Roller coaster

The turn of the year invites us all to take stock, to do a reality check on our collective climate-change situation and progress. On the yo-yo ride of good news-bad news, where are we now? Up? Down? Or, like Schr√∂dinger’s cat, both and neither, as yet undetermined?

The annual December COP meetings often prompt just such status reports. For a litany of the bad news, see this New York Times¬†December 28 editorial: “Trump Imperils the Planet.” For similarly direct summaries that note also some progress underway on other fronts, check these two pieces: Jeff Goodell’s “The Truth about these Climate Change Numbers” (Rolling Stone) and Steven Mufson’s “‘A Kind of Dark Realism’: Why the Climate Change Problem Is Starting to Look too Big to Solve” (Washington Post). Mufson’s title is a fair summary of these reporters’ well-researched views, but as Goodell wrote, “The moral of this story is not that all hope is lost. It’s that more dramatic action is needed to get off fossil fuels, and it is needed now.”

Year-in-review editorial and articles reprise climate change losses and gains in 2018. Click To Tweet

“Dark realism” is by no means comforting reading. But even on the darkest days around the solstice, climate scientist Kate Marvel reminds us (in a Scientific American blog), “We don’t have to settle for dystopia. It’s going to be worse, but it doesn’t have to be bleak. We can have a ‘topia,’ an ordinary future where we go about ordinary lives in cities on stilts, missing what we’ve lost but looking forward to better things.”

Coming next: As the days have begun to grow longer, some rays of light of better news.

This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.

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