Media Storm after NY Magazine Article

We hope your summer is going well, and you’re finding some respite from our heat waves. And I hope you find some time to do some important reading.

Carol and I have found some good places to cool off, starting with the Clark Fork. My son’s farm in Stevensville also cools off after the sun recedes behind St. Mary’s Mountain, and it’s time to wash and bag the vegetables for the markets in Hamilton and Missoula. Three whitetail bucks wandered within 30 yards of the washing shed the other night. It took forever for the light to fad behind the silhouette of the Bitterroots. I had a hard time staying focused on the chores . . .

And I’m not going to tell you the name of the little stream where, on Saturday, Carol caught a cutthroat as long as her arm on a size 20 (teeny) fly. She let him go, and one quick snap of his tail took him back to his deep blue water under the willows.

Anyway, this past weekend, I finally had a chance to read the article in New York Magazine that has the Internet all upset. The article’s written by David Wallace-Wells and is called “The Uninhabitable Earth.” I’ll attach the annotated version:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans-annotated.html

Clearly, this is an article about the worst-case scenarios of climate change. It’s dense and complex and the very first sentence antagonizes a lot of people who are on cruise-control: “It is, I promise, worse than you think.”

The Washington Post was quick to jump into the lead summarizing all the people criticizing the article. The basic critique is that Wallace-Wells is exaggerating:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/07/12/scientists-challenge-magazine-story-about-uninhabitable-earth/?utm_term=.6f416936cf12

The Atlantic Monthly goes after conclusions it doesn’t think are supported by the data and calls the article “extinction porn” (really):

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/07/is-the-earth-really-that-doomed/533112/

But then retired NASA climatologist James Hansen may have the last word. He talks to Wallace-Wells in one of the best climate change interviews ever. Hansen talks about getting arrested five different times out of concern for what his lifetime of research has turned up. He also talks about his interactions with Exxon researchers way back in 1982, when the company knew why our planet was warming but chose to expand its development of fossil fuels anyway. Finally, he makes the case for a very interesting climate lawsuit brought by children and making its way through the federal courts. Here’s the interview:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/scientist-jim-hansen-the-planet-could-become-ungovernable.html

I know it’s difficult with visitors and trips and the Montana summer frenzy, but I hope you can take the time to read these articles.

Jeff Smith, co-chair, 350 Montana