What Rhymes with Orangutan?

Nothing at all.

This article suggests Orangutans may go extinct in the wild within ten years.


Orangutans are among humans’ closest relatives, the “Old Man of the Forest”, as they are known. But without the forest, they cannot survive. Deforestation is one of the most important causes of ecological collapse. Not just in tropical rain forests, but right here in Oregon, as well.

But we know that already. The more difficult question, from the side, is, “Why?” Why do we go on with this destruction of ecosystems, despite knowing that our own future— along with the Orangutans and all the other creatures of the world— depends on those same systems we are destroying? Imagine someone heating their house by burning the walls. That’s us. Don’t worry, though. We’ll figure out what to do once the walls are all gone.

This documentary follows a former environmental activist who has given up on saving the world. I find it very moving, especially the closing segment. I think I was where he was for many years, living quietly, teaching, writing, having really given up on effecting change. Now, an older man, I’ve returned to action, to reaching out to others through my writing, at least. It may be too late to win, but it’s never too late to try.


Harvard scientists say we have five years to prevent extreme climate change


“In Chicago Thursday, he prosecuted a moral argument that implicates university administrators who refuse to divest from fossil fuels, journalists who fail to fact-check false statements made by political candidates, and executives of fossil fuel companies who continue to pursue activities that are exacerbating climate change—especially those who mislead the public about those effects.
“I don’t understand how these people sit down to dinner with their kids,” Anderson said, “because they’re not stupid people.”

After my interesting exchange with Buffalo weatherman Don Paul, I’ve begun to wonder why scientists tend to underestimate, or at least understate, the impacts of climate change? This thorough paper explores the question.


Now that Congress has come back from its rowdy recess, the View turns back to the circus.

Americans are sick of the Trump circus, Fareed Zakaria proclaims.

Fareed Zakaria on CNN has stolen my metaphor! I wouldn’t mind, really. It’s sort of flattering. But he takes my metaphor and then he misuses it to argue incorrectly against impeachment. What a clown! One more (well-paid) clown in the media ring of the two-party circus. Zakaria says, “Americans are tired of the Trump circus,” but they don’t want to watch a Democratic circus around impeachment. Do you all ever get tired of the pundits telling you what you think and feel? I do, especially when they’re wrong. Zakaria says, “The Democrats should pursue legitimate investigations…” WTF! What does he think the Mueller report was? And what is the point of investigations without impeachment? Then, at the end of his foolish segment Zakaria goes on to foolishly lecture constitutional scholar, Senator Elizabeth Warren (among others) about the constitution. The real question is why do people listen to CNN?


This Politico article is pretty revealing about the behind-the-scenes mechanics of American politics. It explores the “making” of made-man Pete Buttigieg by political operative Lis Smith. Worth a glance if you want to see the gears that move the big wheels.


Looks to me like the powers that be are getting nervous. There’s some real unrest around the globe, some real change in the air. And the last thing they want to happen in America is change.

So, why do we measure our politicians the same way we measure our movies, by comparing the money they earn? It’s not a question I’ve seen explored in any scientific studies. But I’m guessing it says a lot about our cultural values. Who cares if the movie is good; who cares if the politician has good policies? How much moolah did they make? Opening day for Joe Biden was pretty good at the box office. Is he creeping in the Oval office? Seems unlikely, from the side. But in the meantime, he’s raking it in.


And so are the Avengers!


We get a big dose of superheroes in our movies and media these days. Maybe a lot of people are hoping some superhero will fly in to set everything right. That sure would be easier than buckling down and doing it ourselves.

Maybe I fall into “superhero hopium” myself. I’ve been asking about climate change Conservatives, imagining that climate change could become a cross-party issue, a way to bring the sides together. And, at the same time, I’ve been praising the analysis posted on the Vox website. Dang. looks like it’s one or the other. But things can always change. Can’t they? This article by David Roberts digs into the question I’ve been asking. Where are the climate conservatives?


Here’s the study the article addresses:

The study concludes with this interesting paragraph.

“President Trump is one of the most polarizing political figures in American history, generating deep distrust between the parties.

Nevertheless, our analysis does find areas of current and potential future progress. As the federal government has retreated from taking the lead on climate change, states and businesses have forged ahead, maintaining some of the momentum. Additionally, our analysis indicates that the Innovations approach of change provides a potential bipartisan pathway forward. Perhaps the most promising element in this sector is that polling data indicates that many conservatives are already interested in different elements of policy reform in this space.

However, we find that the current actors in the conservative environmental movement are not strong enough to make serious inroads at a national level. There is a shortage of funding in the space, and accordingly, a relative lack of strong organizations providing strategic investment opportunities. Simply put: The infrastructure does not currently exist for high-leverage opportunities to engage conservatives on this issue.”

Still, we can hope the Environmental Avengers will save us.

From the side, I’d like to challenge the conservative conservationists to come forward and help us conserve this earth we all share. I’d love to hear from you. Just because there isn’t a conservative environmental movement now doesn’t mean there can’t be.

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