONVERSATION—WATCH ONLINE  

Subhankar Banerjee in conversation with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez
Democracy Now!, July 20, 2012

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BANERJEE CONVERSATION WITH AMY GOODMAN & JUAN GONZALEZ—WATCH ONLINE  


SELECT STORIES FROM THE ARCHIVE

Listening to the Arctic
By Manuela Picq, October 5, 2012

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Last week brought good news from the trenches of resistance to extractivist industries as two energy companies were forced to abandon major drilling projects. In the Peruvian Amazon, Talisman Energy officially abandoned oil-drilling plans in Achuar territory. The Canadian company was forced to leave Block 64 because the Achuar people vetoed drilling on their lands. Meanwhile, in the Arctic, Shell Oil announced that it was abandoning drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea.

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Walking the Waters
How to Bring the Major Oil Companies Ashore and Halt the Destruction of Our Oceans
By Subhankar Banerjee, August 2, 2012

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When you go to the mountains, you go to the mountains. When it’s the desert, it’s the desert. When it’s the ocean, though, we generally say that we’re going “to the beach.” Land is our element, not the waters of our world, and that is an unmistakable advantage for any oil company that wants to drill in pristine waters.

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A Future Without Coal: In New Mexico Supreme Court, Again
By Mariel Nanasi, July 25, 2011



PNM’s San Juan Generating Station. Photograph by Erika Blumenfeld

It’s time we secure a future without coal in New Mexico, across America, and around the world. It won’t be easy. Along the way, we will need a lot of help, creativity and inspiration.

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News Update: In a July 28 front–page article “Enviros win voice in carbon battle,” in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Associated Press writer Susan Montoya Bryan reports, “The New Mexico Supreme Court on Wednesday (July 27) cleared the way for environmental groups to intervene in an ongoing legal battle over whether the state should regulate greenhouse–gas emissions.” You can read the full article here.


Who Is Tim DeChristopher?
From Coal Belt, Through Mountain Trails, En Route To Obama’s Prison Cell
By Subhankar Banerjee, June 16, 2011

Often we focus on a single act—more heroic the act is, more attention we pay. We also focus on a single result—more it tends toward either end of a good–bad spectrum, more attention we pay. Along the way, we skip the journey that led to the act or realize that the result is only a small stop on a long journey. Such is the story of young climate justice activist Tim DeChristopher, who is without a doubt a lightning rod of his generation.

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News Update: On July 26, 2011 Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in federal prison and removed immediately from court in chains. On April 21, 2013 he was released after serving nearly two years in federal prison. On Earth Day, April 22, 2013 he gave an interview to Democracy Now!. Tim’s story is told beautifully in the award–winning film Bidder 70, directed by Beth and George Gage.

India Must Free Binayak Sen Immediately
By Subhankar Banerjee, March 7, 2011

India must unconditionally release Binayak Sen immediately and put an end to the great suffering that he and his wife have already endured since May 2007. Binayak Sen deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, not lifetime imprisonment as an enemy of India.

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News Update: On April 15, 2011 the Supreme Court of India granted bail to Dr. Binayak Sen and dropped charges of sedition against him.

Climate Change and Agriculture
Biodiverse Ecological Farming is the Answer, not Genetic Engineering
By Dr. Vandana Shiva, February 23, 2011

Industrial globalised agriculture is heavily implicated in climate change. It contributes to the three major greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2) from the use of fossil fuels, nitrogen oxide (N2O) from the use of chemical fertilizers and methane (CH4) from factory farming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC), atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased from a pre–industrial concentration of about 280 parts per million to 379 parts per million in 2005. The global atmospheric concentration of CH4 has increased from pre–industrial concentration of 715 parts per billion to 1774 parts per billion in 2005. The global atmospheric concentration of N2O, largely due to use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture, increased from about 270 parts per billion to 319 parts per billion in 2005.

Industrial agriculture is also more vulnerable to climate change which is intensifying droughts and floods. Monocultures lead to more frequent crop failure when rainfall does not come in time, or is too much or too little. Chemically fertilized soils have no capacity to withstand a drought. And cyclones and hurricanes make a food system dependent on long distance transport highly vulnerable to disruption.

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My journey into Kivalina v. ExxonMobil et al.
By Christine Shearer, December 1, 2010


In 2008, a small Inupiat village in Alaska sued ExxonMobil and 23 other fossil fuel companies including Peabody Energy and BP for contributing to the destruction of their homeland, and charged a smaller subset with deliberately creating a false debate around climate change science. You might have heard of the lawsuit—Kivalina v. ExxonMobil et al.

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Cancún Opens for GREEN Business But REDD Will Destroy Indigenous Forest Cultures
By Subhankar Banerjee, November 29, 2010


Is this the time to tinker with trading carbons by taking away the forests from the indigenous inhabitants and then selling the credits to the polluters—or is it possible to develop a common global vision of moving away from fossil fuel altogether and working with forest dwellers on sustainable solutions? It is a moral question that we must answer. And that I’d call trust–and–partnership.

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Shell’s Arctic Drilling Will Destroy Our Homeland and Culture
By Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, November 23, 2010


This week families across the country will be celebrating Thanksgiving—sharing food and telling stories. Here is my story about our food and culture that would be destroyed if Shell Oil gets the permit to drill for oil in our homeland—the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

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STOP: Another One Hundred Years of Fossil–Digging in North America?
By Subhankar Banerjee, November 15, 2010


PROTECT: CARIBOU AND SALMON, Gwich'in Human Aerial-Art, Fort Yukon, Alaska, 2010. Courtesy Gwich'in Steering Committee

Soon I’ll will tell you about five Godzilla–scale fossil–digging projects in North America that if approved will set us on a course to repeat our past with grave implications for the future of our planet. You may have already heard about some of these projects individually, but the urgency to stop them collectively is more than ever before.

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From Beautiful Nudibranchs to Coral Graveyards
Marine Research in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
By Dr. Terry Gosliner, October 16, 2010


For almost three decades I’ve been studying nudibranchs in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. Nudibranchs are beautiful and brightly colored sea slugs that thrive on healthy coral reefs. While that has been exhilarating, it is the changes that I’ve seen on these reefs that make me sit upright in bed in the middle of the night. Climate change is seriously endangering these richest reservoirs of marine biodiversity. Here is my story of some of these alarming changes.

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Youth Across North America Are Fighting For Their Future Climate
By Subhankar Banerjee, October 4, 2010

I recently urged young people to start a climate revolution in a post titled “Letter to Young Americans.” Here are some of the comments that were posted in the blogosphere1 | 2 in response to that post: “Your letter will be thrown into the marginalized bin and be lost forever. You’re asking for honesty and sincerity in the land of hypocrisy;” and “American college kids (and others their age) have other things on their minds –– like sports, drinking, i–pods, text–messaging, video games, TV, etc;” and “I’m a college freshman, and I, along with most other Americans, disagree with almost every tired idea you bring up in this article;” and “I’m not a ‘young American’, and, I don’t even go to college. But, I’ll go ahead and sink this stinky diatribe to the bottom of the briny depths.”

Not an auspicious beginning for a revolution, wouldn’t you say?

But the post also resulted in several emails in my inbox. Here are three stories from those emails about young people with a different perspective –– a teen rock band called One Eyed Rhyno from Sacramento, California; climate students from the North Cascades Institute in Sedrow–Woolley, Washington; and a bicyclist from the Yukon province in Canada.

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Could This Be A Crime?
U.S. Climate Bill Is Dead While So Much Life On Our Earth Continues To Perish
By Subhankar Banerjee, August 26, 2010


Imagine you live in New York City, and one fine morning you awake to the realization that 90 percent of all the buildings that were more than five stories tall have been destroyed. You will hardly have the words to talk about this devastation, but I’m sure you will walk around the rubble to make sense of it all.

Something similar has happened in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I currently live. Between 2001 and 2005, aerial surveys were conducted over 6.4 million acres of the state. Some 816,000 affected acres were mapped and it was found that during this short period Ips confusus, a tiny bark beetle, had killed 54.5 million of New Mexico’s state tree, the piñon. In many areas of northern New Mexico, including Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Española, and Taos, 90 percent of mature piñons are now dead.

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READ ALL STORIES FROM THE ARCHIVE HERE  


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